Wise words from an old fool

On my way to college this morning I had a bit of an anxiety attack.
I was blinded by the sun light and nearly walked into a wall
At first I thought this was because I only have one eye, and that this would the reality I had to face going forward.
Last week when I walked the same route it was sunny too and this didn’t happen to me.
I figured it was my eye sight.
Then when the panic faded a bit and clarity came back, it dawned on me that last week the position of the sun was different, and next week it would be different again.
So I panicked about something which hadn’t happened before and probably wouldn’t happen again.
Too often we panic about something that happens on a particular moment in time. This doesn’t mean that moment will last.
Whatever the situation is and regardless how long it will last,it will certainly pass.
Don’t panic but enjoy life. The real treasures are found in small things or moments.

Ghetto Fighters’ House Talking Memory – Austrian Cinema during the Nazi Regime Between Alliance and Resistance – 23.1.22

The Ghetto Fighters’ House – Itzhak Katzenelson Holocaust and Jewish Resistance Heritage Museum– known as the “House” – is not only the first Holocaust museum in the world but also the first of its kind to be founded by Holocaust survivors. Since its establishment in 1949, the museum tells the story of the Holocaust during World War II, emphasizing the bravery, spiritual triumph and the incredible ability of Holocaust survivors and the fighters of the revolt to rebuild their lives in a new country about which they had dreamed – the State of Israel.

Last Sunday I had the privilege to attend a zoom session organized by the Ghetto Fighters’ House . The session was about Austrian Cinema during the Nazi Regime. It was very interesting and intriguing. One thing that I hadn’t been aware of was that Jewish actors were already banned to play in Austrian movies before the ‘Anscluss’

This is the recorded session.

source

https://www.gfh.org.il/eng/About_the_Museum

The lighter side of WWII

History of Sorts

1

Although WWII was without a doubt the darkest era in world history, it wasn’t always death and destruction.

There were a few lighter moments during the war, below are some pictures of those times and events.

Woman looks after a baby elephant in her back yard during WWII

2

There is always time for a song

3

I have heard of a monkey o your back, but a donkey is new to me.

4

Romance

5

An American soldier gives a drink of water to a wounded German prisoner lying on a stretcher somewhere in the Normandy, on June 19, 1944.

6

A wedding is performed in a bombed church in London during World War 2.

7

A policeman makes sure young evacuees are on the correct train out of London for evacuation, 1940

8

9th Armored Division technician Alvin Harley with a little French girl on Valentine’s Day, 14 Feb 1945

9

Even Queen Elizabeth II did…

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Forgotten heroes- Risking their lives to oppose an evil regime.

History of Sorts

I would be lying if I would say that all Dutch opposed the Nazi occupiers, because there were many who were happy enough, to follow the rules of the new lords of the land.

However there were also many who opposed the evil regime and especially opposed the way they treated their Jewish friends and neighbours.

Organisations like ‘Het Derde Front” ,the third front- a Marxist resistance group, called to boycott all businesses who refused Jews. There was a national strike on February 25 and 26,1941, organized by several groups like the CPN)Communist Party Netherlands) and also the third front.

Both actions were announced by using posters and flyers. Anyone who would have been caught carrying these posters, would face severe punishments including the death penalty.

A few dozen organizers and participants of the strike were arrested and executed. Two of them died in Dachau. This did instill fear in…

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Sjelomo Hamburger

This is the aspect of the Holocaust I struggle most with. How can anyone look at this child and perceive him to be a threat to the nation. How can they look at his face and decide that he needs to be killed immediately.

Sjelomo Hamburger would have celebrated his 80th birthday today. But he only reached the age of 2.

Sjelomo Hamburger was the son of Samuel Hamburger and Marianne van Straten.

Samuel and Marianne , lived at Fahrenheitstraat 4 in Amersfoort. They were married 25 August 1939 in Amersfoort,the Netherlands, and their son Sjelomo was born there on 22 January 1942.

A few months after the birth of their son , Samuel and Marianne decided to go into hiding with Sjelomo, to escape the persecution by the Nazis.

During a search for prohibited motion pictures, an Amersfoort police officer discovered two-year old Sjelomo Hamburger in an attic room on the Schimmelpenninckstraat in Amersfoort on 8 June 1944.

I am not sure if his parents were with him. But this is where Sjelomo Hamburger had been hiding there since August 1942. He was deported to Auschwitz via Westerbork on September 3, 1944. There were in total 783 people on that transport, 7776 Jewish, 36 resistance fighters, and 17 were classified as citizen. Two were under the age of 12, 2 year old Sjelomo was one of them.

He was murdered in Auschwitz September 6 1944.

sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/523482/about-sjelomo-hamburger

https://www.geni.com/people/Sjelomo-Hamburger/6000000055655845945

https://www.oorlogsbronnen.nl/tijdlijn/Sjelomo-Hamburger/48/9187

Richard Ira Bong- WWII Hero

History of Sorts

Richard Bong

I could do a very lengthy blog about Richard Ira Bong but I decided to stay with the facts that really matter. For everything else I urge you to look up his name, so much has already written about him.

He is credited with shooting down 40 enemy aircraft in aerial combat.

The citation on his Medal of Honor descried him best.

“The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Major (Air Corps) Richard Ira Bong (ASN: 0-433784), United States Army Air Forces, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the 49th Fighter Group, V Fighter Command, Fifth Air Force, in action in the Southwest Pacific area from 10 October to 15 November 1944. Though assigned to duty as gunnery instructor and neither required nor expected…

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Ghetto Fighters’ House -Talking Memory -The Wannsee conference-90 Minutes of Bureaucratic evil.

On January 16th I had the privilege to attend a zoom conference on the Wannsee conference, which was organized by the Ghetto Fighter’s House museum.

It was The first program in the four part series “Rethinking the ‘Final Solution’ and the Wannsee Conference” marked the 80th anniversary of the Wannsee Conference that took place on January 20th, 1942. In his opening remarks, Dr. Tamir Hod presents a synopsis of the crucial meeting that would decide the fate of millions of Jews in Europe. He discloses archival material related to the subject that was discovered after the fall of the Soviet Block. In his presentation “The Wannsee Conference Now and Then” Dr. Matthias Hass, Head of the Academic Department of the House of the Wannsee Conference Memorial Site and Education Center discusses the activities of the memorial and how the history of the pivotal meeting that sealed the implementation of the “Final Solution” is told to visitors. As well, Hass will present the ongoing research about the Wannsee Conference and how it has helped to further understand the “Final Solution to the Jewish Problem.”

It was kindly recorded and posted on YouTube.

source

https://www.gfh.org.il/eng

Paradise by the Dashboard light- RIP Meat Loaf.

Michael Lee Aday (born Marvin Lee better known as Meat Loaf died last night ,Thursday January 20. He was an American singing Legend and actor. He was known for his powerful, wide-ranging voice and theatrical live shows. His Bat Out of Hell trilogy—Bat Out of Hell, Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell, and Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose—has sold more than 65 million albums worldwide. More than four decades after its release, the first album still sells an estimated 200,000 copies annually and stayed on the charts for over nine years, making it one of the best-selling albums in history.[

His amazing career spanned 6 decades that saw him sell over 100 Million albums worldwide and star in over 65 movies, including “Fight Club”, “Focus”, “Rocky Horror Picture Show” and “Wayne’s World.”

My favourite song on the first Bat out of Hell album is the epic rock anthem “Paradise by the Dashboard light” It is basically a song pf a couple having or attempting to have sex in a car, it could have been done within a minute but the album version lasts for 8.28 minutes.

Jim Steinman, the composer and writer of the song, had stated that he wanted to write “the ultimate car/sex song in which everything goes horribly wrong in the end.”

The song is a duet with Ellen Foley, however it is Karla DeVito who is in the video with Meat Loaf, Karla also went on tour with Jim Steinman and Meat Loaf where she performed the song live.

Ending this tribute to the legend that was Meat Loaf with another duet he did.

source

https://www.rte.ie/entertainment/2022/0121/1274997-singer-meat-loaf-dies-aged-74/

The Wannsee Conference minutes.

On this day 80 years ago, the fate of 11 million European citizens was decided, in this beautiful and majestic building.

These 11 million citizens had only one thing in common, they were Jewish. That was reason enough for the Nazi regime to murder each single one of them. What is so disturbing about this is the business like language that was used during this ‘conference’ the so called Wannsee conference.

I find it striking that the name Wannsee is so similar to the German word for madness ‘Wahnsinn”

Below are the ‘minutes’ of that meeting.

The English text of the Wannsee protocol is based on the official U.S. government translation was prepared for evidence in trials at Nuremberg, as reproduced in John Mendelsohn, ed., The Holocaust: Selected Documents in Eighteen Volumes. Vol. 11: The Wannsee Protocol and a 1944 Report on Auschwitz by the Office of Strategic Services (New York: Garland, 1982), 18-32. Substantial revisions to the Nuremberg text have been made to add clarity and, in some cases, to correct mistakes in an obviously hasty translation.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

stamp: Top Secret

30 copies
16th copy

Minutes of discussion.

I. The following persons took part in the discussion about the
final solution of the Jewish question which took place in Berlin,
am Grossen Wannsee No. 56/58 on 20 January 1942.

Gauleiter Dr. Meyer and Reichsamt- Reich Ministry for
leiter Dr. Leibbrandt the Occupied Eastern
territories

Secretary of State Dr. Stuckart Reich Ministry for
the Interior

Secretary of State Neumann Plenipotentiary for
the Four Year Plan

Secretary of State Dr. Freisler Reich Ministry of
Justice

Secretary of State Dr. Buehler Office of the Govern-
ment General

Under Secretary of State Dr. Luther Foreign Office

SS-Oberfuehrer Klopfer Party Chancellery

Ministerialdirektor Kritzinger Reich Chancellery

SS-Gruppenfuehrer Hofmann Race and Settlement
Main Office

SS-Gruppenfuehrer Mueller Reich Main Security
SS-Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann Office

SS-Oberfuehrer Dr. Schoengarth Security Police and SD
Chief of the Security Police and
the SD in the Government General

SS-Sturmbannfuehrer Dr. Lange Security Police and SD
Commander of the Security Police
and the SD for the General-District
Latvia, as deputy of the Commander
of the Security Police and the SD
for the Reich Commissariat “Eastland”.

II. At the beginning of the discussion Chief of the Security
Police and of the SD, SS-Obergruppenfuehrer Heydrich, reported
that the Reich Marshal had appointed him delegate for the
preparations for the final solution of the Jewish question in
Europe and pointed out that this discussion had been called for
the purpose of clarifying fundamental questions. The wish of the
Reich Marshal to have a draft sent to him concerning
organizational, factual and material interests in relation to the
final solution of the Jewish question in Europe makes necessary
an initial common action of all central offices immediately
concerned with these questions in order to bring their general
activities into line.

 The Reichsfuehrer-SS and the Chief of the German Police

(Chief of the Security Police and the SD) was entrusted with the
official central handling of the final solution of the Jewish
question without regard to geographic borders.

 The Chief of the Security Police and the SD then gave a

short report of the struggle which has been carried on thus far
against this enemy, the essential points being the following:

 a)   the expulsion of the Jews from every sphere of life of
      the German people,

 b)   the expulsion of the Jews from the living space of the
      German people.

 In carrying out these efforts, an increased and planned

acceleration of the emigration of the Jews from Reich territory
was started, as the only possible present solution.

 By order of the Reich Marshal, a Reich Central Office for

Jewish Emigration was set up in January 1939 and the Chief of the
Security Police and SD was entrusted with the management. Its
most important tasks were

 a)   to make all necessary arrangements for the preparation
      for an increased emigration of the Jews,

 b)   to direct the flow of emigration,

 c)   to speed the procedure of emigration in each individual
      case.

 The aim of all this was to cleanse German living space of

Jews in a legal manner.

 All the offices realized the drawbacks of such enforced

accelerated emigration. For the time being they had, however,
tolerated it on account of the lack of other possible solutions
of the problem.

 The work concerned with emigration was, later on, not only a

German problem, but also a problem with which the authorities of
the countries to which the flow of emigrants was being directed
would have to deal. Financial difficulties, such as the demand
by various foreign governments for increasing sums of money to be
presented at the time of the landing, the lack of shipping space,
increasing restriction of entry permits, or the cancelling of
such, increased extraordinarily the difficulties of emigration.
In spite of these difficulties, 537,000 Jews were sent out of the
country between the takeover of power and the deadline of 31
October 1941. Of these

 approximately 360,000 were in Germany proper on 30 January
 1933

 approximately 147,000 were in Austria (Ostmark) on 15 March
 1939

 approximately 30,000 were in the Protectorate of Bohemia and
 Moravia on 15 March 1939.

 The Jews themselves, or their Jewish political

organizations, financed the emigration. In order to avoid
impoverished Jews’ remaining behind, the principle was followed
that wealthy Jews have to finance the emigration of poor Jews;
this was arranged by imposing a suitable tax, i.e., an emigration
tax, which was used for financial arrangements in connection with
the emigration of poor Jews and was imposed according to income.

 Apart from the necessary Reichsmark exchange, foreign

currency had to presented at the time of landing. In order to
save foreign exchange held by Germany, the foreign Jewish
financial organizations were – with the help of Jewish
organizations in Germany – made responsible for arranging an
adequate amount of foreign currency. Up to 30 October 1941,
these foreign Jews donated a total of around 9,500,000 dollars.

 In the meantime the Reichsfuehrer-SS and Chief of the German

Police had prohibited emigration of Jews due to the dangers of an
emigration in wartime and due to the possibilities of the East.

III. Another possible solution of the problem has now taken the
place of emigration, i.e. the evacuation of the Jews to the East,
provided that the Fuehrer gives the appropriate approval in
advance.

 These actions are, however, only to be considered

provisional, but practical experience is already being collected
which is of the greatest importance in relation to the future
final solution of the Jewish question.

 Approximately 11 million Jews will be involved in the final

solution of the European Jewish question, distributed as follows
among the individual countries:

                Country                                          Number

A. Germany proper 131,800
Austria 43,700
Eastern territories 420,000
General Government 2,284,000
Bialystok 400,000
Protectorate Bohemia and Moravia 74,200
Estonia – free of Jews –
Latvia 3,500
Lithuania 34,000
Belgium 43,000
Denmark 5,600
France / occupied territory 165,000
unoccupied territory 700,000
Greece 69,600
Netherlands 160,800
Norway 1,300

B. Bulgaria 48,000
England 330,000
Finland 2,300
Ireland 4,000
Italy including Sardinia 58,000
Albania 200
Croatia 40,000
Portugal 3,000
Rumania including Bessarabia 342,000
Sweden 8,000
Switzerland 18,000
Serbia 10,000
Slovakia 88,000
Spain 6,000
Turkey (European portion) 55,500
Hungary 742,800
USSR 5,000,000
Ukraine 2,994,684
White Russia
excluding Bialystok 446,484

                          Total     over                     11,000,000


 The number of Jews given here for foreign countries

includes, however, only those Jews who still adhere to the Jewish
faith, since some countries still do not have a definition of the
term “Jew” according to racial principles.

 The handling of the problem in the individual countries will

meet with difficulties due to the attitude and outlook of the
people there, especially in Hungary and Rumania. Thus, for
example, even today the Jew can buy documents in Rumania that
will officially prove his foreign citizenship.

 The influence of the Jews in all walks of life in the USSR

is well known. Approximately five million Jews live in the
European part of the USSR, in the Asian part scarcely 1/4
million.

 The breakdown of Jews residing in the European part of the

USSR according to trades was approximately as follows:

 Agriculture                                                      9.1 %
 Urban workers                                                   14.8 %
 In trade                                                        20.0 %
 Employed by the state                                           23.4 %
 In private occupations such as
 medical profession, press, theater, etc.                        32. 7%

 Under proper guidance, in the course of the final solution

the Jews are to be allocated for appropriate labor in the East.
Able-bodied Jews, separated according to sex, will be taken in
large work columns to these areas for work on roads, in the
course of which action doubtless a large portion will be
eliminated by natural causes.

 The possible final remnant will, since it will undoubtedly

consist of the most resistant portion, have to be treated
accordingly, because it is the product of natural selection and
would, if released, act as a the seed of a new Jewish revival
(see the experience of history.)

 In the course of the practical execution of the final

solution, Europe will be combed through from west to east.
Germany proper, including the Protectorate of Bohemia and
Moravia, will have to be handled first due to the housing problem
and additional social and political necessities.

 The evacuated Jews will first be sent, group by group, to

so-called transit ghettos, from which they will be transported to
the East.

 SS-Obergruppenfuehrer Heydrich went on to say that an

important prerequisite for the evacuation as such is the exact
definition of the persons involved.

 It is not intended to evacuate Jews over 65 years old, but

to send them to an old-age ghetto – Theresienstadt is being
considered for this purpose.

 In addition to these age groups - of the approximately

280,000 Jews in Germany proper and Austria on 31 October 1941,
approximately 30% are over 65 years old – severely wounded
veterans and Jews with war decorations (Iron Cross I) will be
accepted in the old-age ghettos. With this expedient solution,
in one fell swoop many interventions will be prevented.

 The beginning of the individual larger evacuation actions

will largely depend on military developments. Regarding the
handling of the final solution in those European countries
occupied and influenced by us, it was proposed that the
appropriate expert of the Foreign Office discuss the matter with
the responsible official of the Security Police and SD.

 In Slovakia and Croatia the matter is no longer so

difficult, since the most substantial problems in this respect
have already been brought near a solution. In Rumania the
government has in the meantime also appointed a commissioner for
Jewish affairs. In order to settle the question in Hungary, it
will soon be necessary to force an adviser for Jewish questions
onto the Hungarian government.

 With regard to taking up preparations for dealing with the

problem in Italy, SS-Obergruppenfuehrer Heydrich considers it
opportune to contact the chief of police with a view to these
problems.

 In occupied and unoccupied France, the registration of Jews

for evacuation will in all probability proceed without great
difficulty.

 Under Secretary of State Luther calls attention in this

matter to the fact that in some countries, such as the
Scandinavian states, difficulties will arise if this problem is
dealt with thoroughly and that it will therefore be advisable to
defer actions in these countries. Besides, in view of the small
numbers of Jews affected, this deferral will not cause any
substantial limitation.

 The Foreign Office sees no great difficulties for southeast

and western Europe.

 SS-Gruppenfuehrer Hofmann plans to send an expert to Hungary

from the Race and Settlement Main Office for general orientation
at the time when the Chief of the Security Police and SD takes up
the matter there. It was decided to assign this expert from the
Race and Settlement Main Office, who will not work actively, as
an assistant to the police attache.

IV. In the course of the final solution plans, the Nuremberg
Laws should provide a certain foundation, in which a prerequisite
for the absolute solution of the problem is also the solution to
the problem of mixed marriages and persons of mixed blood.

 The Chief of the Security Police and the SD discusses the

following points, at first theoretically, in regard to a letter
from the chief of the Reich chancellery:

1) Treatment of Persons of Mixed Blood of the First Degree

 Persons of mixed blood of the first degree will, as regards

the final solution of the Jewish question, be treated as Jews.

 From this treatment the following exceptions will be made:

 a)   Persons of mixed blood of the first degree married to
      persons of German blood if their marriage has resulted
      in children (persons of mixed blood of the second
      degree).  These persons of mixed blood of the second
      degree are to be treated essentially as Germans.

 b)   Persons of mixed blood of the first degree, for whom
      the highest offices of the Party and State have already
      issued exemption permits in any sphere of life.
      Each individual case must be examined, and it is not
      ruled out that the decision may be made to the
      detriment of the person of mixed blood.

 The prerequisite for any exemption must always be the

personal merit of the person of mixed blood. (Not the merit of
the parent or spouse of German blood.)

 Persons of mixed blood of the first degree who are exempted

from evacuation will be sterilized in order to prevent any
offspring and to eliminate the problem of persons of mixed blood
once and for all. Such sterilization will be voluntary. But it
is required to remain in the Reich. The sterilized “person of
mixed blood” is thereafter free of all restrictions to which he
was previously subjected.

2) Treatment of Persons of Mixed Blood of the Second Degree

 Persons of mixed blood of the second degree will be treated

fundamentally as persons of German blood, with the exception of
the following cases, in which the persons of mixed blood of the
second degree will be considered as Jews:

 a)   The person of mixed blood of the second degree was born
      of a marriage in which both parents are persons of
      mixed blood.

 b)   The person of mixed blood of the second degree has a
      racially especially undesirable appearance that marks
      him outwardly as a Jew.

 c)   The person of mixed blood of the second degree has a
      particularly bad police and political record that shows
      that he feels and behaves like a Jew.

 Also in these cases exemptions should not be made if the

person of mixed blood of the second degree has married a person
of German blood.

3) Marriages between Full Jews and Persons of German Blood.

 Here it must be decided from case to case whether the Jewish

partner will be evacuated or whether, with regard to the effects
of such a step on the German relatives, [this mixed marriage]
should be sent to an old-age ghetto.

4) Marriages between Persons of Mixed Blood of the First Degree
and Persons of German Blood.

 a)   Without Children.

      If no children have resulted from the marriage, the
      person of mixed blood of the first degree will be
      evacuated or sent to an old-age ghetto (same treatment
      as in the case of marriages between full Jews and
      persons of German blood, point 3.)

 b)   With Children.

      If children have resulted from the marriage (persons of
      mixed blood of the second degree), they will, if they
      are to be treated as Jews, be evacuated or sent to a
      ghetto along with the parent of mixed blood of the
      first degree.  If these children are to be treated as
      Germans (regular cases), they are exempted from
      evacuation as is therefore the parent of mixed blood of
      the first degree.

5) Marriages between Persons of Mixed Blood of the First Degree
and Persons of Mixed Blood of the First Degree or Jews.

 In these marriages (including the children) all members of

the family will be treated as Jews and therefore be evacuated or
sent to an old-age ghetto.

6) Marriages between Persons of Mixed Blood of the First Degree
and Persons of Mixed Blood of the Second Degree.

 In these marriages both partners will be evacuated or sent

to an old-age ghetto without consideration of whether the
marriage has produced children, since possible children will as a
rule have stronger Jewish blood than the Jewish person of mixed
blood of the second degree.

 SS-Gruppenfuehrer Hofmann advocates the opinion that

sterilization will have to be widely used, since the person of
mixed blood who is given the choice whether he will be evacuated
or sterilized would rather undergo sterilization.

 State Secretary Dr. Stuckart maintains that carrying out in

practice of the just mentioned possibilities for solving the
problem of mixed marriages and persons of mixed blood will create
endless administrative work. In the second place, as the
biological facts cannot be disregarded in any case, State
Secretary Dr. Stuckart proposed proceeding to forced
sterilization.

 Furthermore, to simplify the problem of mixed marriages

possibilities must be considered with the goal of the legislator
saying something like: “These marriages have been dissolved.”

 With regard to the issue of the effect of the evacuation of

Jews on the economy, State Secretary Neumann stated that Jews who
are working in industries vital to the war effort, provided that
no replacements are available, cannot be evacuated.

 SS-Obergruppenfuehrer Heydrich indicated that these Jews

would not be evacuated according to the rules he had approved for
carrying out the evacuations then underway.

 State Secretary Dr. Buehler stated that the General

Government would welcome it if the final solution of this problem
could be begun in the General Government, since on the one hand
transportation does not play such a large role here nor would
problems of labor supply hamper this action. Jews must be
removed from the territory of the General Government as quickly
as possible, since it is especially here that the Jew as an
epidemic carrier represents an extreme danger and on the other
hand he is causing permanent chaos in the economic structure of
the country through continued black market dealings. Moreover,
of the approximately 2 1/2 million Jews concerned, the majority
is unfit for work.

 State Secretary Dr. Buehler stated further that the solution

to the Jewish question in the General Government is the
responsibility of the Chief of the Security Police and the SD and
that his efforts would be supported by the officials of the
General Government. He had only one request, to solve the Jewish
question in this area as quickly as possible.

 In conclusion the different types of possible solutions were

discussed, during which discussion both Gauleiter Dr. Meyer and
State Secretary Dr. Buehler took the position that certain
preparatory activities for the final solution should be carried
out immediately in the territories in question, in which process
alarming the populace must be avoided.

 The meeting was closed with the request of the Chief of the

Security Police and the SD to the participants that they afford
him appropriate support during the carrying out of the tasks
involved in the solution.

source

https://www.writing.upenn.edu/~afilreis/Holocaust/wansee-transcript.html

Russian Flu or Covid?

Extreme fatigue, high fever, coughing, severe headaches, a loss of smell and taste. We know all the symptoms, we have heard them all, however it is not the first time these symptoms manifest themselves during a pandemic.

Those afflicted endured fever, cough, sore throat, aching muscles, and swollen eyes (conjunctivitis). Thanks to a ruined immune system, patients were vulnerable to pneumonia, which caused chills, chest pain, shortness of breath, vomiting and the risk of death as their infected lungs filled with fluid. Further deaths were attributed to bronchitis and other respiratory infections.

These are some striking similarities between this virus and its 19th century ancestor. You could be forgiven for thinking this is a description of the latest omicron strain of Covid-19. In fact, it details the severe wave of illness that swept the globe during pandemic of the 1890s. The so-called Russian flu, because the first reported outbreak occurred in St Petersburg in November 1889. But though some of the symptoms, such as fever, chills and aches, were consistent with flu, an increasing number of scientists believe the Russian flu may have actually been due to a bovine coronavirus.

Modern transport infrastructure assisted the spread of the 1889 pandemic. The 19 largest European countries, including the Russian Empire, had about 200,000 km of railroads, and transatlantic travel by sea took less than six days (not significantly different from current travel time by air, given the timescale of the global spread of a pandemic).[10] It was the first pandemic to spread not just through a region such as Eurasia, but worldwide.

At a time when most medics subscribed to miasma (an oppressive or unpleasant atmosphere which surrounds or emanates from something) theory, the notion that diseases were the result of poisonous exhalations from the earth carried on the wind. There was little to no consideration given to social distancing or masks. Instead, doctors emphasised the importance of bed rest and a positive state of mind, lest fear become the “mother of infection”.

The Lancet medical journal even went as far as to blame “dread of the epidemic” on the worldwide telegraphic network which, in 1889, had enabled Reuters correspondents to transmit news of the pandemic from St Petersburg well ahead of domestic outbreaks. In a similar way how some media in 2020 were trying to blame the 5G network.

Unlike most influenza pandemics such as the 1918 flu, it was primarily older people who died in 1889, as was the case early on with Covid.

The 19yj century satirical magazine Punch wrote : “If you sit all day in your great coat, muffled up to the eyes in a woollen comforter and with your feet in constantly replenished mustard and hot water, as you propose, you will certainly be prepared, when it makes its appearance, to encounter the attack of the Russian Epidemic Influenza, that you so much dread.”

Despite this, there was wide agreement that the infection could cause lung inflammation and that it was imperative to avoid relapses.

Just like Covid, the Russian flu did not care about status.

Those who ignored this advice risked bronchitis and pneumonia. Indeed, one of the most prominent victims was the Duke of Clarence, Queen Victoria’s 28-year-old grandson and the second-in-line to the throne, who died of pneumonic complications from Russian flu in January 1892.

His death coincided with Rudyard Kipling’s marriage at All Souls Church, Marylebone – a ceremony, which Kipling recorded, took place “in the thick of an influenza epidemic, when the undertakers had run out of black horses and the dead had to be content with brown ones and the living were mostly abed”.

Aside from the Russian Flu vs Covid similarities, there was also a connection with the duke , who was the 2nd in line for the throne to 2021/2022. Prior to his death, Prince Albert Victor was involved in a sex scandal. As Prince Andrew, a former 2nd in line for the throne, is now.

A German medical report documented epidemiological observations. ‘Prodromal signs were indisposition, headache and shivering. The incubation time was given as 2–6 days. Susceptibility to the infection differed between individuals: strong and obese persons were more severely affected than weak and thin persons. The physicians observed that childless couples, singles and families without social contact were not affected.’

Deriving meaningful data about mortality rates from daily reporting in newspapers is challenging because the categories for reporting disease varied across cities, sources, and time periods. Comparing mortality tables in the Swiss newspaper Intelligenzblatt in early 1890 and a report published by British scientist F. A. Dixey in Epidemic Influenza: A Study in Comparative Statistics more than a year after the epidemic subsided reveals broadly similar patterns despite the differences in timing.

By contrast, the daily reporting of deaths in local newspapers provided much higher death rates during the influenza epidemic than these more comprehensive reports. On January 2, 1890, for example, a French newspaper La lanterne reported 450 burials on a single day, December 31, 1890. Less than a week later, the same newspaper reported 327 more burials, presumably of victims of influenza. On January 12, this newspaper reported the number of deaths had declined, to 353 on January 8 and 275 on January 9. Even with these declining numbers, the total numbers reported in the daily papers were higher than the international reporting shown in the table above.

Of course it is not entirely possible to conclusively say that the Russian Flu was in fact a precursor to Covid, but it is an intriguing bit of history.

The virus, however, led to a pandemic which resulted in a total of at least 1 million to 1.5 million deaths within a few months, according to Belgian virologist Marc Van Ranst.

sources

https://ec.europa.eu/research-and-innovation/en/horizon-magazine/qa-why-history-suggests-covid-19-here-stay

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2022/01/13/russian-flu-coronavirus-1890s-pandemic-tells-us-covid-might/

https://www.brusselstimes.com/116859/coronavirus-possibly-caused-million-deaths-in-1890-says-marc-van-ranst

https://www.whodoyouthinkyouaremagazine.com/news/before-the-coronavirus-there-was-russian-flu/

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