My interview with Dar van Horn

On Saturday 3 December, I had the privilege to talk to author Dar van Horn about his new book “The Jokester-‘Watcher of the Whych’ “. We also talked about his time in Iran, and how his parents and he escaped in 1979.

Below an excerpt of his book

“The city of Aberystwyth, this little Welsh Jewel or
its ancient name (Llanbadarn Caerog) in which our
story is set, is a small community that is situated
on Cardigan Bay on the west coast of Wales, near
the confluence of the River Ystwyth and Afon
Rheidol. Following the reconstruction of the
harbour, the Ystwyth skirts the town. The Rheidol
passes through the town. Aberystwyth prides itself
as a beacon of diversity and celebrates its staunch
and committed opposing and of exercising zero
tolerance for racism, xenophobia and for all forms
of hate crimes and discrimination of any sort. A
sentiment and feeling shared not only just in an
official capacity as the cities policy, but rather a
position that is upheld and vigorously championed
by the local residents in general. I have been a
regular and frequent visitor to this truly exquisite
Welsh community for several years and I have
found the locals to be truly a very welcoming,
accommodating warm and friendly people who will
go out of their way to please and make all feel right
at home. Also as an added note, although there can
be no dispute as to the quality, care and
accommodating service of any of the local Hotels,
Bed and Breakfasts etc.”

His book will be available on Amazon

Where they burn books, they will ultimately burn people as well .

The title of this blog is a quote from Heinrich Heine’s play “Almansor” which he had written in 1821. Heine was a Jewish German poet, writer and literary critic. His words would ring true just over a century after he wrote them.

The Holocaust didn’t start with the mass murder of Jews and other so called “undesirables”. It was a gradual process. It was not just the destruction of life but also the destruction of art and culture that did not suit the Nazis philosophy.

In a symbolic act of ominous significance, on May 10, 1933, university students burned upwards of 25,000 volumes of so called “un-German” books, heralding a period of state censorship and control of culture. The disturbing part of this ,it was university students doing this, Supposedly well educated people. In an effort to synchronize the literary community, Goebbels had a strong ally in the National Socialist German Students’ Association (Nationalsozialistischer Deutscher Studentenbund, or NSDStB).

On the evening of May 10, in most university towns, right-wing students marched in torchlight parades “against the un-German spirit.” The scripted rituals required for high Nazi officials, professors, university rectors, and university student leaders to address the participants and onlookers.

The event was organised by the Ministry of Propaganda and Public Enlightenment. There are 3 definitions for enlightenment:

1.the act or means of enlightening : the state of being enlightened
2capitalized : a philosophical movement of the 18th century marked by a rejection of traditional social, religious, and political ideas and an emphasis on rationalism —used with the
3. Buddhism : a final blessed state marked by the absence of desire or suffering.

None of the definitions applied here.

Below are just some of the books which were deemed harmful to the German people, according to the Nazis .

Bambi, a Life in the Woods; Time Machine; War of the Worlds; The condition of the working class in England; All Quiet on the Western Front; The Lord of the Rings; Ivanhoe.

As you can see from those titles there was absolutely no justification, nor will there ever be, for banning and burning books.

In Berlin, some 40,000 people heard Joseph Goebbels deliver a fiery address: “No to decadence and moral corruption!” Goebbels enjoined the crowd. “Yes to decency and morality in family and state! I consign to the flames the writings of Heinrich Mann, Ernst Glaeser, Erich Kästner.”

“The era of extreme Jewish intellectualism is now at an end. The breakthrough of the German revolution has again cleared the way on the German path…The future German man will not just be a man of books, but a man of character. It is to this end that we want to educate you. As a young person, to already have the courage to face the pitiless glare, to overcome the fear of death, and to regain respect for death – this is the task of this young generation. And thus you do well in this midnight hour to commit to the flames the evil spirit of the past. This is a strong, great and symbolic deed – a deed which should document the following for the world to know – Here the intellectual foundation of the November Republic is sinking to the ground, but from this wreckage the phoenix of a new spirit will triumphantly rise.”

— Joseph Goebbels, Speech to the students in Berlin.

Not all book burnings took place on May 10, as the German Student Association had planned. Some were postponed a few days because of rain. Others, based on local chapter preference, took place on June 21, the summer solstice, a traditional date for bonfire celebrations in Germany.

The really scary things is this is happening again, the burning has been replaced by cancelling, and the banning of books is happening more and more.



I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2, however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thank you. To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the PayPal link. Many thanks.


Recommended books on WWII and the Holocaust.


I was asked if I could recommend some good WWII and Holocaust books. I have compiled a list of books which may not all be bestsellers but do give a deep undertsnsing of this world’s history darkest chapter.

Starting of with a book written by my close friend Dr Mary Honan.

The Literary Representation of World War II Childhood: Interrogating the Concept of Hospitality

This book investigates a cross-section of World War II inspired literature,
both fact and fiction, with children as a central focus, through the concept
of hospitality. It argues for the inter-connection between hospitality and a
network of other Derridean concepts which are used to explore the texts.
This study interrogates the notion of childhood, how it has evolved as a
concept socially and in literature, and how this is reflected in the chosen
The forms and genres of literature studied include diaries, letters,
novels, memoirs, fairy-tales, allegorical novels, comics, graphic novels,
and time-travel novels, from the perspective of real child victims of
Nazism as well as fictional child protagonists.

The Grey Goose of Arnhem

By Leo Heaps.


A book I bought for 50 cents in a flee market. A little gem which has provided me with lots of references.

Leo Heaps was a Canadian paratrooper at the Battle of Arnhem. He was captured,escaped and returned to occupied Holland to organise one of the most incredible mass evacuations of World War II.


That Damned Torpedo: World War II Letters, a Dutch Naval Officer, and His American Bride.

By Linda van Ekelenburg.


A great read and even though I was born long after the war there was just so much in here I could identify with.

Ironically, the adventure that had begun with a fast-talking twelve-year-old runaway on a fishing boat became a nautical career. By 1943, that boy is a debonair young Dutch officer whose ship is sunk by a Japanese submarine. An inquest into the incident brings him to the shipping company’s offices in New York City, where he is captivated by a charming secretary. For Dirk van Ekelenburg and Blanche Waldeck, first glances are enough to seal their fates.

After a whirlwind courtship, they are married for fifty-two years. She moves with him to the West Coast, leaving her parents in New Jersey. He must return to his duties at sea. His family in occupied Holland is suffering and starving. Her brother is an American soldier in England, then France. Only long and frequent letters connect the couple and the families.

Collected here are some of those letters, many of which read with the excitement of an old-fashioned radio program with all of its twists and turns. Despite censors removing restricted defense information, these letters illuminate how wartime punishes nations both weak and powerful, and individuals both military and civilian.

I’m not a Victim, I am a Survivor.

By Eddy Boas


This book got to me, it highlighted not only the Holocaust but also the aftermath and especially the treatment of the survivors by the government of my country.

More than seven decades after his liberation, Holocaust survivor Eddy Boas has written his memoirs. He shares his story with Yael Brender.

“We are the only family that went into the camps together and came out together,” says Eddy Boas, one of the youngest Jewish survivors of the Holocaust and author of I Am Not A Victim, I Am A Survivor, published this month.

Born in The Hague, Holland, in 1940, Eddy was three months old when the Nazis invaded and three years old when his family was rounded up and sent to Hollands Spoor train station. From there, he was loaded into a cattle wagon with his mother Sara, his father Philip and older brother Samuel, who everybody called “Boy”. They were deported to Westerbork concentration camp where they were kept in the largest barrack.


The German War: A Nation Under Arms, 1939-1945

By Nicholas Stargardt.

german war

Stargardt presents evidence that Germans were aware of the genocide and atrocities being committed by German policy, through word of mouth. Stargardt argues that as the war went on, German media increasingly, “hinted at what people already knew, fostering a sense of collusive semi-secrecy.”This ‘spiral of silence’ (according to Stargardt) produced a sense of quasi-complicity among Germans, even those who did not directly participate in atrocities.

The Men Who Tried to Kill Hitler

By Roger Manvell, Heinrich Fraenkel, Roger Moorhouse


The Men Who Tried to Kill Hitler investigates the July 20, 1944, bombing of Hitler’s infamous Wolf’s Lair, a conspiracy led by Claus von Stauffenberg, a staff insider with access to the Führer. The first book to reveal the truth about the now infamous Operation Valkyrie.




I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2, however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thank you. To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the PayPal link. Many thanks.







Bambi, Nazis and an erotic novel.


I have to start with an apology,because next time you watch the Disney classic ‘Bambi’ you will see that young little deer in a different light, after reading this blog.

Felix Salten was a Hungary born Austrian Jewish author.When he was 4 weeks old he moved from Pest in Hungary to Vienna in Austria. I will not focus too much on his life but will pick out just a few elements, which will be interesting enough.

In 1923 he wrote his most famous story “Bambi: Eine Lebensgeschichte aus dem Walde” or in English “Bambi: a life in the Woods” In 1928 it was translated in English.  In 1933, he sold the film rights to the American director Sidney Franklin for the sum of $1,000,Franklin in return transferred to rights to the Disney company.


Hitler was a great fan of the Disney movies, it is said that his favourite movie was “Snow White”

In 1942 the book was turned into a movie by the Walt Disney Studio with the title “Bambi”.

Prior to that in 1936, the Nazis had banned the book and when after the annexation of Austria, Felix Salten moved with his wife to Zürich in Switzerland, where he remained until he  died on 8 October 1945, aged 76.

By now I can hear you think” Didn’t he mention an erotic novel in the title?” You would be right; I did mention that, however there is a caveat.The novel I am referring to is “Josephine Mutzenbacher – The Life Story of a Viennese Whore, as Told by Herself” The caveat is that the book was written anonymously, but it is widely believed it was in fact written by Felix Salten. Today the Austrian Government designated Salten as the sole author.


The plot  in Josephine Mutzenbacher is that of first-person narrative, structured in the format of a memoir. The story is told from the point of view of an accomplished aging 50-year-old Viennese courtesan who is looking back upon the sexual escapades she enjoyed during her unbridled youth in Vienna

The book has been turned into a series of pornographic movies. Out of curiosity when I was a youngster,many moons ago, I attempted to watch one of them, but after a few minutes I turned it off, not because I am prudish but because it was so boring.

This does mean however that Felix Salten’s books have become films from one extreme to the other extreme, totally child friendly to xxx rated. I don’t know how many authors can claim that.

Leaving you with an innocent image.

Bambi still


I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2, however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thank you. To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the PayPal link. Many thanks.



The War of the Worlds


Yet across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us.

— H. G. Wells (1898), The War of the Worlds

I don’t know what it is about this Sci-Fi classic by H.G. Wells first serialised in 1897 in the UK by Pearson’s Magazine and in the US by Cosmopolitan magazine. The novel’s first appearance in hardcover was in 1898 from publisher William Heinemann of London.

But ever since I came across the story I fell in love with it. But it was via Jeff Wayne’s musical version I  encountered the tale of the Martians that invaded our planet, Even though the chances of this happening were a Million to one.

I forget how often I have listened to that album but at least hundreds of times if not thousands(maybe I should get out more). In 2008 I got the chance to see the live show. 30 years I had waited for it and it did not disappoint. Although I was a bit surprised by the cast who joined for the most recent shows,in my opinion some just had no talent at all(An ex member of Westlife), leave alone to be a part of such an amazing phenomena.


But of course it was Orson Welles’s radio broadcast of the World of the Wars which had probably the biggest impact. The panic that ensued because people believed it was a genuine news broadcast. Ingenious really when you think of it, you just can’t buy that kind of publicity. It was on the 30th of October 1938, the world was in grip of events happening in Germany.


Someone asked me once “what is your favourite War of the Worlds movie?”And I honestly couldn’t say. I like the 1953 and Spielberg’s 2005 adaptation equally.


The story is really the most basic form of Science Fiction. The earth being invaded by aliens. But it works, it is compelling. It basically is a war story but rather then human enemies we are fighting extra terrestrial foes.

The story clearly inspired other TV show and movie makers. Series like “V” and “Falling Skies” are clearly based on the War of the Worlds as is “Independence Day”


What is the most fascinating is that it was written between 1895 and 1897 and it didn’t date. It is still as fresh as it was when it was first released. Ironically I only read the book after I listened to the musical version and watched the movies.


I think I might just retreat now and listen to the album again, or read the book. I may even watch one of the movies.Either way one thing I know for sure the story will never bore me regardless in which configuration or adaption. Leaving you with some art work of Jeff Wayne’s musical version of TWOTW and my favorite track.



I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2, however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thank you. To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the PayPal link. Many thanks.


Forgotten History-Hannie Schaft resistance fighter.

When we think of WW2 heroes we (including me) tend to think only of men, this is of course wrong.

There were many women who gave their lives during the war. This story is about Hannie Schaft, although the title Forgotten History is slightly incorrect in a Dutch context because Hannie’s story has been told in a book which has also been made into a movie.Known as “Het meisje met het rode haar” the girl with the red hair. I do believe her story is not that well known outside of the Netherlands. Although

Jannetje Johanna Schaft was born on September 16, 1920. Her nickname was Jo or Jopie. Hannie was the name she used later on in the resistance group. She grew up in the northern part of Haarlem (a city 12 miles west of the capital Amsterdam), where she lived with her parents and her 5 year older sister Annie. Annie died in 1927 from diphtheria. Jo was very quiet and shy. She was very good at school, her GPA (Grade Point Average) was even the highest of her class. The political development in Germany was a frequently discussed subject in her family.

They were worried about Hitler and his national socialism in Germany, but also about Mussert and his national socialistic party in the Netherlands. At the time the war broke out, Hannie went to law school at the university of Amsterdam. From the moment that the Germans occupied Poland in 1939 on, Hannie tried to help. She sent small packages to captured Polish officers with a program of the International Red Cross. When the Germans occupied Holland, Hannie tried to help people too and she offered resistance. An example is that when the Jews weren’t allowed to walk in a park anymore in 1941 Hannie said: ‘If they aren’t allowed to walk there, I won’t walk there either’. Little by little she got more involved with the resistance movement.

From 1942 on all Jews had to wear a yellow star.


When the need for false identity cards increased to help Jews in hiding, Hannie stole identity cards in all sorts of public areas for them. In the spring of 1943 there were several razzia’s at the universities. Later the Germans announced that every college graduate had to go to Germany to work there for a while and finally the college students who wanted to continue their education had to sign a loyalty affidavit to the Germans. Hannie didn’t sign and so she quit school.

Her mother was a Mennonite and her father was attached to the Social Democratic Workers’ Party. During her law studies at the Universiteit van Amsterdam she became friends with the Jewish students Philine Polak and Sonja Frenk. This made her feel strongly about actions against Jews. With the German occupation of the Netherlands in World War II university students were required to sign a declaration of allegiance to the occupation authorities. When Hannie refused to sign the petition in support of the occupation forces, she could not continue her studies and moved in with her parents again. She became more and more active in the resistance movement and helped people who were hiding from the Germans with stolen identification cards and food-coupons.

She went back to Haarlem, where she joined the RVV, the council of resistance. She said that food aid wasn’t enough for her, she was willing to offer armed resistance. The RVV ordered her and another member of the group to ‘eliminate’ an officer of the German secret police, the Sicherheits Dienst. Hannie was scared to death but she fired. Instead of a shot, a click was heard and nothing happened. The SD officer introduced himself as Frans van der Wiel, the commandant of the resistance group. It appeared to be a test. Although Hannie had past the test, she was furious. Hannie got to know many people who were involved with the resistance. That is how she met Truus Oversteegen and her sister Freddie, who were also members of the resistance group. Hannie was 19, Truus was 16 and Freddie only 14 at the beginning of the war. Truus became the leader when they worked together because Hannie was a bit dreamy, according to Truus, and Freddie was still too young. Most of the work existed of spreading illegal newspapers, transportation of weapons, stealing and/or falsifying identity cards, sabotage, disguising as German girls to extract information from the German soldiers and bringing Jewish children to hiding places. Hannie took also part in bigger actions. In November 1943 Hannie and a few other members of the resistance group tried to blow up a power station near Haarlem. Only a part of the explosives did actually explode, so only one transport system was damaged. Although the attempt didn’t work for one hundred percent, it gave the people hope.

Hannie also eliminated several members of the German secret police and Dutch collaborators. One example is that on March 15, 1945 Hannie and Truus saw Ko Langendijk, a hairdresser who betrayed people for money. Hannie and Truus shot him. They hid in a hotel afterwards. Remarkably was that Hannie powdered her face because she wanted to die pretty. Luckily they didn’t get caught.

Hannie had to be very careful. She couldn’t tell her parents anything about her work for the resistance group. The nazi’s were looking for her, so she was obliged to dye her hair black and to wear glasses made out of clear glass

After a sub-department of the Raad van Verzet in Velsen killed a farmer, without authorization from the groups’ leaders, Hannie brought a list of names of the ones who did that to her leaders.

Afterwards the named people on this list were given to the Sicherheitsdienst, which meant a certain death. After the war this episode was investigated by a special commission

On March 21, 1945 Hannie was arrested at a routine checking because she had illegal newspapers and her pistol in her bag.Pistool_van_Hannie_Schaft

Soon the Germans recognized her as the girl with the red hair, for whom they had been looking for so long. On April 17, 1945 she was executed in the dunes.

It is the evening of 17 April 1945. A truck leaves the Huis van Bewaring, a prison on the Amstelveenseweg in Amsterdam. The truck contains a Dutch driver, three German soldiers and the Dutch detective, Maarten Kuijper.These men form the escort for one prisoner, a young Dutch woman of 24. They drive to the German Ortskommandantur in Haarlem where a soldier of the Feldgendarmerie (Gefreiter) equipped with a shovel gets in. The truck moves off again and the new man gives directions to the beach at Overveen, a few miles away. The truck stops near the beach where a path leads into the sand dunes.


Kuijper and the German, Mattheus Schmitz, lead their prisoner into the dunes, the man with the shovel bringing up the rear. Schmitz, who is walking a few paces behind the girl, draws his pistol and fires, she cries out in pain but does not fall. Kuijper, seeing she has a wound to the head but is still standing, levels his machine pistol and takes his turn. This time the bullets find their mark and the young woman falls dead.

Kuijper then helps the Gefreiter bury the body in a shallow grave, they are keen to be done with their work and in their haste long strands of red hair are left protruding from the sand

After the war, in these dunes the remains of 422 members of the resistance were found, 421 men and one woman, Hannie Schaft. She was reburied at the honorary cemetery Erebegraafplaats Bloemendaal in the dunes in Overveen Hannie Schaft was given a state funeral at the Erebegraafplaats on 27 November 1945 in the presence of Queen Wilhelmina who called her the “symbol of the Resistance”in the presence of Princess Juliana and her husband Prince Bernard. Later, as queen, Juliana unveiled a bronze commemorative statue in the Kenau Park in nearby Haarlem, her birthplace. Hannie Schaft also received the ‘Wilhelmina resistance cross’ and a US decoration.


Shortly after the war, the communist movement enjoyed popularity, partly because of the effort of the USSR in defeating the Nazis. However, with that country’s increasing influence in Eastern Europe, the popularity decreased. Because the Dutch communist party celebrated her as an icon, her popularity decreased too, to the point that the commemoration at Hannie’s grave was forbidden in 1951. The commemorators (who were estimated to number over 10,000) were stopped by several hundred police and military with the aid of four tanks. A group of seven managed to circumvent the blockade and reached the burial ground, but were arrested when they tolled the bell. From the next year on, the communists decided to prevent another such scene by holding their commemoration in Haarlem instead.


She was celebrated as a hero in some of the former Warsaw Pact (former eastern European communist countries) The DDR even had a stamp issued in her memory.Her name had been used a bit in a political context during the cold war which had alienated some war veterans.


A number of schools and streets were named after her. For her, and other resistance-heroines, a foundation has been created; the Stichting Nationale Hannie Schaft-herdenking. A number of books and movies have been made about her. She features in De Aanslag by Harry Mulisch, also released as a movie directed by Fons Rademakers. Ineke Verdoner wrote a song about her. Author Theun de Vries wrote a biography of her life.


<a target=”_blank” href=”″>ASIN: B0100KJ1UY</a><img src=”; width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />


Forgotten History-WW2 Hero John Steele.


Who is John Steele I hear you say. Well to be honest until recently I had never heard of him either. It’s just that I am a great WW2 movies fan I came across his name.


In the movie ” the Longest Day” about D-Day there are a few scenes which made me wonder if they really happened. Some of them are quite funny, there is one scene where a German patrol and an American patrol pass each other by not realizing they are enemies and just walk on minding their own business. Another one where a German officer puts on his boots the wrong way. However there are also some sad scenes. One is showing a paratrooper whose parachute was caught in one of the pinnacles of the church tower.

I could not find anything on the patrols or the visually impaired German officer but the story of the paratrooper is true and really happened. This Paratrooper’s name was Private John Steele. he was the American paratrooper who landed on the church tower in Sainte-Mère-Église, the first village in Normandy liberated by the Americans on D-Day, June 6, 1944.

On the night before D-Day (June 5–6, 1944), American soldiers of the 82nd Airborne parachuted into the area west of Sainte-Mère-Église in successive waves. The town had been the target of an aerial attack and a stray incendiary bomb had set fire to a house east of the town square. The church bell was rung to alert the town of the emergency and townspeople turned out in large numbers to form a bucket brigade supervised by members of the German garrison. By 0100 hours, the town square was well lit and filled with German soldiers and villagers when two sticks (planeloads of paratroopers) from the 1st and 2nd battalions were dropped in error directly over the village.

The paratroopers were easy targets, and Steele was one of only a few non-casualties. His parachute was caught in one of the pinnacles of the church tower, causing the cables on his parachute to stretch to their full length, leaving him hanging on the side of the church to witness the carnage. The wounded paratrooper hung there limply for two hours, pretending to be dead, before the Germans took him prisoner. Steele later escaped from the Germans and rejoined his division when US troops of the 3rd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment attacked the village capturing thirty Germans and killing another eleven. For these actions and his wounds, Steele was awarded the Bronze Star for valor and the Purple Heart for being wounded in combat.

Though injured, Private Steele survived his ordeal. He continued to visit the town throughout his life and was an honorary citizen of Ste. Mère Église. The tavern, Auberge John Steele, stands adjacent to the square and maintains his memory through photos, letters and articles hung on its walls. Steele died of throat cancer on May 16, 1969 in Fayetteville, NC just three weeks short of the 25th anniversary of the D-Day invasion

But his story as a brave soldier starts much earlier and continued well past the episode in Sainte Mère Église. There is much more to the story of paratrooper John Steele.

There are some inconsistencies in various stories that have been cobbled together about him, but it is clear that John Steele was a fearless and brave soldier. He had volunteered his service as a paratrooper and had earlier served in the 82nd Airborne Division in North Africa, prior to parachuting into combat in Sicily with F Company, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment.  On the night of 9 July 1943, John broke his left leg and was sent to a hospital in North Africa.  After he recovered he returned to Italy and fought with his unit from Salerno to Naples.

During his jump into Ste. Mère Église on the night of 5-6 June 1944, John was wounded by a shell fragment and was unable to steer his parachute.  As he dangled from the church spire while a battle was going on below him, he tried to cut himself free but his jump knife slipped from his hand. He dangled helplessly for more than two hours, until a German soldier named Rudolf May cut him down and took him prisoner. Despite being wounded, he escaped three days later and rejoined a nearby Allied unit. He was then transferred to a hospital in England for recovery.

After recovery from his latest wounds, he returned to action and parachuted into action nearNijmegen Netherlands where he participated in the liberation of that city.  In November of 1944 he participated in the Battle of the Bulge in the Ardennes region near Reims, France.  When the Allies crossed the Rhine River into Germany in early 1945, John Steele was there, advancing with his unit from Frankfurt to the crossing of the Elbe River, when World War II ended.  He finally returned to the United States in September 1945.


Today, these events are commemorated by the Airborne Forces Museum in Place du 6 June in the centre of Ste-Mère-Église and in the village church where a parachute with an effigy of Private Steele in his Airborne uniform hangs from the steeple. Bullet holes are still visible in the church’s stone walls. Inside, there are stained glass windows, with one depicting the Virgin Mary with paratroopers falling in the foreground.

This is just one of the thousands of the forgotten histories of WW2.

Thanks to brave soldiers like John Steele  the people in Europe now live a prosperous life and have freedom it is important that the sacrifices which were made are never forgotten.

More and more I hear the pleas for history to be taken out of the school curriculum but it is my believe and conviction that history is now more important than it ever was. If we forget our history we will forsake our future.


Chapter 1 of Not Just a Guide Dog(Part of it)

History of Sorts

Not just a guide dog Not just a guide dog


Frank Johnson an ordinary family man, married with 3 children, lived a reasonably ordinary life.

Until due to a degenerative eye disease he turned blind.

His life had changed but he was determined not to be defeated, he was going to be ready for anything that life was going to throw at him.

With this determination and the help of his family and a guide dog called Faust, Frank was ready for anything, even an apocalyptic event that would change the lives of everyone on the planet.

This is a tale of suffering and despair but above everything else also a tale of hope, love and endurance, or in short a tale of life.

Chapter 1   Coping with Blindness.

I didn’t know that they actually used Rottweilers as guide dogs, however I found it intriguing and decided to go for it. I always did…

View original post 899 more words

The walking dead

The extremely popular TV show is currently in its 8th season


I am  a great fan of the show although it is coming to the stage where they should be considering bringing it to an end.

Before to the Walking Dead I wasn’t really that interested in the whole zombie genre,prior to that the only 2 movies I had seen were The Evil Dead and Braindead and frankly I wasn’t too impressed by them.

However “the Walking dead” captured my imagination maybe it is because the characters are well written and it is very character driven rather than the special effects which are also pretty cool.

It made me wonder though where did this global fascination come from and where did it originate?

A zombie is a fictional undead being created through the reanimation of a human corpse The term comes from Haitian Folklore, where a Zombie is a dead body reanimated through various methods, most commonly magic. Modern depictions of zombies do not necessarily involve magic but invoke other methods such as viruses.

There is some speculation that the word derives from West African languages – ndzumbi means ‘corpse’ in the Mitsogo language of Gabon, andnzambi means the ‘spirit of a dead person’ in the Kongo language. These were the areas where European slavers forcibly transported vast numbers of the population across the Atlantic to work in the sugar cane plantations of the West Indies, the vast profits of which motored the rise of France and England to world powers. The Africans took their religion with them. However, French law required slaves to convert to Catholicism. What emerged was a series of elaborate synthetic religions, creatively mixing elements of different traditions: Vodou or Voodoo in Haiti, Obeah in Jamaica, Santeria in Cuba.

Witch Doctor

The zombie, in effect, is the logical outcome of being a slave

The English word zombie is first recorded in 1819, in “a History of Brazil” in the form Zombi by the poet Robert Southey.


Nowadays Zombies have become a billion dollar industry with movies like “I am Legend” making $585,349,010 and “World War Z” making a meager $540,007,876. Not even to mention the success of the various books and graphic novels

It was also the inspiration for me to give it a go, hence Not Just a Guide Dog, be it with a different twist.

Not just a guide dog
Not just a guide dog


I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2, however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thank you. To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the PayPal link. Many thanks.


The vegetarian Zombie

The Vegetarian Zombie

An amusing short undead tale.  by Dirk de Klein

It’s just no fun being a vegetarian zombie, sure it’s alright for Mike being a zombie, he always loved meat anyway, rare steaks were his favourites. As for Frank he was a nutcase anyway, even before he became a living dead.

But me, I just didn’t like meat in any shape or form. How was I am going to survive this apocalypse?

There was nothing in the supermarkets for zombies like me, even normal vegetarians still had a choice of Quorn Chicken Fillets or Quorn Chicken Nuggets and even a soya burger or 2.

But every time I show up in the local supermarket, panic ensues. Screaming mothers picking up their toddlers out of the trolley, running for their lives. At one stage one mother fell just in front of me and when I wanted to help her up she screamed. “I am not that bad” I said “I am just not that dead”

Anyway I suppose life will go on, well actually it won’t, I just have to make the best of it.

It’s just that all the other zombies are bullying me. They go like “Aghg,grrrr,grrh,aahhh” and point to people and making those biting gestures, and I keep telling them “I  am a vegetarian”

At one stage I thought I had the solution, in a market stall I saw a basket of Flesh Tomatoes, “Hey, hey” I thought, so I picked up the basket and when I wanted to pay for them, I noticed the guy behind the stall had ran away. I suppose there are some benefits in being a zombie.

I was so looking forward to these tomatoes, my luck though it turned out I was allergic to them. And when I say allergic I mean allergic. Having the runs as a human being is bad, but as a zombie it is multiplied by a factor of 1000.

No, life is no fun for a vegetarian zombie, note spare a thought for Julie though, she is a vegan zombie and to top it off she likes Justin Bieber, thank God I am not like her.zombie

Picture by Javi Ramos.