A WWII love affair that never happened.

History of Sorts

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As the saying goes “all is fair in love and war”

In the autumn of 1944, an almost twenty-nine-year old English soldier named Jim fell head-over-heels for nineteen-year-old Emelia Sluys. Emelia was staying with relatives on Groesbeekseweg in the city of Nijmegen,the Netherlands, because her home had been destroyed during the Battle of Arnhem. To his regret Emelia did not share his feelings: she also thought he was too old.

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In early 1945 Jim departed from Nijmegen to take part in the Rhineland Offensive in Germany. He returned a few months later with a curious gift: he had found this silver tea set in the deserted ruins of the German city of Cleves and thought it would make a nice gift for Emelia’s mother.

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But Mother Sluys wanted nothing to do with this stolen property and hid the present in a closet. She saw the residents of Cleves, a city…

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Mona Lisa smiles, but was she happy?

History of Sorts

Mona Lisa

One of the most famous paintings, if not the most famous painting is the Mona Lisa,painted by Leonardo da Vinci.

In 1503 or 1504 Leonardo da Vinci was commissioned to paint Lisa del Giocondo (nee Gherardini), the painting became known as the Mona Lisa. Aged 15, real-life Lisa Gherardini married Florentine merchant Francesco del Giocondo. a modestly successful cloth and silk merchant, becoming his third wife. Lisa’s dowry( the money, goods, or estate that a woman brings to her husband or his family in marriage)was 170 florins and the San Silvestro farm near her family’s country home.

Francesco del Giocondo,regularly bought girls from North Africa and converted them to Christianity with many working as maids at the del Giocondo household. However there would have been too many to work in the household, it is therefor very likely he sold some of the girls as slaves.

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Lisa’s sister Camilla,  who was a…

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The Aryan Jesus.

History of Sorts

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The Christian churches in the third reich and also outside the third reich had 3 approaches to the Nazis policies.

  1. They rejected the policies and actively resisted it.Churches like Confessing Church. and men like Dietrich Bonnhoefer. Or the catholic priest Hugh O’Flaherty resisted the Nazis and their ideologies and actively resisted the Nazi regime.
  2. They were indifferent and turned a blind eye to what was happening around them, often in plain sight. They just lived their lives as if nothing happened.
  3. They endorsed the Nazi ideology.Movements like “the German Christians” aligned themselves  towards the antisemitic, racist and Führerprinzip( leader principle, the notion that some “gifted individuals” were destined to rule, the term was first coined by philosopher Hermann von Keyserling)  ideological principles of NazismDC

As a Christian myself I am especially ashamed of the last 2 groups, and although the indifference of the 2nd group can partially be explained that the…

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My letter to Santa

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This piece is probably my most personal piece to date..It is not based on historical facts although the Holocaust victim was a real victim. It is based on my own personal life as a young child, combined with a thought I had about that time.

I came across some pictures of me as a child with St Nicholas(the Dutch Santa).

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At the time time I did not realize that the man dressed as St Nicholas was actually my Father.

When I was 9 my parents divorced which lead to me losing contact with my Father for 18 years. It was only after I got married we reconnected again, due to a few tragedies in the Family. But I don’t want to bore you with those stories, suffice to say we did establish a good relationship from that time onward.

However I do remember writing a letter to Santa when I was 9. All I asked then was for my Father to return. The irony was that the man I asked for my Dad to return was actually my Father.

But here is the thought I had over the last few weeks. How many children must have written letters to Santa asking for nothing but for the friends or classmates to return. Classmates,friends or neighbours who had been deported and murdered in the death camps.

Although the St Nicholas celebration is a Christian tradition, some Jewish children did and still do participate in it.

I still remember what I wrote to Santa when I was aged 9 so I thought I’d use that letter as template but replace the references of my Father with the name Joseph Elias Cohen, the boy whose picture is at the top of this blog, he was born on 8 February 1934 in Amsterdam and killed on 4 June 1943, in Sobibor.

 

“Dear Santa my Friend Joseph Elias Cohen is gone. I don’t know where. All I know that he just vanished without saying goodbye to me.

I am not angry, all I want to know is if he is alright. I miss him.

So Santa this year for Christmas I don’t want any gifts or treats. All I want is when I wake up on Christmas day and walk down to the living room that my Friend is standing next to the Christmas tree, with his arms open wide , ready to give me a hug.

So if you have already wrapped my presents, that is okay , you can give those presenst to other children, all I want is my Friend to come home.

Do you think you can do that?”

As I said except for my own life story and the details of Joseph Elias Cohen, this blog has no historical facts, but I do believe it does make it personal and brings a bit of life into a story of an innocent 9 year old boy who was killed simply for being Jewish.

 

 

 

Michael Jackson-What’s in a name?

History of Sorts

I am deviating a bit from my regular blogs for this more quirky and lighthearted blog.Living in an English speaking country my name is quite unique so my name is automatically associated to only me(at least where I live) , but the name Michael Jackson is fairly common and yet it is only associated with one man.

However there are several men who carry the same name and are famous(sometimes infamous) in their respective professions.

Starting off with that one man, the most famous of them all.

Michael Jackson: American singer-songwriter, dancer and record producer.

Called the “King of Pop”,his contributions to music, dance, and fashion along with his publicized personal life made him a global figure in popular culture for over four decades.

The eighth child of the Jackson family (one of whom died in infancy), Michael made his professional debut in 1964 with his elder brothers Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, and…

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Marinus van der Lubbe-the Dutch man who set fire to the Reichstag.

History of Sorts

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Marinus van der Lubbe was born in Leiden, on 13th January, 1909. His father, Franciscus Cornelis van der Lubbe, was a heavy drinker who left the family when he was seven years old. His mother died five years later. He was then raised by an older half sister and was brought up in extreme poverty. His school report said he was a ” talented boy of limited application”

After leaving school Lubbe worked as a bricklayer ,He was nicknamed Dempsey after boxer Jack Dempsey, because of his great strength.but after an industrial accident, where both his eyes were damaged and in 1925 he spent five months in hospital. He never fully recovered and was now unable to work and had to live on a small invalidity pension, OF 7.44 Guilders per week.

Van der Lubbe became interested in politics and spent most of his spare time reading and became a…

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George Maduro-WWII Hero from Curaçao

History of Sorts

George John Lionel Maduro (15 July 1916 – 8 February 1945) was a Dutch law student who served as an officer in the 1940 Battle of the Netherlands and distinguished himself in repelling the German attack on The Hague. He was posthumously awarded the medal of Knight 4th-class of the Military Order of William, the highest and oldest military decoration in the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

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The miniature city of Madurodam is named after him, as well as the Maduroplein area in Scheveningen, in The Hague.

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George John Lionel Maduro was born on 15 July 1916 in Willemstad in the Dutch colony Curaçao . He was the only son of Joshua and Rebecca Maduro, a couple of Sephardic Jewish descent.

Maduro was 23 and a law student at Leiden University when Germany invaded The Netherlands on 10 May 1940. By a royal order on 21 November 1939 Maduro had been…

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Remaining strong

History of Sorts

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I am a parent and my job like any other parent’s job on the globe is to keep my children safe from harm or at least reduce the risk of harm in whatever way possible.

That is an extremely difficult job in normal circumstances.During the Holocaust this was often impossible. I can understand that parents then would try anything to safe their children, but I can’t fathom the anxiety and fear they had,whilst re-assuring their kids, giving them hope where they knew there was no hope to be given.

Below are pictures of families with parents who tried to do an impossible job, giving hope and tried to remain strong for their children.

I don’t know who these parents were all I know is they were heroes

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Prewar portrait of a Belgian Jewish family.

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Portrait of members of a Hungarian Jewish family. They were deported to and killed in Auschwitz…

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Death Camp Diary

History of Sorts

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We might have been able to get out of it, but we didn’t want to. Since we’re in it, we’re going. In this case it’s best to leave things as you find them. We’ve been allowed to take all our luggage—a good sign. Maybe they were right and we’re following the men. I’m looking forward to it; perhaps I’ll see Dad by the end of the day.

The above words were from Helga Weiss, (born 1929) is a Czech artist, and a Holocaust survivor. Raised in Prague, on December 4, 1941 she and her parents were interned in the Terezin ghetto.

In October 1944, aged 15, she and her mother were moved to Auschwitz. As new victims arrived, they were sorted… sent to the left for the ovens, right to live longer. The person sorting that day may have been the infamous Josef Mengele.Whoever it was, Helga convinced him she was old enough to live longer, claiming to…

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The first Air Force One

History of Sorts

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With the President of the USA travelling at the moment there is a lot of mention of Air Force One.

That made me wonder who used the 1st Air Force One, turns out it was Franklin D.Roosevelt. Although technically it had a different name, the first plane designated Air Force One had the nickname “Sacred Cow”

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The Douglas VC-54C “Sacred Cow,” became the first official presidential airplane in 1944. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first president to use the “Sacred Cow” in 1945 just before he died. The plane features an elevator that would lift FDR in his wheelchair aboard the plane.

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When President Franklin D. Roosevelt flew to the Casablanca Conference in 1943 on board a commercial Boeing 314 Clipper Ship, he became the first U.S. president to fly while in office. Concerned about relying upon commercial airlines to transport the president, the USAAF leaders ordered the conversion…

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