The lonely journey of Otto Frank on the Monowai steamship.

Monowai

I am a father of 3 children and every time they leave the house a million scenarios go through my head of things that could happen to them, but I am not unique in this for it  is what fathers and mothers do, they worry for their kids.

Otto Frank was a father and a husband to 2 beautiful daughters and a remarkable wife, I just can’t fathom the anxiety he must have felt on the 4th of August 1944, when the Gestapo raided the annex of the building, Otto and his family had been hiding in since July 6 1942.

annex

The uncertainty of the fate of his family must have driven him to the brink of insanity.

On the 22nd of  April 1945, a few weeks before the end of the war in Europe, the Monowai,flying the New Zealand flag,  set sail from England for Odessa on the Black Sea.it was carrying 1600 Soviets who had been captured serving with the Germans in France. The Manowai then embarked Jewish Holocaust survivors from Western Europe, on of them was Otto Frank – who had been liberated from the Auschwitz death camp on January 27th 1945. by the Soviet army. On 21 May the ship traveled with the Jewish survivors   from Odessa to Marseille, where it arrived on the 27th of May.

Marseille

While aboard the Monowai, Otto Frank wrote the following letter:

“The closer we get to home the greater our impatience to hear from our loved ones. Everything that’s happened the past few years! Until our arrest I don’t know exactly what caused it, even now, at least we still had contact with each other. I don’t know what’s happened since then. Kugler and Kleiman and especially Miep and her husband and Bep Voskuil provided us with everything for two whole years, with incomparable devotion and sacrifice and despite all danger.

I can’t even begin to describe it. How will I ever begin to repay everything they did. But what has happened since then? To them, to you to Robert (His brother). Are you in touch with Julius and Walter? (Edith’s brothers) All our possessions are gone. There won’t be a pin left, the Germans stole everything. Not a photo, letter or document remains. Financially we were fine in the past few years, I earned good money and saved it. Now it’s all gone. But I don’t think about any of that. We have lived through too much to worry about that kind of thing. Only the children matter, the children. I hope to get news from you immediately. Maybe you’ve already heard news about the girls”

By this time Otto had discovered that his wife, Edith, had died at Auschwitz

This letter broke my heart. We know so much about Anne through her diary and also but to a lesser extend about Margot, but none of us can ever imagine the pain Otto felt when he heard the news about his daughters.

Frank

The sad thing is that Anne Frank’s diary did not have to be published if the US had not cancelled the Frank’s visa in December 1941, just after Germany had declared war to the US.  I am not accusing the US government but it is sad nonetheless.

The even sadder thing is that Otto Frank was accused of tempering with Anne’s diary. I really don’t understand the mindset of people like that. accusing a man who lost everything. To me he is a hero who despite everything kept his sanity and ensured that the story of his daughter and the rest of his family would be told.

Otto Frank died of lung cancer on 19 August 1980 in Basel.

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Source

New Zealand History

Wikipedia

 

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The Battle of Manners street

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Not every battle during WWII took place on a battlefield or at sea, some battles took place between allies in the most unlikely battlefronts like night clubs.

The Battle of Manners Street was one of those battles,  it was a riot involving American servicemen and New Zealand servicemen and civilians outside the Allied Services Club in Manners Street, Wellington, New Zealand on April 3 1943.The club was a social centre, open to all military personnel.

apr-03-1943-battle-manners-street

 

Allegedly servicemen from the southern United States refused to let some Maori servicemen drink in the club. Things became heated as NZ Europeans defended the Maori. When the Americans removed there belts all hell broke loose.

Maori Battalion haka in Egypt, 1941 (1)

Hundreds of soldiers and civilians slugged it out on the streets of Wellington during the ‘Battle of Manners St’, the most infamous clash between New Zealanders and American servicemen during the Second World War.

Allies fighting each other was not good publicity, and news of the three-hour brawl was hushed up at the time.

Battle_of_the_Manners_St_1

News of the riot was censored at the time due to the censorship some urban myths started to develop like the claim that two Americans were killed.

It was twenty years before the finding of the Court of Inquiry was released. Postwar, the Club building was used as a Post Office, which operated until the mid-2010s to make way for a redevelopment project.

 

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Source

NZ History

Squadron Leader Phil Lamason & the KLB Club

KLB_Club

I could have gone with any of 168 stories of the members of this club, but I decided to go with the highest ranking officer.

The KLB Club (initials for Konzentrationslager Buchenwald) was formed on 12 October 1944, and included the 168 allied airmen who were held prisoner at Buchenwald concentration camp between 20 August and 19 October 1944.166 airmen survived Buchenwald, while two died of sickness at the camp.

Buchenwald Gate

The “terror fliers” heads were shaved, they were denied shoes, and forced to sleep outside without shelter for about three weeks. They were given one thin blanket for three men.  They were assigned to a section of the camp called, “Little Camp,” which was a quarantine area.  Prisoners in the Little Camp received the least food and the harshest treatment.

After a short time, the men figured out who was the ranking officer of all the prisoners. Squadron Leader Phil Lamason, a Lancaster bomber pilot from New Zealand, was the most senior officer. Lamason called everyone together after their first meal together and made a speech, saying,

Phillip John Lamason DFC & Bar (15 September 1918 – 19 May 2012) was a pilot in the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) during the Second World War, who rose to prominence as the senior officer in charge of 168 Allied airmen taken to Buchenwald concentration camp, Germany, in August 1944.

Phil_Lamason

Lamason’s Lancaster was shot down while attacking railway yards near Paris two days after D-Day. Two of his crew were killed; Lamason bailed out with the other four, three of whom eventually made it back to England. For seven weeks Lamason and his navigator were hidden by the French Resistance before they were betrayed to the Gestapo, who interrogated them at the infamous Fresnes prison near Paris. Lamason was wearing civilian clothes when he was captured and was therefore treated as a spy rather than as a prisoner of war.

AVRO_Lancaster_LM575_LS-H_Crew

On August 15 1944, five days before Paris was liberated, Lamason and his navigator were taken in cattle trucks with a group of 168 other airmen to Buchenwald, a journey that took five days .

 

As the most senior officer, Lamason insisted on military discipline and bearing. He did not do this just to improve morale but also because he saw it as his responsibility to carry on his war duties despite the circumstances.

Once at Buchenwald, he risked his life on numerous occasions as he sought to obtain the men’s release and to smuggle news of their plight to the Luftwaffe — RAF prisoners of war were the responsibility of the Luftwaffe, not of the Gestapo.

By negotiating with the camp authorities he was able to secure extra blankets, clothes, clogs and food for the airmen. In October he learned that the Gestapo had ordered their execution, and he increased his efforts to secure the fliers’ release.

In late 1944 a rumor crossed inspector of day fighters Colonel Hannes Trautloft’s desk that a large number of Allied airmen were being held at Buchenwald. Trautloft decided to visit the camp and see for himself under the pretence of inspecting aerial bomb damage near the camp.

Hannes_Trautloft_age_58

Trautloft was about to leave the camp when captured US airman Bernard Scharf called out to him in fluent German from behind a fence. The SS guards tried to intervene, but Trautloft pointed out that he out-ranked them and made them stand back. Scharf explained that he was one of more than 160 allied airmen imprisoned at the camp and begged Trautloft to rescue him and the other airmen Trautloft’s adjutant also spoke to the group’s commanding officer, Phil Lamason.

Disturbed by the event, Trautloft returned to Berlin and began the process to have the airmen transferred out of Buchenwald. Seven days before their scheduled execution, the airmen were taken by train by the Luftwaffe to Stalag Luft III on 19 October 1944,where their shaven-headed, emaciated appearance shocked their fellow PoWs. One of Lamason’s colleagues described him as “a man of true grit, he was the wonderful unsung hero of Buchenwald”; most of the airmen who had been sent to that camp attributed their survival to his leadership and determination.

Nationalities of the 168 airmen
United States 82 American
United Kingdom 48 British
Canada 26 Canadian
Australia 9 Australian
New Zealand 2 New Zealander
Jamaica 1 Jamaican

00345664(this is not a picture of the actual men)

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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

$2.00


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