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                70 years ago on this date, April 15, 1945, the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp is liberated. I will post information about this concentration camp from Wikipediaand other links.


    Memorial stone at the entrance to the historical camp area

    Coordinates
    52°45′28″N9°54′28″ECoordinates: 52°45′28″N9°54′28″E
    Location
    Lower Saxony, Northern Germany
    Operated by
    German Army, later Schutzstaffel(SS)
    Commandant
    • Adolf Haas (de)
      (April 1943 – 2 December 1944)
    • Josef Kramer
      (2 December 1944 – 15 April 1945)
    Original use
    Prisoner of war camp, later civilian internment camp
    Operational
    1940–1945
    Inmates
    Jews, Poles, Soviets, Dutch, Czechs, Germans, Austrians
    Killed
    unknown (estimated at 50,000 or more in the concentration camp alone)
    Liberated by
    United Kingdom and Canada, April 15, 1945
    Website

    Bergen-Belsen(or Belsen) was a Nazi concentration camp in what is today Lower Saxony in northern Germany, southwest of the town of Bergennear Celle. Originally established as a prisoner of war camp, in 1943, parts of it became a concentration camp. Initially this was an "exchange camp", where Jewish hostages were held with the intention of exchanging them for German prisoners of war held overseas. The camp was later expanded to accommodate Jews from other concentration camps.

    After 1945, the name was applied to the displaced persons camp established nearby, but it is most commonly associated with the concentration camp. From 1941 to 1945, almost 20,000 Soviet prisoners of war and a further 50,000 inmates died there, with up to 35,000 of them dying of typhus in the first few months of 1945, shortly before and after the liberation.

    The camp was liberated on April 15, 1945, by the British 11th Armoured Division. The soldiers discovered approximately 60,000 prisoners inside, most of them half-starved and seriously ill, and another 13,000 corpses lying around the camp unburied. The horrors of the camp, documented on film and in pictures, made the name "Belsen" emblematic of Nazicrimes in general for public opinion in many countries in the immediate post-1945 period. Today, there is a memorial with an exhibition hall at the site.

    1Operation

    1.1Prisoner of war camp

    1.2Concentration camp

    1.2.1Außenlager (satellite camps)

    1.2.2Treatment of prisoners and deaths in the camp

    2Liberation

    3Aftermath

    3.1Legal prosecution

    3.2Memorial

    4Personal accounts

    5Media
    • The Relief of Belsen (2007 film)
    • Frontline: "Memory of the Camps" (May 7, 1985, Season 3, Episode 18), is a 56-minute television documentary that addresses Bergen-Belsen and other Nazi concentration camps
    • Memorandum (1965 film)
    OTHER LINKS:








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                Ten years ago on this date, April 15, 2005, Nashi, a political youth movement, was formed. I will post information about this Russian Youth Organization from Wikipedia.



    Motto
    Who if not us
    Formation
    15 April 2005
    Type
    Political youth movement
    Purpose
    Sovereign democracy, Anti-fascism, Anti-liberal, street protests in support of Vladimir Putin, the struggle with the color revolutions in Russia.
    Headquarters
    Membership
    150,000
    Official language
    Russian
    leader of the movement
    Main organ
    Website
    groups
    Remarks
    Color groups: Red, blue, green

    Nashi(Russian: Молодежное демократическое aнтифашистское движение «Наши», Molodezhnoye demokraticheskoye antifashistskoye dvizhenye "Nashi" Youth Democratic Anti-Fascist Movement "Ours!"') is a political youth movement in Russia, which declares itself to be a democratic, anti-fascist, anti-'oligarchic-capitalist' movement. Its creation was encouraged by senior figures in the Russian Presidential administration, and by late 2007, it had grown in size to some 120,000 members aged between 17 and 25. On April 6, 2012, the leader of Nashi announced that the movement would be dissolving in the near future, possibly to be replaced by a different organisation. He stated that the movement had been "compromised" during the recent presidential election.

    In 2008, the movement was divided into groups: Nashi-2.0, Steel, All Houses, Nasha Victory and other.

    Western critics have compared it to the Soviet Komsomol or the Hitler Youth and dubbed as Putinjugend.

    Foundation

    Beliefs and goals

    Events and incidents

    Annual Camp Seliger

    Criticism

    Payments

    Allegations of spying on opposition groups

    The creation of a political party


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  • 04/17/15--05:56: THE KHMER ROUGE

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    “A drug dealer’s crime is of the same magnitude as that of a terrorist. It’s just that terrorist’s bomb, like those in the Bali Nightclubs in 2002, killed 202 people in one night – the impact is sudden. The evil effects of drug takes longer to manifest themselves but are just as deadly, and, in many ways, more deadly, as they affect generations to come.”

    - Judge Arif Supratman


                Ten years ago on this date, April 17, 2005, nine Australians were arrested in Denpansar, Bali, Indonesia for drug trafficking. I will post information about these drug traffickers from Wikipedia.


    Bali Nine members (top L-R) Myuran Sukumaran, Andrew Chan and Martin Eric Stephens, 2nd row (from L-R) Chen Si Yi, Tach Duc Thanh Nguyen and Matthew Norman, and 3rd row (from L-R) Scott Rush, Michael Czugaj and Renae Lawrence. Picture: SuppliedSource: News Limited


    Nationality
    Criminal penalty
    Criminal status
    • Chen, Czugaj, Lawrence, Nguyen, Norman, Rush and Stephens: Imprisoned
    • Chan, Sukumaran: Imprisoned awaiting the execution by firing squad

    Imprisoned at
    The Bali Nine is the name given to a group of nine Australians arrested on 17 April 2005 in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia, for planning to smuggle 8.3 kg (18 lb) of heroin valued at around A$4 million (3.1 million US dollars) from Indonesia to Australia. Andrew Chan, Si Yi Chen, Michael Czugaj, Renae Lawrence, Tan Duc Thanh Nguyen, Matthew Norman, Scott Rush, Martin Stephens and Myuran Sukumaran, faced the death penalty or life in prison if convicted.

    On 13 February 2006, Lawrence and Rush, the first of the nine to face sentencing, were sentenced to life imprisonment. The next day, Czugaj and Stephens were sentenced to life imprisonment, and the group ringleaders, Chan and Sukumaran, were sentenced to death by firing squad, the first ever death sentences imposed by the Denpasar District Court. The other three, Norman, Chen and Nguyen were all sentenced to life imprisonment on 15 February 2006. On 26 April 2006, Lawrence, Nguyen, Chen, and Norman appealed and had their sentences reduced to 20 years, while the life sentences for Czugaj and Stephens were upheld. Prosecutors launched appeals against the changes in their sentences.

    On 6 September 2006, it was revealed that as a result of appeals brought by prosecutors and heard by the Supreme Court, Chen had the death penalty reimposed after his reduced sentence of life imprisonment was overturned. Rush, Nguyen and Norman also had their appeal verdicts overturned and the death penalty imposed. The new death sentences were unexpected. Prosecutors, in their appeals against the 20-year terms faced by most of the nine, had only called for them to be upgraded to life imprisonment. Czugaj's life sentence, after being reduced to 20 years on appeal, was reinstated. Stephens' life sentence was upheld on appeal as were Sukumaran's and Chan's death sentences. Lawrence had not lodged a further appeal to her 20-year sentence, so her sentence was not rejudged.

    On 6 March 2008, it was revealed that three of the four Bali 9 (Norman, Chen and Nguyen) who were issued death sentences on appeal had their sentences reduced to life imprisonment. The reduction has not been officially announced but court sources have confirmed that the judges have decided to spare their lives. In August 2010, Rush launched his final appeal to overturn the death penalty, and was granted a judicial review, which commenced on 18 August 2010. On 10 May 2011, Rush's appeal was successful as his sentence was reduced to life imprisonment. On 21 September 2010, the leaders of the drug smuggling ring, Chan and Sukumaran appealed against their pending death-row sentence and to reduce their jail time to 20 years, instead of the previous life sentence. On 17 June 2011, it was announced that Chan's final judicial appeal was rejected on 10 May. On 7 July 2011 it was announced that Sukumaran's final judicial appeal was dismissed. On 10 December 2014, the President of Indonesia Joko Widodo stated in a speech that he will not approve any clemencies for drug offences. On 30 December, Sukumaran's plea for clemency was rejected; and Chan's plea for clemency was rejected on 22 January 2015. Both Sukumaran and Chan are currently in Kerobokan Prison awaiting the completion of their sentence via execution, having exhausted all appeal opportunities.

    In January 2015 Australia's prime minister, Tony Abbott, together with Australia's minister for foreign affairs, Julie Bishop, made representations to Jokowi and Indonesia's foreign minister, Retno Marsudi, for clemency in the commutation of Sukumaran and Chan's sentences.

    Sukumaran and Chan were expected to be executed on the Indonesian penal island of Nusa Kambangan by the end of March 2015. Together with consular officials from France, Brazil, Nigeria and the Philippines, representatives from the Australian embassy attended a foreign affairs ministry briefing on procedural matters concerning the executions.

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                 20 years ago on this date, April 19, 1995, the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA, was bombed, killing 168. I will post information about this case from Wikipedia and other links.


    The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building two days after the bombing
     
    Location
    35°28′22.4″N97°31′01″WCoordinates: 35°28′22.4″N97°31′01″W
    Date
    Wednesday April 19, 1995
    9:02 am CDT (UTC-05:00)
    Target
    U.S. federal government
    Attack type
    Deaths
    168 confirmed + 1 suspected
    Non-fatal injuries
    680+
    Perpetrators
    Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols
    Motive
    Retaliation for the Ruby Ridge and Waco sieges

    The Oklahoma City bombing was a domestic terroristbomb attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995. Carried out by Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, the bombing killed 168 people and injured more than 680 others. The blast destroyed or damaged 324 buildings within a 16-block radius, destroyed or burned 86 cars, and shattered glass in 258 nearby buildings, causing at least an estimated $652 million worth of damage. Extensive rescue efforts were undertaken by local, state, federal, and worldwide agencies in the wake of the bombing, and substantial donations were received from across the country. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) activated eleven of its Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces, consisting of 665 rescue workers who assisted in rescue and recovery operations.

    Within 90 minutes of the explosion, McVeigh was stopped by Oklahoma State Trooper Charlie Hanger for driving without a license plate and arrested for illegal weapons possession. Forensic evidence quickly linked McVeigh and Nichols to the attack; Nichols was arrested, and within days both were charged. Michael and Lori Fortier were later identified as accomplices. McVeigh, an American militia movementsympathizer who was a Gulf War veteran, had detonated a Ryder rental truck full of explosives parked in front of the building. McVeigh's co-conspirator, Nichols, had assisted in the bomb preparation. Motivated by his hatred of the federal government and angered by its handling of the 1993 Waco siege and the Ruby Ridge incident in 1992, McVeigh timed his attack to coincide with the second anniversary of the deadly fire that ended the siege at Waco.

    The official investigation, known as "OKBOMB", saw FBI agents conduct 28,000 interviews, amass 3.5 short tons (3.2 t) of evidence, and collect nearly one billion pieces of information. The bombers were tried and convicted in 1997. McVeigh was executed by lethal injection on June 11, 2001, and Nichols was sentenced to life in prison. Michael and Lori Fortier testified against McVeigh and Nichols; Michael was sentenced to 12 years in prison for failing to warn the United States government, and Lori received immunity from prosecution in exchange for her testimony.

    As a result of the bombing, the U.S. Congress passed the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, which tightened the standards for habeas corpus in the United States, as well as legislation designed to increase the protection around federal buildings to deter future terrorist attacks. On April 19, 2000, the Oklahoma City National Memorial was dedicated on the site of the Murrah Federal Building, commemorating the victims of the bombing. Annual remembrance services are held at the same time of day as the explosion occurred.


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    On this date, 19 April 1996, an English Serial killer, John Martin Scripps was executed by hanging at Changi Prison in Singapore for the murder of South African tourist, Gerard Lowe. He was the last Englishman to die by the gallows.


    John Martin Scripps

                Please go to this previous blog post to learn more.


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                On this date, 19 April 2010, a murderer, Carl Williams, from Melbourne, Australia was murdered in HM Prison Barwon by a lifer, Matthew Johnson.


    Victim, Carl Williams



    Murderer, Matthew Johnson


    A CCTV still shows Carl Williams sitting at a table unaware that he was about to be bludgeoned to death


    Please go to this previous blog post to learn more.

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    Shannon M. Johnson was executed by lethal injection in Delaware on this date, April 20, 2012 for the murder of Cameron Hamlin on September 24, 2006. He was put to death only after six years of the murder as he needed a suicide assist. Please go to this previous blog post to learn more.


    Shannon M. Johnson


    Victim, Cameron Hamlin


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                On this date, April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 13 people and injured 21 others before committing suicide at Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado. I will post information about these two killers from Wikipedia and other links. 

    PHOTO SOURCE: http://criminalminds.wikia.com/wiki/Eric_Harris_and_Dylan_Klebold

    Eric David Harris (April 9, 1981 – April 20, 1999) and Dylan Bennet Klebold (September 11, 1981 – April 20, 1999) were the two American high school seniors who committed the Columbine High School massacre. The pair killed 13 people and injured 24 others, three of whom were injured as they escaped the attack. The two then committed suicide in the library, where they had killed 10 of their victims.



    OTHER LINKS:



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  • 04/19/15--13:21: Der Stürmer


  •             On this date, April 20, 1923, the Tabloid Format Nazi Newspaper, Der Stürmerwas founded. I will post information about this Nazi Propaganda from Wikipedia and other links.

    REMINDER: Keep in mind, I am not antisemitic and I have Jewish friends too. I do it for educational purposes. The pictures of Der Stürmerare very disturbing but I post them to remind people not to repeat history again.



    Photo of front page of Der Stürmer, dated May 1934, which is on permanent display at the Jewish Museum, Berlin. Subject matter is the Blood libel against Jews. Accompanying text reads:

    "Der Stürmer, a weekly magazine published by Julius Streicher, was the most vile anti-Semitic publication of the National Socialist period. This special edition was dedicated to the practice of ritual murder ascribed to the Jews. The authors presented their prejudices as fact in order to intensify anti-Semitic hatred towards the 'murderers of Christ.' This accusation, which emerged in the Middle Ages, maligned Jews as 'murderers' of Christian children for ritualistic purposes. Der Stürmer attempted to keep this old prejudice alive by citing alleged current examples"
     
    Type
    Weekly newspaper
    Format
    Tabloid
    Publisher
    Founded
    April 20, 1923
    Political alignment
    Language
    German
    Ceased publication
    1945
    Headquarters
    Nazi Germany
    Circulation
    480,000 (1938)

    Der Stürmer(pronounced[deːɐ̯ ˈʃtʏʁmɐ], lit. "the Attacker") was a weekly tabloid-format Nazi newspaper published by Julius Streicher (a prominent official in the Nazi Party) from 1923 to the end of World War II, with brief suspensions in publication due to legal difficulties. It was a significant part of Nazi propaganda and was vehemently antisemitic. Unlike the Völkischer Beobachter (translatable as The People's Observer), the official party paper which gave itself an outwardly serious appearance, Der Stürmer often ran obscene material such as antisemitic caricatures of Jews and accusations of blood libel, plus sexually explicit, anti-Catholic, anti-Communist, anti-capitalist and anti-monarchist propaganda also too.

    The newspaper originated at Nuremberg during Hitler's attempt to establish power and control. During the struggle to achieve power, Streicher was accused by the opposition of the Nazi party as being "a liar, a coward, of having unsavory friends, mistreating his wife and of flirting with women". Despite the accusations, the first copy of Der Stürmer was published April 20, 1923. Der Stürmer’s circulation grew over time, distributing to a large percentage of the German population as well as Argentina, Brazil, Canada and the United States.

    Between August 1941 and September 1944, Streicher authorized articles demanding the annihilation and extermination of the Jewish race. After the war, he was convicted of crimes against humanity and executed.


    Boys in front of a Stürmerkasten, the public stands in cities featuring Der Stürmer during Nazi Germany

    German boys read an issue of the Stuermer newspaper that is posted in a display box at the entrance to a Nazi party headquarters (Ortsgruppe Mitte der NSDAP) in the Dresden region.

    The German slogan at the bottom of the display box reads, "The Jews are our misfortune."
    Racist caricatures

    Der Stürmerwas best known for its effective antisemitic caricatures, which depicted Jews as ugly characters with exaggerated facial features and misshapen bodies. In his propaganda work, Streicher furthered old myths from the Middle Ages, e.g., that Jews killed children, sacrificed them and drank their blood. The large majority of these drawings were the work of Philipp Rupprecht, known as Fips, who was one of the best-known anti-Semitic cartoonists of the "Third Reich". Through the adaptation and amalgamation of almost every existing anti-Semitic stereotype, myth and tradition, Rupprecht's virulent attacks aimed predominantly at the dehumanization and demonization of Jews.

    At the bottom of the title page there was always the motto "Die Juden sind unser Unglück!" ("The Jews are our misfortune!"), coined by Heinrich von Treitschke in the 1880s. In the nameplate was the motto "Deutsches Wochenblatt zum Kampfe um die Wahrheit" ("German Weekly Newspaper in the Fight for Truth").


    German citizens, publicly reading Der Stürmer, in Worms, 1933. The billboard heading reads: "With the Stürmer against Judea"
    Circulation

    Most of its readers were young people and people from the lowest strata of German society. Copies of Der Stürmer were displayed in prominent display cases throughout the Reich; as well as advertising the publication, these cases also allowed its articles to reach those readers who either did not have time to buy and read a daily newspaper in depth, or could not afford the expense. In 1927, it sold about 27,000 copies every week; by 1935, its circulation had increased to around 480,000.

    Hermann Göring forbade Der Stürmer in all of his departments, and Baldur von Schirachbanned it as a means of education in the Hitler Youth hostels and other education facilities by a "Reichsbefehl"("Reich command"). However, other senior Nazi officials, including Heinrich Himmler (head of the SS), Robert Ley (leader of the German Labour Front), and Max Amann (proprietor of the Zentral Verlag (Central Press), comprising 80% of the German press in 1942), endorsed the publication, and their statements were often published in the paper. Albert Forster, Gauleiter of Danzig (now Gdańsk), wrote in 1937:


    "With pleasure I say that the Stürmer, more than any other daily or weekly newspaper, has made clear to the people in simple ways the danger of Jewry. Without Julius Streicher and his Stürmer, the importance of a solution to the Jewish question would not be seen to be as critical as it actually is by many citizens. It is therefore to be hoped that those who want to learn [the] unvarnished truth about the Jewish question will read the Stürmer."


    Hitler considered Streicher's "primitive methods" to be effective in influencing "the man in the street." In December 1941 he stated: "Streicher is reproached for his Stürmer. The truth is the opposite of what people say: he idealised the Jew. The Jew is baser, fiercer, more diabolical than Streicher depicted him." In February 1942, he praised the newspaper: "One must never forget the services rendered by the Stürmer... Now that Jews are known for what they are, nobody any longer thinks that Streicher libelled them."

    Hermann Rauschning, who claimed to be Hitler's confidant, said in the mid-1930s:


    "Anti-Semitism ... was beyond question the most important weapon in [Hitler's] propagandist arsenal, and almost everywhere it was of deadly efficiency. That was why he had allowed Streicher, for example, a free hand. The man's stuff, too, was amusing, and very cleverly done. Wherever, he wondered, did Streicher get his constant supply of new material? He, Hitler, was simply on thorns to see each new issue of the Stürmer. It was the one periodical that he always read with pleasure, from the first page to the last".


    During the war, the paper's circulation dropped because of paper shortages, as well as Streicher's exile from Nuremberg for corruption. More ominously, because of the Holocaust, the people it targeted had begun to disappear from everyday life, which diminished the paper's relevance. Hitler, however, insisted that Streicher receive sufficient support to continue publishing Der Stürmer.

    After the war, Streicher was tried at the Nuremberg trials. His publishing and speaking activities were a major part of the evidence presented against him. In essence, the prosecutors took the line that Streicher's role in inciting Germans to exterminate Jews, made him an accessory to murder, and thus as culpable as those who actually carried out the killing. Prosecutors also introduced evidence that Streicher continued his incendiary articles and speeches when he was well aware that Jews were being slaughtered. Streicher was found guilty of crimes against humanity and hanged.

    Antisemitic content

    According to Dennis Showalter, "a major challenge of political anti-Semitism involves overcoming the images of the 'Jew next door'— the living, breathing acquaintance or associate whose simple existence appears to deny the validity of that negative stereotype."Der Stürmer's lurid content appealed to a large spectrum of readers who were lower class and less-sophisticated. Der Stürmer was known for its use of simple themes that took little thought. Streicher attacks the Jews in three categories:


    Poster showing Rassenschande("racial shame") ca. 1935.
    Sexual crimes

    Stories of Jewish men and German women having sex were staples of Der Stürmer but many were creations of Streicher's imagination, derived from little fact, or random occurrences. Streicher described Jews as sex offenders who were "violators of the innocent", "perpetrators of bizarre sex crimes", and "ritual murderers" performed in religious ceremonies using blood of other humans, usually Christians. Streicher also frequently reported attempts of child molestation by Jews. Der Stürmer never lacked details about sex, names, and crimes in order to keep readers aroused and entertained. These accusations, articles and crimes printed in Der Stürmer were often inaccurate and rarely investigated by staff members.

    In the newspaper's opinion, if a German girl became pregnant by a Jew, the Jew would deny paternity, offer to pay for an abortion, fail to pay child support, or simply leave for the U.S. Within Der Stürmer it was not uncommon to hear reports of German women killing their children because they did not want to bring a "Jewish bastard into the world".


    1934 Stürmer issue: "Storm above Judah" - criticizing institutional churches as "Judaized" organizations. Caption: I called the Jews a cursed people, but you have made out of them the Elect Nation.
    Business life

    "For Julius Streicher the Jews hatred for Christianity was concealed only for one reason: Business." Jewish businessmen were often portrayed as doing almost anything to obtain financial wealth which included, in his words, "become a usurer, a traitor, a murderer". In the summer of 1931, Streicher focused much of the paper's attention on a Jewish owned butchery. One philanthropic merchant operated a soup kitchen; Der Stürmer ran articles accusing the business of poisoning the food served. Der Stürmer criticized and twisted every single price increase and decrease in Jewish shops, as well as their charitable donations as a further form of financial greed. This attack on Jewish benevolence received the most public criticism out of all of Der Stürmer's antisemitic propaganda.


    “This is how he came to Germany! They all looked like this when they came to Germany from the East. But things soon changed. They stuck their crooked noses into everything; they took over everything and before long they were in charge. Their goal is to establish Jewish world domination.

    It is, therefore, absolutely necessary that each German leans the true face of Pan-Jewry so that he can understand how great the danger is that threatens our people from this race.

    People’s comrade! The Stürmer educates you about Jewish racial laws. Read it regularly and thoroughly and you will soon be persuaded that the Jews are our misfortune.”
    Jewish neighbors

    Der Stürmeroften gave descriptions of how to know a Jew when one sees one. The paper often included racist political cartoons, including caricatures. Besides the graphic depictions, articles often focused on imaginary fears, exaggerations and behavioral differences between Jews and other German citizens.

    Letter box

    Its "Letter Box" encouraged the reporting of Jewish acts; the unofficial style helped prevent suspicion of propaganda, and lent it an air of authenticity.

    OTHER LINKS:











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    70 years ago on this date, April 20, 1945, on Hitler’s 56th (and last) birthday, Hitler made his last trip from the Führerbunker("Führer's shelter") to the surface. In the ruined garden of the Reich Chancellery, he awarded Iron Crossesto boy soldiers of the Hitler Youth, who were now fighting the Red Army at the front near Berlin.

    I will post two articles of former Hitler Youth members:




    I Shook Hitler’s Hand

    Written by Anton Schreiner

    I was born in 1930 and raised in the region of Mühlviertel in northeastern Austria. 

    In 1938 Hitler annexed Austria. Our region was terribly poor. When Hitler came we did better, so we were very excited. Hitler also brought organization and purpose.  At eight years old, I and the other children had to join the Hitlerjugend (Hitler Youth), where we were raised in strict military style. Hitler even gave us a beautiful National Socialist uniform. Before that I only had miserable poor clothes. 

    I was proud to be in the Hitler Youth. I was Catholic, but the Nazis taught us that religion was nonsense. And we were taught that the Jews were to blame for wars and all the problems in the world. I was in Linz, the capital of the province of Hitler’s birth, when the Nazis burned down the synagogue in November 1938. 

    When I was eight, Hitler traveled through my home village of Bad Leonfelden. I was wearing my new uniform and holding the golden book of the city that Hitler signed. He tousled my hair and caressed my cheek, then got into his car and went on.

    Five years later, the director of my school recommended me for an honor for my work in the Hitlerjugend. I was invited to Hitler’s home in Berchtesgarten, Germany, on the Austrian border.  I shook Hitler’s hand. Goring, Bormann and Himmler were there. When I started to pet Hitler’s Wolfhund (German Shepherd), Hitler said, “Do not touch the dog! It is trained to guard.” But I had already begun to caress the dog, and the dog was docile toward me. Hitler was amazed and told me the dog’s name, which at the time was kept secret. I have since forgotten the name of the dog! Hitler spent an hour or two chatting with me. He was very friendly toward me because I was from his home region, and he asked me all kinds of questions. 

    I was in Linz during the Allied bombing from August 1943 until the end of the war. After one bombing raid, I was buried in a pile of rubble, but emerged unharmed. Soon after the last big attack on Linz, the war ended. I heard on the radio, “Today our beloved leader Adolf Hitler fell in the honorable fight over Berlin.” I was devastated. Weeks later we learned that Hitler was not killed in action but had committed suicide. As Hitlerjugend, our slogan was “Hart wie Grubstahl, zäh wie Leder, flink wie Windhunde” (hard as steel, tough as leather, swift as a greyhound). Now I saw that Hitler was a coward and had lied to us. It was over for me with National Socialism.

    I was caught by the Russians. Since I had held a high position in the Hitler Youth, the Russians wanted to convert me to communism as a trophy from fascism. I was imprisoned for six months and then served three years of forced labor. They tried to brainwash me to believe in communism, but I was not very interested. However, I learned a lot about the Jews from them. The Russians were mostly against the Jews, but I also heard about other things which the Jews did well. So I was no longer that much of a Jew hater. I eventually became a Russian soldier and worked for the KGB. I even met Stalin and had vodka with him and his senior staff when he came through town. Everyone got drunk. 

    After my military service, when I was in my early 30s, I traveled to Greece, Beirut, Damascus, Amman (Jordan) and Jerusalem. For some reason, I suddenly became very interested in learning if Jesus was really born in Bethlehem, so I went there as well. I became ill in Israel, with a severe intestinal problem that forced me to go to a hospital when I returned to Austria.

    Once my health returned, I began to travel again. I had a passion for mountaineering. I climbed the Matterhorn three times as well as Mont Blanc. I also explored many religions, including Hinduism, Zen and Islam. Islam attracted me the most, but as I followed events in Israel, it seemed to me that the Jewish people wanted peace, but the Arab governments that surrounded them wanted war. As Arafat and other militant Palestinian leaders organized terror attacks, I became more and more sympathetic to the Jewish people. 

    After spending a night camping on a cold mountain, my hearing was permanently damaged. In the hospital, I was filling out forms with a doctor to get hearing aids. The doctor had to fill in my religion. I told him I have no religion and did not believe in anything.

    The doctor invited me to a Bible study at his church, and I accepted. The Old Testament captured my interest, especially with all the history it contains.

    Then someone invited me to a talk by a Messianic Jew (one who believes in Jesus). After his talk, I had a two- hour discussion with him. He explained that the Jews are human beings, not sub-humans as I had been taught. They make mistakes like all of us, but they are the chosen people of God. By the end of our talk, I had become a friend of the Jews. This man also showed me how many of the promises in the Hebrew Scriptures had been fulfilled, including some which he said were about Jesus.

    In 2003 while hiking in Zurich, I fell into a crevasse, a crack in a glacier. I was saved just before I froze to death. When I saw the doctor, I said, “I guess I was lucky!” The doctor said, “No, it was not luck. It was the One above.” This was when I began to think that perhaps God  does exist after all.

    As I continued to study the Bible (Old andNew Testaments), I came to believe that Jesus really is the Son of God and the Messiah of the Jewish people. In 2007 I traveled to Israel for the Feast of Tabernacles and was baptized in the Jordan River. 

    As impossible as it may seem given my background, I now truly love Israel and the Jewish people. I wear a small pendant that is a replica of the high priest’s breastplate with the names of the tribes of Israel. One thing I especially admire about the Israelis is that they pick up those who are ill and injured and bring them into their hospitals and care for them—even those who are their sworn enemies. They do the most difficult surgeries on children, including heart surgeries, even on the children of those who again and again say they will push the Jews into the sea.

    What does Jesus say in the Sermon on the Mount about loving our enemies? If we would all do these things, we would have paradise on earth.

    Sadly, anti-Semitism is still very much alive in Austria. When I am able, I take part in public debates and conferences and defend Israel. Many times the anti-Semites are not willing to listen to my points and tell me to be quiet. In some cases they have accused me of being Jewish!

    Many Jewish people are afraid to open the New Testament because of what so-called “Christians” have done in the name of Jesus. But the Jewish people need to read the New Testament to learn about Jesus, that he is Jewish, born in Israel, and that he truly does love each one of us—even me, who shook Hitler’s hand.

    Ex-Nazi Youth Member Recalls the Final Days of Adolf Hitler

    WWII: As a teenager, he was assigned to the dictator's bunker for the last 10 days of the war. Now 73, he's written a book about his experiences.

    August 19, 2001|BRUCE OLSON | REUTERS

    WALDPORT, Ore. — In the morning, Armin Lehmann gets out of bed and uses two crutches to make his way to the bathtub, where he soaks in scalding water so he can walk.



    In this way he's not unique, for he's an aging veteran who still suffers from wounds received in World War II. But in another way, this 73-year-old retired travel executive is far different from other veterans. 

    For Armin Lehmann spent the last 10 days of the war in a bunker with Adolf Hitler, Eva Braun, Joseph Goebbels, Martin Bormann and the dozens of other Nazis during the Battle of Berlin.

    He was Hitler's last courier, a 16-year-old member of the Hitler Youth who ran back and forth across bloody Wilhelmstrasse from the Fuehrerbunker to Nazi Party headquarters, carrying water, medicine, and messages. "I wasn't fearless," Lehmann writes in his book, "Hitler's Last Courier.""But I was able to conquer my fears. I was miserable, but like a soldier I didn't buckle under the cries, the screams and the shouts around me. I parted with those horrors inside me and maintained as valiant a state of mind as possible."

    Thousands of miles away and 56 years later, Lehmann sits in his airy living room a few hundred yards from the Pacific in this small Oregon town, 150 miles southwest of Portland.

    He speaks of nightmares, of piles of bodies. He speaks softly, with traces of a German accent. He runs a hand through his gray hair, shifting on his couch, looking for a comfortable position. "I had to be a good boy, obedient. My father was straight Prussian, and he never repented. Even in '46 he said the Jews had themselves to blame," Lehmann said.

    Lehmann's father was a car salesman who joined the Nazi Party and became a propagandist in Hitler's intelligence unit. The Nazis made him feel important. He had money, he wore a uniform.

    Lehmann's father beat him, mocked him as a "washrag" and forced him to carry a medicine ball to become strong. On April 20, 1938, at age 9, Armin Lehmann was initiated into the Hitler Youth.

    Jews and communists were identified as enemies of the state. Theories of the master race were drilled into the young members. No one contradicted the teachers. By April 20, 1945, Lehmann, then 16, had been wounded at the eastern front, earning a medal for bravery. He was selected by Hitler Youth leader Artur Axmann to serve Hitler in the bunker.

    Lehmann puts his feet on a cushion in his living room, his voice rising. "I had seen Hitler in '38. He looked tall to me then, powerful. But when I saw him there in the bunker he had aged 20 years." Lehmann stands stiffly, curling his shoulders forward. "Hitler hunched like this," he said. "There were black circles under his eyes, his hand trembled, he tried to hold his uniform coat with his other hand so we didn't see him tremble."

    Hitler spoke to a group including nine new couriers that day--his 56th birthday. He shook Lehmann's hand and Lehmann could see Hitler's eyes were "filled with moisture, perhaps because he was taking some kind of drug."

    Hitler spoke of a new weapon and said it was imperative that everyone keep fighting with an "iron will." For 10 days Lehmann lived in a world without day or night, a world of constant danger that filled his mind with ghastly images.

    On April 30, Axmann told Lehmann that Hitler was dead.

    Lehmann was the last German runner at his post when the war ended. He broke out of the bunker and was wounded, buried in rubble. The Russians questioned him but did not ask about the bunker.

    On the last night before Germany was divided, Lehmann crossed the Mulde River into the hands of the Americans.

    "My eyes were opened by documentary films of the concentration camps. Some people said these films were fake. They weren't a fake; they couldn't have been staged. I was stunned."

    Lehmann's new life began. He became a reporter on a German paper, married an American teacher and came to New York in 1953. He landed a job with the Associated Press in 1955 and stayed away from Germany. He went to Japan. He collected art for a gallery in Greenwich Village. He worked for SITA World Travel, advancing from a tour operator to executive vice president. He became an anti-nuclear activist. He wrote poetry. The bunker receded, but it didn't disappear.

    In 1965, Lehmann, then 37, had the first of five heart attacks. A psychiatrist told him "one reason for the attack might be your unresolved past." As he was recovering, several German journalists who had talked to Axmann arrived on his doorstep. He told them his story and was offered a handsome fee to write his biography.

    "I either had to take a lot of money for the book or stick with my career. I was told if I wrote the book I would lose my job. We had a lot of Jewish clients. I decided not to write the book and kept my career."

    By 1995 Armin Lehmann was living on the Oregon coast and his story popped up again, he isn't sure how. He did an interview on the 50th anniversary of the end of the war. He was in the local post office when a child pointed and said, "Is that the Nazi war criminal?"

    "I was flabbergasted and just left the post office. I decided I had to write the book," he said.

    Getting it published was no easy task. Publishers wanted "war stories without the background. They wanted something for the Hitler buffs. I didn't want to write the book for Hitler buffs and I don't see how you can understand my story without my background," he said.

    But technology intervened and his book was published by the on-demand Internet press XLibris. It can be ordered through http://www.xlibris.com, or http://www.amazon.com.

    Lehmann's unrepentant father did not live long enough to read it; he died in 1983. "We held a reunion of the family in the late '60s, after my heart attack. I attended on condition that no politics would be discussed, but my father got up and began to talk about the old days.

    "I gave him a swift kick in the shin. It was the last time I saw him," Lehmann says, running a hand through his hair once more, a wrinkled smile crossing his face.

    Hitler Inspecting the Young Fighters - Der Untergang(Downfall).
    Uploaded on Feb 2, 2012
    A short excerpt from the German movie, Der Untergang.



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    Robert Alton Harris

    Robert Alton Harris (January 15, 1953 – April 21, 1992) was an American criminal and murderer who was executed at San Quentin State Prison in 1992 in connection with the 1978 murders of two teenage boys in San Diego. His execution was the first in the state of California since 1967.

    Harris was born in North Carolina and was abused as a child. He had run-ins with law enforcement as early as age 10, and was first placed into juvenile detention at age 13 for stealing a car. His mother abandoned him at age 14 and soon after he was again placed into juvenile detention after stealing another car. Following his release he found work, married, and had a son, but in 1975 he was imprisoned for manslaughter; he was paroled in January 1978.

    On July 5, 1978, Harris and his younger brother commandeered a car occupied by two 16-year-old boys, John Mayeski and Michael Baker, ordered them to drive to a remote area, then killed them. The brothers then used the boys' car as their getaway car when they robbed a San Diego bank. Harris was arrested less than an hour after the robbery and charged with murder, auto theft, kidnapping, burglary, and bank robbery. Ironically, one of the arresting officers, Steve Baker, was a father of one of the murdered boys, but did not realize that fact until later. Robert Harris was convicted and sentenced to death on March 6, 1979. After a series of appeals and stays of execution, Harris was executed in San Quentin's gas chamber on April 21, 1992.

    Please go to this previous blog post to learn more.

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    70 years ago on this date, April 23, 1945, Flossenbürg concentration camp was liberated. I will post information about this concentration camp from Wikipediaand other links.

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             70 years ago on this date, April 24, 1945, the People’s Court of Nazi Germany ceased its activity. I will post information about this Court from Wikipedia and other links.


    Judge Roland Freisler (centre) at the People's Court


    The People's Court (German: Volksgerichtshof) was a Sondergericht, a special court, established in 1934 by German ChancellorAdolf Hitler, who had been dissatisfied with the outcome of the Reichstag fireTrial (all but one of the accused were acquitted). The "People's Court" was set up outside the operations of the constitutional frame of law. The court had jurisdiction over a rather broad array of "political offenses," which included crimes like black marketeering, work slowdowns, defeatism and treason against the Third Reich. These crimes were viewed by the court as Wehrkraftzersetzung("disintegration of defensive capability") and were accordingly punished severely. The death penalty was meted out in numerous cases in this court.

    The Court handed down an enormous number of death sentences under Judge-President Roland Freisler, including those that followed the 20 July Plot to kill Hitler. Many of those found guilty by the Court died in the Plötzensee prison. The proceedings of the court were often even less than show trials in that some cases, such as that of Sophie Scholl and her brother Hans Scholl and fellow White Rose activists concluded in less than an hour, without evidence being presented or arguments made by either side. The president of the court often acted as prosecutor, denouncing defendants, then pronouncing his verdict and sentence without objection from defense counsel, who usually remained silent throughout. Unsurprisingly, it did not follow the laws and procedures of regular German trials, being easily characterized as a "kangaroo court". It almost always sided with the prosecution, to the point that being hauled before it was tantamount to a death sentence.

    Manner of Proceedings

    The trials of August 1944

    Bombing of People's Court

    Notable people sentenced to death by the Volksgerichtshof

    Judge-Presidents of the People's Court

    Legal Aftermath after World War II

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    The Eight Executed Terrorists

     

    “If we could do away with death, we wouldn’t object; to do away with capital punishment will be more difficult. Were that to happen, we would reinstate it from time to time.”

    - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


                On this date, April 24, 1996, The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996were signed into law. I will post some news sources on how several countries are reinstating capital punishment for terrorism.




    Report: More Countries Using Death Penalty Due to Terror

    Pakistan, Cameroon, UAE adopt capital punishment for terrorism, Kenya and Russia moving to do the same.

    by Arutz Sheva Staff

    First Publish: 4/1/2015, 9:00 AM
    A new report by rights group Amnesty International documents how some governments have stepped up the use of executions as part of their counterterrorism efforts.

    The number of death sentences recorded in 2014 jumped by almost 500 compared to 2013, mainly because of sharp spikes in Egypt and Nigeria, the group said. This included mass sentencing in both countries in the context of internal conflict and political instability.

    Pakistan, Cameroon, and United Arab Emirates (UAE) adopted capital punishment against terrorism, and Kenya and Russia moving to do the same.

    In Pakistan, the government ended a six-year moratorium on the execution of civilians after a Taliban attack on a school in Peshawar in mid-December that left at least 149 people dead, including 132 children. A fortnight later, seven people charged with terrorism had been executed and the government promised to execute hundreds more on terrorism charges.

    Cameroon’s legislature voted to make terrorism punishable by death in December, and an anti-terrorism law in the UAE widened the scope of the country’s death penalty to include various crimes related to terrorism.

    Members of Kenya’s parliament made calls for similar legislation. In Russia, four political parties introduced a draft law to the Duma asking to end the country’s moratorium on the death penalty, in place since the 1990s, in cases involving terrorism and murder.

    The USA continued to be the only country to put people to death in its region, although executions dropped from 39 in 2013 to 35 in 2014 – reflecting a steady decline in the use of the death penalty in the country over the past years.

    China again carried out more executions than the rest of the world put together. Amnesty International believes thousands are executed and sentenced to death there every year, but says that since the numbers are kept a state secret, the true figure is impossible to ascertain.

    The countries making up the world’s top five executioners in 2014 aside from China were Iran (289 officially announced and at least 454 more that were not), Saudi Arabia (at least 90), Iraq (at least 61) and the USA (35).

    In countries such as North Korea, Iran and Saudi Arabia, governments continued to use the death penalty as a tool to suppress political dissent.

    Other states made use of capital punishment in attempts to tackle crimes rates.

    Jordan ended an eight-year moratorium in December, putting eleven murder convicts to death, with the government saying it was a move to end a surge in violent crime. In Indonesia, the government announced plans to execute mainly drug traffickers to tackle a public safety “national emergency.”


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    150 years ago on this date, April 26, 1865, Union cavalry troopers corner and shoot dead John Wilkes Booth, assassin of President Lincoln, in Virginia.

    John Wilkes Booth, assassin of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln. (1865)



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    20 years ago on this date, April 27, 1995, Indian Serial Killer, Auto Shankar was executed by hanging. I will post information about him from Wikipedia.


    Auto Shankar

    Auto Shankar

    Born
    January 21, 1954
    Chennai, India
    Died
    April 27, 1995 (aged 41)
    Cause of death
    Death by hanging
    Criminal penalty
    Death

    Killings
    Victims
    6
    Span of killings
    1988–1989
    Country
    India


    Auto Shankar (January 21, 1954 – April 27, 1995) is the nickname of Indian serial killer Gowri Shankar.

    Murders

    Shankar and his gang, consisting of his younger brother Auto Mohan and associates Eldin and Shivaji, as well as Jayavelu, Rajaraman, Ravi, Palani and Paramasivam, were found guilty of six murders, committed over a period of two years in 1988–1989. They were tried for the murders of Lalitha, Sudalai, Sampath, Mohan, Govindaraj and Ravi. The bodies of the victims were either burnt or buried inside residential houses.

    In late 1988, over a period of approximately six months, nine teenage girls from the Thiruvanmiyur section of Chennai disappeared. In the beginning, investigators believed that the girls had been sold into prostitution by families unable to afford wedding dowries, but the consistent denials by their kin forced them to seek another explanation.

    Late in December, a schoolgirl named Subalakshmi claimed that an auto rickshaw driver had attempted to abduct her in front of a wine shop. Working undercover in the local wine shop back-rooms, detectives learned of a rumour that an auto driver called Shankar was behind the crimes, disposing of the bodies by cremating them and pouring the remains into the Bay of Bengal. The following morning, the police picked up the suspect who overnight became known to the nation as "Auto Shankar".

    Trial

    Shankar's trial completed by the Chengalpattu sessions court; He was sentenced to death along with two of his associates, Eldin and Shivaji, on May 31, 1991. Auto Shankar was hanged in Salem Central Prison.

    Associates

    In 2002, Shankar's five accomplices were sentenced to six months of Rigorous Imprisonment after having been found guilty by a Magistrate. The accomplices were Shankar's brother, Mohan, Selva (alias Selvaraj) and the jail wardens Kannan, Balan and Rahim Khan. They were found guilty of criminal conspiracyand resistance or obstruction by a person to his lawful apprehension.

    Subsequently, Mohan was also found guilty of the six murders and was given three life sentences. Mohan had earlier escaped from the Chennai Central Prison in August 1990 and was re-arrested in Pune on June 25, 1992.

    Responses

    K. Vijay Kumar, the Tamil Nadu Additional Director-General of Police, claimed that cinema was solely responsible for making Shankar a criminal. He mentioned this during a seminar on "Crime and Media" in Kerala.

    The trial has become widely known across the nation since the Supreme Court invoked the American free speech doctrine and the case became oft-quoted in relation to cases of expose.

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                On this date, April 28, 1993, the youngest soldier of World War I, Momčilo Gavrić passed away at the age of 86. I will post information about this child soldier from Wikipedia.


    Momčilo Gavrić on Korfu, 1916.

    Born
    1 May 1906
    Trbušnica, near Loznica,
    Kingdom of Serbia
    Died
    28 April 1993 (aged 86)
    Belgrade, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
    Allegiance
     Kingdom of Serbia 
    Kingdom of Yugoslavia
    Rank
    Lance Sergeant
    Awards
    Albanian Medal
    Spouse(s)
    Kosara Gavrić

    Momčilo Gavrić(Serbian Cyrillic: Момчило Гаврић; 1 May 1906 – 28 April 1993) was the youngest soldier in the First World War.


    Momčilo Gavrić and another soldier reporting to major Stevan Tucović, 1916.