Scrapbookpages Blog

April 30, 2017

Remembering my trip to the Natzweiler camp

Filed under: Uncategorized — furtherglory @ 1:50 pm

Way back in the dim past, I took a trip to the former Natzweiler camp.  As I recall, it was very difficult to get there. There was no bus nor train that went there. I had to hire a private driver to take me there and return to pick me up.

After I returned from my trip, I did a website about the camp, which you can see at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Natzweiler/index.html

 

Natzweiler gas chamber

I was hoping to see the famous Natzweiler gas chamber, but no one is allowed to go there. There are guards that prevent anyone from getting near the gas chamber.

Listen and Remember

Filed under: Music, Uncategorized — furtherglory @ 11:01 am

There are two versions of the history of World War II

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, Uncategorized — furtherglory @ 8:50 am

In a comment on my blog, a reader mentioned the death of Diana Rowden, who was an SOE agent during World War II.

There are two versions of Diana’s death.

You can read the kosher version, which is taught in American colleges, at https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/3365683/diana-rowden-british-spy-executed-by-nazis/

Several years ago, I traveled to the location of the Natzweiler camp, where Diana Rowden was allegedly killed, and then wrote about it on my website at

http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Natzweiler/SOEagents.html

You can read about another SOE agent on this blog post: https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2010/11/27/the-fate-of-andree-borrel-a-french-woman-in-the-british-soe/

Who remembers Eisenhower’s death camps?

Filed under: Germany, Uncategorized, World War II — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 7:06 am

Gotha, Germany – “Eisenhower’s Death Camp”

On March 10, 1945 as World War II was coming to an end, General Eisenhower signed an order creating the status of Disarmed Enemy Forces for the German Prisoners of War who would soon be surrendering to the Americans. This order was a violation of the Geneva Convention because it allowed Eisenhower to disregard the rules for the treatment of Prisoners of War. It allowed him to starve the German POWs, deny them the right to send and receive letters, and to receive Red Cross packages and packages from German civilians. All of these rights were enjoyed by the prisoners in the Nazi POW camps and even in the notorious concentration camps. Eisenhower signed this order before he had even seen the horrors of the concentration camps, which so affected him.

In his book entitled “Other Losses,” James Bacque wrote the following:

Begin quote

There were no tents in the Gotha DEF camp, only the usual barbed wire fences round a field soon churned to mud. On the first day, they received a small ration of food, which was then cut in half. In order to get it, they were forced to run a gauntlet. Hunched over, they ran between lines of guards who hit them with sticks as they scurried towards their food. On April 27, they were transferred to the U.S. camp at Heidesheim further west where there was no food at all for days, then very little.

End quote

The German city of Gotha is mostly known to Americans, if at all, as the first headquarters of the American Army in Germany, set up by General Dwight D. Eisenhower in April 1945, and as the site of one of the Prisoner of War camps where captured German soldiers were treated in a barbaric fashion with total disregard to the rules of civilized warfare, according to an American guard at the camp.

General Eisenhower mentioned Gotha in his book “Crusade in Europe,” as the nearest city to the “horror camp” at Ohrdruf-Nord, the first concentration camp to be discovered in Germany by American soldiers on April 4, 1945, but he failed to mention his own notorious POW camp located near Gotha.

A few years ago, I met a former German soldier who had been a prisoner in the American POW camp near Gotha in Germany.  Some of the American soldiers, who were guarding the camp, had allowed him to escape. He told me the horrible details about how German POW’s had been treated by the Americans.

After 1947, most of the records of the POW camps were destroyed by the U.S. government, according to James Bacque, the author of a book entitled “Other Losses.” Bacque wrote that the Germans claimed that 1,700,000 soldiers, who were alive at the end of the war and had surrendered to the Allies, never returned home. All of the Allied countries denied responsibility, and the families were never told what had happened to their loved ones.

The following quote by Lieutenant Ernest Fisher, of the 101st Airborne Division and former Senior Historian of the United States Army is from the book “Other Losses”:

Begin quote

Starting in April 1945, the United States Army and the French Army casually annihilated about one million men, most of them in American camps.

Eisenhower’s hatred, passed through the lens of a compliant military bureaucracy, produced the horror of death camps unequaled by anything in American military history…

End quote

Stephen Ambrose, a noted World War II historian, disputes the claims made by James Bacque. His review of Bacque’s book can be read at this web site:

http://www.nizkor.org/hweb/people/b/bacque-james/ambrose-001.html

For another opinion, go to this web site:

http://www.rense.com/general46/germ.htm

Ironically, Gotha also holds a place in history as the birthplace of the Socialist Worker’s Party of Germany in 1875. The very house, called the Haus am Tivoli, where August Bebel and others got together to form this new leftist political party, is at the intersection of Cosmartstrasse, but it is closed to tourists.

A plaque was placed outside the house by the Communist East German government, commemorating this as the place where a “glorious moment in the history of the German working class” took place.

Karl Marx wrote a scathing paper called “Critique of the Gotha Programme” in which he criticized the new party as a sell-out of the proletariat and the Communist party, which he had popularized in 1848 with his “Communist Manifesto.” In 1890, the name of the party was changed to the Social Democratic Party.

On May 7, 1945, the German army surrendered to General Eisenhower, who refused to shake hands with the German General, as is customary. The neutral country of Switzerland was removed as the Protecting Power for German prisoners, which was another violation of the Geneva Convention. General George S. Patton quickly released the prisoners who had surrendered to his Third Army, but General Eisenhower held his POWs until the end of 1946, forcing them to live on starvation rations. Red Cross packages sent to the German POW camps were returned. The POW camps had no barracks or tents.

The German prisoners were forced to dig holes in the ground for shelter, as the picture below shows. Even though the American army had plenty of tents, the prisoners lived for months in their holes. When it rained, the holes collapsed and the prisoners died.

German POWs had to dig holes for shelter, as shown in the photo above.

After 1947, most of the records of the POW camps were destroyed by the U.S. government, according to James Bacque, the author of a book entitled “Other Losses.” Bacque wrote that the Germans claimed that 1,700,000 soldiers, who were alive at the end of the war and had surrendered to the Allies, never returned home. All of the Allied countries denied responsibility, and the families were never told what had happened to their loved ones.

The following quote by Lieutenant Ernest Fisher, of the 101st Airborne Division and former Senior Historian of the United States Army is from the book “Other Losses”:

Begin quote

Starting in April 1945, the United States Army and the French Army casually annihilated about one million men, most of them in American camps.

Eisenhower’s hatred, passed through the lens of a compliant military bureaucracy, produced the horror of death camps unequaled by anything in American military history…

End quote

Stephen Ambrose, a noted World War II historian, disputes the claims made by James Bacque. His review of Bacque’s book can be read at this web site:

http://www.nizkor.org/hweb/people/b/bacque-james/ambrose-001.html

For another opinion, go to this web site:

http://www.rense.com/general46/germ.htm

Ironically, Gotha also holds a place in history as the birthplace of the Socialist Worker’s Party of Germany in 1875. The very house, called the Haus am Tivoli, where August Bebel and others got together to form this new leftist political party, is at the intersection of Cosmartstrasse, but it is closed to tourists. A plaque was placed outside the house by the Communist East German government, commemorating this as the place where a “glorious moment in the history of the German working class” took place.

Karl Marx wrote a scathing paper called “Critique of the Gotha Programme” in which he criticized the new party as a sell-out of the proletariat and the Communist party, which he had popularized in 1848 with his “Communist Manifesto.” In 1890, the name of the party was changed to the Social Democratic Party; it is still one of the largest political parties in Germany today.

It was the Social Democrats who declared a Republic in Germany on November 9, 1918, forced the Kaiser to abdicate, and then signed the Armistice which ended World War I two days later. The Nazis referred to the Social Democrats as the “November Criminals” and called their actions “der Dolchstoss” (Stab in the Back). The claim that Germany had lost World War I on the battlefield was called “The Big Lie” by Hitler in his book, “Mein Kampf.” The harsh Treaty of Versailles, signed by the Social Democrats in June 1919, insured that another war would soon follow.

April 29, 2017

The Sobibor death camp is in the news

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, Uncategorized, World War II — furtherglory @ 10:39 am

You can read about the alleged Nazi death camp at Sobibor in this news article: http://www.concordmonitor.com/Shock-treatment-as-a-way-to-fascism-9477497

The following quote from the news article, cited above, is about Sobibor:

Begin quote

How will Americans respond if fascism becomes real here? I think that remains an open question.

I admire the honesty of the response of Toivi Blatt, a Holocaust survivor, when he was asked about the human response to fascism he saw.

Blatt, who was a Polish Jew, saw his whole family die in Sobibor extermination camp. At the age of 16, he was one of 300 prisoners who participated in an uprising at Sobibor. Two hundred escaped. Of those, 150 were captured and killed.

Blatt was one of 50 Sobibor prisoners who survived the war. After the war he moved to the United States.

This is what Blatt had to say about his experience:

“People asked me ‘What did you learn?’ and I think I’m only sure of one thing – nobody knows themselves. The nice person, on the street, you ask them, ‘Where is North Street?’ and he goes with you half a block and shows you, and is nice and kind. The same person in a different situation could be the worst sadist. Nobody knows themselves. All of us could be good people or bad people in these situations. Sometimes when somebody is really nice to me I find myself thinking, ‘How will he be in Sobibor?’ ”

End quote

I have a section, about Sobibor, on my scrapbookpages.com website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Poland/Sobibor/Tour01.html

The following information is from my website:

Sobibor was initially divided into three camps (Lager 1, Lager II and Lager III) but a fourth camp was added later to store munitions captured from the Soviet Army. Lager I was where the Jewish workers in the camp lived. A moat on one side of this camp prevented their escape.

Lager II was where the victims undressed; Jewish workers sorted the clothing in this camp. The barracks for the German SS administrators of the camp were located in the Vorlager.

From Lager II, an SS man escorted the victims through a path lined with tree branches to the gas chambers in Lager III. Only the Ukrainian SS guards and the German SS officers were allowed in Lager III.

The Sobibor camp was 400 meters wide and 600 meters long; the entire area was enclosed by a barbed wire fence that was three meters high.

On three sides of the camp was a mine field, intended to keep anyone from approaching the camp. The watch towers were manned by Ukrainian SS guards who had been conscripted from captured soldiers in the Soviet Army to assist the 30 German SS men who were the administrators of the camp.

In 1965, a German court put 11 of the German SS guards on trial; 6 of them were sentenced to prison, and one committed suicide during the trial; the others were acquitted.

The victims arrived on trains which stopped at the ramp across from the Sobibor station, or in trucks from nearby Polish villages. Most of the Jews were transported in cattle cars, but the 34,000 Dutch Jews who were sent to Sobibor arrived in passenger trains, according to Toivi Blatt. The luggage of the Dutch Jews was transported in separate cars and the victims were given tags which they were told would be used to reclaim their bags. All of the belongings of the Jews were confiscated upon arrival.

At the entrance to the camp, the victims were instructed to deposit their hand baggage and purses before proceeding along the path, called the “Himmelfahrtstrasse” (Street to heaven), which led to the spot where the hair was cut from the heads of the women, and then on to the gas chambers disguised as showers.

According to Toivi Blatt, all documents, photos and personal items were removed from the confiscated baggage and anything that could not be recycled to send to Germany was burned in open fires that lit up the night sky.

The gas chambers in two buildings at Sobibor were torn down long ago.

Survivors of Sobibor do not agree on the number or size of the gas chambers. The victims were killed with carbon monoxide from the exhaust of engines taken from captured Soviet tanks, which were stored in Camp IV. There is also disagreement on whether these were diesel engines or gasoline engines.

End quote from my website

 

Don’t go denying that Zyklon-B was used to gas prisoners if you want to keep your job!

Filed under: Germany, Uncategorized — furtherglory @ 8:44 am

My 2005 photo of  alleged Auschwitz gas chamber

In this news article, you can read about whether Zyklon-B was used to gas prisoners at Auschwitz.

http://www.politico.eu/article/national-front-would-be-leader-steps-aside-after-gas-chamber-comments/

New general delegate of the France’s far right party Front National (FN), Jean-Fran?ois Jalkh, attends a press conference given by their new president Marine Le Pen on January 20, 2011 about the party’s new organisation at party headquarters in Nanterre, west of Paris. AFP PHOTO / JACQUES DEMARTHON (Photo credit should read JACQUES DEMARTHON/AFP/Getty Images)

The following quote is from the news article:

Jean-François Jalkh reportedly said it was impossible for Zyklon B to have been used in mass exterminations [of Jewish prisoners].

Jean-François Jalkh will not become interim president of the far-right National Front party after reports emerged he had questioned the existence of Nazi gas chambers, National Front MEP Louis Aliot told BFMTV Friday.

When asked about Jalkh’s reasons for refusing the post, Aliot said: “He thought there wasn’t the calm necessary” for him to take on the top job. Aliot added that Jalkh would “firmly and formally” contest the accusations of anti-Semitism made against him.

End quote

Jalkh should not have questioned the existence of gas chambers used by the Nazis.  Of course, gas chambers were used — to kill the lice in clothing. Zyklon-B was used to SAVE lives. Lice spread disease.

You can read all about the alleged homicidal gas chamber at Auschwitz on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/AuschwitzScrapbook/Tour/Auschwitz1/Auschwitz08.html

It would have been far too dangerous to use gas to kill the prisoners; it would have been much easier to just shoot them.

 

April 28, 2017

If Donald Trump had been president when Anne Frank was alive, would he have turned her away?

Filed under: Uncategorized — furtherglory @ 4:29 pm

My blog post today was inspired by this news story: http://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.premium-1.786132

The news article is about Donald Trump’s policy of admitting immigrants.

My photo of the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam

Everyone knows the story of Anne Frank. How would she have fared if Donald Trump had been president of the United States when she tried to escape from the Nazis?

When the Nazis came to power in Germany, Anne’s father tried to come to America, but he was turned away became he had a criminal record.

But it doesn’t matter why he was turned away. He was Jewish and the Nazis were trying to eliminate the Jews. Anne’s father should have been allowed in and his family should also have been allowed in. His brother, who was also a criminal, was admitted into America. He lied about his criminal record.

I have written, at length, about the story of Anne Frank on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/AnneFrank/AnneFrank02.html

“Social democrats were, like the Jews, the first victims of the Holocaust”

Filed under: Uncategorized — furtherglory @ 1:32 pm

On my blog today, I am quoting from this news article:

http://www.jpost.com/Diaspora/Outrage-over-German-FMs-belittling-of-Holocaust-489280

Begin quote

“Social democrats were, like the Jews, the first victims of the Holocaust.”

End quote

The Social Democrats? Who remembers them?

I wrote about the Social Democrats on one of my very first blog posts: https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/tag/social-democrats/

The following quote is from the blog post cited above:

Begin quote

[Reverend] Niemöller was a German citizen and a Protestant minister in a country that was predominantly Protestant.  The quotation is repeated today to show that innocent people were sent to concentration camps by the Nazis for no reason at all, but good people did nothing, and this resulted in a good person (Niemöller) being wrongly imprisoned.  But is this the whole story?

The National Socialist (Nazi) political party was democratically elected in Germany in 1932 and on January 30, 1933, Hitler became the Chancellor of Germany because he was the leader of the National Socialist party.  There were more than two political parties in Germany, so a party did not have to get 51% of the votes to be elected.

The Communists and Social democrats were accustomed to gaining power through revolution, not a democratic vote. The German state of Bavaria was taken over by Communist revolutionaries on November 7, 1918, just four days before the Armistice which ended World War I was signed on November 11, 1918.  In the “November Revolution,” the Social Democrats overthrew the imperial government of Germany and proclaimed a Republic on November 9, 1918.

The Nazis knew that, if they wanted to stay in power, they would have to do something to eliminate the Communists and Social Democrats.  That’s why these two parties were banned after the Nazis were elected; political dissidents were locked up and that put an end to bomb throwing and revolutionary fighting in the streets.

[…]

Dr. Elvira Grozinger, the head of the German chapter of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME), told the Post: “Our Minister of Foreign Affairs seems to have no idea of what the Holocaust meant for the Jews. The Social Democrats were political opponents and therefore -like in any other dictatorship – unwanted and imprisoned but never systematically gassed. Six million dead Jewish victims including over 1 Million children.”

She said, “The comparison of these Jewish victims who were murdered just because they were born as Jews and Social Democrats as political opponents in the ‘3rd Reich’ is therefore not acceptable. It is a symptom of lack of historical
and social differentiation which disqualifies such a member of government as a minister.”

End quote

April 27, 2017

Who remembers Adolf Eichmann?

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, Uncategorized — furtherglory @ 5:15 pm

There was a time when the name Adolf Eichmann was known all over the world. But who remembers him now? His name came up recently in the comment section of my blog.

To refresh your memory of Eichmann, read this blog post about him:

https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2012/05/26/50th-anniversary-of-the-execution-of-adolf-eichmann-the-architect-of-the-holocaust/

Time to go back to the beginning: how the Holocaust started

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, Uncategorized — furtherglory @ 8:03 am

I have been reading lots of long comments on my blog about what happened, or didn’t happen, in the Holocaust.  It is time to go back to Square One: when and how did the Holocaust start?

Room where the Holocaust was  planned

It all began with the Wannsee conference. [Wannsee is pronounced Von-say with the accent on Von.]

The front of the Wannsee house where the conference was held

The photograph above shows the front of the Wannsee villa, as you approach from a short straight driveway off a street named Am Grossen Wannsee. The property has now been converted into a Holocaust Museum, which opened in 1992 on the fiftieth anniversary of the conference.

After World War II ended on May 8, 1945, the Allied powers began a search for the Nazi documents that they would need as evidence at the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal which was set to begin in November 1945. They found tons of paperwork including secret documents hidden in salt mines and behind walls in the Nazi administration buildings.

The one most important document, the order signed by Adolf Hitler which gave the authority for the genocide of the Jews, was never found.

Finally, in 1947, long after the first proceedings of the Nuremberg IMT had ended, the minutes of a conference held on January 20, 1942 at a villa in Wannsee, a district of Berlin, were found. At this conference, the plans for the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question” had been discussed.

Today, tourists can stand in the very room where the plans were made for the genocide of the Jews.

Another view of Wannsee house

My photograph above shows the circular driveway and the miniature roses in a circular flower bed in the front of the house.

Fifteen top officials of the Nazi bureaucracy and the SS attended the Wannsee conference, which was led by 38-year-old Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich, the chief of the Reich Security Main Office (RSHA).

On May 27, 1942, Reinhard Heydrich was wounded when a group of Czech resistance fighters, who had escaped to England, returned and made an attempt on his life in Prague. Heydrich died of his wounds on June 4, 1942.

The minutes or protocols of the Wannsee meeting, 15 pages in all, were written by 36-year-old Adolf Eichmann. The copy that was found in 1947 was undated and unsigned; it had no stamp of any Bureau. The copy appeared to be a draft report of the meeting that was held on January 20, 1942 at Wannsee.

The full title of the Conference was “The Final Solution of the Jewish Question in Europe.” The original phrase was “a final territorial solution of the Jewish question.”

The term “Jewish Question” referred to a question that had been discussed for years: Should the Jews have their own state within the country where they lived, or should they assimilate?

On the witness stand at the Nuremberg IMT, Hermann Goering said that the conference was about “the total solution to the Jewish Question” and that it meant the evacuation of the Jews, not extermination.

The full text of the letter from Goering to Heydrich, ordering the Final Solution, (Nuremberg Document PS-710) is quoted below:

Begin quote

To the Chief of the Security Police and the SD, SS Gruppenfuehrer Heydrich

Berlin

In completion of the task which was entrusted to you in the Edict dated January 24, 1939, of solving the Jewish question by means of emigration or evacuation in the most convenient way possible, given the present conditions, I herewith charge you with making all necessary preparations with regard to organizational, practical and financial aspects for a total solution [Gesamtloesung] of the Jewish question in the German sphere of influence in Europe.

Insofar as the competencies of other central organizations are affected, these are to be involved.

I further charge you with submitting to me promptly an overall plan of the preliminary organizational, practical and financial measures for the execution of the intended final solution (Endloesung) of the Jewish question.

Signed: Goering

End quote

In 1992, Yehuda Bauer, a professor at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, referred to “the silly story of Wannsee,” as he said: “The public still repeats, time after time, the silly story that at Wannsee the extermination of the Jews was arrived at.”

The fifteen men who met at Wannsee for this historic occasion were not elder statesmen, but men in their prime, who were, for the most part, long standing members of the Nazi party.

Heydrich’s involvement with the Nazis dated back to the dawn of the Fascist movement in Germany when he was a teen-aged member of the Freikorp, a volunteer militia group which engaged in bloody street battles with the Communists, who were led in Berlin by the Jewish militants, Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxembourg, and in Munich by the Jewish leader, Kurt Eisner.

The minutes of the meeting began with an explanation of what had been accomplished so far by the emigration of the Jews in Germany, including the German protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, which is now the Czech Republic.

The following quote is from the minutes of the Wannsee conference:

Begin quote

The Chief of the Security Police and the SD then gave a short report of the struggle which has been carried on thus far against this enemy, the essential points being the following:

a) the expulsion of the Jews from every sphere of life of the German people,

b) the expulsion of the Jews from the living space of the German people.

In carrying out these efforts, an increased and planned acceleration of the emigration of the Jews from Reich territory was started, as the only possible present solution.

By order of the Reich Marshal, a Reich Central Office for Jewish Emigration was set up in January 1939 and the Chief of the Security Police and SD was entrusted with the management. Its most important tasks were

a) to make all necessary arrangements for the preparation for an increased emigration of the Jews,

b) to direct the flow of emigration,

c) to speed the procedure of emigration in each individual case.

End quote

The aim of all this was to cleanse German living space of Jews in a legal manner.

All the offices realized the drawbacks of such enforced accelerated emigration. For the time being they had, however, tolerated it on account of the lack of other possible solutions of the problem.

The Jews had been forced to pay for their emigration themselves. Foreign Jews had donated approximately 9.5 million dollars to finance the emigration of German Jews between the time of the Nazi takeover of power and 31 October 1941, according to the minutes of the conference.

On June 22, 1941, Germany had invaded the Soviet Union and the emigration of the Jews from Europe was no longer feasible, according to the minutes of the meeting, which stated: “In the meantime the Reichsführer-SS and Chief of the German Police had prohibited emigration of Jews due to the dangers of an emigration in wartime and due to the possibilities of the East.”

The following quote is from Article III of the minutes of the Wannsee conference:

Begin quote

Another possible solution of the problem has now taken the place of emigration, i.e. the evacuation of the Jews to the East, provided that the Führer gives the appropriate approval in advance.

These actions are, however, only to be considered provisional, but practical experience is already being collected which is of the greatest importance in relation to the future final solution of the Jewish question.

Approximately 11 million Jews will be involved in the final solution of the European Jewish question, distributed as follows among the individual countries:

Country – Number

A. Germany proper 131,800
Austria 43,700
Eastern territories 420,000
General Government 2,284,000
Bialystok 400,000
Protectorate Bohemia and Moravia 74,200
Estonia – free of Jews –
Latvia 3,500
Lithuania 34,000
Belgium 43,000
Denmark 5,600
France / occupied territory 165,000
unoccupied territory 700,000
Greece 69,600
Netherlands 160,800
Norway 1,300

B. Bulgaria 48,000
England 330,000
Finland 2,300
Ireland 4,000
Italy including Sardinia 58,000
Albania 200
Croatia 40,000
Portugal 3,000
Rumania including Bessarabia 342,000
Sweden 8,000
Switzerland 18,000
Serbia 10,000
Slovakia 88,000
Spain 6,000
Turkey (European portion) 55,500
Hungary 742,800
USSR 5,000,00

Ukraine 2,994,684
White Russia
excluding Bialystok 446,484

Total over 11,000,000

End quote

The “Eastern Territories,” which had a total of 420,000 Jews, were in the part of Poland that had been taken over by the Soviet Union in 1939, but were now in the control of the Nazis, following the invasion of the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941.

The Ukraine and White Russia (Belorussia) were formerly a part of the USSR (Soviet Union) so the 2,994,684 Jews in the Ukraine and the 446,000 in White Russia were included in the 5 million Jews in the USSR. Many of these Jews had been moved into the interior of Russia, when the Soviet Union was invaded.

It was Hitler’s custom to have his personal secretary take down his words verbatim when he gave his long-winded monologues to his inner circle at the dinner table, or in the drawing room, in the evening.

According to historian John Toland , Hitler made the following comment, which was written down by his secretary, during his “table conversations” in the fall of 1941:

Begin quote

From the rostrum of the Reichstag, I prophesied to Jewry that, in the event of war’s proving inevitable, the Jew would disappear from Europe. That race of criminals has on its conscience the two million dead of the First World War, and now already hundreds and thousands more. Let nobody tell me that all the same we can’t park them in the marshy parts of Russia! Who’s worrying about our troops? It’s not a bad idea, by the way, that public rumor attributes to us a plan to exterminate the Jews. Terror is a salutary thing.

End quote

Map shows Greater Germany

The map above shows the Greater German Reich in orange and the area of Poland that was annexed into the Greater German Reich in a darker orange color. The yellow line shows the boundary of Poland between 1919 and 1939; during this period of time, Germany was divided into two sections by the Polish Corridor. The tan colored area within the yellow boundary line designates the part of Poland that was occupied by the Soviet Union after the defeat of Poland by the Germans and the Soviets in 1939; this is what was referred to as “the Eastern territories” in the minutes of the Wannsee conference.

Shown in dark brown on the map is the General Government, where 2,284,000 Jews lived; this area was German-occupied Poland.

In the tan colored area is the “Reichskommissariat Ukraine” where 2,994,684 Jews lived. The area called “German Military Administration” on the map is the part of Russia that was within the control of Germany by January 1942.

The evacuation of the Jews in the Warsaw and Lublin ghettos to the death camps at Treblinka, Sobibor and Belzec, began in February 1942, soon after the Wannsee conference.

This first “evacuation to the East” was named Aktion Reinhard in honor of Reinhard Heydrich, although some sources say that the operation was named Aktion Reinhardt in honor of Staatssekretär Fritz Reinhardt, the civil servant in the Reich Finance Ministry, who was in charge of exploiting the assets of the Jews who were murdered in these camps. Note that Treblinka, Sobibor and Belzec are all located close to the Bug river, which formed the border between German-occupied Poland and the area of Poland that was formerly occupied by the Soviet Union.

Some visitors to the Wannsee house might be upset to see that the Nazis chose such a lovely, serene setting for a conference devoted to planning the world’s greatest crime, but it was typical for the Nazis to surround themselves with beautiful scenery, classic buildings, music and books.

Some of the most notorious Nazi concentration camps were built in beautiful locations and had such incongruous features as flower gardens, bird houses, orchestras, a library, a zoo, and a swimming pool.

Reinhard Heydrich, who chose this spot for the conference, was an aristocratic and cultured man, an athlete and a talented musician. Most of the participants were educated men and several had law degrees.

The back of the Wannsee house

The photograph above shows the rear of the Wannsee house, which overlooks a large lake named Grossen Wannsee.

To the left in the photo is a covered terrace with French doors leading to the Wintergarten, a sun room which looks out on a small formal rose garden on the south side of the house. The two ground floor windows to the left of the flower-filled urn are the windows of the former dining room where the infamous conference was held.

According to the museum at Wannsee, Reinhard Heydrich requested the job of coordinating the “General Solution of the Jewish Question.”  The Jewish Question had been discussed in Europe for at least a hundred years. Karl Marx, the originator of Communism and a non-practicing Jew himself, had even written a paper on the subject.

The question was whether the Jews should give up their separate identity and become assimilated into the country in which they lived, or whether they should have their own separate nation within a nation.

The Final Solution to the Jewish Question, which was the subject of this Conference, was to be the “transportation to the east” or “evacuation to the east” (nach dem Osten abgeshoben) of the Jews in Europe.

In the minutes of the meeting, nothing was written about killing the Jews, but the innocuous words used in this document are now regarded by Holocaust historians as euphemisms for the extermination, or genocide, of the European Jews.

By late 1941, the Nazi empire extended from the Arctic Circle to the Sahara Desert and from the Pyrenees mountain range to the Ural mountain range. The Germans controlled most of Western Europe and in Eastern Europe, they had conquered all of Poland, the Ukraine, White Russia, and the three Baltic states: Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania. Most importantly, they were in control of territory a thousand kilometers into Russia and they were on the verge of defeating the Soviet Union.

Hitler had formed the Greater German Reich, starting with the annexation of Austria and the Sudetenland in what is now the Czech Republic in 1938, Silesia in Poland in 1939, and Luxembourg, along with the provinces of Alsace and Lorraine in France, in 1940. Ethnic Germans from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania had been relocated to the area in western Poland which had been annexed into the Greater German Reich.

Hitler’s ultimate goal was to unite all the ethnic Germans into one country, and to unite Europe against the threat of Communism.

Considering that the Nazis had many allies, including Italy, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania, his plan was entirely feasible at this point.

By January 20, 1942, when the Wannsee conference was held, Hitler was in a position to implement his second major goal which was the extermination (Ausrottung) of all the Jews in Europe, the plan that was code named The Final Solution to the Jewish Question.

Lt. Col. Adolf Eichmann had been concerned with the Jewish Question ever since his youth; he had spent time living in Palestine in order to learn more about Zionism and the developing Jewish State. He had studied the traditions and customs of the Orthodox Jews and had even learned to speak and write in the Hebrew language. At the time of the conference, he was Director of the Jewish Department of the Reich Security Main Office in Berlin (RSHA), the second man to hold this office.

Most of the Jews in Germany were assimilated and did not want to leave their country, but Eichmann worked with the Zionists to help as many Jews as possible to emigrate to Palestine before 1938. Palestine was a protectorate of the British, and immigration was restricted, but the Nazis aided the Zionists in illegal immigration. Hitler established farms and workshops where young German Jews could be trained in agriculture and blue-collar jobs, which would qualify them for legal immigration to Palestine.

After the war, Eichmann escaped arrest by posing as a Luftwaffe private; he was captured, but escaped. For a while, he worked in Germany under a false name, then fled in 1950 to Italy and from there to Argentina. He lived there with his family until he was kidnapped by the Israeli Intelligence Service in May 1960 and taken to Israel for trial as a war criminal.

During his trial in Jerusalem, Eichmann testified as follows during session 107 on July 24, 1961:

Begin quote

What I know is that the gentlemen convened their session, and then in very plain terms – not in the language that I had to use in the minutes, but in absolutely blunt terms – they addressed the issue, with no mincing of words. And my memory of all this would be doubtful, were it not for the fact that I distinctly recall saying to myself at the time, Look, just look at Stuckart, the perpetual law-abiding bureaucrat, always punctilious and fussy, and now what a different tone! The language was anything but in conformity with the legal protocol of clause and paragraph. I should add that this is the only thing from the conference that still has stayed clearly in my mind.

End quote

When the Presiding Judge asked Eichmann what Stuckart had said “in general” “on this topic,” Eichmann answered, “The discussion covered killing, elimination, and annihilation.”

On the basis of Eichmann’s testimony, it is now accepted that the minutes of the Wannsee conference were written with euphemisms, instead of the actual words used at the conference.

Gerald Fleming wrote the following in his book entitled “Hitler and the Final Solution”:

Begin quote

Heydrich, who presided over this fateful conference and ultimately “gave the finishing touches” to the minutes of the proceedings, which had been prepared by Eichmann, prudently refrained from documenting any mention regarding the “special treatment” of the Jews not fit for labor.

End quote

The Nazi term “special treatment” (Sonderbehandlung) is believed, by Holocaust historians, to be a euphemism which meant death in the gas chamber.

Eichmann was convicted of Crimes against Humanity by the Israeli court and was executed on May 31, 1962. He was the first and only person in the history of the world to ever be convicted of a crime that was not a crime when the act was committed and by a country that did not exist when the act was committed.

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