My mother was born in Munich, Germany, in 1924. Her grandparents owned a fabric shop on Dachauer Strasse, and a few doors down from the shop was a theater in the predominantly Jewish part of town.
One day in 1936, my mother attended this theater to see “Maya the Bee.” During the previews, some Nazi propaganda films were shown. My mother recalls the older Jewish gentlemen in the crowd laughing hysterically at an obese Hermann Goering whooping up the masses by screaming, “Guns will make us powerful; butter will only make us fat.”
The Jewish elders were jeering Adolph Hitler’s histrionics, claiming he was a buffoon and would soon be gone. After all, Germany was the most civilized, developed country in the world. Surely, Germany would come to its senses and get rid of this nut case.
At this time, my mother and her parents were desperately trying to get out of Germany. Thankfully, they escaped in the nick of time, arriving in Jerusalem in October 1938, one month before Kristallnacht and the beginning of the end for Jews in Germany. Unfortunately, most of their fellow Jewish Müncheners were not so lucky, murdered in the Shoah.
Every time I am tempted to laugh at the current crop of Republican demagogues trying to out-hate each other, I am reminded of this sobering tale.