Zion Island 21.

Reichsarchiv.  Nachlasse Bach-Zalewski.  Private files–Miscellaneous.

 

Transcript of Recording.  Private meeting held in the office of General von dem Bach-Zalewski, beginning at 8:55 PM on 28 June 1948.

 

KG[1]: Heil Hitler!  Obersturmfuhrer Gerstein reporting as ordered.

 

B-Z: Heil Hitler!  Stand at ease.  Indeed, please take a seat.

 

B-Z: I have before me your personal file.  Your family background is rigorously patriotic and you joined the SA.  However, you joined only in July 1933.  You would be considered a “March violet” by many Old Fighters.  Then you managed to get expelled because of the conflict between your Christian religious beliefs and Party doctrine.  Then you–well your father and his friends—arranged for your re-admission.  Then you volunteered for the SS in 1941.  Your record is hardly that of a conventional SS-man.  Well, we take all kinds.  Still, you wish to comment?

 

KG: I am a German patriot.  I despised the Versailles Treaty and am happy to have seen it utterly overthrown.  I am a Christian.  My soul will be saved from Damnation if I follow the teachings of Our Savior Jesus Christ.  I do not think that either faith is incompatible with the other.

 

B-Z: I certainly hope not.  Your file states further that you are assigned to the “technical disinfection section” of the Institute for Tropical Medicine.  This brings you into contact with Dr. Mengele?[2]

 

KG: It does on occasion.  My position is very junior, but Dr. Mengele makes every effort to create congenial relationships among his staff, both German and non-German.

 

B-Z: Yes, yes, German and non-German.  I am told that you have been in contact—unofficially—with both residents of and visitors to our sunny dominion over palm and pine.  The name Schulte has been mentioned.[3]  There is also talk of a Hungarian.  Is this so?

 

KG: Mr. Schulte is here investigating possible copper mining.  Originally I trained as a mining engineer, before going on to medicine.  We met by chance on the train and fell into conversation on that matter.

 

B-Z: Ah, of course.  And this supposed Hungarian?  Does he—or she?—exist?

 

KG: Dr. Nyiszli[4] works as a pathologist at the Institute.  Dr. Mengele holds him in high regard for his technical competence in autopsies.  I have encountered him several times in the course of work.  Again, after studying mining, I turned to medicine.  That gave us a basis for conversation.

 

B-Z: The Institute of Tropical Medicine has need of a pathologist to conduct autopsies?  That’s not very encouraging.

 

KG: Much of Dr. Mengele’s own work at the Institute is, well,….. experimental.

 

B-Z: Is it indeed?  I didn’t realize that.  You know, that’s the problem with governments: they become too complicated.  The right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing.  Not from bad motives, you understand?  Just from compartmentalization and the pace of too much work.  Yet I am responsible for everyone and everything.  So, I am always glad to hear what is actually going on.  Rather like the private reports on opinion the SD once collected.[5]  I hope that you will feel confident in bringing me any little scraps of news you acquire about the Institute or Dr. Mengele.

 

KG: So far as it does not go against my duty.

 

B-Z: As a German patriot, as a National Socialist, as a Christian hoping for Salvation?

 

B-Z: As for your informal contacts, I have no reason to object.  Certainly, life here can feel very cut-off from the larger worlds from which we came.  Still, such reports, if they reached certain quarters, might be the source of some alarm, is it not so?  Seen in the context of your personal file, they might be misunderstood.  Despite Dr. Best’s efforts as governor, I hear that Neu Kaledonie is a big step down from this place.[6]  Dismissed.  Heil Hitler!

 

KG: Heil Hitler!

 

[1] Kurt Gerstein: b. 1905, Munster, German Empire.  Degree in mining engineering, then studied medicine.  Member of the Nazi Party 1933-1936, 1939—.  Enlisted in the SS (1941) with rank of Obersturmfuhrer, essentially a First Lieutenant.

[2] Josef Mengele: b. 1911, Gunzburg, Kingdom of Bavaria, German Empire.  Ph.D., Anthropology, University of Munich, 1935; M.D., University of Frankfurt, 1938.  Joined the Nazi Party in 1937, and the SS in 1938.  Military service with the Army (France, 1940), and then with the Waffen SS (Russia, 1941).

[3] Probably Eduard Schulte: b. 1891, Dusseldorf, German Empire.  From 1926, General Manager of the Giesche Trust industrial and mining conglomerate, Breslau, Germany.

[4] Miklos Nyiszli: b. 1901, Transylvania, Austro-Hungarian Empire.  Hungarian nationality from 1919.  M.D. 1929.

[5] Heinz Boberach, ed. Meldungen aus dem Reich 1938–1945. Die geheimen Lageberichte des Sicherheitsdienstes der SS, 17 vols. (1984).

[6] Werner Best, b: 1903, Darmstadt, German Empire.  Doctorate in Law, University of Heidelberg, 1927.  Joined Nazi Party, 1930, and the SS in 1931.  Close to Heydrich, he took a senior position in the Gestapo, and then, in 1939-1940, in the Reich Security Main Office (RSHA).  Following a conflict within the RSHA, from 1940 to 1942 he served as chief of the German administration in Occupied France.  In November 1942, following a further conflict, he was appointed Governor General of the German penal colony on the former French possession of New Caledonia.

Zion Island 20.

Library of Congress/Admiral John A. Waters, Jr., Papers/Director of Security, Atomic Energy Commission/Liaison with F.B.I/ “November 1953.”

Folder contained the following clipping from the New York Herald-Tribune, 28 January 1950.  No further information supplied.

 

WANTED: Inventor/Engineer seeks combined office and workshop space in Long Island City industrial building.  Area of 48th Street and Center Boulevard, and upper floors preferred; Western exposure and long-term lease required.  Please respond to Walter Glassman, PO Box 1202, 9224 Queens Blvd, Rego Park, NY.

Zion Island 19.

Fodor’s South Asia on Five Dollars a Day (1952).

Madagascar.

Madagascar is difficult to visit, but well worth the effort.  The difficulties arise from its remote location, the infrequency of air flights or ship sailings to the island, and from the stringent customs formalities.  The benefits more than repay these difficulties.  The lush vegetation, the immense diversity of fauna, the striking scenery, and the remarkable social experiment being conducted on the island combine to make Madagascar a must-see for the sophisticated traveler.

The island may only be entered through the east coast port city of Toamasina.  There are monthly sailings from Germany and from Dar es Salaam in Tanganyika.  From Dar es Salaam one can make connections to many other destinations.

The capital city is Theresienstadt (formerly Antananarivo).  Here are located the headquarters of the administrative services.  Here, also, is located a small technical institute that supports the European immigrant population’s agricultural development program with a variety of engineering services.

Theresienstadt is also the home of the Institute for Tropical Medicine.  The ITM provides European scientists a home base that serves the many medical research stations dotted about the island.  The ITM is particularly notable for its pioneering techniques in seeking cures for tropical diseases like malaria, yellow fever, and dengue fever.

The traditionally sleepy languor of a tropical town has been enlivened in recent years by immigrants from a variety of European cultures.

You have to get out into the countryside to garner a sense of the “real” Madagascar.  The island is divided by climate and geography into three zones.  Along the east coast there is a narrow, high scarp of mountains.  The twisting roadways are largely the product of the extension of Germany’s domestic program of “autobahn” to the tropical island.  These allow for many eye-catching views.  But don’t let your attention wander too much!

The central part of the island is occupied by a plateau.  Here one finds the indigenous population.

The bulk of the European immigrant population is engaged in re-claiming the arid Western coastal strip that slopes down from the central plateau to the Mozambique Channel.  The whole region is dotted with small agricultural settlements.  Irrigation systems are being constructed and mangrove swamps drained to increase farmland.  Soon the fields will give forth a harvest of fruits and vegetables that promise to become a major source of export earnings.

The unusual mixing of different populations might be expected to give rise to some tension.  In fact, the substantial police presence inspires a sense of security that reassures all parties.

Zion Island 18.

“Shipping News,” Dar es Salaam newspaper, September 1950.  Extract.

The large dhow “Simba,” Mohammad Atif captain, has failed to return to port and is presumed to have been lost at sea.  “Simba” sailed from Dar es Salaam in July, bound for Lourenco Marques in Mozambique.  Captain Atif had been active in the coastal trade for forty years, carrying every sort of cargo, and was well-known in East African ports.

Zion Island 17.

Reichsarchiv.  Nachlasse Bach-Zalewski.  Private files–Miscellaneous.

 

Sipo-SD IV-B-4.

Partial transcript of a recorded conversation, Theresienstadt, Madagascar, 12 February 1951.

MA: He’s falling apart!  The staring, the crying, the puking!  How long can he go on?  It isn’t possible.  Everything will be ruined!

MB: He can hold on.  Don’t worry.  He’s a remarkable man.  It’s this other one[1] we have to think about.

MA: Don’t think too long.  Handle it.

MB: Easy to say.

MA: We need the cover.

[1] Reference unclear.

Zion Island 16.

The Encyclopedia Germanica.  (Extract.)

“Europe since 1945”

III. Europe’s international relations.

  1. The Final Solution of the Jewish Problem in Europe.

The Treaty of Berlin (11 November 1940) included among its provisions the transfer from France to Germany of sovereignty over the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar.  A meeting of principals (q.v. First Wannsee Conference) decided that Madagascar should be denominated as the “national home for the Jewish people,” with appropriate safeguards for the people of Europe.  These safeguards included the presence of a German peacekeeping force on the island, the appointment of a German governor-general with full powers, and strict controls on travel to and from Madagascar.

The Jewish population of German Europe (Germany and Austria, the General Gouvernement, the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, Slovakia, France, Holland, Belgium, Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria, Greece) was evacuated to its new home in the course of 1941.  In light of the looming Judeo-Bolshevik attack on the Reich (q.v. War of the Bolshevik Succession), this transfer of populations had to be carried out with dispatch.  The Fuhrer appointed General of the SS Erich von dem Bach-Zalewski to implement the evacuation.  Subsequently, the Jewish populations of Western Russia and the Baltic territories also were evacuated.  Unexpectedly, the British declared their desire to evacuate the Jewish immigrant population in Palestine in order to pacify the Arab population.  The general pattern was for rural populations to be concentrated in urban transit facilities; the urban transit facilities were evacuated as rail transit facilities to ports of embarkation (Odessa, Salonika, Marseilles) became available; and the evacuees were transferred to such shipping as could be made available to complete the journey through the Suez Canal.

The unanticipated expansion in the number of Jews to be evacuated, the difficult straits in which many of the Jews had been left by military operations in eastern Poland and western Russia, and the disruptions of rail and ship transportation by war all created immense problems for those administering the evacuation.  Under these conditions, the transfer did not go as easily as might have been desired by all those involved.  Nevertheless, it represented a remarkable achievement.  In light of his success in managing the evacuation, General Bach-Zalewski was appointed as the first Higher SS and Police Leader and Governor-General for Madagascar.

 

Apophenia 6 October 2019.

The German psychiatrist Klaus Conrad (1905-1961) studied the development of schizophrenia.  In a 1958 book he defined an early stage of schizophrenia as “apophenia.”  Conrad explained that apophenia consisted of the “unmotivated seeing of connections [accompanied by] a specific feeling of abnormal meaningfulness.”[1]  What follows is an attempt to illustrate this idea by reference to a contemporary political controversy.

 

The “Steele Dossier” was inserted into public consciousness between July and September 2016.   The “Whistleblower Complaint” was inserted into public consciousness between July and September 2019.

The author of the “Steele Dossier” reportedly was Christopher Steele, a highly-regarded former British intelligence officer.  The author of the “Whistleblower Complaint is believed to be a highly-regarded Central Intelligence Agency officer.

The basis of the “Steele Dossier” was unverified hear-say.  The basis of the “Whistleblower Complaint” was largely then-unverified hearsay.

The “Steele Dossier” was first communicated to a consulting firm in the employ of the Hillary Clinton campaign, and to an FBI agent stationed in Rome.  Then, when the information did not reach the public or result in an official investigation, it was shared with journalists.  The “Whistleblower Complaint” was first communicated to a government “tip-line” and resulted in a formal complaint.  Then, when the information did not result in an official investigation, it was shared with Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA), the chair of the House Intelligence Committee.

The “Steele Dossier” alleged—among other things–that: 1) that Trump presidential campaign officials conspired with the Russians; 2) that Carter Page played a key role in this conspiracy; 3) that Paul Manafort directed the conspiracy; 4) that Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, had met secretly with Russian representatives in Prague.

“The Whistleblower Complaint” alleged—among other things–that: 1) Trump tried to extort the government of Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden; 2) Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, played a key role in this conspiracy; 4) US Attorney John Durham may be investigating Ukrainian leads as part of his probe of the origins of the Russia-Trump investigation.

It is useful to recall the context for both cases.  In the case of the “Steele Dossier,” Russians had intervened in the 2016 US presidential election, not least by releasing secret information stolen from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton.  The Australian government informed American officials that a Trump campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos, had told one of their diplomats that the Russians had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.  President Trump has doubted/denied the reports of American intelligence agencies about Russian interference and took umbrage at the investigation of alleged conspiracy between his campaign and the Russians.

In the case of the “Whistleblower Complaint,” 1) Ukraine suffers from endemic corruption.  During the Obama Administration, Vice President Joe Biden led an effort to pressure the government of Ukraine to shape up.  2) Information on the dealings in Ukraine of Trump’s one-time campaign manager, Paul Manafort, provided some of the basis for Manafort’s indictment.  3) In 2014 Hunter Biden joined the board of a Ukrainian energy company run by oligarch Mykola Zlochevsky.  Once Vice President Joe Biden took charge of trying to damp-down Ukrainian corruption, Hunter Biden’s position created an apparent conflict-of-interest that was acknowledged by the New York Times.  4) In Spring 2019, Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko began alleging “interference” in the 2016 US presidential election by Ukrainians working against Trump.  Other officials have denied these allegations.

 

It is impossible at this point to predict the final outcomes of the two cases.  The case of the “Steele Dossier” is not yet concluded.

1) In March 2019: Special Counsel Robert Mueller “did not establish” that a Trump-Russia conspiracy had existed.  2) The Special Counsel did not charge former Trump campaign official Carter Page with any crime.  The Special Counsel stated that Michael Cohen never visited Prague.  Paul Manafort was convicted of financial crimes committed before 2016 and for obstruction of justice committed during the investigation of those crimes.  He was not charged with conspiring with the Russians.  3) The Department of Justice Inspector General has been investigating allegations of Federal Bureau of Investigation misconduct in FISA warrant applications to surveil former Trump campaign official Page.  This investigation included a July 2019 extended interview with Steele.  By mid-September 2019, a draft report on the FISA warrants was circulating inside the Department of Justice and the FBI.   4) In late April 2019, Attorney General William Barr appointed US Attorney John Durham to investigate the origins of the Russia investigation.

The case of the “Whistleblower Complaint” is just beginning.

1) After the Mueller Report, Democratic efforts to impeach Trump had languished, with House majority leader Nancy Pelosi paying more attention to public opinion polls and the situation of the moderate new members of the House than to the left wing of the party.  2) The “Whistleblower Complaint” shifted the balance of forces.  House of Representatives Democrats launched a formal impeachment inquiry.  3) Attorney General Barr has denied being asked to contact Ukrainian officials, having any contact with Ukrainian officials, having any contact with Giuliani with regard to Ukraine, and knowing about the Trump phone call until several weeks later, possibly as a result of the whistleblower’s complaint.  4) In late September 2019, John Durham was reported to be investigating how the incriminating information on Manafort reached the FBI from Ukraine.

There is a lot of scope for apophenia in these events.

[1] See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apophenia.  I first encountered the term in William Gibson, Pattern Recognition (2003), a sort-of science fiction novel set in what John LeCarre called “the recent future.”

Zion Island 15.

Reichsarchiv.  Nachlasse Lange.  Personal letters.

20 July 1947.

My dear Lange[1],

You must be quite bored out there to be spending time reading old intelligence circulars and speculating on such idle questions.  Still, you recall quite correctly.  Here are the details in laymen’s terms.

In 1942 we had an outbreak of typhus in a Wehrmacht division on rest-and-retraining assignment here.  The doctors initially put it down to the men having returned with the disease from Russia.  As you know, it is common throughout the East.  The entire division went through an additional round of de-lousing with Zyklon-B.  However, some local French people then came down with it as well.  A young member of the medical staff who had been trained as an epidemiologist made further inquiries.

The French victims were all from a section of the town fairly removed from the camp.  The young doctor interviewed each of the French victims.  Being French and from the same neighborhood, they naturally shared many features and activities.  However, the doctor diligently eliminated one after another.  In the end, he found that they had all fallen sick soon after purchasing some butter on the black market.  All had purchased the butter from the same shop, ironically named “Au bon beurre”!  The shop-keeper immediately was interviewed.  He admitted to having purchased a large quantity of butter from a German mess-sergeant at the nearby-by base.  Shown photographs of all the mess-sergeants from the base, he picked out the guilty man.

The sergeant admitted the theft and sale, but that did not resolve the issue of the spread of the typhus.  Chemists examined the remains of the store of butter.  They reported that it had been infected with the germ that causes typhus!  Where had French butter come to be infected with typhus?  One answer would be to follow the path of the butter back from the mess stores to its point of production.  Another answer would be to try to identify the origin of the typhus infection.  The investigation bogged down for a time as we followed both lines of inquiry.

In the end, it turned out that a researcher at the Institut Pasteur had stolen the germ culture from a laboratory.  With the assistance of a friend who worked in Les Halles market, he had infected a shipment of butter consigned to the Wehrmacht camp.

So, yes, it is possible to “weaponize” diseases.  I hope that you and Dr. Mengele find this information useful.

H H,

Knochen.[2]

 

[1] Obersturmbannfuhrer der SS Dr. Rudolf Lange, Headquarters, Sipo-SD, Theresienstadt, Madagascar.

[2] Standartenfuhrer des SS Dr. Helmut Knochen, Office of the Police Attache, German Embassy, Paris.

Zion Island 14.

Reichsarchiv.  Nachlass Bach-Zalewski.  Private files–Miscellaneous.

Sipo-SD IV-B-4.

Partial transcript of a recorded conversation, Toamasina, Madagascar, 14 May 1948.

……….

MB[1]: So, you saw him?[2]

MA[3]: I saw him.  Talked to him.  Talked for hours.  Aliphas[4] met me at the train station and took me home.  It took a week to set up.

MB: And?  Will he help?  What did you tell him?

MA: I explained our situation, what it’s like here, how it isn’t what they put in the fucking papers, when they do put anything in the papers.  I told him from now on we had to be strong, rely on ourselves.

MB: And he agreed?  He understood?

MA: Eventually, yes, the little bastard agreed.  He’d seen that news-reel.  It took forever to talk him out of that.  He’s German, but he got out a long time before.  Everything is theoretical to him.

MB: Will he help us?  Does he understand what we want?

MA: Maybe.  There are a lot of moving parts.  A lot of things have to be organized.  Organized like we did in the old country.

MB: It’s going to take time, then.  If we have it.  They’re probably watching us even now.

MA: He gave me the name of a man, Raymond.  Arranged for me to see him.  I went to El Paso to see Raymond.  It’s just across the border.  Took the train up to the north.  Had to wade across the river in the night with a bunch of laborers just to get in.  Raymond says the place is like a fortress since the election.

[1] Menachem Begin: b. 1913, Brest-Litovsk, Russian Empire.

[2] Reference unclear.

[3] Mordechai Anielewicz: b. 1919, Warsaw, Russian Empire.

[4] Avram Aliphas: b. 1911, Kolno, Russian Empire; migrated to Palestine 1936; settled in Mexico 1940: taught at the Hebrew School in Mexico City.

Zion Island 13.

Reichsarchiv.  Nachlasse Bach-Zalewski.  Private files–Miscellaneous.

 

Sipo-SD IV-B-4.

Partial transcript of a recorded conversation, Theresienstadt, Madagascar, 14 August 1952.

 

(excerpt).

…..

AG[1]: There’s something else.  The piano player from Rick’s.  You’ve heard him?  Course you have.  You love the night-life.  I met him at a party.  There were a lot of people there and a lot of booze.  We ended up in one of the little groups late in the evening.

 

PR[2]: You ended up in the same group or he was working his way toward you?

 

AG: Dunno.  Could have been.  Turns out he’s not French or German either, the “Graf” aside.  He’s a Russian, one of the refugees.  Grew up in Shanghai, then the family moved to France maybe twenty years ago.  He speaks French and Russian, but also English and German.

 

PR: What’s he like?

 

AG: Smart.  Big talker, but not so much boasting.  More like he can run on and on with stories.  Lots of them funny.  Sort of puts you to sleep, like the doctor before an operation.  A feygele[3] I think.

 

PR: So why tell me?

 

AG: He wants to meet people.  Says it’s lonely being so far from home; says the Germans aren’t too interesting.  Said it in a way that might make you think he didn’t like them—without coming right out and saying so.  Also, he wants to see something of the island.  He says the steamer from Shanghai stopped here on the way to France when he was a boy, but he never got off the ship.

 

PR:  OK, I’ll tell them.  Try to avoid him until they decide.

 

[1] Abraham Gancwajch: b. 1902, Czestachowa, Russian Empire.  Head of Office to Combat Usury and Profiteering in the Resettlement Community.

[2] Perec Rachman, b: 1919, Lwow, Polish Republic.  Interned by Soviet Union, 1940.

[3] Yiddish: a man who is believed to be gay.