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“If the best men were dying at the front,
the least we could do was to wipe out the vermin” 

The “Jewish Census”

The Judenzählung (“Jewish census”) was instituted by the German Military in October 1916 to prove that Jews were “betraying the Fatherland” by shirking military service. There is controversy regarding the census—since the results never were published.

Here is the opinion of Dr. Gerhard Falk: “During the First World War, 100,000 Jews served in the German army, a number more than their percentage of the German population. Twelve thousand Jews died for the “Vaterland”. Nevertheless, the German government instituted a census of Jews in the army on grounds that Jews were shirkers. When it was discovered that Jews were overrepresented, the German government refused to publish the results.”

In any case, when it comes to Hitler, statistics are besides the point. His beliefs grew out of his idiosyncratic perception of reality, or—more accurately—his fantasies.
Hitler had witnessed the death and dismemberment of hundreds of his comrades during the First World War. And was aware (Mein Kampf,1924) that two million German men had died.

Although deeply wounded by Germany’s defeat, he did not adopt an anti-war posture; nor did he abandon his love for the German nation. As a patriot, he claimed it would have been a “sin to complain” about the death of so many of his comrades, because—after all—were they not dying for Germany? Nevertheless, Hitler did complain about what occurred during the First World War.

Diverting attention from the issue of the meaning of why so many Germans had died, Hitler posed another question: “Why had some men died, whereas other men had survived? Why had the best men (those who volunteered for military service) died; whereas the worst men (those who shirked their duty to serve in the military) survived.” This question burned through Hitler’s mind, heart and body.

The issue of why the best men died while the worst survived quickly mutated into the question: “Why had German men died at the front, whereas Jewish men were safe, comfortable and secure at home. In Mein Kampf (1924), Hitler wrote that upon returning home from the Western Front, he discovered that “all the offices were filled with Jews.” He claimed that nearly “every clerk was a Jew and nearly every Jew was a clerk.” He was amazed at this “plethora of warriors of the chosen people” and could not help comparing them with their “rare representatives at the front.”

Contemplating the idea that Jews had shirked their duty to fight and die for Germany, Hitler became enraged. He wrote in Mein Kampf: “If the best men were dying at the front, the least we could do was to wipe out the vermin.”

The following passage foreshadows the Final Solution:

If at the beginning of the War and during the War twelve or fifteen thousand of these Hebrew corrupters of the people had been held under poison gas, as happened to hundreds of thousands of our very best German workers in the field, the sacrifice of millions at the front would not have been in vain.

As German soldiers (including Hitler) had suffered poison gas attacks, so would the Jews.