Monday, August 23, 2010

Ivan Demjanjuk

Ivan Demjanjuk was born on April 3, 1920 in the Ukrainian village of Dubovi Makarensy. He work as a tractor driver before served with the Red Army. He was captured by Germans during a battle in Kerch, eastern Crimea, in May 1942, and transported to a prisoner camp by Rivne.

Demjanjuk survived from the Nazi prisoner camp’s hell, as he later said in court, by given his soul “for a loaf of bread," and join with the SS auxiliaries. He was send to the SS's Trawniki training camp near Lublin in eastern Poland, joining a band of about 5,000 "foreign volunteers," including Balts, Ukrainians and Volga Germans. They did the Nazis' dirty work in the occupied areas of Eastern Europe, sometimes voluntarily, but often under duress. After finishing his Camp Keeper training, Demjanjuk got his Wachmann rank.

From January 1943 Demjanjuk was posted at the Majdanek Concentration Camp. From there, on March 26 1943, he got posted at the Sobibór Concentration Camp. He ended the war at the Flossenbürg Concentration camp where he, in early 1944, became promoted to an active member of the Waffen-SS (Totenkopf Flossenbürg).

In the chaos of postwar Germany, Demjanjuk escape from repatriation to Soviet Union or trial, and found a job as a driver in some displaced persons camps in southern German. 1n 1952, he move to the United States with his family. Naturalized in 1958, they were settled in Ohio, where Demjanjuk, now known as John Demjanjuk, worked as an autoworker in a Ford auto plant.

His quiet life disrupted in the late 1970s when some Holocaust survivors who were asked to identified Feodor Fedorenko, another Ukrainian who served as a guard in Treblinka and lived in the United States after the war, on a photo spread also pointed Demjanjuk picture. They accused him as “Ivan the Terrible”, a notorious guard at the Treblinka and Sobibór extermination camps during the period 1942–1943 who committed murder and acts of extraordinarily savage violence against camp prisoners. In 1986, after a lengthy investigation, American authorities decided to extradite Demjanjuk from the United States to Israel.

Demjanjuk was put on trial in Israel between November 26, 1986, and April 18, 1988. The principal allegation was that three former prisoners identified Demjanjuk as Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka, who operated the diesel engines sending gas to the death chamber. The court found Demjanjuk guilty of all charges and sentenced him to death by hanging.

However, the sentenced had been cancelled after an appeal by Demjanjuk lawyers could give evidences that proved Demjanjuk was not Ivan the Terrible. Israeli Supreme Court acquitted him and decided to release him rather than to pursue charges of committing crimes at Sobibór, which was not included in his indictment.
Demjanjuk was released to return to the United States. However, once again he faces another civil complaint. No mention was made in the new complaint of the previous allegations that Demjanjuk was Ivan the Terrible. Instead, the complaint alleged that he served as a guard at the Sobibór and Majdanek camps in Poland under German occupation and at the Flossenburg camp in Germany. He was put on trial again in 2001.

On December 28, 2005, an immigration judge ordered Demjanjuk deported to Germany, Poland or Ukraine. Finally, he was deported to Germany on May 2009, where prosecutors charged him with 27,900 counts of accessory to murder. He died on 17 March 2012 at a home for the elderly in Bad Feilnbach, Germany.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

SS-Mullahschule in Dresden

During World War II, hundred thousands of Moslems served in various branches of German armed forces, mainly in the Heer. In latter part of war, Moslems contingents appeared among Himmler’s black legions. There were several major units in the Waffen-SS whose members consisted mainly of Balkan Moslem volunteers: Bosnian Moslem’s 13.Waffen-Gebirgs-Division der SS ‘Handschar’ and 23. Waffen-Gebirgs-Division der SS ‘Kama’; Albanian’s 21.Waffen-Gebirgs-Division der SS ‘Skanderbeg’. Beside there were some other formations consisted Soviet Moslem contingents: Osttürkischen Waffen-Verbände der SS, Waffen-Gebirgs-Brigade der-SS (tatarische Nr.1), and Kaukasischer-Waffen-Verbände der SS.

Reichsführer SS Heinrich Himmler himself was known as Islam most willing promoter and collaborator among the Nazi leadership. Himmler's hatred the 'soft' Christianity was equal for his liking for Islam, which he saw as a masculine, martial religion based on the SS qualities of blind obedience and readiness for self-sacrifice, untainted by compassion for one's enemies. His admiration for Islam made him not only ready to throw-out his racial 'Aryan pure' fantasies to receive more Muslim volunteers for his sinister legion, but also to accommodate their religious demands in the SS sphere. One of privilege which Himmler gave to strengthened Nazi-Moslem collaboration was the establishment of institution for the training of Islamic chaplain in the Waffen-SS, the SS-Mullahschule.

The SS-Mullahschule opened in November 1944 by SS-Brigadeführer Walther Schellenberg and was located in Dresden, where also the ‘Arbeitsgemeinschaft Turkestan’ - a ‘research institute’ under the SD control - had been established. The lessons were to be given by Muslim teachers selected Grand Mufti of the Jerusalem, Hajj Amin el-Husseini. This principal teacher was Professor Alimcan Idris, a Volga Tatar who was active in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, involved in radio programs towards Turkey. Aside from emphasized the common interests and goals of the German Reich and the Muslims, the courses confined to elementary lessons in the reading and the recitation of the Quran, a survey of the life of the Prophet, a very short look at the religious history of Islam and its expansion, as well as the history of the peoples concerned.

The first groups of students were 40 volunteers from several Central Asian countries. Originally, the course was to take approximately one or two years. However, for most of the future ‘field mullahs’, this period was shortened to approximately three months, as they were urgently needed in the field. The first course was completed against the end of 1944.

The school itself discontinued after Dresden was set on fire by the Allied Forces on 14 February 1945. The remaining students fled with ‘Arbeitsgemeinschaft Turkestan’ personnel to Weißenfels, where they were probably surrendered to American army.

Copyright© 2010 by Nino Oktorino