The positive attitude of Robert Clary that kept him alive.

Hogan's_Heroes_Title_Card

It’s amazing how ignorant someone sometimes can be. Although I wasn’t a great of fan of the shows I did watch Hogan’s Heroes and the Bold and the Beautiful on a regular basis,especially the latter one in the period of 1990-1992.

B&B_promo_logo

The reason why I mention these 2 shows because it starred Robert Clary. In Hogan’s Heroes he played Corporal Louis LeBeau .

Robert_Clary_Cynthia_Lynn_Hogans_Heroes

And in 1990-1992 he played a character called  Pierre Jourdan, I forget what kind of character he was, more then likely a designer, but that is not important.

What I didn’t realize is that Robert Clary born Robert Max Widerman did actualy survive the Holocaust.

Born in 1926 in Paris, France, Clary was the youngest of 14 children.At the age of twelve, he began a career singing professionally on French radio and also studied art at the Paris Drawing School. In 1942, because he was Jewish, he was deported to the Nazi concentration camp at Ottmuth, in Upper Silesia (now Poland). He was tattooed with the identification “A5714” on his left forearm. He was later sent to Buchenwald concentration camp.

At Buchenwald, he sang to an audience of SS soldiers every other Sunday, accompanied by an accordionist. He said, “Singing, entertaining, and being in kind of good health at my age, that’s why I survived. I was very immature and young and not really fully realizing what situation I was involved with … I don’t know if I would have survived if I really knew that.”

Writing about his experience, Clary said, “We were not even human beings. When we got to Buchenwald, the SS shoved us into a shower room to spend the night. I had heard the rumors about the dummy shower heads that were gas jets. I thought, ‘This is it.’ But no, it was just a place to sleep. The first eight days there, the Germans kept us without a crumb to eat. We were hanging on to life by pure guts, sleeping on top of each other, every morning waking up to find a new corpse next to you. … The whole experience was a complete nightmare — the way they treated us, what we had to do to survive. We were less than animals. Sometimes I dream about those days. I wake up in a sweat terrified for fear I’m about to be sent away to a concentration camp. But I don’t hold a grudge because that’s a great waste of time. Yes, there’s something dark in the human soul. For the most part human beings are not very nice. That’s why when you find those who are, you cherish them.”

“In October 1944 we got a new SS lieutenant obersturmbahn fuhrer, who upon his arrival made a speech telling us not to despair, not to give up hope, that we were human beings and one of these days we would be free,” Clary writes in the chapter Blechhammer No. A-5714, the identification number tattooed on him by the Nazis.

“We couldn’t believe our ears. We had heard a German officer saying things nobody in his position would dare to say without being shot instantly for treason. It was a remarkable, brave thing for him to do.”

Clary was liberated from Buchenwald on April 11, 1945.

BuchenwaldGate

Twelve other members of his immediate family were sent to Auschwitz concentration camp; Clary was the only member of his family to survive the camps.When he returned to Paris after World War II, he learned that three of his 13 siblings had not been taken away and had survived the Nazi occupation of France.

Amazing to think that after that he could still play in a comedy about a concentration camp be it a prisoner of war camp.

hogan_6174

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

$2.00

Advertisements

Alive! How far would you go to survive?

14691004_196752380748380_7578947752359778309_n

Anyone who has seen the movie ‘Alive’ will be aware of this story.
Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 was a chartered flight carrying 45 people, including a rugby union team, their friends, family and associates, that crashed in the Andes on Friday the 13th  October 1972, in an incident known as the Andes flight disaster and, in the Hispanic world and South America, as the Miracle of the Andes (El Milagro de los Andes). More than a quarter of the passengers died in the crash and several others quickly succumbed to cold and injury. Of the 27 who were alive a few days after the accident, another eight were killed by an avalanche that swept over their shelter in the wreckage. The last 16 survivors were rescued on 23 December 1972, more than two months after the crash.

05ihadtosurvive.adapt.1190.1
The survivors had little food and no source of heat in the harsh conditions at over 3,600 metres (11,800 ft) altitude. Faced with starvation and radio news reports that the search for them had been abandoned, the survivors fed on the bodies of dead passengers that had been preserved in the snow. Rescuers did not learn of the survivors until 72 days after the crash when passengers Nando Parrado and Roberto Canessa, after a 10-day trek across the Andes, found Chilean arriero Sergio Catalán,who gave them food and then alerted the authorities to the existence of the other survivors.

crash_photo_by_antonio_caruso_el_pais_montevideo_a

The survivors had a small amount of food: a few chocolate bars, assorted snacks, and several bottles of wine. During the days following the crash, they divided up this food in very small amounts to make their meager supply last as long as possible. Fito Strauch devised a way to obtain water by using metal from the seats and placing snow on it. The snow melted in the sun and dripped into empty wine bottles..

Even with this strict rationing, their food stock dwindled quickly. There were no natural vegetation or animals on the snow-covered mountain.

The group survived by collectively deciding to eat flesh from the bodies of their dead comrades. This decision was not taken lightly, as most of the dead were classmates, close friends, or even relatives.

All of the passengers were Roman Catholic.  Some rationalized the act of necrotic cannibalism as equivalent to the ritual of Holy Communion,

Ecce_Agnus_Dei

or justified it according to a Bible verse (John 15:13): “no man hath greater love than this: that he lay down his life for his friends”). Others initially had reservations, though after realizing that it was their only means of staying alive, changed their minds a few days later. There are reports that the only surviving female passenger, Liliana, although not seriously injured in the crash, was the last survivor to initially refuse eating the human flesh due to her strong religious convictions. She later began eating after being convinced by her husband, Javier, and the other survivors – though she died shortly thereafter in the avalanche.

When first rescued, the survivors initially explained that they had eaten some cheese they had carried with them, planning to discuss the details in private with their families. They were pushed into the public eye when photos were leaked to the press and sensational articles were published.

The survivors held a press conference on 28 December at Stella Maris College in Montevideo, where they recounted the events of the past 72 days.(Over the years, they also participated in the publication of two books, two films, and an official website about the event.)

The rescuers and a Chilean priest later returned to the crash site and buried the bodies of the dead, 80 m (260 ft) from the aircraft. Close to the grave they built a stone pile with an iron cross. They doused the remains of the fuselage in gasoline and set it alight.

1280x720-ivy

Although it is a horrific story, ultimately it is a great tale of hope,faith and endurance.

Perseverance during the Holocaust

finger-pointing-holocaust-photos

For me it is unfathomable to even imagine what the victims of the Holocaust had to endure. I don’t think I would have the strength to persevere and yet there were those who did. They did not give up hope and just kept going.

Below are just some pictures of those who despite everything looked evil in the eye and bravely fought for their lives.

Prisoners of the Dachau concentration camp cheer the approaching U.S. troops, April 1945.

dachau-liberation

Child survivors of the Auschwitz concentration camp soon after its liberation by Soviet forces in January 1945.

children-fence

Polish prisoners of the Dachau concentration camp toast their U.S. liberators circa April/May 1945.

smiling-prisoners

A Hungarian prisoner of the Dachau concentration camp not long after its liberation by U.S. troops in April 1945.

older-male-prisoner

Malnourished forced laborers of the Buchenwald concentration camp near Jena, Germany soon after the arrival of liberating U.S. troops in April 1945.

starved-prisoner-men

Prisoners of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp cheerfully collect bread rations upon their liberation by British forces in April 1945.

liberated-women

 

The tin of Survival-Surviving the Death Train.

93.-Met-dank-aan-een-koekblik

There are circumstances when your life could very well depend on something as simple as a biscuit tin. This one went with Abel Herzberg and his wife Thea on a dreadful journey. In the Westerbork Transit Camp as well as the Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp, it was matter of life or death to be able to safely store the little bit of food that was available from time to time.

93.-ab-thea517

In April 1945, with the approach of the Allies, the Nazis started to empty Bergen-Belsen of thousands of Jews. Abel and Thea Herzberg were aboard the last train to leave the camp. Weakened by exhaustion and illness they left the few possessions they had behind. The ‘death train’ criss-crossed the eastern part of Germany for weeks on end. Many Jews on board died of starvation and typhus. Now and again the train stopped. Abel, Thea and others stole food from the surrounding farmland and stored it in this tin.

Prive col Herzberg-Koektrommel

The train was eventually liberated by the Russians near the German village of Tröbitz. A few months later Abel Herzberg and his wife returned to Amsterdam. The diary that Herzberg had kept the whole time – later published as Tweestromenland (Between Two Streams) – and this empty tin were the only things that returned with them. They had nothing else.

Jewish prisoners after being liberated from a death train, 1945 small (7)

The hard to believe but yet true story of John Capes.

8a55991bca09830f1553d002db0a24533ac9619778d7fbffb87267cd44b445ca_large

.John Capes was a leading stoker aboard the HMS Perseus, it sailed from Malta for Alexandria on 26 November 1941 with instructions to patrol waters to the east of Greece during her passage. She apparently torpedoed a ship on 3 December but at 10 pm on 6 December struck an Italian mine off Cephalonia, 7 miles (11 km) north of Zakynthos in the Ionian Sea.

Hms_perseus_submarine

So far the story is still believable. One man out of the 61 onboard survived, this man was  the 31-year-old  John Capes, one of two non-crew members hitching a lift to Alexandria. He and three others escaped from the submarine using the Twill Trunk escape hatch in the engine room and wearing Davis Submerged Escape Apparatus.

800px-Davis_Submerged_Escape_Apparatus

This equipment had only been tested to a depth of 100ft (30m). The depth gauge showed just over 270ft, and as far as Capes knew, no-one had ever made an escape from such a depth.In fact the gauge was broken, over-estimating the depth by 100ft, but time was running out. It was difficult to breathe now.

However, only John Capes survived the journey to the surface and the five mile (8 km)

But having made the deepest escape yet recorded, his ordeal was not over.His fellow injured stokers had not made it to the surface with him so he found himself alone in the middle of a cold December sea.

In the darkness he spotted a band of white cliffs and realised he had no choice but to strike out for those ,to the island of Cephalonia, where he was hidden by islanders for 18 months .For the following 18 months he was passed from house to house, to evade the Italian occupiers. He lost 70lb (32kg) in weight and dyed his hair black in an effort to blend in.

He recalled later: “Always, at the moment of despair, some utterly poor but friendly and patriotic islander would risk the lives of all his family for my sake.

“They even gave me one of their prize possessions, a donkey called Mareeka. There was one condition attached to her – I had to take a solemn vow not to eat her.He was finally taken off the island on a fishing boat in May 1943, in a clandestine operation organised by the Royal Navy.

A dangerous, roundabout journey of 640km took him to Turkey and from there back to the submarine service in Alexandria.

Alexandria_-_Egypt

Despite being awarded a British Empire medal for his escape, Capes’s story was so extraordinary that many people, both within and outside the Navy, doubted it.

Medaille_B.E.M._met_Brittania

Was he really on the boat at all? After all, he was not on the crew list. And submarine commanders had been ordered to bolt escape hatches shut from the outside to prevent them lifting during depth charge attacks.

There were no witnesses, he had a reputation as a great storyteller, and his own written accounts after the war varied in their details.

And the depth gauge reading 270ft made his story all the harder to believe.

John Capes died in 1985 but it was not until 1997 that his story was finally verified.

In a series of dives to the wreck of Perseus, Kostas Thoctarides discovered Capes’s empty torpedo tube bunk, the hatch and compartment exactly as he had described it, and finally, his blitz bottle from which he had taken that last fortifying swig of rum.

wreck-of-hms-perseus