The Nobel price and the Third Reich.

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Adolf Hitler often displayed toddler like behaviour. If he didn’t get his way or if someone did something he didn’t like, he would throw a tantrum.

In 1935 the Nobel peace prize was awarded to Carl von Ossietzky(pictured above). He was a German pacifist He was awarded the prize for something which happened before Hitler came to power.In 1931 Carl von Ossietzky was arrested because he  published details of Germany’s violation of the Treaty of Versailles by rebuilding an air force, which was the predecessor of the Luftwaffe, and training pilots in the Soviet Union.

He was also a very vocal anti Nazi and was openly critical about Hitler and the Nazi regime.On 28 February 1933 he was sent to Spandau  prison for “protective custody” and later on he was transferred to the Esterwegen concentration camp.

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When the Nobel foundation awarded the 1935 Nobel Peace Prize to Carl von Ossietzky, (although it was the 1935 Nobel peace prize it actually was awarded in 1936), Hitler was offended. His reaction was to issue a decree on 31 January 1937 which forbade German nationals to accept any Nobel Prize.

This resulted in Gerhard Domagk not getting the 1939 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Richard Kuhn not being able to get the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1938 and Adolf Butenandt not allowed to accept for the the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1939.

In 1939 the Swedish Social Democrat and Anti Fascist Erik Gottfrid Christian Brandt nominated Hitler for the Nobel Peace Prize , in a ironic and sarcastic manner. The nomination was accepted.

Below is the text of his nomination.

“To the Norwegian Nobel Committee

I hereby humbly suggest that the Peace Prize for 1939 is awarded the German Chancellor and Führer Adolf Hitler, a man, who in the opinion of millions of people, is a man who more than anyone in the world has deserved this highly respected reward.

Authentic documents reveal that in September 1938 world peace was in great danger; it was only a matter of hours before a new European war could break out. The man who during this dangerous time saved our part of the world from this terrible catastrophe was without no doubt the great leader of the German people. In the critical moment he voluntarily did not let weapons speak although he had the power to start a world war.

By his glowing love for peace, earlier documented in his famous book Mein Kampf – next to the Bible perhaps the best and most popular piece of literature in the world – together with his peaceful achievement – the annexation of Austria – Adolf Hitler has avoided the use of force by freeing his countrymen in Sudetenland and making his fatherland big and powerful. Probably Hitler will, if unmolested and left in peace by war mongers, pacify Europe and possibly the whole world.

Sadly there still are a great number of people who fail to see the greatness in Adolf Hitler’s struggle for peace. Based on this fact I would not have found the time right to nominate Hitler as a candidate to the Nobel Peace Prize had it not been for a number of Swedish parliamentarians who have nominated another candidate, namely the British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. This nomination seems to be poorly thought. Although it is true that Chamberlain through his generous understanding of Hitler’s struggle for pacification has contributed to the saving of world peace, the last decision was Hitler´s and not Chamberlains! Hitler and no one else is first and foremost to be thanked for the peace which still prevails in the greater part of Europe; and this man is also the hope for peace in the future. As Chamberlain obviously can claim his share of the peace making, he could possibly have a smaller part of the Peace Prize. But the most correct thing to do is not to put another name beside the name of Adolf Hitler and thereby throwing a shadow on him. Adolf Hitler is by all means the authentic God-given fighter for peace, and millions of people all over the world put their hopes in him as the Prince of Peace on earth.

Stockholm, January 27 1939”

Brandt withdrew his nomination in February 1939 because he hadn’t expected his nomination to be taken serious.

Imagine if he hadn’t withdrawn the nomination and Hitler had won(stranger things have happened), Then Hitler would have to break his own rule to accept his prize.

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Eventually no Nobel Peace Prize was awarded in 1939.

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Source

Nobelprize.org

Quartz

 

 

 

 

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The white Buses- A positive Holocaust story

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A while ago I read a comment of someone saying that she could no longer read stories about the Holocaust, not because she didn’t want to but because she couldn’t because the stories were so sad, they were heartbreaking. I can fully appreciate that, because it is heartbreaking and unless you are a complete psychopath and soulless the stories will have a deep,profound effect. However it is important these stories need to be told

Coming from the angle of someone who does a lot of research on the Holocaust,every story is hard but sometimes in a different way. Positive stories are very hard to find but there are some, as this blog will illustrate. But positive in the context of the Holocaust.

The “White Buses”  was an operation undertaken by the Swedish Red Cross and the Danish government in the spring of 1945 to rescue concentration camp inmates in areas under Nazi control and transport them to Sweden, a neutral country. Although the operation was initially targeted at saving citizens of Scandinavian countries, it rapidly expanded to include citizens of other countries.

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After a series of negotioations, the Danish Jews were released from Theresienstadt in the spring of 1945 and brought to Sweden by the so-called White Buses. A dangerous journey that took the caravan of White Busses through war-torn Europe.

All in all , an operational staff of about 300 persons removed 15,345 prisoners from mortal peril in concentration camps; of these 7,795 were Scandinavian and 7,550 were non-Scandinavian (Polish, French, etc.).In particular, 423 Danish Jews were saved from the Theresienstadt concentration camp inside German-occupied territory of Czechoslovakia, contributing significantly to the fact that casualties among Danish Jews during the Holocaust were among the lowest of the occupied European countries.

 

The term “white buses” originates from the buses having been painted white with red crosses, to avoid confusion with military vehicles.

In December 1944, the Danish Foreign Ministry received permission to bring sick police officers home from the concentration camp in Buchenwald, Germany.

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This marked the beginning of a humanitarian operation best known as the Bernadotte Operation or The White Buses. In February 1945, the Swedish Count Folke Bernadotte negotiated with Heinrich Himmler for the release of Scandinavian prisoners from the concentration camps, while the Danish Aid Corps arranged for cars and buses to transport the prisoners. The Swedish and Danish initiative was coordinated, and in March 1945, the operation began. The process of bringing the Scandinavian prisoners back home was carried out until the end of April.

The Baltic German Felix Kersten was Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler’s personal masseur.

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He lived in Stockholm and acted as an intermediary between the Swedish foreign department and Himmler. Walter Schellenberg, a trusted subordinate of Himmler, had long held the view that Germany would lose the war and encouraged Himmler to explore the possibility of a separate peace treaty with the Western powers; in this Sweden could be a useful intermediary.

With Kersten’s assistance the Swedish foreign department was able to free 50 Norwegian students, 50 Danish policemen and 3 Swedes in December 1944. An absolute condition for the release of the prisoners was that it should be hidden from the press; if Hitler got to know about it further repatriations would be impossible.

On 13 April 1945, the Danish Jewish prisoners in Theresienstadt received the message that they were going home.

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This applied to everyone who had been deported from Denmark, regardless of whether they were Danish citizens. The Danish prisoners were first gathered in the Jäger Barracks, where they had to wait for the buses to arrive in Theresienstadt. A former prisoner described the waiting time:

“Then, all the Danes were gathered in the Jäger Barracks, where we should spend the last days. There was a high fence around the barracks to keep the other prisoners out, while we Danes could go freely in and out. People gathered together outside, partly to ask for the bits of food remaining after we left, and partly to give us the addresses of their families, so we could write and tell them that they were in Theresienstadt.”

After waiting for a day and a half, the prisoners were finally allowed to board the buses that were to drive them to Sweden – Denmark was still occupied. 423 people were released from the camp that day. Not all of them were originally deported from Denmark: A few children were born in the camp; a Danish boy had been deported from Berlin; and a few Czech women had married Danish men in the camp and were therefore allowed to accompany them. 041_diis_3432_10_danske_joeder_befriet_fra_theresienstadt_c_yad_vashem

The expedition had German liaison officers; the most prominent of them being Himmler’s communications officer, SS-Obersturmbannführer Karl Rennau, while Franz Göring was a liaison officer with the Gestapo. The expedition had around 40 German communication, SS and Gestapo officers. The Germans demanded that every second vehicle should have a German officer on board. The “White Buses” expedition was totally dependent on cooperation with the Germans as the country under Nazi rule was a police state. Only with liaison personnel from the Gestapo and SS could the expedition move without restrictions.

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Neuengamme concentration camp was overcrowded, and to have space for the Scandinavian prisoners, the SS insisted that prisoners of other nationalities be moved to other camps. The SS commander had no transport of his own and required that the white buses accept the transports, so the newly arrived Scandinavians could solely occupy the Schonungsblock, a barrack building for prisoners not fit to work. Around 2,000 French, Belgian, Dutch, Russian and Polish Jews were transported to other camps. Most of the transports of prisoners for the SS took place between 27 and 29 March, from Neuengamme to subcamps in Hannover and Salzgitter and to Bergen-Belsen. During the evacuations some 50 to 100 prisoners died, and many more died in the worse conditions in the new camps to which they were transported, having been moved to avoid the advancing Allied armies.

The Swedish sub-lieutenant Åke Svenson wrote:

“We could now see how the Germans treated their prisoners in general, French, Belgians, Dutch, Poles, and Russians. It was terrible. This time the Germans had to allow us into the camp as most of the passengers could not walk the minor distance from the barracks to the road. From these barracks a group of creatures were forced, that hardly anymore seemed to be human beings.”

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On the way to Sweden the buses drove through bombed-out Germany, and sometimes they came very close to the actual bombing attacks. On 17 April, the buses reached the Danish border, where the former prisoners were received with food, cakes and flags.

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The buses continued to Odense, where the passengers rested for the night. The next morning, the buses drove to Copenhagen, and the group was sailed to Sweden. In Sweden, they were housed in two quarantine camps: Tylösand and Strangnæs. After Denmark’s liberation on 5 May 1945, the former prisoners could finally return to Denmark. Some could immediately move into their homes, which had been cared for by friends, acquaintances or the Social Service in the Municipality of Copenhagen. For others, the homecoming was difficult, since they had lost both their apartments and their belongings while they were in Theresienstadt. They were also emotionally scarred, and many suffered from physical injuries from their stay in Theresienstadt.

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Sources

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30 February

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I know what you all are thinking “He is Dutch, he must have been smoking some funny stuff” Rest assured nothing could be further from the truth.

30 February was actually a real date, well at least in Sweden.

February 30 was a real date in Sweden in 1712.

Instead of changing from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar by omitting a block of consecutive days, as had been done in other countries, the Swedish Empire planned to change gradually by omitting all leap days from 1700 to 1740, inclusive. Although the leap day was omitted in February 1700, the Great Northern War began later that year, diverting the attention of the Swedes from their calendar so that they did not omit leap days on the next two occasions and 1704 and 1708 kept leap years.

To avoid confusion and further mistakes, the Julian calendar was restored in 1712 by adding an extra leap day, thus giving that year the only known actual use of the 30th of February in a calendar.

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That day corresponded to February 29 in the Julian calendar and to March 11 in the Gregorian calendar.

The Swedish conversion to the Gregorian calendar was finally accomplished in 1753, by omitting the last 11 days of February.

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The disappearance of Raoul Wallenberg.

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I have read a lot about this remarkable man and hero and I was reluctant to write an article about him, because I just didn’t think I would do him justice. However since it is the 72nd anniversary of his disappearance I thought it would be a good opportunity to look at some elements of his life, including his disappearance.

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Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg led one of the most extensive and successful rescue efforts during the Nazi era. His work with the War Refugee Board and the World Jewish Congress saved thousands of Hungarian Jews.

On 17 January 1945, during the Siege of Budapest by the Red Army, Wallenberg was detained by SMERSH on suspicion of espionage and subsequently disappeared.

 

Raoul Wallenberg was born on August 4, 1912, in Stockholm, Sweden.

After studying in the United States in the 1930s and establishing himself in a business career in Sweden, Wallenberg was recruited by the US War Refugee Board (WRB) in June 1944 to travel to Hungary. Given status as a diplomat by the Swedish legation, Wallenberg’s task was to do what he could to assist and save Hungarian Jews.

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Beginning in 1938, the Kingdom of Hungary, under the regency of Miklós Horthy, passed a series of anti-Jewish measures modeled on the so-called Nuremberg Race Laws enacted in Germany by the Nazis in 1935.

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Like their German counterparts, the Hungarian laws focused heavily on restricting Jews from certain professions, reducing the number of Jews in government and public service jobs, and prohibiting intermarriage.

Before Wallenberg’s arrival, the Swedish embassy in Budapest was already issuing travel documents to Hungarian Jews – these special certificates functioned as a Swedish passport.

The papers had no real authority in law but the Swedes managed to persuade the Hungarian authorities that people holding them were under their protection.

When Wallenberg arrived, he decided that the certificates needed to look more official so he redesigned them. He introduced the colours of the Swedish flag, blue and yellow, marked the documents with government stamps and added Swedish crowns. It was known as a Schutz-Pass or protective pass.

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After the Hungarian fascist Arrow Cross movement seized power with the help of the Germans on October 15, 1944, the Arrow Cross government resumed the deportation of Hungarian Jews, which Horthy had halted in July before the Budapest Jews could be deported. As Soviet troops had already cut off rail transport routes to Auschwitz, Hungarian authorities forced tens of thousands of Budapest Jews to march west to the Hungarian border with Austria. During the autumn of 1944, Wallenberg repeatedly—and often personally—intervened to secure the release of those with certificates of protection or forged papers, saving as many people as he could from the marching columns.

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On 29 October 1944, elements of the 2nd Ukrainian Front under Marshal Rodion Malinovsky launched an offensive against Budapest and by late December the city had been encircled by Soviet forces. Despite this the German commander of Budapest, SS Lieutenant General Karl Pfeffer-Wildenbruch, refused all offers to surrender, setting in motion a protracted and bloody siege of Budapest.

Karl von Pfeffer-Wildenbruch

At the height of the fighting, on 17 January 1945, Wallenberg was called to General Malinovsky’s headquarters in Debrecen to answer allegations that he was engaged in espionage.

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Wallenberg’s last recorded words were, “I’m going to Malinovsky’s … whether as a guest or prisoner I do not know yet.”Documents recovered in 1993 from previously secret Soviet military archives and published in the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet show that an order for Wallenberg’s arrest was issued by Deputy Commissar for Defence (and future Soviet Premier) Nikolai Bulganin and transmitted to Malinovsky’s headquarters on the day of Wallenberg’s disappearance. In 2003, a review of Soviet wartime correspondences indicated that Vilmos Böhm, a Hungarian politician who was also a Soviet intelligence agent, may have provided Wallenberg’s name to the SMERSH as a person to detain for possible involvement in espionage.

On 6 February 1957, the Soviet government released a document dated 17 July 1947, which stated “I report that the prisoner Wallenberg who is well-known to you, died suddenly in his cell this night, probably as a result of a heart attack or heart failure”

However newly published diaries of the first KGB chief,Ivan Serov, state that the Swedish diplomat was liquidated on Stalin’s orders in a Soviet prison in 1947.
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Behind the diaries’ publication is Vera Serova, the KGB chairman’s only grandchild. Four years ago, Serova, a retired ballet dancer, wanted to renovate her grandfather’s Moscow dacha, which she inherited. The workmen found the journals in suitcases hidden inside the garage wall; they were disappointed that the treasure turned out not to be money or jewels but only papers.
“I have no doubts that Wallenberg was liquidated in 1947,” the ex-head of the former Russian secret police and intelligence agency writes in his diaries. Wallenberg was killed in a Soviet prison and Serov quotes his predecessor, Viktor Abakumov, as saying the order to kill Wallenberg came from the top: Joseph Stalin and then-foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov.

 

It is still not clear why he was killed.In May 1996 the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) released thousands of previously classified documents regarding Raoul Wallenberg, in response to requests filed under the Freedom of Information Act.

A communique sent on 7 November 1944 by the OSS, (the predecessor of the CIA) branch in Bari, Italy which apparently acknowledged that Wallenberg was acting as an unofficial liaison between the OSS and the Hungarian Independence Movement (MFM), an underground anti-Nazi resistance organization.This particular disclosure has given rise to speculation as to whether, in addition to his efforts to rescue the Hungarian Jews, Wallenberg may have also been pursuing a parallel clandestine mission aimed at politically destabilizing Hungary’s pro-Nazi government on behalf of the OSS. This would also seem to add some credence to the potential explanation that it was his association with US intelligence that led to Wallenberg being targeted by Soviet authorities in January 1945.

Several other humanitarians who had helped refugees during World War II disappeared behind the Iron Curtain in the period 1949/50.

On 29 March 2016, an announcement was made by the Swedish Tax Agency that a petition to have Wallenberg declared dead in absentia had been submitted. It stated that if he does not report to the Tax Agency before 14 October 2016, he will be declared dead legally.

Wallenberg was declared dead in October 2016. Consistently with the approach used in cases where the circumstances of death were not known, the Swedish tax agency recorded the date of his death as July 31, 1952, five years after he went missing.

His name has been honoured in several countries across the globe.

 

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