Kristallnacht Testimonies

On November 9–10, 1938, the Nazis unleashed a series of pogroms against the Jewish population in Germany and recently occupied and annexed territories. It should have been clear to the rest of the world what the Nazis were really about.

Telegram from Sir G Ogilvie Forbes regarding the damage dealt to Jewish properties during ‘Kristallnacht’ on 10 November 1938

From GERMANY.

Telegram (en clair) from Sir G. Ogilvie Forbes (Berlin),

“D. BY TELEPHONE. 10th November, 1938.

R 5.5p.m. 10th November, 1938

No.663.

IMPORTANT

My telegram No. 661.

I have just returned from a tour of Friedrichstrasse and city districts where Jewish shops are being smashed and looted by youths in plain clothes, followed by large and smiling crowds including soldiers and others in party uniforms. Police were taking no notice.

Only exception was the premises of Messrs. Israel, a big department store partly British-owned which was guarded by police with fire brigade standing by. His Majesty’s Consul-General who visited these premises informs me that enormous damage has been done to stock and fittings. According to Mr. Israel store was attacked early this afternoon by a crowd which included S.S. men in uniform. Business offices owned by Jews are also being entered and smashed up apparently with impunity. Similar attacks on Jewish property are said to be taking place all over Germany.

His Majesty’s Consul Dresden reports that a British Jew from Leipzig has asked for asylum in the Consulate as Jews in Leipzig are being beaten up. I have taken immediate steps with the Under Secretary of State for the safeguarding of British subjects.

Chief Rabbi of Berlin has been arrested and seven synagogues have been burnt.

The facts that these attacks began only after midnight last night and that Jewish shops and offices have been systematically signalled out indicate that this action was deliberately planned.”

Testimony from survivor Steve Adler.

Steve Adler


Kristallnacht

Kristallnacht started on the evening of the ninth of November ’38. I went to school in the morning with my brother but we were immediately sent home. There was a man in our living room with my dad, and he took him away. He was gone for six-weeks. And during that six-week time, I didn’t know where he was. He came back on the 23rd of December, 38 six-weeks later—beaten up, smelling terribly, he was a mess. Shaved head, no hair on his head; and that was a “good” camp. That was Sachsenhausen North of Berlin, one of three camps operating in Germany.

sources

https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/education/resources/holocaust/kristallnacht/


Cancel Culture 3rd Reich style.

Cancel Culture seems to become more and more of a problem nowadays. Apparently the only opinions that matter are of those who get offended by literally everything. However they don’t realize that what they are doing is really a carbon copy of 1930s Nazi Germany, which eventually resulted in the murder of millions.

On May 10, 1933, university students in 34 university towns across Germany burned over 25,000 books. The works of Jewish authors like Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud went up in flames alongside blacklisted American authors such as Ernest Hemingway and Helen Keller, while students gave the Nazi salute. In Berlin 40,000 people gathered to hear German Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda Joseph Goebbels give a speech in Berlin’s Opera Square. He declared “the era of extreme Jewish intellectualism is now at an end. … The future German man will not just be a man of books, but a man of character. It is to this end that we want to educate you. … And thus you do well in this midnight hour to commit to the flames the evil spirit of the past.” Radio stations broadcast the Berlin speeches, songs, and ceremonial incantations to countless German listeners. Widespread newspaper coverage called the “Action against the Un-German Spirit” a success. The Nazi war on “un-German” individual expression had begun.

Kristallnacht or the Night of Broken Glass, also called the November pogroms. It was a pogrom against Jews carried out by the Nazi Party’s Sturmabteilung (SA) paramilitary forces along with civilians throughout Nazi Germany on 9–10 November 1938. The Nazi regime looked on without intervening. The name Kristallnacht (literally ‘Crystal Night’) comes from the shards of broken glass that littered the streets after the windows of Jewish-owned stores, buildings and synagogues were smashed. The pretext for the attacks was the assassination of the German diplomat Ernst vom Rath by Herschel Grynszpan, a 17-year-old German-born Polish Jew living in Paris.

After Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany on January 30, 1933, the Nazi leadership decided to stage an economic boycott against the Jews of Germany. Local Nazi party chiefs organized the national boycott operation. Although it lasted only one day and was ignored by many individual Germans who continued to shop in Jewish-owned stores, it marked the beginning of a nationwide campaign by the Nazi Party against the entire German Jewish population.

The April 1, 1933, boycott aimed to intimidate Germany’s Jews and discourage the German public from shopping at Jewish businesses. It marked the beginning of Nazi efforts to drive Jews from the German economy.

These events were basically cancel culture by another name.

sources

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/boycott-of-jewish-businesses

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/kristallnacht

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

Aktion Arbeitsscheu Reich -work-shy Reich

So many people think that the Holocaust only lasted as along as WWII. But they could not be further away from the truth. It could be argued that the foundation of the Holocaust goes back to 1879, when Wilhelm Marr becomes the first proponent of racial anti-Semitism, blaming Jews for the failure of the German revolutions of 1848–49. I started to watch a series on Netflix called ‘Knightfall’ which is set in the 13th century, it is inspired by events of the time although with fictional characters. In the show there already is a portrayal of hate against the Jews and there is a scene where they are forced to leave Paris, and the order is given to kill all of them once they have left the outskirts of Paris. In the show they are saved by the templars, but I know there have been pogroms going back as far as that.

In 1933 the first concentration camp became operational,Dachau. Between 13–18 June 1938, the first mass arrests of Jews begin through Aktion Arbeitsscheu Reich.

In the course of the “work-shy Reich” campaign carried out by the German police between June 13 and 18, 1938 against people classified as “asocial”, more than 10,000 people were arrested and deported to concentration camps. Around 6,000 prisoners were taken to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp alone and marked as “asocial” with a brown, later black triangle.

During the Nazi regime, the accusation of work shyness served to characterize the so-called asocial. According to an implementing regulation from 1938, anyone who “shows through behavior contrary to the community, even if it is not criminal, that he does not want to fit into the community” was considered antisocial.

According to the ordinance, anti-social persons were those who “through minor but recurring violations of the law do not want to submit to the order that is taken for granted in a National Socialist state”. Tramps, beggars, prostitutes, gypsies, drunkards and people suffering from contagious diseases, especially venereal diseases, were listed by name.

The wave of arrests was primarily intended to discipline the so-called sub-proletarian groups. During the “June Action” there were also targeted mass arrests of Jews. In Berlin, the police arrested between 1,000 and 2,000 Jews under the flimsiest of pretexts, crossing a street crossing incorrectly was enough. An anti-Semitic speech by Reich Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels acted as the initial impetus. At a meeting in the Ministry of Propaganda on June 10, 1938, he stirred up the atmosphere. In his diary, Goebbels noted: “Spoke in front of 300 police officers in Berlin. I really got excited. Against all sentimentality. The slogan isn’t the law, it’s harassment. The Jews have to get out of Berlin. The police will help me with that.” Encouraged by the actions of the police, pogrom-like anti-Semitic riots broke out in Berlin and other large cities in the German Reich. Jewish shops were smeared and Jewish shopkeepers forced to close their shops; several synagogues were demolished.

Dr Christian Dirks, curator of the exhibition of diplomatic dispatches on the 1938 pogrom, suggests a connection with anti-Semitic attacks in Berlin, which, starting in May, escalated from June 13–16, 1938 with boycotts of Jewish shops, marking shops, raids on cafes and arrests.

In 2013 Dr Dirks also called an Irish report on Kristallnacht ,which was issued by Ambassador Charles Bewley in 1938, disgraceful.

Bewley, who described the events as “obviously organised,” began his report in the tone of a dispassionate diplomatic observer and identified with Germany’s claims that Jews dominated in areas of finance and entertainment and used their influence to promote “anti-Christian, anti-patriotic and communistic” thinking.

Charles Bewley

He went on to say their corrupting moral influence helped explain the “elimination of the Jewish element from public life.”

Bewley condemned the Irish media for following the “British press, itself in Jewish hands”, and “Anglo-Jewish telegraph agencies” by prominently displaying news of oppression against Jews but suppressing news of crimes perpetrated by Jews and anti-fascists.

He refrained from advising Dublin on how to correct what he believed was Ireland’s one-sided view of what he called the “Jewish problem”, but left no doubt that he viewed Jews themselves as the key issue.

sources

https://www.irishcentral.com/news/pro-nazi-irish-ambassador-report-on-kristallnacht-to-go-on-display-in-berlin-231342571-237786911

https://www.nd-aktuell.de/artikel/1091388.aktion-arbeitsscheu-reich-das-bezeichnete-bleibt-beiseite.html

https://www.dhm.de/lemo/kapitel/ns-regime/ausgrenzung-und-verfolgung/aktion-arbeitsscheu-reich-1938.html

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The destruction of innocence and beauty.

The girl in the play pen is Renee Sara Gottschalk, born in the Central Refugee Camp Westerbork on 21 June 1941. The two girls in the dark dresses are the daughters of chief physician F. Spanier. The lady on the right is Rosa Strauss; Renee Sara’s mother. Her father is
Erich Gottschalk. Renee and her mother Rosa were killed in Auschwitz on 6 October 1944. Father Erich survived the war.

Rosa Strauss was born on February 24, 1911 in Bochum. Her parents were Emil Strauss and Johanna Strauss-Mendels. Her father was a cattle dealer and butcher. On February 5, 1937, Rosa married Erich Gottschalk, 5 years her senior in Bochum.

Shortly after the wedding, Rosa’s family fled to England via the Netherlands. From there they fled to South Africa. Rosa and Erich did not want to be chased out of Germany.

Erich was trained as a textile merchant, but under pressure from the Nazi measures, he was forced to work in his parents’ company, a wholesaler of advertising materials. The place was completely destroyed during the Kristallnacht. The next day he was arrested and taken to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Rosa was left alone. Because Rosa could prove that they had plans to emigrate, Erich was released on December 11, 1938.

Rosa and her husband fled to the Netherlands, where they ended up in a relief camp in Hoek van Holland. They planned to flee further, but were overtaken by the German invasion in May 1940. Rosa and Erich were taken to the Westerbork refugee camp. Their daughter Renée was born there on June 21, 1941. Because they were already in the camp during the refugee period, they were not put on transport for the time being.

They were ‘Alte Lagerinsassen’ but on September 4, 1944, Rosa, Erich and Renée Gottschalk were sent to Theresienstadt on transport. They only stayed there for a month. A month later, the family was sent to Auschwitz from Theresienstadt. Rosa and Renée were murdered here immediately after arrival, on October 6, 1944. Erich was chosen to work.

He survived the outside command Tschechowitz. Just before the liberation, he was sent on the death march ahead of the advancing Russian army. Erich Gottschalk was weak and collapsed, but was helped by Polish peasants. On 6 June 1945 he returned to Amsterdam as the only survivor of his family. His beautiful wife was murdered age 33. His beautiful and innocent daughter was murdered age 3.

sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/591473/rosa-gottschalk-strauss

Reports on The Holocaust

I know that looking back on history with a retrospective view always comes with a 20/20 vision, nevertheless it is important to understand that it was widely know what was happening to the Jewish population in Europe throughout World War 2. Too often I have heard the argument that no one knew until after the war. There were regular reports issued to the governments of the allied forces and to newspapers.

The picture above is a cutting from the Daily Worker newspaper of an open letter – also published in the Times – by well-known figures appealing for action against the mistreatment of Jews in Europe. It was issued in February 1943.

Transcript
DAILY WORKER

Cutting dated …17 Feb 1943 … 194

Britain Urged To Act Now and Save Jews

The following letter appeared in the Times yesterday: –

We have noted with satisfaction the Joint Declaration of the United Nations vigorously protesting against the Nazi outrages upon the Jewish people.

We desire to associate ourselves with it. But we think that present action to mitigate this barbarism now is even more essential that the assurance of penalties after Hitler’s defeat for those who have shared in the perpetration of the outrages upon the Jews and other victims of Nazi Germany.

We suggest that the nation is eager to see the British Government take the lead in attempting to rescue as many as possible of these, the most helpless of Hitler’s victims, as they were also the first; the generous temper in which Italian settlers in Abyssinia have been repatriated to Italy should be applied to the right of the Jews to protection.

OBLIGATION

In the circumstances, we suggest that it is incumbent on the British Government to take the initiative in the following measures:

To make representations by the United Nations to the German Government to permit Jews to leave the occupied countries of Europe.
To offer the joint protection of the United Nations to Jews liberated or escaping from the occupied territories.
To facilitate the transfer of Jews to and their asylum in the territories and colonies of the United Nations.
To urge on neutral countries the desirability of receiving as many Jewish refugees as possible until, with victory, it is possible to consider ways and means of their permanent settlement. Where food and finance raise difficult problems for neutral countries willing to assist, the United Nations should agree to make these available to them.
To make available the fullest possible facilities for the immigration of Jewish refugees into Palestine.
We suggest that, as a prelude to these large-scale measures, the British Government should offer immediately to admit to Great Britain the largest possible number of Jewish refugees, especially children.

We see little difficulty, given good will, in taking all the necessary precautions which the national security demands.

We do not deny either the magnitude or the complexity of the Jewish problem. But we do not feel that the Government and nation can stand helplessly by while a whole people is ruthlessly butchered.

Verbal sympathy is not enough. We must be prepared, whatever the action of other people, to act with resolution and magnanimity.

HISTORIC TRADITION

That is an attitude rooted in our historic tradition. Never was it more necessary to prove that it is still a living faith among us.

For if we do nothing while a helpless people is assassinated, we shall breed a temper of acquiescence in the barbarism of tyrants which may become one of the unhappiest legacies of this epoch of agony. – Yours faithfully, W.G.S Adams, Phyllis Bottome, A.M. Carr-Saunders, Wyndham Deedes, P.A.M. Dirac, E.M.Forster, G.P.Gooch, R.A.Gregory, Storm Jameson, F.G.Kenyon, A.D.Lindsay, Kingsley Martin, Frederick Maurice, Gilbert Murray, Harold G. Nicolson, John Boyd Orr, Margaret Rhondda, Sankey. George Bernard Shaw, R.H. Tawney, Beatrice Webb, Wedgwood, Rebecca West.

Report from Poland

Report of the mass execution of Jews in Poland

Transcript
EXTERMINATION OF THE JEWS IN POLAND

According to recent reliable reports received from leaders of the underground movement in Poland, the process of extermination of the Polish Jewish population of over 3 million and of the large number of Jews deported to Poland from Germany, Austria and the occupied countries of Europe has been carried far towards its final completion.

Although at first the Germans established a number of ghettos in various Polish cities and towns, thus deluding the Jews into the belief that they would be allowed to survive in this way, they proceeded early in 1942 with the mass extermination of the Jews and it is known that the principal ghettos, those of Warsaw, Wilno, Lwow, Krakow and Lublin have now been largely liquidated. It is known that some time in April the remnants of the Jews in the Warsaw ghetto, offered desperate resistance to the German military and police attempting to remove them, and that the complete destruction of the Jews in this ghetto was preceded by street and house-to-house fighting lasting several days.

The dreadful mass slaughter of the Jews in Poland is being carried out in several death camps, the largest and most notorious of which is that of TREBLINKA. The Polish Government have received a detailed description of the circumstances and methods of the mass slaughter, based on the personal accounts of several Jewish grave-diggers who succeeded in escaping from the confines of the camp and are being sheltered by the Polish underground movement.

The Slaughter Camp of TREBLINKA.

‘The extermination of Jews in Poland by methods of mass slaughter continues with unabated intensity. Not only Polish Jews, but those from other occupied countries of Europe, including France, Belgium, Holland, Norway, Czechoslovakia, etc., are being deported to special Death Camps and murdered by the thousand without discrimination as to age or sex.

‘The principal Death Camp has been established near the village of TREBLINKA situated near the main Biakystok-Warsaw Railway Line. At first, the Germans used this camp as a Penal Concentration Camp for Poles, where many thousands of them were executed in March 1942, however, the Germans proceeded to construct a special Death Camp for their mass …’

Situation in transit camps

Telegram describing the deteriorating situation in transit camps

Transcript
[CYPHER] Departmental No.1.

From Berne to Foreign Office

Mr Norton

No. 3767 D.8.00p.m. 11th August, 1944.

11th August, 1944 R.2.00a.m. 12th August, 1944

() () () ()

My telegram 3229.

The Swiss Government inform me orally that Bergen-Belsen is the Transit Camp to which all jews eligible for repatriation are temporarily sent.

The Jewish camp at Westerbork in Holland is in process of being dissolved. The usual number of inmates fluctuates between 40,000 and 50,000. The present number is approximately 2,000. The Jews are evacuated from Westerbork in three directions; those eligible for repatriation fall to Bergen-Belsen; technicians and persons likely to be of use to the German war effort are sent to Theresienstadt in Czechoslovakia those who are considered useless are sent to Ausschwitz for elimination.

O.T.P.

Kristallnacht

Telegram from Sir G Ogilvie Forbes regarding the damage dealt to Jewish properties during ‘Kristallnacht’ on 10 November 1938.

Transcript
From GERMANY.

Telegram (en clair) from Sir G. Ogilvie Forbes (Berlin),

D. BY TELEPHONE. 10th November, 1938.

R 5.5p.m. 10th November, 1938

No.663.

IMPORTANT

“My telegram No. 661.

I have just returned from a tour of Friedrichstrasse and city districts where Jewish shops are being smashed and looted by youths in plain clothes, followed by large and smiling crowds including soldiers and others in party uniforms. Police were taking no notice.

Only exception was the premises of Messrs. Israel, a big department store partly British-owned which was guarded by police with fire brigade standing by. His Majesty’s Consul-General who visited these premises informs me that enormous damage has been done to stock and fittings. According to Mr. Israel store was attacked early this afternoon by a crowd which included S.S. men in uniform. Business offices owned by Jews are also being entered and smashed up apparently with impunity. Similar attacks on Jewish property are said to be taking place all over Germany.

His Majesty’s Consul Dresden reports that a British Jew from Leipzig has asked for asylum in the Consulate as Jews in Leipzig are being beaten up. I have taken immediate steps with the Under Secretary of State for the safeguarding of British subjects.

Chief Rabbi of Berlin has been arrested and seven synagogues have been burnt.

The facts that these attacks began only after midnight last night and that Jewish shops and offices have been systematically signalled out indicate that this action was deliberately planned.”

The report on the Kristallnacht was issued 10 months before World War 2 started.

source

https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/education/resources/holocaust/

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Kristallnacht

Over the last few days I have heard the riots in Washington DC and the storming of the Capitol being compared to Kristallnacht. Although I can understand the emotions and sentiment behind that comparison and reasoning, it is a totally incorrect assessment of the situation, in fact I would go as far as to say it is actually disturbing because it shows the lack of historical knowledge by some people who should know better. I can understand why someone like Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to put a historical context to it, but in this case that does more damage then good

What happend on January 6th 2021 was an organized group of thugs surrounded by clueless nitwits. They were there to disrupt political proceedings and were encouraged by POTUS Donald J. Trump and some of his cronies and perhaps the mob also had murder in mind. However it did not compare to Kristallnacht.

Kristallnacht was a widescale series pf state sponsored and encouraged criminal acts in Germany and Austria, a pogrom against Jews carried out by SA paramilitary forces and others, with the aim to cause death and destructions to Jews, their places of worship, their homes and their businesses.

Jewish homes, hospitals and schools were ransacked as attackers destroyed buildings with sledgehammers. Over 7,000 Jewish businesses were damaged or destroyed, an estimated 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and sent to concentration camps, at least 91 Jewish people were killed, none of the thugs were killed. On January 6 2021 in DC, 5 people lost their lives, 4 of which were rioters.

Below are just some impression of Krustallnacht and its immediate aftermath.

Comparing the events of January 6, 2021 to the Kristallnacht does a great disservice to the victims and survivors of the Holocaust.

Sources

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/kristallnacht

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/background-and-overview-of-kristallnacht

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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

It would have been easy to turn a blind eye, but Fr.Lichtenberg didn’t.

Fr Lichtenberg

It would be so easy for ordinary citizens to turn a blind eye to the Holocaust, and indeed many did. I do not judge these people, because  faced with a similar situation I don’t know how I would react. Anyone who was critical against the Nazi regime, could face a prison sentence of worse death. And it really didn’t take that much to be sentenced to death. I can therefore understand why people ignored the things happening around them, for many it was a way to ensure survival.

There were those though how saw the injustice and evil and spoke out against it publicly. People like the Catholic Priest Fr. Bernhard Lichtenberg.

Ever since the Nazis came to power he spoke out against them. After the pogrom of November 9, 1938,known as Kristallnacht he said the following public prayer in the St. Hedwig’s Cathedral in Berlin.

cathredal

“We know what was yesterday. We do not know what will be tomorrow. But we have experienced what happened today. Outside, the Temple is burning. That is also a House of God.”

Lichtenberg  prayed publicly for the persecuted Jews at the daily Vespers service. Bishop Konrad von Preysing later entrusted Lichtenberg with the task of helping the Jewish community of the city, via the Welfare Office of the Berlin Diocesan Authority (“Hilfswerk”). In theory non-Aryan Christians were to be supported by the “Fund”. However  the aid was provided to every Jewish citizen who contacted the office.

Lichtenberg protested in person to Nazi officials against the arrest and killing of the sick and mentally ill.In 1941 he wrote a letter to the  chief physician of the Reich, Minister of Public Health Leonardo Conti, in relation to the T4 euthanasia program.

Conti

“I, as a human being, a Christian, a priest, and a German, demand of you, Chief Physician of the Reich, that you answer for the crimes that have been perpetrated at your bidding, and with your consent, and which will call forth the vengeance of the Lord on the heads of the German people.”

Initially the Nazis saw him more of a nuisance then a threat but his  efforts to help the Jews and his calls to put an end to the immoral actions of the Nazis grew stronger. To silence him, the Nazis arrested him on October 23, 1941, and was sentenced to 2 years in prison.But because of his unyielding opposition he was sent to Dachau. However he never reached Dachau.He collapsed and died while in transit, on 5 November 1943 in Hof, Bavaria.

BUST

He died for being a decent Human being , who spoke out about the evil he saw around him.

I am not a Catholic and I don’t believe in saints but of I had to believe in saints, he would be top of my list.

On 7 July 2004 Yad Vashem recognized Bernhard Lichtenberg as a Righteous Among the Nations.

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Sources

The Second World War: A Complete History

Bundesarchiv

Yad Vashem

 

The Jewish typewriter salesman who recommended Hitler for an Iron cross.

Gutmann.JPG

I have to confess that the the title is somewhat misleading because Hugo Gutmann was not a typewriter salesman as of yet when he recommended Hitler’s award of the Iron Cross First Class.

Hugo Gutmann was one of the 12,000 Jewish military who fought for Germany during WWI.

from 29 January to 31 August, 1918 Lt. Gutmann was Adolf Hitler’s commanding officer.

Hitler on the right

Hitler was awarded the Iron Cross, 1st Class, for his role as a messenger, running important information between units under fire. The decoration was given to Hitler on  August 4th, 1918,  by the regimental commander, Major von Tubeuf The 2 decorations Hitler only wore were his Iron Cross, and his Nazi Party Badge.

On 8 February 1919, Gutmann left  the German Army, but still was registered army rolls as a reserve lieutenant. In 1933, he applied  for and received his military pension – which had been protected,  for all veterans including Jewish veterans ,by President  Paul von Hindenburg. Despite the anti Jewish laws and losing his German citizenship  Gutmann was allowed to keep his pension.

Around the time of the ‘Kristallnacht’ in autumn 1938, he was arrested by the Gestapo, but SS officers who know him  and  his  relationship with Hitler had him released from custody.

But regardless  this relationship, eventually his fate would have been the same as all other Jews in Germany and the occupied territories.

In 1939, Gutmann and his family moved to  Belgium . In 1940  just prior to the invasion of the Low Countries,the Gutmanns immigrated to the United States. They initially settled  in St. Louis where Hugo secured employment  as a typewriter salesman. In the US  he changed his name to Henry George Grant. He died in San Diego, California, on 22 June 1962. He was buried at Home of Peace Cemetery in San Diego.

Hugo

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Max Schmeling-defying an evil regime

mAX

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

KO

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.”

KO2

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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