Remembering: Holocaust Memorial Day

 

Now is the Time

Sixty eight years ago today allied troops liberated Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest of the death camps operated by the Nazis.

The Arrival

Hitler was obsessed with the notion of gaining Lebensraum or living space in Europe for his chosen race.  As the Nazis invaded Czechoslovakia and Poland, tens of thousands were arrested, detained and shot.

On January 20, 1942, Nazi leaders met at Wannsee, outside of Berlin to discuss the plan whereby European Jewry would be systematically detained and then exterminated. Reinhard Heydrich, the chief of the security police gave the briefing and the minutes were taken by none other than Adolf Eichmann who would later be caught in Argentina.

The West, including the US, was slow to understand what was occurring.  Indeed, the US did little to intervene and even refused safe haven to fleeing Jews, most famously aboard the MS St. Louis, a German ocean liner with 937 German Jewish refugees.  The ship was forced to return to Europe where as many as 25% of the passengers died in death camps.

Jews were a primary target but millions of others were murdered, as well.  They included Gypsies, gays and lesbians, Catholics and Jehovah Witnesses.

 

 

Stacked Corpses at Ohrdruf

On April 4, 1945, the US 4th Armored Division and the 89th Infantry Division liberated the death camp at Ohrdruf.  They were the first Americans to do so.  Soldiers found piles of bodies covered in lime while others were partially burned in makeshift pyres.  The fleeing Nazis were attempting to cover their tracks by destroying evidence but their mayhem was of such a magnitude that discovery was inevitable.

 

 

 

The “Big Guns” at Ohrdruf

Word quickly spread up the chain and Generals Eisenhower, Patton and Bradley made an immediate trip to witness the slaughter and the conditions.”Tough as Nails” Patton would not view some of the atrocities as he said he would vomit were he to do so.

Eisenhower went specifically in order to be a personal witness and to give testimony on what he had seen.  To General George C. Marshall, head of the US Armed Forces Joint Chiefs, he wrote:

“I made the visit deliberately, in order to be in a position to give first-hand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these allegations merely to propaganda.”

 

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FE Talk: Humpday Hangout

Comments
Eric Lamar
IAFF Ethics: Harold, Ed and the Silent Picket Line
Thanks for once again dragging in all the extraneous nonsense but this is all very simple. Harold Schaitberger attempted to recruit a candidate who has (at least) 20 members serving as volunteer chiefs in just one jurisdiction. That's extraordinary and it flies in the face of protecting the rights of brother and sister firefighters or…
2015-02-28 04:13:01
Chris Sullivan
IAFF Ethics: Harold, Ed and the Silent Picket Line
In the meantime...Eric Lamar still does not engage in meaningful conversation nor can he refute any of the comments here...Its obvious that you have a history with the IAFF President and maybe its warranted..however, because you do not like the man..don't bad mouth his choice for the 4th District President.....coming from a right to work…
2015-02-28 02:57:12
Eric Lamar
IAFF Ethics: Harold, Ed and the Silent Picket Line
No relationship with any of the candidates, announced or unannounced or previously thrown to the wayside. Feel better?
2015-02-27 16:21:16
Richard Peterson
IAFF Ethics: Harold, Ed and the Silent Picket Line
"By the way, it is my experience that people do not share posts they don’t agree with and 1,180 have shared this one in a little over 24 hours." We all know that statement is BS. People share posts all the time on subjects they don't agree with...it starts dialogue and that can make for…
2015-02-27 12:21:01
Sam
IAFF Ethics: Harold, Ed and the Silent Picket Line
So I guess the right person is you? It's funny reading the posts and you saying it's not personal towards Ed Smith but then you badh him saying he doesn't have what it takes to build a strong 4th district. Your department you retired from has a boat load of two hatters as well, but…
2015-02-27 08:21:41
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