Forgotten History-The Bombing of Chongqing

Bombing of Chongqing.

Very little is know in the west about WWII in China except for the fact that it really started before anywhere else.One could argue that the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War at July 1937 was really the start of WWII in Asia.

One could also argue that the first mass atrocities of WWII started at the Nanking Massacre or Nanjing Massacre, also known as the Rape of Nanking or Rape of Nanjing, was an episode during the Second Sino-Japanese War of mass murder and mass rape by Japanese troops against the residents of Nanjing (then spelled Nanking), then capital of the Republic of China. The massacre occurred over six weeks starting December 13, 1937, the day that the Japanese captured Nanjing. During this period, soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army murdered Chinese civilians and disarmed combatants numbering an estimated 40,000 to over 300,000, and perpetrated widespread rape and looting.

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One of the worst affected cities in China was Chongqing ( formerlyChungking )a major city in Southwest China and one of the five national central cities in China. Administratively, it is one of China’s four direct-controlled municipalities (the other three are Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin), and the only such municipality in inland China.

The Chinese Air Force was unprepared at the outbreak of the war. The Japanese air attacks went essentially unopposed.

Between February 18, 1938 – August 23, 1943 a total of 268 air raids were conducted against Chongqing, with more than 11,500, mainly incendiary, bombs dropped. The targets were usually residential areas, business areas, schools, hospitals and other non-military targets. These bombings were probably aimed at cowing the Chinese government, or as part of the planned Sichuan invasion.

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The worst one was probably the bombing which happened today 75 years ago.

On June 5, 1941, bombing in China’s former capital sent thousands of residents fleeing to a bomb shelter, where they suffocated. The Chongqing massacre and other Japanese attacks would sour Sino-Japanese relations for decades.

At the start of the second Sino-Japanese War in 1938, the Japanese began bombing China’s new capital city of Chongqing (Chungking). During the five-year campaign, the Japanese killed an estimated 11,889 people, wounded 14,100 and destroyed 17,608 buildings, according to the Chongqing Municipal Government.

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Chongqing had grown four times its pre-war size after becoming the new capital of China in 1938, but when the bombing began, many of the nearly 1 million citizens, unable to defend themselves, were forced into hiding as the only refuge from constant Japanese bombardment.

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One of the worst bombings came on June 5, 1941, and lasted more than three hours. More than 2,500 Chongqing residents fled to shelter in one of the town center’s tunnels, the Jiaochangkou Tunnel. There they suffocated as they waited for the end of the assault.Others died during the mass panic that ensued.

Bombing of Chongqing

Many people died, both in the bombings and also in the air-raid shelters, especially babies, from heat and exhaustion and diarrhea.

.The Japanese attack on Chongqing came three years after the massacre at Nanjing. Events like the “Rape of Nanjing” and the bombing of Chongqing set the stage for Japanese brutality and dominance over China, and caused decades of Sino-Japanese hostility.

It is not very clear how many people died on the 5th of June 1941, some records say 2,500 others say 4,000.The only thing that is certain is that these were all civilians and civilians had been the specific target of the Japanese air force.

Three-thousand tons of bombs were dropped on the city between 1939 and 1943.According to photographer Carl Mydans, the spring 1941 bombings were “the most destructive shelling ever made on a city”, although by comparison 2,300 tons of bombs were dropped by Allied bombers on Berlin in a single night during the Battle of Berlin. A total of 268 air raids were conducted against Chongqing.

In March 2006, 40 Chinese who were wounded or lost family members during the bombings sued the Japanese government demanding 10,000,000 yen (628,973 yuan) each and asked for apologies. “By filing a lawsuit, we want the Japanese people to know about Chongqing bombings,” said a victim.

 

Unfortunately they lost the law suit.

 

MS St. Louis- The Voyage of the Damned

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Before I get into the main story there is something I have to say. This is only my opinion based on my observation and it is not a political statement.The events in this story do have stark similarities to what is happening now, where countries are closing their borders for refugees.

The MS St. Louis was a German ocean liner most notable for a single voyage in 1939, in which its captain, Gustav Schröder, tried to find homes for 908 Jewish refugees from Germany.

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After they were denied entry to Cuba, Canada, and the United States, the refugees were finally accepted in various European countries, and historians have estimated that approximately a quarter of them died in death camps during World War II.

After Kristallnacht in November 1938, many Jews within Germany decided that it was time to leave.

Though many German Jews had emigrated in the preceding years, the Jews who remained had a more difficult time leaving the country because emigration policies had been toughened. By 1939, not only were visas needed to be able to enter another country but money was also needed to leave Germany. Since many countries, especially the United States, had immigration quotas, visas were near impossible to acquire within the short time spans in which they were needed. For many, the visas were acquired after it was too late.

The St. Louis set sail from Hamburg to Cuba on May 13, 1939. The vessel under command of Captain Gustav Schröder was carrying 937 refugees seeking asylum from Nazi persecution.[Captain Schröder,was a non-Jewish German who went to great lengths to ensure dignified treatment for his passengers.

On Saturday, May 13, 1939, the passengers boarded. Women and men; young and old. Each person who boarded had their own story of persecution.

One passenger, Aaron Pozner, had just been released from Dachau. On the night of Kristallnacht, Pozner along with 26,000 other Jews had been arrested and deported to concentration camps. While interned at Dachau, Pozner witnessed brutal murders by hanging, drowning, and crucifixion as well as torture by flogging and castrations by a bayonet.Surprisingly, one day Pozner was released from Dachau on the condition that he leave Germany within fourteen days.

Though his family had very little money, they were able to pool enough money to buy a ticket for him to board the S.S. St. Louis. Pozner said goodbye to his wife and two children, knowing that they would never be able to raise enough money to buy another ticket to freedom. Beaten and forced to sleep amongst bloody animal hides on his journey to reach the ship, Pozner boarded with the knowledge that it was up to him to earn the money to bring his family to freedom.

Many other passengers had either left family members behind while some were also going to be meeting relatives that had traveled earlier. As the passengers boarded they remembered the many years of persecution that they had been living under. Some had come out of hiding to board the ship and none were certain that they would not receive the same kind of treatment once aboard. The Nazi flag flying above the ship and the picture of Hitler hanging in the social hall did not allay their fears. Earlier, Captain Gustav Schroeder had given the 231 member crew stern warnings that these passengers were to be treated just like any others. Many were willing to do this, two stewards even carried Moritz and Recha Weiler’s luggage for them since they were elderly.

The journey to Cuba was a joyous affair. The passengers aboard the St. Louis were treated with contempt before they boarded, but once on the ship they were treated like privileged tourists.

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Crew members treated the passengers well—Captain Schröder insisted on this. Elegantly clad stewards served foods that by 1939 were rationed in Germany; there was a full-time nursemaid to care for small children when their parents sat to eat.

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There were dances and concerts, and the captain allowed passengers to hold Friday evening religious services in the dining room and even permitted them to throw a tablecloth over a plaster bust of Hitler that sat there. Children were given swimming lessons in the on-deck pool. Passengers felt that they were, in the words of Lothar Molton, a boy traveling with his parents, on “a vacation cruise to freedom.

The ship dropped anchor at 04:00 on May 27 at the far end of the Havana harbor and was denied entry to the usual docking areas. The next six days on the harbor were tumultuous times. The Cuban government, headed by President Federico Laredo Brú, refused to accept the foreign refugees.

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Although passengers had previously purchased legal visas, they could not enter Cuba either as tourists (laws related to tourist visas had recently been changed) or as refugees seeking political asylum. On May 5, 1939, four months before World War II began, Havana abandoned its former pragmatic immigration policy and instead issued Decree 937, which “restricted entry of all foreigners except U.S. citizens requiring a bond of $500 and authorization by the Cuban secretaries of state and labor. Permits and visas issued before May 5 were invalidated retroactively.”None of the passengers were aware that the Cuban government had retroactively invalidated their landing permits.

In the end, only 29 passengers were allowed to disembark in Cuba. Twenty-two of them were Jewish and had valid US visas; the remaining six—four Spanish citizens and two Cuban nationals—had valid entry documents. Another passenger, after attempting to commit suicide, was evacuated to a hospital in Havana.

MS St. Louis – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Telephone records show American officials Cordell Hull, Secretary of State, and Henry Morgenthau, Secretary of the Treasury had made some efforts to persuade Cuba to accept the refugees. Their actions, together with efforts of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, were not successful.

Prohibited from landing in Cuba, Captain Schröder circled off the coast of Florida, hoping for permission to enter the United States. Cordell Hull, Secretary of State, advised Roosevelt not to accept the Jews, however. Captain Schroder considered running aground along the coast to allow the refugees to escape, but, acting on Cordell Hull’s instructions, US Coast Guard vessels shadowed the ship and prevented such a move.

It was today 77 years ago they were denied permission to land in Florida.

After the St. Louis was turned away from the United States,a group of academics and clergy in Canada tried to persuade Canada’s Prime Minister, William Lyon Mackenzie King, to provide sanctuary to the ship’s passengers, as it was only two days from Halifax, Nova Scotia.

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But Canadian immigration official Frederick Blair, hostile to Jewish immigration, persuaded the Prime Minister on June 9 not to intervene. In 2000, Blair’s nephew apologized to the Jewish people for his uncle’s action.

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The situation of the vessel deteriorated as Captain Schröder negotiated and schemed to find them a safe haven. (At one point he formulated plans to wreck the ship on the British coast to force the passengers to be taken as refugees.) He refused to return the ship to Germany until all the passengers had been given entry to some other country. US officials worked with Britain and European nations to find refuge for the travelers in Europe.[10] The ship returned to Europe, docking at Antwerp, Belgium, on June 17, 1939 with 907 passengers.

The United Kingdom agreed to take 288 of the passengers , who disembarked and traveled to the UK via other steamers. After much negotiation by Schröder, the remaining 619 passengers were allowed to disembark at Antwerp.

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224 were accepted by France , 214 by Belgium , and 181 by the Netherlands  Without any passengers, the ship returned to Hamburg. The following year, after the Nazi German invasions of Belgium and France in May 1940, all the Jews in those countries were at renewed risk, including the recent refugees.

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By using the survival rates for Jews in various countries, Thomas and Morgan-Witts, the authors of Voyage of the Damned, estimated that 180 of the St. Louis refugees in France, 152 of those in Belgium, and 60 of those in the Netherlands survived the Holocaust. Including the passengers who landed in England, of the original 936 refugees (one man died during the voyage), roughly 709 survived the war and 227 did not.

Later research by Scott Miller and Sarah Ogilvie of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum found that fewer had actually survived and estimated 254 deaths:.

 

Afraid of flying! Me?

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Anyone who suffers from Aviophobia or fear of flying stop reading now!!!

No really.

Anyway for those are still there let me start by apologizing. I apologize in advance in case you are ever in the position that you have to board a plane with me.The examples below will explain why.

The 1st time I boarded a plane I was the tender age of 16 I think. It was a flight from Schiphol Amsterdam to Luqa, Malta international airport. This was back in the 80s. Let me put it this way flying with Air Malta as your first aviation experience, in the 80s, is not the best way of being introduced to flying. We all have experienced turbulence , but for the whole flight and a very rough landing,not very pleasant.

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Call me a fool but I tend to be a sucker for punishment, so the 2nd time I also flew Air Malta. Well that was the plan, turned out Air Malta had overbooked(any one who has even been on a Maltese bus, will see how this could happen)to my luck they changed the flights to Singapore airlines and as a cherry on a cake,1st class. However being a young innocent 17.5 year old I missed the first course of my meal because I was trying to figure out how to eat that hot wet sausage. Turned out this was a hot cloth rolled for convenience, to wipe your hands.

Fast forward a decade or so.Aer Lingus 11 April 1996 Dusseldorf -Dublin.

aer lingus

My wife and I were on the last flight out of Dusseldorf, after we left a big part of the Airport burned down.After our 2 weeks stay in Ireland, we contacted Aer Lingus to ask where we would be returning to, with the knowledge that Dusseldorf would be closed, we needed to know to arrange transport from the Airport to home. To my surprise the friendly lady told me that we still would be landing in Dussledorf, and who was I to argue with the expert.So my lift was arranged. Then after we boarded the plane we were told by the Captain we’d be landing in Maastricht, which was great for us because that was only 5 miles from home. However our ride was not too happy about the fact he drove for nothing to Dusseldorf. We hadn’t been able to contact him in the pre-mobile communication era.

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Then sometime in 2005 I forget the exact date, because of the trauma. Shannon Airport to Brussels South-Charleroi,carrier Ryanair the not frills(but enough thrills) airline. About 15 minutes before we land something that sounded and felt like an explosion. I thought sayonara baby.The silence afterwards is something I will never forget. about 10 minutes after the ‘explosion’ the Captain announced that we had been hit by lightning and had lost one engine but the other one was still okay so we still would be landing as scheduled.

Skip forward to June 2008.

quantas

I had to fly for a business trip and training to Sydney. via London Heathrow and Bangkok.However my starting point was Dublin to London with Aer Lingus( I won’t even mention the delay) Finally arrived at LHR and luckily the Qantas flight coming in had also been delayed, which evened out my initial delay. All good and well, got on board, got my seat and sat down, made myself comfortable. Captain introduced himself via the intercom, start the engines and then nothing.Another announcement that there had been issues with the engines but all would be sorted soon. Soon being 17 hours later, from which 10 we were stuck inside the plane on the tarmac. After 10 hours they got us of board with the promise we could go into a hotel paid for by Qantas where we could sleep for a bit and have some food, because that 1 bag of peanuts and 500ml of water we got on board did not really fill us. They also said when we would get back there would be a brand new plane waiting for us. Now before I left the plane I had left a bit of my boarding card in the pocket of the seat in front of me.

I remember I was thinking of Rainman at the time where Raymond said that Qantas never crashed, I knew then why, because they never take off in the first place.

After 6 hours or so the coach came to collect us to transport us to the airport to our brand spanking new plane, imagine the excitement.However when I got back to the same allocated seat number as the previous plane to my surprise I spotted the bit of boarding card in the pocket of the seat in front of me. Naturally I was impressed with the service and when I commented on this to one of the crew, saying that how great it was that they had taken out all the seats of the other plane and put it on this one, she gave me a nervous smile and I did see very little of her after that. I should have know really because when we boarded I noticed that they had also given the ‘new’ plane the same name as the other one.

I could mention my dealings with Virgin Airlines(Europe not Atlantic) or Sobelair but they are no longer in operation.

I could also talk about the time I accidentally boarded a plane to the Ukraine where I should have boarded one to Germany, due to a power outage in Shannon Airport(luckily in those days you could still tell the crew that you had to get off) Or the numerous suitcases I lost, at one stage I jokingly said at check in ” I want that suitcase going to Madrid, that one to Milan and the last one to Paris” where the clerk answered ” I can’t do that” my reply was “Why not you did it the last time” Or literally ever other flight bar 2 that went wrong, but I think you get the point.

Although flying with me can be dangerous, eventually you always land safe albeit not necessarily your intended destination.

The Death Match 9 August 1942

deathmatch2-jumbo

With the  World cup well on its way it is time to go back into darker history of football .

Although as a Dutchman it aches me to admit that the Germans generally put up a good team for the tournament, there is however a black mark in the German football history.

KIEV, Ukraine — There are few striking features about Start Stadium except its disrepair. Wooden planks in the grandstand, like neglected teeth, are mostly loose or missing. Behind the tiny seating area, though, a sturdy column rises and supports a statue. It depicts a muscular, naked man heroically kicking a soccer ball into the beak of a trampled eagle.

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On the 9th of August 1942, a group of men who worked at Kiev’s Bakery #3 took on the might of the Nazi Luftwaffe team and triumphed.  The game was dubbed the “Death Match”.  It was a match that went down in legend and folklore.  It was a match that was used for Soviet propaganda.  It was a match that provided the inspiration for the 1981 film Escape to Victory.  It was a match where the events surrounding the game are still being discussed and debated.  It had come about because of the remarkable feats of F.C. Start.

On the 19th of September 1941 the Nazis successfully invaded and captured Kiev.  A few days after they took over the city, the Nazis slaughtered over 33,000 Jews at the ravine of Babi Yar.

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In their attempts to keep the local population under control the Nazi rulers decided to introduce a series of football matches in June 1942.  It was part of an effort to distract and pacify the populace with a sense of “normality.”  Little did they know that a group of former Dynamo and Lokomotiv Kiev players who worked at a bakery would turn into a symbol of resistance for the people of Kiev.

The formation of F.C. Start effectively began with Nikolai Trusevich.  Trusevich was the goalkeeper of Dynamo Kiev before the outbreak of World War II.  He enlisted in the army to defend Kiev but soon became a prisoner of war and was held in the Darnitsa camp after the Nazi’s captured the city.  Trusevich was eventually released, after signing papers pledging loyalty to the new regime (not that he had much choice considering the alternative), and returned to Kiev.

On August 6, 1942 FC Start played the German team Flakelf. There was an estimated 2,000 spectators in attendance, with each spectator paying a total of five rubles to attend. Zenit Stadium was lined with SS soldiers and police dogs as an attempt to intimidate the Start players.

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(I am not sure if this is an actual picture or from the movie which was made in 2012)

The Flakelf team consisted of German soldiers who manned antiaircraft guns around Kiev. FC Start dominated the first game by defeating the Germans 5-1. The German team would demand a rematch. The “Death Match” or second match took place on 9 August 1942 at the Kiev city stadium against the German team Flakelf, made up of air defense artillery football players.

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With an audience of 2000,the teams met again three days later, in the later so-called “Death Match”. The poster informed that Flakelf had a “strengthened” team but did not reveal any names. But it named 14 Start players, amongst them Lev Gundarev, Georgi Timofeyev and Olexander Tkachenko, Ukrainian policemen under German command.

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The score was 5–3 in favour of Start. Only the first half of the match is documented: The Germans opened the score, then Ivan Kuzmenko and Makar Honcharenko two times marked the 3–1 score for half time. After the match a German took a photograph of both teams showing a relaxed atmosphere. Some days later he offered a copy to former Lokomotiv player Volodymyr Balakin.This photograph was never published in Soviet times.

Afterwards the winners drank a glass of self-made vodka and met at a party in the evening.

There were stories that in the aftermath of the match the players of F.C. Start were rounded up and executed.  That wasn’t the case though as the team played one more game a week after the infamous “Death match,” thrashing Rukh 8:0.

On the 18th of August 1942 the Gestapo arrived at Bakery #3 and read out a list of names who were required for questioning.  The names were of the players of F.C. Start.  The Gestapo wanted to prove that the players were agents of the NKVD, the secret police, and knew that the organization had links to Dynamo Kiev prior to the war.  Apparently a picture of Nikolai Korotkykh in an NKVD uniform was discovered and he was tortured to death.  The story goes that his sister had turned him in after being interrogated by the Nazis.

The remaining members of the team were sent to a concentration camp at Syrets.  It was there, six months after they had been arrested, that Alexei Klimenko, Ivan Kuzmenko and Nikolai Trusevich met their fate.  The commander of the concentration camp, Paul Radomski, had ordered the prisoners of the camp to line-up and decreed that every third one would be shot.  There are differing reasons given for his decision to exact punishment, ranging from revenge for attacks by Soviet partisans to retribution for prisoner disobedience.  No matter what, they were three pillars of the F.C. Start side were felled.  Trusevich, it was said, was wearing the goalkeeping top he wore for F.C. Start in the final moments of his life.nikolai-trusevich

 

Makar Goncharenko, Mikhail Sviridovsky and Feodor Tyutchev, who were in Kiev as part of the work squad, took their opportunity to flee fearing that they would be killed if they returned to Syrets.

The reports give several reasons for the execution:

  • A conflict concerning the dog of the camp commandor Paul Radomski: Some prisoners were said to have beaten it with a shovel in the camp kitchen. On this situation one of the prisoners had attacked an SS soldier.Radomski
  • Punishment for the escape of some prisoners.
  • Disobiedience of prisoners who were ordered to hang other prisoners who tried to flee from the camp.
  • A sabotage act of partisans on a tank repair facility

After the fall of the Nazis the Soviet government initially played down the story of F.C Start with the exploits of the team only being recognized and broadly told in the late 1950s.  The regime soon came to realize the propaganda value of using the legend of F.C. Start to further their ideological cause. From then on the Soviet government used the story of F.C. Start for their own purposes.  They promoted the myth that a number of the team were immediately shot after the game and died for their ideology and ideals.  Indeed, when Goncharenko was discussing the aftermath of game in 1985 he claimed that Trusevich’s last words were “long live Stalin, long live Soviet Sport.”  Again, there are differing accounts of exactly what words, if any, Trusevic uttered.  Goncharenko may have felt obliged to give the regime’s version of events..

After the publication of a report in a German newspaper repeating the Soviet version a case about the “Death Match” was opened by the prosecution office of Hamburg in July 1974.As Soviet authorities did not collaborate on the case, it was closed in March 1976. In 2002 the Ukrainian authorities informed Hamburg about their new investigation. So the case was reopened, but finally closed by the investigation commission in February 2005. The commission was not able to find any connections between the game and the execution of people who participated in it, nor any person responsible for the executions being still alive. Radomski had been killed on 14 March 1945.

Either way one can not help but wonder if these men were killed because of the match.

Many may never have heard of this story while some may have forgotten it but the city of Kyiv shall forever remember this incredibly brave group of eleven men who stood for everything the city believed in, the men who held this city together through one year of the war, the men who defeated Germany, the men who expressed themselves through the sport they loved, the men who wanted to free Ukraine!

Two movies were inspired on the event. Although the 1981 one movie “Escape to Victory”directed by John Huston is only very loosely based on the match, the only similarities it has is a match between Germans and Non Germans during WWII. In the movie the Germans play allied POWs.

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In 2012 the Russian movie “Match” ,which is actually based on the event , caused quite some controversy in the Ukraine.

Regulators said the film could incite aggressive fans just weeks before Ukraine hosted several games played by Germany’s national team during the 2012 European Championship from June 8-July 1.

‘There always are people – hooligans – who use football to spill out their aggression and some of those people may be influenced by (the film),’ said political analyst Volodymyr Fesenko.

 

In the Dynamo Kiev Stadium  in Kiev a monument has been erected depicting some of the players reputedly executed by the Nazis.

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Whether the players were eventually executed or not I don’t really know for certain, but given the fact that the Germans were defeated twice must have been a blow to the Nazi propaganda machine and therefore it would not surprise me in the slightest that the  men were killed because of this.

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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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Karl Brandt Phyiscian or mad man

Primum non nocere is a Latin phrase that means “first, do no harm.

Non-maleficence, which is derived from the maxim, is one of the principal precepts of bioethics that all healthcare students are taught in school and is a fundamental principle throughout the world. But yet a great number of the Nazi physicians ignored this principle. Karl Brandt being one of the worst of them.

Today is the 68th anniversary of his execution.

Karl Brandt was born on the 8 of January 1904. He became a doctor and in August 1933, was summoned to Upper Bavaria to treat Wilhelm Bruckner, Hitler’s adjutant’s, who had been hurt in an automobile accident. Adolf Hitler was so impressed with his work that he invited Dr. Brandt to become his personal physician.

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Brandt joined Hitler’s inner circle and was given the rank of major-general in the Waffen-SS. He was also appointed Reich Commissioner for Health and Sanitation.

In 1935 Heinrich Hoffman recommended that Adolf Hitler should be examined by Dr. Theodor Morell. Morell claimed Hitler was suffering from “complete exhaustion of the intestinal system” and recommended treatment of vitamins, hormones, phosphorus, and dextrose.

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Brandt warned Hitler he was in danger of being poisoned by these large dosages of drugs and vitamins. Hitler rejected Brandt’s advice and replied: “No one has ever told me precisely what is wrong with me. Morrell’s method of cure is so logical that I have the greatest confidence in him. I shall follow his prescriptions to the letter.” Later he was to remark: “What luck I had to meet Morell. He has saved my life.”

Brandt was responsible for the Law for the Protection of Hereditary Health that was used to introduce compulsory sterilization. In August, 1939 the Reich Committee for the Scientific Registration of Serious Hereditary and Congenially Based Diseases was established.

In the context of the 1933 Nazi law Gesetz zur Verhütung erbkranken Nachwuchses (Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring), he was one of the medical scientists who performed abortions in great numbers on women deemed genetically disordered, mentally or physically handicapped or racially deficient, or whose unborn fetuses were expected to develop such genetic “defects”. These abortions had been legalized, as long as no healthy Aryan fetuses were aborted

On September 1, 1939, Brandt was appointed by Hitler co-head of the T-4 Euthanasia Program, with Philipp Bouhler.

https://dirkdeklein.wordpress.com/2016/04/08/forgotten-history-the-t-4-holocaust-victimsthe-killing-of-the-disabled/

https://dirkdeklein.wordpress.com/2016/05/19/action-14f13-the-killing-of-the-sick/

Additional power was afforded Brandt when on July 28, 1942, he was appointed Commissioner of Sanitation and Health (Bevollmächtiger für das Sanitäts und Gesundheitswesen) by Hitler and was thereafter only bound by the Führer’s instructions alone. He received regular promotions in the SS; by April 1944, Brandt was a SS-Gruppenführer in the Allgemeine-SS and a SS-Brigadeführer in the Waffen-SS. On April 16, 1945, he was arrested by the Gestapo for moving his family out of Berlin so they could surrender to American forces. He was condemned to death by a military court and then sent to Kiel.Brandt was released from arrest by order of Karl Dönitz on May 2, 1945. He was later placed under arrest by the British on May 23, 1945.

Brandt’s medical ethics, particularly regarding euthanasia, were influenced by Alfred Hoche, whose courses he attended.

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Like many other German doctors of the period, Brandt came to believe that the health of society as a whole should take precedence over that of its individual members. Because society was viewed as an organism that had to be cured, its weakest, most invalid and incurable members were only parts that should be removed. Such hapless creatures should therefore be granted a “merciful death” (Gnadentod).In addition to these considerations, Brandt’s explanation at his trial for his criminal actions – particularly ordering experimentation on human beings – was that “… Any personal code of ethics must give way to the total character of the war”. Historian Horst Freyhofer asserts that, in the absence of at least Brandt’s “tacit” approval, it is highly unlikely that the grotesque and cruel medical experiments for which the Nazi doctors are infamous, could have been performed. Brandt and Hitler discussed multiple killing techniques during the initial planning of the euthanasia program, during which Hitler asked Brandt, “which is the most humane way;” Brandt suggested the use of carbon monoxide gas, whereupon Hitler gave his approval and instructed Brandt to reach out to other physicians and begin to coordinate the mass killings.

The euthanasia programme was known as T-4 and began in autumn 1939. According to Ulf Schmidt, the author of Karl Brandt: The Nazi Doctor, the first person to die as a result of the T-4 programme was Gerhard Kretschmar, a child born on 29th February 1939. Documents show that the parents, who lived in the south-eastern region of Saxony, petitioned Adolf Hitler asking for the child to be “put to sleep”. Brandt claimed “it was a child who was born blind, an idiot – at least it seemed to be an idiot – and it lacked one leg and part of one arm.”

Carbon monoxide gas was selected as the means of death and several asylums were equipped with chambers for this purpose. Between October 1939 and August 1941, T-4 killed over 70,000 people.

 

“Because God cannot want the sick and ailing to reproduce.” is what it says on the propaganda poster below.

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As theSecond World War progressed the euthanasia program was used to exterminate people said to be biologically inferior, such as Jews, Poles, Russians and Gypsies.

Karl Brandt and his wife Anni were members of Hitler’s inner circle at Berchtesgaden where Hitler maintained his private residence known as the Berghof.

This very exclusive group functioned as Hitler’s de facto family circle. It included Eva Braun, Albert Speer, his wife Margarete, Dr. Theodor Morell, Martin Bormann, Hitler’s photographer Heinrich Hoffmann, Hitler’s adjutants and his secretaries. Brandt and Hitler’s chief architect Albert Speer were good friends as the two shared technocratic dispositions about their work. Brandt looked at killing “useless eaters” and the handicapped as a means to an end, namely since it was in the interest of public health. Similarly, Speer viewed the use of concentration camp labor for his defense and building projects in much the same way.As members of this inner circle, the Brandts had a residence near the Berghof and spent extensive time there when Hitler was present. In his memoirs, Speer described the numbing lifestyle of Hitler’s inner circle, forced to stay up most of the night listening to the insomniac Nazi leader’s repetitive monologues or to an unvarying selection of music. Despite Brandt’s closeness to Hitler, the dictator was furious when he learned On 16th April, 1945 the doctor had sent Anni and their son toward the American lines in hopes of evading capture by the Russians.

son

Only the intervention of Heinrich Himmler, Albert Speer, and the direct order of Admiral Doenitz after Brandt had been captured by the Gestapo and sent to Kiel in the war’s closing days, saved him from execution by the Nazi’s.

Brandt was one of the defendants in the trial of 23 SS physicians and scientists that began at Nuremberg on 9th December, 1946.The Doctor’s trial.

In court he was asked why he followed instructions to carry out medical experiments on patients. Brandt argued: “Would you believe that it was a pleasure to me to receive the order to start euthanasia? For fifteen years I had laboured at the sick-bed and every patient was to me like a brother, every sick child I worried about as if it had been my own. And then that hard fate hit me. Is that guilt? Was it not my first thought to limit the scope of euthanasia?… With the deepest devotion I have tortured myself again and again, but no philosophy and no other wisdom helped here. There was the decree and on it there was my name. I do not say that I could have feigned sickness. I do not live this life of mine in order to evade fate if I meet it. And thus I affirmed Euthanasia. I realise the problem is as old as man, but it is not a crime against man nor against humanity. Here I cannot believe like a clergyman or think as a Jurist. I am a doctor and I see the law of nature as being the law of reason. From that grew in my heart the love of man and it stands before my conscience.” The court was unimpressed and Brandt was sentenced to death.

With six others, he was sentenced to death by hanging, and all were executed at Landsberg Prison on June 2, 1948.

300px-Justizvollzugsanstalt_Landsberg_am_Lech

Nine other defendants received prison terms of between fifteen years and life, while a further seven were found not guilty.

Serial Killers-Not only a US and UK phenomenon

When we say serial killers we tend to think that this is really only a US and UK thing with a few exceptions every once in a while,. Maybe it is because the UK and US serial killers are more well known because of the media and several Hollywood portrayals.

We have all heard of Jeffrey Dahmer,Ted Bundy,John Wayne  Gacy, Peter Sutcliffe and Jack the Ripper, with the exception of Jack the Ripper all of these men were eventually caught.

But it is not restricted to the US and the UK it really is a global phenomenon, for the lack of a better word, in fact the most prolific serial killer is from Colombia.

Luis Garavito Child-murderer, torture-killer, and rapist known as ”La Bestia” (“The Beast”). Confessed to killing 140 children over a 5-year period in Colombia. He is suspected of murdering over 300 victims, mostly street children.

Luis_Garavito

Garavito was arrested on 22 April 1999. He confessed to murdering 140 children, and was charged with killing 172 altogether throughout Colombia. He was found guilty on 139 of the 172 accounts; the others are ongoing. Although the maximum sentence for murder in Colombia multiplied by 139 comes to 1,853 years and 9 days, Colombian law limits imprisonment to 40 years. Because he helped police find some bodies, as well as to his confessions, his sentence was further reduced to 22 years.He may possibly qualify for even earlier release for further cooperation and good behavior.

Although the first officially recorded serial killer was H. H. Holmes

H._H._Holmes

Herman Webster Mudgett (May 16, 1861 – May 7, 1896), better known under the name of Dr. Henry Howard Holmes or more commonly just H. H. Holmes, was one of the first documented serial killers in the modern sense of the term. In Chicago, at the time of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, Holmes opened a hotel which he had designed and built for himself specifically with murder in mind, and which was the location of many of his murders. While he confessed to 27 murders, of which nine were confirmed, his actual body count could be up to 200.He brought an unknown number of his victims to his World’s Fair Hotel, located about 3 miles (4.8 km) west of the fair, which was held in Jackson Park. Besides being a serial killer, H. H. Holmes was also a successful con artist and a bigamist.

In October 1895, Holmes was put on trial for the murder of Benjamin Pitezel, and was found guilty and sentenced to death. By then, it was evident that Holmes had also murdered the Pitezel children. Following his conviction, Holmes confessed to 30 murders in Chicago, Indianapolis and Toronto (though some he confessed to murdering were, in fact, still living), and six attempted murders. Holmes was paid $7,500 (worth $213,330 today) by the Hearst newspapers in exchange for his confession.

hearst

Holmes gave various contradictory accounts of his life, initially claiming innocence and later that he was possessed by Satan. His propensity for lying has made it difficult for researchers to ascertain the truth on the basis of his statements.[28] While writing his confessions in prison, Holmes mentioned how drastically his facial appearance had changed since his imprisonment. He described his new, grim appearance as “gruesome and taking a Satanical Cast”, and wrote that he was now convinced that after everything that he had done, he was beginning to resemble the Devil.

On May 7, 1896, Holmes was hanged at Moyamensing Prison, also known as the Philadelphia County Prison, for the murder of Benjamin Pitezel.

However it is believed although it wasn’t officially documented a French Nobleman by the name of Gilles de Rais, killed people centuries before H.H Holmes was even born.

gilles-tm

Gilles de Rais (born 1404) is considered to be the precursor to the modern serial killer. Before he began his killing spree, he rode as a military captain in the army lead by St Joan of Arc – though it is unlikely that she knew him. He was accused and ultimately convicted of torturing, raping and murdering dozens, if not hundreds, of young children, mainly boys.

According to surviving accounts, Rais lured children, mainly young boys who were blond haired and blue eyed (as he had been as a child), to his residences, and raped, tortured and mutilated them, often ejaculating, perhaps via masturbation, over the dying victim. He and his accomplices would then set up the severed heads of the children in order to judge which was the most fair. The precise number of Rais’s victims is not known, as most of the bodies were burned or buried. The number of murders is generally placed between 80 and 200; a few have conjectured numbers upwards of 600. The victims ranged in age from six to eighteen and included both sexes. Although Rais preferred boys, he would make do with young girls if circumstances required.

At the transcript of the trial, one of Gilles servants Henriet (an accomplice to his crimes) described the actions of his master, which were essentially:

Henriet soon began to collect children for his master, and was present whilst he massacred them. They were murdered invariably in one room at Machecoul. The marshal used to bathe in their blood; he was fond of making Gilles do Sillé, Pontou, or Henriet torture them, and he experienced intense pleasure in seeing them in their agonies. But his great passion was to welter in their blood. His servants would stab a child in the jugular vein, and let the blood squirt over him. The room was often steeped in blood. When the horrible deed was done, and the child was dead, the marshal would be filled with grief for what he had done, and would toss weeping and praying on a bed, or recite fervent prayers and litanies on his knees, whilst his servants washed the floor, and burned in the huge fireplace the bodies of the murdered children. With the bodies were burned the clothes and everything that had belonged to the little victims. An insupportable odour filled the room, but the Maréchal do Retz inhaled it with delight

Execution by hanging and burning was set for Wednesday 26 October 1440. At nine o‘clock, Gilles and his two accomplices made their way in procession to the place of execution on the Ile de Biesse. Gilles is said to have addressed the crowd with contrite piety and exhorted Henriet and Poitou to die bravely and think only of salvation. Gilles’ request to be the first to die had been granted the day before. At eleven o’clock, the brush at the platform was set afire and Rais was hanged. His body was cut down before being consumed by the flames and claimed by “four ladies of high rank” for burial. Henriet and Poitou were executed in similar fashion but their bodies were reduced to ashes in the flames and then scattered.

Of course sometimes it is the ones you trust the most who turn out to be the real monsters, like in the case of Dr Harold Shipman.

Harold_Shipman_mug_shot

Harold Frederick Shipman (14 January 1946 – 13 January 2004) was a British GP and one of the most prolific serial killer in recorded history. On 31 January 2000, a jury found Shipman guilty of 15 murders, but an inquiry after his conviction confirmed he was responsible for at least 218. He was sentenced to life imprisonment and the judge recommended that he never be released.

The Shipman Inquiry, chaired by Dame Janet Smith, began on 1 September 2000. Lasting almost two years, it was an investigation into all deaths certified by Shipman. About 80% of his victims were women. His youngest victim was a 41-year-old man Much of Britain’s legal structure concerning health care and medicine was reviewed and modified as a result of Shipman’s crimes. He is the only British doctor to have been found guilty of murdering his patients, although various other doctors have been acquitted of similar crimes in the country.

Shipman injected the victim with a lethal dose of the painkiller diamorphine and then signed a death certificate attributing the incident to natural causes. His motives were unclear; some speculated that Shipman may have been seeking to avenge the death of his mother, while others suggested that he thought he was practicing euthanasia, removing from the population older people who might otherwise have become a burden to the health care system. A third possibility raised was that he derived pleasure from the knowledge that, as a doctor, he had the power of life or death over his patients and that killing was the means through which he expressed this power. Despite his forgery of the will of one of his victims, financial gain appears not to have been a serious motive.

Shipman died on 13 January 2004, the day before his 58th birthday, after hanging himself in his cell at Wakefield Prison.

Several years ago I watched a movie called Citizen X.

X

It was based on the true story of a Russian serial killer who, over many years, claimed over 50 victims, mostly under the age of 17. In what was then a Communist state, the police investigations were hampered by bureaucracy, incompetence and those in power. The story is told from the viewpoint of the detective in charge of the case.

The name of this killer was Andrei Chikatilo

This case intrigued because I vividly remembered parts of  court case being televised and I remembered him sitting in  a cage in the courtroom.

Andrei Chikatilo was a Ukrainian serial killer, nicknamed the Butcher of Rostov and ‘The Red Ripper.’ He was convicted of the murder of 53 women and children between 1978 and 1990. In 1978, Chikatilo moved to Shakhty, a small coal mining town near Rostov, where he committed his first documented murder. On December 22, he lured a nine-year-old girl to an old house which he bought in secret from his family and attempted to rape her.

Yelena_Zakotnova

(Yelena Zakotnova, aged 9. Murdered 22 December 1978.)

When the girl struggled, he stabbed her to death. He ejaculated in the process of knifing the child, and from then on he was only able to achieve sexual arousal and orgasm through stabbing and slashing women and children to death. Despite evidence linking Chikatilo to the girl’s death, a young man, Alexsandr Kravchenko, was arrested and later tried and executed for the crime.

He established a pattern of approaching runaways and young vagrants at bus or railway stations and enticing them to leave. A quick trip into a nearby forest was the scene for the victim’s death. In 1983, he did not kill until June, but then he murdered four victims before September. The victims were all women and children. The adult females were often prostitutes or homeless tramps who could be lured with promises of alcohol or money. Chikatilo would usually attempt intercourse with these victims, but would usually be unable to get an erection, which would send him into a murderous fury. The child victims were of both sexes, and Chikatilo would lure them away with his friendly, talkative manner by promising them toys or candy. In the USSR at the time, reports of crimes like child rape and serial murder were often suppressed by the state-controlled media, as such crimes were regarded as being common only in “hedonistic capitalist nations.”

On 13 September 1984, exactly one week after his 15th killing of the year, Chikatilo was observed by an undercover detective attempting to lure young women away from a Rostov bus station. He was arrested and held. A search of his belongings revealed a knife and rope.He was also discovered to be under investigation for minor theft at one of his former employers, which gave the investigators the legal right to hold him for a prolonged period of time. Chikatilo’s dubious background was uncovered, and his physical description matched the description of the man seen with Dmitry Ptashnikov in March prior to the boy’s murder. A sample of Chikatilo’s blood was taken; the results of which revealed his blood group to be type A, whereas semen samples found upon a total of six victims murdered by the unknown killer throughout the spring and summer of 1984 had been classified by medical examiners to be type AB. Chikatilo’s name was added to the card index file used by investigators; however, the results of his blood type analysis largely discounted him as being the unknown killer. (By Chikatilo’s arrest, the index file had expanded to include over 25,000 individuals investigated in connection with the murders.

Chikatilo was found guilty of theft of property from his previous employer and sentenced to one year in prison, but was freed on 12 December 1984 after serving three months.

In 1988 Chikatilo resumed killing, generally keeping his activities far from the Rostov area. He murdered a woman in Krasny-Sulin in April and went on to kill another eight people that year, including two victims in Shakhty. Again there was a long lapse before Chikatilo resumed killing, murdering seven boys and two women between January and November of 1990. He was finally caught when trying to approach young children whilst under police surveillance.

He went to trial on April 14, 1992. Despite his odd and disruptive behavior in court, he was judged fit to stand trial. During the trial he was famously kept in a cage in the center of the courtroom; it was constructed for his own protection from the relatives of the deceased. The trial had a very disturbing atmosphere. The relatives kept shouting threats and insults to Chikatilo, demanding the authorities to release him so that they could execute him on their own. He was found guilty of 52 of the 53 murders and sentenced to death for each offense.

He was executed by firing squad (shot in the back of the head) on February 14, 1994 after Russian president Boris Yeltsin refused a last ditch appeal by Chikatilo for clemency.

The novel Child 44 is loosely based on Chikatilo.

Most of these men looked like ordinary men, not the bogey man we were warned about as kids.

bogeyman (1)

The one thing that they have in common is that were all evil and not all of them had a bad childhood in fact most of them were very privileged. Although I am not a psychiatrist so this is my own opinion, I do believe that some people are just born evil.

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Zegota- WWII Heroes

Would you risk your own life 

and your family’s to save another human being?

tree-honor-zegota02

That is the question anyone aiding Jews would have asked themselves each day.

Would you risk your own life
and your family’s to save another human being?

I am not sure if I would.

Zegota is a story of thousands of those who did. It happened during World War II under the brutal Nazi Germany occupation of Poland. The risk takers were Polish Christians who saved Polish Jews destined for Shoah. They came from all areas of life, educated or not, religious or not, from large cities or small villages, as members of Polish resistance or as unorganized individuals. They all knew the possible price to be paid, nevertheless they acted.

 

“Żegota” (also known as the “Konrad Żegota Committee”, was a codename for the Polish Council to Aid Jews , an underground organization of Polish resistance in German-occupied Poland active from 1942 to 1945.

The Council to Aid Jews operated under the auspices of the Polish Government in Exile through the Government Delegation for Poland, in Warsaw. Żegota aided the country’s Jews and found places of safety for them in occupied Poland. Poland was the only country in Nazi-occupied Europe where there existed such an organization.

The Council to Aid Jews, Żegota, was the continuation of an earlier secret organization set up for this purpose, called the Provisional Committee to Aid Jews (Tymczasowy Komitet Pomocy Żydom), founded in September 1942 by Zofia Kossak-Szczucka and Wanda Krahelska-Filipowicz (“Alinka”) and made up of democratic as well as Catholic activists. Its members included Władysław Bartoszewski, later Polish Foreign Minister (1995, 2000).

Władysław Bartoszewski

Within a short time, the Provisional Committee had 180 persons under its care, but was dissolved for political and financial reasons.

Founded soon after in October 1942, Żegota was the brainchild of Henryk Woliński of the Home Army (AK).

Henryk_Wolinski

From its inception, the elected General Secretary of Żegota was Julian Grobelny, an activist in prewar Polish Socialist Party. Its Treasurer, Ferdynand Arczyński, was a member of the Polish Democratic Party. They were also the two of its most active workers. Żegota was the only Polish organization in World War II run jointly by Jews and non-Jews from a wide range of political movements. Politically, the organization was formed by Polish and Jewish underground political parties.

MTAyNHg3Njg,zegota

Jewish organizations were represented on the central committee by Adolf Bermann and Leon Feiner. The member organizations were the Jewish National Committee (an umbrella group representing the Zionist parties) and the socialist General Jewish Labor Union. Both Jewish parties operated independently also, using money from Jewish organizations abroad channelled to them by the Polish underground. They helped to subsidize the Polish branch of the organization, whose funding from the Polish Government-in-Exile reached significant proportions only in the spring of 1944. On the Polish side, political participation included the Polish Socialist Party as well as Democratic Party (Stronnictwo Demokratyczne) and a small rightist Front Odrodzenia Polski. Notably, the main right-wing party, the National Party (Stronnictwo Narodowe) refused to participate.

Kossack-Szczucka withdrew from participation from the onset. She had wanted Żegota to become an example of pure Christian charity and argued that the Jews had their own international charity organizations. She went on to act in the Social Self-Help Organization (Społeczna Organizacja Samopomocy – SOS) as a liaison between Żegota and Catholic convents and orphanages, where Catholic clergy hid many Jews.

It is estimated that about half of the Jews who survived the Holocaust in Poland (thus over 50,000) were aided in some shape or form by Żegota founded in 1942. Żegota had around one hundred (100) cells, operating mostly in Warsaw where it distributed relief funds to about 3,000 Jews. The second-largest branch was in Kraków, and there were smaller branches in Wilno (Vilnius) and Lwów (L’viv). In all, 4,000 Jews received funds from Żegota directly, 5,600 from the Jewish National Committee and 2,000 from the Bund (because of overlaps, the total number of Jews helped by all three organizations in Warsaw was about 8,500). This aid reached about one-third of the Jews in hiding in Warsaw, but mostly not until late 1943 or 1944. The systematic killing of Jews began to take place, so it was hard to save Jews already in the ghetto. That is why they only protected Jews located in hiding in Poland.

Concealing Jews was punishable in Poland by death for all the persons living in the house where they were discovered. A difficult problem therefore was to find hiding places for persons who looked Jewish. Zegota was on a constant lookout for suitable accommodations. No estimate can be given of the magnitude of this form of aid by Zegota, but it appears to have been great. Children were put in the care of foster families, into public orphanages or similar institutions maintained by convents. The foster families were told that the children were relatives, distant or close, and they were paid by Zegota for the children’s maintenance. In Warsaw, Zegota had 20-500 children registered whom it looked after in this way.

children

The head of the children section was Polish Nurse and Social worker called Irena Sendler.

Irena_Sendlerowa_1942

Assisted by some two dozen other Żegota members, Sendler smuggled approximately 2,500 Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto and then provided them with false identity documents and shelter outside the Ghetto, saving those children from the Holocaust.

Żegota helped save some 4,000 Polish Jews by providing food, medical care, relief money and false identity documents for those hiding on the so-called “Aryan” side of German-occupied Poland. Most of its activity took place in Warsaw. The Jewish National Committee had some 5,600 Jews under its care, and the Bund an additional 1,500, but the activities of the three organizations overlapped to a considerable degree. Between them, they were able to reach some 8,500 of the 28,000 Jews hiding in Warsaw, as well as perhaps 1,000 elsewhere in Poland.

Help in the form of money, food and medicines was organised by Żegota for the Jews in several forced labour camps in Poland as well. Forged identity documents were procured for those hiding on the ‘Aryan side’ including financial aid. The escape of Jews from ghettos, camps and deportation trains occurred mostly spontaneously through personal contacts, and most of the help that was extended to Jews in the country was similarly personal in nature. Since Jews in hiding preferred to remain well-concealed, Żegota had trouble finding them. Its activities therefore did not develop on a larger scale until late in 1943.

Medical attention for the Jews in hiding was also made available. Zegota had ties with many ghettos and camps. It also made numerous efforts to induce the Polish government – in – exile and the Delegatura to appeal to the Polish population to help the persecuted Jews.Below is a letter they sent to the exiled government,asking for funding.

letter

“The Mass Extermination of Jews in German Occupied Poland”, by the Polish government-in-exile addressed to the wartime allies of the then-United Nations, 1942″

The_Mass_Extermination_of_Jews_in_German_Occupied.pdf

Over 700 Polish heroes, murdered by Germans as a result of helping and sheltering their Jewish neighbors, were posthumously awarded the title Righteous Among the Nations[6] They were only a small percentage of thousands of Poles reportedly executed by the Nazis for aiding Jews. According to differing research “the number of Poles who perished at the hands of the Germans for aiding Jews” was as high as fifty thousand. Nonetheless, “Władysław Bartoszewski,

Wladyslaw_Bartoszewski_01

who worked for Żegota during the war estimates that ‘at least several hundred thousand Poles, participated in various ways and forms in the rescue action [for Jews].’ Recent research suggests that a million Poles were involved” in giving aid, “but some estimates go as high as three million” of those passively protective.More specific estimates indicate that some 100,000 of those who meet Yad Vashem’s criteria, to 300,000 Poles were directly engaged in rescuing Jews even though the threat of death did act as a deterrent.

Many members of Żegota were memorialised in Israel in 1963 with a planting of a tree in the Avenue of the Righteous at Yad Vashem. Władysław Bartoszewski was present at the event.

The third anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising with members of Żegota,Warsaw, April 1946. Seated, from right to left: Piotr Gajewski, Ferdynand Marek Arczyński, Władysław Bartoszewski, Adolf Berman and Tadeusz Rek.

300px-Zegota(Rada_Pomocy_Zydom)1946

I think all these brave men and women have taught us one vital lesson that there is always a choice. You can choose to just look away or act like they did and I know it is not alwaysan easy choice but a choice nonetheless.

Attack on Sydney Harbour

sydney

Not to sound too much like the beginning line of a Sting song, but in Europe and America I don’t think much is known about Australia during WWII.

I was actually doing research on a different story when I stumbled upon the story of the attack on Sydney Harbour.

I had the pleasure to visit this beautiful city once(may I add after a 17 hr delay thanks to Quantas Airlines) a few years ago, and I had not seen anything  to indicate that the Japanese navy had ever attacked its beautiful harbour,but then again I wasn’t looking for it either.

 

In May and June 1942 the war was brought home to Australians on the east coast when the Japanese attacked Sydney Harbour from the sea.

The Japanese planned to launch the midgets one after the other between 17:20 and 17:40, from points 5–7 nmi (5.8–8.1 mi; 9.3–13.0 km) outside Sydney Harbour.The first midget was to pass through the Heads just after 18:30, but heavy seas delayed her by over an hour.The other two midgets followed at twenty-minute intervals and were similarly delayed.

The choice of targets was left up to the midget commanders, with advice that they should primarily target aircraft carriers or battleships, with cruisers as secondary targets. The midgets were to operate to the east of the Harbour Bridge, although if no suitable targets were to be found in this area they were to move under the Bridge and attack a battleship and large cruiser believed to be in the inner harbour. When the second reconnaissance flyover revealed that the expected British battleship—HMS Warspite—was nowhere to be found,

 

HMS_Warspite,_Indian_Ocean_1942

USS Chicago became the priority target.

USS_Chicago_(P00279-004)

 

After completing their mission, the midgets were to depart Sydney Harbour and head south for 20 nmi (23 mi; 37 km) to the recovery point off Port Hacking. Four of the mother submarines would be waiting in an east–west line 16 km (8.6 nmi; 9.9 mi) long, with the fifth waiting 6 km (3.2 nmi; 3.7 mi) further south.
 

In the late afternoon of 31 May 1942 three Japanese submarines, I-22, I-24 and I-27, sitting about seven nautical miles (13 kilometres) out from Sydney Harbour, each launched a Type A midget submarine for an attack on shipping in Sydney Harbour.

sub

The night before, I-24 had launched a small floatplane that flew over the harbour, its crew spotting a prize target – an American heavy cruiser, the USS Chicago. The Japanese hoped to sink this warship and perhaps others anchored in the harbour.

Fujita&Glen

After launching the three two-man midget submarines, the three mother submarines moved to a new position off Port Hacking to await the return of the six submariners sent into the harbour. They would wait there until 3 June.

All three midget submarines made it into the harbour. Electronic detection equipment picked up the signature of the first (from I-24) late that evening but it was thought to be either a ferry or another vessel on the surface passing by. Later, a Maritime Services Board watchman spotted an object caught in an anti-submarine net. After investigation, naval patrol boats reported it was a submarine and the general alarm was raised just before 10.30 pm. Soon afterwards, the midget submarine’s crew, Lieutenant Kenshi Chuma and Petty Officer Takeshi Ohmori, realising they were trapped, blew up their craft and themselves.

Before midnight, alert sailors on the deck of USS Chicago spotted another midget submarine. They turned a searchlight on it and opened fire but it escaped. Later, gunners on the corvette HMAS Geelong also fired on a suspicious object believed to be the submarine.

 

The response to the attack was marred by confusion. Vision was limited and ferries continued to run as the midget submarines were hunted. At about 12.30 am there was an explosion on the naval depot ship HMAS Kuttabul, a converted harbour ferry, which was moored at Garden Island as an accommodation vessel. The crew of the midget submarine from I-24 had fired at the USS Chicago but missed, the torpedo striking the Kuttabul instead. Nineteen Australian and two British sailors on the Kuttabul died, the only Allied deaths resulting from the attack, and survivors were pulled from the sinking vessel.

Kuttabul_(AWM_042975)

A second torpedo fired by the same midget submarine ran aground on rocks on the eastern side of Garden Island, failing to explode.

Sydney_torpedo_(305024)

Having fired both their torpedoes, the crew made for the harbour entrance but they disappeared, their midget submarine perhaps running out of fuel before reaching the submarines’ rendezvous point.

The third midget submarine from I-22 failed to make it far into the harbour. Spotted in Taylors Bay and attacked with depth charges by naval harbour patrol vessels, Lieutenant Keiu Matsuo and Petty Officer Masao Tsuzuku, shot themselves.

matsuotsuzuku

The mother submarines departed the area after it became obvious that their midget submarines would not be returning. The submarine I-24 is believed to have been responsible for a number of attacks on merchant ships as well as shelling Sydney Harbour a week later.

I-26_Japanese_submarine

(the picture is from an I-26 submarine which was similar to the i-24)

The bodies of the four Japanese crewmen from the midget submarines launched by I-22 and I-27 were recovered when these two midget submarines were raised. They were cremated at Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs Crematorium with full naval honours. Rear Admiral Muirhead-Gould, in charge of Sydney Harbour defences, along with the Swiss Consul-General and members of the press, attended the service.

Muirhead-Gould

The admiral’s decision to accord the enemy a military funeral was criticised by many Australians but he defended his decision to honour the submariners’ bravery. He also hoped that showing respect for the dead men might help to improve the conditions of the many Australians in Japanese prisoner of war camps.

 

After the recovery of the two midget submarines a composite was constructed using the bow section of one and the stern of the other. It was decided to use this composite midget submarine to raise money for the Royal Australian Navy Relief Fund and the King George Fund for Merchant Sailors. The composite submarine was first put on display at Bennelong Point, now the site of the Sydney Opera House, and people paid a small fee to see it. It was then transported by truck on a 4000-kilometre journey through south-eastern Australia raising further funds. Eleven months after the submarine raid, the composite submarine was installed at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

In 1968, Lieutenant Matsuo’s mother travelled to Australia to visit the spot where her son had died. During her visit she scattered cherry blossoms in the water where her son’s midget submarine had been located and later she presented a number of gifts to the Australian War Memorial.

In November 2006, part of the mystery of the midget submarine from I-24 was solved when divers discovered the wreck of the submarine off Sydney’s northern beaches. We will probably never know if Lieutenant Ban and his navigator, Petty Officer Ashibe Mamoru intended to rejoin their ‘mother’ submarine or whether they had no intention of returning and simply scuttled their vessel.

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The Bombing of Cologne-90 minutes that changed the city.

Mass_bomber_raid_on_Cologne

One of my favourite cities in Germany is Cologne. known for Eaux de Cologne and for its many landmarks like the Cathedral.

The Cologne of the 21st Century is a vibrant and multicultural metropolitan city only about 80 km away from Belgium and about 95 Km from the Netherlands.

1000px-Cologne_-_Panoramic_Image_of_the_old_town_at_dusk

This location and the fact that the Rhine flows through it add the industrial hinterland made it a prime target for the allies.

Cologne had been bombed throughout the war the first time on the 17th of May 1940. In total there had been 262 separate air raids. However one of the most devastating raids happened on the 30th of May 1942.

On the 30th of May 1942 , a thousand-plane raid on the German city of Cologne was launched by Great Britain. Almost 1,500 tons of bombs rain down in 90 minutes, delivering a devastating blow to the Germans’ medieval city as well as its morale.

Codenamed Operation Millennium, the massive raid was launched for two primary reasons:

  • It was expected that the devastation from such raids might be enough to knock Germany out of the war or at least severely damage German morale.
  • The raids were useful propaganda for the Allies and particularly for RAF Bomber Command head Sir Arthur Harris, 1st Baronet’s concept of a Strategic Bombing Offensive.

Air_Chief_Marshal_Sir_Arthur_Harris

Bomber Command’s poor performance in bombing accuracy during 1941 had led to calls for the force to be split up and diverted to other urgent theatres i.e. Battle of the Atlantic. A headline-grabbing heavy raid on Germany was a way for Harris to demonstrate to the War Cabinet that given the investment in numbers and technology Bomber Command could make a vital contribution to victory.

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At this stage of the war Bomber Command only had a regular front line strength of around 400 aircraft, and were in the process of transitioning from the twin engined medium bombers of the pre-war years to the newer more effective four-engined heavy bombers such as the Handley Page Halifax and Avro Lancaster.

By using bombers and men from Operational Training Units (OTUs), 250 from RAF Coastal Command and from Flying Training Command, Harris could easily make up the 1,000 aircraft. However, just before the raid took place, the Royal Navy refused to allow the Coastal Command aircraft to take part in the raid.The Admiralty perceived the propaganda justifications too weak an argument against the real and pressing threat of the U-boats in the Battle of the Atlantic. Harris scrambled around and, by crewing 49 more aircraft with pupil pilots and instructors, 1,047 bombers eventually took part in the raid, two and a half times more than any previous raid by the RAF.

In addition to the bombers attacking Cologne, 113 other aircraft on “Intruder” raids harassed German night-fighter airfields.

Cologne was not Harris’s first choice; he wanted to bomb Hamburg. Poor weather made Hamburg a poor choice; in addition, Harris was advised by Dr. Basil Dickins, a scientist who was section head of RAF’s Bomber Command’s Operations research, to choose Cologne, which was within GEE range.

This was the first time that the “bomber stream” tactic was used and most of the tactics used in this raid remained the basis for standard Bomber Command operations for the next two years and some elements remained in use until the end of the war. It was expected that such a large number of bombers flying in a bomber stream through the Kammhuber line would overwhelm the German night fighters’ control system, keeping the number of bombers shot down to an acceptable proportion. The recent introduction of GEE allowed the bombers to fly a given route at a given time and height. The British night bombing campaign had been in operation for some months, and a statistical estimate could be made of the number of bombers likely to be lost to enemy night fighters and flak, and how many would be lost through collisions. Minimising the former demanded a densely packed stream, as the controllers of a night fighter flying a defensive ‘box’ could only direct a maximum of six potential interceptions per hour, and the flak gunners could not concentrate on all the available targets at once. Earlier in the war four hours had been considered acceptable for a mission; for this raid all the bombers passed over Cologne and bombed in a window of 90 minutes, with the first having arrived at 00:47 of 31 May. It was anticipated that the concentration of bombing over such a short period would overwhelm the Cologne fire brigades and cause conflagrations similar to those inflicted on London by the Luftwaffe during the Blitz.

 

In the raid, 868 aircraft bombed the main target with 15 aircraft bombing other targets. The total tonnage of bombs dropped was 1,455 tons with two-thirds of that being incendiaries. Two and a half thousand separate fires were started with 1,700 classed by the German fire brigades as “large”. The action of fire fighters and the width of the streets stopped the fires combining into a firestorm, but nonetheless most of the damage was done by fire and not directly by the explosive blasts. 3,330 non-residential buildings were destroyed, 2,090 seriously damaged and 7,420 lightly damaged, making a total of 12,840 buildings of which 2,560 were industrial or commercial buildings. Among the buildings classed as totally destroyed were: 7 official administration buildings, 14 public buildings, 7 banks, 9 hospitals, 17 churches, 16 schools, 4 university buildings, 10 postal and railway buildings, 10 buildings of historic interest, 2 newspaper offices, 4 hotels, 2 cinemas and 6 department stores. The only military installation damaged was the flak barracks. The damage to civilian homes, most of them apartments in larger buildings, was considerable: 13,010 destroyed, 6,360 seriously damaged, 22,270 lightly damaged.Amazingly the Cathedral survived.

1,047 aircraft were dispatched, this number being made up as follows:

    • 1 Group – 156 Wellingtons
    • 3 Group – 134 Wellingtons, 88 Stirlings
    • 4 Group – 131 Halifaxes, 9 Wellingtons, 7 Whitleys =

147 aircraft

    • 5 Group – 73 Lancasters, 46 Manchesters, 34 Hampdens =

153 aircraft

    • 91 (O. T. U.) Group – 236 Wellingtons, 21 Whitleys =

257 aircraft 92 (O. T. U.) Group – 63 Wellingtons, 45 Hampdens = 108 aircraft Flying Training Command – 4 Wellingtons

The number reported killed was between 469 and 486, of whom 411 were civilians and 58 combatants. 5,027 people were listed as injured and 45,132 as “bombed out”.It was estimated that from 135,000 to 150,000 of Cologne’s population of nearly 700,000 fled the city after the raid. The RAF lost 43 aircraft (German propaganda claimed 44) 3.9% of the 1,103 bombers sent on the raid. 22 aircraft were lost over or near Cologne, 16 shot down by flak, 4 by night fighters, 2 in a collision, and 2 Bristol Blenheim light bombers lost in attacks on night fighter airfields. A posthumous Victoria Cross was awarded to Flying Officer Leslie Thomas Manser who sacrificed himself so his crew could abandon the aircraft.

Leslie_Manser

 

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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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William Joyce-AKA Lord Haw Haw

haw haw

Regardless what you think of the Nazi’s, one thing can’t be denied. They had an extremely effective  and well oiled propaganda machine.

Not only German Nazi members and citizens were involved it had also foreign Nazi sympathizers working for them and none so infamous and notorious as William Joyce AKA Lord Haw Haw.

William Joyce was born on Herkimer Street in Brooklyn, New York, to an Anglican mother and an Irish Catholic father, Michael, who had taken United States citizenship on 25 October 1894. A few years after his birth, the family returned to Galway, Ireland.

Joyce attended the Jesuit St Ignatius College in Galway (1915–21).

Colaiste-Iognaid-Press

It was here that during a fist fight with another boy that Joyce had his nose broken. He kept quiet about the injury and his nose never properly set – giving him the nasal broken drawl so familiar in his later broadcasts from Germany

Unusually for Irish Roman Catholics, both Joyce and his father were strongly Unionist. Joyce later claimed he had aided the Black and Tans during the Irish War for Independence

and had become a target of the Irish Republican Army.

Hogan's_Flying_Column

The Joyce family were in Ireland at the time of the Sinn Fein insurrections and because they were Conservative and pro-Union they were very unpopular with the rebels. Joyce’s early life was marked by violence, including an attack on his father’s business and attacks on the family home by Sinn Feiners. When the British Prime Minister Lloyd George announced the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921 and the creation of the Irish State the Joyce family left for England. Joyce was then 15 years old.

Far from being the puny figure described by the press during World War II, William Joyce was of average height and strongly built. During his youth he excelled at boxing, swimming and fencing. This was to hold him in good stead later when he was involved in many street battles.

On 22 October 1924, while stewarding a meeting in support of Jack Lazarus (the Conservative Party candidate for Lambeth North in the general election), Joyce was attacked by Communists and received a deep razor slash that ran across his right cheek. It left a permanent scar which ran from the earlobe to the corner of the mouth.He claimed his attackers were Jews.

SCAR

In 1932, Joyce joined the British Union of Fascists (BUF) under Sir Oswald Mosley, and swiftly became a leading speaker, praised for his power of oratory.

The journalist and novelist Cecil Roberts described a speech given by Joyce:

“Thin, pale, intense, he had not been speaking many minutes before we were electrified by this man … so terrifying in its dynamic force, so vituperative, so vitriolic”

William Joyce gained the reputation of a savage fighter and was always the first to dive into a fracas with knuckle-duster at the ready. The image of “Jewish Communists” who scarred his face was always in the back of his mind and he wanted revenge. Standing on his soapbox in Blackshirt battledress – a buttoned black suit with a high-necked pullover – his left hand in his pocket and his right clutching the microphone – he fed on the tension and heckling like a drug. The June 1934 Olympia conference which turned into a bloody fight and the violent rhetoric of Joyce destroyed the image of respectability that Mosley and the BUF were striving for. But this did not prevent Joyce from being appointed Deputy Leader of the BUF.

His violent rhetoric and willingness to physically confront anti-fascist elements head-on played no small part in further marginalizing the BUF. After the bloody debacle of Olympia, Joyce spearheaded the BUF’s policy shift from campaigning for economic revival through corporatism to a focus on antisemitism. He was instrumental in changing the name of the BUF to “British Union of Fascists and National Socialists” in 1936, and stood as a party candidate in the 1937 elections to the London County Council. In 1936 Joyce lived for a year in Whitstable, where he owned a radio and electrical shop.

One particular concern for Joyce was the Government of India Bill (passed in 1935), designed to give a measure of autonomy to India, allowing freedom and the development of limited self-government. Joyce harboured a desire to become Viceroy of India should Mosley ever head a BUF government, and is recorded as describing the backers of the bill as “feeble” and “one loathsome, fetid, purulent, tumid mass of hypocrisy, hiding behind Jewish Dictators

Mosley and Joyce were completely different in character. Mosley was relaxed, humorous and charming whereas Joyce was impatient, intense and bad-tempered. Joyce’s departure from the BUF in April 1937 came as a result of Joyce being dismissed from the salaried staff of the BUF. Bad election results, falling support and lack of money led to a BUF staff reduction of 143 to approximately 30. This and Joyce’s personal differences with Mosley led Joyce to form the British National Socialist League.

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Despite Joyce having been Deputy Leader of the BUF between 1933 and 1937 and a brave fighter and powerful orator, Mosley snubbed him in his autobiography and denounced him as a traitor because of his wartime activities.

On 26 August 1939, approximately a week before the outbreak of war, Joyce and his family fled to Berlin after a tip-off that, under the soon to be introduced emergency powers, he would be interned for the duration of the war. It was an act that would lead eventually to his death and denouncement by many, including Mosley, as a traitor. Rightly or wrongly Joyce was adamant that Britain was being led into another pointless war and Neville Chamberlain’s, and subsequently Winston Churchill’s, governments were betraying their people.

In Berlin, Joyce could not find employment until a chance meeting with fellow Mosleyite Dorothy Eckersley got him an audition at the Rundfunkhaus (“broadcasting house“).Eckersley was the former wife  of the Chief Engineer of the British Broadcasting Corporation, Peter Eckersley. Despite having a heavy cold and almost losing his voice, he was recruited immediately for radio announcements and script writing at German radio’s English service. William Joyce replaced Wolf Mittler.

wolf

The name “Lord Haw-Haw of Zeesen” was coined in 1939 by the pseudonymous Daily Express radio critic Jonah Barrington,but this referred initially to Wolf Mittler (or possibly Norman Baillie-Stewart). When Joyce became the best-known propaganda broadcaster, the nickname was transferred to him. Joyce’s broadcasts initially came from studios in Berlin, later transferring (because of heavy Allied bombing) to Luxembourg and finally to Apen near Hamburg, and were relayed over a network of German-controlled radio stations that included Hamburg, Bremen,Luxembourg, Hilversum, Calais, Oslo and Zeesen. Joyce also broadcast on, and wrote scripts for, the German Büro Concordia organisation, which ran several black propaganda stations, many of which pretended to broadcast illegally from within Britain.His role in writing the scripts increased as time passed, and the German radio capitalized on his public persona. Initially an anonymous broadcaster, Joyce eventually revealed his real name to his listeners; and he would occasionally be announced as “William Joyce, otherwise known as Lord Haw-Haw”.Urban legends soon circulated about Lord Haw-Haw, alleging that the broadcaster was well-informed about political and military events to the point of near-omniscience.

Although it was illegal to listen to his broadcasts in Britain they became very popular with British listeners. They always began with the words “Germany calling Germany calling,” which because of Joyce’s broken nose sounded like: “Jarmany calling, Jarmany calling.” During his heyday Joyce had almost as many listeners as the BBC – and he caused alarm with his tales of a Fifth Column in Britain and his talks on how to treat bombing wounds. He caused panic with his apparently accurate descriptions of Town Hall clocks that had stopped and how many steps there were in a particular church steeple.

After the Battle of Britain and the invasion of Russia, Joyce’s broadcasts lost more and more listeners in Britain – but he still remained the number one broadcaster in Berlin and his anti-semitism never faded in its virulence – continuing to blame the war on “Jewish International Finance.” For his efforts Joyce continued to live a comfortable life in Berlin and in September 1944 was awarded the Cross of War Merit 1st Class with a certificate signed by Adolf Hitler. As the war worsened he began to drink heavily and his marriage became a joke with both his wife and he having numerous affairs.

During the final stages of the war, with the Red Army approaching Berlin, Joyce moved to Hamburg. He made a final broadcast on 30 April 1945 – warning that the war would leave Britain poor and barren now that she had lost all her wealth and power in 6 years of war, leaving the Russians in control of most of Europe. He signed off with a final defiant “Heil Hitler.”

Joyce was captured while going through a wood near Flensburg after the war; he received a bullet wound to the leg in the process. Joyce’s fate at the gallows was then merely a formality and the British press whipped up all the hysteria they could – reminding people that he was a snarling traitor. The British Government passed the Treason Act 1945 the day before Joyce was flown back to Britain.

Although Joyce was born in the USA, brought up in Ireland and took German nationality on 26 September 1939, he was charged with treason from 3 September 1939 to 2 July 1940, the date his British passport ran out, and sentenced to death. Joyce was confined in a death cell at London’s Wandsworth Prison. In the cell next door was John Amery, the son of a British lord and the man who had tried to form British expatriates and sympathetic British POW’s into a Freicorp to fight on the German side. Joyce was executed five days after Amery on 3 January 1946. He was adamant and defiant to the end. He showed no emotion when confronted by news and scenes from the concentration camps, blaming the deaths on starvation and disease caused by Allied bombing of communication lines. He also scratched a swastika on the wall of his cell whilst awaiting sentence. His last public message reported by the BBC was “In death as in life, I defy the Jews who caused this last war, and I defy the powers of darkness they represent.” He was not yet 40 years old when executed. He was buried in an unmarked grave in the grounds of the prison.