Hitler Was Human, and Auschwitz Wasn't ‘Another Planet’

The sixth volume of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s series ‘My Struggle’ proposes a provocative way of looking at the sources of the Nazis’ evil – one that might jolt those who believe they would have behaved differently from the Germans during the Holocaust

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Hitler addressing some 100,000 stormtroopers at a Nazi rally in Nuremberg, in September 1935.
Hitler addressing some 100,000 stormtroopers at a Nazi rally in Nuremberg, in September 1935.

There is no persuasive proof that Adolf Hitler was antisemitic in his childhood or his youth. Some of his acquaintances in Vienna when he was 18 were Jews, and the composer Gustav Mahler, whom he admired, was a Jew. Antisemitism was widespread at the time, but as Hitler himself noted, it had no support in the newspapers and in the highbrow journals. It was manifested mainly in publications aimed at the lower classes, which were often contemptuous of high, intellectual culture.

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