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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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.

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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.

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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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The gradual dehumanizing by the Nazi regime.

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

The Holocaust was a gradual process. The Nazis didn’t start mass extermination when they got into power. But gradually prepared the population by dehumanizing the Jewish people. Segregation, as shown in the photo above, was part of this. The point was not to provide a bench for Jews, it was to segregate the benches so that non-Jewish Germans would not have to sit on a “contaminated” bench. Being treated like below human life for years before hand was terrifying and probably emotionally exhausting.

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A boy sits on a bench in a public park. The words painted on the bench say, “For Aryans only.” By law, German and Austrian Jews were prohibited from using many public facilities except those marked “For Jews only.” In some cities, Jews were not allowed in public parks, swimming pools, or movie theaters. Jews were allowed to shop in stores only during designated hours, usually late in the day when stores had run out of fresh foods.

After Adolf Hitler gained power in 1933, the school curriculum changed.Jewish children in German schools suffered terribly from bullying.

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Biology, along with political education, became compulsory. Children learnt about “worthy” and “unworthy” races, about breeding and hereditary disease. They measured their heads with tape measures, checked the colour of their eyes and texture of their hair against charts of Aryan or Nordic types, and constructed their own family trees to establish their biological, not historical, ancestry…. They also expanded on the racial inferiority of the Jews.

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The Minister of the Interior, Wilhelm Frick, claimed that the idea that  teaching history should be objective was a fallacy of liberalism.  The purpose of history was to teach people that life was always dominated by struggle, that race and blood were central to everything that happened in the past, present and future, and that leadership determined the fate of peoples. Central themes in the new teaching including courage in battle, sacrifice for a greater cause, boundless admiration for the Leader and hatred of Germany’s enemies, the Jews.

In 1933 all Jewish teachers were dismissed from German schools and universities. At this time 12 per cent of all German professors were Jews. During the same year the proportion of Jewish students at universities was reduced to less than 1 per cent, to correspond to the proportion of Jews in Germany.

Exploiting pre-existing images and stereotypes, Nazi propagandists portrayed Jews as an “alien race” that fed off the host nation, poisoned its culture, seized its economy, and enslaved its workers and farmers.

Propaganda slide depicting Jews as the bastard sons of Asian and negroid racial groups

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All school textbooks were withdrawn before new ones were published that reflected the Nazi ideology. Additional teaching materials were issued by Nazi teachers’ organizations in different parts of the country. A directive issued in January 1934 made it compulsory for schools to educate their pupils “in the spirit of National Socialism”

Illustration from a German textbook. The child is saying
“The Jewish nose is bent. It looks like the number six” (1938)

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It has been estimated that by 1936 over 32 per cent of teachers were members of the Nazi Party. This was a much higher figure than for other professions. Teachers who were members, wore their uniforms in the classroom. The teacher would enter the classroom and welcome the group with a ‘Hitler salute’, shouting “Heil Hitler!” Students would have to respond in the same manner. It has been claimed that before Adolf Hitler took power a large proportion pf teachers were members of the German Social Democratic Party. One of the jokes that circulated in Germany during this period referred to this fact: “What is the shortest measurable unit of time? The time it takes a grade-school teacher to change his political allegiance.

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By 1934, all Jewish shops were marked with the yellow Star of David or had the word “Juden” written on the window.

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Der Stürmer-Nazi Propaganda tool

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Der Stürmer was an anti-Semitic “tabloid style” newspaper published by Julius Streicher from 1923 almost continuously through to the end of World War II. Der Stürmer was viewed by Hitler as playing a  significant role in the Nazi propaganda machinery and a useful tool in influencing the “common man on the street”.

It was a significant part of Nazi propaganda and was vehemently anti-Semitic. the paper’s tag line was “The Jews are our misfortube”.Unlike the Völkischer Beobachter the official party paper which gave itself an outwardly serious appearance.

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Der Stürmer often ran obscene material such as antisemitic caricatures of Jews and accusations of blood libel, as well as sexually explicit, anti-Catholic, anti-Communist, and anti-monarchist propaganda.

The newspaper originated at Nuremberg during Adolf Hitler’s attempt to establish power and control. During that struggle, Streicher was accused by the opposition of the Nazi party as being “a liar, a coward, of having unsavory friends, mistreating his wife and of flirting with women.

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Despite the accusations, the first copy of Der Stürmer was published on 20 April 1923.Der Stürmer’s circulation grew over time, distributing to a large percentage of the German population as well as Argentina, Brazil, Canada and the United States.Streicher wanted Der Stuermer to appeal to the common man, to the worker with little time to read.

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Thus, Der Stuermer’s articles used short sentences and a simple vocabulary. Ideas were repeated. Headlines grabbed a reader’s attention. And the cartoons were easily understood.

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Rather then going into the ins and outs of the ‘Newspaper’ below some of the paper’s front pages and cartoons, which will explain why it was such a powerful tool.

Julius Streicher, warned of a Jewish program for world domination in this 1934 issue. The article, titled “Who is the Enemy?” blamed Jews for destroying social order and claimed that Jews wanted war, while the rest of the world wanted peace.

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A Nazi is pumping poison gas into a tunnel beneath an oak tree representing Germany. Dead Jewish rats are strewn about.  The head lines says “The poisoned King”with the context : “When the vermin are dead, the German oak will flourish.” Since this is from 1927 it clearly indicates the plans by the Nazi’s in relation to gassing the jews,long before Kristallnacht and the Wannsee convention.

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1934 Stürmer issue: “Storm above Judah” – criticizing institutional churches as “Judaized” organizations.

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Front page of the most popular issue ever of the Nazi publication,Der Stürmer, with a reprint of a medieval depiction of a purported ritual murder committed by Jews.der-sturmer-ritual-murder

Der Stürmer, was removed from news kiosks during the Games as a concession to the International Olympic Committee. But the paper was still published, using racist slurs and caricatures to malign Jews in its special Olympics issue. July 1936.

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This image depicts the “Jew” as a warmonger who looks on approvingly as the non-Jewish world is crucified on a cross marked “war” (Krieg).

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Julius Streicher was not a member of the military and did not take part in planning the Holocaust, or the invasion of other nations. Yet his pivotal role in inciting the extermination of Jews was significant enough, in the prosecutors’ judgment, to include him in the indictment of Major War Criminals before the International Military Tribunal – which sat in Nuremberg, where Streicher had once been an unchallenged authority. Most of the evidence against Streicher came from his numerous speeches and articles over the years. In essence, prosecutors contended that Streicher’s articles and speeches were so incendiary that he was an accessory to murder, and therefore as culpable as those who actually ordered the mass extermination of Jews (such as Hans Frank and Ernst Kaltenbrunner). They further argued that he kept them up when he was well aware Jews were being slaughtered.

He was acquitted of crimes against peace, but found guilty of crimes against humanity, and sentenced to death on 1 October 1946. The judgment against him read, in part:

For his 25 years of speaking, writing and preaching hatred of the Jews, Streicher was widely known as ‘Jew-Baiter Number One.’ In his speeches and articles, week after week, month after month, he infected the German mind with the virus of anti-Semitism, and incited the German people to active persecution. … Streicher’s incitement to murder and extermination at the time when Jews in the East were being killed under the most horrible conditions clearly constitutes persecution on political and racial grounds in connection with war crimes, as defined by the Charter, and constitutes a crime against humanity.

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Emil Jannings-Oscar Winner and Nazi propagandist.

This is a slightly different story from the WWII era but nevertheless still an intriguing one. WWII wasn’t only death and destruction ‘normal’ life went on too. People would still go to the Cinema and watch movies. However in Germany these movies were often used as propaganda tools to divert the attention of what was really going on.

Emil Jannings, original name Theodor Friedrich Emil Janenz (born July 23, 1884, Rorschach, Switzerland—died January 2, 1950, Strobl, near Salzburg, Austria) internationally known German actor famous for his tragic roles in motion pictures.

To date, he is still the only German to have won the Best Actor Oscar.

Jannings is best known for his collaborations with F.W. Murnau and Josef von Sternberg, including 1930’s The Blue Angel, with Marlene Dietrich.

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Der blaue Engel was meant as a vehicle for Jannings to score a place for himself in the new medium of sound film, but Dietrich stole the show. Jannings later starred in a number of Nazi propaganda films, which made him unemployable as an actor after the fall of the Third Reich.

 

 

 

In 1929, the first year of the Academy Awards, Jannings won a Best Actor award for his performances in the American-made films The Way of All Flesh (1927, now lost), in which he played an embittered family man, and The Last Command (1928), in which he was an exiled Russian general reduced to playing bit parts in war films. (During the early years of the awards, actors could be nominated for multiple performances.) With the advent of sound in American cinema, Jannings was forced because of his thick accent to abandon his career in the United States. He continued to work in German films, but his support of the Nazi regime made him a pariah elsewhere in the world. He continues to be a subject of great controversy, though many of his detractors begrudgingly admit that he was one of the finest actors of his generation.

After the Nazi seizure of power in 1933, Jannings continued his career in the service of Nazism and cinema. During the Third Reich, he starred in several films which were intended to promote Nazism, particularly the Führerprinzip (prescribed the fundamental basis of political authority in the governmental structures of the Third Reich)by presenting unyielding historical characters, such as Der alte und der junge König (The Old and the Young King 1934), Der Herrscher (The Ruler 1937) directed by Veit Harlan, Robert Koch (1939), Ohm Krüger (Uncle Kruger, 1941) and Die Entlassung (Bismarck’s Dismissal, 1942).

 

He also performed in his famed role in The Broken Jug directed by Gustav Ucicky. Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels named Jannings an “Artist of the State” (Staatsschauspieler) in 1936.

St. Wolfgang, Goebbels und Emil Jannings

The shooting of his last film Wo ist Herr Belling? was aborted, when troops of the Allied Powers entered Germany in Spring 1945. Jannings reportedly carried his Oscar statuette with him as proof of his former association with Hollywood. However, his active role in Nazi propaganda meant that he was subject to denazification, and a comeback attempt would not be legal.

The Denazification was an Allied initiative to rid German and Austrian society, culture, press, economy, judiciary, and politics of any remnants of the National Socialist ideology (Nazism).

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It was carried out specifically by removing from positions of power and influence those who had been Nazi Party members and by disbanding or rendering impotent the organizations associated with Nazism. The program of denazification was launched after the end of the Second World War and was solidified by the Potsdam Agreement.

Ironically, in the same period Dietrich would become a US citizen and an influential anti-Nazi activist, spending much of the war entertaining troops on the front lines and broadcasting on behalf of the OSS.

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Dietrich particularly loathed Jannings for his Nazi ties, and would later refer to her former co-star as a “ham”.

According to Susan Orlean, author of Rin Tin Tin: The Life and The Legend (Simon and Schuster, 2011), Jannings was not actually the winner of the first best actor vote, but the runner-up. While researching her book, Orlean discovered that it was in fact Rin Tin Tin, the German Shepherd dog, one of the biggest movie stars of his time, who won the vote. The Academy, however, worried about not being taken seriously if they gave the first Oscar to a dog, chose to award the Oscar to the human runner-up.

Jannings retired to Strobl near Salzburg, Austria, and became an Austrian citizen in 1947.He died in 1950, aged 65, from liver cancer.He is buried in the St. Wolfgang cemetery.

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His Best Actor Oscar is now on display at the Berlin Filmmuseum.

His Birth place of Rorschach, Switzerland, honored him with a special star (similar to the ones on the Walk of Fame in L.A.), which was revealed on November 12, 2004. Only hours prior to the ceremony, the town’s council learned of Jannings’ efforts on behalf of the Nazis during World War II. A few days later, the star was removed.I am a bit cynical about this especially in 2004 where information was readily available about Emil Jannings, I find it hard to believe they weren’t aware of his involvement with the Nazi party and especially Joseph Goebbels.

 

The Death Match 9 August 1942

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With the qualifiers for the World cup well on their way it is time to go back into history of football for a bit.

Although as a Dutchman it aches me to admit that the Germans generally put up a good team for the tournament, there is however a black mark in the German football history.

KIEV, Ukraine — There are few striking features about Start Stadium except its disrepair. Wooden planks in the grandstand, like neglected teeth, are mostly loose or missing. Behind the tiny seating area, though, a sturdy column rises and supports a statue. It depicts a muscular, naked man heroically kicking a soccer ball into the beak of a trampled eagle.

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On the 9th of August 1942, a group of men who worked at Kiev’s Bakery #3 took on the might of the Nazi Luftwaffe team and triumphed.  The game was dubbed the “Death Match”.  It was a match that went down in legend and folklore.  It was a match that was used for Soviet propaganda.  It was a match that provided the inspiration for the 1981 film Escape to Victory.  It was a match where the events surrounding the game are still being discussed and debated.  It had come about because of the remarkable feats of F.C. Start.

On the 19th of September 1941 the Nazis successfully invaded and captured Kiev.  A few days after they took over the city, the Nazis slaughtered over 33,000 Jews at the ravine of Babi Yar.

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In their attempts to keep the local population under control the Nazi rulers decided to introduce a series of football matches in June 1942.  It was part of an effort to distract and pacify the populace with a sense of “normality.”  Little did they know that a group of former Dynamo and Lokomotiv Kiev players who worked at a bakery would turn into a symbol of resistance for the people of Kiev.

The formation of F.C. Start effectively began with Nikolai Trusevich.  Trusevich was the goalkeeper of Dynamo Kiev before the outbreak of World War II.  He enlisted in the army to defend Kiev but soon became a prisoner of war and was held in the Darnitsa camp after the Nazi’s captured the city.  Trusevich was eventually released, after signing papers pledging loyalty to the new regime (not that he had much choice considering the alternative), and returned to Kiev.

On August 6, 1942 FC Start played the German team Flakelf. There was an estimated 2,000 spectators in attendance, with each spectator paying a total of five rubles to attend. Zenit Stadium was lined with SS soldiers and police dogs as an attempt to intimidate the Start players.

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(I am not sure if this is an actual picture or from the movie which was made in 2012)

The Flakelf team consisted of German soldiers who manned antiaircraft guns around Kiev. FC Start dominated the first game by defeating the Germans 5-1. The German team would demand a rematch. The “Death Match” or second match took place on 9 August 1942 at the Kiev city stadium against the German team Flakelf, made up of air defense artillery football players.

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With an audience of 2000,the teams met again three days later, in the later so-called “Death Match”. The poster informed that Flakelf had a “strengthened” team but did not reveal any names. But it named 14 Start players, amongst them Lev Gundarev, Georgi Timofeyev and Olexander Tkachenko, Ukrainian policemen under German command.

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The score was 5–3 in favour of Start. Only the first half of the match is documented: The Germans opened the score, then Ivan Kuzmenko and Makar Honcharenko two times marked the 3–1 score for half time. After the match a German took a photograph of both teams showing a relaxed atmosphere. Some days later he offered a copy to former Lokomotiv player Volodymyr Balakin.This photograph was never published in Soviet times.

Afterwards the winners drank a glass of self-made vodka and met at a party in the evening.

There were stories that in the aftermath of the match the players of F.C. Start were rounded up and executed.  That wasn’t the case though as the team played one more game a week after the infamous “Death match,” thrashing Rukh 8:0.

On the 18th of August 1942 the Gestapo arrived at Bakery #3 and read out a list of names who were required for questioning.  The names were of the players of F.C. Start.  The Gestapo wanted to prove that the players were agents of the NKVD, the secret police, and knew that the organization had links to Dynamo Kiev prior to the war.  Apparently a picture of Nikolai Korotkykh in an NKVD uniform was discovered and he was tortured to death.  The story goes that his sister had turned him in after being interrogated by the Nazis.

The remaining members of the team were sent to a concentration camp at Syrets.  It was there, six months after they had been arrested, that Alexei Klimenko, Ivan Kuzmenko and Nikolai Trusevich met their fate.  The commander of the concentration camp, Paul Radomski, had ordered the prisoners of the camp to line-up and decreed that every third one would be shot.  There are differing reasons given for his decision to exact punishment, ranging from revenge for attacks by Soviet partisans to retribution for prisoner disobedience.  No matter what, they were three pillars of the F.C. Start side were felled.  Trusevich, it was said, was wearing the goalkeeping top he wore for F.C. Start in the final moments of his life.

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Makar Goncharenko, Mikhail Sviridovsky and Feodor Tyutchev, who were in Kiev as part of the work squad, took their opportunity to flee fearing that they would be killed if they returned to Syrets.

The reports give several reasons for the execution:

  • A conflict concerning the dog of the camp commandor Paul Radomski: Some prisoners were said to have beaten it with a shovel in the camp kitchen. On this situation one of the prisoners had attacked an SS soldier.Radomski
  • Punishment for the escape of some prisoners.
  • Disobiedience of prisoners who were ordered to hang other prisoners who tried to flee from the camp.
  • A sabotage act of partisans on a tank repair facility

After the fall of the Nazis the Soviet government initially played down the story of F.C Start with the exploits of the team only being recognized and broadly told in the late 1950s.  The regime soon came to realize the propaganda value of using the legend of F.C. Start to further their ideological cause. From then on the Soviet government used the story of F.C. Start for their own purposes.  They promoted the myth that a number of the team were immediately shot after the game and died for their ideology and ideals.  Indeed, when Goncharenko was discussing the aftermath of game in 1985 he claimed that Trusevich’s last words were “long live Stalin, long live Soviet Sport.”  Again, there are differing accounts of exactly what words, if any, Trusevic uttered.  Goncharenko may have felt obliged to give the regime’s version of events..

After the publication of a report in a German newspaper repeating the Soviet version a case about the “Death Match” was opened by the prosecution office of Hamburg in July 1974.As Soviet authorities did not collaborate on the case, it was closed in March 1976. In 2002 the Ukrainian authorities informed Hamburg about their new investigation. So the case was reopened, but finally closed by the investigation commission in February 2005. The commission was not able to find any connections between the game and the execution of people who participated in it, nor any person responsible for the executions being still alive. Radomski had been killed on 14 March 1945.

Either way one can not help but wonder if these men were killed because of the match.

Many may never have heard of this story while some may have forgotten it but the city of Kyiv shall forever remember this incredibly brave group of eleven men who stood for everything the city believed in, the men who held this city together through one year of the war, the men who defeated Germany, the men who expressed themselves through the sport they loved, the men who wanted to free Ukraine!

Two movies were inspired on the event. Although the 1981 one movie “Escape to Victory”directed by John Huston is only very loosely based on the match, the only similarities it has is a match between Germans and Non Germans during WWII. In the movie the Germans play allied POWs.

EscapeToVictory

In 2012 the Russian movie “Match” ,which is actually based on the event , caused quite some controversy in the Ukraine.

Regulators said the film could incite aggressive fans just weeks before Ukraine hosted several games played by Germany’s national team during the 2012 European Championship from June 8-July 1.

‘There always are people – hooligans – who use football to spill out their aggression and some of those people may be influenced by (the film),’ said political analyst Volodymyr Fesenko.

In the Dynamo Kiev Stadium  in Kiev a monument has been erected depicting some of the players reputedly executed by the Nazis.

monument

Whether the players were eventually executed or not I don’t really know for certain, but given the fact that the Germans were defeated twice must have been a blow to the Nazi propaganda machine and therefore it would not surprise me in the slightest that the  men were killed because of this.