Photos that make you think.

Stumpy4154

LE
Book Reviewer
If you google the website Rare Historical Photos, there's loads of photos that will certainly make you think.


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SWMBO and I along with our kids were in Berlin a couple of months after the Berlin Wall was opened up, we were visiting an old mate who was attached to the RWF in Berlin.

The women and kids took off on a shopping expedition so me and the mate decided to go for a drive in the East, we arrived in one town and as we were driving down the street I happen to notice a large set of gates set back in a street, well not so much a street but there were a fair few houses close by.

Mate turned the car around and there above the gates was the familiar sight seen on the gates of most of the camps, Arbeit Macht Frei, we had stumbled upon Sachsenhausen concentration camp.

The Russians/East Germans had pretty much left it as they had found it and jeez it was just fecking horrifying. I can still see in my minds with very good clarity the things we saw but it's not something I would share on here, you would have to see it for yourself in order to believe me.

One thing that did particularly strike me was when we were walking though the punishment block, this was a row of cells with maybe around 10 cells in the block. In each cell there was a small flag indicating the nationality of the person found in the cell when the camp was liberated (some cells had no flag).

We walked into one cell and there was a small Union Jack, now my memory on this isn't too clear but IIRC correctly the last occupant of that cell was a member of the Royal Air Force. It didn't say how he ended up there, no other details except his name which I don't recall and Royal Air Force.

I just had a look on the Sachsenhausen website and I see now tours of the camp cost 16 Euros, we paid a couple of East German marks to get in and we were the only two people in the place. The camp now is a far cry from when we visited, it looks more visitor friend for want of better words.

I really can't say (don't know) if the majority of Germans during that time were aware of the camps or what went on there. I can say for certain though that the people of Oranienburg/Sachsenhausen certainly knew what was going on because the camp was more or less smack bang in the middle of the fecking area.

I just had a look on Google Street view and it looks like it's changed a lot since we visited, looks like a lot of the huts are no longer there.

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Been there a few time I belive they got captured British airmen/army to test Germany army military boots there walking around a rocky path all day with back packs filled with rocks?
 
Been there a few time I belive they got captured British airmen/army to test Germany army military boots there walking around a rocky path all day with back packs filled with rocks?
They used Jews.
Will try to find the book - marching blokes around on various surfaces to see how the boots stood up to punishment.
Also force marched to see how well pervitin worked.
 
Photographs of the Kovno garage massacre in Lithuania, June 1941. Carried out by a group of pro-German Nstionalists before the Germans had even set up their administration of the area. The blind man was called "The Death Dealer of Kovno" and apparently got hold of an accordion and climbed onto the pile of corpses and played the Lithuanian national anthem.


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that's taking "any excuse for a party" too far
 
More on boots here:
One other perfidious speciality of the camp was the so-called ‘shoe-walking unit’. Prisoners had to test the resilience of soles for the German shoe industry on uninterrupted forced marches. Companies such as Salamander, Bata and Leiser sent their latest models to the camp: they were seeking a substitute for leather, which was rationed during the war. The shoe-testing ground, parts of which can still be seen today, was a track 700 metres long, consisting of 58 per cent concrete road, 10 per cent cinder path, 12 per cent loose sand, 8 per cent mud that was kept constantly under water, 4 per cent chippings, 4 per cent coarsely gravelled paths and 4 per cent cobbles. This was designed to provide a cross-section of all the roads in Europe that German soldiers walked upon during their campaigns.
The shoe-walking unit was a punishment unit. Anyone who was found guilty of refusing to work, or caught playing cards, bartering or stealing food from the mess or the kennels, ended up here. ‘Laziness’, refusal to obey orders or even the suspicion of homosexual acts could also lead to referral. To start with, the unit consisted of 120 prisoners. A master cobbler from Sensburg in East Prussia, Dr Ernst Brennscheidt, a career civil servant who never joined the SS or the NSDAP but who was known for his cruelty, expanded this to 170 prisoners. He increased the daily walking quota to over forty kilometres by speeding up the pace. For this marathon he also made the prisoners carry around rucksacks weighing 25 pounds, so that greater stress would be put on the soles. Often he made inmates wear shoes that were too small or ordered different sizes for left and right feet, supposedly to collect additional data.
The foreman in charge of the march had a series of numbered cardboard markers at the ready, and as soon as the shoe walkers had performed one round, he put one of these markers in a lead-lined wooden box attached to a pole, so that they could be more or less accurately counted. Every ten kilometres shoes were examined to see how worn they were. Prisoners were ordered to lie down, perform knee bends, crawl or jump on the spot. Often enough one of the emaciated ‘shoe walkers’ would collapse. In these instances, Brennscheidt would unleash one of his Alsatians. In step, breaking step or goose-stepping, they marched even in bad weather to avoid financial losses. The German economics ministry paid for the maintenance costs of the shoe-walking track. The Reich economics office controlled the material tests centrally, and only allowed leather substitute materials to go into production once they had been successfully tested in Sachsenhausen. It paid the camp six Reichsmarks per day, per prisoner. In the case of rubber soles, after several improvements they could withstand 3,000 kilometres, or a seventy-five-day march. Still, most materials were unusable long before that. Leather fabrics barely survived a thousand kilometres, but a sole made of Igelit, a form of soft PVC, survived for over 2,000 kilometres. All of this was painstakingly noted down. According to estimates, up to twenty people died on the track every day. The SS called this ‘extermination through labour’.

From Blitzed, by Norman Ohler
 
If you google the website Rare Historical Photos, there's loads of photos that will certainly make you think.


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Never heard of that particular incident before. Reading it now. Christ on a bike I know the Baltic states were a nasty bunch of anti-semites but thats fcuking unbelievable.
 
Never heard of that particular incident before. Reading it now. Christ on a bike I know the Baltic states were a nasty bunch of anti-semites but thats fcuking unbelievable.
Very good book on the subject called Hitler's Foreign Executioners, by Christopher Hale.
A lot of the 'pro-german nationalists' were then drafted in as bully boys, to arrest Jews, Communists etc etc etc, and then later became camp guards.
Come 1945, many of them were then transferred to the Waffen SS/wehrmacht
So... post war, they all claimed 'Yes, I fought for Hitler, but only against the communist threat/I was drafted, I had no choice etc etc etc'
 
The Germans found that, in the Baltic States, Poland, Byelorussia, Ukraine and on into Russia itself, there was no shortage of enthusiastic locals who took on the duty of wiping out their local Jews with great vigour, often without much or any help or encouragement from the Germans. The advancing troops often wrote bemused reports about this to their chain of command and even the Einsatzcommandos recorded it, as they soon began to use local militias to do the shooting and disposal of the dead. The back story was the desire of locals to rob the Jews, who were always percieved to have hidden loot, but in short order, rich and poor Jew alike went to their graves. In due course, the Germans formalised the actual thieving, right down to the infamous stripping of gold teeth/human hair/dentures/spectacles/shoes,etc,etc. Locals tended to claim the Jewish houses and whatever loot they could steal before the arrival of the SS, who tended to shoot any locals who were light-fingered.
 
I wonder if that was just a case of ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’. Barbaric cowardice.
Stovepipe's post sums it up nicely, I think.
Pure opportunism on the part of the thugs.
Parallels with the South Africa situation at present, and Zimbabwe a few years ago - rabble-rousers blame minority for the ills of society (Jews/Whites) and there are a lot of thugs ready to leap onto the bandwagon and 'expropriate without compensation' all the property and chattels.
 
The eyes say it all...


 
Bachem Ba 349 Natter photographed right after the take-off. The only manned vertical take-off flight took place on 1 March 1945 and ended in the death of the test pilot - Lothar Sieber.

 
The Germans found that, in the Baltic States, Poland, Byelorussia, Ukraine and on into Russia itself, there was no shortage of enthusiastic locals who took on the duty of wiping out their local Jews with great vigour, often without much or any help or encouragement from the Germans. The advancing troops often wrote bemused reports about this to their chain of command and even the Einsatzcommandos recorded it, as they soon began to use local militias to do the shooting and disposal of the dead. The back story was the desire of locals to rob the Jews, who were always percieved to have hidden loot, but in short order, rich and poor Jew alike went to their graves. In due course, the Germans formalised the actual thieving, right down to the infamous stripping of gold teeth/human hair/dentures/spectacles/shoes,etc,etc. Locals tended to claim the Jewish houses and whatever loot they could steal before the arrival of the SS, who tended to shoot any locals who were light-fingered.
The wife’s family had a Ukrainian refugee marry in, he was the right age to have been involved in this. Right up until he died I was half expecting him to be arrested and accused of War Crimes, he never gave any reason to think so, apart from after the break up the Soviet Union he made no attempt to travel home to his home village in Western Ukraine. He once said that those who he knew had traveled back told him that his home village was gone, no sign that it had ever existed and replaced by fields. But I always suspected that he didn’t simply get swept up in the mass movement of people fleeing the fighting but had ran all the way from the Ukraine to Glasgow for a reason.
 

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