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Posts Tagged ‘WW2

Belgium’s Easy Accommodation With The Far Right.

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I vaguely remember reading something about this a few weeks back, but it didn’t register, thankfully this Guardian piece reveals how Belgium’s politicians have sunk to a new low, with the sole exception of the Greens.

Politicians have agreed with the Far Right’s attempt to organise an amnesty for collaborators during the Nazi occupation of WW2:

“On 12 May, the 333rd day of Belgium’s political crisis, all the mainstream Flemish parties, apart from the Greens, supported a motion by the far-right Vlaams Belang party advocating an amnesty for those who collaborated with the Nazi occupation in 1940-45. The bill suggests effacing all the effects of “sentences and sanctions inflicted on the grounds of alleged breaches of public loyalty”. It proposes compensation for “financial prejudice” suffered by “victims of postwar repression or their descendants”.

Flemish-speaking far-right parties have been battling for almost 20 years for an amnesty. Until now all the proposals by Vlaams Belang, which is largely isolated, have failed. But when the Flemish Social-Democrats (SP.a) decided to endorse the proposal it opened the way for the Flemish majority in the upper house to authorise a debate. Parliament had previously refused to entertain the idea. “In these difficult times it is particularly worrying that this rule should have been broken,” said Philippe Mahoux, a Walloon Socialist (PS) party senator. “It is a major obstacle in the path of those who want to establish stable government,” said Francis Delpérée, a member of the centrist CDH party.

Armed collaboration with Germany involved roughly equal numbers from the Walloon and Flemish communities, but political collaboration was more extensive in Flanders. where the Nazis awarded privileges such as releasing prisoners of war and placing militants of the Vlaams Nationaal Verbond, a nationalist pro-collaboration party, in positions of authority in Flemish localities, according to the writer Charles Bricman. In 1943 about 2,000 collaborators enrolled in the Walloon Legion, almost 3,000 in its Flemish counterpart. Nearly 14,000 Belgians fought in the Wehrmacht under German colours. The move looks like a warning to French-speaking politicians suspected of holding up negotiations to end the political stalemate. It might even herald a repeat of the events of 2007, when in the course of committee proceedings in parliament the Flemish majority unanimously voted to split the bilingual Brussels-Hal-Vilvorde district. “

Small wonder people have such a low opinion of politicians, they can’t even stand up and say no to the rehabilitation of WW2 fascists.

Update 1: The Jewish Museum of Deportation and Resistance in Belgium has more on the country’s Far Right:

“The Vlaams Nationaal Verbond (VNV) (Flemish National Alliance) was constituted in 1933 and was a radicalisation of the Frontpartij (Front Party). The language question and the demands for Flemish independence formed the basis of their manifesto. The catholics were also represented in this party, however the clergy, who were monarchists, found it difficult to accept the anti-Belgium attitude of the VNV.

The leader of the VNV, Staf de Clercq (d. 1942), gained the electoral support of the middle class and the agricultural community, groups, in fact, who had constantly suffered during the crisis. From the election results it can be seen that the VNV experienced constant growth during the 1930’s.

REX grew from the French speaking catholic circles at the University of Louvain. This party did not have any clear cut political agenda. REX and its leader, Léon Degrelle, drew support from the public’s abhorrence for political and financial scandals.

With the slogan “100% catholic” REX was able to take advantage of the fact that a number of important leaders of the catholic party were suspected of corruption. In the 1936 elections they won 21 seats.”

German Foreign Ministry.

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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 “

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26/10/2010 at 10:53

Penned By Petain Himself.

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A French historian has confirmed what most of us suspected, that Petain was an antisemite as well as a collaborator with the Nazis, France24 has more:

“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.”

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04/10/2010 at 20:19

Franco And The Nazis.

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I suppose we shouldn’t be too surprised at any revelation concerning Franco.

The old Fascist bastard had his fingers in so many pies that it’s hard to really work out what went on, as fascists don’t particularly like transparency.

Some years back there were even suggestions that Franco was bribed to stay out of the Second World War, but Ynet reveals an even darker side:

“When former Prime Minister Golda Meir thanked Spanish dictator General Francisco Franco for his “humanitarian attitude” and for protecting the Jews in his country during the Holocaust, she was not aware that he had ordered his officials to draw up a list of thousands of Jews living in Spain to be handed over to the Nazis.

The list, which was published in the El País newspaper on Sunday, would have sent thousands more Jews to their deaths in the Nazi extermination camps.

The list was handed over to the Nazi architect of the “final solution”, German SS chief Heinrich Himmler, at a time when the two countries were discussing Spain’s possible incorporation into the axis powers that included Nazi Germany, Italy and Japan.

The Spanish newspaper published the original order, which was recently unearthed in the Spanish government’s archives and instructed provincial governors to provide detailed lists of “all the national and foreign Jews living in the province… showing their personal and political leanings, means of living, commercial activities, degree of danger and security category.”

The governors were ordered to keep a close eye on Sephardic Jews, as their language and appearance enabled them to blend in with Spanish society.

“Their adaptation to our environment and their similar temperament allow them to hide their origins more easily,” said the order, sent out in May 1941.

The order describes the Jews as a race, and not a religious minority. “This notorious race”, the order said, “remained unnoticed, with no opportunity of preventing their easily-carried out attempts at subversion.”
…”

(Hat tip: Andrew Murphy)

Update 1: I can’t say I am too familiar with Paul Johnson’s view of Franco, but I found this truly appalling piece from William Norman Grigg, as a PDF.

I only skimmed it but my, what a pile of dross, anyway readers can make their own minds up on Grigg’s disgustingly flattering account of Franco’s life.

Update 2: My gratitude to Miguel for pointing out the original article in El Pais.

Below is an extract and rather poor Google translation:

“At the end of World War II, the Franco regime in a relatively successful attempt to mislead the world public opinion with the fable that had contributed to saving thousands of Jews from Nazi exterminator quest. Not only was false propaganda that Franco sought to establish. In Spain, the dictator was tempted to help end the “Jewish problem” in Europe.

The patient work of a Jewish journalist, Jacobo Israel Garzón, has made which shows the only known document on the matter, kept by the work of chance in the National Historical Archive, and from the Civil Government of Zaragoza. He published in the journal Estate. From that work, the country has continued the investigation and has reconstructed the complete history of the failed collaboration with the Holocaust. Who were the protagonists and their accomplices. A story that changed history.

On May 13, 1941, all Spanish civil governors receive a circular sent on day 5 by the Directorate General of Security. They were ordered to send to the central individual reports of “domestic and foreign Israelites settled in that province (…) indicating personal and political affiliation, social, livelihood, business activities, current status, degree of danger, definition police. The order was signed José Finat Escriva de Romani, Earl of Mayalde, the last day of his tenure, because it will be relieved by Colonel Galarza.
…”

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23/06/2010 at 09:21

Unfinished Business?

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The Times reports on a member of the Waffen-SS who escaped justice by living in Germany after WW2:

“There was nothing simple about Boere’s evasion of justice, which allowed him to go unpunished for crimes that he freely boasted about. The inability of German courts to convict him irritated Dutch-German relations – Boere had been sentenced to death in absentia by an Amsterdam court in 1949 but was able to live freely in Germany, working as a coal miner until 1976, drawing a German pension and then living in a German nursing home.

Boere’s ducking and weaving within the German judicial system illustrated how much unfinished business was left after the post-war Nuremberg trials. More than 25,000 cases of Nazi crimes were investigated by West German authorities after the post-war trials of surviving Nazi leaders, but the prosecution was often half-hearted and many cases were dropped.”

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24/03/2010 at 01:28

More Bad News from Hungary.

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Neo-nazis in Hungary have won the right to commemorate Nazi losses during WW2, the JTA reports:

“BUDAPEST (JTA) — A Hungarian court ruled that an international neo-Nazi march can take place in Budapest.

Monday’s ruling overturns a decision by police prohibiting the demonstration, which commemorates the defeat of German rule in Eastern Europe during World War II, for reasons of maintaining public order.

The neo-Nazi Day of Honor rally rescheduled for next month is intended to mark the last stand of the German occupiers and their Hungarian supporters against the Soviet Red Army 65 years ago.

The Nazi defeat at Buda Castle is associated in Hungary with the end of the Holocaust, which claimed the lives of more than a half-million Hungarian Jews. Annual parades mourning the Nazi losses have been staged traditionally at Heroes Square in Budapest by a coalition of European neo-Nazi organizations.

This year, the march was planned for Feb. 13 but was postponed. Instead, neo-Nazi organizations held private ceremonies, undisturbed by the police, on private grounds near the capital. Groups also staged unauthorized marches in Buda.”

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17/02/2010 at 00:28

Swiss Fence Nazi Loot.

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Simply, unbelievable in this day and age:

“GENEVA — Swiss law bars a museum from surrendering a 19th-century painting that it was given after it had been stolen from a Jewish family in Paris by the pro-Nazi Vichy French regime during World War II, authorities said Thursday.

More than 40 years after the war, a subsequent owner of “The Valley of the Stour” by British painter John Constable gave it to the city of La Chaux-de Fonds in her will, on condition that the work remain in the local museum, said Remy Gogniat, a city spokesman.

When a relative of the original owner claimed the painting in 2006, the city near Switzerland’s western border with France sought two expert legal opinions in the case.

“The first one explains that under Swiss law there is no obligation of restitution,” Gogniat said Thursday. The second one concludes that the city is bound by the will of Madeleine Junod, who bestowed the painting along with a series of others to the city in 1986, he said.

Under the will, her collection has to be housed in a specific room of the city’s Fine Arts Museum and not to be split up.

“So we don’t have the right to return it,” Gogniat said.

The painting, which today has an estimated value of around 1 million Swiss francs ($958,000), was confiscated from the Paris home of Anna Jaffe after she died in 1942 at age 90, according to a press release by the city of La Chaux-de-Fonds.

It was in a collection taken by French Vichy authorities who were collaborating with the Nazis and was auctioned the following year and subsequently changed hands several times.

The London-based Central Registry of Information on Looted Cultural Property says Jaffe, a British Jew living in France, had a large collection of artworks that included paintings from famous artists, such as Goya, Rembrandt and Turner.

“Vichy-imposed laws mandated that all Jewish properties were to be confiscated and sold at public auctions,” it said.”

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11/09/2009 at 02:28