Three shots! Three lives lost! All I can hear are shots, shots.

diary

“Three shots! Three lives lost! All I can hear are shots, shots.” This line is the final entry of Renia Spiegel’s diary. It is the final entry but it was not written by her but by her boyfriend.

Renia had left her diary with her boyfriend ,Zygmunt Schwarzer,  for safekeeping. You see Renia could not write that line because one of those three shots was for her.

Zygmunt Schwarzer had helped Renia and his own parents  to hide in the attic of his Uncle’s house but an informant betrayed her whereabouts to the Nazis;s and Renia and Schwarzer’s parents  were shot in the street on July 30, 1942.

Her last name Spiegel means mirror in both the German and Dutch language. Renia’s story as so many others is a mirror we should look at. If we truly look into that mirror we can only come to one conclusion. So little has been learned form the horrors of the past, so little that we are bound to repeat them.

Ending this blog with some of Renia’s own words from July 15,1942 just over 2 weeks before she was killed . May her words  be a mirror to our souls.

“Remember this day; remember it well, You will tell generations to come. Since 8 o’clock today we have been shut away in the ghetto. I live here now. The world is separated from me and I’m separated from the world. Leaving the ghetto without a pass,  is punishable by death.

Inside, there are only our people, close ones, dear ones. Outside, there are strangers. My soul is so very sad. My heart is seized with terror,”

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Sources

The Smithsonian

The Guardian

Irish Times

 

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Forgotten History:The Bombing of Zutphen-the Netherlands

History of Sorts

Zutphen is a town in the province of Gelderland in the Netherlands. It lies some 30 km north-east of Arnhem, on the Eastern bank of the river IJssel at the point where it is joined by the Berkel

On the 14th of October 1944,  Zutphen was bombed by the allies

At 4 PM three allied bombers flew over Zutphen theor task was to destroy the Ijsselbrug(Ijssel Bridge) in order to disrupt the supply of arms and block the German troops going in the direction of Arnhem.

brug

The bridge was destroyed but so was a nearby part of the town.De Rozengracht, Kreijnckstraat, Barlheze en Apenstert were complete wiped away.The station was badly damaged.

It is not exactly know how many people died that day but 92 were buried a great number of victims was never found.

1280px-grafmonument_voor_dertien_burgerslachtoffers_op_de_algemene_begraafplaats_zutphen

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The strange case of Douglas Kelley, Nuremberg Trials Psychiatrist

History of Sorts

Lt. Colonel Douglas McGlashan Kelley (11 August 1912 – January 1, 1958) was a United States Army Military Intelligence Corps officer who served as chief psychiatrist at Nuremberg Prison during the Nuremberg War Trials. He was charged with ascertaining defendants’ competency evaluations before standing trial.

NUREMBERG TRIAL

Kelley was born in Truckee, California. He graduated from University of California at Berkeley and received his medical degree from the School of Medicine in San Francisco. He continued his studies at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, earning a Doctor of Medical Science in 1941.

In 1942 he was called to duty in the United States Army Medical Corps as chief psychiatrist for the 30th General Hospital in the European Theatre. Along with psychologist Gustave Gilbert he administered the Rorschach inkblot test to the 22 defendants in the Nazi leadership group prior to the first Nuremberg trials.

Kelley authored two books on the subject:…

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The empty “noble” gesture of Hugo Boss

History of Sorts

Boss

There is a popular misconception that Hugo Boss designed the SS uniforms. This is not true, the uniforms were designed by the  artist and senior SS officer called Karl Diebitsch, in cooperation with a graphic designer called Walter Heck. The uniforms were based on older uniforms with a few alterations.

SS

However it was Hugo Boss who got the lucrative order to produce the uniforms. He had been a member of the Nazi party since 1931.

By 1933, he could  advertise the fact  that he made clothes not only for the SS, but also for the Hitler Youth and the SA.His relationship with the Nazis made him a very wealthy man.

During the war it was difficult to find employees so he decided to start using forced labour, it is estimated that he used 140 Polish and 40 French forced laborers.

Even though Boss’s factory wasn’t part of a concentration camp,and his…

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Where’s the orchestra?

History of Sorts

orchestra

Some people might recognize the title of this piece as the title of a Billy Joel song, and you would be right. It is a beautiful song which has a sad intonation, in a way it is a haunting piece of music, a story of something that is no longer there.

Billy Joel’s grandfather Karl Amson Joel, a German Jewish business man escaped the Holocaust, in the 1930’s he escaped to the US via Switzerland and Cuba.

This blog however is not about the Joel family but about  the  Orchestras in the concentration camps.

orchestra 2

Music has so much power and can evoke so many emotions and also a sense of comfort and hope. In the twisted mindset of the Nazi regime something beautiful as music was turned into an instrument of evil.

Although it saved many  musicians from hard labour it also caused controversy,because the aim of the orchestras was…

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Turning a blind eye

History of Sorts

Blind eye

I would love to say there was not a single person in the Netherlands who turned a blind eye to the brutal Nazi regime and especially in relation  the treatment of their fellow citizens, who happened to be Jewish. But I’d be telling a lie.

There were many who at risk of their own lives helped the Jews escape or hid them. In February 1941 there was a massive national strike in protests against the treatment of the Jews,

And although there was a relative small percentage who actively helped the Nazis there were many who did nothing and turned a blind eye.

The Dutch Railways played an active part in the transportation and often the trains were driven by Dutch machinists.

Trein I don’t want to be hypocritical about it because I don’t know what I would have done, I’d like to believe I would have resisted but since I…

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Law abiding citizen

History of Sorts

Louis

I don’t know what it is but the last few days I have discovered several accounts of victims of the Holocaust which are very near to me. Not so much that I was related to these people or that I knew them, but I knew the locality and the addresses where they lived. In fact I passed these places by on a daily basis and in the case of Louis van Dam , sometimes even more then 10 times a day.

At the back of my secondary school there was a square . It was really a small park with a few benches and some trees, surrounded by houses. The square was known(and still is) as the Jubileum plein (Jubilee square)

We would often use this square for physical education lessons. One of the tests we had for PE was a run around the small park, We had a certain…

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Life in the Big Apple

History of Sorts

flying-by-statue-liberty

New York city has such a rich history. Although I have never been there (but I will someday) I find it one of the most fascinating cities in the world.

For me to write a whole essay on the city would do it injustice, therefore below some pictures of its rich history.

A woman dressed in only heels and a barrel that reads “I Did My Bit, Did You?” stands in Times Square.

The promotion, organized by the United National Clothing Collection was part of drive to collect clothing and bedding for overseas war relief. April 1945..

promo-girl-times-square

Police attempt to enter the residence of the Collyer Brothers, a pair of legendary New York hoarders and recluses, after receiving reports of a foul smell coming from the house. They later found the bodies of the two brothers dead under a mountain of rubbish. 1947.

removing-junk-collyer-weird

A window washer at work on the…

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Doris Miller-Cook,Soldier and Hero.

History of Sorts

doris_miller

Today marks the Birthday of Doris Miller.

Doris “Dorie” Miller (October 12, 1919 – November 24, 1943) was a Ship’s cook Third Class that the United States Navy noted for his bravery during the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. He was the first African American to be awarded the Navy Cross, the third highest honor awarded by the U.S. Navy at the time, after the Medal of Honor and the Navy Distinguished Service Medal. The Navy Cross now precedes the Navy Distinguished Service Medal.Miller’s acts were heavily publicized in the black press, making him the iconic emblem of the war for blacks and was their “Number One Hero” and so energized black support for the war effort against a colored Japanese enemy.[3]Nearly two years after Pearl Harbor, he was killed in action when USS Liscome Bay was sunk by a Japanese submarine during the Battle of Makin.

ussliscombay1

After…

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There is no place for hate in this world.

ivan

You killing me did not stop your hate. Hate is like a disease, a cancer, it eats on you bit by bit , the more you hate the sicker you get. Hate is like a tumout in your head,it drives you insane. Up to the point that you don’t even realize anymore that killing an 8 months old baby is an act of depravity.

I am Ivan Rozenbaum , born in Romania. I was 8 months young when you killed me in Auschwitz. Your hate died with you but the love for me grew stronger each day.

When people see my face they are equally amused and saddened. Amused because who doesn’t smile when they see the innocence of an infant. Saddened because they cannot comprehend the hate that killed me.

J am Ivan Rozenbaum, for ever remembered as a product of love between 2 people.

Don’t you realize that your birth was a result of an act of love. If there had been no love, there had been no you. Yet you wasted your time and energy with hate.

You should have spent your time learning about me and my people. We did not ask for you to become like us, all we wanted was for you to respect and except us. We will never become special by being the same, it is our differences that makes us special. But your hate stopped you seeing this. Your color was black and white and you missed out on all those colours in between.

Do I feel sorry for you? No! I pity you and the pathetic ideology you followed. An ideology based on hate. If you had only had the epiphany that Love is the strongest weapon you have, yet you never used it.

I am Ivan Rozenbaum and it saddens me that so many decades after my murder, some people still are not able to use that powerful weapon called love.

There is no place for hate in this world. But alas there are those who are so eager to create some space for hate. But hate will never win. It might win a few battles but never the war.