Slowly, and over time, the fascists who launched and prosecuted the war are being politically exonerated and/or rehabilitated.
In some cases, this has gone unrecognized because elements of the Axis alliance remain relatively obscure to most observers. Ethnic groups nursing grievances, many of them in territories created through the collapse of the European imperial order, allied with the Axis and faced retribution when the Allies achieved a battlefield victory.
As the sands of time pass through the waist of the political hourglass, collaborationist elements in the Baltic states, the former Czechoslovakia, the former Yugoslavia, Belgium and Poland are undergoing a political face lift.
In addition to Estonia’s honoring of the Nazis, the broadcast notes that Belgian Flemish collaborators and Croatian Ustachi are the focal point of political revisionism, the latter with the assistance of Pope Benedict.
As its economic fortunes have extended Germany’s shadow over the rest of Europe, the rewriting of Germany’s launching of the European war is continuing apace. German economic hegemony may well aid the acceptance of that revisionism by cash-strapped European economies.
In addition to dismissing the Nazis’ criminal mistreatment of Soviet POW’s, the “new” Germany is moving to endorse a “Second Nuremburg“, supposedly to address the mistreatment of the ethnic Germans expelled from Eastern Europe because of their Fifth Column activities on behalf of the Third Reich.
Much of the agitation for the formal historical and judicial revision of World War II history comes from the BdV–the German government ministry charged with the prosecution of the expellee agenda. The Vertriebene groups overseen by the BdVwere under the stewardship of SS elements.
Program Highlights Include: review of the Nazi blueprint for political revisionism as set forth in Serpent’s Walk; review of Bertelsmann’s house historian–who blames World War II on Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
1. The broadcast begins with Estonian celebration of the Nazi invasion of World War II as “liberation.”
The Jewish community of Viljandi in Estonia has expressed its disapproval of an event staged on Thursday in which residents of the city commemorated its “liberation” by the German army from Soviet occupation in June 1941.
Several dozen attended a commemoration service at the city’s German military cemetery for the 70th anniversary of the Nazi invasion. The event was organized by the Estonian Sakala Soldiers Association.
“The usual attempt to portray people who collaborated with the Nazi occupational regime as ‘warriors against Bolshevism,’ and furthermore on the day when the mass murder of the citizens of Viljandi and Estonia who belonged to the ‘wrong’ ethnicity began…appears completely idiotic,” Ala Jacobsen, chairwoman of the Estonian Jewish community, said in a statement on Thursday.
Jaanika Kressa, one of the event organizers, told the Sakala newspaper of Viljandi that “the arrival of the Germans is considered the liberation of Estonia, because it was saved from the order introduced in June 1940, when about ten thousand people were deported to Siberia and the local people were impoverished.
The situation of the Estonians became normal again.” . . . .
2. In Belgium, too, the past is being rewritten.
Some 400,000 Belgians were charged with collaboration with the Nazi occupiers after the country was liberated in 1944. Some, like Wyss, were executed. Others were jailed, fined or deprived of their civil rights.
Seventy years on, that legacy of collaboration has become the latest battlefield between Belgium’s deeply divided French- and Dutch-speaking politicians.
Political wrangling between the two linguistic groups has left Belgium without a fully functioning government for a year, since elections on June 13, 2010. Now relations have been further strained by a bill presented in parliament by a Flemish nationalist party that seeks an amnesty for surviving Nazi collaborators and compensation for their descendants.
Previously such proposals have been rejected out of hand, but this year, with the country deadlocked by the linguistic dispute, mainstream Flemish parties from the Dutch-speaking north have used their majority in the upper-house of parliament to ensure that the bill will be debated.
“At a certain moment, we have to be adult and be ready to discuss these things and perhaps also to forget because it’s the past,” said Justice Minister Stefaan De Clerck, from the center-right Christian-Democratic and Flemish party. “We have to forget certain things, that’s necessary to re-establish society.”
Flemish support for the amnesty debate, along with the minster’s comments, has provoked outrage among French-speaking politicians and Jewish groups in Belgium. . . .
. . . During World War II, thousands of Dutch-speaking Flemings and French-speaking Walloons risked their lives fighting with the resistance against the Nazi occupation of Belgium. However, others on both sides of the linguistic divide worked with the Nazis. Historian Chantal Kesteloot says those found guilty of collaboration totalled less than 1 percent of population.
Flemish nationalist extremists welcomed the Nazis, hoping they would end what they viewed as Flanders’ domination by Belgium’s French-speaking minority. Among Francophones, the Rexist movement gave Adolf Hitler fanatical support, recruiting 25,000 volunteers for a Walloon Legion that fought for Germany on the Russian front. Hitler once reportedly told Rexist leader Leon Degrelle: “If I had a son, I wish he’d be like you.”
After the country’s liberation, the restored Belgian authorities cracked down hard on collaborators. Almost 250 faced the firing squad and tens of thousands were imprisoned. Some 4 billion Belgian francs ($91 million by the exchange rate of the time) were seized from convicted collaborators.
While collaboration is still almost universally condemned by Belgium’s French-speakers, attitudes in Flanders have changed. Many believe that a vengeful Belgian state was unfairly severe on Flemish nationalists who were not convinced Nazis but worked with the occupying forces in the hope of advancing their goal of independence for Flanders. . . .
3. Pope Benedict has advanced the Vatican’s historical revisionism of World War II, which has been profound and particularly egregious with regard to the Vatican’s own collaboration with fascism. In a recent visit to Zagreb (Croatia), he lauded Alois Stepinac, a Cardinal who was a member of the Ustache parliament during World War II. Brutal allies of the Nazis, the Ustachi were so monstrous in their slaughter of Jews, Gypsies and Serbs during the war, that even the SS were horrified at their excesses.
The American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors on June 6 blasted Pope Benedict XVI over his statement about WW2 Croatian Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac.
The spiritual leader of the Roman Catholics claimed during his visit to Zagreb that Stepinac – tried and found guilty of collaboration with the fascist Ustasha regime of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) – was a defender of Jews, Orthodox Christians and anyone under persecution.
That regime ran death camps, including the largest – Jasenovac, where Serbs, but also Jews and Roma, were slaughtered.
Stepinac, beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1998, is an “adored personage in Croatia”, according to a Beta report, citing AFP.
Visiting Stepinac’s grave in Zagreb the pope said this cardinal “knew how to resist totalitarianism in all its forms, as a defender of Jews, Orthodox Christians and any persecuted group under the Nazi and fascist dictatorship, and an advocate for believers and persecuted and murdered priests under communism”.
The American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants denounced the pope for honoring Stepinac, recalling that the Zagreb cardinal was a passionate supporter of the Ustashe, whose brutalities were so extreme that they even shocked some of their Nazi masters.
A press release from the organization also said that the pope was right to condemn the Ustashe regime, but wrong to pay tribute to one of its most prominent backers. . . .
4. The “new” Germany continues to cover-up crimes of the Third Reich. The war crimes committed at the Byelorussian concentration camp Ozarichi have been dismissed by the Germans.
70 years after the German invasion of the Soviet Union, the German Federal government is still denying the existence of concentration camps run by the Wehrmacht. Over the past four years, alone, the Republic of Belarus has “repeatedly” asked Berlin to recognize the Ozarichi death camp that had been established by the Nazi army as a concentration camp. The German side has regularly rejected this request by referring to ambiguous “judicial obstacles.” The Wehrmacht established the Ozarichi Concentration Camp on marshlands in March 1944, where relatives of slave laborers, who had been deported to Germany, were held captive in the open without shelter. The prisoners, most of whom were elderly, sick or children, were considered “unfit to work” and therefore deliberately exposed to death by starvation and cold. Under these circumstances, more than 9,000 people died in just one week. The German army command considered this a success: “We don’t need to supply food to useless mouths,” declared the Wehrmacht command responsible for the death camp. German historians have called this “one of the worst crimes the Wehrmacht ever committed against civilians.” However, the survivors of the Ozarichi concentration camp have never received reparations for their suffering.
According to information released by the Belarusian Justice Ministry, 70 years after the German invasion of the Soviet Union, Germany is still refusing to recognize the Ozarichi death camp, which had been erected by the Nazi military, as a concentration camp. Since July 2006, the Belarusian Justice Ministry has “repeatedly” addressed this request to the German side, and always received the answer “that it is impossible due to legal obstacles.” In March 2010, the German Foreign Ministry unexpectedly explained, “concentration camp lists had been compiled in cooperation with the International Tracing Service” of the Red Cross. The Belarusian Republic then applied to the International Tracing Service, simultaneously sending a letter to François Bellon, head of the ICRC’s regional delegation for the Russian Federation, Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine, “requesting assistance in a thorough and timely consideration of the possibility of recognizing Ozarichi as a concentration camp. For the sake of the victims, the Justice Ministry will do “its utmost” in this matter, declared the Belarusian Justice Ministry.
Nine Thousand Dead in a Single Week
The Ozarichi Concentration Camp was erected under orders of the Supreme Commander of the 9th German Army, Josef Harpe, in March 1944. Units of the 35th Infantry division under the command of Johann-Georg Richert, reinforced by the special commando of the 7-A SS Battle Group B herded at least 40,000 civilians into several barbed wire enclosed and mined pens south of the Belarusian city of Bobruisk. The prisoners were mostly family members of slave laborers – children under thirteen, sickly, mothers with infants and elderly – people for whom the Wehrmacht had no usage. The guards had already shot at least 500 of them on their way to this improvised camp, because they were too weak to continue walking. The others, many of whom had caught typhus, had to survive in the open in the marshlands – defenseless against the cold, lacking medical aid, sanitation, drinking water and food. Within one week at least 9,000 more had died. “There was a gate with barbed wire, small watch towers with soldiers and German shepherds, but nothing else,” recalls the survivor Larisa Stashkevich, and explains further that anyone, who even attempted to light a campfire, was immediately gunned down. To at least be able to have a bit of warmth, she laid “behind the corpses” of murdered prisoners.
A Nutritional Burden
With their deadly operation, the Wehrmacht command was first pursuing the objective of eliminating all those behind the front lines, classified “unfit for work” and considered a burden for the foreseeable retreat ahead of the Red Army. The March 8, 1944 entry in the war diary of the 9th Army explained: “For the zone close to the frontlines, it is planned (…) to bring all natives unfit for work to the area to be evacuated and leave them behind, in the retreat from the front, particularly the numerous typhus infected, who, to avoid their possibly contaminating the troops, had been sent to particular villages. The decision to rid ourselves of this nutritional burden in this way has (…) been reached after due consideration and examination of all possible consequences.”
Residential Areas Relieved
In their planning, the Wehrmacht commanders apparently had two other aspects under consideration. On the one hand, the sick and starving, to be left behind, were intended, if not to halt the advance of the Soviet army, then at least to slow it down, because the Soviet troops would, first, have to treat those mishandled by the Germans. Moreover, on the other, because of the large number left behind infected with typhus, there was a good chance that many Red Army soldiers would also catch typhus. In any case, the high command of the Ninth Army considered their action a total success: “the consolidation provided an essential relaxation over the entire battle area. Residential areas were relieved making space available for troops. No more provisions were made available for useless mouths. Removing the ill significantly reduced the source of infection.”
One of the Worst Crimes
Dieter Pohl, a historian at the Institute of Contemporary History (IfZ) in Munich, characterized the mass dying in the Ozarichi Concentration Camp as “absolutely one of the worst crimes the Wehrmacht ever committed against civilians.” Hans-Heinrich Nolte, a scholar for East European Studies, places the German military’s actions in the general context of the German war of predation, exploitation and annihilation against the Soviet Union: “That crime corresponds to how the Wehrmacht treated Soviet prisoners of war in the winter 1941/1942, and had similarities to the starvation of Jews as well as those ‘unfit to work’ when (…) labor was forced into deportation to the Reich. In many aspects, the crime corresponds to the general character of the German war against the USSR, precisely in the wish of not feeding ‘useless’ people.” In spite of these assessments by renowned scholars, the German government still refuses reparations to the survivors of the Ozarichi Concentration Camp – pointing to current legal standards.
5. In a similar vein, the German government continues to refuse reparations to Soviet POW’s from WWII.
The German government is still refusing reparations to Soviet prisoners of war, seventy years after the German invasion of the Soviet Union. This refusal is in spite of the fact that hundreds of thousands of Soviet soldiers were held in camps similar to concentration camps and were forced to do slave labor for German agricultural and industrial enterprises under deadly conditions. Even though the Foundation “Remembrance, Responsibility and Future,” founded by Berlin in 2000, envisaged reparations for surviving slave laborers, Red Army prisoners of war as well as “Italian military detainees” were excluded from the defined scope of application of this foundations act. German courts have always dismissed lawsuits of reparation claims brought by surviving Soviet POWs – with the argument that “slave labor was permitted under international law.”
Conditions Similar to Concentration Camps
The historian Ulrich Herbert discovered that during World War II, up to twelve million people had been deported from their Wehrmacht occupied homelands to Germany, where they had been detained in camps. By the end of the war, most of them found themselves still on the territory of the former German Reich and were classified by the allies under the catch-all term “Displaced Persons” (DPs). They included around six million so-called alien workers, more than half of whom were from Poland and the Soviet Union. They, for the most part, had been deported to Germany as laborers. In addition, approx. 750,000 concentration camp inmates – more than 90 percent non-Germans – had been sent mainly to work in the arms industry under murderous conditions. The DPs also included approx. two million prisoners of war, who were also used as slave labor in industry and agriculture. The largest portion of these were soldiers of the Red Army, the French and the Italian military. In 1944 alone, more than 600,000 Soviet POWs were forced into slave labor in the “Greater German Empire.” They had been imprisoned in conditions similar to those of the concentration camps, under persistent death threats and deadly harassment by their German “employers.” If they had been fed at all, then very insufficiently. And yet, they have never received reparations for their suffering at the hands of the German side.
Half a Turnip Daily
The former Soviet soldier, Vladimir Ivanovich Margevski, from the region of Zhytomyr in the Ukraine, recounts his experiences as a prisoner of war of the Germans. “Once a day, we ate dried turnips and greens. We were doing hard, dangerous work in the fertilizer factory in the city of Beuthen, at the Bobrik train station, which also produced carbide. I will not mention here all the humiliation, which is still painful. Neither French, nor Serb, Italian, Czech and Polish POWs were treated as cruelly as we Russians. When the Germans started their retreat, we were put out in the winter like dogs, with nearly nothing to wear and barefoot. They gave us half a turnip daily to eat. En route we were locked into stalls like sheep. I will not say more. My heart bleeds, when I think back on those horrors. I, myself, am surprised that I survived at all and am still alive.” Renowned historians estimate that the number of Soviet soldiers, who had been killed in Wehrmacht captivity was nearly three million. In a recent study, the historical scholar Wigbert Benz writes that their “number 1 cause of death” was starvation.
Reparations for Soviet prisoners of war, at least for those among them, who performed slave labor, have been strictly refused by the German side. Though the Foundation “Remembrance, Responsibility, Future” (EVZ), created in 2000 by the German government, foresaw the payment of reparations to the surviving slave laborers, Soviet prisoners of war along with “Italian military detainees” were excluded from the defined scope of application of this foundations act. Their deportation to Germany and the ensuing slave labor in industry and agriculture, it is argued, was legal under the laws of war (“ius in bello”) in force at the time, explained the international jurist, Christian Tomuschat in an expertise for the German government. The foundation act had been formulated accordingly. Article 11, Paragraph 3 of the act stipulates, “prisoner of war status is no grounds for reparations claims.”
Murdered through Work
Attempts by Soviet POW survivors to have their claims of reparations honored through lawsuits have always seen their cases dismissed by German courts. As the lawyer, Stefan Taschjian explained in an interview with german-foreign-policy.com, sometimes the courts argued with the EVZ-Foundation Act or, if they were prepared to pay reparations at all, only to the surviving Soviet soldiers who had been held in Nazi concentration camps. Therefore, according to Taschjian, “95 percent of the former Soviet POWs are excluded from any form of reparations,” since they were in the Wehrmacht’s “Stalags” or POW camps. It was this justification for refusing reparations that was so “bewildering,” says Taschjian. “The conditions of incarceration in the Stalags were often worst than those in concentration camps. Fifty-five percent of the Soviet prisoners were deliberately murdered through work.” Besides, explains Taschjian, in German courts, slave labor still is considered “permissible under international law.”
6. Through the “Deutsche Burschenschaft”, German cabinet ministers are tied to the NPD, Germany’s top neo-Nazi party.
7. Another German cabinet minister has laid the blame for starting World War II on Poland.
8. Associates of the vertriebene groups have joined Erika Steinbach’s chorus in laying the blame for World War II on the Allies.
9. Even the respected Der Spiegel has advanced historical revisionism in the same vein as the Vertriebene groups.
10. Dirk Bavendamm, the house historian for Bertelsmann (which dominates English-language news media) has laid the blame for World War II on the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt and (of course) the Jews. Not surprisingly, Bertelsmann was the publishing house for the SS in World War II.
His [Dirk Bavendamm’s] book Roosevelt’s Way to War (Roosevelts Weg zum Krieg) was published in 1983. Rewriting history, he stated that Roosevelt, not Hitler, had caused World War II. He also wrote that American Jews “controlled most of the media,” and he claimed they gave a false picture of Hitler. . . .
. . . . In a second book, Roosevelt’s War (published in 1993, reissued in 1998), Bavendamm accuses the US President of enacting a plan to start World War II. In the same book he suggests that Hitler’s threats in early 1939 against European Jewry were a reaction to Roosevelt’s strategy against Germany. . . .
11. Jim Fetzer, one of the principals in the confederacy of dunces known as “The Truthers,” has become an advocate of “open debate” about the Holocaust–i.e. conceding that it may be fiction. (Fetzer maintains that he is “undecided.”) Like the untenable thesis that the Twin Towers and WTC 7 were brought down by controlled demolitions, this line of argument is pure fascist revisionism, standing in fundamental contrast to the facts.
12. Creeping revisionism of the type illustrated in the items above epitomizes the cognitive psychological warfare strategy delineated in the Nazi tract Serpent’s Walk.
It assumes that Hitler’s warrior elite – the SS – didn’t give up their struggle for a White world when they lost the Second World War. Instead their survivors went underground and adopted some of the tactics of their enemies: they began building their economic muscle and buying into the opinion-forming media. A century after the war they are ready to challenge the democrats and Jews for the hearts and minds of White Americans, who have begun to have their fill of government-enforced multi-culturalism and ‘equality.’
(From the back cover of Serpent’s Walk by “Randolph D. Calverhall;” Copyright 1991 [SC]; National Vanguard Books; 0-937944-05-X.)
13. This process is described in more detail in a passage of text, consisting of a discussion between Wrench (a member of this Underground Reich) and a mercenary named Lessing.
. . . . The SS . . . what was left of it . . . had business objectives before and during World War II. When the war was lost they just kept on, but from other places: Bogota, Asuncion, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Mexico City, Colombo, Damascus, Dacca . . . you name it. They realized that the world is heading towards a ‘corporacracy;’ five or ten international super-companies that will run everything worth running by the year 2100. Those super-corporations exist now, and they’re already dividing up the production and marketing of food, transport, steel and heavy industry, oil, the media, and other commodities. They’re mostly conglomerates, with fingers in more than one pie . . . . We, the SS, have the say in four or five. We’ve been competing for the past sixty years or so, and we’re slowly gaining . . . . About ten years ago, we swung a merger, a takeover, and got voting control of a supercorp that runs a small but significant chunk of the American media. Not openly, not with bands and trumpets or swastikas flying, but quietly: one huge corporation cuddling up to another one and gently munching it up, like a great, gubbing amoeba. Since then we’ve been replacing executives, pushing somebody out here, bringing somebody else in there. We’ve swing program content around, too. Not much, but a little, so it won’t show. We’ve cut down on ‘nasty-Nazi’ movies . . . good guys in white hats and bad guys in black SS hats . . . lovable Jews versus fiendish Germans . . . and we have media psychologists, ad agencies, and behavior modification specialists working on image changes. . . .
(Ibid.; pp. 42-43.)