Necdet Kent rescuing Jews from an train heading to Auschwitz.

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It maybe an naive notion but I believe there are only 2 types of people in this world,good and bad.

Bad people will always do bad and evil things regardless, they may on occasion maybe charitable and do something good, but at the end only to serve their own interest.

On the other hand sometimes good people can be weak when faced with danger or their own mortality, and therefore do things they usually wouldn’t do, which result in evil being permitted.

However there are those who see evil for what it is and regardless what the consequences are for them, they will do everything to stop it. They are the heroes we don’t always read or hear about.

İsmail Necdet Kent was such a man. He was a Turkish diplomat who risked his life to save Jews during World War II

After he was posted as as vice consul to Athens, Greece.He moved to Marseille in France  1941 and 1944. where he was appointed to the post of vice consul.

Marseille, Hafenviertel. Deportation von Juden

At sometime  in 1943, Kent rushed to the Saint Charles train station in Marseilles and boarded a train bound for the Auschwitz concentration camp after Nazi guards refused to let some 70 Jews with Turkish citizenship disembark. After more than an hour on the train, the guards let Kent and the Jews leave.

A Jewish assistant at the consulate had alerted Kent  that  about 80 Turkish Jews resident in Marseilles had been loaded into cattle cars for immediate transport to certain death in Auschwitz  The Jews were crammed one on top of the other in the wagon, which was meant to transport cattle.Overcome with sorrow and anger at the sight, Kent approached the Gestapo commander at the station, and demanded that the Jews, whom he said were Turkish citizens, be released.

Jews being deported from France

The official refused to comply, saying that the people were nothing but Jews.

Not willing to give up , and with a surge of courage and human benevolence, Kent turned to the Jewish aide from the consulate and said, “Come on, we’re getting on this train, too.” Pushing aside the soldier who tried to stop him, he jumped into the wagon. The German officer demanded Kent to get off the train , but he refused.

The train took off, but at the next station, German officers boarded and apologized to Kent for not failing to let  him off at Marseilles, they had  a car was waiting for him  to take him back to his office. But Kent explained that the mistake was not that he was on the train – but that 80 Turkish citizens had been loaded on the train.

“As a representative of a government that rejected such treatment for religious beliefs, I could not consider leaving them there,” he said. Dumbfounded by his  defiance an uncompromising stance, the Germans caved in  let everyone off the train.

Although Turkey was a neutral country at that time, Kent could have easily been killed fro his act of defiance.

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Source

Yad Vashem

Jewish Virtual Library

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The Vinkt Massacre

Vinkt

One of the first crimes committed by the German army, in western Europe, took place in Belgium villages of Vinkt and Meighem, near Ghent, between 26–28 May 1940 during the Battle of the Lys.. The atrocity was perpetrated by the Wehrmacht, not the SS.

The Vinkt bridge crossing the Schipdonk Canal was being guarded by the 1st Belgian Division of Chasseurs Ardennais

As the German 225th Divison approached the Vinkt bridge they discovered  it blocked by refugees fleeing south. The Wehrmacht soldiers then took a number of refugees and used then as human shields.

German soldiers

On  Sunday, May 26th, the Germans took hostages  at the Meigem and Vinkt church, and at a number of  farms in the area. Some hostages were killed immediately, but the a worse event occurred  at Meigem church, where an explosion killed 27 hostages.

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The following day, Monday May 27th, Adolf Hitler, demanded Belgium’s immediate and unconditional surrender. Belgium’s King Leopold III announced to his government that he would as Commander-in-Chief, use his authority  lay down arms.

Meanwhile, the Chasseurs ardennais, were not aware  of these developments,  and were still holding and defending the bridge against vastly superior odds. For unclear reasons, the German 225th Division  started to execute their hostages, and taking new ones, executing them on the spot. Refugees were taken out at random from the endless columns on the trek south and executed immediately. One priest managed to escape, being buried under two dead colleagues. He was one of four such victims who managed to escape.

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The victims were all unarmed civilians who had posed no threat, nor were they likely to pose any future threats. They were killed for no reason whatsoever.

On May 28 the Belgian army capitulated.

As news of the carnage spread, German press sources denied it or excused it, claiming that Belgian civilians had dressed up as soldiers. The British press who knew the facts of the atrocity refused to report for fears they’d be accused of war propaganda, Which had happened during WWI after reporting ‘the rape of Belgium’

After WWII the Wehrmacht officers Kühner and  Lohmann were sentenced to 20 years of forced labour in Belgium, however after 5 years they were extradited to Germany.

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86 innocent civilians were massacred. Additionally to that another 27 killed by the explosion more then likely caused by German grenades.

Memorial to the victims of the massacre

Vinkt_massacre_-_Memorial

 

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Sources

Vinkt Mei 1940

Wikipedia Belgium

Mengele’s arrival in Auschwitz

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On May 23rd 1943 Dr Joseph Mengele started his ‘work’ at Auschwitz. I am not going to say too much about this evil personified individual.

He particularly found pleasure in working in Auschwitz

The Doctors in Auschwitz were all scheduled according a work rota for the selections when new victims arrived by train, but Mengele was the only one to volunteer for the selections and would sometimes ask if he could take over a slot in the rota.

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He came from a very privileged background and had a Phd  in Anthropology as well as a Doctorate in Medicines.He made weekly visits to the hospital barracks and sent to the gas chambers any prisoners who had not recovered after two weeks in bed.

Auschwitz gave him the opportunity to conduct experiments in order to continue his anthropology studies. The Nazi regime allowed him to experiment in the vilest of way without impunity.

He was especially interested in twins.They had to undergo weekly examinations and measurements of their physical attributes by Mengele himself or one of his  assistants.  Experiments performed on twins included unnecessary amputation of limbs, intentionally infecting one twin with typhus or other diseases, and transfusing the blood of one twin into the other.

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He was  transferred to Gross-Rosen concentration camp in Lower Silesia  January 17, 1945, bringing along  2 boxes of examples and records of his experiments.

He managed to escape Gross-Rosen on 18 February, a week before the Soviets arrived, disguised as a Wehrmacht soldier .

He  managed capture by  the  Allies until June 1945 , when he was picked up by an American patrol. He was traveling under his own name at the time, but the wanted criminal list hadn’t been efficiently distributed and also he did not have the SS blood group tattoo.so  the Americans let him go. Mengele spent some time working as a farmhand before deciding to skip out of the country in 1949.

On 17 April 1949. withe the aide of  a network of former SS members, Mengele traveled to Genoa, where he managed to get  a passport under the alias “Helmut Gregor” from the International Committee of the Red Cross. He sailed to Argentina in July.

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Despite many attempts to catch him he was able to elude justice. I have always been skeptical about this, I think that the allied never really wanted to catch him because if they did, it would have been easy enough to do so.He was more or less hiding in plain sight in Argentina.

He eventually drowned in 1979 while swimming in the Atlantic ocean, after suffering a stroke.

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Source

Yad Vashem

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Child

KIDS

Little child, you are someone’s treasure, a product of love.

You are born like any other child, no burden nor danger are you.

And yet, they fear you and want to eradicate you as if you did not exist.

Why do you anger them and what makes them hate you so much?

 

Your eyes are sparkling like diamonds or bright stars above.

A pure miracle created by two people who are now in awe of you.

But alas that is not enough for you to be granted a long fulfilling life.

For there are those who do not see that purity, to them you’re less than a thing.

 

It is not your fault nor is it your parents mistake.

You are perfect but the world you’re born into isn’t

Little child you are someone’s treasure, a product of love.

But that just isn’t enough.

Arbeit Macht Frei

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Even if you don’t know any German you will know what those 3 words mean. Arbeit macht Frei- Work will set you free.

3 simple words which had such a great impact. The Nazis turned these words, which when you look at them basically had an honorable intend, into the most despicable words ever uttered.

They gave a false sense of hope to those who arrived at the concentration camps and death camps. For it made them believe if they would work hard  and do as their were told they would be set free.

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Many didn’t even get to see those words over the gates for they had already perished on the transport to Auschwitz,Dachau or any of the other camps.

Arbeit macht Frei where it should have said “Hier wirst du sterben” -Here you will die.

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Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines-WWII style.

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One of the aspects of WWII that always fascinated me was the aerial battles and the skills of the pilots of the various air forces.

Not only did they have to be skilled in combat they also had to try to keep flying whilst being attacked,well with the exception of  the Kamikaze pilots I assume.

I panic when the ‘fasten seat belts’ sign suddenly lights up leave alone being shot at or trying to shoot.This blog is a tribute to Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines of the allied Forces.

Soviet Il-2 ground attack aircraft attacking German ground forces during the Battle of Kursk

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American Consolidated B-24 Liberator bomber aircraft during the bombing of oil refineries in Ploiești, Romania on 1 August 1943 during Operation Tidal Wave

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Pilots of the No. 303 “Kościuszko” Polish Fighter Squadron during the Battle of Britain

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British Supermarine Spitfire fighter aircraft (bottom) flying past a German Heinkel He-111 bomber aircraft (top) during the Battle of Britain (1940)

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Hawker Hurricanes fly in formation.

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Four 264 Squadron Defiants (PS-V was shot down on 28 August 1940 over Kent

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The legendary Il-2 fighter-bomber, known among enthusiasts as the ‘flying tank’.

The legendary Il-2 fighter-bomber, known among enthusiasts as the 'flying tank'.

An American soldier waves good luck to a U.S. Army Air Force Liberator bomber

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Gun camera film shows tracer ammunition from a Supermarine Spitfire Mark I of 609 Squadron, flown by Flight Lieutenant J H G McArthur, hitting a Heinkel He 111 on its starboard quarter.

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P-61 Black Widow of the 548th Night Fighter Squadron,

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B-17F Memphis Belle over Europe

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Gloster Meteor – British WWII fighter. First operational Allied Jet Fighter.

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I have to acknowledge some of the efforts of the Luftwaffe for some of the technologies they developed were used long after the War ended.

Horten Ho 229 captured by Americans

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The Me 262, the first jet fighter and the most well-known of WWII

Messerschmitt Me 262

The Messerschmitt Me 264 V1 (first prototype Me 264) aka Amerika Bomber, the clue is in the name.Schwerer Bomber Messerschmitt Me 264 V1

Italian jet fighter Caproni Campini No. 1 took off August 1940, a failed attempt by the Italian airforce.

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Honorable mention.

Although it never saw battle during WWII, the first flight of the Bell X-1 was on 19 January 1946. The development did start during the war, what difference it would have made I don’t know since the development only started in late 1944, at the last stage of the war. However if this aircraft would have been operational in the early stages of WWII it more then likely would have been a game changer, it achieved a speed of nearly 1,000 miles per hour .

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Holocaust in the Netherlands

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Some people believe that when the Germans invaded the Netherlands in May 1940 the life of its Jewish population changed over night.

This however was not the case. Like in other European countries the undermining and eventual eradication of Jewish life was a gradual process.

Until September 1940 very little changed,It was only then when the German occupation of the Netherlands started to have an impact of the 170,000 Jews living there.  A series of anti-Jewish measures started to male life  difficult.

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Throughout 1941, the situation for Jews in the Netherlands got worse.  Jews were banned from public places, subjected to nighttime curfews and travel restrictions. Jewish students were also thrown out of schools and universities. Then, during late 1941, the Joodse Raad(Jewish Council) was tasked with providing lists of workers as the Germans opened a number of forced labour camps.

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In may 1942 Jews were ordered to wear a yellow Star of David containing the word Jood (the Dutch word for Jew). As a sign of protest some Non Jewish Dutch also wore the Yellow star.

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Deportations of Jews from the Netherlands began in the summer of 1942 and lasted until September 1944. Approximately 75% of the Dutch Jews did not survive the war.

A Substantial albeit minority part of the Dutch population being sympathetic to the Nazis ideology(or idiocy) .The NSB were the dutch equivalent of the NSDAP in Germany, they subscribed to the same Fascist  ideas.

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However there were many Dutch who risked their own lives and that of their families to save their Jewish neighbours. he NV-Groep (Nameless Company). The group was set up by by the brothers Jaap en Gerard Musch.(picture is of Jaap}Jaap.JPG

They were a resistance group dedicated to helping Jewish children find hiding places. Many of the children they helped hide, survived the war. The picture below is a picture of some of the children being a bit brave but cheeky by forming the letters NV in a field, this picture was taken in 1943 while the war was at its height.NV

Unfortunately not everyone was as lucky as these children were.The geography of the Netherlands made escape difficult. The ruthless efficiency of the German administration and the willing cooperation of Dutch administrators and policemen doomed the Jews of the Netherlands.

I have come across many pictures of Dutch Jews being killed in death camps or pictures of their remains, and initially my thought was to end this blog with some of those pictures. However I changed my mind, although I do think it is important ti show the horrors of the Holocaust in the graphic ways, we do sometimes forget that the victims weren’t always victims., they were also people like you and me. Therefore below pictures of my  some of my fellow human beings as they were before they were butchered.

Etty Hillesum

Julius Spier and  Evaristos Glassner

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Jaap Hillesum brother of Etty on his 21st birthday.

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Bram Beem

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Eva and  Bram Beem

Eva en Bram

Students of a Jewish secondary school during summer recess in 1940. I don’t know how may ,if any, survived the war.

MULO

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Sources

Joods Monument

Yad Vashem

Holocaust Wedding

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Elisabeth Appelboom and Philip Flesschedrager did what so many young people of their age did, they fell in love, got married and promised to stay together until death did them part.

For most married couples it is a journey they enjoy for many years to come. But not for Elisabeth and Philip. because death did do them part sooner then they had envisaged.

Philip Flesschedrager was a shop assistant age 21  when he married Elisabeth Appelboom  on April 8 1942 a seamstress age also age 21,

They got married in the Synagogue on the Rapenburgerstreet in Amsterdam.

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Up until spring time 1942 daily life had been reasonably ‘normal’ for Jews in Amsterdam. It was only on May 3rd it was obligatory for the Jewish population to wear the yellow Star of David.

Little did the newlyweds know that just over 1.5 year later their marriage would come to an end.

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On December 26 1943 Philip was killed in Auschwitz age. Elisabeth was killed on January 18 1945, they were both 23.

Elisabeth Appelboom and Philip Flesschedrager had a child that survived the war.

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Sources

Joods Monument

 

Art of the Holocaust

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This will be a blog with vert few words but mostly pictures. Pictures drawn by victims of the Holocaust. The artists are unknown, or at least unknown to me. but the art tells a bleak story of daily life in the concentration camps.

The above picture is of a clergy man holding some sort of church service, in the right bottom corner a bible verse is mentioned. Matthew 24:24

“For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.”

Gas chamber

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These speak for themselves

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The following pictures are all from the Ravensbrück concentration camp.

 

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December 6 1944, a date that means little to most but a lot to me.

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This is one of my most personal blogs, having that said there still will be people saying it is ‘fake news’.

As the title says the 6th of December 1944 will mean little to most but it means a lot to me. It is the day that one of my uncles died. What makes this special to me is that my mother always told me I reminded her of him. We had the same mannerisms and even way of talking, although I was born long after he died.

His name was Johannes Jager, he moved with my grand parents and his siblings  from Friesland in the North of the Netherlands to Limburg in the south east of the country. They settled in the town where I was born,Geleen. In the suburb Lindenheivel.

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There are no pictures of him for my family were basically immigrants, even though it was in the same small country. In the 1920/1930s it was the equivalent of moving across the globe now/ They had to leave everything behind.

All that I heard about him is that he was a kind and generous man. He had poor health though, I am not clear om what his ailments were but suffice to say his parents worried about him.

When war broke out he wasn’t able to serve in the army, it would have done not much good anyway. But he did his bit as much as he good.

He did not join any organized resistance group but he would do his own individual actions, by sneaking on to farms of well to do farmers, some  actually did well under German occupation, and he would steel a chicken here or there,eggs or grain and flour to make bread. He would give it to his parents but also to others who were in need.

He knew that id he would ever get caught he would face dire consequences, potentially death. One day he nearly got caught, he and a friend were out stealing things when they came across a German patrol.

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They literally had to run for their lives, they encountered a few empty barrels and jumped in them.

The Germans shot the barrel that held my uncle’s friend, he got killed immediately, but some stroke of luck they left Johannes’s barrel alone. When the coast was clear he got out and went home.

He never stole from the farmers again.

On September 18 1944, Geleen was liberated

Vrij Geleen

Johannes did see the liberation but the strain of the war and his ill health proved too much, he died on December 6 1944, the day when the Dutch celebrate St Nicholas.

I would have loved to have met him but although I never did I feel a part of him lives in me and he will forever be one of my heroes.

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