D’oh! How’d I become a Nazi?

Here’s a bummer of a bit of information that some elderly Germans are discovering:

Hundreds of elderly Germans are being confronted with the revelation that they were recruited into the Nazi party during the second world war.

Historians researching Nazi party archives in Frankfurt have discovered that a string of prominent Germans were among those automatically granted membership to celebrate Adolf Hitler’s birthday.

Writers, a cabaret artist, scientists, journalists and politicians, including former cabinet ministers, are among those whose names are on the list.

According to records, they were part of a group of Germans born between 1925 and 1927 recruited en masse on the Führer’s birthday on 20 April 1944…

While there is general acceptance that most of those on the list became card-carrying Nazis against their will, the findings have unleashed a passionate debate among German historians over the extent to which Germans were willing followers of the Nazis and how many were unwittingly sucked into the party machine.

I can see how this sort of news would be a major buzzkill.

Of course, the question that would be hard to avoid is how many of them actually knew about it at the time and didn’t mind (or were even honored). Even so, given the totalitarian nature of Nazi Germany, it would be tough to figure out who was willing and who was not. Even though it was clear by April 1944 that Germany was losing the war, it would have been–shall we say?–unwise for those who found out about their new “honor” to protest or reject it.