1018;518 not just numbers but all individual stories.

Auschwitz

The most disturbing aspect of the Holocaust is the numbers of people being killed. No one of us can even begin to imagine the horror.

Many knew their fate before they got killed. They were put on transports on journeys that sometimes would take days. Journeys under unfathomable inhumane conditions, many would already die during the journeys. The ones who survived the journey only survived to be killed immediately after they arrived at any of the death camps. Or otherwise to be slowly worked to death or killed as part of experiments. Eventually some of those who survived to be liberated, still died because of the weakened state their bodies were in, and even getting proper food would cause such a shock to the system that it killed them.

On June 23 1943 1018 Jews were transported from Drancy, near Paris. to Auschwitz. Of those 1018,518 were killed immediately in the gas chambers. Each one of them an innocent human being. All individual stories, stories like the one of Arthur Goldstein who had been German Jewish journalist and socialist politician. In 1933 when the Nazis took power he fled to Paris. 10 years later the state he had served before as a politician condemned him to death. He was one of those 518 of the Drancy transport who was murdered in the gas chambers on June 25,1943.

I would love to tell the individual story of all the 6 million Jews, 312,000 Serb civilians, 250,000 people with disability, 1.8 Million non Jewish Poles, and all those other victims like homo-sexuals, Gypsies, Soviet POW’s, Soviet civilians and so many others. But it would be impossible for only one man to tell these individual tales of bravery and sacrifice.

One task that lays on all of our shoulders is to make sure we never ever forget and we do not allow for some individuals to rewrite history to accommodate their own political narrative.

gas chambers

 

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Profiling the Criminal mind of Hitler.

OSS REPORT

How do you profile the mind of one of the most evil men whoever roamed the Earth?

The Office of Strategic Services(now CIA) tasked psychoanalyst Walter C. Langer and psychologist Henry Murray to come up with an extensive analysis of Hitler’s mind in 1943. The reports used many sources to profile Hitler, including a number of informants, including Hitler’s nephew, William Patrick Hitler but also Hitler’s book “Mein Kampf”

Langer’s report was titled ” Adolf Hitler: Psychological Analysis of Hitler’s Life & Legend”  It was published in 1972 as “The Mind of Adolf Hitler: The Secret Wartime Report” by Basic Books. . Murray’s report was titled “Analysis of the Personality of Adolph Hitler”

In order to keep this blog readable I will put the links of both reports at the end of this blog. Rather then putting the whole text in the blog. It would become an article  of close to 300 pages. I will however pick a few interesting points of the reports.

Dr Walter Langer divided his report into six sections.

  • Hitler As He Believes Himself To Be
  • Hitler As the German People Know Him
  • Hitler As His Associates Know Him
  • Hitler As He Knows Himself
  • Psychological Analysis and Reconstruction
  • Hitler’s Probable Behavior in the Future

The report is notable for making several correct predictions about Hitler’s future:

++As the war turns against him, his emotions will intensify and will have outbursts more frequently. His public appearances will become much rarer, because he’s unable to face a critical audience.
++There might be an assassination attempt on him by the German aristocracy, the Wehrmacht officers or Oberkommando der Wehrmacht, because of his superhuman self-confidence in his military judgment.
++There will be no surrender, capitulation, or peace negotiations. The course he will follow will almost certainly be the road to ideological immortality, resulting in the greatest vengeance on a world he despises.
++From what we know of his psychology, the most likely possibility is that he will commit suicide in the event of defeat. It’s probably true he has an inordinate fear of death, but possibly being a psychopath he would undoubtedly weigh his options and perform the deed.

Additionally  to the prediction that Hitler would most likely choose suicide, if Germany was defeated Langer’s report claimed that Hitler was “probably impotent”as far as heterosexual relations were concerned and that there was a possibility that Hitler had participated in a homosexual relationship. The report stated that:

“The belief that Hitler is homosexual has probably developed A. from the fact that he does show so many feminine characteristics, and B.from the fact that there were so many homosexuals in the Party during the early days and many continue to occupy important positions. It is probably true that Hitler calls Foerster “Bubi”, which is a common nickname employed by homosexuals in addressing their partners. This alone, however, is not adequate proof that he has actually indulged in homosexual practices with Foerster, who is known to be a homosexual.”(Albert Maria Forster was a Nazi German politician and war criminal and a close associate to Hitler)

fOERSTER

Henry A. Murray’s report was divided in 4 parts.

  • Part A , Brief Analysis of Hitler’s Personality
  • Part B , Predictions of Hitler’s Behavior
  • Part C , Suggestions for the Treatment of Hitler
  • Part D , Suggestions for the Treatment of the German People

There is some overlap between the two wartime reports.

More recently ,Handwriting analyst Sheila Lowe analysed the handwriting of Adolf Hitler, she concluded.

  • He had a cruel and angry nature.
  • He had the hallmarks of an inharmonious personality with an authoritarian attitude and lack of tolerance.
  • There was a sign of depression and lack of optimism and little or no sense of humor to relieve the irritability .
  • There were indications of shyness and inhibition but by contrast there were also signs of his pride in his achievements.
  • There were also suggestions of an explosive temper.
  • He was also very impulsive and was rigidly confirmed in his personal beliefs and indifferent of differing opinions.

handwritin

All of these findings are quite obvious to us now, but it is interesting to see that especially Dr. Langer had already figured out Hitler in 1943.

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Sources

CIA

Profile of a Criminal Mind

https://archive.org/details/APsychologicalAnalysisofAdolfHitler

https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/CIA-RDP78-02646R000100030002-2.pdf

Reichsbahn-‘Weapon’ of mass destruction.

Reichsbahn

If it hadn’t been for the Reichsbahn-the Nazi contolled railways ,the Holocaust would not have been possible to the extend it was.The irony, for lack of a better word, the hate for the Jews by  Hitler ,Himmler and the other Nazi leaders quite possibly caused them to lose the war. So many trains had been allocated to transport Jews and others to the death camps and concentration camps, that there was a lack of trains for transport of troops,supplies and equipment especially to the Eastern front.

Julius Heinrichtrein Dorpmueller was  general manager of Deutsche Reichsbahn-Gesellschaft and the Reich Minister for Transport from 1937 to 1945.After the Nazi seizure of power Dorpmüller replaced nearly all “non-Aryan” workers with National Socialists. Dorpmüller became Reich Transport Minister on 2 February 1937

Dorpmüller had doubts about the capacity of the Reichsbahn and had confessed to Albert Speer  at one stage that the  Reichsbahn had not enough  cars and locomotives available for the German area that it was no longer possible  to meet the most urgent transportation needs.

Speer then convinced Hitler to appoint Albert Ganzenmüller state secretary under Dorpmüller. Ganzenmüller immediately goy  involved in the organisation of trains for deportation.Albert He collaborated in the transportation scheme for elderly German Jews to Theresienstadt and made sure  the  transport to the extermination camps as set up under Operation Reinhardt  ran as smoothly as possible. However there were some complaints about the management of the transports by Ganzemüller. On July 16 Himmler’s personal adjutant Karl Wolff, , complained to the newly appointed under-secretary about irregularities on  transport and track repairs on the line to the extermination camp at Sobibor. Ganzenmüller replied in writing on 28 July 1942 as follows:

“A train carrying 5,000 Jews has run daily since 22 July from Warsaw to Treblinka via Malkinia; furthermore, another train has run twice a week with 5,000 Jews from Przemysl to Belzec. The senior management of the eastern division of the railways, ‘Gedob’ (Generaldirektion der Ostbahnen), is in constant touch with the security service  in Krakau. The latter is in agreement that transport from Warsaw to Sobibor via Lublin should continue while the reconstruction work on this stretch renders such movements impossible ([until] approximately October 1942).”

Karl Wolff thanked him on 13 August 1942 in a personal letter:

“I note with particular pleasure from your communication that a train with 5,000 members of the chosen race has been running daily for 14 days and that we are accordingly in a position to continue with this population movement at an accelerated pace.”

Not only was the Reichsbahn used as a sort of weapon of mass destruction , it was also used as a money making tool.Most of the Jews were forced to pay for their own deportations, particularly wherever passenger carriages were used.According to an expert report established on behalf of the German “Train of Commemoration” project, the receipts taken in by the state-owned Deutsche Reichsbahn for mass deportations in the period between 1938 and 1945 reached a sum of  an equivalent of close to 450 Million Euro or 505 Million USD.

It must be said that it wasn’t only the German railways who were involved, most of the other European railways also transported Jews and other so called’undesirables’ to the camps. Although they were controlled by the Reichsbahn, they still had some level of autonomy.

slovak train

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Archive.org

Bundesarchiv

 

I don’t hate you..

gIDEON

I don’t hate you. I don’t even understand what that word means.

There are things I don’t like, like Spinach. I’d rather have an ice cream or a lolly pop.

Hate is a concept made by grown ups, not by children like me.

I only see the good in people.

Why should I hate you? I don’t even know you.

Yet you hate me and you don’t know me either.

Your hate for me is so strong that your desire is to kill me.

Granting me one more sunrise is too much for you to bear< why?

I don’t hate you, but you hate me.

I am Gideon Prager born 4 June 1942 in the Hague. Murdered 6 March 1944, in Auschwitz.

Anne Frank 90

anne frank 0

Today would have been Anne Frank’s 90th birthday.

I have already done several blogs about Anne and her Family but today I just want to remember her birthday with some moments of her life.

To put in Anne’s own words.

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

If we all try to improve the world her death will not have been in vain.

Werner Catel- deciding who lives.

Werner Catel

One of the most disturbing aspects  of the Holocaust I find is the fact that so many who were instrumental in so many evil deeds, were allowed to continue after the war.

In February or March 1939 a farmer called Richard Kretschmar requested Catel’s permission to euthanize one of his children, the child we now know to have been  Gerhard Kretschmar, often referred to as Child K, who had been born blind and deformed.

Werner Catel deferred the matter and advised the father to write directly to Hitler for permission. Hitler subsequently sent Dr. Karl Brandt to confer with Catel and decide on a course of action. On July 25, 1939 the child was killed. It would be the first child to be killed under Aktion T4 or the T-4 program, technically the poor boy would become the pilot case.

T-4

A year later, Werner Catel set up »children’s wards in Leipzig-Dösen and in the University Children’s Hospital in Leipzig. He was an expert on the Reich Committee for the Scientific Registering of Serious Hereditary and Congenital Illnesses, even killing children with mental or physical disabilities himself.

The T4 program was influenced by a popular book, ” die freigabe der vernichtung lebensunwerten lebens(Allowing the destruction of life unworthy of living)”, written in 1922 by Alfred Hoche and Karl Binding.

Book

Catel argued for the reintroduction of euthanasia. As had Binding and Hoche, Catel identified three possible types of euthanasia.

Reine Euthanasie:
“Real” euthanasia was seen as the killing of a person who was suffering from so much pain, that an ever-increasing amount of pain reducing drugs had to be administered. This consequently lead to the person’s death.

Euthanasie im engeren Sinne:
The killing of a patient whose illness “according to medical experience” is so bad “that there is no hope of recovery”, but whose death is also not to be expected in the near future. (See terminal sedation)

Euthanasie im weiteren Sinne:
The “extermination of the life of an “idiot child” or an adult in a similar condition. Catel defined “idiot children” as being “such monsters … which are nothing but a massa carnis”.

Basically Werner Catel was one of the people who felt they had the right to decided who would live or die.

After the war Catel fled from Soviet controlled Leipzig in 1946. To West Germany.The West German authorities ‘de-Nazified’ him in 1949 and classed him as »Persons Exonerated. Afterwards, he was shortlisted for several professorships. In 1954, he was appointed Professor of Paediatrics in Kiel, despite the facts his function on the Reich Committee was known. Due to public pressure and the debate about his role in National Socialism, Catel took early retirement in 1960. Catel continued to propagate in public the idea of the euthanasia of children with mental and physical disabilities.

He died April 30, 1981, aged 88. Where many of his victims did even reach the age  88 months.

 

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Sources

T4-Denkmal

Der Spiegel

 

All I feel now is pain

Siblings

At first I felt joy because who could not be joyful seeing those 2 beautiful smiley faces.

Then I am amazed because I see you tow have the same birthday, April 4, 1932.

This is followed by bewilderment because you appear to have different last names.

Milan Herrmann and Dagmar Herrmannová. But after a bit of research I discover that it is the same surname but just a male and female version of the name.

You are twins. A whole world is open for you, The world is your oyster,you have the ability to achieve anything you want in life.

You have the ability but the opportunity was never given to you.

Evil men put you on a transport. 3 weeks after your 10th birthday. Shortly afterwards you were both killed.

Two beautiful children brutally murdered because of hate.

Knowing this hurts me.

All I feel now is pain.

 

 

Bei Mir Bistu Shein- The Ghetto swingers.

 

Ghetto

Music soothes the savage beast, that is what Eric Vogel  must have thought when he send a petition to the Commander of the Theresienstadt camp on January 8, 1943  , to start a Jazz band, named the Ghetto Swingers. The band would include the following members he noted.

Dr. Brammer (piano), Dr. Kurt Bauer (percussion), Fr. Goldschmidt (guitar), Fasal (bass), Ing. Vogel (trumpet), Langer (tenor sax and clarinet), and Fr. Mautner (trombone)

pettition

As crazy as it may seem the request was granted and the band was formed.The Jewish prisoners organized in the ghetto a lively cultural scene including jazz music.

The Jazz classic “„I Got Rhythm“ by George Gershwin became the theme tune of the band. One of the prisoners favourite song was the 1932 song Bei Mir Bistu Shein composed  by  Sholom Secunda. The song is better known as Bei mir bist du schön , The Andrew Sisters had a hit with the song in 1936.

The Ghetto Singers also included guitarist Coco Schumann  Kurt Gerron and clarinetist Bedřich “Fritz” Weiss, who had joined later.

After being pressurized following the deportation of Danish Jews to Theresienstadt, the Germans permitted representatives from the Danish Red Cross and the International Red Cross to visit in June 1944

After the Red Cross inspection, Commandant Rahm instructed Gerron to make a propaganda film.  Filming took place over eleven days between 16 August and 11 September 194.The Ghetto Swingers participated in this Nazi propaganda film “Theresienstadt: A Documentary Film from the Jewish Settlement Area” which is also known as albeit with the  erroneous name “The Fuehrer gave the Jews a city.”

After the camp closed, the members of the jazz band were sent to Auschwitz.

In Auschwitz Coco Schumann had to play for the SS hangmen, “for hours and hours every day, especially when they tattooed the new arrivals, because they considered it such boring work. Four members survived among those 4 were Vogel, Schumann and Roman

Ending this blog with the aforementioned ‘Bei Mir Bistu Shein’ played by the Ghetto Swingers.

 

 

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Sources

You Tube

Geni

Huffpost

 

Anne Frank- Just a teenage girl.

Anne Frank

When you look up in formation on Anne Frank, the first thing you will see is that she is described as a German born or Dutch Diarist as if she was a well established author or Journalist, but she wasn’t.

She was just a teenage girl who happened to write a diary, like so many other girls did in that time and probably still do. If she had been a teenager now, I am certain she would have been on Instagram.Snapchat, Facebook and other social media. She was a very bubbly girl who like to express herself.

Does this make her diary less valuable? No of course not, it makes it even more valuable because the diary was not written by a professional author but by a young girl who described her daily life , a life which so few can even fathom nowadays.

Her diary became her closest friend and ally. A tool to express her fear, boredom, and the struggles as a teenager growing up. On 16 March 1944, she wrote: “The nicest part is being able to write down all my thoughts and feelings, otherwise I’d absolutely suffocate.”

12 days later on March 28,1944 the exiled Dutch minister for education,Gerrit Bolkestein, gave a speech on Radio Orange where he appealed to listeners in the occupied Netherlands to record their everyday experiences on paper.

“If future generations are to realize to the full extent what we as a population are going through and what we are experiencing in this time of war, then it is clear that we will need simple documents: a diary, letters from a laborer forced to go to work in Germany, sermons spoken by a clergyman”.

Bolkesijn

Anne Frank, was one of the many who heard Bolkestein’s appeal at the time. That night she wrote about her housemates: “…of course, everyone rushed for my diary all at once”. She started to rework her diary and called it The Secret Annex.

Next week , June 12th will be Annelise Marie Frank’s 90th Birthday . I had planned to write a blog about Anne on that day, but I will be busy make a preparations for a trip I am taking with my teenage daughter.

Next time when you read about Anne Frank and you see her described as a German born or Dutch diarist please do not forget she was also just a teenage girl, who happened to have written a diary.

A teenage girl who still could be alive today, but her life was cut short by a brutal fascist regime. A regime which had no regard for life.

anne frank diary

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Sources

geheugenvannederland.nl

History Extra

 

Letter to Henio

Henlo

The “Letters to Henio” project began in the city of Lublin in 2005 as part of an activity to preserve and reconstruct the city’s Jewish heritage. A local cultural center, Grodzka Gate – NN Theatre, organizes this educational activity. According to the center’s director, Tomasz Pietrasiewicz, the main idea of the project is as follows: “It is impossible to remember the faces and names of 40,000 people. Remember one. A shy smile, white shirt with a collar, colored shorts, side haircut, striped socks… Henio.”

Every year on 19 April, which is Holocaust Remembrance Day in Poland, pupils and citizens of Lublin are asked to send letters addressed to Henio Zytomirski at 11th Kowalska Street, the last known address of Henio in Lublin.

I am not a citizen of Lublin, but I felt compelled to also send a letter to Henio. Howver I will not send it to his last known address but will post it below.

“Dear Henio,

I don’t know you and you don’t know me.

But looking at your last photograph I can see a proud young boy, standing straight and ready to pose for his picture to be taken. A white shirt, pure white socks the symbol of your purity and innocence.

You were only 6  years old when this picture was taken. It was perhaps taken after a long school day and you were eager to go home, to kick a ball or just to have a cod glass of water or lemonade.

Maybe it was a hot day ,because it was July 1939, and you were promised an ice cream after the picture was taken.

None of this was extraordinary because every child is entitled to have a treat after being such a good child.

A few months after this picture was taken at the start of a new school year your world was turned upside down, On September 1 1939, a foreign army invaded your country. A foreign army with ver bad intentions.

You this army did not only want to take all the land it also want to get rid of people like you. You were Jewish and according this evil new regime your life was not worthy.

First they took you and your family from your home in Lublin and were put into a ghetto, Then in November 1942 you and your father were sent to the Majdanek concentration camp, it was not too far away from your house.

But you were never to see your house again because on that day  November 9th,1942 you were murdered. You were put into a gas chamber where you died an awful death. You were only 9.

I don’t know you and you don’t know me but from now on ,every year on March 25th, your birthday, I will light a candle for you and remember you until the day that I shed my earthly coil.

And maybe one day our souls will meet.”