Ian Stuart Donaldson Skrewdriver

Posts Tagged ‘Soviet Union’

‘Battle of Stalingrad’ on display in Germany

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

The items for the exhibition were chosen by the workers of the Bundeswehr Museum in Dresden. They include photos, weapons, uniforms, letters and personal belonging of soldiers of both Soviet and German armies.

The exhibition has a special stand, which allows visitors to compare the apprehension of the legendary battle by the people in Russia and in Germany.

The Battle of Stalingrad was a major and decisive battle of the Second World War in which Nazi Germany fought the Soviet Union for control of the city of Stalingrad (now Volgograd). The battle took place between August 23, 1942 and February 2, 1943.

http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_12_13/Battle-of-Stalingrad-on-display-in-Germany/

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Russians protest against Putin despite pressure

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

Thousands of Russians chanted “Russia will be free” in a march through Moscow on Tuesday to protest against President Vladimir Putin, shrugging off his tough new tactics intended to quash any challenge to his rule.

Protesters streamed down a leafy central boulevard in the first major rally since Putin was sworn in on May 7, saying they would not be deterred by police raids on opposition leaders’ homes and a new law stiffening fines for public order offences.

“Those who fought are beyond being scared,” said Valery Zagovny, a 50-year-old who served for the Soviet army in Afghanistan and was wearing the medals to prove it. “Let those behind the red-toothed walls of the Kremlinbe scared.”

Welcomed by a heavy downpour some joked had been orchestrated by the president himself, protesters waved flags and shouted “Russia without Putin” despite the absence of leaders who had been summoned to appear before investigators.

Leftist leader Sergei Udaltsov ignored his summons for questioning about violence at a rally on the eve of Putin’s inauguration, and led a group of marchers carrying red flags and chanting “Putin to jail!” and “All power to the people!”.

Helmeted riot police manned metal barriers along parts of the route, but the police presence was lighter compared with some earlier protests. Ilya Ponomaryov, an opposition lawmaker, said about 60,000 to 70,000 people had turned out, much higher than the police estimate of 18,000.

After tolerating the biggest protests of his 12-year rule while seeking election, Putin has signaled a harsher approach to dissent since the start of his new term as president.

In power since 2000, Putin easily won a six-year term on March 4 after four years serving as prime minister.

His mantra of ensuring stability finds deep support among the elderly and many outside the cities, as have his strong measures against the protesters, accused by some of his backers of being spoilt urbanites financed by foreign powers.

But opposition leaders say Putin’s heavy-handed tactics show that the former KGB spy is deeply worried by the protests that have undermined his once iron-clad authority.

On Friday, he signed a law increasing fines, in some cases more than 100-fold, for violations of public order at demonstrations, despite warnings from his human rights council that it was an unconstitutional infringement on free assembly.

Police and investigators raided the apartments of Udaltsov, anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny and socialite Ksenia Sobchak on Monday, seizing computer drives and discs, photographs and other belongings as armed guards stood outside.

SOVIET-STYLE TACTICS

“The authorities are in a panic,” Udaltsov told reporters.

“They are trying to conduct primitive, repressive actions, but I am sure they’ll only achieve the opposite effect. These sorts of searches annoy and outrage people, and people in even greater numbers take to the streets.”

Many protesters are middle-class city dwellers who have benefitted from the oil-fuelled boom Russia has experienced during Putin’s years in power but want more of a say in politics and fear his prolonged rule will bring economic stagnation.

They have turned to an opposition which is still in its infancy, lacks a clear leader and looks unlikely to topple Putin, still Russia’s most popular politician, any time soon.

Mikhail, 34, an athlete from Moscow, barely contained his anger while he watched the march.

“These people here are idiots. All those who think these protests can change something and bring something better than Putin to power are idiots,” he said.

“I don’t know of anyone more adequate and better equipped to rule our nation and take it out of the crisis if necessary.”

Pro-Kremlin rallies were planned later on Tuesday, and Putin looked calm as he presided over an awards ceremony in an ornate Kremlin hall.

“SCARE TACTICS”

Police largely left big winter protests alone but began to crack down after Putin’s election, beating protesters at the rally on May 6 and repeatedly dispersing groups trying to set up Occupy-style camps since then, briefly detaining hundreds.

They have detained 12 people over violence at that protest on charges punishable by more than a year in jail, and the latest summonses seemed to carry the implicit threat that opposition leaders could potentially face similar charges.

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The Russian counter attack

Monday, May 14th, 2012

The Germans again underestimated the Russian resources. The continued weakening of the German flanks behind Stalingrad, as more and more German units were pushed to the city, was the anticipated opportunity for which General Zhukov prepared since the battle of Stalingrad began.

Also, like in the battle of Moscow a year before, the harsh Russian winter returned, sharply reducing the German army’s mobility and observation capabilities.

 

General Zhukov planned and prepared a massive Russian counter attack, code named operation Uranus, that would attack the German flanks at their two weakest points, 100 miles West of Stalingrad, and 100 miles South of it. The two Russian forces will meet far Southwest of Stalingrad and encircle the entire German 6th army near Stalingrad and cut its supply lines. It was a classic large scale Blitzkrieg plan, except that this time the Russians will do it to the Germans. Zhukov’s goal was to win not just battle of Stalingrad but the entire campaign in South Russia.

 

The Russian preparations covered every operational and logistical aspect. In maximum secrecy, over a million Russian soldiers were gathered, now greatly outnumbering the Germans, and 14,000 heavy artillery guns, 1000 T-34 tanks, and 1350 aircraft. Zhukov prepared a giant surprise attack, and when the Russian concentrations were finally noticed by the Germans at the end of October, it was almost too late to do anything, but the disbelief at the German side, and Hitler’s obsession, prevented them from significantly responding. When the German chief of staff suggested to abandon Stalingrad to shorten the German lines, Hitler shouted “I will not abandon the Volga!”.

 

The Russian counter attack began on November 19, 1942, three months after the battle of Stalingrad began. It was the first fully prepared Russian attack in World War 2, and it was a great success. The Russians attacked the sectors of the German flanks held by the 3rd and 4th Romanian armies. The Russians knew, from interrogating kidnapped POWs, that the Romanian forces had the lowest morale and least supplies.

 

Under the sudden pressure of the massive Russian artillery and advancing tank columns, the Romanian lines collapsed within hours, and after two days the Romanians surrendered. German units moved to face the advancing Russians, but it was too late, and in four days the two spearheads of the Russian pincer movement met each other about 100km West of Stalingrad.


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The Uncertain Casualty List: Questions and Concerns after Stalingrad by Hans Schwarz van Berk

Monday, May 7th, 2012

During the three days that followed the announcement of the fall of Stalingrad [there was a three day period of national mourning], we thought not only of the soldiers of the 6th Army, but also of their families. The announcement provided insufficient information to relieve the uncertainty, the hope, the tortuous uncertainty in many homes. That was not possible, given that the fate of an entire army was involved. Even our highly developed modern methods of communication fail when faced with a situation of superhuman enormity. The fate of the individual seems to vanish in the face of such enormous events.

Ships have vanished on the high seas, with no word of their crews, scouts have failed to come back, airplanes have not returned to their bases. In each case they were reported “missing,” but in such cases one can know what happened with a high degree of certainty. That is not the case with the soldiers of the 6th Army, particularly given the nature of our enemy. Many people in our homeland who worry about their soldier relatives now stare into the cold, unreadable face of Bolshevism. Civilized peoples faced with the finality of death refrain from hatred, trickery, and propaganda, but Bolshevism is pitiless and refuses even to give an honest death list.

*

Is there in fact any news about German soldiers in the Soviet Union, and if so how reliable is it? There are several facts. The Soviet Union signed the Geneva Conventions of 27 July 1929 “for the improvement of the condition of the wounded and sick in armies in the field,” but not the convention of the same day on the treatment of prisoners of war. Article Four of the first convention obliges the signatory powers to exchange the names of the wounded, ill and fallen as quickly as possible. The official Soviet offices have never done this. Why? Because the Soviets are not concerned about the fate of their people; the individual counts for nothing in a collective state. For 25 years, the Soviet Union has been the land of the missing. No independent agency has been given access to what happens in the hospitals and POW camps behind Soviet lines. This is unique and unprecedented in modern history.

Our soldiers in the East have had long experience with the Red Army’s methods. The Soviets have long used the methods they are now using to confuse and demoralize the German homeland on our soldiers at the front. The first battles were scarcely over when leaflets rained down on the German lines. They included the names photographs and unit numbers of allegedly fallen comrades. Sometimes there were facsimile signatures and details of birthplaces or home towns. Later there were postcards from comrades in POW camps. But who could know how long they remained alive after sending the postcards? Radio, too, served propaganda. The texts however were so absurd that anyone could see who wrote them. Our military leadership conscientiously checked to see if the lists of prisoners were accurate. Numerous cases have been discussed in the OKW’s “Mitteilungen für die Truppe.” Here is but one case: On 31 March 1942, the soldier Martin Amberger of IR 141 and 143 was given as the writer of an essay in a Bolshevist newspaper for the front. Actually, he had died on a scouting mission on 31 December 1941. When his body was found that same day, his pay book and weapon were missing. The Soviets have regularly taken the papers and letters of fallen German soldiers. When they attacked a German baggage train, letters, lists and IDs were their target. Names are what they wanted for propaganda, nothing more

*

Immediately after the last report from the 6th Army, the responsible offices worked to establish a casualty list. All those who were stationed in Stalingrad are currently being questioned. The 47,000 wounded and the sick in hospitals are being asked about losses up to the time they were evacuated. We are gathering all possible information about our soldiers at Stalingrad. In some cases, there will soon be certain information about the death of an army member. Others will face the uncertainty of news that their family member is missing. One hesitates to say more than that, but the families of the missing want to know more. The state cares for the families of the missing; after a waiting period they receive financial support. Instead of family support, the unmarried receive survivor’s benefits after one month, the married after three months, for a period of nine months. Support for families with many children is sometimes higher than under normal family support so that the best possible education is provided for the children.

*

As we write this, we sense the inadequacy of words. We sense the worst imaginings that will face many families for a long time. No mother or wife will give up hope that her son or husband may return one day. They remember that in the past the missing have sometimes returned unexpectedly. Think of how many prayers go up to the stars each night, the same stars on which the missing soldiers gaze. The thoughts of the sleepless meet above the roof tops, and a rainbow of immortal love stretches over our homeland. In such times a person should know that sorrow does not make him poorer, that longing is his deepest ability and that loyalty in memory is his noblest deed. No soldier who did his duty at Stalingrad, should he remain alive, will walk alone along the roads of the East. The unending inexhaustible strength of his love, of his comrades, of his people will walk with him, telling him that no German in our day is alone, whatever he may suffer for the Reich.

After we had buried out dead, we sat together and spoke of the family members they left behind. We thought that they had been spared a worse fate. If we had the time to write them, we would have said how fast and easy death comes for most in the field. We know how much mothers and wives worry about the final hour. As we think of the missing of Stalingrad, we know that if they too must die, none will lack the strength of a proud silence that the enemy’s mockery cannot break. Our soldiers have developed a humanity that is the best and noblest of the German spirit. What can break the soldiers who withstood the hell of Stalingrad for so many weeks? They have been changed, as we who were or are in the field can sense. They no longer share our understanding of life. They have gone through the bitterest trial, and are far beyond our daily troubles. They may not be able to speak to us, yet they are with us in every thought and with all their heart, wishing and thinking but one thing: that our people may be spared their fate. We have found in them the silent witnesses of our history, who may yet someday speak. They testify as to how much nobler, humane and beautiful life in our country is, where the individual lives in brotherhood and is honored, never lost and never forgotten. Among those who raise the Red flag, the fate of the individual is written in the sands of the steppes.

Now all we can do is to bow our heads to the family members of the heroes of Stalingrad, and to the heroes themselves. They must carry on the battle in their souls, and no one can take that burden from them. Only time will soften and heal their pain. Only the knowledge of a deed well done can console them, only our sympathy can help them, only our loyalty to them can strengthen their loyalty to those missing in the great battle. No one missing in the distant East is lost to our immortal history as long as our own devotion follows his example.

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Spring 1942: Massive attacks on German morale

Saturday, May 5th, 2012

Churchill’s situation grew even tighter in spring 1942. England and the USA had had no doubts about the success of the major Soviet winter offensive, but the German military’s tough defense and its superhuman accomplishments ruined their hopes. The millions of German soldiers that the enemy happily claimed were freezing to death in the Russian winter suddenly displayed their full offensive power and seized the initiative. Their unexpected successes increasingly forced Churchill to do something about all the boastful statements and threats he had made over the course of the winter. The Kremlin pressed for the promised military assistance, and the Soviet demand for a “second front” could no longer be ignored.

Even the biggest optimists in England had realized, after nearly three years of war and an unbroken series of major German victories, that the German military could not be defeated with weapons. The hope that one could bring Germany to its knees by a hunger blockade vanished as German territory increased step by step to include the most fertile and productive areas of Europe. They vanished completely after the food reserves of the Ukraine were in German hands. One could no longer hope for a “sitting war,” the victorious end of which one could patiently wait for. The “irresistible Soviet war machine,” Churchill’s last trump after the failure of a half dozen other allies, did not flood into Germany, but rather was driven deep into the heart of Soviet territory in bloody battles with the German military, and was in itself in need of help. Churchill and his clique realized by the spring of this year — long before Dieppe — that a “second front” on the European mainland was impossible. After years of experience with their risky policies, we were nonetheless sure they would make an attempt. “Even the attempt is punishable,” Dr. Goebbels had written several weeks before the failed landing attempt at Dieppe. That they made the attempt despite its hopelessness speaks to the situation Great Britain found itself in. The rising number of ships sunk made the material and economic support of the USA an illusion. Rommel was winning in Africa, the Japanese in East Asia.

England had no other hope than that the air force could decide the war. As even England granted, the German armaments industry was distributed throughout Europe, and was well defended. The only remaining target was the morale of the German population.

Thus in the spring of 1942, the British resumed their senseless terror attacks on the German population in the north and west of the Reich, at first with weak forces, then in mass attacks. Many of the Reich’s cities fell prey to British air terror.

During the night of 30-31 May, the British air force made its “great attack” on the residential districts of Cologne.

How the population of Cologne bore and overcame the largest British air attack so far is portrayed in what follows as an example of all the areas threatened from the air.

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R IS FOR RASHNIKOV

Saturday, May 5th, 2012

In 1967 Viktor Rashnikov was a humble fitter in a workshop in one of the Soviet Union’s biggest steel plants. Nearly 40 years later, he chairs the company’s board and has an estimated personal fortune of £2.9bn, making him Russia’s 16th-wealthiest individual. The 57-year-old Rashnikov and a group of like-minded managers are thought to control 99 per cent of the shares in the iron and steel works in Magnitogorsk, Siberia. The mill is Russia’s largest steel producer and one of the most glittering jewels in the country’s industrial crown. The plant achieved legendary status during the Second World War when it churned out half of all Soviet tanks and ammunition. Little is known about Rashnikov except that he was born and bred in Magnitogorsk and still lives there. He enjoys the support of President Vladimir Putin, loves ice hockey, and is married with two children. He worked his way up from the workshop floor to become the plant’s general director in 1997. Since then he has resisted hostile takeovers and blackmail to become one of the country’s wealthier oligarchs.

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POST WW2 SOVIET ESPIONAGE OVERWHELMINGLY JEWISH

Monday, April 30th, 2012

During the early 1950’s numerous FBI investigations and trials were conducted against communist agents. Here follows a brief summary of the most well-know cases which demonstrate the disproportionate involvement of Jews in communist activities against the United States.

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Holocaust fraud probe leads to charge against Toronto woman

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

A woman living in Toronto has been formally charged in the U.S. with taking part in a scheme to steal from a Holocaust survivors’ fund.

In documents obtained by CBC News, the FBI alleges that Luba Kramrish was part of a conspiracy that falsified documents to claim financial support from a special fund created by the German government after the Second World War.

Luba Kramrish of Toronto has been charged in the U.S. with being part of a scheme to defraud a Holocaust survivor fund. Luba Kramrish of Toronto has been charged in the U.S. with being part of a scheme to defraud a Holocaust survivor fund.(odnoklassniki.ru)

Germany set up the fund, which is administered by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, to compensate those who lived through the Holocaust. The money was earmarked for people who fled parts of the Soviet Union, ahead of advancing Nazi soldiers and those who somehow managed to survive ghettos and concentration camps.

The FBI announced charges against several U.S. citizens allegedly involved in the scheme in 2010. Now court documents show the investigation has reached into Canada.

The U.S. attorney’s office claims that Kramrish falsified details for her mother’s application to the fund and that once she realized how to cheat the system, she started recruiting applicants, about two dozen of them. In one case, the FBI says, she falsified details to get money for a man who never lived in an area occupied by Nazis. The U.S. indictment says that when he got the money, she took a cut.

A court document states “Kramrish provided documents for approximately 20-25 different cases…[she] helped falsify these applications so that they would be approved.”

Roman Kent, a concentration camp survivor, says he was shocked when he heard about the charges. Roman Kent, a concentration camp survivor, says he was shocked when he heard about the charges. (CBC)

An elderly camp survivor living in New York, Roman Kent, says he was shocked when told about the charges. “My reaction was, how could it be possible? Who could be so low as to try to cheat or steal money from Holocaust survivors?”

The conspiracy to steal from the fund was uncovered in the U.S. just over two years ago. Greg Schneider runs the New York office where millions of dollars of claims are approved and distributed every year. He was one of the first to notice discrepancies in some of the paperwork coming in.

“Within a couple of weeks we had a mass of material that we thought suggested there was something very wrong going on and we brought all of that material to the U.S. federal authorities, the FBI and the U.S. attorney general’s office.”

Greg Schneider, who runs the New York office of the Holocaust fund, was the first to notice discrepanices in some of the paperwork requesting money from the fund. The FBI determined the fraud has been going on since the 1990s. Greg Schneider, who runs the New York office of the Holocaust fund, was the first to notice discrepanices in some of the paperwork requesting money from the fund. The FBI determined the fraud has been going on since the 1990s. (CBC)

The FBI determined a massive fraud was at play and that it had been going on since the 1990s.

“Ultimately several people who were our employees were arrested and it was devastating on many levels,” says Schneider.

The FBI found that the very people who had listened to the stories of survivors had massaged the details and used fake names to submit claims of their own.

The investigation is still underway, but it is estimated that at least $60 million has been siphoned from the fund.

Kramrish’s Canadian lawyer told the CBC that she is not interested in talking about the U.S. indictment.

In the meantime, the German government has tightened restrictions on who can get the money. In some cases, authorities have been forced to ask actual survivors of the Holocaust to prove yet again that they were victims.

Kent says this is a serious issue for elderly survivors. “It is very difficult and many of them are agitated saying, ‘What the hell? You want to ask me these questions? I don’t know, I don’t remember.’”

About $6 billion has been paid out to about 450,000 people since the funds were made available.

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Jews in Top Positions in Lenin’s Government

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

Four Marxist revolutionary parties banned together to overthrow the Czar in the October Revolution of 1917. Today we know that all four were headed by Jews and two were 100% Jewish. They were the Jewish Bund headed by Abramovitch and Lieber, The Mensheviks headed by Martov and Dan, The Social Democrats headed by Danishevsky and the Bolsheviks by Lenin and Trotsky. (The last two had Gentile members).

Immediately after the overthrow of the Czar, Lenin placed Jews in every position of power over this Christian nation. He immediately went to work to destroy the farmer/landowners and the religion of Christianity.

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THE JEWISH GULAG: RACIST USSR WORK CAMPS FOR UNFORTUNATE NON-JEWS

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

The Soviet system of forced labor camps was first established in 1919 under the Cheka, but it was not until the early 1930s that the camp population reached significant numbers.

By 1934 the GULAG, or Main Directorate for Corrective Labor Camps, then under the Cheka’s successor organization the NKVD, had several million inmates.

Prisoners included murderers, thieves, and other common criminals-along with political and religious dissenters.

The GULAG, whose camps were located mainly in remote regions of Siberia and the Far North, made significant contributions to the Soviet economy in the period of Joseph Stalin. GULAG prisoners constructed the White Sea-Baltic Canal, the Moscow-Volga Canal, the Baikal-Amur main railroad line, numerous hydroelectric stations, and strategic roads and industrial enterprises in remote regions. GULAG manpower was also used for much of the country’s lumbering and for the mining of coal, copper, and gold.

Stalin constantly increased the number of projects assigned to the NKVD, which led to an increasing reliance on its labor. The GULAG also served as a source of workers for economic projects independent of the NKVD, which contracted its prisoners out to various economic enterprises.

Conditions in the camps were extremely harsh. Prisoners received inadequate food rations and insufficient clothing, which made it difficult to endure the severe weather and the long working hours; sometimes the inmates were physically abused by camp guards. As a result, the death rate from exhaustion and disease in the camps was high.

After Stalin died in 1953, the GULAG population was reduced significantly, and conditions for inmates somewhat improved. Forced labor camps continued to exist, although on a small scale, into the Gorbachev period, and the government even opened some camps to scrutiny by journalists and human rights activists.

With the advance of democratization, political prisoners and prisoners of conscience all but disappeared from the camps.

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East Germany

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

In May 1949 a constitution establishing the government of an East German state was adopted by the legislative body that became the Volkskammer (People’s Chamber), or parliament. The new government was headed by Otto Grotewohl, with Wilhelm Pieck, a Communist, as president. In order to control the other political parties, in particular the Social Democrats, the Socialist Unity Party of Germany had been formed in 1946. This party assumed power. It consisted mainly of Social Democrats and Communists, with the latter dominating all party decisions. A Soviet-style Politburo controlled the party, with Walter Ulbricht, another veteran Communist, as the party’s general secretary.

The period from 1949 to 1953 was marked by great unrest within the Socialist Unity party and the country because of what was labeled spy fever. Many people who were thought to be politically unreliable were expelled from the party, and some were imprisoned. At the same time the government was preparing for future economic development with a Soviet-style five-year plan to begin in 1951. This plan stressed the construction of new heavy industry and gave a low priority to consumer goods industries. In 1952 East German authorities began the collectivization of agriculture. From 1952 to 1954 about 700,000 people left for the West, a loss of workers that hampered the planned development of farming and industry.

The political upheavals and the low standard of living caused many people to leave for the West. Unrest among workers who remained led in 1953 to strikes in a number of cities, including East Berlin. These strikes were put down with the aid of Soviet armed forces. This was followed by another purge in the Socialist Unity party, whose leaders realized that they had little following among the workers whom they represented.

The Berlin Wall that separated East and West Berlin was built in 1961 and marked a turning point. Not only was the country more easily protected against the infiltration of Western agents, but the exodus of badly needed skilled workers and others was halted. At the same time economic reforms that eased central planning controls were introduced. Industrial production increased rapidly, more consumer goods began to appear in stores, and a mood of optimism began to spread through the population. By the mid-1960s the standard of living was higher than in most other Soviet-bloc countries. In 1968 the rise of a more liberal regime in Czechoslovakia alarmed the Soviet and East German governments. East German military units took part in the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia. In spite of this development, relations with West Germany began to improve.

End of the Ulbricht era. In 1971 Ulbricht resigned and was replaced by Erich Honecker. Although 20 years younger than Ulbricht, his successor was another hard-line Communist. One of Honecker’s first acts was to nationalize all the remaining private enterprise. Attempts were made to counter the influence of West German television–easily received in many parts of the country. The unique nature of East Germany and its culture was stressed, and loyalty to the state was firmly emphasized.

By the 1970s the economy was one of the most industrialized and successful in Eastern Europe, but shortages of labor and natural resources began to occur. A serious food shortage developed in 1982. East Germany had meanwhile been building considerable debt to Western banks, and problems arose with the repayment of interest and capital. The Soviet Union sharply criticized these foreign loans. The regime was also embarrassed when 55 of its citizens sought asylum in the West German diplomatic mission in East Berlin. They left only when assured that they would be given permission to leave for the West. From 1984 to 1985 only 40,000 East German citizens were allowed to move to West Germany.

Winds of change. The totalitarian East German government at first ignored–and then opposed–the gradual political liberalization that was occurring in the Soviet Union. In 1988, when there were changes in the leadership of other Warsaw Pact states, Honecker pressed for even tighter ideological control.

East Germany celebrated its 40th anniversary as a separate Communist nation on Oct. 6-7, 1989. While Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev noted that the Honecker regime was free to choose its own course, his anniversary speech also described the advantages of Soviet-style reform. On the nearby streets of East Berlin, and in all the other major East German cities, enormous pro-democracy demonstrations and marches were simultaneously taking place.

Honecker was removed from office on October 18, and his hard-line protege, Egon Krenz, assumed all three of his posts. On November 7 the East German cabinet resigned and a reformer replaced Willi Stoph, the chairman of the Council of Ministers. The culmination of the premier’s promise for freer East-West travel was the opening of the Berlin Wall two days later. Honecker and several of his associates were placed under arrest on December 5, and revelations of corruption inside the Communist party forced the resignation of the entire Politburo and the party’s central committee. Krenz resigned as chairman of the Council of State on December 6. His replacement, Manfred Gerlach, was the first non-Communist to hold the post. As membership rapidly declined, the party scrambled to save itself by changing its structure and its name and by promising a program of democracy, greater openness, and other reforms. The Communist-led government formed a coalition, with pro-democracy parties in the minority, but was forced to form an interim coalition cabinet, give up its majority, and move up elections to March 18, 1990.

East Germans voted overwhelmingly on March 18 for a conservative alliance that proposed quick reunification with West Germany. More than 93 percent of some 12 million eligible voters cast ballots in the elections. The newly elected parliament met for the first time on April 5 and began dismantling the Communist system that had ruled for 40 years.

The Alliance for Germany–a coalition of the Christian Democratic Union, German Social Union, and Democratic Awakening–received more than 48 percent of the vote and 193 seats in parliament. Lothar de Maiziere, head of the Christian Democrats and the designated prime minister, formed a 24-member coalition cabinet that also included the Social Democratic party, the German Social Union, the Democratic Awakening, and the Liberals, but not the Party of Democratic Socialism, the renamed Socialist Unity party. The parliament abolished the old Council of State and created the ceremonial head of state post of president. Sabine Bergmann-Pohl was elected to serve as both the president of parliament and acting head of state.


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The Year 2000 by Joseph Goebbels

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

The three enemy war leaders, American sources report, have agreed at the Yalta Conference to Roosevelt’s proposal for an occupation program that will destroy and exterminate the German people up until the year 2000. One must grant the somewhat grandiose nature of the proposal. It reminds one of the skyscrapers in New York that soar high into the sky, and whose upper stories sway in the wind. What will the world look like in the year 2000? Stalin, Churchill, and Roosevelt have determined it, at least insofar as the German people are concerned. One may however doubt if they and we will act in the predicted manner.

No one can predict the distant future, but there are some facts and possibilities that are clear over the coming fifty years. For example, none of the three enemy statesmen who developed this brilliant plan will still be alive, England will have at most 20 million inhabitants, our children’s children will have had children, and the events of this war will have sunk into myth. One can also predict with a high degree of certainty that Europe will be a united continent in the year 2000. One will fly from Berlin to Paris for breakfast in fifteen minutes, and our most modern weapons will be seen as antiques, and much more. Germany, however, will still be under military occupation according to the plans of the Yalta Conference, and the English and Americans will be training its people in democracy. How empty the brains of these three charlatans must be — at least in the case of two of them!

The third, Stalin, follows much more far-reaching goals than his two comrades. He certainly does not plan to announce them publicly, but he and his 200 million slaves will fight bitterly and toughly for them. He sees the world differently than do those plutocratic brains. He sees a future in which the entire world is subjected to the dictatorship of the Moscow Internationale, which means the Kremlin. His dream may seem fantastic and absurd, but if we Germans do not stop him, it will undoubtedly become reality. That will happen as follows: If the German people lay down their weapons, the Soviets, according to the agreement between Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin, would occupy all of East and Southeast Europe along with the greater part of the Reich. An iron curtain would fall over this enormous territory controlled by the Soviet Union, behind which nations would be slaughtered. The Jewish press in London and New York would probably still be applauding. All that would be left is human raw material, a stupid, fermenting mass of millions of desperate proletarianized working animals who would only know what the Kremlin wanted them to know about the rest of the world. Without leadership, they would fall helplessly into the hands of the Soviet blood dictatorship. The remainder of Europe would fall into chaotic political and social confusion that would prepare the way for the Bolshevization that will follow. Life and existence in these nations would become hell, which was after all the point of the exercise.

Aside from domestic problems of economic, social and political nature, England would suffer a declining population that would leave it even less able to defend its interests in Europe and the rest of the world than it is today. In 1948, Roosevelt’s campaign for reelection would fail, just as Wilson’s did after the First World War, and a Republican isolationist would become president of the USA. His first official act would likely be to withdraw American troops from the European witch’s kettle. The entire population of the USA would doubtless approve. Since there would be no other military power on the continent, in the best case 60 British divisions would face 600 Soviet divisions. Bolshevism certainly would not have been idle during the period. A Labor government, perhaps even a radical half-Bolshevist one, would be in power in England. Under the pressure of public opinion whipped up by the Jewish press and a people weary of war, it would soon announce its lack of interest in Europe. How fast such things can happen is clear from the example of Poland today.

The so-called Third World War would likely be short, and our continent would be at the feet of the mechanized robots from the steppes. That would be an unfortunate situation for Bolshevism. It would without doubt leap over to England and set the land of classic democracy ablaze. The iron curtain would fall once more over this vast tragedy of nations. Over the next five years, hundreds of millions of slaves would build tanks, fighters, and bombers; then the general assault on the USA would begin. The Western Hemisphere, which despite lying accusations we have never threatened, would then be in the gravest danger. One day those in the USA will curse the day in which a long-forgotten American president released a communiqué at a conference at Yalta, which will long since have sunk into legend.

The democracies are not up to dealing with the Bolshevist system, since they use entirely different methods. They are as helpless against it as were the bourgeois parties in Germany over against the communists before we took power. In contrast to the USA, the Soviet system needs to take no regard for public opinion or its people’s living standard. It therefore has no need to fear American economic competition, not to mention its military. Even were the war to end as Roosevelt and Churchill imagine, the plutocratic countries would be defenseless before the competition from the Soviet Union on the world market, unless they decided to greatly reduce wages and living standards. But if they were to do that, they would not be able to resist Bolshevist agitation. However things turn out, Stalin would always be the winner and Roosevelt and Churchill the losers. The Anglo-American war policy has reached a dead end. They have called up the spirits, and can no longer get rid of them. Our predictions, beginning with Poland, are beginning to be confirmed by a remarkable series of current events. One can only smile when the English and Americans forge plans for the year 2000. They will be happy if they survive until 1950.

No thinking Englishman fails to see this today. The British prime minister wore a Russian fur coat at the Yalta Conference. This aroused unhappy comment in the English public. When the London news agencies later reported that it was a Canadian fur coat, no one believed them. People saw in the matter a symbol of England’s subordination to the Kremlin’s will. What happened to the days when England had an important, even decisive say in world affairs! An influential American Senator recently remarked: “England is only a small appendix to Europe!” His comrades treat it that way already. Has it deserved any better? At a dramatic moment in European history, it declared war against the Reich, unleashing a world conflagration that not only went out of control but threatens to leave England itself in ruins. A tiny extension of Germany into purely German territories to the East was sufficient ground to see a threat to the European balance of power. In the resulting war, England found it necessary to throw out its 200-year-old policy of the balance of power. Now a world power has entered Europe that begins to the East in Vladivostok and will not rest in the West until it has incorporated Great Britain itself into its dictatorship.

It is more than naive for the British prime minister to plan for the political and social status of the Reich in the year 2000. In the coming years and decades, England will probably have other concerns. It will have to fight desperately to maintain a small portion of its former power in the world. It received the first blows in the First World War, and now during the Second World War faces the final coup de grace.

One can imagine things turning out differently, but it is now too late. The Führer made numerous proposals to London, the last time four weeks before the war began. He proposed that German and British foreign policy work together, that the Reich would respect England’s sea power as England would respect the Reich’s land power, and that parity would exist in the air. Both powers would join in guaranteeing world peace, and the British Empire would be a critical component of that peace. Germany would even be ready to defend that Empire with military means if it were necessary. Under such conditions, Bolshevism would have been confined to its original breeding grounds. It would have been sealed off from the rest of the world. Now Bolshevism is at the Oder River. Everything depends on the steadfastness of German soldiers. Will Bolshevism to pushed back to the East, or will its fury flood over Western Europe? That is the war situation. The Yalta Communiqué does not change things in the least. Things depend only on this crisis of human culture. It will be solved by us, or it will not be solved at all. Those are the alternatives.

We Germans are not the only ones who say this. Every thinking person knows that today, as so often in the past, the German people have a European mission. We may not lose our courage, even though the mission brings with it enormous pain and suffering. The foolish know-it-alls have brought the world more than once to the edge of the abyss. At the last moment, the sight of the terrifying misery alarmed humanity enough for it to take the decisive step backwards at the critical moment. That will be the case this time as well. We have lost a great deal in this war. About all we have left are our military forces and our ideals. We may not give these up. They are the foundation of our existence and of the fulfillment of our historical obligations. It is hard and terrible, but also honorable. We were given our duty because we alone have the necessary character and steadfastness. Any other people would have collapsed. We, however, like Atlas carry the weight of the world on our shoulders and do not doubt.

Germany will not be occupied by its enemies in the year 2000. The German nation will be the intellectual leader of civilized humanity. We are earning that right in this war. This world struggle with our enemies will live on only as a bad dream in people’s memories. Our children and their children will erect monuments to their fathers and mothers for the pain they suffered, for the stoic steadfastness with which they bore all, for the bravery they showed, for the heroism with which they fought, for the loyalty with which they held to their Führer and his ideals in difficult times. Our hopes will come true in their world and our ideals will be reality. We must never forget that when we see the storms of this wild age reflected in the eyes of our children. Let us act so that we will earn their eternal blessings, not their curses.

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A Different World by Joseph Goebbels

Sunday, March 11th, 2012

It is astonishing, hardly believable, how the state of the world can change entirely within a short time. Modern war speaks its own language, and ideas and principles that twenty years ago were standard military theory and practice are now entirely outdated and antiquated. If one compares the world situation of Sunday, 7 December, the day when Japan gave President Roosevelt the appropriate answer to his impudent provocations and shameless affronts, with today, one will without doubt conclude that the position of the Axis powers has improved in a way that even a few days before military and political experts would have thought highly improbable.

All the confident predictions of the U.S.A. and England have collapsed. Those in Washington apparently thought the patience and untiring persistence of Japanese negotiators were signs of weakness. They were so surprised by the sudden attacking spirit of the Japanese army that they as yet have found no plausible explanation for what happened. The national enthusiasm, patriotic passion, and devotion of a military people have once again won a great triumph, while the liberal-democratic jugglers find themselves amidst the ruins of many of their vague hopes and dreams.

These developments have not surprised us. We have never considered Japan, its army, its people and its leaders any less than they are today. Japan suffers from the same unsolved problems as we and Italy. It has no room for its growing population. The land suffers from a growing shortage of raw materials and economic prospects. Its plans for a new order in the Far East are forced on it by nature and its geographical and territorial situation. Unless it wishes to give up all claims to being a great power, it must follow the laws fate ordains.

Clearly, Mr. Roosevelt and his plutocratic clique have never understood this, and probably never will. They see the national aspirations of Japan in the same way as a greedy capitalist, who would prefer to burn down his factory rather than give the workers what they need to maintain a basic existence — that which is absolutely necessary if they are even to maintain life. Giving them what they need would be no great sacrifice for the owner, but he stays firm out of principle. In relations between great powers there comes a time in which negotiations are making no progress, and one must turn to arms.

It is characteristic of the world-famed stubborn arrogance of the Anglo-Saxon warmongers and arsonist clique that they entirely underestimated Japan’s military capacities and possibilities, for which they have had to pay shockingly heavy price. In London and Washington they presumably are rethinking the hopes they had even two weeks ago about America’s entry into the war. In any event, one senses considerable disappointment in Mr. Roosevelt’s and Mr. Churchill’s public statements, and the criticism of their remarkably foolish behavior that has found its way past the dictatorship of a diligent censor shows that this disappointment is also shared by public opinion.

We certainly do not underestimate the possibilities remaining for England and the United States. We have frequently said that colossuses of the size of these two world powers do not fall in days, weeks, or even months. We have to assume a hard and pitiless fight stands before us in which there will be ups and downs, and that even we will not be able to avoid some occasional setbacks. That is not decisive. What is decisive is the fact that the chances of the Axis are far better, and that their leaders will not hesitate to take advantage of that fact.

One cannot ignore the military potential at their disposal. However, a comparison with the third year of the World War is entirely false here. We held firm then for four years, and lost only because of weak leadership. But Germany entered the war in 1939 far better prepared than it was in 1914. The difficulty then was to defeat France, Britain’s traditional continental ally. That we have already done. The Balkans are no threat any longer. The Soviet Union has lost its offensive capacity and is no longer a decisive factor in the war. Italy and Japan, two world powers that opposed us in the World War, now are fighting on our side. That counts twice for us, not to mention the countless spiritual and moral imponderables that favor us. Altogether, the present balance of forces is wholly different than it was during the World War.

We hardly find it necessary today to rely on a belief in our national invincibility to predict that victory is certain and inevitable. The facts lead to that conclusion. They speak unanimously for us. Our figures are accurate, and if the other side proposes different figures, they depend on bad bookkeeping.

The neutral nations agree more and more. The increasing difficulties of civilian life, unavoidable given the duration of the war, will not have much influence on the war’s outcome. They are about the same on both sides. If a longer than normal winter means that potatoes come to market later than usual, it hardly means that they grow any faster in England because it is governed by plutocrats instead of National Socialists. If there are transportation difficulties in fall and winter that affect big cities and industrial areas, things are no different for the enemy. People stand in lines in England outside tobacco stores just as they do here. The fact that certain goods and luxuries are available in shops there is only a matter of their high price, which keeps the masses from purchasing them, not the upper classes. This gives the appearance of prosperity, but not its reality.

The thing to keep in mind is that we do not consider these factors important to our chances of victory, while England has built its hopes on them. We sometimes make the mistake of seeing the difficulties in civilian life only here, assuming that the other side is living just as it did during peacetime.

That is hardly the case. The fact that England is an island is a disadvantage, not an advantage, given the nature of war today. From a military standpoint it would be difficult for us to invade Great Britain, but it would be at least as difficult, and probably more so, for England to invade Europe. We have the advantage of secure rail lines. England must bring in by ship everything that it cannot itself produce. Its fleet is in greater danger today than ever before, as was recently proven by its defeats in the Pacific. England will find it almost impossible to attack us. Its attacks on the periphery, even if they succeed, will not have a significant impact on the general situation. The British Isles are a prisoner of their own insularity. The war will end when London understands that. Until that happens, Great Britain will have to suffer recurring blows before at last the fatal one is struck.

Japan has shown once again the enormous power in a people’s national dynamics. One is deeply moved by the accounts of the heroic deeds of Japan’s death-defying naval airmen. Japan knows that, like Germany and Italy, it is fighting for its future, for its very life. The alliance of these three great powers that despite their millennia of history retain youthful vitality is natural, the result of the inescapable power of a bitter historical logic. They see in this war their best chance at national existence. Their leadership and their peoples know what is at stake. It is true that they were forced into this war, but they are fighting it offensively, not defensively. Their young men at the front burn with passion to solve the life problems of their nations with weapons. Never before have they had such an opportunity to test their courage, their strength, their manly readiness. They see themselves affronted and insulted by plutocracy’s leaders in a way that rules out any possibility of surrender. Mr. Churchill and Mr. Roosevelt still have no idea what they have gotten themselves into. They may have envisioned a pleasant war in which they would stroll to Berlin, Rome, and Tokyo, supported by the people of countries who had been seduced by their leaders. They overlooked the fact that these governments are only saying and doing what their people want, even insist on or demand.

There is no greater mistake than to assume a gap between these governments and their people. The World War was only an intimation of coming things for the oppresed nations, regardless of which side they were on. This war is fought by people who know what they are doing. It is not only a gigantic fight for their national honor or prestige, but also a struggle for the absolute basic essentials of life, for space, work, food, and life itself. It is a fight to end the eternal crises, for a radical solution to the growing problems of their nations, which cannot be mastered any longer within their own borders. The Axis powers have been forced to defend themselves. They will do so with no sentimental looking back. They are risking everything. They will not be stopped by humanitarian phrases. Democratic tricks will not work here; fighting is the only way.

A world determined by such factors is ever changing, as the events of the past two weeks demonstrate. It demands the highest degree of alertness and readiness. Leadership and people must always be on watch, ready to take advantage of any opportunity. The day will come when the enemy begins to crumble. No one can predict when that will be, but we all know that it will come.

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The Veil Falls by Joseph Goebbels

Saturday, March 10th, 2012

Hundreds of thousands of young German soldiers have been crossing our eastern border and marching through the famed “workers’ and peasants’ paradise.” Had National Socialism not been victorious, many of them would today be members of the League of Red Fighters, readers of the “Red Flag,” and singers of adoring hymns to the “Workers’ fatherland.” At the end of their meetings, they would have praised “wise Stalin,” “the leader of the world revolution” and the “bringer of earthly happiness.” A London newspaper wrote a few days ago that the danger of the eastern campaign for Germany was that our young men might be infected as they came into direct contact with Bolshevism. We must prepare that newspaper for a disappointment. Our solders are indeed experiencing first hand what people call Bolshevism. First, however, National Socialists are immune from any infection by the intellectual and spiritual disease that Moscow preaches, and second they are learning not only the theory of Bolshevism, but also its practice. The result of the acquaintance will be distressing both for Moscow and London.

The Soviet Union knew what it was doing when it sealed itself off from the rest of the world from its earliest days. No matter how socialist it declared itself in its programs and proclamations, it dared not do what National Socialist Germany, for example, did hundreds of thousands of times: to send its own farmers and workers on their own ships to distant countries, where they could on the one hand enjoy and admire the beauties of these lands, but also compare conditions there with those in their own land. They learned to love their people and fatherland, with its order, cleanliness and social justice. Bolshevism could maintain its social illusion only because its deceived population lacked any opportunity for comparison. When one has lived for 25 years in a dark cellar, a kerosene lamp looks like the sun, and for those who were citizens for twenty-five years of the so-called Soviet Union, the most dreadful hovel seemed a palace and a piece of bread the food of the gods, since he heard every day that those in non-Bolshevist countries did not get anything to eat at all. Moscow was a world to itself. An insidious mixture of dogmatic party doctrine, clever Jews and greedy state capitalists rode the conglomerate of peoples that made up the Soviet Union. Those who could remember pre-Bolshevist times, even if by hearsay, were slaughtered. Since they did not see or visit other countries, it was easy to deceive the drugged citizens that the Soviet Union was a paradise instead of the hell it was in reality. It was one of the biggest and cleverest cases of popular deception in all of human history.

Shortly after our National Socialist revolution, a number of communists who had fled Germany after committing political crimes returned, saying they would rather be in a German prison than so-called free citizens in the so-called Soviet Union. Our soldiers marching into the East now can see with their own eyes what these victims of Bolshevist seduction experienced. The veil is falling. The mystery with which Bolshevism so gladly (and with good reason) surrounded itself is surrendering its secrets. Moscow is being revealed.

We hear about it in the tales of officers who are sent from the front to Berlin for a day. We read it in countless letters from soldiers that reach the homeland. Rarely has an army begun its victorious march into an enemy land with such curiosity, and probably never has what they actually saw been so much worse than their worst expectations. It is simply indescribable. Bolshevism is being revealed as a disgusting mixture of phrases and poverty, of stubborn doctrine and a complete lack of constructive thinking, of splendid socialist phases and the most distressing social decay. It is mass betrayal in the truest sense of the word.

What was supposedly going to infect our soldiers has had the opposite effect. Perhaps an occasional soldier previously thought National Socialist teaching about Bolshevism was a bit exaggerated. He finds that reality is even worse. The same thing happened with his comrades, who as they marched into the ghettos of Poland like Litzmannstadt, Krakow, and Warsaw realized not only the accuracy, but also the pressing necessity of our anti-Semitic views. When they returned home, they reproached us for understating the dangers. Our soldiers in the East will have the same opinions of Bolshevism when they return.

It is outrageous that this spiritual infection wanted to conquer Europe, indeed the entire world. It would be like a cholera patient who maintained that he alone was healthy, and that it was his right and duty to infect those whose health he saw as sickness, in order to make them as healthy as he.

It is no accident that the question of Bolshevism is being discussed just as all this is being revealed. A wave of awakening is rolling through Europe. The peoples who have maintained a healthy core are setting aside their various differences and spontaneously heading to the Eastern Front. Mr. Churchill, meanwhile, is hurrying to seal the international alliance between democracy and plutocracy, despite the cynical orgies over the past 25 years in the so-called worker’ paradise. Things that belong together should be together. We have no doubt that the Jewish band that Mr. Churchill surrounds himself with has made it easy for him to find his way to the Kremlin. The wise Stalin can be pleased; the more the peoples of the Soviet Union learn about the horrors of his regime, the louder the admiration he receives from the plutocratic newspapers on Fleet Street. They are astonished at his courage and steadfastness, comparing him to Mr. Churchill himself, flooding him with waterfalls of praise. We have nothing to add. We only hope to use our best efforts to reach even the last person susceptible to Bolshevism with the truth about the abyss before which he stands.

The OKW reports that in the Minsk area 20,000 Bolshevist soldiers deserted to the German lines after shooting their political commissars. 52,000 new deserters were announced today. This is more than a symptom. It is a sign to the Jewish-terrorist ruling class of Bolshevism that its end is near. It seeks in vain to turn the tide. Listeners to German radio programs in the Russian language, even those who merely pick up a German leaflet, are executed. The cowardly band of liars in the Kremlin seems to sense that its end is near. Moscow newspapers are full of bloodthirsty attacks on those spreading panic and rumors, defeatists, and fifth columnists. The style reminds us of the days just before our takeover in the Reich, when the class-conscious proletariat was warned against attending our meetings. They were afraid of the truth then as now. They watch in horror as their finely woven web of lies is torn apart and the ground on which they stand begins to shake. World history will be their world court.

We sent a commission of doctors, jurists, journalists, and radio people to Lemberg. They returned with drawn faces. What they saw there cannot be described. Our newspapers have printed only a portion of the dreadful things that happened under Bolshevism. We have pictures of murdered Ukrainians that we refuse to release to the public, since we fear that viewers would lose all faith in humanity. Given the usual methods of execution, it is practically an act of grace when a bestial soldier rips open the womb of a Ukrainian woman and nails the embryo to the wall. The human eye is not strong enough to see a long series of such photographs. It is hell on earth. The teaching that led to all of this cannot exist in a world in which we wish to live. It must be wiped out.

We know that Mr. Churchill and his cowardly but well-paid journalists will trivialize or ignore our proofs. He sees what he wants to see, and does not see what fails to please him. But that will not hinder us from making our charges before the world. The war that we are waging against Bolshevism is a war of moral humanity against spiritual rottenness, against the decline of public morals, against spiritual and physical terror, against criminal policies whose makers sit on mountains of corpses in order to see whom their next victim will be.

They were preparing to plunge into the heart of Europe. Human imagination is insufficient to picture what would have happened if their animal hordes had flooded into Germany and the West. The Führer’s order to the army on the night of 22 June was an act of historic magnitude. It will probably prove to be the critical decision of the war. The soldiers obeying his order are the saviors of European culture and civilization, saving it from a threat from the political underworld. Germany’s sons once again are defending not only their own land, but also the whole civilized world. Schooled firmly in the teaching of National Socialism, they storm eastward, tearing the veil of history’s greatest deception, and giving their own people and the world the opportunity to see what is, and what will come.

They hold in their hands a torch that will keep the light of humanity from going out.

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Latvian president defends ‘Nazi’ commemoration

Sunday, March 4th, 2012

Latvian President Andris Berzins on Tuesday defended a controversial annual parade that honors troops from the Baltic state who fought the Soviet Union under the banner of World War II Latvian Legion, a 140,000-strong unit of Germany’s Waffen SS, deserved respect not condemnation.

They were conscripted into the fascist German Legion. They went with the ideal of defending Latvia. Latvians in the Legion were not war criminals,” Berzins insisted.

 

He also said foreign criticism of the March 16 rally was unfair.

 

Though not an official holiday, the day sees a parade by veterans and their families, as well as far-right activists.

 
תהלוכת אנשי אס.אס. בריגה. "כמו לחגוג רצח המונים" (צילום: AFP)

Annual parade at Latvia honors SS troops (Photo: AFP)

 

Simon Wiesenthal Center Director

 

Legion veterans insist they were not Nazis but simply defending their small nation against the feared Soviets.

 

Some history

The Soviets seized Latvia in June 1940 under a pact with the Nazis. It broke down in June 1941 when Germany invaded Soviet territory.

 

German troops were hailed by some Latvians as liberators. Only a week before they arrived, the Soviets had deported 15,000 Latvians to Siberia.

 

But the Nazis brought their own terror, killing 70,000 of Latvia’s 85,000 Jews, helped by local collaborators.

 

Legion veterans underline that it was founded in 1943, after most of Latvia’s Jews had been slaughtered, arguing they cannot be held responsible.

The Legion was a mixture of volunteers and conscripts. Roughly a third died in combat or Soviet captivity. Another 130,000 Latvians sided with the Soviets. Almost a quarter were killed, many in battles with their Legion compatriots.

 

As the war’s tide turned, the Soviets captured Riga in October 1944. Latvia regained independence in 1991 and joined the European Union in 2004.

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Both sides in civil rights battle said the other aided Communism

Monday, February 6th, 2012

If the name Walter White means anything to people these days, it’s connected with the lead character in the cable television show “Breaking Bad.”

But when then-NAACP Executive Director Walter White came to Springfield in January 1949, he argued that the U.S. was giving Communist Soviet Union a huge propaganda break every time Americans failed to stand up to racial discrimination.

A program from Walter White’s Springfield appearance is part of the Black History Month exhibit that opens Wednesday at the Heritage Center of Clark County. Admission is free.

White’s visit was hosted by the Wesleyan Union at a meeting led by the Rev. W.P. Kellogg of Wiley Methodist Church.

In a nod to an earlier form of what’s now called multiculturalism, the invocation was given by Rabbi Sidney Brooks. A reception followed in the North Street AME Church.

“Last night at Athens, Ohio, the Ku Klux Klan burned a fiery cross in front of the home of a nearby Negro family,” White told a large crowd in Springfield’s Memorial Hall.

“As we sit here tonight, news of this is being sent over the world, destroying our democratic reputation,” he said.

“Imagine the field day Moscow radio will have if the 17 Southern senators carry out their threat to filibuster against civil rights legislation,” he added.

White also invoked the specter of Hitler.

Saying that while in Germany he had asked how people could have fallen for Hitler’s theories of racial superiority, White said he heard the response: “How can you ask us that, when you have a segregated Army with whites and Negroes openly antagonistic to each other?”

“Your soldiers and officers tell us privately that they believe Hitler was right in attempting to wipe the Jews from the face of the Earth,” White said he was told.

“And, at the same time,” he said, “we presume to tell the rest of the world how it should conduct its affairs.”

White called blacks burned out of their homes by the Klan “displaced persons, just as the Jews who were driven from their homes in Nazi Germany,” and complained that Americans had displaced their own values in putting off the struggle for civil rights.

“All presidents, including the great (Franklin) Roosevelt, had always told us that the time wasn’t right — that it would have to be a slow process — and that they couldn’t afford to antagonize the South,” he said.

He praised Harry Truman, who would be inaugurated days later, for being the exception, then claimed that the support of blacks was critical in his election.

Arguing “it is well within the range of possibility that by 1952 … there will be more than 2 million Negro voters in the South,” White declared that “now is the time in human history that democracy can prove its belief in freedom.”

That, of course, did not happen.

Nor was White’s side of the civil rights battle the only to say the other side was furthering the cause of Communism.

Three months to the day after reporting White’s speech, the front page of Springfield’s morning newspaper, The Sun, reported the testimony of a black man who said he’d been trained in the Soviet Union to help organize blacks in the South to rise up in revolution and establish a black nation across the old Confederacy.

Parroting a pattern in the Gettysburg Address, the story added: “Out of this blood bath was to come a new Negro nation, conceived in violence and dedicated to extending the Communist revolution throughout the United States.”

Opponents of civil rights sought to pair fear of greater freedom for blacks with fear of the Soviet Union, trying to show both as part of a new world order they didn’t want to live in.

In the midst of the Cold War, the two sides of the civil rights struggle may have agreed on just one thing: To use the hammer and sickle from the Soviet flag to attack one another’s positions as being an enemy to American freedom

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Russia row over Nazi massacre site in Rostov-on-Don

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

A row has erupted in Russia over the replacement of a Holocaust memorial plaque in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don which named Jews as victims.

In August 1942 Nazi German troops murdered at least 27,000 people at Zmiyevskaya Balka, regarded as the worst Holocaust atrocity in Russia.

More than half the victims were Jews, the Russian Jewish Congress (RJC) says.

A new plaque does not mention Jews, but “peaceful citizens of Rostov-on-Don and Soviet prisoners-of-war”.

The RJC, a secular foundation representing Russian Jews, says it will take legal action over the unauthorised decision to replace the former plaque, which spoke of “more than 27,000 Jews” murdered by the Nazis. That plaque had been put up in 2004.

According to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Centre in Israel, 15,000-16,000 Jews were murdered by the Nazis in Rostov-on-Don from August 1942 to February 1943.

In the Soviet Union memorials commemorating victims of Nazi massacres spoke of “Soviet citizens” rather than “Jews”.

Violation admitted

The former plaque mentioning Jews has now been put in the Zmiyevskaya Balka memorial hall, Rostov’s Deputy Culture Minister Valery Gelas told Moscow Echo radio.

He admitted that the rules for historical memorials had been broken, but said the new plaque would remain and “we’ve done all we can”.

He said the wording was in line with historical research and data presented to the Rostov cultural authorities.

RJC president Yuri Kanner said the site was “Russia’s Babi Yar” – a reference to the notorious Nazi mass shootings of Jews near Kiev during World War II.

He said it was important to specify exactly who was shot at Zmiyevskaya Balka, pointing out that in law the Nazi slaughter of Jews “is considered a separate crime, with separate prosecutions”.

“There could have been refugees from Poland, not necessarily Soviet citizens, it’s not a question of citizens,” he told Moscow Echo.

He said he did not believe the plaque decision was a case of anti-Semitism, rather that it was a local official’s “attempt to do something to please somebody”.

A Communist MP on the Russian parliament (Duma) committee for nationalities, Tamara Pletneva, said it was time to “forget our bitterness and live in peace”.

“The memorial should commemorate all the war victims… the Soviet Union saved Jews, Russians saved Jews… so why single out Jews? We shouldn’t single out any ethnic group.”

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German anti-Semitism ‘deep-rooted’ in society

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

A neo-Nazi rally in Berlin (May 2010)

Anti-Jewish feeling is “significantly” entrenched in German society, according to a report by experts appointed by the Bundestag (parliament).

They say the internet has played a key role in spreading Holocaust denial, far-right and extreme Islamist views, according to the DPA news agency.

They also speak of “a wider acceptance in mainstream society of day-to-day anti-Jewish tirades and actions”.

The expert group, set up in 2009, is to report regularly on anti-Semitism.

The findings of their report, due to be presented on Monday, were that anti-Jewish sentiment was “based on widespread prejudice, deeply-rooted cliches and also on plain ignorance of Jews and Judaism“.

They added that far-right slogans at football matches were a regular occurrence.

The report’s authors put Germany midway in their assessment of other European countries in relation to the spread of anti-Semitism.

They see extremely high levels of anti-Jewish sentiment in parts of Poland, Hungary and Portugal.

Germany’s Jewish population has experienced something of a revival since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Before 1989, the population was below 30,000 but an influx of Jews, mainly from the former Soviet Union, has raised the number to 200,000.

Speaking on Friday to mark the anniversary of the 1942 Wannsee conference, when the Nazis’ murder of millions of Jews was mapped out, President Christian Wulff pledged that Germany would keep the memory of the Holocaust alive and would never abandon the Jewish people.

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Is Russia covering up real cause of plane crash?

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

‘Tis the season for media list-mania, and (true confession) I always am mildly surprised upon viewing Top 10 story lists to find that I’ve forgotten some humdingers. Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011?

OK, I didn’t really forget The Associated Press‘ top story of the year, but somehow it receded rapidly into the past, possibly because bin Laden’s death barely dents our future. A world without Osama bin Laden is a better place; the jihad, however, continues.

In fact, given a tally of my own columns, jihad is the top story of 2011, just as it has been since at least 2001. Not that the media see it that way, of course; they see the spread of Islam’s law and call it “diversity” in the West or “Arab Spring” in the Middle East. They are blind to its implications, they apologize for its depredations and, in general, they commit professional malfeasance by misrepresenting the facts. Then again, at least they cover it.

The same isn’t true for the following story, which I submit is the great unsolved mystery of 2011. What really happened in the forest at Smolensk, Russia, when a Polish aircraft carrying Poland’s national leadership crashed in April 2010, killing all 96 people on board, including Poland’s president and first lady?

The answers Russia presented in its 2011 crash report are wholly unsatisfactory. Indeed, the Moscow-controlled crash investigation seems to have been designed to suppress or tamper with evidence to exonerate Russia of all responsibility for an accident, or any guilt for a crime. Like a tired rerun of an old horror movie, the Russian pattern of investigation into the 2010 Smolensk crash is the Russian pattern of investigation into the 1940 Katyn Forest massacre.

It’s hard to overstate the significance of that fateful flight by those Polish leaders, now deceased. They lost their lives trying to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Katyn, the mass murder of 22,000 Polish officers and intelligentsia killed by Stalin in 1940 to make way for a pro-Soviet, communist Poland. After Nazi German troops discovered their graves in 1943, Stalin denied responsibility for this crime against humanity. Roosevelt and Churchill let him, thus joining in a Big Lie; Stalin’s successors lied about it until Boris Yeltsin came along in 1995. The 2010 anniversary was to be a public, ceremonial Russian admission of guilt. That those who cared so much about Katyn were killed — and quite possibly assassinated — nearby is one of history’s darkest ironies.

The Russians assert that Polish pilot error, supposedly induced by pressure to land from the Polish president himself, caused the crash. Poles, particularly those associated with the late president’s conservative Law and Justice party, see something far more sinister. In this worst-case scenario, Russian air controllers incorrectly informed Polish pilots they were on the proper glide path when that wasn’t true. On purpose? If so, the world has witnessed mass assassination of a government. And done nothing.

I don’t claim to judge the evidence. But it’s clear an impartial investigation is warranted, due to a Moscow-run investigative process marked by irregularities. These include the red flag that Russia has refused to return the black boxes of the Polish plane to Poland. Other irregularities, as summarized in a November 2011 Polish document known as the Smolensk Status Report, include the fact that crash evidence was crudely destroyed (including by bulldozers), tampered with and lied about. (Russian investigators claimed no radar video recording existed, for example, but then cited it in the crash report.) The document notes that some Russian pathological reports on victims included descriptions of organs that had been surgically removed before the crash.

A glaring discrepancy concerns the cockpit voice recording (CVR). To prove the pilots were under third-party pressure to land, the Russians reported that a Polish crew member twice says “he will go crazy” if the plane doesn’t land. Both the Polish Investigation Committee and the Polish Prosecutor’s Office publicly contended that no such statement was made and that the Russians altered the CVR to create the statement.

In 1952, Congress investigated the Katyn Forest massacre and proved Soviet guilt; in 2010 and 2011, there were calls in Congress for an independent investigation into the Smolensk crash. Such an investigation is urgently required in 2012, and not only to solve the mystery of a vexing crash. We must find out whether the West has once again been party to a Big Lie out of Moscow.

 

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Russian diplomats against praising Nazi collaborators

Friday, December 30th, 2011

The Russian embassy in the Estonian capital Tallinn has sharply criticized Estonia’s plans to introduce a law which would proclaim all Estonians who fought against the Soviet Union during WWII “fighters for freedom”.

The Estonian government’s plans to adopt such a law were revealed by the country’s Defense Minister Mar Laar in a newspaper interview.

Russia is worried that if the law is adopted, Estonians who collaborated with German Nazis will be also proclaimed fighters for freedo

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Anti-Putin protests draw tens of thousands

Sunday, December 25th, 2011

Vladimir Putin

MOSCOW — Tens of thousands of Russians jammed a Moscow avenue Saturday to demand free elections and an end to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin‘s 12-year rule, in the largest show of public outrage since the protests 20 years ago that brought down the Soviet Union. Gone was the political apathy of recent years as many shouted “We are the Power!”

The demonstration, bigger and better organized than a similar one two weeks ago, and smaller rallies across the country encouraged opposition leaders hoping to sustain a protest movement ignited by a fraud-tainted parliamentary election on Dec. 4.

The enthusiasm also cheered Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader who closed down the Soviet Union on Dec. 25, 1991.

“I’m happy that I have lived to see the people waking up. This raises big hopes,” the 80-year-old Gorbachev said on Ekho Moskvy radio.

He urged Putin to follow his example and give up power peacefully, saying Putin would be remembered for the positive things he did if he stepped down now. The former Soviet leader, who has grown increasingly critical of Putin, has little influence in Russia today.

But the protesters have no central leader and no candidate capable of posing a serious challenge to Putin, who intends to return to the presidency in a March vote.

Even at Saturday’s rally, some of the speakers were jeered by the crowd. The various liberal, nationalist and leftist groups that took part appear united only by their desire to see “Russia without Putin,” a popular chant.

Putin, who gave no public response to the protest Saturday, initially derided the demonstrators as paid agents of the West. He also said sarcastically that he thought the white ribbons they wore as an emblem were condoms. Putin has since come to take their protests more seriously, and in an effort to stem the anger he has offered a set of reforms to allow more political competition in future elections.

Kremlin-controlled television covered Saturday’s rally, but gave no air time to Putin’s harshest critics.

Estimates of the number of demonstrators ranged from the police figure of 30,000 to 120,000 offered by the organizers. Demonstrators packed much of a broad avenue, which has room for nearly 100,000 people, about 2.5 kilometers (some 1.5 miles) from the Kremlin, as the temperature dipped well below freezing.

A stage at the end of the avenue featured banners reading “Russia will be free” and “This election Is a farce.” Heavy police cordons encircled the participants, who stood within metal barriers, and a police helicopter hovered overhead.

Alexei Navalny, a corruption-fighting lawyer and popular blogger, electrified the crowd when he took the stage. He soon had the protesters chanting “We are the power!”

Navalny spent 15 days in jail for leading a protest on Dec. 5 that unexpectedly drew more than 5,000 people and set off the chain of demonstrations.

Putin’s United Russia party lost 25 percent of its seats in the election, but hung onto a majority in parliament through what independent observers said was widespread fraud. United Russia, seen as representing a corrupt bureaucracy, has become known as the party of crooks and thieves, a phrase coined by Navalny.

“We have enough people here to take the Kremlin,” Navalny shouted to the crowd. “But we are peaceful people and we won’t do that — yet. But if these crooks and thieves keep cheating us, we will take what is ours.”

Protest leaders expressed skepticism about Putin’s promised political reforms.

“We don’t trust him,” opposition leader Boris Nemtsov told the rally, urging protesters to gather again after the long New Year’s holidays to make sure the proposed changes are put into law.

He and other speakers called on the demonstrators to go to the polls in March to unseat Putin. “A thief must not sit in the Kremlin,” Nemtsov said.

The protest leaders said they would keep up their push for a rerun of the parliamentary vote and punishment for election officials accused of fraud, while stressing the need to prevent fraud in the March presidential election.

Former world chess champion Garry Kasparov was among those who sought to give the protesters a sense of empowerment.

“There are so many of us here, and they (the government) are few,” Kasparov said from the stage. “They are huddled up in fear behind police cordons.”

The crowd was largely young, but included a sizable number of middle-aged and elderly people, some of whom limped slowly to the site on walkers and canes.

“We want to back those who are fighting for our rights,” said 16-year-old Darya Andryukhina, who said she had also attended the previous rally.

“People have come here because they want respect,” said Tamara Voronina, 54, who said she was proud that her three sons also had joined the protest.

Putin’s comment about protesters wearing condoms only further infuriated them and inspired some creative responses. One protester Saturday held a picture montage of Putin with his head wrapped in a condom like a grandmother’s headscarf. Many inflated condoms along with balloons.

The protests reflect a growing weariness with Putin, who was first elected president in 2000 and remained in charge after moving into the prime minister’s seat in 2008. Brazen fraud in the parliamentary vote unexpectedly energized the middle class, which for years had been politically apathetic.

“No one has done more to bring so many people here than Putin, who managed to insult the whole country,” said Viktor Shenderovich, a columnist and satirical writer.

Two rallies in St. Petersburg on Saturday drew a total of 4,000 people.

“I’m here because I’m tired of the government’s lies,” said Dmitry Dervenev, 47, a designer. “The prime minister insulted me personally when he said that people came to the rallies because they were paid by the U.S. State Department. I’m here because I’m a citizen of my country.”

Putin accused the United States of encouraging and funding the protests to weaken Russia.

Putin’s former finance minister surprised the protesters by saying the current parliament should approve the proposed electoral changes and then step down to allow new parliamentary elections to be held. Alexei Kudrin, who remains close to Putin, warned that the wave of protests could lead to violence and called for establishing a dialogue between the opposition and the government.

“Otherwise we will lose the chance for peaceful transformation,” Kudrin said.

Kudrin also joined calls for the ouster of Central Election Commission chief Vladimir Churov.

Putin has promised to liberalize registration rules for opposition parties and restore the direct election of governors he abolished in 2004. Putin’s stand-in as president, Dmitry Medvedev, spelled out those and other proposed changes in Thursday’s state-of-the nation address.

Gorbachev, however, said the government appears confused.

“They don’t know what to do,” he said. “They are making attempts to get out of the trap they drove themselves into.”

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Parliament urges Germany to hike Nazi victims’ pensions

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011
BERLIN - JANUARY 26:  German President Horst K...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

BERLIN (AFP)—The German parliament has urged the government to raise the pensions paid out to Holocaust survivors from the former Soviet Union living in Germany to redress what it called an enduring injustice.

“The Bundesrat (upper house) calls on the federal government to recognize Jewish Holocaust victims from the former Soviet Union as ‘persons persecuted by the Nazi regime’ and to create the legal basis for independent pension claims for these people,” it said in a resolution.

“Due to the age of the Holocaust survivors, we call on the federal government to table a draft law without delay.”

The Bundesrat, which represents Germany’s 16 states, said that the Jewish former prisoners of concentrations and ghettos had fallen victim to a legal loophole that exempted them from the list of recognied victims of the Nazis.

As such, they were not entitled to state pensions accorded to people persecuted under the Third Reich and were thus dependent on much smaller monthly subsistence payments

A policy approved in January 1991 allowed Jewish Holocaust survivors from
the former Soviet Union to emigrate to Germany as refugees.

That status, however, has meant they had no right to state pensions for
Nazi victims and must even report any savings they had accumulated, for
example from support payments from the Jewish Claims Conference.

Those funds are then counted against them when calculating their welfare
payments in Germany.

The Bundesrat could not immediately provide an estimate of how many people would be affected by a change in policy.

Germany has paid out the equivalent of more than 67 billion euros ($97
billion) to victims of the Nazis including survivors of concentration camps,
ghettos or forced work camps.

During the Cold War, West Germany only offered restitution to people living
in the West and referred those living in the Eastern bloc to the government of
communist East Germany, which refused to assume any responsibility for Hitler’s crimes.

After German unification in 1990 and following negotiations with the Jewish
Claims Conference, the country agreed to establish a new fund for Holocaust
survivors from eastern Europe.

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