Last Woman Tells Horrors of Nazi Camp and First Group of Iranian Women Massacred in 1988

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The Nazi hunters from Germany were midway through a four-hour interview with Judith Meisel when they pulled out a photo of a young SS guard the 88-year-old Holocaust survivor hadn’t seen for nearly 75 years. Minneapolis Star Tribune reported on July 16, 2017.

In a desperate, final dash to bring the guard and others to account for Nazi atrocities committed decades ago, investigators from Germany’s Federal Justice Office, aided by FBI agents, visited Meisel’s St. Louis Park, Minn., home last month after once thinking that there were no more living survivors of Stutthof. Found by German authorities after an internet search, Meisel offers a rare chance for prosecutors to present one more survivor’s account of a brutal camp in Poland where 60,000 died.

“I think it’s important to send the message that no matter how long ago these crimes were committed that humanity will seek justice until it can no longer do so,” said Gregory Gordon, a former federal prosecutor who worked on cases involving Nazi war criminals.

Although History will never forget the lessons and memories of Holocaust, ironically history repeats itself with similar events. The dates and the names of the players may change, but the general motives or patterns remain the same

The French Revolution and the Russian civil war are similar in many ways.

The rise and fall of dictators was almost similar in history.

Atrocities committed decades ago in Europe repeated with different motifs 30 years ago in Iran, yet humanity has not sought justice.

Zohreh Heydari was a 17 year Old Iranian woman from the city of Qom (125 kilometers by road southwest of Tehran).

Zohreh was part of the first group of people who were taken away during the massacre in summer of 1988, executing more than 30,000 people in Iran. She was sentenced to 70 lashes in court, and the night prior to her execution she received those 70 floggings. Zohreh was truly a living representation of a Waterfall; an eternal roar of the women’s struggle; the same women who are standing against this misogynist regime in Iran now, and inviting others to join in as well.

The massacre of 30.000 political prisoners in summer of 1988, was the greatest crime against humanity after the Second World War. Khomeini desired to get rid of his main opponents and guarantee the survival of his regime. After three decades, there is a great movement of seeking justice for that massacre and the other crimes conducted by the Iranian regime.

Zohreh Heydari, brave heroine Waterfall, is certainly an inspiration to all those women who are now continuing the struggle against Iran’s mullah-ridden corrupt misogynists.

Her courage and bravery, the capacity to take risks, and strong willpower contributed to her mature appearance.

Here is the account of one of her fellow inmates.

She was arrested while trying to escape the country, on her way to joining the resistance. She underwent a tremendous amount of torture and used to recount her memories from the period of interrogation.

She used to say, “The torture room seemed so small to me that upon my return to my cell it felt as if I have stepped into a hotel. I would take advantage of that space until it was time to return for more torture the following day.”

Zohreh used to stand steadfast against the interrogators (IRGC). Whenever the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRG) in Evin’s prison would rush into our cells to attack us, they would directly go to Zohreh and assault her, assuming she’s guilty and responsible for everything.

She used to suffer from severe migraine headaches. It was by the end of 1986 when the IRGC brutally attacked her, They used to rush into our cells with their lashes beating everyone. Due to Zohreh’s headache, she had not partaken in our protest this time around. However, Halvaee, that evil executioner who had a particular hate for Zohreh, directly approached Zohreh and started kicking her with his heavy boots. Zohreh started yelling, “You malicious, dirty guard, leave me alone! Don’t you get close to me!” It was exactly because of her continuous persistence that we had nicknamed her “Waterfall.” Her shouts were similar to the roar of the waterfall as it continuously pounds upon falling.

Zohreh and I were on a hunger strike together for a month in Gohardasht Prison. When we were transferred to solitary confinement, our cells were near each other, so we were able to know how each is doing.

We preoccupied ourselves by learning various languages/dialects such as Azeri, Shomali, and Kurdish. Ever since those days the Azeri word of “Oushachlar,” meaning friends or more colloquially, guys, has become very popular and still used to this day. That’s how we used to refer to each other. And that’s how the word “waterfall” (Aabshar (waterfall) in Farsi is phonetically similar to Oushachlar in Azeri) had come to signify Zohreh.

Whenever we were moved or transferred to different cells, Waterfall was the one in charge of announcing wake-up calls and blackouts. In fact, her voice was so loud and clear as if it were coming through a speaker, reaching from one side of the hall to the other. She was also in charge of announcing daily prayers while in solitary confinement. Each morning she would yell out, “Hey Oushachlar (guys), good morning!” At the time of prayers she would call, “Oushachlar, it’s time for prayers. Let’s pray together.” And at the end of prayers, she’d say, “May God accept our prayers, Oushachlar.” When they turned off the lights at nights, Zohreh’s loud and clear voice would break the silence in our cells by wishing everyone a good night. All the guards could recognize that it’s Zohreh’s voice and knew Waterfall was her nickname. But she was not afraid of anyone and would face them all single-handedly.

The female guards were not capable of punishing or silencing her, hence they always sent brutal male torturers after her. One day as dusk was falling, she called everyone to prayers. “Oushachlar, it’s time for prayers!” We all stood up in our cells for prayers. Like the usual routine, she called out, “May God accept your prayers,” once we had finished. She hadn’t fully completed her sentence that we heard her cell’s door open, followed by the voice of three men. We realized they had been waiting to attack her after our prayers. On the one hand we could hear the beatings of those three heinous torturers, and on the other hand, Zohreh’s voice, shouting, “Get out of my cell you evil bastards! Don’t you touch me!”

An hour of this unjust but proud battle continued. The rest of us who were in the surrounding cells started banging on our doors and yelling to leave the poor girl alone. We didn’t know what had happened to Zohreh as she had gone silent as the beatings continued for more than an hour. Only the voice of those three bastards who were taking out their revenge and hatred on her could be heard. They left her cell after a while and although we kept calling Zohreh, she didn’t respond to any of us.

We were all very sad and worried about her health. A heavy silence fell upon our ward. That night, we didn’t hear Waterfall’s voice calling out the usual, “Good night Oushachlar!” But somebody else repeated the exact line on her behalf. We had no news of her state all night long.

Shortly before dawn, at the time of prayer, our heroine once again, with her waterfall-like roaring voice, stronger than ever, yelled out, “Time to wake up Oushachlar, it’s time to pray.” And it was Waterfall’s voice which ended our prayers with the usual, “May God accept our prayers.”

She made our enemy understand that with violence, torture, and brutality they cannot stop our roaring Waterfall from defending her rights against misogynist mullahs.

The mullahs continue their evil ways today, and the world thinks they can work with them. The world is wrong. The mullahs regime has not changed, and never will. Hassan Rouhani is not a moderate, but he acts as cover for the evil mullahs. Europe and the U.S. should remember the results of appeasement.

Waterfall in Iran.

Hassan Mahmoudi is a human rights advocate and Social Media journalist seeking democracy for Iran and peace for the region.