February 28, 2018




Reichstag Fire Decree, also known as the "Decree of the Reich President for the Protection of People and State" was issued by German President Paul von Hindenburg on the advice of Chancellor Adolf Hitler on February 28, 1933, immediately following the Reichstag fire. The Decree nullified many of the key civil liberties of German citizens, and the Nazi regime used it as a legal basis to arrest and imprison anyone suspected of opposing Nazi rule.  Article 48 translated to English as follows:  "Articles 114, 115, 117, 118, 123, 124 and 153 of the Constitution of the German Reich are suspended until further notice. It is therefore permissible to restrict the rights of personal freedom [habeas corpus], freedom of (opinion) expression, including the freedom of the press, the freedom to organize and assemble, the privacy of postal, telegraphic and telephonic communications. Warrants for House searches, orders for confiscations as well as restrictions on property, are also permissible beyond the legal limits otherwise prescribed."  The Decree was issued as a result of the Reichstag Fire, which occurred the previous day (See February 27, 1933)


The German Army ordered the dismissal of all  "non-Aryans", that is, Jews, from military service. (Note: After the Nazis rose to power in 1933, Jewish veterans were briefly protected from dismissal due to the  intervention of German President Paul von Hindenburg, but this changed in 1935 after his death. Following the upheaval of Kristallnacht in 1938,  German Jewish veterans were  forced to emigrate, or were deported to concentration camps and murdered along with other German Jews.  During World War I, there were about 100,000 German Jewish military personnel serving n the German Army, 12,000 of whom were killed in action.  Weimar Germany awarded the Iron Cross to 18,000 German Jews during the World War I.. Even in WW2, there were many German Jewish soldiers, and some Generals. Regardless, Hitler tried to erase the Jewish contribution and blame them for Germany's defeat in WW1, perpetrating the myth of them stabbing Germany in the back.  But today there is renewed interest in and recognition of the German Jews who served in the German Army.)


Huta Pieniacka massacre:  According to the Polish Institute of National Remembrance, the massacre was committed by the 14th subunit of the '1st Ukrainian' Grenadier Division of the Waffen-SS. Testimonies had been given by Polish witnesses that orders were given by German officers. Ukrainian sources, claim it was ordered by the German police battalions.  According to other accounts, the  SS Galizien were accompanied by a paramilitary unit of Ukrainian nationalists under W┼éodzimierz (Vladimir) Czerniawski's command. The unit included members of the UPA and local villagers who sought to seize the property of Polish people they murdered. Casualties amounted to 500 to 1,200 people killed.

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