Hartheim Castle in Austria is now a Memorial Site in commemoration of the disabled people who were murdered in the gas chamber there during World War II. The room shown in the photo above is sometimes mistakenly identified as the gas chamber, but it is actually the crematorium where the bodies were burned; a light shines on the exact spot where a single oven was located. (People were not killed in the cremation ovens as some people believe.) Note the vaulted ceiling which shows how the ceiling of the gas chamber looked before a passageway for a ramp was cut through the walls. (more…)
May 31, 2011
May 30, 2011
I’ve been reading here about Mark Zuckerberg’s new challenge, which is not to eat any meat, except the meat from animals that he has personally killed. His first kill was a lobster, which he plunged into a pot of boiling water. Now he’s killing chickens, but there is no mention in the news about how he kills his chickens. First of all, where does he get live chickens? Does he raise chickens in his back yard?
When I was a child, my family had a “hen house” and a “chicken pen” in the back yard. Now most cities have laws against raising chickens in a residential neighborhood.
When my mother ran out of pullets, and didn’t want to kill and eat the laying hens, she would go uptown to a store that sold live chickens. (A pullet is a young female chicken.) Then she would bring the chicken home and keep it in our chicken pen until Sunday morning when it was time to kill it for our Sunday dinner. (more…)
May 27, 2011
In March 1941, the Jews in the area surrounding the city of Krakow were put into a walled ghetto in Podgorze, a district of Krakow. This ghetto is depicted in the movie, Schindler’s List, but the actual scenes were filmed nearby in the old Jewish ghetto called Kazimierz.
In my blog post about Schindler’s List on May 25th, I neglected to mention one of the most important scenes in Schindler’s List — the “Krakow massacre,” which began on March 13, 1943 and ended the following day.
The photo above is an old photo, which is identified on Wikipedia as the the march of the Jews out of the Krakow ghetto when the ghetto was liquidated, an event known as the “Krakow Massacre.”
Prior to this final liquidation in 1943, Jews had been previously sent out of the Podgorze ghetto, beginning in February 1942, as part of Operation Reinhard, the name which the Nazis gave to what they claimed was “the evacuation of the Jews to the East.” Operation Reinhard was the beginning of the “Final Solution of the Jewish Question,” which was the title of the Wannsee Conference on January 20, 1942 in which the genocide of the Jews was planned.
In the movie, Schindler’s List, the entire liquidation of the Krakow ghetto, which actually happened over a period of years, is lumped together into one scene which takes place on one day. Spielberg filmed the liquidation scene in the Kazimierz ghetto, although the actual Krakow ghetto (Podgorze) was in another location in Krakow.
One of the most memorable passages in the novel Schindler’s Ark is the one in which Mrs. Dresner hides under a stairwell when the Nazis come to round up the Jews in the Podgorze ghetto in June 1942 to take them to the Belzec extermination camp. Mrs. Dresner hid under the stairwell, pictured above, after a neighbor allowed her daughter, but not her, to hide behind a false wall in an apartment. Mrs. Dresner was the aunt of Genia, the little girl in red, in the movie. In the movie, this scene is part of the final liquidation of the ghetto in March 1943.
The photo above shows the balconies in the courtyard from where the suitcases were thrown down in the scene in Spielberg’s movie in which the Podgorze Ghetto is liquidated. This is the courtyard, which links Jozefa street with Meiselsa street, in Kazimierz.
According to Thomas Keneally’s novel, after the first liquidation in 1942, in which many of the Jews escaped, the Jewish Combat Organization (ZOB), a group of resistance fighters, bombed the Cyganeria Restaurant and killed 7 German SS soldiers. Next, the SS-only Bagatella Cinema was bombed in Krakow. In the next few months, the ZOB sank German patrol boats on the Vistula, fire-bombed German military garages in Krakow and derailed a German army train, besides forging papers and passports for Jews to pass as Aryans.
In the movie, the date of the scene where Mrs. Dresner hides has been changed to the day of the final liquidation of the ghetto on March 13, 1943. The movie gives the impression that the Jews were killed for no reason and does not mention what the Jews did in the Resistance.
In the movie, the Nazis go through the Podgorze ghetto, room by room, and tear down walls as they look for Jews who are hiding. While the Nazis are searching for the Jews, a German soldier stops to play the piano. The German people love classical music and this scene is based on the claim that the Nazis literally put down their violins in order to kill the Jews.
The basic theme of the movie Schindler’s List is that the Germans were bad and the Jews were good. Schindler was the one good German who proves the rule. All the others were evil, especially Amon Goeth, the Commandant of the Plaszow camp who supervised the final liquidation.
According to the novel, Schindler’s Ark, around 4,000 Jews were found hiding in Podgorze ghetto during the final liquidation and they were executed on the spot. However, during the postwar trial of Amon Goeth, one of the charges against him was that 2,000 Jews were killed during the liquidation of the Podgorze ghetto.
According to the novel, the Jews, who managed to escape from the ghetto, joined the partisans of the Polish People’s Army, who were hiding in the forests of Niepolomice. Unlike the novel, the movie Schindler’s List does not mention the Jewish resistance fighters, who fought as partisans throughout the war. In the movie, the Jews are portrayed as totally harmless, so there was no reason for the Nazis to shoot them as they were trying to escape.
Thomas Keneally, who is a native of Australia, mentioned in his novel that in 1944, an Australian plane was shot down by the Germans over Oskar Schindler’s factory; the plane was dropping supplies to the Jewish and Polish partisans in the forest east of Krakow, according to Keneally.
Krakow had been populated by Jews for 600 years before the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939, and the Jews had been discriminated against for years, before the Nazis arrived. In 1494, there was a fire in Krakow which was blamed on the Jews; this was the start of pogroms against the Jews. Because of this, the King of Poland ordered the Jews in the city of Krakow to be resettled in the district of Kazimierz. During World War II, the Nazis ordered the Jews to move out of Kazimierz, into a ghetto in the Podgorze district, which was across the river Vistula.
In the movie Schindler’s List, there is a scene where a new transport of Jews is arriving at the Plaszow camp and Commandant Amon Goeth must do a “selection” in which the sick prisoners and those unable to work will be killed in order to make room for more workers. In the movie, prisoners in the Plaszow camp are forced to run naked past German doctors who will decide which ones are healthy enough to work.
The children are loaded onto trucks, presumably to be taken away to be killed. The children frantically try to find hiding places. Some of them hide in the disgusting liquid in an outhouse. This scene shows that Spielberg has no experience with outhouses, or he would have known that the mess in a latrine is not liquid and a child would not sink down into it.
Besides that, how did the children know that they were going to be killed? And who gave Amon Goeth the authority to do a “selection”?
Throughout the movie, the Germans are shown as being stupid and inept, while the Jews are shown as being smarter than the Germans. There is the famous scene where a German pistol won’t fire. Then there is the scene where a Jewish woman tells the Germans that they are not building the foundations for the barracks correctly. Amon Goeth shoots her and then tells the workers to build the barracks the way she said to build them.
In real life, the barracks at Plaszow were pre-fabricated buildings and the women prisoners had to carry large pieces of the buildings from the train up the hill to the camp. In the movie, not only were the Jews smarter than the Germans, the women were smarter than the men.
Amon Goeth, the villain of the movie Schindler’s List, had joined the Nazi party at the age of 24. In 1940, Goeth had joined the Waffen-SS. In 1942, he had been assigned to the SS headquarters for Operation Reinhard in Lublin. Goeth’s first task was to supervise the liquidation of several of the small ghettos in Lublin.
The Jewish ghettos in Lublin were the first ghettos to be liquidated and some of the Jews from Lublin were among the first to be sent to the Belzec extermination camp during Operation Reinhard. Goeth accepted bribes from the Lublin Jews during the selection process, and put them on the list to be sent to a labor camp, rather than to the Belzec death camp.
The Nazis claimed that Operation Reinhard was the plan to evacuate the Jews from the ghettos in Poland (including the Podgorze ghetto) to three transit camps: Treblinka, Sobibor and Belzec, all of which were in eastern Poland. According to Holocaust historians, the three Operation Reinhard camps were actually death camps where the Jews were immediately killed.
In February 1943, Goeth received a promotion and became the third SS officer to hold the job of Commandant of the Plaszow labor camp. In January 1944, the forced labor camp at Plaszow was converted into a concentration camp under the jurisdiction of WVHA, the SS Office of Economics and Administration in Oranienburg. The two sub-camps at Prokocim and Biezanow were incorporated into the main camp at Plaszow and living conditions were improved. Polish prisoners and a few German criminals were now in the same camp as the Jews, as was typical in other Nazi concentration camps. There were factories set up for the production of Germany army uniforms, as well as factories for upholstered furniture. There was also a custom tailoring shop, a jewelry shop and a cable factory set up in the camp.
After Plaszow became a concentration camp, Amon Goeth now had to report to the WVHA headquarters office in Oranienburg.
The following quote is from the novel Schindler’s Ark:
“The chiefs in Oranienburg did not permit summary execution. The days when slow potato-peelers could be expunged on the spot were gone. They could now be destroyed only by due process. There had to be a hearing, a record sent in triplicate to Oranienburg. The sentence had to be confirmed not only by General Glueck’s office but also by General Pohl’s Department W (Economic Enterprises).”
This passage in the novel shows that the author had done some research, regarding the fictional scene where Amon Goeth is shooting prisoners from his balcony. He had to explain why Goeth was not immediately arrested for killing prisoners without permission from WVHA in Oranienburg; it was because Plaszow was a labor camp at the time that Goeth allegedly shot prisoners from his balcony.
According to the Pharmacy Museum guidebook, which I purchased in the former Podgorze ghetto in Krakow, there was a total of 35,000 prisoners in the Plaszow camp during the two and a half years of its operation.
The novel, Schindler’s Ark, mentions that the “Main Commission for the Investigation of Nazi Crimes in Poland” estimated that 150,000 prisoners passed through Plaszow and 80,000 of them died as a result of mass executions or epidemics. Plaszow also served as a transit camp for prisoners who were being sent to Auschwitz, which would account for 150,000 prisoners passing through the camp. The mass execution of 80,000 prisoners is pure fiction, but that is O.K. in a novel.
Amon Goeth was eventually arrested by the Nazis for stealing from the Plaszow warehouses and taking bribes from the prisoners. But this important point is not mentioned in the movie, Schindler’s List. All of a sudden, Goeth is gone, and there is no reason given for his disappearance. It would have destroyed the whole theme of the movie if it had been mentioned that he had been arrested by the Nazis themselves. Goeth was sent to prison, but was released on parole because he was sick. He was captured by the American army while he was recovering at a hospital.
After World War II ended, the American military turned Amon Goeth over to the Polish government for prosecution as a war criminal. He was brought before the Supreme National Tribunal of Poland in Krakow. His trial took place between August 27, 1946 and September 5, 1946. Goeth was charged with being a member of the Nazi party and a member of the Waffen-SS, Hitler’s elite army, both of which had been designated as criminal organizations by the Allies after the war. His crime was that he had taken part in the activities of these two criminal organizations. The crime of being a Nazi applied only to Nazi officials, and Goeth had never held a job as a Nazi official. In fact, at the time of Goeth’s conviction by the Polish court, the judgment against the SS and the Nazi party as criminal organizations had not yet been made by the Nuremberg IMT.
It was determined by the Supreme National Tribunal of Poland, after hearing witness testimony from survivors, that about 8,000 people had died in the Plaszow camp, most of whom were executed. It was the custom for the Nazis to bring condemned prisoners to the closest concentration camp for execution. Goeth was charged with the crime of being responsible for the 8,000 deaths. This is an example of the new concept of co-responsibility which the Allies made up after the war, called the common plan or the common design theory of guilt. Amon Goeth had not personally executed the 8,000 prisoners, nor had he ordered their executions.
At the trial of Amon Goeth, the Nazi party was said to be “an organization which, under the leadership of Adolf Hitler, through aggressive wars, violence and other crimes, aimed at world domination and establishment of the National-Socialist regime.” Amon Goeth was accused of personally issuing orders to deprive people of freedom, to ill-treat and exterminate individuals and whole groups of people. His crimes, including the newly created crime of genocide, came under a new law of the Allies, called Crimes against Humanity.
By 1944, the whole Plaszow camp had become a hotbed of corruption with black market trading in stolen goods by the inmates and by the Commandant, Amon Goeth. According to Keneally’s novel, the prisoners were selling the bread, provided by the Nazis for the camp, to Polish civilians outside the camp and the price had finally reached diamonds as currency.
Oskar Schindler was granted permission to draw up a list of 1,100 slave workers for his new factory in Brinnlitz, in what is now the Czech Republic. A Jewish prisoner named Marcel Goldberg was put in charge of the names, according to the novel. Goldberg asked for bribes from those who wanted on the list and the price was paid in “stolen treasures,” mostly diamonds. There was a jewelry factory at Plaszow where the prisoners had an opportunity to steal diamonds. At the end of the list, Goldberg put his own name.
There were 800 men and 300 women on Schindler’s List; some had also gotten on the list by making threats to Goldberg, according to the novel. Oskar Schindler didn’t know all the names of his 1200 factory workers, and he had never spoken to most of them, but in the movie, he is shown as he personally selects the prisoners that he is going to save.
Shown in the first photo above, on a high plateau, is the back side of the large Plaszow monument, which faces the city of Krakow. It was on this plateau that mass executions took place, according to testimony in the trial of Amon Goeth in a Polish court in 1946. According to survivors of the Plaszow camp, 8,000 bodies were later dug up and burned on pyres in order to destroy the evidence of mass murder. Amon Goeth, who was charged with responsibility for these deaths, was convicted in a Polish court and hanged. The former location of the camp is now a nature preserve where wild flowers grow; the photo immediately above shows German soldiers picking flowers near the Plaszow camp.
Curiously, the author of the novel Schindler’s Ark mentions the mound of Tadeusz Kosciuszko, the Polish General who fought in the American Revolution, but doesn’t mention the mound of Prince Krak, which was visible from the Plaszow camp, as shown in the photo above. Kosciuszko’s mound, which was built in the 19th century, is west of the city center. Another mound was constructed in 1937 to honor Marshall Josef Pilsudski, the most important Polish national leader in the 20th century.
May 25, 2011
Steven Spielberg’s 1993 movie Schindler’s List looks like a documentary; it appears to be a true story that includes real Holocaust footage, but it is actually fiction, LOOSELY based on a true story. The movie is based on a NOVEL entitled Schindler’s Ark, written by Thomas Keneally, an Australian author of several novels, who knew nothing about the Holocaust until he met a Holocaust survivor and began research for this book.
It has been several years since I purchased Keneally’s book in the FICTION section of a Barnes and Noble store, but as I recall, there was an introduction in which Keneally explained that he went to a luggage store in southern California in 1980 where he met the owner, a man named Poldek Pfefferberg, who was one of the Jews saved by Oscar Schindler.
When Pfefferberg found out that Keneally was a novelist, he told him the story of Oskar Schindler. Then Pfefferberg went with Keneally to Poland where the two of them visited Kraków, where the Jewish Ghetto in the story was located; Pferrerberg showed Keneally some of the places associated with the Schindler story. In gratitude for all his help, Keneally dedicated his NOVEL entitled Schindler’s Ark to Pfefferberg.
In 1982, the book Schindler’s Ark won the Man Booker Prize for FICTION. Why did Keneally classify his book as a NOVEL if it is a true story? Because Keneally is a Catholic, who once aspired to be a priest; he learned in Catholic school not to include fictional stories in a book based on the truth and pass the stories off as the Gospel truth.
Keneally’s research for his book included finding old photographs which were used to create scenes in his book; Spielberg also used these old photos for scenes in his movie.
The photograph above shows Jews being forced to shovel snow on Sw. Krzyza (Holy Cross Street) at the corner of Mikolajska street in the Stare Miasto (Old City) of Kraków. Stephen Spielberg recreated this scene in his movie Schindler’s List when he showed Jews shoveling snow on Poselska street.
The photo below was used for a reconstruction of the gate into the Podgorze Ghetto for a scene in Schindler’s List.
The photo below was used by Keneally to create a FICTIONAL scene in his NOVEL Schindler’s Ark, which was used by Spielberg in the movie.
The photo below was the inspiration for another fictional scene in the movie Schindler’s List.
In the photo above, taken at the Plaszow camp, Commandant Amon Goeth is shown on his white horse. The groom for Goeth’s horse was 14-year-old Irwin Gotfried, who managed to survive the Holocaust. After the war, he emigrated to the San Francisco bay area where he lived in a community that included 2,000 other Holocaust survivors. In an article in the San Francisco Chronicle on May 16, 2005, staff writer Charles Burress wrote the following:
“That was me in the movie,” Gotfried said, referring to a scene from “Schindler’s List,” where the young groom is shot and killed by the commander. In real life, Gotfried was not shot and lived to become president of AGI Shower Door and Mirror Co. in Redwood City.
In the movie scene, where Gotfried is shot by Amon Goeth, Spielberg deviated from the real life story in order to make a point that is essential to the theme of the movie: Oskar Schindler was an exception. For the most part, the Nazis were depraved degenerates who were incapable of changing their ways. In a key scene in Schindler’s List, Oskar Schindler attempts to teach Goeth that he would have “real power” if he would choose to pardon prisoners for minor infractions instead of summarily executing them. Goeth tries this suggestion, and even practices his pardon demeanor in a mirror, but he cannot overcome his intrinsic evilness. He pardons his 14-year-old groom when his work performance does not meet his standards, but then shoots him in the back with his high-powered rifle.
Today, the movie Schindler’s List is shown to students in American schools. The parents of the students are required to sign a permission slip because the movie includes some nudity. The schools should also require a signature, acknowledging that the parents and the students have read and understood an admission from Spielberg that the movie is FICTION.
Continue reading PART TWO
May 22, 2011
Yesterday, I went to see the film entitled Nuremberg: Its Lesson for Today which is playing in American theaters now. The film is a restoration of the film which was originally written and directed by Stuart Schulberg specifically for the de-Nazification program of the American Military government of Germany, and first shown to German audiences in 1948. In other words, this film was INTENDED as a propaganda film to brainwash the German people so that they would accept the Allied contention that every German, without exception, was to blame for World War II, and every German must change his thinking to the American world view. It wasn’t enough for the Allies to destroy every German city and town with bombs, it was also necessary to destroy the German people for the sake of American hegemony.
But I didn’t know the original purpose of the film before I entered the theater. I thought that this was a new film, newly constructed out of old film footage, for American audiences today. The title threw me off. The word Today in the title refers to 1948, which was two years after the end of the Nuremberg IMT. But I thought it literally meant Today, as in the Spring of 2011.
My first thought, after seeing the film, was that there should be an ex-post-facto law passed, making it a crime to make such a film. My second thought was that this film will surely win an Academy Award.
The person who accompanied me to the theater said that this film is nothing special — it is just the same old propaganda that you see every day on the History Channel. That’s true; this is the official history that the History Channel promotes.
After learning that this film is a restoration, made by Sandra Schulberg (the daughter of Stuart Schulberg), of the film made by her father in 1947 and first released in 1948, my opinion is that the film desperately needs an introduction to explain it to today’s audiences.
I did a little research online and found this explanation, given here by Sandra Schulberg, for why she didn’t include an introduction:
SM: Why didn’t you add a brief introductory passage explaining this to viewers?
SS: (Laughing) We considered umpteen versions of opening explanatory credits. I had input from the Holocaust Museum and Josh and people at DuArt Labs, and we tested it on some other people close to the production. There was no simple way to do it. What I didn’t want to do was oversimplify it. We ultimately decided it was impossible. We did think of bringing in a well-known actor or television commentator. It might have seemed like the right thing to do, but I had to look at this as a historical document that would exist in perpetuity. Any choice one would make of a spokesperson to fill that role today might seem irrelevant or peculiar 40 or 50 years down the line. Ultimately, we thought it best to let the film stand alone as its own document.
I totally disagree. Today’s audience for this film will be (1) young students who are studying the Holocaust, and (2) old people, like me, who were alive when the Nuremberg IMT took place. I was only 13 years old at the time, but I clearly remember seeing film footage of the trial in the newsreels that were shown before every movie. I was already interested in history at that young age.
The film was originally commissioned by the U.S. government; the original was made by Stuart Schulberg, the brother of Budd Schulberg. For his film, Stuart Schulberg used footage taken at the Nuremberg IMT and combined it with footage from two documentaries, one of which was the footage from the concentration-camp atrocities film made by Budd Schulberg, which was shown at the IMT on November 29, 1945. Budd Schulberg was with the OSS in World War II.
Wikipedia gives this definition of the OSS: “The Office of Strategic Services (OSS) was a United States intelligence agency formed during World War II. It was the wartime intelligence agency, and it was a predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The OSS was formed in order to coordinate espionage activities behind enemy lines for the branches of the United States Armed Forces.”
The restored film, made by Sandra Schulberg and Josh Waletzky, is narrated by Liev Schreiber. These are the same words that are in the original narration but were re-recorded for the restored film.
The first part of the film, which drones on and on ad nauseam, tells the American version of the start of World War II. It tells about how Germany wanted to conquer the world and how the “Master Race” wanted to rule the world. The narrator says that “Two of the world’s mightiest nations—the United States and Soviet Russia—blocked the Nazi drive for world supremacy.” What about the British? Oh, that’s right, the British lost their empire after they foolishly declared war on Germany in 1939 and then didn’t fight until 1940. The film tells about how Germany invaded Denmark and Norway but doesn’t say WHY Germany decided all of a sudden to start up its conquest of the world again after a long period called the “sitting war” or Sitzkrieg, which followed the defeat of Poland in 1939.
As I watched the first part of the film, I kept thinking “This was not part of the Nuremberg IMT.” For example, there is a lot of footage on the German boycott of Jewish stores on April 1, 1933. The German boycott lasted one day and it was an attempt to stop the world-wide Jewish boycott of German goods which started as soon as Hitler became the Chancellor of Germany and continued until the end of the war.
The burning of books in Germany is also shown in the film. Was it a war crime to burn books? There are more books banned in Germany today than there were books that were burned by the Nazis.
The movie was not shown to American audiences in 1948. That should be explained in an introduction. By 1948, America had turned against the Soviet Union and the Cold War had started. America was now an Ally of Germany. The war crimes trials at Dachau stopped and War Crimes Enclosure No. 1 at the former Dachau concentration camp was closed. From the end of World War II to 1948, the American people were taught to hate the Germans, but all that changed in 1948. The lies told in this film no longer served a purpose in 1948, now that Germany and America were Allies.
During the first half of the film, I was mentally making notes and waiting for the German defense which would tell the German side of the story. After all, this was a trial where the Germans were given a chance to defend themselves. But the German defense was not really shown. There was a very short film clip showing Goering as he says that he knew nothing about the extermination of the Jews. Later, Robert Jackson, the American prosecutor, makes fun of Goering for saying that he didn’t know about the German plan to kill all the Jews.
The testimony of Goering was the highlight of the Nuremberg trial. I was looking forward to seeing it and hearing it. I was disappointed that more of his testimony was not shown. Robert Jackson almost quit after Goering’s testimony — that’s how good it was.
The German defense part of the film mainly shows the German defendants expressing remorse and admitting their guilt in their final statements. You don’t see Rudolf Hess loudly saying “Nein” when he is asked whether he pleads guilty. Kaltenbrunner is shown on the witness stand, but this part is totally confusing because it doesn’t show the important part of his testimony.
The Nuremberg IMT was totally unfair to the Germans and this film is even more unfair; it is completely one-sided and disingenuous. Here is the trailer for the film, so you can get an idea of what I am talking about:
May 20, 2011
I was watching the Glenn Beck show yesterday, along with some young college students who were gathering at my house for an event that was set to begin later. When Beck mentioned the Balfour Agreement, I asked the students at the next commercial if they knew what Beck was talking about. What? The Balfour Agreement? Never heard of it! Is the text of the letter online somewhere? Yes, of course. Everything is online. You can read the Balfour letter here.
The Balfour letter mentions what the British are going to do for the Jews, but what did the Jews agree to do for the British?
As I understand it, and correct me if I’m wrong, the Jews promised to lend money to the British to continue fighting in World War I. In 1916, America was not yet involved in World War I and Germany was winning. The Jews also promised to get America into the war.
The significance of the Balfour agreement is that it contributed greatly to Germany losing World War I, which really pissed off young Adolf Hitler who was lying in a hospital bed, blind from a mustard gas attack, when he heard that Germany had surrendered. But that wasn’t the worst of it.
At Versailles, Woodrow Wilson brought along 17 Jews who made sure that the 5 million dollar loan was paid back. Germany had to pay back the money loaned to the British by the Jewish bankers in New York. And the bankers demanded the money in gold, not paper money backed by gold. Eventually all the gold in Germany wound up in the hands of the Jewish bankers. This really pissed off Hitler and when he became Chancellor of Germany in 1933, he had no love for the Jews. Hitler was forced to print paper money, not backed by gold, which started something new, that is now considered to be acceptable.
After I explained all this to the students, I saw light bulbs over their heads as they began to realize why Hitler hated the Jews. They had always thought that Hitler was just an evil man who wanted to kill all the Jews for no reason at all. Or because they were a different race. No, it was because Hitler blamed the Jews for causing Germany to lose World War I.
Why doesn’t Glenn Beck tell you these things? And why don’t the students learn this in their college classes?
Another thing that Glenn Beck didn’t explain on his program yesterday was why President Roosevelt didn’t persuade Congress to change America’s immigration laws to allow all the Jews in Europe to come to America after Hitler came to power in 1933. He mentioned a ship full of Jews that was turned away from America, not allowing the Jews to enter. Beck didn’t mention the name of the ship, but he was obviously talking about the ship called the St. Louis. He made it sound like Roosevelt was against the Jews. But how could this be? Hitler believed that Roosevelt himself was a Jew.
Since Beck didn’t provide an explanation, I am going to jump in and give my opinion on why America didn’t allow all the Jews to come here before the Holocaust got started. Beginning in 1921, the immigration laws in America limited the number of German immigrants, which included German Jews. However, during World War II, German Jews were allowed to come here under the limited quota. Those who were allowed in were mainly young men who then returned to Germany during and after the war, as American soldiers, and helped with the roundup and prosecution of the German war criminals.
If America had saved all the Jews of Europe by allowing them to come here, there would have been no Holocaust, but there would also be no Israel today. Most of the Jews would have stayed in America and would not have gone to Palestine. I think that Roosevelt did not bring all the Jews here because he wanted to encourage the Jews to go to Palestine and set up the Jewish homeland of Israel. The survivors of the Holocaust were forced to go to Palestine because America did not change its immigration laws until 1948. Why wait until 1948? Because it was in 1948 that Israel became a country.
May 19, 2011
According to the latest news about John Demjanjuk, which you can read here, “Families of Jews who were slaughtered in Sorbibor death camp said Saturday they were pleased with the conviction of John Demjanjuk, who was sentenced to five years in prison Thursday for his role in the killing of 27,900 Jews as a guard at the Nazi camp.”
Jews from many countries were sent to Sobibor to be “slaughtered.” When will their relatives get justice? Why were only Dutch Jews included as co-plaintiffs in the prosecution of Demjanjuk? (more…)
May 18, 2011
In an Op-Ed piece in the New York Times, which you can read here, Deborah Lipstadt compared the recent trial of John Demjanjuk in Munich to the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem. In her article, Lipstadt pointed out that “Coincidentally, this year is the 50th anniversary of the trial of Adolf Eichmann, a case that, in its significance, appears to dwarf the Demjanjuk proceedings.” Lipstadt has recently published a book entitled The Eichmann Trial.
In comparing the two trials, Lipstadt wrote this:
But what happened at both of these trials is more important than the ultimate fates of the guilty. Now as then, the victims were given a chance to tell their story, not in a book, interview or speech, but in a court of law. At the Eichmann trial close to 100 witnesses testified about their suffering. At the Demjanjuk trial we heard from the victims’ children. They joined the prosecutor in pointing their fingers at the man who facilitated their parents’ murders. In other words, the Demjanjuk trial proves that while Eichmann himself may be history, the robust process that made Holocaust trials into something more than mere court proceedings is still effective.
Can the same “robust process” be used in place of “mere court proceedings” in any trial, or just in a trial involving Holocaust victims? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think a “robust process” can be used in a trial in America. Or in Germany, for any other crime. The victims of a crime in America have a chance to speak in court before the convicted criminal is sentenced, but I don’t think the victims are given the opportunity to tell about their suffering before the judge makes his decision on guilt or innocence. I would be very surprised if this can be done in a German court when it is not a trial involving the Holocaust.
Lipstadt also wrote this in her Op-Ed piece in the New York Times:
The Demjanjuk trial also underlines the lessons learned from Eichmann. Like Mr. Demjanjuk, Eichmann claimed he was only a small cog in the wheel. Both men argued that they did not have the choice to say no; it was kill or be killed. [...]
Both men could have said no with few consequences; no defense lawyer or historian has found evidence of someone being killed for refusing to participate in the Holocaust. But these men chose not to refuse.
According to Wikipedia, “In December 1939, he (Eichmann) was assigned to head RSHA Referat IV B4 (RSHA Sub-Department IV-B4), which dealt with Jewish affairs and evacuation, where he reported to Heinrich Müller. In August 1940, he released his Reichssicherheitshauptamt: Madagaskar Projekt (Reich Main Security Office: Madagascar Project), a plan for forced Jewish deportation that never materialized.“
Wikipedia also gives this information about Eichmann’s early career:
By 1934, Eichmann requested transfer into the Sicherheitsdienst (Security Service) of the SS, to escape the “monotony” of military training in SS-Standarte Deutschland at Dachau. Eichmann was accepted into the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) and assigned to the sub-office on “Freemasons” that was run by SS-Sturmbannführer Prof. Schwarz-Bostowitsch. After a short time, Eichmann had a meeting in the Wilhelmstrasse with Leopold von Mildenstein, a fellow Austrian, and was invited to join Mildenstein’s “Jews Section”, or Section II/112, of the SD at its Berlin headquarters. He later came to see this as his “big break”. Eichmann’s transfer was granted in November 1934.
So when Eichmann was invited in 1934 to join the “Jews Section,” was he given a chance to refuse to be part of the Holocaust? Did Mildenstein say to Eichmann, “Hitler is planning the genocide of the Jews. Do you want to participate or not?”
When Eichmann was assigned in 1939 to RSHA Sub-Department IV-B4, did anyone say to him, “This is the department that will be in charge of the transportation of the Jews to the death camps that Hitler is planning. Do you want to participate in the genocide of the Jews or not?”
Was it explained to Demjanjuk before he was sent to Trawniki for training that he was going to be trained to be a “death camp” guard and that he would be participating in the Holocaust?
In my humble opinion, neither Demjanjuk nor Eichmann was given the opportunity to refuse to participate in the Holocaust because it was not explained to them that they would be participating in the Holocaust if they accepted a job that was offered to them.
In Demjanjuk’s case, he was given the choice of being a prisoner in a POW camp, where he had a good chance of dying, or going to a training camp to learn to be a concentration camp guard. I doubt that it was explained to him that Hitler had given an order to kill all the Jews and that he might be assigned to work at one or more of the “death camps.”
May 16, 2011
Deutsche Welle ran this story today, 16 May 2011:
Catholic Church beatifies Nazi-resisting priest
A priest who defied the Nazis by continuing to practice Roman Catholicism despite a ban has been beatified by the Catholic church. Georg Häfner died in a concentration camp for his resistance to the Nazi regime.
Beatification is the first step toward sainthood. But first, the person has to be declared a martyr. I found out from this website why Georg Häfner qualifies as a martyr:
Sixty-eight years after he died of starvation and disease at Dachau, early on this “Good Shepherd Sunday” brought the beatification of the German priest Georg Haefner, whose death at the hands of the Nazis was judged to be “in odium fidei” — out of “hatred for the faith” — and, thus, has seen his designation as a martyr.
Häfner wasn’t killed at Dachau, but he did die “at the hands of the Nazis” because of the Nazi “hatred for the faith.”
According to the book entitled What was it like in the Concentration Camp at Dachau? by Dr. Johannes Neuhäusler, who was also a prisoner at Dachau, there was a total of 2,720 clergymen at Dachau, including 2,579 Catholic Priests. According to Dr. Neuhäusler, there were 447 German priests at Dachau. Of the 1,034 priests who died in the camp, 94 were German. So Häfner was one of only 447 priests, out of a total of 20,000 German priests, who was sent to Dachau and one out of 94 that died. What did he do to be singled out for persecution by the Nazis?
According to Deutsche Welle, “Häfner was honored by the church for his resistance to Nazi rule. Despite a ban on continuing to practice his religious duties as a priest in Oberschwarzach, which is near Würzburg, Häfner carried on and was arrested by the Nazis in 1941.”
This sounds like there was a ban on all priests in Nazi Germany, which prevented them from practicing the Catholic religion, but that is not the case. According to this website, “Häfner’s reported offense was to preach against the rise of the Third Reich.” So, the truth is that he was banned from “practicing the Catholic religion” because he was preaching against the government. The priests who didn’t preach against the government were free to practice the Catholic religion with the blessing of Hitler, who was a Catholic.
Of course, Germany is now a free country, a democracy, where everyone has the right of free speech and Catholic clergymen can say anything they want, right? If you believe that, do a search on “Bishop Richard Williamson.” He is due to go on trial in July for “Holocaust denial.” He will automatically be convicted because there is no defense against a charge of “Holocaust denial.” He will go to prison and if he dies there, he will be a martyr. He could be the first person to become a Catholic saint for saying what he believes, in defiance of the German government.
May 15, 2011
One of the regular readers of this blog alerted me to a news article on the European MSNBC website about the grandchildren of alleged Nazi war criminals; you can read it here. I was particularly appalled by the emotional pain heaped upon unsuspecting grandchild Ursula Boger. The article pointed out that “It was only during her university years — reading books about the Holocaust — that Ursula Boger found out her grandfather was the most dreaded torturer at Auschwitz.”
According to the MSNBC article, “Boger, 41, said it took her several years of therapy and group seminars to begin to come to terms with the fact her grandfather was a monster.” (more…)