Scrapbookpages Blog

October 15, 2012

Do the Jews now own the phrase Jedem das Seine?

Filed under: Buchenwald, Holocaust, World War II — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 10:38 am

Jedem das Seine on Buchenwald camp gate

I read in the news here that the neighbors of a Dutch businessman were threatening to sue him if he erected a gate on his property with the phrase “Jedem das Seine” on it.

Jack Bakker, a Dutch businessman and art collector, had made plans to erect a gate in the municipality of Zandvoort. But last year the municipality said it would prevent the construction of an early design of the gate following protests by CIDI, the Dutch watchdog on anti-Semitism. The municipality said it would not authorize construction because it violated building regulations.

The phrase “Jedem das Seine,” which is on the gate into the former Buchenwald concentration camp, means “to each his own,” but it has the connotation of “everyone gets what he deserves.”  Buchenwald was the only concentration camp to have this sign on the gate into the camp, AFAIK.

Buchenwald was a Class II camp, which meant that prisoners in the camp had a slim chance of being released.  Dachau, Sachsenhausen, Gross Rosen, Flossenbürg, and the Auschwitz I camp were Class I camps, which had the slogan “Arbeit macht Frei” on the gate, meaning that the prisoners had a good chance of being released.  Mauthausen was the only Class III camp, which had no sign on the gate; prisoners at Mauthausen were classified “Return unwanted” meaning that they had no chance of being released.

The phrase “Arbeit macht Frei” has now been claimed by the Jews as an icon of the Holocaust.  The claim is made that this slogan was used on the Class I camps to taunt the Jews because they had no chance of being released, even if they worked hard.  The Class I camps which had this sign were mostly populated by political prisoners who were non-Jews.  The “death camps” for the Jews, such as  Majdanek and Auschwitz II,  did not have an “Arbeit macht Frei” sign.

Sign on gate into Gross Rosen concentration camp

Gross Rosen was the camp to which the Jews, who didn’t get on Schindler’s List, were sent.  It was a Class I camp, not a “death camp.”

This quote is from the news article, cited above:

The early design by the Belgian designer Job Smeets featured two smoking chimneys that function as pillars and barbed wire — an apparent reference to Nazi crematoria — and included a translation of the German writing on the gates of Buchenwald: Jedem das Seine (“to each his own”).

“We thought that, fortunately, it was over but now it again seems like this gate is being built,” Wim Post, a neighbor of Bakker, told the RTV crew. “In a museum, people chose whether to see it, but we are confronted with it and we don’t want it.”

Eefje van Bommel, Bakker’s lawyer, told the Dutch daily that the Buchenwald text never made into the final design.

“The gate is being branded for no reasons,” she said, adding that the municipality’s decision not to authorize the gate violated her client’s rights.

Bakker told the Dutch paper Haarlems Dagblad this month through his lawyer of his plans to build the gate, the Dutch daily reported.

His original  plans became known last year when he hired Smeets to work on the gate.

So now we find out that using the phrase Jedem das Seine is anti-Semitic?

Buchenwald was not specifically a camp for Jews; the Jews were “transported to the East,” and political prisoners were sent to Buchenwald.  Near the end of World War II, the survivors of the three Auschwitz camps were sent to Germany; some of the Jews were sent to the Buchenwald camp.

New Book: “When Hitler Took Austria” by the son of the Austrian Chancellor

Filed under: Germany, World War II — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 6:59 am

My parents wanted me to go to St. Louis University in St. Louis, which was a Catholic university in the 1950s.  If I had taken the advice of my parents, one of my history teachers might have been Kurt von Schuschnigg, the former Chancellor of Austria, who became a professor at St. Louis University after World War II.  I could have gotten a first-hand account of the how “Hitler took Austria” from the former Chancellor himself.

Now his son, also named Kurt von Schuschnigg, has written a book entitled When Hitler Took Austria.  You can read about Kurt, the son, in this news article.  His father, the Chancellor, also wrote a book; it is entitled The Brutal Takeover.

I became interested in the story of Chancellor Kurt von Schuschnigg because I almost got to meet him.  I did some research on “the brutal takeover” and wrote about it several years ago on my website here.

After the Anschluss, Kurt von Schuschnigg was imprisoned by the Nazis from March 1938 until early May 1945.  He spent some time in the VIP section of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp before he was transferred to Dachau in the last days of the war. He was one of the prisoners who were taken from Dachau to the Tyrol, where he was finally liberated by American troops.

Kurt von Schuschnigg was detained for two years by the American Military until he was finally allowed to emigrate to America in 1947. In 1948, he became a Professor of International Law and Contemporary Diplomatic History at St. Louis University.  He retired to Innsbruck, Austria where he died in 1977.