Forgotten History-Alfred Rosenberg

Although this probably isn’t forgotten by historians and WWII aficionados, I think that at large it is forgotten by most others and especially the younger generations.

Although his name would indicate a Jewish origin it was never proven he was from Jewish descend.

Alfred Ernst Rosenberg ( 12 January 1893 – 16 October 1946) was a Baltic German theorist and an influential ideologue of the Nazi Party. Rosenberg was first introduced to Adolf Hitler by  Dietrich Eckart.

Dietrich_Eckart_by_Karl_Bauer

He later held several important posts in the Nazi government. He is considered one of the main authors of key National Socialist ideological creeds, including its racial theory, persecution of the Jews, Lebensraum, abrogation of the Treaty of Versailles, and opposition to degenerate modern art. He is known for his rejection of and hatred for Christianity,having played an important role in the development of German Nationalist Positive Christianity.At Nuremberg he was sentenced to death and executed by hanging for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Born in Reval, Russia (today, Tallinn, Estonia), to an Estonian mother and Baltic German father, Rosenberg studied architecture in Riga and Moscow before fleeing revolution-torn Russia in 1918 for Germany. Already a committed anti-Bolshevik and anti-Semite, he became heavily involved in the post-World War I ultra-nationalist scene in Munich. In early 1919 he became an early member of the Nazi Party’s predecessor organization, the German Workers’ Party (Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, or DAP). Gaining renown as the author of antisemitic tracts, he quickly made the acquaintance of Dietrich Eckart, one of the early, influential promoters of Adolf Hitler. In an article published in Eckart’s own journal, Auf gut Deutsch (In Plain German), Rosenberg made clear a key component of his ideology: the equation of Jews with Bolshevism and communist revolution (“Judeo-Bolshevism”). At Eckart’s encouragement, Rosenberg joined the fledgling Nazi Party and began writing for its flagship newspaper, Völkischer Beobachter. He became the newspaper’s senior editor in 1923.

BEOBACHTER

Antisemitic diatribes featured prominently in Rosenberg’s writings. His efforts helped spread The Protocols of the Elders of Zion in Germany and denounce the Weimar Republic as an aberration born from defeat and manipulated by “Jewish traitors.”

On November 9, 1923, Rosenberg participated in the Munich Beer Hall Putsch, which resulted in Hitler’s arrest.

 

Tasked by Hitler as interim leader of the Nazi Party, Rosenberg struggled to prevent the Nazi movement’s disintegration. After Hitler’s release, Rosenberg returned to journalism and began his chief work, The Myth of the Twentieth Century (Der Mythus des 20. Jahrhunderts), published in 1930.

Though neither officially translated into another language nor endorsed by Hitler as the authoritative expression of Nazi ideology, the book sold approximately one million copies by the late war years and boosted Rosenberg’s standing as Party ideologue

As the Nazi Party’s chief racial theorist, Rosenberg oversaw the construction of a human racial “ladder” that justified Hitler’s racial and ethnic policies. Rosenberg built on the works of Arthur de Gobineau, Houston Stewart Chamberlain and Madison Grant, as well as on the beliefs of Hitler. He placed Blacks and Jews at the very bottom of the ladder, while at the very top stood the white “Aryan” race. Rosenberg promoted the Nordic theory which regarded Nordics as the “master race”,superior to all others, including to other Aryans (Indo-Europeans).

Rosenberg reshaped Nazi racial policy over the years, but it always consisted of Aryan supremacy, extreme German nationalism and rabid antisemitism. Rosenberg also outspokenly opposed homosexuality – notably in his pamphlet “Der Sumpf” (“The Swamp”, 1927) – he viewed homosexuality (particularly lesbianism) as a hindrance to the expansion of the Nordic population.

sumpf

Rosenberg’s attitude towards Slavs was flexible and depended on the particular nation involved. As a result of the ideology of “Drang nach Osten” Rosenberg saw his mission as the conquest and colonization of the Slavic East In Der Mythus des 20. Jahrhunderts Rosenberg describes Russian Slavs as being overwhelmed by bolshevism. Regarding Ukrainians, he favoured setting up a buffer state to ease pressure on the German eastern frontier, while agreeing with the notion of the exploitation of Russia for the benefit of Germany

Rosenberg argued for a new “religion of the blood”, based on the supposed innate promptings of the Nordic soul to defend its noble character against racial and cultural degeneration. He believed that this had been embodied in early Indo-European religions, notably ancient European (Celtic, Germanic, Greek, Roman) paganism, Zoroastrianism, and Vedic Hinduism.

He rejected Christianity for its universality, for its doctrine of original sin (at least for Germans whom he declared on one occasion were born noble), and for its teachings on the immortality of the soul.Indeed, absorbing Christianity enfeebled a people.[Publicly, Rosenberg affected to deplore Christianity’s degeneration owing to Jewish influence.Following Chamberlain’s ideas, he condemned what he called “negative Christianity” (the orthodox beliefs of Protestant and Catholic churches), arguing instead for a so-called “positive” Christianity based on Chamberlain’s claim that Jesus was a member of an Indo-European, Nordic enclave resident in ancient Galilee who struggled against Judaism.Significantly, in his work explicating the Nazi intellectual belief system, The Myth of the Twentieth Century, Rosenberg cryptically alludes to and lauds the anti-Judaic arch-heretic Marcion and the Manichaean-inspired, “Aryo-Iranian” Cathari, as being the more authentic interpreters of Christianity versus historically dominant Judaeo-Christianity; moreover these ancient, externally Christian metaphysical forms were more “organically compatible with the Nordic sense of the spiritual and the Nordic ‘blood-soul’.” For Rosenberg, the anti-intellectual intellectual, religious doctrine was inseparable,from serving the interests of the Nordic race, connecting the individual to his racial nature. Rosenberg stated that “The general ideas of the Roman and of the Protestant churches are negative Christianity and do not, therefore, accord with our (German) soul.” His support for Luther as a great German figure was always ambivalent.

In January 1934 Hitler had appointed Rosenberg as the cultural and educational leader of the Reich. The Sanctum Officium in Rome recommended that Rosenberg’s Myth of the Twentieth Century be put on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum (list of books forbidden by the Catholic Church) for scorning and rejecting “all dogmas of the Catholic Church, indeed the very fundamentals of the Christian religion” During World War II Rosenberg outlined the future envisioned by the Hitler government for religion in Germany, with a thirty-point program for the future of the German churches. Among its articles:

  • the National Reich Church of Germany would claim exclusive control over all churches
  • publication of the Bible would cease
  • crucifixes, Bibles and saints were to be removed from altars
  • Mein Kampf would be placed on altars as “to the German nation and therefore to God the most sacred book”
  • the Christian Cross would be removed from all churches and replaced with the swastika.

Swastika

Compared to other members of the Nazi elite like Hermann Göring, Joachim von Ribbentrop, or Joseph Goebbels, Rosenberg before the war lacked the executive authority that came with a cabinet portfolio. His burning ambition for higher office was undermined by his frequent squabbles with competitors, his inability to forge alliances, and his reputation as an inept administrator. A stepping-stone towards greater political power came in 1938 when Hitler approved Rosenberg’s idea for a new, fully Nazified university system (Hohe Schule) that would ground the Party’s and the nation’s future elite in racist ideology.

In 1940 Rosenberg was made head of the Hohe Schule (literally “high school”, but the German phrase refers to a college), the Centre of National Socialist Ideological and Educational Research, out of which the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg developed for the purpose of looting art and cultural goods.

ERR_Seal

The ERR were especially active in Paris in looting art stolen from famous Jewish families such as the Rothschilds and that of Paul Rosenberg. Hermann Goering used the ERR to collect art for his own personal gratification. He created a “Special Task Force for Music” (Sonderstab Musik) to collect the best musical instruments and scores for use in a university to be built in Hitler’s home town of Linz, Austria. The orders given theSonderstab Musik were to loot all forms of Jewish property in Germany and of those found in any country taken over by the German army and any musical instruments or scores were to be immediately shipped to Berin.

 

Following the invasion of the USSR, Rosenberg was appointed head of the Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories (Reichsministerium für die besetzten Ostgebiete).

ab 1942 Amtssitz des Ministers für die besetzten Ostgebiete Alfred Rosenberg, später Umbau zum Gästehaus der Reichsregierung
ab 1942 Amtssitz des Ministers für die besetzten Ostgebiete Alfred Rosenberg, später Umbau zum Gästehaus der Reichsregierung

Alfred Meyer served as his deputy and represented him at the Wannsee Conference.

Another official of the Ministry, Georg Leibbrandt, also attended the conference, at Rosenberg’s request.

Rosenberg had presented Hitler with his plan for the organization of the conquered Eastern territories, suggesting the establishment of new administrative districts, to replace the previously Soviet-controlled territories with new Reichskommissariats.

These would be:

  • Ostland (Baltic countries and Belarus),
  • Ukraine (Ukraine and nearest territories),
  • Kaukasus (Caucasus area),
  • Moskau (Moscow metropolitan area and the rest of nearest Russian European areas)

Although Rosenberg regarded all the Soviet peoples as subhumans for their communist beliefs,such suggestions were intended to encourage certain non-Russian nationalism and to promote German interests for the benefit of future Aryan generations, in accord with geopolitical “Lebensraum im Osten” plans. They would provide a buffer against Soviet expansion in preparation for the total eradication of Communism and Bolshevism by decisive pre-emptive military action.

Following these plans, when Wehrmacht forces invaded Soviet-controlled territory, they immediately implemented the first of the proposed Reichskommissariats of Ostland and Ukraine, under the leadership of Hinrich Lohse and Erich Koch, respectively. The organization of these administrative territories led to conflict between Rosenberg and the SS over the treatment of Slavs under German occupation. As Nazi Germany’s chief racial theorist, Rosenberg considered Slavs, though lesser than Germans, to be Aryan. Rosenberg often complained to Hitler and Himmler about the treatment of non-Jewish occupied peoples.He proposed creation of buffer satellite states made out of Greater Finland, Baltica, Ukraine, Caucasus

In a 1941 conference speaking about the Jewish Question, he said:

Some six million Jews still live in the East, and this question can only be solved by a biological extermination of the whole of Jewry in Europe. The Jewish Question will only be solved for Germany when the last Jew has left German territory, and for Europe when not a single Jew stands on the European continent as far as the Urals… And to this end it is necessary to force them beyond the Urals or otherwise bring about their eradication.

He made no complaints about the murders of Jews. At the Nuremberg Trials he claimed to be ignorant of the Holocaust, despite the fact that Leibbrandt and Meyer were present at the Wannsee conference.

schedule

Since the invasion of the Soviet Union intended to impose the New Order, it was essentially a war of conquest. German propaganda efforts designed to win over Russian opinion were, at best, patchy and inconsistent. Alfred Rosenberg was one of the few in the Nazi hierarchy who advocated a policy designed to encourage anti-Communist opinion among the population of the occupied territories. His interest here was mainly in the non-Russian areas such as the Ukraine and the Baltic States; however, supporters of the Russian Liberation Army were somewhat able to win him over.

Amongst other things, Rosenberg issued a series of posters announcing the end of the Soviet collective farms (kolkhoz). He also issued an Agrarian Law in February 1942, annulling all Soviet legislation on farming, restoring family farms for those willing to collaborate with the occupiers. But de-collectivisation conflicted with the wider demands of wartime food production, and Hermann Göring demanded that the collective farms be retained, save for a change of name. Hitler himself denounced the redistribution of land as “stupid”.

There were numerous German armed forces posters asking for assistance in the Bandenkrieg, the war against the Soviet partisans, though, once again, German policy had the effect of adding to their problems. Posters for “volunteer” labour, with inscriptions like “Come work with us to shorten the war”, hid the appalling realities faced by Russian workers in Germany. Many people joined the partisans rather than risk being sent to an unknown fate in the west.

Another of Rosenberg’s initiatives, the “Free Caucasus” campaign, was rather more successful, attracting various nationalities into the so-called Eastern Legion (Ostlegionen), though in the end this made little difference in the outcome of the war on the Eastern Front.

Rosenberg was arrested at the end of the war. Rosenberg was captured by Allied troops at the end of the war in Flensburg-Mürwik. He was tried at the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal, and found guilty on all four counts of the indictment for conspiracy to commit aggressive warfare, crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.

The final judgment against him named him one of the principal planners of the invasions of Norway and the Soviet Union. It also held him directly responsible for the systematic plunder of the occupied countries of Europe, as well as the brutal conditions in Eastern Europe.[During his trial he wrote his memoirs, which were published posthumously and with analytical commentary by Serge Lang and Ernst von Schenck.

He was sentenced to death and executed with other condemned co-defendants at Nuremberg on the morning of 16 October 1946. His body, as those of the other nine executed men and the corpse of Hermann Göring, was cremated at Ostfriedhof (Munich) and the ashes were scattered in the river Isar.

Throughout the trial, it was agreed that Rosenberg had a decisive role in shaping Nazi philosophy and ideology. Examples include: his book, Myth of the Twentieth Century, which was published in 1930, where he incited hatred against “Liberal Imperialism” and “Bolshevik Marxism”; furthering the influence of the “Lebensraum” idea in Germany during the war; facilitating the persecution of Christian churches and the Jews in particular; and opposition to the Versailles Treaty.

According to Joseph Kingsbury-Smith, who covered the executions for the International News Service, Rosenberg was the only condemned man who, when asked at the gallows if he had any last statement to make, replied with only one word: “No”

 

 

Hitler was a leader oriented towards practical politics, whereas, for Rosenberg, religion and philosophy were key and culturally he was the most influential within the party.Several accounts of the time before the Nazi ascension to power, indeed, speak of Hitler as being a mouthpiece for Rosenberg’s views, and he clearly exerted a great deal of intellectual influence.

Rosenberg’s influence in the Nazi Party is controversial. He was perceived as lacking the charisma and political skills of the other Nazi leaders, and was somewhat isolated. In some of his speeches Hitler appeared to be close to Rosenberg’s views: rejecting traditional Christianity as a religion based on Jewish culture, preferring an ethnically and culturally pure “Race” whose destiny was supposed to be assigned to the German people by “Providence”. In others, he adhered to the Nazi Party line, which advocated a “positive Christianity”.

After Hitler’s assumption of power he moved to reassure the Protestant and Catholic churches that the party was not intending to re-institute Germanic paganism. He placed himself in the position of being the man to save Positive Christianity from utter destruction at the hands of the atheistic anti-theist Communists of the Soviet Union.This was especially true immediately before and after the elections of 1932; Hitler wanted to appear non-threatening to major Christian faiths and consolidate his power. Further, Hitler felt that Catholic-Protestant infighting had been a major factor in weakening the German state and allowing its dominance by foreign powers.

Some Nazi leaders, such as Martin Bormann, were anti-Christian and sympathetic to Rosenberg.Once in power, Hitler and most Nazi leaders sought to unify the Christian denominations in favor of “positive Christianity”. Hitler privately condemned mystical and pseudo-religious interests as “nonsense”. However, he and Goebbels agreed that after the Endsieg (Final Victory) the Reich Church should be pressed into evolving into a German social evolutionist organisation proclaiming the cult of race, blood and battle, instead of Redemption and the Ten Commandments of Moses, which they deemed outdated and Jewish.

Heinrich Himmler’s views were among the closest to Rosenberg’s, and their estrangement was perhaps created by Himmler’s abilities to put into action what Rosenberg had only written. Also, while Rosenberg thought Christianity should be allowed to die out, Himmler actively set out to create countering pagan rituals.

Rosenberg was married twice: to Hilda Leesmann, an ethnic Estonian, in 1915 (divorced in 1923), and to Hedwig Kramer in 1925,with whom he was married until his execution. He and Kramer had two children: a son who died in infancy and a daughter, Irene, who was born in 1930.His daughter has refused contact with anyone seeking information about her father.

The question remains was he influenced by Hitler or did he influence Hitler?

 

Eighties Music-Censorship

History of Sorts

The word Censorship is perhaps a bit misleading since it was really a failed attempt to Censorship because it actually achieved the opposite effect.

This whole idea came from  the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) which was headed by no other then the wife of former vice President Al Gore,Tipper Gore(no that is really her name).

Tipper Gore Tipper Gore, left, wife of Sen. Albert Gore Jr., D-Tenn., testifies before the Senate Commerce Committee as Susan Baker, wife of Treasury Secretary James Baker III awaits her turn on Sept. 19, 1985 in Washington. The committee was holding hearings on record labeling. (AP Photo/Lana Harris)

The Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) was an American committee formed in 1985 with the stated goal of increasing parental control over the access of children to music deemed to be violent, have drug use or be sexual via labeling albums with Parental Advisory stickers…

View original post 1,505 more words

Oskar Gröning -Bookkeeper of Auschwitz

This week marks the 1st anniversary of the trial against Oskar Gröning- the ‘Bookkeeper’ of Auschwitz. So it’s a good opportunity to look back at his life and his trial.

2015-04-29_oskargroening

More than 70 years have passed since the liberation of the death camps and many of those involved have now died.

So the trial of Oskar Groening was one of the last of its kind.

Mr Groening, known as the “book-keeper of Auschwitz”, was allegedly responsible for counting banknotes confiscated from prisoners.

Prosecutors in Lueneburg, northern Germany, also allege that he hid victims’ luggage away from new arrivals, to disguise the victims’ fate.

Oskar Gröning (born 10 June 1921) is a German former SS junior squad leader who was stationed at Auschwitz concentration camp.

120px-SS-Unterscharführer.svg

His responsibilities included counting and sorting the money taken from prisoners, and he was in charge of the personal property prisoners had arrived with.

On a few occasions he witnessed the procedures of mass-killing in the camp.

killings

After being transferred from Auschwitz to a combat unit in October 1944, Gröning was captured by the British on 10 June 1945 when his unit surrendered. He was eventually transferred to Britain as a prisoner of war and worked as a forced labourer.

Gröning wanted to join an elite army unit and set his sights on joining the Waffen-SS.Without his father’s knowledge, he did so in 1940 at a hotel where the SS was recruiting. Gröning says his father was disappointed to learn this when he came home after having joined.

His father, a proud nationalist, joined the Stahlhelm paramilitary group after Germany’s defeat in World War One. His anger at how Germany had been treated under the Treaty of Versailles increased when his textile business went bankrupt in 1929.

Gröning describes himself as a “desk person” and was content with his role in SS salary administration, which granted him both the administrative and military aspects he wanted from a career.

Gröning worked as a bookkeeper for a year until 1942, when the SS ordered that desk jobs would be reserved for injured veterans, and that fit members in administrative roles were to be subjected to more challenging duties.Gröning and about 22 of his colleagues travelled to Berlin where they reported to one of the SS economic offices.:They were then given a lecture by several high-ranking officers who reminded them of the oath of loyalty they took, which they could prove by doing a difficult task.The task was top secret – Gröning and his comrades had to sign a declaration that they would not disclose it to family or friends, or people not in their unit. Once this had concluded, they were split into smaller groups and taken to various Berlin stations where they boarded a train in the direction of Katowice with orders to report to the commandant of Auschwitz, a place Gröning had not heard of before.

220px-SS-Sturmbannführer_Rudolf_Höß

Upon arrival at the main camp, they were given provisional bunks in the SS barracks, warmly greeted by fellow SS men and provided with food.Gröning was surprised at the myriad food items available in addition to basic SS rations. The new arrivals were curious about what function Auschwitz served. They were told that they should find out for themselves because Auschwitz was a special kind of concentration camp. Immediately someone opened the door and shouted “Transport!”, causing three or four people to leave the room.

The next day, Gröning and the other arrivals reported to the central SS administrative building and were asked about their background before the war.One of the officers said Gröning’s bank clerk skills would be useful, and took him to barracks where the prisoners’ money was kept.Gröning was told that when prisoners were registered into the camp, their money was stored here and later returned to them when they left.

It became clear that Auschwitz was not a normal internment camp with above average SS rations, but that it served an additional function. Gröning was informed that money taken from interned Jews was not actually returned to them. When he inquired further, his colleagues confirmed that the Jews were being systematically exterminated and that this had included the transport of prisoners who had arrived the previous night.

Gröning’s responsibilities included sorting and counting the multitude of currencies taken from arriving deportees, sending it to Berlin, and guarding the belongings of arrivals until they were sorted He said he was astonished to learn of the extermination process,but later accepted his part in it, stating that his work became “routine” after several months.

His bureaucratic job did not shield him completely from physical acts of the extermination process: as early as his first day, Gröning saw children hidden on the train and people unable to walk that had remained among the rubbish and debris after the selection process had been completed, being shot Gröning also heard:

…a baby crying. The child was lying on the ramp, wrapped in rags. A mother had left it behind, perhaps because she knew that women with infants were sent to the gas chambers immediately. I saw another SS soldier grab the baby by the legs. The crying had bothered him. He smashed the baby’s head against the iron side of a truck until it was silent.

After witnessing this, Gröning claims he went to his boss and told him that he could not work at Auschwitz any more, stating that if the extermination of the Jews is necessary, “then at least it should be done within a certain framework”.Gröning claims that his superior officer denied this request, forcing him to continue his work.

One night towards the end of 1942, Gröning and his comrades in their SS barracks on the outskirts of Birkenau were awakened by an alarm.They were told that a number of Jews who were being taken to the gas chambers had escaped and hidden in the woods. They were ordered to take pistols and search the woods.When his group arrived at the extermination area of the camp they saw a farmhouse, in front of which were SS men and the bodies of seven or eight prisoners who had been caught and shot. The SS men told Gröning and his comrades that they could go home but they decided to hang around in the shadows of the woods.

They watched as an SS man put on a gas mask and emptied a tin of Zyklon B into a hatch in the cottage wall.

Gröning said the humming noise from inside “turned to screaming” for a minute, then to silence.A comrade later showed him the bodies being burnt in a pit. A Kapo there told him details of the burning, such as how gases developed in the body and made the burning corpses move.

Gröning claims that this disrupted the relative tranquility his job gave him and he claims he yet again complained to his superior.His boss, an SS-Untersturmführer, listened but reminded him of the pledge that he and his comrades made. Gröning thus returned to work. He has declared that he manipulated his life at Auschwitz so as to avoid witnessing the camp’s most unpalatable aspects.

Gröning’s application to transfer to a unit on the front-line was successful, and in 1944 he joined an SS unit fighting in the Ardennes.He was wounded and sent to a field hospital before rejoining his unit, which eventually surrendered to the British on 10 June 1945, on his birthday

He realised that declaring “involvement in the concentration camp of Auschwitz would have a negative response”, and so tried not to draw attention to it, putting on the form given to him by the British that he worked for the SS-Wirtschafts-Verwaltungshauptamt (SS Main Economic and Administrative Office)instead.

He did this because “the victor’s always right”, and that things happened at Auschwitz which “did not always comply with human rights”.

Gröning and the rest of his SS colleagues were imprisoned in an old Nazi concentration camp.He was later sent to Britain as a forced labourer in 1946 where he had a “very comfortable life”. He ate good food and earned money, and travelled through the Midlands and Scotland giving concerts for four months, singing German hymns and traditional English folk songs to appreciative British audiences.

Gröning was released and returned to Germany in 1947 or 1948.

But when the war was over – and he was released from a British prison – he did not speak of his role at Auschwitz. Upon return to Germany, Gröning lived with his father-in-law.[At the dinner table, they once made “a silly remark about Auschwitz”, implying that he was a “potential or real murderer,” which Gröning said enraged him, banging his fist on the table, demanding: “This word and this connection are never, ever, to be mentioned again in my presence, otherwise I’ll move out!”Gröning said that this request was respected.

Instead he began a normal, middle-class life in Lueneburg Heath in Lower Saxony, where he worked at a glass-making factory until retirement.

It was not until he heard people denying the Holocaust had ever happened, decades later, that he suddenly felt the need to speak up.

“I saw the gas chambers. I saw the crematoria,” he told the BBC in the 2005 documentary Auschwitz: the Nazis and the “Final Solution”

“I was on the ramp when the selections [for the gas chambers] took place.”

He spoke of witnessing an SS soldier murdering a baby, and how the treatment of the prisoners had “horrified” him.

But he said that at the time he believed that killing Jews – including children – was the “right” thing to do.

childern

“We were convinced by our world view that we had been betrayed… and that there was a great conspiracy of the Jews against us.”

 However, Mr Groening says he did not take part directly in the killing, and described his role as “a small cog in the gears”.

“If you can describe that as guilt, then I am guilty, but not voluntarily. Legally speaking, I am innocent,” he told Der Spiegel in 2005.

In the book accompanying the BBC documentary, historian Laurence Rees describes the experience of listening to Mr Groening speak about his time at Auschwitz as a “strange experience”.

He says Mr Groening “shields himself” from taking full responsibility, by referring to the power of family beliefs and propaganda, but that he does not claim to have purely been following orders.

“He carried on working at Auschwitz not just because he was ordered to but because… he thought the extermination programme was right.

“It’s just that that ‘right’ then turns out not to be ‘right today.”

In September 2014, it was reported that Gröning had been charged by state prosecutors with having been an accessory to murder for his role at Auschwitz receiving and processing prisoners and their personal belongings. The indictment stated that Gröning economically advanced Nazi Germany and aided the systematic killing of 300,000 of the 425,000 Hungarian Jews who were deported to Auschwitz by 137 railway transports during the summer of 1944.

The trial commenced on 20 April 2015 at Lüneburg Regional Court (Landgericht). In an opening statement, Gröning asked for forgiveness for his mainly clerical role at Auschwitz in the summer of 1944, by saying: “For me there’s no question that I share moral guilt,” the 93-year-old told the judges, acknowledging that he knew about the gassing of Jews and other prisoners. “I ask for forgiveness. I share morally in the guilt but whether I am guilty under criminal law, you will have to decide”.

During the trial several of the 60 ‘co-claimants gave evidence.Eva Mozes Kor who was 10 years old when she arrived at Auschwitz, testified that she and her twin sister were used for the cruel medical experiments conducted by Josef Mengele

and that she had lost her parents and older sisters in Auschwitz. Kor conversed with and embraced the defendant after giving evidence,while other holocaust survivors in the courtroom protested against this gesture.Another witness, Max Eisen who was 15 years old at the time of entry into Auschwitz, described the brutality of the extermination part of the camp, including extracting gold teeth from dead victims. On 12 May 2015, Susan Pollack, an 84-year-old Briton, gave evidence how she was taken from Hungary to Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen; describing the living conditions encountered at Auschwitz, she said: “I was in a barrack with about 800 other girls … we were losing weight, we weren’t able to use our minds anymore”. On the same day, Ivor Perl, an 83-year-old Briton who was born in Hungary into a religious Jewish family, also gave evidence;Perl testified that he was 12 years old when he arrived at Auschwitz and that he and his brother lost his parents and seven siblings in the Holocaust In July, Irene Weiss, an 84-year-old survivor from the United States, testified that her family was torn apart on arrival at Auschwitz in May 1944, during the mass deportation of Hungarian Jews and that she had lost both her parents, four siblings and 13 cousins at Auschwitz.

On 15 July 2015 he was found guilty of being an accessory to the murder of at least 300,000 JewsReacting to the sentence, Auschwitz survivor Eva Mozes Kor said that she was “disappointed” adding: “They are trying to teach a lesson that if you commit such a crime, you will be punished. But I do not think the court has acted properly in sentencing him to four years in jail. It is too late for that kind of sentence… My preference would have been to sentence him to community service by speaking out against neo-Nazis. I would like the court to prove to me, a survivor, how four years in jail will benefit anybody.”

Although I do believe Oskar Gröning was guilty albeit by association and complicity, I do think Eva Mozes Kor makes a valid point. It would have been more beneficial to have sentenced him to community service by speaking out against neo -Nazis and go to schools and talk about his time and the crimes he was complicit in, in Auschwitz

What a wonderful woman she is though, I hope she will be an example to all of us.

 

 

Forgotten History War Criminal Pieter Menten

History of Sorts

This is not so much a Forgotten History but more a not often mentioned history, why I don’t know. Maybe because it is a bit awkward to talk about since it is a black page in my country’s history.

I had heard about this man when I was a kid living in the Netherlands. I remember his trials between 1977 and 1980, it did have an extensive media coverage at the time.To be honest at that time I thought there could only be German war criminals, my excuse I was  still in primary school at the time

Pieter Menten’s story spans a few decades and has connections to the Netherlands,Poland and Ireland.

Born into a wealthy Rotterdam family, Menten became interested in Poland through his father’s business connections. He soon developed an extensive export trade in Dutch products to Poland. Menten moved to East Galicia in 1923 (then in Poland…

View original post 824 more words

Hitler’s Sponsors.

henryFORD_hitlersINSPIRATION

Without a shadow of a doubt, Adolf Hitler was one of the most evil(if not the most evil) men in history. However I am not going to spend much time on him because I don’t think I will be able to add any historical value. However I will be mentioning a number of companies, some who are still household names, that supported Hitler and the Nazi regime  in any way, shape or form.

But before I go into that I will be asking a moral question and I hope you will indulge me by answering it.

This is a question which is often asked by psychologists

If you could travel in back to the time when Adolf Hitler was a baby, knowing what you know about him, would you kill him?

But now back to the sponsors of Hitler, again I try not to judge and stay factual as much as possible. However given the fact of the size of the companies and the respect they have nowadays it maybe difficult for me not to judge.

Nowadays a well respected fashion house. Not that many people know that it started off as a “Fascist” house. Hugo Boss was a member of the Nazi party and a sponsoring member of the SS. In fact his company  designed and manufactured  the uniforms, and Hugo Boss himself has a big part to play in this, and also used slave labour for his company.

IBM

IBM via its subsidiary Dehomag became the main provider of computing expertise and equipment in Nazi Germany. Dehomag gave the German government the means for two official censuses of the population after 1933 and for searching its data.

Dehomag leased and maintained the German government’s punched card machines. Dehomag general manager for Germany, Hermann Rottke, reported to Thomas J. Watson in New York.

200px-Thomas_J_Watson_Sr

IBM established a special subsidiary, Watson Business Machines, to deal with railway traffic in the General Government during the Holocaust in Poland. The German Transport Ministry used IBM machines under the New York-controlled subsidiary in Warsaw, not the German subsidiary. It was legal for IBM to conduct business with Germany directly until America entered the war in December 1941.

AGFA.BASF,BAYER and HOECHST were all part of IG Farben, The company that used slave labourers in their plants during WWII and was the company that manufactured Zyklon B.

Zyklon_B_labels

ford-billet-grille-emblem

Henry Ford was the most famous of Hitler’s foreign backers, and he was rewarded in the 1930s for this long-lasting support with the highest Nazi decoration for foreigners. It is reported that Henry Ford sent Hitler a cheque for $50,000 on his birthday until his last today 127 years ago. The picture below is of Henry Ford receiving the Grand Cross of the German Eagle from Nazi officials. 1938

Henry Ford receiving the Grand Cross of the German Eagle from Nazi officials. 1938

Ferdinand Porsche, the man behind Volkswagen and Porsche, met with Hitler in 1934, to discuss the creation of a “people’s car.” (That’s the English translation of Volkswagen.)

Hitler told Porsche to make the car with a streamlined shape, “like a beetle.” And that’s the genesis of the Volkswagen Beetle… it wasn’t just designed for the Nazis, Hitler NAMED it.

During World War Two, it’s believed that as many as four out of every five workers at Volkswagen’s plants were slave laborers. Ferdinand Porsche even had a direct connection to Heinrich Himmler, one of the leaders of the SS, to directly request slaves from Auschwitz.The company VW still tends to breach laws nowadays.

Vintage-Coca-Cola-ad-on-a-card--Stock-Photo-coke

Coca-Cola, specifically Fanta. Coke played both sides during World War Two… they supported the American troops but also kept making soda for the Nazis. Then, in 1941, the German branch of Coke ran out of syrup, and couldn’t get any from America because of wartime restrictions.

fanta er

So they invented a new drink, specifically for the Nazis: A fruit-flavored soda called Fanta.It became the official Nazi drink.

siemens

Siemens took slave laborers during the Holocaust and had them help construct the gas chambers that would kill them and their families. Good people over there.

Siemens also has the single biggest post-Holocaust moment of insensitivity of any of the companies on this list. In 2001, they tried to trademark the word “Zyklon” (which means “cyclone” in German) to become the name a new line of products… including a line of gas ovens. Siemens never learned their lesson, in 2008 they received a record fine from the US authorities in relation to a bribery scandal. The total cost came to about $2.5 Billion.

I highlighted these companies because their brands still enjoy a global appeal.

There were more companies who supported the Nazi regime, some who were forced to others who only did it for commercial interests.

It is sad to see that 7 decades after the war some companies still put the commercial interests ahead of humanity.

All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

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

$2.00

Charles Coward-The Count of Auschwitz

1-charles-coward

What’s in a name? My last name would indicate that I would be someone from a small stature, however with my 1.90 m (6ft23) I could not be considered small by any stretch of the imagination. The same can be said about Charles Coward one of WW2 biggest heroes despite his name.

Charles Coward, nicknamed the “Count of Auschwitz,” was held as a British POW but, since he had escaped so many other POW camps, he was sent to Auschwitz III, a POW camp near Auschwitz II in Birkenau.

Once, during an escape, he blended in with German wounded and was accidentally awarded the Iron Cross by Nazi officers.  In the Auschwitz POW camp, he met a British doctor who would visit the camp from the Jewish side.  One day he switched clothes with the doctor and spent a day in the Auschwitz death camp witnessing the horrors only a few meters away.

Coward joined the Army in June 1937 and was captured in May 1940 near Calais while serving with the 8th Reserve Regimental Royal Artillery as Quartermaster Battery Sergeant Major. He managed to make two escape attempts before even reaching a prisoner of war camp, then made seven further escapes; on one memorable occasion managing to be awarded the Iron Cross while posing as a wounded soldier in a German Army field hospital.

iron

When in captivity he was equally troublesome to his captors, organizing numerous acts of sabotage while out on work details.

Finally in December 1943, he was transferred to the Auschwitz III (Monowitz) labour camp (Arbeitslager), situated only five miles from the better-known extermination camp of Auschwitz II (Birkenau).

auschgate

Monowitz was under the directionof the industrial company IG Farben, who were building a Buna (synthetic rubber) and liquid fuel plant there.IG Farben also manufactured Zyklon B

It housed over 10,000 Jewish slave labourers, as well as POWs and forced labourers from all over occupied Europe. Coward and other British POWs were housed in sub-camp E715, administered by Stalag VIII-B.

Thanks to his command of the German language, Coward was appointed Red Cross liaison officer for the 1,200-1,400 British prisoners.

2000px-Flag_of_the_Red_Cross.svg

In this trusted role he was allowed to move fairly freely throughout the camp and often to surrounding towns.He witnessed the arrival of trainloads of Jews to the extermination camp. Coward and other British prisoners smuggled food and other items to the Jewish inmates. He also exchanged coded messages with the British authorities via letters to a fictitious Mr. William Orange (Code for the War Office), giving military information, notes on the conditions of POWs and the other prisoners in the camps, as well as dates and numbers of the arrival of trainloads of Jews.

On one occasion a note was smuggled to him from a Jewish-British ship’s doctor, who was being held in Monowitz. Coward determined to contact him directly; managed to swap clothes with an inmate on a work detail and spent the night in the Jewish camp, seeing at first hand the horrific conditions in which these were held. He failed to find the individual, later found to be Karel Sperber. This experience formed the basis of his subsequent testimony in post-war legal proceedings.

Determined to do something about it, Coward used Red Cross supplies, particularly chocolate, to “buy” from the SS guards corpses of dead prisoners, including Belgian and French civilian forced labourers. Coward then directed healthy Jewish prisoners to join the nightly marches of Jews considered unfit for further work from Monowitz to the Birkenau gas chambers.During the course of the march the healthy men dropped out of procession to hide in ditches; Coward scattered the corpses he had purchased on the road to give the impression that they were members of the column who had died on the march.He then gave the documents and clothes taken from the non-Jewish corpses to the Jewish escapees, who adopted these new identities and were then smuggled out of the camp altogether. Coward carried out this scheme on numerous occasions and is estimated to have saved at least 400 Jewish slave labourers, even though this wasn’t officially verified.

 

In December 1944 Coward was sent back to the main camp of Stalag VIII-B at Lamsdorf (now Łambinowice, Poland) and in January 1945, the POWs were marched under guard to Bavaria, where they were eventually liberated.

march

After the war, Coward testified at the Nuremberg war crimes trials, describing the conditions inside the Monowitz camp, the treatment of Allied POWs and Jewish prisoners, and the locations of the gas chambers.

800px-Nuremberg_Trials_retouched

In 1953, Coward also appeared as a witness in the “Wollheim Suit”, when former slave labourer Norbert Wollheim sued I.G. Farben for his salary and compensation for damages.

wolheim

In January 1955, he joined the Old Comrades No. 4077 of UGLE.

He was the subject of This Is Your Life in 1960 when he was surprised by Eamonn Andrews at the BBC Television Theatre.

In 1954 John Castle’s book, The Password is Courage, describing Coward’s wartime activities, was published. It has been through ten editions since, and remains in print. On the back cover of the current edition he is billed as “The Man who Broke into Auschwitz”, (which is also the title of Denis Avey’s book). This was adapted into a 1962 film also titled The Password Is Courage starring Dirk Bogarde. The film was lighthearted compared to the book and made only passing reference to Coward’s time at Auschwitz; it concentrated instead on his numerous escapes and added a fictitious romantic liaison.

Coward-bogarde

In 1963 Coward was named among the Righteous among the Nations and had a tree planted in his honour in the Avenue of Righteous Gentiles in Yad Vashem. In 2003 Coward was further commemorated with the mounting of a blue plaque at his home at 133 Chichester Road, Edmonton, London, where he lived from 1945 until his death. The North Middlesex Hospital has a ward named “Charles Coward” in his honour.

In 2010, Coward was posthumously named a British Hero of the Holocaust by the British Government.

medal-480x230

This move was seen as a reaction to comments made by Shimon Peres, the Israeli President, who commended Mr Coward’s actions in the House of Commons on 19 November 2008.

Shimon_Peres_by_David_Shankbone

His own father, Yitzak Persky, was also a prisoner of war who saved Jews from the gas chambers, and met Mr Coward, reportedly describing him as a “most impressive character”

En route, a New Zealand soldier died from hypothermia and starvation. “Coward took his dogtag and documentation off him and replaced my identity with his,” Persky reported. He used this identity for the rest of the war.

After Charles Cowards’s death there have been conflicting reports in relation to how many people has helped to escape.When Coward himself was questioned by Yad Vashem researchers in 1962 he offered few details about their identities or fates saying “It is not known exactly how many of these people regained their freedom, because some people went different ways and to different countries.” He added: “And naturally no records were kept of them because once they arrived in their new country, special papers were given to them and perhaps different names, etc.” The revisionist position is that Coward may have saved a few Jews, but certainly not hundreds, but does that make him less of a Hero? In my opinion it doesn’t.

 

 

Forgotten History-Khatyn Massacre

It is only by chance I came across this story whilst I was researching the Katyn Massacre in Poland, it was only one letter of a difference but both atrocities portrayed the human depravity.

https://dirkdeklein.wordpress.com/2016/04/13/katyn-forest-massacre-the-killing-of-polish-pows/

Khatyn or Chatyń (Belarusian and Russian: ) was a village of 26 houses and 156 inhabitants in Belarus, inLahoysk Raion, Minsk Region, 50 km away from Minsk. On 22 March 1943, the entire population of the village was massacred by the 118th Schutzmannschaft Nazi battalion. The battalion was formed in July 1942 in Kiev and was made up mostly of Ukrainian nationalist collaborators from Western Ukraine, Hiwis and the Dirlewanger Waffen-SS special battalion.

The massacre was not an unusual incident in Belarus during World War II. At least 5,295 Belarusian settlements were burned and destroyed by the Nazis, and often all their inhabitants were killed (some amounting up to 1,500 victims) as a punishment for collaboration with partisans. In the Vitebsk region, 243 villages were burned down twice, 83 villages three times, and 22 villages were burned down four or more times. In the Minsk region, 92 villages were burned down twice, 40 villages three times, nine villages four times, and six villages five or more times.Altogether, over 2,000,000 people were killed in Belarus during the three years of Nazi occupation, almost a quarter of the region’s population.

On 22 March 1943, a German convoy was attacked by Soviet partisans

Partisans_attack_village

near Koziri village just 6 km away from Khatyn, resulting in the deaths of four police officers of Schutzmannschaft Batallion 118, which consisted mostly of Ukrainian collaborators, and Red Army prisoner-of-war volunteers and deserters. Among the dead was Hauptmann Hans Woellke.

Hans_Woellke_1936

The battalion’s commanding officer.Woellke was an Olympic champion in Berlin in 1936 and an acquaintance of Adolf Hitler.

Troops from the Dirlewanger Brigade,a unit mostly composed of criminals recruited for anti-partisan duties, entered the village and drove the inhabitants from their houses and into a shed, which was then covered with straw and set on fire. The trapped people managed to break down the front doors, but in trying to escape, were killed by machine gun fire. 147 people, including 75 children under 16 years of age, were killed – burned, shot or suffocated in fire. The village was then looted and burned to the ground.

Only eight inhabitants of the village survived, from whom six were recognized as witnesses to the tragedy – five children and a single adult. By 2008, only two of them were still alive to tell the story

Twelve-year-old Anton Iosifovich Baranovsky , was left for dead due to wounds in both legs.His injuries were treated by partisans.

baranofski

Alexander Petrovich Zhelobkovich (1930–1994), who was 12 years old at the time, also survived. When the Nazi soldiers almost surrounded the village, his mother woke him up and put him on a horse, on which he escaped to a nearby village.

Vladimir Antonovich Yaskevich managed to survive by hiding in a potato pit 200 meters from his family house. Two Nazi soldiers noticed the boy, yet they spared him. Vladimir noted that they spoke German between themselves, not Ukrainian.

Sofia Antonovna Yaskevich,(later Fiokhina) Vladimir’s sister (born 1934) hid in the cellar during the tragedy.

Viktor Andreevich Zhelobkovich ,a seven-year-old boy, survived the fire in the shed under the corpse of his mother.

JELOB

The picture below is of Vladimir Antonovich Yaskevich;Sofia Antonovna Yaskevich and Viktor Andreevich Zhelobkovich as adults at the memorial complex.

3 of them

The only adult survivor of the massacre  was a man called Joseph Kaminski

kaminsjki

Although Joseph survived he had to suffer a hard blow, though. He found his injured son among the corpses of the fellow — villagers. The boy was fatally wounded in the abdomen and totally burnt. He died later in the arms of his father.

Two other Khatyn women survived because they were away from the village that day.

Tatyana Vasilyevna Karaban  was visiting relatives in a neighboring village.

Sofya Klimovich, a relative of Tatyana Karaban, was also visiting a nearby village.

Although the inhabitants of Khatyn were not aware of the events which had unfolded that morning it didn’t stop the Nazi’s to indiscriminately kill everyone in the village, even a 7 week old baby wasn’t spared.

If it hadn’t been for the 6 witnesses who survived no one would have ever found out what really happened.

The commander of one of the platoons of 118th Schutzmannschaft Battalion, Ukrainian Vasyl Meleshko, was tried in a Soviet court and executed in 1975. The chief of staff of 118th Schutzmannschaft Battalion, Ukrainian Grigory Vassiura, was tried in Minsk in 1986 and found guilty of all his crimes. He was sentenced to death by the verdict of the military tribunal of the Belorussian military district.

The case and the trial of the main executioner of Khatyn was not given much publicity in the media; the leaders of the Soviet republics worried about the inviolability of unity between the Belarusian and Ukrainian peoples.

Khatyn became a symbol of mass killings of the civilian population during the fighting between partisans, German troops, and collaborators. In 1969, it was named the national war memorial of the Belarussian SSR. Among the best-recognized symbols of the memorial complex is a monument with three birch trees, with an eternal flame instead of a fourth tree, a tribute to the one in every four Belarusians who died in the war.There is also a statue of Joseph Kaminsky carrying his dying son

joseph

 

and a wall with niches to represent the victims of all the concentration camps, with large niches representing those with more than 20,000 victims.The Wall of Sorrow near the cemetery represents the memorial slabs with the names of 66 largest death camps and places of massive loss of life.

sorrow

The memorial has 26 chimneys with bells – one for each of the houses in the village – which ring out every hour. Each chimney has a plaque remembering the family members who died.

Part of the memorial is a Cemetery of villages with 185 tombs. Each tomb symbolizes a particular village in Belarus that was fired along with its population.

Khatyn_-_Villages tombs

Among the foreign leaders who have visited the Khatyn Memorial during their time in office are Richard Nixon of the US, Fidel Castro of Cuba, Rajiv Gandhi of India, Yasser Arafat of the PLO, and Jiang Zemin of China.

nixon

The Khatyn massacre was deliberately exploited to cover up the Katyn massacre by the Soviet authorities; according to Norman Davies, this was a major reason for erecting the memorial—it was done in order to cause confusion with Katyn among foreign visitors.

In 2004, the Memorial was renovated.

1920px-Khatyn_Panorama

Nixon’s visit to the Memorial

Forgotten History-The Jews from Geleen 1940-1944.

During the war Geleen was a small mining town in the South-East of the Netherlands in the province of Limburg. Above are 2 maps the first one is of the Netherlands and the other one is of the greater Geleen Sittard area, just to give you a geographical sense of the place.

Due to the close proximity to Germany many Jews escaped to Limburg in the 1930’s. The Netherlands was a neutral country so the Jewish community thought they were safe.

Geleen itself had a relatively small Jewish community but significant enough for a town with a population of approximately 15,000 at the time.The exact number of Jews living in Geleen is not known but it is estimated there were 67.

Rather then going in to each individual account I will be showing the timeline of events relating to the Jews in Geleen. This timeline would be identical for Jewish communities in other towns and cities in the country and indeed throughout Europe. It is a good indication of the systematic dehumanization of the Jews by the Nazi’s. In total there are 42 events, I will not mention all of them but will highlight , for a lack of a better description, the most important ones.

22 June 1940: All Jewish shop are besmirched by the Nazi’s with the text ” Jüdisches Geschäft” (Jewish Shop)

winkel

1 July 1940: Jews have to leave the Bomb shelters

26/27 July: During night time the windows of Jewish shops are shattered.(Below a news paper article about it)

krant artikel

31 July 1940: Ban on ritual slaughter

6 September 1940: The general secretaries of most Government departments promise not to hire Jews in pubic office jobs.

5 October 1940: Government personnel have to sign an ‘Aryan’ declaration

21 November 1940: An announcement is made that all Jews working in the public and civil service are to be fired.

10  January 1941: Compulsory Registration is introduced, by the 21st of February all Jews need to be registered. Mayor Damen announces on the 15th of April that 67 Jews have been registered.

4 June 1941: The freedom of movement is restricted for Jews

1 September 1941: Jewish children are no longer allowed to attend regular schools. A make shift school is set up in the teachers residence next to the synagogue.

image140

15 September 1941: Signs with “Verboden voor Joden” forbidden for Jews are put up. Jews are forbidden to go to cinemas,sports ground,libraries,concert hall and most other public places.

verbod

Also in 1941 Richard Kaufmann is picked up by the Nazi’s and sent to a labor camp in the Netherlands. On October the 3rd he is deported to Westerbork.

westerbork

Shortly afterwards he is deported from Westerbork to Auschwitz.Richard Kaufmann dies on the 3rd of September 1943 in Auschwitz.

richard

2 May 1942: All Jews are ordered to start wearing the yellow star of David.

jood

19 May 1942: Radio builder Frederik Goldsteen is been arrested after it is found out he kept building radio’s after he was forbidden to do so, and also because of his criticism of Adolf Hitler.Via Camp Amersfoort he is sent to Westerbork and from there to Auschwitz where he dies on 15 August 1942.

12 June 1942: Jews are no longer allowed to buy vegetables in Non Jewish shops

2 August 1942: In all of the Netherlands Jews who have been converted to Catholicism are picked up. In Geleen there were 4 one of then was a Nun who is transported to Auschwitz and dies in the gas chamber. The other 3 are released because they are from mixed marriages.

9 August 1942: Luise Löwenfels aka Sister Maria Aloysia dies in the Auschwitz gas chambers.

lowenfels

 

https://dirkdeklein.wordpress.com/2016/03/24/forgotten-history-luise-lowenfels/

25 August 1942:approximately 20 Jewish citizens were deported from City Hall by the Germans. Only 1 survives the war.

HITACHI Digital Camera

10 November 1942: Guus van Dam is picked up and sent to Groningen in the North of the country, from there he is deported to Auschwitz via Westerbork. His fate is unknown. On the 17th of August 1945 some of his family members put an ad in a newspaper to see if anyone has information.

dam

In September 1930, Guus had moved with his parents to Geleen and lived there on Jubileumplein 12, this was near the rear entrance of my school. An address I would have passed by on a daily basis.

21 January 1943: The Jewish mental asylum “Het Apeldoornse Bos” is evacuated. Two patients were from Geleen. They are all send to Auschwitz where they all perished.

bos

September 1943: Jews with mixed marriages are exempt of wearing the yellow star of David

March 1944: Jews from mixed marriage are ordered to be sterilized or to proof they are infertile

18 September 1944: Geleen is liberated by the Combat Command (B) 2nd Armored Division.

putstraat

Below is the list of all those who were deported from Geleen and never returned.

  Name  First Name Born Died
1 Freimark-Adler Hermine 12-12-1876 Urspringen (D) 14-05-1943 Sobibor
2 Baum Max 04-01-1907 Bauchem (D) 31-03-1944 Auschwitz
3 Cohen-Ten Brink Esthella Carolina 05-06-1904 Ootmarsum 31-08-1942 Auschwitz
4 Meyer-Cahn Jeanette (Jetta) 18-12-1859 Leutesdorf (D) 10-05-1943 Westerbork
5 Claessens Albert 19-04-1905 Obbicht 30-04-1943 Midden-Europa
6 Cohen Frieda 11-07-1924 Vaals 31-08-1942 Auschwitz
7 Cohen Henny 30-10-1925 Vaals 26-09-1942 Auschwitz
8 Cohen Josephine 09-07-1930 Geleen 31-08-1942 Auschwitz
9 Cohen Simon 01-05-1889 Midwolda 31-08-1942 Auschwitz
10 Freimark Ernst 12-08-1936 Frankfurt (D) 31-08-1942 Auschwitz
11 Freimark Friedrich 27-10-1902 Marktheidenfeld (D) 30-04-1943 Midden-Europa
12 Freimark Kurt 21-12-1939 Heerlen 31-08-1942 Auschwitz
13 Levy-Goldschmidt Irene 15-02-1907 Rheda (D) 30-11-1943 Auschwitz
14 Goldschmidt Josef 24-10-1867 Rheda (D) 28-05-1943 Sobibor
15 Goldsteen Frederik 09-07-1918 Rheydt (D) 15-08-1942 Auschwitz
16 Levi-Harf Rosalie 27-10-1880 Mönchengladbach (D) 28-05-1943 Sobibor
17 Goldschmidt-Jacob Frieda 19-02-1869 Rheda-Wiedenbrück (D) 07-10-1943 Maastricht**
18 May-Jacobsohn Klara 14-05-1871 Neckarbischofsheim (D) 14-05-1943 Sobibor
19 Meyer-Kaufmann Berta 03-01-1912 Köln (D) 31-08-1942 Auschwitz
20 Kaufmann Margard 10-11-1928 Gronau (D) 03-09-1943 Auschwitz
21 Kaufmann Richard 30-06-1886 Moers (D) 03-09-1943 Auschwitz
22 Heimberg-Klestadt Bertha 28-12-1891 Büren (D) 25-01-1943 Auschwitz***
23 Claessens-Krzanowska Ajga 17-03-1909 Zawiercie (Polen) 31-08-1942 Auschwitz
24 Lebenstein Ida 16-05-1888 Ochtrup (D) 28-05-1943 Sobibor
25 Levy Arnold 27-05-1880 Wuppertal-Elberfeld (D) 28-05-1943 Sobibor
26 Levy Hans Erich 22-03-1911 Düsseldorf (D) 31-03-1944 Polen
27 Löwenfels Luise 05-07-1915 Trabelsdorf (D) 30-09-1942 Auschwitz
28 Freimark-May Gertruda 16-02-1902 Niedermendig (D) 31-08-1942 Auschwitz
29 Winter-May Irma Johanna 30-08-1908 Niedermendig (D) 31-08-1942 Auschwitz
30 Goldsteen-Mendel Carolina 06-07-1880 Tetz (D) 22-10-1943 Auschwitz****
31 Meyer Max 23-01-1900 Remagen-Oberwinter (D) 30-04-1943 Midden-Europa
32 Roer Helene 14-09-1921 Zülpich (D) 31-08-1942 Auschwitz
33 Roer Ilse 20-02-1925 Zülpich (D) 31-08-1942 Auschwitz
34 Baum-Salmagne Sophia 12-06-1867 Eilendorf (D) 16-11-1943 Bergen-Belzen
35 Willner Paul Siegfried 05-06-1902 Aachen (D) 30-04-1943 Midden-Europa
36 Winter Gustav 01-11-1897 Korschenbroich (D) 30-04-1943 Midden-Europa
37 Kaufmann-Zilversmit Adele 07-12-1890 Gronau (D) 03-09-1943 Auschwitz

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

$2.00

Resources

http://members.home.nl/w.brasse/vergeten_joden_van_geleen.htm#SlachtoffersGeleen

https://www.stolpersteinesittardgeleen.nl/Slachtoffers/Gustaaf-van-Dam

Bergen Belsen Concentration Camp

I don’t really like to post horrific images but on this day the 76th anniversary of the liberation of Bergen Belsen it is important that we are reminded how cruel humanity can be.

bergen

As a child I had heard some  war stories from my parents and my aunts and uncles and was always intrigued by those stories. They were tales on how some of my family avoided being shot by the Germans ,after stealing food, by jumping into big barrels and hiding in there until it was safe to come out again. Or the time that one of my grandfathers was nearly shot by the allies after liberation by telling him he was Deutsch rather then Dutch(his English wasn’t great) luckily one of the soldiers figured he meant to say he was Dutch. These stories tough gave me a more romantic and nostalgic sense for the era. My Father’s dad was killed by the Nazis

It wasn’t until one day , I think I was 13 at the time, I saw a documentary of Bergen Belsen’s most well known victim, Anne Frank, I realized the true horrors of WW2 and the Holocaust.

This article will be about Bergen Belsen but I will also briefly touch on Auschwitz because in several ways the camps were connected.

Bergen-Belsen was first established in 1940 as a prisoner of war camp. From 1943, Jewish civilians with foreign passports were held as ‘leverage’ in possible exchanges for Germans interned in Allied countries or for money. It later became a concentration camp and was used as a collection centre for survivors of the death marches. The camp became exceptionally overcrowded and, as a result of the Germans’ neglect, conditions were allowed to deteriorate further in the last months of the war, causing many more deaths.

APRIL 15, 1945

The 63rd Anti-tank Regiment and the 11th Armoured Division of the British army liberate about 60,000 prisoners at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

As it drove into Germany, the 11th Armoured Division occupied the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp on April 15, 1945, pursuant to an April 12 agreement with the retreating Germans to surrender the camp peacefully. When the 11th Armoured Division entered the camp, its soldiers were totally unprepared for what they found. Inside were more than 60,000 emaciated and ill prisoners in desperate need if medical attention. More than 13,000 corpses in various stages of decomposition lay littered around the camp.

The discovery of the Bergen-Belsen camp and the horrendous conditions there made on powerful impact on public opinion in Great Britain and elsewhere. One member of a British Army Film and Photographic unit recalled the masses of unburied corpses:

“The bodies were a ghastly sight. Some were green. They looked like skeletons covered with skin—the flesh had all gone. There were bodies of small children among the grown ups. In other parts of the camp there were hundreds of bodies lying around, in many cases piled five or six high”.

maxresdefault

When British and Canadian troops finally entered they found over 13,000 unburied bodies and (including the satellite camps) around 60,000 inmates, most acutely sick and starving. The prisoners had been without food or water for days before the Allied arrival, partially due to allied bombing. Immediately before and after liberation, prisoners were dying at around 500 per day, mostly from typhus. The scenes that greeted British troops were described by the BBC’s Richard Dimbleby, who accompanied them:

…Here over an acre of ground lay dead and dying people. You could not see which was which… The living lay with their heads against the corpses and around them moved the awful, ghostly procession of emaciated, aimless people, with nothing to do and with no hope of life, unable to move out of your way, unable to look at the terrible sights around them … Babies had been born here, tiny wizened things that could not live … A mother, driven mad, screamed at a British sentry to give her milk for her child, and thrust the tiny mite into his arms, then ran off, crying terribly. He opened the bundle and found the baby had been dead for days. This day at Belsen was the most horrible of my life.

Initially lacking sufficient manpower, the British allowed the Hungarians to remain in charge and only commandant Kramer was arrested. Subsequently SS and Hungarian guards shot and killed some of the starving prisoners who were trying to get their hands on food supplies from the store houses. The British started to provide emergency medical care, clothing and food. Immediately following the liberation, revenge killings took place in the satellite camp the SS had created in the area of the army barracks that later became Hohne-Camp. Around 15,000 prisoners from Mittelbau-Dora had been relocated there in early April. These prisoners were in much better physical condition than most of the others. Some of these men turned on those who had been their overseers at Mittelbau. About 170 of these “Kapos” were killed on April 15, 1945.:62On April 20, four German fighter planes attacked the camp, damaging the water supply and killing three British medical orderlies.

Over the next days the surviving prisoners were deloused and moved to a nearby German Panzer army camp, which became the Bergen-Belsen DP (displaced persons) camp.

delousing

Over a period of four weeks, almost 29,000 of the survivors were moved there. Before the handover, the SS had managed to destroy the camp’s administrative files, thereby eradicating most written evidence.

The British forced the former SS camp personnel to help bury the thousands of dead bodies in mass graves.

Bergen_Belsen_Liberation_01

ss guards

Some civil servants from Celle and Landkreis Celle were brought to Belsen and confronted with the crimes committed on their doorstep.

Military photographers and cameramen of “No. 5 Army Film and Photographic Unit” documented the conditions in the camp and the measures of the British Army to ameliorate them. Many of the pictures they took and the films they made from April 15 to June 9, 1945 were published or shown abroad. Today, the originals are in the Imperial War Museum. These documents had a lasting impact on the international perception and memory of Nazi concentration camps to this day.According to Habbo Knoch, head of the institution that runs the memorial today: “Bergen-Belsen became a synonym world-wide for German crimes committed during the time of Nazi rule.

Bergen-Belsen concentration camp was then burned to the ground by flamethrowing”Bren gun” carriers and Churchill Crocodile tanks because of the typhus epidemic and louse infestation. As the concentration camp ceased to exist at this point, the name Belsen after this time refers to events at the Bergen-Belsen DP camp.

In spite of massive efforts to help the survivors with food and medical treatment, led by Brigadier Glyn Hughes, Deputy Director of Medical Services of 2nd Army, about another 9,000 died in April, and by the end of June 1945 another 4,000 had died. (After liberation 13,994 people died.)

Two specialist teams were dispatched from Britain to deal with the feeding problem. The first, led by Dr A. P. Meiklejohn, included 96 medical student volunteers from London teaching hospitals who were later credited with significantly reducing the death rate amongst prisoners.A research team led by Dr Janet Vaughan was dispatched by the Medical Research Council to test the effectiveness of various feeding regimes.

The British troops and medical staff tried these diets to feed the prisoners, in this order:

  • Bully beef(Corned Beef) from Army rations. Most of the prisoners’ digestive systems were in too weak a state from long-term starvation to handle such food.Corned-beef-1
  • Skimmed milk. The result was a bit better, but still far from acceptable.
  • Bengal Famine Mixture. This is a rice-and-sugar-based mixture which had achieved good results after the Bengal famine of 1943, but it proved less suitable to Europeans than to Bengalis because of the differences in the food to which they were accustomed. Adding the common ingredient paprika to the mixture made it more palatable to these people and recovery started.

Some were too weak to even consume the Bengal Famine Mixture. Intravenous feeding was attempted but abandoned – SS Doctors had previously used injections to murder prisoners so some became hysterical at the sight of the intraveneous feeding equipment.

On the 25th of August 1942 approximately 20 Jewish citizens from my hometown Geleen,were deported from City Hall by the Germans.

HITACHI Digital Camera

Shortly afterwards 12 more were picked up and deported. Only 1 survived. In total 37 Geleen Jews were killed during the holocaust. Most of them were killed in Auschwitz , a few in Sobibor. Others died during the transport.

Sophia Baum Salmagne was the only one who died in Bergen Belsen. The reason why I mention her is because the only things I know about her that she was born on the 12th of June 1867 in Eilendorf Germany and that she died on the 16th of November 1943 in Bergen Belsen. Noting else, no picture, not even when she moved to Geleen. Just a name on a list of victims. This was the fate of millions of victims ,names on a list, as if they hardly ever existed. It is all our duty to be the voice of these whose prove of existence were nearly erased.

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

$2.00

Operation Tidal Wave

When I refer to Operation Tidal wave I am referring to the 1st Operation Tidal wave and not  Operation Tidal Wave II which is a US-led coalition military operation commenced on or about 21 October 2015 against oil transport, refining and distribution facilities and infrastructure under the control of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Operation Tidal wave was to become one of the costliest mistakes made by the Allied Forces during WWII.

Prior to World War II, the U.S. Army Air Corps (Army Air Forces as of June 20, 1941) developed a doctrine of high-altitude, precision, daylight, massed bombing of selected enemy military and industrial targets. Combined with the Royal Air Force’s concentration on mass air attacks on industrial areas at night by 1943, this doctrine evolved into the Combined Bomber Offense featuring “around-the-clock” bombing of German targets.

Petroleum production and distribution systems were among the highest priority targets, and perhaps the most inviting of these was the concentration of oil refineries at Ploesti, Rumania, which according to Allied intelligence estimates, produced as much as one third of Germany’s liquid fuel requirements. One of the most heavily defended targets in Europe, Ploesti lay outside the range of Allied bombers from England but could be reached by Consolidated B-24 Liberator bombers from the Middle East or North Africa.

Operation Tidal Wave was an air attack by bombers of the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) based in Libya and Southern Italy on nine oil refineries around Ploiești, Romania on 1 August 1943, during World War II. It was a strategic bombing mission and part of the “oil campaign” to deny petroleum-based fuel to the Axis.The mission resulted in “no curtailment of overall product output”

This mission was one of the costliest for the USAAF in the European Theater, with 53 aircraft and 660 aircrew men lost. It was the second-worst loss ever suffered by the USAAF on a single mission, and its date was later referred to as “Black Sunday”. Five Medals of Honor and numerous Distinguished Service Crosses were awarded to Operation Tidal Wave crew members.

Romania had been a major power in the oil industry since the 1800s. It was one of the largest producers in Europe and Ploiesti was a major part of that production. (see Bombing of Romania in World War II).The Ploiești oil refineries provided about 30% of all Axis oil production

In June 1942, 13 B-24 Liberators of the “Halverson project” (HALPRO) attacked Ploiești.

_B-24

Though damage was small, Germany responded by putting strong anti-aircraft defenses around Ploiești. Luftwaffe General Alfred Gerstenberg built one of the heaviest and best-integrated air defense networks in Europe. The defenses included several hundred large-caliber 88mm guns and 10.5 cm FlaK 38 anti-aircraft guns, and many more small-caliber guns.

Schwere_Flak_einer_Küstenbatterie

The latter were concealed in haystacks, railroad cars, and mock buildings.The Luftwaffe had three fighter groups within flight range of Ploiești 52 (Bf 109 fighters and Bf 110 night fighters, and some Romanian IAR-80 fighters).

 

Gerstenberg also counted on warnings from the Luftwaffe signals intelligence station in Athens, which monitored Allied preparations as far away as North Africa

The Ninth Air Force (98th and 376th Bombardment Groups) was responsible for the overall conduct of the raid, and the partially formed Eighth Air Force provided three additional bomb groups (44th, 93rd, and 389th). All the bombers employed were  B-24 Liberators.

Smart,_Jacob_E

Colonel Jacob E. Smart planned the operation, based on HALPRO’s experiences. HALPRO had encountered minimal air defenses in its raid; so the planners decided Tidal Wave would be executed by day, and that the attacking bombers would approach at low altitude to avoid detection by German radar. Training included extensive review of detailed sand table models, practice raids over a mock-up of the target in the Libyan desert and practical exercises over a number of secondary targets in July to prove the viability of such a low- level strike. The bombers to be used were re-equipped with bomb-bay fuel tanks to increase their fuel capacity to 3,100 gallons.

The operation was to consist of 178 bombers with a total of 1,751 aircrew, one of the largest commitments of American heavy bombers and crewmen up to that time The planes were to fly from airfields near Benghazi, Libya. They were to cross the Mediterranean and the Adriatic Sea, pass near the island of Corfu, cross over the Pindus Mountains in Albania, cross southern Yugoslavia, enter southwestern Romania, and turn east toward Ploiești. Reaching Ploiești, they were to locate pre-determined checkpoints, approach their targets from the north, and strike all targets simultaneously.

For political reasons, the Allied planners decided to avoid the city of Ploiești, so that it would not be bombed by accident.

Early on the morning of 1 August 1943, the five groups comprising the strike force began lifting off from their home air fields around Benghazi. Large amounts of dust kicked up during take-off caused limited visibility and strained engines already carrying the burden of large bomb loads and additional fuel. These conditions contributed to the loss of one aircraft during take-off, but 177 of the planned 178 aircraft departed safely.

800px-B-24D's_fly_over_Polesti_during_World_War_II

The formation reached the Adriatic Sea without further incident; however aircraft #28 “Wongo Wongo” belonging to the 376th Bombardment Group (the lead group, about 40 B-24s) and piloted by Lt. Brian Flavelle began to fly erratically before plunging into the sea due to unknown causes. Lt. Guy Iovine—a personal friend of Flavelle and piloting aircraft #23 Desert Lilly—descended from the formation in order to look for survivors, narrowly missing aircraft Brewery Wagon piloted by Lt. John Palm. No survivors were seen, and due to the additional weight of fuel, Iovine was unable to regain altitude to rejoin the formation and resume course to Ploiești.

The resulting confusion was compounded by the inability to regain cohesion due to strict radio silence maintained as per mission guidance. Ten other aircrews opted to return to friendly air fields following the incident and those aircraft which remained faced the 9,000 ft (2,700 m) climb over the Pindus mountains, which were shrouded in cloud cover. Although all five groups made the climb around 11,000 ft (3,400 m), the 376th and 93rd, using high power settings, began to lose the trailing formations, causing variations in speed and time which disrupted the careful synchronization of the group attacks deemed so important by Smart. The possible threat to successful execution was deemed to be of secondary concern to the operational security of the mission by senior leadership. The American leaders were unaware that while their intentions were not precisely known, their presence had been duly noted by the Germans. Although the need to rebuild their formations was clear and well within the contingency for breaking radio silence, the strike would proceed without correction, a judgment that would later prove costly.

Although now well strung out on approach to Piteşti, all five groups would make the navigational check point 65 mi (105 km) from Ploiești. At Câmpina, the 389th Bomb Group departed as planned for its separate but synchronous approach to the mission target. Continuing from Piteşti, Col. Keith K. Compton and Gen. Ent made a navigational judgment that would prove especially costly. At Târgovişte, halfway to the next check point at Floreşti, Compton followed the incorrect railway line for his turn toward Ploiești, setting his group and Lt. Col. Addison Baker’s 93rd Bomb Group on a course for Bucharest. In the process, Ent and Compton went against the advice of their airplane’s navigator and the Halverson Project (HALPRO) veteran Cpt. Harold Wicklund. Now in the face of an impending disaster, many crews chose to break radio silence and draw attention to the navigational error. Meanwhile, both groups flew headlong into Gerstenberg’s extensive air defenses around the Bucharest area, which they would now face in addition to those still awaiting them around Ploiești.

Lt. Col. Baker and his co-pilot Maj. John L. Jerstad, who had already flown a full tour of duty while stationed in England, would now succumb to the effects of the extensive air defense array.

Continuing through the intense defensive barrage, damage to their aircraft forced Baker and Jerstad to jettison their bomb load in order to maintain lead of the formation over their target at the Columbia Aquila refinery. Despite heavy losses by the 93rd, Baker and Jerstad maintained course and, once clear, began to climb away. Realizing the aircraft was no longer controllable, both men maintained the climb in order to gain time for the crew to abandon the aircraft. Although none survived, both Baker and Jerstad would be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for maintaining their successful approach to Columbia Aquila and their efforts to save the crew of Hell’s Wench.

medal

Maj. Ramsay D. Potts flying The Duchess and Maj. George S. Brown aboard Queenie, encountering heavy smoke over Columbia Aquila, would take two additional elements of the 93rd and successfully drop their payloads over the Astra Romana, Unirea Orion, and Columbia Aquila refineries. In all, the 93rd lost 11 aircraft over their targets in Ploiești. One of the bombers, Jose Carioca,was shot down by a Romanian IAR 80 fighter, which went into a half roll and moved swiftly under the B-24 upside down, raking its belly with bullets. The bomber crashed into Ploiești Women’s Prison. The three-story building exploded in flames, and only 40 women survived the disaster. There were no survivors from Jose Carioca crew.

Air defenses were heavy over the 376th’s target (Romana Americana), and Gen. Ent instructed Compton to attack “targets of opportunity.” Most of the 376th B-24s bombed the Steaua Română refinery at Câmpina from the east, and five headed directly into the already smoldering conflagration over the Concordia Vega refinery.At Câmpina, air defenses on overlooking hills were able to fire down into the formation, and IAR 80 aircraft downed 376th aircraft

With the 93rd and 376th engaged over the target area, Col. John R. Kane of the 98th Bomb Group and Col. Leon W. Johnson of the 44th Bomb Group made their prescribed turn at Floresti and proceeded to their respective targets at the Asta Romana and Columbia Aquila refineries.

Both groups would find German and Romanian defenses on full alert and faced the full effects of now raging oil fires, heavy smoke, secondary explosions, and delayed-fuse bombs dropped by Baker’s 93rd Bomb Group on their earlier run. Both Kane and Johnson’s approach, parallel to the Floresti-to-Ploiești railway had the unfortunate distinction of encountering Gerstenberg’s disguised flak train. At tree-top level, around 50 ft (15 m) above the ground, the 98th would find themselves to the left and the 44th on the right. The advantage, however, would rest with the 98th and 44th, whose gunners quickly responded to the threat, disabling the locomotive and killing multiple air defense crews.

With the effects of the 93rd and 376th’s runs causing difficulties locating and bombing their primary targets, both Kane and Johnson did not deviate from their intended targets, taking heavy losses in the process. Their low approach even enabled gunners to engage in continued ground suppression of air defense crews from directly above their targets. For their leadership and heroism, both were awarded the Medal of Honor. Lt. Col. James T. Posey took 21 of the 44th’s aircraft on a separate assigned attack run on the Creditul Minier refinery just south of Ploiești. Although air defense batteries had already heavily engaged the 93rd, Posey was fully received by the same emplacements. Maintaining a continued low-level approach into the target area took some of the still heavily laden aircraft through tall grass and damage was caused by low-level obstructions. Posey and his aircraft—equipped with heavier 1,000 lb (450 kg) bombs—managed to successfully find their marks at Creditul Minier, without loss to the formation.

The last TIDAL WAVE attack bombed the Steaua Română refinery (8 mi (13 km) northwest of Ploiești):at Câmpina. The 389th attack led by Col. Jack Wood was as rehearsed at Benghazi.

The damage caused by the 376th and 389th attacks heavily damaged the refinery, which did not resume production for the duration of the war.The 389th lost four aircraft over the target area, including B-24 Ole Kickapoo flown by 2nd Lt. Lloyd Herbert Hughes.

Lloyd_H_Hughes

After hits to Ole Kickapoo only 30 feet over the target area, the detonation of previously dropped bombs had ignited fuel leaking from the B-24. Hughes maintained course for bombardier 2nd Lt. John A. McLoughlin to bomb, and the B-24 subsequently crash-landed in a river bed.187 Hughes (who posthumously received the Medal of Honor) and five crewmembers were killed, four survived the crash but died of injuries, and two gunners became prisoners of war.

On their way over Bulgaria, the B-24s were intercepted by three fighter groups, 10 Bf 109s from Karlovo, four Avia B-534s from Bozhurishte and 10 Avia B-534s from Vrashdebna (Sofia) airport.

300px-Avia_B534

The pilots Sub-lieutenant Peter Bochev (five victories), Captain Tschudomir Toplodolski (four victories), Lieutenant Stoyan Stoyanov (five victories) and Sublieutenant Hristo Krastev (one victory) gained their first kills for the Bulgarian Air Force of the war. The new fighter aces were decorated afterwards by Tsar Boris III of Bulgaria personally with the Order of Bravery, the first time in 25 years. Iron Crosses were awarded a month later from the German embassy.

 

Only 88 B-24s returned to Libya, of which 55 had battle damage. Losses included 44 to air defenses and additional B-24s that ditched in the Mediterranean or were interned (e.g. a few landed in neutral Turkey). Some were diverted (e.g. to the RAF airfield on Cyprus). One B-24 with 365 bullet holes in it landed in Libya 14 hours after departing; its survival was due to the light armament of the Bulgarian Avia B-534 (4 x 7.92mm machine guns).

310 aircrewmen were killed, 108 were captured by the Axis, and 78 were interned in Turkey, 4 were MIA in Yugoslovia and taken in by Tito’s partisans.76 Three of the five Medals of Honor (the most for any single air action in history) were awarded posthumously.:Allied assessment of the attack estimated a loss of 40% of the refining capacity at the Ploiești refineries,although some refineries were largely untouched. Most of the damage was repaired within weeks, after which the net output of fuel was greater than before the raid.Circa September, the Enemy Oil Committee appraisal of Ploiești bomb damage indicated “no curtailment of overall product output“as many of the refineries had been operating previously below maximum capacity.

Despite the extreme heroism of the airmen and their determination to press the mission home, the results of Operation TIDAL WAVE were less than expected. TIDALWAVE targeted nine major refineries that produced some 8,595,000 tons of oil annually, about 90 percent of all Rumanian oil production, and the attack temporarily eliminated about 3,925,000 tons, roughly 46 percent of total annual production at Ploesti. Three refineries lost 100 percent of production. Unfortunately, these losses figures were temporary and reflected much less than the planners had hoped for. The Germans proved capable of repairing damage and restoring production quickly, and they had been operating the refineries at less than full capacity, anyway. Ploesti thus had the ability to recover rapidly. The largest and most important target, Astro Romana, was back to full production within a few months while Concordia Vega was operating at 100 percent by mid-September.

The U.S. Army Air Forces never again attempted a low level mission against German air defense.

 

 Addison Earl Baker09_collage
Lloyd Herbert Hughes
John Louis Jerstad
Leon William Johnson
John Riley Kane