‘…Friedrich Karl Berger (a Tennessee resident with German citizenship) was ordered removed to Germany from the US based on his participation in Nazi-sponsored persecution while serving in Nazi Germany in 1945 as an armed guard of prisoners…’
IT is only a reminder to me,” he added, “that such things are all in the past; that we are entering a new world where savage brutality shall no longer rule…” — Paul Straki [Charles Willard Diffin, “Holocaust,” Astounding Stories, June 1931]
Pope Francis met with Hungarian author Edith Bruck after he read her interview last January in L’Osservatore Romano where she bore witness to what she saw and experienced at Auschwitz, Dachau and Bergen-Belsen. The Bishop of Rome told the survivor: “I have come here to thank you for your testimony and to pay homage to the people martyred by the insanity of Nazi populism…I ask forgiveness, O Lord, in the name of humanity.” In a statement, the Holy See noted that, “the conversation with the Pope revisited those moments of light with which the experience of the hell of the camps was punctuated and evoked the fears and hopes for the time in which we live, emphasizing the value of memory and the role of the elderly in cultivating it and passing it on to the young.” [https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2021-02/pope-francis-meets-with-auschwitz-survivor.html]
In a related development this month, Friedrich Karl Berger (a Tennessee resident with German citizenship) was ordered removed to Germany from the US based on his participation in Nazi-sponsored persecution while serving in Nazi Germany in 1945 as an armed guard of prisoners (Jews, Poles, Russians, Danes, Dutch, Latvians, French, Italians, political opponents of the Nazis) in the Neuengamme Concentration Camp system.
“Berger’s removal demonstrates the Department of Justice’s and its law enforcement partners’ commitment to ensuring that the United States is not a safe haven for those who have participated in Nazi crimes against humanity and other human rights abuses,” said Acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson. “The Department marshaled evidence that our Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section found in archives here and in Europe, including records of the historic trial at Nuremberg of the most notorious former leaders of the defeated Nazi regime. In this year in which we mark the 75th anniversary of the Nuremberg convictions, this case shows that the passage even of many decades will not deter the Department from pursuing justice on behalf of the victims of Nazi crimes.” [https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/wwii-nazi-concentration-camp-guard-removed-germany]
He is the 70th Nazi persecutor removed from the United States as a result of the investigation initiated by the HRSP and conducted in partnership with the Nashville HSI office. Since the 1979 inception of the Justice Department’s program to detect, investigate, and remove Nazi persecutors, it has won cases against 109 individuals. Over the past 30 years, the Justice Department has won more cases against persons who participated in Nazi persecution than have the law enforcement authorities of all the other countries in the world combined. The HRSP attorneys have successfully prosecuted criminal cases against perpetrators of human rights violations committed in Guatemala, Ethiopia, Liberia, Cuba, and the former Yugoslavia, among others. Also, the Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center furthers the government’s efforts to identify, locate and prosecute human rights abusers in the United States, including those who are known or suspected to have participated in persecution, war crimes, genocide, torture, extrajudicial killings, female genital mutilation and the use or recruitment of child soldiers. [https://www.justice.gov/criminal-hrsp]
Undoubtedly, the Anti-Fascist War was a huge struggle for human rights. And the combat included the non-Jewish and civilian resistance to the campaign of German as well as Dutch Nazis to eliminate Jews in the Netherlands. “Opposition took shape around the radical Left.
The Communist Party of the Netherlands, banned by the German authorities, gave voice and organization to these stirrings…Two CPN militants, Piet Nak and Willem Kraan, called for a general strike. Leaflets were distributed, emblazoned with the words: ‘Strike! Strike! Strike! Shut down all of Amsterdam for a day!’ The Marx-Lenin-Luxemburg Front, founded by Henk Sneevliet, a former ally of Leon Trotsky, also pledged support.” [https://www.nationalww2museum.org/war/articles/amsterdam-general-strike-february-1941]
The mass action of 80 years prior reverberates. “To this day, the February Strike, Februaristaking in Dutch, is celebrated in the Netherlands. It was the first and largest mass protest against the Nazis during World War II. That it was conducted by non-Jews to resist the brutal persecution of (Dutch) Jews makes it all the more impressive. Today, when people ask how to resist oppression, remember the February Strike.” [https://historynewsnetwork.org/article/168353]
Had the militants been able to sustain the momentum, then perhaps it would have saved Anne Frank. Be that as it may, the Philippines has its own human rights holiday: “The world-famed bloodless coup of February 22-25, 1986 ushered in a new political regime.
President Corazon Aquino, backed by a coalition of forces from both ends of the political spectrum, forged a new government, triggering a chain of events that dramatically changed the political landscape of the country and signalled the rebirth of democracy. These political changes were: the abolition of the Batasang Pambansa following the proclamation of a new revolutionary government; the organization of a Constitutional Commission that drafted a new charter which, in turn, was ratified in February 1987; the rebirth of the old bicameral system; and the election of Members to the new Congress.” [https://www.congress.gov.ph/about/?about=history]
People Power from the Philippines manifests itself in Southeast Asia as the homeland of Jose Rizal is an integral part of the single ASEAN Community whose Constitution contains an entire article for the principle: 14 is ASEAN Human Rights Body. Relevant? Ask the Burmese. “On 9 February 2021, there were several reports from Nay Pyi Taw, Mandalay and other cities in Myanmar of demonstrators having been injured by security forces in connection with the peaceful disobedience movement sweeping across the country. It was later confirmed that Ma Mya Thwate Thwate Khaing a 19-year old woman, who was shot in the head by security forces, was the first reported victim of this violence. Doctors have confirmed since that the young woman is currently in critical condition and being kept on life support. Ma Mya Thwate Thwate Khaing should have been celebrating her 20th birthday today.” [https://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2021/2/un-women-calls-upon-all-stakeholders-to-listen-to-the-voices-of-myanmar-women]
Thais? May the odds be ever in your favor. Malaysians? “So, these are worrying times. And the actions against Pak Chong and Gerakbudaya smack of unnecessary harassment, which has no place in a democracy. Sadly, this is reflective of an insecure, bullying regime that simply wants to crack down on alternative viewpoints, critiques and dissent and not debate them.” [https://aliran.com/newsletters/support-those-bravely-fighting-for-our-freedoms/]
The best of the human race can be multiplied indefinitely.