1942 Coupe de France Final

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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.

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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.

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Sources

FFF

The Guardian

 

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Nazis and cinema

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Theresienstadt-The sickening propaganda film.

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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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Sources

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The killing wasn’t enough

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

The Holocaust didn’t start with killing, it started with dehumanizing Jews and other “undesirables”. Convince the population that those deemed by the Nazi regime as inferior, were just that,inferior.

Throughout the war they humiliated Jews, just killing wasn’t good enough they had to be mocked and ridiculed also, for they were considered to be sub human so basically the SS and others could do as they pleased.

The picture above is of a Jewish woman sitting on a bench in Vienna, designated as a “For Jews Only” bench.

It wasn’t only the Germans it was every one who had bought in to this Nazi ideology that mistreated Jews.

Slovak soldiers humiliating Lipa Baum, during the deportation of the Jews of Stropkov.

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SS officers and camp guards humiliating a Jewish man

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Vienna Jews being forced to scrub the sidewalks here are being overseen by Hitler Youth boys, including some very young boys.

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The picture below is of a German woman and a Jewish man surrounded by Nazis. The woman is holding a sign saying. “I am locally the biggest pig and I only get involved with Jews”

The Jewish man is holding a sign saying “As a Jewish Boy I only take German girls into my room”

This was a German-Jewish couple the picture was taken in Hamburg 1935

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Three Jewish businessmen are forced to march down a crowded Leipzig street while carrying signs reading: “Don’t buy from Jews. Shop in German businesses!

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Sources

Yad Vashem

United States Holocaust Museum

 

Arguments for Hate.

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The one thing that always intrigued me and puzzled me is how did the Nazis get to hate the Jews en mass.

After all the Jews were neighbours and citizens, They never initiated a war against Germany, nor did they conduct any violent acts against the state. And yet Hitler and his cohorts created this hate big enough that so few questioned the atrocities committed by the Nazi leadership.

One of the key tools was propaganda.

The Nazis were always worried about those Germans who did not accept anti-Semitism. In this article from the party monthly, ‘Unser Wille und Weg’. (Our will and Way)

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The author provides ten responses to the most common objections they encountered to Nazi anti-Semitic measures. These were arguments intended for everyday use in conversation with fellow citizens.

(source: Kurt Hilmar Eitzen, “Zehn Knüppel wider die Judenknechte,” Unser Wille und Weg (6) 1936, pp. 309-310.)

Ten Responses to Jewish Lackeys

by Kurt Hilmar Eitzen

There are still Jewish lackeys today who attempt to disrupt our storm attack on the Jewish world rulers, trying to stop us or even cause us to fall. The following hints show how one can reply to these arguments by our opponents, or even turn their arguments against them.

Argument 1: “You say that religion is a private matter. But you fight against the Jewish religion!” Counterargument: “Actually, the Jewish religion is nothing other than a doctrine to preserve the Jewish race.” (Adolf Hitler). “In resisting all government attempts to nationalize them, the Jews build a state within the state (Count Helmuth von Moltke). “To call this state a ‘religion’ was one of the cleverest tricks ever invented.” (Adolf Hitler). “From this first lie that Jewry is a religion, not a race, further lies inevitably follow.” (Adolf Hitler).

Argument 2: “There are decent Jews, after all!” — Counterargument: “This little phrase ‘after all’ proves that they are rare exceptions of no significance to our battle against Jewry as a whole. But Martin Luther saw four hundred years ago that this “decency,” proven by charitable deeds done in as public a manner as possible, is nothing but a hidden cost of business, to repaid a thousand times by uneducated Germans. “Know, dear Christian, and have no doubts about it, that next to the Devil you have no more bitter, poisonous and determined enemy than a genuine Jew. . . If they do something good for you, it is not because they love you, but because they need room to live with us, so they have to do something. But their heart remains as I have said!”

Argument 3: “The Jew has better prices than the German businessman.” — Counterargument: Any crook can sell junk. Jewish crooks have driven thousands of German businessmen to bankruptcy with the glittering trash in their department store palaces. When someone does get good products more cheaply from the Jews than from Germans, it is only because the united Jewish firms force down prices from the manufacturers, which means reducing workers’ wages. He who has bought good products cheaply from the Jew should never forget that the curse of a German worker and the tears of his hungry children come with them!

Argument 4: “There are also ‘white Jews’ [i.e., Gentiles who are as bad as Jews]. — Counterargument: “That speaks against the Jews, not for them! The fact that one calls the crooks among us ‘white Jews’ is proof that being a Jew implies something bad. Otherwise, one would call crooked Jews ‘yellow Christians.’ The fact that there are so many ‘white Jews’ among us proves that the destructive Jewish spirit has already infected wide circles of our population. It is a warning to us that we have to take up the battle against the Jewish world plague everywhere.” (Joseph Goebbels). That is why Point 24 of our party program states: “The party battles the Jewish-materialistic spirit within and outside of us.”

Argument 5: “Mr. Levi is not a Jew, since he has been baptized!” — Counterargument: As we have already shown, Jewry is not a religion. The Führer pointed that out in a sarcastic manner during the period of struggle [1919-1933] when he said that it was a peculiar sort of religion when one could smell its adherents from a great distance! No, a Jew always remains a Jew. Chaim Herz Bückeberg, better known as “Heinrich Heine,” joked: “Are these long noses a kind of uniform that allows the God King Jehovah to recognize his old body guard, even if they have deserted?” “I have no desire to convert the Jews,” Martin Luther wrote, “since that is impossible.” A Jew remains a Jew. “In case of need, a dose of baptismal water saves both business and Jewry at the same time!” (Adolf Hitler).

Argument 6: “It is true that Mr. Moses Freundenstein is a Jew, but his parents and grandparents lived here. He is one of our old established citizens.” — Counterargument: Just as a goat does not become a horse, even if his father and grandfather were in the same stall, a Jew can never become a German, even if his ancestor came to Germany as a peddler in Varus’ army [during the Roman era].

Argument 7: “The Jew is a human being, too!” — Counterargument: “Of course the Jew is a human being too. None of us has ever doubted it. But a flea is also an animal. But not a very pleasant one. Since a flea is not a pleasant animal, we have no duty to protect and defend it, to take care of it so that it can bite and torment and torture us. Rather, we make it harmless. It is the same with the Jews.” {Joseph Goebbels).

Argument 8: “Everything with a human face is equal.” — Counterargument: Thirteen years ago, the Stürmer carried a cartoon. In it, a miserable pig looked up from his sty to a royal lion. “Everything with an animal face is equal!” But what did the lion growl in reply? “That’s what you swine would like to think!”

Argument 9: “Anti-Semitism is only something for idiots!” Counterargument: One no longer hears this lie in National Socialist Germany. But one still reads it in the Jewish emigre press abroad, and Jews whisper it here and perhaps some Jewish lackeys still think that. We smile in response, and note that the Jews have never produced a single creative man, but that all great men in every country have been implacable opponents of the Jews. Some “intellectuals” may be distressed when one doubts their understanding, but we will follow the battle cry against Judah that all of the great men of our past have made!

Argument 10: “Can you live with the uproar and accept responsibility for the misery that the laws of the Third Reich bring to thousands of Jewish families?” — Counterargument: “It is almost a miracle that absolutely nothing has happened to Jews in Germany, but rather that only gradually the rights they stole from the Germans in politics and culture have been restored.” (Alfred Rosenberg). But even if a few hundred Jewish families in Germany really did have to go hungry, what is that against the many millions of German families that the Jew murdered over the course of centuries through wars, revolutions, and civil strife, not to mention those ruined through usury and fraud. “In the battle between the races, there is no truce. If you are determined finally to defend yourself, German people, then be pitiless!” (Adolf Hitler).

If anyone just would have sat down and dissected these arguments they would have seen how preposterous the statements were. Even if they would have taken the line in argument 9 “the Jews have never produced a single creative man” just think for example of the multitude if Jewish authors like Kafka or Zweig.

But much like nowadays people don’t listen to facts only to headlines.

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WWII Newspaper coverage

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Good news coverage is always very important to keep yourself informed, but in times of war this importance is amplified manyfold.

I still clearly remember when the  Gulf war-Operation Desert storm  broke out, it was probably one of the first times there was instant live news coverage of a war, and it was mesmerizing, The media used then was television, of course during WWII the television wasn’t as advanced as it is now so people relied on Newspapers to stay informed.

Some of the news coverage was heavily propagandized though. Below are some examples of Newspaper headlined from WWII, in no particular order.

1943 Volkischer Beobachter (Germany) front page reporting the German Army defeat at Stalingrad saying “They died, so that Germany can live”

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so it begins

 

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This is a strange one, it is a German propaganda news paper in English , called Swastika Times.

The Axis powers, especially Germany, also produced leaflets and newspapers targeted on enemy soldiers. Consider again the situation in North West Europe after D-Day. The Germans executed an extensive and inventive leaflet campaign against the Allied forces as they fought their way across France and Belgium into Germany. Other than during the Ardennes Offensive they had relatively little news to exploit in their favour but certain themes had the potential to weaken the enemy soldier’s morale, make him over-self-protective, and question his post-war prospects. Relative to the Allies’ well-oiled newspaper publishing machine, the German’s newspaper publishing efforts appeared to be sporadic and inconsistent.

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The Hindenburg- Airship and Nazi Propaganda tool.

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Although designed and built for commercial transatlantic passenger, air freight, and mail service, at the behest of the Reich Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda , Hindenburg was first pressed into use by the Air Ministry as a vehicle for the delivery of Nazi propaganda

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And in the 1930’s it must have been an awesome sight,indeed it still would be quite a site in the skies nowadays. Below is just an indication how big the Hindenbirg was compared to a boeing 747

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Hindenburg made appearances at public events such as the 1936 Berlin Games and the Nuremberg Party rally, and Hindenburg’s first major flight, after test flights were completed, was a 74-hour propaganda flight in support of Hitler’s remilitarization of the Rhineland.

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When boxer Max Schmeling defeated African American boxer Joe Louis,on June 18, 1936, at the famous Yankee Stadiumin Bronx, New York , the Nazi government arranged for Schmeling to return to Germany on Hindenburg.

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After its basic test flights in early March, 1936, Hindenburg was scheduled to make a series of endurance trials in preparation for its first transatlantic crossing on March 31, 1936.

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Hindenburg made 17 round trips across the Atlantic in 1936—its first and only full year of service—with ten trips to the United States and seven to Brazil. The flights were considered demonstrative rather than routine in schedule. The first passenger trip across the North Atlantic left Frankfurt on May 6 with 56 crew and 50 passengers, arriving in Lakehurst on May 9

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With the success of Hindenburg’s 1936 season, eighteen round-trip flights between Germany and the United States were scheduled for 1937, and a companion ship, LZ-130, was nearing completion at the Zeppelin Company construction shed in Friedrichshafen.

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On Hindenburg’s first North American flight of the 1937 season, under the command of Captain Max Pruss, the Hindenburg crashed at Lakehurst, New Jersey, killing 13 of the 36 passengers, 22 of the 61 crew, and a civilian member of the ground handling team, and the era of transcontinental passenger .

Funeral services for the 28 Germans who lost their lives in the Hindenburg disaster, New York, 1937 7

In New York City, funeral services for the 28 Germans who lost their lives in the Hindenburg disaster were held on the Hamburg-American pier, on May 11, 1937. About 10,000 members of German organizations lined the pier. Seems to be a mixture of Nazi Germany, American, and German-American Bund flags.

Funeral services for the 28 Germans who lost their lives in the Hindenburg disaster, New York, 1937

Funeral services for the 28 Germans who lost their lives in the Hindenburg disaster, New York, 1937 3

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Nazi Propaganda-Part 2

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One of the ways how the Nazis were able to include regular citizens in their web of evil and deceit was by propaganda. Regardless what you think of them, they were masters of propaganda, it enabled them to brainwash the ordinary citizenry. That combined with promising and delivering employment and some level of prosperity is a powerful weapon.

In fact it probably was their most powerful weapon because it allowed them to get away with awful crimes and atrocities.

Here are just some of the propaganda slogans and posters used during the Nazi era.To be honest some of them look very similar to motivational posters which are used nowadays.

The text: “National Socialism is the guarantee of victory.” This poster was released in fall 1939.

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A quotation from Clausewitz: “The time is yours. What happens with it depends on you.” ( September 1940)

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A common Nazi slogan : “The Führer is always right .” (February 1941)

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A quotation from Hermann Göring: “To help to defend and finish the Führer’s enormous work is the happiest task and highest duty of all Germans” (May 1941)

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This quotation from Hitler’s 30 January 1939 speech promises the destruction of the Jews. It appeared in September 1941, after the invasion of the Soviet Union, and during the opening stages of the Holocaust. The translation: “If International Finance Jewry should succeed once more in plunging the peoples into a world war, the result will not be the victory of Jewry, but rather the destruction of the Jewish race in Europe.

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This one encourages motherhood. The translation is: “Work is an honor for the woman as is it for the man, but a child ennobles the mother.” ( December 1942)

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A quotation from Joseph Goebbels: “Only composure and a heart of bronze bring victory.” (January 1943)

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This July 1932 election poster shows the German worker, enlightened through National Socialism, towering over his opponents. It reads “We Workers Have Awakened. We’re Voting National Socialist”

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Leni Riefenstahl-Documenting evil

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The story of  Leni Riefenstahl has always intrigued me. Although she was a willing and pivotal tool in the Nazi propaganda machine. She did witness crimes and evil but was yet somehow able to distance herself from it.

Leni Riefenstahl (Helene Riefenstahl) was a German dancer, actress, and film director best known for her imposing propaganda films in support of the National Socialist (Nazi) Party.

By her own account, the advent of World War II and the rapid escalation of violence under the Nazi regime had an unfavorable effect on both Riefenstahl and her career. Early in the Polish campaign, an incident seemed to have shaken Riefenstahl’s confidence in the movement she had glorified in cinematic images. While accompanying German troops near Konskie, the filmmaker witnessed the execution of Polish civilians shot in retaliation for a partisan attack on German troops. Riefenstahl apparently left her filming that day in order to make a personal appeal to Hitler against such arbitrary violence. The incident may have planted a seed of doubt in Riefenstahl’s mind, but it did not prevent her from filming Hitler’s triumphal parade into Warsaw just weeks later.

Polen, Truppenbesuch von Leni Riefenstahl

However another side to this story is that she had been filming Nazi rallies since the early 1930’s. Like the 1935 film Triumph of the Will (German: Triumph des Willens). It chronicles the 1934 Nazi Party Congress in Nuremberg, which was attended by more than 700,000 Nazi supporters. This film had a global release, it should have been a warning to the world what the Nazi’s were up to, but it was ignored.

Nürnberg, Reichsparteitag, Marsch der Wehrmacht

 

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After the war Riefenstahl attempted to separate herself from the criminal nature of the Nazi regime, suggesting her duty was to her craft and not necessarily to the Nazi authorities who commissioned her films.

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In the postwar years, Leni Riefenstahl was the subject of four denazification proceedings, which finally declared her a Nazi sympathizer (Mitläufer). Although never a member of the Nazi Party, Riefenstahl found it difficult to overcome her association with the propaganda films she had made during the early Nazi period, and encountered difficulties in regaining her position in the German cinematic community. Her experience was quite unlike that of her colleague Veit Harlan, who had directed such seminal Nazi propaganda works as Jüd Süss and Kolberg, but who returned to a flourishing directorial career in the 1950s. Riefenstahl turned to still photography, publishing in the 1970s an illustrated volume on the primitive Nuba tribe of the Sudan; in her late seventies, she undertook a new interest in underwater cinematography.

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The perfect Aryans that weren’t actually Aryans.

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Hessy Levinsons Taft (born May 17, 1934) is a woman, born to Jewish parents in Berlin, best known for having been featured prominently as an infant in Nazi propaganda after her photo was surreptitiously entered in, and then selected as the winner of, a contest to find the most beautiful Aryan baby.

Taft’s image became one of the most subversive of the 20th century when it was subsequently distributed widely by the Nazi party in a variety of materials, such as magazines and postcards, to promote Aryanism.

Her parents, Jacob and Pauline (Levine) Levinsons,[2] were unaware of their photographer’s decision to enter the photograph into the contest until learning that the photo of their daughter had been selected by Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels as the winner of the contest.

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Fearing that the Nazis would discover that their family was Jewish, Taft’s mother informed the photographer that they were Jewish. The photographer told her mother, Pauline, that he knew they were Jewish and deliberately entered Taft’s photograph into the contest because he “wanted to make the Nazis ridiculous”.Taft told the German-language newspaper Bild that “I can laugh about it now” in July 2014, “but if the Nazis had known who I really was, I wouldn’t be alive.”

Hessy Levinsons Taft is now a chemistry professor in New York.

WernerGoldberg

Werner Goldberg (October 3, 1919 – September 28, 2004) was a German who was of half Jewish ancestry, or Mischling in Nazi terminology, who served briefly as a soldier during World War II and whose image appeared in the Berliner Tageblatt as “The Ideal German Soldier”, and his image was later used in recruitment posters for the Wehrmacht. 1935 Nuremberg Laws classed persons with three Jewish grandparents as Jewish; those with two Jewish grandparents would be considered Jewish only if they practised the faith or had a Jewish spouse. Therefore according to the Nuremberg Laws, Werner Goldberg woulds have been considered a “non-Aryan” German by Nazi authorities because of his German Jewish mother.

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1938 he joined the army. Werner saw military action soon after completing basic training. He participated in the German invasion of Poland in 1939. Shortly after the invasion of Poland began, a German army photographer took photos of Werner Goldberg and sent them to the Berliner Tagesblatt, a major newspaper in Germany’s capital. They liked the photos and published a full-page picture of Werner Goldberg in their Sunday edition. The newspaper didn’t state his name. They probably didn’t know it. They captioned the photo ‘The Ideal German Soldier.’ Hitler was very impressed by the picture and ordered it reprinted on Nazi propaganda and army recruiting posters.

Eventually Nazi officials discovered the truth, that the ‘ideal German soldier’ was a Jew. Goldberg was forced out of the army, but he was never sent to jail or a concentration camp. In 1942, Werner Goldberg rescued his sick father who was being held in a Gestapo prison hospital for Jews. On Christmas Eve, Werner went to the hospital. He gambled that the guards and Gestapo agents at the door would either be absent from their posts or drunk because of the holiday, and he was right. Werner got into the hospital by showing the guards a photo of himself captioned ‘the ideal German soldier.’ The guards recognized the photo and let Werner into the hospital. Once inside, Werner simply went to his father’s room, dressed his father in street clothes that he brought with him and simply walked out the door with his father. Werner Goldberg survived the war and died in 2004.

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