Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Remembering the man who saved Hitler's Third Reich in 1944 and sold arms to Fidel Castro in the 1960s

 A closer look at an unrepentant Nazi who sold weapons to Fidel Castro

Fidel Castro in 1962 when Otto-Ernst Remer was selling him weapons
 Seventy five years ago on August 7, 1944 the trials of the conspirators who tried to kill Adolf Hitler in Operation Valkyrie began. Judge Roland Freisler presided over the political show trial of the men who had attempted to rescue Germany and bring the Nazi regime and the war to an end.

On July 20, 1944 the failure of a bombing to kill Hitler, and one man crushed the conspiracy and brought to an end this high level plot by civilian and military officials. The bomb went off and injured, but did not kill Hitler at the Wolf's Lair, a command post near Rastenburg, East Prussia (present-day Poland). The July 20 plot or as it came to be known Operation Valkyrie failed. In the end 7,000 people were arrested, and 4,980 executed for their role in the plot.

The New York Times on October 9, 1997 reported on Otto-Ernst Remer's role in breaking up the anti-Nazi conspiracy:
Mr. Remer initially followed a general's orders to seal off Berlin Government ministries, but Propaganda Minister Josef Goebbels soon put him on the phone with Hitler, who promoted Mr. Remer to colonel and ordered him to crush the rebellion.

Mr. Remer was instrumental in the arrest of the conspirators, including Claus von Stauffenberg, the plot leader, and their families. Many were executed, and others were sent to concentration camps, said Shimon Samuels, of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, an organization based in Los Angeles that tracks Nazi war criminals.
Mr. Remer later won promotion to major general, commanded a division and was responsible for Hitler's personal security.
By Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-H25087 / Unknown / CC-BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0 de
However, what remains disturbing is that the man who broke up the conspiracy Otto-Ernst Remer (18 August 1912 – 4 October 1997) would go on to play a big role in post-Nazi Germany. Captured by the United States, he remained a prisoner of war until 1947. 

Following his release, he obtained funding from the Soviet Union and established the Socialist Reich Party in 1950 that worked with the Communist Party of Germany.  Campaign themes of the Socialist Reich Party included that the Holocaust was an allied propaganda invention, it accused the United States of building fake gas chambers and producing fake news-film footage about concentration camps, that the politics of the Allied-powers created West German state were merely a front for American domination, and that West Germany's puppet status of the United States should be opposed. 

The Socialist Reich Party was banned in 1952 and Otto-Ernst Remer fled to Egypt. He was an advisor to Gamal Abdel Nasser, and worked with other former Nazis assisting Arab states with the development of their armed forces.

In the early 1960s Otto-Ernst Remer had contacts with and assisted Fidel Castro in Cuba with the purchase of weapons. Ernst-Remer along with Ernst Wilhelm Springer sold the Cuban dictator 4,000 pistols.
German foreign intelligence agency Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) reported: "Evidently, the Cuban revolutionary army did not fear contagion from personal links to Nazism, so long as it served its objectives." 

Otto-Ernst Remer returned to West Germany in the 1980s, and set up an organization entitled the "German Freedom Movement" (G.F.M.), which advocated the reunification of East and West Germany, and the removal of NATO military forces from West German soil. The G.F.M. was an umbrella organization for multiple underground Neo-Nazi splinter-groups, and Remer used it to influence a new generation of post-war born Germans. Until the end of his days he continued to engage in Holocaust denial, was an unrepentant Nazi and continued to promote and organize underground Neo-Nazi movements that continue to engage in acts of terror and murder to the present day.

Otto-Ernst Remer in 1993
None of this should comes as a shock considering that Communist Russia allied with Nazi Germany in 1939 to start World War Two, and covertly promoted Nazi elements again in post-war Germany  to undermine West German democracy. 

It is also important to remember that it was not just the Soviet Union that allied with the Nazis from 1939 to 1941, but the whole international communist movement.

Harvey Klehr, the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Politics and History, Emeritus, at Emory University, described how communists had mistakenly viewed the Nazis as a means to achieving power and undermining capitalist democracies.
"Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in 1932 had been immeasurably aided by the German communists’ steadfast support for the Comintern tactic of “class against class,” which demanded no cooperation with other anti-Nazi forces. German communists blithely insisted that Hitler’s triumph would be evanescent—summarized in their optimistic slogan, Nach Hitler, kommen wir ('After Hitler, us'). By 1936, the folly of that policy was evident, leading the Soviet Union to drop it and seek alliances to stop Hitler."
The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, named after the Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov and the Nazi German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, officially called the Treaty of Non-aggression between Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was signed 75 years ago. Made public on August 23, 1939 the Molotov Ribbentrop Pact was a Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact with secret protocols setting out how the two regimes would divide Poland and the Baltic States.  World War 2 would begin with the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany on September 1, 1939. The Soviet Union invaded Poland from the East on September 17, 1939. The double invasion is dramatized in Andrzej Wajda's 2007 film Katyn.

Nazi Foreign Minister Von Ribbentrop, Joseph Stalin, and his foreign minister, Molotov
The Communist International (Comintern), known also as the Third International issued new orders to their members once the non-aggression pact had been made public.  Professor Klehr described the new directive.
Good communists were ordered to oppose anyone intending to stand in Hitler’s way.  With Ribbentrop’s second visit to Moscow at the end of September and the signing of a German-Soviet Treaty of Friendship, the Comintern emphasized that the primary adversary was those countries that were at war with Germany, and those socialists and social democrats fighting against fascism. Germany had concluded a pact with the USSR, while “reactionary” England, at the helm of a vast colonial empire, was the “bulwark of capitalism.” Thus, communist parties in England and France were ordered to call for the defeat of their countries—ordered, in other words, to officially embrace treason. 
According to Klehr, Nazi reports confirmed that the Communists were fulfilling their part of the agreement and sided against Western Democracies.
 A June 1940 Gestapo report approvingly noted that the Soviet government was favorably disposed to the Third Reich and had endorsed its invasions of the Scandinavian states and Belgium and Holland “as necessary and proper.” The report went on to note that the Comintern had avoided open attacks on Germany,  and that the parties and publications allied with the Comintern were not pushing for communists to struggle against National Socialism or denounce fascism.
This arrangement only ended on June 22, 1941 when the Nazis double crossed their Soviet allies and launched Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union.

Communist morality has no problem with any of it because as the communist revolutionary Vladimir Lenin observed in a speech to Russian communist youth on October 2, 1920:

"The class struggle is continuing and it is our task to subordinate all interests to that struggle. Our communist morality is also subordinated to that task. We say: morality is what serves to destroy the old exploiting society and to unite all the working people around the proletariat, which is building up a new, communist society."
This is the morality that led the Soviet Union to back Nazis in post-war Germany and Fidel Castro to use former Waffen SS to train his security forces and buy weapons from Nazis in the 1960s.  This is the "morality" of the ends justify the means.

This is the value system of totalitarians.

Otto-Ernst Remer died in Spain on October 4, 1997. He was 85 years old and an unrepentant and true believing Nazi.

However the value system that prevailed in Germany was a profoundly different one. A value system reflected by those who defied Hitler and the Nazis at the cost of their own lives.