The graffiti image of Anne Frank wearing a kuffiyeh by the Netherlands artist known as “T’ has long drawn indignation and controversy, though its original intention was related to the fashionable wearing of a kuffiyeh. Recently, BDS Amsterdam’s use of the image has rekindled the controversy. Haaretz’s Bradley Bursten complained, “No, those who are affected most directly by the Anne Frank image–and most deeply hurt– are Holocaust survivors and their descendants.”
Personally, I think it is these same persons who, through the empathy brought by suffering, should understand the moral symbiosis of the image and its tragic significance today.
Anne Frank is of course the Jewish teenager who spent two years with her family hidden in a building in Amsterdam, and then was betrayed and deported to Auschwitz, the notorious Nazi concentration camp, where she died. She has since become a beloved icon in the dreams of children, past and present, who have been annihilated by violence.
The Anne Frank Foundation states that “Through her diary, Anne Frank has become a worldwide symbol representing all victims of racism, anti-Semitism and fascism. The foremost message contained in her diary sets out to combat all forms of racism and anti-Semitism.”
Today, virulent racism and antisemitism is victimizing another Semitic people, the Palestinians.
In her diary, Anne fearfully wrote: “All Jews must be out of the German-occupied territories before 1 July. The province of Utrecht will be cleansed of Jews [as if they were cockroaches] between 1 April and 1 May.”
Palestinians are also vilified with the racial slur “cockroach.” In 1983, Israeli Rafael Eitan, who served as Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defense Force (IDF), and later as Knesset member and government minister, announced: “When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be to scurry around like drugged roaches in a bottle.” And Israeli peace activist, Professor Nurid Peled-Elhanan, who has made a thorough analysis of Zionist education resources, tells us: “When images of Arabs do figure, they are often negatively depicted as less human or subhuman, subservient, deviant, criminal and evil…. [Palestinians] are seen as cockroaches, vermins, creatures who should be stamped out.”
The Suffering of Palestinian Children Is Not Unlike Anne Frank’s
In the context here of youthful suffering, let us consider the similarities between the Nazi victimising, traumatising and slaughtering of Anne Frank to the victimising, traumatising, mutilating and slaughtering of the teenagers and children of Gaza. The children of Gaza have also been trapped, or, as Anne may have put it, “chained in one spot, without any rights” for seven years in the largest concentration camp in the world.
Palestinians in the Gaza Strip number 1,763,387, of whom 43% are under 14 years of age and the median age is 18.1. The population has been in a state of humanitarian crisis since the 2006 illegal Israeli blockade took control of all of Gaza’s borders in collaboration with Egypt.
Following the horrific Israeli 2009/10 war on Gaza‘s defenseless population, Iman Aoun, director of the Ramallah Astar Theatre, produced “The Gaza-Mono-Logues,” based on moving stories of thirty-one teenagers impounded in the Gaza ghetto. As one character, Fateema, 14, laconically observes, “Gaza’s fish ran away…but the people were not able to.”
In her diary, Anne Frank asks:
“Who has inflicted this upon us? Who had made us Jews different from all other people? Who has allowed us to suffer so terribly up till now?”
But, just as the world was silent during Anne’s holocaust and bewilderment, so too, was it silent during the massive bombardment on defenseless Gazan families (ironically, because they are not Jewish). Few took notice of Israel’s arsenal of Depleted Uranium, Dense Inert Metal Explosives, White Phosphorous, Anti-Personnel/Anti-Materiel Tank Rounds, Fuel Air Explosives, Anti-Door Short-Range Anti-Armor Weapons, Spike Multi-Purpose Anti-Armor Missiles, GBU-28s, Bunker Buster Bombs, GBU-39s, GPS Guided Munitions, M433 40mm-High Explosives, Dual-Purpose (HEDP) Cartridges, M889A1 81 mm High Explosive Cartridges, M107 155 mm High Explosive Artillery Rounds, M141 83 mm Bunker Defeating Munitions, M930 120 mm Illuminating Cartridges fired by F16s, Helicopters, UAVs (or Drones), Armored Tanks, Caterpillar Armored D9 Bulldozers, Naval War Ships, and IOF Forces, including Max Brenner’s Proud Golani and Givati Brigades, plus the invasion of M889A1 and M107 Tanks specifically designed to spray some 2,000 pieces of shrapnel and to breach walls….
Instead, the world silently allowed the slaughter of 1400 Gazans, including 320 children and their dreams….
Sujoud, 15, declares, “They took our land and threw us out of our homes…. And because we are defending ourselves, all this happens to us. There’s no water…no electricity…no phones…no petrol…. What are we to the world, aren’t we human?”
Silence reigned again during the Israeli Operation Pillar of Cloud in November of last year, which killed 105 Gazans as well as the dreams of 30 children.
Anne Frank, trapped in the Secret Annexe in the Netherlands, was terrorized by the noise of war. She wrote:
“I still haven’t got over my fear of planes and shooting, and I crawl into Father’s bed nearly every night for comfort. I know it sounds childish, but wait till it happens to you! The ack-ack guns make so much noise you can’t hear your own voice.
Reem, 14, shared this terror in Gaza. “Yesterday I was sitting in school and heard the sounds of planes. I got really scared, I wanted to run away from school. I felt I was going to die because I remembered the war. The scenes of war won’t leave my mind.”
Unconscionably, this anguish of Gaza’s children is purposely exacerbated by Israel, which regularly and mercilessly bludgeons Gazans with a series of sonic booms, mainly at night. Sounding like massive explosions, the booms can cause miscarriages and heart attacks, as well as trauma, loss of hearing, breathing difficulties, and bed-wetting in children.
Anne Frank, for her part, described second-hand the devastation from the bombardments on her city, and more intimately the effect they had on herself:
“North Amsterdam was very heavily bombed on Sunday. There was apparently a great deal of destruction. Entire streets are in ruins, and it will take a while for them to dig out all the bodies. So far there have been two hundred dead and countless wounded; the hospitals are bursting at the seams. We’ve been told of children searching forlornly in the smouldering ruins for their dead parents. It still makes me shiver to think of the dull, distant drone that signified the approaching destruction.”
Ahmad, 14, shares first-hand his traumatic experience in Gaza:
“In the Shifa hospital I saw a sight I will never forget. Hundreds of corpses, one on top of the other. Their flesh…their blood, and their bones all melting on each other. You wouldn’t know the woman from the man or even the child. Piles of flesh on the beds, and lots of people screaming and crying, not knowing where their kids are, their men or their women.
“That night, I came home from hospital and was awake until morning from fear. I thought it would only be that night that I couldn’t sleep, but till today I see them in front of me and I can’t sleep.”
Anne dreaded the Gestapo roundup of civilians:
“Mr Dussel has told us much about the outside world we’ve missed for so long. He had sad news. Countless friends and acquaintances have been taken off to a dreadful fate. Night after night, green and grey military vehicles cruise the streets.”
Today, the roundups dreaded by Anne Frank find new forms in the West Bank of Palestine. There, Israel systematically ramps up the state of anxiety and fear with night-time raids and violent home invasions. Arrests of children and adults occur mainly at night, when the whole family is suddenly awakened and their home invaded by armed soldiers shouting and ransacking the family’s possessions. This leads to the kidnapping of the family member, or members, targeted, leaving the family distraught and their lives devastated. Reuters reported that, according to UNICEF, “approximately 700 Palestinian children, between the ages of 12 and 17, are kidnapped, detained and interrogated by the Israeli army, the Police and security agents in the West Bank every year, and are subject to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in direct violation of the Convention on the Right of the Child, and the Convention against Torture.”
In both the West Bank and Gaza, the effect of unending oppression has become tragic for Palestinian children. The respected Gaza journalist Mohammed Omer points out in “For Gaza’s Children the Trauma Never Ends”:
“The Nazi persecution and World War II in Europe, which lasted from 1933 to 1945, affected an entire generation of children. By contrast, Israel’s dispossession and occupation of Palestine has lasted some six decades–and counting. Generations of Palestinian children have been affected physically, psychologically and materially.”
For Anne Frank, the experience of Nazi oppression had the effect of making her former life seem surrealistic. She wrote:
“When I think back to my life in 1942, it all seems so unreal. The Anne Frank who enjoyed that heavenly existence was completely different from the one who has grown wise within these walls.”
Khalil, 13, for whom the Israeli violence is ongoing, has had a similar experience. “Excuse me,” he says somewhat sarcastically, “but the war has wiped blank all my beautiful memories. The front half of my house was damaged, so that I am transferred to a life-situation that I never dreamed I would be experiencing.” [IMEMC 23-1-11]
Anne Frank recalls that, “After May, 1940, the good times were few and far between: first there was the war, then the capitulation and then the arrival of the Germans, which is when the trouble started for the Jews. Our freedom was severely restricted by a series of anti-Jewish decrees.”
Anne then lists the humiliations Jews were subject to under the Nazi’s apartheid regime. Interestingly, her experience can easily be reworded, as follows, to reflect the Palestinian experience:
“After May, 1940, the good times were few and far between: first there was the never-ending arrival of the Jews, then the capitulation of the British and then the Israeli war and Nakba, which is when the trouble started for the indigenous Palestinians.
“Freedom was severely restricted by a series of anti-Palestinian apartheid decrees that violate international law:
–Palestinians live under military law, while Israelis live under civil law.
–Identity cards only for Palestinians.
–Segregation between Jewish and Palestinian communities.
–Jews-only roads and transport.
–Movement restrictions for Palestinians.
–Unequal access to land and property.
–Forcible eviction and home demolitions for Palestinians.
–Palestinians forbidden the right of return, while Jews anywhere in the
world have the right to live in Israel.
–Deportation of Palestinian prisoners.
–Palestinians are forbidden from living with Israeli Arab spouses.
–Separate and unequal education systems.
–Forced resettlement of Bedouins.”
In addition, Adalah reports that “In the four short months since the current Knesset came to power, MKs have proposed as many as 29 new discriminatory bills that attack the rights of Palestinians in Israel and the OPT.”
All Children Have Dreams, and the Right to Make Them Real
Even though for Anne “t he approaching danger [was] being pulled tighter and tighter,” and she felt “like a songbird whose wings have been ripped off and who keeps hurling itself against the bars of its dark cage,” we Palestinian young people share with her that confounding universal metamorphosis of the human teenager into a young adult overflowing with the same heartfelt reflections, confessions, emotional struggles, lamentations, loves, fears, hates, and hopes.
The tragic poignancy of her life was that a globally ignored unfettered evil cut short her life, aspirations and spiritual generosity. This was her potential, which all young people have, along with the natural right to try to make it real:
“If God lets me live, I’ll achieve more than Mother ever did, I’ll make my voice heard, I’ll go out into the world and work for mankind! I now know that courage and happiness are needed first! Yours, Anne M. Frank.
Like Anne, Reem, 14, has the spiritual generosity and energy leaders and most people lack. “The thing that upsets me and makes me cry,” he says, are children’s tears–all children in the world regardless of their nationality, religion or color. When I grow up I want to be a pediatrician, and that’s the hope that gives me a big push in life.”
When viewed in the context of the sorrows, hopes and aspirations of Gazan children trapped in the dark cages of Zionist oppression, the image of Anne Frank wearing a kuffiyeh, the badge of Palestinian resistance, manifests an aura of grace and makes profound sense.
– Dr. Vacy Vlazna is Coordinator of Justice for Palestine Matters. She was Human Rights Advisor to the GAM team in the second round of the Acheh peace talks, Helsinki, February 2005 then withdrew on principle. Vacy was coordinator of the East Timor (more…)
From time to time we like to highlight events from the long often-dark history of Royal Dutch Shell.
From time to time we like to highlight events from the long often-dark history of Royal Dutch Shell.
We have previously published evidence that Shell conspired directly with Hitler, financed the Nazi Party, was anti-Semitic and sold out its own Dutch Jewish employees to the Nazis.
This article reveals how Shell collaborated in the Nazi annexation of Austria and Czechoslovakia in the run up years to World War 2.
Royal Dutch Shell and its long-term leader, Sir Henri Deterding, who became an ardent Nazi, had a close relationship with Adolf Hitler and his henchmen. Deterding was the subject of gushing praise by Hitler.
Rhenania-Ossag was the operating company for the Royal Dutch Shell Group in Nazi Germany. Shell was seeking an oil monopoly in the German market.
As one of the two biggest German oil companies and the main lube oil manufacturer, Rhenania-Ossag was an industry leader in Nazi Germany. Many of its workers and directors were Nazis.
The Nazi regime did not take control of Rhenania-Ossag until January 1940.
Following Hitler’s annexation of Austria on 12 March 1938 and the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia in March 1939, Royal Dutch Shell Group managing directors sanctioned Rhenania-Ossag taking over the Shell operating companies in those countries. This meant that a company dominated by the Nazis gained control over Shell companies in Austria and Czechoslovakia.
This clearly fell in with the Nazis plans, or otherwise it would not have been permitted.
This all took place before the outbreak of World War2 and while Royal Dutch Shell was still in control of all subsidiary companies, including Rhenania-Ossag.
Most of the above information comes directly from Volume 2 of “A History of Royal Dutch Shell” (page 78) and the remainder from Wikipedia.
We have already noted the Nazi government’s appointment of a Verwalterfor Rhenania-Ossag in January 1940; the Bataafsche Verwalter subsequently assumed formal control over the companies in countries under German occupation or in the German sphere of influence, such as Hungary.
Of the Group’s companies under Nazi control only Astra, Rhenania-Ossag, and Nafta Italiana continued operating at their former levels. As we have already seen, Astra was drawn into the German war effort. As one of the two biggest German oil companies and the main lube oil manufacturer, Rhenania-Ossag was an industry leader in the country. Following Hitler’s annexation of Austria and Czechoslovakia, Group managing directors sanctioned Rhenania-Ossag taking over the Shell companies in those countries.142 With the rupture of overseas supplies, Rhenania-Ossag turnover plummeted, but the company formed part of the official oil cartel and thus had a share in the processing and distribution of any oil coming in, which assured a steady, if meagre, flow of revenues. In December 1940 the Verwalter activated the hidden financial reserves built up during the 1930’s to raise the company’s capital from 75 million to 120 million Reichsmarks. A year later Rhenania-Ossag floated a bond loan of RM 60 million to payoff an old loan from Bataafsche and finance some new installations.143 Meanwhile, the relationship between parent company and subsidiary had to some extent been reversed by the appointment of Rhenania-Ossag’s research director as Verwalter over Bataafsche’s Amsterdam laboratory, to ensure that it would contribute to the German war effort.
Astra was the operating company of Royal Dutch Shell in Romania.
Nafta Italiana was the operating company of Royal Dutch Shell in Italy.
Austria was annexed into the German Third Reich on 12 March 1938.
Following the Anschluss of Nazi Germany and Austria, in March 1938, the conquest of Czechoslovakia became Hitler’s next ambition. The incorporation of the Sudetenland into Nazi Germany left the rest of Czechoslovakia weak and it became powerless to resist subsequent occupation. On 16 March 1939, the German Wehrmacht moved into the remainder of Czechoslovakia.
Staff meeting of the Shell oil factory in Hamburg Curio-Haus, 8 April 1935.
March of Rhenania-Ossag employees on 1 May 1938 (on the accompanying sign says: “Operating-cell Rhenania Ossag”)
One of the most horrific terms in history was used by Nazi Germany to designate human beings whose lives were unimportant, or those who should be killed outright: Lebensunwertes Leben, or “life unworthy of life”. The phrase was applied to the mentally impaired and later to the “racially inferior,” or “sexually deviant,” as well as to “enemies of the state” both internal and external. From very early in the war, part of Nazi policy was to murder civilians en masse, especially targeting Jews. Later in the war, this policy grew into Hitler’s “final solution”, the complete extermination of the Jews. It began with Einsatzgruppen death squads in the East, which killed some 1,000,000 people in numerous massacres, and continued in concentration camps where prisoners were actively denied proper food and health care. It culminated in the construction of extermination camps — government facilities whose entire purpose was the systematic murder and disposal of massive numbers of people. In 1945, as advancing Allied troops began discovering these camps, they found the results of these policies: hundreds of thousands of starving and sick prisoners locked in with thousands of dead bodies. They encountered evidence of gas chambers and high-volume crematoriums, as well as thousands of mass graves, documentation of awful medical experimentation, and much more. The Nazis killed more than 10 million people in this manner, including 6 million Jews. (This entry is Part 18 of a weekly 20-part retrospective of World War II)[45 photos]
Warning: All images in this entry are shown in full, not screened out for graphic content. There are many dead bodies. The photographs are graphic and stark. This is the reality of genocide, and of an important part of World War II and human history.
An international exhibition that’s become an international incident
An exhibition of art in the Louvre has provoked fury in Germany for portraying the country as a dark and dangerous neighbour – has it ignored key movements deliberately, or is it all a matter of taste?
Above, a detail from Max Beckmann’s The Hell of Birds. Photograph courtesy of the Louvre
The Louvre’s spring exhibition, De l’Allemagne; German Thought and Painting 1800-1939 has generated so many ruffled feathers and bruised feelings that it is worth saying at the outset what is good about it.
A German newspaper lamented that the contemporary German artist Anselm Kiefer’s monumental engraving on wood and collage on canvas “sets the tone for the rest of the exhibition” by reminding visitors of “Germany’s bloody past”. Yet Kiefer’s work is a powerful evocation of the tragic pairing of countries that fought one another four times in two centuries, taking many tens of millions of people to their graves.
Kiefer’s room, through which one must pass to enter and exit the exhibition, is black, white and grey. The Rhine, the border between France and Germany, surrounds one, along with the Atlantic Wall and the Maginot Line, vestiges of two World Wars. Black tree trunks rise from the banks of the Rhine, like the bars of a prison that traps, submerges and encloses the visitor in an inescapable past. A geometric prism floats across the scene, annotated with the word “Melancholia”.
Kiefer was born in 1945 and has spent his life asking how the horror happened. He adds Satan to the Holy Trinity, thus transforming it into a quartet. Among the names of great German thinkers painted on the walls, Kiefer includes Paul Celan, the Romanian-born, German-speaking Jewish poet whose parents perished in the Holocaust, and who drowned himself in the Seine in 1970. “There are still songs to sing, above and beyond the history of men,” are the hopeful words of Kiefer’s homage to Celan.
The mood then shifts to the past, with Johann Heinrich Wilhelm Tischbein’s iconic portrait of Goethe in the Roman Countryside (1787). The German Centre for the History of Art in Paris, one of the chief protagonists in the controversy over the exhibition, had wanted the great German poet, writer and thinker to be its focus. Goethe’s watercolour studies of the spectrum of light and his paintings of plants are a delightful surprise, shown alongside strikingly similar works by Paul Klee, done more than a century later.
Max Beckmann’s The Hell of Birds , painted in 1938, after the painter fled Nazi Germany for Amsterdam, closes the exhibition. A row of garish figures on the left raise their hands in Nazi salutes. A dark German eagle presides over the centre of the canvas, beneath the Nazi salute of a bird-like priestess with four breasts. A naked man lies prostrate on a table, his hands and feet bound, while a creature scores his back with a knife. Le Monde called Beckmann’s painting “perhaps the only canvas of the century that could be hung next to Guernica and hold its own”.
It is easy to see why the exhibition’s German critics interpreted The Hell of Birds as an allegory for Nazi dictatorship; it is more difficult to understand why the Louvre’s curators excused it as “a militant pacifist work, a work of resistance”.
The exhibition of more than 200 works was meant to commemorate 50 years of Franco-German friendship since the Treaty of the Élysée. It will continue, under the patronage of President Francois Hollande and Chancellor Angela Merkel, until June 24th.
The world’s most-visited museum strived for political correctness, all but ignoring the official, Nazi-approved art of the 1930s and dubiously portraying universalist humanism as the German artistic response to the horrors of the first World War. Among August Sander’s striking 1930s photographs at the end of the show are two portraits, one a man, one a woman, entitled “persecuted”. Were they Jewish? The Louvre doesn’t tell us.
A sinister vision
The Louvre was “surprised and profoundly hurt . . . shocked by the openly Francophobe statements” in Die Zeit ’s critique of the exhibition, wrote Henri Loyrette, the director of the Louvre,
in a four-page letter to the Hamburg daily. Accusations that the museum intended to convey a “sinister” vision of Germany were “totally unfounded”, Loyrette continued. “We had no other ambition than to enable the French public to discover the richness, diversity and inventiveness of German painting from 1800 to 1939,” he protested.
Yet the official notes, published by the museum, seem to confirm its German critics’ chief grievance. The notion that nationalism was the driving force in German art permeates the exhibition. “While the Napoleonic occupation helped advance the cause of unity in this vein, providing the political underpinnings for the earliest stirring of the Romantic movement, the rise of Nazism, at the end of the period’s chronological span, revealed the tragic dimension of this concept,” the curators write.
The wings of the angel in Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld’s Annunciation (1820) are gold, red and black, the colours of Germanic peoples since the Middle Ages. The museum calls Franz Pforr’s Rudolph von Habsburg Enters Bâle (1808-1810) “a nationalist manifesto”. Painted under Napoleonic occupation, Pforr’s masterpiece shows the foundation of the Habsburg dynasty in 1273, but in 16th-century costume. Nostalgia for the 962-1806 Holy Roman Empire, when German-speaking peoples lived under unified rule, is a recurring theme in early 19th-century art.
A detail from Franz Pforr’s Rudolph
The show includes six paintings of the Catholic cathedral of Cologne. After a lapse of centuries, Protestant Prussians completed the cathedral in 1880. It was then the tallest building in the world, and a symbol of a powerful and united Germany.
Natascha Marest, a German guide employed by several French museums, finds the Louvre’s exhibition “superb”. Yet she understands why a German who regards it superficially might be offended. “In my youth, in the 1970s and 1980s, all we watched were films about the Holocaust,” she explains. “We never read Goethe. The myths of the Nibelungen were not taught. We were ashamed of our cultural heritage. When a German sees the Cologne cathedral and [Leo von Klenze’s 1836 painting of] Valhalla in an exhibition, it may shock him; he may say, ‘This is a nationalist interpretation of German art’.”
The exhibition includes 20 paintings by Caspar David Friedrich, the master of the 19th-century Romantic landscape. Friedrich’s Woman in the Morning Sun (1818) shows an elegantly clad woman facing the sunrise and is the signature painting of the exhibition. The spiritual, mystical Friedrich rejected Goethe’s exhortations to paint according to scientific theories. “Close your physical eye to see first with the eye of your mind,” Friedrich said.
Yet even Friedrich’s syrupy landscapes are accused of nationalism. In Tree With Crows (1822), gnarled branches, freighted with birds of ill portent, are framed against a pastel sky. The tree grows from an ancient Druid tumulus, evoking the nation’s origins and its capacity to survive.
During the wars against Napoleonic France, the Louvre notes, “the land takes on patriotic connotations; the feeling of nature an ideological dimension”. Friedrich exalted the landscape – considered an inferior art form by the French – and made it quintessentially German.
A detail from Caspar David Friedrich’s Friedrich’s Woman in the Morning Sun. Photograph courtesy of the Louvre
The Louvre’s logic
The title of the exhibition is taken from Germaine de Staël’s De l’Allemagne (1813), which shaped French attitudes throughout the 19th century. One has only to read her chapter on fine art to understand the Louvre’s approach: “Germans in general conceive of art better than they put it into practice,” she began. Germany’s best painters – Dürer , Cranach and Holbein – lived before the Reformation, de Staël wrote. Germany produced fine writers and musicians, she added, but not artists. The stereotype persists today.
Much of what is best in German art – the Brücke, Blaue Reiter and Bauhaus movements, for example – was left out of the exhibition on the grounds that these were international movements. Instead, many of the paintings on show are second-rate, a confirmation of the French view that Germans can’t paint. And many are Austrian or Swiss, not German. Anselm Feuerbach’s Lucretia Borgia (1864) is mannish and ugly. Arnold Böcklin’s Frolicking Mermaids (1886) is kitsch.
Whatever the intention of the Louvre’s curators, and despite the controversy they’ve ignited – or perhaps because of it – the exhibition is a success, drawing 3,400 visitors daily; 81 per cent more than the museum expected. “Our bet was that the French, like Madame de Staël in her time, harbour curiosity and fascination for Germany,” says Henri Loyrette. For Germany, he concludes, is France’s neighbour, “so close and yet so far away”.
The German view: criticism belies exhibition’s success
Critical reaction to the Louvre exhibition in Germany has ranged from polite applause to furious scorn. The Frankfurter Allgemeine and Die Zeit attacked the show for, in their eyes, following the controversial Sonderweg (“special path”) narrative of German history – namely, that German history took a path separate to its neighbours that triggered an inevitable slide towards Hitler.
This impression, they suggested, is underlined by the exclusion of respected German art movements dubbed “degenerate” by the Nazis – such as the Secession, Bauhaus or Brücke. Both newspapers relate complaints from the German Centre for the History of Art in Paris. Although ostensibly a co-curator, it claims to have been excluded from the show’s curation process.
“These restrictions are unusual in international academic circles, to put it mildly,” says Andreas Beyer, the centre’s director, in Die Zeit. When finally allowed into the Louvre the Germans told the FAZ they were “amazed and appalled” by a “visual history of an abysmal land . . . headed more or less straight for National Socialism”.
“The accusation is that the Louvre took the material delivered by the German Centre and formed their own history of Germany that confirms all cliches of the romantic-strange, dangerous and dark neighbour,” writes FAZ critic Niklas Maak.
He adds: “Whoever doesn’t read the catalogue essays and only follows the show’s signs gets the impression that the Germans, after a short period of fascination with the antique era, retreated to their forests and . . . went crazy around 1900 before emerging during National Socialism.”
Die Zeit agrees, suggesting visitors should concentrate on the art and ignore the Louvre’s attempt to impose an Apollonian- Dionysian dichotomy of order and chaos on German art. “To call the exhibition’s concept an over-simplification would be a euphemism,” it notes drily. Germany’s best-selling quality daily, the Süddeutsche Zeitung, disagreed, praising the show for “not drawing a direct line from romanticism to National Socialism”.
It points out that footage of Leni Riefenstahl’s Olympia is juxtaposed with Billy Wilder’s little-seen film Menschen am Sonntag, showing that 1930s German life was not one endless show of Aryan muscle. On Deutschlandradio Kultur, Prof Bénédicte Savoy, a French-born art historian based in Berlin, suggested the allergic reaction in some quarters suggested that “Germans don’t like being liked. In Paris, the exhibition is a huge success,” she said.
“Everyone’s saying that their eyes have been opened and have got to know the more gentle Germans.”
From time to time photos of child soldiers in Africa holding AK-47s or some other kind of weapon appear here and there provoking outrage and compassion from the Western public. But just a few decades ago, during World War II, there were often occasions of Russian kids fighting in the regular army against the Nazis.
Generally speaking, children were not allowed to join the combat army—but many exceptions were made. Many kids tried to run away from their homes “to the War” but most such cases were eventually captured by military police and returned back to their homes. While some did succeed in joining the army, it was often the case for these runaways to get lost in the woods or shot along their journey.
Also, from time to time, soldiers found children in the devastated and burnt down villages of the Soviet Union. While there was a directive for them to send such children to established orphanages, still sometimes such boys were simply incorporated into the active combat units. Specially sized uniforms were tailored for them and they were entrusted with guns. Some of those boys joined the army at nine or eleven, and stayed with their regiment through all the war front, from Russia to Germany, until the war ended and they were discharged at fourteen or sixteen, often with medals of honor.
Bayer AG is a massive German based chemicals and pharmaceuticals manufacturer. It has operations in most countries worldwide and had global sales for 2000 of nearly $30 billion. Its operations are divided into four sectors: Health, Agriculture, Polymers (plastics, synthetic rubber) and Chemicals. It has recently acquired Aventis’ controversial cropscience business, making it a key player in the development, commercialisation and sale of GM crops. As a major player in 4 controversial sectors for over 125 years Bayer has a distinguished history of corporate crimes ranging from the manufacture and sale of controversial drugs (Heroin, Ciproxin and Baycol), the development of chemical warfare agents and poisons (Chlorine Gas, Zyklon B and VX), the use of forced labour during WW2, and numerous cases of poisoning, side-effects and environmental pollution connected to its chemical and pharmaceutical products. In December 2001, Multinational Monitor rated Bayer AG as one of their Top Ten Worst Companies of the year.
1.3. History 
For over 125 years Bayer has been a major player in 4 of the most controversial business areas that capitalism has so far produced. They have a long and particularly nasty history of corporate crime (see also Corporate Crime section below internal link).
The first incarnation of what is currently Bayer AG was born out of the rush by European industrialists to develop and manufacture synthetic dyes in the second half of the 19th century. Friedrich Bayer and Johann Friedrich Weskott opened a dye factory in 1863 in Wuppertal, Germany. The company Farbenfabriken vorm. Friedr. Bayer & Co. was launched in 1883. Bayer quickly diversified their activities into other areas of chemical manufacture, including photography and pharmaceuticals. Bayer also established operations throughout Europe and the US. Early Bayer discoveries included Antinonin (synthetic pesticide, 1892), Aspirin (1897), Heroin (1898) and Buna (synthetic rubber 1915). During WWI Bayer, along with other chemical manufacturers (both Allied and German), turned their attention to the manufacture of chemical weapons  including chlorine gas used to horrendous effect in the trenches.
During WWI Bayer had formed a close association with other German chemical companies including BASF and Hoechst. This relationship was formalised in 1925 with merger of these companies as well as AGFA, and others, to form the IG Farben Trust.
IG Farben continued to grow during the inter-war period as one of the most powerful chemical and pharmaceutical companies in the world. Products included polyurethanes and the first ‘sulpha’ drugs.
It is during Nazi-era Germany and WW2 that IG Farben (Bayer) entered its most sinister phase. IG Farben as the leading chemical company in Nazi Germany took over chemical plants across Nazi occupied Europe, used slave-labour in their factories (including operating their own concentration camp), conducted medical experiments on those held in the concentration camps and manufactured the poison gas used to kill thousands. At the end of the war the 1945 Potsdam Agreement called for the break up of IG Farben into its constituent companies. Twelve IG Farben employees and directors were jailed for war crimes at the Nuremburg Trials.
Bayer was re-established as Farbenfabriken Bayer AG in 1951, changing its name to the current Bayer AG in 1972. Although the post-WW2 Bayer is a different legal entity to the Bayer that pre-existed IG Farben, and that which formed part of IG Farben, a direct line of continuity can be traced between the personnel, infrastructure and technology of these 3 incarnations. Bayer has a very murky past that should be remembered.
For Bayer’s rose-tinted, and very selective, version of its own history have a look at their Bayer Tapestry http://www.bayer.co.uk/tapestry/
Controversies from Wikipedia
It has been documented that aspirin compounds were successfully synthesized by various other scientists or groups between 1848–1869, long before Bayer’s claims. This fact led to various patent litigations in the early 20th century.
Arthur Eichengrün, a Bayer chemist, claimed to be the first to discover an aspirin formulation which did not have the unpleasant side effects of nausea and gastric pain. Eichengrün also claimed he invented the name aspirin and was the first person to use the new formulation to test its safety and efficacy. Bayer contends aspirin was discovered by Felix Hoffman to alleviate the sufferings of his father, who had arthritis. Various sources support the conflicting claims.
In 1956 Fritz ter Meer became chairman of Bayer’s supervisory board. He was convicted at the Nuremberg trials for his part in carrying out experiments on human subjects at Auschwitz. He was found “guilty of count two, plunder and spoliation, and count three, slavery and mass murder” and sentenced to seven years imprisonment and served five years.
HIV infected blood products
Main article: Contaminated haemophilia blood products
A cite from http://www.haemophilia-litigation.com/, access date 31 May 2006:
“After 1978, there were four major companies in the United States engaged in the manufacture, production and sale of Factor VIII and IX: Armour Pharmaceutical Company, Bayer Corporation and its Cutter Biological division, Baxter Healthcare and its Hyland Pharmaceutical division and Alpha Therapeutic Corporation, which have been or are defendants in certain lawsuits.
The plaintiffs allege that the companies manufactured and sold blood factor products as beneficial “medicines” that were, in fact of likely to be contaminated with HIV and/or HCV. This resulted in the mass infection and/or deaths of thousands of haemophiliacs worldwide.
It is believed that three of these companies, Alpha, Baxter, and Cutter, recruited and paid donors from high risk populations, including prisoners (i.e. prison-based collections), intravenous drug users, and plasma centers with predominantly homosexual donors, esp. in cities with large populations thereof, to obtain blood plasma used for the production of Factor VIII and IX. Plaintiffs allege that these companies failed to exclude donors, as mandated by federal law, with a history of viral hepatitis. Such testing could have substantially reduced the likelihood of plasma containing HIV and/ or HCV entering plasma pools.”
After 52 deaths were blamed on an alleged side effect of Bayer’s anticholesterol drug Baycol, its manufacture and sale were discontinued in 2001. The side effect was rhabdomyolysis, causing renal failure, which occurred with a tenfold greater frequency in patients treated with Baycol in comparison to those prescribed alternate medications of the statin class.
In January 2001, Bayer agreed to pay $14 million to the United States and 45 states to settle allegations under the federal False Claims Act that the company caused physicians and other health care providers to submit fraudulently inflated reimbursement claims to Medicaid.
Methyl parathion poisoning case
In October 2001, Bayer was taken to court after 24 children in the remote Andean village of Tauccamarca, Peru were killed and 18 severely poisoned when they drank a powdered milk substitute contaminated with the insecticide methyl parathion. A Peruvian Congressional Subcommittee found significant evidence of criminal responsibility by Bayer and the Peruvian Ministry of Agriculture.
Liberty Link rice
In August 2006, it became apparent that the United States rice crop had been contaminated with unapproved genetically engineered Bayer CropScience rice.
More specifically, the genetically engineered rice has an herbicide-resistance trait. These forms of rice are commonly referred to among US rice growers as, Liberty Link rice 601 or LL 601. Approximately 100 varieties of rice are produced primarily in the following six states: Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and California.
2006 Trasylol safety advisory
In September 2006, Bayer was faulted by the FDA for not revealing during testimony the existence of a commissioned retrospective study of 67,000 patients, 30,000 of whom received Trasylol and the rest other antifibrinolytics. The study concluded Trasylol carried greater risks. The FDA was alerted to the study by one of the researchers involved. Although the FDA issued a statement of concern, they did not change their recommendation that the drug may benefit certain patients. In a Public Health Advisory Update dated 3 October 2006, the FDA recommended “physicians consider limiting Trasylol use to those situations in which the clinical benefit of reduced blood loss is necessary to medical management and outweighs the potential risks” and carefully monitor patients. The FDA took Trasylol off the market on 5 November 2007.
Prostate cancer claims
In October 2009, the Center for Science in the Public Interest sued Bayer for “falsely claiming that the selenium in Men’s One-A-Day multivitamins might reduce the risk of prostate cancer.”
In December 2010, a leaked memo from the EPA’s Environmental Fate and Effects Division asserted “Clothianidin’s (Bayer’s neonicotinoid pesticide) major risk concern is to non-target insects (that is, honey bees). Exposure through contaminated pollen and nectar and potential toxic effects therefore remain an uncertainty for pollinators.” In January 2011, Avaaz.org launched an online petition to ban neonicotinoid pesticides.
Main article: Imidacloprid effects on bee population
French and Nova Scotian beekeepers claim Bayer’s seed treatment imidacloprid kills honeybees. France has since issued a provisional ban on the use of imidacloprid for corn seed treatment pending further action. A consortium of U.S. beekeepers filed a civil suit against Bayer CropScience for alleged losses.
On 28 August 2008, an explosion occurred at the Bayer CropScience facility at Institute, West Virginia. A runaway reaction ruptured a tank and the resulting explosion killed two employees. The ruptured tank was close to a methyl isocyanate tank which was undamaged by the explosion.
via Bayer AG : Overview.
via Bayer AG : Overview.
Hundreds turned out to protest Angela Merkel’s arrival in Lisbon on Monday, following the German austerity measures imposed to save Portugal’s failing economy. Merkel met with President Aníbal Cavaco Silva and Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho to discuss Portugal’s progress.
Statues around the city were draped in black as a sign of mourning for a nation struggling to survive under its broken economy. Pictures of Angela Merkel adorned with the Nazi swastika, as well as portraits of the Chancellor in the role of puppet master, could be seen throughout the streets of Lisbon.
Posters, puppets and banners of protest throughout Portugal read, in the Portuguese language, ‘Morte Merkel’ meaning ‘Die Merkel’ and in the German language, ‘Merkel Raus’ meaning ‘Merkel, out!’ One banner even read, ‘Adolf Merkel,’ likening the German Chancellor to the infamous leader of the Nazi Party.
Many Portuguese people, tired of the austerity measures, are extremely dissatisfied at being under the control of Germany. They are experiencing cutbacks put in place to make Portugal eligible for bailout funds of 78 billion euros.
German austerity measures have caused increased levels of poverty, tax boosts on income, automobiles and electricity and a rise in unemployment to over 16%. The elderly and those on minimum wage have also experienced large cuts, the effects of which are due to worsen in the coming year. 2013 will mark Portugal’s third year of recession, where further tax hikes and public spending cuts are expected.
Mrs Merkel pledged to stick by Portugal throughout these ‘very hard’ times, and with brought businessmen with her to invest in the country. Merkel congratulated Portugal on its determined approach to the austerity measures and for the work of Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho who, unlike the leaders of Greece, has upheld strict cutback deadlines required for continued financial help. Germany has now begun quarterly reviews of Portugal to ensure they are meeting the deadlines required for continued bailout.
Although Portugal are now being kept on an extremely short leash, Coelho said there was ‘no option’ but to follow Germany’s guidelines for economic recovery as he, like many government leaders, blame the over spending of previous governments for Portugal’s current turmoil.
“Today, we would be living through far, far greater difficulties if our European partners, including Germany, had not helped with the loans we have received.’
The Portuguese public do not demonstrate this same resolve and blame Portugal’s current government as well as the influence of Germany for their economic decline.