D.O.O.D- De Olympiade Onder Dictatuur- The Olympics under dictatorship

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As part of the Nazis’ plan to make the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin a showcase of their ideological and racial superiority, Josef Goebbels, the regime’s propaganda chief, excluded Jews, leftists and purveyors of “degenerate” art from an Art Olympiad organized to coincide with the games.

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In response, a group of Dutch artists and intellectuals challenged the Nazis by calling for a boycott of the event, which had accompanied the summer Olympic games since 1912 and in which painters, architects, writers and musicians were also awarded medals for excellence.

The Dutch group organized a counter exhibition in Amsterdam, “The Olympics Under Dictatorship,”  or D.O.O.D (Dood is Dutch for Death or Dead)which brought together 300 works by 150 artists from half a dozen countries. The show also included documentation, cartoons, photographs and drawings illustrating Nazi repression and manipulation of education, science, theater, literature, film and music.

The organizers of the exhibition invited artists from the Netherlands and neigkboring countries as well as many German artists who had already fled the Nazi regime to contribute works. Among foreign exhibitors were Max Ernst, Jacques Lipchitz, Marcel Gromaire, Georges Vantongerloo, Fernand Legep, Ossip Zadkine and Lucien Pissarro, although many artists were less well known.

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With the notable exception of drawings and cartoons in the documentation section of the show, many works were not explicitly political, like Robert Capa’s photographs of Holy Week celebrations in Seville and a landscape by Pissarro, although the artists were making a political statement simply by participating in the 1936 exhibition.

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Among  the works , some directly attack the Nazis or denounce police repression and torture, while a good many mirror the anxiety felt by artists about Europe’s deepening nightmare. “The Hordes,” by Ernst, for instance, shows frightened brown figures against a pale blue background. “The 20th Century,” a painting by Christopher Nevinson, a British artist, portrays Rodin’s “Thinker” surrounded by bayonets, warplanes, cannons and burning buildings.

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Nola Hatterman’s “Friends,” a drawing of two men, one white, one black, looks uncontroversial today, but in 1936 it was a clear protest against racism.

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Similarly, Peter Alma’s two oils, “Leftist Front” and “Solidarity Between Workers and Peasants,” underline the ideological dimension of the social struggle in prewar Europe

The German Consul to the Netherlands. Herr A.E. Jung went to visit the exhibition in the Geelvinck 530. in disguise0

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The day after his visit he wrote a letter to the Mayor of Amsterdam, complaining about the undignified manner Germany was portrayed and that some of the images were very insulting to Adolf Hitler.

He urged the Mayor to take the necessary actions to stop the exhibition. However the city lawyers concluded that no laws were broken.

Herr Jung also complained to the minister of Justice,Josef van Schaik. 01184gThe minister then contacted the Mayor of Amsterdam to conduct further investigations. It was suggested that applying some pressure on the organizers of the event could possibly limit the diplomatic damage.

The Dutch authorities insisted on the removal of 19 works of art from the 1936 show on the ground that they were insulting to Hitler. Further, when the show later traveled to Rotterdam, it was closed by the Dutch police after only a few days.

 

Thanks to Julie Blaugher for mentioning the event to me.

 

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Killing Humans is okay, but don’t boil a lobster-Nazi animal welfare.

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Although I am for animal laws but comparisons by organisations like PETA of the slaughter of chickens to the Holocaust are absolutely disgusting , and should be in my opinion be treated the same as Holocaust denial.

Animal rights laws also illustrated how warped the Nazi ideology truly was. The life od a lobster was more valuable then the life of a Jew, Roma,Sinti, Homosexual.Jehovah Witness  or a person with a disability.

In 1931, the Nazi Party (then a minority in the Reichstag) proposed a ban on vivisection, but the ban failed to attract bipartisan support. By 1933, after Hitler had ascended to the Chancellery and the Nazis had consolidated control of the Reichstag, the Nazis immediately held a meeting to enact the ban on vivisection. On April 21, 1933, almost immediately after the Nazis came to power, the parliament began to pass laws for the regulation of animal slaughter.On April 21, a law was passed concerning the slaughter of animals; no animals were to be slaughtered without anesthetic.

On April 24, Order of the Prussian Ministry of the Interior was enacted regarding the slaughter of poikilotherms.

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Germany was the first nation to ban vivisection. A law imposing total ban on vivisection was enacted on August 16, 1933, by Hermann Göring as the prime minister of Prussia.He announced an end to the “unbearable torture and suffering in animal experiments” and said that those who “still think they can continue to treat animals as inanimate property” will be sent to concentration camps.On August 28, 1933, Göring announced in a radio broadcast:

An absolute and permanent ban on vivisection is not only a necessary law to protect animals and to show sympathy with their pain, but it is also a law for humanity itself…. I have therefore announced the immediate prohibition of vivisection and have made the practice a punishable offense in Prussia. Until such time as punishment is pronounced the culprit shall be lodged in a concentration camp.

Göring also banned commercial animal trapping and imposed severe restrictions on hunting. He prohibited boiling of lobsters and crabs. In one incident, he sent a fisherman to a concentration camp for cutting up a bait frog.

On November 24, 1933, Nazi Germany enacted another law called Reichstierschutzgesetz (Reich Animal Protection Act), for protection of animals.This law listed many prohibitions against the use of animals, including their use for filmmaking and other public events causing pain or damage to health, feeding fowls forcefully and tearing out the thighs of living frogs. The two principals (Ministerialräte) of the German Ministry of the Interior, Clemens Giese and Waldemar Kahler, who were responsible for drafting the legislative text,wrote in their juridical comment from 1939, that by the law the animal was to be “protected for itself” (“um seiner selbst willen geschützt”), and made “an object of protection going far beyond the hitherto existing law”

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On February 23, 1934, a decree was enacted by the Prussian Ministry of Commerce and Employment which introduced education on animal protection laws at primary, secondary and college levels.On 3 July 1934, a law Das Reichsjagdgesetz (The Reich Hunting Law) was enacted which limited hunting. The act also created the German Hunting Society with a mission educate the hunting community in ethical hunting. On July 1, 1935, another law Reichsnaturschutzgesetz (Reich Nature Conservation Act) was passed to protect nature.According to an article published in Kaltio, one of the main Finnish cultural magazines, Nazi Germany was the first in the world to place the wolf under protection.

In 1934, Nazi Germany hosted an international conference on animal welfare in Berlin.On March 27, 1936, an order on the slaughter of living fish and other poikilotherms was enacted. On March 18 the same year, an order was passed on afforestation and on protection of animals in the wild. On September 9, 1937, a decree was published by the Ministry of the Interior which specified guidelines for the transportation of animals. In 1938, the Nazis introduced animal protection as a subject to be taught in public schools and universities in Germany.

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Kaiser Wilhelm II- Political asylum in the Netherlands

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On 23 January 1920, the government of the Netherlands refused to extradite the former Kaiser of Germany, Wilhelm II. His aggressive foreign policy and support for Austro-Hungary in 1914 led to the first world war. After the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, he was charged with “a supreme offence against international morality and the sanctity of treaties” and the allies demanded his extradition. Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands refused and granted him political asylum.

A request to the Dutch government for Wilhelms’ surrender had been made necessary by his flight; on 10 November 1918 the – soon former– Kaiser had crossed the Dutch borders.

By early November 1918, things were looking dismal for the Central Powers on all fronts of the Great War. The kaiser was at German army headquarters in the Belgian resort town of Spa when news reached him, in quick succession, of labor unrest in Berlin, a mutiny within the Imperial Navy and what looked like the beginnings of full-fledged revolution in Germany.

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From every direction, it seemed, came calls for peace, reform and the removal of the kaiser. Wilhelm II was told that the German General Staff would make a unified, orderly march home to Germany when the war ended, but it would not defend him against his internal opponents.

Faced with this lack of support, the kaiser agreed to abdicate his throne on November 9, 1918. Shortly after that, Wilhelm, the last of the powerful Hohenzollern monarchs, traveled from Spa to the Netherlands , never to return to German soil.

In January 1920, Wilhelm headed the list of so-called war criminals put together by the Allies and made public after the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.

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In the Versailles Treaty, the Allied Powers stated that the Kaiser should be prosecuted for a supreme offence against international morality and the sanctity of treaties. What did they mean, and where did this formula come from?
The Preliminary Peace Conference decided at its plenary session of 25 January 1919 to create, for the purpose of inquiring into the responsibilities relating to the war, a Commission on the Responsibility of the Authors of the War and on Enforcement of Penalties (hereafter Commission on Responsibility), composed of fifteen members.6 It was charged to inquire into and report upon the following points:

  1. the responsibility of the authors of the war;
  2. the facts as to breaches of the laws and customs of war committed by the forces of the German Empire and their Allies, on land, on sea, and in the air during the present war;
  3. the degree of responsibility for these offences attaching to particular members of the enemy forces, including members of the General Staffs and other individuals, however highly placed;
  4. the constitution and procedure of a tribunal appropriate for the trial of these offences;
  5. any other matters cognate or ancillary to the above which may arise in the course of the enquiry, and which the Commission finds useful and relevant to take into consideration.

The Netherlands,which had remained neutral during WWI, under the young, strong-willed Queen Wilhelmina, refused to extradite him for prosecution and Wilhelm remained in the Netherlands, where he settled in the municipality of Doorn.

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Personal tragedy struck when his son, Joachim, committed suicide later in 1920. Augusta, his wife and the mother of his seven children, died barely a year later. In 1922, Wilhelm remarried and published his memoirs, proclaiming his innocence in the promotion of the Great War.

Unlike Wilhelmina and the rest of the Dutch royal family, Wilhelm turned down Winston Churchill’s offer of asylum in Britain in 1940, as Hitler’s armies pushed through Holland, choosing instead to live under German occupation. He died the following year.

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The 4 inaugurations of Franklin D. Roosevelt

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Franklin D. Roosevelt had to be considered as the greatest US president.He steered the country in the most difficult of times. He was the only President to be elected 4 times.

Assuming the Presidency at the depth of the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt helped the American people regain faith in themselves. He brought hope as he promised prompt, vigorous action, and asserted in his Inaugural Address, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

On March 3, 1933, the newly elected president of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt, promises a country battered by the Great Depression a renewed prosperity, setting forth plans to put the government to work.

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In contrast to the grim economic landscape in 1933 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt took office, his second term begins with a brighter outlook. In his January 20, 1937, inaugural address, Roosevelt commends Americans for their hard work over the past four years, but cautions that they must continue their efforts.

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Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt riding in an open car, returning to the White House from FDR’s third inauguration. January 20, 1941.

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Cover of the official 1941 inaugural program.

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The fourth inauguration of Franklin D. Roosevelt as President of the United States was held on Saturday, January 20, 1945. The inauguration marked the commencement of the fourth term of Franklin D. Roosevelt as President and the only term of Harry S. Truman as Vice President. This was the first and only time a president has been inaugurated for a fourth term. (The Twenty-second Amendment to the United States Constitution, ratified in 1951, limits the number of times a person can be elected President to two.) Roosevelt died 82 days into this term, and Truman succeeded to the presidency.

Due to austerity measures in effect during World War II, the inauguration was held on the South Portico of the White House, rather than the Capitol. The parade and other festivities were canceled as well. The oath was administered by Chief Justice Harlan F. Stone and the subsequent address was one of the shortest on record.This was also the last time that the outgoing Vice President swore in his successor, which had previously been the practice.

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Child K-The First T 4 victim

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The T4 program AKA Aktion T4 was a postwar name for mass murder through involuntary euthanasia in Nazi Germany.The name T4 is an abbreviation of Tiergartenstraße 4, a street address of the Chancellery department set up in the spring of 1940, in the Berlin borough of Tiergarten, which recruited and paid personnel associated with T4. Certain German physicians were authorized to select patients “deemed incurably sick, after most critical medical examination” and then administer to them a “mercy death” (Gnadentod). In October 1939 Adolf Hitler signed a “euthanasia decree” backdated to 1 September 1939 that authorized his personal physician Karl Brandt and Reichsleiter Philipp Bouhler to implement the program.

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The immediate occasion for the beginning of the organized euthanasia of children is considered in the literature to be the so-called case of “Child K”.

Beginning in October 1939, public health authorities began to encourage parents of children with disabilities to admit their young children to one of a number of specially designated pediatric clinics throughout Germany and Austria. In reality, the clinics were children’s killing wards. There, specially recruited medical staff murdered their young charges by lethal overdoses of medication or by starvation.

In this particular case, the parents submitted a request that their severely disabled child be granted a “mercy killing”, the application being received at an unverifiable time before the middle of 1939 at the Office of the Führer (KDF), also known as Hitler’s Chancellery. This office was an agency of the Nazi Party and a private chancellery placed under the direct authority of Hitler which employed about 195 staff in 1939. Main Office IIb under Hans Hefelmann and his deputy, Richard von Hegener, was responsible for “clemency”. The head of Main Office II and thus Hefelmann’s superior was the Oberdienstleiter, Viktor Brack, one of the leading organizers of Nazi euthanasia.

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The reports of this case are mainly based on statements of defendants in post-war trials, which time and again pointed to the case of a “Child K”. According to French journalist, Philippe Aziz, in an interview, this child was supposed to have been traced in 1973 to a “Kressler” family in Pomßen. However, Benzenhöfer came to the conclusion, after several days of investigation, that “Child K” was in fact Gerhard Herbert Kretschmar, born on the 20 February 1939 in Pomßen and who died on 25 July 1939.In 2007, however, Benzenhöfer learned from the sister of the deceased child, that he was not disabled and had died a natural death. As a result, Benzenhöfer had to revise his assertion.

The identity of the child is thus still unclear. New research opens the possibility that it could have been a girl who died as early as March 1938 at the Leipzig-Reudnitz Children’s Hospital.This children’s hospital was directly connected to the University Children’s Hospital of Leipzig and its director, Werner Catel. The previously accepted statements by members of Hitler’s Chancellery (KdF) in the scientific literature postwar are thus open to question. A precise dating of the events surrounding the case of “Child K” is (as at 2008) not possible on the basis of the statements. It is conceivable that the period beginning in 1938 (for carrying out the said killing) until early/mid-1939 (for the start of concrete planning phase) is realistic. If the case of “Child K” actually took place in March 1938, for which there is some evidence, then the case can at best be described as an impetus for the euthanasia of children in Germany and not as its specific cause or trigger.

According to the testimony of the participants, the request on 23 May 1939 led to a meeting of the parents of the child with the director of the University Children’s Hospital, Leipzig, Werner Catel, Professorenkatalog der Universitaet Leipzigabout the chances of survival of her malformed child.According to Catel’s own statement, he held that the release of the child by an early death was the best solution for everyone involved. But because actively assisting death was still punishable under the Third Reich, Catel advised the parents to submit an appropriate request to Hitler via his private chancellery. About this request, in a statement before the investigating judge on 14 November 1960, Hefelmann said the following:

“I worked on this request, as it was in my department. Since Hitler’s decision was requested, I forwarded it without comment to the Head of Main Office I in the KdF, Albert Bormann. As a simple act of mercy was being requested, I did not deem the involvement of the Reich Interior Minister and the Minister of Justice necessary. Because, as far as I know, Hitler had not made a decision with regards to such requests, it also seemed impractical to me, to involve other authorities.”[11]

To the recollections of his boss, Hefelmann’s deputy, Richard von Hegener, added:

“As early as about half a year before the outbreak of the war, there were more and more requests from incurably sick or very seriously injured people who asked for relief from their suffering, which was unbearable to them. These requests were especially tragic, because under existing laws a doctor was not allowed to take such wishes into account. Because the department, as we were reminded again and again, was under Hitler’s orders to deal on precisely with such cases that could not be resolved legally, Dr. Hefelmann and I felt committed, after a while to take a number of such requests to Hitler’s personal physician, the then senior doctor, Dr. Brandt, for him to submit and obtain a decision from Hitler on what should be done with such requests. Soon afterwards, Dr. Brandt told us that Hitler had decided, following this presentation, to grant such requests if it was proven by the doctor attending the patient as well as the newly formed health committee, that the suffering was incurable.”[12]

During the Nuremberg Doctors’ Trial, Brandt said the following about the case of “Child K”:

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“I personally know of a petition that was sent to the Führer in 1939 via his adjutant’s office [Adjutantur]. The case was about the father of a malformed child who applied to the Führer asking that the life of this child or this creature would be taken. At the time, Hitler ordered me to address this matter and to go to Leipzig immediately – it had happened in Leipzig – in order to confirm on the spot what had been asserted. I found that there was a child who had been born blind, appeared imbecilic and who was also missing a leg and part of the arm. […] He [Hitler] had given me the task, to discuss with the doctors in whose care the child was, to determine whether the disclosure of the father was correct. In the event that he was right, I was to tell the doctors, in his [Hitler’s] name, that they could carry out euthanasia. In doing so, it was important that it should be done in such a way that the parents could not feel at any later stage that they themselves were burdened by the euthanasia [of their child]. In other words, that these parents should not have the impression that they themselves were responsible for the death of the child. It was further beholden on me to say that if these doctors themselves were involved in any legal proceedings as a result of these measures, carried out on behalf of Hitler, these proceedings would be quashed. Martin Bormann was then tasked, to notify this accordingly to the then Minister of Justice, Gürtner, in respect of this case in Leipzig. […] The doctors were of the opinion that preserving the life of such a child was not actually justified. It was pointed out that it is quite normal that in maternity hospitals under certain circumstances for euthanasia to be administered by the doctors themselves in such a case, without calling it such, any more precise term is not used

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“Give me 4 year time”- The Power of the Nazi propaganda machine

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The buzzwords nowadays are ‘fake news’ and ‘alternative facts’ this is rubbish of course because news is news and facts are facts, however the interpretation and manipulation of the news and facts can be fake,

Basically another word for that is propaganda,defined as “information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote a political cause or point of view.”

The Nazis were masters in propaganda. The above picture is basically an election poster it is promoting a convention of the 1st ‘comprehensive’ performance overview of the National Socialism, in 1937. The heading of the poster says “Give me 4 years time”

As if the Germans had a choice.During the 1936 election and referendum the Germans had already voted for the single rule of the Nazi party and Hitler as supreme leader.

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When you look at the data of the election 99% of the population voted and 98.8% voted for the Nazis.clearly these figures were manipulated.

Ever since Hitler came to power the population was blinded by him. This wasn’t difficult to do for him because he delivered on his promises of employment and building a great Germany again. In 1933 unemployment was 6 million by January 1937 it had decreased to 1.8 million, we know now that was accomplished for all the wrong reasons.The 1933 election poster says “Hitler builds”

 

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This new found prosperity instilled a sense of loyalty towards the Führer, so very few questions were asked in relation what happened inside newly built concentration camps like Dachau or what happened in Euthanasia centers like Hartheim, things were going well and people didn’t want to rock the boat.

Combine all this with an extremely powerful and extremely well oiled propaganda machine it is no wonder the Nazis got away with what they did.

The propaganda was aimed at all age groups. In this Nazi fundraising poster, a member of the Hitler youth asks for money to build youth hostels and homes.

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A German family salutes the German Imperial Railroad.

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Even when the war broke out very few questions were asked,because people believed all the lies spun to them. The fake attack by Polish soldiers like in The Gleiwitz incident.

On the night of 31 August 1939, a small group of German operatives dressed in Polish uniforms and led by Alfred NaujocksAlfred_Naujocks seized the Gleiwitz station and broadcast a short anti-German message in Polish. The whole operation was named “Grossmutter gestorben” (“Grandmother died”).The Germans’ goal was to make the attack and the broadcast look like the work of anti-German Polish saboteurs.

The Gleiwitz incident was a part of a larger operation carried out by Abwehr and SS forces.There were other incidents orchestrated by Germany along the Polish-German border at the same time as the Gleiwitz attack, such as a house torching in the Polish Corridor and spurious propaganda output. The entire project was dubbed Operation Himmler and comprised a number of incidents intended to give the appearance of Polish aggression against Germany.

German newspapers and politicians, including Adolf Hitler, accused Polish authorities for months before the 1939 invasion of organizing or tolerating violent ethnic cleansing of ethnic Germans living in Poland.

The Nazis always blamed the Jews for the misfortune of the German people and they directed their propaganda in such a way to ensure the majority of the population would take the bait.

Nazi Party anti-Semitic poster for the German parliament, the Reichstag, 1928, saying “Make the punch count”

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1943 poster claiming that the Jews were to blame for the war

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Jews were seen as very prosperous and wealthy and that they had profited from the economic woes, and yes there were some who had but so had many other Germans. If any one would have just stood back an analyse the situation they would have seen that the Jews were just as badly affected as any one else.

The German propaganda aided in the extermination of millions without too many questions being asked.

Next time some tells you “this is fake news” stand back and analyse it before you make up your mind.

Family in Front of Eagle, Nazi Party (NSDAP) Political Poster, Germany, 1936

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The Leica Freedom Train

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When the Nazis came to power in Germany there were plenty of business men and women who saw opportunities.

Some of them saw opportunities in exploiting the environment created by the NSDAP, especially in relation to the ‘Jewish Question’ they would actively help the Nazis for their own betterment.

On the other hand there were those who saw opportunities to do good and help those most affected by the Nazi regime. Ernst Leitz II and his family  were among those who used their influence and contacts to do good.

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Ernst Leitz’s optics company, founded in Wetzlar in 1869, had a tradition of enlightened behavior toward its workers. Pensions, sick leave, health insurance — all were instituted early on at Leitz, which depended for its work force upon generations of skilled employees, many of whom were Jewish.

Ernst Leitz GmbH, is now three companies: Leica Camera AG, Leica Geosystems AG, and Leica Microsystems GmbH. known for the Leica cameras.

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When Ernst Leitz sr. died in 1920, his son, Ernst Leitz II, took over, leading the company through the war years, as well as the introduction of the Leica 35mm camera in 1925. When Adolf Hitler became the German Chancellor in 1933, the younger Leitz almost immediately started receiving frantic calls and letters from Jewish associates, asking for the nearly impossible– help getting them and their families out of Germany. Since the Leitz family was not Jewish, they were not subject to Nazi Germany’s Nuremberg Laws, which– among other things– greatly restricted where Jews could and could not live, as well as limiting and scrutinizing their professional and civic activities.

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In order to help, Leitz quietly embarked on what history would later dub the Leica Freedom Train. The plan seemed simple enough, but could yield dire consequences for all concerned if ever discovered. The plan helped Jews leave the country covertly, under the pretense of Leitz employees being transferred to work overseas.

Employees, retailers, family members, and sometimes even friends of family members were “assigned” to Leitz sales offices, primarily in the United States, but also in France, England, and even Hong Kong. Efforts intensified after Kristallnacht— Crystal Night– in November of 1938, during which Jews were beaten and killed while their buildings, shops, and synagogues were vandalized and burned all across Germany.

Employees arriving in New York were met at the pier and taken to the Leitz Manhattan offices and showroom on 5th Avenue, where they received help finding jobs, homes, and anything else they needed to embark on their new lives.

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The refugees were given a living allowance if finding work proved to be difficult. Each was also given a Leica camera– not because they needed new cameras, but because they were easily exchangeable for cash if necessary. Many among this wave of employees became product designers, repair technicians, sales people, marketers, and even writers in the photography industry.

The Leica Freedom Train was operating at its height in 1938, and into early 1939, dropping off groups of refugees around the world every few weeks. It was not until the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939 that the country’s borders were officially closed and Leitz’s rescue operation came to an unfortunate end.

Leitz’s daughter, Elsie Kuhn-Leitz, elsie-3_480was imprisoned by the Gestapo after she was caught at the border, helping Jewish women cross into Switzerland. She eventually was freed but endured rough treatment in the course of questioning. She also fell under suspicion when she attempted to improve the living conditions of 700 to 800 Ukrainian slave laborers, all of them women, who had been assigned to work in the plant during the 1940s

The company did produce rangefinders and other optics for the German military. Other Nazi officials especially propaganda experts believed strongly in the Leica cameras as a propaganda tool. That;s why it is believed that some local Nazi officials turned a blind eye to the exploits of the Leitz family.

This entire affair may have never come to light, had it not been for the dedicated research of a California-born rabbi living in England. Written by Frank Dabba Smith and published in 2002 by the American Photographic Historical Society, “The Greatest Invention of the Leitz Family: The Leica Freedom Train” details the family’s efforts to quietly intervene in one of history’s greatest injustices. When Ernst Leitz II was posthumously honored by the Anti-Defamation League with the Courage to Care Award in 2007.The rabbi of the Harrow and Wembley Progressive Synagogue in northwest London and a Leica enthusiast, has reconstructed their stories through photographs, documents and letters of thanks from survivors and their families

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“Under considerable risk and in defiance of Nazi policy, Ernst Leitz took valiant steps to transport his Jewish employees and others out of harm’s way,” said Abraham Foxman, director of ADL. “If only there had been more Oskar Schindlers, more Ernst Leitzs, then less Jews would have perished.”

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Many thanks to Norman Stone for drawing my attention to the Leica Freedom train story.

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USS Panay incident-Act of war before the war.

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A bright Sunday in December Japanese planes blazed out of the sky to strafe and bomb an American warship while it lay at anchor.

You’d be forgiven to think this was the Pearl Harbor attack, but you’d be wrong.

The sinking of the USS Panay is pretty much forgotten now. But it was one of the biggest news stories of 1937.

 

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In the 1930s, the United States had something that would be unthinkable today — a treaty with China allowing American gunboats to travel deep up the Yangtze River. It was a major trade route for U.S. commerce in China, and it was notorious for pirate attacks.

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The crews of these ships were small.  Panay for example carried four officers and forty-nine enlisted men, along with a Chinese crew of porters.  The vessel only drew about five feet of water, and resembled more of a Mississippi riverboat than a destroyer.  Yet it had a definite role to play, one summed up on a bronze plaque located in the wardroom: “Mission: For the protection of American life and property in the Yangtze River Valley and its tributaries, and the furtherance of American goodwill in China.”

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By 1937, the Yangtze faced a much bigger threat than pirates: The Japanese army had launched an invasion of China, and by December, the Japanese were fighting for the city of Nanking. The fight became known as the Rape of Nanking.

The USS Panay, with 55 men aboard, was sent to rescue any Americans left, including embassy staff and journalists — most notably War correspondent Norman Alley a newsreel photographer who recorded what was to come.

 

The Panay, with its civilians aboard, escorted the oil tankers 20 miles upstream to wait out the Battle for Nanking. They anchored in the middle of the river and waited. Then, on Dec. 12, a quiet Sunday afternoon, Japanese planes appeared suddenly and bombed the American vessel.

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After the Panay was sunk, the Japanese fighters machine-gunned lifeboats and survivors huddling on the shore of the Yangtze. Two U.S. sailors and a civilian passenger were killed and 11 personnel seriously wounded, setting off a major crisis in U.S.-Japanese relations.

Although the Panay‘s position had been reported to the Japanese as required, the neutral vessel was clearly marked, and the day was sunny and clear, the Japanese maintained that the attack was unintentional, and they agreed to pay $2 million in reparations. Two neutral British vessels were also attacked by the Japanese in the final days of the battle for Nanking.

 

The aftermath of the Panay sinking was a nervous time for the American ambassador to Japan, Joseph C. Grew.

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Grew, whose experience in the foreign service spanned over 30 years, “remembered the Maine,” the US Navy ship that blew up in Havana Harbor in 1898. The sinking of Maine had propelled the US into the Spanish–American War, and Grew hoped the sinking of Panay would not be a similar catalyst for the severance of diplomatic ties and war with Japan.

The Japanese government took full responsibility for sinking Panay but continued to maintain that the attack had been unintentional. Chief of Staff of Japanese naval forces in northern China, Vice Admiral Rokuzo Sugiyama, was assigned to make an apology.

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The formal apology reached Washington, D.C. on Christmas Eve.

Although Japanese officials maintained that their pilots never saw any American flags on Panay, a US Navy court of inquiry determined that several US flags were clearly visible on the vessel during the attacks.At the meeting held at the American embassy in Tokyo on 23 December, Japanese officials maintained that one navy airplane had attacked a boat by machine gun for a short period of time and that Japanese army motor boats or launches attack the Chinese steamers escaping upstream on the opposite bank. However, the Japanese navy insisted that the attack had been unintentional. The Japanese government paid an indemnity of $2,214,007.36 to the US on 22 April 1938, officially settling the Panay incident.

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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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And then they came for me!

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What a lot of people don’t realize is that the Holocaust wasn’t a sudden event but a gradual one.Most of the victims looked just like any one else in society therefor in order for the Nazis to identify Jews,Jehovah Witnesses,Homosexuals and other victims. they needed the help of the public servants who worked in the citizens registration office throughout the occupied countries.

Another thing that is often overseen is the psychological terror  and anxiety endured by the victims, since 1933 they would have asked themselves the question “When will they come for me?” because most of them knew being arrested and deported would have been inevitable.Also for those who helped them.

The picture above is of three participants in the Treblinka uprising who escaped and survived the war. Warsaw, Poland, 1945.

Below are just some of the victims. They are in all age groups,some survived and others didn’t. But even those who survived that psychological terror often stayed with them,combined with survivor’s guilt until they died, or even for those who are still alive until today.

Jermie and Chaje Adler

The second of seven children, Jermie was born to poor, religious Jewish parents at a time when Selo-Solotvina was part of Hungary.3706

Orphaned as a young boy, he earned a living by working at odd jobs. In the 1920s he married Chaje . Together, they moved to Liege, Belgium, in search of better economic opportunities. There, they raised three daughters.

In Liege the Adlers lived in an apartment above a cafe, and Jermie and Chaje ran a successful tailoring business. Their children attended the French-language public schools. When war began in Poland in 1939, his wife was fearful, 3725even though Belgium was a neutral country. It brought back troubling memories of her village being overrun during World War I.The Germans occupied Belgium in 1940. To bypass the rationing system, Jermie would buy butter and eggs from the local farmers, who then pretended to the authorities that they’d been robbed. When Liege’s Jews were forced to register in 1942, Catholic friends helped the Adlers obtain false papers and rented them a house in a nearby village. Jermie fell ill and on Friday, March 3, 1944, he checked into a hospital. While he was in the hospital, the Gestapo arrested his wife, two daughters, and a nephew.

On May 19, 1944, Chaje was deported from the Mechelen internment camp to Auschwitz with her two daughters and a nephew. They were gassed two days later.

Jermie returned to Liege after it was liberated by U.S. troops on September 8, 1944. All but his eldest daughter were killed during the war.

The Ulma family

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At the onset of World War II, Józef Ulma (born in 1900) was a prominent citizen in the village of Markowa: a librarian, a photographer, active in social life and the local Catholic Youth Association. He was an educated fruit grower and a bee-keeper. His wife Wiktoria (born Wiktoria Niemczak in 1912), was a homemaker. The Ulmas had six children: Stanisława, age 8, Barbara, age 7, Władysław, age 6, Franciszek, age 4, Antoni, age 3 and Maria, age 2. 

In the summer and autumn of 1942, the Nazi police deported several Jewish families of Markowa to their deaths.Only those who were hidden in Polish peasants’ homes survived. Eight Jews found shelter with the Ulmas: six members of the Szall (Szali) family from Łańcut including father, mother and four sons, as well as the two daughters of Chaim Goldman, Golda and Layka. Józef Ulma put all eight Jews in the attic.

In the night of 23-24 March 1944 German police came to Markowa from Lancut. They found the Jews on the Ulma farm and executed them. Afterwards they murdered the entire Ulma family – Jozef, Wiktoria, who was seven month pregnant, and their six small children – Stanislawa, Barbara, Wladyslawa, Franciszka, Maria, and Antoni. The eldest of the Ulma’s children had just begun to attend classes in primary school.

Eva Heyman

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Eva Heyman, aged 13, in Hungary a few months before she was murdered in a gas chamber, 1944

The Lerer Family

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Family photo taken in Paris, France 1942 of 7 year old Bernard Lerer standing beside his older sister and in front of his father. The family was murdered in Auschwitz on Aug. 23,1942.

Gad Beck

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Gad grew up in Berlin. His father was a Jewish immigrant from Austria. Gad’s mother had converted to Judaism. The Becks lived in a poor section of Berlin, populated predominantly by Jewish immigrants from eastern Europe. When Gad and his twin sister, Miriam, were 5, the Becks moved to the Weissensee district of Berlin, where Gad entered primary school.

Gad was just 10 when the Nazis came to power. As one of a small number of Jewish pupils in his school, he  quickly became the target of antisemitic comments: “Can I sit somewhere else, not next to Gad? He has such stinking Jewish feet.” In 1934 his  parents enrolled him in a Jewish school, but he had to quit school when he was 12 as they could no longer afford the tuition. he found work as a shop assistant.

s the child of a mixed marriage [Mischlinge], he was not deported to the east when other German Jews were. He remained in Berlin where he became involved in the underground, helping Jews to escape to Switzerland. As a homosexual, he was able to turn to his trusted non-Jewish, homosexual acquaintances to help supply food and hiding places. In early 1945 a Jewish spy for the Gestapo betrayed him and a number of his underground friends. He was interned in a Jewish transit camp in Berlin.

After the war, Gad helped organize the emigration of Jewish survivors to Palestine. In 1947 he left for Palestine, and returned to Berlin in 1979.

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I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks

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