I've been reading Richard J. Evans' "The Third Reich at War", and it is one of the most highly detailed history books I've ever read. I've finished the first section, which dealt with Hitler's invasion of Poland, and it's political aftermath, as well as some of the "final solution" systems which the Nazis began to implement early on as a product of their twisted ideology.
This first section is crammed full of names and details which I never studied when I took some courses of the history of Europe back in my college days. It's likely that this detail is new because the Nuremberg courts never got down to the levels of lesser players which Evans has, and instead, the detail has come from the wealth of diaries, memoirs, etc discovered since Nuremberg.
A central theme emerges from my reading of this section, which discussed the roundup of Jews and installation of them into ghettos, and the persecutions of other ethnic minorities as well as Poles in general, after the Nazi gauleiters made it to the occupied territories the Wehrmacht had taken for them.
The most detailed account of persecutions is the story of the Nazi extermination of disabled people. A detailed plan was formed and put into practice to cleanse the gene pool of Germany by systematically killing all those with deformities of the mind or body. First, the Nazis emptied out the institutions which had been caring for all these unfortunates. Some of these were State-run institutions, some were run by private foundations, and some were run by the churches, both the Protestant and Catholic church. Eventually, parents of disabled children (yes, the plan centered on children, and only went to adults after the children were all killed) who had NOT placed their children in institutions were called out by the Nazis, and forced to turn their children over to be killed.
Yep, those first 130 pages or so are eye-openers, both in the numbers of ordinary (disabled) Germans slaughtered by their political leaders, and in the depth of planning for the depravity which preceded it.
How did the Nazis carry all this out?
Easy answer: Registration. The Germans registered EVERYTHING in those days, including illness and disability, as well as religious affiliation.
The lesson to take home here is that the less the government knows about you, the harder it is for them to target you for "special treatment". Make them sweat to "register" you.
OK, that much is obvious, but how do we fight off the ever-growing thirst of our Government for information? Also, is the Government the only party we need to fight on this subject?
The answer is to adopt a critical mind-set which treats every snippet of information as a treasure, and you hoard your treasures, and safeguard them. You do the same with the ever-worsening snooping of the Internet barons. For example, I refuse to register or create an online account for any reason nowadays. I have no delusion that this practice has kept me safe, it has probably kept me safer than most, however.
The danger today is that the atrocities which the Nazis perpetrated on their own citizens (as well as those in conquered territory) could easily be repeated today by political extremists, but the good news is that we still have a free press and the ability to exchange ideas amongst ourselves.
The Nazis had to first win the information war, which they did. From a privacy point of view, our information war is already lost, and all we can do is wait to see what the Government will do with all that information.
Hitler took Germany from relative freedom to a jack-booted thugocracy in six short years, then started his racial and genetic purification schemes. We've had government from the far left now for only 1 1/2 years here in the USA, and already our freedoms have been eroded badly, and more freedoms are scheduled to go away forever if we don't act to remove this threat from our body politic.
Are we doomed to repeat the misery of the citizens of Germany, circa 1939?