_UNTERMENSCH_ (German pronunciation: , _underman_, _sub-man_,
_subhuman_; plural: _Untermenschen_) is a term that became infamous
when the Nazis used it to describe non-Aryan "inferior people" often
referred to as "the masses from the East", that is
* 1 Etymology * 2 Nazi propaganda and policy * 3 See also * 4 References * 5 Further reading * 6 External links
Although usually incorrectly considered to have been coined by the
Nazis, the term "under man" was first used by American author and
It is possible that Stoddard constructed his "under man" as an
Friedrich Nietzsche 's _
Übermensch _ (superman) concept.
Stoddard doesn't say so explicitly, but he refers critically to the
"superman" idea at the end of his book (p. 262). Wordplays with
Nietzsche's term seem to have been used repeatedly as early as the
19th century and, due to the German linguistic trait of being able to
combine prefixes and roots almost at will in order to create new
words, this development can be considered logical. For instance,
Theodor Fontane contrasts the _Übermensch/Untermensch_
word pair in chapter 33 of his novel _Der Stechlin_. Nietzsche used
_Untermensch_ at least once in contrast to _Übermensch_ in _Die
fröhliche Wissenschaft _ (1882); however, he did so in reference to
semi-human creatures in mythology , naming them alongside dwarfs ,
fairies , centaurs and so on. Earlier examples of _Untermensch_
Jean Paul using the term in his novel _Hesperus_
(1795) in reference to an
NAZI PROPAGANDA AND POLICY
A chart used to illustrate the Nazi
In a speech in 1927 to the Bavarian regional parliament, the Nazi propagandist Julius Streicher , publisher of _ Der Stürmer ,_ used the term _Untermensch_ referring to the communists of the German Bavarian Soviet Republic : It happened at the time of the Soviet Republic: When the unleashed subhumans rambled murdering through the streets, the deputies hid behind a chimney in the Bavarian parliament.
Nazis repeatedly used the term _Untermensch_ in writings and speeches directed against the Jews, the most notorious example being a 1935 SS publication with the title _Der Untermensch_, which contains an antisemitic tirade sometimes considered to be an extract from a speech by Heinrich Himmler . In the pamphlet "The SS as an Anti-Bolshevist Fighting Organization", published in 1936, Himmler wrote:
We shall take care that never again in Germany, the heart of Europe, will the Jewish-Bolshevistic revolution of subhumans be able to be kindled either from within or through emissaries from without.
In his speech "_Weltgefahr des Bolschewismus_" ("World danger of Bolshevism") in 1936, Joseph Goebbels said that "subhumans exist in every people as a leavening agent ". At the 1935 Nazi party congress rally at Nuremberg, Goebbels also declared that "Bolshevism is the declaration of war by Jewish-led international subhumans against culture itself."
Another example of the use of the term _Untermensch_, this time in connection with anti-Soviet propaganda, is a brochure entitled "_Der Untermensch_", edited by Himmler and distributed by the Race and Settlement Head Office . SS-Obersturmführer Ludwig Pröscholdt, Jupp Daehler and SS-Hauptamt-Schulungsamt Koenig are associated with its production. Published in 1942 after the start of Operation Barbarossa , the German invasion of the Soviet Union, it is around 50 pages long and consists for the most part of photos portraying the enemy in an extremely negative way (see link below for the title page). 3,860,995 copies were printed in the German language. It was translated into Greek, French, Dutch, Danish, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Czech and seven other languages. The pamphlet says the following:
Just as the night rises against the day, the light and dark are in eternal conflict. So too, is the subhuman the greatest enemy of the dominant species on earth, mankind. The subhuman is a biological creature, crafted by nature, which has hands, legs, eyes and mouth, even the semblance of a brain. Nevertheless, this terrible creature is only a partial human being.
Although it has features similar to a human, the subhuman is lower on the spiritual and psychological scale than any animal. Inside of this creature lies wild and unrestrained passions: an incessant need to destroy, filled with the most primitive desires, chaos and coldhearted villainy.
A SUBHUMAN AND NOTHING MORE!
Not all of those who appear human are in fact so. Woe to him who forgets it!
Mulattoes and Finn-Asian barbarians, Gipsies and black skin savages all make up this modern underworld of subhumans that is always headed by the appearance of the eternal Jew.
Nazis classified those they called the sub-humans into different types; they placed priority on extermination of the Jews, and exploitation of others as slaves.
Historian Robert Jan van Pelt writes that for the Nazis, "it was only a small step to a rhetoric pitting the European Mensch against the Soviet _Untermensch_, which had come to mean a Russian in the clutches of Judeo-Bolshevism ."
The _Untermensch_ concept included Jews, Roma and Sinti (Gypsies), and Slavic peoples such as Poles, Serbs and Russians. The Slavs were regarded as _Untermenschen_, barely fit for exploitation as slaves. Hitler and Goebbels compared them to the "rabbit family" or to "stolid animals" that were "idle" and "disorganized" and spread like a "wave of filth". However, some among the Slavs who happened to have Nordic racial features were deemed to have distant Germanic descent which meant partially "Aryan" origin, and if under 10 years old, they were to be Germanized (see: kidnapping of children by Nazi Germany ).
While the Nazis were inconsistent in the implementation of their
policy (mostly implementing the
In the directive No. 1306 by Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment
It must become clear to everybody in Germany, even to the last
milkmaid, that Polishness is equal to subhumanity. Poles,
Biology classes in Nazi Germany schools taught about differences between the race of Nordic German "_Übermenschen_" and "ignoble" Jewish and Slavic "subhumans". The view that Slavs were subhuman was widespread among the German masses, and chiefly applied to the Poles. It continued to find support after the war.
During the war, Nazi propaganda instructed Wehrmacht officers told
their soldiers to target people described as "Jewish Bolshevik
subhumans" and that the war in the
During the Warsaw Uprising , Himmler ordered the destruction of the Warsaw ghetto because according to him it allowed the "living space" of 500,000 subhumans.
As a pragmatic way to solve military manpower shortages, the Nazis
used soldiers from some Slavic countries, firstly from the Reich's
allies Croatia and
* _Nazi Germany portal
* Genocides in Nazi Germany and occupied Europe
* ^ Revisiting the National Socialist Legacy: Coming to Terms With
Forced Labor, Expropriation, Compensation, and Restitution page 84
* ^ Gumkowski, Janusz; Leszczynski, Kazimierz; Robert, Edward
(translator) (1961). _Hitler\'s Plans for Eastern Europe_ (Paperback).