The executioner who escaped execution.

Johann-Reichhart

The name Johann Reichhart might not be one synonymous with Nazi Germany but his ruthless killing streak made him one of the most feared members of the regime.

Reichhart was born into a line of German executioners dating back eight generations. He got his start as a judicial executioner in 1928.

Johann Reichhart took 3,165 lives during his time as Germany’s chief executioner. Ironically, after the collapse of the Third Reich , he would hang some of those he once served, Nazi war criminals, on behalf of the victorious Allies.

The beheadings of Sophie Scholl, her brother Hans and a third member of The White Rose, their student resistance group, were among 2,873 executions he carried out in the Second World War.

 

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His career in killing began in earnest with the execution by guillotine of Rupert Fischer and Andreas Hutterer for murder.

The administration promised him 150 Goldmarks for each execution, and announced: ‘From April 1, 1924, Reichhart takes over the execution of all death sentences coming in the Free State of Bavaria to the execution by beheading with the guillotine.

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A lull in executions forced Reichhart to become a green grocer in neighbouring Holland but he was back in action after Hitler’s rise to power in 1933 and soon became a vital clog in the Nazi killing machine.

Despite the enormous workload he was asked to complete, Reichhart was very strict in his execution protocol, wearing the traditional German executioners’ attire of black coat, white shirt and gloves, black bow-tie and top-hat. His work took him to many parts of occupied Europe including Poland and Austria. His record for the most executions in one day was 32. He was so determined to be punctual at all his “appointments” he asked the transport ministry if he could be spared speeding tickets. His request was denied.

Reichhart immersed himself in his role and even invented a device called the ‘double detective tongs’ that kept prisoners pinned down without the need to tie them with rope.

The metal clamp held the prisoner beneath the guillotine instead of rope meaning execution time was reduced to four seconds flat.

Cruelly, the Nazis even charged the families of those they had imprisoned and beheaded. For every day that a prisoner was held, a fee of 1.50 Reichsmarks was charged. The executions cost 300 Reichsmarks.

300Even the 12 pfennig cost of posting the invoice was demanded back by the Nazi state.

Married dad-of-three Reichhart had gained such notoriety that his children were taunted at school with chants such as ‘headcutter, headcutter, your dad’s a headcutter!’

The reputation of their father even drove one of his sons to suicide.

Following VE Day, Reichhart, who was a member of the Nazi Party, was arrested and imprisoned in Landsberg Prison for the purposes of de-nazification but not tried for carrying out his duty of judicial executioner.

Reichhart had to justify himself at a de-Nazification court, where he said: “I have carried out death sentences in the firm conviction that I should serve the state with my work, and to comply with lawfully enacted laws. I never doubted the legality of what I was doing.”

He was subsequently employed by the Occupation Authorities until the end of May 1946 to help execute 156 Nazi war criminals at Landsberg am Lech by hanging.John_C._Woods_holding_a_noose

He cooperated with Allied chief executioner Master Sergeant John C. Woods

 

in the preparations for further executions of those found guilty and sentenced to death at the Nuremberg Trials,but refused to carry out any further executions himself following two cases of mistaken identity.

 

One of the reasons he ended up working for the Allies was that there were not a lot of people prepared to do that kind of thing.’

Reichhart ended his days alone and lonely, first breeding dogs and making perfume, and later being looked after in a care home near Munich, where he died in 1972

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The weird and wonderful in WWII

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No one in their right mind will deny that WWII was one of not the darkest period in world history,but even in these dark years some weird and wonderful event happened.

Above is a picture of an inflatable Sherman tank, one of many dummy vehicles made to deceive the enemy, a bouncy tank so to speak.

23rd Headquarters Special Troops was a tactical deception unit comprised of 1,100 troops. They took part in over 20 battles, to include the Operation Overlord. This unit remained classified for almost 40 years after the close of World War II, and even today some of their missions are still classified.

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During early phases of the war, British pilots thought of an ingenious way to get beer to the front-lines. They would return to Britain for basic maintenance, and then return to the front with kegs of beer strapped to their planes.

This spitfire modification involved mounting kegs of beer to the fuel, and bomb pylons on the bottom of the fighter plane. Never underestimate a Brit’s need for a cold glass of ale.

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An Essex farmer paints a herd of black cows with white stripes so they will be visible to the motorists during the blackout.

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Some Spitfires were painted “camoutint pink” to conceal them when flying at dusk or dawn.

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Adolph Hitler and Henry Ford each kept a framed picture of the other on his desk.

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The airgunner on the picture is Major David G. Bellemere and behind him is the B-24 Liberator heavy bomber ‘Tepee Time Gal’. He’s wearing the typical flight clothing: M4 flak helmet with Polaroid B-8 goggles, flak jacket, F-2 electrical flying suit with B-3 jacket, A-14 oxygen mask, the gloves and ugg airmen boots.

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PBY Blister Gunner, Rescue at Rabaul, 1944. This young crewman of a US Navy “Dumbo” PBY rescue mission has just jumped into the water of Rabaul Harbor to rescue a badly burned Marine pilot who was shot down while bombing the Japanese-held fortress of Rabaul. Since Japanese coastal defense guns were firing at the plane while it was in the water during take-off, this brave young man, after rescuing the pilot, manned his position as machine gunner without taking time to put on his clothes. A hero photographed right after he’d completed his heroic act. Naked.

Naked gunner, Rescue at Rabaul, 1944

Anyone who has ever seen an All Blacks(New Zealand) rugby match will know of the “Haka” a Maori warrior dance before they go into battle. Maoris of ‘C’ Company, 28th Maori Battalion of the 2nd New Zealand Division perform the ‘Haka’ for the visit of King George II of Greece, his wife the Queen, his cousin Prince Peter and Major General Freyberg. The location was at an army training camp at Helwan in Egypt. The battalion fought during the Greek, North African and Italian campaigns during which it earned a formidable reputation as a fighting force which has subsequently been acknowledged by both Allied and German commanders. After several confrontations with them, Erwin Rommel remarked: “Give me the Maori Battalion and I will conquer the world”.

Maori Battalion haka in Egypt, 1941 (1)

Let the celebrations begin

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Although most of Europe was liberated in September 1944 but the war was still raging in the pacific. The severe winter of 1944 in Europe also threw a spanner in the celebrations, since some parts were still occupied by the Germans.

It was only on VE Day in May and Japan’s surrender in August of 1945 before the celebrations could start.

Below are some impressions of those celebrations.

A double-decker bus slowly pushes its way through the huge crowds gathered in Whitehall, London to hear Winston Churchill’s victory speech and celebrate Victory in Europe Day on May 8, 1945.

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A member of the Canadian Women’s Army Corps seated on a courthouse lion celebrates the end of the war. August 1945.

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V-E Day celebration in Trondheim, Norway. May 8, 1945.

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American servicemen and women gather in front of the Rainbow Corner Red Cross Club in Paris to celebrate the unconditional surrender of the Japanese on August 15, 1945.

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Residents of Oak Ridge, Tennessee fill Jackson Square to celebrate the surrender of Japan on August 14, 1945. Oak Ridge was one of the three main sites of the Manhattan Project and was responsible (though those working there did not know it) for refining uranium to be used in the first atomic bombs.

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A sergeant interrupts his shave in a barber shop and holds up the latest copy of the Stars And Stripes newspaper announcing the surrender of Japan with the headline of “PEACE.” Paris, France. August 14, 1945

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V-E Day celebrations on Bay Street, Toronto, Canada on May 8, 1945.

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Four MPs take a break along a German road in May of 1945 to read about the Nazi surrender in the Stars and Stripes newspaper.

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A French woman kisses an American soldier. France. Date unspecified

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As World War II ended, women were able to obtain nylon stockings once again. Date unspecified

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They took the easy way out

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After all the suffering,death and destruction they caused there were several in the Nazi leadership ,and lower ranks , who were too cowardly to stand trial and killed themselves instead.In this summary I am excluded Hitler, Himmler,Goebbels and Goering because I have already done separate blogs on their suicides.

Eduard Wirths ,

picture above  (4 September 1909 – 20 September 1945) was the Chief SS doctor (SS-Standortarzt) at the Auschwitz concentration camp from September 1942 to January 1945. Thus, Wirths had formal responsibility for everything undertaken by the nearly 20 SS doctors (including Josef Mengele, Horst Schumann and Carl Clauberg) who worked in the medical sections of Auschwitz between 1942–1945.

Wirths was captured by the Allies at the end of the war and held in custody by British forces. Later, on 20 September 1945, knowing that he would surely face trial for numerous war crimes, Wirths committed suicide by hanging.

Johannes Blaskowitz

Johannes Blaskowitz

A German general during World War II and recipient of the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords.16822

Blaskowitz was charged with war crimes during the Nuremberg Trials in the High Command Trial (Case No. XII).

In one notorious case he was accused of ordering the execution of 2 deserters after the German surrender. He committed suicide on 5 February 1948: after breaking away from his guards, he threw himself off a balcony into the inner courtyard of the court building

Robert Ley

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He headed the German Labour Front from 1933 to 1945.

As Nazi Germany collapsed in early 1945, Ley was among the government figures who remained fanatically loyal to Hitler.He last saw Hitler on 20 April 1945, Hitler’s birthday, in the Führerbunker in central Berlin. The next day he left for southern Bavaria, in the expectation that Hitler would make his last stand in the “National Redoubt” in the alpine areas. When Hitler refused to leave Berlin, Ley was effectively unemployed. On 16 May he was captured by American paratroopers of the 101st Airborne Division in a shoemaker’s house in the village of Schleching. Ley told them he was “Dr. Ernst Distelmeyer,” but he was identified by Franz Xaver Schwarz, the treasurer of the Nazi Party and a long-time enemy.

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At the Nuremberg Trials, Ley was indicted under Count One (“The Common Plan or Conspiracy to wage an aggressive war in violation of international law or treaties”), Count Three (War Crimes, including among other things “mistreatment of prisoners of war or civilian populations”) and Count Four (“Crimes Against Humanity – murder, extermination, enslavement of civilian populations; persecution on the basis of racial, religions or political grounds”). Ley was apparently indignant at being regarded as a war criminal, telling the American psychiatrist Douglas Kelley and psychologist Gustave Gilbert who had seen and tested him in prison: “Stand us against a wall and shoot us, well and good, you are victors. But why should I be brought before a Tribunal like a c-c-c- … I can’t even get the word out!”

On 24 October, three days after receiving the indictment, Ley strangled himself in his prison cell using a noose made by tearing a towel into strips, fastened to the toilet pipe in his cell.

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Franz Friedrich Böhme

Franz Böhme

An Austrian general in the Wehrmacht during World War II, serving as Commander of the XVIII Mountain Corps, Hitler’s ‘Plenipotentiary Commanding General’ in the Balkans, and commander-in-chief in German-occupied Norway during World War II. Böhme stood trial in Nuremberg in the Hostages Trial for having massacred thousands of Serbian civilians.

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After being captured in Norway, he was brought before the Hostages Trial, a division of the Subsequent Nuremberg Trials, and charged with war crimes committed in Serbia during his control of the region in 1941. He had upped the ante of retaliatory strikes against Serbs, killing a hundred Serbs for every German killed, and fifty for every German wounded; this resulted in the massacre of thousands of civilians. When his extradition to Yugoslavia seemed imminent, Böhme committed suicide by jumping from the 4th story of the prison in which he was being held. His body was interred at St. Leonhard-Friedhof in Graz.

Emil Haussmann

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A  German SS-Sturmbannführer, in Einsatzkommando 12 of Einsatzgruppe D, which perpetrated the Holocaust in occupied Ukraine. Haussmann was accused in 1947 at the Einsatzgruppen Trial.43043

Haussmann took part in Einsatzkommando 12 during the invasion of the Soviet Union. In 1947 he was one of 24 defendants at the Einsatzgruppen Trial. On 29 July 1947, he received the indictment along with his co-defendants: (1) crimes against humanity, (2) war crimes, and (3) membership in a criminal organization. Two days later, before the arraignment, Haussmann committed suicide in his cell and was removed from the process.Thus, he was the only defendant at the Einsatzgruppen trial who escaped a sentence.

The Belgian Holocaust

RetrieveAsset

For some reason you don’t hear that much about the Holocaust in Belgium and to be honest I don’t know why that is.

After the Germans conquered Belgium in May 1940, the Belgian government fled to Great Britain and formed a government-in-exile in London. King Leopold III remained in Belgium under house arrest during the German occupation. A German military administration coexisted with the Belgian civil service.

At the start of the war, the population of Belgium was overwhelmingly Catholic. Jews made up the largest non-Christian population in the country, numbering between 70–75,000 out of a population of 8 million. Most lived in the cities of Antwerp, Brussels, Charleroi and Liège. The vast majority were recent immigrants to Belgium who had fled persecution in Germany and Eastern Europe, and, as a result, only a small minority actually possessed Belgian citizenship.

Immediately after the occupation of Belgium, the Germans instituted anti-Jewish laws and ordinances.

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They restricted the civil rights of Jews, confiscated their property and businesses, banned them from certain professions, and in 1942 required Jews to wear a yellow Star of David.

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Belgian Jews were also rounded up for forced labor. They worked primarily in the construction of military fortifications in northern France, and also in construction projects, clothing and armaments factories, and stone quarries in Belgium.

On 23 October 1940, the German Military Administration adopted anti-Jewish legislation for the first time.[9] The new laws, similar to the Nuremberg Laws adopted in Germany in 1935, coincided with the adoption of similar legislation in the Netherlands and in France.The laws of 28 October forbade Jews to practice certain professions (including the civil service) and forced Jews to register with their local municipality. On the same date, the German administration announced a definition of who was regarded as Jewish. Jewish-owned shops or businesses had to be marked by a sign in the window, and Jewish-owned economic assets had to be registered.

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From June 1940, a list of Jewish businesses had already been drawn up in Liège

The German administration was responsible for the deportation of the Jews in Belgium. Under the German occupation,In the summer of 1940, some German Jews and political refugees were deported from Belgium to Gurs and St. Cyprien, internment camps in southern France.

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On 14 April 1941, after watching the German propaganda film Der Ewige Jude, Flemish paramilitaries from the Volksverwering, VNV and Algemeene-SS Vlaanderen began a pogrom in the city of Antwerp.

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The mob, armed with iron bars, attacked and burned two synagogues in the city and threw the Torah scrolls onto the street.They then attacked the home of Marcus Rottenburg, the town’s chief rabbi. The police and fire brigade were summoned, but they were forbidden to intervene by the German authorities.

From August 1942, the Germans began deporting Jews, using Arbeitseinsatz (“recruitment for work”) in German factories as a pretext.[14] Around half of the Jews turned up voluntarily (though coerced by the German authorities) for transportation although round-ups were begun in late July. Later in the war, the Germans increasingly relied on the police to arrest or round up Jews by force.

The first convoy from Belgium, carrying stateless Jews, left Mechelen transit camp for Auschwitz on 4 August 1942 and was soon followed by others.These trains left for extermination camps in Eastern Europe. Between October 1942 and January 1943, deportations were temporarily halted;by this time 16,600 people have been deported on 17 rail convoys. As the result of Queen Elisabeth’s (Belgian Queen)intervention with the German authorities.

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In 1943, the deportations resumed. By the time that deportations to extermination camps had begun, however, nearly 2,250 Belgian Jews had already been deported as forced laborers for Organisation Todt, a civil and military engineering group, which was working on the construction of the Atlantic Wall in Northern France

In September, armed Devisenschutzkommando (DSK; “Currency protection command”) units raided homes to seize valuables and personal belongings as the occupants were preparing to report to the transit camp, and in the same month, Jews with Belgian citizenship were deported for the first time.

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DSK units relied on networks of informants, who were paid between 100 and 200 Belgian francs for each person they betrayed.After the war, the collaborator Felix Lauterborn stated in his trial that 80 per cent of arrests in Antwerp used information from paid informants. In total, 6,000 Jews were deported in 1943, with another 2,700 in 1944. Transports were halted by the deteriorating situation in occupied Belgium before the liberation.

The percentages of Jews which were deported varied by location. It was highest in Antwerp, with 67 per cent deported, but lower in Brussels (37 per cent), Liège (35 per cent) and Charleroi (42 per cent). The main destination for the convoys was Auschwitz in German-occupied Poland. Smaller numbers were sent to Buchenwald and Ravensbrück concentration camps, as well as Vittel concentration camp in France.

In total, 25,437 Jews were deported from Belgium. Only 1,207 of these survived the war. Among those deported and killed was the surrealist artist Felix Nussbaum in 1944.

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The Breendonk and Mechelen camps served as collection centers for the deportations.

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“It Is Difficult to Know How to Begin”

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The title is a line from a 1945 letter, from Harold Porter to his mother and father in Michigan, describing the situation at the Dachau concentration camp after liberation. The letters that Pfc. Porter, who served as a medic with the 116th Evacuation Hospital, wrote to his parents are now archived at the Eisenhower Presidential Library.

When I did research on Harold Potter it could not find anything aside from the letters and the unit he served with. I did however get a lot of links to Harry Potter

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The irony here is that although JK Rowlings tales of the young wizard are totally fictional, it’s the accounts of Harold Porter which are completely unfathomable and incomprehensible because his words are true and tell a story which no one should have to witness.

Using stationery found in the abandoned office of the camp commandant, Porter found himself at a loss to convey the horrors he encountered at the Dachau concentration camp: boxcars filled with thousands of decomposing bodies, the crematorium surrounded by stacks of nude corpses, and the stacks of carefully sorted clothing belonging to the victims.

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His account is unsparing and graphic, with descriptions of what the bodies looked like, the sounds they made as they were being moved, and their odor. Days after entering the camp, he was still trying to grasp the reality of what he saw.

This is the full contents of the letter. It is a long read but it is just so important that it gets read to ensure no other soldier will ever have to write a letter like that to his parents.

“Dear Mother and Father,

You have, by this time, received a letter mentioning that I am quartered in the concentration camp at Dachau. It is still undecided whether we will be permitted to describe the conditions here, but I’m writing this now to tell you a little, and will mail it later when we are told we can.

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It is difficult to know how to begin. By this time I have recovered from my first emotional shock and am able to write without seeming like a hysterical gibbering idiot. Yet, I know you will hesitate to believe me no matter how objective and factual I try to be. I even find myself trying to deny what I am looking at with my own eyes. Certainly, what I have seen in the past few days will affect my personality for the rest of my life.

We knew a day or two before we moved that we were going to operate in Dachau, and that it was the location of one of the most notorious concentration camps, but while we expected things to be grizzly, I’m sure none of us knew what was coming. It is easy to read about atrocities, but they must be seen before they can be believed. To think that I once scoffed at Valtin’s “Out of the Night” as being preposterous! I’ve seen worse.

sights than any he described.

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The trip south from Ottengen was pleasant enough. We passed through Donauworth and Aichach and as we entered Dachau, the country, with the cottages, river, country estates and Alps in the distance, was almost like a tourist resort. BUt as we came to the center of the city, we met a train with a wrecked engine – about fifty cars long. Every car was loaded with bodies. There must have been thousands of them – all obviously starved to death. This was a shock of the first order, and the odor can best be immagined. But neither the sight nor the odor were anything when compared with what we were still to see.

Marc Coyle reached the camp two days before I did and was a guard so as soon as I got there I looked him up and he took me to the crematory.

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Dead SS troops were scattered around the grounds, but when we reached the furnace house we cam upon a huge stack of corpses piled up like kindling, all nude so that their clothes wouldn’t be wasted by the burning. There were furnaces for burning six bodies at once and on each side of them was a room twenty feet square crammed to the ceiling with more bodies – one big stinking rotten mess. Their faces

purple, their eyes popping, and with a ludicrous grin on each one.

page 3They were nothing but bones & skin.  Coyle had assisted at ten autopsies the day before (wearing a gas mask) on ten bodies selected at random.  Eight of them had advanced T.B., all had Typhus and extreme malnutrition symptoms.  There were both women and children in the stack in addition to the men.

While we were inspecting the place, freed prisoners drove up with wagon loads of corpses removed from the compound proper.  Watching the unloading was horrible.  The bodies squooshed and gurgled as they hit the pile and the odor could almost be seen.

Behind the furnace was the execution chamber, a windowless cell twenty feet square with gas nozzles every few feet across the ceiling.  Outside, in addition to the huge mound of charred bone fragments, were the carefully sorted and stacked clothes of the victims – which obviously numbered in the thousands.  Although I stood there looking at it, I couldn’t believe it.  The realness of the whole mess is just gradually dawning on me, and I doubt if it will ever on you.

There is a rumor circulating with says that the war is over.  It probably is as much as it ever will be.  We’ve all been expecting the end for several days, but were not too excited about it because we know that it does not mean too much as far as our immediate situation is concerned.  There was no celebrating – it’s difficult to celebrate anything with the morbid state we’re in.

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The Pacific theater will not come immediately for this unit; we have around 36,000 potential and eventual patients here.  The end of the work for everyone else is going to be just the beginning for us.

Today was a scorching hot day after several raining cold ones.  The result of the heat on the corpses is impossible to describe, and the situation will probably get worse because their disposal will certainly take time.

My arms are sore from the typhus shot so I’m ending here for the present.  More will follow later.  I have lots to write about now.

 

Love, Harold.”

There were pictures of the camp included with his letter but I believe the letter is compelling enough, I did include 1 picture of the corpses of the SS guards.

The reason why I included that one is because there was a debate and indeed that debate is still ongoing whether the killing of the SS guards could be considered a war crime or not. I don’t think it was, given what the liberators witnessed when they freed the camp, but that is my opinion.

References:

https://www.archives.gov/exhibits/eyewitness/html.php?section=7

https://www.fold3.com/page/1597-letter-from-harold-porter-to-his-parents-describing-dachau-concentration-camp/stories

 

 

 

 

 

The day President Carter saw an UFO.

JIMMY CARTER

I have to be honest the title is not 100% correct because Jimmy Carter was not President yet , it happened a few years before he took office.

On the 18th of September in 1973, future President Jimmy Carter files a report with the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP), claiming he had seen an Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) in October 1969.

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During the presidential campaign of 1976, Democratic challenger Carter was forthcoming about his belief that he had seen a UFO. He described waiting outside for a Lion’s Club Meeting in Leary, Georgia, to begin, at about 7:30 p.m., when he spotted what he called “the darndest thing I’ve ever seen” in the sky. Carter, as well as 10 to 12 other people who witnessed the same event, described the object as “very bright [with] changing colors and about the size of the moon.” Carter reported that “the object hovered about 30 degrees above the horizon and moved in toward the earth and away before disappearing into the distance.” He later told a reporter that, after the experience, he vowed never again to ridicule anyone who claimed to have seen a UFO.

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During the presidential campaign of 1976, Carter promised that, if elected president, he would encourage the government release “every piece of information” about UFOs available to the public and to scientists. After winning the presidency, though, Carter backed away from this pledge, saying that the release of some information might have “defense implications” and pose a threat to national security.

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In a 2007 interview with CNN, Carter was asked about his UFO sighting, to which he replied: “It was unidentified as far as we were concerned, but I think it’s impossible in my opinion — some people disagree — to have space people from other planets or other stars to come to us. I don’t think that’s possible.

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Liberation of Geleen-Sept 18 1944

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On this day 73 years ago my hometown Geleen was liberated. Geleen is a town in the south east of the Netherlands in the province of Limburg situated in the most narrow part of the Province in between Belgium and Germany.

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The liberation actually happened by chance. The Germans did hide behind several objects, ready to take on the approaching American troops.

They did hide quite well ,therefore a friar from the nearby monastery ventured outside assuming the Germans had fled the scene. He then brought out a big orange banner to celebrate, which was the signal for the neighbours to follow suit and hang out the Dutch flag and the national colors.

When the Germans saw this they assumed that the Americans had already arrived and were on their heels, so they frantically fled although not one of the allied troops had actually been seen yet.

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Below are just some impressions of that day. The liberation day where no shot was fired.

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Below an image of Vincent DiPaquale of the 116th Infantry Regiment,born in Buffalo New York. He was one of the liberators.

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The curse

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Don’t worry I have suddenly turned by page into some paranormal or horror blog site. But today was an important day in the Irish sporting agenda.It was the day of the All Ireland GAA senior Gaelic Football final between Mayo and Dublin(again).

Mayo did not win the final since 1951,and today was no exception, this is believed to be due to a curse.

The Curse of ’51 allegedly prevents Mayo from winning the Sam Maguire Cup(picture above} ever again, or at least until the death has occurred of every member of the last winning team from 1951.

1951_All-Ireland_Senior_Football_Championship_Final_match_programme

It remains unbroken—despite the team reaching the final on eight occasions since then, they have either completely collapsed on the day or been undone by a series of other unfortunate events.

The legend tells us that while the boisterous Mayo team were passing through Foxford on the victorious journey home, the team failed to wait quietly for a funeral cortège to pass by on its way to the graveyard. The presiding priest consequently put a curse on Mayo football to never win a subsequent All-Ireland Final until all members of the 1951 team are dead.

In 1989, Mayo reached their first All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final since their last victory in 1951 only to lose to Cork. In 1996, a freak point by Meath at the end of the final forced a replay, which saw Mayo concede another late score that would deny them victory. Kerry bridged an 11-year title gap against them in 1997 with a three-point win, before torturing them by eight points in 2004 and thirteen points in 2006

Mayo returned to the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final in 2012. Even with Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Rome seeking divine intervention through Pope Benedict XVI the day before,

the “Kafkaesque black farce”continued from where it had left off—with Donegal allowed bridge a 20-year gap between titles, helped in no small part by a nightmare opening quarter for Mayo as Michael Murphy—whose father is from Mayo—launched a rocket of a shot into the goal after three minutes. Then, in the eleventh minute, Colm McFadden seized the ball from the grasp of Kevin Keane and slid it into the net for a second Donegal goal. Mayo only got on the score sheet after sixteen minutes and never led at any point during the match. They eventually lost with thirteen points to Donegal’s two goals and eleven.

They lost again in 2013, this time by a single point to Dublin.

They qualified for the 2016 Final on 18 September 2016 where they faced Dublin the curse seemingly struck again when they scored two own goals in the opening half before drawing with Dublin in the last few minutes of the game. They faced Dublin again in a rematch on the 1st October 2016 but lost by a point.

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Following the death of Fr Peter Quinn in January 2016, there now only remains 3 living members of the 1951 All Ireland winning team, Pádraig Carney, Paddy Prendergast and Dr Micky Loftus of Crossmolina.

Today they lost again to Dublin by 1 point. So the curse has not yet been lifted.

Mayo however is not the only team to be cursed, following are a few more examples.

The Boston Red Sox

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Some allege that there was a curse placed on the Boston Red Sox, who failed to win a World Series after 1918, apparently due to the selling of Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees.

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Before the sale, the Red Sox had won four titles in seven years (1912–1918). After the sale, the Yankees went on to win 27 World Series Championships. The “curse” was broken when, after 86 seasons, the Red Sox defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 4 games to 0 in the 2004 World Series

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Hibernian F.C

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Scottish football side Hibernian endured a 114-year wait to win their third Scottish Cup, eventually doing so against Rangers in the 2016 final.

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Prior to this success, Hibs had lost an agonising ten straight Scottish Cup finals in a drought stretching back to 1902. Hibernian’s hoodoo was made all the more noteworthy by their relative success in other major Scottish footballing honours – the Leith side won four league titles and three league cups whilst remaining fruitless in their search for Scottish Cup glory. In spite of remaining a prominent force within Scottish football and building notoriously excellent sides such as the Famous Five and Turnbull’s Tornadoes, Hibs were for so long unable to lift the oldest trophy in world football.

Some Hibs fans attributed the absence of Scottish Cup success to a curse which a gypsy woman allegedly placed upon the club during the chairmanship of Harry Swan.Whilst renovation works were being carried out at Hibernian’s Easter Road stadium in the 1950s, a harp crest – which had been displayed on the South Stand symbolising Hibernian’s founding Irish roots – was removed and subsequently did not reappear when work had finished.During the 2015-16 season, Hibs’ modern day badge (which includes the harp) was placed upon the facade of the West Stand at Easter Road.Less than eight months after the harp had been reinstated onto the walls of Easter Road, Hibernian were once again Scottish Cup winners after more than a century in the making.

Birmingham City F.C

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English football side Birmingham City F.C. played 100 years under an alleged curse from 1906 to 2006.As the legend goes, the club moved from nearby Muntz Street into its current location at St Andrew’s, building the stadium on land that was being used by the Romani people.

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After they were forced to move, the angry Romani people put an 100-year hex on the stadium.

Throughout the years many Birmingham City managers would try to remove the curse but with little success. Former manager Ron Saunders tried to banish the curse in the 1980s by placing crucifixes on floodlights and painting the bottom of his players’ boots red. Another manager, Barry Fry, in charge from 1993 to 1996, urinated in all four corners of the pitch after a clairvoyant said it would break the spell. On Boxing Day 2006 the curse was finally lifted and on that day Birmingham City celebrated a 2–1 win over Queens Park Rangers F.C,and would eventually win a place in the Premiership. Just over four years after the alleged curse ended, Birmingham City finally won the first major final in their history – beating Arsenal 2–1 to win the League Cup at Wembley.

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The animals of WWII

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Like most other war WWII was not only fought by humans, animals also took part in the war. It was in a variety of roles how animals partook in the war efforts,sometimes for transport ,like the picture above of a soldier with a pack Reindeer, on slippery ice, near the tiny village of Nautsi, in northern Lapland, Finland, on October 26, 1941.

Other times as mascottes or just as pets, and occasionally as combatants and even served as food. Just like their human counterparts they also became victims.

Below are some examples of the animal of WWII.

Army Pfc. Raymond Gasiorowski takes Leipzig, his company s pet puppy, for a walk in Leipzig, Germany. April 19, 1945

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Marine Cpl. Edward Burckhardt found this kitten at the base of Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima, the scene of some of the most brutal fighting of the war. February 1945.

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Russia, 1941. German soldier and his horse. In two months, December 1941 and January 1942, the German Army on the Eastern Front lost 179,000 horses.

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Cpl. William Wende brushes GI Jenny, the burro mascot of an Army unit in North Africa. The interested terrier is named Pito. Ca. 1943.

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Two women collect the remains of a dead horse for food, Siege of Leningrad, 1941

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Poland, 1939. German horsemen cross the Polish border.

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G.I Joe is one of the most famous pigeons in history, most noted for saving a thousand American and Allied soldiers during WWII.

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The reindeer of Murmansk

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