Posts Tagged ‘Germany’

Whether it’s Cologne sex assaults or Mein Kampf, Germany still doesn’t trust its people

January 12th, 2016

The book is a virtually unreadable ragbag of personal reminiscence, anti-Semitic diatribes, self-pitying sentimentality, and a chilling forecast of Hitler’s future plans for Germany after the Nazis came to power, including conquering France, battling Russian Bolshevism, enslaving the Slavs, and veiled hints of the Holocaust itself.

The publisher this time around is the heavyweight historical Institut fur Zeitgeschichte (Institute for Contemporary History) based in Munich, capital of Bavaria, the south German city and state that was the cradle of the Nazi movement in the 1920s, and where Hitler spent his happiest hours.

The Bavarian state government, which inherited the publishing part of the former Fuhrer’s estate, and is extremely sensitive about its most infamous one-time resident, had resolutely refused to republish while the seventy years copyright lasted. However it was unable to prevent publication of the toxic work after the copyright expired. Discretion about Nazism, in official Bavaria’s eyes, was definitely the better part of valour.

Although some members of Germany’s Jewish community – now 100,000 strong – expressed unease that the book’s release would fuel a new wave of neo-Nazism, and despite the fact that the first edition sold out within hours on Germany’s Amazon website, independent historians have backed the republication, and it seems unlikely that the heavily annotated and deliberately dull-looking tome will ever again attain bestseller status.

Historian Roger Moorhouse, author of His Struggle, an account of the writing of the original book, says the controversy is “much more about Germany’s continued obsession with Hitler, and the curious assumption that his horrid, outdated ideas are still ‘infectious’, than…about the book itself.”

There is, surely, also a coincidental link between official German efforts to stifle or filter Hitler’s rancid tex and the same establishment’s current ham-fisted attempt to cover up the true extent and the identity of the perpetrators of the mass sexual assaults on women in Cologne and elsewhere in Germany on New Year’s Eve

It as if Germany’s rulers do not trust their own people with the ability to handle uncomfortable truths. Whether those truths are the poisonous doctrines that once entranced the nation and led to the Holocaust and the devastation of Europe in the Second World War, or the more immediately dismaying reality that parts of German cities are no longer safe for German women to walk in because of their own government’s policies, the instinct to suppress the truth remains the same. It is a profoundly unhealthy trait.


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Germany could send troops into streets for first time since war

November 20th, 2015

20.20

The first explosion went off near the Stade de France, where president Francois Hollande was at a football match between France and Germany. One person was killed in the blast. The body of a terrorist was found at the scene wearing a suicide belt filled with shrapnel.

20.25

Shortly after the first explosion at the Stade de France, gunmen with Kalashnikovs launched an attack at Le Carillon bar and Le Petit Cambodge restaurant on Rue Bichat, in the city’s 10th arrondissement, killing 15 people and injuring 10.

20.30

The attackers drove about 500 yards to the Casa Nostra pizzeria in Rue de la Fontaine au Roi and opened fire on diners on the terrace of the restaurant, killing at least five people and injuring eight.

20.30

Another explosion went off outside the Stade de France when a second suicide bomber blew himself up.

20.35

Militants launch an attack on La Belle Equipe in Rue de Charonne, spraying the terrace bar with bullets and killing 19 people in gunfire which witnesses say lasted “two, three minutes”.

20.50

Three black-clad gunmen wielding AK-47s and wearing suicide vests stormed Le Bataclan during a concert by American rock band Eagles Of Death Metal. At least 89 were killed and more than 100 others injured during the shooting. The attackers were heard mentioning Syria and Iraq during the massacre.

20.53

A third suicide bomber blew himself up on Rue de la Coquerie, near the Stade de France.

21.00

The first reports came in of the Bataclan massacre and within 10 minutes there was confirmation that a hostage crisis had developed at the theatre.

21.57

Prime Minister David Cameron said on Twitter: “I am shocked by events in Paris tonight. Our thoughts and prayers are with the French people. We will do whatever we can to help.”

22.00

An emotional French president Francois Hollande, who was earlier evacuated from the Stade de France, closed the borders and declared a state of national emergency. The French military were called into the centre of Paris.

22.16

Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said on Twitter: “My thoughts are with the people of Paris tonight. We stand in solidarity with the French. Such acts are heinous and immoral.”

22.28

French emergency services activate Plan Rouge to tackle the large numbers of casualties.

22.30

Parisians used the #PorteOuverte hashtag to search for or offer safe places for those fleeing the violence. The hashtag was soon trending.

22.43

A new toll of at least 35 dead.

22.46

President Obama delivered a speech at the White House, expressing solidarity with the people of Paris and calling the attacks terrorist acts. “Those who think that they can terrorise the people of France or the values that they stand for are wrong.”We are reminded in this time of tragedy that the bonds of liberte, egalite, fraternite, are not just the values French people share, but we share.”Those go far beyond any act of terrorism or the hateful vision of those who perpetrated the crimes this evening.”

23.30

Reports emerge of French taxi drivers turning off their meters and offering passengers free rides home. A citywide curfew was put in place, the first since 1944.

23.30

Police storm the Bataclan, ending the siege. Two terrorists die after activating their suicide vests and a third is shot dead by officers.

Midnight

The death toll reached at least 120.

Saturday, November 14

00.46

At least 1,500 soldiers have been called upon to patrol the streets of Paris.

03.30

Schools, markets, museums and major tourist sites in the Paris area are closed and sporting fixtures cancelled.

09.50

Hollande calls the attacks “an act of war… committed by a terrorist army, the Islamic State, against France, against… what we are, a free country”. He declares three days of national mourning.

09.50

Isil claimed responsibility, saying in a statement issued in Arabic and French that the attackers had targeted “the capital of abominations and perversions and those who carry the crusader banner in Europe”.

10.30

Gatwick Airport north terminal was evacuated after a suspected firearm was discovered. A 41-year-old French national was taken into custody for questioning. He was later charged with possession of an air rifle and a knife.

11.00

David Cameron warned the UK “must be prepared for a number of British casualties”, and condemned the “brutal and callous murderers. The Queen also sent a message of condolence to Mr Hollande, saying she and the Duke of Edinburgh had been “deeply shocked and saddened by the terrible loss of life in Paris”.

12.00

By noon on Saturday French officials had put the provisional death toll at 127 people from the combined attacks, with 180 injured and 99 people in hospital in critical condition.

13.30

One of the bombers was identified by his fingerprints as a young Frenchman flagged for links with Islamic extremism. He is later named as Ismaël Omar Mostefaï, 29.

17.00

A number of people are arrested in Brussels in relation to the Paris attack. Belgian prosecutors later confirmed they have opened an anti-terrorist investigation based on a car that was hired in Belgium and was found near the Bataclan concert hall.

18.00

One Briton is confirmed to have died and “a handful” of others are feared to have been killed. The British victim was later named as Nick Alexander, who was selling band merchandise at the Bataclan.

18.23

Francois Molins, the Paris prosecutor, said 129 people were confirmed dead and 352 people were injured, with 99 in a critical condition.

Sunday, November 15

10.30

Home Secretary Theresa May indicated the British death toll in the Paris attacks may rise as she said the government has concerns about a “handful” of UK citizens. She said that British police and intelligence agencies were “working day and night to keep people secure”.


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Germany still paying pensions to Spain’s Nazi volunteers during Second World War

November 5th, 2015

The German government has continued to pay pensions to Spaniards who volunteered to fight for the Nazis in the Second World War.

Berlin is still honouring an agreement made with the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, whose regime encouraged volunteers to sign up to fight for Hitler against Communist Russia between 1941 and 1943.

In a written reply to a parliamentary question by Left-wing MP Andrej Hunko, Angela Merkel’s government admitted that it was still paying out over €100,000 (£71,000) a year in pensions to survivors and relatives of troops from the so-called Blue Division, in whose ranks Spanish volunteers fought on the Eastern Front.

The current annual bill to German taxpayers stands at €107,352, which is granted to 41 veterans who were wounded while fighting for the Nazis, eight widows of former fighters, and one orphan of a Blue Division volunteer.

Mr Hunko, of The Left (Die Linke) party, said it was “a scandal that 70 years after the war, Germany is still paying more than €100,000 a year to Nazi collaborators”.

He added: “At that time, those people volunteered to join the German fascists to fight on their side in the war of extermination in eastern Europe. For me it is incomprehensible that the German government should stick to those payments when so many victims of the war are still waiting today for their rightful compensation.”

The agreement to pay pensions to Blue Division veterans was made between Franco’s government and the Federal Republic of Germany in 1962.

The German government said that 47,000 Spanish volunteers had fought for Nazi Germany under an agreement between Hitler and Franco, part of a deal which prevented Spain from entering the war too quickly after the three-year civil war won by Franco’s fascist forces in 1939 with help from Nazi Germany and Benito Mussolini’s Italy.

The written answer also said that 22,000 Blue Division members were either killed, wounded or declared missing in action during the war, without dividing the different groups of casualties. Other estimates put Spanish dead on the Eastern Front at around 5,000.


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World War Two anniversary: how news broke that ‘Britain and Germany are at war’

September 3rd, 2015

Ceremonies will take place in Europe today to mark the 75th-anniversary of the start of the Second World War.

War came formally to Great Britain at 11 o’clock in the morning of September 3 when a dejected Neville Chamberlain informed the public that London had told Berlin that unless it delivered a pledge to withdraw its forces from Poland a state of war would exist.

“I have to tell you now no such undertaking has been received so consequently this country is at with Germany,” stated the prime minister.

In Poland, the presidents of Germany and Poland have met at the small Westerplatte peninsula near the city of Gdansk at which the very first shots of the war were fired when the Nazi battleship Schleswig-Holstein opened fire on the tiny Polish garrison defending it.

Polish and German bishops also met in the town of Gliwice in southern Poland to commemorate a “false-flag” raid on a German radio station by German troops posing as Poles on August 31, 1939.

Hitler used the raid as a pretext to launch his invasion of Poland on the next day, and two days later Great Britain and France, abiding to pledge to support Poland, declared war on Germany.


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Mein Kampf to be republished in Germany in early 2016

February 26th, 2015

But that copyright expires in December, meaning a new, heavily annotated, version will be published by Germany’s Institute for Contemporary History in January.

“I understand some immediately feel uncomfortable when a book that played such a dramatic role is made available again to the public,” Magnus Brechtken, the institute’s deputy director, told the Washington Post. “On the other hand, I think that this is also a useful way of communicating historical education and enlightenment – a publication with the appropriate comments, exactly to prevent these traumatic events from ever happening again.”

Jewish groups argued the book was “outside of human logic”.

The new version will be 2,000 pages long – far longer than Hitler’s 700-page original – because it will include critical commentary of Hitler’s writing.

Hitler wrote Mein Kampf (My Struggle), in 1924 while in a Bavarian prison, and combined elements of autobiography with his views on Aryan “racial purity”, his hatred of Jews and his opposition to communism.

Millions of copies were distributed before his death in 1945.

The book is unusually popular in India, where it is sold in book shops and by hawkers at train stations.

A signed copy of the book was sold at auction in Ludlow, Shropshire, in 2009 for £21,000.

For more stories, like the Telegraph’s Facebook page by clicking on the link below


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Germany charges 94-year-old former medic at Auschwitz with 3,600 counts of accessory to murder

February 23rd, 2015

Hilde Michnia who has lived undisturbed in the suburbs of Hamburg for nearly five decades who now uses a walking frame is under investigation for allegedly forcing women prisoners on a death march from the Grossen-Rosen concentration camp, during which 1,400 died.

The other man was a former SS guard who helped to choose which prisoners were strong enough for forced labour and which should be immediately gassed. He is being charged with 170,000 counts of accessory to murder.

The cases are part of an initiative, begun in 2013, that recommended 30 people to be prosecuted for their involvement in the Holocaust.

“There is no statue of limitations on murder,” said Andreas Brendel, the prosecutor behind the charges against the unnamed 93-year-old man..

“We still have the victims and the families of victims. For them, it is very important that a German criminal process takes place and the guilt of the offender is determined.”

But critics said the three defendants were only junior SS members, who played a minor role, and are only being prosecuted in lieu of more senior perpetrators who have now passed away.

Of the 6,500 former SS members who served at Auschwitz and survived the war, only 49 have ever been convicted by a German court.

A further 700 were tried and convicted in Polish courts, including the notorious camp commandant, Rudolf Höss, who was sentenced to death and hanged in 1947. But thousands have escaped justice.

Neither Mr Groening nor Ms Michnia have sought to hide their pasts, and indeed may have incriminated themselves with frank interviews to the media.

Although he always denied personal responsibility for what happened at Auschwitz, Mr Groening spent years confronting Holocaust deniers and speaking out about the horrors he witnessed there.

“I heard a baby crying,” he told Spiegel magazine in 2005. “The child was lying on the ramp, wrapped in rags. A mother had left it behind, perhaps because she knew women with infants were sent to the gas chambers immediately.

“I saw another SS soldier grab the baby by the legs. The crying bothered him. He smashed the baby’s head against the iron side of a truck until it was silent.”

Ms Michnia appeared in a recent Irish documentary in which Tomi Reichental, a survivor of Bergen-Belsen, attempted to interview her about her time there.

In the course of the documentary, Ms Michnia admitted taking part in the death march.

She may have thought she was safe from further prosecution because she served a year in prison at the end of the way after being found guilty of mistreating prisoners at a British military trial.

So few of those responsible for the genocide of Europe’s Jews have been held to account in postwar Germany that the German writer and Holocaust survivor Ralph Giordano described it as a “second guilt”.

But in 2011 a German court found John Demjanjuk, a Soviet prisoner-of-war who volunteered as an SS guard, guilty of being an accessory to the murder of 27,900 Jews at the Sobibor extermination camp.

When Thomas Walther, a government official tasked with investigating Nazi crimes, sought to bring charges against Demjanjuk, his colleagues laughed.

But the case overturned years of legal precedent in the German courts that only the senior Nazi leadership could be held responsible for the crimes of the Holocaust. For the first time, anyone who had been a guard at a death camp could be held guilty.

After the judgement, there was a scramble by prosecutors to open new cases against surviving Nazis.

In 2013, investigations were announced against 30 former SS members who served at Auschwitz. Many have since died or been ruled too ill to stand trial.


World War Two

Germany charges 93-year-old over 300,000 Auschwitz murders

September 16th, 2014

Prosecutors said the accused was aware that the predominantly Jewish prisoners deemed unfit to work “were murdered directly after their arrival in the gas chambers of Auschwitz”.

A regional court must now decide whether the accused will go on trial.

The German office investigating Nazi war crimes last year sent files on 30 former Auschwitz personnel to state prosecutors with a recommendation to bring charges against them.

The renewed drive to bring to justice the last surviving perpetrators of the Holocaust follows a 2011 landmark court ruling.

For more than 60 years German courts had only prosecuted Nazi war criminals if evidence showed they had personally committed atrocities.

But in 2011 a Munich court sentenced John Demjanjuk to five years in prison for complicity in the extermination of Jews at the Sobibor camp, where he had served as a guard, establishing that all former camp guards can be tried.

More than one million people, mostly European Jews, perished at Auschwitz-Birkenau, operated by the Nazis from 1940 until it was liberated by Russian forces on January 27, 1945.


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British Second World War bomb forces evacuation in Germany

September 9th, 2014

Germany is still littered with unexploded ordnance from the Second World War. The Allies dropped 2.7m tons of bombs on Germany between 1940 and 1944.

Estimates vary on how many failed to go off, but unexploded bombs are found almost weekly in Germany, and on average 2,000 tons of unexploded ordnance are found each year.

In January, a construction worker was killed when his mechanical digger accidentally triggered a bomb buried beneath a building site in western Germany.

Three bomb disposal workers were killed in 2010 when a bomb went off before they could defuse it, and in 2006 an autobahn construction worker was killed when his bulldozer hit an unexploded bomb.

In Germany’s largest ever peacetime evacuation, more than 45,000 people had to be cleared from Koblenz in 2011 after falling water levels on the Rhine revealed two massive unexploded RAF bombs.

In 2012, a 500-pound American bomb discovered in Munich was deemed too unsafe to move, and had to be detonated in situ.

The resulting explosion shattered windows over a wide area and caused structural damage to several homes.


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World War Two anniversary: news announces ‘Britain and Germany are at war’

September 4th, 2014

Ceremonies will take place in Europe today to mark the 75th-anniversary of the start of the Second World War.

War came formally to Great Britain at 11 o’clock in the morning of September 3 when a dejected Neville Chamberlain informed the public that London had told Berlin that unless it delivered a pledge to withdraw its forces from Poland a state of war would exist.

“I have to tell you now no such undertaking has been received so consequently this country is at with Germany,” stated the prime minister.

In Poland, the presidents of Germany and Poland have met at the small Westerplatte peninsula near the city of Gdansk at which the very first shots of the war were fired when the Nazi battleship Schleswig-Holstein opened fire on the tiny Polish garrison defending it.

Polish and German bishops also met in the town of Gliwice in southern Poland to commemorate a “false-flag” raid on a German radio station by German troops posing as Poles on August 31, 1939.

Hitler used the raid as a pretext to launch his invasion of Poland on the next day, and two days later Great Britain and France, abiding to pledge to support Poland, declared war on Germany.


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World War Two anniversary: how news broke that ‘Britain and Germany are at war’

September 3rd, 2014

Ceremonies will take place in Europe today to mark the 75th-anniversary of the start of the Second World War.

War came formally to Great Britain at 11 o’clock in the morning of September 3 when a dejected Neville Chamberlain informed the public that London had told Berlin that unless it delivered a pledge to withdraw its forces from Poland a state of war would exist.

“I have to tell you now no such undertaking has been received so consequently this country is at with Germany,” stated the prime minister.

In Poland, the presidents of Germany and Poland have met at the small Westerplatte peninsula near the city of Gdansk at which the very first shots of the war were fired when the Nazi battleship Schleswig-Holstein opened fire on the tiny Polish garrison defending it.

Polish and German bishops also met in the town of Gliwice in southern Poland to commemorate a “false-flag” raid on a German radio station by German troops posing as Poles on August 31, 1939.

Hitler used the raid as a pretext to launch his invasion of Poland on the next day, and two days later Great Britain and France, abiding to pledge to support Poland, declared war on Germany.


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