A couple of unconnected news stories having to do with the Third Reich ran in the Sunday press this week. How, you may ask, do the Nazi horrors that plagued Europe more than eighty years ago bear on current events in the U.S.? Behold the rise of the white supremacist. They make Nazism pertinent; their hatred of the Jews, hero-worship of the Fuhrer, and zeal for racial segregation are no longer particular to German history, they’re now part of present-day America.

Holland gets to face Hitler again.

The first of the two news reports came out of the Netherlands.

NIOD, The Dutch national institute for wartime documentation in Amsterdam - which was occupied by the Nazi's for five years and deported 100,000 Dutch Jews (Including Anne Frank) to death camps - announced receipt of a portrait painting of the Fuhrer in uniform, signed, A. Hitler. An unidentified woman who donated the work said that her father bought the work for 75 cents and she didn’t want it.

When his failed dream job ended, the world’s nightmare began.

In case you didn’t already know it, Hitler was an artist before he was a politician. Holland’s daily newspaper, De Volkskrant, described how he supported himself for four years, beginning in 1909 by selling his paintings – mostly Vienna street scenes.

His story could have been an art story, but he was thwarted in two life-changing ways. His father refused to allow him his boyhood dream to attend art school. Then, when his father died, he applied to art school but was rejected. He tried twice with the same result. Records show that he was prone to imitate the art of the past and lacked imagination.

His self-portrait is a watercolor, a medium of transparent tints that can easily turn muddy if applied without skill. He had the skill but lacked originality.

If only his father had said yes.

Not surprisingly, the English translation of Hitler’s autobiography, Mein Kampf, is “My Struggle.” Likely his “struggle” included his failed attempts to be an artist.

So, instead of conquering the art world, he invaded Poland, began the Second World War, and murdered Jews. Given that madness, it’s hard to understand what America’s neo-Nazis see in him, except his hatred of minorities which spoiled his picture of what the world should look like. Considering his bias and zeal for German nationalism, one can’t help thinking of trump’s prejudices and rallying cry, “Make America great again.”

A cautionary tale.

The second Nazi-related news story, on Sunday, appeared in the New York Times defending a previously published profile of white supremacist, Tony Howater, that several readers found too sympathetic. Contending the criticism, Times national editor, Marc Lacey, wrote that the point of the story was to show “the degree to which hatred and extremism have become far more normal in American life than many of us want to think” The Times profile suggested an unmistakable kinship between Hitler’s racism and ethnocentricity and Trump’s.

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