“Czeslawa Kwoka, age 14, appears in a prisoner identity photo provided by the Auschwitz Museum, taken by Wilhelm Brasse while working in the photography department at Auschwitz, the Nazi-run death camp where some 1.5 million people, most of them Jewish, died during World War II. Czeslawa was a Polish Catholic girl, from Wolka Zlojecka, Poland, who was sent to Auschwitz with her mother in December of 1942. Within three months, both were dead. Photographer (and fellow prisoner) Brasse recalled photographing Czeslawa in a 2005 documentary: ‘She was so young and so terrified. The girl didn’t understand why she was there and she couldn’t understand what was being said to her. So this woman Kapo (a prisoner overseer) took a stick and beat her about the face. This German woman was just taking out her anger on the girl. Such a beautiful young girl, so innocent. She cried but she could do nothing. Before the photograph was taken, the girl dried her tears and the blood from the cut on her lip. To tell you the truth, I felt as if I was being hit myself but I couldn’t interfere. It would have been fatal for me.’”

(AP)

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10.5 cm K gp.Sfl. “Dicker Max” (“Fat Max”) Tank Destroyer.

Only two prototypes of the “Dicker Max” were ever produced, but they were both actively employed on the Eastern Front.

if you want to read some highlights, or just learn a little bit about the vast spectrum of experiences that gay people had in WWII, then here you go. The past, as always, is a complex place, far stranger and more beautiful than we ever give it credit for. For every person who got brought up on criminal charges or placed in detention or diagnosed with mental illness as a result of being queer, there’s someone who’s out and fabulous in front of his COs, someone hooking up with their boyfriend openly on ship, someone putting on drag shows as their contribution to the war effort, someone telling her CO that a huge percentage of the WACs are dykes and he’ll have to fire them all if he wants to fire any. 

"Hitler Loved Dogs"

You hear that a lot. That whatever Hitler’s faults, at least the man loved dogs. At least sometimes (hopefully often!), it is part of a joke, but certainly in other cases it is part of an effort to humanize him, and point out that “hey, he wasn’t all bad!” We all know that he had a German Shepherd (or Alsatian as he would have said), and his love of animals was part of the image he cultivated, but what is the truth!?

In 1943, Goebbels wrote that:

The Führer has his great happiness in his dog Blondi, who has become a true companion for him… It’s good that the Führer has at least one living being who is constantly around him.

Walking Blondi in the morning was part of his daily routine, which he rarely deviated from. More then a few people who knew him would tell you that Blondi and Eva Braun were the only actual friends Hitler had. When Blondi was killed as a guinea pig for the poison capsules that shortly would be used for Hitler and Eva’s own deaths, Hitler apparently expressed no outward emotion, but literally went off to pout by himself in his room afterwards. 

Before Blondi, he had a terrier named “Foxl” while serving in World War I, and again, those who knew him often commented on how the dog seemed to be his only true friend. Apparently “Foxl” went missing one day, and Hitler believed for years later that someone had stolen the dog, and would curse this unknown enemy. Kershaw, in is biography of Hitler, quotes him as saying:

I liked Foxl so much, [because] he only obeyed me

proffers that Hitler’s deep interest in dogs came from his ability to control the animals, and the total devotion they offered to him, which mimics what he attempted to do with all people who surrounded him as well.

This need to be the clear master is well demonstrated with his German Shepherd “Prinz”, which he owned in the 1920s. Mimi Reiter, a young women he was courting at the time recalled an incident where he beat “Prinz” in front of her, described as a show of domination after “Prinz” attacked her own dog, another Shepherd named Marco.

He owned a series of other Alsatians, including “Wolf” in the 1920s (and also “wulf”, one of Blondi’s puppies in 1945), “Muckl”, and “Blonda”.

But what the animals all come back to is power. Many recollections of Hitler and his dogs all speak not to his love of the animal for the sake of is companionship, but because of his absolute power over them. Hitler wasn’t “an evil man who nevertheless loved dogs”. What attracted him to dogs was very much the same qualities that make him one of the most vile humans to have ever graced the face of this planet! He could be the complete and total master of the animal, and get from it total devotion even in the face of the abuse he put upon it.

So no… Hitler didn’t love dogs. He loved power, and dogs were the poor, unfortunate creatures he could most easily wield it over.

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Johanna Neumann was nine years old when her family escaped from Nazi Germany to seek refuge in Albania. They spent six years there and survived the war thanks to a number of Muslim families who sheltered them along the way.

Neumann’s is one of many stories featured in Besa: The Promise, a documentary inspired by Albania’s too-often forgotten efforts to shelter Jews during the Holocaust. Learn more here.

Let me explain what's wrong with the "Only" lyric video

It should be obvious what’s wrong with Nicki Minaj’s video for Only. For those that haven’t seen it yet, it’s based on her in a role as a dictator of some unnamed country that YMCMB are in control of, a country with a massive military and a penchant for black, red and white colour schemes.

From the get-go glamourising dictatorships is pretty shitty but what’s worse is that the particular dictator she’s likened herself too is everyone’s favourite maniacal 20th century Führer, Adolf Hitler. 

I don’t know where to begin explaining why this is so wrong, there’s too much, so I’ll just refute some of the defences I’ve seen of the video. 

  • "It happened a long time ago and is no longer relevant"

A personal favourite. With it being a song from an American artist most people listening are American and therefore no longer feel the effects of WW2. Cool. However, across the Atlantic, Nazism is on the rise and has been for quite some time. Greece’s Golden Dawn, Hungary’s Jobbik and France’s National Front are all far right parties with some representatives in power. Golden Dawn are especially bad and have been linked to several murders. One of their representatives even assaulted a female politician on live TV. Nazism is alive and kicking in Europe and shows no sign of decreasing. Anti-semitism is on the rise as are attacks on migrants and other minority religious groups. These are all linked to Hitler’s idea of National Socialism. While the man and the Nazi party may be dead, his ideas and dreams live on almost as much as if he were alive today. 

  • "It’s not necessarily based on Nazis, just the role of a powerful dictator"

To not be able to spot the Nazi imagery in this video you would either have to be blind or stupid. 

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This scene looks PRETTY familiar.

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Also featured are armies of soldiers wearing red armbands with a white circle inside. Type in “red armband soldiers” into Google images and about 90% of the results are regarding the Nazi army. There is no way this isn’t based on Nazi Germany. There is literally nothing else that shares these aesthetics.

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  • "What about Stalin/Vietnam/slavery, this isn’t that bad in comparison"

Stalin’s rule was terrible. The Vietnam war was terrible. Slavery was terrible. I think we can all agree on that. However, the difference is there are no major music videos explicitly depicting artists as slave owners or civilian murdering soldiers. Why? Because it would be offensive and in poor taste. This is a straw man argument. It’s not about whether slavery was worse than the holocaust, it’s about whether it’s appropriate or not to feature it in a music video. The answer is no.

  • "Nazis have been used in other media and no-one cared"

The only media I’ve seen that included Nazis have been WW2 movies and games that portrayed Nazis pretty much solely as the “bad guys”. In fact, Nazis are one of a few things that are ALWAYS the bad guys in western media (lumped in with terrorists, serial killers and zombies). An example that keeps coming up is Nazi imagery within the Lion King, with Scar representing Hitler. The difference is, Scar is through and through the villain. There’s nothing glamorous about his hyena army, unlike Nicki’s almost fetishised view of military might in smart uniforms.

  • "They’re not really Nazis, just using the imagery for controversy" also, "She had no creative control over the video"

I know Nicki Minaj isn’t a Nazi. But she DID have some influence over the video as it’s her song. Controversy is fine and could have come in many shapes and sizes, but glorifying the deaths of minorities for views is just wrong. Sell sex, sell gore, sell horror, just don’t sell a real life event that ruined the lives and legacies of millions.

  • "If you don’t like it, don’t watch it"

By this reasoning blackface is fine, because if you don’t like it you just don’t have to watch it. Gay-bashing TV shows are fine, because if you don’t like it you don’t have to watch it. Sexist humour and rape jokes are fine, because if you don’t like it you don’t have to watch it. Everything’s fine, until if affects you. As Martin Niemöller said, from a Nazi concentration camp, “at first they came for the socialists…”

Sorry for the long read, but this has made me pretty angry. Not just the video but the lengths people will go to defend it. During Nazi rule my mum would have been murdered. My girlfriend’s family had to flee from their home country in Romania to Venezuela to avoid being murdered. My neighbour, who died last year, spent time in a concentration camp and had a number tattooed onto him. My grandfather was shot in the leg and narrowly avoided death fighting against the Nazis. Real people, many of whom are alive today, made real sacrifices.

Nazism is a vicious, dangerous, evil ideology. It is not something to be used to sell records, it is not an aesthetic and it is definitely not justifiable to glorify and fetishise, even in a comparatively minor way such as the release of this video.