Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Another day, another tall 'Last Nazi' story

'Holocaust' an Inside Job?

Are Hitler's Jewish Soldiers responsible for the Gassing of 6 Million Jews?


This winter seems to have unearthed numerous elderly Nazis, and today has proved to be no exception. Israel’s Yedioth Ahronoth is reporting the finding by an American called Mark Gould of a 97-year-old former SS officer, Bernhard Frank, who, according to the report, “was responsible for signing the first order of the Reich instructing the mass murder of hundreds of thousands of Jews”.

This claim is pure junk.

Although I’ve no doubt that Frank was in the SS, the significance of his role in the Holocaust has been blown grossly out of proportion. The story says that Frank signed a ‘Commando Stadt order’ on July 28 1941, which I assume actually means an order issued by Himmler’s Kommandostab Reichsführer-SS, which was established in May 1941 to conduct anti-partisan operations, and by late June, to perform what Himmler ominously called ‘other tasks’ – ie, killing Jews.

Himmler started issuing orders to ‘comb the Pripet Marshes’ in early July, and on July 19 and 22, he ordered his units to ‘impose peace’ on the occupied territories. The order he gave on July 28 simply provided further directives for this ongoing operation, and also formally handed control to Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski. Two days later, Himmler made himself more explicit, by insisting that ‘all Jewish men should be executed, and the women and children pushed into the swamps’. (Source: Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Volume 1, Number 1, pp 11-25, 1986, ‘Kommandostab Reichsführer-SS: Himmler’s Personal Murder Brigades in 1941′ by Yehoshua Büchler.)

Furthermore, according to Dr Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Frank’s signature is one of many on the document, and Frank’s responsibility only seems to encompass the language used in the document rather than the actual order itself. Frank himself has been living openly in Germany for years, and there is no evidence to link him to committing any war crimes.

It should also be borne in mind that these orders are far from the first in which the murders of Jews were called for. Bernhard Frank may not have been a good man during the war, but the idea that he somehow started the Holocaust is ludicrous.

UPDATE: I’m glad to see the scepticism is gaining a lot of traction. There’s a great piece in the New York Times by Michael Slackman that nicely captures the motivation of Gould, while my friend Michael Burleigh observes that the memories of elderly former Nazis are often tainted by endless documentaries about the Third Reich. “Old Nazis watch a lot of telly too,” he says. “Sometimes they can’t even remember if they were at Auschwitz or Austerlitz.”


Amatullah said...

Are you trying to say that it was or wasn't an inside job?

Gandalf said...

The V-Sign of the SS

Rotary NaZis International

Hitler's jewish Family - In The Shadow Of The Dictator


Gandalf said...

Hitler's Jewish Soldiers - NaZi-Jews in Hitlers Army

Haavara Transfer - Hitler Founded Israel.

w said...

Amatullah said...

Are you trying to say that it was or wasn't an inside job?

Adolph Hitler, the Mass Murdering Jew +++