Nazi plunder and thievery

Italien, Überführung von Kunstschätzen

Besides the murders and genocide committed by the Nazi’s ,they didn’t shy away from stealing and plundering either.

The plundering and stealing refers to art theft and other items stolen as a result of the organized looting of European countries during the time of the Third Reich by agents acting on behalf of the ruling Nazi Party of Germany. Plundering occurred from 1933 until the end of World War II, particularly by military units known as the Kunstschutz, although most plunder was acquired during the war. In addition to gold, silver and currency, cultural items of great significance were stolen, including paintings, ceramics, books, and religious treasures. Although most of these items were recovered by agents of the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program(MFAA), affectionately referred to as the Monuments Men, on behalf of the Allies immediately following the war, many are still missing.

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There is an international effort under way to identify Nazi plunder that still remains unaccounted for, with the aim of ultimately returning the items to the rightful owners, their families or their respective countries.

Below are just some items which were stolen.

Jean Metzinger, 1913, En Canot (Im Boot), oil on canvas, 146 x 114 cm (57.5 in × 44.9 in), exhibited at Moderni Umeni, S.V.U. Mánes, Prague, 1914, acquired in 1916 by Georg Muche at the Galerie Der Sturm, confiscated by the Nazis circa 1936, displayed at the Degenerate Art show in Munich, and missing ever since.

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Degenerate art (German: Entartete Kunst) was a term adopted by the Nazi regime to describe Modern art. Such art was banned on the grounds that it was un-German, Jewish, or Communist in nature, and those identified as degenerate artists were subjected to sanctions. These included being dismissed from teaching positions, being forbidden to exhibit or to sell their art, and in some cases being forbidden to produce art.

Degenerate Art also was the title of an exhibition, held by the Nazis in Munich in 1937, consisting of modernist artworks chaotically hung and accompanied by text labels deriding the art. Designed to inflame public opinion against modernism, the exhibition subsequently traveled to several other cities in Germany and Austria.

Adolf Hitler and Adolf Ziegler visit the Degenerate Art Exhibition, 1937.

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Albert Gleizes, 1912, Landschaft bei Paris, Paysage près de Paris, Paysage de Courbevoie, missing from Hannover since 1937.

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Aleksander Gierymski’s Jewess with Oranges discovered on 26 November 2010 in an art auction in Buxtehude, Germany

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German loot stored at Schlosskirche Ellingen, Bavaria (April 1945)

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Hitler assesses looted art

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In 1943 and 1944 the shore of Lake Toplitz served as a Nazi naval testing station. Using copper diaphragms, scientists experimented with different explosives, detonating up to 4,000 kg charges at various depths. They also fired torpedoes from a launching pad in the lake into the Tote Mountains, making vast holes in the canyon walls. Over £100 million of counterfeit pound sterling notes were dumped in the lake after Operation Bernhard, which was never fully put into action. There is speculation that there might be other valuables to be recovered from the bottom of the Toplitzsee. There is a layer of sunken logs floating half way to the bottom of the lake, making diving beyond it hazardous or impossible. Gerhard Zauner, one of the divers on the 1959 expedition, reports that he saw a sunken aircraft below this layer.

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Nazi gold stored in Merkers Salt Mine.

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The Amber Room Removed from Catherine Palace, Saint Petersburg, by Germans during World War II and transported to Germany. Estimated (adjusted) value: $142 million.

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Nearly half of the gold looted by the Nazis from the Dutch central bank during the Second World War remains to this day in Switzerland, a reminder of the Alpine nation’s controversial role as a financial conduit for Hitler’s regime. About 61,000kg of Dutch war gold, currently value at about €2bn, is believed to be still in Swiss possession.

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Aktion Erntefest-The Murder of 43,000 Jews

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Today marks the 76th anniversary of Aktion Erntefest.(German: for Operation Harvest Festival) a mass shooting action by the SS conducted at the Majdanek concentration camp and its subcamps, its purpose was to liquidate the remaining Polish Jews in the Lublin reservation and the Lublin Ghetto, including its entire slave-labour camp workforce. The operation took place on 3 November 1943.Approximately 43,000 Jews were killed on the orders of Christian Wirth and Jakob Sporrenberg .

 

Aktion Erntefest was the last operation of  Operation Reinhard,the codename given to the secretive German Nazi plan to mass-murder most Polish Jews in the General Government district of German-occupied Poland.

Operation Harvest Festival was the single largest German massacre of Jews in the entire war. It surpassed the notorious massacre of more than 33,000 Jews at Babi Yar outside Kiev by 10,000 victims. It was exceeded only by the 1941 Odessa massacre of more than 50,000 Jews in October 1941, committed by Romanian troops.

The timing of the operation was apparently in response to several efforts by surviving Jews to resist the Nazis (for example, the uprisings at the Sobibor and Treblinka extermination camps, and armed resistance in the Warsaw, Białystok, and Vilna ghettos). The SS feared additional Jewish-led revolts in the General Government,ahead of the Soviet counter-offensive. To prevent further resistance the SS decided to kill most of the remaining Jews who were employed in slave-labor projects of the Ostindustrie (Osti) enterprise owned by the SS, while imprisoned at the Trawniki, Poniatowa, and Majdanek concentration camps with subcamps in Budzyn, Kraśnik, Puławy, Lipowa and others.The inmates were ordered to dig anti-tank trenches unaware of their true purpose.

 

The Orpo police formation tasked with performing Aktion Erntefest had prior experience in the area. It was involved with the liquidation of the ghettos in the Lublin district of the General Government from which the same targets originated.

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.”Erntefest” was the largest single-day, single-camp massacre of the Holocaust under direct German occupation,totalling 43,000 in three nearby locations It began at dawn on 3 November 1943. The main camp as well as the Trawniki and Poniatowa subcamps of the Majdanek extermination camp were surrounded by SS and the Reserve Police Battalion 101 (a unit of the German Order Police from Hamburg) augmented by a squad of Hiwis called “Trawniki men” from Ukraine.

 

 

The Jews were taken out of the camps in groups and shot layer upon layer inside the pits dug specifically for this purpose. The burial site resembled a solid mass of women’s and men’s bodies heaped together… with legs and arms interlinked.

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At Majdanek, Jews were first separated from the other prisoners. They were then taken in groups to long and deep trenches and shot one-by-one under the leadership of pathological killer Erich Muhsfeldt .

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At the main camp, 18,400 Jews were killed on 3 November 1943. Jews from those other slave labor camps in the Lublin area were also taken to Majdanek and shot simultaneously. Music was played through loudspeakers at both Majdanek and Trawniki to drown out the noise of the mass shooting. The killing operation was completed in a single day at Majdanek and Trawniki. At Poniatowa the shootings took two days, because in one of the barracks Jews staged a revolt. To stamp it out the SS set it on fire and the killings went on as planned.

map-erntefest

 

 

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The strange case of Douglas Kelley, Nuremberg Trials Psychiatrist

Lt. Colonel Douglas McGlashan Kelley (11 August 1912 – January 1, 1958) was a United States Army Military Intelligence Corps officer who served as chief psychiatrist at Nuremberg Prison during the Nuremberg War Trials. He was charged with ascertaining defendants’ competency evaluations before standing trial.

NUREMBERG TRIAL

Kelley was born in Truckee, California. He graduated from University of California at Berkeley and received his medical degree from the School of Medicine in San Francisco. He continued his studies at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, earning a Doctor of Medical Science in 1941.

In 1942 he was called to duty in the United States Army Medical Corps as chief psychiatrist for the 30th General Hospital in the European Theatre. Along with psychologist Gustave Gilbert he administered the Rorschach inkblot test to the 22 defendants in the Nazi leadership group prior to the first Nuremberg trials.

Kelley authored two books on the subject: Twenty-two Cells in Nuremberg and The Case of Rudolph Hess.

rudolf_hessDouglas Kelley wrote that one of the things that surprised him most about former Deputy Fuhrer Rudolf Hess was his absolute naivete.

By the time the psychiatrist examined him, he had been in custody for about four years following his attempt to get the British to join the Germans in fighting the Soviet Union. He seemed earnestly shocked that he was taken prisoner and revealed that he was absolutely convinced that he was slowly being poisoned. So Hess began saving food, medicine . . . anything that he was offered, wrapping samples in little brown packages, sealing them with wax, and stockpiling them for later analysis.

When first taken captive, he refused all food. After holding out for a whole day, though, he gave in and accepted some milk. Already suspicious, he would only eat with those who were holding him, but when he got a massive headache afterward, he wrote that it was then that he knew he was being poisoned.

He also wrote that his captors were apparently disappointed when he answered their questions, so he started pretending simply not to remember. He did it so much that eventually, he says, the amnesia was real, and most likely helped along by what he called the “brain poison.”

His certainty that he was being poisoned increased as his captivity dragged on. He thought that there were bones and splinters in his food and powders in his laundry to cause rashes. He claimed that the skin on the inside of his mouth was being worn away and claimed that his stomach pains were so bad that he needed to scrape and eat lime from the walls of his cell relieve the pain. Brain poison was destroying his memory more and more, and kept on believing it even though a Swiss messenger tested his food and told him that there was nothing wrong with it.

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When Hermann Goering was taken into custody, what he brought with him alone spoke volumes about his self-importance. There were 12 monogrammed suitcases, jewel-studded medals, the equivalent of about $1 million in cash, several cigar cutters, and a stash of watches and cigarette cases. Along with potassium cyanide capsules sewn into his clothes and stashed in a can of coffee, there was also a suitcase filled with enough paracodeine for a small country.

The case was filled with somewhere around 20,000 capsules, and it’s thought that he had gone directly to Germany’s manufacturers for his stash. That wasn’t all of it, either—he admitted that he had already flushed a large amount of pills before his capture, as he’d thought that it would have been unseemly to have been captured with as many pills as he’d had.

Originally, he claimed that they were part of a doctor’s prescription that he was taking for a heart condition, insisting that he was required to take 40 pills a day. Not surprisingly, they didn’t believe him and had the pills tested. The painkiller, related to morphine and opium, was found to work along the same lines as codeine, but with a stronger sedative action.They started weaning him off the pills immediately, dropping his daily dose to first 38 pills, then to 18. At that point, medical staff were advised not to reduce the dose any further, since they weren’t sure what would happen to him if he was taken off the drugs completely. He was still going through withdrawals by the time Kelley took over his treatment.

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Part of establishing whether or not the Nazis were capable of standing trial was the administration of an IQ test. The Wechsler-Bellevue Intelligence Test was adapted from English and given in German, and at the time, it was one of the most widely used IQ tests available. Scores of 65 or less were classified as “defective,” between 80 and 119 as normal, and 128 and above was “very superior.” Only about 2.2 percent of the population scored in that range. Some of the questions were altered to get rid of any kind of cultural bias, and the test measured things like memory, mental calculations, picking out objects or details deleted from a picture, and even hand speed.

The average for the 21 Nazis tested was 128. (Ley was already dead by this time.) The highest score was 143, from Hjalmar Schacht, with Goering, Arthur Seyss-Inquart, Karl Donitz, Franz von Papen, Erich Raeder, Hans Frank, Hans Fritsche, and Baldur von Schirach all testing 130 or above, and with Joachim von Ribbentrop, Wilhelm Keitel, and Albert Speer all also falling into the “very superior” category.

Their reaction to IQ testing was even more fascinating, with many of them actually looking forward to the testing and most being pleased with the results. Even those like Franz von Papen, who were initially irritated with the idea that they needed to subject themselves to a test that was so far beneath them, admitted that it was one of the more enjoyable moments of their captivity.

Perhaps most bizarre was the reaction of Wilhelm Keitel (pictured above) to the test. He was very, very impressed by it, even going as far as to say that it was much better than the “silly nonsense that German psychologists resorted to.” Later, Kelley discovered that Keitel had outlawed all intelligence testing after his son had flunked out during the tests to enter officer training.

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But as the title suggest it is a strange case.Upon honorable discharge in 1946, Kelley was appointed Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the Bowman Gray School of Medicine in North Carolina. In 1949 he was appointed Professor of Criminology at the University of California at Berkeley. He committed suicide in front of his wife and children on New Year’s Day 1958 by ingesting a capsule of potassium cyanide.

cyanide

He killed himself in the same way as Hermann Goering had done.

His suicide was front-page news for two days in The Chronicle. He was just 45 years old. He had attended a New Year’s Eve party the night before. “He was his usual jovial self,” one guest was quoted as saying. He had driven into San Francisco earlier in the day to pick up his father, a dentist, so they could watch the Rose Bowl on the family’s new color television. He left no note.

 

 

Kaufering IV Concentration camp-Dachau Subcamp

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Dachau concentration camp was the first of the Nazi concentration camps opened in Germany,intended to hold political prisoners. It is located on the grounds of an abandoned munitions factory northeast of the medieval town of Dachau, about 16 km (10 mi) northwest of Munich in the state of Bavaria, in southern Germany.Opened in 1933 by Heinrich Himmler, its purpose was enlarged to include forced labor, and eventually, the imprisonment of Jews, ordinary German and Austrian criminals, and eventually foreign nationals from countries that Germany occupied or invaded.

Dachau, Konzentrationslager

The Dachau camp system grew to include nearly 100 sub-camps, which were mostly work camps or “Arbeitskommandos,” and were located throughout southern Germany and Austria. The camps were liberated by U.S. forces on 29 April 1945.

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These work camps used forced foreign labour to make parts for the Messerschmidt aircraft factories. To protect them from Allied bombing raids, they were built partially underground. Te working and living conditions were unbelievable and shocked US troops who came across them. In the last weeks of WW2 Typhus had run rampant through these camps and thousands of inmates were left to die as medical help was non-existent.

On of these subcamps was Kaufering IV Concentration camp.I could have picked any other subcamp to write about but Kaufering IV stuck with me because of 1 picture. The picture below shows Johann Baptist Eichelsdorfer, the last Commandant of the Kaufering IV sub-camp. After this camp was liberated on April 27, 1945 by the 12th Armored Division of the US Seventh Army, Col. Edward Seiller ordered the German civilians in the nearby town of Hurlach to bury the bodies found in the camp. On that day, Eichelsdorfer, who had been captured and brought back to the camp, was forced to pose in the middle of the corpses which had been laid out in the camp prior to burial.

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Eichelsdorfer had taken charge of the camp on the 4th of January 1945. it had been designated as a ‘Sick Camp’ but in reality it was a camp of prisoners who had become sick because of the poor living conditions in Dachau and therefore had become to disabled to work.

The SS began death marching prisoners to Dachau pending the US arrival and at camp IV, the SS killed hundreds of the prisoners by setting fire to the barracks.Colonel Edward F. Seiller, commander of the 12th Armored Division’s Military Government, took control of the camp and had some 250 civilians from the nearby town of Landsberg brought to the camp and made them bury the dead prisoners.These 360 dead repose in a cemetery located where the roll-call area (Appell Platz) of the camp used to be, that is about a mile south of the village of Hurlach.

As for Johann Baptist Eichelsdorfer he was tried under case Case No. 000-50-2 (US vs. Martin Gottfried Weiss et al) Tried 13 Dec. 45 at the Dachau trials.

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Eichelsdorfer had been defended by Captain Dalwin Niles who had argued that his client was shifted to the camp as commander after he had become to ill to serve in the Wehrmacht, and he had no influence on this whatsoever. His client was an old and sick man and was not capable to manage the camp properly, however some of the survivors testified that Eichelsdorfer had willingly particpated in physically abusing the prisoners, sometimes he would beat them up until they were unconscious.

His sentence was carried out on the 29th of May at 14.14 PM by John C. Woods

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Hate is Mankind’s worst disease

Hate is mankind’s worst disease and it seems to be incurable.

I am only limiting this to the 1933-1945 era but I could easily have dozens of pages of pictures of all era’s  going up to today.

Nazis singing to encourage a boycott of Jewish shops , 1933

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A German woman facing public humiliation because of a romantic affair with a Polish man, 1942

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The Kovno Garage Massacre – Lithuanian nationalists clubbing Jewish Lithuanians to death, 1941

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Leonard Siffleet about to be beheaded with a sword by a Japanese soldier, 1943

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The speech where Adolf Hitler declared war on the USA, 1941

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A Jewish woman who is concealing her face sits on a park bench marked “Only for Jews”, Austria, 1938

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Nazi General Anton Dostler is tied to a stake before his execution by a firing squad, 1945

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Japanese soldiers shooting blindfolded Sikh prisoners before bayonetting them

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Facing Death: the different expressions of six Polish civilians moments before death by firing squad, 1939.

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Goebbels congratulates a 16 year old recruit after receiving the Iron Cross II, 1945.

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Laughing at Auschwitz – SS auxiliaries poses at a resort for Auschwitz personnel, 1942.

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Eyes of Hate, a candid photograph of Goebbels after he finds out his photographer is Jewish, 1933

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Henry Ford receiving the Grand Cross of the German Eagle from Nazi officials, 1938

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Pedestrians glance at the broken windows of a Jewish owned shop in Berlin after Kristallnacht

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Chinese prisoners being buried alive by the Japanese Army during the Nanking Massacre 1937

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Loyalty oath of Nazi SS troops, Feldherrnhalle, Munich, 1938. The SS loyalty oath was as follows: “I vow to you, Adolf Hitler, as Führer and chancellor of the German Reich, loyalty and bravery. I vow to you and to the leaders that you set for me, absolute allegiance until death. So help me God”

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August Frank memorandum

Today marks the 78th anniversary of the August Frank memorandum.

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The August Frank memorandum of 26 September 1942 was a directive from SS Lieutenant General August Frank of the SS concentration camp administration department (SS-WVHA). The memorandum provides a measure of the detailed planning that Frank and other Nazis put into the carrying out of The Holocaust. For example, it includes instructions as to the disposition of postage stamp collections and underwear of the murdered Jews. It is clear that the Nazis were intent in removing everything of value from their murdered victims, and indeed, went further than the memo itself. Hair, for example, was removed before execution to be made into mattresses.

It contains an instruction that the yellow stars that the Nazis forced the Jews to wear on their clothing were to be removed before the clothing was redistributed to ethnic Germans whom the Nazis were resettling into occupied Poland. This memorandum, when it came to light after the war, played a key role in refuting Frank’s claims that he had no knowledge that Jews were being murdered en masse in the extermination camps of Operation Reinhard.It is also notable as an example of the use of the Nazi euphemism “evacuation” of the Jews, which meant their systematic murder.

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The top secret memorandum, printed in multiple copies, was sent to the Chief of the SS Garrison Administration Lublin, and to the Chief of Administration Concentration Camp Auschwitz among others. English translation, provided by the Nuernberg Military Tribunal during the Trials of War Criminals:

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Top Secret
6 copies–4th copy

Chief A/Pr./B.
Journ. No. 050/42 secr.
VS 96/42

26 September 1942

To the Chief of the SS Garrison Administration Lublin
To the Chief of Administration Concentration Camp Auschwitz
Subject: Utilization of property on the occasion of settlement and evacuation of Jews.

Without taking into account the over all regulations which are expected to be issued during October, pertaining to the utilization of mobile and immobile property of the evacuated Jews, the following procedure has to be followed with regard to the property carried by them — property, which will in all orders in the future be called goods originating from thefts, receiving of stolen goods, and hoarded goods:
1. a. Cash money in German Reich Bank notes have to be paid into the account: Economic and Administrative Main Office 158/1488 with the Reich Bank in Berlin-Sehoeneberg.
b. Foreign exchange (coined or uncoined), rare metals, jewelry, precious and semi-precious stones, pearls, gold from teeth and scrap gold have to be delivered to the SS Economic and Administrative Main Office. The latter is responsible for the immediate delivery to the German Reich Bank.

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c. Watches and clocks of all kinds, alarm clocks, fountain pens, mechanical pencils, hand and electrical razors, pocketknives, scissors, flashlights, wallets, and purses are to be repaired by the Economic and Administrative Main Office in special repair shops, cleaned, and evaluated; and have to be delivered quickly to front line troops. Delivery to the troops is on a cash basis through the post exchanges. Three-fourth price grades are to be set and it has to be made sure that each officer and man cannot buy more than one watch. Exempt from sale are the gold watches, the utilization of which rests with me. The proceeds go to the Reich.
d. Men’s underwear and men’s clothing including footwear has to be sorted and valued. After covering the needs of the concentration camp inmates and in exceptions for the troops they are to be handed over to the Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle. The proceeds go to the Reich in all cases.
e. Women’s clothing and women’s underwear, including footwear; children’s clothing and children’s underwear, including footwear; have to be handed over to the Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle against payment. Underwear of pure silk is to be handed over to the Reich Ministry of Economics according to orders by the SS Economic and Administrative Main Office. This order refers also to underwear, under letter.
f. Featherbeds, quilts, woolen blankets, cloth for suits, shawls, umbrellas, walking sticks, thermos flasks, ear flaps, baby carriages, combs, handbags, leather belts, shopping baskets, tobacco pipes, sun glasses, mirrors, table knives, forks and spoons, knapsacks, and suitcases made from leather or artificial material are to be delivered to the Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle. The question of payment will be decided later.
The needs in quilts, woolen blankets, thermos flasks, ear flaps, combs, table knives, forks and spoons, and knapsacks can be furnished from Lublin and Auschwitz from these stocks against payment from budget funds.
g. Linen, such as bed sheets, bed linen, pillows, towels, wiping cloths, and tablecloths are to be handed over to the Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle against payment. Bed sheets, bed linen, towels, wiping cloths, and table cloths can be furnished for the needs of troops from these stocks against payment from budget funds.
h. Spectacles and eyeglasses of every kind are to be handed in to the medical office for utilization. (Spectacles with golden frames have to be handed in without glasses together with the rare metals). A settlement of accounts for the spectacles and eyeglasses need not take place with regard to their low value and their limited use.

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i. Valuable furs of all kinds, raw and cured, are to be delivered to the SS WVHA.

Litzmannstadt, Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle
j. Ordinary furs (lamb, hare, and rabbit skins) are to be reported to the SS WVHA, Amt B II, and are to be delivered to the clothing plant of the Waffen SS, Ravensbrueck near Fuerstenbern (Mecklenburg).
k. All items mentioned under the letters d, e, and f, which have only one-fifth or two-fifths of the full value, or are useless altogether will be delivered via the SS WV HA to the Reich Ministry for Economics for utilization.
For the decision on items which are not mentioned under the letters b-i, application for a decision as to their utilization should be made to the chief of the WVHA.

2. The SS WVHA will establish all prices under observation of the legally controlled prices. This estimation, however, can be made later on. Petty evaluations which only waste time and personnel may be eliminated. Average prices for single items have to be established in general. For instance, one pair of used men’s trousers 3.00 RM, one woolen blanket 6.00 RM, etc. For the delivery of useless items to the Reich Ministry for Economics, average Kilo prices will have to be established.

It has to be strictly observed, that the Jewish Star is removed from all garments and outer garments which are to be delivered. Furthermore, items which are to be delivered have to be searched for hidden and sewed-in values, this should be carried out with the greatest possible care.

Polen, Ghetto Litzmannstadt, Bewohner

ACTING FOR

[Signed] FRANK
SS Brigadefuehrer and Brigadier General of the Waffen SS

On a side note isn’t it amazing that some people with the same surname had such a different impact on the retelling of the Holocaust from a victim and perpetrator point of view. The victims: Anne Frank and her family. The perpetrators Hans and August Frank.

On 3 November 1947 Frank was sentenced to life in prison by the tribunal with the following words:

“AUGUST FRANK, this Tribunal has adjudged you guilty under counts two, three, and four of the indictment filed in this case. For the crimes of which you have thus been convicted, this Tribunal sentences you to imprisonment for the remainder of your natural life, at such place of confinement as shall be determined by competent authority”

In 1951 Frank’s sentence was commuted to 15 years. Frank was released from Landsberg Prison on 7 May 1954. He died in March 1984.

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