The Eagle

eagle

The eagle flies high in the sky, it is a warm sunny day. He wonders if he can fly to the sun. Because he is the ruler in the skies, no one can stop him. He can go wherever he wants to go. Free to roam not restricted by any one or anything.

During his flight a strange sight catches his eye.A  station platform packed with families and men in uniforms. The families boarding a train and the men in uniform bullying them to hurry up. A strange sight but yet not unfamiliar, he has seen it before.

train

High up in the sky, the eagle feels safe and secure, He can see for miles and miles, any enemy he can detect with great ease from a big distance.

As he flies and looks down he sees 2 lines, and on those two lines he sees something moving. He decides to have a closer look. Quickly he recognizes a railway and on it a fast moving train, maybe it is the train he saw earlier that day.

He dives to have a closer look and to his shock he sees people in cars which are usually used foe cattle. Why ? , he wonders. There is no joy in this moving train, he hears the echoes of many cries. He sight and sound that disturbs him. He also sees some men in uniforms. The eagle also see an emblem of a bird, in fact it is a depiction of an eagle.

metal eagle

He is angry and wants to destroy the emblem, but he is afraid because the uniformed men are heavily armed.

Confused he flies away. Why are these people using the picture of his species on a train? The eagle is a noble and majestic creature, these men aren’t. Why are they heavily armed? The people they are transporting have no weapons, in fact they have very little, Some have a single suitcase, others have nothing.

He flies away going about his own business.

In the distance he sees some kind of settlement, he decides to go and look, Check out the facilities and see if there is some food, surely there must be something there for him, a mouse, or a squirrel or any kind of rodent.

When he approaches he sees another platform, another train and yet again two lines.This time the train is standing still and the lines isn’t a railway. It is 2 lines of people.

One line consists of young ,healthy looking men and some women. The other line is different, Young children with their Mothers, some pregnant and there are older people who appear to be infirm.

selection

This line has been told to start moving by yet a group of armed men,and also some women. The line is approaching a set of buildings, one of the buildings has two chimneys. The eagle decides the rest he weary wings and rests on one of the chimneys.

The people in the line are told to get washed, have a shower as they enter one of the buildings.

 

The eagle listens but is surprised by the sounds. He hears no running water, all he hears is the sound of women and children screaming, followed by an eerie silence. The eagle is upset , he realizes what has happened. It is hard for him to comprehend that one species can cause some much pain to its own fellow species. Aren’t human beings supposed to be intelligent? Don’t they realize that when they kill their own and especially children, soon no one will be left? What species takes pleasure in destroying its own future?

The eagle is sad. suddenly he feels ashes coming up from the chimney he is resting on.

chimney

He flies away, he does not want to stay one second longer in this horrid place.The eagle flies high in the sky, it is a warm sunny day. He wonders if he can fly to the sun,because he no longer wants to stay here.

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Two 10 months old babies- 2 different futures.

babyy

This blog contains 2 pictures of 2 baby boys both aged 10 months. With these pictures I will be attempting to explain the Holocaust in a way that most anyone can understand it.

Having that said no one will really ever understand how it was possible to massacre so many innocent lives on such an industrial scale.

The pictures are nearly identical but were taken with a time span of 25 years between them.

The picture above is a picture of Bernhard Arend Sanders born on March 20,1943 in Schalkwijk, Houten, Utrecht, The Netherlands .

Bernhard was killed on January 28, 1944 in Auschwitz, he was barely 10 months old . He was killed because of someone’s warped ideology of how the perfect human being looked like and because a twisted sense of entitlement.

Although Bernhard was Dutch, seen by the Nazis as a pure race,he was also Jewish, Jews were subhuman,even vermin, according to the Nazi doctrine as lined out by the Nazi leadership, Hitler,Himmler,Hess,Goebbels,Goering and others.

According to these men the Aryan race was the purest form of humanity and everyone else would either be subjected to the Aryan race or eradicated altogether.

There were 3 ironies in this, Firstly none of the aforementioned leaders of the Nazi regime fulfilled the Nazi criteria of being pure Aryan. Because Aryans were meant to be tall,blonde,blue eyed,Germanic blood  and athletic.

Secondly, many of those the Nazis had deemed to be subhuman  actually fulfilled all the criteria for being Aryan

Thirdly, the actual Aryan race were Indo-Iranians from origin.

But because of this warped ideology a young beautiful boy like Bernhard Arend Sanders was murdered in a most horrible way, gassed to death.

The Nazis had this twisted sense of entitlement, they believed they were meant to rule and therefore everything belonged to them. They felt they were entitled to take anything they desired,regardless who owned it.

I deliberately mention Nazis rather then Germans, although the Nazis were able to control a great number of Germans by feeding them false promises and propaganda, there were Germans who resisted them. Also the Nazis did not only control the Germans there are very few occupied countries who did not fall for the Nazi propaganda in one way or another/ Although mostly a minority, there were a substantial number of National Socialists in other European countries and even in the UK and the USA.

Yes the Nazis also  used violence to achieve their goals but it all started off via a democratic route.

baby

Fast forward to 1968/69 and imagine an alternative history. A new  political movement, whose name we don’t know yet, has come to power in one of the smallest countries in Western Europe, the Netherlands. This new government declares that the Aryan race with blonde hair and blue eyes are subhuman, even vermin, and need to be eradicated.

Just imagine that, the little baby boy in the picture above would have been killed, and this blog would never be written, because you see that little boy was me 10 months old.

We should never ever forget the Holocaust and should always hold those responsible accountable. But we also should never forget that this could easily happen again but this time it might be the blonde blue eyed Europeans, the Asians, the Muslims or the Jews again.

Evil has no nationality or creed.Next time it could be me or you.

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Harald Turner- Evil business as usual.

Turner

Despite his English sounding name, Harald Turner was born in the town of Leun in the district of Hesse in Germany in 1891. He served as an SS commander in Serbia during WWII.

His description of some crimes he had been involved in are truly chilling, not so much because of the horrific crimes themselves but more in the business as usual kind of way he described them. Below are some examples.

“Already some months ago, I shot dead all the Jews I could get my hands on in this area, concentrated all the Jewish women and children in a camp and with the help of the SD got my hands on a “delousing van,” that in about 14 days to 4 weeks will have brought about the definitive clearing out of the camp…” Dr. Harold Turner’s letter to Karl Wolff, dated April 11, 1942

The  “Delousing” van he referred to were Gas vans.

gas vans

Between 16 September 1941 and 2 December 1941, Franz Böhme,as Commanding General and Commander of Serbia,  ordered the reprisal executions of 2,000 civilians in Kragujevac after a partisan assault on 22 soldiers of the 421 Korps-Nachrichten-Abteilung.

Bohme

It was not only for the partisan assault but also for what Böhme saw as the betrayal and the backstabbing by the Serbians which caused so much German blood in 1914. The civilians were to be Jewish and Gypsies.

On October 11 ,Harald Turner reported the following.

“After thorough exploration of the square and preparation, the first shooting took place on October 9, 1941.

The prisoners were picked up from their camp in Belgrade at 5.30 am with their emergency luggage. Providing them with  spade and other tools, for a job which was faked. Each vehicle was guarded by only three men, to hide the fact of what really was about to happen

The transport took place without any difficulties. The mood of the prisoners during transport and preparation was good. They were happy about the distance from the camp, because their accommodation had not been to their liking as of yet. The prisoners were set to work 8 kilometers from the shooting site and afterwards taken to the site.  The shooting took place by rifle at a distance of 12 meters. For each prisoner 5 marksmen were ordered to shoot. Additionally , two marksmen were available to the doctor, who had to kill the prisoners via head shots  as instructed by the doctor.”

That day 180 men were murdered.

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Sources

German Wikipedia

Mahmnal Koblenz

 

A violin to silence the violence.

vIOLIN

An instrument is not just a thing used to create music. Anyone who owns and plays an instrument knows that at some stage it becomes a part of you.

It is no longer just a physical entity but it becomes filled with a bit of your soul.

I do not know who owned this violin which survived one of the death camps. I don’t even know in which death camp it was found.

But I do know that a part of the soul of its owner is linked to the instrument.

It probably was played when innocent victims were taken from the trains, often close to death. Only to become witness to even more violence which they were subjected to.

The violin undoubtedly broke the sounds of the violence,albeit for a split second.

Or it could have been played when women and children were paraded to the gas chambers. Although the sound of the violin was used in a cynical way it was also a distraction for a short time.

I can imagine the tears of a young virtuoso playing a piece of music knowing that those who passed him by were destined for a certain death. But he also knew that the same fate would await him too.

Despite that and despite the fact that the criminals who forced him to play, only wanted to create a false illusion, pretending all would be fine, he still played and tried to play his instrument in the most pleasing manner.

He’d use his violin to silence the violence, even if it was for a fleeting moment.

Dirk Bogarde-Not just an actor.

Dirk

I don’t know why but ever since I moved to Ireland I have found myself explaining my name quite a bit. I have been called Derek,Declan,Kirk and other variations.Nowadays I usually say “Dirk like Dirk Bogarde” it mostly takes another few minutes for people to get my last name right. Most people will have heard of the actor

He was a British actor although his Father was of Flemish ancestry.

Although I do mention his name while explaining my name to people. I have to be honest. I am no Dirk Bogarde. I wish I was for he was not only a great actor he was also a formidable human being.

I will not go into his acting career but will focus on some of his activities. During the war, Derek Bogarde served in the British Army, at the start with the Royal Corps of Signals before in 1943 being commissioned at the age of 22 into the Queen’s Royal Regiment  as a second lieutenant.

He served for a while at RAF Medmenham a unit specialized in photographic intelligence.  in the Army reconnaissance section as a visual inspector. Analyzing aerial photographs using special glasses to create 3D effects.

3d

2019-03-08 (1)

The unit played a  pivotal role in gathering intelligence  on the V1 and V2 programs.

Bogarde was one of the first Allied officers in April 1945 to reach the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany, this experience had the most profound effect on him and about which he found it difficult to speak for many years afterward. In an inteview he described what he saw. He got the dates wrong, the camp was liberated on the 15th of April.

“I think it was on the 13th of April – I’m not quite sure what the date was”  “when we opened up Belsen Camp, which was the first concentration camp any of us had seen, we didn’t even know what they were, we’d heard vague rumours that they were. I mean nothing could be worse than that. The gates were opened and then I realised that I was looking at Dante’s Inferno, I mean … I … I still haven’t seen anything as dreadful. And never will. And a girl came up who spoke English, because she recognised one of the badges, and she … her breasts were like, sort of, empty purses, she had no top on, and a pair of man’s pyjamas, you know, the prison pyjamas, and no hair. But I knew she was girl because of her breasts, which were empty. She was I suppose, oh I don’t know, twenty four, twenty five, and we talked, and she was, you know, so excited and thrilled, and all around us there were mountains of dead people, I mean mountains of them, and they were slushy, and they were slimy, so when you walked through them … or walked – you tried not to, but it was like …. well you just walked through them, and she … there was a very nice British MP, and he said ‘Don’t have any more, come away, come away sir, if you don’t mind, because they’ve all got typhoid and you’ll get it, you shouldn’t be here swanning-around’ and she saw in the back of the jeep, the unexpired portion of the daily ration, wrapped in a piece of the Daily Mirror, and she said could she have it, and he” [the MP] “said ‘Don’t give her food, because they eat it immediately and they die, within ten minutes’, but she didn’t want the food, she wanted the piece of Daily Mirror – she hadn’t seen newsprint for about eight years or five years, whatever it was she had been in the camp for. … she was Estonian. … that’s all she wanted. She gave me a big kiss, which was very moving. The corporal” [MP] “was out of his mind and I was just dragged off. I never saw her again, of course she died. I mean, I gather they all did. But, I can’t really describe it very well, I don’t really want to. I went through some of the huts and there were tiers and tiers of rotting people, but some of them who were alive underneath the rot, and were lifting their heads and trying …. …. trying to do the victory thing. That was the worst.

“After the war I always knew that nothing, nothing, could ever be as bad … … but nothing could frighten me any more, I mean, no man could frighten me any more, no Director … … nothing could be as bad as the war, or the things I saw in the war.”

Bergan

Dirk Bogarde truly remarkable man.

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Sources

BBC

 

Heinz Rühmann-Hero or Villain?

Heinz

Heinz Rühmann-Hero or Villain? The honest answer is I don’t know but I expect the answer is somewhere in the middle, he was neither a hero or a villain or he was a bit of both.

For anyone living in an English speaking country or who grew up outside of Europe, the name Heinz Rühmann will mean virtually nothing. But for those who grew up in Europe and especially in Germany,Austria,Switzerland,the Netherlands or other central and eastern European countries the name will be synonymous with German cinema.

He was born on March 7, 1902 in Essen in Germany and  appeared in over a 100 movies between 1926 and 1993.

During the Nazi era he starred in 37 movies and directed 4. Most of the German movies in that era were heavily themed with Nazi propaganda. Although Rühmann was apolitical because of his work he was directly associated to the Nazi regime.

director

The majority of his movies during the Third reich were lighthearted comedies, meant to keep up the morale of the German people.

However he had the ‘honor’ to make a short film on the occasion of Joseph Goebbels’s birthday, in which he portrayed the minister’s children and his wife Magda Goebbels.

Goebbels

In August 1924 he married Maria Bernheim, who was Jewish. In 1938 he divorced. Maria  married the Swedish actor Rolf von Nauckhoff shortly afterwards, as a result she  got by a departure permission to Sweden. She survived World War 2

The divorce caused Rühmann to be accused of w opportunism for wanting to secure his career. However the marriage had already been a bit shaky , and some people say that he wanted to protect his wife by divorcing her.Even after the divorce and despite his ex wife being married again, he still supported Maria financially.

Rühmann remarried on July 1 ,1939, he married the actress Hertha Feiler whose Grandfather was Jewish. Therefore she  considered to be one fourth Jewish  and was only able to work with a special permission, despite that  she and Heinz Rühmann were presented in the press as a model married couple.

Hertha

In 1944, the premiere of “Die Feuerzangenbowle” was banned by the Nazi film censor for “disrespect for authority”. Because of his good relationships with the regime, however, Rühmann was allowed to screen the film in public. He brought the film to the  Wolfsschanze for a private screening for Hermann Göring and others. Göring enjoyed the movie and was able to get the ban on the film lifted by Adolf Hitler.

One of Heinz Rühmann’s  biggest fans was Anne Frank,. She even posted a  picture of him above her bed in the Secret Annex in Amsterdam, where it can still be seen today.

In May 1945 Heinz Rühmann was  forced to witness the rape of his wife Hertha  by Russian soldiers in their Berlin villa.

After the war he had difficulties resuming his work, partially because he was confronted with a working prohibition by the Allies. However  by the mid 50s, the former comedic actor had established himself again as a star, only this time as Germany’s leading character actor. His last movie was Wim Wenders’s “Faraway, So Close!” from 1993.

He died in 1994, aged 92.

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Sources

IMDB

Der Spiegel

ZDF

 

Sigmund Rascher’s end

Rascher

Sigmund Rascher was without a shadow if a doubt one of the most evil men of the Nazi regime. He was an SS Doctor in service of the Luftwaffe and was one of Himmler’s favourites. Rascher’s wife the actress ,Karoline “Nini” Diehl, was a friend of Himmler, rumours had it that she was Himmler’s mistress but this was never verified.

Rascher conducted deadly experiments on the effect of high altitude , freezing and blood coagulation on human subjects in Dachau, this all under the patronage of Heinrich Himmler.

dachau

Aside from the extremely cruel and deadly experiments he also used human skin to make saddles. It is no wonder that he was executed on April 26,1945.

However you’d be wrong to think he was executed by the allies or for the aforementioned crimes.

In order to impress Himmler, Rascher claimed  that population growth could be sped up by extending female childbearing age, Rascher publicized  that his wife had given birth to three children even after reaching 48 years of age. Himmler so impressed by this used a photograph of Rascher’s family as propaganda material.

But, during the  fourth “pregnancy,” of Mrs. Rascher , she was caught attempting to kidnap a baby and was arrested . A subsequent  investigation revealed that her other three children had been either bought or kidnapped. Himmler was furious and felt betrayed, Rascher was arrested in April 1944.

Additionally to the fraudulent childbearing scheme it was also accused of financial irregularities, the murder of his former lab assistant, and scientific fraud.

On April 26,1945 just 3 days before US troops reached Dachau, Rascher was executed by SS-Hauptscharführer Theodor Bongartz ,allegedly on Himmler’s direct order.

DACHAU US TROOPS

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Tina Strobos-Forgotten Hero

Tina

I had not heard of Tina Strobos before although I have read so much about WWII and the Holocaust, but for some reason her name escaped me. She was born Tineke Buchter.

She was a  was a Dutch physician and psychiatrist from Amsterdam and during WWII she was involved in the Dutch resistance.Together with her mother and grandmother she provided a safe place for about 100 Jews during the German occupation of the Netherlands.

She used her house to hide these Jews,  usually three or four individuals at a time,using a secret compartment in the attic  and a warning bell system to keep them safe from the many sudden police raids. She also smuggled guns and radios for the Dutch resistance and forged passports, by stealing stole  cards from non-Jewish people at social gatherings, to help refugees escape the country..

foged

She knew that if she was ever discovered she would face a certain death.

During the course of the war, she  had been arrested and interrogated by the Gestapo nine times.[ During these interrogations, She would be held by her wrists and thrown against a wall,once she was even knocked unconscious.Despite all this  she never once betrayed the whereabouts of those she hid. In order to endure the interrogations , Tina  learned certain tactics. She always requested for an  interpreter, even though she was  fluent in German, this bought her some time to compose herself. A Nazi officer once commented on her legs, she used this to her advantage and became more courageous : “I realized that he was just a man and he was interested in my legs. So that gave me a sense of power.”

This heroic woman died age 91 on February 27,2012 in New York. Because of people like her I am proud to be Dutch.

 

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Seducing the nation

kDF

It is easy to blame the German civilians for being complacent during World War II and especially the Holocaust, and to an extend this blame is understandable.

But I have my doubts if this complacency  would be different in any other country. After World War I Germany was engulfed in internal conflicts and even an internal revolution, which was basically a civil war.

civil war

After this political upheaval and social uncertainty followed by economical woes,partially caused by the repayments as laid out by the treaty of Versaille and partially caused by the great depression, the country was facing an uphill struggle. There was poverty,famine and a hyper inflation. Money was worth nothing,  people would sometimes use  paper money  to fire up the stove.

stove

It is not hard to understand that in those times it didn’t take much for people to follow a party who not only promised things but also delivered on those promises, at least temporarily . We now know of course that these promises eventually only served one reason, which was for the NSDAP to get to power.

These promises coupled with a well functioning propaganda machine proved to be a very powerful weapon.

In the early 1930s the Nazis started setting up programs like “Kraft durch Freude” Strength through Joy which was was a large state-operated leisure organization which worked in conjunction with the German Labour Front . The KdF provided affordable leisure activities such as concerts, plays, libraries, day trips and holidays. Large cruise ships, like the  Wilhelm Gustloff, were built specially deigned  for KdF cruises.

Ship

Beach resorts were also built, resorts like Prora , which facilitated beach holidays on a massive scale. An enormous building complex on the island of Rügen, located off the Pomeranian coast in the Baltic Sea. It was built between 1936 and 193 by the KdF as a beach resort to accommodate affordable beach holidays.

Prora

The Nazis promised that every family should have a family car. Designed by Ferdinand Porsche , the KdF cars were known as the People’s car or Volkswagen. Porsche developed the Type 12,  the concept f the or “Auto für Jedermann” (car for everybody) for Zündapp in 1931. On 26 May 1938, Hitler laid the cornerstone for the Volkswagen factory in Fallersleben.

VW

The Nazis made sure that everyone in the country would get a radio, the so called “Volksempfänger” or People’s receiver. Of course people were delighted with this. This bit of technology would connect them with the wider world, They did not realize then that this was also a toll for mass propaganda, a brainwash device for in the living room.

radio

The Nazi regime even attempted to provide families with their own airplanes, the so called Volksflugzeug (people’s airplane) was never fully implemented though.

plane

The keyword in many of these technologies was “Volk” or ‘People’. It created the illusion that the Nazis only had the best intentions for the People, There were People fridges and even People gas masks.

This combined with the creation of employment, a new found prosperity was created in Germany. This prosperity after the years of hardship and poverty worked nearly as a drug, and people believed what Hitler and his cronies told them, because for a while they did what they promised.

It was relatively easy to find a scapegoat to blame for the poverty they had endured, and to ensure this wouldn’t happen again and  people fell for it.

Of course their eyes should have been opened when they saw what was really happening to the Jews,disabled and other groups which the Nazis had deemed as subhuman, but at that stage so many were brainwashed and believed the lies they were fed, because life was good.

Sometimes when a politician keeps his promise is not necessarily a good thing.

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The Vegetarian Migrant Dictator

AH GERMAN

The title of this blog could be from any fictitious novel. A children’s book or even a fairy tale, but it actually describes a bizarre reality which caused so much destruction.

The story of Hitler’s naturalization process resembles something of a farce. On April 7 1925 he had given up his Austrian citizenship, it was only on February 1932 he received his German citizenship. This means for 7 years he had been stateless, technically had had been an illegal immigrant. At any stage in that period he could have been deported, however instead of deportation he managed to become the leader of one of the biggest political parties.

On 25 February 1932, Dietrich Klagges, who was the interior minister of Brunswick and  a member of the NSDAP, appointed Hitler as administrator for the state’s delegation to the Reichsrat in Berlin, making Hitler a citizen of Brunswick, and also of Germany.

In less then 3 weeks after receiving his German citizenship he ran against Hindenburg in the 1932 presidential elections, which was held in two rounds, March 15 and April 10 1932.

elections

Ir surprises me that none of the opposition parties questioned the legality of his candidature. I am not saying it was illegal but it strikes me at least odd that a man who had been an illegal immigrant 19 days before the election suddenly was able to run for the highest office in the country.

I am not going into his political career because too much of that has already been documented.

I will however go into the fact that he was a vegetarian, although he hadn’t been a vegetarian all his life but certainly by 1937/38 he followed a vegetarian diet, He also abstained from smoking and alcoholic beverages.

The fact he was vegetarian was used as a propaganda tool.In a contemporaneous pro-Nazi children’s magazine called “Die Weisse Fahne- Neugeist” (the white flag- new spirit)  a magazine which basically promoted something which is now called ‘mindfulness’ published the following article in one of its editions.

“Do you know that your Führer is a vegetarian, and that he does not eat meat because of his general attitude toward life and his love for the world of animals? Do you know that your Führer is an exemplary friend of animals, and even as a chancellor, he is not separated from the animals he has kept for years?…The Führer is an ardent opponent of any torture of animals, in particular vivisection, and has declared to terminate those conditions…thus fulfilling his role as the savior of animals, from continuous and nameless torments and pain.”

Bizarrely it links on of  the most evil men(if not the most evil) who ever lived to something as peaceful and supposedly serene as mindfulness.

 

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