November 5 1941-We attack.

History of Sorts

Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7th 1941. We have all seen the images of that fateful day. However the order for the attack was given more then a month before.

On November 5th, 1941, the 7th Imperial Conference was convened, and two types of request proposals (Draft A and Draft B) were decided upon.

From 10:30 to 15:15, on Wednesday November 5, 1941, t The 7th Imperial Conference is held. Two different Japanese proposals were decided on for submission to the US. These two plans were referred to as Draft A and Draft B. Japan planned to first propose Draft A in negotiations and if not accepted, propose Draft B, which included additional concessions.

Preliminary planning for an attack on Pearl Harbor to protect the move into the “Southern Resource Area” (the Japanese term for the Dutch East Indies and Southeast Asia generally) had begun very early in 1941…

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Etty Hillesum-A young woman’s life not fulfilled.

History of Sorts

Like Anne Frank ,Etty (Esther) Hillesum, also kept a diary during World War 2,describing her experiences of the Holocaust. She was born in the city of Middelburg in the southwest of the Netherlands, on January 15,1914. She was the daughter of Levie Hillesum and Riva Bernstein. In 1932 she moved to Amsterdam to study law and Slavic languages.

She started her diary on March 7 1941, possibly at the suggestion of her analyst Julius Spier, whom she had been attending to for a month. Although his patient, Etty also became his secretary and friend and eventually his lover. His influence on her spiritual development is apparent in her diaries; as well as teaching her how to deal with her depressive and egocentric episodes he introduced her to the Bible and St. Augustine and helped her develop a deeper understanding of the work of Rilke and Dostoyevsky.

Etty was an intensely…

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The war in the pacific

History of Sorts

The_war_in_pacific_pictures (22)Pacific Warmajor theatre of World War II that covered a large portion of the Pacific Ocean, East Asia, and Southeast Asia, with significant engagements occurring as far south as northern Australia and as far north as the Aleutian Islands.

Rather then going into specifics, because so much has already been written about it and I probably won’t be adding new to it, I have decided to make this more visual by the pictures below. After all a picture paints a thousand words.

A member of a U.S. Marine patrol discovers this Japanese family hiding in a hillside cave, June 21, 1944, on Saipan. The mother, four children and a dog took shelter in the cave from the fierce fighting in the area during the U.S. invasion of the Mariana Islands.

The_war_in_pacific_pictures (20)

Two of twelve U.S. A-20 Havoc light bombers on a mission against Kokas, Indonesia in July of 1943. The lower bomber was hit by anti-aircraft…

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Behind the Star

The NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies is a national and international centre of expertise for interdisciplinary research into the history of world wars, mass violence, and genocides, including their long-term social consequences. In addition, NIOD collects, preserves, and provides access to archives and collections. It is based in the Netherlands.

Recently they have started a collection titled “Behind the Star” it is a series of photographs of Dutch Jews wearing the Yellow star during World War 2.

Below are just some pf those images , but first a bit of history about that Star.

On April 29, 1942, the Nazis announced another humiliation for the Dutch Jews . From May 3, they had to wear a recognition batch : a six-pointed yellow Star of David with the word ‘Jew’ in the middle. The star made people recognizable as Jews on the street. The German occupier wanted to further isolate Jews from the non-Jewish Dutch. Failure to wear the star would be severely punished. You could be sent to a concentration camp for it.

The picture at the top of the blog:Photo from 1942 of nurses at the Jewish psychiatric institution Het Apeldoornsche Bosch. From left to right:
(above) Rita van Stratum, Veronica Davids-Delaville/Rita Schijveschuurder, Nico Speijer, Rita Schijveschuurder/Veronica Davids-Delaville, Jeanette Zeckendorf; (below) Ruth Pestachowsky, Jetty van Geens, Jansje Klein, Josephine Koen.

Jewish Council. The provincial representatives of the Jewish Council. In October 1941, the Jewish Council for Amsterdam was given national powers. Local branches of the Jewish Council were established in the larger Jewish communities in the province. From left to right: J. Brandon (former municipal official in Amsterdam), chairman prof.dr. D. Cohen, Dr. L. Weyl (Middelburg), unknown, R.H. Eitje (Department of assistance to non-Dutch Jews), S.H. Aptroot (Groningen), M.B.B. Nijkerk, mr. A. de Haas (Utrecht), G. Sanders (Enschede), de Winter, prof.dr. J. Brahn (Beirat for German Jews), General Advisor Meijer De Vries (former senior official at the Ministry of Social Affairs). Standing: unknown.

In the summer of 1943, a Jewish transport departed to Westerbork from the shunting yard in the Eastern Docklands (Panamakade) in East Amsterdam.
Employees of the Jewish Council (with armbands) receive instructions from a German officer.

The building in the background is Loods III.

On the far right is a guard of the Sybren Tulp Company of the Amsterdam Police Battalion (PBA). He is a member of the Germanic SS (emblem visible on the tunic, just above the sleeve band).

Jewish man with two horses in labor camp ‘de Landweer’ in Elsloo, 1942.

Jewish children are taught handicrafts in the Jan van Eyckstraat. page.
The Out-of-School Youth Care (BJZ) was one of the dozens of departments of the Jewish Council. For Jewish children, the BJZ was a welcome distraction from the worries of everyday life. The BJZ tried to create a relaxed atmosphere in the few available and hardly usable premises. Jewish youth leaders kept the children occupied with activities such as crafts, music, folk dancing, and Jewish history. There was also a lot of sports. This met a clear need because Jewish children were not allowed to be members of sports and other recreational associations.

This photo comes from a small photo album with a total of 36 photos. The photographer, who has remained anonymous, prefaces his work with a handwritten introduction: ‘Flashes from the work of the Out-of-School Youth Care. This album doesn’t want to show more – it can’t show more – because only flashes are possible of the ever-changing aspects that the care for young people shows outside school hours.’
Caption: ‘Stretched – yet relaxed!’
Period of time
March 1943


Remembering Esther Brilleslijper

It is nearly impossible to quantify the number of people being killed during the Holocaust, I personally think the estimated number of 1.5 million children is too low.

The one thing that can be quantified accurately is the value put on life. For a family of 5 it would be 37.50 guilders ,or the 2022 equivalent of $250. That is the price that was paid to the Column Henneicke, for the betrayal of Esther Brilleslijper and her family.

Esther Brilleslijper was born in Amsterdam, on 13 August 1942 . She was murdered in Sobibor, on 11 June 1943. She reached the age of 9 months.

In those 9 months she was arrested , yes a 9 month old baby arrested, and sent to Vught concentration camp.

On 6 June 1943 Esther Brilleslijper was transported from Camp Vught to Camp Westerbork.In addition to Esther Brilleslijper, 2,277 other people are known to have been transported that day.

From June 8, 1943, Esther Brilleslijper was transported from Camp Westerbork to Sobibor. Where she was murdered together with her father Levie Brilleslijper, 3 year old brother Wolf Brilleslijper, and mother Judith Brilleslijper-van der Woude.

I am remembering Esther Brilleslijper today on her birthday. It happens to coincide with my daughter’s birthday.

Esther Brilleslijper would have been 80 today.


Who really betrayed Anne Frank?The real betrayal – no investigation necessary

This is an article written by Eddy Boas, Eddy and his family survived Bergen Belsen. I had the privilege to interview him 2 years ago.

In the article he poses a few interesting question in relation to the investigation to who betrayed Anne Frank.

“Who really betrayed Anne Frank?
The real betrayal – no investigation necessary

WHY did anyone think time and effort should be spent on an investigation to find out who betrayed Anne Frank? Were people who had read her diary asking for such an investigation? Was the Dutch government or Jewish community interested?
As a Dutch-born Holocaust survivor, I am disgusted that the backers of this venture never gave a thought as to how the few hundred Dutch survivors, who are still alive, would feel.
In reality, Anne and her family were no different to the 107,000 Dutch Jews deported to concentration camps.
Anne was born in 1929 in Germany, her parents emigrating to the Netherlands when the Nazis started to harass and kill Jews in the street in the early 1930s. They settled in Amsterdam where her father went into business and Anne went to school. In May 1940, Germany invaded Holland and Jews there became anxious about their future. Many went into hiding, including in July 1942, the Frank family: Father Otto, mother Edith, and daughters Margot and Anne.
On August 4, 1944, Dutch police and Dutch Nazis located the Franks in their hiding place and they were taken to Kamp Westerbork in north-east Holland. Four weeks later on September 3, 1944, they were transported in cattle wagons to Auschwitz.
The Franks would have been discovered by pure luck, or by a neighbour hearing a strange noise, or the police going house to house checking on occupants. This was how most Dutch Jews, in hiding, were discovered.
It is also a fact that the majority of Dutch bureaucrats were kept in their jobs following the occupation. They duly handed over to the Nazis a complete record of the recently held national census which contained details of every Dutch man and woman’s place of residence. It wasn’t difficult to find the Jews

BOTH my parent’s families had lived in Holland for over 200 years
My parents thought they were Dutch Jews. But after the Germans invaded on May 10, 1940, they soon found out they were not Dutch – they were just Jews.
On September 28, 1943, my father, mother, brother and I were forced out of our flat. I was three years old. We were also transported to Kamp Westerbork, and were held there for four months. On February 1,1944, we were transported by train to Bergen-Belsen where we were imprisoned in Star camp.
Our time in Bergen-Belsen overlapped with Anne and Margot’s time there from October 1944 to March 1945.
My father’s job of collecting bodies from arriving trains included Anne and Margot’s train from Auschwitz in October 1944. He always asked if there were any Dutch among the arriving prisoners, in this case Anne and Margot I can assume would have let my father know they were Dutch. My father would then go around the camp and see if he could find any family. In this case, he wouldn’t have been able to.
My family were transported out of Bergen-Belsen on April 9,1945, when we were bundled into cattle wagons destined for Theresienstadt in Czechoslovakia, to be murdered in gas ovens.
Our train became known as the Lost Train. We were on it with no food for 14 days, when on April 23, 1945, the Russian army liberated us near Trobitz in east Germany.
It took nine weeks before we were able to return to Holland, on June 13, 1945. Unfortunately though, our hell was not over.

IN 1944, the Allies had turned the war around and the German army was under siege with the Americans approaching from the West and the Russians from the East, closing in to liberate Auschwitz.
The Nazi commanders decided to empty the camp of its Jewish prisoners and did so in a particularly cruel way. On January 18,1945, 60,000 mainly Jewish inmates were lined up and marched out of the camp walking towards Wodzislaw 56 km to the west. They were guarded by the SS and their dogs. Nearly 15,000 were murdered. When the remainder reached Wodzislaw, they were forced into cattle wagons destined for concentration camps in the west.
A few months earlier, in mid-October 1944, Jewish women in Auschwitz had been put on trains to camps in the West, among them Anne and Margot
At that time in Bergen- Belsen hundreds were dying each day, starvation. Food was become scarce and eventually non-existent. With the influx of prisoners from the east, thousands were also dying from typhus.
My father’s job in Bergen-Belsen was to go around the camp in a horse and cart and pick up all the dead bodies. From October, there were so many corpses that the crematorium was full so from then on they were put in open graves.
Initially, Anne and Margot were forced into Tent camp, especially built to accommodate the prisoners from Auschwitz. In January, a huge storm destroyed all the tents and the women were moved into the already overcrowded barracks in the women’s camp.
Like everyone else, the Frank sisters had a difficult time in Bergen-Belsen. Nothing could be done for the dying, most died a lonely death. The ones still alive were only barely alive.
Margot died in February and Anne in March – just two of over 50,000 of the camp’s victims
Bergen-Belsen was liberated by British troops just a few weeks later on April 15, 1945.
The Frank family were no different than any other Dutch Jewish family, including my own, who endured the horrors of the Holocaust

AFTER our return to Holland, there was a lack of compassion shown by the Dutch towards surviving Jews. In our case, the stress of dealing with Dutch bureaucracy contributed to my already stressed out father, dying of heart failure in August 1948, when I was just eight years old.
We were not allowed to go back to the flat where we had lived before being deported. We had nowhere to live, no money and no family.
To find out about family assets or insurance became a game of wits between bureaucrats, lawyers and family. Both my parents lost all their loved ones. I never knew grandparents, uncles or aunts. I never had any cousins.
We immigrated to Australia in 1954. To this day, I have never received any compensation from the Dutch government.
Anne’s father Otto, meanwhile, survived and returned to Holland; Anne’s mother had been murdered in Auschwitz.
After the war, Otto’s former secretary Miep Gies handed him Anne’s diary, which he published in June 1947.

IN conclusion, the real betrayal requires no investigation.
Between May 1940 and May 1945, 107,000 Dutch Jews were forced out of their homes, including my family of four and Anne’s family of four. All were transported to German concentration camps.
Of these 107,000, only 5000 survived – 102,000 were murdered. This was the highest number per head of population of any country in western Europe.
Why? It’s simple
The 107,000, including the Boas and Frank families, were betrayed by Dutch bureaucracy, the Dutch police or their Dutch neighbours.
The question of ‘Who betrayed Anne Frank?’ takes away from what she really was, a young innocent girl who was murdered, as were the other 102,000 Dutch Jews, by a bunch of German Nazi fanatics.
In 2016 when, with much publicity, a retired FBI agent was asked to investigate ‘Who betrayed Anne Frank?’. I wondered why anyone would be interested, 73 years after her diary was first published.
What good was this going to do? How was this going to affect the few hundred Dutch Holocaust survivors still alive?
My then 80-year-old brother, who was badly affected by the suffering he endured during the Shoah – especially our 14 months in Bergen-Belsen – was furious. I was annoyed and wrote to the filmmaker Thijs Bayens to try and find out what he wished to accomplish. I never received any answer.
My brother died in 2017.

AFTER Anne’s diary became a bestseller, speculation began over who betrayed the Franks.
The first suspects were the Dutch police who arrested the family, but this was never proven. Then there was speculation an employee called Willem van Maaren betrayed them. Otto lodged a complaint against him with the police, but no evidence was ever produced. Next it was Tony Ahlers, a Dutch Nazi, but nothing could be proven. Lena Hartog, the wife of another Frank employee, also became a suspect but again there was no evidence. Then there was Ans van Dijk, a Jewish woman who when arrested by the police gave them names of Jews she knew were in hiding, but once more there was no evidence.
In short, speculation continued for many years but to this day no one has ever established that the Franks were betrayed by people they knew or by anyone else.
And now we have this latest attempt, which even Bayens admits, doesn’t establish the betrayer with any certainty.
Anne was no different to the tens of thousands of other Dutch Jewish children who died. But her name is being used to point the finger and sell books. She has become a marketing product.
The one thing that marked Anne out is that she wrote a diary, which was found and published. That diary is outstanding and that should have been her legacy, not the conspiracy theories that surround her.

Eddy Boas is a Dutch Holocaust survivor living in Sydney, and the author of ‘I’m not a victim – I am a survivor’.


The Kraków pogrom-The pogrom after the Holocaust.

I know this will be disputed by many Polish reading this blog. However this did happen and it happened only a few months after WW2 ended in Europe. In fact it was only 95 days after the end of the Holocaust.

It all started on June 27,1945 a Jewish woman was brought to a local police station falsely accused of attempting to abduct a child. Despite the fact that the investigation revealed that the mother had left her child in the care of the suspect, rumours started to spread that a Jewish woman abducted a child in order to kill it.

On 11 August 1945, a crowd of Polish citizens broke into the Kupa synagogue in Kraków’s Kazimierz district during Shabbat services, destroying the synagogue and setting it on fire, killing at least one person in the process and wounding an unknown number of Jews who had been at prayer. Jews were attacked and robbed in the neighboring streets, and there were also attacks on Jewish apartments.

Earlier that day, an attempt to seize a thirteen-year-old boy who was throwing stones at the synagogue was made, but he escaped and rushed to the nearby marketplace screaming “Help me, the Jews have tried to kill me.”

Instantly the crowd broke into the Kupa Synagogue and started beating Jews, who had been praying at the Saturday morning Shabbat service, and the Torah scrolls were burned. The Jewish hostel was also attacked. Jewish men, women, and children were beaten up on the streets; their homes were broken into and robbed. Some Jews wounded during the pogrom were hospitalized and later were beaten in the hospitals again. One of the pogrom victims witnessed:

“I was carried to the second precinct of the militia where they called for an ambulance. There were five more people over there, including badly wounded Polish woman. In the ambulance I heard the comments of the escorting soldier and the nurse who spoke about us as Jewish crust whom they have to save, and that they shouldn’t be doing this because we murdered children, that all of us should be shot. We were taken to the hospital of St. Lazarus at Kopernika Street. I was first taken to the operating room. After the operation a soldier appeared who said that he will take everybody to jail after the operation. He beat up one of the wounded Jews waiting for an operation. He held us under cocked gun and did not allow us to take a drink of water. A moment later two railroad men appeared and one said, ‘It’s a scandal that a Pole does not have the civil courage to hit a defenceless person’, and he hit a wounded Jew. One of the hospital inmates hit me with a crutch. Women, including nurses, stood behind the doors threatening us that they were only waiting for the operation to be over in order to rip us apart.”

Although the pogrom of the Krakow Jews remains overshadowed by the more widely known bloody Kielce pogrom of 1946, both instances of anti-Jewish aggression are structurally similar. In both Kraków and Kielce, a spark was ignited by a rumor about ritual murders committed by Jews on Polish children. The belief in this superstition dating back to the Middle Ages was then completely real and widespread in Poland. The postwar, modernized version of a blood libel said that “exhausted Jews would infuse themselves with the blood of Christians.”

There is one record of a death relating to Kraków events in the archives of the Forensic Medicine Department in Kraków. The victim was 56-year old Auschwitz survivor Róża Berger, shot while standing behind closed doors.

She escaped Kraków during the war and was deported to Auschwitz in August of 1944 (prisoner identification number 89186) with her daughter and granddaughter. After the liberation of Auschwitz she returned to Kraków where she was shot and killed while standing behind closed doors in her home during the Pogrom on 11 August 1945. She was buried in the New Kraków Jewish Cemetery at 55 Miodowa street.

This is what makes it even sadder, she survived the most horrible place on earth, just to be murdered in the relative safety of her own home.


Air Raid on Pearl Harbour X This is not a drill.

History of Sorts

On December 7,1941, 80 years ago today, a hurried dispatch from the ranking United States naval officer in Pearl Harbor, Admiral Husband Edward Kimmel, Commander in Chief of the United States Pacific Fleet, was sent to all major navy commands and fleet units provided the first official word of the attack at the ill-prepared Pearl Harbor base. It said simply: AIR RAID ON PEARL HARBOR X THIS IS NOT DRILL.

Later that day Japanese planes attacked the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbor , Hawaii Territory, killing over 2,300 Americans. The U.S.S. Arizona was completely destroyed and the U.S.S. Oklahoma capsized. A total of twelve ships sank or were beached in the attack and nine additional vessels were damaged. More than 160 aircraft were destroyed and more than 150 others damaged.

The day after Pearl Harbor was bombed, President Roosevelt appeared before a joint session of Congress and declared…

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Anglo-Irish Treaty-Ireland’s independence.

History of Sorts

I remember the celebration in 2016 when Ireland was commemorating the centenary of the Easter Rising. There had already been events months beforehand. On 20 January 2016. Ireland’s first ever commemorative €2 coin went into circulation to mark the centenary year of the Easter Rising.

The Easter Rising , was an armed insurrection in Ireland during Easter Week in April 1916. The Rising was launched by Irish republicans against British rule in Ireland with the aim of establishing an independent Irish Republic. Of course this event needed to be remembered, because it was such an important step towards Irish independence.

However, fast forward to today, December 6 2021, and you will find there are hardly any events planned. Even though today marks the centenary of an even more important event in Irish history, the signing of the Anglo-Irish treaty.

The Treaty formally ended the War of Independence, set the stage…

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The destruction of education and the murder of Students

It is strange how things can turn sometimes. I was going to do some research on Eva Braun.

When I typed in the name, another name first came up, The name of Eva Brandon. When I looked into her details, I discovered that Eva Brandon was born in Amsterdam, on 26 July 1929. She was murdered Auschwitz, on 9 August 1942, 80 years ago today. She reached the age of 13 years.

But Eva Brandon’s story is part of a much bigger one

She was a student at the “Joodsche 5-jarige HBS” which was a college in Amsterdam. Eddy Mannnheim was another student at the college, eh survived the war and wrote down a summary of the school after the war. The majority of the students were murdered

“As of the 1941/42 school year, Jewish children were prohibited from attending regular schools. The Jewish Council had to establish all kinds of schools for Jewish children and to appoint Jewish teachers for them.

The ‘Jewish HBS with Five-Year Course’ was opened in October 1941 at Mauritskade 24 in Amsterdam. (This name was still above the entrance decades after the war). Director was E. Frenkel and deputy director M. Belinfante. The appointed teachers, all of whom had lost their previous jobs due to the anti-Jewish measures, were happy to return to work.

As a starting HBS student, the undersigned, like his later wife Rosalie Vlessing, entered class 1C. This class mainly consisted of students from Amsterdam-East, a minority came from South. In addition, there were two other first classes: 1A exclusively for girls and class 1B with mainly students from South. There were also the higher classes from 2 to 5, but we had little contact with them.

In the first school year, 1941/1942, despite the difficult conditions outside the school, the situation at school was fairly normal; education was no different from other similar schools. Most teachers were able to keep order, with a few exceptions. In general, there was decent teaching. The students behaved just like other first-class students, sometimes some of them turned things upside down. For example, during one of Mrs. Caro’s lessons, a mouse was once released into the classroom, resulting in a lot of noise. But in general it worked quite well.

The students, who lived further away from the school, could use the bicycle or public transport. This came to an end when, in May 1942, public transport for Jews was banned and the bicycles of Jews had to be handed in. From then on, teachers and students had to walk from home to school. Given the great distance, this was extra difficult for the students from South and we always had to take a bag with school books with us. That bag, if geography was on the schedule, was even heavier because of the large Bosatlas that had to be carried along as well.

After we were in class 2A from the 1942/1943 school year, the situation changed drastically, because the deportations had started on July 15, 1942. There were regular roundups in the city and fewer students showed up at school. There were many empty places for students at school, the majority of whom had been deported and a small number went into hiding. Originally I walked to school with a group of six students, but in the end I was the only one. At one point the number of students had shrunk so drastically that in December 1942 the teachers and remaining students were transferred to the Joodsche Lyceum in the Stadstimmertuinen.

From January 1943, teachers were also deported and the empty places at school kept getting bigger. In February 1943 I also ended up in Westerbork. In May 1943, the remaining students of the Joodsche HBS and the Joodsch Lyceum were merged with the Orthodox Jewish HBS, which had existed since 1928, across the street in the Stadstimmertuinen. There were already so few students and teachers left that teaching was no longer an issue. Time was spent playing ping pong and other recreation, including with the teachers still present.

On June 20, 1943, a large raid took place in Amsterdam-South and East. Almost all Jews still present were arrested and sent to Westerbork. My wife and her family were able to flee and go into hiding just before the roundup.

This de facto brought an end to the Jewish HBS and the other Jewish schools. The school continued to exist until September 1943, when the last Jews still living in Amsterdam were rounded up and sent to Westerbork. Below were the few teachers still in office and the students still present.

That was the definitive end of school.

Class 1C originally contained 29 students, of which the following 21 were murdered by the Nazis:
Aldewereld, Salomon; Agsteribbe, Selma; Blog, Jannie;
Bouwman, Bernard; Brandon, Eve; Brandon, Lion; Citroen, Roelof; Courant, William; Gobes, Maurice; Garnet, Maurice; Levy, Paul G; Polak, Louis; Polak, Pete; Schenkkan, Mary; Schuit, Robert; Swaab, Samuel; Uijenkruiser, Jacob G; Fish Scraper, Samuel; Vries, Bernard A. de; Vries, Coenraad L. de; Winnik, Alex.

Class 2A originally contained 21 students, of which 11 were killed:
Attention, Gretha; Guttmann, Eva Hermine Carla; Joosten, Joseph; Koster, Stefan; Ledermann, Susanne; Loewenthal, Willy; Meents, Louise Kea; Oppenheimer, Rudolf; Stuiver, Henriette; Wijnberg, Ina; Wolf, Ruby.

To my knowledge there is no photo of classes 1C and 2A, so unfortunately no faces can be given to the names mentioned.”

Who knows just how much knowledge was destroyed. Just imagine all the potential scientists .