Having Sex with the Enemy.

This blog is not to judge the women who had sex with the Nazis during World War 2. It is just to highlight the fact that it did happen, not only in brothels, but that is where I will focus on in this blog.

I could have called the blog “Sleeping with the enemy” but lets be honest, there was very little sleeping involved.

The German generals realized they would never prevent their soldiers from having sex. Instead of trying to stop sexual activities, they decided to control them. So, the German army established a vast network of military brothels throughout the occupied territories.

The Germans operated over 500 military brothels during World War II. For example, Paris had nineteen brothels in the inner city alone. Over the course of the war, between 34,000 and 50,000 young girls and women were forced into prostitution. However there were women who worked as prostitutes and some of them were happy enough to entertain the German troops and Nazis. Not all women who engaged in sexual contact with the Nazis were prostitutes either.

On June 25th, 1940, the Battle of France was over. The country had fallen to the German invader in a matter of six weeks. What ensued was a four-year-long period of occupation, a formation of a puppet state in the southern part of the country, and an army in exile, struggling to once again see the shores of its homeland.

Despite the fact that there was a foreign occupying force present, however, life in France continued – or at least tried to continue – as usual. The famous Parisian cafés and cinémas were now open to German soldiers that were taking leave from the frontline, as well as those stationed in France. The notorious nightlife of which they had heard so much about before the war, with its brothels and clubs running all night, now seemed to be within their conquering grasp.

But what interested the young German soldiers and officers the most were the beautiful and glamorous French girls. Since many of them seemed to show as much affection for the dashing Hugo-Boss-uniform-wearing invaders as any other man, a number of relationships developed all over the occupied area of the country, as well as in Vichy France, which was under de facto German control.

The Wehrmacht was able to establish a thoroughly bureaucratic system of around 100 new brothels already before 1942, based on an existing system of government-controlled ones.The soldiers were given official visitation cards issued by Oberkommando des Heeres and were prohibited from engaging in sexual contact with other French women. In September 1941, Field Marshal von Brauchitsch suggested that weekly visits for all younger soldiers be considered mandatory to prevent “sexual excesses” among them. The prostitutes had a scheduled medical check-up to slow the spread of venereal diseases.

Of course the evilness of the Nazis also came through in establishing these brothels. This one was set up in Brest, France. The Nazis converted this former synagogue into a brothel.

Another reason to set up brothels was obsessive homophobia. In the minds of the Nazis, the lack of sex with women would lead to homosexuality among men. If soldiers visited prostitutes, this would deter them from becoming homosexual.

Of course this wasn’t only the case but in most of the occupied territories, but France had the most brothels. The always had a more relaxed attitude towards sex

As I stated at the start I am judging the women. Sex is a powerful human instinct. In retrospect we can all judge, but some of these women had to look after families, and this was the only way they knew they could earn money.

Many of them paid a hefty price after the war.

sources

https://historyofyesterday.com/the-disgusting-nazi-military-brothels-of-world-war-ii-fd3ef19117e1

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Fashion and Fascism

The English Rock Band, The Kinks once sang “He is a dedicated follower of Fashion” I can assure you , I am not that. However there are so many people who work in the fashion industry, be it as designers, manufactures or models, who often don’t know the history of the brands they represent. On the other hand there are people who buy a fashion item, regardless what price tag is on it, just because of the brand name not realizing how that particular brand got where it is now. If people really knew, or cared, they would pay a lot less for these fashionable items. Often the brand was boosted on the backs and lives of others.

There have been several Fashion house who were in bed with the Nazi regime, all over Europe, but especially in France. I will only focus on a few.

The picture on top is of Renee Puissant, daughter of Jewish parents Alfred van Cleef and Esther Arpels, made her way to the Nazi-backed Vichy regime in the south of France to operate the Van Cleef & Arpels boutique there, only to commit suicide by throwing herself out of a third-floor window when she understood the law requiring all Jews to wear a yellow star would apply to her, too. Her suicide was beneficial to the Louis Vuitton fashion house. The sad thing is that there is hardly any mention of her suicide.

During World War II, Louis Vuitton collaborated with the Nazis during the German occupation of France. The French book Louis Vuitton, A French Saga, authored by French journalist Stephanie Bonvicini and published by Paris-based Editions Fayard[15] tells how members of the Vuitton family actively aided the Vichy government led by Marshal Philippe Pétain and increased their wealth from their business affairs with the Germans. The family set up a factory dedicated to producing artefacts glorifying Pétain, including more than 2,500 busts.

From historical archives she discovered that Louis Vuitton had a store on the ground floor of a fabulous property, the Hotel du Parc, in Vichy where Pétain set up his puppet government. While the other shopkeepers, including the jewellers Van Cleef & Arpels, were shut down, Vuitton was the only one allowed to stay.

Bonvicini says she talked to surviving family members and found that Vuitton’s grandson, Gaston, the wartime head of the company, had instructed his eldest son, Henry, to forge links with the Pétain regime to keep the business going.

Henry, a regular at the local cafe frequented by the Gestapo, was one of the first Frenchmen to be decorated by the Nazi-backed government for his loyalty and his efforts for the regime.

But the most damaging allegation is that the family set up a factory dedicated to producing artefacts glorifying Pétain, including more than 2,500 busts, a fact not mentioned in any of its business records.

Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel was the top of the league when it came to haute couture ,she created the look of the modern woman. By the 1920s she had amassed a fortune and went on to create an empire. But her life from 1941 to 1954 has long been shrouded in rumor and mystery, never clarified by Chanel or her many biographers. Historian Hal Vaughan exposesd the truth of her wartime collaboration and her long affair with the playboy Baron Hans Günther von Dincklage—who ran a spy ring and reported directly to Goebbels. Vaughan pieced together how Chanel became a Nazi agent, how she escaped arrest after the war and joined her lover in exile in Switzerland, and how—despite suspicions about her past—she was able to return to Paris at age seventy and rebuild the iconic House of Chanel.

So next time when you put that bottle of Chanel No 5, back in your Louis Vuitton handbag, just think of the history of those 2 items.

sources

https://www.vogue.co.uk/article/vuittons-nazi-past

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2004/jun/03/france.secondworldwar

https://www.capital.fr/economie-politique/renee-rachel-puissant-1896-1942-son-audace-et-son-flair-ont-illumine-van-cleef-arpels-1099242

https://www.timesofisrael.com/the-women-in-wwii-paris-who-did-what-they-had-to-for-survival/

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Vel’ d’Hiv-July 16-17 1942-Round up of the French Jews.

It always amazes me how easy it was for some Europeans to give up their Jewish neighbours. I know it is easy for me to say that in retrospect, because I don’t know how I would have reacted if I was put in that situation. But I have a feeling I would have least spoken out about it.

In the Netherlands 75% of all Dutch Jews, or Jews residing in the Netherlands were murdered during the Holocaust. It wasn’t so much that all Dutch were complicit in this crime. A big factor was the very efficient Dutch civil administration which enabled the occupiers to carry out their plans for the final solution. As I stated before only relatively few Dutch were complicit, but there were a great number that were complacent and hid for the facts that were so plain to see.

In France however, it was the French Vichy government that were complicit and were quite happy and eager to help the Nazi occupiers.

I remember a scene in the movie “Mr. Klein” about a man profiting off the misfortune of French Jews during World War II. In the scene it was the French police knocking at the door of the Jews and not the Gestapo. Although the film is fictional, it does give a good indication of the French attitude towards their Jewish neighbours. This 1976 film directed by Joseph Losey. Alain Delon plays the immoral art dealer, Robert Klein, leads a life of luxury, until a copy of a Jewish newspaper brings him to the attention of the police, linking him with a mysterious doppelgänger.

On July 16th 1942, French police acting on orders of the Nazi occupiers began rounding up thousands of Jews living in Paris. They were assembled at the city’s indoor velodrome the victims were held at the Vélodrome d’Hiver, cycling stadium in Paris’s 15th arrondissement. From there they were being deported to Auschwitz. Many died at the velodrome itself, left in searing heat with almost no food, water or sanitation. This shameful chapter in France’s history is known as “la rafle du Vel d’Hiv'”. The French police, code named the round up Opération Vent printanier (“Operation Spring Breeze”)

The roundup was one of several aimed at eradicating the Jewish population in France, both in the occupied zone and in the free zone. According to records of the Préfecture de Police, eventually 13,152 Jews were arrested including more than 4,000 children. They were all put in rail cattle cars to be deported to Auschwitz for their mass murder.

Over 3,000 children remained interned orphaned, until they were deported to Auschwitz as well.

Many wartime French authorities and police played an active role in the deportations, but one Paris policeman, Théophile Larue, took a stand. He warned his Jewish neighbors, the Lictensztajns, of the upcoming “Vél d’Hiv” roundup. He arranged for the family to escape to southern France and obtain false papers. The Lictensztajns were saved by one man who made a choice to uphold his position to protect all citizens, but unfortunately, not all French Policemen took that position.

Théophile Larue didn’t save only the Lictensztajn.

In March 1941, the Larue and his wife Madeleine offered their hospitality to Léon Osman, who thus managed to avoid being sent to the Pithiviers camp. He remained under their care until July 1942, when he was able to escape to the south of France. Osman was on the Gestapo’s list of wanted people; giving shelter to such a person was a grave offense and carried a heavy punishment.
On July 15 1942, Larue gave advanced warning of the planned large-scale roundup of Jews that was to start the next day to eight Jewish families who lived in his building, thus allowing them a chance to flee and find refuge.
The Larue couple sheltered Chuma Brand, and her daughter Fanny in their apartment for a week, in July 1942. Then Théophile accompanied them to the train station in his uniform so as to facilitate their flight to the unoccupied zone. In November 1942, Simon Glicensztajn, also on the Gestapo’s list, found refuge in the Larues’ home for a few days. Moreover, one night, Larue broke in to the police-sealed apartment of Glicensztajn’s sister, Laja Tobjasz, to help remove a stock of merchandise that would provide the family with a livelihood.
Once, when Mrs. Tobjasz returned to Paris from southern France, she was arrested and taken to the prefecture. When Larue heard this, he donned his uniform, went to the prefecture and asked to speak to the prefect.

He said that Mrs. Tobjasz was Catholic and his daughter’s godmother. Although skeptical, the prefect must have had a change of heart, because he released her into Larue’s custody. Théophile Larue believed that it was his duty as a man of honor, and one who had respect for human values to help people in need, even at the risk of putting his family in harm’s way. As a member of the French Resistance, Officer Larue took part in the battle for theliberation of Paris. After the liberation, the Larues continued to be in touch with the families of those they rescued. On September 23, 2007, Yad Vashem recognized Théophile and Madeleine Larue as Righteous Among the Nations.

German authorities continued the deportations of Jews from French soil until August 1944. In all, some 77,000 Jews living on French territory were murdered in concentration camps and killing centers—the overwhelming majority of them at Auschwitz.

For his pivotal part in the deportation of Jews from France, Pierre Laval, formerly the French Prime Minister, was arrested and tried after the liberation of France. He was shot by firing squad on 15 October 1945.

The fate of two German officials most involved in the Vél d’Hiv mirrored the common fates of high-ranking SS administrators. Theodor Dannecker was arrested by American officials in Bad Tölz, Bavaria, in December 1945, and committed suicide while in custody. Helmut Knochen, sentenced by a British court to 21 years in prison for a separate offense, was sentenced to death by a French court in 1954. The sentence was commuted to life imprisonment, and Knochen was released on orders of French President Charles de Gaulle in November 1962.

sources

https://www.france24.com/en/focus/20140716-france-vel-hiv-roundup-jews-nazi-death-camps-deportation-survivor

https://apnews.com/article/9603cd8d7461de30c1fe5c192b14c98c

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/the-velodrome-dhiver-vel-dhiv-roundup

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/photo/theophile-larue?parent=en%2F11768

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Happy Birthday Bikini

There are very few items of fashion that please both women and men. The Bikini would be one of them, women like to wear them and men like to look at them, although nowadays some men wear them too, why? I do not know.

The bikini was born at a Paris poolside photo shoot on July 5, 1946, a week before Bastille Day and in the midst a global textile shortage. The designer, former automobile engineer Louis Réard, hired the only model willing to expose so much model, a 19-year-old nude dancer from the Casino de Paris named Micheline Bernardini. She put on the four small patches he had strung together and showed the fashion world the female belly button.

Benardini agreed to model, on 5 July 1946, Louis Réard’s two-piece swimsuit, which he called the bikini, named four days after the first test of an American nuclear weapon at the Bikini Atoll.

However Réard’s bikini was not the first 2 piece bathing outfit . For that we have to go back to about 5800 bc.

In the Chalcolithic era, the mother-goddess of Çatalhöyük, a large ancient settlement in southern Anatolia, was depicted astride two leopards while wearing a bikini-like costumes Two-piece garments worn by women for athletic purposes are depicted on Greek urns and paintings dating back to 1400 BC.[ Active women of ancient Greece wore a breastband called a mastodeton or an apodesmos, which continued to be used as an undergarment in the Middle Ages. While men in ancient Greece abandoned the perizoma, partly high-cut briefs and partly loincloth, women performers and acrobats continued to wear it.

In Coronation of the Winner, a mosaic in the floor of a Roman villa in Sicily that dates from the Diocletian period (286–305 AD), young women participate in weightlifting, discus throwing, and running ball games dressed in bikini-like garments.

Even in the modern era that there had been two piece swimsuits. Actresses like Jayne Mansfield had been wearing two-piece bathing suits, But never with the navel showing. That was deemed to be scandalous .

Bernardini modeled the bikini on July 5 at the Piscine Molitor. The bikini was a hit, especially among men, and Bernardini received some 50,000 fan letters.

Before long, bold young women in bikinis were causing a sensation along the Mediterranean coast. Spain and Italy passed measures prohibiting bikinis on public beaches but later capitulated to the changing times when the swimsuit grew into a mainstay of European beaches in the 1950s. Réard’s business soared, and in advertisements he kept the bikini mystique alive by declaring that a two-piece suit wasn’t a genuine bikini “unless it could be pulled through a wedding ring.”

The bikini has spawned many stylistic variations. For example the Monokini.

A monokini, more commonly referred to as a topless swimsuit and sometimes referred to as a unikini, is a women’s one-piece swimsuit equivalent to the lower half of a bikini.

In 1964, Rudi Gernreich, an Austrian fashion designer, designed the original monokini in the US. Gernreich also invented its name, and the word monokini is first recorded in English that year.

Despite the bikini’s initial success in France, worldwide women still stuck to traditional one-piece swimsuits. Below a picture of an Italian police officer issuing a woman a ticket for wearing a bikini on an Italian beach, 1957.

The bikini was banned from beaches and public places on the French Atlantic coastline, Spain, Italy, Portugal, and Australia, and was prohibited or discouraged in a number of US states.

The Vatican declared it sinful. The United States Motion Picture Production Code, also known as the Hays Code, enforced from 1934, allowed two-piece gowns but prohibited the display of navels in Hollywood films.

Increasingly common glamour shots of popular actresses and models on either side of the Atlantic played a large part in bringing the bikini into the mainstream. During the 1950s, Hollywood stars such as Ava Gardner, Rita Hayworth, Lana Turner, Elizabeth Taylor, Tina Louise, Marilyn Monroe, Esther Williams, and Betty Grable took advantage of the risqué publicity associated with the bikini by posing for photographs wearing them—pin-ups of Hayworth and Williams in costume were especially widely distributed in the United States.

By the end of the 20th century, the bikini had become the most popular beachwear around the globe.

Now that bikinis have become a normal part of summer wardrobes, we have to tackle the next discussion of who is “allowed” to wear them. An international conversation has been taking place over the internet and within the fashion industry surrounding inclusivity and representation of all bodies, not just some. In my humble opinion women should be allowed what they want to wear whatever it is. However I still have issues with man wearing bikini type of fashion garments. the so called ‘mankini’ made popular by Borat.

Who would have ever imagined though, that something so destructive as an atom bomb would become the inspiration of something so beautiful as the bikini.

sources

https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/bikini-introduced

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/retropolis/wp/2018/07/05/a-scandalous-two-piece-history-of-the-bikini/

https://www.thegoodtrade.com/features/history-of-the-bikini

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bikini

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monokini

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Dagobert Stibbe- Not just a name or statistic, but a Human Being.

Dagobert Stibbe was born in Amsterdam, 13 October 1918. He was murdered in Auschwitz, 23 June 1943.

He was a student at the Technische Hogeschool(Technical University)Delft. He tried to escape to Switzerland, but this failed. He was caught on 2 June 1943 just 15 meters away from French-Swiss border. He was sent to the transit camp Drancy in France From there he was deported to the ‘Aussenkommando Jawischowitz’, that was part of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp.

There he had to work in a coal mine. His last letter was sent on June 18,1943.

But he was not just a victim of the Holocaust. He was also a student, a son, a friend. A Human Being who contributed to society. A young man who still had a life to live.

His fellow students from the Lyceum in Amsterdam, where he as a student in 1935, were very fond of him. He was described as a spontaneous, lively young man. He played the accordion, and his awkwardness endeared him to the people around him. His honesty and his bravery to stand up for his convictions made him stand out. He was overall a fun guy to be around.

His fellow students were so fond of him that they couldn’t bother finding out the actual date he died. In a memorial piece about him they said that he died after July in the coal mine. The memorial was posted in 1947, 2 years after the war. However in their defense the date of June 23, appears to be an estimate. On his death certificate the date is given between June 23,1943 and May 1, 1945.

I often see these types of memorials of victims of the Holocaust, written or compiled by friends or colleagues. But to me they really are quite hollow. I don’t want to be judgmental, but what did they do to help the victims?

I know it is easy for me to say because I was never put in that situation, but I would hope I would at least have some level of bravery, even if it was to speak out.

Sources

https://www.oorlogslevens.nl/tijdlijn/Dagobert-Stibbe/02/148282

https://www.wiewaswie.nl/nl/detail/85029256

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/149814/dagobert-stibbe

https://www.geni.com/people/Dagobert-Stibbe/6000000000351944519

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Happy Birthday Charles Aznavour-Not just a singer.

Charles Aznavour born Shahnour Vaghinag Aznavourian, on 22 May 1924, he was a French-Armenian singer, lyricist, actor and diplomat. Aznavour was known for his distinctive tenor voice:, clear and ringing in its upper reaches, with gravelly and profound low notes. In a career as a composer, singer and songwriter, spanning over 70 years, he recorded more than 1,200 songs interpreted in 9 languages. Moreover, he wrote or co-wrote more than 1,000 songs for himself and others. If that wasn’t enough there is a lot more to the man.

Aznavour was born at the clinic Tarnier at 89, rue d’Assas in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, 6th arrondissement of Paris, into a family of artists living on rue Monsieur-le-Prince. His parents were Armenian immigrants Michael (Misha) Aznavourian was born in present-day Akhaltsikhe, Georgia,and his mother Knar Baghdasarian, was an Armenian Genocide survivor from Adapazarı (in present-day Sakarya, Turkey).His grandfather was a cook of Tsar Nicholas II. Charles’s father sang in restaurants in France before establishing a restaurant specialising in food from the Caucasus called Le Caucase. Charles’s parents introduced him to performing at an early age, and he dropped out of school at an early age , and took the stage name “Aznavour”.

His parents fled to France to escape the massacres that more than 20 countries have recognized as a genocide, a charge strongly denied by Turkey.

During the German occupation of France during World War II, Aznavour and his family hid a number of people who were persecuted by the Nazis, while Charles and his sister Aida were involved in rescue activities.

When the Resistance gained momentum in Nazi occupied Paris, the Germans got even more enraged and ruthless. Gestapo tightened its grip on searches and tortures day by day. It was under these conditions that Misha Aznavour, Charles Aznavour’s father, volunteered with the Armenian resistance with great risk to his own life and that of his family.

During an interview Charles once said : “Armenian peddlers, including my father, looked after the stalls of the Jews after they were arrested in the mass deportation of Parisian Jews [“the roundup”] in July 1942. So taking in and hiding Jews in our home during the war was a very natural thing for us to do: they were our neighbors and friends,” he adds. “We had a life together. We were there for them and they were there for us. We had to try to help them, just as it was natural for us to try and help the Armenians who were drafted into the German army and deserted.”

The two Aznavour children, Charles and Aida , who were 16 and 17 at the start of the German occupation in 1940, pitched in to help, not knowing then that they would go on offering shelter to strangers. But then a woman came to the family, asking them to hide her Jewish husband, whose name was Simon. He had escaped from the Drancy internment camp, where the Jews of Paris were sent before being sent to the concentration camps outside of France. For a while, the family also sheltered another Jew, and later on their apartment also served as a hideout for Armenians who’d deserted after being forcibly drafted into the Germany army. Charles and his sister Aida recall that at one stage there were 11 refugees who were all hiding in the family’s apartment simultaneously. They hid in different corners of the house, and at night had to sleep on the floor.

The family prepared false papers for them, and one of the tasks assigned to the two children was to burn the deserters’ German uniforms and dispose of them far from the house.

On October 26,2017 Charles and Aida were given the Raoul Wallenberg Medal , for their family’s efforts to protect Jews and others persecuted by the Nazis during World War II. They received the honor from President Reuven Rivlin, who spoke of his love of Aznavour’s music, saying “La Boheme” was his favorite song.

In 2011 Aznavour released a song with the title “J’ai connu”

“I knew the chains/I knew the wound/I knew the hate/I knew the hurt/ the thirst and hunger/I knew the fear/from one day to the next.”

The song is told from a perspective of a Jewish victim in the concentration camps.

Charles Aznavour died on 1 October 2018, aged 94. I think it is safe to say that he lived a full life.

While doing the research for this blog I was struggling to find a song to finish up with. I was torn between “She” and “Dance in the old fashioned way” I chose the latter.

sources

https://www.aish.com/ci/s/Charles-Aznavour-and-His-Family-Saved-Jews-during-the-Holocaust.html

https://en.aznavourfoundation.org/details-aznavours+in+wwii-222.html

https://www.timesofisrael.com/legendary-singer-aznavour-given-award-for-family-efforts-to-save-jews-in-wwii/

https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/culture/.premium-aznavour-sings-praises-of-his-family-who-saved-jews-during-war-1.5381024

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Aznavour#Death_and_funeral

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Josephine Baker- Not just a sex icon but also a WWII hero.

Josephine Baker is mainly remembered for her erotic and provocative dances, vaudeville routines, and appearances in films. However her efforts to fight the tyranny of Fascism have received very little attention.

She was born as Freda Josephine McDonald in St. Louis, Missouri. Her mother, Carrie, was adopted in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1886 by Richard and Elvira McDonald, both of whom were former slaves of African and Native American descent. Her career began with blackface comedy at local clubs. her mother did not approve of this type of “entertainment” .But it was because of these performances Josephine had an opportunity to tour in Paris, which would become the place she called home until her final days.

Her performance in the revue Un vent de folie in 1927 caused a sensation in the city. Her costume, consisting of only a short skirt of artificial bananas and a beaded necklace, became an iconic image and a symbol both of the Jazz Age and the Roaring Twenties.

When the German army invaded France during World War II, Baker joined the fight against the Nazi regime.

Baker left Paris and went to the Château des Milandes, her home in the south of France. She had been approached by Jacques Abtey, the head of French counter-military intelligence. Abtey was recruiting people for espionage duties.

Josephine was an ideal candidate for this work, as her celebrity allowed her to move easily between countries and offered her enhanced protection. When Abtey approached Josephine to see if she would take the risk and join the resistance, she told him. “France made me what I am. I will be grateful forever. The people of Paris have given me everything… I am ready, captain, to give them my life. You can use me as you wish.” . Being able to travel to neutral nations such as Portugal, as well as some in South America. She could carry information for transmission to England, about airfields, harbors, and German troop concentrations in the West of France.

She housed people who were eager to help the Free French effort led by Charles de Gaulle and supplied them with visas. She aided French military officials by passing on secrets she heard while performing in front of the enemy. The Nazis found out of the resistance activity happening at Josephine’s chateau, and went to the estate. Josephine had been hiding several resistance fighters at the time of the visit. She successfully charmed the Nazis when they questioned her, but the visit had become a bit too close for comfort and she took the close encounter as a sign that it was time to leave France. Abtey contacted General Charles de Gaulle, who instructed both Abtey and Baker to travel to London via Lisbon.Between them, the pair carried over 50 classified documents and secret intelligence. Josephine carried hers by writing the information down in invisible ink on her sheet music.

After D-Day and the liberation of Paris, Josephine returned to her adopted Paris wearing a military uniform. She quickly took note of the terrible conditions many French people endured after the Nazi occupation. She sold pieces of jewelry and other valuables to raise money to buy food and coal for the poor citizens of Paris. Following Germany’s surrender in 1945, General de Gaulle awarded Josephine the Croix de Guerre and the Rosette de la Résistance. He also named her a Chevalier de Légion d’honneur, the highest order of merit for military and civil action.

A few years after the war she returned to the USA. Ironically she regularly received less respect at home then she did from the Nazis. Baker had to confront segregation and discrimination which she had not experienced since she was a child in St. Louis. She often refused to perform to segregated audiences, which usually forced club owners to integrate for her shows. For this she would often received threatening phone calls from the KKK.

In her later years, Baker converted to Roman Catholicism. She lost her castle due to unpaid debts. Grace Kelly aka Princess Grace offered her an apartment in Roquebrune, not too far away Monaco.[

Baker was back performing at the Olympia in Paris in 1968, in Belgrade and at Carnegie Hall in 1973, and at the Royal Variety Performance at the London Palladium and at the Gala du Cirque in Paris in 1974. On 8 April 1975, Baker starred in a retrospective revue at the Bobino in Paris, Joséphine à Bobino 1975, celebrating her 50th anniversary in show business. The revue, paid for by notably by Prince Rainier, Princess Grace, and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, opened to rave reviews. The demand for seating was such that foldable chairs had to be added to seat all attendees . The opening night audience included Sophia Loren, Mick Jagger, Shirley Bassey, Diana Ross, and Liza Minnelli.

On April 12, 1975 , Josephine Baker was found peacefully in her bed around her were newspapers with glowing reviews of her performance. She was in a coma after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage. She was taken to Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, she died there the same day , aged 68.

She was a beautiful woman in every sense of the word.

Donation

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sources

https://www.nationalww2museum.org/war/articles/siren-resistance-artistry-and-espionage-josephine-baker

https://www.womenshistory.org/education-resources/biographies/josephine-baker

https://www.history.com/news/josephine-baker-world-war-ii-spy

Happy Birthday Marcel Marceau

I did do a blog on Marcel Marceau about 2 years ago but he would have been 97 today. Therefore I thought it to be appropriate to do another tribute to this silent Hero.

He survived the Nazi occupation, and saved many children in WWII. He was regarded for his peerless style pantomime, moving audiences without uttering a single word, and was known to the World as a “master of silence.”

Marcel Marceau was born Marcel Mangel in Strasbourg, France, to a Jewish family. His father, Charles Mangel, was a kosher butcher originally from Będzin, Poland. His mother, Anne Werzberg, came from Yabluniv, present-day Ukraine.

At the beginning of the Second World War, he had to hide his Jewish origin and changed his name to Marceau, when his Jewish family was forced to flee their home. His father was deported to Auschwitz, where he was murdered in 1944. Both Marceau and his brother, Alain, were in the French resistance helping children to escape to safety in neutral Switzerland. Then Marceau served as interpreter for the Free French Forces under General Charles de Gaulle, acting as liaison officer with the allied armies.

He gave his first major performance to 3,000 troops after the liberation of Paris in August 1944.

In 1947 Marceau created the character Bip the Clown, whom he first played at the Théâtre de Poche (Pocket Theatre) in Paris. In his appearance he wore a striped pullover and a battered, be-flowered silk opera hat. The outfit signified life’s fragility and Bip became his alter ego.

He died on September 22,2007 . A silent Hero who should never beforgotten.

Source

https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0545131/bio

15 Month enemy of the state

Martine

I wish I could explain why this 15 month old girl was an enemy of the state, but I can’t

I wish I cold explain why this 15 month girl was an enemy of the French state ,but I can’t.

I wish I could explain why this 15 month old girl was an enemy of the French state controlled by a Nazi regime, but I can’t

I wish I could explain why this 15 month old girl was an enemy of the French state, controlled by a Nazi regime and accommodated by French politicians, but I can’t

I wish I could explain why this 15 month old girl was an enemy of the state, and although she was an enemy she survived, but I can’t because she didn’t.

I wish I could explain why this 15 month old girl was an enemy of the state and was taken from her birthplace Lyon and transported to Auschwitz, but I can’t

I wish I could explain why this 15 month old girl was an enemy of the state and was murdered in the gas chambers in Auschwitz, but I can’t.

What I can say is that her name is Martine Polack, born 29 October 1942,Lyon France.Murdered on February 3, 1944, Auschwitz,Poland.

 

 

 

 

Only 11

Helene

Helene Wegbrejt it is just a random name

She lived in Paris. She was French and Jewish.  Her birthday was September 16,1930. She would have been 89 today,but she didn’t even get to age 12. She was murdered in August 1942 in Auschwitz.

She was one of many on Transport 20 from Pithiviers to Auschwitz which left on August 17, 1942.

Helene Wegbrejt just a random name but not a random girl. She was a young lady who had a bright future ahead of her as an actress or teacher or just a mother and home maker but she was not allowed to become any of this.

Her murder may have seen random but it was not, It was a deliberate plan to erase a group of people who did not fit in the warped Nazi ideology.

Helene Wegbrejt was only 11 when she died.

Seeing this beautiful child all dressed up which such a pride in her expression and a lovely smile just breaks my heart, to think that she could have been considered a threat. It just sickens me to the core.