Chicaco a haven for Nazi-era figures

Discussion in 'Politics' started by OPTIONAL777, Mar 9, 2009.

  1. They lived in our midst
    Area was haven for Nazi-era figures

    By Ron Grossman | Tribune reporter
    March 8, 2009

    WASHINGTON — The federal court records read like variations on the same morality play sharing the same opening scene: A neighbor known as quiet and friendly is accused of Nazi war crimes, stunning residents of nearby bungalows or adjoining apartments.

    "He was always out ready to help his neighbors," Kathy Blitch testified at the trial of Conrad Schellong, with whom she shared a back porch on Chicago's Northwest Side.

    But Schellong, a retired machinist, was also among a number of concentration camp guards whose dark pasts caught up with them decades after they had bluffed their way into this country.

    Many lived in Chicago, where the ethnic patchwork made it easy to blend in among various displaced people rebuilding their lives after World War II. Having participated in the horrors of Auschwitz and Treblinka, former Nazis and their collaborators went on to live in quiet anonymity in Cicero and Schiller Park, Brookfield and Brighton Park.

    "The crimes were enormous," said Peter Black, a historian with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum who interviewed many deported Nazis for the U.S. Department of Justice. "But they themselves seemed so ordinary."

    Now that the work of tracking down and deporting World War II criminals is drawing to a close—people of military age in the 1940s would now be in their late 80s or 90s—the Justice Department is transferring its trial records to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.

    The transcripts, totaling thousands of pages, are an indelible reminder that genocide is not only the work of an obvious monster, an Adolf Hitler or an Idi Amin. From the Holocaust to Darfur, mass killing requires myriad accomplices, some otherwise indistinguishable from the people next door.

    Many of the people who were found, charged and deported were old men by the time justice caught up with them. It took 15 years of investigations, a trial and appeals to deport Liudas Kairys, who worked in the Cracker Jack factory on the Southwest Side.

    Some question whether the effort was worth the cost to taxpayers. But Eli Rosenbaum, who heads the Justice Department's Office of Special Investigations, argues that it is an obligation to future generations.

    After Germany's war-crimes trials in the 1950s, the issue of bringing former Nazis to justice dropped out of the public consciousness, Rosenbaum said. Then the media and Congress raised the question of ex-Nazis living in the U.S., which led to the founding of his office in 1979. In the interval, Rosenbaum asked, what deterrent prevented tyrants from thinking they could get away with genocide? To him, each of his office's cases—22 were filed in the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse in Chicago, more than any other federal court—is a history lesson, as necessary as it is painful.

    Full story here:,0,4618708.story
  2. boid-dog


    How did you get from Nazi's to communists? Barak is not from Chicago but was influenced by community activists since moving here--it is a city that is still highly segregated. Community services are not dealt out equally in this town. In wealthier neighborhoods communities have very little to complain about, where many west and southside neighborhoods city services are ignored. 50 Alderman are paid approximately $110k per year plus half that again to run their offices. It is technically a part time job; they can clean up on contracts, graft, etc. or simply fall in line with the Mayor. Labor movements and socialism was in part founded or co-founded and intellectualized by those like Saul Olynski. The Univ. of Chicago is also home to the father of modern Republican Economics; Milton Friedman and others, and is not exactly the bastion of communism. It also played a major role in the development of the "bomb."

    And deriding a journalist with a Jewish name, especially with scant knowledge of a subject, is base and idiotic.