Fritz Haber's story
is the story of the double edged sword of science. He won the Nobel prize
in 1918 for his groundbreaking work in breaking the nitrogen cycle
for Germany's WWI efforts, but it's been estimated that two out of every five people now living would not have been born if it weren't for artificial fertilizers
created using his process. He also spent much of the war developing poison gases; first chlorine (after watching its first use, Haber's wife committed suicide) and later Zyklon B (the cyanide insecticide later used against his fellow Jews in concentration camps). He died alone and in poverty in Switzerland. But the lessons of his life haven't quite been forgotten
posted by Plutor
on Nov 21, 2006 -
Savitri Devi Mukherji.
Born Maximiani Portas in 1905, this French woman of Greek and English extraction would, in pilgrimages to Palestine and India, experience a series of strange awakenings - that she was a National Socialist, that she was a Hindu, that the two were entwined in the struggle against the Judeo-Christian order, and that Hitler
was the living incarnation of Kalki the Destroyer, the final avatar of Vishnu. Known to many as "Hitler's guru," she stood at the forefronts of Hindu nationalism, Nazi mysticism
, Holocaust denial, animal rights
, and the international Neo-Nazi movement. The Lightning And The Sun
, her most famous work, most directly espouses her philosophy, but perhaps the best place to start would be Long-Whiskers And The Two-Legged Goddess
, which is her autobiography as filtered through her many cats. Her nephews were Communists; her own mother was active in the French Resistance; and according to some, the daughter would have shot the mother dead for it. The world is not be a better place for the Savitri Devis of the world, but her presence made this world like none other
posted by Sticherbeast
on Sep 10, 2006 -
"I would like to do better, to be better than I am".
He's the French New Wave maverick
and Academy Award winner (at 26, for his first short
) who, to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz -- with considerable personal pain and the admission that "no description, no picture can reveal the true dimension
" of what happened in the camps -- made what François Truffaut called "the greatest film ever made
", duly censored by French authorities
. Four years later he baffled audiences with "the first modern film of sound cinema
", shattering the rules of chronology
to describe the “anguish of the future”: even if all he ever wanted was "to stop death in its tracks
" (French language link)
, only for one minute
. But he is also the unabashed lover of la bande dessinée
who learnt English by reading comic books
and in the Seventies dreamed (French language link)
of making "Spider-Man" into a movie
(the Hollywood studios were not convinced), the MGM old-school musical
nut so in love with design that "half of the fashion photography of the past 40 years owes a debt
" to him. Now, Alain Resnais
' new work
, just shown at the Venice Film Festival
where his buddy David Lynch was awarded a lifetime achievement Golden Lion
, is a French film inspired
by an English play with 54 short scenes
, music by the X-Files's Mark Snow. (more inside)
posted by matteo
on Sep 8, 2006 -
From cooperation to complicity.
In 1988, the German chemical giant Degussa commissioned a study (by American historian Peter Hayes
) on its collaboration with the National-Socialist regime. The corporation's involvement in the production of Zyklon B has been well publicised, due to the controversy over the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
, but it's only one chapter of a larger story that, according to the author
(PDF), "suggests that most people, when presented with opportunities or imperatives that they have every imminent or material reason to accept or accede to and only potential or moral grounds to reject, will choose the course of least resistance, internalize the arguments that legitimate it, and balk at admitting that one could or should have done otherwise
posted by elgilito
on Jul 11, 2006 -
In 1945-46, some of the (very few) Polish Jews who had survived the Final Solution returned -- sick, poor, wounded -- to Poland. In Elie Wiesel's words, "they had thought all too naively that antisemitism, discredited 6 million times over, had died at Auschwitz with its victims. They were wrong
." In 2001 Princeton professor Jan
published the story of the 1941 destruction of the Jewish community
at Jedwabne, Poland
, and proved how Jews were rounded up, clubbed, drowned, gutted or burned to death not by German forces as previously believed but by mobs of their own non-Jewish neighbors
. Now professor Gross tells the story of the Kielce pogrom
in his new book, "Fear
". Of course, the Kielce butchery took place in 1946 -- more than a year after
the end of WWII and defeat of Nazism. More inside.
posted by matteo
on Jun 25, 2006 -
--he escaped from Auschwitz with another guy, Wetzler, in April 1944 and got to Slovakia and Hungary, telling the world of the atrocities in the Auschwitz Protocol. Some Hungarian community leaders, however (Hungary was the only country that hadn't had its Jewish population deported yet), were busy making deals with Eichmann
for safe passage away. In any case, the result was that about 1,700 Hungarian Jewish leaders, with their families and friends, ended up in Switzerland, while almost half a million unsuspecting Hungarian Jews ended up dead in Auschwitz.
Vrba's report first alerted the world (including the Vatican, Red Cross, and US and British authorities) to exactly what was going on, and helped prosecute some who were tried later. ...Knowing perfectly well that it was the secrecy surrounding their actions that allowed the Nazis to herd unsuspecting Jews and transport them like sheep to slaughter, Vrba and Wetzler — as soon as they got in touch with Jewish community representatives in their native Slovakia — compiled a detailed report. They wrote about Auschwitz and what awaited Hungarian Jews once they arrived: immediate death by gassing.
posted by amberglow
on Apr 11, 2006 -
[Newsfilter] In mid-November last year, David Irving, arguably the world's foremost holocaust-denier (Mel Gibson's dad
comes a close second), was arrested
in Austria for doing exactly that (previously discussed here
). Today he was jailed for it
. Should we (read; Austria) be jailing people for their views, however reprehensible or otherwise incorrect they might be? Or is it justifiable in some cases?
posted by Effigy2000
on Feb 20, 2006 -
occurred on January 20, 1942.
The Holocaust had been going on for at least one year; the camp at Dachau had been in operation for several years. The Final Solution
was already underway. At issue at Wannsee, in the relaxed and distinctively upper middle-class atmosphere
of that SS guest-house for the fifteen highly placed Nazis was the best strategy
Less than one year after the conference a little girl who had been hiding in Holland is sent to the Bergen camp in northern Germany. She spends more than six years looking for four perfect pebbles
posted by Smedleyman
on Jan 18, 2006 -
[NewsFilter] Lipstadt: Let Irving Go.
Infamous "historian" David Irving was arrested
in mid-November in Austria for Holocaust denial, violating section 3g of the Verbotsgesetz
[in german]. Deborah Lipstadt
, whom Irving once sued
for libel, argues, "I don't find these laws efficacious. I think they turn Holocaust denial into forbidden fruit, and make it more attractive to people who want to toy with the system or challenge the system."
Perhaps Irving hasn't had time to update his dossier
on Lipstadt -- who is, in turn, keeping up with events on her blog
posted by milquetoast
on Jan 4, 2006 -
"Expertise is a very good thing, but it is not the same thing as sound judgment regarding strategy and policy. George W. Bush has more insight
, because of his knowledge of human beings and his sense of history, about the motive force, the craving for freedom and participation in self-rule, than do many of the language experts and history experts and culture experts." -- From a fascinating profile of Douglas Feith, undersecretary of Defense, and one of the main architects of the war
in Iraq. From the New Yorker
posted by digaman
on May 8, 2005 -
Hitler's "fountain of life
." In 1935, Heinrich Himmer and the SS launched a network of Lebensborn maternity centers
to increase birthrates among Aryans, where German soldiers were encouraged to mate with genetically desirable local women in occupied countries like Norway. These women were given the option of raising their kids themselves or turning them over to SS-run homes where they would be "Germanized." The lives of these kids was hell after the war, when they were shunned and worse
by the Nazis' previous victims. To those who are nostalgic for the Reich, like this veritable eBay of Nazi memorabilia
, the Lebensborn program represented " wonderful social experimentation
posted by digaman
on Mar 20, 2005 -
Munich Bans Memorial Plaques
Munich has decided to ban memorial plaques to Jewish, Sinti and German citizens deported and murdered during World War Two. Jewish leaders, fearful that the plaques would stir up anti-Semitic fervor, supported the ban.
These plaques are the work of a German artist, Gunter Demnig
”He first had the idea in the early 1990s when he was unveiling a memorial for the Sinti and Roma victims of the Holocaust.
“An elderly woman approached him and insisted that "no Gypsies ever lived here". "It is so easy for people to deny something. I wanted to ensure that this would not happen," he says. (BBC).”
This reminder of the holocaust brought to mind the Pinkas Synagogue in Prague
, as well as the Viet Nam Memorial
and the AIDS quilt
-- monuments that really changed me.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk
on Aug 14, 2004 -
How bad was the bombing of Dresden?
It seems there is a veritable industry dedicated to debunking the various and sundry historical accounts different groups hold sacred. I was raised by pacifists and was made very familiar with the stories of Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Dresden, in particular. According to this man's new book
, the firebombing of Dresden wasn't quite as bad as it has been made out to be. In fact, much of the evidence for the numbers of dead come from an historian who has since been discredited as a holocaust denier
. Others would argue that a war crime
is a war crime
is a war crime
In the end, do the specific numbers really matter? How less evil is 25,000 dead than 135,000?
posted by piedrasyluz
on Mar 2, 2004 -
I'd like to introduce you to Norman Finkelstein.
A Jew whose parents were survivors of the Warsaw ghetto and various concentration camps, he is one of a handful of modern Jewish scholars who wants to "maintain the integrity of the history of the Nazi holocaust". I was introduced to him when I read his book The Holocaust Industry
, which reminds us that "its central dogmas sustain significant political and class interests. Indeed, The Holocaust has proven to be an indispensable ideological weapon." Indeed.
posted by taumeson
on Feb 16, 2004 -
Man's inhumanity to Man
Here is a project that young elementary school children are undertaking in order to visualize what 6 million dead humans would seem like. I and others are ciruclating this call for help so that the school, the kids, and you can all be involved in a worthwhile project. Read about the project and ask yourself what it would take of your time and effort to help these youngster learn.
posted by Postroad
on Feb 4, 2004 -
Yad Vashem: Online Exhibitions.
'Yad Vashem's task is to perpetuate the legacy of the Holocaust to future generations so that the world never forgets the horrors and cruelty of the Holocaust. Its principal missions are commemoration and documentation of the events of the Holocaust, collection, examination, and publication of testimonies to the Holocaust, the collection and memorialization of the names of Holocaust victims, and research and education.'
No Child's Play
Photos from the
; and much more.
posted by plep
on Jun 19, 2003 -
The moon does not exist!
This is no lie. Until recently, I, too, believed in the traditional, establishment view of the moon. But any thinking person, untainted by the biases imposed on us by the controlled media, will have no choice but to reach the conclusion I did once faced with the facts described in this account.
posted by CrunchyFrog
on Jan 30, 2003 -
Who owns the products of slave labour?
Or, more broadly, how do we remember the Holocaust? A unique dispute over ownership rights to artwork in the case of the Auschwitz Memorial Museum vs. former camp prisoner Dinah Gottliebova Babbitt illuminates underlying moral questions about the Holocaust and post-Holocaust culture. Babbitt, now living in southern California, is a university-trained Czechoslovak artist who has been fighting to reclaim her art from the Auschwitz Museum since 1973... [She] was a Jewish prisoner there in 1944 when Josef Mengele learned of her artistic skills and forced her to make watercolor portraits of dying Gypsies in order to get the kind of documentation he wanted on exact skin color and ear shapes. Gottliebova Babbitt made a dozen such portraits, seven of which are now tucked away in Room No. 11 of the Auschwitz Museum. [...] "Mengele ordered me to do it as slave labor. But it was my work, my paintings."
posted by jokeefe
on Mar 28, 2002 -
Hitler's secretary, Traudl Junge dead at 81.
She just published her book and a documentary of her life premiered hours before her death. She was in his bunker when he committed suicide in 1945 and she took his last will and testament. She died still maintaining that she knew nothing of the holocaust or the depths of the Nazi horror.
posted by Dean_Paxton
on Feb 14, 2002 -
Swiss Holocaust Cash Revealed To Be Myth.
"The tribunal said that it had processed about 10,000 claims in response to the list of dormant account names published by the Swiss Bankers’ Association five years ago. Only 200 accounts — containing £6.9 million — could be traced to Holocaust victims."
posted by tpoh.org
on Oct 14, 2001 -