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Forgiving the Nazis is incomprehensible – but it has saved one survivor’s life | Marina Cantacuzino. Forgiveness is hotly contested territory – contentious, risky, messy, misunderstood and potentially divisive. While it is most certainly a transformative and powerful route to healing, capable of restoring broken relationships and rebuilding fragmented communities, it can also tear families apart, pitting victims and survivors against each other. We saw this very clearly in the reaction this week to the Holocaust survivor Eva Kor publicly forgiving the “bookkeeper of Auschwitz” – the 93-year-old former SS guard Oskar Gröning. In one simple gesture she managed to incite hope and inspiration, in many but also derision and anger in others. I have known Kor for a number of years.

While I believe forgiveness should never be promoted as an imperative within psychology or as morally unassailable, there is undoubtedly a very visible and vocal movement that presents and replicates forgiveness in this way. There is a sense that by publicly forgiving Gröning, Kor has set the wrong tone. The Haunting Story Behind One Of Gustav Klimt's Most Famous Paintings. Maria Altmann was in her '80s when she entered into a legal battle with the Austrian government in order to reclaim Gustav Klimt's "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I" and other Nazi-plundered Klimt paintings. The artwork had been stolen from her family's home after she escaped from Austria as a Jewish refugee of the Holocaust during World War II. Never certain she would even live to see a verdict, Altmann's fight wasn't about money or revenge.

According to her, she simply wanted to preserve the truth of what had happened to her family. So the history goes, the paintings in question were originally confiscated by Nazi authorities from Altmann's uncle, Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer, and acquired by the state of Austria following German occupation. When Altmann began her fight, in the late 1990s, the portrait of Bloch-Bauer's wife Adele had already made its way to the Galerie Belvedere in Vienna, where it was known by a colloquial moniker, "Women in Gold," to obscure the subject's Jewish heritage.

Soren Kam: Most-wanted Nazi dies aged 93 a free man - Europe - World - The Independent. Danish former volunteer officer Søren Kam died on 23 March, just a little more than a fortnight after his wife passed away – according to the German newspaper Allgauer Zeitung as reported by Reuters. Kam was the fifth-most wanted war criminal by Jewish rights organisation Simon Wiesenthal Center, that seeks to bring former Nazis to justice and educate about the Holocaust.

The Dane had been a volunteer officer in the Schalburg Corps, a SS-Viking division, and was one of three men who killed Danish anti-Nazi newspaper editor Carl Henrik Clemmensen in 1943. A Danish court convicted him in absentia of the murder after the war. Another man was executed for the same crime. Loading gallery In pictures: Nazi bunkers across Europe 1 of 7 Kam had fled to Germany where he obtained citizenship in 1956 and his new home country had refused to extradite him to Denmark several times, according to Danish media. “Kam should have finished his miserable life in jail, whether in Denmark or Germany. ‘Accountant of Auschwitz’ goes on trial in Germany. A 93-year-old man who was assigned to confiscate the luggage of prisoners arriving at Auschwitz concentration camp in his capacity as an SS guard has gone on trial in Germany , charged with complicity in the murder of 300,000 Holocaust victims.

Oskar Gröning, referred to as ‘the accountant of Auschwitz’, is standing trial in the north German town of Lüneburg in what is a hugely symbolic act as part of authorities’ last-ditch attempt to put the handful of remaining Nazi death camp guards in the dock before they die. Only 43 of the 6,500 SS members who worked in the concentration camps have ever faced prosecution.

Of those only 25 went to prison and the rest were acquitted. Unusually, Gröning has been quite outspoken about the two years he spent in Auschwitz, describing in an autobiography as well as lengthy interviews, some of the horrors he witnessed, and admitting that the events have haunted him his entire life. He admitted knowing about the gas chambers. The Haunting Story Behind One Of Gustav Klimt's Most Famous Paintings. How Two Sisters’ Love Helped Them Survive Auschwitz. On March 26, 1942, in Poprad, Slovakia, 998 women boarded a train. They thought they were going to a work camp. They were on their way to a death camp. One of those on the first registered Jewish transport to Auschwitz was a 17-year-old Polish girl named Rena Kornreich, who’d been working in Slovakia as a nanny. Two days after she arrived in Auschwitz (where she was the 716th female prisoner registered), her sister, Danka, did too. For the next three years and 41 days, Rena and Danka endured a host of dehumanizing horrors: starvation, beatings, forced labor, and the constant threat of death.

To learn more about this powerful story, and to share it on Holocaust Remembrance Day, National Geographic recently spoke with Heather Dune Macadam, co-author of Rena’s Promise: A Story of Sisters in Auschwitz. How did you come to be involved with this project? I met Rena and it was instant love. One of our first conversations was on the phone, as I was making dinner. That was in 1992. Absolutely. 2015 Bruntwood Prize Competition open to submissions | LONDON PLAYWRIGHTS BLOG. The Bruntwood Prize – the biggest playwriting competition in the UK – has been launched, so time to get your scripts ready before the June deadline! The Bruntwood Prize is a competition managed by The Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester. It’s open to playwrights across the UK. The prize has a comprehensive website, featuring everything from submission guidelines, to writing inspiration, to FAQ, to pointers from past winners.

Be sure to make use of this resource before submitting! What to submit: An original, unperformed full-length play. Only one submission per writer will be accepted. The play must not be under consideration by any other theatre (or under consideration by another competition). What you win* [UPDATED]: The prize fund is £40,000 for the judges to distribute at their discretion.

The World Is Full of Holocaust Deniers - Emma Green. A new survey suggests that many Asians, Africans, Middle Easterners, young people, Muslims, and Hindus believe that facts about the genocide have been distorted. Child survivors photographed at Auschwitz in 1945. (Wikimedia) Only 54 percent of the world's population has heard of the Holocaust. 54 percent. This is the most staggering statistic in a new survey by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) of more than 53,000 people in over 100 countries, conducted by First International Resources. Seventy years after the liberation of Auschwitz, two-thirds of the world's population don't know the Holocaust happened—or they deny it. These beliefs follow some unexpected patterns, too. When the data is sliced by religious groups, the results are even more surprising: Hindus were most likely to believe that the number of Holocaust deaths has been exaggerated.

Percent Who Have Heard of the Holocaust Percent of Who Believe Facts About the Holocaust Have Been Distorted, by Age and Religious Group. Retired Japanese Fighter Pilot Sees an Old Danger on the Horizon. Photo NAGANO, Japan — Kaname Harada was once a feared samurai of the sky, shooting down 19 Allied aircraft as a pilot of ’s legendary Zero fighter plane during . Now 98 years old and in failing health, the former ace is on what he calls his final mission: using his wartime experiences to warn Japan against ever going to war again.

This has become a timely issue in Japan, as the conservative prime minister, Shinzo Abe, has called for revising Japan’s pacifist Constitution. On a recent afternoon in this alpine city near his home, Mr. Harada was invited to address a ballroom filled with some 200 tax accountants and their business clients. After slowly ascending the stage with the help of his daughter, he stopped to hang up hand-drawn war maps and a sepia-toned photo of himself as a young pilot in a leather flight suit glaring fearlessly into the camera. It was the same face that now turned to look at the audience, creased by age, and somehow softer and wiser. It is a warning that Mr. Mr. Mr. Edelweiss Pirates. Memorial for the Cologne victims on Schönstein Str, next to the Bahnhof History (1930s)[edit] The origins of the Edelweißpiraten can be traced to the period immediately prior to World War II, as the state-controlled Hitler Youth was mobilized to serve the state, at the expense of the leisure activities previously offered to young people.

This tension was exacerbated once the war began and youth leaders were conscripted. In contrast, the Edelweißpiraten offered young people considerable freedom to express themselves and to mingle with members of the opposite sex, whereas Nazi youth movements were strictly segregated by gender[citation needed], the Hitler-Jugend for boys and the Bund Deutscher Mädel for girls.

Though predominantly male, the casual meetings of the Edelweißpiraten even offered German adolescents an opportunity for sexual experimentation with the opposite sex. During the war, many Edelweißpiraten supported the Allies and assisted deserters from the German army. See also[edit] AN ESSENTIAL HOLOCAUST FILM. ~ Posted by Caroline Moorehead, January 27th 2015 In the closing weeks of the second world war, work began on an uncompromising and essential documentary about the Holocaust, which is being remembered today on Holocaust Memorial Day and the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. “German Concentration Camps Factual Survey” was conceived by Sidney Bernstein, who later founded Granada television. It includes footage filmed by Bernstein himself at Bergen-Belsen and by the Soviets and Americans at Auschwitz, Majdanek and Dachau. Later this year the film, recently restored by the Imperial War Museum, will be released in Britain by the British Film Institute.

The story of the making and shelving of Bernstein’s film is told in “Night Will Fall”, broadcast on Channel 4 last weekend and now available to watch online. Back in London, Bernstein put together a team of writers and editors, among them the future Labour politician Richard Crossman, who was drafted in to write the script. German couple pay Greece £630 'war reparations' A German couple visiting Greece walked into a town hall and handed over €875 (£630) in what they said were second world war reparations. Dimitris Kotsouros, the mayor of Nafplio, a seaport in the Peloponnese, said: “They came to my office yesterday morning, saying they wanted to make up for their government’s attitude. They made their calculations and said each German owed €875 for what Greece had to pay during world war two.” The mayor of the historic town where the tourists deposited their cheque said the money had since been donated to a local charity.

The couple chose his town “because it was the first capital of Greece in the 19th century”, he added. Greek media reports named the pair as Ludwig Zacaro and Nina Lahge. Athens is struggling under a debt mountain that amounts to about 175% of the country’s annual economic output. Several senior Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens in Germany have also said their nation should consider paying reparations. 17 Haunting Historical Photos Of Children At Play During Wartime. One of the worst aspects of war is the devastating effect of the fighting on the lives of children. While bearing no responsibility for the conflict, kids nevertheless bear the impact of trauma and violence on an unconscionable scale.

Even today, with international laws and conventions in place to protect the rights of children in conflict, too many kids are still suffering. An estimated 14 million children are currently living through hardship caused by war in Iraq and Syria, according to the United Nations. Conflict threatens not only the health and happiness of the young, but also their ability to experience the feeling of childhood. The photos below show, however, that the desire to play unites children during wartime, across the world and throughout history. Odd Andersen / AFP / Getty Images A young boy plays on a tank in the Sarajevo neighborhood of Grbavica, April 22, 1996. NG Live!: Adrian Myers: Where Nazis Were the Prisoners.

Germany's Unpaid Debt to Greece: Economist Albrecht Ritschl on WWII Reparations That Never Were. Albrecht Ritschl, professor of economic history at the London School of Economics. (Screen grab via Proud2bGreek1 / YouTube)In this interview, Albrecht Ritschl, professor of economic history at the London School of Economics, discusses Germany's unpaid war debts and reparations to Greece from World War II, and characterizes Germany as the biggest debt transgressor of the 20th century. Michael Nevradakis: Many people are not aware of the occupation loan that the Nazi regime forced Greece to give during World War II. Tell us a brief history about this issue. Albrecht Ritschl: The very basics of this are that Germany exacted a forced loan from the Bank of Greece during the occupation, and that forced loan was not paid back, and there was probably no intention to.

What we had here was an attempt to disguise, to camouflage, so to speak, occupation costs as a forced loan - and this loan had several bad aspects. Did the Nazis also extract forced loans from other countries that they occupied? World War II Erupts: Color Photos From the Invasion of Poland, 1939 | TIME. On Sept. 1, 1939, one week after Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union signed a non-aggression pact, more than a million German troops—along with 50,000 Slovakian soldiers—invaded Poland. Two weeks later, a half-million Russian troops attacked Poland from the east. After years of vague rumblings, explicit threats and open conjecture about the likelihood of a global conflict—in Europe, the Pacific and beyond—the Second World War had begun.

The ostensible aim of Germany’s unprovoked assault, as publicly stated by Hitler and other prominent Nazi officials, was the pursuit of lebensraum—that is, territory deemed necessary for the expansion and survival of the Reich. But, of course, Hitler had no intention of ending his aggression at Poland’s borders, and instead was launching a full-blown war against all of Europe. Survivor testimonies. In this section you can listen to the testimonies of Holocaust survivors.

Choose from the following six topics to find out more. Further interviews with Jewish survivors of the Holocaust can be found on the Sounds website. Life before the Holocaust Survivors in this section talk about how they encountered anti-Semitic discrimination before the war. Ghettos and deportations From 1939 the Nazis established ghettos all across the occupied countries, enabling them to isolate Jews from the general populations.

The camps Six extermination camps had been constructed in Poland by the end of 1941, enabling Hitler to carry out his 'Final Solution'. Resistance There were still those who resisted the Nazis in both ghettos and camps, despite the overwhelming obstacles they faced. Liberation Liberation is often imagined as a time of celebration. Testimony of Edith Birkin Edith Birkin was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1927. Profile: John Demjanjuk, Nazi foot soldier. The Voice of the Survivors. Hidden Children: Hardships. Testimony Excerpts:: Introduction | Yale University Library. Museum Created for Germans Who Hid Jews « The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation.

Jew hiding in Nazi Berlin had to kill her unborn baby to survive WW2. World War II – Jewish hospital in Berlin | Fascinating Jewish history | Without the boring stuff (all contents copyrighted ©) 10 great films about children in wartime.