"I did, however, always feel ashamed of this weakness of mine after I talked to Adolf Eichmann. He explained to me that it was especially the children who have to be killed first, because where was the logic in killing a generation of older people and leaving alive a generation
Rudolf Franz Hoess was born in 1900 and joined the SS in 1933. In 1934 he was attached to the SS at Dachau, on August 1, 1938, he was adjutant of Sachsenhausen concentration camp until his appointment as Kommandant of to the newly-built camp at Auschwitz early 1940, located nearby the provincial Polish town of Oshwiecim in Galacia.
May 1941 the SS commander Heinrich Himmler said to Hoess, that Adolf Hitler had given orders 'for the final solution of the Jewish question. I have chosen the Auschwitz camp for this purpose'. Hoess converted Auschwitz into an extermination camp and installed gas chambers and crematoria.
Auschwitz became the killing centre where the largest numbers of European Jews were killed. After an experimental gassing there in September 1941 of 850 malnourished and ill prisoners, mass murder became a daily routine.
By mid 1942, mass gassing of Jews using Zyklon-B began at Auschwitz, where extermination was conducted on an industrial scale with 2,5 million persons eventually killed through gassing, starvation, disease, shooting, and burning ...
In late 1943 Rudolf Hoess was appointed chief inspector of the concentration camps and worked hard to improve the 'efficiency' of the other extermination centres. He performed his job so well that he was commended in a 1944 SS report that called him 'a true pioneer in this area because of his new ideas and educational methods.'
Rudolf Hoess fled at the approach of the Red Army and went into hiding in Germany under the name Franz Lang. He was arrested by Allied military police in 1946, handed over to the Polish authorities, who tried him in 1947. He was sentenced to death, and returned to Auschwitz to be hanged on the one-person gallows outside the entrance to the gas chamber.
"I was just following orders."
Eichmann’s defense at his trial
Adolf Eichmann was born in Solingen on 19 March 1906. Later the family moved to Linz, Austria, where Adolf Eichmann spent his youth. A member of the Austrian Nazi party, he quickly rose through the ranks. 1938 he headed the Austrian office for Jewish emigration – his assignment was to murder all the Jews in Europe!
In Austria, Eichmann brought together all the bureaucratic agencies needed for Jewish expulsion. He did the same in Czechoslovakia. In December 1939 Eichmann was transferred to Amt IV dealing with Jewish affairs and evacuation, and for the next six years Adolf Eichmann’s office was the headquarter for the implementation of the ‘Final Solution’; after the Wannsee Conference gave the go-ahead.
Adolf Eichmann oversaw the Holocaust, the maltreatment, deportation to concentration camps, and murder especially by the use of gas chambers of millions of Jews, and .Eichmann’s efficient organization rounded up and transported millions to their deaths at infamous camps such as Auschwitz, Chelmno, Treblinka, Sobibor and Belsec. But only in Budapest after March 1944 did the desk-murderer Adolf Eichmann become a public personality, working in the open and playing a leading role in the massacre of Hungarian Jewry.
In August 1944 the “Master of Death” could report to Himmler that approximately four million Jews had died in the death camps and that another two million had been killed by mobile extermination units.
The Holocaust was the systematic slaughter of not only 6 million Jews, the primary victims, but also 5 million others, approximately 11 million individuals wiped off the Earth by the Nazi regime and its collaborators. Not just 11 million deaths, but 11 million people whose lives were cut off because of racism and hate, all in a period of 11 years.
After the war, Adolf Eichmann escaped capture and the stage was set for one of the greatest manhunts in history. But Adolf Eichmann lived in Germany for five years before moving to Argentina where he would live under an alias for another ten years. Israeli agents finally captured him in 1960 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and he was brought to Israel, tried and hanged.
Dr. Josef Mengele
Dr. Josef Mengele was born on March 16, 1911, the eldest of three sons of Karl and Walburga Mengele. He studied philosophy at Munich and medicine at Frankfurt University. In 1935 his dissertation dealt with racial differences in the structure of the lower jaw.
In 1937 he joined the Nazi party, then in 1938 he went to the SS. In 1942 he was wounded at the Russian front and was pronounced unfit for duty. After that he volunteered to go to the concentration camp, he was sent to the death camp, Auschwitz. Dr. Josef Mengele, nicknamed "the Angel of Death", became the surviving symbol of Adolf Hitler's "Final Solution".
Josef Mengele was the chief provider for the gas chambers and their crematoria."He had a look that said 'I am the power,'" said one survivor. When it was reported that one block was infected with lice, Mengele solved the problem by gassing all the 750 women assigned to it. At the time, Mengele was only 32 years old.
The memory of this slightly built man, scarcely a hair out of place, his dark green tunic neatly pressed, his face well scrubbed, and his Death's Head SS cap tilted rakishly to one side, remains vivid for those who survived his scrutiny when they arrived at the Auschwitz railhead. Polished boots slightly apart, his thumb resting on his pistol belt, he surveyed his prey with those dead gimlet eyes. Death to the left, life to the right. Four hundred thousand souls - babies, small children, young girls, mothers, fathers, and grandparents - are said to have been casually waved to the left hand side with a flick of the cane clasped in a gloved hand.
Once Mengele's assistant rounded up 14 pairs of Gypsy twins during the night. Mengele placed them on his polished marble dissection table and put them to sleep. He then proceeded to inject chloroform into their hearts, killing them instantaneously. Mengele then began dissecting and meticulously noting each and every piece of the twins' bodies. Mengele injected chemicals into the eyes of children in an attempt to change their eye color. Unfortunately a strict veil of secrecy over the experiments enabled Mengele to do his work more effectively.
Josef Mengele left Auschwitz disguised as a member of the regular German infantry. He turned up at the Gross-Rosen work camp and left well before it was liberated on February 11, 1945. He was then seen at Matthausen and shortly after he was captured as a POW and held near Munich. He was released by the allies, who had no idea that he was in their midst. By the fall of 1948, Mengele had made up his mind to leave Germany and build a life elsewhere. Argentina was the preferred choice of sanctuary. There was a groundswell of Nazi sympathy in Argentina. And his father, Karl Sr., who owned a firm that manufactured agricultural equipment, thought that though his company had no branches in Argentina, he had made several business connections there that Josef might develop.
Despite international efforts to track him down, he was never apprehended and lived for 35 years hiding under various aliases. He lived in Paraguay and Brazil until his death in 1979. One afternoon, living in Brazil, he went for a swim. While in the ocean he suffered a massive stroke and began to drown. By the time he was dragged to shore, he was dead
At a villa owned by the SS on the shores of a suburban Berlin lake called the Wannsee, mid-level bureaucrats from a number of Nazi agencies assembled at the request of Reinhard Heydrich. Heydrich and his boss, Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS, were in the process of assuming leadership in the Final Solution of the Jewish Question, i.e., the murder of Europe's Jews by the Nazis.
This meeting was a part of that process, as bureaucratic coordination would be required for the massive efforts to be undertaken throughout Europe to kill the 11,000,000 Jews described in the document. The Nazis ultimately succeeded in killing between five and six million of Europe's Jews, with hundreds of thousands already dead by the time of this meeting.
Heydrich was the speaker at this Wannsee Conference January 20, 1942 and admitted received order for Final solution from Adolf Hitler. Heydrich presided over the conference with the aid of Adolf Eichmann. The conference was attended by all high ranking officials. It began the immediate starting of the overall European Genocide.
The liquidation of those Jews who were unable to work was mentioned implicitly and later extermination of the remainder was mentioned explicitly. The production of liquidation camps began such as Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka. The vast amount of concentration camps produced after this conference made the Jewish question clear.
In September of 1941, the ever-ambitious Heydrich had achieved favored status with Hitler and was thus appointed Deputy Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia in former Czechoslovakia and set up headquarters in Prague. Soon after his arrival, he established the Jewish "model" ghetto at Theresienstadt.
SS Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich was by now a supremely arrogant young man who liked to travel between his country home and headquarters in Prague in an open top green Mercedes without an armed escort as a show of confidence in his intimidation of the resistance and successful pacification of the population.
In 1942 Heydrich was assassinated in Prague, and so the Czechs saved their nation, but thousands of innocent Czech lives had been lost in executions. Nazi Germany destroyed an innocent Czech village - Lidice - to avenge the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich.
A man often seen as the very personification of evil. Heinrich Himmler was not only head of Hitler's SS police, but was also in charge of the death camps in the East. The account of Himmler's life and his impact on the rise and fall of the Nazi state make a gripping and horrifying story. But more than this, it is a profound moral and intellectual inquiry into the nature of evil in the human character. Heinrich Himmler was born October 7, 1900, as the son of a secondary school instructor and strict Roman Catholic who lived in Luneberg, Germany. By the end of World War I, Himmler had completed secondary school instruction at a school in Landshut and went on to receive a diploma in agriculture from the Munich Technical High School in 1922. Turning 18 when Germany was at an all time low following World War I, Himmler despised the Weimar Republic, expressed hatred for anyone who was anti-Germany, and joined militant right-wing organizations.
Ironically, Himmler worked as a salesman for a firm of fertilizer manufacturers before joining a para- military organization in the Munich Beer-Hall Putsh in November of 1923. In 1925 Himmler joined the Nazi party, 1927 he worked as a Poultry farmer but his future would be imbued following his appointment in January 1929 as leader of the SS, an elite guard of Hitler. Himmler quickly moved up the ranks, and once Hitler became Chancellor in 1933 Himmler became the head of the Munich police. From this position he organized the first concentration camp at Dachau and began to organize the Nazi political police throughout Germany.
In June of 1936, a power-thirsting Himmler got full control of the SS, and became SS Reichsführer. From this point he constructed the SS into an armed force in Germany second only to the army itself. Before World War II it constrained itself to providing security services for Hitler and the state, and by initiating campaigns to remove "lower" races from a society composed of the "superior" Aryans.
In 1943, Himmler became interior minister, and in July of 1944, he attained the rank of chief of the army's home organization - now second only to The Führer Adolf Hitler. Himmler tried to make a separate peace with the allies towards the end of the war, but failed. He was captured by Americans in 1945, but committed suicide with a hidden vial of cyanide.
Jean Phillipe (born 1905) held various positions in the army and the police. Shortly after the collaborationist government of Vichy France signed an armistice with Germany, Phillipe joined the resistance movement and became a leading member of the Alliance network. In late 1942 he was named chief of police in the 7th arrondissement of Toulouse, the capital of the département of Haute-Garonne. He used his position to prevent the arrest of many Resistance fighters and to provide false papers to Jews. Lucien David Fayman, a member of the Jewish underground network “La Sixième”, testified after the war that police chief Jean Phillipe had helped him obtain forged identity papers with authentic police seals for delivery to young Jews whom “La Sixième” smuggled to Switzerland or placed in hiding places in France.
In January 1943, when Phillipe was ordered to submit to the Germans a list of all Jews in his precinct, he categorically refused and tendered a letter of resignation, in which he vehemently denounced Vichy government’s collaborationist policies. He added that he could not serve a regime that, in his opinion, did not represent the ideals of France, to which he had sworn allegiance. Phillipe stressed that Jews were no less entitled to life than were other citizens, including and that whoever delivered them to their murderers was a traitor, even if he was Petain (the leader of Vichy France) himself. The same day he wrote a second letter to the regional police chief in which he said: "Being too loyal to commit treachery, I believe that I can no longer assure you of my devotion….Your authority as police head will blame and repudiate me, but I have the secret conviction that your soldier's heart will understand."
Immediately after submitting his letter of resignation, Phillipe went underground and continued his resistance activity. An imprudent move on the part of his colleagues led to his arrest by the Gestapo on January 28, 1943. He was interrogated, tortured, imprisoned in Karlsruhe in Germany, and executed on March 1, 1944.
On January 2, 1995, Yad Vashem recognized Jean Phillipe as Righteous Among the Nations
This is the true story of one remarkable man who outwitted the Nazis to save more Jews from the gas chambers than any other during World War II. Steven Spielberg turned Thomas Keneally's Booker Prize-winning biography of Oskar Schindler into a seven Academy Award-winning film.
It is the story of Oskar Schindler, the Czechoslovakian who surfaced from the chaos of madness, spent millions bribing and paying off the SS and eventually risked his life to rescue the Schindler-Jews.
Oskar Schindler rose to the highest level of humanity, walked through the bloody mud of the Holocaust without soiling his soul, his compassion, his respect for human life - and gave his Jews a second chance at life. He miraculously managed to do it and pulled it off by using the very same talents that made him a war profiteer - his flair for presentation, bribery, and grand gestures.
In those years, millions of Jews died in the Nazi death camps like Auschwitz, but Schindler's Jews miraculously survived.
To more than 1200 Jews Oskar Schindler was all that stood between them and death at the hands of the Nazis. A man full of flaws like the rest of us - the unlikeliest of all role models who started by earning millions as a war profiteer and ended by spending his last pfennig and risking his life to save his Jews. An ordinary man who even in the worst of circumstances did extraordinary things, matched by no one. He remained true to his Jews, the workers he referred to as my children. In the shadow of Auschwitz he kept the SS out and everyone alive.
Oskar Schindler and his wife Emilie Schindler were inspiring evidence of courage and human decency during the Holocaust. Emilie was not only a strong woman working alongside her husband but a heroine in her own right. She worked indefatigably to save the Schindler-Jews - a story to bear witness to goodness, love and compassion.
Schindler spent millions to protect and save his Jews, everything he possessed. He died penniless. But he earned the everlasting gratitude of the Schindler-Jews. Today his name is known as a household word for courage in a world of brutality.
Oskar Schindler died in Hildesheim in Germany October 9, 1974. He wanted to be buried in Jerusalem. As he said: My children are here ..
Today known as the American Schindler, a reference to Oscar Schindler, who saved 1200 Jews during the Holocaust - only recently began to win widespread recognition and his exploits are just coming to light. During World War II this quiet, faintly absent-minded American hero risked his life to save the heart and soul of Europe during the Holocaust and helped numerous writers, artists and thinkers escape the Nazis. One of the great men of the twentieth century, a Scarlet Pimpernel.
Like Schindler Varian Fry also had a list of life, including 200 of the brightest names in art, science, literature and medicine. Among those on Fry's list were painters Marc Chagall, Bernard Reder and Andrè Masson, Nobel laureate physiologist Otto Meyerhof, mathematician Jaques Hadamard, writers Franz Werfel, Hannah Arendt, Heinrich Mann and Lion Feuchtwanger, sculptor Jacques Lipchitz, the hebraic scholar Oscar Goldberg, Max Ernst, Konrad Heiden, Hans Habe, Wanda Landowska, and many more.
At great personal risk, Varian Fry set up contacts with the French Resistance and the Corsican mob, hired forgers, bribed border guards, and he personally escorted Franz Werfel and Heinrich Mann over the Pyrenees - his rescue efforts made an indelible influence on our culture.
''I remembered what I had seen in Germany. I knew what would happen to the refugees if the Gestapo got hold of them ... It was my duty to help them ... Friends warned me of the danger. They said I was a fool to go. I, too, could be walking into the trap. I might never come back alive."
-Varian Fry, when asked why he did what he did
When asked as to his motives, Varian Fry responded that when he had visited Berlin in 1935, he saw SA men assaulting Jews in the city's streets, and he felt he could no longer remain indifferent. When he returned to US he decided to act:
Raoul Wallenberg not only saved 100,000 lives - he saved our faith in humanity ...
Raoul Wallenberg was born in 1912 to a prominent Swedish family that had produced generations of bankers and diplomats. He studied in the United States and graduated with a degree in architecture in 1935. He then worked as a foreign representative for a central European trading company. In 1944, at the request of President Roosevelt and The United States' War Refugees Board, he was sent by the Swedish Foreign Minister to Budapest in an attempt to save the Jewish community of Budapest - the last left in Europe.
Adolf Hitler's plans for the annihilation of the entire Jewish population in German-occupied countries became widely known. Hungary, which had joined forces with Germany in its war against the Soviet Union beginning in 1941, still had about 700,000 Jewish residents as of early 1944.
Raoul Wallenberg's tactic was to issue as many Hungarian Jews as possible with Swedish passports, which normally saved them from deportation to the death camps. Several tens of thousands of Jews were that way saved by Wallenberg or by the embassies of neutral countries inspired by Wallenberg's work.
"For me there’s no choice. I’ve taken on this assignment and I’d never be able to go back to Stockholm without knowing inside myself I’d done all a man could do to save as many Jews as possible."
Raoul Wallenberg even had a number of face-to-face confrontations with Adolf Eichmann, the architect of the Nazis' "Final Solution" for the Jews in Hungary. After asking Eichmann: "Look, face it, you've lost the war. Why not give it up now?", the German replied that he was staying to complete unfinished business - the extermination of the Hungarian Jews, and Wallenberg himself. "Don't think you're immune just because you're a diplomat and a neutral!" he threatened. Wallenberg's car was attacked a few days later ... Wallenberg said this on January 10, 1945. Exactly one week later, on January 17, 1945, Wallenberg, then 32, was arrested by the Soviets. The Soviet army took Wallenberg and other diplomats into "protective custody" to Moscow.
Joop Westerweel was a Dutch teacher, and principal before World War II. After German occupation, he was one of the most daring and successful of the Dutch Resistance leaders until his execution by the Nazis at the Vught concentration camp in August 1944. He could not countenance the segregation between Jews and non-Jews instituted by the Germans in Holland, which offended his humanitarian and democratic sensibilities and ignited a burning desire within him to do something for the Jews. When the opportunity arose, the Westerweel group, an appellation given to Joop’s followers after the war, came into being.
The Westerweel group was unusual in that it consisted of both Jews and non-Jews working together to save Jewish lives. The non-Jews were a small group of humanitarians, friends acquaintances and colleagues of Joop. The Jewish members, as well as the Jews they rescued, were all in their teens or early twenties. Most of the Jewish children assisted were refugees from Germay who had come to the Netherlands on Kindertransports. In addition, there was a small Dutch component of young Halutzim (Zionist-oriented pioneers.) Joop and his group were involved in hiding 50 children from Germany as well as a number of other groups, and in helping Jews escape to Switzerland and to Belgium (and from there to France, and neutral Spain, and Eretz Israel.) Altogether, the Westerweel group assisted some 300-400 Halutzim, saving a large percentage of them. Joop Westerweel himself paid with life, as did a number of his close associates including Joachim Simon (Shushu), a leader of the group.