Dachau herb garden

Aside from their murderous practices, the SS also had several businesses.

On January 23, 1939 Oswald Pohl .the head of “SS Main Economic and Administrative Office” founded the “German Research Institute for Nutrition and Food Provision Ltd.” The shareholders were the SS concern “German Earth and Stone Works Ltd.” and a member of the SS Main Economic and Administrative Office. Although his name is not found in available sources, it can be assumed that the individual concerned was the SS-Standartenfuhrer (Colonel) Dr. Salpeter whose name was recorded as that of a trusted shareholder at the end of 1939. The major aim of the undertaking was the cultivation and study of medicinal plants and spices. Its management was the responsibility of Hauptsturmfuhrer (Captain) Heinrich Vogel in the Office of Economic Administration of the WVHA. According to the partnership agreement the research institute had the following tasks:

a) Systematic research and cultivation of those medicinal herbs native to Germany in the interest of the national economy
b) Supplying German and foreign markets with German drugs.
c) Production of new drugs and new syntheses based on scientific research.
d) Maintenance of laboratories.
e) Acquisition of plots
f) The organization of all commercial and agricultural transactions arising in connection with the enterprise e.g. poultry and animal farms etc.

The plantation at the Dachau concentration camp was the centerpiece of the whole venture which came to include a wide range of assorted projects. While at the end of 1939 there were in total only three in operation (Dachau, Ravensbruck, Bretsteintal in der Steiermark.) by the end of 1944 the “German Research Institute for Nutrition and Food Provisions Ltd” comprised over twenty agricultural enterprises as well as fish hatcheries and the administration and oversight of properties in the occupied territories of Czechoslovakia, Poland, and the Soviet Union.

One of these enterprises was the herb garden in Dachau, Known as the plantation.

The plantation at Dachau and the smaller one at Ravensbruck concentration camp were distinctive in the sense that they were cultivated almost exclusively by prisoners. The other projects, which were spread across Germany an Austria, employed a good deal more civilian workers and were cultivated only in part by prisoners. They were also less labor intensive, being based around experiments with biodynamic cultivation methods in which both Himmler and Pohl were believers as well as cattle and sheep breeding and experimenting with veterinary medicine etc.

Ernst-Günther Schenck was tasked to set up the plantation.in Dachau concentration camp, which contained over 200,000 medicinal plants, from which, among other things, vitamin supplements for the Waffen-SS were manufactured.

In 1940 he was appointed as inspector of nutrition for the SS. In 1943 Schenck developed a protein sausage, which was meant for the SS frontline troops. Prior to its adoption it was tested on 370 prisoners in Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp, some of whom died of hunger.

The extensive cultivation of medicinal herbs, however, particularly in the given climate conditions, was highly labor intensive: such a project under the the prevailing wage conditions was hardly feasible. For the initiators of the project to use concentration camp prisoners was therefore an obvious one. Using a labor force that could be exploited could guarantee the viability of the whole undertaking.

The plantation was located outside the prisoner camp. It was a large nursery with areas of cultivated land that, from 1938 onwards, the prisoners were forced to lay out and work on. The SS described this agricultural operation euphemistically as the “herb garden”. Today, the area is mostly overbuilt with industrial buildings.

The complex comprised numerous structures, including a maintenance building, a teaching and research institute, a shop, an equipment shed, a bee house, greenhouses, as well as large sections of productive land. It was Heinrich Himmler’s idea that by cultivating and studying medicinal and aromatic herbs the Nazi state could itself independent of its reliance on foreign medicines and herbs. Establishing a “Volk medicine” in close touch with nature was a prestige project of Nazi health policy and was avidly supported by the leader of the SS. Responsible for selling the produce from the experiments and testing was the SS-owned company “Deutsche Versuchsanstalt für Ernährung und Verpflegung GmbH” (DVA).

The residents of Dachau, as in the town Dachau, and neighboring areas could purchase the produce of the “herb garden” in a shop. There individual prisoners succeeded in secretly establishing contact with the civilian population who helped them, at the risk of death, to smuggle goods and information in and out of the camp.

The prisoners called the feared deployment to the outdoor areas of the “herb garden” the “plantation” work detail. They were forced to do the extremely arduous and exhausting work no matter the weather. Inadequate clothing, malnutrition, bullying and abuse by the SS turned the already hard outdoor work into a perilous torture. The working conditions in the buildings and greenhouses were less brutal. A work detail of illustrators had to compile a herbarium.

The former administrative and institute building as well as remnants of three greenhouses with added end structures have survived. There are plans to restore the building ensemble, which is in the possession of the City of Dachau authority. Based on a new utilization concept, the historical structures are to be integrated into the Memorial Site and become part of its ‘space of memory’.

In April 1945 Dr. Ernst-Günther Schenck volunteered to work in an emergency casualty station located in the large cellar of the Reich Chancellery, near the Vorbunker and Führerbunker,during the battle in Berlin.

Although he was not trained as a surgeon and lacked the experience, as well as the supplies and instruments necessary to operate on battle victims, he nonetheless assisted in major surgical operations. During these surgeries, Schenck was aided by Dr. Werner Haase, who also served as one of Hitler’s private physicians. Although Haase had much more surgical experience than Schenck, he was greatly weakened by tuberculosis, and often had to lie down while giving verbal advice to Schenck.

During the end time in Berlin, Schenck saw Hitler in person twice, for only a brief time: once when Hitler wanted to thank him, Haase, and nurse Erna Flegel for their emergency medical services, and once during the reception after Hitler’s marriage to Eva Braun.

Because of this chance encounter with Adolf Hitler his memoirs proved historically valuable. His accounts of this period are prominent in the works of Joachim Fest and James P. O’Donnell regarding the end of Hitler’s life, and were included in the film Downfall (2004).

sources

https://www.thirdreicharts.com/the-dachau-herb-garden

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Otto Weidt’s workshop for the blind.

Sometime you come across stories and you are amazed that they are not widely known. We all have heard about Oskar Schindler because of Steven Spielberg’s £Schindler’s List” , but the story of Otto Weidt is probably just as amazing.

It is a story which is close to me due to the fact that I am half blind, and more then likely at some stage in the future I will become completely blind, I hope it will a long time into the future. At one stage I was actually blind for about 6 months, so I have an idea on how it is not being able to see.

Otto Weidt’s decreasing eyesight forced him to give up his job in wallpapering. He adapted and learned the business of brush making and broom binding.

Otto Weidt and Else Nast met in Berlin in 1931 and married five years later, on September 22, 1936. This was Otto Weidt’s third marriage; he had two sons from his first marriage.

In 1936 Otto Weidt opened a Workshop for the Blind in Kreuzberg in Berlin; Else Weidt worked there with him. Otto Weidt took great risks in trying to help his Jewish workers persecuted by the Nazis; his wife gave him constant support. After Otto Weidt died on December 22, 1947, Else Weidt took over the management of the Workshop for the Blind. She died aged 72 on June 8, 1974.

In 1936 he established a company with the name “Otto Weidt’s Workshop for the Blind” in the basement of Großbeerenstraße 92 in the Berlin district of Kreuzberg. From 1940 on the workshop was based at Rosenthaler Straße 39 in the Mitte district, occupying the entire first floor of the side wing of the building. As one of his customers was the Wehrmacht, Weidt managed to have his business classified as vital to the war effort.

Up to 30 blind and deaf Jews were employed at his shop between the years of 1941 and 1943.When the Gestapo began to arrest and deport his Jewish employees, he fought to secure their safety by falsifying documents, bribing officers and hiding them in the back of his shop. But in February and March 1943 many were arrested and deported to concentration camps during the police raids known as “Operation Factory”.

Aside from the blind, Weidt also employed healthy Jewish workers in his office. This was strictly forbidden, as all Jewish workers had to be mediated through the labor employment office, which would ordinarily post them to forced-labor assignments. However, Weidt, managed to hire them by bribery.

The Jewish Inge Deutschkron was among the eight healthy Jews employed at the workshop. Inge and her mother were living in hiding to live , Weidt arranged an Aryan work permit for Deutschkron which he had acquired from a prostitute, who had no use for it.

Unfortunately, the permit had to be discarded three months later when the police arrested the prostitute.

One of Weidt’s most spectacular exploits involved the rescue of a Jewish girl who had been deported to the camps in Poland. In February 1943 Otto Weidt hid the Licht family in a storage room in the workshop for the blind at Neanderstraße 12 in Berlin-Mitte. The Gestapo arrested the family in October 1943 and deported them to the Theresienstadt ghetto on November 15, 1943.

There Weidt could support them with food parcels. All of 150 parcels arrived. After 6 months Alice and her parents were deported to KZ Birkenau. Alice managed to send a postcard to Weidt who promptly traveled to Auschwitz in attempt to help her.

eidt found out that as Auschwitz was emptied, Alice was moved to the labor camp/ammunition plant Christianstadt. He hid clothes and money for her, in a nearby pension to aid her return. Through one of the civilian workers he contacted Alice and made her runaway and return to Berlin possible.

Alice eventually managed to return to Berlin in January 1945, and lived in hiding with the Weidt’s until the end of the war.

Alice’s parents both were murdered in Auschwitz-Birkenau

In the period from March 1943 until the end of the war there were only a few employees left in Weidt’s workshop. Apart from three non-Jewish workers, there were Jews married to non-Jews or people who had one Jewish parent, as well as several people in hiding like Inge Deutschkron, Alice Licht, Erich Frey, and Chaim and Max Horn.

Of the 33 only 7 survived.

After the war Otto Weidt supported the establishment of the Jewish Home for Children and the Aged at Moltkestraße 8-11 in the Berlin district of Niederschönhausen. After Liberation it was the first secure place for children and elderly people who escaped Nazi persecution.

All of this make Otto Weidt a hero, in my opinion. Just think of it, not only did he help Jews, he helped blind and deaf Jews. They were seen as lesser human beings in 2 categories as per the Nuremberg Laws. Otto died of heart failure in 1947, at 64 years of age.

On September 7, 1971, Yad Vashem recognized Otto Weidt as Righteous Among the Nations.

sources

https://www.museum-blindenwerkstatt.de/en/first-of-all/

https://www.yadvashem.org/righteous/stories/weidt.html

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Helmuth Hübener teenager murdered for speaking the truth.

Helmuth Hübner, was a young member of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), he lived in the St. Georg Branch in Hamburg.


His short life was shaped by the rise of fascism in Germany. The Nazis changed nearly every aspect of everyday life for Germans, and Helmut was no exception. He had been a devoted Boy Scout, but he was forced to become part of the Hitler Youth, when the Nazis banned the Boy scouts organization in 1935. Helmut did not feel comfortable with this and quit the Hitler youth in 1938,aged 13.

He was disturbed by participation of the Hitler Youth in Kristallnacht.After Hübener finished secondary school in 1941, he began an apprentice training course at the Hamburg Social Welfare Authority He met other apprentices there, one of whom, Gerhard Düwer, (whom he would later recruit into his resistance movement). In 1941 at a sauna in Altona , he met new friends, some were members of an illegal Young Communist Group.

At that time Helmut started listening to foreign radio stations and mainly the BBC. It was forbidden to listen to any non-government radio transmissions, like the BBC’s multi-language broadcasts, and being caught could result into severe punishments ,including he death penalty.

Helmut found a shortwave radio, which belonged to his older half-brother Gerhard’s in a hallway closet. It had been given to Gerhard early that year by a soldier returning from service in France.

Helmut decided to spread the information he had heard on the radio from the BBC. He also persuaded other like-minded young people to join him in opposition. He started to o compose various anti-national socialist texts and anti-war leaflets.

The leaflets were designed to draw the Germans attention to how distorted the official Nazi reports about World War II from Berlin were, as well as to point out Adolf Hitler’s, Joseph Goebbels’s, and other leading Nazis’ criminal behaviour. Other themes covered by Hübener’s writings were the war’s futility and Germany’s looming defeat. He also mentioned the mistreatment sometimes meted out in the Hitler Youth.

In one of his pamphlets, for example, he wrote:

“German boys! Do you know the country without freedom, the country of terror and tyranny? Yes, you know it well, but are afraid to talk about it. They have intimidated you to such an extent that you don’t dare talk for fear of reprisals. Yes you are right; it is Germany – Hitler Germany! Through their unscrupulous terror tactics against young and old, men and women, they have succeeded in making you spineless puppets to do their bidding”.

For several months, Helmut spread the word about lost battles and Nazi lies. But on February 5 1942, a coworker and Nazi Party member Heinrich Mohn, denounced him. He had seen Helmut trying to translate the pamphlets into French and have them distributed among prisoners of war, he Helmut was arrested and tried before the Volksgerichtshof, or People’s Court, a Nazi-controlled tribunal that dealt with matters of treason.

On 11 August 1942, at age 17, Helmut was tried as an adult by the Special People’s Court (Volksgerichtshof) in Berlin, Helmut was sentenced to death.

After the sentence was announced , Helmut turned to the judges and said, “Now I must die, even though I have committed no crime. So now it’s my turn, but your turn will come.” He hoped this would focus the judge’s wrath solely on him and spare the life of his companions. It worked, his friends received long prison sentences, but survived the war. His two friends, Schnibbe and Wobbe, who had also been arrested, were given prison sentences of five and ten years respectively

On October 27, 1942, guards told Helmut that Adolf Hitler had personally refused to commute his death sentence. Hours later, he was beheaded—the youngest person in German resistance to Nazism ever executed by the Third Reich. It was highly unusual for the Nazis to try an underaged defendant, much less sentence him to death, but the court stated that Helmut had shown more than average intelligence for a boy his age.

Nowadays we also have very vocal youngsters, but mostly they are very privileged, especially in the wealthier western countries. I wonder though would they be willing to face harsh punishment and sacrifices for their causes. I doubt that very much, mainly because they are only paying lip service to often very trivial causes in comparison.

On the other hand there were very fanatical youngsters in Nazi Germany, actively and violently defending the Nazi regime. Children like Alfred Zech, a German child soldier who received the Iron Cross, 2nd Class at the age of 12 years.

sources

https://www.gdw-berlin.de/en/recess/biographies/index_of_persons/biographie/view-bio/helmuth-huebener/?no_cache=1

https://www.history.com/news/meet-the-youngest-person-executed-for-defying-the-nazis

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Zech

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Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Holocaust

First of all let me start by saying I am not a member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I don’t agree with some aspects of their religion. However that doesn’t mean I don’t respect their faith, because I do. I respect anyone’s faith once it doesn’t include hatred and violence. Among my friends are Jews, Christians, , Buddhists, Baháʼí and Atheists. In fact I remember a few years ago I was doing a course in web development and I gave some of my fellow students a lift home, that time I had a microcosm of several faiths in my car, a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim and an atheists, all connected via one thing, education.

However the title of the blog is Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Holocaust and that is what I will be focusing on.

I have done blogs on the subject before but I found it important to do another one, because the more I read about it the more I realize how little is known about this.

Unlike the Jews and Roma victims who were persecuted and murdered by virtue of their birth, the Jehovah’s witnesses could save themselves by denouncing their faith. The courage the vast majority showed in refusing to do so, in the face of torture, maltreatment in concentration camps, and sometimes execution, won them the respect of many contemporaries.

Rather then going into too deep of details I will focus on just a few stories.

The picture at the start of the blog is of the Kusserow family. They were active in distributing religious literature and teaching Bible study classes in their home. Their house had been under intense scrutiny.

The oldest son,Wilhelm Kusserow,had been arrested for refusing to join the army. In 1940 he had made it clear to the judge that he only obeyed God’s law and not Hitler’s laws. He interpreted God’s command “thou shalt not kill” literally and refused to serve in the German army

For this he was executed by a firing squad in Muenster prison on April 27.

His younger brother, , also refused to join the army for the same reason . He was executed on March 28,1942 in Brandenburg prison by guillotine , aged 20.

Helene Gotthold was executed by guillotine in Berlin’s Ploetzensee Prison, on December 8. 1944.

Helene’s husband was arrested in 1936.basically for practicing his faith After searching her house, where they found Jehovah’s witnesses literature the Gestapo arrested her in 1937; she was beaten with rods and lost her unborn baby. The court gave her an 18-month sentence.

Helene and her husband were arrested again in February 1944. They were imprisoned in Essen, however after the prison had been destroyed in an Allied bombing raid, they were transferred to a prison in Potsdam. On August 4, the People’s Court sentenced Helene and five other Witnesses to death for illegally holding Bible meetings and undermining the nation’s morale. Before her execution, Helene was allowed to write a letter to her husband and children.

Helene was executed by guillotine in Berlin’s Ploetzensee Prison on December 8, 1944. Her family survived and resumed their Jehovah’s Witness missionary work in Germany.

I think many people underestimate the bravery of the Jehovah’s witnesses, still to this day. After reading and researching for this blog and the other blogs I did, I have found a new respect for this group of Christians. Does that mean I agree with all of their believes, of course it doesn’t but I don’t expect anyone to agree with all of my believes either. One thing I do know though, if I could have saved my live by denouncing my faith, there is a great chance I would have done that.

Sources

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/id-card/helene-gotthold

https://www.fold3.com/page/286019312/jehovahs-witnesses-and-the-holocaust/stories

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/photo/the-kusserow-family

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Total War-Göbbels Sport Palast Speech

Like all delusional leaders, Hitler would not have been able to carry out his plans without having people around him that encouraged his delusional ideas.

Göbbels was without a shadow of a doubt Hitler’s most devoted henchman and enabler.

On February 18,1943 he gave his most famous speech in the Sport Palast in Berlin. The aim of the speech was to convince the German people of a Total war, statig that a total war would be a shorter war. At least that is what the banners over the podium said.

At this stage the tide of World War II was turning against Germany. Göbbels held his speech at the Berlin Sportpalast to a carefully selected audience of 14,000 party officials, war veterans, workers, and women. Millions of other Germans listened to the speech via radio.

Below is the English translation of the main part of the speech and also the recorded audio version of the speech.

2Let me, to establish what the truth is, ask a number of questions of you, my fellow Germans, which you must answer me to the best of your knowledge and convictions. When my listeners indicated their spontaneous approval of my demands of January 30, the British press the next day claimed that it had been a propaganda spectacle, and was not representative of the true mood of the German people.
Well, to this meeting today I invited a cross section, in the best sense of that word, of the German people. In front of me there sit, row on row, wounded soldiers from the eastern front, men with scarred bodies, with amputated legs or arms, men blinded in action who have come here with their Red Cross nurses, men in the prime of life whose crutches are standing in front of them. In between, I count as many as 50 wearers of the Oak Leaf Cluster and of the Knight’s Cross, a splendid delegation from our fighting front. Behind them, there is a block of armaments workers, from Berlin’s armored car factory. Behind them, there sit men from the various party organizations, soldiers from our fighting forces, physicians, scientists, artists, engineers, architects, teachers, officials, civil servants from their offices and studies, proud representatives of our intellectual life on all its levels, to whom the country at this time of war owes miracles of inventiveness and human genius. Distributed over the entire auditorium of the Sports Palace I see thousands of German women. Youth is represented, and so is venerable age. No estate, no profession, no age group was overlooked when our invitations went out. Thus I can properly say that facing me is a cross section of the entire German people, at the front and at home. Is that correct?

Then you, my listeners, are representing the nation at this moment. And it is you whom I would like to ask ten questions. Give me your answers, along with the German people, before the whole world, but particularly before our enemies.

The British claim that the German nation has lost its faith in victory. I ask you: Do you believe, with the Führer and with us, in the final, total victory of the German people? I ask you: Are you resolved to follow the Führer through thick and thin in the pursuit of victory, even if this should mean the heaviest of contributions on your part?

Second. The British claim that the German nation is tired of the struggle. I ask you: Are you prepared to continue this struggle with grim determination, and undeterred by any circumstance decreed by fate, to continue it with the Führer, as the phalanx of the home front behind our fighting armies, until victory is ours?

Third. The British claim that the Germans are no longer in a mood to accept the ever increasing amount of war work demanded of them by the government. I ask you: Are you, and the German nation, resolved to work ten, twelve, and if need be fourteen or sixteen hours a day, if the Führer should command it, and to give your all for victory?

Fourth. The British claim that the German nation is resisting the government’s measures of total war, that what the Germans want is not total war but surrender. I ask you: Do you want total war? Do you want it, if need be, even more total and radical than we are capable of imagining it today?

Fifth. The British claim that the German nation has lost its confidence in the Führer. I ask you: Is your confidence in the Führer more passionate, more unshakable than ever? Is your readiness to follow him on all his paths, and to do whatever is necessary to bring the war to a successful conclusion, absolute and unlimited?

I ask you my sixth question. Are you prepared henceforth to devote your entire strength to providing the Eastern front with the men and materials it needs to give Bolshevism its mortal blow?

I ask you my seventh question. Do you swear a solemn oath to the fighting front that the country stands behind it, its morale high, and will give it everything necessary to achieve victory?

I ask you my eighth question. Do you, especially you, the women yourselves, want the government to see to it that German women, too, give all their energies to the pursuit of the war, filling jobs wherever possible to free men for action and thus to help their men at the front?

I ask you my ninth question. Do you approve, if necessary, the most radical of measures against a small group of draft-dodgers and blackmarketeers, who play peace in the midst of war, and mean to exploit people’s sufferings for their own selfish purposes? Do you agree that a person who interferes with the war effort shall lose his head?

As my tenth and last question I ask you: Is it your wish that even in wartime, as the party program commands, equal rights and equal duties shall prevail, that the home front shall give evidence of its solidarity and take the same heavy burdens of war upon its shoulders, and that the burdens be distributed equitably, whether a person be great or small, poor or rich?

I have asked you. You have given me your answers. You are a part of the nation; your response has thus shown the attitude of the German people. You have told our enemies what they must know lest they abandon themselves to illusions and misinformation. “

{Source of English translation: Joachim Remak, ed., The Nazi Years: A Documentary History. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1969, pp. 91-92.}

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know a 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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Sources

http://ghdi.ghi-dc.org/docpage.cfm?docpage_id=2428

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/goebbels-sportpalast/

https://research.calvin.edu/german-propaganda-archive/goeb36.htm

What if?.. The rockers that may have never been. A story of Kiss.

I am passionate about Music, especially Rock. One of my favourite bands is Kiss. When we hear one of their songs on the radio, songs like “I was made for loving you” or “World without heroes” we just sit back and enjoy and don’t give it a seconc thought.

However these songs and so many of their other classics , may have never been written or composed. The two lead men of Kiss Gene Simmons(aka Gene Klein and Chaim Witz) and Paul Stanley (aka Stanley Bert Eisen) are both lucky they were born.

Paul’s both parents are Jewish. He was the second of two children. His mother came from a family that fled Nazi Germany to Amsterdam, Netherlands, and then to New York City. His father’s parents were from Poland.

His mother was born in Berlin, Germany on November 16, 1923. and fled the Nazi uprising she lived for a brief time in Amsterdam, the Netherlands with her mother and stepfather before moving to New York City in 1939. If they had stayed in Germany, like so many others did, they definitely would have been subjected to the cruelty of the Nazi regime.

Gene Simmons’s start in life could have been even more uncertain . He was born on August 25, 1949 in Haifa, Israel, to Jewish immigrants from Hungary. His mother, Florence Klein (née Flóra Kovács), was born in Jánd and survived internment in Nazi concentration camps. She and her brother, Larry Klein, were the only members of the family to survive the Holocaust.

Florence or Flora was 19 when she was liberated on May 5th 1945 , from Mauthausen concentration camp , by American troops.

I have written blogs on the Holocaust before ,contemplating how many talents were destroyed by this evil ideology and regime. Thankfully some people did survive and their legacy produced talented people like Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons.

For some people the Holocaust may seem like a distant bit of history, but this is how close the Holocaust still is.

Finish up with my favourite Kiss song , I chosen a video with the lyrics because the song “A world without heroes” has such a powerful message and is still so poignant today.

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know a 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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Sources

https://www.thesound.co.nz/home/music/2020/05/kiss-gene-simmons-shown-his-mother-s-nazi-victim-impact-statement.html

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/gene-simmons

https://www.geni.com/people/Eva-Eisen/6000000002765905416

David Friedmann;painting to survive-My interview with his daughter Miriam.

David Friedmann’s story is not just a story of dealing with the horrors of the Holocaust but also a story of a second chance and hopes despite immense grief and hardships.

The artist David Friedmann was born in Mährisch Ostrau, Austria (now Ostrava, Czech Republic), but moved to Berlin in 1911. In 1944, Friedman was separated from his wife and daughter, never seeing them again, and was transferred to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Friedman survived his internment at the extermination camp. After the war he married fellow survivor Hildegard Taussig. After living in Israel for five years, the family immigrated to the United States in 1954, eventually becoming citizens and settling in St. Louis, where he worked as a commercial artist for an advertising company, later retiring in 1962

But rather me telling his story ,it is much better if this story is told by someone who was very close to him. His daughter Miriam Friedman Morris.

I had some email correspondence with Miriam before the interview and had asked her a few questions. I would like to share her answers

I would like to know though how he felt from being a decorated artist during WW1 and a well established and a renowned artist in Berlin, to having to flee his adopted hometown in 1938 because of the rise of Nazism?

David Friedmann’s talent for portraiture played a central role throughout his career and saved his life during the Holocaust. His art weaves a tapestry of the joys and horrors he experienced, witnessed, and chronicled. My father’s works are imbued with an added sense of historical accuracy, one made all the more resonate by his firsthand experience of some of the most important events in the 20th century. Numerous catastrophic interruptions took him away from his art. David Friedman painted for his life—from the trenches of World War I, under threat of Nazi SS officers and through his postwar journey from Czechoslovakia to Israel and finally, the United States. His work exemplifies defiance in the face of persecution, loss and tragedy. His art would not be silent. My father’s artwork shines a light on a dynamic life crushed by the Nazis and his indomitable inner strength to paint again.

What kept him going even after his first wife and child had been murdered?

My father wrote a diary for me when I was born. He begins with the loss of his wife and child. He had to overcome his crippling grief to build a new life. I turned the pages and saw carefully placed photos and newspaper articles in-between text with pointing arrows. He wrote about his first postwar art exhibition in Jan. 1946 and befriending a young woman named Hildegard Taussig. I learned the courageous stories of two heroes, my mother and father.

Undoubtedly he used his art as a way of therapy, but aside of his art did he talk about the horrors he witnessed to you and your mother?

No, for my father, it was too painful. He had locked his feelings in a kind of jail and closed the door. My mother told some info about my father’s first family, but mostly I learned about his life from his art. After my father’s death, my father’s diary was transcribed. I learned a great deal more about his life and even found clues to help in the search for lost artwork. The lost pieces of a renowned painter and graphics artist confirm the brilliant career the Nazis could not destroy.

After his retirement from commercial art in the early 1960’s, he returned to the Holocaust. Disturbed by the fact that people were forgetting the Holocaust, my father believed it was his obligation to make an indelible statement to all humankind. He wanted to impress upon their consciousness the ruthless persecution, torment, and atrocities practiced by the Nazis, so that it would never happen again. His tortured recollections would be transferred to paper and show the dehumanization and suffering of the Jew under Nazi rule. There would be no imagery or symbolism; his art would show the reality that only a victim could produce.

“I wish everyone had to take a good look at the artwork. They have to look at what persecution under the Nazi regime was, and it can happen again, for in America to be a Nazi, to be a Communist is not prohibited. Against an evil world I will work further and try to put my feelings down on canvas or paper against antisemitism, against race hatred of all people.”

Some of the paintings of ” the Because They Were Jews!” exhibition haunt me and are very powerful.

This is the response my father would have wanted to never forget the Holocaust”

On August 29,1944 David Friedmann was put on a transport from Lodz to Auschwitz Birkenau.

Painting by David Friedmann(courtesy of Miriam Friedman Morris)

It is the duty of all of us to never forget the Holocaust, because it can so easily happen again.

Sources

https://chgs.elevator.umn.edu/asset/viewAsset/57fbe5ec7d58ae7d76557594#57fbe5ea7d58ae7d76557593

https://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/exhibitions/last_portrait/friedmann.asp

https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn50039

https://www.visitnorman.com/events/testimony-the-life-and-work-of-david-friedman

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Hans Retzlaff-killed because he was gay.

Capture

The case of Hans Retzlaff is particularly sad, not only because he was killed in the concentration camp Sachsenhausen but also because he was disowned by his own Father.

Hans had already been in court in 1927 in relation to homosexual activities, which was a criminal offence in Germany at the time, according to paragraph 175  of the German criminal code(this paragraph was only completely deleted in 1994) It is believed he spent a few months in 1935 in concentration camp Lichtenburg Prettin, September to November 1935.

On November 3 1938 he was arrested again and was sentenced on January 4,1939 for “unnatural fornication”. He received further sentencing in February 1940.On September 5,1940 a Telex was sent from the Berlin Police about Hans, in which he was described as an “incorrigible homosexual”

175

On September 18,1940 the Police transported him to Sachsenhausen in just over 2 months later, on November 25, at 17.15 he died of an Pulmonary embolism and a chronic heart condition, at least that is what it said on the death certificate. The body was cremated, These causes of death were often put o the death certs even when a prisoner was executed, given the fact that the body was also cremated it sage to make the assumption that Hans was executed.

cert

 

The death cert  and another follow up document also state that the urn with his ashes could be requested from the crematorium authorities in writing, at own costs.

His Father however stated that he refused the estate of his deceased son and that he didn’t want anything to do with any of the matters relating to his son. Heh ad already been estranged from his son for years.

(document stating that the urn with his ashed can be retrieved within 4 weeks)doc2

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Sources

http://www.raunitz.de/sh_tote_opfer/h_retzlaff.html

https://collections.arolsen-archives.org/en/archive/1-1-38-1_100104402/?p=2&doc_id=4135831&tf_document_category=20406672|20472150|14539586|20332256|5075|24735180|5781|20407164|5456|26132683

 

Dora Gerson-Body lost or destroyed.

Dora

Dora Gerstein was a Jewish actress and singer  born  on 23 March 1899  in Berlin. She was murdered on February 14,1943 in Auschwitz. On one of the sites I used to do the research on Dora I noticed the line ‘Body lost or destroyed’.

Not only her body was destroyed but also her talent and beauty. Her short life is a poignant illustration how in a few years time, a poltical movement with a warped ideology impacted her life and ultimately caused her death.

In 1920 she starred in 2 silent films. Die Todeskarawane aka Caravan of Death and Auf den Trümmern des Paradieses aka In the Rubble of Paradise. She played the same character in both movies. The movies were based on novels by Karl May. Many Europeans have seen the Winnetou and Old Shatterhand westerns which were penned by Karl May. He was also admired by Albert Einstein  who said about him , “My whole adolescence stood under his sign. Indeed, even today, he has been dear to me in many a desperate hour.”

Ironically another admirer was Adolf Hitler who mentioned Karl May in Mein Kampf.

Between 1922 and 1924 Dora was married to the Actor/Director Veit Harlan. In less then 16 years after their divorce Harlan would become a pivotal figure in the Nazi propaganda machine. In 1940 he directed the anti-Semitic Nazi propaganda film Jud Süß.

Jud

To escape Nazi persecution she moved to the Netherlands in 1936, where she met her 2nd Husband Max Sluizer. The couple had 2 children  Miriam Sluizer born on 19 November 1937 and Abel Juda Sluizer born on 21 May 1940,only 11 days after Germany invaded the Netherlands.

Dora and her family were all transported to Drancy internment camp and from there they were deported to Auschwitz where they were all murdered on February 14,1943.

pass

Finishing up with one of Dora’s recordings “Vorbei”  an emotional ballad, reminiscing pre-Nazi Germany.

!They’re gone beyond recall
A final glance, a last kiss
And then it’s all over
under the frame of eternity
A final word, a last farewell”

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Sources

IMDB

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/110288165/dora-gerson

http://www.musiques-regenerees.fr/GhettosCamps/Camps/GersonDora.html

YouTube

 

Stella Goldschlag- Jewish collaborator.

stella

It is easy for me to be judgmental about Stella Goldschlag, but the fact is I don’t know what I would have done. However Stella did go beyond anything I would have done. Stella was boen in Berlin on July 10,1922 as the only child to a middle class Jewish family.

Although the family did observe all the Jewish holidays, they were German citizens. Her father was a World War I veteran.

But like any other Jewish family they were treated as lesser citizens with the arrival of the Nuremberg laws, and gradually their lives would become more and more perilous. After the 1938 November pogrom the family tried to leave Germany, but could not get the required visas.

In 1941, Stella married a Jewish Jazz musician, Manfred Kübler. They had met whilst  working as Jewish forced-labourers in a war plant in Berlin. In  1942, when the Berlin Jews started to be rounded up and deported to the concentration and death camps, Stella went underground, using forged papers to pass as a non-Jew , her blue eyes and blonde hair gave her an ‘Aryan’ appearance.

However in 1943 Stella, her husband and her parents were found out and arrested. Manfred was deported to Auschwitz.

In order to safe herself and her parents Stella agreed to start working for the Gestapo as Greiferin(catcher) to get the Jews who had gone in hiding, sometimes referred to as U-Boats.

Stella was very successful tracing her former schoolmates and handing their information over to the Gestapo, while posing as an ‘U-Boat’ herself. Some of Stella’s tricks to apprehend Jews in hiding included promising them food and accommodation, meanwhile turning them over to the Nazi authorities.

Although she was promised that her Parents would be safe they were also deported to Auschwitz, but initially were sent to Theresienstadt. They were killed in Auschwitz-Birkenau in October 1944. This did not stop Stella to continue working fort the Gestapo

On October 29,1944 she married a fellow Jewish collaborator,Rolf Isaaksohn.

They were granted a bounty of 200-300 Reichsmark for every Jew in hiding who was arrested with their help. Carrying a gun and papers identifying them as Gestapo agents, they were free to move about the city and did not have to wear the Yellow star .Initially, the Greifer HQ was located in the transit camp at Grosse Hamburgerstrasse but was lare on moved to  the pathology wing of the Jewish hospital.

On one weekend alone, Goldschlag helped the Gestapo catch 62 Jews.

After the war she went into hiding . however she was found and arrested by the Soviets in October 1945. She was sentenced to 10 years in detention.

arrest

After her detention she moved to Weset Berlin, where she was arrested and tried again, She was sentenced to 10 years , but due to the fact she already served time in Soviet detention the sentence was suspended.

Rolf died in 1945, I don’t know under what circumstances.

Stella committed suicide in  1994 by throwing herself out of the window of her apartment in Freiburg.

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Sources

https://www.tracesofwar.com/articles/5158/Goldschlag-Stella.htm

https://www.aviva-berlin.de/aviva/Found.php?id=141669

http://www.holocaustchronicle.org/staticpages/421.html

https://historycollection.co/treason-12-historys-notorious-traitors/10/