In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin tells the story of Ambassador Dodd and his family in Nazi Germany from 1933-1937.
The family was initially sympathetic to Hitler and the Nazi government, including engaging in conversations about the “Jewish problem.”
It’s Hitler, you IDIOTS! He means what he says! It only gets WORSE!
The family gradually woke up and became rabidly anti-Nazi. Unfortunately, the U.S. government was more concerned about Germany defaulting on its outstanding debt than humanitarian issues.
The government, in fact, set up numerous obstacles to accepting Jewish refugees and immigrants, making all sorts of excuses for blatant, unjustifiable bigotry. For example, one requirement to emigrate was a letter from the local Nazi police department stating that you had a clean police record.
You want to leave? Here, just step into this rail car.
Rather than, in effect, volunteering to be sent to concentration camps, German Jews didn't apply to emigrate. The government was then able to say that there wasn't a problem because nobody was applying to come to America.
Everything's fine! Everyone must be happy! (Don't criticize or they'll default on their loans.)
What we remember about this horrible era is how the world turned its back on millions of innocent people who needed safety and a place to start over.
In retrospect, do we remember the money that Germany owed? No, we remember bigotry and heartlessness that caused millions to die. We need to start building a history of compassion.
Title: In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin
Author: Erik Larson
Narrator: Stephen Hoye
Source: County Library, Axis360