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  1. #1
    HaraKiriBlade's Avatar
    HaraKiriBlade is offline Member
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    Default Reading an essay from my textbook and having difficulty understanding certain parts

    Hi... It's HKB. I'm now in my first year in Linguistics, honing my English and striving to become a language teacher.

    Anyways, I'm reading an esssy "Denmark and the Jews", by Hannah Arendt, and although I get the general gist, there are sentences that give me a hard time. And I was wondering if you could give me a hand, I could really use it.


    The essay starts out like this:

    At the Wannsee Conference, Martin Luther, of the Foreign Office, warned of great difficulties in the Scandinavian countries, notably in Norway and Denmark. (Sweden was never occupied, ... ...due to Hitler's great esteem for the Finns, whom perhaps he did not want to subject to threats and humiliating blackmail.) Luther proposed postponing evacuations from Scandinavia for the time being, and as far as Denmark was concerned, this really went without saying, since the country retained its independent government, and was respected as a neutral state, until the fall of 1943, although it, along with Norway, had been invaded by the German Army in April, 1940.

    I feel like I'm missing a lot of background information, which the author seems to assume as common sense. What difficulty is Luther talking about? and what evacuation? Who is evacuating from Scandinavia? and for what? and this concerns to who; to the German troops, or people living in Scandinavia? What does all this have to do with Denmark being an independent nation?



    ...and I have more questions:

    ...and Finland, though in the war on the side of the Axis, was one country the Nazis never even approached on the Jewish question.

    Wikipedia helps in many occasions. But this time, I looked it up on Wiki, and it gave me more questions than answers and I'm not sure what Jewish question means in this context.



    When Eichmann's office ordered their deportation to Auschwitz, some of Quisling's own men resigned their government posts. This may not have come as a surprise to Mr. Luther and the Foreign Office, but what was much more serious, and certainly totally unexpected, was that Sweden immediately offered asylum, ... ...about nine hundred people, slightly more than half of the small Norwegian community, could be smuggled to Sweden.
    It was Denmark, however, that the Germans found out how fully justified the Foreign Office's apprehension had been.


    Ur... the Foreign Office's apprehension? of what? does this concern to Martin Luther's proposal to postpone the evacuation from Scandinavia?



    When the Germans approached them rather cautiously about introducing the yellow badge, they were simply told that the King would be the first to wear it, and the Danish government officials were careful to point out that anti-Jewish measures of any sort would cause their own immediate resignation.

    Were they implying that the Danish King at the time was of Jewish decendent? or is there something else to it? Same thing with the resignation part: anti-Jewish measures cause the Danish government officials to resign because... they were Jewish? or because they were disgusted by the measures?


    ...and Himmler thought this was the right moment to tackle the Jewish question, whose "solution" was long overdue. What he did not reckon with was that - quite apart from Danish resistence - the German officials who had been living in the country for years were no longer the same. Not only did General Von Hannecken, the military commander, refuse to put troops at the disposal of the Reich plenipotentiary, Dr. Warner Best; the special S.S. units employed in Denmark very frequently objected to "the measure they were ordered to carry out by the central agencies" - according to Best's testimony of Nuremberg.

    Well, the boldened part starts with "Not only did..." and then it just ends abruptly. Perhaps it IS a proper sentence construction and I don't know about it. Does it sound like a proper sentence to you? to me the sentence is missing the part that should follow.



    The Jews had just time enough to leave their apartments and go into hiding, which was very easy in Denmark, because, in the words of the judgement, "all sections of the Danish people, from the King down to simple citizens," stood ready to receive them.

    What is 'in the words of the judgement'?



    Warner Best claimed at Nuremberg that he had played a complicated double role and that it was thanks to him that the Danish officials had been warned of the impeding catastrophe; documentary evidence showed, on the contrary, that he himself had proposed the Danish operation in Berlin, but he explained that this was all part of the game. He was extradited to Denmark and there condemned to death, but he appealed the sentence, with surprising results; because of "new evidence", his sentence was commuted to five years in prison, from which he was released soon afterward. He must have been able to prove to the satisfaction of the Danish court that he really had done his best.

    This part throws me off, because the first part of the boldened sentence states a fact: that he was extradited to Denmark and there condemned to death, and yet what follows is a complete reversal of it. I mean, he did get extradited to Denmark but he appealed there and didn't end up being condemned to death. But the first part of the sentence seems to suggest that he was condemned to death. Can anyone explain this?



    I know this is rather long, but I would appreciate any help you can provide me here: you don't even have to answer all the questions if they seem too many. Thanks again.

  2. #2
    mykwyner is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Reading an essay from my textbook and having difficulty understanding certain par

    Dear HKB, It's good to talk to you again. Congratulations on your successes, I'm sure you'll be a great teacher! I don't have time to answer all of your questions fully, but I'll give you some background to get you started.

    The crux of your misunderstanding is the phrase "the Jewish Question." Hitler blamed Jews for most, if not all of the problems afflicting Germany and much of Europe. The "Jewish Question" was simply, "How do we get rid of all the Jews?"
    The question itself is not the point of this essay, it is the answer to the question, which was called "The Final Solution," that is the main issue in this essay. Hitler's "Final Solution" was to gather up all of the Jews in Europe and kill them.

    This is why Jews were being evacuated (rescued) from Scandanavia. The Christians of Scandanavia, including the King of Denmark, did not want their friends (the Jews) to be slaughtered by the Germans, so they protected them.

    I'm sure lots of others here in the forum will add more to this. Like I said, I just wanted to say HI! and get you started.

    Mike

  3. #3
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Reading an essay from my textbook and having difficulty understanding certain par

    'Question' can be used to describe an unsolved problem.

    This part throws me off, because the first part of the boldened sentence states a fact: that he was extradited to Denmark and there condemned to death, and yet what follows is a complete reversal of it. I mean, he did get extradited to Denmark but he appealed there and didn't end up being condemned to death. But the first part of the sentence seems to suggest that he was condemned to death. Can anyone explain this?

    He was extardited to Denmark. He was then condemned to death. However, you can always appeal against a sentence, which he did, so the death sentence was removed and he got five years in prison instead.

  4. #4
    HaraKiriBlade's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reading an essay from my textbook and having difficulty understanding certain parts

    mykwyner! good to see that you're still around! I have been studying for the midterm and too busy to check the replies. Even as I'm writing this, I'm cramming for the psychology midterm tomorrow.
    Thanks for clearing up the Jewish question. I doubt anyone could've explained better.
    Thanks Tdol for answering the last question. I don't know what made me think the phrase 'condemned to death' as 'died', but your explanation made it clear that such isn't the case.

    I'm still awaiting answers from other people, but if I get no further answers, I'll just ask one of student tutors in University later. It's just I find it difficult to visit the tutor centre when I'm busy with other things.

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