Monthly Archives: April 2015

‘Accountant of Auschwitz’: I am morally complicit in the murder of Jews

[From The Guardian]

Oskar Gröning, charged with complicity in the murder of 300,000 Holocaust victims, expresses remorse during trial in Germany.

A former SS guard expressed remorse for the role he played in the Holocaustwhen he went on trial charged with complicity in the murder of 300,000 Jews.

In a lengthy speech, Oskar Gröning, 93, referred to as the “accountant of Auschwitz”, recounted the two years he had spent at the extermination camp after volunteering for the SS, the Nazi party’s protection squadron.

Former SS guard Oskar Gröning sits outside court in Lueneburg
 Former SS guard Oskar Gröning sits outside court in Lueneburg. Photograph: Markus Schreiber/AP

Survivors of the Holocaust, many of whom have travelled from the US, Canada and Hungary in the hope of seeing justice done for their relatives who were murdered after a wait of 70 years, listened intently as Gröning spoke in court in Lüneburg, northern Germany.

“It is without question that I am morally complicit in the murder of millions of Jews through my activities at Auschwitz,” the retired bank clerk said, clutching his notes and looking directly at the bench. “Before the victims, I also admit to this moral guilt here, with regret and humility. To the question as to whether I am criminally culpable, that’s for you to decide.”

His statement came at the end of a detailed 50-minute account of his time at Auschwitz-Birkenau, which included how he was initially sent there and his attempts to get transferred elsewhere because of the atrocities he had seen, including seeing an SS colleague bashing a baby to death against the side of a lorry.

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Poland demands apology for FBI chief’s comment on Holocaust

[From The Guardian]

  • US ambassador meets deputy PM to discuss James Comey’s remark
  • FBI chief ‘wrong, harmful, offensive’; presidential aide calls him a ‘blockhead’

Poland’s foreign ministry urgently summoned US ambassador Stephen Mull on Sunday, to “protest and demand an apology”, saying the head of the FBI had suggested that Poles were accomplices in the Holocaust.

After meeting with Deputy Foreign Minister Leszek Soczewica on Sunday, Mull said he would urgently contact the FBI and Washington about the matter. Earlier in the day, Mull said in Polish that Comey’s words were “wrong, harmful and offensive”, and didn’t reflect the US administration’s views.

FBI director James Comey made the remarks in an article about the need to educate about the Holocaust that was published by the Washington Post on Thursday. It was adapted from a speech he gave on Wednesday at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.

In the article, Comey said: “In their minds, the 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 the right thing to do, the thing they had to do.”

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Holocaust documentary whose horrors remained unseen reaches cinemas – after 70 years

[From The Guardian]

In 1945, Alfred Hitchcock advised on a film that would catalogue the atrocities uncovered in concentration camps by Allied troops. Now the Imperial War Museum has completed the film with previously unseen footage.

Skeletal figures, too weak to move, wait limply for help. At gunpoint, blank-faced SS officers manhandle the twisted bodies of the prisoners they starved to death, slinging them into gigantic burial pits that will eventually be filled with thousands of corpses. Bullet-riddled bodies and skulls smashed into grotesque shapes line country roads. Having frantically tried to dig his way out of a barn where hundreds were being burned to death, a man’s body lies wedged under a wall where he was shot by German troops.

The catalogue of horrors uncovered by the film German Concentration Camps Factual Survey is unremitting, but they remained unseen for decades.

After production got under way in 1945, it was never completed and simply shelved. Only extracts have previously emerged, notably in the 1985 TV film A Painful Reminder. The story of the film, perhaps best known for the involvement of Alfred Hitchcock, was recently told in the documentary Night Will Fall, released in cinemas last September and screened on Channel 4 in January. Now, however, German Concentration Camps Factual Survey, restored and completed to the film-makers’ original specifications, has gone on public release for the first time, with a two-week run at the BFI Southbank in London, and further screenings in May through the Picturehouse chain of cinemas.

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My Nazi grandfather would have murdered me

[from The Telegraph]
Jennifer Teege was sent to an orphanage at four weeks old and for 38 years knew little about her real family. Then, after a chance discovery in a library, she uncovered the horrifying truth – now documented in a new book. Etan Smallman reports.

Jennifer Teege had been asking questions her entire life.

Born in 1970 to a German mother, after she had a brief affair with a Nigerian man, Teege was sent to an orphanage at just four weeks old. She had limited contact with her mother and grandmother, until being formally adopted by a couple at the age of seven.

Growing-up, Teege couldn’t help but wonder about the biological family she’d lost contact with. There were so many unanswered questions about them.

Then, seven years ago at the age of 38, the answers came in a terrifying deluge – along with a bombshell revelation about the grandmother she loved as a small child, and the grandfather she had never met.

Idly perusing the shelves of Hamburg central library, Teege happened across one of the collection’s 350,000 books, a tome with a red cover.

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Weekly Bite of Yiddishkayt: Helping My Grandmother Prepare for Passover

Engaging video from the inimitable Wexler

Greetings from the Gegnt

Jews around the world are preparing for Passover, which begins tonight at sundown. David Schorr fondly recalls how he used to help his grandmother clean before the holiday.

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Do We Focus Too Much on Auschwitz? – The Arty Semite

Do We Focus Too Much on Auschwitz? – The Arty Semite.

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Leyenzal | דער לײענזאַל

Yet more fantastic content added at Leyenzal.

check it out here:

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Soren Kam: Most-wanted Nazi dies aged 93 a free man

[from The Independent]

One of the most-wanted Nazis in the world has died aged 93 without having been punished for a murder conviction.

Danish former volunteer officer Søren Kam died on 23 March, just a little more than a fortnight after his wife passed away – according to the German newspaper Allgauer Zeitung as reported by Reuters.

Kam was the fifth-most wanted war criminal by Jewish rights organisation Simon Wiesenthal Center, that seeks to bring former Nazis to justice and educate about the Holocaust.

The Dane had been a volunteer officer in the Schalburg Corps, a SS-Viking division, and was one of three men who killed Danish anti-Nazi newspaper editor Carl Henrik Clemmensen in 1943.

A Danish court convicted him in absentia of the murder after the war. Another man was executed for the same crime.

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Opera sings of gay lovers brutalized by Holocaust | j. the Jewish news weekly of Northern California

Opera sings of gay lovers brutalized by Holocaust | j. the Jewish news weekly of Northern California.

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