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Eugene area remembers Holocaust 70th anniversary

EUGENE, Ore. -- Speaking to Jewish friends here in Eugene, Claudia evokes the name Anne Frank; one of the most renowned and most discussed Jewish victims of the Holocaust.

"What we know is about Anne Frank, yes. What we don't know is the Holocaust was a lot of Holocausts that were engineered not by just the Nazi's but by other countries in Europe at the time," explains Claudia who hopes to speak about her memories of the Holocaust with "friends in Eugene."

In turn, the subject of the Holocaust is now on the minds of people in 2011 who point to "many other Holocausts happening now worldwide." Thus, they feel it's important to remind all people of the evil that men do.

Holocaust’s final solution now viewed as a ‘European project,’ more genocide in 2011

Claudia remembers bone-numbing cold and a heaven full of gray scud when “most of the adults were gassed on arrival at the Auschwitz extermination camp;” in turn, the Holocaust’s “final solution” began in earnest 70years ago this month when the Auschwitz gas chambers became fully operational.

The preliminary stage of the “Final Solution” began in October and November 1941 when the gas chambers became operational at Auschwitz.” Also, on “October 23, 1941 – some 70 years ago – Catholic priest Jozef Tiso visited Hitler’s headquarters and requested Himmler’s assistance in deporting the Jews from Slovakia to concentration camps,” states a recent history of the Holocaust, while also noting that Father Tiso “justified his regime’s actions to the Holy See (the Pope) until the very end of the war – ‘Holy Father, we shall remain faithful to our program’ – it is clear that the Holocaust in Slovakia was far more than a German project, even if it was carried out in the context of a ‘puppet’ state,” writes author Dan Stone in the new book “Histories of the Holocaust” that’s an Oxford University Press publication recently sent out to colleges, universities and libraries worldwide.

Professor Stone’s new book combines recent texts, reports, research, studies as well as a new German history of World War II’s “Holocaust.”

Holocaust: the evil that men do in a “Europe-wide collaboration” with the Nazis

“He who fights with monsters should look to it that he does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you,” wrote the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.

Those with an appetite for real horror and the evil that men need not look to movies or TV shows to get their Halloween horror fix with new revelations that it was not just Nazi Germany that went ahead with the Holocaust’s “final solution,” but most European countries and even the Vatican as well.

In turn, Stoneis Professor of Modern Historyat Royal Holloway, University of London, and one of the world’s leading authorities on the Holocaust. Stone also runs the international “Holocaust Research Center” in London.

Professor Stone points to the Holocaust as not just a “Nazi” extermination of human life project, but a “European Project” that was aided by a host of other countries and even Catholic priests representing the Vatican. What’s new in Professor Stone’s history of the Holocaust are newly released records and documents – from worldwide sources – including the German government’s release of the Wehrmachtsausstellung (‘Crimes of the Wehrmacht’ exhibition) that has travelled across Germany and Austria, revealing the full participation of ordinary soldiers and citizens in the crimes committed by the Nazi regime.

“It has become clear that the murder of the Jews in Eastern Europe would have been much harder for the Germans to carry out were it not for the assistance of the local inhabitants throughout Europe. And, the same is true in Western Europe,” writes Professor Stone while pointing to “systematic, state-level collaboration occurred in France, Norway and the Netherlands.”

In brief, the current history of the Holocaust just doesn’t lay the blame for the massive killing of Jews and others during World War II at the hands of the Nazi’s, but that blood is on the hands of many millions who are still alive throughout Europe and the world as well.

For example, Stone writes in this new book about the Holocaust history that “without the active support of the local inhabitants, tens of thousands of whom served in police units; the Germans would not have been able to identify and exterminate as many Jews in the occupied territories.”

Holocaust genocide alive and well on Earth today in 2011

Also, Professor Stone writes that “the Holocaust is often regarded as the harbinger of postmodernism,” and of man’s inhumanity to man that’s clearly evident today in 2011 with major social justice issues happening in America and throughout the world where war and genocide has become a perverted way of life for many in the world today.

In turn, experts at the Simon Wiesenthal Center and other Holocaust think tanks -- who’ve studied the Nazi’s “final solution” for the past 70 plus years note that “other Holocausts continue today throughout the world” with genocide happening in Africa, the Middle East, Asia along with other crimes against humanity.

“We think we’re better than those Nazi’s. I’ve seen modern Nazi’s in America and so have you. ‘Can we imagine another Holocaust,’ I’m asked. “Yes, it’s happening now if you just look around at the world today,” says Holocaust survivor Claudia during a recent interview.

Also, the Polish Institute for National Remembrance – that was established to both document and find the sources of the Holocaust, including the history of the Auschwitz Birkenau German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camps in Poland – has largely confirmed new findings that the “final solution” was a joint venture between both the Nazi’s and many countries in Europe during World War II.

“In Poland generally, there has been an explosion of interest in the Holocaust,” writes Professor Stone while also noting that Adolf Eichmann casually informed the SS officials responsible for Jewish Affairs in occupied Europe in the Fall of 1941 – some 70 years ago this month – that the “final solution” had begun.

“They would just kill you in a heart-beat”

Claudia, a young girl the age of Anne Frank when she was sent to Auschwitz, is visiting friends in the nearby coastal community of Seal Rock while planning tours of local Jewish community centers in nearby Salem and Eugene “to make sure they don’t forget that the Nazi’s would just kill you in a heart-beat.”

Friends in Seal Rock say it’s “very difficult to listen to Claudia,” a woman in her late 90’s, when having tea during senior meetings where Claudia’s memories are searched and also researched by locals Jews and others who want to know more about the Holocaust.

In turn, Claudia huddled with friends recently to share her memories; while it seemed she was protecting that place in her heart that only those who’ve survived a Nazi concentration camp can relate.

Flipping through her memory file, Claudia reveals that “the solution was plain and simple. To kill all the Jews and others they could.”

Claudia then reads from her briefing notes that she shares with those at area schools and senior centers who will listen to her talk about surviving the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz. “Survivor Ruth Kluger wrote: “Auschwitz was no instructional institution. You learned nothing there, and least of all humanity and tolerance.”

Holocaust now viewed as more than just a Nazi “solution” to killing Jews and others

All totaled, the Holocaust is blamed for the death of more than 6 million Jews and, in total, more than 12 million people that the Nazi’s and other European governments viewed as “non-Aryan” or “non-human,” such minorities and members of the gay community in Europe.

Claudia explains to younger listeners that the Holocaust is understood as the genocide of the Jews, as they were defined by the Nazi regime, during World War II. For instance, in the “Nazi Weltanschauung” (world view), history was understood as the struggle between good and evil, represented by the “Aryan” and the “non-Aryan” races, in particular Germans and Jews.

However, author and Professor Dan Stone reveals in the new book “Histories of the Holocaust” that “considerable changes have taken place recently in our understanding of the development of Holocaust historiography.”

For instance, he writes that although the Holocaust was a “Nazi-directed program, ‘Holocaust’ is an umbrella term encompassing many examples of indigenous persecution that burst out under Nazi protection, especially in Romania, Slovakia, the Baltic States and France. In the vision of a Nazi empire, Jews had no place at all.”

The Nazi’s concentration camp at Auschwitz

The Auschwitz Birkenau German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp was “in business” from 1940-1945, with both Nazi’s and a host of other representatives from European countries taking Jews and others to be gassed.

“Auschwitz had for a long time been a German name for Oświęcim, the town by and around which the camps were located; the name "Auschwitz" was made the official name again by the Germans after they invaded Polandin September 1939. Birkenau, the German translation of Brzezinka("birch tree"), referred originally to a small Polish village that was destroyed by the Germans to make way for the camp,” states a history of Auschwitz from the “Holocaust Research Center” in London.

At the same time, Reichsführer-SSHeinrich Himmlercalled Auschwitz the place of “the final solution of the Jewish question in Europe,” during a 1941 speech when nobody in Europe questioned his motives, writes Professor Stone.

On January 27, 1945, Auschwitz was liberated by Soviet troops, a day commemorated around the world as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. In 1947, Poland founded a museum on the site of Auschwitz I and II, which by 2010 had seen 29 million visitors—1,300,000 annually—pass through the iron gates crowned with the infamous motto, “Arbeit macht frei” that means “work makes free” in German.

Catholic priests report “final solution” to the Vatican in Rome

Moreover, Professor Stone points to the Catholic Church as being part of the “final solution project” as well.

“Wartime Slovakia, one of the most loyal of the collaborating regimes, was led by Andrej Hlinka and Jozef Tiso, both priests. It was a product of an ultra-nationalist, anti-Semitic, anti-Hungarian, Catholic milieu, and aptly described as ‘clero-fascist.’ Tiso’s (a Catholic priest) world view echoed Hitler’s: ‘Jewry will be expelled of subversion and operated as the principal carrier of Marxist and liberal ideas.’”

In turn, Professor Stone writes: “From 1940, the Slovakian government introduced a raft of anti-Semitic legislation, and forcibly ‘Aryanized’ Jewish property. As of 1942, the Jews of Slovakia were deported to the ghettos and death camps of occupied Poland; 58,000 were deported in just the first wave. Many Jews were also murdered in Slovakia itself.”

At the same time, Professor Stone explains that Father Tiso “kept the Holy See informed of the final solution plans.”

While such collaboration is shocking coming from a Catholic priest, what’s even more shocking to some is the help Hitler received from the American company IBM to identify Jews living in Europe.

IBM turns 100 while involvement in Holocaust creates a dark legacy

Computer giant IBM turned 100 back on June 16, 2011, and with that anniversary also comes a dark remembrance of the Holocaust some 70 years ago when IBM's technologic assistance is said to have helped Adolf Hitler achieve the staggering numbers of Jews killed during the Holocaust.

Author Edwin Black describes the thesis of his book “IBM and the Holocaust: The Strategic Alliance between Nazi Germany and America's Most Powerful Corporation” in the following way: "[The book] tells the story of IBM's conscious involvement — directly and through its subsidiaries — in the Holocaust, as well as its involvement in the Nazi war machine that murdered millions of others throughout Europe.

“Only with IBM's technologic assistance was Hitler able to achieve the staggering numbers of the Holocaust,” writes Black in his 2001 New York Times bestseller that’s now been released in paperback. In turn, Black’s book was honored by the American Society of Journalists and Authors as the winner of the “Best Nonfiction book in 2002.”

How did Hitler get the names of the Jews in Europe, asks author

According to Black, “one of the last great mysteries of Germany's war against the Jews is how did Hitler get the names?”

"Mankind barely noticed when the concept of massively organized information quietly emerged to become a means of social control, a weapon of war, and a roadmap for group destruction. Hitler and his hatred of the Jews was the ironic driving force behind this intellectual turning point. But his quest was greatly enhanced and energized by the ingenuity and craving for profit of a single American company and its legendary, autocratic chairman. That company was International Business machines, and its chairman was Thomas J. Watson,” writes Black in his book about the strategic alliance between Nazi Germany and IBM.

At the same time, CBS “Sunday Morning” recently featured the connection the Nazis and IBM during a June 12 report for IBM’s 100th anniversary. CBS News noted that IBM’s work for the Nazi’s “stopped after it learned about the Holocaust.”

Still, Black’s book and website – that continues to offer more details about the author’s investigations into the IBM and Nazi alliance -- is more than just disturbing, say various national Jewish groups.

For instance, Black’s book details the business dealings of “the American-based multinational corporation International Business Machines (IBM), and its German and other European subsidiaries with the government of Adolf Hitler during the 1930s and during World War II.” The book offers an overview of the alliance, with Black pointing to IBM’s “tabulation and punch cards” – that were based upon national census data gathering – as the way Hitler was able to identify the Jews he wanted to destroy in Europe during World War II.

Without IBM’s help, states Black, the Nazi “Holocaust” would not have been as efficient as it was in killing about six million Jewish people during World War II.

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