Scrapbookpages Blog

December 19, 2015

A blast from the past –the movie Valkrie

One of the readers of my blog made a comment in which an old movie entitled Valkrie was mentioned. This movie came out on Christmas day in 2008.

Tom Cruise in the movie Valkrie

Tom Cruise in the movie Valkrie

Unfortunately, this movie did not last long in the theaters. I think that it is because the younger generation does not care about the past.  Tom Cruise did an outstanding job of acting in this movie, so it is a shame that it didn’t last long.

I saw the movie Valkrie on opening day in 2008, and then promptly wrote about it on this page of my website:  http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Valkyrie.html

The following quote is the web page, cited above:

On Christmas Day 2008, two new movies with stories related to World War II opened in America. One of these movies was Valkyrie, starring Tom Cruise, which is about the attempt to kill Hitler by Claus Schenk, Graf von Stauffenberg on July 20, 1944. The other was a movie entitled The Reader, based on an autobiographical novel by German writer Bernard Schlink.

The movie Valkyrie was a big disappointment to me. It is an action movie with no human interest at all, but if you like James Bond movies, you will love Valkyrie.

The movie gets its title from Operation Valkyrie which was the code name for a plan, hatched by German Army officers, to kill Hitler and take over the German government. The word Valkyrie (Walküre) was taken from Hitler’s code name for his contingency plan to use the Replacement (Ersatzheer) soldiers stationed at Army Headquarters on Bendlerstrasse in Berlin in case of civil unrest or an attempted coup. The Army officers who were plotting to kill Hitler intended to use the Replacement Army, commanded by Colonel-General Friedrich Fromm, to take over the government after Hitler was dead.

Tom Cruise plays Claus Schenk, Graf von Stauffenberg, who volunteers for the assignment to assassinate Hitler on July 20, 1944 at his field headquarters in East Prussia. Cruise bears a remarkable physical resemblance to the real Stauffenberg, except that Stauffenberg was much taller. This is not a problem because, in the movie, Cruise is frequently photographed from a low camera angle, which makes him appear to be taller.

I thought that Tom Cruise did a great job of acting the part of Stauffenberg, although there was no occasion for him to show his famous smile. Tom accurately portrays the contempt that Stauffenberg had for the Nazis and Hitler. In the scenes with Stauffenberg’s wife, Baroness Nina von Lerchenfeld, who outranks her husband, Tom acts like an aristocrat in an arranged marriage, which is accurate. Unfortunately, Stauffenberg appears to be the same height as his wife, which is not accurate.

Most of the professional movie critics have complained about Cruise speaking English like an American instead of affecting a British or a German accent. Have they been to Germany lately? After more than 60 years of American occupation, that’s the way the Germans speak English now. In fact, I was once told by a German in the British zone of occupation that my English is easy to understand because I speak like an American, not with a British accent.

An important point that is not mentioned in the movie is that the men involved in the plot to kill Hitler and take over the government were almost all aristocrats with a von in their names, including Otto von Bismarck and Gottfried von Bismarck, the grandsons of the “Iron Chancellor.” Von means from and it is always followed by the name of the ancestral castle or estate. Stauffenberg was a count (Graf) and his ancestral home was named Stauffenberg. His wife Nina was a Baroness from an ethnic German aristocratic family in Lithuania.

The characters in the movie mispronounce Stauffenberg’s name which is inexcusable. The German er is pronounced like the English word air and the German au is pronounced like the ou in ouch.

The purpose of the assassination of Hitler was to put an end to World War II before the Soviet Army could invade Germany. At this point in time, Germany had no chance of winning the war: the Normandy invasion had recently taken place on June 6, 1944 and American troops were fighting their way across France, while the German army in the East was in retreat. The Army of the Soviet Union had just crossed the Polish border and was advancing toward Berlin.

Stauffenberg and his fellow plotters wanted to negotiate a separate peace with the Western allies to save Germany from complete destruction. Hitler had already made several attempts to negotiate peace, allegedly even sending his deputy Rudolf Hess on a peace mission to meet with the British on May 10, 1941, but Winston Churchill had instructed his Foreign Office on January 20, 1941 to ignore any peace offers from Germany. Hitler’s government was not acceptable to Churchill and Roosevelt, who were both upper class aristocrats, living in a completely different world than Hitler, the “people’s Chancellor.”

In January 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt had announced at a conference in Casablanca that only unconditional surrender by the Germans would be acceptable to the Allies. Stauffenberg thought that Roosevelt and Churchill would be willing to negotiate with his band of aristocrats after Hitler was eliminated. However, none of this is explained in the movie.

The plotters were mainly officers in the regular German army, called the Wehrmacht. Germany also had another army, called the SS, which was commanded by Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler. The Waffen-SS, an elite volunteer army that was loyal to Hitler, was the equivalent of the Roman Praetorian guard. Another unit of the SS served as concentration camp guards.

The plot to kill Hitler was known as “the Conspiracy” by the thousands of people who were involved. When the plot failed, there were 5,000 people arrested. There were many other low-level clerks involved in the conspiracy, who were never identified.

Hitler was the first common man to become the leader of Germany. For thousands of years, the Germans had been ruled by royalty until November 9, 1918 when the Kaiser was overthrown by a small band of Social Democrats in a “bloodless revolution.” The German aristocrats had a hard time accepting Hitler, who was an Austrian high school dropout of low class ancestry. The previous Chancellor of Germany in 1932 was Franz von Papen, a member of the nobility, and the German president was Paul von Hindenburg, an aristocrat who was a German general in World War I. German generals were traditionally aristocrats, but Hitler had allowed common men to become high ranking army officers for the first time.

In Hitler’s Germany, class distinctions were eliminated. Workers marched in parades carrying a shovel over their shoulder, right behind the soldiers who were carrying rifles. Everyone had to work, including the aristocrats. Hitler called the German people the “Herrenvolk.” Herren means aristocratic when used as an adjective, and volk means both folk and nation.

By April 1944, Heinrich Himmler, the number two man in Nazi Germany, was also trying to negotiate with the Allies. In June 1944, Himmler had made an unsuccessful attempt to contact the British with an offer of peace; some people suspected that Himmler knew about the assassination plot, and that he let it happen because he wanted to take Hitler’s place as the leader of Germany. None of these facts are pointed out in the movie.

Hitler’s Wehrmacht generals had been plotting against him since 1938. Hitler temporarily won them over by giving them money and property. After World War I, the Treaty of Versailles limited the German military to 100,000 men. When Hitler became the Chancellor of Germany in 1933, the German Army was secretly expanded and the soldiers secretly trained in the Soviet Union. So, from the very beginning, there was secret plotting going on, sometimes with Hitler’s knowledge and sometimes not.

The plot to kill Hitler and set up a new regime had been in the works since 1941, long before Stauffenberg, a Colonel in the Wehrmacht, joined the traitors in 1943 after becoming disillusioned while fighting on the Eastern front.

The movie opens with a scene in North Africa in which Stauffenberg is writing in his journal; he deplores the way the war is being fought by the Waffen-SS soldiers on the Eastern front in the Soviet Union. Stauffenberg is a Bavarian Catholic whose family history dates back to 1250. He thinks that the Germans should fight like gentlemen in the East. Instead, the German Waffen-SS soldiers are killing Russian partisans who are fighting illegally, while the men in the Einsatzgruppen, who followed the soldiers into the Soviet Union, are shooting the Communist Commissars and members of the NKVD, which is the equivalent of the German Gestapo, as well as Jewish women and children. This is total war, with neither side following the Geneva Convention, although, according to the Germans, the crimes of the Soviet soldiers were far worse. Of course, none of this is mentioned in the movie.

Audiences are led to believe that Stauffenberg and his band of traitors must kill Hitler in order to stop “the greatest evil ever known,” which most people will assume is a reference to the Holocaust. However, the first concentration camp (Majdanek) was not liberated until July 22, 1944, three days after the attempted assassination, so there was as yet no proof that millions of Jews were being gassed, although the BBC had been broadcasting news of the gas chambers since June 1942.

One of the big problems with the movie is that it is hard to identify the participants in the plot. Throughout the movie, the date and location of the scenes are shown on the screen, but some of the minor characters are not identified. Unless there is some reason for their names to be mentioned by one of the characters in the movie, we don’t know who is who. Some of the players, such as Josef Goebbels, can be identified by the actor’s resemblance to the actual person, but this is not always the case, and the audience cannot be expected to know the names of the conspirators and Hitler’s henchmen.

For example, the man who comes to arrest Joseph Goebbels in his Berlin office is Otto Ernst Remer, the Commanding Officer of the Guard Battalion which is part of Hitler’s Walküre contingency plan. Goebbels has just spoken to Hitler and knows he is alive. When Remer learns that Hitler is alive, he acts to stop the plot to take over the German government. Students of the Holocaust will be familiar with Remer because he became a prominent Holocaust denier after the war and persuaded Germar Rudolf to do a forensic report on the Auschwitz gas chamber, which eventually led to Rudolf’s imprisonment. When I saw Valkyrie on Christmas Day, 99% of the audience consisted of high school and college students, who might have been interested in knowing that it was Remer who was sent to arrest Goebbels.

It would have helped if there had been a few scenes showing what was going on in the world while the plotters were making their several attempts to kill Hitler. In the scenes of Berlin, there is no bomb damage shown even though there had been vast destruction of the city by that time. Only one of the Generals is ever shown on the battlefield and there is hardly any indication that there is a war going on in Europe. We have no idea of what the middle class German civilians are doing while all the bombs are dropping on their cities, or if they have turned against Hitler. We never see any of the 5,000 low level conspirators, who are mostly aristocrats, as they try to maintain the lifestyle of the nobility in the midst of war. Just one scene showing Count Gottfried von Bismarck in his Potsdam mansion having tea with some of the aristocrats who were in on the plot would have helped immensely to explain the assassination attempt. On the other hand, the scenes involving German airplanes are spectacular; the planes look authentic.

Stauffenberg’s family lives in Wannsee, an expensive suburb of Berlin. Every time his family is shown, we see a shot of his house, taken at night, but we are not told where the house is located and what the significance of this is. Students of the Holocaust will know that Wannsee was the location of the villa where the details of the Final Solution were planned.

The movie doesn’t mention that the Hungarian Jews are being transported to the gas chambers at Auschwitz during the time that the plans to kill Hitler are being made, nor that Himmler is trying to trade Hungarian Jews for trucks (blood for goods) so that the German army can continue its hopeless attempt to defeat the Russians on the Eastern front. We don’t know that the German army is desperately trying to hold on until the American army gets to the German border, because many Germans believe that the Americans will eventually join them in fighting the Communist Soviet Union. In short, the movie provides no context at all and most of the scenes are about the actual assassination attempts. This is not history, but rather an action movie, which some people might find thrilling, but others will be bitterly disappointed.

There is virtually nothing in Valkyrie, the movie, which shows what ordinary life was like in Germany in July 1944. There are no extras playing the part of a German Fräulein wearing a dirndl; no Germans drinking beer and singing in a beer garden. There is nothing to indicate that the action is taking place in Germany. Another movie, Revolutionary Road, which was released around the same time, is authentic 1950s America, down to the smallest detail.

The only scene in Valkyrie that comes close to showing Germany as it was in 1943 is when Stauffenberg goes to Hitler’s home called the Berghof to get his signature on a document. We see the famous picture window that looks out on the Bavarian Alps. Hitler’s henchmen are gathered around him at the Berghof and Albert Speer can be identified: there is a bit player who bears a resemblance to him.

Hitler is accurately shown as a broken man, petting his dog, an Alsatian Sheppard. One bit of information that I didn’t know until I saw this movie is that Stauffenberg put in his glass eye whenever he was in the presence of Hitler. He obviously wanted Hitler to have a good opinion of him, and in the scene at the Berghof, Hitler tells him that he wishes that all his Army officers were like Stauffenberg.

In the trailers that were shown for weeks before the movie opened, there is a brief scene where someone kills a mosquito with the lit end of a cigarette. Undoubtedly, there were many people who thought that this was a cruel act committed by Hitler. As it turns out, it was a German guard at Hitler’s Wolf’s Lair headquarters in East Prussia who killed a mosquito on his arm. The Wolf’s Lair was located on swampy ground and that’s why there were mosquitoes. This scene may have been included by the film makers before they learned that Hitler didn’t smoke. In any case, the scene is totally out of context and has no relevance to the movie plot.

The web page, that is quoted above, was created on May 19, 2009

December 18, 2015

New Holocaust movie “Son of Saul” is in theaters today

CoverPhoto

Update January 18, 2016:  This news article calls the movie Son of Saul “Jewish Propaganda.”  http://www.jewishpress.com/news/hungarians-denounce-oscar-nominated-son-of-saul-as-jewish-propaganda/2016/01/18/

I greatly admire the photo above which is shown at the top of this news article about the film entitled Son of Saul, which was directed by Laslo Nemes:  http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/15/movies/in-son-of-saul-laszlo-nemes-expands-the-language-of-holocaust-films.html?_r=0

In preparation for seeing the film, I read about it on the news article cited above.

Photo from the film Son of Saul

Photo from the film Son of Saul

The following quote is from the news article about the film:

In “Son of Saul” Laszlo Nemes Expands the Language of Holocaust Films

“Son of Saul” is filmed in long, restless takes, with no soundtrack besides the grim cacophony of a death camp — the slamming of doors, the sifting through possessions — and is set over the course of a day and a half in October 1944. It follows Saul Auslander, a Hungarian member of the Sonderkommando, the Jews forced to dispose of the human remains from the gas chambers, as he tries to rescue a dead boy’s body from meeting the fate of the ovens.

[…]

The film plays out on the face of Saul, a debut film performance by Geza Rohrig, a Hungarian poet whom Mr. Nemes met while studying at New York University’s film school. During the 28-day shoot, he had Mr. Rohrig rehearse for hours before filming takes, three to four minutes each, with a 35-millimeter camera placed about 20 inches from his face.

“I had to be superfocused, because every little bit of change” mattered, Mr. Rohrig said. “Like on the surface of water — even if you blow the water, you can immediately see, it shows everything.”

Mr. Rohrig, 48, who took a leave from his job teaching Jewish studies at a Brooklyn private school to promote the film, volunteers for a Jewish burial society. He spent months visiting Auschwitz as a student in Poland in the 1980s and wrote a book of poems about it. He said he regarded the Sonderkommando as victims, not perpetrators, adding that they were the only Jews in the camp to understand that they faced certain death and that his acting had to reflect that knowledge.

End quote

December 16, 2015

Only two days before the movie “Son of Saul” is ready to view

Filed under: Holocaust, movies — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 3:49 pm

You can read a review of the new movie “Son of Saul” at http://www.newsweek.com/review-film-son-saul-takes-unflinching-look-holocaust-405290

This quote is from the article cited above:

Saul is a Sonderkommando, a Jewish inmate compelled to work as slave labor in a death camp. Although the camp in “Son of Saul” has been identified as Auschwitz, it might as well be Treblinka or Belzec or Sobibór or a number of other places. If this is indeed Auschwitz, we are late in World War II, probably the summer or fall of 1944, when the tide of war had turned decisively against Germany and Hitler’s administrators devoted considerable resources to exterminating as many Jews as possible during the time left to them. Of course the Nazi regime had already committed unforgivable war crimes by that time, but one measure of its insanity lies here: Faced with imminent defeat, the Germans did not make the logical decision to abandon the Final Solution and pour all available money and manpower into military counterattack. It would appear they decided that killing Jews was more important than winning the war.

[…]

Is it obscene to consider the gas chambers of Auschwitz as a factory, not inherently unlike one where trousers are sewn or automobiles banged together? (Or where cattle are slaughtered, to take the obvious parallel.) Of course it is, but that was precisely the displacement mechanism that allowed the officers, guards and inmates to move from one day to the next in a semblance of normal behavior. The industrial process in which Saul works is mass murder, to be sure, and its principal output is dead bodies by the thousands, which create an increasingly difficult disposal problem. (The men, women and children to be dragged from the gas chambers are always described as “pieces” by the guards.) As in any industrial process, there are important byproducts as well. One of Saul’s jobs is to pull down and sort all the clothing that new arrivals have hung on hooks before being sent to the “showers,” looking for hidden gold, jewelry and other valuables.

End quote

The clothing of the Jews was hung on hooks before they were gassed?  I set out to find some proof of that.  I found it on my own website: http://www.scrapbookpages.com/AuschwitzScrapbook/History/Articles/Selection3.html

Begin quote from my website scrapbookpages.com

Dr. Susan Cernyak-Spatz was 18 years old when she was sent from Czechoslovakia to the Birkenau camp in 1943 and tattooed with the number 34042 on her left arm. In a newspaper article in the Salisbury Post, Scott Jenkins reported on a talk that Cernyak-Spatz gave to sixth-graders at Corriher-Lipe Middle School in May 2000. She stressed to the Corriher-Lipe students that the Holocaust was not a single event, but an efficiently conceived and executed process that began “the minute Adolf Hitler came to power” as Germany’s dictator in 1933.

The following quote is from the newspaper article by Scott Jenkins in the Salisbury Post:

So fierce was Hitler’s hatred, trains carrying Jews to the death camps were given priority even over troop trains carrying soldiers to battle, Cernyak-Spatz said. When she stepped off the train and onto the platform at Birkenau, the results assaulted her senses.

“The first thing you noticed was an absolutely incredible stink,” she said. The noxious, sickly sweet odor hung in the air with a dusky vapor billowing from smokestacks and staining the distant sky, she said.

Then, the selection began. The Nazis separated families, those who could work to one side, those who couldn’t to another. The second group loaded onto trucks.

The women on the trucks asked where they were going. Don’t worry the drivers told them, you will be reunited with your families.

After a nice hot shower.

“Then they took them directly in the direction of that smoke,” Cernyak-Spatz said. Soon, those who survived learned what burned in those buildings.

Guards led prisoners into the large buildings, told them to take off their clothes, hang them on hooks. And remember, tie your shoe laces together, they said, so you don’t lose a shoe.

The Nazis had told Jews to dress in their warmest clothes for the journey to the “work” camps, Cernyak-Spatz said. After the gas chambers, they gathered those clothes for their own use.

For the years during the war, “that is how the whole German nation was clothed … in the clothing and property of dead Jews,” she said.

End quote

Hungarian women were given uniforms to wear after putting their clothes on hooks

Hungarian women were given uniforms to wear after putting their own clothes on hooks

 

December 11, 2015

Throwing ashes of Jews into rivers — fact or fiction?

TheresienstadtGate

The gate into the Theresienstadst ghetto is shown in my photo above, taken several years ago. This place is now known as Terezín [rhymes with kerosine and gasoline].

The subject of throwing ashes into rivers came up in this recent news article:  http://m.taggmanager.cz/en/1075

Newbies, who want to know more about throwing ashes into rivers, can read about Theresienstadt on this kosher website:  http://www.outsideprague.com/terezin/terezin.html

This quote is from the kosher website cited in the link above:

The other statistics for Terezín [Theresienstadt] are equally as difficult to comprehend. Within three years 87,000 people were sent from Terezín to the concentration camps in Poland. Less than 4000 survived. The ashes of 22,000 people were thrown into the Ohře River at the end of the war, in an attempt by the SS to disguise their activities. At the beginning of the war, Terezín was a town of 7,000 inhabitants, including soldiers stationed there. By the end its population had swelled to almost 58,000. 9,000 people are buried in graves around the fortress and around 35,000 people in total perished in Terezín during the war.

My photo of one of the buildings at Theresienstadt

My photo of a building at Theresienstadt

One of the regular readers of my blog is Wolf Murmelstein, who is a survivor of Terezín,  the place formerly known as Theresienstadt.

My photo of the wall around the Theresienstadt ghetto

My photo of the wall around the Theresienstadt ghetto

As a child, Wolf was confined in the Theresienstadt ghetto where his father, Benjamin Murmelstein, was the last Jewish elder of the ghetto.

The building where Benjamin Murmelstein worked at Theresienstadt

The building where Benjamin Murmelstein worked at Theresienstadt

Wolf recently wrote this in a comment, which I have edited because English is not his first language:

On October 31, 1944, the Nazis took all the boxes containing the ashes of persons dead at Theresienstadt out of the COLOMBARIUM.

All the boxes were brought to the nearby Eger river, where a group of twenty prisoners had to empty the boxes, and throw the ashes into the river. Needless to say, those prisoners had been shot just after having done that work.

Throwing the ashes of murdered victims in the water of a river is a very old pagan rite and perfectly consistent with the Nazi doctrine of the extirpation of Jews.

Clearly the tragic story of the SONDERKOMANDO members is no way suitable for a Hollywood film [such as Son of Saul].

I have visited Theresienstadt twice, after which I wrote about it on my this section of my website: http://www.scrapbookpages.com/CzechRepublic/Theresienstadt/TheresienstadtGhetto/History/index.html

I wrote about the ashes of the Jews on this page of my website: http://www.scrapbookpages.com/CzechRepublic/Theresienstadt/TheresienstadtGhetto/History/RedCrossVisit.html
The following quote is from my website:

On the outskirts of the town [Theresienstadt], the Sokol building, formerly used to house Jews who were suffering from encephalitis, was changed into a social club for cultural events with a library for the use of the Jews and a Synagogue.

A Columbarium to hold the ashes of the Jews who died in the camp was built near the crematorium and tombstones were placed on the graves in the cemetery.

The beautiful 18th century barracks buildings were refurbished and improved inside and out.

With Theresienstadt now beautified, the next step was to relieve the overcrowding in the ghetto so that the IRC [International Red Cross] would not realize the actual inhuman living conditions there.

In September 1943, December 1943 and May 1944, just before the scheduled visit, there was a total of seven transports on which 17,517 Jews were sent to the death camp at Auschwitz.

The Czech Jews from these transports were placed in a “family camp” at the Auschwitz II camp known as Birkenau. The men, women and children were allowed to stay together in contrast to the other prisoners at Auschwitz-Birkenau who had to live in separate fenced-off sections where the men and women were segregated from each other.

The Czech Jews were allowed to wear civilian clothes instead of the blue and gray striped prison uniforms that the other inmates had to wear. Most importantly, they were allowed to send letters back to Theresienstadt to tell the others about how well they were being treated in the camp.

Six months after it was opened, the “family camp” was closed and only 1,168 of the Theresienstadt prisoners survived. The rest are presumed to have perished in the gas chamber.

End quote

“That’s all she wrote, and she rubbed that out.”  [old saying]

December 10, 2015

Prepare yourself for a new Holocaust movie in theaters on December 18th

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, movies — Tags: , , , , — furtherglory @ 7:59 am

You have only one week to prepare yourself for a new block-buster movie coming out in theaters on December 18, 2015. The movie is about the Sonderkommando Jews who burned the bodies of the Jews after they were gassed.

I wrote about this on this previous blog post:  https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2011/10/18/the-gas-chambers-at-auschwitz-birkenau/

You can read about the movie at http://www.jewishlinkbwc.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7395:riverdale-resident-shines-in-new-epic-holocaust-film&catid=156:features&Itemid=585

This quote is from the article about the movie:

The film portrays an aspect of the Holocaust that has yet to be explored.

“Two out of three Jews were murdered in the Holocaust in Europe,” explained Rohrig. “Most or all I have seen in movies are always about the lucky third one. These movies are survival tales and we wanted to make a movie not about the exception but the norm and the norm was death.”

It’s true. All we ever hear about are the Jews who survived the Holocaust, not the names of the Jews who were gassed.   The Nazis were no fools — they didn’t keep the names of the Jews who were gassed.

There are still numerous survivors, who are out on the lecture circuit telling their unique stories about how they survived and are still alive today.

The following quote is from the news article:

Begin quote

Son of Saul, being released in the United States on December 18th, is like no other Holocaust film. Winner of the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival, the film continues to wow critics, as it tells the story of Saul Auslander, who has the dubious distinction of being part of the Sonderkommando at Auschwitz.

“Their lives were way more difficult than those of the prisoners,” Röhrig, who prefers to be called Rafi, told The Jewish Link. “They were recruited upon their arrival at Auschwitz. The Nazis promised them a better life, told them they would live in a heated area but they didn’t give them any advance notice or an accurate job description.”

That job was to usher unknowing victims into the gas chambers and after their deaths, readying the room for the next group to be annihilated.

“They would separate the inter-tangled bodies, search them for valuables, cut the women’s hair, burn the bodies, pulverize the bigger bones that were still somewhat intact, take the ashes and dispose of them in the river,” said Röhrig. “The crematorium did not stop. There were day shifts. There were night shifts. And then every four months, they themselves were gassed.”   End quote

Wait a minute!  The Nazis threw ashes into a river at Auschwitz?  I don’t think so!  The Nazis were all about preserving the environment, even before this became popular.

The Sola river that runs through the town of Auschwitz

The Sola river that runs through the town of Auschwitz

The SS men swam in the river that runs through the town of Auschwitz.  People in the town washed their clothes in this river.  Do you really think that Hitler would have allowed the ashes of millions of Jews to contaminate the rivers?

I previously blogged about the disposal of the ashes at Auschwitz-Birkenau at https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2011/06/27/where-are-the-ashes-of-the-1-1-million-people-killed-at-auschwitz-birkenau/

 

December 9, 2015

New movie about Deborah E. Lipstadt currently being filmed

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, movies — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 9:16 am
Debra Lipstadt gives a thumps up after her victory over David Irving in court

Deborah E. Lipstadt gives a thumps up after her victory over David Irving in court

You can read about a new movie, that is currently being filmed, in this news article:  http://deadline.com/2015/12/andrew-scott-cast-denial-rachel-weisz-holocaust-drama-1201661837/

Debra Lipstadt is shown in the center of photo, next to Dick Chaney, at the Auschwitz main camp

Deborah E. Lipstadt is shown in the center of photo, standing next to Dick Chaney, at Auschwitz

I blogged about Deborah E. Lipstadt in these two previous blog posts, both of which you can read at:

https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/tag/deborah-lipstadt/

This quote is from the news article, cited above:

Principal photography started this week in London on Denial, the Mick Jackson-directed adaptation of Deborah E. Lipstadt’s book, History On Trial: My Day In Court With A Holocaust Denier. Rachel Weisz, Tom Wilkinson and Timothy Spall star and have now been joined by Spectre and Sherlock‘s Andrew Scott.

David Hare did the adaptation of the book which recounts Lipstadt’s legal battle for historical truth against David Irving, who accused her of libel when she declared him a Holocaust Denier. In the English legal system, the burden of proof is on the accused; therefore, it was up to Lipstadt and her legal team to prove the essential truth that the Holocaust happened. Scott joins the cast in the role of solicitor Antony Julius.

Did you catch that, dear readers?  Deborah E. Lipstadt proved in a court of law that the Holocaust happened, just as the Jews say that it did.  And if you say that the Holocaust didn’t happen, you can be thrown into prison for 5 years or more in 19 different countries. So just stick with Deborah E. Lipstadt, who knows all. Don’t try to contradict her, or she will sue you in a court of law.

Lipstadt is the name of a town in Germany.  Some of my German ancestors came to America from Lipstadt, where they had lived for years. Deborah E. and I could be distant relatives, for all I know.

 

November 24, 2015

10 year old girl on Schindler’s List was told that she was being marched into a gas chamber

Filed under: Holocaust, movies — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 12:42 pm
Scene from the movie Schindler's List

Scene from the movie Schindler’s List

This quote is from a news article which you can read in full here:

Rena Finder, the youngest and last Holocaust survivor from Schindler’s list, shared these sentiments with me during an interview last year. Rena, at 10 years old, became an enemy of the state because she was Jewish. Alongside her mother, naked, bleeding and filled with terror, Rena was marched into what they were told was the gas chamber. The door was locked and the lights went out as the women screamed in horror waiting for the gas. She would die for the crime of being Jewish.

Unfortunately, the news article does not tell us how Rena was saved.  Was she actually in a shower room, as was shown in the movie Shindler’s List?

Rena was 10 years old. Children under the age of 15 were gassed at Auschwitz.  Why wasn’t she gassed?  Why was she bleeding? Sadly, the news article doesn’t tell us.

I wrote about the movie Schindler’s List on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Poland/Kazimierz/Kazimierz01C.html

 

October 26, 2015

Another Holocaust movie: Labyrinth of Lies

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, movies — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 4:01 pm

I have just read about the latest Holocaust movie in the Seattle Times here.

This photo accompanies the news article about the movie

This photo accompanies the news article about the movie

This might be the photo that the men are holding in the first photo above

This might be the photo that the man is holding in the photo above

The photo that the man appears to be holding is not appropriate because it shows a train arriving at Auschwitz-Birkenau and there are no guard towers.

The following quote is from the article:

There are a couple of powerful moments when survivors relate their stories, but for the most part, Johann’s Auschwitz investigations remain at the level of silent montages. When, in an effort to get a servant to help him identify [Dr.] Mengele, he shows her a photo of what they did to children, we don’t see the photo. Is it mere “tastefulness” that keeps director Giulio Ricciarelli from showing us what’s in the picture? Or is it a knowledge that the darkness could eventually consume us, too?

I think I know which photo they are talking about.  It is the photo below, which I have on my website here: http://www.scrapbookpages.com/AuschwitzScrapbook/History/Articles/Birkenau01B2.html

I blogged about this photo here: https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2010/09/04/what-imams-learned-on-their-trip-to-auschwitz/

Gypsy children who were suffering from a disease called Noma

Gypsy children who were suffering from a disease called Noma

This quote is from my website:

Rudolf Hoess wrote in his autobiography, entitled “Death Dealer,” that many of the Gypsy children suffered from an illness called “Noma,” which reminded him of leprosy.

The photo above, taken after the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, shows Gypsy children who had the disease called Noma. Many Holocaust True Believer websites claim that the photo above shows Jewish children who were tortured at Auschwitz.

The news article starts with the following quote:

Can a film about the Holocaust actually be “entertaining”? Dare we even ask such a question? To be fair, the German film Labyrinth of Lies — that country’s submission for the Academy Awards this year — isn’t so much about the Holocaust as it is about the aftermath. But still, the zip and flash with which this legal drama moves feels odd, in light of the historical events that loom over it. Here’s a movie about the efforts to bring the soldiers stationed at Auschwitz to justice, and it’s strangely light on its feet.

It starts in the late 1950s, with young public prosecutor Johann Radmann (Alexander Fehling) brashly accepting a case involving an Auschwitz guard currently living a quiet life as a schoolteacher. No other lawyer in the office wants to bring charges against the man; in fact, nobody, not even Johann, seems even to know what Auschwitz was. The Americans took all the war records, the Nuremberg trials have long since concluded (and convicted only a small handful of leaders), and there’s a new enemy to fight now: Communism. All of Germany seems to be under a cloud of forgetfulness. “It’s all propaganda,” one person says, when confronted with the facts. “The victors make up stories.”

But Johann — youthful and ignorant, but also dogged and righteous — starts to learn more about the Holocaust, and about Auschwitz. He starts collecting survivor accounts. He learns the name of Dr. Josef Mengele — and, to his shock, discovers that not only do the German authorities know the notorious war criminal is living peacefully in Argentina, but that they even turn a blind eye when he returns home on occasion. And Johann realizes that prosecuting one man isn’t enough: There were 8,000 people who worked at the concentration camp, and he considers them all accountable for the hundreds of thousands who died there.

No one wants to hear it because there are skeletons in pretty much everyone’s closet. When Johann inquires with an American at the war archive if the schoolteacher he’s investigating was a Nazi, the man doesn’t even bother to look it up. “He was a Nazi,” the American shrugs. “You were all Nazis.”

September 18, 2015

Movie entitled “Son of Saul” in theaters Dec. 18, 2015

Filed under: Holocaust, movies — Tags: , , , , — furtherglory @ 10:55 am
Photo from Wikipedia shows Sonderkommando Jews with a bone grinder

Photo from Wikipedia shows Sonderkommando Jews with a bone grinder.

According to Wikipedia:

Sonderkommandos were work units made up of German Nazi death camp prisoners. They were composed almost entirely of Jews who were forced, on threat of their own deaths, to aid with the disposal of gas chamber victims during the Holocaust.

The following Sonderkommandos survived the Holocaust:  Zalman Gradowski, Filip Müller, Henryk Tauber, Leib Langfus, Morris Venezia, Henryk Mandelbaum [Saul Ausländer is a fictional character]

Photo of Dachau Sonderkommando shoving a body into an oven at Dachau

Photo of Sonderkommando shoving a body into an oven at Dachau is an re-enactment, done after Dachau was libertated

A photo similar to the one above is included in the news story and it is purported to be a real photo of a Sonderkommando Jew shoving a body into an oven.

The following information, about the movie entitled Son of Saul, is from the movie review website known as “Rotten Tomatoes”.

October 1944, Auschwitz-Birkenau. Saul Ausländer is a Hungarian member of the Sonderkommando, the group of Jewish prisoners isolated from the camp and forced to assist the Nazis in the machinery of large-scale extermination. While working in one of the crematoriums, Saul discovers the corpse of a boy he takes for his son. As the Sonderkomando plans a rebellion, Saul decides to carry out an impossible task: save the child’s body from the flames, find a rabbi to recite the mourner’s Kaddish and …
Rating: R (for disturbing violent content, and some graphic nudity)
Genre: Drama
In Theaters: Dec 18, 2015 Limited
Runtime: 1 hr. 47 min.
Sony Pictures Classics

You can read the following review of the movie on this website:

Son of Saul

Based on the experience of a Hungarian Jew held in a concentration camp during the Second World War, Son of Saul follows a man who has the harrowing job of leading prisoners into the showers where they will be executed and cleaning up afterwards by shovelling their remains into the river.

Shaken by the death of one young boy, he is driven to give him a proper Jewish burial. Featuring superb acting on all levels, director Laszlo Nemes takes us right into the camp through a unique use of surround sound and filming in 35mm. 5 out of 5 stars. – Sian Jones, producer.

Among the horrors of the Holocaust, the Nazis assigned so-called Sondercommandos a peculiarly dehumanizing job: to herd fellow inmates into gas chambers and dispose of their bodies. Saul is one such man, his face an effigy of pain. When he believes he’s found his own son among the dead, his humanity is restored as he attempts to give the boy a proper burial.

Much of the film lingers on Saul’s face, leaving the most lurid shots out of focus: an interesting directorial choice that avoids a fetishistic lingering on the bodies of victims that still allows viewers to feel the full oppressiveness of his situation. A powerful, devastating film. 5 out of 5 stars. – Deana Sumanac-Johnson, reporter.

======

I am looking forward to seeing this movie in December.  I will write a review of the movie after I see it. You can be sure that I will have a lot of criticism of this movie.

September 11, 2015

What is the slogan of the Jews? Revenge, Revenge, Revenge

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, movies — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 11:06 am

HolocaustSurvivors

You can read about the Jewish slogan of Revenge for the Holocaust at http://www.reformjudaism.org/how-should-we-jews-treat-issue-revenge

I thought about this today when I read about yet another film about Jewish revenge: http://www.jewishjournal.com/hollywood/article/plummer_plays_auschwitz_survivor_in_venice_film_remember

This quote is from the news story:

Christopher Plummer plays an Auschwitz survivor searching for a former camp guard in a film that explores the themes of memory and undying anger.

In Canadian director Atom Egoyan’s “Remember”, competing for the top prize at the Venice Film Festival, Plummer, 85, plays Zev, a dementia-stricken resident of a Jewish home for the aged in New York.

At the behest of wheelchair-bound resident Max (Martin Landau), and as a promise to his dead wife Ruth, Zev sneaks out one night on a quest to find the concentration camp guard — and to kill him with a Glock pistol.

“It’s the last time we can tell this story in the present tense. In 10 years it would have to be a period piece,” Egoyan told Reuters in an interview, referring to the advanced age of the remaining Holocaust survivors.

“It’s very important to understand that even though we all would love to live with the cliche that time heals wounds, and that there is the possibility of rapprochement, there are a lot of people who live with rage.

“There are a lot of people who are still as angry as though it was yesterday.”

Plummer, whose most famous role was as Captain von Trapp in “The Sound of Music” (1965), was not in Venice for the premiere but told a news conference by video link that he’d been intrigued by the character of Zev, whose memory fades in and out.

In order to carry out his mission, Zev reads instructions in a letter given him by Max, who by telephone arranges everything from limousines to hotel rooms in the quest across America and in Canada to identify one of four people, all living under the same name, as the actual camp guard.

“It was not easy, let me tell you, because I’d never done anything like this in my life before. Although I’ve played a lot of different people, they’ve all had great confidence and great authority and some (were) even royal,” Plummer said.

“So…I was dying to play an ordinary man, a simple, intelligent and educated man but who was very introverted, to say the least, and it was something very foreign to me but I was dying to accept the challenge.”

German actor Heinz Lieven, who plays one of the four men Zev has been tasked by Max to track down, said it was important that the film was made, to help keep the memory of the Holocaust alive and to educate younger generations.

“When Hitler came to power I was four years old and when he was at his end (I was) 17…which means I know these times, the incredible murdering,” Lieven said.

“Younger people have to learn, have to know it,” he said.

The film won mixed reviews in the trade press, with Variety praising Plummer’s performance but describing it as a “state-hopping Nazi-hunt mystery that puts a creditably sincere spin on material that is silly at best.”

The Holocaust is a never ending story, as Jewish revenge for the Holocaust is never ending.  You don’t hear the Germans endlessly complaining about the way that German cities were bombed during World War II.

You can read about the bombing of German cities at http://en.metapedia.org/wiki/Bombing_of_Germany_during_World_War_II

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