WARSAW, Poland -- Archaeologists working to better understand the reign of Hitler and his Third Reich have discovered food coupons for some of the notorious SS doctors at the Auschwitz death camp, including the sadistic Dr. Joseph Mengele.
Nearly 300 documents were found in the attic of a house undergoing renovation in Oswiecim, the town where the Nazis built the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp.
“Some of the sugar coupons uncovered bear the names of Horst Fischer and Fritz Klein, doctors who were executed for war crimes,” said Abraham Vogelbaum, the lead researcher on the project. “We know that these men were actively engaged in the atrocious experiments the Nazis performed on prisoners of war. These documents will help tell us the story of how Hitler’s staff at Auschwitz lived from day to day.”
Vogelbaum believes that among the most significant discoveries were documents that probably belonged to Dr. Joseph Mengele. Two coupons, one for sugar and one for butter, were made out for a “Dr. Mergerle.” There was no SS doctor by that name at camp, so Vogelbaum believes a clerk misspelled Mengele’s name.
Doctors and pharmacists at Auschwitz conducted pseudo-medical experiments on inmates. Mengele was among the most infamous of this group. His name is now synonymous with torture and sadism. He escaped after World War II and evaded capture for the rest of his life.
Despite the excitement surrounding the find, other researchers say the documents paint a more important and sweeping portrait of Germany at the time, which is being ignored.
Greta Freigeld, a historian and anthropologist at the University of Heidelberg, said, “Everyone seems to be missing the glaring fact that Hitler’s officers were living on food stamps. This pirate led one of the world’s richest countries, but his workers were living on food stamps. Seriously, he paid them like U.S. air line pilots. Who could survive on that salary?”
Hitler oversaw one of the greatest expansions of industrial production and civil improvement Germany had ever witnessed, predicated on debt flotation and military expansion. He also presided over one of the largest infrastructure improvement campaigns in German history, with the construction of dozens of dams, autobahns, railroads and other civil works.
“Hitler came to power during the devastation caused by the Great Depression in 1930,” Freigeld continued. “And although he used agitation and fear to ascend, he rebuilt the economy into one of the most powerful in the world at that time. If his men had to resort to food stamps in order to get basic provisions, we can say that Hitler was not the socialist dictator everyone presumes: he was Europe’s largest corporate capitalist.”
Economists throughout the EU have supported Freigeld’s assessment.
“It really makes sense,” said Benjamin Reed, a professor of economics in Great Britain. “Hitler created a profitable industrial empire off the backs of middle and lower class members. He engaged in a baseless war of conquest to gather more resources for his empire. He put in place a congress that consistently voted against the best interests of its constituency in favor of the Nazi corporate machine. He and his executives snorted their meth and collected their bonuses, the whole time robbing German consumers blind, until they eventually destroyed the national economy. And all the men who worked for them, who helped these undeserving and entitled robber barons get rich, were themselves living on substandard wages. I don’t see anything ‘socialist’ about it. It looks more like a black and white photo of Enron and AIG from here.”
Reed added, “But to be fair, Hitler did provide universal health care. And that alone makes him a dangerous and psychopathic fascist, not necessarily deserving of the label ‘capitalist.’”
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