The Nazi Atrocity “Dunkirk” Overlooked

Aug. 14 2017

While praising the film Dunkirk’s depiction of the heroic British retreat from the French coast during the first year of World War II, Michael Coren argues that it should have included an important but oft-forgotten episode:

The general view is that while Nazism was, of course, inherently evil, it took time for its repugnance to become obviously manifest. It’s assumed that it wasn’t until the [systematic slaughter of the Jews began in the summer of 1941] that the authentic nature of National Socialism was revealed, and that on the battlefield it was the eastern front and the war against the Soviets that exposed the genocidal nature of Adolf Hitler’s creed. Not so. . . .

On May 28, 1940, in Wormhoudt, France, a brigade of the 48th South Midland Infantry Division successfully delayed a German advance until they had run out of ammunition. Many of them [were captured and] moved at gunpoint toward a barn. They were immediately shocked at the casual violence of their captors: unarmed soldiers were beaten and wounded men were simply shot dead. . . .

Around 100 exhausted, hungry and defenseless men were marched into a barn, thinking that perhaps they were there to rest and be fed. . . . The Germans then threw in a number of grenades.

Two sergeants, Stanley Moore and Augustus Jennings, gave their lives by throwing themselves on the grenades so as to save some of their men. At this point, the SS marched the rest of the prisoners out of the barn in fives and shot them. Concerned that the massacre was taking too long and providing the British with time to try to escape, the Germans then simply machine-gunned everybody in the barn. . . .

Do see Dunkirk. . . . But remember why that heroism and sacrifice were necessary and what those men were fighting for. The tragedy is that struggle never completely disappears.

You have 2 free articles left this month

Sign up now for unlimited access

Subscribe Now

Already have an account? Log in now

Read more at Canadian Broadcasting Company

More about: Film, History & Ideas, Nazism, World War II


The Riots on the Gaza Border are Carefully Coordinated Attacks on Israel, and Should Be Treated as Such

Jan. 16 2019

On Friday, the weekly riots at the Gaza security fence resumed in full force: 13,000 people participated, and a Palestinian woman was apparently killed by Israeli gunfire. The UN Human Rights Council (UNHCR) had established a commission of inquiry in May, not long after these riots began, “to investigate all alleged violations and abuses of international humanitarian law and international human-rights law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, . . . particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip, in the context of the military assaults on the large-scale civilian protests that began on March 20, 2018.” In a report to the commission, Richard Kemp, a retired senior British officer, concludes, after investigating the situation at the Gaza border, that there is no evidence whatsoever of Israeli wrongdoing, and that the commission is operating under faulty assumptions:

The terms of [the commission’s] mandate are self-evidently biased against the state of Israel and the IDF. The context cited—“the military assaults on the large-scale civilian protests”—make clear that the UNHRC either failed to understand what was happening on the ground or deliberately misrepresented the reality. In addition, the commission’s mandate terms the Gaza Strip “Occupied Palestinian Territories,” which it is not. . . .

[T]he so-called “civilian protests” in reality were, and continue to be, a deliberate military operation, orchestrated and controlled by Hamas, [a] terrorist group that has been waging an armed conflict against Israel for many years. Their intention was and remains to kill and wound IDF soldiers, to break through the border fence, to murder and maim innocent civilians, to destroy property, and to compel the IDF to take defensive action resulting in the death of Gaza civilians for exploitation in the international arena. [Israel’s] “military assaults” were not what was implied by this prejudicial mandate. They were in fact lawful, proportionate, and restrained defensive actions. . . .

Suggestions that these demonstrations are [protests] against Israeli policy toward the Gaza Strip are demonstrably false and easily refuted by cursory viewing of Hamas and other public statements made at the time of the events. . . . Further, it is clear that Hamas intended this violence to continue its long-standing strategy of creating and intensifying international outrage, vilification, isolation, and criminalization of the state of Israel and its officials. . . .

[T]he starkest indication that these events were entirely under Hamas control is the simple fact that, when it suited Hamas’s political interests, the [demonstrations] occurred and were of a violent nature, and when such actions did not serve Hamas’s interests, the border was quiet. As the most recent example of this, in November 2018, Qatar began to make large cash payments to Hamas in Gaza. The most recent payment of $15 million was handed over in December 2018. These payments are reportedly part of an agreement with Hamas to diminish violence along the Gaza border. [After] the first payment, the border violence [was] reduced [and the] demonstrations [became] far more restrained.

You have 1 free article left this month

Sign up now for unlimited access

Subscribe Now

Already have an account? Log in now

Read more at Colonel Richard Kemp

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, IDF, Israel & Zionism, Laws of war, UNHRC