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.

anschluss

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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Sources

https://www.wienerphilharmoniker.at/orchestra/history/national-socialism

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

Helena

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

wolfgag

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.

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Sources

Rudi Ball, 1936, and a Deal with the Devil

https://web.archive.org/web/20180112100839/http://www.sihss.se/RudiBallbiography.htm

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/jul/28/helene-mayer-nazi-germanys-jewish-champion-fencer

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

https://www.ushmm.org/exhibition/olympics/?content=continuing_persecution&lang=en

Christie Pits riot

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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Sources

CBC Radio

Times of Israel

Cities in Time

Myseumof Toronto

Getting married in Nazi Germany

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

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

  1. Always remember that you are a German.

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

3. Ensure that you keep your body clean.

4. Keep your soul and spirit clean.

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

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

7. Physical health is the prerequisite for outward beauty.

8. Marry only for love.

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

10. You should want as many children as possible.

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

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

10

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Sources

Süddeutscher Zeitung

Bundesarciv

 

The Nine Sovereigns at Windsor for the funeral of King Edward VII.

9

I have often wondered If World War I was nothing else then a family feud gone out of control.

If you look at all the royal families in Europe and even outside of Europe, they are mostly all related  in one way or another. There is nothing more clearer indicating this then a picture which was taken after the funeral of King Edward VII of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and Emperor of India occurred on Friday, 20 May 1910.(picture above)

Standing, from left to right: King Haakon VII of Norway-  the late King’s nephew by marriage/son-in-law and fourth cousin (once removed);Tsar Ferdinand of the Bulgarians-  the late King’s second cousin; King Manuel II of Portugal and the Algarve,-the late King’s fourth cousin;Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany and Prussia- the late King’s nephew;  King George I of the Hellenes(Greece) – the late King’s brother-in-law/fourth cousin and King Albert I of the Belgians- the late King’s second cousin.

Seated, from left to right: King Alfonso XIII of Spain-the late King’s nephew-in-law; King George V of the United Kingdom- the late King’s son; and King Frederick VIII of Denmark-the late King’s brother-in-law/fourth cousin.

These nine Sovereigns all had direct connection but most of the other Royal dignitaries also had direct or indirect ties.

Only 4 years later most of the sovereign states these men. were head of state of would be at war.

Two of the main nations at war German and Great Britain had direct blood ties.As a grandchild of Queen Victoria, Wilhelm II was a first cousin of the future King George V.

(Wilhelm with his father, in Highland dress, in 1862)

wilhem kilt

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Marcus Lelyveld-Jewish Footballer-Killed.

marcus

The Dutch are a proud footballing nation, the sport is part of our DNA. But there is a part of our footballing history which has been forgotten.

Marcus Lelyveld born September 9,1905 in the Hague, the Netherlands. His father made furniture but in 1914 he changed from furniture to selling fruit.

Marcus was  a talented football player. When he was 17 he managed to secure a place in the first team of VUC, a club based in The Hague.He was a defender and sometimes played as a defending midfielder.In 1930 Marcus was selected as part of a elite The Hague team to play a match against a Belgian team from Brussels.

Later that year he was selected to play with the B-team of the Dutch National squad.In 1931 the head coach  of the National team, Bob Glendenning selected him for a match against France in Paris, Although Marcus was selected he didn’t get a chance to play.

However on February 14 ,1932 he finally got a chance with the mighty Dutch national team. Mauk Weber, of ADO Den Haag, wasn’t fit enough to play so Macus took Mauk’s spot. The match was a friendly match against Belgium and was played in the Amsterdam,Olympic Stadium. The Belgian team won by 2-3.

11 tal

Unfortunately that was the last official international match he played for the Dutch national team. He did play several international matches on club level against the Irish Champions F.C. Bohemian,, and also against English teams like Port Vale and Stoke.

In 1934 he was sacked by VUC but the Dutch FA(KNVB) intervened and he was reinstated. However it would be the last season he played Football.

On June 19,1935 he married a single Mother Theodora Antonia Schoonen, unlike Marcus she was not Jewish.

In 1942 a Dutch judge sent Marcus to jail for a minor offence,due to the overcrowding of jails he was sent to Camp Erica,near Ommen instead, in June 1942.

Erica

The camp was designated mostly for Dutchmen convicted of black market trade or resistance to the occupational authorities; only eight Jews were detained here.The camp was notorious for the brutal behaviour of its personnel.

Herbertus Bikker aka The Butcher of Ommen was a member of the Waffen-SS. In this function he served as a guard at the prison and work camp Erika.

Although there were a few Jewish prisoners there, they were particularly harshly treated.

Marcus Lelyveld suffered severe physical abuse in the camp and he eventually died on September 5,1942 as a result of the abuse.

On 19 januari 1943, a second Jewish prisoner,Salomon Roet, dies as a result of severe physical abuse.

What I find very disturbing about these deaths is that they were personal, it wasn’t done by a bullet or by gassing, but by beating, kicking on a one on one basis. Whoever abused these men most of looked in their eyes.

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Sources

Joods Monument

WO2 Slachtoffers

 

Dr.Robert Ritter and Eva Justin

Ritter

One lesson that many people haven’t learned from the Nazi era is that scientist don’t always have the best interest of humanity at heart. They often are driven by their own curiosity rather then what’s best for their fellow man. Yet people often follow their advise blindly, without questioning motives or who funds the research carried out by scientists. This week I heard a newly elected politician say during an interview on the radio”Why wouldn’t we trust scientists?” A statement like that scares me. Not because I am anti scientists, far from it, science has made so many positive changes in our lives, but it scares me because it is accepted without being questioned. Science is like any other thing in life, don’t just accept things because someone says it is the right thing to do.

Dr.Robert Ritter was a German scientist. The Nazis established the Racial Hygiene and Demographic Biology Research Unit  in 1936. Which was  headed and run  by Dr. Robert Ritter and his assistant Eva Justin.

Their task was  to conduct an extensive  in-depth study of the “Gypsy question  and to provide the regime with the data which would be used for policies to set up a new Reich “Gypsy law”. After a substantial fieldwork in the spring of 1936. The research consisted of interviews and medical examinations to ascertain the racial classification of the Roma, the Unit concluded that the majority of  Romani,  were not of “pure Gypsy blood”,  and posed a danger to German racial purity and should be deported or eliminated.

BLODD

Ronert Ritter, who was  a psychiatrist,with a background in child psychiatry and the biology of criminality, hoped to determine the links between heredity and criminality. With funding from the German Association for Scientific Research and access to police records. In 1937  he began to systematically interview all the Gypsies living in Germany.

In a report of his research findings in 1940, Ritter concluded that 90 percent of the Gypsies native to Germany were “of mixed blood.” He described such Gypsies as “the products of mating with the German criminal asocial sub-proletariat.” He further characterized Gypsies as a “primitive” people incapable of real social adaptation.”

Eva and Robert

Eva Justin was an anthropologist, she specialised in so-called scientific racism. (a pseudo-scientific belief that verifiable evidence exists to support or justify racism (racial discrimination).

Justin was one of the first Registered Nurses to earn a PhD. She was able to speak the  Romani language, which earned  her the trust of Roma and Sinti people. Her doctoral thesis was titled “Lebensschicksale artfremd erzogener Zigeunerkinder und ihrer Nachkommen” (fates of alienated educated gypsy children and their descendants)

romani

The children that Justin studied had been selected for deportation. However the transport was delayed to facilitate the conclusion of  her research and until she received her PhD. The children were then sent to the Gypsy family camp at Auschwitz on 6 May 1943. Just over 3 weeks later on May, 30 1943, Josef Mengele  became  chief medical officer of the Romani family camp  at Auschwitz. Some of the children were subjected to his experiments and most were eventually killed in the gas chamber. Approximately 39 or 40 children that Justin had studied were sent to Auschwitz , and all but four died before the end of the war, many before her thesis was published.

She was present when the Sinti and Roma deportations to concentration camps were organized.

ANTHRO

Despite the de-Nazification of Germany after World War II, Ritter was not required to take responsibility for his actions during Nazi rule.

In post-war West Germany, Justin worked as a psychologist for the Frankfurt police, even acting as a consultant to the legal system for compensation cases for Holocaust survivors.She died from cancer in 1966 in Offenbach am Main, a city on the outskirts of Frankfurt. In 1958 the Frankfurt district attorney initiated an investigation into Justin’s wartime actions, but the investigation was closed in 1960.

 

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Sources

USHMM

Bundesarchiv

 

May 10,1933- Book burning.

Book Burning

A scary thought crossed my mind this week. What some Social Media outlets are doing nowadays, is basically the digital version of book burning. Regardless how valuable a post might be, or even how inoffensive it is when the moderators don’t like it , it will get banned,or digitally burned so to speak.

On May 10,1933 German university students burned upwards of 25,000 volumes of perceived “un-German” books, foreshadowing an era of state censorship and control of culture. On the evening of May 10, in the majority of German university towns, right-wing students marched in torchlight parades “against the un-German spirit.” The scripted rituals called for high Nazi officials, professors, university rectors, and university student leaders to address the participants and spectators.

may 10

The books ranged from Bebel, Bernstein, Preuss, and Rathenau through Einstein, Freud, Brecht, Brod, Döblin, Kaiser, the Mann brothers, Zweig, Plievier, Ossietzky, Remarque, Schnitzler, and Tucholsky, to Barlach, Bergengruen, Broch, Hoffmannsthal, Kästner, Kasack, Kesten, Kraus, Lasker-Schüler, Unruh, Werfel, Zuckmayer, and Hesse. The catalogue went back far enough to include literature from Heine and Marx to Kafka. But also books from H.G Wells,Ernest Hemingway and Virginia Woolf.

What amazes me most about this, these weren’t uneducated people doing this but students and lecturers, and other academics willingly participating in the destruction of scientific research and history.

books collected

These academics had become the moderators of what could or could not be read.

It is true history does repeat itself.

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Céad Míle Fáilte for Nazi Germany-A troubled Irish History.

cead

I want to say this first before I go into the blog. I live in Ireland, I love Ireland and not one day have I regretted moving here. It is my home.

However what does disturb me is that some Irish politicians are calling on a boycott on some Israeli goods.

These same politicians appear to have forgotten a troubled Irish History where they embraced one of the world’s most brutal regimes with open arms and gave it the “céad míle fáilte” -A hundred thousand welcome treatment.

Eire V Germany 1936

On October 17th 1936 the Republic of Ireland football team played a friendly match against the German team, in Dublin Ireland won by 5-2.

Crowd: 28,000. The German team performed Nazi salutes during the playing of their national anthem. Although Germany had not invaded any country at that stage, it had become clear at this stage what the Nazi regime stood for.

A few months before the outbreak of WWII, but after the annexation of the Sudetneland and Austria, the Irish Football team played another friendly match against Germany. The date was May 23,1939 and the venue was Bremen, Weserstadion. The score was 1-1 but this time the German and the Irish team both did the Nazi salute. This was also about 6 months after the Kristallnacht.

Germany Eire

In 1936 Irish exchange students were send on a trip to Berlin to meet up with members of the Hitler Youth.

Youth

Even the current main government party,Fine Gael, has a National socialist legacy. It was born out of the Army Comrades Association also known as the blue shirts. The leader Eoin O’Duffy He modeled the organisation, by adopting elements of European fascism, such as the Roman straight-arm salute, Nazi salute, uniforms and huge rallies.

Fine Gael

In September 1933 Cumann na nGaedheal merged with the Blue shirts and Fine Gael was born.

In 1943 Oliver J. Flanagan was elected as a Fine Gael politician to the Dail(Irish parliament) In his maiden speech he said the following:

“How is it that we do not see any of these Acts directed against the Jews, oliverwho crucified Our Saviour nineteen hundred years ago, and who are crucifying us every day in the week? How is it that we do not see them directed against the Masonic Order? How is it that the I.R.A. is considered an illegal organisation while the Masonic Order is not considered an illegal organisation?There is one thing that Germany did, and that was to rout the Jews out of their country. Until we rout the Jews out of this country it does not matter a hair’s breadth what orders you make. Where the bees are there is the honey, and where the Jews are there is the money.”

His son Charles Flanagan is currently the Minister for Justice and Equality in Ireland. But just because he is his Oliver’s son doesn’t necessarily mean that he subscribes to the same ideas as his father.

On May 2nd 1945, the then Irish prime minister Eamonn DeValera and the Irish President Douglas Hyde, offered their condolences to the German Minister in Dublin on the death of Adolf Hitler.

News article

After the war Ireland became a hiding place for several Nazi war criminals. Leading Nazis like Otto Skorzeny and the Dutch war Criminal Pieter Menten.It is also rumored the Joseph Mengele stayed in for 6 weeks in Ireland, shortly after the war and just before he fled to South America. Although the Irish government say that they have no recotds of Mengele ever being in Ireland.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center even provided a list of aliases Mengele was known to have used in the past to help investigate whether or not Mengele ever stayed in Ireland

list

As far as I am aware Ireland never boycotted the Nazu regime because of its neutral stance. I find it utterly bizarre that some politicians feel the need now to boycott Israel.

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I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Sources

Irish Times

The Journal.ie

 

Twelve Theses-When students encouraged the destruction of History.

twelve

One of the most effective weapons to fight antisemitism and racism is critical thinking. What scares me though, is that there seems to be less and less people who have this ability. Or maybe it is just a case that those who think critically are silenced.

This blog will be about a historical event , but I can’t ignore the fact that it has similarities to what is slowly creeping in today’s society. Often critical thinking gets confused with criticizing news reports or studies etc., but that is an incorrect assessment. Critical thinking is merely not accepting everything you hear automatically, but rather analyse the data and ask questions where needed.

One of the key ingredients for critical thinking is knowing history. There is currently a trend in  several countries, to take  history out of the school curriculum. However if you forget your history, you forfeit your future.

Books

In April 1933 German Student Association called for German university students to destroy all “un-German” literature. Basically they wanted to sanitize history to suit their own traditions and philosophies. According to them everything which was not in line with the Germanic ‘values’ ,and especially anything Jewish,was deemed tainted and had to be purged.

They published what they called “Zwölf Thesen wider den undeutschen Geist,-twelve Theses Against the Un-German Spirit”. The document was published in several German media. Below is an English translation of the text.

” Twelve Theses Against the un-German spirit!
1. Language and literature have their roots in the people. It is the German people’s responsibility to assure that its language and literature are the pure and unadulterated expression of its Folk traditions.

2. At present there is a chasm between literature and German tradition. This situation is a disgrace.

3. Purity of language and literature is your responsibility! Your people have entrusted you with the duty of faithfully preserving your language.

4. Our most dangerous enemy is the Jew and those who are his slaves.

5. A Jew can only think Jewish. If he writes in German, he is lying. The German who writes in German, but thinks un-German, is a traitor! The student who speaks and writes un-German is, in addition, thoughtless and has abandoned his duties.

6. We want to eradicate lies, we want to denounce treason, we want institutions of discipline and political education for us the students, not mindlessness.

7. We want to regard the Jew as alien and we want to respect the traditions of the Folk.

Therefore, we demand of the censor:
Jewish writings are to be published in Hebrew.
If they appear in German, they must be identified as translations.
Strongest actions against the abuse of the German script.
German script is only available to Germans.
The un-German spirit is to be eradicated from public libraries.
8. We demand of the German students the desire and capability for independent knowledge and decisions.

9. We demand of German students the desire and capability to maintain the purity of the German language.

10. We demand of German students the desire and capability to overcome Jewish intellectualism and the resulting liberal decay in the German spirit.

11. We demand the selection of students and professors in accordance with their reliability and commitment to the German spirit.

12. We demand that German universities be a stronghold of the German Folk tradition and a battleground reflecting the power of the German mind.

The German Student Association.”

Although these theses did not themselves expressly call for book burning, it is what triggered the book burnings across Germany and Austria in May 1933. This was only a few months after the Nazi party had taken power.

Frankfurt

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Sources

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