Happy 120th Birthday,Count Dracula.

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When I was a young boy, Count Dracula scared the crap out of me.Having an older brother pretending the Count didn’t help either. The fear was so real that to this day I still have a phobia for Bats.

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Little did I know then I would end up living in the country where the legend of Dracula was created, Ireland.

Born in Dublin, Ireland, on November 8, 1847, Bram Stoker published his first literary work, The Duties of Clerks of Petty Sessions in Ireland, a handbook in legal administration, in 1879. Turning to fiction later in life, Stoker published his masterpiece Dracula, in 1897.

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On 26 May 1897,Stoker published his masterpiece, Dracula. While the book garnered success after its release, its popularity has continued to grow for more than a century. Deemed a classic horror novel today, Dracula has inspired the creation of numerous theatrical, literary and film adaptations. Among them are the 1931 film Dracula, starring actor Bela Lugosi, and F.W. Murnau’s 1922 film Nosferatu, starring Max Schreck.

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Dracula is literally translated in Gaelic as Drac Ullah (or Droch fola) meaning bad blood.

Count Dracula, a fictional character in the Dracula novel, was inspired by one of the best-known figures of Romanian history, Vlad Dracula, nicknamed Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler), who was the ruler of Walachia at various times from 1456-1462. Born in 1431 in Sighisoara, he resided all his adult life in Walachia, except for periods of imprisonment at Pest and Visegrad (in Hungary)

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Although he never traveled to Romania, Stoker crammed his book with descriptions of many real locations that can still be visited in present-day Romania. They include the most important historical places associated with Vlad Tepes, such as the 14th century town of Sighisoara where you can visit the house in which Vlad was born (now hosting a restaurant and a small museum of medieval weapons).

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Other Dracula sites include: the Old Princely Court (Palatul Curtea Veche) in Bucharest, Snagov Monastery, where, according to legend, Vlad’s remains were buried; the ruins of the Poenari Fortress (considered to be the authentic Dracula’s Castle); the village of Arefu where Dracula legends are still told, the city of Brasov where Vlad led raids against the Saxons merchants, and, of course, Bran Castle.

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“Vlad the Impaler” is said to have killed from 40,000 to 100,000 European civilians (political rivals, criminals, and anyone that he considered “useless to humanity”), mainly by impaling. The sources depicting these events are records by Saxon settlers in neighbouring Transylvania who had frequent clashes with Vlad III. Vlad III is revered as a folk hero by Romanians for driving off the invading Ottoman Turks, of whom his impaled victims are said to have included as many as 100,000.

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The story of Dracula has been the basis for numerous films and plays. Stoker himself wrote the first theatrical adaptation, which was presented at the Lyceum Theatre on 18 May 1897 under the title Dracula, or The Undead shortly before the novel’s publication and performed only once, in order to establish his own copyright for such adaptations. This adaption was first published only a century later in Oct 1997.[49] The first motion picture to feature Dracula was Dracula’s Death, produced in Hungary in 1921.

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F. W. Murnau’s unauthorised film adaptation Nosferatu was released in 1922, and the popularity of the novel increased considerably, owing to an attempt by Stoker’s widow tried to have the film removed from public circulation.

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In 1958, British film company Hammer Film Productions followed the success of its The Curse of Frankenstein from the previous year with Dracula, released in the US as The Horror of Dracula, directed by Terence Fisher. Fisher’s production featured Christopher Lee as Dracula and Peter Cushing as Van Helsing, but it diverged considerably from the original novel.

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It was an international hit for Hammer Film, however, and both Lee and Cushing reprised their roles multiple times over the next decade and a half,

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concluding with The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (with Cushing but not Lee) in 1974. Christopher Lee also took on the role of Dracula in Count Dracula, a 1970 Spanish-Italian-German co-production notable for its adherence to the plot of the original novel.

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Many adaptions have been made over the years, The one truest to the novel is probably the 1992 adaption directed by Francis Ford Coppola,Bram Stoker’s Dracula, with Gary Oldman in the role as Dracula.

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Nearly as popular as the main character is  the main protagonist,Professor Abraham Van Helsing.He is an aged Dutch doctor with a wide range of interests and accomplishments, partly attested by the string of letters that follows his name: “MD, D.Ph., D.Litt., etc, etc,”[4] indicating a wealth of experience, education and expertise. The character is best known throughout his many adaptations as a vampire hunter and the archenemy of Count Dracula. The character is been portrayed in most of the Dracula movies but also in other fictional Gothic  stories. In 2004 he was the main character in the movie “Van Hesling” played by Hugh Jackman.

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After 120 years the story of Dracula still captures the imagination of many and  is as popular as ever(if not more) it really has stood the test of time. Happy Birthday Count Dracula.

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Kazys Škirpa-Lithuanian Diplomat;Russian Teacher and War Criminal

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There are several things that amaze me in the story of this man. Firstly even though I have read a lot about the Holocaust I had never heard of him, his name was pointed out to me by an acquaintance.

Secondly he actually lived in Ireland for three years after the war, from 1946 to 1949. Although initially I only had seen a mention of this on Wikipedia which wasn’t enough for me to take as gospel truth, but I came across an article posted by the Lithuanian Embassy in Ireland dated the 16th of September 2011, where he was mentioned.

“Lithuanians also felt the helping hand of the Irish during this tragic period of our history when independence was lost. The last Prime Minister of independent Lithuania Kazys Škirpa was cordially received in Ireland, and Dublin was home to the famous Lithuanian statesman from 1946 to 1949.”

Thirdly ,after Dublin he emigrated to the United States. He worked at the Library of Congress. In 1975 his memoir book about the 1941 independence movement was published. Originally interred in Washington, D.C,where he died on August 18 1979,unpunished for his crimes.

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Kazys Škirpa (born February 18, 1895, Namajūnai, Kovno Governorate, Lithuania – August 18, 1979, Washington DC) was a Lithuanian military officer and diplomat. He is best known as the founder of the Lithuanian Activist Front (LAF) and his involvement in the attempt to establish Lithuanian independence in June 1941. His legacy is controversial due to LAF’s anti-Semitic policies and later collaboration in the Holocaust

During World War I he was mobilized into the Russian army and attempted to form Lithuanian detachments in Petrograd. After Lithuania declared independence in 1918, he returned and volunteered during the Lithuanian Wars of Independence. In 1920, as a member of the Lithuanian Peasant Popular Union, he was elected to the Constituent Assembly of Lithuania. After that he decided to pursue military education in Institute of Technology in Zurich, Higher Military School in Kaunas, and Royal Military Academy (Belgium). Upon graduation in 1925, he worked as chief of the General Staff, but was forced to resign after the 1926 Lithuanian coup d’état, because he was actively refusing it and was trying to gather military force to protect the Government.

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Later he served as a Lithuanian representative to Germany (1927–1930), League of Nations (1937), Poland (1938), and again Germany (1938–1941). After Soviet Union occupied Lithuania in 1940, Škirpa fled to Germany and formed the anti-Semitic and anti-Polish Lithuanian Activist Front, a short-lived resistance organisation whose goal was to liberate Lithuania and re-establish its independence by working with the Nazis.

(Skirpa in the middle of the picture)

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When Nazis invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, LAF cooperated with the Nazis and killed many Lithuanian Jews .

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He was named Prime Minister in the Provisional Government of Lithuania, however Germans placed him under house arrest and did not allow him to leave for Lithuania.

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From Berlin he moved to southern Germany and was allowed a short visit to Kaunas only in October 1943.In June 1944, he was arrested for sending a memorandum to the Nazi officials asking to replace German authorities in Lithuania with a Lithuanian government. He was first imprisoned in a concentration camp in Bad Godesberg and in February 1945 moved to Jezeří Castle.

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The Lithuanian Central State Archives have made available digital copies of Kazys Škirpa’s (1895-1979) original memoir, “Fight! Efforts to Rescue Lithuania” (Kovok! Pastangos gelbėti Lietuvą), along with 110 documents which he references. These works detail his efforts from June 1940 to July 1942 to free Lithuania from Soviet-occupation and establish its independence as a New Lithuania within the context of Hitler’s New Europe. They make clear that ethnic cleansing of Jews from Lithuania was a high priority for Škirpa from July 1940 (when he submitted his first proposals to Nazi strategist Peter Kleist) to May 1941 (when he honored requests from Lithuania not to send any more literature). Škirpa’s correspondence with Lithuania’s diplomats shows that Stasys Lozoraitis and Petras Klimas supported his plans for ethnic cleansing.

Below are some English translations of the memoirs

Jews of Lithuania!

The Lithuanian nation long suffered your ungratefulness and audacity, although by your own behavior you yourselves fostered in the Lithuanian nation a deep disdain for Jews. However, the Lithuanian nation cannot forgive how you bear yourself in this recent period because it cannot and never will forget the fact that you betrayed Lithuania in its most difficult and unfortunate time in its historical life.

Therefore the Lithuanian Activist Front, restoring a new Free and Independent Lithuania, in the name of the entire Lithuanian nation ceremoniously and irrevocably declares that:

  • 1. The old right of refuge which Vytautas the Great granted to Jews in Lithuania is revoked completely and for all times;
  • 2. It is demanded that Jews abandon the land of Lithuania as soon as possible. Whosoever of Jewish nationality at this time does not take off along with the Soviet army will be:
    • 1. Arrested and handed over to a military field trial if they have distinguished themselves by their especially wicked actions directed against Lithuania, the Lithuanian nation or an individual Lithuanian;
    • 2. Removed from Lithuania by force, and their property seized for the general purposes of the Lithuanian nation and state;
    • 3. Whosoever of the Jews should try to destroy or damage their property will be severely punished on the spot.

Lithuanian Activist Front’s SENIOR LEADERSHIP

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Kazys Škirpa imagined that the Nazi German air force could drop this and other leaflets at the start of the war and thus incite Lithuanians to rebel. He first proposed this on July 13, 1940 to Nazi party strategist Peter Kleist of Dienststelle von Ribbentrop. Škirpa includes “Raus die Juden aus Litauen” (Jews, get the hell out of Lithuania) as one of the proposed leaflets in his strategic plan which he submitted to Kurt Graebe of the Military High Command (OKW) on January 25, 1941. Bronys Raila wrote between 11 and 19 (“keliolika”) leaflets for Kazys Škirpa and this might well have been one of them. Kazys Škirpa submitted the completed leaflet on April 28 to OKW, on May 10 to Dienststelle von Ribbentrop, and on May 12 to Kurt Graebe. He also shared it with his fellow Lithuanian diplomats along with his letter to Stasys Lozoraitis (Rome, Italy) dated April 7, 1941, with a copy to Edvardas Turauskas (Bern, Switzerland), and a request that the latter acquaint Petras Klimas (Vichy, France), Jurgis Šaulys (Lugano, Switzerland) and Albertas Gerutis (Bern, Switzerland). Škirpa also shared their correspondence and documents in Berlin with Ernestas Galvanauskas, who the ambassadors settled on as the chairman of their Lithuanian National Committee.

After the war, he went to Paris and from there to Dublin where he taught Russian language at a University. It is unclear which one but it’s more then likely Trinity College because that is the only University in Dublin with a Russian department.

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 In 1949, he emigrated to the United States. He worked at the Library of Congress. In 1975 his memoir book about the 1941 independence movement was published. Originally interred in Washington, D.C., his remains were returned to Kaunas in June 1995, where he was reburied in Petrašiūnai Cemetery.

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References

http://defendinghistory.com/documents-which-argue-for-ethnic-cleansing-by-kazys-skirpa-stasys-rastikis-stasys-lozoraitis-and-petras-klimas-in-1940-1941-and-by-birute-terese-burauskaite-in-2015/78459

http://www.selflearners.net/wiki/Holocaust/Kazys%C5%A0kirpa

http://urm.lt/ie/en/news/address-by-his-excellency-vidmantas-purlys-at-the-commemoration-of-the-20th-anniversary-of-the-establishment-of-the-diplomatic-relations-between-ireland-and-lithuania-15-september-griffith-college-dublin

 

 

The assassination of Walter Guinness, 1st Baron Moyne.

Walter Edward Guinness, 1st Baron Moyne, DSO & Bar, PC (29 March 1880 – 6 November 1944) was an Anglo-Irish politician and businessman. He served as the British minister of state in the Middle East until November 1944, when he was assassinated by the Jewish terrorist group Lehi.

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The assassination of Lord Moyne sent shock waves through Palestine and the rest of the world.

Walter Guinness was born in Dublin, Ireland, the third son of the 1st Earl of Iveagh. His family homes were at Farmleigh near Dublin, and at Elveden in Suffolk.

At Eton, Guinness was elected head of ‘Pop’, the club for prefects, and was appointed Captain of Boats.

On 24 June 1903, he married Lady Evelyn Hilda Stuart Erskine (1883–1939),third daughter of Shipley Gordon Stuart Erskine, 14th Earl of Buchan. The Earls of Buchanwere an ancient family in the Scottish nobility. They had three children, Bryan (d.1992), Murtogh (d.2002) and Grania.

In the early afternoon of 6 November 1944, Eliyahu Bet-Zuri and Eliyahu Hakim of the Jewish militant group Lehi waited for Moyne near his home in Cairo following a well-planned and much practised plan of action to assassinate Moyne.

Moyne arrived in his car with his driver, Lance Corporal Arthur Fuller, his secretary, Dorothy Osmond, and his ADC, Major Andrew Hughes-Onslow. The ADC went to open the front door of the residence and the driver got out to open the door for Moyne. They were suddenly told not to move, as Bet-Zuri emerged and shot Fuller in the chest, causing him to collapse in the driveway and bleed to death in minutes. Hakim then pulled the car door open and shot Moyne three times. The first bullet hit him in the neck on the right side, just above the clavicle, the second penetrated his abdomen, punctured his colon and large intestine, and became embedded to the right of the second lumbar vertebrae, while the third shot, fired after Moyne raised his right hand, ripped across four of his fingers and went in and out of his chest, causing no serious injuries.

Hakim and Bet-Zuri ran out of the yard, jumped on their rented bicycles, and began pedaling down the street away from the scene. Major Hughes-Onslow rushed to the sentry box and raised the alarm. Hearing it, Hakim and Bet-Zuri turned onto a side street. They had very nearly gotten away when an Egyptian motorcycle policeman, El-Amin Mahomed Abdullah, caught up to them. Hakim and Bet-Zuri were determined not to injure any Egyptians in their operation, and so did not attempt to shoot him off his motorcycle. Rather, Bet-Zuri fired a volley of warning shots in his direction, which he ignored. Abdullah then dismounted and ordered him to drop his weapon. Bet-Zuri attempted to shoot out the motorcycle’s tires, but found that his pistol had run out of ammunition, and as he attempted to reload it, Abdullah fired, hitting Bet-Zuri in the chest. Hearing the commotion, Hakim turned back to help Bet-Zuri, and within minutes, another policeman appeared, and the two were placed under arrest.

Meanwhile, Moyne regained consciousness, and in a few minutes, a doctor and ambulance arrived. Moyne was rushed to a British military hospital in Cairo, and admitted at 1:40 p.m., in critical condition, having lost a great deal of blood through gross hemorrhaging and suffering from shock. Five minutes later, he was given the first of three blood transfusions, causing his condition to improve. After he complained of a burning sensation down his right leg and an inability to move it, X-rays revealed an injury to his thoracic vertebrae. Later, his right arm also became paralyzed as a result of the neck wound. Doctors were reluctant to operate until his condition improved, but at 5:30, a lumbar puncture revealed a blood stain, and it was decided to operate. He was given another blood transfusion, and in the operation that followed, surgeons removed the bullet lodged near the second lumbar vertebra and discovered the injuries to the colon and large intestine, while the neck wound and finger wounds were cleaned. Soon after the operation, his condition began to deteriorate, and he died at 8:40 pm, aged 64

As the principal witness at the trial, Major Hughes-Onslow became a marked man and was sent to Aden and then to Khartoum for his safety. He subsequently said, “No doubt Lord Moyne could have been regarded as a target for political assassination, but the shooting of the chauffeur was pure murder.”

Moyne’s body was flown home to England and cremated on 17 November at Golders Green Crematorium.

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According to Lehi leader Natan Yellin-Mor, the group’s founder Ya’ir Stern had considered the possibility of assassinating the British Minister Resident in the Middle East as early as 1941 before Moyne held the position.

Moyne’s predecessor Richard Casey was deemed unsuitable because he was Australian.When Moyne replaced Casey in 1944, planning for the operation began.

As well as being the highest British official within Lehi’s reach, Moyne was regarded as personally responsible for Britain’s Palestine policy. In particular, he was regarded as one of the architects of Britain’s strict immigration policy, and to have been responsible for the British hand in the Struma disaster,which followed a refusal to grant visas to Palestine for its Jewish refugee passengers, decided during his time as Colonial Secretary.According to Bell, Lord Moyne was known to the underground as an Arabist, who had consistently followed an anti-Zionist line.

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According to Yaakov Banai (Mazal), who served as the commander of the fighting unit of Lehi, there were three purposes in the assassination:

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  1. To show the world that this conflict was not between a government and its citizens as Britain had tried to show but between citizens and a foreign ruler.
  2. To demonstrate that the conflict was between the Jewish people and the British Imperialism.
  3. To take the “War of Liberation” out of the Land of Israel and the Yishuv. The trial was not planned, but the action had to capture a place in the world press and lead political thoughts.

Author James Barr suggests that a French intelligence initiative was behind Moyne’s murder, because of his support for the Greater Syria plan.

After the assassination, Lehi announced:

We accuse Lord Moyne and the government he represents, with murdering hundreds and thousands of our brethren; we accuse him of seizing our country and looting our possessions. We were forced to do justice and to fight.

Bet-Zuri and Hakim initially gave false names, but their true identities were soon discovered. They were tried in an Egyptian court.

Eventually, the Lehi members were found guilty and, on 18 January 1945, sentenced to death. Their appeals for clemency were dismissed, probably partly in response to pressure from Winston Churchill, who had been Moyne’s ally and close personal friend.They were hanged on 23 March 1945.