This is a hummingbird hawk-moth video from Poland.
This video says about itself:
6 June 2013
This is a clip from “RHYTHMS OF NATURE IN THE BARYCZ VALLEY” movie.
This film tells the story about nature in the Barycz River valley and enormous Milicz ponds. This area is located in the south-western part of Poland (in the middle of Europe). I and my wife made it for 2 years.
Sir David Attenborough, a world-famous BBC nature documentary film maker, after watching the film “Rhythms of Nature in the Barycz Valley” wrote:
“I have viewed Rhythms of Nature with great pleasure.
A lovely place, beautifully filmed”.
15 Jan 2014
Nicole and I ring mainly at a small marsh on the east side of Bahrain. The marsh is less than one kilometre square, possibly half this size and comprises areas of deep water and extensive phragmites reed beds. There are a few scattered tamarix bushes within the marsh and wet areas with muddy edges near the sides. Many areas are too deep to access but we have a small area were it is possible to set nets. Reed cutters come every weekend to cut reeds for their animals and this helps maintain the marsh in a suitable condition to ring as the reeds grow extremely fast and swamp the area in a very short time if not cut.
The marsh is good for typical marsh birds with herons numerous. The Indian Reef Herons and Little Egrets have yet to be caught but we have started to catch a few Little Bitterns. They are relatively common on the marsh and are seen almost every visit, particularly just after first light. Below are photographs of two male Little Bitterns we caught last weekend and photos of a female can be seen in my last post on ringing at the marsh.
This video says about itself:
3 Sep 2011
Shocking Footage from Auschwitz Concentration Camp. Auschwitz was the largest of the Nazi extermination camps. This distressing footage was taken after the 322nd Rifle Division of the Red Army liberated the camp in Poland on January 27, 1945. The official death toll for this camp alone was 1.1million.
By Sybille Fuchs in Germany:
30 December 2013
The following article is an edited version of a three-part series published by the World Socialist Web Site ten years ago on the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of the Auschwitz hearings in Frankfurt. The sections of dialogue cited in the article are from a 1965 play by Peter Weiss entitled The Investigation, based on the transcript of the trial. 
Judge: Did you see anything of the camp?
2nd witness: Nothing, I was just glad to get out of there.
Judge: Did you see the chimneys at the end of the platform, or the smoke and glare?
2nd witness: Yes, I saw the smoke.
Judge: And what did you think?
2nd witness: I thought those must be the bakeries.
I had heard they baked bread in there day and night. After all, it was a big camp.
(The Investigation, by Peter Weiss, Frankfurt, 1965)
This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Auschwitz hearings—the first time some of the individuals responsible for the Nazis’ machinery of extermination were brought before courts in the German Federal Republic. The court case opened on December 20, 1963 in the Römer, Frankfurt’s town hall, nearly 20 years after the end of World War II and the Nuremberg Trials. It ended on August 19, 1965.
As is well known, the response of German courts to the Nazi regime and its monstrous crimes is one of the most disgraceful episodes in West German justice. Opposition to trials of this kind was widespread in the 1950s and 1960s within Germany’s legal and political elite.
None of Auschwitz’s three leading concentration camp commanders were still alive at the start of the trial. Rudolf Höss and Arthur Liebehenschel had been tried and executed in Poland in 1947, in accordance with an agreement between the Allied forces. Others who bore chief responsibility, such as the notorious Doctor Mengele, were able to flee and remain in hiding in South America.
Richard Baer, the last camp commandant of Auschwitz, declined to give testimony during the preliminary investigations to the Frankfurt proceedings. He died in detention while investigations were pending and all legal action against him was dropped. The Frankfurt trials were therefore concerned only with some lower-level assistants to these camp commanders.
But it was perhaps precisely because the trial did not deal only with leading members of the SS, but with their underlings, that the case and the detailed media coverage that accompanied it provided West Germans with their first comprehensive picture of the seemingly banal daily routine of the ghastly extermination machinery at Auschwitz. The trial thereby played a significant role in politicizing West German youth.
That West Germans began to closely follow the Auschwitz hearings was largely due to the testimony of 359 witnesses from 19 countries, including 211 camp survivors. The trial, which required witnesses to recall the terrible events with the precision that is required in a criminal prosecution, often put excessive demands on the survivors. The accused, flanked by their attorneys on benches normally occupied by town councilors, were, for the most part, indifferent to the proceedings.
Behind them, in front of high windows, hung two large display boards depicting sketches of Auschwitz I (the main concentration camp) and Auschwitz II (the extermination camp at Birkenau). With the magistrates sat the assize court, at that time three professional judges and six magistrates sworn in as jurors. Judge Hans Hofmeyer chaired the proceedings.
The trial was scheduled to last 20 months and commenced in the Römer hall, at the time the only venue in Frankfurt capable of holding those involved in the proceedings. In the spring of 1964, hearings were moved to the Bürgerhaus Gallus, built especially for that purpose, where they continued until the trial’s conclusion. Approximately 20,000 visitors attended the proceedings over the ensuing months.
Six of the accused were given life sentences on charges of murder or joint responsibility for murder, and eleven received maximum sentences of 14 years imprisonment. Three were acquitted due to insufficient evidence, and two of the accused were not put on trial because of illness or death. The challenge facing the judges was to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that each of the accused was individually complicit in the crimes. This difficult standard was also the reason for the relatively mild sentences, which were considered inadequate by many of the surviving victims of Nazism.
Of the more than 6,000 (other sources say 8,000) former members of the SS who guarded Auschwitz between 1940 and 1945, only 22 came before the Frankfurt court, among them a former “operative prisoner,” or so-called “kapo”. In the 20 months of court proceedings, those accused showed no trace of regret.
The sentences bore no relation to the crimes for which the perpetrators were individually or jointly guilty. At least three million Jews and a similar number of political prisoners, Sinti, gypsies and homosexuals were sent to be gassed in Auschwitz or died through forced labour, starvation and cold, bestial medical experiments, arbitrary beatings or shootings. The camps were located throughout Germany. Birkenau extermination camp alone could accommodate 100,000 prisoners.
The road to the trial
The fact that the trial even occurred was the outcome of two more or less accidental and not immediately connected events. As Werner Renz of the Fritz-Bauer Institute explained in a recent essay, if circumstances had been only slightly different “the Auschwitz trial would not have occurred forty years ago.” 
Adolf Roegner, a former Auschwitz inmate and a kapo, was also a Bruchsal prisoner convicted of “perjury and making false statements while not under oath”. In a letter to Stuttgart’s attorney general dated March 1, 1958, he referred to Wilhelm Boger, a former member of the Auschwitz camp Gestapo. In this letter, he accused Boger of crimes in Auschwitz and cited Boger’s home address and workplace.
The authorities hesitated to act, but two months later, after representations from International Auschwitz Committee General Secretary Hermann Langbein, whom Roegner had also contacted, investigations commenced. In his interrogation, Roegner named other members of the Auschwitz SS. Finally, an arrest warrant was issued against Wilhelm Boger, but it was not until October 8, 1958, seven months later, that he was arrested at his workplace. Those accused by Roegner—Stark, Broad and Dylewski—were taken into investigative custody in April 1959.
Independently, Frankfurter Rundschau reporter Thomas Gnielka sent documents to Hessen Attorney General Fritz Bauer in mid-January, 1959. Gnielka received the material from Frankfurt resident Emil Wulkan, another concentration camp survivor. Wulkan had originally taken possession of the documents from a burning SS court at Breslau in May 1945. He showed them to Gnielka in December 1958, while making a reparation application. The journalist identified them as Auschwitz execution files.
The documents, which were from Auschwitz concentration camp commandants and members of the SS and XV Breslau police courts from 1942, listed prisoners shot during alleged escape attempts. Thirty seven SS members involved in the shootings, including Stefan Baretzki, were also named. In order to give these killings the appearance of legality, the victims were found guilty according to existing regulations and their SS murderers duly acquitted.
Attorney General Fritz Bauer used the documents to establish Frankfurt-Main County Court jurisdiction over the Auschwitz complex—a move finally accepted by the national court in April 1959. Only then was it possible to systematically initiate preliminary investigations and arrest the Auschwitz criminals.
Bauer, a social democrat who had been forced to flee Germany because of his politics and his Jewish origin, was one of the few jurors of the former Federal Republic who attempted to seriously prosecute those responsible for Nazi crimes. Having previously encountered a wall of resistance to his endeavours, he now seized the opportunity to get the trial underway.
Bauer wanted to turn the proceedings into an investigation of the “Final solution to the Jewish question” which had been implemented by the Nazis in Auschwitz. He therefore tried to involve experts from the Institute for Contemporary History in Munich. For him, the main consideration was not the sentencing of individual perpetrators, but providing historical clarification of what had taken place. The trial definitively revealed the claims by the extreme right that no one was ever gassed in Auschwitz to be the foulest of historical falsifications.
A young Christian Democratic Union state representative from Mainz by the name of Helmut Kohl, who later acknowledged that “thankfully he was born too late,” opposed Bauer, arguing that the fall of the Third Reich was too recent and therefore prevented a historical judgment being made “of National Socialism”. Kohl, the longtime Federal Republic chancellor and immediate predecessor of Gerhard Schröder, articulated a view that was broadly held in political circles within the Federal Republic.
The accused: Henchmen acting under orders
Judge: Defendant Boger, as a criminal investigator didn’t you know that a man subjected to such an interrogation will say anything you want him to say?
Accused 2: That’s not the way I see it at all and I am referring here to our supervisory office. If a prisoner proved stubborn, force was the only way to make him confess.
8th witness: Then they took me to Barrack 11 and up to the loft I was hung from a pole by my hands, which were tied behind me.
That was called pole hanging. They hung you up just high enough so that your toes touched the floor. Boger pushed me back and forth and kicked me in the stomach….
Accused 2: The purpose of the intensive interrogation was achieved when blood ran down their pants…
What is more, in my opinion even now corporal punishment if administered by juvenile courts, for instance, would soon put a stop to a good deal of delinquent behaviour. (The Investigation, by Peter Weiss, Frankfurt, 1965)
While the defense attempted to defame the Auschwitz trial, depicting it as a “show trial” established by a conspiracy of former communist detainees, the accused, who represented a cross section of the camp’s personnel, remained mostly silent. They either denied any involvement in crimes or attempted to pose as individuals who simply carried out orders and held only subordinate positions. The court, however, refused to accept the claim that the accused had only been following orders, and established that anyone who had opposed these crimes would not have suffered any considerable disadvantage. Testimony proved this beyond all doubt.
Examining magistrate Hans Düx, who helped prepare the trials, reported on the accused Oswald Kaduk, who was proven to have personally killed many people and to have carried out the selection of victims on his own authority.
“His conduct was compulsively militaristic. Every time a question was directed to him he jumped up and stood to attention (clicking his heels, thumbs on his trouser seams) giving his reply in a clipped manner. When I explained to him that he didn’t always have to stand to attention, he jumped up again, shouting ‘Yes, sir!’ Apparently, he had internalized militarism to such an extent that within another context he replied: ‘Yes, sir, Obersturmführer.’ After using this form of address, he paused for a moment and explained that he had said it because it was an old habit. He explained that when speaking to officials he often reacts in the way—it was usual within the SS—he had done thousands of times before. I had the impression that he had not used this form of address as a provocation, but that during the examination this deeply internalized pattern of behavior involuntarily came to light.”
Kaduk’s responses to the accusations against him were significantly more revealing than those of his accomplices, who usually waffled about the events. He attempted to depict himself as a low-ranking SS officer and claimed that the so-called “death selection” had been made by SS doctors and senior SS officers.
According to Kaduk, his task was simply to prevent the condemned from joining those able to work. Under camp procedures, children who had just arrived at the camp were immediately gassed, unless SS doctors selected them for medical experiments. Mothers who were fit for work but would not separate themselves from their condemned children were sent to the gas chambers along with them.
In Kaduk’s own words, the transport of Jews “ran like hot cakes”. Along with other SS members, he used a heavy goods truck to drive the condemned Jews from a ramp where they arrived at the camp to the gas chambers. As Kaduk, who described himself as a “tough guy”, told the court: “I never consciously killed anyone; sometimes I just beat somebody who wanted to dodge work.”
Regarding Jozef Cyrankiewicz, who had been imprisoned in Auschwitz and later became Poland’s prime minister during the 1960s, Kaduk remarked: “If I had had the chance at the time, I would have bumped him off.” This outburst clearly contradicted Kaduk’s claim that he never intended to kill anybody. His attempt to play down his role was disproved by numerous witnesses, and the court sentenced him to life imprisonment for murder in 1,012 cases. 
Another of the accused was Robert Mulka. An adjutant for Auschwitz camp command, he gave the orders for the “liquidation” of the transports. Chemist Victor Capesius, a former IG Farben employee and head of the SS chemists group, helped select victims at the ramps.
The accused Wilhelm Boger was SS political division officer at Auschwitz and a participant in tortures and the so-called “emptying of bunkers and executions”. He invented the so-called “Boger-swing”, a torture instrument on which detainees were hung and their genitals beaten to a pulp.
A trial observer reported, “The audience was paralyzed and looked at the woman in the witness box with horrified eyes. After telling the court in a self-controlled voice how the camp’s inmates were tortured on the notorious Boger-swing, she was suddenly at a loss for words. She haltingly reported how one day fifty 5- to-10-year-old children were brought to the camp on a heavy goods vehicle. ‘I recall a four-year-old girl…’ Then her voice breaks off, her shoulders begin to shudder and the witness breaks down in despairing tears. A paralyzing horror begins to spread…” 
Many of Boger’s bestial crimes were revealed during the trials, among them the execution of Lili Tofler, who had passed a letter to a fellow inmate. Before she was executed, Boger had made her stand in the washroom for one hour on four consecutive days while he held his pistol against her temple.
Dr. Bruno Berger, an anthropologist and high-ranking SS officer, was also put on trial. He collaborated with Professor Hirt from Strasbourg University during World War II. Hirt committed suicide at the end of the war. The two men wanted to establish a collection of skulls of “Jewish-Bolshevik commissars”. Many Soviet prisoners of war were detained in Auschwitz, so this is where Berger and Hirt selected their victims, killed them, and then stored their heads in Strasbourg University.
“During the preliminary hearings the scientist, who specialized in ‘Jewish-Bolshevik Skulls’, sought to react with evasive explanations, although the evidence against him was unambiguous. In the main trial proceedings he was sentenced to several years of imprisonment.” 
Hans Stark was accused of involvement in selections, gassings and executions, as were his colleagues Pery Broad and Klaus Dylewski. Max Lustig, Gestapo head in the town of Auschwitz, carried out courts martial in the Auschwitz extermination camp. Medical corps members Josef Kehr, Hans Nierwicki and Emil Hantl were also involved in selections and killings, injecting phenol into their victims’ hearts. Operative detainees Emil Bednarek and Alois Staller had killed fellow detainees.
Death trains began bringing Jews to the extermination camp in the spring of 1942. In that year alone, 166 transports, carrying about 180,000 deportees, arrived in Auschwitz. In 1943, 174 transports carried about 220,000, and in 1944, the German Railways system transported about 300,000 victims in 300 trains. They used cattle cars.
Auschwitz researcher Werner Renz has described the murderous methods of concentration camp personnel as follows:
“The ‘handling’ of transports was carried out by an apparatus practiced in the art of extermination. The arrival of a transport was announced to the camp’s headquarters by telegram and radio signals. The camp’s commander then gave instructions to the political division, the medical section of the SS garrison, the carpool, the guard division and the department for labor service. Each division involved in ‘handling’ a transport had a duty rota regarding its deployment on the ramp. SS officers and soldiers on duty on the ramp had their tasks laid down: they supervised the selections on the ramp, received transport documents from the transport’s officers, and divided the deported people into groups—men, women and those incapable of work (elderly people, the sick and children). They then made the scared and confused people stand in rows of five and commenced selecting them.
“After this they confirmed their taking over of the death train, giving details of the ‘transport’s capacity’. The so-called ‘clear-up commando’ was then ordered to come onto the ramp and steal the valuables of the arriving Jews. After this, the condemned were taken to the gas chambers in heavy goods vehicles or had to march there in columns. Once there, the innocent and defenseless victims were deceived with mendacious speeches and ordered to undress for a ‘shower’. They were then brought to the gas chambers and the doors were locked. A medical truck brought the deadly gas, Cyclon B, to the death factories. They tossed gas into the chambers and observed the agonizing process of their victims being gassed through a peephole. After this they ascertained the death of their victims, arranged that the bodies be burned in the crematoriums, and supervised the pulling out of gold teeth. The hair of female corpses was shaved off and the robbery of valuables from dead bodies was supervised. These figures were then reported by telegram to the official bookkeeper stationed in the Imperial Security Authority (Reichssicherheithauptamt) and responsible for recording the mass murder. He logged the total number of deportees, the number of detainees brought to the camp and the number of those gassed.
“Men and women ‘capable of work’ were then allowed into the camp and arrangements made for them to be shaved, dressed and recorded in card files as well as being numbered. They were forced to do mostly murderous backbreaking labor that eventually exterminated the detainees. Sick and weakened camp inmates were murdered with phenol injections into the heart; the labour slaves no longer regarded as ‘useful or usable’ were selected and gassed. Thousands were shot at the execution wall.
“In about 900 days, more than 600 death trains with over one million Jews and 20,000 Sinti and Roma arrived in Auschwitz. The SS was involved in mass extermination day after day—day and night.” 
Even if the court was unable to successfully prove that the accused were individually involved in murder and torture, at least it could have prosecuted those charged with being accessories to these crimes.
The defense tried by every means to make the witnesses uncertain in their testimony. Many of the severely traumatized witnesses had only been able to maintain their sanity by suppressing their memory of these horrors. In court, however, they were confronted with the reality of these terrible events.
The trial investigated the murder of 119 teenage boys at Auschwitz on February 23, 1943. The boys, who were between 13 and 17 years old and from the Zamosc region in Poland, were killed with phenol injections after being allowed to play ball in the Auschwitz hospital courtyard. SS officer and medical corps member Emil Hantl was one the perpetrators of this horrendous crime. He was sentenced to just three-and-a-half years and, under German law, was able to leave the court a free man.
In another case, one detainee had been locked up with 38 others in a 2½ by 3 meter “hunger cell”. The only access to air was through a small hole in the ceiling. By the next morning, 20 inmates had suffocated or been trampled to death.
Trial witnesses revealed the gruesome details of gas chamber extermination to the broad public for the first time.
When the doors were opened, 20 minutes after Cyclon B had been released, detainees ordered to clear the gas chambers found up to 2,000 naked bodies wedged together. Babies, children and elderly people trampled to death lay on the ground where the gas first began to spread. Above them was a layer of female corpses, and then the strongest men at the top of the terrifying heap. In order to save money, Nazi officials began using lower doses of Cyclon B. This meant that that the killing could last up to five minutes, with the weakest victims writhing on the floor in agony. The trials heard that 16 cans, each containing 500 grams, were used to eliminate 2,000 people. The price per can was 5 Reich marks. An estimated 865,000 Jews were murdered in the Auschwitz gas chambers.
The juridical cover-up of Nazi crimes
All of us, I want to make that very clear we did nothing but our duty, even when that duty was hard and even when it grieved us to do it.
Today, when our nation has worked its way up after a devastating war to a leading position in the world, we ought to concern ourselves with other things.
These recriminations should have fallen under the statute of limitations a long time ago. (Loud approbation from the defendants.) (The Investigation, by Peter Weiss, Frankfurt, 1965)
After the Nuremberg Trials organised by the allied forces, in which only a handful of Nazi leaders were accused and sentenced for their crimes, a strange silence about the extermination camps dominated the early days of the Federal Republic of Germany.
The Cold War dominated politics and the media, and shortly after the founding of the Federal Republic in 1949, the allies dropped their pursuit of Nazi criminals and handed the task over to the German justice system. With the approval of the allies, jailed business leaders such as Alfried Krupp, who had directly profited from the concentration camp prisoners, were released after short periods of detention and allowed to resume their leading corporate posts.
On May 29, 1949, a law was passed prohibiting the extradition of German nationals. Consequently, scores of Nazis who committed their crimes in other countries were never handed over to these nations. The German judiciary initiated action against Nazi war criminals only in rare cases.
All those who committed offences during the Nazi regime and had subsequently received a sentence of less than a year were granted amnesty. In 1954, this was extended to all those with sentences of up to three years. It meant that anyone not implicated in major crimes simply went free. In addition, offences like the “concealment of a person’s rank for political reasons” were granted amnesty. These measures made it easier for many of the main criminals to go into hiding. 
“In the meantime, the Western allies experienced a case of ‘clemency fever.’ As a prosecutor from Nuremberg, Robert Kempner, later observed, almost all of his sentenced Nazi criminals were pardoned…. [I]n 1953 most of them found themselves free men and the last one was released in 1958.” 
Chancellor Konrad Adenauer’s government—the first German federal republic after the war—included high-ranking Nazis such as Theodor Oberländer  and Hans Globke. This permitted Oswald Kaduk, who had been accused of particularly heinous crimes, to declare: “I don’t understand why I was apprehended and taken away while those who are really guilty are free. When I just think about Permanent Secretary Globke….”
Hans Globke, who had only recently served as state secretary in the German chancellor’s office in Bonn, was the co-author of a 1936 commentary on the Nuremberg race laws. It served as a basic manual for judges, concentration camp guards and Wehrmacht officers, explaining how Jews, Sinti and Gypsies—so-called “foreign species”—should be dealt with. Neither Globke nor any of the judges who sentenced Jews and others regarded as “untermenschen” (subhumans) to death or other draconian punishments ever faced trial.
Judges who had willingly served under the Nazi dictatorship were back in office or collecting a pension, enjoying their lives in peace. Moreover, after the rearmament of Germany, officers from Hitler’s Wehrmacht were brought back to build a new national army, without any close examination of their histories.
Systematic criminal proceedings against former Nazis never took place in the Federal Republic, nor have their victims ever been given adequate compensation. Up to the present day, those who profited from Auschwitz, like the heirs to steel magnate Friedrich Flick, have refused to pay compensation to forced labourers. Likewise, the former heads of the now-defunct chemical giant IG-Farben have not been held to account for their actions. Among them is Heinrich Bütefisch, to whom the federal government awarded the Federal Cross of Merit, even though he was sentenced during the Nuremberg Trials.
Bütefisch, in his capacity as IG-Farben director, was one of those jointly responsible for the exploitation of Auschwitz prisoners. Moreover, he had belonged to the exclusive Freundeskreis des Reichsführers SS (Gestapo and SS chief Heinrich Himmler’s circle of friends) and had obtained the rank of an SS-Obersturmführer. When these facts became known, German President Heinrich Lübke ordered the return of Bütefisch’s medal.
It was not until 1958 that an organisation—the Ludwigsburger Zentralstelle—was founded to specifically prosecute these crimes. These measures, however, had nothing to do with the systematic pursuit of Nazis.
In total, fewer than 500 were punished for their participation in the murder of Jews. Only 100 defendants from a total of 4,500 who stood trial between 1945 and 1949 for Nazi crimes were accused of murder-related offences (Die Zeit, 5/1/2003). None of the Nazi judges responsible for the scandalous perversion of justice in the notorious “people’s courts” was successfully prosecuted. In fact, it was not until the 1990s that the Federal Supreme Court admitted that the sparing of these judges was a “legislative mistake” and that their crimes should have been punished.
One of the first laws passed in the new Federal Republic of Germany was the so-called exemption from punishment law. This legislation pardoned all those who had committed crimes and been sentenced from six months’ to a year’s imprisonment, with the chance of probation. In 1950, the Bundestag (German parliament) recommended that the process of denazification be ended. During the 1950s, with politics and the media dominated by the German post-war “economic miracle,” the Cold War, and the fight against the enemy in the east, law after law was passed, most with the explicit endorsement of the Allied forces, allowing Nazi criminals to go unpunished.
Following the half-hearted “denazification” program, almost the entire middle and upper strata of the National Socialists’ apparatus of annihilation were integrated back into the justice system and government administration.
In 1960, after the Bundestag had repealed all decrees issued by the Allied forces during the 1950s, the German parliament dropped prosecutions for Nazi crimes and killings apart from provable acts of murder. As Fritz Bauer remarked at the time, it was understandable that the public prosecutor’s offices and courts believed that “according to legislation and the executive, juridical dealings with the past are over.” 
The general unwillingness to pursue Nazi criminals had an impact on the Auschwitz trials. Investigating Judge Hans Düx recalled the following incident: “A hasty letter was sent through the regular channels to the Soviet embassy in Bonn, but was held up for days at the Ministry of Justice in Wiesbaden because the letter used the abbreviation DDR [Democratic Republic of Germany—the former East Germany]. The Ministry insisted that the description ‘Soviet Occupation Zone (SBZ)’ should have been used.” 
In fact, the Auschwitz trial initiated the scandalous debate, which dragged on for years, over the abolition of a limitation period for those guilty of murder. Finally, a Bundestag resolution on July16, 1979, lifted the time limit applied to those responsible for murder and genocide. Absurdly, however, the first paragraph in the 1954 penal code could not be retrospectively applied to Nazi crimes committed in the past. The lifting of the limitation was therefore applicable only to future acts of genocide. 
Even if the legal consequences of the Auschwitz trial did not go anywhere near fulfilling the hopes of many of the victims and of those who initiated the hearings, it did change the intellectual climate in the Federal Republic. The naked truth about the extermination camps, illuminated during the proceedings, made many—above all, young people—ask how and why this monstrous crime occurred. What were the real causes of National Socialism? Why was it able to take power?
Why was resistance so weak? Why had the Weimar Republic failed so pitifully? Why had the working class, massed in powerful organizations–the trade unions, the Social Democratic and Communist parties–let Hitler come to power? What were the causes for the splitting of the workers’ movement? Why did the working class not join in a common struggle against fascism?
These questions, which have the same relevance today as 50 years ago, can be answered only through a serious study of history. …
The anniversary of the Auschwitz trial provides an opportunity to once again study these issues.
1. The Investigation, a powerful drama by exiled German dramatist Peter Weiss, is based on testimony from camp survivors and the accused. He describes his play as an oratorio in 11 cantos, in reference to Dante’s Divine Comedy and its depiction of hell. Although the artistic composition maintains a deliberate distance between the audience and the reader, one cannot avoid being gripped by the succession of images portraying the passage from the death ramp to the execution chamber.
2. 40 Years Auschwitz Trial: An Unwanted Proceeding, by Werner Renz, http://www.fritz-bauer-institut.de/texte/essay/12-03_renz.htm
3. Zufallsprodukt Auschwitzprozess, by Hans Düx, http://www.rav.de/infobrief90/duex.htm
4. Reports from the Auschwitz Trial by Conrad Talers, cited in the Junge Welt, http://www.jungewelt.de/2003/12-20/032.php 5. Düx: a.a.O
6. Völkermord als Strafsache, by Werner Renz, http://www.fritz-bauer institut.de/texte/essay/0800_renz.htm
7. Furchtbare Juristen, by Ingo Müller, München, 1987, p.242
8. ibid., p.244
9. Theodor Oberländer was the minister for expelled Germans in the Adenauer government. He belonged to the academic elite of the National Socialists and was also an official in the foreign/defence ministries responsible for the occupation of Eastern Europe. He was forced out of government in 1960, after being sentenced to life for war crimes in East Berlin.
10. Müller, p.244
11. Zufallsprodukt Auschwitzprozess, by Hans Düx, http://www.rav.de/infobrief90/duex.htm
12. Müller, p.249
The author also recommends:
“Imperialism and the political economy of the Holocaust”
[12 May 2010]
- Auschwitz Barracks Returns to Poland From the US (nytimes.com)
- Holocaust Survivor Breaks 70-Year Silence to Tell of Young Friend Experimented Upon by Mengele at Auschwitz (VIDEO) (algemeiner.com)
- Germany court rules former Auschwitz guard unfit for trial (jurist.org)
- Auschwitz Barracks Returns to Poland From the US (abcnews.go.com)
This video says about itself:
2 Apr 2012
Last week saw a revival of the scandal surrounding an alleged CIA secret prison in Poland – something the country’s officials have always strongly denied existed. The first charges have reportedly been brought against the country’s former intelligence chief for allowing the site. For more on this RT’s joined by former CIA officer Raymond McGovern.
From daily The Morning Star in Britain:
Rights court hears US torture charge
Tuesday 3rd December 2013
A rare public airing over secret network of CIA prisons used to interrogate terror suspects in ECHR
The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg gave a rare public airing to the secret network of CIA prisons used to interrogate terror suspects.
Lawyers for two detainees of the US Guantanamo Bay concentration camp have accused Poland of human rights abuses.
One of the cases concerns Saudi national Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who faces terror charges in the US for the alleged orchestration of an al-Qaida attack on the USS Cole warship in 2000.
The second case involves Palestinian Abu Zubaydah, who has never been charged with any crime.
They claim they were subjected to waterboarding, prolonged stress positions and other extreme abuses and are asking the court to condemn Poland for the abuse of rights guaranteed by Europe’s Convention on Human Rights.
Former CIA officials have admitted that a black site prison operated in Poland from December 2002 to autumn 2003.
However, Polish leaders at the time – former president Aleksander Kwasniewski and former prime minister Leszek Miller – denied the prison’s existence.
Contrary to Obama’s promises, the US military still allows torture: here.
- Terror suspects sue Poland for conniving in CIA torture (voiceofrussia.com)
- Europe rights court to hear of secret CIA prisons (timesofisrael.com)
- Polish CIA interrogation case being heard (radionz.co.nz)
This video says about itself:
Sholem Asch‘s Work
28 March 2013
David Mazower shares his thoughts on which of Sholem Asch’s writings he finds most compelling, emphasizing the ways in which his great grandfather was ahead of his time. Read the full text of Asch’s most famous play Got fun Nekome (God of Vengeance) through our Steven Spielberg Digital Yiddish Library: here.
By Roman Frister in Israsel:
Yiddish play, still contentious after 100 years, to hit Polish stage
Nov. 24, 2013 | 8:24 PM
A Yiddish play too daring for many theaters of the early 1900s – and still controversial today – is taking to the stage once more in a Polish production next month.
Sholem Asch’s “Got Fun Nekome,” or “The God of Vengeance,” is about a the owner of a brothel who – though not Victorian in business – reaches out to God in hope of a deal to protect his daughter’s innocence.
Completed in 1907, the English-language production arrived only in 1923, when it became the first-ever drama on Broadway to feature a lesbian love scene. The cast was promptly arrested and charged with obscenity.
The play was viewed as so contentious that its own writer, a Yiddish novelist and playwright born to a Hasidic family in Russian-controlled Poland, eventually refused to let it be performed in public.
The new production opens December 19 at Warsaw’s Ester Rachel Kaminska and Ida Kaminska State Jewish Theater. It will be the first time the theater is imposing an age limit on theatergoers: only 16 and up will be admitted.
Director Andrei Munteanu’s “Bog Zemsty,” as the play is known in Polish, will be performed in Yiddish, with simultaneous translation into Hebrew, Polish and English.
In the play, a man who appears to be a good citizen and doting father runs a brothel in the basement of the family home. One of the prostitutes wants to bring his daughter, Rivka, into the business. To atone for his sins, the father funds the purchase of a valuable Torah scroll.
Although Asch was born in the city of Kutno, near Warsaw, and this play is considered one of his best, “Bog Zemsty” is virtually unheard of in Poland. That may be because theaters have shied away from the taboos it raises.
- A Yiddishe Momme of Music, Chana Mlotek, Dies at 91 (nytimes.com)
- Remembering the Mother of Yiddish Music (blogs.forward.com)
- Yiddish song expert Chana Mlotek, 91, dies in NYC (miamiherald.com)
- Read ‘The Hobbit’ in Yiddish! (iupress.typepad.com)
- Brooklyn DA – Thompson Calls On Hynes To Take Down Racist-Claim Yiddish Ad (jpupdates.com)
- Brooklyn Video: Hikind, Jeffries, Nadler And Clarke Denounce Hynes’ Yiddish Ad (jpupdates.com)
This video says about itself:
18 Nov 2013
We are broadcasting all week from Warsaw, Poland, where the U.N. climate summit, known as COP 19, has just entered its second week. On Saturday, thousands of protesters marched in Warsaw calling for climate justice, culminating in a rally outside the National Stadium where the climate summit is being held. Speakers from all over the world addressed the crowd, urging world leaders to take action on global warming, including climate activists from the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice, the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, and organizers of a chartered train that brought more than 700 people from Belgium, Britain and France to join the demonstration. Polish activists also spoke, including residents of the village of Zurawlow, where resistance to fracking is growing despite massive shale gas concessions.
See all of our coverage from the U.N. climate summit in Warsaw, Poland: here.
From the WWF site:
21 November 2013
Enough is enough.
We have said we stand in solidarity with the millions impacted by Typhoon Haiyan, and with all climate impacted people. Our solidarity compels us to tell the truth about COP 19 – the Warsaw Climate Conference.
The Warsaw Climate Conference, which should have been an important step in the just transition to a sustainable future, is on track to deliver virtually nothing. In fact, the actions of many rich countries here in Warsaw are directly undermining the UNFCCC itself, which is an important multilateral process that must succeed if we are to fix the global climate crisis.
The Warsaw Conference has put the interests of dirty energy industries over that of global citizens – with a “Coal & Climate Summit” being held in conjunction; corporate sponsorship from big polluters plastered all over the venue; and a Presidency (Poland) that is beholden to the coal and fracking industry. When Japan announced that it was following Canada and backtracking on emission cut commitments previously made, and Australia gave multiple signals that it was utterly unwilling to take the UN climate process seriously, the integrity of the talks was further jeopardized.
This week saw a “finance ministerial” with almost no actual finance, and loss and damage talks that have stalled because rich countries refuse to engage on the substance of an international mechanism. Warsaw has not seen any increase in emission reductions nor increased support for adaptation before 2020 – on these things it has actually taken us backward. And a clear pathway to a comprehensive and fair agreement in Paris 2015 is missing.
We as civil society are ready to engage with ministers and delegations who actually come to negotiate in good faith. But at the Warsaw Conference, rich country governments have come with nothing to offer. Many developing country governments are also struggling and failing to stand up for the needs and rights of their people. It is clear that if countries continue acting in this way, the next two days of negotiations will not deliver the climate action the world so desperately needs.
Therefore, organizations and movements representing people from every corner of the Earth have decided that the best use of our time is to voluntarily withdraw from the Warsaw climate talks. Instead, we are now focusing on mobilizing people to push our governments to take leadership for serious climate action. We will work to transform our food and energy systems at a national and global level and rebuild a broken economic system to create a sustainable and low-carbon economy with decent jobs and livelihoods for all. And we will put pressure on everyone to do more to realize this vision.
Coming out of the Warsaw Climate Conference, it is clear that without such pressure, our governments cannot be trusted to do what the world needs. We will return with the voice of the people in Lima to hold our governments accountable to the vision of a sustainable and just future.
ORGANISATIONS AND SOCIAL MOVEMENTS ASSOCIATED WITH THIS STATEMENT:
- Aksyon Klima Pilipinas
– Bolivian Platform on Climate Change
– Construyendo Puentes (Latin America)
– Friends of the Earth (Europe)
– Ibon International
– International Trade Union Confederation
– LDC Watch
– Oxfam International
– Pan African Climate Justice Alliance
– Peoples’ Movement on Climate Change (Philippines)
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, please contact:
Aksyon Klima Pilipinas
Denise M. Fontanilla – email@example.com
Brandon Wu, Email: Brandon.Wu@actionaid.org, mobile: +1 202-730-5974
Bolivian Platform on Climate Change
Martin Vilela firstname.lastname@example.org
Construyendo Puentes (Latin America)
Martin Vilela email@example.com
Friends of the Earth (Europe)
Asad Rehman, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Mobile: +48 733 412 897 (Warsaw)
Samuel Fleet, Samuel.email@example.com, Mobile: +48 537 884 902 (Warsaw)
Martin Kaiser, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, mobile: +49 171 878 0817
Tetet Lauron <email@example.com
International Trade Union Confederation
Anabella Rosemberg: Anabella.Rosemberg@ituc-csi.org; mobile: +33 677 699 429
Azeb Girmai firstname.lastname@example.org
Anna Ratcliff, email: email@example.com mobile: +44 (0) 779 699 3288
Pan African Climate Justice Alliance
Mithika Mwenda <firstname.lastname@example.org
Peoples’ Movement on Climate Change (Philippines)
Samantha Smith, email@example.com , mobile; +47 450 22 149
Mandy Woods, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, mobile: +48 515 289 239 (Warsaw)
George Smeeton, email: GSmeeton@wwf.org.uk, mobile: +44 (0)7917 052 948
Ian Morrison, email: email@example.com, mobile: +1 202 372 6373
See also here.
Australia sabotages climate summit: here.
As Poor Countries Walk Out of Climate Talks, Venezuela Calls on Industrial Nations to Take Action: here.
Understanding Warsaw: Capitalism, Climate Change and Neocolonialism: here.
Some progress but distinct lack of ambition in Warsaw climate talks: here.
Climate coverage drops at The New York Times after paper closed its environmental desk: here.
- Warsaw Climate Change negotiations failing warn Friends of the Earth (indybay.org)
- Turmoil at Climate Talks as Blame Game Heats Up (abcnews.go.com)
- Green groups quit Warsaw climate talks over lack of progress (cyprus-mail.com)
- Turmoil at UN climate talks as question of who’s to blame for global warming heats up (vancouversun.com)
- Global Voices From Africa to the Philippines Demand Climate Justice at U.N. Summit in Warsaw (democracynow.org)
- Warsaw climate talks: nearly 3 in 10 countries not sending ministers! (spiritandanimal.wordpress.com)
- Thousands Protest Outside UN Climate Talks in Warsaw Demanding Climate Action (ecowatch.com)
- Poland, while hosting U.N. climate confab, sacks environment chief (latimes.com)
This video says about itself:
Speech of Philippines delegate on hunger strike to demand action on climate change
11 Nov 2013
Philippines delegate Naderev (Yeb) Saño, announces his decision to go on hunger strike on the first day of the COP19 Climate Change Summit in Poland, 11 November 2013.
Making an impassioned plea for action by the conference, he said that he would be fasting in solidarity with his country-folk until action to prevent climate change is forthcoming.
Saño received a standing ovation after describing the hardship suffered by Filipinos, including members of his own family, due to the “colossal” typhoon Haiyan which recently hit his country.
By Peter Symonds:
Climate scientists warn of more super-typhoons
15 November 2013
In an emotional speech to the UN Climate Change summit in Warsaw, the chief delegate for the Philippines, Naderev Saño, warned that massive tropical storms like Super Typhoon Haiyan, which just devastated his country, would become more frequent unless action was taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Haiyan hit the central Philippines last Friday leaving a trail of utter devastation in its wake. The United Nations yesterday raised the death toll to 4,460, nearly double the previous day and far higher than the final toll predicted by President Benigno Aquino earlier in the week. The UN also said more than 900,000 people were displaced and nearly 12 million people affected. A week after the catastrophe, millions lack adequate shelter, food, clean water and medical care.
“What my country is going through as a result of this extreme climate event is madness,” Saño told the Warsaw conference. “The climate crisis is madness. We can stop this madness. Right here in Warsaw. Typhoons such as Haiyan and its impacts represent a sobering reminder to the international community that we cannot afford to procrastinate on climate action …
“Science tells us that simply, climate change will mean more intense tropical storms. As the Earth warms up, that would include the oceans. The energy that is stored in the waters off the Philippines will increase the intensity of the typhoons and the trend we now see is that more destructive storms will be the new norm,” he said.
The fifth assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), updated to include the latest climate studies, concluded: “The average tropical cyclone wind speed is likely to increase but the global frequency of tropical cyclones is likely to decrease or remain unchanged.” In other words, global warming might not increase the number of tropical cyclones, also known as typhoons and hurricanes, but it raises the chances of far stronger and more devastating storms.
Typhoon Haiyan was one of the most intense ever recorded to have made landfall. According to the US military’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center, Haiyan had winds reaching a sustained peak as high as 315 km/h, with gusts rising to a staggering 380 km/h, and a massive storm sea surge of around 5 metres. If accurate, these figures would make Haiyan worse than Hurricane Camille, the previous strongest recorded, which hit the US northern Gulf Coast in 1969 with sustained winds of 305 km/h.
Kerry Emanuel, a climate scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is one author of a 2010 study which forecast that the average intensity of tropical cyclones would increase by up to 11 percent by the end of the century.
Emanuel explained to the media: “The tragedy of this particular storm is that it reached its [upper] limit just about the time it made landfall.” Coastal towns and cities on Philippine islands, such [as] Leyte and Samar, were not only lashed by extremely high winds, but were inundated by a wall of water that resembled the 2004 Asian tsunami. Many of those who died drowned.
Philippine weather officials estimated Haiyan’s wind speeds substantially lower than those of the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre—a sustained peak of 235 km/h, with gusts up to 275 km/h. This significant disparity points to the limitations of the means used to collect the data, which in the Western Pacific rely primarily on satellite and radar technology. Philippine meteorologists do not have access to the US military’s typhoon observation and prediction systems.
In the North Atlantic, satellite data is complemented by direct observations collected by aircraft loaded with sophisticated weather equipment—known as “hurricane hunters”—which fly directly into the storms. The additional data has allowed American meteorologists to greatly refine predictions of the paths and intensities of North Atlantic hurricanes.
The US military discontinued the flights in the Pacific in 1987 and no other government conducts such operations. “Since then, we’ve been pretty blind,” climate scientist Emanuel told the New York Times. He has recommended the establishment of an international typhoon centre, as well as aircraft or drones to track future tropical storms in the Pacific.
The lack of “hurricane hunters” in the Pacific raises an obvious question: would more accurate warnings about Haiyan’s intensity and trajectory have enabled lives to be saved?
Global warming is not only raising water temperatures, but sea levels as well, compounding the danger of the storm surges associated with typhoons. Jeff Masters, director of meteorology for the Weather Underground web site, told Reuters that rising sea levels had added about 5 percent to Haiyan’s storm surge. Whereas sea levels are estimated to have risen by two centimetres over the past century, the IPCC climate change assessment predicts rises of between 26 and 62 centimetres in the coming century.
The appeal by Philippine delegate Saño to the Warsaw summit will fall on deaf ears. As at previous international gatherings, the need to reduce carbon emissions is completely subordinate to nationalist rivalries and economic interests, especially of the major powers. No agreement has been reached to replace the very modest proposals contained in the so-called Kyoto Protocol, let alone the measures required to achieve the reductions generally agreed by climate scientists to be needed to prevent global warming.
The US, in particular, is intent on blocking a push by poorer countries for financial compensation for the impact of climate change, which is largely the historic product of advanced industrialised countries. The economic damage caused by more severe tropical cyclones alone could be immense. The Philippines has been hit by an average of 22 storms a year over the past decade, with damage averaging $200 million per typhoon.
The devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan is not simply the product of immense forces of nature, but also of the profound social gulf between rich and poor that leaves millions of people highly vulnerable to such catastrophes. The homes flattened in cities and towns of the central Philippines were overwhelmingly the flimsy shanties of the poorest layers of society. While climate change is undoubtedly increasing the danger of future disasters, it is also a useful device for Philippine politicians, from President Benigno Aquino down, to divert attention from their own responsibilities and those of big businesses, local and foreign, in maintaining the present system of class exploitation that is deepening this divide.
“Irresponsible” and “unambitious” – Japan under fire for scaling back climate plans: here.
Leaked Memo Reveals U.S. Plan to Oppose Helping Poor Nations Adapt to Climate Change: here.
#Typhoon #Haiyan’s death toll will rise over the coming years & virtually all killed will be baby girls: here.
Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated the Philippines in November, once again highlighted the nature of internationally-organized humanitarian aid: the paucity of real help and the exploitation of such crises by the Great Powers to further their own geo-strategic and military agendas: here.
Nearly a billion ocean-dependent people at risk because of global warming: here.
- Did climate change cause Typhoon Haiyan? (nature.com)
- Media speculation over typhoon Haiyan link to climate change: A roundup (carbonbrief.org)
- The strength of Super Typhoon Haiyan (wwlp.com)
- Super Typhoon Haiyan’s Intensification and Unusually Warm Sub-Surface Waters (wunderground.com)
- Typhoon Haiyan & climate change Q&A (theguardian.com)
- How does Super Typhoon Haiyan compare to Hurricane Katrina? (washingtonpost.com)
This video says about itself:
18 Sep 2013
Germany is mourning the death of the country’s most influential postwar literary critic, Marcel Reich-Ranicki.
By Sybille Fuchs in Germany:
On the death of literary critic Marcel Reich-Ranicki (1920-2013): A passionate advocate of literature—Part 1
31 October 2013
This is the first part of a two-part tribute to the late Polish-born, German literary critic Marcel Reich-Ranicki, who died September 18, 2013.
“Thinkers are valued in this country
especially when they poeticise
– and the poets, when they don’t try to think” 
The death of literary critic Marcel Reich-Ranicki on September 18 marked the passing of one of the most important figures in German cultural life. He was more than the sharp-tongued, redoubtable and controversial “Pope of Literature”, as much of the media chose to label him. He loved German literature and music, although most of his family fell victim to the Holocaust, which he himself only narrowly escaped. He always rejected the attitude of despising everything German, or blaming all Germans for the crimes of the Nazis.
Nor did he ever subscribe to the pessimistic, anti-Enlightenment views propagated by members of the Frankfurt School such as Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer. Literature was for him existentially significant in the deepest sense of the words, and he wanted to communicate this significance to the general public by every means available. In fact, he saw his life’s work as an endeavour to counteract any further lapse into social barbarism.
Reich-Ranicki discussed probably every German author of note, ranging from the classical masters to novelists and poets of recent times, and his legacy includes profound judgements and assessments that will long reverberate. Again and again, he worked with publishers on new editions and anthologies, endeavouring to draw attention to half-forgotten or, in his opinion, no longer or insufficiently recognised literary figures and make them accessible to a wider public.
His reviews and essays are anything but dry dissections of literature. They are written in a clear and vivid prose, and, even if one disagrees, make entertaining reading. “Many writers and critics are suspicious of literature that entertains,” he wrote in 2010. “I say instead: Literature should not only be also entertaining; it must be entertaining!”
He also kept to this maxim in his own writings, although “entertainment” for him had nothing to do with superficiality. Rather, he felt that only well-conceived works, in which form and content were harmoniously integrated, could be entertaining.
He related the story of his life in his 1999 autobiography,  which sold 1.5 million copies within a few years and has again sold widely following his death. The book is more than a biography. It is itself a piece of literature and, among other achievements, conveys the horrific conditions of the Warsaw Ghetto to many readers for the first time.
Marcel Reich was born on June 2, 1920, in the Polish town of Wloclawek on the Vistula. His father owned a small building material factory. After the business went bankrupt, his mother, who came from a German-Jewish family and loved German culture and literature, sent him off to Berlin. His parents hoped he would attend a German gymnasium (academic secondary school) and benefit from the greater economic opportunities that would result.
Owing to his Jewish ancestry, he was expelled from social and group activities such as school trips and gym classes by supporters of the Nazi Party. Increasingly isolated, he took refuge in reading. He was able to sit for the Abitur (secondary school leaving certificate) in 1938, but, like all Jews at the time, was not allowed to go on to university. While working as an apprentice in an export company, he got hold of theatre, opera and concert tickets as often as possible, before he was arrested in October 1938 and deported to Poland. During this time, literature and music were his haven, and a particular fondness for certain German writers began to emerge.
In the epilogue to The Case of Heinrich Heine, he writes about this period: “When I was reading the great German poet for the first time—it was a long time ago, it was in my Berlin school days in the thirties—I did so voluntarily and with enthusiasm…. I admired Lessing’s three great dramas, but they left me a bit cold. I loved Schiller…I venerated Goethe…Hölderlin seemed strange to me, but I bowed before him, trembling with awe. I suffered along with and was very fond of Kleist…. Büchner alarmed and transported me, Grabbe only irritated me, Hebbel was only interesting, Gottfried Keller amusing and delightful, Storm moving, Fontane captivating and rapturous, the young Hofmannsthal enchanting. But no one touched me more than Heinrich Heine. I could sometimes even identify with him”. 
In the Warsaw ghetto
After his deportation to Warsaw, he had to relearn the Polish language. It was virtually impossible for him to find work, particularly after the German army invaded Poland. In November 1940, his entire family was forced to move into the city’s ghetto. There, he was employed as a translator by the council of Jewish elders, known as the Judenrat. He also wrote concert reviews and assisted in the organisation of concerts.
Warsaw Ghetto uprising
When the deportations began, he married his girl friend Teofila (“Tosia”) Langnas, whose father’s despair had led him to suicide. So Reich-Ranicki was able to save Teofila from transport to the death camps, because the wives of Judenrat employees were initially permitted to remain in the ghetto. His mother-in-law, parents and brother were deported and murdered in Treblinka. His sister managed to escape to London with her husband in 1939.
Tosia and Marcel were able to escape from the ghetto on the way to the deportation assembly point. They were hidden by the extremely poor family of an unemployed typesetter, Bolek Gawin, and his wife, Genia, who only managed to feed themselves and their “guests” by selling self-rolled cigarettes. During long evenings, often spent in darkness due to power cuts, Reich began to retell to Bolek and his wife stories from classical dramas and novels to alleviate their fears and forebodings. This was how they managed to survive until September 1944, after the brutal German suppression of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising and the occupation of the right bank of the Vistula by the Soviet Red Army.
Part 2 of this series is here.
- Marcel Reich-Ranicki, German literary critic, dies aged 93 (theguardian.com)
- German Critic Marcel Reich-Ranicki, German Dies at 93 – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
- Holocaust survivor, top German lit critic dies (star-telegram.com)
- Marcel Reich-Ranicki (telegraph.co.uk)
- Postscript: Marcel Reich-Ranicki (1920-2013) (newyorker.com)
- Marcel Reich-Ranicki obituary (theguardian.com)
- Translate for your Life: Marcel Reich-Ranicki (foundintranslation.me)
This music video is called Zbigniew Preisner – Diaries of Hope – PAMIĘTNIKI.
By Krystyna Zavisha in Britain:
Live Music: Diaries Of Hope
Wednesday 16th October 2013
Innocence shines amid the horrors of death camps
Diaries Of Hope
Barbican Hall, London EC2
Preisner was inspired by texts written by Polish children, among them the diaries of Rutka Laskier – not unlike those of Anne Frank – and Dawid Rubinowicz, along with the poems of Abram Koplowicz and Abram Cytryn.
With their childlike faith in the future, they are at the crux of the music’s imagery.
Part oratorium, part requiem this sombre opus overwhelms completely with the density of its soundscape.
With Preisner conducting, the haunting choral and orchestral support for the memorably nuanced voices of Lisa Gerrard and Archie Buchanan was immaculate, reflecting every subtle chromatic of the Diary’s palette.
Adam Klocek’s cello provided a moving counterpoint as Buchanan delivered Cytryn’s meditative lines while Konrad Matylo’s piano wove moments of inspired respite. The string section delicately interposed the leitmotif of a gentle, melancholy waltz – a reminder perhaps of the innocence of children playing in the midst of horror.
Preisner scored a historic triumph which has an impact beyond the standing ovation on the night and the moving encores at the end. Diaries Of Hope are laden with the deepest humanity and despite the sorrow they express they will remain forever uplifting.
- Barbican Presents UK Premiere of Diaries of Hope by Zbigniew Preisner Featuring Lisa Gerrard (shinesquad.me)
- Zbigniew Preisner. (jonman492000.wordpress.com)
- Why I’m Writing about the Holocaust (popjeandme.com)
- Soundtrack: Blue, The Three Colors Trilogy (anamusicblog.wordpress.com)
- A Review of the Holocaust through Anne Frank the Graphic Novel and Film (manninke.wordpress.com)
- Have you ever heard the Universe? Part I (seldomtune.wordpress.com)
- The Incredibly Depressing Answers College Students Gave When Asked What the Holocaust Was and Where it Began (theblaze.com)
- Rutka (Ruth) Laskier: Teenage Writer (womenfromourpast.wordpress.com)
This video says about itself:
In Italy, hundreds of African migrant workers are working in terrible conditions for less than $40 a day.
Charlie Angela reports from Campania where activists are pushing for better wages and conditions.
Labour conditions in the Netherlands are usually not as bad as in southern Italy. Or as bad as in Qatar where thousands of immigrant workers are dying. Still, there are moves in the wrong direction and at least some similarities.
Translated from daily Limburgs Dagblad/De Limburger in the Netherlands, 5 October 2013:
Socialist Party demands end to exploitation of tunnel builders
The provincial, local and nationwide Socialist Party elected representatives and the local Maastricht People’s Party demand that national, provincial and local authorities take action as soon as possible against the exploitation of foreign workers in the A2 tunnel project.
Maastricht, from our reporters
The parties write this in letters to Limburg province and the city of Maastricht. Paul Ulenbelt of the SP in the national parliament has also announced that he will bring the matter to the attention of the Minister this weekend. The subject is also on the agenda of the City Management Committee for Environment and Mobility of Maastricht. That committee will meet next Monday.
The parties are responding to publications in daily De Limburger / Limburgs Dagblad showing that dozens of Portuguese and Polish tunnel builders are exploited. From the gross salary of the Portuguese and Poles working in Maastricht each month 968.75 euros net are retained for services which their employer Atlanco corporation supplies through an intermediate company. That’s about half of their gross salary. For that money they live, three men per dwelling, in houses marked for demolition in Maastricht. Twice a year, Atlanco gives them a ticket home worth a few hundred euro. According to Atlanco, they also pay transport costs to and from work. However, the tunnel is located in the backyard of the houses destined for demolition in the Mayor Bauduin Street.
The provincial SP demands in an angry letter immediate intervention by the province. Group Chairman Daan Prevoo argues that the case should be investigated and that measures should be taken to prevent exploitation. The local SP group has also voiced strong criticism of responsible alderman Albert Nuss (PvdA party): “The SP wonders how it is possible that Alderman Nuss can look so complacently while public relations spin doctors talk about how beautiful the A2 project is, while such practices occur. The cover-up behaviour of alderman Nuss who refuses to speak to journalists, raises serious suspicion that he does know.” The Maastricht People’s Party writes to the Maastricht city authorities that they assume “that you are going to work as soon as possible to stop these abuses and exploitation.”
Construction firms accused of exploiting foreign staff on tunnel project: here.
- [travel] Maastricht: first impression (lacrymamosa.wordpress.com)
- New Dutch spider discovery (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- [travel] My last day in Maastricht (lacrymamosa.wordpress.com)
- Castles in the Netherlands 6 – Kasteel Hoensbroek (speterphotoblog.wordpress.com)
- Good Dutch smooth snake news (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- Maastricht, Netherlands (gensdailleurs.com)