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Testimony Of An SS Camp Officer


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#1 Sgt Eagle

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Posted 28 August 2004 - 10:47 AM

KURT GERSTEIN
==========
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One of the most horrifying testimonies from the horrors of the Holocaust was left by a conscience-stricken SS officer, Kurt Gerstein, who visited the deathcamps Belzec and Treblinka in August 1942 and witnessed the mass gassing of Jewish men, women and children. Gerstein was shocked by what he had seen. Yet, he realized that as a witness, his position was unique, and he was determined to expose what he knew to the world to stop the atrocities: "I was one of the handful of people who had seen every corner of the establishment, and certainly the only one to have visited it as an enemy of this gang of murderers ..."

As he noted in his post-war testimony:

"I prayed with them and cried out to my God and theirs. How glad I should have been to go into the gas chambers with them! How gladly I should have died the same death as theirs! Then an SS officer in uniform would have been found in the gas chambers. People would have believed it was an accident and the story would have been buried and forgotten. But I could not do this yet. I felt I must not succumb to the temptation to die with these people. I now knew a great deal about these murders."

His report was one of the first and most important documents relating to the extermination of Jews in the death camps, including facts and events that Gerstein personally witnessed. After the war the basic facts of Gerstein's report were verified by SS Obersturmbannführer Dr. W. Pfannenstiel before the Land-Court of Darmstadt in the Federal Republic of Germany, on June 6, 1950.

Kurt Gerstein, born on August 11, 1905, of an old Prussian family, graduated as a mining engineer in 1931. He had close links to the Christian anti-Nazi Resistance and remained very active in the youth groups, especially the Federation of German Bible Circles until it was disbanded in 1934. He joined the Nazi party in 1933, but outspokenly critical of Nazi blasphemies, he was expelled from the party in 1936. In 1938, he was arrested by the Gestapo and sentenced to a term in a concentration camp to reappraise his premises. Later Gerstein reapplied to become a Nazi party member but was refused.

In 1940 he applied to the SS in order to infiltrate the Third Reich and gather information about the Nazis and their dark secrets, after being told by the Bishop of Stuttgart that mentally ill patients were being killed at the institutions Hadamar and Grafeneck. In the beginning of 1941, Kurt Gerstein's own sister-in-law, Bertha Ebeling, died mysteriously at Hadamar. Gerstein was shocked by her death and became determined to find out the truth about the numerous deaths at Hadamar and similar institutions.

No questions were asked about his past, and on March 10, 1941 he was admitted to the Waffen SS.

In 1942 Kurt Gerstein was appointed head of the Technical Disinfection Department of the Waffen SS, responsible for improving the efficiency of the gas chambers by procuring the highly toxic prussic acid Zyklon B. In the late summer of 1942 he was sent on a mission to introduce Zyclon B gassing into the Nazi death camps in Poland in place of gas engines.

Kurt Gerstein was deeply shaken by what he witnessed - he had but one desire: to gain an insight into the Nazi death machinery and shout it to the whole world. Eventually he risked his life to inform the Allies. He described how the Jews were forced to undress, the piles of shoes were allegedly 25 meters high, the women's hair was cut off, the naked Jews were driven between two barbed wire fences to the gas chambers. Kurt Gerstein desperately tried to alert the world about the atrocities:

"I see everything! The mothers, their babies at the breast, the little naked children, the men and women, naked. They enter into the death chamber, pushed by the leather whips of the SS. Pack well, that is what the captain ordered. Seven to eight hundred persons on twenty-five square meters. More than half are children ..."

A five-year-old girl dropped a necklace and a three-year-old boy picked it up as they passed into the chamber, where victims were crammed in so tightly they could not move. Men, women, children filed past in ghastly parade as a burly SS man promised in a loud, priestlike voice that nothing terrible was going to happen to them. "All you have to do is breathe in deeply. That strengthens the lungs. Inhaling is a means of preventing infectious diseases. It's a good method of disinfection." To those who timorously asked what their fate would be, the SS man gave more reassurance: the men would build roads and houses, the women would do housework or help in the kitchen.

When the doors closed, the diesel engine would not work but broke down while pumping its deadly carbon monoxide gas into the chamber. While mechanics worked to repair the diesel engine, the Jews had to await death, pressed body-to-body against one another. An SS officer, Wilhelm Pfannenstiel, looking through the glass peep hole in the door of the gas chamber, commented that the Jews were weeping "as they do in the synagogue."

Finally after two hours, it stuttered to life. "Up till then people were alive in these chambers .. another 25 minutes went by. True, many were now dead. After 28 minutes, only a few were still alive. At last after 32 minutes, everyone was dead. Finally, all were dead like pillars of basalt, still erect, not having any place to fall", Kurt Gerstein later wrote.

The outside doors to the gas chamber were opened and the bodies taken out. "One could tell families even in death. They were still holding hands, stiffened in death so that it was difficult to tear them apart to clear the chamber for the next load," Gerstein wrote.

Before the corpses of the Jews were tossed into large trenches, they were searched for valuables in the form of gold teeth or gems or gold hidden in the vagina or rectum. Gerstein was shown the processing of the dead: "With gold to the left - without gold to the right .. Dentists hammered out gold teeth, bridges and crowns. In the midst of them stood Captain Wirth. Hew as in his element, and showing me a large can full of teeth, he said: "See for yourself the weight of that gold! It's only from yesterday and the day before. You can't imagine what we find every day - dollars, diamonds, gold. You'll see for yourself!"

Kurt Gerstein forced himself to watch the final process. The bodies were flung into trenches, each some hundred yards long, conveniently located near the gas chambers. He was told that the bodies would swell from gas after a few days, raising the mound as much as six to ten feet. Once the swelling subsided, the bodies would be piled on railway ties covered with diesel oil and burned to cinders.




On the night of August 21-22, 1942, on his way back to Germany, Kurt Gerstein travelled by train from Warsaw to Berlin and accidently encountered the Secretary to the Swedish Legation in Berlin, Baron Göran von Otter.

Less than an hour from Warsaw, the train stopped in open country. "We both got down to get a breath of air," von Otter later recalled. "There were beads of sweat on his forehead. There were tears in his eyes. And his voice was hoarse when he said at once: I saw something awful yesterday - can I come and see you at the Legation?" Von Otter suggested that they talk on the train. Gerstein agreed. "Is it the Jews?" von Otter asked. "Yes, it is," Gerstein replied. "I saw more than ten thousand die today."

In a feverish conversation lasting hours, Gerstein poured out the whole story, crying and smoking incessantly. He related all he had just seen to the Swedish diplomat and begged him to tell the Swedish government about the atrocities in the camps. He desperately urged von Otter to make it known to the Allies and the outside world.

Von Otter later described the encounter: "It was hard to get Gerstein to keep his voice down. We stood there together, all night, some six hours or maybe eight. And again and again, Gerstein kept on recalling what he had seen. He sobbed and hid his face in his hands. From the very beginning as Gerstein described the atrocities, weeping and broken hearted, I had no doubt as to the sincerity of his humanitarian intentions."

Göran von Otter filed a report to his own government, which found it, as did other neutrals, too bizarre for credibility, and it was never acted on. But Gerstein maintained contact with the Swedish embassy in Berlin and kept it informed of the extermination operations.

Gerstein continued to tell people what he had seen, anyone he felt would spread the word about the atrocities:

"Taking my life in my hands every moment, I continued to inform hundreds of people of these horrible massacres. Among them were the Niemöller family; Dr. Hochstrasser, the press attaché at the Swiss Legation in Berlin; Dr. Winter, the coadjutor of the Catholic Bishop of Berlin - so that he could transmit my information to the Bishop and to the Pope; Dr. Dibelius, bishop of the Confessing Church, and many others. In this way, thousands of people were informed by me."

Gerstein also urged members of the Dutch underground to broadcast his information by radio to Great Britain. But Kurt Gerstein was ignored - nothing happened. All were disinclined to believe his gruesome narrative of mass murder, it was rejected as atrocity propaganda. All his efforts to inform the church, the Allies and the opinion abroad proved futile as did his premise that, if the facts became known, the extermination of the Jews would be stopped.

As months continued to pass and still the Allies had done nothing to stop the extermination, Gerstein became increasingly frantic. He behaved in a desperate manner, risking his life every time he spoke of the death camps to persons he scarcely knew ..

Later during the war a despairing Gerstein risked his life destroying shipments of Zyklon B gas to be used for the extermination of thousands of Jewish people. The gas was buried on the pretext that it had been spoiled in transit.

On April 22, 1945, near the end of the war, Kurt Gerstein surrendered to the French, who arrested him as an alleged war criminal. They took him to the Cherche-Midi Military Prison on July 5, 1945. Twenty days later, Gerstein was found dead in his cell. Whether he committed suicide out of despair and guilt in not being able to stop the Holocaust or whether he was murdered by other SS officers in the prison remains a mystery.

Gerstein was buried in the Thiais cemetery under the name Gastein. But even that was temporary, for his grave was within a section of the cemetery that was razed in 1956.

In 1950, a final blow was given to Kurt Gerstein - a denazification court posthumously condemned him: "Taking into account the extenuating circumstances noted the court has not included the accused among the main criminals but has placed him among the 'tainted' .."

It was not until January 20, 1965 that Kurt Gerstein was cleared of all charges, by the Premier of Baden-Württemberg.

While in prison Gerstein turned over to a French intelligence team his detailed report on atrocities in Belzec and Treblinka. His date provided the Allies in later trials with their most detailed accounts of the Nazi murder mills, and it was used at Nuremberg. Kurt Gerstein' report became perhaps the most horrifying eyewitness account of the Holocaust - one handwritten French and two type-written German versions. - Louis Bülow

From Notes Made by Kurt Gerstein, An Engineer Working for the SS, on the Extermination Camp At Belzec. Gerstein wrote down his evidence on May 26, 1945.
"In Lublin, SS Gruppenfuehrer Globocnik was waiting for us. He said: This is one of the most highly secret matter there are, perhaps the most secret. Anybody who speaks about it is shot dead immediately. Two talkative people died yesterday. Then he explained to us that, at the present moment - August 17, 1942 - there were the following installations:



1. Belzec, on the Lublin-Lvov road, in the sector of the Soviet Demarcation Line. Maximum per day: 15,000 persons (I saw it!).

2. Sobibor, I am not familiar with the exact situation, I did not visit it. 20,000 persons per day.

3. Treblinka, 120 km. NNE of Warsaw, 25,000 per day, saw it!

4. Majdanek, near Lublin, which I saw when it was being built.

Globocnik said: You will have very large quantities of clothes to disinfect, 10 or 20 times as much as the "Textiles Collection," which is only being carried out in order to camouflage the origin of the Jewish, Polish, Czech and other items of clothing. Your second job is to convert the gas-chambers, which have up to now been operated with exhaust gases from an old Diesel engine, to a more poisonous and quicker means, cyanide. But the Fuehrer and Himmler, who were here on August 15, the day before yesterday, that is, gave orders that I am myself to accompany all persons who visit the installations.

Professor Pfannenstiel replied, "But what does the Fuehrer say?" Then Globocnik, who is now Higher SS and Police Leader in Trieste on the Adriatic Coast, said: "The whole Aktion must be carried out much faster." Ministerial Director Dr. Herbert Lindner of the Ministry of the Interior suggested, "Would it not be better to incinerate the bodies instead of burying them? Another generation might perhaps think differently about this?" Then Globocnik, "But, Gentlemen, if we should ever be succeeded by so cowardly and weak a generation that it does not understand our work, which is so good and so necessary, then, Gentlemen, the whole of National Socialism will have been in vain. On the contrary, one should bury bronze plaques [with the bodies], on which is inscribed that it was we, we who had the courage to complete this gigantic task." Hitler said to this, "Well, my good Globocnik, you have said it, and that is my opinion, too."
The next day we moved on to Belzec. There is a separate little station with two platforms, at the foot of the hill of yellow standstone, due north of the Lublin-Lvov road and rail line. To the south of the station, near the main road, there are several office buildings with the inscription "Belzec Office of the Waffen-SS". Globocnik introduced me to SS Hauptsturmfuehrer Obermeyer from Pirmasens, who showed me the installations very much against his will.
There were no dead to be seen that day, but the stench in the whole area, even on the main road, was pestilent. Next to the small station there was a large barrack labeled "Dressing Room," with a window that said "Valuables," and also a hall with 100 "Barber's Chairs." Then there was a passage 150 m. long, in the open, enclosed with barbed wire on either side, and signs inscribed "To the Baths and Inhalation Installations." In front of us there was a house, the bathhouse, and to the right and left large concrete flower pots with geraniums or other flowers. After climbing a few steps there were three rooms each, on the right and on the left. They looked like garages, 4 by 5 m. and 1.90 m. high. At the back, out of sight, there were doors of wood. On the roof there was a Star of David made of copper. The front of the building bore a notice "Heckenholt Institution." That is all I saw that afternoon.
Next morning, a few minutes before 7 o'clock, I was told that the first train would arrive in 10 minutes. And in fact the first train from Lvov arrived a few minutes later. There were 45 carriages with 6,700 persons, of whom 1,450 were already dead on arrival. Through small openings closed with barbed wire one could see yellow, frightened children, men, and women.
The train stopped, and 200 Ukrainians, who were forced to perform this service, tore open the doors and chased the people from the carriages with whips. Then instructions were given through a large loudspeaker: The people are to take off all their clothes out of doors and a few of them in the barracks, including artificial limbs and glasses. Shoes must be tied in pairs with a little piece of string handed out by a small four-year-old Jewish boy. All valuables and money are to be handed in at the window marked "Valuables," without any document or receipt being given. The women and girls must then go to the barber, who cuts off their hair with one or two snips. The hair disappears into large potato sacks, "to make something special for the submarines, to seal them and so on," the duty SS Unterscharfuehrer explained to me.
Then the march starts: Barbed wire to the right and left and two dozen Ukrainians with rifles at the rear. They came on, led by an exceptionally pretty girl. I myself was standing with Police Captain Wirth in front of the death chambers. Men, women, children, infants, people with amputated legs, all naked, completely naked, moved past us. In one corner there is a whimsical SS man who tells these poor people in an unctuous voice, "Nothing at all will happen to you. You must just breathe deeply, that strengthens the lungs; this inhalation is necessary because of the infectious diseases, it is good disinfection!"
When somebody asks what their fate will be, he explains that the men will of course have to work, building streets and houses. But the women will not have to work. If they want to, they can help in the house or the kitchen. A little glimmer of hope flickers once more in some of these poor people, enough to make them march unresisting into the death chambers.
But most of them understand what is happening; the smell reveals their fate! Then they climb up a little staircase and see the truth. Nursing mothers with an infant at the breast, naked; many children of all ages, naked. They hesitate, but they enter the death chambers, most of them silent, forced on by those behind them, who are driven by the whip lashes of the SS men.
A Jewish woman of about 40, with flaming eyes, calls down revenge for the blood of her children on the head of the murderers. Police Captain Wirth in person strikes her in the face 5 times with his whip, and she disappears into the gas chamber ..."


Credits :http://www.auschwitz.dk/Gerstein.htm

#2 jimary

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Posted 28 August 2004 - 03:10 PM

The movie "Amen" by Costa-Gavras (2002-French-German) forcefully depicts Kurt Gerstein's futile attempt to get the Catholic Church to take some action against the Nazi Government and Nazi Death Camps. It was to no avail and the Catholic Church mutely stood by as the Jews were massacred.
Gerstein probably committed suicide because he realized that his name alone was on many of the documents dealing with developing the "killing system" while the real leaders/killers slipped away into obscurity after the war helped by the same Catholic Church that did nothing to stop the Jewish slaughter.
The Catholic Church's logic was very simple - the German Armies were destroying "Communism" in Russia and many of the Communist leaders were Jews or Jewish named; ergo, destroy one and then you destroy the other.
Also it was the historical teachings of not only the Catholic Church but all Protestant Churches that the "Jews murdered Jesus Christ" so "His" death must be avenged. It has only been in the past 40 years (after WWII) that the Vatican has changed the Catholic Church's position on the "death of Christ" and "Jewish responsibility".
This is not to "slam dunk" the churches but their lack of effort except for some individual church leaders to save the Jews was very evident from the 1930's as Hitler seized power and as the war progressed. The Jews became expendable in all the European countries. Even the US under FDR morally failed to take some action. The voyage of the SS St. Louis is a prime example of this failure to act and to act decisively.

#3 Smurfette

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Posted 29 August 2004 - 04:57 PM

I am not surprised at the fact that many institutions disregarded Kurt Gerstein's testimony regarding the situations occuring throught Europe. However, it is very disheartening that they did not follow up his claims with investigations of their own. For a governement to say that his account was "too bizarre for credibility" is atrocious.

I know that this man is no longer with us, and despite the fact that he was a member of the SS I have a deep feeling of respect for Kurt Gerstein. How many other people living in Hitler's Germany would have risked everything to provide accurate information to the Allies and whoever else would listen?!

Kurt Gerstein is the exception to the rule. Just one example (of many I'm sure) that shows us that not all people living in Germany during WWII were evil murderers. It is almost a relief to hear these stories so that people learning about WWII come away with a more accurate image of the experiences people had. Everyones experience was different and this is not always depicted in high school history books, let alone University classes. Hopefully others that read this article will see past the fact that Mr. Gerstein was a member of the SS and see the bravery and intelligence it took for his story to be heard.


Jill

#4 kaylabeth

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 01:39 PM

Great post, Sgt. Eagle.

To add to Jill's reply: there probably would have been many more Kurt Gersteins to speak out, had Hitler not gotten rid of them beginning in the early 1930's. Before the systematic round up of Jews - Hitler sent just about all of his political opposition to the concentration camps - communists and members of other political parties, clergymen and really anyone, Jews and Non-Jews alike, who voiced opposition to the Nuremburg Laws and the Nazi party in general. Then the few that did speak up, like Gerstein, the world ignored....how horribly tragic.

#5 Kiwiwriter

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 03:27 PM

Kurt Gurstein's story is quite amazing.

There were a lot of factors in the Western disinterest in the Holocaust.

A big one was mentioned earlier: Anti-Semitism was popular and sanctioned. It was a time when businesses and colleges had quotas on Jewish hirings and admissions. Suburban development tracts had restrictive covenants to keep Jews out. Hotels let Jews know they were unwelcome with ads that read, "No Hebrews or Consumptives Taken," or in a more subtle manner, "Guests taken to church free of charge." Jews were seen in America as pushy Shylocks, and in England as touchy Shylocks. Wartime polls in America said that many Americans blamed the war on the Jews in the first place! The great trend against racism had yet to happen.

Another important factor was that nobody believed anti-German propaganda any more. The World War I tales of Germans mutilating Belgian women, raping nuns, cutting off women's breasts, and cutting off little girls' hands had all been revealed to be frauds. Stories about the "Beastly Hun" weren't going to fool anyone the second time around. Sadly, this time they were real.

(I have been reading about the WW1-era hate campaigns, and I can see how they generated anti-German atittudes. They were well-written little anecdotes, and I find them extremely upsetting, even though I know they're fake. I can see how revelation that they were frauds would turn people against their authors.)

A last important factor was that previous acts of genocide had pretty much gone unreported or under-reported, or were far more amateurish in operation. The Turkish massacre of millions of Armenians got little coverage in the West. Russian anti-Semitic pogroms of the early 1900s lacked the bureaucratic efficiency and organization of the Nazi Holocaust. The Russian Cossacks just rode out on horses, killed Jews, burned their houses and cattle, and raped their women. The Nazis rounded them up, stripped them of their possessions, gassed them en masse at extermination camps that doubled as slave labor camps, and recorded the whole operation in precise detail.

Nothing like the Nazi Holocaust had happened in humanity's history, so such tales were greeted with disbelief. It took the opening of the camps to make people realize this was real. And there are still people today who deny it ever happened, but I think they do so cynically to advance Nazism. They know it happened. But they know if you take away the Holocaust, Nazism is just a somewhat rough nationalistic movement, and thus "sellable."

#6 gilliesisle

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Posted 31 August 2004 - 09:23 AM

My blood just boils over when I read stories like this. The clothes had to be disinfected 10 - 20 times, as many times as it takes so that no one would know whether their previous owners were Jewish, Polish, etc.? How disgustingly outrageous!

It always brings me back to my visit to Dauchau. I remember as we approached it on foot how silent it was - no birds, no nothing. You could look into the trenches dug around the camp and see pock marks with dark spots around them. I assumed that they were bullet holes and that the dark marks were blood from prisoners trying to escape one way or the other. I was also struck by the world map in the first room of the building where I believe the commandant and his staff worked and stayed. It's been so long since I was there, I'm sure someone can correct me if I'm wrong. The map showed the number of people who were murdered in each of these countries. It was beyond comprehension and still is - 11 million total. One of the women I was with was totally astonished to read that Americans had perished in the camps and was more irritated over that than by the fact that all those people, regardless of their ethnic and/or religious origin, etc. I wanted to smack her. Unfortunately American public schools don't seem to do justice to history. I suppose it's the mentality of most Americans - that the war didn't start until 12/7/41. (I bang my head on walls and tables trying to get my fellow Americans to understand this - Britain and Russia were in the war for several years before we were.)

A also remember all the pictures taken at the camp of the prisoners. What chilled me the most (and still does) is the fact that their eyes were dead. There was nothing in them. I also wondered at the "jail" that they had as well. I guess the barracks where they kept the prisoners weren't bad enough. I never made it to the crematorium I was so shaken.

I can't imagine what those people were thinking as they headed to the gas chambers.

Makes you wonder what would have happened if Gerstein had been believed or if others had come forward as well to help substantiate his claims.

Lisa Marie

#7 Kiwiwriter

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Posted 31 August 2004 - 12:40 PM

Great post.

I know what you mean about the "dead faces." They were "Musselmen," the living dead.

I'm stunned by that note about the lack of birds at Dachau. They know something humans don't.

Yes, Americans were killed at all concentration camps. They were generally Jewish Americans who had gone back to the "old country" or were living in Europe, who simply were swept up by the Nazis. A number of them lived in Paris. I think one taught piano at the Sorbonne or some other important university.

I know what you mean about Americans not knowing about the war before Pearl Harbor. To make it worse, I get complaints about that all the time on my web page, which started for the 55th anniversary of World War 2 and expanded like a fungus. I get screamed at for not starting in 1939.

One of the best yells is on the FAQ page. I chewed the guy out at some length, and he apologized. He said the Americans were "weaseling" while "only a few thousand Britons and Canadians were fighting." I pointed out to him that in the years before Pearl Harbor, the Nazis invaded Poland and Russia, and killed about 2 million people in both nations, so he was being a little presumptuous.

I usually remind people who bark at me about 1939 vs. 1941 that if you are Chinese or Japanese, the war started in 1937. Or perhaps in 1932 or even 1931.

#8 Jaffser

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Posted 02 September 2004 - 04:33 PM

Thank you for such a fine post Sgt...

When involved with WBG.COM and perusing other forums and topics it can be easy to forget the depth and severity of NAZI Germany. I applaud you for bringing us this topic and for it's strength in reinforcing the necessity of WWII.

Let us all hope that the souls of those who lost their lives, either through the hands of the perpetrators or in the bringing about of liberation, during WWII find peaceful rest.

Yours with admiration,

The Jaf!

#9 galesport

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Posted 03 September 2004 - 09:38 AM

What gauls me most, Is that there are still people who try and say that the
Holocaust never happened. I only found after my grandmother's death that
she was Jewish. Her and my mother were shopping for jewelry and my
grandmother pointed at a piece at the Star of David. My mother asked why
she wanted that and my grandmother told her the story. It was quite odd to
hear this when I knew that my great-grandfather had been a bodyguard for the
Kaiser in the years preceeding WW1. My grandmother had hidden this fact from
her family all of her life ! She hid her life out of a fear what that would mean for
future generations. How sad. Thankfully she escaped Germany prior to WW1.
Many excuses are used to try and explain why and how the Holocaust was allowed
to begin and pursue it's murderous goals. None are worthy of mention as they
are too lame to consider. My God have mercy on us all ! May Herr Gerstein rest in
peace for what he tried to do.

Edited by galesport, 03 September 2004 - 09:39 AM.


#10 Kiwiwriter

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Posted 03 September 2004 - 11:04 AM

Holocaust Denial is a frightening subject.

A big reason why neo-Nazis deny it existed is simple tactics and operational art. Remove the Holocaust from the history of Nazism, and the Nazis go from being a monstrous evil to being a tough, occasionally brutal, nationalist organization, with an ugly but defendable track record. The raw racism, kleptomania, and sadism of the Holocaust, combined with its bureaucratic efficiency and machinery, make the Nazis an unparalleled evil.

Another factor came out in Dr. Raphael Ezekiel's superb book "The Racist Mind," which I am reading. He's a Harvard psychologist who interviewed a bunch of neo-Nazis. He interviewed some leaders, the members of a neo-Nazi group in Detroit, and attended their rallies. Nothing surreptitious. He told them who he was, and they were delighted to talk. They need audiences, I guess.

The book is full of fascinating analysis and nuggets, and one of them was his point was that these neo-Nazis prattle on at length publicly about how the white race is in danger of extinction. Privately they talk about being in danger of personal extinction. The members of these parties are ill-educated, often born with birth defects, lacking employment or career hopes, living in poverty, and come from appalling families. They are heavy consumers of booze and drugs (and oddly regularly denounce the latter).

They think that by putting on a Nazi armband and goose-stepping at a rally with some pals, they can prevent their own extinction. By being involved in an organization, no matter how peripherally, that could butcher millions of human beings, they think they are as powerful as those SS men of 65 years ago. "White racists pay incessant attention to the Holocaust. Even denying, they must speak of it, perhaps because the appeal of the Nazi example is exactly that the Holocaust did happen, that the force one has joined is exactly a force that could do this and did do this."

So some semi-literate jackass in Detroit thinks that because he's the faux Fuhrer of some neo-Nazi Party, whose total assets consist of a van with broken doors and a cracked engine block, will be able to run his own Auschwitz. Riiiiiight.

#11 younghistorians

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Posted 03 September 2004 - 04:56 PM

Unfortunately American public schools don't seem to do justice to history. I suppose it's the mentality of most Americans - that the war didn't start until 12/7/41. (I bang my head on walls and tables trying to get my fellow Americans to understand this - Britain and Russia were in the war for several years before we were.)

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I've been surprised at some of my classmates and their lack of understanding about World War II. Last year my American History Teacher started preaching about WWII starting after Pearl Harbor, so I challenged him on it. Unfortuantly I ran out of time. This was at a private school.

It's really crazy how fast people are forgetting (or not caring) about the Holocaust within (my) younger generation. :D

#12 Vicky

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Posted 06 September 2004 - 07:18 AM

I can only echo what Jaffser so eloquently said earlier in this thread.

Thank you for such a fine post Sgt...

When involved with WBG.COM and perusing other forums and topics it can be easy to forget the depth and severity of NAZI Germany. I applaud you for bringing us this topic and for it's strength in reinforcing the necessity of WWII.

Let us all hope that the souls of those who lost their lives, either through the hands of the perpetrators or in the bringing about of liberation, during WWII find peaceful rest.


As the human race, we must never allow the Holocaust to be forgotten. We cannot allow the knowledge of how all those millions of innocent people were killed in such appalling circumstances to fade. We must learn from the mistakes of history and ensure that they cannot and will not be made again.

Vicky

#13 Jaffser

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Posted 06 September 2004 - 05:13 PM

I can only echo what Jaffser so eloquently said earlier in this thread.
As the human race, we must never allow the Holocaust to be forgotten. We cannot allow the knowledge of how all those millions of innocent people were killed in such appalling circumstances to fade. We must learn from the mistakes of history and ensure that they cannot and will not be made again.

Vicky

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Thank you for the compliment Vicky.

I cannot agree with you more than your point about learning from this poor episode in human existence, but, one has only to look at the now fast approaching anniversary of the Twin Tower atrocities to see that we, as the human race and supposed highest intelligent beings on the planet, have indeed not learned and I for one am saddened by our failure as a whole to do so. :D

I would like to hope that at some point in our future we can all cohabitate in peace and put all our disagreements to rest, but I cannot see it happening in my lifetime. Sad as that may be..

Please allow me, at this time, to pass on my deepest regards to all persons that were unfortunate in their loss of loved ones during the tragedy that befell us on that woeful day of 11th September and to wish peace to us all in this time of remembrance.

Yours wholeheartedly,

The Jaf!

Edited by Jaffser, 09 September 2004 - 03:33 PM.





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