In an effort to find scientific proof for Nazi claims of Aryan superiority, Mengele unnecessarily amputated limbs and infected children with typhus. On one occasion, he killed 14 twins in a single night by injecting chloroform into their hearts. He even managed to escape justice. At the end of the war, the killer went on the run and found refuge in South America.
He died in a swimming pool in Brazil in Mr Kleinman, who survived by fooling Mengele, did not speak about his experiences for 60 years but now dedicates his life to telling his story. Last year he took groups to Auschwitz seven times with the charity JRoots , and over the years has covered 24,miles telling his story around the world.
A picture taken in shows Mr Kleinman at the age of seven, posing with his parents and five brothers and sisters in their hometown of Abud in western Romania. Four years later, Romania was annexed by Hungary and occupied by the German army. In , they finally arrested us and took us to Auschwitz in cattle trucks. When we arrived, the stench was unbelievable. Among the many horrors he experienced in the camp was the time the man labouring with a pickaxe next to him was shot dead simply because he straightened his back. In temperatures of C, he and thousands of prisoners were forced to walk miles to Sachsenhausen in Germany and from there another miles to Dachau, wearing nothing but striped pyjamas, a blanket and wooden clogs.
Some resorted to eating human flesh while Mr Kleinman kept himself alive by consuming grass. Any prisoner who failed to keep up was executed. The moment of freedom come on 23 April A picture of Leslie Kleinman taken from the documentation he received on entering Britain. He asked me in Yiddish if I was a Jew and I admitted it. Then he told me he too was Jewish — an American Jew from Brooklyn. He got an SS officer and forced him to give me his boots and take my clogs instead.
Mr Kleinman was taken to hospital, where a short time later he was given an extraordinary opportunity for revenge.
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We were brought up with kindness. We were very poor in my house, but there was a lot of love. The revolver proved to be useful, however, when a few days later Mr Kleinman was taking shelter in a beer factory and was accused by some Russian soldiers of stealing alcohol. In another extraordinary twist, in married a non-Jewish German woman, Evelyn Holz, whom he had met at a dance in Kilburn, north London.
Leadership Lessons Out of the Horrors of Auschwitz
They had two children together and after a long and happy marriage, Evelyn passed away in Mr Kleinman remarried in , at the age of His new wife, Miriam, is 10 years younger than him. But the memories of his past continue to haunt him.
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He still mourns his father Martin, a rabbi who was killed at the age of 35; mother Rachel, also 35; his four sisters, Gitta, 15, Olga, nine, Shandi, seven, and Sarah, five; and his three brothers, Herman, 12, Abraham, four, and Moses, two. The charity JRoots works to educate young people about the Holocaust. The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline. The joy and satisfaction over the new found freedom of Eastern Europeans, the unification of Germany, and the breakup of the Soviet Union has superseded any qualms about the hurt and pain inflicted upon Cold War bystanders.
But no agency of the U. However reluctantly, agencies like the CIA have gradually and incompletely complied with scholarly demands to release the documentary record on Cold War policies toward Latin America. The release of records has not, however, prompted a public discussion about the past. Discussion of the U. Argentina, the home of la guerra sucia , has led the way in historical inquiry. The generals and admirals that had murdered 30, Argentines left office in disgrace after the military debacle that was the war to liberate the Malvinas. Devastated by the embarrassing defeat and the military casualties, the Argentine public turned in fury against the junta.
General Leopoldo Galtieri resigned as president and was replaced by a caretaker general who promised elections. Argentina's anti-Communist military leaders had demonstrated to the world that their leadership skills and competence were limited to torturing and murdering defenseless civilians. The report documented secret detention centers and 8, "disappeared" persons. The report further concluded that the number of disappeared was substantially higher than 8, This is because the men and women of our nation have only heard of such horror in reports from distant places.
Chile, El Salvador, and Guatemala would issue similar reports in the s on atrocities during the Cold War. Nunca Mais was based on a purloined copy of the Supreme Military Tribunal's archive, which contained documents and photos produced by military courts against political prisoners Evaristo Arns As Argentines began the search for the desaparecidos in mass graves, they developed forensic skills in exhuming and identifying bodies. Argentine anthropologists thereafter assisted other nations in Latin America in recovering and identifying remains.
Argentines scientists worked, for example, in establishing that a massacre occurred in El Mozote in El Salvador Cardenas The military leaders were unrepentant, with Admiral Emilio Massera claiming he had fought a "just war" against terrorism.
Leadership Lessons Out of the Horrors of Auschwitz | Ivey Business Journal
The chief prosecutor labeled the military leaders as "criminals" who ordered the murder and torture of innocent civilians. A panel of judges in a federal appellate court found five of the junta members guilty and sentenced them to prison. General Jorge Videla and Admiral Massera received life sentences. Three of the four acquitted subsequently received prison sentences from military courts.
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Argentines, including the mothers and grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo, thereafter called for the prosecution of the military subordinates who had kidnapped, murdered, and tortured. The due obedience law exempted military personnel below the rank of colonel from prosecution. The Argentine president reasoned that he had to prevent another military golpe and safeguard Argentine constitutionalism. Impunity had seemingly triumphed over justice in Argentina Wright Domestic and international developments combined to lead Argentines from the late s on to once again reassess their Cold War past.
Argentines were left aghast, when, on 9 March , Captain Adolfo Scilingo, confessed on a popular television news show that he had participated in two of the weekly "death flights," dumping thirty living but drugged desaparecidos into the South Atlantic. The articulate Scilingo, who was now conscience-stricken, appeared handsome, educated, socially adept, and, wearing a suit by Christian Dior, well groomed. He favored pushing sticks up the victim's anus while shocking them with volts of electricity.
A new organization, the children of the murdered and disappeared, joined with the Plaza de Mayo women to agitate for justice. Jurists also challenged the constitutionality of pardons and legal immunities, citing such issues as the stolen children and the legal concept of habeas corpus. The Argentines received support in their quest for justice from the international legal community.
Growing out of memories of the Holocaust, the principles of the Nuremburg trials, the adoption of the U. Declaration of Human Rights, and continued atrocities in places such as East Pakistan Bangladesh , Cambodia, Guatemala, Uganda, Bosnia, and Rwanda, international lawyers and global leaders began to argue there was "universal jurisdiction" for crimes against humanity.
Belgium adopted a law in giving its legal system jurisdiction over war crimes anywhere in the world. Italian and Spanish jurists initiated extradition proceedings against Latin American military officers, charging that they had killed European nationals in countries such as Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay. In the first decade of the twenty-first century, Argentine jurists have pursued the criminals who waged la guerra sucia. In , an Argentine federal judge ruled the punto final and due obedience laws unconstitutional, reasoning they violated both Argentine and international law.
The disappearance of persons was judged a crime against humanity and could not be amnestied. Ninety percent of those never emerged alive from the military facility. Both the prominent and unpublicized perpetrators of murder and torture in Argentina faced justice. In , General Galtieri was again indicted and put under house arrest; he died a few months later of a heart attack. In April , an Argentine court convicted Reynaldo Bignone, a retired general and Argentina's last dictator , for the kidnapping, torture and murder of fifty-six people. Bignone, 82, received a twenty-five-year sentence.
In late , Bignone received an additional fifteen-year sentence for setting up in a secret torture center inside a hospital, where doctors and nurses were abused. In , General Videla received a life sentence for the murder of thirty-one political prisoners. Human rights activists also celebrated the life sentence handed down in to the Reverend Christian von Wernich, a Roman Catholic priest. Father von Wernich was present at torture sessions, helping extract confessions, while at the same time offering consoling words to family members seeking their loved ones who had been kidnapped.
The conviction forced both lay and religious people to confront the Church's complicity in Argentina's sordid past. International jurists also contributed to the movement for justice. The nuns had been working with Argentine groups, including the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, in trying to learn about the fate of the disappeared. Captain Astiz, who was known as the "Angel of Death," for his youthful appearance, blonde hair, and ruthlessness, had infiltrated the peace groups, claiming that he had a brother who had also disappeared.
In late , Argentine jurists began to process of putting Captain Astiz on trial for murder and subsequently convicted and sentenced Astiz to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity on 26 October In , Spanish authorities arrested a Dutch-Argentine airline pilot, Julio Alberto Poch, who flew planes used to throw Argentines into the sea. In , the Spanish High Court ordered the pilot's extradition to Argentina to face charges.
He is now in an Argentine prisonawaiting trial, charged with forty-one murders. Chile's movement from impunity to justice followed a path similar to Argentina's. The callous General Pinochet dominated political life in Chile until , long after the Cold War had ended. Under mounting domestic and international pressure, Pinochet had agreed to hold a plebiscite in , giving Chileans a choice on whether they wanted a continuation of one-man rule.
Pinochet relinquished the presidency, but he maintained substantial control.
In , he had declared a general amnesty for uniformed personnel. His constitution granted him the power to stay as commander-in-chief of the armed forces until The constitution also provided for non-elected senators, who were Pinochet's acolytes, to take seats in the Chilean legislature. In , the glowering Pinochet draped the presidential sash over Patricio Aylwin of the Christian Democrats.
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After twenty-seven years of military rule, Chile had returned to free elections and constitutional processes. President Aylwin and his successor Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle , the son of the former president, moved cautiously on human rights issues. The Rettig Commission lacked subpoena power. It was authorized only to investigate deaths at the hands of state agents. It could not name perpetrators of crimes, and it could not investigate cases of arbitrary detention or of people who had been tortured but not murdered. Despite the restraints, the Rettig Commission provided a notable service to Chileans with its report.
It documented over 2, deaths and disappearances. Subsequent investigations raised the death toll to over 3, The commission rejected the Pinochet fantasy that the country had been at war after the overthrow of Salvador Allende and demonstrated that most of the dead were unarmed civilians, not armed guerrillas. Even as the commission took testimony, its work was aided by the discovery in June of a mass grave in Pisagua, a port city in northern Chile. Chileans gasped as they looked at the mummified faces of the disappeared on television and in newspaper photographs.
General Pinochet denounced the Rettig Commission as a "sewer" and boasted that the armed forces took pride in saving the country from terrorism and international communism. The government thereafter provided compensation to the families of the executed and disappeared but did not challenge the amnesty law. Contreras received, however, only a light sentence for his crime Wright After , Chileans began to engage directly with the past. General Pinochet stepped down as military commander, twenty-five years after he seized power, and took his seat in the legislature as "a senator for life.
As a senator, Pinochet would also preserve his impunity. In September , the cocky general travelled to London for a back operation. On 16 October , British authorities arrested Pinochet, and he was kept under house arrest for the next sixteen months as the Spanish, British, and Chileans wrangled over the legal and jurisdictional issues.
The British Foreign Office eventually shipped Pinochet home, ruling that he lacked the mental capacities to stand trial. Pinochet feigned illness, including dementia. But the once terrorized Chileans realized that their emperor no longer wore clothes. General Augusto Pinochet had become an epic international embarrassment Roht-Arriaza After , Pinochet would constantly find himself barraged with criminal cases and would lose his legal immunity and his senatorial seat.
Chileans' fury mounted when they learned that Pinochet and his henchmen had stashed cash in banks around the world. Claiming their client's ill health, lawyers kept Pinochet out of a Chilean jail. The dictator died in late at the age of ninety-one. Pinochet's military colleagues were not as fortunate. Latin America's military dictatorships and death squads had thought they were clever when they "disappeared" victims or disfigured bodies beyond recognition.
They were confident that they would never be prosecuted, because evidence no longer existed. By the end of , over Chileans, including numerous generals, had been convicted of disappearing Chileans. Manuel Contreras of Operation Condor received a life sentence in for the assassination of Chilean General Carlos Prats and his wife in a car bomb attack in Buenos Aires in A day after the overthrow of President Allende, Jara was arrested and transported to Chile Stadium where he was tortured and shot forty-four times with machine-gun bullets. Love forgives.
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