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A New Film


Raptis

In

the late ’40s and early ’50s quite a few young Greek leftists had to flee their

country to avoid at best torture and long prison terms and at worst execution in

the hands of the US appointed local puppet Greek Government.

Some

of them fled to Paris; in a traditionally tolerant society towards political

refugees. Of them, three, Cornelius Castoriadis, Yiannis Xenakis and Costas

Gavras, not only survived in an unfamiliar social environment, but they became

internationally famous in their chosen fields.

Castoriadis "used" his leftist background to become kind of a French philosopher

who opposed (!) the left through an incomprehensible "philosophical" system of

the "fantasiako" (the "imaginary"), etc. Castoriadis thrived in the rather silly

French cultural environment that produced the post-modern type of funny

"philosophical" texts.

Yiannis Xenakis as a young student in the Athens Polytechnic took part in the

Resistance against the Nazis and then their British successors. In December

1944, during the struggle of the Greek left to socially liberate the Greek

society, part of the left side of his face was blown off by a British mortar

shell. In Paris Xenakis worked as an Architect and also invented a kind of

"mathematical" musical system. (My opinion is that besides the need for survival

in Paris, through his musical compositions, Xenakis was "trapped" by the beauty

of mathematics, as he was part of the generation of the late 1930s that grew in

an intensely rich mathematical environment in the Athens Polytechnic of that

time. Again, this is my personal judgement about his music.) Xenakis died

recently. He was a very decent person.

Costas Gavras became a film director. He is a gentle and polite person but also

he is an example of Chomsky’s view that the "victims (of the US foreign policy)

tend to remember." And Gavras "remembered" through his films; "Z", "Missing",

and "State of Siege."

(Note: "Z", the story of the murder, in 1963, of Lambrakis, a member of the

Greek left and a deputy in the Greek Parliament, is perhaps one of the most

important political films of the 20th century.

Two

were the protagonists of the Lambrakis case: Emanuelidis, the man who killed

Lambrakis, and the "tiger" a then young construction worker who jumped on the

3-wheel vehicle from which Emanuelidis killed Lambrakis. If the physically

strong and agile -hence the nickname "tiger"- construction worker had not jumped

on the moving vehicle the Lambrakis murder would have been covered up.

The

"tiger" died of cancer a few days ago, on the First of May, ’01, at the age of

72. He died a very bitter person. As expected, for the Greek state and its US

patrons he had interfered with their plans, therefore he was their enemy for the

rest of his life after his heroic and historic deed.

Emanuelidis, the killer, died a few hours (!) after the "tiger", also of cancer.

He was 75 and according to a Greek journalist he was the "garbage" of the Greek

society: a killer paid by the state.

Documentary evidence has shown that the killing of Lambrakis, of "Z" fame, was

planned and carried out by Papadopoulos, the dictator of 1967. Papadopoulos was

a paid CIA asset since the early ’50s. End of Note.)

Gavras is making a new film. The English title of the film will be: "The

Eyewitness." The script of the film is based on the well-known play by Rolf

Hochhuth "The Deputy", that appeared in New York in 1964 and which was "the

earliest and most notorious attack" on the conduct of Pope Pius XII towards the

Nazis during WWII.

In

the Gavras film version of the play the dominant figure is not the Pope but KURT

GERSTEIN, an officer of the Nazi SS. Gerstein was born in Muenster, Germany, in

1905. By profession he was an engineer. >From 1925 he was a member of a

Protestant youth movement. He joined the Nazi Party in 1933 but continued to be

an active member of Pastor Niemoeller’s Confessional church.

Niemoeller was a submarine Commander during WWI After the war he studied

theology and in 1933 he wrote his autobiography, "From U-Boat to Pulpit’, which

was widely praised for its patriotism in the Nazi press. Niemoeller shared the

anticommunism of the Nazis and their detestation of the Weimar Republic, which

he himself had branded as "14 years of darkness." By 1934 Niemoeller, however,

was disillusioned with Hitler as the latter began to "co-ordinate" the

Evangelical Church and subordinate it to state authority. Niemoeller started

"resisting" Hitler (because Hitler did not prefer Niemoeller’s version of

Christianity?). Enraged by Niemoeller’r rebellious sermons and his widespread

popularity, Hitler ordered his arrest in 1937. Tried before a special court he

was given the relatively mild sentence of 7 months in a fortress. Following his

release, he was re-arrested and spent 7 years in concentration camps in

"protective custody," until his liberation by Allied forces in 1945. He died in

1984.

In

1936 Gerstein was arrested by the Gestapo for distributing religious tracts and

expelled from the Nazi Party. After a second spell in a concentration camp in

1938, Gerstein managed in 1941 to join the SS, where few questions were asked

about his past. This time Gerstein joined the Nazis as "Spion Gottes" (a Spy for

God) according to the historian Pierre Joffroy, Gerstein;s biographer.

In

1942 Gerstein was put in charge of the Technical Disinfection Department and was

responsible for handling "poisonous disinfectant gases". In the late summer of

1942 he was sent on a mission by the SS to persuade Globocnik and Christian

Wirth to introduce "Zyklon B’ gassing into Polish death camps, in place of gas

engines.

Odilo

Globocnik was born in 1904 in an Austrian Croat family and was a builder by

profession. He joined the Nazi Party in 1930 and entered the SS in 1933.

Dismissed in 1939 from his SS position for illegal speculation in foreign

exchange was pardoned by Himmler and appointed by him as SS and Police Leader

for the Lublin district in Poland.. Globocnik founded four death camps in

Poland; Belzec, Sobibor, Majdanek and Treblinka. He was responsible only to

Himmler. Globocnik did his "job" with brutal efficiency by November 1943 he had

completed his task by slaughtering nearly three million Jews. According to

Globocnik’s final report to Himler, the overall value of the cash and valuables

accruing to the Reich between 1 April and 15 December 1943 from Globocnik’s

handiwork came to 180 million Reichsmarks. For helping himself too liberally to

some of this plunder, Globocnik was transferred to Trieste. At the end of the

war, Globocnik succeeded in evading arrest. He 1100 was eventually arrested by

the British in 1945 but committed suicide by a cyanide capsule a few minutes

after his arrest. According to other versions, he was hunted down and killed by

partisans or by a Jewish vengeance squad in June 1945. A pity. He was so

competent a business entrepreneur and fervent believer in western values.

Christian Wirth, the other associate of Gerstein’s, was born in 1885 in

Oberbalzheim in Germany. In WWI he was decorated with one of Germany’s highest

decorations for bravery. He, also, worked as a builder. In the 1930s he worked

as a Nazi police officer and became notorious for his special methods of

investigation (i.e. torture) in criminal matters. At the end of 1939 he carried

out the first known gassing experiments on Germans certified as incurably

insane. Wirth, a gross and brutal individual, whose verbal coarseness and

cruelty richly earned him the nickname "the Savage Christian", prided himself on

the efficiency of the methods of gassing which he designed. He also claimed to

have pioneered the use of "Sonderkommandos"- thereby forcing physically stronger

Jews to bury their own people, they, too, were killed. According to one account,

the brave Wirth was killed in street fighting by Yugoslav partisans. He, also,

might have been killed by a Jewish vengeance squad.

Now,

back to Gerstein and Gavras. According to his own account, left behind in a

prison confession, Gerstein had "but one desire , to gain an insight in the

whole machinery (of the Nazi death camps) and then shout it to the whole world.

Returning from his inspection tour of Belzec in late August 1942 (!), Gerstein

recounted what he had witnessed to a chance companion travelling on the same

Warsaw-Berlin express, Baron von Otter. Gerstein requested that the diplomat

‘report at once to his government and the Allies… (The Swedish government …

never passed on the information.) Gerstein also urged his friends in the Dutch

underground to broadcast his information by radio to Great Britain, but though

the British Foreign Office knew it to be correct, the news was rejected by

British officials.. Gerstein also tried to report to the Papal envoy to Berlin,

but the latter, most reluctant to offend the Nazis, showed him the door."

(Source for the text in quotation marks and much of the bio data: Robert S.

Wistrich, "Who is Who in Nazi Germany," Routledge, 1995).

The

Jewish historian Saul Friedlaender, whose work on Pope Pius XII and Gerstein is

considered as fundamental, considers Gerstein as "a man of the Resistance… His

‘fault’ is found in that he was alone."

After

the war, on July 17, 1945, Gerstein was found hanged in a French prison cell.

Whether Gerstein committed suicide or was killed by Nazi fellow- prisoners is

unknown to this day. The Gavras film- Gerstein commits suicide under SS-arrest

in Rome in 1943.

The

Vatican refused to cooperate with Gavras, so he had to go to Romania and use the

spectacular Ceausescu palace in Bucharest to film the Vatican scenes!

Let

us hope that Gavras’ "tendency to remember" is as effective as that for "Z".

POPE

SEASON

The

March 16 Commentary, titled "The Archbishop," ended with the following words:

"The

latest episode of the Christodoulos series has to do with his archenemy: the

Pope! A few weeks ago the President of the Greek Republic, Kostis Stefanopoulos,

while visiting Italy invited the Pope to visit Greece. Christodoulos said NO !

He claims that if the Pope wishes to visit Greece he can do that as any other

person (as a tourist?). Will Christodoulos prevail?"

Now

we know the answer. Here it is:

Of

course, Christodoulos, the Greek Archbishop, could not prevail. Gregory Niotis,

the Greek deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs (and a frequent visitor to

Washington, D.C.) probably saw to that. Christodoulos did an 180 degrees turn

and was ready to greet the Pope. However, there was the difficulty of silencing

the fanatic crowds that the Archbishop himself had incited earlier.

So,

the Archbishop a couple of weeks before the visit of the Pope, while celebrating

mass in front of the TV cameras at Gysi, a middle-class Athens neighbourhood,

with tears in his eyes asked the Virgin Mary to enlighten the Orthodox Greeks to

desist from demonstrating in the streets against the Pope, etc. The trick worked

perfectly! A text-book case of successful western propaganda methods in contrast

to the Stalinist barbarity of the Soviets. So, only a fringe of the crazy

fanatics continued to shout against the "Satan", "the tow-horned monster of

Rome," "the Antichrist," etc. in the streets.

Thus

on May 4, ’01 the Pope arrived in Athens, took off that cute little circular hat

(or something) in deference to the Greeks, kissed some Greek soil (offered to

him on a platter, because he could not kneel) and met all the Greeks that

matter, mainly Christodoulos, the Archbishop.

Christodoulos, playing his role as a professional that he is, addressed the Pope

in front of the TV cameras and in an aggressive and insulting manner "demanded"

that the Pope apologize for the behaviour of the Catholics for the last one

thousand years and also in an equally insulting manner required that the Pope

stop being silent about the Cyprus problem and start talking about it.

And

the Pope (humbly) apologized (!!) for the Crusades, etc. (one can read about it

in the New York Times), but he skipped Cyprus. Yet, Cristodoulos became the hero

of the Greek Orthodox patriots.

(Note: Was this childish charade the culmination of one thousand years of

glorious Christian history? Who knows? The fact is that the day after the Pope-Christodoulos

meeting, Christodoulos flew to Moscow bringing a Pope message to the

recalcitrant and powerful Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexios, while the Pope

flew to the… Golan Hights ! This seems not to be part of the charade.)

(Interesting) PS : A few days before the Pope visit to Athens there was a

general strike in Greece. The Simitis government had announced that it had

prepared a law to cut down the pensions and extend the age for eligibility to

get a pension to 65. The ENTIRE country was demonstrating in the streets, during

the day of the general strike. This scared the piss out of the Simitis

government and they took back everything. The Pope visit was a welcome

diversion, but another general strike is planned for May 17, The interest lies

in how is the Dubya US Embassy in Athens going to react now that once more

(after Kosovo) the Greek population are not following orders!

 

 

 

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