Saturday, 26 January 2019

Holocaust Denial

Search Results for:
Last / Maiden Name = Flatauer        First Name = Alma        Place = Berlin
Alma Flatauer: 1889 Berlin, Germany List of murdered Jews from Germany.    Murdered

Alma Flatauer 1889 Berlin, Germany Page of Testimony.                                  Murdered

Alma Flatauer 1889 Berlin, Germany List of deportation from Berlin.                Murdered

Alma Flatauer 1889 Osnabrueck, Germany Page of Testimony.                          Murdered

We live in a 'post fact' (or as I prefer to call it, downright lies) era. This means that the internet is currently ablaze with Holocaust deniers, claiming that the massacre of Jews, gypsies, disabled people, and gays, under the Nazis did NOT happen.

The survivors of Hitler's 'Final Solution' are gradually dying. Those that are left, frail but undaunted, spend their last few days having to tell their harrowing stories over and over again, as the stinking sewage of denial washes through social media. When they are gone, who will bear the torch?

As many of you know, I am the daughter of German Jewish refugees, and post the fiasco that was Brexit, I have applied for and received restored citizenship, so that my descendants will never have their 'Citizen of the World' status wrenched from them, as my grandparents' and parents' right to citizenship was by the German government. At the head of this piece is the visual proof, taken from German documentation, of the 'fate' of my paternal grandmother.

But this is my mother's story, not mine: she was born in Berlin and as the anti-Jewish laws started coming into force, she was in her early twenties. She had to leave university, where she was studying art & design, and went to work for one of the many Jewish organisation that had started getting Jewish families out of Germany as they could see what was going to happen in the future.

She helped organise Jews leaving Germany, and her refugee organisation supplied the papers and documents needed. These organisations also helped make the situation of German Jews very public and were hated as a result. Eventually, Hitler decided to close the borders. The last train was scheduled to leave Berlin on December 7th, 1941.

The way my mother always told it: she sent her own parents to the UK where, as the Daily Mail article shows, the identical 'anti-semitic/illegal immigrant' rhetoric was alive and well then, as now, but she felt it her duty to stay in Berlin and help out to the end.

So it wasn't until the last day that she packed her suitcase and headed for the station. The queue stretched for yards. She stood in line, wondering whether she was too late. Then the German police started going down the line, checking passports and documents. Time ticked on. Finally they reached her, and roughly demanded her papers.

My mother handed them over. A brief scrutiny. A consultation. A list was checked. Then she was beckoned out of the line and ordered to go with them. Her heart sank. Was she about to be refused exit? Was she going to be imprisoned? Tortured? Deported to a work camp?  She followed the police .... along the platform ... past the waiting crowd ... straight to the barrier where the train was waiting.

A curt command and the barrier was raised. She was pushed onto the platform. The barrier was closed. Still not quite believing what had just happened, she took her place on the last train and came eventually to the UK, where she met and married my father, also a refugee. Nine years later, I was born in the UK.

My father's family refused to leave Germany, believing, as so many EU citizens, migrants and refugees believe today, that civilised people would never try to deny them their human rights. They perished at Auschwitz. My parents died many years ago. I am now the bearer of my family's story.

If you read a tweet, or an article, or a book by someone denying that Hitler and his military machine ruthlessly and systematically exploited, tortured, and murdered eleven million human beings whose only 'crime' was that they were not ''them'', then remember this: the people who ignore the mistakes of the past are destined to repeat them.
Over and over again.

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  1. There are no words to add. Unfortunately, we are set to repeat the past. There will be different scapegoats, but the past will repeat itself because too many people prefer to look at the promised rainbows and forget about the past storm.

    1. You are right. It isn't those who forgot the past, it's those who remember it, and desperately want to repeat it, that we should fear

  2. The past tells us everything we need to know about where the future can, and probably will, lead. I can never understand why people dismiss history when it so often repeats itself. Thanks for this, Carol. What your family suffered should not still be happening, but it is. All across the world.

    1. We seem to be in some 'cyclical' thing.... it is noticeable, though, that it is the Jewish communities that are again in the firing line. Try posting anything on Twitter in connection with Jeremy Corbyn, an anti-semitic enabler if nothing else, and see what happens!

  3. Wow, what a heartbreaking story Carol, thanks for sharing. This post should be shared around the world and back again. Wishing you and your family well, before I RT this tragic, true, terrible story, the only good part being your mother's escape

    1. Thanks Geoffrey. There are many others with far more tragic stories...and , as we know from the news, with the same stories being enacted today.

  4. Just been remembering Clara, whose biography I have written. She did not leave Germany when she could have - she believed that they would all come to their senses, that people were basically good and that it couldn't possibly be that bad. She was murdered at Treblinka in September 1942. Unfortunately, even though I should have learned lessons form Clara up until 22 June 2016, I thought that people were basically good and it was a absolute no-brainer that we should stay in the EU. After all, it matched Churchill's recipe for peace in Europe. The next day I met a young woman whose father was Italian. Helan (father got her name wrong). She spoke with a strong Lancahsire accent. Unbelievably her husband's colleagues, who worked at a university, thought she ought to "go home".

  5. I utterly despair of the direction in which the world seems to be moving. I can't help but think back to 1989, and the fall of communism, when it seemed a corner had been turned and the stupidities of the past were finally over. Fat chance.
    Not all people are stupid, intolerant, narrow-minded and paranoid, of course, but enough are. The post truth era, in which those who feel so threatened or marginalised by accepted history and liberal values, that they simply don't believe what they don't want to believe - the equivalent of putting their fingers in their ears and singing La la La, loudly - is profoundly worrying. This applies to unpalatable scientific facts, like global warming as well. I don't have grandchildren (yet), but the fact I've seriously considered asking my son not to have children because I fear for them growing up in the world we are leaving them, is a sad comment

  6. Thank you for sharing this story. It seems unfathomable that there are those who either don't believe what happened or would seek to minimize the Holocaust.


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