LONDON — To the French Jews who toiled and died there it was “le rocher maudit” – the accursed rock. To others, it became known as “Devil’s Island,” “the Buchenwald of the West,” or “Little Auschwitz.”
Alderney is one of the small cluster of islands — an archipelago which includes Jersey, Guernsey, and Sark — which lie in the English Channel off the coast of Normandy. Semi-independent, they were nonetheless the only part of the British Isles to be occupied by the Nazis.
The British mainland may have escaped the horrors of Nazism, but British soil nonetheless witnessed the brutal machinery of death — of slave labor, mass killings, and starvation — which accompanied German rule throughout Europe.
Three miles long and one-and-a-half miles wide, almost all of Alderney’s tiny civilian population was evacuated after the fall of France in June 1940. In their place, the Germans would later ship onto the remote, wind-swept and sea-beaten island a slave labor force of thousands, effectively turning it to one giant concentration camp. Its primary purpose was to fortify Alderney, transforming it into one of the most heavily defended, impregnable outposts of the Reich.
The scale of the horror perpetrated on Alderney is hotly contested. Official accounts after the war suggested that less than 400 of the 3,000 forced laborers — and among them, only a handful of Jews — died on the island. Seventy years on, though, historians and military experts suggest the workforce and the death-toll may have been many times higher — with perhaps as many as 40,000 people losing their lives. Moreover, the number of Jews on Alderney may not have been in the hundreds but instead close to 10,000, few of whom survived the deadly experience.
The Nazis’ plans were personally directed by Adolf Hitler. As the journalist Madeline Bunting recounts in “The Model Occupation: The Channel Islands Under German Rule” the Fuhrer was “immensely proud of his British conquests,” constantly fretting that Winston Churchill might win a propaganda coup by retaking them, and viewing them as a “laboratory for future Anglo-German relations.”
Thus from early 1942, Alderney became the scene of massive construction — of tunnels and bunkers, gun emplacements and artillery batteries, roads and a railway line — which would leave it the most fortified of the Channel Islands. With this massive construction came the need for a massive workforce. Labor camps — named after German islands in the North Sea — were hastily erected: Helgoland, Borkum, Norderney and, most notoriously, Sylt.Less whimsically, Hitler also calculated that Alderney held an important strategic value: As part of the Atlantic Wall fortifications, it would help protect the sea channels around Cherbourg, provide the Luftwaffe with anti-aircraft cover and deny the Allies a potentially useful staging post for the opening of the feared Western Front.
A small minority of the workers deployed by the Organization Todt, the Reich’s multi-tentacled civil and military engineering group, were genuine volunteers, often hailing from Germany, the Netherlands, France and Belgium.
The vast majority, however, were slave laborers, mostly from Russia, Poland and the Ukraine — although North Africans and Indo-Chinese (rounded up by the French to fill their labor quotas), German political prisoners and Spanish Republicans who had fled Franco only to fall into the hands of the Germans after the occupation of France — also found themselves as chattels of the Reich.
Jews, of course, did not escape this grim enterprise. Jewish inmates were sent to Norderney and Sylt, which came under the control of the SS in 1943 as a satellite of the Neuengamme concentration camp. At both camps, the Jews were kept in separate “pens.” Even among the untermenschen, or inferior people, a hierarchy was to be maintained.
Although these were not explicitly extermination camps, most slave laborers did not leave Alderney alive. The dangerous, exhausting work to which they were subjected for 10 to12 hours a day, starvation rations (sometimes further diminished by widespread SS corruption and theft), rampant dysentery and unforgiving Atlantic storms which lashed the island saw to that.
So, too, did the Germans’ utter disregard for the lives of those they regarded as subhuman: survivors later recalled summary executions, vicious beatings and savage punishments meted on those caught stealing food or cigarettes.
There was little or no respite from this living hell: it was near-impossible to escape the island, while, unlike on Jersey or Guernsey, there was no local population from whom occasional acts of pity — warmer clothing, a morsel of food — might be forthcoming.
As one Russian slave laborer, Georgi Kondakov, recounted decades later: “Many times when I was on Alderney I thought death was close. Most of my worst memories come to me now as nightmares; in the daytime I can suppress those thoughts in my subconscious, but against the nightmares I am powerless.”For those who did survive to tell the tale, their recollections of the heavy mists which frequently hang over Alderney stand as a metaphor for the cloak of secrecy about what occurred here which is only now slowly beginning to lift.
Perhaps it is appropriate that it is the fate of a burial ground, where it is feared the bodies of many of these victims of Nazism may still lay, which is helping to expose Alderney’s dark secrets.
The France-Alderney-Britain link (FAB)
Next year, work is due to begin on a major energy project — the France-Alderney-Britain link (FAB) — which will link the two countries’ energy grids via the Channel Islands. The 137-mile (220 kilometer) cable will cross Longis Common, the main site used by the Germans to dispose of the bodies of those whom they had murdered and worked to death.
The consortium behind the FAB, which includes the French energy giant EDF, has promised that the subsea and underground cable will avoid known burial grounds and contain an additional protection zone. It also maintains that the graves of many of the victims were exhumed in the early 1960s and reburied in France, and strongly disputes recent reports in the British media that preliminary investigations have caused damage to the main burial ground.
However, opponents of the project remain deeply concerned. A new study prepared for campaigners brings together publicly available maps and diagrams with an as yet unpublished high-definition aerial photograph of the area taken in 1944.
Seen by The Times of Israel, it argues that the exhumation of 316 bodies from the so-called Russian cemetery in the 1960s “led to the myth that all the bodies were removed from the common.” In fact, it suggests, the Longis Common burial area is “far more extensive and complicated” than has been assumed and may contain at least five large mass graves and a cremation pit.
Marcus Roberts, director of the National Anglo-Jewish Heritage Trail, shares the campaigners’ concerns. Burials “almost certainly” extend beyond the “official” cemetery boundaries which FAB have said they will avoid, he says. His own recent investigations indicate the bodies of nearly 2,000 prisoners — and potentially many more — may remain at Longis Common.“Due to the possibly larger size of the burial area than that originally considered the proposed FAB link might very well impact dramatically on it,” the study cautions.
Roberts, who has carried out extensive research into wartime Alderney and has been asked to report to the Chief Rabbi’s office on the project, also believes there may be multiple burial sites nearby, on the beach and close to the infamous anti-tank wall, where the cable will make landfall before it crosses Longis Common.
A concrete installation 15 feet high and extending for half a mile, the anti-tank wall was probably the largest built by the Nazis and was christened “the wall of certain death” by the Russian prisoners who built it. Its construction cost the lives of the many Jews who also labored on it.
The bodies of some of those prisoners are thought to lie under the wall in the foundations, while the back of the wall contains the bullet holes in front of which prisoners were shot. Atop it are the still-visible names and prisoner numbers of those who lived, and died, constructing a fortification that would never see action.
On the beach in front of the wall there are believed to be burial pits in the sand where an unknown number of bodies were dumped. One of the survivors interviewed by Bunting vividly recalled trucks tipping corpses at low tide into the pits, which were 50-100 meters (165-330 feet) off shore. Each, he believed, contained about 12 bodies. This account was not unique and there is no evidence that these possible burial sites were ever investigated or cleared.
Roberts is also worried about the preliminary work carried out by FAB.But, argues Roberts, the path of the cable has no room for deviation should burials be found, and the contractors have so far failed to provide a promised plan for how the works will be supervised and human remains protected.
“FAB Link have previously carried out intrusive drilling and prospecting, without warning, close to the known Jewish burial and Russian burial sites and have also dug under the anti-tank wall, very close to an execution site at the wall and carried out some geophysical archaeological investigations,” he says.
On a visit to the site shortly afterwards, he found bone fragments, although he says he cannot be certain they are human ones.
Historical record soon to be destroyed
“The Longis area is quite simply unique and there is nowhere else in Europe that contains so much historical evidence of the extermination by labor program in one single area,” argues Colonel Richard Kemp, Britain’s former commander in Afghanistan who has carried out detailed research into the Nazis’ reign of terror on the island.
“The power of Longis Common and its historical importance is immense. Any one of the millions of missing slave workers could have been buried there and may still be there today. The whole area is therefore sacred to them all. It belongs to them, to their relatives and to the communities across Europe and beyond from which they came. It is their ‘corner of a foreign field.’ It should be preserved and protected forever as an international memorial site,” Kemp says.
Central to the fears of those who oppose the FAB Link running across Longis Common is the belief that both the number of prisoners on the island and the death toll have long been grossly underestimated.
The British military intelligence interrogator who investigated after the war, Captain Theodore “Bunny” Pantcheff, suggested that a mere 389 forced laborers and prisoners — out of a total workforce of 3,000 — died during the occupation.
His conclusions were based on the number of individual burials of slave workers at Longis Common and the churchyard at St. Anne’s in Alderney’s main town. Pantcheff, who went on to live on the island and write an account of the occupation in 1981, proved crucial in shaping an official narrative which has proved hard to shake.
However, Pantcheff’s figures take no account of the multiple eyewitnesses who recalled the Germans throwing bodies into the sea off cliffs or the breakwater, or burying them in the beaches and allowing the tides to take them away. Witnesses also reported bodies being tipped into mass burial sites, such as trenches. Later in the war, the Germans attempted to cover up the extent of the deaths on Alderney by tearing up crosses and leveling the ground at Longis Common.
Evidence seen by The Times of Israel suggests that Pantcheff himself later privately admitted that there had been many more deaths than the official records showed. Indeed, British intelligence reports in 1944 indicated that more than twice as many Russians — 843 — had died over a 12-month period than Pantcheff later recorded had perished on the island during the entirety of the occupation.
Nonetheless, even histories of the occupation published within the last decade maintain that the number of slave laborers of Alderney was probably only slightly higher than Pantcheff’s later estimate of 4,350, and that the death toll was around 1,250. Together with fellow former army officer John Weigold, Kemp suggested this summer that, “The sheer volume of fortifications, walls and tunnels outstrips anything else in Hitler’s Third Reich. This huge amount of work could not possibly have been done with just 4,000 workers.”But it is the scale of the Nazis’ construction efforts which now lead some to conclude that the size of the workforce on Alderney was far in excess of these figures.
Weigold and Kemp believe that Pantcheff had been “hoodwinked” by the Germans when he carried out his interrogations after the island’s liberation.
“We know about interrogation, and how prisoners will lie to save their skins,” they wrote. “The Germans he quizzed gave him a highly sanitized and rehearsed version of what had actually taken place.”
‘Up to 40,000 slave laborers died on Alderney’
Kemp and Weigold argue at least 40,000 slave laborers died on Alderney during the war. Their estimate is based on evidence of the actual size of the slave labor workforce, the amount of work done in fortifying the island and the probable attrition rate based on witness reports and accounts of similar construction work elsewhere in Europe.
The Nazi effort on Alderney, in particular the highly secretive work carried out by the SS, is explained, Kemp and Weigold believe, by the fact that the Germans were planning to site V1 rockets, tipped with chemical weapons, on the island. Launched at the south coast of England, the weapons were intended to disrupt the Allied invasion of mainland Europe.
Roberts agrees that “common sense alone shows that 3,000 men could not have constructed the hundreds of concrete structures across the island.”
He believes that the prisoner workforce probably exceeded 30,000 and that the number of camps on the island was not four, but may have reached 13 (although some of these were temporary). He also dismisses Pantcheff’s “improbably low” death rate of 13 percent. Official French records show that the death rate at camps in the Nord Pas de Calais, which were linked to those in Alderney, were 85%.
Historically, the presence of Jews on the island during the occupation has also been downplayed, with their numbers counted in the hundreds. Roberts, however, believes that 9,000 may be a more realistic figure. At least at some points in the island’s penal history, British military intelligence reports suggested, Jews may actually have constituted a majority of the prisoner population.
Many were French Jews who had escaped immediate deportation to the East because they were either married to “Aryans” or considered “mischling,” or “mixed-blood,” by the Nazis. Others were highly educated members of the French Jewish elite, and included a parliamentary deputy, senior civil servants, lawyers, writers and doctors. They were, a 1943 report for the French police noted, “particularly bullied by their guardians.”
Only eight marked Jewish graves were found on Longis Common when the war ended, leading many to conclude, in the words of Bunting, that “only a handful of French Jews perished.”
However, this, too, appears far from the mark. At least 150 Jews, for instance, are thought to have been murdered by the Nazis in two separate revenge killings for Allied bombing raids on German cities. Their remains have never been accounted for.
It is probable that most of the 9,000 Jewish slave laborers on Alderney did not survive their ordeal
Thus, argues Roberts, it is probable that most of the 9,000 Jewish slave laborers on Alderney seem likely not to have survived their ordeal. As he points out, we know of only two convoys transferring Jews back to France: one in May 1944, contained 650 prisoners, some of whom were liberated several months later in Belgium by the resistance.
No justice for Alderney victims
For the victims of Alderney there was to be little or nothing by the way of justice. Pantcheff’s investigation in 1945 concluded that “wicked and merciless crimes” had been carried out on the island.
He named 15 Germans suspected of war crimes who were in British custody, and a further 31 who were in the French, US or British zones of occupied Germany.
Only four men — a Russian kapo and three Germans — were later tried in the Soviet Union, France and East Germany for crimes committed on Alderney. Thus the SS commandant of Sylt, Maximilian List; his deputy, Kurt Klebeck; and Alderney commandant Carl Hoffman, were never held to account for their heinous crimes on the island.
None of Germany’s Alderney war criminals faced justice at the hands of the British. Instead, Britain long maintained that, given that many of the victims were Russian, it had handed over the evidence it had gathered to the Soviets for them to take action, while flatly denying that any of the suspects were ever in its custody.
Seventy-five years after the first slave laborers arrived on Alderney, these lies cannot obscure a simple truth. As one of those who suffered at the Nazis’ hands on the island later suggested: “The British did not want to know that there had been a concentration camp on British soil.”
Hitler soon had convincing evidence that Britain would not respect Norwegian neutrality. German naval intelligence in February 1940 broke the British naval codes and obtained important information about Allied activities and plans. The intercepts indicated that the Allies were preparing for operations against Norway using the pretext of helping Finland.
The question is often asked: If Hitler wanted peace, why did he invade so many countries? Countries including Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, the Soviet Union and several others. In the case of the Soviet Union, Germany’s invasion was clearly a preemptive strike that prevented the Soviet Union from conquering all of Europe.
The book Germany’s War analyzes why Germany invaded or took control of all these nations. This article will briefly discuss why Germany invaded the peaceful nations of Norway and Denmark.
Why Germany Invaded Norway and Denmark
Germany had no plans to invade Norway or Denmark when World War II began. Hitler considered it advantageous to have a neutral Scandinavia. On August 12, 1939, in a conversation with Italian Foreign Minister Ciano, Hitler stated that he was convinced none of the belligerents would attack the Scandinavian countries, and that these countries would not join in an attack on Germany. Hitler’s statement was apparently sincere, and it is confirmed in a directive on October 9, 1939.
Hitler eventually became convinced of the need for a preemptive strike to forestall a British move against Norway. Adm. Erich Raeder in a routine meeting with Hitler on October 10, 1939, pointed out that the establishment of British naval and air bases in Norway would be a very dangerous development for Germany. Raeder stated that Britain would be able to control the entrance to the Baltic, and would be in a position to hinder German naval operations in the Atlantic and the North Sea. The flow of iron ore from Sweden would end, and the Allies would be able to use Norway as a base for aerial warfare against Germany.
In a meeting on December 18, 1939, Hitler let it be known that his preference was for a neutral Norway, but that if the enemy tried to extend the war into this area, he would be forced to react accordingly. Hitler soon had convincing evidence that Britain would not respect Norwegian neutrality. German naval intelligence in February 1940 broke the British naval codes and obtained important information about Allied activities and plans. The intercepts indicated that the Allies were preparing for operations against Norway using the pretext of helping Finland. The intercepts confirmed Adm. Raeder’s fears about British intentions.
Both Britain and France believed that the threat of Germany losing badly needed iron ore would provoke Germany into opening up military operations in Scandinavia. However, Britain and France had somewhat different objectives. Britain believed that German operations could be challenged effectively and successfully by the Allies, resulting in quick military victories for the Allies in a war that had stagnated. France wanted to open a new front in order to divert German attention and resources from her border. Both Britain and France felt the maritime blockade of Germany would become more effective once Norway was conquered, especially if they succeeded in severing the flow of iron ore to Germany. They were willing to accept great military and political risks to this end.
German intelligence reports continued to indicate that the Allies would invade Norway even after the conclusion of peace between Finland and the Soviet Union. On March 28, 1940, the Germans learned about the decision taken by the Allied Supreme War Council to mine Norwegian waters. A diplomat’s report on March 30, 1940, indicated that the Allies would launch operations in northern Europe within a few days. British mining operations in Norwegian territorial waters began on April 8, 1940. Although no armed clashes with Norwegian forces took place, the British mining operations were a clear violation of Norway’s neutrality and constituted an act of war.
Germany’s decision to invade Denmark was based on the plan of Gen. Nikolaus von Falkenhorst, who concluded that it would be desirable to occupy Denmark as a “land bridge” to Norway. Denmark quickly surrendered to German forces on April 9, 1940. The campaign in Norway lasted 62 days and unfortunately resulted in a substantial number of casualties. Most sources list about 860 Norwegians killed. Another source estimates the number of Norwegians killed or wounded at about 1,700, with another 400 civilians estimated to have died during the campaign. Norway also effectively lost her entire navy, and her people experienced increased hardships during Germany’s five-year occupation.
The German invasion of Norway on April 9, 1940, was made to preempt Britain’s invasion of Norway. The Germans achieved most of their objectives in what must be viewed as a stunning military success. The occupation of Norway complicated British blockade measures and cracked open the door to the Atlantic for possible interference with British supplies coming from overseas. The air threat to Germany by a British presence in Norway was also avoided, as was the possibility of Sweden falling under the control of the Allies. Most importantly, Germany’s source of iron ore was secure, and the German navy was able to remove some of the limitations imposed on it by geography.
British hopes that quick victories could be achieved by enticing the Germans into an area where they would confront enormous British naval superiority were not realized. The hoped for British victories in Norway turned into a humiliating defeat. The French objective of reducing the threat to her homeland by opening a new theater of war was also not achieved. A protracted war in Norway and the consequent drain on German resources did not materialize. The only major advantage to the Allies was a hardening of public opinion against Germany in neutral countries, especially in the United States. Most people did not know that Germany’s invasion of Norway and Denmark had preempted an invasion of Norway by Allied forces.
The preemptive nature of Germany’s invasion of Denmark and Norway has been acknowledged by many establishment historians. For example, David Cesarani, who did not believe in freedom of speech regarding the so-called Holocaust,wrote:
The campaign in the west was triggered by a British naval incursion into Norwegian waters in February 1940. In an attempt to limit iron ore imports to Germany, the British next mined Norwegian sea lanes and landed troops at Trondheim. On 9 April , Hitler responded by launching an invasion of Norway and ordered the occupation of Denmark. The Danes capitulated within a day, but land battles in Norway and naval engagements continued for eight weeks until Allied troops were evacuated.
Germany’s War, Part III: Actual and Alleged German Atrocities of WWII
 Lunde, Henrik O., Hitler’s Pre-Emptive War: The Battle for Norway, 1940, Philadelphia and Newbury: Casemate, 2010, p. 44.
The first German book about British aristocrat and Adolf Hitler fan Unity Mitford reveals that the Führer was so obsessed with her that he met her 140 times while in the middle of preparing for World War Two.
Adolf Hitler was as spellbound by Unity – one of the famous ‘It’ girls of the 1930s.
The first German biography to deal with this mutual attraction is published this week entitled: ‘I was leafing through Vogue when the Führer spoke to me.’
Bestselling political science author Michaela Karl tells how the bond was forged at Hitler’s favourite Munich restaurant, the Osteria Bavaria, on February 9 1935.
Adolf Hitler and Unity Mitford at the Führer’s favourite Munich restaurant
Unity wrote to her sister Diana: ‘At 3.00pm I was done with eating when the Führer came in wearing his sweet trench coat and sat down with two other men at his table.
‘I was leafing through vogue when ten minutes after his arrival the innkeeper came over and said that the leader “wants to talk to you.”‘
Author Karl said; ‘Between 1935 and 1939 Hitler and unity met every ten days – for a busy leader, who at the same time was a leader of the third german reich, it was a total of 140 times, therefore surprisingly often.’
Soon he took her to the Wagner Festival to Bayreuth, to the Nuremberg rally and other grand events of National Socialism.
‘Unity quickly belonged to the inner circle,’ added Karl. ‘In England she is still well known but in Germany just a footnote in history.’
Hitler’s architect, Albert Speer, later described Unity: ‘She was a very intelligent woman and had her own head, not a type like Eva Braun, who was interested in nothing.’
But Hitler’s longtime partner, who would marry him as Berlin collapsed in 1945 to become his bride of one day before killing herself with him, viewed Unity as a rival.
On May 10, 1934, the 23 year old Eva wrote in her diary that the wife of Hitler’s personal photographer Heinrich Hoffmann had told her about Unity. Eva penned: ‘Mrs. Hoffmann, tactlessly and lovingly, tole me he has a replacement for me now.
‘Finally he could know me so well, that I could put him never something in the way of him, when he discovered he wanted his heart for another.’
A failed suicide bid by Eva in 1935 was interpreted by many as an act of jealousy against Unity.
1932: Three of the Mitford sisters at Lord Stanley of Aldernay’s wedding, l-r Unity Mitford; Diana Mitford (Mrs Bryan Guinness, later Lady Diana Mosley) and writer Nancy Mitford
In May 1939, Hitler organised for her a three bedroomed apartment in the Schwabing district of Munich. Jews who lived in the apartment block went abroad a short time afterwards and Unity put two huge swastika flags up in the bedroom.
Joseph Kennedy Jr., the son of the US Ambassador in London and elder brother of John F. Kennedy, wrote after meeting her there ‘Mitford is convinced that the conflict with England and the United States is, above all, the fault of Jewish propaganda and the only way to solve it was to throw out the Jews.’
When France and England declared war on Germany on the in september 1939 her world collapsed. What exactly happened after that remains murky: probably on the same day of the declaration Unity shot herself in the head in the English Garden in Munich.
Hitler arranged for her to be placed in the best hospital in Munich for treatment and visited her there on November 8 – the night that carpenter George Elser tried to kill him with a bomb at the Bürgerbräukeller where he was speaking.
He had left early to visit her and escaped death by 13 minutes. Eight people died in the blast.
Unity was repatriated to Britain where she died from her wounds in May 1948. Hitler, said Karl, never got over her.
On March 21, 1939, while hosting French Prime Minister Daladier, Chamberlain discussed a joint front with France, Russia, and Poland to act together against German aggression. France agreed at once, and the Russians agreed on the condition that both France and Poland sign first. However, Polish Foreign Minister Józef Beck vetoed the agreement on March 24, 1939. Polish statesmen feared Russia more than they did Germany. Polish marshal Edward Śmigły-Rydz told the French ambassador,
With the Germans we risk losing our liberty; with the Russians we lose our soul.”
Another complication arose in European diplomacy when the residents of Memel in Lithuania wanted to join Germany. The Allied victors in the Versailles Treaty had detached Memel from East Prussia and placed it under a League of Nations protectorate. Lithuania then proceeded to seize Memel from the League of Nations shortly after World War I. Memel was a German city which in the seven centuries of its history had never separated from its East Prussian homeland. Germany was so weak after World War I that it could not prevent the tiny new-born nation of Lithuania from seizing the ancient Prussian city of Memel.
Germany’s occupation of Prague generated uncontrollable excitement among the mostly German population of Memel. The population of Memel was clamoring to return to Germany and could no longer be restrained. The Lithuanian foreign minister traveled to Berlin on March 22, 1939, where he agreed to the immediate transfer of Memel to Germany. The annexation of Memel into Germany went through the next day. The question of Memel appears to have exploded of itself without any deliberate German plan of annexation. Polish leaders had agreed that the return of Memel to Germany from Lithuania would not constitute an issue of conflict between Germany and Poland.
What did cause an issue of conflict between Germany and Poland was the so-called Free City of Danzig. Danzig was founded in the early 14th century and was historically the key port at the mouth of the great Vistula River. From the beginning Danzig was inhabited almost exclusively by Germans, with the Polish minority in 1922 constituting less than 3% of the city’s 365,000 inhabitants. The Treaty of Versailles converted Danzig from a German provincial capital into a League of Nations protectorate subject to numerous servitudes established for the benefit of Poland. The citizens of Danzig had never wanted to leave Germany, and they were eager to return to Germany in 1939. Their eagerness to join Germany was exacerbated by the fact that Germany’s economy was healthy while Poland’s economy was still mired in depression.
The citizens of Danzig had consistently demonstrated their unwavering loyalty to National Socialism and its principles. They had even elected a National Socialist parliamentary majority before this result had been achieved in Germany. It was widely known that Poland was constantly seeking to increase her control over Danzig despite the wishes of Danzig’s citizens. Hitler was not opposed to Poland’s further economic aspirations at Danzig, but Hitler was resolved never to permit the establishment of a Polish political regime at Danzig. Such a renunciation of Danzig by Hitler would have been a repudiation of the loyalty of Danzig citizens to the Third Reich and their spirit of self-determination.
Germany presented a proposal for a comprehensive settlement of the Danzig question with Poland on October 24, 1938. Hitler’s plan would allow Germany to annex Danzig and construct a superhighway and a railroad to East Prussia. In return Poland would be granted a permanent free port in Danzig and the right to build her own highway and railroad to the port. The entire Danzig area would also become a permanent free market for Polish goods on which no German customs duties would be levied. Germany would take the unprecedented step of recognizing and guaranteeing the existing German-Polish frontier, including the boundary in Upper Silesia established in 1922. This later provision was extremely important since the Versailles Treaty had given Poland much additional territory which Germany proposed to renounce. Hitler’s offer to guarantee Poland’s frontiers also carried with it a degree of military security that no other non-Communist nation could match.
Germany’s proposed settlement with Poland was far less favorable to Germany than the Thirteenth Point of Wilson’s program at Versailles had been. The Versailles Treaty gave Poland large slices of territory in regions such as West Prussia and Western Posen which were overwhelmingly German. The richest industrial section of Upper Silesia was also later given to Poland despite the fact the Poles lost the plebiscite there. Germany was willing to renounce these territories in the interest of German-Polish cooperation. This concession of Hitler’s was more than adequate to compensate for the German annexation of Danzig and construction of a superhighway and a railroad in the Corridor. The Polish diplomats themselves believed that Germany’s proposal was a sincere and realistic basis for a permanent agreement.
On March 26, 1939, the Polish Ambassador to Berlin, Joseph Lipski, formally rejected Germany’s proposals for a settlement. The Poles had waited over five months to reject Germany’s proposals, and they refused to countenance any change in existing conditions. Lipski stated to German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop that
it was his painful duty to draw attention to the fact that any further pursuance of these German plans, especially where the return of Danzig to the Reich was concerned, meant war with Poland.”
Józef Beck accepted an offer from Great Britain on March 30, 1939, that gave an unconditional unilateral guarantee of Poland’s independence. The British Empire agreed to go to war as an ally of Poland if the Poles decided that war was necessary. In words drafted by Halifax, Chamberlain spoke in the House of Commons on March 31, 1939, declaring:
I now have to inform the House…that in the event of any action which clearly threatened Polish independence and which the Polish Government accordingly considered it vital to resist with their national forces, His Majesty’s Government would feel themselves bound at once to lend the Polish Government all support in their power. They have given the Polish Government an assurance to that effect.
Great Britain for the first time in history had left the decision whether or not to fight a war outside of her own country to another nation. Britain’s guarantee to Poland was binding without commitments from the Polish side. The British public was astonished by this move. Despite its unprecedented nature, British Foreign Secretary Halifax encountered little difficulty in persuading the British Conservative, Liberal, and Labor parties to accept Great Britain’s unilateral guarantee of Poland.
These Polish Defensive Measures Aligned With Germany’s. Even A Madagascar Transfer Agreement For Jews Was Considered While Hitler Had Signed The 1933 Zionist Israel Transfer Agreement.
Numerous British historians and diplomats have criticized Britain’s unilateral guarantee of Poland. For example, British diplomat Roy Denman called the war guarantee to Poland,
the most reckless undertaking ever given by a British government. It placed the decision on peace or war in Europe in the hands of a reckless, intransigent, swashbuckling military dictatorship.”
British historian Niall Ferguson states that the war guarantee to Poland tied Britain’s
destiny to that of a regime that was every bit as undemocratic and anti-Semitic as that of Germany.”
English military historian Liddell Hart stated that the Polish guarantee
placed Britain’s destiny in the hands of Poland’s rulers, men of very dubious and unstable judgment. Moreover, the guarantee was impossible to fulfill except with Russia’s help.…”
American historian Richard M. Watt writes concerning Britain’s unilateral guarantee of Poland:
This enormously broad guarantee virtually left to the Poles the decision whether or not Britain would go to war. For Britain to give such a blank check to a Central European nation, particularly to Poland—a nation that Britain had generally regarded as irresponsible and greedy—was mind-boggling.”
When the Belgian Minister to Germany, Vicomte Jacques Davignon, received the text of the British guarantee to Poland, he exclaimed that “blank check” was the only possible description of the British pledge. Davignon was extremely alarmed in view of the proverbial recklessness of the Poles. German State Secretary Ernst von Weizsäcker attempted to reassure Davignon by claiming that the situation between Germany and Poland was not tragic. However, Davignon correctly feared that the British move would produce war in a very short time.
Weizsäcker later exclaimed scornfully that
the British guarantee to Poland was like offering sugar to an untrained child before it had learned to listen to reason!”
The Deterioration of German-Polish Relations
German-Polish relationships had become strained by the increasing harshness with which the Polish authorities handled the German minority. The Polish government in the 1930s began to confiscate the land of its German minority at bargain prices through public expropriation. The German government resented the fact that German landowners received only one-eighth of the value of their holdings from the Polish government. Since the Polish public was aware of the German situation and desired to exploit it, the German minority in Poland could not sell the land in advance of expropriation. Furthermore, Polish law forbade Germans from privately selling large areas of land.
German diplomats insisted that the November 1937 Minorities Pact with Poland for the equal treatment of German and Polish landowners be observed in 1939. Despite Polish assurances of fairness and equal treatment, German diplomats learned on February 15, 1939, that the latest expropriations of land in Poland were predominately of German holdings. These expropriations virtually completed the elimination of substantial German landholdings in Poland at a time when most of the larger Polish landholdings were still intact. It became evident that nothing could be done diplomatically to help the German minority in Poland.
Poland threatened Germany with a partial mobilization of her forces on March 23, 1939. Hundreds of thousands of Polish Army reservists were mobilized, and Hitler was warned that Poland would fight to prevent the return of Danzig to Germany. The Poles were surprised to discover that Germany did not take this challenge seriously. Hitler, who deeply desired friendship with Poland, refrained from responding to the Polish threat of war. Germany did not threaten Poland and took no precautionary military measures in response to the Polish partial mobilization.
Hitler regarded a German-Polish agreement as a highly welcome alternative to a German-Polish war. However, no further negotiations for a German-Polish agreement occurred after the British guarantee to Poland for the simple reason that Józef Beck refused to negotiate. Beck ignored repeated German suggestions for further negotiations. Beck knew perfectly well that Halifax hoped to accomplish the complete destruction of Germany. Halifax had considered an Anglo-German war inevitable since 1936, and Britain’s anti-German policy was made public with Chamberlain’s speech on March 17, 1939. Halifax discouraged German-Polish negotiations because he was counting on Poland to provide the pretext for a British preventive war against Germany.
The situation between Germany and Poland deteriorated rapidly during the brief span of six weeks from the Polish partial mobilization of March 23, 1939, to a speech delivered by Józef Beck on May 5, 1939. Beck’s primary purpose in delivering his speech before the Sejm, the lower house of the Polish parliament, was to convince the Polish public and the world that he was able and willing to challenge Hitler. Beck knew that Halifax had succeeded in creating a warlike atmosphere in Great Britain, and that he could go as far as he wanted without displeasing the British. Beck took an uncompromising attitude in his speech that effectively closed the door to further negotiations with Germany.
Beck made numerous false and hypocritical statements in his speech. One of the most astonishing claims in his speech was that there was nothing extraordinary about the British guarantee to Poland. He described it as a normal step in the pursuit of friendly relations with a neighboring country. This was in sharp contrast to British diplomat Sir Alexander Cadogan’s statement to Joseph Kennedy that Britain’s guarantee to Poland was without precedent in the entire history of British foreign policy.
Beck ended his speech with a stirring climax that produced wild excitement in the Polish Sejm. Someone in the audience screamed loudly, “We do not need peace!” and pandemonium followed. Beck had made many Poles in the audience determined to fight Germany. This feeling resulted from their ignorance which made it impossible for them to criticize the numerous falsehoods and misstatements in Beck’s speech. Beck made the audience feel that Hitler had insulted the honor of Poland with what were actually quite reasonable peace proposals. The Polish Foreign Minister had effectively closed the door to further negotiations with Germany. Beck had made Germany the deadly enemy of Poland.
More than 1 million ethnic Germans resided in Poland at the time of Beck’s speech, and these Germans were the principal victims of the German-Polish crisis in the coming weeks. The Germans in Poland were subjected to increasing doses of violence from the dominant Poles. The British public was told repeatedly that the grievances of the German minority in Poland were largely imaginary. The average British citizen was completely unaware of the terror and fear of death that stalked these Germans in Poland. Ultimately, many thousands of Germans in Poland paid for the crisis with their lives. They were among the first victims of Halifax’s war policy against Germany.
The immediate responsibility for security measures involving the German minority in Poland rested with Interior Department Ministerial Director Waclaw Zyborski. Zyborski consented to discuss the situation on June 23, 1939, with Walther Kohnert, one of the leaders of the German minority at Bromberg. Zyborski admitted to Kohnert that the Germans of Poland were in an unenviable situation, but he was not sympathetic to their plight. Zyborski ended their lengthy conversation by stating frankly that his policy required a severe treatment of the German minority in Poland. He made it clear that it was impossible for the Germans of Poland to alleviate their hard fate. The Germans in Poland were the helpless hostages of the Polish community and the Polish state.
Other leaders of the German minority in Poland repeatedly appealed to the Polish government for help during this period. Sen. Hans Hasbach, the leader of the conservative German minority faction, and Dr. Rudolf Wiesner, the leader of the Young German Party, each made multiple appeals to Poland’s government to end the violence. In a futile appeal on July 6, 1939, to Premier Sławoj-Składkowski, head of Poland’s Department of Interior, Wiesner referred to the waves of public violence against the Germans at Tomaszów near Lódz, May 13-15th, at Konstantynów, May 21-22nd, and at Pabianice, June 22-23, 1939. The appeal of Wiesner produced no results. The leaders of the German political groups eventually recognized that they had no influence with Polish authorities despite their loyal attitudes toward Poland. It was “open season” on the Germans of Poland with the approval of the Polish government.
The Polish anti-German incidents of this period also occurred against the German majority in the Free City of Danzig. On May 21, 1939, Zygmunt Morawski, a former Polish soldier, murdered a German at Kalthof on Danzig territory. The incident itself would not have been so unusual except for the fact that Polish officials acted as if Poland and not the League of Nations had sovereign power over Danzig. Polish officials refused to apologize for the incident, and they treated with contempt the effort of Danzig authorities to bring Morawski to trial. It was obvious that the Poles in Danzig considered themselves above the law.
Tension steadily mounted at Danzig after the Kalthof murder. The citizens of Danzig were convinced that Poland would show them no mercy if Poland were permitted to obtain the upper hand. The Poles were furious when they learned that Danzig was defying Poland by organizing her own militia for home defense. The Poles blamed Hitler for this situation. The Polish government protested to German Ambassador Hans von Moltke on July 1, 1939, about the current military defense measures of the Danzig government. Józef Beck told French Ambassador Léon Noël on July 6, 1939, that the Polish government had decided that additional measures were necessary to meet the alleged threat from Danzig.
On July 29, 1939, the Danzig government presented two protest notes to the Poles concerning illegal activities of Polish custom inspectors and frontier officials. The Polish government responded by terminating the export of duty-free herring and margarine from Danzig to Poland. Polish officials next announced in the early hours of August 5, 1939, that the frontiers of Danzig would be closed to the importation of all foreign food products unless the Danzig government promised by the end of the day never to interfere with the activities of Polish customs inspectors. This threat was formidable since Danzig produced only a relatively small portion of her own food. All Polish customs inspectors would also bear arms while performing their duty after August 5, 1939. The Polish ultimatum made it obvious that Poland intended to replace the League of Nations as the sovereign power at Danzig.
Hitler concluded that Poland was seeking to provoke an immediate conflict with Germany. The Danzig government submitted to the Polish ultimatum based on Hitler’s recommendation.
Józef Beck had explained to British Ambassador Kennard that the Polish government was prepared to take military measures against Danzig if it failed to accept the Polish terms. The citizens of Danzig were convinced that Poland would have executed a full military occupation of Danzig had the Polish ultimatum been rejected. It was apparent to the German government that the British and French were either unable or unwilling to restrain the Polish government from arbitrary steps that could produce an explosion.
On August 7, 1939, the Polish censors permitted the newspaper Illustrowany KuryerCodzienny in Kraków to feature an article of unprecedented recklessness. The article stated that Polish units were constantly crossing the German frontier to destroy German military installations and to carry confiscated German military equipment into Poland. The Polish government failed to prevent the newspaper, with the largest circulation in Poland, from telling the world that Poland was instigating a series of violations of her frontier with Germany. Polish Ambassador Jerzy Potocki unsuccessfully attempted to persuade Józef Beck to seek an agreement with the Germans. Potocki later succinctly explained the situation in Poland by stating “Poland prefers Danzig to peace.”
President Roosevelt knew that Poland had caused the crisis which began at Danzig, and he was worried that the American public might learn the truth about the situation. This could be a decisive factor in discouraging Roosevelt’s plan for American military intervention in Europe. Roosevelt instructed U.S. Ambassador Biddle to urge the Poles to be more careful in making it appear that German moves were responsible for any inevitable explosion at Danzig. Biddle reported to Roosevelt on August 11, 1939, that Beck expressed no interest in engaging in a series of elaborate but empty maneuvers designed to deceive the American public. Beck stated that at the moment he was content to have full British support for his policy.
Roosevelt also feared that American politicians might discover the facts about the hopeless dilemma which Poland’s provocative policy created for Germany. When American Democratic Party Campaign Manager and Post-Master General James Farley visited Berlin at this time, Roosevelt instructed the American Embassy in Berlin to prevent unsupervised contact between Farley and the German leaders. The German Foreign Office concluded on August 10, 1939, that it was impossible to penetrate the wall of censorship around Farley. The Germans knew that President Roosevelt was determined to prevent them from freely communicating with visiting American leaders.
Names You Do Not Know Because History Is Only “Hitler! Hitler! Hitler!”. These Men Were Never Brought To Justice For War Crimes Against Humanity Left: Polish Foreign Minister Józef Beck Right: Polish President (4 June 1926 – 30 September 1939) Ignacy Mościcki
Polish Atrocities Force War
On August 14, 1939, the Polish authorities in East Upper Silesia launched a campaign of mass arrests against the German minority. The Poles then proceeded to close and confiscate the remaining German businesses, clubs, and welfare installations. The arrested Germans were forced to march toward the interior of Poland in prisoner columns. The various German groups in Poland were frantic by this time, and they feared that the Poles would attempt the total extermination of the German minority in the event of war. Thousands of Germans were seeking to escape arrest by crossing the border into Germany. Some of the worst recent Polish atrocities included the mutilation of several Germans. The Poles were warned not to regard their German minority as helpless hostages who could be butchered with impunity.
Rudolf Wiesner, who was the most prominent of the German minority leaders in Poland, spoke of a disaster “of inconceivable magnitude” since the early months of 1939. Wiesner claimed that the last Germans had been dismissed from their jobs without the benefit of unemployment relief, and that hunger and privation were stamped on the faces of the Germans in Poland. German welfare agencies, cooperatives, and trade associations had been closed by Polish authorities. Exceptional martial law conditions of the earlier frontier zone had been extended to include more than one-third of the territory of Poland. The mass arrests, deportations, mutilations, and beatings of the last few weeks in Poland surpassed anything which had happened before. Wiesner insisted that the German minority leaders merely desired the restoration of peace, the banishment of the specter of war, and the right to live and work in peace. Wiesner was arrested by the Poles on August 16, 1939, on suspicion of conducting espionage for Germany in Poland.
The German press devoted increasing space to detailed accounts of atrocities against the Germans in Poland. The Völkischer Beobachter reported that more than 80,000 German refugees from Poland had succeeded in reaching German territory by August 20, 1939. The German Foreign Office had received a huge file of specific reports of excesses against national and ethnic Germans in Poland. More than 1,500 documented reports had been received since March 1939, and more than 10 detailed reports were arriving in the German Foreign Office each day. The reports presented a staggering picture of brutality and human misery.
W. L. White, an American journalist, later recalled that there was no doubt among well-informed people by this time that horrible atrocities were being inflicted every day on the Germans of Poland.
Donald Day, a Chicago Tribune correspondent, reported on the atrocious treatment the Poles had meted out to the ethnic Germans in Poland:
…I traveled up to the Polish corridor where the German authorities permitted me to interview the German refugees from many Polish cities and towns. The story was the same. Mass arrests and long marches along roads toward the interior of Poland. The railroads were crowded with troop movements. Those who fell by the wayside were shot. The Polish authorities seemed to have gone mad. I have been questioning people all my life and I think I know how to make deductions from the exaggerated stories told by people who have passed through harrowing personal experiences. But even with generous allowance, the situation was plenty bad. To me the war seemed only a question of hours.
British Ambassador Nevile Henderson in Berlin was concentrating on obtaining recognition from Halifax of the cruel fate of the German minority in Poland. Henderson emphatically warned Halifax on August 24, 1939, that German complaints about the treatment of the German minority in Poland were fully supported by the facts. Henderson knew that the Germans were prepared to negotiate, and he stated to Halifax that war between Poland and Germany was inevitable unless negotiations were resumed between the two countries. Henderson pleaded with Halifax that it would be contrary to Polish interests to attempt a full military occupation of Danzig, and he added a scathingly effective denunciation of Polish policy. What Henderson failed to realize is that Halifax was pursuing war for its own sake as an instrument of policy. Halifax desired the complete destruction of Germany.
On August 25, 1939, Ambassador Henderson reported to Halifax the latest Polish atrocity at Bielitz, Upper Silesia. Henderson never relied on official German statements concerning these incidents, but instead based his reports on information he had received from neutral sources. The Poles continued to forcibly deport the Germans of that area, and compelled them to march into the interior of Poland. Eight Germans were murdered and many more were injured during one of these actions.
Hitler was faced with a terrible dilemma. If Hitler did nothing, the Germans of Poland and Danzig would be abandoned to the cruelty and violence of a hostile Poland. If Hitler took effective action against the Poles, the British and French might declare war against Germany. Henderson feared that the Bielitz atrocity would be the final straw to prompt Hitler to invade Poland. Henderson, who strongly desired peace with Germany, deplored the failure of the British government to exercise restraint over the Polish authorities.
On August 23, 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union entered into the Molotov-Ribbentrop agreement. This non-aggression pact contained a secret protocol which recognized a Russian sphere of influence in Eastern Europe. German recognition of this Soviet sphere of influence would not apply in the event of a diplomatic settlement of the German-Polish dispute. Hitler had hoped to recover the diplomatic initiative through the Molotov-Ribbentrop nonaggression pact. However, Chamberlain warned Hitler in a letter dated August 23, 1939, that Great Britain would support Poland with military force regardless of the Molotov-Ribbentrop agreement. Józef Beck also continued to refuse to negotiate a peaceful settlement with Germany.
Germany made a new offer to Poland on August 29, 1939, for a last diplomatic campaign to settle the German-Polish dispute. The terms of a new German plan for a settlement, the so-called Marienwerder proposals, were less important than the offer to negotiate as such. The terms of the Marienwerder proposals were intended as nothing more than a tentative German plan for a possible settlement. The German government emphasized that these terms were formulated to offer a basis for unimpeded negotiations between equals rather than constituting a series of demands which Poland would be required to accept. There was nothing to prevent the Poles from offering an entirely new set of proposals of their own.
The Germans, in offering to negotiate with Poland, were indicating that they favored a diplomatic settlement over war with Poland. The willingness of the Poles to negotiate would not in any way have implied a Polish retreat or their readiness to recognize the German annexation of Danzig. The Poles could have justified their acceptance to negotiate with the announcement that Germany, and not Poland, had found it necessary to request new negotiations. In refusing to negotiate, the Poles were announcing that they favored war. The refusal of British Foreign Secretary Halifax to encourage the Poles to negotiate also indicated that he favored war.
French Prime Minister Édouard Daladier and British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain were both privately critical of the Polish government. Daladier in private denounced the “criminal folly” of the Poles. Chamberlain admitted to Ambassador Joseph Kennedy that it was the Poles, and not the Germans, who were unreasonable. Kennedy reported to President Roosevelt,
frankly he [Chamberlain] is more worried about getting the Poles to be reasonable than the Germans.”
However, neither Daladier nor Chamberlain made any effort to influence the Poles to negotiate with the Germans.
On August 29, 1939, the Polish government decided upon the general mobilization of its army. The Polish military plans stipulated that general mobilization would be ordered only in the event of Poland’s decision for war. Henderson informed Halifax of some of the verified Polish violations prior to the war. The Poles blew up the Dirschau (Tczew) bridge across the Vistula River even though the eastern approach to the bridge was in German territory. The Poles also occupied a number of Danzig installations and engaged in fighting with the citizens of Danzig on the same day. Henderson reported that Hitler was not insisting on the total military defeat of Poland. Hitler was prepared to terminate hostilities if the Poles indicated that they were willing to negotiate a satisfactory settlement.
Germany decided to invade Poland on September 1, 1939. All of the British leaders claimed that the entire responsibility for starting the war was Hitler’s. Prime Minister Chamberlain broadcast that evening on British radio that
the responsibility for this terrible catastrophe (war in Poland) lies on the shoulders of one man, the German Chancellor.”
Chamberlain claimed that Hitler had ordered Poland to come to Berlin with the unconditional obligation of accepting without discussion the exact German terms. Chamberlain denied that Germany had invited the Poles to engage in normal negotiations. Chamberlain’s statements were unvarnished lies, but the Polish case was so weak that it was impossible to defend it with the truth.
Halifax also delivered a cleverly hypocritical speech to the House of Lords on the evening of September 1, 1939. Halifax claimed that the best proof of the British will to peace was to have Chamberlain, the great appeasement leader, carry Great Britain into war. Halifax concealed the fact that he had taken over the direction of British foreign policy from Chamberlain in October 1938, and that Great Britain would probably not be moving into war had this not happened. He assured his audience that Hitler, before the bar of history, would have to assume full responsibility for starting the war. Halifax insisted that the English conscience was pure, and that, in looking back, he did not wish to change a thing as far as British policy was concerned.
On September 2, 1939, Italy and Germany agreed to hold a mediation conference among themselves and Great Britain, France, and Poland. Halifax attempted to destroy the conference plan by insisting that Germany withdraw her forces from Poland and Danzig before Great Britain and France would consider attending the mediation conference. French Foreign Minister Bonnet knew that no nation would accept such treatment, and that the attitude of Halifax was unreasonable and unrealistic.
Ultimately, the mediation effort collapsed, and both Great Britain and France declared war against Germany on September 3, 1939. When Hitler read the British declaration of war against Germany, he paused and asked to no one in particular: “What now?” Germany was now in an unnecessary war with three European nations.
Similar to the other British leaders, Nevile Henderson, the British ambassador to Germany, later claimed that the entire responsibility for starting the war was Hitler’s. Henderson wrote in his memoirs in 1940:
If Hitler wanted peace he knew how to insure it; if he wanted war, he knew equally well what would bring it about. The choice lay with him, and in the end the entire responsibility for war was his.”
Henderson forgot in this passage that he had repeatedly warned Halifax that the Polish atrocities against the German minority in Poland were extreme. Hitler invaded Poland in order to end these atrocities.
Read more about the extreme atrocities against the German minority here.
 Taylor, A.J.P., The Origins of the Second World War, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1961, p. 207.
 DeConde, Alexander, A History of American Foreign Policy, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1971, p. 576.
 Hoggan, David L., The Forced War: When Peaceful Revision Failed, Costa Mesa, CA: Institute for Historical Review, 1989, pp. 25, 312.
 Taylor, A.J.P., The Origins of the Second World War, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1961, p. 209.
 Hoggan, David L., The Forced War: When Peaceful Revision Failed, Costa Mesa, CA: Institute for Historical Review, 1989, p. 50.
Britain will add two more neo-Nazi groups to its list of proscribed terrorist organizations, the British government announced on Thursday.
The parliamentary order, which will come into force on Friday, will proscribe Scottish Dawn and NS131 (National Socialist Anti-Capitalist Action) as terrorist organizations, considering them to be aliases of the already-banned neo-Nazi group National Action.
National Action became the first far-right organization to be proscribed under anti-terror legislation by British Home Secretary Amber Rudd when it was banned in December 2016.
The notorious National Action hate group praised the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox in June 2016 by a British citizen with links to US-based neo-Nazi group National Alliance and inferred that the June 2016 attack on Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub should be emulated. Banners saying “Hitler was right” have appeared at rallies and, in November 2016, a youth spokesperson for the group was filmed speaking about “the disease of international Jewry” at a far-right rally.
British Home Secretary Amber Rudd emphasized the importance of the ban in ensuring public safety and preventing radicalization.
“National Action is a vile racist, homophobic and antisemitic group which glorifies violence and stirs up hatred while promoting their poisonous ideology and I will not allow them to masquerade under different names,” said Rudd.
“By extending the proscription of National Action, we are halting the spread of a poisonous ideology and stopping its membership from growing – protecting those who could be at risk of radicalization,” she added. “Our priority as government will always be to maintain the safety and security of families and communities across the United Kingdom and we will continue to identify and ban any terrorist group which threatens this, whatever their ideology.”
Earlier Thursday, British police said they arrested 11 men on suspicion of a range of terror-related offenses of as part of an inquiry into National Action. Thursday’s announcement follows the arrest of four British soldiers earlier this month on suspicion of being members of the group, despite stringent security clearance procedures put in place by the British Armed Forces to check recruits’ political backgrounds.
According to the British Home Office, the group’s ideology “promotes the idea that Britain will inevitably see a violent ‘race war’, which the group claims it will be an active part of.”
The proscription of the two groups brings the number of proscribed organizations under Britain’s Terrorism Act 2000 to 73.
Proscription makes it a criminal offense to commit acts including belonging, or professing to belong, to a proscribed organization in the UK or overseas and inviting support for a proscribed organization. Penalties handed out for belonging to such groups can reach a maximum of 10 years in prison and/or a fine.
Following allegations that Labour is whitewashing an anti-Semitism problem, the British party adopted rules designed to facilitate the expulsion of members caught using hateful rhetoric against Jews.
The rules, which the Labour Party Conference adopted Tuesday, “finally make it easier to expel antisemites,” the Campaign Against Antisemitism watchdog wrote in a statement about the rules, but they “do not make it easier to prove that an antisemite is actually antisemitic, which has been a major part of the Labour Party’s problem,” the statement said.
The rules, which have been backed by Labour’s resurgent leader, Jeremy Corbyn, and the party’s national executive committee, explicitly tighten the party’s stance toward members who are anti-Semitic or use other forms of hate speech, including racism, Islamophobia, sexism and homophobia.
One of the new rules says expulsion will occur in the case of any member “holding or expression of beliefs an opinions” that involve prejudice.
But the rules do not define what constitutes anti-Semitism. Corbyn has backed a definition adopted earlier this year by the British government. Based on the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, it includes examples of demonization of Israel. But it is not immediately clear whether Labour will follow that definition in deciding what constitutes anti-Semitism.
Following the conference, Corbyn said that anti-Semitism was “completely at odds with the beliefs of this party.”
“This is not a nasty party,” he told Channel 4 News. “Nobody should be abused, whoever they are.”
The British Board of Deputies welcomed the new rules, but added in a statement that it will be watching how they are applied.
“Will those who have maliciously questioned the historical record of the Holocaust, those who have engaged in anti-Jewish conspiracy theories or called for Jews to be purged from Labour still be welcome in Labour, or will they be thrown out as they so obviously should be?” the statement read.
The new rules follow the eruption of a new scandal within Labour. At an event held on the fringes of the main party conference in Brighton, Israeli-American author and pro-Palestinian activist Miko Peled (not a member of Labour) said people should be allowed to question whether the Holocaust took place in the name of free speech.
Denying the Holocaust is illegal in the United Kingdom.
Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, vowed the party would investigate the speaker and said he was disgusted the party gave him a platform.
Labour has been under scrutiny in British media and the political establishment since the 2015 election. Corbyn, a hard-left politician, called Hezbollah and Hamas his “friends” at a 2009 event in which he hosted representatives from the terrorist groups in the British Parliament. He has since said he regrets those remarks.
Under Corbyn, Labour’s membership surged thanks to enrollment by activists and voters from the far left, including people who made anti-Semitic statements, often in connection with Israel. Ken Livingstone, a former mayor of London, repeatedly insisted that the Nazis were Zionists, leading to his suspension in April. Corbyn has resisted calls by major British Jewish groups to expel Livingstone, who denied that his statement was anti-Semitic.
The Jewish Leadership Council, an umbrella group, said the decision not to expel Livingstone was “deeply shocking” and “highlights Labour’s disregard for repairing the historic but broken relationship with the Jewish community.”
Livingstone said Tuesday after the conference that people were “completely distorting the scale of [antisemitism]” within the party. “Some people have made offensive comments; it doesn’t mean they’re inherently anti-Semitic and hate Jews,” he said. “They just go over the top when they criticize Israel.”
Len McCluskey, of the Labour party, also appeared to dismiss Labour’s anti-Semitism problem, suggesting it was all part of some plot to undermine Corbyn.
“I believe it was mood music that was created by people who were trying to undermine Jeremy Corbyn,” McCluskey told BBC’s Newsnight on Tuesday, in remarks picked up by the Guardian.
“I’ve never been at a meeting where there was any ant-Semitic language or any attacks on the Jewish nation; they would have had short shrift at any meeting that I was at,” he said.
When asked why such allegations were made if they were not true, McCluskey answered: “Because they wanted to bring Corbyn down, it’s as simple as that.”
Labour has expelled or suspended dozens of members for making comments deemed anti-Semitic, but others have not been sanctioned or been readmitted.
Last year, Shami Chakrabarti, a human rights activist and Labour member, compiled a report on anti-Semitism in Labour that the Board of Deputies of British Jews and other mainstream communal groups said was a “whitewash.” The report asserted that while there is “occasionally toxic atmosphere” against Jews in Labour, anti-Semitism is not prevalent in the party’s ranks.
But a British parliamentary committee of inquiry last year upheld claims that the Labour Party’s leadership is failing to confront serious anti-Semitism in its ranks.
According to an analysis conducted by the Campaign Against Antisemitism of online chatter by Labour supporters, they are eight times likelier to express what the group deems anti-Semitic rhetoric than supporters of other large parties, whose chatter on social networks also was analyzed.
Nearly 70 percent of all school children in Greater London are non-white, according to figures published by the UK’s Department for Education (DFE).
The figures, which can be found on the DFE’s website here, or downloaded as a dataset here, show clearly the level of ethnic cleansing that is taking place in Britain’s largest city. According to the figures, there are 498,445 pupils in total in London, which is divided into “Inner London” and “Outer London” for administrative purposes.
Inner London has a total of 176,920 pupils, of whom 81.3 percent of primary pupils are officially classified as “non-white British” by the DFE. For secondary schools in Inner London, the DFE says that 80.7 percent are “non-white British.”
The suburb of Newham has a 92.4 percent “non-white British” level at primary school level, and the borough with the lowest number of non-whites in primary schools is Hammersmith and Fulham — and there they constitute 73.7 percent of the total.
At secondary school level in Inner London, the picture is much the same. Some 80.7 percent of pupils in secondary schools in Inner London are “non-white British,” with 90 percent of pupils in Newham being the “most” and Hammersmith and Fulham being the “fewest” with 69.7 percent.
Outer London has a slightly larger number of white British pupils, the direct result of white flight from Inner London. Even there, however, the prodigious reproduction and immigration rate from the Third World, has ensured that white British kids are in a minority.
In Outer London, some 62.1 percent of primary school children are “non-white British,” and 58.7 percent of secondary school children are “non-white British.”
These figures mean that in total for all of Greater London, some 67.25 percent of all school pupils are “non-white British.”
For all of England (as opposed to all of Britain) the number of non-white British pupils in primary schools is 27.1 percent, and in secondary schools some 23.4 percent.
These figures mean that, given current immigration and Third World reproduction rates, non-whites will be the majority of the population in Britain aged 21 and under by the year 2030.
After that, it will be less than another two generations and Britain will be almost entirely non-white.
This is no made-up fantasy: it is a very real danger to the very existence of Britain—and because this scenario is also playing itself out in all of Western Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand—the very existence of western civilization is at stake.
Anyone European heritage person who is aware of this danger, and who does nothing to help stop it, is partaking in the genocide of their own people.
It told nursery teachers, playgroup leaders and childminders to record and report every racist incident involving children as young as three. These could include saying ‘Yuk’ about unfamiliar food.
Even babies should not be ignored in the hunt for racism because they can ‘recognise different people in their lives’, a new guide for nurseries and child care centres said.
The instructions for staff in charge of pre-school children in day care have been produced by the National Children’s Bureau, which receives £12million a year, mostly through taxpayer-funded organisations.
The NCB, which describes itself as ‘an umbrella body for the children’s sector’, has long used its resources to campaign on controversial issues, for example in favour of a legal ban on smacking by parents.
It also runs the Sex Education Forum, a campaign for more sex education in schools.
The new 366-page guide, Young Children and Racial Justice, warned that ‘racist incidents among children in early years settings-tend to be around name-calling-casual thoughtless comments, and peer group relationships’.
It said such incidents could include children using words like ‘blackie’, ‘Pakis’, ‘those people’ or ‘they smell’.
Children might also ‘react negatively to a culinary tradition other than their own by saying “yuk”.’
Nursery staff are told: ‘No racist incident should be ignored. When there is a clear racist intent, it is necessary to be specific in condemning the action.’
If children ‘reveal negative attitudes the lack of censure may indicate to the child that there is nothing unacceptable about such attitudes’.
Nurseries are encouraged to report as many racist incidents as possible to local councils.
‘Some people think that if a large number of racist incidents are reported, this will reflect badly on the institution,’ it said. ‘In fact, the opposite is the case.’
The guidance said that anyone who disagrees is racist themselves.
It also suggests cultivating the home languages of new immigrants – despite Government anxiety to promote the learning of English.
It said: ‘English is now viewed as the major language of the world but this is not because it has any innate linguistic advantages – it is because English is the language of power in a world dominated by English-speaking peoples.’
Critics of the race programme for pre-school children labelled it ‘totalitarian’.
Author and researcher on family life Patricia Morgan said: ‘Stepping in to stop severe bullying is one thing, but this is interference in the lives of children. It smacks of totalitarianism.
‘It is regulation of private speech and thought. They intend nursery staff to step into children’s playground squabbles and then report them to the local council as race incidents. Who would ever have thought that the anti-racism crusade would go so far?
A boy of ten has already been taken to court for calling a mixed race 11-year-old ‘Paki’ and ‘Bin Laden’ in a school playground argument.
The pair subsequently made up and became friends again, yet the Crown Prosecution Service decided to go ahead because the victim’s mother made a complaint.
The ten- year- old eventually appeared at Salford Youth Court in 2006 where he denied a racially motivated offence under the Public Order Act of using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour with intent to cause another person harm or distress.
But District Judge Jonathan Finestein ordered the authorities to review their decision to prosecute.
He said of the defendant: ‘I shouldn’t think he understands Bin Laden or Al Qaeda. I’m not condoning what he supposedly said but there must be other ways of dealing with this apart from criminal prosecution.’
Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki has called on British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to recognize a Palestinian state in a declaration akin to that of the 1917 Balfour Declaration.
“Balfour became famous for his promise to the Jews to establish a state for them on the land of Palestine,” Maliki said on Tuesday in Ramallah, in a meeting with British Middle East and International Development Minister Alistair Burt. “I call for the current British foreign minister to be famous for giving the Palestinians a promise called the ‘Johnson declaration’ that recognizes a Palestinian state.”
Top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat also called on the UK on Tuesday to recognize a Palestinian state.
Over the past year, PA President Mahmoud Abbas has called on Britain to apologize for the Balfour Declaration, and has floated the possibility of suing the country, if it does not apologize.
Abbas has also urged Britain to cancel plans to celebrate the Balfour Declaration’s centenary in November.
In April, the British Foreign Office said it had no plans to apologize for the Balfour Declaration.
“The Balfour Declaration is an historic statement for which Her Majesty’s Government does not intend to apologize,” the Foreign Office said.
“We are proud of our role in creating the State of Israel. The task now is to encourage moves toward peace.”
The Balfour Declaration was a letter sent by then-foreign secretary Arthur James Balfour to a leader in the British Jewish community in 1917, in which Balfour said the British government views “with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”
Palestine was under British rule when Balfour made the policy statement that contributed to the establishment of Israel in 1948.
Some 136 of 193 United Nations member states have recognized a Palestinian state, but the United States, Britain and a number of other world powers have not done so.
A Foreign Ministry spokesman did not respond to a request for comment by press time. Israel has previously stated that it opposes members of the international community unilaterally recognizing a Palestinian state.
It was created and captioned by Edward’s sole equerry, Sir Dudley Forwood, and has been in his family ever since.
The album features pictures – many of them previously unseen – of the former Edward VIII meeting top ranking Nazis.
More than 60 pictures detail the official visits the Duke went on with his new wife Wallis Simpson, who had been the cause of the abdication crisis the previous year.
Sir Dudley became the Duke’s personal attendant after the abdication until the outbreak of war, when he returned to his regiment, the Scots Guards.
He later said the Duke’s trip to Germany was “not to support the National Socialists as many thought”, but so the Duchess of Windsor could experience a state visit.
The album is being sold by auction house Duke’s of Dorchester along with Sir Dudley’s invitation to the funeral of the Duchess of Windsor in 1986.
Timothy Medhurst, an expert from Duke’s, said the album is expected to fetch up to £1,000.
“This is an incredible piece of history with impeccable provenance,” he said.
“It shows the couple in a relaxed environment being shown around by Nwho are clearly proud of their nation.
“The photos are neatly compiled in an album with captions written shortly after the visit. Some are quite amusing and include him (Sir Dudley) moaning about having to listen to a school choir for two hours.
“At the end of the concert he says both nations’ national anthems were played and he adds, ‘The press interest as to whether or not the Duke would follow the example of the Nazis and give their salute was quite funny’.
“He writes about how German firms were encouraged to provide staff with sports grounds and if they didn’t they’d get a bad ‘Nazi Mark’.
“In one caption he notes how the Duke told (Nazi politician) Dr (Robert) Ley that demolishing a tower so it could be rebuilt solely for aesthetic reasons was a ‘waste’, to which Ley replied, ‘We have the bricks, the mortar and the labour’.
“It is a unique piece of history compiled at a time when the Nazi war machine was preparing for European conquest and the systematic slaughter of millions of people.
“There will be interest from royal collectors but also those with an interest in history and the war.
“It is being auctioned in a sale that includes a number of other items from this period including medals.”
Sir Dudley once recalled the Duke telling Hitler: “The Germans and the British races are one. They should always be one. They are of Hun origin.”
He added that the Duke must have forgotten about the Norman invasion.
The photographs show the Duke and his wife visiting many places, including a mine, a winter relief headquarters, a lightbulb factory and a school, which Sir Dudley noted was being set up “‘to teach the young Germans to become true National Socialists. It is run on the lines of an English public school with every type of facilities for games”.
Many images record how the couple were shown around by Ley, who was in charge of the visit and a hardcore National Socialist.
He remained in Hitler’s inner circle until the end and was later arrested, but killed himself while awaiting trial.
The title page of the album, written in German, appears to quote a popular song of the day The Good Comrade, and then On A Beautiful Journey.