References to WWII

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rotsiepots
July 23rd, 2007, 1:16 am
Maybe it's because I'm German, or maybe it's because I'm utterly humourless when it comes to these sorts of allegories.

I couldn't help but feel that the obvious references to National Socialism were a little bit over done. I felt rather uncomfortable whenever another reference came up. Oh and Grindelwald and Gregorovitch just had to be German, didn't they?

How did everyone else feel? Maybe I need to lighten up.

Kendra
July 23rd, 2007, 1:26 am
I don't think it's meant to be taken personally, Rotsie, as a deliberate focus on Germans. I think with Grindelwald, because of the time period, Jo wanted him associated with WWII with his "greater good" ideas and I think Gregorovitch was German to serve plot events.

As for socialism, it was glaringly obvious and slightly uncomfortable, because of the ideas, not the fact it was reminding people of WWII (well that was the case with me). I think Jo was trying to imprint in literature the horror of the ideas, because Hitler was one of the biggest terrorists of the 20th century, and there's no denying it. I don't think she wants people to forget the lessons learnt (I don't mean the event) and by relaying it in a book for children to read, affecting characters they love, it makes them relate to it much easier. A history lesson in a book.

rotsiepots
July 23rd, 2007, 1:46 am
I don't think it's meant to be taken personally, Rotsie, as a deliberate focus on Germans.
Oh, I know, I was being facetious about the "why are the evil ones always GERMAN" point. I'm not that humourless.

I was being serious about the references to National Socialism not sitting very well with me, only because I felt like it trivialised what was a very dark time in European and world history.

gertiekeddle
July 23rd, 2007, 1:55 pm
I felt like it trivialised what was a very dark time in European and world history.I felt uncomfortable with it for the very same reason. The topic comes up quite often in literature (or movies) as the final evil, what needs no more explanation. It so can't give consideration to the NS-times speaking of quantity, but also quite often quality of its mentions. Using it again and again does not help the topic from not getting forgotten when it's used for the effect the idea of such an unbelievable cruel time has only.

Alastor
July 23rd, 2007, 8:04 pm
I didn't like it either.

Aunt_Marge
July 23rd, 2007, 9:58 pm
I was being serious about the references to National Socialism not sitting very well with me, only because I felt like it trivialised what was a very dark time in European and world history.


Funny - because I felt the opposite! I felt the references to the Nazism just demonstrated how little society has progressed, and what a long way we have to go before genocide is eradicated. This makes the lessons of the time more powerful, not trivialized, in my opinion.

LAinSEA
July 23rd, 2007, 10:18 pm
I agree very much with Aunt Marge. Those of us who are students of history are concerned when we recognize Fascism and elements of it creeping into democratically elected governments.

Jo did mention in one of her interviews that social problems, wars included, relate to one another--feed off one another--from the wizarding world to the muggle world or the other way around. Given Western governments' response to terrorism, I would see her writings as a warning.

Blossom
July 23rd, 2007, 10:26 pm
No, I liked it. As JK said she liked creating links between the wizarding and muggleworld, and it's away of drawing us in closer to the wizarding world. I thought it was very cool.

proxpero
July 23rd, 2007, 10:29 pm
I agree in such a way that JK Rowling is not really referring to Germans or Socialism or anything, but just to the general NON PROGRESS of the present day. The battles, the deaths of innocent lives, sacrifices, relationships, all these connections are connected from the Potter world to the real world by Rowling.

TeraBlight
July 23rd, 2007, 10:33 pm
Grindelwald and Gregorovitch just had to be German, didn't they?
Okay, I must have missed something - which surprises me, being German myself. Where did it say they were German?

proxpero
July 23rd, 2007, 10:35 pm
I'd have to reread the book again, but I believe there definitely were references to them being of German descent. Rowling talked a lot about the geography and the surroundings of the Potter world in the last book, with references to Albania and the jail that Grindelwald was held in I believe actually existed in Germany.

acorns_lamppost
July 23rd, 2007, 10:36 pm
I don't think that she was trying to call anyone out. However, when I was reading, there were I few times I was reminded of 1984 (War is Peace/Freedom is Slavery/Ignorance is Strength) with the slogan "Magic is Might" and with the Ministry of Magic weeding out those witches and wizards it deemed unfit.

Fleur du mal
July 23rd, 2007, 10:38 pm
When I read the scenes in the Ministry, and the mentions in between, I found it really blood-curling. I felt instantly connected to the NS regime, too, and had the vague idea in my head, 'All they've done so far was really just kidding around and not taking it any serious.' As soon as these blunt Nazi parallels appeared, I grasped what Voldemort being in power actually meant. Chasing Harry around trying to kill him, accidentally murdering Cedric, or Sirius in passing - that's one thing. The systematic genocide jumped into the reader's face, and it must have jumped into everybody's face in the world of the book, too. Still the Ministry functioned as ever, many people just played along... I didn't think this was trivialising the Holocaust in any way. I thought it was making the machanisms clear, how easily the terror can be ignored, and also how it is on the other side, facing torture and extinction.

Tenshi
July 23rd, 2007, 10:40 pm
Maybe it's because I'm German, or maybe it's because I'm utterly humourless when it comes to these sorts of allegories.

I couldn't help but feel that the obvious references to National Socialism were a little bit over done. I felt rather uncomfortable whenever another reference came up. Oh and Grindelwald and Gregorovitch just had to be German, didn't they?

How did everyone else feel? Maybe I need to lighten up.
I am bothered about that as well. When I read that Gregorovich's (oh what typical German name) wife or who ever that was spoke in German, I thought that we are at Germans = bad again.

Quite a lot of things in the book which had to do with bad persons and places derive had something to do with Germany.
- Grindelwald
- Gregorovich
- that other prison which name I forgot
etc.

Fleur du mal
July 23rd, 2007, 10:45 pm
It was called Nurmengard, TENSCHI :)

HuffleClaw
July 23rd, 2007, 10:45 pm
I didn't feel it was referencing the Nazi's in particular but rather ANY oppressive regime (the current bush administration came to mind actually). That said, the events of the Second World War are a pretty big part of the collective consciousness of the people of the UK, so any parallels should be expected.

Aunt_Marge
July 23rd, 2007, 10:48 pm
Also, I believe that the name of Grindewald's prison (darn! can't remember what it was called) sounded very much like "Nuremberg," as in the Nuremberg Laws and Trials. That really did strike me as a reference to Nazi Germany.

I don't think she meant to equate Germans with evil. That said, I can understand why Germans are offended - references to eugenics, WWII, racial purity would have sufficed without naming any nationality.
And I speak as the grandchild of four Holocaust survivors.

Blossom
July 23rd, 2007, 10:48 pm
Nobody thinks that Germans are bad, just the people in the Nazi party were. There are bad people in any society, and anyway, Dumbledore was going to be in on it too, showing the British can be bad too! He was almost the wizard Mosely.

Aunt_Marge
July 23rd, 2007, 10:53 pm
True - most of the racial purists in DH are NOT German.

PrimalOpus
July 23rd, 2007, 10:57 pm
I didn't think it was over the top but I did pause when she introduced Nurmengard because it sounded so obviously like Nuremberg. The whole Muggle genocide does seem to take its roots from the Holocaust, but in general I never thought the references were heavyhanded.

I was surprised Grindelwald turned out to be handsome, though. Who'da thunk it? :p

Chrido
July 23rd, 2007, 10:57 pm
I didn't feel it was referencing the Nazi's in particular but rather ANY oppressive regime (the current bush administration came to mind actually). That said, the events of the Second World War are a pretty big part of the collective consciousness of the people of the UK, so any parallels should be expected.

Yes, you´re right. As I´m german, I am very sensitive to all similarities. But I think, JK is far to clever to locate her story all with the Nazi Regime. I don´t want to put the crimes of WWII into perspective, but I think that JK saw the effects of totalitarian regimes altogether. (As you read it I´m very cautious, because the german history is something, for what I always will have a feeling of guilt - what do you think: Is this reasonable for me, as I´m born 1968? We have an old question here...)

Ivan34
July 23rd, 2007, 10:58 pm
Well we have known from the get go that there are Wizzards who see Muggle born people as low as house elf's. And when I read the MoM had fallen, I had a feeling Muggle born's were about to have a rough life with the dark lord calling the shots.

oneinhufflepuff
July 23rd, 2007, 11:00 pm
Actually I agree, Rotsie. I do think it bordered on offensive, especially the chairs made of muggle bones or whatever in the ministry. That was over the top IMO.

I mean, JKR made it a little TOO obvious-I'm fine with the concept of a loose comparison to WW2, but she made the parallels too exact. It could have been toned down in editing, I know exactly what you mean. And I'm American, lol. :)

raven_moon09
July 23rd, 2007, 11:02 pm
I didn't feel they were references to WWII but to any evil regime. It reminded me more of 1984. I think it was important to remind people of the horror of those types of governments. Also Gregorovich to me doesn't seem evil. He was just holding the Elder Wand and it was stolen.

crookshanks16
July 23rd, 2007, 11:04 pm
My favorite subject at school is history, and the entire book, all I could think about was WWII and the Nazis. I was constantly reminded of the Gestapo and genocide (with the background checks and everything) except with a magical twist.

I really don't think it's a bad thing though. Maybe JK Rowling was just trying to show us that it's possible that another WWII could happen again in a different form if we aren't careful.

On another thought, maybe she didn't do it on purpose, but subconsciously. I mean, when you think of the totalitarian ruler with the worst rep, who do you think of? Hitler.

Cindy116
July 23rd, 2007, 11:07 pm
I think everyone who knows about that time period was a bit uncomfortable. I myself as well. It was a changing world and just as it changed in our history it changed the Wizarding world too.

mandyohmandy
July 23rd, 2007, 11:24 pm
I don't think Jo intended to trivialize what happened during WWII, at all. Also don't think she was targeting Germans specifically. I think she used the WWII references to more clearly show us what VM and his camp were all about in the frame of the book, but more importantly to remind us that we each have a responsibility to fight evil and tyranny wherever/whenever we find it. NOT acting to fight injustice is just as great a sin as personally being unjust. As in WWII with Hitler, Voldemort wasn't just one cruel being (can't call him a human or a man) forcing all others to bend to his will. Yes, there was a lot of that going on, and there were a lot of people totally into his cause (Nazis/Death Eaters), but I think Jo wanted us to see that there was also race's worth of individuals that allowed VM (and Hitler) to rise to power. Instead of standing up to fight against tyranny, prejudice, and injustice in all its forms, a whole population of "acceptable" people chose to ignore what was going on under their noses since they weren't directly in the line of fire. Even if they didn't like what VM was doing, they thought they'd just keep their heads down and stay out of harm's way. Their decision to ignore VM's crimes allowed him to ascend to an almost unbeatable position of power. Their willful blindness paved the way for VM's ascent more than any trick the Death Eaters could have pulled off. Just like WWII and events in our lives today (depending on your point of view). I think Jo wanted to remind us that, in our own lives every day, silence and willful blindness in the face of evil is the same as BEING evil.

operakatz
July 23rd, 2007, 11:30 pm
[QUOTE=TENSHI;4630960]I am bothered about that as well. When I read that Gregorovich's (oh what typical German name) wife or who ever that was spoke in German, I thought that we are at Germans = bad again.

/QUOTE]

Gregorovich isn't at all a typical German name...it's a typical Russian/Ukranian name.

Grindelwald would definitely be a parallel to WWII Germany...I don't think it's a coincidence that Dumbledore defeated him in 1945, same year the Germans surrendered in WWII.

Sniperfish
July 23rd, 2007, 11:39 pm
Nazism is one of the more commonly cited genocidal and racist regimes because of it's profound effect on modern Western consciousness.

It is far from the only one, and tactics in such regimes display many similarities. There are overt German references in Nuremberg; however the Death Eater rule of the Ministry can be just as easily linked with other countries and other times.

Besides, a sense of realism and grounding in a story is important. Especially one set in this world.

TeraBlight
July 23rd, 2007, 11:47 pm
When I read that Gregorovich's wife or who ever that was spoke in German
Ohhh, did she? Damn, I always overlook those language changes - just like Harry with parseltongue, I guess :-)
I don't think it's a coincidence that Dumbledore defeated him in 1945, same year the Germans surrendered in WWII.
Yeah, JKR talked about that in the 2005 TLC/MUgglenet interview. She also said that Grindelwald was already dead, though... guess she changed her mind on that one.

MimiMascara
July 23rd, 2007, 11:52 pm
1984 (War is Peace/Freedom is Slavery/Ignorance is Strength)

I love [U]1984[U] and I'll look for those references wherever I can find them.

And I found quite a few parallels between the Ministry and 1984/V for Vendetta/Children of Men and Hitler/the Holocaust/WWII

adam_12
July 23rd, 2007, 11:57 pm
I am bothered about that as well. When I read that Gregorovich's (oh what typical German name) wife or who ever that was spoke in German, I thought that we are at Germans = bad again.
My feeling about the scene with Gregorovich's wife was that she was one of the good, innocent people who died because they refused to cooperate with the evil. I didn't think she was supposed to be evil.

Tenshi
July 23rd, 2007, 11:57 pm
Ohhh, did she? Damn, I always overlook those language changes - just like Harry with parseltongue, I guess :-)
Yes, that was German. I was really surprised to see that Jo really wrote German sentences.

Narcissa_M
July 24th, 2007, 12:00 am
The references didn't make me uncomfortable, but I scoffed a bit at how obvious the Nazi (and any other prejudiced majority) parallels were.

katchick
July 24th, 2007, 12:06 am
I think the WWII reference is all too obvious. I can honestly say that it made me a little uncomfortable being that this is supposta be a kids book. I know that it has become so much more, but hate is hate, no matter what side you are on. I'm glad I saw this thread, I kind of though it was just me reading too much into it.

ZaraTheVillain
July 24th, 2007, 12:06 am
Everyone needs to lighten up a bit. The whole story has followed the theme of racial purity, the whole of Chamber of Secrets almost dedicated to it. With Voldemort so sensitive about the fact he's a half-blood, it was natural that he would develop these 'Aryan' race tendencies.

There were obvious nods to the Nazis in there, but I thought it was definetly more like 1984 - 'Magic is Might' and 'For The Greater Good'. Like many have said, it was more referring to any totalitarian regime rather than just the Nazis. Only, they're the most famous dictators so everyone would naturally think it was totally and completely referencing them.

legally_blonde
July 24th, 2007, 12:08 am
Funny - because I felt the opposite! I felt the references to the Nazism just demonstrated how little society has progressed, and what a long way we have to go before genocide is eradicated. This makes the lessons of the time more powerful, not trivialized, in my opinion.

Indeed, I totally agree. And it's not just Germany and Hitler, genocide is being used as we speak in Darfur. It's human nature, we don't seem to learn from our history...

Tenshi
July 24th, 2007, 12:20 am
My feeling about the scene with Gregorovich's wife was that she was one of the good, innocent people who died because they refused to cooperate with the evil. I didn't think she was supposed to be evil.
I don't mean that she's evil, but that her German name has connections to bad persons and things.

rotsiepots
July 24th, 2007, 12:24 am
There were obvious nods to the Nazis in there, but I thought it was definetly more like 1984 - 'Magic is Might' and 'For The Greater Good'.
"For the Greater Good" was carved in the entry way to Nuremgard, the prison that held Grindelwald's opponents, just like "Arbeit Macht Frei" at Auschwitz. Grindelwald had his own concentration camps, it seems.

For me, the references to National Socialism were all too obvious.

mao
July 24th, 2007, 12:32 am
I couldn't help feeling this was overdone either, as it unfolded much too quickly! It is simply impossible that in the course of scarcely a few weeks, the policy has so dramatically changed!
In Germany there were years of propaganda so that the antisemitism was deeply entrenched in people's minds, but it has happened in Deathly Hallows in the course of a month, with serious trials and convictions by far too soon to be realistic.
These passages really did make me feel rather uncomfortable....

But maybe this is because I am German as well and can't judge impartially?

I agree with rotsiepots, though: By far too obvious!

Mitchamus
July 24th, 2007, 12:40 am
Guys, what you are missing is that the references to NS, racism, bigotry are present through ALL of the books, not just this one...

Right in the first book , we are presented with racism... - Draco Malfoy - "You will learn Potter that some wizarding families are better than others"

JK has been educating readers against racism, persecution & bigotry in every book, whether it's:
Rich (Malfoys)
Poor (Weasleys)
Race (Hermione & the Dursleys)
Ideals/beliefs/Religion (Luna)
Slavery/Class (house elves)

All of the books go about in some way to explain about the evils of persecution & racism.

references to ww2 were also made in the first book, on dumbledore's chocolate frog card, I knew then that racism would crop up int he rest of the books, as well all know with JK - the mention of a small fact or detail often has a huge consequence later on.

Another crucial message in the DH is that even someone as great, good & powerful as Dumbledore can be seduced or co-earsed into bigotry...

The lesson there is to not give in to hate or anger, but to forgive and move on with your life, that all people are created equal, regardless or race, beliefs, or skin colour or any other trait and that we should not judge or persecute people because of that.... and we should also be watchful that we never get seduced by others into thinking that way...

and that also we should be aware that people can also change for the better. (Dudley & the Malfoys)

I loved the connection to ww2. I thought it was great.. It really teaches people how crazy that kind of thinking was...... and still is today..

Aunt_Marge
July 24th, 2007, 12:46 am
"For the Greater Good" was carved in the entry way to Nuremgard, the prison that held Grindelwald's opponents, just like "Arbeit Macht Frei" at Auschwitz. Grindelwald had his own concentration camps, it seems.

Yes, I noticed that too. (By the way, for all you non-German or non-Yiddish speakers, "Arbeit macht frei" meas "works makes freedom" or "works makes you free." Sadly, work did not make most of the people free - the gas chambers did.) And I also always thought that the defeat of Grindelwald taking place in 1945 was significant.

No question about it, there were definite references to WWII. Someone mentioned that the references jump out to anyone who is familiar with that time period, and I agree. As I've mentioned, I am Jewish so my grandparents - and most of my friends' grandparents - are all survivors. To me, the idea of having to register yourself because of your blood line, being forbidden to attend schools, having hearings to prove your "purity," being thrown into concentration camps, "pruning" unhealthy branches in order to achieve a purer race, were painfully familiar.

On the other hand, maybe it seems so familiar to me because genocide often works the same in different societies, so when Jo wrote about genocide, I immediately thought of the one connected with my own history. After all, the Holocaust is something that I think about every day of my life. Perhaps people who are familiar with other genocides - i.e. Pol Pot's regime, Serbia, Chechnya, Darfur, Rwanda, etc. - read these books and immediately think that Jo is referencing their own experiences.

Also, it is possible that Jo chose the Holocaust as her reference point because it seems that many more people are familiar with the WWII Holocaust than they are with other holocausts. I think in other books she may have used other periods as a reference point; I personally always thought of the KKK when reading book 4, but that could just be because of the hooded Death Eaters (especially when seeing the movie - they really did look like the KKK).

That said, I don't have an issue with her referencing actual genocidal campaigns. As I've said before, I don't think these terrible events are trivialized by being written in a children's book. I think it's actually very appropriate for children to read - children need to be brought up to know about the evils of hatred and bigotry if there is any hope that they will stand up against it in the future.

potterposse
July 24th, 2007, 12:47 am
Yeah, it was clear for a while she related it to WWII. It was touching that Ron suggested Hermione to play his cousin so she wouldn't be taken. I loved how she connected it.

hermy555
July 24th, 2007, 1:02 am
As the death eaters are donned in robes similar to the Ku Klux Klan with masks to disguise their identity and their mission is to eradicate non-whites, WWII isn't the only reference to genocide and tyranny in the series. Perhaps then the obvious references to WWII in the Deathly Hallows were laid down as just one example of many across history.

TeraBlight
July 24th, 2007, 1:11 am
On the other hand, maybe it seems so familiar to me because genocide often works the same in different societies, so when Jo wrote about genocide, I immediately thought of the one connected with my own history. After all, the Holocaust is something that I think about every day of my life. Perhaps people who are familiar with other genocides - i.e. Pol Pot's regime, Serbia, Chechnya, Darfur, Rwanda, etc. - read these books and immediately think that Jo is referencing their own experiences.
No, I don't think so. The thing that sets the Third Reich Holocaust apart from all others (that I can think of) is its level of bureaucratic organization; this idea that it's allright to persecute and kill people as long as there is written evidence that they belong to the group that has been singled out for this treatment - even if this evidence has to be manufactured first. This was a major feature of the ministry's line in "Hallows", even the marauding Snatcher squads had to check IDs!

Keakealani
July 24th, 2007, 1:18 am
I agree that the references were more overt than in the previous books, and I'm sorry that they didn't sit well with you. Frankly, though, the references were there from the beginning - crazy despot looking to cleanse the world of a certain kind of people who were unfit to live because of a hereditary thing that really didn't mean anything?

People don't write books/series like these without having a message or agenda to push from this, and JKR's message was about tolerance and a commentary on the events surrounding WWII.

I don't think the book was intended to villainize Germans or say anything about Nazis necessarily but just to say what mostly everyone believes which is that genocide is bad.

AcidPop
July 24th, 2007, 1:25 am
I loved the references, which I felt made a lot of sense, due to Grindelwald living in Hitler's time (and country!). As someone mentioned before, the muggle and wizarding world feed off of each other. Very interesting...

And really, just because there's one evil character who's German doesn't mean Rowling is saying ALL Germans = totally evilz. That's just plain silly. Also, Gregorovitch wasn't evil. I noticed some people mentioning him, but he wasn't some Dark wizard. Just a wandmaker.

Wab
July 24th, 2007, 1:28 am
Oh and Grindelwald and Gregorovitch just had to be German, didn't they?

I assumed Gregorovitch was Slavic or Russian.

Fleur du mal
July 24th, 2007, 1:32 am
I don't feel offended in any way only because a villain is a German. Never did.

Infinity9999x
July 24th, 2007, 1:36 am
Grindlewald was connected to WWII, didn't Jo state that he had ties with Hitler? Hence WWII ending around the same time as Grindlewald's fall?

Wab
July 24th, 2007, 1:46 am
JK has been educating readers against racism, persecution & bigotry in every book, whether it's:
Rich (Malfoys)
Poor (Weasleys)
Race (Hermione & the Dursleys)
Ideals/beliefs/Religion (Luna)
Slavery/Class (house elves)

All of the books go about in some way to explain about the evils of persecution & racism.

You can dissect the class system as a Marxist parable too, with Harry representing the proletariat oppressed by the bourgeoisie (the Durlseys), the aristocracy (Malfoys), and supported by the intelligensia (Dumbledore and Hermione) and the peasantry/dispossessed (Weasleys/Lupin).

While Scrimgeour's death can be seen as V's Reichstag his offer to trade the lives in Hogwarts for Harry can equally be equated to the offer to allow the Taliban in power in return for Bin Laden (although it was much more like the siege of the school in The Talisman).

Probably because I've had to do some research in that area, DE ideology was remarkably (to me) like that of Seedline Identity. You bring to a book (any work of art, actually) your own experience and what's on your mind.

Yes, the NS parallels are there, but V's cavalier attitude to offing his lieutenants is more Stalin to me.

It's all there if you want it, or not.

Fleur du mal
July 24th, 2007, 1:53 am
I keep on wondering how many pointers they got from JKR for making OotP right now. I was pleasantly surprised by the imagery used in the film, Fudge's stalinistic-like icon, 50 feet high in the Ministry, the depiction of the loud-speakers, some other things, which I hadn't pictured like this when reading the book, but which came immediately back to me now when reading DH

steft2
July 24th, 2007, 1:54 am
I noticed the similarities early on in the books, and they didn't make me uncomfortable, they made me more aware of what is going on in the world around us today. As many have stated already, in todays world we have so called free countries whose elected officials are not listening to those who put them in office. We also still have genocide and other horrible acts being done against fellow human beings.

I lived in Germany for 9 years, both before the communist east fell and after. I've spoken with elders who lived thru WWII and know how many of them feel today after living thru the hell then. One neighbor was in a concentration camp, not for being a different nationality or religion, but for her family not following Hitlers doctrine, she was the only survior of her family. What JK describes is very similar, and a lesson that as a whole our politicians and religious leaders have not learned from.

BelleSnowyOwl
July 24th, 2007, 1:57 am
I wasn’t bothered by the references, but I’m sure that has to do with my age and nationality. However, I think it was simply Grindelvald = the wizarding world’s Hitler. And Lord Voldemort shows us that Jo isn’t singling out the Germans in any way; she is showing that anyone of any race or what have you can be evil. It was just easier to play off of events that had already transpired and that everyone knows about.

*Jess*
July 24th, 2007, 1:58 am
Maybe it's because I'm German, or maybe it's because I'm utterly humourless when it comes to these sorts of allegories.

I couldn't help but feel that the obvious references to National Socialism were a little bit over done. I felt rather uncomfortable whenever another reference came up. Oh and Grindelwald and Gregorovitch just had to be German, didn't they?

How did everyone else feel? Maybe I need to lighten up.

I actually really liked the references - I'd seen them coming for a while in earlier books, but they were never as blatant as in DH. I'm a History major, focusing on the Holocaust at this point in my studies, and I found it interesting to see J.K's take on the situation, and the way that she wound it into the storyline.

That might just be me, though.

Mitchamus
July 24th, 2007, 1:59 am
....What JK describes is very similar, and a lesson that as a whole our politicians and religious leaders have not learned from.
:tu::tu::tu::tu:
I couldn't agree more steft. great post.

Infinity9999x
July 24th, 2007, 2:00 am
I wasn’t bothered by the references, but I’m sure that has to do with my age and nationality. However, I think it was simply Grindelvald = the wizarding world’s Hitler. And Lord Voldemort shows us that Jo isn’t singling out the Germans in any way; she is showing that anyone of any race or what have you can be evil. It was just easier to play off of events that had already transpired and that everyone knows about.

Grindelwald pretty much was the wizarding world's Hitler. Like I said, I'm sure I read somewhere that Jo said Grindelwald was involved with Hitler, hence WWII ending around the same time as Grindelwald's fall from power.

Mitchamus
July 24th, 2007, 2:05 am
You can dissect the class system as a Marxist parallel too,
Yes, the NS parallels are there, but V's cavalier attitude to offing his lieutenants is more Stalin to me.

True... paint it any colour you want... the picture is still there...

Grindelwald pretty much was the wizarding world's Hitler. Like I said, I'm sure I read somewhere that Jo said Grindelwald was involved with Hitler, hence WWII ending around the same time as Grindelwald's fall from power.

I like to think that Grindelwald had Hitler under the Imperius curse... After all we know that the Ministry had high protection on the Muggle Priminister in HBP... So we could assume that it may have happened before....

TeraBlight
July 24th, 2007, 2:07 am
Grindelwald pretty much was the wizarding world's Hitler. Like I said, I'm sure I read somewhere that Jo said Grindelwald was involved with Hitler, hence WWII ending around the same time as Grindelwald's fall from power.
http://www.accio-quote.org/articles/2005/0705-tlc_mugglenet-anelli-3.htm

Infinity9999x
July 24th, 2007, 2:10 am
http://www.accio-quote.org/articles/2005/0705-tlc_mugglenet-anelli-3.htm

Thank you! I knew I had seen it somewhere. And I was also thinking Hitler could have been imperiused, or that Grindelwald gave him some power so he could entrance crowds when he spoke and such.

Fenix
July 24th, 2007, 2:11 am
i don´t thinks so...we just have to see the fact that all the death eaters were just English people...so was voldemort...so any bad reference, if there is, was against them...
the political background in DH is that of any oppresive regime...for example un my countrie Argentina those things happened too a lot time ago---pretty scared though

sericana
July 24th, 2007, 2:32 am
i see it this way:

a man's self-sacrifice as he marches ahead carrying his weapon over his heart rather than in his hand; walking, surrounded by his inspirational follwers, into the clutches of mortality; passively giving in to death, in order to save the lives and souls of the masses he loves and who love him..... Jesus possibly? No, Harry as he walks into the forest. There's all sorts of Christ-like comparisons to be made to Harry: Only son begotten upon the world in order to save it; completely modest and humble and will to give up all and take the burden of the world fully upon his shoulders alone, rather than see even one person suffer needlessly; voluntary martyr.

You can't write a heroic story without falling into this formula and these mechanics, it just happens.

I feel it's the same way with WWII and adventure/war stories. WHich war was the deadliest of the modern era? Which had the greatest affect on the politics of the world in the 20th century? Which single handedly redefined the bounderies of Europe? Which was the war to produce the most uniformally worldly hated man in history? Which war that the largest reaching affect on the world as a whole? ......... WORLD WAR II !!!! You can't escape the formula and story line when attempting to write a war story. It just happens. We all have learned so much about WWII and its people and ideals throughout our educations, that we define our wars by the standards of WWII.

WWII is not what wars were defined as before hand, and is not how wars have been since then. But the brutality and global impact the war had is undeniably tremendous. I don't blame JKR at all for finishing the plot in the manner in which she did. We just have to face the fact that we see the Greatest War of all time as the definition of what wars should be. Good vs. Evil, Right vs. Wrong, Figurehead vs. Figurehead.

chocolatefrog99
July 24th, 2007, 2:38 am
Being part German, it slightly scared me, to be honest. It was a bit overdone, but I feel that Jo was trying to prove a point somehow.. Just this weird feeling.. I dunno.

Hedwig0183
July 24th, 2007, 2:46 am
I am mostly German. I had an ominous feeling like we were reliving the days of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust while reading Deathly Hallows.

Hedwig0183

Anhelda
July 24th, 2007, 2:49 am
The most effective forms of fantasy writing will have echoes of the real world in order to give readers a reference point to grasp what's happening without having to spell it out overtly. The Nazi regime is an archetype in global consciousness for totalitarianism, fascism, and racism, exactly the things for which Voldemort stands. When DH references Nazism, it merely elicits an understanding by we real-world readers of the types of terrible things going on, so that Jo doesn't have to write all about them. As an American of very recent German descent, the WWII references in DH don't bother me at all, and I think they were very effectively used.

Wab
July 24th, 2007, 2:50 am
Tending OT but:

Which had the greatest affect on the politics of the world in the 20th century?

World War I. Saw the fall of the German, Austro-Hungarian, Ottoman and Russian empires as well as sowing the seeds of the decline of the British. The fall of the Romanovs and the establishment of the Soviet state which still affects global geo-politics. It also marked the start of the US ascendency.

Which single handedly redefined the bounderies of Europe?

WWI again.

Which was the war to produce the most uniformally worldly hated man in history?

Stalin would give Hitler a run for his money. Especially in the former Soviet republics and eastern Europe.

toonmili
July 24th, 2007, 2:51 am
I thought it was brilliant. I gave the thing a complete feeling of relavance.

godricsword
July 24th, 2007, 3:07 am
I think this transcends time and place. Genocide and totalitarianism generally take the same forms, the same cruelty, the same racial dehumanizing, control of the media, crushing of dissent, the whole lot, wherever it appears, whether in thirties Germany, the wizarding world, or Anglo-America under Bush/Blair in the "war on terror" (I'm sorry if I'm being too political to some). I think JKR is reminding us that there is no difference between her created fictional world and the world we live in. She's writing amazing literature, beautiful, humorous, profound, and terrible, and she's reminding us that human nature has not changed.

tuer3ssuci0
July 24th, 2007, 3:14 am
Jo's setting is the 19th century, and Grindelwald's reign coincided with Hitler's. I don't think it was over the top, as it did make sense, but I can see how it would effect German readers. Especially the obvious reference to Nuremburg (Nurmengard).

ospreypatronus
July 24th, 2007, 3:23 am
No, I don't think so. The thing that sets the Third Reich Holocaust apart from all others (that I can think of) is its level of bureaucratic organization; this idea that it's allright to persecute and kill people as long as there is written evidence that they belong to the group that has been singled out for this treatment - even if this evidence has to be manufactured first. This was a major feature of the ministry's line in "Hallows", even the marauding Snatcher squads had to check IDs!
Mmmm... I'd be careful about assuming that non-European genocide isn't organized. I don't know about the others in much detail, but Rwandans in 1994 (and decades prior) were forced to carry ID's stating their blood status- whether they were officially considered Hutu or Tutsi. Ironically, without the ID's or a prior knowledge of the person's bloodline, it was impossible to tell who was Hutu and who was Tutsi. The distinctions had been made arbitrarily. People without ID's were usually killed, regardless of which group they claimed to belong to. (Want more info on Rwanda? Watch "Hotel Rwanda", or read Philip Gourevitch's book, "We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families: stories from Rwanda". A warning, however: both are very graphic).
If you consider total population and the total time span of persecution, the genocide in Rwanda was much more severe than that of Nazi Germany. The difference is that the holocaust was much more wide-spread: more area, more people, more time. In both cases, neighbors sat by and allowed their friends to die. I think you could find parallels to Rwanda's genocide, at least. Probably quite a few more. Certainly many of the lessons that should have been learned are the same.
Unfortunately, we are very good at forgetting our own history...
I'm glad Jo gave a reminder, not just to those who can remember, but also to those who have no firsthand experience, and so cannot understand.

TnK
July 24th, 2007, 3:34 am
WWII.... Throughout the entire reading of Deathly Hallows... I didn't ONCE even think of WWII or of the Nazi party. Maybe that's because I'm not German. Or maybe because I feel one person doesn't define his entire nationality.... Call me crazy.

Blofeld
July 24th, 2007, 3:46 am
No, they didn't sit uncomfortably with me. I understand why she took such pains as to present it in that light, but it didn't bother me. :no:

SKasparRollins
July 24th, 2007, 3:49 am
It sure didn't for me (http://cosforums.com/showthread.php?t=104594) :cool:

Yet another moment I had to exclaim "I KNEW IT!"

But I admit I was very disturbed by Voldemort's Muggle Holocaust. I would be shocked if the Muggle bodies stacked in the Ministry made it into the movie.

Auror Williamson
July 24th, 2007, 3:52 am
Rotsie, I believe it is best to lighten up.

Although personally I believe that National Socialism is a pitiful and insulting convention, it did not manifest itself in this book to even a slight degree.

As for the fact that Grindelwald was German (and this we have known for a great period, correct?) does not mean that Rowling has some sinister underlying prejudice against the particular region. (Besides, Grindelwald resisted Voldemort in this final book) As for Gregorivitch, he wasn't portrayed in a poor light, so I cannot comprehend as to why one be complaining on that count.

I saw no overt references to WWII in this, fleeting at best and ones that would stretch credulity.

Emma
July 24th, 2007, 3:53 am
I didn't feel in any way offended...I didn't feel that there were references to WWII at all.???

Rhaella
July 24th, 2007, 3:56 am
The actual German parts of the story didn't make me think of WWII at all. I don't think that Voldemort's German speaking victims were portrayed in a remotely bad light - hell, Grindelwald's death was closer to redemption than anything else. I don't think she was trying to say anything against Germans there at all.

I was a bit disconcerted by the Muggleborn Registration parts, though. That definitely did remind me of Nazi Germany, though it would be equally reminiscent of any other extreme segregating and prejudiced community. And it really was a natural development out of the sociopolitical situation already present in the wizarding community.

So, no. By and large, it didn't really bother me.

KDOG
July 24th, 2007, 3:57 am
I didnt have a problem with it. I am not German but I knew instantly that with the Fall of the Ministry and Voldemort in control that it was going to be very much like the Nazi's. Voldemort was Hitler. The workers at the Ministry were the people who let it happen even though they knew it was wrong. And obviously the Muggleborns being arrested or killed was very much like the Jews. I hope it didnt offend anybody but it definitely had a lot of similarities towards Hitler and the Holocaust.

There is no way JKR intentionally offended some German people if they were.

Moldywart
July 24th, 2007, 3:58 am
It may have been a little over the top, but why the sudden shock? This entire series has paralleled WWII Nazi times. VM has obvious parallels with Hitler, and the Death Eaters follow him blindly doing his bidding to rid the world of any non-pure blood, just like the Nazi's wanted to get rid of anyone that was not like them.

_No_Name_
July 24th, 2007, 4:04 am
I don't think she wants people to forget the lessons learnt (I don't mean the event) and by relaying it in a book for children to read, affecting characters they love, it makes them relate to it much easier. A history lesson in a book.

I also believe that that's what she was intending to do. However, I question whether kids young enough that the don't know about Hitler, Socialism, etc. could pick up on what she was getting at. Although, they still could discern that that stuff is bad. Also, she could be saying that the wizard world had the same sort of problems as the Muggle world, and neither is above either (a lot of the book was dedicated to Muggle/Mudblood eradication.

SKasparRollins
July 24th, 2007, 4:04 am
Rotsie, I believe it is best to lighten up.

Although personally I believe that National Socialism is a pitiful and insulting convention, it did not manifest itself in this book to even a slight degree.

The Deathly Hallows symbol is such an obvious reference to the swastika, when you consider the fact that before the Nazis used it, it was considered a very positive symbol and a symbol of good luck.


As for the fact that Grindelwald was German (and this we have known for a great period, correct?) does not mean that Rowling has some sinister underlying prejudice against the particular region. (Besides, Grindelwald resisted Voldemort in this final book) As for Gregorivitch, he wasn't portrayed in a poor light, so I cannot comprehend as to why one be complaining on that count.

I saw no overt references to WWII in this, fleeting at best and ones that would stretch credulity.

I've already posted my thread about the parallels which I still believe. As crazy as this sounds, I think Grindelwald AND Voldemort represent Hitler to their own degrees.

Come to think of it, though, Grindelwald's resistance reminds me of how the Kaiser denounced Nazism...maybe I'm stretching it too crude?

Yes, it is a painful and terrible allusion, but then again, Deathly Hallows isn't a cheerful book. I have Jewish relatives and it didn't sit uncomfortable with me much.

CKSubs
July 24th, 2007, 4:08 am
I liked the Historical connections, even before Grindelwald was a "real" character and just on the Chocolate Frog cards. Just thinking about how he must have been allied with Hitler, that there was a "wizarding WWII" going on at the same time as the real one, etc. It also kind of ties in with the occult aspects of the Nazis... I kept waiting for someone to call the Elder Wand the Lance of Longinus. I was very surprised that Grindelwald was still alive, too... I thought it was always implied that he was dead, JKR said it in an interview, and he didn't have much to do in the story besides get killed by Voldemort.

The present day "WWII" stuff? Didn't like that as much. I see what she was trying to do: show how the world would be run under Voldemort. It just happened too fast. I don't think the population would support it.

lupislune
July 24th, 2007, 4:14 am
I think several parallels can be drawn between Grindenvald and Hitler, and at first read I was uncomfortable with the similarities.

I tried to look at it from several different ways though. Maybe JKR was trying to "date" certain events in her book, but using a parallel person in the wizarding world to illustrate this idea. From a literary sense, it helps the reader better and more quickly understand what a particular character is like if parallels are drawn between the fictional character and a real person in history. I am not sure that I like her doing this, but nevertheless, I think it is an effective way without great explanation to give the reader an idea of what the character is like.

I think one must be very careful using tools like this because it can easily backfire. I think it worked ok in JKR's case, but it still bothered me a bit.

Aunt_Marge
July 24th, 2007, 4:16 am
I saw no overt references to WWII in this, fleeting at best and ones that would stretch credulity.

Gotta disagree with you there. I wouldn't say that the references were "fleeting" at all. Maybe they were not intentional, but DH very much reminded many of us of the early stages of the Holocaust. The DEs start out with wizards having to prove that they had at least some wizard relatives. I can just see that over time, they would grow stricter and stricter till even people who were only "one-eighth Muggle" (sounds familiar?) were pronounced "Mudbloods."

The comparison was definitely there. I mean, eugenics? Blood purity? Inferior, sub-human races tainting the superior race and therefore not worthy to live? These were not fleeting; these were enduring thems.

SKasparRollins
July 24th, 2007, 4:24 am
Gotta disagree with you there. I wouldn't say that the references were "fleeting" at all. Maybe they were not intentional, but DH very much reminded many of us of the early stages of the Holocaust. The DEs start out with wizards having to prove that they had at least some wizard relatives. I can just see that over time, they would grow stricter and stricter till even people who were only "one-eighth Muggle" (sounds familiar?) were pronounced "Mudbloods."

The comparison was definitely there. I mean, eugenics? Blood purity? Inferior, sub-human races tainting the superior race and therefore not worthy to live? These were not fleeting; these were enduring thems.

And as I said, the DH symbol = swastika. It's so obvious, and became confirmed when I read The Three Brothers chapter.

Many of my WWII comparisons I made before the book seemed to be confirmed, for example, the goblins remaining neutral like Switzerland.

Also of note is the fact that Voldemort didn't declare himself Minister. During the Nazi reign Hitler made sure, at least, that his dictatorship was technically legal; as he kept the Reichstag (although, like Pius Thicknesse, they were merely puppets of him.)

Another obvious one is the Snatchers, which are the SS or Gestapo.

People being unable to say Voldemort's name without being arrested reminded me of how Hitler designated the title of Fuhrer for himself.

I'm sure I can think of more...

CKSubs
July 24th, 2007, 4:25 am
Oh, and I also didn't like the parts where she said "Grindelwald was the worst dark wizard before Voldemort -- but he was mainly in Germany, so most Britons don't know too much about him." It's been heavily implied that he was allied/behind Hitler, and it seemed almost rather insulting that the British Wizards would be so far removed from World War II, especially if there was a dark lord behind it.

Ibelieveinmagic
July 24th, 2007, 4:26 am
Oh there were definite comparisons there. The raising of the arm in a salute to get through the gates at Malfoy Manor? The blood purity, the muggle registry etc.

Thing is though, sadly whilst I believe those were specific references to WWII, it could be any war really. Most wars are generally about one side oppressing those they believe to be inferior and the other side fighting for the oppressed's freedom.

Most countries can probably find something in their history that doesn't sit well, and that we don't want hanging over our heads. I feel as an Australian there are plenty of things to be ashamed about.

Wab
July 24th, 2007, 4:28 am
I can just see that over time, they would grow stricter and stricter till even people who were only "one-eighth Muggle" (sounds familiar?) were pronounced "Mudbloods."

Not uncommon in repressive societies. In the US slave states "one drop" of negro blood made a person black.

SKasparRollins
July 24th, 2007, 4:30 am
Oh there were definite comparisons there. The raising of the arm in a salute to get through the gates at Malfoy Manor?

Wow, I totally missed that...it might be time to start my first re-reading already! :lol:

Aunt_Marge
July 24th, 2007, 4:43 am
Not uncommon in repressive societies. In the US slave states "one drop" of negro blood made a person black.

True. Then again, I don't think that anyone had to have a hearing to prove their blood status, have it stamped on some legal document, or get deported to a camp because of it.

I do not mean to minimize the suffering of people who were black or partially black in the slave states...

bass_man789
July 24th, 2007, 4:44 am
Maybe it's because I'm German, or maybe it's because I'm utterly humourless when it comes to these sorts of allegories.

I couldn't help but feel that the obvious references to National Socialism were a little bit over done. I felt rather uncomfortable whenever another reference came up. Oh and Grindelwald and Gregorovitch just had to be German, didn't they?

How did everyone else feel? Maybe I need to lighten up.
I'm trying to argue and convince you that you're over reacting but I'm finding it harder to do so. There's no point denying the WWII references aren't there. But, we have to remember Harry Potter is intended for children and JKR could possibly be using this dark time in history to better inform the youth. To the older readers though, these references are a little over the top and even alarming. But, we have to remember JKR is trying to teach the youth a lesson through the books. I don't think she's openly calling anyone out, she's just trying to better inform the younger readers without the help of a history book and boring documentaries.

Aunt_Marge
July 24th, 2007, 4:47 am
To the older readers though, these references are a little over the top and even alarming.

When you say "alarming," do you mean she's referring to alarming events, or that it "alarming" that she would put such references in her books? Just curious.

I, for one, was chilled by the references, and was a bit surprised as well - I guess I didn't realize just HOW far the DEs intended to go. It seemed extreme - but then again, so is genocide. I think the references definitely made the book stronger for me, and, as I and others have said, demonstrate how little society has actually progressed from that terrible time.

Vadermort
July 24th, 2007, 4:50 am
The references to the Holocost with the Muggle-born registration was kind of disturbing...more-so that Grindelwald.

Having muggle-borns go on the run or into hiding was also a huge reference to the european jewish community hiding inside houses, buildings, or just being on the run.

laughingcamel
July 24th, 2007, 4:55 am
I wasn't a fan of the connection between Grindelwald and Hitler.

But I loved the scene at the ministry (in a that was horrible kind of way). I wasn't at all upset that it reminded me of the Holocaust. In fact I think it added to the story making pure-blood V. mud-blood more universal. And made it seem all the more horrific, being Jewish I studied all about concentration camps, gas chambers and Jews having curfews. The fact that the Wizarding world reminded me of my history made it all the more terrifying believable .

It was also interesting because I am reading books for my English class next year on the Holocaust, so to jump form HP to fiction specifically about WWII and the Holocaust is strange.

I hope and don't think JKR was trying to paint Germans as bad (The worst people in the book are all British for one). Nor do I think she is reflecting negatively socialism, just one what happens when thing go amok. She is showing her views on history, humanity and politics.

But is also had ties to slavery in Europe and America, the civil war, Japaneses Internment and Apartheid. And I think the fact it is similar to so much of our history speaks volumes about society.

I think it is a powerful series that can connect to any minority or group that has been singled out, made to be a scapegoat, told they weren't as good in away way as another group. And I know I can relate to that on many levels. What happened to those of un-pure blood in the book is what I fear sometimes may happen to me.

Lastly I feel it may have upset people just because it was unexpected. We are not used to seeing JKR comment so bluntly on society and her views about oppression.

Auror Williamson
July 24th, 2007, 4:55 am
Not uncommon in repressive societies. In the US slave states "one drop" of negro blood made a person black.

actually, no. But that is for another thread....

bass_man789
July 24th, 2007, 5:00 am
When you say "alarming," do you mean she's referring to alarming events, or that it "alarming" that she would put such references in her books? Just curious.
Both actually. I find it strange how the events in the book can be drawn to events in WWII so easily.

xFluerDelacourx
July 24th, 2007, 5:07 am
There did seem to be alot of refernces to WWII. Sometimes I would read soemthing in DH (like the Muggle Registration office chapter) and I was like thats something thats simliar to whats happened in are world.

Greeney
July 24th, 2007, 5:16 am
Maybe it's because I'm German, or maybe it's because I'm utterly humourless when it comes to these sorts of allegories.

I couldn't help but feel that the obvious references to National Socialism were a little bit over done. I felt rather uncomfortable whenever another reference came up. Oh and Grindelwald and Gregorovitch just had to be German, didn't they?

How did everyone else feel? Maybe I need to lighten up.

You seem to be presuming any evil character should be German.

Gregorovitch was not a bad guy.
Grindelwald remorsed for what he did and was even befriended by Albus Dumbledore.
Both were Bulgarian (I believe) as that's were Krum was connected to both of them.
Voldemort was British and the -most- evil character of the book.


The only Holocaust/WWII connections I saw were the reference to 1945 and Voldemort's [or also the purebloods] discrimination of blood types.

SKasparRollins
July 24th, 2007, 5:35 am
You seem to be presuming any evil character should be German.

Gregorovitch was not a bad guy.
Grindelwald remorsed for what he did and was even befriended by Albus Dumbledore.
Both were Bulgarian (I believe) as that's were Krum was connected to both of them.
Voldemort was British and the -most- evil character of the book.


The only Holocaust/WWII connections I saw were the reference to 1945 and Voldemort's [or also the purebloods] discrimination of blood types.

Come on, wasn't the Holocaust the first thing you thought of when you saw all the naked Muggle bodies in the Ministry? Reminded me of all those horrible mass grave Holocaust pictures that they seem to run in every Social Studies video about it without any warning whatsoever.

And I don't see how I'm the only one who sees how obviously the Deathly Hallows symbol is an exact parallel with the swastika.

storyteller
July 24th, 2007, 5:41 am
It was uncomfortable. That is a good thing. It shows that you are getting the point, that you understand how bad it is to let things just happen.
she was making references to NS that are obvious to us, but kids who read it in the future may not know about WWII. I think that reading this will help kids to understand that they have to remember what happened and do everything in their power to keep it from happening again.

Powerful wizards who could do magic let it happen to them by ignoring the facts, so it could happen to us again if we don't use "Constant Vigalence".

I really don't think that Jo pointed a finger at all Germans. If thought that Durmstang was going to represent Germany in the book and fight with Voldy, but they did not.

This is a thread where we were discussing WWII in the previous books.

Voldemort, OOTP, the MoM, and how it relates to Hitler, Chamberlain and WWII
(http://www.cosforums.com/showthread.php?p=4634144#post4634144)

rhhgrt
July 24th, 2007, 5:53 am
I thought the Holocaust references/parallels were a tad blatant. She could have definitely used some subtlety at those parts.

storyteller
July 24th, 2007, 6:03 am
And I don't see how I'm the only one who sees how obviously the Deathly Hallows symbol is an exact parallel with the swastika.

Actually the Dark Mark was the parallell to the swastika, no one even knew what the DH symbol was.

Wab
July 24th, 2007, 6:07 am
The Swastika was orginally a symbol far removed from Nazism just as the DH was onterpreted by Krum as only the mark of Grindelwald.

Diotima
July 24th, 2007, 6:41 am
The idea that Rowling would "target" Germans is completely inconsistent with the message of multiracial, multinational unity that permeates the whole series. Yes, there are clear paralells between Voldemort and Hitler, but to denounce the Nazi regime is not to denounce the German people.

If anything, I feel that Rowling gave us a better understanding of the horrors that faced German citizens under Hitler's rule, showing that what happened in Germany could happen anywhere if a despot is allowed to seize power. The beaurocratic persecution of Muggle-borns and half-bloods felt like a natural progression to me: it was an inevitability under Voldemort's power. While there were characters like Umbrige, who illustrated the type who go along with such atrocities on their own accord, there were also those like Narcissa who demonstrated the type who go along out of fear for their own lives or their families. Being an unheroic person myself, I was driven to some empathy for those who complied out of fear, and that empathy, that understanding, does extend to all those who were guilty of evil they did not want to commit. Yes, morally, people should stand against evil no matter the cost. Easy to say, harder to do, especially when it is your family, rather than yourself, that you risk sacrificing. Her characters show the power of our instinct of sef-preservation as well as the fact of human failure and weakness. I believe that her books teach compassion for all, even when it's difficult.

The Malfoys were guilty of evil, both by acts and by failure to act, but they were forgiven for their human weakness. If a paralell between Nazi Germany and the wizard world must drawn, let it be drawn all the way to this end.

This is a sticky subject, and I'm not sure I handled it as well as I wanted. If anyone disagrees or takes offense to what I've said, then they see the flaw in reasoning that I think is in my post, although I can't put my finger on it. I am interested in getting this thought through.

toonmili
July 24th, 2007, 6:59 am
I hated what happened in WWII and I don't have a problem with Germans. The book is about being your brother's keeper. Everyone had to work for the greater good dispite of what country (or houses) they were from. It makes no sense to pretend that WWII didn't happen to avoid making Germans feel uncomfortable. Guess what I am a Trinidadian and you don't get any more far removed from Germany that that. I feel guilty for WWII because I feel like if I was alive then I would have have sat down an do nothing because today there are things going on in the world and I am doing nothing about.

I think the referances to WWII is just a reminder of what can happen when we let things happen because he let fear and propaganda rule us. Is was not intended to insult Germans. The WWII is just one popular genocide attempt, there many other genocides in history. There are some going on right now... I think that is the ones she is more concerned about and is making the statements about. You use the example of the past to predict the future in hope that man would learn form thier mistakes.

Honestly I can't believe we are having this conversation. Why are people complaining because the book was deep.

AurorMichael
July 24th, 2007, 7:05 am
i just felt like the whole time i was reading it, i couldnt help thinking the words : police state, 1984, Nazis, Holocaust. But i do agree with the Non Progression theory brought up on page 1 of this thread, it about sums it up

Greeney
July 24th, 2007, 7:06 am
Come on, wasn't the Holocaust the first thing you thought of when you saw all the naked Muggle bodies in the Ministry? Reminded me of all those horrible mass grave Holocaust pictures that they seem to run in every Social Studies video about it without any warning whatsoever.

And I don't see how I'm the only one who sees how obviously the Deathly Hallows symbol is an exact parallel with the swastika.

Because Germans drew pictures of Jews to sit on at bus stops or something? Perhaps I read it too quickly, but what do muggle bodies and mass graves have in common? And no, I hadn't thought of the Holocaust at all, and as a matter of fact I'm Jewish. I felt books like CoS and HBP were far more WWII/Holocaust like than this one.

As for the symbol, no, as someone mentioned before me, the darkmark would be the equivalent to the swastika. What on Earth does the Deathly Hallow symbol [more than one or two simple similarities] have to do with a swastika?

SKasparRollins
July 24th, 2007, 7:09 am
It was uncomfortable. That is a good thing. It shows that you are getting the point, that you understand how bad it is to let things just happen.

Exactly.


she was making references to NS that are obvious to us, but kids who read it in the future may not know about WWII. I think that reading this will help kids to understand that they have to remember what happened and do everything in their power to keep it from happening again.

Powerful wizards who could do magic let it happen to them by ignoring the facts, so it could happen to us again if we don't use "Constant Vigalence".

I really don't think that Jo pointed a finger at all Germans. If thought that Durmstang was going to represent Germany in the book and fight with Voldy, but they did not.

This is a thread where we were discussing WWII in the previous books.

Voldemort, OOTP, the MoM, and how it relates to Hitler, Chamberlain and WWII
(http://www.cosforums.com/showthread.php?p=4634144#post4634144)

YES THAT'S MINE! I beam a little every time someone cites that thread, it's my pride and joy on this forum! :lol:

Speaking of which, I am now fully convinced that the Ministry in OOTP represented the appeasors of the 1930's in Britain.


As for the symbol, no, as someone mentioned before me, the darkmark would be the equivalent to the swastika. What on Earth does the Deathly Hallow symbol [more than one or two simple similarities] have to do with a swastika?

I hope I don't accidentally offend you, as I know this is a touchy subject (my grandfather is Jewish) but the DH represents the swastika because it is viewed as an evil symbol because of Grindelwald, just like how the swastika is viewed as evil because of the Nazis. But many don't know that before it was the Nazi symbol, the swastika was used extensively as a positive symbol, I believe it means (or at least once meant) good luck.

The Dark Mark resembles the swastika too, though, as I believe both are worn on the left arm.

vivekgk
July 24th, 2007, 7:22 am
I thought that it was appropriate in some way. The parallels have always been there, and the systematic elimination of 'Undesirables' was shocking to me to say the least. I didn't think that it was trivialized in the least. It showed us what Voldemort's grand scheme was. It showed us how bad things could be.

I did not think that all Germans were shown to be evil. Grindelwald was evil, sure, but do we know for sure that he was German? I mean, he went to school in Durmstrang, didn't he? I thought that was in Bulgaria.

When was Gregorovitch, or the innocent mother shown to be evil? In short, all we have is one dark wizard, who even repented what he did in the end. So, I don't see any slight to Germans in the book. There were parallels to the Holocaust, and to the Nazis, but I don't think that German = Nazi.

IceNine_IV
July 24th, 2007, 7:23 am
Really, that's what Volde has been building up to the whole time. The weeding out of Mudbloods, of lesser people. Let's face it, the Nazi's did this with the kind of efficiency that had never really been achieved. I have devoted a large chunk of my bookshelf to studying all aspects of WWII. The psychology used by Hitler's regime to turn millions of regular people into bloodthirsty hate mongers is actually really amazing.

I would think Voldemort would understand this, being one so versed in the manipulation of so many people. As a leader, he must always be afraid of his people, the only way to really control those people is by making them believe the things he says. That can only come through mass amounts of subversion and propaganda.

Honesty, JKR made me feel the terror of Voldemort's Regime. She made it real for me in the best way possible, by basing it on history, recent history. Had Voldie and gang just run around laying waste to everyone and everything, I wouldn't have been nearly as frightened. By having it not just be about regular old destruction, by getting regular "right headed" people on his side it made his power that much more tangible.

Let's not forget, Voldemort is a learned man. He probably studied the rules and tactics of war. Also, having grown up in a muggle orphanage in London during that time period, he may have experienced parts of WWII first hand. I'm sure that kind of power of war intrigued him long before he knew he was a wizard.

I was nearly in tears as the trio made there way through the ministry and we got to see the machine working so efficiently to destroy muggleborns. She made it real, and I was scared, honestly horrified. Perhaps that was magnified by my knowledge of how such a system works. At the very least, I give JKR all the credit in the world for sticking to her guns and showing the true horrors of a war with Voldemort. It really took guts.

Greeney
July 24th, 2007, 7:41 am
Exactly.
I hope I don't accidentally offend you, as I know this is a touchy subject (my grandfather is Jewish) but the DH represents the swastika because it is viewed as an evil symbol because of Grindelwald, just like how the swastika is viewed as evil because of the Nazis. But many don't know that before it was the Nazi symbol, the swastika was used extensively as a positive symbol, I believe it means (or at least once meant) good luck.

The Dark Mark resembles the swastika too, though, as I believe both are worn on the left arm.

Not offended.
Still don't believe DH represents the Swastika.

I don't believe Grindelwald was nearly as evil as Hitler, Voldemort I do.

The Deathly Hallows were the symbol -prior- to Grindelwald drawing it in walls in regards to the Peverell brothers, as it was on Ignatius' grave.

The Deathly Hallows sign wouldn't get police/aurors to "escort" someone to be interrogated, a swastika and a dark mark both would have.

rotsiepots
July 24th, 2007, 8:12 am
I like to think that Grindelwald had Hitler under the Imperius curse... After all we know that the Ministry had high protection on the Muggle Priminister in HBP... So we could assume that it may have happened before....
It's these sorts of comments that made the whole WWII allegory sit very uncomfortably with me. Some people, particularly children, have very active imaginations and to allow anyone to think "maybe WWII happened because of Grindelwald" is completely inappropriate.

The suggestion that Grindelwald was allied with Hitler and may have been responsible for many of the terrible things that happened during WWII is offensive, in my opinion.

Oh and just a general comment: I never thought JKR was being anti-German. Some of you failed to read my follow up comment.

Coralie
July 24th, 2007, 8:30 am
I didn't notice the references. Years ago I read an unauthorised book saying grindelwald was a reference to Hitler because of the 1945 connection, after that I read that Jo said that the two were not connected (at least in the sense that they were not the same person), possibly because of that I wasn't looking for similarities and so didn't see them. That said I am sure parallels can be drawn whether intentional or not.

novosky
July 24th, 2007, 8:34 am
...When I read that Gregorovich's (oh what typical German name)

Not to nit-pick, but Gregorovich is a very typical Russian name. The ending - "ovich" is the male form of what I believe is called the "otchestvo". Boys take the fathers first name (Gregor in this case) and add ovich to make Gregorovich. A girl would add "evna", "ovna" or "ova", to make the feminine form of Gregorova.

Additionally, the wand maker was never shown to be a bad man. Just a wand maker, and perhaps a touch greedy and foolish, but more interested in the power of wands than the politics of the wizarding world.

Grindelwald on the other hand is a bit of a German name, for an evil wizard who came to power in the late 30s what would you expect him to be named? Silverburg? Perhaps Chavanelle?

A German name simply makes sense, although in that period of time in Europe, a Russian, Italian, or Spanish name could also have been used, but without the same automatic emotional strength (as is shown by the fact that we're having this discussion). I think the German name is fine, isn't disparaging of Germans as a whole (any more than Voldy being English is disparaging of the English).

I'd also like to say that I don't believe that JK intended to (or did) disparage any group of people. Also, as an outside observer I certainly don't feel that any mention of WWII or the NS government of the 30s-40s paints all Germans with any particular brush.

Now the German love of David Hasselhoff, that's down right odd...

With love to Germany,

-Novosky

Moriath
July 24th, 2007, 8:38 am
I wasn't very happy with the rather blunt references to WWII but I tried not to think about it too much. :lol:

SKasparRollins
July 24th, 2007, 8:38 am
Not to nit-pick, but Gregorovich is a very typical Russian name. The ending - "ovich" is the male form of what I believe is called the "otchestvo". Boys take the fathers first name (Gregor in this case) and add ovich to make Gregorovich. A girl would add "evna", "ovna" or "ova", to make the feminine form of Gregorova.

Additionally, the wand maker was never shown to be a bad man. Just a wand maker, and perhaps a touch greedy and foolish, but more interested in the power of wands than the politics of the wizarding world.

Grindelwald on the other hand is a bit of a German name, for an evil wizard who came to power in the late 30s what would you expect him to be named? Silverburg? Perhaps Chavanelle?

A German name simply makes sense, although in that period of time in Europe, a Russian, Italian, or Spanish name could also have been used, but without the same automatic emotional strength (as is shown by the fact that we're having this discussion). I think the German name is fine, isn't disparaging of Germans as a whole (any more than Voldy being English is disparaging of the English).

I'd also like to say that I don't believe that JK intended to (or did) disparage any group of people. Also, as an outside observer I certainly don't feel that any mention of WWII or the NS government of the 30s-40s paints all Germans with any particular brush.

Now the German love of David Hasselhoff, that's down right odd...

With love to Germany,

-Novosky

I too think Gregorovitch was Russian. It's what I thought when I heard his name in GoF (I felt a sense of smugness knowing who he was when Harry couldn't remember). But Grindelwald is most definitely German, I believe when JKR pronounced his name she said "Grindel-VALD." The 1945 thing cannot possibly be a coincidence now.

rotsiepots
July 24th, 2007, 8:52 am
Not to nit-pick, but Gregorovich is a very typical Russian name.
TENSHI is German. She was being facetious.

Even if Gregorovitch wasn't German, he at least lived in Germany for a very long time.

bertzie
July 24th, 2007, 8:55 am
and here i thought they were both bulgarian.

Helmchen
July 24th, 2007, 9:12 am
Being German and having grown up in Germany myself, I must say that I wasn't - in the slightest - offended or weirded out by the analogies to Nazi Germany, totalitarianism, etc. Quite to the contrary, I thought the 7th book brought the pureblood ideology to its ultimate, grim conclusion, as a stark reminder of how easy it is to tolerate an evil ideology of fear as long as it's other people that are being targeted, not oneself.

mysterious
July 24th, 2007, 9:21 am
Quite a lot of things in the book which had to do with bad persons and places derive had something to do with Germany.
- Grindelwald
- Gregorovich

I don't think you would call Gregorovich as a bad person just because he possessed the Elder Wand and used it as a strategy to sell wands. He was just another wand maker. As for Grindelwald, well you have Voldemort who was even worse than him and he wasn't German...I don't think Jo was deliberately pointing out anything. :no:

Evin290
July 24th, 2007, 9:29 am
It didn't make me uncomfortable, and all eight of my great-grandparents were murdered during the Holocaust. I thought it was really interesting how intertwined the real and wizarding worlds are, and that was the point that Jo was trying to make.

LuvHP_001
July 24th, 2007, 9:31 am
I've thought this since the beginning of the series.

Voldemort as Hitler, the muggle-borns are the Jews, he has supporters, the Death Eaters are the Gestapo etc. etc.

When they said that they were "gathering up muggle-borns", that scared that heck out of me. I thought, "What's next? Concentration camps?"

It's strange but true.

SKasparRollins
July 24th, 2007, 9:35 am
It didn't make me uncomfortable, and all eight of my great-grandparents were murdered during the Holocaust. I thought it was really interesting how intertwined the real and wizarding worlds are, and that was the point that Jo was trying to make.

Well, the synopsis of HBP on the back cover (UK) always confused me, because it said the worlds of Muggle and magic were beginning to intertwine, something that barely happened in HBP sparing the first chapter. But then, as JKR said (and was indeed true) HBP and DH are essentially one book split into two.

The reason JKR made such an obvious and disturbing parallel was precisely that - another way to remind us of Voldemort's pure evil and how it applies to real life. I have always loved the themes of Harry Potter.

Even I, who place Voldemort in my top ten list of best villains ever, was actually scared at just how evil he was in this book. The line near the end where he literally threatens to kill EVERYBODY - knowing he could do it - if they didn't give him Harry sent a chill down my spine, as did the Ministry scenes. Rarely am I horrified at something in a book, but the Muggle Holocaust just plain did.

Wakkachuta
July 24th, 2007, 9:41 am
For me, I think the whole Nazi-German thing was a little too obvious for my liking. In the past books, JKR was more subtle in her comparisons to the muggle world, and the whole muggle-born register and the interviews and the killings was a little too much. The next step would have been concentration camps or something like that, and that would have seriously weirded me out.

Anyway, I think JKR could have been a little less obvious.

resol612
July 24th, 2007, 9:47 am
I've thought this since the beginning of the series.

Voldemort as Hitler, the muggle-borns are the Jews, he has supporters, the Death Eaters are the Gestapo etc. etc.

When they said that they were "gathering up muggle-borns", that scared that heck out of me. I thought, "What's next? Concentration camps?"

It's strange but true.

Gestapo's the secret police, Death Eaters fit more of the role of the SS.

Anyway, the rounding up and things like that actually made me feel how horrifying this kind of mass genocide could be. The effect is compounded especially when you feel some sort of affection for the characters in the book and the world of magic, then this sort of regime takes over and systematically tears the world apart with such oppressive, Holocaust-style moves. This effect makes me want to stop anyone from ever doing that again, because it's pure evil and it actually hurts since you like and care about those who are gravely affected by this discrimination. And gives you a relief when fake Runcorn gives the Muggle-borns an escape route out.

I feel that this is a good move. It's not the Germans who are being picked out, it's the sin, it's the action.

Pam17
July 24th, 2007, 10:09 am
Like others have already pointed out, I believe the whole series has drawn parallels with the events of WWII, whilst they may have been more obvious in DH, surely you could see it coming? I don't think it was anti-German rather, it worked to expose behaviours and attitudes that have been present throughout our history and link them to Harry's world. These behaviours/attitudes were evident in WWII as well as in the oppressive regimes of countless other countries and also, in the actions of the governments/citizens of other countries who may appear faultless at first glance. I'm Australian and the pure-blood craze throughout the HP series has a link, in my mind atleast, to several events or periods in my country's time - ie. the 'White Australia' policy period in which Asian immigration was severely and unethically regulated; the Stolen Generation (albeit loosely) and more recently, with the Cronulla riots (this link is quite solid in my opinion although others may disagree). My background is Argentinian and similarly, some events in the series held some semblence to the politically corrupt and turbulant times in Argentina's history. I highly doubt that JKR used any of these particular events as inspiration (for lack of a better word) or reference points for the series. The point I'm trying to make is that every reader will obviously interpret and react to the books differently based on their personality, background, education, experiences etc. Many Western readers will associate the books with the period of WWII because although similar regimes have existed (and still do), that is what we are (generally) taught in school, in entertainment and in *our* society. I'm sure the average HP fan knows a lot more about WWII than the Darfur region, Rwanda or any other less publicised event/period in time, hence the association.

That aside, the references are quite obvious but they didn't make me uncomfortable in any way. When I think about it now, I think JKR was using the parallels to evoke a certain reaction or emotional response to the story and really, she could have done it without the similarities. I feel she's taken the easy way out of creating a mood of fear and terror, by forging a link to WWII, instead of composing and creating that mood or feeling in an original way.

nano
July 24th, 2007, 10:14 am
JKR: I'm going to tell you as much as I told someone earlier who asked me. You know Owen who won the [UK television] competition to interview me? He asked about Grindelwald [pronounced "Grindelvald" HMM…]. He said, “Is it coincidence that he died in 1945,” and I said no. It amuses me to make allusions to things that were happening in the Muggle world, so my feeling would be that while there's a global Muggle war going on, there's also a global wizarding war going on.

I dont beleive it trivializes anything - the racisim was there right through the book - and she did say in that interview (see quote) that certain references are no coincidence.

Rotsiepots: - I dont see why you feel uncomfortable - afterall the nazi regime was long before our time - and it is not to be forgotten EVER. Jo doesnt point out the germans to be evil in general - only the nazi regime and its Gedankengut. Gregorovich actually isnt a typical german name as you know yourself.

I am half german half english living in Germany and I dont feel offended that Jo made references to WWII - it is probably the only war that all children know about - they cant escape it.

Actually us british should be offended too if we went your way, because the slavery of the house elves was definitely a refernce to the british commonwealth!!! The registering not only could reference to the holocaust, but to persons with islamic background being overlooked in the USA. The hoods could refer to the Ku-Klux-Klan. Racisim itself can be found everywhere.

But because of all the references the book will probably rise in years to come to be not a childrens series anymore, but a critical book on political environment of the 20th century.

nano

IceNine_IV
July 24th, 2007, 10:21 am
Though, Rotsiepots, if it makes you uncomfortable, perhaps JKR really did achieve the desired effect.

heavenhelpus
July 24th, 2007, 10:24 am
I've thought this since the beginning of the series.

Voldemort as Hitler, the muggle-borns are the Jews, he has supporters, the Death Eaters are the Gestapo etc. etc.

When they said that they were "gathering up muggle-borns", that scared that heck out of me. I thought, "What's next? Concentration camps?"

It's strange but true.

haha. me too.

i've thought that way since... book 4? or 5. when i finally learnt what the whole world war two issue was about.

nano
July 24th, 2007, 10:24 am
Another thought just struck me though - if Jo does see connections between wizar wars and real world ones - what war is she referring to now? What is the parallel in our world that corresponds to the current wizarding world war?

Or does she refer to the brutality of our world altogether and what it hase become?

nano

rotsiepots
July 24th, 2007, 10:27 am
Though, Rotsiepots, if it makes you uncomfortable, perhaps JKR really did achieve the desired effect.
It made me uncomfortable because I thought it was inappropriate and clunky, not because of what the Ministry/Voldemort was actually doing.

P.S. Kurt Vonnegut is the man.

IceNine_IV
July 24th, 2007, 10:38 am
Fair enough.

But I think if you really want to show true evil, there is no better way to do it than to ape it off of one of the greatest real evils in history.

P.S. Yes he is/was. And thanks for noticing, few do.

Snaedis
July 24th, 2007, 10:40 am
I was feeling very uncomfortable when I read all those references but now I'm convinced that it was good Jo wrote it that way. I think she wanted to show us how good can conquer evil when at least somebody is fighting the bad guys. And she wanted us to know that it's never too late to change your mind and that this can be to the advantage of everyone. (I'm talking about Harry's behaviour towards Kreacher - he started to change it because of the search for the Horcruxes and then it helped defeat the Death Eaters.)

rotsiepots
July 24th, 2007, 10:46 am
But I think if you really want to show true evil, there is no better way to do it than to ape it off of one of the greatest real evils in history.
Prior to DH I thought JKR had done a good job at subtly hinting at the connections between Voldemort and his Death Eaters and Hitler and National Socialism. It was just too obvious in DH and, as I said before, I hate the suggestion that Grindelwald was allied/caught up with Hitler. It's just offensive to me.

P.S. Breakfast of Champions is my favourite, but Cat's Cradle is quite excellent too. Oh and Slaughterhouse Five. Have you read that?

You-Know-Who
July 24th, 2007, 10:59 am
You know I want to make a "She's English, what did you expect" joke but I don't think many would appreciate it nor get it.

Yes the references to WWII was beyond obvious, no it did not offend me, yes I do think people should let it go but I doubt that's going to happen any time soon.

me_potter_fan
July 24th, 2007, 11:00 am
i liked all the references i had always thought of Voldemort as Hitler and Grindelwald had a connection to WW2

Fleur du mal
July 24th, 2007, 11:01 am
Jo's setting is the 19th century, and Grindelwald's reign coincided with Hitler's. I don't think it was over the top, as it did make sense, but I can see how it would effect German readers. Especially the obvious reference to Nuremburg (Nurmengard).

Yes, that was a very obvious one. Like Grindlewald was the one to built Nurmengard in the first place only to be taken there after his defeat, the Nazis re-modelled Nürnberg to become that iconic Nazi city (where the Reichsparteitag took place that Leni Riefenstahl became famous for filming so expressively) and were later taken back there to face their trials and a number of times, executions.

mmurray
July 24th, 2007, 11:04 am
Actually something she did trivialize in an earlier book was the burning of witches. It was claimed that witches could just use a charm to stop themselves being burnt and some even enjoyed it. In reality witch trials and burnings were horrific.

I don't see her as trivializing totalitarianism though. Given the age of her audience I think she did a good job of projecting how horrible it is. For a lot of children HP might be were they learn about totalitarianism rather than history class. I assume she picked up some of this from her time in Portugal. Certainly she seems to have borrowed the dictator Salazar's name!

Michael

XoXhugglesXoX
July 24th, 2007, 11:18 am
It honestly didnt cross my mind that she was refering to anything like hilter/nazi/genoside thing at all even though she used german names. i feel a bit naive now lol but, the wizending world to me is completely seporate and so it didnt enter my mind until reading this thread, i can see the simular ways now and can understand why people didnt like it but i just think Jo was trying to put into a context we could understand from our muggle world into Harrys thats all. im sure she didnt mean to offend anybody. =)

ivyagogo
July 24th, 2007, 11:31 am
I think it's supposed to make you (not you in particular Rotsiepots) but all of us uncomfortable. Forget about history you're dammed to repeat it. There were allusions to the Nazi party and Hitler right from the very beginning of the series. In fact, I am trying to remember the event, but there was something that happened in the books (might have been Buckbeak's hearing) that was set on April 20th - Hitler's birthday.

I'm sure she wasn't meaning for any German fans to take it personally. It's a huge part of history that seems to be repeating itself in parts of the world right now. It's a stand against Genocide of all types.

Fleur du mal
July 24th, 2007, 11:33 am
Rotsie - I see your point, I believe. Some pages prior, someone suggested that Grindlewald might have imperiused Hitler to act like he did. When this is the kind of conclusion coming out of DH, in that case I'd be appalled, no, plainly disgusted, too.

This isn't a question of feeling offended because of my nationality. It's being offended as a human being for interpreting the symbol figure of one of the most cruel times in history, as a man who couldn't have helped himself against the might of a wizard, thus sending millions into the gas-chambers.

But seriously, I believe JKR wanted to achieve the contrary impression. NOT trivialise the Holocaust, but make it 'visible' to a generation that slowly grows out of grandparents who can still remember and tell.


The statue I found blood-curling. The wizard and witch were depicted like those monumental Arno Breker statues, Magic Is Might reminded me so awfully of 'Arbeit macht frei' or 'Der Willer Zur Macht' (which is, by the way, from Nietzsche, and even if defamed because the Nazis used his philosophy, you must not make the mistake and think he had sympathised with any of their ideas in the time when he was alive still). Most of all the piles of bones reminded me of the films I about Auschwitz being liberated, and the American troops filmed what they found - the huge mountains of human corpses, carelessly piled up like wood for a bonfire, nameless victims robbed of their last bits of dignity by their murderers

Dylanis
July 24th, 2007, 11:34 am
I'm not made uncomfortable by it - I just feel like it's some symbolism that makes the story even better

wickedwickedboy
July 24th, 2007, 11:41 am
I agree, it was all a little to gruesome and memorable. I came away reallly liking the final acts of Grindelwald's character which one should not have under the circumstances. (In the end he wouldn't give up the sword information to possibly protect Dumbledore's grave and keep Voldemort from the wand).

How do you rationalize such a supposed evil man's "good character ending" when you consider the similarities to the real world and JKR's universe?

smartypants
July 24th, 2007, 11:50 am
Maybe it's because I'm German, or maybe it's because I'm utterly humourless when it comes to these sorts of allegories.

I couldn't help but feel that the obvious references to National Socialism were a little bit over done. I felt rather uncomfortable whenever another reference came up. Oh and Grindelwald and Gregorovitch just had to be German, didn't they?

How did everyone else feel? Maybe I need to lighten up.

I think they are in no way overdone at all. Btw, I'm not all sure they are specifically German, but yes, it is quite obvious throughout all of the books that the Pure-blood movement is an allegory over racism, and that Grindelwald thereby is some sort of parallell or allegory over Hitler and Nazism. You could for example see how Grindelwalds hatred for muggles spills over into contemporary societies obsession with genetic purety.

I have great difficulties seing how this can be "overdone" in any way. It's entirely appropriate for the anti-racist, individualistic and inclusive message in the books. That you find loads of parallells is because the racist messages spread by Hitler and other racists is very similar to the messages of Wizard superiority that Grindelwald spreads, and the message of Pure-blood superiority that the death-eaters spread. Or well, similar... they are the SAME message, really: Some people are better than others because of their blood.

There is no difference, and I wouldn't have thought it overdone if Hitler himself would have been mentioned.

nano
July 24th, 2007, 12:16 pm
I agree, it was all a little to gruesome and memorable. I came away reallly liking the final acts of Grindelwald's character which one should not have under the circumstances. (In the end he wouldn't give up the sword information to possibly protect Dumbledore's grave and keep Voldemort from the wand).

How do you rationalize such a supposed evil man's "good character ending" when you consider the similarities to the real world and JKR's universe?

Wasnt that the point of remorse as DD mentioned it in the Station scene - even Grindelwald managed to feel remorse in the end, which probably saved his soul.

nano

rotsiepots
July 24th, 2007, 12:30 pm
Rotsie - I see your point, I believe. Some pages prior, someone suggested that Grindlewald might have imperiused Hitler to act like he did. When this is the kind of conclusion coming out of DH, in that case I'd be appalled, no, plainly disgusted, too.
Thank you for seeing my point. I can now retire to the Bahamas with a clear conscience.

Overdose
July 24th, 2007, 12:37 pm
And I don't see how I'm the only one who sees how obviously the Deathly Hallows symbol is an exact parallel with the swastika.

Well frankly it's just as much a parallel of any other symbol of any other regime.

Similarly with the muggle genocide. The genocide of the holocaust is the one that sits most powerfully with the general western consiousness so when JK writes about a genocide how can anyone expect her not to have some sort of similarity? Also, the reader will undoubtably draw parallels with something so close to them.

But let's not forget that other readers round the world will probably draw similar parallels to other genocides or racial cleansing groups for example the KKK style Death Eaters etc and the informants, similar to Stalin's or Saddams as much as they were the Gestapo.

The references to the Nazis probably come out strongly because they are the most ingrained in JK's own western centred version of history, and similarly with the western readers but the references overall INCLUDING race background checks etc are just as applicable to other regimes. For every similarity there are also differences.

Furthermore, frankly JK has always said in Voldemort's case she is writing about extreme evil and I would be highly disappointed if she pulled any punches in regards to the events of Voldemort's rise to power if it meant not offending some people.

Flask_Sipper
July 24th, 2007, 12:44 pm
The whole series takes lessons from history. The whole mudblood/pureblood thing as always smacked of Nazi Germany. i don't think it was a mistake these themes were presented. The house elf oppression has its roots in American slavery. The fifth and sixth books remind me of the post-9/11 era of constant surveillance.

Voldemorts character is a parallel to Hitler. He wants to eliminate or rule over those that don't come from a pure background, yet he himself didn't. Same as Hitler.

I don't think I could ever walk away from a work of fiction, though, and beleive that a fictious character Imperiused a living person, convincing them that slaughtering a race of people was a good idea.

I think the themes provide a good way to discuss history with the kids in your life. I know that the first three books were ok to let my nephew read alone, but I became very involved when he started the fourth book, because of the more complex themes involved. We talked about how they related to history, dabbled around what WWII was, etc. I think teachers could put these books to good use, if they really wanted to.

Fleur du mal
July 24th, 2007, 12:50 pm
Thank you for seeing my point. I can now retire to the Bahamas with a clear conscience.

I'm sorry if I sounded patronising or something, that really wasn't my intention :no:

gertiekeddle
July 24th, 2007, 12:58 pm
I have no problem with the history references, actually I like them a lot. Just expected a bit more imagination from JK than using WWII & NS time - as so many authors do to show the 'not beatable evil'. It's overdone for me and I don't get any shiver from it anymore when I read about such a reference. That is what I meant earlier with it's not appropriate for the historical event to get used in so many entertainment sectors without - that seems to be unfortunately often enough the case - brighter reflection on it. It does not help to keep these things and what really happened in mind I think, it supports letting these references appear trivial.

For the Potter series it actual works not to bad. JK made up a major story about wizarding world in our times and so history does belong to all fiction. So in the quality she used it I'm fine with it. But for the reasons above - that these references appear everywhere since some decades in literature and movies (and likely at quite unexpected parts) - I feel uncomfortable with it.

Barney
July 24th, 2007, 1:03 pm
The Nazi regime was so shocking because it was born from democracy. It is possible for a democratic country full of ordinary people to end up killing millions of innocents. Of course any storyline that involves a western government becoming an evil regime will lead to comparasons with Nazism.

I found real paralells in the books with what is happening at the moment - wandless = stateless, undesirable = enemy non-combatant etc...I think the books are a fantastic lesson in ethics. I particularly loved JKR's continuing theme of how the media can be manipulated, how governments can "spin" things and how propaganda is used. The most important thing I have learnt in my studies is to constantly question what I am being taught or what I am reading.

I had to go to college for two weeks in July and I was shocked at how uncritical younger students were - how they bought the official line so easily - that's how evil regimes get away with stuff!

Deevo
July 24th, 2007, 1:06 pm
Maybe it's because I'm German, or maybe it's because I'm utterly humourless when it comes to these sorts of allegories.

I couldn't help but feel that the obvious references to National Socialism were a little bit over done. I felt rather uncomfortable whenever another reference came up. Oh and Grindlewald and Gregorovitch just had to be German, didn't they?

How did everyone else feel? Maybe I need to lighten up.
I can understand where you're coming from but I feel your nationality may be making you a tad focussed on just the one historical example of such a regime as opposed to the broader concept. As a child of a British couple who lived through the war (much like Jo) I very much grew up with the notion that Nazis are the bad guys and in my youthful ignorance in those days, no doubt reinforced by the films and television of the times, Nazis always equalled Germans. Of course as one grows up you learn to separate the politics from the people and I have come to understand that the actions of the leaders aren't always representative of the people they lead.

Reading through DH there were definitely parallels though I thought they were more with the concept of a totalitarian regime rather than specifically with Nazi Germany, in fact I found more parallels between Orwell's 1984 and the recent film V for Vendetta than any specific historical period.

The only thing that really disturbed me was how easily the wizarding populace was lead into such a bigoted and prejudiced system and I think that parallels the political direction some of our societies are heading in today. There's an old saying that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it and I'm very nervous that we may be on a similar path globally to pre WW2 Germany.

I am bothered about that as well. When I read that Gregorovich's (oh what typical German name) wife or who ever that was spoke in German, I thought that we are at Germans = bad again.

Quite a lot of things in the book which had to do with bad persons and places derive had something to do with Germany.
- Grindelwald
- Gregorovich
- that other prison which name I forgot
etc.
I never thought of it in that respect when I was reading the book. Yes Grindlewald seemed to be a Germanic character but I never thought of him as specifically German.

I didn't feel it was referencing the Nazi's in particular but rather ANY oppressive regime (the current bush administration came to mind actually). That said, the events of the Second World War are a pretty big part of the collective consciousness of the people of the UK, so any parallels should be expected.
:agree: Many Britons who lived in that era and their descendants probably still feel, if not outright hostility, then at least a certain reticence about their former 'Enemy'. It's not something you'd condone but it is understandable.

Actually I agree, Rotsie. I do think it bordered on offensive, especially the chairs made of muggle bones or whatever in the ministry. That was over the top IMO.
Perhaps, but such things did happen and continue to happen today. You only need to see some of the conflicts among countries in Africa and the Middle East to see this.

I mean, JKR made it a little TOO obvious-I'm fine with the concept of a loose comparison to WW2, but she made the parallels too exact. It could have been toned down in editing, I know exactly what you mean. And I'm American, lol. :)
I disagree, WW2 was the most obvious parallel mainly because it was the most historically well documented example of such, but it was far from the only one. You only have to look at Stalinist Russia to see that.

I thought that it was appropriate in some way. The parallels have always been there, and the systematic elimination of 'Undesirables' was shocking to me to say the least. I didn't think that it was trivialized in the least. It showed us what Voldemort's grand scheme was. It showed us how bad things could be.
:agree: And I feel it also showed us how easily we could slip into such a regime.

There were parallels to the Holocaust, and to the Nazis, but I don't think that German = Nazi.
Exactly.

You know I want to make a "She's English, what did you expect" joke but I don't think many would appreciate it nor get it.
Jokes notwithstanding it would be fair to say that there are still many British who unreasonably hate Germans, as there are no doubt other Europeans. There are likewise many Americans (not to mention Australians) who hate the Japanese. Is it reasonable to do so after so many years have passed and the men responsible for the destruction? No it isn't but it is understandable, for some at least.

Yes the references to WWII was beyond obvious, no it did not offend me, yes I do think people should let it go but I doubt that's going to happen any time soon.
And quite frankly I don't think they should. We're seeing global events now that are paralleling those that lead up to WW2. Only a matter of weeks ago a man was imprisoned for nearly two weeks in Australia without charges being laid because he was suspected of being involved in the Glasgow bombings. The police repeatedly searched his home, questioned his associates, were granted several extensions of time to hold the man in custody and yet found no conclusive evidence. In the end they were forced to release him only to have the immigration department revoke his visa (Like an American green card) and have him put in detention as an illegal immigrant.

I don't know if the man was guilty or not but I think the authorities went way beyond reasonable practises in dealing with him and that was scary.

Kashman
July 24th, 2007, 1:25 pm
No they did not. I did see them and found it good because alot of the younger generation don't know about WWII, yes they are taught about it but as time goes by more people are questioning the holocust as to whether it actually happened. So if people can read parallels from this book and WWII and see what the Nazi party were all about then good. I don't think that JK wa being anti german though just remember the biggest villian was British as were most of them.

gertiekeddle
July 24th, 2007, 1:30 pm
No they did not. I did see them and found it good because alot of the younger generation don't know about WWII, yes they are taught about it but as time goes by more people are questioning the holocust as to whether it actually happened. So if people can read parallels from this book and WWII and see what the Nazi party were all about then good. I don't think that JK wa being anti german though just remember the biggest villian was British as were most of them.I don't think JK was anti-German, she didn't speak about the country at all. The same time I wonder if someone who really never heard about could have guessed what she is talking about.

Being German I grew up with knowing Nazis = evil and believe me I guess this is nowhere taught as much as here where you still hardly could put the German flag or sing the hymn (all post war) without being looked at rather suspicious until last years' World Cup. But I do not think permanent references in literature to this time help to put it accurate.

vampiricduck
July 24th, 2007, 1:33 pm
I think it's safe to say that JK ROwling didn't mean this in any offensive way at all. I think that, over the years, we all suspected that the deafeat of the Dark Wizard Grindelwald, in 1945, smelled a bit like Hitler, and it was suggested many times on these boards.

I think it's safe to say she simply carried this on. However, I am unsure that Grindelwald was German. All it ever says relating to the location of Durmstrang is that it's "in the north, in a very cold region". I was thinking farther North than Germany, to be honest. Of course, they could have gone there, from Germany. But still, it doesn't totally fit.

Nurmengard does sound liek Nuremberg. Well known fact is that, notwithstanding the rallies held there, Nuremberg was the place in which the leaders of the Nazis were put on trial, in the city they had made their place of celebration already. The irony was huge.

Nurmengard was not mentioned as a city, merely as a prison.
Also, we were to expect that the Dark Wizard Grindelwald was DARK to the point of destruction. Perhaps putting him on the footing with the National Socialist movement in Germany was to make him a true villian, when we had previously heard so little about him.

wallflowerrr
July 24th, 2007, 2:04 pm
The Muggle Registration thing really creeped me out and reminded me of the Jewish Registration - and it was all about wanting to purify their race.

I found the takeover at the Ministry so fascinating. They'd been taken over, essentially, by Death Eaters, and were introducting Voldemort's values into the wizarding world, and the government could do nothing about it. Umbridge SUPPORTED it. Arthur could do nothing but go to work. The entire government was repressed - that really creeped me out, and definitely drew parallels with WWII I think.

caree929
July 24th, 2007, 2:37 pm
First off and a bit OT, I wanted to ask any German posters something kind-of nitpicky that's been bugging me: was JKR useage of German correct? When she wrote "'Das ich weiss nicht'" I cringed because it just didn't sound like the correct word order to me. I think I remember learning in one of my German classes that one really doesn't need to say "das" when referencing to not knowing something. (eg. One could just say, "Ich weiss nicht." or if desired, "Ich weiss das nicht.") I could be wrong, but I'm really curious! And to clarify to what someone said earlier about "Arbeit macht freit:" that phrase was not only above the gates at Auschwitz, but above the gates at many camps, including Dachau, which I've visited. It appears to have been one of their "catch phrases" so to speak.

Back OT... For me, personally, the references worked and were very relevent. My husband is British and he's told me many stories from his grandparent's experiences during WWII and how it affected them. When we went to the Imperial War Museum, the WWII exhibit was quite large. The bombing of London, children fleeing to the countryside or even other countries, is, in many ways, nearly burned into the collective British conscious. Given Jo's age and all, her parents and grandparents could definitely have told her much and she probably knew a lot. I also think her references were intentional.

Is it wrong to include such references? No, not really. I say this because she, thankfully, showed Dumbledore as flawed and susceptible to the same elitist/racist thinking. I think nearly anyone could be actually. What happened in Germany could happen almost anywhere-- look at the US and how we treated the Japanese! We didn't kill them, that's true, but we put them in internment camps solely for being of Japanese ancestry. And both German and Italian Americans were persecuted against, too. I think Jo's point is that it can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time. We must always be mindful of that. And putting it into a children's book is entirely acceptable and relevant. I'm a children's librarian and I believe literature is one of the best ways children can learn about their world, even if they're learning through a fantasy story with a parellel world.

And in reference to an earlier post: why wouldn't people, American in particular, think "all Germans were Nazis"? My senior year of high school one of my friends, a German exchange student, was called a Nazi, but a rude and insenstive boy. It hurt her deeply because her grandfather was accidentally killed near the end of the war as he was trying to save his sons from being forced into the German army. I was never educated about the Japanese internment in my middle and high school education so I spent much of my growing up thinking that America had been perfect during the war and Germany had been evil. Finding out the truth was a very eye-opening experience for me. We must never lose sight of the fact that prejudice knows no boundary. I think one of the more important themes of the books are that people are not black and white in morality, but carry various shades of gray. No one is truly good or truly evil. (Well, except Voldemort, but he's the villian!)

GingerR
July 24th, 2007, 2:38 pm
Some points to ponder:

1. Infiltration of the Government = George Bush (maybe he's imperiused, it would make a lot of sense)

2. Control of the media (I have to go to the BBC to get real news, news is heavily and seemingly voluntarily censored in the US right now)

3. Bad Guys claiming that they will make the world better if they only control it = boondogle in Iraq.

4. Malfoy's dungeon = Guantanamo

I saw as many similarities between Nazi Germany and this story as I did between what is currently US policy towards Iraq/Iran and DH.

I didn't think Gregorovitch was a German name, I thought it was Russian or Slavic. Grindelwald and the name of the prison he was in (which I forgot) did seem German to me. But I still saw a lot of similarities between what's happening with genocide in Africa today, and in the US's policy.

I think it wasn't *just* Nazi Germany which she styled her war upon, but a series of things that have happened and are still happening in the world.

To paraphrase Dumbledore: it's important to keep fighting, because even when one evil is defeated, more will come, and only by continuing to fight can we stay free.

BookWhizzbee
July 24th, 2007, 2:43 pm
I was really surprised to see that Jo really wrote German sentences.
And I was really grateful that she got them right, grammar and spelling and all. I have seen some funny things in that respect in English books.

"For the Greater Good" was carved in the entry way to Nuremgard, the prison that held Grindelwald's opponents, just like "Arbeit Macht Frei" at Auschwitz. Grindelwald had his own concentration camps, it seems.
That one made me really uneasy, too. I can't really pinpoint why. It just felt over the top and out of place to me.

That being said, yes, I am German, and no, I don't feel offended or anything by any comparisons made to Nazi-Germany in 'Deathly Hollows'.

It was always clear JKR was drawing paralells to all the kinds of racial discrimination in history with the pure-blood thing and also the discrimination of magical creatues like elves or centaurs in her books, and the Nazi regime simply is the most widely known example of that sort of attidue going completely out of control.

The Nazi regime was so shocking because it was born from democracy. It is possible for a democratic country full of ordinary people to end up killing millions of innocents.
And that is actually one major difference to the Harry Potter-universe. Because what the Death Eaters did was definitely more of a coup than a legal takeover. (I hope coup is the right word there.)


Edited to add:
First off and a bit OT, I wanted to ask any German posters something kind-of nitpicky that's been bugging me: was JKR useage of German correct? When she wrote "'Das ich weiss nicht'" I cringed because it just didn't sound like the correct word order to me. I think I remember learning in one of my German classes that one really doesn't need to say "das" when referencing to not knowing something. (eg. One could just say, "Ich weiss nicht." or if desired, "Ich weiss das nicht.") I could be wrong, but I'm really curious!
Oops, yes, you're right. "Das ich weiss nicht" would be wrong word order, and both "Ich weiss nicht" or "Ich weiss das nicht" would be correct sentences.
And I was so certain she got it right. Do you remember where in the book this line is?

MissCreole
July 24th, 2007, 2:57 pm
I wasn't uncomfortable about it, on the contrary, it made me realize why people feared Voldemort. I always thought of him (prior to DH) that he was just a dark wizard who waved his power around and killed off all that opposed him, but with these references, Jo managed to instill fear not only to her characters but to the readers who realized this as well.

I can't offer you detailed history notes, but I just realized this WW II/fascism/genocide reference because we just recently watched Schindler's List for TV art. I was personally scared of the Snatchers.

joeystrider
July 24th, 2007, 3:07 pm
Maybe making the prison Nurmengard was an insy bit too far... But it gives us a reality grounding for Voldemort and Grindelwald. Referencing them to our history makes us understand the fear.

Onyma
July 24th, 2007, 3:09 pm
I loathed the WWII references. It is one thing to allude to past events and historical personages, and it is quite another to use your literary work to hit the nail that has already been hit on the head over and over and over and over again. Educating your audience about the past is a splendid idea, but I think this was done in an incredibly hateful way that benefits no one.

Kyle_Potter
July 24th, 2007, 3:15 pm
Have to say I found them a bit uncomfortable? The pure blood thing reminded me very much of the genocide, and how the 'mudbloods' were given unfair trials is very much reminiscent of Hitler's Germany.

i also think the use of the Imperius curse and people "not knowing" what they were doing is very like what happened in Germany. People turned a blind eye as the holocaust occured; indeed the outside world did not know many of the details until it was already too late.

HarrietaPotter
July 24th, 2007, 3:16 pm
Maybe it's because I'm German, or maybe it's because I'm utterly humourless when it comes to these sorts of allegories.

I couldn't help but feel that the obvious references to National Socialism were a little bit over done. I felt rather uncomfortable whenever another reference came up. Oh and Grindelwald and Gregorovitch just had to be German, didn't they?

How did everyone else feel? Maybe I need to lighten up.

I felt the whole situation even in Book Six to be more a reference to the situation in the USA nowadays. All this restricting security mesures, the Ministry (government) hunting down the wrong people and deliberately hiding information or else lying..while Voldemort was pulling strings in the background and getting stronger everyday..Honestly, I've always envisoined USA reading it.

foostick
July 24th, 2007, 3:44 pm
I've only been able to read the first 5 pages of responses but I want to tip my lot in so apologies if I'm repeating anything.

Yes there were themes there though to me the whole thing was centered much more around the enemy at home. We could fit the situation to fit any scenario in history seemingly, though we're concentrating on Nazi Germany.

My points, as it were:

1) Grindelwald is our "GERMANIC" villain with Nazi like views. I take that view but there is no indication that he was a Half-Blood like Voldemort/Hitler. He shows remorse at the end unlike Voldemort/Hitler.

More to the point, I don't recall him being explicitly described as German?

2) Gregorovitch wasn't a bad guy, he looked like Father Christmas and was a wand-maker in the wrong place at the wrong time. Hell maybe it's something to with Wand-Lore that the makers of wands have to be creepy. Ollivander anyone?

3) Magic Is Might, For the Greater Good. These slogans are true to a degree and have a dual meaning. Magic IS might, look at that battle at the end. For the greater good, that was what Albus was working towards.

The comparisons being made here to Work Shall Set You Free, are to me inaccurate but that's just my interpretation.

4) We've had Voldebaby's racial intolerance thrust in our face from back in the day. Now that he's in power surely we HAVE to see it. It'd be some shoddy story-telling from JKR if she didn't show it. Racial hatred is racial hatred whether you're in the Muggle World or the Wizard World.

Apologies for the rambling and nonsense nature of that, I'm exhausted, hot and still reeling from the majesty of DH!

Happy debabting folks.

Vampire_Girl
July 24th, 2007, 3:46 pm
It was shocking and disturbing, yes, but it also seemed like what would logically happen if Voldemort took control of the Ministry. He wanted anything not pure-blooded to be done away with and he had no problems with killing people. So while it did make me uncomfertable....within the context of the story, it still made sense.

olin
July 24th, 2007, 3:47 pm
I think this thread really should be two threads:
1) Did JKR use WWII as a reference point for the treatment of less-than-pure-bloods? and
2) Did the treatment of less-than-pure-bloods make you uncomfortable?

The title of the thread puts an emotional element to the whole thing that is unnecessary.

JuliBean77
July 24th, 2007, 3:51 pm
Gregorovitch sounds like a russian name to me.

Onyma
July 24th, 2007, 3:55 pm
I think this thread really should be two threads:
1) Did JKR use WWII as a reference point for the treatment of less-than-pure-bloods? and
2) Did the treatment of less-than-pure-bloods make you uncomfortable?

The title of the thread puts an emotional element to the whole thing that is unnecessary.[/QUOTE]
I think one would have to have a pretty poor knowledge of world history to debate the correlation between World War II and the events of Harry Potter. And what we're discussing here is not the treatment of Mudbloods, but Rowling's incessant references to WWII.

olin
July 24th, 2007, 4:00 pm
Then the title should be: Did JK Rowling overuse references to WWII? The word "uncomfortable" leads the debate--in my opinion.

court77
July 24th, 2007, 4:02 pm
This WWII metaphor has been used frequently in the literature of relatively recent years, Richard Adam's Watership Down for example. I think it is a useful device for illustrating the dangers of letting the government attain too much control, since it is a tragic period of history which most of us are familiar, and is therefore relatable.

WoundedWizard
July 24th, 2007, 4:03 pm
There are many references to the policies of the Nazi regime and World War II, both imagined by the reader and others put in purposefully by Rowling. For instance, there can be no mistaking the idea that Tom Riddle/Voldemort (like Hitler) promotes a racial policy that he himself does not fit. I am not going into the rumor (which I don't believe) that Hitler had Jewish blood, I am pointing out that a black-haired Austrian was spouting how the blond/blue-eyed Germans were the best of the best. Voldemort's regime puts its greatest emphasis on being Pure Blood, and while Half-bloods (like Harry and Voldemort) would seemingly not be persecuted, Voldemort did not exactly go around singing about having a Muggle father; he did however let everyone know he was descended from Salazar Slytherin.

As a reader, I was kind of shocked at finding out the lengths to which Voldemort was going. For the entire series we had read how Voldemort's reign was so terrible the last time, and yet I never felt a clear idea of what he'd been about. To me, what really drove home the ideas of the horror of his regime was seeing not only Ted Tonks on the run for his life (which was bad enough) but Dean as well. We as readers have known Dean since he was Harry's roommate even in the first year. In the fifth year, he was one of the original members of Dumbledore's Army, and despite his best friend Seamus's inability to trust Harry, Dean never showed any signs of feeling the same way. To see Dean having to flee for his life certainly showed (in my opinion) the cruelty of Voldemort's regime.

I felt that the regime could be substituted, however, for many different ones, not just the National Socialist Party's regime in Germany, but also the Stalinist reign over the Soviet Union, or all the different genocidal murderer's (Pol Pot, Slobodan Milosevic, and many more) who had ruled over people. I also thought of the fictional regime in George Orwell's 1984, and the idea that a government could drastically change policies from one day to the next (almost pulling a 180 degree turn in ideals) and still make the people believe it. In 1984, the government told people one day that they were at war with East Asia, and allied with Eurasia, and that it had ALWAYS been that way. The very next day, they would be at war with Eurasia and at peace with East Asia, and again, it had ALWAYS been that way. I was thinking mostly of 1984 during Umbridge's interrogation scene, as she wondered where a Muggle-born witch would "steal" her wand from.

One of the things I thought that was also very true to life as taken from all those oppressive totalitarian regimes was the idea of silencing those who spoke out. I have worked with different people who are old enough to have been young German citizens during World War II, and one of them told the story of how his Uncle (a respected man in his village) had tried to speak out against the Nazis, and had suddenly "Disappeared" one day. He also spoke of an older man, also respected in the village, who tried to bring light on the disappearance and was himself taken. Most know the stories of Hans and Sophie Scholl, young German college students who tried to raise awareness of the Nazi regime, and were killed for it. Any idea of the entire German (and expanded to the European countries taken over by the Nazis) population going willingly along with the policy of genocide is untrue and ridiculous. The Nazis didn't just use fear and torture against the Jews, but against their own people to force them into compliance. Stalin of course used his massive purges to settle his desires (which was of course absolute stupidity. By killing off his most intelligent citizens, and the best soldiers he had, he made the war against Hitler much more difficult than it might have been otherwise).

I am just one American (more specifically, a New Yorker...and very proud to be one) and cannot speak for all, but I do know that I did not associate the actions of the Death Eaters purely with the Germans of World War II. Yes, the racial policies do recall the Nuremberg Laws written in the 1930s in Germany to classify blood. There was little respect amongst those in power not just for fully Jewish people, but for half-Jews, and even those who had married Jews. For a fantastic (though shocking, even knowing all the horrors of the Nazis) movie on the subject, I would recommend seeing the HBO-movie, "Conspiracy," which is entirely about the Wannsee Conference, held in Berlin in 1942...the very meeting where the Final Solution was put into motion.

It has been said by many film and book reviewers of the later half of the 20th century (and into the 21st) that the easiest villains in film (and indeed, they have become almost stereotypical as villains) and book, both fiction and non-fiction. Yes, the Death Eaters share many similarities to the Nazis, and that makes them recognizable villains. They also share a lot in common with the American Ku Klux Klan, especially the way they are portrayed in the movies. Whenever villains in a book or film put stock on blood, they will draw comparisons to the Nazis, whether deserved or not. However you would be wrong to think that any indictment against the Nazis is one against Germany today, or Germany at any time since its defeat in 1945. Just as it would be wrong to blame any nation or people for the sins of their ancestors, it is perhaps wrong to think 2007 Germany has still to apologize for its history (so much of which the German people have a right to be proud of and to celebrate. No Germans should have to feel guilty about embracing their heritage and past due to the fact that 20-odd years were despicable. 20+ does not outweigh everything else).

People love to look for allegory in stories, and World War II is a very common allegory found in many tales. However, I don't believe the Harry Potter series has anything to do with a WW II allegory, despite any coincidences. Many people considered that the Lord of the Rings was an allegory for WWII soon after its publication, and people were so stringent upon that belief that J.R.R. Tolkien actually wrote a preface to the second (and all future) printing of the books ensuring that he never had a mind to connect his story to the War and that he had started the story long before the war had begun; he actually took the time in the preface to point out many differences between his story and WWII, and I would warn anyone who has never read LOTR and does not know (as they would from seeing the movies) how it ends not to read it, as Tolkien assumes all who read the preface to know the story well.

After the publication of books it is common to try and understand the thoughts and intentions of the author, but it is never a very fruitful endeavor. We cannot see into Ms. Rowling's thoughts, and to try and assume we know how she meant everything to come off is unfair. Aside from what we are told by Ms. Rowling, we can never be sure what the meanings beneath the story are...all we can tell by reading the story for CERTAIN is the story itself. As for what lies beneath...that will always be up for debate unless told specifically by the author.

Fleur du mal
July 24th, 2007, 4:09 pm
I did no double-takes while reading the German bits, so I'd have thought that they were correct, but then again, I was truly rushing along and maybe I paid too little attention. Where were they, to take a look?

In case it was wrong though... not to seem over-critical, but... That's the editor's bloody job, checking these things, and if you don't speak enough of the language yourself, then ASK SOMEONE WHO DOES AND DO NOT RELY ON BABLEFISH!!!

Sinistra
July 24th, 2007, 4:20 pm
One of the reasons we all seem to see WWII in DH is that its the war that had as one of its central themes race purity that we are most familiar with. Sort of the poster child race-purity war. It certainly isn't the only war about race purity. There are a couple going on right now (Darfur anyone?). Anyhow it is a common theme, but I see more parallels with the whole anti-terorism/Islamic militant movement than WWII. But maybe that's because I live in the US and see what these new laws to "protect" us are really doing.

All wars are similar, and all wars are different.

I liked the WWII parallels, and I thoght Gregorovitch was a Russian, but that's just me. I didn't even realize Grindelwald was German. Nurmengard=Nuremburg, I didn't see that, either. Though now I do. It takes me several readings to get some of the finer nuances. My brain is soooooo full with the whole book.

I was however surprised and disturbed by Dumbledore's For the Greater Good philosophy. That sort of thing led to lots of bad stuff all over history. It was interesting to learn more of Dumbledore's history and life, but yeah, disappointing to discover he has been less than wonderful in his youth. Then again, we all have probably done things we are ashamed of, so that just makes Dumbledore human.

ArtemisiaDax
July 24th, 2007, 4:29 pm
I have to say, "Work Makes Free" was the first thing I thought of when I saw the "For the Greater Good" slogan. But I wasn't so much struck by Grindelwald/Nazism as I was by Voldemort's use of Nazi practices (substituting "blood purity" for "racial purity.") Is it too much borrowing? That's probably a matter of personal opinion. I don't really feel that it was meant to offend anyone. It's hard to comment on this because, as has been stated previously, the title seems leading; it leads to a "yes, I'm uncomfortable/no, I'm not reaction", and you can't really debate how other people feel.

Drusilla
July 24th, 2007, 4:31 pm
Well said, WoundedWizard. I'm not German, and I picked up the obvious parallels very easily (even the Minister for Magic shared a first name with the Pope of those years, Pius XII, who was allegedly rather ambivalent about speaking out against the NS of those days).
But I don't believe Jo Rowling meant it as anything but a story about what can happen if racism and discrimination on the basis of birth, religion or a million other things no human being can help, persist and free speech is silenced. There have always been parallels to WWII in the books, right from Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, but this was in fact the book that brought it home to us, just what a world controlled by Voldemort would in fact be like, and frankly it's not a thought that I like.

Infinity9999x
July 24th, 2007, 4:41 pm
I loathed the WWII references. It is one thing to allude to past events and historical personages, and it is quite another to use your literary work to hit the nail that has already been hit on the head over and over and over and over again. Educating your audience about the past is a splendid idea, but I think this was done in an incredibly hateful way that benefits no one.

How was this done in a hateful way? I'm sorry but I can't see any validating source for your comment. The only connection to WWII in the books is that Grindelwald was involved in creating WWII and involved with Hitler, and that's not even in the books, that's just a comment Jo made.

I don't understand why anyone would be remotely offended that the actions of the DE echo WWII, because you know what? WWII wasn't the only instance of one race trying to obliterate another. Has anyone taken a look at Africa lately? Watch Hotel Rwanda, will you be offended by that movie because it has genocide in it and reminds you of the holocaust? Or V for Vendetta, that displays a very Hitler-like dictator taking over Britain and throwing "undesirables" (basically anyone who wasn't white, heterosexual, or Christian) into concentration camps.

Jo was simply showing what could happen if a certain group gained power, and the sad thing is it's not that unrealistic. It could happen in our day and age under the right circumstances.

Kerfuffle
July 24th, 2007, 4:46 pm
Although the book does contain many apparent allusions to WWII, I believe that it goes beyond that. All wars have certain common threads, and just because the easiest analogy for a reader to make, does not mean it's wholly correct. All genocide is based on similar principles of purification and persecution. Like Infinity said, look at Africa. History is constantly repeating itself. If anyone is abusing the constant references and similarities to the Holocaust, it's the leaders of modern genocides, not Jo Rowling, for Christ's sake.

troryfan
July 24th, 2007, 4:49 pm
I understood why the references were there, and i think they helped the overall story. I have only recently learnt in more detail about WWII, which meant that the actual events are in my mind.
I wasn't exactly made uncomfortable by them, as I thought they would be good in raising awareness of the issue of genocide.
However, these books are supposed to be childrens books, and I'm not sure that children under a certain age will fully understand what is going on.

Jo

Infinity9999x
July 24th, 2007, 4:53 pm
I understood why the references were there, and i think they helped the overall story. I have only recently learnt in more detail about WWII, which meant that the actual events are in my mind.
I wasn't exactly made uncomfortable by them, as I thought they would be good in raising awareness of the issue of genocide.
However, these books are supposed to be childrens books, and I'm not sure that children under a certain age will fully understand what is going on.

Jo

These books really haven't been children's books since OOTP, or GOF even. They're more for the 11 to mid teen age. Just look at the size of them, most kids under 11 aren't going to want to read them simply because they'd be daunted by the volume of the books.

Drusilla
July 24th, 2007, 5:00 pm
I'd like to ask posters on this thread: just why do the purported WWII references make you uncomfortable, if they do? Is it because you feel somewhat like the WWII references are pointed at you personally or is it because it's disconcerting to see a pull-no-punches (or very few anyway, considering the average age of the audience at which this is aimed) verbal depiction of just what intolerance can do to people? I'm just curious, that's why I ask.

storyteller
July 24th, 2007, 5:01 pm
The idea that Rowling would "target" Germans is completely inconsistent with the message of multiracial, multinational unity that permeates the whole series. Yes, there are clear paralells between Voldemort and Hitler, but to denounce the Nazi regime is not to denounce the German people.

If anything, I feel that Rowling gave us a better understanding of the horrors that faced German citizens under Hitler's rule, showing that what happened in Germany could happen anywhere if a despot is allowed to seize power. The beaurocratic persecution of Muggle-borns and half-bloods felt like a natural progression to me: it was an inevitability under Voldemort's power. While there were characters like Umbrige, who illustrated the type who go along with such atrocities on their own accord, there were also those like Narcissa who demonstrated the type who go along out of fear for their own lives or their families. Being an unheroic person myself, I was driven to some empathy for those who complied out of fear, and that empathy, that understanding, does extend to all those who were guilty of evil they did not want to commit. Yes, morally, people should stand against evil no matter the cost. Easy to say, harder to do, especially when it is your family, rather than yourself, that you risk sacrificing. Her characters show the power of our instinct of sef-preservation as well as the fact of human failure and weakness. I believe that her books teach compassion for all, even when it's difficult.

The Malfoys were guilty of evil, both by acts and by failure to act, but they were forgiven for their human weakness. If a paralell between Nazi Germany and the wizard world must drawn, let it be drawn all the way to this end.

This is a sticky subject, and I'm not sure I handled it as well as I wanted. If anyone disagrees or takes offense to what I've said, then they see the flaw in reasoning that I think is in my post, although I can't put my finger on it. I am interested in getting this thought through.

I think you have just summed it up. Of course people of German decent draw the parallell, but they were not targeted.

Exactly.



YES THAT'S MINE! I beam a little every time someone cites that thread, it's my pride and joy on this forum! :lol:

Speaking of which, I am now fully convinced that the Ministry in OOTP represented the appeasers of the 1930's in Britain.



I hope I don't accidentally offend you, as I know this is a touchy subject (my grandfather is Jewish) but the DH represents the swastika because it is viewed as an evil symbol because of Grindelwald, just like how the swastika is viewed as evil because of the Nazis. But many don't know that before it was the Nazi symbol, the swastika was used extensively as a positive symbol, I believe it means (or at least once meant) good luck.

The Dark Mark resembles the swastika too, though, as I believe both are worn on the left arm.

but the DH was used in the first war. Did Hitler use the Swastika in WWI? I guess the DH was the swastika for the first war and the Dark Mark for the second.
You also have to remember that the sign of good luck had the legs at the end pointing in the opposite direction as the good luck symbol.

Moriath
July 24th, 2007, 5:10 pm
I'd like to ask posters on this thread: just why do the purported WWII references make you uncomfortable, if they do? Is it because you feel somewhat like the WWII references are pointed at you personally or is it because it's disconcerting to see a pull-no-punches (or very few anyway, considering the average age of the audience at which this is aimed) verbal depiction of just what intolerance can do to people? I'm just curious, that's why I ask.

Personally, I had a few not again and how very original moments. It's more like this topic having been written about, discussed and used as an example of what humans are capable of too often too make me appreciate references and allegories.

storyteller
July 24th, 2007, 5:19 pm
Additionally, the wand maker was never shown to be a bad man. Just a wand maker, and perhaps a touch greedy and foolish, but more interested in the power of wands than the politics of the wizarding world.


I think Jo tried to show this through Olivander. Even after Voldy imprisoned him for a year, he was still impressed by Voldy's magic. for him it was all about wands, as it was for Gregorovich.

Aunt_Marge
July 24th, 2007, 5:20 pm
[QUOTE=rotsiepots;4635078]

The suggestion that Grindelwald was allied with Hitler and may have been responsible for many of the terrible things that happened during WWII is offensive, in my opinion.
QUOTE]

I can understand that. I don't have an issue with the Nazi-like themes in the book, but I can see that there is a problem with suggesting that Grindelwald and Hitler worked together, or that Grindelwald placed Hitler under the Iperius Curse. However, I personally did not get that feeling while reading the book.

I didn't think she meant to suggest that Grindelwald and Hitler worked together, but I do think that there was a comparison between the DEs and the Nazis; Voldemort and Hitler. I can also imagine that Voldemort looked up to Hitler for his abilities in beaurocratic genocide and perhaps took lessons from him. That I think is actually an important lesson for readers to learn - that there are leaders today who are learning from evil leaders of the past.

gertiekeddle
July 24th, 2007, 5:25 pm
Personally, I had a few not again and how very original moments. It's more like this topic having been written about, discussed and used as an example of what humans are capable of too often too make me appreciate references and allegories.I felt the same. I have no issues with talking about Nazi times since I do that quite often (I'm German and I'm a historian). But what makes me feel uncomfortable is the overuse of it (in literature and movies as a whole) and that it so feels not appropriate for the whole topic very often. Just using 'Nazis' as the most evil every times you need these instance seems not fair for me against the victims this time really had.

selfdestruct
July 24th, 2007, 5:32 pm
Although JK made several allusion to Nazis, I saw these less as just reverting to the use of Nazi-ism to depict evil, but to show how easy it is to go from a seemingly well-meaning idea (as many people thought both Grindelwald and Voldemort had) to corruption, abuse and genocide. For me, many of these images expressed the future for the world (and the US in particular) if we continue this regime of terror. It's not much a a leap to go from where we are now to where the magical community (and the rest of the world during WWII) is.

moonshyne
July 24th, 2007, 5:34 pm
I don't see how anyone can not expect there to be some references to WW2, nazis, and the like. I'm in the US and even though we took part in the war, the average citizen wasn't affected by it like the average european was. Even now it still seems to cast a shadow....my husband is a HUGE pink floyd fan, and their music is nearly painful at times to hear because of the references and general gloominess. I've noticed that many different art forms to come out of europe are punctuated with that....I'm not sure what exactly to call it, it's just dark....but it seems to come from ww2.

And you gotta think, this is still happening....as we speak, the US is waging 'war' against an invisible enemy, and anyone who doesn't support it 110% is considered an unpatriotic terrorist sympathizer. Anyone who dares question those in authority are threatened, told to get out of the country and so on. It's funny to see people read it and know they are being presented with an obvious and absolute evil...but they don't recognize it when it's right in front of them.

Hmm, got off topic a bit, sorry. My point is, Evil is evil, and as long as it happens in the world, people will draw inspiration from it. You can compare the HP series to ww2, 1984, LotR, or any number of other works and always find similarities, because they are based on the same set of ideas. Evil people don't just take over, overnight...It's a slow process of programming people into either believing that your cause is just, or planting enough fear in them to make them afraid to speak out against it.

Sorry for any misspellings or if I'm not making sense, I'm tired....:)

Blast_ended
July 24th, 2007, 5:44 pm
Funny - because I felt the opposite! I felt the references to the Nazism just demonstrated how little society has progressed, and what a long way we have to go before genocide is eradicated. This makes the lessons of the time more powerful, not trivialized, in my opinion.

agreed!

storyteller
July 24th, 2007, 5:45 pm
The whole series takes lessons from history. The whole mudblood/pureblood thing as always smacked of Nazi Germany. i don't think it was a mistake these themes were presented. The house elf oppression has its roots in American slavery. The fifth and sixth books remind me of the post-9/11 era of constant surveillance.


I think the themes provide a good way to discuss history with the kids in your life. I know that the first three books were ok to let my nephew read alone, but I became very involved when he started the fourth book, because of the more complex themes involved. We talked about how they related to history, dabbled around what WWII was, etc. I think teachers could put these books to good use, if they really wanted to.

I though the house elves were more like religious fanatics who treated their masters like gods, there are even some people that lash themselves as a form of penance, like the elves punished themselves for disobeying.

I agree that these books will be good to get kids interested in history and also in government. I put it in the same class as 1945, 1984, Citizen Cane and Animal farm, which are still read in schools everywhere.

Aunt_Marge
July 24th, 2007, 5:48 pm
Personally, I had a few not again and how very original moments. It's more like this topic having been written about, discussed and used as an example of what humans are capable of too often too make me appreciate references and allegories.

Maybe it's because I'm Jewish, but I never feel that the topic of the Holocaust is being discussed or referenced "too often."
When it comes to the Holocaust or Darfur or Milosevic or Stalin of Pol Pot - I don't think there is such a thing as "too often." I think every references stregnthens the idea in our minds.

Onyma
July 24th, 2007, 5:55 pm
How was this done in a hateful way? I'm sorry but I can't see any validating source for your comment.
And that's why I did not present is as an irrefutable, set-in-stone fact, but as my own opinion. I don't know what Rowling meant to accomplish by inserting bits of the Third Reich into her books, but I do know that in fiction, everything that ends up on paper has some ulterior motive. Whether hers was a warning against the evils of war and racism or a personal dislike of the events, I think the references were gratuitous. The subject has already been exhausted; constantly parading the same group of people as a banner of the ultimate evil is hateful, whether they deserve it or not.

Mechouille
July 24th, 2007, 5:57 pm
I'm sorry but I can't understand this.

Maybe Grindelwald is supposed to be German, but I don't think it is to point how German people may be nasty... The thing is right clear to me. Grindelwald was powerful in the same time Hitler was. At the beginning of HBP, when Fudge and Scrimgeour came to visit the Prime Minister, it was cleared that what happened in the wizarding world could affect the muggle one. Yet, I don't believe JKR wanted to justify Hitler's acts by Grindelwald's reign of terror. She just uses a comparison, something we can refer to to understand what really happened in the wizarding world.

And I'm sorry, but Gregorovitch did not sound German at all, but Russian or something like that. And it is not said in DH that Gregorovitch is a bad guy. As you don't need to kill the last owner of the Elder Wand to be the new one, we can't assume that Gregorovitch was a murderer. All we know about him is his talented gift for wandmaking.

Moreover, JKR does not only make references about WWII. For example, the use of media to pass racial hatred theories is still existed. In Rwanda, the racial government line was communicated through radio. And what about the 19th century, where students learned how they were much better and civilized that the other colonized peoples? Where people in France already said that Jewish people must have stolen "real" French people to be so rich? It is the same thing happening in DH: muggleborns are accused to have stolen magic...
I never heard an English people complaining about a so-called comparison between the Ministry for Magic and Downing Street... Yet, I think they have more reasons to worry about.

Voldemort is not German at all, and he is far much awful than Grindelwald, who finally had remorses. And he chose a French name! As a French girl, I don't feel insult or something else by the fact JKR choose a French name for her villain. I don't care. If she did it because of my country's history, she was right. France had done terrible things. And so? Every country has an obscure moment in its past: fascism, dictature, etc.

There was so many dictature in Europe during the last century, so many people who had to suffer from it, you should not feel that way. It is such a shame.

Onyma
July 24th, 2007, 5:58 pm
Maybe it's because I'm Jewish, but I never feel that the topic of the Holocaust is being discussed or referenced "too often."
My countrymen were also victims of the Holocaust, and yet I do not share your sentiment.

xambruzzix42
July 24th, 2007, 6:05 pm
well i haven't got much to say on this topic, except that as i was reading further within the book, i definitely noticed that it seemed like a WW2 reference, especially when harry found out information about dumbledore when he was young.

also, in the OotP movie, that whole fudge poster, that really huge one, seemed rather fascist/communist to me.

storyteller
July 24th, 2007, 6:06 pm
I
Nurmengard does sound liek Nuremberg.
.

Nurmengard= (Nurem)burg + Stalen(grad)
German + Russian
also I found this in Latin: nu-, 'below, underneath'



It was always clear JKR was drawing parallels to all the kinds of racial discrimination in history with the pure-blood thing and also the discrimination of magical creatures like elves or centaurs in her books, and the Nazi regime simply is the most widely known example of that sort of attitude going completely out of control.


As I said in the regular WWII thread, I thought that the Centaurs and Elves represented the Americans during the time of WWII. We were looked down on as being crude and distasteful by lots of European people. Then when the war started they all looked towards the Americans who said it wasn't our problem and only joined the fight once it started affecting us.

Infinity9999x
July 24th, 2007, 6:36 pm
And that's why I did not present is as an irrefutable, set-in-stone fact, but as my own opinion. I don't know what Rowling meant to accomplish by inserting bits of the Third Reich into her books, but I do know that in fiction, everything that ends up on paper has some ulterior motive. Whether hers was a warning against the evils of war and racism or a personal dislike of the events, I think the references were gratuitous. The subject has already been exhausted; constantly parading the same group of people as a banner of the ultimate evil is hateful, whether they deserve it or not.


But she didn't insert bits of the Third Reich into her books! I want to repeat this once more The only valid connection to WWII JKR had to the Potter universe was that Grindelwald had a hand in creating that war. That was the only definite connection.

Yes, JKR had the DE's acting like Nazi's, but the Nazi's weren't the first people to attempt genocide and they weren't the last. I don't think Jo was modeling LV's reign specifically after the Nazi's, she was just showing what can happen when a fanatic becomes a dictator. She was taking her references from history in general, not just the Nazi regime. Like I said before, does any movie or book that shows a fanatic dictator or group in power reflect WWII? Is the V for Vendetta movie or Graphic Novel about WWII, is 1981 about WWII? No, they're meant as cautionary tales to prevent us from repeating the many mistakes man has made throughout history of letting the wrong people seize power.

firebolt57
July 24th, 2007, 8:21 pm
No! It's not a mark of "Germans are bad" It's this whole 'Voldemorts manipulating and blackmailing people' this is exactly what I thought while reading too! I mean, rounding up muggleborns? holocaust anyone? And the whole secretive and manipulative manor in which Voldemort worked. the potterwatch.... this 'hitler' of a man that is trying to rid the world that he doesn't think is pure....everything reminded me of it. But I didn't mind cause it made the war feel more real knowing that once, something like this actually happend!

Hillyz
July 24th, 2007, 8:25 pm
I have to agree. I did see a lot of WWII references, and felt slightly uncomfortable. I don't think she did it to do that though, I think it was the fact that it was a way to get people to relate to what was happening. As a Jew, the muggle born ethnic cleansing, it gave me chills.

mark_evens
July 24th, 2007, 8:41 pm
I don't think there were WWII references, but there were a lot of parallels.

The rounding up of Muggle-Borns parallels the Jewish round up the SS did, but Gernany isn't the only country to experience that. America forced Chinease and Japanease to "register" during WWII as well, and then put them in internment camps.

Racism was always a theme in HP books.
The consolidation of power the Voldy did, was paralleled by Hitler, but also by the Bush administration, as well as other tyrants throughout history.

I don't think Germany was targeted specifically. Eastern Europe is what was really referenced, which has always (unfortunatly) been seen as disconnected from western Europe.

lelila
July 24th, 2007, 8:53 pm
JK has said in the past that there was a lesson to her writing, the evils of prejudice, etc. She most notably in this book wrote about Muggle Registering. All those that couldn't prove their ancestry went to prison. This was an obvious reference to the Registry the Third Reich started in the 30's to determine who did not belong in the New Order. Those who couldn't prove they were "pure" went to a concentration camp.

While I don't think it was an example to be made of the German heritage or WWII itself, I think her point was to demonstrate the evils of segregation and prejudice.