Entries in Nazi (10)


Nazis Planned to Kill Winston Churchill with Exploding Chocolate

Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images(LONDON) -- Sir Winston Churchill was Britain’s most famous prime minister, renowned for his love of history, cigars and fine brandy.  But it was his sweet tooth that lay at the center of a dastardly Nazi plan.

Secret wartime documents recently unveiled reveal a plan hatched by Nazi agents in 1943 to assassinate Churchill with exploding chocolate bars.  The scheme involved German bomb makers coating explosives in a layer of rich dark chocolate then wrapping them in expensive-looking black and gold paper.  Adolf Hitler then planned to use secret agents working in Britain to smuggle the lethal chocolate along with other luxury items to a dining room used by Churchill and his war cabinet, the Daily Mail reported.

The chocolate bars, branded as “Peters Chocolate,” were apparently packed with enough explosives to kill anyone within several meters.

But Hitler’s explosive plan was ultimately a dud, foiled by British spies who discovered the plot and notified Lord Victor Rothschild, one of MI5′s most senior intelligence chiefs.  Rothschild then asked artist Laurence Fish to draw poster-sized images of the chocolate to warn the public to be on the lookout for the bars.

“I wonder if you could do a drawing for me of an explosive slab of chocolate,” the letter, written from a secret London bunker and addressed to Fish, read.  ”We have received information that the enemy are using pound slabs of chocolate which are made of steel with a very thin covering of real chocolate.”

He continued, “Inside there is high explosive and some form of delay mechanism…When the piece of chocolate is pulled sharply, the canvas is also pulled and this initiates the mechanism.”

The letter was discovered by Fish’s wife, journalist Jean Bray, as she went through his possessions after he died at the age of 89 in 2009.

Hitler himself was nearly killed by an exploding briefcase on July 20, 1944, as part of a plot by the German resistance to assassinate the dictator dubbed “Operation Valkyrie.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Nazi War Criminal Laszlo Csatary Taken Into Custody in Budapest

ABC News(BUDAPEST, Hungary) -- The past may have finally caught up with a 97-year-old Nazi war criminal who was taken into custody Wednesday in Budapest, Hungary.

Laszlo Csatary, who has been convicted in absentia and sentenced to death, was picked up early Wednesday by authorities, Bettina Bagoly, a spokeswoman for the Budapest prosecutor, told ABC News.

The elderly former Nazi was charged with war crimes and will be taken before an investigative judge later on Wednesday.  The judge will determine whether Csatary is to remain in jail. Still, Bagoly said that it was "likely" that he would be placed under house arrest.

In a statement issued on Monday, the prosecution said that they're still investigating allegations against Csatary  because the crimes are complex and were committed long ago and in another country.

"It took place 68 years ago in the region that is under the jurisdiction of another country -- which also raises several investigative and legal problems," the prosecutor's statement said.

Csatary has lived openly under his own name in Budapest in recent years and the Simon Wiesenthal Center alerted authorities earlier this week of his location.  Nevertheless, when police visited his two homes in Budapest earlier this week, Csatary was not there.

According to the Wiesenthal Center, Csatary played a "key role" in the deportation of 300 Jews to Kamyanets-Podilsky in Ukraine where they were killed, and also helped organize the deportation of 15,700 Jews to the concentration camp in Auschwitz, Poland.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


'Sadistic' Nazi War Criminal Laszlo Csatary Lived Openly in Hungary

ABC NewsUPDATE: Laszlo Csatary was taken into custody in Hungary on Wednesday, according to multiple reports.

(BUDAPEST, Hungary) -- One of World War II's most "sadistic" Nazis lived openly in Budapest, Hungary, in recent years, but has apparently slipped into hiding as an international manhunt closed in on him.

Laszlo Csatary, now 97, has been convicted in absentia and sentenced to death for his role in sending nearly 16,000 Jews to their deaths.

"He was particularly sadistic," said Peter Feldmajer, the president of the Jewish community in Hungary.  "He created a camp for torturing the rich so they would confess where they have hidden the money."

Laszlo Karsai, Hungary's top holocaust historian whose grandmother died in Auschwitz, Poland, said Csatary was "very sadistic."

"There are two testimonies of German officers in Kosice who had to stop him from torturing Jewish women.  He made women dig holes in the ground with their bare hands," Karsai told ABC News.

"But what do you do with a 97-year-old man who was very, very sadistic 68 years ago?" Karsai asked.

To his neighbors in Budapest, Csatary was a "quiet, nice, old man."  But Ladislaus Czizsik-Csatary was placed at the top of the Simone Wiesenthal Center list of most wanted war crime suspects.  

Csatary was not in hiding.  He had lived in Budapest under his real name in at least two addresses for many years.  His car is still parked in a garage on the posh Jagello Street.  But when police visited his homes this week, he was not found, according to press reports.

The Wiesenthal Center, which specializes in tracking down Nazi era war criminals, has told the Hungarian prosecutors that they believe it is the same man who was a police chief in 1944 of the ghetto in the Slovakian city of Kosice, then part of Hungary.  He played a "key role" in the deportation of 300 Jews to Kamyanets-Podilsky in Ukraine where they were killed and also helped organize the deportation of 15,700 Jews to the concentration camp in Auschwitz.  

Karsai concedes that Csatary was unusually sadistic, but disagrees with the Wiesenthal Center that he was a prominent Nazi, although he does feel Csatary should face justice for his crimes in Hungary.

Csatary arrived in Nova Scotia as a refugee under the false name, became a Canadian citizen in 1955 and worked as an art dealer in Montreal.  In 1995, the authorities discovered his real name and revoked his citizenship.  Before fleeing Canada, he admitted to Canadian investigators of his participation in the deportation of the Jews, but claimed that his role was "limited."

Pressure is now mounting on Hungarian prosecutors to take action.  In a statement issued on Monday, the prosecution said that investigating was complex because the crimes were committed long ago and in another country.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Marine Corps in Trouble Again over Questionable Photo

Creatas/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Marine Corps, already in hot water over a video showing four of its members urinating on what are believed to be the bodies of dead Taliban fighters, is again facing criticism for a photograph that seems to glorify the Third Reich.

The snapshot, which was taken 18 months ago in the Afghan province of Sangin, show members of a scout sniper team posing in front of a flag with what looked like the Nazi SS log.  The SS stood for the Schutzstaffel, originally Adolf Hitler's bodyguards that grew into Germany's all-powerful police force during World War II.

According to Master Gunnery Sgt. Mark Oliva, a spokesman at Camp Pendleton, Calif., the flag was only symbolizing the scout sniper team but was nonetheless unacceptable to the Marine Corps and those in the photo are no longer with the service.

However, that explanation did not suffice with the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which wants a full investigation into the matter.

Mikey Weinstein, the group's president, said former Marines have contacted him to express their disgust with the photo, which appeared online, adding, "Heads need to roll and this needs to be fully investigated.  This is a complete and total outrage."

Weinstein said he contacted both Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and the head of the Marine Corps.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


90-Year-Old Former Nazi Begins Life Sentence for WWII Killings

HENNING KAISER/AFP/Getty Images(BERLIN) -- A 90-year-old man convicted of shooting three Dutch men as a Nazi SS death squad soldier during World War II began serving a life sentence.

According to a report by BBC News, Heinrich Boere confessed to the killings and was convicted in March 2010. Boere said he acted on orders from his superiors in 1944 when he killed chemist Fritz Bicknese, Dutch resistance member Frans Kusters and Teun de Groot, a sympathizer who assisted Jewish people to hide.

Boere, who is wheelchair bound, was taken from a German nursing home on Wednesday to begin his life sentence at an undisclosed location.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Germany Opens Nazi Investigation -- Decades after the end of World War II, German authorities are re-opening hundreds of inactive investigations of Nazi death camp guards. Experts predict the move could lead to at least a dozen new prosecutions.

German prosecutors re-opened the cases following the conviction in May of John Demjanjuk, a former Nazi guard in Poland. His case set a new precedent because of a "change in the interpretation of the law," Efraim Zuroff, an historian and chief Nazi hunter at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Israel, told ABC News in confirming the report.

The Ukraine-born Demjanjuk, who is 91, was deported from the U.S. to Germany in 2009 to stand trial for Nazi war crimes. He was convicted of over 28,000 counts of accessory to murder for serving as a guard at the Sobibor death camp in Poland in 1943.

It was the first time that prosecutors were able to convict a Nazi suspect without specific proof that they participated in the actual killing. Prosecutors claimed that if they could prove that Demjanjuk was a guard at a death camp like Sobibor, which was purposely created for mass killing, it is enough to convict him of accessory to murder.

Demjanjuk is appealing his conviction.

I was "very surprised to see that the German courts are re-opening all these cases," said Max Liebman, with the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors. "I never thought I would be alive to see this day."

Zuroff, of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said he would launch a new campaign in the next two months to track down the remaining Nazi war criminals. He said the Demjanjuk conviction had opened the door to prosecutions that he had never thought possible in the past.

Because of the age of the perpetrators -- all of them are over 80 -- he said he must "move very quickly, as we are running out of time. There are many legal issues involving expediting certain suspects which we need to ensure the governing bodies are onboard."

This new understanding of the law meant that many "officials will now be able to identify people whom they knew were associated with the death camps but were unable to convict these criminals due to the lack of evidence," Zurpff said.

Max Liebman, of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants, believed the re-opening of the investigations was long overdue. "Any survivor of the Holocaust will welcome this and hopefully some justice may be served," he said.

Even if the numbers that are prosecuted are small -- Zuhroff believes prosecuting just one percent of the estimated 4,000 Nazi guards would be a significant achievement -- the impact of these investigations for many will great.

"Any survivor who survived the Holocaust will welcome this as it will shed more light on what was going on at the time and hopefully some justice may be served."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Nazi Secretary Breaks Her Silence on Hitler's Propaganda Chief

PhotoQuest/Getty Images(BERLIN) -- She kept a promise of silence and secrecy for 66 years.  A promise made to one of the vilest leaders of Nazi Germany.

Now, Brunhilde Pomsel, 100 years old, is talking about her time as secretary to Joseph Goebbels, propaganda chief for Adolph Hitler, a man who railed against Jews and once wrote, “Adolf Hitler, I love you because you are both great and simple at the same time.  What one calls a genius.”

All these years later, his secretary calls him something else.

“I will never forgive Goebbels for what he brought into this world,” Pomsel tells Bild, Germany’s most widely-read paper. “And the fact that he could murder his innocent children in this way.”

Pomsel worked for Goebbels from 1942 until May 1, 1945 -- a week before V-E Day -- when he killed himself in Berlin.

“He got away lightly with suicide,” she says.  “He knew he would be condemned to death by the Allies.  His suicide was cowardly, but he was also smart because he knew what was coming if he didn’t take that way out.”

Countless books have been written about Goebbels and his role in the war, but none had the benefit of a conversation with Pomsel, whose job was to take down Goebbels’ every word -- “The Jews must get out of Germany, indeed out of Europe altogether", "The Jews ought to please observe the laws of hospitality and not behave as if they were the same as us,” and so on.

Pomsel tells Bild she was asked to work for Goebbels because she was a fast typist.

“It was an order to be transferred to work for him. You couldn’t refuse,” she said.

And while Pomsel kept notes on all her boss’ hate-mongering, she also claims -- in colorful language -- to have never known about the horrors that were underway.

“I didn’t know about the Holocaust.  I was a stupid, politically uninterested little sausage of simple means.  I only learned about the Jewish extermination program after the war,” she recalled.

In 1945, Pomsel was in the cellars of the propaganda ministry in Berlin.  The city was being leveled by British and American bombers, and Russian artillery. Nazi Germany was in its death throes.

“On May 1 the news came that The Boss -- Hitler -- had committed suicide the day before,” Pomsel tells Bild.  “The Russians came shortly afterwards and dragged me from the cellar.  I spent the next five years as a prisoner of the Russians in special camps.”

Later, Pomsel learned about her boss’ final hours. Goebbels and his wife Magda had killed their six children by breaking cyanide vials in their mouths. Goebbels then shot his wife before shooting himself.  Their charred corpses were discovered by the Soviet Army.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Adolf Hitler Commanded Dogs to Speak German, Claims Author

Photos [dot] com/Thinkstock(BERLIN) -- Adolf Hitler was a well-known dog lover.  But a new book suggests that the Nazi dictator was really nuts about mutts.

Building on an earlier theory by German psychologists that dogs were nearly as intelligent as humans, Hitler set up an Animal Talking School near Hanover, Germany to recruit "educated dogs."

The Fuhrer's idea, according to historian Jan Bondeson in his book, Amazing Dogs: A Cabinet of Canine Curiosities, was that canines would one day would be able serve alongside German soldiers and even guard concentration camps on their own.

Legend grew that an Airedale terrier named Rolf learned how to spell by tapping his paw on a board and became so smart he picked up foreign languages and was able to ask a noblewoman, "Can you wag your tail?"  Rolf even reportedly wanted to serve in the German army because he hated the French.

There were stories of other incredible dogs as well, including one that could supposedly say "Mein Fuhrer" when asked to describe Hitler.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


German Court Convicts Man for Role at Nazi Death Camp

Johannes Simon/Getty Images(MUNICH) -- A German court on Thursday found John Demjanjuk, a 91-year-old former U.S. auto worker, guilty of being an accessory to murder at the Sobibor Nazi death camp in Poland.

In 1943, he was a Nazi guard at the camp where an estimated 250,000 Jews were killed in gas chambers. Demjanjuk, who claims he is innocent, will appeal the verdict and the court has ordered he be released until that case is decided.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center in the U.S. and Israel's Holocaust museum are calling the verdict a victory for justice.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Tourist Does Nazi Salute for Fun, German Police Arrest Him for Real

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(MONTREAL) -- A Quebec man found himself in police custody during a visit to Germany last weekend, moments after he thought it would be fun to pose giving the “Heil Hitler” Nazi salute. 

The Montreal Gazette reports the 30-year-old man was standing on the steps of the Reichstag, Germany’s parliament building, when he asked his girlfriend to photograph him with his right arm raised in the Nazi salute. 

The report says Berlin police swooped down on the man within seconds, placed him in handcuffs and seized the camera’s memory card.  The man was later released on bail. 

No formal charges have been filed. 

It's against the law in Germany to display symbols or gestures related to the former Nazi regime.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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