Ravensbrück, Hitler’s death camp for women


This video is called Holocaust: Ravensbruck and Buchenwald, part 1.

These two videos are the sequels.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

If This Is a Woman: Inside Ravensbrück, Hitler’s Concentration Camp for Women by Sarah Helm – review

Ravensbrück is a camp relatively unknown because it doesn’t fit the Holocaust narrative. The hundreds of survivors’ stories in this account bear witness to the terrifying heterogeneity of Nazi crimes

Early in 1938 Heinrich Himmler began to plan a concentration camp for “deviant” women: prostitutes, abortionists, “asocials” and socialists, habitual criminals, communists and Jehovah’s Witnesses, among others. He chose a site near the village of Ravensbrück in the picturesque Lake District of Mecklenburg, an hour away from Berlin, where one of his best friends in the SS had a country house. Male prisoners were sent from Sachsenhausen and built the new camp; on 15 May 1939 the first 867 women arrived, and 130,000 more would follow before Ravensbrück was liberated by the Red Army in April 1945. Himmler had been warned from the start that the camp – grotesquely crowded, holding 50,000 at its peak – would be too small.

Sarah Helm’s first book was about Vera Atkins, who worked in the French section of the Special Operations Executive and after the war traced some of the female agents she had lost in action to Ravensbrück. Helm is a tireless researcher. She has recovered the testimony of scores of women, many from eastern Europe, many of whom had until now been silent; she describes the Nazi medical experiments at the camp from the perspective of its terrified victims; and she recovers the history of the ancillary children’s camp nearby. She makes unimaginable suffering seem almost graspable through hundreds of intimate stories. She rightly says her book is the first exhaustive “biography of Ravensbrück beginning at the beginning and ending at the end”.

That said, Ravensbrück is not “still today, hidden away, its crimes unknown, the voices of its prisoners silenced”, as Helm claims. Far from it. A bibliography published in 2000 has almost a thousand entries; the camp became a memorial in the German Democratic Republic in 1959 and since 1993 has become part of a new, larger commemorative site. Two of the Ravensbrück doctors, Herta Oberheuser and her boss Karl Gebhardt, were among those convicted in the well publicised Nuremberg Doctors’ trial of 1946, and the records of the trials, conducted by British occupation authorities, of another 21 women and 17 men for war crimes committed at Ravensbrück, have been open for decades. The camp has been well known and intensively studied for almost half a century. But Helm is nonetheless getting at something; well known for what?

Not for the sheer numbers murdered there. An exact accounting is impossible, but orders of magnitude are clear: 5,000-6,000 died in a gas chamber hastily built in late 1944 when Auschwitz stopped taking new arrivals, and several thousand more in the gas chambers of a nearby Nazi euthanasia centre. Between 30,000 and 50,000 died from cold, starvation, shooting, beatings, lethal injections, disease and medical experimentation; tens of thousands were sent east to be murdered. But, in the quantitative league tables of Nazi crime, these numbers scarcely register. In Auschwitz, 400,000 Hungarian Jews were gassed during six weeks of the summer of 1944 alone; the purpose-built killing factory at Treblinka murdered between 870,000 and 925,000 Jews in just over a year, between July 1942 and November 1943.

Ravensbrück is also not seared into the western visual imagination. Unlike the British liberation of Bergen-Belsen, Ravensbrück’s was not recorded by a professional film crew; unlike Dachau, Buchenwald or Orhdruf, no iconic photographs were taken there: no tiers of emaciated prisoners on bunks, no German civilians made to see what they had wrought, no shocked American generals standing over corpse heaps.

Ravensbrück does not fit well into the Holocaust story. In the first place, the number of Jews there was always relatively small in comparison with other categories of prisoners; Himmler declared it Judenfrei after the last thousand or so Jewish women were sent to Auschwitz in late 1942. It did not stay that way – some Hungarian Jewish women who had escaped the summer roundups of 1944 ended up in Ravensbrück as did the survivors of the infamous winter death marches from the east – but the camp does not figure prominently in the story of genocide. For a time its role, however small, was almost forgotten. Two recent books on Jews at Ravensbrück now restore it to memory by bearing witness on a human scale. In neither is the argument quantitative. One estimates that Jews constituted about 20% of a total of 132,000 prisoners; the other, after an exhaustive survey, identifies 16,331 Jewish prisoners — probably a low number — of whom 25% are known to have survived. The author, Judith Buber Agassi, provides a compact disc with their names and other information.

More importantly, Ravensbrück is an outlier to the Holocaust narrative because the question of who counts as a Jew, not measured by Nazi racial laws but by more subtle markers of identity and memory, is more exigent there than in any other camp. Helm implicitly recognises this in her account of the life and death of the camp’s most famous victim: Olga Benário Prestes, Jew and communist. Benário was the model for Die Tragende (“Woman Carrying”), a statue of an emaciated woman carrying a comrade which stood over the East German memorial site at Ravensbrück. For the communist regime she represented anti-fascist heroism and brought the camp into line with the official state narrative which held that all the perpetrators were in the west and all the resisters in the east. Perhaps her statue does not portray adequately a “tortured wife and mother”; it certainly elides her Jewishness and yet, according to Helm, she lived and died in the camp as a Jew.

The truth is more complex. Olga was so deeply estranged from her German Jewish family that her mother refused to take the infant daughter to whom Olga gave birth in prison. Luckily for the baby, Anita Benário Prestes, she was taken by her Brazilian grandmother and is now a retired professor of history in Rio. Her father was the Brazilian insurrectionist communist leader, Luís Carlos Prestes. He was jailed and his wife, Olga, was betrayed by British intelligence services to the Brazilian authorities who put her on a closely guarded boat to Germany as a goodwill gesture to Hitler. The SS took her off in Hamburg and threw her in prison. International pressure got her released for a time; then came the war, re-imprisonment, this time in Ravensbrück, and finally death.

Benário was, without question, not taken to Ravensbrück as a Jew; like another famous prisoner with whom she was gassed, the Austrian socialist Käthe Pick Leichter, she was a political prisoner who was Jewish; she wore a yellow star but also a red badge.(Some sources say that her other badge was black to label her an “asocial”, intended to make the communist prisoners shun her. They did not.) …

Even her end is difficult to fit into a Holocaust narrative. She and Leichter were among 1,600 women gassed over the course of a few days: Jews, yes, but also infirm and weak prostitutes (the asocials, who wore black triangles) and criminals (who wore green triangles). “All sorts” were taken by the end, reports a witness. They were killed in one of the clandestine euthanasia centres where the Aryan mentally ill and disabled were taken, from the institutions where they had lived, to be murdered; relatives were sent notices that they had died of natural causes. This is what happened in the case of Herta Cohen, a Jew among the 1600, who was in Ravensbrück because she had had sex with a Dusseldorf police officer in violation of racial hygiene laws. The camp commandant wrote a letter to local authorities saying that Cohen had died of a stroke and asked them to find her sister to inform her of Herta’s death, and to inquire whether there was a space in a local cemetery to receive her ashes. If there was no word within ten days her remains would be tossed away; Leichter’s ashes were sent back to Vienna along with a last letter. We have only a letter of Benário’s to her family, sent on the eve of her murder. …

The deepest problem in knowing Ravensbrück has to do with gender. Helm aims to “throw light on the Nazis’ crimes against women”, and at the same time to show how “what happened at the camp for women can illuminate the wider Nazi story”. Of course there were Nazi crimes against women qua women and Helm exposes them in great detail: in prison for prostitution, they were then forced to be prostitutes; a midwife imprisoned for performing abortions, illegal in Germany, performed them on inmates. …

In the first place, Ravensbrück was unique: the only camp especially for women in the entire murderous Nazi archipelago. Helm never explains why the regime kept it up. They did so, it seems, in part because Ravensbrück trained female guards for other camps. They also needed a place for all sorts of special prisoners: Gemma La Guardia Gluck, sister of the famous New York mayor; SOE agents; spies; members of the French resistance; Polish aristocrats and Scandinavian nationals whom Himmler hoped to bargain away.

Pentagon to train Ukrainian neo-nazi militias


This video is called Battalion Azov: neo-nazis in Ukraine.

By Patrick Martin in the USA:

US Army to train Ukrainian fascist militias

1 April 2015

The US Army will begin training Ukraine National Guard battalions on April 20 at a site in western Ukraine, near the Polish border, according to an announcement made Sunday by the country’s interior minister, Arsen Avakov.

“American commandos, numbering 290, will come to Yavoriv training ground, Lviv region, on April 20,” Avakov wrote on Facebook. “This is where a long-term military exercise of 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team of the US Army and combat units of the National Guard will be held.”

Pentagon spokeswoman Eileen Lainez confirmed the deployment earlier this month, without giving the exact date of its commencement. “This assistance is part of our ongoing efforts to help sustain Ukraine’s defense and internal security operations,” she said. “In particular, the training will help the Ukraine government develop its National Guard to conduct internal defense operations.”

This suggests that the paramilitary units, most of them created by billionaire oligarchs who financed and recruited fascist and neo-Nazi volunteers, may be used for suppression of popular protests within the government-controlled portion of Ukraine, in addition to joining the battle lines in eastern Ukraine if fighting breaks out again with pro-Russian separatists.

The US role in training and equipping paramilitary forces that openly venerate Ukrainian nationalists and fascists who collaborated with the Nazi occupation forces and facilitated the Holocaust during World War II, and who sport swastika-like insignias, exposes as filthy lies the US claims to be championing democracy and human rights in Ukraine.

The training program will include Washington’s first direct and open provision of lethal weaponry to Ukrainian military units. Pentagon officials said that uniforms, body armor, night vision devices and tactical radios would be supplied—all classified as “non-lethal”—but Avakov revealed that “our American partners” will present “special ammunition” to the Ukrainian National Guard troops at the conclusion of their training.

Before the end of 2015, Ukrainian forces could be killing pro-Russian separatist troops—or Russian soldiers—with American-supplied bullets, grenades and other “special ammunition.” This increases the danger of the conflict over eastern Ukraine and Crimea escalating into a direct military clash between nuclear-armed Russia and US-NATO forces.

A total of 1,500 US troops, 600 soldiers from other NATO-member countries, and 2,200 Ukrainian soldiers will take part in a series of exercises. The first, dubbed Fearless Guardian 2015, will extend over a seven-month period, from April through November. The second, Saber Guardian/Rapid Trident 2015, begins in July and extends through October.

The US troops will be drawn from the 173rd Combat Brigade, the spearhead of US forces in southern Europe, based in Vicenza, Italy. It specializes in offensive and air assault operations, making a mockery of the claim that the Pentagon is training Ukrainian troops for defense against supposed Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine.

Avakov said that agreement on the military exercises was reached in talks between Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and US Vice President Joseph Biden during Biden’s recent visit to Kiev. He paid special tribute to the role played by Victoria Nuland, assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs, and officials at the US embassy in Kiev, saying, “Without their vigor, the important and complicated preparation of training would have been impossible.”

On March 17, the Ukrainian parliament approved a bill submitted by Poroshenko permitting foreign troops to participate in multinational exercises in Ukraine this year. The operations in Ukraine coincide with similar drills being carried out in nearby countries that are NATO members, including Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

A total of 1,200 Ukrainian regular army soldiers and as many as 1,000 from the National Guard will take part in the training. Many of the 50 battalions that comprise the National Guard will send troops. Avakov listed the Azov, Jaguar and Omega battalions, as well as battalions drawn from the cities of Kiev, Kharkiv, Zaporizhia, Odessa, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk and Vinnytsia.

The inclusion of the Azov battalion has the most ominous implications. This is a military force of more than 1,000 soldiers founded and led by the neo-Nazi Andriy Biletsky. It carries banners bearing a modified swastika insignia drawn directly from World War II German SS units.

This battalion has played the leading role in fighting in Mariupol, the second largest city in the Donetsk region and the largest still held by the Ukrainian government. It is a center of steel manufacture and the main port on the Sea of Azov, a branch of the Black Sea.

Biletsky has publicly denounced the February 15 ceasefire agreed upon by Ukraine, Russia, the European Union and the pro-Russian separatists, and has threatened to march on Kiev and install a pro-war government. His battalion is equipped with artillery and tanks, as well as other heavy weapons.

According to a report by Reuters last week, published in Time magazine, “The Azov battalion originated from Biletsky’s paramilitary national socialist group called ‘Patriot of Ukraine,’ which propagated slogans of white supremacy, racial purity, the need for authoritarian power and a centralized national economy. ‘Patriot of Ukraine’ opposed giving up Ukraine’s sovereignty by joining international blocs, called for rolling back of liberal economy and political democracy, including free media.”

A March 22 article in USA Today describes a visit by a reporter to the Azov Battalion in Mariupol. It carries the headline, “Nazis Among Kiev’s National Guard.” The article includes an interview with a drill sergeant who openly praises Nazi ideology, while quoting a spokesman for the battalion who says, “It’s his personal ideology. It has nothing to do with the official ideology of the Azov.”

The spokesman, Andrey Dyachenko, adds that “Only 10 percent to 20 percent of the group’s members are Nazis,” meaning that at least 100 to 200 Nazis may be about to receive intensive military training from US commandos.

The same article quotes a member of the Armed Forces of Ukraine general staff in Kiev, Col. Oleksy Nozdrachov, who “defended the Azov fighters as patriots.”

A report by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights covering a single month, November 2014, found that Ukraine’s Office of the Military Prosecutor had done nothing to investigate a “considerable” number of human rights allegations, “including looting, arbitrary detention and ill-treatment by members of certain voluntary battalions such as Aidar, Azov, Slobozhanshchina and Shakhtarsk.”

An earlier report by Amnesty International described members of the Aidar battalion engaging in “ISIS-style” war crimes, including beheading several pro-Russian separatists and sending the head of at least one victim by mail to his mother. Ukrainian nationalist militants “have been involved in widespread abuses, including abductions, unlawful detention, ill-treatment, theft, extortion, and possible executions,” the group said.

But during a recent visit to New York, the first deputy speaker of the Ukrainian parliament, Andriy Parubiy, said the National Guard battalions consisted of “disciplined Ukrainian warriors about whom films will be made and books will be written.”

These reports underscore the utterly reactionary character of the US-NATO intervention in Ukraine, which has unleashed ferociously anti-democratic and fascistic forces against the Ukrainian people, both in the eastern region and throughout the country.

Poland integrates far-right paramilitary groups into the army


This 6 March 2015 Ukraine Today video is called Poland Military Training: Polish parliament members to be offered military training.

By Markus Salzmann:

Poland integrates paramilitary groups into the army

31 March 2015

The Polish government has integrated paramilitary groups into the army, strengthening right-wing forces within the police and army while intensifying the confrontation with Russia in the process.

On March 21, volunteer militias, citizens’ defence groups, paramilitary associations and schools with so-called defence training classes in the Warsaw region came together to form an association at a conference with over 800 participants.

Poland’s National Security Adviser Stanislaw Koziej explained that the paramilitary militia would work closely with the army. This isn’t about creating an army outside of the army, he stated. The integration of civil defence organisations was an important step in increasing the country’s security.

It remains unclear which tasks these paramilitary groups will take on and where they will be deployed. Military exercises with the reserves and the utilisation of military training grounds were discussed at the Warsaw conference.

According to estimates, there are approximately 120 groups in Poland composed of some 45,000 members carrying out military exercises, shooting practice or tactical training. Almost all are closely aligned with right-wing political parties and groups. Their actions are not only directed against the alleged external threat of Russia, but also domestically against minorities, left-wing forces and homosexuals.

The extreme right-wing Ruch Narodovy, which has close ties to Hungary’s Jobbik party and other right-wing parties in Europe, controls its own paramilitary group. Many groups maintain links to the fascist militias in Ukraine, which are fighting alongside the Ukrainian army against separatists in the east of the country, having played a major role in the Maidan movement.

The association is to be led by General Boguslaw Pacek, who was responsible for improving military training in Ukraine as part of the NATO programme. Pacek spoke of the collaboration between the groups and the defence ministry reaching a “new quality.”

Pacek was also adviser to defence minister Tomasz Siemoniak, who personally attended the conference. In the lead-up to the conference, Siemoniak declared that these organisations would potentially need to be utilized more. He referred to the positive experiences in providing rescue services or disaster protection, in which volunteers had successfully partnered with professionals. The government was considering paying a wage to 2,500 volunteers. These would then serve as the backbone of the volunteer organisations at the local level and be mobilised in the event of war.

In tandem with the creation of the paramilitary association, Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz changed the law on involvement in military exercises. While previously only active soldiers and reserves could be called up for duty, now any Pole can be called up in principle. In addition, the government is pushing to reintroduce military service, which was abolished in 2010.

The New York Times wrote on the collaboration between the government and the volunteer groups: “The defence ministry has been trying to entice the groups to join an alliance with the government, offering equipment, uniforms, training and even money in exchange for a clearer idea of who they are—and a chance to assemble a new generation of energized recruits.”

According to Pacek, beyond the roughly 120 paramilitary groups in Poland, there are approximately 1,500 so-called uniform classes in Polish schools in which pupils are taught military techniques. There could be possible joint exercises between these civilian volunteers and the reserves. Already in 2014, the Polish government decided to increase the size of the reserves.

The provoked conflict with Russia is not only being used in Poland to push forward with a military build-up and give right-wing militias a semi-official status. This is also a prominent development in the Baltic states, which together with Poland, have taken the lead in the conflict with Russia.

In Latvia, on March 16, veterans of the German SS held their annual parade under the protection of a massive police escort. Around 1,500 people marched through Riga, according to police estimates, including several parliamentarians. They celebrated the 140,000 Latvians who fought in the Second World War in the uniforms of the SS against the Red Army, and committed unspeakable atrocities, as independence fighters.

In Lithuania, President Dalia Grybauskaite ordered the distribution of a government pamphlet to every household providing advice on what to do in the event of a Russian attack. In this way, a climate of fear is being created, enabling the government to implement planned cuts and increase the military budget.

A component of the growing militarism directed against Russia is the almost 1,800-kilometre-long trip of a US military convoy through Eastern Europe. Two weeks ago, a group of American tanks set off from Estonia to drive through Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and the Czech Republic. Two further groups started in Lithuania and Poland. On April 1, all three groups will meet at the Rose barracks in Vilseck, Germany. The convoy is part of a massive rearmament of the US and NATO in Eastern Europe and the Baltic states.

Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski recently called for a reorientation of NATO’s strategic concept. The Western allies confronted a movement by Russia “away from straightforward cooperation towards one-sided confrontation with the Western world”, he said. The conclusion to be drawn by Poland was that its defence capabilities had to be increased.

Last week, American Patriot missiles were sent to Warsaw from Germany. As part of the “Atlantic Resolve” operation, which is supposed to strengthen NATO’s eastern flank, around 100 US soldiers and 30 vehicles have been stationed there.

Collaboration between British MI5 and Hitler’s Gestapo


This video says about itself:

Gestapo, Hitler’s Secret Police

3 November 2013

The Geheime Staatspolizei (German for Secret State Police, abbreviated “Gestapo”) was the secret police of Nazi Germany, and its main tool of oppression and destruction, which persecuted Germans, opponents of the regime, and Jews. It later played a central role in helping carry out the Nazi’s “Final Solution.”

The Gestapo was formally organized after the Nazis seized power in 1933. Hermann Göring, the Prussian minister of the interior, detached the espionage and political units of the Prussian police and proceeded to staff them with thousands of Nazis. On April 26, 1933, Göring became the commander of this new force that was given power to shadow, arrest, interrogate, and intern any “enemies” of the state. At the same time that Goring was organzing the Gestapo, Heinrich Himmler was directing the SS (Schutzstaffel, German for “Protective Echelon“), Hitler’s elite paramilitary corps. In April 1936, he was given command of the Gestapo as well, integrating all of Germany’s police units under Himmler.

By Conrad Landin in Britain:

Did MI5 join Gestapo to hunt reds?

Monday 30th March 2015

COLLABORATION between MI5 and the Gestapo was crucial to surveillance of Communist Party members in Britain including historian Eric Hobsbawm, an explosive new analysis reveals.

This video from Britain says about itself:

Professor Eric Hobsbawm is interviewed on the so called ‘Responsible capitalism.’

Eric Hobsbawm fled nazi Germany in the 1930s. Being a Jew, that very probably saved him from Hitler’s Holocaust.

The Conrad Landin aricle continues:

Historians yesterday blasted British governments for double standards as they attacked Eastern bloc states over surveillance while using similar tactics on an industrial scale.

The first sections of Mr Hobsbawm’s MI5 file were opened to public access at the National Archives last autumn, and reveal that British security services first took an interest after he corresponded with journalist and International Brigades member Hans Kahle.

Investigating the late Mr Hobsbawm’s file for the London Review of Books, historian Frances Stonor Saunders concludes it is “likely” some of Mr Kahle’s file “came from MI5’s liaison with the Gestapo” as it included “close knowledge” on his activity in the German Communist Party.

Ms Stonor Saunders argues that a “crucial liaison” was established between MI5 deputy counter-espionage chief Guy Liddell and Rudolf Diels, head of nazi spying bureau Abteilung 1A, which soon became the Gestapo, in 1933.

“MI5’s prewar liaison with Hitler’s political police was built on the promise of reciprocity, so it is reasonable to fear that there was two-way traffic in blacklists between Berlin and London,” she wrote in an article to be published next month.

“How long this arrangement lasted is a matter of speculation.

“What is known is that both MI5 and MI6 had information that must have come from a German source concerning the political activities of the left-wing refugees who sought sanctuary in Britain from 1933 onwards.

“If they didn’t already have a personal file, most of them acquired one within days of arriving at a British port.”

In the months immediately following the end of the war in 1945, “fresh traces on suspected communists were being received daily from British intelligence outposts in the defeated territories of the Third Reich,” Ms Stonor Saunders notes.

There is no evidence that Mr Hobsbawm’s own file included direct imports from Germany, but it is possible that files handed over included information on the Sozialistischer Schuelerbund, the communist-affiliated organisation of school students of which Hobsbawm was a member.

Communist Party of Britain history group convenor Graham Stevenson said the confirmation came as “no surprise.

“Anyone reading the Daily Worker in the 1930s would see it was going to efforts every day to highlight how Britain was working with Germany to undermine the Soviet Union,” he told the Star.

Mr Stevenson said the same criticisms made of socialist governments in Eastern Europe could be made of Britain’s surveillance tactics.

“You see the hypocrisy, the comparison with the Stasi, when you see the level of intrusion in these files.”

It come days after it was revealed the Metropolitan Police’s Special Branch hold files on 10 serving Labour MPs.

Labour MP Mike Gapes labelled Special Branch “the Stasi’s British equivalent” in a debate about their surveillance in Parliament on Thursday.

Nazi marches in Britain flop


This video from England says about itself:

A Very Nazi Wedding (1963). Colin Jordan and Francoise Dior.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Nazis hide from racism protesters behind cops

Monday 23rd March 2015

A TINY posse of far-right extremists was outnumbered and heavily protected by police when they staged a march in Newcastle on Saturday.

The event was billed as a “White Man March” and groups taking part included the National Front and the British Movement — the openly nazi group founded and run by the late Colin Jordan.

Marchers carried union flags and banners featuring far-right symbols such as the sun wheel, or Black Sun, symbol, also used by Ukraine’s fascist Azov Battalion.

Anti-fascists estimated that about 85 people took part, far fewer than those who gathered to oppose them.

It is believed that nine of the right-wing extremists were arrested.

The master race has never been very bright or attractive, so before the march even started two senior figures in the National Front were arrested,” said a spokesman for anti-racism group Hope Not Hate.

– Just four people turned out to a demo in Edinburgh by Germany-based right-wing outfit Pegida on Saturday.