Tag Archives: Gestapo

Heil Hitler Episode 6

Do you remember August Landmesser?


Do you remember what happened to the mild mannered card carrying Nazi? Well, Romeo, or rather August, found his Juliette, or rather Irma:


Irma was Jewish, but handsome Aryan August proposed to her without hesitation. She accepted without hesitation.

In the summer of that year of 1935, though, disaster befell them. They found out, that Irma, according to the “Nürnberger Gesetze, the Nüremberg Race Laws”, was formally and legally classified as a Jew. August was not a Jew and for this reason, he would not be allowed to marry her.
When his engagement to a Jew was formally discovered, August was immediately expelled from the Nazi Party:

Despite this rather unpromising beginning, August and Irma put in an application to marry in their home town of Hamburg. Their application was denied under the Nüremberg Race Laws, which had come into law only a very short time previously.
To cement the couple’s love, however, August and Irma’s first daughter, Ingrid, was born in October of 1935:

little girl

On June 13th 1936, August attended the launching of a new ship at Hamburg in the Blohm und Voss shipyards. He decided not to “Seig Heil!” or “Heil Hitler!” with all the rest, but to keep his arms firmly folded. It could not have been worse timed:

the one one

The ship was a training ship, the Horst Wessel, and was named after the Nazi Party’s greatest ever martyr. Men went into battle everywhere singing his happy song:

Furthermore, it was a naval vessel for the Kriegsmarine, the German Navy:


The Führer himself was the man smashing the champagne on the bow of the ship just before it slid off down the slipway into the water. Adolf, positioned directly opposite August Landmesser, may actually have seen his defiance. And even if he did not see August, such a high quality photograph could not have hidden August’s defiance in the middle of such a storm of “Seig Heil!” and “Heil Hitler!” salutes.
By 1937, though, August Landmesser had had enough. He attempted to flee northwards to Denmark with his family and leave Germany for ever. At the border, he was quickly arrested and eventually charged with “dishonoring his race,” or “racial infamy”, under the “Nürnberger Gesetze, the Nüremberg Race Laws”, mentioned above:

Landmesser family

Just one year later, in July of 1938, because of an apparent lack of evidence, August was cleared of all crimes, but a suspicious Third Reich ordered him to have no further contact with Irma. In addition, August was given a severe warning that punishment would surely follow if he ever dared repeat any of the offenses.
For August, of course, this was completely impossible. How could he just abandon the love of his life? How could he give up his wife? The mother of his darling little daughter, Ingrid?
August ignored completely the demands of the Nazis.

Only a month later, in August of 1938, August was arrested again and put on trial. Not surprisingly, he was found guilty of all charges and received a sentence of hard labour for thirty months in a concentration camp.  August was destined never to see the love of his life ever again. He had seen his darling wife and child for the last time.
It was easy now for the Gestapo to arrest Irma as a new law had been quietly added to the Nazi Statute Book. It required the arrest of all Jewish wives in the case of a man “dishonouring the race,”

Irma was duly imprisoned by the Gestapo who was by now heavily pregnant with a second child. In prison, Irma gave birth to a second daughter, Irene. Irma was then transferred to an all-women’s concentration camp almost straight after the birth. In later months, she was sent to various other prisons and concentration camps,
In 1942, Irma was taken to a euthanasia centre at Bernburg.


During the course of the war, a total of 9,384 sick and handicapped German people were to be murdered there.  Around 5,000 prisoners from concentration camps were also murdered there. The doctors’ method of choice was carbon monoxide poisoning in a gas chamber.
In charge of this sickening establishment was Irmfried Eberl, who masqueraded as “Dr. Schneider” outside the walls. He was so promising as a genocidal monster that he became the first Kommandant at the Treblinka Extermination Camp, and made sure the place was in good working order with no problems. He must have been a little disappointed, though, that Treblinka missed the Million Total, with a mere 900,000 Jews killed there. “Dr. Schneider” was arrested in January 1948, but then hanged himself to avoid coming to trial. It must be said, though, he was a rather unimaginative man:


When Eberl’s  colleague, Heinrich Bunke, was put on trial, he was initially given four years imprisonment for killing 11,000 people, but this was reduced on appeal to three years as his guilt could only be proved in 9,200 murders.  Both Eberl and Bunke were firm supporters of Joseph Goebbels and his clearly stated attitude towards the treatment of the mentally ill .As he wrote so memorably in his diary:

“Discussed with Bouhler the question of the silent liquidation of the mentally ill. 40,000 are gone, 60,000 must still go.”

In actual fact Dr Goebbels aimed at the round figure of 100,000 killed by 1945, but he only managed a rather poor 70,000. Most of them were Germans. Most of them were children.

One of these victims, sadly, was Irma Eckler. And by the time that she died, August too was dead. He had been due to be released from the concentration camp system in the spring of 1941, but alas, he did not live to see that day.

August and Irma had two daughters, Ingrid and Irene. Both of them survived the Second World War, and outlived the Third Reich, even if, their parents did not.

The younger of the two daughters, Irene, has, in actual fact, documented the story of her family. She published her book in both German and English language versions, and it is now in its second edition. It is called “A Family Torn Apart by “Rassenschande”, and the full author name is Irene Eckler. The ISBN number is ISBN 3-9804993-2-4.

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It is a moral tale worth reading in more detail. And it just goes to prove. Love DOES conquer all.





















Filed under Criminology, History, Politics

Heil Hitler Episode 3

Last time I told you the story of Bishop Hudal, the appalling so-called Christian who was happy to help any war criminal, no matter what he had done, so long as he was German. Killing Jews was a bonus. Here he is. Adolf Hitler is thought to be hiding under that bit of robe on the floor:

Ateismo cristianismo dios jesus biblia religion catolicos creyentes Hitler ss nazis segunda guerra mundial xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Bishop Hudal’s policy was “It’s a good way for Evil to prosper if you help it as eagerly as you can at every single opportunity”.

Hudal loved to help war criminals. Last time I supplied you with a list. It was not a complete one, though. Hudal Tours was used by many Nazis other than the ones I mentioned. The first lot were enough to get you into moral “deep doo-doos” but these second ones are even deeper and doo-dooier. This man looks fairly innocuous:


He wasn’t a bank clerk though. He is Alois Brunner, the man who organised the deportation of Jews from France and Slovakia to German concentration camps, where they were killed in cold blood on an industrial scale. Brunner was responsible for at least 24,000 Jewish deaths, so he was welcomed with open arms by Syria, who adamantly refused to extradite this heroic man. The Israeli Secret Police, Mossad, used to write to him regularly, and send him little presents. In 1961 he lost an eye to one of them, and in 1980, all the fingers of his left hand. During his long residence in Syria, Brunner was reportedly given a generous salary and protection in exchange for his advice on effective torture and interrogation techniques.
Hudal helped Adolf Eichmann, the man in charge of the murder of European Jewry, the so-called “endlösuhng. His career was instrumental in slaughtering between 5.5-6 million Jews.


Hudal gave refuge to Otto Wächter, the man who organised the Cracow Ghetto in 1941. Working alongside Hans Frank, the Nazi governor of occupied Poland, Wächter was responsible for the deaths of uncounted millions of Jews and Poles.  After the war Wächter lived in a monastery in Rome, “as a monk”, under the direct protection of Bishop Hudal. He died in 1949 in a Roman hospital cradled “in the arms” of Bishop Hudal. How sweet.


Other possibles for the help and assistance of the kindly old Christian, Bishop Hudal, were Klaus Barbie, the Gestapo’s “Butcher of Lyon”, and Heinrich Müller, chief of the Gestapo.

What a long set of photographs. It looks like Mossad‘s Most Wanted. Or the star prizes in the Simon Weisenthal Show.

And did you notice how they were all German? Except Bishop Hudal and he was Austrian and then Austria was annexed and he became an Honorary German, more or less.

I still can’t really believe what Bishop Hudal said in his memoirs:

“I felt duty bound after 1945 to devote my whole charitable work mainly to former National Socialists and Fascists, especially to so-called ‘war criminals’.”

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Were there any Germans, though, who lived up to Edmund Burke’s company motto?

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”

Were there any Germans who just refused to stand by and let evil prosper?

Of course there were and many of them went a lot further in their opposition than you might think. I’ll save that for next time.




Filed under Criminology, Football, History, Politics

Heil Hitler Episode 1

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” is a famous quotation attributed to Edmund Burke, the statesman, author, orator, political theorist, and philosopher.
A good example would be this photograph showing the England football team just before a friendly game at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin on May 14th 1938:England-Germany 1938 nazi.xsderftgyhb

The fixture was played before a crowd of 110,000 people, but clearly, the Englishmen are not waving to their German admirers. This is the Hitler-Grüss. The English players are all saluting Adolf Hitler, arguably the most evil man ever born. Why did the footballers do this? Surely they were good men? Why did they do nothing? Or was Stanley Matthews, a hero to millions of young boys, an evil man?
Well, the truth of the matter is that the British Foreign Office had actually ordered them to salute the Führer, Adolf  Hitler.

Six months before, Naughty Hitler had marched his armies into Austria, the home of the waltz and the cream cake, and annexed this defenceless little country, the so-called “Anschluss”.

The Foreign Office wanted to assure Hitler that, even though he kept invading places, Germany was not a “pariah” state. Hopefully, if Adolf was kept sweet by an England team which saluted him, he would look favourably on Neville Chamberlain’s government and their policy of appeasement:

“You’re very naughty, Adolf, but as long as you promise it’s the last time, we’ll overlook it.”

The “Peace in our Time” deal must go through.
Germany’s football team was very weak at this time, but Austria’s was not. In 1934, they had finished fourth in the FIFA World Cup, and in the Berlin Olympics of 1936, they had finished second, losing to fascist Italy in the final. Austria qualified for the 1938 World Cup, but on March 28th 1938, they were forced to withdraw as the country no longer existed. The theory was that after Anschluss,  the Austrian players would all play in the German team.

First though, the two countries would play a last match for Austria, a “reunification derby” which would unite the two countries and their respective football teams for ever. Not surprisingly perhaps, the game was planned to finish as a draw. The Austrians, though, all of them good men, would not stand idly by and do nothing, but instead they scored two goals in the last few minutes in a successful  effort to win the game and put the Nazi noses out of joint.

To humiliate the Germans even further, the Austrians’ absolute star player, the thoughtful Matthias Sindelar, scored one of those two Austrian goals, and then celebrated extravagantly in front of the senior Nazi dignitaries watching the game. The latter already knew about the kit controversy. Both Germany and Austria usually played in white shirts and black shorts, but Sindelar, for what he thought would be the country’s last ever game, had insisted on Austria playing in the same colours as the national flag, red shirts, white shorts and red socks. Red, of course, was not a particularly favourite colour of the Nazis.

Here he is. Matthias Sindelar. He was so thin, so pale and fragile, that his footballing nickname was “The Man of Paper”. He was, though, a good man who refused to stand idly by. A real “Man of Steel”:


At the very end of the game, Sindelar deliberately and obviously missed an easy chance which would have made the victory an even wider one. Afterwards Sindelar refused to play for the German Reich, giving either his extreme age of 35 or injury as an excuse.

head tennis

Not totally surprisingly, perhaps, Sindelar was dead within the year. He died on January 23rd 1939. By now he was a symbol of Austrian patriotism, and his Gestapo file listed him as being pro-Jewish and a Social Democrat. The Gestapo also watched his café twenty four hours a day.

No wonder, therefore, that the heating system in his flat should fail, the problems allegedly being caused by a defective chimney. As he lay in the arms of his girlfriend, Camilla Castagnola, therefore, they both died of carbon monoxide poisoning.
That Sindelar’s death was a suicide as a protest against the German Anschluss of Austria was suggested by, presumably, pro-Gestapo elements, but that was just not true. Decades after the event, we now know, thanks to the confession of Egon Ulbrich, a lifelong friend of Sindelar, that a petty local bureaucrat was bribed by the Nazis to record his death by Gestapo as a mere accident. Here is Sindelar’s grave, still visited regularly by many people today:

grave_Matthias_SindelarMatthias Sindelar is one of my favourite players.

He had played centre-forward many, many times for the Austria team of the 1930s. They were known as the “Wunderteam”, and Sindelar was their captain at the 1934 World Cup, where they were cheated out of it in the semi final by match referee Eklind. Austria’s phenomenal goalscorer, Josef Bican, (at least 1468 goals in 918 games) maintained all his life, until he died in 2001, that Eklind had taken cash inducements from the Italians. And Bican was perhaps justified in his belief. On one occasion during the match, he passed the ball out to the Austrian right winger only to see it intercepted and headed down to an Italian….by the referee!

Here is one of the few pictures of the game. Some nice cotton wool seems to have been provided for the Italian goalkeeper to stop him getting bruised:


Sindelar was one of the greatest footballers of the decade, famous for his fantastic dribbling skills and the creativity of his passing. He had two brilliant nicknames. We know already what “Der Papierene” means. The “Man of Paper”:


But Sindelar’s precocious skills would also lead to his being called “The Mozart of Football”.

In 1999, Sindelar was voted the best Austrian footballer of all time. He had already been named Austria’s sportsman of the century a year before. Sindelar even now, is still ranked as the world’s 22nd best ever footballer. Overall, he scored 26 goals in his 43 matches for Austria, and won one Austrian championship with SV Amateure in 1926, two Austrian Cups with Amateur-SV in 1925 and 1926, and three with FK Austria Wien in 1933, 1935 and 1936.

There was no European Cup then, but Sindelar won one of its predecessors, the Mitropa Cup or Central European Cup in 1933 and 1936 with FK Austria Wien.


In 1932, he won the Central European International Cup, a predecessor of the UEFA European Championship.
Participants were Austria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania and Switzerland.
Matthias Sindelar was certainly one who did something to prevent, or at least, slow down, the triumph of evil. And ultimately, he paid with his life.


Filed under Criminology, Football, History, Personal, Politics