This morning I was reading a travel blog written by a woman who had visited Dachau. She was curious about who had made the Arbeit Macht Frei sign that is on the gate into the camp.
This is a quote from the blog post:
That Arbeit Macht Frei sign? That was someone’s job, to make that sign. Who was he? Did he know its final destination? Did he know what would happen on the other side of it? Did he appreciate the stark irony of prisoners being worked to death in the shadow of those words? (more…)
The photo below shows the Mausoleum at the Majdanek Memorial Site. According to the Majdanek Museum guidebook, the ashes under the dome are the ashes of the victims who were shot on “bloody Wednesday,” the third of November, 1943. This was the largest mass execution carried out at any of the concentration camps in the history of the Holocaust. The victims were the last remnants of the Jewish population in the Lublin district.
Dome covers ashes at the Majdanek Memorial Site
Daniel Goldhagen wrote in his book entitled “Hitler’s Willing Executioners,” that there were 43,000 Jews killed on Nov. 3rd and 4th, 1943 in the action called “Erntefest” (Harvest Festival in English). According to Goldhagen’s book, “this was the largest single shooting massacre of the war.”
According to the web site of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, on the occasion of the “Harvest Festival,” the SS and police killed about 42,000 Jews, which included the killing of between 11,000 and 16,000 Jews at Poniatowa and between 4,000 and 6,000 Jews at Trawniki. The USHMM says that Himmler ordered the implementation of Operation “Harvest Festival” because he feared more incidents of armed Jewish resistance after the prisoner uprising at the Sobibor killing center. (more…)
A few nights ago, I was watching an old episode of the TV show “House” when the patient suddenly started having “rapid heart rate.” The doctors, who were gathered around his bed, immediately started trying to bring down his heart rate by using some drug which they mentioned, but I didn’t catch the name of it. Then I heard one of the doctors say that “rapid heart rate” was an indication of failing kidneys. (more…)
I know that I am a bit late in blogging about Keith Olbermann, who has been in the news lately, but it took me a while to remember why I stopped watching his TV news commentary on MSNBC, and started watching Bill O’Reilly on Fox News instead. On his show on June 1, 2006, Olbermann was outraged as he pointed out that Bill O’Reilly had said that it was U.S. troops that had killed German POWs in the Malmédy massacre during World War II.
During an interview with former NATO supreme commander, Wesley Clark, on May 30, 2006, O’Reilly had compared the incident at Malmédy to the alleged killing of 24 Iraqi civilians by U.S. soldiers in Haditha, Iraq.
I looked it up on the Internet and here’s what O’Reilly said:
“In Malmédy, as you know, U.S. forces captured SS forces who had their hands in the air and they were unarmed and they shot them down. You know that. That’s on the record. Been documented.” (more…)
I was shocked to learn that Jack LaLanne has died at the age of 96. I thought that he would live to be 100. He died at home from “respiratory failure due to pneumonia.” This is a common cause of death for old people. My father, one of my grandfathers and my older brother all died of pneumonia. In the old days, pneumonia was called “the old people’s friend” because it allowed an easy death. Jack LaLanne was only sick for a week before he died. That’s much better than dying a lingering death from cancer. (more…)
On Nov. 8, 1938, there was an annual gathering of the Nazi leaders in the Bürgerbräukeller in Munich to remember Hitler’s failed Putsch that had been organized there in 1923. The day before, on Nov. 7, 1938, a young Jew named Herschel Grynszpan had shot Ernst vom Rath, a German diplomat, in Paris.
Before that, there was the Munich Agreement on Sept. 30, 1938 in which Germany was given the Sudentenland in Czechoslovakia. These things were on Heinrich Himmler’s mind when he gave his speech on the night of Nov. 8th. (more…)
One of the regular readers of this blog sent me two photos of death records obtained from the Red Cross International Tracing Service at Arolsen, Germany. The records show that, as of 31.12.1983, there were only 373,468 known deaths in the main concentration camps during World War II. I was aware of these statistics, but I had never really looked closely at the numbers. The most surprising thing is that, by 1979, there had been only 6,507 death certificates issued for the deaths at Bergen-Belsen, and only 6,851 death certificates for Bergen-Belsen issued by 1983. (more…)
When did Hitler decide on the genocide of the Jews in Europe? Nobody knows because he didn’t put it in writing. One thing we do know is that, in the 1930s, there were proposals, by other European leaders, to resettle the Jews in Uganda, Madagascar or Biro Bidjan in Siberia. In other words, any place besides Palestine.
After the conquest of Poland in 1939, Germany got in on it, with a settlement for the Jews in Nisko, a little town in Poland. The settlement quickly failed because of poor prior planning. (more…)
No, I’m not blogging about Geico commercials today. BTW, my favorite Geico commercial is this one: “Is a bird in the hand worth two in the bush?” It cracks me up every time.
But I digress. Last night, Steve Cohen, a Democratic Congressman from Tennessee, invoked the Holocaust to attack Republicans on the Health Care bill; he compared Republican arguments to “the big lies” told by Germany’s Propaganda Minister, Josef Goebbels, in the World War II era.
Cohen said: “They (the Republicans) say it’s a government takeover of health care, a big lie just like Goebbels. You say it enough, you repeat the lie, you repeat the lie, you repeat the lie and eventually, people believe it. Like blood libel. That’s the same kind of thing.”
Whoa! Did Cohen get mixed up when he invoked Nazi terminology? The problem with bringing up something like “the big Lie” and the name Goebbels is that, when this is shown later on the news on TV, everyone who is watching will jump up at the first commercial and google it. (more…)
Everyone in the world knows about the concentration camps, set up by the Nazis, starting with Dachau in March 1933. Every school child in America can rattle off the names of the six “death camps” where the Jews were gassed. Even people in China are now getting interested in the Holocaust, which I learned from reading a Chinese magazine in the waiting room of my Chinese doctor. (This was a magazine for Chinese-Americans who want to keep up with what is happening in China today.)
But how many people today know that, shortly after they were liberated by the Allies, the concentration camps were turned into camps for German prisoners? (more…)