While the Hiroshima atomic bomb was being built in New Mexico all applicants for menial jobs at the plant did not get a job if they could read. This was because the US authorities didn’t want staff reading secret papers.
When the former commander of the Nazi extermination camp Treblinka, Kurt Franz, was arrested in 1959, a search of his home yielded a scrapbook with horrific photos of the massacre titled “Beautiful Years.”
Stanislaw Jerzy Lec
The Polish poet Stanislaw Jerzy Lec was a journalist working in Poland when the Nazis invaded. He tried to flee to Romania but was caught and wound up at the Ternopil concentration camp, where he was led into the woods, given a shovel, and forced to dig his final resting place.
He who had dug his own grave
at the gravedigger’s work,
but not pedantically:
for this one
digs a grave
not for himself
Donning the dead man’s SS uniform, Lec made his way to Warsaw, where he met members of the Polish resistance. There, he put his literary skills to use publishing underground newspapers. He was also fluent in German and wrote leaflets for the resistance. He ended the war as a major in the Polish army and fought in battles pushing back against the Nazis
During World War II Marmite was prescribed as a cure for tropical diseases like burning feet and Beriberi.
Developed in 1942 by the German Sailplane Association, the Mistel was a concept for an unmanned aircraft packed with explosives, guided to its target by a pilot in a fighter aircraft attached above it. The idea itself was demonstrated in 1943, but it was not until 1944, when the tide of war had truly turned against Nazi Germany, that the idea was put into practice.
Below are 2 diary entries from a Russian Citizen and an SS officer.
Lena Mukhina, Leningrad ResidentJanuary 3, 1942.
“We are dying like flies here because of the hunger, but yesterday Stalin gave another dinner in Moscow in honor of the British Foreign Secretary, Anthony Eden. This is outrageous. They fill their bellies there, while we don’t even get a piece of bread. They play host at all sorts of brilliant receptions, while we live like cavemen, like blind moles.”
Felix Landau, SS Officer ,July 12, 1941.
“At 6:00 in the morning I was suddenly awoken from a deep sleep. Report for an execution. Fine, so I’ll just play executioner and then gravedigger, why not. Isn’t it strange, you love battle and then have to shoot defenseless people. Twenty-three had to be shot, amongst them the two above-mentioned women. They are unbelievable. They even refused to accept a glass of water from us.
The others certainly have incredible courage. What on earth is running through their minds during these moments? I think that each of them harbors a small hope that somehow he won’t be shot. The death candidates are organized into three shifts as there are not many shovels.
Strange, I am completely unmoved. No pity, nothing. That’s the way it is and then it’s all over. My heart beats just a little faster when involuntarily I recall the feelings and thoughts I had when I was in a similar situation”
Housing the London Cage, Kensington Palace Gardens in London witnessed its fair share of war crimes during the Second World War. The Cage was essentially a set of cells and rooms used to hold and interrogate captured members of the Schutzstaffel and Gestapo. Everything from starvation and sleep deprivation to brutal beatings was practiced within its walls. to extract information and, in some cases, confessions.
Blanche Osborn Bross
This WWII era photograph was used to show Americans that women were doing their part to fight the war – even when they really weren’t. The four women pictured here, in front of the famous “Pistol Packin’ Mamma” aircraft, were part of the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots program – better known as the WASPs. One of the four – the farthest on the right – is Blanche Osborn Bross.
During World War II, the BMW workforce was made up of slave laborers provided by the Nazis. Some sources put the figures as high as 50,000. Hold on to your driving gloves, however, because this gets much worse. BMW was then owned by Günther Quandt, and he and his son Herbert were very buddy-buddy with Hitler and his regime. BMW’s factories exclusively produced aircraft and motorcycle parts for the Nazi war effort. In fact, many inmates were put to work on the Luftwaffe engines, namely the BMW 132.
During the second world war over 56,000 carrier pigeons were sent into action with some of them actually receiving medals of bravery.
Returning A Fallen Enemy’s Personal Effects To His Fiance
Unlike so many of his peers, Erwin Rommel—one of Germany’s greatest tacticians—served his country with professionalism and humanity. His men in the Afrikakorps did as well.
Although Bird already knew about Ross’s death, details from her fiance’s final moments relieved her greatly.
The Miracle Babies Of Kaufering Concentration Camp
We associate concentration camps with so much death and suffering that it’s nearly impossible to imagine anything good coming from them. Yet against all odds, seven babies born inside a camp survived their ordeal healthy and unharmed.
For the US soldiers who later liberated the camp, it was an uplifting sight to see the live and healthy mothers and their babies among the dead and emaciated prisoners.