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The proximity to concentration camps in World War II made people more likely to conform to Nazi beliefs

The proximity to Nazi concentration camps during World War II made people more likely to conform to the racist and intolerant philosophies of the Third Reich, according to a study.

In addition, these values ​​can be transmitted from generation to generation under the influence of parents and peers, experts concluded after studying archival data, surveys and elections.

According to the researchers, the values ​​of people close to the camps could have been affected by a form of psychological stress known as ‘cognitive dissonance’.

This is the mental discomfort that occurs when one’s beliefs are challenged by conflicting information or values.

For example, someone committed to the values ​​of multiculturalism will experience psychological stress when placed in a xenophobic society.

The researchers argue that those who live near concentration camps may have ended up adopting more intolerant beliefs to minimize this mental anguish.

The findings can help explain the resurgence of xenophobia, political intolerance and the radical political parties seen today, the team concludes.

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The proximity to Nazi concentration camps during World War II made people more likely to conform to the racist and intolerant philosophies of the Third Reich, according to a study. In the picture, the main gate of the Auschwitz concentration camp in Oświęcim, Poland (stock image)

The proximity to Nazi concentration camps during World War II made people more likely to conform to the racist and intolerant philosophies of the Third Reich, according to a study. In the picture, the main gate of the Auschwitz concentration camp in Oświęcim, Poland (stock image)

In his study, political scientist Jonathan Homola of Rice University in the United States and his colleagues analyzed recent and historical election results, census data, social surveys and information on the location of Nazi concentration camps.

The researchers were particularly interested in explaining intolerance towards Jews, Muslims and foreigners, as well as support for radical right-wing parties.

Although the team focused mainly on Germany, they also considered other parts of Europe, studying, for example, the responses of the German General Social Survey and the Study of European Values.

The team found consistent evidence that current Germans who live closer to concentration camp sites are more likely to exhibit higher levels of xenophobia and are less tolerant of Jews, Muslims and immigrants.

Similarly, they were more likely to support the far-right political parties.

The researchers also found signs of similar associations between such views and the proximity of the concentration camp in other parts of Europe.

The findings can help explain the resurgence of xenophobia, political intolerance and the radical political parties seen today, the team concludes. In the picture, supporters of the far-right and neo-Nazi party 'Der Dritte Weg' (The Third Way) march in Plauen, Germany, on May 1, 2019

The findings can help explain the resurgence of xenophobia, political intolerance and the radical political parties seen today, the team concludes. In the picture, supporters of the far-right and neo-Nazi party 'Der Dritte Weg' (The Third Way) march in Plauen, Germany, on May 1, 2019

The findings can help explain the resurgence of xenophobia, political intolerance and the radical political parties seen today, the team concludes. In the picture, supporters of the far-right and neo-Nazi party ‘Der Dritte Weg’ (The Third Way) march in Plauen, Germany, on May 1, 2019

“We believe that people who lived near concentration camps during World War II were more likely to adjust to the regime’s belief system,” said Professor Homola, noting that the Nazis increasingly integrated the camps into local economies. .

“We believe this was due to cognitive dissonance,” he added.

This term refers to the mental discomfort that people experience when they are exposed to information and beliefs that conflict with their own understanding or values.

To address this psychological stress, people with cognitive dissonance often act to change, rationalize or ignore conflicting concepts.

This principle, the team argues, encouraged citizens living near active concentration camps to reconcile their own personal attitudes with the reality of what was happening in their environment.

This was specifically achieved, they added, adopting more negative attitudes towards the so-called “external groups” social, to match the racist philosophies exposed by the Third Reich and realized in the form of concentration camps.

“These newly acquired values ​​and beliefs were transmitted through generations through the influence of parents and peers, a prominent mechanism for the persistence of long-term attitudes,” the researchers wrote in their article.

“While the causes of the Holocaust have attracted wide academic attention, their long-term socio-political consequences are less understood,” said Professor Homola. “Our evidence shows that when it comes to political attitudes, these consequences are real and measurable even today.” In the picture, far-right protesters march in Magdeburg, Germany, on January 17

“While the causes of the Holocaust have attracted wide academic attention, their long-term socio-political consequences are less understood,” said Professor Homola.

“Our evidence shows that when it comes to political attitudes, these consequences are real and measurable even today.”

“The prejudice that this racist and inhuman institution instilled in the local population is difficult to erase even after the institution itself is gone.”

Previous studies focusing on the United States have similarly demonstrated the links between racism and extreme political beliefs and proximity to areas where once a large number of slaves were maintained, Professor Homola noted.

“It is important to understand both contemporary factors and historical legacies that make exclusionary political appeals attractive,” he added.

The full findings of the study were published in the journal. American political science review.

WHAT WAS THE AUSCHWITZ CONCENTRATION FIELD?

Auschwitz was a concentration and extermination camp used by the Nazis during World War II.

The camp, which is located in Poland, was composed of three main sites. Auschwitz I, the original concentration camp, Auschwitz II-Birkenau, a combined concentration / extermination camp and Auschwitz III-Monowitz, a labor camp, with another 45 satellite sites.

Birkenau became an important part of the ” Final Solution ” of the Nazis, by which they tried to rid Europe of the Jews.

An estimated 1.3 million people were sent to the camp, of which at least 1.1 million died, of which about 90 percent were Jews.

Since 1947, it has functioned as the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, which in 1979 was named a World Heritage Site by Unesco.

Auschwitz was an extermination camp used by the Nazis in Poland to kill more than 1.1 million Jews.

Auschwitz was an extermination camp used by the Nazis in Poland to kill more than 1.1 million Jews.

Auschwitz was an extermination camp used by the Nazis in Poland to kill more than 1.1 million Jews.

Since 1947, it has functioned as the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, which in 1979 was named a World Heritage Site by Unesco.

Since 1947, it has functioned as the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, which in 1979 was named a World Heritage Site by Unesco.

Since 1947, it has functioned as the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, which in 1979 was named a World Heritage Site by Unesco.

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