Karl Amadeus Hartmann-Protesting against the Nazi regime through Music

Today marks the 117th birthday of Karl Amadeus Hartmann.He

was born on 2 August 1905 in Munich and came into contact with art and music at an early stage. He studied trombone and composition at the Staatliche Akademie der Tonkunst in Munich from 1924 to 1929.

He hated Nazism and Hitler and anything that ranked of extreme socialism and communism. A fellow composer ,Udo Zimmermann, said about Hartmann “His concept of life oriented towards humanity is inscribed in all his scores. A warning in view of the atrocities of this world, but also resistance from the heart: a revocation of the spirits, love and life.”

His compositions were often politically charged, as Hartmann was a socialist who staunchly opposed the Nazis and fascism. During World War II, Hartmann half-poisoned himself to avoid military conscription.

He voluntarily withdrew completely from musical life in Germany during the Nazi era, while remaining in Germany, and refused to allow his works to be played there. An early symphonic poem, Miserae (1933–1934, first performed in Prague, 1935) was condemned by the Nazi regime but his work continued to be performed, and his fame grew, abroad. A number of Hartmann’s compositions show the profound effect of the political climate. His Miserae (1933–34) was dedicated to his ‘friends…who sleep for all eternity; we do not forget you (Dachau, 1933–34)’, referring to Dachau Concentration Camp, and was condemned by the Nazis. His piano sonata 27 April 1945 is about the thousands of prisoners from Dachau, whom Hartmann witnessed being led away from Allied forces at the end of the war.

Just three days before the liberation of the Dachau camp, the SS forces about 7,000 prisoners on a death march from Dachau south to Tegernsee. During the six-day death march, anyone who cannot keep up or continue is shot. Many others die of exposure, hunger, or exhaustion. American forces liberate the Dachau concentration camp on April 29, 1945. In early May 1945, American troops liberate the surviving prisoners from the death march to Tegernsee.

Solly Ganor, a survivor said about the march.

“we could see the furtive parting of curtains as German civilians peered out at us. To our surprise a few of them came out and tried to offer us some bread, but the result was disastrous. Hundreds of starving inmates would descend on the benefactor, often knocking him or her down. The bread was immediately torn to pieces, and the guards set upon the mob. Each time this happened several more bodies were left by the side of the road.”

After the fall of the Nazi regime, Hartmann was one of the few prominent surviving anti-fascists in Bavaria whom the postwar Allied administration could appoint to a position of responsibility. In 1945, he became a dramaturge at the Bavarian State Opera and there, as one of the few internationally recognized figures who had survived untainted by any collaboration with the Nazi regime, he became a vital figure in the rebuilding of (West) German musical life. Perhaps his most notable achievement was the Musica Viva concert series, which he founded and ran for the rest of his life in Munich.

He died on December 5,1963 in Munich.

Although Hartmann is one of the greatest German composers of the 20th century, he is forgotten about in the English speaking world.

sources

https://holocaustmusic.ort.org/politics-and-propaganda/hartmann-karl-amadeus/

https://archive.ph/20130104153710/http://www.schott-music.com/shop/persons/featured/8399/index.html#selection-559.0-559.208

Jerry Himmelfarb-“What a Jewish G.I. Thinks About Aid to Europe’s Needy”

Jerry Himmelfarb was a GI from Buffalo, New York. He wrote this letter to his Rabbi, about his experiences. It os one of the most powerful testimonies I have ever read

Jerry, serving with the U.S. Army in Germany, wrote to Rev. Harry H. Kaufman, Cantor of Temple Beth El, telling of what the J.D.C. is accomplishing in alleviating the desperate plight of his Jewish brethren in Europe. The letter, in full,below.

May 15, 1945

Dear Cantor:

You’re going to find this a strange letter. I think, perhaps, you will not understand why I write such a letter – until after you have read it. I have written my parents a similar story. Now I write you – for a little different reason. You’ll see what I mean some pages from here.

The Seventh Army has authorised us to write – has allowed us to say – that we’re in Munich. I’m there now. Munich – Hitler’s cradle-city. It’s damaged and quiet. We’re near Berchtesgarten, but I haven’t been there.

We’re also near Dachau – remember Dachau? It’s Jan Valtin’s Dachau – Jan Valtin of “Out of the Night”. Remember? Dachau – an early mystery place of Nazism. But there remains no aura of mystery today. No, it’s all clear – so very clear.

I met a Polish Jew the other day. He had been liberated from Dachau. He was twenty-four years old – and looked fifty. His face looked fifty – his body was about as healthy looking as a normal patient at Harrisburg, Pa. He had no teeth – but they hadn’t fallen out. Hitler’s S.S. were the dentists. He was just one of the lucky ones. There were other unfortunates.

I haven’t seen Dachau – but all I say is true – I swear it on my own life. Disbelieve me – call me a liar – if you dare! There were found some fifty, fully-loaded boxcars – loaded with bodies. I saw a picture of one – it was overflowing. We buried – with bulldozers – some 4,000. They were from the railroad cars and from rooms in the camp where they were stacked like cordwood covered with lime. We spoke to a Pole who had been forced to throw his parents into the incinerator. And how would you like to hear about these incinerators – it makes for nauseous reading. There was a plaque in front of each one saying something about “ashes to ashes” being better than “dust to dust”. Some compensation for the victims, eh! And they were run in a very businesslike fashion. It was necessary to burn 250 bodies each day to keep the furnaces in good working order. How was the quota met? Easy. They always had at least 150 on a list. But the rest were gotten like this.

  • 2 –

These prisoners were divided into groups of sixteen. These sixteen slept on four shelves, approximately six by six, with six inches clearance between shelves. Any infraction by one of the sixteen resulted in the death of all of them. And infractions were easy. Under the S.S. – the trained beasts – the quota was always met. And how were they Killed? No outright death for them – oh, no! They walked or were pushed, through a door when they fell through a four by four hole in the floor to the cement floor some fifteen feet below. There a noose was thrown about their throats and they were hung on hooks on the wall to meet their God. If any still lived after a reasonable length of time – a “man” with a heavy mallet crushed their skulls. The room – hooks on the wall – accommodated fifteen. Then the furnaces. The heat generated was not wasted, by the way. It was piped to the S.S. barracks for warmth – the barracks, where the S.S. troopers celebrated their 10,000th killing by drinking toasts from the scoured skulls of their victims. A lovely people – the Germans!

And don’t let me forget to tell you about the wife of the Commandant of one of these camps – not Dachau, another one, – there were plenty in Germany. She loved beautiful knick-knacks in her home. So any prisoner who bore tattooing on his or her body was stripped and taken before this woman for her O.K. Then death – next skinning, and curing the skin – and a new lampshade or book cover adorned the lovely lady’s home. What’s wrong – don’t you believe me? Take my word for it – you have to believe me – those who were tattooed can’t tell you!

And that isn’t all. We have some 5,000 people in hospitals here. We’ve lowered the death rate to seventy-five a day. And we have statistics to prove that of these seventy-five – some forty-five are Jews. And even though only 8,000 of the 38,000 prisoners of one camp were Jews – the deaths were some 40% or 50% Jewish. The chaplain told us that the other day – after his return from services conducted over that common grave of 4,000 – there were bound to be some Jews in it – we didn’t know how many. Which brings me to the point of this letter.

The chaplain told us about the American Joint Distribution Committee’s borrowing $10,000,000 on their name – and about setting a goal of $46,000,000 for this year. He asked us to contribute what we could. And he asked us to write our families a letter. I did, but I write to you, too, because you can reach more people. He didn’t suggest a letter like this – I guess it was the farthest thing from his mind. I just decided it was the best kind. Eloquent pleas are swell things – but pictures are better. Maybe this wasn’t a very pretty picture – I didn’t want it to be. I tried to make it as disgusting, as revolting as nauseous as possible without leaving the bounds of conventional decency – without distorting the truth. Believe me I have done neither. Every word is true. I swear that before God.

I know of some people who say, “that money goes into the pockets of the black-coated, pie-hatted men with beards. “I thought so once, too – until I learned this. While the chaplain was reciting the services over that common grave I spoke of before, a convoy of Swiss Red Cross trucks came in. He spoke to the man in charge. The convoy was leaving some fifty tons of food, medicines, clothing etc. – all loaded and paid for by A.J.D.C. – black-coated men, indeed! The stuff comes here.

  • 3 –

Don’t let anyone believe otherwise. It came here. You can supply more statistics on how many Jews still live in Europe and on what remains for us to do – now that it is too late to save the many. That’s not in my line. Neither is putting in a good old-fashioned touch in my line – but I’m doing it. Here it is. You’ve read it. You can see what I’m getting at. Cantor, I beg you – tell this to the well-fed, well-clothed members of your congregation. Read them what I’ve written. Maybe they’ve seen some of these facts in their papers. I don’t know. So, in case they haven’t, read them this first-hand dope. I know you’re going to mention the J.D.C.’s drive – you always do. I know you’ll have your own plea to make. But consolidate mine into yours, will you please. Jolt them right off their seats. Tell them to do something about the cocodile tears they shed and have been shedding for the past ten years. Tell them to stop that, “how awful, tsch, tsch” talk and start some real talk. Money talks. Don’t give them a chance to say, “But -”. It’s too late for “buts” now. Talk is O.K. in its place. The place isn’t here.

We must do something to help these people over here.

We’re not giving only to Jews – I know that. Every poor dog is aided over here. Tell them that, too. If you must get down on your knees and beg them to give, Cantor – do it – for God’s sake – do it! There can be no degradation to surpass what I have seen and heard of. And if the complacent doubts why we won this war – while 4,000,000 died – then read them the 94th Psalm. It was news to me – maybe it will be news to them. Maybe that will let the moths out of their purses.

Yours, Jerry Himmelfarb

source

https://www.testifyingtothetruth.co.uk/viewer/metadata/106545/1/

And the memory remained.

All of those men who liberated the camps throughout Europe, never lost the memories of what they witnessed. Below are just some of their accouns.

The Dachau concentration camp was liberated on April 29, 1945. Hilbert Margol(pictured above}and his twin brother Howard. 2 Jewish American soldiers were there and documented the tragedy.

Hilbert and Howard came across the so-called “death train” at Dachau. This is his recollection.

“So we get orders to pull off to the right side of the road. We all smelled this very distinct odor, very strong odor. One of our jeep drivers came by and he said, ‘On the other side of those woods, it must be a chemical factory over there.’ Well, Howard heard that and he came over to me, and he said, “I don’t think it’s a chemical factory.” And he said, you know, that odor reminded him of when our mother used to go to the kosher meat market to buy a freshly killed chicken. She would take it home, hold it over the gas flame of the gas stove in the kitchen to burn off the pin feathers. It would burn the skin and some of the fat of the chicken. He said that’s the odor it reminds him of. I said, “Well, why don’t we go over there and see what is over there.” We were curious. The first thing we saw, we saw a line of railroad boxcars. Now we climbed over between two of the railroad cars and on the other side, some of the cars’ sliding doors had been opened by the infantry guys in front of us. That’s who we supported. And on that boxcar plus others on that train was [sic] dead bodies and most of them were in very grotesque positions. And, of course, it was easy to see they were all dead. US Army Infantryman Private Hilbert Margol 42nd Infantry Division 508.784.1945 Testimony 1”

A young African American GI, Leon Bass, entered the notorious Buchenwald concentration camp and saw piles of dead bodies and prisoners so weakened that large numbers of them would die in the days and weeks following the liberation. This encounter was seared into his memory.

Leon Bass entered the Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany as part of an intelligence reconnaissance unit. This is his recollection.

“We were in the intelligence reconnaissance section of our unit and we went right to Buchenwald. And that was the day that I was to discover what had really been going on in Europe under the Nazis because I walked through the gates and I saw walking dead people. And just looking at these people who were skin and bone and dressed in those pajama-type uniforms, their heads clean shaved, and filled with sores through the malnutrition. I just looked at this in amazement and I said to myself, you know, “My God, who are these people? What was their crime?” You know? It’s hard for me to try to understand why anyone could have been treated this way. I don’t care what they had done. And I didn’t have any way of thinking or putting a handle on it, no frame of reference. I was only 20. Had I been told, I doubt if I could have had, in my mind’s eye, envisioned anything as horrible as what I saw. Reconnaissance Sergeant Leon Bass 183rd Combat Engineer Battalion 508.784.1945”

During the winter of 1944-45, Anthony Acevedo was a 20-year-old Army medic assisting wounded soldiers fighting against Nazi forces in World War II. The war in Europe was coming to an end, but for Mr. Acevedo the horror was just beginning.

On April 9, 1945, German camp guards forcibly evacuated US Army medic Anthony Acevedo and other prisoners of war in the Berga concentration camp. After marching for 15 days, Acevedo and his fellow
prisoners were liberated by the 11th Armored Division. This is his recollection.


“So, we heard that there were tanks approaching, and we don’t—we didn’t know whether they were Americans, or French, or English, whatever. Or Russians. But the Germans started to feel the—the heat, and so they wanted us to follow them. And so they push—they pulled the—the rifles against us, and
pointed at us, and says, w-we—either we go, or—with them, or they’ll shoot us. That’s what they wanted to do.
So, as I yelled back at them, and the other medic, I mean, we’re medics, and we’re t-taking care of these men, and they’re dying. One just died—or two just died just a—a while ago. So, how can we go, and—they can’t walk any more.
So, before you knew it, they too escaped, and the guards turn in our—gave us our rifles. And he says, we’ll stay with you. And we started to hear the rumbling getting closer, and th—we—we all started to run towards the highway, and when we got to the highway, the tanks were the 11th armored division, liberating us.”

sources

https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/pa1173019

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/anthony-acevedo-us-army-medic-who-endured-prison-camp-horrors-in-wwii-dies-at-93/2018/03/10/ac2273f0-23e2-11e8-86f6-54bfff693d2b_story.html

Remembering Simon de la Bella-Murdered in Dachau July 11-1942

It is impossible to remember all 6 Millions + Jewish victims of the Holocaust individually. However it is important whenever it is possible to remember one individual to do so. Because they weren’t born to be victims, they were born to lead a life like anyone else. They were all human beings, with the same needs, pains, sorrows, joys, hunger, thirst and emotions like every one else.

Today I am remembering Simon de la Bella, he was born in Amsterdam, on 28 October 1889. He was murdered in Dachau on July 11,1942 in Dachau. He was a Dutch Jewish politician and trade union man.

He was the son of Aron de la Bella, diamond cleaver, and Cato van Vriesland. On November 25, 1914, he married Hinderientje van Zuiden, with whom he had a daughter. De la Bella called himself De la Bella Jr.

He was a Socialist trade unionist and senator, who co-authored the ‘Labour Plan’ in 1935. Simon was initially an office worker and director of the Association of Office Workers. He then became treasurer and secretary of the NVV and was one of the founders of publishing house De Arbeiderspers. In 1935 he was elected a member of the Senate for the SDAP and there he quickly questioned the government about the reduction in unemployment benefit. Managed to secure the union’s capital in 1939.

He was the, vice-chairman of the Nederlands Verbond van Vakverenigingen (NVV)-Netherlands Union of Trade organisations-.

On July 16, 1940, De la Bella and NVV chairman Evert Kupers were dismissed by order of the Germans.

Four days later he was informed that the Germans wanted to arrest him because of the 5 million guilders he had transferred to England. A hiding place had been arranged, but De la Bella wanted to think about it for another night. He was arrested that same evening. On the way to prison, De la Bella ingested poison, but the suicide attempt failed because the poison worked too slowly and his stomach was pumped out. He was detained in the House of Detention on the Weteringschans until September 4, before he was deported to Dachau. On July 11,1942 he was murdered in the gas chamber in Dachau.

sources

https://www.geni.com/people/Simon-de-la-Bella/6000000019300341327

https://www.mnhs.org/mgg/artifact/gas_chamber

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/188650/simon-de-la-bella

https://socialhistory.org/bwsa/biografie/bella

https://www.parlement.com/id/vg09lkxvlmxi/s_simon_de_la_bella

May 2nd Dachau Death March.

On the 2nd of May a unit from the 522nd Field Artillery Battalion, US Army, encountered Jewish inmates  who were put on a death march from Dachau and were approaching Waakirchen. The US soldiers were almost entirely of second-generation American soldiers of Japanese ancestry (Nisei)

During these marches, also called the “death marches”, at least one thousand prisoners died. They died of disease, undernourishment, and exhaustion. If a prisoner collapsed or, fully exhausted, simply could not continue, they were beaten or shot to death by SS guards. The route of the marches passed through numerous villages and small towns. Scores of residents witnessed the brutal marches.

Women prisoners from the Dachau concentration camp on an “death march” in Percha, Lake Starnberg, April 28 1945 (Municipal archives Landsberg am Lech)

By the second of May 1945, only some of the 6,000 prisoners sent on the death march were still alive; thosewhose heatlth failed them or were unable to continue had been shot as they fell. On that day, as the eastwards-marching prisoners had passed through Bad Tölz and were nearing Waakirchen, nearly sixty kilometers (37 miles) south of Dachau, several hundred of the dead and dying were lying on open ground, nearly all covered in freshly fallen snow.

They were spotted by advance scouts of the U.S. Army’s 522nd Field Artillery Battalion, the only segregated Japanese American-manned military unit in Germany at the time. Only days earlier, they had liberated the Kaufering IV Hurlach satellite slave labor camp of the Dachau main camp’s “system”.

Finishing up with the words of one of the survivors.

Willemijn Petroff-van Gurp
Due to my resistance activities, I was imprisoned in Scheveningen, Vught, Ravensbrück and Dachau. We were liberated by the Americans.

I owe my life to my friends, who dragged me along with them when I passed out and kept me warm when I was in bad shape in the camp.

Because of the war, it became clear to me what freedom of expression, the danger of dictatorship and declaring human beings to be inferior mean. This is why I contributed to a report of my experiences of the war, because I think it is important that the youth also realize this.

My oldest son Robert had prepared himself to go to the commemoration in Dachau in my name. Unfortunately I can not go there myself anymore due to my health, as I am now 101 years old.

Willemijn Petroff-van Gurp wrote this message 2 years ago

sources

http://encyclopedia.densho.org/522nd_Field_Artillery_Battalion/#

https://collections.ushmm.org/search/?f%5Bspecial_collection%5D%5B%5D=The%20Jeff%20and%20Toby%20Herr%20Oral%20History%20Archive

Holocaust testimonies from victims, perpetrators and liberators.

These are some testimonies of victims, perpetrators an liberators. I will not specify who is who, but the language makes the testimony and context clear.

At the end of blog is a description on one method of mass murder which was used by the einsatzgruppen.

Hans Friedrich:

“The order said—they are to be shot.” “And for me, that was binding.”

Gertrude Deak:

“We had to stand and watch, while the two girls dug their own graves, then were shot, and we had to bury them.”

Gina Rappaport:

“After two years they [the SS] told us to pack our things and go to the station, and they put us on a train
which travelled for a [sic] unknown destination. We were seven days in the train travelling very slowly,
when we were liberated by the American army on the 13th of April. It was the luckiest day of my life.
At that moment I was bathing in the river when I saw the first American soldier from afar. What a joy.
I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was sure it was a dream, but still it was true.
A few minutes before the American soldiers arrived we were told that we should have to go on foot over
the Elbe River. But the American army saved us from a sure death, which we will never forget.
I was also sad this day because I remembered how many people of value had died and couldn’t see the
liberation and the fall of the barbarian, Hitler. I shall never forget what I owe to the American army.
I hope that I will be able to estimate the right value, what the Americans have done for us. Now, after
five years of suffering I shall know how to appreciate the more my liberty.”

Rudolf Höss:

“True opponents of the state had to be securely locked up. Only the SS were capable of protecting the National Socialist State from all internal danger. All other organisations lacked the necessary toughness.”

Jerzy Bielecki:

“I saw an SS-man, a junior officer, walking around the gravel pit with a pistol in his hand…It was sadism. ‘You dogs! You damned communists! You pieces of shit!’ Horrible words like these. And from time to time he would direct the pistol downwards and shoot: pow… pow pow.”

Sergeant Leon Bass:

“We were in the intelligence reconnaissance section of our unit and we went right to Buchenwald. And that
was the day that I was to discover what had really been going on in Europe under the Nazis because
I walked through the gates and I saw walking dead people.
And just looking at these people who were skin and bone and dressed in those pajama-type uniforms,
their heads clean shaved, and filled with sores through the malnutrition. I just looked at this in amazement
and I said to myself, you know, “My God, who are these people? What was their crime?” You know?
It’s hard for me to try to understand why anyone could have been treated this way. I don’t care what they
had done. And I didn’t have any way of thinking or putting a handle on it, no frame of reference. I was
only 20. Had I been told, I doubt if I could have had, in my mind’s eye, envisioned anything as horrible as I saw”

Heinz Mayer:

“As the Americans were approaching, the SS thought that it was them who were firing the shots, The SS fled, and the prisoners armed themselves with the abandoned weapons. We occupied all the watchtowers and blocked the forest in the direction of Weimar in order to intercept any returning SS.”

Hans Friedrich

“Because my hatred towards the Jews is too great. And I admit my thinking on this point is unjust, I admit this. But what I experienced from my earliest youth when I was living on a farm, what the Jews were doing to us—well that will never change. That is my unshakeable conviction.”

Lieutenant Marie Knowles Ellifritz:

“The emotional trauma caused by our medical participation in the liberation of the European concentration
camps was beyond belief. As Americans and as women we never before had been subjected to such inhumanity to man. And my initial feeling was of a tremendous job to do.
To take in 1,500 patients into a 400-bed hospital had to be madness. That fact became our madness. And itproved to become a tremendous overwhelming job. Clinically, it was a matter of sorting the dead from the
living, deciding who would live for at least three days or more, and to make all those we found comfortable and to begin the process of treatment. A tent to keep the patient dry, an air mattress to give them a place
to lie down, a blanket to help them keep warm, pajamas to give them some dignity, a small amount of food to nourish them, and plasma to preserve the remaining life and begin them on a road back to living.
Everyone had work to do. The patients themselves helped as much as they could.

We deloused them. We moved them out of the larger camp into our tent city and we let the fresh air, the sunshine, the space, and
most of all their freedom do its work.

It seemed to take one to three days for us to convince some of them that they were truly free at last. And
when that reality came they simply closed their eyes and died in peace and freedom. Some of the patients
seemed to know immediately that they were free once again and so they were able to rejoice and begin
to make plans for the future. Life force for these patients had begun when the camp’s gates were opened
by their liberators”

Józef Paczynski —:

“I personally was afraid of walking past Block 11. Personally, I was afraid. Although it was closed off, I was really scared to walk past there. Whether it was the avenue when I was walking there, or what… I was afraid. Block 11 meant death.”

Kazimierz Smolen:

“During an evening roll call, we were told that all the sick among us could go away for treatment… that they could leave to be cured, and that they were to sign up. Of course, it was said that they would be going for treatment. And, in the camp, some people believed it…”

Lucjan Salzman:

“I ran in that direction and as I came onto that place I noticed many prisoners yelling and screaming and
jumping and dancing. And there standing amongst them were seven giants, young people. They must have been 18 or 19—American soldiers. There were seven or eight of them standing inside the camp. Apparently
they cut the wire and came into the camp.
They were bewildered by us. Wild and unkempt and dirty and, I’m sure, smelly people, jumping and dancing and trying to embrace them and kiss them. And I did too. I also joined the crowd and yelled and screamed and somehow knew that the day of liberation has come.
It was a strange feeling for me, however, because as I remember it, on the one hand, I was, I was overwhelmed by this unexpected and unhoped for encounter of freedom, but at the same time, what
was happening was outside of me. I really—I didn’t know what to make of it. I knew I was free, but I didn’t count on it. I somehow didn’t know what it meant. And I knew it was great, but I, I was overjoyed
because all people around me were overjoyed and were singing and dancing and, and—but I, I was 17.I, I was free, but what it meant, I wasn’t sure”

Vasyl Valdeman:

“That’s how it was—the first execution—the most horrible one. It wasn’t the last one. There were three more large executions after that with 2000 to 3000 people shot at every one of them. More people were executed afterwards in smaller scale ones and this is how the Jewish community of Ostrog was annihilated.”

All over the Soviet Union in the summer of 1941 the Nazis and their collaborators were murdering women and children at close range and in cold blood. Himmler realised he had to find a better way of killing—better for the murderers, not their victims.

Which is why SS Lieutenant Dr. Albert Widmann of the Technical Institute of the Criminal Police travelled into Eastern Europe. Widmann and his colleagues had been involved in the experiments which had led to the use of bottled carbon monoxide to kill the disabled. But he knew that it would be expensive and difficult to send canisters of carbon monoxide all the way to the new killing locations far from Germany. So he had to find a new way forward, which is why he drove into the Soviet Union followed by a truck carrying boxes of high explosive. Widmann reported to Artur Nebe, commander of one of the killing squads, at his headquarters in the Lenin House in Minsk.

Widmann reported to Artur Nebe, commander of one of the killing squads, at his headquarters in the Lenin House in Minsk.

“I hope you’ve got enough explosives with you? You ordered 250 kg, I’ve brought 450 kg with me. You never know. Very good.”

Nazi eyewitness account of murder experiment with explosives: “The bunker had totally collapsed, there was total silence. Body parts were scattered on the ground and hanging in the trees. And the next day we collected the body parts and threw them back into the bunker. Those parts that were too high in the trees were just left there.”

After this horror, Widmann and his SS colleagues tried another method of mass murder—this one suggested by what had happened to Artur Nebe of the SS earlier on in the year. Nebe had driven home drunk from a party in Berlin and passed out in his garage with the car engine still running. As a result the carbon monoxide from the exhaust gasses had nearly killed him. Learning from Nebe’s experience, Widmann and his colleagues then conducted experiments in the Soviet Union, like that one.

sources

https://www.pbs.org/auschwitz/about/transcripts.html

https://www.eisenhowerlibrary.gov/research/photographs/world-war-ii-holocaust-images

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/testimonies-holocaust-survivors-now-online-180976883/

Band of Brothers

I recently bought a subscription for an application called Now TV. I basically bought it because it has some great box sets on it like ‘Sopranos’ .Howver I also saw that ‘Band of Brothers’ was on it too.

I forgot how good and powerful the show is. Last night I watched the second last episode, episode 9 titled “Why we fight” it is the episode where they come across one of the sub camps of Dachau. There is one powerful line in that episode which describes all the ‘enemies’ of the Third Reich.

“They are musicians, clerks, artists, doctors, teachers, Poles or Gypsies they are Jews, considered “undesirable” by the Germans. ” None of the men in the camp had any military connection.

There is one other scene earlier on in the episode, and I hadn’t noticed it before,. One of the men of EZ company entered a shop looking for VAT 69 whisky. Behind them there is a poster of a company called Opekta.

That is the company that Anne Frank’s father Otto managed in Amsterdam.

Anne Frank wrote in her diary on June 20, 1942: “Since we are Jews, my father went to the Netherlands in 1933. He became director of the Dutch Opekta company for jam production. “

source

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0185906/?ref_=ttfc_fc_tt

Dachau herb garden

Aside from their murderous practices, the SS also had several businesses.

On January 23, 1939 Oswald Pohl .the head of “SS Main Economic and Administrative Office” founded the “German Research Institute for Nutrition and Food Provision Ltd.” The shareholders were the SS concern “German Earth and Stone Works Ltd.” and a member of the SS Main Economic and Administrative Office. Although his name is not found in available sources, it can be assumed that the individual concerned was the SS-Standartenfuhrer (Colonel) Dr. Salpeter whose name was recorded as that of a trusted shareholder at the end of 1939. The major aim of the undertaking was the cultivation and study of medicinal plants and spices. Its management was the responsibility of Hauptsturmfuhrer (Captain) Heinrich Vogel in the Office of Economic Administration of the WVHA. According to the partnership agreement the research institute had the following tasks:

a) Systematic research and cultivation of those medicinal herbs native to Germany in the interest of the national economy
b) Supplying German and foreign markets with German drugs.
c) Production of new drugs and new syntheses based on scientific research.
d) Maintenance of laboratories.
e) Acquisition of plots
f) The organization of all commercial and agricultural transactions arising in connection with the enterprise e.g. poultry and animal farms etc.

The plantation at the Dachau concentration camp was the centerpiece of the whole venture which came to include a wide range of assorted projects. While at the end of 1939 there were in total only three in operation (Dachau, Ravensbruck, Bretsteintal in der Steiermark.) by the end of 1944 the “German Research Institute for Nutrition and Food Provisions Ltd” comprised over twenty agricultural enterprises as well as fish hatcheries and the administration and oversight of properties in the occupied territories of Czechoslovakia, Poland, and the Soviet Union.

One of these enterprises was the herb garden in Dachau, Known as the plantation.

The plantation at Dachau and the smaller one at Ravensbruck concentration camp were distinctive in the sense that they were cultivated almost exclusively by prisoners. The other projects, which were spread across Germany an Austria, employed a good deal more civilian workers and were cultivated only in part by prisoners. They were also less labor intensive, being based around experiments with biodynamic cultivation methods in which both Himmler and Pohl were believers as well as cattle and sheep breeding and experimenting with veterinary medicine etc.

Ernst-Günther Schenck was tasked to set up the plantation.in Dachau concentration camp, which contained over 200,000 medicinal plants, from which, among other things, vitamin supplements for the Waffen-SS were manufactured.

In 1940 he was appointed as inspector of nutrition for the SS. In 1943 Schenck developed a protein sausage, which was meant for the SS frontline troops. Prior to its adoption it was tested on 370 prisoners in Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp, some of whom died of hunger.

The extensive cultivation of medicinal herbs, however, particularly in the given climate conditions, was highly labor intensive: such a project under the the prevailing wage conditions was hardly feasible. For the initiators of the project to use concentration camp prisoners was therefore an obvious one. Using a labor force that could be exploited could guarantee the viability of the whole undertaking.

The plantation was located outside the prisoner camp. It was a large nursery with areas of cultivated land that, from 1938 onwards, the prisoners were forced to lay out and work on. The SS described this agricultural operation euphemistically as the “herb garden”. Today, the area is mostly overbuilt with industrial buildings.

The complex comprised numerous structures, including a maintenance building, a teaching and research institute, a shop, an equipment shed, a bee house, greenhouses, as well as large sections of productive land. It was Heinrich Himmler’s idea that by cultivating and studying medicinal and aromatic herbs the Nazi state could itself independent of its reliance on foreign medicines and herbs. Establishing a “Volk medicine” in close touch with nature was a prestige project of Nazi health policy and was avidly supported by the leader of the SS. Responsible for selling the produce from the experiments and testing was the SS-owned company “Deutsche Versuchsanstalt für Ernährung und Verpflegung GmbH” (DVA).

The residents of Dachau, as in the town Dachau, and neighboring areas could purchase the produce of the “herb garden” in a shop. There individual prisoners succeeded in secretly establishing contact with the civilian population who helped them, at the risk of death, to smuggle goods and information in and out of the camp.

The prisoners called the feared deployment to the outdoor areas of the “herb garden” the “plantation” work detail. They were forced to do the extremely arduous and exhausting work no matter the weather. Inadequate clothing, malnutrition, bullying and abuse by the SS turned the already hard outdoor work into a perilous torture. The working conditions in the buildings and greenhouses were less brutal. A work detail of illustrators had to compile a herbarium.

The former administrative and institute building as well as remnants of three greenhouses with added end structures have survived. There are plans to restore the building ensemble, which is in the possession of the City of Dachau authority. Based on a new utilization concept, the historical structures are to be integrated into the Memorial Site and become part of its ‘space of memory’.

In April 1945 Dr. Ernst-Günther Schenck volunteered to work in an emergency casualty station located in the large cellar of the Reich Chancellery, near the Vorbunker and Führerbunker,during the battle in Berlin.

Although he was not trained as a surgeon and lacked the experience, as well as the supplies and instruments necessary to operate on battle victims, he nonetheless assisted in major surgical operations. During these surgeries, Schenck was aided by Dr. Werner Haase, who also served as one of Hitler’s private physicians. Although Haase had much more surgical experience than Schenck, he was greatly weakened by tuberculosis, and often had to lie down while giving verbal advice to Schenck.

During the end time in Berlin, Schenck saw Hitler in person twice, for only a brief time: once when Hitler wanted to thank him, Haase, and nurse Erna Flegel for their emergency medical services, and once during the reception after Hitler’s marriage to Eva Braun.

Because of this chance encounter with Adolf Hitler his memoirs proved historically valuable. His accounts of this period are prominent in the works of Joachim Fest and James P. O’Donnell regarding the end of Hitler’s life, and were included in the film Downfall (2004).

sources

https://www.thirdreicharts.com/the-dachau-herb-garden

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Forgotten heroes- Risking their lives to oppose an evil regime.

I would be lying if I would say that all Dutch opposed the Nazi occupiers, because there were many who were happy enough, to follow the rules of the new lords of the land.

However there were also many who opposed the evil regime and especially opposed the way they treated their Jewish friends and neighbours.

Organisations like ‘Het Derde Front” ,the third front- a Marxist resistance group, called to boycott all businesses who refused Jews. There was a national strike on February 25 and 26,1941, organized by several groups like the CPN)Communist Party Netherlands) and also the third front.

Both actions were announced by using posters and flyers. Anyone who would have been caught carrying these posters, would face severe punishments including the death penalty.

A few dozen organizers and participants of the strike were arrested and executed. Two of them died in Dachau. This did instill fear in the population of the Netherlands, because prior to that the Nazis hadn’t been too harsh against the Dutch, with the exception of the Jewish citizens of course.

However there were several acts of bravery throughout the war.

Approximately 75% of all Jews in the Netherlands were murdered during the Holocaust, an estimated 105,000. This is the highest number per capita of all occupied countries. In retrospect it is easy to judge those who didn’t act, but unless you have been in a situation like that yourself, you can’t

It is true that many collaborated with the Nazis and some of them made a living out of it, additionally the Dutch had a very sophisticated and effective civil service, combined with very accurate and up to date records of all citizens. This of course did help the Nazis greatly.

Despite all of that there were thousands who helped their Jewish fellow citizens, in many ways, again facing severe punishments and even the death penalty if they were caught.

Yad Vashem puts the number of the Dutch ‘Righteous among the Nations’ on 5,851. This is also the highest number per capita of all righteous.

The Righteous Among the Nations, honored by Yad Vashem, are non-Jews who took great risks to save Jews during the Holocaust. Rescue took many forms and the Righteous came from different nations, religions and walks of life. What they had in common was that they protected their Jewish neighbors at a time when hostility and indifference prevailed.

One of these brave people was Pieter Bosboom.

Pieter (Piet) Bosboom was responsible for rescuing around 1,000 people, Jews as well as Allied airmen and other fugitives. He was born in Zaandam, North Holland, to a religious Calvinist mother and socialist father, from both of whom he got his deeply humanistic character. As the Nazis tightened their grip on power in Germany, Piet became involved in bringing illegal refugees over the border to Holland. He quickly learned “laundering” techniques to provide escapees with new identities and visas to third countries.

In May 1940, he began organizing Resistance cells in and around Zaandam and prepared the local community to host Jewish fugitives. In August 1943, the director of the Bergstichting, a home for wayward children, was warned of an impending raid.

The institution, which was run by a non-Jewish couple, the Reitsemas, was home to many Jewish children and counselors. The director turned to the Resistance group run by Piet and Marietje Overduin and hiding places were found for the Jews. Among those in danger was Ruth Donath (later Neuberger), an immigrant from Vienna whose entire family had been deported. She was determined to leave her fate to chance and refused to go into hiding. Piet did his utmost to persuade her to change her mind, although she pointed out that nobody would have her because of her Jewish looks. Ruth finally gave in and was found a hiding place in Friesland and survived the war.

On November 3, 1970, Yad Vashem recognized Pieter Bosboom as Righteous Among the Nations.

It would be easy to judge those who did nothing, but I prefer to honor those who did act, and let them be my example. Because although the war and the Holocaust maybe over, the ideology that was at the foundation of this is still around, For decades it has been simmering in the background but in recent times it has be coming more and more to show itself.

Love still lingers on but so does hate and if we give in to that hate, history will repeat itself.

sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/653/berg-stichting

https://www.yadvashem.org/righteous/about-the-righteous.html

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Is it acceptable to use data from Nazi medical experiments?

The question ‘Is it acceptable to use data from Nazi experiments?’ is one of the most difficult ethical questions to answer. At least for me it is, I am a man who bases a lot of his decisions on his gut feeling. In this case my gut feeling says no.

However if I keep my opinion of this devoid of all emotion, it throws up another question ‘Is it acceptable to use data from Nazi experiments, to safe someone in your family?’. In that case I more then likely would come to a different answer.

I am not going to tell anyone what their answer should be. I will just highlight some of the experiments and how they were conducted. But I’ll start with one experiment and its conclusion.

At the start of August 1942, at Dachau concentration camp, prisoners were forced to sit in tanks of freezing water for up to three hours. After subjects were frozen, they then underwent different methods for rewarming. Many subjects died in this process. The data of this experiment did reveal that body-temperature recovery was fastest with immersion in warm water, but that rewarming and presumably survival were achieved with the other methods, too.

The horizontal axis shows minutes, and the vertical axis temperature (°C). The German title can be translated as “Effect of combined rewarming treatment: warm bath, massage and light box.” The water temperature was 8°C. The arrows and numbers (1 to 6) were superimposed by the present author. Translations of the corresponding notations from the German are: 1, in water; 2, period out of bath (no German notation); 3, warm bath; 4, massage; 5, light box; and 6, response to speech (regaining of consciousness).

Sterilization Experiments: Himmler’s interest in Dr Clauberg’s Cell Block 10 was sterilization. He convinced Clauberg to begin experiments on reversing his infertility treatments and to discover ways to block the fallopian tubes. Clauberg redirected all of his energies toward the single goal of effective mass sterilization. Thousands of inmates had their genitals mutilated in order to discover cheap methods of sterilization. The Nazis hoped that these methods could ultimately be applied to millions of “unwanted” prisoners. Women at Auschwitz were sterilized by injections of caustic substances into their cervix or uterus, producing horrible pain, inflamed ovaries, bursting spasms in the stomach, and bleeding. Young men had their testicles subjected to large doses of radiation and were subsequently castrated to ascertain the pathological change in their testes.

Mustard gas experiments: Between September 1939 and April 1945, many experiments were conducted at Sachsenhausen, Natzweiler, and other camps to investigate the most effective treatment of wounds caused by mustard gas. Test subjects were deliberately exposed to mustard gas and other vesicants (e.g. Lewisite) which inflicted severe chemical burns. The victims’ wounds were then tested to find the most effective treatment for the mustard gas burn.

Poison Experiments: A research team at Buchenwald developed a method of individual execution through the intravenous injections of phenol gasoline and cyanide on Russian prisoners. The experiments were designed to see how fast the subjects would die.

Tuberculosis Experiments: The Nazis conducted experiments to determine whether there were any natural immunities to Tuberculosis (“TB”) and to develop a vaccination serum against TB. Doctor Heissmeyer sought to disprove the popular belief that TB was an infectious disease. Doctor Heissmeyer claimed that only an “exhaustive” organism was receptive to such infection, most of all the racially “inferior organism of the Jews.” Heissmeyer injected live tubercle bacilli into the subjects’ lungs to immunize against TB. He also removed the lymph glands from the arms of twenty Jewish children. About 200 adult subjects perished, and twenty children were hanged at the Bullenhauser Dam in Heissmeyer’s effort to hide the experiments from the approaching Allied Army.

Malaria experiments: Between February 1942 to about April 1945, experiments were conducted at the Dachau concentration camp in order to investigate immunization for treatment of malaria. Healthy inmates were infected by mosquitoes or by injections of extracts of the mucous glands of female mosquitoes. After contracting the disease, the subjects were treated with various drugs to test their relative efficacy. Over 1,200 people were used in these experiments and more than half died as a result .Other test subjects were left with permanent disabilities.

Malaria card of Father Bruno Stachowski from Claus Schilling’s research at Dachau. Approximately 1000 cards were kept back from destruction by the prisoner assistant Eugène Ost.

Epidemic Jaundice experiments: From about June 1943 to about January 1945 experiments were conducted at the Sachsenhausen and Natzweiler concentration camps, for the benefit of the German Armed Forces, to investigate the causes of, and inoculations against, epidemic jaundice. Experimental subjects were deliberately infected with epidemic jaundice, some of whom died as a result, and others were caused great pain and suffering.

Every prisoner of the regime was deemded to be a potential subject for inhuman research. Helpless victims, the inmates of psychiatric hospitals and concentration camps, were available for exploitation while alive. Leading scientists and professors took an active part in this ruthless abuse. Every university anatomical institute in Germany — and probably Austria — was the recipient of the cadavers of victims of Nazi terror, in particular, political victims executed by the Gestapo.

After the war, West Germany allowed Doctor Baron Otmar Von Verschuer to continue his professional career. Doctor Von Verschuer was the mentor, inspiration and sponsor of Mengele. After he executed his victims. Mengele would personally remove the victims’ eyes, while there were still warm, and ship them to Von Verschuer to analyze. n 1951, Verschuer was awarded the prestigious professorship of human genetics at the University of Münster, where he established one of the largest centers of genetics research in West Germany.

The question ‘Is it acceptable to use data from Nazi experiments?’ will remain a controversial one.

sources

https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199005173222006

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4822534/

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/nazi-medical-experiments

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/epidemic-jaundice-experiments

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/medicine-and-murder-in-the-third-reich#3

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-ethics-of-using-medical-data-from-nazi-experiments#2

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