King George V partly to blame for the death of the Romanovs

Nicholas II of Russia with his family (left to right): Olga, Maria, Nicholas II, Alexandra Fyodorovna, Anastasia, Alexei, and Tatiana - Livadiya, Crimea 1913 (Image - Wikipedia, public domain)

Tsar Nicholas II was King George V's cousin, his wife, the Tsarina Alexandra of Hesse, was Queen Victoria's granddaughter. 

Tsar Nicholas II and King George V were cousins, Berlin 1913 (Image - Wikipedia)

King George V and Prime Minister Lloyd George, initially offered asylum to the Russian Royal Family after Tsar Nicholas II abdicated in March 1917. Soon after the abdication, a provisional Russian government was formed to replace the Tsar which was in favour of allowing the Tsar and his family to leave Russia and live in exile in Britain.

With WWI in full swing, the fall of the Russian Tsars was widely welcomed by war-weary Britons, with many socialists regarding Tsar Nicholas II as a tyrant. In the weeks following the abdication, resentment was growing in Britain towards the British Royal Family. After initially offering the Romanovs asylum in England King George had a change of heart. He became concerned that if the Tsar and his family came to Britain an uprising, similar to that which toppled the Tsar, could happen here and topple the British royal family.

The Daily Express reports:
In a newly uncovered letter, it has been revealed that King George instructed Lord Stamfordham to write to the then Foreign Secretary, Arthur Balfour, outlining his growing concerns surrounding the potential arrival of the Russian Tsar in Britain.
The letter, sent from Lord Stamfordham to Arthur Balfour on April 6 1917, said: “Every day the King is becoming more concerned about the question of the Emperor and Empress of Russia coming to this country.
A second letter, dated the same day, added: “There is evidence in this country that the ex-Emperor and Empress coming to this country would be resented by the public.
“The opposition to them coming here is so strong that we must be allowed to withdraw from the consent previously given to the Russian government’s proposal.”
It had previously been believed the Prime Minister, Lloyd George, had decided to withdraw the offer of asylum to the House of Romanov following an initial request from the Russian government, but Lord Stamfordham’s letter indicates that it was King George himself who was pivotal in the decision.
King George was a constitutional monarch who was supposed to heed the advice of his ministers. Instead, he pressured the government to withdraw the offer of asylum to the Tsar and his family.

Arthur Balfour, Britain's Foreign Secretary, consequently capitulated and wrote to Lloyd George, advising the Prime Minister to withdraw the offer of asylum, which in turn sealed the fate of the Russian royal family.

Tsar Nicholas and his family were executed by the Bolsheviks on July 16 1918 in Ekaterinburg.

To put it bluntly, “George consigned the House of Romanov to history and his cousin Nicholas to the firing squad in order that the House of Windsor should survive.”

The Grand Duchess Anastasia, aged about 13, persistent rumours of her possible escape circulated after her death (Image - Wikipedia)

George wrote in his diary: "It was a foul murder. I was devoted to Nicky, who was the kindest of men, and a thorough gentleman who loved his country and people."

The following year, Nicholas's mother Maria Feodorovna and other members of the extended Russian imperial family were rescued from Crimea by a British warship.

Below - the execution of the Romanovs, from the film - The Romanovs: An Imperial Family.

 



Nuremberg's 1933 Victory of Faith Rally on Film

Hitler and Ernst Röhm, still frame from the 1933 Victory of Faith Rally

In 1933, Leni Riefenstahl (1902-2003) made a documentary about the NSDAP's Fifth Party Rally, which took place from August 31 - September 3 in Nuremberg.

The film was called The Victory of Faith (Der Sieg des Glaubens). The title refers to the fact that the Fifth Party Rally was the first party rally to take place after Hitler took power (i.e., after the victory).

Party rallies, which were festive occasions as well as political gatherings, were held between 1923 and 1938, mostly in Nuremberg.

The sixty-minute film was long thought to be lost until a surviving copy was discovered in Great Britain in the 1990s. 

Among the foreign guests in attendance at the rally was a delegation from the British Union of Fascists. Unity Mitford and Raven Thomson were included in the B.U.F. delegation. 

Unity is on the left wearing a blackshirt under a tweed suit, her arm raised in a salute. Four places away from her, bareheaded with a moustache, is Alexander Raven Thomson, the B.U.F.'s Director of Policy.

The 1933 rally began on 31 August; four hundred thousand party members had been collected by special trains; the SA, the SS and the Hitler Youth were all represented.

The film of the rally premiered in the Berlin Ufa-Palast am Zoo on December 1, 1933, and was a great propaganda success. After the Röhm purge, however, the screenings were halted. Hitler ordered the film banned, every copy withdrawn and destroyed, because Ernst Röhm figured so prominently in it. 

Röhm was the chief of staff of Hitler’s street-fighting, paramilitary brownshirt SA (Sturmabteilung), which by 1933 numbered two million men. He was the second most powerful man in the Party behind Hitler.


According to Wikipedia,
The film Triumph of the Will was produced to replace Victory of Faith and follows a similar script which is evident when one sees both films side by side. For example, the city of Nuremberg scenes—down to the shot of a cat that is included in the city driving sequence in both films. The innovative camera angles and editing that made Riefenstahl’s Triumph des Willens such a ground-breaking film are already demonstrated in Der Sieg des Glaubens. Furthermore, Herbert Windt reused much of the musical score for this film in Triumph des Willens.
Adolf Hitler had personally commissioned Leni Riefenstahl to make the Victory of Faith film. The two were bound by a close friendship that provided the foundation for Riefenstahl's brilliant career during the Nazi dictatorship. Hitler believed that the talented director was the right person to portray the party rally as a thrilling and emotional mass event and to present himself as a charismatic leader. 

Leni Riefenstahl

She later produced other propaganda films that also won international acclaim. In addition to the much acclaimed Triumph of the Will, she produced The Day of Freedom, and her best-known work, a two-part film on the 1936 Olympic Games (The Festival of the Peoples and The Festival of Beauty), whose artistic and technical quality established her reputation even beyond the Nazi dictatorship. Riefenstahl herself always denied any complicity with or support for the Nazi regime.

Victory of Faith film poster

The Victory of Faith documentary begins slowly, with architectural shots of old Nuremberg buildings, and no people at all. Next we see men constructing wooden benches in anticipation of crowds, and the arrival of dignitaries on a train pulled by a swastika-bedecked locomotive. Hitler arrives separately by plane.

The movie gathers momentum as the viewer peers over Hitler’s shoulder as his car moves through Nuremberg’s crowded streets.

The camera shows swastika banners, marching brigades, music, parades, speeches, and enormous masses of people, interspersed with dozens of individual faces of party members, soldiers, SA and SS men, Hitler Youth, and townspeople.

There is no narration.

Several selections from Hitler’s speeches are included. In one he speaks of victory after struggle, and aspirations for ethnic unity:

Many of you look back on a fight that has lasted for years. Today we see the result of that fight. The National Socialist Party has become the state. Its leaders today are the leaders of the German Reich who must answer to history. You are answerable before God and history to accomplish through the political education of all Germans that they become one people, one idea, and one expression of a single will.
 
A laser-like focus on youth was apparent in his remarks to 65,000 Hitler Youth from every corner of the Reich:
You will be one people bound together as tightly as you are now. As German youth, our only hope—the courage and faith of our people. You, my youth, are the living guarantee, the living future of Germany, not an empty idea, nor empty formalism, an insipid plan. No! You are the blood of our blood, flesh of our flesh, spirit of our spirit. You are the continuation of our people.
Joseph Goebbels—like Hitler, a skilled orator—gave a speech on “The Racial Question and World Propaganda” that does not appear in the film, perhaps because he explicitly criticized Jews.
 
Indeed, none of the excerpts from any of the speeches mention the Jewish question.

Adolf Hitler and SA leader Ernst Röhm stride together toward the cenotaph during the national party day of the NSDAP, Nuremberg, Germany, September 3, 1933

Röhm and his colleagues envisioned the SA, now over two million strong, as the German army of the future, replacing the Reichswehr and its long-standing professional officer corps with traditions dating back to Frederick the Great. In February 1934, Röhm demanded that the Reichswehr be absorbed into the SA to create a “people’s army” under his leadership.

Adamantly opposed by the Army, Hermann Göring, SS leader Heinrich Himmler, and others, Röhm evidently planned a coup if his demands were not met.

During the purge known as the Night of the Long Knives on June 30, 1934, Röhm was personally arrested by Hitler, and subsequently shot on the orders of Himmler and Göring in his prison cell in Munich. Many other SA leaders were liquidated as well. Röhm was replaced by Victor Lutze as the much less powerful new head of the SA.

Mainstream sources state that in April 1934 (i.e., before the Röhm purge in June) Riefenstahl was visiting Great Britain to speak at major universities to discuss her documentary film techniques. During the visit at least one copy of Victory of Faith was made. 

This copy was rediscovered in the 1990s, after being in storage for more than 60 years, and is the only known surviving print.

However, in a lecture, David Irving, who knew Riefenstahl and discussed Victory of Faith with her, said that she possessed a copy—the implication being she had retained it for herself.

In 1948, a denazification court categorized Riefenstahl as a "follower." However, she was not able to refute the accusation that while making the film Tiefland (1940-41), she had forced a group of Gypsies to participate and that – contrary to her claims – had not saved them from being deported to Auschwitz.

Thus she remains controversial, and her career is considered exemplary of those artists who not only benefited from Nazi cultural policies but also willingly accepted the ideological appropriation of their work. 

The Victory of Faith is available on DVD in excellent quality.

 

Unity: The BBC2 Playhouse Production filmed in 1981

Ernst Jacobi as Hitler and Lesley Anne Down as Unity Mitford
reading The Tatler (Image - Youtube)

Thursday August 8 was the 105th anniversary of the birth of Unity Valkyrie Mitford, the English socialite known for her relationship with Adolf Hitler.  In 1981, BBC2 Playhouse made a film about her called "Unity."  The script was written by John Mortimer and was based on the book "Unity Mitford: A Quest" by David Pryce-Jones.  The part of Unity Mitford was played by Lesley Anne Down, Adolf Hitler was played by Ernst Jacobi.

It should be noted that David Pryce-Jones, whose mother was from a wealthy Viennese Jewish family, was a veteran Unity Mitford hater.  Before his book was published in 1976, a lot of offensive and derogatory passages had to be removed from the proof copy to avoid lawsuits from the Mitford family.  A review written for the Times Literary Supplement denounced Pryce-Jones for poor scholarship, misquoting and generally writing defamatory rubbish.

In May 1934, Unity Mitford left England for Germany.   She had arranged to stay at the home of Baroness Laroche at 121 Königinstrasse in Munich.  Baroness Laroche ran a finishing school for upper class young ladies.  She employed a governess, Fräulein Eva Baum, who lived out and was pro-Nazi.  Fräulein Baum taught German and Unity was eager to gain fluency as soon as possible so that when she met the Führer, as she felt convinced she would one day, she would be able to understand what he said.

The film begins in Munich in 1935.  Several English girls, including Unity Mitford, are seen cycling behind Fräulein Baum, who is played by Ingrid Pitt, best known for her work in horror films.  Unity and her friend Mary Armida Macindoe - whose name has been changed to Annie Macfarlane in the film - leave the group and make a diversion to the Osteria Bavaria, Hitler's favourite restaurant.

The Osteria Bavaria was a small Italian restaurant on the Schellingstrasse.  The restaurant is still there today but has been renamed the Osteria Italiana.  It was from Fräulein Baum that Unity learned that when Hitler was in Munich he often lunched there.  Unity kept daily vigils at the restaurant so that she was always there whenever Hitler turned up.

In February 1935 Unity achieved her goal.  In the film "Unity" she is seen sitting at a table with her friend Annie Macfarlane when one of Hitler's adjutants comes up to her and says, "The Führer invites you to his table."  From that first meeting a friendship developed which lasted until the start of the second world war. 

Although Unity's sister Jessica, who became a communist, described Unity as a plain looking woman, most people disagreed.  In March 1932, the Daily Mail described Unity as possessing the most lovely natural colouring and as very attractive.  Ernst 'Putzi' Hanfstaengel, who was an intimate friend of Hitler and a gifted pianist, described Unity as an outstanding Nordic beauty.  Hitler himself described Unity as "a perfect specimen of Aryan womanhood."

Although the film "Unity" sticks fairly closely to the book some dates and events have been changed, for example, Unity's first meeting with Ernst Hansftaengl.  Unity first met Hansftaengl in 1934 but in the film she meets him at Castle Bernstein in 1935, where she is staying as a guest of Janos Almasy and his wife.  It was Hansftaengl who introduced her to many high ranking Nazis.

Unity got on particularly well with Julius Streicher, publisher of the anti-Semitic newspaper Der Stürmer,  and in June 1935 he invited her to attend a midsummer festival in Hesselberg.

On 22 June 1935, as a guest of Streicher, Unity was a passenger in a column of black government Mercedes as they drove past uniformed S.A. men and a crowd of roughly 200,000 people.  The mass of spectators and the Stormtroopers carried torches. 

Julius Streicher gave a speech.  He surprised Unity when he mentioned his English guest on the stage behind him.  He called her "a brave English girl" and read excerpts from an unpublished letter she had written to Der Stürmer.  He also presented the stunned Unity with a bouquet of flowers in front of the giant crowd.  Unity wrote home, "He went on about me for ages... It was all so unexpected, I can still hardly believe it."

The following day, June 23rd, Unity Mitford attended further celebrations with Streicher.  There was a large demonstration in the afternoon with uniformed S.A. and S.S. troops.  Unity sat near the party leaders on Hesselberg Hill:
"We had seats on the Tribune, full in the blazing sun, so hot that not only my blouse but also my skirt and jacket stuck to my skin" (letter to her mother, 23 June 1935).
Streicher once again mentioned Unity Mitford and her letter to Der Stürmer in his speech.  Then he asked her to come forward.  Unity wrote home to her mother about the occasion:
"I was pushed forward by a lot of men in uniform and climbed on to the speakers' little platform.  The crowd cheered and I gave the Hitler salute.  Then Streicher whispered 'You must say something to them'.  Can you imagine anything more horrifying in front of two hundred thousand people?  I said a few sentences into the microphone, then Streicher shook hands with me and thanked me."
Unity spoke to a crowd of 200,000 people at Hesselberg

This event is covered exceptionally well in the film "Unity."  Black and white film footage of Lesley Anne Down is mixed with original German newsreel footage to make it look as if she was actually there. 

 Lesley Anne Down as Unity Mitford speaking at Hesselberg

Addressing the crowd she says:
"I pledge my solidarity to the German people!  I pledge my solidarity to the struggle against international Jewry in England and in Germany!  I pledge my solidarity in devotion to your wonderful leader!"
This is followed by Nazi salutes and shouts of Sieg Heil.

The black and white film sequence continues with Unity being interviewed in which she says:
"The ordinary person in England has no idea of the Jewish danger. The Jews say Hitler wants war because they want to turn England against Germany."
Hitler and Unity are then seen attending the opera together. 

Other events covered in the film "Unity" include:

*  Unity visiting an apartment in Munich, offered to her by Hitler, while the elderly Jewish couple who were to be evicted were still in residence.  This was in 1938 when apartments were being requisitioned from Jews in the aftermath of Kristallnacht.  Unity is reported in Pryce-Jones' book to have visited the apartment to discuss her decoration and design plans, while the soon-to-be-dispossessed couple sat in the kitchen crying.

*  Unity's attendance at a rally in Hyde Park. The Spanish Civil War had been raging for some time and the Labour Party, assisted by its Communist allies in the so-called 'Popular Front,' were holding a "Save Spain" rally in Hyde Park.  Unity attended the rally wearing her NSDAP badge given to her by Hitler.  Her life was threatened by a section of the crowd and she was rescued by a policeman and two members of the British Union of Fascists (not shown).

*  Unity's attempt to commit suicide in the Englischer Garten (English Garden) in Munich on 3 September 1939 where she took a pearl-handled pistol, given to her by Hitler for protection, and shot herself in the head.  She is seen sitting on the stone bench below when she pulls the trigger.

Stone bench by Klenze in the Englischer Garten, Munich (Image Wikipedia)

She survived the suicide attempt, and was hospitalised in Munich, where Hitler frequently visited her.  He paid all of her hospital bills and arranged for her safe return to England.

This film has recently been uploaded to Youtube but is in very poor quality. It doesn't seem to be available anywhere else.

 

References:

Unity Mitford: A Quest by David Pryce-Jones, published by Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1976


The Third Reich People's Radio - Part One


Promotional photo of an idealized German working-class family. Mother does her knitting, Father reads the paper, and the smiling children cuddle a kitten while everyone listens to the Volksempfänger.

Below - the Volksempfänger VE301W. The letters VE were an abbreviation for Volksempfänger and the number 301 represented January 30, 1933 – the day Adolf Hitler rose to power.  The "W" signifies the AC version.  The distinctive Bakelite cabinet was the work of the architect and industrial designer Walter Maria Kersting.  The chassis was designed by Otto Griessing, the chief engineer for the electronics company Seibt. The Volksempfänger had Medium Wave (MW) 500-1500 KHz and Long Wave (LW) 150-500 KHz but no Short Wave.

Volksempfänger VE301W (Image - Wikipedia Creative Commons)

As the Hitler Government swept into power in Germany in 1933, their newly formed Ministry of Propaganda took over control of broadcasting from the Post Office.  Anxious to get the Party message into every German home it was realised that very cheap radio receivers must be made available (at that time, the average price of a radio receiver was about 400 Reichsmarks).  The Heinrich Hertz Institute of Berlin was given the task of designing suitable radios with Professor Leithauser responsible for developing the circuit to be used.  It was necessary, he said later, that the receiver should be selective and powerful enough to guarantee reception at all times of the day.  The receiver must not, however, be "too good", otherwise the listener might hesitate to buy a more expensive receiver even if he could afford it, thus alienating the receiver manufacturing industry.

The 1933 Berlin Radio Show, the 10th consecutive exhibition since Germany began broadcasting, received greater publicity and provoked more interest than any previous exhibition with the introduction of the People's Radio being the most spectacular feature.  The receivers were of three types - one for AC line operation (VE301W), one for DC line operation (VE301G) and one for battery operation (VE301B, later VE301B2).  The AC version was housed in a bakelite cabinet, the DC and battery versions were housed in wooden cabinets.  Produced by 28 different manufacturers, all using the same specifications and components, the design of the cabinets were also the same.  The price of one of these new radio receivers was about 76 Reichsmarks (about £4.00 in English money).

 Volksempfänger VE301B2 battery model made by Wega-Radio, Stuttgart

Volksempfänger VE301B2 battery model with the back removed

Some 30,000 People's Radios had been sold before the 1933 Berlin Radio Show and during the first three days demand was so heavy that a further 100,000 had to be ordered.

The AC line operation model was the most popular and the battery version the least popular making it harder to find today.  The battery operated version was designed by Herr Nestel of the RRG (State Broadcasting Corp.) labs and used three 2 volt filament valves.  The receiver in its wooden cabinet stood on a wooden box which housed the batteries.  The battery manufacturers co-operated by making low-priced batteries available. 

In 1934 the price was reduced to 64 Reichmarks and sales increased to 811,619 units.  In 1935 the Government supported a program for a fixed trade-in allowance on every pre-1930 receiver traded in. Some 373,000 older units were traded in and destroyed by the Ministry.  An AC/DC version (VE301GW) was shown at the 1935 Berlin Radio Show as well as a converter unit by Korting for changing the People's receiver into a superheterodyne receiver.

To cut costs even further, the German Government dropped the Telefunken licence - equivalent to the Marconi licence in England.  This licence, which had to be renewed every year, applied to everybody who owned a radio receiver.  In England the wireless licence was issued by the Post Office and cost 10 shillings.

Many powerful receivers were being manufactured in Germany during this period for those who could afford them.  Telefunken, for example, showing some 40 different models in 1936.  However, listening to transmissions from other countries, where comments unfavourable to the new regime were broadcast, could result in 2 year prison sentences for "contemplated high treason."  

Goebbels announced details of an improved Volks in 1937, the VE301Wn, and it was introduced in that year's Radio Show.  Externally the same, except for the dial being re-calibrated with station names instead of arbitrary numbers, the chassis now had a Pentode A.F.7 as detector for better sensitivity and a re-worked loudspeaker.  Total sales now reached 2,652,223.

 The 1937 VE301Wn with station names on the dial

This set was quite capable of picking up the BBC's German language broadcasts, especially late at night.

A whole industry soon developed around the production of accessories for People's Receivers.  Such as - devices to block interference from strong local transmitters, 8 pin antenna selectors, backlights to illuminate the dial, converter units to change the People's receiver into a Superheterodyne receiver and filters to reduce electrical noise.

 Antenna Selector (rejection circuit) made by Luxor

The Antenna Selector plugged into the sockets on the side of the cabinet
and the knobs were adjusted to get the best reception.

A number of other countries either planned or put into production small standard receivers but only in a totalitarian country could the manufacturers be directed to make such large production volume possible.

The 1938 Berlin Radio Show produced another variation with a moving-coil loudspeaker known as the VE301 Dyn. 
The Dyn stands for dynamische, i.e., electrodynamic.  This new receiver had a redesigned cabinet.

VE301 Dyn, this example made by Tefag


This radio operates on AC current.  On the back panel, to the left is a diagram showing that you can select 110-volt, 130-volt, or 220-volt current by moving a wire on the power transformer.

At the lower right, you can see connectors E, A1, A2, and A3.  The water tap symbol indicates that E stands for Erde, earth, a ground connection.  The three antenna jacks are for antennas of different lengths. When changing to different bands, you could also change the antenna for best reception. 


The valves from left to right, are of the type RGN 1064, RES 164, and AF7.  The gold colour on the AF7 valve is a metallic shield coating. The lampshade-like hood on the top is the connector for the valve's grid cap.

Also visible is the large electrodynamic speaker, with output transformer mounted to one side.  This was a great improvement over earlier reed speakers. 

Mounted near the bottom of the speaker frame is the pilot lamp for the dial. 

The rectangular dial has an eagle and swastika at each end

Printed on the glass dial are the names of cities in Germany and Austria: Dresden, Salzburg, Berlin, and so on.  As to be expected, stations from other countries do not appear.

Inside the cabinet there is another eagle and swastika imprint and the words Reichs Rundfunk (National Broadcasting). 

This is a two-band radio. The first band is LW (Lange Welle, long wave), covering 150-350 kilohertz.  Germans of the day could tune in a Deutschlandsender, or national station, on LW.  This band is still used for general broadcasting in Europe.

The second band is MW (Mittel Welle, medium wave) from 550-1700 kilohertz.  In the Germany of the 1930s, MW was used to tune in a nearby Reichssender, or regional station.

These radios were priced at 65 Reichsmarks.  Most of the manufacturers of these radios have long since disappeared but some well known names remain including: Telefunken, AEG, Blaupunkt, Siemens and Philips (Deutsche Philips).

Also introduced at the 1938 Berlin Radio Show was the Kleinempfanger DKE 38.  This will be covered in part two of this article.


Elisabeth Becker: Publicly Executed at Age 23 for 3 Months Service as an Aufseherin at Stutthof Concentration Camp

Elisabeth Becker was one of five female former Stutthof concentration camp guards who were publicly executed for war crimes at Biskupia Górka Hill, Gdańsk (Danzig), Poland on July 4, 1946. 

Stutthof concentration camp, which was located about 20 miles from Danzig, was a forced labour camp; it was not an extermination camp.

Elisabeth Becker was born on 20 July 1923 in Neuteich, a small town near the Free City of Danzig.

The Free City included the city of Danzig and other nearby towns, villages, and settlements that were  primarily inhabited by Germans. With a population of 410,000, the Free City was 98% German, 1% Polish and 1% other.

Becker's family were German and in 1936, aged 13, she joined the BDM, also known as the League of German Girls. 

In 1938, aged 15, she got her first job as a cook in Danzig. In 1940 she began working for a company called Dokendorf in Neuteich, her home town. She remained there until 1941, when she became an agriculture assistant in Danzig.

In 1944, the SS needed more guards at the nearby concentration camp at Stutthof, and Becker was called up for service. The shortage of women guards was caused by the setting up of the subcamp of Bromberg-Ost, in the city of Bydgoszcz. in 1944.

Becker did not choose to become a concentration camp guard. If she had wanted to become a guard she could have joined Stutthof at any time from 1942 onwards, when they first started to take in female prisoners.

Becker arrived at Stutthof on 5 September 1944 to begin training as an SS Aufseherin. After she finished training, she worked in Stutthof women's camp 3 until 15 January 1945, when she went back home to Neuteich.

She served as a Camp Wardress (Aufseherin) in Stutthof for just over three months. It was the only concentration camp she ever worked in.

On 13 April 1945, Polish police arrested her and placed her in prison to await trial. 

At Becker's trial she was charged with personally selecting women and children for the gas chamber. 


 Delousing chamber at Stutthof - Soviet photo taken in 1945

The Stutthof gas chamber was used to disinfect prisoner's clothing. It's claimed that between June and November 2, 1944, it was also used to gas human beings. Between August and November 2, 1944, more than 1,450 victims, most of them Jewish women, are alleged to have been gassed.

If Becker did not arrive at Stutthof until 5 September 1944, she presumably spent the next few works undergoing training. This means her training ended towards the end of September/early October. If she was involved in gassing human beings it could only have been during the period October 1944 to November 2 when the gassings stopped.

Would the SS give a 22 year old girl, who had just finished her training as a wardress, the responsibility of selecting women and children for the gas chamber?  It is extremely unlikely. 

No documentation exists for the alleged gassings at Stutthof, only conflicting eyewitness statements which are in themselves extremely scarce. The main source of information for the mass gassings comes from a former camp inmate, Aldo Coradello.

The first Stutthof trial was held in Danzig, Poland, from April 25 - May 31, 1946 under joint Soviet/Polish jurisdiction. The 16 defendants, including Elisabeth Becker, all pleaded "not guilty" to the general charge of war crimes.  

A star witness at the Stutthof trial in 1946, Aldo Coradello was an Italian diplomat working in Danzig during WWII.
He was imprisoned in KL Stutthof from 12  June 1944, until the camp's evacuation in January 1945, for his consistently "anti-German attitude".

Coradello submitted a 60 page report to the Criminal Court in Danzig on May 21, 1946. Coradello was not an eyewitness, since everything he relates about the homicidal gassings in his report is from hearsay. This fact alone decisively diminishes the value of his testimony. The written report was accepted by the court in place of oral testimony. He wrote the report in German, which was not his native language, and the report was translated into Polish at the trial in real time by a translator. A word, here or there, mistranslated, could mean the difference between life and death for those on trial.

In his report he states: 

"Even in Berlin they immediately recognized the possibility of doing something to save German food by provisionally approving the gassing of 4,000 women as the first contingent. Work began thus immediately. (Ewald) Foth, the SS women’s guards and the criminal block elders, sometimes also supported by SS Doctor Heidl, now picked out the victims.”
Coradello's report does not mention any of the women guards by name. This flimsy piece of evidence seems to be the only evidence used to prove Elisabeth Becker selected women and children for the gas chamber. It was this evidence which led to her receiving the death sentence.

Most of the witnesses, in the trial against members of the Stutthof Camp personnel in 1946, knew nothing at all about any gassings. For example, former inmate Paul Wiechern, who was assigned to the crematorium crew on January 3, 1945, never even mentions them in his witness statements.

Becker sent several letters to Polish President Bolesław Bierut requesting a pardon. No pardon was issued, nor was it likely to be. Bolesław Bierut was a hardline communist with a direct telephone line to Stalin. Before the war, Bierut was frequently arrested by the Polish authorities for illegal political activity.

Elisabeth Becker was publicly hanged (by the short drop method) on 4 July 1946 at Biskupia Górka along with ten other SS supervisors and kapos. From the pictures of her hanging, it appears her neck was broken by the fall and her death would have been instantaneous. The other condemned guards choked to death on the end of the rope.

Notes

There were at least 70 different female guards working at Stutthof from 1942 until the camp was evacuated in January 1945. The SS-Oberaufseherin (Chief Wardress) in 1944, when Becker was there, was Anna Scharbert (born, September 25, 1919, Bytom, Silesia, Poland). She was an experienced wardress who had served at Ravensbruck (1942-1943), Majdanek-Lublin (1943-1944), Auschwitz-Birkenau (1944), Kauen (1944), Praust (1944) and lastly Stutthof (1944-1945).  She was never put on trial and her fate remains unknown.

The Commandant in 1944 was Paul Werner Hoppe. He was sentenced to nine years imprisonment by a court in Bochum, Germany in 1955, released in 1966 and died in July 1974.  After the war, he stated about the Final Solution, “All this never happened.  It’s all lies.”

A West German court that heard "eyewitness testimony" about homicidal gassings at Stutthof declared in its 1964 verdict that "with regard to the gassings a positive determination was likewise not possible." Evidence given by several supposed witnesses of gassings was found to be dubious or not credible.[1] Raul Hilberg makes no mention of homicidal gassings at Stutthof in his detailed three volume Holocaust work. Two other prominent Holocaust historians, Lucy Dawidowicz and Nora Levin, likewise said nothing about the camp's alleged extermination facility.

References:
 
1. Justiz und NS-Verbrechen (Amsterdam), vol. 20, page 615.

Stutthof: An important but little-known wartime camp by Mark Webber

Concentration Camp Stutthof—Its History & Function in National Socialist Jewish Policy: Jürgen Graf, Carlo Mattogno - Castle Hill Publishers, PO Box 243, Uckfield, TN22 9AW, UK

Museum Stutthof - Aldo Coradello

The Extermination of the Stutthof Concentration Camp Prisoners Using the Poisonous Cyclone B Gas: Oranienburg 2008Ebook by Marik Orski


Gerard Batten to take UKIP's NEC to Court

Gerard Batten with Tommy Robinson (Image - Gerard Batten,Twitter)

UKIP's National Executive Committee (NEC) have blocked Gerard Batten from standing in the UKIP leadership election without giving a good reason and against the wishes of most of the members.

According to Gerard's gofundme page a solicitor has been appointed and an injunction will be issued against the NEC next week. Over £8,500 has been raised so far to fund his legal action.

According to a report on Kipper Central; Tony McIntyre, a former National Chairman of UKIP, has said that Gerard should be allowed to stand. He also said that at a leadership hustings event in the South West on Thursday evening, only about 50 people turned up when normally over one hundred would be expected to attend. Without Batten's name on the ballot paper there seems to be very little interest in the leadership election.

Despite all the good work done by Batten over the past year, there are those on the NEC who are unhappy with UKIP's move to the right and the appointment of Tommy Robinson as UKIP special adviser on Muslim rape gangs.

Batten has earned a lot of respect from the members for the way he has stood up to the mainstream media on controversial issues and should be allowed to stand. If the NEC refuses to reverse their decision, it's likely that UKIP will face mass resignations.


When Batten took over the party in April, 2018 it had less than 18,000 members, membership is now thought to be over 30,000 according to senior UKIP officials.

Most of those 12,000 new members joined because they supported the direction the party is now taking. If the party changes direction under a new leader, there is a risk that most of those new members will resign. 


With such a large loss of members, and without new members coming in -- under a less controversial leader, UKIP will be starved of publicity -- it won't be long before UKIP goes bankrupt.