As soon as the train leaving the Warsaw Ghetto made its first stop, the 100 Jews packed into the cattle car with 19-year-old Sol Liber knew they were headed east to the Treblinka death camp. “Half the train was getting crazy,” said Sol, who recalls standing back from the tiny window in his car to let more air reach his older sisters, Tishel and Shayva, who were fainting.
Everyone is familiar with Adolf Hitler and the rise and fall of Nazi Germany. Few remember that in the mid- to late-1930s the United States experienced a Nazi crusade of its own, one led by Fritz Julius Kuhn (1896-1951), a radical anti-Semite who dreamed of a fascist America led by a Nazi president. Kuhn never realized his dream, but he did develop a national Nazi movement--complete with propaganda wing, youth group, and its own version of the Schutzstaffel (SS)--that inspired a concerted effort (among politicians, law enforcement and media alike) to destroy him and his organization.
George Jaunzemis was three and a half years old when, in the chaotic weeks at the end of World War Two, he was separated from his mother as she fled with him from Germany to Belgium.
To help us grasp the enormity of the Holocaust, we have the testimonies of survivors, of liberators, even of bystanders, but what about the perpetrators and, even more, their children, who grew up worshipping Adolf Hitler? “Lore,” the movie, grapples with that complex question from the perspective of the title character, a 14-year-old girl (impressively played by Saskia Rosendahl), daughter of a high-ranking SS officer and his equally fanatical wife.
Fifty descendants of officers of the Nazi SS, Wehrmacht and World War II-era German police officers will be among the participants in the March of Life, which will start on Sunday at Auschwitz.
The publication of a 2010 photograph showing U.S. soldiers with a logo resembling a Nazi symbol was greeted with condemnations by Jewish groups.
Kenneth Branagh, dapper in his SS costume, his blond hair neatly slicked back, coldly spat out the words during production of the HBO film "Conspiracy": "Dead men don't hump. Dead women don't get pregnant. Death is the most reliable form of sterilization."
He was sitting on a soundstage that was an exact reproduction of the luxurious Wannsee villa where 15 high-ranking Nazis, over lavish food and drink, matter-of-factly planned the Final Solution on Jan. 20, 1942. Branagh, the Oscar-nominated actor-director, was playing SS Gen. Reinhard Heydrich, who led the brief, top-secret meeting like a ruthless CEO. His fellow actors sipped liquor and puffed cigars as Branagh, feeling revolted, completed the scene. "It was very claustrophobic, very smoky, because once those set doors were closed, all the actors were in there all the time," said Branagh, who is best-known for directing and starring in film adaptations of Shakespearean plays. "That meant that at the end of every take, you rushed out of the room, peeled off your SS uniform, and took a breather from that creepily atmospheric place."
As twilight descended upon the forest of Ponar, Rich Cohen gazed upon the green canyons where the Vilna Jews died in the Shoah. He took photographs of the treetops, thinking of a survivor who had stared at the same trees while feigning death in one of the mass graves. "I knew that the roots of everything growing were in ashes," says Cohen, the 32-year-old author of the Jewish-gangster tome, "Tough Jews."