The survival of Robert Wagemann

A little known fact is that the Jehovah Witnesses were also persecuted byethe Nazi regime.

It is estimated that 1,000 German Jehovah’s Witnesses died or were murdered in concentration camps and prisons between 1933 and 1945, as did 400 Witnesses from other countries, of which were about 90 Austrians and 120 Dutch Jehovah Witnessed . In addition, at least 273 Jehovah’s Witnesses were sentenced to death by military courts for refusing military service and were executed.

The imprisoned Jehovah’s Witnesses were given the document below. By putting a signature on that declaration they would be renouncing their faith and would be released. Of all the Jehovah Witnesses imprisoned, only fa handful of approximately two-thousand signed the declaration and were released.(The translation of the document is below too)

Lotte Wagemann was a practicing Jehovah Witness . In 1937 she was pregnant with Robert Wagemann. Despite being pregnant she was arrested and briefly imprisoned for her activities as a Jehovah’s Witness. She gave birth shortly after her release. Due to the stress of imprisonment and insufficient medical care, Robert’s hip was injured during delivery, resulting in a permanent disability.(His right leg is six inches shorter then the left)

Under the T4 Program, he was classified as “handicapped” , and two times he had been selected for ‘euthanasia’ but really it was for extermination. The first time they escaped to Berlin, and lived with relatives.

In 1943 amidst the growing chaos in Mannheim caused bu allied bombing Robert’s mother was ordered to go with Robert to Schlierbach near Heidelberg to a hospital where he would be examined. The Nazi Doctors confirmed the status of his disability . During the examination, Lotte overheard a conversation where one of the Doctors said that Robert was to be given a lethal injection after lunch..

Lotte waited for the doctors to break for lunch, took Robert and picked up his his clothes, and escaped while the nurses weren’t looking . Because of the increased bombings of the allies I presume the escape by Lotte and Robert didn’t get the same priority as it would have done earlier durig the war or even before the war. Their house was bombed in Mannheim So they spent the remainder of the war hiding with Robert’s grandparents in Iggelheim.

Despite having escaped the clutches of the T4 physicians ,Robert did not stay out of trouble. On his 1st school day he refused to to do the Nazi salute nor did he sing the national anthem.

This drew the attention of the authorities and Robert and his family were forced to move once again. This time to to a town called Haardt by Neustadt and lived with Robert’s maternal grandparents (. There in a little cabin in the woods they spent the remainder of the war.

The family survived the war, Robert emigrated to the United States in 1963 where he married . Robert and his wife have three sons and five grandchildren.


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Animal Rights in the Third reich .

On August 16 ,1933 Hermann Göring announced he would put an end to the unbearable torture and suffering in animal experiments. He also threatened that he would commit to concentration camps those who still thought they could continue to treat animals as inanimate property.

He decried the “cruel”experiments of unfeeling scientists whose animals were operated on, burned, or fro-zen without anesthetics.

In a radio broadcast om August 28 1933 hr told the German nation “An absolute and permanent ban on vivisection is not only a necessary law to protect animals and to show sympathy with their pain, but it is also a law for humanity itself…. I have therefore announced the immediate prohibition of vivisection and have made the practice a punishable offense in Prussia. Until such time as punishment is pronounced the culprit shall be lodged in a concentration camp”

On November 24, 1933, the Nazis enacted another law called Reichstierschutzgesetz or Reich Animal Protection Act, for protection of animals. The law included using animals in the making of films or other events if there was a threat to the health or well being of the animals.

Yet they had absolutely no issues whatsoever using human beings for experiments, even new born babies nor did they care for their well being. In the majority of cases the human test subjects were murdered, if they had survived the experiments at all.

It was already known in the 1930s that the Nazis used human beings for experiments, as the satirical cartoon of 1934 ,which was published in a Dutch newspaper illustrates.

The carton says “Göring forbids vivisection(on animals) . We have enough Jews and Marxists for that instead”



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1933-1945 Darkest era.


So many people think that the Holocaust started in 1939 or 1940, but the fact is it started years before that. In 1933 already it had become clear what the Nazis were planing to do, although the Jews were targeted already before that they weren’t the main focus as of yet.On July 14 1933 the Nazis  passed the  “Law for the Prevention of Offspring with Hereditary Diseases” empowering the state to sterilize  certain individuals with physical and mental disabilities. Propaganda material as the picture above (which dates from 1934) used to fool the people to believe that this was a necessity for the greater good of the nation. Slogans like “Life only as a burden.” were used.

This law was preceded by the enabling act , the act which basically gave Hitler absolute power, the act passed the German parliament on 23 March 1933 and was signed by President Bismarck that same day. The scary thing is this was done via democratic measures. Below is the translation of the act. The official title of the act was “Law to Remedy the Distress of People and Reich”

Law to Remedy the Distress of the People and the Reich

The Reichstag has enacted the following law, which is hereby proclaimed with the assent of the Reichsrat, it having been established that the requirements for a constitutional amendment have been fulfilled:

Article 1

In addition to the procedure prescribed by the constitution, laws of the Reich may also be enacted by the government of the Reich. This includes the laws referred to by Articles 85 Paragraph 2 and Article 87 of the constitution.

Article 2

Laws enacted by the government of the Reich may deviate from the constitution as long as they do not affect the institutions of the Reichstag and the Reichsrat. The rights of the President remain unaffected.

Article 3

Laws enacted by the Reich government shall be issued by the Chancellor and announced in the Reich Gazette. They shall take effect on the day following the announcement, unless they prescribe a different date. Articles 68 to 77 of the Constitution do not apply to laws enacted by the Reich government.

Article 4

Treaties of the Reich with foreign states, which relate to matters of Reich legislation, shall for the duration of the validity of these laws not require the consent of the legislative authorities. The Reich government shall enact the legislation necessary to implement these agreements.

Article 5.

This law enters into force on the day of its proclamation. It expires on 1 April 1937; it expires furthermore if the present Reich government is replaced by another.

AUGUST 19, 1934.

17 days after the death of President Hindenburg  and Hitler becomes the absolute dictator of Germany; there are no legal or constitutional limits to his authority.

APRIL 1, 1935

Jehovah winesses

Often forgotten but the Jehovah Witnesses were also persecuted by the Nazis. An estimated 2,500 were killed in concentration camps or by execution. On April 1,1945 the German government bans Jehovah’s Witness organizations. This is because the Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse to pledge allegiance to the state; their religious convictions forbid an oath of allegiance to or service in the armed forces of any temporal power.

The picture above is from the Kusserow family, who  were active Jehovah’s Witnesses and distributed religious literature and taught Bible study classes in their home. They were constantly harassed by the Gestapo and the SS. In 1936 most of them were arrested and send to concentration camps where they remained until after the end of the war.

SEPTEMBER 15, 1935

On  15 September 1935 the Nuremberg laws were passed. The Nuremberg Race Laws consisted of two pieces of legislation: the Reich Citizenship Law and the Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor. These laws specifically targeted the Jewish populations. Below are just some examples.

Article 1
Marriages between Jews and citizens of German or related blood are forbidden. Marriages nevertheless concluded are invalid, even if concluded abroad to circumvent this law.
Annulment proceedings can be initiated only by the state prosecutor.
Article 2
Extramarital relations between Jews and citizens of German or related blood are forbidden.

Article 3
Jews may not employ in their households female citizens of German or related blood who are under 45 years old.[46]

Article 4
Jews are forbidden to fly the Reich or national flag or display Reich colours.
They are, on the other hand, permitted to display the Jewish colours. The exercise of this right is protected by the state.
Article 5
Any person who violates the prohibition under Article 1 will be punished with prison with hard labour [Zuchthaus].
A male who violates the prohibition under Article 2 will be punished with prison [Gefängnis] or prison with hard labour.
Any person violating the provisions under Articles 3 or 4 will be punished with prison with hard labour for up to one year and a fine, or with one or the other of these penalties.

JULY 15, 1937

The Nazis open the Buchenwald concentration camp for male prisoners in east-central Germany.


NOVEMBER 9, 1938.



MAY 13, 1939

St louis

On May 13, 1939, the German transatlantic liner St. Louis sets sail from Hamburg, Germany, for Havana, Cuba. On board are over 900 passengers, almost all of them Jews fleeing from Nazi Germany.

The majority of the Jewish passengers had applied for visas to enter the United States, and had planned to stay in Cuba only until they could enter the United States. However, after Cuba and then the United States denied these refugees entry, the St. Louis was forced to return to Europe.

MAY 20, 1940.


Auschwitz is established and opened ,on May 20,1940. I don’t think I have to say much more then that. Everyone knows about the horrors of that place.

SEPTEMBER 1, 1941.


Two years after the invasion of Poland which triggered WWII. The Nazis pass a lawthat all Jews  six years of age and older

in the Reich, Alsace, Bohemia-Moravia and the German–annexed territory of western Poland (called the Warthegau), are to wear yellow Star of David on their outer clothing in public at all times. The word “Jew” is to be inscribed inside the star in German or the local language.

JANUARY 20, 1942.


On January 20, 1942, this villa was the site of the Wannsee Conference, at which the decision to proceed with the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question” was announced.What is so disturbing about the conference is not so much the fact that the Nazis came up with a plan to kill all the Jews, because that had already been clear for a while, but the business like language used during the conference. It could easily be mistaken for a conference on supply chain demand issues.

NOVEMBER 3, 1943


On November 3,1943 SS and police units implement Aktion Erntefest (Operation Harvest Festival), the murder of the Jewish laborers in concentration camp Lublin/Majdanek and the forced-labor camps Trawniki and Poniatowa. It became the largest single-day, single-location massacre during the Holocaust.

DECEMBER 11, 1944


At Hartheim, German authorities carry out the last gassing of inmates. Hartheim was one of the T4 euthanasia clinics. Although the T4 program was officially suspended in August 1941, secretly the gassing of people with disabilities had continued until December 11,1944. Political opponents were also branded as mentally disabled. In fact it took very little to become marked as someone with a disability not fit for life.

APRIL 30, 1945.

On this day Hitler and his wife Eva Braun killed themselves. The following day Goebbels and his wife killed their children and then themselves.

I limited the timeline to just a few events but I could have put down thousands and thousands of events, 1933-1945 was by far the darkest era in history. Ahistory that should never be erased or forgotten.


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Chaplain van Lierop-Forgotten Dachau Victim

van Lierop

On April 29, 1945 the US troops liberated Dachau concentration camp. I could post thousands of pictures of teh atrocities which were perpetrated there, but most people would probably only look at one or two pictures and then turn away,because the horror is just too great to endure. The normal human mind can’t fathom the images of the evil in front of them.

I decided to focus on just one victim who was murdered in Dachau, Chaplain A.S.A.A. van Lierop, AKA Noud van Lierop, He was a Dutch Catholic priest born on September 25,1897 in a small town called Steenbergen in the south of the Netherlands.

There were 3 things that surprised me about this man. Firstly when I saw his name I was convinced he was someone from my hometown, because the name van Lierop is a well known name in Geleen, hey used to have a small chocolate shop and factory, but Noud was not one of my town folk. Secondly I had never heard of him and what he did before the war and what happened to him during the war. Thirdly there is no mention of him on his birthplace wikipedia page, several notable names are mentioned but his name isn’t one of them which I personally think is a disgrace.

Who was Chaplain A.S.A.A. van Lierop?

He started his work as a Chaplain in the city of Breda in the Netherlands and was also the chief editor of  the Katholieke Wereldpost, an influential catholic magazine

Already in the 1930s van Lierop saw what was happening in Germany and he warned about the rise of the Nazi regime and warned about the crimes committed by them. The magazine was established as a Catholic counter alternative to Fascism and Communism. It employed several exiled prominent Catholic Germans and the HQ in Breda is quickly seen as a hotbed of Anti German propaganda.

After the Nazis invade the Netherlands in May 1940, agents  of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt(Reich Main Security Office) raid the offices of the Katholieke Wereldpost and van Lierop is arrested and sent to Dachau as a political prisoner. On November 27,1942 he is killed in Dachau, aged 45.

He may have been a forgotten victim but from now on he will always be a known hero to me, and hopefully to others.


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Music Matters


Music is very important, it evokes emotions and stirs the soul. It can unite and divide in equal ways. It can be a very powerful tool to bring joy, but it also can become a weapons if it is used for propaganda purposes.

I will be looking at 2 songs which both had some part to play in the political situation in 1930s Germany, and to an extend the Holocaust.


Friedrich Hollaender was one of the great film composers in Hollywood and he wrote film songs and soundtracks to many well-known productions.he was nominated for 4 academy awards. Although he was a German Jew, he was born in London on 18 October 1896. When he was 3 his parents and Friedrich moved back to Berlin.

Hollaender was  an outspoken progressive satirist, a jazz musician  Hollaender was seen by the Nazis as  a symbol of Weimar decadence and intellectual subterfuge. In 1931 he opened his own cabaret theatre called , Tingel Tangel, where he  performed anti-Hitler revues like  Spuk in der Villa Stern (Spook in the Stern Villa), the revue included the satirical song ‘An allem sind die Juden schuld’ (It’s all the fault of the Jews), to the tune of the ‘Habanera’ from Bizet’s Carmen.

Hollaender  wrote this song as a political weapon against  the Nazis and all German anti-Semites. He used satire in the lyrics to highlight the ridiculous accusations made against the Jews. Below is the translation of the lyrics.the song premiered in September, 1931.

If it rains, if it hails,
If it snows or if it flashes,
if it dawns, if it thunders,
if it’s freezing or if you sweat,
if it is beautiful weather or it’s cloudy,
if it thaws or if it pours,
if it’s drizzling, if it trickles
if you cough or if you sneeze:
The Jews are to blame for everything!
The Jews are to blame for everything!
Why, why are they to blame?
Child that you don´t understand that, they are to blame for it!
And me too! You are to blame!
The Jews are, they are, they are definitely to blame!
And when you don´t believe it, they are to blame!
In particular, all the Jews are to blame!
If the phone is busy,
if the bathtub leaks,
if your income is estimated incorrectly,
if the sausage tastes like soap,
if on Sunday nothing´s baked,
if the Prince of Wales is gay,
if at night the furniture makes noise,
if your hound has hard shit:
The Jews are to blame for everything!

If you´re taxed by Mr. Dietrich,
if Dietrich sings from head to toe,
if Okasa becomes more expensive,
if a virgin says: “I’ll do it”,
if there is a crisis at the Danat,
if there is an old joke on the radio,
if Garbo has a decayed tooth,
if the kiss pops in the sound-film:
The Jews are to blame for everything!
That snow is so terribly white,
and even, how to say, cold,
but that fire is hot.
And that trees stand in the forest,
that a rose has no roots,
that a beef patty is scraped,
that Heine is not bad,
and Einstein is very talented:
The Jews are to blame for everything!

The Central Association of German Citizens of Jewish Faith protested shortly after the premiere of Hollaender’s satirical song: They  called the piece as a “school example of a misunderstanding and distortion that anti-Semitic agitation would not represent otherwise” and branded the song “disgusting and repulsive.

I can understand the objections against the song because undoubtedly there would have been people who would have seen the song as a confirmation towards the bias against the Jews. Howver those same people would have looked for any excuse to further their own twisted philosophy. I believe the best way to fight bigotry  and anti semitism is to show how ridiculous it is .

Hollaender left Nazi Germany in 1933 because and first moved to Paris. He emigrated to the United States the next year, where he wrote the music for over a hundred films, including Destry Rides Again.


The Nazis  exploited music for the Nazi imagination, music had a unique significance and power to seduce and sway the masses. The Party made widespread use of music in its publicity, and music featured prominently at rallies and other public events. The Horst Wessellied (Horst Wessel song) was popular and widely sung during rallies and other events.

Horst Wessel was fanatic Nazi . He was a Berlin leader of the Nazi Party’s stormtroopers. In early 1929, Wessel wrote the lyrics for a new Nazi Anthem. The song had several incarnations but was eventually known as the Horts Wessel song after the killing of Wessel.On 23 February 1930 he was murdered by members of the KPD, the German communist party.

Goebbels ceased the opportunity to turn the shooting into the possibility of a propaganda bonanza. He eulogized Wessel in his newspaper, Der Angriff, in overtly Christian tones:

A Christian Socialist! A man who calls out through his deeds: ‘Come to me, I shall redeem you!’ … A divine element works in him. making him the man he is and causing him to act in this way and no other. One man must set an example and offer himself up as a sacrifice! Well, then, I am ready.

The Horst Wessel song became  the anthem of the Nazi Party  from 1930 to 1945. From 1933 to 1945 the Nazis made it the co-national anthem of Germany,.

Below is the translated text. I will not post the actual song because firstly I think it is rubbish and I don’t want this blog to be hijacked by Neo Nazis just so they can use the song. The song is banned in Germany, you can actually get a jail sentence for it if you are caught singing it. That doesn’t stop Neo Nazis for using it though.

Raise the flag! The ranks tightly closed!
The SA marches with calm, steady step.
Comrades shot by the Red Front and reactionaries
March in spirit within our ranks.

Clear the streets for the brown battalions,
Clear the streets for the storm division!
Millions are looking upon the swastika full of hope,
The day of freedom and of bread dawns!

For the last time, the call to arms is sounded!
For the fight, we all stand prepared!
Already Hitler’s banners fly over all streets.
The time of bondage will last but a little while now!

Raise the flag! The ranks tightly closed!
The SA march with quiet, steady step.
Comrades shot by the Red Front and reactionaries,
March in spirit within our ranks

The irony in the song is the use of the word Comrade which is more associated with communists.

Music does matter and often in ways you would not have imagined.


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When scientists pledged allegiance to Hitler.


If anyone doubts it is not dangerous to link science with politics, they need to have a look at history to see how devastating that can be.

At the Albert Hall in Leipzig , on November 11, 1933-this was less then 8 months after Enabling Act was signed in which Hitler was given absolute power, the document entitled “the Vow of allegiance of the Professors of the German Universities and High-Schools to Adolf Hitler and the National Socialistic state” was presented.

The documents had  statements in German, English, Italian, and Spanish and was produced . by selected German academics and included an appendix of signatories. Each of them outlining their pledge and why.

The document also included an appeal to all intelligentsia in the world. Below is the English translations


It had only been less then 3 weeks after the enabling act of March 24,1933 when the The German government issued the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service (Gesetz zur Wiederherstellung des Berufsbeamtentums) which excluded Jews and  political opponents of the Nazis from all civil service positions. This also included scientists like Albert Einstein.


We all know the results of these laws and arrangements. Science was aligned with politics and government and no one was held to account for the consequences of their actions.



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And the world watched and did nothing.


No one in their right mind would argue that it was the Germans who are responsible for the Holocaust. However when it comes to the Holocaust there are a lot more countries that can’t say they had no blame.

They may not have started it but they did very little to stop it. It suited them better to look away and do nothing or very little.

I have heard the arguments that no one could have possibly know what Hitler and his henchmen had planned for the Jews. But that argument doesn’t hold water.

The poster at the start of the blog is from 1933, the year Hitler took power, it was issued by a Dutch organisation with the name ‘The committee for special Jewish Interests’ The organisation was set up on March 23,1933 by Dr David Cohen, a lecturer of History and Classic languages at the University of Amsterdam

The poster is an appeal for funding to help Jewish refugees and Jews who were persecuted . On the poster there is a sign in German which translates Entrance forbidden for Jews.

The appeal is for 200,000 Dutch guilders which is the equivalent of about €91.000 or $98,000. Taking in consideration an inflation between 1933 and 2020 it would be the equivalent of $1,965,000

This is a clear indication that in 1933 the fate of the Jews was already known. In 1933 Hitler had just come to power, 6 years before the war and 9 years before the Wannsee conference where the Nazis came up with the blue print for the Final Solution.

The world already knew and decided to look away.

Dr David Cohen ended up in Theresienstadt concentration camp in 1943, fortunately he survived the war.


Below another fundraising poster also from 1933. The poster of artist Samuel Schwarz was published at the occasion of a night of art for funding The Jewish Refugees, which was held in City Theater of Amsterdam on 29 May 1933.


The Nazis and especially Hitler never made it a secret what they were planning to do with the Jews. Anyone who read Mein Kampf would have known, but even before he published Mein Kampf he published anti-Semitic articles.

If this hadn’t been ignored, more then likely the Holocaust could have been stopped.


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When music and politics collide.

Vienna Philharmonic

Music is one of my biggest passions, it has helped mte through many tragedies in my life and it still plays a very important part in my life.

Something that worries me is when music is used for political reasons or when musicians make political statements. They are of course entitled to have political views but they have to remember that they are on a platform, where they can reach many of their fans. They have to be very careful in relation to what political ideology they subscribe. Mostly they mean well and want to use the influence they have to get a message across, but it can backfire on them and it may actually damage their careers. They could even be accused of hypocrisy . I remember a few years ago a well known rock star decided not to have a concert in a city in the US because they could not provide all facilities requested by the LGBT community. However this same rock star had no difficulties touring in countries where gay men were executed for having sexual relations with other men.

Throughout history there have been cases where politics were used to influence music and vice versa with devastating effect.

On 23 March 1938, the violinist Viktor Robitsek received a notification from the management of the Vienna Philharmonic orchestra, telling him he was fired. viktorThis was not because he was a bad violinist, in fact he was one of the best in Austria, he was fired for being Jewish. He had served 35 years with the Orchestra devoting his life to his art and the orchestra.

He had Joined the Vienna Court Opera Orchestra and Vienna Philharmonic on November 11, 1902. On Mar 23, 1938 he was told that his services were no longer required. Discarded as a disposable piece of material.

Robitsek was Deported on October 28, 1941 together with his wife, Elsa Robitsek), from Vienna to Litzmannstadt, where he was murdered on June 1942.

On March 12,1938 11 days before Robitsek was sacked from the orchestra er Hitler’s troops  had  marched in to Austria and were  met with no resistance, The Anschluss was welcomed by most Austrians.


Many already had become members of the Nazi party, among them a few dozen musicians of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

Viktor Rubinek was not the only Jewish musician to be fired, most of the  Jewish musicians were sacked from the orchestra.

A total of seven members of the Philharmonic were killed,

Murdered after Deportation:

1. Moriz Glattauer (Violin I)
2. Viktor Robitsek (Violin II)
3. Max Starkmann (Violin I, Viola)
4. Julius Stwertka (Concertmaster, Violin I)
5. Armin Tyroler (Oboe II)

Philharmonic Members who died in Vienna:
6. Anton Weiss (Violin I, section leader)
7. Paul Fischer (Violin I)

In 1938, thirteen active musicians were expelled from the Association of the Vienna
Philharmonic and the Vienna State Opera Orchestra. Three additional retired members of the Philharmonic also fell victim to the Holocaust.

The violinist Moriz Glattauer was deported together with his wife, Anna, to Theresienstadt on July 14, 1942. He died there on February 2, 1943. His wife Anna Glattauer was transferred to Auschwitz on May 15, 1944 although it is not entirely clear how she died, she more then llikely was killed in the Gas chambers.

None of the fellow musicians did anything to safe their colleagues, some whom they had performed with for decades,instead they signed up to the Nazi political ideology. They had allowed their music to collide with politics, Not only had this evil infiltrated this evil their lives it alsi tainted their art forever.


The Vienna Philharmonic orchestra is just one example but there were many other orchestras and musical institutions across the world  who treated their Jewish colleagues in a similar way


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The Guardian


The German Jews at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

olympics berlin

The 1936 Berlin were probably the biggest propaganda tool ever to be created by the Nazi regime, but I won’t go into the details of the actual games. I will focus on 3 people of Jewish descent. Two who survived the war and one who did a few days after the games.

In 1935 teh Nazis had introduced the Nuremberg Laws.One of the consequences of these laws was that the Jewish people no longer were allowed to participate in social activities together with ‘Aryan’ people.

Concerned that international opinion would be adversely swayed by the new laws, the Interior Ministry did not actively enforce them until after the 1936 Summer Olympics, held in Berlin that August. Also some of the best athletes were Jewish.

Rudi Ball

Rudi Ball

Because he was Jewish, Ball was initially not consideed for selection in the German ice hockey team. Because  of that Ball’s  good friend and teammate, Gustav Jaenecke, refused to play unless Ball was included. Ball also believed a deal could be struck to save his family in Germany if he returned to play in the games.Realizing the team would not be competitive without their stars and attempting to win as many as possible to propagate their political machine, the Nazis and Ball struck a deal. By playing, Rudi’s family would be able to emigrate from Germany.His parents were allowed to leave and emigrated to South Africa.Although not verified it is believed that Ball had met directly with Hitler.

What I find intriguing and truly amazes me, Ball and also his brothers had already been in safety. In 1933 they played Ice hockey in Switzerland.

After the games Ball resumed playing for his old team in Berlin and, (this is something that truly amazes me) continued in the team in several capacities until 1944.

Ball died in September 1975 and was inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame in 2004.

Helene Mayer


Helene Mayer is a bit of an enigma I suppose. Many see her as a traitor and although I can understand why,I don’t necessarily subscribe to that point of view.

She was, by definition of German law at the time of the Olympics, part-Jewish, which had cost her most of her citizenship rights.Although she did not really consider herself to be Jewish, her Father was Jewish and had died from a heart attack in 1931. Her mother was christian and Helene was more or less raised as a Christian, but that did not matter to the Nazis.

Mayer won a gold medal in fencing at the age of 17 at the 1928 Summer Olympics in 1932 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.She remained in the USA to study.

In April 1933, she was kicked out of the Offenbach Fencing Club, even though as a private organization it was then under no legal obligation to expunge its Jews. Later on in 1933 the Germans withdrew her scholarship. She managed to get a job teaching German at Mills College in Oakland, California, and later taught at San Francisco City College.She lost her German citizenship in 1935 because of  the Nuremberg Laws, which considered her non-German.Rejected by her home country and unable to fence for the US, Mayer’s Olympic career should have been over.However out of fear for an American boycott to the Olympic games, the Nazis decided to include Helene mayer in the team, Partially because she looked Aryan.Goebbels required of the press that “no comments were to  be made about Helene Mayer’s Jewish ancestry.

Controversially she gave a Nazi salute on the podium, and later said it might have protected her family. After the games she returned to the US.Her brothers stayed in Germany where, they were forced into hiding before eventually being they were captured and were forced into slave labor in a factory. It was only because of the war’s end they survived not because of Helene’s salute or participation in the games. Having that said though I can understand why she did it. It is very easy for us to judge but we were never put in that situation..

Wolfgang Fürstner


Wolfgang Fürstner  was a German Wehrmacht captain initially appointed as commander,  of Berlin’s Olympic village during the 1936 Summer Olympics.

He had been tasked with building and organizing the Olympic village. Howver shortly before the games commenced he was replaced and demoted to vice commander.

His  Grandfather was Jewish but had converted to Christianity but as with Helen Mayer this didn’t matter to the Nazis, nor did  the fact that he was an officer in the Wehrmacht.

Fürstner, found out  that  he was going to be  classified as a Jew and was to be dismissed from the Wehrmacht.On on 19 August 1936, 3 days after the end of the games he shot himself. The Nazis tried to cover up his suicide by claiming he had died in a car accident. But the truth of his suicide soon leaked to the international press. The Sydney Morning Herald an Australian newspaper, reported Fürstner had been found dead with a gun by his side.


I am passionate about my site and I know 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



Rudi Ball, 1936, and a Deal with the Devil

In 1936 Games, a Mills College teacher with Jewish roots won silver for Nazi Germany

Christie Pits riot


There is a misconception that most people were appalled about Hitler coming to power in 1933, and that it was only the Germans who endorsed the Nazi policies. But that would be far from the truth.

Hitler’s rise to power was celebrated in many parts of the world, even in Canada.

It’s not hard to imagine Toronto was far  removed from the violence of antisemitism and  Hitler’s rise, but on an August evening in 1933, the hostility that troubled the streets of Berlin reared its ugly head in Toronto during a baseball game at Christie Pits.

In 1933, Jews and other minorities were subjected to  social and institutional bigotry in Canada. Quotas put a limit to the number of Jews who could sign up for  university programs. Social clubs and several corporations banned Jews.

At that time, the Jewish community in Toronto was mainly poor and working-class. During the hot summer months, Jewish families and youths in particular would  cool off by going to the predominantly Anglo-Canadian Beaches area to swim. The local residents were not too pleased about that.

At those Beaches , there weref young men walking down the boardwalk wearing swastika symbols on their bathing suits and shirts, patrolling for what they called “undesirables,” these groups were  called swastika clubs.On August 1, 1933, the “Swastika Club” were reported in the editions of Toronto’s Jewish Standard, which triggered  multiple protest from local Jewish residents.

On August 16, 1933, a gang  who called themselves the Pit Gang unfolded a banner with a swastika at a baseball game between St. Peter’s and  the Harbord Playground team at Christie Pits Park in Toronto. They were targeting the Harbord Playground team, a group of mostly Jewish, and some Italian men, who were playing a game that evening.

(The Harbord Playground baseball team in 1931. ‘City of Toronto Archives’)baseball

The night of the riot was the second game between Harbord and St. Peter’s. Two nights previously, at the first game of the series, another swastika had been displayed. The Police had been  warned in writing that there could be trouble at the second game, but the police did not heed those warnings. As the game ended, a St. Peter’s supporter opened up a large swastika flag as others chanted “Heil Hitler!”. This angered the Jewish supporters who rushed to the flag bearer.Supporters of both sides (including Italians who supported the Jews) from the surrounding area joined in, and a fight started.

A violent five-hour brawl broke out with each side wielding any weapon they could find, including bats, lead pipes, and bottles.

The following day The Toronto Daily Star reported on the riot.

“While groups of Jewish and Gentile youths wielded fists and clubs in a series of violent scraps for possession of a white flag bearing a swastika symbol at Willowvale Park last night, a crowd of more than 10,000 citizens, excited by cries of ‘Heil Hitler’ became suddenly a disorderly mob and surged wildly about the park and surrounding streets, trying to gain a view of the actual combatants, which soon developed in violence and intensity of racial feeling into one of the worst free-for-all’s ever seen in the city.

Scores were injured, many requiring medical and hospital attention … Heads were opened, eyes blackened and bodies thumped and battered as literally dozens of persons, young or old, many of them non-combatant spectators, were injured more or less seriously by a variety of ugly weapons in the hands of wild-eyed and irresponsible young hoodlums, both Jewish and Gentile”

News report

Although people were using baseball bats and knives to attack each other, no one died during the riot.

Mayor Stewart criticized the inadequate response of the Chief of Police to warnings of impending violence, and warned against displaying the swastika.

The riot did reveal the xenophobic attitudes toward Jews and other  immigrants (such as Italian immigrants) among some Anglo Canadians.


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