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People, humans, living breathing creatures have to move for a variety of reasons, but

during the time of pre-World World II (WWII), people were not only moving but fleeing for

their lives within Germany. There was a threatening political atmosphere against anyone with

Jewish beliefs. “Economic depression, radical nationalism, and fear of communism put many

Germans towards fiercely antisemitic attitudes” (Wikipedia, Economy of Nazi Germany). As a

result of all of these stresses, hostility mounted dangerously. I proceeded to look at the economic,

government, and religious restrictions which existed during pre-WWII in Germany as a factor

about why so many people tried to leave the country at the time. Questions came up like why

was being Jewish the focal point of leaving Germany? And lastly why for some, was the

Americas the key to escaping Germany? Germany during the Nazi reign has influenced the

global structure through immigration as a result of the country’s fears of economic collapse,

religious persecution, and hostile ideology.

The economy is a susceptible organism. Any economy is meant for the good of the

country. It is beneficial to have a strong economy because of the fear of scarcity and the desire

for efficiency. Any economy thrives on two things, people and money, but one thing in

pre-WWII which made such a significant impact on citizens in Nazi Germany was the fact that

they were trying to recover from their Great Depression which plumitted their economy. The

German economy, like those of many other western nations, suffered the effects of the Great

Depression with unemployment.

As a result of this, unemployment peaked at 6 million near enough 33% of the


nation’s working population. The government was not a coordinated, co-operating
body. In the midst of the Great Depression, the Nazis restored economic stability
and ended mass unemployment using heavy military spending and a mixed
economy. (Wikipedia, Economy of Nazi Germany)
“While the national debt increased, Hitler and his economic team expect that the upcoming

territorial expansion would provide the means of repaying the debt” (Wikipedia, Economy of

Nazi Germany). Prior to Nazi control, Germans had a loss of everyday necessities to live; there

was a clear line between rich and poor. Because of such an impact on citizens lives, many

decisions had to be made about whether to escape and move to a place where the economy was

thriving or stay and hope for the best. Living conditions that were prominent factors in such

decisions consisted of the constant lack of food, clothing, shelter, and education which was

influenced by the nonexistent imports and exports from other countries. As a result of such

economic collapse, German citizens fled to guarantee the life of themselves, but also the future

existence of their families.

For some, the fortitude to stay within Germany and to wait for their economic growth

was only changed by the Nazi’s love of hate. Labeling people and putting symbols across their

foreheads does not do anything besides create internal conflict within a community or country.

“Hitler and the Nazis’ said, the Jews were responsible for huge events like losing World War

One and the economic crisis” (motlc.wiesenthal.com). The solution to all these problems for

Hitler and the Nazis was to banish the Jews from society. With this political message and the

promise to make Germany a large and economically powerful nation the Nazis campaigned for

the perfect country by labeling and confiscating properties of Jewish citizens.

Discrimination against Jews began immediately after the seizure of power and
following a month-series of attacks by members of the SA on Jewish businesses,
synagogues and members of the legal profession, on 1 April 1933, Hitler declared
a national boycott of Jewish business. (ushmm.org)
According to the Nazis, Jewish citizens were religiously and socially different than the majority

of the country. Hitler burned into the whole nations mind that the Jews were not only different

culturally but different biologically. He thought they were immoral and had immoral values that

should be erased from history. Hitler began a scare tactic to associate the Jews with communism

and as a result of this many non-Jewish Germans started to re-enforce these ideas. In Hitler’s

mind it was simple, if you don’t follow him, his rules, and join his military you meant nothing to

him so why keep you? If you didn’t have the perfect German genetics, like blonde hair and blue

eyes and did the Nazi salute, which you had to do, you were not loyal to Hitler.

The Nazi or Hitler salute is a gesture that was used as a greeting in Nazi
Germany. It was the Nazi Party to signal obedience to the party’s leader and as a
result of this the salute was mandatory for all civilians. (Wikipedia, Nazi Salute)

The Jewish religion was targeted based on wrong assumptions, and because of this, they ran for

their lives and for the lives of their children. So before they got caught, possibly killed, or

tortured they would need to flee their homeland to secure a future. Places like the Americas were

the desired route for survival. As many found passage to the United States of America, some

could not afford that direct ship passage. As a result, many Jewish Germans could only afford for

passage to countries in South and Central America. Once arriving in these hispanic communities,

they stayed and built a future for their families. Over time many changed their names to more

Hispanic ones with fear of Nazi retaliation against them. Romona Juanita Masquef was born in

Mexico however her parents were from Germany and they were Jewish. Her parents fled

Germany to Mexico prior to World War II as their only hope for a better life. (Oral Interview, 3

December 2017, by Emma Acampora to Carole Ann Strobel) Pregnant and leaving her husband

behind while he continued looking for work in Mexico, Romona’s mother Catherine immigrated
from Mexico to New York City and eventually to New Haven, Connecticut to find work for

herself. Still struggling to survive their economic downfall, once born and unable to afford the

additional cost of a child, Romona was given up for adoption. She bounced from foster homes

until the age of seven when she was adopted and her name changed to Carole Nancy Munck

(Picture of Carole Nancy Munck). Carole is an example of how the Nazi Party not only

influenced yet manipulated the global population structure through their malicious policy of hate.

Hitler once said, “Our ideology is intolerant… and peremptorily demands… the complete

transformation of public life to its ideas.” (Azquotes) Hitler built on and used antisemitic ideas

that already existed. “The ideology of Nazism brought together elements of antisemitism and

racial hygiene” (Wikipedia, Nazism ). “Nazism wanted to transform the subjective consciousness

of the German people, their attitudes, values, and mentalities, into a single-minded, obedient

"national community"” (Richarddawkins.net). Hitler took the minds and thoughts of the citizens

he ruled over and erased everything they knew and believed in from birth. Now having a clean

slate he filled their minds with outrageous propaganda that he thought was “right.” Children

were taught a new curriculum in school that involved nothing but the history of Germany and

studying the different elements of the Nazi Party along with Adolf Hitler himself. People did not

understand the “whys” of their native country turning into something different, but with the hope

of a better economy and the fear of not conforming, many Germans had no choice but to go

along with it. Forseeing the changes to come was to leave their homeland. The immigration to

the Americas was the key way to freedom for most escaping Nazi terror.

The research shows for many Jewish Germans it was necessary to flee Germany to assure

the security of human lives and the preservation of many families. As World War I ended for
Germany, a transition of power to the Nazi party, prolonged economic instability and fears of

communism lingering, a significant historical event went into play that led to a global population

restructuring. Targeted for their religious beliefs and not conforming to the Nazi image of

perfection, German Jews were especially targeted by the very country which they were born into.

For the Nazis, fear was power. If you did not follow them the fear was destitution or possibly

worse - death. In comparison, the same can be said of other countries today repeating the same

cycle of fear in an effort for global dominance and the refugees from these countries looking for

a better life. It is said that history repeats itself. That being said, why can we not learn from our

mistakes?