“..newly conquered territories ..East must be organised ..made secure and ..in full co-operation with ..Armed Forces ..exploited economically.” Adolf Hitler.

The World looked on as 6,000,000 Jews were so liberally assailed and assaulted, they were ritually Slaughtered. Always Remember, a Jew was never a POW in Hitler’s Worldview, they were Jews pure and simple and a solution to what would be final for them. In that and we recognise, each branch of Hitler’s War machine was indelibly involved in both Hitler’s Final Solution and his Weltanschauung. That said! In unison with the entire atrocity the cross over of identifying those Jews, taken as prisoner’s of War has been muddied. The Jewish Slaughter, as purportedly outside that world view, should not be combined within the category assigned to the fallen in War, which the Jewish slaughtered were Not.

“..Einsatztruppen ..called upon to fulfil a repulsive duty. But you are soldiers who have to carry out every order unconditionally. You have a responsibility before God and Hitler for everything that is happening. I myself hate this bloody business and I have been moved to ..depths of my soul. But I am obeying ..highest law by doing my duty. Man must defend himself against bedbugs ..rats ..against vermin.” Heinrich Himmler.

From my perspective in all of this History, the World will all too readily accept that these Jews walked willingly toward their fate without protestation or even resistance. To be clear. NO Jew should adopt this idea of any lack of protest or even resisting what is remotely unrealistic. From the North of the Baltic States to the ramparts of Crimea, the Jewish People remained unaware of The Final Solution until it was being resolved in front of them. This is not to say that leaks, which warned many of the Jews of their forthcoming fate did not emerge. But it was more obvious, and possibly from the vantage point of the perspective what is to be gained from retrospection, who could ever believe that a cultured and civilised German nation could ever be this callous and destructive about human life.

“..I must assume ..after all I have read about ..Fuhrer ..that he knew all about it.” (‘it’ being The Holocaust) Major General Johannes Bruhn. (553rd. Volksgrenadier  Division.)

Of course, scepticism is a brilliant defence against the obvious wages of brutal atrocity that was raged by all too many in the ranks of the Military. For the same ignorance from those who knew and could easily define the human moral and ethical principles within societies, too many chose to ignore their moral duty. Wherever those morally ethical societies were housed within Europe in those days of descent, the Jewish People were not only ejected from those principle considerations, but they were also excluded from all existence. What we have to realise early on is that the Nazi’s learned collaboratively in the 1939 incursion into Poland was that the suppression of all and any State was to be achievable. Along with the realisation that a subservient Polish work force would be made available, Hitler could then pursue The Final Solution of The Jewish Question. For those Jews within Poland, this secured for Poland a dubious role that would not see any defence for Polish Jewry from the last vestiges of Polish humanity.

“..There were 100’s of Jews walking along ..street with blood pouring down their faces ..holes in their heads ..hands broken ..eyes hanging out of their sockets. ..covered in blood. Some ..carrying others who had collapsed. We went to ..citadel ..saw things that few people have ever seen. At ..entrance ..were soldiers standing guard. .. holding clubs ..thick as a man’s wrist ..lashing out and hitting anyone who crossed their path. ..Jews were pouring out of ..entrance. ..rows of Jews lying one on top of ..other ..whimpering horribly. ..Jews kept streaming out ..completely covered in blood. ..just being hit out of rage and hatred.” SS Hauptscharfuhrer Felix Landau. (Lvov and Drohobycz, Poland)

A World View, this ‘Weltanschauung’, which would deliver in excess of 11,293,300 Jews to meet Hitler’s deadly demand, initially contained 3,650,000 Polish Jews immediately at risk in 1939. Within Poland too came the experience of the logistics to ensure and extend the killing spree into the rest of Europe was secured. Also, and what the Waffen SS then learned in the field, even back in the learning stages of 1939, and as they assisted and brought to the ranks of a formative der Einsatzgruppe in Poland, all the outpouring of atrocity was adapted to wherever they were meeting and taking and killing Jews. Further down the line of atrocity, and for all the amassed Slaughter that was yet to come, practices were being honed and skills gained to deliver ever more and increasing levels of brutal violence against the Jewish Community’s they encountered. Then, what both auxiliary and military forces took back into the field, so as to continue their assault, was mounted against other Civilians and then other POW’s.

“..By resettling ..Jews out of ..European economic area to a yet to be determined territory. In ..framework of this ..5,800,000 Jews will be affected.” Adolf Eichmann.

All of this was a steep learning process in which the cross fertilisation of murderous endeavour maximised the killing process. While that progress moved stoically from gun to gas, from van to killing centre, it was an almost seamlessly executed machinery of destruction which der Einsatzgruppe expanded upon and gave vent to. At places such as at Le Paradis, at Oradour-sur-Glane, at Ascq  and at Malmedy when the ranks of these fighting Waffen SS, Wehrmacht and Police Battalions were filled with those killers who had already enabled and had performed their worst excesses against the Jews in Poland and in Russia, experience was brought to bear against other targets. Here at Babi Yar, at Liepaja, at Ponary or in the Tuchinska Forest, such murderous endeavour was now a transferred experience to deal with a Military opposition which stood before them. Here the question arises as to whether these Allied Soldiers were merely going like Wolves to the Slaughter.

“..In respect of ..Jewish question ..make a clean sweep. ..world war is here ..annihilation of ..Jews must be ..necessary result. This question is to be regarded without sentimentalism. We are not here to have sympathy with ..Jews ..but ..with our German people. If ..German people have sacrificed 160,000 dead in ..eastern campaign ..authors of this bloody conflict will have to pay for it with their lives.” Adolf Hitler.

Perhaps, as history would suggestively promote for the 6,000,000 Jews of The Holocaust, these likewise innocents were merely Murdered in absolute shock that conventions such as human morality could be abandoned. Even accepted conventions, as spawned and outlined by Geneva, were these to be so brutally ignored? Along with this contamination of the fighting member of Hitler’s armies was an infection from ideology founded upon the principle first and foremost that the Jewish People must be eradicated so as to become extinct. That was indeed how the early battalions of the Waffen SS behaved in Poland as they then transferred their Murderous undertakings through France, the Low Countries and Scandinavia and then into Russia. Once embedded in the expanse that was Russia, where they excelled in the killing process engineered by der Einsatzgruppe, the murder rate extended to 1,000,000’s.

“..I am no longer in ..area of Stalingrad but further north in ..middle of ..front. ..sight of ..dead ..including women and children ..is not very cheering. ..we are fighting for ..survival or non-survival of our people. ..As ..war is in our opinion a Jewish war ..Jews are ..first to feel it. Here in Russia ..wherever ..German soldier is ..no Jew remains. You can imagine that at first I needed some time to get to grips with this. ..We happen to be in possession of old clothes ..which are very much sought after. We can get everything here. ..clothes belonged to people who are no longer alive today. ..We have got to be tough here or else we will lose ..war. There is no room for pity of any kind. ..There are no Jews here anymore. ..I have already told you about ..shooting ..that I could not say ‘no’ here either. ..We have to eat and drink well because of ..nature of our work ..as I have described to you in detail. Otherwise we would crack up. ..If it weren’t for ..stupid thoughts about what we are doing in this country ..Einsatz here would be wonderful ..since it has put me in a position where I can support you all very well. Since ..as I already wrote to you ..I consider ..last Einsatz to be justified and indeed approve of ..consequences it had ..phrase ‘stupid thoughts’ is not strictly accurate. Rather it is a weakness not to be able to stand ..sight of dead people ..best way of overcoming it is to do it more often. Then it becomes a habit.” SS Obersturmfuhrer Karl Kretschmer.

For those many Million’s of Russian POW’s left to fend for themselves and even die, even repatriation at War’s end could not save them. Many 10’s of 1,000’s of Russia’s finest were Murdered by Stalin as he perceived them as collaborator’s for being captured. The simple fact that they were tactically beaten by an enormous mechanised War Machine Hitler placed on the field before them did not appease the ire of Stalin. Amongst these Russian POW’s taken by der Einsatzgruppe or Wehrmacht and their cohorts, we cannot assess the Jewish extent or the strength of their presence. So while this exact same War machine was in evidence, and as 1,000,000’s of Jews were summarily executed along the very same lines of Wehrmacht communication, fuller assistance was afforded the der Einsatzgruppe effort. While it is agreed that the ranks of these 3,000 or so Einsatzgruppe could Not have achieved such a Slaughter as 1,250,000 Jews, we recognise that others were complicit in the overall stench of the atrocity.

“..During ..war a person could at least try to have himself transferred from an Einsatzgruppe. I myself managed to do this successfully. ..I was not demoted as a result of my transfer and not disadvantaged ..apart from remaining on very bad terms with Heydrich until his death. There were without doubt cases where people who were transferred from an Einsatzgruppe suffered disadvantage. I can no longer recall individual cases. None ..less ..as far as I know ..nobody was shot as a result.”  SS Brigadefuhrer Professor Dr. Franz Six.

Here, the accompanying Wehrmacht assisted both logistically, tacitly and deliberately, by somewhere in the region of 90,000 personnel. These Men, and even Women in a smaller detail, were drawn from the very ranks of the Wehrmacht, Waffen SS and Police Battalions driving Hitler’s Lebensraum view into the heart of a Jewish presence. Of course there were other collaborative efforts, those from locals and even nations so infested with the same hatred’s Hitler had long espoused, Jewish existence was compressed in the midst of their former lives. So here we arrive at some of the examples which amplify this essential in atrocity which meets Hitler’s demands for the annihilation of the Jews with the murders of other’s who so much as looked sideways at Hitler’s legions.

On May 27th. 1940 at the Village of Le Paradis, Lestrem, Northern France 99 members of the 2nd Battalion Royal Norfolk Regiment were murdered. These Allied prisoner’s of War were taken by SS Hauptsturmfuhrer Fritz Knochlein’s 14th Company, 3rd Waffen SS Panzer Division ‘Totenkopf’. SS Gruppenfuhrer Theodor Eicke was its commander. Of these 97 Prisoners of War were Murdered in a Mass execution, while 2 others were severely wounded.

During October 1941, at a mass Slaughter of the Jews of the Town of Liepaja, Latvia, where once more than 7,100 Jews lived, a der Einsatzgruppe aktionen was witnessed by members of the Kriegsmarine. These members of Hitler’s Naval elite, now add their complicity to the conduct of those of the Reich involved in this and every other atrocity raged against the Jews of The Final Solution. Near the Naval Base, and on the sand dunes of Shkeden, we have the visual evidence of how and where many 100’s of these Jews were Shot. During the annihilation process here, which would continue relentlessly throughout the coming year and well into 1942, Jewish existence was being brought to a final closure in Latvia.

On September 8th. 1943, there was to be a pronounced correlation between Hitler’s War effort and his demands for The Final Solution here at the Lake Maggiore resort in Italy. We recognise now that  where 56 Greek and Italian Jews were Murdered  by elements of  the 1st Waffen SS Panzer Division ‘Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler’, under command of SS Obersturmbannfuhrer Joachim Peiper, the Jewish People would remain front and centre in the conduct of all too many atrocities. The Division itself was under command of SS Oberstgruppenfuhrer Josef ‘Sepp’ Dietrich, a long time friend of Hitler himself.

On September 11th. 1943 at Tican, Italy the massacre of 84 civilians was conducted and executed by units of the 71st Wehrmacht Reserve Infantry Division under command of Lieutenant General Wilhelm Raapke.

On September 19th. 1943, the Boves massacre at Piedmont, Italy resulted in 21 civilians being executed and more than 350 Homes set alight by units of 1st Waffen SS Panzer Division ‘Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler’ commanded by SS Oberstgruppenfuhrer Josef ‘Sepp’ Dietrich. 

On October 7th. 1943 at Bellona, Campania, Italy, 54 Men and Boys of the Town were massacred by units of the 15th Wehrmacht Panzergrenadier Division. Lieutenant General Eberhard Rodt was the commanding officer.

On November 21st. 1943, at Pietransieri, Abruzzo, Italy 125 Italian Men, Women and Children were Murdered by units of the 1st Luftwaffe Parachute Division under command of Major General Richard Heidrich.

On April 1st. 1944 in Ascq, France, 86 Men were taken from the Town and shot alongside the rail lines by units led by SS Obersturmfuhrer Walter Hauck of the 12th Waffen SS Panzer Division ‘Hitlerjugend’ under command of SS Brigadefuhrer Fritz Witt.

By now the War was effectively over for Hitler and all that was left to achieve of his Weltanschauung, as it receded into the background, was the final stages of his Final Solution against the Jews. With the D-Day landing on June 6th. 1944, and with Allied troops already forging a way forward through Italy and with the Russians rushing headlong toward the German borders in the East, all but Hitler accepted such a finality was approaching. To then add to Hitler’s contempt for the German people, while urging and pushing ahead on all fronts, Hitler was delivering even more losses. However, the last bastion of European Jewry in Hungary sees Hitler looking to have 750,000 Hungarian Jews added to the decimation of even more of European Jewry. This escalated approach, to deliver Hungarian Jewry to the gates of Birkenau would see an effort above and beyond what was necessary for any form of even a perfunctory defence of Germany.

“..About 3 weeks ago ..I saw a town within 4 hours bicycle ride ..Camille Gerbeau farm where some 500 Men ..Women ..Children had been murdered by ..Germans. I saw 1 Baby ..had been crucified.” Raymond J. Murphy.

On June 10th. 1944 at Oradour sur Glane, France, some 642 French civilians were Murdered by units of SS Adolf Diekmann’s ranks assembled from SS Gruppenfuhrer Heinz Lammerding’s Waffen SS ‘Das Reich’ Division.

On December 17th. 1944 at Malmedy, Belgium, 84 US POW’s of the 285th Field Artillery Observation Battalion, were Mass murdered by the ranks of SS Obersturmbannfuhrer Joachim Peiper’s unit. Peiper, Subordinate to SS Oberstgruppenfuhrer Josef ‘Sepp’ Dietrich’s 1st Waffen SS Panzer Division ‘Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler’ was, as we are aware,  steeped in Human Rights violations and crimes against Jews and other’s. The captives here were machine gunned and the wounded were summarily shot in the head.

“..from June 1941 to January 1942 ..I was ..Commander of Sonderkommando 4 A. ..June 1942 ..entrusted by Gruppenfuhrer Mueller with ..task ..obliterating ..traces ..executions carried out by ..Einsatzgruppe ..East. ..orders ..report in person to ..commanders of ..Security Police ..SD ..pass on Mueller’s orders verbally ..supervise ..implementation. ..order ..top secret ..there was to be no correspondence in connection with ..task. ..September 1942 ..reported to Dr. Thomas ..Kiev ..passed ..order ..to him. ..May ..June 1943 ..made additional trips to Kiev ..after conversations with Dr. Thomas and ..SS Police Leader Hennecke ..order was carried out. During ..visit ..August ..observed ..burning of bodies in ..mass grave near Kiev. ..grave was about 55 meters long ..3 meters wide and 2.5 meters deep. ..top ..removed ..bodies ..covered with inflammable material ..ignited. ..about two days until ..grave burned ..to ..bottom. ..grave was filled in ..traces ..practically obliterated. Owing to ..moving up of ..front ..not possible to destroy ..mass graves further south and east which had resulted from executions by ..Einsatzgruppe. ..my orders ..should have extended ..duties over ..entire area occupied by ..Einsatzgruppe ..owing to ..retreat from Russia ..could not carry out my orders completely.”  SS Standartenfuhrer Paul Blobel.

This then brings us to the ranks of the POW’s and what expressly we are supposed to ascertain of the many hundred’s of thousands of Russian POW’s who were taken captive. For these drilled and efficient soldiers, so uncertainly trained that they were vastly out manoeuvred and methodically encircled and defeated in their millions by Hitler’s Blitz, do we suggest they were culpable in their own defeat. On those early days of Hitler venturing into Russia, encirclements were swift and brutally efficient for the mechanised nature of the Wehrmacht. But do we see these Russian conscripts merely as Bears to the Slaughter or as part of a decisive effort by those who respected both the rules of Law and War.

“..I understood Russian and listened carefully to what ..Russian POWs were saying as they were being selected for death. One man ..about 45 years old ..considered too old for a labor camp and so ..Germans decided to shoot him. He stood tall and looked straight into ..eyes of ..German soldiers ..I have 3 sons in ..Red Army. They are on their way. Remember ..you will pay for this. ..then ..Germans shot him.” Sam Halpern.

How could ordinary soldiers perceive other than a treatment for them that would be at least honourable. In this assessment then, I clearly remonstrate with any of those who would so otherwise suggest that 6,000,000 Jews were no more than the victims of their own honest belief in human decency. The Jewish incredulity paid a heavy dividend for them as closer and closer Hitler’s legions brought 6,000,000 Jews toward an abyss and then cast them aside. And this is the crucial context in which the World would not see either US or British troops as Wolves to the Slaughter. Nor would the World wish to credit far too many millions of Russian POW’s going as being Bear’s to that exact same Slaughter. So why would it appear in the least bit appropriate for a history that would wish us believe that 6,000,000 Jews went like Lambs and Sheep to the Slaughter.

“..soldiers had all been trained to fight ..to use firearms ..to survive under ..harshest conditions. If they could not resist imprisonment ..how were we Jews ..a civilian population ..with little or no firearm experience and no weapons ..a tribe of Merchants ..Artisans ..Scholars ..Women ..Children ..all weak from starvation and exhaustion ..able to rebel against a well equipped army. If you are under ..gun ..there is little you can do.” Sam Halpern.

Of course, this is not to say that there could have been Jews ready to act, without the constraints of immediate Family they would further endanger. But Jews everywhere ordered themselves in minor details and acted against the Nazi’s, not least in the midst of the greatest carnage visited upon them within Warsaw, Poland. While the World was occupied, and Poland was avoiding the fate of Polish Jewry, an abandoned Jewish Force made themselves Count against a Waffen SS Army. While the local Polish population was avoiding efforts to both assist and rise against the common enemy, the Jewish presence was severely felt by a sol called elite. Of course, and this is not to say that individual Poles did not reach out to assist, help and even save their Jewish Neighbours. But, and it is consistently obvious that for the Polish state, the Jews of Poland were Never to be the consideration of any Polish state.

“..There are 2 Billion People in ..World ..and I constitute a community many 1,000,000 times greater ..therefore I have ..right ..I have ..duty to look after my own trillions toward which I have certain responsibilities.” Janusz Korczak.

I arrived at the semblance of a man fabled amongst Men, Janusz Korczak, who had but his charges, the Jewish Children of his orphanage to look out for. On August 6th. 1942, along with 15,000 other Warsaw Jews to be murdered in Treblinka, we reflect upon a stalwart of great humanity and this is Janusz Korczak. Amongst these of Warsaw’s Jews, and amongst these were those of the ‘Orphanage’ directed by Janusz (Hersch Goldszmit) Korczak, are lost Children not abandoned right to the very bitter end. Together with his assistant Stefania ‘Stefa’ Wilczynska at the head of a column of orphans, Korczak and Stefa walked these Jewish Children toward a more tragic but somewhat consoling end in Treblinka. Even right up to the doors of the Gassing Chambers at Treblinka, these Jewish Children were given a supreme support.

“..My dear ..we are well. I work a little at ..orphanage while Korczak is doing a great deal. I have not arrived because I do not want to leave without Children. Yours ..Stefa.” Stefania Wilczynska.

That support, by those who truly loved them, who gave them the very hope a World refused to deliver for them is worth more than words can invoke. Clearly, Korczak’s bravery is deeply entrenched into the psyche of those who even remotely visit this story of tremendous courage. For Stefa, greatly influenced by the immense humanity of such a Man, she too would hold hands with her charges and prove a resistance that is both visible and remarkable. As Janusz and Stefa held the hands of these Jewish Children, we must never suggest other than their ability to comfort these Jewish Children in reassurance is a remarkable resistance to the dehumanising effects of Hitler’s ignoble final plan. All the way to reminiscences and eventual Remembrance we are reminded of what great humanity looks like. Amidst the carnage of an inhumanity unprecedented in all of human history such humanity shines forth.

“..Reminiscences make a sad ..depressing ..literature.” Janusz Korczak.