The cult of Hitler is very popular among young Indonesians today. Many young men and women wear Nazi symbols, images of Hitler, SS runes and swastikas on belts, caps and T-shirts. “Mein Kampf” is easy to buy at bookstores in the city of Yogyakarta. Much the same is happening in other countries of Asia.
This can be partly explained by the fact that young people are very far from the Holocaust, says German portal taz.de. The website published an article on the subject titled “Islands of the Fuhrer.”
Three German teachers, who work at the State University of Yogyakarta, came across the cult of Hitler at the university. They decided to hold a seminar in the Indonesian language on the history of nationalist socialism. On November 2, about 150 students filled the auditorium. A 19-year-old girl said that “Hitler was a powerful and determined man.” Speaking of the Führer, she used the word ‘beliau’ – an expression of reverence and piety. The Indonesian female said that she had general knowledge about the atrocious crimes committed by Adolf Hitler, but added that she “did not know the details.”
Associate Professor Svenja Völkert explains the “gaps” in the historical consciousness of young Indonesians with the fact that the German language is the second foreign language that Indonesian students study. “Many of our 450 students choose German as a foreign language to study not because they want to study it, but because the groups that study other languages are already full,” said the teacher. At the seminar, German teachers briefly tell of the Weimar Republic, the global economic crisis and the Holocaust, demonstrating video materials from those years.
“Oh, God!” – exclaimed a female student, covering her face with a notebook not to see piles of corpses and gas chambers. “Now I understand why the Germans are so sensitive when it comes to these symbols,” the student said. She would like to know more. “Later, we will teach the German language. If we do not have this knowledge, what do we have to do then?” she asks.
Hitler’s personal standard
The first comment under the article is posted by a person under the name Toro. The man wrote that he was an Indonesian who lives there permanently. He fully agreed with what was said in the article. “A lot of people like Hitler, but they do not know exactly who he was,” Toro wrote. Another blogger under the moniker Ann wrote: “Where does the worship comes from? They are Muslims. A.H. persecuted Jews, didn’t he?”
Another point of view was expressed by the reader, hiding under the name @André: “I heard something like that about 10-15 years ago in the U.S.. Some people out there still think that he was a little man with little mustache and with hands trembling of drugs, and that his system lives on.”
Blogger Otto von Bismarck left a curious post. Commenting on the part of the article that says that Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” is freely available in the Indonesian language, he wrote: “It is available in Germany in German too, although they often claim the opposite.”
As noted in the article in the online newspaper Das Parlament, the cult of Hitler is widely spread in Muslim Indonesia not because of anti-Semitism. The Koran does not teach to hate the Jews. It became clear from conversations with students, both from public and private Muslim and Catholic universities, that such views were not common among the majority of students. Most likely, it is the fashion for the elegant aesthetics of the Third Reich.
Not so long ago the Western media cracked down on fashion house Hugo Boss, for designing uniforms for SS. In the Soviet Union, especially during the 1970s, after watching TV series “Seventeen Moments of Spring,” the youngsters admired the perfect-fitting suits. The Third Reich knew a lot about style.
Many people around the world are aware of Hitler’s crimes, but they still admire him despite everything. The reason is the same as in the case of Che Guevara. Hitler was a revolutionary. If someone finds it strange to know, they should read the two-volume biography of Hitler by German historian Joachim Fest.
An Indonesian student said that the “revolutionary thinking” of Hitler was reflected in the uprising against the rule of the United States. A non-Muslim teacher expressed his positive perception of the Nazi era, particularly admiring the Wehrmacht and SS troops, because such qualities as self-discipline, determination, loyalty and trust were predominant there. One man managed to turn Germany into an invincible war machine in a very short time.
Although this anonymous teacher does not deny the heinous war crimes and the Holocaust, he also refers to the fact that Stalin also killed “many” people. In conclusion, the author of the article in Das Parlament said “that the interest in Nazi symbolism in Indonesia does not necessarily mean either ideological similarities with Indonesian dictators or religious fundamentalism.”
Front page of the U.S. Armed Forces newspaper, Stars and Stripes, 2 May 1945