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January 27, 2013: International Holocaust Remembrance Day - 68th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau

World  (tags: International Holocaust Remembrance Day, 68th anniversary, liberation, Auschwitz-Birkenau, 27-01-1945, Germany, Nazis, genocide, Jews, Roma, homosexuals, political dissidents, disabled, Never Forget )

- 1940 days ago -
27-01-1945: Soviet forces discover& liberate Europe's largest Nazi extermination center, Auschwitz-Birkenau. Auschwitz's become a Holocaust symbol, representing depths of man's inhumanity to man. 18 govts & UN mark as int'l commemoration to honor victims

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LucyKaleido ScopeEyes (82)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 8:27 am
Deutsche Welle -DW- Germany's international broadcaster - Remembering the Holocaust:
January 27 was the date when in 1945, the largest Nazi death camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau, was liberated by Soviet troops. Now it is a day of commemoration, when people around the world remember the victims of the Holocaust.

During their 12 years in power, between 1933 and 1945, the Nazis attempted to annihilate all of Europe's Jews. They spread their hatred through the use of propaganda and legislation, which systematically took away the rights of Jewish men, women and children. Millions were murdered, and millions of others were displaced and fled across the world to escape persecution. Hundreds of thousands of other minorities - Roma and Sinti, gays and lesbians, and the disabled - were also killed.

Today, the number of Holocaust survivors is dwindling rapidly. But that makes this day of remembrance only more poignant. Click on the links below to find out more:

- Germany marks the liberation of Auschwitz:
Auschwitz is synonymous with the mass murder of Jews, Roma and Sinti, and other groups persecuted by the Nazis. January 27 marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by Soviet troops. (25.01.2013)

- Pain remains for Slovak Holocaust survivor:
Few survivors are still alive as Europe commemorates the liberation of Nazi concentration camps on January 27. In Kosice, Slovakia, for example, Edita Salamonova is thought to be one of four who survived deportation. (23.01.2013)

- On the banality of evil:
Director Margarethe von Trotta's new film examines the confrontation between German-Jewish philosopher Hannah Arendt and the Nazi Adolf Eichmann during his trial in Jerusalem. But it's no ordinary biopic. (10.01.2013)

- At 90, Holocaust survivor lives to remember:
Journalist and author Inge Deutschkron survived the Holocaust in Berlin. She shares her experiences in her books and in schools. This courageous woman is now celebrating her 90th birthday. (23.08.2012)

- Albanians saved Jews from deportation in WWII:
Predominantly Muslim Albanians saved almost 2,000 Jews from deportation to the concentration camps during World War II. The family of US author Johanna Jutta Neumann was among those rescued. (27.12.2012)

- Recognize, comprehend and preserve:
Researchers at the Moses Mendelssohn Center for European-Jewish Studies devote themselves to the cultural heritage of German-speaking Jews around the world. Project Director Elke Kotowski tells us about the work. (30.11.2012)

- Fiction blends with truth in Buchenwald novel:
The story of a child's survival from Buchenwald moved readers around the world. It became a legend in communist East German and was used for propaganda purposes. A new edition now clears up myths surrounding the novel. (13.07.2012)

- Buchenwald: Lessons from past and present:
75 years ago in July, 1937, the concentration camp Buchenwald was built near the city of Weimar. The memorial there today draws people from around the world, and its program has seen some shifts in recent years. (13.07.2012)

Links for Audios and videos on the topic:
- We talk to a Slovak Holocaust survivor
- We visit a French WWII internment camp
- First Roma-Sinti memorial opens in Berlin
- Art Spiegelman's graphic novel, "Maus"

25 Jan 2013 - Germany honors victims of National Socialism : "Chancellor Merkel emphasized the importance of the Day of Remembrance for Victims of National Socialism during her podcast posted online Saturday. "We must clearly say, generation after generation, and say it again: with courage, civil courage, each individual can help ensure that racism and anti-Semitism have no chance," she said. Because the number of eyewitnesses to the crimes against humanity perpetrated by the Nazi regime dwindles every year, people must take the opportunity to listen to survivors, she added. "Naturally, [Germany has] an everlasting responsibility for the crimes of national-socialism, for the victims of World War II, and above all, for the Holocaust."
.../... Because the memorial day falls on a Sunday this year, the German parliament is scheduled to hold its "hour of commemoration" on Wednesday. The GERMAN-ISRAELI AUTHOR and JOURNALIST Inge Deutschkron will speak about her experiences surviving the Holocaust at the event."

27 January 2013, The Independent, British view: Sixty-eight years after Auschwitz: Why we still remember - Guest Blog - "The Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz: A Time for Action" by Eva Kor, Auschwitz survivor and Founding Director of CANDLES Holocaust Museum in Terre Haute, Indiana. She ends her moving & perceptive piece "I ask you to join with me by taking one single action to help the children who are suffering in this world — whether in Sudan, Congo, Burma, or in our own communities. Together, we can create peace."

She & her twin sister are the two children holding hands at the front in the photo of children leaving Auschwitz taken by the Soviet army that I chose to illustrate this post.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum - Holocaust Encyclopedia: A wealth of resources, articles on every aspect of the Third Reich & the Shoah.
Scroll down to 'Browse Popular Articles' to get an idea of how enormous this is!

Smithsonian magazine, February 2010 - Can Auschwitz Be Saved? - Liberated 65 years ago, the Nazi concentration camp is one of Eastern Europe's most visited sites—and most fragile

LucyKaleido ScopeEyes (82)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 8:48 am
January 27, 2013 – Yad Vashem - International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Kit B (276)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 10:09 am

Thanks Peasant Diva - it is indeed a day for remembering those horrible years. At least 6 million people were murdered by the NAZI fanaticism. We should only remember, we should be aware and constantly vigilant, so it can never happen again.


Pat B (356)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 10:34 am
Excellent Post. It is a solemn day of remembering, and honoring those who died at the hands of the Nazi's. Thank you, Peasant, for the information, the history, and awareness on this link.

. (0)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 12:19 pm
My father had a very interesting 3 years military career during the "war of attrition"- 1953-57. He served in the air force, but never wore a uniform. He was a printer of government documents, and would accompany the army and air force officers to the various "camps" to record what ally country was to receive what. He was all of 25 years old. He had to record what the Russians wanted, the English, etc.
I own his 8mm films of Auschwitz. Even in the early 50's, all you can see is what appeared to be barren, gray land, when in fact it was cremated remains. The Germans, who by 1944 knew they were losing the war, stepped up their killing machine. Having mo time to dig trenches to bury the cremated remains, they simply piled them on the ground.
My father told me you could walk five steps in any direction and come across a bit of bone - and this was 8 years after the war! Since then, the German government was forced to bulldoze these remains into trenches.

Angelika R (143)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 2:22 pm
Thx Jill for putting the spotlight on this important memerial day! Of course we here had extended broadcasts and reports about it. We must never forget, but neither must we tolerate murder and violence committed by former victims!

Süheyla C (234)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 3:40 pm
Thank you for posting


LucyKaleido ScopeEyes (82)
Monday January 28, 2013, 1:10 am
Here in France, there was virtually nothing on this commemoration day. I watch TV news every evening & really 'zero'. This is all the more surprising that we have that Franco-German channel, Arte, which has never shied away from airing documentaries on fascism, the 3rd Reich and the Shoah.

What finally cued me in was watching the 'History' cable station yesterday afternoon where there was a series of documentaries: one on French 'personalities' of the Nazi occupation of France, another on Holocaust survivors. I said to myself 'something special may be going on here,' & googled the date: Voila! Discovery!

I was impressed by DW's coverage. I hadn't known DW before, even thought it is the German equivalent of the BBC.

I thank Allan for sharing his personal story - amazing that his Dad, as young as 25!, had special responsibility of that sort. His memories that he passed on to you, Allan, are precious historical evidence of institutionalized barbarity, & what I consider madness.

I do know that the Germans accelerated their extermination when they saw they were losing the war.

This post is a matter of historical truth & accuracy, but commemorating the Shoah & honoring the millions of victims are not meant and cannot be construed as reason or justification for oppressing & suppressing the rights of any other people. On the contrary!

The Majdanek extermination camp was liberated on July 23, 1944, months before Auschwitz was. the advance of the Soviet Red Army was so rapid it prevented the Nazis from destroying most of its infrastructure before liberation. Majdanek remains the best preserved Nazi concentration camp of the Holocaust.

Heinz Neumann, one of the protagonists in Fischer's book, was killed in the Soviet Union. His wife, Marguerite Buber-Neumann, the niece of the well-known philosopher Martin Buber, was first imprisoned in Stalin's gulag and then handed over to Hitler along with 300 other opposition German socialists and communists as a result of the Nazi-Soviet pact of 1940.

Marguerite Buber survived Dachau concentration camp and lived to write a rather sobering autobiography, including her experiences under two dictators.

Ro H (0)
Monday January 28, 2013, 7:33 am
Never forget!

Aurea A (226)
Monday January 28, 2013, 3:12 pm
Never forget, never allow it too continue happening and yes it still is! It may not be those of the Jewish faith but mass killings are still ongoing. Check out just about anywhere in Africa and so many other countries as well. I am anti war but bill Clinton's ignoring what happened in Lithuania is unforgivable.

Rebecca Y (26)
Monday January 28, 2013, 3:26 pm
In 1965 when I was 26 years old, I wrote an essay, "Lest We Forget" and in it I named all that we had forgotten...the battlefields, the holocaust, the mass murders and senseless murders that happen every day. I ended the essay with "and it will all happen again because we FORGET." I'm not sure now all these years later if we forget or just never LEARN. It seems that human life is less valued than any other form of life on earth. All you have to do is look around the world to see the atrocities still happening...the innocent killing of children...wars over religion, the inability of gun lovers to see the value of gun-control laws, not the abolishing of all guns but some better laws that might possibly deter these maladjusted individuals from pressing one little trigger and mowing down countless innocents. When will we ever learn if not from Hitler's determination to destroy all the Jewish people. My heart is always sad when I think of what they went through and I pray the survivors and their families never stop telling of their experiences. May the world soon find peace before we destroy ourselves!

Jane Mckenzie (20)
Monday January 28, 2013, 3:36 pm

Mary Donnelly (47)
Monday January 28, 2013, 6:52 pm
Thanks for this timely reminder.

reft h (66)
Monday January 28, 2013, 11:47 pm
There was nothing in the news here about it. Thanks for the article.

LucyKaleido ScopeEyes (82)
Tuesday January 29, 2013, 7:02 am
I read in the Guardian that there were "an estimated 1,500 activities across the UK," which is really very impressive, & that "Communities Together: Build a Bridge", this year's theme for the memorial day, was "explored by survivors, military veterans, religious leaders, politicians and schoolchildren."

Nor were the commemorations limited to the Holocaust, according to the Guardian: "Victims and survivors of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur have been remembered at ceremonies across the world on Holocaust Memorial Day," but the paper offers no evidence that I could find of the other genocides' victims being remembered.

I was particularly impressed with the remarks made by the keynote speaker at the ceremony in London's Southwark, Baroness Julia Neuberger DBE (Senior Rabbi at West London Synagogue, member of the House of Lords as a life peer, former Liberal Democrat whip, also famous for volunteer & philanthropic works), as described in the Guardian: "MASS ACTS of CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE in BULGARIA during the war ensured not a SINGLE Nazi DEPORTATION took place, said Lady Neuberger, making it the only country to end the second world war with a bigger Jewish population than it had at the beginning.

Similarly determined acts of COLLECTIVE RESISTANCE in DENMARK saved more than 99% of the Jewish population from deportation and death, Neuberger added. In Albania, NOT A SINGLE Jew was handed over to the Nazis.

"We should praise [those who set a lead and those who work with them] and ask why the same didn't happen elsewhere," she said. "Who are those who actually objected and what did each of us do to object further?"

These are the questions that interest me, that really concern me, all the more so that other genocides have occurred since the Holocaust; and while the international community seems very good at commemorating after the fact, precious little has been done to interfere with genocides & their perpetrators while the persecution and the killing were going on.

The United States' unwavering support for Israel today goes hand in hand with denunciation of the Holocaust, but how many Americans actually know that FDR's State Department was staffed with anti-Semites who were instrumental in obstructing efforts to save European Jews?..that Assistant Secretary of State Breckinridge Long "was an open anti-Semite, ...& yet everything connected with the relief of Jews in Europe -from visas, to distribution of food & medicine- fell under this man’s supervision"? ..that "Long helped craft one of the most deadly U.S. policies during the war- the refusal to open the border to fleeing refugees"? .. that US immigration laws were twisted, tightened and squeezed to prevent Jewish refugees from finding safe haven in the US? ..that US immigration quotas from the European countries where Jews were at risk were far from being met during all the crucial years when they still could have been saved? ..that international conferences on the plight of refugees (the Evian Conference of 1938, the Bermuda Conference of 1943) were considered PR operations by the US, held as window dressing to convince a concerned public opinion that something was being done, when in fact delegates attended with instructions NOT to mention 'Jews' per se, and -except for tiny countries like The Netherlands or Denmark (before they were invaded by the Nazis)- none of the countries participating wanted to take Jewish refugees, no one committed to helping? .. that "During the 3&1/2 years that the U.S. was at war with Germany, a mere 21,000 refugees were admitted into the country, just 10 percent of the numbers that could have emigrated under the quota that existed at the time"?

"While Six Million Died: A Chronicle of American Apathy," by Arthur D. Morse , who left his prestigious job as a 'CBS Reports' producer to be able to devote himself entirely -& for three years- to the research and writing of this devastating account.

The 'apathy' in the subtitle is, by the way, a gross inaccuracy because it was much more a question of willful neglect, refusal & obstruction than indifference; & if you read the book you, too, will be convinced of that!
As they say on the Amazon site, "First published in 1967, this work reveals the untold story behind the DELIBERATE OBSTRUCTION placed in the way of attempts to save the Jewish people from Hitler's 'final solution,' with detailed documentation from worldwide interviews with participants, research in archives around the world, as well as classified and official papers that had never been published before Arthur Morse's exhaustive study."

On 8 August 1942 by Gerhart Riegner, himself a refugee from Nazi Germany and then Secretary of World Jewish Congress in Geneva, sent a cable* via the US Embassy to the US State Department & the British Foreign Office with news of a German govt plan to carry out the calculated extermination of European Jews, which he had found out about only a week before, a week he'd spent tracking down original, reliable sources to substantiate the information before sending it out. This was the first news of the Final Solution.

US State Department officials would not believe it and decided to suppress the message. In the months that followed Riegner continued sending reports to the British & Americans, in an effort to present credible evidence. By Jan 21, 1943, when he sent a new cable -"4 pages of unbridled horror"- describing the Germans now killing six thousand Jews each day in Poland, the State Department was fed up with Riegner's 'atrocity stories' & banned the senior US diplomat in Switzerland (Leland Harrison) from sending on any more of Riegner's reports. Strange action for a government that had publicly pledged to come to the aid of the Jews and to punish war criminals, a pledge that would seemingly require continuing information on Nazi activities...

Early in 1944, Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau, Jr. stated in front of President Roosevelt that "certain officials in our State Department" had failed while it would have been commanded by duty to "prevent the extermination of the Jews in German-controlled Europe".

Of course, Morse's book also provides the story behind Henry Morgenthau Jr's role in getting the facts to President Roosevelt & how that finally turned US policy around.

*Gerhart Riegner's cable: "Received alarming report about plan being discussed and considered in Führer headquarters to exterminate at one fell swoop all Jews in German-controlled countries comprising three and a half to four million after deportation and concentration in the east thus solving Jewish question once and for all stop campaign planned for autumn methods being discussed including hydrocyanic acid."

Sergio Padilla (65)
Tuesday January 29, 2013, 2:10 pm

Christopher Fowler (82)
Tuesday January 29, 2013, 6:06 pm
Sadly, there are still people that deny that any of this ever even happened, even though there is a ton of evidence, a few of the remaining survivors and all of the film and photographs and testimony of the guards and survivors.

This was an atrocity that we cannot allow to happen again; but it will, if we allow extremists to take over, anywhere in the world, particularly here, in the US, where the religious reich is working so very diligently to disassemble both the Constitution and our nation's core values of freedom and democracy.
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