Veit Harlan-Messenger of Evil.

Although many German film makers left Germany in the 1930s, because of the rise of the Nazism, propaganda minister Göbbels still had quite a pool of film makers to help him produce a great number of propaganda movies.

The most famous and probably prolific was Leni Riefenstahl. But a close second was Veit Harlan.

After Adolf Hitler came to power, Harlan -unlike many German film directors – decided to remain in Germany. He embraced the new Nazi regime with both arms and directed several pro-Nazi propaganda films for the new Nazi regime , with his 3rd wife Kristina Söderbaum in the main parts. Considered to be the worst of these was the universally reviled Jud Süß (1940), a virulent anti-Semitic propaganda piece masquerading as a period piece melodrama. After the war, he was charged with crimes against humanity because of this film, but in 1950, after several court trials, he was acquitted twice and released. Both acquittals remain controversial to this day since the ruling judge had previously worked as a judge for the Nazi regime and since Harlan’s works had been proven to have contributed hugely to spreading the antisemitism in Germany, which enabled the Holocaust.

His first wife Dora Gerson was one of the victims of the Nazi regime, she was murdered in Auschwitz-Birkenau on February 14, 1943.

There are some fascinating connections to Veit Harlan. His son, from his second marriage to Hilde Körber, Thomas Harlan was an author and film director who created a semi-documentary film in 1984, “Wundkanal” (“Wound Passage”), in which his father, played by a convicted mass murderer, is forced to undergo a series of brutal interrogations into his war crimes. Thomas Harlan’s final publication, issued posthumously, entitled Veit, was a memoir in the form of a letter to his father, continuing the investigation into his father’s actions during the Nazi regime.

The mass murderer(turned actor) in the film Wundkanal was SS Lieutenant Colonel Alfred Filbert, responsible as the first head of SS-Einsatzkommando 9, a mobile killing squad, for the murder of more than 18,000 Soviet Jews – men, women and children. Filbert was sentenced to life imprisonment but was released in 1975.

Susanne Körber, one of his daughters from his second wife Hilde Körber, converted to Judaism and married the son of Holocaust victims. She committed suicide in 1989.

Veit Harlan’s niece, Christiane Susanne Harlan, German born actress, dancer, painter, and singer took the name of her second husband, the legendary Jewish director Stanley Kubrick. Her married name was and still is Christiane Kubrick.

Christiane did act in a few movies like in ‘the Path to Glory’ She said she was ashamed to come from a “family of murderers” but was happy that Kubrick’s Jewish family accepted her despite her ties to Harlan. They remained married until Stanley Kubrick’s death in 1999.

She painted for her husband’s films; the paintings seen in the Harford’s apartment in Eyes Wide Shut (1999) are hers, as is the large painting of seed boxes in the writer’s home in A Clockwork Orange (1971).

sources

https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0473583/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm

https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0363234/?ref_=nmbio_bio_nm

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Getting married in Nazi Germany

The Nazi regime controlled every aspects of life in Germany, even who you married. In 1935 the Reich Committee for Public Health Service issued the guidelines for getting married.

It was published as ‘die zehn Gebote für die Gattenwahl’ the 10 commandments for choosing a spouse.

  1. Always remember that you are a German.

2. Be sure to marry if you are genetically healthy.

3. Ensure that you keep your body clean.

4. Keep your soul and spirit clean.

5. As a German, you should only take a spouse of German or Nordic blood.

6. When deciding on a spouse, investigate his or her ancestry.

7. Physical health is the prerequisite for outward beauty.

8. Marry only for love.

9. In relationships, do not seek a temporary plaything, look for a partner for marriage.

10. You should want as many children as possible.

These 10 commandments were published in women’s magazines like “NS-Frauen-Warte” but also in pamphlets distributed to all students graduating from a trade school under the Nazi regime.

So many got married because their “Führer” wished so, yet he only got married a few hours before he killed himself.

10

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Sources

Süddeutscher Zeitung

Bundesarciv

 

May 10,1933- Book burning.

Book Burning

A scary thought crossed my mind this week. What some Social Media outlets are doing nowadays, is basically the digital version of book burning. Regardless how valuable a post might be, or even how inoffensive it is when the moderators don’t like it , it will get banned,or digitally burned so to speak.

On May 10,1933 German university students burned upwards of 25,000 volumes of perceived “un-German” books, foreshadowing an era of state censorship and control of culture. On the evening of May 10, in the majority of German university towns, right-wing students marched in torchlight parades “against the un-German spirit.” The scripted rituals called for high Nazi officials, professors, university rectors, and university student leaders to address the participants and spectators.

may 10

The books ranged from Bebel, Bernstein, Preuss, and Rathenau through Einstein, Freud, Brecht, Brod, Döblin, Kaiser, the Mann brothers, Zweig, Plievier, Ossietzky, Remarque, Schnitzler, and Tucholsky, to Barlach, Bergengruen, Broch, Hoffmannsthal, Kästner, Kasack, Kesten, Kraus, Lasker-Schüler, Unruh, Werfel, Zuckmayer, and Hesse. The catalogue went back far enough to include literature from Heine and Marx to Kafka. But also books from H.G Wells,Ernest Hemingway and Virginia Woolf.

What amazes me most about this, these weren’t uneducated people doing this but students and lecturers, and other academics willingly participating in the destruction of scientific research and history.

books collected

These academics had become the moderators of what could or could not be read.

It is true history does repeat itself.

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Alfred-Ingemar Berndt-Writer,Journalist and cold blooded killer.

Alfred 2

If someone told you that you could kill an innocent man and there would be no repercussions or any form of punishment, would you do it?

Any normal person would answer “no” of course.But not Alfred-Ingemar Berndt, he decided to kill a man simply for the reason that he could.

Berndt was a German journalist, writer and was very close to  Joseph Goebbels. Alfred Berndt  wrote an eyewitness account of the 1940 German invasion of the Low Countries and France,  the book he wrote was titled “Tanks Break Through!”

In 1935 Goebbels recruited Berndt as official head of the Reich Press Office in the Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda. In April 1936, Berndt was appointed head of the press department of the Propaganda Ministry (Division IV).

alfred

Berndt is also believed to have been the creator of the “Desert Fox” myth attached to the German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, when he was working with Rommel.

Berndt wrote about 10 books, all propaganda material for he Nazi regime. He also published several other articles. But I don’t want to go too much into his ‘artistic and journalistic’ career.

Late in the spring of 1944, the Nazi leadership came up with  a plan to lynch captured Allied airmen. Goebbels discussed the matter with Hitler.

In May 1944 , the propaganda minister published an article ,in the Völkischer Beobachter  stating that the government would not act against anyone lynching Allied airmen who had fired on civilians, what he really was saying that lynching any captured airmen was okay.

Goebbels hoped that this article would sparkle  a massive hunt for Allied pilots and deter airmen from flying missions against Germany. It resulted in 350 lynchings of Allied pilots.

Berndt also took part in these murders. On May 24,1944, Berndt stopped his car where a captured US Flight Lieutenant James G. Dennis was being held, and shot him dead.

Below part of the text of the allied report of the murder of Lt Jame G. Dennis.

To
Head of Sipo and SD
B e r l I n

Reference: IV B 1 b – 2731/44 of 2/3/1945
Subject: Shooting of US airman Dennis

1) On 17/6/44 the following letter was addressed to you:
“We received the following report:
On Hamburger Chaussee at place Segeletzt.
On 24/5/44 at 12.30 the US-American 2nd lieutenant James G. Dennis, dog tag number O-816707, parachuted from a shot down aircraft. D. was taken prisoner by forest supervisor Meier from Nachel and handed over to Home Guard men Buenger and Schoenbeck, from Segeletzt, to be delivered to the village mayor.
When being led away, prisoner was overtaken by Brigadeführer Berndt of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt, driving in automobile IA 990. B. stopped, alighted from the car and was informed about the nature of the transport. He said: “He’ll be bumped off.” The Home Guard men refused to tolerate that. Bernd went to the car in which a female was sitting, took out his pistol and said: “I am the Brigadeführer of the Security Head Office Berlin and I’m taking responsibility. He called on the Home Guard men to make room, since otherwise they’d be in danger to be shot themselves. The prisoner had both his hands raised.
Berndt brought down the prisoner with three shots, and drove away. The occurrence was observed by civilians and several prisoners of war (Frenchmen, Poles). After a considerable time Sturmbannführer Kunze, Reichssicherheitshauptamt Berlin, arrived and ordered the body to be transported to Segeletzt. At 22 hours, Kunze fetched clothes and private property from village mayor Segeletzt. After establishing the facts of the occurrence Dennis was buried at the Segeletzt cemetery on 26/5/44 by (a) Receiving Detail (from) Fl.H.Kdtr. Neuruppin.”
Since the Protective Power is likely to take measures, this office is in need of an explanation which is hereby requested ahead of time.”
2) 1st reminder sent 21/7/1944
3) 2nd reminder sent 2/9/1944
4) On 3/10/1944:
“There was no reply to the above mentioned letter(s). Early settlement is requested.
Document mentioned above is translated here by Traugott Vitz:

Dennis

Ironically Berndt was killed in air attack by Soviet dive bombers on March 28,1945. I suppose you could call that karma.

 

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Sources

Find a grave

100thbg.com

 

25-Punkte-Programm-25-Point Program

25 point

Throughout history warning signs have been ignored over and over again. It is very important to keep history alive but it is even more important to learn from it, alas that is the one thing that is often forgotten.

People often think that the warning signs of the Nazi regime were only there since 1933,others think  that the signs were there after Hitler published “Mein Kampf”

The fact Hitler had already been thinking about his plans years before that, even before the NSDAP was formed and even before he joined the DAP(German Workers Party) the predecessor for the NSDAP.

dap

On the day the DAP dissolved and the NSDAP was formed,February 24 1920, Hitler and the then leader of the NSDAP ,Anton Drexler, published the blue print of what they saw as the future for Germany and the great German reich.

They called it “The aims of the National Socialists” aka “the 25 points program”

         25-Point Program

  1. The unity of all German-speaking peoples into one greater Germany.
  2. The destruction of the Treaty of Versailles.
  3. Colonies and land to feed Germany’s population.
  4. Only Germans can be citizens. No Jew can be a German.
  5. People in Germany who are not citizens must obey special laws for foreigners.
  6. Only German citizens can vote, be employed or hold public office.
  7. Citizens are entitled to a job and a decent standard of living.
  8. No immigration of non-German must be allowed. Anyone who has come to Germany since 1914 must be removed.
  9. All citizens have equal rights
  10. The duty of a citizen is find employment
  11. All unemployment benefits should end.
  12. All profits made during the war must be shared.
  13. Nationalisation of public industries including electricity and gas.
  14. Large companies must share their profits with the workers
  15. Pensions must be improved
  16. Help for small shops and businesses; large department stores must be closed down to support this.
  17. Property reform to give small farmers land
  18. Criminals and profiteers must be punished by death.
  19. Reform of the law to make it more German.
  20. Improve education so that all Germans can find employment
  21. Improve people’s health by forcing people to do sport.
  22. Abolition of the Army, and a new People’s Army in its place.
  23. German newspapers must be free of foreign influence.
  24. Freedom of religion.
  25. Strong government with unrestricted authority over Germany.

Extended text

1. We demand the union of all Germans in a Great Germany on the basis of the principle of self-determination of all peoples.

2. We demand that the German people have rights equal to those of other nations; and that the Peace Treaties of Versailles and St. Germain shall be abrogated.

3. We demand land and territory (colonies) for the maintenance of our people and the settlement of our surplus population.

4. Only those who are our fellow countrymen can become citizens. Only those who have German blood, regardless of creed, can be our countrymen. Hence no Jew can be a countryman.

5. Those who are not citizens must live in Germany as foreigners and must be subject to the law of aliens.

6. The right to choose the government and determine the laws of the State shall belong only to citizens. We therefore demand that no public office, of whatever nature, whether in the central government, the province, or the municipality, shall be held by anyone who is not a citizen.

We wage war against the corrupt parliamentary administration whereby men are appointed to posts by favor of the party without regard to character and fitness.

7. We demand that the State shall above all undertake to ensure that every citizen shall have the possibility of living decently and earning a livelihood. If it should not be possible to feed the whole population, then aliens (non-citizens) must be expelled from the Reich.

8. Any further immigration of non-Germans must be prevented. We demand that all non-Germans who have entered Germany since August 2, 1914, shall be compelled to leave the Reich immediately.

9. All citizens must possess equal rights and duties.

10. The first duty of every citizen must be to work mentally or physically. No individual shall do any work that offends against the interest of the community to the benefit of all.

Therefore we demand:

11. That all unearned income, and all income that does not arise from work, be abolished.

12. Since every war imposes on the people fearful sacrifices in blood and treasure, all personal profit arising from the war must be regarded as treason to the people. We therefore demand the total confiscation of all war profits.

13. We demand the nationalization of all trusts.

14. We demand profit-sharing in large industries.

15. We demand a generous increase in old-age pensions.

16. We demand the creation and maintenance of a sound middle-class, the immediate communalization of large stores which will be rented cheaply to small tradespeople, and the strongest consideration must be given to ensure that small traders shall deliver the supplies needed by the State, the provinces and municipalities.

17. We demand an agrarian reform in accordance with our national requirements, and the enactment of a law to expropriate the owners without compensation of any land needed for the common purpose. The abolition of ground rents, and the prohibition of all speculation in land.

18. We demand that ruthless war be waged against those who work to the injury of the common welfare. Traitors, usurers, profiteers, etc., are to be punished with death, regardless of creed or race.

19. We demand that Roman law, which serves a materialist ordering of the world, be replaced by German common law.

20. In order to make it possible for every capable and industrious German to obtain higher education, and thus the opportunity to reach into positions of leadership, the State must assume the responsibility of organizing thoroughly the entire cultural system of the people. The curricula of all educational establishments shall be adapted to practical life. The conception of the State Idea (science of citizenship) must be taught in the schools from the very beginning. We demand that specially talented children of poor parents, whatever their station or occupation, be educated at the expense of the State.

21. The State has the duty to help raise the standard of national health by providing maternity welfare centers, by prohibiting juvenile labor, by increasing physical fitness through the introduction of compulsory games and gymnastics, and by the greatest possible encouragement of associations concerned with the physical education of the young.

22. We demand the abolition of the regular army and the creation of a national (folk) army.

23. We demand that there be a legal campaign against those who propagate deliberate political lies and disseminate them through the press. In order to make possible the creation of a German press, we demand:

(a) All editors and their assistants on newspapers published in the German language shall be German citizens.

(b) Non-German newspapers shall only be published with the express permission of the State. They must not be published in the German language.

(c) All financial interests in or in any way affecting German newspapers shall be forbidden to non-Germans by law, and we demand that the punishment for transgressing this law be the immediate suppression of the newspaper and the expulsion of the non-Germans from the Reich.

Newspapers transgressing against the common welfare shall be suppressed. We demand legal action against those tendencies in art and literature that have a disruptive influence upon the life of our folk, and that any organizations that offend against the foregoing demands shall be dissolved.

24. We demand freedom for all religious faiths in the state, insofar as they do not endanger its existence or offend the moral and ethical sense of the Germanic race.

The party as such represents the point of view of a positive Christianity without binding itself to any one particular confession. It fights against the Jewish materialist spirit within and withoutand is convinced that a lasting recovery of our folk can only come about from within on the pinciple:

COMMON GOOD BEFORE INDIVIDUAL GOOD

25. In order to carry out this program we demand: the creation of a strong central authority in the State, the unconditional authority by the political central parliament of the whole State and all its organizations.

The formation of professional committees and of committees representing the several estates of the realm, to ensure that the laws promulgated by the central authority shall be carried out by the federal states.

The leaders of the party undertake to promote the execution of the foregoing points at all costs, if necessary at the sacrifice of their own lives.

On April 13 1928 Hitler wrote the following clarification in relation to point 17 of the program.

Regarding the false interpretations of Point 17 of the program of the NSDAP on the part of our opponents, the following definition is necessary:

“Since the NSDAP stands on the platform of private ownership it happens that the passage” gratuitous expropriation concerns only the creation of legal opportunities to expropriate if necessary, land which has been illegally acquired or is not administered from the view-point of the national welfare. This is directed primarily against the Jewish land-speculation companies.

Next time you see a political party publishing a program, read it very carefully and read it again.

 

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Sources

USHMM

Fordham University

 

Excursion to Dachau

day trip

One might be forgiven that the title implies a current school trip to Dachau, but the title refers to another kind of trip to the notorious death camp.

The Dutch Nazis, the NSB. did not have the same level of hatred against, Jews,Roma and disabled people as their German counterpart. Himmler was aware of this but he needed support for the SS from the Dutch.

In January 1941 ,Himmler invited the leader of the NSB,Anton Mussert to Munich.

Mussert and Himmler

Most of the NSB leadership accompanied Mussert on his journey to Munich.The aim of the meeting was to make Mussert enthusiastic for the SS so he would encourage Dutch men to join them.

As part of the trip an excursion was planned to Dachau, but to ensure the Dutch delegation would not be shocked by what they saw there, the whole excursion was staged on January 20,1941.

They were shown good dormitories, great sanitary utilities and a well equipped  kitchen with high quality and fresh food. In short the wool was pulled over their eyes.

In an interview in jail in 1946, Mussert stated.

“That time when I visited Dachau, it was beautiful. People were walking around in the open air, they were busy gardening.baking and painting. They were all smiling. Later on of course I realized that this was all staged”

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 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.

The whole trip was a propaganda exercise. It is also a clear indication that the Nazis knew exactly that what they were doing was wrong, for they even hid their crimes for their ‘friends’.

Dachau visit

 

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Source

NIOD

 

Nazi Propaganda in Europe

Dutch

The Nazi had a well oiled propaganda machine which was very effective,not only to sell their warped ideology but also when it came to recruiting for the SS and other branches of the army.

They also had a very effective propaganda program outside Germany. The picture above is a Dutch SS recruit poster saying “For your honor and conscience Up! against the Bolshevism” The Waffen SS calls you”

Recruitment posters for the Norwegian SS, unfortunately I don’t speak Norwegian, but I believe the posters are self explanatory.

Norway

Norway ski.JPG

 

Belgium also had propaganda posters.””All the Flemish in SS troops! Our answer: weapons in the hands!”

Belgium

Like in the Dutch poster the emphasis on the Walloon(French speaking) Belgian posters was put on fighting Bolshevism. In fact they called it a crusade.

Walloon

In France the German army was portrayed as a liberating army, and not a occupying force. This poster says “Abandoned people, trust the German soldier”

France

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1942 Coupe de France Final

red-star-olympique-1942-coupe-de-france

It’s May 17 1942, you country is occupied by a hostile foreign nation. Fellow country man are dying on battlefields or being executed for being members of the resistance and other fellow country men are being deported to death camps. What do you do?

Well watch a football match of course.

Since the champions league finals are upon us in less then 2 weeks and also because the World cup is due to start next month, I was inspired to look into sporting events during WWII. I did not expect to find any but I was wrong, for on this day 76 years ago, the ‘Coupe de France Final’ was played in Stade Olympique Yves-du-Manoir, Colombes near Paris.The coupe de France is the competition for the premier league in France.

2018-05-17 (1)

The  match was played between,Red Star Olympique and FC Sète. Olympique beat FC Sète by 2-0 via goals scored by Henri Joncourt at 45 minutes, and Alfred Aston at 72 minutes. The attendance was 44,654 and the match referee was Georges Capdeville, the only referee to have ever been in charge in a World Cup final in his native country,in 1938.

On a side note but indirectly linked ,Alexandre Villaplane, who was a former player of FC Sète and had  captained  the French national team during the 1930 world cup, worked actively with the Gestapo and eventually became a SS lieutenant. Villaplane’s unit quickly became notorious for its cruelty. On 11 June 1944, for instance, they captured 11 resistance fighters in Mussidan, a small village in the Dordogne. Aged 17 to 26, the maquisards were marched to a ditch and shot. As well as giving the death order, Villaplane is said to have pulled one of the triggers.

villaAs so many other aspects of life, WWII also had a major impact on football in other European countries, France was an exception to the other occupied nations because of the Vichy regime which collaborated with the Nazis

In one way it was beneficial for the Nazis to allow the football competition continue in France. It was an efficient propaganda tool, because it diverted the attention away from their crimes and atrocities. It gave the population a sense of ‘normal’ life.

2018-05-17

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Sources

FFF

The Guardian

 

Nazis and cinema

Bundesarchiv_Bild_183-1990-1002-500,_Besuch_von_Hitler_und_Goebbels_bei_der_UFA_retouched

Ever since its inception , the media of  film has been a perfect tool to inform the masses be it in an entertaining way or in a more sinister manner.

It was and still is the perfect way to distribute propaganda material en mass, although in more recent  years social media has taken over that reign.

Don’t get me wrong I love movies I sill see that they do a lot more good then harm, it is a great way just to escape the daily strife for an hour or two. However it doesn’t take away the fact that they have been used to promote evil causes.

No matter what you think of the Nazis, they were masters of propaganda and were able to use it in the most efficient way possible. They understood the power of cinema/ At relatively ‘low’ costs they were able to distribute their warped ideology on a large scale by using propaganda movies.

Marika Rökk

They varied from short documentaries to massive cinematic productions that rivaled Hollywood in many ways.

Hitler was a big movie fan,prior to the war he spent night after night watching feature films and newsreels. He sometimes watched two, even three films, either at his mountain residence in the Bavarian Alps, the Berghof, or in Berlin at the Reich Chancellery.

Not only German films, but also American,French, and British films, in the original language.Although  Hitler only spoke German he would rely on synopses given by his aides about the movies he was about to watch.

He was a great Walt Disney fan but also loved Laurel and Hardy movies. Ironically the movie “Swiss Miss” which featured Grete Natzler(aka Della Lind) an Austrian Jewish actress  who had fled Germany in 1933, was one of his favourite movies.

Swissmisscard

Short movies like “Erbkrank” -“”The Hereditary Defective” were made  yo gain public support for the T-4 Euthanasia program. the euthanasia of mentally disbled . This film, as  others, were made with actual footage of patients in German psychiatric hospitals.

erbkrank-05952897-ed76-4b5a-a07f-38a1c359944-resize-750

Goebbels, the self appointed “Patron of the German film”, thought, cirrectly that a national cinema which was entertaining and put glamour on the government would be a more effective propaganda instrument than a national cinema where the NSDAP and their policy would have been ubiquitous. Goebbels wanted  to end the ‘moral’ corruption that he thought could be found in the former movie industry. The main goal of the Nazi film policy was to promote escapism, which was designed to distract the population and to keep everybody in good spirits.

Aside from the glamorous movies and the short documentaries promoting T4, a great number of big budget open propaganda movies were made. Documentaries like Der Sieg des Glaubens( The Victory of Faith) and Triumph des Willens(Triumph of the Will),  which were records of the Nuremberg rallies, and newsreels.

Directors like Herbert Gerdes and Leni Riefenstahl were pivotal in the production of these movies.Leni Riefenstahl’s career was not damaged by her involvement the Nazi party and her closeness to Adolf Hitler, after the war she still made several award winning documentaries.

Bundesarchiv_Bild_152-42-31,_Nürnberg,_Leni_Riefenstahl_mit_Heinrich_Himmler (1)

 

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Theresienstadt-The sickening propaganda film.

Shooting_'Film_Ghetto_Theresienstadt'

Theresienstadt was a 1944 Nazi propaganda film depicting  Theresienstadt concentration camp as a sort of idyllic rest stop, in an attempt to convince world opinion that there was no such thing as Nazi death camps.  The film intended to be viewed in “neutral” nations  showing how “humane” conditions were at Theresienstadt.

Nor only was it enough to have a false depiction of Theresienstadt, the Nazi also  coerced German-Jewish =Actor,Director Kurt Gerron into directing it.Kurt Gerron Gedrron had escaped Germany  after the Nazis got to power, and ended up in the Netherlands. Once filming was finished, Gerron and members of the Jazz pianist Martin Roman’s Ghetto Swingers were deported on the camp’s final train transport to Auschwitz. Gerron and his wife were gassed immediately upon arrival, along with the film’s entire performing entourage (except for Roman and guitarist Coco Schumann).The next day, Reichsführer SS Heinrich Himmler ordered the closure of the gas chambers.

After the Wehrmacht occupied the Netherlands, Gerron was first interned in the transit camp at Westerbork before being sent to the Theresienstadt concentration camp.

The Nazis allowed representatives from the Danish Red Cross and the International Red Cross to visit in June 1944. It was all an elaborate hoax. The Germans intensified deportations from the ghetto shortly before the visit, and the ghetto itself was “beautified.” Gardens were planted, houses painted, and barracks renovated. The Nazis staged social and cultural events for the visiting dignitaries. Once the visit was over, the Germans resumed deportations from Theresienstadt, which did not end until October 1944.

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As a result of preparations for the Red Cross visit, the summer of 1944 was, as one survivor later wrote, “the best time we had in Terezín. Nobody thought of new transports.”

The gimmick was so successful that SS commander Hans Günther tried and decided to expand on it by having Kurt Gerron,  make a short documentary  about the camp to assure audiences that the inmates kept there were not being abused. In return, the Nazis promised that he would live. Shooting took 11 days, starting September 1, 1944.

The idea behind the film was  to be shown in neutral countries,including Vatican City  to convince them that the Jews were treated fairly, to counter Allied news reports about the persecution of Jews.

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