Revisiting the PastPosted by P.A. Draigh Wed, November 22, 2017 21:25:21
In over 20 years of writing on The Holocaust it is impossible to remain dispassionate as I continually survey the landscape of atrocity, brutality and betrayal. Here, this post is meant to give a concern to the Jews who faced a treachery they could not see coming, even though they had faced the extremes of antisemitic hatred for over x2 millennia. But for me, as I read and reread books and works of importance in the narrative seeking to comprehend, how on this Earth will I ever understand why people turned on their Jewish Neighbours, simply because they were Jews. I first met that betrayal at the commencement of this journey with the image of Tokele, 4 years old and Murdered too amongst her closest relatives, because she was a Jew. The torrent of revulsion sweeps over me and I am constantly shocked that this is the model of atrocity presented by an ostensibly ‘christian’ fraternity, one which I gladly renounce.
But I know I have been here before, writing of an experience so hugely tragic, and in whatever dimension we wish to draw upon, and that there is always a repeat urgency when we see how neo-nazism seeks to claim a foothold across Europe once again. For Poland, I cannot begin to imagine why it should allow for some of its citizens to seek an alliance with a Hitler regime that totally decimated Poland and its People. I am not even talking here about their 3,000,000 Jews of The Holocaust either. Here in time is a differing space, a certain Polish place but with separating names and antisemitism runs rife amongst them. For me, the first sight of Malkinia had informed me that Treblinka was at hand and the torture of humanity still hung in the air. I felt the strong hand of fate drawing me forward and it gains further confusion when the reality is, nazism remains focused on denying the Jews of Treblinka, Poland and elsewhere in Europe a resting place that should give them peace! Malkinia’s staging post was almost like it had been ordained for my visit. The steps up to that point, that had guided me to where Polish rail officials had no idea of such a place as Treblinka, and I spelled it TREBLINKA, it awaited me!
There were images and impressions drawing me forward and in a strange sense, I felt an almost spiritual upheaval that appeared inexplicable to me. It was almost the call of some Biblical cataclysm that had been waiting to dump me in a place as close to another Hell as all x5 other Death Camps had impressed upon me. If ever a picture could add to what Dante envisioned, and if our Children could become frightened by names such as these, Auschwitz/Birkenau, Belzec, Chelmno, Majdanek, Sobibor and then Treblinka, no rehearsal could ever prepare me for what I encountered. Again those words,
‘Abandon hope all ye who enter here’,
which were clearly not intended for me, swept over me. For those Jews detained in Chelmno and Treblinka, and all the Death Camps I had visited, they were contained beneath a soil turned over, looted, excavated and cremated there are remnants which remain still to record the most mechanised destruction of a People ever.
Hitler though, who knew the lessons to be gained from history and he used them in reference to Jenghis Khan, The Armenian Tragedy and other’s, to mark his path of such degeneracy, history has afforded a name, The Holocaust to single out his hatred for an innocent Jewish People. Also, and as Napoleon's experience in Russia suggested, Winter would destroy any of Hitler's clear Lebensraum intentions and his connivance with other’s who collaborated his wishes would show him up for the contempt he showed for People as well as History. Those lessons in history then finally convinced Hitler, with the first set back during the Winter offensive in Russia of 1941, that stepping up the resolve to fully accomplish his Final Solution required an escalating term. This was found with The Wannsee Conference, which Hitler established to ensure the entire administration of Reich would be collaborative and complicit in The Holocaust.
Here, the early 1942 Winter still raging in Russia, saw all arms of the Reich now employed away from total War and in the mass Murder of the Jews of Europe. Here also, we must be very explicit and while we cannot be allowed an opinion in such a History, we strive toward any relevant comprehension with the factual truth of what happened to 6,000,000 Jews. What is based on this factual depiction of events involving so many Human Beings is an open wound in the psyche of all Humanity. Of course, what we do not do, we do not interpret what has been laid before History and the legacy of that period to lend to the posterity from which we must learn, cannot be abridged by any dilution of the truth. As SA thugs marched, and as they sang of their hatred, and as they were cajoled by Hitler, who imposed further upon the Jewish People in Germany, they wreaked Hitler's hatred and their own.
"..When Jewish blood splatters from ..knife."
Here, a direct threat which was felt immediately and was escalating toward terms Hitler encompassed in die Endlosung der Judenfrage. The Final Solution of the Jewish Question then, once Hitler sought and then achieved power was to be translated into a direct and frontal assault upon all Jewish presence and existence. It is not then such an enormous leap in any sense, let alone a rhetorical one, when German Jewry felt under imminent threat to seek out emigration. In fact, before Hitler acted out his physical threat, the imminent threat had been postured to a more than suggested death sentence. But who would take in Jews as refugees. So if we have now made the leap for some German Jews to get abroad, it is certain for German Jews left behind there is a physical abuse to deal with even prior to their physical destruction. Evian had already alerted Hitler that the World considered the Jewish Question of little consideration and the Jewish People were then expendable.
Dachau approached and Jewish incarceration signalled Hitler's resolve to confront the issue of his own hatred for the Jews. Once Kristallnacht was augmented with violence, Jewish lives were put under SA and SS knives. Here, some people acted in violation of all the precepts of human decency against an already beleaguered Jewish People! If these were Germans, we see them as collaborative in Hitler’s wishes for the destruction of Jewish business, Synagogue’s and even Jewish life. So when Hitler invaded Poland and Poles acted without regard for their Jewish neighbours, then Poland must accept the judgement in History that some Poles collaborated with Hitler's efforts. If we are to accept that this was not against Poland, then certainly in condemning the Jews they sought out for Destruction, they acted against the Peoples of that state.
There can be no denial of the evidence of the testimonies given. I am not here to add to the study of Polish collaborating efforts but with estimates of as many as 1,000's who collaborated, rising to more than 1,000,000 collaborators, Poland needs to address the frenetic move to either chasten the past or infer an alternative truth for our future. It is troublesome in this that the Polish government of the time chose to abandon its own People to the wiles of an assailant who would abuse and Destroy 6 million of its own People. We can recognise clearly that Hitler’s intention saw to it that 3,000,000 of them were systematically Murdered and because they were Jewish. Did that Polish government collaborate with Hitler's demands by giving its people over to German chagrin? The Polish government had abandoned the state and were short on the ground to afford any leadership. These mandated leaders of Polish society, as they resided well away from what was to befall the entire Polish countryside, Jews within that Country and many non-Jews besides were left to the merciless German occupation.
Firstly, to secure power and then to convert it into the most radical annihilatory expressed hatred to encroach upon humanity, it became endemic in German politics of the time and was readily adopted in many sovereign states, and here, within Poland I wish to see how widespread it became. Anti Jewish feeling settled into a rhetoric of exclusion at first and then, fully exemplified as it spread widely into aktionen in Killing Sites and the Death Camps, it was evident for all other's to see, hear and know, that mass Murder had been fully intended and then orchestrated. Of course, it was evident for all to know but not to become acknowledged by those who refused to see, hear or relate. There is no comparison to be made either with those who chose this Hitlerian example and trampled all moral values into a Murderous exercise, what ever Country we witnessed it expressed.
Here in Poland, there were 3,000,000 expressions which single out the Country for a more pernicious involvement in what would be exercised against their own Jewish population. Unparalleled and Unprecedented are words which utter the intolerable consequences which have a resonance to this day. As this same hatred continually draws upon such a devastating example, the World moves first to disguise the truth in order to cover the traces of indifference so evident all through the period. Until the entire World wakes up to the relevant lesson of genocide’s gravest wrong, The Holocaust will remain the bench mark for the continuing cycle of all future atrocity. Elsewhere we encounter this expression of hatred appearing, and in 1938, the Italian government passed a law banning Jews from teaching in public schools. A few months later, Italian leader Benito Mussolini formed an axis with Adolf Hitler and we wonder which came first the assault upon the integrity of the Jews or the kindred spirit which sees these two readers duplicating their effort against the Jews. Discrimination continued against 1,000’s of Italian Jews, and in 1943 many were deported to German camps. Fortunately, 80% of Jews in Italy were spared during the war, having been interned in small camps in Italy or rescued by righteous non-Jews, unlike the example we are to encounter once Poland is overrun.
It is true to say that when prejudice is voiced by leader's of Men, people suffer no matter their race, creed or other persuasion. This is the insipid nature of intolerance. It invokes in the masses a belief that others are lesser beings or inferior in some way. This was a mantra which emanated from Hitler as the Jewish People became the target of intolerable abuse. When an entire nation can then act in one accord with this Hitler branding of an ancient originated and newly interpreted hatred, it can be exported and 6,000,000 Jews are then set to be Annihilated. When such immoral norms are clearly advocated by authoritative political or even religious figures, intolerance becomes an institution of that state. The rule of governance is in promoting all moral probity and tolerance. But once the guiding principle of correctness has been distorted, direction becomes deviant and atrocity engulfs those no longer protected by moral certainty and this is more so within a violated state like Poland with 3,000,000 Jews to be targeted.
For now, I have finished my journey back toward those x6 Death Camps which Hitler had established in German Occupied Poland. However, I arrived back home with more questions than answers and all relating to both my continuing effort to achieve comprehension and in confronting a barrier which seemingly persists in Jewish Polish relations. I have finally stood before Chelmno and Treblinka and walked through Warsaw Streets and those same Streets which had seen the vibrancy of so much that was Jewish life was not only devoid of a Jewish presence, but it was also omitting any sense that once, Jewish People had once lived here. Here, in the Jewish Capitol of the European Continent, more than 8% of all Murdered Jews of The Holocaust had been driven toward extinction from their former homes here.
For me there is a finite and certain Polish complicity with Hitler’s efforts in Poland, and against the Jews in particular. What was nothing short of duplicitous for those Poles who obligingly and willingly collaborated is engraved into History and cannot alter the path of truth and integrity. Of course this does not accuse all, or even most of the Polish people, but it most certainly damns and recognises those few Poles who did collude in all manner of ways. For those Poles who would identify a Jew when a German couldn't, this was collaboration. If the fleeing government of Poland had issued instructions for the safety and security of all its citizens, history cannot now know how many of their 3,000,000 Jews had been awarded such a sanctuary by governance which would surely have saved many more Polish Jews from Hitler's intentions.
Of course we know all too well the actions of the Balt’s against their own Jews, and elsewhere where hatred or monetary gain gifted Hitler with further victims, collaborator’s stood to ensure a more rapid approach to the final solution was more speedy. So is history to now have any sense of outrage that Polish collaboration could be bleached from history’s pages or even denied? Collaboration indeed is an ugly word. But when it is used in conjunction with efforts against the good of any People, it is reprehensible, immoral and wrong. The Jews of Poland were collaborated against, individually and in wanton acts of betrayal of entire Jewish Community’s and by neighbours who sought to financially gain from and against their Jewish community. When we then visit the Jewish Survivor, with their attempt to return to their former lives, what they met with was a serious effort to continue with what Hitler had commenced. All over Poland, and elsewhere in Europe, Jews were either badly treated, brutalised or Murdered upon their return. In many Towns and Villages the Jewish Survivor was tortured not only by memories of loss and betrayal but there was a betrayal still which greeted them with renewed vigour.
Jews were randomly Murdered and within Poland, as a crescendo of violence descended upon these returning Survivor Jews, more than 100,000 of these bewildered, abandoned and frightened Jewish People finally sought refuge away from their former Polish homes. And this is where Poland has largely gained from a Jewish absence and Murderous rampage which had already cost 3,000,000 Polish Jewish lives. For various reasons, the spoils of that collaboration is held to this day as a theft of confiscated goods, lands, properties, valuables and moneys. I recognised as I stood in Treblinka, at the stone representing Sokoly, I stood at the point of what is an accusation of all of Poland. This nation owes much to those Jews, not just lost to us all but surely given away, wholesale and as a sordid gain was made which has stained the Polish past with the expropriation gained. From the extirpation of the vanquished Polish Jewish identity those Poles who were involved in the murders must be considered collaborative in the destruction of the Jews of Europe, Hitler’s supreme demand.
"..making it a crime to imply any Polish culpability for Nazi crimes denies ..historical record ..and sets a dangerous precedent for denying ..full scope of The Holocaust." Dr. Yvette Alt Miller.
As we search though the relevant documentation to unearth Polish collaboration, and it was a well advanced phenomena, we find Jozef Cukier. This individual was one of the leaders of the ‘Goralenvolk’, an early separatist movement located in the Podhale Highland region of southern Poland, along the Slovakian border. Here, during the Nazi occupation, Cukier attempted to set up a regional assembly with fellow activist Waclaw Krzeptowski. The establishment of an independent state, in collaboration with the occupying Germans did not gain any widespread support. However, the measure of support afforded the German’s, who accepted the region as part of an ethnic alliance, did secure an amelioration of treatment for the regions people. That said, the level of hostility towards the German occupation did not allow for any fully fledged separatist or collaborationist movement to gain its hold.
The fact of Jedwabne is well known to History and cannot be distorted by any Polish attempt to subdue the terms of collaboration to random assaults. Here, and for this assessment of Collaboration we will look to Jedwabne specifically. It had a population of some 3,000 people with more than 2,000 of these their Jewish neighbours. The Polin Museum itself clearly acknowledges the collaboration here, and elsewhere the collaboration by certain Poles remains a significant corruption of the moral integrity of Poland during the period of The Holocaust. Here, on July 10th. 1941 Marian Karolak, the local Mayor, fully collaborated his efforts with the murderous German occupation to have some 340 the town’s Jews herded into a local barn and they were to be Murdered there, burned to death. The detail of this shocking event is well documented and does not require my continued accusation.
However, this was a Polish town which had turned on its Jewish Community and must be considered for its collaborative and Murderous action. Now while not all Poles were participants in the atrocity, those many not involved are still complicit, due to their failure to assist their own Jewish neighbours out of harms way. The responsibility for History is clear and it must ensure the integrity of this Murderous rampage, which is clearly verified, and does not get washed away with any attempt to dilute the fullest terms of the atrocity. Where doubt lingers, the truth must be restored. Those with a responsibility to contribute knowledge to what we must learn have a more prescient demand placed upon them to ensure what is known is not lost to interpretation. I reckon there are those who are sickened by what The Holocaust presents to us but we must be mindful of what The Holocaust is to the Jewish People and more so the Survivor. The Survivor of this ostensibly 'christian' led atrocity against all the Jews of Europe, and I recognise fully that Jews were not the only victims of Hitler and any collaborative effort, but Jews were the only victims of The Holocaust.
Why then should it amaze anyone that there is a commercial side to Writing? Even while I choose to write in Remembrance of 6,000,000 Jews, who are The Holocaust, that is also true? No Publisher is going to give free rein to any Writer to write what will not sell and no one who does not appreciate what I state and why I state it will not wish to read from the pages of those Books, now placed before the mantle of The Holocaust Remembrance, that we are here to share. Also, and I have never suggested other than that requirement is to read what one chooses to read. In essence I have the bones of 30 other Books already conceived of and they await each agreement based upon the achievement of the last effort. That means I am not searching here, or any other media platform, to gather for any of the Books I have already sketched an impression of.
"..This was a particularly cruel crime. It was justified by nothing. ..victims were helpless and defenceless. For this crime ..we should beg ..souls of ..dead and their families for forgiveness. This is why today ..as a citizen and as president of ..Republic of Poland ..I apologise." President Aleksander Kwasniewski.
Agreed! I clearly attribute certain concerns to what I state here, such as collaboration, but this will not qualify as a Book unless it is proven substantial to do so. Part of what collaboration in The Holocaust encompasses is a clearer accusation that many states are unwilling to admit to. A work on Jedwabne clearly forms such an accusation which has been painstakingly worked on and this single atrocity against the some 340 Jews Burned to Death leads more accusingly toward the 1,600 Jews of Jedwabne, and those from the nearby communities of Radzilova and Vizna, Men, Women and Their Children who have vanished from History. Those being memorialised though, which has credit beyond what I could here add to speaks of such grave losses we could never contemplate. For me, there is a simple resolve to such positions as to what collaboration represents. I will explore Jedwabne but within a narrative that clearly identifies with Kielce and Sokoly. All of which provides a legacy to add collaboration to any attempt by Hitler to ensure the destruction of as many Jews as he could. The newly established Memorial Monument at Jedwabne states:
"..In memory of the Jews of Jedwabne and surrounding areas, men, women, and children, fellow-dwellers of this land, murdered and burned alive at this site on 10 July 1941."
But this clearly does not go far enough in admonishing those who wronged their neighbours, Murdered them because they were Jews and even today, watch as the resistance to admission is being ameliorated toward denial. States should not then ever be ambiguous in any detail of their History, despite the terrible detail it has inflicted upon History. For the Jews from these individual atrocities, no nation will stand the test of scrutiny who wishes to distance itself from what was inflicted upon the Polish Jewish People by their own Polish neighbours. Any distortion of the truth will only lead to a corruption of the veracity of all of History. This need to conceal any element and particle of the truth cannot but doubt the honesty of any nation. Any Country whose moral founding has been ethically constituted, must uphold with integrity what it wishes to deliver forth.
As for the collaborating efforts so often mentioned, imagine the added horror for the Jewish People in knowing the fact of a neighbour turning upon their neighbour because they are Jews. The enactment itself is of unbridled hatred and the amassed Murder to be witnessed against those Jews, while it is expressly, bears no relation to what their religious, moral or ethical teachings commanded of them and that they 'love thy neighbour as thy self.' This negation of the obligation to a duty each human being holds with the other must be confronted brought into question. It must be constituted in the way it was intended and honoured by all of humanity engaged in a living space shared equally by all peoples everywhere. And remember too that I didn't state that original text about loving your neighbour, a Christian god did.
"..Jesus said unto him ..Thou shalt love ..Lord thy God with all thy heart ..and with all thy soul ..and with all thy mind. This is ..first and great commandment. And ..second is like unto it ..Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all ..law and ..prophets."
It is evident that The Holocaust is riven with so many atrocities we have been obliged to lend it this single term and any such accusation which Jedwabne, Kielce and Sokoly delivers, provides us with a hideous example of this vile, vicious and murderous display. Here, collaboration becomes the ugliest of words set against the back drop of the most virulent hatred ever devised by humankind. So what is presented at Sokoly, Kielce and Jedwabne is either the ignorance of human Morality and the failing obligation to obey gods Commandments or it is the complete abrogation of what their God’s law must hold for them. The subject then of collaboration is an emotive one but must not be confined to seeking ways of extracting the truth and enabling those who collaborated to simply divest themselves of their cruel, wicked and murderous affray against those they knew where their own People. In terms which must make us shudder, we recognise not only Jedwabne, Kielce and Sokoly but we must look to those individual assaults upon the Jews of Europe by those privileged enough to have escaped the wrath of Hitler’s resolve for ALL Jews.
"..Normally I can talk about ..Holocaust ..no problem. When you are talking to boys and girls at schools you want to hide your emotions. But sometimes ..suddenly ..when I am speaking ..whole thing becomes very real. Memories come back. And when I go to Jedwabne ..it doesn’t matter that it was Jews or any other people. To think what these people did to their neighbours. They were their neighbours from ..1600s. Their burial places indicate that they lived there from that time. It was not enough that they killed them. They slaughtered them. They cut them to pieces." Tomi Reichental.
I cannot begin to imagine what a Jew, let alone a Survivor considers as they survey the wreckage of humanity wrought by human beings against their fellow Man, Woman and Their Children because they were Jews. The 10's of 1,000's of those Jews who have had the fortune to Survived, and those Jews forced to escape further still the hatred from neighbours, they know especially harshly what words uttered here cannot deliver. Collaboration however, is written clearly in the destruction of these Polish Jews and those other Jews who found a contemptible people, wherever they were, disabling all moral probity to deliver further toward Hitler’s Final Solution. Honestly, I have no axe to grind against the Polish People, or any other national grouping, but I object to what amounts to the denial of the Truth by anyone who would seek to shelter from the integrity History demands, the ability of so many to collaborate with Hitler’s efforts or against their own communities, for whatever reason. 6,000,000 Jews of The Holocaust deserve the truth, and when they have been denied all too much in their stricken lives, that is expressly demanded.
"..In their minds ..murderers and accomplices of Germany ..and Poland ..and Hungary ..and so many ..many other places didn’t do something evil. They convinced themselves it was ..right thing to do ..thing they had to do." James Comey.
When we look to individuals like Ludwik Kalkstein who was an agent for the Gestapo, he worked tirelessly to undo the Jewish effort to remain alive. With Waclaw Krzeptowski, one of the leaders of the Goralenvolk, collaboration can be assessed. Krzeptowski sought a breakaway region, the Podhale to remove them from Poland and closer ties with Hitler and Germany. Throughout Poland, almost immediately upon the defeat of the Germans, unrest in Poland centred around the Jewish Survivors, those seeking to return to some form of normality. Pogroms were constituted in several Cities and Towns, two of which, Sokoly decided the path I have taken for the past 20 years and Kielce, which defined the course of any future Jewish presence within Poland. Pogroms against returning Jews were not restricted to Poland alone, but I wish to draw to the attention of those Polish officials who would seek to draw a line in the sand. Tragically for the Jews of Poland, this line had been severely crossed, and so ignobly amongst the various Polish communities who led these anti-Jewish Pogroms, and some of these were the Jews who had returned to:
Biala-Podlaska, and x2 Jews were Murdered upon their return. In Bialystok and Bielawa there was no welcome for the Survivor Jews. In Boleslawiec x8 returning Jews were Murdered and in Bytom and Cracow , the same sickening story of hatred awaited the Jews. In Czestochowa, Kielce and Legnica, and as if the Jews had no suffered enough, their return was met with scorn, fury and nonacceptance. In Lublin x2 returning Jews were Murdered whereas in Mordy x7 Jewish Survivors were Murdered. The story repeats itself in Otwock and the emergence of the Jews from the Camps, the Killing Sites, the Death Camps was greeted with amazement that these Jews managed to Survive at all. In Parczew x4 returning Jews were Murdered and that same fate was met in Piaski when x6 Surviving Jewish residents assumed to Return Home. In Polaniec x5 returning Jews were not allowed to Survive and this sorry tale was met by Jews returning home to Rzeszow.
In Skarzysko-Kamienna x5 Jews too assumed they could return Home and regale their neighbours of their terrible ordeal. Truth is, their neighbours had known what had awaited the Jews. The telegraph system of informant and travelling whispers acquainted all of what had been the planned annihilation of the Jews of Poland. In Sokoly x9 Surviving Jews had staged a Home welcome for themselves and were Murdered for doing so. In Sosnowiec, Szczecin and Tarnow the Jews of these Towns who had known such levels of hatred no human being should experience suffered the gravest evil, Murder at the hands of their former neighbours. In Turek and I saw the signs for this Town on my way toward Lodz, x1 Survivor was confronted by the same element of hatred exercised by the now former German occupiers and was Murdered. For the larger of these Pogroms, we will look to their composition and with the Kielce Pogrom, a swing shift in Polish Jewish relations was reached.
The Jewish Community gathered in the Jewish Community Centre's to organise a welcome for those Survivor’s who had been lucky enough to Survive. On July 4th. 1946 an armed gang of thugs, Polish Soldiers, Polish Police and Kielce’s Polish community killed 42 of those Jews who were gathered and more than a further 50 Jews were beaten and wounded. Though Justice here was as unequivocal as could be, and as the Polish Courts indicted and convicted many of the perpetrator’s, and even 9 of the culprits were executed, this signalled the final straw for more than 100,000 Surviving Jews of Poland who felt they had been betrayed by Poland and gradually left the Country. World opinion was not incensed enough though to look inward at how it had previously treated the Jews of Europe, 6,000,000 of who were laid to waste, and mostly in Poland.
We arrive now at Sokoly, a Town to the East of Bialystok where my search for some form of understanding or comprehension of the very tenets of The Holocaust became my choice Always to Remember, Never to Forget. Here on 17th. February 1945, x9 Surviving Jews of the Town were sought out and Murdered. Amongst them:
1) Tokele, my little 4 year old Jewish Girl who has fixed the trajectory of my life for more than 20 years now. These Jewish Survivors I have sought always to remember are Tovah ‘Tokele’ Olshak;
2) Shaina Olshak,
3) David Zholti,
4) Shaikele Litwak,
5) Chaim Litwak,
6) Shammai Litwak,
7) Batya Weinstein, and
8) David Kostshevski though he died from his wounds in Hospital, he is a part of the tragedy for Survivor Jews who could not be allowed to return and stay. Also,
9) Yankele Litwak was shot by a Polish soldier while in Bialystok and was the 15 year old Brother of Shaikele, Shammai and Shainie Litwak. In Death none are exempt and so these x9 Jews whose lives were taken from them for being Jews should not be parted here as Jews of Sokoly.
"..We dipped our pen into the valley of tears
To record an immortalization for the holy martyrs of Sokoly
Every page of the book is a scroll of fear
About our dear ones, who were cut off with a sharp sword.
We lived in the community, we spent time together
We drank gladness and poison from the same cup
The dynasty of his grandfather – the grandson the blacksmith
A continuation of the generations of the Nation of Israel.
We sat on the same bench of learning
In the same ‘cheder’ we expounded Torah
We had the same study hall, rules and procedures
The same cemetery and the same graves.
We walked the same roads and streets
Young girls and youths, grandfathers and grandmothers
Under the wedding canopies we heard, with rhythm,
Notes of a Jewish melody of joy and sadness.
We were transported to those Treblinkas in multitudes
We were squeezed into cattle cars like sheep
Our destination was massacre, we turned into dust
The story of our people is written here in the book.
Where are you, Sokoly, you were our cradle
You were eroded like dust and broken like clay
Where are your Jews, infants and fathers
Old people, grooms and beautiful brides?
Where are the pulpits of gemara, and around them the sounds of commentary
Of the yeshiva students explaining portions of the Midrash
Prayers and hopes lifted up to God on high
Were choked off, were silenced with the smoke of destruction." Reuven Lev.
I never appreciated that anyone would approach the sense of personal grief I felt with other than an acknowledgement of a fellow sufferer’s sympathy and human empathetic concern. I saw my Dad Dead and knew an immense loss. I knew my Sister's had died and had no time to adjust to this before the life of a Child was urged to move on. I was not well prepared for the image of Tokele, so young, so vibrant and taken from this World because of a hatred that Jews like her had Survived and realised a personal attachment which caught me unawares? People have asked me why I have become so attached to Tokele and I can only use the missing grief over the loss of my own x2 very Young Sister’s to give that grief to one I felt now able to grieve over!
"..10 days after ..war started ..German soldiers burst into our town ..Sokoly ..and immediately began a mad rampage. Guided by young Poles ..they passed through ..homes of ..Jews and abducted ..leaders of ..community." Michael Maik.
It is unimaginable to the unaccustomed mind the full sense of horror that I have surveyed and I have felt its potency in all that I have researched and studied. On the very explicit detail of The Holocaust, there has been no parallel in all of History to draw upon and the very unprecedented nature of the assault upon the Jewish People has gouged a path through our times which is an accusation against all of humanity. So I have written about the horror explicitly and sought to articulate the terror with a sense of shame that humanity could have sunk to such depths of human depravity. I have remonstrated verbally with a World which stood by and allowed all of this to happen with a shudder of indifference to a very pronounced intolerance. But, it with my use of words that I have been compelled to recognise that 6,000,000 other People could be so ruthlessly condemned and murdered and simply because they were Jews. Are we not all Jews amongst those who believe in Jewish ways and a Jewish God while we have adapted the godliness to act ungodly like?
"..Germans rounded up 1,000's of Jews from Warsaw and its surroundings and sent them in boxcars to Treblinka ..a place where ..Germans had built a giant slaughterhouse for killing Jews by ..strangulation with gas. Exact details as to how they killed ..Jews were not yet known ..but it was known that every day dozens of boxcars loaded with Jews arrived at Treblinka. ..shoved onto special platforms ..supposedly taken to a bathhouse ..ordered to undress ..given a piece of soap ..a towel. ..doors were opened to an empty room into which ..victims were driven. ..room was filled with people and so crowded that there was no more space ..doors were locked ..and in a few minutes they suffocated. ..new transports of Jews were sent to this death camp ..and ..immediately ..turned into dust. ..Jews from Poland ..Lithuania ..Ukraine ..White Russia ..France ..Belgium ..Holland and other European countries also arrived in full trains at Treblinka ..where they were murdered." Michael Maik.
For me, I had never heard of Sokoly, but I was now confronted with a measure of evil which rampaged through a home were Survivor's of the worst calamity to strike at humanity's core were resting and recovering from their ordeal. Where previously some 2,500 Jews had once lived, apparently in peaceful coexistence, the Jews had enjoined their neighbours in a communal effort to secure a better future for both? However, and at a given moment Polish robbers entered a House where these Survivor's were and in the a frenzy of atrocity hear what the words of Michael Maik, who describes what I read, more than 20 years ago and has gripped me ever since:
"..Tova (Tokele) (Tulka) Olshak ..4 year-old orphan ..was a cheerful and sweet little girl. She clung lovingly to any person who took her into his arms to spoil her and play with her. She filled every Jewish heart with pleasure and everyone took comfort in her. ..beautiful little girl ..innocent of any sin ..an actual little angel ..lay dead with open eyes. Her eyes expressed deep protest against ..bestial murderers." Michael Maik.
So the horror of an image can capture fully the tenets of The Holocaust, but the very detail of the Slaughter has just got so much worse for me. In betrayal's darkest moments I have discovered that a 4 year old Child can be such a threat to humanity that she can be ruthlessly Murdered because she is a Jew. For these Jews of Sokoly, having Survived all that the Catastrophe brought to them, these Jews of Sokoly emerged from places like Auschwitz, Majdanek and Treblinka to be Murdered in the own Home and within their own community. For the all too few Jews who had managed to Survive, they must have wondered how come their luck had managed to bring them home. But their luck soon changed as soon as they had reached the apparent safety of their former homes. For me, this defines not only the most heinous of crimes but also the Collaboration of certain Poles in Hitler's efforts to Murder as many Jews as possible. And so I leave the final words of Sokoly’s damning evidence to one who knew:
"..Bialystok ..a gathering point for all ..Jews of ..surrounding area ..including ..Jews from Sokoly who had previously been expelled. From Bialystok ..groups of Jews were sent to Treblinka ..to ..gas chambers." Michael Maik.
The Schutzmannschaft Battalion 107 was composed of as many as 450 local Poles and worked extensively in the Volhynia region. They were under the German command and formed a guard duty to ensure the free running of the Railways. They were not a commissioned police force as such, unlike Schutzmannschaft Battalion 202 which was an auxiliary and collaborating Polish police force established in Cracow. More than 300 were forcibly signed up to deliver for the occupying forces varying degrees of cooperation. However, the level of voluntary collaboration was small, and eventually more than half the group abandoned its position to join free Polish forces. Jan Emil Skiwski was a Polish writer, journalist, literary critic, an outspoken extremist supporter of the far right, and an advocate of National Democracy. That he was a collaborator with Hitler’s world view is clearly expressed in his publishing of newspapers supporting Nazi and Polish cohesion, even when his own Country was occupied by an aggressor nation.
Eugeniusz Swierczewski too was a Polish journalist, a drama critic and a Gestapo agent. Karol Juliusz Sym, who was widely known as Igo Sym, was a Polish actor who collaborated with Hitler’s plans for Poland and against what Poland had once been, a sovereign state. Clearly, we cannot enter the realm of Polish collaboration without mention of The Blue Police, made up of Polish police officers. We are aware that these Polish Granatowa policja, more correctly interpreted as 'Navy Blue Police' were a 20,000 strong force of Poles. They were either conscripted and volunteered almost immediately upon German entry into Poland on September 1st. 1939. Not only responsible for the enforcement of German demands, with regard Jews and Poles alike, they policed the Ghetto areas and ensured Jewish compliance to German demands.
Their mark has left an indelible stain on Polish nationhood, but it is largely denied in the most onerous ways and can never be assessed or accepted in any meaningful way due to these constraints. That such moral certainty was abandoned by some Poles, and it has to be stressed that most Polish people did not enter into any cohesive action with any Germans, but as Hitler's rhetoric of hatred blossomed, some Poles succumbed to a motive of reprehensible proportions. What underscores those political efforts to this day, for those still seeking to deny that any form of Polish collaboration ever existed, will allow for the fomentation of denial to give future rise to the same or similar hatreds. Under such an atmosphere of self interest and personal promotion, victimisation against Polish Jewry clearly flourished. While no one can insist Hitler created antisemitism, we can be certain that he made it his own weapon of choice and delivered it to the Poles who took up the gauntlet to act with impunity at times against their own Jewish Citizens.
When all is said and done, Poland's 'blue police' not only assisted the Nazi effort to consume 3,000,000 Jews but wilfully participated and perpetrated Crimes against Humanity. Their presence against the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was a clear collaboration against the Jewish People and Poland's sovereignty. These Blue Police units, formed on October 30th. 1939, with the German’s allocating the worst type of policing to these eager recruits, so as to ensure the more deadly deeds had a Polish footprint all through! The strength of this organisation was present within Poland until August 27th. 1944 when it was appropriately decommissioned. It is essential to realise that Hitler knew the lessons to be gained from history and he used them widely.
Whether in mentioning Jenghis Khan, The Armenian Tragedy or the knowledge he surely gained of Napoleon's experience in Russia has suggested, Hitler was well briefed on History. However, what is missing is Hitler’s ability to understand History fully and his arrogance in not appreciating that Winter would destroy any of Hitler's clear Lebensraum intentions, is well documented. What had been clearly in operation since his arrival in power, this then convinced Hitler, with the first set back during the Russian Winter offensive of 1941, that the stepping up of his resolve to fully accomplish his Final Solution was in need of a more focused approach. This newer emphasis required a more fuller and escalating response, even when we have become aware that since Kristallnacht, Jewish life was an expendable commodity in Hitler’s pocket.
Here too, when The Wannsee Conference was established to ensure that the entire Reich would be fully complicit in every detail of The Holocaust. The escalating terms must be considered alongside what BabiYar presents, what Both the SD killing experts would relay and what Hitler then expected from his legions. Few here presented any arguments against what could be accomplished, and the duplicity of Germany and the Germans was complete. It is to be seen that as this Conference convened, the relevant experience gained by the mass Murderer’s of the time, SS Obersturmbannfhrer Dr. Rudolf Lange, der Einsatzkommando 2 Commander and SS Brigadefuhrer Dr. Georg Karl Eberhard Schongarth, the Commander of the Security Police & Security Service in the Generalgouvernment, pushed the emphasis of the atrocity away from Shootings and toward the emerging Death Camps. Now, all arms of the Reich was aware, implicitly engaged and fully employed in the mass Murder of the Jews of Europe.
The Warsaw Ghetto
Here, between April 19th. and May 16th. 1943, and by now not only had the majority of the Jews who had once been held in the Warsaw Ghetto been annihilated, the remaining 50,000 Jews were awaiting the same fate. Held to ransom, the remnant of Jewry here could do no more than pay the extortionate price expected for weapons. This criminal act, which would only hasten the Jewish demise stands before a history which now balks at calling this deliberate and calculated extortion what it was Collaboration. Here, as the approach of the final days of Hitler’s 1,000 year reich was looming, the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto seized their moment and struck back at Hitler’s intention to destroy every single one of them. But here again, amidst the crumbling ramparts of Poland’s Capitol City the Jews once more stood alone!
I have no wish here though to single out only Warsaw as alone in those Ghetto’s taking back control from Hitler’s oppression and annihilation. But, as we must be explicit and specific, and while we can still be allowed an opinion in such a History, we strive toward relevance with the factual truth of what faced the remnants of the largest Jewish Ghetto in all of Europe, Jewish Warsaw. Not only do I wish to point out what happened here, but as I see here a similar collaboration which 6,000,000 Jews faced, the facts of this truth accuses. Here too, the Warsaw Ghetto sets forth the worst excesses of abuse, hatred and most definitely collaboration against these Jews, and the ultimate destruction of the Jews of all of Poland had been well orchestrated and mirrored here in the ruins of Warsaw.
But, was there some collaborative effort in ensuring that the 'transports' from Warsaw, which were taken to the gates of Treblinka, and as with all the Death Camps, managed with Polish escorts, it is certain what these Polish attendants had delivered their Jewish transportees toward. So taken in isolation though, and as we are introduced to the Jewish Resistance during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising these Jews fought an extraordinarily gallant Fight. It might have proved futile to do so but is it not credible now to allow them their immense, singularly isolated and Herculean effort. It would appear that while some are resorting to the revised annotation that certain in History would deliver for them and escalate an interference from outside bodies which did not assist. The example here, with the urgent need for Guns played a major part in the overall failure of the Jewish Combatants to assail further the German assault.
Though the end was an inevitable end for Jewish lives here, the Jewish capacity to defend itself against the weight of Hitler’s proposed elite, Criminals and mercenary killers severely increased the cost to the overwhelming military superiority the Jewish Fighter’s had to engage, due to a tenacity borne from a certainty they were alone and on a collision course with annihilation. Let us deal with the extortion for a moment. For instance, a gun to the Jewish Resisters could cost US $1,000 - US $2,500, and when the going rate at the time for say a revolver was US $20.00 to US $25.00. Here, for the Jews fighting Hitler’s Nazi’s was the margin for exploitation that was clearly and substantially enhanced! This was a clear exploitation and it was mixed with a collaborative effort that saw Hitler's clearer intention to deny any final life to these isolated Warsaw Jews brought closer. Did not the failure of the Polish resistance to assist their Jewish counterparts not merely pander to Hitler’s wishes but fully render to Hitler an extended ability to enure that the Jews could not defend themselves against such a resolve??
"..Assassinations were carried out ..of ..Gestapo collaborators seeking to save their own lives at ..expense of ..Jews." Abraham Geppner.
So the truth emerges that Polish collaboration, which existed in its most pernicious forms is based on this factual depiction of events involving so many desolate Jews. These Jewish Human Beings were abandoned by such a device as we see that their fellow humans being collaborative? This surely is an open wound in the psyche of all Humanity. Of course, what we do not do, we do not interpret what has been laid before the posterity from which we must learn. What is pertinent here though, is the sheer lack of cooperation from those outside the Ghetto's who either chose to ignore the Jewish plight or sought to profit from the Jewish situation. It is essential to understand and appreciate that for some Poles who ventured into the midst of this largely Jewish conflict, but within Polish Warsaw and only saw along with the Nazi protagonists, only a common enemy.
Of course some Poles died alongside their Jewish counterparts doing what they were obliged to commit to against the same Nazi aggressor, but the overall indifference shown by an apathetic or unconcerned Polish people abandoned the remaining Warsaw Jews to the murderous efforts of Jurgen Stroop. For me the question begs the unquestioning answer! Weren't the Polish Jews fighting to rid Poland of the exact same German aggressor enemy? Was not the Jewish Fight a Polish fight? Why then should a Jew have to pay for a weapon used to fight a common enemy? The Jews proved expendable even in the fight to rid The Warsaw Ghetto and Poland of Hitler's Murderer's!
As I summarise my own perspective as to what collaboration against the Jews in Poland represents what for me is so startling, nothing, absolutely Nothing prepares you for this realising betrayal of their fellow Country Men, Women and Their Children and all because they were Jews. Seeing the images as I have compiled them to survey the devastated landscape of a Polish territory, it is certainly true that it was largely abandoned by Poland! When nothing will prove more horrifying than what greets you as you stand before open fields here at Chelmno and Treblinka I get the sense that what was a missed opportunity to assist in Warsaw dissolved a mutual collaboration with these Jews of Warsaw and their Polish neighbours was a confrontation with a common enemy, Hitler’s invading forces. That same feeling of shock and shame confronted me as I stood in Auschwitz and Birkenau, Belzec, Majdanek and Sobibor.
Nothing has prepared me sufficiently for what is just as terrible, vile and monstrous in terms of a human failure to alleviate, assist or aid the Jewish fight in Poland against Poland’s enemy. However, the knowledge that more than 3,000,000 Jewish People, and possibly as many as 5,484,700 Jewish People were laid to waste in just these x6 places of ignominy, all adds a clearer more alarming perspective to what should have been expected from a knowledgeable non-Jewish Poland. Human Beings did this to Men, Women and Babies, Infants and Children and simply because they were JEWS while Poles in the main stood aside. Anger rages more deeply as I stood amidst rows of stones and boulders in Treblinka, and these standing memorials to lost Jewish Communities confront your senses knowing all too well what could have been achieved. If only Poland had acted as one with their own People, their own People, those suffering as Jews, but Polish all the same.
But then again, there are those who Survived the clear intention by Hitler to Murder them only for Poles to finish the task for him. I cannot begin to know the horror I stand in the shadows of but I can acknowledge their terror was far reaching. For some of these Jews, who even managed to crawl away from such spaces, Ghetto’s, Killing Sites and Death Camps how can I pretend not to be remotely horrified enough and angered more sufficiently when I hear that there was this lack of aid delivered to their own. The awareness or knowledge from those who resided next door to the encampments of destruction is a deceit which cannot camouflage the truth to be denied. For me there is a flood of emotions at all the Death Camps but it is here at Treblinka, where a Stone confronts me which floors me. Emblazoned across its surface I read SOKOLY.
This Town, where my poor little Tokele was so savagely Murdered, just 4 years old and butchered in a senseless hatred that no human being should possess. I felt frail and lost. I was merely humbled before stones which can devour ones mind of thoughts, well thoughts other than disgust. Here, my Camera lens becomes the tool of accusation and sharply brings to focus the most heinous crimes perpetuated by mankind. All too many of these crimes remain Unpunished. There are far too many Unconcerned enough to admit the exact detail of their collaborations, their intolerance’s or the indifference’s shown to fellow Human Beings. However, the weight of knowledge is burdensome enough without having History so exposed to duplicity and complicity in The Holocaust that some can deny all of its effects. So I will end here with an accusation as I encounter the very images I have posted to say I have been, I have marked my presence and I still choose to Remember that in
Belzec from 500,000 Jews to what amounts to 884,700 Jews were Murdered. In Birkenau, Auschwitz II from 1,100,000 Jews to a theoretically possible Slaughter of 2,500,000 Jews having been Murdered. At Chelmno where between 152,000 Jews toward 400,000 Jews having been Murdered there. For Majdanek we must assess that from 120,000 Jews to 200,000 Jews were Murdered there and at Sobibor some 225,000 Jews to 300,000 Jews were Murdered in this place of annihilation. The same is also true for Treblinka where as many as 700,000 Jews to 1,200,000 Jews were Murdered. This all gives rise to an overall assessment, unbridled in atrocity, unparalleled in brutality, unprecedented in all of History and unwarranted in all of humanity.
The staggering figures that we are talking about here within The Death Camp system would amount to some 2,797,000 Murdered Jews or some 5,484,700 Murdered Jews, depending upon all the gauged documentation and evidence, having been Murdered in The Death Camps alone! Remember too that while we seemingly acquiesce toward the lower estimates, we must fully consider the overall capacity that is The Death Camps. Plus be mindful also that while I make assessments based upon what Hitler’s legions fully accomplished, 33,771 Murdered Jews of Kiev in x2 days for instance, this would have ensured der Einsatzgruppe could have shot to death The Holocaust total of 6,000,000 Murdered Jews in about 355 days. We are reminded also of Hoess's own assessment, and this would suggest the entirety of those Murdered Jews of The Holocaust, these 6,000,000 Jewish Men, Women and Their Children would have been Destroyed in the space of 600 days at Auschwitz and Birkenau alone.
"..highest number of gassings in one day was 10,000. ..most that could be carried out in a day with ..available facilities." SS Obersturmbannfuhrer Rudolf Hoess.
Revisiting the PastPosted by P.A. Draigh Fri, October 06, 2017 21:04:50
It is Friday September 29th. 2017 and this part of my journey has come to an end. I have experienced some deeply moving experiences. I saw wholesale grief from many who so obviously had returned to pay their respects to the memory of those Jews now lost. The Jews of The Holocaust are always Remembered and in the placing of a stone, which I did, individually, and also for those who required one and for the many I know would appreciate it, I placed many stones. The symbolism shows the Jewish People today that the Jews of yesterday are never to be forgotten. I depart Warsaw from Chopin Airport so unless we measure the distance of the Concourse, I will have walked little today but travelled about 8 miles to get here.
The onward journey will make a total for today, of about 1,514 miles or so and to be honest, I doubt I could have been here another day and sought out any other place to visit, I am so weary. I stood in Centralna though, and there was a Train which would have taken me to Sokoly. I would have arrived at the same time I was supposed to be landing back on home soil? There is always that pull, there is always an unfinished recognition, and unsolved quest and an unrestrained commitment which persists in enabling me to take another step. A part of me though is quite relieved I have concluded this part of my journey, and I head back from the 'wasteland', a term I borrow from Karina Gora whose insight into taking Memory forward is refreshingly thoughtful and relevant.
I am only sorry I never saw her interpretative work while I was there, so as to appreciate it in close proximity to the Community of Tomazow-Mazowiecki's own Catastrophe. I am thankful the interest in keeping memory alive is pertinent to others who share a mutual human concern. I have travelled, all told more than 3,500 miles, 4,200 kilometres in new money over these past x5 days with 1,500 miles of that just to get to Warsaw. Warsaw has greatly disappointed though as there seems to be some errant or collective amnesia in Poland when it comes to asking about the Death Camps. And when it comes to those searching for answers and looking to the past for them, why do officials in Poland not at least know the names, Belzec or even Treblinka?
I have come a long way to visit places in Poland that the Poles do not know the names of? Is it Me? Did I look like I really did not wish to visit such places? Or could the answer be, there is a wish by far too many to forget their past History? Despite the fact that this detail in History was imposed upon them by Hitler, I would not expect the Polish people Not to know places which gorged on 4,000,000 Jewish People from all over Europe! Also, in each of these x6 Death Camps established by Hitler in German Occupied Poland, the remnants of Polish dead and Murdered is also to be found alongside their Jewish neighbours.
The Holocaust for me should be clear and unequivocal and certainly unique in terms of those 6,000,000 Jews of Europe who were intentionally Murdered by Adolf Hitler. In the most systematic, brutal, unprecedented, mechanised, industrialised and unparalleled Slaughter of Human Beings in ALL of History, requires that uniquely Jewish term History has recognised is, The Holocaust. That is The Holocaust Slaughter of 6,000,000 Human Beings for being Jewish. If ever my aim has been Always to Remember, Never to Forget then I will continue to inform, write and learn. How could I not? I know for certain the attempt by all to many to either minimise the impact the Jewish presence holds for us all, and I would suggest this accounts for an additional antisemitic response to an antisemitic act.
World War II saw 50/70 Million Dead, but not as Hitler's intention for the Jewish People has been exposed as so systematically sought. When some of those who offer up their recognition for The Holocaust, they are being disingenuous if they forget the very fact of the Jewish presence, or even choose to ignore that The Holocaust is 6,000,000 Murdered Jews. trump, now trudeaux have proved either stupid or ignorant of that fact, and a politician cannot have our mandate to be stupid. A politician here, who will remain gormless, when I questioned him about The Holocaust replied to me that he knew about the Holocaust because he had been to Auschwitz. This terse reply displayed an irrelevance I would not consider in any way empathetic.
My visit to Warsaw has suggested itself to me that there is a seeming and underlying attempt to either blur the line which connects 6,000,000 Jews to this Catastrophe, or dismiss it altogether. Either that or there is a simple attempt to deny these Jews of Europe their presence in THE most orchestrated and Murderous hatred meted out in supposed enlightened and civilised times. I am a bit low! My soul weakened by what I witnessed, and a little by what I have encountered. It does not fix itself when I witnessed a Lady crying as she observes the outside display at the Polin Museum. What could I say to her but Sorry! Here too, the dilution of the terms of reference which fixes the Jewish People within The Holocaust, is oh so a major cause for concern.
I appreciate that some Jews find it questionable for the religious overtones of The Holocaust term being used to Remember such an awful atrocity, and yet. Surely, The Holocaust term is the standard bearer of a truth which is Always to Remember, Never to Forget but it also vilifies those who watched as The Holocaust unfolded and is a blatant accusation of all of those who either profited from The Holocaust Jewish ordeal or participated in the very detail of the overall atrocity which is The Holocaust. For those who perpetrated these crimes in The Holocaust, either on behalf of Hitler or for their own sick and twisted idea, The Holocaust is our accusation.
How could it ever be otherwise, that Murdering Jewish People because they were Jews could be ever considered acceptable. How could such terms as The Holocaust presents become the accepted practice amongst all too few of these who have actually been tried for their Crimes. As I say! I am weary of the experience, but I will not forsake my commitment. Tokele stands alongside me. The Stone of Sokoly weighs heavily and 6,000,000 Jewish souls call out for a voice that wishes nothing other than to Remember them all. As I see it, the dead of War are a blight on Humanity whereas The Holocaust blights Humankind.
I know I have been here before, in terms of writing of an experience so hugely tragic and in whatever dimension we wish to draw upon. Here though was a differing space, a certain place but with separating names. The first sight of Malkinia had informed me Treblinka was at hand. I felt drawn forward. It was like it had been ordained and the steps that had guided me to where Polish rail officials had no idea of such a place as Treblinka, spelled TREBLINKA, I reached another awful space in the Destruction of the Jewish People! There were images and impressions drawing me forward and in a strange sense, I felt an almost spiritual upheaval. Again I have no wish to draw any religious connotations in this. I do not want to bring anyone's god into an equation which deals with such a massive loss. It had been remarked however that the god of Israel would sanctify and preserve the Jewish People, his Chosen People. Well for me, such was the absence of any god that the Jews fully felt a wrath and for what. To prove the presence of some god who cares more about the freedom to commit atrocity than to prevent it? As far as I am aware! The Jews obeyed their god's laws as they delivered to the World a monotheist way to believe adopted by a diverse multi-faith group of people. So where was god?
Even if the call came from some Biblical cataclysm which had been waiting to dump me in a place as close to another Hell as x5 other Death Camps had impressed upon me, I have yet to find the traces of any god. Instead, if ever a picture could add to what Dante envisioned, then our Children could become frightened by names such as these, Auschwitz/Birkenau, Belzec, Chelmno, Majdanek, Sobibor or even there at Treblinka. Again those words, "Abandon hope all ye who enter here," was clearly not intended for me. For those Jews detained in Chelmno and Treblinka, contained beneath a soil turned over, finally excavated and the remnants cremated, much remains still of the most mechanised destruction of a People ever.
I remember as I set foot on Malkinia Station that I was retracing the steps that as many as 1,200,000 Jews heading toward that place Treblinka had made. I take no satisfaction knowing a few hours after arriving at Malkinia that a train from Bialystok would arrive and it would take me back to Warsaw. That is exactly what happened and I felt a deepening sadness knowing that those Jews deposited at Treblinka were given no choice whatsoever. Thoughts flicker and I am concerned that while I leave behind 6,000,000 lives worthy of Remembering, I do not feel they are in good hands. I feel the negative connotations of fixing words before the deeds of wronged and Murdered Jewish People, has not lent itself to the reverence 6,000,000 Murdered Jews require.
If a nation has become so fixed on requiring reparations from Germany for what was done by the Hitlerite hordes on Polish soil, they must regard the debt that is owed to 3,000,000 of their own Jews who did not return, who did not renew their ownership of all they once owned and who have been left without any legacy owned by their descendants. All of which is being denied to their relatives and heirs on the basis of a non returning ownership that had been totally obliterated! I have many thoughts going through me at this time and I find with an historical assessment, it is entirely conceivable that as Hitler surveyed the Polish terrain, from a military perspective, he saw in the Vistula, Bug and the Ner Rivers a way to further distribute his final resolve for the Jewish People.
The Vistula River is 1047 kilometres long and The Bug River is 772 kilometres long while The Ner River flows for 134 kilometres. The practice run with T4 brought together the ability to gas people. Cremate their remains and dispose of their ashes in the nearest River. In Poland, these x3 Rivers lay at the Centre of all that Hitler envisaged would obliterate all traces of those ill and infirm he had set his eugenics team on. For the Jews of Europe, who could be all too easily transported to their Deaths in the Camps built and established by Hitler for that purpose, the ash of Krematoria and Funeral Pyre was never too distant from the flow of a River which would distribute the ash as far away from the scene of the atrocity as was possible.
Revisiting the PastPosted by P.A. Draigh Thu, October 05, 2017 20:31:08
It is Thursday September 28th. 2017 and I am aiming for Treblinka. It is hard not to remonstrate with someone’s god when what awaits me is the hollowed out call from a dark place, Treblinka. I know the Jewish Murdered are there. I do not know how many we seek. I do not know their names even if that is quite Wrong! I do have an idea of the vast number of those Jews of Treblinka who await me! In excess of 700,000 and as many as 1,200,000. All Murdered because they were Jews. There are many others interred here, but these are the subject of an other's quest, and though they have been intolerably treated, I involve myself in a search for 6,000,000 Murdered Jews.
They are not part of my endeavour in finding why we allowed this all to happen and for the Jews of Treblinka and even though I know the names of some of Treblinka’s Jews, all of whom were forcibly transported there, I cannot ever know all who remain here, lost to all practicable efforts to locate and name them. However, I will still follow their route towards an abominable place and will be certain Always to Remember, Never to Forget that for me, I will be on the return train from Malkinia Station to Warsaw. So now, I have walked my customary 4 miles and I have to travel a further 6 miles and I have not even have got any further than Warsaw.
Today I will have walked 10 miles and travelled about another 134 Miles, once I get started. As with Chelmno, my walk on such hallowed ground will not be measured in time nor distance. That would violate the cause I have established for myself. So I will let you in on what seemed farcical, but caused me delay and moments of confusion. My walk to Warsawa Centralna Train Station takes 30 minutes so I set out in good time. But before that eventual journey begins, allow me to take you to the ticket desk at Warsawa Centralna Railway Station. My Polish being what it is, non-existant, I had written where it was I wished to go! TREBLINKA!
Now bearing in mind that this site of reverence to Polish Jewry, World Jewry and the State of Israel, and lest we forget History we too have a stake in acknowledging the awful crimes here, a State official looked blankly at my piece of paper. Anyway, we move forward and I had arrived at Centralna and asked for my ticket and was informed they do not have trains to where I wished to go. I even showed how it was spelled but I was then sent to another rail official. I was eventually pointed to a Bus Company which would supposedly facilitate my journey to Warsawa Western Railway Station. The Bus Company was certain I had been sent to them purely because they spoke English and the Train people didn't??
So now I was in a queue for Bus service I did not want? Ah! Polish buses. I am reminded of a previous venture on Polish buses heading to Belzec. As I trudged through knee high snow, and as the Bus which deposited me, the wrong side of Belzec, I was forced to trudge for ever just to reach the Belzec Gates. I actually saw the Bus veer into the distance along the Lvov road and straight past the Death Camp at Belzec, the Camp he obviously had never heard of? Or had he? I needed to get to Treblinka and the Bus Company furnished me with a ticket to get me to Western Station? I paid for the Bus ticket but decided against journeying across Warsaw in a Bus. I was eager to put Warsaw behind me.
I caught a Taxi which would be quicker. The Taxi Driver takes me to the Westin Hotel? The concierge had to explain to the Taxi driver I wanted the Western Train Station. Eventually, duly set down at said Station, queued in a relentless line of other would be traveller’s and got my Tickets and then set off for the platform. Amazingly. In the distanced I my route toward the Centralna station stood before me in the distance. The train even stopped at Warsawa Centralna to pick up passengers on my way now toward Malkinia! Aggghhhh! I wrote a piece for a Magazine a good while back, and on this day, it appears to appropriate a space in time that has already been consumed.
"..My quest for comprehension of ..events within The Holocaust commenced with ..Murder of a 4 year old Jewish Girl, Tokele. She resided in Sokoly, Poland. Now for a failed catholic like myself ..it is an abhorrence that anyone should be Murdered because of a Faith ..a Belief system ..ethnicity or antecedence. Troubling too that a Child's life can be so callously destroyed. I am sure that anti-Semitism played a key role in this particular atrocity as it does in ..whole of The Holocaust. It also concerns me that those who have profited within Poland from ..Destruction of 3,000,000 Polish Jews can maintain their supposed christian or even catholic status." Patrick Dempsey.
But if all that this sounds like idiocy, I was making My way toward Malkinia and as we all are to be made aware of, Malkinia is the staging post for Warsaw’s Jews to be Destroyed in Treblinka. So in some way I did not mind the mild farce which had got me here, before a sign which reads MALKINIA. The journey itself was time to listen to and talk to Kasia and her Son Patrick which took my attention away from this apprehension and sinking feeling which was gripping me. I arrived after a rather pleasant journey and there before me was that sign, MALKINIA! MALKINIA was not just a place I had heard of, it was a torrent of issues and concerns for the past few years as I tried to add to what I knew of Treblinka, a synonymous resonance with a dark space in our revulsion of what could and was achieved here.
To say I was exhausted is an under statement. But to know I had achieved what I had set out to undertake, and more, has eased a burden I have felt since I began this odyssey, 20 years ago. A promise made has been fulfilled now and I have met with a deeper seated concern that Memory is not fading into a forgotten state. There was a greeting too of sorts, with a Child from a place whose Community name SOKOLY is on a stone here in Treblinka. This is my ultimate reward. I have gone full circle in my search to when Tokele was introduced to me and her Community, many of whom have been laid before us, here in amongst the other 700,000 or 1,200,000 Jews of Treblinka.
That communal place, Sokoly has signalled for all, a time when hatred ruled over life and human decency was eradicated. But while lives have been taken from us, and 6,000,000 constitutes a lot of names now missing from us, we have words, acts and deeds to permanently defend their memory. Is it enough that mention is made of the tragedy they faced? NO! It will never deliver in essence what is lost, what was taken and how all too easily we abandoned so many Human lives. All we can do now is add a measure of remorse to a degree of empathy and know how wrong this World had been in the Catastrophe for 6,000,000 Jews. I will rewrite this, and add to a piece on Treblinka itself, as I will with Chelmno, as they are stand alone atrocity’s in need of a marker beyond a travelogue of sorts.
Revisiting the PastPosted by P.A. Draigh Wed, October 04, 2017 21:27:38
It is Wednesday September 27th and it is 2017. I simply forgot I hadn't altered my Phones time, so I had crept into Wednesday thinking I was working on what remained of Tuesday. It is late, I am tired but I have things on my mind. So while I can, I write! I never quite appreciated the magnitude of grief that can be brought to People. But now I have ventured upon a realisation. I have been to Chelmno and now know that nothing compares to that loss of life which has been interrupted by the intervention of others. Hitler interrupted the lives of 6,000,000 Jews of Europe and absolutely nothing will ever compare to the sense of grief this evokes.
The Irish are known for their melancholy nature but I am always upbeat, the glass is Always half full in my neck of the woods. For me too, no one has a monopoly over grief and this was brought to the fore a while ago as I managed an office staff. I listened as a Woman informed a fellow Female colleague that she had no need to grieve, she had only lost an Aunt, or someone not so immediate? Her reasoning being? She had lost her Mom the previous year and her Uncles Brother's Cousin, or whoever, the year before that. I felt quite aggrieved that anyone can impose their own sense of loss upon another so as to simply dismiss the fundamental grieving process owned by all and any People.
I clearly spelled out to her, that grief belongs to the individual concerned and she had no right to deny anyone the right to grieve in whatever capacity they chose and for whomever they had a grief over. I pointed out also that my own Mom's loss was, and until I began this journey, incomparable and no one else's could surely compare to my Moms. As I am never giving of what remains private to me, I will share this fact that in the space of x2 years my Mom had lost a Sister, her Dad, x2 Daughters and a Husband. Of course, these were my Aunt, my Granddad, both my Sisters and my Dad. But I had not been comparing my own grief then and until now was not prepared to compare anyone's sense of grief. How could I suggest grief, when there are Jews who know the meaning of this enormous grief we seek to add to the memory of The Holocaust. Each to their own!
However, that the magnitude of grief is felt now as I sit here wondering what can ever compare to the experience of those Jews left to reflect and grieve over The Holocaust, I am uneasy. I feel perturbed that while Simon Wiesenthal insists we should not look on The Holocaust merely statistically, how do I compare such an immense horror without recourse to numbers so devoid of all names. I have met and been introduced to so many People whose sense of grief bears no comparison to anything I could ever feel nor measure, even in all of History. But it appears it is incumbent upon those who seek, Always to Remember, Never to Forget, that such numbers as those which have been taken from us in The Holocaust, somehow insist on the calculation being made.
The overall assessment, which extrapolates such a criteria as is measured 6,000,000 times over with loss, grief and the horrible realisation of a terrible wrong, bears no comparison. That these Jews were taken from us and systematically interrupted from their own vibrant life, is an accusation of all that Humanity should stand for. I will get some rest now as Lodz awaits and I am supposed to be up in about 4 hours to breakfast before I begin journeying again. It appears my journey is endless. It also seems like sleep and rest have been removed from any equation I wish to make. Monday, I was travelling and awake for some 22 hours. It appears I have been on the go for 20 hours, and this was Tuesday??
I am fully awake? And I have taken my stroll to Centralna and I will have walked about 11 miles today and travelled 175 other Miles or so. As I am fully cognisant that while not all Jews suffered the same fate, all too few Jews of the 11,293,300 intended for destruction escaped the trawl of 6,000,000 innocent lives that were totally Destroyed. But of those who did Survive, they do not have the same regard or even disregard for their former neighbours as many would seem to hold. Each tale of Survival is different. Each story of those Survivors informs us of a familiar tale of intolerance from some of their neighbours and the warming sense of human dignity reaching out to save too few.
Brutality and atrocity was met by a Jew wherever they were bounded by the intolerance or indeed, the seeming indifference of all too many. However, what can be hidden in the terms of reference connected to the contribution 6,000,000 terrorised and destroyed Jews must bring to memory, is the attempts by many to save the few. In proportion though, the many 26,000 amongst all Nations, are far too few while the few Survivors are the remnant of far too many, 6,000,000 of whom were Destroyed. I am certain that perspective will be considered as I reach the Marek Edelman Dialogue Centre in Lodz though will be more amply exposed when I reach the Death Camp at Treblinka tomorrow. I am more certain of that exposure of grief which not only creeps up on me, unawares, it is a presence I feel constantly.
Lodz, it is clear, was fundamentally chosen as a centre of Jewish presence for the Ghettoisation, containment and eventual removal toward the Death Camps of the Warthegau's Jews. If we need to be pedantic in terms of Hitler's establishment of all x6 Death Camps, then they were established in German Occupied Poland. There is a play on words still, and while semantics have no responsible space to procure ownership of any part of The Holocaust, the word 'collaboration' shares a presence. Why is it then that we are prepared to accept a seeming collaborative effort with Hitler's germanising attempt to rename the City of Lodz and indeed its Ghetto.
We should in no way allow for the altering of the obvious Polish nature of a City so as to conform to a German insinuating accent. The Lodz Jews, and others who had lived in Lodz or were transported to Lodz, were Ghettoised in the Lodz Ghetto and died there, were Murdered there or were transported to their deaths elsewhere as Lodz Jews. The very nature of Hitler's attempt to eradicate Lodz Jewry should not reflect other than the very Jewish nature of Hitler's attempt to annihilate all of them as the Jewish inhabitants of the City of Lodz and then the Lodz Ghetto. Meanwhile, thoughts raging, it is essential for me that I focus on this day, seizing this moment and sizing the Marek Edelman Centre's ability to afford a dialogue to what was taken from Lodz Jewry.
To be more precise, the coming to terms with the murderous loss to Lodz Jewry. I am sitting here at the Marek Edelman Centre and I am looking across a Park which remembers the loss and the efforts of the some. The statue of Jan Karski is omnipresent gazing over the Park itself. The apparent mission here and vision that those who planned and instigated this worthy enterprise, an array of displays and focal points set before me, is well constructed and it has a resonance with the past that sweeps into our present! The attempt to add diversity to what lessons must be learned from The Holocaust past, is sure to shape the future for any organisation seeking to confront an unease with which Poland perceives The Holocaust.
The Dialogue Center
is an open, secular cultural institution acting beyond any political divisions, the primary purpose of which is to undertake educational, research and cultural activity including but not limited to:
1) Popularizing the heritage of different cultures,
2) Promoting multicultural and multiethnic legacy of Lodz, with the emphasis put on the Jewish culture,
3) Propagating the idea of tolerance and counteracting any signs of racism, xenophobia and lack of respect for people of different outlooks on the world, different backgrounds and cultures,
4) Undertaking educational activity in the scope of multiculturality for Polish and foreign communities,
5) Undertaking training and educational activity for children, the youth and the grown-up as well as organizing international exchange,
6) Running a library and an archive as well as building up various collections, especially those related to the Lodz Jewish community and the history of the Lodz Ghetto,
7) Carrying out projects commemorating the Lodz Jewish community,
8) Activities aiming at commemorating the Survivors and the Righteous and their families,
9) Popularising art works promoting the idea of multiculturality and multiethnicity,
10) Obtaining non-budgetary funds from national and foreign sources and using them for the purposes of statutory tasks.
The Marek Edelman Dialogue Center is the public cultural institution and education center, created on the basis of the multicultural and multiethnic past of Lodz, to discuss the history and its influence on today's life, with the emphasis on the Jewish culture, history and Polish-Jewish relations. An institution open towards the future, attractive for the local, national and international audience.
The Marek Edelman Dialogue Center is an institution that preserves the multicultural and historical heritage of Lodz through education, publishing, art projects and commemorative events, cooperating with many other institutions and organizations in Poland and abroad, recognized locally and internationally.
I commend the sterling efforts undertaken here as I would agree, those at the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews measures with intricacy, the fate of 3,000,000 Polish Jews. Again though! I am visiting places in reverse order. Having visited Chelmno yesterday, I now visit the place so many of them were transported from, for their last time. Lodz itself, which expelled its Jewish Community to Chelmno, is close at hand. I will be amazed if any hint of a former Jewish presence greets me as I am amazed at Warsaw's almost complete lack of acknowledgement of its former resident Jews. The idea though that a dialogue, in part to Remember Marek Edelman and his Jewishness, is to be found here in Lodz is surprising. I am reminded now of a quote from Elie Wiesel and what is set before me confirms that Memory will be sustained by the efforts of more than those who write it.
"..Holocaust defies literature. ..describing an event ..we transmit ..its reflection. ..No one has ..right to speak for ..dead. ..story had to be told. In spite of all risks ..misunderstandings ..for ..sake of our children." Elie Wiesel.
What is more enlivening in this building is the careful tread of visitors whose efforts sift across an emotive space for those Survivors who venture here. All too many now no longer able to impart their truths for us. The concept of the space, which seeks to put in the lessons from the past so as to ensure our future, actually appears like an idealistic reality. I am aware of the ownership given to both Lodz and the Death Camps in Hitler's scheme of things. But I will now manage to alter course and change the definition I have often used to one which places ownership of Hitler's Death Camps, with him as it was he who established these Death Camps in occupied Poland, and I fully restore their ownership to Hitler and at his front door.
"..Letters From ..Ghetto is not just a love story ..but also history to which ..world remained indifferent. It is my personal ..internal protest ..closed in ..convention of motion theater." Kariny Gory.
I meet with Kariny Gory (Karina Gora) at the Centre and I find there are those looking for more ways to add toward the memory we all seek to add to. The Holocaust impressed upon Karina, who had utilised the love letters from Aljuche Izrael Orenbach (Lutek) to a Jewish girl he had met before Hitler's invasion of Poland, and this was Edith Blau. Their love story became a series of pen pal letters once the x2 became separated by Hitler's war. Lutek, a native of Tomaszow-Mazowiecki came from the same Town as does Karina, so her interest in producing this work was more than coincidental. The two, whose separation lasted without them meeting again, as Lutek was murdered in Treblinka and Edith was murdered in the Riga Ghetto, is as compelling as it is tragic.
"..yearning locked in ..words ..hope giving breath to say goodnight ..to greet ..morning ..monotonous days filled with fear ..where life and death are mixed in unity." Kariny Gory.
But love transcends all, and when literature has been deprived of an answer, Movement and Expression, which is what Karina's group brought to the Theatre, has ensured that memory is not alone and has another grasp at holding on. Here too, I am drawn to the statue of Jan Karski as it stares out over an obliteration process that physically left more Jews intact, within Lodz itself and more than Hitler would have demanded. Jan Karski himself evokes a reminder in us that too few like him persisted with letting the World know of a burgeoning route toward The Holocaust. The Catastrophe for all of European Jewry unfolded before his eyes and as it continued its rampage through our Historical consciousness, it remains as damnable, reprehensible and certainly accusatory for knowing it was known to the World of the time.
"..Lutek Orenbach and Edith Blau became ..pretext for my creative work on structuring their characters. ..to close ..time ..place and circumstances ..in ..Tomaszow space." Kariny Gory.
I wonder though, how would the impact upon this Centers efforts be, if it is to acknowledge the integrity of the past which could all too easily be affected by the arbitrary efforts to prevent the use of the word 'Collaboration'? This is a position which exposes the Centres efforts to re-ignite Polish Jewish relations even when collaborative efforts to add to Hitler's final resolve, and though only aimed at by some in Polish circles, it is widely known that some Poles were greatly involved in collaborating against their Jewish Community. Jewish Survivors know, for their part that luck in avoiding those who would collaborate against them is very pronounced and true. When there is an emphasis which appears to run counter to what certain elements of this Polish government wishes to alter, bleach or even deny, these would seem to impede your efforts:
"..to discuss the history and its influence on today's life, with the emphasis on the Jewish culture, history and Polish-Jewish relations."
and can there remain an independent view, free from the governments seeming 'revisionist' words and those fully amplified and untruthful implications. The Polish governments insinuation would surely alter those Polish efforts which sought to both save Jews from The Holocaust and also perhaps exonerate those who perpetrated many of the excesses History clearly acknowledges? I am keen to discuss this, and should it make any difference to the way History is written, it should be tackled everywhere. I have a wish to gain from the Center, and I will look more deeply to gain the insight into my search for further comprehension.
We must involve all those who know The Holocaust and from whichever perspective, and accept that in acknowledging the terrible wrongs done. To do so, we do a service to all in History and in Remembrance for the 6,000,000 Murdered Jews, we choose to remember them correctly. I know now I am tired as I have been travelling today for more than 14 hours. The train arriving at, and I forget the platform, is running 12, 17, 25, and then 57 minutes late. In my confusion, there is a Swiss guy, and in my tiredness I forgot to ask his name? While he lends me his support, as his Polish is perfect. At least I know the Train will arrive, eventually.
I am back at the Hotel, the walk is beginning to feel more wearisome and I have yet to prepare for what will be a most difficult day, Treblinka. Before I go though, I heard someone say it was a Jewish Festival around this time. I found this greeting and wish to share it with you all, even if it is against all principles held within agnosticism? So Chag Sameach! I know the Jewish People celebrate Sukkot and that this is meant to be a celebratory acceptance of God providing for his chosen People, the Israelites! This then to me is my concern, and it as if it was written in my deference to my own religious background. It is not meant to cause any offence to anyone whatsoever.
So when the Holocaust launched the Jews of Europe into a wilderness and all Jewish faith focused on their God's faithfulness to keep his promises to secure them, it is also to make them aware of the power of his presence. However, we saw 6,000,000 Jewish Men, Women and Their Children abandoned and brutally Murdered. This, I am afraid is what strikes me as I still see that stone to the memory of the Jews of Sokoly. It evokes a great anger in me that is rightly directed at a World standing on the sidelines as the trail of despair stretches 6,000,000 People long. And it is not just that what happened in Sokoly that frustrates my, but what happened to Tokele threatens my very understanding.
Then as we look to 6,000,000 Jewish innocents, at the brutality, because of the vile and indiscriminate hatred, and with the knowledge of knowing that those in power were accepting of all of this atrocity, and we realise the intolerable depth of despair inflicted upon these People and the scornful indifference observed by all 6,000,000 Jews as they are strewn through a wasteland. Forgive me if I am at pains to share what is not a condemnation of any faith, but it is a reason for me not to have one, and I am very tired?????
"..In spite of ..vast accumulating literature ..an abyss still lies between those who endured ..unimaginable and those who did not. ..Survivors themselves remain pendant between ..living ..and ..dead ..searching ..to pierce ..realms of each." Nora Levin.
Revisiting the PastPosted by P.A. Draigh Tue, October 03, 2017 20:28:03
It is Tuesday September 26th. 2017 and for me, Chelmno awaits and it is weighing heavily. I have taken my leisurely 4 miles stroll to the Centralna train station and I will have walked my usual 8 miles by my return. Any walking in pursuit of Memory, which will involve today's walk around Chelmno, cannot ever be counted. Also, and this might seem ironic to many, but my walk into Warsaw Centralna for my visit to the Death Camp throws up a strange anomaly. This will see me on a Train bound for Berlin. I can hardly believe it.
Admittedly, I will get off at Kutno to journey on toward Kolo and then to Chelmno. But this Train heads direct to Berlin, the heart of where Hitler's plan to Destroy all of European Jewry was conceived of and largely conducted. Direct from Hitler, the plan to murder the ill and the infirm of Germany and Austria, had its genesis in Berlin too and then, so as to alleviate the symptoms of der Einsatzgruppe's psychological well being, a more mechanised approach was conceived. Chelmno was the first Death Camp established by Hitler in German Occupied Poland.
As such, the terrible lessons to be learned would be experienced by Lodz Jews. Whatever else, a target was set for The Jewish People, a marker was agreed that 11,293,300 Jews, as adjudged by The Wannsee Conference, would be sought out and The Holocaust Slaughter of 6,000,000 Jews would be realised. Hitler moved no further than his desk to share details in voiced undertones of all he had planned. So here, on these platforms in the Centralna station, every Train has a significance.
Each destination has a meaning in our reach for comprehending the entirety of The Holocaust. Bydgoszcz, Cracow, Czestichowa, Katowice, Kielce, Kutno, Lodz, Lowicz-Glowny, Piotrkow-Trybalinski, Tychy and especially Warsaw, all flash up recalcitrant images of everything I have been steeped in for more than 20 years now. The shock I am feeling is quite palpable. There is a whirring sense that I am in the midst of a cauldron which was deadly for the Jewish People, and this was merely 70 to 80 years ago.
But for Warsaw, as I leave it slowly behind, this was the largest contained, brutalised and Destroyed Jewish Community in all of Europe. It pauses me to consider how many of The Holocaust's Jews had merged with their Polish neighbours to board trains for far away places. Here, where a place like Treblinka beckoned, how we now wish the Jews could have gotten onto trains bound elsewhere. But with Treblinka, it functioned fully upon the transportation of Jews from Warsaw, and while other Jews had been expelled from other communities, Treblinka was Warsaw's nemesis.
So while I speed in the opposite direction, and toward Kutno, my mind looks out upon a landscape drenched with the blood of Jewish lives. It is troubling, knowing Chelmno approaches, and I will once again stand on the very space, where the epitome of all hatreds was conducted. Chelmno, which still secretes to the mind the missing presence of more than 152,000 to 400,000 Jews, taken and transported from the Countryside this Train is travelling through.
I am troubled as we travel and as I see order, with life continuing without a flicker of recognition for what must have been so obvious during those times. If it is to be said then it is going to be a pleasure to walk amongst those I can feel close to. In some strange and uniquely personal way, these Murdered Jews have given me cause to accuse, reflect and look far more deeper into humanity's gravest wrongs, for an answer.
I will not measure such reverence in other that the consumption of concerns for the passing of Human Beings, and regardless of the Fact that their Jewish designation ensured their destruction, my concern is a purely human response to an awful atrocity. Today, I will have travelled some 388 more Miles and will have looked across open Countryside, purged of all Jewish presence. But, to reach this Death Camp on the Ner River, it is an accomplishment I have neared for 12 years.
Chelmno itself is a sterile ground transformed into a visitor center, a form of museum. It has nothing really to suggest that murders took place here. Hitler established this Death Camp on German Occupied Polish land and this too is a strange anomaly. Different from all other Death Camps, though in a similar way to Treblinka, in that Murder and interring were achieved in situ and removed elsewhere for interring. Chelmno's Death Camp is x2 distinct sites and the Murders were largely achieved en-route from one site to the other.
The site of the killing is separated by a journey through hell for those Jews encased in Gassing Vans augmented purely for killing those who entered. I perhaps journey here the wrong way round, visiting the containment site first and then the transporting and loading area, as it was, secondly. But along that road from one place to another space, Jews were gassed and their lifeless bodies removed to where they awaited, no final resting space.
The feverish attempts to finally disinter and destroy the evidence of their detailed mass Murder would seek to dislodge from Memory the place were these Jews were laid to no rest. I have walked and walked. I have been from every corner of this containment centre and feel deeply that some force beckons which is intangible, yet still, it calls to those who seek the place where so many have failed to escape.
I am displeased with the loading area. Reconstructed and with no resemblance to what was the former place of such horror for the Jewish People, and others, brought there. My day is done. My head is done. I have nearly 200 miles to make a resolution with myself to add further to what needs to be said. I am weary. Tired. Not quite worn out and a walk back to my hotel, through night time Warsaw to confront the confusion. I am struck by the awe struck realisation of what humankind can accomplish against Humanity. I have Eugen Kogon’s The Theory and Practice of Hell to while away the coming hours, knowing full well, I have just visited a hellish place, and I have walked freely amongst lost but not Forgotten souls, and I manage to emerge.
Revisiting the PastPosted by P.A. Draigh Mon, October 02, 2017 21:12:19
It is Monday September 25th. and I have landed in Poland's Capitol, Warsaw, or as I am hearing it, Varshava!! An injustice to linguists. My taxi takes me the 8 Miles to my Hotel, where the Logos stands alongside The Vistula River just across from their National Stadium. I am prepared, he says, for an avalanche of emotions. So many things sweep across me as I prepare to meet with the itinerary I had set before I set off. There is this deepening feeling that loss might just overtake me as I try once more, to make sense of the illogical theatre of Genocide Hitler brought to the ramparts of the x6 Death Camps he had established in German Occupied Poland.
The feeling of loss is, in itself, inexplicable as much as it is incomprehensible to any human being and I feel it, as wounding as any pain of grief. Grief, bound by humanity to add a memorial to a posterity we have been delivered, a sharply reminding stigma upon the very psyche of our humanity. Here, as I look back on the route from Warsawa Centralna Rail Station, I am guided by the missing Jewish presence which seems inextricably to draw me forward. Today I have travelled about 1,500 Miles. So I now submit to that feeling which suggests I am on the last leg of a journey, an odyssey of sorts which has accompanied me for so long. Or is this a pilgrimage and is that a correct term for what I must now accomplish.
Perhaps it is more honourable a visit I make because it is my choice to do so. What I consider correct however, is the truth and only the truth can truly inform History. I tread a fine line between what belongs to the Jewish World and what is owned by a Humanity which chose to abandon its responsibility to the Jewish People, who are The Holocaust. Sometimes, there are thoughts of a personal nature which transfer perfectly to how I feel, and it is deeply felt over a huge loss which should never have been delivered to History, let alone to 6,000,000 innocent Jewish People, all Men, Women and Their Children, for being Jews.
This World we occupy was thrown into a moral abyss along with 6,000,000 Jews, who were so immorally regarded, they were allowed to be destroyed without much protest or even the semblance of World concern. There are x6 very important reasons why Remembrance is centred in and around Poland. The establishment of Hitler’s Death Camps in German Occupied Poland has left a repository for memory in the most immense graveyard for the Jewish People ever devised. Thrown headlong into an abyss, and into which our own Humanity tumbled alongside these innocent Jews, the atrocity confronts us to this day.
What occurs to me in my search has been the shocking realisation that of these x6 Death Camps, there are x4 which remain almost forgotten when placed alongside Auschwitz/Birkenau, Treblinka or in fact, the Warsaw Ghetto. I realised this visiting Sobibor and more especially Belzec, where their status lay in out of the way community’s not readily as approachable as Auschwitz/Birkenau or Treblinka. For those of us seeking a time and place in time, they will be more easily forgotten if they are not reached. Wherever the Jews were slain, there is a need to approach these places with the same intensity of shock and horror, which not be reserved solely for the more infamous and known of the Death Camps.
Without any laudable concern forming over the negligible intervention we are witness to, and to this day, will we allow for these less visited Death Camps to simply fade from the landscape of The Holocaust. Then as we reach the reality of it all, that there was an imperative adopted by the few, who in order to save lives managed to save too few, what place can there be for sites of such depravity. We have secured for all posterity a precedent that was so depraved, the wrong lessons have been since learned, and all too often. I have learned from personal experience that the choices made can be wrong for the right reasons and can hurt, can cause pain and can ensure to make distance less fonder from what is known.
I had a feeling all 6,000,000 of these Jews, who are The Holocaust were joined together at the same time in this carnage and we have been left with a very difficult prospect of finding them in the detail that has been hidden from us. I was making plans to visit the Polin Museum and I wish I had just sat down and let the entire feeling for the Catastrophe, an experience I felt deeply, could it just wash over me and give me the answers I sought. I was time constrained by other official timetables and then again, one can have too much time to mull over pasts and as they confuse the present give a differing meaning to all of our futures. I guess ones soul lays exposed and thoughts impose their own agenda. You have to choose your direction for whatever reason, only for it to then smack you straight in the face.
You remember all you forgot to say or do! You give up everything you are and have Nothing left only to find it is not enough that time has taken everything with it!! I took a x4 hour walk around this City to take in a flavour of a Jewish Past which was not here anymore. I met a hint of a Jewish past in both Cracow and Lublin. It was not here in Warsaw. If you share x2 pictures to illustrate this, there is a plaque on a building, singularly pointing to when Jews once walked freely. What then struck me, the Umschlagplatz Memorial, so desolate and tucked away so out of sight as to be a forgotten reminder of what it is meant to add in memory for us. Also, and clearly the Polish People, and their government, have an awareness problem with the word 'collaboration'.
They do not see the word in isolation and that those who 'collaborated' are being accused of what they did. Yet there is this position where they choose to feel the term accuses all of Poland for what some Poles did, and to far too many of their Jewish neighbours. Of course many forms of collaboration existed without Poles dealing directly with German occupying forces. Informing on a Jewish neighbour was collaborating in their very destruction. But Jews too have to accept the Fact, while not all Poles were Bad, some clearly were. I have much to unravel in these thought processes, but the unfortunate aspect in this, given that Poland is for the Jews their Largest graveyard, and as such, Jews need to visit these Graves. This is more of an imperative than for Poles to have any need to alter their relative position toward accepting some responsibility for what was done by certain Poles in their own backyard.
There is a conflicting synergy between the two positions of Grief and a supposed refusal to accept the fuller responsibility. But there are places like the Polin Museum and the Marek Edelman Centre which just might afford some solution. I deal in those words which seek to add meaning to a dialogue and both these places are constituted in affording dialogue their welcoming space. Dialogue too is about listening and if the concerns around a term such as 'collaboration' is focused upon, in a negative way, it will seek to dismiss an integrity that speaks of all rights for all and the wrongs which run counter to them adapted by the few. I could catalogue an accumulation of corroborative evidence that places Poles at German doors giving away Jewish neighbours.
But that is not my remit yet it is the purpose in History to state the factual integrity in all matters and if they are True, they will benefit all of History. I guess I am approaching some form of vindication for doubting the evidence I have become a witness to in which everyone accepts the responsibility that has been assigned to them. I cannot seem to get my thoughts in order at the moment. They are running away with the prospect that tomorrow, Chelmno will crush the formed opinion I had already gained and that there will be a coming together of what was not resolved in solving a solution for Hitler’s radical view in delivering The Holocaust. But, I doubt there will be any change other than a shift of emphasis in knowing Jews need to find their lost People and Poland, holding the soil of that search somehow captive have an interest in only securing .
TestimonyPosted by P.A. Draigh Tue, September 19, 2017 13:12:17
"..Some people say it is too dangerous for me to go back there now. That I'll never be able to return. ..from time to time ..I go there in my mind. ..another family lives in that home ..another ..in my bedroom ..while I am 1,000's of miles away. ..reminders of ..life I loved ..girl I was." Malala Yousafzai.
Reading these words I was transported back nearly 80 years to when Jews were forced to give up their homes and their previous lives. I realise how fortunate it became for any Jew to be able to write the words which spelt loss. But also, in recognising their loss can be spelled out 6,000,000 tangible ways, and while each discourse will be different, it will be similarly unique. History has been assured we must learn, but continually we have learned that intolerance profits sooner than respect for our fellow human being. Had Gabby Sprenger, Halina Birenbaum, Inge Auerbacher, Natalie Mehlman Scharf or any Jewish Survivor penned these words, we would recognise the enormity of their loss and the magnitude of their grief.
Can it be acceptable that Jews who managed to Survive the most apocalyptic assault on Humanity, where 6,000,000 People were routinely, systematically and brutally Murdered in the most unprecedented and unparalleled assault upon the integrity of any human being, can they be allowed to fear returning to their former lives or homes. Can this be acceptable simply because of the collaborative efforts of those communities which dispelled them. Of course Hitler's demands were met by resistance, but in many cases collaboration paid rich dividends as is clearly evidenced to this day. Jews were made very aware that it was too dangerous for them to return, in places like Biala-Podlaska, Boleslawiec, Diosgyor, Kielce, Kunmadaras, Lublin, Mordy, Parczew, Piaski, Polaniec, Sokoly, Skarzysko-Kamienna and Turek.
With more than 1,000 Jewish Survivors being Murdered after Hitler’s defeat and with some 100,000 Jews forced to flee Poland, the landscape of collaboration takes on a differing complexion. The emphasis then became an effort for local communities to hold onto what had not been theirs in the first place. Here, and where such fear persisted for the Jewish Survivor, a gain was made by community's too busy confiscating what did not belong to them. In place of any Christian duty to their Jewish neighbours, greed overtook various communities. In each and every case that community knew what had happened to the Jews of Europe. Even if they did not know the detailed actions which had been led against 6,000,000 Jews in Death Camps, Ghetto’s and the Killing Sites throughout Hitler’s expanse into their Country’s, they knew the scale of the atrocity as it amplified itself in the failure on 6,000,000 Jews to return to their former homes, lives and freedoms.
So from 1,000's of miles away from their former homes, from their previous existence and without the lives the Jewish Survivor assumed remained theirs, they too can revisit in their minds ALL that has been taken from them. Surely such is the collaboration with Hitler's efforts that still today Jews are dispossessed and fearful of reclaiming ALL that is rightfully theirs. It would appear that any collaboration in the catastrophe that engulfed 6,000,000 Jews ensures a further Hitlerite demand is posthumously gained. Fear for the Jews has denied them their former lives and possessions. Clearly, and by definition, collaboration comes in many guises and there is a definite synergy between what is a hostile and aggressive effort and what remains the more muted response that is all too often recognised as resignation.
But, and this is the crucial element in all collaborating efforts, and in overseeing what is to be regarded as colluding with Hitler, his Nazi’s or especially in terms of The Final Solution of The Jewish Question especially, what we generally recognise as consorting, conspiring, co-operating, even fraternising or simply sympathising with those we should be working against, must be recognised as collaboration in its specific detail. So when it comes to the collaboration with Hitler’s efforts to destroy the Jews of Europe, and these efforts existed on the entire Continent of Europe and with every Country involved to some degree or another, we cannot disregard what some people or states might perceive and consider was their inability to act.
There are many occasions in which collaboration was quite fundamentally turned around and in the case of say an Oskar Schindler, he fully managed to recover from this collaborative effort to redeem his humanity and save more than 1,000 Jews. In contact with Polish students it has been pointed out to me that I am at odds with Polish Political efforts to sanitise Polish collaboration? The premise of my work is not simply Always to Remember, Never to Forget the 6,000,000 Jews, who are The Holocaust, but as an accusation which accounts for their loss. Without reservation I make the accusation, for all those who assisted in the Catastrophe, and this becomes a definitive assessment. My words should not offend any Jew. My statements must not cause derision to a Jew who Survived all attempts to destroy any x1 of the 6,000,000 of them.
What the Survivor must insist upon is nothing but the Truth, the entire veracity of that whole Truth and its factual status in the Fidelity of its telling. This means an acknowledgement must be given to the Survivor, by all those who assisted, by those of nations who either obliged or participated in the Catastrophe for 6,000,000 Jews of Europe, to come to terms with their co-operative stance.
1) Belgium had its own ss legions, with more than 3,500 including a Waffen SS unit and various paramilitary groups.
2) Byelorussia participation with Hitler’s efforts are to be recognised, and in Minsk, a specific charge is made of their terrifying efforts to murder Minsk Jewry.
3) Denmark, lauded as a nation of Righteous, did serve the Hitler cause too with various Nazi idealised groups and a Waffen ss contingent.
4) Estonia marshalled many of its most ardent antisemitic legions to man the Death Camps and explore the deep recesses of the Killing Sites to deliver toward Hitler’s final aim.
5) France had the Milice and other organisations ranking among the 10’s of 1,000’s, all submitting to Hitlerite rule and the collaborative effort in removing Jews toward annihilation.
6) Holland serviced the Waffen SS need and many established Nazi affiliated groups existed to round up and disgorge Jews toward the Death Camps.
7) Hungary is synonymous with the Arrow Crosses endeavours on Hitler’s behalf and the near precision exercise to abandon the last remaining Jewish Community of substance toward Auschwitz, during the last stages of Hitler’s failed thousand year Reich.
8) Latvia’s Arajs kommando swept through this Baltic State doing Hitler’s bidding. If we are to accept that Araj kept his own particular collaboration localised, the tentacles of Latvian Collaboration spread far and wide. They manned the Gates at Treblinka, Maly-Trostenets. They were occupied in the Killing Sites along with der Einsatzgruppe and rampaged throughout Byelorussia, Russia and the Ukraine. Their status amongst the Waffen SS also show’s their collaborative nature! Latvian auxiliaries were on hand to crush the Jewish Rebellion in Warsaw.
9) Lithuania was instrumental in targeting their own Jewish communities at the behest of Hitler’s protagonist agenda. They also assisted alongside German forces against the Russians.
10) Norway formed a Waffen SS Division and nazi sympathisers abetted the efforts of the Quislings to control the power brokerage in their own Country.
11) Poland’s 'blue police' not only assisted the Nazi effort to consume 3,000,000 Jews but wilfully participated and perpetrated Crimes against Humanity. Their presence against the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was a clear collaboration against the Jewish People and Poland’s sovereignty.
12) Russia had its own anti-Russian allegiances and this, when coupled with Nazi sympathies, enlarged Hitler’s efforts into the wider Russian field. Entire Armies of dissident Russian forces colluded with Hitler’s efforts while Russian guards patrolled the Death Camps, guarded the Killing Sites and operated the Gas Chambers.
13) Slovakian collaboration and the Hlinka Guard oversaw the disintegration of the Czechoslovakian republic and were entirely active in the deportation of their Jewish People toward the Death Camps.
14) Ukrainian Collaboration took upon itself many distinctions and a Waffen SS unit was instrumental in every anti-Jewish action throughout Eastern Europe. The Ukraine supplied a militia which could field in excess of 18 divisional strength units of some 180,000 members.
15) Yugoslavia had the Croatian Ustasia to act for the Hitlerite influence in the region and they were systematically brutal against Jews, Serbs and Gypsies alike.
So the complexion of cooperation might be varied, wherever it was met, but it held a single accord when it was dealing with The Jewish Question. It is too simplistic to recognise in the actions of the Balts or the Ukrainian’s something which did not exist in Holland or Poland. But the simple fact of the matter is, collaboration which assisted Hitler in his efforts to devour as many Jews as was conceivably possible, was articulated in each and every one of these Country’s here mentioned.
HolocaustPosted by P.A. Draigh Fri, August 11, 2017 15:40:46
It is with all honesty, that I threw every emotion I could muster into ensuring, not only do we Remember that 6,000,000 innocent People were Murdered, because they were Jews, but that we lay claim to its memory and place the full ferocity of its conduct and implementation where it belongs. On a pyramid scale, Hitler stands atop of this pile of iniquity, of the human carnage which ensued and of the total disregard for any morality which was clearly on display. No one should argue other than this position which has been properly raised by Raul Hilberg to damn and even condemn those who aided and abetted Hitler’s endeavour. That is unless of course you are a denier!
"..first and foremost perpetrator was Adolf Hitler. ..without him it would have been inconceivable." Raul Hilberg.
Underneath this single insignificant man who became a significant person in the dishevelling influence of civilisation, are the guilty, the complicit, the duplicitous, the perpetrator, the participator, the collaborator, the mealy mouthed, the haters and the bystander who chose to look the other way. Of course not all of these are equally as guilty here. I would strenuously argue that avoiding the atrocity is less reprehensible that participating in it, but just as morally bankrupt. For those who issued the laws and decrees, and for those who fulfilled them to the devastating degrees achieved, all share an enormous guilt.
"..Every day they keep issuing new laws against ..Jews. Today ..for example ..they took all our appliances away from us ..sewing machine ..radio ..telephone ..vacuum cleaner ..electric fryer and my camera. I don't care about ..camera any more ..even though they didn't leave a receipt for it ..like when they took ..bicycle." Eva Heyman.
What Eva Heyman did not, nor could not know was, that Hitler and his regime were in the process of taking away 6,000,000 Jewish lives so as to profit further from their demise. Under guise of carrying forth these laws from Hitler demands, would come an entire echelon of mass Murderer's, Himmler, Heydrich, Eichmann and the entire cadre of SS, Wehrmacht, Polizei, Collaborators from many nations and all other willing executioners. There were spectators to the growing and escalating hatred and those like Hugh Greene of the Daily Telegraph actually reported what he saw.
"..I was in Berlin at that time and saw some pretty revolting sights ..destruction of Jewish shops ..Jews being arrested and led away ..police standing by while ..gangs destroyed ..shops ..even groups of well dressed women cheering. Maybe those women had a hangover next morning ..as they were intoxicated all right when this was taking place. I found it ..utterly revolting. In fact to a German journalist who saw me on that day and asked me what I was doing there ..I remember I just said very coldly ..I'm studying German culture." Hugh Greene.
From here, an advantage point underneath the fuller deeds to segregate, emasculate and destroy the Jews, states of nations read these reports and chose to do nothing. These too are as guilty as any of those who stood idly by and watched as innocent Men, Women and Children were disregarded from life because they were Jews. Now these witnesses are never going to be as guilty as the bystander who so much as profited a bean in some way from the deepening Catastrophe that was rapidly unfolding for the Jewish People. The scale of the entire atrocity lasted some 12 to 13 years, from 1932 till 1945 and yet the full crescendo of The Holocaust enactment was during a period of some 4 to 6 years during that period, from 1939 till 1945.
"..Only one judgement is passed on ..executioner ..he ceases to be a human being. Though looking on his victim as Less Than Human ..he becomes his own executioner ..he executes ..human being inside himself. But ..victim ..no matter what ..executioner does to kill him ..remains a human being forever." Vasily Grossman.
Exactly what Vasily Grossman states as the degrading personality of a debased person, allows us to see through the obfuscation of facts and figures to identify those individuals responsible for their own actions. Still again, atop this myriad of those guilty of many facets of the same crime, The Holocaust, we cannot ever engineer all people into the blame for what some, even many from varying and possibly all states chose to do or decided not to do. So once again we stand away from the atrocity and seek to afford blame to those who were rightly guilty so as such acclaim cannot be rendered upon those who were innocent. We should never involve these innocent, and there were many, in what needs to be certain is guilt in the process of this Jewish Annihilation.
"..When I stand before you ..to lead ..Prosecution of Adolf Eichmann ..I am not standing alone. With me are 6,000,000 accusers. ..they cannot rise ..and point an accusing finger. ..For their ashes are piled up on ..hills of Auschwitz and ..fields of Treblinka ..and are strewn in ..forests of Poland. Their graves are scattered throughout ..length and breadth of Europe. Their blood cries out ..but their voice is not heard. ..I will be their spokesman and in their name I will unfold ..awesome indictment." Gideon Hausner.
The indictment of course is for Gideon Hausner to label all those would be accusers with the ability to reign over their accused. That he did so, with an integrity supported by truth and honesty is the worth of any man aspiring to deliver Justice to those previously denied it. Remember too, Gideon Hausner did not accuse all Germans. He accused Adolf Eichmann as the accused who railed against Jewish antecedence and delivered for Hitler, the 6,000,000 lost voices of those quelled in the culling of all civilisation. Believe me! I am one who feels the best voice to add to the missing voices from The Holocaust are those Jews who know, those Jews who saw and those Jewish People who witnessed what no Human Being should ever have been a witness to. So for me, what Chaim Aron Kaplan acknowledges is a clear knowledge of what we now seek to know of.
"..anyone ..attempting to write ..on ..nature of Nazism ..will not be able to express ..truth ..Nazism's cruelty and barbarism. ..no writer among ..gentiles is qualified for this task. ..a Jewish writer who lives ..life of his people ..who feels ..suffers their agony ..cannot find a true path here. Only one who feels ..taste of Nazi rule ..only one who ..bared his back to ..lashes ..only ..a writer ..if he is a man of sensitivity ..might be able to." Chaim Aron Kaplan.
It is above all my hope that you will best accredit my obvious intention with the emotive sensitivity I believe I deliver in what stands as a motto for me in that I seek Always to Remember, Never to Forget what happened and indeed what was allowed to happen to 6,000,000 Jews. So I too am here to accuse those of their guilt! So please accuse, please blame and please ensure that for those who respectfully deserve our integrity to speak for them, that they are all Remembered in all honesty. We deliver them a posthumous memory with the surety we must accord to their murderer's, their executioner's and those willing to assist in this calamity for all Humanity an accurate indictment of their crimes.
"..I am happy to die amidst fighting Halutzim. We will take with us into our graves ..awareness that ..Jewish People will endure eternally." Yitzhak Katzenelson.
Yitzhak Katzenelson accords death with a certain victory that while Jews have been targeted for extinction, Jews will endure and Jews will certainly Survive. So while I am aware of the rawness of grief which the Survivor must feel, I share a sense of that grief giving way to optimism. The future is always bold. For me, while I am sure the Children of those who did not Survive, which is ably assisted by such grief, it remains too enormous for us ever to comprehend its manifest and compounding effects. But no one ever has the right to accuse anyone of a wrong that was not done by them. So if 6,000,000 accuser's look down on the German People, they will find many who are neither guilty nor attributable to these crimes for which they have paid the ultimate price.
"..misery ..SS inflicted on their victims defies description ..cool ..calculating manner in which it was inflicted is atrocious. ..to look back on this piece of human history fills us with horror." Elie A. Cohen.
As we continually look back we are, like Elie A. Cohen, all becoming more and more aware of what atrocity The Holocaust is for 6,000,000 Jewish People, and then on their behalf for World Jewry. We are becoming more aware to the atrocity, but believe me, we are not as yet awake to the mounting threat which has been led by the wrong lessons from The Holocaust period. Indeed, the Jewish People have been taught a savage and brutal lesson, both deeply wounding and even terminal in terms of how they relate to the rest of the World. I am torn here by two lessons which emanate from one of the finest writer's on The Holocaust theme, and while succinct in this passage, Primo Levi's message is blunt and to the point.
"..if ..world could become convinced ..Auschwitz never existed ..it would be easier to build ..second Auschwitz .. and ..no assurance it would devour only Jews". Primo Levi.
So we guard against the platforms of growing hatreds and must acknowledge our debt to those who delivered their experience to us. But we must never forget that such experience has been borne by all too many who should have been protected by any who would call themselves, moral, ethical or even 'christian'. But in all my efforts of concern, I am no less emotive, and I lend my own words and they are the words of this Irish, former 'catholic', who wishes so much more that should have been done and which could have been done was done. Hindsight is a wondrous option, but I am certain that I could not have stood back while lines of marching People were being progressed toward their final destruction, even if I had not gathered the reason for their removal from our midst.
"..I have always made it a point ..when I meet with Survivors ..to apologise to them on behalf of what an ostensibly 'christian' body of people has done. For ..whole of Humanity that Sin of Perpetration ..Intolerance or Indifference is a stain upon our own legitimacy as human beings. So just in case I do not get ..opportunity to greet you in person ..I apologise to You for ..inability of those 6,000,000 Murdered Jews of The Holocaust who cannot direct their appreciation and respect for what you have done and what you have achieved. In each of you ..World entire has been saved." Patrick Dempsey.
Here then, as we approach a rebuke of the total humiliation, the demoralisation of people, which indeed led all too many toward that spiritual shipwreck, these are not the 6,000,000 Jews demoralised though we allowed them to be humiliated. These rebukes however are for those who sought to forget the deeds they undertook to wreck such an amassed ship filled with the lives of 6,000,000 Murdered Jewish Souls. So to this day we now choose to Remember where once 6,000,000 lives have been taken to and while we will never know where all of them have been unceremoniously dumped, I have a wish to speak for them
".. A whole generation of Germans ..children and grandchildren of ..perpetrators of ..Nazi genocide ..have heard nothing from their parents and grandparents about what they saw ..and what they did ..in Auschwitz and ..other factories of death. It is time ..at long last ..to stop forgetting and suppressing." Irene Weiss.
It truly is time to stop forgetting and always remembering, which is all too easy for those in search of a comprehension as to why 6,000,000 Jews were systematically sought out for Destruction. For me though, we do not best serve this search with any bias or a wrongly placed anger and hatred for what was done and achieved against the Jewish People. Irene Weiss asks us, and we should accept our duty is to do whatever is required to add to 6,000,000 memories, but not at a cost to what identifies those who truly must be unmasked as the guilty. It appears to me that the Jewish mistrust of the World is well placed, and considering 2,000 years of anti-Jewish rhetoric, I too am appalled it has lasted too long. So when that fully vocalised hatred was converted into an annihilation process, an all too easily adapted and accepted programme by all too many, needs to be explored.
"..I have struggled hard to overcome ..hatred of those who cruelly destroyed my early life ..my family and almost succeeded in exterminating my people. ..I have come to realise ..there are no basically evil nations or racial groups. ..There are only evil people ..seekers after wealth or power." Maja Abramowitch.
But in accepting the reasoning of one such as Maja Abramowitch, how could I argue against all she knew and came to know, I would contend that not even she could forgave anyone for what was done to the 6,000,000 Murdered Jews of The Holocaust. Forgiveness for these Destroyed Jews belongs to them solely, and they are no longer in a position to forgive. I accept that intrinsically there are only evil people who are individuals in amongst nations and racial groups. So before I get involved with even more work on Remembering why this is all a loss for us ALL, I will leave you with the knowledge that my words are mixed with those better presented to represent all that needs to be said, and believe me, Primo Levi has all I wish I could say.
"..I do not ..cannot know what I would be today if I had not been in ..Camp. No man knows his future. ..a man sets out ..almost never are our choices between ..two alternatives. ..every choice is followed by others. ..if I had not lived ..Auschwitz experience ..I probably would never have written. ..years have passed ..interposed ..artificial memory ..a defensive barrier ..between my ..normal present and ..dramatic past. ..I survived ..due ..to good luck. ..to survive with ..precise purpose of recounting. ..helped by ..determination ..to recognise always ..my companions ..myself ..men ..not things. ..to avoid ..total humiliation and demoralisation which led so many to spiritual shipwreck." Primo Levi.
TestimonyPosted by P.A. Draigh Fri, July 28, 2017 17:28:49
On this day in the History of The Holocaust July 31st. 1919 sees Germany adopt the Weimar constitution. On July 29th. 1921 Hitler becomes Chairman NSDAP, enroute toward becoming der Fuhrer. On July 14th. 1925 the Allies commence withdrawal from the Ruhr and on July 18th. Hitler's 1st. Volume of 'Mein Kampf', My Struggle, is published. On July 31st. 1932 the Nazi's secure 37.3% of the Election votes cast, winning 230 of the 608 seats in the Reichstag. They are now the Largest single Party in German Government. On July 1st. 1933 the German government reiterates that Hitler still belongs to the Catholic Church and has no intention of leaving it. On July 14th. The Nazi Party becomes Germany's only legally recognised political party. The Law Regarding Revocation of Naturalisation and the Annulment of German Citizenship removes German citizenship from Eastern European Jews and Gypsies resident in Germany.
The Law for the Prevention of Offspring with Hereditary Diseases is decreed and euthanasia, for those declared 'lebensunwertes Leben,' of a 'life unworthy of life', will be murdered. The law is endorsed by the American Eugenics Society and meanwhile, Jews will be refused entry into Law Schools under Hitler's personal wishes. On July 20th. Reich Concordat with Pope Pius XI and the Vatican, a treaty protecting Catholic rights in Germany for the church while this gives Hitler 'Political recognition'. On July 31st. approximately 30,000 people are by now interned in Hitler’s Nazi Concentration Camps. On July 4th. 1934 Theodor Eicke establishes the Inspectorate of Concentration Camps at Dachau. On July 10th. the Polish anti-Semitic organisation 'Oboz Narodowo-Radykalny' is banned by Polish leader Marshal Jozef Pilsudski, three months after its formation.
On July 20th. the SS is strengthened and becomes autonomous of the much weakened SA and the SS now overhauls the Camp system. On July 25th. a Nazi Putsch in Austria fails and the Austrian Prime Minister, Engelbert Dollfuss is murdered. On July 26th. Franz von Papen becomes special envoy to Austria. On July 1st. 1935 The Society for Research into the Teaching of Ancestral Heritage, 'Ahnenerbe Forschungs und Lehrgemeinschaft' founded. This will become an anti-Semitic undertaking, studying the racial history of the German people. On July 3rd. 1936 in the assembly room of the League of Nations in Geneva, Stefan Lux, a German Jew, kills himself in protest at Hitler’s, and Germany's ill treatment of the Jews. On July 11th. Hitler agrees Austrian Sovereignty and the following day, on July 12th. Prisoners and civilian workers begin to construct Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, at Oranienburg, 32 Kilometres from Berlin.
On July 1st. 1937 Pastor Martin Niemoeller is arrested over his opposition to Hitler and on July 8th. Werner Otto von Hentig of the German Foreign Office issues a memorandum to his superior, Ernst von Weizsaker, suggesting that poorer Jews should be expelled ahead of richer Jews in order to extort a greater levy from Germany's more prosperous Jews! On July 16th. Buchenwald Concentration Camp opens near Weimar and the first 300 prisoners arrive. On July 27th. the Trial of 5 Jews opens in Bamberg, Germany over alleged 'ritual murder'. On July 2nd. 1938 40,000 Austrian Jews are taken into 'protective custody'. On July 6th. Anti-Jewish limitations on their economic life are promulgated as a Refugee Conference is convened at Evian-les-Bains, France. The Evian Conference, of which 29 of the 33 Nations invited who turn up to meet and discuss the growing crisis for Jews under Hitler's yoke, sort out nothing for the Jewish People! As if the Jews don’t feel isolated enough, or abandoned completely,
Evian hands Hitler the confirmation that he has captured the mood of indifference that the World holds for the Jewish predicament and this is reflected in a News Paper article the day before the Evian Conference ends on July 15th.. On July 14th. Pope Pius XI is 'politically' displeased and shares a hope that the Italian leader Benito Mussolini would not be inadvertently influenced by Hitler. However, an Italian Manifesto of the Racial Scientists is issued which suggests otherwise and this is barely 5 months after Mussolini declared he did not envisage a Jewish Problem.
Thursday July 14th. 1938 "..Jews for Sale at a Bargain price. Who Wants Them? No One!" German Newspaper Reichswart.
On July 15th. The Evian Conference ends with none of those present unwilling or unable to resolve the major issue, and that is to admit large numbers of Jewish refugees who are facing an increasing weight of abuse and isolation. After 10 days of deliberation, the Jews under direct threat from Hitler must certainly feel abandoned. On July 21st. Jews in Germany are made to apply for identity cards and on July 25th. The Medical Certification of Jewish physicians is cancelled. On July 30th. Henry Ford receives the Grand Cross of the German Eagle from the Third Reich. On July 4th. 1939 Jews cannot be employed in Government positions and German Jewry is to be placed under the Reich Association of Jews, 'Reichsvereingung der Juden im Deutschland', authority. On July 26th. Adolf Eichmann takes charge of Prague Emigration Office.
Sunday July 30th. 1939 "..No doubt Jews are not ..loveable people ..do not care about them myself. ..not sufficient to explain ..pogrom." Neville Chamberlain.
On July 1st. in 1940’s Poland the Bedzin Ghetto is established and 30,000 Jews will be Enclosed. On July 2nd. Martin Franz Julius Luther of the German Foreign Ministry circulates a proposal on The Madagascar Plan. In theory, it was proposed to remove all of Europe’s Jews to this Island off the South East coast of Africa. It should also be noted here, that Mieczyslaw Lepecki headed a Polish Governmental Commission tasked, 3 years previously, in 1937, to investigate the likelihood of deporting their own Polish Jews to Madagaskar. On July 4th. the Ion Gigurtu Government takes over in Romania. On July 6th. Tadeusz Wiejowski, is the first successful escapee from Auschwitz.
"..local population is fanatically Polish and is ready to do anything against ..hated camp SS garrison. Every prisoner who manages to escape can count on all possible help as soon as he reaches ..first Polish homestead." SS Obersturmbannfuhrer Rudolf Hoess.
While this position is strictly true as it pertained to the position of the Poles detained in Labour Camp Auschwitz back in 1940, it would not hold out the same prospect for any of those escaping Jews when Hoess was given the directive to turn Auschwitz into a Death Camp with the structure of Birkenau ensuring the complete destruction of the Jews sent there. There was a two fold reason for this, as Poles would be automatically Murdered for their assistance of Jews, but it did not prevent some Poles from enriching themselves collaborating with Hitler’s attempts to destroy all of Polish Jewry. On July 10th. Collaborationist French Government is formed at Vichy as the Battle of Britain begin. On July 12th. Hans Frank declares that he has convinced Hitler to cease his deportation of Jews to General Government.
Here, with the mere suggestion that Frank spoke to Hitler about the Deportation of the Jews into his Generalgouvernment territory, it ensures our awareness of Hitler's resolve for his Final Solution. On July 16th. the expulsion of Alsace’s Jews begins and on July 18th. Warsaw Jews are barred from Public Parks and their Benches. On July 19th. the Zychlin Ghetto in Poland is established and 3,200 Jews will be Enclosed as German Jews have their phones confiscated and Britain rejects Hitler's peace overture in Reichstag speech. On July 21st. Hitler prepares for his attack on Russia, Operation Barbarossa. On July 23rd. Hitler visits Paris as the first Jewish mentally ill are murdered at the Brandenburg Institute and as Bishop Theophil Wurm objects to the 'euthanasia' project that is being conducted at Grafaneck also. On July 28th. Hitler meets the Slovakian leadership in Salzburg and urges a more radical solution to their own Jewish Question.
On July 1st. 1941 100's of Plunge’s Jews are murdered and 100 Lyakhovichi Jews are murdered and the Wehrmacht now enters Riga. On July 2nd. Heydrich gives carte blanche to his Higher SS and Police Fuhrer's, the HSSPF, to deal exclusively and systemically with the Jewish People. Meanwhile 800 of Novo-Selista’s Jews are Murdered as are 100's of Kamenka's Jews and 100's of Stryj’s Jews, also Murdered. In earnest SS Standartenfuhrer Alfred Filbert's Einsatzkommando '9' sets about the murders of Vilna's Jews as SS Standartenfuhrer Karl Jaeger's Einsatzkommando '3' has overall responsibility for murder duties in Lithuania. On July 3rd. 4,000 of Lvov’s Jews are murdered as are 3,500 of Zloczew’s Jews 100's of Drohobycz’s Jews 100 of Bialystok’s Jews and 100 of Novogroduk’s Jews, also murdered. Meanwhile, Josef Stalin issues a scorched Earth policy.
Friday July 4th. 1941 "..we are not ashamed of our badges. Let those be ashamed who have hung them on us." Yitzhak Rudashevski.
On July 4th. 5,000 of Tarnopol’s Jews are murdered and over 2,000 of Lutsk’s Jews are murdered at Lubard Fortress. 463 of Kovno’s Jewish Men and Women murdered at Fort VII and 100's of Riga's Jews are murdered, forced into the Great Choral Synagogue, Gogol Street, set alight with those rounded up still inside.5 of the 6 other Riga Synagogues are set alight with their congregations locked inside. Nly Peitavas Street Synagogue survives. The Jews of Schodnica are Murdered as the Jewish Badge decree was issued to the Jews of Vilna, who were ordered to wear it. This identifying process, a symbol meant to serve as a subjugating badge of dishonour, was a stage on the road to Ponary Woods and was a progressive approach which so confused and then engulfed the Jewish People. Led into believing that the Germans were actually an acculturated and enlightened people, these Jews of Riga, and wherever Hitler held sway, were soon convinced otherwise.
On July 5th. Rudolf Schmundt, Hitler's adjutant, reports to his Fuhrer that thousands of Russian Jews have already been murdered as Zalman Tannenberg, the Piotrkow-Trybunalski Ghetto Judenrate Chairman is arrested and sent to Auschwitz. Along with 10 other Judenrate members, all are to be Murdered there. The Einsatzkommando are in Lvov and SS Hauptscharfuhrer Felix Landau affords the World a Testimony.
Saturday July 5th. 1941. "..There were 100's of Jews walking along ..street with blood pouring down their faces ..holes in their heads ..hands broken ..eyes hanging out of their sockets. ..covered in blood. Some ..carrying others who had collapsed. We went to ..citadel ..saw things that few people have ever seen. At ..entrance ..were soldiers standing guard. .. holding clubs ..thick as a man's wrist ..lashing out and hitting anyone who crossed their path. ..Jews were pouring out of ..entrance. ..rows of Jews lying one on top of ..other ..whimpering horribly. ..Jews kept streaming out ..completely covered in blood. ..just being hit out of rage and hatred." SS Hauptscharfuhrer Felix Landau.
O July 6th. 3,000 of Chernovtsy’s Jews are murdered and 2,514 of Kovno’s Jews are murdered at the VII Fort. 600 of Skalat’s Jews are murdered and the Germans enter Czortkow where there are 8,000 Czortkow Jews to be resettled. The Lvov Jews are now ordered to wear the Yellow Star.
"..For ..past several months ..it has been reported that ..on instructions from Berlin ..patients who have been suffering for a long time from apparently incurable diseases have been forcibly removed from homes and clinics. Their relatives are later informed that ..patient has died ..that ..body has been cremated and that ..ashes may be claimed. There is little doubt that these numerous cases of unexpected death of ..insane are not natural but often deliberately caused ..and result from ..belief that it is right to take away life that is unworthy of being lived. This ghastly doctrine tries to justify ..murder of blameless men and would seek to give legal sanction to ..forcible killing of invalids ..cripples ..incurable and ..incapacitated. I have discovered that ..practice here in Westphalia is to compile lists of such patients who are to be removed elsewhere as unproductive citizens and ..after a period of time ..put to death. This very week ..first group of these patients has been taken from ..clinic of Marienthal near Munster." Bishop Clement August von Galen.
The Bishop of Munster, Clement August von Galen stated in his missal, which was protesting the actions of the T4 Euthanasia Programme. This was fully in line with the Fulda Pastoral letter and meanwhile, the Church is still silent over what is happening to the Jewish People. Remember also that the Euthanasia Programme, T4, was in operation ever since Hitler's Invasion of Poland. On July 7th. 2,000 of Khotin’s Jews are murdered, 32 of Marijampole’s Jews are also murdered with more than 8,794 of Marijampole’s Jews who will be eventually murdered. The Germans have entered Buczacz. On July 8th. 40 of Przemysl’s Jews are murdered, burned to Death in their Synagogue. 14 of Marijampole’s Jews are murdered as the Mass Murder of Jews begins in Ponary Woods while the German forces enter Lipkany and many Jews are immediately Murdered.
All Baltic Jews are forced to wear 'Star of David,' the Jewish Badge of Honour and Hitler declared that Goering's Luftwaffe would reduce Moscow and Leningrad to rubble. This added to Hitler's euphoria of the day, when he would be spared the necessary feeding of populations within 2 cities, so reduced to rubble, the Russian people would supposedly cease to exist. Elsewhere, Mihai Antonescu the Romanian President of the Council of Ministers makes plans for "ethnic purification' as the Jews of Bessarabia and Bucovina are ejected from Romania. On July 9th. 34 of Wendziogala’s Jewish Men and Women murdered and 24 Kovno Jewish Men and Women are murdered at the VII Fort. Meanwhile, British intelligence has broken the 'enigma' code. Now, before the Allied Nations lay the strategic values Hitler placed upon the advance 'East' and the 'resettlement' programme for the Jewish People he will have encountered there.
The Operational Situation Reports of der Einsatzgruppe in the East, these OSR's, are a clear indictment of the facts. However, as we read them today, they are cold and calculating and specify the relevance to Hitler of the Murder of every last Man, Woman and Child of the Jewish Faith. Also, and in depicting the Slaughter of the mainly Jewish People der Einsatzgruppe trawled the East for, all of what became known through the ‘intelligence’ led community, should have better prepared the West for all and any action to limit, decrease or even prevent the future terms of what The Holocaust would amount to. It is conceivably culpable, that given the knowledge which the Enigma cipher had presented, it is remarkable that any of the 6,000,000 Jews of Europe, Men, Women and Their Children still managed to be Murdered?
On July 10th. 1,600 of Jedwabne’s Jews, the entire Jewish Population are burned to death by local Poles. 200 Jews of Czortkow are Murdered and over 123 of Vilna’s Jews are also murdered. Hitler's forces race toward Kiev, whose Jews are to receive, 'the worst blow.' HSSPF Obergruppenfuhrer Erich von dem Bach-Zalewski issues an order that all Male Jews, 17 - 45 years of age, should be shot on the grounds of 'looting.'
Friday July 11th. 1941 "..all Male Jews between 17 and 45 convicted as plunderer’s are to be shot. ..shootings to take place away from Cities ..Villages ..thoroughfares. ..graves ..levelled in such a way ..no pilgrimage site can arise. ..I forbid photographing and ..spectators at ..executions. Executions and sites are not to be made know. Colonel Max Montua.
The order from Bach-Zalewski is reissued for the benefit of Montua’s his own killing force, and as if Hitler needed some arbitrary excuse to Murder all the Jews he so wished, looting and plundering are given as some form of reasoning. It is clear however, that Colonel Montua has been given a directive which will allow for no future presence of the Jews to remain. Murdered and concealed, it will be the forensic status of Historical Archaeology which will deliver forward any Jewish Presence from the Killing Sites. As to the photographing of any of these atrocity’s, though limited, History is fully able to observe what Montua sought to forbid. On July 11th. 7,800 of Kovno’s Jews are murdered. 5,000 of Ternopol’s Jews are murdered in a 7 day action. 100's of Vilna's Jews are murdered in Ponary Woods and the Vitebsk Ghetto in Byelorussia is established and 16,000 Jews will be Enclosed.
Friday July 11th. 1941 "..already know what was going on. ..3 pm ..large group of Jews ..taken ..300 people. ..hour later ..volleys began. Ten ..shot at a time." Kazimierz Sakowicz.
What the witness Kazimierz Sakowicz notes in his Diary is the procession of Vilna's Jews toward Ponary Woods and their destruction at the hands of the Einsatz, Lithuanian and Ukrainian Kommando's lined up to resolve the particular aspect of Vilna’s Jewish Question.
Saturday July 12th. 1941 "..At 6:00 in ..morning ..awoken from a deep sleep. Report for an execution. Fine ..so I'll just play executioner and then gravedigger ..why not? 23 had to be shot ..amongst them 2 women. ..We had to find a suitable spot to shoot and bury them. After a few minutes we found a place. ..death candidates assembled with shovels to dig their own graves. Two of them were weeping. ..others certainly have incredible courage. ..Strange ..I am completely unmoved. No pity ..nothing. That's ..way it is and then it's all over. ..Valuables ..watches ..money ..put into a pile. ..2 women are lined up at one end of ..grave ready to be shot first. ..As ..women walked to ..grave they were completely composed. They turned around. Six of us had to shoot them. ..job ..assigned thus ..three at ..heart ..three at ..head. I took ..heart. ..shots were fired and ..brains whizzed through ..air. Two in ..head is too much. They almost tear it off. ..a few bodies ..rearranged with a pickaxe. ..I came back dog tired." SS Hauptscharfuhrer Felix Landau.
On July 12th., the British Russian Mutual Aid Pact is signed in Moscow as the Einsatzkommando are in Drohobycz and Felix Landau affords the World a Testimony. On July 14th. 21 of Marijampole’s Jews are murdered as Adolf Hitler issues his War Directive, No. 32a, for the continuing conduct of operations in Russia. On July 16th. Hitler is now seen here, at the genesis of what must have been the early stages of what would intentionally become die Endlosung der Judenfrage, The Final Solution of the Jewish Question.
Wednesday July 16th. 1941 "..essential ..we do not proclaim our views ..before ..world. ..no need for that ..main thing ..we ourselves know what we want. ..all necessary measures ..shooting ..resettlement ..we shall take them." Adolf Hitler.
Such was the disguise given over to Hitler's more fundamentally murderous solution that in this, Hitler was fully prepared to immerse all arms of the Reich in the very detail of the atrocity and that immersion then fully arose at forthcoming Wannsee Conference. It must be recognised also, that while Hitler pronounced a death sentence upon ALL the Jews of Europe, his functionaries where consolidating this total view. While der Einsatzgruppe were rampaging through Russia at this time, the Ghetto’s of Europe were adding to this collective assault, with thousand's upon thousand's of Jews left to starve to death throughout Poland and further beyond. Here, according to SS Hauptsturmfuhrer Hoeppner, the Jews of the Warthegau were being forced toward an eventual resolve with the full implications of the disguised tenets of The Final Solution. Hoeppner directed his own comments to none other than Eichmann, with a charge that suggested:-
Thursday July 17th. 1941 "..There is a danger this winter that it will not be possible to feed all ..Jews. It should be seriously considered whether ..most humane solution would not be to do away with ..Jews ..unless they are capable of working ..by means of some quick method. In any case ..this would be more convenient than letting them starve to death." Rolf Heinz Hoeppner.
While the contention of history remains that few knew fully what Hitler demanded, the world woke to a devastation unparalleled in all history, and the destruction of 6,000,000 Jewish People. A rubicon had been crossed and the civilising warrant towards humanity was tossed aside. Hitler fully articulated these ambiguous terms, and he himself set before time the methodology to disguise what hen himself intended for the Jews. For today’s understanding of what resettlement surely meant, and in these unambiguous terms, shooting, death and destruction for all of his enemies would follow. We know too that the Jews figured crucially in those terms of reference, where hatred was clearly uttered and countenanced and the intention can only ever have been that Hitler was intent upon the devastation and total destruction of the Jewish People. Hitler developed such a strategy along a line toward a final and destructive assault upon the integrity of the Jews, wherever Hitler found them.
While only Hitler knew all and every detail of a world view that encapsulated a discourse signalling the destruction of the Jews, few could then and now deny the truth of all that Hitler professed. On July 17th. 1,200 of Slonim’s Jews are Murdered and 6 Jews of Babtei are also murdered. Reinhard Heydrich once more escalates the search for Hitler’s final solution with an order to murder all captured Jewish Prisoner's of War and Alfred Rosenberg is now appointed Reich Minister for the Eastern Occupied Territories. On July 18th 4,000 of Lipkany’s Survivors are further expelled toward Transnistria and many were Murdered en-route, few ever returned. Elsewhere, 53 of Marijampole’s Jewish Men and Women murdered. On July 19th. 19 of Kovno’s Jewish Men and Women are murdered at the VII Fort. Hitler now issues War Directive No. 33 for the further conduct of operations in Russia and while Hitler's emphasis switches away from Moscow, after Army Group South takes Smolensk, there is the seeming certainty of victory in Southern Sector.
Sunday July 20th. 1941 "..we heard that for ..remaining Jews living in town ..a ghetto is being prepared on ..side of ..Grive." Paula Frankel-Zaltzman
On July 20th. the Minsk Ghetto is established and there will be over 60,000 Jews Enclosed. Minsk is one of the Nine Major Ghetto’s Established. The Daugavpils Ghetto was hereby established with 23,048 Jews contained. On July 21st. 70 of Panevezys’ Jewish Men and Women are murdered while 30 Russians and 45 Jews of Minsk are also murdered. It should be remembered that these Russians had refused to murder the Jews and paid the ultimate price for their humanitarian bravery. Heinrich Himmler now orders for the Majdanek Death Camp plans to be altered as Majdanek is operational as a Concentration Camp. Romania recovers Besserabia.
Tuesday July 22nd. 1941 "..About 8,000 Jewish people with ..present ..SS personnel would take about 1 year ..which is untenable for pacification of ..Liepaja." Naval Kommandant Hans Kawelmacher.
On July 22nd. 1 of Panevezys’ Jews is murdered and Vichy begins expropriation of Jewish businesses and property’s. Hitler proclaims to the Croatian leader, Marshal Sladko Kvaternik, that victory in Russia would be accomplished by September. Hitler also suggests to the Croatian leader for the need to exterminate its own internal enemies and also demands that rear-Army areas are suppressed ruthlessly and with the harshest methods. On July 23rd. 95 of Kedainiai’s Jewish Men and Women are murdered and Hitler issues his War Directive No. 33a for the further conduct of operations in Russia. On July 24th. 3,300 of Liepaja’s Jews are murdered at Skeden, over a three day period. Elsewhere the Kishinev Ghetto is established and Brest-Litovsk surrenders. On July 25th. 3,800 of Kovno’s Jews are murdered and with SS Brigadefuhrer Erwin Schukltz and his EK 5 here at Zhitomir, 2,500 of Zhitomir’s Jews are killed in those initial days.
An operation, the Petliura Days commences as 2,000 of Lvov's Jews are murdered and 2,000 are arrested on this 'Black Friday'. These Lvov Jews were taken to the Jewish Cemetery and to the Lunecki Prison and were systematically shot them. Many more 1,000’s were injured.
103 of Mariampole’s Jewish Men and Women are murdered. On July 26th. the Germans enter Stanislawow and a Jewish Council is immediately demanded in place as the Ghetto Judenrate Chairman is established to conduct matters ordered by the occupying forces. Israel Seibald has that dubious distinction.
Sunday July 27th. 1941 "..Jewish problem Liepaja largely solved by execution of about 1,100 male Jews by Riga SS commando on 24th., 25th., ..27th ..July 1941." Naval Kommandant Hans Kawelmacher.
July 27th. 'Action Petliura' ends with 2,000 of Lvov’s Jews murdered mainly in the Janow Forest and elsewhere over 100 of Belgrade’s Jews are murdered at the Tasmajdan Camp by Wehrmacht troops. Heinrich Lorenz Lohse, the Baltic Commissioner issues guidelines on the treatment of Jews under his jurisdiction in Ostland. On July 28th. 900 of Vilkavisks’ Jews are murdered and 350 Jews of Buczacz are Murdered on Fedor Hill. Mendel Reich now heads the Buczacz Ghetto Judenrate. 249 of Panevezys’ Jewish Men and Women are murdered as are 100's of Drogobych’s Jews, also Murdered. Meanwhile Jews of Kovno are excluded from Parks and Public conveyances, Jews of Kovno are not allowed to sit on benches and the Jews of Kovno are not allowed to walk on the pavements. The Murder of Russian POW's at Smolensk commences. On July 29th. 4,000 of Iasi’s Jews are murdered. 254 of Rasainiai’s Jews are murdered and 40 Lodz Jewish mental patients are murdered in a nearby forest. Wehrmacht troops are busy murdering Jews in Belgrade.
On July 30th. 1,000 of Daugavpils’ Jews, mostly Eldrly and over 60 years old, were Murdered in the Mezciems and Pogulanka Forests. 27 of Agriogala’s Jews are murdered as Hitler issues his War Directive No. 34 for the conduct of operations in Russia. On July 31st. 10,000 of Kovno’s Jews are murdered as are 10,000 Kishinev Jews, also murdered. Over 2,500 of Zhitomir’s Jews are murdered as are 251 of Utena’s Jewish Men and Women, all murdered and 13 of Wendziogala’s Jews are also murdered. Elsewhere the Dvinsk Ghetto is established as Reichsmarshal Hermann Goering instructs Reinhard Heydrich to 'resettle' all of European Jewry. This is to come about in a final resolve that is now meant to employ the physical destruction of all of the Jews of Europe, All Men, All Women and every single Jewish Child included. Meanwhile, Rudolf Hoess is duly informed by Heinrich Himmler that this ultimate programme that Hitler has ordered is in its eventual phase 'The Final Solution of the Jewish Question.'
Thursday July 31st. 1941 "..complete solution of ..Jewish question in ..German sphere of influence in Europe." Hermann Goering.
On July 2nd. 1942 Reinhard Heydrich expands upon the Einsatzgruppe role to his HigherSSPolizeiFuhrer’s. The New York Times reports upon the Killing operations at Chelmno with radical elements and Jewish Officials to be dealt a deadly blow. The entire Jewish Community of Ropczyce are murdered at Belzec as Berlin Jews are being deported to Theresienstadt.
"..I decided to visit ..Belzec ..where ..I assumed ..my sisters had been killed together with all ..girls of ..Ropczyce. I reached Belzec. ..camp was on a hill ..bordered ..by a forest ..and ..railroad tracks which ..Germans had built for transporting their victims. ..Poles had ..turned ..camp into a museum ..without any mention of ..fact that all ..victims were Jews. ..In ..basement there were many human bones. I took one bone with me back to Israel ..it is buried beneath ..memorial for our shtetl ..erected in ..cemetery in Holon." Yehoshua Gold.
On July 3rd. Sevastopol fell to the advancing Wehrmacht and the following day, July 4th. the Wehrmacht are at the Don. On July 7th. 14,000 of Rzeszow’s Jews are murdered at Belzec while 1,000 of Rzeszow’s Jews are murdered in the Rudna Forest. Dr. Irmfried Eberl, Treblinka's Commandant, notifies Dr. Heinz Auerswald, the Commissioner of the Warsaw Ghetto, of his readiness to receive the Jews of Warsaw as Himmler conducts a meeting on the forced Sterilisation of Women inmates at Auschwitz. On July 8th. 7,000 of Lvov’s Jews are murdered at the Janowska Camp. On July 10th. 100 Jewish Women are experimented upon at Auschwitz while 50 inmates escape from Birkenau. The Times of London reports about the liquidation of Polish citizens and the deplorable situation for the Jewish People. It is clearly addressed that the Jews of Poland are being systematically murdered, transported to unknown destinations, which History acknowledges is toward their Destruction.
This information is contained within the report received by the Polish Vice President Stanislaw Mikolajczyk from the Armeia Krakowa, the Polish Home Army. On July 11th. the Extermination Camp at Treblinka is ready for operations. 9,000 of Salonika’s Jews are detained with 2,000 of them forced to labour for Wehrmacht as nearly 44,000 of Salonika’s Jews are expelled to Auschwitz. On July 13th. the action against Rzeszow’s Jews is now complete with 22,000 of the Jewish Community from the Town and its environs, all murdered Belzec. The Action against Rowne’s Jews begins and on July 14th. Dutch Jews are deported to Westerbork. Westerbork becomes the gateway to Auschwitz for the Dutch Jews. The Przemysl Ghetto is now sealed. On July 15th. 5,000 of Rowne’s Jews are murdered in 2 day action and are murdered at Janowa Dolina and over 25,000 of Rowne’s Jews will be eventually murdered.
1,000 of Sasow’s Jews are murdered as the first deportation’s from the Westerbork Transit Camp to Auschwitz takes place. On July 16th. 13,000 German and Austrian Jews in Paris are rounded up and sent to the Drancy detention Camp. On July 17th. Himmler tours Auschwitz and he witnesses his first 'Gassings' as Heydrich escalates the role foreseen for his Einsatz Kommandos to include ALL Jews. On July 18th. the Entire Jewish Community of Szarkowszczyna is murdered as Himmler departs Auschwitz.
Sunday July 19th. 1942 "..elimination of all Jews in Generalgouvernment by end of 1942." Heinrich Himmler.
On July 19th. the Drancy detention Camp is expelling its Jews toward Auschwitz and Himmler issues orders for the final clearance of the Jews from the Generalgouvernment. On July 20th. 1,000 of Kleck’s Jews are murdered and Dr. Karl Gebhardt begins Sulfanilamide experiments at the Ravensbrueck Concentration Camp for Women. On July 21st. Nieswiez Jews resist, with 600 of their number being killed. Elsewhere the entire Kleck Jewish Community is murdered.
Wednesday July 22nd. 1942 "..eve of Tisha be-Av ..Day of Mourning ..liquidation of ..Warsaw ghetto was begun. ..Public Committee was immediately summoned to find out what ..situation was and to take measures. Those attending ..meeting included:
Dr. Adolf Berman
Lipc Eliezer Bloch
Dr. Emmanuel Ringelblum
Dr. Yitzhak Schiper.
..Opinions were divided. Representatives of ..left-wing Zionist parties and of He-Halutz ..and also some of ..men in public life called for active intervention in some way or other. ..majority wanted to wait. How long. Until ..situation became clearer. ..rumours ..circulating that no more than 50,000 to 70,000 Jews would be deported from Warsaw ..old people ..sick ..prisoners ..beggars ..after that ..Aktion would be finished." Adam Czerniakow.
July 22nd. SS Sturmbannfuhrer Hermann ‘Hans’ Hoefle informs Adam Czerniakow of the Warsaw Jewish deportation. This is the First deportation of Warsaw's Jews toward Treblinka and begins with the Large Resettlement. On July 23rd. Adam Czerniakow commits suicide as the first arrival of Warsaw's Jews at Treblinka and the Mass gassing destruction of these Jews begins at Treblinka. The
Wehrmacht takes Rostov. On July 24th. the entire Dereczyn Jewish Community of 3,000 Jews is murdered while 120 escaped to help form a Partisan group under Dr. Jechiel Atlas. On July 26th. 24 Jews from Luxemburg are sent to Theresienstadt.
Tuesday July 28th. 1942 ..meeting was held of He-Halutz and its youth movement branches
..It was decided to set up ..Jewish Fighting Organization YKA (Yidishe Kamf Organizatsie). ..organization signed proclamations which it issued in ..Polish language with ..initials ZOB ..Zydowska Organizacja Bojowa ..Jewish Fighting Organization. ..members of ..Command were..
..delegation was sent to ..Aryan side ..Poles..
..in order to make contact with ..Polish Underground and to obtain weapons for ..ghetto." Jewish Fighting Organisation.
Elsewhere the French conclave of Cardinals and Archbishops protest the cruel treatment of the Jews to Marshal Petain. On July 28th. 156 Jews from Luxembourg are sent to Theresienstadt. The Jewish Fighting Organization, 'Zydowska Organizacja Bojowa,' ZOB is founded in Warsaw.
Tuesday July 28th. 1942. "..Since July 22nd. ..train carrying 5,000 Jews ..daily from Warsaw to Treblinka. ..In addition ..a bi-weekly train carrying 5,000 Jews from Przemysl to Belzec." Dr. Theodor Ganzenmueller.
In communicating the details of the resettlement operation to SS Obergruppenfuhrer Wolf, we have an acknowledgement, which Wolff was not too keen to admit to, that he was fully appraised of the killing operations conducted against the Jews. On July 29th. An extra food ration is offered as incentive for Warsaw Jewish 'resettlement' and starvation brings its dubious reward in Treblinka.
Wednesday July 29th. 1942 "..Nazi's will not succeed in exterminating their victims." Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
July 30th. Information is garnered by four German Business men,
1) Ernst Lemmer, a journalist, who spoke of the presence of mobile gassing vans and the establishment of static gassing chambers,
2) Edgar Salin, a professor at the University of Basel was privy to what Sommer had verified,
3) Eduard Schulte businessman reported what he had been informed of to where Gerhard Riegner ensured the World got to know of Hitler’s Final Solution and
4) Artur Sommer, was an economist and he stated that death camps were being prepared in the East for gassing of all sent there and this clearly added to a body of Evidence confirming Hitler’s clear cut intentions and his resolve was to Murder all of European Jewry.
All of this information converged upon Geneva and for Gerhart Riegner to wire Rabbi Wise of these facts. Rabbi Dr. Stephen Wise of The World Jewish Congress received Riegner’s message, as did the British MP Sidney Silverman. What was certain, and History has validated this truth was an apparent awareness already of Hitler's Final Solution as it was related to the Jewish People. This Hitler resolve would commence with the Deportation East, and as confirmed by The Wannsee Conference, the aggregate killing of 11,293,300 Jews would be involved. All of these Jews would be subsequently sought out for extermination and in a concerted effort realise the annihilation of 6,000,000 Jewish Men, Women and Their Children. However, what Riegner had reported would remain conspicuous by its omission from World awareness till the coming November.
Friday July 31st. 1942 "..At present ..both of us ..ready to meet ..death. I wish my little daughter to be remembered. Margalit ..20 months ..today. ..I don't lament my own life nor that of my wife. I pity only ..so little ..nice ..talented girl. She deserves to be remembered." Israel Lichtenstein.
On July 31st. More than 65,000 of Warsaw’s Ghetto Jews are murdered in Treblinka in 9 day period of destruction and elsewhere, 30,000 of Minsk Jews are murdered in 4 day action. Meanwhile, Lodz Ghetto Jewish Deaths are escalating at an alarming Daily Rate. Israel Lichtenstein leaves to posterity his Last Will and Testament and as part of Emmanuel Ringelblum's Oneg Shabbat, the Joy of the Sabbath, he secures the Planned accumulation of all records to be secretly hidden. These records, Diaries and fragments of information will add to the memory of a vanquished Jewish People. The endeavour to remember and recall what happened to much of Warsaw Jewry will be retrieved but the body of Warsaw's Jewish existence will be devoured in Treblinka, and amongst the other Death Camps Hitler established in Poland.
On July 1st. 1943 all remaining German Jews are placed under Police jurisdiction and on July 4th. the Battle for Kursk begins. On July 5th. Himmler orders Sobibor, the Extermination Camp is be made into a Concentration Camp. On July 6th. over 2,400 more Dutch Jews are sent to Auschwitz and on July 8th. the Vilna Resistance Fighters blow up a Military Train. On July 10th. 5,000 Jews at Kamionka-Strumilowa are murdered and the Allies land in Sicily. On July 13th. over 1,900 Dutch Jews are sent to Auschwitz. On July 15th. The Wehrmacht offensive fails at the Kursk salient. On July 16th. the Gestapo take Yitzhak Wittenberg from the Vilna Ghetto Office as Wittenberg is credited with an assault upon a Nazi Train, 8 days before. However, Wittenberg was freed by his own men but was forced to hand himself over, or look on as the Nazi’s threatened to make Vilna’s Ghetto Jews collectively responsible. On July 18th. 1,000 of Paris’ Jews are deported from Drancy to Auschwitz.
Sunday, 18th. July 1943 "..How can I escape ..troubles of my people ..How can I avoid their anguish that is also mine." Moshe Flinker.
On July 19th. the Allies bomb Rome and on July 20th. over 2,200 more Dutch Jews are sent to Auschwitz. Elsewhere 500 of Czestochowa’s Jews are murdered. Meanwhile the Waldkommando at Sobibor Death Camp, composed of 20 Polish Jews and 20 Dutch Jews, established as a special work unit which supplied wood for the crematorium by cutting down trees and digging out the stumps. At various times there were between 200 and 400 Jews who were kept alive for the purpose of this slave labour at the Death Camp. On July 20, 1943, after two Jews from the Walkommando, namely Shlomo Podchlebnik and Josef Kopf attacked a Ukrainian who was guarding them. The knife, which Podchlebnik had in his boot allowed them to flee and they even encouraged others Jews in the Waldkommando to make their escape.
According to Stanislaw Szmajzner, the other group of Polish Jews decided to flee on foot while eight guards were eating lunch on this same day. Several of them Shlomo Podchlebnik and Josef Kopf included, Josef Freitag, Zindel Honigman, Chaim Korenfeld, Aaron Licht and Abraham Wang escaped though both Josef Kopf was Murdered in August 1944 by his Polish ‘friends’ and Aron Licht was murdered by Polish anti-Semites, though in separate incidents after their escapes. These others survived the duration of the war. On July 21st. the order to liquidate all Jewish Ghetto’s given and on July 22nd. the Americans take Palermo. On July 25th. Benito Mussolini is deposed as Duce, The Italian Leader. On July 31st. 1,000 of Paris’ Jews are deported from Drancy to Auschwitz as the Russians breach a gap, 500 miles into the Wehrmacht’s rear.
On July 1st. 1944 8,000 of Kovno’s Jews are murdered and on July 2nd. 3,000 Jews are murdered in Ponary Woods. More than 70,000 Jews will be murdered here in the pits at Ponary Woods. The Vilna Census showed 54,600 Jews living within its confines 1931 but few of Vilna's Jews will have Survived what awaits them at Ponary Woods, that is more than 60,000 of Lithuanian Jewry murdered there. As
Bishop Antonio Santin writes to SS Gruppenfuhrer Odilo Litario Globocnik, who is already wielding his authority removing Trieste's Jews toward destruction, Santin intervened for the release of a Jewish Woman, Mrs. Pia Rimini Rivalta. Franz Stangl and Artur Liebenschel, Christian Wirth, Dieter Allers and Georg Michalezyk were assembled as part of this Trieste team. On July 3rd. Minsk liberated but not before more than 62,000 of Minsk’s Jews had been murdered. Few survived. The French take Siena.
On July 4th. 2,800 of Papa’s Jews are sent to Auschwitz. On July 5th. over 1,200 of Sopron’s Jews are sent to Auschwitz. Meanwhile, there is an appeal by the International Red Cross President, Professor Karl Burckhardt, for Admiral Horthy to cease Jewish deportations as the German Foreign Ministry intercepts a British Embassy Telegram on the essential for Bombing Auschwitz.
Wednesday July 5th. 1944 "..Bomb ..railway lines from Hungary to Birkenau. Zero in on ..facilities of ..death camp." British Embassy Telegram Bern.
On July 6th. both Moshe Shertok and Chaim Weizmann, President of World Zionist Organisation meet with Anthony Eden, the British Foreign Minister to escalate the Allied response to the Jewish plight. On July 7th. the Hungarian government halts deportations with the reality that 438,000 Hungarian Jews have already been murdered at Birkenau. However, on July 8th. 50,000 more Hungarian Jews are transported to Auschwitz in week long action with more than 488,000 Hungarian Jews having already reached Auschwitz. 13,000 of Debrecen’s Jews are transported to Auschwitz in 5 day action and the Kovno ghetto is liquidated. Vilna is now approached by Russian forces as Russian Forces destroy German Army Group Centre.
"..Our transport was among ..last ones ..from Hungary July 8th. 1944 ..and due to ..unusual number of arrivals ..SS were forced to change their customary procedures. ..gas chambers ..crematoria could not accommodate everyone judged unfit for work ..so 100's were piled along ..railroad tracks to be immolated. ..due to ..heartless haste ..clothed in rags ..marked with ..painted red cross ..hardly any food or water ..also due to this haste ..escaped tattooing." Judith Magyar Isaacson.
On July 9th. Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish Diplomat and emissary of King Gustav V, arrives in Budapest where some 300,000 Hungarian Jews still remain alive. 170,000 of these Jews still survive in Budapest alone. The Allies now take Caen. On July 10th. the Russians are within 90 kilometres of Hitler's Rastenberg, Wolf's Lair Headquarters. On July 11th. Russians cross the Lithuanian border where more than 135,000 Lithuanian Jews have been murdered. The Russians also cross the Latvian border where more than 85,000 Latvian Jews have been murdered. Barely 1% of Latvian Jews Survived. On July 13th. Jewish partisans help liberate Vilna where more than 55,000 of Vilna’s Jews were Murdered. Some 2,500 of Vilna’s Jews Survive.
Saturday July 15th. 1944 "..In spite of everything I still believe ..people are really good at heart." Anne Frank.
On July 18th. The Americans are at St. Lo and on July 19th. Joel Brand's mission, Goods for Blood, is announced to the British Press. On July 20th. Reuters reports upon the murders of 500,000 Jews at Auschwitz and 400,000 of these are Hungarian Jews! The attempt to assassinate Hitler fails.
Thursday July 20th. 1944 "..German authorities would intensify all their efforts to blackmail deceive ..split ..Allies." The Times.
On July 21st. over 560 Belgian Jews are transported to Auschwitz as the Russians recapture Buczacz while 400 Jewish Survivors of Buczacz have been Murdered by these defeated German Forces. On July 22nd. Lvov is liberated where more than 123,000 of Lvov’s Jews have been Murdered. On the eve of Liberation, 1,000 Jews of Majdanek are force marched out of the Camp. 800 of these reached Auschwitz. 435 of Corfu’s Jews are resettled in Birkenau after they refused to work on the Sonderkommando. On July 23rd. 1,700 of Rhodes’ Jews are sent to Auschwitz as the Russians now liberate Majdanek Death Camp. Meanwhile the Red Cross visit Theresienstadt. On July 24th. the Warsaw Jewish Camp in the Ghetto is evacuated. On July 25th. The remaining Jews of the Kovno Ghetto are evacuated where more than 34,700 Jews of Kovno were eventually murdered.
On July 26th. 3,000 of Radom’s Jews are sent to Auschwitz and on July 28th. On a march from Warsaw to Kutno is the First Major Death March. On July 29th. 1,300 Jews from Paris are sent to Auschwitz. On July 30th. over 160 Jews from Toulouse are sent to Auschwitz. Hitler has not given up his stranglehold over Jewish existence and persists while all around him crumbles, to deliver his only achievement in History, the Destruction of The Jewish People. On July 7th. 1945 Robert Jackson visits Nuremberg, a City that was 91% destroyed by Allied bombs. He inspects the Palace of Justice and decides to recommend it as a site for the upcoming War Crimes trials. The Soviets prefer that the trials take place in Berlin however, within their zone of occupation.
"..major operation of unit '1005' is to destroy ..traces of mass murder ..so that it would not be possible afterwards to determine ..overall number of murdered people." Nuremberg Trials Document.
On July 16th. The Potsdam Conference is held and on July 21st. Robert Jackson returns to Nuremberg with British and French representatives as they inspect the possible housing accommodations for the gathering legal teams. On July 31st. half of Belgium's Jewish Population had been murdered at Birkenau and this represents 24,387 Belgian Jews murdered. Russian forces are now at Warsaw. On July 4th. 1946 42 Kielce Jews are murdered by local Poles, post Holocaust to add to the more than 18,042 Jews of Kielce who were murdered in total. Elsewhere, Defence summations begin in the Major War Criminals Trial at Nuremberg and on July 26th. the prosecution begins its own summation in these Trials. On July 30th. the defence of the seven indicted Nazi organizations begins. On July 3rd. 1947 the indictment is filed in der Einsatzgruppe Case. On July 11th. the ship Exodus is forced to return 4,550 Jewish refugees from Palestine to the detention Camps.
On July 15th. Nuremberg War Crimes Trial, Case Number 7, The Hostage Case, begins. Twelve defendants, officers in the German Armed Forces are charged with the murders of 1,000's of Albanian, Greek and Yugoslavian civilians. They are equally charged with the committal of acts of devastation in Norway and other countries. They are likewise charged with the drafting of orders which seek to deny POW's their human rights and for the ordering of the slaughter of surrendered troops. Franz Boehme had committed suicide between the indictment and the arraignment, and the case of Maximilian von Weichs was dismissed due to ill health.
1) Lt. General Franz Boehme, Commander XVIII Mountain Army Corps. Before his arraignment, Committed suicide. May 30th. 1947.
2) Major General Ernst Dehner, Korps Commander. Sentenced to 7 years in prison. Released 1951.
3) General Hellmuth Felmy, Commander of Army Group Southern Greece. Sentenced to 15 years in prison, Reduced to 10 years in 1951.
4) Major General Hermann Foertsch, Chief of Staff of the 12th Army. Acquitted.
5) General Kurt Ritter von Geitner, Chief of Staff Military Commanders, Serbia and Greece. Acquitted.
6) General of Engineers Walter Kuntze, Commander 12th Army. Sentenced to Life in prison. Released 1953.
7) Major General Hubert Lanz, Commander XXII Mountain Army Corps. Sentenced to 12 years in prison. Released 1951.
8) Lt. General Ernst von Leyser, Korps Commander. Sentenced to 10 years in prison. Released 1951.
9) Field Marshal Wilhelm List , Commander in Chief South-East. Sentenced to Life in prison. Released December 1952.
10) Colonel General Dr. Lothar Rendulic, Commander 2nd Panzer Army, Yugoslavia. Sentenced to 20 years in prison. Reduced to 10 years. Released 1951.
11) Major General Wilhelm Speidel, Military Commander Greece. Sentenced to 20 years in prison. Released 1951, and
12) Field Marshal Maximilian von Weichs, Commander of the German 2nd Army, Balkans Campaign. Released on grounds of ill health.
July 30th. 1948 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial, Case Number 6 ends with 13 defendants being found guilty. On July 31st. Nuremberg War Crimes Trial, Case Number 10, The Krupp Trial with 11 defendants found guilty and 1 defendant acquitted. On July 2nd. 1952 SS Obergruppenfuhrer Jurgen Stroop is hanged for his Crimes Against Humanity.
Thursday July 13th. 1961. "..Your Honour ..to give a clear answer here ..I must state that I regard this murder ..this extermination of ..Jews ..to be one of ..most heinous worst crimes in ..history of humankind." SS Obersturmbannfuhrer Adolf Eichmann.
July 23rd. 1965 The Chelmno Trial takes place of former Camp personnel in Bonn, West Germany.
1) SS Hauptscharfuhrer Gustav Laabs, Sentenced to 15 years in prison,
2) SS Scharfuhrer Heinrich Bock, Acquitted,
3) Ernst Burmeister. Sentenced to 40 months in prison,
4) SS Unterscharfuhrer Walter Burmeister, 2 Sentenced to 13 years in prison,
5) SS Oberscharfuhrer Gustaw Fiedler, Sentenced to 1 year in prison,
6) SS Untersturmfuhrer SS Alois Haefele, Sentenced to 15 years in prison,
7) SS Unterscharfuhrer Karl Heinl, Sentenced to 7 years in prison,
8) SS Oberscharfuhrer Wilhelm Heukelbach, Acquitted,
9) SS Hauptscharfuhrer Friedrich Maderholz, Acquitted,
10) SS Unterscharfuhrer Anton Mehring, Acquitted,
11) SS Scharfuhrer Kurt Moebius, Sentenced to 8 years in prison,
12) SS Hauptscharfuhrer Wilhelm Schulte, Acquitted, and
13) Polizei Oberwachmeister Aleksander Steinke, Acquitted.
HolocaustPosted by P.A. Draigh Tue, July 04, 2017 16:17:03
"..Statistics are remote ..they are unfeeling and they are never accurate in The Holocaust ..especially when it relies upon ..overtly secretive nature of Nazi collation." Patrick Dempsey. (der Einsatzgruppe and The Destruction of European Jewry)
We simply cannot promote the vagaries of any consensus related to the statistical analysis covering The Holocaust of the Jewish People. First and Foremost! We are making statements which might ensure the sweeping away of Human lives from the tenets of an Historical event we are here to present, represent and recall. The basis for accepting the 6,000,000 Jewish losses is in itself flawed and given that barely 3,500,000 Jews remain from what The Wannsee Conference assessed where available to Hitler for Slaughter, a highly marginal difference is presented. That difference is clearly expressed in 1950, but merely 5 years after The Holocaust would cease to claim more Jewish Victims, 7,793,300 Jewish lives would appear to have been lost from Europe.
Also, given the status of post War atrocity against the Surviving Jewish People, we establish a further precedent which for many a nation, which is prepared to admit to such losses as cannot be contemplated? I myself cannot imagine what an erroneous exercise we are involved in which would not encounter the emotional turmoil such a proposition as an estimate of Survivors must ensure. Surely what we have lost will never come to terms with what we seek to establish in that loss in terms of an assessment which can never be completely accurate?
"..Sonderkommando 4a in collaboration with Einsatzgruppe HQ and 2 Kommandos of police regiment South ..executed 33,771 Jews in Kiev on September 29th. and September 30th. 1941." OSR 101.
We take BabiYar as a prime example of this, and knowing that SS Standartenfuhrer Paul Blobels’ SK4a must have physically counted those 33,771 Jews of Kiev as they marched toward the ravine. However, we cannot then account for the fact that some Jewish Mother’s, hiding their Children on their Person were counted singularly and not as a Parent with Child. So Operation Situation Report Number 101 might well present the 33,771 Jews as they were counted, but might surely have missed those Jewish Children as they were concealed? As we look to the actual People who know the statistics of The Holocaust, and these are those Jews and their Community's who were swallowed up by Hitler's resolve to deliver them to his Final Solution, can we ever know truly what they experienced.
For me, there are those Survivor's, who will best attest to the losses and afford their personalised assessment as to what they have truly lost. These are Jews generally, who have had 6,000,000 of their own People ravaged and torn from their midst. These Survivoral Jews will also offer us an emotional discourse which we must follow. True, there are Historians of The Holocaust who have been offering us the objective view point of their own struggle, as Jews. That this is mixed with an emotional immediacy, and that of an endurance we cannot begin to imagine, commends them further in their effort to deliver to us, their Truth. Then, what some depict, like Richard Korherr, the SS’s Statistical Inspector in his own analysis, reckons that his figures made available a reservoir of over 10,000,000 Jews for the final push to resolve Hitler’s Final Solution.
"..total Jewish population of ..world ..estimated at 17,000,000 in 1937. Of these ..over 10,000,000 were in Europe." Richard Korherr.
This figure does somewhat differ from The Wannsee Conference total of 11,293,300 Jews which Heydrich and Eichmann asserted would be added to what History knows is The Holocaust. So when I speak, and I praise highly here those like Yitzhak Arad, Yehuda Bauer, Lucy S. Dawidowicz and Yisrael Gutman, I know of their emotional attachment and their Historical perspective is both ground breaking and objectively delivered. There are indeed so many Writer’s and even Historians, and so many more that I have had the pleasure to communicate with, that I commend. I willingly make use of all those whose extensive knowledge has been placed before us.
Then there are those, like myself, who seek to trawl past the inordinate catalogue of grief and atrocity to find that balance which affords a testimony to the Memory of those 6,000,000 Jews whose discourse is fast fading from what is such a recent History. I do not only speak here of the loss for those who Survived, which is an unaccountable travesty beyond compare, but I remonstrate with the negligence of History which so seeks to displace 6,000,000 Jews from the narrative which is, Their Holocaust. I have no wish either to join the largely ineffective debate over the final analysis which is a numerical exercise and both Statistical in staing the relationship of figures and on the margins of isolating the very humanity that has been lost.
"..Jewish Question ..Ukraine ..more difficult ..in ..cities ..Jews ..major part ..population. ..more than 50%. ..elimination ..profound ..consequences ..military economy. ..systematic shooting ..Jews ..by ..Order Police. ..in public ..assistance ..Ukrainian militia ..members ..Wehrmacht. ..Aktionen ..men ..women ..children ..all ages ..manner ..carried out ..appalling. ..executions involved. ..150,000 to 200,000 Jews ..executed in ..Ukraine." Peter Heinz Seraphim.
All too many Historians, both Jewish and otherwise, have derived differing views as to the accuracy of what has been delivered up in terms of the numbers lost. There are countless reports and evidences which will give us an idea that systematically, 6,000,000 Jews have been lost to us. But perhaps there are are far more lost than we have been able to calculate, those Jews who were caught up in the debris of the evidence, the Jews of testimony and those Jews who have delivered their first hand assessments. With the likes of Richard Korherr, Professor Peter Heinz Seraphim and SS Sturmbannfuhrer Hermann Julius 'Hans' Hoefle, all of whom offer us their view which is consistent with being arbitrary, we have no means to corroborate any final assessment with impunity.
Conversely, we require the statistics as they were produced to give us the means to examine what Hitler and his entourage not only attempted in this Final Solution but wholly managed in the final resolve which is The Holocaust. Allied intelligence too had formulated its own knowledge with the interceptions of wireless communications between der Einsatzgruppe in the field and those like Hoefle who operated in and amongst the Death Camp system at Aktion Reinhard. Hoefle, who would become Kommissioner for Jewish Resettlement Warsaw Ghetto, was ideally placed to afford us the snapshot we have so far gained. Hoefle’s commitment is certain and as he was also part of Stroop’s force tasked with quashing Jewish efforts during The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, his was not purely a bureaucratic effort.
Of course Hoefle was ideally placed to deliver an assessment which was factually based, though possibly distorted by the accounting system which was so hastily shelved and then destroyed upon the realisation that their goal would remain unachieved in its totality. But no amount of Statistical analysis, and again we are drawn toward Seraphim and Korherr who both gave Hitler the accounts he demanded, to find a way through this statistical maze. For these also could not acknowledge the fuller extent of the Annihilation, given the bridge between the killing space and the reception area of the final receipt of that Destruction at Hitler’s desk. But Hoefle did at least leave us a specimen of Hitler’s clear intention and it was bureaucratically liaised across the airwaves.
"..Einsatz Reinhardt. SS und Polizeifuhrer Lublin sends the Befehlshaber der Sipo Cracow a report on Einsatz Reinhardt for the 14 days up to January 31st. 1942. Increase to December 31st. 1942 for
i) Lublin (read Majdanek) 12,761,
ii) Belzec 0,
iii) Sobibor 515, and
iv) Treblinka 10,335,
Final Totals for the year ending on December 31st. 1942 are:
i) Lublin (read Majdanek) 24,735,
ii) Belzec 434,508,
iii) Sobibor 101,370, and
iv) Treblinka 71,355,
totalling 1,274,166." SS Sturmbannfuhrer Hermann Julius 'Hans' Hoefle.
So, while we are given a clear insight into the destructive capacity, with this telegram from SS Sturmbannfuhrer Hoefle, the eventual assessment cannot be as definitive as it has been proposed. This Hoefle Telegram which was as we know, intercepted by British ‘intelligence’ and contains a final figure of 1,274,166 Murdered Jews for The Aktion Reinhard Camps alone. Given the lowest of the x3 estimates I will present, this is way below anything we might come to accept by some margin. Between 1,500,000 and 1,700,000 Jews were Murdered in the x3 Death Camps of Aktion Reinhard and this is closer to the truth of that devastating effect these x3 Death Camps impacted upon final catastrophe of The Holocaust. For my own Book, Hitler’s Belzec, I have assessed that some 884,700 Jews were Destroyed there.
Given the assessment which relates to each community consumed on a Monthly basis, 434,508 for Belzec, and as of December 31st. 1942 is speculatively way too low. There are some formative figures too which I would give and these have the most credence to their overall assessment of the tragedy. Especially placed before you are those assessments that would deliver to us The Aktion Reinhard Camp details as the have been presented to History. Those assessments, for which we will assess what Hoefle knew, and by dint of the interception of his Telegram to his immediate superior SS Standartenfuhrer Franz Heim, what the Allied nations also knew, will carry a burden of knowledge few can comprehend.
Heim, the deputy commander of the Security Police and SD for the General Government in Cracow is handed notice of what is the Final Death Toll from these x3 Death Camps, and including Majdanek also. But we know also that in excess of 1,700,000 Jews had their lives taken from them in the midst of The Aktion Reinhard Death Camps alone. But as we are fully aware, strenuous attempts to decipher correct figures from any documentation has been impossible to establish. Given that the Nazi attempts to destroy as many of their actual records as possible was successful, and so as not to the betray the truth of their efforts to the coming scrutiny of History, we must sift through the debris of ash that remained. However, that very scrutiny has been understood and undertaken by many and I will offer up the assessments made by a further x3.
1) Raul Hilberg has been the formative authority on the entire Destructive process in The Holocaust from early on. He assesses the murderous toll of Destruction at 1,500,000 Murdered Jews at:
a) Belzec 550,000 Murdered Jews,
b) Sobibor 200,000 Murdered Jews, and
c) Treblinka with 750,000 Murdered Jews.
2) Yitzhak Arad, the Authority on The Aktion Reinhard Death Camps, assesses at 1,700,000 Murdered Jews as a closer value to our overall loss than has been presented so far with an assessment for:
a) Belzec with 600,000 to 700,000 Murdered, and these are at lease best estimates tabulating Ghetto and Community Census with Judenrate records and alongside Train manifests. All of which conclude with what is an estimate that cannot be fully quantified as all records remain incomplete and hidden to History.
b) Sobibor with 250,000 Jews Murdered, and
c) Treblinka with 763,000 Jews Murdered.
3) Martin Gilbert has extensively trawled all these resolutions and assesses the Final Total to be 1,690,000 Murdered Jews at:
a) Belzec with 600,000 Murdered Jews,
b) Sobibor with 250,000 Murdered Jews, and
c) Treblinka with 840,000 Murdered Jews,
and of course no assessment has proved definitive. As records and assessments have been made where People once resided and where they were brutally Murdered, they cannot portray the fuller evidence of what was actually achieved. The correlation of both assessment and consensus, which leaves both the Community stripped of its People, and the Destructive process open to a failing in the overall need to be accurately evaluated, leaves a Jewish loss without certainty as to Their Total Losses.