The Western Democracies’ Paradox – Fredrick Töben
In December 2006 Iran’s foreign minister, H E Manuchehr Mottaki, pointed out the paradox under which the so-called western democracies work: ‘They demand free expression but practice the opposite, as exemplified in the legal persecution of those individuals who refuse to believe in the Holocaust’. Iran’s president, Dr Mahmoud Ahmadinejad challenged western democracies by convening a conference, which aimed to REVIEW the ‘Holocaust’, not to revise it! In Paris a Jewish group informed Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister, Dr Manuchehr Mohammadi, that if Teheran did not hold the conference, then the Jews would stop criticizing Islam. Dr Mohammadi replied: ‘Is the Holocaust not an historical event?’ The response was a definitive ‘Yes’, and he continued: ‘Then like any historical event, the Holocaust needs to be investigated’.
History books inform that during World War Two the Allies fought the Axis powers for freedom and democracy and against the tyrant Hitler who wanted to rule the world. That the battle was, among other things, an ideological battle between nationalism-socialism versus internationalism-communism, is conveniently forgotten and any historical enquiry about World War Two focuses only on the former – NAZISM. This is, of course because the predatory international capitalists who also ran the communist enterprise could not cope with Hitler’s daring venture of having disconnected from their power base. Hence, any subsequent investigation into the causes of World War Two always focuses on National Socialism’s – Adolf Hitler! – attempt to rule the world. That a nationalist shies away from ‘ruling the world’ but merely wishes to be autark and free of international interference is conveniently blended out in any analysis because such a focus would re-vitalise the arguments against usury, against exploitation of independent national states.
In March 2003 the Anglo-American-Zionist coalition of the willing fought for freedom and democracy so as to safeguard the world from dictator Saddam Hussein. That Saddam Hussein was once ‘their man’ who fought a proxy war for them against Iran is conveniently forgotten. That it is the Anglo-American-Zionist who wish to rule the world is denied outright. In Iraq they merely wish to liberate Iraqis from their tyrant, even if this means having had to bomb the country back into the stone age. The price of liberty is worth such a sacrifice – so we are led to believe.
However, since World War Two, where outright lies had laid the foundations of the post-war world order, a new phenomenon has come upon the scene that is reminiscent of the invention of the printing press where information liberated itself from the info-control freaks. The Internet offered anyone with a will to express their concerns to a world audience. This immediate and uncensored flow of information from around the world has had a liberating effect on millions of minds.
The most recent example of such an event is the absurd factually flawed 9/11 conspiracy theory of 2001. The US government wishes us to believe that Muslim terrorists were responsible for this massive tragedy, and anyone who refuses to believe in the officially sponsored conspiracy theory is labeled a ‘conspiracy freak’.
Although there are legal constraints that support the official version of events, fortunately for independent thinkers the truth about the 9/11 conspiracy has through the Internet’s free flow of information received an invaluable boost to sustain itself. The official government narrative as to what happened on 9/11 could not sustain itself for even a brief twelve months before critics shredded its contradictions through a thorough physical appraisal of the facts. Forget, for example, the absurd claim that the two towers ‘pancaked’ on account of the jet fuel’s generated heat. Any analysis of this ‘explanation’ demands some specific scientific engineering knowledge. A much easier example that reveals the fraud of 9/11 is revealed through a brief focus on what allegedly happened at the Pentagon. A huge plane crashed into the building without leaving any trace of itself, of human and luggage remains, and then also leaving the front lawn without any serious damage. This led skeptics to claim they wanted some of that Pentagon lawn – a lawn that withstood the trauma of a passenger plane crashing within its space.
This reminds me of what is alleged to have happened at the Treblinka concentration camp. According to eye witnesses about 870,000 individuals were transported there, where they had to undress, were gassed, buried, then exhumed and burned with wood on ten metres-high pyres. This final act of burning removed all the evidence that could have proven that such a massive crime actually occurred there.
It’s such conspiracy theories that caused me to coin the following: The ‘Holocaust-Shoah’ has no reality in space and time, only in memory. The problem is one of logistics: transport – undress – gas – bury – exhume – burn. The event is claimed to have occurred in a place – space - and lasted for some months – time – and if one were to visit the area
- as I visited Auschwitz in 1997 and again Auschwitz and Treblinka in 1999 - there ought to be some evidence remaining of such a massive catastrophe ever having occurred. Unfortunately for the ‘Holocaust-Shoah’ believers there simply is nothing physical that can sustain any of their ‘memory’ stories, as for example, that Ivan the Terrible stood outside the gas chamber where he sliced off the breasts of women about to enter it. The victims did not run off in panic! They remained and endured … need one say more?
Likewise with the 1945-46 Nuremberg International Military Tribunal and its results. There was no Internet through which photos taken of condemned men about to be hanged could be sent around the world. The information flow was totally controlled and to this day files remain indefinitely locked up.
And so it was possible to set in legal concrete most of the World War Two propaganda lies and sell them as factual truths, as for example the ‘facts’ that make up the ‘Holocaust-Shoah’ narrative.
No such luck followed the Anglo-American-Zionist enterprise in its Iraqi adventure. In fact, since the March 2003 invasion things have begun to unravel to the point where individuals are openly questioning the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials results. The most blatant attempts at doing this happened in the Islamic Republic of Iran when in December 2006 the government, led by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, courageously convened a review of that period of World War Two history called the ‘Holocaust’, i.e. the allegation that during World War Two Germans systematically exterminated European Jewry, mainly in homicidal gas chambers.
The following excerpts from a US radio show are of interest because it is the defenders of the official ‘Holocaust-Shoah’ conspiracy narrative that are now on the run, resulting in them running out of arguments and beginning to abuse in a most shameful way those who refuse to tow the party line. The quest for the truth of a matter reveals a personal moral and intellectual integrity that rises above mere opportunism.
On the February 16, 2007, broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Michael Savage asserted that ABC News correspondent Diane Sawyer was "aiding and abetting" Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during a February 13 interview in which, Savage claimed, Sawyer had refused to challenge Ahmadinejad' s statements denying the existence of the Holocaust. Savage said: "Here Diane Sawyer goes to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and does not once say to him, 'How could you deny the Holocaust? Here are the pictures of the 6 or 7 million Jews that Hitler killed. How dare you do this to the world?' "Savage added: "So Diane Sawyer, in essence, is agreeing that the Holocaust didn't occur." In fact, in her interview with Ahmadinejad, Sawyer stated, "I do not want to debate again the whole question of the Holocaust -- whether the Holocaust is a myth, which you have said," but then asked: "Would you be willing to go to Auschwitz and see their documentation? You're a scientist. Would you be willing to look at the room with documentation? "When Ahmadinejad responded: "Do you think it would solve any problem?" Sawyer replied: "It would be information for you if you genuinely believe it's a myth."
In the same broadcast, Savage played audio clips from the February 15 edition of ABC's Good Morning America in which Sawyer spoke in detail about her interview with Ahmadinejad. While discussing this interview, Savage said Sawyer was "disgusting" and "full of crap" and repeatedly called her a "lying whore," a "prostitute, " and a "witch." He added, "I stand by those words, and if you don't like it, sue me. Take me to a court of law for calling you a whore, because you are an intellectual prostitute for what you have done for ratings."
The Savage Nation reaches more than 8 million listeners each week, according to Talkers Magazine, making it the third most-listened- to talk radio show in the nation, behind only The Rush Limbaugh Show and The Sean Hannity Show.
From the February 16, 2007 edition of Talk Radio Network's The Savage Nation:
SAVAGE: Diane Sawyer took a trip to Iran where she kissed the feet of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Oh my gosh, she's disgusting. See, in my world, Diane Sawyer would have had her passport seized upon coming back to America. And the smirk would have been driven off her face as she was booked, the handcuffs on the back of her hands, for aiding and abetting the enemy, the Hitler of our time. She would have been fingerprinted and booked for sedition. Then we would have seen if she was still smirking giving her little speech. OK?
Here's Diane Sawyer goes to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and does not once say to him, "How could you deny the Holocaust? Here are the pictures of the 6 or 7 million Jews that Hitler killed. How dare you do this to the world?" So Dianne Sawyer, in essence, is agreeing that the Holocaust didn't occur. This is what ABC has become.
SAWYER: I understand that it's confusing sometimes what we do and why we're there, but even –
SAVAGE: Oh, shut up! Get the hag off! Oh, shut up! Get that hag off my show. We're not confused by what you do, you witch. You witch, you. You think that you're better than all of us, that's what it is, Diane. You think we're confused by what we do and why we're there? We're not confused by the fact that you're a low-life witch who would do anything for ratings, including going over to the Hitler of our time.
You rotten, stinking witch -- I pray to God, I pray to God that one day, one day, you come to understand how low you have become, Diane Sawyer, what a low life vermin you really are. Play that again, I want to hear the whole thing.
SAWYER: I understand that it's confusing sometimes what we do and why we're there, but even, even your adversaries have their own point of view, and how can you tackle this part of the world if you don't understand why they say –
SAVAGE: You lying whore.
SAWYER: -- they're doing what they're doing. Even –
SAVAGE: You lying whore.
SAWYER: -- can teach you something about why they are doing what they're doing.
SAVAGE: You lying whore, you.
SAWYER: And we are trying to bring back real information in this critical time for these people who live in that part of the world. It is so complicated.
SAVAGE: You're full of crap. Who do you think you're fooling? You're a liar, and the reason you gave this interview about that interview is because you realized what you have done. You're being told that the people hate your guts.
I don't know how this goes on in this country, that a witch, a whore like Diane Sawyer -- and I'm going to stick to those words -- to me she's a whore, she's a whore for selling out her intellect like this, whoring herself for ratings. She goes and visits the Hitler of our time, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, does not challenge him on one of his statements, not one, and she does it just for ratings. And she has the nerve to come back here and pretend that it's confusing on what we do and why we're there. Who do you think you're talking to? Even your adversaries have their own point of view.
So let's see if I can follow this. It's 1940, and you go visit Adolf Hitler, and people are already being assassinated and executed and worked to death in Nazi Germany, and you say that even your adversaries have their own point of view? And how can you tackle Germany if you don't even understand why they say what they're doing and why they're doing it?
Diane, all I can say to you is you're probably the lowest creature in American journalistic history. You're probably the lowest creature in the history of American journalism. Did you hear me, Diane Sawyer? I hope to God this gets to you because this is one man's opinion. But let me tell you, it's not only one man's opinion, it's tens of millions of Americans know that you're the lowest whore in the United States of America.
I stand by those words, and if you don't like it, sue me. Take me to a court of law for calling you a whore, because you are an intellectual prostitute for what you have done for ratings. You're lower than Anna Nicole Smith on her worst day. You're dumber than Paris Hilton. You're more shallow than Lindsay Lohan.
SAVAGE: I don't suppose Diane might have a Jewish friend or two in New York that would stand up to her. Anyone in New York City in the media who knows Diane Sawyer who may be of the Jewish faith, who might have an opportunity to say to her, "You've become lower than the lowest whore outside the Holland Tunnel in fishnet stockings at 3 in the morning, that you stink, lady? And if ABC had a scintilla of decency, they'd fire her for what she just did.
Secretary General of the Global Foundation of Holocaust Survey Mohammad-Ali Ramin said on Monday that the international conference on holocaust, dubbed `Holocaust: A Global Vision' (December 11-12) had not had the slightest effect on Iran's nuclear case.
Ramin told IRNA that the conference had been held to inform the world public opinion on the subject and Iran does not side with any group.
"The West's opposition to Iran has always been in effect and one can not build any connection between the UN Security Council resolution and a research conference," said Ramin.
Asked to comment on claims that such issues as Holocaust had diverted Iran's nuclear case from its main path and raised the possibility of issuance of an anti-Iran resolution, Ramin said whatever was raised during the conference was aimed at informing the audience about different points of view and attitudes of experts and researchers.
"The UN Charter does not ban acquaintance with intellectual, cultural and historical issues. Research and study of all subjects are among the most basic rights of human beings," he added.
"What mistake has Iran committed by holding an unbiased research conference, attended by many world experts, that it can serve as a pretext for the UN Security Council resolution?" questioned Ramin.
"These are empty claims; the conference aimed at illuminating the world public opinion on a historical claim and is not a sin in any culture and law," he added. The official stressed, "I do not go with the claim that Holocaust had had an impact on Iran's nuclear case."
He added that any such claims are invalid and illogical, lacking any evidence.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Ramin said many people around the world had provided his Foundation with valuable and interesting proof and evidence on Holocaust which would be investigated by the independent international fact-finding committee of the Foundation.
He said that jurors and experts have also announced readiness to be members of the fact-finding committee to undertake judicial and penal investigation into the case.
Furthermore, he said, scholars and experts from four corners of the global have announced readiness to take part in the upcoming Holocaust meetings and present articles to review the event.
He noted that timing of the next Holocaust meeting will be announced later.
OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada has voted unanimously to strike down a controversial federal procedure used to deport suspected terrorists as being a violation of life, liberty and security of the person.
The security certificate process is hopelessly flawed and must be redrafted by parliament to eliminate the extreme secrecy in which hearings to determine the reasonableness of certificates take place, the court said.
While carefully paying heed to fears of terrorism and the special difficulties of protecting national security, the court said that certain elements of fairness cannot be dispensed with -- including the right of a detainee to know the case against them and to make full answer and defence.
"While there is a risk of catastrophic acts of violence, it would be foolhardy to require a lengthy review process before a certificate should be issued," the court said.
However it said the various forms of review in which a designated lawyer is empowered to act on behalf of detainees could pass constitutional muster.
Writing for a unanimous court, Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin suspended the effects of the ruling for one year to give the Federal Government time to craft a new security certificate process.
However, foreign nationals will benefit immediately from one aspect of the ruling which grants them a bail review within 48 hours of their first being detained -- a far shorter period than they must currently wait.
The court said that while federal court judges who conduct security certificate reviews do play an unusually active role in testing secret evidence, they are not unacceptably "co-opted" by the process.
It said that there may always be some evidence that cannot be disclosed and must be heard in a secret hearing, yet that must be as minimal as possible.
"It may simply be so critical that it cannot be disclosed without risking national security," Chief Justice McLachlin wrote.
"This is a reality of our modern world. If Section 7 is to be satisfied, either the person must be given the necessary information or a substantial substitute for the information must be found. Neither is the case here."
It said that the onus on governments to move quickly in a proceeding becomes greater with passing time.
"Stringent release conditions . . . seriously limit individual liberty," the court added. "However they are less severe than incarceration."
The court said that the security certificate provisions do not violate the Charter right to equality or constitute cruel or unusual punishment.
Enshrined within the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, the security certificate process has been a target of constant, harsh condemnation from civil libertarians.
The provisions, which pre-date the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, allow for a non-resident to be designated as a risk to national security, detained indefinitely, and ultimately deported.
The detainees and their counsel are provided with only a vague summary of the allegations against them. Evidence to back up the allegations is given in secret to a judge, and neither the accused nor their lawyer can attend.
The three men behind the Supreme Court challenge - Adil Charkaoui, Mohamed Harkat and Hassan Almrei - had all spent several years behind bars before being released recently under tight conditions of house arrest and their agreement not to communicate with a wide range of individuals.
The conditions of their detention - in a special holding unit nicknamed Guantanamo North - led some of the detainees to resort to desperate tactics such as hunger strikes.
The constitutional challenge was far and away the most important case on the Supreme Court docket last year. Critics of security certificates made no secret that it would be a test of the court's mettle at a time when they say sacred individual rights are being sacrificed to widespread fear of terrorist acts.
They looked to the court to issue a ringing endorsement of individual rights, comparable to recent decisions from England's House of Lords and the U. S. Supreme Court.
After hearing arguments last June from a courtroom packed with government officials, intervenor groups and lawyers for three men who had spent years in detention under security certificates, the court reserved judgment.
The court was left with three main choices: It could leave the provisions intact; strike them down and ship them back to Parliament for a full reformulation; or take it upon itself to "read in" new elements that would make them constitutional.
Besides going against the grain of centuries of fundamental legal principles, critics have complained that the detainees face the prospect of being deported to face torture or execution in a foreign country known for human rights abuses.
In the end, they say, security certificate detainees have been left with a false choice between indefinite detention in Canada and being deported to face torture and possible death.
However, federal lawyers told the Supreme Court judges that non-citizens do not have an absolute right to remain in Canada, and that national security is an interest so vital that it trumps almost any other interest imaginable.
"National security is not a societal interest like any other, such as the cost of drugs or investment in the health-care system," Crown counsel Bernard Laprade told the court during the hearing.
"It is an absolute necessity," he said. "Without it, all the other rights become theoretical. Without it, we wouldn't be here to discuss these questions today. I don't want to be alarmist, but without it, there is nothing else."
On several occasions during the hearing, the judges interjected to cool the federal rhetoric. "Mr. Laprade, if we don't have the rest, we'll be living in North Korea," Mr. Justice Louis LeBel observed at one point.
Specifically, lawyers for Mr. Charkaoui, Mr. Harkat and Mr. Almrei asserted that the certificates breached their right to life, liberty and security of the person. They were supported at the hearing by a raft of intervenors that include Amnesty International, the Canadian Bar Association, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the University of Toronto and the Canadian Council for Refugees.
They argued that security certificates are such an unjustifiable and dramatic departure from democratic legal traditions, the court had little choice but to excise their worst excesses or scrap them altogether.
The judges focused particularly closely during the hearing on the denial of legal counsel, and appeared to be striving for ways to safeguard national security while still permitting detainees to obtain details about the allegations against them.
Several judges also expressed concern that the security-certificate procedure forced their Federal Court colleagues to act as both cross-examiner and defender of the accused person's rights during secret proceedings in his absence.
Courtesy of: firstname.lastname@example.org
SCC rules against federal security certificates
The Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) unanimously ruled today that federal security certificates, used to detain suspected terrorists, are unconstitutional.
The 9-0 judgment found that the system violated the Charter of Rights.
The certificates allowed government officials to use secret court hearings, indefinite prison terms and summary deportations when dealing with non citizens accused of having terrorist ties.
"There is a problem... because the people that are named are not given a chance to see all of the evidence against them," said CTV's Rosemary Thompson at the SCC. "That violates a section of the charter that would require a fair trial."
The court is giving Parliament one year to write a new law that adheres to constitutional principles. Until that time, the court has suspended the judgment from taking legal effect.
The ruling comes in response to a constitutional challenge of the certificates.
The SCC heard arguments last June from lawyers of three men -- Syrian-born Hassan Almrei, Algeria-native Mohamed Harkat and Morocco-native Adil Charkaoui -- who had spent years in detention under the security certificates.
Almrei remains in prison, 80 days into a hunger strike; while Harkat and Charkaoui have been released into house arrest on strict conditions.
The three men have no connection with each other, except that they've all been accused by Canadian officials of having an association with al Qaeda or people within the terrorist group. None of the men have ever been charged criminally.
Instead, the government has used the certificates to try to deport the men.
The judgment is not saying that the detentions are wrong, but that the accused must have access to the evidence against them, said Thompson.
"Nothing is really going to happen to them in the next year. The current regime will exist for the next year," she said. "What is going to change is the way these hearings take place."
Under the previous conditions, the certificates had to first be signed by federal ministers of immigration and public safety. Then they had to be upheld by a federal court justice in hearings that could be done behind closed doors with secret evidence and without a lawyer representing the accused.
The men all decided to fight deportation, a decision that kept them behind bars as their cases went through the legal system.
Lawyers for Almrei and Harkat were seeking reforms to the system. Charkaoui's team was arguing that the whole system should be scrapped.
At the hearing last June, lawyers for the federal government argued that the certificates were necessary to safeguard Canada from terrorism.
Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day has always defended the current system. He argues that detainees can end their problems at anytime by accepting the case against them and leaving the country.
A Senate report released Thursday recommended reforms to the certificate system that would increase rights to those accused -- including providing them with security-cleared lawyers, known as special advocates.
The report also calls for rules to be eased on bail hearings and for suspects not to be deported to countries where torture is a risk.
Friday's judgment also affects two other men in similar legal positions -- Mahmoud Jaballah and Mohammad Mahjoub, both from Egypt.
With files from The Canadian Press
Fredrick Töben comments:
The fact that Ernst Zündel was subjected to the provisions of the security certificates shames intervenor groups, such as Amnesty International, which remained silent during Ernst Zündel’s two-year imprisonment before being deported from Canada to Germany.
Rarely (if ever) does a professor from one university write for a school newspaper at another university urging its student body not to invite a particular speaker.
But it is not hard to fathom why Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz took such an extraordinary step.
In 2005 I published a scholarly study, Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History (University of California Press), copiously documenting that Dershowitz had plagiarized large swaths of his book The Case for Israel from an earlier academic hoax and-what's worse yet-that he had grossly falsified Israel's human rights record.
Prior to publication, my book went through extensive peer review, and its published version contained glowing comments from a university chair at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, a university chair at Oxford, a senior researcher at Harvard, a university chair at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a university chair at the University of California at Berkeley, all of whom, incidentally, are Jewish. Professor Baruch Kimmerling of Hebrew U called the book "the most comprehensive, systematic, and well-documented work of its kind."
Fearful of being exposed, Dershowitz embarked on a desperate campaign to suppress the book's publication. He enlisted the reputedly most powerful law firm in the country to threaten UC Press with a libel suit that would bankrupt it.
When UC Press stood firm, Dershowitz beseeched California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to block publication. To his credit, the governor refused to intervene on grounds of academic freedom.
Having failed to suppress my book, Dershowitz has engaged in a virtual jihad to prevent me from getting tenure and from speaking anywhere else on the grounds that I am not a serious scholar.
The first of Dershowitz's allegations is that I misrepresented facts in the campaign for Holocaust compensation against Swiss banks. Yet, here's what the world's leading authority on the Nazi holocaust, Raul Hilberg, had to say on this specific matter:
"Finkelstein was actually conservative, moderate, and his conclusions are trustworthy. He is a well-trained political scientist, has the ability to do the research, did it carefully, and has come up with the right results. I am by no means the only one who, in the coming months or years, will totally agree with Finkelstein's breakthrough."
To assemble his charge sheet against me, Dershowitz apparently did a Google search of my name. Consider the results, however, if you Google Dershowitz's name: The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel accused Dershowitz of making "blatantly false and utterly preposterous" statements; the main national Jewish newspaper, The Forward, reported that "not a word ... is true" in the self-promoting passage of a speech Dershowitz delivered; a respected Amherst College professor suggested, in a scholarly review of Dershowitz's book Rights From Wrongs, that parts of it "are in conflict with one another because they were written by different hands"; and senior Harvard Law School librarian Harry S. Martin denied Dershowitz's repeated claim that he had exonerated Dershowitz of plagiarism charges.
Unlike the charges in my case, these charges against Dershowitz possess the merit of being true. Nonetheless, I would certainly defend his right to speak at Brandeis. I have full confidence in the ability of Brandeis students to weigh the facts for themselves and reach reasonable conclusions. It should likewise be obvious that Brandeis students require no preemptive protection from what I have to say.
In answer to the question "What is Enlightenment?" Immanuel Kant famously replied, "Sapere Aude! -Dare to think for yourself!" It would be a pity if Dershowitz's advice is heeded and Brandeis students are deprived of this method of education.
© Copyright 2007 The Justice http://www.thejusticeonline.com/
Friends: The Auschwitz museum's claim that the painting was Mengele's only makes sense if they also claim that Mengele paid the artist. The idea that the painting is important as a response to "the rise of Holocaust deniers" is worse than a non sequitur. - A.R. Butz
Artwork saved her from death in Holocaust Dina Babbitt survived Auschwitz by making portraits for the Nazi Josef Mengele. And she wants them back.
By Ron Grossman, Tribune staff reporter, October 22, 2006
FELTON, Calif. – Dina Babbitt once made a deal with Josef Mengele, the notorious Nazi doctor who subjected concentration-camp prisoners to horrendous medical experiments.
He needed someone to illustrate his perverse racial theories with portraits of Auschwitz's Gypsy prisoners, an inferior group according to Nazi ideology. A trained artist, she agreed to do the work as the price of saving her mother, as well as herself, from the concentration camp's gas chamber.
As things turned out, Babbitt, her mother and the portraits survived. She eventually settled in Northern California, while seven of her paintings wound up in a museum at Auschwitz dedicated to preserving a historical record of the Holocaust.
Ever since discovering in 1973 that they were there, Babbitt has tried to get them back. Museum officials have steadfastly stonewalled her request, once invoking the legal principle of work for hire--the concept that the patron, not the artist, holds the rights to a commissioned work of art. "A museum official wrote me saying that legally the only one who might have a claim on the paintings was Dr. Mengele, and he wasn't likely to exercise it," said Babbitt, 83. "Their position is finders keepers."
Congress has adopted resolutions recognizing "the moral right of Dina Babbitt" to the paintings and urging diplomatic efforts to have them returned. Gallery and museum directors, including a former head of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, have petitioned on Babbitt's behalf. Last month, 450 cartoonists from this country and abroad sent a petition to the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.
After the war, Babbitt worked as an animator in Hollywood, helping bring to life cartoon characters like Daffy Duck. Earlier, the route to her survival ran through Walt Disney's classic "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs."
Mengele learned of Babbitt's artistic skills because of a mural she did in the children's camp at Auschwitz. To make their environment a little less harsh, she painted a mountainside scene on a barracks wall. She asked the children if there was anything they wanted her to add. "They said: `Snow White,'" Babbitt recalled. "It was the last movie they'd seen before being taken to a concentration camp."
Babbitt lives on a mountaintop high above the Pacific Ocean. Hairpin turns wind up to her home through spectacular scenery, not unlike the bucolic landscape she once painted. A scaled-down version of that mural sits on an easel in her combination living room-studio. Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy and the others seem to float in the sky--witnessing the work's origins in the wishes of children who perished during the Nazi era.
Babbitt is re-creating the painting for a forthcoming series of public events planned by the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, a Pennsylvania think tank that has taken up her cause. It coordinated the museum directors' and cartoonists' petition.
"We sent copies to the Polish Embassy in Washington, but neither even gave us the courtesy of a reply," said Rafael Medoff, the Wyman Institute's director. "It's one last chance to do a little bit of justice for an elderly lady living in California."
Teresa Swiebocka, curator at the Auschwitz museum, explains that the petition by Babbitt's supporters doesn't alter the situation. "We haven't any reason to change our attitude of a few years ago," she said.
`Work will make you free'
In a statement posted on its Web site, the museum notes that Babbitt wasn't the only prisoner to create artworks in Auschwitz. What if they, or their heirs, asked for them back, the museum said--posing the example of the infamous "Arbeit Macht Frei" ("Work will make you free") sign that marked the camp's entrance. It was produced by an inmate who was a master ironsmith.
Babbitt, who passed through that gate 63 years ago, still carries herself with a gentle style reflecting the refined Central European society where she was raised. She was born in Brno, Czechoslovakia. Her family was Jewish, albeit they only went to services on Yom Kippur, a day of fasting.
"There was a lady who brought to synagogue an apple with cloves in it, supposedly so the aroma would distract her from hunger," Babbitt said. "But I think she took little bites of the apple."
With a vividness of detail others might not be able to summon when narrating yesterday, Babbitt recalled life behind barbed wire. It was an experience she volunteered for.
In January 1942, her mother's name appeared on a list of people to be transported to Theresienstadt, a concentration camp in northern Czechoslovakia. The methodical Nazis didn't deport all Jews at once, lest the machinery of the Holocaust be overburdened.
Babbitt (her maiden name was Gottliebova and she then spelled her first name Dinah) didn't have to go yet. But determined to be with her mother, she insisted on signing up, much as air travelers put their names on a standby list. Theresienstadt was a place of death--but also of life. She found her first love there.
"He was 24, I was 19," Babbitt said. "Karel had such spirit. Oh, I loved him so."
A skylight and dreams
Karel Klinger, who grew up on a country estate, reported for his deportation with several farm animals, explaining he didn't know what else to do with them. Amused by the beau geste, the Nazis made him the keeper of the stables at Theresienstadt. He had a room over the stalls and improvised a skylight.
"We would lie in bed and look at the stars," she said, "and think of names for the babies we planned to have."
Those dreams were put on hold in 1943, when Babbitt and her mother were transferred to Auschwitz, in southern Poland. It was a factory of death, where prisoners dubbed Mengele the Angel of Death.
Babbitt's skills--she'd studied painting since age 6--fit Mengele's needs. He had tried to illustrate the Nazis' racial theories photographically, but frustrated by the film of the day, sent for her.
When she completed the first Gypsy portrait, he asked her to sign it. For all the blood on his hands, there was another, almost gentle, side to his personality, Babbitt said.
"One day, Dr. Mengele came in and said: `My wife has had a baby,'" Babbitt recalled. "He'd brought me a little package of cookies."
In January 1945, with Soviet forces closing in on Auschwitz, Babbitt and her mother were among prisoners evacuated by the Nazis. Despite the privations of that death march, the two of them survived, returning to Czechoslovakia before moving on to Paris.
A friend brought the news that Klinger had perished. "He handed me a small, ripped piece of paper on which Karel had scribbled a few words as he was dying," Babbitt said. "On it, he had written: `I legally declare Dinah Gottliebova to be my wife.'"
In 1973, by then married and living in California, Babbitt received a letter from the Auschwitz museum. It had acquired the Gypsy portraits, which had been preserved by some of the last inmates in the camp. Museum officials had tracked her down, thanks to the clue of that signature Mengle insisted she put on the watercolors.
"I took a briefcase and went to Poland, thinking I'd be bringing them back," Babbitt said. "But they said I had to leave the paintings there."
A decade ago, Rabbi Andrew Baker tried brokering a compromise between Babbitt and the museum. Baker, a staff member of the American Jewish Committee and advisory committee for the Auschwitz museum, said he can see the issue from both sides. "You can understand their meaning to Dina but also to the museum, especially with the rise of Holocaust deniers," Baker said. "It's essential to have actual artifacts of the Holocaust to preserve a memory of the horrors."
Babbitt has memories, too, and they're emotionally bound up in those Gypsy portraits. Besides representing her talent, they are totems of a pivotal moment in her life. They witness a passage into adulthood--a season of first love, a time when her mother began to lean on her. Recalling all that, Babbitt said, she lies awake at night. The paintings, she thinks, could bring relief from insomnia. "If I had them back, maybe I could sleep," she said. "I could sleep again."
Copyright © 2006, Chicago Tribune
About a year before Anne Frank began her diary in June 1942, her father started a writing project of his own. Though most of the world now is familiar with Anne's private musings while her family was in hiding from Nazis, Wednesday's release of the Otto Frank file — whose discovery was first reported by TIME.com in January — by the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New York City reveals yet another side of that family's life and what those who tried to survive the Holocaust were facing.
The 65 documents — typed letters, handwritten notes, telegrams, many browning with age — show Otto Frank's determined effort, enlisting family and friends, to contact officials to extract his wife, mother-in-law and daughters from Nazi-occupied Holland. For nine months, they tried to secure visas — first to the U.S. and then to Cuba — until that window shut. Just three letters of the file were written by Otto Frank, all addressed to university friend Nathan Straus Jr., son of a co-owner of Macy's department store and head of the U.S. Housing Authority. Straus and Frank's brother-in-law, Julius Hollander, regularly corresponded with two private Jewish agencies, the National Refugee Service in New York and the Boston Committee for Refugees. Straus also contacted the State Department on Frank's behalf. Hollander and his brother arranged affidavits from their employers, Jacob Hiatt of E.F. Dodge Paper Box Co. and Harry Levine of the New England Novelty Co., both of Leominster, Mass.
New York University professor David Engel likens the correspondence to a blind chess game. The U.S. immigration rules kept changing; the players waited for letters to slowly arrive by mail
As of June 1940, the U.S. State Department had toughened the visa-application process. Candidates had to show "a good reason" for seeking U.S. admittance, not just a need to exit Europe, says American University historian Richard Breitman. "The State Department frequently reduced the number of immigration visas granted below the annual quota levels...by enforcing strict immigration regulations." Why? National security concerns, fear of foreigners — and, some have argued, anti-Semitism.
"The Third Reich managed to kill close to 6 million Jews not just because of the Germans," says Engel, "but also because of many people outside of the Nazi orbit trying to do what they thought was best for their countries, including officials of the United States government." [-emph. added]
In the file's first entry, Frank wrote Straus in April 30, 1941: "I am forced to look out for emigration, and as far as I can see U.S.A. is the only country we could go to." His brothers-in-laws, recent U.S. immigrants, employed as "ordinary workmen around Boston," could pay for only one passage. Frank had already in 1938 filed an application in Rotterdam to emigrate to the U.S., "but all the papers have been destroyed there," he wrote. Yet "everyone who has an effective affidavit from a member of his family and who can pay his passage may leave," he said. Frank figured $5,000 would cover four in his family and sought Straus's help.
Engel wonders why Frank sprang into action in April 1941. After all, the Nazis had occupied the Netherlands since May 1940. Did the situation suddenly turn more desperate for Jews there, or did Otto Frank sense personal danger? Engel suspects the latter, referring to a theory first raised in Carol Ann Lee's 2003 book, The Hidden Life of Otto Frank, which reported that a member of a Dutch pro-Nazi party was blackmailing Frank. After Otto was heard making a remark showing skepticism of prompt German victory, on April 18 the blackmailer requested a payoff. Twelve days later Frank wrote Straus.
Straus's July 1 letter to Otto Frank had bad news: "Unless you can get to a place where there is an American Consul, there does not seem to be any way of arranging for you to come over." By that time, the U.S. consulates in Germany and Nazi-occupied lands were being closed in retaliation for the American shutdown of German consulates in the U.S. (over spying concerns), and U.S. consulates in Europe where a visa could be pursued remained only in Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and "Free France."
In September Frank wrote Straus of his dilemma: he couldn't get a U.S. visa within the Netherlands, yet leaving the country was impossible without some kind of visa. So he presented plan B: to try for a Cuban visitor's visa, a costly and complicated process. Another letter hinted at Frank's intention: instead of going to Cuba, he could use a Cuban visa to enter a neutral country, such as Spain or Portugal, to score a U.S. visa. But by Dec. 11, a National Refugee Service memo reported the cancellation of a just issued Cuban visa for Frank. Germany had declared war on the U.S.
Joseph Nathan Straus, 52, of Princeton, N.J., and a grandson of Nathan Straus Jr., is hardly surprised by the YIVO file's unveiling. Within his family circle, the efforts of his grandparents to help the Franks are widely known, he says. "Despite the efforts of individuals to do the right thing and rescue people in dire circumstances, they were unsuccessful except in isolated cases," he says. What is striking, he adds, is that regardless of the "vigorous efforts of someone as well positioned as my grandfather, he was unsuccessful here."
Teresien da Silva, head of collections at the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, notes that the new Frank letters are similar to other documents already contained in its collection — which includes, for example, a German letter from Otto Frank on Nov. 24, 1941, to Julius Hollander, about a cable noting a Cuban visa was available. A joint press release by the Anne Frank House and the Anne Frank-Fonds (the Swiss foundation with the copyright to Anne and Otto Frank writings) said: "For some considerable time it has been clear from documents already in the possession of [our two organizations] that Otto H. Frank had tried in vain to obtain U.S.A. and Cuban entry." The two groups plan a comprehensive archive of all Frank family files.
Professor Robert Faurisson comments: 17 February 2007
Born in 1889, 22 days after Adolf Hitler, Otto Heinrich Frank cut short his studies when he was 19 and left Germany. He went to New York with Nathan Straus, a fellow student whose family owned R. H. Macy, the big department store there. Then he returned to Germany.
In the years up to the outbreak of the First World War, he made several short trips to New York. It is therefore understandable that he tried to escape from occupied Netherlands to the USA.
It is all the more understandable since he had escaped from Germany in 1933 not only because of the Nazi regime but because of the bad reputation of the bank founded in 1923 with his father Michael and whose principal responsibles were Otto himself and his brother Herbert. The latter, who was in fact the proprietor, was arrested in Frankfurt in April 1932. Once released, he escaped to France and did not appear in court. The bank ceased all its activities in January 1934.
To get an idea of the very complicated money and business story of the Frank family and of the “shrewdness” (p. 15) of Otto Heinrich Frank, one should read the first chapter, by Harry Paape of The Diary of Anne Frank, The Critical Edition prepared by the Netherlands State Institute for War Documentation (Doubleday, 1989, for the English edition).
This book, in its four versions, Dutch, German, French and English, is unintentionally a godsend for those who do not believe in the authenticity of the Anne Frank Diary nor in the honesty of Otto Heinrich Frank.
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