CONCENTRATION CAMP NEUENGAMME PART 5/5
THE NEUENGAMME - PROCESSES, SUBSEQUENT USES OF THE CAMP
From the 18 March to May 3, 1946 the trial of Max Pauly and 13 other members of the last camp, was conducted in the Hamburg Curio-house by a British military court. Because of their responsibility for the mass deaths in Neuengamme and direct involvement in murders, eleven defendants were sentenced to death, the sentences were carried out on October 8, 1946 at Hameln prison. [Pauly was never tried for the crimes committed at Stutthof. Pauly was executed by hanging (Tod durch den Strang) by Albert Pierrepoint in Hamelin prison on October 8, 1946,sic] in seven subsequent processes which had a total of 15 other defendants, responsible among them the Protective Custody Leader (Schutzhaftlagerführer) Albert Lütkemeyer, for crimes in the main camp Neuengamme. The British military court imposed twelve members of the SS and a notorious Kapo the death penalty. Including against Lütkemeyer and seven other members of the SS, the sentence was upheld and enforced. In addition to the eight MainTrials (Hauptverfahren) the British continued with further 26 Military Court Proceeding covering atrocities and mistreatment of prisoners in sub-camps. Who were charged in addition to SS members were civilians from companies in which forced labourers had been employed. Also, 19 former female guards (Aufseherinnen) were on trial.
In both German states (East and West) only 142 criminal proceedings for the crimes committed in the Neuengamme concentration camp and sub-camps took place. Of the more than 100 cases that were conducted by the Hamburg prosecutor, it came in ten cases to an indictment, in seven to a conviction. The last case was closed after the death of the accused in 2004. Most perpetrators were not tried in any court proceedings.
The former concentration camp buildings became from May the 9 1945 the first 'Russians DP camp' for former Soviet forced labourers, both males and females from the Hamburg area. Since the beginning of June 1945, the British military government used the former concentration camp by the resolutions of the Potsdam Conference as an internment camp, the first interned were primarily members of the SS, then increasingly civilian officials of the Nazi state, suspected war-criminals and others termed security detainees. These were mostly admitted from Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein regions. In October 1945, under guard of 25 Belgian Fusilier Battalion, with 7,987 internees the camp reached it's maximum occupancy. After legal proceedings had taken place, releases from internment followed. Finally, it was in autumn 1946 and still a 'transit camp', designated as 'Civil Internment Camp No. 6' for ethnic Germans expelled from other countries into the British Zone of Occupation, and was finally closed on 13 August 1948, by the British military government.
|View of the second prison, built in 1969, in front of the historic brick factory. The former commandant’s house is in the foreground.|
Due to growing pressure from survivors’ associations and after a lengthy public debate, the Senate of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg decided to relocate the prisons in 1989. However, the first prison was not closed until June 2003, the second prison in February 2006. After the demolition of the prisons and the transfer of property ownership in May 2007, the Memorial encompassed almost the entire area of the former concentration camp. Reminders of the site’s post-war use include a remnant of the first prison on the grounds of the former prisoners’ compound and a section of a wall attached to a guard tower from the second prison where the clay pits were once located.
Because the site was used as an internment camp then as a prison after the war, the concentration camp was largely forgotten. For many decades, Neuengamme concentration camp faded from public memory – both in Germany and in Hamburg. The memorial was established gradually in the face of strong opposition. In 1953, a simple monument was erected on the edge of the grounds. Thanks to the endeavours of the main organisation representing all former camp prisoners, Amicale Internationale de Neuengamme, an international memorial was erected in 1965. In 1981, an exhibition building (Dokumentenhaus) was added, and the first exhibition was shown there with information on the history of the site. In 1984, after protests halted the demolition of the former brick factory, the brickworks and several buildings of the former concentration camp were designated as heritage sites. In 1995, a permanent exhibition opened in the former Walther factory and the exhibition building (Dokumentenhaus) was remodelled into the House of Remembrance, where the names of the victims are kept. Finally, when the prison closed in 2003, a memorial and documentation centre were built on the site of the former prisoners’ compound.
The new Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial was inaugurated on the 60th anniversary of the camp’s liberation in May 2005. Today, the Memorial encompasses virtually the entire grounds and 17 original buildings of the former concentration camp. Measuring 57 hectares, it is one of the largest memorials in Germany. It is a site for remembering and learning that preserves the memory of the victims of SS terror, while also providing opportunities to explore the causes and consequences of the Nazi regime
|'The foundation stone for a prison is laid on the grounds of the former prisoners’ compound of the concentration camp. Photographer unknown, 14 July 1949.|
Der Ort des Terrors
Researcher /Author: Detlaf Garbe, Dr. Reimer Möller
C.H.Beck oHG, München 2007
Wikipedia, (English Edition)
Vetted by: Institute for Research on Anti-Semitism-Berlin
Translated from German by:
Herbert Stolpmann, NZ- April 2015
The Assassination of Count Bernadotte
(September 17, 1948)
During the fight for Jewish statehood, extremist military groups sometimes resorted to the use of terrorist tactics. One such instance occurred in 1948 when members of the Jewish underground organization LEHI killed UN Peace Mediator Count Folke Bernadotte to protest his diplomatic efforts to modify the Palestine partition plan.
Bernadotte, a Swede with family ties to the Swedish King, gained international recognition through his work as head of the Swedish Red Cross during World War II. Bernadotte used his position to negotiate with Heinrich Himmler and save thousands of Jews from concentration camps, although many argue that he could have done more had he been less cautious in negotiations.
A diplomat fluent in six languages, Bernadotte was appointed mediator of the UN General Assembly on May 20, 1948, and was immediately faced with the volatile situation in the Middle East. Arabs and Jews had been fighting over Palestine for decades and the conflict escalated after the adoption of the UN partition resolution on November 29, 1947. When Israel declared its independence on May 14, 1948, five Arab armies invaded Israel. On June 11, Bernadotte succeeded in arranging a 30-day cease-fire. After visiting Cairo, Beirut, Amman and Tel Aviv, he came to the conclusion that the UN partition plan was an “unfortunate” resolution and proposed his own plan to unite the two feuding peoples. Instead of establishing individual states, he suggested that Arabs and Jews form a “union” consisting of a small Jewish entity and an enlarged Transjordan. Haifa and Lydda (Lod) airport would become free zones. Israel would receive the Western Galilee and unlimited immigration for two years, after which the UN would take control of the issue. Between 250,000 and 300,000 Arab refugees would be permitted to return to Arab territory with compensation and Transjordan would control the Negev and, despite Israeli claims, Jerusalem.
The Arab world rejected the Bernadotte plan on the grounds that, as Syrian officer Muhammad Nimr al-Khatib said, “Most of these mediators are spies for the Jews anyway.” The Israeli government, hating the idea of giving up Jerusalem and bent on military victory, quickly followed suit. Fighting resumed on July 8 and the Israeli army gained strength and succeeded in pushing back the Arabs until a second UN cease-fire was declared on July 18, this time with no time limit and a threat of economic sanctions against any country that broke it.
One organization that saw Bernadotte’s efforts as a threat was LEHI, a Jewish underground group that, under the leadership of Yitzhak Shamir, Dr. Israel Scheib and Nathan Friedman-Yellin, had waged a campaign of “personal terror” to force the British out of Palestine. LEHI called Bernadotte a British agent who had cooperated with the Nazis in World War II. The organization considered his plan to be a threat to its goal of Israeli independence on both banks of the Jordan River. Commander Yehoshua Zeitler of the Jerusalem branch of LEHI started training four men to kill Bernadotte, and solicited information from two sympathetic journalists about his schedule. LEHI leaders decided to assassinate Bernadotte while he was on his way to a meeting with Dov Joseph, military governor of Jerusalem’s New City, which was scheduled for either 4:30 p.m. on September 17 or sometime on September 18 (the exact date is disputed).
On September 16, Bernadotte flew to Beirut and spent the day there. At 9:30 a.m. on Friday, September 17, he boarded his UN Dakota plane for the 45 minute flight to Jerusalem. After arriving in Palestine, Bernadotte’s day started with a shot hitting an armored car in his convoy while he was visiting Ramallah. No one was hurt and, according to army liaison officer Moshe Hillman, Bernadotte was proud of the bullet hole and showed Hillman the UN flag that had saved him.
Bernadotte’s appointment with Joseph was rescheduled for 6:30 p.m. that day. Bernadotte spent time at the official UN headquarters at the YMCA and at Government House, a potential headquarters for a UN mission. He visited the Jerusalem Agricultural School where he picked up French UN observer Andre Seraut who took the center seat in the UN car, immediately to Bernadotte’s left. The three car convoy then headed back to the YMCA to pick up a copy of the truce regulations before the meeting with Joseph.
Meanwhile, LEHI terrorists adapted their plans to the new meeting time and an Israeli military jeep carrying a driver named Meshulam Makover and four assassins was dispatched to Palmeh Street in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Old Katamon. At 5:03 p.m., the UN convoy drove up and found the jeep blocking its path. The terrorists, wearing khaki shorts and peaked caps, left their jeep, found Bernadotte in the second car of the convoy and one man, later discovered to be Yehoshua Cohen, fired a Schmeisser automatic pistol into the car, spraying the interior with bullets and killing Seraut and then Bernadotte.
Yehoshua Cohen (Hebrew: יהושע כהן; was a leading member of Lehi, a Zionist militant group, who fired the fatal shots in the assassination of United Nations envoy Folke Bernadotte on September 17, 1948. Cohen was never charged for his role in the assassination, and was one of the founders of the Sde Boker kibbutz in the Negev Desert, where David Ben-Gurion later lived. While Ben-Gurion lived at Sde Boker, he and Cohen became close friends.
Yehoshua Cohen on the left, with David Tovyahu
Cohen's involvement in the assassination of Bernadotte was long-rumored, but was not confirmed during his lifetime. Historian Michael Bar-Zohar claimed for a number of years that Cohen had privately confessed in his role in the attack to Ben-Gurion, but Cohen never responded to these claims publicly.
Cohen died at Sde Boker of a heart attack in 1986, with his role in the attack still unclear, but in 1988 two of his co-conspirators in the attack, Yehoshua Zettler and Meshulam Markover, publicly confessed to their role in the attacks and confirmed that Cohen killed Bernadotte.
The other LEHI members shot the tires of the rest of the convoy and all the terrorists escaped to the religious community of Sha’arei Pina where they hid with haredi (ultra-religious) LEHI sympathizers for a few days before fleeing to Tel Aviv in the back of a furniture truck.
Both Seraut and Bernadotte were transported to Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus, but were found to have died instantly. Bernadotte had been hit six times. On September 18, his body was flown to Haifa and then to Sweden, where he was buried on his wife’s birthday. The Israeli government subsequently cracked down on LEHI, arresting many of its members and confiscating their arms. LEHI disbanded, largely due to public condemnation.
While the world mourned for Bernadotte, some in Israel, such as former Tehiya Member of Knesset and former LEHI radio announcer Geula Cohen, saw it as just another death in war, no more immoral than other killings committed during the long Arab-Israeli conflict. Cohen considers the assassination to have been an effective measure “because we prevented the internationalization of Jerusalem.” Others, however, such as Hebrew University professor Joseph Heller, argue that the killing actually provoked support for the Bernadotte plan by making its author into a martyr. The plan was never implemented, but whether its failure was due to the assassination or simply because of Israeli military strength and other outside factors is pure speculation.
Yitzhak Shamir reputedly played a role in planning the assassination; however, he was never tried and years later was elected as Israel's eighth Prime Minister.
Source: Jewish Virtual Library - Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library, The Encyclopedia Americana, 1988, Hewins, Ralph, Count Folke Bernadotte: His Life and Work, 1950