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Old 02-06-2021, 10:39 PM   #22621 (permalink)
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Pt 2:
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But one night, towards the end of 1942, Groening’s comfortable life at Auschwitz was disrupted by a sudden glimpse into the nightmare of the actual killing operation. Asleep in his barracks in the SS camp on the perimeter of Birkenau, he and his comrades were woken by the sound of an alarm. They were told that a number of Jews who were being marched to the gas chambers had escaped and run to the nearby woods. “We were told to take our pistols and go through the forest,” says Groening. “We found no one.” Then he and his comrades spread out and moved up towards the extermination area of the camp.

“We went in star formation up towards this farmhouse — it was lit from outside in diffused light, and out in the front were seven or eight bodies. These were the ones who had probably tried to escape and they’d been caught and shot. In front of the door of the farmhouse were some SS men who told us, ‘It’s finished, you can go home.’”

Overcome by curiosity, Groening and his comrades decided not to “go home” but to hang about in the shadows instead. They watched as an SS man put on a gas mask and placed Zyklon B pellets through a hatch in the side of the cottage wall. There had been a humming noise coming from inside the cottage that now “turned to screaming” for a minute — followed by silence. “Then one man — I don’t know whether he was an officer — stood and came to the door where there was a peep-hole, looked in and checked whether everything was OK and the people were dead.” Groening describes his feelings at this moment, when the crude mechanics of murder were placed in front of him, “as if you see two lorries crashing on the motorway. And you ask yourself, ‘Must it be that way? Is this necessary?’ And of course it’s influenced by the fact that you said before, ‘Yes, well, it’s war,’ and we said, ‘They were our enemies.’”

To meet Oskar Groening today, and listen to his attempt to explain his time at Auschwitz, is a strange experience. Now in his 80s, he talks almost as if there was another Oskar Groening who worked at Auschwitz 60 years ago — and about that “other” Groening he can be brutally honest. He shields himself from taking full responsibility for playing a part in the extermination process by constantly referring to the power of the propaganda to which he was exposed, and the effect on him of the ultra-nationalistic family atmosphere in which he grew up. Only after the war, once he was exposed to another worldview — one that questioned the Nazis’ assumptions about the “international Jewish conspiracy” and the role of the Jews in World War I — was the “new” Oskar Groening able to emerge, fit to face life as a useful citizen in the modern, democratic Germany.

This is not to say that Groening attempts to hide behind the “acting under orders” defense. He does not present himself as a mindless automaton who would have followed any command given to him. When the suggestion is put to him that he would have accepted Aryan children being murdered at Auschwitz, he rejects it absolutely. He makes a lie of the notion, prevalent among some historians, that the SS men were so brutalized by their training that they would have killed anyone they were asked to. No, Groening’s decision-making process operated at a much less simplistic level. Yes, he claims that he was massively influenced by the propaganda of the times, but during the war he nevertheless made a series of personal choices. He carried on working at Auschwitz not just because he was ordered to but because, having weighed the evidence put before him, he thought that the extermination program was right. Once the war was over he disputed the accuracy of the evidence put before him, but he did not claim that he acted as he did because he was some kind of robot. Throughout his life he believes he did what he thought was “right”; it’s just that what was “right” then turns out not to be “right” today.

We should not be unduly cynical about such a coping mechanism. Of course he could have chosen differently — he could have rejected the values of his community and resisted. He could have deserted from Auschwitz (although there is no record of any member of the SS doing so as a result of refusing on moral grounds to work in the camp). It would have taken an exceptional human being to act in such a way, however, and the essential — almost frightening — point about Oskar Groening is that he is one of the least exceptional human beings you are ever likely to meet.

Groening shields himself from taking full responsibility for playing a part in the extermination process by constantly referring to the power of the propaganda to which he was exposed.

A study of the historical-sociological profile of the SS in Auschwitz, based on statistical records, found that “the SS camp force was not exceptional in its occupation structure or in its levels of education. The camp staff was very much like the society from which it was drawn.” Oskar Groening perfectly illustrates this conclusion. He was also typical in that he was a rank-and-file member of the SS — the highest rank he attained was Rottenführer (corporal).

About 70 percent of SS men in Auschwitz fell into this category; 26 percent were non-commissioned officers (non-commissioned ranks above Rottenführer); and just 4 percent of the total SS complement were officers. There were around 3,000 members of the SS serving in Auschwitz I and the related sub-camps at any one time. The SS administration of the camp was divided into five main departments — the headquarters department (personnel, legal and other related functions), the medical unit (doctors and dentists), the political department (the Gestapo and the criminal police, the Kripo), the economic administration (including the registration and disposal of property stolen from the murdered prisoners), and the camp administration (responsible for security within the camp). By far, the biggest department was the last — about 75 percent of the SS members who worked at Auschwitz performed some kind of security function. Oskar Groening was unusual only in that he had a comparatively “easy” job as part of the economic administration.

Nevertheless, the sight of the gassing installations and the burning cremation pits that winter night in 1942 momentarily shattered the cozy, ordinary life that Oskar Groening had created for himself at Auschwitz. So much so that he went once more to his boss, an SS Untersturmführer (lieutenant) who was “an Austrian and basically an honest bloke” and poured out his feelings. “He listened to me and said: ‘My dear Groening, what do you want to do against it? We’re all in the same boat. We’ve given an obligation to accept this — not to even think about it.’” With the words of his superior officer ringing in his ears, Groening returned to work. He had sworn an oath of loyalty, he believed the Jews were Germany’s enemy, and he knew that he could still manipulate his life at the camp to avoid encountering the worst of the horror.

And so he stayed until 1944, when his application for a transfer to a front-line unit was finally granted, and he joined an SS unit that was fighting in the Ardennes. After being wounded and sent to a field hospital, he rejoined his unit before it eventually surrendered to the British on June 10, 1945. Groening became a prisoner of war.

While those who had endured Nazi persecution faced distinctly mixed fortunes after the conflict ended, their SS perpetrators knew with certainty from the moment of the German surrender that they were at risk of arrest and prosecution. Just as Rudolf Höss, Auschwitz’s commandant who built the gas chambers and crematoria that made the camp famous, sought to conceal his past before he was captured by the British and hanged in 1947, Groening, a minor cog in the Auschwitz machine, tried to do the same.

Once the SS members were in captivity, the British handed questionnaires to all of them. Groening wrote on the form that he had worked for the SS Economic and Administration office in Berlin. He did this not because he was suddenly overcome with a sense of shame about what had happened at Auschwitz, but because “the victor’s always right and we knew that the things that happened there [in Auschwitz] did not always comply with human rights.”

Along with the rest of his SS comrades, Groening was imprisoned in an old Nazi concentration camp, which was “not very pleasant — that was revenge against the guilty.” But life improved when he was shipped to England in 1946. Here, as a forced laborer, he had “a very comfortable life.” He ate good food and earned money to spend. He became a member of the YMCA choir and for four months traveled through the Midlands and Scotland giving concerts. He sang German hymns and traditional English folk songs such as “A lover and his lass” to appreciative British audiences who competed to have one of the Germans stay with them overnight and give him a good night’s sleep and breakfast.

When he was finally released and returned to Germany in 1947, he found that he could not regain his old job at the bank because he had been a member of the SS, so he got a job in a glass factory and began the long climb up the management ladder. He continued his policy of trying not to draw “undue attention” to his time in Auschwitz, so much so that he insisted that his close family erase their memories as well.

Once, shortly after his return to Germany, he was sitting at the dinner table with his father and his parents-in-law and “they made a silly remark about Auschwitz,” implying that he was a “potential or real murderer.” “I exploded!” says Groening. “I banged my fist on the table and said, ‘This word and this connection are never, ever, to be mentioned again in my presence, otherwise I’ll move out!’ I was quite loud, and this was respected and it was never mentioned again.” Thus did the Groening family settle back and begin to make a future for itself in post-war Germany, enjoying the fruits of the German “economic miracle.”

As Groening forced himself and his family to forget the atrocities at Auschwitz, it seemed for a time that the world was doing the same. It would take years for the site of the atrocities at Auschwitz to be appropriately maintained and cared for. Indeed, not until well after the fall of Communism would the signage at the museum finally be changed to reflect in a proper manner the suffering of the Jews.

In the meantime, Groening steadily rose through the management structure of the glass factory where he now worked, eventually becoming head of personnel. Finally, he was made an honorary judge of industrial tribunal cases. Without seeing any sense of irony or inappropriateness in his words, Oskar Groening believes that the experience he gained in the SS and Hitler Youth helped him do his job as a personnel officer better, because “from the age of 12 onwards I learned about discipline.”

Even though he had worked at Auschwitz and helped in the extermination process by sorting and counting the foreign money stolen from the arriving transports, Groening never considered himself “guilty” of any crime. “We drew a line between those who were directly involved in the killing and those who were not directly involved.” Additionally, he felt he was — using the words of the infamous Nazi post-war defense — acting under orders, and he attempts to defend himself with this analogy: “The first time a company of soldiers gets a volley of machine gun fire they don’t all get up and say, ‘We don’t agree with this — we’re going home.’”


This was, perhaps surprisingly, a similar line to the one taken by West German prosecutors after the war as they sought to determine who from Auschwitz should face war crime charges and who should not. If a member of the SS was not either in a senior leadership position or directly involved in killing, he generally escaped prosecution. Thus, when Oskar Groening’s past was eventually uncovered — inevitably, because he never made any attempt to change his name and hide — the German prosecutors did not press charges against him. His experience therefore demonstrates how it is possible to have been a member of the SS, worked at Auschwitz, witnessed the extermination process, contributed to the “Final Solution” in a concrete way by sorting the stolen money and still not be thought “guilty” by the post-war West German state.

Indeed, out of the 6,500 or so members of the SS who worked at Auschwitz between 1940 and 1945 and who are thought to have survived the war, fewer than 800 ever received punishment of any kind. The most notorious legal process was the “Auschwitz trial” in Frankfurt between December 1963 and August 1965, when, of the 22 defendants, 17 were convicted and only six received the maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

However, it was not only Germany that failed to prosecute in substantial numbers those SS members who had worked at Auschwitz. This was a collective failure of the international community (with the possible exception of the Polish courts, who tried a remarkable 673 out of the 789 Auschwitz staff ever to face justice). Prosecutions were hindered, not just by lack of consistency between nations about what conduct constituted a “crime” in Auschwitz, but also by the division caused by the Cold War and — it must be said — by a clear lack of will.

Despite the Nuremberg trials stating that the SS was a “criminal” organization in its entirety, no attempt was ever made to enforce the view that the mere act of working in the SS at Auschwitz was a war crime — a view that popular opinion would surely have supported. A conviction and sentence — however minimal — for every SS man who was there would have sent a clear message for the future. It did not happen. About 85 percent of the SS members who served at Auschwitz and survived the war escaped scot-free. When Himmler began the development of the gas chambers in order to distance the SS men from the psychological “burden” of shooting people in cold blood, he could scarcely have predicted that it would have this additional benefit for the Nazis. This method of murder meant that the vast majority of the SS members who served at Auschwitz could escape punishment after the war by claiming to not have been directly involved in the extermination process.

Groening also feels no unease about the fact that, while many of those who were imprisoned in Auschwitz faced further hardship after they were liberated, he enjoyed (and continues to enjoy) a life of comfort. “It’s always like that in the world,” he says. “Each person has the freedom to make the best of the situation he’s in. I did what every normal person tries to do, which is to make the best possible situation for himself and his loved ones, if he has a family. So I succeeded in doing that — others didn’t succeed. What happened before is irrelevant.”

Given this attitude of insouciance, it is all the more surprising that, towards the end of his life, Oskar Groening decided to speak openly about his time in Auschwitz. The circumstances that led to his change of heart are intriguing. After the war, Groening became a keen stamp collector and was a member of his local philately club. At one of the meetings, more than 40 years after the war, he started to chat to the man next to him about politics. “Isn’t it terrible,” said the man, “that the present government says it’s illegal to say anything against the killing of millions of Jews in Auschwitz.” He went on to explain to Groening how it was “inconceivable” for so many bodies to have been burnt, and he also maintained that the volume of gas that was supposed to have been used would, in reality, have killed “all living beings” in the vicinity.

Groening said nothing to contradict these statements at the philately club, but later obtained one of the Holocaust deniers’ pamphlets that his fellow stamp collector had recommended, wrote his own ironic commentary on it and posted it to him. Then he suddenly started to receive odd phone calls at home from strangers who disputed his view that Auschwitz was really the center of mass killing by gassing. It turned out that his denunciation of the Holocaust deniers’ case had been printed in a neo-Nazi magazine. And now “90 percent” of the calls and anonymous letters he received “were all from people who tried to prove that what I had seen with my own eyes, what I had experienced in Auschwitz was a big, big mistake, a big hallucination on my part because it hadn’t happened.”

Motivated now by a desire to speak out against those who denied the sights he personally had witnessed, Groening wrote down his own personal history for his family and eventually agreed to be interviewed by the BBC. Now well into his 80s, Groening has one simple message for the Holocaust deniers: “I would like you to believe me. I saw the gas chambers. I saw the crematorium. I saw the open fires. I was on the ramp when the selections took place. I would like you to believe that these atrocities happened, because I was there.”

When I met Oskar Groening back in the early years of this new century, he felt there was little danger that he would ever be prosecuted. After all, the German authorities knew all about him and his involvement in Auschwitz — and yet had decided to leave him alone. But, a few years ago, after the trial of John Demjanjuk — who had worked as a guard in a concentration camp in occupied Poland during the war — the government’s attitude changed. During that trial German legal experts accepted that there could be a charge of “accessory” to murder in connection with the death camps, and so they started to consider prosecuting those like Groening who had previously escaped justice.

Whilst I believe that the testimony we gained from Oskar Groening is of immense historical value, and I am grateful to him for coming forward and not hiding in the shadows, I also think — as I said in my book — that he should have been prosecuted immediately after the war, along with every single other member of the SS at Auschwitz. It’s hard not to believe that his prosecution now is too little too late.
https://www.politico.eu/article/ausc...ory-world-war/
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Old 02-07-2021, 03:34 AM   #22622 (permalink)
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Geez Luuueeeez dude take a xanny and relax.

I actually did teach history but I never claimed to be an “historian”. My degree is in history but whatever. Historians are people who actually do research and ****.


https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germ...ance_to_Nazism



I mean dude they weren’t fascists they were fascists

Just chill though. Don’t blow a gasket.
This doesn't have anything to do with my point. Return your degree.
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There is only one bright spot and that is the growing habit of disgruntled men of dynamiting factories and power-stations; I hope that, encouraged now as ‘patriotism’, may remain a habit! But it won’t do any good, if it is not universal.

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Old 02-07-2021, 04:58 AM   #22623 (permalink)
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Imo you're right that in most cases nobody forced them to work at concentration camps, and that even if they weren't the ones doing the killing they were still aware of what was going on and thus complicit

But most germans were more or less aware of what was happening to Jews and other so called enemies of the state. They might not have known the exact mechanism of how they were being killed, but they knew that they were and that anyone who stepped in to protect them (or even failed to turn them in to the authorities if they knew about them) would meet a similar fate.

Most germans were in fact complicit with the genocide to one degree or another. You didn't have to work at a concentration camp to be an accessory. That's probably why these people who worked at the camps but weren't doing the killing or weren't even around the killing weren't charged originally when the war was over.

It's not like they just found out about these people... It was known what their role was for 70 years now and only just now did Germany decide that "justice" was necessary. Their society at large had blood on their hands. As soon as they lost the war, it was a race to try to distance yourself from the Nazi regime out of self perseveration. Hypocrites, plain and simple.

I'm not saying this to make excuses for the Nazis but to say that if you wanna be real about it, being a German who didn't work at the camps made you no less complicit in the genocide. You knew what was happening and looked the other way. You're just a coward. Congrats on being a pussy.

Same way that if you eat meat you're no less complicit in the slaughter of animals then the guy working at the slaughterhouse. You are still a part of the same system, you just have the luxury of not having to see the sausage being made.

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Old 02-07-2021, 05:22 AM   #22624 (permalink)
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I'll say this one more time and then drop it to save Batty's blood pressure.

I am NOT saying she's INNOCENT or should not be prosecuted. I am NOT saying that what I postulate might have happened to her did, that she was in this position. She could have been a very willing/uncaring accomplice. She could have been a card-carrying Nazi.

The word here is MIGHT, and you are failing/refusing to allow for the fact that there might be more to this story than meets the eye. You have decided she is guilty for even being involved in a clerical role, and so should be, in your words, hanged. You're not going to change that opinion, you're not going to afford her any benefit of the doubt, and you're not going to try to disguise your - rather disturbing, if I'm honest - blood lust and glee that a woman who's almost ready to die should be subjected to such treatment. Maybe she should. Maybe she is guilty. But you don't have to be such a prick about it. If she's guilty she'll possibly end her life in prison, though as I say there can't be much left of it.

It's all about knowing the full story, which you seem not interested in. I bet if it somehow came out that she was pressured into the job, didn't want it but felt she had to take it, you'd be so disappointed, but would probably find a way to put the blame on her.

You. Were. Not. There.
Nor was I.
Neither of us know the truth, which is why your rush to judgement is so abhorrent to me. I'm not advocating a free pass, but I am advocating getting all the facts before setting up the gallows.

It would be really helpful to have someone who speaks German (where's grindy when you need him, huh?) to read that interview in the link and see if it tells us more.

Not that you care, Batty. But I do. If I'm wrong and there's nothing to shield or excuse her, fine, let them prosecute and jail her. But I'd prefer to wait and get all the facts before condemning her.
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Old 02-07-2021, 06:09 AM   #22625 (permalink)
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What actually leads to a normal person working at a concentration camp? This is worth reading imo.

Pt 1
That was an intense and informative read. Everyone basically knows it went down like that but it’s good to get a refresher on the gritty reality.

I looked for the follow up on wiki

Quote:
Verdict and sentence
On 15 July 2015, he was found guilty of being an accessory to the murder of at least 300,000 Jews. Reacting to the sentence, Auschwitz survivor Kor said that she was "disappointed" adding: "They are trying to teach a lesson that if you commit such a crime, you will be punished. But I do not think the court has acted properly in sentencing him to four years in jail. It is too late for that kind of sentence ... My preference would have been to sentence him to community service by speaking out against neo-Nazis. I would like the court to prove to me, a survivor, how four years in jail will benefit anybody." Gröning's defence lawyer, Hans Holtermann, was quoted as saying that he would review the verdict before deciding whether to appeal.

On 28 November 2016, the appeal was declined by the German Federal Court of Justice (BGH). In August 2017, Gröning was judged to be fit for prison. An appeal to the Federal Constitutional Court also failed. The latter court ruled his age was not a valid reason not to send him to jail.

On 15 January 2018, Gröning applied for pardon as a last measure to avoid imprisonment. The pardon was rejected.

On 9 March 2018, Gröning died while hospitalized before he was to begin his sentence. He was 96.
Kor, whose twin sister was murdered at Auschwitz, seems to have felt much closer to TH than Batlord.

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Same way that if you eat meat you're no less complicit in the slaughter of animals then the guy working at the slaughterhouse.
Everyone who works in America and contributes to the tax base and the culture of ecocidal mania and the permanent necro-capitalist consumer based war machine is complicit in the worst destruction humanity will ever know. Historians, who will have to be future visitors from another planet, will conclude that you, Bat, and myself have more blood on our hands than Hitler himself. The Nazis were only an existential threat to non-Aryans. We’re destroying the entire planet for all of humanity, including ourselves, permanently.
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Old 02-07-2021, 06:16 AM   #22626 (permalink)
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You lobbed a dumb, bull**** hypothetical into the conversation to give sympathy to a genocide secretary. I am not obligated to pretend that hypothetical has merit. It doesn't. It's moronic. Threatening German citizens with violence if they refused to organize a filing system was not a policy of the Nazis. It simply wasn't.
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There is only one bright spot and that is the growing habit of disgruntled men of dynamiting factories and power-stations; I hope that, encouraged now as ‘patriotism’, may remain a habit! But it won’t do any good, if it is not universal.
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Old 02-07-2021, 09:22 AM   #22627 (permalink)
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Anyway, in other news...


It may be the end of the road for Eddie. The last of our three cats has been losing weight for the last few months, looks weak and acts listless. I took him to the vet two weeks ago and was told he had (as I suspected) something wrong with his teeth - gum disease, in fact. Not a problem, right?

Well.

Eddie has, as you may or may not know, cardiomyopathy, or something, basically an enlarged heart. This causes problems with his breathing. I've seen him struggle in what I think in a human might be called a panic attack or hyperventilation; I pet him and make a fuss of him and he calms down. It's like he has something in his throat he needs to get up - like when he used to choke up furballs when younger - but there's nothing there.

The upshot of this is that Eddie would not be a great candidate for an anaesthetic; the chances of him coming back are pretty low. So the vet decided/advised he should be left as he was, that the pain could be managed with painkillers, anti-inflammatories and so on.

Here's the thing though. In order to get those into his system Eddie has to eat his food, and, well Eddie is not eating his food. I'm watching weight fall off him, watching him stare at his food rather uncomprehendingly, obviously hungry but unable to satisfy that hunger due to, presumably, the pain of his teeth.

So now Karen and I have to make a decision: demand the operation be performed, knowing that in all likelihood we're sentencing him to death, but holding on to the very slim chance he might pull through, or let him continue as he is, basically watch him starve to death.

I ****ing hate this year already.
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Old 02-07-2021, 09:36 AM   #22628 (permalink)
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Sorry man

If it were my dog I’d have her euthanized. And trust me, I don’t say that lightly.

Best to y’all
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Old 02-07-2021, 09:57 AM   #22629 (permalink)
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We're probably going with this, however ****ing Covid brings up another problem. If I bring him down knowing he's going to sleep, I'm a total ****ing wimp and I know I'll cry and wail and snot all over myself, and it's pretty horrible to do that with a mask on. If, however, I bring him down - while knowing more or less that it's futile - to have the operation, I go home and then if/when I get the call I can cry in comfort at home without a mask.

Sounds ridiculous, and it is, but it's something I have to consider. I don't want to choke behind my mask, and I can't risk/won't be let take it off, but when your pet looks up at you with those trusting eyes and you know what's going to happen, hell, who could keep back the tears?

Christ, I hate this ****ing world right now.
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Old 02-07-2021, 10:00 AM   #22630 (permalink)
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You’ll be vaccinated within a month or so. Just hang on until then if that’s what you need to do.
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