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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The Dark side of Carnaval

Alaaf und Heil Hitler

The date 11 November  as a great number of special meaning for example the armistice of WWI was signed on the 11th day of the 11th month on the 11th hour.Add 11 after the 11th hour and you get a different meaning.

I don’t know exactly what the origin is but the date 11 11 at 11:11 am  is also known as the fool’s date, throughout a great number of countries but mainly in western Europe it triggers the start of the preparations forthe Carnaval(aka Carnival) season.

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Carnaval is traditionally a Catholic  festival that takes place the 3 days before lent,the actual word translates into fall of meat. It signifies 3 days of indulgence of food and drink before people fast for 40 days until Easter. It starts on a Sunday and ends on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday.This is traced back to biblical times where Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights, and then was tempted by the Devil .”Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

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In modern days it really has become a feast of indulgence and not only a Catholic festival anymore, the most famous Carnaval is the Rio de Janeiro one.

A pivotal part of the festival is the parades or the floats on the Monday of the festival. The floats are mostly portray current affairs and have a satirical and political nature.

During the Nazi regime the festival became more sinister and darker. The floats ,which are really meant to be funny and make people think and laugh, were turned into a propaganda tool

The floats were used to manifeats expressions of anti-Semitism marking the German Carnival season during the years leading up to World War II.

Anti-Semitic floats, like this one from Cologne Carnival in 1934, were common. The banner reads: “The Last Ones Are Leaving.”

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This float from Cologne’s Rose Monday parade in 1936 depicts the Jews losing their rights under the so-called Nuremberg Race Laws of 1935.

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The carnival was used as a propaganda tool to highlight the values of the German nation. Here Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels (right) can be seen enjoying the Munich carnival, known as Fasching, in 1935.

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A 1935 design for a float with depictions of people who have fled Germany, with the motto: “Refugees, Under the Roofs of Paris.”

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Kraft durch Freude-Strength through Joy, the Nazi organization responsible for leisure activities, hosted an event in Cologne in 1935. However, Cologne Carnival organizers managed to keep control of the festivities.

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The Nazis saw that the tradition of Carnival could be used to portray their notions of the German Volk or nation. Yet its anarchic fun and potential to mock those in power was something they sought to strictly control. Right from the beginning of the Nazi regime in 1933, there were orders not to mention Hitler during the festivities.

Yet there were some rare instances of defiance. For example, one Carnival group in Frankfurt dared to print posters in a newspaper depicting the Führer as a Carnival jester. A team of Nazis was immediately sent out to destroy the club’s float and arrest the editors, who spent three weeks in prison.

This image from the magazine Kladderadatsch shows the Führer accompanying Germania to a Fastnacht ball.

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The famous Cologne Carnival speaker Karl Küppnerkk also fell foul of the authorities after making one too many jokes about the Nazis. During one speech, he stuck out his hand to do the Hitler salute and quipped: “Looks like rain.” Küppner ended up in jail and was barred from making any more speeches.

And the president of Düsseldorf’s Carnival committee, Leo Statz, paid the ultimate price for his irreverence. He had repeatedly annoyed the Nazis with his satirical Carnival songs and in 1943, after drunkenly questioning whether Germany could win the war, he was arrested by the Gestapo and eventually executed.

Nevertheless, these were the exceptions. On the whole there was a large degree of compliance with the regime. There were jokes in almost every Carnival speech about Jews as well as other enemies, such as the French or Russians. Many of the floats mocked the League of Nations, and favourite hate figures were American politicians, such as New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, whose mother was Jewish.

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For the regime, Carnival was a useful propaganda tool to the outside world. There were repeated references to the jobs created and the boost to the economy. The Nazis launched an advertising campaign to attract foreign tourists and to show the country in a favorable light and to show the “peaceful Germans, who didn’t want war, but just wanted to have fun,”

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How did they not see it?

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The one thing that still baffles me is how did the governments around the globe not see what Hitler’s plans were?

I know that Japan and Italy and to a lesser extend Finland,Romania and a few smaller countries were also axis nations but the fact is if Hitler’s Germany would not have become the power they were, neither of the other countries would have dared starting a global war, maybe a few local conflicts but not a full blown world war.

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Leaving aside the annexation of Austria, the Sudetenland and the Rhineland, or even the Kristall Nacht(night of the broken glass) because these were blatant acts of aggression. If any one just would have bothered reading “Mein Kampf” they would have known what Hitler’s plans were.

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Combine that with the clear military build up from the late 20’s and especially since 1933 the signs were there, but yet no action was taken. Was because of ignorance,naivety or just jeer stupidity, I don’t know.Of course the media wasn’t as advanced then as it is now but nevertheless there was coverage. It is not like Hitler was doing this secretly, he did it in plain sight and in fact boasted about it.

Würzburg on “Boycott Day”, 1 April 1933. A parade of SS men.

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The Nazi booth at a radio exhibition which started in Berlin on August 19, 1932. The booth was designed as propaganda of the Nazi gramophone plate industry which produced only records of the national socialist movement.

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Annual midnight swearing-in of SS troops at Feldherrnhalle, Munich, 1938.

Annual midnight swearing-in of SS troops at Feldherrnhalle, Munich, 1938.

Reichserntedankfest, 1934.Thanks Giving

 

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Men of Leibstandarte ‘Adolf Hitler’ at the Lichterfelde barracks in Berlin, Germany, November 22, 1938.

Hitler's personal bodyguard undergo a drill inspection in Berlin, November 1938

Hitler’s Autobahn

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Inspecting the troops

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Heinkel He 100 was a German pre-World War II fighter aircraft design from Heinkel. Although it proved to be one of the fastest fighter aircraft in the world at the time of its development, it was not ordered into production.

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Approximately 19 prototypes examples were built. None are known to have survived the war. The Luftwaffe rejected the He 100 to concentrate single-seat fighter development on the Messerschmitt Bf 109.

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Reflection of an American Student who studied in Berlin in 1938.

“So, here I am on the outskirts of Frankfurt, sitting on a train and bound for Würzburg, where I know not what awaits me.”

Robert Harlan, studying a semester abroad at the University of Marburg, witnessed Kristallnacht. Traveling by train to help the parents of a Jewish friend whose house had been ransacked, Harlan reflects that “America, the land of freedom, still has much meaning I’m thinking.”

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Why keeping promises isn’t always a good thing.

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I heard a Holocaust survivor say “The Germans(citizens) weren’t vicious, they were just indifferent”

No one is born indifferent , you are conditioned that way and shortly after WWI, conditions were created where someone could step in and condition the Germans to be indifferent.

It was reporter Edgar A. Mowrer who stated “Hitler is not an intellectual genius, but he has a formidable instinct for politics.”

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After WWI the situation in Germany was awful, a lot of historians say this was due to the treaty of Versaille, it was just too harsh for Germany. And to an extend I agree with that but the world had not seen a global conflict on that scale before, and the allied powers then walked into uncharted territory and felt they had to set a precedent,unfortunately it didn’t work out.

(People eat at a crowded dormitory of a lodging house for the homeless in Berlin.
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Along came a failed Austrian artist who promises the German people, jobs,food,wealth a good life.Combine this with the fact that Hitler had a fanatic cohort and were able to organize themselves in a short period of time.

This played to the imagination of the ordinary Germans who had no jobs, no food,no homes and no hope.

(Men and boys wait in line at a postwar German soup kitchen in a market hall in Berlin.
Homelessness reached alarming heights amid the postwar economic collapse.1920.)berlin-soup-kitchen

All Hitler had to do was to find a scapegoat a group to put the blame on, the Jews. Of course he only showed the people the Jews that were doing well for themselves, but like any other group in Germany there were also Jews who were steeped in poverty.

(Nazis place a sign on the window of a Jewish-owned store encouraging Germans to not shop there.)store-boycott

 

But during bad times people hear what they want to hear and if they hear they’ll be getting work again and will be pulled out of poverty, and the man who is promising this has already started to deliver on these promises, they believe every word he says.

(Hitler’s paramilitary “Brownshirts” sit down with a farmer and his wife and try to persuade them to vote NSDAP. Mecklenburg, Germany. June 21, 1932)nazis-convincing-a-voter

However Hitler did fulfill his promises, but for all the wrong reasons. He did create employment, for the war efforts. He did create wealth by stealing from Jews,Gypsies and others. He did eradicate homelessness for the ordinary Germans by shipping millions to the east and ultimately killing them.

(Newly-appointed Chancellor Adolf Hitler, at the window of the chancellery, waves at his supporters.Berlin. January 30, 1933.)chancellor-hitler-at-window

 

Germany of 1919 was like a different planet compared to the Germany of 1936 which hosted the Olympic Games. the 1936 Germany was one of the richest countries in the world.

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Hitler was not the only politicians who promised things.every politicians makes promises. But most know they are not able to keep their promises, even if they have the best intentions of doing keeping them.

It is when the politicians suddenly keep their promises we will have to ask the question “at what price?” Sometimes it is better promises are broken.

The blame should also be put on the leadership of the allied powers, they knew that Hitler was breaking the treaty of Versaille left,right and center, especially when it came to rebuilding the German military,but they did nothing, in fact they gave him free reign.This of course was also seen by the ordinary Germans as a proof that their leader was doing the right thing,because no one stopped him.

(Hitler poses with British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain (left) and Italian dictator Benito Mussolini (right) following the Munich Agreement.September 29, 1938)hitler-posing-group-of-men

 

Unity Mitford-Hitler’s groupie

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Unity Valkyrie Freeman-Mitford (8 August 1914 – 28 May 1948) was an English socialite best known as a devotee of Adolf Hitler.

Both in Britain and Germany, she was a prominent supporter of Nazism and fascism, and formed part of Hitler’s inner circle of friends.Following the declaration of World War II, Mitford attempted suicide in Munich, and was officially allowed safe passage back to England in her invalid condition, but never recovered.

Unity was a member of the Mitford family, tracing its origins in Northumberland back to the 11th century Norman settlement of England. Her sister Diana was married to Oswald Mosley, leader of the British Union of Fascists.

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In June 1933 Unity and her sister, Diana Mitford, joined the British Union of Fascists, the extreme right-wing group founded by Oswald Mosley the previous year. Mosley described her as “young, ingenuous, full of enthusiasm, in a way stage-struck by the glamour and panoply of the national socialist movement and the mass admiration of Hitler” She was active in the women’s section headed by Esther Makgill, the daughter of John Makgill: “I created the women’s section of the BUF… Unity Mitford didn’t mean anything to me in those days. She was swept in by her sister.” Her friend, Mary Ormsby-Gore, said that she sold The Blackshirt on the streets of London:

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“She began to go to the East End, and I went to one meeting with her… One day she took me to Selfridges saying, let’s make a record, and she spoke into it, The Yids, The Yids, We’ve gotta get rid of the Yids

Unity and Diana Mitford travelled to Germany as part of the British delegation from the British Union of Fascists, to the 1933 Nuremberg Rally, seeing Hitler for the first time.Mitford later said, “The first time I saw him I knew there was no one I would rather meet.” Biographer Anne de Courcy confirms: “The Nuremberg rally had a profound effect on both Diana and Unity … Unity was already, as it were, convinced about Hitler, but this turned conviction into worship. From then on she wanted to be near Hitler as much as possible

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Mitford returned to Germany in the summer of 1934, enrolling in a language school in Munich close to the Nazi Party headquarters,she  became friends with Ernst Hanfstaengel.

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Unity told a friend ,Armida Macindoe, that she was determined to meet Hitler: “She used to go to the Osteria Bavaria restaurant and sit waiting for Hitler. She’d sit there all day long with her book and read. She’d say, I don’t want to make a fool of myself being alone there, and so she’d ask me to go along to keep her company, to have lunch or a coffee. Often Hitler was there. People came and went. She would place herself so that he invariably had to walk by her, she was drawing attention to herself, not obnoxiously but enough to make one slightly embarrassed. But the whole point was to attract his attention. She’d talk more loudly or drop a book. And it paid off.”

After engaging Adolf Hitler in a conversation on 9th February 1935 she commented that it was “the most wonderful and beautiful day of my life”. He was struck by her curious connections to the Germanic culture including her middle name, Valkyrie. Mitford’s grandfather, Algernon Freeman-Mitford, had been a friend of Richard Wagner, one of Hitler’s idols, and had translated the works of Houston Stewart Chamberlain, another inspiration for Hitler. Mitford subsequently received invitations to party rallies and state occasions.Hitler told newspapers in Germany that Unity was “a perfect specimen of Aryan womanhood”.

Hitler and Mitford became close, with Hitler reportedly playing Mitford off against his new girlfriend, Eva Braun, apparently to make her jealous.

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Braun wrote of Mitford in her diary: “She is known as the Valkyrie and looks the part, including her legs. I the mistress of the greatest man in Germany and the whole world, I sit here waiting while the sun mocks me through the window panes.”Braun regained Hitler’s attention after an attempted suicide and Mitford learned from this that desperate measures were often needed to capture the Führer’s attention.

Albert Speer also spent time with Unity Mitford and Hitler at the Osteria Bavaria. “I met her in the Osteria Bavaria.

GERspeer1 She was very romantic. The Osteria was a small inn, it is still there, and hasn’t changed much. Small tables. There was a wooden partition, and behind it a table to seat eight. An adjutant would phone the owner to warn that Hitler might be coming and to have the table clear. There was also a courtyard, with one table under a pergola and this was Hitler’s favourite seat when the weather was not cold. Unity was quite often there, I was invited only every second or third time. Like me, Mitford would be invited by the adjutant Schaub. She was highly in love with Hitler, we could see it easily, her face brightened up, her eyes gleaming, staring at Hitler. Hero-worship. Absolutely phenomenal. And possibly Hitler liked to be admired by a young woman, she was quite attractive – even if nothing happened he was excited by the possibility of a love affair with her. Towards an attractive woman he behaved as a seventeen-year-old would. She was influential with Hitler in that she was of the group in the Osteria.

From this point on, Mitford was inducted into Hitler’s inner circle and remained with him for five years.

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When Hitler announced the Anschluss in 1938, she appeared with him on the balcony in Vienna. She was later arrested in Prague for distributing Nazi propaganda. and the suspicions of the British SIS were aroused. MI5 officer Guy Liddell wrote in his diary: “Unity Mitford had been in close and intimate contact with the Führer and his supporters for several years, and was an ardent and open supporter of the Nazi regime. She had remained behind after the outbreak of war and her action had come perilously close to high treason.

 

A 1936 report went further, proclaiming her “more Nazi than the Nazis” and stated that she gave the Hitler salute to the British Consul General in Munich, who immediately requested that her passport be impounded.

 

In 1938, Hitler gave her a choice of four apartments in Munich, one flat lived in by a Jewish couple. Mitford is reported to have then visited the apartment to discuss her decoration and design plans, while the soon-to-be-dispossessed couple still sat in the kitchen crying.Immediately prior to this, she had lived in the house of Erna Hanfstaengl, sister of early Hitler admirer and confidante Ernst Hanfstaengl, but was ordered to leave when Hitler became angry with the Hanfstaengls

Many prominent Nazis were also suspicious of Mitford and her relationship to their Führer. In his memoirs, Inside the Third Reich, Albert Speer said of Hitler’s select group: “One tacit agreement prevailed: No one must mention politics. The sole exception was Lady [sic] Mitford, who even in the later years of international tension persistently spoke up for her country and often actually pleaded with Hitler to make a deal with Britain. In spite of Hitler’s discouraging reserve, she did not abandon her efforts through all those years”.Mitford summered at the Berghof where she continued to discuss a possible German-British alliance with Hitler, going so far as to supply lists of potential supporters and enemies.

At the 1939 Bayreuth Festival, Hitler warned Unity and her sister Diana that war with Britain was inevitable within weeks and they should return home.

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Diana returned to England where she was arrested and imprisoned, while Unity chose to remain in Germany, though her family sent pleas for her to come home.After Britain’s declaration of war on Germany on 3 September 1939, Unity was distraught.Diana Mitford told an interviewer in 1999: “She told me that if there was a war, which of course we all terribly hoped there might not be, that she would kill herself because she couldn’t bear to live and see these two countries tearing each other to pieces, both of which she loved.”Unity went to the English Garden in Munich, took a pearl-handled pistol given to her by Hitler for protection, and shot herself in the head.She survived the suicide attempt, and was hospitalised in Munich, where Hitler frequently visited her. On Hitler’s instructions she was moved to Switzerland, and then returned to England on 3rd January 1940. Her mental and physical powers were impaired, and she lived under the protection of her mother

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Mitford was taken seriously ill on a visit to the family-owned island of Inch Kenneth and was taken to hospital in Oban. Doctors had decided it was too dangerous to remove the bullet in her head. On 28 May 1948, Mitford died of meningitis caused by the cerebral swelling around the bullet. “Her sisters, even those who deplored her politics and hated her association with Hitler, mourned her deeply.”She was buried at Swinbrook Churchyard. Her gravestone reads, “Say not the struggle naught availeth.”

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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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They saw what was happening and did nothing.

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As Edmund Burke once said”The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”, I would like to add “for good women to do nothing”

This is is how the Nazi regime and all its evil could flourish. People saw what was happening, it was often blatantly obvious but yet they did nothing,or very little.

This is not meant as an accusation to the German (and Austrian)people, because they were intoxicated by the power displayed by Hitler, additionally they were going through economic hardships and Hitler kept his ‘promises’of prosperity and employment and they didn’t realize or didn’t want to see the price to paid for it.

Below are just some examples that really should have opened the eyes of some people.

This photograph was taken in Austria days after the Nazi annexation, March 1938. A lady sitting on a bench, marked “Jews only”

A Jewish woman who is concealing her face sits on a park bench marked Only for Jews, Austria, 1938 (1)

A boy sits on a bench in a public park. The words painted on the bench say, “For Aryans only.

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It wasn’t only the Germans and Austrians who knew what was happening the whole world saw what was going on and did nothing.

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Jewish prisoners paraded by the SS and local police through the streets of Baden-Baden,November 10 1938.

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SS guards at the Dachau concentration camp, 1933.

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Nazi SA paramilitaries outside Israel’s Department Store in Berlin. The signs read: “Germans defend yourselves! Don’t buy from Jews.

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Four Nazi troops sing in front of the Berlin branch of the Woolworth Co. store during the movement to boycott Jewish presence in Germany, March 1, 1933.

Nazis singing to encourage a boycott of the allegedly Jewish-founded Woolworths, 1933

This is the Reichserntedankfest(Thanksgiving for the Harvest) of 1934 in Buckeberg. That year, 700,000 people participated. Even those who did not support Nazis were totally blown away and emotionally shaken. They had never experienced anything even remotely like this, there was no rock concerts back then. It created spiritual feeling of sublime and unity among people who were participating. When they were marching back to their tents in the night, they could still see the huge spotlights piercing the sky in the Buckeberg. They were totally pumped up and fell that things are really going to change better.

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The synagogue of Baden-Baden in flames, November 10, 1938

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Two Germans accused of having violated the law against sexual relations between Jews and Gentiles.

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A Jewish youth is forced under Nazi supervision to write “Jew” on the wall of a house, following the annexation of Austria, Vienna, 1938.

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In Austria Jews are made to scrub pro-Austrian slogans from streets – March 1938

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A woman’s hair is shaved in public as she is accused of having violated the Nuremberg Laws

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I know people will say that there are similarities in apartheid and the segregation of African Americans, but the Nazi’s final solution’s aim was to annihilate and not to segregate.

Vasily Blokhin-Stalin’s butcher

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Born to a Russian peasant family in 1895, as a young man he quickly earned a reputation for “chernaya rabota”, or “black work”, while serving in the Tsarist army during World War I- gaining recognition from Stalin himself for his covert assassinations, torture, and executions. Blokhin quickly rose through the ranks of Russia’s secret police at the time—the NKVD—eventually becoming the head of the Kommandatura department.

Vasily Blokhin is recorded as having executed tens of thousands of prisoners by his own hand, including his killing of about 7,000 Polish prisoners of war during the Katyn massacre in spring 1940, making him the most prolific official executioner in recorded world history. He was the NKVD major in charge of executing the Polish officers from the Ostashkov camp, and he believed in personally doing the killing that his superiors had ordered him to supervise.

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Born in 1885, he was known as the NKVD’s chief executioner, having been hand-picked for this position by Joseph Stalin himself.

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Blokhin personally killed tens of thousand of men and women during Stalin’s Great Purges of the 1930s, so it was only natural that the NKVD would turn to him when it came time to dispatch the officers held in the Soviet prison camps. Along with a team of about thirty NKVD men from Moscow, mainly drivers and prison guards, Blokhin arrived at the NKVD prison in Kalinin (Tver) and set himself up in a sound-proofed cellar room that had a sloping floor for drainage.

Tver Execution room of Polish soldiers buried later at Mednoye- Photograph Katyn Museum

He then put on his special uniform, consisting of a leather cap, long leather apron, and elbow-length gloves. On a table next to him was a briefcase filled with his own personal Walther PPK pistols, for Blokhin, a true artist at his trade, would use no one else’s tools but his own.

After the prisoner’s identity was verified, he was brought handcuffed into the cellar room where Blokhin awaited in his long apron, like some horrible butcher. One guard later testified: “The men held [the prisoner’s] arms and [Blokhin] shot him in the base of the skull…that’s all”. Blokhin worked fast and efficiently, killing an average of one men every three minutes during the course of ten-hour nights – the killings were always done at night, so that the bodies could be disposed of in darkness.

Although this has never been completely proven, historians suspect that Blokhin shot 7,000 men over a period of twenty-eight days, which would make him one of the most prolific murderers of all time. However many people he killed, Blokhin was consistently promoted by his superiors for performing “special tasks”. He lost his job after Stalin died. The cause of Blokhin’s death, in 1955, was listed as suicide.

Katyn massacre
The Katyn massacre, also known as the Katyn Forest massacre was a mass execution of Polish nationals carried out by the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD), the Soviet secret police, in April and May 1940. The massacre was prompted by NKVD chief Lavrentiy Beria’s proposal to execute all captive members of the Polish Officer Corps, dated 5 March 1940. This official document was approved and signed by the Soviet Politburo, including its leader, Joseph Stalin. The number of victims is estimated at about 22,000.

 

Michael Keogh-The man who saved Hitler.

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There is a saying ” Whoever saves one life saves the world entire.”

But what if in saving one life you inadvertently plunged the world into the most catastrophic horror of all time? What if you saved the life of Adolf Hitler just as he was taking his first baby steps to becoming the most evil monster in history?

Portrait of Corporal Adolf Hitler during his stay in a military hospital, 1918

Michael Keogh was an Irish soldier who served on both sides of World War I, and has become known as “the man who saved Hitler.

Michael Patrick Keogh was born in 1891, the son of a local Royal Irish Constabulary policeman Laurence Keogh, in Tullow, County Carlow. Some of Keogh’s ancestors had been involved in the 1798 Rebellion in County Wexford, and his grandfather Mathew Keogh was the leader of the 1887 resistance against the Coolgreany Evictions also in County Wexford. His great uncle was Myles Keogh, the second in command to Colonel Custer, and who died at the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

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Keogh lived in Tullow as a child and at age 14 won a County Council scholarship to attend the seminary school, St Patrick’s Monastery, Mountrath, County Laois. He was a member of the O’Growney Branch of the Gaelic League in Tullow from 1903 to 1906, and entered singing and dancing competitions.

Keogh emigrated to New York City in 1907 to live with his aunt Mary Keogh, and once there he joined the National Guard. He became a member of Clan na Gael in New York, through which he developed a friendship with Roger Casement.

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In 1909 Keogh claims to have obtained an engineering degree from Columbia University, though this remains unsubstantiated. Keogh spent 10 months fighting against Mexican guerrillas on the Texan frontier in 1910, but was forced to retire from the army due to an abdominal gunshot wound. He worked on the Panama Canal, possibly as an engineer, until 1913 when he returned to Ireland. Once there, he joined the Royal Irish Regiment, although he later claimed to have done this to enlist fellow Irish soldiers to the Republican Army. Private Keogh was convicted of sedition in 1914, following an incident at the Curragh Camp involving British officers refusing to fight against Ulster Unionists, and served 28 days in the cells.

In 1913 he joined the Royal Irish Regiment of the British Army.

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A lowly private, he lectured his officers and spent a month behind bars after a court martial for voicing his strong republican views.

Despite these views, a fight was a fight, so he fought in the trenches until he landed in a German POW camp. Keogh had befriended Roger Casement in the US years earlier, and Casement now sought him out to head an Irish Brigade of prisoners willing to switch sides.

Privately the Germans treated Casement’s Brigade as an Irish joke, but they were happy to play him along for the nuisance value he could deliver back in Ireland.

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But Casement’s career as a gun runner was short-lived and after his execution in 1916 the Irish Brigade was effectively shelved by the Germans.

Keogh joined the German Army proper, where he rose to the rank of Field Lieutenant. In his regiment he met a fiery Lance Corporal called Adolf Hitler.

After the war, Germany descended into chaos as rival factions vied to fill the void left by the collapse of the old order. Keogh joined the proto-fascist Freikorps, who were sworn to smash Communism.

When Marxists attempted to set up a Bavarian Soviet Republic in Munich, the Friekorps wiped them out with shocking brutality. Peace had no sooner been restored than it was shattered by the noisiest man in Germany.

Keogh was duty officer at a Munich barracks when he was called to quell a riot that had erupted in a gym. What he saw was not exactly a fair fight.

A crowd of some 200 soldiers was kicking the living daylights out of just two. Some of the attackers were brandishing bayonets. The two victims were about to die.

Keogh ordered his men to fire a salvo over the heads of the mob. It did the trick. He dragged the two victims out of the gym “cut, bleeding and in need of the doctor”.

It was a measure of Hitler’s madness that he had entered the hall to provoke a reaction from 200 troops, by hectoring them with views that were already openly hateful.

As Keogh dragged him off to the guardroom for his own safety, the future fuhrer continued to spew angry comments.

Once there, Keogh recalled: “The fellow with the moustache gave his name as Adolf Hitler. It was the Lance Corporal of Ligny. I would not have recognised him. He was thin and emaciated from his wounds.”

Keogh arrived back in Ireland in late 1919 as the War of Independence was coming to a boil. He linked with Michael Collins, trafficking guns from Germany.

After a decade here he moved back to Germany to work as an engineer. He attended one of the infamous Nuremberg Rallies, but after The Night Of The Long Knives in 1934 where Hitler killed former allies, Keogh began to fear for the safety of his German wife and children.

He moved back to Ireland on foot of a letter from De Valera promising him a job, but the promise went unkept.

Upon his return to Ireland, Keogh was employed at the Poolbeg Generating Station in Dublin and the sugar-beet factory in Carlow. Keogh died in Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown in September 1964, survived by his wife.

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The Bombing of Broadgate, 1939- The IRA S-plan

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In the wider perception of European history, the late 1930s is remembered as the time when Nazi Germany began to cast its shadow over Europe leading ultimately to the most destructive conflict in history – World War II. At the same time however, old grievances were bubbling to the surface once more in Ireland and the Irish Republican Army (IRA) were about to resume their campaign to unify Ireland and expel what they saw as a British military occupation of Northern Ireland.

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ON AUGUST 25, 1939, an IRA bomb killed five innocent people and wounded more than 60 others in Coventry. The dead included a 15-year-old boy and an 82- year-old man. Little over a week later, the bombing was overshadowed by the outbreak of the Second World War.

The first direct talks between the IRA and the Nazis began in 1937, when Tom Barry, the then chief-of-staff, travelled to Germany.

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The legendary leader of the Cork flying columns was accompanied on his travels by a German agent, Jupp Hoven. While posing as a TCD student, Hoven undertook spying work in Belfast, Dublin and Cork. He was a close friend of Helmut Clissmann, who ran the German academic exchange service in Dublin. Both men were from Aachen and had nurtured links with the IRA in the 1930s.
Barry’s 1937 trip to the Continent was aimed at seeking German support for IRA attacks on British military installations in Northern Ireland. But at an IRA convention in April 1938, Barry’s plan was rejected in favour of more grandiose pro-German plans conceived by the new chief-of-staff, Seán Russell. The 1916 veteran had long cherished a Casement-style alliance with Germany.

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In August 1938, Russell called on an old IRA comrade, James(Saemus) O’Donovan, who, since 1930, had been working as a manager at ESB headquarters in Dublin.

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The IRA leader’s visit was to enlist his friend’s help in designing a bombing campaign on English soil, to be launched the following year. Russell and O’Donovan were the only two surviving members of the IRA general headquarters staff who had opposed the Anglo-Irish treaty in January 1922. Despite being on the state payroll and having a young family, O’Donovan did not hesitate to accept Russell’s call to arms. I

O’Donovan’s elder son, Donal, had misgivings about his father’s decision to re-enlist with the IRA in 1938, at the age of 41. But James O’Donovan himself never expressed any regrets about his role in the English bombing campaign, which resulted in the deaths of seven members of the public, scores of serious injuries, and the execution of two IRA volunteers in February 1940.

The S-plan kicked off with polite formality, as might be expected from an ex-pupil of the Jesuits (O’Donovan was born in Roscommon in 1896 and educated at Glasgow’s prestigious St Aloysius College). In mid-January 1939, the British foreign secretary, Lord Halifax, received an IRA letter declaring war, which began ‘Your Excellency . . .’. It was typical of O’Donovan to issue a deadly threat cloaked in formal terms.
The ultimatum gave the British government four days to withdraw troops from Northern Ireland—an impossible deadline to meet. In fact, however, the S-plan had nothing to do with forcing a British withdrawal from the North, and everything to do with attracting the attention of the Germans. Russell saw Hitler as the only European leader capable of destroying Britain. His logic was that with England on her knees, nothing could prevent a German-backed reunification of Ireland.

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The British government refused to adhere to the demand and thus the IRA declared war on the United Kingdom on Sunday 15th January 1939. The next day, five bombs were detonated in London, Warwickshire and Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. The targets were electricity pylons and power sub-stations in an attempt to specifically harm industrial outputs in those areas. This set the tone for much of the IRA’s campaign and over the following week a significant number of targets were hit but with almost no fatalities since they were aimed at infrastructure, power and gas supplies. This was a key factor in supporting the propaganda war since large numbers of deaths might turn the all-important American support against them.

As a wave of IRA bombs exploded across English cities in  January 1939, it didn’t take the Abwehr long to act. In early February it dispatched one of its agents, Oscar Pfaus, to Dublin to meet the IRA leadership. O’Donovan recalled that on 3 February the German agent ‘met Seán Russell and myself in Pete’s [Kearney] house in Clontarf. He explained that his principals would be glad to meet a representative from us and discuss the possibility of assistance . . .’.
This was an offer the IRA leaders could not refuse.

Throughout 1939 the IRA carried out repeated attacks aimed at further undermining the British industrial complex and the British people’s confidence in their government to protect them. In July 1939, attacks were made on cinemas in London and Birmingham using tear gas bombs which although didn’t kill anyone struck fear in to the wider public that their enemy was on their own streets and walking among them. At the same time, perhaps frustrated by the lack of results thus far, the British government revealed that it had been informed that the attacks on the UK would intensify in the coming months. Not long after this, bombs were detonated at banks across London killing one person while a second was killed in a blast at King’s Cross train station a month later. The British responded with emergency powers that saw large numbers of the Irish community in Britain get deported to Southern Ireland who were themselves introducing legislation to combat the IRA. The British were also increasingly concerned about reported support for the IRA’s campaign coming from Berlin.

Then on August 25th 1939, less than a week before Hitler’s forces crossed in to Poland, a rather inconspicuous-looking bike was placed up against a wall in Broadgate, part of Coventry’s busy city centre.

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The bike had a basket on the front, common for the time, with a bundle inside it. A rather frustrated man had left it there and walked away having found it difficult to take the bike across the tramlines in the area. His name was Joby O’Sullivan who came from Cork and he was the only one who knew that the bundle in the basket was in fact a bomb. He would later state that he intended to take the already armed bomb to a nearby police station but the tramlines had slowed his progress down meaning the bomb was due to detonate soon and not wanting to be a martyr he left it where it was.

At two minutes after half past two on a busy Friday afternoon, the 5lbs of explosive was detonated by an alarm clock timer. The blast shattered glass which shot out like bullets that cut down people walking by at the time.

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A young shop assistant, 21-year old Elsie Answell, was killed instantly having been standing by a window near where the bomb detonated. She was due to be married in early September but ended up getting buried in the same church her service was to take place.She was only identifiable by her engagement ring.[2

In the W.H. Smiths store, 30-year old Rex Gentle who came to Coventry from North Wales for holiday work and 15-year old local boy John Arnott were also killed in the initial blast. 50-year old Gwilym Rowlands was killed while sweeping the roads for the council while the oldest victim, 82-year old James Clay, was struck down as he walked home from his regular café which he had left earlier than usual because he was feeling unwell. Another 70 people were injured many of them with severe lacerations caused by the flying glass.

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The British public were outraged and the attack served to further diminish confidence in British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and his government who seemed impotent to stop both the IRA at home and Hitler in Eastern Europe.

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