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December 14, 2016

The Nazis allegedly used Jewish grave stones to pave roads

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, movies, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 12:17 pm

The Nazis used Jewish grave stones to pay roads, according to a news article, which you can read here:

I wrote about the use of grave stones, to pave roads, on this blog post:

The photo below allegedly shows a road paved with Jewish grave stones. Actually, this is a still shot from the fictional movie entitled “Schindler’s List.”

Photo from the movie  scoindler's List

Still photo from the movie Schindler’s List

The following quote is from the news article:

Begin quote

Speaking about Polish photographer Lukasz Baksik’s works that show how Jewish gravestones in Poland have been stolen and reused for other purposes over the decades — particularly during the eras of Nazi and Soviet rule — Elizabeth Gelman said, “The big thing for us is this has been going on for so long. Generations in Poland have grown up walking on and walking by — and in some cases even dancing — on people’s graves, without thinking about it, without really knowing what they are.”

Furthermore, Gelman noted, “this goes on in all of our communities, to some extent. What aren’t we seeing? What have we pushed to the side and stopped caring about? What are the things in our own communities that are important to recognize but we no longer see?”

End quote


October 30, 2016

My final thoughts about Majdanek

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 12:54 pm

Here are my final thoughts about Majdanek, a former Nazi death camp in Poland:

Imagine you are driving down I-5, a super highway in California, and there is heavy traffic, with no place to pull over and stop. Imagine that someone says to you “Look over there and you will see a gas chamber building where the Nazis gassed Jews.”

You look out the window and you see two identical buildings, so you say “Which one?” Your guide tells you that the gas chamber is the building on the left, and that the identical building on the right was used for delousing the clothing of the prisoners.

You say: “Can I see the delousing building first?” and your guide says “No, you may not. You may not go anywhere near the delousing building and you cannot peek into the windows because they are covered.”

At this point, you say to yourself: “Something wrong!”

Then imagine that you drive a few more feet down this major highway, and your tour guide says “Look over there, that two-story white house is where the Majdanek Commandant lived with his wife and three young daughters.”

You are very upset! You say “Do you mean to say that three young girls were living in a house that was literally a stone’s throw from a homicidal gas chamber?”

Your tour guide says “Don’t worry, the wife and daughters  were not isolated. This highway goes into the city of Lublin (pronounced Loo-Bleen), which is only a few miles away. Lublin is a major city.”

You say, “But the three children must have been very unhappy because they were cooped up in the house, and could not play outside.”

Your guide says, “No, the girls played outside every day; their yard was very large and they had a doll house and a swing set.”

You are appalled! Little girls playing outside, while, a few yards away, Jews are marching into gas chambers to be killed.

That’s when you begin to understand that the Nazis really were the worst people in the world.

End of Story

October 9, 2016

A Czech volleyball team named Zyklon-B

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — furtherglory @ 8:20 am

Some people have no respect for anything – including the Holocaust, in which 6 million Jews were allegedly killed, including many Jews that were allegedly exterminated with Zyklon-B, a poison gas that was used, by the Nazis, to kill the lice that spread typhus, a deadly disease.

You can read about the volleyball team in this news article:

The following quote is from the news article:

Begin quote from news article

Czech Jews slam volleyball team named for poison used by Nazis

Nazi flag displayed at volleyball game

Nazi flag displayed at volleyball game

This caption is on the photo above:

Czech Jews protest the naming of a children’s volleyball team Cyklon B, after the poison that Nazis used to kill Jews.

This quote is from news article quoted above:

Begin quote from news article:

Czech Jews protested the naming of a children’s volleyball team after the poison that Nazis used to kill Jews and Roma in gas chambers during the Holocaust.

The team Cyklon B – the Czech-language transliteration for the Zyklon B pesticide that the Nazis used — participated recently in a Prague tournament featuring teams from Czech Republic orphanages.

Fans at the tournament, which was sponsored by the ING Bank Fund of the Tereza Maxová Foundation, shouted “Go Cyklon B,” the Pravo daily reported Thursday.

End quote from news article

What does this have to do with anything?

People who study the Holocaust need to know the history of the Czech people, so I am going to tell you a little bit of history:

The Czech people initially had their own dynasty, known as the Premyslides. The famous “Good King Wencelas” was the ruler of the Czechs in the 10th century.

The Czech homeland of Bohemia, which along with Moravia, now constitutes the Czech Republic, came under the rule of the Austrian Hapsburg empire in 1526. It was Joseph II of the Hapsburg family, the ruler of the Austrian Empire, who built a town and named it Theresienstadt (Theresa’s city) after his mother, the Empress Maria Theresa.

This is the same Joseph II, in whose honor Josefov, the Jewish quarter in Prague, was originally named Josefstadt in 1850. Although his mother, Empress Maria Theresa, was an anti-Semite who had expelled the Jews from the Austrian empire for three years, Joseph II was an enlightened monarch who emancipated the Jews of Prague when he became Emperor in 1780 after the death of his mother.

In 1780, when the town of Theresienstadt was originally built as a military garrison at the junction of the Ohre and Elbe rivers, near the Sudeten mountain range in the province of Bohemia, the Czech people, who had lived in this area since the 5th century, did not have an independent country of their own.

Under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, which was signed after World War I ended, the Hapsburg Empire, by then a multi-ethnic country called Austria-Hungary, was broken up into the separate independent countries of Austria, Hungary, Rumania, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia. The new country of Czechoslovakia was made up of the former states of Bohemia, Moravia, Slovakia, Russian Ruthenia and part of Silesia.

Czechs and ethnic Germans had been living side by side in Bohemia for over a thousand years, and the new country had a population of 6 million Czechs, 3.5 million Germans and 2 million Slovaks.

The Czechs and Slovaks were both Slavic people, like the Russians and the Poles, but the Germans were a completely different ethnic group which had rarely intermarried with the Slavs.

Do these children, who are playing volleyball know anything about the history of the Czechs? I don’t think so. They just want to have fun; they don’t know that the name of their volleyball team upsets the old folks who still remember what the swastika once stood for.

August 14, 2016

The Majdanek camp, as seen by a young Jewish girl

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 9:46 am

You can read here about a tour of the memorial site at the former Majdanek concentration camp, written by a young Jewish girl named Carly Cohen:

Carly Cohen on visit to Auschwitz camp

Carly Cohen on a visit to Auschwitz main camp before visiting Majdanek camp

The following quote is from the news article cited above:

Begin quote

One aspect of Majdanek that stood out to me was that there was a town overlooking the camp. People’s balconies looked out to the gas chambers and the barracks in which thousands of people were imprisoned. It is mind-boggling to me how people can wake up, make coffee, and sit on their balconies and welcome in the morning by staring death in the face. I never thought I would experience a place that could prove to be more emotional than Auschwitz. I thought I had experienced the worst of the worst while at Auschwitz-Birkenau, but when I went to Majdanek, I proved myself wrong.

End quote

One of the first places that I visited, when I began touring the sites of the Holocaust, was Majdanek. I was very impressed by the sight of the Majdanek camp, but not for the same reason that this young girl was impressed.

When I began my tour of the camps in Poland in 1998, the first place that I visited was Treblinka.

In sharp contrast to the alleged extermination camp at Treblinka, which is in a wooded area as remote as Ted Kaczynkski’s Montana cabin, the Majdanek concentration camp is situated in a major urban area, four kilometers from the city center of Lublin, and can be easily reached by trolley car.

The location of the Majdanek camp is in an area of rolling terrain and can be seen from all sides; it could not be more public or accessible.

The Majdanek concentration camp is located in an entirely open area with no ten-foot wall around it to hide the activities inside the camp, as at Dachau. There was no security zone established around the Majdanek camp, as at Birkenau, and there is no natural protection, such as a river or a forest, as at Treblinka.

Besides being bounded on the north by a busy main road, the Majdanek camp was bounded on the south by two small villages named Abramowic and Dziesiata.

According to the camp guidebook, Heinrich Himmler ordered the liquidation of the Jews in the Lublin district after the insurrection on October 14, 1943 at Sobibor, one of the Operation Reinhard extermination camps on the Polish-Russian border, in which 300 Jews, led by a Jewish Russian Prisoner of War, escaped into the nearby woods.

At that time, the three largest concentrations of Jews in Eastern Poland were at the camp at Majdanek and at the labor camp at Poniatowa, a tiny Polish village where 18,000 people were held, and at the Polish village of Trawniki where 10,000 Jews were imprisoned in a labor camp.

People driving past the camp, while it was in operation, had a completely unobstructed view, being able to see the tall brick chimney of the crematorium wafting smoke from the top of a slope not far away, and the gas chamber building which is a few yards from a busy street.

Majdakek is also known as Maidenek, which is the German version of the name.

What really impressed me, when I visited the Majdanek memorial site was the huge stone monument at the entrance.

Huge monument at entrance to Majdanek Memorial site

Huge monument at entrance to Majdanek Memorial site

Monument as viewed from inside the camp

Monument as viewed from inside the former Majdanek camp

The population of Lublin has more than tripled since the end of World War II and the former Majdanek concentration camp is now within the city limits, like a municipal park except that it is a ghastly eyesore. There are several modern high-rise apartment buildings overlooking the camp on two sides.

On one side of the camp, is a Roman Catholic cemetery which was there even when the camp was in operation.

On the other side of the street, directly across from the former concentration camp, there is now a Polish military installation since this street is part of the main road into the Ukraine and Russia. During World War II, the street which borders the Majdanek concentration camp was the main route to the eastern front for the German army.

The city of Lublin is near the eastern border of Poland and what is now the Ukraine. Between 1772 and 1918, when Poland had ceased to be an independent country and was divided between Prussia (Germany), Austria and Russia, Lublin was in the Russian sector.

In April 1835, Russian Czar Nicholas I issued a decree which created the Pale of Settlement, a territory where Russian Jews were forced to live until after the Communist Revolution of 1917. Lublin was located within the Pale of Settlement, as was the city of Warsaw.

The census of 1897 counted 4,899,300 Jews who were crowded into the Pale of Settlement, which was like a huge reservation similar to those where the Native Americans were forced to live during the same time period in the western USA.

In 1881, Russia began evicting the Jews from the Pale, which began a mass migration. By 1914, two million Jews had left the Pale and had settled in Germany, Austria, America and other countries.

In 1939, when Poland was again divided between Germany and the Soviet Union, Lublin came under the control of Russia again. This lasted until June 1941 when the Nazis launched an attack on the Communist Soviet Union, the ideological enemy of Fascist Germany.

Lublin, being close to the border of the German-controlled General Government of Poland, was one of the first cities to be conquered by the Germans. The German conquest of the Soviet sector of Poland in the last 6 months of 1941 brought Polish Communists and also millions of Jews, who were the sworn enemies of the Nazis, under the control of the Germans.

In order to avoid having partisans attack them from the rear as they advanced into Russia, the Nazis rounded up those whom they considered their political enemies and confined them in the Majdanek camp, along with the captured Soviet POWs.

But, to get back to the apartment houses, with their balconies overlooking the camp, I did not photograph them because I did not want to invade their privacy. However, my tour guide did point out the balconies, as she told me about the Polish residents watching as the Germans shot thousands of Jews at Majdanek.

The gas chambers at Majdanek are on the other side of the camp, near the highway, where thousands of vehicles were passing by. People could observe the Jews entering the alleged gas chamber building.

The Nazis claimed that the Jews were only taking a shower, not being gassed to death, in this building. The identical building right next to the gas chamber building is closed to tourists. The clothing of the Jews was disinfected in this building, in order to kill the lice that spreads typhus.



December 12, 2010

Sonderkommando Revolt — Holocaust revenge video game

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , , , , — furtherglory @ 9:44 am

A new video game, called Sonderkommando Revolt, developed by an Israeli game maker, is due out next month.  The developer of the video game described the game as “blast the Nazis fun.”  The game is based on the uprising of Auschwitz-Birkenau prisoners on October 7, 1944 when the Krema IV gas chamber was blown up. Players will take the part of Zalmen Gradowski, a real-life Sonderkommando, who was one of the leaders of the uprising.  Gradowski was killed during the actual uprising, but in the video game, he will finally have the chance to get revenge on the Nazis through the kids who play the game.

I have never wasted my time playing video games, but my grandchildren spend hours playing.  In fact, one of them started playing video games at the age of two, and he is thinking of becoming a video game developer himself.  What a great “after Christmas gift” this would be for him! (Just kidding; I would never do that.)


February 20, 2010

Shutter Island – Dachau flashbacks

Martin Scorsese’s long-awaited new movie Shutter Island opened on February 19, 2010.  I was there when the doors opened because I was very anxious to see how the flashback scene of the Dachau massacre would be portrayed.

I previously posted some photos of the movie set for the Dachau flashbacks.  It turns out that the Dachau scene was completely changed and those photos are no longer valid.

Before I saw the movie, I foolishly thought that Teddy Daniels, the main character, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, was having nightmares about Dachau because he felt some guilt or remorse about shooting German Prisoners of War in cold blood.  It turns out that the fictional Teddy Daniels is a German-hater and he was traumatized by seeing the dead bodies of prisoners who had died in the typhus epidemic at Dachau, not by what he refers to as the “murder” of the guards.

In the film, there is a German doctor at the Shutter Island mental hospital, played by Max von Sydow, who looks German, but according to some of the reviews, he is actually Swedish in real life.  As Teddy Daniels is talking with Dr. Naehring, played by von Sydow, Teddy suddenly starts speaking German out of the blue.  In real life, Leonard DiCaprio speaks fluent German, which he learned from his German grandmother. The German words are not translated, but most people will catch the German word Konzentrationslager, which means concentration camp in English.

Teddy’s purpose in speaking German seems to be that he wants to express his hatred for German doctors by reminding Dr. Naehring of the experiments done by the Nazis. Teddy is angry that a Nazi doctor was allowed to emigrate to America after the war. The Nazi doctors did experiments on the concentration camp prisoners and some of the doctors were brought to America to continue their experiments.  In another scene, Teddy Daniels says that Nazis provoke him.

There are several flashbacks of Dachau, lasting about 10 seconds each, before the main flashback, which shows the murder of the guards.  The first flashback is triggered when Teddy Daniels and his partner Chuck are listening to some German music.  Chuck asks Teddy: “Brahms?”  and there is a ten second pause during which we see the bodies of a couple of dead children at Dachau, before Teddy answers, “No, Mahler.”

Just the thought of anything German triggers mental pictures of Dachau in the mind of Teddy Daniels.  Lucky for him, they weren’t listening to Wagner, or he might have had a hemorrhage and dropped dead on the spot, ending the movie right there.

If there were any dead children at Dachau when the American liberators arrived, no one took a photo of them. The dead children that Teddy Daniels sees are his own children, but we don’t know this at this point.

Another flashback shows concentration camp prisoners, wearing striped uniforms, standing with their hands touching the barbed wire at Dachau.  The electricity was off in the camp because  Dachau had been hit by an American bomb on April 9, 1945, but a generator was still maintaining the electricity in the barbed wire, and a few prisoners died when they ran to the wire and touched it as soon as they saw the American liberators.  The photo below was taken after the electricity was turned off.

Real life photo of Dachau prisoners touching the barbed wire

Very early in the movie, Teddy Daniels mentions that the barbed wire around the mental hospital grounds on Shutter Island is electrified; he explains that he knows this because of some past experience he has had with electrified barbed wire. This is the first reference to his participation in the liberation of Dachau.

Then there is a brief flashback which shows a German officer lying on the floor with his face bleeding, as Teddy Daniels looks at him with an expression of extreme hatred on his face.  It appears that Teddy has shot the German officer. We know that the officer is lying on the floor of an office room at Dachau because we have seen earlier flashbacks of papers flying all over the office as American soldiers go through the camp records.  Yeah right, like the American liberators bothered to look at the records at the camp before shooting the guards who had surrendered!

In real life, the American liberators confiscated the records at Dachau, then put up a sign at the crematorium which said that 238,000 prisoners had been burned in the ovens at Dachau.  It was not until many years later that the American military turned the Dachau records over to the Red Cross.  The total number of prisoners registered at Dachau during the 12 years that the camp was in existence was 206,206.  In addition, there were around 7,000 prisoners, who arrived in the last couple of days before the camp was liberated, that were never counted.

In another flashback, we learn that the wounded German officer, that Teddy saw, was the Commandant of Dachau and that he had tried to kill himself shortly before the American liberators arrived.  This didn’t happen in the real life story of Dachau.

The last Commandant of Dachau, Wilhelm Eduard Weiter, allegedly killed himself a few days after the camp was liberated. He had escorted a group of prisoners to a sub-camp in Austria, and then allegedly shot himself when American troops arrived.  I don’t buy the story of his suicide.  I think he was killed for the same reason that Heinrich Himmler was killed by the British after he was captured.  The Allies didn’t want to put any Germans on trial who might tell the truth about what had really happened.

After Weiter had conveniently committed suicide, the previous Commandant of Dachau, Martin Gottfried Weiss, was put on trial by an American Military Tribunal, although there were no specific charges against him and several prisoners testified in his defense.  He was convicted and hanged; his crime was that he was the Commandant of Dachau.

The main Dachau massacre flashback shows the American liberators entering the Dachau concentration camp through a gate with a large sign that reads “Arbeit macht Frei.”  I guess someone told Martin Scorsese: “You gotta show the Arbeit macht Frei sign because that is the universal symbol of the Holocaust, known by everyone in the civilized world.”

Unfortunately, the scene does not show anything resembling the real Dachau gate house; the sign is just hanging there, like at the Auschwitz main camp.  In the movie, the buildings inside the Dachau camp are brick; the whole scene looks like Auschwitz, not Dachau.

Real life Arbeit macht Frei sign on Dachau gate

In real life, the first shots of the Dachau massacre did not take place inside the Dachau concentration camp, but in the SS garrison that was next door to the camp.  The first SS soldiers were shot before the Americans even saw the dead bodies in the camp, and before they saw the gas chamber. It was the sight of the bodies on the “death train” that caused the American soldiers to lose all control and murder the guards. In the movie, the guards are killed before the Americans see the “death train.”

Dead bodies piled up at Dachau crematorium

The photo above, taken in May 1945, shows the bodies of Dachau prisoners who died of typhus AFTER the camp was liberated. There were up to 400 prisoners dying each day in the typhus epidemic; the photo shows some prisoners still wearing their striped uniforms, which indicates that they died after the camp was liberated.

Railroad gate and tracks at Dachau

The soldiers of the 45th Infantry Division of the US Seventh Army actually entered the Dachau SS garrison through the railroad gate, into the SS garrison, which was open because the “death train” was part way inside the garrison.  My photo above, taken in 2001, shows the location of the railroad gate and a short section of the tracks, which have been preserved as a memorial to the prisoners.

Real life execution of German soldiers at Dachau

The photo above shows the execution scene inside the SS garrison at Dachau.  Note the hospital in the background on the right. There were other executions of German soldiers in various locations inside the Dachau camp.

In the flashback scenes, there is great emphasis placed on the snow at Dachau.  The ground is covered with snow and the bodies are frozen and encased in ice.  The most visible bodies are a woman and a young girl. None of the photos taken at the liberation of Dachau show dead bodies of women or children.

There had been some snow flurries at Dachau, but it was not snowing on April 29, 1945, the day that Dachau was liberated. It did snow on May 1, 1945 at Dachau. The snow seems to be symbolic because it matches the ashes that fall in other flashback scenes.

The actual shooting of the guards at Dachau was so short that it was impossible for me to identify the uniforms that they were wearing.  The German guards were lined up against a barbed wire fence and shot by a number of American soldiers who were firing rifles.  The first shot was fired at a guard who was trying to run away.  The excuse that the  real life American liberators gave for shooting Prisoners of War at Dachau was that “they were trying to get away.”

In real life, the regular guards at Dachau had fled the night before the liberation of the camp, and there were 128 SS soldiers in prison at Dachau who were released and forced to guard the camp until the Americans arrived.

The general impression that most people have is that the SS men, who guarded the concentration camps, were allowed to abuse or murder the prisoners any time they felt like it. Actually, any SS man who did something like that was put into a wing of the camp prison at Dachau that was reserved for the SS. There had been 128 SS men in the prison the day before Dachau was liberated. That part of the prison at Dachau has long since been torn down and the tour guides tell visitors that the inmates were beaten for something as minor as having a button missing on their uniform.

The surrender of the Dachau camp is not shown in the movie, and viewers are led to believe that the SS men at Dachau had to be shot by the American liberators because they were defending the camp.

The German soldiers, who were murdered at Dachau, included Wehrmacht soldiers in the regular army, as well as Waffen-SS soldiers who were sent from the battlefield to surrender the camp to the Americans. The Wehrmacht soldiers were dragged out of a military hospital and shot by the American liberators.

In one scene in the movie, Teddy Daniels says that after seeing Dachau, he knew what men are capable of doing to other men.  This trite expression is repeated by every tourist who gets anywhere near Dachau; it makes me want to scream every time I read it or hear it.  But in the movie, it has some significance, as viewers will learn at the end of the movie.

Leonardo DiCaprio should win an academy award for best actor for his performance in this movie.  The movie is good, but not that good; it is too contrived.

February 9, 2010

Christoph Waltz nominated for an Academy Award

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, movies, World War II — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 4:37 am

In case you missed the movie Inglourious Basterds, it will probably be in theaters again after Christoph Waltz wins an Academy Award as the best supporting actor.

Christoph Waltz as Col. Hans Landa

I saw the movie Inglourious Basterds on August 21, 2009, the first day that it opened world wide in 22 countries, and was so impressed that I went back the next day to see it again; there is so much going on in this film that I wanted a second chance to see what I might have missed.

Inglourious Basterds is divided into 5 Chapters with three different story lines that come together at the end. Christoph Waltz, an actor from Austria, plays the part of Col. Hans Landa, who ties the three stories together. His performance is outstanding and I am not surprised that he was nominated for an  Academy Award for best supporting actor. Waltz should also get a special award for being able to speak three languages beautifully. About half of the movie is in French or German with sub-titles. Occasionally, the German dialogue is not translated with sub-titles.

Chapter 1 opens with a black screen and the words “Once upon a time…in Nazi occupied France.” The movie is a fairy tale, or better yet, a fable which has a moral that becomes clear at the end.

Nothing in this movie actually happened in real life, although there are real people as minor characters, including Adolf Hitler, Josef Goebbels, Hermann Goering, and Martin Bormann. Hermann Goering is not recognizable because the actor who plays him has black hair, not blond, like the real Goering. Not to worry, an arrow pointing to Goering on the screen identifies him. Likewise, Martin Bormann, who was Hitler’s deputy, is also identified with an arrow pointing to him. Emil Jannings, the German actor that won the first Academy award in America in 1929, is another real person who makes an appearance in the film, played by an actor, of course.

In the opening scene we are told that Chapter 1 is taking place in 1941. In real life, France has been occupied by the Germans since June 1940.

Col. Hans Landa, played by Christoph Waltz, arrives at a French dairy farm, dressed in an immaculate German SS uniform. SS is the abbreviation for Schutzstaffel, a volunteer Army in Nazi Germany, which included Waffen-SS (fighting SS) soldiers as well as SS soldiers who served as the guards in the concentration camps.

At one point, we can see the letters SD on the cuff band on the sleeve of Col. Landa’s jacket. This identifies him as a member of the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) which was the German Intelligence agency, comparable to the American Office of Strategic Services (OSS) which was formed in June 1942 after America entered World War II in December 1941.

Col. Landa is looking for a family of Jews who might be hiding on the dairy farm. We learn that Col. Landa conducted a search 9 months ago and all the Jews in the area had been found except for the Dreyfus family. Did the Germans start hunting down the Jews in 1940 right after France surrendered? Nein, Nein, Nein! Oh, wait a minute, this is a fairy tale so the film doesn’t have to conform to real life.

In the movie, the French dairy farmer says he has heard that “der Führer” (Hitler) put Col. Hans Landa in charge of rounding up the French Jews. So the Hans Landa character is based on a real person? No, actually the Germans put the French collaborators in charge of rounding up the Jews for deportation.

In a long monologue during the first scene in the movie, we learn that Col. Landa’s nickname is “the Jew Hunter.”

Col. Landa says to the French dairy farmer in English:

“Before he was assassinated, Heydrich apparently hated the moniker the good people of Prague bestowed on him. Actually why he would hate the name ‘The Hangman,’ is baffling to me. It would appear that he did everything in his power to earn it. But I, on the other hand, love my unofficial title, precisely because I’ve earned it.”

Actually, Heydrich had not yet been assassinated in 1941 when this scene is taking place; Heydrich died on June 4, 1942.

Reinhard Heydrich was the head of RSHA, the Reich Security Headquarters Office; he was the one who set up the SD in 1932 so he was Col. Landa’s boss. Heydrich was also the governor of the German mandate of Bohemia and Moravia, which is now the country of the Czech Republic, whose capital is Prague. Reinhard Heydrich was ordered by Hermann Goering in July 1941 to “find a total solution to the Jewish question” and as a result, Heydrich headed the Wannsee Conference on January 20, 1942 at which the deportation of all the Jews in German-occupied countries in Europe was planned.

There was, however, a real life German SS officer who could have been the inspiration for the Col. Hans Landa character; his name was Klaus Barbie, and his nickname was “the Butcher of Lyon.”

Klaus Barbie was the real life equivalent of Hans Landa

Klaus Barbie was sent to the French city of Lyon, the “Capital of the French Resistance,” in November 1942 with two assignments: to take down the French Resistance and to get rid of the Jews in the city. There were many French collaborators who were eager to assist him.

In the first scene of Inglourious Basterds, the dairy farmer brings out a quart-sized glass milk bottle with a paper cap when Col. Landa turns down a glass of wine and asks for a glass of milk instead. But wait a minute! Did the dairy farmer bottle his own milk, rather than having it picked up from the farm in large milk cans and taken to a processing plant? Or did he drive a wagon into the nearest town and buy milk in glass bottles from a store?

The movie gets more ridiculous by the minute as Col. Landa pulls out a fountain pen and proceeds to fill it with ink from a small bottle that he carries with him. What did people really do, back in the old days, when their fountain pen ran of ink? I don’t know, but I don’t think anyone carried a bottle of ink in their pocket.

Finally, Col. Landa lights up a pipe, which is a calabash pipe like the one that Sherlock Holmes smoked. That’s when I finally burst out laughing as I realized that this movie really is a comedy and it is not to be taken seriously.

Every school child in the world knows that Anne Frank and her family hid from the Nazis in the Netherlands, but were found by an SS officer, who coincidentally was from Austria, just like Col. Hans Landa in the movie. Anne and her family were not shot like the Dreyfus family in the movie, but were instead sent to the Westerbork transit camp and then to Auschwitz. Why did the Nazis have camps, if they were just going to shoot the Jews as soon as they were captured? O.K. I know that the movie is a fairy tale and the fact that it doesn’t make sense is supposed to be part of the comedy.

In the movie, only one member of the Dreyfus family escapes: the 18 or 19 year old Shoshana, played by Melanie Laurent. As she runs away, Col. Landa takes aim at her with his pistol, as shown in the photo of him above, but then decides not to shoot her. Instead, he calls out “Goodbye, Shoshana.” He knows that he will see her again in Chapter 3 which is entitled “German night in Paris.” But first the audience must endure Chapter 2, entitled “Inglourious Basterds,” which introduces the second story line.

When Chapter 2 starts, we are not told what year it is. Are we to assume that it is still 1941 during the time when Chapter 1 took place? It can’t be 1941 because America was not openly involved in the war against Germany until December 1941 and the OSS was not formed until June 1942. In one of the trailers, the narrator says that the Basterds are in “the secret service.” However, near the end of the film, we learn that the Inglourious Basterds are in the OSS.

In real life, America did drop members of the OSS into occupied France, dressed in civilian clothes, for the purpose of helping the French Resistance, which was fighting as illegal combatants, after France signed an Armistice and promised to stop fighting. However, these American OSS guerrilla fighters were selected because they spoke fluent French; they were trained in Canada where they learned how a Frenchman would act, so they would not get caught. Not much is known about the real OSS men except for Rene Guirard, who was captured and sent to the Dachau concentration camp, where he was one of the survivors.

There was a real life unit of soldiers, called the Jewish Brigade, that fought in World War II. More than 5,000 Jews, including some from Palestine, volunteered for the Jewish Brigade Group of the British Army, which began fighting in September 1944. After the war, members of the Jewish Brigade went on a revenge killing spree, hunting down former German soldiers in order to torture and execute them. However, as far as I know, the Jewish Brigade didn’t scalp any German POWs during or after the war.

Brad Pitt plays the part of a character named Aldo Raine whose nickname is “Aldo the Apache.” The name Aldo comes from the name of movie actor Aldo Ray who starred in the 1955 war movie, “Battle Cry.” The name Raine is from Major Charles Rain, one of the characters in the Vietnam vet revenge movie “Rolling Thunder.”

At the start of Chapter 2, the Aldo Raine character gives a speech to his men in which he says that he is from the Smokey Mountains, which are in Tennessee, the home state of Quentin Tarantino. The fictional Aldo Raine says that he is descended from the real life Jim Bridger, who was a famous mountain man. Jim Bridger married an Indian woman, so the fictional Aldo Raine has some “Injun blood.”

Aldo tells his men that they are going to fight like the Apache resistance fighters. The real life Apaches fought for 20 years to keep their land from being taken by the settlers in the West. Although greatly outnumbered, the Apaches fought by using terror tactics which put fear into the hearts of the soldiers in the US Cavalry.

There were no real life Apaches in the OSS who scalped German POWs in World War II, but there was a Cherokee Indian named Lt. Jack Bushyhead who massacred German Waffen-SS soldiers after they surrendered at Dachau; he justified his actions by saying that he was avenging the deaths of his ancestors on the Trail of Tears when the Cherokees were forced to vacate their land and march westward.

Aldo Raine explains to his men the purpose of the atrocities that he wants them to commit: to terrorize the German army with the “disemboweled, dismembered and disfigured bodies we leave behind us.” “The Germans will fear us.” and “The Germans will be tortured by the evil they have done.” What evil? The soldiers who are being killed and mutilated by the Basterds were in the regular German Army, called the Wehrmacht, the most disciplined army in the world.

This scene is taking place in 1941, or 1944 at the very latest, and the concentration camps have not yet been liberated. The gas chambers have not yet been found. Nothing was known about the gas chambers until the British BBC started broadcasting stories about them in June 1942. In any case, the Wehrmacht was fighting on the battlefield, not killing Jews in gas chambers, and few of them were members of the National Socialist political party. Most of the Wehrmacht soldiers had enlisted, or been drafted, into the army before the age of 21 when they would have become eligible to join the Nazi party.

Aldo the Apache pronounces the word Nazis like Gnat-zies, as he explains the reason that all German soldiers must be killed:

“Nazis ain’t got no humanity. They’re the foot soldiers of a Jew-hatin’, mass murderin’ maniac and they need to be dee-stroyed. That’s why every son of a bitch we find wearin’ a Nazi uniform, they’re gonna die.”

The word Nazi seems to be used in the film to mean any German who was not a traitor to his country in World War II. The word actually refers to a member of the National Socialist political party which was given the nickname Nazi by German Jews who came to America after the National Socialists came to power in 1933. Nazi is correctly pronounced like the first two syllables of the word Nazionale in the German term Nazionale Socialiste.

The Inglourious Basterds deliberately commit the worst kind of war crimes and totally enjoy it. This part of the movie reflects badly on America and on the Jewish soldiers in the American Army as well as on today’s IDF soldiers in Israel because nothing like this ever happened in real life. On the other hand, the German Wehrmacht soldiers acquit themselves well in this movie.

German soldier is about to be killed with a bat

In the most intense scene in the movie, a blond, blue-eyed German Wehrmacht soldier keeps his composure in the face of what he knows is going to happen. He has just been ordered to put his “Wienerschnitzel-licking finger” on a map to point out the location of the rest of his unit, but he “respectfully refuses” to betray his fellow soldiers. He knows that Sgt. Donny Donowitz, known as “the Bear Jew,” is now going to beat him to death with a baseball bat, but he does not beg for his life. Instead he says to Aldo the Apache in English: “Fuck you and your Jew dogs.”

The first time I saw the movie, I did not see anything funny in Chapter 2. The second time I saw it, Sgt. Donny Donowitz, the Bear Jew, struck me as funny. In the movie, Aldo says:

“Watchin’ Donny beat Nazis to death is the closest we ever get to goin’ to the movies.”

The Bear Jew takes a long time to enter the scene as the audience waits expectantly. When he finally arrives, he looks like an Olympic athlete entering a stadium with a cluster of medals hanging around his neck, as shown in the photo below. He is wearing the medals ripped from the uniforms of the soldiers that he has beaten to death. His first act is to hit the Iron Cross medal on the German soldier’s uniform with his bat, as he asks: “Did you get that for killing Jews?”

The Bear Jew kills German soldiers with a bat

The Bear Jew then kills the brave German soldier with one blow of his bat, but continues to hit him again and again as he yells at the top of his lungs about Fenway Park, the baseball stadium in Boston, and the famous Boston Red Sox baseball player Ted Williams who is Jewish.

Eli Roth, the actor from Boston who plays the part of the Bear Jew, said this in an interview:

“For a Jewish guy from Boston who grew up with fantasies of killing Nazis, it was the most orgasmic, satisfying experience. My grandparents came from Kiev, they came from Austria, and they came from Poland. And they got out, but their relatives did not. So I grew up with this knowledge that if I had been born in Europe, we would have been sent to the camps. And I could not understand why they didn’t fight back. I had read Night by Elie Wiesel when I was 9 or 10, and I grew up with real fantasies by that age of killing Nazis. I’m tired of seeing Jews portrayed as wimps in films.”

The problem is that the German Wehrmacht soldiers were fighting honorably for their country and they had nothing to do with killing the Jews in the Holocaust. The purpose of sending the Inglourious Basterds to France was not to get revenge for the Holocaust, but rather to induce the Germans to stop fighting. This inconsistency turns out to be funny as the viewer realizes that the whole scene is ridiculous. Keep in mind that this movie is about making fun of various film genres.

One of the victims of the Inglourious Basterds is a German soldier named Private Butz, played by German actor, Sönke Möhring. Of all the German names that Tarantino could have picked for this minor character, why did he choose the name Butz? Anyone familiar with the Holocaust knows of a famous American named Butz. At least Americans will now learn how to pronounce the name; it is not pronounced Butt-z.

After the first soldier is killed by the Bear Jew, Private Butz quickly points to a spot on the map without even looking at it. He is allowed to live, but the Basterds carve a swastika on his forehead so that he will always be identified as a Nazi even when he takes off his uniform.

Later, when Private Butz tells Hitler about how the Basterds kill German soldiers and then scalp them, Hitler threatens to hang the Basterds from the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Soldier who had a swastika carved on his forehead

Then Private Butz shows Hitler the swastika on his forehead. If this were real life, Hitler would have had a screaming fit about the position of the swastika which was not the way he himself had designed it for the Nazi flag. The photos below show how the Basterds got the whole thing wrong.

The real Nazi swastika, designed by Hitler

One of the Inglourious Basterds is a former German soldier who is a Jew from Austria, named Sgt. Hugo Stiglitz, which was also the name of a Mexican movie star in the 1970s. (Yes, there were German soldiers, born of Jewish fathers, in the German Army; the most famous was Luftwaffe Field Marshal Erhard Milch.)

Sgt. Hugo Stiglitz

When Stiglitz is introduced, the movie plot takes time out to present his “back story,” which is the account of how he came to be a member of the Inglorious Basterds. Stiglitz was an enlisted man in the Germany Army who turned traitor and killed 13 Gestapo officers; he was imprisoned in Berlin for his crimes. The Basterds freed him from prison because Aldo Raine wanted to recruit him to join them. Aldo tells him, “I’m a big fan of your work.” The part of Stiglitz is played by Til Schweiger, a German actor, whose acting performance stands out in the film.

Audience members who survive Chapter 2 are rewarded with one of the best scenes in the movie in Chapter 3 which is entitled “German Night in Paris.” Melanie Laurent gives such a good performance that she could have been nominated for best supporting actress.

Chapter 3 opens with Shoshana, played by Melanie Laurent, up on a ladder putting letters onto a theater marquee; she owns a theater which she inherited from her aunt. A German soldier named Frederick Zoller notices her and tries to engage her in a conversation, but she doesn’t want anything to do with him. Zoller is oblivious to the fact that she is not interested in him. In those days, her behavior would have been called “playing hard to get.”

In another scene where Shoshana is putting new movie titles on the marquee, she is whisked away to a French restaurant by a German officer who tells her to get her ass into his car. She soon learns that she has been brought to the restaurant at the request of her admirer, Frederick Zoller, who is starring in a propaganda movie produced by Propaganda Minister Josef Goebbels. Zoller is a German war hero, comparable to the American World War I hero Sgt. York, according to the film. Zoller is attracted to Shoshana and he attempts to impress her by moving the premiere of Goebbel’s movie about him, “Nation’s Pride,” to her theater in Paris, instead of its scheduled opening at the Ritz.

Col. Hans Landa shows up at the restaurant, where Shoshana has been brought to meet Zoller, because he is handling security for Goebbel’s movie premiere and he wants to talk with the owner of the theater. Col. Landa kisses Shoshana’s hand and invites her to join him for dessert after Zoller leaves. Everyone in the audience is holding their breath waiting for Col. Landa to reveal that he knows that he is talking to Shoshana, although she has changed her name and dyed her hair blonde. Col. Landa asks Shoshana a lot of questions, and then he says, “I have something else that I want to ask you.” After a slight pause, he says “But I can’t remember what it was.”

Melanie Laurent as Shoshana

After Col. Landa tells her about the premiere, Shoshana realizes that the top four Nazi leaders will be in her theater at the same time and she immediately hatches a plan to end World War II. Unknown to her, the Basterds and the British are working on their own plan to end the war by killing all the top German leaders.

The projectionist at Shoshana’s theater, who is also her lover, is a black man named Marcel, played by Jackie Ido. Col. Landa shows the prejudice of Hitler and the Nazis when he tells Shoshana that he does not want to entrust a black man with the job of being the projectionist at the premiere of the movie. France had colonies in Africa and there were many Africans in France at that time.

Col. Landa orders Apfel Strudel (a pastry filled with cooked apples) for himself and for Shoshana without asking her what she wants. He then orders espresso for himself, but a glass of milk for her. Is he trying to tell her that he knows that she is the Jewish girl who escaped from the dairy farm? Or is he just looking out for her health? The audience doesn’t know and neither does Shoshana. Melanie Laurent gives one of the best performances in the movie as her character and the character played by Christoph Waltz interact in a cat and mouse game.

The waiter brings the desserts and Col. Landa says that he forgot to order whipped cream for the Strudel. Col. Landa is from Austria – there is no way that he forgot the whipped cream! This is a French restaurant so the waiter didn’t ask if they wanted whipped cream when taking their order, as any German waiter would have. Is Col. Landa trying to torture Shoshana by making a big fuss over whipped cream, another dairy product? The waiter brings the whipped cream and we see an extreme close up of the cream as he spoons some onto each plate.

Curiously, Col. Landa eats with his fork in his right hand and cuts his Strudel with his fork, the way an American would. Germans and Austrians eat with their fork in the left hand and their knife in the right hand, never cutting anything with a fork. What is Col. Landa trying to tell us? That he likes all things American and he might even be willing to defect to the American side if given the opportunity?

In the restaurant scene, Col. Landa takes big bites of his Strudel and talks with his mouth full. Then he puts out a cigarette in his unfinished Strudel. Only an American would do something that gross. Keep in mind that Col. Landa is from Austria and the Austrians are famous for their impeccable table manners. He is definitely trying to tell us something.

It is evident that a lot of research has gone into this film. For example, none of the German characters use the term “Third Reich.” Col. Hans Landa makes a toast to the thousand year Reich, which was Hitler’s term for his regime. Col. Landa also uses the term “National Socialists.” The members of the National Socialists political party in Germany didn’t call themselves Nazis. If Nazi were a German word, the plural would be Nazim.

Chapter 4 is entitled “Operation Kino.” Kino is the German word for movie.

Operation Kino is a British plot to kill Hitler and his henchmen at a movie premiere. Michael Fassbender plays a British soldier named Lt. Archie Hicox, who is given an assignment by fictional British General Ed Fenech, played by Mike Meyers. Hicox is a film critic who has written two books about film history and in one of the books, he wrote about G.W. Pabst, a real life German film director.

At some point in this chapter, one of the British characters says something about the Germans calling themselves “the Master Race.” Master race is the American translation of Hitler’s term Herrenfolk. The British translation is “Race of Lords.” Lords, as in the House of Lords, which is the British equivalent of the German word Herren which means aristocratic when used as an adjective.

Lt. Archie Hicox is parachuted into Paris, from where he proceeds to the small French village of Nadine where he will meet up with Bridget von Hammersmark, a German movie actress, who is a double agent. She is pretending to be a German spy, but she is really a British spy. It was von Hammersmark who dreamed up a plot for the British to kill the German leaders at the premiere of Goebbel’s movie “Nation’s Pride” about German war hero Frederick Zoller, which is to be held in the Paris theater owned by Shoshana, the Jewish girl who escaped from Col. Hans Landa in the first Chapter.

Chapter 4 features a long drawn out scene in a bar in a cellar where Lt. Archie Hicox is dressed as a German SS officer, sitting at a table with Bridget von Hammersmark, played by German actress Diane Kruger, shown in the photo below.

Diane Kruger

The Basterds have also come to Nadine, dressed in German SS uniforms. Sgt. Stiglitz is flashing his knife with an engraved blade. With everyone dressed in SS uniforms, some in the black dress uniform and some in gray field uniforms, it is hard to keep all the characters straight. There is also a Wehrmacht soldier, named Cpl. Wilhelm Wicki, played by Gedeon Burkhard, who claims to be having a night out to celebrate the birth of his son Maximilian, but what is he really doing there?

The British impostors and the real SS men are playing a guessing game in which the player has a card with the name of a person or animal, real or fictional, stuck onto his forehead. The player must guess the name by asking questions of the other players who can see the name on the card. The first name that was used in the game is “Winnetou,” an Apache Indian character in a Karl May book. Karl May was a popular German author, who had never been to America, but he wrote fictional books about the American West. As a young boy, Hitler read many of Karl May’s books.

The scene ends in a Mexican standoff, which is a Tarantino specialty. There is a shootout which leaves Lt. Hicox, Sgt. Stiglitz and the SS men dead. Only Cpl. Wilhelm Wicki, the Wehrmacht soldier, and Bridget Von Hammersmark are still alive. She grabs a gun on the floor and shoots Wilhelm dead, after calling him “a fucking traitor.”

Brad Pitt, as Aldo the Apache, comes into the cellar and rescues von Hammersmark who has been shot in the leg. Col. Landa shows up after everyone is gone and finds a shoe left behind by von Hammersmark. He knows that the shoe belongs to von Hammersmark because he also finds a napkin with her name on it.

Chapter 5 is called “The Revenge of the Giant Face.” The title refers to a close up of the face of Shoshana on the screen in the grand finale.

This is the last chapter and it opens with Shoshana putting on her makeup in preparation for the premiere of Nation’s Pride. The sound is turned up as we hear David Bowie’s “Cat People” (Putting Out The Fire).

Three of the Basterds (Aldo Raine, Bear Jew and Little Man) have come to the premiere as the guests of von Hammersmark whose leg was patched up by Aldo Raine and put into a cast. Col. Landa greets von Hammersmark and inquires about the cast on her leg. This is one of the best scenes in the movie as Col. Landa cracks up laughing at her explanation that she broke her leg in a mountain climbing accident. Leni Riefenstahl, who made propaganda movies for Hitler, including the famous “Triumph of the Will,” was a real mountain climber, so a woman mountain climber was not unknown back then. The problem is that Col. Landa knows that von Hammersmark was in the bar the night before and couldn’t have been on a mountain climbing trip.

At the premiere, the three Basterds are disguised as Italians, although they know only one or two words of Italian. Eli Roth’s character, the Bear Jew, is pretending to be an Italian movie director named Antonio Margheriti, which is the real life name of an Italian director from the 1970s and 1980s who made such films as “Cannibal Apocalypse” and “Yor, the Hunter from the Future.”

Col. Landa, who is fluent in English, German and French, speaks to them in what sounds like fake Italian, never letting on that he knows who they are and that he is onto their plot. Col. Landa knows all about the Basterds because he has talked with their victims who returned home with swastikas on their foreheads.

All of the reviews of the movie that I read used words like monster, sociopath, psychotic, slimy, sadistic and evil to describe the Col. Hans Landa character. I didn’t get that impression at all. Col. Landa is a perfect example of the German SD and Gestapo men who were so good at getting information without resorting to torture that, after the war, some of them were recruited by the Allies to help them in their intelligence agencies during the Cold War. For example, Horst Kapkow was recruited by the British. Klaus Barbie and Reinhard von Galen were recruited by America.

Samuel L. Jackson narrates a segment about how nitrate film is highly flammable. Shoshana has a collection of 350 old movies on nitrate film, and she is planning to set the theater on fire, killing the leaders of the Third Reich. The whole idea behind the movie Inglourious Basterds is that cinema saves the world by ending World War II.

Shoshana shoots some new film footage and splices it into the fourth reel of the movie Nation’s Pride. As Hitler and his henchmen are watching the movie, all of a sudden they see flames engulf the theater. The face of Shoshana is shown in close up on the screen, as she says:

“I have a message for Germany. You are all going to die. Look into the face of the Jew who is going to do it.”

As the theater is burning, the Bear Jew machine guns Hitler to death, almost obliterating his face with bullets. The last thing that Hitler sees before he dies is the face of a vengeful Jew.

There is a surprise ending which I won’t reveal except to quote Aldo the Apache, who says at the very end: “I think this just might be my masterpiece.”

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