Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Friendly Fires Of Hell: Remembering The Cap Arcona

This Anniversary was 10 days ago, but I only just learned of these events. 
IMHO, the many thousands who suffered so much and who perished so horribly when they were so close to being rescued deserve to be remembered.

"On May 3, 1945 - in the worst friendly-fire incident in history - Britain's Royal Air Force killed more than 7,000 survivors of Nazi concentration camps who were crowded onto ships in L beck harbor, Germany. The ragged masses that had survived the Holocaust stood no chance against the guns of their liberators. This tragic mistake occurred one day before the British accepted the surrender of all German forces in the region. Reports of the incident were quickly hushed up - as a jubilant world prepared to celebrate the Allied victory in Europe. Despite the bitter irony of dying in hellish fires on sinking ships just hours before liberation, the tragedy was quickly forgotten or resolutely ignored. The anniversary of this dark day will soon pass by again - largely unnoticed or unmentioned." (*That is why I'm mentioning it.- L.)

Official British records are sealed until 2045(!).  By the time they are opened, all children and most grandchildren of the victims will be long gone.

Few people knew about the tragedy of these events at the time.  No big surprise there: Public acknowledgement would've thrown a bucket of water on the all the Allied Victory celebrations.

Problem is:  Few know about it, now.

Me?  I just stumbled across it by chance.

"The continued avoidance of criticizing friends does not justify shunning all mention of the innocent victims of the attack. Whether embarrassing or not, the 7,500 Cap Arcona victims deserve to be remembered."

Notable survivors (Source: "Tragedy Of The Cap Arcona"):
Heinrich Bertram, captain of the Cap Arcona.
Emil František Burian, a musician and theatrical director, founder of Theater D, a leading avant-garde theater in interwar Europe.
Erwin Geschonneck, who later became a notable German actor, and whose story was made into a film in 1982.
Ernst Goldenbaum, an East German politician.
Philip Jackson, son of an American surgeon dead during the attacks.
Heinz Lord, a German-American surgeon.
Sam Pivnik, an art dealer and lecturer on the Holocaust.
Gustaaf Van Essche, 1923-1979, a Belgian politician.
Francis Akos, 1922- , born Weinman Akos Ferencz in Budapest, Hungary, Chicago Symphony Orchestra violinist.
Benjamin Jacobs, 1919-2004, born Berek Jakubowicz in Dobra, Poland, dentist, holocaust speaker and author.

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