Matthias Goering Goes Kosher (& Film shows suffering of Jews Britain sent to Outback)

May 24, 2006

* “Holocost” rap duo conquers Paris
* Suffering of Jewish scientists deported by Britain to Australia in appalling conditions n 1940 revealed by new film, news reports, despite still being under embargo by Britain’s Official Secrets Act until 2040
* German Pope to visit Auschwitz on Sunday

 

CONTENTS

1. A German Pope goes to Auschwitz
2. “They think I’ve got a screw loose”
3. The darker side of Britain’s fight against Nazi Germany
4. In Italy, separation fence compared to Auschwitz
5. “Ala. Democrats scramble to bounce Shoah denier from primary ballot” (Forward, May 19, 2006)
6. “Film shows suffering of Jews Britain sent to Outback exile” (Daily Telegraph, May 17, 2006)
7. “Matthias Goering goes kosher” (Der Spiegel, May 10, 2006)
8. “Yad Vashem for renaming Auschwitz” (Associated Press, May 11, 2006)
9. “A German pope’s duty at Auschwitz” (International Herald Tribune, May 12, 2006)
10. “Italy: Holocaust cartoon stirs row” (Yediot Ahronot, May 14, 2006)
11. “Nazis ‘shipped arms to Palestinians’” (Yediot Ahronot, May 7, 2006)
12 “BBC to make Nazi trial epic” (The Guardian, May 8, 2006)
13. “‘Holocost’ rap duo conquers Paris” (Yediot Ahronot, May 15, 2006)
14. “‘More than 3000 Mountain Jews were killed by Armenians during 1918-1919’” (Today. AZ, April 21, 2006)
15. “Armenians believe that Jews made Turks and Armenians hostile” (Journal of Turkish Weekly, May 17, 2006)



[Note by Tom Gross]

A GERMAN POPE GOES TO AUSCHWITZ

Tomorrow Pope Benedict XVI begins a four-day tour of Poland, his first since the German cardinal, a former Hitler Youth, acceded to the papacy. On Sunday he will visit Auschwitz after paying homage to the nearby birthplace of John Paul II, who died in April of last year. John Paul II visited the former death camp on his first visit to Poland as pope in 1979. Writing in the International Herald Tribune (article below) Timothy W. Ryback says: “If he was able to speak as a German to the dead Waffen SS soldiers in La Cambe two years ago, let’s hope Benedict XVI can do the same for Germany’s victims at Auschwitz.”

A church official said yesterday that Benedict will now walk into the Auschwitz death camp, dropping plans to enter by car, in order to honor the camp’s inmates, who also had to enter on foot. The pope had planned to drive under the infamous words “Arbeit macht Frei” – Work Sets You Free – in his popemobile, before the Polish organizers pointed out to him that Nazi commanders and troops drove through the gate in cars, while the inmates were forced to walk.

“THEY THINK I’VE GOT A SCREW LOOSE”

Partly to mark this occasion, I attach a series of articles relating to the Holocaust. Of particular interest may be the interview with Matthias Goering, a descendant of Hermann Goering, Adolf Hitler’s right-hand man. After 44 years of “despising Jews” Matthias Goering, a 49-year-old physiotherapist, has become “a full-on Israel lover.” He wears a skullcap, keeps kosher, celebrates the Jewish Sabbath, is learning Hebrew and is even considering converting to Judaism.

Goering, who now volunteers to work with the Israeli victims of suicide bombings, admits his family thinks he has “got a screw loose.”

Goering is not the only Nazi descendent to feel drawn to Israel. Katrin Himmler, the great-niece of SS commander Heinrich Himmler, is married to an Israeli. Last year she published a book denouncing her uncle’s war crimes.

THE DARKER SIDE OF BRITAIN’S FIGHT AGAINST NAZI GERMANY

The second article below concerns the horror experienced by Jewish and anti-Nazi outcasts shipped to the Australian Outback by the British Government during the war. It has been documented in a new Australian film that highlights the darker side of Britain’s fight against Nazi Germany. The filmmakers say the episode is well known in Australia, but in the UK it is still under embargo by Britain’s Official Secrets Act until 2040.

The 2,500 internees, including many scientists, academics and artists who had fled to Britain from Nazi Austria and Germany, were dispatched by ship from Liverpool in July 1940 on the orders of Winston Churchill.

They endured appalling conditions. According to the (London) Daily Telegraph, “They were stripped of their personal possessions, including documents and false teeth, many of which were thrown away [by the British troops guarding them]. They were beaten and insulted as ‘Jewish swine’ and forced to sleep on floors awash with human waste.”

“Their arrival in Australia was seen as the greatest injection of talent to enter Australia on a single vessel,” according to the Daily Telegraph. After the war most stayed in Australia, only a handful returned to Britain.

IN ITALY, SEPARATION FENCE COMPARED TO AUSCHWITZ

Other articles in this dispatch report on how the Italian Communist Party is refusing to apologize for an anti-Semitic caricature that shows Israel’s separation fence with a welcome sign paraphrasing Auschwitz’s “Work Liberates,” how French rappers are misusing the Holocaust, and new records that reveal greater collaboration than previously thought between Palestinian Arab nationalists and the Nazis.

ON TURKS, ARMENIANS AND BLAMING THE JEWS

On a separate note, I also attach a report: “More than 3000 Mountain Jews were killed by Armenians during 1918-1919,” and an anti-Semitic text in this week’s Turkish Weekly, falsely charging “that the Jews encouraged the Ottoman Turks to commit genocide against Armenians.”

There are summaries first for those who don’t have time to read the articles in full.

-- Tom Gross

 

SUMMARIES

DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE FOR ALABAMA ATTORNEY GENERAL EXPOSED AS A HOLOCAUST DENIER

“Ala. Democrats scramble to bounce Shoah denier from primary ballot” (By Jennifer Siegel, Forward, May 19, 2006, www.forward.com/articles/7814; Summary only)

A Democratic Party candidate for Alabama’s attorney general’s office has been exposed as a Holocaust denier less than a month before the state’s June 6 primaries. Larry Darby believes that there were no more than 140,000 Jewish deaths during World War II – most of them having been brought on by typhus – and that the historically accepted figure of 6 million killed is a lie promoted by the “Holocaust industry,” The Associated Press reported last week.

The revelation about Darby has sent the state’s Democratic Party scrambling to keep him out of the two-way primary, which also includes Mobile County’s district attorney, John Tyson Jr… Darby, a self-described Dixiecrat, reportedly favors the imposition of martial law to stop illegal emigration from Mexico. “Someone needs to speak up for the white man,” he told the Decatur Daily News. “It’s been a long time since someone took up that bat and took a swing for the white man.”

He also said that Alabama should recall its National Guard troops from Iraq because “they are fighting for Israeli interests and not for Alabama or United States interests.”

Although Darby’s antisemitism did not draw widespread attention until last week, the candidate was previously involved with prominent Holocaust deniers. One of them is David Irving, to whom he played host at a meeting last July…

Last weekend, Darby traveled to Elmwood Park, N.J., to attend a meeting of the New Jersey unit of the National Vanguard, including David Duke…

 

“THE GREATEST INJECTION OF TALENT TO ENTER AUSTRALIA ON A SINGLE VESSEL”

“Film shows suffering of Jews Britain sent to Outback exile” (By Kate Connolly, The Daily Telegraph, U.K., May 17, 2006)

The horror experienced by Jewish and anti-Nazi outcasts shipped to the Australian Outback by the British Government during the war has been documented in a new film that highlights the darker side of Britain’s fight against Nazi Germany.

The men, mainly scientists, academics and artists who had fled to Britain from Nazi Austria and Germany at the outbreak of the war, were considered a security threat after the fall of France. On the orders of Winston Churchill, they were dispatched from Liverpool on the Hired Military Transport ship Dunera in July 1940.

Their arrival in Australia – after a 57-day journey in appalling conditions – was seen as the greatest injection of talent to enter Australia on a single vessel.

They were taken to a detention camp in the Outback, where they set up an impromptu university to pass the time… Among the passengers were Franz Stampfl, the athletics coach to the four-minute-mile runner Roger Bannister, Wolf Klaphake, the inventor of synthetic camphor, and the photographer Henry Talbot.

… Watched over by 309 poorly trained British soldiers, the men endured horrendous conditions. They were stripped of their personal possessions, including documents and false teeth, many of which were thrown overboard. They were beaten and insulted as “Jewish swine” and forced to sleep below deck on floors awash with human waste. The hatches and portholes were battened shut…

Klaus Wilcynski, 86, author of The Prison Ship, recalled being told to walk on the deck in bare feet. “Soldiers had smashed beer bottles so people cut their feet.”…

 

MATTHIAS GOERING GOES KOSHER

“Matthias Goering goes kosher” (By Ruth Elkins, Der Spiegel, May 10, 2006)

Growing up with the name Goering wasn’t easy for the descendents of Hitler’s right-hand man Hermann Goering. One of them has now discovered a love for Israeli wine – and is considering converting to Judaism…

… Even so, it is very odd to be having lunch in a Jewish restaurant with a direct descendent of Adolf Hitler’s right-hand man. Matthias Goering, though, couldn’t be happier here. After 44 years of “despising Jews” and suffering the curse of his family name, the 49-year-old physiotherapist has become a full-on Israel lover. He wears a kippa, keeps kosher, celebrates Shabbat, is learning Hebrew and is even considering converting. His family thinks he has gone mad.

“They think I’ve got a screw loose,” grins the man who now works with the victims of suicide bombings. “But I know what has happened to me is completely and utterly real.”

Despite only having a distant tie to the Nazi Luftwaffe Chief – Matthias’s great grandfather’s brother was Hermann Goering’s grandfather’s brother...

Matthias Goering, with his bright blue eyes and Star of David necklace, is not the only Nazi descendent to feel drawn to Israel. Katrin Himmler, the great-niece of Heinrich Himmler, published a book last year exploring the SS commander’s war crimes and asking the question: What does it mean to be a Himmler? She married an Israeli, saying “it was as if we were predestined to meet.” Her book, “The Brothers Himmler”, is the latest in a flourishing genre in Germany of Nazi descendents trying to come to terms with the curse of their family histories…

Beate Niemann, daughter of feared SS Major Bruno Sattler, made a prize-winning film, “The Good Father” which documented her hopeless search for a man she could be proud of. Instead, she found herself seeking apologies from Jewish camp survivors in Eastern Europe after discovering her father was a mass murderer who ordered the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Jews. Monika Goeth, daughter of Amon Goeth – the Plaszow Concentration camp commandant who would randomly shoot Jewish laborers from his villa balcony – has also spent years seeking rapprochement with those who survived her father’s crimes. “I am completely drawn to Judaism,” she said last year on the 60th anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz. “Jews were the real heroes and I feel nothing but contempt for those who still idolize the Nazis.”

… “My parents seemed to have to lose any religious belief they had after the war,” says Goering. “When the other school children had religious instruction, my siblings and I were forced to sit alone out in the corridor.” Money was tight. “Our parents would always say to us: ‘you can’t have that, because all our money’s gone to the Jews,’” he says. “They became a symbol of everything we couldn’t have.”…

Goering now wants to write a book on his experiences. “The Israelis are so friendly to me,” he says. Even when they find out your name? “Yes, they say they’re so thankful I’ve made contact,” says Goering. “I used to feel cursed by having the name Goering,” he smiles. “Now I feel blessed.”

 

YAD VASHEM SUPPORTS POLAND’S BID TO RENAME AUSCHWITZ

“Yad Vashem for renaming Auschwitz” (The Associated Press, May 11, 2006; summary only, for space reasons)

Yad Vashem supports Poland in its attempt to officially rename Auschwitz to emphasize that German Nazis ran the death camp, but has asked for an additional change, the director of the Israeli Holocaust memorial said. Poland’s government requested in March that UNESCO change the official name of Auschwitz on its world heritage registry from “Auschwitz Concentration Camp” to “Former Nazi German Concentration Camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.”

Foreign media sometime refer to Auschwitz – a death camp located in occupied Poland where Nazi Germany killed more than 1 million people – as a “Polish concentration camp.” Such phrasing deeply wounds sensitivities in Poland, which was subjected to a brutal occupation by Adolf Hitler’s forces.

Avner Shalev, Yad Vashem’s director general, said his group supports Poland’s wish to see Nazi German guilt emphasized in the name, but also wants the word “extermination” added to underline that Adolf Hitler’s regime sought to wipe out European Jewry.

“You can’t skip the word ‘extermination,’” Shalev told The Associated Press during a visit to Warsaw. “This is important from the point of view of historical objectivity. Birkenau was the largest death camp that served as a major tool of the Final Solution. It was an industry and its purpose was the murder of the Jews in Europe until the very last person.”

… The matter would be decided at an annual gathering of member states this July in Vilnius, Lithuania.

 

A GERMAN POPE’S DUTY AT AUSCHWITZ

“A German pope’s duty at Auschwitz” (By Timothy W. Ryback, The International Herald Tribune, May 12, 2006)

Pope Benedict XVI will visit Auschwitz on his scheduled trip to Poland later this month. This will be his second Auschwitz visit. In 1979, when Joseph Ratzinger was archbishop of Munich, he accompanied Pope John Paul II to the former Nazi death camp, where they celebrated Holy Communion.

“It was a moving idea and a moving moment to look across these horrific fields of death in which four million human beings lost their lives, and to experience the resurrection as the only true and only adequate response,” he told a group of German priests afterward. There was no talk of personal remorse, no mention of German guilt. It was a singularly Catholic experience…

When Benedict XVI returns to Auschwitz [next week], a quarter century after his last visit, he will arrive not only as the leader of the world’s one billion Roman Catholics, but also as the most prominent moral spokesman for 80 million Germans. It will be an opportunity rich in symbolic and moral potential: a former Hitler Youth passing through the gates of a former Nazi death camp as one of the world’s leading spiritual authorities…

Let’s hope Benedict XVI brings his full moral authority, his eloquence and his insight, to help us better understand the historical and moral responsibilities of the German people 60 years after the Holocaust. If he was able to speak as a German to the dead Waffen SS soldiers in La Cambe two years ago, let’s hope he can do the same for Germany’s victims at Auschwitz this spring.

 

ANTI-SEMITIC CARICATURE PUBLISHED BY ITALIAN COMMUNIST PARTY

“Italy: Holocaust cartoon stirs row” (By Yossi Bar, Yediot Ahronot, May 14, 2006)

An anti-Semitic cartoon which appeared Friday in Liberzione, the journal of the Italian Communist Party, stirred a row among Italian Jews, the Israeli Embassy and parliament members.

The journal of the Rifondazione Communista party, set to be part of the coalition that will form the Italian government, published an anti-Semitic caricature showing the separation fence with a gate bearing the sign “Hunger Liberates,” similar to the welcome sign at the entrance to the Auschwitz extermination camp, which read “Work Liberates.”…

… However, Italian Lower Chamber Speaker Fausto Bertinotti, leader of the Communist party, as well as other party members, did not apologize and failed to even respond to the cartoon publication.

 

“ARABS ADMIRE OUR FUHRER”

“Nazis ‘shipped arms to Palestinians’” (By Yaakov Lappin, Yediot Ahronot, May 7, 2006)

Historical documents in Britain’s National Archives in London show that Nazi Germany attempted to ship arms to Palestinian forces in the 1930s.

A British Foreign Office report from 1939 reports of “news of a consignment of arms from Germany, sent via Turkey and addressed to Ibn Saud (king of Saudi Arabia), but really intended for the Palestine insurgents.” Britain’s chief military officer in Mandatory Palestine also noted reports “regarding import of German arms at intervals for some years now.”…

One Nazi agent, Adam Vollhardt, arrived in Palestine in July 1938, and was reported to have gained strong influence with Arab leaders, meeting with Palestinian leaders throughout 1938. Vollhardt held several meetings with leading Arab politicians and told them “that the Palestine question would be settled to the satisfaction of the Arabs within a few weeks,” adding that “it would be fatal to their (Palestinians’) cause if at this juncture they showed any signs of weakness or exhaustion.”…

German documents photographed and sent to Whitehall by an American spy revealed that in 1937, German officials had calculated that “Palestine under Arab rule would… become one of the few countries where we could count on a strong sympathy for the new Germany.”

“The Palestinian Arabs show on all levels a great sympathy for the new Germany and its Fuhrer, a sympathy whose value is particularly high as it is based on a purely ideological foundation,” a Nazi official in Palestine wrote in a letter to Berlin in 1937.

… The records also show that the news of increased Nazi-Arab cooperation panicked the British government, and caused it to cancel a plan in 1938 to bring to Palestine 20,000 German Jewish refugees, half of them children, facing danger from the Nazis…

 

BBC TO SCREEN “EPIC” DOCUDRAMA OF NUREMBERG TRIALS

“BBC to make Nazi trial epic” (By Leigh Holmwood, The Guardian, May 8, 2006)

The BBC is to mark the 60th anniversary of the trial of Nazi leaders at Nuremberg by screening an “epic” docudrama series telling the behind-the-scenes story. The Nuremberg Trial – Inside the Nazi Mind, which will be made in partnership with Discovery, will be based on trial transcripts and new sources unearthed by the production team.

… The docudrama will be the BBC’s major historical series this year and follows previous landmark programmes such as last year’s six-part history of the Auschwitz concentration camp and Nazis – a Warning from History.

 

“HOLOCOST” RAP DUO CONQUERS PARIS

“‘Holocost’ rap duo conquers Paris” (By Sefi Hendler, Yediot Ahronot, May 15, 2006)

A French rap duo calling themselves “Holocost” caused a stir in Paris recently after they pasted promotional posters up around the city announcing the release of their new album. The black posters with the word “Holocost” printed in yellow and an image of an automatic weapon were seen throughout the French city and its suburbs.

… The lyrics of Holocost’s songs express severe social criticism directed chiefly towards French society. In one of their songs they sings, “When the police come to my ghetto, it’s an Intifada, Palestine.” The album, which was released in mid-April, was well received in the rap community according to reviews in online rap websites and blogs.

… Saban noted that the suburban rap scene has also seen anti-Semitic songs in the past. “There was a rap song called ‘Screw the Jews’ a year or two ago. There was an investigation launched, but the clip was anonymous and no band took responsibility for it,” Saban said. Prominent figures in the Jewish community in Paris said that they have no intention of protesting the musical group. “Why should we give them free publicity?” they explained.

 

“MORE THAN 3000 MOUNTAIN JEWS WERE KILLED BY ARMENIANS DURING 1918-1919”

“‘More than 3000 Mountain Jews were killed by Armenians during 1918-1919’” (By Rovshan Mustafayev, Today.AZ, April 21, 2006)

… Semen Ikhiilov, Head of Mountain Jews’ community, writes to the Human Rights Institute of the National Academy of Science: “In 1980s I discovered unknown facts regarding to mass killings of Jews during the period of Azerbaijanis’ genocide in 1918-1919. According to the witnesses and some documents, together with Azerbaijanis more than 3000 Jews were killed. For the moment we identified 87 names. Each year on March 31st, on the day of Azerbaijanis’ genocide of 1918-1919, special requiem prayers for 87 killed Jewish children, women and men are being read in the synagogues. We continue the researches of other places of mass burial in the regions of our Motherland, Azerbaijan. This letter is accompanied with the list of victims, who were killed by monsters on 19th Iyar, 5679, in Guba city,” the letter says…

After we received the message from Jewish community the experts group was created for working with archives. We discovered this mass killings were committed by group headed by Amazasp under Stepan Shaumian’s command…

There will be a statue erected by Mountain Jews in memory of the victims and the names will be written there. That’s why the complete identification is needed…

 

“JEWS ENCOURAGED THE OTTOMAN TURKS TO COMMIT GENOCIDE AGAINST ARMENIANS”

“Armenians believe that Jews made Turks and Armenians hostile” (The Journal of Turkish Weekly, May 17, 2006, www.turkishweekly.net/news.php?id=31932
Summary Only.)

… Turkish journalist Mrs. Ece Temelkuran’s interviews from Armenia continue in Turkish daily Milliyet newspaper. In today’s part (17 May 2006) Turkish journalist Ece Temelkuran met with Arsak Sarkisyan:

Sarkisyan argues that the Jews encouraged the Ottoman Turks to commit genocide against Armenians. Sarkisyan continues: “Talat Pasha was a Jewish. They made Turks and Armenians hostile. Turks would not have committed genocide. But all of the Jon Turks (Young Turks) were Jewish”.



FULL ARTICLES

FILM SHOWS SUFFERING OF JEWS BRITAIN SENT TO OUTBACK EXILE

Film shows suffering of Jews Britain sent to Outback exile
By Kate Connolly
Daily Telegraph, U.K.
May 17, 2006

The horror experienced by Jewish and anti-Nazi outcasts shipped to the Australian Outback by the British Government during the war has been documented in a new film that highlights the darker side of Britain’s fight against Nazi Germany.

The men, mainly scientists, academics and artists who had fled to Britain from Nazi Austria and Germany at the outbreak of the war, were considered a security threat after the fall of France.

On the orders of Winston Churchill, they were dispatched from Liverpool on the Hired Military Transport (HMT) ship Dunera in July 1940.

Their arrival in Australia – after a 57-day journey in appalling conditions – was seen as the greatest injection of talent to enter Australia on a single vessel.

They were taken to a detention camp in the Outback, where they set up an impromptu university to pass the time.

Among the passengers were Franz Stampfl, the athletics coach to the four-minute-mile runner Roger Bannister, Wolf Klaphake, the inventor of synthetic camphor, and the photographer Henry Talbot.

John Burgan, 44, the director of Friendly Enemy Alien, which premiered in Berlin this week, said he made the film to illustrate that, while refugees are often seen as a burden, they contribute a lot to the countries in which they settle.

“Refugees are invariably unwanted and unloved when they arrive, but being at the bottom of the heap they knuckle down and make the best of the chance they’ve been given, to become an asset to their adopted country,” said Mr Burgan.

“Nowhere is that better illustrated than with the story of the Dunera boys, many of whom had lost everything in the Holocaust. They made the best of what they had.”

When the overcrowded Dunera set sail from Liverpool, its 2,500 internees were told they were bound for Canada.

Watched over by 309 poorly trained British soldiers, the men endured horrendous conditions. They were stripped of their personal possessions, including documents and false teeth, many of which were thrown overboard. They were beaten and insulted as “Jewish swine” and forced to sleep below deck on floors awash with human waste. The hatches and portholes were battened shut.

“There was so little air that to get the job of peeling potatoes on deck was seen as a life-saver,” said Walter Kaufmann, 82, a Jewish refugee now living in Berlin whose book Touching Time details the Dunera experience.

Klaus Wilcynski, 86, author of The Prison Ship, recalled being told to walk on the deck in bare feet. “Soldiers had smashed beer bottles so people cut their feet.”

Mr Burgan said the story was well-known in Australia. But it is still under embargo by Britain’s Official Secrets Act until 2040.

The medical army officer Alan Frost, who was the first Australian to go on board when the Dunera docked at Sydney’s Darling Harbour, was appalled by the conditions.

His report led to the court martial of the officer-in-charge, Lt Colonel William Scott.

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour, the men were reclassified as “friendly aliens”, and hundreds were recruited into the Australian army. After the war most stayed in Australia. Only a handful returned to Britain and several to East Germany.

 

“I HAD TO GO TO ISRAEL”

Matthias Goering goes kosher
By Ruth Elkins
Der Spiegel
May 10, 2006

service.spiegel.de/cache/international/0,1518,415430,00.html

Growing up with the name Goering wasn’t easy for the descendents of Hitler’s right-hand man Hermann Goering. One of them has now discovered a love for Israeli wine – and is considering converting to Judaism.

Mr. Goering is determined to discover the origin of the wine we’re drinking. The waiter, an old man with snow white hair and a dark blue kippa, toddles over and says: “It’s from a small vineyard near Haifa, Sir.” Goering leans back in his chair, satisfied. “Ah, Israeli wine,” he sighs, “Perfect.”

That’s Matthias Goering, not Hermann. Even so, it is very odd to be having lunch in a Jewish restaurant with a direct descendent of Adolf Hitler’s right-hand man. Matthias Goering, though, couldn’t be happier here. After 44 years of “despising Jews” and suffering the curse of his family name, the 49-year-old physiotherapist has become a full-on Israel lover. He wears a kippa, keeps kosher, celebrates Shabbat, is learning Hebrew and is even considering converting. His family thinks he has gone mad.

“They think I’ve got a screw loose,” grins the man who now works with the victims of suicide bombings. “But I know what has happened to me is completely and utterly real.”

Despite only having a distant tie to the Nazi Luftwaffe Chief – Matthias’s great grandfather’s brother was Hermann Goering’s grandfather’s brother – his own branch of the Goerings suffered after the fall of the Third Reich. “It wasn’t the happiest of childhoods,” he says. “The Goering name meant my siblings and I were bullied mercilessly.”

“I had to go to Israel”

After leaving home at 18 to join the circus, Goering eventually carved out a normal life. He became a physiotherapist, married and had a son. Life was good. But it didn’t last.

By 2000, Goering’s Swiss physiotherapy practice had gone bankrupt and his wife had left him, taking their son with her. Broke and lonely, Goering was close to suicide. For the first time in his life he prayed. “I told God, ‘if you really exist, I need your help. Not in two weeks, right now. If you help me I’ll do whatever you want.’” A few minutes later, Goering’s phone rang. It was physiotherapy practice near Zurich offering him job. “I couldn’t believe it,” says Goering. “I spent the next couple of years popping into every church I saw to say thank you”.

Two years later came a second sign. “I awoke at dawn and God told me: ‘I want you to guard the gates of Jerusalem,’” says Goering. “I said, ‘hang on, you know my name, I think you’ve got the wrong man’. But he said, ‘no, you.’ I knew then,” he says, “I had to go to Israel.”

Matthias Goering, with his bright blue eyes and Star of David necklace, is not the only Nazi descendent to feel drawn to Israel.

Katrin Himmler, the great-niece of Heinrich Himmler, published a book last year exploring the SS commander’s war crimes and asking the question: What does it mean to be a Himmler? She married an Israeli, saying “it was as if we were predestined to meet.” Her book, “The Brothers Himmler”, is the latest in a flourishing genre in Germany of Nazi descendents trying to come to terms with the curse of their family histories.

Propelled by guilt

Beate Niemann, daughter of feared SS Major Bruno Sattler, made a prize-winning film, “The Good Father” which documented her hopeless search for a man she could be proud of. Instead, she found herself seeking apologies from Jewish camp survivors in Eastern Europe after discovering her father was a mass murderer who ordered the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Jews. Monika Goeth, daughter of Amon Goeth – the Plaszow Concentration camp commandant who would randomly shoot Jewish laborers from his villa balcony – has also spent years seeking rapprochement with those who survived her father’s crimes. “I am completely drawn to Judaism,” she said last year on the 60th anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz. “Jews were the real heroes and I feel nothing but contempt for those who still idolize the Nazis.”

Such personal expeditions into the soul of a nation attempting to deal with war guilt appear a natural reflex; a simple exercise in quashing guilt feelings by embracing the culture of the Nazi’s victims. But Matthias Goering believes his religious conversion is more than that.

“I don’t feel any guilt, myself,” he says. “There is a spiritual guilt in our family, guilt in the German nation and it is our responsibility to declare it openly. I think God is taking this opportunity to use my name to change something in the hearts of others.”

But as Matthias tucks into his Kosher Schwarma and shows off his orange anti-disengagement bracelet protesting Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories (the Hebrew inscription reads: “Jews don’t evict Jews”), one can’t help but wonder whether part of his enthusiasm for Jewish life is connected with a deep yearning for a place in a community, away from Germany and his family’s Nazi past, to call home.

Before the war, the Goerings were an affluent, tight-knit family. Hermann Goering’s extravagant lifestyle was legendary. His luxury villas, hand-made uniforms and looted art gave him the most raffish image of the Nazi elite. But after the Third Reich’s collapse, the money and security vanished. The Goering name was in tatters. “The family lost touch with each other. It was every man for himself,” says Goering.

Feeling blessed to be a Goering

Matthias’s father, Ernst Wilhelm Goering, a military doctor, was a prisoner of war in the Soviet Union after the war. When he returned to Germany he set up a surgery near Heidelberg. “Then a 14-year-old boy my father was treating for bulimia died,” sighs Goering. The town started a witch hunt. “They said: you’ve killed him, just like your family killed the Jews.” Ernst Wilhelm was sent back to jail.

“My parents seemed to have to lose any religious belief they had after the war,” says Goering. “When the other school children had religious instruction, my siblings and I were forced to sit alone out in the corridor.” Money was tight. “Our parents would always say to us: ‘you can’t have that, because all our money’s gone to the Jews,’” he says. “They became a symbol of everything we couldn’t have.”

“Certainly guilt is a big motivating factor,” says Dr. Sara Savage, social psychologist at Cambridge University who has researched extensively into the psychology of religious conversion. “But there is also a recognized psychological phenomenon whereby ‘outsiders’ yearn to be associated with a ‘winning group’ in society.”

Back in Basel’s Topas Jewish restaurant Matthias Goering is telling me about the beauty of the Golan Heights. “The warmth of the sun is heavenly,” he sighs, “you can pick fresh mangoes and dates off the trees. It’s wonderful”. Would he ever move to Israel? “I would go tomorrow if I could,” he says. “It feels like home.”

Goering now wants to write a book on his experiences. “The Israelis are so friendly to me.” he says. Even when they find out your name? “Yes, they say they’re so thankful I’ve made contact,” says Goering. “I used to feel cursed by having the name Goering,” he smiles. “Now I feel blessed.”

 

A GERMAN POPE’S DUTY AT AUSCHWITZ

A German pope’s duty at Auschwitz
By Timothy W. Ryback
The International Herald Tribune
May 12, 2006

www.iht.com/articles/2006/05/12/opinion/edryback.php

The Vatican recently announced that Pope Benedict XVI will visit Auschwitz on his scheduled trip to Poland later this month. This will be his second Auschwitz visit. In 1979, when Joseph Ratzinger was archbishop of Munich, he accompanied Pope John Paul II to the former Nazi death camp, where they celebrated Holy Communion.

“It was a moving idea and a moving moment to look across these horrific fields of death in which four million human beings lost their lives, and to experience the resurrection as the only true and only adequate response,” he told a group of German priests afterward. There was no talk of personal remorse, no mention of German guilt. It was a singularly Catholic experience.

When Benedict attended the 60th anniversary commemoration two years ago of the D-Day landings in Normandy, he cast aside his Vatican identity to bare his German soul. The day before he appeared with Queen Elizabeth II, Jacques Chirac, Gerhard Schroder and George W. Bush for the official events on the beach at Arromanches, he visited a German military cemetery at La Cambe, where 21,000 German soldiers are buried, among them several hundred former members of the notorious Waffen SS, some of whom participated in the massacre of hundreds of men, women and children in the French village of Oradour-sur-Glane.

“As Germans we cannot help but be moved to realize that their idealism and their duty to the state was misused by an unjust government,” Benedict said of the war dead at La Cambe. He expressed regret that the Germanic virtue of obedience – Pflicht – had been exploited and misused by the Nazis, and said that this did nothing to diminish their honor or service to the Fatherland.

As with Auschwitz, there was no talk of personal culpability, not a word about German guilt. “They simply tried to do their duty – even during times of terrible self-doubt, and inner conflict,” he said, noting that it was not his place to judge the dead of La Cambe “into whose conscience only God can see.”

Last year, when Ratzinger became the Vatican’s first German pontiff in several centuries, there was much talk about “God’s Rottweiler,” the “Panzer Cardinal” and Ratzinger’s brief stint as a German soldier and a Hitler Youth. Since then, the sniping has ceased. Benedict XVI has shown himself to be a pontiff who embraces the global community of Roman Catholics, transcending national identity and political borders with his eloquence, intelligence and compassion. He set the tone for his papacy earlier this year with the opening words of his first encyclical letter: “God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him”

Later this month, however, when Benedict XVI returns to Auschwitz, a quarter century after his last visit, he will arrive not only as the leader of the world’s one billion Roman Catholics, but also as the most prominent moral spokesman for 80 million Germans. It will be an opportunity rich in symbolic and moral potential: a former Hitler Youth passing through the gates of a former Nazi death camp as one of the world’s leading spiritual authorities.

One hopes that Benedict will use this moment the way, for example, that Chancellor Willy Brandt did in 1970 when he fell to his knees, speechless with remorse, before the monument to the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, or the way President Richard von Weizsacker did in 1985 when he marked the 40th anniversary of the end of World War II with a landmark speech about the Germans’ collective responsibility to their past. “All of us, whether guilty or innocent, whether young or old, must accept the past,” Weizsacker said. “We are all affected by its consequences and are liable for it.”

Let’s hope Benedict XVI brings his full moral authority, his eloquence and his insight, to help us better understand the historical and moral responsibilities of the German people 60 years after the Holocaust. If he was able to speak as a German to the dead Waffen SS soldiers in La Cambe two years ago, let’s hope he can do the same for Germany’s victims at Auschwitz this spring.

(Timothy W. Ryback codirects the Institute for Historical Justice and Reconciliation at the Salzburg Seminar.)

 

ITALY: HOLOCAUST CARTOON STIRS ROW

Italy: Holocaust cartoon stirs row
Anti-Semitic caricature published by Italian Communist Party shows separation fence with welcome sign paraphrasing Auschwitz’s ‘Work Liberates’
By Yossi Bar
Yediot Ahronot
May 14, 2006

www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3250556,00.html

An anti-Semitic cartoon which appeared Friday in Liberzione, the journal of the Italian Communist Party, stirred a row among Italian Jews, the Israeli Embassy and parliament members.

The journal of the Rifondazione Communista party, set to be part of the coalition that will form the Italian government, published an anti-Semitic caricature showing the separation fence with a gate bearing the sign “Hunger Liberates,” similar to the welcome sign at the entrance to the Auschwitz extermination camp, which read “Work Liberates.”

Yasha Reibman, spokesman of Milan’s Jewish community, told Yediot Ahronot that the cartoon publication was a very severe act and demanded that the newspaper editor be dismissed immediately in a bid to prove that the stances presented by the journal do not represent the stances of the party it represents.

Israeli Ambassador to Rome Ehud Gol said in response that the anti-Semitic cartoon was shameful and humiliating and that he plans to respond to it harshly.

Parliament members from the democratic Left in Italy also slammed the cartoon.

However, Italian Lower Chamber Speaker Fausto Bertinotti, leader of the Communist party, as well as other party members, did not apologize and failed to even respond to the cartoon publication.

 

NAZIS “SHIPPED ARMS TO PALESTINIANS”

Nazis ‘shipped arms to Palestinians’
British National Archives unveil presence of Nazi S.S. agents in Mandatory Palestine, working closely with Palestinian leaders
By Yaakov Lappin
Yediot Ahronot
May 7, 2006

www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3248081,00.html

Historical documents in Britain’s National Archives in London show that Nazi Germany attempted to ship arms to Palestinian forces in the 1930s.

A British Foreign Office report from 1939 reports of “news of a consignment of arms from Germany, sent via Turkey and addressed to Ibn Saud (king of Saudi Arabia), but really intended for the Palestine insurgents.” Britain’s chief military officer in Mandatory Palestine also noted reports “regarding import of German arms at intervals for some years now.”

British documents from the same period, and German records photographed by an American spy and sent to the British government, said that a number of Nazi agents were sent to Mandatory Palestine, in order to forge alliances with Palestinian leaders, and urge them to reject a partition of the land between the Jewish and Arab populations.

One Nazi agent, Adam Vollhardt, arrived in Palestine in July 1938, and was reported to have gained strong influence with Arab leaders, meeting with Palestinian leaders throughout 1938. Vollhardt held several meetings with leading Arab politicians and told them “that the Palestine question would be settled to the satisfaction of the Arabs within a few weeks,” adding that “it would be fatal to their (Palestinians’) cause if at this juncture they showed any signs of weakness or exhaustion.”

“Germany was interested in the settlement of the (Palestine) question on the basis of the Arabs obtaining their full demands,” Vollhardt was reported to say to Palestinian leaders, according to a report by the British War Office. Vollhardt also assured Arab leaders that “the Germans could continue to support the Palestinian Arab cause by means of propaganda.”

German documents photographed and sent to Whitehall by an American spy revealed that in 1937, German officials had calculated that “Palestine under Arab rule would… become one of the few countries where we could count on a strong sympathy for the new Germany.”

‘Arabs admire our Fuhrer’

“The Palestinian Arabs show on all levels a great sympathy for the new Germany and its Fuhrer, a sympathy whose value is particularly high as it is based on a purely ideological foundation,” a Nazi official in Palestine wrote in a letter to Berlin in 1937. He added: “Most important for the sympathies which Arabs now feel towards Germany is their admiration for our Fuhrer, especially during the unrests, I often had an opportunity to see how far these sympathies extend. When faced with a dangerous behaviour of an Arab mass, when one said that one was German, this was already generally a free pass.”

A second Nazi agent, Dr. Franz Reichart, was reported to be actively working with Palestinian Arabs by the British Criminal Investigation Division “to help coordinate Arab and German propaganda.” Reichart was also head of the German Telegraphic Agency in Jerusalem.

German records show that the Nazis viewed the establishment of a Jewish state with great concern. A 1937 report from German General Consulate in Palestine said: “The formation of a Jewish state… is not in Germany’s interest because a (Jewish) Palestinian state would create additional national power bases for international Jewry such as for example the Vatican State for political Catholicism or Moscow for the Communists. Therefore, there is a German interest in strengthening the Arabs as a counter weight against such possible power growth of the Jews.”

Jewish refugees abandoned

The records also show that the news of increased Nazi-Arab cooperation panicked the British government, and caused it to cancel a plan in 1938 to bring to Palestine 20,000 German Jewish refugees, half of them children, facing danger from the Nazis.

Documents show that after deciding that the move would upset Arab opinion, Britain decided to abandon the Jewish refugees to their fate.

“His Majesty’s Government asked His Majesty’s Representatives in Cairo, Baghdad and Jeddah whether so far as they could judge, feelings in Egypt, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia against the admission of, say 5,000 Jewish children for adoption… would be so strong as to lead to a refusal to send representatives to the London discussions. All three replies were strongly against the proposal, which was not proceeded with,” a Foreign Office report said.

“If war were to break out, no trouble that the Jews could occasion us, in Palestine or elsewhere, could weigh for a moment against the importance of winning Muslim opinion to our side,” Britain’s Minister for Coordination of Defence, Lord Chatfield, told the British cabinet in 1939, shortly before Britain reversed its decision to partition its mandate, promising instead all of the land to the Palestinian Arabs.

 

BBC TO MAKE NAZI TRIAL EPIC ON 60TH ANNIVERSARY OF NUREMBERG

BBC to make Nazi trial epic
By Leigh Holmwood
The Guardian
May 8, 2006

The BBC is to mark the 60th anniversary of the trial of Nazi leaders at Nuremberg by screening an “epic” docudrama series telling the behind-the-scenes story.

The Nuremberg Trial – Inside the Nazi Mind, which will be made in partnership with Discovery, will be based on trial transcripts and new sources unearthed by the production team.

Executive producer John Farren said the series, which will air on BBC2 later in the year, had been “thoroughly researched” and would provide “gripping” television.

“This will be a dialogue-driven and actor-led drama documentary series,” he said.

Series producer Detlef Siebert said: “This series offers a unique chance to delve into the minds of the Nazi leadership.

“Rather than relying on the trial transcripts alone, we have unearthed a large number of other sources, which uncover what was going on behind the scenes of the trial.

“We can show what top Nazis like Goering, Speer or Hess revealed during their interrogations or in confidential conversations with psychologists or their co-defendants.”

The docudrama will be the BBC’s major historical series this year and follows previous landmark programmes such as last year’s six-part history of the Auschwitz concentration camp and Nazis – a Warning from History.

 

“HOLOCOST” RAP DUO CONQUERS PARIS

‘Holocost’ rap duo conquers Paris
New Parisian rap duo chooses particularly provocative name; black and yellow posters reading ‘Holocost’ in large print pasted around city advertise album release. Rappers - African and Cambodian immigrants – say: Our people undergoing holocaust too
By Sefi Hendler
Yediot Ahronot
May 15, 2006

www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3250983,00.html

A French rap duo calling themselves “Holocost” caused a stir in Paris recently after they pasted promotional posters up around the city announcing the release of their new album. The black posters with the word “Holocost” printed in yellow and an image of an automatic weapon were seen throughout the French city and its suburbs.

The rap album, called “L’Argent de la Brinks,” was produced by the record label Ghetto Fabulous, which represents independent artists. The two artists behind Holocost are Shone, an immigrant to France from Burkina Faso, and KER, of Cambodian origin. Both the rappers are from Clichy/Montfermeil outside Paris, near the suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois where the race riots began last autumn.

On their website, the two explain why they chose the provocative name. “When we created ‘Holocost’…we wanted to find a name that makes you ask, why are they called that? There is a certain provocation, but it is to attract interest. ‘Holocost’ means to say the extermination of a race, agreed? We consider slavery as a manner of exterminating a race. We appropriated the term because we were also subjected to a holocaust, and there isn’t a separate expression for that.”

The lyrics of Holocost’s songs do not have an anti-Semitic bent, but rather express severe social criticism directed chiefly towards French society. In one of their songs they sings, “When the police come to my ghetto, it’s an Intifada, Palestine.”

The album, which was released in mid-April, was well received in the rap community according to reviews in online rap websites and blogs.

“The place of rap in suburban culture is extremely important,” Jewish French author Michael Saban, who writes about the subject, said Sunday. “It started as a copy of the American model and turned into the most significant voice today among residents of French suburbs. There is consistent attention to police, violence, prisons and immigrant’s problems.”

According to Saban, the name chosen by the rappers is not surprising. “It’s a phenomenon that has existed for a while in France, a sort of ‘contest’ of suffering and memory. You might say that they want their own holocaust, that it also be recognized.”

Saban noted that the suburban rap scene has also seen anti-Semitic songs in the past. “There was a rap song called ‘Screw the Jews’ a year or two ago. There was an investigation launched, but the clip was anonymous and no band took responsibility for it,” Saban said.

Prominent figures in the Jewish community in Paris said that they have no intention of protesting the musical group. “Why should we give them free publicity?” they explained.

 

“MORE THAN 3000 MOUNTAIN JEWS WERE KILLED BY ARMENIANS DURING 1918-1919”

“More than 3000 Mountain Jews were killed by Armenians during 1918-1919”
By Rovshan Mustafayev
Today. AZ
April 21, 2006

www.today.az/news/politics/25410.html

Day.Az presents exclusive interview with Rovshan Mustafayev, the Director of the Human Rights Institute of the National Academy of Science.

– Mr Mustafayev, the facts of Jews’ genocide committed by Armenians in Guba region were announced today within a framework of round table organized by you. Tell our readers what was the point of origin for such researches?

– Recently the representatives of Mountain Jews community appealed to our Institute and told us about tragic events which took place during 1918-1919 in Guba city. According to them during those years there were mass killings of Mountain Jews committed by Armenian bandits.

Semen Ikhiilov, Head of Mountain Jews’ community, writes to the Human Rights Institute of the National Academy of Science: “In 1980s I discovered unknown facts regarding to mass killings of Jews during the period of Azerbaijanis’ genocide in 1918-1919. According to the witnesses and some documents, together with Azerbaijanis more than 3000 Jews were killed. For the moment we identified 87 names. Each year on March 31st, on the day of Azerbaijanis’ genocide of 1918-1919, special requiem prayers for 87 killed Jewish children, women and men are being read in the synagogues. We continue the researches of other places of mass burial in the regions of our Motherland, Azerbaijan. This letter is accompanied with the list of victims, who were killed by monsters on 19th Iyar, 5679, in Guba city,” the letter says.

Moreover, you can find in archives facts that during those times the Jewish problem was presented as the Tat problem, without a national identity. That’s why it was a problem of genocide committed by Armenians against the Tat ethnic group of Azerbaijan.

After we received the message from Jewish community the experts group was created for working with archives. We discovered this mass killings were committed by group headed by Amazasp under Stepan Shaumian’s command.

All the materials were collected by scintillas. But even though the information content is not so wide we can still receive faithful image of murderous deeds committed by Armenians against Mountain Jews, Lezghins, Azerbaijanis during those years in Guba.

– But what was a reason of killing Mountain Jews by Armenians?

– Jews just rejected proposal to join the Dashnak’s brigade against the Muslim population and tried to prevent a bloodshed. But Jewish envoy was brutally killed by the Amazasp’s brigade and the mass killings were started.

– How many persons killed by Armenians thugs were identified?

– For the moment we were able to identify 87 names. Moreover, we have numerous reports from Mountain Jews about their relatives being killed by Armenians and we are working on them.

There will be a statue erected by Mountain Jews in memory of the victims and the names will be written there. That’s why the complete identification is needed.

– And how those killings of Mountain Jews were committed by Armenians?

– How? And how the mass killings were committed during the Holocaust, in Babiy Yar, Hojaly, Hatyn...? Recently we received a letter from the Azerbaijan’s Georgian Jews Community offering their help in restoring historical truth.


All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.