March of Life - desecendants of SS tour death camps
#1

March of Life - A group of Germans, many whose grandparents and parents were directly involved in the death camps, go on a week long tour. Please watch. Very stirring.

 

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"
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#2

Finally got to watch this. Very interesting. I wonder what the size of that movement (for lack of a better term) is? You would have to figure that if that guy's grandfather was a fanatical NAZI until the day he died, you would have to figure there were many others of the same fanaticism. You would have to figure that there were plenty of grandchildren who actually believed what their grandfathers said - especially if they were very close to them. It's amazing the impact that one man - Hitler - can have generations down the road.

 

I also wonder if there is a corresponding movement in Japan. It seems as though in Japan there is an even bigger conspiracy of silence. At least in Germany, the government has tried to claim culpability in many cases, and they don't avoid the fact that they were who they were in the war. The Japanese have tried their best it seems, to pretend that the years 1931 to 1945 did not exist. By the way, this is not something I have gleaned from being here in Okinawa. I really haven't been able to interact with the locals enough to really tell how they feel. I can say that the Battle of Okinawa Memorial Peace Park and its Museum definitely make it known that the Okinawans see themselves as the victims in WWII - first by the Military of the Japanese and then the Americans. This feeling is not wholly unfounded, of course. As an American walking through the Museum, however, you do feel like you are being made to feel like the perpetrator of some past misdeed at times.

Maj Todd O. USMC, Retired
Grandson of LTC John O'Brien
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#3

Yes, I think you said it well. Sad when a nation tries to sweep things under the rug. What war? What atrocities? Us? But in this day and age with info at our fingertips, they can no longer hide under rugs.

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"
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#4

But in this day and age with info at our fingertips, they can no longer hide under rugs.

 

...if our administrations let us.

 

I think there were not so many grandchildren of SS men, and only few of them close to their grandfathers. Most of the SS men were too young to have grandchildren, and it was war, so some hundred thousands died. But of course they were many, about 840,000 men (+ 900,000 Waffen-SS at the end of the war).

 

Before I found this forum I thought it was a german particularity that the war generation didn't talk about the war time, perhaps because they lost the war or because they felt guilty. I have heard my grandfahter only once speaking about that time. But here I read so often that also for example the VI corps combat engineer veterans did not like to talk about their active time.

 

Some months ago I saw a TV documentation "Hitler's children" by Chanoch Ze'evi about descendents of Nazi leaders, and there were some who let themselves sterilize to prevent more descendents, like Bettina Göring now living in Santa Fe and her brother.

 

I just found it on youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Qdwr-YbJNs

 

Christoph

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#5

But in this day and age with info at our fingertips, they can no longer hide under rugs.

True, but in Japan I don't think they even talk about it at school. We had a Japanese officer on our ship for half of our last deployment and he didn't seem to have a great deal of knowledge - even as an officer in the JGSDF (Japanese Ground Self Defense Force). The internet is only there for those who actually want to look for the knowledge. The Japanese do, however, like their WWII models. Not sure how much the Japanese modeling community gets into the history behind the giant Yamato battleship model they are building.

 

But here I read so often that also for example the VI corps combat engineer veterans did not like to talk about their active time.

 

That seems to be true for most people who have been through a long tough war like that. I was dating a girl in college whose father had been in Vietnam. When I went to their house over Christmas he asked me about what I did in the Marines (I was in the reserves at the time) and then he started talking to me about what he did in the Army in Vietnam. Later, my girlfriend said with great amazement she had never heard those stories before. I would imagine that tendency to not talk is even truer when a) your side loses or b ) you've done something that you are ashamed of (or at least is considered by many to be wrong). The only "safe" place a lot of soldiers feel comfortable talking is around others who have gone through the same thing. That's why veterans’ organizations are so popular.

 

Speaking of soldiers talking amongst themselves, I am reading a new book called "Soldaten". It is an analysis of the secret recordings made of German POWs. It promises to be interesting, but I am not making a lot of headway in the book so I can't give my own review at the moment. (Perhaps on my next deployment I will get it done.) If you look at the Amazon reviews, it seems it is almost a perfect bell curve of opinion. There are 7, 4, 2, 3, and 7 votes for 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 stars, respectively.

Maj Todd O. USMC, Retired
Grandson of LTC John O'Brien
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#6

I saw Hiter's Children too.

 

But here I read so often that also for example the VI corps combat engineer veterans did not like to talk about their active time.

 

 

I agree with most of what you said, but one thing I have to point out is this: Not wanting to talk about it because the memories are too crushing, and not discussing it to hide things are two totally different things. :armata_PDT_01:

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"
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#7

Marion: Yes, of course. But only because someone is not talking about his experiences you cannot know why. That is what I wanted to say.

Todd: I know Neitzel as "TV professor". It sounds interesting, I'll try to get the book in German.

 

Christoph

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#8

Oh, yes, totally understood. I simply wanted to make that point to anyone reading this topic.

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"
Reply


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