The desperate act of Ernst Kurt Lisso,Deputy Mayor of Leipzig.

Deputy Mayor Ernst Kurt Lisso and his family after committing suicide by cyanide to avoid capture by US troops, 1945 (1)

As the Red Army and the Western Allies pressed closer and closer to Berlin suicides grew. Thousands of Germans committed suicide in the spring of 1945, rather than face occupation and the expected abuse by their victors. 3,881 people were recorded as committing suicide during April in the Battle of Berlin, although the figure is probably an underestimate. Although the motives was widely explained as the “fear of the Russian invasion”, the suicides also happened in the areas liberated by the British and American troops.

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On the 18th April 1945 a number of officials of Leizig committed suicide in the New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus). The Deputy Mayor of Leipzig Ernst Lisso decided to end his life but also that of his wife and daughter as the Americans press towards the city hall. In the death tableaux his wife Renate Lisso sits across from her husband and most shockingly his daughter Regina sits on the bench. She has an armband on and presumably was part of the German Red Cross aiding German soldiers before her premature death. In another room, the mayor and his wife and daughter similarly killed themselves before the Allied forces could do their worst. In both cases they used cyanide capsules.

Deputy Mayor Ernst Kurt Lisso and his family after committing suicide by cyanide to avoid capture by US troops, 1945 (2)

Unlike in Japan–where many people also killed themselves at the end of the war–suicide is not embedded in German culture as a potential response to shame or dishonor. Yet thousands of people felt that life was no longer worth living if it wasn’t under the Nazi order. Perhaps the expected hardships and privations of defeat, coupled with family and personal losses during the war, drove many people over the edge.

Life Magazine reported that: “In the last days of the war the overwhelming realization of utter defeat was too much for many Germans. Stripped of the bayonets and bombast which had given them power, they could not face a reckoning with either their conquerors or their consciences. These found the quickest and surest escape in what Germans call selbstmord, self-murder.”

Deputy Mayor Ernst Kurt Lisso and his family after committing suicide by cyanide to avoid capture by US troops, 1945 (3)

There were several reasons why some Germans decided to end their lives in the last months of the war. First, by 1945 Nazi Propaganda had created fear among some sections of the population about the impending military invasion of their country by the Soviets or Western Allies. Information films from the Reichs Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda repeatedly chided audiences about why Germany must not surrender telling the people they faced the threat of torture, rape and death in defeat. Secondly, many Nazis – who had been indoctrinated in unquestioning loyalty to the party – also felt obliged to follow the example of Adolf Hitler when it was reported that the Führer had taken his own life. Finally others killed themselves because they did know what would happen to them following defeat.

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The tragic death of Szmul Zygielbojm-The man who exposed the Holocaust to the allies.

Szmul-Zygielbojm-1023x946My heart was broken when I heard about this Hero. If the allies just would have listened to him and taken him serious so many lives including his own could have been saved. What make this even more tragic and poignant that he did not die by direct Nazi violence but by his own hand due to grieve and frustration.

When Szmul Zygielbojm stood up and denounced ‘the greatest crime in history’ in 1942 the Polish politician was revealing to the world for the first time the full horror of the unfolding Holocaust.

Three years before the liberation of the death camps, Zygielbojm issued his clarion call but also sowed the seeds of his own destruction warning it would ‘be a shame to go on living’ if nothing were done.

Szmul Zygielbojm (February 21, 1895 – May 11, 1943) was a Jewish-Polish socialist politician, leader of the Bund, and a member of the National Council of the Polish government in exile.

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He committed suicide to protest the indifference of the Allied governments in the face of the Holocaust.

When the Nazis ordered Jewish leaders to help with the creation of a ghetto in the Polish capital, Zygielbojm publicly opposed the command – and was subsequently smuggled out of the city.

After travelling to Belgium, France and the US, where he spoke at a series of meetings to raise awareness about the plight of Jews, he eventually found himself in London in March 1942 to join the National Council of the Polish government in exile.

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Realising that he was dealing with a sceptical non-Jewish public, Zygielbojm used British newspapers and the BBC to pass on detailed information he was being supplied with from occupied Europe.

In June 1942, The Daily Telegraph headline read ‘Germans murder 700,000 Jews in Poland’ and readers were told it was ‘the greatest massacre in the world’s history

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In April 1943, the US and UK governments met in Bermuda, supposedly to come up with answers to the unfolding plight of Jews in occupied Europe.

Ironically this happened just as the Jewish resistance rose up the Warsaw Ghetto despite facing overwhelming numbers of well armed Nazi troops.

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An estimated 13,000 Jews died during the uprising and the 50,000 or so survivors were immediately shipped to extermination camps.

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In May, Zygielbojm realised that the Allies were not going to act and then, to compound his despair, he learnt that his wife Manya and son Tuvla had died in Warsaw.

On the 12th of May he took an overdose of sodium amytal at his home in west London and left a long and detailed suicide note, explaining his decision to take his own life.

In a long, detailed “suicide letter”, addressed to Polish president Władysław Raczkiewicz and prime minister Władysław Sikorski, Zygielbojm stated that while the Nazis were responsible for the murder of the Polish Jews, the Allies were also culpable:

The responsibility for the crime of the murder of the whole Jewish nationality in Poland rests first of all on those who are carrying it out, but indirectly it falls also upon the whole of humanity, on the peoples of the Allied nations and on their governments, who up to this day have not taken any real steps to halt this crime. By looking on passively upon this murder of defenseless millions tortured children, women and men they have become partners to the responsibility.

I am obliged to state that although the Polish Government contributed largely to the arousing of public opinion in the world, it still did not do enough. It did not do anything that was not routine, that might have been appropriate to the dimensions of the tragedy taking place in Poland….

I cannot continue to live and to be silent while the remnants of Polish Jewry, whose representative I am, are being murdered. My comrades in the Warsaw ghetto fell with arms in their hands in the last heroic battle. I was not permitted to fall like them, together with them, but I belong with them, to their mass grave.

By my death, I wish to give expression to my most profound protest against the inaction in which the world watches and permits the destruction of the Jewish people.

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He wished his letter to be known not only by the Polish President and prime minister in exile. He wrote: “I am certain that the President and the Prime Minister will send out these words of mine to all those to whom they are addressed, and that the Polish Government will embark immediately on diplomatic action and explanation of the situation, in order to save the living remnant of the Polish Jews from destruction.”

After his death, Zygielbojm’s seat in the Polish exile parliament was taken over by Emanuel Scherer.

Zygielbojm’s younger son, Joseph, survived the Ghetto’s destruction. After taking a leadership role in the Polish resistance during the war, he immigrated to the United States, where he became a scientist at NASA. He died in 1995, survived by his sons, Arthur and Paul.

Heinrich Himmler’s suicide-at the end he was nothing but a coward

 

LandscapeIn 1945 disillusioned Himmler believed victory had slipped from Germany’s grasp and secretly attempted to start peace negotiations with Eisenhower in a bid to escape a war crimes trial. But Eisenhower refused to have anything to do with Himmler. A furious Hitler declared Himmler a traitor, stripped him of his powers and expelled him from the Nazi Party.

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Rejected by his former comrades and hunted by the Allies, Himmler attempted to go into hiding. He disguised himself by shaving off his mustache, wearing an eye patch over his left eye and carrying false identity papers under the name of Sergeant Heinrich Hitzinger. With a small band of companions, he headed south on 11 May to Friedrichskoog, without a final destination in mind. They continued on to Neuhaus, where the group split up. On 21 May, Himmler and two aides were stopped and detained at a checkpoint set up by former Soviet prisoners of war. Over the following two days, he was moved around to several camps and was brought to the British 31st Civilian Interrogation Camp near Lüneburg, on 23 May.

The duty officer, Captain Thomas Selvester, began a routine interrogation. Himmler admitted who he was, and Selvester had the prisoner searched. Himmler was taken to the headquarters of the Second British Army in Lüneburg, where doctor Wells conducted a medical exam on him. When the doctor saw a dark object in a gap in Himmler’s lower jaw, he ordered him to come closer to the light and tried to remove the glass capsule. Suddenly Himmler bit on the cyanide capsule and at the doctor’s fingers. Himmler fell to the ground and someone shouted “The bastard beats us!”.

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The smell of prussic acid spread through the room. “We immediately upended the old bastard and got his mouth into the bowl of water which was there to wash the poison out”, noted Major Whittaker in his diary. “There were terrible groans and grunts coming from the swine”. Himmler’s tongue was secured in an attempt to prevent him from swallowing the poison.

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Doctor Wells tried resuscitation but it was in vain. He was dead within 15 minutes. At least one death mask of Himmler was taken. On 25 May an autopsy was conducted, the teeth configuration compared, and the brain and part of his skeleton removed. Shortly afterward, Himmler’s body was buried in an unmarked grave near Lüneburg. The grave’s location remains unknown.

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Germanwings Flight 9525-Andreas Lubitz’s homicidal suicide flight.

WRECKAGE OF THE AIRBUS A320 IS SEEN AT THE SITE OF THE CRASH, NEAR SEYNE-LES-ALPES

It’s hard to believe this happened  today 2 years ago. I know the title is slightly contradictory but I think it’s the most appropriate way to describe the tragedy.

On March 24 2015 Germanwings flight 9525 took off from Barcelona airport headed for Dusseldorf in Germany. But the Airbus A320 never made it to its final destination.

Shortly after the plane reached its assigned cruising altitude, it suddenly began a rapid descent.

Moments later the doomed passenger jet crashed into the French Alps northwest of Nice, killing all 144 passengers and six crew members on board.

An investigation into the devastating event concluded that co-pilot Andreas Lubitz caused the crash in an apparent murder-suicide. The then 27-year-old had a history of depression and suicidal tendencies, even declared “unfit for work” by a doctor. _81925461_81925460

Friends and neighbours described him as a “quiet” but “fun” character, who enjoyed his job.

In response to the incident and the circumstances of Lubitz’s involvement, aviation authorities in some countries implemented new regulations that require the presence of two authorized personnel in the cockpit at all times. Three days after the incident, the European Aviation Safety Agency issued a temporary recommendation for airlines to ensure that at least two crew members—including at least one pilot—were in the cockpit during the entire duration of the flight. Several airlines announced that they had already adopted similar policies voluntarily.

Germanwings Flight 9525 took off from Runway 07R at Barcelona–El Prat Airport on 24 March 2015 at 10:01 a.m. CET  and was due to arrive at Düsseldorf Airport by 11:39 CET.The flight’s scheduled departure time was 9:35 CET.According to the French national civil aviation inquiries bureau, the Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety (BEA), the pilots confirmed instructions from French air traffic control at 10:30 CET. At 10:31 CET, after crossing the French coast near Toulon, the aircraft left its assigned cruising altitude of 38,000 feet (12,000 m) and without approval began to descend rapidly. The air traffic controller declared the aircraft in distress after its descent and loss of radio contact.

The descent time from 38,000 feet was about ten minutes; radar observed an average descent rate of approximately 3,400 feet per minute or 58 feet per second (18 m/s). Altitude_Chart_for_Flight_4U9525_register_D-AIPX.svg

Attempts by French air traffic control to contact the flight on the assigned radio frequency were not answered. A French military Mirage jet was scrambled from the Orange-Caritat Air Base to intercept the aircraft. 1024px-Mirage_2000C_in-flight_2_(cropped)

According to the BEA, radar contact was lost at 10:40 CET; at the time, the aircraft had descended to 6,175 feet (1,882 m).The aircraft crashed in the remote commune of Prads-Haute-Bléone, 100 kilometres (62 mi) north-west of Nice.

The co-pilot of the doomed Germanwings jet barricaded himself in the cockpit and “intentionally” sent the plane full speed into a mountain in the French Alps, ignoring the pilot’s frantic pounding on the door and the screams of terror from passengers, a prosecutor stated.

Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz’s “intention was to destroy this plane,” Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin said, laying out the horrifying conclusions reached by French aviation investigators after listening to the last minutes of Flight 9525.

He had battled with vision problems and insomnia for several months, it said, caused by a psychiatric disorder rather than anything physical.

He was taking medication for both psychiatric issues and insomnia, and had been given doctor’s notes excusing him from work. But he never showed them to the airline.

“On the day of the accident, the pilot was still suffering from a psychiatric disorder, which was possibly a psychotic depressive episode and was taking psychotropic medication,” the report found.

“This made him unfit to fly.”

But the report found he had hidden the evidence, and neither the airline nor his colleagues could have known about his circumstances.Those who knew Lubitz have described him as an affable young man, who gave no indications he was harbouring any harmful intent.

A German criminal investigation into the crash concluded in January that Lubitz bore sole responsibility for crashing the jet.228128

 

Guenther Lubitz, the killer’s father, rejected the findings as “false”, arguing that they were not thorough enough.

He and his wife placed a loving tribute to their son in a local newspaper to mark the first anniversary of the crash, angering families of the victims, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reports.

 

 

Joachim Gottschalk’s suicide.

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Gottschalk, the son of a physician, was born in the small town of Calau, in the Prussian province of Brandenburg, on April 10 1904. He attended the Gymnasium high school in Cottbus and from 1924 worked for four years on seagoing vessels. He later began an theatrical education in Cottbus and Berlin. During an engagement in Stuttgart, he met with his later wife, the Jewish actress Meta Wolff  They married on 3 May 1930 in Halberstadt, shortly before Hitler came to power. They had a son, Michael, who was born in February 1933.

After the Nazi took power in 1933, Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels promoted the establishment of the Reichskulturkammer (Chamber of Culture) instituition. Actors were required to apply for membership in the Theaterkammer (Chamber of Theatre) for an “Aryan certificate” which meant a prohibition (Berufsverbot) for Meta Wolff.

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The couple managed to avoid the anti-Semitic Nuremberg Laws and rising tide of anti-semitic violence in Nazi Germany. From 1934 Gottschalk performed at the Schauspielhaus Frankfurt and in 1938 joined the Volksbühne ensemble in Berlin. In the same year he began his film career starring in the romance You and I directed by Wolfgang Liebeneiner, side by side with the popular German actress Brigitte Horney.

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During World War II , Gottschalk and Horney appeared as a “dream couple” in a string of successful movies.

One day Gottschalk took his Jewish wife to a social function and introduced her to some of the prominent Nazis who were present. Although the Nazis were charmed, Goebbels  learned about this incident, and decreed that Gottschalk would be required to separate from his Jewish wife. When Gottschalk refused, Goebbels ordered Gottschalk’s wife and child transported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp. The minister’s Special Representative Hans Hinkel insisted on the divorce and Gottschalk was told he would never work as an actor againHans Hinkel

Gottschalk insisted on accompanying Meta and Michael to Theresienstadt, but Goebbels ordered Gottschalk inducted into the German Army, the Wehrmacht.

On 6 November 1941, minutes before the expected arrival of the Gestapo at their house in Berlin-Grunewald, Gottschalk and his wife committed suicide by gas poisoning after sedating their son, who died with them.

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They are buried at the Stahnsdorf South-Western Cemetery. Though warned by Minister Goebbels, Brigitte Horney and Wolfgang Liebeneiner, as well as other artists like Gustav Knuth, Hans Brausewetter, Werner Hinz, and Ruth Hellberg attended the funeral.

Goebbels ordered no further mentions of Gottschalk in the German newspapers.Because of Nazi censorship, most of his devoted fans did not learn of the awful circumstances of his death until after the war. In 1947 Kurt Maetzig directed the movie Marriage in the Shadows after a novella by Hans Schweikart based on Gottschalk  and Wolff.Ehe_im_schatten

 

The 2002 drama Times Like These written by John O’Keefe is  also based on this tragedy.

 

Leonidas Squadron-Germany’s Suicide Squadron.

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The Leonidas Squadron, formally known as 5th Staffel of Kampfgeschwader 200 was a unit which was originally formed to fly the Fieseler Fi 103R (Reichenberg), a manned version of the V-1 flying bomb, in attacks in which the pilot was likely to be killed, or at best to parachute down at the attack site. The Reichenberg was never used in combat because Werner Baumbach, the commander of KG 200, and his superiors considered it an unnecessary waste of life and resources.

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He preferred to use the Mistel bomb instead, piloted from a regular Luftwaffe single-seat fighter used as an integral parasite aircraft, as the only manned part of the composite aircraft Mistel ordnance system, which released the lower, unmanned flying bomb component aircraft towards its target and returned.

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The establishment of a suicide squadron (staffel) was originally proposed by Otto Skorzeny and Hajo Herrmann. The proposal was supported by noted test pilot Hanna Reitsch.

The idea proposed was that Germany would use volunteers as suicide pilots in order to overcome the Allies’ numerical advantages with their fanatic spirit. The idea had roots in German mythology that was glorified by Nazi propaganda. Hitler was reluctant, but eventually agreed to Reitsch’s request to establish and train a suicide attack air unit, with the proviso that it would not be operated in combat without his approval. The new unit, nicknamed the “Leonidas Squadron”, became part of KG 200. It was named after Leonidas I, the king of Sparta who in 480 BC resisted the invading Persian army at the Battle of Thermopylae with 300 elite warriors who fought to the last man.

Reitsch’s plan was to attack Allied invasion shipping using the Messerschmitt Me 328 as a suicide weapon which would dive into the sea underneath ships and explode a 900 kilograms (2,000 lb) bomb.

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Heinrich Himmler approved the idea, and suggested using convicted criminals as pilots. The Luftwaffe’s High Command was unenthusiastic; Erhard Milch turned the plan down as impractical, and Hermann Göring showed little interest. Adolf Hitler was against the idea of self-sacrifice, believing that it was not in keeping with the German character, and furthermore did not see the war situation as being bad enough to require such extreme measures. Despite this, he allowed Reitsch to proceed with the project after she had shown the plan to him in February 1944. Günther Korten, the Luftwaffe’s head of general staff, gave the matter to the commander of KG 200 to deal with.

Over 70 volunteers, mostly young recruits, came forward; they were required to sign a declaration which said, “I hereby voluntarily apply to be enrolled in the suicide group as part of a human glider-bomb. I fully understand that employment in this capacity will entail my own death.”

Problems were experienced in converting the Me 328, and the decision was taken to use instead a manned version of the V-1 flying bomb, the Fieseler Fi 103R (Reichenberg); however, it never entered operation.

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On 9 June 1944, Karl Koller announced that a Gruppe of KG 200 equipped with special Focke-Wulf Fw 190s was ready for “total operations”.

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Each aircraft carried a heavy bomb, due to whose weight the machines could not carry enough fuel for a return flight, and the pilots were trained only using gliders. This project came to nothing, and Werner Baumbach, at that stage the commander of KG 200, persuaded his friend Albert Speer that it would be more productive to use the men against Russian power stations than the Allied invasion fleet; Speer passed this on to Hitler.

During the Battle for Berlin the Luftwaffe flew “Self-sacrifice missions” (Selbstopfereinsätze) against Soviet held bridges over the Oder River. These ‘total missions’ were flown by pilots of the Leonidas Squadron under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Heiner Lange from 17 April until 20 April 1945, using any aircraft that were available.

While suicide missions were never officially part of Allied strategy, there were a number of instances of British, Polish, American and Soviet pilots sacrificing themselves to destroy enemy targets.

One of the first casualties of the war was Leopold Pamula, a Polish pilot who intentionally slammed his outclassed PZL P.11c into a German aircraft in the opening hours of the war.

Colin P. Kelly, was heralded for flying his own plane into an enemy warship in much the same way kamikazes would do two and a half years later.

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According to the story, only three days after the Pearl Harbor raid, Kelly’s B-17 Flying Fortress came under attack by Zeroes after bombing a Japanese warship off the Philippines.

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The doomed pilot kept his stricken plane in the air long enough for the crew to escape, at which point he deliberately plowed his Flying Fortress right into the smokestack of the Japanese ship Ashigara.

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The Children of WWII

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“A child is born with no state of mind,blind to the ways of mankind” I would never have imagined I would  use the words of a 1980’s hip hop song in a blog relating to WWII. The words are from the 1982 Hip Hop hit “the Message” by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. But the words are so true. When a child is born his or her brain  is like a blank canvas, and is shaped and filled by the influence of the adults that surround them.

During WWII,as in any other war, all the children were victims,without exception.Of course the degree and severity on how they were victims had a significant difference. Some lost their lives,while others lost their innocence. Many of those who lost their innocence had to live with the emotional scars for the rest of their lives, for they had been forced to do things no child should ever have to do.

The only ‘crime they committed was being born at the wrong time,in the wrong place and sometimes to the wrong parents.

Below are pictures of some the Children of WWII, some of these images may be distressing but I feel it is important to show them.

The Child soldier.

20 March 1945: Adolf Hitler decorates his last tranche of boy soldiers for fighting to the bitter end. Artur Axmann, leader of Hitler Youth, is behind Hitler; Otto Günsche is in background on left, then Hermann Fegelein in the center and Heinz Linge on the right.

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U.S. Marine 1st Lt. Hart H. Spiegal tries to communicate with two Japanese child soldiers captured during the Battle of Okinawa. June 17, 1945.
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A sixteen-year old German anti aircraft soldier of the Hitler Youth, Hans-Georg Henke, taken prisoner in the state of Hessen, Germany. He was a member of the Luftwaffe anti-air squad who burst into tears as his world crumbled around him. His father died in 1938 but when his mother died in 1944 leaving the family destitute, Hans-Georg had to find work in order to support the family. At 15 years of age he joined the Luftwaffe.

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The displaced and evacuated children, they were also victims. Their uncomplicated lives suddenly became a turmoil they had in one way or another deal with. They suddenly had to grow up. Some would even find themselves in a different country or even continent.

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As the Red Army took control of East Prussia at the end of World War II, thousands of orphaned children were forced to flee the cities and enter the woods in search of food and shelter. They became known as wolf children because they traveled in packs and made regular night trips between Germany, Poland, and Lithuania to avoid Soviet detection.

During the Second World War New Zealand invited 800 Poles – 734 of them orphaned children – to take refuge in New Zealand for the duration of the war. They had made a harrowing journey from Poland through Russia and Iran, to reach New Zealand on 31 October 1944.

The Children of the Holocaust.

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Child survivors dressed in clothes made from German uniforms. The children in the photo are wearing clothes made for them by the Americans out of German uniforms. As prisoners in the camp, they wore striped uniforms just like the other prisoners.

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The photo below shows Josef Schleifstein, posing in his camp uniform, a year after he was liberated.

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The children that often are disregarded as being war victims are the children of Nazi officials who were killed by their parents at the end of the war for fear of what the allies would do to them. I believe these children were victims too, for they didn’t ask for any pf this.

The Goebbels children.

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Deputy Mayor Dr. jur. Ernst Kurt Lisso of Leipzig, his wife Renate Stephanie, in chair, and their daughter Regina Lisso after committing suicide by cyanide in the Leipzig New Town Hall to avoid capture by US troops. April 18, 1945.

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Sonderkommando Elbe- The German Kamikazes

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SonderkommandoElbe was the name of a World War II Luftwaffe task force assigned to bring down heavy bombers by ramming aircraft into them mid-air. The tactic aimed to cause losses sufficient to halt or at least reduce the western Allies’ bombing of Germany.

The pilots were expected to parachute out either just before or after they had collided with their target. The chances of a Sonderkommando Elbe pilot surviving such a practice were low, at a time when the Luftwaffe was lacking sufficient numbers of well-trained pilots.

This bold tactic of the Luftwaffe was created by Colonel Hans Joachim ” Hajo ” Hermann; a desperate attempt to regain control of the sky.

Hajo Herrmann

The aircraft of choice for this mission was the G-version (Gustav) of the Messerschmitt Bf 109, stripped of armor and armament. The heavily stripped-down planes had one synchronized machine gun (usually a single MG 131 in the upper engine cowling) instead of up to four automatic weapons (usually including a pair of 20mm or 30mm underwing-mount autocannon) on fully equipped Bf 109G interceptors, and were only allotted 60 rounds each, a normally insufficient amount for bomber-interception missions.

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To accomplish their mission, Sonderkommando Elbe pilots would typically aim to ram one of three sensitive areas on the bombers: the empennage with its relatively delicate control surfaces, the engine nacelles which were connected to the highly explosive fuel system, or the cockpit itself.

The most visible and famous encounter during this attack was that of Uffz Heinrich Rosner against the lead formation of 389th Bomb Group “Sky Scorpions” (with 31 B-24 Liberators, the most produced four-engine heavy bomber of World War II).

He managed to fly his 109 through the entire formation, slice through the cockpit of the lead B-24 “Palace of Dallas” and then careen into the deputy lead B-24, taking them both out (the 389th completed its mission successfully despite this loss). Amazingly, Rosner bailed out and survived with minor injuries.

Adding to the last-ditch nature of this task force, the only mission was flown on 7 April 1945 by a sortie of 180 Bf 109s. While only 15 Allied bombers were attacked in this manner, eight were successfully destroyed.

The “Sonderkommando Elbe”, which began recruiting at the end of 1944, consisted mostly of young volunteers who had grown up under the Nazi regime and were ready to sacrifice their lives for their leaders and their country.  Their use, however, remained limited. The only official use of the Sonderkommando Elbe was over the Steinhude Sea, Germany’s largest inland sea, on April 7, 1945. Most of the pilots died, but the enemy was not harmed as much as had been hoped.  The attack on the bridges over the Oder yielded similarly weak results.

A manned version of the “Vengeance Weapon” V-1, the first cruise missile in military history, was never employed. The first 175 copies were built with a cockpit made for flight tests, but the Luftwaffe briefly considered using these simple bombs as suicide weapons.

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This device bore a surprising similarity to the Japanese “Oka” (“Cherry Blossom”) aircraft, which was essentially a manned glide bomb. These Japanese planes, in contrast with the German ones, were used more than 70 times between March and June 1945.  However, only one US destroyer was sunk while half a dozen smaller warships were badly damaged.

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It is likely that the German suicide pilot missions were inspired by the Japanese example, but there is no conclusive evidence to confirm that. It is clear, however, that this murderous plan fell short of its goal: though the psychological impact of the missions was immense, the physical damage they incurred was minimal. Once the US Navy was able to recover from the initial terror of the attacks, their effect waned. Any approaching aircraft that were believed to be on kamikaze missions were shot down before they had a chance to reach their target.

Several hundred pilots who were ready to sacrifice their lives still remained in service by the time the Japanese surrendered at the end of World War II. On the day of the Armistice, their commander took his life. Yet Hajo Hermann, who led the German suicide pilots, began a new life after the war. Following a decade of prison in the Soviet Union, he became a lawyer, before dying last November at the age of 97.

 

 

Kamikaze-Divine wind

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Kamikaze translates into divine wind and refers to a typhoon that destroyed an enemy fleet in the 13th century.

In the middle of the 13th century, Mongol fleets sailed to attack a helpless Japan. As the invaders approached the Japanese coast, terrific winds arose, smashed the Mongol ships and thwarted the attack. This “Divine Wind” – what the Japanese referred to as the “kamikaze” – saved Japan.

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Seven hundred years later, as the American war machine moved slowly but inexorably across the Pacific towards their home islands, the Japanese again called upon the kamikaze for salvation. This time the “Divine Wind” took the form of suicidal pilots who sacrificed their lives in order to assure that their explosive-laden planes hit their targets. It became the Japanese weapon that the American Navy feared most

These pilots really thought it was an honor to die for the emperor, who was still considered a divine entity. Apparently Kamikaze pilots would only considered a hero if 50 people died through their action.

img_kamikaze_fallingThere are quite some similarities between the Kamikazes and suicide bombers nowadays both had some delusional notion of what a hero is.In warfare this must be undoubtedly one of the scariest and difficult,even impossible, tactics to prepare for. Human instinct is to survive at all cost but how do you fight an enemy who does not adhere to that instinct and is willing to sacrifice himself for a ‘higher’ cause.

After the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941 they were defeated in many important battles in which they lost ships and airplanes.  During 1943 and 1944 Allied forces were moving towards Japan quickly. They pushed the Japanese back to the Philippines, a group of islands that were very important for them. They were located between the oil fields of Southeast Asia and Japan.

Kamikaze aircraft were essentially pilot-guided explosive missiles, purpose-built or converted from conventional aircraft. Pilots would attempt to crash their aircraft into enemy ships in what was called a “body attack” (体当たり; 体当り, taiatari) in planes laden with some combination of explosives, bombs, torpedoes and full fuel tanks; accuracy was much better than a conventional attack, the payload and explosion larger. A kamikaze could sustain damage which would disable a conventional attacker and still achieve its objective. The goal of crippling or destroying large numbers of Allied ships, particularly aircraft carriers, was considered by the Empire of Japan to be a just reason for sacrificing pilots and aircraft

These attacks, which began in October 1944, followed several critical military defeats for the Japanese. They had long since lost aerial dominance due to outdated aircraft and the loss of experienced pilots. On a macroeconomic scale, Japan suffered from a diminishing capacity for war, and a rapidly declining industrial capacity relative to the Allies. Despite these problems, the Japanese government expressed its reluctance to surrender. In combination, these factors led to the use of kamikaze tactics as Allied forces advanced towards the Japanese home islands.

While the term “kamikaze” usually refers to the aerial strikes, it has also been applied to various other suicide attacks. The Japanese military also used or made plans for non-aerial Japanese Special Attack Units, including those involving submarines, human torpedoes, speedboats and divers.

The tradition of death instead of defeat, capture, and perceived shame was deeply entrenched in Japanese military culture. It was one of the primary traditions in the samurai life and the Bushido code: loyalty and honour until death, as the Japanese perceived it.

During this phase of the war the Japanese were not able to build as many ships and warplanes as they were losing in the battles. They did not have the industries that the Americans did. The Japanese admirals realized that it was almost impossible to win against the Allied troops with few aircraft and not enough good pilots.

For this reason the Japanese emperor decided to form a special attack unit. 24 pilots volunteered for the mission. It was their task to crash into Allied ships and kill as many sailors as possible. The first kamikaze attack took place in October 1944. A Japanese plane flew straight into an Australian navy ship, killing 30 sailors.

Australia1NP

The kamikaze attacks were successful at first. Many pilots were trained to become kamikaze. The Japanese built cheap planes with older engines for these missions. Pilots usually dropped their landing gear after takeoff so that it could be used by other planes.

The Allied troops were afraid of these kamikaze attacks because they could not defend themselves against them. By the end of the war over 2500 Japanese pilots had sacrificed their lives. About 5000 American and Allied sailors were killed in the attacks.

Captain Motoharu Okamura, in charge of the Tateyama Base in Tokyo, as well as the 341st Air Group Home, was, according to some sources, the first officer to officially propose kamikaze attack tactics. He arranged, with his superiors, the first investigations on the plausibility and mechanisms of intentional suicide attacks on 15 June 1944.

In August 1944, it was announced by the Domei news agency that a flight instructor named Takeo Tagata was training pilots in Taiwan for suicide missions.

One source claims that the first kamikaze mission occurred on 13 September 1944. A group of pilots from the army’s 31st Fighter Squadron on Negros Island decided to launch a suicide attack the following morning.First Lieutenant Takeshi Kosai and a sergeant were selected. Two 100 kg (220 lb) bombs were attached to two fighters, and the pilots took off before dawn, planning to crash into carriers. They never returned, but there is no record of an enemy plane hitting an Allied ship that day.

Rear Admiral Masafumi Arima, the commander of the 26th Air Flotilla (part of the 11th Air Fleet), is sometimes credited with inventing the kamikaze tactic.

Arima_Masafumi

Arima personally led an attack by about 100 Yokosuka D4Y Suisei (“Judy”) dive bombers against a large Essex-class aircraft carrier, USS Franklin, near Leyte Gulf, on (or about, accounts vary) 15 October 1944.

Arima was killed and part of a plane hit Franklin. The Japanese high command and propagandists seized on Arima’s example: He was promoted posthumously to Admiral and was given official credit for making the first kamikaze attack. However, it is not clear that this was a planned suicide attack, and official Japanese accounts of Arima’s attack bore little resemblance to the actual events.

On 17 October 1944, Allied forces assaulted Suluan Island, beginning the Battle of Leyte Gulf.The Imperial Japanese Navy’s 1st Air Fleet, based at Manila, was assigned the task of assisting the Japanese ships which would attempt to destroy Allied forces in Leyte Gulf. However, the 1st Air Fleet at that time only had 40 aircraft: 34 A6M Zero carrier-based fighters, three Nakajima B6N Tenzan torpedo bombers, one Mitsubishi G4M (“Betty”) and two Yokosuka P1Y Ginga  land-based bombers, and one additional reconnaissance plane.

The task facing the Japanese air forces seemed impossible. The 1st Air Fleet commandant, Vice Admiral Takijirō Ōnishi, decided to form a suicide offensive force, the Special Attack Unit.

Takijiro_Onishi

In a meeting at Mabalacat Airfield (known to the U.S. military as Clark Air Base) near Manila, on 19 October, Onishi told officers of the 201st Flying Group headquarters: “I don’t think there would be any other certain way to carry out the operation [to hold the Philippines], than to put a 250 kg bomb on a Zero and let it crash into a U.S. carrier, in order to disable her for a week.”

Commander Asaiki Tamai asked a group of 23 talented student pilots, all of whom he had trained, to volunteer for the special attack force. All of the pilots raised both of their hands, volunteering to join the operation. Later, Tamai asked Lieutenant Yukio Seki to command the special attack force.

Lt_Yukio_Seki_in_flightgear

Seki is said to have closed his eyes, lowered his head and thought for 10 seconds, before saying: “Please do appoint me to the post.” Seki became the 24th kamikaze pilot to be chosen. However, Seki later said: “Japan’s future is bleak if it is forced to kill one of its best pilots.” and “I am not going on this mission for the Emperor or for the Empire… I am going because I was ordered to.”

Several suicide attacks, carried out during the invasion of Leyte, by Japanese pilots from units other than the Special Attack Force, have been described as the first kamikaze attack. Early on 21 October, a Japanese aircraft, possibly an Aichi D3A dive-bomber or a Mitsubishi Ki-51  deliberately crashed into the foremast of the heavy cruiser HMAS Australia.

The attack killed 30 personnel, including the cruiser’s captain, Emile Dechaineux, and wounded 64, including the Australian force commander, Commodore John Collins.The Australian official history of the war claimed that this was the first kamikaze attack on an Allied ship, although other sources disagree because it was not a planned attack by a member of the Special Attack Force, but was most likely to have been undertaken on the pilot’s own initiative.

The sinking of the ocean tug USS Sonoma on 24 October is listed in some sources as the first ship lost to a kamikaze strike, but the attack occurred before 25 October, and the aircraft used, a Mitsubishi G4M, was not flown by the original four Special Attack Squadrons.

USS_Sonoma_(ATO-12)

On 25 October 1944, during the Battle of Leyte Gulf, the Kamikaze Special Attack Force carried out its first mission. Five Zeros, led by Seki, and escorted to the target by leading Japanese ace Hiroyoshi Nishizawa, attacked several escort carriers. One Zero attempted to hit the bridge of USS Kitkun Bay but instead exploded on the port catwalk and cartwheeled into the sea. Two others dived at USS Fanshaw Bay but were destroyed by anti-aircraft fire. The last two ran at USS White Plains. One, under heavy fire and trailing smoke, aborted the attempt on White Plains and instead banked toward USS St. Lo, plowing into the flight deck. Its bomb caused fires that resulted in the bomb magazine exploding, sinking the carrier. By day’s end on 26 October, 55 kamikazes from the Special Attack Force had also damaged the large escort carriers USS Sangamon, Suwannee which had also been struck by a kamikaze at 08:04 forward of its aft elevator on 25 October,Santee, and the smaller escorts USS White Plains, Kalinin Bay, and Kitkun Bay. In total, seven carriers were hit, as well as 40 other ships (five sunk, 23 heavily damaged, and 12 moderately damaged).

Early successes – such as the sinking of St. Lo – were followed by an immediate expansion of the program, and over the next few months over 2,000 planes made such attacks.

When Japan began to be subject to intense strategic bombing by B-29s, the Japanese military attempted to use suicide attacks against this threat. During the northern hemisphere winter of 1944–45, the IJAAF formed the 47th Air Regiment, also known as the Shinten Special Unit (Shinten Seiku Tai) at Narimasu Airfield, Nerima, Tokyo, to defend the Tokyo Metropolitan Area. The unit was equipped with Nakajima Ki-44 Shoki fighters, with which they were to ram United States Army Air Forces  B-29s in their attacks on Japan. However, this proved much less successful and practical since an airplane is a much faster, more maneuverable, and smaller target than a warship. The B-29 also had formidable defensive weaponry, so suicide attacks against the plane demanded considerable piloting skill to be successful, which worked against the very purpose of using expendable pilots. Even encouraging capable pilots to bail out before impact was ineffective because vital personnel were often lost when they mistimed their exits and were killed as a result.

On 11 March, the U.S. carrier USS Randolph was hit and moderately damaged at Ulithi Atoll, in the Caroline Islands, by a kamikaze that had flown almost 4,000 km (2,500 mi) from Japan, in a mission called Operation Tan No. 2. On 20 March, the submarine USS Devilfish survived a hit from an aircraft, just off Japan.

Purpose-built kamikaze planes, as opposed to converted fighters and dive-bombers, were also being constructed. Ensign Mitsuo Ohta had suggested that piloted glider bombs, carried within range of targets by a mother plane, should be developed. The First Naval Air Technical Bureau (Kugisho), in Yokosuka, refined Ohta’s idea. Yokosuka MXY7 Ohka rocket planes, launched from bombers, were first deployed in kamikaze attacks from March 1945. U.S. personnel gave them the derisive nickname “Baka Bombs” (baka is Japanese for “idiot” or “stupid”).

rocket_plane

The Nakajima Ki-115 Tsurugi was a simple, easily built propeller aircraft with a wooden airframe which used engines from existing stocks. Its non-retractable landing gear was jettisoned shortly after take-off for a suicide mission, and re-used.

Nakajima_Ki-115

During 1945, the Japanese military began stockpiling hundreds of Tsurugi, other aircraft, Ohkas, and suicide boats, for use against Allied forces expected to invade Japan. The invasion never happened, and few were ever used.

In early 1945 U.S. Navy aviator Commander John Thach,

Thach,_John

already famous for developing effective aerial tactics against the Japanese such as the Thach Weave, developed a defensive strategy against kamikazes called the “big blue blanket” to establish Allied air supremacy well away from the carrier force. This recommended combat air patrols (CAP) which were larger and operated further from the carriers than before, a line of picket destroyers and destroyer escorts at least 80 km (50 mi) from the main body of the fleet to provide earlier radar interception, and improved coordination between fighter direction officers on carriers. This plan also called for round-the-clock fighter patrols over Allied fleets, though the U.S. Navy had cut back training of fighter pilots so there were not enough Navy pilots available to counter the kamikaze threat. A final element included intensive fighter sweeps over Japanese airfields, and bombing of Japanese runways, using delayed action bombs to make repairs more difficult.

Late in 1944 the British Pacific Fleet (BPF) used the good high-altitude performance of their Supermarine Seafires (naval version of the Spitfire) on combat air patrol duties. Seafires were heavily involved in countering the kamikaze attacks during the Iwo Jima landings and beyond. The Seafires’ best day was 15 August 1945, shooting down eight attacking aircraft for a single loss.

Seafire_1

Allied pilots were experienced and better-trained, and flew superior aircraft, making the poorly trained kamikaze pilots easy targets. The U.S. Fast Carrier Task Force alone could bring over 1,000 fighter aircraft into play. Allied pilots became adept at destroying enemy aircraft before they struck ships.

Allied gunners had begun to develop techniques to negate kamikaze attacks. Light rapid fire anti-aircraft weapons such as the 40 mm Bofors and 20 mm Oerlikon autocannons were highly effective,but heavy anti-aircraft guns such as the 5″/38 caliber gun (127 mm) had the punch to blow kamikazes out of the air, which was preferable since even a heavily damaged kamikaze could complete its mission.

The Ohkas with their high speed presented a very difficult problem for anti-aircraft fire, since their velocity made fire control extremely difficult.

Plane ohka

 

By 1945, large numbers of anti-aircraft shells with radio frequency proximity fuzes, on average seven times more effective than regular shells, became available, and the USN recommended their use against kamikaze attacks.

The peak in kamikaze attacks came during the period of April–June 1945, at the Battle of Okinawa. On 6 April 1945, waves of planes made hundreds of attacks in Operation Kikusui (“floating chrysanthemums”).At Okinawa, kamikaze attacks focused at first on Allied destroyers on picket duty, and then on the carriers in the middle of the fleet. Suicide attacks by planes or boats at Okinawa sank or put out of action at least 30 U.S. warships,and at least three U.S. merchant ships, along with some from other Allied forces. The attacks expended 1,465 planes. Many warships of all classes were damaged, some severely, but no aircraft carriers, battleships or cruisers were sunk by kamikaze at Okinawa. Most of the ships lost were destroyers or smaller vessels, especially those on picket duty.The destroyer USS Laffey earned the nickname “The Ship That Would Not Die” after surviving six kamikaze attacks and four bomb hits during this battle. So many destroyers were attacked that one ship’s crew, considering the aircraft carriers to be more important targets, erected a large sign with an arrow which read “That way to the carriers”

_Laffey_DD-724

U.S. carriers, with their wooden flight decks, appeared to suffer more damage from kamikaze hits than the reinforced steel-decked carriers from the British Pacific Fleet. US carriers also suffered considerably heavier casualties from kamikaze strikes; for instance, 389 men were killed in one attack on USS Bunker Hill, greater than the combined number of fatalities suffered on all six Royal Navy armoured carriers from all forms of attack during the entire war (Bunker Hill and Franklin were both hit while conducting operations with fully fueled and armed aircraft spotted on deck for takeoff, an extremely vulnerable state for any carrier). Eight kamikaze hits on five British carriers resulted in only 20 deaths while a combined total of 15 bomb hits, most of 500 kg weight or greater, and one torpedo hit on four carriers caused 193 fatal casualties earlier in the war – striking proof of the protective value of the armoured flight deck.

Bunker_Hill_(CV-17)

The resilience of well-armoured vessels was shown on 4 May, just after 11:30, when there was a wave of suicide attacks against the BPF. One Japanese plane made a steep dive from “a great height” at the carrier HMS Formidable and was engaged by AA guns.

HMS_Formidable_

Although it was hit by gunfire, a bomb from the kamikaze detonated on the flight deck, making a crater 3 m (9.8 ft) long, 0.6 m (2 ft) wide and 0.6 m (2 ft) deep. A long steel splinter speared down, through the hangar deck and the main boiler room (where it ruptured a steam line), before coming to rest in a fuel tank near the aircraft park, where it started a major fire. Eight personnel were killed and 47 were wounded. One Corsair and 10 Avengers were destroyed.

However, the fires were gradually brought under control, and the crater in the deck was repaired with concrete and steel plate. By 17:00, Corsairs were able to land. On 9 May, Formidable was again damaged by a kamikaze, as were the carrier HMS Victorious and the battleship HMS Howe. The British were able to clear the flight deck and resume flight operations in just hours, while their American counterparts took a few days or even months, as observed by a USN liaison officer on HMS Indefatigable who commented: “When a kamikaze hits a U.S. carrier it means 6 months of repair at Pearl Harbor. When a kamikaze hits a Limey carrier it’s just a case of “Sweepers, man your brooms.””

Sometimes twin-engined aircraft were used in planned kamikaze attacks. For example, Mitsubishi Ki-67 Hiryū (“Peggy”) medium bombers, based on Formosa, undertook kamikaze attacks on Allied forces off Okinawa.

Rear Admiral Matome Ugaki, the second in command of the Combined Pacific Fleet, directed the last official kamikaze attack, sending “Judys” from the 701st Air Group against the Allied fleet at Okinawa on 15 August 1945.

Ugaki_Matome

The number of ships sunk is a matter of debate. According to a wartime Japanese propaganda announcement, the missions sank 81 ships and damaged 195, and according to a Japanese tally, kamikaze attacks accounted for up to 80% of the U.S. losses in the final phase of the war in the Pacific. In a 2004 book, World War II, the historians Wilmott, Cross and Messenger stated that more than 70 U.S. vessels were “sunk or damaged beyond repair” by kamikazes.

According to a U.S Air Force webpage:Approximately 2,800 Kamikaze attackers sank 34 Navy ships, damaged 368 others, killed 4,900 sailors, and wounded over 4,800. Despite radar detection and cuing, airborne interception, attrition, and massive anti-aircraft barrages, 14 percent of Kamikazes survived to score a hit on a ship; nearly 8.5 percent of all ships hit by Kamikazes sank.

Even though is not related it is noteworthy to mention that more German citizens died due to suicide during the last days of the war,approximately 10,000, then Japanese Kamikaze suicide pilots.

Death in the bunker-Der Führer ist tot

Berlin, Garten der zerstörte Reichskanzlei

In general I tend not to accuse in my blogs but on this occasion I don’t think anyone will mind if I am a bit judgmental.

Stars_&_Stripes_&_Hitler_Dead2

30 April 1945 Hitler finally proves to the world what sort of a coward he really was by shooting himself before the soviet troops could capture him and bring him to justice. Probably spurred on by the events that happened 2 days earlier near lake Como when Il Duce was butchered to death(and rightfully so), Hitler was desperate to escape a similar fate.

He gave his newlywed wife Eva Braun a cyanide tablet before putting a gun to himself and ending his life.

dolf and eva (2)

On the anniversary I am not going in depth into Hitler’s suicide because so much has already been documented about this and I don’t think I could bring any added value to this. Instead I am going to focus on other less known people who were in the bunker on April 30 1945.

Traudl Junge

Traudl_Junge

Gertraud “Traudl” Junge (née Humps; 16 March 1920 – 10 February 2002) worked as Adolf Hitler’s last private secretary from December 1942 to April 1945. After typing out Hitler’s will, she remained in the Berlin Führerbunker until his death. Following her arrest and imprisonment in June 1945, both the Soviet and the American militaries interrogated her. Later, in post-war West Germany, she worked as a secretary. Junge remained in obscurity until her old age, when she decided to publish her memoirs, claiming ignorance of the Nazi atrocities during the war, but blaming herself for missing opportunities to investigate reports about them. To be honest I could not blame her,nowadays awful things happen too and with all the social media outlets they are reported instantly and people still don’t bother investigating them.

Traudl Junge began working for Hitler in December 1942. She was the youngest of his private secretaries.

“I was 22 and I didn’t know anything about politics; it didn’t interest me”, Junge said decades later, also saying that she felt great guilt for “…liking the greatest criminal ever to have lived.”

She said, “I admit, I was fascinated by Adolf Hitler. He was a pleasant boss and a fatherly friend. I deliberately ignored all the warning voices inside me and enjoyed the time by his side, almost until the bitter end. It wasn’t what he said, but the way he said things and how he did things.”

At Hitler’s encouragement, in June 1943, Junge married Waffen-SS officer Hans Hermann Junge (1914–1944), who died in combat in France in August 1944.

Hans_Hermann_Junge

She worked at Hitler’s side in Berlin, the Berghof in Berchtesgaden, at Wolfsschanze in East Prussia, and lastly back in Berlin in the Führerbunker

In 1945, Junge was with Hitler in Berlin. During Hitler’s last days in Berlin, he would regularly eat lunch with his secretaries Junge and Gerda Christian.

Gerda_Christian

After the war, Junge recalled Gerda asking Hitler if he would leave Berlin. This was firmly rejected by Hitler.[4] Both women recalled that Hitler in conversation made it clear that his body must not fall into the hands of the Soviets. He would shoot himself.Junge typed Hitler’s last private and political will and testament in the Führerbunker a day and a half before his suicide. Junge later wrote that while she was playing with the Goebbels children on 30 April, “Suddenly […] there is the sound of a shot, so loud, so close, that we all fall silent. It echoes on through all the rooms. ‘That was a direct hit,’ cried Helmut [Goebbels] with no idea how right he is. The Führer is dead now.”

On 1 May, Junge left the Führerbunker with a group led by Waffen-SS Brigadeführer Wilhelm Mohnke.

SSWilhelmMohnke

Also in the group were Hitler’s personal pilot Hans Baur, chief of Hitler’s Reichssicherheitsdienst (RSD) bodyguard Hans Rattenhuber, secretary Gerda Christian, secretary Else Krüger, Hitler’s dietician Constanze Manziarly and Dr. Ernst-Günther Schenck. Junge, Christian and Krüger made it out of Berlin to the River Elbe. The remainder of the group were found by Soviet troops on 2 May while hiding in a cellar off the Schönhauser Allee. The Soviet Army handed those who had been in the Führerbunker over to SMERSH for interrogation, to reveal what had occurred in the bunker during the closing weeks of the war.

smersh

Although Junge had reached the Elbe, she was unable to reach the western Allied lines, and so she went back to Berlin. Getting there about a month after she had left, she had hoped to take a train to the west when they began running again. On 9 July, after living there for about a week under the alias “Gerda Alt”, she was arrested by two civilian members of the Soviet military administration and was kept in Berlin for interrogation. While in prison she heard harrowing tales from her Soviet guards about what the German military had done to members of their families in Russia and came to realise that much of what she thought she knew about the war in the east was only what the Nazi propaganda ministry had told the German people and that the treatment meted out to Germans by the Russians was a response to what the Germans had done in the Soviet Union.

Junge was held in sundry jails, where she was often interrogated about her role in Hitler’s entourage and the events surrounding Hitler’s suicide. By December 1945, she had been released from prison but was restricted to the Soviet sector of Berlin. On New Year’s Eve 1946, she was admitted to a hospital in the British sector for diphtheria, and remained there for two months. While she was there, her mother was able to secure for Junge the paperwork required to allow her to move from the British sector in Berlin to Bavaria. Receiving these on 2 February 1946, she traveled from Berlin and across the Soviet occupation zone (which was to become East Germany) to the British zone, and from there south to Bavaria in the American Zone. Junge was held by the Americans for a short time during the first half of 1946, and interrogated about her time in the Führerbunker. She was then freed, and allowed to live in postwar Germany.

Constanze Manziarly

Constanze_Manziarly

Constanze Manziarly (14 April 1920 – disappeared 2 May 1945) was born in Innsbruck, Austria. She served as a cook/dietitian to Adolf Hitler until his final days in Berlin in 1945

She began working as cook and dietitian for Hitler from his 1943 stays at the Berghof until his death in Berlin on 30 April 1945. Hitler took up residence in the Führerbunker on 16 January 1945. The Reich Chancellery bunker complex in Berlin was made up of two bunkers, the lower Führerbunker and the older upper bunker, known as the Vorbunker.Two rooms in the Vorbunker were used for food supply. Another room was made up of the kitchen which had a refrigerator and a wine store. Manziarly used the kitchen to prepare Hitler’s meals while he stayed in theFührerbunker.

Together with Gerda Christian and Traudl Junge, Manziarly was personally requested to leave the bunker complex by Hitler on 22 AprilHowever, all three women decided to stay with Hitler until his death.

Manziarly left the bunker complex on 1 May. Her group was led by SS-Brigadeführer Wilhelm Mohnke, and awkwardly made its way north to a German army hold-out at the Schultheiss-Patzenhofer brewery on the Prinzenallee. The group included Dr. Ernst-Günther Schenck and the female secretaries, Gerda Christian, Else Krüger and Traudl Junge

Despite claims that she took a cyanide capsule to kill herself on 2 May, the day after the majority of staff abandoned the Berlin stronghold to avoid impending Soviet capture.

Cyanide_Capsule

Junge recounts Manziarly leaving with her group, “dressed too much like a soldier”. In 1989, Junge recalled the last time Manziarly was seen was when the group of four women who had been given the task of delivering a report to Karl Dönitz split up, and Manziarly tried to blend in with a group of local women.In her 2002 autobiography Until the Final Hour, Junge alluded to seeing Manziarly, “the ideal image of Russian femininity, well built and plump-cheeked”, being taken into a U-Bahn subway tunnel by two Soviet soldiers, reassuring the group that “They want to see my papers.” She was never seen again and is presumed dead.

Goebbels children

_Joseph_Goebbels_mit_Familie

Of all those present in the bunker, these were the only real innocent ones. They had to pay the ultimate price for the sins of their Father.

The Goebbels children were the five daughters and one son born to Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels and his wife Magda Goebbels. The children, born between 1932 and 1940, were murdered by their parents in Berlin on 1 May 1945, the day both parents committed suicide.

Magda Goebbels had an older son, Harald Quandt, from a previous marriage to Günther Quandt. He was not present when his half-siblings of this family were killed.

Helga Susanne

Born 1 September 1932. Goebbels was proud of his eldest daughter and would go straight to her cot as soon as he returned from his office, to take her on his lap. Helga was a “daddy’s girl” who preferred her father to her mother. She was reported to have been a lovely baby who never cried and just sat listening uncomprehendingly to the Nazi officials with “her blue eyes sparkling”. It was not unusual for Hitler, who was fond of children, to take her on to his own lap while he talked late into the night.She was photographed with Hilde presenting Hitler with flowers on his birthday 20 April 1936.

Helga was 12 years old when she died. Bruises found on her body postmortem (mostly on her face) led to wide speculation that she had struggled against receiving a cyanide capsule, which was used to kill her by crushing it between her teeth.

Hildegard Traudel

Born 13 April 1934, Hildegard was commonly called “Hilde”. In a 1941 diary entry, Joseph referred to her as “a little mouse”. She was photographed with Helga presenting Hitler with flowers on his birthday, 20 April 1936. Hilde was eleven years old at the time of her death.

Helmut Christian

Born 2 October 1935, Helmut was considered sensitive and something of a dreamer.[11] In his diary, Goebbels called him a “clown.” When his teacher at the Lanke primary school reported, to his father’s dismay, that his promotion to a higher form was doubtful, he responded so well to intense tutoring from his mother and his governess that he not only achieved promotion, but excellent marks.He wore braces on his teeth.On 26 April 1945, Helmut read aloud his father’s birthday speech to Hitler, and responded to Helga’s protests that he was copying their father by arguing that, no, their father had copied him.

Hitler’s secretary Traudl Junge stated that, while the family were in the Führerbunker on 30 April 1945, they heard the sound of Hitler’s self-inflicted gunshot. Helmut, who mistakenly took it for the sound of a mortar landing nearby, shouted, “That was a bullseye!” Helmut was nine years old at the time of his death.

Holdine Kathrin

Born 19 February 1937. It is claimed that Holde got her name when the doctor who delivered her, Stoeckel, bent over her and exclaimed “Das ist eine Holde!” (“that’s a pretty one!”)Meissner claims that Holde was the “least lively” of the children and was somewhat “pushed aside” by the others to her considerable distress. He claims Goebbels responded to this by making her something of a favorite, to which she responded with devotion.She was eight years old at the time of her death.

Hedwig Johanna

Born 5 May 1938, she was commonly called “Hedda”. She had insisted, in 1944, that when she grew up she was going to marry SS Adjutant Günther Schwägermann, having been captivated by the fact he had a fake eye.

Schwagermann-Gunther

She was six years old, four days shy of her seventh birthday, at the time of her death.

Heidrun Elisabeth

Born 29 October 1940, Heidrun shared a birthday with her father. Rochus Misch described her as a “little flirt” and said she frequently joked with him in the bunker. “Heide” was four years old at the time of her death.