Richard Hayes AKA Captain Gray-Ireland’s WWII code breaker.

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Although Ireland was neutral during WWII it didn’t stay completely out of the war.There were even some famous Irish war heroes like the Beamish brothers from Cork who became RAF flying aces.

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On the other hand there were less conspicuous heroes, unlikely heroes even like Limerick man Richard Hayes.

He was born in Abbeyfeale, Co. Limerick and grew up in in Claremorris, Co. Mayo. He was educated in Clongowes Wood College in Klidare and in Trinity College in Dublin.

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Richard Hayes was no soldier ,he was a librarian, in fact in he was the director of the National Library in Dublin. It is nor clear how Colonel Dan Bryan, head of Ireland’s G2 intelligence service identified Hayes as a code breaker, but he did, probably because Hayes,was highly regarded for his mathematical and linguistic expertise.

Great  Britain had complained of radio transmissions from a house in north Dublin owned by the German Embassy.ciphers had been found on another captured spy here. So with the support of Eamon de Valera, who always had a big interest in maths, Hayes was given an office and staff to go to work on the German codes.The coded messages were a substantial  threat to Irish national security and the wider war effort.

Hayes’s biggest  nemesis was Dr. Herman Görtz,

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In the summer of 1940, Görtz had parachuted into Ballivor, County Meath, Ireland uis goal was  to gather information. He moved in with former IRA leader Jim O’Donovan. His mission was to act as a liaison officer with the IRA to get their their assistance in case of potential German occupation of Britain. However, he quickly decided that the IRA was not reliable enough. On landing, he had lost the ‘Ufa’ transmitter he had parachuted with. Goertz, attired in a Luftwaffe uniform, then walked to Dublin. He was not arresested despite calling into a Garda barracks(police barracks) in Co Wicklow, asking for directions to Dublin.

Goertz’s  was eventually arrested in Dublin in November 1941, he was carrying a code later described by MI5 as “one of the best three or four in the war”.

The “Görtz Cipher” – which was a complex substitution of figures for letters had puzzled many of the greatest code-breaking minds at Bletchley Park, but the mild mannered librarian from Co.Limerick had cracked the code. The first of the Goertz messages to be successfully decoded was unlocked with the key ‘Cathleen Ni Houlihan’. Informed of the breakthrough by Hayes, Cecil Liddell of MI5 visited Dublin in 1943 and the Irish and British secret services continued to share intelligence information until the end of the war.

Another German spy in Ireland , Günther Schultz, had used an un-coded system of “microdots”, allowing tiny messages to be contained within the letter “O” in newspaper cuttings, which had baffled the American OSS. Hayes cracked that too , as well as enciphering system used by the  Sicherheitsdienst

The captured Germans only knew their quiet-spoken and polite interrogator as “Captain Gray”, only a few at the G2 secret service knew that Captain Gray was Richard Hayes.

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Hermann Goertz was released from jail in Athlone in August 1946, but was arrested again in 1947. Friday May 23, 1947 he arrived at the Aliens’ Office in Dublin Castle at 9.50 am and was told he was being deported to Germany . Goertz was afraid he would be handed to the Soviets ,he opted to take his own life.

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I am passionate about my site and I know a 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

Irish Times

RTE Radio

Wikipedia

 

 

 

 

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The long walk of Liam McCarthy

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It was such a glorious day for us that 2nd September 1973 in Dublin, although it rained the sun shone in our hearts, because you were ours.

Your previous master ‘the Cats of Kilkenny’ looked not after you well, so we fought them and after beating them by 7 points we took you home to us. Your new home at the Shannon was going to be marvelous.

But it was only 12 Months minus 1 day the Cats ripped you out of our midst.

For decades you were lost and wandering throughout this mighty nation of ours, but no one look after you as good as we did.

But in 1980 we nearly had you in our grasps again if it hadn’t been for the tribes men of Gaillimh. It would have been so good for you to return to the treaty city, but alas.

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Then September 4th 1994, we could see you, feel you, my God we could even taste you. But no, you decided ON Ofally. Ofally of all places for crying out loud!

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Our heart was in pain and it was burdened. Would you ever come home again to us?

You teased us again 2 years later, but this time you sold your soul to Wexford for a mere 2 points. Things were getting so bleak. True the Celtic tiger was roaring, but Liam all we wanted was you, why did you not understand that?

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The years came and went, even a new millennium had started but you were never in sight. We saw you on telly alright ,having love affairs with Kilkenny, Galway,Clare and many other counties, but never us. We didn’t even get the “it’s not you, it’s me” speech.

But lo and behold come 2018, there you are smiling at us. Nearly we lost you again because some eejit of a referee decided ” 70 minutes isn’t long enough let’s make it as close to 80 as we can” As Bono once said” You were close and yet so far” however you decreed 45 years is a long enough walk, lets go home.

Liam

 

Irish Coffee- A WWII Drink

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Who doesn’t know that warm beverage called Irish Coffee? Often mistakenly credited to the Hollywood actress Maureen O’Hara as having invented it. However the only connection Maureen has with it is her is O’Hara’s husband, Captain Charlie Blair, who was one of the pilots who used to fly the sea planes into Foynes, and flew the last commercial sea plane out of Foynes.Co. Limerick,Ireland.

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The drink was ‘invented’ by Joe Sheridan, a head chef at the restaurant and coffee shop in the Foynes AirbaseFlying boat terminal building.

In 1943, Brendan O’Regan opened a restaurant and coffee shop in the Foynes terminal building. It quickly became regarded as one of the best restaurants in Ireland. Chef Joe Sheridan, originally from Castlederg, County Tyrone, had been recruited by O’Regan to run the kitchen.

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Late one  night in the winter of 1943, a flight left Foynes for New York. During the 1930′s and 40′s Foynes was one of the most important airports in Western Europe. After flying for several hours in bad weather, the captain decided to return to Foynes  wait for the weather  conditions to improve . A Morse code message was sent to the Foynes control tower to inform them of the return. Staff were called back in and the passengers were brought to the restaurant upon landing for food and drink.

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Sheridan added whiskey to the coffee to warm the passengers. After the passengers asked if they were being served Brazilian coffee, Sheridan told them it was “Irish coffee”

One of the passengers was Stanton Delaplane, a travel writer for the San Francisco Chronicle,worked with the Buena Vista Cafe in San Francisco to start serving it on November 10, 1952, and worked with the bar owners Jack Koeppler and George Freeberg to recreate the Irish method for floating the cream on top of the coffee, sampling the drink one night until he nearly passed out.

Without blowing my own trumpet( and yet I am) some of my family members say I make a darn good Irish Coffee.

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Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know a 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

Flyingboatmuseum

RTE

 

Johnny Cash ,Kris Kristofferson and Eric Clapton in Limerick

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If Elvis is the King of Rock N Roll then Johnny Cash is the King pf Country and Western music, and Eric Clapton must be the King of the Blues. But only 2 of those Kings ever visited Limerick.

Johnny Cash gave at least 2 concerts in Limerick. The first one on October 17, 1963, in the Jetland Ball room. On that gig June Carter accompanied him.

30 years later on February 10, 1993 he returned to the treaty city and performed at the University Concert Hall , this time Johnny Cash and June Carter had some help from another Country and Western heavy weight, Kris Kristofferson.

Kris Cash

They played the following songs:

 

Ring of Fire
Folsom Prison Blues
Get Rhythm

I Still Miss Someone
Man in Black
Doin’ My Time

Long Black Veil
Big River
(with Kris Kristofferson)
(Ghost) Riders in the Sky

It Ain’t Me, Babe
Jackson
The Wreck of the Old ’97

Forty Shades of Green
(with Kris Kristofferson)
Why Me
(with Kris Kristofferson)

One of my all time favourite guitarist also made an appearance in the city at the Shannon. In the legendary venue the Savoy

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This was on March 12 1979. He did not come alone. His band consisted of great musicians, each one of them great performing artists in their own rights.
Albert Lee – guitar / vocals
Dick Sims – keyboards
Carl Radle – bass
Jamie Oldaker – drums.

In the greater scheme of things and compared to other cities in the world, Limerick may be considered a small city but when it comes to music it does punch above its weight. It is was Limerick that gave U2 its first break and of course it is the city that spawned the Cranberries.

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know a 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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Linger -RIP Dolores

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A swan flies over the Shannon while a Limerick Rose fades

A tormented but beautiful soul

I remember seeing you for the first time, no it was not in concert but in a shopping mall

You looked so fragile next to the man who towered over you,your husband.

Small and fragile but yet so tall and powerful.

Your voice mesmerized me, so sad and full of hope at the same time.

Non assuming and humble and yet a genuine rock star.

Your earthly shell has gone but your legacy will linger

A Limerick Rose fades away as a Swan flies over the Shannon.

F1 Rocks at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl - Australia

Christmas in Limerick-a poem

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My shoes are touching the promenade on “Poor Man’s Kilkee”
Rain is falling on my head and drops are slowly reaching my face.
A man in a coffee shop is putting up a Christmas tree.
Undisturbed the Shannon flows, in so much splendor and grace.

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The town with its magical and festive lights makes me smile.
Children gaze in awe as they see the sign that Santa is in town.
Beautiful people all dressed up, ready to celebrate in style.
The cold wind is picking up nearly blowing the decorations down.

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A man is sitting on a stool outside a shop playing an accordion.
Some tourists stop and listen to him play and dance slowly to the tune.
They give him a few coins and walk on following a local historian
Christmas in Limerick is special and hopefully we’ll see some snow soon.

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Jane Austen & Limerick,Ireland.

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I never got the whole Jane Austen hype. I find her stories boring and there is nothing I can identify with.

However the fact that there is a Limerick connection to her I do find intriguing. And I believe if she had lived in Limerick her stories may have been a lot more exiting, but that is my personal opinion.

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When she was a young girl, her father, rector of Steventon in Hampshire, let her scribble in the parish register the names of imaginary husbands. But Jane never married.

However, in 1795 her life might have turned out differently. Thomas Langlois Lefroy of Limerick had recently graduated with distinction and four gold medals in oratory from Trinity College, Dublin.

He was born at 108 George’s Street (O’Connell Street) in the heart of the newly developed Newtownpery in Limerick city.(now the address of the AIB Bank)

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Suffering from overwork, he was spending Christmas with his uncle and aunt at Ashe near Steventon. Jane Austen, with her bright hazel eyes and rosy complexion, was a great favourite of his aunt who introduced her to Tom at a local ball.

His fair hair and deep blue eyes enchanted Jane; he was “a very gentlemanlike, good-looking, pleasant young man”.

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Writing to her older sister Cassandra, she said they behaved in a most “profligate” and “shocking” manner by dancing several times together without changing partners and breaking more rules by sitting down, joking, and discussing books. All very scandalous.

They were dance partners at three more balls, and appeared so close that a family friend presented Austen with a portrait of Lefroy.

At 20, Jane had reached the age when Cassandra had become engaged. She joked that if Lefroy proposed marriage she would only accept if he got rid of his white morning coat.

But four weeks after they met, Austen and her ‘Irish friend’ were forced to part: he had to travel to London to study at the Bar. Jane wrote: “At length the day is come on which I am to flirt my last with Tom Lefroy … My tears flow as I write at the melancholy idea.’

But theirs was more than a whirlwind romance. In August 1796, on her way to Kent, Jane and two of her brothers stayed with Lefroy and his great-uncle Benjamin in London. A rich bachelor, he had seen Tom through college, and was about to finance his law studies. He wanted him to marry a girl with money and family influence.

Jane’s father was heavily in debt, had to sell the family carriage, and resort to taking pupils into the rectory. Lefroy needed someone who would bring a large dowry, and could not risk entangling himself with a girl who depended on her parents’ small allowance.

Jane waited for Tom but he did not come. When he visited Hampshire in autumn 1798, his aunt sent him packing to London, so as not to give Jane false hopes. The next time she saw his aunt, Jane did not dare ask about Tom and never mentions him again in her letters.

Austen had been spared living in an unknown country, with no money of her own, ground down by a life of almost continuous pregnancy. Instead she had time to write three novels before she was 24. Lefroy found a more ‘eligible’ match in Mary Paul from Wexford, sister of a college friend. They were married in Wales where many Wexford families had taken refuge during the 1798 Rebellion, and went to live in Dublin where Tom practised at the Bar.

When her brother suddenly died a year later, Mary became heiress to the Paul estates. Lefroy had indeed made a fortunate match. As the eldest son, his family depended on him “to rise into distinction”: he did not let them down. Daniel O’Connell claimed Lefroy, a Protestant, was promoted above more worthy Catholics.

Lefroy always carried a Bible, and argued that only a proper system of education could improve the morals of the lower classes. He opposed Catholic emancipation, and founded a society to send Protestant missionaries into Catholic areas. Elected Tory MP for Dublin University in 1830, he was against extending the vote to the middle classes.

While his wife and children settled into a Gothic mansion at Carriglas, Co Longford, Lefroy stayed in Dublin, within easy reach of his work as a judge.

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Many of his decisions were harsh: during the Famine he transported leaders of the Young Ireland movement for encouraging tenants not to pay rent.

Lefroy’s hand in the oppression of Catholics, when his Huguenot ancestors had fled oppression in France, is an irony Jane Austen would not have missed.

Lefroy’s ruthless efficiency in dealing with political cases was recognised in 1852 by the Tory government that promoted him to Lord Chief Justice of Ireland, the most senior judge in the Court of Queen’s Bench.

He held the position until he was 90 when, by one account, he was still reading his newspaper without spectacles.

Shortly before he died, aged 93, Lefroy confessed to a nephew that he had once loved Jane Austen; quickly adding that it was only “a boyish kind of love”.

One of Tom’s daughters was called Jane Christmas.Is it a coincidence that he named his daughter after his lover and after the period that had been together? I don’t think so.

Limerick,Dublin,Galway,California and a Prince from Montenegro.

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No this is not a fairy tale. It is something you could refer to as ‘History at your doorstep’It is a local bit of history with touches two sides of the Atlantic ocean and ancient mainland Europe.

Milo Petrović-Njegoš ( 1889–1978) was a prince of Montenegro. He was a direct descendant of Radul Petrović, brother of Prince-Bishopric Danilo I.

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Prince Milo never knew poverty and came from a very privileged background, but as happens so often ,due to circumstances beyond his control his world got turned upside down.

Prince Milo was born in Njeguši on 3 October 1889 to Đuro Petrović and Stane-Cane Đurašković. During World War I, he was the commander of the Lovćen Brigade.

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As soon as the Austro-Hungarian troops began to leave the territory of Serbia and Montenegro in November 1918, the French and Serbian units are immediately occupied the territory of the Kingdom of Montenegro. Montenegrins were initially considered their allies. A newly convened National Assembly of Podgorica  accused the Кing of seeking a separate peace with the enemy and consequently deposed him, banned his return and decided that Montenegro should join the Kingdom of Serbia on December 1, 1918. A large part of the Montenegrin population started a rebellion against the amalgamation, the Christmas Uprising (7 January 1919).

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Prince Milo left Montenegro in 1919 and continued for more than a half century all around the world to struggle for Montenegrin rights and renewal of Montenegrin statehood. He married Helena Grace Smith in Santa Barbara, California, U.S., on 3 September 1927. On 23 October 1928, his only child, Milena was born in Los Angeles, United States. He left his family the following year and settled in London.He later moved to Dublin, Ireland where he owned an antiques shop. Later in his life he moved to Clifden county Galway.

In 1978 he ended up in Limerick,how or why he was here is unclear. he died in the Barringtons Hospital  Limerick on 22 November 1978.

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At his request he was buried  buried in a plot he had purchased in St. Mary’s Cathedral, Limerick. It is a very unassuming grave not something you expect a grave of a Prince would look like. Many times I have walked by it without realizing who laid there.

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A small plague has been erected in front of the grave, giving a short history of the Prince.

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His Daughter ,Milena Thompson, attended the funeral. She published a book called “My father the Prince”

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Famous bands that changed their names.

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Starting off with probably the best known band from the low countries”Golden Earring”. Their name change was very subtle, they were formed in 1961 as the “Golden Earrings” they dropped the S in 1969.

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The next name change is a bit less subtle but still subtle enough “the Cranberries” started off as “the Cranberry Saw Us” in 1989. When their male lead singer left and was later replaced with the one and only Dolores O’Riordon history was made as Limerick’s biggest ever Rock act. Sadly Dolores O’Riordan passed away earlier this year.

1957,Liverpool a group of teenagers called themselves “the Quarry men” after they had tried names like ‘The Blackjacks, Johnny and the Moondogs, Japage 3’ However this skiffle band eventually became known as “the Beatles”. You may have heard of them.

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Continuing on a Dutch theme with Van Halen. Eddie and Alex Van Halen formed their first band with three other boys, calling themselves The Broken Combs, performing at lunchtime at Hamilton Elementary School in Pasadena, whereEddie Van Halen was in the fourth grade. Eddie Van Halen would later say that this was when he first felt the desire to become a professional musician.In 1972, The Van Halens formed another band, originally called “Genesis.” The name was changed to “Mammoth” when they became aware of the English progressive rock band of the same name. Mammoth consisted of Eddie Van Halen on guitar and lead vocals, his brother Alex on drums and bass guitarist Mark Stone. Mammoth had no P.A. system of their own, so they rented one from David Lee Roth,a service for which he charged by the night. Eddie Van Halen became frustrated with singing lead vocals, and decided they could save money by adding Roth to the band.Michael Anthony later replaced Mark Stone on the bass guitar. The band opted to change its name because Roth suggested that the last name of the two brothers “sounded cool.”

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U2 Ireland’s biggest band. I can hear you say “What’s the Hype?” and you’d be correct. What is the Hype? That would be U2. The Hype started off as a 5 piece band. The Edge’s older brother,Dik Evans, used to be part of the band. After he left the band was renamed U2.

Even though they were called V2 on the posters for their first gig in the UK. About 6 people showed up.

This is the Dublin 4 in my hometown ‘Geleen’ in 1981.

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Led Zeppelin were not always called Led Zeppelin, in fact the had several incarnations.The first one being “the Yardbirds”. The band that included 3 of the world’s best guitarists ever. Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page and the man musicians refer to as “God” Eric Clapton. Jimmy Page was actually the bassist.

In 1968 the Yardbirds played their last gig and “the New Yardbirds” were born with Robert Plant on vocals.However the name ‘the New Yardbirds’ didn’t stick, it went down like a lead balloon or even a Led Zeppelin.

 

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know a 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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Random Act of Kindness

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I enjoy going for walks aside from the health benefits it also  clears my head, On these walks I often take pictures of things that catch my eye.

This morning I walked up to the Limerick Gallery of art just to check if there was a new exhibition, but before I went in I took some pictures of the monuments outside of the gallery and a street and church nearby.

Then when I was about to enter the gallery, a city council worker who had been working in the vicinity, stopped me. He said he had seen me taking pictures and then he showed me  a picture book of Limerick city. It was a book with pictures of hidden architectural gems and a few post cards. The kind man then gave the book to me.

I was actually touched by this random act of kindness. I was a complete stranger to the man and yet he presented me with a gift. It is small deeds like that , that still make me believe that although many bad things happen on this earth there is still more good then bad. I thought it was quite poignant on the day it was in, the day when we remember the darkest era in the history of mankind.

I will share the pictures I took and also some pictures that are in the book. The first picture are mine.

 

Pictures from the book.

The post cards

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