Adolf Hitler's anti-semitism and militaristic behaviors began years before he led Germany into disarray.
New York's Simon Wiesenthal Center revealed what is believed to be an original copy of Hitler's first anti-semitic writing. The "Gemlich letter" was penned in 1919 and seen as the potential launch of Hitler's political career (the document is named after the man the letter was addressed to).
According to NPR, research still needs to be done to ensure that the letter is, indeed, the original, though the Wiesenthal Center says that the signature looks authentic. This July, the document will be on permanent display at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. The Center obtained this disturbing writing from a dealer for $150,000.
Last week, The New York Times reported that scholars have long known about this letter, as a copy has been archived in Munich for some time now. Some skeptics question the authenticity is the recently-released version of the letter. The Times has more:
... news that another copy had made its way to Los Angeles met with some skepticism among historians. The market for Hitler memorabilia is notorious for forgeries.
“It has to have very good provenance,” said Klaus Lankheit, deputy director of the archive at the Institute of Contemporary History in Munich. “From my experience, I would be very skeptical.”
But Othmar Plöckinger, an expert on early Hitler documents, says it appears that the document acquired by the Wiesenthal Center is the original letter written by Hitler and that the one in Munich is a copy made about the same time.
Michigan State University has translated the text into English. Below, find just a snippet of Hitler's discriminatory malice:
Through thousands of years of the closest kind of inbreeding, Jews in general have maintained their race and their peculiarities far more distinctly than many of the peoples among whom they have lived. And thus comes the fact that there lives amongst us a non-German, alien race which neither wishes nor is able to sacrifice its racial character or to deny its feeling, thinking, and striving.
Nevertheless, it possesses all the political rights we do. If the ethos of the Jews is revealed in the purely material realm, it is even clearer in their thinking and striving. Their dance around the golden calf is becoming a merciless struggle for all those possessions we prize most highly on earth.
These troubling words show Hitler's dislike for the Jews more than 10 years before he assumed power in Germany. It is these views, among others, that drove him to commit unthinkable human atrocities.