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The Holocaust Just Got More Shocking


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He also made a bg deal of Dresden death count and promotes the idea it was a war crime IIRC. AFAIR his death count (initially up to 250 000) was debunked some time ago already and his main source was proven to be a forgery.

 

As for archives, IIRC there is also strong suspicion he "disappeared" some documents during his archive visits.

Oh how I hate those Dresden apologists. German TV just showed a documentary about it, with historians pointing out that it was not a military target (just the main transportation hub in the aera) and that the wholw strategic bombing campaign was only killing innocent civilians and that it did speed the end of the war by 6-12 months at best. In a discussion I had to remind some guys I know what 12c more months of war would have meant, not only to the allied soldiers, not to the allied civilians, surely not to the innocent people being killed in the concentration camps, but to the Germans. Germany would have been the testing ground of the atomic bomb and we would surely have taken more of them, as our leadership had no Teno who was sane enough to end it. That means at least 3 nukes, probably 5 on Germany, I wonder if that would have been better.

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Even when some scholars have attempted to calculate the total number of dead in the Holocaust, they have been castigated as "Holocaust Deniers" if they document X-2 million instead of X million dead. If you mention the numbers of Polish, Russian, or Gypsy victims, you are also a "Denier". If you note that the Japanese caused the deaths directly or indirectly of several times the numbers of Chinese dead during the war, you are also a "Denier".

 

That is a lie.

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Well, idiots are everywhere - to my shame the presidential election campaign in CZ took a nasty turn after one of the candidates just quoted the Czech-German declaration and was immediately swamped by dehonestating and nationalist campaign on the topic of Sudeten. And he didn't say anything more than that the deportations were accompanied by many cases of lawlessness. At times I was really ashamed for the kneejerk reactions of my countrymen :angry:

 

(At the same time, every time a bomb is found somewhere we have a ton of "experts" saying how it was evil ploy of the Capitaqlist Imperialists to cripple Czechoslovakian economy for post-war period. I always have to remind that Skoda factories were about the last large arms factory running still at 100% rate in spring of 1944, with much less faulty products or outright sabotages than factories in Reich.)

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In fairness you DONT hear much reference to other than Jewish victims. No doubt the Jewish population of Europe did suffer the worst, but there is very little reference when talking of the Holocaust to Gypsys, the mentally handicapped, homosexuals or, and this I think must be a substantial number, Soviet Prisoners of war.

 

Here in the States, my impression is that historical coverage of the European Theater of WWII in the last couple of decades has been including a broader spectrum of Nazi victims. Initially, the Roma and homosexuals, and more lately including the Polish and Russians.

 

Less media conspiracy rather than an exercise in group think I would suggest. Its perhaps easier to refer to one ethnic group being murdered, rather an unhomogenous block of non Aryans, which is what the Nazis really seem to have been after.

 

Here in the US, I think its entirely possible that the leadup into 1939 and then the uglier aspects to the Allied alliance (i.e. Stalin and the stuff that Churchill and FDR chose to overlook) involved so much BS that American historians wanted to oversimplify and whitewash the whole debacle to avoid smearing sacred cows.

 

For example, Hitler's genocidal feelings towards folks of Slav ancestry. If you are a leftie historian and have decided to paint Germany v. Russia as a right-wing/left-wing battle, the last thing you want to do is bring up the minor little detail that Hitler hated Slavs. Or that Stalin wanted to subjugate pretty much everything on two legs.

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<snip>

Now, do you see why I think that it's wrong to focus too much on what the Nazis did to the Jews? They had the immense misfortune to be first on the Nazi list, partly because of Hitler's personal hatreds, partly for purely practical reasons (being a minority almost everywhere, & a local majority only in very tightly defined areas, i.e. particular towns & villages, & suffering from sever prejudice against them, they were easy victims). That made them the greatest sufferers from Nazi persecution in terms of the proportion of their population who were killed, followed by the Roma. For that, they deserve special sympathy. But the myth that they were the only people targeted is just that, a myth. They were the most intensely & efficiently targeted, but if time & circumstances had allowed, other peoples were meant to suffer much the same fate. This would not have been a side effect of the war: it was the purpose of the war.

 

When one thinks about that, it's a vision of something even more terrible than what actually happened.

 

This is by far the most well-reasoned writing I've seen on this issue, and I completely agree with it. I may borrow some of your line of thought, here, when discussing this in the future. You've quite crystallized some of my own somewhat incoherent thoughts on this issue, and done so with great pith.

 

The deaths of the Jews matter, because they were the first and most thoroughly realized victims of the Hitlerian ideology. What's often neglected, precisely as you mention, is that they were only the initial round of probable victims, which makes them both the most tragic and the most easily remembered. Had the Nazis gotten around to rounding up other groups their size, things might be remembered differently. As it is, it's quite like the usual lot of spree-killer victims--The most memorable and photogenic are the ones that get the attention and who stand out in common memory. Everyone remembers the beautiful Sharon Tate, but who really remembers the La Biancas? I've run into a lot of people who think that "La Bianca" was Sharon Tate's married name...

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I think Swerve really hit the nail on the head, the fact that Mao may have outstripped both Hitler and Stalin, in the numbers department does not take away the absolute horror of what has been done by Hitler and Co. Nor does it absolve Stalin of his crimes. I hope hell for all of them is repenting of their sins to the their victims by eating their feces for eternity, while being trodden by each and every one of them.

Edited by Colin
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<snip>

Now, do you see why I think that it's wrong to focus too much on what the Nazis did to the Jews? They had the immense misfortune to be first on the Nazi list, partly because of Hitler's personal hatreds, partly for purely practical reasons (being a minority almost everywhere, & a local majority only in very tightly defined areas, i.e. particular towns & villages, & suffering from sever prejudice against them, they were easy victims). That made them the greatest sufferers from Nazi persecution in terms of the proportion of their population who were killed, followed by the Roma. For that, they deserve special sympathy. But the myth that they were the only people targeted is just that, a myth. They were the most intensely & efficiently targeted, but if time & circumstances had allowed, other peoples were meant to suffer much the same fate. This would not have been a side effect of the war: it was the purpose of the war.

 

When one thinks about that, it's a vision of something even more terrible than what actually happened.

 

This is by far the most well-reasoned writing I've seen on this issue, and I completely agree with it. I may borrow some of your line of thought, here, when discussing this in the future. You've quite crystallized some of my own somewhat incoherent thoughts on this issue, and done so with great pith.

 

The deaths of the Jews matter, because they were the first and most thoroughly realized victims of the Hitlerian ideology. What's often neglected, precisely as you mention, is that they were only the initial round of probable victims, which makes them both the most tragic and the most easily remembered. Had the Nazis gotten around to rounding up other groups their size, things might be remembered differently. As it is, it's quite like the usual lot of spree-killer victims--The most memorable and photogenic are the ones that get the attention and who stand out in common memory. Everyone remembers the beautiful Sharon Tate, but who really remembers the La Biancas? I've run into a lot of people who think that "La Bianca" was Sharon Tate's married name...

 

I took a holocaust class and the rabbi teaching it said "we jews are the yellow canary in the mineshaft."

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Pretty scary what can be done with file cabinets and index cards... Imagine what could be done with today's technology.

 

They were already ahead of the curve and using Hollerith punch card machines together with punch cards supplied directly by IBM via Dehomag, their subsidary in Berlin. Initially for the Reichs Statistical Office for both the 1933 and 1939 censuses, but later in 1937 the Wehrmacht (beating Remington to the contract) and, as from 1942, the SS for data capture of racial characteristics, followed in 1943/44 by the data of the concentration camp inmates.

 

See

 

Black, Edwin. IBM and the Holocaust. Three Rivers Press, New York, 2002. ISBN 978-0-609-80899-3

 

and

 

Aly, Götz; and Roth, Karl Heinz. Die Restlose Erfassung: Volkszählen, Identifizieren, Aussondern im Nationalsozialismus. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main, 2005. ISBN 978-3-596-14767-0

 

for further details

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I took a holocaust class and the rabbi teaching it said "we jews are the yellow canary in the mineshaft."

 

In 1946 Jews were again being put in camps in Berlin - this time as refugees fleeing the pogroms in eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.

Edited by Dave Clark
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As it was pointed out by the Band of Brothers series, how could they [Germans] not have known what was going on under their very noses.

 

As far as I can tell what people could see for the most part would be the istitutional anti semitism, jews being arrested, trains packed with prisoners and maybe slave laborers being marched to work sites and the concentration camps in the Reich. That the regime was up to no good with the jews and a number of others categories had been obvious for years, but it was still quite a jump to go from there to the wholesale industrial grade extermination that was undertaken; one could have reasonably believed they were employed as forced labour to make up for shortage of manpower.

Likely only a minority would have know the full truth: sure, the nasty wife of a nazi apparatchik would occasionally lecture her unfortunate shelter companions on how the jews they were gassed, a Reichsbahn conductor would connect the dots and let it slip with trusted friends, a soldier on leave would share tales of jews being shot en masse in the east and the hillbillies around Mauthausen would have certainly seen plenty enough. But in general while bits and pieces were out in the open the full picture was probobaly outside of most people view and there would be reasons to be skeptic of rumors. The bigger extermination camps like Auschwitz or Sobibor were conveniently outside Germany proper for the most part; throw in a big war and a fairly repressive regime and it would be possible to contain the spread of information.

Edited by Marcello
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A couple of hundred metres up the road from my flat is a small quiet park called Kopper Park. It commemorates a guy called Jochen Kopper, his wife and step daughter. A perfectly normal German family - except that in 1942 it was not as Frau Kopper and her daughter were Jewish. As the women had been ordered to report for deportation, the three of them committed suicide - also victims of the Holocaust.

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. . . it would be possible to contain the spread of information.

 

And a lot of reluctance to connect dots. Not only because the Gestapo would take an interest if you did, but no one wants to think of their own people committing egregious acts of such evil.

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Now, do you see why I think that it's wrong to focus too much on what the Nazis did to the Jews? They had the immense misfortune to be first on the Nazi list, partly because of Hitler's personal hatreds, partly for purely practical reasons (being a minority almost everywhere, & a local majority only in very tightly defined areas, i.e. particular towns & villages, & suffering from sever prejudice against them, they were easy victims). That made them the greatest sufferers from Nazi persecution in terms of the proportion of their population who were killed, followed by the Roma. For that, they deserve special sympathy. But the myth that they were the only people targeted is just that, a myth. They were the most intensely & efficiently targeted, but if time & circumstances had allowed, other peoples were meant to suffer much the same fate. This would not have been a side effect of the war: it was the purpose of the war.

 

There was also the fact that not many in Eastern Europe, nor all in Western Europe for that matter, decried the deaths of jews, gypsies and homosexuals. IIRC, some even helped the nazis with those particular groups, and some helped the nazis against other groups against whom the had a grudge. Like Ken said, is not a nazi thing, is a human thing.

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Excellent post, swerve, thank you.

 

For an excellent discussion of the effects of the two "Tectonic Plates" of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union rubbing against each other in Poland, Ukraine, Belarus and the 3 Baltic states, have a look at

 

Snyder, Timothy. Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin. Basic Books, New York, 2010. ISBN 978-0-465-00239-9

 

Some of these areas were occupied 3 times; each occupation unleashing a new wave of deportation and slaughter.

 

Ironically enough, due to the slave labour programme, there were more Jews within the borders of the Reich in 1945 than there were in 1939!

 

Very very good book. Essential reading on this subject.

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Another chilling book which I think is very good, & supplements Bloodlands well (though there is, of course, some overlap) is Hitler's Empire: Nazi Rule in Occupied Europe (Allen Lane, 2008) by Mark Mazower.

 

 

I took a holocaust class and the rabbi teaching it said "we jews are the yellow canary in the mineshaft."

Hit the nail on the head. Thanks for that. I'll remember it.

Edited by swerve
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... Collaboration seems to have been rife in Poland im sorry to say, at least in the area around Torun (the Germans called it Thorn), which was originally a Prussian territory pre WW1. Possibly that has some bearing on it, possibly not....

IIRC it was in a region where the local boss (a man with almost absolute powers) was keen, for practical reasons, to turn as many Poles as possible into Germans. Under such a regime collaboration would give you a damn good chance of being turned into a "German" (albeit a lower status one), which meant you had legal rights (you couldn't be arbitrarily shot by any German soldier or policeman, for example), safety from deportation eastwards & a bigger ration. Worth it, eh?

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It was much more general than you think, they were even informing on British POWS to the German authorities, a bit trying for them as they were only in Poland due to fighting on their behalf.

 

The same happened in France, more commonly in the Vichy bit. Evidently they didn't really appreciate the dire straights they were in.

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"I kind of understand much better now why my Grandfather didnt want to be liberated by the Soviets..."--Stuart Galbraith

I've read accounts of American POWs running west after everything fell apart for the Germans to avoid Soviet 'liberation'. Seems they heard some nasty rumors.

Edited by shep854
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**SNIP**

I kind of understand much better now why my Grandfather didn't want to be liberated by the Soviets....

 

An interesting example of this is cited by Duffy.

 

Help was forthcoming from some remarkable quarters. Eighteen French prisoners of war were among the fifty-six people murdered by the Russians at Krenau in East Prussia, and for a large number of ex-Allied soldiers the prospect of 'liberation' became distinctly unappealing.

 

. . .

 

The same Panzer lieutenant tells in circumstantial detail the story of thirty-two British officer prisoners of war who had been abandoned by the Germans in the camp at Schlossberg in easternmost East Prussia. The Russians tried to transport them east to some unspecified destination, but the British broke free and made their way across the width of East Prussia until they reached the 35th Panzer Regiment of the 4th Panzer Division at Heiderode:

 

In the polite English way, and with all proper courtesy, they emphasised that they wanted to come back and stay with us. Without any prompting they assured us that, if necessary, they would be willing to fight on the German side.

 

We had been sunk in gloom, and you may imagine how their request gave a mighty boost to our morale. Naturally we took them in, and we willingly shared our rations and cigarettes.

 

It transpired that four of the party had been captured by the 4th Panzer Division at Béthune in 1940. The last that was seen of the officers was in late March or early April, when they were waiting with thousands of German soldiers and civilians to be shipped from Oxhöft (Schäuffler, 1979, 119-20; see also Schäuffler, 1973, 245). This episode deserves further investigation.

 

Amazingly enough the inmates of Stutthof concentration camp (on the Vistula delta) preferred to wait for evacuation to Schleswig-Holstein rather than taking their chances with the Russians.

 

Duffy, Christopher. Red Storm on the Reich. Atheneum, New York, 1991. ISBN 0-689-12092-3

**pages 278-79**

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Incidentally, does anyone know if the word for English is 'angliski' in Russian AND Polish? Just curious, something I said to him once made him change the subject. I thought it was contact with the Soviet POWs that made him remember something he would rather forget, but It suddenly occurred to me it may be the same in Polish as well.

 

Polish: angielski

Russian: angliyskiy

 

Both are close enough that an English ear may confuse them.

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To be fair, those at the camps and those at the front were different doctors, I doubt that any of the camp's "doctors" would end up at the front or the PoW camps.

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What's really chilling is that the Germans were considered rather humane in their POW treatment, compared to the Japanese... :mellow:

 

Oddly enough the Japanese seemed to treat Jews far better than the Germans. In fact diplomatic staff in Berlin helped many Jews escape and to come to Japan, mainly ones with technical backgrounds.

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