Letter from the Congo, 15 September 1961

From the family of UN officer Peter J. Hazou, I am proud to share their contribution of photos and memories from 1961, and a letter from the former Leopoldville, now Kinshasa, that was written on this day, 55 years ago.

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Dag Hammarskjold, center, in white suit, his bodyguard William Ranallo at far left, and Peter J. Hazou at right in dark suit with lapel pin.
From reverse of UN photo: “SECRETARY-GENERAL LEAVES FOR CONFERENCE WITH CONGO PREMIER. UN 72653 -United Nations, Leopoldville, September, 1961. Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold leaves UN Headquarters in Leopoldville on his way to meet Congolese Premier, Cyrille Adoula. The Secretary-General was consulting with Premier Adoula on the Katanga dispute.”

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Friday, September 15, 1961

Dear Abboud and family,

We are still here in Congo and still enjoying ourselves. Peter has decided to stay a while longer as it is to our advantage financially, and so we will remain here in Congo until the end of November, 1961. At that time we are planning to take a three week cruise from Point Noir in French Congo and go up West Africa, stopping at a different port each day and ending up in Casablanca and then going to Marseille, where we will take a plane home. It will be a very interesting trip. It will get us home in cold Winter weather, though. We would stay longer but we have our house empty at home and that is a responsibility. We have registered Linda at Sacre Coeure school where they speak only French. She doesn’t know any yet but will learn quickly. In two months she won’t speak it perfectly but it will be better than nothing.

Sunday we all went on another boat ride up the Congo River. We stopped at a few islands and on one was a small African village. The children were interested in seeing how the people live. It was on the French Congo side. It is fun to go on these sandy islands. People swim from there but we don’t because the Congo River is brown and has strong currents which would pull one downstream quickly. Someone saw a crocodile once but we never did.

I take the children to the pool often because they love it. Linda swims a bit now, and Petey uses the tube. Tennis is available but I haven’t been able to get Peter to play much. He is still gaining weight but this week he intends to go on a diet. Linda has gotten very tall, and Petey is maturing nicely. I am happy that you are all well. We received your letter and it was good to get all your news. It is good Marcos is still globe-trotting, and I am glad it has been a good tourist season. I hope the weather remains pleasant for you. Over here it is still pleasantly cool, and we have rainy days now and then. The heavy rains will be coming soon and also the warm weather. Yesterday I taught our house boy to cook stuffed cabbage and Peter loved it. Also, I cook spaghetti occasionally because the family loves it. Sunday nights we sit at the outdoor gelateria and have Italian ice cream. Sometimes we go to the football matches (the Nigerians are good players) and sometimes we go to the movies, and so the time goes. There are still many cocktail parties, and the enclosed picture was taken at an Indian Officers’ one under a huge tent.

Wednesday [13 September 1961], Dag [Hammarskjold] came in and Peter was the protocol officer for the government at the airport. He greeted Adoula, Gizenga, Mobutu and Momboko[?-TB] when they arrived and then he made all the arrangements. When the S-G’s plane arrived he went up to meet him with Linner and Gen.[McKeown]. The Congolese and Nigerian bands played and it was a very nice welcome.

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Tonight we will attend a big reception given by the Sec. General. This is a very crucial week here in the Congo. There is heavy fighting in Katanga, and at the huge UN army base. Last night the planes of UN personnel arrived from there as they were evacuated for safety. Don’t worry about us, though, as we are quite safe in Leopoldville as the fighting is far away. Peter is taking care of settling the refugees comfortably. If there is any big job Peter is asked to do it because they know it will get done properly. Because of this, Peter is working hard and practically running the big UN operation here but feels he doesn’t get the appreciation he deserves from headquarters, who do not realize he is working so hard because some of the other men are not capable of handling their jobs and so it falls on Peter. But it is a satisfaction to handle jobs well. He set up the whole Lovanium operation, which was tremendous and cost a million dollars. He used to have a private radio connection with it when it was locked in session, although he was one of the few people who had complete access to it. Too bad he didn’t take pictures there. We all hope the Katanga situation resolves itself quickly without civil war breaking out.

Well, Linda will start school Monday and we are glad about it. Tomorrow we will take a trip across the river to Brazzaville and look the town over. It is much smaller than Leopoldville. The past few days were warm and the hot season is starting to come in. It isn’t uncomfortable yet, though. I guess it is getting cooler in Bethlehem and the tourists are fewer. It is amazing to think that we will be having another great trip next Summer and will be with you again. I guess we can never complain about the United Nations! The children send kisses to each one of you and they are constantly drawing pictures which they say are for you. They are too bulky to send, though. Take good care of yourselves and keep in good spirits and health.

Love, Winnie

[At end of letter, Peter Hazou writes in pen:]
Dear Abboud,
I am sorry I have not been able to write more often since I have not been able to find the time. Thank you for your letters which arrive here via New York much quicker than in the past. As soon as we return to New York (about 17 December 1961) I shall resume a more regular correspondence. I am tired but healthy and I am sure the boat trip from the Congo to Marseille will do me a lot of good. My love to Mother, Victoria, Jamil and Mary and of course to yourself. I shall take a few days off and will write you a more detailed letter. The S-G will return to New York after tomorrow. The news from Katanga this evening is quite bad. I hope things improve. Love, Peter

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Boat rides on the Congo River, Peter Hazou and family, 1961

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Peter Hazou, Congo, 1961

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First page of Lovanium Operation report from Hazou, who did tremendous work to organize all the details for the Lovanium conference to happen, dated 23 August 1961, with photo and ONUC Lovanium pass. Hazou worked for the United Nations for over three decades, from 1947 until 1978.

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Peter and Winnie Hazou at left, with Sergeant Harold Julien second from right. This is likely the photo of the Indian Officer’s cocktail party mentioned in the letter, it is undated. The son of Winnie Hazou recalls: “She told me that she told Harry [Julien] at the reception how very lucky he was to be going on the mission to Katanga with the S-G”.

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Hazou with unidentified person, possibly at same Indian Officer’s Party.

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Invitation to the reception for Dag Hammarskjold, at La Deviniere, 15 September 1961

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At reception for Hammarskjold, on the terrace at La Deviniere, Peter and Winnie with unidentified person.

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La Deviniere terrace, Peter and Winnie Hazou, Joseph Kasa-Vubu, and S. Habib Ahmed

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Here is the reverse of the last photo, which is dated in arabic 16 September 1961. Though she writes in the letter to Abboud that the reception for Hammarskjold was on the 15th, Winnie Hazou told her family later on that the reception was the night before the flight, the 16th, which also contradicts the date on the invitation, but the days leading up to the flight were intense with fighting, so it’s very possible that the date was moved at the last minute.

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Prime Minister Cyrille Adoula, far left, with Peter Hazou on right, at Ndjili airport, Leopoldville, to transfer the 16 fallen to the Pan-Am plane.

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Leopoldville, Pan-Am transport of fallen

The son of Peter and Winnie was only four years old at the time of the crash, but he remembers how he heard the news about Hammarskjold. He was at a luncheon for wives of diplomats with his mother, when the news came that Hammarskjold’s plane was announced missing, and the luncheon ended abruptly. He knew that something was wrong when his father came home in the middle of the day, which was very unusual for him. And then he saw his parents crying together. When the bodies of the fallen arrived in Leopoldville, he was on the observation deck at Ndjili airport with his family, and still recalls the intense sadness and solemnity of the people around him.

It took many people to run the United Nations Operation in the Congo, and I am glad to pay tribute to the memory of a colleague of Vlado, who no doubt grieved his death as well.

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Misleading Conduct? US and UK Intelligence Obstruct Justice of UN Investigation

Vlado's casket Geneva Lutheran Church

From Julian Borger’s Guardian article, 24 August 2016, “Dag Hammarskjold: Ban Ki-moon seeks to appoint investigator for fatal crash”:

“[…]Ban [Ki-moon] noted that the UK had stuck to its position last year that it had no further documentation to show the UN investigation. He appended a letter sent in June by the British permanent representative to the UN, Matthew Rycroft, saying “our position remains the same and we are not able to release the materials in question without any redactions”.

Rycroft added “the total amount of information withheld is very small and most of the redactions only consist of a few words”.

The wording of the letter echoed a similar letter, turning down the UN request for more information, the UK sent in June 2015, which said that “no pertinent material” had been found in a “search across all relevant UK departments”.

In reply the UN legal counsel, Miguel de Serpa Soares, reminded Rycroft of the shared responsibility of the UN and its member states “to pursue the full truth” about Hammarskjold’s death, and asked him to confirm that the search of “all relevant UK departments” included security and intelligence agencies.

In reply, Rycroft simply quoted the former UK foreign secretary Philip Hammond telling parliament that the foreign office had “coordinated a search across all relevant UK departments”.

“I think the British response is extraordinary. It’s very brisk and curt and evasive,” said Susan Williams, a British historian at the School of Advanced Study, University of London, whose book Who Killed Hammarskjold: The UN, The Cold War and White Supremacy in Africa, revealed new evidence that helped persuade the UN to open a new investigation into the crash near Ndola, in what was then the British colony of Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia.

Part of that evidence was a report from a British intelligence officer, Neil Ritchie, who was in the area at the time of the crash and who was trying to organise a meeting between Hammarskjold and a rebel leader from neighbouring Congo, where the UN secretary general was trying to broker a truce.

“This was British territory and they had a man on the ground. It doesn’t make them responsible for the crash but it does indicate they knew a lot of what was going on,” Williams said, adding it was “highly unlikely” that Ritchie’s report which she found in an archive at Essex University, was the only British intelligence report coming the area at the time.”

On 28 August 2016, Dr Mandy Banton (Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Commonwealth Studies), Henning Melber (Senior adviser/director emeritus, The Dag Hammarskjold Foundation), and David Wardrop (Chairman, United Nations Association Westminster Branch) published letters together in the Guardian, “UK’s lack of transparency over plane crash that killed Dag Hammarskjold”. From Melber:

“The US and British responses to the efforts by the United Nations to further explore the circumstances of the plane crash at Ndola should be an embarrassment to all citizens in these countries (and elsewhere), who have an interest in seeking clarification of what happened. The reports so far already present sufficient evidence that there is more to it than what the official government responses are willing to admit.

This form of denial through non-compliance with legitimate demands for access to information is tantamount to obstruction and sabotages the sincere efforts to bring closure to one of the unsolved cases involving western states and their security operations. Such an arrogant attitude further dents the image of those who claim to be among civilized nations then and now.”

From 2 September 2016, here is an excerpt from Justice Richard Goldstone’s letter to the Guardian, “Hammarskjold case is not yet closed”:

“[…]it is highly likely that some member states of the UN, especially but not only the US, hold records or transcripts of cockpit transmissions in the minutes before the plane came down. If so, these may well put the cause of the crash, whatever it was, beyond doubt. But neither the US National Security Agency, which has gradually resiled from its admission to our commission that it held two relevant records, nor, as Dr Banton’s letter (29 August) suggests, the UK government, has so far responded with any vigour to the secretary-general’s plea for cooperation.”

From the 6 September 2016 New York Times, “Release the Records on Dag Hammarskjold’s Death”, written by The Rt. Hon. Sir Stephen Sedley:

“There was also evidence that the N.S.A. was monitoring the airwaves in the Ndola region, almost certainly from one of two American aircraft parked on the tarmac. Our inquiry therefore asked the agency for any relevant records it held of local radio traffic before the crash. The agency replied that it had three records “responsive” to our request but that two of those were classified top secret and would not be disclosed.

At its close, my commission recommended that the United Nations follow up this lead. The General Assembly appointed a three-person panel, which repeated our request to the N.S.A. This time, the agency replied that the two documents were not transcripts of radio messages as Southall had described and offered to let one of the panel members, the Australian aviation expert Kerryn Macaulay, see them. This she did, reporting that the documents contained nothing relevant to the cause of the crash.

This makes it difficult to understand how those two documents were initially described as “responsive” to a request explicitly for records of radio intercepts, or why they were classified top secret. It raises doubts about whether the documents shown to Ms. Macaulay were, in fact, the documents originally identified by the N.S.A. The recent denial that there is any record of United States Air Force planes’ being present at Ndola increases the impression of evasiveness.”

Thank You, Mr. Ban Ki-moon

On March 30 2016, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was in Stockholm, Sweden for the annual Dag Hammarskjold lecture. With sincere thanks and appreciation for his strong leadership in the Hammarskjold investigation, I am posting his remarks here in full (link here). It is very touching to know that he thinks of Hammarskjold every day, and that he has done so for 60 years, since he was a young boy in Korea.

“I thank the Government and people of Sweden for a very warm welcome.

It is a singular honour to be in this magnificent and legendary City Hall … among this most distinguished audience … to deliver a lecture named for a towering hero of humanity.

Dag Hammarskjöld was Swede through and through, but he also belonged to the world.

I feel both privileged and humbled to be serving in the role he once filled so masterfully.

I also feel blessed to be serving the United Nations. During the Korean War, the United Nations was our lifeline. We survived on food from UNICEF. We were schooled with textbooks from UNESCO. We were protected by the troops of many nations serving under the UN’s blue flag.

Sweden was among the nations that responded to the call of the Security Council for Member States to support Korea in 1950.

More than 1,000 Swedish doctors and nurses served in the Swedish Red Cross Field Hospital, and treated 19,100 UN personnel and 2400 Koreans. I greatly appreciate this strong show of international solidarity.

Following the war, Sweden continued to help promote peace and prosperity on the Korean peninsula through its involvement in maintaining the armistice as a member of the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission.

Every day, I think of Dag Hammarskjöld in the course of my duties as Secretary-General. But you may be surprised to know, I did so even as a boy.

Sixty years ago, I was a sixth grader in rural Korea. It was 1956, and people in Hungary were facing a violent suppression of their aspirations.

We wondered: What could we do? How could we best express support from our far-off corner of the world?

Then it came to us. We will write to Dag Hammarskjöld!

As the student chair, I read the letter to my entire school at an assembly.

“Dear Mr. Secretary-General,” we pleaded, “help the people of Hungary so they can have freedom and democracy.”

I did not know Dag Hammarskjöld. Yet, half a world away, more than half a century ago, I sensed both his power as a world leader, and his approachability as a servant of humankind.
He did not simply preach these qualities. He lived them with passion and compassion.

Hammarskjöld reached people’s hearts, because he strived to understand people’s minds – their hopes and dreams and fears and aspirations.

He did so through the arts – music and poetry, literature, sculpture and photography.

He did it through spirituality and quiet contemplation.

Above all, he pursued it through his lifelong mission — an active life devoted to “selfless service”.

In October 2006, in addressing the General Assembly of the United Nations upon my election as Secretary-General, I shared the story of a boy who had once sent a letter to Dag Hammarskjold. I expressed the wish that I would not receive such letters from children around the world.

Sadly, today, I do receive the appeals that I once sent as a schoolboy. It is I who must do what Hammarskjöld did: defend the values enshrined in the UN Charter; direct our dedicated staff; and steer the Member States towards our common goals.

The world is changing—dramatically, rapidly.

We are more connected than ever before. More people than ever live in cities.

New economic powers are rising. There are more than three times as many members of the United Nations as there were in Hammarskjöld’s day.

New threats have emerged—climate change above all.

And the human family has a new profile: more than half the earth’s people are under the age of 25.

Our shared challenge is to shape this new world for the better—to build a landscape of opportunity and peace, while conquering persistent injustices, from hatred to hunger.

Around the world, we are being tested in old ways that Hammarskjöld would have recognized — and in new ways for which his example can remain our guide.

Massive displacement – the most since the Second World War.

Terrorism.

Atrocious crimes that defy all norms of humanity.

At such times, the United Nations relies on its strongest supporters to step up, speak out and stay true.

Swedes have lived and breathed the United Nations for almost 70 years. In few countries is support for the United Nations so entwined with its own national identity.

More than 80,000 Swedes have served in UN peacekeeping missions. Most recently, Swedish troops have deployed to Mali, and I welcome your efforts to increase the number of Swedish police who take part in our operations.

Swedes continue to support UN efforts to prevent and resolve conflicts through mediation and other peaceful means, continuing the noble tradition of Folke Bernadotte, Gunnar Jarring, Olof Rydbeck and Olof Palme.

I especially welcome Sweden’s support for Security Council resolution 1325 on women, peace and security, and the network of women mediators. Sweden was the first country to appoint a female Permanent Representative to the United Nations — Ms. Agda Rössel, in 1958. Today, your feminist foreign policy is bringing new voices to the table.

At a time when humanitarian needs are escalating and the funding gap is widening, you remain the world’s leading donor on a per capita basis. Even with the increased spending needed to address the needs of refugees, you have admirably maintained your commitment to development aid.

Sweden has consistently upheld human rights and universal values, including as one of the largest donors to the United Nations Democracy Fund.

And your commitment to people is equalled by your care for the planet – from the 1972 Stockholm conference on the environment, to the work of people like Bert Bolin who served as the first chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, to your commitment to be one of the world’s first fossil free countries. You are also helping to mobilize action to safeguard the health of our oceans – a pressing yet often neglected challenge.

I see Sweden’s contributions every day, from my encounters with young Swedish staff members in Haiti or South Sudan — to the outstanding commitment of the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson, who I am privileged to have serving by my side.

I am also grateful for the efforts of Sweden’s Royal Family. King Carl XVI Gustaf is a champion of climate action; Queen Silvia is an advocate of children’s rights; and I am especially pleased that Crown Princess Victoria has just agreed to be one of our Sustainable Development Goal Advocates — and I welcome her enthusiastic engagement.

All of this leads me to one conclusion: Sweden is a superpower of solidarity, dialogue and cooperation.

In the process, you are showing that leadership in the United Nations and the European Union are mutually reinforcing – as you excel at one, you advance the other — and benefit from both.

The world needs Sweden’s global citizenship more than ever. Today I would like to highlight four areas where your contributions are crucial and where I would like for us to work together to be even more ambitious: first, addressing the refugee challenge; second, advancing a more sustainable world; third, enhancing peace and security; and fourth, ensuring the strongest possible United Nations.

Let me start with one of the leading trends of our time: human mobility.

Sweden — like many countries today — is facing the challenge of refugees and migration.

Sweden — like few countries today — is setting an example of generosity and values-led action. You have accepted more refugees per capita than any other country in Europe. You should be very proud of this.

I have just come from a visit through the Middle East. I met with refugees in Jordan and Lebanon.

At least one out of four people in Lebanon is a Syrian refugee.

I heard moving tales of horror, suffering and loss.

Dag Hammarskjöld famously said that the United Nations “was not created to take mankind to heaven, but to save humanity from hell.”

These refugees have fled hell. They need our help in a spirit of shared global responsibility.

I know there are tensions and difficulties with receiving great numbers of refugees. But I have been deeply moved by the many stories of Swedish hospitality and goodwill.

My message to Sweden is to keep striving for solidarity. Recognize the economic dynamism that migrants and refugees make possible. Take a stand against negative and nativist narratives. Lead the way to more understanding guided by the universal values set out in the UN Charter.

As Jan Eliasson has said, “Sweden is a part of the global community – but the world is also part of Sweden. An open and tolerant Sweden is a richer Sweden. Building strong and fair communities is a contribution to international peace and security.”

I completely agree. Making the most of the blessing of diversity is the winning strategy of the 21st century.

That leads me to the second area where we need Sweden’s leadership – building a sustainable world.

Around the continent, and around the world, I have urged leaders and citizens to avoid the siren songs of those who sow fear, hate and division.

This cannot be a world of “us and them” — it must be a world of “we the peoples”.

That is the spirit of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, the SDGs. This is a 15-year blueprint to end global poverty approved by world leaders last September. It embodies a commitment to leave no one behind. In many respects, it is a global Declaration of Interdependence.

I know Sweden is very familiar with the SDGs and the principles underlying it. That is because you were at the forefront in shaping it and in bringing peace, development and human rights together under one umbrella.

Sweden also understood something else from the start — that while promises read well on paper, it takes political action to deliver on the ground. I want to commend Prime Minister Löfven for convening a high-level support group of world leaders to sustain the political momentum for implementation.

You have realized these goals are crucial for your own country’s progress — and, once again, the Prime Minister has led the way in mobilizing ministers to drive progress. You understand a sustainable world will be a safer, more prosperous and equitable world.

As Hammarskjöld said and as we all know, there will be no development without peace.

This is the third area where we can build on the Hammarskjöld legacy.

In Syria, the cessation of hostilities has now held, by and large, for more than a month. This has given us greater humanitarian access and opened up space for diplomacy. Talks are making progress and will resume in 10 days. These are being led by my Special Envoy, Staffan de Mistura, another distinguished peacemaker with strong Swedish roots.

We are also moving towards a cease-fire and peace talks in Yemen, where civilians have borne the brunt of Coalition aerial attacks and other violence.

From South Sudan to Mali and Afghanistan, we must resolve the conflicts that are causing so much displacement and destruction.

We must also do more to heed a long-known lesson: prevention saves lives and money.

We are now taking forward the recommendations of recent reviews of UN peace operations and peacebuilding that highlighted the need for greater emphasis on prevention.

Our Human Rights up Front initiative is a further effort to identify, and act on, the earliest signs of exclusion and other violations.

Earlier this month, we marked the 10th anniversary of the Human Rights Council – a major institutional reform that has fortified this key UN pillar. One of the architects of the Council was none other than Jan Eliasson, who served as President of the General Assembly session that brought it into being.

The terrorism and violent extremism we are seeing today is a direct assault on human rights. There can never be any justification for such acts. To tackle this challenge, we need to examine the underlying drivers. That means addressing discrimination, ensuring good governance, and providing access to education, social services and employment opportunities. In launching a plan of action to prevent violent extremism, we must also avoid responses that violate human rights and thereby feed the problem we are trying to solve.

Ending impunity for the most serious crimes of international concern is a crucial part of our work for peace. With the International Criminal Court, international and UN-assisted tribunals and courts, and other mechanisms, the world has entered an age of accountability. Prosecutions may still take a long time; not all perpetrators have been brought to trial; but the trend is unmistakable: more justice for societies and more support for the victims.

The conviction last week of Radovan Karadizc for genocide in Srebrenica, as well as for crimes against humanity and war crimes, was a further welcome step in this direction. Our goal is a reckoning for the crimes of the past — and a deterrent to the crimes of the future.

Across our agenda, the United Nations must lead by example, and that means ensuring we are fit for the 21st century. That is the fourth and final area where I believe we must continue to make greater progress.

As I said on my first day in office, we reform the United Nations because we believe in its future — and I will continue to act on that conviction until my last day in office.

I publicly issued my financial disclosure statement on day one, the first Secretary-General to do so. I have strengthened results-based management and linked senior appointments to performance. I have streamlined and harmonized UN contracts, and am very proud of the many glass ceilings that have been broken at the United Nations.

I have appointed more women to senior positions than at any time in UN history. We have been strengthened by the contributions of dynamic Swedish leaders such as Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom, who served as my first Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, and Ann Marie Orler, the first woman to serve as “top cop” of the United Nations — leading more than 10,000 UN Police worldwide.

But I also know reform is never-ending. My team and I feel a strong sense of duty to work from within to transform the Organization – and to face our failings when we fall short.

There is nothing more outrageous — there is no greater violation of trust — than sexual exploitation and abuse by those who have been sent to a country to protect innocent people.

I am sickened and shamed that the unspeakable acts of a few have tainted the valiant work of many thousands, and caused some to see the UN’s blue helmet as a symbol of fear.

As I told the Security Council earlier this month, to all the victims and their families, I profoundly apologize.

Any abuse of power by peacekeepers betrays the very people they have been sent to protect. It also betrays the values of the United Nations.

Under my leadership, we are taking unprecedented action.

We are improving oversight so that troops with known histories of abuses will never be deployed.

We are strengthening investigations so that individuals or entire contingents that commit abuses will be sent home.

We are naming names and withholding payments. We are establishing a trust fund to better support victims.

Last year, I relieved one Special Representative of his command – and I have appointed a special coordinator to deepen our work to protect people and uphold the highest standards of professionalism.

My message to all UN peacekeeping leaders is clear: report allegations immediately, and act decisively.

Of course, the United Nations does not have criminal jurisdiction over troops, so my message to the countries that contribute forces is equally clear: Promptly investigate the allegations. Quickly punish the perpetrators. Hold your personnel accountable.

Zero tolerance must be the rule.

Sexual exploitation and abuse have no place – least of all in the United Nations which stands for the rights of women and children.

In all of our work, Dag Hammarskjöld remains a touchstone for courageous, principled action.

When I visited his gravesite in Uppsala on the 50th anniversary of his death, I laid a wreath in honour of his life and reflected on the timeless example of his service. It is in recognition of that devotion that the medal we give to the families of fallen peacekeepers is named in his honour.

Hammarskjöld was a private person who lived the most public of lives.

We know, for example, that he carried a UN Charter with him at all times.

We also know some of his innermost thoughts, as set out in “Markings”, his own personal code of conduct.

But there is one thing about Hammarksjöld that remains a mystery: the circumstances leading to his death — and the deaths of those who accompanied him.

We are doing everything to find out what happened.

Last year, a UN panel considered new information, including by interviewing eyewitnesses who had not been interviewed before in official inquiries. The Panel concluded that some of the new information was sufficient to warrant further consideration of whether aerial attack or other interference may have caused the crash.

I want to use this platform today to urge Member States with intelligence or other material in their archives to provide that information without delay. We must do everything to finally establish the facts and get to the bottom of this tragedy once and for all.

Dag Hammarskjold often met with United Nations staff. In 1958, the gathering began with a song that he had asked the UN choir to learn — one of his favorite Swedish folk tunes.

It inspired a poem that concludes by asking: “Will the day ever come when joy is great and sorrow is small?”

Hammarskjold reminded the staff that the United Nations is tasked to inch the world closer to such a day.

But then he added an even deeper personal observation. He noted that whenever we are carrying out a duty “well fulfilled and worth our while”, we can already see joy as great and sorrow as being small.

I see those twin messages rooted in the Swedish character: to both work for a better world and to find ultimate meaning and reward in doing so.

That is the Swedish mission, the Swedish purpose. In so many ways, you are more than a country, you are an example. You are a champion and a role model.

Together, let us continue to build a world of greater joy and lesser sorrow.

Together, let us strive to narrow the gap between the world as it is, and the world as we know it can be.

Tack så mycket. Thank you very much.”

Letters from Fraňo Tiso

Who was Fraňo Tiso? When I first posted the image of his postcard to Vlado here, back in March of 2013, I was frankly too horrified to consider that he could be any relation to Jozef Tiso, that there were probably lots of people with the last name of Tiso. But considering the political connections that Vlado and Pavel had, that Fraňo was the former Slovak Ambassador to the Soviet Union, and that I also have letters from Fraňo to Pavel concerning his communication with Franz Karmasin (letters from Karmasin posted here), this Fraňo was very likely the cousin of Jozef Tiso; he is mentioned briefly in James Mace Ward’s “Priest, Politician, Collaborator: Jozef Tiso and the Making of Fascist Slovakia” (published 2013, Cornell University Press); from chapter 7, “Sacred Convictions, 1939-44”, page 206:

“Although still pro-German, [Jozef] Tiso also wanted greater independence, a desire that led to a sharp foreign policy turn: détente with the Soviet Union. In addition to general issues of sovereignty, the economics of German domination increasingly troubled him. His idea of the state was for “national” property to come into Slovak hands. Instead, German-held shares in Slovakia’s industry exploded to over half in 1942. The Reich meanwhile consumed around three-quarters of Slovak exports, paying in devalued credits instead of hard cash. Seeking relief from such economic dependence and exploitation, Ďurčanský as foreign minister looked east. Diplomatic ties with the Communist state offered markets, an ally for revising the Vienna Award, and the prestige of Great Power recognition. Despite a lifetime of anti-bolshevism, Tiso supported the strategy. He later claimed to have welcomed the 1939 Hitler-Stalin Pact, expecting it to facilitate the solution of “European questions” on the basis of the ethnic principle. In his first presidential address, he proposed Slovakia as “a mediator…between…the Slavic and German worlds.” Soon, he was courting “extensive economic relations” with the Soviets not only by exchanging ambassadors (sending to Moscow his cousin Fraňo) but even by congratulating Stalin on the anniversary of the October Revolution.”

More about Fraňo and Jozef Tiso is mentioned in David S. Wyman’s book “The World Reacts to the Holocaust” (published 1996, Johns Hopkins University Press):

“The fate of the Jewish population had been given more attention in Slovakia than in the Czech lands, mainly because of the involvement and complicity of the clero-fascist Slovak regime, headed by the Catholic priest-president Dr. Jozef Tiso. The role played by the Catholic clergy in Slovakia during World War II conformed with the antireligious propaganda of the Communist Party.

The initial attempt to review the birth of the Slovak state was made by the pre-war minister of justice Ivan Dérer, in his Slovenský vývoj a ľudácká zrada, fakta, vzpomínky a úvahy (The Slovak state and the treachery of the L’udaks: Facts, memories, and thoughts). The first writer to set a novel against the backdrop of the years of Slovak independence was Dominik Tatarka in his Farská republika (The Parish republic). Tatarka depicted the misguided policy and the corrupt leadership that ultimately led to the wholesale deportation and destruction of the Jewish population. Other authors, such as Hela Volanská and Katerína Lazarová, portrayed the heroic stance of Jewish participants in the Slovak National Uprising. The History of Modern Slovakia, the first in-depth study to disclose the policy of the Nazi puppet regime and to describe at great length the persecution of Slovak Jewry, was published in New York in 1955 by Dr. Jozef Lettrich, a chairman of the Slovak National Council who had fled after the Communist coup. The role of the Hlinka Guard and the Jewish plight were analyzed by Imrich Staňek, himself a survivor, in the 1958 Zrada a pád: hlinkovští separatisté a tak zvaný Slovenský stát (Treachery and downfall: The Hlinka separatists and the so-called Slovak state), written from a strictly Marxist-Leninist viewpoint.

The capture of Adolf Eichmann in May 1960 by the Mossad and his subsequent trial in Jerusalem were widely covered in the national press and media. Eichmann, notorious for engineering the deportation of both Czech and Slovak Jewry, was of major interest to the local population. (He had commuted between Berlin and Prague, where he resided in the elegant, confiscated Rosenthal villa, in the Střešovice district.) The Czech and Slovak press sent special reporters to cover the proceedings of the trial. One of these reporters, the writer Ladislav Mňačko, later published a book portraying Eichmann’s satanic role in the Holocaust. The testimonies given at the trial by survivors appeared frequently in the press and in Věstník ŽNO, the weekly bulletin of the Jewish Religious Communities in Prague. Many of these related to the wholesale deportation of Slovak Jewry orchestrated by the [Jozef] Tiso regime. During one of the sessions of the trial Eichmann’s claim that “the Slovaks gave away their Jews as one spills sour beer,” from Life magazine’s interview with him, was quoted. Widely repeated in the international press, this assertion provoked reactions among leading Slovak figures in exile. The Munich-based Fraňo Tiso, in an effort to whitewash the Slovak wartime leadership, published an article in which he stressed the endeavors of the “moderate parish regime” to save Jews from deportation. In response, Edo Friš took up the topic in the article “In the Background was Heydrich,” published in the Bratislava weekly Kultúrny život. The controversy focused on the visit of SS Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich to Bratislava on April 10, 1942. Friš challenged [Frano] Tiso’s claim that the reason for Heydrich’s visit was to pressure the Slovak government to continue implementing the Final Solution. Citing documents referred to in The Destruction of Slovak Jewry, published some months earlier, Friš stressed the initiative and involvement of the Slovak leaders in the mass deportation of Jews; the aim of Heydrich’s visit, Friš added, was to assist the Slovak government in formulating a fallacious reply to the Vatican’s March 14, 1942, protest against the deportation of Jews. This was the first discussion of this sensitive issue in more than a decade.”

Here is another perspective of Fraňo Tiso, from the article “Slovak Historians In Exile In North America, 1945-1992” (published 1996), written by M. Mark Stolarik, Chair of Slovak History and Culture, University of Ottawa, Canada:

“Finally, another émigré journalist briefly settled in the Dominion and produced a significant work of scholarship. He was Dr. Fraňo Tiso (1894-1974), the former Slovak Ambassador to the Soviet Union between 1939 and 1941. Tiso fled Slovakia in 1945 and settled in Canada in 1950. In spite of his advanced age, he studied at the University of Montreal and in 1956 earned a Ph.D. in history. He published a portion of his dissertation on “The Empire of Samo, 623-658” in 1960. In 1957 he moved to West Germany where he edited the newspaper Slobodné Slovensko until his death.”

Obviously, I am very unsettled that I have these letters, I don’t know what to make of them yet, but I am publishing them here because I want to know the truth about the Fabrys, even if it shatters my whole lovely narrative about them – this is about history and not fiction.

Frano Tiso-P.Fabry doc. 2-19-59 1
Frano Tiso-P.Fabry doc. 2-19-59 2

ZÁPIS

V snahe, v terajšej vážnej, pre vývin udalostí v Strednej Europe smerodatnej dobe, podniknúť všetko, čo by nášmu ujarmenému slov národu pre jeho budúcnosť zo štátotvorného stanoviska prospešné bolo a v snahe vyjasniť si mnohé nesprávné tvrdenia, ba i obvinenia vedúcich činiteľov počas trvania Slovenského štátu – stretli sa v Mníchove v dňoch 18. a 19. februára 1959 v Hoteli Bayerischer Hof členovia Exilu a to Frant. TISO, predseda Slov. Národnej Rady v Zahraničí, odb. pre Spolkovú Nem. Republiku so sídlom v Mníchove a Dr. Pavel FABRY, t.č. v Ženeve a vo voľnej, viac hodín trvajúcej rozprave prejednali všetky aspekty vážnejších udalostí, ktoré od roku 1918 na osud slov. národa vliv maly.
Uľahčila tento rozhovor tá okolnosť, že sa Dr Fabrymu podarilo zachrániť vážne, pôvodné dokumenty historického významu z rokov 1918 – 1920, poťažne z rokov 1944 – 1948., a ktoré v jeho, v práve chystanej knihe prejednávané budú.
V rámci tohoto rozhovoru oboznámil Dr Fábry, Frant. Tisu s niektorými vážnými dokladmi, pri čom váhu kládol na dokumenty jeho jednania ako Povereníka Slov. Národnej Rady v roku 1918 o zabezpečenia samobytosti Slov. národa.
Taktiež si držal za vážnu povinnosť oboznámiť Fr. Tisu s pôvodnou dokumentáciou zásahou nácistických orgánov z Nemecka, Gestapa a Sicherheitsdienstu ako i nem. nácistických Sekretariátov, ktoré náležite vyvracajú v konkretných prípadoch, menovite posledne sa javiacu tendenciu, akoby tieto zásahy smerujúce na osbné prenasledovania slovenských občanov, sihajúce na ích slobodu, na ích životy a mučenia, páchané boly iniciatívov vládz a jej orgánov v Slov. štáte, čo Fr. Tiso so zadosťučinením berie na vedomie a potvrdzuje niektorými konkretnými prípadmi, ako Dr. Fábry, a udalostiami, ako na príklad, že Prezident Tiso trikráť odmietol podpísať zákon o prenasledovaní židov a nikdy ho nepodpísal. Týmito vyjasneniami budú môcť byť na pravú mieru uvedené mnohé mýlne trdenia a mýlné stanoviská a uľahčiť cestu ku mnohému dorozumeniu.
Táto rozprava vedená bola v prvom rade prehlásením, že obaja súčastnení, ktorých v ích doterajšom konaní viedla vždy úprimná snaha, za v dobe daných okolností pomôcť svojmu rodu a berú za toto pred Bohom, národom a vlastným svedomím vždy a všade zodpovednosť.
Preto sa rozhodli, na základe v rozprave zistených okolností všetko potrebné podniknúť, aby vytýčený cieľ mohol byť uskutočnený, ktorého podrobností a postup pripravia do stretnutia najbližšej príležitosti.
Do tej doby overia tento záp-is svojím parafom a prosia Všemohúceho aby žehnal ďalšie kroky ích úsilia.

Dané v Mníchove, dňa 19. februára 1959.

Dr. Pavel Fabry parafuje:
Frant. Tiso parafuje:

Napísané v dvoch exemplároch parafom potvrdených.
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Frano Tiso letter 2-28-59

München, 28.februára 1959

Veľavážený pán Advokát!

S priateľom ing.Filom som sa mohol v Bonne dobre porozprávať, čo – chvála Bohu – tiež prispelo k vzájomnému porozumeniu.
Bola v reči aj Vaša vec. V najbližších dňoch stretnem sa s pánom Birknerom / nie Brinker, ako ste ho Vy spomínali pri našom rozhovore / v Stuttgarte a dozviem sa, aké úzadie má jeho podanie a čo by sa dalo vo veci robiť. Poznám ho ako charakterného človeka, ktorý istotne nie je pod vplyvom Vami spomínaného človeka. Podanie muselo sa stať na zaklade nejakéko omylu alebo podfuku. On sám ho istotne nekoncipoval. Mám dobrú nádej, že aj táto vec príde do poriadku.
Prosím Vás pekne, pán Advokát, napíšte mi dôverne, kde a za akých okolností povedal pán súdruh Mikojan to, čo ste mi tu spomínali /47 – 24 – 32 – – 50 miliardov dol. / Stojím ešte stále pod dojmom počutého a jeho aspektov. Raz ma zalieva horúca vlna radosti a nádeje, po nej zasa pochybovania, či to vôbec bolo povedané pánom súdruhom Mikojanom, či je to vôbec pravda, či Vás niekto nepodviedol, alebo či to nepovedal vo forme a podstate celkom inej. Upokojte ma, prosím, udaním prameňa!
Rád by som počuť, že zdravie Vám a Vašim milým dobre slúzi.
V očakávaní Vašich zpráv pozdravujem Vás srdečne.

P.S. Mohli by ste mi napísať adresu p. syna?

Frano Tiso

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Frano Tiso telegram 4-7-59
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Frano Tiso letter 6-29-59 1
München, 29. júna 1959

Frano Tiso letter 6-29-59 2

Veľavážený pán Doktor Fábry!

Keďže prem mojim odchodom do Pariza nemohol som sa stretnúť s p. št. sekretárom Karmasinom, aby som s ním pohovoril v zmysle toho, na čom sa dohodli pán Filo a Birkner, napísal som mu list a vysvetlil, že nemôže byť ani v jeho záujme, aby povstal proces a aby sa rozprestierali pred nepritaeľskou verejnosťou veci, ktoré najradšej zabudnúť treba.
Odpoveďou napísal mi p. št. sekr. Karmasin toto:
“Die Beilage in Angelegenheit Dr. Fabry habe ich erhalten. Ich bin an Dr. Fabry weder positiv noch negativ interessiert, ich war es auch nie. Nun hat aber Dr. Fabry behauptet, dass er über meine Veranlassung von der Gestapo verhaftet wurde. Das ist eine glatte Unwahreit und ich kann nun keine Erklärung adgeben, dass ich ihn tatsächlich verhaften liess. Ich habe im ganzen Leben niemenden verhaften lassen, also auch Dr. Fabry nicht, ganz abgesehen davon, dass ich gar nicht die Möglichkeit hatte, jemanden verhaften zu lassen. Es müsste also erst Dr. Fabry seine Behauptung widerrufen, dass er über meine Veranlassung verhaftet wurde, denn ich kann Ihnen nicht zustimmen, wenn Sie schreiben, dass mit einer Zurückziehung niemand zu Schaden kommen kann. Ich z. B. Schon! Denn wenn ich meine Erklärung zurückziehe, heisst das, dass ich Weisungsbefugnis an die Gestapo hatte, was nie und nimmer stimmt, und ich komme in Teufels Küche.
Ich lege bestimmt keinen Wert darauf, in einen Prozess verwickkelt zu werden und aus diesem Grunde zusätzlich noch in die Öffentlichkeit gezerrt zu werden, aber mit einer einseitigen Zustimmung von mir ist es nicht getan.
Ich halte es für das zweckmässigste, wenn die beteiligten Herren sich zu einer Aussprache zusammenfinden würden, damit man gemeinsam Mittel und Wege suchen kann, um die Angelegenheit zu bereinigen.”
Z listu vidno, že aj Vy ste spravili chybu, keď ste p.Karmasinovi imputovali čin, ktorý on nespáchal. Ale aj to vysvitá z listu, že sa neuzatvára pred pokojným riešením veci. Hodno by bolo, uskutočniť jeho návrh.
V Bonne som Vás hľadal! Už ste boli odcestovaný. S týmto v súvislosti rád by som Vás usistiť, že nijako sa Vám nenatískam ani vo veci vypísania otáznych statí z “Grenzbote”; ale mohol som očakávať, že mi dáte alebo Vy, alebo priateľ Filo na vedomie, že to už nie aktuálne. Bol by som si moj opravdu drahý a takmer na hodiny rozpočítaný čas ináč zariadil. Takto som odmietol 15 prednášok.
Nie je to však nešťastím. Som Vám rád napomoci aj v budúcnosti, len prosím o dodržanie dohovoreného; či už priamo medzi nami, alebo cestou tretej osoby dohovoreneho.
Byt chvála Pánu Bohu už mám! Dobrí priatelia mi ho sprostredkovali, začo som im hlboko povďačný!
Prosiac, aby ste Milostivej panej Manželke odovzdali úctivý rukybozk, pozdravujem Vás srdečne.

Tiso

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Frano Tiso postcard to Vlado 4-12-60

Frano Tiso postcard to Vlado 4-12-60 reverse

It begins with a book…

Last August, I took another look through the family collection of books about Czechoslovakia. What I found was a copy of “HISTORY OF MODERN SLOVAKIA” by Jozef Lettrich, which had, sadly, been overlooked in a damp corner of the house.
034
But in spite of mold damage, I put it in a mylar sleeve and kept it nearby, because the book mentioned Pavel Fabry (Vladimir Fabry’s father) as one of the first to be imprisoned in a concentration camp on March 30, 1939, in the state prison of Ilava, Slovakia.
036
I recognized the book immediately, since I had seen at least a half dozen photostatic copies in my archive from page 144, underlined in the same places, which Pavel must have referred to in his case for reparations in Germany.
037
038
From Chapter Two, “Under the Swastika”, pages 143-144:

“When prisons were no longer adequate, the Slovak Government issued an order on March 24, 1939, “concerning the imprisonment of the enemies of the Slovak State.” […] This order authorized the Minister of Interior to “arrange for the jailing of persons whose past and present activities give reason to fear that they would continue to obstruct the building of the Slovak State.” The Minister of the Interior was further authorized to create “a camp for the detention of such persons in which prisoners would be compelled to perform physical labor.” Vojtech Tuka lost no time in transforming the old state prison in Ilava into a “security camp,” the first concentration camp in Slovak history. The Ilava prison thus became the home of Slovak democrats–of authors, priests, teachers, newspapermen and statesmen, as well as of simple farmers, workmen and students. The first inmates of this camp, brought there on March 30, 1939, were: Anton Štefánek, Ján Ursíny, František Zimák, Ján Pocisk, Ferdinand Benda, Karol Hušek, Ján Paulíny-Toth, Jozef Rudinský, Pavel Fábry, Andrej Djuračka, František Třešnák, Hana Styková, Vinco Mihalus and Jozef Lettrich, three Members of Parliament, two Senators, three journalists, the Chairman of the Slovak National Party, and an actress from the Slovak National Theater. Others soon followed. In the few years of existence of the Slovak State more than 3,000 persons were to pass through the gates of the Ilava concentration camp. Some remained a few days, some for months, and others for several years. They were all sent to Ilava without trial , without judgement, without indictment, merely upon a denunciation and by administrative order of the Ministry of Interior. Tuka, on April 15, 1939, made the following characteristic statement, “Those who spread alarming rumors and false reports are obstructing our way. We have made arrangements to handle all of them in Ilava. Many of them are there now and many others will follow them there. It is your duty to denounce these instigators to the police and the Hlinka Guards, and the Slovak Government will take care of them.”

030
I now have another copy of this book, in very good condition, signed and inscribed by Jozef Lettrich on the title page. It was only after this that I looked at the title page of the copy I found, and it was also inscribed.
028
Title page from second copy.
040
From the copy that belonged to Pavel Fabry.

When I finally started to read it, it dawned on me that this book was written by the same Jozef Lettrich that was in prison with Pavel, and that I had letters from Lettrich – Chairman of the Slovak National Council in Czechoslovakia, who was an exile living in the United States. So I went back to the boxes. I was amazed by how this one book began to illuminate what I had missed before: letters to and from Milan Hodza – Prime Minister of Czechoslovakia; Jan Pauliny-Toth – lawyer and politician; Peter Pridavok – Chairman of the Slovak National Council in London; Juraj Slavik – Czechoslovak Ambassador to the United States; General Lev Prchala; Emil Stodola, and Kornel Filo. Pavel Fabry was seeking reparations for many of these people and others in Berlin, as their lawyer, so I have some of their testimonies, in Slovak, German and French.

But then I found two letters from Franz Karmasin, one of them signed. Franz Karmasin was state secretary for the German Minority, under President of Slovakia and Catholic Priest Jozef Tiso: an anti-semite who collaborated with Hitler and was key in making the Slovak State the first Nazi ally in the Final Solution, deporting tens of thousands of Jewish people to their extermination – he was hanged after WWII; Karmasin was also senticed to death but escaped prosecution and was living in exile in Munich. From what I was able to translate, Karmasin seems to be arguing against something Pavel said about him – and he begins his first letter in praising Pavel on his son Vlado – The Hague and Nuremberg are also mentioned. There were no letters from Pavel to Karmasin. I’ve transcribed the letters here for others to translate.

Page056

Page055

Dipl. Ing. Franz Karmasin
München 8
Trogerstaße 32

München, den 8-7. 1959

Herrn
Dr. Paul Fabry

14 Chemin Thury
Geneve

Sehr geehrter Herr Dr. Fabry!

Unsere gestrige Aussprache hat mich sehr stark an Aussprachen in der Heimat erinnert. Ich glaube, diese angenehme Atmosphäre gibt es nur jenseits der Karpaten. Ich bitte, es nicht als Anmassung zu betrachten, wenn ich Sie zu Ihrem prächtigen Sohn beglückwünsche. Er hat großen Eindruck auf mich gemacht und ich freue mich wirklich von ganzem Herzen, dass die slowakische Sache so einen hervorragenden Vertreter ihrer Interessen besitzt.
In der Kanzlei habe ich mir dann den sehr dicken Akt “Dr. Fabry” vorgenommen. Ich war froh, dass ich dies erst nachher getan habe, ich wäre sonst kaum zu der Besprechung gekommen. Ich habe sehr stark den Eindruck, dass Sie in der Darstellung und Beurteilung der Situation der Deutschen Volksgruppe in der Slowakei sich weniger von Tatsachen, als vielmehr von Gefühlen leiten liessen. Ich kann es verstehen, umsomehr, als die Grenzen zwischen Reichsdeutschen und Volksdeutschen von Aussen her nicht immer sichtbar waren und vor allem die Situation der Volksgruppe und der Volksgruppenführung nicht für eine öffentliche Diskussion geeignet war. Aber in Ihren Ausführungen sind Sie doch etwas hart, ich darf Ihnen das in aller fahrens mit Ihnen und Ihrem Herrn Sohn über diese Dinge diskutieren, jetzt ist nicht der geeignete Zeitpunkt dazu. Ich will Ihren nur zu bedenken geben, dass der deutsche evangelische Bischof Scherer, für dessen Ernennung ich mich übrigens sehr stark eingesetzt habe und fast alle evangelischen u. katholischen Pfarrer Mitglieder der Deutschen Partei waren und dass die Deutsche Partei bei den Nürnberger Verfahren ausgeklammert wurde, obwohl man den Aliierten bestimmt nicht Unkenntnis der Lage vorwerfen konnte. Auch das Dokumentenmaterial, wenn man es vollinhaltlich zur Kenntnis nimmt, spricht eine andere Sprache als Ihre Darstellungen. Die Offenheit, mit der wir gestern gesprochen haben, verpflichtet mich, Ihnen das zu schreiben.
Die Zusatzerklärung habe ich lt. Durchschlag an das Regierungspräsidium, an Dr. Virgano, Herrn Minister Dr. Tiso und Herrn Birkner geschickt. Ich bin gespannt, wie sich die Angelegenheit weiter entwickeln wird.

Hochachtungsvoll!

(Karmasin)

Page057

Copy

Dipl. Ing. Franz Karmasin
München 8
Trogerstaße 32

München, den. 8.7.1959

An das
Regierungspräsidium
Köln
Zeughausstr. 2-4

Sehr geehrte Herren!

Betr.: Dr. Paul Fabry

Ich habe die verschiedenen Schriftstücke im Falle Dr. Paul Fabry, soweit sie mir zur Verfügung stehen, nochmals durchgesehen und darf meine seinerzeitige Darstellung wie folgt ergänzen:

Ich habe dargelegt, dass die Behauptung, Dr. Fabry sei durch die Gestapo verhaften worden, falsch sei, da sich auf dem Gebiete der Slowakei keine Gestapo befunden hat. Dagegen hatten z.Zt. der Besetzung des slowakischen Staatsgebietes rechts der Waag während der Tschechenkrise durch deutsche Truppen Organe des Sicherheitsdienst Dienst gemacht. Ich glaube mich erinnern zu können – ohne es allerdings beschwören zu können -, dass durch die deutschen militärischen Kommandostellen Angehörige der Hlinkagarde (HG) und der Freiwilligen Schutzstaffel (FS) diesen Organen als Hilfskräfte zugeteilt wurden. Inwieweit sich diese im Zuge der revolutionären Ereignisse Übergriffe zuschulden kommen ließen, entzieht sich meiner Kenntnis, vor allem aber meiner und meiner Mitarbeiter Verantwortung. Sie unterstanden, falls sie sich in die Dienst der Deutschen Wehrmacht oder des SD begeben hatten, nicht mehr der Befehlsgewalt der Volksgruppe.

Zu dieser Ergänzung fühle ich mich verpflichtet einerseits, weil Aussenstehende die Unterschiede zwischen SD und Gestapo nicht ganz klar waren, andererseits weil mir im Interesse meiner ehemaligen Mitarbeiter selbst sehr viel an der Klärung dieser Angelegenheit liegt. Ich bitte, die Ergänzung in diesem sinne zur Kenntnis zu nehmen.

Hochachtungsvoll!

(Karmasin)

United for Justice

Today, my thoughts return to the status of the Hammarskjold investigation, and to all the relatives around the world who are waiting for the truth to unfold. Last week, on November 19, the United Nations General Assembly adopted by consensus the resolution which “urges all member states…to release any relevant records in their possession and to provide to the Secretary-General relevant information related to the death of Dag Hammarskjold.”

There were 74 co-sponsors to the resolution, including Zambia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Haiti, South Africa, Ireland, Canada, Belgium, Germany, and France. Every nationality of those who died in 1961 has been represented, with one very notable exception: The United States. It is for this very reason I write today, I will not be silent in my support, because American citizens died for peace, and they and Vlado deserve the respect of their country.

In a statement made by Swedish Ambassador Olof Skoog, who introduced the resolution to the President of the UN General Assembly, he said “The pursuit of bringing clarity to the circumstances of the incident is particularly important to the families of all 16 victims – some of whom are present today – but also to the UN as an organization and it should remain so also for all of us as we try to come together to continue the work left unfinished by his premature death.”

It was a little more than a year ago that I was first contacted by one of the relatives, who has been instrumental in gathering us all over the world, and uniting us together to send group letters and emails to UN members in support of this investigation. Many have also written personally to UN members and heads of state to make our appeal, myself included, and I am thankful to those who were kind to respond. It gave me a lot of hope to receive a letter in reply from Swedish State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Annika Soder, dated November 20, 2014, the day after the new Swedish Government decided to take the initiative to table the resolution to support the Hammarskjold investigation.

What has not been fully appreciated by the public, and is not being reported in the news anywhere, is the quiet, behind-the-scenes efforts of all the relatives that have united for justice, and who have been paying close attention to the progress of the investigation. It’s not just my family and a handful of others that are speaking up – there are a total 105 relatives that are committed in standing together in support, so we cannot be dismissed as just a few conspiracy theorists. There are relatives to represent every person who died in the crash, with the only exception being Alice Lalande of Canada; though many people, not only the relatives, did all they could to find family that could speak up on her behalf.

I haven’t written much about the investigation recently, but I want to express today how extremely proud I am to belong to this group of dedicated and courageous people, and to be able to give them my support here, it is truly an honor.

“…the dreamt kingdom of peace…”

From the family archive, here is the program from the United Nations memorial service for Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold, and the 15 others who died with him, on 17 September 1961, while on a peace mission to Ndola. As the anniversary nears, I send kind thoughts to all who have been touched by this event. Included in the memorial program, held on 28 September 1961, is an address by the late Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold “on the occasion of the United Nations Day Concert, 24 October 1960” – it is one of Hammarskjold’s shorter speeches, but full of his warmth and optimism for humanity, so I have transcribed it here.

To further appreciate Hammarskjold’s sentiment towards music, to feel a little of what he felt when he listened to Beethoven, I have included the Christmas Day 1989 Berlin performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, conducted by Leonard Bernstein, in celebration of the fall of the Berlin Wall – it is perfection, one of the most beautiful and moving concerts of all time.

(click images to enlarge)
UN Memorial program, 28 September 1961

IN MEMORIAM, 17 SEPTEMBER 1961

Dag Hammarskjold
Per Hallonquist
H.A. Wieschhoff
Nils-Eric Aahreus
Vladimir Fabry
Lars Litton
William Ranallo
Nils Goran Wilhelmsson
Alice Lalande
Harald Noork
Harold M. Julien
Karl Erik Rosen
Serge L. Barrau
S.O. Hjelte
Francis Eivers
P.E. Persson

28 SEPTEMBER 1961

UN Memorial program, 28 September 1961, p.2

UN Memorial program, 28 September 1961, back page

“ADDRESS GIVEN BY THE SECRETARY-GENERAL ON THE OCCASION OF THE UNITED NATIONS DAY CONCERT, 24 OCTOBER, 1960”

It is the tradition that the Organization marks United Nations Day with a concert including the final movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Today we shall, for the first time in this hall, listen to the symphony in its entirety.

It is difficult to say anything, knowing that the words spoken will be followed by this enormous confession of faith in the victorious human spirit and in human brotherhood, a confession valid for all times and with a depth and wealth of expression never surpassed.

When the Ninth Symphony opens we enter a drama full of harsh conflict and dark threats. But the composer leads us on, and in the beginning of the last movement we hear again the various themes repeated, now as a bridge toward a final synthesis. A moment of silence and a new theme is introduced, the theme of reconciliation and joy in reconciliation. A human voice is raised in rejection of all that has preceded and we enter the dreamt kingdom of peace. New voices join the first and mix in a jubilant assertion of life and all that it gives us when we meet it, joined in faith and human solidarity.

On his road from conflict and emotion to reconciliation in this final hymn of praise, Beethoven has given us a confession and a credo which we, who work within and for this Organization, may well make our own. We take part in the continuous fight between conflicting interests and ideologies which so far has marked the history of mankind, but we may never lose our faith that the first movements one day will be followed by the fourth movement. In that faith we strive to bring order and purity into chaos and anarchy. Inspired by that faith we try to impose the laws of the human mind and of the integrity of the human will on the dramatic evolution in which we are all engaged and in which we all carry our responsibility.

The road of Beethoven in his Ninth Symphony is also the road followed by the authors of the Preamble and of the Charter. It begins with the recognition of the threat under which we all live, speaking as it does of the need to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war which has brought untold sorrow to mankind. It moves on to a reaffirmation of faith in the dignity and worth of the human person, and it ends with the promise to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours and to unite our strength to maintain peace.

This year, the fifteenth in the life of the Organization, is putting it to new tests. Experience has shown how far we are from the end which inspired the Charter. We are indeed still in the first movements. But no matter how deep the shadows may be, how sharp the conflicts, how tense the mistrust reflected in this hall and in this house, we are not permitted to forget that we have too much in common, too great a sharing of interests and too much that we might lose together, for ourselves and for succeeding generations, ever to weaken in our efforts to surmount the difficulties and not to turn the simple human values, which are our common heritage, into the firm foundation on which we may unite our strength and live together in peace.