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I wish with all my heart that everyone fighting in this war could have come with me through the barbed wire fence that leads to the inner compound of the camp. Beyond the barrier was a whirling cloud of dust – the dust of thousands of slowly moving people and with the dust was a smell sickly and thick, the smell of death and decay of corruption and filth. I passed through the barrier and found myself in the world of a nightmare. Richard Dimbleby, report BBC 19th April 1945
Reports had started to come back from one of the last parts of the empire Kenya that seemed to show that those in charge had gone out of control. They had been fighting a liberation movement called the Mau Mau. The reports said that hundreds of thousands of Kenyans had been put into special camps where they were going to be psychologically adjusted. The British were trying to manipulate what their chief psychologist called The African mind. But what then happened in the camps turned into a frenzied madness. The British used mass torture and killing as they desperately tried to hold on to power. The government in London denied all the accusations but the rumours of violence and horror continued. Adam Curtis, Can’t Get You Out of My Head I: Bloodshed on Wolf Mountain, BBCiplayer 2021
They have the best giftshop at Auschwitz. They have, here it comes, yes, yes, smoked ham, a Hitler watch – they hands when they get to noon – Heil! – And they have a pen – watch the Jews go in the oven, watch the Jews come out of the oven – too much? Then I won’t tell you my Witney Houston joke. Joan Rivers, Don’t Start With Me, Netflix 2012
The Nazis forced their victims into more than 40,000 camps and ghettos. Project Nazi: Blueprints of Power s1e5: Himmler’s Empire of Terror, Netflix 2017
Our language lacks words to express this offence, the demolition of a man. Primo Levi, If This is a Man 1958, re year in Auschwitz
The Führer once again expressed his determination to clean up the Jews in Europe pitilessly. There must be no squeamish sentimentalism about it. The Jews have deserved the catastrophe that has now overtaken them. Their destruction will go hand in hand with the destruction of our enemies. We must hasten this process with cold ruthlessness. Joseph Goebbels, February 1942
A judgment is being visited upon the Jews that, while barbaric, is fully deserved by them. The prophecy which the Führer made about them for having brought on a new world war is beginning to come true in a most terrible manner. One must not be sentimental in these matters. If we did not fight the Jews, they would destroy us. It’s a life-and-death struggle between the Aryan race and the Jewish bacillus. Joseph Goebbels, March 1942
Every father [Amon Goeth] who is in a war should think about his children [Monika Hertwig nee Goeth]. When they’ve grown up, when they’ve seen what their fathers did, they will be in the same situation as I am. And they will never live a normal life. My Father Was a Nazi Commandant, BBC 2012
My father was the commander of the Plaszow Concentration Camp [Krakow, Poland]. ibid.
He was responsible for the death of thousands of people. ibid.
Even a peaceful landscape, even a meadow in harvest, with crows circling overhead and grass fires ... can lead to a concentration camp. Alain Resnais, Night and Fog, 1955
A strange grass covers the paths once trod by inmates. No current runs through the wires. ibid.
Trains sealed and bolted. A hundred people crammed into a car. No night, no day. Hunger, thirst, suffocation, madness. ibid.
Shaved. Tattooed. Numbered. ibid.
What hope do we have of truly capturing this reality? ibid.
Each camp has its surprises: a symphony orchestra. ibid.
The building gave the illusion of a real hospital. ibid.
The big chemical companies send samples of toxic products to the camps. ibid.
Nothing distinguished the gas chamber from an ordinary block. ibid.
But the ovens can handle thousands of bodies a day. ibid.
From the bodies they make soap. ibid.
The idea behind these camps is there is a path to freedom. Heinrich Himmler 1936
The tough decision had to be made to exterminate these people from the face of the Earth. Heinrich Himmler
I have decided to find a really clear solution here too. I didn’t find that I was entitled to exterminate men ... and allow avengers in the form of children ... to grow into adults. Heinrich Himmler, 1943
We won’t waste much time on the Jews. It’s great to get to grips with the Jewish race at last. The more that die the better; hitting them represents a victory for our Reich. The Jews should feel that we’ve arrived. We want to put half to three-quarters of all Jews east of the Vistula. We will crush these Jews wherever we can. Everything is at stake. Get the Jews out of the Reich, Vienna, everywhere. We have no use for Jews in the Reich. Probably the line of the Vistula, behind this line no more. We are the most important people here. Heinrich Himmler 1939, cited Merchant & Rubenstein & Roth
This new form of industrialised murder was far more efficient and less labour intensive than shootings. The SS: Himmler’s Madness, 2003
An estimated six million Jews were the victims of a racist mania orchestrated and implemented by Heinrich Himmler. Nazi Secrets: Himmler’s SS Cult
In the summer of 1941, I was called to Berlin to see Himmler. I was given the order to erect extermination camps. I can almost give you Himmler’s actual words, which were to the effect: ‘The Fuhrer has ordered the final solution to the Jewish problem. Those of us in the SS must execute these plans. This is a hard job, but if the act is not carried out at once, instead of us exterminating the Jews, the Jews will exterminate the Germans at a later date.’ Rudolf Höss, interview Leon Goldensogn
Kommandant Franz Stangl was in charge of both Sobibor and Treblinka extermination camps. He helped to perfect these killing machines. At the end of the war he and one of his brutal subordinates went on the run, hiding out in South America. They would be pursued for thirty years by Simon Wiesenthal – himself a survivor of the Nazi concentration camps ... Wiesenthal was to become Stangl’s nemesis. Nazi Hunters: Death Camp Kommandant, 2010
In early 1942 Stangl was sent as commandant to what became known as Sobibor in eastern Poland. He later claimed he thought he’d been sent there to build an army supply camp in the forest. ibid.
In the three months Stangl was in charge at Sobibor about 100,000 Jews were killed in this way. ibid.
Stangl was taken completely by surprise. Just as Simon Wiesenthal had planned. ibid.
Brazilian television reporter 30th May 1978: This man says you were the head of the concentration camp.
Gustav Wagner: That’s untrue. Stangl was the boss.
I had no feelings ... It just became another job. In the evening we never discussed our work, but just drank and played cards. Gustav Wagner, interview BBC 1979
Gustav Franz Wagner (18 July 1911 – 3 October 1980) was an SS-Oberscharführer (Staff Sergeant) from Vienna, Austria. Wagner was a starter deputy commander of the Sobibor extermination camp in German-occupied Poland, where more than 200,000 Jews were gassed during Operation Reinhard. Due to his brutality, he was known as The Beast and Wolf. Military Wikia
He was a handsome man, tall and blond – a pure Aryan. In civilian life he was, no doubt, a well-mannered man; at Sobibor he was a wild beast. His lust to kill knew no bounds ... He would snatch babies from their mothers’ arms and tear them to pieces in his hands. I saw him beat two men to death with a rifle, because they did not carry out his instructions properly, since they did not understand German. I remember that one night a group of youths aged fifteen or sixteen arrived in the camp. The head of this group was one Abraham. After a long and arduous work day, this young man collapsed on his pallet and fell asleep. Suddenly Wagner came into our barrack, and Abraham did not hear him call to stand up at once before him. Furious, he pulled Abraham naked off his bed and began to beat him all over his body. When Wagner grew weary of the blows, he took out his revolver and killed him on the spot. This atrocious spectacle was carried out before all of us, including Abraham’s younger brother. Moshe Bahir, cited Yitzhak Arad 1987
How fun is our life there,
They give us food to eat that’s fair,
What fun it is in the green wood,
Where I am stood. Song sung by prisoners under direction of Wagner