Posts Tagged ‘concentration camps’

Title: Anne Frank: The Whole Story (2001)
Type: Film
Runtime: 3h 10m 24s
Category: World War II

Anne, along with her family and friends of her family, hid in a secret annex behind her father’s office in Amsterdam during the Nazi occupation of Holland. She dutifully kept a diary, which became a worldwide bestseller when her father published it in the 1950s. The story has been adapted for television & movies before, but this version, which played on ABC television, moves beyond what Anne wrote, meeting up with the Frank family before Anne receives her diary, & following her past the diary’s last entries into Auschwitz & Birkenau.

Source: Cyberlocker



A new book reveals how the Kaiser’s Germany used concentration camps in Africa to advance their theories of racial supremacy.

At the new seafront restaurant overlooking the bay in the tiny resort of Luderitz on the coast of Namibia, tourists are invited to sit out on the balcony, where they can dine on the finest South Atlantic seafood accompanied by vintage South African wines as they take in the views over neighbouring Shark Island.

But little do they know the horrific truth about that view, which the tourist guidebooks describe as ‘stunning’. Shark Island, with its picturesque setting, was the site of the world’s first death camp – the German invention that culminated in the Holocaust of World War II, the greatest mass crime of the 20th century.

Three-&-a-half thousand innocent Africans were liquidated here at the hands of the Germans, decades before the rise of Adolf Hitler & the Nazi Party, with the tacit sanction of the German emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm II, & his ministers. [Read more]


In a second extract from Denis Avey’s astonishing memoir, ‘The Man Who Broke Into Auschwitz‘, the former British prisoner-of-war recalls how a secret consignment of cigarettes and chocolate from home enabled him to keep a Jewish inmate he befriended alive. [Read More]


At the risk of appearing to talk nonsense, I tell you that the Nazi movement will go on for 1,000 years. Don’t forget how people laughed at me, 15 years ago, when I declared that one day I would govern Germany. They laugh now, just as foolishly, when I declare that I shall remain in power.”

Adolf Hitler, June 1934

Less than twelve years after Hitler made that statement, National Socialism as a governing power ceased to exist. On May 8, 1945, the World War II Allies formally accepted the unconditional surrender of the armed forces of Nazi Germany & the end of Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich.

At the risk of “speaking nonsense” it is important to remember that many in the early 1920′s, did in fact laugh at Hitler. Detractors of National Socialism considered the Nazi’s a fringe party, & in many circles they were a running joke – yet just five years later Adolf Hitler was the new Chancellor of Germany.

Many of the leading socialist newspapers of the time, especially the Munich Post, specifically aimed its attention to Hitler. Their open opposition against Him lasted a dozen years, & “produced some of the sharpest, most penetrating insights into his character, his mind & method, then or since.”

These journalists were the first to focus sustained critical attention on Hitler, from the very first moment he emerged from the beer-hall backrooms to take to the streets of Munich in the early 1920s.

The Post continued to attack Hitler until March 9, 1933, when the Nazis banned the last opposition papers still publishing. In all parts of Germany, including Chemnitz, Muenster, Magdeburg, & Munich, all Socialist newspapers’ buildings were taken over. The Munich Post offices were turned over to an SA squad to pillage. They gutted it completely, dumping trays of broken type onto the streets. Furniture was thrown out the windows, & copies of the newspaper were again burned in the middle of the street. [Read More]


A new German exhibition reveals a particularly sordid chapter from the history of the Nazi concentration camps: forcing female inmates to work as prostitutes for the benefit of male slave laborers.

A new exhibition in Germany opens up a subject that has long been taboo – the use of female concentration camp inmates to provide sexual services to male slave laborers as production incentives during World War II.

“Hardly any other topic from the history of the concentration camps has, on the one hand, been kept so quiet & repressed & is, on the other hand, so tainted with prejudice & distortion, as the forced prostitution of female camp inmates for male camp inmates by the SS,” commented Insa Eschebach, the director of the Ravensbrück Memorial Museum, at the opening of the exhibition.

Between 300 & 400 women were forced to become sex workers in brothels in ten concentration camps, including Auschwitz, Dachau, Buchenwald & Sachsenhausen. A visit to a brothel, known as a “special barrack,” was part of a system of incentives intended to boost the productivity of concentration camp slave laborers. These bonuses were not; however, extended to every group of inmates – Jews in particular were excluded. The idea for the forced prostitution came from Heinrich Himmler himself, as a letter from the SS leader on display in the exhibition shows.

Among the around 200 exhibits are index cards where the prisoners, who came mostly from the Ravensbrück concentration camp, are identified as “brothel women,” documents about the bureaucratic organization of the sexual slavery, & audio recordings of male inmates talking about their visits to the brothels. Photos are on the whole not included in the exhibition “to avoid possible voyeuristic expectations,” the spokesperson of the Foundation of Brandenburg Memorials, Horst Seferens explained. [Read More]

48 Hours of Kristallnacht
Night Of Destruction / Dawn of the Holocaust

Imagine you are nine years old, sleeping soundly in your warm bed. Before going to sleep you went through the normal bedtime ritual of brushing your teeth & washing your hands & face. Your mother came in to read a story. When you wake up, you’ll eat breakfast & then go to school like you do every other day.

You’re suddenly awakened by loud banging coming from the front door. You’re not fully awake yet, but then you hear the door crash to the ground & people running in. As you bolt upright, your mother rushes in & grabs you by the hand. She leads you downstairs to the living room where you see your father shouting at a group of men who are all dressed in brown shirts & carrying axes & knives & broom handles.

One of the men hits your father with the end of a knife across the forehead, & he begins to bleed. “Daddy!” you shout, & rush to his side.

The other men begin to smash the tables & chairs & rip the upholstery of the couch. The hoodlums break the windows facing the street & begin to pull the family’s books from the shelves & throw them out the window. You can hear the sound of dishes breaking in the kitchen as another intruder pulls everything from the cabinets & throws it on the ground.

The man who hit your father says, “You’re under arrest. Come with me!” “Why are you taking him? He hasn’t done anything wrong,” you cry as you rush over & cling to his leg.

Now the man comes toward you & grabs you by the arm & roughly throws you to the ground. Before you can move, you see your father being pulled out the door & pushed down the stairs; he trips & rolls to the bottom. The other men follow, pausing only to throw a glass lamp onto the floor where it shatters.

Your mother rushes out the door & down the steps, shouting after then men dragging away your father, “Where are you taking him?” You reach her side in time to hear the response, “Check with the Gestapo.”

Your mother begins to cry, & she bends down to hug you. Over her shoulder you can see smoke rising from the synagogue burning down the street. The store windows of the Jewish businesses nearby are all broken, & people are walking out of the stores with clothes, jewelry, & groceries. People are shouting & laughing amid the sound of glass shattering.

It is a night you will never forget. Later, people will call it Kristallnacht.

On November 9th & 10th, 1938, rampaging mobs throughout Germany & the newly acquired territories of Austria & the Sudetenland freely attacked Jews in the street, in their homes, & at their places of worship. At least 96 Jews were killed (Read & Fisher say the number at least 236, including 43 women & 13 children) & hundreds more injured, more than 1,300 synagogues were burned (& possibly as many as 2,000), almost 7,500 Jewish businesses were destroyed, & countless cemeteries & schools were vandalized. No estimates were available, but untold amounts of precious commodities, such as artworks, were lost as hooligans destroyed whatever they saw without regard for its value.

A total of 30,000 Jews were arrested & sent to concentration camps on those days. At least 4,600 Viennese Jews were sent to Dachau. About 2,500 Jews were arrested in Hamburg & transported to Oranienburg. Another 2,621 Jews from Frankfurt were sent to Buchenwald. The average period of imprisonment was four to six weeks for older men & longer for some of the younger Jews. More than 5,000 people died in Buchenwald, Sachsenhausen, & Dachau in the aftermath of the pogroms. Tens of thousands more German & Austrian Jews would die in the camps during the war.

The Germans initially referred to the 48 hours of mayhem as the “Jew Action.” No one is sure when it originated, but the term “Crystal Night” or Kristallnacht (or, less commonly, Reichskristallnacht) eventually came to be the term associated with the pogroms of November 9-10, 1938, because of the widespread destruction of windows that left shattered glass throughout the streets. Many Jews & scholars; however, find the term offensive & object to its use. As Walter Pehle wrote, “It is clear that the term Crystal Night serves to foster a vicious minimalizing of its memory, a discounting of grave reality; such cynical appelations function to reinterpret manslaughter & murder, arson & robbery, plunder, & massive property damage, transforming these into a glistening event marked by a sparkle & gleam.

On the 40th anniversary of Kristallnacht, Helmut Schmidt, the former West German chancellor, spoke in the synagogue in Cologne about the significance of those 48 hours:

The German night, whose observance after the passage of forty years has brought us together today, remains a cause of bitterness & shame. In those places where the houses of God stood in flames, where a signal from those in power set off a train of destruction & robbery, of humiliation, abduction & incarceration – there was an end to peace, to justice, to humanity. The night of November 9th, 1938 marked one of the stages along the path leading down to hell.

From 48 Hours of Kristallnacht: Night of Destruction / Dawn of the Holocaust, by Mitchell G. Brad, Ph.D.

On the night of August 31st, 1939, the Nazi SS faked a Polish raid on a German radio station at Gleiwitz on the border with Poland. Some prisoners from a concentration camp were killed & their bodies, wearing Polish uniforms, were shown to the press. Announcing that it was responding to this “Polish attack,” at 4:35am the following morning, Germany send troops into Poland, beginning World War II in Europe.

The invasion came after a summer of diplomatic activity which focused on the Soviet Union. When Britain & France promised to guarantee Poland against German aggression in April 1939, they had no plans to give the Poles actual military assistance. They did nothing to reinforce Poland’s defenses, nor did they plan to attack Germany from the west. They did; however, try to draw the Soviet Union into a commitment to defend Poland.

Negotiations between Britian & France & Joseph Stalin’s Soviet regime made slow progress. The British government was reluctant to do a deal with a Communist dictatorship, while the Poles adamantly rejected the idea of allowing Soviet troops into Poland under any circumstances. For his part, Stalin was doubtful of the motives of the Western democracies, suspecting them of wishing to deflect Nazi aggression against the Soviet Union.

Hostility between the Communist Soviet Union & Nazi Germany was such a fixed & apparently deep-rooted aspect of European politics that an alliance between the two seemed unthinkable. Yet they had persuasive shared interests in the short term. Determined to make war on Poland, before the autumn rains set in, Hitler needed to reduce the number of enemies he might have to fight simultaneously. Stalin, for his part, was tempted by the chance to extend his rule westward at the expense of Poland & the Baltic States.

Serious discussion between the Nazi & Soviet regimes began secretly in late July. On August 21st, Joachim Von Ribbentrop, had been invited to Moscow. Two days later an astonished world learned of the signing of a Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. One of its secret terms provided for Germany & the Soviet Union to divide Poland between them.

With the agreement with Stalin in his pocket, Hitler ordered that the long-planned invasion of Poland should begin on August 26th. However, at the last moment, he hesitated. Britian & France assured Germany that they really did intend to go to war if he attacked the Poles – a formal military alliance between Britian & Poland was signed on August 25th.

From World War II: The Definitive Visual History