The Diary of Mary Berg(Miriam Wattenberg)

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Mary Berg lived in the Warsaw Ghetto, but her situation was very unusual. Though she was born in Poland, her mother was an American, so her ultimate fate was different from most of her neighbors. Jews with American citizenship could possibly be exchanged for German prisoners of war, so they had a unique value to their captors. While 300,000 of her fellow Jews were deported to their deaths, she and her family were held in Pawiak Prison, pending the transfer that would eventually bring them to the U.S.

From a window, she could see the columns of people heading down the street to the trains that would take them to Treblinka. She later wrote, “We, who have been rescued from the ghetto, are ashamed to look at each other. Had we the right to save ourselves? Here everything smells of sun and flowers and there—there is only blood, the blood of my own people.”

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Mary lived in the Warsaw Ghetto for almost two years. Although she came from a wealthy, privileged family, she was a sensitive observer who recorded the terrible ordeal of life in the ghetto with true feeling for her fellow sufferers, especially for those who were less fortunate.

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This took a psychological toll on her, even invading her dreams.  On July 10th, 1941 she wrote, “I am full of dire forebodings. During the last few nights, I have had terrible nightmares. I saw Warsaw drowning in blood; together with my sisters and my parents, I walked over prostrate corpses. I wanted to flee, but could not, and awoke in a cold sweat, terrified and exhausted. The golden sun and the blue sky only irritate my shaken nerves.”

In January 1943, her family was sent to an internment camp in France, where they awaited a prisoner exchange that would allow them to flee. Their journey to freedom began March 1, 1944, when they boarded a train for Lisbon. There, they boarded the ocean liner SS Gripsholm for the voyage to America. Her memoir, Warsaw Ghetto, describes her years in Pawiak.She arrived in the United States in March 1944, at the age of 19. Her memoir was serialized in American newspapers in 1944, making it one of the earliest accounts of the Holocaust to be written in English, Published under the penname “Mary Berg”

Mary was not guilty for wanting to live, but she undoubtedly felt compromised by the struggle to survive. Freedom did not entirely lift this burden, but she believed that her ghetto diary/memoir might do some good for others. When she arrived in the U.S. in 1944, some of Europe’s Jews were still alive. Saving them might be possible, but only if their plight was publicized. This was her motivation for helping to get her account published. In the end, she became uncomfortable with the celebrity that accompanied her book, and she dropped out of public view.

She dies on 1 April 2013 aged 88.

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The start of deportation to Treblinka

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On this day in 1942, the systematic deportation of Jews from the Warsaw ghetto begins, as thousands are rounded up daily and transported to a newly constructed concentration/extermination camp at Treblinka, in Poland.

On July 17, Heinrich Himmler, head of the Nazi SS, arrived at Auschwitz, the concentration camp in eastern Poland, in time to watch the arrival of more than 2,000 Dutch Jews and the gassing of almost 500 of them, mostly the elderly, sick and very young.

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The next day, Himmler promoted the camp commandant, Rudolph Hoess, to SS major and ordered that the Warsaw ghetto (the Jewish quarter constructed by the Nazis upon the occupation of Poland, enclosed first by barbed wire and then by brick walls), be depopulated–a “total cleansing,” as he described it–and the inhabitants transported to what was to become a second extermination camp constructed at the railway village of Treblinka, 62 miles northeast of Warsaw.

Treblinka was an extermination camp,built and operated by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland during World War II.It was located in a forest north-east of Warsaw, 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) south of the Treblinka train station in what is now the Masovian Voivodeship.

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The camp operated between 23 July 1942 and 19 October 1943 as part of Operation Reinhard, the deadliest phase of the Final Solution. During this time, it is estimated that between 700,000 and 900,000 Jews were killed in its gas chambers,along with 2,000 Romani people.More Jews were killed at Treblinka than at any other Nazi extermination camp apart from Auschwitz.

Within the first seven weeks of Himmler’s order, more than 250,000 Jews were taken to Treblinka by rail and gassed to death, marking the largest single act of destruction of any population group, Jewish or non-Jewish, civilian or military, in the war. Upon arrival at “T. II,” as this second camp at Treblinka was called, prisoners were separated by sex, stripped, and marched into what were described as “bathhouses,” but were in fact gas chambers. T. II’s first commandant was Dr. Irmfried Eberl, age 32, the man who had headed up the euthanasia program of 1940 and had much experience with the gassing of victims, especially children.

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He compelled several hundred Ukrainian and about 1,500 Jewish prisoners to assist him. They removed gold teeth from victims before hauling the bodies to mass graves. Eberl was relieved of his duties for “inefficiency.” It seems that he and his workers could not remove the corpses quickly enough, and panic was occurring within the railway cars of newly arrived prisoners.

In 1944 he joined the Wehrmacht for the remainder of the war. After the war ended, Eberl continued to practise medicine in Blaubeuren. He found himself a widower following his second wife’s death. Eberl was arrested in January 1948, and hanged himself the following month to avoid trial.

The Circus that saved a Jewish family

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I stumbled across this story by accident. I was actually doing research on a Jerry Lewis movie called “The Day the Clown Cried “The film was met with controversy regarding its premise and content, which features a circus clown who is imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp. Lewis has repeatedly insisted that The Day the Clown Cried would never be released because it is an embarrassingly “bad work” that he is ashamed of..

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In Europe, circuses used to travel across national borders, spending weeks moving through forests and little-used trails, and then set up shop in small villages. During the direst parts of World War II, villagers would flock to see the circus–especially in Germany. “Even during the Third Reich, a traveling circus meant a diversion from the daily drudgery of work.

Adolf Althoff, the young heir of the famous Althoff circus, with a family tradition reaching back to the 17th century, directed the circus during the Nazi period. The circus continued its regular activity throughout the war years, traveling from one place to another.

He was born into the family in Sonsbeck, Germany. At age 17 he became publicity director for his families of the circus.

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In his twenties Althoff and his sister formed their own circus, of which he was the ringmaster for 30 years. In 1940, Althoff began five years work in concealing four members of the Danner performing family in his circus. Althoff provided the Danners with false identity papers and had the family working under pseudonyms.

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In the summer of 1941, the circus stopped for a prolonged round of performances at a camp site near Darmstadt in Hesse. One of the visitors at the site was a young girl by the name of Irene Danner. She was a descendant through her mother’s side of the Lorches, a celebrated German-Jewish circus dynasty that had settled in the small town of Eschollbrücken near Darmstadt in the 19th century.

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Although he was well aware of her Jewish descent, Althoff agreed to engage Irene, a gifted acrobat in her own right, in his circus under an assumed name. She soon fell in love with another circus artist, the young Peter Storm-Bento, also a member of a famous family of acrobats and clowns from Belgium. In 1942, the persecution of the Jews of Darmstadt entered a new, lethal phase. On March 20, the first deportation to Lublin in Poland took place, which was followed by the next two deportations in September 1942 and in February 1943.

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Irene Danner’s beloved grandmother was among the deportees, but her mother and sister could still escape in time to make it to Althoff’s circus camp, where they were received with open arms. They were later joined by Irene’s Aryan father, who was granted a temporary release from the army on the pretext of arranging a divorce from his Jewish wife. Harboring four illegals during the war years was at best a high-risk undertaking, although the camp’s relative seclusion did afford some protection from inquisitive eyes.

The Althoff couple had to reckon with the ever-present possibility of a denunciation by one or another disgruntled worker. The threat actually materialized once, but the wily circus director, who had been tipped off in advance by a good friend, knew how to distract the Gestapo officers’ attention with a drink or two, giving the illegals extra time to disappear for a while. The Althoffs also saw to it that Irene received proper medical care during her two births. This was especially complicated because they were both Caesarean sections. The Althoffs assumed this risk as a matter of course, without requesting any material remuneration, even though they had never met either Irene Danner or her family before the war. 

Althoff warned the people he rescued with the code Go Fishing.

On January 2, 1995, Yad Vashem recognized Adolf and Maria Althoff as Righteous Among the Nations.

Hedy Lamarr- WiFi during WWII

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For most of the late 1930s and ’40s, Hedy Lamarr was just your average world-famous actress who appeared in countless films alongside the likes of Charles Boyer, Spencer Tracy, and Clark Gable — and also invented a critically important military technology in her spare time.

She had a room in her house that was dedicated to tinkering, inventing, and just figuring out whatever she wanted!

Unbeknownst to many who saw her on screen, Lamarr was a passionate inventor — and, as an Austrian immigrant, an ardent Nazi despiser. Working with composer George Antheil, Lamarr discovered an ingenious method of preventing enemy ships from jamming American torpedoes by making radio signals jump between frequencies, rather than stay on a single channel.

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As a foreigner, a non-member of the military, and a woman, Lamarr’s invention went largely ignored until the 1960s, when some dude scientists unearthed it and put it to use during the Cuban Missile Crisis (and probably took all the credit for it at parties). It’s also basically the reason we have things like GPS, Bluetooth, and advanced guided missile technology.

Before Hedy became a famous movie star, she was married to an Austrian military arms merchant. And while her arms-dealing husband was chatting about weapons . Hedy was listening. So when she got fed up with hearing about all the crappy news of the war, she called upon her own talents to make a difference.

So she teamed up with George Antheil, a pianist and composer, and they came up with a solution.

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If it looks a bit like piano music, you’d be on track. Using a player-piano mechanism, they created a radio system that could jump frequencies, making it essentially jam-proof.

Lamarr and Antheil got a patent for their idea in 1942, in the middle of Hedy’s career as a Hollywood star!

And even though the U.S. military didn’t use the technology until the ’60s, the work they did laid the foundation for the complex radio communications that are behind cellphones, Wi-Fi, satellite tech, and more.

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A letter to God-The children of La Maison d’Izieu.

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I have seen so many gruesome images of the Holocaust, but for some reason the pictures of these smiling and playing children touche me more then any other. For I know none of them survived, the only crime they committed was being a child.

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On the morning of 6 April 1944, members of the Lyon Gestapo who had been tipped off by an informant carried out a raid on the children’s home in Izieu and arrested everyone there.  44 children aged 4-17, and seven staff members who had been taking care of them, were incarcerated in the prison in Lyon, and were deported to Drancy the following day.  The deportation order was issued by Klaus Barbie, head of the Gestapo in Lyon.  Barbie reported the arrest of the children  and adults at the children’s home in a telegram that he sent to Paris. During the children’s detention in Lyon, the Germans discovered the whereabouts of some of their family members, who were also then taken to Drancy and later deported to their deaths in Auschwitz.

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During the raid on Izieu, Leon Reifman, a medical student who took care of the sick children, managed to escape and hide in a nearby farm.  His sister, Dr. Sarah Lavan-Reifman, who was the children’s home doctor, his parents, Eva and Moisz-Moshe and his nephew, Claude Lavan-Reifman also lived in the home.  They were all murdered at Auschwitz.  Miron Zlatin, Sabine Zlatin’s husband who ran the children’s home with her, was deported on 15 May, together with two of the older boys from the children’s home, to Estonia, where they were all shot to death.

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By the end of June 1944, all the children and adults caught in Izieu had been deported from Drancy.  Most were sent to Auschwitz, including all the children and five of the adults, among them Sarah Lavan-Reifman, who refused to be parted from her son Claude, and was sent together with him to the gas chambers.

Léa Feldblum, one of the care-takers, had false papers that enabled her to evade the deportation to Auschwitz, but she chose to reveal her true identity while in Drancy, in order to stay with the children.  Feldblum survived Auschwitz and immigrated to Eretz Israel in 1946.

One of the children of La Maison d’Izieu was eleven-year-old Liliane Gerenstein. Lilliane and her brother were sent to their deaths a few days after she wrote this letter to God:

“God? How good You are, how kind and if one had to count the number of goodnesses and kindnesses You have done, one would never finish.

God? It is You who command. It is You who are justice, it is You who reward the good and punish the evil.

God? It is thanks to You that I had a beautiful life before, that I was spoiled, that I had  lovely things that others do not have.

God? After that, I ask You one thing only: Make my parents come back, my poor parents protect them (even more than You protect me) so that I can see them again as soon as possible.

Make them come back again. Ah! I had such a good mother and such a good father! I have such faith in You and I thank You in advance.”

In 1987, Klaus Barbie was put on trial in France, and convicted of crimes against humanity.  He was sentenced to life-imprisonment.  Testifying at the trial, Laja Feldblum-Klepten said:

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“It is my duty to testify against Klaus Barbie in the name of my 44 children who were murdered at Auschwitz, because every night they appear before my very eyes

Anton Schmid- Austrian Hero.

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Anton Schmid (January 9, 1900 in Vienna, Austria – April 13, 1942 in Vilnius, Lithuania) was an Austrian conscript to the Wehrmacht in World War II who, as a sergeant (feldwebel) in Vilnius, Lithuania, was executed by his superiors for helping 250 Jewish men, women, and children escape from extermination by the Nazi SS ] He did this by hiding them and supplying them with false ID papers.

Anton Schmid was born in Vienna in 1900. He owned a radio shop was married with one daughter. When the Second World War broke out he was drafted into the German army (in 1938 Austria became part of Germany and therefore all Austrians were now German citizens).

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He served first in Poland, and after the attack on the Soviet Union in 1941 in the newly occupied territories. Schmid was stationed in Vilna, and put in charge of the Versprengten-Sammelstelle – the army unit responsible for reassigning soldiers who had been separated from their units. His headquarters were situated in the Vilna railway station, and like all the people in the area, he became witness to the persecution and murder of the Jews. Soon rumors spread in the ghetto that an Austrian soldier was being friendly towards Jews. It was Schmid who used every possibility to help the Jews. He employed them as workers for his military unit, provided papers to some, got others released from the infamous Lukiski prison.

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He used his army trucks to transfer them to less dangerous places, and went as far as to shelter Jews in his apartment and office.

Herman Adler and his wife Anita were members of the Zionist movement in Vilna. When Adler was in danger, Schmid arranged a hiding place for the couple at his home. At Adler’s request Schmid met with one of the leaders of the Dror pioneer movement, Mordechai Tenenbaum-Tamarof. A special relationship was forged between the Wehrmacht soldier and the Jewish Zionist activist. Schmid began to help the Jewish underground.

Schmid repeatedly used military vehicles to smuggle Jews from Vilna, where danger seemed to be greater at that time, to other places where there was relative quiet; he took members of the resistance movement from Vilna to Bialystok and even to Warsaw; he facilitated contact between the Jewish underground groups in various locations, passing messages and transferring activists. In October 1941 in an attempt to reduce the Jewish population of Vilna, the Germans distributed 3,000 yellow colored permits to expert workers. Each permit protected its owner and three members of his family, and all the remaining Jews – those without permits – were  to be killed. Schmid made sure that his Jewish workers got as many permits as possible, and helped smuggle the others out of Vilna.

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On 31 December 1941 Schmid hosted the leadership of the Dror Jewish underground in his apartment to mark the New Year. He used the occasion to once again express his repulsion towards Nazism. Tenenbaum, also present, responded that when the Jewish State would come into being after the war, it would honor Schmid for his help to the Jews. Schmid replied that he would wear that award with pride. Regrettably, both men did not live to see the end of the war, the establishment of the State of Israel and the Jewish State’s recognition of Schmid’s heroism.

As time went on, Schmid’s exploits got bolder. He was warned by Tenembaum that knowledge about his help to the Jews had widely spread and that he was in grave danger. But Schmid persisted and went on helping the persecuted Jews. He was to pay for his humanity with his life. In the second half of January 1942 he was arrested and court-martialed for high treason. After being found guilty, he was executed in April 1942.

Before his execution he wrote a letter to his wife from his prison cell – “I only acted as a human being and desired doing harm to no one.”

Only two letters of his have been preserved as the only written testimonial of his motives. In one letter to his wife Stefi, Schmid described after his arrest his horror at the sight of mass murder and of children being beaten on the way:

“I will tell you how this came about: there were many Jews here, who were rounded up by the Lithuanian militia and were shot in a field outside of the City, always around 2,000 to 3,000 people. The children were already killed on the way by bashing them against trees. You can only imagine.”

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It was not only Schmid who suffered the consequences of his humane and brave conduct. After her husband’s execution, Schmid’s widow and daughter suffered abuse from their neighbors for his alleged treachery. In those days there was wide popular support of Nazism. It is only many years after the war that a street in Vienna was named after Schmid.

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In 1964 – over twenty years after Schmid’s execution and Tenebaum’s death in the Bialystok ghetto uprising – Tenenbaum’s promise to Schmid was fulfilled. Yad Vashem bestowed the title of Righteous Among the Nations on Anton Schmid.

Dr Aidan McCarthy-Rescued from Dunkirk -Survived the Nagasaki bomb.

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“Aidan MacCarthy was one of a handful of people who survived the two events that mark the beginning and end of the Second World War,” said Jackson, a lecturer in creative media at the Institute of Technology, Tralee.

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Air Commodore Joseph Aidan MacCarthy OBE, GM (1914–1995) was an Irish doctor of the Royal Air Force who showed great courage, resourcefulness and humanity during his capture by the Japanese during the Second World War.

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MacCarthy was born in 1914 in the town of Castletownbere, Beara Peninsula County Cork, Ireland. His parents owned land and businesses in the area.

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He attended Clongowes Wood School and University College Cork. He graduated with a medical degree in 1938. Lacking family connections, he was unable to obtain employment as a doctor in Ireland so he moved to the United Kingdom, working first in Wales, then in London. There, he met two former classmates from his medical school and, after a night of drinking with them, decided to join the British armed forces as a medical officer. Which service (the Royal Navy or the Royal Air Force) was decided for him by a coin toss made by a nightclub hostess in the early hours of the morning.

In 1940 he was posted to France and was evacuated from Dunkirk where he attended wounded Allied soldiers while under fire from German aircraft.

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In September 1940, he was promoted to Flight Lieutenant.

The following year he was awarded the George Medal for his part in the rescue of the crew of a crashed and burning Wellington bomber at RAF Honington.The aircraft had crash landed after its undercarriage had failed to lower and it came to rest on the airfields bomb dump, where it caught fire. Together with Group Captain (later, Air-Vice Marshal) John Astley Gray, MacCarthy entered the burning wreck and rescued two crewmen, but were unable to save the pilot.Gray was badly burned during the rescue; MacCarthy was also burned, but less seriously.

Posted to the Far East in 1941, MacCarthy was captured by the Japanese in Sumatra. The prison ship transporting Allied prisoners to Japan was sunk by US bombers. MacCarthy had to do the best he could for his patients whilst splashing around in the South China Sea. A Japanese fishing boat pulled him out of the ocean and transported him to Japan. There, he cared for Allied prisoners of war who were forced to work in horrific conditions. To the Japanese ear ‘MacCarthy’ and ‘MacArthur’ were indistinguishable. The Japanese assumed that MacCarthy must be a close blood relative of the American commander. Therefore, whenever MacCarthy answered his name, he was struck on the forehead. This may have contributed to his developing a brain clot in later life.

He spent the final year of the Second World War working as a slave for the Mitsubishi Corporation. After the war, he was never bitter towards the Japanese but refused to allow a Mitsubishi car in his driveway.

(A photo of the POW officers at Keisen, August 1945, with Aidan MacCarthy seated, second from right, )

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The Mitsubishi Steel & Arms Works, the Nagasaki factory, where he was imprisoned and where he sought refuge from the atomic bomb, was in fact the target of the bomb on August 9, 1945.

The atomic cloud over Nagasaki, 1945

He put his medical training to good use in the camp while treating his fellow prisoners, including making a protein-rich maggot soup for those who were ill, smuggling yeast in balls of rice to other camps, and treating eye infections with shaving cream.

Dr MacCarthy was the first non-Japanese doctor to assist civilians in the aftermath of the atomic bomb attack on Nagasaki.

On August 15, 1945, the day the Japanese surrendered, he was gifted an ancestral Japanese sword by his camp commandant, whose life he saved from POWs intent on revenge.

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He was one of the few people who survived the two events which bookend the Second World War — Dunkirk and Nagasaki.

The Japanese ship on which he was being transported to Nagasaki was sunk by an American submarine. Out of the 1,000 POWs on the ship, just 35 survived.

Before the war, he had weighed 14 stone. When he returned home at the end of the war, following years of starvation and malnutrition, his body weight had halved to just seven stone.

On Thursday 20th July 2017 Prince Harry will name the medical facility in RAF Honington after this Irish WWII hero Dr Aidan MacCarthy.

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The Jewish ghetto Police

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Officially called the Jewish Organization for the Maintenance of Public Order (Ger., Jüdischer Ordungsdienst; Pol., Żydowska Służba Porządkowa), Jewish police units were established under Nazi occupation in most East European ghettos. The establishment of a police force usually was connected with the creation of the ghettos, which excluded the Jewish population from general police jurisdiction and thus created a need for an alternative system of ensuring that the Jewish population complied with German occupiers’ orders. The absence of a general German order regarding the establishment of the Jewish police indicates that in all probability, it was the various local occupying forces—and not the Central Reich Government—that took the initiative to set up this force. Indeed, the composition of the Jewish police in different ghettos, their jurisdictional powers, and their status within the Jewish community varied from ghetto to ghetto, according to local conditions. A small ghetto could muster only a handful of individuals to join its police force, whereas the Warsaw ghetto

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Ghetto police forces were officially branches of Judenräte (sg., Judenrat) but were also commanded directly by local non-Jewish police authorities and the SS. Therefore, police units in some ghettos became independent of the Judenräte. However, in other places the Judenrat and the ghetto police were indistinguishable. Initially, the primary task of the Jewish police was to maintain public order and to enforce German orders transmitted by the Judenräte to the Jewish population. Municipal authorities retained jurisdiction over criminal matters and disputes between Jews and non-Jews. At this phase, there were Jews who viewed the establishment of the Jewish police positively; some intellectual circles even openly supported it. Jews joined it for social motives and out of a desire to help maintain order in the ghettos and assist Jewish autonomy.

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German authorities insisted that Jewish police officers be young, fit, and army-trained, with at least a high school diploma—but those principles were not always followed. Many police were refugees from other Jewish communities and few had been involved in organized Jewish affairs before the war.

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Gradually the Germans expanded the workload of the Jewish police, calling upon them to fight epidemics, quell demonstrations, and fight fires. Other times the police were charged with overseeing distribution of foodstuffs and controlling prices as well as collecting taxes. They were part of the battle against those who disobeyed German orders, although the scope of their jurisdiction varied from place to place. Prisons were erected in the larger ghettos and detention rooms in the smaller ones; rarely were inmates transferred to the Germans. In most cases, ghetto police themselves carried out the punishment that ghetto courts imposed on the accused. Sometimes they even assisted in executing German-ordered death sentences.

Josef Szerynski, Chief of the Jewish ghetto police, overseeing the actions of police in the Warsaw ghetto.

 

Police were supposed to be paid by the Judenräte, but often their salary was insufficient and irregular. Thus they were open to bribes, a situation that adversely affected moral standards. Understanding that the Jewish police served to enforce German policy, many left it; their places were taken mainly by people with no obligation to the Jewish population and by other doubtful elements. As standards declined, so did the relationship between the police and the Jewish public, especially after Jewish police began taking part in sending Jews to

e829f9950f46de05ffdd220dfdd39fc5. Ghetto police personnel were generally exempt from labor service and were even empowered to release others from their labor obligations (in exchange for bribes). Guarding the ghetto walls also corrupted the police and placed them in confrontations with the public. Often Jewish policemen worked with local police and even with German soldiers to control smuggling. Their close ties with the German and local authorities and the opportunity for kickbacks led many Jewish communities to identify them with the occupying forces. Over time, corruption became part of the Jewish police identity, and many of them lived lives of luxury amid the remainder of the poor Jewish population. Thus, the original esteem in which the Jewish police were held was replaced with hatred and contempt.

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Nonetheless, some police officers tried to improve the lot of the Jewish community, despite harsh German supervision. Several tried to fight corruption and were active in bolstering public supervision over the police force. Other officers intervened with German authorities on behalf of Jews, at times paying with their lives.

The onset of deportations to killing centers in 1942 led to a new phase in the history of the Jewish police. The Germans generally ordered ghetto police forces to assist in deporting Jews and sometimes even on selection. In return, the Nazis assured them that they and their families would not be deported. Police officers who refused to obey the orders joined the deportees or were killed on the spot. In most instances, the police complied with German demands.

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During this period, the status of the ghetto police hit an all-time low in Jewish eyes. Even then, however, there were instances when police gave advance warning of expulsions and cautioned Jews to hide. In some ghettos, police actively opposed deportation orders and even made up the core of the armed resistance movement. Most of these ghettos were in the Soviet Union or in the eastern part of Poland occupied by the Soviets from 1939 to 1941. In the Generalgouvernement, by contrast, relations between Jewish police and underground organizations were more often hostile. In both regions, however, there was considerable variation.

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The number of police units was greatly reduced in the wake of deportations, and families of former police officers, who until then had been safeguarded, were usually murdered. At the same time, some Jewish underground organizations tried to take revenge on the Jewish police.

At the end of the war, the role of Jewish police and their actions became a highly controversial issue among Holocaust survivors. Dozens of police officers were tried in Jewish honor courts for improper conduct. Some were expelled from the Jewish community while others were merely barred from holding public office. The names of other former officers were cleared. It took years for the courts to decide not to put Jewish police on formal trial.

Some researchers have claimed that in small communities, relations between the Jewish police and the Jewish public were better than those in larger ones. Others have argued that corruption was more widespread in the General government ghettos, whereas police in areas under Soviet control until 1941 generally played a more positive role in ghetto life. The latest studies have shown conclusively, however, that there is no consistent correlation between either the size of the Jewish community or the location of the ghetto and police behavior. A proper evaluation of the Jewish police must be based on the study of each individual ghetto.

Members of the Jewish ghetto police force in the Lodz ghetto

Dunkirk

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The Dunkirk evacuation, code-named Operation Dynamo, also known as the Miracle of Dunkirk, was the evacuation of Allied soldiers from the beaches and harbour of Dunkirk, France, between 26 May and 4 June 1940, during World War II. The operation was decided upon when large numbers of British, French, Belgian, and Canadian troops were cut off and surrounded by the German army during the Battle of France. In a speech to the House of Commons, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill called the events in France “a colossal military disaster”, saying “the whole root and core and brain of the British Army” had been stranded at Dunkirk and seemed about to perish or be captured.In his We shall fight on the beaches speech on 4 June, he hailed their rescue as a “miracle of deliverance”

Below are some pictures of the battle and evacuation of Dunkirk.

British soldiers wait on an improvised pier made out of vehicles in order to evacuate Dunkirk during low tide. June 1940.

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British troops evacuating Dunkirk’s beaches

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Destroyers filled with British troops return home to Dover, England on May 31, 1940.

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A soldier of the British Expeditionary Force, arriving back from Dunkirk, is greeted affectionately by his girlfriend. May 31, 1940.

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Soldiers gather on the beach in advance of evacuation. May 1940.
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A wounded French soldier being taken ashore on a stretcher at Dover after his evacuation from Dunkirk.
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Crew members of a French destroyer, sunk by mine at Dunkirk, are hauled aboard a British vessel from their sinking life-raft. May 1940.
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The crew of a London-based tugboat, one of the many small craft that took part in the evacuation, pause for a cup of tea. June 5, 1940.
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A soldier walks among the destruction at Dunkirk following a German aerial bombing. June 1940..
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While bombs explode nearby, British soldiers shoot their rifles at attacking aircraft during a rearguard action just after the evacuation.
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Civilians make their way to safety amid aerial bombardment at Dunkirk soon after the evacuation. June 12, 1940.
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Isle of Man Steam Packet Company vessel Mona’s Queen shortly after striking a mine on the approach to Dunkirk. 29 May 1940.
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British prisoners and German soldiers at Dunkirk
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German soldiers rest at Dunkirk. June 4, 1940.
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Hopefully the new movie about Dunkirk,directed by Christopher Nolan will reflect the some of the scale of the evacuation.
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Karl Peter Berg commander of Camp Amersfoort.

Kampcommandant K.P. Berg

Karl Berg was originally the third man in the chain of command at Camp Amersfoort and in 1943 he was appointed camp commandant. He had a reputation for being cruel and merciless. Berg was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of prisoners.

amersfoort (51)

A group of 101 Russian prisoners who had arrived at the camp in 1941 were among those who died. Part of the them were starved to death; the other 77 were killed in group executions. Berg was later responsible for a number of retaliations, including the one carried out after SS and Police leader Hanns Albin Rauter was ambushed by the Resistance in the hamlet of Woeste Hoeve on the Veluwe, a wooded area in the Dutch province of Gelderland. The day after this unexpected March 1945 attack, Berg had 49 men executed on a rifle range. Following the Liberation in 1945, Berg was forced to point out the location of the mass graves where his victims had been dumped.

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At that moment he was still wearing these boots, but later they were taken from him.

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One of the most notorious SS-officers of PDA Amersfoort was Joseph Kotälla. He was appointed in September 1942 by Karl Peter Berg.

Kotälla

He was famous for his so-called ‘Kotälla-kick’, a very hard kick in the testicles with his army-boot. He also took part in many of the firing squads and he took a special interest in Jewish prisoners and priests, which he physically abused most frequently and fanatically.

In 1948 the camp commandant and guards of Amersfoort were tried and convicted for their crimes. Karl Peter Berg was sentenced to death and was executed in 1949.

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