Max Schmeling-defying an evil regime

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Often the psyche of people is that they see what they want  to see. They see a headline or a picture and they will have made up their minds. There is no further need for more details on the background story, they have enough to work with and make up their own story.

For example people will see the picture of Max Schmeling above giving the Nazi salute and they will just assume that Max clearly was a Nazi sympathizer.

Or they see the picture below of Max Shchmeling being warmly received by   Adolf Hitler and immediately they will think that Max was one of Hitler’s best buddies and favourite sports man. But on both occasions they could not be much further from the truth.

Max and AH

Truth is that Max Schmeling also saw things but he did not like what he saw and refused to join the Nazi party, which would have consequences for him. Not only did he not join the Nazi party he also saved a few Jewish boys and refused to fire his Jewish boxing promoter Joe Jacobs.

Max was a world champion heavyweight fighter from Germany whose two fights with Joe Louis transcended boxing and became worldwide political events because of their racial and international significance.

I will not go into Max’s boxing career. I will only focus on 2 matches ,both against the boxing legend Joe Louis.

On Friday 19, June 1936 Max Schmeling beat Joe Louis in the Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York, USA

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Less then 2 years later in the same venue on Wednesday 22, June 1938, Joe Louis got his revenge and beat Max Schmeling and took back the World Heavyweight Title. The fight had been  portrayed as the battle of the Aryan versus the Black, a struggle of evil against good .When Louis regained his title, Hitler took Schmeling’s defeat as an embarrassment to the nation.

In an interview in 1975 ,Schmeling remembered the defeat: “Looking back, I’m almost happy I lost that fight. Just imagine if I would have come back to Germany with a victory. I had nothing to do with the Nazis, but they would have given me a medal. After the war I might have been considered a war criminal.”

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During the 1938 November Pogrom-Kristallnacht- Max hid the 2 sons of his Jewish friend David Lewin. He hid the 2 boys ,Henry and Werner, in his apartment at the Excelsior Hotel in Berlin. Schmeling had told the front desk of the Hotel that he was ill and was not to be disturbed.

After things had calmed down Schmeling helped the 2 boys flee the country. The boys escaped to the United States, where Henri got a great career in managing Hotels, including the Hilton in Las Vegas.Henri Lewin was convinced  that he and his brother owe their lives to Schmeling and he sincerely believed that Schmeling himself could have died for saving them.

In 1923 Schmeing had hired Jewish New York born boxing promoter Joe Jacobs. Hitler had demanded that Schmeling would fire Jacobs, Schmeling refused to do so.

Because his refusal of joining the Nazi party ,he was him drafted into the Paratroopers and was sent him on very dangerous missions.He did partake in the Battle of Crete in May 1941, where he was wounded in his right knee by mortar fire shrapnel during the first day of the battle. After recovering, he was dismissed from active service after being deemed medically unfit for duty because of his injury.

Max remained a close friend of Joe Louis and even paid for Joe’s funeral in 1981. and became a successful business man in Germany after the war. He had been hired by Coca Cola to run the company  in Germany, .

He only once gave the Nazi salute and regretted it for the remainder of his life. He died on February 2, 2005.

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Not all Germans were bad-Defying the Nazi regime.

 

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There is nothing more despicable than an individual or group of individuals who deny the Holocaust. They have a misguided,evil and twisted mind.

On the other hand there is an increase of individuals who deny the fact that a great  number of Germans made sacrifices to resist the Nazi regime. These individuals say that all Germans were evil and responsible for the death of millions.

This does a great injustice to people like Sophie and Hans Scholl who died resisting the Nazis.

Scholl

Claiming that that all Germans were bad also does a great injustice or the brave women of the Rosenstrasse protest movement, who risked their lives every single day of that protest.

The protest was held between February 27 and March 6. It was a collective street protest on Rosenstraße (“Rose street”) in Berlin This demonstration was the initiative of non-Jewish German wives and relatives of Jewish men they also sustained the protest.The men  had been arrested for deportation. The protests which were  mainly led by women, continued until the men being held were released. It  was the only mass public demonstration by Germans in the Third Reich against the deportation of Jews.

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Those who will have seen the movie ‘the Pianist’ will have heard of Captain Wilm Hosenfeld. In the movie he is portrayed as the German officer who saved  Waldislaw Szpilman,but he saved more.Leon Warm managed to escape from a train to Treblinka during the  deportations in 1942  from Warsaw. He made it back into the city, and managed to survive with the help of Hosenfeld who employed him in the sports stadium.

Hosenfeld recorded his disgust of the genocide he witnessed in his diary.

“Innumerable Jews have been killed like that, for no reason, senselessly. It is beyond understanding. Now the last remnants of the Jewish inhabitants of the ghetto are being exterminated. An SS Sturmführer boasted of the way they shot the Jews down as they ran out of the burning buildings. The entire ghetto has been razed by fire. These brutes think we shall win the war that way. But we have lost the war with this appalling mass murder of the Jews. We have brought shame upon ourselves that cannot be wiped out; it is a curse that cannot be lifted. We deserve no mercy; we are all guilty. I am ashamed to walk in the city”

Hosenfeld

Johannes Frömming was a legendary German  harness racing driver and trainer. During World War II he employed three Jewish horsemen on his farm outside Berlin and hid them from the Nazi authorities.

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Friedrich Kellner, a justice inspector,not only kept a diary using it as an eye witness account for future generations.

“I could not fight the Nazis in the present, as they had the power to still my voice, so I decided to fight them in the future. I would give the coming generations a weapon against any resurgence of such evil. My eyewitness account would record the barbarous acts, and also show the way to stop them.”

He also helped Julius and Lucie Abt, and their infant son, John Peter escape

He also recorded the account of others in his diary.  Early in the war already showing that word of atrocities reached the average citizens even in the small towns. The entry below is from October 28, 1941.

“A soldier on vacation here said he was an eyewitness to terrible atrocities in the occupied parts of Poland. He watched as naked Jewish men and women were placed in front of a long deep trench and upon the order of the SS were shot by Ukrainians in the back of their heads and they fell into the ditch. Then the ditch was filled with dirt even as he could hear screams coming from people still alive in the ditch.
These inhuman atrocities were so terrible that some of the Ukrainians, who were used as tools, suffered nervous breakdowns. All the soldiers who had knowledge of these bestial actions of these Nazi sub-humans were of the opinion that the German people should be shaking in their shoes because of the coming retribution.
There is no punishment that would be hard enough to be applied to these Nazi beasts. Of course, when the retribution comes, the innocent will have to suffer along with them. But because ninety-nine percent of the German population is guilty, directly or indirectly, for the present situation, we can only say that those who travel together will hang together”

Keeping a diary like that could have cost him his life, leave alone helping Jews.

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The picture at  the start of this blog is of Oskar Schindler. There is no need for me to outline what he has done for the Jews, because it is widely known.

These people and so many others all defied the Nazi regime and even though some of them may have bought in to the rhetoric and the promises of Hitler at the start of his political rise. They soon acknowledged the real policies Hitler had planned.

 

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The time JRR Tolkien gave the proverbial middle finger to Hitler.

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Not only were the Nazis a murderous bunch they also stole and destroyed art , and denied the German people the right to read some of the most classic books.

JRR Tolkien’s ‘the Hobbit’ was one of those books. However the book probably could have been published,if Tolkien would have neglected his principles, but such was the character of the man that he didn’t.

When he was in negotiation withe the Berlin based publishing house Rütten & Loening, to get the Hobit released in German in 1938. When he was asked to verify his Aryan heritage he send the following written statement to the publishers.

“Thank you for your letter. I regret that I am not clear as to what you intend by arisch. I am not of Aryan extraction: that is Indo-Iranian; as far as I am aware none of my ancestors spoke Hindustani, Persian, Gypsy, or any related dialects.

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But if I am to understand that you are enquiring whether I am of Jewish origin, I can only reply that I regret that I appear to have no ancestors of that gifted people.

My great-great-grandfather came to England in the eighteenth century from Germany: the main part of my descent is therefore purely English, and I am an English subject – which should be sufficient. I have been accustomed, nonetheless, to regard my German name with pride, and continued to do so throughout the period of the late regrettable war, in which I served in the English army. I cannot, however, forbear to comment that if impertinent and irrelevant inquiries of this sort are to become the rule in matters of literature, then the time is not far distant when a German name will no longer be a source of pride.

Your enquiry is doubtless made in order to comply with the laws of your own country, but that this should be held to apply to the subjects of another state would be improper, even if it had (as it has not) any bearing whatsoever on the merits of my work or its sustainability for publication, of which you appear to have satisfied yourselves without reference to my Abstammung.”

He also referred to Adolf Hitler as a “ruddy little ignoramus.” in a letter to his son in 1941.

He could have potentially earned millions if he had published his book in German, but he chose to keep his integrity and dignity. The Hobbit did get published in Germany after the war.

JRR

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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

The Tolkien Gateway

Special thank you to Norman Stone for pointing out the story to me

The brave face of WWII

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Despite all the death and the destruction during WWII and the uncertainty of what the future would hold, so many people were still putting up a brave face and continued their daily lives as best as they could.Or defy the enemy even after being captured.

The picture above was taken after a German bombing raid during the London Blitz, a British woman remains consummately British. She is seen here drinking tea on a pile of rubble. The photo was taken in 1940.

Two American soldiers having a moment of levity during WWII. It’s an odd, but humorous picture.They could still crack jokes

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Coca-Cola was popular in America before World War II broke out.

This bottling plant was built in Saipan to supply American troops with Coke in the Pacific theatre.

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Heinrich Himmler looks at a young Soviet prisoner of war during an official visit to Shirokaya Street Concentration Camp in Minsk, Belarus, on or about August 15, 1941. You had to be a hard man to look Himmler in the face like that. This is standing for what’s right, this is a single man who, after losing so much, stands up and stares Himmler himself. This image is defiance.

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Abandoned boy holding a stuffed animal amid ruins following German aerial bombing of London, 1945.The boy did in fact survive the war and became a truck driver. In the photo he’s sitting outside where his house used to be.

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With the German invasion of France, many French citizens fled the country.These French refugees are seen encamped in a quarry.

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A soldier sits for a meal before the Battle of Normandy. He’s sitting on a stockpile of shells.The photo was taken in May of 1944, in England.he appears to be in a good mood.

 

A warden gives directions to a mother and her two children during a World War II gas drill in Southend on Marcy 29, 1941.

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A warden gives directions to a mother and her two children during a World War II gas drill in Southend on Marcy 29, 1941.

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Rare glimpse of daily life at Canadian WWII Internment camp for Japanese.

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This photo shows how blackout curtains fitted behind ordinary curtains. The girl in this 1943 photo was Doreen Buckner, then aged 7.

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British artist Albert Perry at work with some of his pupils during their daily one hour gas mask practice, August 19, 1941

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Dancer Ena Squire-Brown leaves her bombed home on the day of her wedding
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Police escort women and children past a bombsite
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Viktor Ullmann-Musical Hero who didn’t give up.

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I was struggling to find an appropriate title for this blog because so much can be said about this man.

I am passionate about music although I am not necessarily that keen on classical music, I do listen to the works of great composers like Mozart,Beethoven.Satie,Ravel and Strauss.However all these great composers pale in comparison to Viktor Ullman.

Born into a Catholic family of Jewish origin, Viktor Ullmann studied in Vienna, where he was introduced into the circle of Schoenberg’s pupils, his literary interests embracing Karl Kraus, Wedekind, Heinrich Mann and others. In 1919 he moved to Prague, where he served as chorus répétiteur and conductor under Zemlinsky.

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He began to establish himself as a composer in the 1920s, working from 1929 to 1931 as director of music at the Zurich Schauspielhaus before moving to Stuttgart. In 1933 he returned to Prague, working as a freelance musician.

On 8 September 1942 he was deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp.

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Up to his deportation his list of works had reached 41 opus numbers and contained an additional three piano sonatas, song cycles on texts by various poets, operas, and the piano concerto Op. 25, which he finished in December 1939, nine months after the entry of German troops into Prague. Most of these works are missing. The manuscripts presumably disappeared during the occupation. Thirteen printed items, which Ullmann published privately and entrusted to a friend for safekeeping, have survived.

The particular nature of the camp at Theresienstadt enabled Ullmann to remain active musically: he was a piano accompanist, organized concerts (“Collegium musicum”, “Studio for New Music”), wrote critiques of musical events, and composed, as part of a cultural circle including Karel Ančerl, Rafael Schachter, Gideon Klein, Hans Krása, and other prominent musicians imprisoned there. He wrote: “By no means did we sit weeping on the banks of the waters of Babylon. Our endeavor with respect to arts was commensurate with our will to live.”

While in Theresienstadt  he composed Der Kaiser von Atlantis oder Die Tod-Verweigerung (The Emperor of Atlantis or The Disobedience of Death) is a one-act opera  with a libretto by Peter Kien.

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On 16 October 1944 he was deported to the camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau, where on 18 October 1944 he was killed in the gas chambers.

About 1943, Ullmann and Kien were inmates at the Nazi concentration camp of Theresienstadt (Terezín) when they collaborated on the opera. It was rehearsed at Theresienstadt in March 1944, but the Nazi authorities interpreted the work’s depiction of the character of the Kaiser as a satire on Adolf Hitler and did not allow it to be performed.

 

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Ullmann entrusted his manuscripts to a fellow-prisoner, Dr. Emil Utitz, a former Professor of Philosophy at the German University in Prague, who served as the camp’s librarian. Utitz survived the camp and passed the manuscripts on to another survivor, Dr. Hans Gunther Adler, a friend of Ullmann’s, some of whose poems Ullmann had set to music. The score was a working version with edits, substitutions, and alternatives made in the course of rehearsals. Dr. Adler deposited the original manuscripts and two copies of the libretto in his possession at the Goetheanum in Dornach, the center for the anthroposophical movement with which Ullmann was associated.

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The manuscripts subsequently passed to the Paul Sacher Stiftung in Basle.

The world premiere was presented by the Dutch National Opera (DNO) on 16 December 1975 at the Theater Bellevue in Amsterdam. In 1976 DNO presented two performances in Brussels and a further four in Spoleto.It was recreated in April 1977 by the San Francisco Spring Opera Theater for its American premiere, and the same group also presented the New York premiere at the Lepercq Space at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on 19 May 1977. DNO revived their production in Amsterdam in June 1978 and later that year presented five performances in Israel. In 1979 DNO presented two performances at the Nottingham Playhouse, England. All of these performances were conducted by Kerry Woodward.

Despite an uncertain future with a high probability of being killed, Viktor Ullman just kept going. To me the ultimate heroes are those who don’t give up not even when they are facing torture and death. Viktor is therefor a Hero in my books.

 

 

 

 

August Landmesser- The Defiant Nazi

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Most of us will have seen the picture of the Nazi rally where one ‘Nazi’ refused to salute. This man was August Landmesser and he defied the Nazi regime in one more than one way.

Adopted by the Nazi Party in the 1930s, Hitler’s infamous ‘sieg heil’ (meaning ‘hail victory’) salute was mandatory for all German citizens as a demonstration of loyalty to the Führer, his party, and his nation.

August Landmesser (born 24 May 1910; KIA 17 October 1944; confirmed in 1949) was a worker at the Blohm + Voss shipyard inHamburg, Germany, best known for his appearance in a photograph refusing to perform the Nazi salute at the launch of the naval training vessel Horst Wessel on 13 June 1936.

Segelschulschiff "Horst Wessel"

He had run afoul of the Nazi Party over his unlawful relationship with Irma Eckler, a Jewish woman. He was later imprisoned and eventually drafted into military service, where he was killed in action; Eckler was sent to a concentration camp where she was presumably killed.

Landmesser joined the Nazi Party in 1931 and began to work his way up the ranks of what would become the only legal political affiliation in the country.

Two years later, Landmesser fell madly in love with Irma Eckler, a Jewish woman, and proposed marriage to her in 1935.

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After his engagement to the Jewish woman was discovered, Landmesser was expelled from the Nazi Party.Landmesser and Eckler decided to file a marriage application in Hamburg, but the union was denied under the newly enacted Nuremberg Laws.

 

The couple welcomed their first daughter, Ingrid, in October 1935.

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And then on June 13, 1936, Landmesser gave a crossed-arm stance during Hitler’s christening of a new German navy vessel.

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The act of defiance stands out amid the throng of Nazi salutes.

In 1937, fed up, Landmesser attempted to flee Nazi Germany to Denmark with his family. But he was detained at the border and charged with ‘dishonouring the race’ or ‘racial infamy’ under the Nuremberg Laws.

A year later, Landmesser was acquitted for a lack of evidence and was instructed to not have a relationship with Eckler.

Refusing to abandon his wife, Landmesser ignored Nazi wishes and was arrested again in 1938 and sentenced to nearly three years in a concentration camp.

He would never see the woman he loved or his child again.

The secret state police also arrested Eckler, who was several months pregnant with the couple’s second daughter.She gave birth to Irene in prison and was sent to an all-women’s concentration camp soon after her delivery.

Eckler was detained by the Gestapo and held at the prison Fuhlsbüttel, where she gave birth to a second daughter, Irene.

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From there she was sent to the Oranienburg concentration camp, the Lichtenburg concentration camp for women, and then the women’s concentration camp at Ravensbrück.

 

A few letters came from Irma Eckler until January 1942. It is believed that she was taken to the Bernburg Euthanasia Centre in February 1942, where she was among the 14,000 killed; in the course of post-war documentation, in 1949 she was pronounced legally dead, with a date of 28 April 1942.

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Meanwhile, Landmesser was discharged from prison on 19 January 1941.He worked as a foreman for the haulage company Püst. The company had a branch at the Heinkel-Werke (factory) in Warnemünde.In February 1944 he was drafted into a penal battalion, the 999th Fort Infantry Battalion. He was declared missing in action, after being killed during fighting in Croatia on 17 October 1944.Like Eckler, he was legally declared dead in 1949.

Their children were initially taken to the city orphanage. Ingrid was later allowed to live with her maternal grandmother while Irene went to the home of foster parents in 1941. Ingrid was also placed with foster parents after her grandmother’s death in 1953.

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