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Auschwitz From Another Angle

Posted on Sep 19, 2007
Auschwitz photo
U.S. Holocaust Memoral Museum via The New York Times

A newly released series of photos taken at Auschwitz and sent last year to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum shows Nazi officers and female SS members in a bafflingly banal (cf. Hannah Arendt) array of activities: singing, relaxing, laughing on group getaways, and even lighting Christmas trees.

International Herald Tribune:

For example, one of the Höcker pictures, shot on July 22, 1944, shows a group of cheerful young women who worked as SS communications specialists eating bowls of fresh blueberries. One turns her bowl upside down and makes a mock frown because she has finished her portion.

On that day, said Judith Cohen, a historian at the Holocaust museum in Washington, 150 new prisoners arrived at the Birkenau site. Of that group, 21 men and 12 women were selected for work, the rest transported immediately to the gas chambers.

Read more

Click here to see The New York Times’ narrated slide show featuring several photos from the museum’s collection.

Follow this link to see the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s web site.


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By dsmith, September 20, 2007 at 1:36 pm Link to this comment
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I see the tragic pictures what happened to Jews during WWII and the museums and memorials that have been built since then and I think of the Iraqi Muslims who have lost, according to Johns Hopkins study, over one million of their own since the invasion of Iraq. Another two million Iraqis are now living in tents in Jordan because they are afraid to live in the home country. How many have been wounded and will carry mental scars for life is unrecorded by this administration…and all with very little notice by our main stream media.

If this kind of human tragedy was happening to Jews you just have to know that Steven Spielberg would be in production as we speak with another “Jews as victims” movie that would go on to win an oscar. As proof of this witness Mr. Perle, the Jewish reporter who was beheaded, and the recent movie about his death.

One hears reports from modern day Israelis who sound very much like the old nazis when they speak of keeping Israel for Jews only and how they want to make the Palestinians life so miserable that they will decide to leave their homeland.

Modern day neocons are not doing Jews any favors when they use their powerful lobby to push the US into taking over soverign mid-eastern countries.

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By robtelan, September 20, 2007 at 8:58 am Link to this comment
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wow, I see any story related to Jews or Nazis is a great time to attack Israel. New photos that might interest historians, sociologists, people remotely interested in WW11…let’s use them to demean Jews and Israel! It’s so predictable and your anger and compassion for others is truly unbelievable.

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By rowdy, September 19, 2007 at 9:51 pm Link to this comment

gregorio. good one. stalin killed millions of his countrymen. mao killed many millions of his countrymen. i have always wanted to know why the jews got someone’s property as a consolation prize. you would think they would be happy with miami and manhattan.

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By RickinSF, September 19, 2007 at 9:41 pm Link to this comment

Today the republicans filibustered against habeas corpus.
Tomorrow we’ll all go to work like any other day.
Is anyone seeing something here?

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By Gregorio, September 19, 2007 at 6:17 pm Link to this comment
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They’re having a wonderful time just like on the beach at Haifa in between raids into the Gaza.  It’s so charmingly heartwarming.

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By Rudi P., September 19, 2007 at 6:02 pm Link to this comment

What a surprise: the Nazis during WW2 were HUMANS! And we always thought they were GERMANS. Oh my God, the NY-Times made another breaking-news discovery.

Astonishing nonsense!

I suggest that whoever came up with this, doesn’t understand the most important lesson from this dark period: It doesn’t take devils to commit such horrible crimes like the Holocaust. It’s us, HUMANS who - under certain circumstances - are capable of committing such crimes against humanity.

That’s why we all have to be very careful! It can happen again and some of the foundations for hate and aggression are being laid as we speak.

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By Sad old German, September 19, 2007 at 5:16 pm Link to this comment
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Well, duh.  Alas, most people would prefer that evil doers have horns and tails and do not look and behave for the most part just like everyone else.  I still remember the furor Arendt’s book EICHMANN IN JERUSALEM created when it first came out.  It was as an observer at the Eichmann trial for the New Yorker that she first coined the term ‘the banality of evil,’ because she realized that the Israeli shrinks who had examined Eichmann were correct when they claimed that he was more normal than most. 

Sadly, today we seem to be unable to recognize evil doers, even when they are not so far off the horns and tail stereotype.  Dickie, Wolfie, and Rummy pop right to mind while I am writing this.

To over generalize, what separates evil doers is the degree to which they are able to delude themselves.  I have pictures of my father happily frolicking with his Luftwaffe pals in Greece during WWII.  Until his death he would describe this as the happiest time of his life because the Greeks showed “so much respect for him.”  For those who don’t know, here is a short summary from WIKI documenting how much love the Greeks had for the Nazis:

The invasion of Greece by Nazi Germany began on April 6, 1941 and led to the complete occupation of the country. Greek Resistance to the occupation was fierce, often with bitter retaliation from the occupiers. The Greek resistance in 1940-41 however, is believed to have forced a delay in German plans to initiate invasion against the Soviet Union, thereby extending the campaign into the punishing Russian winter. Meanwhile the extremely heavy losses suffered by German paratroop forces (5000) in the Battle of Crete foiled a planned German campaign in the Middle East against British-held Iraq and its oil fields. Germany retained its disastrous grip on the country until October 12, 1944 when its troops finally withdrew after the landing of Allied Forces in Athens. The Jewish communities of Greece, especially of Thessaloniki, suffered the heaviest toll in the Holocaust, ca. 300,000 Greeks died of famine and the country’s economy languished.

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By jac, September 19, 2007 at 4:17 pm Link to this comment
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I am a human but thankfully not a zionazi.

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By ib, September 19, 2007 at 4:11 pm Link to this comment
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Is this what ours are doing - following orders

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By thomas billis, September 19, 2007 at 2:50 pm Link to this comment
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They were just following orders.Isn’t that the mantra?As the pictures show they were so depressed some could not even finish their blueberries.

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