In Latvia, hundreds march in honor of German SS veterans



In Latvia, hundreds march in honor of SS veterans

Man arrested for displaying a poster of soldiers killing Jews during world’s sole event for former Nazi fighters

A view of the annual march on the Remembrance Day of the Latvian Legionnaires in Riga, Latvia, on March 16, 2018. (LTA Zinu dienests/Twitter via JTA)

A view of the annual march on the Remembrance Day of the Latvian Legionnaires in Riga, Latvia, on March 16, 2018. (LTA Zinu dienests/Twitter via JTA)

Several protesters from the Latvia Without Fascism group demonstrated against the event by carrying signs reading “They fought for Hitler” and “If they looked Nazis, and acted like Nazis – they were Nazi.” None of those protesters was arrested.

Police did not allow a counter protest by Latvia Without Fascism, Joseph Koren, a leader of that group, told JTA. Hundreds of police cordoned off the Freedom Monument, as veterans, some of them wearing uniform, sang patriotic songs and laid wreaths for their fallen comrades. Organizers of the event from several nationalist groups then drove the veterans to a cemetery where many of their comrades are buried.

“It’s a disgrace that this is happening in Europe,” Aleksejs Saripovs of the Latvia Without Fascism group told JTA. “The European Union needs to pressure Latvia into abandoning this shameful event, but so far there is total silence.”

The Latvian SS Volunteer Legion on parade in 1943 (Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-J16133 / CC-BY-SA 3.0)

Many locals offered flowers to the veterans as they marched from the area around Riga’s St. Peter’s Church to the Freedom Monument.

Advocates of the veterans and their supporters claim that Latvian Legion soldiers were not involved in atrocities against Jews, despite evidence to the contrary. According to the Latvian government, the Latvian Legion was not really an SS unit and that the legionnaires who weren’t forcefully conscripted merely sought independence for Latvia when they joined Hitler’s army.

German Nazis and collaborators led to the near annihilation of 70,000 Jews who had lived in Latvia before the Holocaust.

On Wednesday, a bill proposing to make March 16 a national Latvian Legion Day was defeated in Latvia’s parliament.


German car makers spark outrage with exhaust tests on humans




German car makers spark outrage with exhaust tests on humans

Diesel exhaust tests evoke gas vans used by the Nazis in the Holocaust; major manufacturers disavow study

The exhaust pipes of a VW Diesel car are seen in Frankfurt, Germany, on August 2, 2017. (AP Photo/Michael Probst, File)

The exhaust pipes of a VW Diesel car are seen in Frankfurt, Germany, on August 2, 2017. (AP Photo/Michael Probst, File)

Public criticism of the German auto industry has escalated on reports that diesel exhaust tests were carried out on both monkeys and humans.

The tests were reportedly carried out by a research group funded by major German auto companies. The German government on Monday condemned the experiments and Volkswagen sought to distance itself from them, with its chairman saying that “in the name of the whole board I emphatically disavow such practices.”

The tests from German companies are particularly striking, as during the Holocaust the Nazis killed people by pumping exhaust gas into sealed “gas vans.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

“Monkeys and humans forced to inhale toxic diesel car emissions to demonstrate no health impact” as emissions research for German car manufacturers 
This was the same gassing test technique perfected by the Nazis’ gas vans ? @FT

Revelations of the tests add a twist to the German auto industry’s attempt to move past Volkswagen’s scandal over cheating on diesel tests and the resulting questioning of diesel technology across the industry.

Volkswagen Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch said the tests must be “investigated completely and without reservation,” the dpa news agency reported.

A report by the New York Times found that the research group financed by top German car manufacturers commissioned experiments in which one group of monkeys was exposed to diesel exhaust from a late-model Volkswagen, while another group was exposed to fumes from an older Ford pickup.

Hans Dieter Poetsch, chairman of the board of directors of the Volkswagen stock company, prior to the annual shareholders meeting in Hannover, Germany, May 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn, file)

The experiments were carried out in 2014 before Volkswagen was caught using software that let vehicles cheat on emissions tests. They were intended to show modern diesel technology had solved the problem of excess emissions, but according to the New York Times report the Volkswagen car in the tests was equipped with illegal software that turned emissions controls on while the car was on test stands and off during regular driving.

Volkswagen admitted using the software in 2015. The Volkswagen scandal led to public scrutiny of diesel emissions as regulators discovered that other companies’ vehicles also had higher emissions on the road than during testing, though not necessarily through illegal rigging. The industry has had to fend off calls for diesel bans in German cities with high pollution levels.

Daimler AG said it was “appalled by the nature and extent of the studies,” and said that, though it did not have any influence on the studies’ design, “we have launched a comprehensive investigation into the matter.”

BMW said that it “did not participate in the mentioned study” on animal “and distances itself from this study.” It said it was investigating the work and background of the research group.

People leave the Volkswagen factory at Gate 17 in Wolfsburg, Germany. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

The Times report said the group that commissioned the studies, known by German initial EUGT, got all its funding from the three automakers. Volkswagen said in a statement, the founders were Volkswagen, BMW, Daimler and components and technology firm Bosch.

The New York Times report was followed by one in Monday’s edition of the Stuttgarter Zeitung daily that the now-closed research group also commissioned tests in which humans were exposed to nitrogen dioxide, which belongs to a class of pollutant known as nitrogen oxides. The group reportedly said the tests showed no effect on the subjects.

The human study, carried out by Aachen University, involved studying the effects of exposing 25 subjects, mostly students, to low levels of nitrogen dioxide like those that could be found in the environment — from a 40-liter bottle, not a diesel engine. The individuals gave informed written consent for the study, which was approved by the ethics committee of the university’s medical faculty, according to the study. The university said the study had no relation to the diesel scandal.

The German government condemned the reported tests on animals and humans. Transport Minister Christian Schmidt “has no understanding for such tests… that do not serve science but merely PR aims,” spokesman Ingo Strater told reporters in Berlin.

He called for the companies concerned to provide “immediate and detailed” responses, and said a ministry commission of inquiry that was set up after the emissions scandal broke will hold a special meeting to examine whether there are any other cases.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives at the headquarters of her Christian Democratic Union in Berlin for coalition talks, on January 28, 2018. (AFP Photo/Odd Andersen)

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said that “the disgust many people are feeling is absolutely understandable.”

“These tests on monkeys or even humans can in no way be ethically justified,” Seibert said. “They raise many critical questions for those behind these tests, and these questions must urgently be answered.”

He questioned the aims of the tests. “The automakers have to reduce emissions of harmful substances further and further,” he said. “They should not be trying to prove the supposed harmlessness of exhaust with the help of monkeys or even humans.”

Seibert said that the supervisory boards of the companies concerned “have a particular responsibility.”

The governor of the German state of Lower Saxony, a major shareholder in Volkswagen, added his voice to calls for quick answers.

Stephan Weil, who sits on VW’s supervisory board, stressed that “the behavior of the company must in every respect fulfill ethical demands.” He said he had not known about the tests.


My Conversation With An Atheist Follower: Part #2


For the folks who have stumbled across this article today who haven’t read part one from last evening I am going to put in the comments that one of my readers made about an article that I reblogged from ‘The Christian Post’ a couple of days ago. The article’s headline was about how teenagers today are the ‘least Christian’ generation ever. The reader ‘Jim’ goes by the title ‘’. I asked Jim if he cared if I wrote an article based on our comments to each other in the comment section and he did give me his okay. The following is the main paragraph where Jim first gave me his opinion on the ‘Post’s’ article.


“Hoping this trend grows. Don’t forget the core! They are waiting and praying for God to come back and slaughter all the rest of us. That tidbit says a lot about how they really feel. It is a religion that is divisive and racist to its core and Piety sets dividing lines for them to fight every step of social equality of scientific advance.”


If you would, please go back and read part one from last night, it will help you with understanding better some of the issues I will be speaking about with you today.


1.) “Hoping the trend grows”: that more and more people ignore, stay away from Christianity.

2.) Because #1: “Don’t forget the core”. What/why? Because many of the base teachings of the churches and what ‘they say’ the Bible says is wrong. Last evenings part one explains some of the issues about the beginning of time and the beginning of human kind that no church that I know of teaches though the answers are right in front of all of us. I will get back to ‘science’ issues that Jim raised in just a moment.

3.) “They (Christians) are waiting and praying for God to come back and slaughter all the rest of us.—That tidbit says a lot about how they really feel”. —For those who call themselves Christians who do feel this way “that they want Christ to hurry up with His Second Advent”. And are wanting Christ to kill all their personal enemies and all the ‘unbelievers’ then quickly send them all to the fires of Hell, you ‘Christians’ have a serious issue with the ‘love of Christ’.  If you are a person who says that they are a Christian and you do feel this way, think hard on what you are wishing for. First you must feel that you are ‘safe’, correct? But, are all of your family and loved ones ‘safe’? How about all of your friends, your neighbors?  How about all of your work companions and the people you converse with at the grocery store and the convenient stores and gas stations you visit, are they all ‘saved’? If not, do you really want them all to ‘go to Hell’? If Christ comes back today and all of these people are crushed in the Wine Press of Christ then condemned to Hell’s fire, is that okay with you? If it is, then it is you who will be in serious trouble at your judgement before the Judgement Seat of Christ. All of those folks may well be condemned yet there is a very good chance you will be going to Hell with them. As a Christian we are supposed to be full of love for all people and we are supposed to be trying to help everyone around us to see the Love of Christ in us in the attempt to save them. If you are wanting other people, especially people we know and are supposed to love, to be condemned, Lord help you!

4.) “It (Christianity) is a religion that is divisive and racists to its core”.–I have been a History buff since about 4th grade and I was in 4th grade when I first started studying the Bible more seriously. One of the things I started noticing at an early age was the situation in the Middle-East back in the 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th centuries A.D.. With the beginning of the Catholic Church in Rome Italy there seemed to be a lot of piety (Holiness, Saintliness, Devoutness) that you needed to be Roman or at least to be Italian to be able to fulfill. Even if their words chose not to speak it, their actions did. If a ‘Vatican’ were to be set up it should have been in Jerusalem, not in Rome or anywhere else as Scripture makes it very plain that Jerusalem is the ‘City of God’. Even the Hebrew people who converted to Christianity shunned their Arab neighbors as if they were ‘better than them’. In the 1440’s in what is now Germany the Priest Martin Luther started the Protestant movement and the break away from the Catholic Church. This Protestant movement swept through western Europe which was massively populated with white people. After King Henry the 8th of England broke with the Catholic Church and started the ‘Christian Church’ called the ‘Church of England’ the racism within Christianity kept getting worse. Colonialism, think about the arrogance of the western Europeans for a moment. Think about countries like India who for so long was under English rule. Indian people living in India were second class citizens at best even in their own country. Indians who converted to Christianity were treated like white Americans treated ‘people of color’ for so many years here in the States. Think of having to sit in the back of the Church or in the balcony because you couldn’t sit with the whites. When people think/believe that they are better than another person, you have nothing to do with Christ or He with you. A question for you to ponder. If the Christians and the Jewish people in the Middle-East had treated all of the Arab and Persian people as equal brothers and sisters would Mohammad have found a foot hold to start-up the religion of Islam?


5.) “Piety sets dividing lines for them (Christians) to fight every step of social equality or scientific advance”.–So, Christians/Christianity sets up dividing lines for them to fight against every step of equality, lets stop there for a moment. First, if you are a Christian, or even if you are not but you believe that there is truly ‘a God’ then there is only one totally true truth, and that is God’s version of what He says truth is, not yours or my version of it.

Now, social equality, here I am going to upset some people as most people do not want to hear that anything they are doing is wrong, especially being told that what they do or like is a sin. Most folks here in the States seem to have an ego problem when they are told no on personal issues. We have already discussed race issues within Christianity and I know that here in the States you often hear the term that ‘Christianity is a white mans religion’, this is nowhere near the truth as Christianity has nothing to do with the color of a person’s skin. If you call your self a Christian and you are in any way a racists, may God have mercy on your Soul at your Judgement, you’re going to need it.

Social equality, here I am sure that I am going to really upset a lot of readers but I refuse to lie to you and if I am not speaking ‘God’s truth’ to you, then I am not telling you ‘the truth’. Here in the States we talk about ‘equal rights’ for all. I agree that all people should be treated the same, like on a job, the most qualified person should always get the job opening no matter if they are male or female, straight, gay, white, brown, black, red or Asian. Now concerning being gay, I had a brother-in-law who was gay and died from Aids at the age of 29. He was my father-in-laws only son and my wife’s only brother, this is a tough issue in our family. ‘David’ did not want to be gay, he tried to like girls but chemically inside, he was gay. David knew that by the Scriptures acting out on his urges was wrong, and they simply are wrong. David gave into his urges and it cost him his life. Just like ‘money’ is not the ‘root of all evil’, the love of money is the ‘root of all evil’. Being gay because chemically that is what you are is not the evil part, it is the acting out on your urges that is the problem, simply acting out on these urges is the sin. Just like if you have urges to sexually be with young girls or boys the sin is when you decide to act them out, this is the sin. If you have urges to cheat on your spouse, the sin is if you do it. If you have urges to steal or to cheat on a test it is the following through that creates the sin. Concerning abortion, the sin, and yes it is a sin, a sin called murder, the sin is when you follow through with the abortion.


6.) “Scientific advancement” Just like the Catholic Church and the Popes of old would have you burnt at the stake for Heresy for things like saying that the Earth wasn’t flat or that the Earth wasn’t the center of the Universe or that the Sun didn’t rotate around the Earth. Folks, if ‘the Church’ and it’s Popes/Pontiffs really were ‘Christ’s High Priest’ per say here on Earth, they would have known these things and would have never ever had these people punished or put to death. Plus consider that the Prophet Isaiah, one of the main Prophets of the Old Testament, said in Isaiah 40: 42 “God sits above the sphere “circle” of the Earth”.


Just like people don’t understand the beginning of the Scriptures concerning time, or the two creations (Gentiles and then the Royal Blood Line) they don’t understand that there are trillions of other planets and millions of Universes and God created them just as He did the Earth and folks, He created them for a reason. Just as our Solar System was started with ‘the big bang’ comes the reality that it was God who created that big bang. If science and Christianity would both understand that they both have some things wrong and that all things are and were created by God, and get off of their personal ‘high horses’ they would find that they could work together on most issues and actually maybe obtain some true wisdom.

Polish Politicians Trying To Rewrite History Of Holocaust



Lapid: Poland was complicit in the Holocaust, new bill ‘can’t change history’

Yesh Atid leader, son of survivor, condemns law prescribing jail time for using phrases such as ‘Polish death camps’; Poland played active role in WWII killing of Jews, he stresses

MK Yair Lapid leads a Yesh Atid faction meeting at the Knesset, January 8, 2018. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

MK Yair Lapid leads a Yesh Atid faction meeting at the Knesset, January 8, 2018. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid on Saturday slammed a controversial bill passed by the lower house of the Polish parliament which aims to penalize individuals or organizations who point to the European country’s involvement in facilitating atrocities during the Holocaust.

The Israeli member of Knesset, the son of a Holocaust survivor,  characterized the bill — which is expected to become law in Poland shortly — as an effort to rewrite history.

“I strongly condemn the new law that was passed in Poland, which attempts to deny the involvement of many Polish citizens in the Holocaust,” Lapid wrote in a tweet in Hebrew on Saturday.

“No Polish law will change history, Poland was complicit in the Holocaust. Hundreds of thousands of Jews were murdered on its soil without them having met any German officer.”

He also tweeted in English.

I utterly condemn the new Polish law which tries to deny Polish complicity in the Holocaust. It was conceived in Germany but hundreds of thousands of Jews were murdered without ever meeting a German soldier. There were Polish death camps and no law can ever change that.

The new bill prescribes prison time for defaming the Polish nation by using phrases such as “Polish death camps” to refer to the killing sites Nazi Germany operated in occupied Poland during World War II.

The bill, passed Friday, is a response to cases in recent years of foreign media using “Polish death camps” to describe Auschwitz and other Nazi-run camps.

Poland’s embassy in Israel hit back at Lapid, tweeting that his “unsupportable claims show how badly Holocaust education is needed, even here in Israel.” The intent of the Polish legislation, it said, “is not to ‘whitewash’ the past, but to protect the truth against such slander.”

Your unsupportable claims show how badly Holocaust education is needed, even here in Israel

To which Lapid retorted with outrage and a demand for an apology: “I am a son of a Holocaust survivor. My grandmother was murdered in Poland by Germans and Poles. I don’t need Holocaust education from you. We live with the consequences every day in our collective memory. Your embassy should offer an immediate apology.”

The intent of the Polish draft legislation is not to ‘whitewash’ the past, but to protect the truth against such slander

I am a son of a Holocaust survivor. My grandmother was murdered in Poland by Germans and Poles. I don’t need Holocaust education from you. We live with the consequences every day in our collective memory. Your embassy should offer an immediate apology.

Some major news organizations have banned language referring to Polish death camps.

Former US President Barack Obama used it in 2012, prompting outrage in Poland. Obama made the comment while awarding the Medal of Freedom to Jan Karski, a resistance fighter against the Nazi occupation of Poland during World War II. Karski died in 2000.

During an East Room ceremony honoring 13 Medal of Freedom recipients, Obama said that Karski “served as a courier for the Polish resistance during the darkest days of World War II. Before one trip across enemy lines, resistance fighters told him that Jews were being murdered on a massive scale and smuggled him into the Warsaw Ghetto and a Polish death camp to see for himself. Jan took that information to President Franklin Roosevelt, giving one of the first accounts of the Holocaust and imploring to the world to take action.”

After complaints, the White House said Obama misspoke.

The main gate of the former Auschwitz extermination camp in Oswiecim, Poland, with the infamous sign reading ‘Work sets you free.’ (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images/via JTA)

The legislation calls for prison sentences of up to three years. It still needs approval from Poland’s Senate and president.

Critics say enforcing such a law would be impossible outside Poland, and that within the country it would have a chilling effect on debating history, harming freedom of expression.

While the law contains a provision excluding scholarly or academic works, opponents still see a danger.

They especially worry it could be used to stifle research and debate on topics that are anathema to Poland’s nationalistic authorities, particularly the painful issue of Poles who blackmailed Jews or denounced them to the Nazis during the war.

Dorota Glowacka, a legal adviser with the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights in Warsaw, said the broad scope of the bill opens up the potential for abuse.


President Trump Is Correct About Putting America First



As anyone who reads the Blog surely knows by now, I am not at all a fan of Donald Trump. It is difficult for me to think of a civil word in the concept of describing this person. Those who follow this Blog also know that I am not a fan of Hillary Clinton so I hope that you understand this article today is not about being a Democrat or a Republican as I am neither. So far though I do believe that the Republican Party is bringing much harm to themselves by standing behind this President. I do believe that if the Republicans have not gotten the guts to stand with the Democrats and to impeach Trump from Office before the November 2018 Mid-term Elections they are going to get slaughtered in those Elections. On a side note, I also feel that the Christians who are standing with this President are doing a great dishonor to Christ and His Holy Name as there is nothing holy about Mr. Trump. It is right and correct to pray for our Leaders but it is sinful to back sinful policies in the name of Christianity.


Now to the main headline of today’s commentary. Ever since Mr. Trump in his Campaign started using the slogan ‘America First’ he has drawn a lot of fire and anger from ‘the left, Democrats and liberals’. To me this anger is total stupidity! I do totally believe that Mr. Trump is a total racists but I do not at all consider this ‘slogan’ to be racist in any way. If Mr. Trump was saying something along the lines of ‘Whites First’ then yes, that would be totally racist. Yet any Leader or want to be Leader of any country who doesn’t create policies to put his own Nation first has no business being a Leader of that Nation. Think about it for a moment, if Mr. Trump’s slogan was ‘China First, or Russia First’, do you think that the American people would have elected him?


If Chancellor Merkel of Germany vocally or via policies said her goal is to put the EU before Germany should be voted out of Office? If Prime Minister May of England did the same thing, should she be the Prime Minister? How about President Jinping of China, if he was pushing a policy of Japan first, would he still be the President of China? How about Mr. Putin of Russia, if he was saying ‘America First’, would he still be the President of Russia? What I am saying is, of course Mr. Trump should put the interest of America first, if he didn’t, wouldn’t he then be a traitor to his own Country? What I am saying is, just because you or I believe this person (I have a hard time calling him a man) to be ignorant self-centered scum of the Earth, it does not mean that everything he says is wrong nor from his racist Soul.

Mercedes-Benz used by Adolf Hitler to be auctioned in Arizona



An infamous Mercedes-Benz used by Adolf Hitler to be auctioned in Arizona

A Mercedes-Benz that was used to shuttle Adolf Hitler around Nazi Germany will be auctioned in Arizona early next year and could be worth millions, if anyone steps up to bid on it.

The 1939 Mercedes-Benz 770K Grosser Offener Tourenwagen’s anonymous owner will offer the car to bidders at the Worldwide Auctioneers event in Scottsdale on Jan. 17, during the city’s annual classic car extravaganza.

While any Nazi symbols on the vehicle were removed long ago, the ghosts of its past remain.

(Original Caption) Storm Troopers, with arms linked, hold back the crowds, as the leader of the Reich, Adolf Hitler, returns to Berlin after the triumph of his Armies in France. He returned on July 6th, 1940, after having visited conquered Paris. The street is strewn with flowers. Hitler stands upright in his official car and returns the salutes of his greeters.

Adolf Hitler in Berlin on July 6, 1940  (Getty Images)

The imposing, four-door convertible “Super Mercedes” is one of a handful of cars used by the German High Command that have a well-documented connection to Hitler himself, including parading him through Berlin after the defeat of France in 1940 and after the invasion of Yugoslavia and Greece in 1941. Benito Mussolini also got a ride in it during a visit to Germany.

The partially-armored car eventually fell out of this use and turned up in France, where it was captured after the war by American forces who, no doubt unaware of its notoriety, assigned it to a military police motor pool for several months.


In 1946, the car found its way into private hands in Belgium, and three years after that, an American tobacco merchant purchased it and donated it to the Greenville, N.C., branch of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Ironically, like many other vehicular trophies from the war, it was rolled out for patriotic parades, according to Robert Klara, author of “The Devil’s Mercedes: The Bizarre and Disturbing Adventures of Hitler’s Limousine in America,” which chronicles the controversial legacy of this car and others from the Fuehrer’s fleet.

The car later sat for years in a garage and had been nearly forgotten in 1976 when collectors Steve Munson and Joe Ogden purchased it for $50,000. When they discovered its possible ties to Hitler, they spent another $50,000 to restore it.


Munson and Ogden publicized the car and displayed it in several venues before it was sold twice more for unknown amounts. (One of the sales was rumored to be on the order of $1 million). In 1983, it found a home at the Imperial Palace Collection in Las Vegas, an enormous car museum owned by Ralph Engelstad, a casino operator. Engelstad had a private room full of Nazi relics in which he held Hitler-themed birthday parties that got him slapped with a $1.5 million fine from Nevada gaming authorities.

After Engelstad died in 2002, the car and several other Mercedes from the collection were sold to a European collector. It was sold again in 2009 to an anonymous buyer known only to be a wealthy Russian businessman, who displayed it briefly in a Moscow car museumto celebrate the Russian-led Soviet Union’s role in defeating the Nazis.


Michael Fröhlich, the German car dealer who brokered the sale, would not confirm how much the Russian businessman paid for the car, citing confidentiality stipulations. But to the best of his knowledge, he said, it hasn’t been sold since.

Now it likely will be — and in the same city where what turned out to be a phony Hitler-linked Mercedes was sold amid protests and bomb threats for a then-record $153,000 in 1973.

Ken Jacobson, deputy national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said the organization isn’t so much concerned about next month’s auction itself as it is about what will happen to the car afterward.


“We understand there is a market for war memorabilia and that serious collectors are interested in items like this,” Jacobson told Fox News. “While we don’t have an issue with Nazi-era automobiles like this going up for auction, we would not want to see the vehicle winding up in the hands of someone who would use it to glorify Hitler or the deeds of the Nazis. Ideally, we would prefer to see it housed in a museum, so that it could be understood in its proper context.”

Klara agrees. He said the car is a legitimate World War II timepiece, but it’s also a “socially radioactive one that needs to be handled in a historically responsible way, because there isn’t anyone who doesn’t have an opinion on a car like this….

“The onus is on the owner to present it in a correct, culturally sensitive context. That’s the job of a museum, but a tougher task for a private collector.”

Just how much the car will sell for remains to be seen. One of America’s most prominent classic car valuation experts, who asked to remain anonymous, said a Mercedes-Benz like this is likely worth $5 million to $7 million, but this one, given its historical significance, could sell for double that.

Whatever it goes for, the auction house said the seller has promised to donate 10 percent of the proceeds to an unidentified organization dedicated to Holocaust education.

Gary Gastelu is’s Automotive Editor. Follow him on Twitter @garygastelu

Ukraine And Russian ‘Rebels’ Conduct Large Prisoner Swap



(HORLIVKA, Ukraine) — Ukrainian authorities and Russian-backed separatist rebels on Wednesday conducted the biggest exchange of prisoners since the start of an armed conflict in the country’s east and a sign of progress in the implementation of a 2015 peace deal.

Rebels from the self-proclaimed separatist republics in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions handed over 74 captives, while Ukraine‘s government delivered 233. Some had been held for more than a year.

Larisa Sargan, a spokeswoman for the Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office, said on Facebook that one of the 74 prisoners released by the separatists indicated she would stay in Donetsk.

Carrying their belonging, the prisoners were turned exchanged in the town of Horlivka and the village of Zaitseve, in an area dividing the separatist regions and Ukraine. One held a cat.

“I’m out of hell. I have survived,” said Yevhen Chudentsov, who served with one of Ukraine’s volunteer battalions in the east and was taken prisoner in February 2015.

Chudentsov said he faced threats and beatings while in rebel custody, and his front teeth were knocked out. He was initially sentenced to capital punishment, which was later changed to 30 years in prison. He said after his release in Horlivka that he would join the Ukrainian military again.

The exchange was supervised by observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, a trans-Atlantic security and rights group that has deployed monitors to eastern Ukraine.

The OSCE welcomed the swap and urged the two sides to build on the momentum from it.

“Allowing such a significant number of people, who have been held on both sides, to return home before the New Year and Orthodox Christmas is a very welcome development,” said Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl, the OSCE chairman. “Today’s exchange is not only a humanitarian act but also a helpful step in confidence-building.”

Ukraine was supposed to release 306 people, but dozens chose to stay in Ukraine or had been freed earlier, said Viktor Medvedchuk, who monitored the exchange on the Ukrainian side.

Many of the captives were not combatants. Some were activists and bloggers who were charged with spying or treason.

Anatoly Slobodyanik, one of the prisoners traded by Ukraine, said he didn’t want to go to the rebel side and would return to his home town of Odessa.

“I’m not guilty of anything and I don’t want to go to the other side,” he said.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko praised the Ukrainian prisoners held by the rebels for their endurance.

“I’m grateful to all those who remained loyal to Ukraine in those unbearable conditions,” Poroshenko said while greeting the free captives. “They have shown their adherence to the principles of freedom and independence.”

The Ukrainian leader also hailed German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron for helping organize the exchange.

Merkel and Macron welcomed the swap, saying in a joint statement that they “encourage the parties to the conflict also to enable the exchange of the remaining prisoners, grant the International Committee of the Red Cross full access and support the ICRC’s search for missing people.”

The simmering conflict between the separatists and government troops in eastern Ukraine has killed more than 10,000 people since 2014.

The 2015 deal brokered by France and Germany and signed in Minsk, the Belarusian capital, envisioned a prisoner exchange, but the two sides argued continuously over lists of captives and only a few dozen had been traded prior to Wednesday. Separatist leaders and a Ukrainian government representative finally agreed to the exchange last week, with the head of the Russian Orthodox Church acting as mediator.

Merkel and Macron emphasized that the exchange and a recommitment to a comprehensive cease-fire “should also serve to build up confidence between the parties to the conflict, also with a view to the full implementation of the Minsk agreements.”

A Jewish woman sits on a park bench marked “Only for Jews”, 1938

((Photo credit: Institute for Contemporary History and Wiener Library))


A concentration camp victim identifies a SS guard, 1945

((Photo credit: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum / Harold Royall).)


Russian survivor liberated U.S. Army in Buchenwald camp in Germany identified a former guard who were brutally beating prisoners. April 14, 1945. Colorized version. The original photograph.

Russian survivor liberated by the U.S. Army in Buchenwald camp in Germany identified a former guard who were brutally beating prisoners. April 14, 1945. Colorized version. The original photograph.

The picture depicts a liberated Russian inmate pointing an identifying and accusing finger at a Nazi guard who was especially cruel towards the prisoners in Buchenwald camp (original picture). There’s something really fascinating about this picture. We can only see so much of the prisoner’s expression here, but that finger means so much. Days, maybe even hours earlier, that prisoner might have been afraid to cross paths with or even make eye contact with this man. Now he’s casting an accusatory finger that’s as well as pointing a gun at the back of the man’s head, and the defeated look on his face seems horribly aware of that.

That medal on the guard’s chest looks like a World War One imperial wound badge, meaning this guard fought for the German Imperial Army during the Great War. The badge is the black variant (3rd class, representing Iron) and was given to those wounded once or twice by hostile action (including air raids), or frostbitten in the line of duty.

After the outbreak of World War II, Buchenwald continued to house political prisoners and, later, Poles and Russians. Most inmates worked as slave labourers at nearby work sites in 12-hour shifts around the clock. There were some 18,000 prisoners after Kristallnacht, 11,000 on the eve of the war, 63,000 by the end of 1944, and 86,000 in February 1945, when Buchenwald became the destination for some of the inmates forcibly evacuated from Auschwitz.

Although there were no gas chambers, hundreds perished each month from disease, malnutrition, exhaustion, beatings, and executions. Camp records indicate that throughout its existence some 240,000 prisoners from at least 30 countries were confined at Buchenwald. At least 10,000 were shipped to extermination camps, and some 43,000 people died at the camp.

(Photo credit: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum / Harold Royall).

Can The German President Bail Chancellor Merkel Out Of Political Jam?



Frank-Walter Steinmeier: Can Germany’s ‘anti-Trump’ end Merkel’s political crisis?

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has been thrust into the limelight this week after coalition talks collapsed.

(CNN)Just over a year ago, Frank-Walter Steinmeier was nominated for the job of German President. “My joy at the task is great,” he said in an acceptance speech in Berlin.

But not everyone was happy.
Some doom-mongers grumbled that Steinmeier was much too important for him to be “consigned to the periphery of power.”
After all, as Torben Luetjen and Lars Geiges wrote in their biography of Steinmeier, German presidents “don’t really have to make many decisions.”
That all changed on Monday.
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After coalition talks to form a new government unexpectedly collapsed late on Sunday, dealing a blow to longtime Chancellor Angela Merkel, it was President Steinmeier — a man more accustomed to unveiling monuments than dirtying his hands with parliamentary politics — who was given the unenviable task of restoring order.
This week he’s meeting with five party leaders, urging them to restart talks — or begin new ones.
If they refuse, Steinmeier is the man who could set the country on a complicated path to new elections — unprecedented in post-war German history.
“Courage is the lifeblood of democracy,” he said in his first speech as President in March this year. He’ll need plenty of that in the days and weeks ahead.
So who is Frank-Walter Steinmeier?

The pragmatic bureaucrat

Steinmeier’s journey from a working-class home in northwest Germany — his father was a carpenter and his mother a factory worker — to the office of the President is a remarkable one.
But he’s otherwise unremarkable, according to Luetjen. “There’s nothing extraordinary about him … He’s usually described as someone rather dull.”
Steinmeier’s first foray into politics came in 1991 when he took a job with Social Democrat Gerhard Schroeder — state president at the time and later German Chancellor — and was soon running his office.
According to Luetjen, Steinmeier quickly began to fit the mold of a typical German bureaucrat.

As German Foreign Minister, Steinmeier supported Barack Obama's bid for the presidency and the two men worked closely together. Steinmeier has spoken much less favorably about President Trump.

His two stints as Foreign Minister — during which he tackled a military crisis in Ukraine, Greece’s financial meltdown and unprecedented levels of refugee arrivals to Europe and was instrumental in negotiating the nuclear deal with Iran — only confirmed that impression.
He may not be “overly exciting,” as Luetjen admits, but he’s pragmatic, patient and rarely fazed.
“He’s good at finding deals and talking to all sides,” says Luetjen. “Now that we have this situation — close to a constitutional crisis — those are talents that are really needed.”

The deal maker

Steinmeier’s nomination as President came as a surprise to many. He’s a man who “enjoyed real power,” Luetjen explains.
In the aftermath of the Second World War, the previously powerful role of President became largely ceremonial.
He or she is the public face of the nation, a German ambassador to the world. When Steinmeier speaks, people listen.
But he’s not known as a great speaker. And “he didn’t seem comfortable with becoming a public figure” at the start of his presidency, Luetjen says.

On Tuesday, Steinmeier met with Christian Lindner, leader of the Free Democrats and the man who announced his party's withdrawal from coalition talks Sunday night.

He believes that Steinmeier — the deal maker, the man who “likes to get things done” — will be embracing the challenge of restoring order in the currently chaotic German political landscape.
“Now he’s back, doing real politics,” Luetjen says.

What are his chances of success?

Luetjen and Geiges describe Steinmeier as the “master of anti-chaos.”
“If anyone can (make a breakthrough), then it’s him,” says Luetjen. “Yes, I think he’s capable of doing this.”
Making a brief statement from his official residence on Monday afternoon, Steinmeier had the aura of a disapproving school principal admonishing a group of unruly students.
He urged all parties to come to the table and refused to entertain the possibility of fresh elections — the option favored by Merkel and Martin Schulz, leader of Steinmeier’s own Social Democratic Party.
“I expect everyone to be willing to negotiate to make it possible to form a government in the foreseeable future,” he said. Responsibility can’t simply be “handed back to the voters.”

Despite their different party allegiances, Steinmeier has worked closely with Chancellor Angela Merkel since 2005 and they share a pragmatic, cautious approach to politics.

For all his caution and composure, Steinmeier does not mince his words. Three months before Donald Trump was elected US President, Steinmeier (then foreign minister) described him as a “hate preacher.”
And speaking just after Trump’s election, Steinmeier made no attempt to disguise his deep disappointment. “Nothing will be easier (now),” he said, “lots will be more difficult.”
He has even been described in the German media as the “anti-Trump.”
Steinmeier has spoken out strongly against the rise of populism in Germany too, embodied in the far-right party Alternative for Germany (AfD), which entered the federal Parliament for the first time in September’s election, winning 12.6% of the vote.
Despite the country’s history, Germany is not immune to populism and the damage it does to democracy, Steinmeier warned in March.
With Merkel partly to blame for the AfD’s recent success — according to some German politicians — and weakened by a poor election result and failed coalition talks, Steinmeier is the “most stable figure in German politics right now,” according to Luetjen.
“He’s the last survivor of a generation. And he might be the right federal president at the right time.”
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