Nazi danger in Europe

This video says about itself:

Belsen Concentration Camp’s Liberation (1945) WARNING: DISTRESSING FOOTAGE.

Liberation of Belsen Concentration Camp, taken from the1945 British Pathe reel ‘Concentration Camp Footage’.

Unedited footage showing the discovery and subsequent liberation of Belsen concentration camp by British soldiers in Germany. Recent prisoners are seen smiling behind the barbed wire fences, including women and children with numbers branded on them.

Then the camera shows shots of dazed and starving detainees wondering around, or hungrily eating and drinking supplies brought by the British.

This reel then continues to show disturbing images of dead bodies. The full video can be found oin British Pathe’s online archive, it has been cut short for the sake of this YouTube channel. You can see it here.

By Menachem Rosensaft, professor of law in the USA and son of Holocaust survivors:

Ominous Clouds Hover Once Again Over Europe

Posted: 04/24/2013 8:14 am

Speech delivered on Sunday, April 21, 2013, at Bergen-Belsen, Germany, at the commemoration marking the 68th anniversary of that Nazi concentration camp’s liberation.

Standing here in the midst of the mass-graves of Bergen-Belsen, we are inexorably reminded that evil exists in this world. Ominous clouds hover once again over parts of Europe. Sixty-eight years after the liberation of Bergen-Belsen, 68 years after the end of the Holocaust, we may not ignore a disturbing resurgence of racist and neo-fascist political groups in at least three countries that belong to both the European Union and NATO.

In Greece, the viciously racist, anti-Semitic and anti-migrant Golden Dawn party is emerging, in World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder’s words, as “the new Nazis.” And we cannot, we must not, ignore reports that Golden Dawn is at least in contact if not conspiring with like-minded groups in other countries and has opened offices in the United States, Canada, Australia, as well as in Germany.

In Hungary, where 70 years ago hundreds of thousands of Jews were deported to their death in the gas chambers of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the government was forced to ban a rally by anti-Semitic thugs in front of the main synagogue of Budapest under the horrific slogan, “Give Gas.” Early next month, while the World Jewish Congress will be holding its plenary assembly in Budapest as a demonstration of solidarity with the Hungarian Jewish community, members of the reactionary anti-Jewish, anti-Roma and anti-gay Jobbik party are planning an “anti-Zionist” demonstration there.

There can be no doubt that, as President Lauder wrote in the Süddeutsche Zeitung earlier this month, the anti-Semitic declarations of Jobbik‘s leaders “deliberately evoke memories of the pro-Hitler wartime regime in Hungary.”

Here in Germany, we note with profound consternation and dismay that the federal government seems to be acquiescing in the legitimization of contemporary far-right extremism by refusing to support efforts to ban the neo-Nazi National Democratic Party, or NPD. Last month, the New York Times quoted Philipp Rösler, the head of the Free Democratic Party as defending his government’s decision not to seek to outlaw the NPD with the comment, “Stupidity can’t be banned.”

Standing here beside the Jewish Monument of Bergen-Belsen which my father dedicated on the first anniversary of the liberation in 1946, we must remind Germany’s political and intellectual leaders that racism, anti-Semitism, fascism, intolerance, homophobia, and the desecration of Jewish cemeteries and memorials to the Nazi deportation of Roma and Sinti should never be dismissed cavalierly as mere indications of stupidity. They are manifestations of evil, of the very evil that led to the murder of the tens of thousands who lie buried in the mass-graves that surround us and the millions who were gassed at Auschwitz, Treblinka, Majdanek and the other death camps of Nazi Europe. We will not, we may not, tolerate their resurrection in any form anywhere, but especially not in Germany.

We are gratified by the news that the Central Office for the Investigation of National Socialist Crimes in Ludwigsburg is considering prosecuting some 50 former Auschwitz guards for their role in the genocide of the Jews of Europe, but we cannot ignore the fact that such prosecutions, if they ever take place, will occur many decades too late.

Let us never lose sight of the simple fact that Anne Frank, who died here of typhus a month before the liberation, wrote her famous observation — “I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are really good at heart” — while she was still in her hiding place in Amsterdam, while she still felt protected by Miep Gies and the other Dutch Christians who tried to save her and her family. I have no doubt that Anne Frank’s faith in the goodness of humankind was profoundly shaken if not completely erased after she was betrayed on August 4, 1944, and taken first to the Westerbork transit camp, then to Auschwitz, and eventually to Bergen-Belsen.

Which is not to say that we should ever forget those non-Jews like Miep Gies, like Pastor André Trocmé in le Chambon-sur-Lignon, and like former Polish Foreign Minister Władysław Bartoszewski who helped Jews in the years of the Holocaust, often at the risk of their own lives. And we remember with profound gratitude the British officers and soldiers who announced to the inmates of the “horror camp” of Bergen-Belsen on April 15, 1945, that “you are free,” “Ihr seit frei.” Together with the US troops who liberated Buchenwald, Dachau, and so many other German concentration camps in the spring of 1945, and the Soviet soldiers who entered Auschwitz on January 27, 1945, these Allied soldiers gave the gift of life to the surviving remnants of European Jewry, and we are eternally in their debt.

Seventy years ago today, the Warsaw Ghetto was in flames on the third day of the armed uprising, with its heroic Jewish fighters writing a glorious page of defiance into the annals of history. But let us also not forget the thousands upon thousands of Poles in Warsaw who heard the gun fire and saw the smoke but went about their business. And while more than 40,000 Jews died a horrific public death, a merry-go-round was entertaining Poles just outside the Ghetto walls in Krasiński Square.

Today, let us remember that our obligation is to the dead who lie buried here as well as to history and to the future. The Holocaust, the Shoah, was possible because human beings who could have stopped it allowed it to take place, just as they allowed the genocides in Bosnia, Rwanda, Darfur and elsewhere to take place.

We come here every year to assure the dead of Belsen that we have not abandoned them, that we will never abandon them. But equally important, we must recommit ourselves once again in this sacred place to do everything in our collective power not to allow the spiritual and ideological heirs of the National Socialist regime to arise anywhere in the world as a new scourge of humankind.

Menachem Z. Rosensaft, born in the Displaced Persons camp of Bergen-Belsen on May 1, 1948, is General Counsel of the World Jewish Congress and Vice President of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants. He teaches about the law of genocide and war crimes trials at the law schools of Columbia, Cornell and Syracuse universities.

29 thoughts on “Nazi danger in Europe

  1. “But let us also not forget the thousands upon thousands of Poles in Warsaw who heard the gun fire and saw the smoke but went about their business. And while more than 40,000 Jews died a horrific public death, a merry-go-round was entertaining Poles just outside the Ghetto walls in Krasiński Square.”

    This is highly UNJUST opinion!
    It gives the impression that people didn’t care.
    It would be fair to get to know the history a little bit better before writing something like that.

    During the war not everything is black and white.
    Poland was the most touched by the Nazis repressions for helping Jews. “After setting up the ghettos all across occupied Poland, the Germans also introduced THE MOST SEVERE PUNISHMENTS FOR POLES (death penalty and collective responsibility, many Poles, whole villages were murdered for this help) WHO PROVIDED ANY HELP WHATSOEVER TO THE JEWISH PEOPLE trying to save their lives.”
    And anyway, the Polish conspiracy was trying to help the ghetto. It was, however and unfortunately, not sufficient in the occupied country. One small example: IRENA SENDLEROWA – just read in wikipedia:

    If you DO REALLY CARE, please visit and read
    (repression against the Poles helping the Jews are at the end of the article):

    You cannot even compare the Germans repressions for helping the Jews in Poland and Western Europe.


    • Dear wiolakk,

      I reblogged this speech by Menachem Rosensaft primarily not for the sake of World War II historiography, but because of him warning, correctly, about the danger of recently resurgent neo-fascism. Especially in Greece, Hungary and Germany (he might have added other countries, like France).

      I understand you that his brief remark on reaction to the Warsaw ghetto uprising might be interpreted as one-sided anti-Polish. Professor Rosensaft does mention in this speech people “like former Polish Foreign Minister Władysław Bartoszewski who helped Jews in the years of the Holocaust, often at the risk of their own lives.”

      In nazi racist ideology, people in, eg, the Netherlands and France belonged to the “Aryan race” and might be won over to nazism if occupation violence would not be over-extreme. While Poles (like Russians etc), being Slavs, were treated far more harshly. This is, however, mainly true for the first years of occupation. After the nazis found out that recruiting people in Western Europe for their ideology did not go as smoothly as they expected, they exterminated villages like Oradour in France and Putten in the Netherlands.


      • Dear petrel41,

        I really do appreciate you rising all important issues concerning our world and believe me that Polish, I, belong for sure to the group of people, like majority in this world, that don’t want Nazis to be back and to have something to say at all. And here I agree 100%

        However, in case of ghetto uprising the brief is praising one (W. Bartoszewski) and accusing thousands who hadn’t been even able to help giving just very bad impression which, in the long term, may lead to falsification of history.

        P.S. Oradour and Putten extermination was not because of the help given to the Jews. In Western Europe there were almost no such repressions – whole families and villages were not murdered for helping the Jews on contrary to Poland. That is why this brief remark caused my indignation.
        And for sure each country paid a high price for that war – no doubts.


        • I think Professor Rosensaft wanted to make a general point about passivity while injustice happens, and chose a bit dubious example considering the complete picture of Poland during World War II.

          Indeed, Oradour and Putten where not about helping Jews. However, individuals who had helped Jews were executed or transported to death camps.


          • You see, that is exactly my point, the problem is not what Professor Rosensaft wanted to only what he did in this tiny remark.
            We have a saying that the hell is paved with good intentions…

            I agree completely, however, that all Nazis movements should be stopped.

            Kind regards 🙂


            • Indeed , you are right to point out that proverb about [the road to] hell being paved with good intentions.

              In the case of Rosensaft’s speech, that sentence might be abused by anti-Polish people.

              The problem is even bigger. Rosensaft points out, correctly, that people should not be passive when injustice happens.

              This good idea can be abused. Eg, by supporters of “humanitarian” wars, like in Iraq, abusing that idea for war propaganda. Eg, Iraq, where that war led to even more deaths, even more torture, even more oppression of women and of LGBTQ people etc. than before the war.

              Kind regards for you as well 🙂


  2. There is always much talk about the Holocaust, don’t forget what the Communists did!

    I’m half Estonian and the Communists / Stalinists deported 1/ 3 of the population to the Gulag Achipelag’s concentration camps. Something to write about Petrel!!!!


    • Dear Ann, compared to other human rights violations, the Holocaust is unique, as the nazis’ intention was that not a single Jew (or Roma, or Sinti), whether one week old, 100 years old, and all people in between, would survive it.

      Today, there are communist parties in most countries in the world. As far as I am aware, not one of these parties advocates invasion of Estonia by soldiers from Russia (or of a hypothetical reformed Soviet Union), abolition of Estonia’s independence, and repeat of the crimes of the 1940s in Estonia. The historical origin of these parties is not Stalin in the 1940s, but at least a century earlier, Marx, Engels, etc.

      While today’s nazis, like the NPD in Germany or Golden Dawn in Greece, openly proclaim, on election posters etc., that Hitler’s gas chambers should start working again. When their Dutch sister party, the NVU, did a media interview, they advocated gas chambers for immigrant workers.


  3. You forget that the Communists killed more people than the Nazia during WWII. Your post here is disgusting , supporting Communist. Just today for example we had Russians doing exercises in Near Border of Sweden. Thanks heaven we have NATO.
    I read your Brigitte Bardot hating post btw. I t was a nasty piece of that great woman.

    BTW, it would be better if you did an honest workers work everyday , and wasn’t on Welfare posting copies of Wildlife Extra and never posting anything original!


    • Hi Ann, I am very surprised by this sudden comment today, after all our earlier friendly discussion.

      First, I am not on welfare at all.

      As far as I know, you have so far always liked my blog posts quoted from (and added to with extra links, videos, etc.) Wildlife Extra. And as far as I know, and you know too, many of my blog posts on wildlife, eg my recent blog post on the migration of barn swallows and the turnstones of IJmuiden jetty, are not from Wildlife Extra, but “original”. You reblog and quote a lot on your blog too, and I don’t blame you at all for that.

      This blog post does not support communists at all. It (the author, Rosensaft) just mentions, in one sentence, that Soviet soldiers liberated Auschwitz annihilation camp.

      Please, allow me to tell you something personal. In 1945 someone of my family was in a nazi Vernichtungslager, annihilation camp. Weight then: between 20 and 30 kilogram. Starving. Bones and skin. Then, the Red Army came, and there was food for the prisoners again. If the nazis would have stayed one more day at that camp, that member of my family would have been one of the millions of lethal victims of Hitler (which were indeed many more than Red Army victims during World War II: six million Jews, over 20 million Soviet citizens, millions of Poles, millions of Yugoslavs, over 200,000 in the Netherlands, hundreds of thousands of Roma and Sinti, etc.)

      The people in Afghanistan whose weddings are bombed would not agree with “Thanks heaven we have NATO.”

      As for Brigitte Bardot: she is indeed a famous actress. However, as the blog post pointed out, that in no way justifies her joining the fascist French National Front party, her marrying a prominent member of that party, and her hateful views on Jews, Muslims and other immigrants, LGBTQ people, etc.


  4. I’m sorry and far too polite and you’re just a leftie clown, not letting even poor dead people like Thatcher rest in Peace!

    I just say poor Gulag and Stalin and communist victims from Lenin, Mao and Pol Pot, that there are people that forget the horrific crimes communists are doing!

    Btw, my parents had their Young lives destroyed , their farms were burnt down by the Russians and the Russian teared apart their neighbours. BTW, my father was force recruited by the Red Army; The Germans and also served the Estonian and Swedish Army, a SOLDIER IN 4 ARMIES AND A PHYCISIAN!

    I like both Reagan, Thatcher, conservatives and NATO!


    • Hi Ann, I guess something sad happened recently in your personal life (maybe a reminiscence of the sad family history which you mention). And that you take “revenge” for that with wild unsubstantiated attacks on people on the Internet with whom you always used to go along well.

      Maybe it started a bit with your reaction to my blog post about the horrible shooting of immigrant workers in Greece:

      You reacted then:

      “Sweden cheats all their immigrantworkers that has to live as slaves!”

      I thought then, and I still think, that you were right to point out injustices against immigrant workers in Sweden. I reacted by pointing out concrete examples of that.

      That comment by you then was not in any way an attack on my blog. But I thought then, and still think, that it was too emotional and generalising. What happened in Greece was terrible. In Sweden, as far as I know, there has not been a similar mass shooting by corporate representatives (though there are shootings by racist gunmen who try to keep anonymous). Also, I think, not ALL immigrant workers in Sweden have to live as slaves.

      If you now say that you like conservatives, then how about the Swedish conservative government, responsible, according to your comment, for immigrant workers having to live like slaves?

      And how about the Greek conservative government, responsible, with their “Zeus Xenios” mass arrests of refugees, for the climate in which the mass shooting of agricultural workers whose wages had not been paid, could happen?

      How about conservative nuclear plants? How about conservative wars?

      Dear Ann, I hope that the present clouds of sadness will drift away from your life. And that you will be able not to hurt yourself and/or others. That all will be well with you again.


    • Dear narhvalur, please let me make a tiny point on that.

      Poland was invaded by the Germans on 1.09.1939 and by the Soviets on 17.09.1939 – there are little people on the world being aware of it. The Polish suffered from both – Germans and Soviets, from the communist regime still many years after the war. There are no families left without any victims.
      The point is, there were not only Polish suffering. Not only Estonians, Dutch, Chinese, Indonesian, French, Lithuanians, English and so on. Germans, Italians, Russians, Japanese were suffering too.
      People, individuals were suffering.
      And you cannot measure it. There is no good war, no good regime, no good extremism.
      Blaming, accusing, insulting doesn’t lead to the world peace and comfort of us all.


  5. If you want to know, I’m an anarchist and have never voted on any political party.
    Please, take a break Petrel from your Daily hateful postings and mostly I hate Award posts. I would be curious what you’re working with?


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