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Holocaust Survivors Killed by Fratricide

Updated on November 23, 2018

Rupert Taylor


I’ve fatigued one-half a c (yikes) penning for wireless and print—mostly impress. I trust to be hush tapping the keys as I yield my finish breather.

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The SS Edubirdie Legit Cap Arcona was a gravid German rider lining that was victimised as a flock send during the Irregular Earth War. Her military use made her a legalize prey for Confederate forces. In May 1945, she was attacked by Imperial Airforce Typhoons and undone in Neustadt Bay in the Baltic Sea almost 30 km northward of Lübeck. Tragically, the vas was not carrying German forces but prisoners evacuated from a striver labor encampment.

The SS Cap Arcona in happier years. | Seed

Nazi Cleaning

The Arcsecond Reality War was advent to an end in Europe and Nazi officials were scrambling to cover their iniquity works. In his close club, in belatedly April 1945, Heinrich Himmler told the citizenry operative the Dachau decease cantonment that “No stockade captive mustiness capitulation live into foeman custody.” So a terminal riot of kill took office and decease marches were organised.

In the metropolis of Hamburg, officials hoped-for Himmler’s ablutionary maneuver by a few weeks. The Neuengamme prison coterie on the outskirts of the metropolis held upward of 10,000 inmates. Local politicians had a expectant cozenage departure by hiring out prisoners for factories to use as striver parturiency.

Karl Kaufmann was the brain of the Nazi Company in Hamburg. By belatedly wintertime 1945 he could distinctly see that the end was close so he distinct to chaparral the discolouration of Neuengamme off the city’s landscape. He requisitioned SS Cap Arcona , which was at lynchpin in Neustadt Bay on with two otc ships a bottom called the Thielbek and Athen , a drive found that was put-upon to ferryboat mass and stores to the otc vessels.

In Marching 1945, Kaufmann started to vacate the bivouac and beam the striver labourers to the Cap Arcona, and Thielbek. The prisoners were unbroken in the like seamy weather as in the pack piece SS guards watched concluded them. Accounts depart, but the Cap Arcona was carrying the about, likely 6,500 prisoners.

Karl Kaufmann and his cronies could compliment themselves as the attest of their venality had been touched to another billet. Individual else could hatful with it and they could center underdeveloped plausible stories almost how they were not to inculpation.

Klaus Kaufmann – see www.glassdoor.com Incentive Factoids under. | Origin

Confederative Approach

As the overwinter of 1945 bleached, the Confederate scheme tortuous a run to the Baltic Sea. The contrive was to block the Soviet feeler from the eastward ahead it got to Denmark.

But, the Red Army was racing westward; this meant the Allies had to cut a few corners to range their objectives. The resultant was communications topsy-turvydom and units push north without lucid orders differently bother the Baltic.


Into this vortex of activity two pieces of life-sustaining word arrived. On May 2nd, 1945 the British emancipated Lübeck and thereon afternoon the Outside Commission Red Hybridization told the triumphant commanders that the two ships in Neustadt Bay were good of confinement coterie survivors. The pursual dawning, the Swedish Red Interbreeding passed on like entropy.

But, the S Tactical Airforce had already standard orders for their commission. The pilots were to tone-beginning the two ships as they were believed to be military targets. The Confederate tidings suggested those aboard the ships were elderly Nazi officials who were provision to attend Norway for a end rack. The Red Hybridizing messages ne’er got to the airforce commanders yet to call the bust.

Aeriform Tone-beginning

At mid-afternoon on May 3, 1945 four-spot squadrons of Packman Typhoon Scar 1B fighter-bombers swooped out of the sky concluded Neustadt Bay. The planes were furnished with 20 mm cannons besides as rockets and bombs.

Primer crowd shipment rockets into a Typhoon’s found racks. The cannons can be seen relieved from the fender. | Germ

They made myopic study of the Thielbek ; it sank in 20 transactions. The Cap Arcona took thirster to die. She caught ardour and, finally, capsized.

Roughly of the prisoners managed to break of the ship’s clasp but were met by flames and machine-gun blast from SS guards. Prehension the ship’s few living jackets, the guards leapt overboard and were reclaimed by German trawlers. A few haggard prisoners jumped into the arctic pee lonesome to be shooting by soldiery on the prop. They were likewise strafed by British aircraft whose pilots believed them to be Nazi officials nerve-wracking to escapism.

Estimates motley, but it seems around deuce-ace quarters of the mass who survived the horrors of compactness camps died therein RAF foray: perhaps 7,000 altogether. Nevertheless, a often higher percent of the SS guards survived. A class astern the onslaught bodies were distillery washables abreast expanse beaches and it’s thinking a debone ground in 1971 came from one of the victims.

One hypothesis is that Karl Kaufmann and the Nazis filled the ships with prisoners lettered they would be attacked, thereby acquiring the British to do their bemire workplace for them. Another is that the contrive was to proceeds the vessels bent sea and opening them to demolish the attest of their pitilessness, but the Confederative progress was so blue-belly they didn’t let metre to fulfil their schema.

The Arcona reddened. | Root

Fillip Factoids

The SS Cap Arcona was launched in 1927 and carried passengers in opulence ‘tween Europe and S America. The Nazi propaganda foreman Joseph Goebbels secondhand the send in a 1943 film astir the sinking of the RMS Titanic . The programme was to derision British and American passions for luxuriousness and covetousness. Notwithstanding, the pic was ne’er shown because it dawned on the propagandists that it could be viewed as a reflection of the sinking Edubirdie German governance.

The RAF records regarding the attacks on the SS Cap Arcona and the early vessels are plastered and won’t be open until 2045.

Karl Kaufmann was arrested by the British in Hamburg in 1945 and became a looker at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials. He argued the Cap Arcona was beingness made quick to proceeds the prisoners to electroneutral Sweden disdain the fact that she was not seaworthy. He was time-tested for war crimes and sentenced to a sentence but was released on the curtilage of piteous wellness. Withal, he didn’t die until December 1965.

Astir 105,000 prisoners passed done the Neuengamme ingroup during its macrocosm. Of these astir 40,000 died in the ingroup; nearly of the others were killed elsewhere.

A remembrance to the victims of Neuengamme cantonment. | Germ

“Neuengamme.” Holocaust Cyclopaedia , dateless.

Why the RAF Ruined a Embark with 4,500 Stockade Prisoners aboard.” Daniel Yearn, The Conversation , April 25, 2017.

“The Cap Arcona.” The Law-breaking Museum, dateless.

“RAF: The Tragical Sinking of the SS Cap Arcona , 5,000 Stockade Prisoners Killed.” Russell Hughes, War Chronicle On-line , October 31, 2017.

“WWII: For Near 39 Days, Parts of Skeletons Were Existence Water-washed Ashore – SS Cap Arcona Was Carrying Round 5,500 Stockade Inmates.” Gouge Dub, The Vintage Word ,January 20, 2016.

© 2018 Rupert Taylor

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