I came across a book I read several years ago entitled Hitler as Philosophe: Remnants of the Enlightenment in National Socialism, 1995, by Lawrence Birken. Rereading the book years later, some important observations jumped out at me, especially with regards to the connection between National Socialism, eugenics and racial supremacy. Birken notes that only a handful of books have attempted to put together Hitler's philosophy, and I do not claim that Birken's interpretation is necessarily correct. However it does provide a less biased view of what Hitler believed, and the world that he envisioned.
Birken states that: "For example, both liberals and conservatives have, in great numbers, signed on to the notion of global 'free trade' without seriously considering its effect on 'domestic tranquility.' The wide acceptance of the free-trade idea among educated circles represents a strange convergence of ideological commitments. After all, a global capitalism would accomplish many of the goals of international communism: namely, the facilitation of a 'north-south' transfer of wealth and the establishment of a transnational elite presiding over a practically unlimited supply of [cheap] labor. A greater long-distance unity might be achieved, but at the expense of more short-distance disunity at home. It is thus quite conceivable that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) could raise the total wealth of the United States at the same time that it lowers the poorer classes' share of that wealth, in the process sharpening racial conflict. In this sense, a 'pure' capitalism might very well be as dangerous as a 'pure' communism to the continued existence of the republic. A central problem for our society will thus be how to reconcile the admitted benefits of market economy with the necessities of national cohesion. Failure to solve this problem opens up a space for the racist virus to take root. The solution is to take from Hitlerism and fascism the concept of the mixed economy as vital to sustaining the nation. But to solve this problem, we must admit it exists. Meanwhile, one gets the sense that the upper classes in our society are no longer nationalists. Cozy one-worlders all, they apparently think in purely international terms. The poorer people in this country have every reason to ask why they should give their lives in battle for a concept in which their social betters no longer believe. The latter seem to forget that if American nationalism dissolves in some 'new world order,' several mutually antagonistic racial nationalisms might end up replacing it here. The price for greater international cooperation may well be more local conflict."
Clearly, Birken's analysis of Hitler's philosophy is not an attempt to make it less horrendous, but to prevent its revival. This is an important point only to the extent that he is not an apologist for Hitlerism. Therefore, whether he is right or wrong in his analysis of Hitler's philosophy, he is attempting to diffuse future racial conflict. For this reason, the book is a rather neutral look at what National Socialism was really all about, and can help us separate the past from current attempts to revitalize eugenics and universal nationalism (Salter, 2003). Birken states, "In particular, this means that we must disentangle its racist and its nationalist elements. In others words, just as Hitler conquered Marx by severing the link between socialism and internationalism, we can conquer Hitler only by cutting the tie between racism and nationalism. But this can be done only by recognizing that this tie is a product of history and not logic." Well, we'll see.
Birken notes that there are only a handful of studies dealing with Hitler's thoughts, and of all the great conquerors, he had been the most philosophical. Yet, for the last 60 years Hitler has been portrayed as a madman, incapable of any systematic philosophy. "For Hitler, constructing an ideology was nothing less than a kind of intellectual architecture. Moreover, Marx and Freud, like Hitler, were possessed of an overwhelming grandiosity. Marx was convinced that he had discovered the laws of history itself. Freud hailed himself as a new Copernicus. In the same way, as early as 1923, Hitler saw himself as a kind of intellectual messiah preparing the way for a Germanic millennium. All three created coherent systems that legitimized themselves as revealers of universal truths."
Hitler then was as driven as other intellectuals, and just as coherent in his formulations. He did not suffer from any pathology of ideation per Birken. If he suffered at all from any affective disorder it would have been one of mood—and overconfidence and exuberance that gave people the sense that he knew what was right and what was good for the German people.
Much of what people claim is part of Hitler's philosophy, taken from speeches or propaganda, was not incorporated into Hitler's thinking. Like many of our own politician's today, what the people were told depended the state's need to indoctrinate us into cooperating with their personal visions. Birken notes, "[Hitler] had to refrain from alienating potential followers and yet retain the coherent ideology that sustained him. The solution was to be by omission rather than commission. To the workers, he would say that he hated classes without telling them he believed in private property. To the bosses, he would say that he admired initiative without telling them that he hated classes. He thus tailored each speech to its respective audience without ever really repudiating his all-important weltanschauung [worldview]." Hitler then had a highly coherent world view, based on years of dedication, but it was never presented to the German people, or even the Nazi Party, in anything less than an unsystematic manner. He was their leader, he knew what had to be done, divulging every detail was not necessary or prudent.
On creativity and worker production, Birken notes: "Hitlerism, like Marxism, traced the power of the machine to human labor and creativity. But where Marx saw that creativity as a property of the working class, Hitler merely vested it in the Aryan race. While Herf condemns Nazism for displacing the stigma of unproductiveness from the capitalist to the (Jewish) international financier, he fails to recognize that the whole notion of distinguishing between productive and unproductive activity was a problematic legacy of the Enlightenment itself." Moreover, one that is still with us even more so today when labor, jobs, factories and whole nations are fungible commodities.
Birken explains that racial hierarchies were intrinsic in Enlightenment thinking at the time and not unique to the Nazis: "Moreover, by overthrowing The Book of Genesis, 'the doctrine of the unity of mankind ... was rejected in the century of the Enlightenment.' A developmental hierarchy of races, nations and classes was thus established, culminating in some kind of higher type, of which Marx's proletarian, Jahn's German, Michelet's Frenchman, the Slovophiles' peasant and Wagner's Aryan were mere variations." In this way, the Nazis were like all the other dividers of people into races and classes. As a revolutionary secularism, like Marxism, it believed in "the perfect Man." For Marxism it was based on class, for Hitler it was based on the race. Neither points of view was grounded in modern economics or modern understandings of racial differences, but were highly speculative and necessarily flawed. Yet we see the United States again engaged in belligerent nationalism, assuming the role of enforcing a vision of "the perfect Man" as one that embraces Western democratic secularism—an even less coherent doctrine than one based on one's kinship and racial fraternity. The Enlightenment threw out the God and king, and new worldviews were filling the void.
It has been the standard propaganda that Hitler exterminated the Jews because they were seen as an inferior race. In addition, the elimination of inferior races was a part of the German eugenics program. However, there was no link between extermination of the Jews and eugenics. As Birken explains, "Within this context, the place of anti-Semitism within volkish thought should become clearer. It is, of course, a great mistake to see anti-Semitism as a rejection of Enlightenment values. On the contrary, the Enlightenment simply secularized rather than destroyed traditional Judeophobia. Indeed, there was a sense in which the notion of fraternity was implicitly more dangerous to the Jews as Jews than was the older idea of estate society. While the latter tolerated the Jewish religion, the former demanded assimilation as the price of tolerance. In other words, the liberal nation-state was willing to emancipate the Jews only insofar as they emancipated themselves from their own Jewishness (Marx). The only alternative, not formulated for some time, was for the Jews to constitute their own nation-state. Nationalism thus demanded that the Jews either be absorbed into the social body or be rejected as parasites precisely because the ideal of fraternity demanded solidarity. In contrast, both dynastic pseudo-nationalism and working-class internationalism accepted the notion of some kind of German-Jewish symbiosis."
Hitler then divided all people or races into three classes: the "creative–productive" Germans, the "destroying–parasitic" Jews (and Gypsies), and all other races as "preservers." Hitler needed a scapegoat for the misfortunes of Germany. Like Jews, Germans also were a semi-diaspora people who had not established a viable nation-state, Germans had been humiliated in defeat and retribution after WWI, and in a depression. By blaming all of Germany's problems on the pacifist Jew, an excuse could be ready made for anything that ailed the German people. Birken delineates this somewhat contorted mixing of race and culture: "Thus Hitler found his way to the inevitable fifth solution: a territorial as opposed to a commercial war. A successful people, endowed with high race value and organized into a leader-state which could transform those race values into personality values, ultimately had to seek to expand its territorial base. The conquest of greater space would make possible a still greater population, thus increasing the potential for a higher race value, better personality values, more inventiveness and an overall richer culture. This in turn increased the potential for further expansion, thus starting the cycle all over again, until a single people expands over the entire globe, extinguishing all other 'inferior' peoples in the process, and raises human life to the highest conceivable level. Conversely, an unsuccessful people would become overpopulated, limit births, dilute its race value, dissipate its personality values, lose its inventiveness, become increasingly weaker in relation to its neighbors and thus give up territory to them. This in turn increased the potential for further contraction until such a people was extinguished from the earth."
For Hitler, race did not stand supreme, outside of culture and history, but was intimately linked to a social contract between the state and the people. Creative work for the fraternity of men regardless of class was life itself; the parasitism of the Jew was death. Hitler redefined production to exclude Jewish contributions, as well as Germans who were unable to earn their keep. It was as much ethical as it was biological: "Anti-Semitism clearly stood at the very center of National Socialist thought. Just as Hitler grounded political economy in biology, he grounded biology in the anti-Semitic distinction between the Aryan and Jew, a distinction that was ultimately more ethical than economic or biological. That is why Hitler, in waging war against the Jews, appropriated the language of religion in what was essentially a messianic struggle to prevent the destruction of the world itself." The Jew was to National Socialism as the Capitalist was to Marxism—a simplistic dichotomy of good and evil.
"From the beginning of his political career, Hitler saw the Jews as the personification of a great he which denied the sovereignty of the laws of nature (and thus God). Again and again, Hitler associated the Jews with lying. The Jews' 'whole existence,' he maintained, was 'based on a continuous lie.' In particular, the Jews lied by pretending to be a mere religion or confession which could be absorbed into the secularized nation-state like any other variety of Christianity when in fact they were an unassimilable people with international ambitions. For Hitler, the Jews had to deceive others about their real nature because that nature was itself unnatural."
It seems that Hitler totally missed the biological essence of the Jews: they were a tribal people with their own loyalties and particularist egalitarianism, not unlike what National Socialism was trying to create for the German people. Hitler saw the Jew as a landless people, without monuments and architecture in their own homeland, and assumed therefore that they lacked what made a people whole and creative. He was unable to see that expressions of creativity could take many forms. "Like Marx and the early Freud, Hitler replaced God with an idealized version of man. But where Marxism saw productivity and Freudianism genitality, Hitlerism saw creativity as the mark of humanity."
The Jews lacked creativity and thus they lacked humanity; they were culturally sterile. The individual Jew might be brilliant, talented, far more skilled than the average German, but as a whole, the Jews lacked a national culture and that made them cultural destroyers. Hitler seems to project onto the Jews not a biological inferiority, but a cultural inferiority. The Jews, like the Gypsies, were a rootless people, something that Hitler reviled in his desire to bring about a German nation-state. The Jew then was evil because they were "immeasurably unnatural."
Hitler mistakenly attributed to the Jew self-preservation alone, and inability to go beyond his own instinct and see himself as part of Germany. Hitler then projected his own passion for racial solidarity onto the German people, while not recognizing the same solidarity amongst the Jews. "For Hitler, then, the very existence of the Jew seemed to violate the fundamental laws of nature as he described them. How could an essentially individualistic crowd come together to form a people which if not a genuine race-in-itself was clearly a race-for-itself? The answer, Hitler believed, was that the Jews were a kind of vampire. From that standpoint, which awarded race value on the basis of national creativity, the Jews appeared to have zero race value. Unable to exploit a specific territory by working, they should have disappeared according to that natural law delineated in chapter 4. But somehow, Hitler believed, the Jews short-circuited nature and escaped the cycle of creative work by injecting themselves into the social body of productive peoples everywhere. Like a fungus, which takes root in a chance crack in the skin, the Jews took root in social fissures and began to exploit them. They were, Hitler told Otto Wegener, 'a parasitic genus'…. Utterly devoid of either race or personality values, the Jewish people exhibited no creativity except the creativity to devise ways to live off others."
Hitler then did not see Jews as an inferior race, but as some form of competitor for world domination. If need be, Hitler was willing to destroy Germany if that was what it took to destroy the Jews in order to save the world; the German creators against the Jewish destroyers. This is hardly the view someone would have of a lesser people. The Jews only constituted a small percentage of the world's population, and yet Hitler believed that they were winning the struggle.
How racist then was Hitler? "Within the crucible of war, Hitler's anti-Semitism simply expanded to the furthest limit of its development. In the beginning, he had grouped the creative Aryans on one side and both the culture preservers and Jewish destroyers on the other. In this context, it made sense to export the Jewish people to Germany's enemies. Such a view suggested that the expulsion of the Jews would be enough. By the time Mein Kampf was written, Hitler's increasing emphasis on the uniquely demonic character of the Jews was balanced by his emphasis on the uniquely creative character of the Aryan so that the three categories existed in a kind of equilibrium. Finally, at the beginning of the Second World War Hitler's animosity toward the Jews (and thus toward the United States and the Soviet Union) had developed to such an extent that he contrived to bring the culture preservers over to the Aryan creators in order to wage a common struggle against the Jewish destroyers. Thus, in his Testament, Hitler actually claimed that he was 'quite free of all racial hatred' and had 'never regarded the Chinese or Japanese as being inferior to' the Germans. On the contrary, 'they have a right to be proud of their past.' Moreover, he asserted, the Hindus, Chinese and Moslems 'possessed qualities of their own which were superior to anything we [the Germans] could offer them.'" If we can believe Birken's analysis then, we have to look elsewhere than simple racism and eugenics to understand Hitlerism. The Aryan and the Jew set up the same dichotomy as today's freedom loving American and the Islamic fascists who threaten our world. All extremist political systems seem to have a need to pit evil against good, the dark side against the light, the savior against the destroyer. The dichotomies however are always false, as they are just implements of waging warfare rather than an essence of an organism.
In order to build a German nation, Hitler attempted to reconcile the differences between the classes by subjecting them to a strong leader. Fascism's need for a strong leader is based on this soft egalitarianism, where the upper classes are allowed to thrive, but only as long as they serve the collective good along with their own wealth accumulation. The proletariat would be provided for, but not those individuals that could not work because of laziness, alcohol, or other debilitations. Fascism is soft socialism—the very upper and lower classes are held in check so that the middle class can build the nation. A strong leader, unfettered by partisan bickering representing different classes, was needed to bring this about.
Birken writes, "All in all, the worldview that Hitler developed in the early twenties helped him elaborate a special path for the German people which was supposed to be neither traditionally aristocratic nor overly egalitarian. To be sure, neither Prussia nor social democracy was ever more than halfheartedly won over to Hitlerism, but at least Hitler was able to suppress their hostility and co-opt them. As long as the generals were willing to fight and the workers were willing to die for the nation, all would be well. That was why he proclaimed National Socialism as the middle path between communism and capitalism which alone could unite the German people."
Hitler rejected the capitalist political economy, because the inequality of classes meant that social endowments would be unequal, and lowborn Germans (such as himself) could not contribute as much as they had to offer the nation. Social or class inequities, born out of traditional class privilege, subverted the creative German potential by not leveling the playing field and giving equal opportunity to all Germans. Capitalism underpinned and perpetuated an artificial elite, one that had accepted social Darwinism. Hitler rejected this, and found class snobbery denied the rightful place of lowborn talented Germans from prospering.
Birken notes that, "At the same time, Hitler argued, Marxism was too democratic. Marxism's leveling of everything stood in the way of inventive personalities by denying the far more fundamental inequality of biological endowments so that individual genius was drowned in a sea of mediocrity. Hitler thus advanced the notion of a third force which would simultaneously guarantee property as a reward for and reject class distinctions as a barrier to effort."
In Hitler's worldview, both National Socialism and Marxism were fighting against an elite. Marxism saw the elite as evil capitalists, and rejected that capital was of the same value as work. Hitler on the other hand accepted capital and labor equally, but saw the parasitic Jew as the evil in its midst. Hitler's Germany would then be made up of a classless society where only merit would determine success, but one that was essentially tribal—outsiders like Jews, Gypsies and others were to be cast out.
On how race fit into personal achievement, Birken states, "Hitler believed that the German people needed a dynamic political economy to achieve their destiny, but how to achieve that dynamism? The German dictator believed that all growth could be traced to individual effort—but only at the service of the common good. He thus tempered what might be taken as a 'libertarian' definition of inventiveness with a somber collectivism. Invention, Hitler believed, was thus the product of individual geniuses of high personality value. But personality value was in turn conditioned by the individual's biological (racial) endowments or race value so that an economic policy had to be underpinned by a racial policy."
Hitler then denied the dichotomy between profit and wages, because by liberating the individual as long as they served the collective good in their attainment of self-fulfillment, each individual should contribute what they could and be rewarded by what they could get. He did not differentiate either between productivity brought about by manual labor versus intellect—it was up to the individual to find their place in the different areas of production and capitalist investments. In fact, he seemed to be quite unaware of what we would call eugenics for intelligence today. It was more an essence of the race that provides all levels of attainment, but not it seems a recognition of a high average intelligence by they German worker.
With regards to religion, Hitler had to pay lip service to the Catholics and the Protestants, but he was more of a deist than anything else, much like many of our founding fathers were. He saw religions as divisive for the building of a nation-state, and wanted a theism that could fight against the weakness of Christianity on the one side, and the atheism of Bolshevism on the other.
The importance of building the German nation-state was due to Hitler's perception that a true German nation never existed, and that the Germans too, like the Jews, were prone to be a rootless, diaspora people, with the best Germans often being the ones that emigrated to other lands. Hitler wanted to "stabilize German nationalism for all eternity by giving it a foundation in the soil. Here, Hitler was warring as much against the rootless universalism of the Hapsburgs as against the coming globalism of some as yet unguessable 'new world order.'" It is interesting that Hitler was fighting for today's concept of an indigenous people, to have their own land, and to occupy it as they see fit, without the disruptions of outsiders such as a global capitalist elite—a prescience that has not been recognized or appreciated. Just as Zionism was about binding a people to its soil, so was National Socialism.
If eugenics was a substantial part of National Socialism, rather than just another borrowed program from the West, then it should have influenced Hitler's view of bringing forth creative minds. But according to Birken, Hitler felt that to increase the number of exceptional Germans meant not breeding better Germans, but just having more of them—a very anti-eugenic's program. Birken states, "Thus, in his Secret Book Hitler wrote that 'on the basis of its general race value a people can certainly entertain a justified hope that it can bring real minds into existence,' but only if that people did not 'restrict such brains in their activity' by diluting them in a sea of mediocrities. Only a leader-state, dedicated to selecting the best minds from among a people and giving them freedom of action, could permit that people to transform its race value into the personality values necessary to raise the overall level of wealth and culture." This statement could be easily interpreted as justification for enrichment programs in schools today, where universal education and testing selects the gifted regardless of their supposed social standing.
Hitler was against any type of limitation on the number of births, because again in his mind, only by having a large population could children that are more gifted be found. A eugenics perspective would have relied on breeding to bring forth exceptional minds, not the sheer number of people to select from. This is the same argument that anti-abortion advocates use to defend saving all children because a Beethoven might be among the aborted. The flip side of course, and one that takes eugenics into consideration, is that abortion also reduces the number of criminals born, and easier abortions have had an impact on lowering the crime rate in the United States. Without abortion, the less intelligent women got pregnant more often and just had the child, while the more intelligent women took precautions not to get pregnant, and when they did sought out illegal abortions. In the United States, legal abortions have had a eugenic effect on the overall population.
Hitler's policy then of expanding German territory was to make more room for more Germans, and making sure they would stay in Germany and not emigrate. It was a policy of quantity not quality of the German people. They would grow in order to survive against competing nations. Birken writes, "Hitler held that both the expansion and contractions of a people's power depended on the number of great minds it produced, and great minds were in turn the product of healthy bodies, the racial value of a people ultimately depended on the laws of sexual selection. The fate of Germany thus depended on 'the most beautiful bodies' coming together. But this coming together was frustrated by both the traditionalist and the modernist attitude toward sexuality."
Hitler's vision then of eugenics was closer to that of China than of the Western version. China also has a very confused, almost mystical concept of eugenics, whereby having healthy children alone or good hygiene will somehow select for better children in the future. Its as if China still does not understand the principles of genetics in the way they approach eugenics, though they openly embrace its principles.
Under National Socialism, it is my understanding then that the concept of eugenics was embraced and understood by the German medical establishment, while Hitler had little theoretical inclinations towards its implementation or even its objectives. His bringing forth a superior German race was far removed from Western concepts of good breeding to get rid of the underclass and degenerates, while improving the overall quality of people. Its not that eugenics was antithetical to Hitler's philosophy, it is just that what we know of eugenics during that time does not mesh well with his vision of an expanding population that could build upon itself by sheer numbers alone.
Clearly, Hitler stood between socialist and Aryan extremes within National Socialism. "In fact, as Gregor himself noted, National Socialism as a whole tended to polarize between 'two conflicting traditions,' the first inflating and the second deflating the importance of Aryanism. But if the 'hyper-Aryan' position was represented by Himmler and his dreams of a blond SS state, and the 'hypo-Aryan' position was championed by the Strasser brothers and their commitment to some kind of national Bolshevism, Hitler clearly sought to navigate a route between them. He thus told Otto Wagener that 'we must accept the mixing of [German] blood as it is. We must not call one [German] blood worse than another, one mixture worse than another' lest the Volk be divided. Hitler's position within Nazism was thus a microcosm of Nazism's third-force position within the larger German context. In the end, he rejected the quasi-aristocratic racism of the Munich-oriented Thule Society as certainly as the quasi-proletarian socialism of the Berlin-oriented Strassers because his desire for both party and national unity required a synthesis."
Hitler then was not very devoted to a eugenic breeding program, but rather a devotion to his people as they were. Of course, eugenics was considered good for the nation in numerous countries to reduce the burden of ill health and decadence as much as promoting a higher person. As Birken pointed out, Hitler's idea of race was metaphysical, and not scientific. Many of the doctors in Germany of course embraced the more scientific form of eugenics, but it was not a major player in National Socialism—it would have been a part of Germany no matter what party was in power.
Birken declares: "[F]rom Hitler's standpoint race was what might be called a 'noumenal' [intellectual] as opposed to either a 'phenomenal' or a 'mythical' concept. Racial 'elements' existed, but in the real world they never took a pure form; nations were in fact always alloys of a lesser or greater degree of purity whose identity was thus only the result of a conscious will even if that identity did have an ultimately noumenal basis. In this context, the Germans and the Jews were both less races in themselves as for themselves. In his Secret Book Hitler thus regarded a people as not so much a pure race as a 'multitude of more or less similar individual beings.' The expression 'more or less similar [mehr oder minder gleicher]' is emblematic of the subtlety of Hitler's thought since it struck a balance between homogeneity and heterogeneity. Similarity was not absolute but instead varied from nation to nation.
"The notion that different peoples might possess different degrees of homogeneity allowed Hitler to explain the political constitutions of various peoples on the basis of their supposed racial makeup. He thus suggested that a radical egalitarianism might be natural in an extremely homogeneous people since 'men of completely similar characteristics ... will be of necessity also alike in their achievement,' while a hierarchical society might be natural in an extremely heterogeneous people since men of very different racial characteristics would spontaneously fall into unequal social strata. Nevertheless, it seems clear that Hitler had doubts about the long-term viability of such societies. On the one hand, an overly homogeneous population (such as that of Sweden) lacked the natural inequality of ability necessary for individual genius to distinguish itself, while an overly heterogeneous population (like that of India) tended to dissolve into castes. In happy contrast to those extremes, the Germans were potentially heterogeneous enough to allow for the emergence of different talents and yet homogeneous enough to preserve their unity. Indeed, Hitler argued that 'if there had been a complete blending of ... [German] racial elements' the German people might actually 'have been endowed with a smaller cultural capacity' since the superior as well as the inferior elements would have been homogenized. All that was necessary was for the German people to jettison inappropriate notions of class on the one side and mass on the other in order to allow the natural biological makeup of the Volk to determine its political constitution. While egalitarianism might be appropriate to Sweden and class society appropriate to India, the mixed political economy of National Socialism was natural for Germany."
Hitler again is very prescient in his observation, as a recent book demonstrates that homogenous societies in fact are more naturally egalitarian (Salter, 2004). It seems then that his gravest errors were those not normally recognized and would not be endorsed today by neoeugenicists. Today, it is accepted that securing a national boundary is far more important than simple expansion, as the quality of the people is more important than just numbers for defense of the nation. Hitler also felt that because of his age, he had to go to war soon or slip into old age and never see his dream of a greater German state realized. Simple hubris sent Germany to war when it should have remained non-belligerent, especially after already unifying Austria and the Sudetenland with Germany.
A more eugenic's minded nation would have dug in, practiced eugenics at an accelerated pace, built up its technology including weaponry, and wait to be attacked rather than throwing the world into a global conflict. As for Hitler's acts of genocide, it matters little if Marxism's struggle slaughtered millions based on class or Hitler's love of Volk slaughtered millions to advance the German state. Still, after the war was lost, all things racial became anathema, while socialism got a pass over and over again in its serial mass murders by varying regimes.
Matt Nuenke, May, 2004.