Humans throughout thousands of years humans have been creating folk tales as a means to explain the unknown, we have an odd fascination with taboo or simply evil. We have created tales such as the El Chupacabra, La Llorona, and Dracula the list goes on. These stories grasp our imagination yet there is nothing more horrific than reality, a that contains a history is plagued with innumerable atrocious acts. The fabricated stories are inspired by and still fall short to real accounts committed by serial killers and governments. But why are the real accounts far more mortifying than fiction? The answer is the ever-lasting impact left that influences future generations to follow their cynicism.
As I grow older I continue to realize that the true accounts are far more horrific than the fabricated tales of spooky monsters. For example serial killers exemplify the sinister aspect of human nature that is mortifying to read about their crimes. Something that has grabbed my attention is that although their whole mindset and goals ultimately wrong and immoral it becomes intriguing to a certain extent, people begin to be interested in these events. This occurred to me as we happened to learned about monster and briefly spoke about serial killers, they would grasp my attention and I would go home and read about these monsters and watch documentaries of their horrible actions. Serial killers like Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy both committed horrendous actions like raping killing dozens of people with little to no remorse. I questioned, “why am I interested?” as I read Jefferey Cohen’ Monster Culture (Seven Thesis) I realized that thesis “the monster polices the borders of the possible,” it explained my curiosity and fixation in these despicable beings. As I interpret it the killers personify every person’s fear by also subsequently highlighting the actions that are reprehensible and unacceptable in our society hence the phrase “polices the borders of the possible” (Cohen p1).
What can be worse than these sick beings who tortured and killed innocent victims? The answer is simple, a regime infamous for its cruelty, bigotry, and racism this regime was the Nationalist Socialist of German workers Party or better known as the Nazi Party. The most effective and sinister government, a true embodiment of evil. It astonishing how a population at the time of 60% Protestant and 40% Catholic were able to kill 5.9 million Jews who were their neighbors, doctors, teachers (Culpin, Christopher, and Steve Mastin. Nazi Germany 1933-45). These drastic measures were the result of many events stemming from World War One and the failed Treaty of Versailles. WWI also known as the Great War ended the romanticism in popular culture, the war made the world seems as horrible place filled with violence which in turn arose a prominent sentiment of disillusionment in people. Not only that but it seemed as if no true resolutions to the problems to the past instead Germans were “humiliated” by their lose of territory and were forced to pay reparations to England and France. Instead of solutions what resulted from this war instead the disillusionment accompanied with a crumbling economy brewed the rise to power of a greater evil in Germany (Culpin, Christopher, and Steve Mastin. Nazi Germany 1933-45). The Nazi Party rapidly gained popularity, just a decade after its establishment in 1933 Adolf Hitler was named chancellor. As an amazing orator he was able to capitalize of the frustration of the average worker and their fears of the future. Step by step he began implementing his racist agenda beginning with the ratification of the Nuremberg Laws in 1935. Hitler initiated WWII in 1939 which engulfed the world in uncertainty once again just as it did twenty years before.
Hitler seized the moment and instilled a toxic nationalism by stating their own failures of the past to justify their actions, in their minds they were going to vanquish the monster. Jefferey Cohen Seven Thesis says, “Monsters born of political expedience and self-justifying nationalism function as living invitations to action…through its grotesque body some behavior some action” (Cohen p5). This was tactic used by Hitler he used the Jews as a scapegoat for everything currently wrong with his country, labeling Jews as grotesque monsters that needed to be eliminated. This begun with the fist steps propaganda highlighting Jews as rats, later the establishment of the Nuremberg laws which forbade marriages between Germans and Jews while also naming the Jews and inferior and revoking their citizenship. These were the just the first steps of many inhuman practices that were to come.
The Nazis truly embodied a despicable agenda straight out of a non-fiction novel. Their goal was to establish a supposed “master-race and rid the world of impurities.” They would burn books loot art and destroy abstract art, but the most horrendous deeds, occurred when they resorted to murder those they would deed inferior and the mass extermination of the Jewish population. The Nazis were basically a conjunction of serial killers in a position of power which is truly mortifying how humans could reach to that level and do such things. The Party provided human scum a position of power, individuals such as Ammon Goth known as “the butcher of Plaszow” who would not hesitate to kill and shoot any prisoner from his home in the concentration camp, and Josef Mengele known as “the angel of death” who would conduct stomach turning experiments on Jews that would enter the barracks of Auschwitz. He performed inhumane experiments due to his curiosity in genetics also with the pretext to prove the Aryan race was superior.
Josef Mengele was physician he would conduct “experiments” on the prisoners his experiments were bizarre and inhumane, as I read the retellings his test sounded as a tale from a fictional novel. Mengele as if he was waiting for his prey he would wait at the Auschwitz train station picking the specimen for his experiments. He would choose based on his fixation in genetics he would pick twins, dwarfs, and individuals with abnormalities as subjects to his brutal test (Koren, Yehuda. “Mengele and the Family of Dwarfs.”). He would masquerade himself as a polite man and would treat his test subjects well before his test which were always brutal. This quote from an interview highlights the constant fear his patients were forced to live with, “The teenage girls were terrified that Mengele would couple them with the dwarf men in order to see what offspring would result, turning their wombs into laboratories. The whole group dreaded the fate of two other dwarfs who arrived shortly after them: these poor people were killed and their bodies put in boiling water until the flesh separated from the bones. The skeletons were sent to an anthropological museum” (Koren, Yehuda. “Mengele and the Family of Dwarfs.”) Another story told by an eyewitness was that he sowed two twins together and even their organs they eventually died of gangrene. Mengele had every imaginable tool at his disposal he could do whatever he pleased as long as he accompanied with the pretext to prove the superiority of the Aryan race. It was the perfect environment for a true monster
The Nazis were the personification of every prevalent antagonist or evil organization from a science fiction film they lack any redeeming values their goals are simply evil. It is evident that screen writers and often use WWII Axis Powers as a source of inspiration. For example, Call of Duty games contains Nazi Zombies, the whole Star Wars concept and mystique has a high Nazi influence from the uniform to having an evil emperor [the Fuhrer] (from “Heil, Mein Monster!”). They were ruthless mass murders that had no concern for human life. They managed to kill millions of people and wipe out one third of the Jewish population, yet they fell short from their ultimate goal but their reputation and influence remain. To this day they inspire science fiction movies and video games but what is most concerning that their legacy of oppression and racism/anti-Semitism is ever so rampant in modern times in different regions of the world.
It is worth addressing that In many instances our own government has not been any different than the nations it has condemned in the past, it has committed despicable acts such as slavery, genocide, which almost completely eradicated the native population. For many centuries the Government mistreated, relocated, deprived Natives from their basic human rights. One instance was when the Natives were forced to leave their home and walk thousands of miles to Oklahoma, this was known as “the trail of tears”. Jefferey Cohen retells in his Seven Thesis one of the tactics used to promote manifest destiny, “In order to promote manifest destiny in the ninetieth century circulated how “Indians” routinely kidnapped white women, west was a place of danger need to be tamed, native inhabitants to be exposed.” These are similar to the Tactics used by the Nazis their propaganda would portray the Jewish community as savages with monstrous features similarly to what the Americans did decades before the Germans. Another similarity is United States government forced Japanese-American Citizens to relocate to internment camps in the remote areas of the country during the years of the war (Wakasuki Houston, Farewell to Manzanar). Conditions were vastly greater but this resulted in many Japanese-Americans to losing their homes and their established jobs. With that being said are we monsters too?
Nazis were neither the first to promote anti-Semitism or racism as Cohen retells, “The flames devour the Jews on thirtieth-century England, who stole children from proper families…as a menace to the survival English race and culture (Cohen p10).” The English shared in the past the same sentiment as the Nazi. Still in recent times horror movies appearing seemingly innocent as King Kong demonstrate miscegenation anxiety in its brutal essence, proving we still fear interracial marriage sharing a same sentiment as the Nuremberg Laws (Cohen p9). Yet continued fascination and influenced by the negative continues to this day that white supremacy/Neo-Nazi groups exist thrive. Proving that we still have not learned from the mistakes from the past. Our country continues to be haunted by its past errors it seems as if slavery have left our country with white privilege imbedded within. I think the problem is within ourselves and the ignorance of humans, when we let our ignorance/impulses control us we are capable of doing horrendous things and creating a reality far scarier than the fictional tales we create.
Culpin, Christopher, and Steve Mastin. Nazi Germany 1933-45. Hodder Education Group, 2013. EBSCOhost, chaffey.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=956809&site=ehost-live.
Raim, Edith. Nazi Crimes Against Jews and German Post-War Justice : The West German Judicial System During Allied Occupation (1945–1949). De Gruyter Oldenbourg, 2015. EBSCOhost, chaffey.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=935415&site=ehost-live.
Cohen, Jeffrey Jerome. “Monster Culture: Seven Theses.” From Monster Theory: Reading Culture. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996. 3-25.
Koren, Yehuda. “Mengele and the Family of Dwarfs.” History Today, vol. 55, no. 2, Feb. 2005, pp. 32–33. EBSCOhost, chaffey.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=15957325&site=ehost-live.
Houston, Kawasuki. Farewell to Manzanar