On January 27, 1945 forward units of the 100th Rifle Division of the 1st Ukrainian Front entered the Auschwitz Birkenau death camp precinct liberating several thousand remaining survivors. More than 1.1 million were murdered there by the Nazi SS, 1 million of them Jews. Among the first groups they encountered in the remaining barracks were children, twins, victims of the ‘angel of death, Dr. Josef Mengele’s sadistic medical experiments. The Russian troopers in their white camouflage coats hugged and gave them chocolate. These Jewish children hadn’t felt any humane treatment during their enforced incarceration in Auschwitz.
Earlier in January 1945 the SS blew up the remaining crematoria. An earlier one was destroyed in the lone heroic resistance effort by Jews inside the camp in October 1944 with dynamite secured by Jewish women inmates. The SS guards assembled more than 60,000 camp inmates in January 1945 who sent on a forced death march from which only 12,000 survived. One of the survivors of that death march was the Nobel Laureate Eli Wiesel who as a youth of 16 was eventually liberated by the US Army at Buchenwald in April 1945. Another Nobel Prize winner and Holocaust survivor was Italian Jewish resistance fighter, chemist and author Primo Levi who received his Nobel award for Literature, posthumously in 2002. Levi fell to his death in his family home in Turin in 1987, some say depressed by the atrocities he had witnessed. Wiesel’s biographic works about his experience at Auschwitz the forced march and liberation were memorialized in his trilogy Night, Dawn and Day. Levi’s Survival in Auschwitz: if this is a Man was testimony to the Nazi dehumanization and perseverance to survive and return home.
Another 5 million Jews didn’t survive. They were murdered in unspeakable ways in the einstazgruppen slaughter in Russia, death camps in Germany and occupied Europe. Their fate in the Final Solution was ratified by the SS at the Wansee Conference in Berlin on January 20, 1942. The objective of the SS Conference was to make Europe judenrein. Among the Six Million European Jews murdered were 1.5 million children. The Jewish children those Russian troops encountered at Auschwitz on January 27, 1945 were among the lucky survivors.
Palestinian leads 2015 UN International Holocaust Memorial at Auschwitz Birkenau
Tuesday, January 27, 2015 is the 10th annual UN International Holocaust Memorial Day. Ynet.com drew attention that this year’s annual commemoration with be headed by a Palestinian UN official. Maher Nasser will host the event, Palestinian to host UN International Holocaust Remembrance Day to be held at the site of the death camps at Auschwitz- Birkenau in Poland. Nasser was born in Albrieh, a village near Ramallah. The 25 year UN bureaucrat held posts in Gaza and Jerusalem. eHeh HH He now holds a management position in the UN Department of Public Information. Ironic in that the Haj Amin al Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, fled to Berlin from Baghdad following the Farhud, the Nazi-Arab massacre of Jews in 1941. The was welcomed as Hitler’s house guest during WWII. He promoted the genocide of Six Million European Jewish men, women and Children and sponsoring the recruitment of Muslim Waffen SS units in the Balkans.
UN Secretary General Ban-ki Moon will attend. Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin will lead an Israeli delegation. Rivlin will speak about the rise of Global Anti-Semitism and the threat of Islamic Jihadism. More than 100 Holocaust and Russian veterans will also attend the ceremonies at Auschwitz. In the Israeli delegation will be former Israeli Foreign Minister Sylvan Shalom in 2005 proposed the UN commemoration of the Holocaust to “honor of the six million Jews, 1 million Gypsies, 250,000 disabled people, and 9,000 homosexual men murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators.”
The Auschwitz-Birkenau UN commemoration of the Holocaust may not be televised. However, on the eve of International Holocaust Memorial Day, January 26th, at 9:00 PM EST, HBO will show a documentary on Nazi atrocities, Night Will Fall. It is based on archival footage taken by British military photographers and cinematographers following the liberation of Nazi concentration camp, Bergen –Belsen in April 1945. Famed Hollywood film director Alfred Hitchcock was briefly involved with the original British documentary in 1945.
Marlow Stern in his Daily Beast review of Night Will Fall, “Inside Alfred Hitchcock’s Lost Holocaust Documentary,” noted how the original project and Hitchock’s involvement came about:
Back in 1945, Sidney Bernstein, the chief of the Psychological Warfare Film Section of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force, was commissioned to create the definitive documentary chronicling the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps. Bernstein’s aim was, in his words, to “prove one day that this had actually happened” and have it serve as “a lesson to all mankind as well as to the Germans.”
He eventually roped in his good pal, Alfred Hitchcock, to serve as the film’s supervising director. But the horrifying and heartbreaking footage of numerous concentration camps, shot by British, American, and Russian World War II soldiers as they were being liberated, became tangled up in a complicated web of politics and artistic rows. A magnificent new HBO documentary pulls back the veil on the making of German Concentration Camps: Factual Survey.
The eye-opening film-on-a-film, Night Will Fall, will premiere January 26 on HBO. It is narrated by Helena Bonham Carter, produced by Stephen Frears and Brett Ratner, and directed by Andre Singer, who serves as president of The Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain. Singer executive producer of the documentaries The Act of Killing and Werner Herzog’s Into the Abyss. It was done in concert with London’s Imperial War Museum, and took 18 months of poring over thousands of feet of film to trace the making of the unmade epic.
The British soldiers found tens of thousands of emaciated prisoners inside the camp, many of whom were on the brink of death by starvation. The camera lingers on piles of naked, skeletal corpses stacked several bodies high, as well as line after line of dead children. A total of 30,000 corpses were witnessed by Allied troops, according to the film. Singer managed to track down several British soldiers who were there, and some break down in tears recalling the horrors.
“It’s very difficult to describe,” recalls survivor Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, who was 19 when Bergen-Belsen was liberated. “You’ve spent years preparing yourself to die, and you’re still here. Every British soldier looked like a God to us.”
Alissa Simon in her August 2014 Variety review of Night Will fall, reported that, “rather than wait, the impatient American government commissioned [Hollywood director] Billy Wilder to use their footage [from German Concentration Camps Factual Survey] . Singer includes an excerpt of Wilder’s short film, Death Mills, intended for German and Austrian audiences, and clips from an interview with Wilder.”
Dorothy Rabinowitz in her Wall Street Journal review of Night Will Fall: Nazi Crimes on Film explains why the original footage of the British film languished in the vaults of the Imperial War Museum (IWM) after excerpts were shown in the Nuremberg Trial of Nazi leaders:
Still, despite the stellar talents and authority of its creators, the film would be stored, rather than seen. Though its footage would provide some of the most damning testimony presented at the Nuremberg war crimes [trials]. It would be housed, from 1952 on, in the archives of the Imperial War Museum. Then four years ago the IWM undertook the enormous task of restoring and digitizing the documentary, along with the long-missing sixth reel. “Night Will Fall,” a new documentary about the historic film, leaves no question as to the reason it was withheld. Its commentators note that the British government then, whose policy was to bar any flow of European Jews to Palestine, was not eager to present a film that would create a great deal of sympathy for these survivors, as such a film surely would.
These graphic revelations of the Nazi final solution atrocities against millions of Jews and others should be a warning of the primary objective of the Global Jihad movement: the annihilation of Jews, Christians and minority religions sought by Muslim extremists, following the way of Allah.
EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.