They did not like my smile

Peter Ginz

They did not like my smile, at least I don’t think they did, for why else do they hate me so much?

They did not like my smile, but I can’t help it, I’m a child and I am supposed to be happy and cheerful.

They didn’t like my kind, but I don’t understand I am not different then them.

They didn’t like me being kind. I am a teenager, it was what I do. My parents thought me to be kind and respect others.

They did not like my smile. Why am I so offensive to them?

They did not like my smile. Why?

They didn’t like me to be alive.

They killed me, I am Peter Ginz  I was born in 1928 in Prague , Czechoslovakia and was murdered  in Terezin in 1943.

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Michael Jackson, Eddie van Halen and a six pack ,oh, and Stevie Ray Vaughan & Bowie.

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Have one great musician come up with a cool tune is one thing, but have another great musician enhancing that tune is just something else.

I don’t think there is any one on this planet who doesn’t know Michael Jackson’s classic album ‘Thriller”.

The 3rd single from that album was ‘Beat It’  it includes one of the finest guitar solo’s ever played, performed of course by Eddie van Halen, although his name is not on the credits.Not only was he not credited he also did it for free, well sort of, his fee was a Six pack of beer.

Quincy Jones the producer of the album(and so many others) approached Eddie van Halen to contribute to the song.Eddie agreed and following day he met with Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson in the recording studio.

Michael Jackson went out to take a break from recording or 30 minutes or so. Eddie asked the sound engineer if he could make some changes. this took 10 minutes Eddie then improvised 2 solo’s both in one take, and one of the solo’s was finally used in the song. The rest as they say is Rock N Roll history.

“Wait a minute” I can hear you say “You mentioned Stevie Ray Vaughan and Bowie in the title” and you’re right I did. Stevie Ray Vaughan has nothing to do with Beat It or Michael Jackson.

He did however contributed on David Bowie’s classic Album “Let’s Dance” produced by Nile Rodgers Vaughan plays lead guitar on several tracks, including two of the album’s many mega-hits “Let’s Dance” and “China Girl” and on the less-famous “Cat People (Putting Out the Fire).”

Vaughan met Bowie at the 1982 Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. After SRV’s performance, Bowie was so impressed that he later said, “He completely floored me. I probably hadn’t been so gung-ho about a guitar player since seeing Jeff Beck with his band the Tridents.”

Of Bowie, Vaughan said, “To tell you the truth, I wasn’t very familiar with David’s music when he asked me to play on the sessions. David and I talked for hours and hours about our music, about funky Texas blues and its roots. I was amazed at how interested he was.

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It is just so sad to realize that 3 of these 4 musical giants have shed their mortal coil and are now gigging in that concert hall in the sky.

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The Princess mechanic

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Love her or loath her, there is no denying Queen Elizabeth II is an iconic figure and is well able to stand her ground and she is not afraid to get her hands dirty.

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On April 25 1942, at age 16, the then Princss  Elizabeth registered with the Labour Exchange ,the British employment agency at the time, and was extremely keen to join a division of the women’s armed forces. Her father was reluctant to let her do so, but eventually relented.PROD-The-Princess-Signs-Up

She enlisted in the Army age 18 .Once in the Auxiliary Territorial Service, Elizabeth learned how to change a wheel, deconstruct and rebuild engines, and drive ambulances and other vehicles.

She  joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service as an honorary Second Subaltern, Princess Elizabeth achieved the rank of honorary Junior Commander within five months. Unlike the other members of the ATS, Elizabeth returned each night to sleep in the royal residence of Windsor Castle.elizaebeth 2

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Battle of Gibraltar 25 April 1607

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For a small nation the Dutch have been involved in a great number of battles and wars, often against nation multiple the size of the Netherlands.

Although the Dutch didn’t win all the battles there were quite a few where they were the victors

On the 25th of April 1607, the Dutch defeated the Spanish in the Battle of Gibraltar. Under the command of Jacob van Heemskerk.Jacob van

A fleet of 26 ships attacked a Spanish fleet of 21 vessels under the command of Don Juan Álvarez de Ávila.The actual event took place during the 80 Years War which began in 1568 as a revolt of the Seventeen Provinces against the sovereign power of the Habsburg Netherlands and therefore against Philip II of Spain. The battle is considered the first and perhaps the greatest of Dutch naval victories against Spain in their fight for independence. The Dutch Admiral Jacob van Heemskerck died during the battle and gained instant immortality in his homeland.

The Dutch defeated the Spaniards by doubling up on the galleons, several of which caught fire and one exploded. At the close of the battle, the Dutch dispatched boats, killing hundreds of Spanish sailors who were in the water.1Battle of Gibraltar

The Dutch lost 100 men including admiral Van Heemskerk. Sixty Dutch were wounded. Depending on the sources, most or all of the Spanish ships were lost and between 3500 and 4000 Spaniards killed or captured. Álvarez de Ávila was amongst the dead.

1880 Pieter van Looy 1607 Bat of gib 2 (2)

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On this day

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Hans Asperger-Highly regarded physician who ruthlessly send children to death.

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First do no harm is a key element of the Hippocratic oath, the oath physicians take. However during WWII and before it many physicians working for or with the Nazi regime were happy to forget that oath.

And not all of them were actually members of the Nazi party, as was Dr Hans Asperger an Austrian Doctor.He is best known for his early studies on mental disorders, especially in children,and especially children with Autism.

Asperger-Vienna-clinic

He was a pioneer in autism research whose name is used to describe high-functioning people with the disorder, referred to as Asperger syndrome, had a previously unknown dark past that included sending children with disabilities to a “euthanasia” program run by the Nazi regime, according to new investigations into his long-lost files.

In a questionnaire from October 1940, Hans Asperger registered several memberships in organizations affiliated with the Nazi Party.However, he did not join the Nazi party itself.

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Herwig Czech, from Vienna’s Medical University, has reported in an academic paper published in the open access journal Molecular Autism, following eight years of research into the paediatrician Hans Asperger.

It has been revealed that Asperger  was not the  courageous defender of his patients against “euthanasia” by the Nazis, as many had thought. In fact it was far from it, he benefited from his cooperation with the regime and “publicly legitimized race hygiene policies, including forced sterilizations,” according to a study published online  on April 19 2018 in the journal Molecular Autism.

Asperger was a scientist who allied himself so closely with the Nazi ideology that he regularly referred children to the Am Spiegelgrund clinic, which was set up as a collecting point for children who failed to conform to the regime’s criteria of “worthy to live”.Nearly 800 children died at the clinic between 1940 and 1945, many of whom were murdered under the notorious child “euthanasia” scheme.am-spiegelgrund-children-in-cribs

Hundreds were either drugged or gassed to death from 1940 to 1945.Even the children authorised for “treatment” were not killed immediately as a rule, but were used, sometimes for months, in scientific research.

Among Czech’s findings is a photo of the distraught face of Herta Schreiber, who suffered from encephalitis and died of pneumonia three months after her admittance to Spiegelgrund, on Asperger’s orders, a day after her third birthday.She had suffered from encephalitis.Encephalitis is a swelling of the brain and can be caused by infection or an allergic reaction.Assessed in late June 1941, the young girl suffered from ‘severe personality disorder’, ‘idiocy’ and ‘seizures’.

Asperger added that she ‘must be an unbearable burden to her mother’ and then recommended permanent placement at Spiegelgrund.

Herta was admitted to Spiegelgrund on 1 July 1941.

Hans Asperger, National Socialism, and “race hygiene” in Nazi-era Vienna

On 8 August, she was reported to the ‘Reich Committee for the Scientific Registration of Serious Hereditary and Congenital Illnesses’, the secret organisation behind child ‘euthanasia.’With zero chance of recovery and no shortened life expectancy, she was recommended for the program and the euthanasia ‘experts’ viewed this as an unacceptable combination.On 2 September, a day after her third birthday, Herta died of ‘pneumonia’, the most common cause of death at Spiegelgrund. A specimen of her brain was found in a preparation jar in the basement of the clinic in the 1990s and buried in 2002.

There was no evidence that Asperger deliberately targeted for euthanasia the patients with distinct psychological characteristics he had called “autistic psychopaths”, under the diagnosis for which he became famous, said Czech. But his diagnoses proved burdensome for many of his patients, even years after the collapse of the Nazi regime. Asperger continued working as a doctor for more than three decades.

The term Asperger syndrome first came up in London in 1981, by Dr Lorna Wing, , She and  other scientists,clinicians, and  the broader autism community, were unaware of Hans Asperger’s close alliance with, and support of, the Nazi programme of compulsory sterilisation and euthanasia.

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This of course does not reflect in any way,shape or form on those who are diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, but I do believe we should start looking more critical at the work of ‘scientists’ of the Nazi era.

(Hans Asperger (front row, right) with his medical colleagues in Vienna in 1933. Photograph: Medical University of Vienna/Josephinum)2013

 

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Sources

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Smoking, drinking and having kids parties, whilst flying.

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Nowadays flying can be quite stressful, there are just so many safety regulations one had to adhere to it really takes the fun out of air travel.

Even before you get on board you are interrogated, nearly stripped naked, forced to drink your bottle of liquid asap or dispose of it, and that is only the checking in part.

However flying wasn’t always this stressful and especially when you were flying first class, the sky was literally the limit.Once on board, the average passenger, even in economy, had plenty of legroom. In fact, business class today is spatially very similar to what economy used to be like. Once aboard, all service was complimentary. And because the stewardess-to-passenger ratio was so much higher back then than it is today, you could expect one to nearly instantly cater your every (non-salacious) need.

Here are just some reminders of flying first class 1960’s style.

The passengers were offered unlimited alcohol and smoking was no issue.flying_first_class_1960s (9).jpg

Plenty of opportunities for kids to be entertained.

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And no disposable cutlery or plates, and a good choice of menus. Freshly made food served at your seat.flying_first_class_1960s (1)

I don’t know which airliners offered these services, the last picture is from a Swissair flight, however I do know this was quite standard with a number of airliners and especially for long haul flights.

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All that is interesting.

 

The shoemaker and the Bride of Auschwitz.

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This is a short poignant story but it has so much in it.A story of hope,survival,death, bereavement and most of all a story that tells us that life is a very precious thing. It is also a stark reminder that we have to remain vigilant to ensure that evil doesn’t win.

It is the story of Sonia K, and her sister, Jewish Holocaust survivors. I don’t know the sister’s name nor do I know Sonia’s full last name but this is really irrelevant.

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Sonia and her family lived in Warsaw in 1943, when the Nazis found them in hiding. Warsaw Ghetto  was burning at the time, they were given a choice either to leave or die in the Ghetto. Although they knew where they would be going to, they decided to take that option. Sonia K said about it “Life is a very precious thing, and you hang onto it as much and as long as you can.”

Her parents and brother were murdered.

When Sonia and her sister arrived in Auschwitz, their heads were shaved and their arms were tattooed.1389.3 Holocaust G

Those who had arrived were put in selection rows of 5. Sonia and her sister were in row 4. A Nazi passed by and called out” Who here is a shoemaker?” although Sonia who was 17 at the time and wasn’t a shoemaker, lifted her hand. She said about that that she wasn’t sure who lifted her hand, if it was God almighty our her parents who had died, she didn’t know. But anyway her hand was raised and she also prompted her sister to raise hers. The Nazi guard believed them.

They were then assigned to work in a so called ‘shoe commando’, where they were separating and taken apart the shoes of murdered people.

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One morning while going to work, Sonia saw a train arrive from Hungary, heading straight to the gas chambers. One of the women on the train must have been picked up on her wedding for she was wearing her bridal gown.gown

People were told they were going to the showers but they were all gassed, including the young bride. It is an image that will stay with Sonia until the days she dies, she said on an interview on CNN.

While allied troops were approaching Auschwitz in January 1945, Sonia and her sister were send  to other camps and then on a death march. Sonia barely survived the march, her sister and adopted sister had dragged Sonia along, Anyone who would stop on the death march would have been killed.march

In April 1945 they were liberated by American troops. Sonia K is now a citizen in the US.What profoundly saddens me is the fact that a brave soul like Sonia has to witness ,the start of what easily can become a repeat of what she had to endure. on the news when racist bigots call out chants like “Jews will not replace us” Capture

There is a significant difference between then and now. Now we don’t have an excuse to let this happen again because we have the luxury of hindsight.

Finishing up with a quote from Sonia “Silence is the first thing after hate that is dangerous, because if you are silent it is an approval of what is going on”

Many thanks to Norman Stone for pointing me to the story

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April 22 1945-We have lost

Berlin, Garten der zerstörte Reichskanzlei

As both the Western Allies and the Soviet Red Army descended on the capital, Hitler and other prominent Nazis who had been living in the bunker.

On 16 April, the Red Army started the Battle of Berlin, and they started to encircle the city by 19 April.[22] Hitler made his last trip to the surface on 20 April, his 56th birthday, going to the ruined garden of the Reich Chancellery where he awarded the Iron Cross to boy soldiers of the Hitler Youth. That afternoon, Berlin was bombarded by Soviet artillery for the first time.

Berlin in 1945 1

Hitler was in denial about the dire situation and placed his hopes on the units commanded by Waffen-SS General Felix Steiner, the Armee abteilung Steiner (“Army Detachment Steiner”). On 21 April, Hitler ordered Steiner to attack the northern flank of the encircling Soviet salient and ordered the German Ninth Army, south-east of Berlin, to attack northward in a pincer attack. That evening, Red Army tanks reached the outskirts of Berlin. Hitler was told at his afternoon situation conference on 22 April that Steiner’s forces had not moved, and he fell into a tearful rage when he realised that the attack was not going to be carried out. He openly declared for the first time the war was lost—and he blamed his generals. Hitler announced that he would stay in Berlin until the end and then shoot himself.

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Almost as confirmation of Hitler’s assessment, a Soviet mechanized corps reaches Treuenbrietzen, 40 miles southwest of Berlin, liberates a POW camp and releases, among others, Norwegian Commander in Chief Otto Ruge.

With Germany lying in ruins after six years of war, and with defeat imminent, Hitler decided to take his own life. But before doing so, he married Eva Braun and then penned his last will and testament. The next day in the afternoon on April 30, 1945 Braun and Hitler entered his living room to end their lives.hitlerbraun-56a48c923df78cf77282ef14

 

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I pronounce you Mr and Mrs Dougherty-a slightly different WWII story.

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A young couple in love,neighborhood sweethearts getting married. It was just like a fairy tale, what could possibly go wrong.

Well WWII for one, but not in the usual World War 2 drama sense, but  there were more reasons. one being fame.

They began dating in January 1942 and were married in June of that year, just 18 days after she  celebrated her 16th birthday.The she was Norma Jeane Baker.On June 19, 1942, she got married to James Dougherty, a 20 year old Los Angeles police officer .The wedding was officiated by a minister, Norma Jean wore an embroidered lace wedding dress with long sleeves and veil.

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James’ family lived next door to Grace Goddard, a friend of Norma Jean’s mother, Gladys, who was frequently in psychiatric hospitals. After living in a handful of foster homes, Norma Jeane was taken in by Grace and her husband, who wanted to move across the country and couldn’t take her with them. To prevent Norma Jean from having to go back into the foster care system, Grace suggested that James marry the teenager.

Norma Jeane and her Jimmie had a near idyllic first one or two years as a married couple and seemed destined to spend their lives together in marital bliss.

But after Jimmie enlisted in the Merchant Marines in 1943, things were to change.Monroe_and_James_Dougherty (6)

He was soon called up for overseas duty. Norma Jeane would dutifully write her husband letters several times a week, but soon she became bored without him. She got a job at the Radioplane factory, inspecting parachutes and preparing planes for flight. Photos of the pretty brunette taken at work landed her modeling gigs around LA, and it wasn’t long before she caught the fame bug.Norma Jeane

While James was still stationed overseas in September 1946, Norma Jean filed for divorce.“I was on a ship in the Yangtze River getting ready to go into Shanghai when I was served with divorce papers,” James said in a 2002 interview. They divorced in 1946.

Norma Jeane Baker of course went on to become Marilyn Monroe, one of the most iconic figures of the 20th century.

How things could have been for these tow if it hadn’t been for WWII, we will never know.

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Rare historical photos

 

 

 

Nazi War criminals in Ireland

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Before I start I have to say I love Ireland and I love living here, but like most nations in the world Ireland too has some black pages in its history.

Although Ireland was supposed to be neutral, at times it took that neutrality too far, Sending condolences to Germany after Hitler died was a good example. What is even more disturbing is that it did harbour Nazi war criminals and helped some evade justice. Often these evil men did lead a very comfortable life in Ireland.

A small number of Germans, Croatians,Belgians and Dutch who arrived in the Irish Republic after 1945. Although some were suspected of having worked for Hitler, there was no determined official effort to weed them out. It is estimated that between 100 and 200 Nazi criminals found refuge in Ireland.

I will be looking at just a few of them, starting off with a fellow Dutchman. Pieter Menten.

 

Menten, a millionaire art collector, was convicted in the killings of dozens of Jews in Podhorece, a village in Poland, while he was serving as a translator with a Nazi SS unit in 1941.

Menten built up much of his business empire trading between his native Netherlands and Poland, he was a significant importer of lumber for example. He lived in Eastern Poland from 1923 until 1939 when the Soviet Union invaded.

Two years later, he returned to Poland after the Nazi counter-occupation.This background was kept hidden and he lived much of his time in Ireland, in county Waterford in the mansion Comeragh House.

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But it all became public in the 1976 when he was arrested for his crimes in Holland. He claimed a case of mistaken identity, but was convicted and sentenced to 15 years in jail.He was freed from prison in 1985 on good behavior after serving two-thirds of his 10-year sentence and entered the nursing home in July.

Pieter Menten died on 14 November 1987, a demented old man age 88.

Andrija Aurtukovic aka Andrew Aurtukovic aka Alois Anich aka the Butcher of the Balkans.Butcher of the Balkans

Andrija Aurtukovic, called the Butcher of the Balkans, as a Croatian minister of Interior set up a concentration camp which ended up killing one million under his authority. He was deported to Yugoslavia and sentenced to be executed decades later but was judged ‘too old’Andrija_Artuković_za_govornicom

With other members of Government, he left Zagreb on 6 May 1945 and went to Austria. He was detained in an Allied camp in Spittal an der Drau. On 18 May 1945, British extradited some Croatian ministers and Prime Minister Nikola Mandić to the Yugoslav authorities. Artuković was not extradited, but he was released soon with remaining ministers. He left the British occupational zone, then went via the American to the French occupational zone, where his family was. With a Swiss passport under the pseudonym of Alois Anich, he traveled to Ireland. In 1948, with his wife and children, he entered the United States on a tourist visa and settled in Seal Beach, California. The Visa he got using Irish identification papers.id

He was eventually extradited to Yugoslavia Artuković died of natural causes in prison hospital in Zagreb on 16 January 1988.

Otto Skorzeny is a special case for not only did he escape to Ireland he ended up working with the Mossad in Israel.

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Not an easy man to miss, Skorzeny stood 6 foot 4 inches tall and weighed 250lbs. And he was known as “Scarface” for a reason. He had a long, distinctive scar on his left cheek.

Skorzeny achieved ‘fame’ during the war for rescuing deposed Italian leader Benito Mussolini from an Italian hilltop fortress. Like so many other Nazis he went to Argentina after the war. where he  served as a bodyguard to Eva Peron, wife of the Argentine dictator Juan Peron. It is rumored that he had a romantic affair with her.

In July 1957 he traveled to Dublin where he was met with a gala reception by members of Parliament and celebrities. Following his warm welcome he purchased Martinstown House, the 160-acre farm estate in The Curragh, County Kildare.

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Skorzeny was recruited by the Mossad conducting operations for the agency from 1962, where he worked with Avraham Ahituv and Rafi Eitan.

On Israel’s request, Skorzeny flew to Egypt and compiled a detailed list of German scientists and their addresses. Skorzeny also found for Mossad the names of many front companies in Europe that were procuring and shipping components for Egypt’s military projects. Skorzeny agreed to work with Israel on the condition that Simon Wiesenthal erase his name from the list of wanted Nazi war criminals and act to have an arrest warrant against him cancelled. Though Wiesenthal rejected this request, Skorzeny decided in the end to cooperate with the Mossad.

 

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Sources

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