The Bangka Island massacre

P01344.001

One of the worst sorts of evil one can commit is to do harm or kill those who look after the infirm and injured. People who clearly care and have a kind spirit.

Alas this happened during WWII and still happens nowadays and not only in war torn countries.

The Bangka Island massacre was one of those atrocities committed by the Japanese forces in 1942.

On 12 February 1942, with the fall of Singapore to the Japanese imminent, sixty-five Australian Army nurses, including Sister Vivian Bullwinkel, were evacuated from the besieged city on the small coastal steamer Vyner Brooke.

In addition to the Australian nurses, the ship was crammed with over two hundred civilian evacuees and English military personnel. As the Vyner Brooke was passing between Sumatra and Borneo, Japanese aircraft bombed and strafed the overloaded ship and it sank quickly. The ship carried many injured service personnel and 65 nurses of the Australian Army Nursing Service from the 2/13th Australian General Hospital, as well as civilian men, women and children. The survivors in lifeboats were strafed by Japanese aircraft but some reached Bangka Island off the coast of Sumatra. Twelve Australian nurses were either killed in the attack on the ship or drowned in the sea. The remaining fifty-three nurses reached Bangka Island in lifeboats, on rafts, or by drifting with the tide.

Wearing their Red Cross armbands, and having protected status as non-combatants by convention of civilised nations, the nurses expected to be treated in a civilised manner by the Japanese when they reached shore. About 100 survivors reunited near Radjik Beach at Bangka Island, in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), including 22 of the original 65 nurses. Once it was discovered that the island was held by the Japanese, an officer of the Vyner Brooke went to surrender the group to the authorities in Muntok. While he was away nurse Irene Melville Drummond suggested that the civilian women and children should leave for Muntok, which they did.

P02783.001

The nurses stayed to care for the wounded. They set up a shelter with a large Red Cross sign on it.

At mid-morning the ship’s officer returned with about 20 Japanese soldiers. They ordered all the wounded men capable of walking to travel around a headland. The nurses heard a quick succession of shots before the Japanese soldiers came back, sat down in front of the women and cleaned their bayonets and rifles. A Japanese officer ordered the remaining 22 nurses and one civilian woman to walk into the surf.A machine gun was set up on the beach and when the women were waist deep, they were machine-gunned. All but Sister Lt Vivian Bullwinkel were killed.

Vivian_Bullwinkel

Wounded soldiers left on stretchers were then bayoneted and killed.

Shot in the diaphragm, Bullwinkel lay motionless in the water until the sound of troops had disappeared. She crawled into the bush and lay unconscious for several days. When she awoke, she encountered Private Patrick Kingsley, a British soldier that had been one of the wounded from the ship, and had been bayoneted by the Japanese soldiers but survived. She dressed his wounds and her own, and then 12 days later they surrendered to the Japanese. Kingsley died before reaching a POW camp, but Bullwinkel spent 3 years in one. She survived the war and gave evidence of the massacre at a war crimes trial in Tokyo in 1947.

Vivian retired from the army in 1947 and became Director of Nursing at the Fairfield Infectious Diseases Hospital. Also in 1947 she gave evidence of the massacre at a war crimes trial in Tokyo.She devoted herself to the nursing profession and to honouring those killed on Banka Island, raising funds for a nurses’ memorial and serving on numerous committees, including a period as a member of the Council of the Australian War Memorial, and later president of the Australian College of Nursing.

Bullwinkel married Colonel Francis West Statham in September 1977, changing her name to Vivian Statham. She returned to Bangka Island in 1992 to unveil a shrine to the nurses who had not survived the war.

memorial_2123701b

She died of a heart attack on 3 July 2000, aged 84, in Perth, Western Australia

Advertisements

Klaus Barbie-The Butcher of Lyon

e59b320e-60bc-4fcf-ba75-0bf206765e24-2060x1236

The story of Klaus Barbie has always intrigued me. His story tells the unfortunate tale of humanity, it is proof that the lives of ordinary humans and victims really don’t matter. Regardless how evil someone is ,if he has any kind of value to any government, heaven and earth will be moved to keep him alive and out of captivity.For these animals justice quite literally is blind.

Themis_Justice

Klaus(Nikolaus) Barbie was born in Bad Godesberg, near Bonn, on October 25, 1913. Barbie was born to a Roman Catholic family. In 1914, his father, also named Nickolaus, was conscripted to fight in the First World War. He returned an angry, bitter man. Wounded in the neck at Verdun and captured by the French, whom he hated, he never recovered his health,He became an alcoholic who abused his children.Klaus Barbie’s parents were both teachers. Until 1923 he went to the school where his father taught. Afterward, he attended a boarding school in Trier. In 1925, his whole family moved to Trier. In 1933, Barbie’s father and brother both died. The death of his abusive, alcoholic father derailed plans for young Barbie to study theology or otherwise become an academic, as his peers had expected. While unemployed, Barbie was drafted into the Nazi labor service (Reichsarbeitsdienst); membership was compulsory for all young German men and women.

On the 26 September 1935 Barbie joined the SS, membership number 272, 284 and eventually joined the SD (Sicherheitsdienst – Security Service) arm of the SS.

On 20 April 1940 he graduated and was promoted to SS –Untersturmfuhrer and five days later he married Regine Willms, a stocky twenty-three year old daughter of a postal worker from Osburg. Almost immediately after the wedding Barbie rejoined his SD detachment and was part of von Runstedt’s army invading the Low Countries and France.

Barbie was officially posted to Holland on the 29 May 1940, Barbie’s SD unit was under the direct command of Willy Lages, the SD commander in the Hague, and his unit was shortly afterwards transferred to the Zentralstelle in Amsterdam, the “Central Bureau for Jewish Emigration.” Barbie’s responsibilities included rounding up German émigrés, freemasons and Jews.On the 12 February 1941, the German authorities used the death of a Dutch Nazi, Hendrik Koot killed in a fight with Dutch dockworkers, as a pretext to seal off the Jewish quarter of Amsterdam.

Below is the NSB(Dutch National Socialist Party) weekly news paper, with he headlines the murder of Koot, describing it as a Jews Crime.

volk

On 19 February 1941 an SD raid in Amsterdam entered a tavern called Koco, run by Jewish refugees from Germany, Cahn and Kohn. In the tavern, a protective device which Cahn had installed, an ammonia flash went off by accident, spaying the Germans with ammonia.The SD raid was commanded by Klaus Barbie and after some violence everyone inside was arrested and three days later, as a reprisal for his act of “resistance” , the SS raided the Jewish quarter of Amsterdam, seized 425 Jews, most of them young men.

They were assembled on the Jonas Daniel –Meyer –plein subjected them to beatings and abuse and then on 27 February 1941 deported 389 of them to Buchenwald concentration camp and after two months 361 of them were deported to Mauthausen concentration camp and certain death.

The arrests were followed by a general strike, Barbie was ordered to execute Cahn and his associates, who had been condemned to death. Barbie was put in charge of the execution squad.

In 1942, he was sent to Dijon, France, in the Occupied Zone. In November of the same year, at the age of 29, he was assigned to Lyon as the head of the local Gestapo. He established his headquarters at the Hôtel Terminus in Lyon,

hotel-terminus-14

where he personally tortured prisoners: men, women, and children alike,breaking extremities, using electroshock, and sexually abusing them (including with dogs), among other methods. He became known as the “Butcher of Lyon”.In Marcel Ophüls’s Oscar-winning documentary film, Hôtel Terminus: The Life and Times of Klaus Barbie,

Hotel_Terminus_-_The_Life_and_Times_of_Klaus_Barbie

the daughter of a French Resistance leader based in Lyon recounts her father’s torture by Barbie – her father was beaten, skinned alive, and his head immersed in a bucket of ammonia; he died shortly after.

Historians estimate that Barbie was directly responsible for the deaths of up to 14,000 people. He arrested Jean Moulin, one of the highest-ranking members of the French Resistance and his most prominent enemy figure. In 1943.

Jean Moulin was mercilessly tortured by Klaus Barbie and his men. Hot needles where shoved under his fingernails. His fingers were forced through the narrow space between the hinges of a door and a wall and then the door was repeatedly slammed until the knuckles broke.

Screw-levered handcuffs were placed on Moulin and tightened until they bit through his flesh and broke through the bones of his wrists. He would not talk. He was whipped. He was beaten until his face was an unrecognizable pulp. A fellow prisoner, Christian Pineau, later described the resistance leader as“unconscious, his eyes dug in as though they had been punched through his head. An ugly blue wound scarred his temple. A mute rattle came out of his swollen lips.”

Jean Moulin remained in this coma when he was shown to other resistance leaders who were being interrogated at Gestapo headquarters. Barbie had ordered Moulin put on display in an office. His unconscious form sprawled on a chaise lounge. His face was yellow, his breathing heavy, his head swathed in bandages. It was the last time Moulin was seen alive.

On behalf of his cruel crimes and specially for the Moulin case, Barbie was awarded, by Hitler himself, the “First Class Iron Cross with Swords.

DSCN1758

In April 1944, Barbie ordered the deportation to Auschwitz of a group of 44 Jewish children from an orphanage at Izieu.

A Jewish home for children

After his operations in Lyon, he rejoined the SiPo-SD of Lyon in Bruyères, where he led an anti-partisan attack in Rehaupal in September 1944.

After the war, Klaus Barbie was recruited by the Western Allies and worked for the British until 1947, then he switched his allegiance to the Americans. He was protected and employed by American intelligence agents because of his “police skills” and anti-Communist zeal – he penetrated communist cells in the German Communist Party.

With the aid of the Americans, he fled from prosecution in France in 1950 and relocated to South America together with his wife and children. He may have helped the CIA capture Argentine revolutionary Che Guevara in 1967.

CheHigh

The French discovered that Barbie was in U.S. hands and, having sentenced him to death in absentia for war crimes, made a plea to John J. McCloy, U.S. High Commissioner for Germany, to hand him over for execution, but McCloy allegedly refused. Instead, the CIC allegedly helped him flee to Bolivia with the help of “ratlines” organized by U.S. intelligence services, and Croatian Roman Catholic clergy, including Father Krunoslav Draganović. The CIC asserted that Barbie knew too much about the network of German spies the CIC had planted in various European Communist organizations, and were suspicious of the Communist influence within the French government, but their protection of Barbie may have been as much to avoid the embarrassment of having recruited him.

Barbie CIC memorandum

In 1965, Barbie was recruited by the West German foreign intelligence agency Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), under the codename “Adler” (Eagle) and the registration number V-43118. His initial monthly salary of 500 Deutsche Mark was transferred in May 1966 to an account of the Chartered Bank of London in San Francisco. During his time with the BND, Barbie made at least 35 reports to the BND headquarters in Pullach.

Barbie emigrated to Bolivia, where he lived under the alias, Klaus Altmann. He had less embarrassment being employed there than in Europe, and enjoyed excellent relations with high-ranking Bolivian officials, including Bolivian dictators Hugo Banzer and Luis García Meza Tejada. “Altmann” was known for his nationalist and anti-communist stances.While conducting his arms trade operations in Bolivia, he was appointed to the rank of Lt. Colonel within the Bolivian Armed Forces.

Klaus_Barbie_Bolivian_secret_police

Barbie was identified as living in Bolivia in 1971 by the Serge and Beate Klarsfeld(Nazi hunters from France).

Klarsfelds

The testimony of the Italian insurgent Stefano Delle Chiaie before the Italian Parliamentary Commission on Terrorism suggests that Barbie took part in the “Cocaine Coup” of Luis García Meza Tejada, when the regime forced its way to power in Bolivia in 1980. On 19 January 1983, the newly elected government of Hernán Siles Zuazo arrested Barbie and extradited him to France to stand trial.

In 1984, Barbie was indicted for crimes committed while he directed the Gestapo in Lyon between 1942 and 1944. The jury trial started on 11 May 1987, in Lyon, before the Rhône Cour d’assises. Unusually, the court allowed the trial to be filmed because of its historical value. A special court room with seating for an audience of about 700 was constructed.[19] The head prosecutor was Pierre Truche.At the trial Barbie received support not only from Nazi apologists like François Genoud, but also from leftist lawyer Jacques Vergès.

Klaus Barbie in his prison cell

The lead defense attorney was Jacques Vergès, who argued that Barbie’s actions were no worse than the ordinary actions of colonialists worldwide, and that his trial was selective prosecution. The head prosecutor was Pierre Truche. During his trial, Barbie famously stated that: “When I stand before the throne of God I shall be judged innocent”.

KLAUS BARBIE

On July 4, 1987, Barbie was sentenced to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity, Klaus Barbie died of cancer in prison on the 25 September 1991.

Nazi War criminals that got away.

We love to think that the bad guys always get caught and justice will prevail. Unfortunately that isn’t always the case and often the greater the crime the easier it is to get away with it. Below are some examples of some of the most evil War criminals that escaped justice.

Gerhard Sommer

Gerhard Sommer (born 24 June 1921) is a former SS-Untersturmführer (Second Lieutenant) in the 16th SS Panzergrenadier DivisionReichsführer-SS who was involved in the massacre of 560 civilians on 12 August 1944 in the Italian village of Sant’Anna di Stazzema.

1024px-Santanna_mahnmal

Gerhard Sommer, a former company commander of a mechanized infantry division, had been accused over the Nazis’ mass murder of 560 civilians in the Tuscan mountain village of Sant’Anna di Stazzema in 1944.

On 12 August 1944, Nazi soldiers using machine guns and flamethrowers massacred almost all residents and refugees in Sant’Anna di Stazzema, including 107 children under 14 years.After decades of judicial inertia in Germany and Italy, the case resurfaced in the 1990s based on research by several historians.

In 2005, an Italian military court found that 10 members of the 16th SS “Reichsfuehrer” division, including Sommer, were personally responsible for the massacre and sentenced them to life in prison in absentia.

In 2002 investigations against Sommer were initiated in Germany, but no criminal charges have yet been brought. Gabriela Heinecke, a lawyer from Hamburg in charge of the “Nebenklage”(in addition to lawsuit)  of the Italian survivors of the massacre continues to be denied access to the records by the German public prosecution department.As of May 2006 Sommer was living in a nursing home in Hamburg-Volksdorf, Germany. In May 2015, Sommer was declared unfit for trial by prosecutors in Germany.Sommer’s advanced state of dementia attested by experts meant that he would not have been able to address the court and merely a passive “object of public prosecution.”

 

Helmut Oberlander

2976851

Helmut Oberlander (born 15 February 1924) is a Canadian citizen who was a member of the Einsatzkommando. Since 1994, the Government of Canada has made repeated attempts to revoke Oberlander’s citizenship.

As an ethnic German born and living in Ukraine during World War II, he was conscripted into the German forces at the age of 17 to serve as an interpreter for the EK10A (Einsatzkommando) when they entered Soviet Ukraine in 1941. His duties included listening to and translating Russian radio transmissions, acting as an interpreter during interactions between the military and the local population, and the guarding of military supplies.

The Federal Court of Canada, in Oberlander v. Canada (Attorney General), determined that Oberlander was part of the Ek 10a during World War II.

Ek 10a Deathsquad

The Federal Court of Canada characterized the group as a death squad, responsible for killing more than two million people, most of whom were civilians and largely Jewish. According to the ruling, from 1941 to 1943 Oberlander served with Ek 10a as an interpreter and an auxiliary. In addition to interpreting, he was tasked with finding and protecting food and polishing boots. He lived, ate, travelled and worked full time with the Ek 10a.From 1943 to 1944, he served as an infantryman in the German army.

Oberlander immigrated to Canada with his wife Margaret in 1954, where he ran a construction business and lived in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario. He became a Canadian citizen in 1960.In 1995 the Government of Canada initiated a de-naturalization and deportation process against him. On 28 February 2000, Judge Andrew MacKay reported his findings: he concluded that there is no evidence that Oberlander was involved, directly or indirectly, in committing any war crimes or any crimes against humanity. He might not have, however, disclosed his wartime record during his immigration interview in 1953 in Karlsruhe, Germany. The Government of Canada determined that withholding this information was sufficient reason to strip Oberlander of his Canadian Citizenship. Andrew Telegdi who was Oberlander’s Member of Parliament, and who was at the time parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Citizenship of Immigration, resigned from that position in objection to this decision.

220px-Andrew_Telegdi

In October 2008 the government revoked his citizenship.In November 2009 the Federal Court of Appeal struck down this decision thus reinstating his citizenship.

In 2012 Oberlander was again stripped of his citizenship through an Order in Council of the Government of Canada. Oberlander appealed the 2012 order to the Federal Court of Canada, which the court rejected in 2015. Oberlander then appealed the 2015 decision to the Canadian Federal Court of Appeal. In 2016 the court accepted his appeal, setting aside the government’s 2012 Order in Council.

The judge in the case said that there needed to be study of whether or not Oberlander was only cooperating with Nazis under duress, or out of fear of his life.On July 7 2016, the Supreme Court rejected a government appeal of that decision, meaning that Oberlander will — unless the government revokes it again — retain his Canadian passport.

Alois Brunner

quote-the-jews-deserved-to-die-i-have-no-regrets-if-i-had-the-chance-i-would-do-it-again-alois-brunner-73-94-04

Alois Brunner (8 April 1912 – c. 2010) was an Austrian Schutzstaffel (SS) officer who worked as Adolf Eichmann’s assistant. Eichmann referred to Brunner as his “best man.” Brunner is held responsible for sending over 100,000 European Jews to the gas chambers. He was commander of the Drancy internment camp outside Paris from June 1943 to August 1944, from which nearly 24,000 people were deported.

After some narrow escapes from the Allies in the immediate aftermath of World War II, Brunner fled West Germany in 1954, first for Egypt, then Syria, where he remained until his death. He was the object of many manhunts and investigations over the years by different groups, including the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Klarsfelds and others. He was condemned to death in absentia in France in 1954 for crimes against humanity. He lost an eye and then the fingers of his left hand as a result of letter bombs sent to him in 1961 and 1980, possibly by the Israeli Mossad. The government of Syria under Hafez el-Assad came close to extraditing him to East Germany, before this plan was halted by the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989. Brunner survived all the attempts to detain him, unrepentant about his activities to the end.

brunner-541687

SS captain Alois Brunner, described by Eichmann as his “best man,” was responsible for the deportation of 128,500 Jews to the death camps. After the war in the 1950s, Brunner fled to Syria where he reportedly served as a government adviser to president Hafez Assad and is thought to have instructed the regime on torture tactics.

MTE5NDg0MDU0ODg0NjgxMjMx

He survived two Mossad assassination attempts, and went to his grave utterly “unrepentant,” according to Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff.

In an interview with the German magazine Bunte, in 1985, Brunner described how he escaped capture by the Allies immediately after World War II. The identity of Brunner was apparently mixed up with that of another SS member, Anton Brunner, who was executed for war crimes, instead of Alois, who, like Josef Mengele, lacked the SS blood type tattoo, which prevented him from being detected in an Allied prison camp. Anton Brunner, who also worked in Vienna deporting Jews, was confused after the war with Alois Brunner.

After arriving in Syria under the pseudonym of Dr. Georg Fischer

On November 30, 2014, the Simon Wiesenthal Center reported receiving credible information that Brunner had died in Syria in 2010. He would have been 97 or 98. Partly due to the ongoing Syrian Civil War, the exact date of his death and place of burial are unknown at present.

According to the director of the Wiesenthal Center, Dr Efraim Zuroff, the information came from a “reliable” former German secret service agent who had served in the Middle East. The information was also widely reported in the press. The new evidence revealed that Brunner was buried in an unknown location in Damascus around 2010, unrepentant of his crimes to the end. Zuroff said that, owing to the civil war in Syria, the exact location of Brunner’s grave is impossible to know.

Aribert Heim

 

Aribert Ferdinand Heim (28 June 1914 – 10 August 1992)was an Austrian SS doctor, also known as Dr. Death. During World War II he served at the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp in Mauthausen, killing and torturing inmates by various methods, such as direct injections of toxic compounds into the hearts of his victims.

After the war, Heim lived for many years in Cairo, Egypt, under the alias of Tarek Farid Hussein, where he converted to Islam and died there on 10 August 1992 according to testimony by his son and lawyer. This information, though set forth by a German court, has been challenged.In 2009, a BBC documentary stated that German police had found no evidence of Heim’s death on their recent visit to Cairo;nevertheless, three years later, a court in Baden-Baden confirmed again that Heim had died in 1992, based on new evidence provided by his family and lawyer.

Aribert Heim worked in Mauthausen as a doctor starting in October 1941 at the age of 26, and he only worked there for six weeks.

Bundesarchiv_Bild_192-334,_KZ_Mauthausen,_Garagenhofeinfahrt

The prisoners at Mauthausen called Heim “Dr. Death”, or the “Butcher of Mauthausen” for his cruelty He was known there for performing operations without anaesthesia. For about two months (October to December 1941), Heim was stationed at the Ebensee concentration camp near Linz (Austria),

u-ebensee-02

where he carried out experiments on Jews and others similar to those performed at Auschwitz by Josef Mengele. According to Holocaust survivors, Jewish prisoners were poisoned with various injections directly into the heart, including petrol, phenol, available poisons or even water, to induce death.He is reported to have removed organs from living prisoners without anesthesia, killing hundreds.

After the war, Heim remained in Germany, working as a doctor at a gynaecological practice in Baden-Baden until 1962, when he went into hiding. In 1979, the public prosecutor’s office in Baden-Baden pressed charges against Heim and issued an international arrest warrant.

It is believed that Heim left Germany in 1963 using his second name Ferdinand and that he traveled to Egypt on a tourist visa. He then lived in hiding in Cairo for decades using the name. In 1980, he apparently converted to Islam and then assumed the name Tarek Hussein Farid. They believe he died at the age of 78 on Aug. 10, 1992 in Cairo.