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Unlike many interviews with Holocaust survivors, this one conducted by Aaron Zelman, founder, Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (P.O. Box 270143, Hartford, WI 53027; 262-673-9745; one year membership $25) with Theodore Haas, a JPFO member and a former prisoner of the infamous Dachau concentration camp, is a clear warning to all freedom loving peoples to keep our guard up against arrogant politicians who are hell bent to create governments that control our lives.
In pre-Nazi Germany, the good, law-abiding citizens dozed while government passed laws (all purported to be for the public good) that paved the way for tyranny to flourish. Haas, who survived years of Nazi persecutors, is speaking out to Americans who are now dozing while our government, at the strong urging of leftists in the media and others in society they influence, passes laws (again supposedly for the public good) to ban and severely restrict firearms ownership. Theodore Haas believes gun control is a prelude to totalitarian rule
-- The editors 1990.
Q.) How did you end up at Dachau? How old were you?
A.) November 9th, 1938 was Kristalnacht -- The Night of Broken Glass -- The night Synagogues were ransacked and burned, Jewish owned shops destroyed; I guess you could call it the night the fires of hell engulfed the soul of humanity. I was arrested November 10th, "for my own personal security." I was 21 years old. My parents were arrested and ultimately died in a concentration camp in France. I was released from Dachau in 1941, under the condition that I leave Germany immediately. This was common procedure before the "Final Solution."
Q.) What did you think when you were sent to Dachau? What did you know about Dachau beforehand?
A.) My first thoughts were those many others: "The world has gone mad." I knew that the life expectancy at Dachau was relatively short. I knew beforehand that inmates were abused. The horror of Dachau was known throughout Germany. People (Germans) use to frighten their children, "If you do not behave, you will surely end up at Dachau." A famous German comedian, Weiss Ferdl, said "Regardless how many machine gun towers they have around K.Z. Dachau, if I want to get in, I shall get in." The Nazis obliged him; he died at Dachau.
Q.) How did you accept the fears of Dachau?
A.) Due to the constant hunger and extreme cold weather, one becomes too numb to even think of fear. A prisoner under these conditions becomes obsessed with survival; nothing else matters.
Q.) What were the living conditions like in Dachau?
A.) We were issued one quarter of a loaf of bread. That was to last three days. In the morning, we picked up, at the kitchen, a cup of roasted barley drink. There was no lunch. At dinnertime, sometimes we got a watery soup with bits of tripe or some salt herring and a boiled potato. Our prison clothes were a heavy, coarse denim. They would freeze when they got wet. We were not issued hats, gloves or underwear.
The first night, about 500 prisoners were stuffed into a room designed to hold 50 (Believe me, it is possible). Later on, we were forced to sleep on straw. As time went on, the straw disintegrated and we became louse infested. The guards delighted in making weak and ill clothed prisoners march or stand at attention in rain, snow, and ice for hours. As you can imagine, death came often due to the conditions.
Q.) Do you have residual fears? How do you feel about German re-unification?
A.) I have nightmares constantly. I recently dreamed that a guard grabbed me. My wife’s arm touched my face, and I unfortunately bit her severely. German re-unification, in my opinion, will be the basis for another war. The Germans, regardless of what their present leadership says, will want their lost territories back, East Prussia, Silesia, and Danzic (Gdansk). My family history goes back over 700 years in Germany. I understand all too well what the politicians do not want the people to be thinking about.
Q.) You mentioned you were shot and stabbed several times. Were these experiments, punishment or torture?
A.) They were punishment. I very often, in a fit of temper, acted "while the brain was not in gear." The sorry results were two 9 mm bullets in my knees. Fortunately, one of the prisoners had a fingernail file and was able to dig the slugs out. In another situation, I was stabbed in the washroom of room #1, Block 16. Twice in a struggle where I nearly lost my right thumb. A German prisoner Hans Wissing, who after the war became mayor of his home town, Leinsweiler, witnessed the whole situation. We stayed in touch until a few months ago, when he died.
Q.) Do you remember some of the steps taken by the Nazis to de-humanize people and to make them feel hopeless? How were people robbed of their dignity?
A.) If you had treated an animal in Germany the way we were treated, you would have been jailed. For example, a guard or a group of them would single out a prisoner and beat him with canes or a club. Sometimes to further terrorize a prisoner, the guards would form a circle around a prisoner and beat him unconscious. There were cases of a prisoner being told to report to the Revier ("Hospital") and being forced to drink a quart of castor oil. Believe me, this is a lousy, painful, wretched way to die. You develop extreme diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and severe dehydration. If the Nazis wanted you to live and suffer more, they would take measures to rehydrate to victim.
Q.) What was the routine like at Dachau?
A.) Three times a day, we were counted. We had to carry the dead to the square. Each time, we had to stand at attention in all kinds of weather. We stood wearing next to nothing, had weak bladders, while our tormentors had sheepskin coats and felt boots. The bastards really enjoyed watching us suffer. I remember how the guards had a good laugh when one of them "accidentally" let loose with a machine gun, killing about 30 prisoners.
Q.) What did people do to try to adjust to Dachau? Keep up their spirits up?
A.) There were some actors, comedians, and musicians among us. Sometimes they would clandestinely perform. One of the musicians got hold of a violin and played for us. To this day, it remains a mystery how he got his hands on a violin. I still keep in touch with other prisoners. I am a member of the Dachau Prisoners Association. Each year I go back to Germany to visit.
Q.) Did people ever successfully escape? Do you remember acts of bravery?
A.) Nobody escaped, only in the movies does the "hero" escape. Guards received extra leave time for killing prisoners that got too close to the fence. I do, however, think all prisoners were heroes in their own way. Especially the German prisoners, for they would not acquiesce to the Nazis. They suffered greatly too.
Q.) Did the camp inmates ever bring up the topic, "If only we were armed before, we would not be here now"?
A.) Many, many times. Before Adolph Hitler came to power, there was a black market in firearms, but the German people had been so conditioned to be law abiding, that they would never consider buying an unregistered gun. The German people really believed that only hoodlums own such guns. What fools we were. It truly frightens me to see how the government, media, and some police groups in America are pushing for the same mindset. In my opinion, the people of America had better start asking and demanding answers to some hard questions about firearms ownership, especially if the government does not trust me to own firearms, why or how can the people be expected to trust the government?
There is no doubt in my mind that millions of lives could have been saved if the people were not "brainwashed" about gun ownership and had been well armed. Hitler’s thugs and goons were not very brave when confronted by a gun. Gun haters always want to forget the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, which is a perfect example of how a ragtag, half starved group of Jews took up 10 handguns and made asses out of the Nazis.
Q.) Did you have any contacts with the White Rose Society (mostly German students against Hitler)? Did anyone try to hide you from the Nazis?
A.) I did not, but my local friend, Richard Scholl, had two cousins or nephews who were members. Both were executed in Munich (I believe) for standing up for decency and freedom. Not enough people knew about the White Rose Society. There were many non Jews who were not anti Semitic and were very much opposed to Hitler. It was impossible to hide people from the Nazis in Germany -- it is so densely populated and food was rationed. Another point that many people fail to understand is that in Germany, you had a situation where the children were reporting to their teachers if their parents listened to the BBC on the short wave radio, or what they were talking about at home. If a German was friendly to a Jew, he was warned once. If he failed to heed the warning, he would disappear and never be heard from again. This was known as "Operation Night and Fog."
Q.) Do you think American society has enough stability that Jews and other minorities are safe from severe persecution?
A.) No. I think there is more anti-Semitism in America (some of it caused by leftist Jewish politicians and organizations who promote gun control schemes) than there was in Germany. This may stun some people, but not all Germans hated Jews. My best and devoted friends in Germany were Christians. I perceive America as a very unstable society, due to social tinkering of the Kennedy/Metzenbaum-type politicians. When I first came to this wonderful country after World War II, America was vibrant, dynamic and promising society. There really was an American dream, attainable by those who wanted to work. Now, due to the curse of Liberalism, America is in a period of moral decline. Even worse, corrupt criminals hold high political office, and you have police officials who don’t give a damn about the Bill of Rights. They just want to control people, not protect and serve. When you study history, you see that when a country becomes an immoral manure heap, as America is rapidly becoming, all minorities suffer, and ultimately, all the citizens.
Q.) What words of warning would you like to give to young people who will soon be eligible to vote?
A.) Vote only for politicians who trust the people to own all types of firearms, and who have a strong pro-Second Amendment voting record. Anti-gunownership politicians are very dangerous to a free society. Liberty and freedom can only be preserved by an armed citizenry. I see creeping fascism in America, just as in Germany, a drip at a time; a law here, a law there, all supposedly passed to protect the public. Soon you have total enslavement. Too many Americans have forgotten that tyranny often masquerades as doing good. This is the technique the Liberal politicians/Liberal media alliance are using to enslave America.
Q.) What message do you have for ultra-Liberal organizations and individuals who want America disarmed?
A.) Their ignorance is pitiful -- their lives have been too easy. Had they experienced Dachau, they would have a better idea of how precious freedom is. These leftist should leave America. These Sarah Brady types must be educated to under-stand that because we have an armed citizenry, that a dictatorship has not yet happened in America. These anti-gun fools are more dangerous to Liberty than street criminals or foreign spies.
Q.) Some concentration camp survivors are opposed to gun ownership. What message would you like to share with them?
A.) I would like to say, "You cowards; you gun haters, you don’t deserve to live in America. Go live in the Soviet Union, if you love gun control so d--- much." It was the stupidity of these naive fools that aided and abetted Hitler’s goons and thugs. Anti-gunownership Holocaust survivors insult the memories of all those that needlessly perished for lack of being able to adequately defend themselves.
Q.) It appears the Liberal left in America is tolerating, and sometimes espousing anti-Semitism. Why do you think so many Jews still support the leftist form of Liberalism?
A.) It is for this very reason that I firmly believe that we harbor more stupid and naive people in our midst, than any other group of people. It amazes me how Liberal Jews have such short memories that today, they would be so supportive and involved in setting up the mechanics of gun control, so that a Holocaust can happen again. All they’re doing is playing into the hands of the very clever communists who are masters at conning Americans.
Q.) Why did you join JPFO?
A.) I feel every Jew should be armed to the teeth, as should every American. I joined JPFO because as a group, we can stand up up Liberal Jewish gun haters and also to Gestapo minded anti-gun police who want total control of the people. I wish JPFO was in existence years ago. I believe the Jewish involvement in gun control would not be anywhere close to what it is today, but better now than never.
To deny that an unarmed citizen could benefit from being well armed in a predicament such as this,
is to Love a Lie, more than to love the truth!