Friends, this book by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen painstakingly and thoroughly outlines ‘ordinary Germans and the Holocaust’, how everyday citizens in any country are used to further the ends of evil.

The part of this historical recall which hits me most as a Dene survivor of our Canadian Indian Residential Schools System, is in Chapter 2, The Evolution of Eliminationist Antisemitism in Modern Germany. Rather long words, but in short to say that hatred for your fellow man has to be rooted in a distant past, where the basis of racism has already taken root. Leaders like Adolf Hitler knew to use these basic human trends for their own ends.

In my own book, From Bear Rock Mountain; the Life and Times of a Dene Residential School Survivor, I follow the earliest examples of hatred for a race of people, in this case, Jews, all the way back to the second century.

By rejecting Jesus as the saviour of mankind these people inadvertently made themselves a target, all the way to wartime Germany.
As with any political leader, Hitler needed a local target for ordinary citizens to come onside his hate-fueled racist beliefs.
At the time, in the early 1930’s, the Nazi Party was dead last of all, with the communists and unions at the fore.

After the Reichstag, German parliament fire was blamed on the communists in February 1933, Nazi popularity shot to the top, allowing for Hitler to immediately call for the press to be shut down and take command of the military.

We must also remember that everything the Nazis did was legal at the time, the same way the Canadian Government banned our Indigenous spiritual practices, the Sun Dance and potlatches.

Christian forces, hatred for the Jews became the root of Hitler’s drive for getting German citizens onside. It came to the point that within a decade of this dictator taking power, a total of 20,000 Jews were killed every single day, for months, years at a time, without stop.

This does not happen by accident, nor to a singular, military blame.

Another I quote, Auschwitz survivor, Max Eisen, says that it all began with ‘words’, aimed at separating Jews from everyone else, as less than human. This made it possible for people to want them dead, period.

You simply replace this historical hatred for the Jews with that of Muslims, Mexican and Native Americans and history has its way of repeating itself, doesn’t it?

Another tendency is for people to call themselves the chosen, in the eyes of God, a dangerous one.

Even some of our First Nations make it a point to do so, skewering themselves in the eyes of others.

For our part, we Dene still like to talk about our Sacred Dene Laws, one of them being to share all we have. These came from a time when everyone knew their neighbour, making sense of a sharing culture.

It can also serve for outsiders, like the Mola, white people and various Churches to help themselves to the best of what we have.
Mahsi, thank you.

Antoine Mountain

Antoine Mountain is a Dene artist and writer originally from Radilih Koe/Fort Good Hope. He can be reached at

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