‘Legendary actor, author and activist, George Takei, best known for playing Hikaru Sulu on Star Trek, appears on Democracy Now! for an extended interview. In this excerpt, he talks about his role as World War II veteran Sam Kimura in “Allegiance: A New American Musical.” The musical tells the story of a Japanese-American family who is relocated from their farm after the attack on Pearl Harbor and placed in an internment camp in Wyoming. This parallels part of Takei’s own family history. At the age of five, his family was shipped to a Japanese-American internment camp in Rohwer, Arkansas.’ (Democracy Now!)
All of contemporary bioethics springs from the Nuremberg Doctors Trial in 1947. Seven Nazi doctors and officials were hanged and nine received severe prison sentences for performing experiments on an estimated 25,000 prisoners in concentration camps without their consent. Only about 1,200 died but many were maimed and psychologically scarred.
So did the US do to the hundreds of Japanese medical personnel who experimented on Chinese civilians and prisoners of war of many nationalities, including Chinese, Koreans, Russians, Australians, and Americans? They killed an estimated 3,000 people in the infamous Unit 731 in Harbin, in northeastern China before and during World War II – plus tens of thousands of civilians when they field-tested germ warfare. Many of the doctors were academics from Japan’s leading medical schools.
Well, almost nothing. Twelve doctors were tried and found guilty by the Soviets in the Khabarovsk War Crime Trials in 1949, but they were all repatriated in 1956. American authorities dismissed the trials as Soviet propaganda. Many of the doctors in Unit 731 went on to successful careers in Japan after the War. The commander of the unit, Shirō Ishii, lived in relative obscurity but his successor late in the war, Kitano Masaji, became head of one of Japan’s leading pharmaceutical companies.
How did the Japanese doctors escape justice?
A fascinating answer appears in the Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics. The broad outline of the story has been well documented, even if it is not widely known. To cut a long story short, the Americans struck a deal with the doctors. They traded immunity from prosecution for access to scientific information from the ghastly Japanese experiments – many of which are too grim to detail here. (If you have the stomach for it, a remorseful doctor describes, at the age of 90, some of his vivisection experiments in an article in the Japan Times.)
Abby Martin highlights the top five companies that aided Nazi Germany during the height of WWII, calling out companies such as Hugo Boss, IBM and Ford. (Breaking the Set)
Japanese-Americans are holding a Day of Remembrance this week for community elders who were unlawfully locked in internment camps during World War II. But for many people — including U.S. judicial authorities — the specter of the camps is hardly a thing of the past. ”You are kidding yourself if you think the same thing will not happen again,” U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia told University of Hawaii law students earlier this month. “In times of war, the laws fall silent.”
For many former detainees who will tell their stories during remembrance events Wednesday [Feb 19th], Scalia’s words are a sobering reminder that national security at times trumps constitutional rights. They think of the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance of private communications or the indefinite detentions of alleged terrorism suspects — mostly Arab and Muslim men — under the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
The Day of Remembrance marks not only the day in 1942 when President Franklin Roosevelt signed an executive order allowing the internment of 120,000 people of Japanese origin after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor; it also serves as “a reminder to our communities — our civil rights are still not protected,” said Karen Korematsu, whose father, Fred Korematsu, famously challenged his detention in the landmark Supreme Court case Korematsu v. United States in 1944.
Karen Korematsu cited the NDAA’s indefinite detentions as one attack on civil rights now faced primarily by American Muslims. Among the other issues they say they face are the mass infiltration of mosque communities by law enforcement and harassment by Transportation Security Administration staff at U.S. borders. ”Even (Scalia) said this could happen again. That’s why education (on Japanese-American internment and civil rights) is so important,” Korematsu said.
One hundred feet beneath the bustling city of London, in air raid shelters used during World War II, a company is growing leafy greens. Welcome to Growing Underground. Using a hydroponics system — a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions in water — and LED lighting, the company grows nine kinds of veggie and three herbs year long in the 2.5 acres underneath the London Underground’s Northern line.
As a part of the larger company Zero Carbon Food, cofounded by Richard Ballard and Steven Dring, Growing Underground prides itself on being a carbon neutral operation. The underground farm estimates that its hydroponics system uses 70 percent less water than the traditional open-field farming. Besides providing eco-friendly food, Growing Underground’s system seeks to reduce “food miles” — or the distance it takes for produce to reach your plate. Because the company grows in, around and under London for London residents, the time between harvest and sale could be as little as four hours.
At the end of World War II, the world understood the viciousness of Japanese militarism. Japan had left a bloody trail from Korea to China to Southeast Asia and well beyond. Under the guidance of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, postwar occupation authorities drafted a constitution for Japan, which includedArticle 9 renouncing warfare and offensive military capabilities.
Tribunals across Asia led to thousands of war criminals being jailed and as many as 900 executed. But U.S. authorities pardoned some war prisoners, believing they would be useful to fight against communism. Among those pardoned was Nobusuke Kishi, who became prime minister. A defense pact Kishi struck with the U.S. was so unpopular, he was driven from office.
Today, Kishi’s grandson, Shinzo Abe, is prime minister and is doing to Japan what Attorney General John Mitchell predicted Richard Nixon would do to the U.S. — drive the country “so far to the right you’re not even going to recognize it.”
It’s almost never discussed in the political mainstream. But thousands of foreign troops have now been stationed in Britain for more than 70 years. There’s been nothing like it since the Norman invasion. With the 15-month Dutch occupation of London in 1688-9 a distant competitor, there has been no precedent since 1066 for the presence of American forces in a string of military bases for the better part of a century. They arrived in 1942 to fight Nazi Germany. But they didn’t head home in 1945; instead, they stayed on for the 40-odd years of the cold war, supposedly to repel invasion from the Soviet Union. Nor did they leave when the cold war ended and the Soviet Union collapsed, but were invited to remain as the pivot of the anti-Soviet Nato alliance.
A generation later, there are still nearly 10,000 US military personnel stationed in Britain, based in dozens of secretive facilities. Most of them are in half a dozen major military bases – misleadingly named RAF this or that, but effectively under full American control: Lakenheath, Croughton, Mildenhall and Molesworth among others – along with the National Security Agency and missile defence bases such as Menwith Hill in Yorkshire. British troops are now finally being pulled out of Germany. There is not the slightest suggestion, however, that US forces will be withdrawn from Britain in the forseeable future. But what are they doing here? Who are they supposed to be defending us from?
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia told law students at the University of Hawaii law school Monday that the nation’s highest court was wrong to uphold the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II but that he wouldn’t be surprised if the court issued a similar ruling during a future conflict. Scalia was responding to a question about the court’s 1944 decision in Korematsu v. United States, which upheld the convictions of Gordon Hirabayashi and Fred Korematsu for violating an order to report to an internment camp.
“Well, of course, Korematsu was wrong. And I think we have repudiated in a later case. But you are kidding yourself if you think the same thing will not happen again,” Scalia told students and faculty during a lunchtime question-and-answer session. Scalia cited a Latin expression meaning “In times of war, the laws fall silent.” ”That’s what was going on — the panic about the war and the invasion of the Pacific and whatnot. That’s what happens. It was wrong, but I would not be surprised to see it happen again, in time of war. It’s no justification but it is the reality,” he said.
During World War Two, conscientious objectors in the US and the UK were asked to volunteer for medical research. In one project in the US, young men were starved for six months to help experts decide how to treat victims of mass starvation in Europe.
In 1944, 26-year-old Marshall Sutton was a young idealist who wanted to change the world for the better. As a conscientious objector and Quaker, he refused to fight in the war but he still craved the chance to help his country.
“I wanted to identify with the suffering in the world at that time,” he says. “I wanted to do something for society. I wanted to put myself in a little danger.”
That danger came, unexpectedly, in the shape of a small brochure with a picture of children on the front.
“Will you starve that they be better fed?” it asked. It was a call for volunteers to act as human guinea pigs in a medical experiment at the University of Minnesota.
A Japanese soldier who refused to surrender after World War Two ended and spent 29 years in the jungle has died aged 91 in Tokyo.
Hiroo Onoda remained in the jungle on Lubang Island near Luzon, in the Philippines, until 1974 because he did not believe that the war had ended.
He was finally persuaded to emerge after his ageing former commanding officer was flown in to see him.
Correspondents say he was greeted as a hero on his return to Japan.
Most of the twentieth century’s notable men of letters — i.e., writers of books, of essays, of reportage — seem also to have, literally, written a great deal of letters. Sometimes their correspondence reflects and shapes their “real” written work; sometimes it appears collected in book form itself. Both hold true in the case of George Orwell, a volume of whose letters, edited by Peter Davison, came out last year. In it we find this missive, also published in full at The Daily Beast, sent in 1944 to one Noel Willmett, who had asked “whether totalitarianism, leader-worship etc. are really on the up-grade” given “that they are not apparently growing in [England] and the USA”:
I must say I believe, or fear, that taking the world as a whole these things are on the increase. Hitler, no doubt, will soon disappear, but only at the expense of strengthening (a) Stalin, (b) the Anglo-American millionaires and (c) all sorts of petty fuhrers of the type of de Gaulle. All the national movements everywhere, even those that originate in resistance to German domination, seem to take non-democratic forms, to group themselves round some superhuman fuhrer (Hitler, Stalin, Salazar, Franco, Gandhi, De Valera are all varying examples) and to adopt the theory that the end justifies the means. Everywhere the world movement seems to be in the direction of centralised economies which can be made to ‘work’ in an economic sense but which are not democratically organised and which tend to establish a caste system. With this go the horrors of emotional nationalism and a tendency to disbelieve in the existence of objective truth because all the facts have to fit in with the words and prophecies of some infallible fuhrer. Already history has in a sense ceased to exist, ie. there is no such thing as a history of our own times which could be universally accepted, and the exact sciences are endangered as soon as military necessity ceases to keep people up to the mark. Hitler can say that the Jews started the war, and if he survives that will become official history. He can’t say that two and two are five, because for the purposes of, say, ballistics they have to make four. But if the sort of world that I am afraid of arrives, a world of two or three great superstates which are unable to conquer one another, two and two could become five if the fuhrer wished it. That, so far as I can see, is the direction in which we are actually moving, though, of course, the process is reversible.
As to the comparative immunity of Britain and the USA. Whatever the pacifists etc. may say, we have not gone totalitarian yet and this is a very hopeful symptom. I believe very deeply, as I explained in my book The Lion and the Unicorn, in the English people and in their capacity to centralise their economy without destroying freedom in doing so. But one must remember that Britain and the USA haven’t been really tried, they haven’t known defeat or severe suffering, and there are some bad symptoms to balance the good ones. To begin with there is the general indifference to the decay of democracy. Do you realise, for instance, that no one in England under 26 now has a vote and that so far as one can see the great mass of people of that age don’t give a damn for this? Secondly there is the fact that the intellectuals are more totalitarian in outlook than the common people. On the whole the English intelligentsia have opposed Hitler, but only at the price of accepting Stalin. Most of them are perfectly ready for dictatorial methods, secret police, systematic falsification of history etc. so long as they feel that it is on ‘our’ side. Indeed the statement that we haven’t a Fascist movement in England largely means that the young, at this moment, look for their fuhrer elsewhere. One can’t be sure that that won’t change, nor can one be sure that the common people won’t think ten years hence as the intellectuals do now. I hope they won’t, I even trust they won’t, but if so it will be at the cost of a struggle. If one simply proclaims that all is for the best and doesn’t point to the sinister symptoms, one is merely helping to bring totalitarianism nearer.
You also ask, if I think the world tendency is towards Fascism, why do I support the war. It is a choice of evils—I fancy nearly every war is that. I know enough of British imperialism not to like it, but I would support it against Nazism or Japanese imperialism, as the lesser evil. Similarly I would support the USSR against Germany because I think the USSR cannot altogether escape its past and retains enough of the original ideas of the Revolution to make it a more hopeful phenomenon than Nazi Germany. I think, and have thought ever since the war began, in 1936 or thereabouts, that our cause is the better, but we have to keep on making it the better, which involves constant criticism.
The nonfiction bestseller list is traditionally peppered with controversial figures and provocative subject matter. But among the current crop of hot authors, you still might not to expect to find the most notorious figure of the 20th century. Meet Adolf Hitler, Nazi mastermind and unlikely e-book champion.
As Chris Faraone first noted earlier this week on vocativ.com, “Mein Kampf,” Hitler’s 1925 quasi memoir and manifesto on the “the Jewish peril,” has become a full-fledged e-book chart-topper. Across platforms like Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iTunes, the book, whose English translation copyright holder Houghton Mifflin hasn’t even released in paperback in 16 years, is wiping up the floor with more contemporary political authors. Farone writes, “All seven of [Glenn] Beck’s books trail Herr Hitler’s nearly century-old tell-all, which consistently holds its own against new e-blockbusters like ‘Game Change’ by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, ‘This Town’ by Mark Leibovich and Nate Silver’s ‘The Signal and the Noise.’”
A 4,000-pound British bomb is to be defused, hauled away and blown up in the springtime, officials say.
According to Italian news accounts, the bomb, discovered in October, was dropped in November 1944 on what was then Dal Molin Airport. Defusing and removing it will require moving some 45,000 people from the area at a cost of about 1.5 million euros, Italian media have reported.
The all-Italian effort, called “Operation Old Lady,” apparently because the bomb has been in the ground for 69 years,is to be carried out by the 2nd Regiment of the Julia Alpine Engineers.
Operation Old Lady is expected to last for several hours. The plan is for citizens within 3 kilometers of the site, and soldiers from Del Din, home of the 173rd Infantry Combat Brigade Team (Airborne), which is adjacent to the site, to leave their abodes starting at 6 a.m. on a yet to be determined Sunday morning. Everyone is expected to be able to return to the area by the afternoon.
[...] Certainly, the planet is improved by the fact that Heinrich Boere no longer resides on the skin of this Earth, but is buried beneath it. He was not the last living Nazi of Hitler’s Reich, but he is among the last. Very soon now – certainly within the next ten years – the sun will rise upon a world without a single living soul who saw what happened, who participated either directly or by way of tacit approval in the formation and defense of the so-called “Thousand Year Reich.”
In my own way, I mourn the passing of Heinrich Boere. Not because of what he believed or what he did; were I able, I would spit on his grave…and then light a candle, and stand a vigil, because Heinrich Boere is important to us all. When men like Heinrich Boere die, we are one step closer to forgetting that men like him lived at all, one step closer to forgetting that party-sponsored murder gangs like the Waffen SS ever existed, one step closer to forgetting that hate-fueled thuggery thrives in economic chaos, can take over, and can wreak bloody havoc.
When men like Heinrich Boere die, we are one step closer to having men like Heinrich Boere among us again, because we forget what they did when they are gone, and by forgetting, we allow them to live again. Sooner or later, inevitably, they rise when we forget.
In the weeks following the atomic attacks on Japan 68 years ago, and then for decades afterward, the United States engaged in airtight suppression of all film shot in Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the bombings. This included footage shot by U.S. military crews and Japanese newsreel teams. In addition, for many years, all but a handful of newspaper photographs were seized or prohibited not only in the United States, but also in occupied Japan.
Meanwhile, the American public only got to see the same black and white images: a mushroom cloud, battered buildings, a devastated landscape. The true human costs–a full airing of the bomb’s effects on people –were kept hidden. The writer Mary McCarthy declared that Hiroshima had already fallen into “a hole in history.” The public did not see any of the newsreel footage for 25 years, and the U.S. military film remained hidden for more than three decades. (The story is told in full in my bookAtomic Cover-up.)
In fact, the Japanese footage might have disappeared forever if the newsreel team had not hidden one print from the Americans in a ceiling. The color U.S. military footage was not shown anywhere until the early 1980s, and has never been fully aired. It rests today at the National Archives in College Park, Md. When that footage finally emerged, I spoke with and corresponded with the man at the center of this drama: Lt. Col. (Ret.) Daniel A. McGovern, who directed the U.S. military film-makers in 1945-1946, managed the Japanese footage, and then kept watch on all of the top-secret material for decades.
McGovern observed that, “The main reason it was classified was…because of the horror, the devastation.” I also met and interviewed one top member of his military crew, who had fought for years to get the footage aired widely in America, and interviewed some of the hibakusha who appear in the footage. Those accounts form the center of Atomic Cover-Up. You can read about that a view some of the color footage here. But let’s focus on tjhe Japanese newsreel footage for the moment.
On my wall is the Daily Express front page of September 5 1945 and the words: “I write this as a warning to the world.” So began Wilfred Burchett’s report from Hiroshima. It was the scoop of the century. For his lone, perilous journey that defied the US occupation authorities, Burchett was pilloried, not least by his embedded colleagues. He warned that an act of premeditated mass murder on an epic scale had launched a new era of terror.
Almost every day now, he is vindicated. The intrinsic criminality of the atomic bombing is borne out in the US National Archives and by the subsequent decades of militarism camouflaged as democracy. The Syria psychodrama exemplifies this. Yet again we are held hostage by the prospect of a terrorism whose nature and history even the most liberal critics still deny. The great unmentionable is that humanity’s most dangerous enemy resides across the Atlantic.
John Kerry’s farce and Barack Obama’s pirouettes are temporary. Russia’s peace deal over chemical weapons will, in time, be treated with the contempt that all militarists reserve for diplomacy. With al-Qaida now among its allies, and US-armed coupmasters secure in Cairo, the US intends to crush the last independent states in the Middle East: Syria first, then Iran. “This operation [in Syria],” said the former French foreign minister Roland Dumas in June, “goes way back. It was prepared, pre-conceived and planned.”
When the public is “psychologically scarred”, as the Channel 4 reporter Jonathan Rugman described the British people’s overwhelming hostility to an attack on Syria, suppressing the truth is made urgent. Whether or not Bashar al-Assad or the “rebels” used gas in the suburbs of Damascus, it is the US, not Syria, that is the world’s most prolific user of these terrible weapons.
Adolf Hitler’s Nazi deputy Rudolf Hess ‘murdered by British agents’ to stop him spilling wartime secrets
Scotland Yard was given the names of British agents who allegedly murdered the Nazi Rudolf Hess in the infamous Spandau Prison but was advised by prosecutors not to pursue its investigations, according to a newly-released police report.
Written two years after Hess’s death in 1987, the classified document outlines a highly-sensitive inquiry into the claims of a British surgeon who had once treated Adolf Hitler’s deputy that, rather than taking his own life, the elderly Nazi was killed on British orders to preserve wartime secrets.
Released under the Freedom of Information Act, the partially-redacted report by Detective Chief Superintendent Howard Jones revealed that the surgeon – Hugh Thomas – had supplied him with the names of two suspects provided by a “government employee” responsible for training secret agents.
Withheld for nearly 25 years, the report has been released by the Yard’s counter-terrorism command following consultation with “other Government and foreign government departments”.
Russell Brand ‘thrown out of GQ after-party’ for offensive Nazi jibes about event sponsors Hugo Boss
‘Brand took to the stage after Boris Johnson who received GQ magazine’s award for Politician of the Year at Tuesday night’s event at the Royal Opera House in London.
And after the mayor made jokes regarding the recent chemical attacks and subsequent deaths in Syria, Brand said: ‘Glad to grace the stage where Boris Johnson has just made light of the use of chemical weapons in Syria,’ during his acceptance speech for the Oracle award.
‘Meaning that GQ can now stand for genocide quips.
‘I mention that only to make the next comment a bit lighter because if any of you know a little bit about history and fashion, you’ll know Hugo Boss made the uniforms for the Nazis,’ he added.
‘But they did look f****** fantastic, lets face it, while they were killing people on the basis of their religion and sexuality.”‘
- Third Reich to Fortune 500: Five Popular Brands the Nazis Gave Us (Cracked)
- 10 Global Businesses that Worked With the Nazis (Business Pundit)
- How Bush’s grandfather helped Hitler’s rise to power (Guardian)
- IBM ‘dealt directly with Holocaust organisers’ (Guardian)
- Big Banks Funded the Nazis and Launched a Coup Against the President of the United States (Washington’s Blog)
- Documentary: Banking With Hitler (UKTV History)
- Book: America’s Nazi Secret (John Loftus)
- Book: Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler (Anthony Sutton)
- Book: Hitler’s Secret Backers (Sidney Warburg)
An astonishing photograph of John Kerry having a cozy and intimate dinner with Bashar al-Assad has emerged at the moment the U.S Secretary of State is making the case to bomb the Syrian dictator’s country and remove him from power.
Kerry, who compared Assad to Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein yesterday, is pictured around a small table with his wife Teresa Heinz and the Assads in 2009.
Assad and Kerry, then a Massachusetts senator, lean in towards each other and appear deep in conversation as their spouses look on.
- US evokes ghost of Hitler as PR campaign against Assad goes crazy (RT)
- John Kerry to Democrats: ‘Munich moment’ (Politico)
- Military action against Assad would avoid repeating failure to deal with Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein at early stage, warns Boris Johnson (Independent)
- Congresswoman Wasserman: ‘As a Jew.. to me the concept of never again has to mean something’ (CNN)
The 1930s are celebrated as one of Hollywood’s golden ages, but in an exclusive excerpt from his controversial new book, The Collaboration: Hollywood’s Pact with Hitler (Harvard University Press, on sale Sept. 9), Harvard post-doctoral fellow Ben Urwand uncovers a darker side to Hollywood’s past.
Drawing on a wealth of archival documents in the U.S. and Germany, he reveals the shocking extent to which Hollywood cooperated and collaborated with the Nazis during the decade leading up to World War II to protect its business.
Indeed, “collaboration” (and its German translation, Zusammenarbeit) is a word that appears regularly in the correspondence between studio officials and the Nazis. Although the word is fraught with meaning to modern ears, its everyday use at the time underscored the eagerness of both sides to smooth away their differences to preserve commerce.
The Nazis threatened to exclude American movies — more than 250 played in Germany after Hitler took power in 1933 — unless the studios cooperated. Before World War I, the German market had been the world’s second largest, and even though it had shrunk during the Great Depression, the studios believed it would bounce back and worried that if they left, they would never be able to return.
Beginning with wholesale changes made to Universal’s 1930 release All Quiet on the Western Front, Hollywood regularly ran scripts and finished movies by German officials for approval. When they objected to scenes or dialogue they thought made Germany look bad, criticized the Nazis or dwelled on the mistreatment of Jews, the studios would accommodate them — and make cuts in the American versions as well as those shown elsewhere in the world.
It was not only scenes: Nazi pressure managed to kill whole projects critical of the rise of AdolfHitler. Indeed, Hollywood would not make an important anti-Nazi film until 1940. Hitler was obsessed with the propaganda power of film, and the Nazis actively promoted American movies like 1937′s Captains Courageous that they thought showcased Aryan values.
Historians have long known about American companies such as IBM and General Motors that did business in Germany into the late 1930s, but the cultural power of movies — their ability to shape what people think — makes Hollywood’s cooperation with the Nazis a particularly important and chilling moment in history.
The Bank of England’s involvement in the sale of gold stolen by Nazis following the invasion of Czechoslovakia has been revealed in newly released documents.
Archived material released by the BoE details how the gold bars were sold on behalf of Germany’s central bank, the Reichsbank, in 1939, after being seized during the Nazi invasion, despite the fact that British government had frozen all Czech assets being held in London at the time.
The BoE documents have been made public following the first stage of the digitalisation of the bank’s archive.
Key members of the Bank of England together with their German counterparts established the BIS, the Bank for International Settlement, which laundered the plundered gold of Europe. On its board were key Nazis such as Walther Funk and Hjalamar Schact The president of BIS was an American, Thomas McKittrick, who readily socialized with leading Nazis. Not only the BIS, but other allied banks worked hand in hand with the Nazis.
Work has begun on a monument in Berlin to commemorate the 200,000 disabled people killed under Hitler’s euthanasia program during WWII. The monument – the fourth of its kind in Berlin – will be a 30-meter long blue glass wall, situated in the same position as the original headquarters of the Nazi campaign.
It was a mystery for nearly 70 years: What happened to Nazi Party leader Alfred Rosenberg’s diary, a valuable document with insights into the Third Reich?
Rosenberg was the party’s chief ideologue and became a confidante of Adolf Hitler after meeting him in 1921. He joined the party before Hitler and gained fame writing anti-Semitic tracts and editing the Nazi newspaper. He eventually became head of the foreign policy office and was one of the chief architects of the plan to systematically exterminate Jews.
The influential Nazi intellectual was convicted of war crimes at the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal and hanged in October 1946. Parts of his diary — a loose-leaf collection of notes he kept from 1934-1944 were used by the tribunal, but the bulk of the diary, dating from 1936-1944, went missing after the trial.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, working with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and investigators in Delaware, finally solved the case, tracking down 400 missing pages of the diary. Scholars hope it will help them learn more about how the Nazis operated in the years before and during World War II.
by Holly Williams
‘The conscientious objector is a popular trope in any drama touching on the First World War: Downton Abbey, Upstairs Downstairs and more recently The Village have been awash with young men persecuted for their moral stance, the white feathers they were shamed with fluttering about TV screens as if war was a pillow fight.
As we approach the centenary of the First World War next year, we’ll no doubt hear a lot more about those that fought – and those that felt an equally powerful compulsion not to. But conscientious objection did not begin and end there: conflicts since, including the Second World War and the Vietnam war, have involved conscription, while countries as diverse as Finland, Israel, South Korea, Greece, Columbia and Turkey still require their young people to perform military service.
Getting an exemption on conscientious grounds is, even today, often an arduous process, potentially prompting the century-old accusations of cowardice. COs may face jail sentences or fines, despite a 2012 UN document stating that “conscientious objection … is based on the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights”.
International Conscientious Objection Day took place this week, on 15 May, and in the UK, a ceremony was held at the CO Commemorative Stone in Tavistock Square, Bloomsbury. Tomorrow, a small event will be held in the Peace Garden in Birmingham. The UK has also recently seen the opening of a new memorial to COs, at The National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. Last month, the Quakers erected a new circular limestone structure there to commemorate, specifically, the Friends Ambulance Unit – a Quaker-run body open to all COs – and the Friends Relief Service, which aims to relieve civilian distress in Britain.’