Dachau 1933-1945

State prosecutor Albert Rosenfelder, at the front of the picture

Hitler had a vision for an empire that would last a thousand years. It only lasted 12, but in those 12 years, he and his Nazi party did more damage than any empire before.

On 30 January 1933, Von Hindenburg have appointed Hitler chancellor. “It is like a dream. The Wilhelmstraße is ours,” Joseph Goebbels, the future Minister of Propaganda, wrote in his diary. Wilhelmstraße in Berlin was recognised as the centre of the government in Germany.

On 23 March 1933, the Reichstag met in Berlin. The main item on the agenda was a new law, the ‘Enabling Act.’ It allowed Hitler to enact new laws without interference from the president or Reichstag for four years. It gave Hitler and the NSDAP absolute power in Germany. The day before that on 22 March, in a picturesque town called Dachau—20 Kilometers north of Munich—the first concentration camp was opened.

A press release stated:

“On Wednesday the first concentration camp is to be opened in Dachau with accommodation for 5,000 people. All Communists and—where necessary—Reichsbanner and Social Democratic functionaries, who endanger state security, are to be concentrated here, as in the long run, it is not possible to keep individual functionaries in the state prisons without overburdening these prisons, and on the other hand, these people cannot be released because attempts have shown that they persist in their efforts to agitate and organize as soon as they are released.”

The camp stayed open until 29 April 1945, when it was liberated by the US Army.

In those 12 years, the camp had 10 camp commandants:
• SS-Standartenführer Hilmar Wäckerle (22 March 1933–26 June 1933)
• SS-Gruppenführer Theodor Eicke (26 June 1933–4 July 1934)
• SS-Oberführer Alexander Reiner [de] (4 July 1934 –22 October 1934)
• SS-Brigadeführer Berthold Maack (22 October 1934–12 January 1935)
• SS-Oberführer Heinrich Deubel (12 January 1935–31 March 1936)
• SS-Oberführer Hans Loritz (31 March 1936–7 January 1939)
• SS-Hauptsturmführer Alexander Piorkowski (7 January 1939–2 January 1942)
• SS-Obersturmbannführer Martin Weiß (3 January 1942–30 September 1943)
• SS-Hauptsturmführer Eduard Weiter (30 September 1943–26 April 1945)
• SS-Obersturmbannführer Martin Weiß (26 April 1945–28 April 1945)

Rudolf Höss, later commandant of Auschwitz-Birkenau, learned much from Theodor Eicke at Dachau. Facing trial and likely execution in Poland for his crimes during World War II, Höss recounted a flogging he witnessed in Dachau. It was Eicke’s order, Höss remembered, that at least one company of SS personnel be there when the punishment was carried out:

“Two prisoners had stolen cigarettes from the canteen and were sentenced to twenty-five blows of the cane. The soldiers lined up in a U-shaped formation with their weapons. The punishment bench stood in the middle. The two prisoners were presented by the block leaders. The commandant put in his appearance. The camp commander and the senior company reported to him. The duty officer read the sentence and the first prisoner, a small, hardened, lazy man, had to lie down across the bench. Two soldiers from the troop held his head and hands firmly while two block leaders carried out the sentence, alternating after each blow. The prisoner didn’t utter a sound. It was different from the second one, a strong, broad-shouldered, political prisoner. After the first blow, he screamed wildly and wanted to tear himself loose. He continued screaming to the last blow, even though the commandant told him repeatedly to be quiet.”

In January 1941, the leader of the Dutch Nazi party, Mussert, was invited to Munich by Himmler. Goal: to enthuse the NSB leader to the SS. The Dutch NSB delegation included Mussert, Van Geelkerken, Rost, Feldmeijer and Zondervan. On 20 January 1941, a surprise tour awaited: a day at the Dachau concentration camp. The visitors were shown nice-looking aspects of the camp: model dormitories, good sanitary facilities, and a kitchen that produced good quality food that everyone tasted and thought was the usual prison fare. In March 1946, Mussert says in the cell barracks in Scheveningen: ‘So I was in Dachau in 1941. It was beautiful. People were in the free air: they painted, baked, and gardened. They looked good and smiled. Of course, I found that out later, I saw the exhibition section.’

Although they did not have the same level of evilness as the NSDAP, the NSB were nevertheless willing participants in the Holocaust. Mussert may not have been fully aware of what was going on in Dachau in January 1941, since it was reasonably early on in the war, but he knew exactly what the fate of the Jews was later on and he facilitated the occupying Nazi regime in any way he could.

Beginning in 1942, Nazi doctors performed medical experiments on prisoners in Dachau. Physicians and scientists from the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) and the German Experimental Institute for Aviation conducted high-altitude and hypothermia experiments, as well as experiments to test methods of making seawater potable. These efforts aimed to aid German pilots who conducted bombing raids or who were downed in icy waters. German scientists also carried out experiments to test the efficacy of pharmaceuticals against diseases like malaria and tuberculosis. Hundreds of prisoners died or were permanently disabled as a result of these experiments.

While these “medical experiments” happened behind closed doors, new evidence of ominous intent became visible in the layout of the camp itself. In 1942, a new crematorium was constructed, supplementing the existing one erected two years earlier. This new crematorium, named “Barrack X,” was fitted with four furnaces, a disinfection section, and, most chilling in retrospect, a gas chamber. Generally, the SS utilized the crematoria to immolate the bodies of inmates who died in the camp. They also hanged or shot inmates involved in resistance activity there (the whole area was separated from the prisoners’ barracks by a wall). Despite all the labour and resources expended, the SS thankfully never implemented the mass gassing of human beings at Dachau.

The number of prisoners incarcerated in Dachau between 1933 and 1945 exceeded 200,000.

The number of prisoners who were murdered in the camp and the subcamps between January 1940 and May 1945 was at least 28,000. This number does not include those who were killed there between 1933 and the end of 1939, as well as an unknown number of unregistered prisoners. Also, a great number committed suicide. It is unlikely that the total number of victims who died in Dachau will ever be known.

As late as 19 April 1945, prisoners were sent to KZ Dachau; on that date, a freight train from Buchenwald with nearly 4,500 was diverted to Nammering. SS troops and police confiscated food and water that local townspeople tried to give to the prisoners. Nearly three hundred dead bodies were ordered removed from the train and carried to a ravine over 400 metres away. The 524 prisoners who had been forced to carry the dead to this site were then shot by the guards, and buried along with those who had died on the train. Nearly 800 bodies went into this mass grave.

On 26 April 1945, prisoner Karl Riemer fled the Dachau concentration camp to get help from American troops and on 28 April, Victor Maurer, a representative of the International Red Cross, negotiated an agreement to surrender the camp to U.S. troops. That night a secretly formed International Prisoners Committee took over the control of the camp. Units of the 3rd Battalion, 157th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Felix L. Sparks, were ordered to secure the camp. On 29 April, Sparks led part of his battalion as they entered the camp over a side wall. At about the same time, Brigadier General Henning Linden led the 222nd Infantry Regiment of the 42nd (Rainbow) Infantry Division soldiers including his aide, Lieutenant William Cowling, to accept the formal surrender of the camp from German Lieutenant Heinrich Wicker at an entrance between the camp and the compound for the SS garrison. Linden was travelling with Marguerite Higgins and other reporters; as a result, Linden’s detachment generated international headlines by accepting the surrender of the camp. More than 30,000 Jews and political prisoners were freed, and since 1945 adherents of the 42nd and 45th Division versions of events have argued over which unit was the first to liberate Dachau. But one thing that can’t be argued, what the liberators found was something that stayed with them for life.

The disturbing aspect about all of this is that the torturing and killing all happened within the boundaries of German law.

sources

https://www.history.com/news/dachau-concentration-camp-liberation

https://www.nationalww2museum.org/war/articles/shocking-level-brutality-and-degradation-dachau-wartime

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/dachau

https://www.annefrank.org/en/anne-frank/go-in-depth/germany-1933-democracy-dictatorship/

https://www.hmd.org.uk/resource/22-march-1933-dachau-concentration-camp-established/

Tattoo Z-1557

(courtesy of John Davis)

This is an excerpt of John Davis’s book “Rainy Street Stories”

It tells the story of a survivor he met at Flossenburg, who had survived Auschwitz, Ravensbruch, and finally Flosssenburg

“Z-1557
While vacationing many years ago my wife Jane and I decided to visit Flossenburg, West Germany. This charming little town is nestled in among rolling hills, fresh brooks, and quaint farmhouses. In the late 1930s, though, the Nazis chose Flossenburg as the site of a concentration camp. It was for that reason we drove along a particularly pleasant road in search of this place.

The German town is, from all outward appearances, wholesome, sturdy and solid. It was difficult to find the old camp. We finally asked a pedestrian where the former concentration camp was and he indicated it was up a hill on the way out of town. We drove there and parked in a shaded lot. A guided path led us along memorials to the thousands of Europeans murdered there. Indeed, the actual incinerator was still in place. The strange feelings that overcame us were difficult to get a handle on.

The symbolic crosses and memorial tablets were fitting. Fitting is the appropriate word. Not moving. Not horrifying. A few flowers, recently placed, were what moved us. They were, in this park-like setting, perhaps the only scene that associated the place with the dread and terror of those many years ago. Real people, just like us, were rounded up, beaten, whipped, hung, shot and hacked to death there. Yet there was no sense conveyed that any of that had happened. Except, of course, from the anonymous people who placed the flowers. They had lost someone, and still felt the loss.

One of the last stops at the concentration camp is a re-created barracks building. Inside is a museum. Scenes in black and white somehow make it all seem distant and unreal. We stopped at a marker dedicated to famous inmates killed there – Admiral Wilhelm Canaris and Pastor Dietrich Bonhoffer. And then we turned to go.
As we arrived at the parking lot, we were approached by two strangers. They’d been in the museum at the same time we were. He asked me what I thought of the memorial. He thought we were English, and were surprised to discover we were Americans. I told him I really had gotten no sense of the dread reality of events at this place.

“No,” he said in German. “It is like a park. We were recently in Auschwitz. I can tell you that as a retired engineer, with one company of engineering soldiers I could have Auschwitz fully operational in 30 days.”Yet at Flossenburg, I said, there didn’t seem to be any sense of what it had really been like.

“Nor for us,” he said. “My wife could not even recognize the place when we drove in. You see, she was an inmate here.”

It was then that I noticed the woman. She was dark, small, and very thin. She wore long sleeves on a hot August day. I asked how she came to be put there. “Racial hatred,” she said. “I was a Roma, a gypsy, living in Danzig. In 1941 my entire village was rounded up. We were put into cargo trains and brought to Auschwitz, where they kept us crammed like animals in barracks for five months.”

She pulled up her sleeve, revealing the tattoo – Z-1557. Z for zigeunerin, or Roma, a gypsy. “Then, one day, they had a formation to select women who could work,” she continued. “I was chosen and sent at 3 o’clock by train to Ravensbrueck, a concentration camp for women. I only learned this week, due to the remarkable records the Nazis kept, that my family together with all the other Romani then held in Auschwitz were massacred four hours later that very evening.”

My wife and I were stunned. We’d never met an actual inmate of such a place. We didn’t know what to say. She finished her story. “After being held in Ravensbrueck, I was sent to Buchenwald, and after that to this place.”

“Did you see the photographs inside?” her husband asked. “Did you see the one where the commandant and guards of Flossenburg were being tried?”

I recalled a photograph that showed about 50 German prisoners being tried by an American tribunal. “Did you see the look on the Germans’ faces?” He inquired. “They looked like bored opera viewers. Their faces said, ‘So what are you going to do to me?’ Only a dozen or so of those tried received the death penalty. Three times that number were free men within eight years. They really did escape from justice. I think that the whole lot of them should have been finished off,” he said.

“We’ve just visited all the places where my wife was once held. She could not bring herself to go into Auschwitz,” he said.

That camp, in Poland, and some others – Buchenwald, in what was East Germany, for another – seem more as they might have been when in use. Not Flossenburg. “This place is a park,” he continued. “Who can even tell that there was a camp here? I think that here in the West the memory of such a place will go away in another generation.”

The tears his wife cried that day were for the murdered who were still part of her life after all these years. Can we imagine ourselves there? Can we imagine our own families in such a place?

Such places as Flossenburg were huge operations during the war. They were immense and readily visible from afar. Whether those who were alive back then knew, is a question for the past. Whether those of us alive today remember and do all in our power to stop such things from ever happening again, anywhere, is a question that we must answer for.

It has been said that to do good and avoid evil is not enough. We have to do good and undo evil. Why did we meet these strangers in a parking lot in Flossenburg?
I think the sensation I had at Flossenburg was an awareness of evil. That evil was smug, and evil was present. It was smug because it was waiting. Waiting for us to forget in the park that is Flossenburg”

source

The Execution of a Sadist

The beautiful beast and the hyena of Auschwitz were just some names used for Irma Grese. She was born to Berta Grese and Alfred Grese, both dairy workers, on 7 October 1923. Irma was the third of five children (three girls and two boys). In 1936, her mother died by suicide after drinking hydrochloric acid following the discovery of Alfred’s affair with a local pub owner’s daughter.

Holocaust survivor said this about Grese: “She was one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen. Her body was perfect in every line, her face clear and angelic, and her blue eyes the gayest, the most innocent eyes one can imagine. And yet, Irma Grese was the most depraved, cruel and imaginative pervert I ever came across.”

According to professor Wendy A. Sarti’s research, Grese had a sick fondness for striking women on their breasts and for forcing Jewish girls to be her lookout as she raped inmates. As if this wasn’t enough, Sarti reported that Grese would sick her dog on prisoners, whip them constantly, and kick them with her hobnailed jackboots until there was blood.

After the war, several Holocaust survivors provided extensive details of murders, tortures, cruelties and sexual excesses engaged in by Irma Grese during her years at Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen. They testified to her acts of pure sadism, beatings and arbitrary shooting of prisoners, savaging of prisoners by her trained and half-starved dogs, to her selecting prisoners for the gas chambers.

On 13 December 1945, in Hamelin Prison, Grese was led to the gallows. British Army Regimental Sergeant-Major Richard Anthony O’Neill was an assistant to the executioner, Albert Pierrepoint. “We climbed the stairs to the cells where the condemned were waiting. A German officer at the door leading to the corridor flung open the door and we filed past the row of faces and into the execution chamber. The officers stood at attention. Brigadier Paton-Walsh stood with his wristwatch raised. He gave me the signal, and a sigh of released breath was audible in the chamber, I walked into the corridor. “Irma Grese,” I called. The German guards quickly closed all grilles on twelve of the inspection holes and opened one door. Irma Grese stepped out. The cell was far too small for me to go inside, and I had to pinion her in the corridor. “Follow me,” I said in English, and O’Neil repeated the order in German. At 9:34 a.m. she walked into the execution chamber, gazed for a moment at the officials standing around it and then walked on to the centre of the trap, where I had made a chalk mark. She stood on this mark very firmly, and as I placed the white cap over her head she said in her languid voice, Schnell [Quickly]. The drop crashed down, and the doctor followed me into the pit and pronounced her dead. After twenty minutes the body was taken down and placed in a coffin ready for burial.”

I am not sure if there ever was a film made about Irma Grese, but if a movie would be made I think Elisabeth Moss should play her, the resemblance is uncanny.

sources

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/irma-grese

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/sadistic-holocaust-camp-guard-evil-27483513

https://allthatsinteresting.com/irma-grese

https://www.historytoday.com/history-matters/real-beast-belsen-irma-grese-and-female-concentration-camp-guards

The Significance of December 12 in the Context of the Holocaust

The letter above is dated 18 December 1943. However, it is in direct connection with a program that started eight years earlier. On 12 December 1935, the Lebensborn program began as a campaign to encourage so-called “racially valuable” Germans to have more children. Lebensborn initially focused on giving financial assistance to members of the SS with large families and providing pregnant “German-blooded” women with medical care in comfortable maternity houses. During World War II, the program also became involved in the kidnapping of thousands of foreign children for adoption into German families to counter Germany’s declining birthrate.

On 13 September 1936, nine months after the program had been initiated, Heinrich Himmler wrote the following to members of the SS:

“The organisation “Lebensborn e.V.” serves the SS leaders in the selection and adoption of qualified children. The organisation “Lebensborn e.V.” is under my personal direction, is part of the Race and Settlement Central Bureau of the SS, and has the following obligations:
• Support racially, biologically and hereditarily valuable families with many children.
• Placement and care of racially, biologically and hereditarily valuable pregnant women, who, after a thorough examination of their and the progenitor’s families by the Race and Settlement Central Bureau of the SS, can be expected to produce equally valuable children.
• Care for the children.
• Care for the children’s mothers.
It is the honourable duty of all leaders of the central bureau to become members of the organisation “Lebensborn e.V.” The application for admission must be filed prior to 23 September 1936.”

One of the children conceived via the Lebensborn program is Anni-Frid Synni Lyngstad from the Swedish pop band ABBA.

After her birth on 15 November 1945, the result of an encounter between her mother, Synni, and a German sergeant, Alfred Haase, Anni-Frid’s mother and grandmother were branded as traitors and ostracized in their village in Northern Norway. They were forced to emigrate to Sweden, where Anni-Frid’s mother died of kidney failure before her daughter was two.

It is estimated that 20,000 Polish children were kidnapped who passed the Germanization criteria and were integrated into the Lebensborn program.

Below is the translation of the letter above:

Lodz. 18 Dec. 1943
To Mr Karl Müller

Richrath / Langenfeld Rietherbach St. 11
R IV / I – A. E. – 023 – Hei / MHW –

Subject: placement of a child
Reference: Preceding correspondence
Condition: proof of health (2 persons)

Dear Mr Müller!
I am pleased to finally announce that I have found two boys, one of which you will most likely approve. They are Sep Piehl, born on 3 December 1935, and Eugen Bartel, born on 11 March 1937. I believe that at least one of them is of an age that is well-suited to your household. The children currently live in Oberweis (Upper Danube). Arrange to take the 6:19 train leaving Gmunden on 4 January 1944, and arrive in Oberweis at 6:37. If you need overnight accommodation, confirm with me and I will arrange it. It is necessary that you bring your identification papers with you. Please notify me no later than 22 December 1943, whether I can expect you in Oberweis on 4 January. In any event, please complete the accompanying proofs of health for yourself and your wife. The authorized departmental or SS physician will, as is standard, provide me with the completed forms. I hope that my news to you has given you special Christmas joy.

Hail Hitler!
On behalf of: signed

Most people will have heard of the Wannsee conference, but only a few know about the meeting that preceded the conference. That meeting may have had greater implications than the Wannsee conference.

On the afternoon of the 12th of December 1941, Hitler ordered the leading members of the Nazi party to a meeting in his private rooms at the Reich Chancellery.

The announcement Hitler made on 12 December to the Reichsleiter and Gauleiter refers to an earlier statement he had made on 30 January 1939:

“If the world of international financial Jewry, both in and outside of Europe, should succeed in plunging the Nations into another world war, the result will not be the Bolshevization of the world and thus a victory for Judaism. The result will be the extermination of the Jewish race in Europe.”

With the United States being dragged into World War II on 7 December 1941 and the subsequent declaration of war on the US by Nazi Germany on 11 December, the war, especially regarding the above statement, had become truly a World War. Hitler announced this declaration of war on 11 December in the German Reichstag, a speech also broadcast on the radio. On 12 December 1941, he had a meeting with the most important Nazi leaders.

Attendance in this meeting was obligatory for Nazis in high party offices. No official list of the people who attended this meeting exists, but the following leaders of Nazi Germany, are known to have been there:

Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, Joseph Goebbels, Martin Bormann, Hans Frank and Philipp Bouhler. More than likely, Alfred Rosenberg; Gauleiters Arthur Greiser, Fritz Bracht, and Fritz Sauckel, Reichskommissars Hinrich Lohse and Erich Koch, and Alfred Meyer were also present. Known to have been absent from this meeting were Hermann Göring and Reinhard Heydrich.

Joseph Göbbels. noted the following in his diary on 13 December 1941.

“Regarding the Jewish question, the Fuehrer is determined to clean the table. He prophesized that should the Jews once again bring about a world war, they would be annihilated. These were no empty words. The world war has come, therefore the annihilation of the Jews has to be its inevitable consequence. The question has to be examined without any sentimentality. We are not here to pity Jews but to have pity for our own German people. If the German people have sacrificed about 160,000 dead in the battles in the east, the instigators of this bloody conflict will have to pay for it with their lives.”

What is so significant about the December 12 meeting is that Adolf Hitler himself was present and had called for the meeting. Believe it or not, but to this day there are still people who claim that Hitler had no hand in the murder of Jews, clearly, that meeting shows his full knowledge and endorsement and also that he ordered the mass murder.

On that same day, the first group of Jews was deported to Majdanek: 150 men who had been captured in a manhunt in the Lublin ghetto. By 6 January 1945, just 17 of them were still alive and were liberated from the camp by an order of the German Labor Ministry in Lublin. Between 22 February and 9 November 1942, at least 4000 Jews from Lublin were murdered in Majdanek.

Werner Galnik, a young Jewish boy in the Riga Ghetto in Latvia worded it probably the best in his diary entry of 12 December 1941.

“I figured this way: Hitler loves only the Germans, but no other people, and particularly not us Jews. Does it follow that because we are Jews we must be prisoners? Did my father perhaps steal or murder that he should be arrested? And what had my dear mother done? And what did we children do?”

sources

https://perspectives.ushmm.org/item/brochure-for-the-lebensborn-program/collection/family-life-during-the-holocaust

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2002/jun/30/kateconnolly.theobserver

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/joseph-goebbels-on-the-jewish-question

https://en-academic.com/dic.nsf/enwiki/10444531

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/lebensborn-program

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-quot-lebensborn-quot-program

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There Are No Answers, Just More Questions

For several years I have been on a quest to find answers, initially about the death of my Grandfather, but also about why the Holocaust happened.

In the case of my Grandfather, I have found something like an answer, or at least something I can live with.

However when it comes to the Holocaust I have discovered there are no answers, just more questions. The picture above is of the Cordoza and Abas families.

Only the 3 youngest boys survived, The other 13 people were murdered. Among them was Sara Abigael Cardozo born in Amsterdam on 29 November 1937. He was murdered in Auschwitz on 21 October 1944 at the age of six.

Below is a picture of Friedreich Josef Bier. He was born in
Düsseldorf on 22 September 1927 and murdered in Bergen-Belsen on 29 November 1944. He reached the age of 17 years. He was the son of Julius Bier and Berta Bier-Lewin. I share my birthday with his mother Berta. Friedrich’s siblings survived.

I don’t understand the hate, the randomness of the murders. Why children? I know that especially Himmler spread the lie that the children would take revenge. But did that happen after any war where the children would take revenge for the death of their parents on a large scale?

Another thing that I can’t understand is why so many stood by and did nothing. For fear? Allegedly Hitler told one of his inner circle that the world stood by when the Armenian Genocide took place and did nothing. He reckoned it would be the same with the genocide of the Jews, Gypsies, Homosexuals and so many others.

Why are there today still people, who say that the Holocaust never happened?

Finishing up with a poem by Martin Niemöller as a reminder that the hate and ignorance that caused the Holocaust have not gone away, it is merely lurking in the shadows waiting for the time to strike again. There are no answers just more questions, but that doesn’t mean I will stop looking.

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

—Martin Niemöller

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/29821/friedreich-josef-bier

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/151023/sara-abigael-cardozo

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/martin-niemoeller-first-they-came-for-the-socialists


All Quiet on the Western Front

I watched All Quiet on the Western Front, last night. I thought that November 11 would be the perfect date to watch a World War I movie. It is a very powerful retelling of the story. Although I thoroughly liked the movie, this is not going to be a review of it, suffice to say I do recommend it.

This post is going to be about the man who wrote the book, Im Westen nichts Neues, which was translated into English as All Quiet on the Western front Erich Maria Remarque was born as Erich Paul Remark, his life was everything but quiet. it is also a reflection of how little regard the Nazis had for their World War I heroes.

Remarque was born on June 22nd, 1898, in Westphalia. After a local school and university education, he was drafted aged 18 and sent to Flanders on June 12, 1917.

Remarque was wounded five times within a month of being on the western front, the last during the third battle of Ypres. He began writing in a military hospital about his experiences, supplementing them with stories of fellow injured soldiers.

Remarque was the third of four children of Peter and Anna. His siblings were his older sister Erna, older brother Theodor Arthur (who died in early childhood), and younger sister Elfriede. The spelling of his last name was changed to Remarque when he published All Quiet on the Western Front in honor of his French ancestors and to dissociate himself from his earlier novel Die Traumbude (which he started writing at the age of sixteen and completed, but it was not published, until 1920). His grandfather had changed the spelling from Remarque to Remark in the 19th century.

In 1929, Remarque scored his greatest success with All Quiet on the Western Front. The novel, a lasting tribute to Germany’s “lost generation” that perished in the Great War, became an immediate international bestseller. In Germany alone in 1929, the book sold almost one million copies. It was translated into more than a dozen languages, including English, Chinese, and Dutch.

All Quiet on the Western Front earned Remarque accolades generally from the liberal and leftist press for the work’s pacifist stance. The Nazis and conservative nationalists immediately called it an assault on Germany’s honor, a piece of Marxist propaganda, and the work of a traitor.

That same year, German-born Hollywood producer Carl Laemmle, acquired the rights to make a film of the book. In May 1930, the American film premiered in Los Angeles and won Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Director. That summer, audiences in France, Britain, and Belgium flocked to the film and it received popular acclaim.

Nearly immediately the Hollywood-made movie ran into trouble in Germany. When it was proposed for showing, a representative of the German Ministry of Defense demanded that its screening be rejected on the grounds that it damaged the country’s image and shed a bad light on the German military. In response, the Berlin censorship office requested Laemmle to edit the film, which was done. Remarque’s former boss, the press and film magnate, and outspoken German nationalist, Alfred Hugenberg, indicated that because of the movie’s alleged anti-German bias it would not be shown in any of his theaters. He subsequently petitioned German president, Paul von Hindenburg, to ban the film.

In December 1930, when the edited and dubbed version of the film was shown to the general public in Berlin, the Nazis sabotaged the event. The Party’s leader in Berlin and its propaganda chief, Joseph Goebbels, organized a riot to disrupt the showing. Outside, SA Stormtroopers intimidated moviegoers, while inside they released stink bombs and mice and harangued the audience. At subsequent showings, the Nazis carried out violent protests. In response to these actions and conservative attacks on the film, the government banned the film. Liberals and socialists condemned the action, but the prohibition lasted until September 1931, when Laemmle produced a more censored version for German audiences.

Remarque left Germany for Switzerland in 1932.

Once in power, Goebbels banned all Remarque’s works, stripped him of his citizenship, and let his Nazi rumor mill claim the author’s birth name, Remark (his grandfather dropped the French spelling), was a reversal of his real, Jewish, name: Kramer. On May 10, 1933, pro-Nazi students consigned his works to the flames during the fiery book-burning spectacles staged throughout the country. Remarque’s writing was publicly declared as unpatriotic and was banned in Germany. Copies were removed from all libraries and restricted from being sold or published anywhere in the country. The 1930s version of cancel culture.

In 1943, the Nazis arrested his youngest sister, German: Elfriede Scholz, who had stayed behind in Germany with her husband and two children. After a trial at the notorious Volksgerichtshof (Hitler’s extra-constitutional “People’s Court”), she was found guilty of “undermining morale” for stating that she considered the war lost. Court President Roland Freisler declared, “Ihr Bruder ist uns leider entwischt—Sie aber werden uns nicht entwischen” (“Your brother is unfortunately beyond our reach – you, however, will not escape us.”) Elfriede was beheaded on 16 December 1943. The bill of 495.80 Reichsmarks was sent to her surviving sister, Erna. Remarque later said that his sister had been involved in anti-Nazi resistance activities.

In exile, Remarque was unaware of his sister Elfriede’s fate until after the war. He would dedicate his 1952 novel Spark of Life (Der Funke Leben) to her. The dedication was omitted in the German version of the book, reportedly because he was still seen as a traitor by some Germans

In 1944, Remarque wrote a report for America’s Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the country’s foreign intelligence organization and the forerunner to today’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). In it, he urged the Allies to adopt a systematic policy for re-educating the German population after the war. Germans, he believed, had to be exposed to Nazi crimes and evils of militarism.

When you watch the movie, and I hope you will, or read the book then please remember it is not just a bit of cultural history, but also something that is still current. That hate has never left, it just came back in different configurations.

(Many thanks to John Davis for pointing out the story to me, and Jackie Frant for doing some research on it)

sources

https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/an-unquiet-life-erich-maria-remarque-and-all-quiet-on-the-western-front-1.3772230

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/erich-maria-remarque-in-depth

https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/erich-maria-remarque-born

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erich_Maria_Remarque#Early_life

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Laying the Foundation for Hate

When I see young people being very passionate about something that has a political undertone, I always wonder who is really behind that.

The Nazis understood that for them to successfully implement their racial ideas and policies, they would have to indoctrinate the youth. Hitler had a very strong viewpoint on education. The only teacher he liked at secondary school was his history teacher Leopold Potsch.

Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf (1925): “Dr. Leopold Potsch, my professor at the Realschule in Linz, embodied this requirement to an ideal degree. This old gentleman’s manner was as kind as it was determined, his dazzling eloquence not only held us spellbound but carried us away. Even today I think back with gentle emotion on this gray-haired man who, by the fire of his narratives, sometimes made us forget the present; who, as if by enchantment, carried us into past times and, out of the millennial veils of mist, molded dry historical memories into a living reality. On such occasions, we sat there, often aflame with enthusiasm, and sometimes even moved to tears. What made our good fortune all the greater was that this teacher knew how to illuminate the past by examples from the present, and how the past draws inferences for the present. As a result, he had more understanding than anyone else for all the daily problems which then held us breathless. He used our budding nationalistic fanaticism as a means of educating us, frequently appealing to our sense of national honor. By this alone he was able to discipline us little ruffians more easily than would have been possible by any other means. This teacher made history my favorite subject. And indeed, though he had no such intention, it was then that I became a little revolutionary. For who could have studied German history under such a teacher without becoming an enemy of the state which, through its ruling house, exerted so disastrous an influence on the destinies of the nation? And who could retain his loyalty to a dynasty which in past and present betrayed the needs of the German people again and again for shameless private advantage?”

Leopold Poetsch began his history teaching career in Maribor and later moved to Linz. He held strong nationalist opinions on the subject and believed that all ethnic Germans should be united by a single government. He also held strong racist views and told his pupils that Jews and Slavs were members of “inferior races”. However in later years took some distance from his former pupil, and considered Hitler an enemy of Austria.

The Nazis went to great extents on teaching the German youth to be proud of their race through biology teaching, the National Socialist Teachers League (NSLB) in particular taught in schools that they should be proud of their race and not to race mix.

Race biology was meant to encourage the Germans to maintain their racial purity, the NSLB stressed that as early as primary schools Germans have to work on only the Nordic racial element of the German Volk (people) again and again and have to contrast this with the racial differences that foreign peoples such as the Jews represent.

Every institution was infused with National Socialist ideology and infiltrated by Nazi personnel in chief positions. Schools were no exception.

Schools and universities were to:

indoctrinate young people into the racial ideas of Nazism and make children loyal to Hitler – this was in effect a form of brainwashing;
train girls to be good Aryan wives and mothers, and prepare boys to be effective soldiers.

Make young people “swift as a greyhound, as tough as leather, and as hard as Krupp steel”. All teachers had to join the Nazi Teachers’ Association, which vetted them for political and racial suitability. By 1939, 97 percent of teachers belonged to it.

Jewish teachers were fired.

Teachers had to go to summer school so they could teach Nazi ideas effectively. Pupils were encouraged to inform the authorities if teachers did not teach and support Nazi ideas.

There were even so-called Bride Schools. The Reich Bride Schools (German: Reichsbräuteschule) were institutions established in Nazi Germany in the late 1930s. They were created to train young women to be “perfect Nazi brides”, indoctrinated in Nazi ideology and educated in housekeeping skills. The fiancées of prominent SS members and senior Nazi Party officials (and later a wider range of German women) were taught skills including cooking, child care, ironing, and to how to polish their husbands’ uniforms and daggers. They were required to swear oaths of loyalty to Adolf Hitler, to pledge to raise their children as Nazis, and to marry in what the Nazis alleged to be ceremonies based on the pre-Christian model.

The bride schools were a collaboration between Gertrud Scholtz-Klink and SS chief Heinrich Himmler, who was obsessed with German superiority over all races and the need for a “strong family life to create a strong, pure nation”.

Gertrud Scholtz-Klink

Regulations dictated that young women would be taught ‘washing, cooking, childcare and home design’ before they could walk up the aisle with the men who would staff death camps and rule conquered lands with an iron fist.

They were also instructed in social niceties – such as how to hold conversations at cocktail parties – and how to bring up their children worshipping not God or Jesus Christ, but Hitler. Although several bride schools were established in locations across Germany, the demands of the Second World War made it impossible for the Nazis to realize their ideal of women as being exclusively homebound.

Nazi racial policy did not always include degrading Jews but had to always maintain the importance of German blood and the Aryan race. This was often connected to the blood and soil ideology.

Whilst the young Germans were being taught about the importance of one’s blood, at the same time they were being taught about the dangers that the Jews represent in Germany and the necessary living space in the East, in particular Russia.

Novels portrayed the Germans as uniquely endowed and possessors of a unique destiny. The segregation of races was said to be natural, just as separate species did not come together in nature.

Der Giftpilz was a piece of antisemitic Nazi propaganda published as a children’s book by Julius Streicher in 1938. The title is German for “the poisonous mushroom/toadstool”.

The book explains that the Talmud discourages Jews from performing manual labor and encourages them to engage in trade instead; that it teaches Jews that non-Jews are meant to be slaves and asks Jews to enslave the non-Jewish population; and that Talmudic law allows Jews to cheat non-Jews. The book was sometimes used in German schools.

The indoctrination, or rather brainwashing, also happened in third-level education, in the Universities. On May 10, 1933 student groups at universities across Germany carried out a series of book burnings of works that the students and leading Nazi party members associated with an “un-German spirit.” Enthusiastic crowds witnessed the burning of books by Brecht, Einstein, Freud, Mann, and Remarque, among many other well-known intellectuals, scientists, and cultural figures, many of whom were Jewish. The largest of these book bonfires occurred in Berlin, where an estimated 40,000 people gathered to hear a speech by the propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, in which he pronounced that “Jewish intellectualism is dead”

The information in this post comes from a great number of sources. The reason why I did this article is to warn people. There are groups out there at the moment who are manipulating young people, to be foot soldiers for their political ideas. We need to check who is behind some of these movements, some of them have a noble veneer, but if you scratch the surface you might discover there is a different agenda behind it.

Of course, the vast majority of young people are decent human beings.

sources

https://www.ushmm.org/collections/bibliography/1933-book-burnings

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/brief-history-book-burning-printing-press-internet-archives-180964697/

https://histclo.com/schun/country/ger/era/tr/book/ned-book.html#:~:text=The%20NAZIs%20proceeded%20to%20unabashedly,of%20the%20national%20community%20…

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2390238/How-perfect-Nazi-bride-The-sinister-regulations-women-learn-breed-cook-sew-iron–worship-Hitler.html

https://slate.com/human-interest/2013/10/nazi-bride-schools-educated-german-women-in-racial-values-and-homemaking.html

https://nypost.com/2013/08/13/documents-reveal-secrets-behind-the-third-reichs-bride-schools-where-women-were-trained-to-be-perfect-nazi-wives/

https://spartacus-educational.com/Leopold_Potsch.htm

https://spartacus-educational.com/GEReducation.htm

https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/guides/z897pbk/revision/3

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I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2, however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thank you. To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the PayPal link. Many thanks.

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Kristallnacht Testimonies

On November 9–10, 1938, the Nazis unleashed a series of pogroms against the Jewish population in Germany and recently occupied and annexed territories. It should have been clear to the rest of the world what the Nazis were really about.

Telegram from Sir G Ogilvie Forbes regarding the damage dealt to Jewish properties during ‘Kristallnacht’ on 10 November 1938

From GERMANY.

Telegram (en clair) from Sir G. Ogilvie Forbes (Berlin),

“D. BY TELEPHONE. 10th November, 1938.

R 5.5p.m. 10th November, 1938

No.663.

IMPORTANT

My telegram No. 661.

I have just returned from a tour of Friedrichstrasse and city districts where Jewish shops are being smashed and looted by youths in plain clothes, followed by large and smiling crowds including soldiers and others in party uniforms. Police were taking no notice.

Only exception was the premises of Messrs. Israel, a big department store partly British-owned which was guarded by police with fire brigade standing by. His Majesty’s Consul-General who visited these premises informs me that enormous damage has been done to stock and fittings. According to Mr. Israel store was attacked early this afternoon by a crowd which included S.S. men in uniform. Business offices owned by Jews are also being entered and smashed up apparently with impunity. Similar attacks on Jewish property are said to be taking place all over Germany.

His Majesty’s Consul Dresden reports that a British Jew from Leipzig has asked for asylum in the Consulate as Jews in Leipzig are being beaten up. I have taken immediate steps with the Under Secretary of State for the safeguarding of British subjects.

Chief Rabbi of Berlin has been arrested and seven synagogues have been burnt.

The facts that these attacks began only after midnight last night and that Jewish shops and offices have been systematically signalled out indicate that this action was deliberately planned.”

Testimony from survivor Steve Adler.

Steve Adler


Kristallnacht

Kristallnacht started on the evening of the ninth of November ’38. I went to school in the morning with my brother but we were immediately sent home. There was a man in our living room with my dad, and he took him away. He was gone for six-weeks. And during that six-week time, I didn’t know where he was. He came back on the 23rd of December, 38 six-weeks later—beaten up, smelling terribly, he was a mess. Shaved head, no hair on his head; and that was a “good” camp. That was Sachsenhausen North of Berlin, one of three camps operating in Germany.

sources

https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/education/resources/holocaust/kristallnacht/


Peter Stumpp –Werewolf of Bedburg

I am always fascinated by the popularity of serial killers. Everyone will know at least the name of one serial killer. The one thing that isn’t clear is who actually first coined the term serial killer, it is either, FBI Special agent Robert Ressler, criminologist Ernst Gennat or journalist John Brophy.

One might be forgiven to think that Jack the Ripper was the first serial killer, but there have been quite a few before him. We often associate serial killers with the US or UK, but there have been many of them across the globe.

Peter Stumpp was a German farmer and alleged serial killer, accused of werewolfery, witchcraft and cannibalism. He was known as ‘the Werewolf of Bedburg’.

The most comprehensive source on the case is a 16-page pamphlet published in London in 1590, the translation of a German print of which no copies have survived. The English pamphlet, of which two copies exist (one in the British Museum and one in the Lambeth Library), was rediscovered by occultist Montague Summers in 1920. It describes Stumpp’s life, alleged crimes and the trial, and includes many statements from neighbours and witnesses on the crimes.Summers reprints the entire pamphlet, including a woodcut
The Werewolf of Bedburg
From George Bores, 1590:

… Thus continuing his devilish and damnable deeds within the compass of a few years, he had murdered thirteen young children, and two goodly young women big with child, tearing the children out of their wombs, in most bloody and savage sort, and after ate their hearts panting hot and raw, which he accounted dainty morsels and best agreeing to his appetite.

Moreover, he used many times to kill lambs and kids and such like beasts, feeding on the same most usually raw and bloody, as if he had been a natural wolf indeed, so that all men mistrusted nothing less than this his devilish sorcery…”

The sources in Peter Stumpp vary, and around 1590 a pamphlet of 16 pages has been published in London as a translation of a German print, however, no copies of the original have survived. The document describes Stumpp’s live and all alleged crimes as well as his trial. Stumpp was born at the village of Epprath near the country-town of Bedburg in the Electorate of Cologne. Unfortunately, his exact birthdate is unknown as the local church registers were destroyed during the Thirty Years’ War. It is believed that the name “Stump” or “Stumpf” may have been given him as a reference to the fact that his left hand had been cut off leaving only a stump, in German “Stumpf” and it was alleged that as the ‘werewolf’ had its left forepaw cut off, then the same injury proved the guilt of the man. Stumpp’s name is also spelled as Peter Stube, Peter Stub, Peter Stubbe, Peter Stübbe or Peter Stumpf, and other aliases include such names as Abal Griswold, Abil Griswold, and Ubel Griswold. It is assumed that Stumpp was a farmer in his rural community and he possibly was a widower with two children. According to the judiciary at the time, Peter Stumpp committed at least 16 murders, rapes and incest over a period of 25 years in Epprath and Bedburg in the Rhineland in the guise of a werewolf. He was also accused of sorcery and living with a “she-devil”.

There were whisperings of a wolf-like creature roaming the countryside killing both humans and livestock. The creature was described as “greedy… strong and mighty, with eyes great and large, which in the night sparkled like unto brands of fire, a mouth great and wide, with most sharp and cruel teeth, a huge body and mighty paws.”

People were soon traveling from town to town only in large, heavily armed bands. Travelers would sometimes stumble on victims’ remains in the fields, raising the level of terror even higher. When a child would go missing, the parents would immediately assume all was lost and that the wolf had taken another victim. Although every effort was made to try and kill the creature, it eluded capture for several years until 1589 when a group of men tracking the wolf with their hounds encircled it.

When they moved in for the kill, the wolf was nowhere to be seen. They instead found Stubbe. There seems to be some confusion as to whether they actually saw him transform back from being a wolf or if he just happened to be traveling through the woods at this inopportune moment. Either way, under the threat of torture he confessed to the murders of 13 children, two pregnant women and one man.

The execution of Stumpp, on 31 October 1589, alongside his daughter Beele (Sybil) and mistress, Katherine, is one of the most brutal on record: he was put to a wheel, where “flesh was torn from his body”, in ten places, with red-hot pincers, followed by his arms and legs. Then his limbs were broken with the blunt side of an axe head to prevent him from returning from the grave, before he was beheaded and his body burned on a pyre. His daughter and mistress had already been flayed and strangled, and were burned along with Stumpp’s body. As a warning against similar behavior, local authorities erected a pole with the torture wheel and the figure of a wolf on it, and at the very top they placed Peter Stumpp’s severed head.

Strangely enough, the most modern source on the medieval life and times of Peter Stumpp, otherwise known as the Werewolf of Bedburg, can be found in the lyrics of the rock band Macabre, a group of American troubadours who specialize in the obscure genre of “murder metal.” Paring down the meat of the story to bare bones, their song works in harmony with history yet offers little in the way of understanding. That heartier version can only be found in time-worn sources from the past, all of which provide a feast of gruesome details on the world’s most famous werewolf.

Over 400 years ago
The people were terrorized
Around Bedburg and Cologne
In the German countryside
According to the pamphlet
Published at that time
A man named Peter Stumpp
Committed atrocious crimes

Jedem das Seine

+++++++COTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES+++++++++++

In general I try to avoid posting graphic pictures, for 2 reasons really. Firstly I know from my own experience if something is too graphic I look away. Secondly we live in an era where so many people get offended by everything, and especially the truth, that the only option they feel they have is to get whatever offends them, cancelled.

However sometimes you have to face the reality of what the Holocaust really was, whether you like it or not.

In 1937, the Nazis constructed the Buchenwald concentration camp, 7 km from Weimar, Germany. The motto Jedem das Seine, or “to each his own” or “to each what he deserves”. was placed in the camp’s main entrance gate. The gates were designed by Franz Ehrlich, a former student of the Bauhaus art school, who had been imprisoned in the camp because he was a communist.

Below are just some examples of what the Nazis thought the prisoners of Buchenwald deserved. These photo are from a small photo album. The commentary on the album reads: ‘These photos were captured in 1945 by an American soldier, he says in the German concentration camp Buchenwald. The photos were taken by the Germans themselves, and they show what one person is capable of compared to another.’

More then likely in the forests near Buchenwald

In case you think these were bad, I have actually sanitized the pictures and didn’t post the even more graphic ones. Some of them will haunt me.

This is what well educated and cultured people are capable of doing. Give them a common cause, ‘cancel’ all other opinions and this what happens.

source