Tag Archives: Nazi Germany

courage is our omnipotence

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A photo of a lone man with his arms folded as hundreds around him perform a salute in Nazi Germany has resurfaced.

The snap, taken in 1936, shows August Landmesser defying the status quo as he witnessed the launch of a navy training vessel in Hamburg.

Landmesser himself was not identified until 1991, the Washington Post reported, after one of his children saw the picture in a German newspaper.

The picture came to light again after a blog, launched to support the victims of Japan’s 2011 Tohoku earthquake, shared it on a Facebook page, presumably as a symbol of inspiration for those still suffering in the aftermath of the disaster.

The site, named Senrinomichi, says: “The road ahead is a long one, comprised of many small steps, the Japanese people will ensure that the journey is completed to the end.”

It also includes a quote by the Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu – “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

A comment accompanying the Landmesser picture posted on Facebook said: “We know little else about August Landmesser, except that he had two children.

“By pure chance, one of his children recognized her father in this photo when it was published in a German newspaper in 1991. How proud she must have been in that moment.”

Landmesser was a former member of the Nazi party but came to oppose Hitler’s regime after fathering children with a Jewish woman.

He was found guilty of “dishonouring the race” under Nazi law and bravely revealed his rejection of the doctrine at the launch of the Horst Wessell at Blohm + Voss shipyard.

Landmesser and his wife, Irma Eckler, were jailed by the Gestapo and their children were sent to an orphanage.

He was freed from prison in 1941 but was soon drafted into the war. He was later declared missing in action and was presumed dead.

But his image and reputation remains as that of: “An example of individual courage and conscientious objection.”

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We all have the ability to be courageous. Choose – and it can be a difficult choice – to be different for the sake of principle

Don’t compromise – even when pressured – don’t go with the crowd for an easy life – BE YOU!

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Letter from The Learned Mr Fry

Dear Prime Minister, M Rogge, Lord Coe and Members of the International Olympic Committee,

I write in the earnest hope that all those with a love of sport and the Olympic spirit will consider the stain on the Five Rings that occurred when the 1936 Berlin Olympics proceeded under the exultant aegis of a tyrant who had passed into law, two years earlier, an act which singled out for special persecution a minority whose only crime was the accident of their birth. In his case he banned Jews from academic tenure or public office, he made sure that the police turned a blind eye to any beatings, thefts or humiliations afflicted on them, he burned and banned books written by them. He claimed they “polluted” the purity and tradition of what it was to be German, that they were a threat to the state, to the children and the future of the Reich. He blamed them simultaneously for the mutually exclusive crimes of Communism and for the controlling of international capital and banks. He blamed them for ruining the culture with their liberalism and difference. The Olympic movement at that time paid precisely no attention to this evil and proceeded with the notorious Berlin Olympiad, which provided a stage for a gleeful Führer and only increased his status at home and abroad. It gave him confidence. All historians are agreed on that. What he did with that confidence we all know.

Putin is eerily repeating this insane crime, only this time against LGBT Russians. Beatings, murders and humiliations are ignored by the police. Any defence or sane discussion of homosexuality is against the law. Any statement, for example, that Tchaikovsky was gay and that his art and life reflects this sexuality and are an inspiration to other gay artists would be punishable by imprisonment. It is simply not enough to say that gay Olympians may or may not be safe in their village. The IOC absolutely must take a firm stance on behalf of the shared humanity it is supposed to represent against the barbaric, fascist law that Putin has pushed through the Duma. Let us not forget that Olympic events used not only to be athletic, they used to include cultural competitions. Let us realise that in fact, sport is cultural. It does not exist in a bubble outside society or politics. The idea that sport and politics don’t connect is worse than disingenuous, worse than stupid. It is wickedly, wilfully wrong. Everyone knows politics interconnects with everything for “politics” is simply the Greek for “to do with the people”.

An absolute ban on the Russian Winter Olympics of 2014 on Sochi is simply essential. Stage them elsewhere in Utah, Lillyhammer, anywhere you like. At all costs Putin cannot be seen to have the approval of the civilised world.

He is making scapegoats of gay people, just as Hitler did Jews. He cannot be allowed to get away with it. I know whereof I speak. I have visited Russia, stood up to the political deputy who introduced the first of these laws, in his city of St Petersburg. I looked into the face of the man and, on camera, tried to reason with him, counter him, make him understand what he was doing. All I saw reflected back at me was what Hannah Arendt called, so memorably, “the banality of evil.” A stupid man, but like so many tyrants, one with an instinct of how to exploit a disaffected people by finding scapegoats. Putin may not be quite as oafish and stupid as Deputy Milonov but his instincts are the same. He may claim that the “values” of Russia are not the “values” of the West, but this is absolutely in opposition to Peter the Great’s philosophy, and against the hopes of millions of Russians, those not in the grip of that toxic mix of shaven headed thuggery and bigoted religion, those who are agonised by the rolling back of democracy and the formation of a new autocracy in the motherland that has suffered so much (and whose music, literature and drama, incidentally I love so passionately).

I am gay. I am a Jew. My mother lost over a dozen of her family to Hitler’s anti-Semitism. Every time in Russia (and it is constantly) a gay teenager is forced into suicide, a lesbian “correctively” raped, gay men and women beaten to death by neo-Nazi thugs while the Russian police stand idly by, the world is diminished and I for one, weep anew at seeing history repeat itself.

Published on August 7th, 2013
Written by: Stephen Fry

– See more at: http://www.stephenfry.com/2013/08/07/an-open-letter-to-david-cameron-and-the-ioc/#sthash.JvPwyAIc.dpuf

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Irena Sendler 2

Irena Sendler 2

 

 For once, the term “heroine” is no exaggeration, though such plaudits did not sit easily with her. She said: “I was brought up to believe that a person must be rescued when drowning, regardless of religion and nationality.
She was beaten, tortured and sentenced to death by the Gestapo  –  who even announced her execution. But Irena survived, her spirit unbroken, her secrets untold. She sadly passed last week after saving over 2500 Jewish children but died wishing she’d rescued more…

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July 22, 2013 · 11:31

No excuses

In 1536 Reformer William Farel recruited John Calvin to come to Geneva,  to minister to the congregation of St. Peter’s Church in that Swiss city.

Calvin, a sickly man all his life, was on his way to Strasbourg to be a quiet scholar, but he relented under this need, this request, to become a pastor. 

Two years later, the city fathers publicly banished Calvin from Geneva. Actually, Calvin felt relieved. The moral chaos of the city was terrible. He went to Strasbourg.

Three years later in 1541, the same city fathers who had tried to humiliate him begged Calvin to return and help restore order. 

He didn’t want to go this second time, either, “yet,” he wrote, “because I know that I am not my own master, I offer my heart as a true sacrifice to the Lord.”

This became the motto of Calvin’s life. His emblem would include a hand holding out a heart to God with the inscription, prompte et sincere (“promptly and sincerely”).

Promptly and sincerely Calvin answered a call to very difficult task.

There are many times in our own life, when we don’t feel like taking a course of action, because it would be inconvenient or risky or just plain boring.  And we do not respond “promptly and sincerely”, but rather make our excuses…and some of them can be pretty lame and rather unconvincing.

But the greatest of folk down through the centuries, have, despite knowing that the outcome of their action could impact negatively upon them, accepted the challenge.

Jesus Christ was determined to go to Jerusalem even though he knew that it would probably mean death for him in the end. But for him, there was no turning back

He knew that he had to go.

Certainly in the early church when this Gospel was being written followers of Jesus faced great opposition from their families and close friends.  They were even in some cases considered dead by the family.  Funerals were probably held for them.  How can you go back to family and friends who have pronounced you dead.? 

 

We know the love and forgiveness of God. We experience the power of the Holy Spirit – a power to live and to serve Christ’s way of life. We have a sense of belonging in a loving Christian community.   Our sense of mission is larger than any personal agenda.

However there are always costs.  The following of Christ demands personal sacrifices.  It often means unpopular stands on some issues, standing against such things as destroy love or works against love in our world.  We need to be working for peace and justice, for freedom of all people and toward the well being of all people.  It also means the loss of our motivation toward profit as our main goal in life. 

Detrich Bonhoeffer. was a German Lutheran theologian and minister. He also came to know the cost of discipleship.  He came to America for awhile while all the difficulties were happening in his homeland.

He went back to Germany eventually saying, “I have come to the conclusion that I have made a mistake in coming to America.  I will have no right to participate in the reconstruction of the Christian life in Germany after the war if I don’t share the trials of this time with my people….since coming on board ship my inner disruption about the future has disappeared”.

You could say that he “set his face” to go to Germany where he was to be imprisoned and eventually executed for his beliefs and his opposition to Hitler. 

NOW is always the time to decide about our life.  It has always been impressive in the Old Testament when the Israelites came to a critical time in their life and one of their leaders would put a decision before the people to “choose today whom you will serve. 

This is always the choice before us as followers of Christ. That is the choice in all the decisions we face day by day. When we choose the giving, loving, caring way of Christ, it is always a CHOICE TO LIVE, whatever the cost, but to the greater glory of God.

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