Hitler’s hate for smoking but not so much for its revenue.

History of Sorts


Something that always fascinated(for lack of a better word) me about Hitler is the double standards he applied. As the leader of his country he always portrayed himself as some one with principles, but yet he so easily broke those principles time and time again.

Hitler hated smoking, he had been a smoker himself but had stopped at a young age. In 1939, German scientists were the first to identify the link between smoking and lung cancer in the first epidemiological study. After those findings Germany initiated a strong anti-tobacco movement.

The campaign announced that  cigarettes were “enemy of the people” it included posters, lectures, psychological counselling, nicotine gums.


As well as methods to make the  cigarettes less tasteful by injecting chemicals into the cigarettes.Smoking had become Non aryan.

However due to the addictive nature of smoking cigarettes it created one thing that the Nazis just couldn’t ignore, revenue ie money.

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Teaching hate

History of Sorts


I was going to put a lot of pictures in this blog, but then when I looked at this picture I thought that it would be enough.

A class, class mates and a teacher, like any other class in any other school. Except it isn’t. Here the children are taught to hate. The kids standing in front of the class are not there because they didn’t do their homework, or missed a test.

No they were standing there because they were Jewish, no other reason.

The lines on the blackboard translate to “The Jew is our greatest enemy! Beware of the Jew”

The teacher here as in any other school, is a figure of authority. In charge of children who he has to educate, it is clear that here he is teaching hate and he is using live examples of the type of people his pupils have to hate.


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Wim Kan’s World War 2 years.


Anyone living outside the Netherlands or the Flemish speaking part of Belgium will probably have never heard of Wim Kan.

It is actually not that easy to describe what he was, his title was cabaretier ,which is French for Cabaret performer. But I think the term ‘stand up comedian’ would be more relevant nowadays, even though that doesn’t really describe it accurately either.Because he cracked jokes, sang songs he had written himself, told stories.

He was one of the ‘Great 3’ cabaret acts of the Netherlamds, together with Win Sonneveld and Toon Hermans.


In 1936, he established the ABC Cabaret, which soon became one of the most successful Dutch cabaret groups, in which several artists debuted who later became famous.Wim Kan’s wife,Corry Vonk, was also a member of the group.

In 1940, the ABC Cabaret was touring the Dutch East Indies.(Now called Indonesia)While they were on tour in Indonesia, which was a Dutch Colony at the time, Germany invaded the Netherlands therefor Wim Kan and his Cabaret company could not return to the Netherlands.


On 8 December 1941, the Dutch government-in-exile declared war on Japan. Wim Kan was called as a conscript with the KNIL. The Royal Dutch Indies army. He was assigned to  the Department of War as a radio broadcaster.By March 1942 all of Indonesia was occupied by Japan.On Friday the 13th of March, Wim Kan was made a prisoner of war, with POW number 71502.

He survived 13 Japanese camps. Probably because of his fame he ,did enjoy some protection of hard physical labour, but he was not completely exempt from working on the Burma railway.


While he was in the camps he did do what he always done, entertain. He continued doing shows albeit in adapted form, and he continued writing songs. He also kept a diary of his years under captivity. These diaries were only released relatively recently.

Mt Dros, who was one of the 15,170 Dutchmen who survived the Burma Railway, said in an interview with a Dutch newspaper” The performances of Wim Kan were like small rays of light, and made us feel like we were home in the Netherlands again albeit for a short time.”

Shortly after the war ,on November 6,1945 Wim Kan staged a benefit show in Bangkok  for former prisoners of war. The show was called ‘Mystery in Budapest’


Wim Kan and his wife returned to the Netherlands in 1948, where he became an even bigger star as when he was before the war.

When the Japanese Emperor Hirohito came for a state visit to the Netherlands October 1971, Wim Kan strongly protested and urged the Dutch government to get the Emperor tried for war crimes.

Wim Kan died age 72 on September 8, 1983.


I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks






New York Times

Dutch Wikipedia






Scrappy invaluable bits of paper.


This week the painting with the name “Haystacks” by Claude Monet was sold for $110 Million.But that value pales compared to the value of the scrappy bits of paper which contained the last words of those who were killed in the Holocaust.

Those bits of paper are invaluable and no amount of money on earth, could ever reflect their value.

The letter at the start of the blog was written by Martijn Konijn on January 11,1943 It was mots probably smuggled out of Westerbork, It is not clear to who it was addressed to but it must have been either a Brother or Sister in Law. The letter is in Dutch but below is the translation.

“Westerbork 11/1 ‘43

I write you because than I am sure it will arrive.

Today on transport to the east I salute you all family and friends.

I hope you won’t forget me en hope to see all of you again.

Don’t send anything to Westerbork because I won’t be there.

Show all people who know me, this card. It is a pity but cannot do anything about it.

Bye. Your brother in law Martijn.

MARTIJN KONIJN Westerbork B66.

The latter below was the last sign of life of Leendert Arbeid. he died in 26 February 1943.


It can’t make out the address at the to of the letter but it was written on February 23,1942. This letter is also in Dutch .

letter 2

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

Today we went on transport.Think as long as possible about Jeff and Stella who are in Vught(another camp).Warn the family, also Abram and Gina, Hoping to see each other again some day. Leendert en Jet.

Many kisses and greetings to everyone also (can’t make out the first name) Bandy and Sophie.

Leendert had been married to Henriette Achtsteribbe(I believe he calls her Jet in the letter). They got married on March 24,1920. They both died on February 26, 1943 in Auschwitz.


The story of Louis van Leeuwen is probably the saddest of the three. His famly don’t even know the exact date or place where he died.

louis van leeuwen

The Dutch Red Cross declared on the 27th of  November 1951 that Louis died   not earlier than 15-01-1945 and latest 02-02-1945, somewhere in the Middle of Europe,either Auschwitz or Gross Rosen.


Below is the last letter Louis wrote, he addressed it to his wife but I could not trace the name of his wife, the letter is in Dutch with the English translation below.



“Dearest wife

In relation to my health, I am well, Via this way I want to let you know that Riba and many other seamstresses have received a letter to come to the “Centralstelle” with proof of identification to receive a stamp.Inform yourself once more how it is with(after that there is a line I couldn’t read because it was in a crease of the paper)

I got dressed again but I will stay at home, therefore my value won’t decrease because I remain at home the whole day.

Strength in your knees and much power/

Your loving husband and reliance.

Louis van Leeuwen”

Louis’s sister was Roza van Leeuwen. She married Salomon Arbeid in July 1948. Salomon was the son of Leendert and Henriette Arbeid.


Although those last few words of those three men were written on scrappy bits of pieces. Those bits of papers have become invaluable for their loved ones who survived.




I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks




Holocaust History Archive

Joods Monument.


The Longest Day and how Goldfinger temporarily was banned in Israel.

History of Sorts


The Longest Day is still one of my favourite movies. The epic cinematic event about D-Day and the direct aftermath. It was one of the first ensemble cast movies, basically anyone who was anyone in Hollywood was part of the movie.


Because it was shot less then 2 decades after D-Day and the end of WWII it meant that some of the actors in the film had actually seen action on the battlefield during the war.

As you can see from the title there is a mention of another movie, the James Bond movie Goldfinger. Gert Fröbe who played Auric Goldfinger also played in The Longest Day, he portrayed the role of the Wehrmacht soldier Sgt. Kaffekanne.

Sgt. Kaffekanne

Fröbe was born on 25 February 1913 and had joined the Nazi party at the young age of 16 in 1929. Disillusioned by the party and what it stood for he left in 1937. By September 1944…

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The hills are alive with the sound of sinking Ships.

History of Sorts

Georg_von_Trapp.jpgWho hasn’t heard of the Sound of Music, an immensely popular movie about the von Trapp family.

But behind the idyllic portrayal of the family lies a darker origin. I will not focus on the singing legacy in this blog but more on that ‘darker side of the story.

Georg von Trapp’s first wive was Agatha Whitehead granddaughter of Robert Whitehead, the inventor of  the modern torpedo.

And how bizarre this may sound for Austria is a landlocked country, Georg von Trapp was a captain in the Austro-Hungarian navy during WWI. The Austro-Hungarian Empire or the Dual Monarchy did include some of the Baltic nations.


After World War I broke out, he was given command of the U-Boat U-5, a small, 100-foot-long submarine displacing 240 tons, on April 17, 1915. U-5’s ventilation system wasn’t in the best of state  and sometimes filled the sub with poisonous fumes.While in command of SM U-5…

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Holocaust Wedding

History of Sorts


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.


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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Afraid of flying! Me?

History of Sorts


Anyone who suffers from Aviophobia or fear of flying stop reading now!!!

No really.

Anyway for those are still there let me start by apologizing. I apologize in advance in case you are ever in the position that you have to board a plane with me.The examples below will explain why.

The 1st time I boarded a plane I was the tender age of 16 I think. It was a flight from Schiphol Amsterdam to Luqa, Malta international airport. This was back in the 80s. Let me put it this way flying with Air Malta as your first aviation experience, in the 80s, is not the best way of being introduced to flying. We all have experienced turbulence , but for the whole flight and a very rough landing,not very pleasant.


Call me a fool but I tend to be a sucker for punishment, so the 2nd time I also…

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Serial Killers-Not only a US and UK phenomenon

History of Sorts

When we say serial killers we tend to think that this is really only a US and UK thing with a few exceptions every once in a while,. Maybe it is because the UK and US serial killers are more well known because of the media and several Hollywood portrayals.

We have all heard of Jeffrey Dahmer,Ted Bundy,John Wayne  Gacy, Peter Sutcliffe and Jack the Ripper, with the exception of Jack the Ripper all of these men were eventually caught.

But it is not restricted to the US and the UK it really is a global phenomenon, for the lack of a better word, in fact the most prolific serial killer is from Colombia.

Luis Garavito Child-murderer, torture-killer, and rapist known as ”La Bestia” (“The Beast”). Confessed to killing 140 children over a 5-year period in Colombia. He is suspected of murdering over 300 victims, mostly street children.


Garavito was arrested…

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The Bombing of Cologne-90 minutes that changed the city.

History of Sorts


One of my favourite cities in Germany is Cologne. known for Eaux de Cologne and for its many landmarks like the Cathedral.

The Cologne of the 21st Century is a vibrant and multicultural metropolitan city only about 80 km away from Belgium and about 95 Km from the Netherlands.


This location and the fact that the Rhine flows through it add the industrial hinterland made it a prime target for the allies.

Cologne had been bombed throughout the war the first time on the 17th of May 1940. In total there had been 262 separate air raids. However one of the most devastating raids happened on the 30th of May 1942.

On the 30th of May 1942 , a thousand-plane raid on the German city of Cologne was launched by Great Britain. Almost 1,500 tons of bombs rain down in 90 minutes, delivering a devastating blow to the Germans’ medieval city…

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