Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Nehustan, Oct 9, 2011.

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  1. Nehustan

    Nehustan On ROPs

    I've put this in military history as the subject pertains to WWII, the NSDAP, the camps across europe, the migration to Palestine and subsequent campaign in Palestine which we all argued about when the drama was on called 'The Promise'.

    Many things have been on my mind since (and prior to) that drama both resulting from anomalies regarding history, but also regarding every contact I have with the Israelis, who for reasons that have escaped me previously, seem to treat me very well considering my views regarding the establishment of Israel in 1948. These extend from sending a very cute and cuddly Yemeni associate of Shin Beth to contact me in the early 90s, to throwing games of pool in India when I jovially quipped 'Shall we play for the freedom of Palestine then?' (Yes Airborne I know you played sone part in that, I did see those para tattoos everywhere I went in India, you were hardly covert, hope your families enjoyed your busman's holiday that year!) to their amiable treatment of me on this site. They seem quite happy to have me as an enemy of Israel in a kind of 'better the devil you know' scenario, in fact it has been put to me on a number of occasions that I am far more in line with many Israelis, both in manner, attitude, and politics than I could possibly know (which given I've never been there could be true).

    So to the subject of this thread, it is to discuss a revision of WWII and directly post history, specifically the Balfour Declaration ("The Promise"?) the NSDAP, the Final Solution, the camps and their residents, the planned partionioning of Syria-Palestina, the Zionist movement and the plans for Israel, the arrival of the Hebrews (and I would posit interesting 'others') from Europe, the Palestine campaign, and subsequently the establishment of Israel/Naqba.

    I'd like to state that it is no way holocaust denial (it is well known that the NSDAP were systematic in their application of the final solution and meticulous in their recording of the same), but I do want to discuss the hypothesis that we may not fully know about all the people that were in the camps, or should I say I may not know about all the people that were in the camps, which is why I'm interested in discussing this with people on arrse who may have little nuggets which will fit into a larger jigsaw. I'll posit some of my questions and hypotheses in subsequent posts.
  2. Nehustan

    Nehustan On ROPs

    So I guess my first question is concerning the SS. Is their any historical documentation or writings pertaining to ideologues of the SS refusing the Final Solution?

    While I'm very sure nobody in the SS was particularly fond of the 'Jews', I can't help thinking that some would have found their systematic destruction distasteful. After all as a logical-positivist biological anthropologist myself, artificial selection runs in direct opposition to natural selection as per the final solution. Surely there would have been staunch Nazi ideologues who would have believed that their superior race would dominate 'naturally' and that genocide actually demonstrated doubt in the superiority of the Hyperborean/Thule, and subsequent Aryan 'root' races?
  3. Presumably anyone in the SS who stood out against the treatment of the Jews (and I doubt there were many) would have swiftly found themselves following the discipline chain through Courts Martial to military prison and then a disciplinary unit/execution.
  4. I have to say from the outset that I have a strong sympathy both for Zionism and the state of Israel. I would also like to say that I am opposed to revisionism on principle.

    However, in terms of the SS, I recommend the book "Soldiers of Evil: The Commandants of the Nazi Concentration Camps by Tom Segev". This book provides an account of the socio economic backgrounds of the SS Officers running the camps. From memory, the conclusion was that these men were nearly all lower middle class opportunists who could not have gained commissioned officer status any other way than as obedient aparechiks of the Nazi party.

    Therefore, I would doubt that any of the officers charged with the actual implementation were capable of understanding, or had any interest in, the more subtle social Darwinist arguments concerning their orders.

    I would ask to OP to clarify his reasoning for starting this thread and to set parameters that exclude Holocaust denial and questioning the intrinsic evil of the "Final Solution" from this discussion as I don't want to become embroiled in a debate with Nazi appologists as I find that I react like a bull to a red rag when I am forced to confront such people.
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  5. Nehustan

    Nehustan On ROPs

    I'm sure you're right concerning most SS personnel, they would have been using the party and the SS as a basic social mechanism. However surely there would have had to be some, probably quite intrinsic in the early days of the party, alongside Hitler in the Thule society etc who would have very much been ideologues. Their subsequent indoctrinees would have been as 'literate' as the people who inspired them. In later years there would be no way that any confliciting NSDAP ideology would have been allowed, and I suppose we have the SA as a model where a slight ideological difference and political rivalry with the SS caused the night of the long knives, so really I was wondering what happened to, if there were and there must have been, political dissidents from 'mainstream' NSDAP ideology.

    I can state that I am in no way denying any of the deaths in the camps, be they Jewish, Gypsy, Homosexual, Leftists, Disabled (T4), and indeed as per the original post the Nazi's were particularly diligent in recording the details, so denying it happened would be odd. It's more a debate of the NSDAP and what would have happened to dissenters, especially those who in most ways would have been considered shining lights in the party; how would they have been 'purged'.
  6. Nehustan

    Nehustan On ROPs

    Actually reading back through your post, one thing that jumps out to be is the demographic of the camp guards. They could be exatly the type of people who would concentrate anyone, even those who had been those shining lights of the SS and party that I allude to. It probably wouldn't matter a jot to 'lower middle class opportunists' who they were guarding, nor might they have entertained ideological discussion on party doctrine as, as you point out, 'the officers charged with the actual implementation [of the final solution] were [not] capable of understanding, or had any interest in, the more subtle social Darwinist arguments concerning their orders' indeed to such men and women NSDAP doctrine would have been whatever they were told it was each day and naught else.
  7. Nehustan

    Nehustan On ROPs

    Sorry jimmys_best_mate missed this post. I completely agree they would have been disciplined, the question is would their discipline been have been so 'public' given the whole 'disinfektion' ideology; would they not have been seen as a potential threat to the body politic? They could have been quickly killed, but this in and of itself could have raised more questions especially if they had a social circle and were respected for literally being staunch party members. Really thinking aloud, and in knowledge of the SS role in the camps might they have no been either 'sent to the front' or to 'serve in the camps' (read as sent to the camps in both respects), never to be seen or heard of again once they had been interned proper. I can't imagine that hoping they would die at the front would present as useful as I think there was already dissent formalising there as to how the war was executed (partcularly on the Eastern front?) and surely further dissent would have weakened the effort against the Soviets.

    I've just got this gut feeling that by the time the camps were liberated there were people within the camps, obviously a relatively small number, who were not interned for the usual reasons, but were in fact problematic NSDAP members. Given the almost ruthless efficiency experienced by the British from the Irgun, I'm really wondering if the campaign against the British begun in 1944 (?) was bolstered around 1946 with the arrival of 'Jews' from Europe with specific skill sets?
  8. I have a book called "Dance of Death" by Erich Kern published in 1951. Kern is an officer in the 1st SS Division Liebstandarte Adolf Hitler and follows Kern and the Division as they advance East in Southern Russia. The Jewish question does not get mentioned, but what is unusual is that Kern is not the stereotyped SS officer who sees the Russians as subhumans, he tries to get to understand them, their culture etc and the more he understands, he comes to the conclusion early on that the Germans can never win, he tells his father this when on leave, who is horrified what his son is telling him. As already mentioned not all SS were devoid of human feeling, but talking out was not an option.
  9. Nehustan

    Nehustan On ROPs

    So this is autobiographical? Perhaps this is precisely what Bushmills was speaking about re: the camps? There does seems to have been different personalities within the SS ranging from Kommandos, to Aryan 'Princes and Princesses' breeders, to production line murderers.
  10. Not sure how historically factual it is but if you read "The Kindly ones" by Jonathan Littell he does mention in there that anyone involved in the Einsatzgruppen who decide that they can not carry on with the it are rotated back to other jobs with very little stain on their character.

    As I said I am unsure how accurate this is but the guy who made Shoah seems to think it is pretty near the mark.
  11. Nehustan

    Nehustan On ROPs

    These people were during the executions prior to the camps or including the camps, not so familiar with the German terms (which considering I'm ethnically German is a poor show, but hey I'm Anglicised!!!)?
  12. Probably both as the members of the Einsatzgruppen were the people who actually did the mass killings in the field before the camps were fully operational but most of them went back to normal combat troops or went to work at the camps when it was no longer feasible to have them in the field.
  13. I was under the impression that the SS was actually two separate organisations: the Waffen SS were soldiers. Fanatical and more than willing to commit war crimes such as killing unarmed POW's, but still soldiers. And some of them very good soldiers at that.

    By contrast the Einsatzgruppen were not involved in front line combat. Their sole purpose was ethnic cleansing on an industrial scale. They were responsible for running the death camps, slaughtering civilians etc.

    As I said, this was my understanding of the nature of the SS. I'm standing by to be corrected...
  14. Trans-sane

    Trans-sane LE Book Reviewer

    Ancedotal I know but I'm sure about 10 years ago I saw a program on the BBC that featured an ex-Waffen SS tanky that subsequently served in the British Army (possibly in Korea). He was adamant that some of the crimes attributed to the Waffel SS (as opposed to the Totenkopf and the Einsatzgruppe) were not commited by SS units but ordinary army units. I also have a hazy memory that he was injured, sent to the camps while recuperating and within a day requested transfer back to the front. The gut feeling I got was while there were indeed utter shits in the SS (quite possibly most of them given the evidence), there were still a few decent hard-fighting soliders that didn't want to wage war on civilians. Might have just been him however (not like there are many of them left to ask).
  15. Bizarrely enough, the organisors of the final solution were well aware of the effect of mass exterminations on the perpetrators. The original methods of using carbon monoxide poisioning were abandoned to be replaced with Zyklon B purely because removing dead bodies from the vans was found to badly affect the moral of those carrying out the task. They found that Zyklon B could be dropped onto the victims from the floor above and the Sonderkommando (formed by trustee prisoners) could be sent in to clear up the mess, thus sparing the perpetrators the onerous task of getting their hands dirty.
    I can only presume that this meant less mental problems for those still walking about who could actually talk about their experiences and less danger of the details of the progrom leaking out. Interestingly, the guards were under strict orders not to take photographs in the camps, and to the best of my knowledge, there is only one known example of a clandestine photograph emerging from the German guards. So, they obviously followed their orders pretty well.
    Ok., this doesn't answer your opening post, but I just thought it might be interesting additional info.

    Edited to add re. the CO poisioning - that and the fact that it wasn't efficient enough.