Olaf Henny, the rarest of people...

From: John Grigg (starman2100@lycos.com)
Date: Wed Jan 02 2002 - 03:55:24 MST

Hello everyone,

This is a very powerful autobiographical story Olaf Henny shared on cryonet. This man as a boy resisted the intense pressures to join the Communist youth organization of his day. I am astonished he could have had such wisdom and inner strength at such a young age. If anyone deserves to be put in biostasis to see the future, it is Olaf Henny. I believe the citizens of the future will be as astonished by him as the people of the present-day.



Message #18273
Date: Tue, 01 Jan 2002 16:21:24 -0800
From: Olaf Henny <olafh@otvcablelan.net>
Subject: Message #18258 from Mike Darwin
References: <20020101100001.63313.qmail@rho.pair.com>

I am responding to Mike Darwin's posting concerning the
significant achievements of Leni Riefenstahl in cinematic opinion
forming, without the benefit of having read any of the books
about her. However I have personally been exposed to the
euphoric atmosphere her film productions created among the German
public. Even though I was just a small child at the time, I
sensed the powerful, uplifting impact they had on the adults in
my life.

While the architect Albert Speer designed the monumental setting
of the parade grounds featured in "Triumph of the Will", he was
not the founder of the propaganda technique used in her films.
That was clearly the creation of 'Reichspropagandaminister Dr.
Joseph Goebbels', an unequalled genius in mass manipulation. His
technique was later also widely used by the communist leadership.
I was exposed to it on both sides, as an enthusiastic and willing
target by the Nazis* and later as a hostile exposed to communist
propaganda. The power of it is enormous.

Just a quick introduction to my situation at the time: In 1950 I
was one of only seven students in my school, who were still
refusing to join the FDJ, the communist youth organization, and
found myself under immense pressure to do so. Instead I changed
schools and ended up in a class, where there were 6 of us still
on the outside. Only a couple of month thereafter I was again
the lone resisting student in my class. I was clearly no friend
of the system.
On occasion of the May 1st 1951 Workers Day
parade, we were marching in true totalitarian style, ten or
fifteen abreast, past a stage occupied the then president of the
GDR, Wilhelm Pieck, and his entourage. Chanting all around us,
the loudspeaker proclaimed: "The president of the German
Democratic Republic salutes the students of the Goethe Schule
(our school)". Around me everybody was clapping with hands
raised above their heads. It was mass frenzy and although I
resented the guy, as I have resented few in my life, my impulse
at the time was to raise my hands and join in the clapping. I
resisted and clenched my briefcase instead, but I realized then
how profound the impact of mass manipulation can be.

It does not work in our present situation, because the profound
 building of a new world by a new generation concept is missing
or no longer credible as a mass movement setting. In communism
it was the new world, where everybody has equal rights and
shares in the wealth for a better and brighter future. With the
Nazis it was the prosperous future achieved through healthy
living and strengthening of body and mind in order to evolve into
a stronger people .

Those, who were not there, and know of Nazi atrocities will have
difficulty understanding the mind set of the German people of the
time. The 6 or 7 % of the population, who were directly exposed
to those atrocities mostly disappeared quietly over night and
faded from the memories of the general population. 99% of the
rest of us had absolutely no idea, what was happening to them
afterwards and the fraction of one percent, who were directly
involved in those atrocities, did well for themselves by not
talking about it, unless they wanted to share the fate of their

*The rest of us (the then adults anyway) have experienced in the
years prior to Hitler s election in 1932: 60 to 70% unemployment,
galloping inflation, during which you started in the morning after
negotiating a wage, which would feed the family for a day, and in
the evening, when you got paid, it was barely enough to buy one
cigarette. Tumults in the streets fist fights between Nazis and
Communists, the Weimar Republic out of control. Then in just six
short years Germany rose from being the economically most
devastated industrialized country to the one with the highest
living standard with full employment. That was the foundation
for the fanatic enthusiasm, with which the people supported the
Nazis, and why their believe in the final victory of Germany was
unwavering for so long.

Albert Speer, Hitlers architect, is also credited with bringing
the German war production into high gear and condemned for using
slave labour to achieve that. In 1942, when he took over and
when the bombing of industrial plants in the from Britain easy to
reach Rhein/Rhur areas by the Allies started in earnest, the monthly
production of tanks (the smallish P4) was under 100. By 1944 it
had risen to 400 of the much bigger Koenigstiger, despite the
relentless bombing.


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