Batman fighting the Japanese in WWII

Batman

When we think of the first TV screening of Batman we automatically think of the 1966 TV series when Adam West took on the role as the caped crusader. However it was the actor Lewis Wilson who first portrayed the Batman on the TV screens.

This day 75 years ago, July 16 1943, the Batman made his first TV appearance.

show

The series from Columbia pictures  consisted of 15 episodes and were produced  by Rudolph C. Flothow, directed by Lambert Hillyer.

They were really Wartime propaganda movies.

The Batman/Bruce Wayne , and his side kick, Robin/Dick Grayson ,played by Douglas Croft, are  secret government agents following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

batman and robin

The city is still Gotham city but there is no Bat mobile but there are however bats in the Bat cave, The duo do not fight any of the villains we know from the comics and the newer Batman movies. No Joker or Riddler but instead Dr. Daka,  aJapanese mastermind of a wartime espionage-sabotage group.

Dr Daka has a death ray which is powered by radium and can pulverize walls but can also turn normal men into electronic zombies and do the work for Dr Daka.

daka

Funny enough Dr Daka is played by J. Carrol Naish  a New York born Irish-American actor.

The titles of the episodes were:  1. The Electrical Brain; 2. The Bat’s Cave; 3. The Mark of the Zombies; 4. Slaves of the Rising Sun; 5. The Living Corpse; 6. Poison Peril; 7. The Phony Doctor; 8. Lured by Radium; 9. The Sign of the Sphinx; 10. Flying Spies; 11. Nipponese Trap; 12. Embers of Evil; 13. Eight Steps Down; 14. The Executioner Strikes; 15. The Doom of the Rising Sun.

cave

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Sources

IMDB

 

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Boycotting Jewish Businesses

boycott

Although tempted to join the debate on the current call to boycott goods from Israel, I am not going to join. I rather stick to what I know best, history. .

On April 1, 1933, the Nazis in Germany began with the boycott of Jewish businesses. They claimed it was a retaliation to the calls of boycott on German goods by foreign critics of the Nazi Party.

German

In reality the Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses was part of the early measures for eventual eradication of the Jews.

Below are just a few examples of those boycotts, they were OFTEN accompanIed by the SA or SS.

“Germans protect yourselves, don’y buy Jewish”

1

Outside a Wohlwert shop “The battle against department stores”

2

“Germans don’t but from Jews”

3

Boycott poster , announcing the boycott of all Jewish businesses signed by Adolf Hitler and Paul von Hindenburg on behalf of the German people.

4

 

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The legend of 40 days of rain

rain

Legend has it if it rains on the 15th of July it will rain for 40 days continuously. Because today is St Swithin’s day.

St Swithin’s Day, if it does rain

Full forty days, it will remain

St Swithin’s Day, if it be fair

For forty days, t’will rain no more

St Swithin

St Swithin was an Anglo-Saxon bishop who died in 862. He was made a saint over 100 years later and his remains were dug up and moved to a shrine in a cathedral on July 15 971 in Winchester.

Legend has it this so outraged St Swithin he caused it to rain uninterrupted for 40 days and nights.

Apparently though this only applies to the UK & Ireland.

But here is the thing, similar legend exist in other parts of the world.

France and Germany have  St Gervais day, which is on July 19, where it is also set to rain for 40 days

In the Netherlands they have Maria Siep on July 2/ Which is according to legend and the bible (Luke 1, 39-56) when Mary visited her cousin Elisabeth,the mother of John the baptist, Mary told Elisabeth on that visit that she was expecting a child who we now know would be called Jesus.The original day was July 2, but the Catholic church changed this feast day in 1969 to May 31, because July 2 was only 1 day after another feast day, the birth of John the Baptist. However the weather gods kept on July 2nd, hence if it rains on that day, guess what? Yes it will rain for 40 days in the Netherlands.

maria siep

Well it is raining in Ireland today(finally after nearly a month of no rain), so legend has it we will see a lot of rain for the next 6 weeks, although the weather forecast says we will have no rain tomorrow.

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The Ravensbrück Rabbits

Rabbitts

The Ravensbrück Rabbits was the name given to 74 Polish women, who were subjected to medical experiments in the Ravensbrück concentration camp.

Of the 74 women, 5 died as a result of the experiments and 6 other victims whose wounds did not heal were executed. The other survived with permanent damage.

Rather then go through all 74 accounts I am focusing on the account of one sirvivor,Jadwiga Kaminska. below is the translation of her affidavit submitted to the Nuremberg trials.

Rabbis

“I, Jadwiga Kaminska, 24 Avenue de 1’Yser, Brussels, make oath and state as follows:

“I was arrested on 18 March 1941 and arrived in Ravensbruck on 27 September 1941 and left the camp on the 16 April 1946.

“I was twice operated on during my stay in the camp. The first time was August 15, 1942, in the second group of prisoners to be operated on; the following were operated on with me: Kormanska, Zofia; Kaminska, Zofia; Karolewska, Vladyslava; Jurkowska, Alicia; Karwacka, Ursula; Iwanska, Yanina; Iwanska, Krystyna; Karesman, Muria.

“In the morning of the same day we were operated on we were all sent to the Revier not knowing what was to happen to us. Five of us were sent to one room and the two Inwanska sisters and Karwacka to another. On arrival we all had baths and were given small hospital shirts and blouses. We had no medical examination and were given nothing to eat. When they were taking me to the operating theatre I fought to keep out but was held down by the nurse Ericka and two owner nurses in the corridor whilst Dr. Rosentahl gave me an anaesthetic by injection in my arm.

Dr Rose

Just before I had the injection I saw Gebhardt in the corridor and I also recognize him on No. 3 in the group of photographs. I also saw Dr. Oberhauser going into the Operating theatre. When I came round, I found that all of us had been operated on and that my right leg was in plaster up to the knee, three days later I was taken to the Dressing Room and my face was covered with a sheet so that I could not see what going on, I recognized the voices of Oberhauser, Rosenthal, Schidlauski and there were several others there whose voices I did not recognize. I heard another Doctor who I believe removed plaster ask for instruments.

“Immediately after the operation I had a temperature of 39 degree, the first week after the operation it varied between 38 and 39. When I was sent back to my block three weeks after the operation I still had some fever and felt very weak.

After the first operation Gebhardt came into the room where I was having my dressing changed with several other doctors and talked about the operations and said they were “Military Operations”. I recognized Gebhardt when he came into the room.

Gebbhardy

“About a week after my first operation Rosenthal came into our room drunk. We asked him why we had been operated on, he answered “because you are young girls and Polish Patriots.” Oberhauser was also asked the same question She answered that the operation had been ordered by the Gestapo. Dr. Fischer advised us to ask the Senior Doctor, Schidlausky, why we had been operated on, but after that we never saw Schidlausky again.

“I was in great pain after the operation, the first two days we were offered a medicine but refused to take it after which we were offered nothing.

“About a week after the operation I first saw my wound which was about 10 cms. long and 5 cms. wide and full of green pus and very inflamed. It is now 10 cms. long and about 3 cms. in width.

“Thee days after my first dressing the second one was done under similar circumstances as the first, but I managed to pull the sheet off my face for a few seconds and saw Dr. Fischer who was doing my dressing.

“I was operated on the second time on 13 September 1942, with five others who were: Wojtaski, Wanda; Rakowska, Pelagia; Gnas, Maria; Kaminska, Jadwiga; Karolewska, Vladislava,; Karwacka, Ursula.

“The day before the operation I was again put in the Revier and had a bath and then salt compresses were put on my wound by the nurse Wricke and another nurse. Before the second operation I was given something to drink which made we sleep and consequently knew no details of the operation.

“When I came to from this operation I had much more fever than the first time; we were given something to drink three times a day to alleviate the pain but it had little effect; in the evening, however, Oberhauser gave us morphine injections. We were not in plaster after the second operation. The first two times my dressings were changed by Dr. Fischer and afterwards by Schidlausky and Oberhauser and also by SS nurses.

“After my second operation I stayed in the Revier three months, during all that time I had fever and felt very weak and I was given no care.

“When I left the Revier three months after that operation my fever had almost gone but my wound was still open. Before I left the Revier Oberhauser had a look at my wound, and said I was fit to go. In March 1943 my leg was still discharging pus.

“In February 1945 the order came out that all of us who had been operated on were to remain in our blocks. We knew this meant we were to be liquidated.

“I went to the bureau and spoke to Binz and Swarzhuber; they told me that as we were still weak we would be transferred to the Gresrosen camp. I said that was not true but that we should be shot in the camp without being transferred.

“I demanded of Swarzhuber that I saw Suhren; he said it was impossible. After a few days, however, I saw Suhren and told him that we would rather be killed in the camp than at Grossrosen. Suhren said he would do everything in his power to save us.

“My leg is new healed but gets tired very quickly and during the last three months I have had intermittent fever which my doctor tells me is due to recurrence of infection in my leg and also the glands in my right groin have become swollen. Signed Jadwiga Kaminska.”

OR

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Sources

The Nuremberg Project.

The forgotten Live Aid acts.

live aid

On July 13 1985, one of the biggest ever music concerts took place. Live Aid. The aim of the concerts was to raise  funds for relief of the ongoing Ethiopian famine.

The concerts are often referred to as a dual-venue benefit concert, which is actually not true. Yes the main concerts took place in London and Philadelphia but there were other concerts held in tandem in Australia,Asia and other European countries.

Another thing that happened was the relaxing on restrictions to Rock music in the Soviet Union

The Soviet Unions’s  Contribution for Live Aid was the Band ‘Autograph’

USSR LINK

Their performance was broadcast via Satellite from Moscow to Wembley,London.They were introduced by Introduction by Vladimir Posner .They played 2 songs Golovokruzhenie ( ” Vertigo “) and Nam nuzhen nir ( ” We need peace “).

Yugoslavia contributed with their equivalent to Band Aid and USA For Africa with a song called “For a Million Years” the song was introduced by Mladen Popovic , who also gave some background information to the song.

BB King was performing at the North Sea Jazz Festival in the Hague,Netherlands that night and joined also via satellite link and played 4 songs.

“When It All Comes Down”
“Why I Sing the Blues”
“Don’t Answer the Door”
“Rock Me Baby”

BB King

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How Curious George nearly didn’t make it.

george

I don’t think there is anyone on the planet who hasn’t heard of Curious George, you may not have read the books or watched the cartoons or movies, but you will recognize the iconic Chimpanzee when you see him.

Although it is an iconic children’s book character and has a strong brand recognition, it could have easily been a different story, His origin tells a story of luck but indirectly also a tale of a false sense of security.

Curious George was written by H.A Rey and his wife Margret.

Rey

Hans Augusto Reyersbach was born in September 1898 in Hamburg , Germany,near the world-famous Hagenbeck Zoo, which gave him a lifelong love for animals and drawing.  His wife Margret was born on May  16 1906 also in Hamburg, her father Felix Waldstein had been a member of the Reichstag. the German parliament from 1871 to 1918. Hans and Margret both Jewish. The two first met in Hamburg at the 16th birthday party of Margret’s sister. They met again in Brazil, where Hans had a job as a bathtubs salesman Margret had moved to Brazil to escape the rise of Nazism in Germany. On August 16, 1935 they got married and went to Paris on their honeymoon, they fell in love with the place and decided to stay there.

Although Hitler had come to power in Germany it is apparent that the Rey’s felt safe in their new home, as most of the Parisians and the rest of France felt. Although the French were anxious of the developments in Germany, they did not envisage any danger to come from their eastern neighbour.

While in Paris, Hans’s animal drawings were noticed by a French publisher, who commissioned Hans  to write a children’s book. The book was to be” Rafi. and the Nine Monkeys” or “Rafi et les neuf singes” in French. It was published in 1939.

9 monkes.JPG

One of the characters in the book was George, although he was called Fifi in the French version. Hans Rey thought that George deserved a book of his own.

But alas, war broke out.

On June 10, 1940, German troops were a few days away from Paris. People were trying to flee by  every way possible, cars,bicycles or whatever they could find. The Rey’s had left it a bit late but they managed to get 2 bikes.In fact Ray built the bikes himself, he had bought enough spare parts for 2 bicycles.

They left Paris only a few hours before it fell. Among the few possessions they were able to bring was the illustrated manuscript of Curious George.

Their journey  took them to Bayonne, France.On June 20, 1940.They crossed the Spanish border, where they purchased train tickets to Lisbon. Because they still had Brazilian passport  they returned to Brazil, they journeyed on from Brazil to New York.

The couple soon went to Houghton Mifflin publishers , they bought the manuscript for $1,000 and an additional three stories. The only demand  was that they change the name of Fifi to George.

The rest is history.

So next time you read a Curious George story yourself or to your children or other youngsters, remember that George nearly didn’t make it.

george fifi

 

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The Civil Servants part in the Dutch Holocaust.

BEWIJS

I am proud of my country and I am a proud Dutch man, the fact I live somewhere else does not change this. However it would be hypocritical of me to say that the Netherlands has nothing to be ashamed off, because it certainly does.

The Dutch have a reputation to be reliable and diligent in their work and mostly that is true. But this same diligence combined with complacency and staying conform to policies,regardless who is in charge has contributed to the death of thousands.

deportatie.JPG Despite being a  neutral country, the Netherlands was invaded on the morning of 10 May 1940.

As the country was occupied it   was controlled by a German civilian governor, unlike it’s southern neighbour Belgium which which was under German military control. The civil government, the Reichskommissariat Niederlande, was headed by the Austrian Nazi Arthur Seyss-Inquart.

seyss

The Dutch civil service, however, adopted an accommodating approach to the Germans. And I don’t want to judge here because I don’t know what I would have done.

The Dutch elite also had an ‘understanding’ with the German occupiers, and sometimes even played an active role in the persecution of Jews.

One Civil Servant in particular went out of his way to please his new paymaster.

Jacobus  Lentz was vital in developing a personal identity card, to be carried by all Dutch citizens.

Jacobus Lentz

The idea of a national identity card was rejected by the Dutch government in early 1940, for it went against Dutch traditions, an national identity card with assume that every Dutch person was a potential criminal.

A few months later though, Lentz was able to sell the idea of a personal identity card to the German occupier. And in April 1941 every Dutch person above the age of 14 was obliged to carry an ID Card.

The ID Card gave the Germans a powerful tool to carry out its oppressive policies.The Identity Card was of such a good quality that it was seen as the best in Europe, and the resistance never really succeeded in forging them properly.

Especially when it came to the persecution of Jews in the Netherlands it proved to be invaluable for the Nazis, Every Jewish ID Card was stamped with a J.

Jood

The system of the personal Identity cards has cost the lives of thousands, because it made it so easy to find Jews but also members of the resistance.

Jacob Lentz was also eager to register every full blood Jew. On January 10th 1941 every Jew of full or partial Jewish blood was obliged to register.Once they registered they received a letter to confirm they were registered.

Letter

By September 5 1941,Lentz was able to tell his German paymasters the exact number of Jews living in the Netherlands.

Full blooded Jews 140,552

Half blooded Jews 14,549

Quarter Blooded Jews 5,719

Many of them died, it is estimated that 75% of the Jews residing in the Netherlands perished during the Holocaust.

After the war he received a prison sentence of only 3 years. It was judged the Jacob Lentz was the prime example of someone doing his job without looking at the bigger picture and not considering the consequences.

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Soutce

jck.nl

NIOD

 

Cairbre aka Slats- A Real Dubliner

mgm

Born on March 20 1919, Cairbre is probably one of the most famous Dubliners to have ever lived, but yet hardly anyone knows him.

Maybe it’s because he was renamed to Slats?

As so many stars, Cairbre came from humble beginnings. There was no crib or hostel for him when he was born, there may have been a stable. He was born in Dublin Zoo.

When MGM opened their studio they needed a mascot, Not just any mascot but one with a bite and a roar. So they bought Cairbre the Lion from Dublin Zoo and shipped him over to Hollywood, where they changes his name to Slats.

This of course did not please Cairbre one bit, when he was asked to roar he just refused. Being from Dublin he was just not going to do as he was told especially not after they  changed  his  name.

MGM did stick with him though as the first logo from 1924 to 1928 as their now so famous MGM Lion, there have been 6 after him, but the Dubliner Caitbre aka Slats remains the first MGM Lion.

slats

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Brundibár- A Holocaust Opera.

Opera

On the 23rd of June , 1944,two delegates from the International Red Cross and one from the Danish Red Cross visited Theresienstadt  accompanied by the commandant SS First Lieutenant Karl Rahm and one of his deputies.

Rahm

During the visit the delegations were treated to an Opera by the Jewish composer Hans Krása. The children’s opera Brundibár was composed by composer Hans Krása and written by the writer Adolf Hoffmeister in 1938. for a government competition, which was  later cancelled because of  political developments.

In mid 1941 a production of the opera  was directed by Rafael Schächter, and several  of his friends,  it served as a fiftieth birthday present for the director of the orphanage at Hagibor. There had only been 2 performances of the production in Prague, both took place in secret for the Jews were banned of partaking in any cultural events.

By winter 1942 composer Krása and  the set designer František Zelenka had been transported to Theresienstadt.

By summer 1943, almost all of the children from  the original chorus and the orphanage staff had also been transported to Theresienstadt.

cast

This gave composer Krása the opportunity to reconstruct the full score of the opera, based on memory and the partial piano score that he had kept, the opera was adapted ait to suit the musical instruments which were available in the camp:guitar, clarinet, , flute, accordion, piano, percussion instruments, 4 violins, a double bass and a cello . A set was once again designed by František Zelenka, who had  formerly been  a stage manager at the Czech National Theatre.

In spring  time of 1944 the Theresienstadt ghetto was getting ready  for a visit from the  International Red Cross committee, whose aim it was to assess its function as a ‘model’ ghetto that was ‘given’ to the Jews, by Hitler. Brundibár was chosen as the opera that would be put on show  for the committee. It waswas moved to a large sports hall outside the ghetto, and Zelenka, was given the materials make improvements to  the set and costumes. This beautification of Brundibár had to happen overnight. The end scenes of Brundibár were then filmed on June 23  1944 for the propaganda  film Theresienstadt (better known under the title The Führer Has Given the Jews a Town).

film crew

The plot of the opera is about two children,Aninka and Pepíček, whose mother is very ill and needs milk to get better, but there is no money.An idea  of making money occurs to them when they see the organ-grinder Brundibár earning a living in the market. But Brundibár is an evil man , and shouts down the children. During the night,  animals from one of the posters  come to the aid of  the despairing children, and the following  day they help the children to sing louder than Brundibár. The children get  the money they need , but the evil Brundibár steals their earnings . In the end the children find him and are given back what belongs to them.

All of the cast who were involved in the Theresienstadt production were put on transport  sent to Auschwitz as soon as filming was finished. Most were gassed immediately when they arrived, including the children and also the composer Krása.

Krasa

What makes all of this worse is that the whole charade was believed by the Red Cross.

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Dr Schumann’s sterilization experiments in Auschwitz

Schumann

Not only was Auschwitz a death camp it also had an endless supply of humans that could be used for  experiments,without the fear of repercussions for those who carried out the experiments.

Dr Carl Clauberg and Dr Horst Schumann, were assigned to head the sterilization  experiments  in Auschwitz,

claberg

Dr Clauberg was an well known gynecologist  with expertise in infertility treatment.

Schumann had been working for  the Public Health Office in Halle. He was recruited to the Luftwaffe  as a physician in 1939. But moved on from the Luftwaffe to   joined the Aktion T4 Euthanasia program in early October 1939,

Schumann, SS-Sturmbannführer   began his sterilization experiments using X-rays at the request of Viktor Brack, the organizer of the T4 Programme.

The purpose of the sterilisation  experiments was to perfect a technique in which non-Aryans could be prevented  from reproducing while still being used  as slave laborers.

On  the 28th of  July 1941, Horst Schumann arrived in Auschwitz. Where he started  work at Block 30 in the women’s hospital, where he set up an x-ray station in 1942.

women

Here both  men and women were sterilized without consent  by being put repeatedly for several minutes between two x-ray machines, the rays aiming at their sexual organs. Most victims  died after great suffering, or were gassed immediately because the radiation burns from which they suffered rendered them unfit for work.

By 31 December 1942 about 200 men had been sterilized and would later be castrated by Shumann to determine the effects  of the radiation method of sterilization
Their testicles were removed and sent to Breslau for  examination.

The women were injected with  liquid into the uterus while they were on the X-ray table and were X-rayed while the injection went on

Schumann selected the  test ‘subjects’  himself. They were always  Jewish men, women and girls in their prime , but  who looked like they aged rapidly  after the experiments.

The parts of the body that were treated with the rays were burnt,and pus would have developed . Many times the intestines would also be affected. Many died.

camp

Part of Schumann’s ‘quality’ check to determine if  the radiation had worked, was the so-called semen check: a wooden implement  covered with a rubber hose was pushed  into the rectum of a male victim and the glands stimulated until ejaculation occurred so that the ejaculate could be tested for sperm  The samples were sent to the University of Breslau  for examination.

Schumann selected some  women of Block 10 in the main camp of Auschwitz. In this Block Jewish women had been selected for human experiments. To control the radiation on women, prisoner doctors Dr. Maximilian Samuel and Dr. Wladislaw Dering had to remove an ovary.

block 10

Horst Schmann also conducted  typhus experiments by injecting people with blood from typhus infected patients with the aim to then  cure the newly infected subjects. Schumann left Auschwitz in September 1944 and was appointed to the Sonnenstein Clinic in Saxony which had earlier been converted into a military hospital.

After the war he worked as a sports doctor in a clinic in Gladbeck,  Germany.He was only identified after he applied for a hunting rifle in 1951. A warrant for his arrest was issued then. Through a technicality he was not arrested, he claimed he didn’t have a German passport so he applied for a passport in Japan, which he got.He then fled to Egypt and later settled in Khartoum in Sudan where he got a job as the head of a Hospital.After he was recognized by an Auschwitz survivor, he fled to Ghana, where he received protection from Kwame Nkrumah. the head of state of Ghana.

ghana

in 1966 Schumann’s luck seemed to have run out when he was extradited to Germany.He stood trial in 1970, but was released from jail in 1972 due to his heart condition and generally deteriorating health. It wasn’t until 1983 before he died.

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Source

Research Gate