Scrapbookpages Blog

August 27, 2015

Another topic for discussion: the aftermath of World War II

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, World War II — Tags: , , , , — furtherglory @ 12:23 pm

Wolf Murmelstein, a regular reader of this blog, has submitted a letter with some information for a new topic of discussion.

The following words were written by Wolf Murmelstein:
Dear furtherglory, Hermie and other readers of this blog!

In various comments here, the question of the post WWII and Holocaust trials has arisen; I want to reply to all of these comments.

From personal experience, and from historical research, I will admit that some of those [post-war] trials were driven by political rivalries for positions, or to prevent some really informed person from giving evidence concerning many wrong doings, which occurred during World War II: For example: denunciations by careless talk, appropriations of Jewish owned assets, etc..

Another chapter [of history] refers to the interest of  the Communist Parties in weakening the middle class in the countries where they rose to power. This was said by Clement Gottwald on April 10, 1945 in a speech to party activists at Kosice. On that day, at Theresienstadt, we were still in danger of being shot in a mass shooting.

So in the East, as well as in the West, the Communist Parties enlisted former Nazis and Fascists to testify. By this means, many of the former Nazis could avoid being put on trial for wrongdoing, as long as they obeyed [Communist] party orders.

Where there had not been any political interest, many accusations leading to judiciary investigations had been found baseless. The accusations were due to hysteria and the persecution complex of traumatized persons. By stating this, the judge could avoid the start of procedures for slander.

In many trials, the statements of the defendants would have been precious historical documents.

I am quoting from memory, but I could find many other examples besides what is quoted below:

Herr Oskar Groening had been employed in the sorting of money and jewels, taken from the victims. By doing this, he avoided being sent to the battlefront in the East.

Herr [John] Demjanuk stated in Munich Court [in Germany] that he had had only one choice: Enlisting in the SS auxiliary or starving to death.

At the Auschwitz trial, it was stated by a defendant that selection started only after the [transport] train with the police escort had left the “station”; clearly this was done for better secrecy.

At the Nuernberg [IMT] trial, Papen had been acquitted, but two years later, he was sentenced by a German court for his high responsibility for the Nazi rise to power.

This subject deserves better analysis and research.

Hope that this letter will be offered for discussion.

Sincerely yours,

Wolf Murmelstein.

May 24, 2015

Auschwitz — “the largest mass murder site in human history”

In my blog post today, I am commenting on a news article, in a British newspaper, which you can read in full at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/27/auschwitz-short-history-liberation-concentration-camp-holocaust

The Wannsee house dining room as it looks today

The Wannsee house dining room as it looks today. This is the room where the Wannsee Conference was held.  (Click on the photo to enlarge)

The article in The Guardian newspaper, cited above, begins with this quote:

On 27 January 1945 Soviet soldiers entered the gates of the Auschwitz concentration camp complex in south-west Poland. The site had been evacuated by the Nazis just days earlier. Thus ended the largest mass murder in a single location in human history.

The part of the article, which particularly caught my eye, is this quote:

In January 1942, the Nazi party decided to roll out the Final Solution. Camps dedicated solely to the extermination of Jews had been created before, but this was formalised by SS Lieutenant General Reinhard Heydrich in a speech at the Wannsee conference. The extermination camp Auschwitz II (or Auschwitz-Birkenau) was opened in the same year.

So what is the real story on the Wannsee conference and the “Final Solution”?

The dining room, as it looked in 1916 when the Wannsee house was built. This is the room where the Wannsee conference was held in 1942

The dining room, as it looked in 1916 when the Wannsee house was built. This is the room where the Wannsee conference was held in 1942

The photograph above shows the dining room [where the Wannsee Conference was held] as it looked in 1922. At the time of the conference in January 1942, the room was probably furnished much like this. Now the former conference room has been stripped of its Queen Ann chairs, Oriental rug, chandelier, and wall tapestry, and only a glass table and 15 stools are in the room.

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 January 20, 1942 in an old mansion in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee.

A photo of the Wannsee mansion, taken shortly after it was built in 1916

A photo of the Wannsee mansion, taken shortly after it was built in 1916

The minutes or protocols of the Wannsee meeting, 15 pages in all, were written by 36-year-old Adolf Eichmann.

The copy of the minutes, that was found by the Allies in 1947, was undated and unsigned; it had no stamp of any Bureau. The copy appeared to be a draft report of the meeting.

The full title of the Conference was “The Final Solution of the Jewish Question in Europe.”

The original phrase, upon which the title was based, was “a final territorial solution of the Jewish question.”

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

On the witness stand, at the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal, 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 the extermination of the Jews.

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

Begin quote:

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

Berlin

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

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

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

[signed] Goering

End quote

The former dining room in the Wannsee house is used today for meetings in which the famous Conference is discussed.

The former dining room in the Wannsee house is used today for meetings to discuss the Holocaust

The former dining room in the Wannsee house is used today for meetings to discuss the Holocaust  (Click on the photo to enlarge)