Franz Jägerstätter- Can’t be both Nazi and Catholic

The picture above is of Franz Jägerstätter and his wife Franziska Schwaninger on their wedding day Thursday April 9, 1936, the day before good Friday known as Holy Thursday.

Prior to Franz meeting his wife he had a bit of a reputation. A native of Radegund, near Salzburg. In his younger years he was regarded as a bit of a troublemaker, involved in several fights and the owner of the first motorcycle in the locality ,and even had a child out of wedlock. However he settled down after he met Franziska Schwaninger in 1935. He became a devout Catholic.

The couple did have 3 children

When German troops moved into Austria in March 1938, Jägerstätter rejected the offered position as Radegund mayor. He was the only person in the village to vote against the Anschluss in the plebiscite of 10 April 1938. Franz was also disturbed by the reports of the T4 Euthanasia program.

Three times he was called up for active service but he always refused.He became known as a conscientious objector who, for reasons of faith, refused to go fight for Hitler. He knew this could cost him his life.

In many writings, Franz told of his reasons for his actions: for him, to fight and kill people so that the godless Nazi regime could conquer and enslave ever more of the world’s peoples would mean becoming personally guilty. Franz prayed, fasted and sought advice. He also requested a talk with the Diocesan Bishop of Linz, Joseph Calasanz Fliesser.

The Bishop explained to Franz that, as the father of a family, it was not his task to decide whether the war was righteous or unrighteous. Franziska had accompanied her husband to Linz, but did not take part in his talk with the Bishop. She recalled the moment when her husband came out of the Bishop’s office: “’He was very sad, and told me: ‘They don’t dare themselves, or it’ll be their turn next:’ Franz’s main impression was that the Bishop did not dare to speak openly, because he didn’t know him – after all, Franz could have been a spy.”

In February 1943, when he received his last summons to Linz military barracks for active service with a motorised unit, he explained his intention of refusing to fight in what he regarded as an immoral war. He stated that he could not be both a Nazi and a Catholic He was promptly arrested and sent on to Berlin to stand trial before a court martial.

After two months in the Wehrmacht Prison in Linz, he was transferred to Berlin-Tegel.
There he was executed on August 9th. In one of the last letters before his death he wrote the well-known sentence: “If I write with my hands tied, it is still better than if the will were tied.” One of his last statements was “If the Church stays silent in the face of evil, what difference would it make if no church were ever opened again?”

By all accounts Franz was a hero and if there had been more people like him, God knows how the was would have gone.

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Sources

https://www.dioezese-linz.at/site/jaegerstaetter/english/biography/article/22528.html

https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/an-irishman-s-diary-1.369074

https://www.meinekirchenzeitung.at/salzburg-tiroler-teil-rupertusblatt/c-kirche-hier-und-anderswo/ein-verborgenes-leben_a8009

Maria Mandl-Pure evil

Maria

Maria Mandl was one of the many Austrians who were delighted when Hitler annexed his native Austria into Germany. She saw opportunities and she took them.

Born in Münzkirchen, Upper Austria on January 10,1912 to a shoemaker and his wife.

On 15 October 1938 , shortly after the annexation she got her first job under the Nazi regime as Aufseherin(supervisor) at the Lichtenburg concentration camp. The camp closed in May 1939. Mandl then moved to Ravensbrück concentration camp, which was purposely built exclusively for women.

ravensbruck

Here Mandl, impressed her superiors and was soon promoted to to the rank of a SS-Oberaufseherin. Her brutality set her apart from other female workers. In her new roll she oversaw the roll calls and the punishments for the inmates. Punishment like beatings and floggings by whip.

Survivor Maria Bielicka recalled that one day ,Mandl kicked a fellow inmate to death for doing “something wrong.”

What is probably the most disturbing aspect about her is that unlike other female guards,  she was highly intelligent and cultured. She enjoyed literature and had a taste for fine cuisine. She was also an avid listener of classical music.

Maria Bielicka said about this.Shortly after Bielicka had watched her brutally kill a prisoner during roll call, one of her friends reported hearing “the most beautiful music” while cleaning the guards’ quarters. A senior guard at Ravensbrück had a piano, and Bielicka’s friend found Mandl playing it, “lost in a world of her own – in ecstasy.”

On 7 October 1942 Mandl was sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau, here she was involved in the selections, The lists that she signed condemned an estimated half a million  women and children to their deaths in the gas chambers at Auschwitz I and II. She took great pleasure in the selections.

One survivor recalled how Mandl had once selected a child whom she dressed up “in fine clothing, parading it around like a puppet.” The child was constantly by her side, holding her hand until she grew tired of the child and threw her in the gas cnamber.

Her passion for music she used to setting  the Women’s Orchestra of Auschwitz, which was made up of prisoner, to accompany roll calls, executions, selections and transports. The orchestra would perform for in all weather conditions and often for hours.

Heinrich Himmler was a great admirer of the orchestra and it is said that Joseph Mengele was often brought to tears by some of their music.

Lucia Adelsberger,another survivor, wrote in her book “Auschwitz: Ein Tatsachenbericht”(Auschwitz, a report of the facts)

“The women who came back from work exhausted had to march in time to the music. Music was ordered for all occasions, for the addresses of the Camp Commanders, for the transports and whenever anybody was hanged.”

In November 1944, Mandl was assigned to the Mühldorf subcamp of Dachau concentration camp, she fled from there just before the camp was liberated.

But she was caught a few months later ,the United States Army arrested Mandl on 10 August 1945. In November 1947 she was tried in a Kraków during the Auschwitz Trial and sentenced to death by hanging. She was was hanged on 24 January 1948, 2 weeks after her 36th birthday.

mm

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Sources

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/maria-mandel

https://womensorchestra.weebly.com/history-of-orchestra.html

Nazi Camp Guard Maria Mandl Sent 500,000 Women To Their Deaths – And Loved Every Minute Of It

http://holocaustmusic.ort.org/places/camps/death-camps/birkenau/czajkowskazofia/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We will never know.

peter

We will never know what you might have become.

We will never know if you would discover a cure for cancer.

We will never know if you would write the most beautiful love songs.

We will never know how many house you might have built.

We will never know how many jokes you could have told.

We will never know what brings you joy.

We will never know the boy behind those piercing eyes.

We do know your bane is Peter Blödy

We do know you were loved by your family

We do know your birthday is  31 October 1936, born in Vienna.

We do know you were killed 23 Oct 1944, 8 days before your 8th birthday.

We do know you were killed in Auschwitz

I do know I will not forget you.

 

 

When music and politics collide.

Vienna Philharmonic

Music is one of my biggest passions, it has helped mte through many tragedies in my life and it still plays a very important part in my life.

Something that worries me is when music is used for political reasons or when musicians make political statements. They are of course entitled to have political views but they have to remember that they are on a platform, where they can reach many of their fans. They have to be very careful in relation to what political ideology they subscribe. Mostly they mean well and want to use the influence they have to get a message across, but it can backfire on them and it may actually damage their careers. They could even be accused of hypocrisy . I remember a few years ago a well known rock star decided not to have a concert in a city in the US because they could not provide all facilities requested by the LGBT community. However this same rock star had no difficulties touring in countries where gay men were executed for having sexual relations with other men.

Throughout history there have been cases where politics were used to influence music and vice versa with devastating effect.

On 23 March 1938, the violinist Viktor Robitsek received a notification from the management of the Vienna Philharmonic orchestra, telling him he was fired. viktorThis was not because he was a bad violinist, in fact he was one of the best in Austria, he was fired for being Jewish. He had served 35 years with the Orchestra devoting his life to his art and the orchestra.

He had Joined the Vienna Court Opera Orchestra and Vienna Philharmonic on November 11, 1902. On Mar 23, 1938 he was told that his services were no longer required. Discarded as a disposable piece of material.

Robitsek was Deported on October 28, 1941 together with his wife, Elsa Robitsek), from Vienna to Litzmannstadt, where he was murdered on June 1942.

On March 12,1938 11 days before Robitsek was sacked from the orchestra er Hitler’s troops  had  marched in to Austria and were  met with no resistance, The Anschluss was welcomed by most Austrians.

anschluss

Many already had become members of the Nazi party, among them a few dozen musicians of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

Viktor Rubinek was not the only Jewish musician to be fired, most of the  Jewish musicians were sacked from the orchestra.

A total of seven members of the Philharmonic were killed,

Murdered after Deportation:

1. Moriz Glattauer (Violin I)
2. Viktor Robitsek (Violin II)
3. Max Starkmann (Violin I, Viola)
4. Julius Stwertka (Concertmaster, Violin I)
5. Armin Tyroler (Oboe II)

Philharmonic Members who died in Vienna:
6. Anton Weiss (Violin I, section leader)
7. Paul Fischer (Violin I)

In 1938, thirteen active musicians were expelled from the Association of the Vienna
Philharmonic and the Vienna State Opera Orchestra. Three additional retired members of the Philharmonic also fell victim to the Holocaust.

The violinist Moriz Glattauer was deported together with his wife, Anna, to Theresienstadt on July 14, 1942. He died there on February 2, 1943. His wife Anna Glattauer was transferred to Auschwitz on May 15, 1944 although it is not entirely clear how she died, she more then llikely was killed in the Gas chambers.

None of the fellow musicians did anything to safe their colleagues, some whom they had performed with for decades,instead they signed up to the Nazi political ideology. They had allowed their music to collide with politics, Not only had this evil infiltrated this evil their lives it alsi tainted their art forever.

 

The Vienna Philharmonic orchestra is just one example but there were many other orchestras and musical institutions across the world  who treated their Jewish colleagues in a similar way

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Sources

https://www.wienerphilharmoniker.at/orchestra/history/national-socialism

The Guardian

 

Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler- aka Hedy Lamarr.

hedy lamarr

I have already done a blog on how Hedy Lamarr was imvolved in developing and patenting a technology which was a front runner of something we now commonly call WiFi. That on its own makes her a remarkable woman, but there is so much more to her.

In 1933 she starred in a Czech  romantic drama called Ecstasy. She was 19 at the time but even at that young age she produced a first in movie history.Ecstasy was highly controversial at the time  because of scenes in which Lamarr(then still called Hedy Kiesler) swims in the nude and runs through the countryside naked. It is also  the first non-pornographic movie to portray sexual intercourse and female orgasm, to be released in main stream cinema. Although nudity was not uncommon in European movies, the erotic nature of Ecstasy was a first.Causing outrage in both Hitler’s Germany ,the United States and the Vatican.

hedy

Hedy Lamarr, was by many critics and fans alike regarded as the most woman beautiful ever to appear in films.

Born Hedwig Eva Kiesler in Vienna, Austria. She was the daughter of Gertrud (Lichtwitz), from Budapest, and Emil Kiesler, a banker from Lember (now known as Lviv in Ukraine). Her parents were both Jewish. However her Mother converted to Catholicism and raised her daughter Hedy as a Catholic too.

Hedy was married 6 times, but I am only focusing on her first Husband. Friedrich Mandl was an ardent fan of Hedy especially after seeing the movie “Ecstasy” He would persistently send her flowers, it did pay off. Although Friedrich(Fritz) Mandl had a Jewish father, he was prominent fascist,mandl

He did inherit the arms factory from his father, Alexander Mandl, which was used to help equip Hitler’s army Until 1940. According to Hedy both Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and  Adolf Hitler would sometimes attend Mandl’s parties. But, he had a personal quarrel with  Hermann Göring which, as well as his Jewish descent, led to the expropriation of his property in Europe. He fled to Switzerland. By then he had already divorced Hedy, the couple split up  in 1937.

Hedy Lamarr’s Father died in 1935. After the Germany’s Anschluss with Austria, Hedy helped get her mother out of Austria to the USA,where Hedy had moved to after she had met Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer  studio boss  Louis B. Mayer, who offered her a movie contract in Hollywood..

During World War II she did support the war efforts with her celebrity by selling war bonds.She used an act which she had with a sailor  named Eddie Rhodes. He’d be  in the crowd at each Lamarr appearance, and Hedy would call him up on stage. She would briefly flirt with him before asking the audience if she should give him a kiss. If the crowd would say yes(they always did) then  Hedy would tell the crowd  that she would kiss the sailor ,if enough people bought war bonds. When enough bonds were bought, she would kiss Rhodes and he would head back into the audience.

I was reluctant to add the  scene from that notorious movie “Ecstasy” because not every one might appreciate it ,however compared to  21st century standards it would be fairly innocent.

I am finishing therefore with the other amazing thing she became known for, the patent and blueprint she(under her married name Markey) and George Antheil submitted  for radio frequency hopping, basically an early front runner for WiFi.

patent

Donation

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Sources

IMDb

aenigma-images.com

womenshistory.org

Oprahmag.com

Wikipedia

Bography.com

APS Physics

The November pogrom-Kristall nacht.

Kristaal nacht

This is not meant to be an accusation because since I didn’t live in those times, I just don’t know how I would have reacted.

It is however something that has intrigued me.How come the majority of the Germans and Austrians did not see how wrong the November pogrom was? I can nearly understand why they turned a blind eye to the boycott of Jewish shops and even the occasional attack on Jews, they probably thought it was just a few extreme right thugs who carried out those attacks. But Kristall nacht was not just some vandalism, it was a direct nationwide assault on religion and an act of war against the Jews.

During the Night 9-10 November, hundreds of synagogues were destroyed in Austria, Germany, and Sudetenland.

pogrom

While the synagogues were burning, firemen were instructed only to stop the  fires if nearby buildings were threatened by the flames.

At least 91 Jewish citizens were killed and about 30,000 Jewish men were arrested.The excuse used for these attacks was the shooting of diplomat Ernst vom Rath by 17 year old Jewish student Herschel Grynszpan, in Paris.

But in the 1930’s in Germany there had been many other assassinations and they never triggered widespread violence as the November pogrom.

Hugh Greene who worked as a reporter for  The Daily Telegraph in Berlin, wrote the following:

“Mob law ruled in Berlin throughout the afternoon and evening and hordes of hooligans indulged in an orgy of destruction. I have seen several anti-Jewish outbreaks in Germany during the last five years, but never anything as nauseating as this. Racial hatred and hysteria seemed to have taken complete hold of otherwise decent people. I saw fashionably dressed women clapping their hands and screaming with glee, while respectable middle-class mothers held up their babies to see the ‘fun'”

damage

To add insult to injury ,after the event the Jewish community was forced to pay for the damage caused to the synagogues and properties, They were  fined 10 billion Reichsmarks.

If Kristallnacht wasn’t an indication of what the Nazis had planned for the Jews, then what was. There was still time to put a halt to it then, but it seems people had just become to indifferent by then.

paper

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German and Austrian Suicides

++++++CONTAINS SOME GRAPHIC IMAGES+++++++

mass

 

April and May 1945 marked the final stages and the end of World War II in Europe. It also saw an increase of suicides by civilians in Germany and Austria.

Cyanide had been one of the most common ways how people killed themselves. Members of the Hitler Youth handed out cyanide pills to audience members during the last concert of the Berlin Philharmonic.

COrchestra

There were a variety of reasons why people guilt themselves.

Fear: They knew off the crimes committed by their leaders and were afraid a similar fate would await them, for the German propaganda machine had warned the population on what would happen to them saying they faced the threat of torture, rape, and death by the allies in defeat. Partially this was true because their had been atrocities committed against the Germans by the Red Army but also by other allied forces, but the reports had been exaggerated to increase the fear.

A warped sense of loyalty:Many had been indoctrinated in unquestioning loyalty to the party and with it its cultural ideology of preferring death over living in defeat.They also followed the example of some of their leaders,including the Führer.

And some just killed themselves out of guilt.

Suicide levels reached their peak in Berlin in April 1945 when 3,881 people killed themselves during the Battle of Berlin. In the small town of Demmin close to 1,000 people killed themselves.

The former Nazi mayor of Leipzig, Germany committed suicide with his wife in April 1945. Allied troops found their bodies in this office.

Leipzig

The picture at the start of the blog is a photograph of women in Vienna who committed suicide, there is also the body of what looks like a dead soldier on the ground. The picture below is from the same women but taken from a different angle, it appears the Red Army officers are looking at the dead soldier.Although there were suicides in Austria they were nothing compared to the rates in Germany.

Ref Army

A disillusioned  German soldier decided to take his own life rather than facing life in non-Nazi Germany. the face of the Hitler portrait has been gouged out.

soldie

A woman who killed herself for fear for what the future might bring.

Woman

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The Holocaust Business enterprise

Gate

This week marks the 80th anniversary of the building of the Mauthausen concentration camp complex in Austria.From day 1 the aim of the camp was to make profit. Mauthausen and its many sub-camps were built by prisoners from Dachau concentration camp, which effectively meant free labor.

The Nazis had chosen the site because of the nearby quarry with huge quantities of granite. Granite needed for may projects in the third reich.

quarry

Although it was controlled by the Nazi regime, it was run as a private company as an economic enterprise.

Marbacher-Bruch and Bettelberg quarries which was a DEST Company: an abbreviation for Deutsche Erd– und Steinwerke GmbH(German Earth & Stone Works Company),an SS owned company created to procure and manufacture building materials for projects in Nazi Germany. The company was managed by Oswald Pohl, who was a high-ranking official of the SS.

Pohl

Aside from working, and often literally working to death, in the quarry many local and national companies used prisoners from Mauthausen. Prisoners were also rented out as slave labour to work on local farms, road construction.It is estimated that in total 57 companies were involved in the use of inmates from Mauthausen. Some of these companies are today still large corporations, the biggest being Bayer which was then part of IG Farben,but is now one of the biggest life Science, chemical and pharmaceutical companies in the world.

Bayer

Mauthausen wasn’t  the only concentration camp where the Nazis implemented their extermination through labour (Vernichtung durch Arbeit) programme, it was however,  one of the most evil,brutal and severe,even compared to other concentration camps.

The quarry had the harshestt working conditions. Six days a week, from sunrise to sunset, prisoners were forced to break the granite and carry the extreme heavy load on their back up the  “Stairs of Death”  which was made of 186 uneven rocks placed on top of each other, some half a meter high.Thousands died on those steps.

stairs

Additionally to the hard labour the inmates were also subjected to gruelling and pointless physical exercises as  methods of  humiliating and wearing the inmates down.

leap frog

Mauthusen became one of the most profitable concentration camps of Nazi Germany, with more than 11,000,000 Reichsmark in profits in 1944 alone ($ 166 million in 2018).

The Mauthausen inmates consisted of  Prisoners of war,Political prisoners Jews and nationals of virtually every German-occupied country,and even Spanish rebels who had fought against Franco during the Spanish civil war.

Besides prisoners being worked to death, they were also gassed,hanged and shot. or were send to Hartheim clinic for euthanasia.

It is hard to estimate how many were killed because the Nazis destroyed much of the camp’s files and evidence and often assigned to  newly arrived prisoners the camp numbers of those who had already been killed. The estimate vary between 122,766 and 320,000. But of course that didn’t bother the Nazi regime because they were making a healthy profit. They managed to turn a genocide into a business enterprise.

staff

Donation

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Sources

USHMM

Bundesarchiv

 

Vienna 1913-Café Central

Wien

Vienna in 1913 was a vibrant cultural city. It was one of Europe’s power houses.Needless to say it attracted people from all over the continent and indeed the world.

Not was it only known for its musical heritage it was also known for its many fine coffee houses. today Viennese coffee is still enjoyed by many coffee drinkers, including myself, for it really is a treat.

One of Vienna’s coffee houses has made a special mark on history. Café Central.It was a place frequented by many of Vienna’s intellectuals and artists. It also had the nickname “Die Schachhochschule” or the Chess High school in English,because of the presence of many chess players who used the first floor for their games.

central

For a brief period in 1913 it was regularly frequented by guests who made an enormous impact on the planet’s history. In January 1913 , Adolf Hitler,Josip Broz Tito, Sigmund Freud, Joseph Stalin, and Leon Trotsky were guests of the Coffee house. There is a very good chance that at one stage they all were there at the same time.

Leon Trotzky was the editor of the newspaper Pravda at the time, he wrote about an encounter he had in the café with a man called Stavros Papadopoulos. He wrote:

“I was sitting at the table,when the door opened with a knock and an unknown man entered.He was short… thin… his greyish-brown skin covered in pockmarks… I saw nothing in his eyes that resembled friendliness.”

Stavros Papadopoulos was not the real name of the man, he had been born as Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, but in later life was known as Josef Stalin.

centra cafe

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Source

BBC

 

Bambi, Nazis and an erotic novel.

Bambi

I have to start with an apology,because next time you watch the Disney classic ‘Bambi’ you will see that young little deer in a different light, after reading this blog.

Felix Salten was a Hungary born Austrian Jewish author.When he was 4 weeks old he moved from Pest in Hungary to Vienna in Austria. I will not focus too much on his life but will pick out just a few elements, which will be interesting enough.

In 1923 he wrote his most famous story “Bambi: Eine Lebensgeschichte aus dem Walde” or in English “Bambi: a life in the Woods” In 1928 it was translated in English.  In 1933, he sold the film rights to the American director Sidney Franklin for the sum of $1,000,Franklin in return transferred to rights to the Disney company.

film

Hitler was a great fan of the Disney movies, it is said that his favourite movie was “Snow White”

In 1942 the book was turned into a movie by the Walt Disney Studio with the title “Bambi”.

Prior to that in 1936, the Nazis had banned the book and when after the annexation of Austria, Felix Salten moved with his wife to Zürich in Switzerland, where he remained until he  died on 8 October 1945, aged 76.

By now I can hear you think” Didn’t he mention an erotic novel in the title?” You would be right; I did mention that, however there is a caveat.The novel I am referring to is “Josephine Mutzenbacher – The Life Story of a Viennese Whore, as Told by Herself” The caveat is that the book was written anonymously, but it is widely believed it was in fact written by Felix Salten. Today the Austrian Government designated Salten as the sole author.

josephi

The plot  in Josephine Mutzenbacher is that of first-person narrative, structured in the format of a memoir. The story is told from the point of view of an accomplished aging 50-year-old Viennese courtesan who is looking back upon the sexual escapades she enjoyed during her unbridled youth in Vienna

The book has been turned into a series of pornographic movies. Out of curiosity when I was a youngster,many moons ago, I attempted to watch one of them, but after a few minutes I turned it off, not because I am prudish but because it was so boring.

This does mean however that Felix Salten’s books have become films from one extreme to the other extreme, totally child friendly to xxx rated. I don’t know how many authors can claim that.

Leaving you with an innocent image.

Bambi still

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