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July 27, 2011

future American military leaders visit Auschwitz Synagogue

Filed under: Holocaust, movies, World War II — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 9:23 am

In a recent news story which you can read in full here, I read the following quote:

Oswiecim, Poland — In an upstairs room at the only remaining synagogue in this town, 37 miles west of Krakow, 13 future American military officers wrestled with ethical questions in the actual shadow of Auschwitz.

One of the ethical questions that these cadets struggled with was mentioned in this quote from the article:

For example, German army units could have questioned orders to kill Jewish civilians. According to Frey, a few German army units in the 691st Wehrmacht battalion that fought in Russia refused orders to kill Jews and were not punished. Most of the units, however, obeyed the orders.

I was not familiar with this particular incident, but I immediately suspected that there is more to this story than what was included in the news article.  Were Wehrmacht soldiers ( in the regular German army) ordered to take time out from fighting on the Russian front in order to “kill Jewish civilians” for no reason other than that they were Jews?  

I did a search on the “691st Battalion” and found lots of information here, including this quote:

»Partisan threat«
In the fall of 1941, the Wehrmacht’s 691st Infantry Regiment was charged with »security and pacification duties« in occupied Belorussia, in the area west of Mogilev, Orsha, and Vitebsk. Although the regiment’s first battalion reported daily about »enemy contact,« there was no indication of a partisan threat.

When I read that this incident concerned partisans in Belorussia (White Russia) that immediately rang a bell.  Around four years ago, there was a movie about the Bielski brothers, starring British actor Daniel Craig. The Bielski brothers led a gang of Jewish partisans in Belorusssia during World War II.  For some reason, this movie never caught on.  It was totally gone and completely forgotten after only a few days in American theaters.  Maybe because it was too bloody and portrayed the Jews in a negative way, fighting as illegal combatants.  The official story of the Holocaust is that the Jews were innocent victims who did nothing to provoke the Nazis.

This quote is from a review of the movie which you can read here:

They (the Bielski brothers) did not hesitate to eliminate Jewish snitches and collaborators and were responsible for saving 1,200 Jews from being killed in the Holocaust. Their courageous story went untold for decades but later this year a movie based on their tale and starring Daniel Craig, the current James Bond, will hit the screens. The screenplay is based on a book, “Defiance: The Bielski Partisans,” written by Dr. Nechama Tec, a sociologist from the University of Connecticut and herself a Holocaust survivor.

The German officer who refused to shoot “Jewish civilians” was  Oberleutnant Josef Sibille.  This quote from this web site explains what happened:

According to his own testimony, the leader of the first company, Oberleutnant Josef Sibille, born 1894, a teacher in civilian life and a member of the NSDAP since 1933, did not carry out the order. He explained to the battalion commander that he could not recognize a link between Jews and partisans. In any case, said Sibille, the only Jewish inhabitants remaining in his area were the aged, women, and children, none of whom posed a threat to the safety of the troops. A day or two later, Commichau inquired by telephone whether the order had been carried out in the meantime. Sibille expressly rejected the order. In response to Commchau’s question, when he, Sibille, intended to at last get tough, Sibille reported that he answered: »Never.«

Apparently, at least one of the American cadets on the visit to the town formerly known as Auschwitz knew about this incident when a German Wehrmacht officer refused to carry out an order and nothing happened to him.  Two other German officers who did carry out the order were put on trial in a German court after the war.

Here is a quote from the article about the Wehrmacht soldiers and the order to kill “Jewish civilians”:

On May 8, 1954, the Landgericht Darmstadt [Darmstadt State Court] found the former company commander Friedrich Nöll and his Hauptfeldwebel Emil Zimber guilty of acting as accessories to manslaughter and sentenced them to four and three years in prison respectively. The sentences were reduced to three and two years in 1956. In the opinion of the court, Nöll and Zimber were responsible for the execution of the Jewish inhabitants of Krutsha – most of whom were old people, women, and children.

5 Comments »

  1. Yitzak Arad, the former head of Yad Vashem, refused to be questioned about his involvement in partisan killings in Lithuania. The double standard for the prosecution WWII war crimes becomes obvious to anyone who bothers looking into it. “Nazi” nobodies like Valerian Trifa of Romania and the Ukrainian camp guard John Demjanjuk are pilloried in the US media and hounded for decades by the OSI before finally being deported in a media fanfaronade of righteous indignation. I can’t think of one Soviet immigrant ever prosecuted in America.

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/lithuania-asks-to-quiz-ex-yad-vashem-head-over-wwii-killings-1.229037

    Comment by who+ dares +wings — July 28, 2011 @ 7:45 am

  2. I just loved the reaction in the jewish media when Lithuania announced they would seek to prosecute some jewish partisans for their involvement in murders of Lituanian civilians during the war, scenes which are repeated in the movie Defiance. of course, we are supposed to wink and nod when it is Jews or Allies conducting the crimes.

    http://jewishcurrents.blogspot.com/2008/08/disturbing-events-in-lithuania.html

    As for the army folks…one needn’t worry that they will follow orders, as evidenced by their police brethren in scenes like Waco and Elian Gonzalez.

    Finally, I recall the time i asked a volunteer at the “Mighty 8th Air Force Museum” whether he would consider the rosy-cheeked old men who came to visit the museum dedicated to them as heroes. “of course,” he replied. “don’t you?”. I replied that while many acted bravely, they were cynically misused by their government to kill innocent civilians. “how so?” he said incredulously. I remarked that i found it interesting that killing thousands of civilians vertically makes one a hero, but shooting them (or gassing them?) horizontally makes one a murderer. as his agitiation grew significantly, I left the museum.

    Comment by schlageter — July 28, 2011 @ 4:57 am

  3. A small clarification:
    There were no specific “jewish” partisan detachments in Belarus, even some of them has enjoyed the majority of the jews in their ranks. You can tell it by the names of the detachments: None of them was named after another jew. For example:
    Field Marshal Mikhail Illarionovich Golenishchev-Kutuzov was a hero of Napoleonic wars
    Semyon Budenny, Mikhail Frunze, Aleksandr Parkhomenko and Nikolay Shchors were heroes of Russian Civil War of 1917-1920. (Fighting for the Reds, of course). None of them were jewish. Frunze became head of the Soviet Army and the jewish doctors convinced him to go through a major (unnecessary) surgery and he died from chloroform poisoning at the age 40.
    You made an excellent point. Quote: “The official story of the Holocaust is that the Jews were innocent victims who did nothing to provoke the Nazis.”
    “The Bielski partisan leaders split the group into two units, one named Ordzhonikidze (Sergo Ordzhonikidze was a Stalin’s henchman), led by Zus, and the other Kalinin (Mikhail Kalinin was another Stalin’s henchman), commanded by Tuvia.” This clearly indicates, that they were real “Soviet partisans”.

    Comment by Gasan — July 27, 2011 @ 5:47 pm

  4. “They (the Bielski brothers) did not hesitate to eliminate Jewish snitches and collaborators and were responsible for saving 1,200 Jews from being killed in the Holocaust. Their courageous story went untold for decades but later this year a movie based on their tale and starring Daniel Craig, the current James Bond, will hit the screens. The screenplay is based on a book, “Defiance: The Bielski Partisans,” written by Dr. Nechama Tec, a sociologist from the University of Connecticut and herself a Holocaust survivor.”

    There were eight movies with Holocaust themes released during the 2009 Christmas holiday season. “Defiance” was getting most of the PR so I did some
    research on the Bielski partisans and came up with this list of links, some of which are probably dead by now. Right before the release of “Defiance,” the
    last surviving Bielski brother was charged, along with his wife, of stealing the life savings of another elderly Polish woman living in their Miami, FL apt. bldg.
    The Bielskis were freebooters and murderers, not partisan heroes. In fact, much partisan heroism itself is post war Communist propaganda. The mine shafts and forests of Slovenia are packed like sardine cans with Tito’s handiwork, women and children and their beloved animals included.

    1. http://www.naszawitryna.pl/jedwabne_en_127.html
    2. http://www.forward.com/articles/13935/
    3. http://www.edu-usa.com/jew1.php
    4. http://mauricepinayblog.wordpress.com/category/bielski-brothers/
    5. http://www.newser.com/story/12201/police-war-hero-preys-on-neighbor.html
    6. http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=74&t=142603
    7. http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/926541.html
    8. http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/11/21/america/NA-GEN-US-Holocaust-Hero-Charged.php
    9. http://wyborcza.pl/1,76842,5316759,A_Hollywood_Movie_About_Heroes_or_Murderers_.html http://tinyurl.com/5ncwab

    Comment by who+ dares +wings — July 27, 2011 @ 10:01 am

    • Thanks for posting these links. I found this link http://www.naszawitryna.pl/jedwabne_en_127.html to be very informative.

      Begin quote from link cited above:
      Soviet partisans were joined by the Jews who escaped from various ghettos. According to David Melster:

      The core of the first partisan detachment in the Belorussian forests consisted of escaped ghetto inmates and Red Army soldiers. Jews from the Minsk ghetto made up a significant portion of nine partisan detachments (the Kutuzov, Budenny, Frunze, Parkhomenko, Shchors, 25th Anniversary of the Belorussian Republic, No. 106 and No. 406) and the first battalion of the
      208th independent partisan regiment. In the Lenin brigade (Baranovichi [Baranowicze] district) 202 of the 695 fighters and commanders were Jews, in Vpered 106 of 579, in Chkalow 239 of 1140 and in Novatory 48 of 126. Jews composed more than one-third of the partisans in the detachments that fought in the Lida partisan zone. In the Naliboki wood [sic] 3000 of the 20 000 partisans were Jews, many of them in position of command. Incomplete data record that some 150 Jews were commanders, chiefs of staff and commissars of partisan brigades and detachments. (“Byelorussia” in Walter Laqueur, ed. “The Holocaust Encyclopaedia”, Yale University Press, 2001).

      The fact that the Jews, with very few exceptions, ended up joining the Soviet partisans, who generally had the upper hand, and were treated as the enemy by most of the local Polish population, didn’t make them too many friends. Once again Jews sided with Poland’s enemies.
      End Quote

      I don’t think that the American cadets who were taken to Auschwitz were informed about the partisan warfare going on during World War II. The main Auschwitz camp, which is just outside the town of Auschwitz, was mainly for partisans or resistance fighters or illegal combatants, or whatever you want to call them. The Birkenau camp was originally set up for Soviet POWs. Auschwitz-Birkenau was not just for Jews. Auschwitz was also a transit camp; many of the Jews who were sent there were transferred to other camps to work.

      I disapprove of future Army officers being taken to Auschwitz and indoctrinated. Especially when they are not taught the true story of the partisan warfare in World War II.

      Comment by furtherglory — July 27, 2011 @ 10:49 am


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