Scrapbookpages Blog

November 19, 2016

Rudolf Kasztner is back in the news

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, Uncategorized, World War II — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 10:00 am
Rudolf Kastzner

Rudolf Kastzner allegedly saved thousands of Jews

The following quote, about Rudolf Kastzner, is from a news article, which you can read in full at http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/holocaust-hero-outed-nazi-collaborator-9264239

Begin quote

A Jewish man [Rudolf Kastzner] hailed as a Holocaust hero for saving thousands from the gas chambers during World War II was actually a Nazi collaborator, it has been claimed.

Journalist and lawyer Rezső (AKA Rudolf) Kasztner was known for his role as an underground leader – but new research suggests he was a “conscious tool” in the Holocaust.

Paul Bogdanor, an expert on Kasztner, believes the man actually helped the Nazis to murder almost half a million Jewish men, women and children during Hitler’s ‘Final Solution’.

Until now, the Hungarian [Kasztner] was considered a hero for rescuing fellow Jews from the clutches of the Gestapo.

He smuggled them out of Budapest on a secret train bound for the free world following the German invasion.

End quote

Here is the rest of the story:

In June 1944, Adolf Eichmann deported 20,000 Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz and then transferred them to the Strasshof labor camp near Vienna.

This was an attempt to extort money from the Jewish community in Hungary, according to Laurence Rees who wrote in his book “Auschwitz, a New History,” that Eichmann convinced the Jewish leaders that he was going against orders in making an exception for these Jews and then demanded money for food and medical care because he had saved 20,000 Jews from the gas chambers at Auschwitz.

David Cesarani wrote in “The Last Days,” that Jewish leader Rudolf Kastner was able to prod Eichmann into sending these Jews to Austria where three quarters of them survived the war.

The last mass transport of 14,491 Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz arrived on July 9, 1944, according to a book entitled “Die Zahl der Opfer von Auschwitz,” by Franciszek Piper, the director of the Auschwitz Museum. After this mass transport of Jews left Hungary on July 8, 1944, Horthy ordered the deportation of the Hungarian Jews to stop.

By that time, a minimum of 435,000 Hungarian Jews, mostly those living in the villages and small towns, had been transported to Auschwitz, according to evidence given at the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem in 1961, in which transportation lists compiled by Laszlo Ferenczy, the chief of police in Hungary, were introduced.

According to Francizek Piper, the majority of the Hungarian Jews, who were sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau, were gassed immediately.

A booklet, which I purchased from the Auschwitz Museum, stated that 434,351 of the Hungarian Jews were gassed upon arrival. If these figures are correct, only 3,051 Hungarian Jews, out of the 437,402 who were sent to Auschwitz, were registered in the camp.

However, Francizek Piper wrote that 28,000 Hungarian Jews were registered.

End of story. That’s all she wrote, and she rubbed that out.

May 4, 2016

The man who built the oven in which Adolf Eichmann was cremated

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , , , , — furtherglory @ 5:01 pm
Adolf Eichmann before his trial

Adolf Eichmann before he was given drugs before his trial

The following quote is from this news article:  http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Israeli-artist-paints-haunting-images-of-Nazi-death-camp-ovens-453094

Begin quote

Tuly Ziv has created over 100 paintings of furnaces depicting haunting imagery, inspired by a sketch of a furnace that his father, a Holocaust survivor, built and used to cremate the body of Adolf Eichmann, an architect of Hitler’s “Final Solution” who was executed by Israel in 1962 after a war crimes trial in Jerusalem.

Tuly’s father was the only family member to survive Lodz ghetto in Poland and the Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany in the killing of six million Jews during World War Two. His mother survived Auschwitz extermination camp in Poland, where she sorted Jews’ possessions after they were cremated.

After the Holocaust, Tuly’s father, Israel Zaklikowski, immigrated to British-administered Palestine, where he worked in a factory for commercial baking ovens.

On June 1, 1962, Tuly says he recalls his father returning home from work, saying: “Last night I cremated Eichmann”.

Eichmann was one of the architects of the “Final Solution”, the Nazi plan to exterminate the Jewish people, and he oversaw the rounding up and deportation of Jews to death camps such as Auschwitz.

In 1960, Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency abducted Eichmann from Argentina, where he was living under an assumed identity.

An Israeli court found him guilty of crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes against the Jewish people. He is the only person to have been executed by Israel since its founding in 1948.

End quote

EichmannOnTrial

The photo above shows Eichmann after he was drugged to prepare him for his trial.

On April 25, 1944, in his office at the Hotel Majestic in Budapest, Adolf Eichmann had met with Joel Brand, another leading member of the Jewish Relief and Rescue Committee. Brand had already attended previous meetings with Eichmann and other SS officers in an attempt to bribe them to allow a number of Jews out of Hungary. Now Eichmann said to Brand, “I am prepared to sell one million Jews to you.”

Eichmann proposed an exchange of “Blood for Goods,” in which the British and the Americans would give the Nazis one new truck for every one hundred Jews. Eichmann promised that the trucks would only be used on the Eastern front where the Germans were fighting against the Communist Soviet Union. Brand was asked to go to Istanbul in Turkey to negotiate the deal. Eichmann hoped to obtain 10,000 trucks in exchange for one million Jews.

But even before Brand reached Turkey on May 19, 1944, Eichmann had already ordered the deportation of the Hungarian Jews, which began on April 29, 1944.

According to Laurence Rees, SS officer Kurt Becher, who was a Lt. Col., equal in rank to Eichmann, was trying to blackmail the Weiss family, owners of the biggest industrial conglomerate in Hungary, into giving its shares to the SS in return for safe passage out of the country.

Laurence Rees wrote:

Begin quote

By the time of his meeting with Brand, Eichmann knew that his rival Becher had successfully arranged for shares of the Manfred-Weiss works to be transferred to the Nazis; in return, about fifty members of the Weiss family were allowed to leave and head for neutral countries.

End quote

Brand was accompanied to Istanbul by another man named Bandi Grosz, a former agent of the Abwehr, the German intelligence agency, whose operations in Hungary had been taken over by an SS officer, Lt. Col. Gerhard Clages. At the last meeting with Brand, SS officers Clages, Becher and several other Nazis had been present.

The following quote is from the same book by Laurence Rees:

Begin quote

It was not until May 26, 1944 that the head of the Jewish Agency in Palestine notified a British diplomat, Sir Harold MacMichael, of the Nazis’ proposals. But it only took the British a matter of moments to reject the Brand mission, seeing it as an attempt to split the Western allies from the Soviets.

[…]

In mid-June, Grosz was interrogated in Cairo by British intelligence officers and the story that he told was a surprising one. He claimed that Brand’s mission was only a camouflage for his own. Under the direct orders of Himmler, Grosz had been sent to facilitate a meeting in a neutral country between high-ranking British and American officers and two or three senior figures from the SD – Himmler’s own intelligence service. The purpose of the assignation was to discuss a separate peace treaty with the Western allies so that – together – they could fight the Soviet Union.

End quote

Himmler’s offer was immediately turned down. The British perceived Germany to be a threat to the British policy of “balance of power” and had refused all offers to become allies with Germany before the war; they had also refused several peace offers from Germany before the invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941.

Great Britain and America needed the help of the Soviet Union in their plan to destroy Germany and in return, Churchill and Roosevelt had promised eastern Europe to the Communists as early as 1943 at the Tehran Conference.

According to Wikipedia, at the Tehran Conference, Churchill and Roosevelt agreed to the following:

Begin quote

Poland’s borders were declared to lie along the Oder and Neisse rivers and the Curzon line, despite protests of the Polish government-in-exile in London. Churchill and Roosevelt also gave Stalin free rein in his own country, and allowed the USSR to set up puppet communist governments in Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, the Baltic states, Romania, and other Eastern European countries.

By turning down Himmler’s offer of an alliance against the Soviet Union, the lives of a million Hungarian Jews were sacrificed; in the end, the British lost their empire and Hungary became a Communist country.

Great Britain and America eventually became allies with Germany in 1948 against the Soviet Union in the Cold War, which lasted until 1989.

End quote

 

January 17, 2016

Hannah Arendt is the subject of a new book

Hannah Arendt

Hannah Arendt is famous for coining the expression “Banality of Evil.”

I previously blogged about Hannah Arendt at https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2015/09/15/hannah-arendt-and-her-opinion-about-the-role-of-the-jewish-leaders-in-the-holocaust/

and on this previous blog post:  https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2010/11/24/anton-schmidt-two-minutes-of-silence-in-his-honor-at-eichmanns-trial/

Hannah Arendt is back in the news in a news article headlined:

Hannah Arendt’s angst was born in the US, says author

Don’t ever tell anyone that you have never heard of Hannah Arendt or that you don’t know the meaning of the expression that she invented: “Banality of Evil.” This will immediately mark you as a person who has never been to college, at least not in America, where the writing of Hannah Arendt is taught in many different classrooms.

The German word “angst” has a different meaning in America.  In Germany, one might say “Ich habe Angst gegen der Hundt.” In America, the word “angst” is used to show that you are sophisticated and educated, not that you are afraid. It is hard to define the word, as it is used in America.

The following quote is from the article, cited above:

Begin quote
In his latest book, “Arendt And America,” King argues that living in the United States allowed the German philosopher [Hanna Arendt] to think far beyond the simple dichotomies of political divisions — such as left and right — that led to the endless slaughter and complete break down of the European social order, before and during World War II.

In Arendt’s interpretation of Nazi history, Adolf Eichmann did not display any original thoughts of his own. It was this sheer banality of existence, she claimed, that allowed him to become the chief orchestrator and faceless bureaucrat of the Final Solution, one of the most horrific systematic mass murders ever known to mankind.

But what perhaps caused the most controversy among Jews was Arendt’s criticism of the Nazi-appointed “Jewish Councils” (Judenräte ). She contended that they became a sinister Nazi method to eliminate a maximum number of Jews with a minimum amount of administrative effort and cost. Or, to put it more bluntly: a system that ensured certain Jews would be made responsible for the organization of transport to their fellow Jews, as they made their way to the gas chambers.

End quote

At his trial Eichmann was put into a cage with bullet proof glass

At his trial Eichmann was put into a cage made with bullet proof glass

Why was Eichmann put into a glass cage at his trial? Supposedly, it was because he was so evil that someone might shoot him before his trial was over.

I wrote the following about Eichmann on my scrapbookpages.com website:  http://www.scrapbookpages.com/AuschwitzScrapbook/History/Articles/HungarianJews2.html

The following information is from the book “Auschwitz, a New History” by Laurence Reese:

On April 25, 1944, in his office at the Hotel Majestic in Budapest, Eichmann met with Joel Brand, another leading member of the Jewish Relief and Rescue Committee. Brand had already attended previous meetings with Eichmann and other SS officers in an attempt to bribe them to allow a number of Jews out of Hungary. Now Eichmann said to Brand, “I am prepared to sell one million Jews to you.”

Eichmann proposed an exchange of “Blood for Goods,” in which the British and the Americans would give the Nazis one new truck for every one hundred Jews. Eichmann promised that the trucks would only be used on the Eastern front where the Germans were fighting against the Communist Soviet Union. Brand was asked to go to Istanbul in Turkey to negotiate the deal. Eichmann hoped to obtain 10,000 trucks in exchange for one million Jews. But even before Brand reached Turkey on May 19, 1944, Eichmann had already ordered the deportation of the Hungarian Jews, which began on April 29, 1944.

According to Laurence Rees, SS officer Kurt Becher, who was a Lt. Col., equal in rank to Eichmann, was trying to blackmail the Weiss family, owners of the biggest industrial conglomerate in Hungary, into giving its shares to the SS in return for safe passage out of the country.

Rees wrote:

By the time of his meeting with Brand, Eichmann knew that his rival Becher had successfully arranged for shares of the Manfred-Weiss works to be transferred to the Nazis; in return, about fifty members of the Weiss family were allowed to leave and head for neutral countries.

Brand was accompanied to Istanbul by another man named Bandi Grosz, a former agent of the Abwehr, the German intelligence agency, whose operations in Hungary had been taken over by an SS officer, Lt. Col. Gerhard Clages. At the last meeting with Brand, SS officers Clages, Becher and several other Nazis had been present.

September 22, 2015

11 million Jews mentioned in minutes of Wannsee conference

The house where the Wannsee conference was held

The rear of the house where the Wannsee conference was held

A reader of my blog wrote this in a comment:

“German numbers place the number of Jews in Europe at 11 million. I’ve already posted the Wannsee minutes, they said 11 million.”

After visiting the Wannsee house years ago, I wrote about the Wannsee Conference on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/EasternGermany/Wannsee/

The Wannsee house where the conference was held

The Wannsee house where the conference was held

The following information is from my website:
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.

[Did you catch that?  The copy that was found in 1947!  I wonder who wrote the copy that was mysteriously found after 5 long years.]

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?
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. But 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.

The dining room of the Wannsee house where the conference was held

The dining room of the Wannsee house where the conference was held

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.

Was this alleged copy actually a document that was written by someone other than Adolf Eichmann?

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?

The front of the Wannsee house where the conference was held

The front of the Wannsee house where the conference was held

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.

September 20, 2015

The 6 million number never changes, no matter what

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 10:28 am

“…into the valley of death rode the 600 6 million…”  Source

The number of Jews who died in the Holocaust [6 million] remains the same, no matter what new evidence is found.

The number of Jews killed at Auschwitz was originally 4 million, according to testimony given at the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal; now that number is officially down to 1.1 million.

The number of deaths given for Majdanek was originally 1.5 million, but the number of Jewish deaths has been reduced to 59,000.

You can read about the 6 million Jews on this website.

Copy of the confession of Rudolf Hoess hangs in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Copy of the confession of Rudolf Hoess hangs in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

The caption underneath the photo above reads:

On May 14, 1946, Rudolf Hoess, the former commandant of Auschwitz, signed a declaration stating that during his tenure in office, 2 million Jews had been gassed at Auschwitz and another 500,000 killed in other ways. Hoess overestimated the number of Jews gassed by about 1 million.

There have been allegations that this confession was obtained from Rudolf Hoess by means of torture. Rupert Butler wrote in his book entitled Legions of Death, published by Arrow Books in London in 1983, that Hoess had been beaten for three days by a British team of torturers under the command of Jewish interrogator Bernard Clarke.

In 1946, Rudolf Hoess, the former Auschwitz commandant, was put on trial in Poland; he was charged with the murder of “around 300,000 people held at the camp as prisoners and entered into the camp’s records and around 4,000,000 people, mainly Jews, who were brought to the camp in transports from other European countries for immediate extermination and thus not listed in the camp’s records.” During his trial, Hoess changed the figure in his confession to a total of 1,130,000 Jews that were gassed but declared “During my tenure at Auschwitz, millions of people died, whose exact number I cannot determine.”

Rudolf Hoess wrote in his autobiography that Obersturmbannführer Adolf Eichmann and his deputy were the only ones who knew the total number of Jews that were gassed at Auschwitz-Birkenau because Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler had ordered the records to be burned after every special action. The Nazis always used code words when talking about the genocide of the Jews: a mass gassing was called a “special action.”

In the last days of World War II, shortly before Berlin was surrounded by Soviet troops, Eichmann allegedly told Hoess that 2.5 million Jews had been murdered at Auschwitz Birkenau. Eichmann was an SS Lt. Col. who was the head of Department IV, B-4, the section of the Reich Central Security Office (RSHA) in Berlin, which was responsible for deporting the Jews. It was Adolf Eichmann who was in charge of deporting the Jews on the trains to the death camps.

According to the Auschwitz Museum, no records of the number of prisoners who died at Auschwitz-Birkenau have ever been found.

1938 photo shows that virtually no Jews were sent to Sachsenhausen

1938 photo shows virtually no Jews at the Sachsenhausen camp

In order to avoid going to prison for 5 years in 19 different countries which have laws against Holocaust denial, you must believe in the 6 million, even though the numbers no longer add up.

September 15, 2015

Hannah Arendt and her opinion about the role of the Jewish leaders in the Holocaust

The name Hannah Arendt came up in a comment today, so I am expanding on this subject on my blog.

Hannah Arendt

Hannah Arendt

The name Hannah Arendt used to be a household word, but today’s young people might not be familiar with her name, nor her writing. It used to be that, if you did not know who Hannah Arendt was, you were obviously not a college graduate. Her reporting on the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem was, at one time, world famous; her words were studied in colleges throughout America.

Wolf Murmelstein, who is a regular reader of my blog, mentioned Arendt in a comment.  He thinks that she got the story of Theresienstadt completely wrong.  Wolf was a child at Theresienstadt; he is the son of Benjamin Murmelstein, the last Jewish Elder of the camp.

My photo of an old building at Theresienstadt

My photo of an old building at Theresienstadt

My photo of an old building at Theresienstadt which has the date 1941 on it

My photo of an old building at Theresienstadt which has the date 1941 on it

This quote from Wikipedia tells who Hannah Arendt was:

JohannaHannahArendt[3] (/ˈɛərənt/ or /ˈɑrənt/; German: [ˈaːʀənt];[4] 14 October 1906 – 4 December 1975) was a German-born political theorist. Though often described as a philosopher, she rejected that label on the grounds that philosophy is concerned with “man in the singular” and instead described herself as a political theorist because her work centers on the fact that “men, not Man, live on the earth and inhabit the world.”[5] An assimilated Jew, she escaped Europe during the Holocaust and became an American citizen. Her works deal with the nature of power, and the subjects of politics, direct democracy, authority, and totalitarianism. The Hannah Arendt Prize is named in her honor.

=======

A few years ago, Dr. Murmelstein sent me a series of essays, including an essay in which he included information about Hannah Arendt.

The following quote is from his essay, which you can read in full on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Contributions/Murmelstein/JudenratQuestion.html

Begin quote:
The opinion of Hanna Arendt that the Jewish Leaders, by their “participation,” had helped the Nazis to hasten the deportations, hardly meets any test of consistency:

Hanna Arendt, in 1940, was able to go to New York and stay safe there, because there had been Jewish Leaders and volunteers who “participated” in order to help fellow Jews to leave Nazi-Fascist ruled Europe.

Jewish Leaders certainly were not stronger than the various army commanders and statesmen who surrendered to Nazi Germany. Jewish communities in those times of darkness stood in an often hostile or, at least, indifferent environment.

As a disciple of the Nazi Philosopher Heidegger, Hanna Arendt is hardly entitled to pass judgment on Jewish Leaders, who were almost all Martyrs. On the other hand, it should be discussed whether, or how, Hanna Arendt’s opinions had been influenced by Heidegger’s theories.

When reporting on the Eichmann trial, Hanna Arendt failed to note that Attorney General Hausner had not called a witness like Benjamin Murmelstein to give evidence.

But at a certain moment, the Nazis realized that the tale of “resettlement of Jews for work” could hardly justify deportation of aged or sick persons, war officers holding medals for merit, etc.

Furthermore, as explained by Heinrich Himmler: “Germans all agree on the idea of getting rid of the Jews. But then every German has his own Jews, stating that this is a righteous Jew; send away the others but let him stay here.” What Himmler did not explain was that some Germans could not be ignored at all. Besides, there were among the Jews highly qualified persons well known abroad, who could not simply disappear in the East.

The solution was THERESIENSTADT, a little town in Bohemia surrounded by walls and with many barracks, just on the Reich border, now better known under the Czech name TEREZIN. There Eichmann had the opportunity to set up a Ghetto under his own authority and to show the real meaning of his “great ideas.” Many Germans could then “be at peace with their conscience” having obtained for their “righteous Jew” – a relative, a divorced wife, etc. – a place in the “Model Ghetto.” Qualified Jews, known abroad, could for a while, send postcards.

From October 1941 until September 1942, Benjamin Murmelstein had to watch the deportations. At Yom Kippur 1942, he had a nervous crisis of desperation about things that happened in that year. He was in doubt about being ritually qualified to lead the prayer service for the very few believing Jews still in Vienna.

From the beginning to the end of the deportation waves, almost all Jews had been deported from Vienna. Besides the very few believing Jews – community staff members – there were many persons in mixed marriage and descendants of Jewish parents or grand-parents. In that year Benjamin Murmelstein had to face the Vienna Branch of the CENTRAL OFFICE FOR JEWISH EMIGRATION where the rule was “promises are valid only when served.” Amid harsh orders, he tried to save what was possible.

The number of the few believing Jews for the community staff had been the result of a difficult “bargaining” (requests had to be submitted in a suitable form) with SS Ltd Alois (Anton) Brunner. At end of August 1942, Benjamin Murmelstein, with his family, was about to be sent to Terezin. But Eichmann decided to delay the “re-organization” of Terezin “Jewish Self-Government.”

Read more at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Contributions/Murmelstein/JudenratQuestion.html

July 15, 2013

Breckinridge Long (America’s Eichmann???) who denied Otto Frank a visa to enter the USA

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — furtherglory @ 9:01 am

A new book, written by Jewish author Neil Rolde, entitled Breckinridge Long, American Eichmann??? An Enquiry into the Character of the Man Who Denied Visas to the Jews has recently been published.

Breckinridge Long was the US State Department Assistant Secretary during World War II. He reported to Secretary of State Cordell Hull, who allowed him to create his own guidelines in deciding whom to allow to emigrate to America, according to Neil Rolde.

This quote is from a news article, about Rolde’s book, in the Seacoastonline newspaper:

Nazi SS Lt. Col. Adolf Eichmann is widely regarded as one of the major organizers of the Holocaust. When he was tried on charges years later, he said he was “just following orders,” Rolde said.

I put Long into that class. He said he thought he was following orders, and what he was really doing is sending people to the gas chambers,” Rolde said.

[….]

In fact, the son of Macy’s Department Store owner Nathan Strauss petitioned for his friend, Otto Frank, to be able to leave Amsterdam, but the visa was denied. Frank’s daughter was Anne Frank.

As it turned out, Otto Frank ended up in Auschwitz-Birkenau, but he wasn’t sent to the gas chamber, even though he was 56 years old. Jews over 45 were allegedly sent directly to the gas chamber in the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, but not Otto Frank.  He survived and walked all the way back to Amsterdam after the camp was liberated.

One of my earliest blog posts, written two weeks after I started blogging, was entitled Anne Frank –What If.  This quote is from that blog post:

In 1933, when Hitler came to power, Otto Frank was not in danger of being persecuted – he was in danger of being prosecuted.  That’s right, Otto Frank and his brother were both indicted for bank fraud in 1933, and were scheduled to be put on trial.  Otto Frank tried to get a visa to come to America, but was denied, so he escaped to Holland and entered the country illegally.  His family followed him a few months later.

However, it was not because Otto Frank and his brother were crooks that they were denied entry into the US.  Otto Frank’s brother was allowed to enter, but when Otto Frank was denied entry, he escaped to the Netherlands.

This quote is from an article, written by Richard Breitman, which you can read on this website:

In 1938, according to his own testimony, Otto Frank first applied at Rotterdam for immigration visas to the U. S. for himself and his family. As Germans living in the Netherlands, the Franks fell under the American immigration quota for Germany.

At that time there were some prospects for hope. After Nazi Germany took over Austria in mid-March 1938 and launched severe persecution of Austrian Jews, President Franklin D. Roosevelt told his cabinet that he hoped to liberalize U. S. immigration procedures and to persuade Latin American countries to take in additional refugees. He approved a formal list of American proposals on March 22 that implicitly involved full use of the combined German-Austrian immigration quota.

FDR then invited a range of other governments to attend a refugee conference and to set up a new international committee on refugee problems. This conference and the international committee would try to bring about and finance emigration of political refugees from Germany and Austria. But, mindful of widespread public opposition to increased immigration, the U.S. explicitly stated that countries participating would not be expected to change their existing immigration laws.

At the July 1938 refugee conference held at Evian, France one country after another explained why it could not take in more refugees, with some noting in particular why Jews were undesirable. The President’s initiative had seemingly failed, dashing the hopes of hundreds of thousands of Jews and other victims of persecution. Only one country, the Dominican Republic, volunteered to take in substantial numbers of refugees.

The negative public face of the Evian Conference overshadowed some positive developments. For the first time since the 1920s, the United States did make available its full immigration quota for Germany, so that more than 27,000 Germans and Austrians-about 90% of them Jewish-were able to immigrate in the course of a year. And a number of Latin American countries showed themselves open to take in refugees with sufficient means to support themselves-or with foreign backers willing to support them and create jobs for them. Jewish emigration to some Latin American countries such as Cuba, Brazil, and Bolivia quietly continued.

At the same time, Nazi Germany’s persecution of Jews sharply escalated. Especially after the Night of Broken Glass in November 1938, tens of thousands more German, Austrian, and Czech Jews, some of them beaten in concentration camps and released with dire warnings to leave the country soon, became desperate to leave. New would-be emigrants, plus those who had already applied to leave, swamped the places available abroad. By early 1939 the waiting list for an immigration visa to the U. S. contained more than 300,000 names.2

Under these circumstances Otto Frank’s turn on the waiting list for American visas apparently did not come up. Feeling protected by his successful business in Amsterdam, he was not threatened enough to try other opportunities abroad.

May 21, 2013

Did Adolf Eichmann set up the Theresienstadt ghetto? I don’t think so.

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, World War II — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 5:39 am

Claude Lanzmann’s new documentary film, featuring Benjamin Murmelstein and the Theresienstadt ghetto, has been getting a lot of ink in the press lately.

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

For three and a half hours, the viewer [of Lanzmann’s documentary] is taken through an exploration of Benjamin Murmelstein, the last president of the Jewish Council in the “model ghetto” of Theresienstadt in Nazi-annexed Czechoslovakia.

Set up by SS colonel Adolf Eichmann as a bogus town run by Jews themselves – a Potemkin village designed to dupe the world – Theresienstadt was one of the grimmest chapters in the long record of Nazi atrocities.

Theresienstadt was not in “Nazi-annexed Czechoslovakia” at that time; it was in the German protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia.  You can read all about Theresienstadt on my website here.

According to Wikipedia, Adolf Eichmann “was a German Nazi SS-Obersturmbannführer (lieutenant colonel) and one of the major organizers of the Holocaust. Because of his organizational talents and ideological reliability, Eichmann was charged by SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich with the task of facilitating and managing the logistics of mass deportation of Jews to ghettos and extermination camps in German-occupied Eastern Europe.”

Nowhere on the Wikipedia page does it say that Eichmann SET UP the Theresienstadt ghetto.  He might have been in charge of the transports to and from Theresienstadt, but he did not have the authority to set up a ghetto or anything else.  Eichmann was “small potatoes,” not important enough to be in charge of setting up camps or ghettos.

This quote from the news article also resonated with me:

Murmelstein’s recollections, said Lanzmann, are doubly precious, as they prompt a new interpretation of Eichmann, who was kidnapped by Mossad agents in Argentina and hauled to Israel for trial, culminating in his execution in 1962. […]

If Eichmann was “small potatoes,” why did the Mossad go to the trouble of kidnapping him and taking him to Israel?  I think it was because Eichmann was the one who wrote the minutes of the Wannsee Conference where the genocide of the Jews was allegedly planned.

The Israelis wanted Eichmann to admit that he left out the part of the Conference where the men talked about killing the Jews, not “transporting them to the East,” as Eichmann wrote in the minutes.

Eichmann at his trial in Israel

Eichmann at his trial in Israel

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

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.

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.

May 26, 2012

50th anniversary of the execution of Adolf Eichmann, the “Architect of the Holocaust”

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 12:08 pm

May 31st will mark the 50th anniversary of the hanging of Adolf Eichmann, who was charged with 15 crimes in an Israeli court, and convicted in 1962 of crimes against humanity, war crimes, crimes against the Jewish people, and membership in an outlawed organization (the SS).

Eichmann’s crime was that he was the man in charge of the trains that transported the Jews to the concentration camps.  Who was the man in charge of the trains that took the Japanese-Americans, German-Americans and Italian-Americans to internment camps in America?  I don’t know, but I doubt that there was anyone in charge of scheduling the trains in America.  Americans are not as organized as the Germans are. Up until recently, you could set your watch by the arrival and departure of the trains in Germany. In America, not so much.

The three judges in the trial of Adolf Eichmann were Moshe Landau, Benjamin Halevy and Yitzhak Raveh, all three of whom were German Jews who had left Germany in 1933 and escaped to the British Mandate of Palestine, soon after Hitler came to power.

This raises the question: Why didn’t all the German Jews just go to Palestine in 1933? The Holocaust could have been avoided altogether if the Jews had all emigrated to Palestine.  The answer is that the British would not allow it — they were trying to avoid the conflict that is still going on today.

As an officer in the SS, Eichmann had been assigned in 1938 to help organize SS Security Forces in Vienna after the Anschluss of Austria with Germany. After that, Eichmann was selected by the SS leadership to form the Central Office for Jewish Emigration at the end of 1938.

According to Wikipedia: Eichmann was an “expert on Jewish matters” for the Third Reich, overseeing the concentration camps, the expropriation of Jewish property, and the deportation of Jews to ghettos and death camps. He played a major role in implementing the Final Solution.

In his capacity as the head of the Central Office for Jewish Emigration, Eichmann had tried to work with Zionist organizations to get Jews into Palestine.  In December 1939, Eichmann was assigned to head the RSHA Sub-Department IV-B4, which was the office of the German government that dealt with Jewish affairs and emigration. In 1940, Eichmann was in charge of the Madagascar Project, a plan to deport Jews to the island of Madagascar, but this plan was never put into effect. (Again, the British were against this plan.)

In short, Adolf Eichmann was in charge of getting the Jews out of Germany, but was he eventually put in charge of killing all the Jews in Europe?  Yes! According to Wikipedia: “Reinhard Heydrich disclosed to Eichmann in autumn 1941 that all the Jews in German-controlled Europe were to be murdered. (Source: Browning, Christopher R. (2004), The Origins of the Final Solution, p. 362)”

Several years ago, I was staying in a hotel in Berlin, and I wanted to go to the newly-opened Museum in the house in Wannsee, a suburb of Berlin, where the Final Solution was planned.  I asked the two young people working at the front desk in the hotel how to get to the house in Wannsee where the Final Solution was planned.  I spoke to them in English because all young people in Germany speak English better than most Americans.  But the phrase “Final Solution” drew a complete blank: these young people had no idea what I was talking about.  So I said it in German:  “die Endlösung.”  Again, I drew a complete blank.

Finally, I asked the young woman at the front desk in the hotel to call me a taxi.  Surely, a taxi driver would know how to get there.  As it turned out, the cab driver did know, but he said it was 50 miles, each way.  “Das macht aber nicht,” I said, and away we went.

The point of this long digression from my subject is that a man was hanged for his role as the Architect of the Final Solution 50 years ago, but today’s young people in Germany don’t know what you are talking about when you say “die Endlösung der Judenfrage.”

Adolf Eichmann was a low-level bureaucrat in Nazi Germany. He never personally killed anyone and never ordered the death of anyone. He had no authority in Nazi Germany and was not a decision maker. So unimportant was Eichmann that he did not even leave Germany until 1950. When he finally emigrated to Argentina, he did so with the help of the International Red Cross.  His wife and children did not change their names when they left Germany, and that’s how Eichmann was tracked down by the Israeli Mossad in 1960.

Eichmann’s good friend, Ernst Kaltenbrunner, who was 6 levels above Eichmann in the Reich Security Main Office, was put on trial by the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal and specifically charged with gassing the Jews. Eichmann was not important enough to be hunted down and put on trial at Nuremberg. Eichmann and Kaltenbrunner had been friends from their school days in Linz, Austria, the city that was also the boyhood home of Adolf Hitler.  It was because of this boyhood friendship that Eichmann, who was a High School dropout, had gotten his job with RSHA.

So if Eichmann was such “small potatoes,” why was he kidnapped by the Mossad and put on trial in Israel?  There were hundreds of bureaucrats and technicians who were at the same level in the Nazi hierarchy as Eichmann.

In my humble opinion, the reason that Eichmann was put on trial was because he was the man who had typed up the minutes of the Wannseee Conference, the meeting where the Final Solution was planned on January 20, 1942. In the minutes of this meeting, a copy of which was discovered in 1947, the participants had used euphemisms such as “transportation to the East”  instead of talking about “the extermination of the Jews in gas chambers.” The Jews in Israel, who were survivors of the Holocaust, wanted to hunt down Eichmann, put him on trial, and establish that he had falsified the minutes of the Wannsee conference.

After 11 months in custody in Israel, during which time he was given Thorazine, a drug that is used to treat mental illness, Eichmann was finally put on trial. His facial tics (tartive dyskinesia) showed the effects of long term use of Thorazine.

With a little help from heavy doses of Thorazine, Eichmann confessed the truth, which was that the Wannsee Conference was held for the purpose of planning the genocide of the Jews. Up to that time, there had been no documentation found which showed that Hitler had ordered the killing of all the Jews. The Eichmann trial finally provided the proof of the systematic plan to exterminate the Jews; that is why Eichmann is regarded today as the second most important Nazi, next to Adolf Hitler.

May 20, 2012

The son of Dr. Benjamin Murmelstein defends his father’s reputation in a new essay

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 2:20 pm

Several days ago, I received a new essay, written by Dr. Wolf Murmelstein, which I have put up on my website here. Dr. Wolf Murmelstein is defending his father against the slander of Vienna Jewish Community Secretary General Raimund Fastenbauer [who] thought it right to speak of Benjamin Murmelstein as a “Collaborateur” called “Murmelschwein.”

Gate into the walled town of Theresienstadt which became a concentration camp during World War II

To make a long story short, Dr. Benjamin Murmelstein was the last Jewish Elder of the Theresienstadt concentration camp.  He was arrested in June 1945 and accused of collaborating with the Nazis, but after a pre-trial investigation, the charge was dropped. In December 1946, after eighteen months of investigation, the prosecutor had not found enough evidence for the case and Murmelstein was released.

In 1947, Murmelstein was a witness in the trial of Karl Rahm, the last Commandant of Theresienstadt, who was convicted of Crimes against Humanity and executed.

This quote from Dr. Wolf Murmelstein’s essay is the most interesting part, as far as I am concerned:

H.G. Adler, in his very important history of Theresienstadt acknowledged that, in November and December 1944, there were many amazing improvements of conditions but failed to mention how those were due to the strong action of Benjamin Murmelstein.

It had been established in the People’s Court that Benjamin Murmelstein had the first alarming information about things going on when the first group of Slovakian Jews reached Theresienstadt at end of December 1944. So he could fully evaluate the danger connected to a strange building project as the work had to be done only following oral instructions without any written schemes and drawings.

[…]

Benjamin Murmelstein – after having given instructions in the event that he might be arrested – faced the Commander, reporting that inmates were startled and a mass escape would be difficult to avoid. Commander Rahm replied that he was following instructions to set up bombproof stores for the provisions (a version he held even when on trial in People’s Court in 1947!) and the Jews had to work instead gathering on the main square. But: the following day he left for Prague, returning after three days with the order to stop that work.

Such an order could be given only by SS General K.H. Frank High SS and Police Commander and Reich Minister for the Bohemia-Moravia Protectorate. Indeed Frank considered the Ghetto a good trump card in order to reach a deal with Allied Commanders.

After an order from Himmler, the Auschwitz Gas Chambers had ceased the murder of Jews. Eichmann wanted to go on with the killing and, like some other Lager Commander, he thought to set up his own Gas Chamber. This fact, which proves Eichmann’s own wide power, never had been cleared.

It is very clear, in the quote above, that Dr. Wolf Murmelstein is writing about a Gas Chamber, that was being built in Theresienstadt in the last days of World War II, because Adolf Eichmann wanted to continue the killing of the Jews after the gassing had stopped in Auschwitz-Birkenau in November 1944.  The inmates were “startled” by this new development and Dr. Benjamin Murmelstein took it upon himself to save the inmates from a mass slaughter in case of an attempted mass escape.

I previously blogged about the Theresienstadt gas chamber here.  Now Dr. Wolf Murmelstein seems to be confirming that there was a gas chamber being built at Theresienstadt and that the inmates knew about it.

On October 10, 1941, the Germans initially decided to make Theresienstadt into a ghetto for selected Jews in the German Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, and in the Greater German Reich, which included Austria and part of western Poland. The Jews who were to be sent to Theresienstadt included those over 60 years old, World War I veterans, prominent people such as artists or musicians, very important persons, the blind, the deaf, and the inmates of the Jewish mental hospitals and the Jewish orphanages.

The first Jews, who were brought to Theresienstadt on November 24, 1941, were 342 men who were housed in the Sudeten barracks on the west side of the old garrison, from where one can see the Sudeten mountain range near the border between Germany and the Czech Republic. This first transport, called the Aufbaukommando, was brought there to prepare the 10 barracks buildings for the rest of the Jews who would soon follow. On December 4, 1941 another transport of 1,000 Jews, who were to form the Jewish “self-government” of the ghetto, was sent to Theresienstadt. These two early transports became known as AK1 and AK2.

Brunnen park in the Theresienstadt Ghetto with the Dresden barracks in the background

A short time after the construction crews had prepared the barracks, 7,000 Jews from Prague and Brno, in what is now the Czech Republic, arrived in the ghetto; men and women were put into separate barracks and they were not allowed to mix with the townspeople.

On Feb. 16, 1942, the 3,500 townspeople in Theresienstadt were given notice that they would have to evacuate the town by June 30th. On that date, the whole town was converted into a prison camp for the Jews.

Even before the transports departed to Theresienstadt, the Jewish Council of the Elders (Ältestenrat) was appointed in Prague to do the ghetto administration. The Nazis gave oral orders to the Council each day and the Jewish “self-government” informed the prisoners of the order of the day.

There were three Jewish Elders (Judenältester) who served in turn as the head of the ghetto “self-government.” The first was Jakob Edelstein, who served as the ghetto Elder from December 4, 1941 to November 27, 1943. He was arrested for falsifying camps records and was sent to the Small Fortress across the river from the ghetto. From there he was transferred to Auschwitz where he was first put on trial in a Nazi court and was then executed at the infamous “black wall” on June 20, 1944 after being forced to watch as his wife and son were being shot.

The second Jewish leader of Theresienstadt was Dr. Paul Eppstein who was taken to the Small Fortress on September 7, 1944 and immediately shot without the benefit of a trial because he too had disobeyed the orders of the Nazis. The last Jewish leader of the ghetto was Dr. Benjamin Murmelstein, who served from Sept. 7, 1944 until the end of the war.

The ghetto guards were 150 Czech policemen; there was also an unarmed Jewish ghetto guard unit which helped to maintain order in the ghetto.

The Magdeburg barracks which housed the offices of the Jewish “self-government.”

On the wall near the entry door to the Museum in the Magdeburg building, there is a plaque which lauds the Jewish leaders in the ghetto for their resistance against the Nazis, even though it meant death for two of the Elders.

Dr. Wolf Murmelstein is critical of American Universities, that do not teach the history of Theresienstadt the right way, in his opinion.

This quote from his essay is about American Universities:

To have so avoided a mass slaughter of all the Ghetto inmates had been a merit, or a guilt as not politically correct?

Indeed, it seems that in many USA Universities, the prevailing opinion is that a revolution should have been attempted. So Benjamin Murmelstein, as the writer often had to recall, knew that even any suspicion of riots, in view of an uprising, would only have jeopardized the International Red Cross action to achieve the Ghetto survival. Benjamin Murmelstein, the writer agrees, remarked that having prevented school book authors from writing stupid “politically correct” tales and politicians, or so, from delivering, more or less hypocritical, speeches at various commemorations is considered nowadays as a heavy guilt.

Dr. Wolf Murmelstein’s essay is quite long, and difficult to follow, if you don’t know the history of Theresienstadt and the Holocaust, but this quote from the essay is important:

The long waited International Red Cross Committee visit arrived on April 6, 1945. Benjamin Murmelstein had to deliver a speech – previously controlled, maybe approved by Himmler – and guide the visitors along an established Ghetto tour. In the final salutation, Murmelstein put in (at great personal risk) twice the words: “the fate of Theresienstadt is of great concern for me.” This call for help had been suddenly noticed and the Red Cross Delegates suddenly obtained from Minister SS General K.H. Frank assurance that not one inmate would be removed from the Ghetto and the authorization to establish an office in Prague.

But Eichmann and some aides still wanted to slaughter the Ghetto. As Minister SS General K. H. Frank considered the Ghetto as a trump card in the attempt to deal with Allied Commanders – he had asked the Red Cross Delegates to forward a letter – he considered two possible tricks:

Threaten and pressure Benjamin Murmelstein by taking his 8-year-old son as a hostage. The writer had been summoned to the Command and had been questioned by three of the worst aides of Eichmann, but was then permitted to go “home.”

In war time, any revolt, especially when near the combat front, can be put down. For the Nazis such repressions were good opportunities for mass slaughters.

How could the Nazis provoke a revolt in Theresienstadt to be put down with mass slaughter? The tricky way, which was followed by the Eichmann staff, was in 3 steps:

1. LIBERATION OF THE “DANISH” JEWS.
On April 15, 1945 the “Danishes” left Theresienstadt on a convoy of 8 buses. The departure of that privileged group, protected from abroad, left Benjamin Murmelstein feeling a bit uneasy while the inmates were quite excited as the hope of the end of war – with German defeated – increased.

2. KASTNER VISIT ON APRIL 16.
The inmates could watch a Jew (without a Yellow Star!) being taken on a tour around Theresienstadt by the SS, and allowed to meet, at the SS quarters, a person he knew, and to inform – bypassing the Elder – the inmates about the next overhanding of the Ghetto. Inform or excite?

3. THE FARCE – REVOLT OF NIGHT OF 17/18.
At midnight, just after having answered the usual phone call of the SS on duty – “Yes Sir, all in order.” — Benjamin Murmelstein had been “alerted” by an associate: “Germans fled away; a joyous crowd is singing and dancing.” The SS wanting to know whether “all was in order” and a joyous crowd in street? Clearly someone wanted the inmates to be excited, but why?

Dr. Wolf Murmelstein credits his father, Dr. Benjamin Murmelstein, with saving the Theresienstadt ghetto from mass slaughter and ensuring that the ghetto was turned over to the International Red Cross in the last days of the war.

I previously blogged here about a train that was sent from Bergen-Belsen to Theresienstadt in the last days of the war.  Several survivors of the three trains sent from Bergen-Belsen, bound for Theresienstadt, believe that they were being sent to Theresienstadt to be killed, but it is clear from Dr. Wolf Murmelstein’s essay that the trains were being sent to Theresienstadt because the camp was being turned over to the International Red Cross.

You can read more about the Theresienstadt Ghetto on my website here.

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