Archive for the ‘Holocaust’ Category

Putin, the 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, and Soviet Complicity in the Holocaust

January 15, 2015

Russian President Vladimir Putin will not be attending the January 27, 2015 ceremonies marking the 70th anniversary of the liberation by Soviet troops of Nazi German extermination and concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Soviet troops assisting survivors of the Nazi German Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camp.

Fair use of photo from: Meczenstwo Walka, Zaglada Zydów Polsce 1939-1945. Poland. No. 538.

Russia has yet to acknowledge Soviet complicity in the Holocaust. Without that acknowledgement, President Putin’s absence is appropriate.

The history of Auschwitz-Birkenau is also the history of Soviet complicity in the Holocaust:

Prior to Soviet-Nazi military alliance, the Soviet Union provided the Nazis with the material assistance to wage aggressive wars of conquests and genocide:

  • The treaties that ended WWI prohibited German rearmament. The Soviets assisted the Nazis to evade their treaty obligations by allowing the Nazis to secretly develop and test their new weapons on Soviet territory.
  • The manganese in the steel the Nazis used to construct their military vehicles, weapons, and ammunition was supplied by the Soviets.
  • Nazi vehicles were fueled with Soviet oil.
  • Nazi troops were fed with Soviet grain.
  • Nazi horses, which made up 90% of Nazi military transportation, were fed with Soviet fodder.

In August, 1939, the Nazis and Soviets upgraded their relationship to include a military alliance:

  • The Soviets guaranteed that when the Nazis attacked Poland, the Nazis would not face a two front war as in WWI. The Nazis would only face the alliance of Poland, France, and Britain.
  • While Slavic and Jewish Polish troops were defending Poland against Nazi aggression from the west, the Soviets attacked Poland from the east.
  • The defeat of Poland by the Soviets and Nazis resulted in the Nazi capture of most of the Polish Jews along with Auschwitz-Birkenau and other sites where they constructed extermination and concentration camps.
  • From August, 1939 until June, 1941, the Soviet controlled Communist International (Comintern) ordered pro-Soviet Communist Parties, including the Communist Party USA, to support the Soviet-Nazi alliance, to oppose the war against the Nazis, and to oppose U.S. entry into the war. That is among many reasons the U.S. delayed entry into WWII.

By end of 1941 when the U.S. entered the war, Holocaust victims were beyond the reach of military rescue. The death camps and their rail lines were beyond the range of Allied bombers.

In January, 1945 when the Soviets finally reached Auschwitz-Birkenau, they found about 7,000 survivors.

So few were liberated because almost all the victims of the Holocaust were already dead and most of the other survivors had been evacuated to Nazi Germany.

Just as the post-war democratic state of Germany inherited the responsibility for the crimes of its predecessor state of Nazi Germany, Russia inherited the responsibility for the WWII crimes of the Soviet Union.

The obligation for acceptance of responsibility will not go away with the passage of time.

Acknowledging such histories is part of the process of a state maturing to a full member of the family of civilized nations.

The Russian people deserve such actions from their leaders such as President Putin.

In public consciousness and popular culture among the most common questions are why the Allies did not do more to stop the Holocaust such as attempting to rescue victims and bomb the death camps and their rail lines.

Similar questions about the Soviet Union’s conduct are rarely asked.

That may because of a very successful Cold War era propaganda campaign to promote questions about the Allies and divert attention from the complicity in the Holocaust of the Soviets and their allied Communist Parties.

Now that the Cold War is over the time has come to seek information about the Soviet Union’s Holocaust complicity to make WWII history more complete and accurate.

Links with sources and for more information:

The Buildup of the German War Economy: The Importance of the Nazi-Soviet Economic Agreements of 1939 and 1940 By Samantha Carl.

70th anniversary of liberation of the Nazi German concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau – January 27, 2015 The official 70th anniversary site.

Putin Won’t Attend Commemoration of Auschwitz Liberation New York Times.

Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum

Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center

Virginia Holocaust Museum

Assessing Atrocity

In depth historical background and context: An occasional feature of my family history blog.



Cherbourg Memorial

October 20, 2014

In March, 1942, the Nazis with the assistance of French fascist collaborationist government began deporting Jews in France to slave labor and death camps. The first were foreign born Jews followed by Jews born in France and having French citizenship.

In February, 1943, the Nazis imposed Service du Travail Obligatoire (S.T.O.) (Compulsory Work Service). Ethnic French resident of Cherbourg were deported from their homes for slave labor in occupied France and Germany.

Cheryl A. Robinson and I visited the Cherbourg memorial to those and other victims during our 2014 trip to France for the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Normandy.

DSC01341Memorial in Cherbourg to those executed, deported, resistance fighters,and hostages. (Fusillés, Deportes, Maquisards, Otages.)

2014 photo by Cheryl A. Robinson

DSC01342  Plaques on the ground with the names of the slave labor and death camps to which victims were deported.

LEFT: Ravensbrück was a concentration and slave labor camp.

RIGHT: Neuengamme was a concentration and slave labor camp.

Schandelah was a satellite slave labor camp of Neuengamme.

2014 photo by Cheryl A. Robinson

In 1944 Felix A. Cizewski, my late father, served in Company C, 3110th Signal Service Battalion in Cherbourg.

Links with sources and for more information:

The 3110th Signal Service Battalion in Normandy

Felix A. Cizewski WWII Cherbourg photos

Rommel’s image in popular culture

October 17, 2014

70 years ago on October 14, 1944 the Nazis forced Field Marshall Erwin Rommel to commit suicide.

In popular culture in the U.S. Rommel has a positive image.

Among the reasons are:

  • His competence as a military commander.
  • Unlike other German commanders especially on the Eastern Front, his adherence to the international standards of the treatment of POWs in North Africa from 1941 to 1943.
  • His association with the plotters of the July, 1944 attempted assassination of Hitler and coup and his statements of dissent about Nazi conduct of the war.

When his career is placed in its full context, his image is much less positive.

1933 to 1944

From the Nazis rise to power in 1933 until 1944 Rommel did nothing to oppose Nazism or to stop the Holocaust.

During those 11 years Rommel enjoyed the benefits of Nazi rule.

He failed to act in 1938 or 1939 when the Nazis were more vulnerable and would have been much easier to overthrow than in July, 1944.

For five years from 1939 until 1944, Rommel implemented the Nazi ideology of aggressive wars. Among the conquered populations were the majority of the victims of the Holocaust.

In 1939 among the earliest victims of the Holocaust were Polish Jewish officers and enlisted personnel executed when captured by Germans.

During the Polish campaign Rommel was commander of Hitler’s bodyguards (the Führer escort headquarters) as Hitler toured the Polish front.

From that position Rommel had to have been aware of the murder of Polish Jewish POWs.

During the 1940 Battle of France, troops under Rommel’s command motivated by the Nazi’s racial ideology executed captured French Senegalese troops.

French Senegalese soldiers 1940: Senegalese soldiers preparing to defend France against the Nazis.

Public domain image from Tales of War, page 239.

French Senegalese soldiers
1944: French children with their Senegalese liberator.

Public domain image from Amére patrie, devoir de mémoire et de vérité

Cemetery gate carvingCarving on the gate of the French military cemetery in Chasselay with Senegalese soldiers massacred by Nazi troops including some under Rommel’s command.

The cemetery is designed in the traditional Senegalese burial grounds.

Fair use of image from by Petra Pulles at Tata Chasselay France – A WW2 Cemetery on French soil for massacred Senegalese troops

From 1941 to 1943 in North Africa Rommel reportedly refused to implement Nazi orders to execute Jewish and other categories of POWs. Many Jewish soldiers were serving in the British and Polish forces in North Africa.

That is further confirmation of the depth of Rommel’s knowledge of Nazi criminality.

While Rommel may have prohibited the execution of Jewish POWs at the front, no evidence exists that he did anything to stop the Nazis behind the front from rounding up of Sephardic Jews in Nazi occupied parts of North Africa for deportation to slave labor and death camps.

In 1943 when Rommel was given command of Normandy, he used slave labor to construct fortifications.

Stopping the Holocaust or protecting ethnic Germans?

By July, 1944, Rommel recognized that Germany was militarily defeated. Germany no longer had the military capacity to defend its borders.

To continue the war meant that the Soviets would overrun Germany.

Was Rommel’s 1944 dissent motivated by his concern for the potential sufferings of ethnic Germans at the hands of Soviet troops or to stop genocide?

July, 1944 status of the Holocaust

By July, 1944, most of Nazi Holocaust murders had already occurred.

The July 1944 assassination and coup attempts were much too late to save most victims.

Rommel’s role in the attempted coup and assassination

Rommel may not have supported assassination or a coup.

He may have hinted that after others killed Hitler and overthrew the Nazis he would be available to serve in the post-Nazi government and armed forces.

He may have looked the other way while members of his staff planned the coup and assassination. He refrained from alerting the Nazis of the plots to what if anything he knew.

As his troops were being defeated in Normandy he said to his superiors including Hitler that the time had come to negotiate an end to the war.

On July, 17, 1944 Rommel suffered a serious brain injury when British aircraft attacked his car near the Normandy front.

That injury seemed to have decreased his inhibitions on speech.

His comments became less guarded, more frequent, explicit, and strident.

On July 22, 1944, a coup and assassination Hitler were attempted. Both failed.

On October 14, 1944. the Nazis force Rommel to choose between torture, a show trial followed by an execution, and violent retaliation against his family or suicide.

To shield his family from retaliation, Rommel chose to execute himself by committing suicide.

My amateur historian’s assessment of Rommel’s legacy

  • 11 years of personally benefiting from the Nazi’s policies.
  • 5 years of waging the Nazi’s wars of aggression during which the majority of the Holocaust victims were captured.
  • Being present in Poland when Polish Jewish POWs were executed.
  • Being in command of troops who executed French Senegalese POWs.
  • Use of slave labor to construct Normandy fortifications.
  • After D-Day in 1944, stating that the Allies and Soviets had militarily defeated Germany and that Germany should end the war.
  • Doing nothing to increase the chances of the success of the July, 1944 assassination and coup attempts.
  • Dissent motivated more to protect ethnic Germans from the Soviets than to stop genocide.

3110th Signal Service Battalion and Rommel

From February to July, 1944, the 3110th Signal Service Battalion, my late father Felix A. Cizewski’s unit, and Rommel faced each other across the English Channel (La Manche in French).

Rommel was preparing to continue the Nazi occupation of France and the 3110th was building communications infrastructure to facilitate the supplies to the forces preparing to liberate France.
Links with sources and for more information:

(French) le maréchal erwin rommel se suicide le 14 octobre 1944: Site where I learned of the 1940 massacre of French Senegalese POWs by troops under Rommel’s command.

(French)  Le Tata sénégalais

In depth historical background and context: An occasional feature of my family history blog.

Revised: October 18, 2012

Café de l’hôtel de Ville in Cherbourg: 70 years ago and today

October 13, 2014

Among the places I have documented that Felix A. Cizewski, my late father, visited while serving in Cherbourg with Company C, 3110th Signal Service Battalion was the Café de l’hôtel de Ville.

The Café de l’hôtel de Ville is located just south of the l’hôtel de Ville (Cherbourg city hall).

Researcher and friend Claude Letelier shared these photos of the Café de l’hôtel de Ville from WWII and today.

The WWII photo is not only of the Café de l’hôtel de Ville but also documents the Nazi crime of slave labor.

wwii now
Sometime after February, 1943.

On the right of the photo on the side street is the Café de l’hôtel de Ville.

Note the sign above the doors.

On the main street Nazi troops are escorting ethnic French residents of Cherbourg for slave labor.

The column is moving in the direction of the Cherbourg train station.

The angle of this photo suggests the photographer is taking this photo clandestinely.

This documentation of slave labor may have been an act of resistance.


The Café de l’hôtel de Ville today is the Bar de l’hôtel de Ville.

Photo by Claude Letelier

In February, 1943, the Nazis imposed Service du Travail Obligatoire (S.T.O.) (Compulsory Work Service) on the people of Occupied France.

The photo above is of the deportation of ethnic French residents of Cherbourg for slave labor mostly in Germany.

In the Nazi racial hierarchy, ethnic French were among those to be enslaved rather than completely exterminated such as Jews.

The French Jews of Cherbourg

French Jews of Cherbourg are not among those in the photo.

Prior to February, 1943 enactment of the S.T.O. law, the Nazis deported to death and slave labor camps as many French Jews of Cherbourg as they could capture.

Some survivors returned to Cherbourg after liberation.

Links with sources and for more information:

(In French) La France sous l’occupation: Le S.T.O.

(In French)  Le S.T.O. (loi du 16 février 1943)

(Includes English): Louis PESNEL’s account from Mémoires de guerre: WWII stories, Université de Caen Basse-Normandie

The 3110th Signal Service Battalion in Normandy

Felix A. Cizewski WWII Cherbourg photos


“Château de Chiffrevast”: 1944 and 2014

June 20, 2014

Two Signal Corps women1944:

Signal Corps women Pfc Laura Kepfli of Prague, Oklahoma and Pvt Helen Braun of St Louis, Missouri, unit unidentified. serving at a Signal Corps facility.

PhotosNormandie identifies this as outside of the orangery on the grounds of Château de Chiffrevast.

(An orangery or orangerie was a building in the grounds of fashionable residences from the 17th to the 19th centuries and given a classicising architectural form. The orangery was similar to a greenhouse or conservatory. The name reflects the original use of the building as a place where citrus trees were often wintered in tubs under cover, surviving through harsh frosts. -Wikipedia)

Photo:  Some rights reserved


An exact match between the 1944 and 2014 photos have not been found.

This is the closest to an orangery at the Chateau de Chiffrevast.

Photo by Cheryl A. Robinson

Northern France with details of the 3110th Signal Service Battalion’s service in Normandy.

Infantry, Air Force, Medical, and Signal Corps Units in Tamerville and Valognes

Another in an ongoing series about our trip to France for the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the Liberation of France and the memorial in Tamerville. Tamerville is among the places where my late father Felix A. Cizewski, served in Company C, 3110th Signal Service Battalion.



Basement of the “Château de Chiffrevast”: 1944 and 2014

June 19, 2014

Another in an ongoing series about our trip to France for the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the Liberation of France and the memorial in Tamerville where my late father Felix A. Cizewski, served in Company C,  3110th Signal Service Battalion.

1944: Signal Corps personnel (unit unidentified) at work in the basement of Château de Chiffrevast.

Public Domain Signal Corps photo from the U.S. National Archives

2014: American and French friends touring the site of a Signal Corps facility as part of the observances of the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the liberation of Tamerville.

Photo by Cheryl A. Robinson

Note on units:

The unit is the first photo above is not Company C, 3110th Signal Service Battalion, my late father’s unit. Company C was the battalion’s Open Wire Repair Section. Their primary responsibility would have been constructing poles and wires outside of the Château de Chiffrevast. Company C was in Tamerville and Valognes from July 26 to August 18 when they were deployed to Cherbourg.

The personnel could be from Company A or B of the 3110th. A and B were in Tamerville and Valognes from August 24 to September 5 when they were deployed to Paris.

Related links:

Northern France with details of the 3110th Signal Service Battalion’s service in Normandy.

Infantry, Air Force, Medical, and Signal Corps Units in Tamerville and Valognes



Tamerville “Tribute to Our Liberators” Sign

June 18, 2014

In addition to the monument in the cemetery with the names of the deceased American air crews, Tamerville has also installed a “Tribute to Our Liberators” sign.

The sign details in French and English the stories of four aircraft that went down around Tamerville and recognizes Tamerville’s liberation by 8th Regiment of the 4th Infantry Division on June 20, 1944.

The sign continues with a report on the development of the Tamerville and Valognes area as a major communications center.

The text is one of the most profound tributes to support troops including my late father Felix A. Cizewski’s unit, the 3110th Signal Service Battalion.

Temporary locationTamerville’s “Tribute To Our Liberators”sign has been temporarily located in the cemetery next to the town hall.

Click for large PDF

Photo by Cheryl A. Robinson

Sign © Commune de Tamerville

West wall of Tamerville cemetaryThe west wall of the Tammerville cemetery where the sign will be permanently installed.

Google Street View image © Google used in accord with Google’s permissions

Signal Corps section© Commune de Tamerville

Signal Corps section:


Once Tamerville had been liberated by the 8th Regiment of the 4th Infantry Division on June 20, 1944, the village and Chiffrevast castle (former headquarters of Germany’s 709th Infantry Division) were occupied in July 1944 by specialized units of the Allied forces.

Bringing with them high-technology equipment, these women and men of the Signal Corps made Chiffrevast castle the first Allied communications center on the continent. This allowed major Allied headquarters to communicate rapidly with each other.

The castle basements housed many telephone, teletype and radio operators as antennas, transmission stations and barracks containing sensitive equipment were erected in the surrounding fields.

This communications center was operational from August 7 until mid-September of 1944.

During this time, the Signal Corps soldiers bivouacked in nearby orchards. The 3110th Signal Service Battalion, consisting of 13 officers and 220 enlisted men, was among these specialized units to work in Tamerville.

These troops had a supporting role that was essential to the Allied victory, and we owe them our freedom as much as we owe it to those who were at the battlefront. They are honored here.


Une fois Tamerville libéré le 20 juin 1944 par le 8e Régiment de la 4e Division d’Infanterie US, le château de Chiffrevast (qui était l’ancien état-major de la 709e Division d’Infanterie allemande) et la commune furent investis au cours du mois de juillet 1944 par des unités spécialisées des forces alliées.

Apportant avec eux du matériel de haute technologie, ces hommes et ces femmes des services de transmission fi rent du château de Chiffrevast le premier centre de communication allié sur le continent pour permettre aux principaux états-majors
alliés de communiquer entre eux.

C’est ainsi que dans les sous-sols du château s’affairaient une multitude d’opérateurs de téléphone, de téléscripteur ou de radio alors que dans des champs à l’extérieur furent installés des antennes, des stations de transmission ainsi que des baraquements renfermant tout ce matériel sensible.

Le centre de communication fut opérationnel du 7 août 1944 jusqu’à la mi-septembre 1944 et durant cette période, les hommes du corps des transmissions américain ont bivouaqué dans les vergers alentour.

Le 3110th Signal Service Battalion comptait parmi ces unités spécialisées qui ont séjourné à Tamerville, un contingent de 13 offi ciers et plus de 220 hommes du rang.

Bien qu’opérant à l’arrière front, ces troupes de support avaient un rôle plus qu’essentiel pour assurer la victoire alliée et nous leur devons notre liberté tout autant que ceux qui étaient en première ligne. Qu’ils en soient ici honorés.

For more information:

Northern France with details of the 3110th Signal Service Battalion’s service in Normandy.

Infantry, Air Force, Medical, and Signal Corps Units in Tamerville and Valognes

Another in an ongoing series about our trip to France for the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the Liberation of France and the memorial in Tamerville. Tamerville is among the places where my late father Felix A. Cizewski, served in Company C, 3110th Signal Service Battalion.

Last revised: July 10, 2014



Tamerville ceremony: my remarks

June 16, 2014
George and LeonardGeorge Dennebouy reading his French translation of Leonard Cizewski’s remarks at the Tamerville memorial, May 31, 2014.

Photo by Cheryl A. Robinson

My late father, Felix A. Cizewski, said very little about his service in World War Two.  After he died, I looked at his copy of his records and found many gaps. I researched at the National Archives and discovered that he served as private in Company C, 3110th (thirty one tenth) Signal Service Battalion, Army Service Forces.

I once asked him if he ever wished to visit the places he served in Europe

He replied that he first wanted to see everything he could in the United States.

Then he added that if he ever returned to Europe it would be to see how it was rebuilt. He said he saw so much destroyed.

I thought he was referring to the well known destruction of German cities.

As my wife Cheryl and I prepared for our trip, we viewed the World War Two photos and movies of the damage done to Valognes by American forces to liberate it from the Nazis.

That made it clear that my father was referring to what he first witnessed here.

I realize how both the occupation and liberation caused great pain and loss of civilian life in Tamerville. Cheryl and I are here to also join you in honoring the civilians who suffered just as you are honoring the service of my late father’s company.

In February 1944, the 3110th Signal Service Battalion was sent to England where they worked on communications support for the liberation of France.

On July 26, while the rest of the battalion remained in England, my father and Company C landed at Utah Beach and traveled to a bivouac site outside of Tamerville.

My father’s Company C was the battalion’s Open Wire Repair Section with pole and wire construction and maintenance responsibilities.

He may have work on the communications facilities constructed in Valognes and the Chiffrevast Château near Tamerville.

For their work in England and France, my father and the 3110th Signal Service Battalion were awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation.

On August 19, my father was sent to Cherbourg then to Paris where in December he suffered severe frostbite. After he recovered, he was transferred to the 45th Signal Company, 45th Infantry Division. He provided communications support for the combat units of his division as they liberated Dachau.

After returning from the war he worked as a truck driver in Chicago. He met and married my mother. They raised four children. He was most proud of his family.

When my son watched movies of the battles in Normandy I told him to imagine the ten or twelve men and women– including his grandfather—providing support behind every paratrooper.

Men and women such as my father seem at times to be forgotten or lost to history. I view your memorial for my father’s company as also being a memorial for the hundreds of thousands of women and men who provided support and service throughout the war. Your memorial means they will not be forgotten.

Ten years after my father’s death, you have given me a way to bond with him

On behalf of my late father and my family I thank you.

Mon père, Félix A. Cizewski, aujourd’hui décédé, a dit peu de chose au sujet de son service pendant la Seconde guerre mondiale. Après son décés j’ai consulté ses notes , mais il y avait peu d’informations. J’ai fait des recherches aux archives nationales et j’ai découvert qu’il a servi comme soldat dans la compagnie “C” du 3110 (trente et un dixiéme) Signal Service Battailon, du service des Fores Armées.

Un jour, je lui ai demandé s’il avait souhaité revoir les endroits òu il avait servi en Europe.

Il m’a répondu qu’il souhaitait d’abord voir tout ce qu’il pourrait voir aux Etats Unis.

Puis il a ajouté que si un jour il retournait en Europe, ce serait pour voir comment tout avait été reconstruit car il avait vu tant de destructions.

Je pensais qu’il parlait des destructions connues des villes allemandes.

Tandis que mon épouse Cheryl et moi préparions notre venue ici, nous avons vu des photos et des films des destructions causes à Valognes par les Forces Américaines pour libérer la ville des nazis.

Cela devenait clair pour moi qu’il parlait de ce don’t il avait été témoin ici.

Je réalise combien, à la fois, l’occupation et la Libération ont causé de peines et de pertes pour la population de Tamerville. Cheryl et moi sommes présents pour nous joindre à vous pour honorer les civils qui ont souffert comme vous honorez les services rendus par la compagnie de mon père.

En Février 1944, le 3110 Signal Service Battailon a été envoyé en Angleterre òu les hommes ont préparé les moyens de communication pour la Libération de la France.

Le 26 Juillet, alors qu’une partie du Battailon restait en Angleterre, mon père et la compagnie « C » débarquait à Utah-Beach et venait bivouaquer à Tamerville.

La compagnie de mon père était en charge de la pose des poteaux et la construction des lignes aériennes de communication, et était responsible de leur maintenance.

Il a participé à la réalisation de moyens de communication à Valognes et dans le Chateau de Chiffrevast à Tamerville .

Pour leur travail en Angleterre et en France, mon père et le 3110 Signal Service Battailon ont été décorés de la médaille « Meritorious Unit Commendation ».

Cette décoration était décernée aux unités non-combattantes pour les services de logistique rendus pendant une période de plus de six mois aux unités combattantes

Le 19 Aout, mon père a été transféré à Cherbourg puis à Paris,`ou en Décembre il a souffert de graves engelures.Une fois guérri, il a été transféré à la 45iéme Signal Compagniy, 45iéme Division d’Infanterie.
Il participait à la mise en œuvre des moyens de communication des unités de combat de sa Division quand ils ont libéré DACHAU.

Retourné à la vie civile après guerre, il a travaillé comme chauffeur routier à Chicago. Il a rencontré ma mère et se sont marriés. Ils ont eu 4 enfants. Il était très fier de sa famille.

Quand mon fils a vu des films sur la Battaille de Normandie, je lui ai demandé d’imaginer les dix à 12 femmes et hommes, incluant son grand-père, fournissant les supports derrière chaque parachutiste.

Les hommes et les femmes comme mon père semblent être oubliés et perdus par l’histoire. Je vois votre mémorial en souvenir de mon père comme étant un mémorial en mémoire des centaines de milliers de femmes et d’hommes qui ont participé à la logistique pendant toute la guerre.
Votre mémorial signifie qu’ils ne seront pas oubliés.

Dix ans après son décés , vous m’avez permis de me rapprocher de lui.

Au nom de mon père et de ma famille, je vous remercie.

– Translation by Georges Debounney


Jeff Spitzer-Resnick and Marj Halperin assisted in the writing of my remarks.

Hugh Foster confirmed the proper way to say “3110th” is “thirty one tenth”.

I rehearsed by reading to my remarks to Carol Barry and Jeff Spitzer-Resnick.

Georges Debounney translated and read my remarks in French translation at the ceremony.

Related links:

Northern France with details of the 3110th Signal Service Battalion’s service in Normandy.

Infantry, Air Force, Medical, and Signal Corps Units in Tamerville and Valognes



Revised June 17, 2014

Soviet complicity in the death of Anne Frank

April 16, 2014
Secret Cables of the Comintern, 1933-1943

Secret Cables of the Comintern, 1933-1943
by Fridrikh I. Firsov, Harvey Klehr, and John Earl Haynes, Yale University Press.
Fair use of image © Yale University Press

Russian archivist and historian Fridrikh I. Firsov and American historians Harvey Klehr and John Earl Haynes are sharing their research into the recently available Soviet WWII archives in their forthcoming book Secret Cables of the Comintern, 1933-1943.

Their research is creating a more complete and accurate history of the Holocaust including Soviet complicity.

Understanding Soviet complicity through the story of Anne Frank and her family

The government of the Netherlands admitted Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany. Among them were the Frank family who fled in 1933.

The Frank family should have been safe and found a new life in the Netherlands.

Instead in 1940 with the direct assistance of their Soviet ally, the Nazis overran Holland.

Soviet material assistance:

To conquer the Netherlands, the Nazis used Soviet oil to fuel military vehicles and aircraft, Soviet fodder for the horses which pulled the wagons that provided 90% of the supplies for the Nazi troops, Soviet grain to feed the Nazi troops, and critical raw materials from the Soviet Union for the construction of military vehicles, equipment, weapons, and ammunition.

Prior to the attack on Holland, the Soviets allowed the Nazis to develop and test weapons on Soviet soil to evade the disarmament provisions of the treaties that ended WWI.

Soviet political support:

Soviet political support for their Nazi ally is the subject of Secret Cables of the Comintern, 1933-1943.

In an interview with BBC History Magazine, archivist Firsov reports that:

These records reveal the extent to which foreign communist parties were Soviet puppets whose job was to support Soviet foreign policy.

They show how, on Moscow instructions they changed from being anti to pro-fascist and how they desperately tried to portray Nazi Germany as a positive force against imperialism and for world peace.

The Dutch Communist Party followed Soviet orders and supported the Nazis. However, the Dutch Communists had almost no influence on the Dutch government’s commitment to armed neutrality and the Dutch Communists appear to have provided little or no support to the Nazis during the invasion.

In other countries, the effect was more deadly.

On orders of the Soviets, the U.S. Communist Party aligned with pacifists, isolationists, Nazi sympathizers, anti-Semites, and others to oppose U.S. action against the Nazis.

The result was by the time the U.S. joined the war against the Nazis in late 1941, the Frank family was trapped in Amsterdam and millions of other European Jews were already dead.

About the only hope for rescue of the Frank family and other surviving Jews was the military defeat of the Nazis. Amsterdam was so far behind Nazi lines that not until the Allies and Soviets militarily defeated Nazi Germany in May, 1945 were Canadian troops finally able to liberate Amsterdam.

That was much too late for the Frank family and six million other Jews. In 1944 German and Dutch Nazis found the Franks’ hiding place, arrested and deported them to slave labor or death camps where all died except Anne’s father Otto.

Acknowledging the Soviet Union’s share of Holocaust responsibility

The Soviet’s share of responsibility passed to the Russian Federation, the Soviet Union’s successor state, in the same way that modern postwar Germany was held responsible for the crimes of its Nazi predecessor.

In addition, a few existing political parties view themselves as the successors to the WWII era pro-Soviet Communist Parties.  As tiny, marginal, and irrelevant as most are, they still share responsibility for their predecessor’s support for the Nazis and opposition to U.S. military action during almost two years of the Holocaust.

Both the Russian Federation government and successor Communist Parties try to avoid responsibly and deflect attention from their two Holocaust years of Nazi alliance by focusing on the Soviets’ war with the Nazis after the Nazis ended the alliance or claims of being “premature antifascists” because of the Soviet Union’s and worldwide Communist Parties’ participation in the Spanish Civil War against Spanish fascists.

While both may wish their Nazi alliance history to disappear down one of George Orwell’s 1984 memory holes we have the power to hold them accountable by sharing as complete and accurate a history of WWII and Holocaust as we can.

Enabling genocide yesterday and today

In her blog Assessing Atrocity Alexis Herr discusses the issue of enabling ongoing genocide:

Globalization and Inaction During Genocide: Breaking a Bystander Mold

Understanding the history of enabling genocide adds insight to enabling present day genocides.

Holocaust history and my family history blog

I occasionally post about Holocaust history in my family history blog to honor the memory of my later father Felix A. Cizewski.

His service in 45th Signal Company provided support to the 45th Infantry Division’s combat units who liberated Dachau.

After liberation he was stationed near Dachau for about 2½ months on occupation duty. He may have shared in the care of the liberated survivors,  especially the almost 9,000 Polish speakers as my late father was fluent in Polish.

For more information:

Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center

Virginia Holocaust Museum

Revised: January 18, 2014


Christmas 1944: Felix Cizewski hospitalized in Paris with cold injuries

December 25, 2013

Diorama in the Truschbaum Museum, Camp Elsenborn, Belgium of a medic treating GI with trench foot and cold injuries to his hands and face. This illustrates what Felix A. Cizewski suffered.
(Photo Truschbaum Museum, used by permission.)

On Christmas sixty-nine years ago my late father, Felix A. Cizewski, was in an Army hospital in Paris with severe cold injuries, probably frostbite, to his hands and feet.

He was in a the Open Wire Repair Section of an Army Service Forces Signal Corps company based in Paris.

That meant he was working outside during one of Europe’s harshest winters in decades.

What Signalmen did that put them at risk of cold injury

At night a captured German doctor working in the American hospital massaged Felix’s hands and feet with a salve. Eventually Dad healed enough to avoid amputations and return to duty.

He was sent to a Replacement Depot then assigned to the Thunderbirds’ 45th Signal Company for the rest of the war.

Dad suffered for the rest of his life with what may have been Raynaud’s Syndrome. Every winter his circulation would mostly shut down in his hands and his hands would be very pale and cold.

My father obviously suffered  lifelong disability from his cold injuries. Along with the effects of tuberculosis he may have contracted while in the Army and the traumatic effects of arriving at Dachau about one day after its liberation and possibly helping to care for the survivors while stationed on occupation near Dachau, my late father may have been an
unrecognized and uncompensated disabled veteran.

For more information:

Felix A. Cizewski in the Army Service Forces Communications Zone, Paris, September 15, 1944 to January 16, 1945

An Unrecognized and Uncompensated Disabled Veteran?


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