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  • 03/19/15--06:24: NERO DECREE


  •             70 years ago on this date, March 19, 1945, Adolf Hitler issued the Nero Decree. I will post information about this directive from Wikipedia.

    Speer (right) awarded an Org.Todt ring by Hitler – May 1943
    The Nero Decree (German: Nerobefehl) was issued by Adolf Hitler on March 19, 1945 ordering the destruction of German infrastructure to prevent their use by Allied forces as they penetrated deep within Germany. It was officially titled Demolitions on Reich Territory Decree (Befehl betreffend Zerstörungsmaßnahmen im Reichsgebiet) and has subsequently become known as the Nero Decree, after the Roman Emperor Nero, who supposedly engineered the Great Fire of Romein 64 AD.

    Background

    By 1945, the German situation was desperate. Most of the conquered territories had been liberated or recaptured, the Ardennes Offensive had failed, and Allied armies were advancing on Germany proper from both the East and the West. However, Adolf Hitler was not willing to lay down arms and accept the unconditional surrender.

    This was not the first time Hitler had tried to destroy infrastructure before it could be taken. Shortly before the Liberation of Paris, Hitler ordered explosives to be placed around important landmarks, such as the Eiffel Tower, and key transportation hubs. If the Allies came near the city, the military governor, Dietrich von Choltitz was to detonate these bombs, leaving Paris "lying in complete debris." Von Choltitz, however, did not carry out the order and surrendered to the Allies.

    The Decree

    Its most pertinent section reads as follows:


    "It is a mistake to think that transport and communication facilities, industrial establishments and supply depots, which have not been destroyed, or have only been temporarily put out of action, can be used again for our own ends when the lost territory has been recovered. The enemy will leave us nothing but scorched earthwhen he withdraws, without paying the slightest regard to the population. I therefore order:

    "1) All military transport and communication facilities, industrial establishments and supply depots, as well as anything else of value within Reich territory, which could in any way be used by the enemy immediately or within the foreseeable future for the prosecution of the war, will be destroyed."


    Actions

    The decree was in vain. The responsibility for carrying it out fell on Albert Speer, Hitler's Minister of Armaments and War Production. Speer was appalled by the order and lost faith in the dictator. Just as von Choltitz had several months earlier, Speer deliberately failed to carry out the order. Upon receiving it, he requested to be given exclusive power to implement the plan, instead using his power to convince the generals and Gauleiters to ignore the order. Hitler remained unaware of this until the very end of the war, when Speer admitted to him that he deliberately disobeyed. Hitler, then confined to his bunker in Berlin, was angry with his minister, but there was little he could do at that point. Hitler committed suicide on April 30, 1945, 42 days after issuing the order. Shortly afterwards, on May 7, 1945, General Alfred Jodlsigned the German military surrender, and on May 23 Speer was arrested on the orders of U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, together with the rest of the provisional German government led by Admiral Karl Dönitz, Hitler's successor as head of state.


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  • 03/23/15--04:41: THE EINSATZKOMMANDO
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  • 03/24/15--13:41: THE DEUTSCHES JUNGVOLK


  •             I will post information about the Hitler Youth Section, Deutsches Jungvolk from Wikipedia and other links.


    Allgemeine Flagge des Deutschen Jungvolks, 1933-1945

    Formation
    1928
    Extinction
    1945
    Type
    Political youth organisation
    Region served
    Nazi Germany
    Weimar Republic
    Parent organization
    Nazi Party
    Affiliations
    Hitler Youth
    Formerly called
    Jungmannschaften

    The Deutsches Jungvolk (German: "German Youth") was a youth organization in Nazi Germany for boys aged 10 to 14, and was a section of the Hitler Youth movement. Through a programme of outdoor activities, parades and sports, it aimed to indoctrinate its young members in the tenets of Nazi ideology. Membership became fully compulsory for eligible boys in 1939. By the end of World War II, some had become child soldiers.


    Deutsches Jungvolk fanfare trumpeters at a Nazi rally in the town of Worms in 1933. Their banners illustrate the Deutsches Jungvolk rune insignia.
    Development

    The Deutsches Jungvolk or "DJ" (also "DJV") was founded in 1928 by Kurt Gruber under the title Jungmannschaften(Youth Teams) but was renamed Knabenschaft and finally Deutsches Jungvolk in der Hitler Jugend in March 1931. Following the enactment of the Law on the Hitler Youth on 1 December 1936, boys had to be registered with the Reich Youth Office in the March of the year in which they would reach the age of ten; those who were found to be racially acceptable were expected to join the DJ. Although not compulsory, the failure of eligible boys to join the DJ was seen as a failure of civic responsibility on the part of their parents. The regulations were tightened further by the Second Execution Order to the Law on the Hitler Youth ("Youth Service Regulation") on 25 March 1939, which made membership of the DJ or Hitler Jugend ("HJ") mandatory for all Germans between 10 and 18 years of age. Parents could be fined or imprisoned for failing to register their children. Boys were excluded if they had previously been found guilty of "dishonourable acts", if they were found by "a medical officer of the HJ or of a physician commissioned by the HJ" to be "unfit for service", or if they were Jewish. Ethnic Poles or Danes living in the Reich (this was before the outbreak of war) could apply for exemption, but were not excluded.


    Deutsches Jungvolk recruits of 1933 learn fire fighting techniques
    Training and activities

    The DJ and HJ copied many of the activities of the various German youth organizations that it replaced. For many boys, the DJ was the only way to participate in sports, camping and hiking. However the main purpose of the DJ was the inculcation of boys in the political principles of National Socialism. Members were obliged to attend Nazi party rallies and parades. On a weekly basis, there was the Heimabende, a Wednesday evening meeting for political, racial and ideological indoctrination. Boys were encouraged to inform the authorities if their parents' beliefs were contrary to Nazi dogma.

    Once Germany was at war, basic pre-military preparation increased; by the end of 1940, DJ members were required to be trained in target shooting with smallbore rifles and to take part in "terrain manoeuvres".


    Deutsches Jungvolk recruits line up for roll call at a rally in Berlin, in 1934
    Organization

    Recruits were called Pimpfen, a colloquial word meaning "scamps" or "brats" but literally meaning "farts". Groups of 10 boys were called a Jugenschaft with leaders chosen from the older boys; four of these formed a unit called a Jungzug. These units were further grouped into companies and battalions, each with their own leaders, who were usually young adults.

    Recruits were required to swear a version of the Hitler oath:


    "In the presence of this blood banner which represents our Führer, I swear to devote all my energies and my strength to the savior of our country, Adolf Hitler. I am willing and ready to give up my life for him, so help me God."


    Der Pimpf, the Nazi magazine for boys, was particularly aimed at those in the Deutsches Jungvolk, with adventure and propaganda.

    Uniform and emblems

    The DJ uniform was very similar to the Hitler Jugend equivalent. The summer uniform consisted of a black shorts and tan shirt with pockets, worn with a rolled black neckerchief secured with a woggle, usually tucked under the collar. Headgear originally consisted of a beret, but when this was discarded by the HJ in 1934, the DJ adopted a side cap with coloured piping which denoted their unit.

    The emblem of the DJ was a white Siegrune on a black background, which symbolised "victory". This was worn on the uniform in the form of a cloth badge, sewn onto the upper-left sleeve of the shirt.


    12-year-old Jungvolk platoon commander, Alfred Zech (from Goldenau in Upper Silesia) earned the Iron Cross Second Class in 1945 for rescuing wounded soldiers whilst under enemy fire.
    Wartime

    In addition to their pre-military training, the DJ contributed to the German war effort by collecting recyclable materials such as paper and scrap metal, and by acting as messengers for the civil defence organisations. By 1944, the Hitler Jugend formed part of the Volkssturm, an unpaid, part-time militia, and often formed special HJ companies within Volkssturmbattalions. In theory, service in the Volkssturm was limited to boys over 16 years of age, however much younger boys, including Jungvolkmembers, often volunteered or were coerced into serving in these units; even joining the "Tank Close-Combat Squads" which were expected to attack enemy tanks with hand-held weapons. Eye witness reports of the Battle of Berlin in April 1945 record instances of young boys fighting in their DJ uniforms, complete with short trousers.

    Disbandment

    With the surrender of Nazi Germany in 1945, the organization de facto ceased to exist. On 10 October 1945, it was outlawed by the Allied Control Council along with other Nazi Party organizations. Under Section 86 of the German Criminal Code, the Hitler Youth is an "unconstitutional organisation" and the distribution or public use of its symbols, except for educational or research purposes, are not permitted.

    OTHER LINKS:


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                    80 years ago on this date, March 28, 1935, The Nazi Propaganda Film, Triumph of the Will, was released. I will post information about this film from Wikipediaand other links. I do it for educational purposes and not because I am a Neo Nazi.

    This is a poster for the 1935 film Triumph des Willens.
    The poster art copyright is believed to belong to the distributor of the film, Universum Film AG, the publisher of the film or the graphic artist.

    Directed by
    Leni Riefenstahl
    Produced by
    Leni Riefenstahl
    Written by
    Leni Riefenstahl
    Walter Ruttmann
    Starring
    Adolf Hitler
    Heinrich Himmler
    Viktor Lutze
    Other Nazi Leaders
    30,000 extras
    Music by
    Cinematography
    Edited by
    Leni Riefenstahl
    Production
    company
    Reichsparteitag-Film
    Distributed by
    Release dates
    • 28 March 1935
    Running time
    114 minutes
    Language
    German

    Triumph of the Will (German: Triumph des Willens) is a 1935 propaganda film directed, produced, edited and co-written by Leni Riefenstahl. It chronicles the 1934 Nazi Party Congress in Nuremberg, which was attended by more than 700,000 Nazi supporters. The film contains excerpts from speeches given by Nazi leaders at the Congress, including Adolf Hitler, Rudolf Hess and Julius Streicher, interspersed with footage of massed Sturmabteilung and Schutzstaffel troops and public reaction. Hitler commissioned the film and served as an unofficial executive producer; his name appears in the opening titles. The film's overriding theme is the return of Germany as a great power, with Hitler as the leader who will bring glory to the nation. Because the film was made after the 1934 Night of the Long Knives (on June 30) many prominent Sturmabteilung (SA) members are absent since they were murdered in that Party purge organized and orchestrated by Hitler to replace the SA (led by his rival Ernst Roehm) with the Schutzstaffeln (SS) as his main paramilitary force.

    Triumph of the Will was released in 1935 and became a prominent example of propaganda in film history. Riefenstahl's techniques—such as moving cameras, aerial photography, the use of long focus lenses to create a distorted perspective, and the revolutionary approach to the use of music and cinematography—have earned Triumph of the Will recognition as one of the greatest films in history. Riefenstahl helped to stage the scenes, directing and rehearsing some of them at least fifty times. Riefenstahl won several awards, not only in Germany but also in the United States, France, Sweden, and other countries. The film was popular in the Third Reich, and has continued to influence movies, documentaries, and commercials to this day. However, it is banned from showing in Germany owing to its support for Nazism and its numerous portrayals of the swastika.

    An earlier film by Riefenstahl—Der Sieg des Glaubens—showed Hitler and SA leader Ernst Röhm together at the 1933 Nazi party congress. After Röhm's murder, the party attempted the destruction of all copies, leaving only one known to have survived in Britain. This can be viewed at the Internet Archive. The direction and sequencing of images is almost the same as that Riefenstahl used in Triumph of the Will a year later.

    Frank Capra's seven-film series Why We Fight is said to have been directly inspired by, and the United States' response to, Triumph of the Will.

    Synopsis

    The film begins with a prologue, the only commentary in the film. It consists of the following text, shown sequentially, against a grey background:

    Am 5. September 1934
    [On 5 September 1934]
    20 Jahre nach dem Ausbruch des Weltkrieges
    [20 years after the outbreak of the World War]
    16 Jahre nach dem Anfang deutschen Leidens
    [16 years after the beginning of German suffering]
    19 Monate nach dem Beginn der deutschen Wiedergeburt
    [19 months after the beginning of the German rebirth]
    flog Adolf Hitler wiederum nach Nürnberg, um Heerschau abzuhalten über seine Getreuen
    [Adolf Hitler flew again to Nuremberg to review the columns of his faithful followers]

    Day 1: The film opens with shots of the clouds above the city, and then moves through the clouds to float above the assembling masses below, with the intention of portraying beauty and majesty of the scene. The cruciform shadow of Hitler's plane is visible as it passes over the tiny figures marching below, accompanied by an orchestral arrangement of the Horst-Wessel-Lied. Upon arriving at the Nuremberg airport, Hitler and other Nazi leaders emerge from his plane to thunderous applause and a cheering crowd. He is then driven into Nuremberg, through equally enthusiastic people, to his hotel where a night rally is later held.

    Day 2: The second day begins with images of Nuremberg at dawn, accompanied by an extract from the Act III Prelude (Wach Auf!) of Richard Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. Following this is a montage of the attendees preparing for the opening of the Reich Party Congress, and footage of the top Nazi officials arriving at the Luitpold Arena. The film then cuts to the opening ceremony, where Rudolf Hess announces the start of the Congress. The camera then introduces much of the Nazi hierarchy and covers their opening speeches, including Joseph Goebbels,Alfred Rosenberg,Hans Frank, Fritz Todt, Robert Ley, and Julius Streicher. Then the film cuts to an outdoor rally for the Reichsarbeitsdienst (Labor Service), which is primarily a series of pseudo-military drills by men carrying spades. This is also where Hitler gives his first speech on the merits of the Labor Service and praising them for their work in rebuilding Germany. The day then ends with a torchlight SA parade in which Viktor Lutze speaks to the crowds.

    Day 3: The third day starts with a Hitler Youth rally on the parade ground. Again the camera covers the Nazi dignitaries arriving and the introduction of Hitler by Baldur von Schirach. Hitler then addresses the Youth, describing in militaristicterms how they must harden themselves and prepare for sacrifice. Everyone present, including General Werner von Blomberg, then assemble for a military pass and review, featuring Wehrmachtcavalry and various armored vehicles. That night Hitler delivers another speech to low-ranking party officials by torchlight, commemorating the first year since the Nazis took power and declaring that the party and state are one entity.

    Day 4: The fourth day is the climax of the film, where the most memorable of the imagery is presented. Hitler, flanked by Heinrich Himmler and Viktor Lutze, walks through a long wide expanse with over 150,000 SAand SStroops standing at attention, to lay a wreath at a World War I Memorial. Hitler then reviews the parading SA and SS men, following which Hitler and Lutze deliver a speech where they discuss the Night of the Long Knives purge of the SA several months prior. Lutze reaffirms the SA's loyalty to the regime, and Hitler absolves the SA of any crimes committed by Ernst Röhm. New party flags are consecrated by letting them touch the Blutfahne(the same cloth flag said to have been carried by the fallen Nazis during the Beer Hall Putsch) and, following a final parade in front of the Nuremberg Frauenkirche, Hitler delivers his closing speech. In it he reaffirms the primacy of the Nazi Party in Germany, declaring, "All loyal Germans will become National Socialists. Only the best National Socialists are party comrades!" Hess then leads the assembled crowd in a final Sieg Heil salute for Hitler, marking the close of the party congress. The entire crowd sings the Horst-Wessel-Lied as the camera focuses on the giant Swastika banner, which fades into a line of silhouetted men in Nazi party uniforms, marching in formation as the lyrics "Comrades shot by the Red Front and the Reactionaries march in spirit together in our columns" are sung.

    Hitler Youth Speech - Triumph of the Will.
    Uploaded on Jan 30, 2012
    Hitler's speech to the Hitler Youth in the Triumph of the Will video.

    Poster for Der Sieg des Glaubens by Leni Riefenstahl in 1933
    Origins

    Shortly after he came to power Hitler called me to see him and explained that he wanted a film about a Party Congress, and wanted me to make it. My first reaction was to say that I did not know anything about the way such a thing worked or the organization of the Party, so that I would obviously photograph all the wrong things and please nobody - even supposing that I could make a documentary, which I had never yet done. Hitler said that this was exactly why he wanted me to do it: because anyone who knew all about the relative importance of the various people and groups and so on might make a film that would be pedantically accurate, but this was not what he wanted. He wanted a film showing the Congress through a non-expert eye, selecting just what was most artistically satisfying - in terms of spectacle, I suppose you might say. He wanted a film which would move, appeal to, impress an audience which was not necessarily interested in politics.

    — Leni Riefenstahl

    Riefenstahl, a popular German actress, had directed her first movie called Das blaue Licht (The Blue Light) in 1932. Around the same time she first heard Hitler speak at a Nazi rally and, by her own admission, was impressed. She later began a correspondence with him that would last for years. Hitler, by turn, was equally impressed with Das blaue Licht, and in 1933 asked her to direct a film about the Nazis' annual Nuremberg Rally. The Nazis had only recently taken power amid a period of political instability (Hitler was the fourth Chancellor of Germany in less than a year) and were considered an unknown quantity by many Germans, to say nothing of the world.

    In Mein Kampf, Hitler talks of the success of British propaganda in World War I, believing people's ignorance meant simple repetition and an appeal to feelings over reason would suffice. Hitler chose Riefenstahl as he wanted the film as "artistically satisfying" as possible to appeal to a non-political audience, but he also believed that propaganda must admit no element of doubt. As such, Triumph of the Will may be seen as a continuation of the unambiguous World War I-style propaganda, though heightened by the film's artistic or poetic nature.

    Riefenstahl was initially reluctant, not because of any moral qualms, but because she wanted to continue making feature films. Hitler persisted and Riefenstahl eventually agreed to make a film at the 1933 Nuremberg Rally called Der Sieg des Glaubens (Victory of Faith). However the film had numerous technical problems, including a lack of preparation (Riefenstahl reported having just a few days) and Hitler's apparent unease at being filmed. To make matters worse, Riefenstahl had to deal with infighting by party officials, in particular Joseph Goebbels who tried to have the film released by the Propaganda Ministry. Though Der Sieg des Glaubens apparently did well at the box office, it later became a serious embarrassment to the Nazis after SA Leader Ernst Röhm, who had a prominent role in the film, was executed during the Night of the Long Knives. All references to Röhm were ordered to be erased from German history, which included the destruction of all known copies of Der Sieg des Glaubens.

    In 1934, Riefenstahl had no wish to repeat the fiasco of Der Sieg des Glaubensand initially recommended fellow director Walter Ruttmann. Ruttmann's film, which would have covered the rise of the Nazi Party from 1923 to 1934 and been more overtly propagandistic (the opening text of Triumph of the Will was his), did not appeal to Hitler. He again asked Riefenstahl, who finally relented (there is still debate over how willing she was) after Hitler guaranteed his personal support and promised to keep other Nazi organizations, specifically the Propaganda Ministry, from meddling with her film.

    Production

    The film follows a script similar to Der Sieg des Glaubens, which is evident when one sees both films side by side. For example, the city of Nuremberg scenes - even to the shot of a cat included in the city driving sequence in both films. Furthermore, Herbert Windt reused much of his musical score for that film in Triumph des Willens, which he also scored. Riefenstahl shot Triumph of the Will on a budget of roughly 280,000RM (approx. $110K USD 1934, $1.54M 2015). With that said, there were extensive preparations facilitated by the cooperation of party members, the military, and vital help from high-ranking Nazis like Goebbels. As Susan Sontag observed, "The Rally was planned not only as a spectacular mass meeting, but as a spectacular propaganda film."Albert Speer, Hitler's personal architect, designed the set in Nuremberg and did most of the coordination for the event. Pits were dug in front of the speakers' platform so Riefenstahl could get the camera angles she wanted, and tracks were laid so that her cameramen could get traveling shots of the crowd. When rough cuts weren't up to par, major party leaders and high-ranking public officials reenacted their speeches in a studio for her. Riefenstahl also used a film crew that was extravagant by the standards of the day. Her crew consisted of 172 people, including 10 technical staff, 36 cameramen and assistants (operating in 16 teams with 30 cameras), nine aerial photographers, 17 newsreel men, 12 newsreel crew, 17 lighting men, two photographers, 26 drivers, 37 security personnel, four labor service workers, and two office assistants. Many of her cameramen also dressed in SA uniforms so they could blend into the crowds.

    Riefenstahl had the difficult task of condensing an estimated 61 hours of film into two hours. She labored to complete the film as fast as she could, going so far as to sleep in the editing room filled with hundreds of thousands of feet of film footage.

    Hitler congratulates Riefenstahl in 1934
    Themes

    Religion

    This morning's opening meeting... was more than a gorgeous show, it also had something of the mysticism and religious fervor of an Easter or Christmas Mass in a great Gothic cathedral.

    — Reporter William Shirer

    Triumph of the Will is sometimes seen as an example of Nazi political religion. The primary religion in Germany before the Second World War was Christianity. With the primary sects being Roman Catholic and Protestant, the Christian views in this movie are clearly meant to allow the movie to better connect with the intended audience.

    Religion is a major theme in Triumph of the Will. The film opens with Hitler descending god-like out of the skies past twin cathedral spires. It contains many scenes of church bells ringing, and individuals in a state of near-religious fervor, as well as a prominent shot of Reich Protestant Bishop Ludwig Müllerstanding in his vestmentsamong high-ranking Nazis. It is probably not a coincidence that the final parade of the film was held in front of the Nuremberg Frauenkirche. In his final speech in the film, Hitler also directly compares the Nazi party to a holy order, and the consecrationof new party flags by having Hitler touch them to the "blood banner" has obvious religious overtones. Hitler himself is portrayed in a messianicmanner, from the opening where he descends from the clouds in a plane, to his drive through Nuremberg where even a cat stops what it is doing to watch him, to the many scenes where the camera films from below and looks up at him: Hitler, standing on his podium, will issue a command to hundreds of thousands of followers. The audience happily complies in unison. As Frank P. Tomasulo comments, "Hitler is cast as a veritable German Messiah who will save the nation, if only the citizenry will put its destiny in his hands."

    Soldiers march past a saluting Hitler in Riefenstahl’s film of the 1934 Nazi party rally in Nuremberg

    Power

    It is our will that this state and this Reich shall endure through the coming millennia.

    — Hitler
    Germany had not seen images of military power and strength since the end of World War I, and the huge formations of men would remind the audience that Germany was becoming a great power once again. Though the Labor Service men carried spades, they handled them as if they were rifles. The Eaglesand Swastikascould be seen as a reference to the Roman Legions of antiquity. The large mass of well-drilled party members could be seen in a more ominous light, as a warning to dissidentsthinking of challenging the regime.

    Hitler's arrival in an airplane should also be viewed in this context. According to Kenneth Poferl, "Flying in an airplane was a luxury known only to a select few in the 1930s, but Hitler had made himself widely associated with the practice, having been the first politician to campaign via air travel. Victory reinforced this image and defined him as the top man in the movement, by showing him as the only one to arrive in a plane and receive an individual welcome from the crowd. Hitler's speech to the SA also contained an implied threat: if he could have Röhm, the commander of the hundreds of thousands of troops on the screen, shot, it was only logical to assume that Hitler could get away with having anyone executed."

    Unity

    As soon as our own propaganda admits so much as a glimmer of right on the other side, the foundation for doubt in our own right has been laid.
    — Hitler

    It was very important to Adolf Hitler that his propaganda messages carry a unified theme. If a country isn't unified in saying the enemy is bad, the audience starts to have doubts. Unity is seen throughout this film, even in the camps where soldiers live. The camp outside of Nuremberg is very uniform and clean; the tents are aligned in perfect rows, each one the same as the next. The men there also make a point not to wear their shirts, because their shirts display their rankings and status. Shirtless they are all equals, unified. When they march, it is in unison and they all carry their weapons identically, one to another.

    Hitler's message to the workers also includes the notion of unity:

    The concept of labor will no longer be a dividing one but a uniting one, and no longer will there be anybody in Germany who will regard manual labor any less highly than any other form of labor.
    — Hitler

    Children were also used to convey unity:

    We want to be a united nation, and you, my youth, are to become this nation. In the future, we do not wish to see classes and cliques, and you must not allow them to develop among you. One day, we want to see one nation.
    — Hitler

    Triumph of the Will has many scenes that blur the distinction between the Nazi Party, the German state, and the German people. Germans in peasant farmers' costumes and other traditional clothing greet Hitler in some scenes. The torchlight processions, though now associated by many with the Nazis, would remind the viewer of the medievalKarneval celebration. The old flag of Imperial Germany is also shown several times flying alongside the Swastika, and there is a ceremony where Hitler pays his respects to soldiers who died in World War I (as well as to President Paul von Hindenburg, who had died a month before the convention). There is also a scene where the Labor Servicemen individually call out which town or area in Germany they are from, reminding the viewers that the Nazi Party had expanded from its stronghold in Bavaria to become a pan-German movement.

    The Party is Hitler - and Hitler is Germany just as Germany is Hitler!
    — Rudolf Hess
    The Totenehrung (honouring of dead) at the 1934 Nuremberg Rally. SS leader Heinrich Himmler, Adolf Hitler, and SA leader Viktor Lutze (from L to R) on the stone terrace in front of the Ehrenhalle(Hall of Honour) in the Luitpoldarena. In the background is the crescent-shaped Ehrentribüne (literally: tribune of honour).
    Hitler's speeches

    Among the themes presented, the desire for pride in Germany and the purification of the German people is well exemplified through the speeches and ideals of the Third Reich in Triumph of the Will.

    In every speech given and shown in Triumph of the Will, pride is one of the major focuses. Hitler advocates to the people that they should not be satisfied with their current state and they should not be satisfied with the descent from power and greatness Germany has endured since World War I. The German people should believe in themselves and the movement that is occurring in Germany. Hitler promotes pride in Germany through the unification of it. Unifying Germany would force the elimination of what does not amount to the standards of the Nazi regime.

    To unify Germany, Hitler believes purification would have to take place. This meant not only eliminating the citizens of Germany who are not of the Aryan race, but the sick, weak, handicapped, or any other citizens deemed unhealthy or impure. In Triumph of the Will, Hitler preaches to the people that Germany must take a look at itself and seek out that which does not belong: "[T]he elements that have become bad, and therefore do not belong with us!" Though within the context, he seems to be referring to the corrupt elements of the power structure, it later could seem in hindsight to imply that the elimination of the "inferior" people of Germany would, in theory, return Germany to its once prideful and powerful former self. Julius Streicher stresses the importance of purification in his speech, a direct reference to his own virulent anti-semitism. Hundreds of thousands mentally sick and disabled would be murdered in the Action T4, a programme run directly from Hitler's Chancellery (Kanzlei des Führers).

    Hitler preaches to the people in his speeches that they should believe in their country and themselves. The German people are better than what they have become because of the impurities in society. Hitler wants them to believe in him and believe what he wants to do for his people, and what he is doing is for the country's and people's benefit. Hess says in the last scene of Triumph of the Will, "Heil Hitler, hail victory, hail victory!" Everyone in attendance yells in support. This verbal sign represents their faith to their leader and his most trusted advisors that they believe in the Nazi cause. This is directly following Hitler's yell, "Long live the National Socialist Movement! Long live Germany!" and the crowd erupts with cheering and the fulfillment of pride for themselves and their political party.

    In the closing speech of Triumph of the Will, Hitler enters the room from the back, appearing to emerge from the people. After a one sentence introduction, he tells his faithful Nazis how the German nation has subordinated itself to the Nazi Party because its leaders are mostly of Germans. He promises that the new state that the Nazis have created will endure for thousands of years. Hitler says that the youth will carry on after the old have weakened. They close with a chant, "Hitler is the Party, Hitler." The camera focuses on the large Swastika above Hitler and the film ends with the images of this Swastika imposed on Nazis marching in a few columns. His speech brought attention to the rally and created a huge turnout in the following years. He attracted many people in the way that he addressed the issues and his people. He spoke to them as if it were a sermon and engaged the people. In 1934, over a million Germans participated in the Nuremberg Rally.

    Response

    Triumph of the Will premiered on 28 March 1935 at the Berlin Ufa Palace Theater and was an instant success. Within two months the film had earned 815,000 Reichsmark, and Ufa considered it one of the three most profitable films of that year. Hitler praised the film as being an "incomparable glorification of the power and beauty of our Movement." For her efforts, Riefenstahl was rewarded with the German Film Prize (Deutscher Filmpreis), a gold medal at the 1935 Venice Biennale, and the Grand Prix at the 1937 World Exhibition in Paris. However, there were few claims that the film would result in a mass influx of "converts" to fascism and the Nazis apparently did not make a serious effort to promote the film outside of Germany. Film historian Richard Taylor also said that Triumph of the Willwas not generally used for propaganda purposes inside the Third Reich. The Independent wrote in 2003: "Triumph of the Will seduced many wise men and women, persuaded them to admire rather than to despise, and undoubtedly won the Nazis friends and allies all over the world."

    The reception in other countries was not always as enthusiastic. British documentarian Paul Rotha called it tedious, while others were repelled by its pro-Nazi sentiments. During World War II, Frank Caprahelped to create a direct response, through the film series called Why We Fight, a series of newsreels commissioned by the United States government that spliced in footage from Triumph of the Will, but recontextualized it so that it promoted the cause of the Allies instead. Capra later remarked that Triumph of the Will"fired no gun, dropped no bombs. But as a psychologicalweapon aimed at destroying the will to resist, it was just as lethal." Clips from Triumph of the Will were also used in an Allied propaganda short called General Adolph Takes Over, set to the British dance tune "The Lambeth Walk". The legions of marching soldiers, as well as Hitler giving his Nazi salute, were made to look like wind-up dolls, dancing to the music. The Danish resistance used to take over cinemas and force the projectionist to show Swinging the Lambeth Walk(as it was also known); Erik Barrow has said: "The extraordinary risks were apparently felt justified by a moment of savage anti-Hitler ridicule." Also during World War II, the poet Dylan Thomas wrote a screenplay for and narrated These Are The Men, a propaganda piece using Triumph of the Will footage to discredit Nazi leadership.

    One of the best ways to gauge the response to Triumph of the Will was the instant and lasting international fame it gave Riefenstahl. The Economist said it "sealed her reputation as the greatest female filmmaker of the 20th century." For a director who made eight films, only two of which received significant coverage outside of Germany, Riefenstahl had unusually high name recognition for the remainder of her life, most of it stemming from Triumph of the Will. However, her career was also permanently damaged by this association. After the war, Riefenstahl was imprisoned by the Allies for four years for allegedly being a Nazi sympathizer and was permanently blacklistedby the film industry. When she died in 2003–68 years after the film's premiere—her obituaryreceived significant coverage in many major publications, including the Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The Guardian, most of which reaffirmed the importance of Triumph of the Will. Though the actual effectiveness of Triumph of the Will is hard to measure in terms of numbers or statistics that actually state its effectiveness, its response from the people is well documented with the amount of views and the popularity of the movie during the time period.

    Julius Streicher in custody in 1945.


    Controversy

    Like American filmmaker D. W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation, Triumph of the Will has been criticized as a use of spectacular filmmaking to promote a profoundly unethicalsystem. In her defense, Riefenstahl claimed that she was naïve about the Nazis when she made it and had no knowledge of Hitler's genocidal or anti-semiticpolicies. She also pointed out that Triumph of the Will contains "not one single antisemiticword", although it does contain a veiled comment by Julius Streicher, the notorious Jew-baiter (who was hanged after the Nuremberg trials), that "a people that does not protect its racial purity will perish."

    However, Roger Ebert has observed that for some, "the very absence of anti-semitism in Triumph of the Will looks like a calculation; excluding the central motif of almost all of Hitler's public speeches must have been a deliberate decision to make the film more efficient as propaganda."

    Riefenstahl also repeatedly defended herself against the charge that she was a Nazi propagandist, saying that Triumph of the Will focuses on images over ideas, and should therefore be viewed as a Gesamtkunstwerk(holistic work of art). In 1964, she returned to this topic, saying:

    If you see this film again today you ascertain that it doesn't contain a single reconstructed scene. Everything in it is true. And it contains no tendentious commentary at all. It is history. A pure historical film... it is film-vérité. It reflects the truth that was then in 1934, history. It is therefore a documentary. Not a propaganda film. Oh! I know very well what propaganda is. That consists of recreating events in order to illustrate a thesis, or, in the face of certain events, to let one thing go in order to accentuate another. I found myself, me, at the heart of an event which was the reality of a certain time and a certain place. My film is composed of what stemmed from that.

    However, Riefenstahl was an active participant in the rally, though in later years she downplayed her influence significantly, claiming, "I just observed and tried to film it well. The idea that I helped to plan it is downright absurd." Ebert states that Triumph of the Will is "by general consent [one] of the best documentaries ever made", but added that because it reflects the ideology of a movement regarded by many as evil, it poses "a classic question of the contest between art and morality: Is there such a thing as pure art, or does all art make a political statement?" When reviewing the film for his "Great Movies" collection, Ebert reversed his opinion, characterizing his earlier conclusion as "the received opinion that the film is great but evil" and calling it "a terrible film, paralyzingly dull, simpleminded, overlong and not even 'manipulative,' because it is too clumsy to manipulate anyone but a true believer."

    Susan Sontag considers Triumph of the Will the "most successful, most purely propagandistic film ever made, whose very conception negates the possibility of the filmmaker's having an aesthetic or visual conception independent of propaganda." Sontag points to Riefenstahl's involvement in the planning and design of the Nuremberg ceremonies as evidence that Riefenstahl was working as a propagandist, rather than as an artist in any sense of the word. With some 30 cameras and a crew of 150, the marches, parades, speeches, and processions were orchestrated like a movie set for Riefenstahl's film. Further, this was not the first political film made by Riefenstahl for the Third Reich (there was Victory of Faith, 1933), nor was it the last (Day of Freedom, 1935, and Olympia, 1938). "Anyone who defends Riefenstahl's films as documentary", Sontag states, "if documentary is to be distinguished from propaganda, is being disingenuous. In Triumph of Will, the document (the image) is no longer simply the record of reality; 'reality' has been constructed to serve the image."

    Brian Winston's essay on the film in The Movies as History is largely a critique of Sontag's analysis. Winston argues that any filmmaker could have made the film look impressive because the Nazis'mise en scène was impressive, particularly when they were offering it for camera re-stagings. In form, the film alternates repetitively between marches and speeches. Winston asks the viewers to consider if such a film should be seen as anything more than a pedestrian effort. Like Rotha, he finds the film tedious, and believes anyone who takes the time to analyze its structure will quickly agree.

    Wehrmacht objections

    The first controversy over Triumph of the Will occurred even before its release, when several generals in the Wehrmacht protested over the minimal army presence in the film. Only one scene—the review of the German cavalry—actually involved the German military. The other formations were party organizations that were not part of the military.

    The opposition of the generals, was not simply out of personalized pique or vanity. As produced by Riefenstahl, Triumph of the Will, posits Germany as a leaderless mass of lost souls without any organizing institutions, or antecedent institutional leaders. And that the “new order” embodied by the Nazi Party and Hitler, provides a both new, and a singular/saving leader and institutional framework for the whole of the German nation.

    However, the Army had been, and had seen itself as being, an institution that held shared responsibility for the leadership of the nation and state since at least the time of Fredrick the Great. The leaders of that Army had also been viewed throughout the history of the German speaking peoples as an integral part of the leadership cadre. By omitting the Army (along with other institutions, e.g., the nobility, the Church, academia, business), the film demonstrated that the Army, as well as its leaders, was “disappeared” from what the Army considered to be its shared leadership role in the state, National Socialist or otherwise. The Army’s leaders vehemently disagreed with this implied assertion of the film.

    Hitler proposed his own "artistic" compromise where Triumph of the Willwould open with a camera slowly tracking down a row of all the "overlooked" generals (and placate each general's ego). According to her own testimony, Riefenstahl refused his suggestion and insisted on keeping artistic control over Triumph of the Will. She did agree to return to the 1935 rally to make a film exclusively about the Wehrmacht, which became Tag der Freiheit: Unsere Wehrmacht(Day of Freedom: Our Armed Forces).

    Charles Chaplin as Adenoid Hynkel in The Great Dictator


    Influences and legacy

    Triumph of the Will remains well known for its striking visuals. As one historian notes, "many of the most enduring images of the [Nazi] regime and its leader derive from Riefenstahl's film."

    Extensive excerpts of the film were used in Erwin Leiser's documentary Mein Kampf, produced in Sweden in 1960. Riefenstahl unsuccessfully sued the Swedish production company Minerva-Film for copyright violation, although she did receive forty thousand marks in compensation from German and Austrian distributors of the film.

    In 1942, Charles A. Ridley of the British Ministry of Information made a short propaganda film, Lambeth Walk – Nazi Style, which edited footage of Hitler and German soldiers from the film to make it appear they were marching and dancing to the song "The Lambeth Walk". The film so enraged Joseph Goebbels that reportedly he ran out of the screening room kicking chairs and screaming profanities. The propaganda film was distributed uncredited to newsreel companies, who would supply their own narration.

    Charlie Chaplin's classic satire The Great Dictator (1940) was inspired in large part by Triumph of the Will. The film has been studied by many contemporary artists, including film directors Sir Peter Jackson, George Lucas and Ridley Scott.

    Leni Riefenstahl - Triumph Des Willens [1935] [HD]

    OTHER LINKS:







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    On this date, 29 March 2012, Yasuaki Uwabe was executed in the Hiroshima Detention House, Japan by hanging for the 29 September 1999 Shimonoseki Station mass murder of five men.


    Yasuaki Uwabe


    Please go to this previous blog post to learn more.


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    "After ten years of hard prison, a man is lost to the people's community anyway. Thus what to do with such a guy is either put him into a concentration camp, or kill him. In latest times the latter is more important, for the sake of deterrence."

    - Adolf Hitler
    Adolf Hitler in Newsweek


    On this date, March 29, 1933, Adolf Hitler enacted Lex Van Der Lubbe: The Law for the Imposition and Implementation of the Death Penalty. Keep in mind, I do not support the Nazis but I just use this for educational purposes. I support the death penalty with safeguards together with balances and checks and I DO NOT and NEVER support extrajudicial trials. I will post information about this law from several internet sources. 

    German Lawon the imposition and execution of the death penalty on 29 March 1933= " Lex van der Lubbe "


    Background: Law for the Imposition and Implementation of the Death Penalty

    Law for the Imposition and Implementation of the Death Penalty
    (Lex van der Lubbe)
    March 29, 1933

    The Nazi state enacted the Law for the Imposition and Implementation of the Death Penalty on March 29, 1933, just a month after the Reichstag fire. Its first stipulation made a key article of the Reichstag Fire Decree-that which changed the punishment for certain crimes such as arson and high treason from life in prison to the death penalty-retroactive to the beginning of Hitler's assumption of power, thus violating the ex post facto rule of law and ensuring that those who were accused of setting fire to the Reichstag would be executed if convicted. The second article allowed the execution itself to be carried out by hanging, considered a harsh and shameful mode of execution, in place of beheading.

    In fact, Hitler pressed for this law, also known as Lex van der Lubbe, for purely political reasons. He insisted upon the death penalty to underscore the legitimacy of the regime's claim that the fire had been an act of rebellion against the state. This was all the more important since Hitler had used the fire to declare a state of emergency. This in turn allowed him to abolish many longstanding constitutional guarantees. Working backward, the execution of the alleged perpetrators of the Reichstag arson would justify to the public the extreme measures that the Nazi regime had put into place.

    The Supreme Court's decision in the case reveals the ambivalence and complexity of its role in the new Nazi regime. On the one hand, the court found Marinus van der Lubbe guilty and permitted his hanging, accepting the unilateral changes to the constitution that Hitler's government had enacted. On the other hand, it found van der Lubbe's codefendants not guilty of the crime of arson, rejecting the notion of “political necessity” as an overriding factor in deciding the verdict. In this regard, the court declared that it would not be used to stage politically important show trials. An outraged Hitler removed jurisdiction
    for political crimes from the Supreme Court and established the so-called People's Court (Volksgericht) in Berlin instead, appointing Nazi judges to the bench to ensure the outcome of such cases in the future.


    Translation: Law for the Imposition and Implementation of the Death Penalty

    Law for the Imposition and Implementation of the Death Penalty
    (Lex van der Lubbe)
    March 29, 1933

    Translated from Reichsgesetzblatt I, 1933, Nr. 28, p. 151.

    The Reich Government has decided the following law that is hereby proclaimed:

    Article 1
    Section 5 of the Decree of the Reich President for the Protection of the People and the State of February 28, 1933 (RGBL I, page 83) applies also to acts committed between January 31 and February 28, 1933.

    Article 2
    If someone should be sentenced to death due to conviction of a crime against public security, the Reich or state authority responsible for carrying out the sentence can order the sentence carried out by hanging.

    Article 2 is a revision of Section 13 of the Criminal Code for the German Reich of May 15, 1871 (RGBL I, page 127), which determined that the death penalty is to be carried out through beheading.

    Reich Chancellor: Adolf Hitler
    For the Reich Minister of Justice: Deputy Reich Chancellor v. Papen


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                On this date, April 1, 2003, a Japanese War Criminal, Mutsuhiro Watanabe, AKA The Bird, passed away. I will post information about him from Wikipedia.


    Mutsuhiro Watanabe the Bird
    Mutsuhiro Watanabe (Japanese: 渡邊睦裕, January 1, 1918 – April 1, 2003) was an Imperial Japanese Army sergeant in World War II who served at POW camps in Omori, Naoetsu (present day Jōetsu, Niigata), and Mitsushima (present day Hiraoka). After Japan's defeat, the US Occupation authorities classified Watanabe as a war criminal for his mistreatment of prisoners of war (POWs), but he managed to evade arrest and was never tried in court.

    Early Years

    Watanabe was the fourth of six children. His family was wealthy, owning hotels and mines. Watanabe was educated at Waseda University, where he studied French literature, and worked at a news agency for a month before enlisting in the Japanese Army.


    The real Mutsuhiro Watanabe (aka "The Bird") and his onscreen counterpart, Japanese pop star/actor Miyavi (right).
    Prison guard

    Former POWs have alleged that Watanabe beat them often, causing them serious injuries. Watanabe is said to have made one officer sit in a shack, wearing only a fundoshiundergarment, for four days in winter, and to have tied a sixty-five-year-old prisoner to a tree for days. Watanabe allegedly ordered one man to report to him to be punched in the face every night for three weeks, and practiced judo on an appendectomy patient. His prisoners nicknamed Watanabe "The Bird". One of Watanabe's prisoners was American track star Louis Zamperini.


    Actor Miyavi (left) and the real Mutsuhiro Watanabe (right) in Japan in 1998.
    Later life

    In 1945 General Douglas MacArthur included Watanabe as number 23 on his list of the 40 most wanted war criminals in Japan. Watanabe went into hiding and was never prosecuted. While in hiding, Watanabe apparently worked on a farm and in a small grocery store. In 1956, the Japanese literary magazine Bungeishunjū published an interview with Watanabe titled "アメリカに裁かれるのは厭だ! (I do not want to be judged by America.) " Watanabe later became a successful life insurance salesman and was reportedly wealthy, owning a $1.5 million apartment in Tokyo and a vacation condominium on the Gold Coast of Australia.

    Prior to the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, the CBS Newsprogram 60 Minutes interviewed Watanabe at the Hotel Okura in Tokyo as part of a feature on Zamperini, who was returning to carry the Olympic Flame torch through Naoetsu en route to Nagano. In the interview, Watanabe acknowledged beating and kicking prisoners, but was unrepentant, saying: "I treated the prisoners strictly as enemies of Japan." Watanabe refused to meet Zamperini.

    Legacy

    Watanabe's alleged abuses are described in Laura Hillenbrand's book about Zamperini titled Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption (2010). Watanabe also appears in Dr. Alfred A. Weinstein's memoir, "Barbed Wire Surgeon", published in 1948. In 2014, Japanese musician Miyavi played Watanabe in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken, the film adaptation of Hillenbrand's book.

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                On this date, April 3, 2014, the Coast to Coast Serial Killer, Tommy Lynn Sells, was executed by lethal injection in Huntsville, Texas. I will post information about this serial killer from Wikipedia and other links. 

    Tommy Lynn Sells
     
    Born
    June 28, 1964
    Kingsport, Tennessee, U.S.
    Died
    April 3, 2014 (aged 49)
    Huntsville, Texas, U.S.
    Cause of death
    Lethal injection
    Other names
    "Coast to Coast," The Cross Country Killer
    Criminal penalty
    Death

    Conviction(s)
    Felony theft,
    Grand Theft Auto,
    Malicious wounding,
    Murder,
    Public intoxication,
    Theft
    Killings
    Victims
    22+
    Span of killings
    1980–December 31, 1999
    Country
    United States
    State(s)
    Missouri, New York, Illinois, Texas, Kentucky, (possibly others)
    Date apprehended
    January 2, 2000


    Tommy Lynn Sells(June 28, 1964 – April 3, 2014) was an American serial killer.

    Early life

    Sells and his twin sister, Tammy Jean, contracted meningitis when they were 18 months old; Tammy died from the illness. Shortly thereafter, Sells was sent to live with his aunt, Bonnie Woodall, in Holcomb, Missouri, where he lived until he was five years old. When Sells was eight, he began spending time with a man named Willis Clark, who began to molest him with the consent of his mother. Sells stated that this abuse affected him greatly, and he would relive his experiences while committing his crimes.

    The homeless Sells hitchhiked and trainhopped across the United States from 1978 to 1999, committing various crimes along the way. He held several very short-term manual labor and barber jobs. He drank heavily, did drugs and was imprisoned several times.

    Tommy Lynn Sells
    Previous crimes, sentences, and mental disorders

    In 1990, Sells stole a truck in Wyoming and was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment. He was diagnosed with a personality disorder consisting of antisocial, borderline, and schizoid features, substance use disorder (severe opioid, cannabis, amphetamines, and alcohol dependence), bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, and psychosis.

    In May 1992, Sells raped, knifed, and beat a woman with a piano stool in Charleston, West Virginia. In June 1993, he was sentenced to two to ten years imprisonment for malicious wounding; the rape charge was dropped. While serving this sentence, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and married Nora Price. He was released in 1997 and moved to Tennessee with his wife. He left her and resumed his cross-country travels.

    Tommy Lynn Sells
    Murders

    Sells is believed by police to have murdered at least 22 people. Retired Texas Ranger John Allen said, "We did confirm 22... I know there's more. I know there's a lot more. Obviously, we won't ever know." Sells said he committed his first murder at age 16, while breaking into a house. While in the house, Sells discovered a man performing fellatio on a young boy. Sells killed the man in a fit of rage.

    In July 1985, 21-year-old Sells worked at a Forsyth, Missouri carnival, where he met 28-year-old Ena Cordt and her 4-year-old son. Cordt invited Sells to her home that evening. According to Sells, he had sex with her, fell asleep, and awoke to find her stealing from his backpack. He proceeded to beat Cordt to death with her son's baseball bat. He then murdered her son because the child was a potential witness. The bludgeoned bodies were found three days later, by which time Sells had left town.

    Sells is suspected of the following crimes:
    • the May 1987 murder of Suzanne Korcz in New York
    • the November 1987 murders of the Dardeen family in Illinois
    • the September 1988 murder of Melissa Tremblay in Lawrence, Massachusetts
    • the 1997 murder of Stephanie Mahaney near Springfield, Missouri
    • the 1989 murder of a co-worker in Texas
    • the 1999 murder of Katy Harris in Texas
    • the sexual assault and murder of Haley McHone in Lexington, Kentucky
    • the October 1997 murder of Joel Kirkpatrick in Illinois.
    Tommy Lynn Sells
    Arrests and confessions

    On December 31, 1999, in the Guajia Bay subdivision, west of Del Rio, Texas, Sells fatally stabbed 13-year-old Kaylene 'Katy' Harris16 times and slit 10-year-old Krystal Surles' throat. Surles survived and received help from the neighbors. Sells was apprehended after being identified from a sketch made from the victim's description. In an interview on Discovery Channel's Most Evil with Columbia Universityforensic psychiatrist and personality expert Dr. Michael H. Stone, Sells claimed to have killed more than 70 people. Police over time came to suspect him of "working the system", by confessing to murders he had not committed.

    Sells was housed on death row in the Allan B. Polunsky Unit near Livingston, Texas. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice received him on November 8, 2000.


    The last victim of Tommy Lynn Sells, Kaylene “Katy” Harris
    Execution

    On January 3, 2014, a Del Rio judge set Sells' execution date for April 3, 2014. Sells' death sentence was carried out at the Texas State Penitentiary in Huntsville. When asked if he would like to make a final statement, Sells replied "No." As a lethal dose of pentobarbital was administered, he took a few deep breaths, closed his eyes and began to snore. Less than a minute later, he stopped moving. Thirteen minutes later, at 6:27 p.m. (CDT), he was pronounced dead.


    A novel on Tommy Lynn Sells


    Tommy Lynn Sells is a serial killer who has claimed responsibility for over 70 murders across the United States.

    The Tip of the Iceberg

    On December 31, 1999, 10-year-old Krystal Surles was staying at the house of a friend, 13-year-old Kaylene 'Katy' Harris, when she was attacked by a man in the bedroom where the two girls were sleeping. She had just witnessed Kaylene having her throat slashed, when the man grabbed her and cut her throat. Pretending to be dead, she stayed still until she could escape and get help from the next door neighbor.

    Krystal survived the ordeal and with the help of a forensic artist she was able to provide enough details that the sketch eventually led to the arrest of Tommy Lynn Sells. It turned out Sells knew Terry Harris who was the adopted father of the Kaylene. His intended victim that night was Kaylene.

    Sells was arrested on January 2 at the trailer where he lived with his wife and her four children. It was a peaceful arrest. Sells did not put up a fight or even ask why he was being arrested.

    He later confessedto killing Kaylene Harris and his attempt to kill Krystal, but that was just the tip of the iceberg. During the following months Sells admitted to killing multiple men, women and children in several states across the country.

    Tommy Lynn Sells Childhood Years

    Tommy Lynn Sells and his twin sister Tammy Jean were born in Oakland, California on June 28,
    1964. His mother, Nina Sells, was a single mother with three other children at the time that the twins were born. The family moved to St. Louis, Missouri and at 18 months old, both Sells and Tammy Jean contracted spinal meningitis, which proved to be fatal to Tammy Jean.

    Soon after his recuperation Sells was sent to live with his aunt Bonnie Walpole, in Holcomb, Missouri. He stayed there until age five when his mother returned to take him after discovering that Walpole showed interest in adopting the boy.

    Throughout his early childhood years Sells was left mostly alone to fend for himself. He rarely attended school and by the age of seven he was drinking alcohol.

    Molested at Age 8

    Around this same time he started hanging around with a man from a nearby town. The man showed him a lot of special attention which included giving him presents and taking him on outings. On several occasions Sells spent the night at the man's home. Later it was discovered that this same man was caughtmolesting boys, but it came as no surprise to Sells. He had been one of his victims when he was eight years old.

    From the age of 10 to 13, Sells seemed to stay in trouble, and not your typical pre-teen trouble. He had pretty much dropped out of school and at age 10 began smoking pot. But when he climbed naked into his grandmother's bed that was the last straw. Within days his mother and his siblings were gone and left no forwarding address. Tommy Lynn Sells was on his own.

    The Carnage Begins

    Sells later said after his mother abandoned him he was filled with rage and attacked his first female victim by pistol whipping her until she was unconscious.

    With no home and no family, Sells began drifting from town to town, picking up odd jobs and stealing what he needed.

    Sells later claimed he committed his first murder at age 16, after breaking into a home and killing a man inside who was performing oral sex on a young boy. There was never any proof to back up his claim about the incident.

    Sells also claimed to have shot and killed John Cade Sr. in July 1979, after Cade caught him burglarizing his home.

    A Bad Reunion

    In May 1981, Sells moved to Little Rock, Arkansas and moved back in with his family. The reunion was short lived. Nina Sells told him to leave after he attempted to have sex with her while she was taking a shower.

    Back out on the streets Sells returned to doing what he knew best, robbing and killing, working as a carnival roustabout and hopping trains to get to his next destination.

    He later confessed to killing two people in Arkansas before heading to St. Louis in 1983. Only one of the murders, that of Hal Akins, was ever confirmed.

    Transient Serial Killing

    In May 1984 Sills was convicted of car theft and he was given a two-year prison sentence. He was released the following February, but failed to follow the terms of his probation.

    While still in Missouri, he got a job with a county fair in Forsyth and met Ena Cordt, 35, and her four-year-old son Rory who were visiting the fair. Sells later admitted to killing Cordt and her son.

    According to Sells, Cordt invited him back to her house, but then Sells caught Cordt going through his knapsack and he beat her to death with a baseball bat. He then did the same to Rory because he could have been a witness. Their bodies were found three days later.

    Overdosed on Heroin

    By September he was back in jail after getting into a car accident while driving drunk. He stayed in jail until May 16, 1986.

    Back in St. Louis, Sells claims that he shot a stranger in self defense. He then headed to Aransas Pass, Texas, where he was hospitalized for an overdose of heroin. Once out of the hospital he stole a car and headed to Fremont, California.

    While in Freemonth, investigators believe he was responsible for the death of Jennifer Duey, 20, who was found shot to death. They also think he was responsible for murdering Michelle Xavier, 19, who found dead with her throat cut.

    Unconfirmed Killing

    In October 1987, Sells was living in Winnemucca, Nevada, with 20-year-old Stefanie Stroh. Sells confessed to drugging Stroh with LSD, then strangling her and disposing of her body by weighting down her feet with concrete and putting her body into a hot spring in the desert. This crime was never confirmed.

    According to Sells he left Winnemucca on November 3rd and headed east. In October 1987, Sells confessed to murdering Suzanne Korcz, 27, in Amherst, New York.

    A Helping Hand

    Keith Dardeen was the next known unfortunate victim that tried to befriend Sells. He spotted Sells hitchhiking in Ina, Illinois and offered him a hot meal at his home. In return, Sells shot Dardeen and then mutilated his penis.

    Next he murdered Dardeen's three-year-old son Pete by bludgeoning him with a hammer. He then turned his rage on Dardeen's pregnant wife Elaine, who he attempted to rape.

    The attack caused Elaine to go into labor and she gave birth to her daughter. Neither mother nor daughter survived. Sells beat both of them to death with a bat. He then inserted the bat into Elaine's vagina, tucked the children and the mother into bed and left.

    The crime went unsolved for 12 years until Sells confessed.


    Joel Kirkpatrick, victim


    In 1997, 10-year-old Joel Kirkpatrick, son of Julie Rea Harper, was murdered. His mother was convicted, but the conviction was overturned.

    Julie Rae Harper

    Like Henry Lee Lucas, Sells was confessing to an unbelievable cross-country crime spree and like Lucas, Sells was escorted to different states to help clear up cold cases. Many of the crimes that Sells claimed to have committed could never be verified. However, there was one case that he took credit for that led to the release of a mother wrongly convicted of killing her child.

    In 2002, crime writer Diane Fanning was corresponding through letters with Sells who was sitting on death row in Texas, and in one of the letters Sells confessed to the murder of 10-year-old Joel Kirkpatrick. Joel's mother, Julie Rae Harper, was found guilty of his murder and was in prison.

    Later Sells told Fanning during a face-to-face interview, that Harper had been rude to him at a convenience store so to get back at her he followed her home and murdered the boy.

    The confession along with Fanning's testimony at a prison review board and help from the Innocence Project later resulted in a new trial for Harper and an acquittal.



    Mary Bea Perez, victim


    Stephanie Mahaney, victim

    Coast to Coast

    For 20 years Sells was a transient serial killer that managed to stay under the radar as he roamed around the country killing and raping unsuspecting victims of all ages. Investigators believe that Sells is likely responsible for 70 murders across the country.

    During his confessions he took on the nickname "Coast to Coast" when telling about the different murders he had committed one month while in California and the next month while in Texas.

    Based on Sells confessions throughout the years, the following timetable can be pieced together, however not all of his claims have been proven.
    • January 1988 - After murdering the Dardeen family Sells was arrested for stealing a car, but took off before going to court.
    • January 1988 - Lawrence, Massachusetts - Melissa Trembly, 11, was raped and murdered.
    • Between January - December 1988 - An unknown woman and her three-year-old son that he met in Salt Lake City, Utah. He killed the pair and disposed of their bodies in the Snake River in Idaho.
    • December 1988 - Tucson, Arizona - Killed Ken Lauten over a bad drug deal.
    • January 27, 1989 - Killed an unnamed prostitute and disposed of her body in Truckee, California. An unidentified woman's body was found at the location that he described.
    • April 1989 - Roseburg, Oregon - Killed an unnamed woman that was in her twenties.
    • May 9, 1989 - Roseburg, Oregon - Killed a female hitchhiker.
    • May 9, 1989 - Roseburg, Oregon - Arrested for stealing from his employer. He spent 15 days in jail.
    • August 16, 1989 - North Little Rock, Arkansas - Arrested on theft charges.
    • October 18, 1989 - Oakland, California - Charged with public drunkenness and put into detox.
    • November 1989 - Carson City, Nevada - Charged with public drunkenness.
    • December 1989 - Phoenix, Arizona - Hospitalized for a heroin overdose.
    • January 7, 1990 - Salt Lake City, Nevada - Held for cocaine possession, but released after it was determined that it was not drugs.
    • January 12, 1990 - Rawlings, Wyoming - Arrested for auto theft. Sent to prison and was released in January 1991.
    • December 1991 - Marianna, Florida - Bludgeoned to death Teresa Hall, 28, and her five-year-old daughter.
    • March and April 1992 - Charleston, South Carolina - Arrested for public drunkenness.
    • May 13, 1992 - Charleston, West Virginia - Imprisoned for raping, beating and stabbing a 20-year-old woman who survived the attack. Sentenced to two 10-year prison terms. He was released in May 1977.
    • October 13, 1997 - Lawrenceville, Illinois - Attacked Julie Rea Harper and stabbed to death 10-year-old Joel Kirkpatrick.
    • October 1997 - Springfield, Missouri - Kidnapped, raped and strangled to death 13-year-old Stephanie Mahaney.
    • October 1998 - Del Rio, Texas - Married a woman with three children. Separated for two weeks in February 1999 and again in late March 1999.
    • March 30, 1999 - Del Rio, Texas - Raped and murdered Debbie Harris, 28 and eight-year-old Ambria Harris.
    • April 18, 1999 - San Antonio, Texas - Raped and strangled nine-year-old Mary Perez.
    • May 13, 1999 - Lexington, Kentucky - Raped and murdered 13-year-old Haley McHone, then sold her bicycle for $20.
    • Mid-May to June 24, 1999 - Madison, Wisconsin - Jailed for drunk and disorderly conduct.
    • July 3, 1999 - Kingfisher, Oklahoma - Shot to death 14-year-old Bobbie Lynn Wofford.
    • December 31, 1999 - Sells final murder - 13-year-old Kaylene Harris and attempted murder of 10-year-old Krystal Surles.

    Trial and Sentencing

    On September 18, 2000, Sells pleaded guilty and was convicted of the capital murder of Kaylene Harris and attempted murder of Krystal Surles. He was sentenced to death.

    On September 17, 2003, Sells was indicted for the 1997 Greene County, Missouri murder of Stephanie Mahaney.

    Also in 2003, Sells pleaded guilty to strangling to death, nine-year-old Mary Bea Perez of San Antonio, for which he received a life sentence.

    Execution

    Sells was executed in Texas on April 3, 2014, at 6:27 p.m. CST by lethal injection. He declined to make a final statement.

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                70 years ago on this date, April 5, 1945, SS Colonel Karl-Otto Koch was executed by firing squad. I will post information about this SS Colonel from Wikipediaand other links.


    SS-Sturmbannführer Koch

    Born
    August 2, 1897
    Darmstadt, Grand Duchy of Hesse
    Died
    April 5, 1945 (aged 47)
    Buchenwald concentration camp, Germany
    Allegiance
     German Empire (to 1918)
     Weimar Republic (to 1933) 
    Service/branch
    Schutzstaffel
    SS-Totenkopfverbände
    Years of service
    1916-1945
    Rank
    SS-Standartenführer
    Commands held
    Awards
    World War I Iron Cross 2. Class
    World War I Observer's Badge
    World War I Wound Badge in Black
    Spouse(s)
    Ilse Köhler (m. 1936)

    Karl-Otto Koch (German: [kɔχ]; August 2, 1897 – April 5, 1945), a Standartenführer (Colonel) in the German Schutzstaffel(SS), was the first commandant of the Nazi concentration camps at Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen. From September 1941 until August 1942 Koch also served as the first commandant of the Majdanek concentration camp in occupied Poland, stealing vast amounts of valuables and money from murdered Jews.

    Life

    Koch was born in Darmstadt, Grand Duchy of Hesse on August 2, 1897. His father worked in local registrar's office and died when Karl was only eight years old. After completing elementary school in 1912, Koch began studying business and worked as a messenger and an apprentice in a bookkeeping department in a local factory. In 1916, he volunteered to join the army and fought on the Western Front until he was captured by the British in 1918. Koch spent the rest of the war as a POW and returned to Germany in 1919. As a soldier, he conducted himself well and was awarded the Iron Cross Second Class, the Observer's Badge and the Wound Badge in Black. Following World War I, Koch worked as an accounting supervisor in a bank and later in the same role in an insurance company. In 1931, Karl-Otto Koch joined the NSDAP and the Schutzstaffel.

    Service with the SS

    Koch served with several SS-Standarten until June 13, 1935, when he became commander of the Columbia concentration camp in Berlin-Tempelhof. In April 1936 he was assigned to the concentration camp at Esterwegen. Four months later he was moved to Sachsenhausen. On August 1, 1937, he was given command of the new concentration camp at Buchenwald. He remained at Buchenwald until September 1941, when he was transferred to the Majdanek concentration camp for POWs. That was largely due to an investigation based on allegations of his improper conduct at Buchenwald, which included corruption, fraud, embezzlement, drunkenness, sexual offences and a murder. Koch commanded the Majdanek camp for only one year; he was relieved from his duties after 86 Soviet POWs escaped from the camp in August 1942. Koch was charged with criminal negligence and transferred to Berlin, where he worked at the SS Personalhauptamt and as a liaison between the SS and the German Post-Office.

    Prosecution and death

    Koch's actions at Buchenwaldfirst caught the attention of SS-Obergruppenführer Josias, Prince of Waldeck and Pyrmont in 1941. In glancing over the death list of Buchenwald, Josias had stumbled across the name of Dr. Walter Krämer, a head hospital orderly at Buchenwald, which he recognized because Krämer had successfully treated him in the past. Josias investigated the case and found out that Koch, in a position as the Camp Commandant, had ordered Krämer and Karl Peixof, a hospital attendant, killed as "political prisoners" because they had treated him for syphilis and he feared it might be discovered. Waldeck also received reports that a certain prisoner had been shot while attempting to escape. By that time, Koch had been transferred to the Majdanekconcentration camp in Poland, but his wife, Ilse, was still living at the Commandant's house in Buchenwald. Waldeck ordered a full-scale investigation of the camp by Dr. Georg Konrad Morgen, an SS officer who was a judge in a German court. Throughout the investigation, more of Koch's orders to kill prisoners at the camp were revealed, as well as embezzlement of property stolen from prisoners. It was also discovered that a prisoner who was "shot while trying to escape" had been told to get water from a well some distance from the camp, and he was shot from behind. He had also helped treat Koch for syphilis. A charge of incitement to murder was lodged by Prince Waldeck and Dr. Morgen against Koch, to which were later added charges of embezzlement. Other camp officials were charged, including Koch's wife. The trial resulted in Koch being sentenced to death for disgracing both himself and the SS. Koch was executed by firing squad on 5 April 1945, one week before American allied troops arrived to liberate the camp.

    Family

    Koch first married in 1924 and had one son; however, his marriage ended in divorce 1931, due to his infidelity. On May 25, 1936 Koch married Ilse Kochnée Margarete Ilse Köhler, with whom he had a son and two daughters. Köhler later became known as "The Witch of Buchenwald" (Die Hexe von Buchenwald), usually rendered more alliteratively in English as "The Bitch of Buchenwald." When Koch was transferred to Buchenwald, Ilse was appointed an Oberaufseherin (overseer) by the SS and thus had an active, official role in the atrocities committed there. She was known for extreme cruelty to prisoners.

    Ranks and promotions

     

    Koch's SS Ranks
    Date
    Rank
    15 March 1934