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Alleged Auschwitz Guard Arrested

A 93-year-old man who was deported from the U.S. for lying about his Nazi past was arrested by German authorities Monday on allegations he served as an Auschwitz death camp guard, Stuttgart prosecutors said.

Hans Lipschis was taken into custody after authorities concluded there was “compelling evidence” he was involved in crimes at Auschwitz while there from 1941 to 1945, prosecutor Claudia Krauth said.

Lipschis has acknowledged being assigned to an SS guard unit at Auschwitz but maintains he only served as a cook and was not involved in any war crimes.

Krauth said, however, that a judge upheld her office’s request for an arrest warrant after concluding there was enough evidence to hold him before charges on accessory to murder are brought. Bringing formal charges, a process similar to a U.S. grand jury indictment, would take another two months, she said.

In the meantime, Krauth said a doctor has confirmed Lipschis’ health remains good enough for him to be kept in detention.

Lipschis does not currently have an attorney, and a public defender has not yet been appointed, she said.

Lipschis was deported from the U.S. in 1983 for lying about his Nazi past when he immigrated to Chicago in the 1950s after the war.

With no evidence linking him to specific war crimes, however, it was impossible under previous German law to bring charges against him in Germany.

But the case is now being pursued on the same legal theory used to prosecute former Ohio autoworker John Demjanjuk, who died last year while appealing his 2011 conviction in Germany for accessory to murder on the grounds that he served as a guard at the Sobibor death camp.

Under the new line of thinking, even without proof of participation in a specific crime, a person who served at a death camp can be charged with accessory to murder because the camp’s sole function was to kill people.

Even though the Demjanjuk conviction is not considered legally binding because he died before his appeals were exhausted, the special German prosecutors’ office that deals with Nazi crimes has said that about 50 other people in the same category are being investigated.

Efraim Zuroff, the chief Nazi hunter with the Simon Wiesenthal Center, called the arrest of Lipschis — who is No. 4 on his current list of “most wanted Nazi war criminals” — a good start.

“This is a very positive step, we welcome the arrest,” he said in a telephone interview from Israel. “I hope this will only be the first of many arrests, trials and convictions of death camp guards.”

In an interview last month with Die Welt newspaper at his home in southwestern Germany, Lipschis said he spent his entire time as a cook and had witnessed none of the atrocities. He did say, however, that he “heard about” what was going on.

About 1.5 million people, primarily Jews, were killed at the Auschwitz camp complex between 1940 and 1945.

May 7, 2013 Posted by | Auschwitz | , , , | Leave a comment

Holocaust Educational Trust gets £500,000 for Auschwitz visits

KRAKOW TOURS: Holocaust Educational Trust gets £500,000 for Auschwitz visits.

More than £500,000 is to be awarded to a scheme which gives schoolchildren the chance to visit the site of the Auschwitz concentration camp.

The Scottish government announced the funding for the Holocaust Educational Trust, which was set up in 1988.

‘Seeing Auschwitz with my own eyes made me appreciate how much people suffered”

Mhiara Mackenzie, Student

It will allow two youngsters from every school and college in Scotland to go to the site in Poland and hear the testimony of a Holocaust survivor.

More than 1,000 Scottish students have taken part in the project to date.

The Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in modern day Poland was where more than a million people, most of them Jews, were killed by the Nazis during the course of World War II.

The Lessons from Auschwitz project aims to develop young people’s understanding of the possible consequences of prejudice and racism in society.

First Minister Alex Salmond said: “It is right that we continue to fund these learning opportunities to ensure that as a society we never become complacent when regarding the dangers of prejudice, intolerance, discrimination and hatred.”

‘Never forget’

The scheme will receive £510,000 of further funding over the next two years.

University student Mhiara Mackenzie took part in Lessons from Auschwitz in 2009.

She said: “Participating in the project was a life-changing experience, one that I will never forget.

“Seeing Auschwitz-Birkenau with my own eyes made me appreciate how much people suffered during the Holocaust.”

The chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, Karen Pollock, said: “We are delighted that the Scottish government will continue to fund our Lessons from Auschwitz Project.

via BBC News – Holocaust Educational Trust gets £500,00 for Auschwitz visits.

May 5, 2013 Posted by | Auschwitz, News | , , , | Leave a comment

Do the time warp again in Nowa Huta

Relics of the communist era abound in this Krakow ‘suburb’ and, as David Whitley finds, some are coming back into fashion.

Java is in a state of near panic. “No! No! Not the red light!” our driver shouts at the road ahead of him. If he has to stop now, he might never start again.

The journey so far has been noisy, juddering and punctuated by exhortations to the shambolic red box we’re trapped inside to not give up the ghost just yet. We’re in a model S (“some say it means sport, some say it means super, most say it means shit”) Trabant. It’s the iconic Communist-era car across much of eastern Europe, and this one was built in 1989, the year the Iron Curtain collapsed. The engine, however, appears to be somewhat older – perhaps belonging to a neglected lawnmower from the 1950s.

That might not be too wide of the mark, actually. It has a 200cc, two-stroke engine and spits fumes out of the back like a flatulent dragon. There’s no fuel gauge – you have to open the bonnet and dip a plastic ruler in to check the level. Java admits that he usually cheats and just shakes the car to see how heavy it is.

Driving it is the motoring equivalent of dragging a seriously wounded colleague to safety across a bullet-ridden battlefield. It’s no wonder that Java lets out an ecstatic, gallows humour-drenched “Yee-es!” every time he manages to successfully change gear.

Once ubiquitous throughout Poland, the Trabant’s role is now one of novelty. Java says you can’t even buy them dirt cheap any more – the prices are being inflated by vintage-car collectors. But for the purposes of today’s trip, our hobbling red box on wheels is perfect.

via Do the time warp again.

April 21, 2013 Posted by | Krakow Travel Advice, Recommendations, Tour Information | , , , , | Leave a comment

Krakow: The Magical City

April 20, 2013 Posted by | News | | Leave a comment

Surviving Auschwitz

KRAKOW TOURS: Seventy years ago today a Nazi train was stopped by resisters as it travelled from Flanders to Auschwitz.

Althea Williams tells the story of a survivor.

Kazerne Dossin, a former infantry barracks, during its use as a detention centre in 1942.

Kazerne Dossin, a former infantry barracks, during its use as a detention centre in 1942.On the night of April 19th, 1943 a train pulled out of Mechelen, a small town in Belgium. It carried 1,631 men, women and children and was the 20th convoy to leave the infamous Kazerne Dossin assembly camp for Auschwitz-Birkenau. Up to that point, of the 18,000 people who had already made the journey only a handful had escaped.

This time three young men, Youra Livschitz, Robert Maistriau and Jean Frankelmon, students at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, lay in wait for the train. Ten miles down the line, they flagged down the convoy using a lamp covered with red silk to resemble a warning light. Armed with just two pairs of pliers and a single pistol, they cut through the barbed wire that secured the heavy bolts on the outside of each cattle car.  Two hundred and thirty-seven Jewish deportees took their chance, pushing themselves through tiny windows, or wrenching the doors aside, falling or leaping into the dark. The Germans fired upon the fleeing shadows and at the easier targets of those who waited for their loved ones to follow.

In one of the carriages were Channa Gronowski and her 11-year-old son, Simon. As the train accelerated again, escape seemed impossible. But the mood in the carriage had changed and men broke open the lock on the door. Channa lowered Simon by his shoulders onto the footrail. He remembers his mother hesitating, saying: ‘No, the train’s going too fast!’ But Simon had jumped, rolling down the embankment. He leapt to his feet unhurt and waited for his mother to follow. The train halted and shots rang out. Three people fell. After 20 minutes of shooting and searching, the train departed and with it Simon’s mother.

Simon ran all night, through woods and over fields. He intended to reach Brussels and find his father, Leon, absent when the Germans had raided their home. He knew he risked capture but he needed help so he knocked on a door. His clothes torn and covered in mud, he said he had been playing with friends and had got lost. He was taken to the local police officer; Simon was sure he would be arrested. Jan Aerts had indeed guessed Simon came from the train but he had no intention of betraying him. He took him home and his wife fed him and washed and mended his clothes. The policeman helped Simon catch a train back to Brussels and he was finally reunited with his father, although they spent the remaining years of the war hidden in separate locations. Channa Gronowski was sent to the gas chambers on arrival at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Simon’s sister Ita, 18, was sent on a later convoy and was also killed at Auschwitz.

At the Liberation, Leon Gronowski wrote: ‘People flood the streets, wild with joy; crying, laughing, singing, embracing each other. But I am miserable … My loved ones are still in the camps … I wander through the streets aimlessly; my heart is bleeding’. Ignorant of his wife and daughter’s fate he died of pulmonary disease in June 1945.

A total of 25,833 Jews and over 352 Roma were deported from Kazerne Dossin. Of the 233 people who attempted escape from the 20th convoy, 26 were shot that night. One hundred and eighteen got away of whom 89 were recaptured, 79 of these were deported on later convoys and 153 survived Auschwitz-Birkenau.

As for the three who stopped the train, Youra Livschitz was captured and executed in February 1944 and Jean Frankelmon was arrested soon after and sent to Sachsenhausen concentration camp, where he was liberated in May 1945. He died in 1977. Robert Maistriau was arrested in March 1944. He was liberated from Bergen-Belsen in 1945 and lived until 2008.

Today Simon Gronowski lives in Brussels and practises as a lawyer. He has two children and four grand-children. For over 50 years he hardly talked about his past but, following a chance meeting between his daughter and Robert Maistriau’s son, he was persuaded to overcome his reluctance to speak publicly about his experience. He has now written a book and speaks regularly in schools.

In the context of the Belgian occupation, when the number of active resisters is thought to have amounted to only about six per cent of the population and helping escapees was punishable, Jan Aerts and his wife were unusual people. Simon Gronowski was fortunate to have encountered them.

Gronowski’s story and those of many others are related in the new Kazerne Dossin Museum and Documentation Centre of the Holocaust and Human Rights, one of the most ambitious in Europe. The Kazerne Dossin replaces a smaller museum about deportation and the Resistance; the Flemish government agreed to finance the 25 million euros necessary to renovate the previous museum on the condition that its scope and aims were completely revised. It cited the dwindling number of survivors and witnesses to the Holocaust and its wish to show that Flanders not only recognises its part in the Nazi period but intends to contribute to the study of the mechanisms of exclusion, intolerance and racism in today’s society. The new museum owes its growing reputation to its efforts to render the Holocaust relevant to a younger public, drawing attention to the underlying conditions that can lead to human rights’ violations.

April 19, 2013 Posted by | Auschwitz, This Day In History | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Krakow: Small but perfectly formed

KRAKOW TOURS: A little internet access can be a dangerous thing. This became apparent while planning a trip to Poland’s second-largest city, Krakow. I email my father a link to a restaurant’s website with the message: “I booked us a table here on Saturday night.”

Three minutes later he replies: “I hope everyone likes pike stew.”

They don’t. I’m embarking on a weekend with a few fussy eaters and keeping the menu at this Polish TV chef-run restaurant a secret is proving difficult. I found rave reviews online, the same place my father is now accessing the menu and gagging about pike stew. Therein lies the rub of travel in our online age: you can take and you can give but you can’t please everyone.

We plan Krakow with military precision involving numerous emails before flights and apartments are booked. In the weeks before take-off, I copy and paste articles into my smartphone’s notepad. I email myself the names of bars and directions to the train station.

via Krakow: Small but perfectly formed for a long weekend – Travel News | Ireland & World Travel Advice & Tips | The Irish Tim – Sat, Apr 06, 2013.

April 7, 2013 Posted by | Krakow Travel Advice, Recommendations | , , | Leave a comment

Irish Mbassy – St Patrick’s Weekend

Bringing Ireland to Krakow.

March 12, 2013 Posted by | Events, News, Sport | , , , , | Leave a comment

The first time Hollywood exposed the Holocaust

Exactly 70 years ago, Hollywood’s top stars got together to expose the Holocaust.

It was early 1943, and Hitler’s armies were finally in retreat from North Africa and the Soviet Union. D-Day was more than a year away, and the Nazis had murdered almost three million Jews.

Since the start of the war, eyewitness accounts of mass shootings and death camps had made their way to governments around the world. “Rescue through victory” remained the official Allied strategy, and the killings receiving little attention.

As the genocide reached its apex, Hollywood decided to take action.

A seasoned journalist and screenwriter, Ben Hecht was the first celebrity to publicize the Holocaust. Hecht’s February 1943 essay, “The Extermination of the Jews,” rang warning bells even as the US State Department buried reports of genocide.

“Of these 6,000,000 Jews of Europe, almost a third have already been massacred by Germans, Romanians, and Hungarians,” Hecht wrote in Reader’s Digest. “The most conservative of scorekeepers estimate that before the war ends at least another third will have been done to death.”

Not content with writing op-eds, Hecht decided to do what he did best — put on a sweeping drama. An Oscar-winning screenwriter who contributed to “Gone With the Wind” and scripted “Scarface,” Hecht knew how to stir emotions and frame an epic story.

via The first time Hollywood exposed the Holocaust | The Times of Israel.

March 10, 2013 Posted by | Auschwitz, This Day In History | , , | Leave a comment

Wieliczka Salt Mine, Krakow

KRAKOW TOURS: Deep underground in Poland lies something remarkable but little known outside Eastern Europe. For centuries, miners have extracted salt there, but left behind things quite startling and unique. Take a look at the most unusual salt mine in the world.

From the outside, Wieliczka Salt Mine doesn’t look extraordinary. It looks extremely well kept for a place that hasn’t minded any salt for over ten years but apart from that it looks ordinary. However, over two hundred meters below ground it holds an astonishing secret. This is the salt mine that became an art gallery, cathedral and underground lake.

Situated in the Krakow area, Wieliczka is a small town of close to twenty thousand inhabitants. It was founded in the twelfth century by a local Duke to mine the rich deposits of salt that lie beneath. Until 1996 it did just that but the generations of miners did more than just extract. They left behind them a breathtaking record of their time underground in the shape of statues of mythic, historical and religious figures. They even created their own chapels in which to pray. Perhaps their most astonishing legacy is the huge underground cathedral they left behind for posterity.

via Wieliczka Salt Mine – An Astounding Subterranean Salt Cathedral ~ Kuriositas.

March 1, 2013 Posted by | Tour Information | , , , | Leave a comment

Diary of child survivor of Auschwitz published

KRAKOW TOURS — The diary of a child who survived four different Nazi concentration camps during World War II has finally been published.

Helga Weiss, now 83, was one of only 100 children to survive Auschwitz out of the 15,000 sent there from the concentration camp in Terezin, north of Prague. She and her mother were sent to four different camps between 1941 and 1945: Terezin, Auschwitz, Freiberg and Mauthausen.

The diary she kept during those years, drawing and writing the scenes she observed and experienced, begins to tell the story of an 8-year-old girl experiencing air raid alarms, the expulsion of Jewish children from school and the sewing of yellow Stars of David on clothing.

When Weiss was 12, she was sent with her family to Terezin, which was essentially a transit hub for Jews that would be sent to Auschwitz and Treblinka.

via Diary of child who survived Auschwitz finally published | ksl.com.

February 25, 2013 Posted by | Auschwitz | , | Leave a comment

Preserving Auschwitz?

For many, the everlasting power of Auschwitz is understood only by visiting the infamous death camp and walking the grounds where more than 1 million people were killed during the Holocaust.

Krakow Tours and Transfers

The problem, according to two local architects, is in assuming the camp itself will be everlasting. As survivors continue to die and the camp’s structures continue to decay, there remains the question of how and what to preserve of Auschwitz, and how visitors — currently more than 1 million annually — will interact with the site in the years and centuries to come.

via Preserving Auschwitz? | Los Angeles | Jewish Journal.

February 13, 2013 Posted by | Auschwitz | , , , | Leave a comment

This week at the Irish Mbassy

 

Irish Mbassy

This Week’s Line-Up:

MONDAY – 11.02

Hiberian Vs St. Johnstone – 20:30

Liverpool Vs West Bromwich – 21:00

TUESDAY – 12.02

Leicester City Vs Huddersfield Town – 20:30

Celtic Vs Juventus – 20:45

WEDNESDAY – 13.02 – WING NIGHT

Real Madrid Vs Man Utd – 20:45

Shakhtar Donetsk Vs Borussia Dortmund – 20:45

♥ THURSDAY – 14.02 – PUB QUIZ ♥

Sparta Prague Vs Chelsea – 19:00

Spurs Vs Lyon – 21:05

Newcastle Utd Vs Metalist Kharkiv – 21:05

FRIDAY – 15.02 – KARAOKE 😀

Tranmere Rovers Vs Shrewsbury Town – 20:45

*RUGBY*

Warrington Wolves Vs Catalan Dragon – 21:00

via Facebook.

February 10, 2013 Posted by | Events, Sport | , , , | Leave a comment

Timelapse – KRAKOW

January 18, 2013 Posted by | News | , | Leave a comment

Unesco video for Krakow

 

Planning on visiting Krakow, contact KRAKOW TOURS for all the help you need.

January 17, 2013 Posted by | Krakow Travel Advice, Tour Information | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

1.1 Million visitors to Wieliczka salt mine in 2012

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One million and 117 thousand tourists toured the site, five per cent more than in 2011.

Foreign tourists accounted for 53 per cent of visitors.

The British top the list (60. 9 thousand, 12 per cent more than in 2011), followed by Italians (42.4 thousand, an increase of 17 per cent) and Germans (38.5 thousand, an increase of 4 per cent). French, Korean, Russian, Norwegian, Spanish, American and Hungarian visitors were the remaining nations in the top ten.

Director of the Wieliczka Salt Mine, Kajetan d’Obyrn, has told the Polish Press Agency that with an annual number of visitors exceeding one million and almost 36 million visitors since the end of World War Two, Wieliczka is by far the most popular sightseeing attraction of its kind in the world.

Last year’s visitors also included almost 1,000 journalists and reporters from many countries. The mine served as location for a Bollywood production, Discovery Channel produced a programme on underground chapels and Canadian TV made a report in its series on the most bizarre restaurants.

The Wieliczka Salt Mine was founded in the middle of the 13th century. It features a 3.5-km touring route for visitors that includes historic statues and mythical figures. There are also a large chapel, an underground lake, as well as a private rehabilitation and wellness complex.

In 1978 the Wieliczka Mine was included in the original UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.

January 12, 2013 Posted by | News | , , , , , | Leave a comment

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