The Right Honourable Arnold Hiller, M.P
By Chris Oakley
Includes material previously posted at Othertimelines.com
Summary: In the previous eleven chapters of this series we examined Arnold Hiller’s rise to power as British prime minister and his crushing of all domestic foes; his 1936 occupation of Ireland; the establishment of his alliance with Italy’s Benito Mussolini; his invasion of France that touched off the Second World War and the subsequent British takeover of French colonial territories in the Middle East and North Africa; Ireland’s “Day of Broken Glass”; the entry of the United States into the Second World War and the first Anglo-American naval battles in the Atlantic; the fascist takeover of Spain at the end of the Spanish Civil War; Japanese preparations for war in the Pacific against the United States and its CANZUS allies; the British occupation of Iceland in 1939; and the beginning of Operation Torch-41, the American campaign to liberate Bermuda. In this installment we’ll explore the escalation of Hiller’s infamous “final solution” crusade against the Irish people into full-fledged genocide.
There can be few words in the English language uglier than “genocide”; the mere sound of it conjures up a sense of evil that threatens to overwhelm the human mind. And although the term was coined relatively recently in the history of civilization, the act itself has unfortunately been a part of humanity’s legacy since the days of Cain and Abel. It was during the BNSP’s rule over Britain, however, that the machinery and methods of modern industrial culture became an integral element of the process of mass murder. Hiller was determined to crush the Irish people permanently, and if that meant physically exterminating them as a society he had no compunctions whatsoever about shedding their blood. If anything a part of Hiller blatantly relished the idea of wiping them off the face of the earth; more than once in his early years as British primer minister he had told his confidants he’d like to see every man, woman, and child in Ireland thrown into a furnace.
Henry Hamill and his SS were only too eager to carry out the prime minister’s instructions in regard to the “final solution”. Right from the start Hamill had regarded the SS as a bulwark of British culture against the alleged barbaric hordes of Eire; when Hiller gave his verbal consent for SS camp commanders in British- occupied Ireland to begin mass killings of prisoners in the camps, Hamill viewed as nothing less than the fulfillment of one of his oldest dreams for the SS and for the BNSP at large. Once the prime minister gave the green light for the extermination campaign to be initiated the SS commander-in-chief threw himself into it with an almost demonic relish; in an unpublished memoir found by advancing American and Canadian troops in the ruins of SS headquarters shortly after Hamill’s suicide in 1945, he waxed enthusiastic about what he called “the great and necessary task now laid out before us”. The idea that there was anything wrong with committing wholesale slaughter on fellow human beings simply because of their ethnic background doesn’t seem to have crossed his mind-- or if it did, he dismissed it with the same brutal quickness as he dismissed the humanity of all the other perceived adversaries of the BNSP regime.
Arnold Hyman was one of the first men Hamill recruited to run the death camps. A close associate of Hamill’s from the earliest days of the SS, Hyman had long been an integral participant in the SS’ anti- Irish campaign; his only major qualm where Hiller’s “Final Solution” was concerned was that the crematoriums which would be used to burn the bodies of those executed in the camps might not be large enough to accommodate all the corpses that would need to be burned following the completion of the execution process. When Hyman brought this problem to Hamill’s attention, the SS commander-in-chief solved it by turning to a group of engineers who were on the payroll of the industrial firm I.C. Barton and had extensive backgrounds in dealing with exactly the type of structural challenges the design of the crematoriums posed.
Once that hurdle was cleared, the business of preparing the death camps for their sinister task could proceed apace. The prototype for these SS-run murder factories was established in a rural Cork village called Ashworth; the first batch of Irish detainees marked for death were to be executed within its gas chambers and then burned to ashes in its crematorium. If this trial run worked out, Hamill told Hiller, it would be a huge step forward in the BNSP’s long-running struggle to rid Britain of the Irish threat. So it was that in October of 1939 the first trainloads of prisoners were shipped in from all over occupied Ireland to await what would be a grotesque demise. Those still capable of working were put in the Ashworth camp’s labor pool to be used like pack mules until they were ready to drop; prisoners too old or sick to work were killed immediately. Those scheduled for execution were duped into playing a part in their own demise; to prevent the prisoners from learning the gas chambers’ true purpose too early, those chambers were disguised as shower stalls to which the prisoners were told they had to report for de-lousing in accordance with the prison camp’s health regulations. Once secured inside these stalls, the prisoners would be subjected to lethal doses of Cyclone-2, losing control of their bodily functions within a matter of seconds and losing consciousness shortly thereafter.
The crematoriums designed and constructed by I.C. Barton proved to be more than equal to the challenge of incinerating mass groups of corpses simultaneously. Impressed by the initial results of the “Final Solution” program’s test run at Ashworth, Hamill gave the green light for additional gas chambers and crematoriums to be set up at other SS concentration camps in occupied Ireland and signed an executive order authorizing the commandant at Ashworth to expand that camp’s existing crematories. Also expanded were the railway lines over which condemned Irish prisoners would be transported to the death camps; the depots at which these prisoners were unloaded were designed to look like regular train stations to further conceal the camps’ true nature from inmates before their execution. By June of 1940 Ashworth was the largest and deadliest component of a mass murder system spanning much of British- occupied Ireland which included twenty-one primary camps and dozens of auxiliary facilities. Since the end of World War II these camps’ names have been synonymous with genocide: Decker, Barronbelsey, Trowballard, Maydon, Soberry...and Ashworth.
It wasn’t only the gas chambers and crematoria which made the BNSP death camps in occupied Ireland so barbaric; camp inmates were subjected to every kind of physical and mental torture imaginable by their jailers before finally being gassed. Abusive behavior by the SS personnel stationed at the camps wasn’t just tolerated, it was in many cases rewarded by the Hiller government. One particularly brutal guard at Decker, Charles Berry, eventually earned himself a position as the commandant of his own death camp. (Berry would later become a fugitive from Allied war crimes charges after the record of his exploits as an SS officer came to light following the collapse of the BNSP regime.) Even by the sadistic standards of his breed Berry was a singularly cruel man-- a schoolyard bully turned demon from Hell. He was known to beat and murder camp inmates on the slightest pretext, or even no pretext at all, and there are hints within the Decker camp archives he may have committed sexual assault against one or more of the camp’s female prisoners.
For his own part, Joseph Angle-- now the chief medical officer at Ashworth --welcomed the opportunity to take his grisly experiments to a higher level. He was particularly enthusiastic about conducting them on fraternal twins; Angle had been obsessed with twins even before he joined the SS death camp system, and as Ashworth’s camp doctor he had the authority to requisition twin siblings to act as human guinea pigs in his grotesque “research”. It was an authority he would not hesitate to use to his advantage during the war; even during the final months before the BNSP’s collapse, as American and Canadian troops closed in upon Ashworth, Dr. Angle was still subjecting twins to his horrendous experiments.
On Angle’s watch Ashworth became infamous for being brutal even by the sinister standards of the SS. Not only Irish nationals suffered the camp’s tortures; Ashworth was also a popular site for detaining French anti-Hiller insurgents captured by British occupation troops in France and for punishing those few British citizens who dared to defy the BNSP regime. One out of every four British political prisoners in detention between August of 1939 and May of 1940 was incarcerated at Ashworth-- and that number would continue to grow as the Hiller regime further tightened its repressive grip on its subjects’ lives.
Another important function served by SS camps like Ashworth was that of providing a steady stream of forced labor to the factories and shipyards that built the weapons of Hiller’s war machine. Having total power of life and death over their inmates, the camp commandants could and often did dragoon those inmates into serving long hours with next to nothing for pay under dire conditions making the military equipment needed to keep the BNSP war effort going. Many of the slave laborers who toiled in these factories eventually dropped dead at their posts, which hardly bothered the SS in the least-- in fact one high-ranking SS officer drafted a memo to Henry Hamill in September of 1940 which callously referred to these victims as “human refuse”, to be disposed of with no more thought than one might use in throwing away a piece of paper.
The Hiller propaganda machine did its best to quash any flicker of sympathy British subjects might feel towards the inmates of the SS concentration camp system; Hiller’s security forces fought to suppress the truth about the ‘Final Solution’ from leaking to the outside world and possibly further arousing world opinion against the Hiller regime. Nonetheless, hints of the brutality being perpetrated within the camps started to seep out and certain courageous British citizens spoke out against the BNSP’s inhuman treatment of the Irish. The very least such dissidents risked at the hands of the Hiller government was arrest and indefinite detention by Ronald Hatcher’s security forces; as often as not those British citizens who dared object to the persecution of the Irish could find themselves summarily shot.
One man who ranked particularly high on the Hiller regime’s list of “enemies of the state” was Pastor Derrick Banover of the Church of England. Banover, a man with strong pacifist leanings who had opposed the BNSP’s militaristic mindset for years before Hiller became prime minister, believed in and preached the idea of universal brotherhood. He was therefore a mortal threat to the regime and had to be done away with as quickly as possible....To Be Continued
To Be Continued