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Holocaust Files

Day of Remembrance …

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The international Day of Remembrance has begun in Israel. The day that we remember the 6 million Jews, and many others that went to their deaths in Nazi concentration camps. Those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it.

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big1402 KL Auschwitz Work makes free Arbeit macht frei Today

Nazi Records

These – Bad Arolson is where the millions upon millions of files for Nazi records have been kept and for years now been open to the public for research purposes.

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Yad Vashem. The Holocaust museum in Israel.

You who live safe
In your warm houses,
You who find, returning in the evening,
Hot food and friendly faces:
Consider if this is a man
Who works in the mud
Who does not know peace
Who fights for a scrap of bread
Who dies because of a yes and a no.
Consider if this is a woman,
Without hair and without name
With no more strength to remember,
Her eyes empty and her womb cold
Like a frog in winter

Meditate that this came about:
I commend these words to you.
Carve them in your hearts
At Home, in the street,
Going to bed, rising;
Repeat them to your children,

Or may your house fall apart,
May illness impede you,
May your children turn their faces from you.

Primo Levi

Survival in Auschwitz


January 27 2009 Holocaust Memorial Day

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krystallnacht.jpg

yellow_star_of_david.jpg

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You who live safe
In your warm houses,
You who find, returning in the evening,
Hot food and friendly faces:
Consider if this is a man
Who works in the mud
Who does not know peace
Who fights for a scrap of bread
Who dies because of a yes and a no.
Consider if this is a woman,
Without hair and without name
With no more strength to remember,
Her eyes empty and her womb cold
Like a frog in winter

Meditate that this came about:
I commend these words to you.
Carve them in your hearts
At Home, in the street,
Going to bed, rising;
Repeat them to your children,

Or may your house fall apart,
May illness impede you,
May your children turn their faces from you.

Primo Levi

Survival in Auschwitz

Let us Remember so that We Never Forget…


Merkel urges anti-racist action

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BBC News Online

As Germany marks the 70th anniversary of the Kristallnacht anti-Semitic riots, Chancellor Angela Merkel said all Germans must act against racism.

At a ceremony at Berlin’s largest synagogue, she said Germans “cannot be silent” in the face of anti-Semitism.

Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass, is often regarded as the starting point of the Holocaust.

Nazis ransacked Jewish homes and businesses and burned synagogues as police and firefighters looked on.

More than 90 Jewish people were murdered and about 30,000 Jewish men were sent to concentration camps on 9 and 10 November 1938.

Millions were killed by the Nazi regime, including about six million Jewish people.

‘Do something’

“Indifference is the first step towards endangering essential values,” Mrs Merkel said at the commemoration service with the Central Council of Jews at the Rykestrasse synagogue in Berlin.

“Xenophobia, racism and anti-Semitism must never be given an opportunity in Europe again.

The Rykestrasse synagogue was damaged in the Kristallnacht rampage but has been recently restored.

People stand outside a Jewish-owned shop attacked on Kristallnacht (November 1938)

At least 90 Jewish people were killed on Kristallnacht

The anniversary comes at a time of concern that far right sentiments are on the rise in Germany.

“There was no storm of protest against the Nazis, but silence, shrugged shoulders and people looking away – from individual citizens to large parts of the church,” Mrs Merkel said.

“We cannot be silent, we cannot be indifferent when Jewish cemeteries are desecrated and rabbis are insulted on the street.”

On Sunday evening, a concert entitled “Tu Was”, or “Do Something”, was held at Berlin’s Tempelhof airport.

Its organiser, British violinist Daniel Hope, said he was inspired by reading a book about the events in 1938 and realising there was nothing to mark the day other than the official ceremony.

“It’s difficult to know how to commemorate a day of tragedy,” he said.

“It is a wonderful chance for everybody to think about things. Not doing something is the worst thing anyone can do”.

Peaceful protests

On Saturday, police estimated that about 600 people marched in Fulda in central Germany to protest against a march by members of the right wing National Democratic Party (NPD).

An anti-Nazi demonstrator holds a sign at a rally in Fulda, Germany (08/11/2008)

Demonstrators said Fulda was a Nazi-free zone

Demonstrators held up signs saying that Fulda was “a Nazi-free zone” and waved Israeli flags.

Police said the demonstrations were peaceful and the two groups were kept apart.

The secretary general of the Central Council of German Jews, Stephan Kramer, has said there should be better education for Germany children about the events of the Nazi era.

Mr Kramer told a German newspaper that young people should “more than ever at the moment be warned against the dangers of the future, of a new anti-Semitism and of the far-right”.


Scholars make finds in Nazi archive

By ARTHUR MAX, Associated Press Writer

BAD AROLSEN, Germany – From prison brothels to slave labor camps, 15 scholars concluded a two-week probe Thursday of an untapped repository of millions of Nazi records, and hailed it as a rich vein of raw material that will deepen the study of the Holocaust.

It was the first concentrated academic sweep of the long-private archive administered by the International Tracing Service since it opened its doors last November to Holocaust survivors, victims relatives and historical researchers.

German historian Christel Trouve said the nameless millions of forced laborers began to take shape as individual people as she studied small labor camps — which existed in astonishing numbers.

Among the striking revelations was the identification of the man who rescued an 8-year-old boy in Buchenwald, Israel Meir Lau, who later became Israel’s chief rabbi.

Lau had said his rescuer was a person called Fyodor from Rostow. Kenneth Waltzer of Michigan State University found it was Fyodor Michajlitschenko, 18, arrested by the Gestapo in 1943, who gave the small boy ear warmers and treated him like a father in Block 8 until the camp’s liberation.

“A lot of us found the collections here, approached in the appropriate way, really opened up new significant scholarly lines of inquiry,” said Waltzer, who is director of his university’s Jewish Studies department.

Jessica Anderson Hughes of Rutgers University discovered that prostitutes servicing other prisoners in concentration camp brothels often came from ordinary backgrounds — exploding the myth that most had been prostitutes before their arrest.

Hughes said the lists in Bad Arolsen allowed her to attach names to the prisoner-prostitutes at Buchenwald, one of the largest concentration camps which had one of eight known brothels for prisoners.

With the names she could look up incarceration records — and she found some women were married, some single, some were mothers. The records said many were arrested for petty theft or other minor crime.

“We always portrayed them as volunteers, but I wanted to know why they volunteered,” she said. She believed the prostitutes faced “a choiceless choice.”

The opening of the files to scholars followed pressure from survivors and from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. The importance of the archive was highlighted in a series of stories by The Associated Press, which was the first news organization to be granted extensive access to the long-restricted papers.

The research project was organized jointly by the tracing service and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, which brought scholars from six countries to begin assessing the significance of the archive, the largest collection of Nazi documents.

The 50 million pages stored in this central German spa town since the mid-1950s previously had been used by Red Cross staff to respond to inquiries about missing persons or the fate of family members, and later to document compensation claims.

With the population of survivors quickly shrinking, the 11 countries that govern the archive agreed in 2006 to widen access to the files. It took another 18 months for all 11 to ratify the required treaty amendments before the archive could open.

Reto Meister, the archive’s director, said he still gets 1,000 inquires a month asking for personal information. Now, the archive is also getting dozens of academic inquiries or visitors every month, he said.

The gray metal shelves and cabinets contain 16 miles (25 kilometers) of transport lists, camp registries, medical records, forced labor files and death certificates of some 17.5 million people subjected to Nazi persecutions.

Taken together with written and oral testimonies and the transcripts of war crimes trials, the dry data at Bad Arolsen add texture to the known picture of the Holocaust, from the first concentration camps created within weeks of Hitler’s rise to power in January 1933 to the defeat of Nazism in May 1945.

“It was much more than I expected,” said Trouve.

“I’ve been working on concentration camps for 15 years. We know there was forced laborers in Germany — millions of them,” she said. “But then you go through these lists. You see the farmer employing so many people. You see the factory employing hundreds of people. Everything was blurred, but suddenly you have a clear image.”

Jean-Marc Dreyfus, of Manchester University in Britain, said the archive “won’t utterly change our view of the Holocaust, but it will be very precious for researchers to complement and pursue new research.”

___

Associated Press investigative researcher Randy Herschaft contributed to this article from Bad Arolsen


Berlin inaugurates memorial to Nazi’s gay victims

The memorial for homosexual victims of the Nazi regime, designed by Norwegian artist Ingar Dragset and Danish artist Michael Elmgreen, seen in Berlin on Monday, May 26, 2008. On Tuesday, May 27, 2008 the monument will be unveiled officially.

By GEIR MOULSON, Associated Press

BERLIN – Germany unveiled a memorial Tuesday to the Nazis’ long-ignored gay victims, a monument that also aims to address ongoing discrimination by confronting visitors with an image of a same-sex couple kissing.

The memorial — a sloping gray concrete slab on the edge of Berlin’s Tiergarten park — echoes the vast field of smaller slabs that make up Germany’s memorial to Jewish victims of the Holocaust, opened three years ago just across the road.

The pavilion-sized slab includes a small window where visitors can view a video clip of two men kissing.

Berlin’s openly gay mayor, Klaus Wowereit, said the monument was a reminder of the ongoing struggles that still confront gays.

“This memorial is important from two points of view — to commemorate the victims, but also to make clear that even today, after we have achieved so much in terms of equal treatment, discrimination still exists daily,” Wowereit said as he inaugurated the memorial alongside Culture Minister Bernd Neumann.

Nazi Germany declared homosexuality a threat to the German race and convicted some 50,000 homosexuals as criminals. An estimated 10,000 to 15,000 gay men were deported to concentration camps, where few survived.

“This is a story that many people don’t know about, and I think it’s fantastic … that the German state finally decided to make a memorial to honor these victims as well,” said Ingar Dragset, a Berlin-based Norwegian who designed the memorial along with Danish-born Michael Elmgreen.

The commemoration “unfortunately comes too late for those who were persecuted and survived in 1945,” said Guenter Dworek, of Germany‘s Lesbian and Gay Association. “That is very bitter.”

He said the last ex-prisoner that his group knows of died in 2005.

Wowereit echoed his regret over the time it took to honor the Nazis’ gay victims.

“That is symptomatic of a postwar society which simply kept quiet about a group of victims, which … contributed to these victims being discriminated against twice,” he said.

Few gays convicted by the Nazis came forward after World War II because of the stigma attached to homosexuality. The law used against them remained on the books in West Germany until 1969, and Dworek said there were 50,000 convictions under the legislation after the war.

Not until 2002 did the German parliament issue a formal pardon for homosexuals convicted under the Nazis. One reason it took so long was because the legislation had been linked to a blanket rehabilitation of 22,000 Wehrmacht deserters — a move many conservatives opposed.

The effort to get a memorial built started in 1992, and a 1999 parliament decision to build the memorial to the Holocaust‘s 6 million Jewish victims also called for “commemorating in a worthy fashion the other victims of the Nazis.” In 2001, Jewish and Gypsy leaders backed an appeal for a monument to the gay victims.

After lawmakers approved its construction, a jury picked the winning design in early 2006 out of 17 design proposals.

The federal government financed the $945,660 building costs, while Berlin’s city government provided the site.

The designers’ original plan to feature only a video of two men kissing ran into criticism that lesbians were left out. Last year, a compromise was reached to change the memorial’s video every two years, allowing lesbian couples to be shown in the future.

The first film — a repeating clip of two men kissing, shot at the site of the memorial before it was built — was done by photographer Robby Mueller and directed by Denmark’s Thomas Vinterberg.

“It was quite important to have a direct imagery of a love scene, a passionate scene … because that is the main problem in homophobia,” designer Elmgreen told AP Television News. “You can get acceptance on an abstract level, but they don’t want to look at us.”

Germany has allowed gay couples to seal their partnerships at registry offices since 2001, although the law stops short of offering formal marriage. Berlin has a large gay community, as do other major German cities, such as Cologne and Hamburg.

The memorial to the Nazis’ Jewish victims and the new monument will soon be joined by a third memorial honoring the Roma and Sinti, or Gypsy, victims. Some 220,000 to 500,000 Gypsies were killed during the Holocaust.

Work begins this year on that memorial, also in Tiergarten park.

“We stand stunned before the brutality with which the Nazis threatened, persecuted and destroyed all those who did not correspond to their inhuman ideology,” Neumann said.

“The experience of war and Holocaust, state terror and tyranny, puts on us Germans a special responsibility to protect freedom and human rights.”


Berlin inaugurates memorial to Nazi's gay victims

The memorial for homosexual victims of the Nazi regime, designed by Norwegian artist Ingar Dragset and Danish artist Michael Elmgreen, seen in Berlin on Monday, May 26, 2008. On Tuesday, May 27, 2008 the monument will be unveiled officially.

By GEIR MOULSON, Associated Press

BERLIN – Germany unveiled a memorial Tuesday to the Nazis’ long-ignored gay victims, a monument that also aims to address ongoing discrimination by confronting visitors with an image of a same-sex couple kissing.

The memorial — a sloping gray concrete slab on the edge of Berlin’s Tiergarten park — echoes the vast field of smaller slabs that make up Germany’s memorial to Jewish victims of the Holocaust, opened three years ago just across the road.

The pavilion-sized slab includes a small window where visitors can view a video clip of two men kissing.

Berlin’s openly gay mayor, Klaus Wowereit, said the monument was a reminder of the ongoing struggles that still confront gays.

“This memorial is important from two points of view — to commemorate the victims, but also to make clear that even today, after we have achieved so much in terms of equal treatment, discrimination still exists daily,” Wowereit said as he inaugurated the memorial alongside Culture Minister Bernd Neumann.

Nazi Germany declared homosexuality a threat to the German race and convicted some 50,000 homosexuals as criminals. An estimated 10,000 to 15,000 gay men were deported to concentration camps, where few survived.

“This is a story that many people don’t know about, and I think it’s fantastic … that the German state finally decided to make a memorial to honor these victims as well,” said Ingar Dragset, a Berlin-based Norwegian who designed the memorial along with Danish-born Michael Elmgreen.

The commemoration “unfortunately comes too late for those who were persecuted and survived in 1945,” said Guenter Dworek, of Germany‘s Lesbian and Gay Association. “That is very bitter.”

He said the last ex-prisoner that his group knows of died in 2005.

Wowereit echoed his regret over the time it took to honor the Nazis’ gay victims.

“That is symptomatic of a postwar society which simply kept quiet about a group of victims, which … contributed to these victims being discriminated against twice,” he said.

Few gays convicted by the Nazis came forward after World War II because of the stigma attached to homosexuality. The law used against them remained on the books in West Germany until 1969, and Dworek said there were 50,000 convictions under the legislation after the war.

Not until 2002 did the German parliament issue a formal pardon for homosexuals convicted under the Nazis. One reason it took so long was because the legislation had been linked to a blanket rehabilitation of 22,000 Wehrmacht deserters — a move many conservatives opposed.

The effort to get a memorial built started in 1992, and a 1999 parliament decision to build the memorial to the Holocaust‘s 6 million Jewish victims also called for “commemorating in a worthy fashion the other victims of the Nazis.” In 2001, Jewish and Gypsy leaders backed an appeal for a monument to the gay victims.

After lawmakers approved its construction, a jury picked the winning design in early 2006 out of 17 design proposals.

The federal government financed the $945,660 building costs, while Berlin’s city government provided the site.

The designers’ original plan to feature only a video of two men kissing ran into criticism that lesbians were left out. Last year, a compromise was reached to change the memorial’s video every two years, allowing lesbian couples to be shown in the future.

The first film — a repeating clip of two men kissing, shot at the site of the memorial before it was built — was done by photographer Robby Mueller and directed by Denmark’s Thomas Vinterberg.

“It was quite important to have a direct imagery of a love scene, a passionate scene … because that is the main problem in homophobia,” designer Elmgreen told AP Television News. “You can get acceptance on an abstract level, but they don’t want to look at us.”

Germany has allowed gay couples to seal their partnerships at registry offices since 2001, although the law stops short of offering formal marriage. Berlin has a large gay community, as do other major German cities, such as Cologne and Hamburg.

The memorial to the Nazis’ Jewish victims and the new monument will soon be joined by a third memorial honoring the Roma and Sinti, or Gypsy, victims. Some 220,000 to 500,000 Gypsies were killed during the Holocaust.

Work begins this year on that memorial, also in Tiergarten park.

“We stand stunned before the brutality with which the Nazis threatened, persecuted and destroyed all those who did not correspond to their inhuman ideology,” Neumann said.

“The experience of war and Holocaust, state terror and tyranny, puts on us Germans a special responsibility to protect freedom and human rights.”


Holocaust Memorial Day …

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krystallnacht.jpg

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You who live safe
In your warm houses,
You who find, returning in the evening,
Hot food and friendly faces:
Consider if this is a man
Who works in the mud
Who does not know peace
Who fights for a scrap of bread
Who dies because of a yes and a no.
Consider if this is a woman,
Without hair and without name
With no more strength to remember,
Her eyes empty and her womb cold
Like a frog in winter

Meditate that this came about:
I commend these words to you.
Carve them in your hearts
At Home, in the street,
Going to bed, rising;
Repeat them to your children,

Or may your house fall apart,
May illness impede you,
May your children turn their faces from you.

Primo Levi

Survival in Auschwitz

Let us Remember so that We Never Forget…


Holocaust survivor learns father’s fate

 holocaust-files.jpg

By ARON HELLER, Associated Press Writer

JERUSALEM – In 1942, 8-year-old Moshe Bar-Yuda walked hand-in-hand with his father to a collection point in his hometown in Slovakia and watched him being shipped off to a Nazi labor camp. The boy never saw him again, and for 66 years was left to wonder about his father’s fate.

Because of a newly opened Nazi archive, the mystery has been resolved.

Bar-Yuda, now 74, was one of the first to obtain Nazi documents now available to the public after they were stashed away for more than 60 years in a secret German archive. Up to now, only limited queries were answered.

The Bad Arolsen documents — transportation lists, Gestapo orders, camp registers, slave labor booklets, death books — contain references to about 17.5 million people, Jews and non-Jews. It is the largest registry of Holocaust victims ever.

The archive showed that Bar-Yuda’s father, Alfred Kastner, was killed in a Nazi gas chamber at the Majdanek death camp in Poland on Sept. 7, 1942, less than six months after his son watched him being taken away. Bar-Yuda said despite the tragic ending, he was grateful to finally have some closure and an exact date to recite Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the dead.

“I don’t want to say I feel terrible, and I don’t want to say the word ‘happy,’ but I feel like this open wound has finally been closed,” he said. “It closed very sadly but at least it closed.”

About 6 million Jews were killed by German Nazis and their collaborators in the Holocaust of World War II.

In August, the International Tracing Service (ITS) of the International Committee of the Red Cross, which administers the archive, began transferring digital copies of its documents to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, to Yad Vashem, Israel‘s Holocaust memorial, and to the Institute of National Remembrance in Warsaw, Poland.

The vast archive of war records in the small German town of Bad Arolsen opened its doors to the public in November, giving historians and Holocaust survivors access to concentration camp records detailing Nazi horrors.

The ITS has completed digitizing some 50 million index cards from shelves that would stretch 16 miles long and fill a half-dozen buildings in Bad Arolsen. The remainder of the records, relating to slave labor and displaced persons camps, will be transferred in installments between 2008 and 2010, the agency said.

Yad Vashem said it would begin responding to queries in February.

Bar-Yuda already has his answer. After reading about the opening of the archive, he turned to an old friend who worked at Yad Vashem and had been to Bad Arolsen, to find out if she could uncover any information about his father. Two weeks ago, he was handed the document that recorded his father’s execution.

Alfred Kastner, number 2802, was executed in Majdanek.

Bar-Yuda, a retired journalist and envoy for the quasi-governmental Jewish Agency, was hidden during the war with his mother and two siblings and later escaped to Palestine.

Other survivors said his father had perished, either in Majdanek or in the Auschwitz death camp. But there was nothing official and no records about him — beyond the one that showed he was deported from Bratislava on March 27, 1942.

“I’ve been trying to find out what happened to him. I didn’t know anything,” said Bar-Yuda, who recently wrote a book about his own Holocaust experience.

Bar-Yuda said knowing how his father’s life ended was a great comfort after years of devastating uncertainty.

“The question marks are gone,” he said. “Now I know how to deal better with the knowledge, and not with the confusion.”

Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev said the Holocaust museum was speedily integrating the new material into its database in the hopes of providing more answers.

“This story illustrates how the millions of documents in Yad Vashem’s archives, including the recently received documents from the ITS, allow us to be able to uncover the missing pieces of information, so that survivors and others will be able to finally complete the picture as to what happened to their loved ones during the Holocaust,” he said.

Allied forces began collecting the documents even before the end of the war, and eventually entrusted them to the Red Cross. The archive has been governed since 1955 by a commission that ratified an accord in November that unsealed the archive.

Yad Vashem expects the next batch of material from Bad Arolsen to arrive later this year and to have the full copy of all the ITS records by 2010.

It recently uploaded a special online request form on its Web site, and encouraged survivors seeking material from the German registry to do so.

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington said the museum will begin responding Thursday to requests for information from the archives made by Holocaust survivors and their families. The museum also will be open for members of the public to look at documents.


Holocaust survivor learns father's fate

 holocaust-files.jpg

By ARON HELLER, Associated Press Writer

JERUSALEM – In 1942, 8-year-old Moshe Bar-Yuda walked hand-in-hand with his father to a collection point in his hometown in Slovakia and watched him being shipped off to a Nazi labor camp. The boy never saw him again, and for 66 years was left to wonder about his father’s fate.

Because of a newly opened Nazi archive, the mystery has been resolved.

Bar-Yuda, now 74, was one of the first to obtain Nazi documents now available to the public after they were stashed away for more than 60 years in a secret German archive. Up to now, only limited queries were answered.

The Bad Arolsen documents — transportation lists, Gestapo orders, camp registers, slave labor booklets, death books — contain references to about 17.5 million people, Jews and non-Jews. It is the largest registry of Holocaust victims ever.

The archive showed that Bar-Yuda’s father, Alfred Kastner, was killed in a Nazi gas chamber at the Majdanek death camp in Poland on Sept. 7, 1942, less than six months after his son watched him being taken away. Bar-Yuda said despite the tragic ending, he was grateful to finally have some closure and an exact date to recite Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the dead.

“I don’t want to say I feel terrible, and I don’t want to say the word ‘happy,’ but I feel like this open wound has finally been closed,” he said. “It closed very sadly but at least it closed.”

About 6 million Jews were killed by German Nazis and their collaborators in the Holocaust of World War II.

In August, the International Tracing Service (ITS) of the International Committee of the Red Cross, which administers the archive, began transferring digital copies of its documents to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, to Yad Vashem, Israel‘s Holocaust memorial, and to the Institute of National Remembrance in Warsaw, Poland.

The vast archive of war records in the small German town of Bad Arolsen opened its doors to the public in November, giving historians and Holocaust survivors access to concentration camp records detailing Nazi horrors.

The ITS has completed digitizing some 50 million index cards from shelves that would stretch 16 miles long and fill a half-dozen buildings in Bad Arolsen. The remainder of the records, relating to slave labor and displaced persons camps, will be transferred in installments between 2008 and 2010, the agency said.

Yad Vashem said it would begin responding to queries in February.

Bar-Yuda already has his answer. After reading about the opening of the archive, he turned to an old friend who worked at Yad Vashem and had been to Bad Arolsen, to find out if she could uncover any information about his father. Two weeks ago, he was handed the document that recorded his father’s execution.

Alfred Kastner, number 2802, was executed in Majdanek.

Bar-Yuda, a retired journalist and envoy for the quasi-governmental Jewish Agency, was hidden during the war with his mother and two siblings and later escaped to Palestine.

Other survivors said his father had perished, either in Majdanek or in the Auschwitz death camp. But there was nothing official and no records about him — beyond the one that showed he was deported from Bratislava on March 27, 1942.

“I’ve been trying to find out what happened to him. I didn’t know anything,” said Bar-Yuda, who recently wrote a book about his own Holocaust experience.

Bar-Yuda said knowing how his father’s life ended was a great comfort after years of devastating uncertainty.

“The question marks are gone,” he said. “Now I know how to deal better with the knowledge, and not with the confusion.”

Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev said the Holocaust museum was speedily integrating the new material into its database in the hopes of providing more answers.

“This story illustrates how the millions of documents in Yad Vashem’s archives, including the recently received documents from the ITS, allow us to be able to uncover the missing pieces of information, so that survivors and others will be able to finally complete the picture as to what happened to their loved ones during the Holocaust,” he said.

Allied forces began collecting the documents even before the end of the war, and eventually entrusted them to the Red Cross. The archive has been governed since 1955 by a commission that ratified an accord in November that unsealed the archive.

Yad Vashem expects the next batch of material from Bad Arolsen to arrive later this year and to have the full copy of all the ITS records by 2010.

It recently uploaded a special online request form on its Web site, and encouraged survivors seeking material from the German registry to do so.

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington said the museum will begin responding Thursday to requests for information from the archives made by Holocaust survivors and their families. The museum also will be open for members of the public to look at documents.


Vast Nazi archive opens to public

holocaust-files.jpg

By ARTHUR MAX, Associated Press Writer

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands – After more than 60 years, Nazi documents stored in a vast warehouse in Germany were unsealed Wednesday, opening a rich resource for Holocaust historians and for survivors to delve into their own tormented past.

The treasure of documents could open new avenues of study into the inner workings of Nazi persecution from the exploitation of slave labor to the conduct of medical experiments. The archive’s managers planned a conference of scholars next year to map out its unexplored contents.

The files entrusted to the International Tracing Service, an arm of the International Committee of the Red Cross, have been used until now to help find missing persons or document atrocities to support compensation claims. The U.S. government also has referred to the ITS for background checks on immigrants it suspected of lying about their past.

Inquiries were handled by the archive’s 400 staff members in the German spa town of Bad Arolsen. Few outsiders were allowed to see the actual documents, which number more than 50 million pages and cover 16 linear miles of gray metal filing cabinets and cardboard binders spread over six buildings.

On Wednesday, the Red Cross and the German government announced that the last of the 11 countries that govern the archive had ratified a 2006 agreement to open the files to the public for the first time.

“We are there. The doors are open,” said ITS director Reto Meister, speaking by telephone from the Buchenwald concentration camp where he was visiting with a delegation of U.S. congressional staff members.

Survivors have pressed for decades to open the archive, unhappy with the minimal responses — usually in form letters — from the Red Cross officials responding to requests for information about relatives.

“We are very anxious,” said David Mermelstein, 78, an activist for survivors’ causes in Miami, Fla., who wants to scour the files for traces of his two older brothers whom he last saw as he passed through a series of concentration camps.

“Now I hope we will be able to get some information. We have been waiting, and time is not on our side,” said the retired businessman.

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington and the Yad Vashem Memorial in Jerusalem began receiving digital copies of the entire archive in August, allowing survivors and historians more access points.

Izzy Arbeiter, 82, the head of a survivor’s organization in the area of Boston, Mass., said he hoped to go to the museum next month to browse the files.

“My goodness, I don’t know where I would start, there are so many things I am interested in,” he said. “The history of my family, of course. My parents. One of my brothers is missing. We never knew what happened to him.”

Yad Vashem said the opening of the archive was “a breakthrough” for survivors and others.

“Our understanding and knowledge of the personal story of the Holocaust will be deepened,” said Yad Vashem’s chairman Avner Shalev.

The records are unlikely to change the general story of the Holocaust and the Nazi era, probably the most intensely researched 12-year period of the 20th century.

But its depth of detail and original documentation will add texture to history’s worst genocide, and is likely to fuel a revival of academic interest in the Holocaust.

Among its files, seen by The Associated Press during repeated visits to Bad Arolsen in the last year, are the list of deportees from the Netherlands to Auschwitz on which Anne Frank‘s name appears, the list of employees of Oskar Schindler’s factory who were sheltered from death, medical records showing the number of lice on the heads of prisoners, the list of inmates evacuated by the Nazis from the Neuengamme labor camp who later died on prisoner boats mistakenly bombed by the British air force.

Defying its orderly appearance, the archive is a labyrinth of paper that has never been organized by a historian or even by a professionally trained archivist. Its main database comprises 50 million entries of names, often duplicated in different spellings, referring to 17.5 million victims of Nazi persecutions.

The Bad Arolsen facility, which has received 50 applications this month alone from researchers and institutions seeking to examine the archive, has opened a visitors room with 10 computer terminals to enable searches of files that have been scanned. But less than half of the 50 million pages have been digitized and are available on computer.

Though the archives are now open to the public, Erich Oetiker, the ITS deputy director, said anyone seeking specific information would need professional assistance and all visitors are asked to make an appointment in advance.

While it is not set up to receive unannounced visitors off the street, he said, “we will refuse nobody, but we have very limited staff to provide support.” Guided tours are also available.

Visitors have to show ID and cannot access a special category of documents — correspondences between the ITS and private or official inquirers that are less than 25 years old. Researchers must sign a waiver stating that they are personally responsible for respecting privacy laws.

The ITS gets about 700 requests each month for information about relatives, and has not yet cleared away a backlog of inquiries that reached nearly half a million a few years ago.

The Tracing Service, the Washington museum and Yad Vashem intend to hire new staff to help to ferret out specific documents.

“The challenge now is organizing the material in such a way that people can easily find what they want and what they need,” said Paul Shapiro, director of the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the Washington museum.

The museum took the first step by creating a database to search an inventory of more than 21,000 collections of documents, each ranging a few pages to thousands.

Allied forces began collecting the documents even before the end of the war, and eventually entrusted them to the Red Cross. The archive has been governed since 1955 by a multinational commission that normally met once a year.

Access to the archives had been closely guarded by Red Cross officials who viewed requests for academic information as a distraction from what they saw as their humanitarian task of answering requests about individuals.

In 2001 the State Department, urged on by the Holocaust museum, began pushing the 11-member governing commission to open the doors to the rapidly dying survivor population and for research.

The decision was adopted in May 2006, but it took 19 months to complete the required ratification process.

_____

Investigative researcher Randy Herschaft contributed to this report in New York.

**********************

Vast Nazi archive opens to public

 

The archive at Bad Arolsen - 28/11/2007

The archive contains details on the fate of millions of the Nazi’s victims

A vast archive of wartime German documents on the Nazi Holocaust has been opened to the public. The 47m documents, kept in Germany, contain detailed records on 17.5m forced labourers, concentration camp victims and political prisoners.

Previously, the files were only used to trace missing persons, reunite families and provide information for compensation claims.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) manages the files.

The whole archive takes up some 26km (16 miles) of shelving in the town of Bad Arolsen in western Germany.

Minute details

The files are not expected to shed dramatic new light on the Nazi regime – already one of the most researched periods of modern history.

But it will provide historians with more details about the murder and exploitation of millions of Jews, Roma (Gypsies) and other victims.

The Nazis kept records on the smallest details – from the number of lice on a prisoner’s head to the exact moment of their execution.

Allied forces began gathering the records from concentration camps and other Nazi prisons as they swept across Europe at the end of World War II.

The move to open the archive came after the last of the 11 countries that sit on the body managing the archive ratified a 2006 agreement to allow public access.

“I would like to invite all researchers to make use of this, and work through this dark chapter of German history,” said Guenter Gloser, Germany’s deputy foreign minister for Europe.


A Holocaust mystery finds some answers

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By ARTHUR MAX and MONIKA SCISLOWSKA, Associated Press Writers 

BAD AROLSEN, Germany – Deep in Shari Klages’ memory is an image of herself as a girl in New Jersey, going into her parents’ bedroom, pulling a thick leather-bound album from the top shelf of a closet and sitting down on the bed to leaf through it.

What she saw was page after page of ink-and-watercolor drawings that convey, with simple lines yet telling detail, the brutality of Dachau, the Nazi concentration camp where her father spent the last weeks of World War II.

Arrival, enslavement, torture, death — the 30 pictures expose the worsening nightmare through the artist’s eye for the essential, and add graphic texture to the body of testimony by Holocaust survivors.

“I have a sense of being quite horrified, of feeling my stomach in my throat,” Klages says. Just by looking at the book, she felt she was doing something wrong and was afraid of being caught.

Now, she finally wants to make the album public. Scholars who have seen it call it historically unique and an artistic treasure.

But who drew the pictures? Only Klages’ father could know. It was he who brought the album back from Dachau when he immigrated to America on a ship with more than 60 Holocaust orphans — and he had committed suicide in 1972 in his garage in Parsippany, N.J.

The sole clue was a signature at the bottom of several drawings: Porulski.

Klages, 47, has begun a quest to discover who Porulski was, and how her family came to be the custodian of his remarkable artistic legacy. The Associated Press has helped to fill in some of the blanks.

What unfolds is a story of Holocaust survival compressed into two tragic lives, a tale with threads stretching from Warsaw to Auschwitz and Dachau, from Australia to suburban England, and finally to a bedroom in New Jersey where a fatherless girl makes a traumatic discovery.

It shows how today, as the survivors dwindle in number, their children and grandchildren struggle to comprehend the Nazi genocide that indelibly scarred their families, and in the process run into mysteries that may never be solved.

This is Shari Klages’ mystery: How did Arnold Unger, her Polish Jewish father, a 15-year-old newcomer to Dachau, end up in possession of the artwork of a Polish Catholic more than twice his age, who had been in the concentration camps through most of World War II?

None of the records Klages found confirm that the two men knew each other, though they lived in adjacent blocks in Dachau. All that is certain is that Unger overlapped with Porulski during the three weeks the boy spent among nearly 30,000 inmates of Dachau’s main camp.

“He never talked about his experiences in the war,” said Klages. “I don’t recall specifically ever being told about the album, or actually learning that I was the child of a Holocaust survivor. It was just something I always knew.”

As adults, she and her three siblings took turns keeping the album and Unger’s other wartime memorabilia.

The album begins with an image of four prisoners in winter coats carrying suitcases and marching toward Dachau’s watchtower under the rifles of SS guards. It is followed by a scene of two inmates being stripped for a humiliating examination by a kapo, a prisoner working for the Nazis.

One image portrays two prisoners pausing in their work to doff their caps to a soldier escorting a prostitute — intimated by the seam on her stocking. Another shows a leashed dog lunging at a terrified inmate.

The drawings grow more and more debasing. Three prisoners hang by their arms tied behind their backs; a captured escapee is paraded wearing a sign, “Hurray, I am back again”; an inmate is hanged from a scaffold; and, in the final image, a man lies on the ground, shot dead next to the barbed-wire fence under the looming watchtower.

The album also has 258 photographs. Some are copies of well-known, haunting images of piles of victims’ bodies taken by the U.S. army that liberated the camp. Others are photographs, apparently taken for Nazi propaganda, portraying Dachau as an idyllic summer camp. Still others are personal snapshots of Unger with Polish refugees or with American soldiers who befriended him.

Barbara Distel, the director of the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site, said Porulski probably drew the pictures shortly after the camp’s liberation in April 1945. He used identical sheets of paper, ink and watercolors for all 30 pictures, she said, and he “would never have dared” to draw such horrors while he was still under Nazi gaze.

“It’s amazing after so many years that these kinds of documents still turn up,” Distel told the AP. “It’s a unique artifact,” and clearly drawn by someone with an intimate knowledge of the camp’s reality, she said.

Holocaust artwork has turned up before, but Distel and Holocaust scholar Michael Berenbaum, who is with the American Jewish University in Los Angeles, say they are unaware of any sequential narrative of camp life comparable to Porulski’s.

“I’ve seen two or three or four, but never 30,” said Berenbaum.

In Coral Springs, Fla., where she now lives, Klages showed the book in 2005 to a neighbor, Avi Hoffman, executive director of the National Center for Jewish Cultural Arts. Hoffman immediately saw its quality and significance. The two became determined to uncover its background and find out if the artist had created an undiscovered body of work.

In August, Klages, Hoffman and Berenbaum went to Germany to begin their hunt. They hired a crew to document it, hoping a film would help finance a foundation to exhibit the book.

They began chipping away at the album’s secrets at the Dachau memorial, outside Munich, where they found an arrival record for Michal Porulski, which listed his profession as artist, in 1941.

They learned that Unger hid the fact that he was Jewish when he reached Dachau three weeks before the war ended. “That probably saved his life,” Hoffman said. They also discovered a strong likelihood that the album’s binding was fashioned from the recycled leather of an SS officer’s uniform.

Unger, an engaging youngster, became an office boy and translator for U.S. occupation authorities at Dachau, which was turned into a displaced persons camp, and obtained a U.S. visa in 1947.

Research by Klages’ group and the AP has begun to pull together the scattered threads of Porulski’s life from long forgotten records at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts, a tiny museum in Warsaw, Auschwitz and Dachau, the International Tracing Service of the Red Cross, the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial archives in Jerusalem, Australian immigration records and data from England.

Porulski enrolled in the Warsaw arts academy in 1934 after completing two years of army service. Attached to his neatly written application is a photograph of a good looking young man with light hair and dreamy eyes.

It says he was a farmer’s son, born June 20, 1910, in the central town of Rychwal, although in later records Porulski said he was born five years later.

Chronically poor, he left the academy after failing to secure a loan for his tuition but was later reinstated. After Germany invaded in 1939, he made some money painting watercolor postcards of Nazi-occupied Poland, two of which have survived and are now in the Warsaw Museum of Caricature.

In June 1940, he was arrested in a Nazi roundup “without any reason,” he wrote many years later in an appeal for help from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

Two months later, he and 1,500 others were the first Poles to be shipped from Warsaw to Auschwitz. He spent eight months there, then was sent to the Neuengamme camp and finally to Dachau, near Munich, in May 1941.

In Dachau, according to a brief reference in a Polish book on wartime art, he painted portraits, flowers, folk dance scenes and decoration for a clandestine theater.

In 1949 he sailed to Australia and tried to work as a painter and decorator but mostly lived off friends. He returned to Europe in 1963 and lived in England and France. He visited Poland in the early 1970s for several months, and stayed with his sister, Janina Krol, in Gdynia on the Baltic coast, and another relative outside Warsaw, Wanda Wojcikowska.

He brought his sister paintings of Dachau, his niece, Danuta Ostrowska, now 75, recalls. But her mother threw them away, saying “I can’t look at them.” The family still owns 10 of his mostly prewar paintings.

He was robbed of his money and passport, and Poland‘s communist authorities wanted Porulski out of the country, Wojcikowska’s daughter, Malgorzata Stozek, recalls. “My mother even found a woman willing to marry him, to help him stay in Poland,” she said. But he already had borrowed money from his sister and left.

His letters from England said he found work maintaining bridges, Stozek said. “He wrote that the moment he finished painting a bridge over some river, he had to start again.” It could have been a metaphor for a life going nowhere.

“One day I came to see my mother and she was crying because he wrote to her that he had no money, he was hungry and was sleeping on park benches. He lived in terrible poverty,” Stozek told the AP.

He was so lonely, she said, he had considered suicide.

In 1978 he sent a request for war compensation to the International Tracing Service in the central German town of Bad Arolsen, which houses the world’s largest archive of concentration camp records and lists of Holocaust victims.

“I have no occupation of any sort. I was unable to resume my studies after all those years in the camps,” he wrote. “I am just by myself, and I live from day to day.”

The ITS replied that it had no authority to give grants, but was sending confirmation of his incarceration to the U.N. refugee agency to support his earlier reparations claim.

Unger also shows up in the Tracing Service, in a 1955 two-page letter he wrote recounting his ordeal that began when he was 9.

Unger’s father had a prosperous furniture business near Krakow. “Then the infamous horde of Nazis overran our town, disrupted our life, murdered my parents and little sister, and robbed us of all we had.” He was the only survivor of 50 members of the Unger family.

Christian friends hid him for a while, but he ended up imprisoned inside the Krakow ghetto, then was moved to a series of concentration camps.

His daughter says that after he immigrated to America, he told a cousin with whom he lived in New Jersey that his job at Dachau had been to tend the ovens. The Nazis commonly used inmates for such purposes — it was one of the few ways of surviving.

Newly arrived in America, Unger spoke to Newark newspapers of his years of torment, saying he escaped three times during marches between camps but was always recaptured.

At one point, he told the Newark Evening News, he was herded into a gas chamber at Natzweiler camp with 50 other prisoners, but they were spared at the last minute because some of them were electricians whom the Nazis needed for their war effort.

The two lives, briefly intertwined by the Holocaust and an album of photos and paintings, ended 17 years apart — Unger by hanging himself in 1972, Porulski in 1989 in St. Mary’s Hospital near Hereford, England, of pneumonia and tuberculosis.

The death certificate gives his age as 74 and his profession as “painter (retired).”

Shari Klages was 12 when her father died.

He had just been laid off from his 18-year job in the aeronautics industry, and his wife had been diagnosed with brain cancer. His suicide is given added poignancy by the image of the hanged inmate in the album, and Klages believes it was his Holocaust experience that weighed most heavily on him.

“I have no doubt it was the most significant contributor to his death,” she said.

___

Associated Press investigative researcher Randy Herschaft in New York contributed to this report. Arthur Max reported from Bad Arolsen, Germany, and Monika Scislowska from Warsaw.

On the Net:

National Center for Jewish Cultural Arts

Dachau

International Tracing Service


Canadian Same-Sex Marriages Growing At 5 Times Rate Of Opposite-Sex Unions

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And WE are TWO of those 45,300 people…

by The Canadian Press

(Ottawa) Same-sex unions are growing at five times the rate of opposite-sex ones according to census numbers that also reveal, for the first time, the number of gay marriages in Canada.

Some 45,300 couples, both common law and married, reported as same-sex in the 2006 census, up from 34,200. Those numbers represent a 33 per cent surge since 2001, while heterosexual couples grew by just six per cent in the same time period.

The historic Statistics Canada query on same-sex marriage, coming in the wake of Parliament legalizing such unions in 2005, revealed 7,465 gay and lesbian marriages.

That’s considerably lower than numbers reported by the now-defunct advocacy group Canadians For Equal Marriage. The group, based on its own research of municipal records, reported last November that 12,438 marriage licenses had been granted to same-sex couples since provincial courts began recognizing such unions in 2003.

The census relegated same-sex marriages to a write-in category under the questionnaire’s ‘other’ box _ a move that raised the ire of Egale Canada. The national advocacy group responded by urging its membership to list their relationships as husband and wife.

“One box for everybody,” is how executive director Helen Kennedy described the group’s position.

“People are people and people just want the same things out of life. Your sexual orientation should not matter.”

Anne Milan, a senior analyst at Statistics Canada, stands by the accuracy of the census data but concedes the limitations of relying on the answers people provide.

“It’s the first time that we’ve asked same sex marriage so it’s really a benchmark number,” said Milan, who added it’s “difficult to say” what effect Egale’s dissent had on the numbers.

“Future census releases will allow us to compare the count and see what’s happening.”

The fact that the question was being asked at all shows that “people are getting on with their lives, which was fundamentally what the whole debate was about,” said Michael Leshner, a lawyer and one of Canada’s first legally married gay men.

“It’s really a debate that hopefully has run its course… We’re just part of the boring middle class now,” Leshner said.

According to the census, same-sex couples accounted for 0.6 per cent of all couples in Canada. That falls in line with numbers reported in the United States, New Zealand and Australia. More than half, or 54 per cent, of same-sex married Canadian spouses were men.

Some nine per cent of same-sex couples had children, more commonly in female unions (16 per cent) than male ones (three per cent). Children were present more in same-sex married couples (16 per cent) than common-law ones (eight per cent).

Clarence Lochhead of the Vanier Institute for the Family says the gay community’s successful fight for marriage reflects the desire to be accepted in the larger community.

“To the extent that you can think of the homosexual community feeling that they’re marginalized populations, I don’t think it’s all that surprising that they would want access to those forms of unions that are recognized in a much wider social community sense,” he said.

Ontario became the first province to legally recognize same-sex marriage following a 2003 decision from the Ontario Court of Appeal. Similar decisions followed in British Columbia, Quebec, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador, Yukon, and New Brunswick.

On July 20, 2005, Canada became the third country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage, after the Netherlands and Belgium. Spain and South Africa have since legalized gay marriage as well.

“As my spouse Mike Starkel always says, we won. There’s nothing they can do, we won,” said Leshner.

©365Gay.com 2007


Evangelicals Fear Thompson Too Soft On Gays

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SEE: God’s Warriors – Christianity

This is the exact kind of Religious SHIT that I hate – HATE about Christian Fundamentalists. That you believe that you hold sway over the government any more than the rest. This is why America needs a clear SEPARATION between CHURCH and STATE.

In the year 2007, Straight Evangelical Minions are so concerned with Gay Rights, Hate Crimes Legislation, AIDS funds, Gay Marriage, that you are going to spend millions of dollars and hundreds of hours of lobby time to sway the electorate to elect a God Damned President?

Oh the Gays are gonna come and get us, they threaten the sanctity of marriage, Oh the gays want Special Treatment, Rights, and Protection from Hate Crimes!! Oh Oh Oh….

The Evangelicals are on another Witch Hunt. They are going to press the Gay Issue on the Candidates and they will attempt to KILL any nomination of any candidate who is soft on the Homosexuals, Gays and Lesbians. I guess we are not past the wedging of Sexual Orientation or Sexual Orientation issues into a Presidential Campaign.

It is really sad when you think that all Evangelicals do with their spare time is THINK about all things GAY!!! Does this strike anyone as problematic for them and informative for us?

God, We pray for Salvation from Evangelical…

Meanwhile,

  1. Osama Bin Laden is still alive [See Video]
  2. The United States is engaged in a war [Read:IRAQ] that they cannot win
  3. President George Bush is an idiot – And needs to be IMPEACHED
  4. Your foreign policy needs work
  5. People need health care
  6. There are children going without food
  7. There is not enough money for People with AIDS across the board
  8. All you Christians can think about is the GAY AGENDA!! Pardon me while I THROW UP!!! You limey bastards…And God Wept!!!

by The Associated Press

Posted: September 9, 2007 – 3:00 pm ET

(Washington) Prominent evangelical leaders who spent the summer hoping Fred Thompson would emerge as their favored Republican presidential contender are having doubts as he begins his long-teased campaign.

For social conservatives dissatisfied with other GOP choices, the “Law & Order” actor and former Tennessee senator represents a Ronald Reagan-like figure, someone they hope will agree with them on issues and stands a chance of winning.

But Thompson’s lack of a full endorsement of a federal gay marriage amendment and his delay in entering the race are partly responsible for a sudden shyness among leading evangelicals.

“A month or two ago, I sensed there was some urgency for people to make a move and find a candidate,” said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, a Washington-based conservative Christian group. “Right now, I think people are stepping back a little and watching. The field is still very fluid.”

A loose network of influential evangelical leaders known as the Arlington Group met privately Wednesday and Thursday in Washington to discuss presidential politics and other issues, participants said.

Although the group does not endorse candidates, individual members have done so in the past, and one of the organization’s founding principles is to get the movement’s leaders on the same page when possible.

Some in the meeting shared their presidential leanings, but the consensus was that more time is needed to gauge Thompson’s performance, according to a participant.

A clearer picture may develop Oct. 19-21 during a “Values Voter Summit” in Washington that will include a presidential straw poll.

In June, Thompson met privately with several Arlington Group members, many of whom are uncomfortable with the GOP top tier for various reasons: Arizona Sen. John McCain for championing campaign-finance overhaul and labeling some evangelical figures “agents of intolerance”; former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani for backing abortion rights and some gay rights; and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for his social-issue policy reversals and – for some members – his Mormon faith.

With the post-Labor Day primary push under way, the 65-year-old Thompson faces a crucial month to prove he is the best alternative for a key GOP constituency.

“He’s got a real opportunity to be the most credible conservative candidate across the board,” said Gary Bauer, a one-time presidential aspirant who heads the advocacy group American Values. “Whether he can put it all together remains to be seen. But he’s got a real chance to emerge as the major conservative alternative to Giuliani.”

Others are skeptical about whether Thompson can fill that role.

Rick Scarborough, a Southern Baptist preacher and president of Texas-based Vision America, said that while he is encouraged by Thompson’s strong voting record in the Senate against abortion, he questioned the candidate’s commitment to social issues.

“The problem I’m having is that I don’t see any blood trail,” Scarborough said. “When you really take a stand on issues dear to the heart of social conservatives, you’re going to shed some blood in the process. And so far, Fred Thompson’s political career has been wrinkle-free.”

Thompson’s long-delayed entry is another concern, Scarborough said. “The hesitancy has made us wonder whether he has the stomach for what it’s going to take,” he said.

Earlier this summer, doubts crept in following reports on Thompson’s role in crafting campaign finance reform and stories that he lobbied for an abortion rights group.

More recently, Thompson has come under scrutiny for his position on a constitutional amendment on gay marriage, a defining issue for the Christian right.

Thompson over the past month has stated on more than one occasion that he supports an amendment that would prohibit states from imposing their gay marriage laws on other states. (story) That falls well short of what evangelical leaders want: an amendment that would bar gay marriage nationwide.

Thompson’s position surprised evangelical leaders who say they met with him in June and came away thinking he shared their desire for a more sweeping constitutional change. Now, they wonder if he is flip-flopping.

One person in attendance – Mathew Staver of the Liberty Counsel, a Florida-based conservative legal group – said Thompson described going back and forth about the merits of an amendment prohibiting gay marriage nationwide.

“At one time, he said he was against it,” Staver said. “Then he said in June he was for it. So if now he’s saying he’s against it, to me that’s a double-minded person. And that would be a real concern for religious conservatives.”

Messages left with Thompson campaign were not returned.

Several Christian right leaders said opposition to a broad amendment would hurt Thompson with evangelicals, but not necessarily cause irreparable harm. Others played down the issue, pointing out that their favored approach was politically impossible anyway because Democrats control the House and Senate.

Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said Thompson’s position is consistent with the former senator’s support for limited federal government and giving power to the states.

Land said it is healthy that expectations for Thompson have diminished from unrealistic levels and he does not think evangelical excitement has dimmed for a man he described as a “masterful retail politician.”

Many evangelical leaders said one of Thompson’s biggest draws is his perceived electability. Some are watching whether former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a former Baptist minister, can build on his second place finish last month in the Iowa straw poll.

Tim Wildmon, president of the Tupelo, Miss.-based American Family Association, said that while he likes Huckabee, Thompson’s better name recognition and fundraising potential is a strong draw for evangelicals.

“This is a dilemma a lot of people have,” Wildmon said. “They want to support the candidate that most reflects their values. “But at the same time, you have to balance that against finding someone who can actually win.”

©365Gay.com 2007


Labels … Let us Reflect on them …

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Krystalnacht – The Night of the Broken Glass…
The Beginning of The Holocaust

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Work Makes You Free …

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A Survivor from Buchenwald

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Yad Vashem – Jerusalem Holocaust Memorial

 

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Auschwitz – Concentration Camp

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Red Ribbon

The Red Ribbon – Synonymous for AIDS

Pride Flag

The Pride Flag – Proud Symbol for all things Gay

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The Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt – For all those who died from AIDS
My friends,My family, My brothers and sisters…

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The JEW – The Star of David used during the Holocaust …
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You who live safe
In your warm houses,
You who find, returning in the evening,
Hot food and friendly faces:
Consider if this is a man
Who works in the mud
Who does not know peace
Who fights for a scrap of bread
Who dies because of a yes and a no.
Consider if this is a woman,
Without hair and without name
With no more strength to remember,
Her eyes empty and her womb cold
Like a frog in winter

Meditate that this came about:
I commend these words to you.
Carve them in your hearts
At Home, in the street,
Going to bed, rising;
Repeat them to your children,

Or may your house fall apart,
May illness impede you,
May your children turn their faces from you.

Primo Levi

Survival in Auschwitz

 

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The Homosexual – Also Used during the Holocaust …

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A Young Man – Hungarian Jewish Boy –
From Fateless, the Motion Picture

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The Label Chart Used By the Nazi Party within
the Death Camps and Concentration Camps to
Identify people…
Location, Ethnicity, Area, Orientation, Religious Affiliation

 

There weren’t only Jews in the Camps…

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The ACT UP slogan for Gay and AIDS circa 1980

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What Would Jesus Do???

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This is my Label – I earned every hour of it, with Pride…

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We Should Be Proud, but we should remember what labels have done to millions world wide over the Decades. I think it is time to move past them, to stop labeling and Outing people. I think we need to learn to live together PEACEFULLY in order to stop the killing of ALL people around the world…

THAT WE SHOULD REMEMBER – SO THAT WE NEVER FORGET!!


Sunday writings…

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I really don’t know what to write tonight, I really don’t feel like writing because I’ve not prepared anything really. The last holiday weekend before the grind begins with a bang this week. I’ve been banking on sleep as of late – trying to steal away hours here and there, I love to sleep.

I’ve been on these new medications now for 3 months.

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I have to say that throwing up is right up there on my most hated activities during my day. I have morning sickness once or twice a week. This morning it woke me up out of a sound sleep, as if I had spent the night prior drinking until I could not drink any more.

I didn’t even have a drinking dream to go with the morning sickness. I mean it would have meant so much more if I could put throwing up into context! Alas, I was exhausted afterwards and it took me an hour to calm down and get my breathing under control because my body was in that “post vomit” stage of recuperation… UGH!

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It was a beautiful day today. I sat out on the lanai enjoying the sunshine. The days are starting to get shorter and the sun will begin to set earlier and earlier. I can’t wait for the trees to start turning.

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I spent the past couple of nights reading Elie Wiesel’s  “Night.” I found the read to be as cathartic as Primo Levi’s Survival in Auschwitz. Both men were boys when they were taken to the camps. I knew the story, even before I read the first page. Though the two stories are different, they share the common thread:

“You are in a concentration camp. In Auschwitz…” 

“Remember,” “Remember it always, let it be graven in your memories. You are in Auschwitz. And Auschwitz is not a convalescent home. It is a concentration camp. Here, you must work. If you don’t you will go straight to the chimney. To the crematorium. Work – or crematorium – the choice is yours.”

Reading Elie’s account as he moves from camp to camp, trying to stay with his father, to keep his father alive, through the worst of conditions was amazing. Where Elie tells us his story on a great scale, describing seasons and changes, his visions of babies being killed and burned in ditches was exceptionally brutal.

“Poor devils, you are heading for the crematorium.” Not far from us, flames, huge flames, were rising from a ditch. Something was being burned there. A truck drew close and unloaded its hold: small children. Babies! Yes, I did see this, with my own eyes…children thrown into the flames. (Is it any wonder that ever since then, sleep tends to elude me.)  

How was it possible that men, women and children were being burned and that the world kept silent? No. All this could not be real. A nightmare perhaps…

Night, ppgs. 32-33, 38-39…

Primo Levi tells another story of the same conditions but from a different point of view. Those reviews of that text are in my Holocaust files in Categories, you can read them there. Both writers are important to know, to read and to respect.

 

It is interesting that I was reading this text over the weekend, and during Saturday night’s Coast to Coast, with Ian Punnet, a caller called in – it was an off topic call – this man said that he had studied in Germany and knew people who were alive during WWII and he told the listeners that in Germany during that time, people were told and it was later understood that on certain days, one just did not go to the train stations at all…

To address the question about “the world not knowing what was going on, it is said that Germans learned not to explore outdoors or go to the train stations on certain days while the extermination of the Jews was being carried out.

Any read of the Horrific stories of the Holocaust are important so that these memories do not go unheeded, that the warnings are not passed on the future generations.  “That we should remember, so that we should never forget.” I highly recommend these two texts for those who are interested in Holocaust studies, ‘Night’ by Elie Wiesel and ‘Survival in Auschwitz’ by Primo Levi. These stories must be passed on…

I’ve made some minor changes to the blog, and I’ve added and deleted some of my bookmarks on the side bar. People are returning from hiatus and from vacations over the summer, so go read them, each blogger on my blog list is worth the time.

I hope all of you are well and thanks again for your readership.