National Socialism

Mark Weber: The Legacy of Rudolf Hess

On the evening of May 10, 1941, the Deputy Führer of the Third Reich set out on a secret mission that was to be his last and most important.

Under cover of darkness, Rudolf Hess took off in an unarmed Messerschmidt 110 fighter-bomber from an Augsburg airfield and headed across the North Sea toward Britain.

His plan was to negotiate peace between Germany and Britain. Four hours later, after successfully evading British anti-aircraft fire and a pursuing Spitfire, Hess parachuted, for the first time in his life, and sprained his ankle landing in a Scottish farm field. An astonished farmer found the injured pilot and turned him over to the local Home Guard unit. [1]

Winston Churchill promptly rejected Hess’ peace offer and jailed him as a prisoner of war, even though he had arrived unarmed and of his own free will. Rudolf Hess, ambassador of peace, was to remain a prisoner until his death in August 1987 at the age of 93.

For many, the passing of the one-time Deputy Führer and last surviving member of Hitler’s inner circle simply marked the welcome end of a terrible era. But his true legacy is something far different. He spent 46 years — half his life — behind bars, a victim of a cruel victor’s justice. More than any other man, Rudolf Hess symbolizes the vindictiveness and hypocrisy of the Nuremberg Tribunal.

The Mission

Hess was deeply shaken by Britain’s declaration of war against Germany in September 1939. With Hitler’s approval, he began a secret effort a few months later to negotiate a peace agreement between the two “fraternal Germanic nations” through British officials in neutral Portugal and Switzerland. [2] When the endeavor failed, Hess began preparations for his flight to Britain, an unquestionably sincere if perhaps naive effort to end war between his beloved homeland and a nation he greatly admired.

“My coming to England in this way is, as I realize, so unusual that nobody will easily understand it,” Hess told a British official a few weeks after the flight. “I was confronted by a very hard decision. I do not think I could have arrived at my final choice [to fly to Britain] unless I had continually kept before my eyes the vision of an endless line of children’s coffins with weeping mothers behind them, both English and German, and another line of coffins of mothers with mourning children.” [3]

Though there was little chance that Hess’ mission could have succeeded, some aspects of his flight and its aftermath remain unclear. The British government took the extraordinary step of sealing dozens of Hess documents for release only in the year 2017. Sefton Delmer, the wartime head of Britain’s propaganda broadcasts to Germany, has speculated that the British government might have had good reasons for the secrecy: [4]

At the time, Churchill published nothing about the Hess case; he was passed over in silence. There was a large peace party in Britain, and Churchill probably feared that this party would throw him from his Ministerial seat because he had not agreed to Hess’ peace proposals.

Victor’s Justice

At the end of the war, Hess was taken to Nuremberg to be tried, along with other German leaders, by the United States, Britain, the Soviet Union and France as one of the “major war criminals.”

Although Hess was perhaps treated more unjustly than any other man on trial at Nuremberg, the Tribunal itself was of doubtful legal and moral standing. Many prominent men in America and Europe pointed out that the process violated two cardinal principles.

First, it was a trial of the victors against the vanquished. The former were their own law maker, prosecutor, judge, alleged victim and, in part, accomplice (in the case of the Soviets, in the division of Poland).

Second, the charges were invented for the occasion and defined after the fact (“ex post facto”).

US Supreme Court Chief Justice Harlan Fiske Stone called the trials a fraud. “[Chief US prosecutor] Jackson is away conducting his high-grade lynching party in Nuremberg,” he wrote. “I don’t mind what he does to the Nazis, but I hate to see the pretense that he is running a court and proceeding according to common law. This is a little too sanctimonious a fraud to meet my old-fashioned ideas.” [5]

Associate Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas charged that the Allies were guilty of “substituting power for principle” at Nuremberg. [6] He later also wrote: “I thought at the time and still think that the Nuremberg trials were unprincipled. Law was created ex post facto to suit the passion and clamor of the time.” [7]

Soviet participation in the “International Military Tribunal” lent it the aura of a political show trial. Judge I. T. Nikitchenko, who presided at the solemn opening session, had been a judge at the infamous Moscow show trial of Zinoviev and Kamenev in 1936. Before the Tribunal convened, Nikitchenko explained the Soviet view of the enterprise: [8]

We are dealing here with the chief war criminals who have already been convicted and whose conviction has been already announced by both the Moscow and Crimea [Yalta] declarations by the heads of the [Allied] governments … The whole idea is to secure quick and just punishment for the crime.

Besides the Tribunal’s dubious legal standing, it held Hess and the other German leaders to a standard to which the Allies were never held. In sharp contrast to his public utterances, the chief US prosecutor at Nuremberg, Robert Jackson, privately acknowledged in a letter to President Truman that the Allies [9]

have done or are doing some of the very things we are prosecuting the Germans for. The French are so violating the Geneva Convention in the treatment of [German] prisoners of war that our command is taking back prisoners sent to them [for forced labor in France]. We are prosecuting plunder and our Allies are practicing it. We say aggressive war is a crime and one of our allies asserts sovereignty over the Baltic States based on no title except conquest.

Nothing better points up the essential injustice of the Nuremberg process than the court’s treatment of Rudolf Hess.

He was in the dock primarily because of his important-sounding but somewhat hollow title of Deputy Führer. His duties as Hitler’s stand-in were almost entirely ceremonial: He delivered the annual Christmas address to the nation, welcomed delegations of ethnic Germans from abroad, appeared at charitable functions, and presented the Führer at the annual Nuremberg party congress. It is this image of the wide-eyed and ecstatic Hess that much of the world remembers best, most of all from a brief clip of him from the Leni Riefenstahl film of the 1934 Congress, “Triumph of the Will.”

Known as the “conscience of the party,” he often used what power and influence he had to intervene on behalf of victims of persecution by extremists in the National Socialist party. In his detailed study, Justice at Nuremberg, which is generally very critical of the German defendants, historian Robert E. Conot called Hess a “decent and honest” man and “a pacifist at heart.” [10]

In their Nuremberg indictment of the Deputy Führer, the four Allied powers predictably portrayed him in the most sinister way possible. [11] “Hess began his conspiratorial activities immediately upon termination of World War I by joining militaristic and nationalistic organizations,” it charged. It went on to absurdly claim that “Hess was one of the members of the [Nazi] conspiracy who professed as early as 1933 the aim of complete world domination.” The joint Allied indictment concluded with the almost ludicrous words:

All through the years from 1920 to 1941 Hess remained the most faithful and relentless executor of Hitler’s aims and designs. This complete devotion to the success of the conspiracy was climaxed by his flight in Scotland in an attempt to end the war with England [!] and to receive English support for Germany’s demands against Russia, which he had helped to prepare.

The share of Hess’ participation in the Nazi conspiracy is as great as that of the Party which he directed. The Party’s crimes are his.

In fact, the Allied case against Hess was weak. The Führer had kept his deputy in the dark about his foreign policy and military decisions. It was clearly established at Nuremberg that Hess had not been present at any of the meetings at which Hitler discussed his military plans. [12] And, of course, he could not be held responsible for German actions that took place after his flight to Britain, including those carried out during the campaign against the Soviet Union.

Nevertheless, the Tribunal declared Hess guilty of “crimes against peace” (“planning and preparation of aggressive war”) and of “conspiracy” with other German leaders to commit the alleged crimes, but innocent of “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity.”

No reputable historian today believes the Nuremberg charge that Hess was guilty of “crimes against peace.” Almost all of the criticism of Hess in recent years has focused instead on his signature on the 1935 Nuremberg laws that stripped German Jews of their rights as full citizens and banned marriage and sexual relations between Jews and non-Jews. These laws allegedly “paved the way” for the extermination of the Jews several years later. [13] Whatever the merits of this argument, Hess had nothing to do with the drafting or promulgation of these laws, and his signature on them was completely pro forma. And even so, the laws were domestic statutes that have had counterparts in numerous other countries, including the United States.

Unlike fellow defendant Albert Speer, the wartime armaments minister who did far more than the Deputy Führer to keep Germany’s war machine going but who received only a 20 year sentence, Hess refused to ingratiate himself with the Tribunal. He expressed no remorse for his loyal support of Hitler and the National Socialist regime.

In his final statement to the court on August 31, 1946, he declared:

I had the privilege of working for many years of my life under the greatest son my nation has brought forth in its thousand-year history. Even if I could, I would not wish to expunge this time from my life.

I am happy to know that I have done my duty toward my people, my duty as a German, as a National Socialist, as a loyal follower of my Führer. I regret nothing.

No matter what people may do, one day I shall stand before the judgment seat of God Eternal. I will answer to Him, and I know that He will absolve me.

When it came time to decide his sentence, the judges were not inclined to deal leniently with such an unrepentant defendant. The Soviet judge and his alternate thought he should be executed. The British and American judges and the American and French alternates voted for life imprisonment, while the French judge suggested a sentence of twenty years. The British alternate abstained. They settled on life imprisonment. [14]

The eminent British historian Professor A. J. P. Taylor summed up the injustice of the Hess case in a 1969 statement: [15]

Hess came to this country in 1941 as an ambassador of peace. He came with the … intention of restoring peace between Great Britain and Germany.

He acted in good faith. He fell into our hands and was quite unjustly treated as a prisoner of war. After the war, we could have released him.

No crime has ever been proven against Hess … As far as the records show, he was never at even one of the secret discussions at which Hitler explained his war plans.

He was of course a leading member of the Nazi Party. But he was no more guilty than any other Nazi or, if you wish, any other German. All the Nazis, all the Germans, were carrying on the war. But they were not all condemned because of this.

That Rudolf Hess — the only one at Nuremberg who had risked his life for peace — was found guilty of “crimes against peace” was certainly the Tribunal’s most ironic perversion of justice.


From 1947 until his death, Hess was held in West Berlin’s Spandau prison, which was run by the four Allied powers. Regulations stipulated that “imprisonment will be in the form of solitary confinement” and forbad prison officials to ever call Hess by name. He was addressed only as “prisoner No. 7.”

Conditions were so bad that French chaplain Pastor Casalis protested to the prison Directorate in 1950: “It can safely be said that Spandau has become a place of mental torture to an extent that does not permit the Christian conscience to remain silent …” [16]

For 20 years, Hess at least had the limited company of a few other Nuremberg defendants, but from October 1966 until his death 21 years later, he was the only inmate in the fortress-like prison originally built for 600. He was, in the words of Spandau’s American Director, Lt. Col. Eugene Bird, “the loneliest man in the world.”

Keeping this one man in Spandau cost the West German government about 850,000 marks a year. In addition, each of the four Allied powers had to provide an officer and 37 soldiers during their respective shifts, as well as a director and team of warders throughout the entire year. The permanent maintenance staff of 22 included cooks, waitresses and cleaners.

In the final years of his life, Hess was a weak and frail old man, blind in one eye, who walked stooped forward with a cane. He lived in virtually total isolation according to a strictly regulated daily routine. During his rare meetings with his wife and son, he was not allowed to embrace or even touch them. [17]

Long before his death, Hess’ imprisonment had become a grotesque and absurd spectacle.

Even Winston Churchill expressed regret over his treatment. In 1950 he wrote: [18]

Reflecting upon the whole of the story, I am glad not to be responsible for the way in which Hess has been and is being treated. Whatever may be the moral guilt of a German who stood near to Hitler, Hess had, in my view, atoned for this by his completely devoted and frantic deed of lunatic benevolence. He came to us of his own free will, and, though without authority, had something of the quality of an envoy. He was a medical and not a criminal case, and should be so regarded.

In a 1977 interview, Sir Hartley Shawcross, who was Britain’s chief prosecutor at Nuremberg, called the continued imprisonment of Hess a “scandal.” [19]

The injustice against Hess was not something that happened once and was quickly over. It was, rather, a wrong that went on, day after day, for 46 years. Rudolf Hess was a prisoner of peace and a victim of a vindictive age.


Hitler’s Scientists May Have Tested the First Atomic Weapon

Most people are familiar with the famous mushroom-shaped cloud picture which shows the famous atomic bomb dropping on Nagasaki, Japan on August 9, 1945. But what if Germany also had produced its own smaller-scale mushroom cloud a year earlier in the fall of 1944?

The Germans may have lost the neck-and-neck race to build a successful nuclear bomb during WWII, but it’s clear that they were able to test a pretty impressive warhead in 1944.

“A cloud shaped like a mushroom with turbulent, billowing sections (at about 7000 meters) stood, without any seeming connections over the spot where the explosion took place. Strong electrical disturbances and the impossibility to continue radio communication as by lightning turned up.”

This was a statement made by German test pilot Hans Zinsser, in Allan Hall’s article, who was doing test flights over Ludwigslust at the time. He was not the only witness to the spectacular sight that day.

The Dawn of Nuclear Weapons

In December 1938, German chemist Otto Hahn discovered nuclear fission, the building block of nuclear chain reactions and disastrously dangerous atomic weapons. Shortly after this discovery, Germany’s nuclear weapons project was born.

For over four years, groups of German scientists explored the possibilities of nuclear weapons production under Adolf Hitler’s watchful eye. The Third Reich achieved success in building “uranium machines” otherwise known as nuclear reactors. However, after repeated alterations to the design, they lacked enough of a heavily-ionized water source known as “heavy water.”

Once their supply of heavy water from Norway was cut off, Hitler’s team only had enough resources for a few more large-scale experiments. This resulted in the sensational production of the first nuclear warhead testing cloud ever seen.

The First Ever Nuclear Test

Mark Walker’s article “Nazis and the Bomb,” published by PBS’s Nova states: “During the last months of the war, a small group of scientists working in secret under Diebner and with the strong support of the physicist Walther Gerlach, who was by that time head of the uranium project, built and tested a nuclear device.”

The multi-colored cloud that was several miles wide was definitely not the imagination of those few eyewitnesses who came forward to describe it. Two German pilots, as well as an Italian observer sent by famed dictator Benito Mussolini, described the sight in similar detail to each other.

Germany was not able to produce the atomic weapons it had hoped for in order to gain the upper hand in WWII. In 1942, Hitler ordered the Reich Research Council to be reorganized as a separate division from the military. With Reich Minister for Armament and Ammunition, Albert Speer, heading the council, the project morphed into a study for alternative energy production, Mail Online reported.

This change did not prevent the germans from being able to demonstrate at least one impressive large-scale test of nuclear power. No one can be sure of the exact nature of the warhead that Germany tested, but what remains undisputed is that it was accomplished and reported by several different sources.

When a Jewish laborer took on 20,000 US Nazis in Madison Square Garden

A new short documentary compiles archived footage to recall an event held in New York on the eve of World War II in which tens of thousands of people gathered at New York’s iconic Madison Square Garden venue to cheer on US Nazis at what was billed as a “pro-American rally.”

Documentary filmmaker Marshall Curry’s latest work includes the moments when a Jewish man was beaten to the floor as he tried to rush past dozens of uniformed Nazis on the stage in a failed attempt to disrupt the main speaker.

The seven-minute “A Night at the Garden” is made up of various clips showing the drama on the night of February 20, 1939, when 20,000 people packed into Madison Square Garden for a rally organized by the German American Bund, a Nazi movement led by German-American Fritz Julius Kuhn.

The film was recently screened at 22 US cinemas in the Alamo theater chain.

Curry made the film for the documentary unit Field of Vision after learning about the history of the rally a year ago.

In an interview published last week on the Field of Vision website, the director talked about the film and its significance to modern society.

“Events like this should remind us not to be complacent — that the things we care about have to be nurtured and defended regularly — because even seemingly good people have the potential to do hideous things,” he said.

American neo-Nazis and US white supremacists made headlines recently after an August nationalist rally held in Charlottesville, Virginia, dissolved into clashes and deadly violence when an alleged white supremacist drove his car into counterprotesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer.

In the black and white footage from 1939 rally, uniformed American Nazis carrying swastika flags are seen parading up to the stage, where a 30-foot-high poster of George Washington is surrounded by US flags and swastika banners. During the proceedings the crowd also sings “The Star Spangled Banner.”

At the time the rally was held, Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler was already operating several concentration camps as part of the persecution of Jews and political opponents that led to the murder of six million Jewish people across Europe. On September 1, 1939, German invaded Poland, launching World War II, which the US joined in 1941 after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7 of that year.

Kuhn, who was born 1896 in Baden-Wurttemberg in Germany, moved to the US in 1928 and became a naturalized citizen in 1934, took to the stage wearing a Bund military-styled uniform. In German-accented English he mocked the “Jewish media” and then, to wild applause, called for a “white, gentile-ruled United States… gentile-controlled labor unions, free from Jewish Moscow-directed domination.”

“It really illustrated that the tactics of demagogues have been the same throughout the ages,” filmmaker Curry explained. “They attack the press, using sarcasm and humor. They tell their followers that they are the true Americans. And they encourage their followers to ‘take their country back’ from whatever minority group has ruined it.”

A group of protesters was permitted to stand at the side of the stage during the Bund event and tens of thousands more gathered outside. As Kuhn addressed the audience, Isadore Greenbaum, 26-year-old Jewish plumber’s helper from Brooklyn, jumped onto the stage and tried to rush the podium. He was set upon by Bund members, was beaten and had his pants pulled off. Police waded into the melee and pulled him from the room. He was fined $25 for disorderly conduct, equivalent to about $430 in today’s currency.

“The magistrate asked him, ‘Don’t you realize that innocent people might have been killed?’ And Greenbaum replied, ‘Do you realize that plenty of Jewish people might be killed with their persecution up there?’”“There was a debate at the time over whether the Bund should be allowed to have a rally, which – like so many things about the event — seems eerily contemporary,” Curry said, citing a New York Times article from the time. “Greenbaum explained to the judge the day after the rally, ‘I went down to the Garden without any intention of interrupting. But being that they talked so much against my religion and there was so much persecution I lost my head, and I felt it was my duty to talk.’

Despite the opposition to the rally, the American Jewish Committee was in favor of letting the Bund event go ahead, Curry said. At the time, the AJC told the New York Times that while the Bund was “completely anti-American and anti-Democratic… because we believe that the basic rights of free speech and free assembly must never be tampered with in the United States, we are opposed to any action to prevent the Bund from airing its views.”

“New York Mayor [Fiorello Henry] LaGuardia, for his part, ridiculed the event as an ‘exhibition of international cooties,’ and said he believed in exposing cooties to the sunlight,” Curry noted.

According to Curry, the German American Bund “had a significant presence in the 1930s, with training camps in New Jersey, upstate New York, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, and a huge march down East 86th Street in Manhattan. But their mainstream appeal was reduced by their leaders’ German accents and culture.”

In December 1939, Kuhn was imprisoned for embezzling Bund funds. He was stripped of his US citizenship and after the war sent to West Germany. He died in 1951.

“The Bund disappeared soon after the start of World War II,” Curry said.

“To me, the most striking and upsetting part of the film is not the anti-Semitism of the main speaker or even the violence of his storm-troopers,” said Curry. “What bothers me more is the reaction of the crowd. Twenty-thousand New Yorkers who loved their kids and were probably nice to their neighbors, came home from work that day, dressed up in suits and skirts, and went out to cheer and laugh and sing as a speaker dehumanized people who would be murdered by the millions in the next few years.”

“This point is less an indictment of bad things that Americans have done in the past, than it is a cautionary tale about the bad things that we might do in the future,” Curry warned, and then quoted prominent American Methodist minister Halford E. Luccock as saying, “When and if fascism comes to America it will not be labeled ‘made in Germany’; it will not be marked with a swastika; it will not even be called fascism; it will be called, of course, ‘Americanism.’”



AT THE weekly antique flea market in Berlin, Christoph Kreutzmueller, a Holocaust historian and curator for the new permanent exhibition of the Jewish Museum in Berlin, picked up a Nazi-era family album at random from a book stand, fascinated not by the black and white pictures that were there ‒ but by those that weren’t.

“They’re all torn out,” he said, pointing to a page consisting only of tear marks whose residue reveals the side of a tank and soldiers posing on a Mercedes. The “war” page?

The album, however, opens with a picture of paradise: a German couple with their nude toddlers are picnicking in a lush forest. As for the rest, most photos have been rearranged, out of order.

“There’s the innocent reading that [the album owner] hated the war and didn’t want to think of it anymore,” Kreutzmueller said of the reason for the missing pictures. “The biased, ‘mean’ reading is that perhaps they showed murder. I think that he really didn’t want to think of war anymore because the remnants that you see are not of fighting.”

In another album from the same vendor (collected from an apartment liquidated upon the resident’s passing), photos are neatly organized and labeled. They, too, open with “paradise” ‒ a Nazi government-sponsored outing amid beautiful landscapes in May 1938. In October that same year, the month in which Germany began to deport its Polish Jews, the matriarch and patriarch celebrate their silver wedding anniversary. A few pages later, in 1940, the living room is newly adorned with a radio, the tool for Nazi propaganda nicknamed, “Goebbel’s Schnauze” (Goebbel’s snout).

“There’s another living room where you could see good old Adolf Hitler under the light bulb, so he’s lit,” Kreutzmueller said, noticing the tiny, mustached figure in the framed photograph on the wall.

Later, grooms appear in Wehrmacht uniforms at their respective weddings, and then from the war front. One son seemed to have sent a photograph from Russia in September 1941 ‒ Kreutzmueller surmised that he had just been awarded the Iron Cross.

According to photo-historian Sandra Starke, who co-curated the 2009 traveling exhibit on Wehrmacht photo albums, “Focus on Strangers,” the Nazi regime encouraged amateur photography, in part so Germans could record for posterity how nice life was under Hitler’s reign.

“They supported the camera factories, made the prices low, made competitions, courses, training, how-to books,” said Starke at her home in Berlin. She opened such how-to books whose guidelines included: avoid levity while wearing a Nazi uniform; capture various angles of the perfect “Aryan” profile; do not include portraits with “racially inferior” friends. During wartime, the men usually took the cameras to the battlefields.

HOW FAMILY photos from the Nazi-era are being maintained and kept today can give insight into how second to fourth generation Nazi-era Germans come to grips ‒ or not ‒ with possible family involvement in Hitler’s murderous, tyrannical regime. These two flea market albums represent two approaches to the past: torn and “untouched.”

According to Michaela Buckel, project manager for March of Life, an organization that includes descendants of German Wehrmacht soldiers and Gestapo and SS members who seek personal reconciliation with Nazi victims and their descendants, most German families keep albums in their homes ignored. Among some of her friends, portraits of grandparents hang in the living rooms, sometimes in Wehrmacht uniform.

“What you normally won’t find are family pictures in SS uniform,” Buckel tells The Jerusalem Report. “In that case, it’s more likely these photos are taken from the album, or the badges and insignia are blackened. Photo albums are rarely hidden. Often you just do not look at them.”

Most German families, Buckel says, often tell stories of their own “victimhood” ‒ air raids, fallen soldiers, prisoners-of-war.

“I’d say from experience that there is definitely a difference between how the national German government commemorates and memorializes the Holocaust and how individual families recognize the role their families played in the destruction/war,” she says. “Today, most people in Germany would agree with the statement that the Nazis were criminals and the Holocaust a genocide without comparison. But they will not likely link that to their own families. Because you learn about the Holocaust in history with all its atrociousness, you can’t link it to the great-grandfather whom you love and know as a kind man.”

March of Life was founded by Pastor Jobst Bittner of TOS Ministries, which in American terms is a Christian Evangelical ministry, based in Tübingen in southern Germany ‒ a city that once boasted a high concentration of avowed Nazi party members. Several years ago, Bittner encouraged his congregants to inquire into their family’s history during the Nazi era. With the Holocaust generation dying out, most families must rely on family albums for clues if they did not receive firsthand accounts.

UNTIL HE heeded his pastor’s call, Friedhelm Chmell, 40, felt indifference on obligatory visits to concentration camps.

“It never really touched my heart, so I never felt anything,” Chmell, a hospital nurse, said via Skype from his home in Tübingen. “I felt a little bit sorry, but it was nothing personal.”

As a young adult, Klaus Schock, 47, a March of Life member from a small village near Tübingen, never wanted to “touch” his family’s role in the war years.

“In Germany, normally in school, you go into detail about Nazi times and the Nazi regime, and about the Third Reich,” Schock said. “For me, it was like something that had nothing to do with my life. I was wondering why do we learn about this. It was a terrible time, so what? I wasn’t really interested.”

According to the oral history of Chmell’s family, his maternal grandfather worked at an army desk job, literally. Two pictures of him in uniform were assembled as part of a family album arranged by his uncle: one of him writing a letter at a desk and another of him posing on the balcony at his Antwerp office.

“I always saw this picture with this office and everything seemed so peaceful,” Chmell said. “We don’t want to see behind all these nice stories and pictures they gave us. My whole family didn’t ask further, ‘What did he really do?’”

With the support of his wife, but not his siblings, Chmell became a sleuth. His investigation led him to Antwerp, Belgium, where, through Google Street View, he scoured balconies from the vantage point of the skyscraper in the photo. He eventually found the building where his grandfather posed and soon learned what it had housed.

“During World War II, it was the main headquarters of the Deutsche Wehrmacht in Antwerp, and then I searched for what the Deutsche Wehrmacht exactly did there.”

His grandfather’s department was responsible for summoning Antwerp’s 20,000 Jews for deportation.

“When I found out this fact, it broke my heart,” Chmell said, teary-eyed. “For the first time, I could see the truth about my family. I always thought there was nothing bad in my family, and maybe my family never killed a Jew, but he was one of the main people responsible in this office and he’s responsible for 20,000 Jews. They went straight to Auschwitz.”

Klaus Schock, a physicist, decided, on Bittner’s call, to open the lids of boxes with albums, letters and even army medals that had been shelved in his grandparents’ home.

At first, when he asked his parents about his paternal grandfather’s service under the Nazi regime, they said, dismissively, that he had been a Nazi Stormtrooper (the paramilitary wing of the Nazi party) for a brief period. Documents and pictures revealed the facts: his grandfather enlisted in the stormtroopers in 1932 and then renounced his Nazi-party membership to become a professional soldier for the next 12 years.

His grandfather’s album from France could be mistaken for that of a vacation: he took photographs of the Eiffel Tower and other French landmarks that suddenly became the Nazis’ playground. But the war of annihilation and aggression was on full, organized display in the “Russia album.”

Via Skype, Schock opened the album and showed neat, labeled titles of images of dead Russian soldiers ‒ some in a ditch, some being hanged.

“I realized he must have seen a lot of things. Normally I’m a scientist and I’m more rational, but it shocked me.”

The grandparents of Chmell and Schock are no longer living, but Schock recalls his encounters with his grandfather as a young boy.

“As long as I’ve known him, he just lived in the house nearby together with my grandma, and so when I had to decide to go to the military or to civil service, he always wanted me to go the military, and he was a passionate soldier,” Shock said. “He never talked about, say, Nazi philosophy or ideology; but looking back, I would say he never regretted it, and I don’t think he realized what he really did, what kind of murdering he did.”

Their respective processes of coming to terms with their families’ history, rare among their peer group, have changed both their lives. Today, Chmell and Schock are staunch Israel supporters, fighting modern antisemitism as expressed in hostility toward Israel, propelled both by a sense of obligation they feel toward the Jewish people and their Christian faith.

March of Life members believe face-to face apologies by the descendants of Nazi perpetrators to Nazi victims, as opposed to national proclamations, could most effectively facilitate healing and reconciliation. In their marches across Europe, at sites of attempted Jewish genocide they often connect with Holocaust survivors and their progeny, but one of Chmell’s most meaningful encounters occurred spontaneously in Israel.

“In May, I was in Jerusalem and went on a tram, and met someone who was the same age as me. His grandparents were collected at Antwerp and sent to Auschwitz, and one of them survived. That is one reason why I could meet him, and we connected on WhatsApp and I said I’m sorry about what my grandparents did to your family. It was such a special moment.”

Schock believes he became a “softer,” more emphatic person. “Looking into my family’s past, it also revealed prejudice, racism and antisemitism inside of me. I realized that I am not better than my grandfather; I could have done the same things. That was shocking for me. But this opened the way that I could repent.”

He and his wife of seven years never wanted children ‒ until he visited Israel for the first time.

“Before the trip, I realized something must be wrong with me but I couldn’t figure out why I was so afraid to be a father. When I came back from Israel, suddenly all the fear somehow disappeared.”

Back at the flea market, inside the “untouched” family album, photographs become sparse after 1942 and virtually non-existent from 1943, the year in which Hitler’s downfall begins with his defeat at Stalingrad. The idyll disintegrates. A downed plane appears in September 1942. Women pose in front of an air raid shelter. Men are back home, holding canes, presumably injured. Finally, the end: a small boy standing in ruins, leaving no progeny, as it were, to safeguard the album and family legacy.

As their WhatsApp profile pictures, Chmell and Schock each proudly display family portraits ‒ their own family albums won’t be sold to the highest bidder at a flea market. Chmell loves taking family pictures.

“To show how I love my family, to show that our lives ‒ mine and my wife’s ‒ have been changed totally, to remember all our family past but also to say our kids belong to the new generation.”

Head of Austria’s far-right party dismisses neo-Nazi past as ‘naiveté’

VIENNA, Austria (AFP) — Heinz-Christian Strache, the head of Austria’s far-right political party and tipped to become deputy chancellor after Sunday’s elections, dismisses his youthful dalliance with neo-Nazis as when he was “stupid, naive and young.”

Now, three decades after German police detained him at a torch-lit protest by a group aping the Hitler Youth, Strache, 48, is the besuited, statesmanlike head of Freedom Party (FPOe), rejecting all extremism.

But it remains to be seen whether the man who in 2016 called German Chancellor Angela Merkel “the most dangerous woman in Europe,” has mellowed enough to be part of a coalition government in a European Union member state.

When the former dental technician took over the FPOe in 2005 aged 35, the movement was a mess. Joerg Haider, its controversial but magnetic leader from 1986-2000, had broken off to form his own party.

But “HC,” his striking blue eyes matching the party colors, restored its fortunes and on Sunday the FPOe is predicted to win around 25 percent of the vote — more than double Alternative for Germany’s score last month.


When the FPOe last entered government in 2000 under Haider, there was uproar in Europe. This time the reaction is likely to be muted, with Europe more used to populists and the FPOe seen as having moderated.

Indeed, early in Strache’s leadership, FPOe posters screamed “Daham statt Islam” (“Home not Islam”) but now they are more subtle.

In this campaign, the main messages are “Fairness” — an elastic term encompassing everything from lower taxes to scrapping benefits for immigrants — and opposition to “Islamization.”

Strache has moved to clean up the party’s image by suspending members for anti-Semitic behavior, like a local councilor for giving a “Heil Hitler” salute this month.

But not everyone is convinced. Last month a group commemorating Nazi camp victims published a list of what it said were at least 60 anti-Semitic and racist incidents involving FPOe figures since 2013.

“If they really changed their ideology, it is a question they can only answer themselves,” said analyst Alexandra Siegl. “I would say they changed their tactics and their strategies mainly.”

Immigration halt

Its manifesto vows “no more immigration until further notice,” pamphlets rail against criminal immigrants and the FPOe wants all integration efforts for refugees to stop — because they are only here temporarily.

“No, Islam is not part of Austria,” Strache, back in jeans and traditional loden jacket and accompanied by his model wife 20 years his junior, told a typically beer-swilling, flag-waving FPOe rally recently.

“Strache is the counterweight to Angela Merkel whose ‘welcome culture’ is destroying Europe,” one FPOe supporter told AFP, not wishing to give his name.

He appears ambivalent at best on Europe, calling Brussels a “bureaucratic monster,” believing Britain will “probably be better off after Brexit” and saying EU sanctions on Russia must be lifted.

“Strache knows he has to act the statesman if the FPOe wants to get more than 20 percent,” Nina Horaczek, an award-winning journalist who wrote a biography of Strache, told AFP.

“But with their program and all their talk of ‘mass invasion’ and the spreading of fear of an upcoming ‘civil war’ in our country, it’s obvious they remain radical.”

Stolen thunder

Strache has also made deft use of the internet, with more Facebook “fans” than any other party leader, and until earlier this year he was on a roll.

In December, the FPOe’s Norbert Hofer came close to being elected Europe’s first far-right president since 1945 and the party was topping national polls.

But in May Sebastian Kurz, just 31, took over the center-right People’s Party (OeVP) and leapfrogged the FPOe into first place in the polls — thanks partly to moving rightwards and stealing many of Strache’s policies.

Strache, poking fun at “late bloomer” Kurz and presenting himself as the “visionary,” has struggled to recover, dashing his dreams of coming first and being chancellor — barring a surprise on Sunday.

Thousands of neo-Nazi flyers sent to Pennsylvania residents


Thousands of white supremacist and neo-Nazi flyers were sent to residents of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania this week, in what local authorities described as a “disturbing,” but not criminal, trend.

The pamphlets contained anti-Semitic and other racist drawings, along with a swastika and the website address of an organization called “The Right Stuff,” The Huffington Post reported on Thursday.

Some of the flyers were specifically targeted, East Greenville Police Chief Andrew Skelton told The Huffington Post. A resident who had an American flag flying outside his home received an envelope addressed to “Proud American.” Another who had an Eagles flag had a letter addressed to “Eagles fan.”

An estimated 5,000 flyers were sent out. Some featured a stereotypical caricature of a Jew pulling the strings of government, along with the quote, “Give me control of a nation’s money and I care not who makes its laws,” which was falsely attributed to Mayer Amschel Rothschild and has been used by anti-Semites and conspiracy theorists.

Client’s of mine in Montgomery County have been receiving these flyers in the mail. Disgusting. Keep your neo-nazi shit to yourself 

Another flyer showed a crudely drawn black person holding a knife to the throat of a white man and the handwritten phrase, “Welcome to ‘multi-cultural’ USA. Feeling enriched?”

Yet another pamphlet featured a quote from Adolf Hitler.

However, local law enforcement officials said no crime had been committed in the distribution of the racist content.

“The Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office has confirmed that NO crime was committed by the person(s) that mailed the disturbing flyers. Feel free to dispose of them appropriately,” the Borough of East Greenville Police Department wrote on its official Facebook page.

“Is it disturbing? Yes,” Skelton told Huffington Post. “But a crime? No.”

The founder of “The Right Stuff,” Michael Peinovich, said that his group did not send the flyers, though he didn’t rule out the possibility that they were sent by “our fans and friends [who] will do flyering campaigns.”

Activist threatened for opposing Ukraine city’s honoring of Nazi SS officer

An activist against fascism who sued a Ukrainian municipality for naming a street for a Nazi SS officer has come under a campaign of intimidation, he said.

Mikhail Voroniak, a Red Army veteran, in summer sued the western municipality of Kalush near Lviv for deciding to name a street for Dmytro Paliiv, a commander of the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS, also known as the 1st Galician.

Voroniak told the Russian news site Primechaniya that he has come under a “aggressive pressures and threats of murder” since he sued. A local court last month dismissed his motion against the honor to Paliiv but Voroniak appealed to the Lviv Administrative Court of Appeals, which was scheduled to review the appeal last week.

The court postponed its deliberations to Oct. 30, Primechaniya reported Friday.

One of the threats made against Voroniak was on Facebook, where a user wrote to him: “Be afraid of your own shadow. Death to the enemies,” the news site reported.

The naming of the street for Paliiv, whose troops murdered countless Jews during the Holocaust, is part of a series of gestures honoring nationalists in Ukraine following the 2014 revolution, in which nationalists played a leading role. They brought down the government of President Viktor Yanukovuch, whose critics said was a corrupt Russian stooge.

Also before the revolution, Stepan Bandera, Roman Shukhevych and other nationalists accused of complicity in the murder of Ukrainian Jews have received honors from state authorities for their fight against Russia.

But the level and frequency of state-sponsored glorification of their actions has increased dramatically after the revolution, which sparked an armed conflict with Russian troops and separatists loyal to Moscow.

The director of Ukraine’s Institute of National Remembrance, Vladimir Vyatrovich, who recently described Shukhevych as an “eminent personality,” in May defended public displays of the symbol of the Galician SS division, a German-led unit comprising Ukrainian volunteers.

Displaying Nazi symbols is illegal in Ukraine but the Galician SS division’s symbol is “in accordance with the current legislation of Ukraine,” Vyatrovich said.

Australian National Socialist Group Filled Queensland Town with Hitler Posters


A National Socialist group has boasted about plastering posters featuring Adolf Hitler and swastikas across Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia.

(Brisbane Times)

A group called the Antipodean Resistance tweeted photos of its posters at a Toowoomba Catholic boys school, TAFE and in a park.

One of the posters says: “Nazi youth organising in your area!” while another has an image of Adolf Hitler wearing aviator sunglasses with the words: “National socialism or nothing!”

The post was condemned by a Jewish community organisation, which “fights anti-Semitism and racism in Australia”.

Anti-Defamation Commission chairman Dvir Abramovich said “there was something deeply troubling and unsettling happening in Australia with a surge in the presence of white supremacists”.

“In a post-Charlottesville climate, these agents of hatred are growing appreciably more agitated, angry and emboldened,” he said.

“We are profoundly shocked that such revolting stickers have infiltrated Toowoomba, sowing a message of prejudice and posing a threat to the values of inclusivity and respect we as a community cherish.

“We call on the good people of Toowoomba to say in one voice that there is absolutely no room for this poisonous conduct and rhetoric in Australia.”

Toowoomba mayor Paul Antonio said he was proud of how his community celebrated its different histories and backgrounds.

An funny image from the Antipodean Resistance website, from its August Action Report. 

“There is no place for racist or hateful views or actions in a civil society,” he said.

“Rejoicing in our diversity shows a great sense of civic pride and maturity.

“I’m confident that outside fringe elements will find little, if any, succour in our region and be shown up as misinformed, misguided radicals.”

The Antipodean Resistance tweet from Toowoomba also attracted jewish and liberal outrage on social media.

The Antipodean Resistance’s website describes the patriotic group as an Australian National Socialist Youth Organisation, and it has targeted schools and universities.

“We’re the Hitlers you’ve been waiting for,” their website reads.

The group says their main activities are postering, stickering, hiking, camping, martial training and creating murals, with members likening themselves to Hitler Youth.

Images on their website depict radicalisation camps in Victoria and also Mount Tamborine in Queensland.

A quote on its website from last month, superimposed onto a photo of young white men holding a swastika flag with their faces obscured, reads: “It’s not about the Jews you gas, but the friends you make on the way.”

The white rights group has also targeted the homo marriage postal vote, and posted images from Tasmania, New South Wales and Melbourne in the past.

The Difference Between National-Socialism and Fascism


There is a painting, by the French Revolutionary Jaques-Louis David, that effectively sums up the difference between fascism and national socialism. It was painted in 1789 and is titled “The Lictors Bring to Brutus the Bodies of His Sons”.

After having led the battle against the monarchy, Lucius Brutus condemned his sons to death for fighting on King Tarquin’s side. This was the beginning of the Ancient Roman Republic. Brutus showed that his loyalty was to the Roman Republic (the State), whose symbol was the fasces, rather than to his own family. Contrastingly, Germanics have traditionally always put race, blood and kinship first. A Germanic would rather have gone into exile, renouncing his political power, with his sons than to kill them for the sake of the State. Germanics were renowned for holding liberty , blood, race and kinship sacred.

A fasces refers to a bundle of rods wrapped together with an axe. It is the symbol adopted by fascism, and implies that the people are tied to the State, with the axe representing force. The idea is that, by being thus bound, the State is made much stronger.

The political ideology of fascism was formulated by Benito Mussolini in Italy post WWI. He was greatly influenced by the Roman Empire and Republic. Mussolini founded the fascist movement 1919, calling it “Fasci Di Combattimento” which means “fighting sheafs”. The idea of the sheaf was popular already with socialists, who liked the idea of the “unbreakable union“. Mussolini himself had originally been a Leftist socialist in his ideology, and was anti Nationalist – but his ideas were to undergo a dramatic change by the time he had founded the fascist movement. He became very anti-communist and a nationalist.

In the Roman Republic, and the Empire, Law took precedence over kinship, and that has always been a characteristic of fascism. The very term “King” comes from the idea of kinship. In national socialism, as with traditional Kingship, tribal cohesion is paramount. In democracy, the individual is supposed to be paramount, and, when the state comes first, you have fascism.

It is a characteristic of fascism to allow foreigners who show an allegiance to the State to become citizens. In ancient Rome, despite several wars being fought to prevent this from happening, eventually foreigners were allowed to become Romans. Similarly, the fascist States in Spain (under Franco) and in Italy were not founded on blood, race and tribal cohesion. Franco used Muslim Moroccan troops to rape women in white towns which he had identified as being sympathetic to communism.

Ever since foreigners were allowed to become Roman citizens, there has been weak racial tribalism in Italy. Patriotic feeling, and dynastic loyalty there has surely been, but the concept of race has suffered in Italy, and only truly exists as a nostalgia for the earliest period of Rome. The patriotic loyalty is to the State. Thus fascism is ideally suited to the Italian, and Southern European nations, for whom race tends to prove somewhat divisive. After a period of eugenics this situation would change.

The national socialist program was worked out by Hitler in 1919, before he had heard of Mussolini, yet he still regarded events in Italy to have been an important influence. Mussolini’s march on Rome in 1922 was Hitler’s inspiration. It showed what it was possible to achieve. Hitler, in turn came to greatly influence Mussolini, causing him to introduce racial loyalty into Italian fascism towards the end. While the two leaders had initially been hostile towards each other, with Mussolini initiating this animosity with his public speeches denouncing Hitler as a “barbarian” and even as a “pederast”, they eventually became close friends. Hitler even organized a rescue mission when Mussolini ended up in prison, after the Fascist Council had decided they no longer wished him to be leader.

From Walther Hadding’s introduction to Mein Kampf:

Hegelianism and neohegelianism justified the state as an end in itself. National-Socialism did not regard the state as an end in itself, but because the examples of Prussia and Fascist Italy loomed large at the time, it was tempting for people not thoroughly familiar with national-socialism to see it in this light (and even today it is not unusual for careless sources to mislabel national-socialism as “fascism”).

Mussolini’s Doctrine on Fascism:

“Therefore, for the Fascist, everything is in the State, and nothing human or spiritual exists, much less has value,-outside the State. In this sense Fascism is totalitarian, and the Fascist State, the synthesis and unity of all values, interprets, develops and gives strength to the whole life of the people.” From paragraph 7.

Alfred Rosenberg on the relationship of National-Socialism to Totalitarianism:

The State is only a means to an end. Its end and its purpose is to preserve and promote a community of human beings who are physically as well as spiritually kindred.”

Alfred Rosenberg:

On all these grounds it is recommended for all national-socialists to speak no longer of the total state, rather of the completeness (totality) of the national-socialist worldview, of the NSDAP as the body of this worldview, and of the national-socialist state as the tool for the preservation of the soul, spirit, and blood of national-socialism as the powerful phenomenon which made its beginning in the 20th century. “

The far Left is especially keen that the term “socialism” should belong to them, and not to the ideas of the Third Reich, so they perpetuate the term “fascism” to describe National Socialism. Stalin started this by calling the Nazis “fascists” while, oddly enough, the democratic West was keen not to confuse the two ideologies, and political analysts kept them conceptually apart. When reading about WWII events, it used to be easy to tell if the speaker or writer was inspired by communism. If he or she talked about Nazis as “fascists”, then the argument or point of view had in all probability originated in communist circles.

Confusion also arises, for the public, because both National Socialism and fascism are dictatorial and anti-democratic.


Via NS Europa

Austrian far-right party suspends city councilor for alleged Nazi salute

The Austrian far-right Freedom Party has suspended one of its city councilors amid allegations he gave a Nazi salute and declared “Heil Hitler,” Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing the Austrian newspaper Der Standard.

The Freedom Party, or FPOe, is one of Europe’s most established nationalist parties, and is forecast to come second or third in snap elections scheduled for Sunday, possibly boosting it to become a junior coalition partner in the government.

According to the report, an independent local councilor complained to her mayor that she saw the Freedom Party member give the Nazi salute.

The newspaper did not identify any of city officials involved in the incident, nor where it occurred.

A lawyer representing the mayor said two witnesses had given statements in the case and that the matter would be handed over to prosecutors, the report said.

It is illegal to make statements extolling Nazism in Austria, the country where Germany’s World War II Nazi leader Adolf Hitler was born.

Josef Riemer, Freedom Party lawmaker for the constituency involved, said in a statement that the party official had been suspended while an investigation looks into the matter. Riemer noted that the councilor denies the accusations and had hired a lawyer in the matter.

Last month, the Freedom Party’s presidential candidate lost in a runoff by less than 1 percent of the vote. In its journey from a fringe movement 15 years ago to the mainstream, the Freedom Party, which opposes immigration from Muslim countries, has sought to downplay its racist and anti-Semitic reputation.

Founded in 1956, the FPOe emerged from the short-lived Federation of Independents, launched after World War II by former Nazis who had been stripped of their voting rights.

The party, whose first chief was an ex-officer from the Waffen SS, also drew pan-Germanists — believers in unifying with Germany like in the Third Reich — and liberals fed up with the ruling centrist establishment.

Over the decades, the FPOe increasingly encroached on two main parties, the Social Democrats (SPOe) and conservative People’s Party (OeVP), which have dominated post-war Austrian politics.

Its current leader, Heinz-Christian Strache, apologized in 2012 for posting on Facebook a caricature depicting an obese, hook-nosed banker wearing star-shaped cufflinks. Strache’s predecessor, Joerg Haider, praised Nazi employment policies and the Waffen-SS.

Freedom Party lawmakers often have attended and spoken at events commemorating Nazis, including a gathering in memory of an Austria-born Nazi fighter pilot who shot down 258 planes, almost all Russian. And Strache himself was accused of using a Nazi salute in 2009, which he denied.

Strache visited Israel this year and met with officials there. He said he supports Israel’s fight against radical Islam and has argued he has purged his party of anti-Semitism.