Fatebenefratelli Hospital & Syndrome K.

Initially Italy was an ally of Germany and the other axis powers. during World War 2.

By 1943, Italy’s military position had become untenable. Axis forces in North Africa were finally defeated in the Tunisia Campaign in early 1943. Italy suffered major setbacks on the Eastern Front as well. The Allied invasion of Sicily brought the war to the nation’s very doorstep. The Italian home front was also in bad shape as the Allied bombings were taking their toll. Factories all over Italy were brought to a virtual standstill because raw materials, such as coal and oil, were lacking. Additionally, there was a chronic shortage of food, and what food was available was being sold at nearly confiscatory prices. Mussolini’s once-ubiquitous propaganda machine lost its grip on the people; a large number of Italians turned to Vatican Radio or Radio London for more accurate news coverage.

In July 1943, Allied troops landed in Sicily. Mussolini was overthrown and imprisoned by his former colleagues in the Fascist government. The Italian king replaced Mussolini as prime minister with Marshal Pietro Badoglio.

On September 8, 1943, Badoglio announced Italy’s unconditional surrender to the Allies. The Germans, who had grown suspicious of Italian intentions, quickly occupied northern and central Italy.

The 450-year-old Fatebenefratelli Hospital which is situated on a tiny island in the middle of Rome’s Tiber River, just across from the Jewish Ghetto. When Nazis raided the area on Oct. 16, 1943, a handful of Jews fled to the Catholic hospital, where they were quickly given case files reading “Syndrome K.”

The name Syndrome K came from Dr. Adriano Ossicini, an anti-Fascist physician working at the hospital who knew they needed a way for the staff to differentiate which people were actually patients and which were Jews in hiding. Inventing a fake disease cut out all the confusion, when a doctor came in with a “Syndrome K” patient, everyone working there knew which steps to take. “Syndrome K was put on patient papers to indicate that the sick person wasn’t sick at all, but Jewish.

The name Syndrome K not only alerted hospital staff that the “patients” were actually Jewish refugees in good health but also served as a jab to their oppressors, specifically, Albert Kesselring and Herbert Kappler. Kesselring was a Nazi defensive strategist and the commander responsible for the Italian occupation, while Kappler was an SS colonel.

Hidden away in a separate ward of the facility, those “infected” with Syndrome K were instructed to cough and act sick in front of Nazi soldiers as they investigated Fatebenefratelli. The patients were said to be highly contagious, deterring Nazi officials from coming anywhere near the quarters they were being kept in. Nazi officials became terrified of contracting the mysterious illness, steering clear at all costs.

Credited mainly to doctors Sacerdoti, Borromeo, and Ossicini, the operation was only made possible with the help of the entire staff, who played along with the plan, knowing exactly what to do when confronted with an incoming patient diagnosed with Syndrome K..

“The Nazis thought it was cancer or tuberculosis, and they fled like rabbits,” Vittorio Sacerdoti, a Jewish doctor working at the hospital under a false name, told the BBC in 2004. Another doctor orchestrating the life-saving lie was surgeon Giovani Borromeo.

Initially, the hospital was used as a hospice on the premises of the San Giovanni Calibita Church. Later, it was expanded into a modern hospital by Dr. Giovanni Borromeo, who joined in 1934, with the help of Father Maurizio Bialek.

Besides Fr. Maurizio and Borromeo, other doctors on staff assisted the Jewish patients and helped to move them to safer hideouts outside the hospital. In May 1944, the hospital was raided and five Jews from Poland were detained. However, the ruse saved dozens of lives.

Fr. Maurizio and Borromeo also installed an illegal radio transmitter in the hospital basement and made contact with General Roberto Lordi of the Italian Royal Air Force. After World War II, Borromeo was lauded by Government of Italy for his work and was recognized as a Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem. He died in the hospital on 24 August 1961.

If only one person in the Hospital, be it patient or staff, had reported it to the Nazis, then without a shadow of a doubt, all of them would have been killed.

The combined efforts of Sacerdoti, Borromeo, Ossicini, and the entire hospital staff were only revealed 60 years later, and Borromeo specifically was recognized by the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in October 2004, not only for his work with Syndrome K, but for transferring Jewish patients to the hospital from the ghetto long before the occupation of the Nazis.

The Fatebenefratelli Hospital was recognized as a shelter for victims of Nazi persecution, and was named a “House of Life” in June, 2016. The ceremony was attended by Ossicini, 96-years-old at the time, along with some of the very people that his heroic efforts had helped save six decades before.

Fatebenefratelli survivors embrace during a reunion at the hospital on June 21, 2016

Sources

https://qz.com/724169/an-italian-doctor-explains-syndrome-k-the-fake-disease-he-invented-to-save-jews-from-the-nazis/

https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/93650/syndrome-k-fake-disease-fooled-nazis-and-saved-lives

https://allthatsinteresting.com/syndrome-k

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May 4 Remembering the dead

May 4 is the designated day in the Netherlands to remember all those who died in WWII and other conflicts.

At 8PM , 2 minutes of silence will be observed across the country. A few yeas ago I saw a picture that really touched me , It was of a pizza delivery boy getting of his bike at 8 and stopped 2 minutes to remember the dead. It still brings tears to me eyes today, not out of sadness but out of joy. It is good to know that the younger generations still know the value of respect. Especially for those who died for them as they did for me.

So many have died, in concentration camps, in battle in Europe and in the pacific, resistance fighters there are just too many to name. It is a task impossible for any one person to do.

I will remember all those millions who died during WWII. They died because of some evil men wanted their ideologies spread all over the world. I say ideologies but they were really idiocrasies.

I will remember them via a few names of brave men who are buried in ‘The Netherlands American Cemetery’ in Margraten.

10,022 names are connected to the cemetery. 8301 who are buried there, the other names are of those who are remembered and whose bodies weren’t found or were returned home. There is one name there that is special to me, Pierre de Klein, my dad. He did not die in WWII, he died in 2015 but he always had wanted to be a professional soldier. He did fulfill his military service, but his mother discouraged him of becoming a full time soldier like his Father before him, his Father was killed in WWII when my dad was only 5. The management of The Netherlands American Cemetery were so kind to allow his to scatter my Father’s ashes at the Cemetery making his remains to be 8302.

Remembering.

Aldy Willie D. Technician Fourth Grade 34139177 U.S. Army World War II Netherlands American Cemetery Mississippi 10th Tank Battalion, 5th Armored Division.

Alston Tullos Private 38416283 U.S. Army World War II Netherlands American Cemetery Texas 2nd Quartermaster Battalion

Zuidema John A. Technical Sergeant 36704981 U.S. Army World War II Netherlands American Cemetery Illinois 120th Infantry Regiment, 30th Infantry Division

Youngblood Eugene P. Corporal 35600074 U.S. Army Air Forces World War II Netherlands American Cemetery Ohio 316th Fighter Control Squadron

Wright Richard D. Second Lieutenant O-808209 U.S. Army Air Forces World War II Netherlands American Cemetery Massachusetts 367th Bomber Squadron, 306th Bomber Group, Heavy

Wright Richard J. Second Lieutenant O2060633 U.S. Army Air Forces World War II Netherlands American Cemetery Michigan 78th Squadron, 435th Troop Carrier Group

Winters Clinton First Lieutenant O-751514 U.S. Army Air Forces World War II Netherlands American Cemetery Missouri 506th Fighter Squadron, 404th Fighter Group

Winton Merbell C. Technician Fifth Grade 12034147 U.S. Army World War II Netherlands American Cemetery New Jersey 309th Infantry Regiment, 78th Infantry Division

Winzey Patrick M. Staff Sergeant 32983248 U.S. Army Air Forces World War II Netherlands American Cemetery New York 615th Bomber Squadron, 401st Bomber Group, Heavy

Alexander George S. Second Lieutenant O-869037 U.S. Army Air Forces World War II Netherlands American Cemetery Texas 714th Bomber Squadron, 448th Bomber Group, Heavy

Alexander Harry N. First Lieutenant O-767721 U.S. Army Air Forces World War II Netherlands American Cemetery California 566th Bomber Squadron, 389th Bomber Group, Heavy

They gave their today for our tomorrow.

Our tomorrow was sacred to them.

They gave their today for our tomorrow..

Sacrificing their own lives for those they would never meet.

They gave their today for our tomorrow..

A tomorrow which we should cherish even more.

They gave their today for our tomorrow.

Their bravery should forever be remembered and ingrained in our hearts.

They gave their today for our tomorrow.

To those who gave their today for my tomorrow, I bow humbly and respectfully and hope I was worth your sacrifice.

SOURCE

https://www.abmc.gov/Netherlands

The Forgotten heroes of WWII.

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Today is World Animal Day and what better day to pick to remember some of the forgotten Heroes of WWII. The animals that often played a very important role.

Pfc. Rez P. Hester of the Marine Corps Seventh War Dog Platoon on Iwo Jima takes a nap while Butch stands guard. February 1945.(courtesy National Archives)

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Cpl. William Wende brushes GI Jenny, the burro mascot of an Army unit in North Africa. The interested terrier is named Pito. Ca. 1943.(Courtesy National Archives)

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Antis was a dog who received the Dickin Medal in 1949 from the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals for bravery in service in England and North Africa during WWII.

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Lin Wang was an Asian elephant who served with the Chinese Expeditionary Force during the Second Sino-Japanese War :1937–1945.

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Chinese cavalry during WWII.

Cavalry

William of Orange was a male war pigeon of British military intelligence service MI14. He was awarded the 21st Dickin Medal for delivering a message from the Arnhem Airborne Operation. This message saved more than 2000 soldiers at the time of the Battle of Arnhem in September 1944. Its official name in military record is NPS.42.NS.15125. He received the Dickin Medal in May 1945.

william

 

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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. Thanks 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

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Sources

National Archives

Daily MaiL

Archives MOD.

 

Would I have the same courage as Benjamin Blankenstein?

Benjamin

What would I do? Or, how much courage would I have? These are questions that haunt me in relation to the Holocaust? Questions which are becoming more and more relevant these days.

There was a time where I would jeopardize my life to defend my principles in relation to justice and the treatment of my fellow man. But now that I have a family of my own and people who depend on me, that dynamic has changed, I am not so sure what I would do now and I would not have an answer for the 2 questions at the start of this blog.

I am sure Benjamin Blankenstein must have asked himself similar questions, but he answered those questions by taking action.

Benjamin Blankenstein was a teacher at the local Christian elementary school in the town of Soestdijk (prov. Utrecht) in the Netherlands.He was married to Maria who stayed at home as a home maker , on Septenber 10, 1940 the couple had a baby girl,Fieke.Benjamin was 26 at the time, Maria was a few years older.

In 1943 Benjamin became an active member of the  resistance , part of the countrywide Landelijke Organisatie (LO),Him and his wife also had a 2nd baby daughter,Betty, that year.

Blankenstein familie

The LO was an organization that assisted both Jews in hiding, and non-Jews wanted for resistance activity or evading forced labor in Germany.

Notwithstanding the gave dangers they could face the Blankensteins took the decision to hide Jews in their own home.

It was brought to Benjamin’s attention that the  Bernstein family from nearby Soest had been betrayed at an earlier hiding place. Benjamin and Maria gave refuge to Henry Bernstein, his wife Martha and their 14-year-old son Rolf, Jewish refugees from Düsseldorf, Germany.

On September 3, 1942 the Dutch police had issued the following statement.

“The mayor of Soest requested that the stateless Jews Henry Bernstein, his wife and their son Rolf Bernstein, all residing at 35a Kerkpad NZ in Soest and having violated the regulations by changing their place of residence without permission, be located, detained and brought to trial.”

The 2 families got on wonderful.In the evenings Benjamin would school Rolf so he would not fall behind in his education.

Unfortunately the families were betrayed. On June 5, 1944, while Benjamin was  at school. The police arrested the Bernsteins and looted the Blankensteins home About half an hour later , Benjamin was arrested at the school, and taken to prison in Amsterdam . Later he was sent to to the Vught concentration camp, aka Herzogenbusch concentration camp.

Vught

On September 5, 1944, with the Allied Forces approaching, Blankenstein was moved to camps in Germany and eventually died

in Bergen-Belsen on February 24, 1945.  Nine days earlier hsi 3rd daughter Thea was born.

The Bernsteins were taken from the Blankenstein home and deported. Henry and Rolf were murdered in Auschwitz.

Martha Bernstein survived the war. After  her return from the camp, ill and alone, she was again welcomed by Maria Blankenstein.

On March 27, 2005, Yad Vashem recognized Benjamin Blankenstein and Maria Suzanna Blankenstein-van Klingeren, as Righteous Among the Nations.

Benjamin en Maria

On August 6. 2010. De city of Soest placed a Stolperstein, a stumbling stone, which is a memorial to remember Benjamin Blankenstein. The memorial was placed outside their home on the  Van Straelenlaan 31.

Stolper stein

In 2006 Henry and Rolf Bernstein also got  memorials in the form of Stolper steine in their home in Hilden near Dusseldorf.

Bernstein

Donation

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. Thanks 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

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Sources

Yad Vashem

Joods Monument

.4-5-mei.nl/nieuws/1/4/stolperstein-benjamin-blankenstein

 

Mercer Greene Abernathy- A hero who gave his life for strangers.

Mercer

One of the definitions of a hero is “a person noted for courageous acts or nobility of character”

Mercer G. Abernathy was such a person and even though I don’t know him it is with a 100% certainty I can state he was a hero.

I know nothing of this man except for his Army records and a page of his high school year book, and that he  was born on December 29, 1924. in Texas

football

He doesn’t even have a grave because he died in Germany or the Netherlands  missing In Action as navigator on a B17 Flying Fortress.

All that he is remembered by is his name on a memorial marker in the Netherlands American War Cemetery in Margraten near Maastricht in the Netherlands.

Memorial

He died in a foreign land trying to liberate strangers from evil.

At the entrance of American War Cemetery in Margraten there is a text on a building which says

“In Memory of the Valor and sacrifices which hallow this soil”

Earlier this year I visited the cemetery and said a prayer for all of those buried there and remembered there and said a few separate prayers for a few, Mercer Greene Abernathy was one of those few for I owe so much to those men.

Dear Sir I salute you.

Valot

 

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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. Thanks 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

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8301

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8301, not just a number or mathematical equation.

8301 sacrifices made for the freedom of others.

8301 young lives ended by violence

8301 heroes

8301 reasons why we should never forget what hate,ignorance and intolerance can do.

8301. although a large number it is only a small percentage of the overall sacrifices made.

8301 men whose future was taken.

8301 who found their final resting place in Margraten,the Netherlands.

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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. Thanks 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

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Sgt Rosenkrantz

I started this website and my blogs to find answers. Answers to how exactly my paternal Grandfather died. all I know is that he died during WWII when he was serving with the Dutch military and that he died early om in the war. But the circumstances how he died are somewhat vague,so I have resigned to the fact that I probably will never find out exactly what happened, for all those who could shed some light on it are now also gone. But I will learn how to live with that.

That’s why this brings so much joy in my heart. Last Saturday,my siblings and  I visited the American War Cemetery in Margraten in the Netherlands. It is a place of contrast because it is both a very sad place but also in equal measures a beautiful place. It is surrounded by a beautiful hilly country side, and the cemetery is extremely well maintained.

unnamed

8,301 souls are buried here.Stretching along the sides of the court are Tablets of the Missing on which are recorded 1,722 names. Rosettes mark the names of those since recovered and identified.

unnamed (1)

All of these 10,023 men are not just names on a cross or star, or a name carved in a wall, they are all heroes, each with a separate story to tell.

As is the story of Sgt David Rosenkrantz.

On 28 September 1944, Rosenkrantz an his platoon was occupying a farm, near Groesbeek, the Netherlands, when they were attacked by an overwhelming force. The isolated paratroopers hid among sparse trees and buildings. As Rosenkrantz rose from his position, enemy gunfire erupted and killed him. Due to enemy fire and the proximity of enemy troops, his remains could not be recovered.

It took decades before the family could have closure in 2012  Sgt David Rosenkrantz’s dog tags were found and only in February 2018 where his remains finally found.

He now no longer is a name on the wall for those who are missing in action. The final chapter of the book of his life was closed.

https://www.adoptiegraven-margraten.nl/en/

 

 

 

Medical Heroes

france-ww2

The one group that often gets overseen in WWII stories are the medics. There are some books and movies about them, but if you put in the bigger scheme of WWII things it is a small percentage.

Yet they are the ones who would run into the battlefield, sometimes unarmed, to pick up the wounded.

1944-rescue

combat-medics

They were also the ones who, after the dust cleared, had to deal with the aftermath of battle. It is one thing seeing your brother in arms being blown to smithereens, but due to the adrenaline and the instinct to survive, it keeps the other emotions at check. You just get on with it, but afterwards when things have settled the emotions start flowing. The medical teams had to deal with these emotions and at the same time try to save lives.

Like here where surgeons work on the leg amputation of an injured solider at 46th Portable Surgical Hospital in Tinkhawk Sakan, Burma during World War II. 1944.

amputation.jpg

Sometimes in makeshift field hospitals  Like in the picture below where an American Army doctor operates in an underground bunker surgery room behind the front lines in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea during World War II. The injured soldier had been wounded by a Japanese sniper. 1943.

surgery

It wasn’t only men ,Navy Flight Nurse Jane Kendiegh feeds an injured solider on a return trip from the battle of Iwo Jima.

flight-nurse

An American medic works with two Army nurses to administer blood plasma to a patient who was critically wounded by shell fragments at the Battle of Anzio in Italy

hand-comfort

American Captain Clarence Brott applies a cast to the leg of a soldier with a deep wound in his thigh inflicted by a shell fragment.

soldier-cast

 

Picture source: National Library of Medicine and National Archives

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Colonel Francis Fenton’s hardest battle.

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No parent should ever have to bury any of their children,unfortunately it does happen, During war time it just happens too much as was the case during WWII

Michael James “Mike” Fenton was the son of Colonel  Francis Fenton.

While Colonel Fenton advanced to higher command, his younger son, Michael, enlisted in the Marine Corps on August 17, 1943, and joined B Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division – the same division in which his father commanded the engineers. Reportedly turning down a commission so he could fight at the front, Michael served as a scout-sniper on Okinawa.

Landing On Okinawa

Father and son met once during the fighting when their paths crossed at a partially destroyed Okinawan farmhouse. After exchanging news from home, including information on Michael’s older brother, Francis, Jr., who had been commissioned a Marine officer in 1941, the two family members returned to their work.

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They would never talk again.

On May 7, 1945, while beating back a Japanese counterattack not far from Sugar Loaf, 19-year-old Pfc. Michael Fenton was killed. When his father received the bitter news, he traveled to the site of his son’s death and knelt down to pray over the flag draped body.

Colonel_Francis_Fenton_and_his_son

Upon arising, Colonel Fenton stared at the bodies of other Marine dead and said: “Those poor souls. They didn’t have their fathers here”.

After the burial, Colonel Fenton returned to his headquarters and wrote a brief note to his wife, Mary, in San Diego. The soldier then resurfaced. Fenton fixed his attention on a large map hanging in his headquarters, studied it closely for a time, then said to his subordinate, “We’d better double the guard around No. 5 bridge. The Nips may try to blow it”. The war was back on.

Mary Fenton learned of her son’s death before receiving her husband’s letter. In fact, she experienced a bittersweet two days when, on Wednesday, a telegram arrived from the Marine Corps Commandant informing her of Michael’s death. The very next day came news that her husband had been awarded a second Bronze Star.

Mrs. Fenton told reporters she was proud that Michael had done his duty as a Marine. She quoted a recent letter from him in which the youth wrote that he ‘dedicated my life to my country’ and that he was ‘prepared to die”. Both Colonel Fenton and his older son survived the war. Mike’s body was later exhumed from his temporary grave and is now resting in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii.

RIP

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Brothers in Arms-Friends in life and death.

 

Angelo P. Marcaletti and Charles James Jr, who were they?

To be honest I don’t know who they were. However I do know they both lived in New Philadelphia,Ohio, and they both had attended the Dover High school in Tuscarawas County,Ohio.

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I also know they were buddies when they both were inducted to the US Army on October 27th 1942.

And I know they were still friends when they were killed on April 7 1944.

The question really shouldn’t be who they were but what they were. That is an easier question to answer for they both were Heroes. Heroes who sacrificed their lives to afford me the freedom to live my life any which way I wish.

Dear Sirs, I salute you.

Angelo P. Marcaletti

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Angelo P. Marcaletti entered the Army from Ohio. He married Vera Dindo on 18 December 1943 at the Sacred Heart church.

Sacred_Heart_Church_-_New_Philadelphia,_Ohio_2012-07-20

He was stationed at  Camp Breckinridge in Kentucky at the time of his marriage.His parents and his brother were immigrants from Italy.

Charles James Jr.

Charles James.

Charles James Jr. was a veteran of the US 9th Army’s campaigns in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.

He had been awarded the Infantry Man’s medal and the Good Conduct medal. He was born and raises in New Philadelphia, Ohio.

Prior to joining  the US  Army he had been employed at the Robinson Clay Products Co. at Parral.

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He graduated from High school in 1939 and was a member of the Catholic Church.He married Louise Martinelli in June 1942.

Both Angelo and James were killed when a land mine exploded under them while they were laying communication lines.

They are both buried in the American War Cemetery,Margraten in the Netherlands.

 

 

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