The Milgram experiment

milgram

One question that puzzles many people around the world is how was it possible that a sophisticated nation like Germany could be responsible for something is horrific as the Holocaust?

The scary and the brutal reality is that is was extremely easy. Another reality is that this could have happened anywhere else.

Someone once told me that it must have taken decades to turn people from law abiding citizens to either monsters or bystanders. I told her that it doesn’t take decades to condition people to commit evil, it only takes a few days.

Prime examples are the third wave experiment ,conducted by California high school history teacher Ron Jones to explain Nazi Germany. Another example is the Stanford prison experiment, conducted by a psychology study group led by Dr.Philip Zimbardo, at Stanford University. The  experiment attempted to investigate the psychological effects of perceived power, focusing on the struggle between prisoners and prison officers.

Both experiments had to be abandoned after less then a week because they basically had become to successful. The key was the aforementioned law abiding citizens, fact is that people follow authority do what they are told and when this happens without any critical thinking or asking questions it is extremely easy to create a genocide.

The 2 experiments mentioned above both had students mistreating other students and even though it created  groups that perceived themselves superior to their fellow students which led to some skirmishes , there was relatively little violence.

The Milgram experiment however went a step further.

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Inspired by defense testimonies during the Nuremberg trials and especially the Adolf Eichmann trial, where it was claimed that ‘they were merely following orders” Stanley Milgram wanted to see how far people would go in obeying an instruction if it involved harming another person, and he was was interested to see how easily ordinary people could be influenced into committing atrocities.

eichmann

 

Three men took part in each session of the experiment:

  • The “experimenter”
  • The “teacher”
  • The “learner”,

 

At the start of the experiment, they were introduced to another participant, who was a confederate of the experimenter (Milgram).

They drew straws to determine their roles – learner or teacher – however this was fixed and the confederate was always the learner. There was also an “experimenter” dressed in a gray lab coat, played by an actor (not Milgram).

In total there  were 40 male participants , aged between 20 and 50, whose jobs ranged from unskilled to professional, from the New Haven area.They would all be paid $4 an hour + 50 cents car fare.

Two participants (one actor) were separated in two rooms where they could only hear each other.

The test subject then read a series of questions to the actor. Each time the actor would answer a question incorrectly, the test subject would push a button that administered an electric shock to the actor(In reality, there were no shocks)with shock levels starting at 30 volts and increasing in 15-volt increments all the way up to 450 volts.

shock

Although many of the test subjects expressed a desire to stop the experiment at the first signs of screams, nearly every single one continued to push the button when they were told they would not personally be held responsible for any consequences.

65%  of the participants (i.e., teachers) continued to the highest level of 450 volts. All the participants continued to 300 volts.

The experiment did show that tend to obey orders from other people if they recognize their authority as morally right and/or as legally based.

Killing human beings though has a complete different mindset, however these experiments do show how easy it is for people to become complacent and even complicit in unspeakable crimes if it is ordered by an authoritative body whose morals  motives aren’t questioned but just assumed to be right.

milgranm 2

 

The inconvenient truth is that despite all historical evidence,genocides still happen, not to the same scale as the Holocaust, but genocides are still a reality in the 21st century.

genocide

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Sources

Simplypsychology.org

verywellmind.com

 

 

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A promise of life

sarah

I was born with a promise of life.

A life full of joy and excitement, but also a life of sometimes sadness

A life of play and learning new skills every day.

A life which is unique , so very much the same as other but yet totally different.

A life with family and friends.

A life of song and dance.

A life full of flavors and colors

But my promise of life became a certainty of death.

I am Sarah Eva Vleeschhouwer, I died age 7 murdered in Auschwitz.

 

Source

Joods Monument

 

The brutal execution of Robert-François Damiens.

damiens

Regicide is the deliberate killing of a monarch, or the person responsible for the killing of a person of royalty. Through the ages there have been a great number of regicides, the last one happened this century. In June 1,2001 the Nepalese Royal Family was allegedly massacred by Crown Prince Dipendra of Nepal.

However this blog is about a failed regicide. On On 5 January 1757 French King Louis XV was stabbed by Robert-François Damiens. The king survived the attempt possible because of the layers of clothing he was wearing, in the midst of winter.

luois xv

Guards had captured Robert-François Damiens but the King ordered him not be harmed, well at least not yet.

Damiens was jailed and was tortured in jail in order to ascertain if there were any accomplices to the assassination attempt.

On March 28,1757  Damiens was fetched from jail. He supposedly said “The day will be hard” and how right he was.

He was initially  tortured in where his legs were painfully compressed by devices called “boots”. The tortured then continued with red-hot pincers; the hand with which he had used to hold the knife during the assassination attempt was burned using sulfur. Then molten wax, molten lead, and boiling oil were poured into his wounds.

He was sentenced to death by drawing and quartering and was subsequently  brought to the royal executioner, Charles Henri Sanson, who harnessed horses to Damiens’s  arms and legs to be dismembered. Damiens’ limbs however,did not separate easily: the officiants ordered Sanson to cut Damiens’ tendons, and once that was done the horses were able to perform the dismemberment.Once Damiens was dismembered, to the applause of the crowd, his reportedly still-living torso was burnt at the stake.

sentence

Damiens was the last person  to be executed in France by drawing and quartering,

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Brats-Laurel and Hardy were so ahead of their time.

brats

I know I have written about Laurel and Hardy before but now with the biopic of their lives in cinemas across the world, I was reminded how brilliant they were.

Unlike their contemporaries like Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, Laurel and Hardy’s humor stayed fresh and still appeals to audiences nowadays.

Perhaps this is because they were so ahead of their time. Not only in cinematographic technical aspects but also in modern social settings. Nothing illustrates this more then the movie Brats.

The short movie is about 2 dads playing  checkers and snooker, minding their children, while the wife are out on the town.Just think about that for a minute,today that would not be a big deal, but in 1930 it most definitely was.

Even when you look at the special effects, Laurel and Hardy not only play the dads but also the boys they are minding. Using  over-sized props to give the impression of kids into everything from a bathtub to a wooden chest of drawers. Each room of the house was re-created on a  large scale to achieve the effect of both duos being in the same house.

The movie is only 23 minutes long but it has so many hilarious scenes. I must have seen it 100s of times but it never bores me.

Ending up with my favourite line from the movie” You can lead a horse to water but a pencil must be led”

 

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When Hitler killed one of the best performers of his favourite music.

gOTTLIEB

All deaths during the Holocaust were awful but the death of Henriette Gottlieb is particularly poignant. Some sources say she died on January 2 1942, other sources say she died in 1943.

One thing that is fairly certain is that she died in the Lodz Ghetto.

Lodz

Henriette Gottlieb should have been known as one of the best Opera Sopranos ever but yet she all but forgotten.

Hitler’s favourite composer was Wagner ,Gottlieb was a particularly noted Wagnerian interpreter, and sang at the Bayreuth Festivals (1927-30)

She performed the Wagnerian role of Brünnhilde in the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Paris, in a 1928 performance of Der Ring der Nibelung.Following the Nazi ban on Jewish performers, she lived in Berlin until she was deported to the Łódź Ghetto ( in 1941. According most sources she was murdered in Lodz on January 2 1942.

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Sources

Opera Nederland

Wikipedia Germany

MUGi-Musik &Gender inm Internet.

 

Glasgow Rangers-Ibrox Park Deadly stadium.

ibrox

Association Football also known as just Football or Soccer is the world’s most favourite sport.No sport united and divides fans like football. Legendary Dutch football coach Rinus Michels famously said that “top football is something like war. And unfortunately like war it has casualties.

There have been several well documented Football disasters over the decades, Hillsborough and Heizel are amongst the most devastating ones.

But very few stadiums top the deadly disasters like the ones in Glasgow Rangers stadium Ibrox Park in Glasgow Scotland.

During an international  football match between Scotland and England in Ibrox stadium on 5 April 1902,the West Tribune Stand collapsed, resulting in the death of 25 fans.

1902

A number of reasons have been considered for the collapse, including heavy rainfall the previous night and the large crowd stamping and swaying as the match progressed. One theory in a report following the event centered around Scottish player Bobby Templeton.bobby

Regarded as an exciting attacking player, he was making his debut for the Scottish national team and had gained possession of the ball moments prior to the collapse.

 

The investigation stated that the crowd’s desperation to see Templeton dribble with the ball caused them to surge forward which may have been a contributing to the collapse.

During 1963, concerns were raised about the safety of the stairway adjacent to passageway 13 (colloquially known as Stairway 13), the exit closest to Copland Road subway station. On 16 September 1961 two people were killed in a crush on the stairway, and there were two other incidents, in 1967 and 1969, where several people were injured.

Unfortunately worse was yet to come. On January 2,1971. 66 fans died in a crush among the crowd at an Old Firm football game.

In the 90th minute, Celtic took a 1–0 lead through Jimmy Johnstone and some Rangers supporters started to leave the stadium. However, in the final moments of the match, Colin Stein scored an equaliser for Rangers.

As thousands of spectators were leaving the ground by stairway 13, it appears that someone may have fallen ,possibly a child being carried on his father’s shoulders, causing a massive chain-reaction pile-up of people.

Among the dead were many children. The youngest child to die was  Nigel Patrick Pickup of Liverpool, age 9.

news coverage

Sheriff James Irvine Smith, in his damages statement, ruled: “The said accident was due to the fault and negligence of the defenders, Rangers F.C.”

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Reporting the Holocaust.

Holocaust news.JPG

It is often said that no one knew what happened in the concentration camps. But in fact people just didn’t want to know or could fathom the horrors and therefore decided to stick their heads in the sand.

I am not referring to the Germans on this occasion but to the people in the USA,UK and other European countries, if they only would have paid more attention to the various reports which were published. like the above newspaper article of June 25, 1942.

Or the headlines below which were in the news prior to the holocaust.

The Times, 8 November 1935

“Like so many Nazi catchwords… “May Jewry perish!” – was meant literally and will be literally brought to pass if the fanatics have their way.”

 

New York Times, 16 August 1936

“This contact with many nationalities and races has made the Germans more human again.” Frederick T Birchall reports on the Berlin Olympics,

 

The Times, 25 October 1940

“…they will be driven into the ghetto forcibly. An official explanation says that Jewish homes are known to be breeding-places of pestilence.” Report on  the sealing of the Warsaw Ghetto

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Sources

BBC

The Guatdian

 

Whoever has the youth has the future.

Youth 1

A phrase often used by Hitler was “whoever has the youth has the future” the scary thing about this is that there are elements of truth in that statement. I often come across pictures of young Holocaust victims and each one of them without exception are heartbreaking. For all those kids their future was denied.

But what I find equally disturbing of pictures of often  very young children who so clearly have been indoctrinated in the Nazi ideology, taught to hate, like the picture of the 2 toddlers above.

Or  like the children in the pictures below.

Youth 2

youth 3

youth 4

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Hongerwinter-Hunger winter.

honger 1

In September 1944 most of the southern part of the Netherlands had been liberated, Unfortunately the rest of the country faced a very harsh  winter. Extreme cold combined with lack of food resulted in a famine, causing the death of about 20,000 citizens.

Dutch railway workers had gone on strike hoping to help the allied forces to advance. Alas the British led allied campaign called Operation Market Garden failed.The Nazis retaliated by blocking food supplies.

The effects of the famine is still felt more then 7 decades after it ended. One famous example of someone who suffered with the effects of the hunger winter for the rest of her life is Audrey Hepburn.She spent her childhood in the Netherlands during the hunger winter and although she would become a very successful actress who accumulated quite some wealth in her later years,  she had lifelong negative medical conditions as a result of the famine . She suffered from anemia, respiratory illnesses, and edema.

hepburn

Babied born from women who were pregnant during the famine would often be a few pounds heavier then the average.Their death rate would also be be higher then those who had been been in utero before or after the famine.

Below are some impression of the hunger winter 1944/45.

hunger 2

hunger 3

hunger 4

hunger 5

hunger 6

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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

Beeldbankwo2.nl

New York Times

 

Sjaak Swart-The football legend that nearly didn’t happen.

Swart

For the size of the country it is astonishing how many football greats come from the Netherlands.

Names like Johann Cruijff,Johan Nesskens,Ruud Gullit,Marco van Basten and Arjen Robben to name but a few, but the name Sjaak Swart certainly belongs in that list. Sjaak (Sjakie) Swart was pivotal to the successes of Ajax in  1971 to 1973  the 2 consecutive years when they won the European Cup.

For his 31 caps for the Dutch National team he scored 10 goals.

However the legendary midfielder nearly never kicked a ball, leave alone score goals and win cups.

ajax

Born in in the small fishing village of Muiderberg some 20 kilometres east of Amsterdam in 1938 as Jesaia Swart , the son of a Jewish Fisherman.

His father and he were forced to disguise themselves as non-Jews during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands from 1940 to 1945, hiding from the prying eyes of both Germans and Dutch collaborators, who rounded up any Jewish men, women and children in the country. Living a life comparable to a nightmare , fearing every knock at the the door Sjaak and his father managed to survive the war and the extermination of nearly 75 per cent of the Jewish population of the Netherlands.

The siblings of Louis Swart,Sjaak’s father, all died Louis would never have anymore children because as part of escaping the Nazis he had himself sterilized.

Not much is known about Sjaak’s mother ,all that I discovered it that she lived long enough to hand Sjaak his first Ajax jersey,she died of cancer in 1948. The gift of that jersey by his mother sealed his life long loyalty to the club.

Swart, joined the Ajax academy in 1949.He is still involved in Football today, aged 80.

What I find amazing about this is that although I am a big fan of the men in Orange, the Dutch National team, I never knew that Sjakie Swart was Jewish and had survived the horrors and a most certain death if he had been caught.

It is also an indication that the Holocaust is still in the living memory of so many.

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Sources

Voetbal International

niw.nl

AFC Ajax