Posts Tagged ‘gestapo’

Title: The Noor Inayat Khan Story: A Muslim Heroine Who Fought The Nazis During World War Two
Genre: War Drama
Category: WWII, Politics

Alex Kronemer is the co-founder of Unity Productions Foundation, a nonprofit organization that seeks to “create peace through the media” by producing documentaries on Muslim stories. His latest film, “Enemy of the Reich: The Noor Inayat Khan Story,” premiered on PBS stations on Tuesday, September 9th.


During his speech at Parliament following the British evacuation of Dunkirk, Winston Churchill delivered what was to become one of the most famous passages of rhetoric in British history:


Even though large tracts of Europe & many old & famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo & all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the sea & oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence & growing strength in the air; we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing-grounds, we shall fight in the fields & in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender; & even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated & starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed & guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power & might, steps forth to the rescue & liberation of the Old.


Winston Churchill, 4th June, 1940

Title: The Nazis: A Warning From History
Type: Documentary
Category: News, Politics & World War II

How could a political party as fundamentally evil & overtly racist as the Nazis come to power? This remains one of the most enigmatic questions of the last century. Acclaimed historian Laurence Rees examines what led a cultured nation at the heart of Europe to commit the atrocities it did. In so doing, he exposes popular myths & encourages understanding of the real forces that led to one of the darkest chapters in modern history. Was it simply the hypnotic power of Hitler’s rhetoric? Did the Gestapo really impose themselves by terror on an unwilling population? Through interviews with witnesses & perpetrators, along with archive film & records, this six-part series unveils a more chilling reality.

As written on Amazon.


I know, I know, the obvious caveat: Klaus Barbie, the Butcher of Lyon, also served the CIA after the war, ran a Bolivian death squad, the “Handmaidens of Death,” that trained Nicaraguan Contras & exported cocaine to American streets. Please tell it to Spiegel. (It’s actually here, though, buried in redactions & explained by identification – the Gehlen Org, it’s disclosed in German documents, ”knew” Barbie’s address in Bolivia. The Org, it’s well known, was an arm of the CIA’s cold war espionage apparatus. So the CIA’s jackals knew where Barbie was hiding & could have blown the whistle on him at any time, but chose to collaborate with him instead.

Notorious Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie was a secret agent for West German intelligence in Bolivia after World War II, German magazine Spiegel reported.

The former head of the Gestapo in Lyon was recruited in late 1965 in La Paz, where he was living as Klaus Altmann, & given the code name “Adler” (“Eagle”), Spiegel cited documents from Germany’s foreign intelligence agency, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), as showing.

The “Butcher of Lyon” used his connections with top officials like the Bolivian interior minister & the La Paz mayor to send reports to West Germany, & was noted as being “intelligent” & “discreet,” Spiegel said. Such suspicions are not new but the documents seen by Spiegel provide proof for the first time, & there are also indications that the BND was well aware of its agent’s real identity, the magazine said.

The cooperation ended abruptly in 1966 when the BND became worried that the Soviet Union & communist East Germany — this was the height of the Cold War — might use his real identity to blackmail him, Spiegel said. Also, the BND contained other former SS & Gestapo people who would have known Barbie, & its predecessor, Organisation Gehlen, knew Barbie’s address in southern Germany before he fled to Bolivia, the magazine said.

Barbie lied by telling his handler that he had been in the Waffen SS & had fled East Germany in the 1950s, & the BND would normally have checked this thoroughly before hiring him, Spiegel added. There are signs in what Spiegel called a “noticeably incomplete” BND report on Barbie that these checks were carried out, the magazine said, & suspicions were also raised when he declined to come to West Germany for training.

In the early 1970s French Nazi-hunters Beate & Serge Klarsfeld tracked Barbie down & France succeeded in extraditing him in 1983. He was sentenced to life in prison in 1987 & died in jail in 1991.

The Spiegel report came a week after the Bild daily cited newly released documents as showing that German intelligence knew Adolf Eichmann was hiding out in Argentina eight years before Israeli agents kidnapped him in 1960. In 1960, Mossad agents snatched Eichmann, one of the main executors of Adolf Hitler’sfinal solution”, in Buenos Aires. He was brought to Israel for trial, where he was convicted & hanged in 1962.

The head of the BND, Ernst Uhrlau, has pressed for years for historians to be given greater access to the organisation’s files, & these revelations are likely to strengthen his case, Spiegel said.

It remains uncertain whether Hitler intended from the start to exterminate the Jews. By mid-1941; however, mass murder was clearly the path he had chosen. Even though the Kristallnacht riots of November 1938 had accelerated Jewish emigration from Germany & the former Austria, there were still some 350,000 Jews living in the Reich when the war began in September 1939. To this number were soon added two million Jews living in Poland, & later, millions more in Western Europe & occupied Russia.

On July 31st, 1941, just a month after the start of Operation Barbarossa, Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring ordered Reinhard Heydrich – then head of the Sicherheitsdienst (SD), the security arm of the Schutzstaffel (SS) – “to carry out all preparations with regard to a total solution of the Jewish question in those territories of Europe which are under German influence.” To begin this task, Göring, who had been named Hitler’s successor in 1939, wanted Heydrich to round up all the Jews in Europe & confine them to urban ghettos in Poland, where they could be closely monitored while means for their ultimate disposal were being arranged. Regarding these means, Göring told Heydrich “to submit to me as soon as possible a draft showing the measures already taken for the intended final solution of the Jewish question.”

Heydrich’s plan, once approved, was presented to the Nazi bureaucracy on June 20th, 1942, at a meeting in Wannsee, an upscale suburb of Berlin. The fifteen officials present included representatives of the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of the Interior, the Foreign Office, the Geheime Staatspolizei (Gestapo), & the governor-general of Poland. According to Heydrich, all 10.8 million Jews estimated to be living in Europe at the time would be “involved” – a euphemism typical of the language with which the Nazi elite described their “final solution.” That day at Wannsee, in working out the practical details of Heydrich’s plan, the Holocaust was formally launched.

In the meantime, special SS squads known as Einsatzgruppen (task forces) were already killing hundreds of thousands of Jews in the East. Following the wake of the advancing Wehrmacht, these units obviated the need to ghettoize Russian Jews by shooting them on the spot. In September 1941, for example, Einsatzgruppen massacred thirty-three thousand Kiev Jews beside the ravine at Baby Yar. By late 1942, when implementation of the “final solution” finally shifted to the largest Polish death camps, the SS had already killed an estimated 1.4 million Jews.


Another important “privileged” group were Jews in mixed marriages. Nazi hardliners argued that Jews married to non-Jews had “infected” the “Aryan” line & should be exterminated first, but Goebbels was still concerned about protests. These Jews were prosperous, & many had friends or relatives who were now senior Nazi figures. As Goebbels put it, the position of intermarried Jews was “sensitive” & their deportation was deferred.

Russian soldiers fighting their way through the rubble of Berlin in the last days of the war turned the corner of Iranische Strasse, in the district of Wedding, & came across an elegant building almost intact. Fanning out to search the structure, the Russians ransacked the place, room by room. Medical equipment & rows of beds showed that it had once been a hospital. Searching deep into the bowels of the building, the Russian liberators burst open cellar doors, & in the darkness made out hundreds of cowering figures – more than 800 people in all.

The soldiers swept through in an orgy of rape. Only when the Red Army commanders arrived was the question asked: “But who are you?”

“We are Jews.”

“You are Jews?” exclaimed the astonished Russians, whose path to Berlin had taken them through the smoldering remains of Nazi death camps. “Why aren’t you dead yet?”

The discovery that 800 Jews had survived Hitler’s Final Solution in the middle of Berlin staggered the city’s liberators. That they had survived in the full knowledge of the Nazi high command beggared all belief. The Russians had stumbled upon the last Jewish sanctuary in Germany – & upon an extraordinary story of survival. & yet over the years it has been a story that few have been able or willing to tell. Because how could this have happened? Who were these survivors? & what was Hitler’s sinister purpose in permitting them to live?

Among those 800 men & women were personal dramas of every kind. They were the bravest of the brave, the lucky & the cunning. They were collaborators & spies. There were also many “privileged” Jews – spouses of non-Jewish Germans. But most mysteriously, they were Jews whose lives had been protected by the highest-ranking Nazis. Little is known about them because their files were burnt by the Gestapo just days before the Russians arrived. [Read More]