Nazi Sobibor gas chambers rediscovered

This video says about itself:

Escape from Sobibor: 1987

22 August 2013

During WWII, the death camp at Treblinka had an escape, causing the Commandant at a similar camp in Sobibor to vow that his camp would never experience the same thing. But those who were its captives, the Jewish laborers that had been spared from the ovens, knew that they were on borrowed time and that their only hope was to escape… the only question was how to do it. However, because the Germans would kill an equal number of others whenever a group attempted to escape, the captives knew that if ever an escape was tried, all 600 prisoners in the camp would have to be included… logistically precluding any ideas about tunnels or sneak breakouts. Indeed, to have such a mass escape could only mean that the Ukrainian guards and Germain officers would have to be killed, which many of the Jews felt simply reduced themselves to no better than their captors… thus making it a struggle of conscience. And therein lies the story, with the film being based on a factual account of what then happened at that Sobibor prison.

The above film is public domain. I have posted this in good faith with the information and records available to me online.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Sobibor gas chambers found again

Update: Wednesday Sep 17 2014, 21:03

Researchers have found the exact location of the gas chambers of Sobibor, one of the nazi death camps in Poland. The study lasted eight years. The researchers, including a Dutch archaeologist, called the find important for the study of the Holocaust.

After an uprising in October 1943 the Germans closed the camp and they demolished the buildings to delete the traces of their crimes. Then a woodland grew over it.

The gas chambers were in use from April 1942 to October 1943. The nazis have killed at least 170,000 Jews there.

Japanese government, friends of neo-nazi fuehrer

Pictures from Japanese neo-Nazi Kazunari Yamada’s website show him posing with Shinzo Abe’s internal affairs minister, Sanae Takaichi, and his party’s policy chief, Tomomi Inada. Photograph: Guardian

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Neo-Nazi photos pose headache for Shinzo Abe

Two newly promoted political allies of Japanese PM shown smiling alongside far-right figure Kazunari Yamada

Justin McCurry in Tokyo

Tuesday 9 September 2014 05.18 BST

Barely a week after Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, overhauled his administration amid flagging popularity, two of his senior colleagues have been forced to distance themselves from rightwing extremism after photographs emerged of them posing with the country’s leading neo-Nazi.

Sanae Takaichi, the internal affairs minister, was among a record-equalling five women selected by Abe as he attempts to make his cabinet more female voter-friendly and to increase women’s presence in the workplace.

Takaichi, an Abe ally on the right of the governing Liberal Democratic party (LDP), was pictured posing alongside Kazunari Yamada, the 52-year-old leader of the National Socialist Japanese Workers party, on the neo-Nazi party’s website.

A smiling Takaichi and Yamada appear together standing in front of a Japanese flag.

Yamada has voiced praise for Adolf Hitler and the September 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre. In a YouTube video Yamada’s supporters are seen wearing swastika armbands, while he denies the Holocaust took place and criticises postwar Germany’s ban on the Nazi salute, accusing the country of being “no different from North Korea”.

This video about Yamada is called 密着24時!日本のネオナチ – A Japanese Neo-Nazi.

Takaichi met Yamada “for talks” at her office in the summer of 2011, according to her office. Confirming the photographs were genuine, a spokesman for Takaichi claimed her office had been unaware of Yamada’s extremist views at the time.

Media coverage prompted her office to request that the photographs be removed but by then they had already been widely circulated on social media.

A second photograph shows Yamada standing alongside Tomomi Inada, another close Abe ally who was given the powerful job of LDP policy chief. Inada’s office was quick to distance the MP from Yamada, whose website celebrates the “samurai spirit” and proclaims that the “sun shall rise again”, saying it would be disappointed if the photograph led people to “misunderstand what she does”.

While there is no evidence that either politician shares Yamada’s neo-Nazi ideology their appointment has fuelled accusations that Abe is taking his administration even further to the right.

Takaichi and Inada have both visited Yasukuni shrine, which honours Japan’s war dead, including 14 class-A war criminals; last week, Takaichi said she would visit Yasukuni again, this time in her role as minister. “I’ve been visiting Yasukuni as one Japanese individual, to offer my sincere appreciation to the spirits of war dead,” she told reporters. “I intend to continue offering my sincere appreciation as an individual Japanese.”

China and South Korea view politicians’ pilgrimages to the shrine as evidence that Japan has yet to atone for atrocities committed on the Asian mainland before and during the second world war.

Ukraine’s neo-nazi Azov battalion

This video says about itself:

Neo-Fascist Mercenaries From Europe Fill the Ranks of Ukraine’s Army Azov Battalion

9 June 2014

One special forces group, fighting separatists in Eastern Ukraine, is bringing together many self-declared neo-fascists.

The volunteers joining the so-called Azov battalion, raised by Ukraine’s interior ministry, includes men from Russia, Sweden and Italy who believe in national socialism.

Al Jazeera’s David Chater reports from Mariupol.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Azov fighters are Ukraine’s greatest weapon and may be its greatest threat

The battalion’s far-right volunteers’ desire to ‘bring the fight to Kiev’ is a danger to post-conflict stability

Shaun Walker in Mariupol

Wednesday 10 September 2014 13.36 BST

“I have nothing against Russian nationalists, or a great Russia,” said Dmitry, as we sped through the dark Mariupol night in a pickup truck, a machine gunner positioned in the back. “But Putin’s not even a Russian. Putin’s a Jew.”

Dmitry – which he said is not his real name – is a native of east Ukraine and a member of the Azov battalion, a volunteer grouping that has been doing much of the frontline fighting in Ukraine’s war with pro-Russian separatists.

The Azov, one of many volunteer brigades to fight alongside the Ukrainian army in the east of the country, has developed a reputation for its fearlessness in battle.

But there is an increasing worry that while the Azov and other volunteer battalions might be Ukraine’s most potent and reliable force on the battlefield against the separatists, they also pose the most serious threat to the Ukrainian government, and perhaps even the state, when the conflict in the east is over. The Azov causes particular concern due to the far-right, even neo-Nazi leanings of many of its members.

Dmitry claimed not to be a Nazi, but waxed lyrical about Adolf Hitler as a military leader, and he believes the Holocaust never happened. Not everyone in the Azov battalion thinks like Dmitry, but after speaking with dozens of its fighters and embedding on several missions during the past week in and around the strategic port city of Mariupol, the Guardian found many of them to have disturbing political views, and almost all to be intent on “bringing the fight to Kiev” when the war in the east is over.

The battalion’s symbol is reminiscent of the Nazi Wolfsangel, though the battalion claims it is in fact meant to be the letters N and I crossed over each other, standing for “national idea”. Many of its members have links with neo-Nazi groups, and even those who laughed off the idea that they are neo-Nazis did not give the most convincing denials.

“Of course not, it’s all made up, there are just a lot of people who are interested in Nordic mythology,” said one fighter when asked if there were neo-Nazis in the battalion. When asked what his own political views were, however, he said “national socialist”. As for the swastika tattoos on at least one man seen at the Azov base, “the swastika has nothing to do with the Nazis, it was an ancient sun symbol,” he claimed.

The battalion has even drawn far-right volunteers from abroad, such as Mikael Skillt, a 37-year-old Swede, trained as a sniper in the Swedish army, who described himself as an “ethnic nationalist” and fights on the front line with the battalion.

For the commanders and the generals in Kiev, who many in Azov and other volunteer battalions see as responsible for the awful losses the Ukrainian army has suffered in recent weeks, especially in the ill-fated retreat from Ilovaysk, there was only contempt.

“Generals like those in charge of Ilovaysk should be imprisoned for treason,” said Skillt. “Heads are going to roll for sure, I think there will be a battle for power.”

The Ukrainian armed forces are “an army of lions led by a sheep”, said Dmitry, and there is only so long that dynamic can continue. With so many armed, battle-hardened and angry young men coming back from the front, there is a danger that the rolling of heads could be more than a metaphor. Dmitry said he believes that Ukraine needs “a strong dictator to come to power who could shed plenty of blood but unite the nation in the process”.

Many in the Azov battalion with whom the Guardian spoke shared this view, which is a long way from the drive for European ideals and democracy that drove the protests in Kiev at the beginning.

The Russian volunteer fighting with the Azov said he believes Ukraine needs “a junta that will restrict civil rights for a while but help bring order and unite the country.”

This disciplinarian streak was visible inside the battalion itself. Drinking is strictly forbidden. “One time there was a guy who got drunk, but the commander beat him in his face and legs until he could not move; then he was kicked out,” recalled one fighter proudly.

Other volunteer battalions have also come under the spotlight. This week, Amnesty International called on the Ukrainian government to investigate rights abuses and possible executions by the Aidar, another battalion.

“The failure to stop abuses and possible war crimes by volunteer battalions risks significantly aggravating tensions in the east of the country and undermining the proclaimed intentions of the new Ukrainian authorities to strengthen and uphold the rule of law more broadly,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International Secretary General, in Kiev.

Fighters from the battalion told the Guardian last month they expected a “new revolution” in Ukraine that would bring a more decisive military leader to power, in sentiments similar to those of many Azov fighters.

Despite the desire of many in the Azov to bring violence to Kiev when the war in the east is over, the battalion receives funding and assistance from the governor of Donetsk region, the oligarch Serhiy Taruta.

German official sabotage of nazi terrorism investigation

This video is called Neo Nazi Killers of Germany (SHOCKING Crime Documentary).

By Sven Heymann in Germany:

Germany: Official report speaks of “deliberate sabotage” by secret service in NSU case

10 September 2014

In mid-July, the Thuringia state parliamentary committee of inquiry into the series of murders by the far-right National Socialist Underground (NSU) presented its final report. It raises serious allegations against the state security authorities.

So far, the actions of the secret services and judicial authorities in relation to the NSU have been mostly described as errors, incompetence, official sloppiness, failures, breakdowns, unfortunate circumstances, accidental shredding, and so on.

The detailed report goes much further. For the first time, it openly says that the behaviour of the authorities involved in the NSU investigation in Thuringia gives grounds for “suspecting deliberate sabotage”. The police, secret service and judiciary had provided so little cooperation in the investigation of the NSU that one can no longer speak of unfortunate circumstances or breakdowns, committee chair Dorothea Marx (Social Democratic Party, SPD) said in Erfurt.

In the opinion of the committee, the series of murders by the neo-Nazi terrorist cell could have been prevented if the investigating authorities had not previously displayed such serious misconduct, Marx said. The alleged perpetrators come from Thuringia; therefore the Thuringia authorities bear “a special responsibility and a special guilt.”

The committee began its work in February 2012, after the NSU was broken up in November 2011. In just 70 sessions, more than 100 witnesses were heard. Its final report comprises more than 1,800 pages and is available online.

The report is of particular importance in many respects. The alleged right-wing terrorists Uwe Böhnhardt, Uwe Mundlos and Beate Zschäpe came from Jena, the second largest city in Thuringia. All three joined the far-right scene there in the 1990s.

Above all, it is clear that in Thuringia, more than in almost any other state, government agencies played a central role in building up this milieu. The undercover operative Tino Brandt received about 200,000 Deutsche Marks from the secret service, which he mainly invested in the construction of the neo-Nazi scene, he said. And Böhnhardt and Mundlos died in the Thuringia city of Eisenach on November 4, 2011, in a motor home, supposedly by committing suicide.

On that day, it came to light that, supposedly undetected over 13 years, the NSU committed 10 murders, at least two bomb attacks and 14 bank robberies. It is also known that at least two-dozen secret service undercover agents were placed in the immediate environs of the NSU.

Through financing these undercover operatives, large sums of money flowed into the far-right scene. Immediately after these close connections between far-right terrorists and the secret service became known, the destruction of thousands of intelligence files began. Police and intelligence officials who were called to testify before inquiry committees and in the Munich NSU trial were either not granted permission to give evidence, refused to testify, or could not remember anything.

The Thuringia committee of inquiry brought together facts exposing overwhelming evidence against the investigating authorities.

In relation to the NSU trio, who went to ground in 1998, the report says: “Seen all together, the history of all those involved in conducting, or not conducting, the manhunt between 1998-2003, is a disaster”. Even if one puts the best case, one must assume the responsible parties displayed “sheer indifference to finding the three fugitives in comparison to other tasks”. It then states: “The accumulation of false or untaken decisions, and the non-observance of simple standards, also lead to the suspicion of deliberate sabotage and deliberate thwarting of the search for the fugitives” (all quotations on p. 1,582 of the report).

The Thuringia State Office for the Protection of the Constitution (TLFV, as the state branch of the secret service is called) had prevented the trio from being found: “By withholding important information…the TLFV has at least indirectly protected the fugitives,” the report finds (p. 1,584).

In several cases, undercover agents had been protected by the secret service against actions by the police or the public prosecutor. In the case of Tino Brandt, “at least one attempt to influence an…investigation…by the TLFV was proven”, as far as the committee was concerned. Furthermore, the committee “came to the conclusion that Tino Brandt was warned—by whomever—about the investigation into him, benefiting from the perverting of the course of justice that resulted (p. 1,580).

It was also established that “the majority of the other undercover operatives and subjects” were “offenders, who committed crimes, in part during their deployment” (ibid).

As became clear, the Thuringia secret service could operate undisturbed and uncontrolled, especially in the 1990s. “With regard to the administrative and technical supervision” of the secret service by the Thuringia Ministry of the Interior, it must “be stated that at least until the year 2000 this did not exist” (p. 1,585).

However, the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Thuringia State Office for Criminal Investigation (LKA) also face serious allegations. Their actions had led to “the case only [being] worked on sporadically”.

The LKA had left the search for the NSU trio to the Criminal Investigation Unit and the secret service. Moreover, the “State Security Division, in violation of its duty, had not brought together the results and findings and made all the necessary evaluations.” In the search for the fugitives, the public prosecutor “had also exercised only rudimentary governance and was only involved in individual actions” (p. 1,585).

One of the most controversial elements of the report was almost completely buried in the already extremely sparse media coverage: The report places a question mark over the alleged suicides of Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Böhnhardt in their motor home in Eisenach on November 4, 2011.

The previous official version of events goes something like this: after a bank robbery in the morning, the two had holed up in a rented motor home, on the run from the police. After this was discovered by two police officers at about noon, Mundlos and Böhnhardt had fired shots, set the vehicle on fire from the inside, and then shot themselves. Contrary to their previous ruthlessness, and despite an extensive arsenal of weapons in the vehicle, both made no attempt to escape the situation.

As an essential proof for this version, it has always been stated that soot was found in the lungs of Mundlos during the autopsy, which he had inhaled after setting the motor home on fire; in Böhnhardt’s mouth, however, no soot was found, since he was already dead.

As the Thuringia committee of inquiry has established, this was based solely on the assertion of a police officer from the crime scene, who claims to have received this information by telephone from the pathologist—and it does not correspond with the facts, according to the investigation report. The committee received the autopsy report, which notes that neither Böhnhardt nor Mundlos had inhaled soot before they died.

That posed “the classic question of whether the fire had been started after the deaths of the two, by a third party, who would thus also come into consideration as a perpetrator for the killings”, the report declares (p. 1,574).

Having reviewed the scenario at the crime scene in detail, the report concludes that the involvement of a third party, who could have silently slipped away unnoticed by the police officers, can by no means be ruled out.

Who this unknown third party is, an individual who may have shot the two right-wing terrorists, and his relationship to them or to the secret service, is one of the countless questions about the NSU that are still completely unanswered.

The committee of inquiry in the Thuringia state parliament has clearly shown how deeply government agencies are involved in the development of far-right and right-wing terrorist organisations. Ten years ago, when the attempt to ban the neo-Nazi German National Party (NPD) failed, the judges declared that legal proceedings could not continue because the secret service had flooded the executive level of the NPD so massively with undercover agents that in the court’s view this was an “affair of state”.

In a similar way, the report of the Thuringia NSU Committee shows that secret service authorities, police and other parts of the security apparatus function as a state within a state, aloof from any democratic control and legal remedy.

Theatre in Scotland about the extreme right

This video about theatre in Britain is called There Has Possibly Been An Incident: Interview with Chris Thorpe.

By Mike Quille, writing about the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland:

Reality checks with a future

Wednesday 3rd September 2014

MIKE QUILLE recommends two plays on far-right extremism that merit wider exposure beyond an apolitical festival

GIVEN the open, if undeclared, war being waged by the ruling classes across Britain and the energising effect of the referendum debate on Scottish politics, you might think that this year’s festival would have provided more in the way of artistic critiques, protest and alternative imaginings.

Yet much of the theatre on offer seemed unwilling to “stimulate a desire for understanding, a delight in changing reality,” to quote Bertholt Brecht.

Because political apathy rules, maybe no more should be expected from artists.

But this seems pretty undemanding when you see examples of good political theatre.

A case in point is Blood Orange, a classic piece of agitprop by the Electric Theatre Collective. It’s based on real-life recent events in Dumfries, when the Scottish Defence League attempted to march and mobilise support.

In the play, a young man’s grief for his mother and the loss of their family shop is manipulated by a shadowy skinhead into racist violence, with tragic results.

In the process of telling this story, Blood Orange successfully combines a strong political message, exuberantly expressed in poetic writing and great ensemble acting, which is presented within the — brilliantly appropriate— crazed visual and sonic aesthetics of clubbing.

It’s a show which could and should be shown anywhere in Britain as a wake-up call to the dangers of the far-right’s mobilisation of alienated working-class youth.

Confirmation, a one-man show by writer-performer Chris Thorpe, works differently but is equally effective.

Based on the psychological theory of confirmation bias — by which we tend to interpret the world in ways which reinforce our convictions —it explores what happens when liberal, tolerant attitudes come up against right-wing extremism.

Thorpe and director Rachel Chavkin dramatise the resulting conflict in an innovative way through role play, thought experiments and Q and A sessions with the audience.

These are all delivered passionately, even aggressively, by Thorpe as he lurches violently around centre stage. Like a demented boxer, he confronts himself, his imagined political opponents and us.

Through a dramatised dialogue with a white supremacist and Holocaust denier, Thorpe negotiates through the psychology of engagement with far-right opinions and the cautionary need to keep our core values while being aware of our natural bias.

Enlightening and entertaining, it’s an unpredictable, intimidating and daring performance.

Both shows plaited together ideas and action — they’re outstanding examples of another Brecht dictum, that “theatre must teach all the pleasures and joys of discovery and all the feelings of triumph associated with liberation.”

More of that, please.