Author Topic: German occupation  (Read 401872 times)

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Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: German occupation
« Reply #120 on: September 02, 2006, 03:51:59 PM »
Soldiers and their dogs in front of post WWII ruins in Pushkin, 1944:



Many of national treasures that could be moved, like the Pushkin statue and the Milkmaid were hidden away or evacuated just before the Germans invaded Pushkin. At their retreat, everything that was saved was brought back to its place.

Women setting back the Alexander Pushkin memorial and the Milkmaid statue in May 1944:





Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: German occupation
« Reply #121 on: September 02, 2006, 04:01:21 PM »
Periodically, the Tsarskoe Selo Museum has exhibits dedicated to WWII and the German occupation. Here is a flyer announcement for one of such exhibits:

                           

                  The State Museum-Reserve
                          "Tsarskoe Selo"

                          Victory Hymn

                     The exhibit is dedicated to
                the 60-year anniversary of the victory
                      in the Great Patriotic War
                              1941-1945


Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: German occupation
« Reply #122 on: September 02, 2006, 04:02:36 PM »
More photos of post-WWII restorations at the Catherine Palace:

                       
« Last Edit: September 02, 2006, 04:04:24 PM by Helen_A »

Offline vladm

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Re: German occupation
« Reply #123 on: March 13, 2007, 06:31:10 PM »
Here some footage I found in youtube, División Azul in Pushkin, palace view starts from 3 m 30 sec:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdMqICTiyN8
« Last Edit: March 14, 2007, 12:59:38 AM by vladm »
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Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: German occupation
« Reply #124 on: March 13, 2007, 06:59:09 PM »
Very interesting Vladm. Thank you for sharing.  Fascinating watching a Spanish Catholic priest conducting mass, I presume, between the swastiza flags in occupied Russia...What a juxtoposition !
Life may not be the party we expected, but while we are here, might as well dance..

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Offline Kurt Steiner

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Re: German occupation
« Reply #125 on: March 14, 2007, 04:35:09 AM »
250 Infantry-Division
Division of Spanish volunteers


The Armshield of the 250. Einheit spanischer Freiwilliger Division (aka División Azul (Blaue Division)) wasn't this one -this one belonged to the Falange-, but this



Offline Kurt Steiner

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Re: German occupation
« Reply #126 on: March 14, 2007, 04:46:18 AM »
Spanish Fascist soldiers in Russia:

I do not intend to began a silly argument about the nature of the sex of the angels, but calling the Spanish soldiers of the Blau "fascist" is quite silly, as there were many soldiers that were recruited -many of them Republican veterans who deserted ASAP- against their will, despite of the fact that the unit was called "volunteer".

Saying "Spanish Fascist soldiers" is as silly as labelling all the German soldiers in WW2 as Nazi and all the Russian -or Soviet- soldiers as Communist. Labels are useful, indeed, but dangerous.

About War Criminals, if destroying a city as Leningrad was -or London or Coventry or Rotterdam or Gernika- is a war crime, I wonder what to do about Hamburg, Dresden, Hiroshima or Nagasaki.

Again, as I told earlier on, labels are dangerous. I have no pity for Fascists, Nazis or Communists, but I hate simplifications with the same anger that I hate Fascism.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2007, 04:53:02 AM by Kurt Steiner »

Offline Kurt Steiner

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Re: German occupation
« Reply #127 on: March 14, 2007, 05:00:58 AM »
Very interesting Vladm. Thank you for sharing.  Fascinating watching a Spanish Catholic priest conducting mass, I presume, between the swastiza flags in occupied Russia...What a juxtoposition !

Don't forget that Franco told them they were fighting to "preserve the Western Civilization and the Christian values fighthing the atheist Communist masses". Side by side with Hitler, of course, who wasn't a friend of the Catholic church -or Lutheran- by the way.

And the Allies forgot Franco after the war. Dunno what to do: crying or laughing...

Offline Kurt Steiner

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Re: German occupation
« Reply #128 on: March 14, 2007, 05:12:32 AM »
Spanish Fascist soldiers in Russia:

I do not intend to began a silly argument about the nature of the sex of the angels, but calling the Spanish soldiers of the Blau "fascist" is quite silly, as there were many soldiers that were recruited -many of them Republican veterans who deserted ASAP- against their will, despite of the fact that the unit was called "volunteer".

All the soldiers who fought in the White Armies during the Russian Civil war did so for the Czar?

Saying "Spanish Fascist soldiers" is as silly as labelling all the German soldiers in WW2 as Nazi and all the Russian -or Soviet- soldiers as Communist. Labels are useful, indeed, but dangerous.

About War Criminals, if destroying a city as Leningrad was -or London or Coventry or Rotterdam or Gernika- is a war crime, I wonder what to do about Hamburg, Dresden, Hiroshima or Nagasaki.

Again, as I told earlier on, labels are dangerous. I have no pity for Fascists, Nazis or Communists, but I hate simplifications with the same anger that I hate Fascism.

Offline vladm

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Re: German occupation
« Reply #129 on: March 14, 2007, 05:22:35 AM »
Kurt,
About insignia, I think you a bit wrong:


Here some remaining alive solders:


I completely disagree about volunteering part, but this is my personal opinion. It was many different type of solders during the WWII, I've read some articles about Spaniards in Russia, they were not so bad compare with some Germans, even 250 Division was sent back in 1943, because officers felt it was not the war, that division should participate in.

Yes, I agree, we should not label a lot of thinks, but we should not forget our past! I am amazed, about amount of memorabilia for División Azul. I am not saying we should not remember them, but I would not want to have bunch of admires, as we have today.
Freedom of speech, is incredible thing, but lets take a look, Spain, Lithuania, Estonia, Germany today allowing openly fascists movements march on the streets. Should we ignore it? Or not put label on it? What about memory of the people who died from the each side, and that is nothing to do, what side it was! German or Russian or US or British. 

About my opinion on German cities, please review this thread, I posted some thoughts.
I will repeat some: Russians restored completely Dresden palace (Germans participated less than 5% in restoration).
TS more than 20% structures today remain in the ruins. I doubt, you would be able to find national treasures, in this condition, in Germany today.
 
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Offline Kurt Steiner

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Re: German occupation
« Reply #130 on: March 15, 2007, 05:53:29 AM »
No, Vlad, I'm not wrong on this.

In the first foto you can see a recruit poster, that show the "yugo y las flechas" (yoke and the arrows) of the Falange. If you look at the second image, with the veterans, you can see the shield that I put. Let me explain why you find the first shield with the yoke and the arrows.

After the end of the Spanish Civil War -SCW for short-, once Franco reachs power -and even before, one he becomes Generalísimo in 1937- he has all the different ideologies that composed his side -Falangism, Carlism, Monarchism, etc- into one single party, so to speak, the so-called "Movimiento Nacional".

This "Movimiento" adopted the Fascist symbols -soon rejected once the Axis began to loose the war...- and the Falange became the "oficial" party of the Movimiento. That's a quite simplistic summary, the real thing is more complicated and subtile than all this, but I want to make it short.

Thus, Falange was behind the initial recruitment of the Blue Division, and you can find many earlier Falangist volunteers in the Blaue Divisionen. Thus, it's not strange to find the arrows and the yoke -if you wish, I can put some examples- in the pics of the Blue.

I completely disagree about volunteering part, but this is my personal opinion. It was many different type of solders during the WWII, I've read some articles about Spaniards in Russia, they were not so bad compare with some Germans, even 250 Division was sent back in 1943, because officers felt it was not the war, that division should participate in.

It's absolutely natural that we can disagree over some points -if we were ever in a complete agreement life would be quite boring, don't you think? ;D-. It's hard to tell how many volunteers were in the 250. but, all in all, I don't think that we are absolutely wrong if we say that, from the 50.000 volunteers who served in the Blaue, many of them were willingly there -for their shame, for us; for their glory, for them-. The division was sent back once the Allies began to win the war, because Franco didn't want to be associated with the Axis. The fact is that some soldiers and officer swanted to remain there, the Legión Azul -Blue Legion-, around 3.000 soldiers, till they were sent home in March 1944. Even then, some of those people, around 300 or so- volunteered and joined the Waffen SS and fought till the end.

So, in one side, you have the Blue Division, and in the other side the ones who fought with the Allies with the Maquisard, with the Free French Troops -13eme Demi Brigade de la Legion Etrengere, the Regiment de Marche du Tchad (RMT) with General Leclerc, the Armoured Infantry Regiment of the 2eme. Division Blindee ("Leclerc's Division") the 9th company in the RMT (9čme compagnie de combat du RMT) - "La Nueve". The First and Second Platoon were formed from moderate Socialists and Republicans, whereas Third Platoon comprised Anarchists. There were few Communists- the Guernica Battalion (Gernika Batalloa), the Spanish Nationalist Union and the 4th Special Service Company, made by Spanish communist partisans who harassed the German rear near Moscow. 

Crazy at it is...

Offline Kurt Steiner

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Re: German occupation
« Reply #131 on: March 15, 2007, 06:04:29 AM »
Yes, I agree, we should not label a lot of thinks, but we should not forget our past!

NEVER! Those who forget their past repeat their mistakes. I absolutely agree.

I am amazed, about amount of memorabilia for División Azul. I am not saying we should not remember them, but I would not want to have bunch of admires, as we have today.
Freedom of speech, is incredible thing, but lets take a look, Spain, Lithuania, Estonia, Germany today allowing openly fascists movements march on the streets. Should we ignore it? Or not put label on it? What about memory of the people who died from the each side, and that is nothing to do, what side it was! German or Russian or US or British. 

I agree again with you. I can understand those who had members of their family fighthing in the Blaue. They cannot admit that they fought in the wrong side. But those kids who admire them, or those nazis in Europe... I'm simply unable to understand. Just look at those who rise statues for the sake of those Baltic volunteers who fought for Hitler in the Waffen SS. They justify themselves saying they were fighthing for the independence of the Baltic states. Independence? With Hitler? Don't be so blantaly fool, please!!!

They make me sick.

We should not forget, indeed, but simplifying things too much is not good either. We should know our past, and understand it.

Finally, let me say something, in order for you all to understand why I'm so stubborn with this issue.

My grandpa was German. He fought in the Wehrmacht and was an anti-nazi. Due to his ideas he was court-martialled several times -one of them he was sentenced to death- and sent finally to a penal unit, where he served till the end of WW2. I cannot explain why he wasn't executed, when all so many other soldiers who did the same thing were. Perhaps he was lucky.

He didn't fought for Hitler, he fought because he couldn't leave his comrades alone, he told me, and I trust his word today the same way I did that way. That would be, for him and for me, to betray them. He was not a Nazi, I can swear it. He was just a German soldier. If someone dares to tell me at my face that my great grandpa was a Nazi, that person would be in serious troubles. To my shame I must also add that a member of the German branch of my family joined the Nazi Party. That it's a shame that we'll never manage to erase, even if he joined the Party because it was compulsory then. But it's a shame in the end, because he joined. This shame cannot be erased, that weakness may be understood -with a lot of effort-, but it's hard to forgot, it's impossible to swallow it. You can only assume it and go on.

So, even if I'm sure that my great grandpa didn't do any atrocity to the Russian people while he was fighthing there -he fought in France and in Russia, mainly- I would like to apologize in his name and in mine for all the disasters that Russia and all the world -Germany included- had to endure because of those pack of Nazis. I do not feel obliged to do that, I do it because I feel that is what I must do.

Germany had Hitler, Himmler and Heydrich and all the pack. But they also had Stauffenberg, Bonhoeffer and Goerdeler. It's not a question of white and black.

Again, forgive my stubborness, but I'm the great grandson of my great grandpa.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2007, 06:12:42 AM by Kurt Steiner »

Offline vladm

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Re: German occupation
« Reply #132 on: March 15, 2007, 03:59:33 PM »
Kurt,
Excellent report on insignias! Thank you so much for clarification.

About our differences, I don't think we much different, I understand your father, and his motives. Also, I understand it was a lot of folks, who disagree with Nazis regime, but fought on German side. I have a lot of sympathies for solders, who had to participate on this mess. I don't think you should apologize on behalf of anyone, neither your father, or your relatives, responsible for that mess.
Like I described before, I have few friends in West Germany, and I do understand what there relatives had to survive.
Russia, was not an exception, we had different type of extreme - communism. My father, grand father, grand mother was a communists (Grand Mother, she was squadron commander MI in Budenny Army), and I am not sorry about it. My relatives used system for there benefits, and salute to that!
If your relatives, join Nazi party back in WWII, that probably saved your father from execution, and I see nothing wrong with that, except, if they participate in creating policies and execution.
You can't avoid our past.
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Offline Kurt Steiner

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Re: German occupation
« Reply #133 on: March 16, 2007, 04:29:35 AM »
Excellent report on insignias! Thank you so much for clarification.

Glad to help. I hope I can be useful again in the future :D

Russia, was not an exception, we had different type of extreme - communism.

My thoughts exactly.

If your relatives, join Nazi party back in WWII, that probably saved your father from execution, and I see nothing wrong with that, except, if they participate in creating policies and execution.

As far as I know about that relative, he didn't had any chance to do any evil thing, as he was killed at the front and he was just a lower rank.

Russia, was not an exception, we had different type of extreme - communism. My father, grand father, grand mother was a communists (Grand Mother, she was squadron commander MI in Budenny Army), and I am not sorry about it. My relatives used system for there benefits, and salute to that!

I cannot avoid having some kind of shame about that part of my family past. I supposed he tried to use the system -as many people on his day, he wasn't an Alterkampfer (an old Nazi)-, but for me it's hard to swallow, I can't help. We in Spain had Franco, as well, and my family got divided in both fields -the Republican and the Nationalist-, and I know a bit what is needed to survive in such dire times.

But let's stop talking about those sad things, because I'm afraid I've taken this thread a bit away from its original topic.

Offline vladm

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Re: German occupation
« Reply #134 on: March 18, 2007, 03:33:09 AM »
Kurt,
I don't think, we taken thread from original topic, because, we need to know, motives for German and Spanish solders to be on Russian soil.

Now, been in Spain, do you have any ability to get some information about Blue Division? For example records, maybe even to get some interview first hand, because so far, what we have, its only speculation, and as we see on the picture, not much left alive.
You can't avoid our past.
Virtual Pushkin / Tsarskoye Selo