Normally, when Tom Tancredo posts some utterly ridiculous nonsense on his Facebook account, it’s best to ignore it. He thrives on the attention he gets. It feeds the empty pit inside his hollow chest.
However, there’s something to be learned from this one.
On Dec. 11, the former Congressman and failed gubernatorial and presidential candidate posted this picture on his account.
Predictably, his base wolfed down the off-color red meat and shared in their echo chambers, oblivious to any actual truth that might be contained within the photo. Spoiler alert: there is none.
Here’s the actual history behind this commonly misunderstood lie which has been told and retold by everyone from the NRA to every gun-toting militia on U.S. soil:
At the end of WWI, the Weimar Republic — long before the Nazis existed — clamped down hard on civilian gun ownership in Germany mostly in an effort to comply with the 1919 Treaty of Versailles — which laid out in Article 169 the terms for gun restrictions for citizens and military of the defeated German state:
“Within two months from the coming into force of the present Treaty, German arms, munitions and war material, including antiaircraft material, existing in Germany in excess of the quantities allowed, must be surrendered to the Governments of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers to be destroyed or rendered useless.”
The Reichstag was already on it — in Jan. of 1919, they passed a law requiring all citizens to surrender their guns to the state. That law was later relaxed in 1928 with the Law on Firearms and Ammunition and a permitting framework was installed. Then, 10 years later, under Nazi rule, Germany passed the German Weapons Act, deregulating the purchase of rifles, shotguns and ammunition, and lowering the purchase age from 20 to 18.
Yes, regulations were re-imposed on the Jews, but it was inconsequential. For one, the total number of Jews in Germany was around 500,000 at the time of the Holocaust — less than 1 percent of the total population of Germany, which was close to 70 million. Even if each woman, man and baby was armed with rifles or shotguns or handguns — they would have been no match whatsoever for the Nazi war machine.
Secondly, as Politifact notes, the ’28 laws had already made it much easier to obtain guns for all Germans, including Jews, and historians note that the registries relied upon for confiscation only applied to new purchases and were so incomplete that they were functionally useless.
So yes, it’s an absolute falsehood that only the police and military had guns. Hitler was happy to allow German non-Jewish citizens access to guns.
And that’s not the only thing wrong with the meme.
As it turns out, Tancredo and his base can’t even be bothered to get the spelling of Oskar Schindler’s name right.