Discussion in 'Books, Films, TV, Radio' started by SteveDee, Nov 25, 2019.
Coming up on Wednesday; BBC One - The Man Who Saw Too Much
I wasn't previously aware of that camp or the role of British intelligence officer Captain Yurka Galitzine.
"It was Galitzine’s experiences as a war crime investigator that left the deepest impression of all. He was sent, as part of a three-man SHAEF Intelligence unit, to investigate Natzweiler, a notorious camp. In Flames in the Field, Rita Kramer tells us that he was tasked with an investigation of the atrocities at the Natzweiler-Rudhof death camp in Alsace."
The Red Book: Major Discoveries
How SAS hunted down Nazis after the war with the help of a rogue Russian prince | Daily Mail Online
SteveDee, thank you so very much for bringing the showing of this programme to the fore.
I implore all who can to watch this. Natzweiler-Struthof is one of the most chilling places I have ever visited, even in the cold light of day. Any imprisoned there that came through incarceration are an example of fortitude unbound.
Plus, any programme that holds even a passing mention of the late Yuri Galitzine is a must.
This great man did more than most in keeping the SAS War Crimes Investigation Team going, allowing them to keep fighting the good fight post VE day.
Again SteveDee, thank you. Very, very much appreciated.
Kind regards, always,
Watched this last night. Unfortunately I found the BBC's subtitles impossible to read so missed a good deal of the content - very disappointing
I know what you mean.
I had two problems; the size of the subtitles on our telly, and the very short duration that some of them were on screen (...OK, so I'm a very slow reader).
But there is a solution; watch it via iPlayer on your laptop. There is a menu for changing font size, and it can be backed up/paused when necessary.
BBC iPlayer - The Man Who Saw Too Much
It's not only the size but the BBC sub tiles are often an unsuitable colour to stand out from the background.
Yes, you are right. At least on iPlayer they are white on their own black background. It spoils the picture a bit, but its clear to read.
I would implore all who missed the original showing of this programme to seek it out and watch it (please see SteveDee post above for link to BBC iPlayer)
For folks who may need a little encouragement to view said programme, please see the attached. And given the utmost respect that I have for the author of one of the sources of information attached, an extract from what I believe to be the absolute definitive work on SAS casualties,
I have donated £100 to the Combat Stress charity prior to posting here. May it promulgate their memory for evermore.
Please note, if I should receive a cease and desist request I will, immediately and with all reverence, always.
The attached, if ever anyone needed reason, is why we fight.
Pity they didn't get their facts correct too. Natzweiler was not the first camp discovered (November 1944) by the allies, that particular 'honour' goes to Vught Camp, October 1944.
Well given that the Soviets were Allies the first major camp was Majdanek near Lublin in July 1944
Perhaps I should have said Western allies.
Which ever was first the knowledge that such places existed was available to the Allies but little if any attempt seems to have been made to provide some sort of "here is what you may find and these are the procedures for helping he inmates" instructions for troops advancing into Axis territory. Accounts of some of the units bumping into Bergen Belsen show complete unpreparedness and treatment of some of the survivors which although kindly meant may have killed some of them
I found it a very interesting programme and no issues with the subtitles.
In terms of knowledge of the camps, was Witold Pilecki's report from his time in Auschwitz nor already with high command a good bit before any of these camps were found?
Yes it was 1941, but no one believed him at first. And later on, no one took any action.
At the very least the troops going into these camps for the first time should have been warned/prepared for what they found. But I guest that would have meant Churchill admitting he already knew.
And because some false claims were made about the Germans behaviour during WW1, the authorities were reluctant to admit that this kind of thing was going on, for fear that people would not believe them.
And although already a ghastly place in 1941 Auschwitz was not yet an extermination camp.
Some of the WW1 "False Claims" have subsequently proved to have been not without substance but discredited by an interwar book now itself accused of falsehoods
I think we are splitting hairs here over a subject that deserves more consideration and sensitivity.
When Witold arrive in 1941 it was already a death camp in as much as the German scientists had worked out that the POWs on hard labour needed something like 2500 calories per day. They were deliberately given only 1000 calories per day on the basis that this would kill them typically within 6 weeks. Fortunately for Witold, they changed this a few weeks later when they found new experiments that they wanted to conduct.
And they were certainly gassing people before he escaped in 1943; Germans, Poles, Russians & Jews. It was a miracle that he did not die in the camp as a result of gas, typhus, diarrhoea, execution, experimentation, or random acts of violence by the Kapos or guards.
I recommend the book:-
Book Review - Micro Book Reviews
We actually know so little about the original death camps because that is exactly what they were. Apart from the working Camp Kommandos nobody lasted a full day in one and only less than a handful of the latter managed to break out and reach Warsaw. There is some doubt about just how much of their testimony was believed, how much was sent to the Polish Government in London, how much got passed on to the British Government etc. Far more were killed in these camps than in Auschwitz. They were dead even before the latter got up to speed. Even more never saw a camp at all but were simply confined in temporary ghettos before being moved to nearby killing grounds and mown down en mass by machine gun fire.
Would agree with comment that the sub titles lacked definite contrast.However the programme gave a good update in revisiting Nazi ideology.
I found it a gruesome place as all these "killing for victory" places were.(My NZ cousin found it overbearing being aware of the deaths of female SOE operatives) The SS featuring as they did at other places with the establishing of their commercial enterprises in granite at Natzweiler.
Across the road from the Cross of Lorraine,there was a very heavy manual roller displayed which had a handling frame fitted so that it could be pulled and pushed.The effort must have required at least three men either side to deal with the tremendous physical task to shift the roller.It fitted into the Nazi programme of working the inmates to death
Natzweiler-Struthof has been discussed here many years before.
I have always understood that Major Bill Barkwith was one of the first to unearth and enter Natzweiller in November 1944 and report back its existence.Bill Barkwith then was involved in investigating the disappearance and ultimate fate of the SAS prisoners in the Vosges....... forests around Moussey
Kramer's involvement in the experiments are clearly shown in the programme.It was a fitting achievement that the 86 victims were finally identified in 2003 and commemorated.Looking into the case further it is recorded that with the group of people murdered by the "experiment", one,a woman resisted and she was shot.
A reference to Nickolas Wachsmann's A HISTORY of NAZI CONCENTRATION CAMPS gives very good insight into the Nazi racial science as practised by Hirt and mentions Menachen Taffel,one of the 86 victims murdered by prussic acid at Natzweiler.
A paragraph reads as follows:
Nazi doctors even selected Auschwitz prisoners for lethal procedures in other KL.The most notorious case involved the skeleton collection at the Reich University of Strasbourg,a hotbed of Nazi race of science established in 1941.In February 1942,Himmler received a report from Professor August Hirt,the leading physician of the Ahnenerbe and recently appointed as professor of anatomy in Strasbourg. Hirt's report included a proposal for killing "Jewish- Bolshevik commissars" to fill gaps in existing "skull collections".Himmler agreed,and the plan soon expanded:by murdering selected prisoners in Auschwitz,an entire racial anthropological skeleton collection would be created.
Eventually three Ahnenerbe officials visited Auschwitz in June 1943.They picked out prisoners from different countries,who were measured.photographed and filmed.One of them was Menachem Taffel. aged 42,who had been born in Galicia and later worked as a milkman in Berlin,from where he had been deported to Auschwitz in March 1943 (his wife and fourteen year old daughter had been gassed on arrival).In late July 1943,the SS deported Taffel, together with eighty six other Jewish prisoners to Natzweiler where the SS drove them into the new gas chamber (except for one woman who was shot for resisting).Commandant Josef Kramer then personally inserted prussic acid and watched the prisoner die.The corpses were sent to the Anatomical Institute in Strasbourg,about 40 miles away.As the Allies approached Alsace in autumn 1944,Hirt and his colleagues tried to cover their tracks.But they failed to destroy all the evidence and when the soldiers entered the basement of the Strasbourg institute,they found vats full of corpses,sawn off legs,and torsos,which had been preserved for Hirt's skeleton collection.
Insight on August Hirt.
August Hirt: Deadly Collector of the Victims of the Holocaust
Ahnenerbe....A Nazi think tank founded at the same time as the Nuremberg Laws were passed by the Third Reich in 1935.
Conclusion........ Some Think Tanks are Dangerous
Just to put a historical context in place. The very first German run extermination camp was established on Shark Island in what is today Namibia before WW1. It was intended to wipe out two tribal groups the Heoro and the Namib.. The camp doctor carried out medical experiments on the inmates who were also subjected to extreme labour on an inadequate diet. Anatomical specimens (heads) were supplied to order to a researcher back in Germany. The skulls have only been recovered comparatively recently and returned to Africa for burial. Horridly familiar sounding.
Separate names with a comma.