Quote of the Day
“Hitler cared deeply about animals and animal welfare. 'In the Third Reich,' he once announced, 'cruelty to animals should no longer exist.' Some of the earliest laws enacted by the Nazi Party pertained to animal protection, and violators could be sent to concentration camps. Vivisection, tail docking, and neutering were banned...
”What accounted for this concern for animals? Some of these laws, such as a ban on kosher butchering and on Jews having pets, were probably enacted because they furthered the goal of religious persecution; the restriction on vivisection might have been an effort to inhibit Jewish scientists. But the Nazi reverence for nature and natural order was more far-reaching and fundamental than a simple anti-Semitic attack. The pagan-like worship of nature as an immutable force was at the core of the Nazi belief system. Nature, with its invioable schematic and pitiless ranking of strong over weak, was held up as a model and a justification for the Nazis' worldview, and therefore nature and animals had to be honored and protected...
“Nazis also used their attention to animal well-being as a way to further humiliate their victims ... illustrated by the Angora Project, a rabbit-breeding program operated by the SS at the Auschwitz, Dachau, and Buchenwald concentration camps. Raised by inmates at the camps, the rabbits lived in gorgeous hutches and were fed lavish meals; their fur was trimmed and used as insulation in Luftwaffe pilots' winter jackets. But Henreich Himmler, the chief of the SS, who ran the project and kept a notebook documenting it, also wanted the rabbits for another purpose; he liked the starving prisoners to be reminded, as they prepared meals for the animals and cleaned their cages, that they had less value in the Nazi world order, deserved less dignity and fewer rights than the animals they cared for.”
--Susan Orlean, in one of the many interesting sidebars in her book, “Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend,” pp. 145-46
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