Archive for November, 2012

Hungarian parliamentarian wants to register Jews

November 29, 2012

Hungary has a Jewish population of 100,000, the largest in Central Europe.

An anti-Semitic member of the Hungarian parliament called for Hungarian Jews to be registered as national security threats. After being criticized in Hungary and condemned around the world, the legislator alleges that he only meant Hungarian Jews who also held Israeli passports.

That this person and his extremist party are not marginalized and instead have won a seat in parliament is another symptom of Hungary’s failure to come to terms with its history as an ally of Nazi Germany and an active participant in the Holocaust.

Four months ago a 97 year old wanted Hungarian war criminal who was hiding in Hungary was arrested.  That he was able to hide for so long raises very serious questions about continuing Hungarian complicity.

Hungary’s hiding of a war criminal, continuing suppression of history, and avoidance of acknowledgement of direct participation in the Holocaust is almost as serious as outright Holocaust denial.

In 1940 the Hungarian government voluntarily allied with Nazi Germany.

Hungarian anti-Semitic fascists were not coerced by the Nazis to participate in the Holocaust. Hungarian fascists with the support of the Hungarian government eagerly, enthusiastically and violently rounded up their fellow Hungarian citizens who were also Jews to be shipped to Nazi death camps. Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg was attempting to save Hungarian Jews not from Nazi Germans but from Hungarian fascists.

Of Hungary’s estimated pre-WWII Jewish population of 455,000, 265,500 were killed.

During the Cold War, The Soviet Union and the Hungarian Communist Party created the fiction that the crimes of Hungary were those of capitalists and fascists. They shielded Hungary from consequences of their Nazi alliance and participation in the Holocaust.

The Soviet Union has fallen, the Cold War is over, and Hungary is independent.

The time has long passed for Hungary to follow the example of Germany and acknowledge its history.

The time has come for Hungary to start behaving like a mature member of the family of civilized nations by taking responsibility for their share of the Holocaust.


Hungarian Official’s Call to List Jews Draws Condemnation and Protests By REUTERS,  November 28, 2012, The New York Times.

War Crimes Suspect Is Detained in Budapest By PALKO KARASZ,  July 18, 2012, The New York Times.


For more information:

Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center

Virginia Holocaust Museum

Anson Croman and the modern Texas seccession movement

November 28, 2012
Anson Croman

Anson Croman, 20th Michigan Infantry Regiment

Union soldiers held a variety of opinions about the future of slavery, civil rights for African-Americans, and the equality of all people.

However, they may have been near unanimous about one issue.

Once a state entered the union, they could not leave.

Allowing secession because the losing side in a presidential election was dissatisfied with the results would end one of the world’s only republican democracies at that time.

The Constitution provides for elections for Federal offices every two years. Both 150 years ago and today the constitutional remedy is not secession but working to do better in the next election.

Anson Croman was probably very proud that his service in the Civil War settled the secession issue for as long as our nation exists. He would have no use for the modern Texas secession movement.


The Texas secession movement disrespects:

  • The history of Texas

Sam Houston, a founder of the independent Republic of Texas and governor of the state of Texas in 1861 was removed from office for opposing Texas’s secession. After leading Texas to  independence from Mexico,  Sam Houston’s next goal was Texas’s admission to the union. He succeeded in 1845 and was brokenhearted when some Texans renounced his dream 15 years later.

  • Their fellow Texans

The 3,294,440 Texans who voted for President Obama probably have no interest in leaving the union.

Texas does not have a positive history of protecting the civil rights of all of its citizens. Those who have benefited from Federal civil rights enforcement have no interest in secession.

In 1860 and 1861 Texas and the Confederacy paid a very high price for ignoring the anti-secession and pro-union sentiments of a significant number of their citizens. Among the 100,000 European-American southerners who served in the Union military, 2,100 were Texans. The modern Texas secession movement may be repeating the same mistake.


Texas splitting in five states

Along with secession, some Texans are promoting the idea that Texas has the right to unilaterally split into five states.

Under the Constitution, Texas has the same right as does every other state to negotiate with Congress to split into two or more states.

Ironically, the one precedent is from the pro-union anti-secession Virginians who in 1863 were allowed by Congress to split from Virginia to form the new state of West Virginia.

Probably a majority of people in the Appalachians from West Virginia, western North Carolina, eastern Tennessee, and northern  Alabama were anti-secession. Regardless of their feelings on slavery and civil rights, they did not want to leave the union.


How the Texas secession movement helps the Democrats

If those involved in the Texas secession movement vote, they’d most likely vote for Republicans and probably never for Democrats.

Since secession is unconstitutional, the secession movement is an irrelevant waste of time and distraction with no chance of success.

Eventually many of those involved will become angry, bitter, hopeless, and marginalized. They may withdraw from the political process and cease voting.

As the Texas secession movement may ultimately be discouraging potential Republican voters from voting, it is actually in the best interests of the Democrats.


For more information:

With Stickers, a Petition and Even a Middle Name, Secession Fever Hits Texas By November 23, 2012,  The New York Times

Anson Croman and the Civil War

Civil War from the Texas State Historical Society


The Musbachs and Robinsons are direct line descendents of Anson Croman.

Documentary “Jews in the Warsaw Rising 1944” Screening in Skokie on Nov. 29, 2012

November 26, 2012
Zydzi w powstaniu warszawskim

Anna Ferens  2004 film:
“Jews in the Warsaw Rising 1944”
Zydzi w powstaniu warszawskim

FILM SCREENING:

Jews in the Warsaw Rising 1944 (Zydzi w powstaniu warszawskim)

Thursday, November 29, 2012 | 6:30 pm

The Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center
9603 Woods Drive
Skokie, IL 60077

This film recalls the break out of the Warsaw Uprising of 1944 during which 40,000 soldiers of the Home Army, many of whom were Jewish, engaged in an open battle against Nazi Germany. After 63 days of heroic fighting, the Home Army eventually surrendered. The memory of the Warsaw Uprising has become sacred to the Polish community.

Q&A with the film’s director, Anna Ferens, follows the screening.

The visit of the filmmaker to Chicago, as well as a series of screenings of her documentaries, are sponsored by the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Chicago.

Reservations recommended

reservations@ilhmec.org, 847.967.4889.


WWII Polish History:

One of the last great moments in the history of the diverse Slavic Jewish nation of Poland was when Slavic and Jewish Polish men and women fought side by side in an effort to liberate Warsaw from the Nazis just before the arrival of the Soviets.

The hope was that success would place Poland in a better position to secure its independence after WWII.

The reality was that after the Nazis defeated the Poles,  the Soviets captured Warsaw. Then the Soviets rounded up as many of the Polish Home Army survivors as they could and executed both Jewish and Slavic Poles if they suspected them of being potential opponents of Soviet occupation and rule by the Polish Communist Party.

Prior to the Holocaust Poland was one of the most ethnically, religiously, culturally, and linguistically diverse nations in Europe. The Nazis and the Soviets (with Allied complicity) forever destroyed that.

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union and their allied Communist Parties, including the American Communist Party,  suppressed the full history of WWII Poland including how Slavic and Jewish Poles served and died side by side from the first shots in 1939 through both the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943 and the Warsaw Uprising in 1944 until the end of WWII and after.

While the diverse Polish nation can never be restored, its memory should not be lost. I can’t think of a better way than showing this Polish made film at the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center.


Schedule of Chicago area screenings of Anna Ferens’ documentariesOrganized by Polish Consulate General in Chicago.

Anson Croman and Civil War Archaeology in Fredericksburg, Virginia

November 20, 2012
Items found at Fredericksburg

From the top:
Food tins, parts of tobacco pipes, and bullets of the type Anson Croman may have used. Found in Fredericksburg north of Anson Croman’s position.

Check out The New York Times report on Civil War archaeology at Fredericksburg, Virginia.

During recent construction artifacts were found on a a site where 150 years ago Union troops fought and took shelter in the town of Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Anson Croman and the 20th Michigan were in positions south and southwest of the town so the recently discovered artifacts are not theirs. However, they are probably identical to items Anson Croman carried and used.

20th Michigan Positions Battle of Fredericksburg

December 13, 1862: Battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia.
Artifacts were found within the town, grey on the map.
Positions of the 20th Michigan south and southwest of the archaeology site in town.
Light orange regimental symbol is their initial position.
Dark orange regimental symbol is their final position.


Construction Site Offers Fleeting Glimpse of the Civil War Past by THEO EMERY, The New York Times, November 11, 2012.


The Musbachs and Robinsons are direct line descendents of Anson Croman.

Anson Croman and the Steven Spielberg film ‘Lincoln’

November 19, 2012
Lincoln

Daniel Day Lewis as Abraham Lincoln visiting a battlefield outside of Peterburg, Virginia, April 3, 1865.

Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln depicts Abraham Lincoln entering Petersburg, Virginia on April 3, 1865 shortly after it had been captured by units including Anson Croman and the 20th Michigan Infantry Regiment.

The battlefield through which President Lincoln rides is southwest of where Anson Croman and the 20th Michigan had been stationed for much of the siege of Petersburg and where they had been involved in heavy fighting since March 25.

The movie continues to April 9 and the Confederate surrender at Appomattox. At that time Anson Croman’s and the 20th Michigan were southeast of Appomattox with other units protecting the Union’s southern flank and rebuilding the railroad to supply the Union army.


Leonard’s review: This is such a well made movie with great acting that all should appreciate it. The historical accuracy and clarity of discussion of the issues makes it one of the best Civil War films to use in a class.


The Musbachs and Robinsons are direct line descendents of Anson Croman.


Virginia: Follow Lincoln (and ‘Lincoln’) in Richmond, Petersburg by Katherine Calos, Los Angeles Times, November 18, 2012.

National Park Service Map of the Petersburg National Battlefield

Private Robert J. Rankl’s Individual Deceased Personnel File

November 17, 2012

I am a member of the 45th Infantry Division (Thunderbirds) Group. We research the history of the 45th and share what we find on the group’s site.

We also assist families in researching their ancestors’ service in the 45th.

In January, 1944 while serving in Italy as a member of the 135th Infantry Regiment, 34th Infantry Division, Private Robert J. Rankl was captured by the Germans.

He escaped and sought refuge near Monte Buono, Umbria, Italy.

On April 13, 1944, Private Rankl along with seven other soldiers were recaptured and executed by the Nazis in the San Benedetto churchyard near Monte Buono.

Because four of the victims were members of the 45th, our 45th group is researching all eight of the victims. I was assigned to make the Freedom of Information Act request for Private Rankl’s Individual Deceased Personnel File (IDPF).

I just received Private Rankl’s IDPF and have made it available on Scribd.

The file reports on the investigation of his murder, the location and identification of his remains, and in 1948 the return of his remains for burial in Saint Peter’s Cemetery in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.

View this document on Scribd

The murder of prisoners of war (POWs) in WWII:

On the Eastern Front, the Nazi murder of POWs was routine and a matter of policy. While some of the regular German army units did not execute prisoners, they were aware that the prisoners they took were often later executed by the SS units. At times regular Germany army units provided the SS units with armed escorts while the SS units executed POWs. Rarely if ever did regular German army units do anything to stop or even protest the murder of POWs.

Starting with the first moments of WWII in Poland, the Nazis executed Polish Jewish officer and enlisted POWs. Slavic Polish officer POWs were mostly executed as part of the Nazi policy to decapitate Polish leadership in order to more easily enslave the surviving Slavic Poles including enlisted Slavic Polish POWs.

As the Soviet Union was militarily allied with the Nazis at that time, the Soviets joined in the attack on Poland. The Soviets executed thousands of Slavic Polish POW officers and hundreds of Polish Jewish POW officers because they were suspected of being potential opponents to Soviet occupation of Poland and rule of Poland by the Soviet controlled Polish Communist Party.

The Nazis continued to execute the Soviet Jewish POWs while starving or working to death at least 50% of the Slavic Soviet POWs.

On the Western Front including Italy, execution by Allied POWs was done more frequently by SS units. In retaliation, Allied units became increasingly reluctant to take prisoners of SS troops. Regular German army units were more likely to attempt to follow the international rules of war on the treatment of POWs.

The German unit that executed Private Rankl and the other GIs is not identified in the documents.


Felix A. Cizewski, my late father, served in the 45th which is why I am a member of the group.

At the time of this atrocity he was serving in southern England as a member of Company C, 3110th Signal Service Battalion helping to prepare for the Normandy landings.

He was transferred to the 45th about nine months later in January, 1945.

94th anniversary of Philip Lovetere in Domèvre en Haye, France on Armistice Day November 11, 1918

November 10, 2012
Domèvre en Haye, France in 1915

Domèvre en Haye, France under German occupation in 1915, three years before Philip Lovetere and the 64th Battalion arrived in November, 1918 shortly after its liberation.

Domèvre en Haye

Undated photo of Domèvre en Haye, France. Appears to be post World War 1. Rubble has been cleared from the streets and vegetation has returned.

My grandfather Philip Lovetere served in Company C, 1st Battalion, 64th Infantry Regiment, 14th Infantry Brigade of the 7th Infantry Division.

In late October, 1918, the 7th Division was in reserve behind the front. On November 8, 1918, the 7th Division was ordered to return to the front for a resumption of the offensive against the Germans.

By November 10, the 64th Regiment had reached Domèvre en Haye, France. On the morning of November 11 they were ordered to halt in anticipation of the armistice to begin a few hours later at 11 am.


Philip Lovetere & World War One

Domèvre en Haye, France.

In 1900

Today


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