Eva Nathan Clarke was born in the Mauthausen concentration camp on April 29, 1945, the day that her mother, Anka Nathan Bergman, arrived as a prisoner on a train from a labor camp in Freiberg, near Dresden, Germany. Her father, Bernd Nathan, had been shot in Auschwitz on January 18, 1945, the same day that 60,000 prisoners were marched out of the camp and taken to camps in Germany and Austria. Eva now lives in Cambridge, England and works for the Holocaust Educational Trust. She tells her story to students in order to remember and commemorate all those who died, but also to teach the lessons of the Holocaust. (more…)
May 6, 2010
Last night I watched an episode of the History Channel’s TV series “America: the Story of US.” During the part about the American Revolution, Friedrich von Steuben from Prussia was shown as a hero who helped the American colonies defeat the British. Casimir Pulaski, a Polish soldier who saved the life of George Washington and became a general in the Continental Army, was completely left out of the story, as was Tadeusz Kosciuszko, a Polish-Lithuanian soldier who fought on our side in the Revolutionary war. Maybe I missed it, but I don’t recall any mention of the Marquis de Lafayette either.
In today’s politically correct world, how could a Prussian military man be so prominently honored while two Polish heroes were completely left out? What, you’ve never heard of the militaristic Prussians who started World War One? Prussians are the bad guys and Poles are the good guys. Let’s get our history straight. If you’re going to mention Germans fighting in the American Revolution, it should be the soldiers from Hesse who fought on the side of the British.
The way that von Steuben was worked into our politically correct history was by labeling him a homosexual. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that, as Jerry Seinfeld famously said.) African Americans and women were represented in the politically correct story of the American Revolution and there had to be some way to include homosexuals too. The story, as told in “America: the Story of Us,” is that Friedrich von Steuben couldn’t get a job after the Seven Years War because he was gay, and that’s why he came to America and volunteered to help the Continental Army. Von Steuben introduced the bayonet to the Americans, but the TV show didn’t explain where he got them. Did he import bayonets from Prussia or what?
Tadeusz Kosciuszko was a colonel in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. In 1783, in recognition of his military service, he was given the rank of brigadier general by the Continental Congress and he become a naturalized citizen of the United States. Pulaski was awarded honorary American citizenship.
Here is a quote from this web site about Friedrich von Steuben:
He served with distinction through the Seven Years’ War, became a captain on the general staff, and in 1762 was appointed an aide-de-camp to King Frederick II. When peace came in 1763, he was discharged. For the next 14 years he was unable to find military employment, but he somehow acquired the title of baron.
At Paris in the summer of 1777, Steuben undertook to obtain a commission in the American Continental Army. Count Claude Louis de Saint-Germain, the French minister of war, recommended him to Beaumarchais, who in turn vouched for him to the American commissioners, Benjamin Franklin and Silas Deane.
Note that he was “unable to find military employment,” but not because he was homosexual; it was because there was no war going on. Von Steuben was “appointed an aide-de-camp to King Frederick II” which might have caused some people to assume that he was homosexual. “King Frederick II” was known as “Friedrich der Grosse” and “der alte Fritz.” He is one of the few heroes of Germany that are still given any honor. There is a statue of him in Berlin. I visited his residence, named Sanssouci, on a tour of Potsdam. From the furnishings at Sanssouci, I got the impression that Friedrich II was homosexual, but that doesn’t mean that von Steuben was homosexual. The tour guide told us that Friedrich II was gay; after all, he did play the flute and he hung out with Voltaire a lot.
If you’ve read the book “Schindler’s Ark” on which the movie Schindler’s List was based, you have read about Tadeusz Kosciuszko. There is a mound in Krakow in honor of Kosciuszko. The author of the book mistakenly wrote that the mound that is visible from the Plaszow camp, featured in Schindler’s List, was the mound of Kosciuszko; it was actually the mound of Prince Krak. Kosciuszko’s mound, which was built in the 19th century, is west of the city center.