Tag Archives: German Jews

How a British ‘Master Spy’ Saved Thousands of Jews in the Holocaust

In 2005, the United Nations designated 27 January as an International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust. On Monday 27 January 2020 it was a more special International Holocaust Remembrance Day because of the 75th anniversary of the Jewish liberation from Auschwitz.

Underneath you may find a list of articles looking at the commemorations and reactions which were made to those who were allowed to speak at those commemorations. In those articles you shall come to see how we are developing again to a dangerous situation where certain people with ‘other ideas’ and another religion than the ‘main stream’ are again considered as to be outcast and to be silenced or not having the right to speak.

When looking at that horrible period of cruelty and the many years that people stood aside not daring to open their mouth, we luckily may find also dome positive notes of people who dared to help others, risking their own life.

Despite the horrors that occurred at Auschwitz and other concentration camps, thousands of Jewish lives were spared because of the covert operations of unsung heroes.

One such man was Major Francis “Frank” Edward Foley CMG , a passport control officer for the British embassy in Berlin, who “bent the rules” and helped thousands of Jewish families escape from Nazi Germany after Kristallnacht and before the outbreak of the Second World War.

Frank foley.jpg

Major Francis “Frank” Edward Foley (1884-1958) recognised as a British Hero of the Holocaust and as a Righteous Among the Nations.

Though most saw Foley as a “low-level British bureaucrat serving in Berlin” just before World War II, [1 Gragg, Rod. My Brother’s Keeper: Christians Who Risked All to Protect Jewish Targets of the Nazi Holocaust, “Francis Foley,” (Center Street Publishing, 2017). ] he was actually a master spy in the MI6, the British intelligence service. He focused his efforts on the rise of German Communists, then on Hitler’s campaign to reactivate and expand the German military — until he learned what was happening in the Nazi concentration camps.[2 Gradd, 2017] He went on to secretly save thousands of Jewish lives.

To remember the approximately six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust, we offer this reflection on Frank Foley’s selfless rescue missions, adapted from My Brother’s Keeper: Christians Who Risked All to Protect Jewish Targets of the Nazi Holocaust

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Foley’s intelligence operation . . . revealed evidence that Jewish inmates imprisoned in the Nazi concentration camps being erected throughout Germany were suffering horrors. Despite his protests, however, his London superiors waved away the accounts as ridiculous exaggerations. Foley then appealed to British immigration officials, asking them to expedite Jewish requests for asylum in Great Britain and its colonies, but encountered more bureaucratic apathy.

Frustrated but determined, Foley decided to help Germany’s Jews himself. Using his official cover as the British passport control officer in Berlin, he began issuing droves of passports to Jews seeking escape from Germany. Like Feng Shan Ho, his Chinese counterpart in Austria, Foley was motivated by more than just humanitarian concerns: his faith as a Christian compelled him to act, he believed—especially when so many of those who were persecuting the Jews claimed that they were Christians.

. . .

The pogrom against the Jews which left thousands of premises, homes and synagogues destroyed and therefore became widely known as Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass – its meaning taken from the smashed windows and shards of broken glass strewn across German streets.

After Kristallnacht in 1938, the desperation increased within Germany’s Jewish community. Determined to escape the Nazis and save their families, German Jews began showing up unannounced at Foley’s Berlin flat. As a passport officer, he did not have diplomatic immunity, and he knew what could happen to him if Nazi authorities learned he was issuing thousands of passports or personally harbouring Jews. Despite the danger, he continued his mission. . . . Every month, hundreds of Jews came to Foley seeking escape from Nazi Germany. He realized that most of them would be hauled off to concentration camps before they could be processed by the ponderous, bureaucratic British immigration system — so he developed a streamlined process that severely stretched regulations but still complied with British law.

As relations deteriorated between Nazi Germany and Britain and France, Foley realized that war was imminent and redoubled his efforts to help Jews escape Germany. When warfare erupted in September 1939, Foley disappeared — off on the first of many wartime espionage assignments in which he would distinguish himself as one of the key allied intelligence operatives of World War II.

Obituary of Leo Baeck

A few days before the war began, Leo Baeck, a leading German rabbi and one of Foley’s chief Jewish contacts, received a message to pick up a package from Foley’s office in the British consulate. Foley was gone when Baeck arrived, but the package awaited him. It was Frank Foley’s final outreach to the imperilled Jews of Germany. Inside were more than eighty British passports officially stamped and approved for travel outside Germany, each with the spaces for name and address left blank — to be filled in by escaping Jews whom Frank Foley had never met.

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Find also to read:

  1. Reformed Churches Muzzled but Protest at Barmen
  2. Through the Lens of Faith
  3. Nazi Germany
  4. the Soup will not be eaten as hot as it is served
  5. Black page 70 years Release – commemoration Auschwitz
  6. World remembers Auschwitz survivors
  7. Luca Jahier, EESC President on the present intolerance
  8. Polish commemoration of the liberation of the concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau
  9. Seventy-five years ago on January 27
  10. January 27 – 70 years ago Not an end yet to genocide
  11. 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz
  12. 5th World Holocaust Forum
  13. Dedication ceremony for a memorial at Jerusalem’s Sachar Park in honour of the casualties of the Siege of Leningrad
  14. Auschwitz survivors providing a warning of rising anti-Semitism and exclusion of free thinking
  15. What’s the Future of Holocaust Remembrance?
  16. Christadelphians’ role in the rescue of Jewish children from Nazi Germany
  17. Christadelphians, the Kindertransport, and Rescue from the Holocaust

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Filed under Activism and Peace Work, Crimes & Atrocities, History, Political affairs, Religious affairs, Social affairs, Welfare matters, World affairs

the Soup will not be eaten as hot as it is served

“Are they really bringing people to workplaces to give them a better life?”

It was known or said that even if Jews were converted to the Christian faith, they remained “different” because of their bloodline. It was also known that many were jealous for the lifestyle and family feeling which could  be found in the Klal Yisrael or Jewish communities. Many goyim found the Jews separated themselves from the society, but they did not often see it were goyim who themselves gave enough reason not to mix too much with them.

Samuel Morgenstern was one of those shopkeepers who was one of the most loyal buyers of Hitler’s paintings in Vienna, by which Hitler could receive enough money not to be a tramp. Naturally there were also rumours Hitler could not stand Jews because he got a disease from regularly going to some ‘Jewish harlots’.

Portrait of Karl Lueger (ca. 1900), mayor of Vienna. He used anti-Semitism as a political strategy. Collection: Austrian National Library / painter: Alois Delug. Source: Wikimedia Commons. Rights: Public Domain

Hitler, Adolf: Mein Kampf

Mein Kampf, (German: “My Struggle”) political manifesto written by Adolf Hitler. It was his only complete book and became the bible of National Socialism (Nazism) in Germany’s Third Reich. It was published in two volumes in 1925 and 1927, and an abridged edition appeared in 1930. By 1939 it had sold 5,200,000 copies and had been translated into 11 languages.

It perhaps were not just rumours that the politician, co-founder and leader of the Austrian Christian Social Party, and mayor of Vienna Karl Lueger (1844-1910), used anti-Semitism as a political strategy, and that he was also praised as “the greatest German mayor of all time” by Adolf Hitler (In Mein Kampf) who did not mind following his ideas.

The prejudices about the role of the Jews in the Great War were incorrect, but as with many rumours, it spread like a virus. Many Germans did not want to believe how more than one hundred thousand German and Austrian Jews had fought for their homeland, one of them being Otto Frank, the German-born merchant best known as the father of Anne Frank, who witnessed the Battle of the Somme in 1916.

In the 1920ies our family members could already hear how our brethren were compared with germs. It was as if our people had been infecting generations for ages. That Hitler never thought his people were not strong enough to live according to the wishes of their god or according to the mitzvot of the Only One True God, the Elohim Hashem Jehovah. Lots of our friends could not believe that those who said they were “Christian” and as such would, or should, be following the Nazarene Jewish rabbi who preached brotherly love, could do such atrocious things, as others told about them. Perhaps it was to set up Jehudiem against Christians, so that the goyim had all the reason to tell

religion is the cause of war.

The words spread that Hitler said that you cannot fight a disease without destroying the person who caused it, and as such according to him, the influence of the Jews would never disappear without removing the perpetrator, the Jude, from the midst of the Arian race.

Radical ideas paved the way for the mass murder of the Jews in the 1940s, but not many of the Bnei Yisroel or Chosen People of God wanted to believe the rumours at first.

In many families, like ours, it was the saying

“the Soup will not be eaten as hot as it is served”.

They heard about plans which would be taken, but they seemed so unbelievable that they could not be true or would have been exaggerated, as by a circling fire. Others were not so much at ease, and warned

“to be aware of a silent dog and still water”.

Should we look askance at him? Now we can easily say they had much better looked at him out of the tail of their eyes. By not believing the many rumours, lots were woken up with a start, when it was too late.

For a long time, many wondered if it was within the odds, whilst others said

“He is not likely to go.”

Others wanted to be a friend to all, forgetting that then they would be a friend to none. Many debates about what went on in Germany and Austria could bring lots of talks after the children were sent to bed. For sure that what was to be spoken about was not for children’s ears.

It was, and is still, known that there was and is, an existing prejudice that Jews associate with financial power and monetary gain. Many are also convinced Jews are “foefelaars“, who make their pile on the poor white people. Lots of Jews may be looked at as a ramay / nokhel, a fiddler or cheater whilst there was no oysnarn at all.

White movement propaganda poster from the Russian Civil War era (1919), a caricature of Leon Trotsky, who was viewed as a symbol of Jewish Bolshevism.

In many countries people also looked at the Jehudi as the originators or conspirators and spreaders of communism. The vast majority of the communist leaders at that time were Jewish. However, it is only a small part of the Jews that were communists, and what a lot of people did not see is that several Jews were promoting or aiming for social equality, this being considered by many liberals and capitalists a danger for the economy and consumption gain. During the war with the Soviet Union, from 1941 on, it will be the idea of the ‘Jewish communism’ (sometimes also called Marxian-communism or meant to be Jewish Bolshevism, also Judeo–Bolshevism) with terrible consequences. The population and the prisoners of war being brutally treated by the Germans.

When Hitler got into power rumours got stronger, but still many did not want to believe what went around. Others were smart enough to be at the safe site by sending their beloved far away from Germany and Austria. Some thought they would be safe in Holland, but how they were mistaken. Having gone to Holland luckily several managed to cross the channel and find a safe haven in the United Kingdom, but the others got taken and deported.

At the Schalkland, in the “Klein-Brabant” region, less than 25 kilometres from the centre of Brussels and 19 kilometres from Antwerp, to the south of the Dendermonde highway (Mechelen – Dendermonde) was build the “Willebroeck Fort” as a fortified defence to protect the port and city of Antwerp, which by Royal Order dated 12 January 1907 rechristened the fort “Breendonck Fort”. On september 20th 1940 Sturmbannführer Philip Schmitt brought his first victims to Breendonk. The Fort officially became the Auffanglager Breendonk, a transit camp; a major centre for the Sicherheitspolizei-Sicherheitsdienst (SIPO/SD), the german political police.

Words spread that in Breendonk the kaze-the mats were to be removed from the earth in which they were covered. Three or four men had to push a railway carriage that was loaded with the earth. It was not the best marterial the prisoners had to use. Of these vehicles, the wheels were worn out, having to be pushed on worn-out rails, so that a person would have more than it is possible. Was it a rumour or was it true that the SS guards, with their weapons beated on the upper arms, the backs of the heads of the unfortunate ones until the latter were exhausted, but also fell dead?

Former working site at the camp of Breendonk. The regime set up here by the Nazis hardly differed from that of an official concentration camp. The undernourishment and the forced labour wore down the body and mind. The ever-present physical cruelty sometimes caused the death of prisoners. Initially, the camp was only guarded by a few German SS and a detachment of the Wehrmacht. In September 1941, the Wachtgruppe of the SD arrived as back up. This time, these were no longer German SS but mainly Flemings.

Some of the prisoners were to be buried up to the neck, after they were first on a ferocious manner, beaten. The S, S. jailers were there, then settled for the pitiful earth at the face of them. The game lasted sometimes for 1 or 2 hours, and when the victims were about to die, they did not stop to punch and to death. During the singing of the song of Breendonk, the text of which these words were placed on the grave:

” Wir werden nie mehr Breendonk vergessen, das Paradies-tier Juden…’.”

Sturmbannführer (majoor) Schmitt had created and placed a pulley on the ceiling in a folterbunker (torture bunker or blockhouse) of the camp, to make, that the victim’s hands at the back tied up would be drawn to the ceiling.

After that, it was a pizzle of the shot, he was then beaten with a bullepees (bullenpees: baton between a whip and a stick made from dried penis of a bull). When the hoist was released, the unfortunate person fell on two angular boards. Kachelpoken or stove pokers were glowed for immediate use,… because the Jews were not worth the bullet. They had to be sent to death during work and by torture.

When the words rang true for most of the Jews still living in the region, it was too late to find a safe place for their children and for themselves.

After the camps in Belgium or Holland as “Musselmen” (completely emaciated) thousands were deported to Germany to find an end to their unbearable suffering, either of starvation, giving up, or in the gas chambers.

The remaining Jews in Belgium were unable to follow the course of events that their fellow believers underwent elsewhere. Their own concerns were too overwhelming for this and contact with neighbouring countries was too incomplete. The seeping job tidings were considered exaggerated …

Commissioned by the notorious member of Heinrich Himmler’s SS, the Nazi paramilitary corps, Adolf Eichmann, the Sicherheits polizei in Berlin, wrote the following urgent letter, in which the word “Secret” is not missing (22 June 1942):

“From mid-July and early August this year, special trains of 1,000 people each day are planned, first of all about 40,000 Jews from the occupied French territory,
Send 40,000 Jews from the Netherlands and 10,000 Jews from Belgium to employment in the Auschwitz camp.
“The circle of persons to be included extends primarily to Jews who are skilled in work, insofar as they do not live in mixed marriages and do not have the nationality of the British Empire, of the U.S.A., of Mexico, from the enemy states, from Central and South America, as well as from the neutral and related states.

“I may request willing access and assume that there are no objections to these measures on the part of the foreign office either.
Commissioned get. Eichman “

On 12 July 1942 the last restriction on freedom before the local raids started was put visible on billboards. From the onward Jews were no longer allowed to visit cinemas, theatres, sports grounds or public institutions. In the trams they were only allowed to stand on the front platform of the trailer.

Such regulations still did not unbalance many of the Jewish diluted community. According to many the German measures only wanted to deprive the Jews of public pleasures … (Few will then have immediately known that the first nocturnal masses in Paris on Friday July 17, 1942 raffle had taken place.)

Wimpel Organisation Todt.svg

Pennant for Organisation Todt

Bundesarchiv Bild 146-2007-0074, IG-Farbenwerke Auschwitz.jpg

Woman with Ostarbeiter OT badge at Auschwitz

The second Jewish labour team was also confidently leaving the civil and military engineering organisation “Organization Todt” to Charleville-Mèzières (18 July), until on July 22 the second deception beared its bitter fruit.(It was the day that the memorial of the destruction of the Temple took place in Jerusalem in the evening – Tischa be’af – -). Jews were arrested without any excuse! When that day the trains from Brussels and Antwerp stopped at Mechelen as usual, Feldgendarmen were on the platform. All the Jews, both men and women, were taken out. The same happened at the Antwerp and Brussels North terminus stations. (The Brussels-North-South connection did not yet exist.) Their freedom had ended. Some went to Breendonk. Most were sent to the 18th century Dossin barracks, where between 1942 and 1944, 25,484 Jews, 352 Roma and Sinti were deported. Just over 5% returned from Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Kazerne Dossin, Goswin de Stassartstraat 153, B. 2800 Mechelen, where in the old barracks, visitors will find a memorial, which commemorates countless people who stayed there in despair and fear and who died later in unspeakable circumstances.

From the onward the Jews throughout Belgium were being seized by panic. Being an ode alone was therefore sufficient here to be arrested … The Jewish Council was powerless … followed by a reaction of partial sobering among the Jewish population. They forged new flight plans that were kept secret even from close acquaintances.
The panic mood was tempered after a few days. When  people received mail from the internees in Mechelen it all looked not as bad as the rumours went around.

They are not nearly as bad there … Fruits are missing … They may receive packages …

Faces from those who lost their life after being brought to the Dosin Kazerne in Mechelen

These days we remember all those who lost their life in a struggle to survive in a hatefull world.

Let us not forget how politicians can use disinformation and propaganda to mislead many and to create unwanted scapegoats.
We also may not let ourselves be fooled this time that it would not be as bad today with what was happening in the 1930ies. There are people who say

That can never repeat again

but after the Great War all people agreed also that such a horror should never take place again. Only a few years later the world found itself again in such time or terror.

This time let us be more careful, notice the signs of people bringing others on the wrong path, and react wisely to those who want us to believe we are ridiculous seeing ghosts or bad things in what are just jokes or carnavalesc activities.

 

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Preceding

Remembrance and freedom in the Netherlands – Dodenherdenking and Bevrijdingsdag

Niet te negeren gebeurtenissen rond Joden in België

The danger of having less than 25 000 Jews in Belgium

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Additional reading

  1. The Great War changed everything
  2. Reformed Churches Muzzled but Protest at Barmen
  3. 2019 was #4 a Year of much deceit in Belgium and the rest of Europe
  4. Signs of the times – “An object of scorn and ridicule”

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Filed under Being and Feeling, Crimes & Atrocities, History, Lifestyle, Pictures of the World, Political affairs, Religious affairs, Social affairs, Welfare matters, World affairs