Werner was an ex-SS officer

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Lovegasoline

Trad climber
Sh#t Hole, Brooklyn, NY
Nov 25, 2005 - 01:14am PT
LEB:
My father was studying in the Sorbonne but when the Nazi’s consolidated their power Jews were forbidden to pursue higher education. He ended up back with his family and eventually herded into the Vilna Ghetto. The Nazi’s systematically liquidated the ghetto and when his number was up, he was first being transported by cattle car to the camp. He, along with some other men, managed to break open the train car and make a break for it when it was stopped refueling with coal and water while in Poland. After breaking out of the cattle car they had to run up an embankment alongside the train tracks. The guards were on top of the train. They were all shot and killed except for my father and one other guy. But my father was shot several times before he could clear the top of the embankment. He said he didn’t initially realize he was shot because he had so much adrenaline. However, as he was running he felt wetness and looked down and saw his abdomen covered in blood. He ran for his life and was fortunate that the first house he came to was a small farm, which was also a county doctor's place. My father paid the doctor a diamond he had stashed in his heel that his mother had given him and the doctor performed surgery to remove as many of the bullet fragments that he could. This doctor also harbored him by hiding him in his barn ... he lived there the better part of a year while his wounds healed. My dad told me that at this point, he had no more fear because he pretty much considered himself a dead man … his people were being destroyed, his family one by one was taken, and the Nazis had conquered the world, or were about to complete the job.
He lived hidden sleeping in the hay by day inside the barn and hung out with the animals. Somebody found out he was at the farm and contacted the authorities because the farm was searched. He recalls the pitchforks almost, but not quite reaching him in the stack of hay he was hiding in. That was too much for the Doc. It was obviously uncool and the Doctor told him he would have to leave .. my father did not hold this against the Doctor and was grateful for all he had done – he realized the doctor had a responsibility to protect his family. Had my father been found on the farm, the doctor and his entire family would have either been executed on the spot or sent to death in the camps... at this time Jews were hunted like dogs and money rewards were given by the government for their capture, especially escaped Jews at large. One of the few times I’ve seen my father get emotional is when he had told me about that Doctor, of how good a man he was.
The Doc dressed up my father as a priest in a black robe and a necklace with a wooden cross. He also gave him train fare and a packed lunch. However, it was a foreign land, there was no underground network, no connections, no friendly depots along the way, nothing but hostility. My father was captured the same day in a train station ... the SS (or Gestapo) were doing searches by separating the men from the women and forcing all the men to drop their pants. My father was circumcised and thus was identified as a Jew. He was taken to the local police and they placed him on another train, this one heading to Buchenwald. He managed to survive in Buchenwald until it was liberated.
He credits the Doctor for saving his life. He returned to the farm after the war to seek the Doctor out, but there was no longer a farmhouse or a farm … just flattened land. He was never able to learn what happened to the Doctor or his family … the ravages of war.
After being liberated from Buchenwald, he was transferred to Bergen-Belsen, which was converted to a Displaced Persons (DP) camp. 5 more years in DP and then he immigrated to America.

I'm still impressed by father’s refusal to succumb to stereotypes or harbor a hatred for the German people. He’s always told me there are good Germans and bad Germans.
I admire his simplicity and his toughness. He's worked hard his whole life into his 70's. He has a great and abiding love of America.
I doubt he would have such high regard for the character of Wehrner Von Braun.
Loom

climber
167 stinking feet above sea level : (
Nov 25, 2005 - 01:34am PT
No Lois.

arrgh.
Lovegasoline

Trad climber
Sh#t Hole, Brooklyn, NY
Nov 25, 2005 - 01:35am PT
My father is still alive and kicking and doing quite well. He's 85 years old.
He never talks about his past, his experiences during the war ... I had to grill him to get his story, and even then it was with great reluctance that he told it. I do remember as a very young child running my hands across his back and exploring his bullet wounds. His story has been documented.
Patrick Sawyer

climber
Originally California now Ireland
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 25, 2005 - 07:57am PT
Wow, is that Lee Marvin (smoking a pipe) on the right a couple of rows back from Kennedy?

Raj, you should calm down, you’re getting a bit emotional.

“Unless one of your relatives died in the Holocaust, you should shut the f-ck up!”

May I suggest that before you tell somebody to shut the f-ck up, that perhaps you ask them first if they had relatives who suffered in the Holocaust.

And anyway, Lovegasoline is correct, you don’t have to have personal ties with a tragic event in order to comment on it.

“However, the title is wrong because Wernher von Braun was never in the military for any country…. Also, von Braun was never in the military. He was a private contractor with the Nazi rocket program.”

So first you are saying that he wasn’t in the SS, but then in a later statement (below) you acknowledge that he was. And you are telling me to get my facts right? LOL.

“He worked with Jewish engineers in America, and they felt no discomfort working next to his side. They also knew he was part of the SS.

Raj, why did you delete your first post on this thread? The one that said ‘no sh-it Sherlock. That is not new news’ or something to that effect.

I have to say that given your behavior on this thread, I have to wonder how you got into MIT.

Lovegasoline, very interesting (and sad) tale about your father.
mellpat

Big Wall climber
Sweden
Nov 25, 2005 - 08:12am PT
Why this fascination with the SS in Germany 60-70 years ago? I suppose being an elected member to that honorary guard to Hitler was more like being elected for membership to Rotary in our days.

European history is really complicated and stereotypes are not much help. At a recent visit to Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, I noticed that the street stands offered a large variety of Hitler statuettes (did not buy any). I think you would serve time ("Incitement to racial hatred") if you were trying to sell those in Germany or Sweden. But Stalin was definitely a more vicious ruler for ethnic Ukrainians than Hitler, so it figures. I guess.
JuanDeFuca

Big Wall climber
Northern Mexico
Nov 25, 2005 - 08:16am PT
http://www.clavius.org/techlmstab.html
TradIsGood

Trad climber
Gunks end of country
Nov 25, 2005 - 08:42am PT
mellpat

Big Wall climber
Sweden
Nov 25, 2005 - 08:57am PT
Yeahh, that stupid fish would know how to avoid a trolling bait. But we like images of trolls in Scandinavia. Ever heard of the Troll Wall? http://www.bigwalls.net/climb/Troll.html

"In Scandinavian troll folklore the forest creatures are morally ambiguous, and don't constantly represent evil"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Troll


Incidentally, Wernher von Braun's, his colleagues and leadership fascination with huge rockets like V-2 was a good thing for the Allies. Had those large resources been diverted to small rockets (guided surface-to-air missiles, antitank missiles) or anything else of real military value, Nazi Germany would have lasted a few months longer, with "interesting" implications ...
TradIsGood

Trad climber
Gunks end of country
Nov 26, 2005 - 12:13am PT
Lois - Are you talking to me? LOL.

I do not know where I got it. But you can find out.

(This is a secret that only a few people on ST have figured out, so please erase this post after reading it. I know you might not believe this, but many have posted various "where is this" quizzes, with the info contained clearly in the picture name. Especially do not tell them or they will misdirect us in the future.)

Right click on the image and click properties. The URL will be listed in the properties page.

TIG. (or Trad for short)
TradIsGood

Trad climber
Gunks end of country
Nov 26, 2005 - 12:16am PT
LEB, btw. When you do that {url=...} thing, you have to put a quote at the beginning and the end of the url. {img} is different. There you just put the URL between the beginning tag and the ending tag {/img}. See the Help for examples.
TradIsGood

Trad climber
Gunks end of country
Nov 26, 2005 - 12:40am PT
Click "Help", (It is below the window when you are posting). The url and img syntaxes are different. The {url="..."} identifies where the thing is. The stuff between the end of the beginning tag and the beginning of the end tag, is what gets underlined. For your first exercise, fix the your post above. Refer to the help page if necessary.

As far as why the images exist elsewhere ... space could be one reason, but I think it is just because they did not spend the bucks to add an image upload option to the site. The downside to this is many image links fail to work for things like bandwidth or permission restrictions. The upside is that many of the images are already stored on someones existing photo site.
Ouch!

climber
Nov 26, 2005 - 01:31am PT
JuanDeFuca

Big Wall climber
Northern Mexico
Nov 26, 2005 - 01:50am PT
I have read many books on WVB. When he started working on rockets for the military he had no idea slave labor would be used to build them. He knew the rockets were to be weapons.

WVB worked on the R and D. He was not responsible for manufacturing. WVB was always thinking of the moon.
He was one of the greatest mangers of all time.

V2's killed a few thousand. My dad heard the first one land a few miles from his home.

Was Oppie a war criminal.

Juan
TradIsGood

Trad climber
Gunks end of country
Nov 26, 2005 - 08:08am PT
Oh I think I understand what you are saying, now. I can't do what you suggested however (it would be a good exercise) because I downloaded the image to my hard disk a long time ago and don't remember the url.

If it were "only on your hard drive", the image would not show up here. And Raj showed an example for the setting up link to url in this thread. BTW. When you click on help, notice also that you can click on "View Original Message in a Separate Window".

I am writing a multiple choice exam on physical assessment concepts right now and dying of boredom in the process.

Just make all the answers c). Use stuff from ST for a,b,d. You will be amazed at how many wrong answers you will get. And it will save you time grading so you can get back to things you like. ;)
TradIsGood

Trad climber
Gunks end of country
Nov 26, 2005 - 08:14am PT
Credibility Gap - Wernher is not third from the left in that photo! Who is third from the left? Wernher is in the picture.
mellpat

Big Wall climber
Sweden
Nov 26, 2005 - 09:17am PT
Dr. Kurt Debus is third from the left. Robert McNamara or Wernher von Braun (with glasses) to the right?

http://grin.hq.nasa.gov/IMAGES/SMALL/GPN-2000-000616.jpg

Photo of Debus and von Braun in the link above.

I was in Chamonix, France in July 1969 with three climbing friends. We took a day off from the climbing and listened to the moon landing on the car radio.
TradIsGood

Trad climber
Gunks end of country
Nov 26, 2005 - 09:43am PT
McNamara is second from right. Out of focus to his right, may be Dean Rusk - not sure on that.
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Nov 26, 2005 - 02:16pm PT
Mellpat from Sweden asks: "Why this fascination with the SS in Germany 60-70 years ago?"

I think it's because US world hegemony evolved out of a synthesis of Nazi high-tech (ballistic missiles, stealth bombers, turbo-jets, nerve gas, etc.) and Jewish physics (i.e. Oppie, Los Alamos, and the Bomb)and even today we're still trying to wrestle with the moral and ethical paradoxes implicit in that fusion.

Werner's bargain with the devil is really our bargain, too. What price world empire?
Hootervillian

climber
the Ponderosa, NV
Nov 26, 2005 - 02:20pm PT
I think it's because US world hegemony evolved out of a synthesis of Nazi high-tech (ballistic missiles, stealth bombers, turbo-jets, nerve gas, etc.) and Jewish physics (i.e. Oppie, Los Alamos, and the Bomb)and even today we're still trying to wrestle with the moral and ethical paradoxes implicit in that fusion.

it's a good thing for US we won.
Gary

climber
Desolation Basin, Calif.
Nov 26, 2005 - 02:23pm PT
Gather round while I sing you of Wernher von Braun
A man whose allegiance is ruled by expedience
Call him a Nazi, he won't even frown
"Ha, Nazi schmazi," says Wernher von Braun

Don't say that he's hypocritical
Say rather that he's apolitical
"Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down
That's not my department," says Wernher von Braun

Some have harsh words for this man of renown
But some think our attitude should be one of gratitude
Like the widows and cripples in old London town
Who owe their large pensions to Wernher von Braun

You too may be a big hero
Once you've learned to count backwards to zero
"In German oder English I know how to count down
Und I'm learning Chinese," says Wernher von Braun
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