Disinfo.com site note: New video link, thanks to commenters below.
Disinfo.com site note: New video link, thanks to commenters below.
Dina Babbitt narrowly survived Auschwitz when her art skills came to the attention of Josef Mengele, who needed watercolor portraits to accurately document the skin tone of Gypsy prisoners whom he was studying. Sometime after the war, the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum claimed ownership of the paintings. Babbitt died in 2009 after an emotionally-charged, and ultimately unsuccessful battle to have her work returned to her. Her story was related in this 2006 NY Times article by Steve Freiss:
At 83, Dina Gottliebova Babbitt still recalls the rickety easel where in 1944, under orders from the infamous Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, she painted watercolors of the haggard faces of Gypsy prisoners.
But her memories of the Auschwitz concentration camp, vivid though they are, aren’t enough for Mrs. Babbitt. Seven of the 11 portraits that saved Mrs. Babbitt and her mother remain not far from where she created them, on display at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum in Poland.
The ultimate goal of a large-scale project known as “Wooffan SS” was for dogs to take over as SS officers, spies, and concentration camp guards. The Telegraph sifts through the sordid kennel of history:
The Germans viewed canines as being almost as intelligent as humans and attempted to build an army of fearsome ‘speaking’ dogs, extraordinary new research shows. Hitler hoped the clever creatures would learn to communicate with their SS masters — and he even had a special dog school set up to teach them to talk. The incredible findings show Nazi officials recruited so-called educated dogs from all over Germany and trained them to speak and tap out signals using their paws.
The Germans hoped to use the animals for the war effort, such as getting them to work alongside the SS and guard concentration camps to free up officers. The bizarre ‘Wooffan SS’ experiment has come to light after years of painstaking research by academic Dr Jan Bondeson into unique and amazing dogs in history.
Movie director Lars von Trier’s new movie is called Melancholia. At the press conference for the movie at the Cannes Film Festival, Von Trier shocked his stars, including Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg, by telling everyone that he’s a Nazi, that he understands Hitler and that his next movie could be called The Final Solution.
Some choice quotes:
“For a long time I thought I was a Jew and I was happy to be a Jew. Then I met Susanne Bier and I wasn’t so happy. But then I found out I was actually a Nazi. My family were German. And that also gave me some pleasure. What can I say? I understand Hitler…I sympathize with him a bit.”
“I don’t mean I’m in favor of World War II and I’m not against Jews, … In fact I’m very much in favor of them.
Via BBC News:
As a child, Theo Haser was a loyal member of the Hitler Youth. But decades later, haunted by the horror of the Holocaust, he converted to Judaism.
As a young boy, growing up amid the nationalist frenzy of Nazi Germany, Theo Haser idolised Hitler.
When the fuehrer came to his hometown of Munich to visit, Theo and his father were at the front of the crowd reaching out to touch his hand.
“I know if I was able to shake his hand I probably wouldn’t have washed for a few months,” he recalls.
Seventy years later, in a bid to come to terms with his Nazi past, Theo has become a Jew.
“I wanted to be part of a community, this was something I had never felt in my life,” he says. “I wasn’t running away from something, I was joining something entirely new.”
Cândido Godói, a Brazilian village with an extreme abundance of blonde twins, has long spawned conspiracy theories. Namely, that infamous Nazi doctor Josef Mengele (who visited repeatedly in the 1960s and treated locals) created an “Aryan twin town.” However, the New York Times reports that scientists have identified a “twins gene” possessed by residents (who are mostly of German descent and have a high rate of inbreeding), likely putting the matter to rest:
For years, so many twins have been born in the small southern Brazilian town of Cândido Godói that residents wonder whether something mysterious lurks in the water, or even if Josef Mengele, the Nazi physician known as the Angel of Death, conducted experiments on the women there.
But a group of scientists now says it can rule out such long-rumored possibilities. Ursula Matte, a geneticist in Porto Alegre, Brazil, said a series of DNA tests conducted on about 30 families since 2009 found that a specific gene in the population of Cândido Godói appears more frequently in mothers of twins than in those without.
LIFE has a collection of recently released photos that belonged to Adolph Hitler’s longtime girlfriend Eva Braun, providing a window into the often strange and silly personal lives of some of history’s greatest villains. Most of the images depict the couple in leisure-time activities. However, my favorite is the below shot, taken in 1937, of the narcissistic and not-so-inviting interior decoration in the living room of their home in Berchtesgaden, Germany:
Growing up in 1970s Britain, it was a given that classic World War II movies like Where Eagles Dare and The Battle of Britain would play over and over again on our handful of channels, and WWII comics were ubiquitous among kids, usually with German soldiers spouting ridiculous phrases like “Achtung! Englischer Schweinhunds!” in most every panel.
I thought those days had passed, though, as the long shadow of that war gradually faded. Apparently not: Clive Anderson details the strange and continuing British fascination with the Nazis for the BBC News Magazine:
The late Alan Coren famously published a collection of humorous pieces in book form, called Golfing for Cats. And he put a swastika on the front cover. He had noticed the most popular titles in Britain in those days were about cats, golf and Nazis.
That was in 1975. Thirty-six years on – and now more than 60 years since the end of World War II – Nazi books are going stronger than ever.
The spookiest graphic design instruction book ever? Steve Heller of Design Observer recently hunted down the Third Reich’s 70-page, full-color style manual for the proper use of Nazi insignia, graphics, and typefaces. This is how fascism created its appealing visual identity:
Designers and design historians told me over the years that they had heard about the existence of a Nazi graphics standards manual. No one could say they actually saw it, but they knew of someone who had. So it grew into something of a Big Foot or Loch Ness Monster tale, until one day I actually saw it too – and it had been right under my nose the whole time.
I had envisioned a manual of the kind that Lester Beall did for International Paper or Paul Rand did for IBM, showing acceptable logo weights and sizes, corporate typefaces and colors. I was so familiar with these standards manuals, that it never even occurred to me they were postwar formats — and decidedly modern.
Via the Huffington Post:
JAMEL, Germany — This is a town taken over by neo-Nazis.
Wooden signposts by the main road point to Vienna, Paris, and Braunau am Inn – the birthplace of Adolf Hitler. A far-right leader runs his demolition company from home, its logo featuring a man smashing a Star of David with a sledgehammer.
Every few months, townsfolk host outdoor parties where guests sing “Hitler is my Fuehrer” to chants of “Heil” around a massive bonfire.
Jamel is the most extreme manifestation of a chilling phenomenon in the former communist East Germany: a creeping encroachment of neo-Nazism that makes Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania one of only two states where Germany’s biggest far-right party, the National Democratic Party, or NPD, sits in parliament.
The extreme-right is believed to be behind some 40 attacks in the state over the past year, including stones thrown through windows of political parties and fireworks blown up in a prosecutor’s mailbox.