The day Roland Freisler received justice.

Freisler

One of the most despicable henchmen of he Nazi regime was Roland Freisler.Te only redeeming factor he had that he also tried high-ranking Nazis . You could be for 90% certain that if you would appear before his court you would be sentenced to death or to life imprisonment.

On 20 August 1942, Hitler appionted  Freisler as president of the People’s Court.This court was instrumental in securing the Nazi stranglehold over Germany

Not only would Freisler sentence defendants.often for no real reason or without any evidence, he would also humiliate them.

One time he yelled at one defendant“You are crying!”  who started to cry in court, “What do you want to tell us with the tears in your eyes?” Freisler  sentenced that man to be hung with a thin rope so that he would, as per Hitler’s orders, suffer a slow death.

However on February 3rd, 1945 Judge Freisler got his comeuppance.USAAF Lt. Colonel Robert Rosenthal led a bombing raid with his B-17 over Berlin.

b 17

Freisler was conducting a Saturday session of the People’s Court at the time and although the air sirens were sounding,Freisler refused to evacuate the building.

He stayed behind to get  files for  the trial of Fabian von Schlabrendorff, one id the  July 20 plot conspirators. Freisler planned to sentence von Schlabrendorff to death that day.

Fabian

However things didn’t turn out the way he planned.A sudden direct hit on the court-building shortly after 11 am caused a partial internal collapse, with Freisler being crushed by a masonry column and killed while still in the courtroom.

Schlabrendorff’s life was spared but ironically Freisler received the swift justice he had been  such a fan of.

court

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Sources

USHMM

Allthatisinteresting.com

Bundes archiv

 

 

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Alfred Delp-“Vincula amoris” -chains of love.

Alfred Delp

I know the Catholic church has quite a few questions to answer when it comes to WWII, but there were many within the church who stood up against the Nazi regime, knowing that it could cost them their lives and for many it did.

Alfred Delp was a German  Jesuit priest. Witnessing at  first hand his country being turned into something he could not stand, Alfred Delp opposed bitterly the rising tide of Nazism, which eventually cots him his life.

He was a member of the inner Kreisau Circle resistance group(a group of about twenty-five German dissidents led by Helmuth James von Moltke, who met at his estate in the rural town of Kreisau)

estate

He was arrested in Munich on 28 July 1944, with other members of the circle after the attempted assassination of Hitler on July 20 1944. After suffering brutal treatment and torture, Delp was brought to trial. Even though he knew nothing of the attempted assassination.

He was transferred to Tegel Prison in Berlin. Whilst in prison, he secretly began to say Mass and wrote letters, reflections on Advent, on Christmas, and other spiritual subjects,which were smuggled out of the prison before his trial. On 8 December 1944.

On the day of his trial he got  visit from Franz von Tattenbach SJ, sent by Augustin Rösch, Father Delp’s superior in Munich  to receive his final vows to the Jesuit Order. This was forbidden by the Nazis, but the attending policemen did not understand what was going on.Delp wrote on the same day, It was too much, what a fulfillment, I prayed for it so much, I gave my life away. My chains are now without any meaning, because God found me worthy of the “Vincula amoris” (chains of love)

Delp was offered his freedom if he would renounce the Jesuits. He refused and was hanged February 2, 1945. His body was cremated and his ashes spread on an unknown field.

Martyr

 

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Sources

Jesuits in Ireland

Ignatius Insight

Wikipedia

ignatianspirituality.com

The Nobel price and the Third Reich.

nobel

Adolf Hitler often displayed toddler like behaviour. If he didn’t get his way or if someone did something he didn’t like, he would throw a tantrum.

In 1935 the Nobel peace prize was awarded to Carl von Ossietzky(pictured above). He was a German pacifist He was awarded the prize for something which happened before Hitler came to power.In 1931 Carl von Ossietzky was arrested because he  published details of Germany’s violation of the Treaty of Versailles by rebuilding an air force, which was the predecessor of the Luftwaffe, and training pilots in the Soviet Union.

He was also a very vocal anti Nazi and was openly critical about Hitler and the Nazi regime.On 28 February 1933 he was sent to Spandau  prison for “protective custody” and later on he was transferred to the Esterwegen concentration camp.

esterwegen

When the Nobel foundation awarded the 1935 Nobel Peace Prize to Carl von Ossietzky, (although it was the 1935 Nobel peace prize it actually was awarded in 1936), Hitler was offended. His reaction was to issue a decree on 31 January 1937 which forbade German nationals to accept any Nobel Prize.

This resulted in Gerhard Domagk not getting the 1939 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Richard Kuhn not being able to get the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1938 and Adolf Butenandt not allowed to accept for the the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1939.

In 1939 the Swedish Social Democrat and Anti Fascist Erik Gottfrid Christian Brandt nominated Hitler for the Nobel Peace Prize , in a ironic and sarcastic manner. The nomination was accepted.

Below is the text of his nomination.

“To the Norwegian Nobel Committee

I hereby humbly suggest that the Peace Prize for 1939 is awarded the German Chancellor and Führer Adolf Hitler, a man, who in the opinion of millions of people, is a man who more than anyone in the world has deserved this highly respected reward.

Authentic documents reveal that in September 1938 world peace was in great danger; it was only a matter of hours before a new European war could break out. The man who during this dangerous time saved our part of the world from this terrible catastrophe was without no doubt the great leader of the German people. In the critical moment he voluntarily did not let weapons speak although he had the power to start a world war.

By his glowing love for peace, earlier documented in his famous book Mein Kampf – next to the Bible perhaps the best and most popular piece of literature in the world – together with his peaceful achievement – the annexation of Austria – Adolf Hitler has avoided the use of force by freeing his countrymen in Sudetenland and making his fatherland big and powerful. Probably Hitler will, if unmolested and left in peace by war mongers, pacify Europe and possibly the whole world.

Sadly there still are a great number of people who fail to see the greatness in Adolf Hitler’s struggle for peace. Based on this fact I would not have found the time right to nominate Hitler as a candidate to the Nobel Peace Prize had it not been for a number of Swedish parliamentarians who have nominated another candidate, namely the British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. This nomination seems to be poorly thought. Although it is true that Chamberlain through his generous understanding of Hitler’s struggle for pacification has contributed to the saving of world peace, the last decision was Hitler´s and not Chamberlains! Hitler and no one else is first and foremost to be thanked for the peace which still prevails in the greater part of Europe; and this man is also the hope for peace in the future. As Chamberlain obviously can claim his share of the peace making, he could possibly have a smaller part of the Peace Prize. But the most correct thing to do is not to put another name beside the name of Adolf Hitler and thereby throwing a shadow on him. Adolf Hitler is by all means the authentic God-given fighter for peace, and millions of people all over the world put their hopes in him as the Prince of Peace on earth.

Stockholm, January 27 1939”

Brandt withdrew his nomination in February 1939 because he hadn’t expected his nomination to be taken serious.

Imagine if he hadn’t withdrawn the nomination and Hitler had won(stranger things have happened), Then Hitler would have to break his own rule to accept his prize.

peace

Eventually no Nobel Peace Prize was awarded in 1939.

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Source

Nobelprize.org

Quartz

 

 

 

 

Kurt Heissmeyer-“For me there was no basic difference between human beings and guinea pigs.”

kurt

One of the more disturbing aspects of the Holocaust is that so many perpetrators got way with murder, even after admitting to it.

Kurt Heissmeyer was a SS physician and the nephew of the senior SS officer August Heissmeyer.

In order for Kurt to receive a professorship he requires to present original research.

Even though  previously proof was dismissed , his hypothesis was that  injecting of live tuberculosis bacilli into subjects , the bacilli would function as a vaccine. Another aspect of his experiment was based on the Nazi racial theory that race played a factor in developing tuberculosis.

tb

By proving his theory he injected live tuberculosis bacilli into the lungs and bloodstream of 20  Jewish children, at the Neuengamme concentration camp.

On April 20,1945 on the birthday of Hitler and just a few weeks before the war ended, the children were sent to Bullenhuser Damm School, which had been used as a satellite camp. This was done in order to destroy evidence of the experiments. The 20 children and 4 carers were hanged.

Kurt escaped detection after the war and returned home to Maggdeburg in East Germany where he resumed his medical career, it was only in 1959 when he was discovered . He was sentenced to a life sentence in 1966, a year before he died age 61.

When asked why he didn’t use guinea pigs he responded, “For me there was no basic difference between human beings and guinea pigs.” He then corrected himself: “Jews and guinea pigs”. Heissmeyer died on 29 August 1967.

His uncle August was even luckier, Although he had been a senior SS officer who at one stage was in charge of the SS Leadership Main Office ,who were responsible of the supervision of the concentration camps,He only spent 4 years in  total in prison. After release he became the director of the West German Coca-Cola bottling plant.

august

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Isolating the Jews.

duif

Long before the first trains left for the concentration camps , the Jews in Germany were isolated. Not yet by putting them in ghettos but by removing them from every aspect of social life.

On this day 80 years ago the Jews were forbidden to keep  carrier pigeons ,aka homing or postal pigeons, as ordered by The Reich Ministry of the Interior.

You may think”What’s the big deal in that?” It may not look like a very harsh measure but this law was the last law ensuring the Jews would have no communication with the outside world.

Any one who knows something about keeping carrier pigeons knows that these birds were not just common pigeons . They are trained for a long time and it is very costly.

So not did the Nazi regime starve the Jews from the last means of communication, it also destroyed a hobby of those who would have invested a lot of time and money.

Yet another bit of psychological torment.

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Hamburger SV-Altona 93:Final score 4-2. The match on April 29, 1945.

FOOTBALL

There was a bit of a scandal this week in Dublin. On of the Dublin based soccer teams,Ballybrack, pretended that one of their star players was killed in a car crash. The team wanted to postpone an up coming match and came up with the death as an excuse. The ting is though there was no crash, the player didn’t die in fact he knew nothing of this  at all.

This bizarre incident reminded me of another bizarre soccer event. On April 29, 1945 two Hamburg teams, Hamburger SV and Altona 93 played a league match.

 

Some of you might think how bizarre was that.Well, compared to the aforementioned Irish team that was desperate to avoid playing, the 2 Hamburg teams were desperate to play the match despite a remarkable backdrop.

Hamburger SV was without 3 of its star players Rudi Noak, Werner Höffmann and Eugen Kahl, but that wasn’t what made this match so remarkable. The date was April 29 1945. Nearly everyone in Germany must have known the war was coming to an end. Even Hitler knew because on that same day he married Eva Braun, knowing quite well that they would end their lives the following day.

The Dachau concentration camp was liberated by American forces. Nearer to Hamburg about 50 km away at Lauenburg,British forces crossed the Elbe river just a few hours before the match started.

troops

Despite all this ,hundreds of football fans would make their way to the stadium, not knowing what fate awaited them.

Hamburger SV beat Altona 93 by 4-2in what would be the last soccer match of the third reich.

 

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Social Equality

ah

Be careful what you wish for.

A leader that works with and for the people.Free higher education,pensions, health insurance,family and child support.A variety of public services including paid vacations, not just days off but actually weeks away and trips abroad, sponsored by the state.State supported and sponsored entertainment.Jobs for everyone, full employment.

Professors and mail man who greet each other in an equal and cordial manner

Al this wasn’t just a Utopia it was all a reality for the Germans in Nazi Germany, well at least for those who fit the nation’s desired profile, the Aryan profile. The greeting was Heil Hitler it became the universal greeting and a symbol of social equality.

So when you are promised a utopia better ask how all this is been paid for the and  motivation behind the promise, because this utopia could carry a very high price tag.

amf

 

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Indifference becomes hate.

hate

They say that money of the root of all evil. It isn’t. Hate is the root of all evil and indifference is the root of all hate.

Indifference can turn ordinary but ill informed people into hateful individuals and mobs. Ill informed because they believe what their leaders tell them,without questioning them.

I could do this blog about any era in history because throughout history there have been many occasions where indifference became hate, but I will focus on the darkest era , WWII.

The picture above is of Jewish women in Linz, Austria who were exhibited in public with a cardboard sign stating “I have been excluded from the national community”

German students taking part in race education classes, 1943.The 3 groups displayed on the poster are, from top to bottom, “East Baltic race” Alpine race” and “Dinaric race”. All these three groups were considered part of the sub-races of the Caucasian race.

education

Sinti in the courtyard of Hohenasperg Prison prior to their deportation to camps in Poland. May 22, 1940.

sinti

A women accused of racial defilement for having a romantic affair with a Polish man, Altenburg, Thuringia, Germany. 7 February 1942. Again with a cardboard sign stating “I have been excluded from the national community”

mockery

The indifference was partially caused by self interest. Hitler made promises in relation to the prosperity and he created the perception that he kept his promises. Although the economic recovery had already started before he came to power, the dire situation in Germany prior to that was still fresh in the  memories of many citizens.

People at a crowded dormitory of a lodging house for the homeless in Berlin in 1920.

homeless

German World War I veteran and amputee begs for money on the street.1923.

wwi

For many who had suffered Hitler had become a champion for their cause and they were willing to look away from the things the Nazis did, because they had a roof of their heads and food on the table and they were indifferent to the price that was paid for that new found prosperity.

AH

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And the guns fell silent.

wwi

November 11, 1918. 10:59 am, one last volley of machine gun fire, one last soldier to die.Henry Nicholas John Gunther took one last charge with his bayonet, The enemy warned him , but he wanted to proof himself.He wanted to show his demotion from Sergeant to Private had been unjustified.

One last hoorah, one last act of bravery. The enemy warned him again but to no avail,  Henry N. Gunther kept going, the machine guns rattled, Henry N Gunther fell down,dead. But a Sergeant he was yet again.

Henry

His misguided act of bravery was more an act of madness ,because 60 seconds later the war was over. But he wasn’t to blame the so called Great War was based on human insanity.

November 11, 1918. 11:00 am the guns fell silent.

What was supposed to end before Christmas 1914 lasted 4 bloody years 40 million dead and for what?

The guns fell silent but soon they would fire again.

END OF WAR

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Karl Friedrich Stellbrink-Lübeck martyr.

Martyr

Karl Friedrich Stellbrink was one of the 4 Lübeck Martyrs.I could have done a blog on all 4 but the reason why I chose Stelbrink is three fold.

  1. He was the only non Catholic clergy man of the 4.
  2. He was the first to be arrested.
  3. His wife was also victimized.

All four men were executed by beheading on 10 November 1943 less than 3 minutes apart from each other at Hamburg’s Holstenglacis.

The men all opposed the Nazi regime.

martyrs

The four priests spoke publicly against the Nazis – at the start discreetly like distributing pamphlets to friends and congregants. Later they copied and distributed the anti-Nazi sermons of the Catholic Bishop August von Galen.

Stellbrink had joined the Nazi party but he soon realized their warped ideology,and its incompatibility with his Christian teaching.He declined to break off his friendship with his Jewish friends and in 1937 he left the party.

In his sermon on Palm Sunday, March 29,1942 he uttered the following words “In the misery of our home city we hear God’s voice” The previous night the city was bombed by the allied forces,killing more then 300 people. His sermon was interpreted as a divine punishment by God on the Nazi regime.He was arrested just over a week later on April 7, 1942.

On 22 and 23 June 1943 he and the other 3 men were put on trial. They were all sentenced to death. On November 10 ,1943 they were all beheaded within a few minutes of each other.

After his death, Stellbrink’s widow was billed for his court costs, imprisonment, and execution.

Lubeck

There is no doubt that the Christian churches should have done more, but their paralysis was caused by fear, the world had not witnesses such evil before. Although their inaction is in one way understandable it is still no excuse.

However often people forget that on an individual level there were many Christians that helped save the lives of Jews and others, by putting their own lives at risk.

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