The August 11 Krakow pogrom.

Kupa

Today marks the 75th anniversary of the August 11 Krakow pogrom. August 11,1945, as you can see this is a date after Poland was liberated ,in fact it is nearly 4 months after the war in Europe had ended.

The text below comes directly from 2 sources, which I also shall link at the bottom of the blog. Both links will also mention other pogroms which happened in Poland shortly after the war in Europe. Despite the fact that the information comes from very reputable sources ,amongst them historian David Engel and eye witnesses, and despite one link is from a Polish site there will still be people who denied these ever happened. Since the war wasn’t officially over yet they were war crimes committed by Polish citizens. Some will say they were not Polish but communists, as if communist is a nationality.

The really disgusting thing here that the one fatality ,although there may have been more but could not be verified, was a lady who had survived Auschwitz.

“On August 11, 1945, during the Sabbath, there was a pogrom of the Jewish population in Krakow. The pretext for the incident was rumors that the bodies and blood of Christian children had been found in the synagogue.”

“The Jews who were praying on Saturday morning in the Kupa synagogue were attacked by the crowd gathered in the nearby square”

In Krakow, a Jewish woman was arrested in late June for allegedly attempting to kidnap and murder a Polish child. The arrest sparked dangerous rumors. Tension mounted throughout the summer, as the rumor circulated that the bodies of thirteen murdered Christian children had been discovered. By the beginning of August, the number of rumored corpses had grown to eighty. A mob gathered every Friday night and Saturday outside Kupa Synagogue in Kazimierz to throw stones at the building and at the Jews praying inside while screaming, laughing and taunting, behavior that did not stop even after guards were posted near the synagogue. Finally, the situation reached the boiling point.

On Saturday, August 11, 1945, a 13-year old Polish boy ran out of Kupa Synagogue screaming “Help! They want to murder me!” The crowd of about 60 Poles outside broke into the synagogue looking for the Christian children’s corpses. They destroyed and plundered the synagogue, tore Torah scrolls, and attacked not only the Jews who were there, but other Jews in the area. The synagogue was set on fire. Roza Berger, an Auschwitz survivor, was murdered; there may have been as many as four other casualties, but this remains unclear. The violence spread throughout the Kazimierz quarter of Krakow;robberies and beatings were recorded in a dozen different apartments. Five Jews were wounded, among them Hanna Zajdman. She gave an account of her experience to the Jewish Historical Commission on August 20, 1945. According to Zajdman’s account, even in the ambulance to the hospital the wounded were called “Jewish scum” by the soldier and the nurse who accompanied them. Once at the hospital they were beaten by other patients and by soldiers. They were threatened repeatedly, even by nurses, who said that, “they were only waiting for the surgery to be over in order to rip us apart.” The scourge of the pogroms had reached the big city.

 

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Pogromy z 1945 i 1946 roku. Krwawe wydarzenia we wspomnieniach świadków

 

Click to access Microsoft%20Word%20-%203128.pdf

https://www.yadvashem.org/articles/general/anti-jewish-violence-in-poland-after-liberation.html

https://www.yadvashem.org/articles/general/anti-jewish-violence-in-poland-after-liberation.html#footnote29_d02srsx

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krak%C3%B3w_pogrom

https://peoplepill.com/people/roza-berger/

 

The experiments of Horst Schumann.

Horst

I have to warn you up front, this is not an easy read. I will try to stick to the facts and keep my emotions out of it, regardless on how difficult that will be. And I will keep it only to the experiments and the post war situation for Horst Schumann.

Horst Schumann  was an SS-Sturmbannführer and medical doctor who conducted sterilization and castration experiments at Auschwitz he was especially interested in the mass sterilization of Jews by using  X-ray radiation.

He worked at Block 30 at the women’s hospital, here set up an x-ray unit in 1942.                 (the picture below is from an x ray machine in Auschwitz but I don’t know if this one was used by Schumann)

x ray

Dr. Schumann did not have any particular qualifications for medical research. His duties prior to his research into sterilization involved the direction of killing centers and selection of victims.  By 1942, the doctor and his assistants were at work on X-ray sterilization experiments at Block 30 in Birkenau.  In these experiments, men and women had their reproductive areas exposed to a five to eight minute dose of X-rays. Depending on the intensity of the dose, this resulted in external burns or worse. Following exposure, some of the women and men underwent operations to remove reproductive organs for evaluation. Ovaries and testicles were removed and examined. The men also were subject to other brutalizing medical procedures involving semen extraction.  Many of the victims died from complications following the surgeries. The survivors were not as likely as others to survive assignment to work details in their weakened condition. Roughly one thousand male and female prisoners were subjected to X-ray sterilization with about two hundred of them undergoing follow-up extractive surgery.

(. Lifton, The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide (Basic Books, 2000), pp. 25, 247, 274-282.)

book

Both men and women were forcibly sterilized . They were positioned repeatedly for a number of minutes between two x-ray machines, the rays were aimed  aiming at their sexual organs. Most victims succumbed  to the treatment and died after great suffering, Either that or they were gassed because the injuries they sustained made them unfit to work .Men’s testicles were removed and sent to Breslau for histopathological examination. Schumann chose his test persons himself. They were always young, healthy, good-looking Jewish men, women and girls but who would often look like old people afterwards. Often the intestines were also affected. Another element   of Schumann’s experiments was to check whether the radiation had worked, For this they used the so-called semen check. The method was by inserting  a stick covered with a rubber hose was into the rectum of the victim and the glands stimulated until ejaculation occurred so that the ejaculate could be tested for sperm. These samples were also sent to the University of Breslau  for examination.

Schumann selected several women from Block 10 at the main camp of Auschwitz.  To control the radiation on women, prisoner doctors ,Dr. Maximilian Samuel and Dr. Wladislaw Dering had to remove an ovary from a healthy woman.

Another experiment Schumann conducted was typhus experiment. He did this  by injecting people with blood from typhus patients and would then attempt to cure the newly infected subjects.

After the war he was  a sports doctor for the city of Gladbeck. But when he was identified in 1951 the East German government issued a warrant for his arrest. He managed to evade capture and worked for 3 years as a ships doctor. He had no German passport but in 1954 he applied for a passport in Japan, which was issued to him under his own name. He then fled to Egypt but shortly after he settled in Khartoum in the Sudan as head of a hospital. In 1962 he was forced to flee Sudan after he was recognized by an Auschwitz survivor. He went to Ghana where he received protection from the President

In 1966 he was extradited to West Germany where he stood trial in Frankfurt on September 23,1970. However due to bad health he only served about 18 months in Jail.

He eventually died on 5 May 1983.age 77. A lot older then most of the victims he killed.

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Sources

http://large.stanford.edu/courses/2017/ph241/payzer2/

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/horst-schumann

http://auschwitz.org/en/history/medical-experiments/horst-schumann

 

 

 

 

 

Stefan Baretzki-Evil ‘simpleton’

CapturebARETZKI

Stefan Baretzki was an Auschwitz guard of Bukovina German origin. He was conscripted into the Waffen-SS and stationed at Auschwitz  from 1942 until 1945.

Baretzki was sentenced to life imprisonment and eight years in August 1965, at the Frankfurt Auschwitz trials. Because he only finished primary education, the court described him as a “simpleton” and “less intelligent than all the other defendants”, However I don’t fully subscribe to that point of view. It was not uncommon in those days that people would only have primary education. But his evidence was helpful, his  admission that he knew that the mass murder of Jews was a crime was used as evidence that the other defendants knew that their actions were criminal too.

baretzki

Barertzki and other guards would be shown propaganda movies like Jud Süß and Ohm Krüger after they finished work. This would than encourage them to beat up Jewish prisoners the morning after.

Baretzki claimed during  his trial that when guards asked why prisoners were sent to Auschwitz, they were informed that all of them were dangerous criminals convicted of sabotage.

Baretzki also testified against Kurt Knittel an SS guard who was in charge of the propaganda department at Auschwitz.

Baretzki testified that Knittel had told them that Jewish women and children had to be murdered because they were an inferior race.

Stefan Baretzki tough was not a simpleton, he was an evil man. The crimes he committed were calculated.He was found guilty of five counts of murder: he beat a starving prisoner to death and, on 21 June 1944, drowned four prisoners in a water tank. I a New York Times article from July 28, 1964 , it was also reported that he kicked a newborn baby to death and  knifed a prisoner who had just been hanged. The witness Mr. Gotland, a businessman from Paris, said Baretzki had ordered him to recover the child’s body, which the guard had kicked “like a rock.” He said Baretzkl later clubbed the baby’s mother to death.

On June 21,1988 Baretzki committed suicide while in jail.

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Sources

http://www.auschwitz-prozess-frankfurt.de/index.php?id=101

New York Times

 

Just a fraction of the Horrors.

Dachau

The picture is of clothes that once belonged to prisoners of the Dachau concentration camp, it was taken shortly after the camp was liberated.

When you look a it it looks like a launderette has dumped its load in a courtyard.

But this picture tells so much more. Each of those pieces of material and pieces of cloth once belonged to a human being. A human being who was not deemed worthy of live by the ideology spread by the NSDAP_-Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei. The national  socialist workers party. Leave those words sink in. and especially the words socialist and workers. Indicating they had the best interest at heart for the workers.

It was all a lie. If the workers would be Jewish, Homosexual, Roma or any other group which did not fit the NSDAP ideal, they would be worked to death or immediately gassed if they arrived in any of the death camps.

Even if you look at those piles of clothes you realize that this only a fraction of all crimes and horrors committed.

How did we ever let this happen?

Dachau was the first concentration camp and was in operation from 1933 to 1945.

Over the years of its operation, thousands of Dachau prisoners died of disease, malnutrition and slave labour. Thousands more were executed for breaking  camp rules, which were often very vague.Starting 1941, thousands of Soviet prisoners of war were sent to Dachau then shot to death at a nearby rifle range. In 1942, construction began at Dachau on Barrack X, a crematorium that eventually consisted of four big ovens used to burn corpses. With the implementation in 1942 of Hitler’s “Final Solution” to systematically eradicate all European Jews, thousands of Dachau detainees were moved to Nazi extermination camps in Poland, where they died in gas chambers.

Dachau was also used for some of the most gruesome experiments.For example, prisoners were forced to be test subjects in a series of tests to determine the posibility of reviving individuals immersed in freezing water. For hours at a time, prisoners were forcibly submerged in tanks filled with ice water. Some prisoners died during the process.

Approximately 40,000 died in Dachau, Which is roughly about 0.4% of the total amount of people who died during the Holocaust, and that percentage may even be smaller because I took the number of 11,000,000 which is generally taken as the approximate number of victims, but I think that number is actually more.

But just imagine that although a number of 40,000 looks big it is only 0.4 ” , a fraction of the horrors.

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Sources

Startseite

 

Just ‘ordinary’ evil men

Auschwitz

Most of the SS guards working in Auschwitz and indeed other camps had not been hardened soldiers before the war. They had been ‘ordinary’ people.

And that is still a mystery to me, how could these men become so involved in these unspeakable evil acts, Some were more willingly than others , but each one of them were involved in way or another. I know some people will argue that if they didn’t follow orders they would have been killed themselves, however no evidence was ever found that guards who did not partake in the killing, were ever punished.

They may have been brainwashed but eventually they were never forced.

Below are just some examples of Auschwitz guards and what they had done before the war.

Alois Balletshofer, farmer from Bavaria, Germany.

alois

Franz Hubert, a locksmith and citizen of Romania.

Franz

Fritz Taddiken, German painter.

Fritz

Kolomann Bistritz, Hungarian citizen and farmer.

bistritz

These are just 4 men but there were thousands of ‘ordinary; evil men.Most of them lived banal lives after the war.

 

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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

BBC

LocalGov.co.uk

All that is interesting

The farce that was the Nuremberg Trials

Nuremberg

Today marks the 74th anniversary of the sentencing at the main Nuremberg trials.The sentencing took  two days, with the individual sentences read out on the afternoon of 1 October.

The Nuremberg trials were never really meant to serve justice. In one way I can understand it but on the other hand looking at the sentences handed out ,one can not escape the fact that it was really a window dressing exercise.

Of the 24 defendants the international tribunal found all but three of the defendants guilty. Twelve were sentenced to death, one in absentia,Martin Borman, and the rest were given prison sentences ranging from 10 years to life behind bars.

The fact that 3 of them got acquitted speaks volumes, Each one of those 24 men were involved in horrendous war crimes and genocide in one way or another, be it in actively participating or by facilitating No one should have walked out of that court a free man.

Those who did not get the death sentence were given very lenient sentences.

Albert Speer was pivotal in the Nazi crimes but he was very manipulative. His lies were believed and he was sentenced to 20 years. After his release he lived a wealthy life mainly from proceeds of stolen art.

Because the accused men and judges spoke four different languages, the trial saw the introduction of a technological innovation taken for granted today: instantaneous translation. IBM provided the technology and recruited men and women from international telephone exchanges to provide on-the-spot translations through headphones in English, French, German and Russian.

Strangely enough not one staff member of IBM were in the docks with the defendants. IBM played a crucial  role in the Holocaust  at all six phases: identification, expulsion from society, confiscation, ghettoization, deportation, and even extermination. Moreover, recently discovered  documents portray with crystal clarity the personal involvement and micro-management of IBM president Thomas J. Watson in the company’s co-planning and co-organizing of Hitler’s campaign to destroy the Jews.

There were subsequent trials but if you look at the amount of sentences it is absolutely shocking how so many got away with murder. Many of them got high positions in government bodies in Germany and the USSR,USA and the UK.

color

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Sources

https://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/nuremberg-trials

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/ibm-holocaust_b_1301691

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/ibm-holocaust_b_1301691

WikiPedia

 

 

The conditions at Bergen Belsen.

Bergen Belsen

I was in two minds on how to do this blog. Initially I was considering adding graphic pictures to accompany the text , but then I thought that the pictures may just be too horrific and it would turn people away from reading the text. Additionally there would be a chance that this blog would be deleted on social media outlet, and there would be a chance that I’d get banned again.

Therefore on this occasion I believe the text will be more then sufficient to give an understanding how the conditions were in Bergen Belsen.

It was originally established as a prisoner of war camp, in 1940. However in 1943, parts of it became a concentration camp. The camp was liberated on April 15,1945.

liberated sign

Below are 2 testimonies of witnesses, describing the horrors of the camp. The first account is a part of a description of conditions at the camp on 16 April, 1945, taken from file WO 235/19/76008 at the National Archives UK. The author’s name is not mentioned.

The second account is from  survivor Dora Almaleh, prepared for British War Crimes Tribunal, 13 June 1945 .

compound

Men’s Compounds.

No.1.

Typhus was on the wane and reached its peak in March. It is understood that it commenced early in February.

No. 2

This was the largest men’s compound and contained approx 8,000. Typhus had commenced here at a later date than in Compound 1 and had now reached its peak. There were 266 cases and new cases were still occurring, but the medical members considered the worst was over. It was in this Compound that the story of cannibalism was reported to me by one of the doctors. There had been none for the last 2 days but before that there had been many cases.

account

Transcript

IN THE MATTER OF WAR CRIMES

AND

ATTROCITIES AT BELSEN

DEPOSITION OF DORA ALMALEH (Female) late of 19B Othos Peve Ganna, Salonika, Greece, sworn before Major SAVILE GEOFFREY CHAMPION, Royal Artillery, Legal Staff, No. 1 War Crimes Investigation Team.

1. I am 21 years of age and because I am a Jewess I was arrested on 1st April 1942 and taken to Auschwitz Concentration Camp where I remained until I was transferred to Belsen in November 1944.

2. I recognize No. 2 on photograph 22 as an S.S. woman at Belsen. I knew here by the name of HILDE and I have now been told that her full name is HILDE LISIEWITZ. One day in April 1945 whilst at Belsen I was one of a working party detailed to carry vegetables from the store to the kitchen by means of a hand card. In charge of this working party was LISIEWITZ. Whilst I was on this job I allowed two male prisoners, whose names I do not know, to take two turnips off the cart. LISIEWITZ saw me do this and she pushed the men, who were very weak to the ground and then beat them on their heads with a thick stick which she always carried. She then stamped on their chests in the region of the heart with her jack-boots. The men lay still clutching the turnips. LISIEWITZ then got hold of me and shook me until I started to cry. She the said ‘Don’t cry or I’ll kill you too’.

(In the picture below)Hilde Lisiewitz is second from the left)

guards

She then went away and after 15 minutes I went up to the men and touched them to see if they were still alive. I formed the opinion that they were dead. I felt their hearts and could feel nothing. They were cold to the touch like dead men. I then went away leaving the bodies lying there and I do not know what happened to them.

3. I recognize No. 1 on photograph No. 5 as an S.S. man at Belsen who was in charge of the bread store. I have now been told that his name is KARL EGERSDORF. One day in April 1945 whilst at Belsen I was working in the vegetable store when I saw a Hungarian girl, whose name I do not know, come out of the bread store nearby carrying a loaf of bread. At this moment EGERSDORF appeared in the street and at a distance of about 6 meters from the girl shouted ‘What are you doing here?’. The girl replied ‘I am hungry’ and then started to run away. EGERSDORF immediately pulled out his pistol and shot the girl. She fell down and lay still bleeding from the back of the head where the bullet had penetrated. EGERSDORF then went away and a few minutes later I went and looked at the girl. I am sure she was dead and men who were passing by looked at her and were of the same opinion. The bullet had entered in the centre of the back of the head.

(In the picture below,Karl Egersdorf is first on the left. )

male gurads

I do not know what happened to her body.

SWORN BY THE SAID DEPONENT DORA ALMALEH AT BELSEN THIS 13TH DAY OF JUNE 1945, BEFORE ME

S.G. Champion [Signed]

Major R.A.

I HEREBY CERTIFY that, the said Deponent not understanding English, this Affidavit was translated in my presence to the said Deponent before swearing and I am satisfied that its contents were fully understood by the said Deponent.

Dated this 13th day of JUNE 1945. S.G.Champion[signed] Major R.A. I HEREBY CERTIFY that I have accurately translated this Affidavit to the said Deponent. Dated this 13th day of JUNE 1945. [signed] It appears to be a matter for medical evidence as to whether it is possible for a human body to have lost its warmth by death within 15 minutes, even where the man was in a weak state and had been savagely assaulted.

S.G.Champion

Major R.A.

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Sources

The National Archives UK Government.

 

Alfred-Ingemar Berndt-Writer,Journalist and cold blooded killer.

Alfred 2

If someone told you that you could kill an innocent man and there would be no repercussions or any form of punishment, would you do it?

Any normal person would answer “no” of course.But not Alfred-Ingemar Berndt, he decided to kill a man simply for the reason that he could.

Berndt was a German journalist, writer and was very close to  Joseph Goebbels. Alfred Berndt  wrote an eyewitness account of the 1940 German invasion of the Low Countries and France,  the book he wrote was titled “Tanks Break Through!”

In 1935 Goebbels recruited Berndt as official head of the Reich Press Office in the Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda. In April 1936, Berndt was appointed head of the press department of the Propaganda Ministry (Division IV).

alfred

Berndt is also believed to have been the creator of the “Desert Fox” myth attached to the German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, when he was working with Rommel.

Berndt wrote about 10 books, all propaganda material for he Nazi regime. He also published several other articles. But I don’t want to go too much into his ‘artistic and journalistic’ career.

Late in the spring of 1944, the Nazi leadership came up with  a plan to lynch captured Allied airmen. Goebbels discussed the matter with Hitler.

In May 1944 , the propaganda minister published an article ,in the Völkischer Beobachter  stating that the government would not act against anyone lynching Allied airmen who had fired on civilians, what he really was saying that lynching any captured airmen was okay.

Goebbels hoped that this article would sparkle  a massive hunt for Allied pilots and deter airmen from flying missions against Germany. It resulted in 350 lynchings of Allied pilots.

Berndt also took part in these murders. On May 24,1944, Berndt stopped his car where a captured US Flight Lieutenant James G. Dennis was being held, and shot him dead.

Below part of the text of the allied report of the murder of Lt Jame G. Dennis.

To
Head of Sipo and SD
B e r l I n

Reference: IV B 1 b – 2731/44 of 2/3/1945
Subject: Shooting of US airman Dennis

1) On 17/6/44 the following letter was addressed to you:
“We received the following report:
On Hamburger Chaussee at place Segeletzt.
On 24/5/44 at 12.30 the US-American 2nd lieutenant James G. Dennis, dog tag number O-816707, parachuted from a shot down aircraft. D. was taken prisoner by forest supervisor Meier from Nachel and handed over to Home Guard men Buenger and Schoenbeck, from Segeletzt, to be delivered to the village mayor.
When being led away, prisoner was overtaken by Brigadeführer Berndt of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt, driving in automobile IA 990. B. stopped, alighted from the car and was informed about the nature of the transport. He said: “He’ll be bumped off.” The Home Guard men refused to tolerate that. Bernd went to the car in which a female was sitting, took out his pistol and said: “I am the Brigadeführer of the Security Head Office Berlin and I’m taking responsibility. He called on the Home Guard men to make room, since otherwise they’d be in danger to be shot themselves. The prisoner had both his hands raised.
Berndt brought down the prisoner with three shots, and drove away. The occurrence was observed by civilians and several prisoners of war (Frenchmen, Poles). After a considerable time Sturmbannführer Kunze, Reichssicherheitshauptamt Berlin, arrived and ordered the body to be transported to Segeletzt. At 22 hours, Kunze fetched clothes and private property from village mayor Segeletzt. After establishing the facts of the occurrence Dennis was buried at the Segeletzt cemetery on 26/5/44 by (a) Receiving Detail (from) Fl.H.Kdtr. Neuruppin.”
Since the Protective Power is likely to take measures, this office is in need of an explanation which is hereby requested ahead of time.”
2) 1st reminder sent 21/7/1944
3) 2nd reminder sent 2/9/1944
4) On 3/10/1944:
“There was no reply to the above mentioned letter(s). Early settlement is requested.
Document mentioned above is translated here by Traugott Vitz:

Dennis

Ironically Berndt was killed in air attack by Soviet dive bombers on March 28,1945. I suppose you could call that karma.

 

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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

Find a grave

100thbg.com

 

The denial of grieving- The forgotten crime.

gRIEF

When a loved one dies it is so important to grief because if you don’t, one day sooner or later it will come back to haunt you.

Dealing with grief can be difficult and it takes time ,for some people longer than for others but it is vital to get that time.In normal circumstances you will get that time even though the feeling of loss will never fully disappear and it shouldn’t because it is this sense of loss which generates the memories.

Something that is often overlooked in relation to the Holocaust is the grief of the survivors. They were not allowed to grief ,often they were too busy to survive.Straight after arrival in the death camps and after the selections those who lived didn’t  know the fate of their beloved, it was always after their beloved had been murdered they would find out, Some of the survivors even had to help carrying their child,parent or spouse out of the gas chambers to be cremated. If those survivors would show any sign of grief they would most likely be murdered themselves.The last memory they would have of their beloved would be a picture of horror.

 

This denial of grief had psychological effects long after the war was over. It is the crime that the survivors  had to endure often for the rest of their lives.

Nowadays I often hear we should leave the Holocaust in the past and move on, But for those few survivors who are still alive the Holocaust never left them and sometimes this grief which was denied to them is now been transferred to their children and grandchildren.

grieving

 

 

The ‘Captain’-the evil of Willi Herold

Willi

Last week a lady  asked me how was it possible that people committed so may awful atrocities during WWII, did their conscience not bother them. She also thought it must have taken years for people to be indoctrinated in evil thinking.

I told her that it actually takes a very short time for the human psyche to be conditioned to commit evil acts, Experiments like the ‘Stanford Prison Experiment’ and the ‘Third Wave’ has shown it only takes a few days.

The case of Willi Herold shows that people believe authoritative leaders put those leaders in an uniform and the critical thinking gets abandoned, no questions are asked not even a quick check to see if this leader is really who he claims to be.

Willi Herold  was born on 11 September 1925 in Lunzenau, Saxony, the son of a roofer. There is not much more known about Willi as a child, but what he did as a teenager is what makes his story intriguing and disturbing.

Herold

He joined the Wehrmacht on September 30,1943, he had just turned 18.

At the final stages  of World War II, in April 1945,with Germany’s war efforts in chaos, Willi,separated from his comrades,hungry  and desperate  for warmth, comes across an abandoned car with a suitcase that contains an  uniform of a Luftwaffe Captain . He put on this uniform and pretended to be the officer, gathering around him a number of equally lost soldiers. Rather then trying to finish the war somewhere sound and safe Herold becomes a personification of the Nazi regime, upending the German army’s bureaucracy and establishing himself as a force to be reckoned with.

On 11 April 1945, Herold’s group arrived at the Aschendorfermoor prison camp, which housed German army deserters as inmates,

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Herold told the German authorities at the camp that he was acting under the direct orders of Adolf Hitler and he was to take over  command of the camp. Herold and his men then began to murder inmates guilty of any transgression,like trying to escape. Within the followin eight days, Herold had more than 100 camp inmates murdered.

After the camp was hit by an air raid  most of the surviving inmates succeede to escape. Herold and his men left the camp and committed several further war crimes; they hanged a farmer in Leer, East Frisia, who had hoisted the white flag, and also murdered five Dutchmen for alleged espionage.

Retreating from approaching Allied troops, Herold’s group arrived in a town in Lower Saxony ,Aurich, where they were arrested by the local German commander, But Herold was soon released by mistake.

On May 23, 1945 He was arrested by the Royal Navy for stealing a loaf of bread. After an investigation and the questioning of witnesses, Herold was identified as a wanted war criminal. On 1 February 1946, Herold and his men were forced by the British occupying forces to dig up the remains of the inmates they had  murdered at Aschendorfermoor camp ,a total of 195 bodies were excavated. On 29 August 1946, Herold and six other co-defendants were sentenced to death, 5 others were acquitted. On 14 November 1946 Willi Herold was executed by guillotine.

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Willi Herold was only 19 when he ordered those men to be murdered.

In 2017 a movie was made about the events,directed by Robert Schwentke,  titled ‘The Captain’ or ‘Der Hauptmann’

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Sources

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