2009-04-17

Into the Darkness

My interest in the 1930-ies and in World War II was developed many years ago during my school time. At that time I read Grimbergen World History and Denmark's History over and over again. Moreover, my father had over the years built upp a worthy library containing volumes of military literature. - Maybe not directly what you would claim a healthy reading for a young girl. Nevertheless, I swallowed all these books with great enthusiasm.

My father's an excuse to fill the bookshelves with military literature, was his professional life in the Royal Danish Army. He was sent to the military academy and when finishing this he then climbed further up the B-line officers degrees, until his retirement a few years ago as a Major.

I was in my younger days a frequent visitor at the local library. When I later on earned money enough to actually be able to save a few quit, I invested those savings in books. A very large proportion of the books that I buy is about people who have been influencing or affected the historical evolution of Europe from 1914 until 1989 when Europe was reunited into one continent again. And a large number of these people worked actively in some form in the period 1933-1945.


One of my absolute favorite authors is Gitta Sereny, born March 13, 1921 in Vienna, Austria as the daughter of a Hungarian father and a German mother.

Gitta Serenys writings cover the topics child abuse and Holocoust. Both topics are her vocation and she has a tremendous knowledge of them. Gitta Sereny saw Hitler in Nuremberg in 1934. During World War II, she worked with refugee children in France. After the war she was employed by the UN attempting to bring home some of the millions of children who'd been kidnapped by the Nazis and taken away from the occupied countries in Eastern Europe. Gitta Sereny was present during 4 days of the Nuremberg process in 1945. It is these experiences that founds her writings and her work as a journalist.

Whenever we discuss World War II, it is extremely difficult to avoid the topic 'the Jewish extermination'. The very idea was developed in some high positioned, very intellegente human brains, but the final plan was brought to the execution by people at a much lower level. Gitta Sereny spent 3 years on research while writing the book 'Into the Darkness'. She managed to get permission to speak with one of the people who made it possible for Heydrichs and Himmlers ideas to be executed, namely Franz Stangl, Commandant of the 2 death camps Sobibor and Treblinka.

Before we proceed, it is important to explain the difference between a concentration / labor camp and a death camp.

The Nazis developed 4 death camps - Belzec, Treblinka, Sobibor and Chelmno - all located in Poland. The death camps were created as factories producing murder. The victims arrived at 9 and less than 2 hours later they were dead.

Concentration camps were used to hold detainees for subsequent transport to the death camps. The concentration camps even contained areas reserved for prisoners of war. Furthermore a large number of the prisoners in the camps were utilized as slave workers in the German industry and inside the companies founded by the SS. Auswitz is often refered to as a death camp, but this is wrong. It is true that Auswitz had a 'sister' camp - Birkenau, where people were murdered, but Auswitz was primarily a labor- and concentration camp. Many of those detained in Auswitz were forced to slave at IG Farbens large industrial plant just nearby. Nevertheless Many detainees died in Auswitz due starvation and hard labor. And many were executed - a large number of the executions were in the gas chambers.


Auswitz is also in Poland and it is significant to the Nazi thinking that all camps representing a threat for people to be sent to the gas chambers were located outside the actual borders of Germany.

The concentration and labor camps that were on German territory were not constructed with the aim to kill. They were intended as mere detention and 'educational establishments' with the duty for all prisoners to work.

Concentration and labor camps were being established in connection with the Nazis taking over power in Germany in 1933. Here all dissidents landed, homosexuals, intellectuals, Protestant pastors (because Hitler did not have the same need to be on good terms with the Protestant Church, unlike the Catholic Church which he needed), Communists, ordinary criminals, etc.

Only after the breakout of World War II plans were developed for the creation of the actual extermination camps.


Franz Stangl was Austrian, born in 1908. Originally he was a trained weaver, but in 1932 he sought admission of the police and was accepted. He was employed by the Austrian Crime Forces when the Nazis annexed Austria in 1938. - Or as the Nazis prefered to put it - 'brought Austria heim am reich'.

Franz Stangl was not a Nazi. However, he was a faithful Catholic. In connection with 'Anschluss' in 1938, he had to - in writing - renounce his faith in order to keep his employment in the police force. This was required by the Nazis for anyone working in a government office.


In 1940 he was ordered to Berlin for the highly secret branch T-4. The department was named after its addres: a villa situated on Tiergartenstrasse 4 in Berlin-Charlottenburg. T-4 reported directly to the Führer Chancellery and administrated the top-secret Euthanasia Program (the General Foundation for Welfare and Institutional Care - in German Gemeinnützige Stiftung für Heilkunde-und Anstaltspflege).


The program based on the Nazi theories to 'keep the Arian body free of all hereditary diseases' began in 1939 and was responsible for removing individuals from the German society who were physically or mentally disabled. Since the regime was aware that the program could encounter resistance especially from the Catholic Church - which prescribes that all life is sacred - Hitler as early as in the beginning of 1939 ordered to investigate if the Catholic Church would be able to accept euthanasia. A representative of T-4 contacted Professor Joseph Mayer, who taught in theological ethics at the Catholic University of Paderborn.


The outcome of the report was based on the Jesuits moral system concerning probability (summarized by Thomas of Aquino), which states that "there are few moral decisions that are unambiguously good or evil. Moral position is ambiguous. Whether what these ambiguous decisions are reasonable grounds and reasonable authority that supports a personal opinion, then this personal view can be decisive, even if there are other reasonable reasons and authorities which contradict it. " The professor concluded that since there were reasonable grounds and authorities both pro and against euthanasia, one could defend it.

Hitler then signed the regulation allowing the Euthanasia Program in the autumn of 1939 and the regulation was immediately effected.

The actual killing of patients was done at more than a dussin of institutes with exotic names. To be able to transfer patients from the institutions and hospitals where they stayed to the euthanasia institutes, relatives had to sign statements which permitted the patient to undergow further medical examinations. The patients were most of the time killed by an injection. The death certificate signed by doctors, and the cause of death was mainly different heart disseases.


Stangl was sent to Institute C - Schloss Hartheim. His task was to monitor that the effects belonging to the disseased were handed over to the relatives and that nothing was stolen. Stangl did not have anything to do with the killings. His duties were police assignments.

During the period Euthanasia Program was active (1939-1941) 139,000 physically or mentally disabled people were murdered.


In 1941 the Euthanasia Program was ended. The reason was said to be that the German bishops protested when they learned about the Euthanasia Program. - The truth is more likely to be, that by the time the program ended those who were to be murdered were allready dead. Moreover, the Battle of Russia had begun and efforts should now be concentrated on something completely different and much larger.


Those employees who worked in Euthanasia were transferred to Poland and the eradication program, also known as 'Aktion Reinhard'. The construction of the 4 murder factories Chelmno (which was the first factory), Sobibor, Belzec and Treblinka launched.


Franz Stangl was ordered to travel to The SS Headquarters in Lublin in Poland, where he was to appear before Gruppenführer (Lieutenant General) Odilo Globocnik - Himmler called him 'The Planet' - who was in charge of the destruction of the Polish Jews.


At first, Globocnik sent him to Sobibor to build and manage a camp there. Franz Stangl denied in the book any knowledge of what Sobibor was - or what it was to be. When he arrived Sobibor he saw the gas chambers that were already built and ready for use, and only then he became aware that something was not right. He recognized the gas chamber from a visit at Sonnenheim, the most well-known of the Euthanasia institutes. He drove back to Lublin and protested to Globocniks staff officer. Initially he was told to speak to Christian Wirth, Commander of Chelmno and Belzec. Stangl went to Belzec to meet with Wirth. Belzec was Stangls first meeting with an extermination factory in full operation. He was - he says - deeply shaken.

To Christian Wirth, Stangl stated that he could not carry out the task. Wirth listened, nodded and promised to convey the message to the headquarters. Moreover, he told Stangl to go back to Sobibor and continue to work with the construction of the camp there.

Stangl did as instructed. In order to ensure his readiness for coorperation, he's being granted a vacation and his family (his wife and 2 daugthers) were allowed to visit him in Poland. During the familys stay (they're vacationing appr 5 km. from Sobibor), Stangl is reached by an order to see Globocnik again, this time at his Headquarters i Warszaw. Here he receives new orders to travel to Treblinka and serve as its Camp Commandant.

In one of his many interviews with Gitta Sereny Stangl claims, that he could not refuse because he did not know what 'they' would do with his family. So he agreed on the assignment and took command of Treblinka. The real reason for the shift was that 100,000 people at that time had already been killed in Treblinka, but Globocnik was unhappy that no values were returned from there (money, gold, clothes, etc. that the deportees left behind them when they lined up in the queue waiting to be murdered).


This was the real reason for the the establishment of the murder factories, many believe. - Even Franz Stangl. SS wanted to get their hands on the many values that the prisoners brought with him. There has been attempts to do a calculation of the amount of money the murder factories generated for the SS and an estimated figure landed at approx. 173 million German Reichmark - which may seem like a relatively small amount.

The amount of people murdered by the Nazis in the 4 murder factories is difficult to calculate. The Nazi mentality usually was to document everything, but unlike this usual behavior, no documentation exists from the 4 camps. However the Polish government gives an estimated figure of 900,000 deaths in Treblikna. Against this speaks the local station master (who was manouvered into that position by the Polish resistanse movement). He claims that everytime a train arrived, he added the numbers written with white chalk on each and every wagon, and according to his calculation all in all 1,200,000 people were killed in Treblinka. It's believed that a maximum of 88 people survived Treblinka.


When Stangl arrived Treblinka, he found a camp split asunder. Nothing worked. Corpses gone into decay were everywhere in and outside the camp. People walked in money and goods. His task was to clean up and make sure the camp functioned effectively. He did as pledged.


At the Treblinka trial after the war (where Stangl wasn't present) and at the trial against Stangl in 1970 (were he was sentenced to life), those few who survived Treblinka all witnessed, that Franz Stangl never personally put hands on any prisoner. To the contrary he was rather 'nice'. But he was the Commander, and by that he held the final responsibility for the murders, for the abuse, and it was his responsibility that the murder factory could continue to function. Death penalty had been abolished for at long time in Germany when Stangls case was taken to court. Had he been present at the Treblinka trial after the war ended, he would undoubtedly had been sentenced to death. During the trial against him in 1970 the court failed to include files involving Sobibor for administrative reasons.

Stangls assignment was - according to himself - police-related. To ensure that everything worked accordingly and that noone inriched himself. He inspected the camp several times a day - seated on horseback. Including the area of the camp containing the gas chambers and where the bodies were burned.

When Gitta Sereny asks him, how he was able to handle this mentally - because Franz Stangl is not an evil sadistic man - on the contrary - he claims he stopped thinking of the victims as human beings. In his mind they became packages. And his responsibility was to ensure that these packages were transported from A to B (from the moment they arrived by train until they went up in smoke). That he was working in the tranportations and logistics business.

You might want to call it the century's displacement of reality, but what you always must bear in mind when reading this book is, that the plans to eliminate 'all the Jews in Europe' - hatched in Reinhard Heydrich cold, calculating brain, surpassed what even your wildest imagination is able to conceive. Franz Stangl could be used in this plan because he was weak and because he never objected to an order. He did not have the ability for taking the initiative. That was what his superior officers had learned during his time working for T-4. And that was why he was handpicked to work in Sobibor and Treblinka.


Treblinka had a very small permanent staff of employees. Only about 90 people. The rest of the 'staff' (during 'high season' reaching nearly 1,500 people) were picked among the incoming prisoners. They were physically strong young men. Only a very small number of young women were 'lucky' to be selected to live on for a while. Prisoners were used to sort the huge values of money, gold and gems and clothing. Everything was packed and sent back to Germany, the German National Bank and the SS. The murder plants were part of the SS's vast business empire.

The prisoners of Sobibor and Treblinka revolted. In Treblinka, the uprising took place August 2, 1943. The uprisings in both Treblinka and in Sobibor were ofcourse fought down and only a small number of prisoners managed to escape. August 20, 1943 Treblinka was closed and all traces of its existence removed. Sobibor as well were closed later on during the autumn of that year.

Franz Stangl and the rest of the T-4 staff were ordered to Trieste in Italy, where they stayed until the end of war. Their task was to combat enemy tanks. When the war ended Stangl went home, but was arrested and interned by the Americans.

After the war, the allies were facing tremendous problems identifying members of the SS and war criminals.

There was lack of trained staff, and it was fairly easy for those who wanted to hide to escape justice. Franz Stangl is not an exception.

The Americans and the Russians hadn't started to collaborate, and the Americans had very little knowledge of the death camps in Poland. They therefore didn't find any reason to believe that Franz Stangl was something else than an ordinary SS-man from Waffen SS - before it was too late. He was improsened for a while, but it was an open prison, and one day he simply walked away, went to Italy - to Rome, where he visited an Austrian Catholic priest, Hudal, who was known for his willingness to help refugees with identity cards, money and whatever else they needed for their escape.


Stangls first stop was Syria, where he settled down in Damascus. His wife and now 3 daughters followed soon thereafter. A couple of years later the family travelled to Brazil for their permanent stay. At no time did the family use false identities. They lived for many years in Brazil under their own names, worked and socialized with other Germans and Austrians. Stangl and his wife, Teresa, were both even employees of German companies during these years. For years the Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal was searching for Franz Stangl, aiming to have him brought to justice. But he was never checked with the Austrian Foreign Ministry. Had he done so he would have discovered that Stangl and his family were listed as emigrated to Brazil. February 28, 1967 Stangl was arrested at his residence in Sao Paolo. He was extradited to Germany to be tried in a German court and sentenced for his role as commander primarily in Treblinka.

The day before his death in June 1971, he had his last conversation with Gitta Sereny. During this conversation Franz Stangl for the first time acknowledged his responsibility and his guilt. The responsibility and guilt having survived Treblinka.


Franz Stangl ofcourse had a conscience, but during all the years passing by from the day he came to T-4 until the day he was handed over to be prosecuted in Germany, he never spoke with anyone about what he felt or about his doings and how the part he played could be reconciled with his Christian beliefs. He renounced his faith. This he did without his wife's knowledge and consent. To Franz Stangl, his wife Teresas consent and respect was very important. He never discussed the service with his wife. His role was unknown to her. Had Teresa known his role, she would never have been able to understand him or to forgive him. I am absolutely convinced that Franz Stangl would have found it impossible to live without his wife.

He never reflected on his role. When thoughs pushed his mind, he displaced them with alcohol in very large quantities, and with strange buildings that would give the impression of Treblinka being a nice small town - not a killing factory. He created flower beds, put up decorative benches, created a zoo and so on. Anything to get something else and something more pleasant to think about.


Franz Stangl never seriously thought about breaking out. He was a man of duty. He gave up his beliefs rather than his work - even though his work went against all his personal moral values.

This book is so fascinating that this was my 5th perusal and still I find new information. It is well written - as all books Gitta Sereny writes. And it maintains with its thorough research work and its exciting interviews the reader. It is impossible to stop reading. This 5 perusal began Sunday and ended Monday.


The book critizes the Catholic Church's role in Hitler's decision to launch the Euthanasia Program. The author is also highly critical to Pope Pius XIIs unwillingness to condemn the extermination of the Jews in Poland, despite the fact that he knew about it. Similarly, there is a very interesting discussion about the help certain priests in the Catholic Church in Rome offered Nazis escaping justice at the end of the war. And last but not least, the book contains a very interesting interview with Dr. Dollmann who served as Hitlers Italian Interpreter.


Similarly, the book contains many interesting interviews with some of the few who survived Treblinka, as well as people who, like Franz Stangl, were serving in Treblinka as guards and caretakers.

What I particularly appreciate by Gitta Serenys books is that she never condemn the person she is working with. She distances herself from specific acts, but never from man, and I think this is very important.

I recommend 'Into the Darkness' to anyone who pays interest in World War II and its consequences.


Into the Darkness - af Gitta Sereny, 1974.


Cheers
Asta

2009-04-13

The Long Hard Road Out Of Hell

When your 17-year old daughter lends you a book and asks you to read it, it's crucial that you listen very careful to how the words are spoken. - It's either a discrete hint that you need to be taught. Or it's a compliment.

In this case, Miss Wintys invitation occured during a telephone conversation in the words: "- I have borrowed a book. And you shall and must read it. You will find it very interesting. - I'll bring it with me on Sunday!"

Hardly had she entered the door Sunday afternoon before she pulled the book out of her bag and put it on the dinner table. "- Please mom. I'm looking forward to hear your opinion about it."

The title of the book matched the cover image showing a portrait of a man with blood shot eyes looking as if they're about to jump out of the picture and right into your face in just a second. - The book I was holding in my hand was 'The Long and Hard Road Out Of Hell' by Marilyn Manson - with Neil Strauss.


This is one of the books I've been wanting to read for quite som time. But it was translated and given out in Swedish just a little over a year ago. - Surely I could have read it at the original language, however I've had a feeling the it's probably written in a spicy language with a lot of slang and doubble meanings, and in that case it's safer to read it in an 'own' language at first. My idea of reading a book is always that I want to understand and learn. Therefore I want to avoid misunderstandings. In particular linguistic misunderstandings.

My first perusal was over 2 nights. Then I started again. Slower and more thoroughly. Going back to specific sections, reading them again. The 3rd review was mainly to inspect the small texts which begins each chapter one more time, turning around all illustrations and their texts studying them, to make sure that I hadn't missed anything. Everything in this book is of significance. And if you want to get a grip on this person and understand this person who in Miss Wintys word basicly is "too smart to be serving is own best", then it's important to capture the whole picture.

Our perception of people can be divided into 2 categories: 'Good' and 'Bad'. The majority of the worlds population are likely to perceive Marilyn Manson as 'Bad' in their consciousness. - Roughly the same caliber as Hitler.

Unlike Hitler and other well-known hating objects such as Albert Speer, Adolf Eichmann and Frantz Stangl whose stories I also have immersed myself in, Marilyn Manson is almost too honest. His honesty shouldn't be seen as a defense. That's not his intention. He tells and tries with his story to show how he thinks and what his motives are. It's here Miss Wintys claim gets significant.

Let me make it clear that this book is not pop literatur. It's as creepy as 'Into the Darkness'. - Almost creepier. In the sense that this book is about a persons almost supernatural obsession of wanting to be and to have a mission. The price he pays is high, however sometimes I get the feeling that he feels the price is worth everything.

I recently read an article over the topics fear and phobias. A group of scientists had learned, that if you in your childhood is scared of for instans snakes, you must be treated and cured in your early years. Because untreated fear opens for more nightmares and phobias later on in life.

Fear is amplified when you are small. A microscopic earthworm might look like a cobra in a childs eyes.

Marilyn Mansons 3 fears in his childhood are his grandfather, his father and the school.

Given that none of his parents wants to socialize with his grandmother and grandfather, propably because they are aware that the grandfather commits and has commited things that are not compatible with a normal family life, it seems very strange that they actually leave their only child in the care of the grandparents.

His father is not a nice experience either. He hits his son and doesn't overall pay any interest in him. His not a very nice husband either. He threatens his wife in his sons hearing and accuses her of adultry. Despite of this, MM is a very loyal son. He excuses his fathers behaviour, blaming the discomforts he experienced while being a soldier in Vietnam. And what's even more interesting - considering that this is Marilyn Manson, the personalized immorality with a complete lack of consciense - he takes the blame. As an example to this he claims, that it is after a physical confrontation he's had with his mother that she decides not to put any more children into this world. - And that this is good. Because he is evil. A new child will probably be even more evil.

This is a family from the lower middle class. Perhaps pretending to be a little bit more than they are. - We are told, that the grandmother is loaded with cash, though stingy. - And instead of sending the boy to an ordinary school (it's shit), the non-religious parents decide to put him in a christian school. On top of that a catholic such. How they manage to think this is a good idea!?! Again MM comes to his parents rescue by excusing their act with the fact that they just wanted to provide him with the best education.

Anyone can tell themselves, that if you leave a child who doesn't exactly feel welcome into this world in the care of the type of religios environment offered by Herritage Christian School, it's bound to go wrong. - MM tries to adapt and prove that he is a believer. But he can't really say yes to the question "- Are there any real catholics present?" which is constantly thrown out amongst the class.


It's here - at this school being paid to teach the pupils to honor and love God, that MMs eternal search for death, Hell and the Earths doom and most likely also the motive to his massive drug- and alcohol abuse is founded. The schools teaching is above all based on the ability to scare. And the intimidation is a success.


The former principal at the school, Carolyn Cole, asks a question in the book – through Neil Strauss – to MM. – Was there anything that I could have done differently?”, she wants to know. – I don't know if MM has ever answered her question. However I would like to answer it. The best Mrs Cole could have done was to admit to the School Commission that she was incompetent as leader and as educator.

Finally MM comes to the conclusion that he must get away from the school. He attempts to persuade his parents to send him to the municipal school instead. But they are not prepared to listen. - They problably should have.

Soon MM learns the lesson that so many other children - including I - learned in school: Even negative attention is more positive than no attention.

He starts a career as a candy pusher at the school where all candy is forbidden. And as a writer and editor of a cartoon magazine with a content that matches poorly with the schools religios and moral values. His hope is that this will earn him an order to leave, but sadly enough he's made a mis-calculation. - The majority of the pupils having their lives ruined at this school are children from low income homes whose parents can't afford to pay for the education. Therefore the money for these childrens education comes from funds etc. MMs parents on the other hand can afford to pay. And the school very much wants his parents money. Which explains why he will never be kicked out, no matter how hard he tries.

It isn't a result of his own cunnings that finally manages to get him away from the school, but the fact that his father gets a new and better job in Fort Lauderdale in Florida, and 2 months into the first semester of High School, the family moves to Florida. So here we have a teenager who has all the problems teenagers can have, whose only thoughts are pretty trivial (they're about sex and nothing else), whose lived his whole life in a small dull town in Ohio, moving to the decadent and at the same time noble suburb of Miami. - He must have felt like a farmers boy who just came in with the 4:05 train from nowhere.

MM doesn't really have social competence. He finds it difficult to get friends, but since he deep down inside is a typical human being seeking to be a member of the flock, this thing about being lonely isn't really functional for him. He wants friends. No matter which and how.


During his Ohio time he has tried - by pure accident - hash and booze. He notes that hash is shit that tastes awful. Booze is better.

Here in Fort Lauderdale it works as the key to everything he has in his head (still sex and nothing else).


As long as stays on "the right side" of "morality" his reward is bruises. - But the moment he gets his acts together and becomes creative or dangerous to himself, he gets what he wants.

He gets the respect from his school mates when selling them records that he steals in the shop where he works, stealing it back again, re-selling it etc. Noone ever reports him for it.

The tale about these years doesn't mention his parents. I wonder why. I wonder if they actually knew what he was doing. And If his silence has to do with his loyalty to his parents. MM lived under his parents roof untill he was 22. How is it possible for his parents to ignore what he's doing (in particular his mother who was a house wife)?


His girl acquaintances are just as one can imagine. He has no limits what so ever. He's with girls who despises him and exploits him, and yet he makes the same mistakes over and over again. As if he never learns. As if he despises himself so much that he doesn't believe that he has the right to reject something he knows is wrong and bad. As if he has no self esteem.

Exactly the same thing happens when it comes to all the drugs he takes. He knows it's bad and wrong, and yet he does it anyway - because he doesn't care about himself. Occasionally he doesn't want to, but most of the time he allows girls to talk him into using drugs. As they talk him into other wrong doings that he knows is over the edge. He never puts his foot down.


He becomes an expert in using people - in particular weak people. - The sum of a weak person with no self discipline and self esteem meeting another weak person with no self discipline and self esteem is ofcourse A Disaster. Then add some music, a performance that will make Caligula look like a sweet boy (to get attention and to cover up for the lousy musical performance) and some chocking lyrics - and sim-sa-la-bim - you get the basic substance of something that undoubtedly will call the moral America to open a crusade.


MM uses the psychopath Nancy (fictional name - I hope) as an element in the stage performance. They terrorize each other for 2 years on stage and in private - even though she's not his girlfriend (he's got a such as well, but that's not an obstacle). Since everything goes much too further than MM actually needs and wants, he comes to the conclusion that he must get rid of Nancy. Unfortunately Nancys view is that she's the leader of the band Marilyn Manson. And not 10 wild horses can get her to vanish. As a result to his attempts (half hearted to be honest), she terrorizes him even more. MM is so furious and hates Nancy so much that he in his desperation to get her off his back in details sets up a plan to murder her. He gets himself a conspirator, but on their way to actually kill her, they're being disturbed by another psychiatric case in the shape of a homeless man who repeatedly persecutes them, and the plan is interrupted.

In true drama style Nancy finally dissapears. Frustrated MM whispers a word or two into the ears of Nancys boyfriend, and Nancy's gone forever. - Had he been smart, he'd done that from the very first beginning rather than endure her sick behaviour.


The whole story involving Nancy is completely grotesque, and clearly shows how MM in order to get publicity can get himself involved in insane and sick relationships with people who doesn't wish him well leaving him hating them. This constantly happens to him.

He tells us that he always put people on a very high horse. But something always happens that makes them fall from that horse. An exception to this is Missi, the only person in this book - except for his mom - never being critizised by MM.

Missi is being described as a very sweet girl who MM respects (within the frame of what's possible for him). They're actually together for quite a number of years before she decides to end their relationship. This in the connection with the band Marilyn Manson having their actual breakthrough.


Marilyn Mansons became famous with the assistance of Trent Reznor. He talked Nothing into publishing MMs music - however the clause was that Trent Reznor was to determine content etc. Trent Reznor himself 'owns' a very famous progressive metal band. He's rich, he's a playboy, and he's good looking. A mothers dream. During the production of the album that becomes Marilyn Mansons breakthrough over and beyond (Anti Christ Superstar), a serious fall out between the person Marilyn Manson and Trent Reznor occurs. It's essentially about who'se to determine the content of Anti Christ Superstar. MM wants a more poppish sound while the record company and Trent Reznor wants more progressivity. On top of that Trent Reznor put a stick in the wheel to MMs dream to deliver the music for the very famous David Lynchs next movie.

The dispute between MM and Trent Reznor is settled. And the 2 gentlemen make peace. - Or so Trent Reznor thinks.

Today MM and Trent Reznor are as close to being death enemies as you can get.


In numerious interviews MM has announced himself completely incomprehensible to Trent Reznors hateful feelings for him.


MMs memory fails him from time to time - when it fits. It can easilly be archived under the cause alcohol and drug abuse. In this case it seems as if he completely forgot all about the less flattering chapters dealing with Trent Reznor in this book. Trent Reznor is now just an immoral and totally dishonest person in the eyes of readers.


This is obviously MMs own little private revenge for the mischief similarities Trent Reznor exposed to him in connection with the Anti-Christ Superstar and the story of David Lynch films. Trent Reznor has as far as I know never sued MM for the accusations against him written in this book. MM is manic, documenting everything. On film, photoes and on tapes. A lawsuit is not worth the risk.


As I wrote in the beginning of this review, so many people believe that MM is a very bad person. A person who stands for immorality, abuse and Satanism. A person who denies God.

When reading this book, you become a lot wiser. He is not very disciplined, but he has great inner strenght and, above all, he has a strong ability to control himself. If he feels that the use of drugs for example is an obstacle to his goal, he rejects it.


He is no God denier. He believes in God. But he interprets Christianity in his own way.

MM spends a whole chapter explaining to the reader what Satanism is. That it's not a synonymous with the Devil. He explains that the Devil and Hell doesn't exist. That it's rubbish. And he's right. The Bible doesn't say anything about the Devil or about Hell. It's something that was created in disturbed peoples minds. And which can be used to scare people to obey.

He has great self-irony. If there's anyone who does not take himself very seriously in particular it is MM. Try for example to read his life rules. And his rules on how to find out whether you are a drug addict. It is hillarious!

There are stories in this book about things I do not like. Actions I dislike. However, I respect his courage to admit what he's done. It is brave, and very few people would have dared to stand up to what they have done as MM does in this book.

As for the whole discussion about morality versus immorality which undeniable occurs in my mind while reading this book, I'm quite sure, that MM during his long journey must have consulted his conscious. He might have seeked for help in the type of literature he became familiar with in school - or because of his schooling. He has a thorough knowledge of religios literature - and philosophic books disputing thesis etc. He may very well have consulted Thomas of Aquino who summarized the jesuits moral system which deals with probability. According to this system there are very few moral descisions being unequivocally 'good' or 'bad'. Moral position is ambiguous. Whether there are reasonable grounds or reasonable authority that supports a personal opinion, then this personal view can be decisive, even if there are reasonable grounds or authorities that speak against this opinion.

So: If it serves a higher goal to commit certain acts, and this objective is in conformity with current perceptions of fairness, then it could be accepted to commit such acts. - And in America, it is no shame wanting to be famous or rich.

His view on women is abolutely abominable. Though we must not forget that he works in a business where women overall in front of and behind the stage very often show their worst sides. Furthermore MM has a suitcase full of bad experiences. - It is not surprising that he sees women as objects of use.

The Motive to become the person Marilyn Manson is partly a kind of indulgence, partly a vocation. As a kind of reversed 'Messiah'. Taking on the task to tell the hypocrites, the religious and slanderous people what they can do to themselves. And be punished for saying out loud what the rest of us are just thinking inside ourselves. One might think that a person who assumes such a role must be either mad or at least not normal, but the need for such a 'Messiah' is evident in the so-called civilized world, where you from cradle to death are being guided into a safe confidense assuring you that any own thinking will do you great harm.
There is a psycological factor in this. One can think of something so intense that it finally becomes a reality. Franz Stangl is in 'Into the Darkness' an example of this. Franz Stangl was the Commandant of Sobibor and Treblinka. He claimed, that in order to survive mentally, he convinced himself that the people who were murdered in the 2 camps were not human beings, they were packages. His assignment was transporting all these packages from A to B (from the arriving train to the final destination which was through the chemny) as fast and effectively as possible. He was in the transportation logistics business. Nothing else.

Marilyn Manson has equally convinced himself about what his job is. It is a more or less self-assumed mission of conscious obstacles which he must be overcome to prove that he really is 'Messiah'. I have no doubt that MM is sincerely convinced that he can save mankind from hypocrisy. The ultimate goal for him is to achieve recognition - not necessarily for what he does but for what he is.

MM sees himself as a performer - a kind of executive agent - in art. Art can not be determined. Art is not facts - art is something else. Here art is elevated into an art show where the practitioner is also the spectator standing outside and looking in. In this way, conscience and assessment is on 2 levels. Depending on the ultimate objective.


Let me conclude by thanking Miss Winty for giving me a reading experience beyond the ordinary. Whether you like MM or not, I recommend the book to teenage parents, to teachers and educators and to people who prefer to create their own ideas about the person MM, rather than the MM shown in the media.

The Long Hard Road Out Of Hell - By Marilyn Manson with Neil Strausse, 1999.

Cheers,
Asta
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