Archive for February, 2010

People in Holocaust

February 4, 2010

Careelika:

 The story of one foreign Jew who was deported to Estonian concentration camps.

Her name was Anna Bauer she was from Czech Slovaquie. She was one of 1000 Czech Jews deported to Estonia probably by the first echelon on September 5th in 1942. After their journey in train from Terezin (Theresienstadt) ghetto to Raasiku railway station the best ones were sorted out and sent to Jägala concentration camp, while the others where killed in Kalevi-Liiva gunnery-practice ground.

When the deported arrived at Jägala’s concentration camp, they were searched through. Living conditions were very bad, for e.g. they didn’t have any heat, water nor light there.
After Jägala’s concentration camp they were taken to Patarei’s prison, where they had central heating and water but very little room. Sometimes when working out of the camp they met Estonians who helped them and gave them food.

After Paterei’s prison they were sent to Vaivara’s concentration camp that was one of the worst concentration camps she had been in.
On September 1st 1944 when German army retreated from Tallinn to Stutthof, she was also one of those detainees who were taken to Germany. In Stutthof the conditions were a lot worse than in Estonian concentration camps and there was the first time she heard about gas chambers.
Having been to Danzig for a short time, they were finally closed to a shed, where they were found by the Russian army who rescued them. Anna Bauer was already unconscious by that time but she was saved by one of her mates.

Helen:

The perpetrator – Karl Linnas (1919-1987)

 Karl Linnas was an Estonian who was sentenced to capital punishment during the Holocaust trials in Soviet Estonia in 1961. He was later deported from the United States to the Soviet Union.

Linnas was tried in absentia and sentenced to death by a Soviet court in 1962 on charges that during the German occupation, between 1941 and 1943, he was the commandant of a Nazi concentration camp at Tartu and had personally shot innocent civilians, including Jewish men, women and children. After Soviet armies pushed the Germans out of Estonia, Linnas fought with the German army and was wounded in 1944. Then he stayed in Dispaced Person camps in Germany until emigrating to the USA in 1951.

Karl Linnas worked as a land surveyor, living quietly in Greenlawn, New York until 1979, when U.S. immigration officials charged him with making false statements to gain entry to the United States.

In 1981 the Federal District Court in Westbury, New York stripped the 67-year-old Linnas of his US citizenship for having lied to immigration officials thirty years earlier about his Nazi past. A 1986 federal appeals court upheld his deportation order, ruling that the evidence against the defendant was “overwhelming and largely uncontroverted.”

On April 20, 1987, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a final appeal. At that point Linnas was flown to the Soviet Union and almost three months later died in a prison hospital in the then Leningrad while awaiting trial (July 2, 1987). Linnas became the first naturalized American to be sent to the Soviet Union to face a pending death sentence.

 Ilmar Rebane was the defender of Karl Linnas. He said that Linnas shot only people who were in the grave and showed signs of life. He rarely beat prisoners. Soviet Union claimed that 12 000 people were killed in Tartu’s  concentration camp in 1941. Estonian detective Riho Västrik said that it was 4000. Karl Linnas himself told that Germans are responsible for what happened in the concentration camps.

 

We don’t know – Harri Männil

Alar:

Biography

Harry Männil was born on 17 May 1920 in Tallinn. He is a brother of geologist Ralf Männil. Männil graduated from Gustav Adolf Grammar School in 1938. In 1940–1943 he studied economy in University of Tartu and in 1943 business management in Helsinki. He left Estonia in 1943, and after staying in Finland and Sweden he has lived in Venezuela since 1946. In 1955 he married Mazula D’Empaire; they have four children.

In 1954 Männil was one of the founders of Aco Group, becoming its president in 1972. In 1994 he left Aco and became the president of Grupo Oriand. Männil has been a prominent entrepreneur in the automotive industry in the USA and Venezuela, and has belonged to managements of several Venezuelan companies. Around 2003 Männil retired from active business, having been succeeded by his sons.

Männil is known as an art collector and cultural benefactor in several countries. Männil has the largest private collection of pre-Columbian art in Venezuela, and his collection has been regarded as among the 200 largest private collections by the ARTnews magazine. He is the founder and the first director of West Venezuela Water Sport Federation, and has been the director of Ateneo de Caracas in Caracas and Maracaibo Art Center. Männil is a member of international council of Museum of Modern Art in New York. He is also Knight of Malta since 1968. He has been awarded several condecoracions and recognitions by Estonia, Venezuela and other countries for his endeavors in the cultural sector.

In 1990, Männil visited Estonia for the first time after 1943 on the invitation of Vaino Väljas, who he had met when Väljas was the Soviet Union’s ambassador to Venezuela. In the course of the restoration of Estonian independence 1990–1992, Männil was the president of the Prime Minister’s Economy Friends Club, which during the governments of Edgar Savisaar and Tiit Vähi. The club consisted of Estonian businessmen living abroad, who gave economic advice and helped to explain the Estonia’s situation in the western countries. Männil is also a godfather to Savisaar’s daughter. In 1998, Männil together with Henry Radeval founded Eduard Wiiralt Art Award.

Accusations of war crimes

Harry Männil has been accused of committing war crimes against Jews during the Second World War while working for three months in the Nazi-organized Estonian political police in Tallinn in 1941. In that time one of his labor conscriptions was arresting and interrogating of Jews. The Simon Wiesenthal Center claims that he participated in the persecution and murder of civilians, allegedly being responsible of murdering 100 Jews personally and indirectly being liable for the death of thousands of others. It is due to the fact that all of the Jews, who were interrogated by Männil, were later killed. Roland Lannes, a former co-worker of Männil, testified that Harry was involved in the execution of Jews, Communists and Estonian patriots and after that seizing their property.

Raul:

Harri Männil is accused by the Simon Wiesenthal Center of having participated in the murder of Jews during German occupation of Estonia. Estonian court found him not guilty. In April 1990, the chief of Estonian SSR’s KGB, informed Moscow that there is no evidence about Männil, and all reasons for obtaining such evidence have been exhausted. Estonian authorities have on multiple occasions indicated that they have found no evidence proving that Männil is guilty of war crimes. In 1995 Estonian investigators combed their files for evidence implicating Männil, but found none. In 2001 an Estonian International Commission for Investigation of Crimes Against Humanity (that has no Estonian members for independence purposes) announced that they have found no evidence which would indicate Männil’s participation in war crimes. However, the investigators did discover that 7 Jews Männil interrogated were later executed. In March 2001, “Kaitsepolitsei” started investigating Männil’s wartime activities at Efraim Zuroff’s request. After a nearly five year long investigation it was concluded that there is no evidence regarding Männil’s participation in war crimes. The state prosecutor Margus Kurm said that there are no documents or witnesses to prove Männil’s participation in executions, arrests, or other repressions. Regarding those individuals whom Männil had interrogated, Kurm said that there is no evidence that Männil was aware of them being destined for repression or execution. Several aspects support the view that Männil was unaware of such possibilities.

Kaie:

The Righteous Among The Nations – Uku Masing

In years 1941-1944 during the Second World War was Estonia under the occupation of Nazi Germany. Almost all the Estonian Jews who did not escape to Soviet Union were killed. Few had the luck like Isidor Levin (also Lewin) – a Latvian student in Tartu University, who later became a noted professor – he was helped by Uku Masing.

Isidor Lewin was Masing`s stundent and neighbor. Masing and his wife Eha helped Levin to stay undetected, helped him with  food and other needs. Doing so, they risked their lives only by having a contact with a Jew. But even more: Masing provided Levin with forged documents and shelter. He also gave a false testimony to Gestapo.

In year 1998 the Israeli state awarded Eha Masing with the Diploma Righteous Among the Nations. At that time his husband was already passed away. The award is given to people who risked their lives to save Jews. The ambassador of Israel sayd: “The jews fallow the principle: who has saved one Jew, has saved a hole community”.

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Films about the Holocaust

February 3, 2010

Helen:

Holocaust in Great Britain. The Documentary 

When Hitler had seized power, he started to kill Jews and send them to concentration camps. British newspapers were covering events in progress and the authorities there looked to Hitler, who was “trying to restore Germanys pride”, even positively. Jews wanted to escape but there was nowhere to go. British border service did not let them in.

On November 1938 took place “Crystal night” – 10 000 Jews were sent to concentration camps. Some children were sent to Great Britain but their mothers were left behind. The conditions in concentration camp were awful. There was no food and water. Some people who survived went to Great Britain. They were treated as usual incomers and no psychical help was given to them. They were alone.  

 In my opinion holocaust was very condemnable and authorities should have done something to avoid it. Not only the authorities in Great Britain but also authorities in elsewhere. People should learn of things like that but in some countries mistreatment still continues.

 

Kaie:

Night and Fog

1956, Argos Films, France

Director – Alain Resnais

The film Night and Fog tells us about concentration camps like Auschwitz, Dachau, Treblinka, Buchenwald, Stutthof, all of those were just names on a map, and now they have a horrifying meaning because of what was going on over there.

The concentration camps were built by the Nazi party with clear knowing of their purpose – to destroy human beings. The literal builder was not military, as we may believe, but usual building companies, whoever did the best bid.

The inmates were brought to the caps with trains in cattle cars in awful conditions already the journey killed many people.  Most of them had no idea where they were going, or what was going to happen to them

At the arrival to the camp all the personal belongings were taken away from them, people were often forced to nudity before compulsory shower, hair was shaved off and they were made to wear blue-striped uniforms. The barracks were always overcrowded, sometimes three or four people sleeping in one bed.

Himmler was very clear that the purpose of these camps was to destroy the inmates, but before he wanted to gain as mush of them as he could. So the inmates were in servitude, working often for big fabrics, working in snow, in heat, always kept hungry. Food was always in their mind, even though it frequently worked as a diuretic. Many captives died of hunger and diseases before the destroying reached them.

The killing was organized and contiguous. Sometimes those who could not work were separated right after arriving to the camp, sometimes people were taken from the camp by cars or trains, either way they did not know, that they were about to be executed in a moment.

At the beginning the SS used to shoot the people, but that was not effective enough. So the gas chambers and crematoriums were built

About nine million people were killed or died in concentration camps.  The ally troops arrived too late for so many. Almost all the officers said that they “are not responsible”.

The film questions who then is to blame and will mankind be smart enough to forestall the history from repeating itself. By revealing the true horrors of the camps it definitely makes one think about the causes that led some of us to command such acts.

 Alar:

Forgiving doctor Mengel

            The name of the movie is „Forgiving doctor Mengel“ and it consists of four short submovies: „Memories from the camp“, „Doctor Munch“, „Holocaust museum“, „The reopening of museum“. The movie is of a woman, Eva Kor, who survived the torturing in Auschwitz camp.

            In the first subpart Eva’s nowadays life can be seen. Her everyday life is shown and she describes her life in the Auschwitz camp and how she got there. Also Eva’s close people speak about her.

In the second subpart Eva flies to Germany to meet a man who was a Nazi officer Dr. Hans Münch. He was the only officer who was acquited because a lot of prisoners testified that he saved their lives in Auschwitz camp. Together Eva and Hans go to an old gas chamber in Auschwitz were Eva wants to sign a letter in the presence of Hans Münch where she forgives Dr. Mengel so she could get peace of mind.

In the third part it is shown how in the name of the Max Planck Association the spokesman apologizes in front of several „dr. Mengel twins“ and the „twins“ reactions to that. Later Eva’s holocaust museum is shown and she describes it a bit.

In the fourth submovie the burned remains of Eva’s holocaust museum is shown and it is mentioned that it was arson. The movie ends with the 60th anniversary of liberation in a crematorium in Auschwitz where Eva describes her emotions when visiting this camp.

            I think that overall it was a good educational movie. I wouldn’t recommend it to people who aren’t dealing with holocaust specifically but it’s good for them who study holocaust and want to get to the core of it. In my opinion it was good that Eva decided to forgive and get her peace of mind although other survivors of the Auschwitz camp didn’t understand her. I think that there should have been more describing of the life in Auschwitz camp and it would have been good to show more videos of the life there.

Raul:

But the story didnt end that way

I watched film named „But the story didnt end that way“. It’s produced by Yad Vashem and The International School for Holocaust Studies.

The film talks about the „Kristallnacht“ pogrom- a series of riots held against the Jews of the Third Reich. This event constitutes a significant turning point in the history of German and Austrian Jewry. It has become a symbol of the attack on innocent people.

In the film survivors tell about their memories. There are about five persons who have lived it through and try to give forward the atmosphere on these days.

I don’t recommend this film for everybody but when you are interested in history especially Jews or Nazis, it could be a good overview.

Careelika

Maine Survivors Remember the Holocaust
Running time: 1:00:40
Subject: Holocaust, 1933-1945

The film talked about how Nazis began to rule Germany in 1933 and ended
with the capitulation of Germany and liberating the detainees. There
were several people talking about their experience with concentration
camps and Nazi’s rule. The film also included interesting photos and
video clips taken during that period. 

An interesting film that helps one to understand better what happened
during World War II. There was a lot of new information for me,
everything looked more real because of the speakers who were talking
about their own experiences and not scientists who had read about it
from some kind of book. I recommend it to others, too.