January 17,1945 evacuation Auschwitz.

There are so few things that make sense in relation to the Holocaust, in fact there is nothing that make sense.

On January 17,1945

In mid-January 1945,the SS began evacuating Auschwitz and its subcamps. SS units forced nearly 60,000 prisoners to march west from the Auschwitz camp system. This murderous evacuation, known as the “Death March,” cost many of them their lives.

Thousands had been killed in the camps in the days before these death marches began. Tens of thousands of prisoners, mostly Jews, were forced to march either northwest for 55 kilometers (approximately 30 miles) to Gliwice (Gleiwitz), joined by prisoners from subcamps in East Upper Silesia, or due west for 63 kilometers (approximately 35 miles) to Wodzislaw (Loslau) in the western part of Upper Silesia, joined by inmates from the subcamps to the south of Auschwitz. SS guards shot anyone who fell behind or could not continue. Prisoners also suffered from the cold weather, starvation, and exposure on these marches. At least 3,000 prisoners died on route to Gliwice alone; possibly as many as 15,000 prisoners died during the evacuation marches from Auschwitz and the subcamps.

When you analyze this in a clinical way, the whole operation makes no sense. It is senseless from a military point of view, because they knew the Soviets were approaching, so why waste resources. Why not just leave them all in the camps and leave the Soviets deal with the prisoners, which would have delayed them.

It makes no sense on a human level either, purely because nothing made sense on a human level when it comes to the Holocaust.

Similar marches were taking place all across the eastern front after the SS chief Heinrich Himmler ordered that all able-bodied prisoners be taken to the Reich. But these able bodied prisoners would have been so weakened already, and even more so after the marches.

Although death might not have been the goal of the marches, that was however the fate of many, as the scattered gravestones that remain along these roads today still testify.

One of the survivors, Zofia Posmysz, recalled her inmate number: 7566. she remembered the biting cold on the night the guards gathered thousands of women outside the gates of Birkenau.

“We didn’t know what it meant that we would leave the camp,” she said. “We didn’t know if we would have to undergo some sort of selection”.

“We heard that those who could not walk would get to stay in the hospital, but we weren’t sure if they would be kept alive. We knew nothing and worried.”

Aside from the bitter cold and the physical violence, the victims were subjected to mental torture because they didn’t know what fate awaited them .

The march lasted until January 21,1945. Six days later, January 27,1945. Auschwitz was liberated.

Sources

https://www.niod.nl/en/collections/image-bank-ww2

https://www.ushmm.org/learn/timeline-of-events/1942-1945/death-march-from-auschwitz

http://www.auschwitz.org/en/history/evacuation/in-the-wake-of-death-march/

http://www.auschwitz.org/en/history/evacuation/in-the-wake-of-death-march/

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Happy Birthday Edith Frank

I often think that Edith Frank is a forgotten hero. Stuck with so many people in such a small space, desperately avoiding being discovered. That would be challenging to anyone’s health. But Edith could not afford to lose her sanity not even for a second.

She was born in the German city of Aachen, close to the Dutch border, on 16 January 1900. Aachen is only a 20 minutes journey from Maastricht in the Netherlands

She was the fourth child in a wealthy Jewish family. Her parents ran a family business, trading in scrap metal, machinery and parts, boilers, other appliances, and semi-finished products.

Her father, Abraham Holländer (1860–1928) was a successful businessman in who was prominent in the Aachen Jewish community together with Edith’s mother, Rosa Stern (1866–1942). The ancestors of the Holländer family lived in Amsterdam at the start of the 18th century, emigrating from the Netherlands to Germany around 1800. Edith’s maiden name, Holländer, is German for “Dutchman”

I wonder how excited Edith’s parents must have been in the dying days of the 19th century. Were they hoping that Edith would be born 16 days early, so that Edith would have been the 1st child born in the 20th century?

Edith had three siblings: Walter, Julius, and Bettina. Edith had a carefree childhood until her older sister Bettina died. The cause of her death is unknown. At only fourteen, Edith was harshly confronted with death. She still managed to get on with her life: she finished high school and worked in the family business for a few years.

In 1924, Edith met Otto Frank and they were married on May 12, 1925 in Aachen’s synagogue. Their first daughter, Margot, was born in 1926 whereas their second daughter, Anne, was born in 1929.

Anne has not much sympathy for her mother during their tumultuous years in the annex, and she only has a few kinds words to say about her, particularly in the earlier entries. Anne feels that her mother is cold, critical, and uncaring, that they have very little in common, and that her mother does not know how to show love to her children. I don’t think that Anne realised the anxiety her mother must have had trying to keep her family safe. Then again what teenage girl gets along with her mother?

However in Anne’s later entries of her diary, she tried attempts to look at her mother’s life as a wife and mother in a more objective manner. As Anne gets older and gains a clearer perspective, she begins to regret her quick, petty judgments of her mother. Anne has more sympathetic feelings for her mother.

According to Otto, Edith suffered more from their arguments than Anne did. ‘Of course, I was worried about my wife and Anne not having a good relationship. However, she truly was an excellent mother, who put her children above all else. She often complained that Anne would oppose everything she did, but she was comforted to know that Anne trusted in me.’

Edith Frank died on 6 January 1945, three weeks before the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, and 10 days before her 45th birthday. The cause of death was malnutrition ,basically murdered by starvation.

It gives me comfort to believe that Edith is now celebrating her birthday with her family in heaven. And if the stars sparkle more brightly tonight I will know she had a good birthday. Happy birthday Edith Frank.

sources

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/19185863/edith-frank

https://www.annefrank.org/en/anne-frank/main-characters/edith-frank/

https://www.sparknotes.com/lit/annefrank/character/edith-frank/

The murder of 10 women in Camp Vught.

Concentration camp Vught, also known as concentration camp Herzogenbusch , was the only purpose built concentration camp in the Netherland. The other 2 major camps, Westerbork and Amersfoort, were already built before the war as a refugee center and army barracks.

The construction of Camp Vught began in May 1942. The camp consisted of 36 living and 23 working barracks. It was surrounded by a double barbed-wire fence with watchtowers were placed roughly every 160 feet around the perimeter. The SS lived outside the camp. situated outside the camp.

On the night of 15th/ 16th January 1944 , 74 female prisoners were detained in a cell after they protested against the interment of a fellow prisoner. This was done under the authority of camp commander Adam Grünewald

The room with the surface of 9 m² had a poor ventilation system, and because of that ten women died of suffocation during the 14 hours of imprisonment. The news of this crime quickly got outside the camp and was extensively reported by the Dutch illegal press. This caused a problem to the Nazi leadership in the Netherlands, who were trying to limit such violent incidents in the camp in order not to fuel the resistance in the Netherlands.

Electronics company Philips had a factory within the compound of the camp. It employed about 1200 people, who received a better treatment then other prisoners.

Adam Grünewald was subsequently arrested for the “bunker tragedy” and tried by an SS court in February which gave him credit for his years of service and his contention that he “didn’t wish for the death of ten women.” He was convicted for their death but sentenced to only three and a half years imprisonment.

On several sites this is referred to as the “bunker tragedy” . I don’t see it as a tragedy, to me this was cold blooded murder. They only redeeming factor is that only 10 women died.

sources

https://www.britannica.com/place/Vught

https://www.tracesofwar.com/articles/5192/Bunker-tragedy-at-concentration-camp-Vught.htm

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/vught-concentration-camp

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/adam-grunewald

http://www.philips-kommando.nl/index_grijs.html#

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/herzogenbusch-main-camp-vught#:~:text=Consequently%2C%2074%20women%20were%20collectively,and%20a%20half%20years’%20imprisonment.

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747

History of Sorts

This one is for the plane spotters among you. On January 22, 1970 ,the Boeing 747, the world’s first “jumbo jet”, enters commercial service for launch customer Pan American Airways with its maiden voyage from John F. Kennedy International Airport to London Heathrow Airport.

These are just some images of the Boeing 747 or Jumbo Jet.

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Kristallnacht

History of Sorts

Over the last few days I have heard the riots in Washington DC and the storming of the Capitol being compared to Kristallnacht. Although I can understand the emotions and sentiment behind that comparison and reasoning, it is a totally incorrect assessment of the situation, in fact I would go as far as to say it is actually disturbing because it shows the lack of historical knowledge by some people who should know better. I can understand why someone like Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to put a historical context to it, but in this case that does more damage then good

What happend on January 6th 2021 was an organized group of thugs surrounded by clueless nitwits. They were there to disrupt political proceedings and were encouraged by POTUS Donald J. Trump and some of his cronies and perhaps the mob also had murder in mind. However it did not compare…

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Happy Birthday Jim Croce

There is not that many people I call hero, and recently some of the few musician I did see as heroes have disappointed me with some of their political views.

However when it comes to Jim Croce I can safely say he is one of my musical heroes.

He was born January 10, 1943,in South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to James Albert Croce and Flora Mary (Babusci) Croce Italian Americans from Trasacco and Balsorano in Abruzzo and Palermo in Sicily.[

Jim Croce started playing the accordion at age 5, and by his 20s, was touring in multiple folk bands. He released five studio albums and 11 singles. “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” and “Time in a Bottle” were both No. 1 hits on the American charts.

On September 20, 1973, Croce, his musical pal Maury Muehleisen and four others were killed in a plane crash in Natchitoches, Louisiana. Croce had just finished a concert at Northwestern State University’s Prather Coliseum. He was then taking a chartered Beechcraft E18S flight to Sherman, Texas, to play a concert at Austin College. Upon takeoff, the plane did not gain enough altitude and crashed into a pecan tree at the end of the runway. According to the official report, the 57-year-old charter pilot had suffered a heart attack..

These are just some of my favourite Jim Croce songs

source

https://www.biography.com/musician/jim-croce

Who is an immigrant? I am one.

The buzzword nowadays is “immigrants” and in hardly any context it is used in a positive way. Here is the thing though, who is an immigrant?

This is just a micro snapshot in history. It is basically a background of my family well at least from my Mother’s side.

The picture at the start of the blog is a picture of the marriage certificate of my maternal grandparents. They got married on December 28,1915.

The groom Durk Jager, the bride Tetje Hoekstra. They lived and were married in a small village in Friesland, in the Northwest of the Netherlands. The village Harkema-opeinde was part of the wider municipality of Achtkarspelen.

It was a rural place and there was not much work to be got. In Limburg, in the Southeast of the Netherlands, there was plenty  of work though. This was because of the ‘black gold’, coal . In the early part of the 20th century. Between 1906 and 1926 coal mines were opened in the most southern province bringing with it job opportunities, not just only in the coal industry but also in the wider economy.

The biggest and the last one to be opened was States mine Maurits in Geleen, which opened in 1926.

That was the call for my grand parents to pack up things and uproot the family for a journey southward to Geleen. Even though the Netherlands is just a small country, in the 1920s a journey like that was the equivalent of emigrating to the US or Canada nowadays.

I used the term emigrating because that is what they were doing. The place they were going to was alien to them. Coming from Friesland they had their own language, a different culture and also a different religion, Friesland being a predominantly Protestant province where Limburg was a predominantly Catholic province. Even the landscape was different.

The new immigrants arrived in Limburg and had to adapt to a new way of life.My Grandparents weren’t the only ones to leave Friesland, because of the lack of work in Friesland a great number of Frisians chanced their luck in the hilly area of the Southern part of Limburg.

I am an immigrant too, because I left that same hilly area of southern Limburg for the emerald isle, Ireland. I emigrated because of my wife, who had emigrated from Ireland to the Netherlands 6 years prior.

In 1997 we decided to move to Limerick in Ireland.

So many people have immigrated over the centuries, when you go back far enough in history you will discover that most of us come from an immigrant background.

So next time someone talks in a disparaging manner about immigrants , just remember they maybe talking about you or your family.

(originally posted on January 15, 2019. Reposted with minor amendments January 10,2022)

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know 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 To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Jacob de Mesquita

I look at the picture of Jacob de Mesquita and I ask myself “How was this possible?”

How was it possible that this baby was selected to be send to the gas chambers?

Was there not one person among the Auschwitz staff members who thought that this was wrong?

Was there no one who saw his angelic face and got a warm feeling inside?

I remember a scene in Schindler’s List where one of the SS Guards, rubs the head of a toddler as he is being carried into the Gas chamber. Did someone do that to Jacob and thought “What are we doing?”

Jacob de Mesquita was born on January 9, 1942. He was murdered 9 months later on October 15,1942, the same day as his mother Femmetje de Mesquita-Leijden van Amstel was murdered.

When I look at Femmetje , I think “was there no one who saw her beauty?”

Was there no one who thought that murdering a young woman in her prime was wrong?

Wasn’t there even any one who would consider her for sexual gratification? I know that still would be wrong but it would have been better then being gassed.

I just don’t get it how anyone could consider the destruction of innocence and beauty as the correct course of action.

Femmetje de Mesquita-Leijden van Amstel was 22 when she was murdered.

Isaac de Mesquita was the husband of Femmeke and the Father of Jacob, Isaac was murdered February 28,1943 in Auschwitz.

All 3 were born in Amsterdam , all 3 murdered in Auschwitz.

source

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/188096/jacob-de-mesquita

When the children cry

History of Sorts

The current crisis and tragedy in Afghanistan is heart wrenching. What makes it worse is that it is not unique. Throughout history there have been wars and often worse aftermaths of war.

Another thing that is also not unique is the fact that it is the children who are always the hardest. There is a line in the Elvis song “Don’t cry daddy” which describes it best. “Why are children always first. To feel the pain and the hurt the worst?”

There is no better song though, to describe the failure of mankind to protect their children, the “When the children Cry” by White Lion. Below is the text and the song itself.

“Little child dry your crying eyes
How can I explain the fear you feel inside
‘Cause you were born into this evil world

Where man is killing man and no one knows just why
What have we…

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