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  1. brianw

    brianw Member

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    via War44
    The name of ODESSA can mean many things depending upon your view of the war.

    Currently the city of Odessa is the third largest in Ukraine, and in safer times a holiday resort and warm water port on the Black Sea. There were reports of a massacre in Odessa, Ukraine on 12 May 2014.

    * * *​

    In the dark days of World War Two the city of Odessa was designated as part of Transnistria and administered by Romanians and some Nazis. In those dark days the Jews of Odessa were subject to a hideous massacre in the last days of autumn 1941 and into the winter of 1942. Actual numbers of dead vary widely from between 25,000 and 35,000 shot or burned to over 100,000 Ukrainian Jews murdered or deported.

    During the Siege of Odessa, and the Axis occupation, approximately 25,000 Odessans were murdered in the outskirts of the city and over 35,000 deported; this came to be known as the Odessa Massacre. Most of the atrocities were committed during the first six months of the occupation which officially began on 17 October 1941, when 80% of the 210,000 Jews in the region were killed.
    After the Nazi forces began to lose ground on the Eastern Front, the Romanian administration changed its policy, refusing to deport the remaining Jewish population to extermination camps in German occupied Poland, and allowing Jews to work as hired labourers. As a result, despite the tragic events of 1941, the survival of the Jewish population in this area was higher than in other areas of occupied eastern Europe.

    The city suffered severe damage and sustained many casualties over the course of the war. Many parts of Odessa were damaged during both the siege and its recapture on 10 April 1944, when the city was finally liberated by the Red Army. It was one of the first four Soviet cities to be awarded the title of "Hero City" in 1945, though some of the Odessans had a more favourable view of the Romanian occupation, in contrast with the Soviet official view that the period was exclusively a time of hardship, deprivation, oppression and suffering – claims embodied in public monuments and disseminated through the media to this day. Subsequent Soviet policies imprisoned and executed numerous Odessans (and deported most of the German and Tatar population) on account of collaboration with the occupiers.

    * * *​

    ODESSA was also the name given to a secret SS organisation (Organization Der Ehemaligen SS-Angehörigen) set up towards the end of the war to provide prominent Nazis and SS personnel with new identities and/or transport to a safe place somewhere in the world, usually South America and escape justice in Europe. The organisation first came to the notice of the Israeli Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal during interrogations at the Nuremberg Tribunals.

    One of the more famous cases supposedly handled by the ODESSA was the relocation of Adolf Eichmann to Argentina. He was later found by Israel’s Mossad agents and returned to Israel where he stood trial and was convicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity. He was hanged in May 1962.

    There were rumours that the notorious Dr. Josef Mengele (the Auschwitz “Angel of Death”) was also spirited away to South America by this organisation, however those rumours were never proved, although Mengele’s body was identified by DNA comparison in 1985 after the exhumation of a body which was recovered following a swimming accident off the Brazilian coast in 1979.


    Further reading:

    Organization of Former SS Members (ODESSA) | Jewish Virtual Library

    Odessa - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    1941 Odessa massacre - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Josef Mengele - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  2. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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