The word on the street about Pearl Harbor

On Sunday morning December 7, 1941. Just before 8 a.m , hundreds of Japanese fighter planes descended on the US Naval base in Pearl Harbor, where they managed to destroy or damage nearly 20 American naval vessels, including eight battleships, and over 300 airplanes. More than 2,400 Americans died in the attack, including civilians, and another 1,000 people were wounded. The day after the assault, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war on Japan.

A few days later people like John Avery Lomax an American teacher, pioneering musicologist, and a folklorist went out to conduct so called ‘Man on the street’ interviews, today they would be called voxpops. Among the interviewees was, Lena Jameson. a California woman then visiting her family in Dallas, Texas. He also spoke to Mr. Dan Ruggles in Dallas Texas.

“Man-on-the-Street”, Dallas, Texas, December 9, 1941
AFS 6373A
John Lomax: Mrs. Jameson, I’ve just got a telegram from the Library of Congress in Washington and
they want the ideas of a few average men and women recorded on their reactions when they heard
of the Japanese aggression. These records will be used in historical record being accumulated in the
Library of Congress and possibly for radio broadcast. Now, will you tell me what you thought when
you heard of what the Japanese government had done to the American government?
Mrs. Lena Jameson: My first thought was what a great pity that . . . another nation should be added
to those aggressors who strove to limit our freedom. I find myself at the age of eighty, an old
woman, hanging on to the tail of the world, trying to keep up. I do not want the driver’s seat. But the
eternal verities — there are certain things that I wish to express. One thing that I am very sure of is
that hatred is death, but love is life.
I want to contribute to the civilization of the world, but I remember that the measure, the burdens of
our sympathies is the measure of our civilization. And when I look at the holocaust that is going on in
the world today, I’m almost ready to let go of the tail ??? the world. ???
John Lomax: Where is your home Mrs. Jameson?
Mrs. Lena Jameson: In Redondo Beach, California.
John Lomax: And how long have you lived there?
Mrs. Lena Jameson: About twenty years.
John Lomax: And what are you doing out in Texas?
Mrs. Lena Jameson: I’m visiting my children whom I’ve often visited before.
John Lomax: Mrs. Stilwell, would you like to add something to what your mother has said?
Mrs. Jerry Stilwell: Mother, you’ve been living in the neighborhood where there are a good many
Japanese people. Do you think that affects your attitude towards them at all? What is your general
impression of the Japanese as a race?
Mrs. Lena Jameson: The general impression of the Japanese that I have seen and come in contact
with is very different from what my impression would be if I had been in touch with the military

division of the Japanese in their native . . . My impression is modified by what I read and hear of
those. My impression of the Japanese as I have seen is that they are a law-abiding and desirable
citizen, with exceptions.
John Lomax: Mrs. Stilwell, have you anything to add to what your mother has said?
Mrs. Jerry Stilwell: Well, of course my point of view is very different, but my first reaction was
that either the Japanese were a very, very conceited race or that they were very, very desperate.
Somehow I just can’t believe that a little island like Japan can attack the United States and hope to be
successful in the long run.
John Lomax: What are your initials, Mrs. Stilwell?
Mrs. Jerry Stilwell: Mrs. Jerry Stilwell.
John Lomax: This is John Lomax speaking, the last lady on the microphone was Mrs. Jerry Stilwell, the
daughter of Mrs. Lena Jameson who spoke first on this record. This record is made in Dallas, Texas,
December the ninth, nineteen hundred and forty-one for the Library of Congress in Washington

“Man-on-the-Street”, Dallas, Texas, December 9, 1941
AFS 6373B
Cut B1
John Lomax: I have in my hand here a telegram from the Library of Congress requesting the
reactions of some Dallas people on the Japanese aggression. I’d like to know Mr. Ruggles how that
announcement of what the Japanese were doing to us reacted on you as a World War veteran?
Dan Ruggles: Well, I don’t think this was totally unexpected. Anybody that kept up with news events
should have anticipated an attack by Japan. It’s totally in keeping with the methods employed by the
totalitarian powers, the unexpectedness of it. And as far as the war with Japan is concerned I think
that is something that the informed American public has been expecting to be something that would
develop ultimately for a period, say for the past thirty years. More especially during the past ten
years. Is that enough?
John Lomax: No. How did you come to that opinion?
Dan Ruggles: Well, that dates . . . there have been friction between the Japanese and the talk of the
yellow peril ever since for the past three or four decades. With the invasion of Manchuria in 1931
was the first aggressive step that really led the way as I understand it, have concluded to show Hitler
and Mr. Mussolini the way.
John Lomax: Well, you think then the Japanese are acting in concert with masters Hitler and
Mussolini then as I take it?
Dan Ruggles: Due to their pacts, they are in a way, but the Japanese have always acted primarily for
themselves. Their plans as to Asia and the fact that they believe that their domain should extend
over the east of the Asiatic [long pause] scope.
John Lomax: Well, what did you first think? What were your first thoughts when you heard of this
attack on Americans, Dan? What first came to you?
Dan Ruggles: Well, the first thing came to me is it was just something that could not be avoided it’s to
be expected. We’ve made every effort in the world to avoid it, but it was something that was bound
to come owing to the world situation.
John Lomax: Tell us a little about yourself [unintelligible woman’s voice in background]. Who are you?

Dan Ruggles: Well, [laughs] I’m a man that’s really been a newspaper editor most of my life and ???.
And I’ve had a keen interest in international affairs and have kept track I guess, I’ve kept with the
best of the times. One good fact is that I say that I’ve mainly been employed and editing newspapers
and interested in international affairs primarily. [unintelligible woman’s voice in background].
John Lomax: This is Dan Ruggles that’s just been speaking. Mr. Ruggles lives in Forest Hills,
Dallas, Texas and has been for many years a newspaper reporter. This interview with Mr. Ruggles
occurred on December the ninth, 1941 and this recording was made for the Library of Congress in
Cut B2
John Lomax: Mr. Ruggles wishes to add this for the word.
Dan Ruggles: Well, I think that the American people, must not come to a just conclusion either
through the early reverse in this war or otherwise that it’s going to be an easy war. The Japanese,
naturally, have handicaps due to the Allied forces in the Far East now facing them, but the efficiency
of the Japanese military machine has been repeatedly [proven (?)] and they usually have had a very
excellent armed force. That was ??? [disc skips] through the testimony of officers, friends of mine,
who served with them in the Allied march on Peking


You didn’t have to do it.

History of Sorts


You didn’t have to do it. You didn’t have to kill me.

You didn’t have to do it, you wanted to.

You didn’t have to do it, but you hated me and didn’t think twice.

You hated me, why?

You hated me, because someone told you to hate me. Were you really that stupid that you couldn’t make up your own mind?

No one could make you love someone you didn’t want to love. Yet they could make you hate someone you didn’t know. A child you didn’t know.

You hated me, but I did not hate you. How could I? I didn’t know you. I got have been a dear friend because that is my name Liebfreund, Dear Friend.

Aren’t you embarrassed that a 9 year old boy knows more then you. A 9  yar old boy whp knows that it is wrong to hate. Because hate turns to…

View original post 71 more words

Sinterklaas or Saint Nicholas during WWII

History of Sorts

December 5 is the day in the Netherlands when Sinterklaas is celebrated. It is when he kids get their presents or if they were bad a bit of coal. Sinterklaas is based on Saint Nicholas, legend has it that good old Saint Nick died on December 6. However, I can not verify that because contrary to popular believe I am not that old.

Despite the war, the Dutch still celebrated Sinterklaas albeit in a slightly different configuration. Following are just some impression oF Sinterklaas during WW2

Despite it being a Christian celebration, it really did transcend religion, Most Dutch Jews would also celebrate Sinterklaas, like this Jewish class.

This one I found disturbing. In this picture you see Arthur Seyss-Inquart, Nazi appointed Reich commissioner for the Netherlands, shaking hands with Sinterklaas and the ‘holy’ man appeared to enjoy his company. Arthur Seyss-Inquart also shared responsibility for the deportation of Dutch…

View original post 30 more words

Adolf Eichmann

History of Sorts

December 15th marks the 61st anniversary of Adolf Eichmann’s death sentence. I am not going too much in the history of Eichmann, there is not that much I can add to the narrative.

On December 11–12, 1961, Eichmann was convicted of crimes against the Jewish people, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and membership in a criminal organization. He was sentenced to death on December 15.

His defense was basically that he had only been following orders.

During World War I, Eichmann’s family moved from Germany to Linz, Austria. His pre-Nazi life was rather ordinary. He worked as a traveling salesman in Oberösterreich (Upper Austria) for an oil company but lost his job during the Great Depression. He had actually attended Kaiser Franz Joseph Staatsoberrealschule (state secondary school) in Linz. A certain Adolf Hitler had been a student in that same school 17 years prior.

Eichmann joined the Nazi Party in…

View original post 550 more words

Ralph G. Neppel-WWII Hero

History of Sorts

We live in an era where social media ‘influencers’ or celebrities, who make a token gesture for the latest political hype , are seen as heroes. I find it very hard to comprehend this misguided notion. None of these people have ever done a heroic deed.

I cam across the picture above on an article titled “62 Historic Photos Of Love During Wartime”

The picture is of Jean Moore kneeling and kissing her fiancé, wheelchair-bound World War II Veteran Ralph Neppel, the picture was from 1945.At first I hadn’t noticed that Ralph was missing both of his legs. I think the smile on his face made me miss it the first time I glanced at the picture.

I then decided to do a bit of research into Ralph Neppel and I came across an amazing story of an extraordinary heroic deed.

Ralpg was a leader of a machine-gun squad defending…

View original post 600 more words

Silvia Foti. What it really meant to be an honorary prisoner in Nazi camp

History of Sorts

The author Silvia Foti argues that spending time in a Nazi concentration camp does not exonerate her grandfather from his role in the Holocaust in Lithuania.

As I was growing up in Chicago during the Cold War, I’d heard about how my grandfather Jonas Noreika was an honorary prisoner in the Stutthof concentration camp, how he was taken hostage with 45 other Lithuanian leaders for their anti-Nazi activity.

Read more: Granddaughter of Lithuanian Nazi collaborator: ‘I love his soul but not his sins’

To my shock, as I researched his life for my memoir The Nazi’s Granddaughter: How I Discovered My Grandfather Was a War Criminal, I realised his time in Stutthof had been used as a cover-up by Lithuanians to hide his role in the Holocaust.

Lithuanians were led to believe he was treated just as harshly as the Jews, that his anti-Nazi activity included saving Jews, and that…

View original post 201 more words

Christmas in Westerbork

History of Sorts

At first glance when you look at the picture it doesn’t appear to be extraordinary. There is an officer clearly given a speech. There are a few Christmas trees at the back so it appears to be some sort of Christmas do.

The officer is Albert Konrad Gemmeker he was a German SS-Obersturmführer and camp commandant of the Westerbork transit camp.

He was considered the friendly face of Nazi evil. Known as a decent commander, who insisted that he never knew what happened to the Jews in camps such as Auschwitz. Yet during his reign at the Dutch camp, around 80,000 Jewish people were deported to Auschwitz.

On December 19,1942 Gemmeker threw a Christmas party, or rather a Julfest(Yule feast).

The venue for his party was Westerbork. According to some survivors, a line of shiny new cars had pulled up to the camp, with a number of high ranking SS…

View original post 68 more words

Die Hard, Christmas movie? “Yippee-Ki-yay” or “Yippee-Ki-nay?”

History of Sorts

Die Hard, Christmas movie? “Yippee-Ki-yay or “Yippee-Ki-nay?

Every year around Christmas time there is the question “Is Die Hard a Christmas movie?”
Personally, for me, it is not Christmas until I see Hans Gruber fall of the Nakatomi building.

However, I appreciate that, that will not get everyone in a festive mood. So, let us look at what constitutes a Christmas movie?
According to sites like the Hollywood reporter and a Christmas movie must
• Be set around Christmas
• Have a Christmas setting, things like decorations, tree etc.
• Christmas music and carols
• Festivities
• A topless woman, oh no wait that is a different list, I should have checked that twice.
Die Hard fulfils all those criteria (including the topless woman).
To compare with a classic Christmas movie like White Christmas?
Die Hard takes place entirely in the Christmas holidays, while only the first and final…

View original post 78 more words

Frank Zappa and the Mothers were at the best place around.

There you are minding your own business, enjoying a concert by a legendary rock band, Then suddenly some stupid with a flare gun burns the place to the ground. “Wait a minute” I can hear you all think “This and the title sounds very much like a song” and you would be right.

Deep Purple wrote a song inspired by an event which took place on December 4,1971 in Montreux, Switzerland. On December 4, 1971, Montreux Casino burned down during a concert by The Mothers of Invention after a fan had set the venue on fire with a flare gun. A recording of the outbreak and fire announcement can be found on a Frank Zappa Bootleg album titled Swiss Cheese/Fire!

Deep Purple, who had planned to record Machine Head at the venue were forced to find another recording location. They wrote the Rock classic ‘Smoke on the Water’ about the eventful day.

Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Inventions were performing “King Kong”, about 80 minutes into the show , when, during Don Preston’s synthesizer solo, someone shot off a flare gun. The flare hit the wooden roof and quickly spread.

“They were very organized,” Zappa said in an interview shortly after the fire. “I was just lucky that many of the fans]were able to speak English, because I didn’t know what to say to them in French.”

In an ironic coincidence, Zappa died on Dec. 4, 1993, the 22nd anniversary of the fire.


Fire in the Sky

The Execution of Three Heroines

History of Sorts

Nel Hissink aka Cornelia van den Brink-Kossen

On October 27, 1943, two Dutch resistance women—Nel Hissink, and Truus van Lier were executed in Sachsenhausen-Oranienburg, Reina Geerlings, was executed less than a month later, on November 24, 1943. All three women were shot. This was done in secret as it was not customary to shoot women.

Cornelia (Nel) Hissink (Amsterdam, June 13, 1897 – Oranienburg (Germany), November 24, 1943) was a resistance member during the German occupation of the Netherlands. She was active for the Personal Identification Central (PBC), which provided people in hiding and resistance members with forged documents, and the resistance group CS6, an organization for the armed resistance. In the summer of 1943 she was arrested and interned in prisons Weteringsschans and Kamp Amersfoort she was executed on October 27, 1943, in Kamp Sachsenhausen.

Nel van den Brink-Kossen was a communist. She distributed communist pamphlets, regularly took part…

View original post 1,184 more words