Posts Tagged ‘history’
I suppose we shouldn’t be too surprised, but the Independent reveals more about the German Foreign Ministry:
“It had always been regarded as Nazi Germany’s only “decent” government ministry and one which shunned the persecution of the Jews, but a new and shocking study to be published this week exposes the Third Reich’s foreign office as a “criminal organisation” which backed the Holocaust to the hilt.
The disturbing report, which is the result of five years of research by a group of German and independent foreign historians, explodes the myth that has largely prevailed since the end of the Second World War that under Adolf Hitler, Germany’s foreign ministry somehow survived as an isolated nest of anti-Nazi resistance.
The extent of German foreign diplomats’ active involvement in the Holocaust is graphically outlined by Eckhart Conze, one of the four historians who compiled the 880-page report. In an interview with Der Spiegel magazine conducted in advance of the study’s publication on Thursday he described the foreign ministry as a “criminal organisation”.
“The foreign ministry was not just somehow caught up in National Socialism or even a haven of resistance as has long been claimed. It was actively involved in every operation to persecute, expel and exterminate the Jews from the very beginning,” he said.
“It functioned as an institution of the Nazi regime from day one and backed its policies of violence throughout.”
Even after 1945, the ministry of the democratic West Germany continued to employ hundreds of heavily implicated Nazi-era diplomats, he added, and furthermore intervened to prevent their being brought to justice for their involvement in the Holocaust.
The study shows how Willy Brandt, Germany’s “enlightened” post-war Social Democrat chancellor, who is still regarded as a beacon of hope by the political left, helped to shield the liberal politician Ernst Achenbach from being prosecuted by the French authorities. Achenbach, a senior German diplomat in Paris during the war, helped to deport thousands of Jews to the death camps. But in 1974, Brandt blocked French plans for a Franco-German treaty which would have allowed the French to prosecute him.
Scores of other German diplomats with a Nazi record were dispatched to countries in Latin America and the Arab world after the war to prevent them from being exposed. The report says that many used an official body called “The Central Office” that was set up to aid former prisoners to warn fugitive Nazis of impending arrest warrants. One of them was Klaus Barbie, the infamous “Butcher of Lyon,” who remained on the run until 1983.
Even German prosecutors who helped initiate the capture of Adolf Eichmann in Argentina in the early 1960s had to ask Israel to track him down because they feared that Germany’s diplomats might tip him off.
The study was commissioned by Joschka Fischer, Germany’s former Green Party foreign minister, who admitted in an interview published at the weekend that he was utterly shocked by its findings. “It makes me sick to think about them,” he said “
I think a lot of people are put off by history when they first do it, or from the tales of Kings and Queens or dry meaningless legislation which finds no resonance in their lives.
I suspect much of it has to do with the problem of constructing national narratives in Britain, France, Germany and parts of Europe. It is hard for them to actually reflect what really happened, because invariably they are nationalistic in outlook, if not content.
The development of Nation states is rarely that compact or insulated, as the Benin Plaque demonstrates. Neil MacGregor in A History of the World in 100 Objects does a marvellous job of enriching our appreciation of a wider, connected history.
This programme can be downloaded as an MP3 here.
“Serge Klarsfeld, a leading Holocaust historian and Nazi hunter, says a newly discovered document is definitive evidence that French wartime leader Philippe Petain was an anti-Semite who actively supported the holocaust.
Vichy France is the term used to describe the government of France from July 1940 to August 1944, which was headed by Marshal Philippe Petain and generally encompassed the south, which maintained some legal authority under German occupation during World War Two.
The document, anonymously donated to the Paris Holocaust Memorial, is a copy of a draft bill from 1940 intended to change the official status of Jews in France. The typewritten document has handwritten additions that considerably toughen the law, expanding proposed bans on public jobs and posts for Jews. According to Klarsfeld, these notes were penned by Petain himself.
The draft bill – with Petain’s alleged changes – was adopted on Oct. 4, 1940, exactly seventy years ago, and marked a tragic turning point for Jews living France.
Over 76,000 Jews were deported from France to Nazi concentration camps between 1940 and 1943. Fewer than 3,000 returned alive.
Until the discovery of this latest document, the strongest evidence of Petain’s anti-Semitism was the testimony of the former minister of foreign relations under Vichy, Paul Baudouin. In his 1946 book, ‘The Private Diaries of Paul Baudouin’, he said that it was Petain who argued for harsher policies actions against Jews, and not his prime minister Pierre Laval, as was thought at the time.”
Update 1: I appreciate that many in Britain might not be fully informed on this topic. Some 76,000 Jews in France were rounded up and shipped off to concentration camps, to be killed.
These are historical facts, and no one outside of David Irving would dream of denying them or equivocation. I hope this explains it better:
“Jews were eventually banned from the professions, show business, teaching, the civil service and journalism. After an intense propaganda campaign, Jewish businesses were ‘aryanised’ by Vichy’s Commission for Jewish Affairs and their property was confiscated. More than 40,000 refugee Jews were held in concentration camps under French control, and 3,000 died of poor treatment during the winters of 1940 and 1941. The writer Arthur Koestler, who was held at Le Vernet near the Spanish frontier, said conditions were worse than in the notorious German camp, Dachau.
During 1941 anti-Semitic legislation, applicable in both zones, was tightened. French police carried out the first mass arrests in Paris in May 1941when 3,747 men were interned. Two more sweeps took place before the first deportation train provided by French state railways left for Germany under French guard on 12 March 1942.
On 16 July 1942, French police arrested 12,884 Jews, including 4,501 children and 5,802 women, in Paris during what became known as La Grande Rafle (‘the big round-up’). Most were temporarily interned in a sports stadium, in conditions witnessed by a Paris lawyer, Georges Wellers.
‘All those wretched people lived five horrifying days in the enormous interior filled with deafening noise … among the screams and cries of people who had gone mad, or the injured who tried to kill themselves’, he recalled. Within days, detainees were being sent to Germany in cattle-wagons, and some became the first Jews to die in the gas chambers at Auschwitz.”
It is a shame that Ed Balls, is the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, doesn’t appear to have much of, er, an education. His comments concerning Mandarin suggested he should be better briefed by civil servants and not left on his own:
“In this new decade our ties with emerging economies like China will become even more important and it’s vital that young people are equipped with the skills which they need, and British businesses need too, in order to succeed in a rapidly-changing world,” he said.
“That’s why we want all secondary pupils to have the opportunity to learn up-and-coming languages like Mandarin if they choose, either at their own school or a nearby school or college.”
Whilst Mr Balls’ ancestors were probably grubbing around looking for turnips (potatoes didn’t arrive from Latin America for another 300 years) in China they had invented the novel, paper and other wonders of the period.
Let’s hope that Ed doesn’t make a balls up again with China’s history or language.
Not forgetting that he’s the Minister for schools, oh yeah!
Not likely, the UN will roll over and more than likely give in, but the Torygraph reports on the dispute between them:
“A UN agency is producing a human rights curriculum which is to be proposed for inclusion in the studies of secondary school pupils. It is to be discussed with the local community within weeks.
At least one senior UN official in Gaza has said he is confident the Holocaust will become part of the curriculum adopted by local schools.
There is intense opposition from Hamas hardliners however.
Yunis al Astal, a Hamas member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, is reported to have said that including the details of the murder of six million Jews by the Nazis in school teaching would be “marketing a lie”. Those responsible for teaching the Holocaust would be committing a “war crime”, he added.
“GAZA, Aug 30 (Reuters) – Hamas condemned the United Nations on Sunday, saying it planned to teach Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip about the Holocaust — but the U.N. agency which runs schools in the enclave would not confirm any change.
Branding the Nazi genocide of the Jews “a lie invented by the Zionists”, the Islamist movement which runs the Gaza Strip wrote in an open letter to a senior U.N. official that he should withdraw plans for a new history book in U.N. schools.
A spokesman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which educates some 200,000 refugee children in Gaza, said the Holocaust was not on its current curriculum. He would not comment on Hamas’s statement that it was about to change.
Palestinians resent the way world powers reacted to the Holocaust by supporting the establishment of Israel in 1948, a move that left half the Arab population of then British-ruled Palestine as refugees in Gaza, the West Bank and abroad.
Hamas said it believed UNRWA was about to start using a text for 13-year-olds that included a chapter on the Holocaust.
In an open letter to local UNRWA chief John Ging, the movement’s Popular Committees for Refugees said: “We refuse to let our children study a lie invented by the Zionists.”
UNRWA spokesman Adnan Abu Hasna said: “There is no mention of the Holocaust in the current syllabus.” Asked if UNRWA planned to change that, he declined to comment.
In the Israeli-occupied West Bank, run by the Western-backed Palestinian Authority of President Mahmoud Abbas, teachers said there was no official guidance on teaching about the Holocaust.
Israelis are angered by denial of the Holocaust among some in the Middle East, notably lately by leaders in Iran, who provide support for Hamas. Abbas, who has engaged in negotiation with Israel, has had to distance himself from his own 1980s doctoral thesis, which cast doubt on the scale of the Holocaust.
Hamas’s official spokesman in Gaza, Sami Abu Zuhri, said he did not want to discuss the history of the Holocaust but said:
“Regardless of the controversy, we oppose forcing the issue of the so-called Holocaust onto the syllabus, because it aims to reinforce acceptance of the occupation of Palestinian land.” “
Update 1: Previous posts on Hamas:
Slip Of The Tongue from Hamas?
Update 2: It get worse:
“Hamas’s Younis al-Astal lashed out after hearing that the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) planned to teach pupils in Gaza about the Holocaust. Mr Astal wrote in a statement that this would amount to “marketing a lie and spreading it”.
“I do not exaggerate when I say this issue is a war crime, because of how it serves the Zionist colonisers and deals with their hypocrisy and lies,” he wrote. “
Update 3: More from the Hamas leadership (sorry, iffy link):
“Ismail Haniyya of Hamas, Prime Minister of the dissolved government in Gaza, stated that the vow of his government to the Palestinians people is “not to give up the Palestinian right to liberate Jerusalem, not to sellout the blood of the martyrs, and not to recognize the Zionist entity”.
Haniyya added that the resistance, and its victory against the Israeli offensive in Gaza, will prevail and will lead the Palestinians to liberation.
He also said that the Palestinian detainees would be freed due to the steadfastness of the people and the resistance.
“Resistance will remain steadfast, we will never recognize the Zionist entity”, he said, “Our people in Gaza re the freedom fighters who defend the country, and sacrifice themselves to achieve liberation and a better future for their people, they defended their religion and their homeland”.
He also said that “God willing, we will gather in the yards of the Al Aqsa mosque, and pray after liberating it from the occupiers”. “
I suppose “liberating it” is some form of euphemism?