Gerda Metzger- T4 Victim

gerda

Gerda suffered from a form skeletal muscular  paralysis and was taken from her mother then transferred to a so-called “children’s specialist department of the Municipal
children’s Hospital in Stuttgart.

A specialist had come to the family home to examine Gerda. The ‘Doctor’ took the child into a separate room. Gerda’s mothers was not allowed to be present during the examination.

Sje could hear her daughter scream in pain. When the ‘Specialist’ had finished the examination,Gerda’s mother asked”What exactly did you examine?” The woman was told to shut up amd say goodbye to her daughter.Because Gerda was going to be taken to a Special clinic.

On 12 July 1943 , Gerda died in the clinic , she was not yet 4 years old.She was euthanized. Even though the T4 had officially stopped at that stage  ,it unofficially continue to the end of the war.

The Clinic’s director was Dr. Karl Lempp. He was never tried for any of his involvement. All he had to do was to follow the denazification program and git a monetary fine. He continued working as a Doctor until 1950 when he received his pension.

Research  between 2008 and 2009 conducted by  Dr. Marquart who analysed 506 extant death certificates of children who died in the children’s hospital between January 1943 and the end of April 1945, he found 52 suspicious deaths of children diagnosed with severe innate disorders – but for which no causal relation to their death can be established. One third of the children died of pneumonia, a typical result of poisoning with Luminal. The death certificate was sometimes signed with a fake name.

In 2013 a memorial stumble block was placed for Gerda Metzger in Stuttgart.

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Sources

https://www.stolpersteine-stuttgart.de/index.php?docid=820

http://www.uvm.edu/~lkaelber/children/stuttgart/stuttgartolder.html

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/193060569/gerda-metzger

 

Julius Hirsch

JjULIUS

I think the best way of telling the stories of the Holocaust , is to bring it down to a personal level , so that people can find some association with it, although it is  impossible to fully comprehend the horrors.

What makes it difficult is just to pick one of the millions who were murdered. To tell  one story and show that these people were not just victims but were above everything else human beings.

The story of Julius Hirsch resonated with me on several accounts on a personal level.

Julius Hirsch  was a German international footballer. Many football (as in soccer) fans will know that any match between the Netherlands and Germany, the 2 European arch rivals.are filled with passion and emotion. On Sunday, March 24, 1912 a match between these 2 nations ended in a 5-5 draw.

Four goals were scored by Julius Hirsch in that match.

Julius Hirsch was Jewish ,on April 10 1933, exactly 35 years before I was born,  he read in a newspaper that all Southern German clubs would ban Jewish members, including his club KFV , which he then left after over 30 years as a member. In a letter to his club he demanded  that it should not be forgotten that, even though Jews were now the whipping boys of the nation, many of them had given their life blood for the German nation and were true patriots, as shown by their deeds and word.

kfv

In 1943, he got the orders to register for the “Employment of Labor in the East”. On March 1, 1943, Julius Hirsch was deported  to Auschwitz along with eleven other Baden Jews. It was the last deportation from Karlsruhe to Auschwitz. On March 3, 1943, he sent a card to his daughter Esther for her 16th birthday. He had sent iy from Dortmund,one of the stops en route to Auschwitz: “My dearest! I arrived safely, and everything is well! I am headed to Upper Silesia, which is still in Germany. Heartfelt greetings and kisses, your Juller!” It was to be the last anyone heard from Julius . His exact date of death is unknown. In 1950, a German district court declared him dead and set the date of death  on 8 May 1945.

Julius was not just a footballer, he was one of the best of his nation. For a country which traditionally puts  its sports people on such a high pedestal. They cared very little for some of their best just because they were Jewish.

So many talented and cultural geniuses were murdered because of a warped ideology.

Julius

 

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Sources

http://juedische-sportstars.de/

https://www.transfermarkt.co.uk/niederlande_deutschland/index/spielbericht/1010723

 

 

 

The psychological terror of Kristallnacht.

Capture

Some people say that Kristallnacht marks the start of the Holocaust. I don’t really subscribe to that point of view.

In my opinion the Holocaust started on 19 August 1934. That was the date that 88.1% of the  German population gave Hitler the Carte blanche to do whatever he wanted to via a referendum, merging the posts of Chancellor and President which gave him absolute power.

The wording of the referendum question was:

“The office of the President of the Reich is unified with the office of the Chancellor. Consequently all former powers of the President of the Reich are demised to the Führer and Chancellor of the Reich Adolf Hitler. He himself nominates his substitute.
Do you, German man and German woman, approve of this regulation provided by this Law?”

ja.PNG

But this is not a blog to debate on when the Holocaust started. The bigger problem is that it started in the first place, and it did so with relative ease.

One aspect of the Kristallnacht which is often forgotten is the psychological terror committed on the Jews, often by colleagues and neighbors.

Not only were shops and businesses ransacked and destroyed but also hallowed places like synagogues. Many  burned all night in full view of the public and of local firefighters, who were told  to intervene only to prevent flames from spreading to nearby buildings. Regardless what religious or a-religious views you have, destroying something which is so sacred to many people, is a direct assault on your own decency and turns you into an instrument of evil.

synagogue

But it was also homes of German and Austrian citizens ,who happened to be Jewish . which were destroyed.their privacy was invaded Men broke down doors then  cut into the feather beds, broke  the furniture into pieces with sledgehammers and destroyed everything inside.30,000 Jewish men were arrested and incarcerated in concentration camps, many never returned. It is estimated that nearly 100 Jews were killed that night, but that number is more then likely higher.

British Historian Richard J. Evans estimates 638 suicides are directly linked to the brutal events on that night.

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Sources

Time

The Conversation

USHMM

Emmi G.

Emmi G

This is a picture of Emmi G/ A victim of the T4  euthanasia program. Killed because she was ‘different’.

What makes her story even sadder is the fact that we don’t even know her full name. All we know is that she was 16 when she was killed with an overdose of tranquilizers on December 7, 1942 in Meseritz-Obrawalde euthanasia center.

Even the date is heartbreaking  it was 1 day after the celebrations of der Heilige Nikolaus, or Saint Nicholas. The traditional German Christmas celebration.Although the war was raging the St Nicolasr feast was still celebrated throughout the war.

Emmi G had been diagnosed as schizophrenic,she worked as a housemaid. If she actually was  schizophrenic is doubtful. She was a teenager dealing with teenage anxiety during the most horrible time in history. I have no evidence of this but my presumption is that she had just become an ‘inconvenience’ and was therefore killed.

None of the cases in the T4 program were voluntary.

Even if she had been  schizophrenic that does not warrant a death penalty. What ot does require is psychiatric help, but that is something the Nazis did not subscribe to. That is why the designed the T4 program. The irony is the real mental cases were the Nazi leaders themselves.

The story of Emmi G does come with a warning though. We may think that this could not possibly happen here however some European countries do allow Euthanasia on teenagers and even younger children. even children with mental problems

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Source USHMM

 

The 1943 German law that denies justice to be done.

Justice

In 1943 a law was passed in Germany which gave all foreign Waffen SS members the German nationality by default.

This law still prevents extradition of WWII War criminals to be extradited to their native countries, because these men have the German nationality , and Germany does not extradite it’s own citizens.

These are just 2 examples of Dutch war criminals who received no or very little punishment for the crimes they committed during WWII.

Herbertus Bikker AKA The Butcher of Ommen

bIKKER

Herbertus Bikker was a Dutch war criminal. He was a member of the Waffen-SS. He served as a guard at the concentration  Erika near Ommen, in the Netherlands. His brutal treatment of the prisoners earned him his nickname ‘the Butcher of Ommen’

Bikker is the alleged murderer of Dutch resistance fighter Jan Houtman [nl] who was killed, twenty-seven years old, on 17 November 1944.

Following the end of World War II, he was sentenced to death by a Dutch court.  he managed to escape from prison in Breda on 26 December 1952 and fled to Germany, crossing the border at Ubbergen near Cleves. He settledd down in the city of Hagen, where he livedundetected until 1995. Following the law from 1943, foreign members of the Waffen-SS automatically received German nationality. Germany does not extradite its own nationals.

Although he was not extradited he was taken to court in Germany, . Bikker’s managed  to evade any jail time  to claim diminished responsibility due to illness.Following a breakdown and fainting in court,  neurologists advised against Bikker standing trial tHE Court was adjourned on 2 February 2004.

Bikker lived in Hagen as a pensioner until his death on 1 November 2008  which was only announced in 2009.

Siert Bruns AKA the Beast of Appingedam.

Siert

Siert Bruins was a a member of the Dutch Nazi party NSB. During the war he and his brother both joined the Waffen SS and fought at the eastern front.

Siert got wounded  at the front and  returned to the Netherlands where he  became a member of the SD. He was active around Delfzijl hunting members of the resistance.

He was sentenced to death in absentia by a Dutch court in 1949 for the murder of Dutch farmer and resistance member Aldert Klaas Dijkema. The German government refused to extradite him to the Netherlands. The death sentence was later revised to a life sentence.

In 1978, Bruins was tracked  down by Simon Wiesenthal in the German town Altenbreckerfeld. He was arrested and put on trial in Germany, in 1980, where he was found guilty for the murder of two Jewish brothers, Meijer en Lazarus Sleutelberg.He spent 5 years in jail for those murders.

In 2003, the Dutch minister Donner tried to convince the German authorities to send Bruins to the Netherlands, but without success

He went on trial again, in the western city of Hagen in September 2013 for the murder of Aldert Klaas Dijkema, in September 1944 in Appingedam near the German-Dutch border.However, the case was dropped when judges said there was insufficient evidence to proceed, partly because there were no witnesses left alive.

Bruins died on September 28,2015 aged 94.

 

These were only 2 examples but there are still dozens of so called German citizens who are walking around as free men.

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Sources

BBC

Dutch News.nl

Dutch Wikipedia

Trial International

 

 

 

Helene Mayer-Caught between a Rock and a hard place.

Helen Mayer

The Olympic Games are the biggest sporting events in the world. But more then a sporting event is is also a political event filled with propaganda. This was never more clear then in 1936 during the Berlin Olympic Games.

1936

On July 26,1935,German sports commissioner Hans von Tschammer und Osten advised that no Jews would represent Germany at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. He claimed that Jews had competed in the qualifying events but none made the grade. In November 1935 Germany would make a bit of a u-turn after  mounting international pressure and allow the half-Jewish fencer Helene Mayer onto the team.

In 1936 the Nazi politics which enabled the Holocaust were already in full swing, three years prior the first concentration camp, Dachau, had already gone in operation.

The first Jewish person to die in Dachau was Arthur Kahn, a 21-year-old Jewish German medical student had enrolled in Edinburgh University in Scotland, he had returned to , Germany to pick up his student records at the University of Wurzburg.He was killed on April 12 1933.

In the U.S, there were those who believed that the country should boycott the 1936 Olympics due to Hitler’s stand towards Jewish athletes and his obvious discrimination towards athletes of African-American descent.

Helen Mayer had already  won a gold medal in fencing at the age of 17 at the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam, representing Germany, winning 18 bouts and losing only 2. She became a national hero in Germany and was celebrated, with her photo plastered everyone. According to a profile in The Guardian, “She was tall, blonde, elegant and vivacious. The fact that she was tall,blonde and blue eyed were taken in consideration to include her in the Olympic squad.

In 1931, her father died of a heart attack. She finished fifth at the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, having learned, two hours prior to the match, that her boyfriend had died in a military training exercise in Germany.Two years later Helene Mayer lost her German citizenship. Luckily for her, she managed to enroll into Berkley and to compete for the USC Fencing Club.

In 1936, however, it appeared that the same people who stripped her of citizenship and humiliated her to the point of complete ostracization, wanted her to perform once again for Germany.

Reluctantly she decided to accept the invitation although she was caught between a rock and a hard place between her professional career and her dignity and pride.

Goebbels requested of the press that no comments were to  be made regarding Helene Mayer’s non-Aryan ancestry She won a silver medal in individual women’s foil. She gave a Nazi salute on the podium, and later said it might have protected her family that was still in Germany, in labor camps.

Helen

There are some who have called her a traitor. I don’t describe to that point of view, in fact I think what she did was heroic. She was safe in the USA but yet she decided to represent her country at the major sporting tournament, risking being imprisoned after the tournament and especially if she hadn’t won a medal. Although the politics of her country failed her she still felt German, she had no political agenda. And I believe she competed for Germany in the hope of securing better treatment for her family, who were still living in Germany. It is easy to judge when you are not put in that position.

At the end of the day she was used as a pawn of the Nazi regime and the International Olympic Committee.

After the Olympics, she returned to the United States and became a nine-time U.S. champion. She received citizenship in 1941 but returned to Germany in 1952.Where she married an old friend, Erwin Falkner von Sonnenburg, in a quiet May ceremony in Munich. The couple moved to the hills above Stuttgart before setting in Heidelberg where she died of breast cancer in October 1953, two months before her 43rd birthday.

fENCING

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Sources

The Guardian

Irish Times

Vintage News

Mashable

 

 

Reichsbahn-‘Weapon’ of mass destruction.

Reichsbahn

If it hadn’t been for the Reichsbahn-the Nazi contolled railways ,the Holocaust would not have been possible to the extend it was.The irony, for lack of a better word, the hate for the Jews by  Hitler ,Himmler and the other Nazi leaders quite possibly caused them to lose the war. So many trains had been allocated to transport Jews and others to the death camps and concentration camps, that there was a lack of trains for transport of troops,supplies and equipment especially to the Eastern front.

Julius Heinrichtrein Dorpmueller was  general manager of Deutsche Reichsbahn-Gesellschaft and the Reich Minister for Transport from 1937 to 1945.After the Nazi seizure of power Dorpmüller replaced nearly all “non-Aryan” workers with National Socialists. Dorpmüller became Reich Transport Minister on 2 February 1937

Dorpmüller had doubts about the capacity of the Reichsbahn and had confessed to Albert Speer  at one stage that the  Reichsbahn had not enough  cars and locomotives available for the German area that it was no longer possible  to meet the most urgent transportation needs.

Speer then convinced Hitler to appoint Albert Ganzenmüller state secretary under Dorpmüller. Ganzenmüller immediately goy  involved in the organisation of trains for deportation.Albert He collaborated in the transportation scheme for elderly German Jews to Theresienstadt and made sure  the  transport to the extermination camps as set up under Operation Reinhardt  ran as smoothly as possible. However there were some complaints about the management of the transports by Ganzemüller. On July 16 Himmler’s personal adjutant Karl Wolff, , complained to the newly appointed under-secretary about irregularities on  transport and track repairs on the line to the extermination camp at Sobibor. Ganzenmüller replied in writing on 28 July 1942 as follows:

“A train carrying 5,000 Jews has run daily since 22 July from Warsaw to Treblinka via Malkinia; furthermore, another train has run twice a week with 5,000 Jews from Przemysl to Belzec. The senior management of the eastern division of the railways, ‘Gedob’ (Generaldirektion der Ostbahnen), is in constant touch with the security service  in Krakau. The latter is in agreement that transport from Warsaw to Sobibor via Lublin should continue while the reconstruction work on this stretch renders such movements impossible ([until] approximately October 1942).”

Karl Wolff thanked him on 13 August 1942 in a personal letter:

“I note with particular pleasure from your communication that a train with 5,000 members of the chosen race has been running daily for 14 days and that we are accordingly in a position to continue with this population movement at an accelerated pace.”

Not only was the Reichsbahn used as a sort of weapon of mass destruction , it was also used as a money making tool.Most of the Jews were forced to pay for their own deportations, particularly wherever passenger carriages were used.According to an expert report established on behalf of the German “Train of Commemoration” project, the receipts taken in by the state-owned Deutsche Reichsbahn for mass deportations in the period between 1938 and 1945 reached a sum of  an equivalent of close to 450 Million Euro or 505 Million USD.

It must be said that it wasn’t only the German railways who were involved, most of the other European railways also transported Jews and other so called’undesirables’ to the camps. Although they were controlled by the Reichsbahn, they still had some level of autonomy.

slovak train

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Archive.org

Bundesarchiv

 

First man-made object in space.

V2

One could be forgiven for thinking that the space race was between the USSR and the USA, and that the USSR were the first to initiate the race.

But it was in fact the Germans who on this day 75 years ago ,sent  the first man-made object to reach outer space.

The test launch of the MW 18014 ,a German  A-4/V-2 rocket  took place on 20 June 1944. It attained an apoapsis(The point of a body’s elliptical orbit about the system’s center of mass where the distance between the body and the center of mass is at its maximum) of 176 kilometers

MW 18014 was part of a series of vertical test launches conducted in June 1944, in Peenemunde, designed to gauge the rocket’s behavior in vacuum. MW 18014 broke the altitude record set by one of its predecessors to attain an apoapsis of 176 km.

It was the first man-made object to cross  the 100 km Kármán Line, which is the currently accepted boundary between Earth’s atmosphere and outer space. About 20 months later on October 24,1946 the US Air force took the first photo taken of Earth from outer space. with a camera mounted on an adapted V2 rocket.

earth

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Getting married in Nazi Germany

The Nazi regime controlled every aspects of life in Germany, even who you married. In 1935 the Reich Committee for Public Health Service issued the guidelines for getting married.

It was published as ‘die zehn Gebote für die Gattenwahl’ the 10 commandments for choosing a spouse.

  1. Always remember that you are a German.

2. Be sure to marry if you are genetically healthy.

3. Ensure that you keep your body clean.

4. Keep your soul and spirit clean.

5. As a German, you should only take a spouse of German or Nordic blood.

6. When deciding on a spouse, investigate his or her ancestry.

7. Physical health is the prerequisite for outward beauty.

8. Marry only for love.

9. In relationships, do not seek a temporary plaything, look for a partner for marriage.

10. You should want as many children as possible.

These 10 commandments were published in women’s magazines like “NS-Frauen-Warte” but also in pamphlets distributed to all students graduating from a trade school under the Nazi regime.

So many got married because their “Führer” wished so, yet he only got married a few hours before he killed himself.

10

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Sources

Süddeutscher Zeitung

Bundesarciv

 

Werner Catel- deciding who lives.

Werner Catel

One of the most disturbing aspects  of the Holocaust I find is the fact that so many who were instrumental in so many evil deeds, were allowed to continue after the war.

In February or March 1939 a farmer called Richard Kretschmar requested Catel’s permission to euthanize one of his children, the child we now know to have been  Gerhard Kretschmar, often referred to as Child K, who had been born blind and deformed.

Werner Catel deferred the matter and advised the father to write directly to Hitler for permission. Hitler subsequently sent Dr. Karl Brandt to confer with Catel and decide on a course of action. On July 25, 1939 the child was killed. It would be the first child to be killed under Aktion T4 or the T-4 program, technically the poor boy would become the pilot case.

T-4

A year later, Werner Catel set up »children’s wards in Leipzig-Dösen and in the University Children’s Hospital in Leipzig. He was an expert on the Reich Committee for the Scientific Registering of Serious Hereditary and Congenital Illnesses, even killing children with mental or physical disabilities himself.

The T4 program was influenced by a popular book, ” die freigabe der vernichtung lebensunwerten lebens(Allowing the destruction of life unworthy of living)”, written in 1922 by Alfred Hoche and Karl Binding.

Book

Catel argued for the reintroduction of euthanasia. As had Binding and Hoche, Catel identified three possible types of euthanasia.

Reine Euthanasie:
“Real” euthanasia was seen as the killing of a person who was suffering from so much pain, that an ever-increasing amount of pain reducing drugs had to be administered. This consequently lead to the person’s death.

Euthanasie im engeren Sinne:
The killing of a patient whose illness “according to medical experience” is so bad “that there is no hope of recovery”, but whose death is also not to be expected in the near future. (See terminal sedation)

Euthanasie im weiteren Sinne:
The “extermination of the life of an “idiot child” or an adult in a similar condition. Catel defined “idiot children” as being “such monsters … which are nothing but a massa carnis”.

Basically Werner Catel was one of the people who felt they had the right to decided who would live or die.

After the war Catel fled from Soviet controlled Leipzig in 1946. To West Germany.The West German authorities ‘de-Nazified’ him in 1949 and classed him as »Persons Exonerated. Afterwards, he was shortlisted for several professorships. In 1954, he was appointed Professor of Paediatrics in Kiel, despite the facts his function on the Reich Committee was known. Due to public pressure and the debate about his role in National Socialism, Catel took early retirement in 1960. Catel continued to propagate in public the idea of the euthanasia of children with mental and physical disabilities.

He died April 30, 1981, aged 88. Where many of his victims did even reach the age  88 months.

 

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Sources

T4-Denkmal

Der Spiegel