Sunday, March 15, 2015

I Want a Girl ( Just Like the Girl That Married Dear Old Dad)

A tip of the hat to pandora for steering this article my way.
At the heart of Nazi killings: Irma Grese was a concentration camp guard and one of the few women to be called to account for her crimes
Blonde German housewife Erna Petri was returning home after a shopping trip in town when something caught her eye: six small, nearly naked boys huddled in terror by the side of the country road. 
Married to a senior SS officer, the 23-year-old knew instantly who they were. 
They must be the Jews she’d heard about — the ones who’d escaped from a train taking them to an extermination camp.
But she was a mother herself, with two children of her own. So she humanely took the starving, whimpering youngsters home, calmed them down and gave them food to eat.
Then she led the six of them — the youngest aged six, the oldest 12 — into the woods, lined them up on the edge of a pit and shot them methodically one by one with a pistol in the back of the neck.
This schizophrenic combination of warm-hearted mother one minute and cold-blooded killer the next is an enigma and one that — now revealed in a new book based on years of trawling through remote archives — puts a crueller than ever spin on the Third Reich.
Because Erna was by no means an aberration. In a book she tellingly calls ‘Hitler’s Furies’, Holocaust historian Professor Wendy Lower has unearthed the complicity of tens of thousands of German women — many more than previously imagined — in the sort of mass, monstrous, murderous activities that we would like to think the so-called gentler sex were incapable of.
The Holocaust has generally been seen as a crime perpetrated by men. The vast majority of those accused at Nuremberg and other war crimes trials were men. 
The few women ever called to account were notorious concentration camp guards — the likes of Irma Grese and Ilse Koch — whose evil was so extreme they could be explained away as freaks and beasts, not really ‘women’ at all.
Ultra-macho Nazi Germany was a man’s world. The vast majority of women had, on Hitler’s orders, confined their activities to Kinder, Küche, Kirche — children, kitchen and church. Thus, when it came to responsibility for the Holocaust and other evils of the Third Reich, they were off the hook. 
But that, argues Lower, is simplistic nonsense. Women were drawn into the morally bankrupt conspiracy that was Hitler’s Germany as thoroughly as men were — at a lower level, in most cases, when it came to direct action but guilty just the same.
Ironically, it was the professional carers who were the first to be caught in this evil web. From the moment the Nazis came to power and imposed policies of Aryan racial purity, countless nurses, their aprons filled with morphine vials and needles, routinely slaughtered the physically disabled and mentally defective. 
Pauline Kneissler worked at Grafeneck Castle, a euthanasia ‘hospital’ in southern Germany, and toured mental institutions selecting 70 ‘patients’ a day. At the castle they were gassed, which she decided was not that bad because ‘death by gas doesn't hurt           
Johanner Altvater, who killed Jews for sport

Liselotte Meier, one of the thousands of Nazi women who were complicit in the crimes of the Third Reich

Meanwhile, midwives were betraying a whole generation of German women by reporting defects in unborns and newborns and recommending abortions and euthanasia, as well as sterilisation of mothers.
From the outset, Lower concludes, ‘women made cruel life-and-death decisions, eroding moral sensibilities’. A line had been crossed. It was no big step when the racial purification process turned to the Final Solution of exterminating millions of Jews.
That Jews were the enemy and their annihilation the answer was taken for granted by millions of women who would later deny knowing what was going on under their noses.

Lower, though, dubs them ‘primary witnesses of the Holocaust’.
The worst outrages took place in the ‘Wild East’, Hitler’s newly acquired (by military conquest) territories in Poland, Ukraine and other parts of overrun Russia. At least half a million young women joined in this colonisation process, and became accomplices to genocide on an unprecedented scale.
A mass of secretaries, for example, typed the orders to kill and filed the details of massacres. This placed them at the very centre of the Nazi murder machinery, but they, like so many others, chose to shut their eyes and benefit from their proximity to power.
But, picnicking in the country on their days off, how did they miss the mounds that hid mass graves, the gagging smell of rotting corpses? Whose clothes and possessions — plundered from ghettos or confiscated at camps and killing fields — did they think they were cataloguing for redistribution back home?
Trainloads of booty went back to Germany in what Lower calls ‘the biggest campaign of organised robbery in history’. And German women, she charges, were among its prime agents and beneficiaries.
Even more caught up in the criminal madness were administrators such as Liselotte Meier, who worked so closely with her strutting boss, an SS officer, that they were almost indistinguishable. She joined him on shooting parties in the snow, hunting and killing Jews for sport.

 In the early phases of the Holocaust, massacres were generally by shooting. In her area of Belarus, she coordinated the arrangements with the executioners and even decided who lived and who died.
She spared the life of the Jewish woman who did her hair, while another secretary removed from a woman from the death line who hadn’t yet finished the sweater she was knitting for her.
Secretaries had another important role, too. After each operation, it was usual for the SS killers, many of them drunk on schnapps, to seek solace in the women’s quarters, whether for sexual release or a shoulder to cry on after the exertions of mass execution.  In support of the men, women even manned refreshment tables during executions so the killers could take a break.
But much worse than these active accomplices were the women who killed — often the wives of SS officers. Erna Petri — callous dispatcher of those six Jewish boys — was one such Frau. She had followed her husband to Poland and lived in a mansion overseeing a vast estate for the Race and Resettlement Office of the SS, with ‘sub-human’ Slavs as slaves.

The book reveals thousands of women were complicit in the mass murder of Jews and have been dubbed the 'primary witnesses' of The Holocaust

The Holocaust has often been depicted as a crime perpetrated by men, but women also submitted themselves to the bankrupt morals championed by Adolf Hitler

The Holocaust has often been depicted as a crime perpetrated by men, but women also submitted themselves to the bankrupt morals championed by Adolf Hitler

On another occasion, she beckoned a toddler over, then grabbed him tightly by the legs and slammed his head against a wall as if she were banging the dust out of a mat.
She threw the lifeless child at the feet of his father, who later testified: ‘Such sadism from a woman I have never seen. I will never forget this.’
Close to the mass-shooting site where the ghetto inhabitants were herded to await their deaths, Westerheide and his deputies partied with some German women. Altvater was among the revellers, drinking and eating at a banqueting table amid the bloodshed.
Music playing in the background mixed with the sound of gunfire. From time to time, one of the Germans would get up, walk to the shooting site, kill a few people and then return to the party.
Violence to children was also the trademark of Gestapo wife and mother Josefine Block, who liked to carry a riding crop and lash out at prisoners waiting to be deported.
A little girl approached her, crying and begging for her life. ‘I will help you!’ Block declared, grabbed the girl by the hair, smashed her with her fists, then pushed her to the ground and stamped on her head until she was dead.
Desperate Jewish parents often approached Block to ask for help, assuming that, as a young woman and mother, she’d be sympathetic.
But she would use her pram to ram Jews whom she encountered on the streets and was said to have actually killed a small Jewish child with it. Such treatment is an affront to any sense of humanity, let alone womanhood — all the more so because most of these crimes went unpunished.
Erna Petri was the exception and spent more than 30 years in prison. But all the others mentioned here were either tried and acquitted or released after questioning.
Their defence was often to play the helpless woman card and blame the men. ‘I was just a secretary,’ pleaded Johanna Altvater. Meanwhile, the millions of other women who were complicit in these odious events got on with their lives after the war as best they could, as if the whole Hitler era had been a nightmare to be put aside and forgotten once everyone had woken up.
Yet the deep stain remains. Thirteen million women were actively engaged in the Nazi Party. Not all of these could have been innocent bystandersLower says: ‘To assume that violence is not a feminine characteristic and that women are not capable of mass murder has obvious appeal: it allows for hope that at least half the human race will not devour the other, that it will protect children and so safeguard the future.
‘But minimising the violent behaviour of women creates a false shield.’
At least half a million women, she says, witnessed and contributed to the operations and terror of Hitler’s genocidal war. ‘The Nazi regime mobilised a generation of young women who were conditioned to accept violence, to incite it, and to commit it.
‘This fact has been suppressed and denied by the very women who were swept up in the regime and by those who perpetrated the violence with impunity.
‘But genocide is also women’s business. When given the “opportunity”, women too will engage in it, even its bloodiest aspects.’
For those tempted to think that things are different now, consider those shocking photographs of a beheading in the Syrian bloodbath.
What was even more gut-wrenching than the gore was to see children looking on, unperturbed, drawn into a terrifying topsy-turvy morality, just as German mothers and children were 80 years ago.
Perhaps, too, the executioner wielding the sword went home to a wife who mopped his brow, in the same way as Hitler’s firing squads did. The lesson of the atrocities of the Holocaust is that they are not something of the past to be filed away and forgotten, but still very much with us.



Five Hundred Pound Peep said...

horrifying stories, but I believe them. Women can be just as evil as men no doubt of that. Just as murderous, just as cold and calculating and just as violent. Being female in some ways can help some of the wolves who want to appear as meek and mild sheep. I think of all the ones who turned Jews in to send them to the concentration camps. Anne Frank and her family was turned in by some female neighbor hearing noises in the annex. I am Caucasian but "dark" enough. [slav? Hungarian? Greek?--I don't know my ancestry yet?] they would have sent me off to a camp. I have read too many Holocaust memoirs, think about this many of the men running the camps were married, the wives had to know what was going on. They had some employed at the camps too to supervise the women. They had whole cadres of women shaving the Jewish women's heads and collecting their clothes and shoes and lying to them about the showers. Entire German towns next to concentration camps used to smell the burning human flesh. Humanity is evil enough more genocides await and now they are preparing world war III whose horrors will outdistance World War II. It is sickening thinking of that woman that did that to children. No heart at all. She is definitely burning in the hottest place in hell for eternity. She is a monster. I believe Hitler was out and out possessed and so were many who worked with him and for him.

q1605 said...

I visited Munich and took a side trip to Dachau. This is the camp that had the slogan "Arbeit macht frei"
"work makes you free"
hammered out in wrought iron over the gate. It was an eerie experience and really points out the irony that surrounds crazy people trying to rationalize actions they know are wrong.

q1605 said...

I worked on a guys house way back that had the strangest accent. Before I left his house I asked him about it and he had spent WWII in Amsterdam close to where Anne Frank lived and survived the winter by eating tulip bulbs. I now make a point of asking questions and listening intently to any person that doesn't fit into the local color(so to speak) cuz you never know when you are missing out on a opportunity to hear something that really puts things in perspective. I think that is one reason I am so hard on the tatted up popularity contests people I see on TV. People coming to blows mainly for show and over things that really don't add up to much We are currently embroiled in a tattoo controversy over here. One person just "dying" to get a tatt and me telling that person that by the time they are my age it will be a multi colored blob of unrecognizable ink. More a Rorschach test than a proper tattoo. It all falls on deaf ears because we all know that person will never be the age I am. Ever, Never, Ever. But don't listen to me I am clueless, old, wretched and like totally uncool

Pandora Viltis said...

I went to Dachau too. It was such a terrible place.

Have I told you the author of Hilter's Furies spoke at the Book Expo I went to a few years ago? She was fascinating. But I had to skip reading her book.

q1605 said...

I like it when women acknowledge that women are as capable of abhorrent behaviour as men. I think it validates the experience with my mother.The remarkable thing about Dachau was how unremarkable it was. It was a nice spring day and I had to keep reminding myself of what happened there. Even with the nice weather there was a melancholy vibe to the place

mulderfan said...

Evil is evil. It doesn't discriminate on the basis of sex, race, or religion. If you're human, you have the potential to be evil.
The bigger question might be why, male or female, so many choose to be evil.

q1605 said...

Comments like yours Mulderfan makes me want to go back in time and have my mothers brain sliced up and stored in microscope slides like Einstein's. Professionals would say she projected her faults on to others. But what we had was a woman who could not carry on a single conversation without it digressing down to her smacking the couch in an apoplectic fit with all the veins on her neck bulging out while she blabbered on and on about how every person in the world had robbed her at one time or another while you had to sit there watching her knowing she had lured one guy to her house for sex while she had another guy waiting in the bushes with a tire iron to beat him and rifle through his belongings for anything of value to steal. It was enough to make you put your own head in a paint shaker to drown out her incessant noise.

q1605 said...

And you are right evil is evil . It's just when women claim the high moral road so much it really stands out when their wheels hit the ditch.

Anonymous said...

The Gideon's Week television series that can be found on is full of female criminals, some of them quite chilling, and history is full of them, even the newspapers for decades back--I don't know how anyone can have missed all that.

But I was amazed how many women I would run across who seemed to think only men could be nasty--they didn't seem to like it when I would always tell them that the problem was people behaving crappy, whether male or female. And 'the problem with men' was the ones who acted crappy, not the ones who didn't, and 'the problem with women' was the women who acted crappy, not the ones who didn't.

Of course, most of the women who bad mouthed men as a group were themselves guilty of what they complained about.

Five Hundred Pound Peep said...

Yes crazy people rationalizing the sickest crap. I still want to puke when Oprah went to Auschwitz and twittered over the kid's shoes and cut hair. I almost threw a shoe through the TV set. I felt like their memories were dishonored by this hack crying fake tears.

Five Hundred Pound Peep said...

I don't think I could bear visiting a concentration camp. It is hard to explain. I probably could feel the evil and demonic energy even walking in the places. Yes it would be weird to see a pretty spring day, but I am sure those murderers worked on nice days as well as cold ones.

One thing about my life, my in-laws who died relatively young, were children in WWII. I didnt even get to really know my mother in law. She had a stroke the year I met my husband and it was severe enough to close down all communication. They would tell me they saw "bodies stacked like cordwood". One of my in laws was a severe schizophrenic and I have her later written pages of being shot at as a young girl and abandoned in a hospital and separated from any family for months. My father in law spoke of scrounging for food and starvation.

I am glad you listened to that man, I am not surprised they had to eat tulip bulbs. Yes agree about the popularity contests on tV with the shallow vaccous people. Of course most are ignoring how the sociopaths in charge are busy setting up wars and probably a world war that will make WWII look like candy days. Even their endless wars on terror have outlasted WWII, something you never see admitted.

I don't believe in tattoos. Not that I am mean to anyone who gets one, but the whole thing weirds me out.

I am old fashioned and if everyone wants to put pins in their head and tattoo themselves to death, what can I say about it?

They got the young all distracted even more by the breads and circuses and where everything is about looks.

I've seen old tattoos they do not look that good.

Five Hundred Pound Peep said...

I wonder what turns so many evil. My mother had an easy ride through life, the devestations of mine were far harder, while she was poor as a child, she was surrounded by kin on a farm, they did not starve either. She never lost a job or nearly saw the streets like me, she had suburban bliss and shopping trips and she still became evil.

Women can be just as evil as men. "There are none that are good" the bible says. I know we all have to face our own evil, but then you have the ones who shut down their consciences. I believe everyone part of the concentration camp racket became in thrall to Hitler--it was a nation under sociopathic thrall, and he managed to shut down all their consciences. There were Germans who did not support Hitler of course too, but I am talking of the types manning the camps and other workers. The psychos surrounding Hitler were a cadre of possessed types. Look at that picture of the woman on your article q, her eyes are dead, she shows total evil even in the way she is standing.

I agree about women claiming the moral high road. I always thought Bonnie was just as evil as Clyde.

Anonymous said...

You are right Peep... you can feel it coming miles away, the demonic vibe and the blood crying out.

I lived in Germany right when the Berlin Wall came down. I was about 10 years old and my parents thought it would be great to drive through East Germany. I can't remember if it was in Germany or Poland, but you could feel it coming... I said something like 'what is that? where are we? can we turn around? I don't like this.'

Then it all made total and horrible sense a few minutes later when we saw the sign for one of the concentration camps. It's an indescribable evil, and women are just as capable of it as men (as some of us know from personal experience).

q1605 said...

For me the evil is compounded knowing that Hitler kept his killing machine in high gear even after they were losing the war and the money he spent on executions was money diverted from sustaining the troops at the front. What the hell is wrong with people?

Elli G said...

this gal reminds me of the barbarian.
°Did I make a mistake?No.. I had a gun and my daughter brought over a guy who willing to use it on someone. That was the mistake. I just had to follow through..."

q1605 said...

Not in the least Elli. What starts as their representation of survival(I had to go along to get along) which my mother said she was afraid her accomplice would kill her too if she tried to stop him. And it becomes a complete divorcal of her culpability in the whole act. The problem is that she is talking to someone who sat on the couch and watched and listened to the whole thing. It was her that made the phone calls and flirted with the victim to get him to come over where they could rob him. It was her that told him you have to use cold water to wash blood out of the linen and so on and so on. How many 8 year old's know to use cold water to launder bloody sheets or the blood sets in as a stain. I did because I heard her telling her accomplice the best way. They were also ducking out for sex periodically.

Elli G said...

I know Q,
the excuses that they use not to be held accountable are absurd. She was afraid for her life and it was everybody's fault but hers, but that was only for the times she admitted she was somehow involved in the crime.The rest I am guessing she claimed she didn't even know what people were talking about,no murder ever happened. Thank god you stayed with grandma after she left, you could be next in the list if she had nowhere to leave you.

I was being sarcastic of her nature in the previous comment but please remove it, if it doesn't read properly. I am saying it because I didn't understand the "not in the least" in your response, so forgive me if I wrote anything wrong and feel free not to publish this comment if it doesn't make sense either. Are there days that I am slow? You bet...

q1605 said...

I think I got your comment confused with another one. If you want me to delete it I will but most people don't pay that much attention to the comments.
My mother in the beginning told people that the guy who ended up as the victim was trying to rape her and the other guy happened upon them and shot him defending her. Never mind that we were in Dallas when we should have been in Denver and that they loaded him in his car and drove him in the middle of the night out to a country road and parked him there. Those are inconvenient truths that over the years just got swept under the rug. At first they were asking the death penalty for both of them. Even in Texas you have to do something pretty criminally ambitious to warrant the death penalty. If you want to see her newspaper clippings I have them attached to one link. You would think I am proud of what she did with my eagerness to expose it. But I spent my life listening to all her versions of denial and as she was denying things the last thing a kid wanted to do was contradict her lies while she was in the room. My sister got as close as any adult to telling the truth about her publicly. My mother told the adults she was lying and the adults in the room sided with my mother and ended up kicking her out of the house.

q1605 said...

I didn't get your sarcasm right away and thought you were being apologetic so that was my way of saying think nothing of it.
So think nothing of it.