Behind the Bastards

There’s a reason the History Channel has produced hundreds of documentaries about Hitler but only a few about Dwight D. Eisenhower. Bad guys (and gals) are eternally fascinating. Behind the Bastards dives in past the Cliffs Notes of the worst humans in history and exposes the bizarre realities of their lives. Listeners will learn about the young adult novels that helped Hitler form his monstrous ideology, the founder of Blackwater’s insane quest to build his own Air Force, the bizarre lives of the sons and daughters of dictators and Saddam Hussein’s side career as a trashy romance novelist.

Part Two: Oskar Dirlwanger: The Worst Nazi

Part Two: Oskar Dirlwanger: The Worst Nazi

Thu, 29 Sep 2022 10:00

Robert is joined again by Matt Lieb to continue to discuss Oskar Dirlwanger.

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A new series from one day University explains the science of satisfaction. I'm Mike Coscarelli and I'll be guiding you through the expertise of Professor Barry Schwartz. Millions watched his TED Talk videos to understand why it's so hard to find happiness. People are not as good at identifying what makes them happy as you might hope. Listen to the Happiness Formula. Every Tuesday on the iHeartRadio app, Apple podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. I'm Danny Shapiro, host of Family Secrets. I hope you'll join me and my extraordinary guests for this new season of Family Secrets. With over 25 million downloads, the importance of both telling and hearing secrets is apparent. And I am so excited to share 10 astonishing news stories with you. This is our best season yet. Listen and subscribe to Family Secrets on the iHeartRadio app, Apple podcasts, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Oh, welcome to Behind the Basterds, the Drive Time Radio podcast. The Gets You to Your Work. Rockin' with all our old friends, Hitler and Reinhardt Hydrick, all the boys! Hell yeah! Hitler and his friends. Hitler and his friends. Wow! So everybody, this is Robert Evans with my guest for today, this week Matt Leib. What's up? Matt has one of those boxes that radio DJs have that makes sounds on demand. Hell yeah! I'm going to tell you right now, this is going to be a nightmare for all of you. I'm very excited. It's the only way you can actually inject levity into Nazi atrocities is occasional air horn. So air horn? You know, and then some cool funky beats. Yeah, yeah, a couple of pops. Yeah, oh my god. So a few stings in there, man. Honestly, I've always said, behind the bastards needs to be more like a morning zoo feel. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Oh, we could, we could get like a deep fake of Elron Hubbard to like come in and be a guest every now and again and talk about how to kidnap his baby the best. Welcome to boner and the Nard. Hell yeah! Today we're talking about Reinhardt Hydrick. More like Reinhardt Hydrick. Yeah! All right, I'm pissed. Sorry, I'm so sorry. We've really, really all the goodwill that we've built up for years of carefully doing this podcast shattered in a second. Gone because of my new equipment, dude. This came with it. Yeah, I don't understand. I don't need it. It just was like, oh, here's a pad for sounds. I was like, when you hear about like people's who being introduced to the global economy, having like not ever been brought in before and suddenly like Coca-Cola comes to them. Like at no point have their ancestors ever processed that amount of sugar. Right. It causes serious health problems. That's what's happening to me with access to this device that you now have. Yes, exactly. I am going to destroy myself and my show. Yes, yes. I am someone liberated from a work camp who gets a Hershey bar in here. Yeah, exactly. It's just too much. Oh boy. So on times we should probably start this episode by talking about what it means to be a hunter or a poacher, right? And Nazi Germany. Yeah. Because it's not as simple as you'd think, right? Poaching is a serious crime. A lot of the laws that people are getting arrested under date back to the days when the Kaiser and other nobles are like the only people who are allowed to hunt or at least allowed to hunt in certain areas. And right, because you've got like a king and you've got dukes and it's like, well, these are the nice deer. And only they may hunt them. And you know, or in this woods, all of the game belonged to this noble family. I was wondering. I was like, I thought it was weird. I was like, poachers, it was it illegal to do a certain game? It always is, right? Because you don't want number one, the Nazis, it must be said. We're kind of ahead of the curve when it came to like attitudes towards animal welfare and environmental preservation. So there is some of this is that like they have laws because it's like what we don't want to do damage to this ecosystem. But one of the greatest paradoxes of Nazism is like when Hitler is like, I'm a vegetarian. Yeah, it's like, good. I just like humming of animals. Yes. Oh, no, it's a little. It's a little kitty. So some of it does come from just the fact that Hitler is kind of a guy who likes animals. And some of it comes from a lot of it. Most of it comes from just like there have always been these laws because in all of Europe, it's been heavily restricted. Who gets to hunt wear? Right. This is a bigger subject. But hunting is like, it's a thing in Europe and away. It's not in the United States because among other things, a lot of stuff like who gets to have weapons is right up and who gets to go hunting. And like a lot of different kind of game. Number one, because of how much longer there's been sort of settled societies in Europe. And they were never in because there is bad at environmental regulation as white people tend to be. They wiped out a lot of like the big game species. So there was kind of a need. Anyway, there's a lot of rules here. So number one, poaching is something that it is easy to be a poacher and that what you can hunt and win is heavily regulated. But but the other thing that's going on here is that even though poaching is punished severely and Hitler himself hates the idea of hunting for meat. Hunters have a deep like almost religious spiritual sort of place in German folklore. Right. The concept of a hunter is something that is is venerated. Think about like at least a couple of times in those fucking handsel and Gretelass stories where like the guy who comes and saves the day is some like hunter who's just like right through the woods, right? Like it's a thing, you know. And it's a thing in part because like Germans have a lot of German history is like rap and German like pride is wrapped up and you know, their their early history when they were fighting the Romans and like they're these kind of woods people who are living the dark forests. They're national full kiro myths. Yeah. A lot of them are like exactly. So a lot of Nazi propaganda is focused on people need to return to nature. You need to get back to the woods. They need to hike into camp and of course they need to hunt, right? That is as much as Hitler doesn't like it. A lot of Nazis and a lot of Nazi propaganda still does venerate hunters. They're not like, don't kill for me. If you're going to kill kill for a yeah, this job has me making such moral compromises. Unbelievable. They kill the stag right now where I gas to Jews. It was horrible. Can't you believe it? Put his head up on Sevol. So we see shades of this in modern right wing propaganda right like every if you're going to be like a right wing shithead, Trumpy political candidate. You're gone opposed with a gun shooting some right. Some of those guys are actual hunters. Neo Nazi fucking Paul Neelin is a hunter in a scary asshole. But a lot of them are just like doctor Oz where it's like, yeah, put me with a shotgun next to some ducks. Right. People need to see that I'm a real man. Yes. And it's a bit like that with the Nazis. You definitely have some degree to which this is like showy. But some of the Nazi high command are big hunting nerds. I think it's girl gering. Gering is huge into hunting. And I believe him. There is as well was either him. Him or her gurgles. I actually forgot the double check. But one of the two of the other big guys was was also a big hunting nerd. And they have like very nice hunting lodges. Gering builds this palace for himself named after his dead wife Karen Hall. That's just for him to go shoot things while the war is going badly. So there are a lot of like there is Nazis are kind of as much as Hitler doesn't like it. Attributing some sort of magical skill to the idea of being a hunter. And poachers, even though it's illegal, poachers are seen as generally the very best hunters, right? Because not only are they tracking and killing animals, but they're doing it while avoiding the law, right? Right. Right. So you have to be pretty good at hunting to be a successful bogey. Yeah. You're hunting while being hunted. Exactly. So that there is like a respect even as much as the Nazis are big law and order guys, there's a respect for what it means to be a poacher. So it's both this like these guys are criminals and thus we don't want to associate too closely with them. And also these guys have some sort of primal skill that we've venerate, right? Mm-hmm. So when the Nazis decide that they're going to form a military unit of caught and sentenced poachers, they think they're making like this is obviously is a considered military decision. It does make sense, right? If you were planning a counterinsurgeon campaign, this might be a thing you would do because it does make sense. But they're also doing something a little bit more esoteric. The mystical qualities attributed to hunters by German mythology include an understanding of the wild as something powerful, spiritual and valuable, but by necessity controlled. And there's this idea that some men are wild men and poachers are among them. Duraweinger is a wild man and you can't let these people run freely in your society because like they'll fuck it up. They're too, they bring too much chaos. Yeah, yeah. But they also, they're manly, they're powerful and they're necessary in some places. So there's a place for wildness. There's a place where it's necessary. And as the Nazis gear up to ethnically cleanse Poland and the East, one of the things that is like makes immediate sense to these guys is like, well, this is where this is a place where wildness is needed. Right. This is a place you have to ask. Exactly. We need some fucking lunatics out here. And yeah, I'm going to quote again from Christian Ingram. Quote, the image of the hunter, like that of his different quarries, corresponds according to Bertrand Hell to a European imagination of black blood, which defines the exact distance from the wild to the societies. And by a discourse interpreting hunter's behavior inserts them in social organization and integrates therein, the savagery and violence of that image. Now, black blood, meaning like these people have animal blood inside of them. Exactly. Yeah, there's something inherently wild about them that we have to harness, right? And if you want to read Christian's book, which I do recommend, he goes into a lot of detail about what this means, kind of the esoteric history. I don't understand all of this. I'm going to tell you that right now. I am not an expert on European folklore. And this is an academic text, Christian is a little bit wonkyer than I entirely get. But what I do understand is that he's saying the Nazis venerate wildness. Thus is the, our, a term you will hear a lot in speeches that like Hitler and Himmler and Garing make is hardness, right? We want to make young men hard so that they can do the things that are going to need to be done in the East. Yeah, love to make young men hard. It is, it is very funny. We can make all the dick jokes we want to. I'm sorry. This is, you can see this as part of the evidence for the intentionalist sort of act. It kind of does fit either because what you're seeing here is that when you're, when you're specifically saying we need to make the new generation of men tough and not care about hurting people, right? And, and able to kind of go wild because we're about to take over a space that we need them to go wild in in order to tame it, right? That is preparation for a genocide. Now, not in the sense that I think is easy to recognize in court papers, but like, sure. Right? The, the deliberate inculcation of these virtues of hardness and wildness in young men and the Reich is part of why the genocide happens. It's, it's, it's, it's as necessary as stockpiling the munitions, right? Sure. Because most people can't just go shoot 30,000 folks in a day, right? Yeah. Like, even most assholes can't do that. Yeah, right. Take your biggest American dipshit and he's not getting those kind of numbers. Yeah. No. No. The white wanger and these poachers are being formed into an anti-partisan unit in addition to the stuff that just makes sense militarily. There's an understanding by the notsy brass that these guys are going to be good at harnessing the savagery of the wild to get civilian populations and that maybe a little bit of that wildness will rub off on the other soldiers and that's kind of what they, they know they're going to need. Uh, it's so, it's, they're insane thing about it, too, is that it is number one, they They don't have black blood or whatever the fuck. These guys are literally just sociopaths. These guys, they're finding the most monstrous fucking, like, I mean, this would be equivalent to like guys drinking four loco and people going, those guys are wild, man. Well, those guys, yeah, they're really incredible. They're minimal blood. Yeah. I mean, just, yeah, just the biggest assholes in the world and they're just attributing some sort of like, I don't know, fucking spiritual animalistic fucking. Ugh. None of what I'm saying or what Christian is saying is that like, that this is a lot, a completely logical thing. It's just, there's, of course, there's folklore roots because the German, the Nazis are big into that sort of stuff that go deeper than just like, we need some poachers, right? There is a lot going on here and it is meaningful to understand that, again, Ingrouse book goes into mortatale. I'm not gonna claim to entirely understand the arguments that he's making there beyond what I have related to you because it is more complex than that. But you can read that on your own if you're real into fucking European folklore and hunting. So this takes us back to the discourse though, that opened the episode about intentionalists versus functionalists. Dural wanger and his men are about to kill tens of thousands of civilians, mostly women and children in the most brutal ways conceivable. Most of these specific killings are not ordered by Hitler or by anyone else in high command directly. Rather, Dural wanger's unit is formed with the understanding that he and his men will interpret their job, which is anti-partisan activity to include just kill and everybody in certain areas, right? And not only that, but that they will develop techniques to do that, that will be replicable by the rest of the German military. Right. So obviously there are specific direct orders behind a number of their massacres, but usually said orders are less specific than you'd imagine. And this is not just a thing the Germans did when they were committing war crimes. This is part of their battle theory. There's a thing they have developed in the end of World War I called Alftrog's Tockteak, which venerates individual initiative and leaves solutions to problems open to field commanders, right? German soldiers up through World War II are much less hampered by like, they're much less under command. Exactly, it's more or less like, no, no, you're in charge of this unit of guys. We need you here by the state. However, you do that's up to you. I'm not gonna micromanage you. And that's part of how like you get stories about like, ramble being like a hundred miles ahead of the rest of the army and whatnot. Because there, this is like a thing that the German military specifically tries to inculcate in its soldiers. And so even though there's not like a direct hitler doesn't send out a memo saying like, hey, have Oscar Darylwanger ethnically cleanse large parts of Poland and Belarus. He is directly orchestrating those massacres by, and him learn stuff, by putting this unit together and putting it in the places that it's being put, right? Right, yeah. And being like, you know, hey, just if you feel entrepreneurial, go for it. It's very much, it's weird that the Third Reich was kind of like militarily run like a startup. Well, it works pretty well. Yeah, we all wear lots of hats here, you know. Yeah, everybody wears a lot of hats. There's a real start-up culture in Zewa. This is a good start, yes. Well, there's plenty of snacks and also guns in the kitchen to kill. We have back massacres at every Thursday. All the headphones you could ever want. Yeah, it is, it is a bit like that. So Nazi Germany invades September 1939, Poland. This works pretty well for them. They fairly rapidly achieve conquest of Poland alongside the Red Army who are on board for the conquest of Poland at this stage. Yeah, yeah, everyone wants Poland. Everybody wants some Poland, right? Yeah. To a few centuries now where people are just like, hey, let's get Poland every time a war happens. Yeah, I mean outside of the Nazi stuff, man, if you come to me and you're like, hey, Robert, I think I got an idea, we could take some Poland. I'll be like, I'll hear you out, you know? I'll hear you out, right? Everyone wants a peace of Poland. A little bit of Poland, right? Just a little bit. A little bit of it. Yeah, exactly. Not trying to go wild on it. The Nazis kind of go wild on it. Yeah, a little bit. So they militarily, this goes pretty well for them, but they start to deal very quickly with the problem that their forces are conquering more people and coming into possession of more Jews. Then they had entirely been ready to handle. So they've got partisans. There are partisans fighting, although it's not at its high pitch yet, right? Because everyone in Poland is still sort of dealing with the shock of being invaded. Right, real fast. Yeah, it's come along quickly. So the need to fight partisans at this period is less important than they need to reduce the number of human beings living in like the areas the Germans are trying to take over and turn into greater Germany. No. So Dural Wanger gets sent with his men to Ori Annenberg in May of 1940, just a couple of months, like, not more than a couple of months, but not all of that long after the invasion. And his job is to train the first few dozen poachers in his special unit. His men are kept in an isolated barracks less their wildness and criminal nature infect the other soldiers. The specific branch of the German military they were attached to would later become the Waffen SS, which is the military arm of Heinrich Himmler's fun club for racists. And I'm gonna quote now from the SS Dural Wanger Brigade by Ingrau. Quote, the two months of training they were given must have been limited to the rudiments of military discipline and a summary physical training, something close to the Prussian drill, but hardly going further, considering how soon they were sent into action. This training was selective enough that in the end only 55 of the 80 poachers were accepted in the commando. The others were returned progressively to their detention centers without penalty. It was purely a question of physical andceptibility. The order requesting their reintegration in prison specified that no disciplinary measures were involved. And that's interesting to me that like you get this like, well, we don't want them to feel bad, right? We don't like, we don't like be dicks to them if they can't, like you just couldn't cut it, you know? It's not their feeling. Don't hurt their feelings as they are carrying out one of the greatest bloodbaths in history. Well, we wouldn't want to be like unfair to these guys. Look, they're serving their time, you know? They volunteered, it's okay. Just them not making the cut into the fucking like varsity killin' Jews team. Hitler sits down next to one of these guys. Look, buddy, it's nothing against him. It's all right, dude, you know, something happened on Michael Jordan. Exactly, exactly. He got cut from his high school Jew killing team too. And look at him now. Jesus Christ. Oh boy. So in September of 1940, the men of SS Durawanger, which is like what the unit gets called, right? This is just kind of the naming schema that the Germans use, are sent to an area in Poland called Lublin. This town held an important place in Nazi race theory. One of their propagandists said in the 1930s, described it as quote, a bottomless well from which Jews flow to all corners of the globe. The source of the rebirth of world Jewry. So certain Nazis are like, this is where the Jews come from. Yeah, yeah. This is the well where the Jews are sprouted and then just get shot into different countries all over the world. Now look, it's called Lublin. Lublin, Lublin. Now look, I know, I know, you know, you shoot them out into, oh man. Give it everything that's going on in Palestine these days. The question of like, what is a Jewish homeland made is a thorny one. But I think everyone can agree. It's not Lublin. It's definitely not. It's definitely not Lublin, right? Yeah, we're not always just like, hey, did you take your yearly birthright trip back to Lublin? Oh, next year in Lublin. Oh. So the surrounding terrain is swampy in the area. And so it was considered to be Lublin's got a large Jewish population, but it's also considered a great idea. They're going to take all of the Jewish people from the surrounding area and they're going to force them into the swamps around Poland where they're going to create concentration camps. And they think this is a great idea because since it's a swamp, swamps are bad for you as a general rule. People aren't supposed to live in swamps. And the Nazis are specifically saying that like, if we make them all live in this swamp and like shitty camps, it will quote, cause their considerable decimation. This is a free way to have the environment kill a lot of them. And we don't have to spend any biological warfare in the sense. Yeah. Yeah. So we have very little specific detail on what the men of the Dural Wenger unit did in these first 18 months. But we do know the broad strokes, which is that they helped to set up and guard the Belzek and matched in death camps. This was accomplished in stages, which included destruction of synagogues and Talmudic academies in Lublin as the people there were rounded up and forced behind barbed wire. One German soldier later described quote, we threw the huge Talmudic library out of the building and carried the books to the marketplace where we set fire to them. The fire lasted 20 hours. The Lublin Jews assembled around and wept bitterly, almost silencing us with their cries. We summoned the military band and with joyful shouts, the soldiers drowned out the sounds of Jewish cries. Jesus fucking Christ. Pretty bad. Pretty fucking bad. This is a... Ugh. Sorry, I just needed something to help out. Yeah, exactly. I drowned out their cries with my cool air horns. This is bleak. Yeah. Yeah, this is very... Why are they crying so much? Bring out the air horn, bomb, bomb, clad. All right. Okay. They know about bomb, blah, blah. Speaking of bomb, blah, blah, you know, who's fucking just hella into reggae. Oh. All of the sponsors of this podcast. So, do you know, look, when... Oh, yeah. Or the CIA or whoever comes out and says they want to do an ad in our show, we have one question. 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The meaning of your life is to feel the way you feel right now, but while you're in this body. Season 2 of Go Ask Galley will drop every Thursday starting October 7th. Listen to Go Ask Galley on the I Heart Radio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Ah, we're back. So in between helping to carry out actions like the one we just read from, the horrible genocide story, and marching tens of thousands of people to the site of their eventual extermination, the Dural Wenger unit got the chance to show off their special skills in counter-sniper missions, and in rounding up escaped Polish officers spotted in the area. After the war, the SS officer burger, who's the guy who gets Dural Wenger this job, who claimed they spent most of their time in combat with early stages of the Polish resistance. This is probably a lie. As with that stuff I said about counter-sniper missions, InGrow doesn't think they're doing any fighting. They are purely number one rounding up Jewish civilians and like burning their shit, beating them with rifle buds, forcing them to camps. And number two, stealing shit. Right? That's actually what they're doing at this stage. And I'm going to quote from his book now. Post-war testimony doesn't mention anti-partisan activity. Another very credible indicator of the total absence of danger is the fact that the unit suffered no losses. The men almost never mentioned tracking partisans in the full rest of the demarcation zone. All however, say that the unit spent the majority of its time on the most ordinary surveillance work. Policing the civilian populations and fighting the black market seemed to have been the group's main activities. Unit reports speak regularly of the spoils seized by the men supporting the local police force. Money, consumer goods, valuables. And a lot of this, we don't exactly know, but there's a lot of reports of like, yeah, we busted this Jewish community center and they had all of this coffee and meat and stuff. And maybe they just found where different members of the Jewish community were like storing their nice stuff or maybe they were robbing everyone blind and claiming it was the Jews they could take some of it. And this is a thing, by the way, happens across the SS, right? There are actually major discipline problems at the death camps of like stuff being stolen from Jews by individual members of the SS because that stuff's being stolen for the Reich. And there's like, disciplining over it, people get like transferred to the East to go die for it. It's like a whole thing. These guys are like pioneers in the SS stealing everything that isn't nailed down, right? I mean, it's the perk of this kind of fucked up job where you're just like, oh, we get to, we get to go in there first and kill quote, partisans, which are just civilians who have no idea how the hell you got in their community center. Yeah. And then fucking stealing everything inside. Yeah. And we got to, you know, we give a bunch of it to the government, but like some of that's going to find a little bit of it. Some of those cigarettes are whining up in my pocket. Some of that means whining up on my table. You know, that's what they do. And obviously everything the Nazis are doing is gangster activity. What I said earlier in the first episode, these are webs of different gangsters, right? Right. So like the fact that these guys are stealing the SS doesn't hate it because they're stealing it hate it because no, that's supposed to go somewhere else, right? Right. That's going up the chain, you know? Yeah. Yeah. I don't consider it stealing from the, you know, civilians to consider it stealing from them. Yeah. You know, you're like, hey, hey, all that stolen shit is ours, motherfucker. Oh, fucking, yeah, Herman Garing needs that coffee. Yeah, exactly. Fucking fat ass. Martin Bournemon needs that. Yeah, fucking me. Yeah, Martin Bournemon needs the prosciutto. You got to sit next to it over. You know, you don't get to keep that poachers. Yeah. Go hunt something. Yeah. Um, so the entire, yeah, again, the theory of the Dural Wanger brigade eventually grows to be too much for the occupation authorities. And I'm going to quote from a write up by Nicola Badanovic in War History Online here. Various reports stated that during this period, rape, murder, extortion, beatings and other crime methods were employed by the members of the special Dural Wanger unit. The police chief of the Lublin ghetto, Friedrich Wilhelm Kruger, was so appalled by the conduct of throat-cutting madmen that he appealed several times for them to be stopped. Instead, he was transferred to Belarus, so were the Dural Wangers after their work in Poland was done. So again, like the guy the Nazis make head cop in the ghetto, which is not a good, good man, right? You don't put a nice guy in that job. Yeah. I know we flatten it and say A cab because it's all, but also some are even more cab. Yeah. Maybe that you have a most cab of all of the cabs. The most cab. And this guy's like, these guys are rapists. These guys are really bad. I know I am preparing to exterminate all of these people, but like we got to get these cowboys out of Poland. Yeah. These guys are just kind of going overboard with their open and pillaging. Yeah. So it was in Poland that the Dural Wanger Brigade first proved itself in actual anti-partisan, oh, sorry, it's in Belarus. So they get sent to Belarus and it's there that the Dural Wanger Brigade proves itself in its first actual anti-partisan combat. They do well. They're good at this. Like it was actually militarily a decent idea to like throw these guys together. And Oscar is immediately like, well, this is a small commando unit. You see what we can do? Give me another couple of hundred men and give us some guns and let's get some armored vehicles. And they get them. And he does this a couple of times. The Nazis keep reinforcing this unit with more and more guys. Eventually it hits brigade strength during this period. And which is like eight or 900 men. And their first engagements are pretty standard. But then during one of these actions, a squad of their soldiers is ambushed by partisans in the road and several are killed. In reprisal, they burn down a partisan camp and a village and it's mostly uninhabited at this point because everybody's running away, but they burn a village to the ground. This is going to be the first of a lot of villages that they burn to the ground. From July to August of 1942, they carry out a massive anti-partisan operation. And you have to read between the lines here to find the war crime, but it's pretty clear when you go through the numbers. By the operations end, 1,381 partisans had been killed, but only 422 weapons had been seized. 27 German soldiers had been killed. One might interpret from this that they're just rounding up villages and killing everybody. And they throw a gun on the partisans. Yeah, they're doing the thing that the LAPD does, right? Right. Just like you've gunned the boot of the car to toss it a guy. This would prove to be a general trend for the unit. And I'm going to quote from Ingraus book again. During these operations, according to Christian gearbox calculations, six to ten men were killed for every weapon recovered and confiscated. He concludes that only 15% of those killed were real members of armed resistance movements against the Germans. The victims, thus, were primarily peasants and fugitives, notably Jews escaped from the ghettos. More significant still is the amount of food among the spoils collected by the anti-partisan units. Potatoes, grain, and cattle appear regularly in the reports of the operations, transforming them, especially after the winter of 1942 to 1943, into murderous predatory raids against the local peasantry. The balance sheet of operations swamp fever, which is what they call this. Helms up the situation perfectly. The Germans, by their own admission, had killed only 489 bandits in a month of operation. They had, however, eliminated 8,350 Jews from the Burrano-Witsich ghetto, as well as 1274 suspects, and evacuated 1217 other individuals. By evacuated, we must understand, deported for labor within the Reich. These were persons fit for labor, found in the villages, while the executed suspects were either escapees killed in the forest, or those unfit for labor from the same villages, women, children, and the aged. So they are going through large swaths of territory. They are rounding everybody up. They're sending the men to Germany to labor, and they're killing the women, children, and old people. That's the bulk of the anti-partisan operation they're doing here. They are part of, and they're not the first part of, the early stages of the final solution, which is camouflaged as anti-partisan activity. The SS tactic here that Dural Wenger does pioneer, because they're also dealing with, because again, the very, like, the first stages of what the Einsatzgruppen are doing, is just massacring communities of people who had, like, lived in cities. There is an actual partisan movement here, right? There are red army partisans and stuff fighting against the Nazis. And the tactic Dural Wenger develops in these areas is to create what they call death zones. These are not just zones that they're emptying of Jews, but of all of their population. Now, SS Dural Wenger are not the only union involved in this, not by a long shot, but they are the guys figuring out how to depopulate large rural areas for the German military, right? That is a question that is, like, how are we going to do this? What is the best way to do this? Like, they are in a way that is the most efficient, because the least amount of emotional damage to our people. And that is a different, we're not talking about, like, morally different, but that is a different thing tactically from, like, we've taken the city, and now we're going to round up the Jews and shoot them in a quarry or whatever, right? Like, it's a different thing. It requires different tactics. General von Gottberg, who is the guy who authors the original death zone orders in his indirect command of Dural Wenger and his men, praises Dural Wenger for his visionary leadership and proposes that he be given a medal after his men kill 15,000 people in 15 months of operations. He's only 92 of their own. Now the Nazis are dealing with a serious insurgency in Belarus at this point, and as you'd expect, Dural Wenger is kind of seen as their best bet in solving it. One internal report on his activities, red quote, traffic with Vilnius itself is more and more obstructed by acts of terrorism, minds, etc. To this may be added the erroneous psychological treatment of the population by units on police operations. Here, the name Dural Wenger plays a particularly significant role for this man, in the war of annihilation he wages piteously against an unarmed population, deliberately refuses to consider political necessities. His methods, worthy of the 30 years war, make a lie of the civil administration's assurances of their wish to work together with the Belarusian people. When women and children are shot and mass or burned alive, there is no longer a semblance of human conduct of war. The number of villages burned during sweep operations exceeds that of those burned by the Bolsheviks. God damn. Yeah, that is a Nazi being like these guys are at a control again. Yeah, this is a guy who is like into this already. He's like, no, like I'm, hey, I believe in this subjugation of Belarus. But this usually, but some people are doing a little too much. It is fucking wild. Yeah, it is. And again, like, I'm not going into too much detail. We will later and some of these things, but like, they're not just massacring people. Like they don't just shoot the women who are not fit for labor. They rape them, right? Yeah. Like, that's who these guys are. That's what this guy was before the war started, right? Right. Like, this is not, this is torture as well as execution. They are not doing the most efficient thing, which generally the Einsatzgruppe, at least earlier on, are just trying to efficiently massacre people with guns, right? Right. And I agree of creative sadism to the way that Dural Wenger behaves. That is, it's not certainly not unique. You can find a lot of other Nazi units that do it. But he is, he is noteworthy for his dedication to it, I think. He's the Steve Jobs finding some distinct ways. Yes. Yeah. Oscar Dural Wenger gets out on the stage. Actually, that's literally the parts. So here's Oscar Dural Wenger in a turtle neck. Minefields. A problem since the beginning of modern warfare. You have a piece of terrain that your enemy doesn't allow your soldiers to cross because they filled it with hidden bombs. Here at Nazi Co. We figured out a solution to minefields, which is to gather up all of the women and children in the area and just walk them through it until there's no mines. And then, and here's what's insanely great, right? Here's the thing that's really cool. We shoot them. All the survivors. Just shoot. He's a visionary. He is as far as I could tell, like the guy who invents this as a cohesive tactic, right? I'm sure there's places where you can find people doing this. Dural Wenger is the guy who like, right, basically writes up a guide to the German military of like, here is how you do this. You get all of that. You round these, the men up from these nearby villages and you make them walk. You keep them shoulder with a part because that's the right length. Then you have them. This is the way in which you use civilians to clear landmines. Yeah. And then you shoot them all to death. Yeah. He's squid gaming. He's doing a proto squid game. Yeah. And it works really well. And in fact, SS and Vermock units across the Eastern Front are advised to adopt Dural Wenger's tactics when they encounter minefields. Because he's like, it works pretty well. Yeah, he's the Steve Jobs of genocide. So Dural Wenger was also praised for his ability to save on the expenditure of munitions during massacres. One way he did this was instead of, look, you've got 500, 600 people, right, from these two or three villages, you could shoot them all. And then you're out 500 bullets. And those aren't free. Or you just force them all into barns and you light the barns on fire. Oh, wow. See, innovation, right? Exactly. He really is like a startup founder. He really is a startup guy. We're going to disrupt ethnic insects. Exactly. Exactly. It just killed different. You know, yeah, quote him, the exhumation report of the Soviet investigating commission mentions besides the number of villages and the number killed in each that neither cartridges nor projectiles were found. And it concluded that the 2000 victims had been burned alive in barns, a witness to the massacres Alexander Miranov saw a man laughing through a 14 year old child into a bonfire. Jesus. So again, they're not just doing this like coldly because it's efficient. They're like, they're having fun with it. They're into it. This is their king. This is their thing. This is what they live for. This is, I mean, you know, these fools were in fucking prison before for being poachers and now they're fucking. Yeah. And they're also, it has to be said all on methamphetamine, right? Oh, yeah. Yeah. That's not written about because it's not generally like discussed all that much. But like, this is the period in which an awful lot of the German army is on fucking meth. So they're, they're drunk and on speed. And this is like how they're having fun. So I never fucked with meth. You know, I was like, I was strictly opiates. I was like, I don't want to fuck with meth for the same reason. I do not want to drive a VW bug. Yeah. Nazi shit. Opiates just make you like the least offensive of the Nazi high command. Exactly. Herman Garing. You know, if you have to pick one Nazi leader, if I had to, if you don't have that. Yeah. So by this point, the Dural Wenger brigade has been expanded well beyond poachers. Its ranks now included disgraced SS soldiers on penal release, as well as Russian and Ukrainian auxiliaries, right? They don't have that many poachers. You know, there's not, there's only so many. This eventually gets to be like 2000 people. So like if you're in the SS, and in some cases in the Vermacht and you get like in trouble because you commit a series of crimes, they just send you here, right? They also, when they meet fascists who are like Russian and Ukrainian, they're like, hey, you guys want to be in the SS kind of? Yeah. And those guys are like, well, we really don't have much of a choice. And also a lot of us are pieces of shit. So yes. Yeah. Sure. And again, it is a mix of people who are just fascists who live there and also people who are like, oh, you've got food. And I get a gun. Well, I'll kill whoever. Yeah. Whatever you say. You don't understand how bleak life is in Western Russia in 1942. I'll do anything. Yeah. Yeah. Shit sucks now. You're stupid club. Watch the movie Come and See in 20ish years. You'll know. By the way, Come and See is literally about this. It's about, it's set in Belarus. It is, it is these Nazis specifically. It's about Dirlanger and it's about from the perspective of the Belarusians, those fucking guys pretty much. Yeah. And it is a heroing film. The only, I, I refused to watch Nazi films. The only one I've seen is an American tale about the little Jewish mouse. Yeah. That's the only one I'll watch. Dirlanger is the cat. I believe there was a Nazi cat in there, right? Definitely. He's multiple cats. Yeah. He's a couple of them. No. Come and See is a movie that was made during the Soviet Union. It is like probably the most like visually upsetting film ever made. It's, it would be hard to beat. It's the closest you can get to actually living through like some of these experiences. It is fucking gnarly and it's about this. Like if you've seen Come and See and are still like haunted by some of those images, it's literally about this period and these guys. Is it as good as that George Romero movie about motorcycles that you keep talking about? Nothing is as good as nightwriters. Okay. Look, if the cast of nightwriters had been around, they would have put a stop to this. Do you think Ed Harris with a sword and a motorcycle is letting the ship go on? No. The movie. I mean, in the first scenes of the movie, they beat up a Nazi like, so he's just shaking her head like not again. She's shaking her head because she doesn't know two weeks in a row where he cannot not bring it up. This is the rest of your life now. I'm never not talking about it. Yeah. Unfortunately, I know, but, but that's not true because you go through phases. That's, that's, that was, I would you go through phases. I should talk about that a little bit later. Ah, we should, we should discuss the child hunting island that we shouldn't be talking about anymore. We'll get to that in a minute. You know what? Actually, we're at about 40 minutes. Matt, what? You ever made a joke that went too far? Never. Never. Okay, that's good. Well, here behind the bastards, we have some running jokes. You know, everybody remembers the Doritos, Erefon, Raytheon, knife missiles, all that good stuff. And, lately, I've really been enjoying a series of running jokes about having an island where rich people hunt children for sport, right? With the time with those jokes, very funny. I assumed absurd enough that nobody would take them seriously. That's one of the requirements. Now incorrect. Yeah. First mistake was assuming that people, because we chose to believe the name. And half of why we bleep the name was because we didn't want to alienate it, you know, someone who might be a sponsor someday. I think the cats are in that bag. But half of it was also just was kind of funny. This led to a lot of people being like, is Robert Sirius, is, have a child hunting island? Is this real? And it was a constant thing. And normally, I thought it was kind of funny. And generally people would get on the sub-red and be like, hey, what's going on? And other people would correct them. And I was like, okay, that's fine. Recently, more than one member of the team have gotten messages from people who are taking it very seriously. One person was distraught and being like, I feel like this is real. And you're not like, it's not a joke. And you like, and all the amount of Reddit threads is deeply exciting. And this is the Reddit threads, but those are funny. There were some people, I think, who are maybe like having a tough time. Some issues. It took it really serious. And if you are listening, please, I am not joking. That was a gag. That was for yucks. We're not joking. This was a confusing way to have a child hunting island. Please do not. Yes. I'm not joking about the fact that you are joking. I get that that's confusing. There is no child hunting island. We will not be doing that joke anymore. But you know what we will be doing, Matt? What? Throwing to ads. Cool. Hi, I'm Molly John Fast. And this is Fast Politics. You may know me for my old podcast, The New Abnormal, my many, many, many tweets, or my articles and vogue, The New York Times, The Washington Post, or my newsletter at The Atlantic. Wait, what? I do my best to poke holes in political arguments with no fear of critiquing any side of the political spectrum when I interview someone you get to see who they really are and what they really think. On this podcast, you'll hear me talk to people like Senators, Chuck Schumer, Cory Booker, and Amy Klobuchar, smart people like Dr. Peter Hotes or James Carville, up incoming political stars like Richie Dorez and John Federman, or even smart celebrities like Ben Stiller and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Listen to Fast Politics with Molly John Fast every Monday, Wednesday and Friday on the I Heart Radio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Hi everyone, it's Rachel Zo, and I'm here to tell you about my new female powered podcast, Climbing in Heels. You might know me from the Rachel Zo project, the Zo report, or as the founder of the premier shopping membership, Curator. I've spent my entire adult life growing my career as a celebrity stylist and an entrepreneur. You might say I'm a workaholic. I have not had a boss since I was 25 years old, and while working for myself has definitely come with its challenges, I wouldn't trade it for the world. 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Just a few of our fabulous guests this season are, New York Times best-selling author Isabel Gillies, former editor of People magazine, Jess Kagle, and writer and Oprah's favorite life coach, Martha Beck. Something happened to Amanda Surgery when I was 29. Similar to what people talk about in their death experiences. It was the most exquisite thing I had ever imagined, and I just kept thinking. The meaning of your life is to feel the way you feel right now, but while you're in this body. Season 2 of Go Ascali will drop every Thursday, starting October 7. Listen to Go Ascali on the I Heart Radio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. We're back. I hope everybody, again, very seriously, there's no child hunting, I'll it. I associated with specifically. Okay, Matt, I want to do a yes and to that, but that's what got us in this situation. You're right. You have to stop. So by this point in the war, right, and we're talking like 1943-ish, late 1943, pretty much. The Dural Wenger Brigade has been expanded to these disgrace soldiers, these auxiliaries, and they're kind of mostly used as a result. They avoid direct combat a lot because among other things, well, there's a lot of Russians in this unit. We probably shouldn't have them fight in the Red Army. That might not go great. We don't know we can trust these guys. And one of these Russians later reported on his time with the Dural Wenger unit, quote, saying these actions, the peaceful inhabitants of towns, villages and hamlets were shot, burned alive, hanged, houses, schools, hospitals, clubs, churches, and other public buildings were burned. If my memories correct, more than 100 inhabited areas were destroyed, together with their inhabitants. Now Oscar, it must be noted because they are fighting in actual, actual insurgents during pieces of this is kind of one of the reasons that these guys, these criminals and rapists like are very loyal to him, weirdly loyal, is that he's always the first guy into combat. He gets wounded multiple times during this. He's not simple. Right. And he already has half an arm. Yeah. He does not give a shit about each shot. Right. He trying to die. Like, yeah. The only thing Oscar Dural Wenger cares about less than age of consent laws is getting shot. Yeah. All right. So do it. It'll just make me come harder. Oh, boy. All right. All right. This earned him the adoration of his men. And he also, they appreciated his openness to their suggestions on how to proceed with the war. The pattern of new tactics of cruelty originating within the unit and then spreading out to the German military and the east continued. In addition to barn burning, which gets adopted on a wider basis by the Germans, Dural Wenger experimented with letting packs of starving dogs feed on the corpses of murdered women and children. He's a crazy up Ramsey Bolton. Yeah. He's straight up Ramsey Bolton, he's trying to figure out the most fucked up ways to like destroy not just people's lives, but their minds too. And some of this is like, again, there's a bad and illegal, but like if you have insurgents killing everyone in the area where they are, is like a tactic for fighting them, right? Because if you feel everyone, there's no one to fight you. Right. A lot of this, like the feasting dogs on corpses, there's no reason for this beyond. He, number one, he wants to like scare people and number two, he's a monster. Yeah, straight up monster. And for Oscar experimentation, it's, it's, it's especially in like 43, 44. It goes beyond stuff that is helpful to just like stuff a fucked up dude does because there's no one to stop him. Right. And I'm going to quote now from a Bond University thesis paper by Terris Goldworthy. He made so called scientific experiments, which involved stripping the victims of their clothes. Then they, the victims were given an injection of strict nine. Dural Wenger looked on, smoked a cigarette, as did his friends. And they saw how these girls were dying. Immediately after that, the corpses were cut into small pieces mixed with horse meat and boiled into soap. Fuckin' A. There's like no reason for this. He's just, he's just being a piece of shit. He's just trying to, it's just a new or a soap drill. It's like, you know, I mean, I'm not trying to minimize it, but it's like, you know, it's like when you know you need to stop with the porn hub because you're just like, what's next? Piss porn. And then you're like, am I really going to be a piss porn guy? And he's the kind of guy who was like, yes. Yeah, he is the kind of guy who goes straight to piss porn. Yeah, he starts off as a piss pig. Mm-hmm. Wow. Okay. The primary causes of death for Dural Wangers men during the stage of the war because again, most of, well, they are, again, they are, they are getting into some firefight, some of which are gnarly. Most of what they're doing is just massacring. And as a result, the vast majority of men who die in his units either get shot by their own friends because everybody's drunk or they die in like car accidents because again, everybody's drunk. Everybody's drunk. That is the primary cause of death is they're wasted in between massacres and they die somehow. So the larger SS keeps an eager eye on their progress and on kind of some of the things they're experimenting with, even though they're not, they don't like them, right? Because these guys are gross. Everybody knows it. Like, nobody wants to be these guys other than these guys. I'm going to quote from a write up in Heinrich Himmler, a life here. Dural Wangers leadership of the Sonder Commando was characterized by continued alcohol abuse, including sadistic atrocities, rape and murder, and his mentor, Berger, tolerated this behavior. As did Himmler, who so urgently needed men such as the Sonder Commando Dural Wanger in his fight against subhumanity. It was important to the Reichsführer, however, that the detachment within the Sonder Commando did not belong to the Vofen SS, but merely surfed it. It was not until 1945 that Dural Wanger succeeded in incorporating his unit, which accepted criminals of every hue and so was growing unstoppably into the Vofen SS as the 36th Grenadier division. So that guy is not with us, okay? Yeah, like he's with us, but he's not really with us. He's like a volunteer, like we let him wear the uniform and stuff, but that all that weird shit, that's not us. That's not us at all. That could ever be. Some of that's us. A little bit of it is us, a tiny, tiny bit. Mostly it's that I don't know about that. He's got as a fucked up. Should someone call HR? I mean, it is one of the stories that people will tell about him, Larry, that is people that take different things out of it, but there's a period at which he visits one of the death camps, I think it might have been Auschwitz, and he passes out when he's watching the shit, right? Some people take it as like, oh, he was like, what a weak man. He couldn't handle it. That's not how his guys would have interpreted it, because most of them are not like, even most of the people committing the genocide, are not like eager to physically do it. They see it as like, this is a nasty, terrible job and we're taking this burden upon. That's how they talk about it to themselves. That's what hardness means. It doesn't mean like violent sadism. That's not what it's supposed to mean. It means you're cold enough that you understand this has to be done. Right. That he would pass out. He just actually means that he's a decent man who just has to do this terrible task to protect the right guy. What a good guy, man. What a good guy. I hope all of his men cradled them in their arms and just like, it's okay, baby. It's okay. I'm trying. Yeah. I'm a piece. We'll stop crying. And that's part of why the SS and why guys like him, even though they need the Dural Wanga Brigade, find them so off-putting and disgusting is that like, they're taking full ownership of the kind of things that these guys are making happen, but don't want to don't want to have as a part of them, right? Right. I'm Reckimler doesn't want to have like rape burning a village to death on his soul. He wants it done. He needs it done. He'll make sure it gets done, but he doesn't, that's not a part of his conception of who he is. Right. Yeah. You know, I'm more than just death camps. Yeah. There's more to me. I am also a man who likes to dress like a medieval knight in my castle. I like to dress like a knight. I like to, you know, go to Ren Fares. I feel like the problem with cancel cultures these days is you are reduced to the worst thing you've ever done. For example, me killing all the Jews. Yeah. I did that. Big deal. Okay. I've also read many fine books. Okay. And so part of why these guys get reported so much by the SS is less that the SS guys who are reporting them are legitimately horrified that they're committing war crimes. And more like it's not, you are unabashedly gleeful about doing the thing that we do, but have to pretend. Exactly. The pretense is going. Right. And it's like you're making us look bad by enjoying this. Yeah. You feel bad because we don't want to be that guy, right? When you like, and again, that you can make a case that these are less bad people than for example, guys like the common dente of Auschwitz who was a loving father of I think five kids and you can find pictures of him on his vacations and playing with his children by the pool and being a wonderful dad while he is running Auschwitz. Right. Rudolph Hess, I believe was his name. And I think it's OS or whatever, like because there's another guy with us. Yeah, not that has. Not the other guy. But yeah, I think you could argue guys like Dural Wenger who are just like, yeah, man, I fucking love raping and murdering people. This is awesome. This is who I am, baby. Right. Is a better person than the guy who like pretends to be the loving father while he gasses a million people. Right. Because they know right from wrong. They know it's bad. They know they're doing bad. And the worst part about these people is they've convinced themselves. Their narrative is that they are the victims. That's why they have to do this. Like how his guy raises it. Sure. And they take the entire narrative and throw it in the trash when you start gleefully doing it. And then what does that say about all of your beliefs and all of your crimes? It says that you are basically that on the inside. There's no mask with the Dural Wenger brick. No, this mask off. Now as the war turns against Germany, these guys do find themselves thrown into actual combat more and more. And the end of 1943 kind of brings an end to the good times because they don't do great in stand-up fights. That's not really not really there's not really what they're good at. It also brings another change in the composition of the unit as German manpower struggles become more severe. Christian in Greyh white writes quote, starting in July 1943, the Sanderenheight received large contensions of delinquents of a different kind. The idea was not new in early spring, March 28, Himmler had ordered that Germans of the Reich and all men of the class of 1901 and later living in an irregular situation within the general government who have no military training or assignment and who have avoided the draft for years arrested in a general government sweep must be gathered and assigned to the penal battalions of the Dural Wenger unit. Now what that means is he's saying all of the men of eligible age who have not been serving in the military because there's some sort of criminal are going to be sent directly to the Dural Wenger unit. These guys are all they're all born between 1893 and 1921. Most of them have been imprisoned as a social individuals or professional criminals. That's about half of these new guys are just professional criminals people who had committed burglary, who had stolen purses and then often most often for armed robbery assault, manslaughter murder, like mostly bad about half of these guys are like violent crime guys. But there's also a bunch of people who get brought into this unit whose crimes are being a social. Now this doesn't include petty criminals but it also means just like homeless people, right? You're living on the street, you know? You're a social unemployed people who like can't get a job, people who are mentally disabled, right? Who have some sort of like mental thing that makes them unable to like work a job feeble minded, right? There are some people who the Germans consider to be psychopathic but don't have an extensive criminal record. All these people get put in there. Now beginning in late 1944 with shortages even more severe of manpower, Himmler, Gottler Berger and Dural Wenger decide to expand the number of eligible men for the unit to include not just those guys we talked about but also political prisoners who have been held in Nazi concentration camps. And now the ranks of this SS units start to swell with former anti-fascists, mostly commonists who had been locked away who had been in concentration camps for years get put into the Dural Wenger unit. Historian Peter Klausch refers to the unit during this period as consisting of quote, anti-fascists in SS uniform. Huh. Yeah. This is we are getting into one of the bleaker parts of the story. Yeah. Now, Klausch is overstating the matter a bit. These guys are never the majority of the unit, right? The majority of the unit is like violent criminals and stuff and members of other military units who had gotten in trouble. Generally for rape or something. But a lot of the Dural Wenger unit are like former communists, men who had fought Nazis in the streets and been arrested for it, right? And a lot of these guys take part in the slaughter of civilians with the Dural Wenger unit. This is the only and very specific instance in which the right wingers are like, anti-fascists are real fascists. Yeah, this one group of guys. Yeah, yeah. They are the exception of the Dural. It is more complicated than that because a lot of these guys, they're looking at like, well, we don't know what this unit's doing, right? Because if you're in a fucking concert, you don't know what they're doing in Belarus. You just know, oh, I can get out and they're going to give me a gun. I can find a way to get away. I can desert and join the right army, right? About a hundred of these guys do, right? They get over there and as soon as they can, they desert and they fight for the Russian army, right? And like those guys, fine, you do whatever you get to do to get out of a concentration. Yeah, I know. You don't know what these guys are doing. But a significant number of these dudes don't leave. Even when the war turns against them and they're surrounded and being annihilated, they fight to death with to the death with their comrades. That's not an insignificant number of these anti-fascists or war-oriented fascists. Like some Stockholm syndrome shit right there. Yeah. And this is all, it's hard to say exactly. Some of it's probably they just, you know, these folks have become their comrades. Some of it maybe they just, there wasn't a chance to get away. It's a nasty war, right? People's options are limited. And we're already in, this is pretty complex moral territory. But it gets gnarlier. As you're surely aware, Matt, homosexuality is legal in the third Reich. However, many gay men, particularly soldiers caught engaging in homosexual sex, aren't sent to concentration camps. Instead, these are some of the guys who get put in penal battalions, right? Wow. So the decent number, the whole time this brigade is active, a decent number of the guys going in are, it's a mix of like guys who have just committed rape and guys who are like having homosexual sex and get caught. Wow. Now, Hans Peter Klauch says that the hope here was to push these men back to the right path via exposure to that. You're straightening them out by making them fight with these real hard customers, right? Yeah. They also didn't want to, they didn't want Germans who were being drafted to think that if they just like fucked a dude, they'd get out of military service, right? That was the other thing. Yeah. Stop fucking dudes and hopes of getting out of military service. Look, it'll just be a verse. I want to quote next from a council of Europe paper titled Queer in Europe during the Second World War. Quote, the very mocked preferred to retrain homosexuals rather than exclude them. Hans Seedler adds that even a masculated men were still fit for military service, as long as they were worthy of serving. It was not desirable to dispense a masculated men from their military obligations. From 1944, when Germany was experiencing huge and growing losses on the Eastern Front, it was decided to resort to the forced incorporation of homosexuals and turned in concentration camps. As Schlagdenhaufen describes in his contribution, a number of testimonies show that this political strategy was seen as a last hope. The historian Renier Hofschlitt has retraced the career of Heinz F, one of the last homosexuals to have been forced into the army. On May 1st, 1945, eight days before the capitulation of Nazi Germany, he joined the Vermacht under duress. And a lot, again, how you want to morally judge the men who make the decision to join a unit like the Dürerlwanger Brigadier, or who are made to join it to avoid life and a camp because, like, I don't know, I'm a podcast host. I'm not going to parse all this out for you. But this is a thing that happens, right? This is part of the history of World War II, and it's fucking art, gnarly. It's not. There was a fucking, by the end there, it sounds like a rainbow coalition of bastards, you know? Yeah. And they were, I'm sorry, they were retraining the gay soldiers into straightness or into being like, the straightness, right? The idea was that, like, well, you know what it makes me do in concentration, though? Yeah, is massacre. Yeah, their conversion therapy was like, go massacre this village with Oscar. Yeah. God. Do something straight, like killing innocent people terribly. Yeah. Yeah. That's, that's basically what's happening. Yeah. In total, the Dürerlwanger Brigadier spent 53 months in Belarus during which we know they killed at least 30,000 people, most of whom were women and children. During this massacre, they'd expanded from a small commando unit to a regiment of roughly 2,000 men. So that's the death toll so far, right? 30,000 people. And this is like, this is, this is the death toll of people. This is like a, in one specific camp, because like usually here, numbers like this and you start thinking like, oh, this is, we got a death camp going. No, this is, this is a roving band of bastards who are going around doing murder. Who have just emptied a big chunk of the Belarusian countryside? Yeah. That's what they're doing. And again, it might have been significantly more than 30,000. As the Russian advance began to push the German Army westward, the Dürerlwanger Brigadier was sent back to Poland to help put down the war saw ghetto uprising that had begun in August. When the Polish underground took control of parts of their former capital, Nazi Germany redeployed badly needed forces to crush the city. Dürerlwanger and his men were front and center. Their brutality was so intense that it stunned many of the soldiers they fought alongside. One of these men was an 18 year old sapper named Shank, temporarily attached to the SS for the operation. He later wrote this, quote, I would now like to describe the assault on the hospital. As usual, rush to the objective grenades and then after they exploded, we went in. I was about to fire, but I heard, don't shoot from the inside. What do I do? I signaled to my comrades 20 meters away to cover me. I ordered the poles to open the door and come out with their hands up. Inside, I heard snatches of conversation, some in Polish, some in German. The door opened slowly and a red cross nurse stuck out a white flag. My comrades came up and we went in. They in its fixed, a Polish officer, a doctor, and 15 Polish red cross nurses surrendered the hospital. The Germans asked us not to hurt the poles. Then the SS arrived. They immediately executed all the Polish wounded and attacked the nurses who were soon stripped and raped. We were pushed out the other door of the hospital. And we could come back that night, the SS had relieved us. There was tumult on the execution grounds. Soldiers from all the units, SS Ukrainians, were playing flute and singing. And there I saw something so frightening and horrible I can hardly describe it 50 years later. The SS were pushing the nurses, naked, their hands on their heads to the gallows. They had cut a short tunic for the doctor, had put a rope around his neck, and pushed him towards the gallows where some 10 civilians were already hanging. The crowd laughed and shouted. Some soldiers were protesting, but they were drowned out. I saw we could do nothing. So I kept my remarks for our headquarters. Bro. Pretty bad. War crimes. Honestly, dude, at this point, I'm starting to think that Nazis were bad. Yeah, that is the unavoidable conclusion when you try to... Oh, damn it. Yeah. Pretty bad. Pretty bad guys. That's the Dural Wenger unit. Yeah. This rape and murdering nurses. Jesus. Fuck. Shank makes it clear that whenever the enemy were actual soldiers with actual guns, the indisciplined, sloppy viciousness of the Dural Wenger, of Dural Wenger's men was as much a hindrance as a help in like real combat. And here's another excerpt from his recollections. Quote, Then the reinforcements arrived. The SS. It was the Dural Wenger penal battalion. Its soldiers wore no marks of rank. They had drunk a lot and weren't sober. They immediately attacked the Polish positions. They charged the houses, yelling, hurrah. Just in front of the houses, they fell under Polish fire. They died by dozens. Many were wounded. They didn't gain a meter of ground. Their meter was frenzy. We then advanced together with the SS under tank protection. A few meters in front of the buildings, the tank was hit and exploded. A soldier's helmet flew into the air. Beautiful. So that's... That part's funny. That part's good. That's good. What's not good is that the Poles don't win. The worst I get to uprising. Right. And the violence that follows is a slaughter almost unparalleled in the history of armed conflict. Today it's known as the Wołla Massacre. Rather than going to detail about every crime against humanity committed by these men, I am going to find an accurate summary of their activities. I found an article by Peter Presgar. Quote, The Dural Wenger brigade reeked a vodka and death. They sluttered innocent Poles regardless of age and sex. Dural Wenger wearing a black coat, walked in the rear, screamed orders, and shot anyone who lagged behind. The Dural Wenger brigade in cooperation with the equally sadistic Kaminsky militia massacred 40,000 unarmed men, women, and children in the Wołla District of Warsaw. They did all that in less than two weeks. God damn. Dural Wenger burned multiple hospitals with patients inside. The hospital nurses were whipped, gang raped, and hanged naked while popular German music was playing. At one point, Dural Wenger ordered his men to execute 500 young children. He wanted his troops to save their bullets, so they did the bulk of their work with rifle butts and bayonets. On another occasion, one of Dural Wenger's men took a pretty young woman. He cut her blouse open with a bayonet and then raped her. Afterwards, he cut her from belly to neck. So we're going to leave that be in terms of descriptions of Nazi war crimes. But when I say these guys are the worst Nazis, they're the worst of... This is... Yeah. They're the fucking... Pretty bad guys. How long you been doing this podcast, man? Four years, five years, something like that? I mean, God damn, dude. How's your head? How's your mental health, dude? You get a lot of stories like this. Honestly, the ones that are... I don't know. The thing that I think about when I read stories like this in terms of visual things is because for the reporting that I did, I had to watch the Christchurch massacre video in a number of times. Oh my God. Oh my God. That's the thing that I think about the most when I think about what kind of dude does this and the way in which this kind of... Yeah. The very specific satism, the very specific... Yeah. I mean, just the evil that veers into an illness type of crimes where you're just like, you know, I don't want to obviously... I'm not trying to minimize it by saying that this is like, you know, obviously some sort of illness. But just you can't... you can't otherwise explain this level of satism. I get why you have guys... We talked about Tolkien last episode a little bit. I get why you get guys like Tolkien who see pretty terrible things who view evil as something supernatural in a certain extent, right? Because seeing something like this... Like, there's a degree of... To which it like... I don't know. There's something there that it is hard and maybe we're programmed to, right? To like... Yeah. And maybe it's a defensive thing you don't want to believe that it... Because it is, I think, just people are capable of all sorts of fucked up shit. But it does... In the same way that like, if you've ever fought a wildfire, it feels like there's some sort of intelligence to the wildfire. Right. It feels when you like read about cruelty like this, you almost... It is hard not to feel like there's something there, you know? When you look into it that way. I don't know. Not that that means there is anything, but it is hard not to feel like that sometimes. Yeah, 100%. It's... You understand how someone could look at... Look at... See this level of atrocities and it fucks with their reality. Yeah. The reality is based on kind of this like... Logical, emotionally logical foundation and framework with narratives, with stories, there's a reason, you know, an action and a reaction. And then seeing something this sadistic and going like, this is otherworldly because this doesn't make sense. It doesn't... This is... It's that hope you would hope no one could enjoy something like this and you would hope that other people would be like, hey, maybe we shouldn't do this. But to see it in mass is an up close and personal has got to be. I've read about Orcs and Wizards and shit too, dude. I feel like this is why I talk about the sopranos and the wire because this is too sad. It is... I mean, worth noting that like there are Nazis who try to stop this. Like members... To give you an idea of how bad this guy is, members of the SS during the cleansing of the Warsaw ghetto, reprimand this guy for cruelty. Right? That is... I don't know on like the bad guy CV. Yeah. I don't know what else you could put above that. But like the SS in Warsaw was like, Jesus Christ. Yeah. This guy is unhinged. Yeah. So he and his unit are reprimanded and they are removed to Hungary where they help to put down the Slovak national uprising and they again kill thousands. Terrible bloodshed. I feel like we have... Not to... I don't want to like... That's not also an important story. But like I feel like I've read enough stories of horrible... Sure. Like you can get what they probably did over here. Yeah. Right. More atrocities beyond your capability to a human eman. Yeah. So, you know, that happens and it's here that the story of the Dural Wenger Brigade starts to come to an end. During an action against the Red Army, Oscar gets shot through the chest. Now, he lives. We're not done yet. Of course. Don't worry though, Matt. This is actually going to be fun. You're going to like his last part. Yeah. Hell yeah. So he gets separated from his unit because he's hurt pretty bad. And now Oscar is not a dumb man and he's pretty obvious at this point in 1945. We're not going to win this thing, right? Yeah. We're not gonna... We're not gonna win this one battle where like 15,000 rockets land on his troops positions. He's like, oh yeah. This probably isn't gonna go well for us. Oh boy. So he desserts and he goes into hiding near his own old hometown. Most of his soldiers die fighting. Some of them get captured. Some of them do a lot, you know, do dessert. So there's cases of like anti-fascist who deserted and joined the Red Army and wind up fighting. Anyway. And this is a story that does thankfully have... I'm not gonna call it a happy ending because this is a nightmare. But it's close to a happy ending as you are going to get in a story about the SS and genocide. Because unlike a lot of the guys, the insets group, a lot of the guys who are like architects of the Holocaust who escape, Oscar does not escape. He gets captured by the French occupation forces at the end of the war. They put him in a jail and guess who's running that jail? Oh, fuck. I don't know. Four members of the Polish resistance. So guys who had been fighting his guys in Warsaw. Yeah, exactly. And those guys are like, well, we got who? Oh, oh, yeah, he's not, he is not making it to trial. Like, no, this guy's not seeing a courtroom. We're gonna, we're gonna, we're gonna handle, we're gonna take care of this. So we have an account of what happens next from another Nazi whose Dural Wenger's cellmate, right? Here's what he writes, quote, in front of the cell door, there was a French soldier, a guard in a red capy. Nevertheless, when I was arrested, I did not see the Frenchman, but rather armed and uniformed Poles. On the next day came a 16 year old Jew from Ebersbach, Solgał County, where he lived. And they let him punch us in the face, which he did under the, which he did under the supervision of the Poles until he got tired. Now, I'm gonna be like, if we're being totally honest, this is legally a war crime. I'm also fine with it. I'm completely fine with it. Yeah. This is one of them look the other way to things. Yeah, let's let this boy whose family was massacred, hit these Nazis as much as he fucking wants. I love it. Punch in the face is just a great, it's a great way to start this. It's just like, all right, first we're gonna have the 16 year old punch you in the face until he's all tuckered out. Let him work some stuff out, right? He's got some demons. Let him exercise. Where? Quote, I'm gonna continue now. We returned to the cell with our faces completely shattered. I and myself had been beaten on the same day by the Poles and only because I forgot, refused to shout three times, I am a German pig. Dural wanger and Moont choose another Nazi were pulled out of the cell into the corridor every night and brutally beaten. I heard blows and terrible screams. In daylight, I would see bleeding open wounds on the faces of Munchen, Dural Wanger and their entire bodies were covered with bleeding welts. Munchen, Dural Wanger were taken from their cells separately three times on the night of 4th to 5th June 1945 and beaten in the corridor. After they returned to their cell for the third time, they could no longer speak or stand. After a short time, the guards came to the cell again and ordered them to get up and follow them. Neither Munch nor Dural Wanger could lift themselves. Then the guards began to strike them with rifle butts in their heads so that their heads turned into indesernable bloody pulp that they started kicking them in the stomachs. After that, the guards left both of them lying in the cell unconscious. I am surprised that according to the registration of death performed by the French commandant, Dural Wanger had died only on the 7th of June 1945. So you don't get this often with Nazi war criminals, but yeah, that's about the right way for that to end. Oh, that's wonderful. That is just like the catharsis. Because yes, you do not get this often. It's always like they go to fucking, you know, they go to Argentina and hide out and then they got to be fucking like found. Or they kill themselves like a bunch of bitches. And you know, we don't get that like, you know, getting just beat to death. Yeah, victims of his crimes spend days beating him to death and all of it. Oh, love it. Miserably in a cell. It's about, I don't know. Again, not justice, not even legal, but like what do you want? Yeah. What do you want from these people other than to do that to them? And I love that they whooped out all the classics, you know, they were just like the sadistic classics, the punching, the kicking, the pistol whipping, you know, it must have hurt like double knowing that like while he's being beaten to death, he's like, they're not even innovating new ways of doing this. They're not even building some sort of elaborate root goldberg machine, which kicks me in the nuts till I bleed to death. It's like, not dude, we're just going to fucking go home on your right now. Yeah, we're just got, yeah, the old stuff. So the old stuff, that's the story of Oscar Dirlwanger. Wow. Wow. Boy, howdy. What a piece of shit. There we go. Yeah, don't like him. It is thoroughly nice to like, you know, have one where they actually, you know, beat one. Yeah, you're not really. You're not getting third. Yeah. I would say statistically speaking, a lot of the times it's, and they died at the ripe old age of way too long. Yeah. Right. Yeah. No, we died comfortably in their bed. It's really about other things. Yeah. This is, and I can imagine a heartwarming, it's like those Polish guys are like, wait, that's fucking Oscar Dirlwanger. Yeah. You know, there's that, there's that kid came into town the other day, a whole family got wiped out by Dirlwangers. Bring him in here. Yeah, yeah. Oh, God. Bring him in here. What a gift. We're going to, we're going to help him move past this. Oh, man, I love it. That is like that, that is well for that, for that kid must have been just, it's like, I mean, I don't know because it helped. I don't know because it helped early, but I, I hope it helped, right? Yeah, I know. I know. Yeah, I don't know that that makes it any better, but I, I hope it can build a narrative in my head in which that does feel better for me to hear that. So I will say this soon. It helps. I certainly don't know if it helped that kid, but I can't imagine it hurt. No, no, you're not, you, you are not turned into a worse person because you punched Oscar Dirlwanger while he's in prison. I don't believe that. No, no, that is, he's doing God's work right now. He's doing God's work. He's doing God's work. Good for him. Yeah, they got it. At the end there, the story really came together. Yeah, I love it. I wish he had started with him being beaten to death in the summer. Oh, it's cool. All of these guys, you know, starting with them being beaten to death, you know, it makes you kind of a little bit go like, no, the Germans should have kept hitting their children. You know, it was all that, you know, the progressive lady being like, we shouldn't do that. Well, look where that leaded. Well, I mean, I will say the, the, the point that that paper is making that we didn't maybe get new enough to tell is that like the way in which Dirlwanger's generation was raised kind of hinged on that when the, the generation, the Nazis raise up that are like the young soldiers are trained to art like it is about hardness and physical discipline. I don't know the, like who actually knows, right? That guy, Shank, who was 18 years old is raised under that system and clearly is like, well, this is obviously wrong and evil. And I am on the wrong side. And I realize that now as a, as a boy, whereas Dirlwanger grows up in a more progressive age and is like the worst person to match. Yeah. I don't know what to take at about that. We don't have, the problem is we don't actually have enough to tell about his childhood to like make more conclusions about what was going on and whether they impacted it or if he was just, just an asshole. Yeah. Sounds like an asshole. Sounds like, I mean, yeah, I'm just going to be watching and help. Yeah, that's the thing about World War One is it fucked some people up for sure. It really, it didn't, it didn't make him better. I think we could include that. Right. But to be fair to the rest of the veterans of World War One, they didn't do the same shit. Yeah. J.R.O. token wrote about hobbits after. You're right. I'm going to put a road about hobbits. He was just like, what if there's these cute little Irish kids? Yeah. And all they do is, you know, smoke weed and find rings of power. Yeah. And then we're in the war, same battlefields, one guy winds up doing the worst things I've ever read about and the other guy is like, what if there were little people who like to eat for breakfast? That seems nice. I'm going to write about one fighting a dragon. Yeah, what if there were elves and they're all hot? Yeah. That'd be fucking hot. Yeah, like a razor there, just the hottest people and there's also the dwarves and they're fine. Like, yeah, good for token, man. Yeah. Yeah. Anyway. Really, that's what the, that's the message here is, Jarrow token was pretty good at processing trauma. Exactly. He was very good at processing it. And I think we can all safely say that he would not give a fuck that Amazon cast black elves. I don't think he would care. He would hate the show, but not for that reason. Right. Right. He would hate the show for a thousand other reasons. A thousand, a thousand reasons you would never understand in your entire life. So, every one of his books, some of them would be like, well, I don't, what are you going on about, Jon? Anyway, the episode's over. You want to plug your shit? I do. I do. If you've stuck around this long, then you must be excited for a plug. I do a wonderful The Wire Rewatch podcast called pod yourself the wire. You should listen to it and you should give us five stars interview. I just want that. I just want this one to have all the reviews. I don't even care that if anyone listens to it, but it's like, you know, when I go into the Apple podcast store, I see like people, they got like four thousand reviews and, you know, five thousand. And I'm like, I want to be one of those podcasts. So do that for us. And then I'll also listen to it. Review, bomb and listen to Matt's podcast. You can say anything in the review as long as it's five stars. You can be like, oh, Matt, it's a great podcast. Although he keeps talking about feet. Feel free. Manchin feet. I don't care. He just five stars. He loves them. I do. Well, you can check that out. You can read my book after the revolution. Just type that in with AK press or just type it into like whatever book buying website you use. You will find it and can get an ebook or a physical copy. And, you know, as you go out into the world after this harrowing week, be the 16 year old punching an Nazi in the face that you draw the hammer in the world, right? Hell yeah, dude. Fuck yeah. Behind the bastards is a production of Cool Zone Media. For more from Cool Zone Media, visit our website or check us out on the iHeart Radio app, Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. If you could completely remove one phrase from your vocabulary, which phrase would you choose? Um, I don't know. Correct answer. No, I mean, I don't know which phrase. And the best way to banish I don't know from your life is by cramming your brain full of stuff you should know. Join your host, Josh and Chuck, on the super popular podcast packed with fascinating discussions on science, history, pop culture, and more. Episodes that ask was the lost city of Atlantis real. I don't know. Is birth order important? I don't know. How does pizza work? Well, I do know a bit about that. 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