Sunday, August 28, 2016
in London (England)
D. sends me a scan of a two-page letter from FDR to Colonel House, Nov 21, 1933, discussing the US economy. Towards its end, FDR says: “The real truth of the matter is, as you and I know, that a financial element in the larger centers has owned the Government ever since the days of Andrew Jackson.” (PPF 222). "Owned the Government." That’s an interesting admission, given FDR’s neutrality in the debate about the Jews.
I was looking briefly at a BBC news item on “Sir” Philip Green, and the closure of the BHS store chain. He is an odious person. Why does no media outlet anywhere identify his Jewishness? Are they all in the Jewish pocket too? The Protocols are said to be false, but might just as well be authentic. They get where they do by their networking with their fellow Jews, and disadvantaging anybody who is not one himself. As J. said years ago (1993) when we were talking about his job at Warburg's, and as Zerin used to say around the same time about her then employers, Olympia-York.
The Riga section of the tour meets for dinner in the imposing Riga National Library
Maidanek, Poland, Saturday, September 3, 2016:
We leave the Warsaw hotel at ten a.m., stop at McDonalds in Lublin for a chaotic snack then on to Maidanek camp arriving about two. There have been major changes and it is not always money well spent. A tour party is going round the camp, but no Israelis this time. I challenge the group’s Polish leader, a woman, in the crematory, as to when the new “sarcophagus” was brought in, and where it comes from. No reply. We toil round the camp. Down the hill is a panel informing us that the original crematory has been "rebuilt" in 1945 – months after the last Germans were driven out. The photos on display have been updated and now are paired, comparing the site in 1944 and 2015. The orginal photos of the crematoria, standing in the open air, but under cover, have vanished since we last saw Maidanek.
The display of shoes is the same. We can see more clearly now that the shoes have settled down, inside one cage: The cage is hollow. Wooden gates now bar access to the inside the exhibition hut, to conceal this awkward fact.
We end at the disinfection building, which now has rooms designated as lethal “gas chambers”; I show the group the machine-room at the left hand side, with the visible remains of heating and pumping equipment, which will probably be the next to vanish; and we ponder the purpose of the three-foot wide draining moat all around the building and the drainage channel which, we find, round the back, drains invisibly under a “bridge” into the field next door. Perspex panels now prevent the tourist from entering those rooms the guides want to keep inaccessible, to avoid awkward more questions; the doors at the far end are still padlocked with newish modern padlocks, leaky and draughty.
A disinfestation expert would know the forensic answer to these questions; the blue stains are still on the wall, etc., and Mark confirms that the two gas cylinders chained to a wall are stamped “C02”, harmless, and not lethal carbon monoxide cylinders.
In short it’s Disneyland: a blatant cover-up of the real purpose of this building."
Sunday, September 4, 2016
From Lublin via McDonalds to Belzec. ... Belzec is unchanged – all the same. An excellent exhibit. Too many period photos of Jews in the various cities, and of deportations, which are oddly called “dislocations” in their handbook. Nowhere do they attempt to explain the origins of the anti-Jewish feeling in Poland. The Why Us? question is ignored. The handbook blames the Catholic church. We take the liberty of walking back along the railroad tracks to the Polish Railways network building where the victims detrained and were separated from their valuables. We find there an original girder support, on which are marked heights – original wartime markings: evidently people stood next to it for some reason. Perhaps part of the deception trickery, as height would shortly have no meaning for them.
Very hot, and I am sorry to say I got snappy when someone called out “watch out,” as I was in mid-road crossing. The Hackenholdt villa is unfortunately newly chained and padlocked. We should have phoned the museum number given, days ahead. Perhaps our Internet photos from the back garden are to blame.
Monday, September 5, 2016
To a deserted Sobibór camp, where 101,000 were terminated over eight months in 1942, including transports from Amsterdam. This is a site which lives from forestry. It rains steadily, a drizzle, throughout our two hours there. The makeshift exhibition-hut that used to stand in the large area out in front has been dismantled; it is now marked with a red Keep-Off-the-Grass icon. Franz Stangl’s anonymous green villa, which housed the Kommandantur and German post office, is unchanged, facing the unloading ramp. Several areas are ribboned off, but there are no other signs of work-in-hand, and no visitors. The recent displays of historic photos are still there, and the avenue of expensive photogravure signboards proliferates, but no other visible progress; in fact no sign of human life at all. We walk into the forest, and go off at ninety degrees to the right of the “flying saucer” monument, and find again the lengthy shallow depressions which may at one time have been graves. Rest in peace. Luckier anyway, than the hundred thousand Dresden victims, burned alive by the British and Canadians in two hours in February 1945. The rain grows heavier, and we return to the hotel at midday. It is seven km back along the forest track. A quick change of dry clothes and I am ready to continue.
Tuesday, September 6, 2016
We drive from Sobibór to Treblinka. Bright sunshine. There are four or five busloads of Israeli visitors, some carrying Israeli flags following the same route through the site. They return my cheery call, “good afternoon;” they must know they are slowly but surely losing the battle.
Thursday, September 8, 2016
Bonnie has told her three to be at the coach at ten, and only belatedly hears it has been changed last night to nine a.m. The three have meanwhile told many others. Chaos ensues. It is 9:35 a.m. before our coach leaves for the Wolf’s Lair.
Gorgeous weather, wall-to-wall, the sky is a carpet of blue. We drive across the vast cornfields and past the quiet lakes of East Prussia. The Wolf’s Lair is a scene of ruin and bustle, although the summer is ending. There are four big white coaches, with German lettering on them. I estimate two or three thousand visitors at this moment, large groups jabbering in Polish or German. (The armed Israelis never seem to show up here, in all the years I have been.) Hitler’s headquarters is unchanged except in details: the gigantic blocks are still there but a little has been cordoned off because seven guests actually broke their legs in Hitler’s bunker last month, says our excellent FHQu. guide today, Jadwiga. In fact British Health & Safety would freak out if they saw the site. There is more undergrowth and overgrowth, and sometimes Jadwiga omits to say right out what building we are looking at. I know, but my guests need to be told. She uses “by the way” and “anyway” to excess, and I politely correct her now and then. As usual I have to stem her enthusiasm for talking up the aristocratic traitor Claus von Stauffenberg and his gang, explaining that all but two of my guests, Philip and Marcus, are from the English-speaking world and they know what a traitor is, which is what Stauffenberg was. On around the headquarters site we walk; I see stuff which is new to me, there are always bits. We drive for lunch over to a fine old villa, 1 or 2 kilometres away, then walk away from the tourist pack down the railway line to Görlitz station, where Hitler met his important visitors like Mussolini. The building stands on a long platform, but totally hidden in undergrowth. My guests climb down the rungs into the tunnel and explore beneath the one railway track and come up the other end, announcing that the tunnel opens out into a large, clean room. In our imagination dim historic figures lurk and linger in the bushes. We drive back to Rastenburg sunk deep in thought at five o’clock – the German name is gradually creeping on to official signs in brackets, this last year, my guests discover.