Operation Anthropoid-The Assassination of Reinhard Heydrich.

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On the twenty-ninth of May, 1942, Radio Prague announced that Reinhard Heydrich, Reichsprotektor of Bohemia and Moravia, lay dying at the Bulovka hospital in Prague from wounds sustained in a daring ambush by Czech partisans as his car passed through the city outskirts at Holesovice, on the Rude Armady VII Kobylisky not far from the Vltava river.

The assassins attempted to kill Heydrich with automatic weapons but experienced a malfunction so a grenade was then tossed at the car by one of the Czechs. The resulting explosion caused sever damage to the right rear wing of the Mercedes, puncturing the tire and blowing a large hole in the bodywork.The attackers then fled and, Heydrich attempted to shoot at the escaping assassins but his weapon also misfired. He then staggered back to the car and collapsed on the hood in severe pain.

The operation was carried out in Prague on 27 May 1942 after having been prepared by the British Special Operations Executive with the approval of the Czechoslovak government-in-exile. Although only wounded in the attack, Heydrich died of his injuries on 4 June 1942. His death led to a wave of merciless reprisals by German SS troops, including the destruction of villages and the killing of civilians.

Heydrich had been important in the rise of Adolf Hitler; as a Nazi potentate, he was given overall charge of the Final Solution and the Holocaust of the Jews in Europe. Despite the risks, the primary purpose of Anthropoid, from the Czech perspective, was to confer legitimacy on Edvard Beneš’s government-in-exile in London.

Operation Anthropoid – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Heydrich had been the chief of the RSHA since September 1939 and was appointed acting Protector of Bohemia and Moravia after replacing Konstantin von Neurath in September 1941. Hitler agreed with Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler and Heydrich that von Neurath’s relatively lenient approach to the Czechs promoted anti-German sentiment, and encouraged anti-German resistance by strikes and sabotage.

On September 27, 1941, the Czech Press Agency released the news that the Reich Protector Konstantin von Neurath had fallen ill.

Konstantin von Neurath

and Hitler had named a substitute Reich Protector, Reinhard Heydrich.

Reinhard Heydrich

Heydrich came to Prague to “strengthen policy, carry out countermeasures against resistance”, and keep up production quotas of Czech motors and arms that were “extremely important to the German war effort”. During his role as de facto dictator of Bohemia and Moravia, Heydrich often drove with his chauffeur in a car with an open roof. This was a show of his confidence in the occupation forces and in the effectiveness of his government.Due to his brutal efficiency, Heydrich was nicknamed the Butcher of Prague, the Blond Beast, and the Hangman.

One of Heydrich’s first decrees, dated September 29, 1941,concerning the treatment of Jews and closing of synagogues stated:

“…Jewish synagogues and places of prayer have not been used for religious purposes for some time. Instead, they have become centers for all kinds of Jewish subversive elements and focal points of illegal whispered propaganda. For this reason I have ordered the closing of all Jewish synagogues and places of prayer.”

By late 1941, Hitler controlled almost all continental Europe, and German forces were approaching Moscow.The Allies deemed Soviet capitulation likely. The exiled government of Czechoslovakia under President Edvard BenešEdvard_Beneš

was under pressure from British intelligence, as there had been very little visible resistance since the occupation of the Sudeten regions of the country in 1938. (Occupation of the whole country began in 1939.) The takeover of these regions was enforced by the Munich Agreement, and the subsequent terror of the German Reich broke the will of the Czechs for a period.

The resistance was active from the very beginning of occupation in several other countries defeated in open warfare (e.g., Poland, Yugoslavia, and Greece), but the subjugated Czech lands remained relatively calm and produced significant amounts of materiel for the Third Reich. The exiled government felt that it had to do something that would inspire the Czechs as well as show the world that the Czechs were allies.

Reinhard Heydrich was chosen over Karl Hermann Frank as an assassination target due to his status as the acting Protector of Bohemia and Moravia as well as his reputation for terrorizing local citizens. The operation was also intended to demonstrate to senior Nazis that they were not untouchable

 

The operation was given the codename Anthropoid, Greek for “having the form of a human”, a term usually used in zoology. Preparation began on 20 October 1941 with the British Special Operations Executive (SOE). Warrant Officer Jozef Gabčík (Slovak) and Staff Sergeant Karel Svoboda (Czech) were chosen to carry out the operation on 28 October 1941 (Czechoslovakia’s Independence Day). Svoboda was replaced with Jan Kubiš (Czech) after a head injury during training, causing delays in the mission as Kubiš had not completed training, nor had the necessary false documents been prepared for him.

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Jozef Gabčík and Jan Kubiš were airlifted along with seven soldiers from Czechoslovakia’s army-in-exile in the United Kingdom and two other groups named Silver A and Silver B (who had different missions) by a Royal Air Force Halifax of No. 138 Squadron into Czechoslovakia at 10 pm on 28 December 1941.

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Gabčík and Kubiš landed near Nehvizdy east of Prague; although the plan was to land near Pilsen, the pilots had problems with orientation.The soldiers then moved to Pilsen to contact their allies, and from there on to Prague, where the attack was planned.

In Prague, they contacted several families and anti-Nazi organisations who helped them during the preparations for the assassination.Gabčík and Kubiš initially planned to kill Heydrich on a train, but after examination of the logistics, they realised that this was not possible. The second plan was to kill him on the road in the forest on the way from Heydrich’s seat to Prague. They planned to pull a cable across the road that would stop Heydrich’s car but, after waiting several hours, their commander, Lt. Adolf Opálka (from the group Out Distance), came to bring them back to Prague. The third plan was to kill Heydrich in Prague.

On 27 May 1942 at 10:30, Heydrich proceeded on his daily commute from his home in Panenské Břežany to Prague Castle. Gabčík and Kubiš waited at the tram stop at a tight curve near Bulovka Hospital in Prague 8-Libeň. The spot was chosen because the curve would force the car to slow down. Josef Valčík was positioned about 100 metres (109 yards) north of Gabčík and Kubiš as lookout for the approaching car.

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Heydrich’s green, open-topped Mercedes 320 Convertible B reached the curve two minutes later.

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Gabčík stepped in front of the vehicle and tried to open fire with his Sten submachine gun, but it jammed.

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Heydrich ordered his driver, SS-Oberscharführer Klein, to stop the car, then stood up to shoot Gabčík with his Luger pistol.

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Kubiš threw a modified anti-tank grenade(concealed in a briefcase) at the vehicle and its fragments ripped through the car’s right rear bumper, embedding shrapnel and fibres from the upholstery in Heydrich’s body upon detonation, even though the grenade failed to enter the car. The grenade also injured Kubiš.

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Following the explosion, Gabčík and Kubiš fired at Heydrich with their Colt M1903 pistols but failed to hit him, as they were shocked by the explosion as well.

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Heydrich staggered out of the car, apparently unaware of his shrapnel injuries, returned fire, and tried to chase Gabčík, but he soon collapsed. Klein returned from his abortive attempt to chase Kubiš, who fled the scene by bicycle. Now bleeding profusely, Heydrich ordered Klein to chase Gabčík on foot, saying “Get that bastard!”.Klein chased him into a butcher shop, where Gabčík shot him twice with his pistol, severely wounding him in the leg, and then escaped to a local safe house via tram. Gabčík and Kubiš were initially convinced that the attack had failed.

A Czech woman and an off-duty policeman went to Heydrich’s aid and flagged down a delivery van. Heydrich was first placed in the driver’s cab, but complained that the truck’s movement was causing him pain. He was then transferred to the back of the truck, placed on his stomach, and taken to the emergency room at Na Bulovce Hospital. He had suffered severe injuries to his left side, with major diaphragm, spleen, and lung damage as well as a fractured rib. A Dr. Slanina packed the chest wound, while Dr. Walter Diek (the Sudeten German chief of surgery at the hospital) tried unsuccessfully to remove the splinters.

He was rushed to the Bulovka emergency room shortly after 11:00 a.m. and was registered under the number 12.555/42. Heydrich’s spleen had been fatally damaged and he contracted blood poisoning from grenade shrapnel, seat-spring splinters, and horse-hair used to cushion the cars upholstery.

On May 27, 1942, Karl. Hermann Frank, declared a state of civil emergency. Posters appeared in the streets offering a reward for information on the perpetrators. Himmler, at Hitler’s headquarters in Rastenburg was immediately notified of the incident and ordered Dr. K. Gebhardt, his personal physician and Professor of Orthopedics in Berlin, to fly at once to Heydrich’s bedside.

Gebhardt landed in Prague the evening of May 27, and followed Heydrich progress closely even telephoning Himmler twice a day to report on his patient’s status

He soon developed a fever and suffered from copious wound drainage until June 2, but the following day the fever appeared to have subsided. However, around noon, while Heydrich was sitting in bed eating a late breakfast, he suddenly went into shock and quickly lapsed into a deep coma from which he never recovered.

He died at 4:30 a.m. the next morning, June 4, 1942. The death of the Reichsprotektor of Bohemia and Moravia was recorded in the Bulovka death register as “Nr 348/1942.Reinhard Tristan Eugen Heydrich.

Cause of death: gunshot wound/murder attempt/wound infection

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Hitler ordered the SS and Gestapo to “wade in blood” throughout Bohemia to find Heydrich’s killers. Hitler wanted to start with brutal, widespread killing of the Czech people but, after consultations, he reduced his response to only some thousands. The Czech lands were an important industrial zone for the German military and indiscriminate killing could reduce the productivity of the region.

Things went from bad to worse for the ANTHRPOID team and their collaborators in hiding. Karel Čurda another of the men from the OUT DISTANCE unit, who left Prague immediately after the assassination and hid out with his mother in Nová Hlína near Třeboň, was captured by the Gestapo and betrayed the names of the team’s local contact persons for the bounty of 1 million Reichsmarks.

Karel Čurda

Čurda betrayed several safe houses provided by the Jindra group, including that of the Moravec family in Žižkov. At 05:00 on 17 June, the Moravec flat was raided.

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The family was made to stand in the hallway while the Gestapo searched their flat. Mrs. Marie Moravec was allowed to go to the toilet, where she bit into a cyanide capsule and killed herself. Mr. Alois Moravec was unaware of his family’s involvement with the resistance; he was taken to the Peček Palác together with his 17-year-old son Ata, who was interrogated with torture throughout the day but refused to talk. The youth was stupefied with brandy, shown his mother’s severed head in a fish tank, and warned that, if he did not reveal the information that they were looking for, his father would be next. Ata’s strong willpower finally snapped, and he told the Gestapo what they wanted to know. Vlastimil “Ata” Moravec was executed by the Nazis in Mauthausen on 24 October 1942, the same day as his father, his fiancé, her mother, and her brother were executed

At 3:45 am on June 18, 1942, SS-Brigadeführer Karl von Treuenfeld, issued an order to the Reserve Battalion Deutschland and the Guard Battalion Prague to surround the area around the Church of St. Cyril and Methodius. The location of where Kubiš, Gabčík and Opálka were hiding.

Church of St. Cyril and Methodius1

German Police under the command of Gestapo Chief Heinz Pannwitz and Nazi Secretary of State Karl Frank quickly overpowered the priest, Father Vladimir Petrek and von Treuenfeld was given the order to attack. The battled ensued for fourteen hours as the Czech parachutists put up fierce resistance.The Germans first searched the church warden’s apartment. They quickly found the window with an unscrewed inside grating, which would have been used in the event of the paratroopers’ escape.  The Gestapo and SS then proceeded to the inner section of the Church of St. Cyril and Methodius, where Adolf Opálka, Josef Bublík and Jan Kubiš were keeping guard in the gallery and the choir.

The attackers tried to reach the choir through a narrow staircase, under cover fire provided by Adolf Opálka. Wounded and nearing the end of his ammunition Adolf Opálka took poison and simultaneously ended his life with a pistol shot to the left temple.

After the inside of the church was overrun, the battle shifted to the crypt, the only entrance to which led through a small ventilation opening in the western part of the church which was accessible from the street outside. The Germans seized this opportunity and ordered in the Prague fire department to begin flooding the crypt with water and tear gas.

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Near the altar, under a carpet, the Germans found an entrance into the crypt covered with a stone slab. After destroying it with explosives, they discovered steep stairs leading into the crypt; the Czechs were now fighting from all sides.Pannwitz and Frank had Čurda brought in to try and persuade the men in the crypt to surrender, but his shouts for them to give themselves up were met by fire form the defenders guns.  The Czech’s thought they might have a chance if they could tunnel there way out of the crypt into the sewer system below, but Jan Kubiš suffered from multiple gun shot and grenade wounds and died of blood loss.

The remaining defenders both exhausted and their ammunition just about gone, chose suicide over capture. Josef Gabčík ended his own life with a pistol shot. Fourteen German soldiers had been killed and many more injured in the series of attacks. The dead paratroopers were carried out in front of the church and identified by the traitor Karel Čurda.

 

The assassination led to the reprisal of the complete destruction of the village of Lidice, 173 Lidice men were shot on that fateful day in the garden of the Horak farm.

Jan Kubiš’ girlfriend, Anna Malinova, was arrested in the aftermath of the assassination, and died in Mauthausen concentration camp.  Many Resistance helpers were also arrested and murdered, including Father Petrek

The Germans erected a monument to Heydrich which was torn down by the Czechs in 1945.

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Hitler granted Lina, Heydrich’s widow, heavily pregnant at the time of his death, the estate at Panenske Brezany, and she ended her days as a hotel-keeper on the island of Fehmarn.

“I have only a few words to dedicate to this dead man. He was one of the best National Socialists, one of the strongest defenders of German Reich, one of the biggest opponents of all the enemies of the Reich. He fell as a martyr for the preservation and safeguarding of the Reich. As leader of the party and as leader of the German Reich, I give you, my dear comrade Heydrich, the highest recognition I have to bestow, the uppermost level of the German Order.

The events of this operation have been remembered in several monumments.

And have also been told in several movies.

In 1943 two movies were made Hitler’s Madman by Douglas Sirk and Hangmen also die by Fritz Lang.

In 1964 Jiří Sequens directed the Czech Movie Atentat

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In 1975 Operation Daybreak starring Timothy Bottoms and Martin Shaw , directed by Lewis Gilbert.

In all fairness I don’t think the movie did the story any justice. the performances were weak.

I am looking forward to the upcoming movie “Operation Anthropoid” directed by Sean Ellis.

Stop that Island! The remarkable story of HNLMS Abraham Crijnssen

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Without trying to blow my own trumpet, or in this case my countries trumpet, it is a well know fact that the Dutch are among the most inventive people in the world. As was the case with the crew of the HNLMS Abraham Crijnssen(and HMAS Abraham Crijnssen for a while)

Sometimes in life, the guy with the drunken, so-crazy-it-just-might-work ideas hits one out of the park and saves the day.This seems to be what happened in 1942 aboard the HNLMS Abraham Crijnssen, the last Dutch warship standing after the Battle of the Java Sea.

HNLMS Abraham Crijnssen was a minesweeper of the Royal Netherlands Navy (RNN). Built during the 1930s, she was based in the Netherlands East Indies when Japan attacked at the end of 1941. Ordered to retreat to Australia, the ship was disguised as a tropical island to avoid detection, and was the last Dutch ship to escape from the region. On arriving in Australia in 1942, she was commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) as HMAS Abraham Crijnssen and operated as an anti-submarine escort. Although returned to RNN control in 1943, the ship remained in Australian waters for most of World War II. After the war, Abraham Crijnssen operated on anti-revolution patrols in the East Indies, before returning to the Netherlands and being converted into a boom defence ship in 1956. Removed from service in 1960, the vessel was donated to the Netherlands Sea Cadet Corps for training purposes. In 1995, Abraham Crijnssen was acquired by the Dutch Navy Museum for preservation as a museum ship.

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After the Japanese invasion of the Dutch East Indies in 1941 and their decisive defeat of a combined Dutch, British, Australian, and US naval force, the remaining Dutch ships in the East Indies were ordered to flee to Australia. Many Dutch ships were either scuttled or fell prey to Japanese warships or aircraft patrolling their escape routes.

However, the HNLMS Abraham Crijnssen, a tiny minesweeper with little in the way of offensive armament or speed, was able to successfully escape to Australia because the captain came up with a crazy scheme. He disguised the entire ship as a small island.1a-ship-disguised-as-island-rawAlthough the Abraham Crijnssen was a relatively small ship, it was still a big object—approximately 55 meters (180 ft) long and 7 meters (25 ft) wide. So the crew used foliage from island vegetation and gray paint to make the ship’s hull look like rock faces.

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Moving only at night, the ship was able to blend in with the thousands of other tiny islands around Indonesia, and the Japanese didn’t notice the moving island. The Abraham Crijnssen was the last Allied ship that escaped the Dutch East Indies.

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.The ship was based at Surabaya in the Netherlands East Indies when Japan invaded in 1941.Following the Allied defeats at the Battles of the Java Sea and Sunda Strait in late March 1942, all Allied ships were ordered to withdraw to Australia.Abraham Crijnssen was meant to sail with three other warships, but found herself proceeding alone.

To escape detection by Japanese aircraft (which the minesweeper did not have the armament to defend effectively against), the ship was heavily camouflaged with jungle foliage, giving the impression of a small island Personnel cut down trees and branches from nearby islands, and arranged the cuttings to form a jungle canopy covering as much of the ship as possible.Any hull still exposed was painted to resemble rocks and cliffs.To further the illusion, the ship would remain close to shore, anchored and immobile during daylight,

(see if you can spot it)

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and only sail at night She headed for Fremantle, Western Australia, where she arrived on 20 March 1942; Abraham Crijnssen was the last vessel to successfully escape Java, and the only ship of her class in the region to survive.

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The Crijnssen managed to go undetected by Japanese planes and avoid the destroyer that sank the other Dutch warships, surviving the eight-day journey to Australia and reuniting with Allied forces.

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After arriving in Australian waters, the minesweeper underwent a refit, which included the installation of new ASDIC equipment.

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On 28 September, the minesweeper was commissioned into the RAN as HMAS Abraham Crijnssen.She was reclassified as an anti-submarine convoy escort, and was also used as a submarine tender for the Dutch submarines that relocated to Australia following the Japanese conquest.The ship’s Dutch sailors were supplemented with survivors from the British destroyer HMS Jupiter and Australian personnel, all under the command of an Australian lieutenant.

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The wardroom tradition of hanging a portrait of the commissioned ship’s reigning monarch led to some tension before it was decided to leave Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands on the bulkhead instead of replacing her with King George VI of the United Kingdom, which was installed in the lieutenant’s cabin.

It was agreed however that Miss Hayworth was worthy of wardroom status and she was installed on the bulkhead opposite Queen Wilhelmina.

While escorting a convoy to Sydney through Bass Strait on 26 January 1943, Abraham Crijnssen detected a submarine on ASDIC. The convoy was ordered to scatter, while Abraham Crijnssen and HMAS Bundaberg depth charged the submarine contact.

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No wreckage of the suspected submarine was found.A pair of hastily released depth charges at the start of the engagement damaged the minesweeper; several fittings and pipes were damaged, and all of her centreline rivets had to be replaced during a week-long dry-docking.

Abraham Crijnssen was returned to RNN service on 5 May 1943, but remained in Australian waters for most of World War II.On 7 June 1945, the minesweeper left Sydney for Darwin, with the oil lighter (and former submarine) K9 in tow.On 8 June, the tow cable snapped, and K9 washed ashore at Seal Rocks, New South Wales.

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Abraham Crijnssen was used for mine-clearing sweeps of Kupang Harbour prior to the arrival of a RAN force to accept the Japanese surrender of Timor.

The ship was removed from the Navy List in 1960. After leaving service, Abraham Crijnssen was donated to the Sea Cadet Corps (Zeekadetkorps Nederland) for training purposes. She was docked at The Hague from 1962 to 1972, after which she was moved to Rotterdam. The ship was also used as a storage hulk during this time.

In 1995, Abraham Crijnssen was marked for preservation by the Dutch Navy Museum at Den Helder.She was retrofitted to her wartime configuration.

Amazingly I was able to find out most of the details of the HNLMS Abraham Crijnssen, even which pictures hang in the wardroom, but I could not find out any crew members name and most importantly who came up with the idea. If anyone knows please let me know.

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Charles Harrelson- Woody Harrelson’s Father and contract killer.

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If you think this is a bizarre title wait until you read the full story

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When Woody Harrelson was cast as a psychotic spree killer in Oliver Stone’s film Natural Born Killers, many people were surprised. Since Harrelson was known for playing the innocent, good-natured Woody Boyd on Cheers, it was hard to visualize him as a murderer. It turns out, however, that murder is a major part of Woody Harrelson’s real-life family background.NBKillazCharles Harrelson was born on July 23, 1938, in Huntsville, Texas, the son of Alma Lee (née Sparks) and Voyde Harrelson. He was married to Nancy Hillman Harrelson, Jo Ann Harrelson, Diane Lou Oswald and Gina Adelle Foster. Harrelson worked as an encyclopedia salesman in California and as a professional gambler. In 1960, he was convicted of armed robbery.

Harrelson’s son, Woody Harrelson (born July 23, 1961), became a well-known television and film actor. According to Woody, his father disappeared from the family’s home in Houston in 1968, leaving his wife Diane to raise Woody and his two brothers. Woody lost track of his father until 1981, when news broke of Harrelson’s arrest for the murder of Judge Wood. During an interview in November 1988, Woody revealed that he visited his father regularly in federal prison, though he still harbored mixed feelings for him, saying “my father is one of the most articulate, well-read, charming people I’ve ever known. Still, I’m just now gauging whether he merits my loyalty or friendship. I look at him as someone who could be a friend more than someone who was a father

Defended by Percy Foreman, Harrelson was tried for the 1968 murder of Alan Harry Berg (no relation to the Denver talk radio DJ Alan Berg, later murdered by white supremacists) On September 22, 1970, he was acquitted by a jury in Angleton, Texas.The murder is chronicled in the acclaimed memoir Run Brother Run by the victim’s brother, David Berg.

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Prior to the Wood murder, Harrelson was tried for the 1968 murder-for-hire killing of Sam Degelia, Jr., a resident of Hearne, Texas. Harrelson was paid $2000 for the murder of Degelia, a grain dealer and father of four who was killed in McAllen, Texas. His first trial ended with a deadlocked jury,although Pete Scamardo was also tried in the case, found guilty of being an accomplice to the murder, and sentenced to seven years probation.Harrelson was retried in 1973, convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison.In 1978, after serving 5 years, he was released early for good behavior.

Shortly after Harrelson was paroled in 1978, he was implicated in another murder. On May 29, 1979, U.S. District Judge John H. Wood, Jr. was shot dead in the parking lot outside his San Antonio, Texas, townhouse.

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Harrelson was convicted of killing Judge Wood after being hired by drug dealer Jamiel Chagra of El Paso. Wood — nicknamed “Maximum John” because of his reputation for handing down long sentences for drug offenses — was originally scheduled to have Chagra appear before him on the day of his murder, but the trial had been delayed.

Harrelson was apprehended with the aid of an anonymous tip and a tape recording of a conversation that occurred during a visit from Joe Chagra to his brother Jamiel Chagra in prison. Harrelson claimed at trial that he did not kill Judge Wood, but merely took credit for it so he could claim a large payment from Chagra.

Harrelson was sentenced to two life terms based largely on Chagra’s conversation with his brother from prison. Both Harrelson and Joe Chagra were implicated in the assassination, and Chagra received a ten-year sentence. Jamiel Chagra was acquitted of the murder when his brother Joe refused to testify against him. Chagra was represented by future mayor of Las Vegas, Oscar Goodman, then a public defender. In a plea bargain, Jamiel Chagra admitted to his role in the murder of Judge Wood and to the attempted murder of a U.S. Attorney. Jo Ann Harrelson was also convicted of conspiracy and perjury.

In 2003, Chagra recanted his previous statements, and stated that someone other than Harrelson had in fact shot Judge Wood. His son, Woody, then attempted to have his father’s conviction overturned in order to secure a new trial, though without success.Chagra died in July 2008 of cancer.

In September 1980, Harrelson surrendered to police after a six-hour standoff in which he was reportedly “high on cocaine”. During the standoff, he threatened suicide and stated that he had killed Judge Wood and President John F. Kennedy.In a television interview after his arrest, Harrelson said: “At the same time I said I had killed the judge, I said I had killed Kennedy, which might give you an idea to the state of my mind at the time.” He said that the statements made during the standoff were “an effort to elongate my life.”

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Joseph Chagra later testified during Harrelson’s trial that Harrelson claimed to have shot Kennedy and drew maps to show where he was hiding during the assassination. Chagra said that he did not believe Harrelson’s claim, and the AP reported that the FBI “apparently discounted any involvement by Harrelson in the Kennedy assassination.”According to Jim Marrs in 1989’s Crossfire, Harrelson is believed to be the youngest and tallest of the “three tramps” by many conspiracy theorists.Marrs stated that Harrelson was involved “with criminals connected to intelligence agencies and the military” and suggested that he was connected to Jack Ruby through Russell Douglas Matthews, a third party with links to organized crime who was known to both Harrelson and Ruby. Lois Gibson, a well-known forensic artist, matched photographs of Harrelson to the photographs of the youngest-looking of the three “tramps”

The JFK link doesn’t stop there. The Actor Bill Paxton who was in one episode of Frasier(a spin off series off Cheers, in which Woody Harrelson starred with Kelsey Grammer) had been at a JFK event on the 22 November 1963, the day JFK was shot.

Below is a picture of that event. Bill Paxton is the little boy sitting on the shoulders of a man presumably his Father.

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On a side note but also a connection with Woody Harrelson, The sister of Kelsey Grammer, ,co star of Cheers and star of Frasier,was murdered and raped by a spree killer. The type if killer Woody played in Natural Born Killers, that is as far as the connection goes though.

On July 4, 1995, Harrelson and two other inmates, Gary Settle and Michael Rivers, attempted to escape from the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary using a makeshift rope. A warning shot was fired at them from the prison’s tower, and the trio surrendered.Harrelson was subsequently transferred to Supermax prison ADX Florence in Florence, Colorado. In a letter to a friend, Harrelson wrote that he enjoyed his life inside the maximum security facility, writing that “there are not enough hours in a day for my needs as a matter of fact… The silence is wonderful.”

He was found unresponsive in his cell on March 15, 2007, having died of a heart attack; and an autopsy showed he had severe coronary artery disease.His Federal Bureau of Prisons Register number was 02582-016.

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Bockscar the plane that dropped ‘Fat Man’ on Nagasaki

Boeing B-29 "Bockscar"

Most people will know the name ‘Enola Gay’ the plane that dropped the 1st Atomic bomb on Hiroshima but surprisingly not that many people will have heard of the plane that dropped the bomb on Nagasaki, some even think that Enola Gay dropped both.

Bockscar, sometimes called Bock’s Car, is the name of the United States Army Air Forces B-29 bomber that dropped a Fat Man nuclear weapon over the Japanese city of Nagasaki during World War II in the second – and last – nuclear attack in history. One of 15 Silverplate B-29s used by the 509th, Bockscar was built at the Glenn L. Martin Aircraft Plant at Bellevue, Nebraska, at what is now Offutt Air Force Base, and delivered to the United States Army Air Forces on 19 March 1945. It was assigned to the 393d Bombardment Squadron, 509th Composite Group to Wendover Army Air Field, Utah in April.

When the United States made the decision to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan on Monday, August 6, 1945, the hope was that this action would end the war. The bomb, nicknamed “Little Boy”,

 

was dropped by the B-29 Superfortress bomber Enola Gay.

And although it took a second atomic bomb to force Japan to surrender, the Enola Gay’s name has gone down in history as the plane that was responsible for ending WWII.

Landscape

But the crew of the Enola Gay only dropped the first bomb. Three days later, on Thursday, August 9, a second atomic bomb, this one nicknamed “Fat Man” was dropped on Nagasaki. The B-29 that delivered this, the final blow to the Japanese, was known as Bockscar.

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Originally, The Great Artiste commanded by Major Charles W. Sweeney was the plane scheduled to drop the second atomic bomb. Sweeney and his crew C-15 had previously flown The Great Artiste with the Enola Gay on her flight to Hiroshima on August 6, carrying instrumentation to record and support the mission. Upon their return Sweeney and his crew began to prepare for their turn. The next mission was planned for August 11 but due to a poor weather forecast, the commanders decided to move the attack up by two days, setting a new date of August 9. Sweeney and his crew had been doing training runs in Captain Bock’s plane Bockscar while The Great Artiste was to have its instruments removed and installed in another plane.

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However, when the mission date moved forward, it did not give the ground crews enough time to do the transfer, so it was decided that Sweeney and Bock would switch planes. Hence, Bock and his crew flew The Great Artiste in a support role on the mission and Sweeney and his crew, aboard Bockscar, became the primary unit to drop the second atomic bomb on Japan.

The primary target for the August 9 bombing mission was the industrial city of Kokura. However, when the Bockscar arrived over the city with Fat Man ready to be deployed, the crew found that visibility over the city was obscured by clouds and smog. Sweeney’s orders were specific in that the atomic bomb had to be dropped visually on the target.

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Failing to spot their target after passing over Kokura three times, Sweeney decided to proceed to the secondary target of Nagasaki. At 11:02am, Fat Man, the atomic bomb with 14.1 lbs of plutonium-239, was dropped. The bomb detonated about 43 seconds later at an altitude of about 1,540 feet above the ground. Approximately 40% of Nagasaki was destroyed

 

Although Fat Man was considered a more powerful bomb than Little Boy, the hilly terrain helped to deaden the destruction whereas Hiroshima was flat and open and thus suffered much greater devastation. What twist of fate saved the people of Kokura and yet doomed so many citizens of Nagasaki?

 

It’s also known that many survivors of the Hiroshima bombing made their way to Nagasaki only to experience the second terrifying explosion all over again. Many of them did not survive the second time.

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The failure to drop the Fat Man at the precise bomb aim point caused the atomic blast to be confined to the Urakami Valley. As a consequence, a major portion of the city was protected by the intervening hills, but even so, the bomb was dropped over the city’s industrial valley midway between the Mitsubishi Steel and Arms Works in the south and the Mitsubishi-Urakami Ordnance Works in the north. An estimated 35,000 people were killed and 60,000 injured during the bombing at Nagasaki.Of those killed, 23,200-28,200 were Japanese munitions workers, 2,000 were Korean slave laborers, and 150 were Japanese soldiers.

Because of the delays in the mission and the inoperative fuel transfer pump,Bockscar did not have sufficient fuel to reach the emergency landing field at Iwo Jima, so Sweeney flew the aircraft to Okinawa. Arriving there, he circled for 20 minutes trying to contact the control tower for landing clearance, finally concluding that his radio was faulty. Critically low on fuel, Bockscar barely made it to the runway at Yontan Airfield on Okinawa. With only enough fuel for one landing attempt, Sweeney and Albury brought Bockscar in at 150 miles per hour (240 km/h) instead of the normal 120 miles per hour (190 km/h), firing distress flares to alert the field of the uncleared landing. The number two engine died from fuel starvation as Bockscar began its final approach. Touching the runway hard, the heavy B-29 slewed left and towards a row of parked B-24 bombers before the pilots managed to regain control. The B-29’s reversible propellers were insufficient to slow the aircraft adequately, and with both pilots standing on the brakes, Bockscar made a swerving 90-degree turn at the end of the runway to avoid running off the runway. A second engine died from fuel exhaustion by the time the plane came to a stop. The flight engineer later measured fuel in the tanks and concluded that less than five minutes total remained.

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After the war, Bockscar returned to the United States in November 1945 and served with the 509th at Roswell Army Air Field, New Mexico. It was nominally assigned to the Operation Crossroads task force,Operation Crossroads was a pair of nuclear weapon tests conducted by the United States at Bikini Atoll in mid-1946.

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But there are no records indicating that it deployed for the tests. In August 1946, it was assigned to the 4105th Army Air Force Unit at Davis-Monthan Army Air Field, Arizona, for storage.

At Davis-Monthan it was placed on display as the aircraft that bombed Nagasaki, but in the markings of The Great Artiste. In September 1946, title was passed to the Air Force Museum (now the National Museum of the United States Air Force) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. The aircraft was flown to the Museum on 26 September 1961,and its original markings were restored.Bockscar is now on permanent display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force, Dayton, Ohio. This display, a primary exhibit in the Museum’s Air Power gallery, includes a replica of a Fat Man bomb and signage that states that it was “The aircraft that ended WWII”.

In 2005, a short documentary was made about Charles Sweeney’s recollections of the Nagasaki mission aboard Bockscar, including details of the mission preparation, titled “Nagasaki: The Commander’s Voice

This last bit is not the take away from the history of the Bockscar, although I don’t subscribe to conspiracy theories, it wouldn’t be hard to come up with one here.

Looking at all the twists in the story.

  1. The crew was changed from the Great Artiste to Bockscar
  2. The intended target had been Kokura
  3. After the war it was part of a task force conducting nuclear tests(although not actively)
  4. Mix in the fact that it served at the Roswell Army field

One could be forgiven for believing that the UFO that allegedly crashed in Roswell was maybe there to observe the ‘weapon of mass destruction’ that was based there.

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I don’t really believe this is the case but it does make an intriguing theory and story.

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A great script does matter

I am a great fan of TV Dramas and Movies and despite a lot of critics saying that the last few years the quality has gone down, I believe that this isn’t really the case.

Particularly the TV Shows have really improved, I think it was shows like the Sopranos that really raised the bar.

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TV Channels and production companies like HBO, Showtime and AMC have really invigorated the TV landscape, throw in the mix Netflix and Amazon Prime and the online entertainment is complete. If it wasn’t for these companies who basically gave a cart blanch to TV Show makers we would have never had show like Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead and their spin off Better Call Saul and Fear the Walking Dead

Shows like Ray Donovan, House of Cards,Bosch,Homeland and Game of Thrones would have never been aired, especially Game of Thrones with an often graphic and even pornographic content.

So on TV front I think the quality has gone up dramatically, but of course this is all a matter of taste. The one thing these shows have in common they are all character driven and it is evident that a lot of time is spend on the scripts.

Take Game of Thrones for example, although some of the graphic scenes are really ‘in your face’ it doesn’t take away from the character, Peter Dinklage who plays  his character Tyrion Lannister  so convincing that you don’t even notice his small stature. Although Game of Thrones did end with a bit of an anti climax

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However unfortunately there are shows which started so promising but really failed to maintain the initial strong story lines.

Lost, took the world by a storm but at the end it ended in a damp squib. It really felt like the producers wanted to drag it out to get as much money as possible from the show  at the cost of a good script. They should have kept to the originally planned 3 seasons.

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Another prime example is Heroes. It started of great it had everything one could want in a show about heroes and villains, until season 3 that is where they came up with this ridiculous story line based in Cork,Ireland with the worse Irish accents I ever heard. But I could get over the accents, the worse thing here was they showed heavily armed security guards in a warehouse,not even the Police have guns in Ireland. That was just lazy script writing.

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One show that kept me interested until the very last episode was True Blood, unfortunately after all the hard work they had put in , it seemed that they had just given up at the very end. I have never have been more disappointed by a finale then with True Blood it was the mother of all anti-climaxes.

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By no stretch of the imagination am I a fan of the Irish national broadcaster RTE, but they did produce one of the most realistic and gritty crime drama’s even for international standards.

When I first heard of Love/Hate I had closed my mind to it, solely because of the fact it was made by RTE, but boy was I wrong. It is one of my all time favorites on par with The Sopranos ,Ray Donovan and Breaking Bad.

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Funny enough it was our Scandinavian brethren who produced some of the finest pieces of Crime drama this century, although subtitled the characters were so strong that you’d nearly forget they were talking Danish and Swedish. I am of course talking about The Killing(Forbrydelsen), the Bridge(Bron/Broen) and Wallander(well that is still Wallander in Swedish). I wasn’t to impressed with the BBC version with Kenneth Branagh.

When it comes to TV Shows I do tend to have a preference to Police Drama’s as a kid I grew up watching the German cop shows Derrick and Tatort, the latter one meaning Crime Scene, so basically it was CSI before ‘the’ CSI.

There might be more of a case when it comes to the Big screen to say the quality of movies just isn’t what it used to be and a lot of it is because of dodgy CGI, but having that said some of my all time favorite movies were made the last 16 years or so. Gladiator,The Lord of the Rings Trilogy,The Dark Knight trilogy, Pan’s Labyrinth and I am Legend, to name but a few. Again all these movies even though they were jam packed with special effects they were still character driven and a lot of attention was given to the script.But also movies like Gran Torino and Gone baby Gone are masterpieces.

I do get over some minor discrepancies in scripts, like in the recent ‘Captain America-Civil War’ where they mix up one German word, although it is annoying for a linguist like me, it didn’t take away the overall enjoyment of the movie.

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However when they mess up a whole scene by having a Finnish guy speak German as if it was Finnish is just lazy and unforgivable , this was the case in Swordfish,maybe that’s why Halle Berry took her top off to distract from the bad and lazy script.

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All in all as a viewer I think we are spoiled for choice in both TV and Cinema features.

Not Just a Guide-Dog

History of Sorts

Not just a guide dog My 1st book available on Amazon Kindle and Kobo

Not just a guide dog is the story of the Johnsons who lived an ordinary suburban life Frank and his wife Marie and their 3 kids, Luke, David and Claire didn’t have any real worries. They weren’t rich by any stretch of the imagination but they were comfortable enough.
Alas disaster struck, due to a degenerative eye disease Frank lost most of his sight. With the help of a guide dog called Faust and his family he was able to make most of his life.
The life of everyone on the planet got changed by the outbreak of a virus which turned human beings into living dead or soulless cannibals. This was exploited by Isis who had turned it from a local epidemic to a global pandemic.
The only safe places were the regions near the arctic and Antarctic Circle…

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Forgotten History- Dr. Carl Clauberg Experiments

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The notorious Heinrich Himmler himself ordered a Nazi doctor to artificially inseminate concentration camp prisoners though various experimental methods. Dr. Carl Clauberg artificially inseminated about 300 women at Auschwitz, who were strapped down and taunted mercilessly. Clauberg told his victims that he had used animal sperm to create a monster inside of them.

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Carl Clauberg (28 September 1898 – 9 August 1957) was a German medical doctor who conducted medical experiments on human subjects (mainly Jewish) in Nazi concentration camps during World War II. He worked with Horst Schumann in X-ray sterilization experiments at Auschwitz concentration camp

In 1942 Viktor Brack — director of T4 murder operation — wrote a letter to Heinrich Himmler stating,

“I am of the opinion that out of approx. 10 million European Jews at least 2–3 million men and women will be fit for work and should be kept alive. . . Of course this can only be done if they are at the same time rendered incapable of reproduction . . . under my instruction experiments for this purpose have been complete. . . . the type of sterilization normally performed on persons with genetic diseases, is here out of the question, because it takes too long and is too expensive. Castration by X-ray however is not only relatively cheap, but can also be performed on many thousands in the shortest time.”

He indicated that using X-ray, 3,000–4,000 Jews could be castrated daily, and then put to work.

Between 1942–1945, Dr. Carl Clauberg was a highly esteemed gynecologist with expertise in female sexual hormones with an unassailable reputation within German medical society. At Auschwitz he was given Block 10 with its several hundred Jewish women for his medical experiments. He sought to develop a method capable of sterilizing millions of people with minimum time and effort.

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He also developed a non-surgical method of sterilization by injecting a specially prepared caustic substance into the female reproductive organs producing severe inflammation and excruciating pain. The secret substance was developed by his assistant Dr. Johannes Goebel, chief chemist with Schering Pharmaceutical Co (Lifton, Nazi Doctors). The goal was to create adhesions in the fallopian tubes to obstruct them within six weeks. In his correspondence with Himmler, Clauberg refers to the women in his experiments as “the human material to be provided. . .”

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Clauberg also conducted artificial insemination experiments on 300 women at Auschwitz. Adding to their physical abuse, he reportedly taunted the women by telling them that he inseminated them with animal sperm and that monsters were now growing in their wombs.

X-ray sterilization experiments at Auschwitz were conducted on 420 (mostly) male Jewish victims. Of these 188 were castrated after being radiated (Weindling). Of the more than 1,000 prisoners subjected by Clauberg and Dr. Horst Schumann to X-Ray sterilization experiments — some of the victims as young as 14 years old — only 100 survived (Susan Benedict 2014). Clauberg enthusiastically informed Himmler of the promising potential of his sterilization method: “I shall be able to report in the foreseeable future that one experienced physician, with an appropriately equipped office and the aid of ten auxiliary personnel, will be able to carry out in the course of a single day the sterilization of hundreds, or even 1,000 women.”

When the Red Army approached Auschwitz, Clauberg moved to Ravensbrück concentration camp to continue his experiments on Romani women. Soviet troops captured him there in 1945.

After the war in 1948 Clauberg was put on trial in the Soviet Union and received 25 years in prison. In 1955, he was released (but not pardoned) by the Soviet Union, with the final group of about 10,000 POWs and civilian internees. He returned to West Germany, where he was reinstated at his former clinic based on his prewar scientific output. Bizarre behavior, including openly boasting of his “achievements” in “developing a new sterilization technique at the Auschwitz concentration camp”, destroyed any chance he might have had of staying unnoticed. After public outcry from groups of survivors, Clauberg was arrested in 1955 and was put on trial. He died of a heart attack before the trial could start.

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Ustaše- The fascists that made the Nazi’s look like boyscouts

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The Ustaše (also called Ustashas or Ustashi) was a Croatian racist, terrorist, and Nazi-like movement. It was engaged in terrorist activities before World War II.[Under the protection of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, the Ustaše ruled a part of Yugoslavia, after Yugoslavia was occupied by Italy and Germany. At the end of World War II, the Ustaše were defeated and expelled by the Yugoslav Partisans.

Croatian politician Stjepan Radić was shot on October 1928 and died a month later. Alexander I, King of Yugoslavia, imposed a royal dictatorship in January 1929 and made all political parties illegal. Ante Pavelić left the country for Vienna. He and Gustav Perčec, a former Austro-Hungarian Lieutenant colonel, established contact with organization of Macedonian political emigres. These two groups agreed to coordinate their political activities for achieving full independence for Macedonia and Croatia. There and then, Pavelić secretly met with the leader of outlawed Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO), Ivan Mikhailov, a declared enemy of Yugoslavia, and made agreement with him to cooperate against the Yugoslav state.

Due to these circumstances, the Court for the Preservation of the State in Belgrade sentenced Pavelić and Perčec to death on 17 July 1929.The exiles started organizing support for their cause among the Croatian emigration in Europe, North America, and South America. The Ustaše organization was small in numbers and was organized in military patterns. They fought Yugoslav statehood by means of terror.

The roots of the Ustaše ideology were in the Croatian nationalism of the nineteenth century. The Ustaše ideological system was chiefly based on the traditional pure Croatian nationalism of Ante Starčević.

 

The ideology of the movement was a blend of fascism, Roman Catholicism and Croatian nationalism.The Ustaše supported the creation of a  Greater Croatia that would span the River Drina and extend to the border of Belgrade.The movement emphasized the need for a racially “pure” Croatia and promoted genocide against Serbs, Jews and Romani people, and persecution of anti-fascist or dissident Croatians.

The Ustaše were fiercely Catholic, identifying it with Croatian nationalism. They declared that the Catholic and Muslim faiths were the religions of the Croatian people. They claimed the Islam of the Bosniaks was a religion which “keeps true the blood of Croats”.

When it was founded in 1930, as Ustaša – Croatian Revolutionary Organization it was a nationalist organization that sought to create an independent Croatian state. When the Ustaše came to power in the NDH, a quasi-protectorate established by Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany during World War II, its military wings became the Army of the Independent State of Croatia and the Ustaše militia.

Starčević’s racism was further fully elaborated by Ustaša Ivo Pilar [under the pseudonym L. von Südland].His book was translated into Croatian in 1943, by Pavelić’s regime, as one of the tenets of his Ustaše and his Independent State of Croatia. At the same time, the Ustaše borrowed from traditional Croatian nationalism, the National-Socialism of Hitler, the fascism of Mussolini, and even from the program of the Croatian Peasant Party. The Ustaše aimed at an ethnically “pure” Croatia, and saw the Serbs that lived in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina as their biggest obstacle.

The Ustaše persecuted the Serbs, who were Orthodox Christians. They were tolerant toward the Bosnian Muslims, claiming that the Muslims were actually ethnic Croats that converted to Islam during the Ottoman Turk occupation of Bosnia. The state even converted a former museum in Zagreb for use as a mosque. The basic principles of the movement were laid out by Pavelić in his 1929 pamphlet “Principles of the Ustaše Movement.”

The Ustaše’s problem with the Nazi ideology was that the Croats are Slavs and were considered inferior by Nazi standards. Ustaše ideology thus created a theory about a pseudo-Gothic origin of the Croats in order to raise their standing on the Aryan ladder.

At the top of the command was the Poglavnik (meaning “head”) Ante Pavelić. Pavelić was appointed the office as Head of State of Croatia after Adolf Hitler had accepted Benito Mussolini’s proposal of Pavelić, on 10 April 1941. The Croatian Home Guard was the armed forces of Croatia, it subsequently merged into the Croatian Armed Forces.

 

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Germany and Italy invaded Yugoslavia on 6 April 1941. On April 10, the most senior home-based Ustaša, Slavko Kvaternik, took control of the police in Zagreb and in a radio broadcast that day proclaimed the formation of the Independent State of Croatia (Nezavisna Država Hrvatska, NDH). Maček issued a statement that day, calling on all Croatians to cooperate with the new authorities.

Meanwhile, Pavelić and several hundred Ustaše left their camps in Italy for Zagreb, where Pavelić set up his government on 17 April. He accorded himself the title of “Poglavnik”, – which was equivalent to “Führer,” or “Headman” in English. Pavelić’s “Independent State of Croatia” comprised territory of Croatia, Srem, and Bosnia-Herzegovina – except parts of the Dalmatian coast and islands, which were ceded to the Italians. De facto control over this territory varied for the majority of the war, as the Partisans grew more successful, while the Germans and Italians increasingly exercised direct control over areas of their interest.

All who opposed and/or threatened the Ustaše were outlawed. In early 1941, Jews and Serbs were ordered to leave certain areas of Zagreb.

Pavelić first met with Adolf Hitler on 6 June 1941.

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Mile Budak, then a minister in Pavelić’s government, publicly proclaimed the violent racial policy of the state on 22 July 1941.Maks Luburić, one of the chiefs of the secret police, started building concentration camps in the summer of the same year. Ustaše activities in villages across the Dinaric Alps led to the Italians and the Germans expressing disquiet. As early as July 10, 1941, Wehrmacht General Edmund Glaise von Horstenau reported the following to the German High Command, the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW):

“Our troops have to be mute witnesses of such events; it does not reflect well on their otherwise high reputation… I am frequently told that German occupation troops would finally have to intervene against Ustaše crimes. This may happen eventually. Right now, with the available forces, I could not ask for such action. Ad hoc intervention in individual cases could make the German Army look responsible for countless crimes which it could not prevent in the past”

A Gestapo report to Reichsführer SS Heinrich Himmler, dated February 17, 1942, stated that:

“Increased activity of the bands [of rebels] is chiefly due to atrocities carried out by Ustaše units in Croatia against the Orthodox population. The Ustaše committed their deeds in a bestial manner not only against males of conscript age, but especially against helpless old people, women and children. The number of the Orthodox that the Croats have massacred and sadistically tortured to death is about three hundred thousand”

(Graphic images)

 

 

Italian troops in the field had competing territorial claims with their Ustaše allies and had cooperated from the start with Chetnik units operating in the southern areas that they controlled. Hitler tried to insist that Mussolini should have his forces work with the Ustaše, but senior Italian commanders, such as General Mario Roatta, ignored such orders

The Ustaše enacted race laws patterned after those of Nazi Germany. These laws were aimed against Jews, Roma, and Serbs, who were collectively declared enemies of the Croatian people. Serbs, Jews, Roma and anti-fascists, including communists, were interned in concentration camps, the largest of which was the Jasenovac complex, where many were killed by Ustaše militia.

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The exact number of victims is not known. The number of murdered Jews is fairly reliable: around 32,000 Jews were killed during World War II on NDH territory. Gypsies (Yugoslav Roma) numbered around 40,000 fewer after the war. Of the number of Serbs who died, estimates tend to vary between 300,000 and 700,000.

The history textbooks in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia cited 700,000 as the total number of victims at Jasenovac. According to the Simon Wiesenthal Center (citing the Encyclopedia of the Holocaust), “Ustasa terrorists killed 500,000 Serbs, expelled 250,000 and forced 250,000 to convert to Catholicism. They murdered thousands of Jews and Gypsies.”

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The Jasenovac Memorial Area, currently headed by Slavko Goldstein, keeps a list of 59,188 names of Jasenovac victims that was gathered by government officials in Belgrade in 1964. The previous head of the Memorial Area, Simo Brdar, estimated at least 365,000 dead at Jasenovac.

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The Belgrade Museum of the Holocaust compiled a list of over 77,000 names of Jasenovac victims. It was previously headed by Milan Bulajić, who supported the claim of a total of 700,000 victims. The current administration of the Museum has further expanded the list to include a bit over 80,000 names. During the 1961 trial of Adolf Eichmann, Alexander Arnon (secretary of the Jewish Community in Zagreb) testified about the treatment of Jews in Yugoslavia during the war. Alexander Arnon’s testimony included estimates of six hundred of thousand killed in the Jasenovac concentration camp.

During World War II, various German military commanders gave different figures for the number of Serbs, Jews and others killed on the territory of the Independent State of Croatia. They circulated figures of 400,000 Serbs (Alexander Lehr); 350,000 Serbs (Lothar Rendulic); between 300,000 (Edmund Glaise von Horstenau); more than “3/4 of a million Serbs” (Hermann Neubacher) in 1943; 600-700,000 until March 1944 (Ernst Fick); 700,000 (Massenbach).

The role of the Catholic Church in the Holocaust in Croatia is still a subject of great controversy. It is complicated due to several factors, such as:

  • The Communists who came to power after the war sought to undermine the influence of the Church by associating them with the Ustaše. Priests and monks were often depicted as direct participants in the Holocaust.
  • Some (mostly Serbian) authors sought to depict the Vatican as taking the opportunity to expand eastwards through forced conversions.
  • Some (mostly Croat) authors sought to depict the Church as being entirely innocent, pointing out that certain priests, including Archbishop Aloysius Stepinac, rescued Jews and others from prosecution.
  • As always, the Vatican’s Secret Archives are only open to those the Church wishes to admit.

As with most things in life, the truth is likely somewhere in between the two extremes. While some priests and monks did directly participate in the killings, including the notorious “Brother Satan” Filip Majstorović and “Serbkiller king” Petar Brzica, most were defrocked once the Vatican got word of their deeds.

 

Others, such as the Archbishop of Vrhbosna Ivan Šarić did not directly participate in the violence, but composed hymns of praise to the Ustaše leaders and agreed that “strong-handed” measures were required to ensure the peace of the country. The above mentioned Stepinac, the foremost church leader in the country, at first welcomed the Ustaše, but was quickly disillusioned when he heard of the massacres they committed, and managed to save some Jews and others from certain death. Still, he continued to hold communion for the Ustaše leaders, and generally failed to publicly condemn them (though he did write letters of protest to Pavelić). In contrast, clergymen such as Archbishop of Mostar Alojzije Mišić and priest Marko Oršolić publicly condemned the Ustaše yet suffered no repression.

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At the end of war, Ustaše continued fighting for a short while after the formal surrender of German Army Group E on 9 May 1945, and many refugees attempted to escape to Austria. Pavelić, however, with the help of associates among the Franciscans, managed to escape and hide in Austria and Rome, later fleeing to Argentina.

The remaining Ustaše went underground or fled to South America and countries such as Canada, Australia, Germany, with the assistance of Roman Catholic churches and their grassroots supporters Some of them persisted in their crusade against Yugoslavia.

With the defeat of the Independent State of Croatia, the movement ceased to exist. Infighting over the failure to establish a Croatian state also fragmented the surviving Ustaše. Ante Pavelić formed the Croatian Liberation Movement, which drew several of the former state’s leaders. Vjekoslav Vrančić founded a reformed Croatian Liberation Movement, and was its leader.

Vjekoslav Luburić helped form a organization called the “Croatian National Resistance” (Hrvatski narodni odpor). This became the most violent of the Ustaše organizations which were born after the WWII. Luburić commanded the organization for twenty-five years from his refuge in Spain. His organization was heavily involved in racketeering, attempted murder, extortion, hijacking, terrorist bombings, and other violent crimes. After his death, his successors on the organization commanding post sought out criminal organization ties with La Cosa Nostra, the Provisional IRA, and the Croatian Mafia in San Pedro.Odpor was banned in Germany for terrorist activities and operated (in the USA and Canada) between legitimate emigre functions and a thuggish underworld. Its leaders tried to distance the organization from the acts of the so-called renegade elements that hijacked international flights and served prison sentences for extortion. Odpor embraced a radical nationalist ideology that differed only marginally from Ustaše ideology.

The Odpor’s most spectacular terrorist action was hijacking TWA Flight 355 on September 10, 1976. This terrorist action was masterminded by Zvonko Bušić, then the leader of the American branch of Odor. He and four other Croatian terrorists carried out the hijacking. Bušić also planted a bomb at Grand Central Station in New York City.

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An attempt to dismantle the bomb ended in a blast which killed one police officer and injured three others. All of the terrorists surrendered, and Bušić was sentenced to life in prison. The other four terrorists were sentenced to various long-term imprisonments.

Blagoje Jovovic, a Serb, shot Ante Pavelić near Buenos Aires, Argentina, on April 9th, 1957. Pavelić was injured and later died.

Another Ustaše terrorist organization, the Croatian Revolutionary Cell, Bruno Busic Department, bombed the R. S. Schullz publishing house in Percha on Lake Starnberg, Germany, on August 19, 1981. The group, which claims to be based in Paris, used one kilogram of Swiss Mark 2 dynamite. They threatened to use two more kilograms the following week if the firm published Tito’s memoirs.

fter World War II, the Ustaša movement was split into several organizations and there is presently no political or paramilitary movement that claims its legacy as their “successor”. The term “ustaše” is today used as (derogatory) term for Croatian ultranationalism. The term “Ustaše” is sometimes used among Serbs to describe Serbophobia or generally to defame political opponents. When Slobodan Milošević was at the end of his rule, the protesters called him “Ustaša”

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IJje Wijkstra and Durk Tabak, 2 shady characters.

The Netherlands is generally known as a peaceful country with relatively little crime and especially the 2 most Northern provinces Friesland and Groningen, which are both rural areas would not be known for brutal crimes and yet 2 of the most notorious crimes in the country took place there. As far as my memory serves me one of the crimes is the 1st recorded mass murders in the country.

 

IIje Wijkstra

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For all the non Dutch speakers, don’t even attempt to pronounce the name. For all the non Frisians and Groningers, the same applies.

He was born on the 4th of July 1885 in Doezum(Groningen) as the youngest of 7 children, which was actually an average size family in those days.

After primary school IJje started an apprenticeship as a bricklayer, aside from that he would also go poaching with his father. He certainly knew how to handle a gun.

In 1928 he started an affair with Aaltje Wobbes, the wife of his friend Hendrik Wobbes, who was in jail for theft at the time.It is rumored that Aaltje had a great influence on IJje, after they have spent 2 weeks together in Aaltjes house, the pair decided that it was best they move into IJje’s place and leave Aaltje’s 6 children behind.

Because of the abandoning of the children, a judge ordered to apprehend Aaltje en bring her in for questioning.On the 18th of January 1929,two communal policemen (Aldert Meijer and Mient van der Molen) and 2 state policemen (Herman Hoving en Jan Werkman) were sent to arrest her.

IJje was aware of the arrest order and waited for the police to come with his rifle.220px-Saginaw-M1

It was -18 Celcius that day. IJje shot all 4 police officers and got injured himself,albeit just lightly.

After the murders  he burned the house and took Aaltje to his nephew.

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IJje tried to escape to the City of Groningen but on his way to the hospital he wass caught.

In April 1929 IJje was convicted to life by a court in Groningen  but after an appeal in Leeuwarden (the capital of Fiesland)  the sentence was reduced to 20 years.

In 1941 he was transferred from the states prison in Leeuwarden to an asylum for the mentally disabled in Eindhoven, why this was, is unclear but the Germans had invaded the Netherlands at that stage and they probably  had a different agenda, IJje died in the asylum in 1941 due to tuberculosis . I suspect the Nazi’s may have conducted some experiments on him.

In 1980 a movie was made of that fateful day in 1929, called “Het teken van het beest” the English title is “the Mark of the beast”

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Below a picture of the graves of the 2 states police officers.

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Durk Tabak.

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As a kid I heard this name and his story being mentioned a lot in my family, probably because there is a possibility I am related to him.

Durk was born on Wednesday 10 December 1902 in Harkema, Achtkarspelen, he was a son of Johannes Johannes Tabak and Antje Minnes Folkerstma.

Durk died on Friday 16 September 1949 in Surhuizum, Achtkarspelen, age 46.

He was a good friend of IJje Wijkstra. This is something I couldn’t understand until recently. Durk was living in Friesland and IJje was a resident of the province of Groningen. Even though the Netherlands is a small country at the start of the 20th century, in a rural area with little to no cars and even less public transport, the distance to me seemed substantial.

Apparently Durk taught IJje to play the accordeon.

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However when I looked closer at a map recently , I noticed that Harkema was at the very east of Friesland and Doezum was at the very west of Groningen, in fact the 2 places are so close that the distance can be done by foot.

Anyway  Durk Tabak was a double  murderer and a musician. In 1930, Tabak was sentenced to 15 years in prison after he had stabbed the 29 year Jan van der Meulen to death in a café in Drachten.

Durk Tabak was a draughtsman by trade , but was also a gifted accordeon player..A few years after being released, he shot his mistress Grietje Groenland-Hayema in Augustinusga. After this horrific deed, he committed suicide by shooting himself through the head.

Because he had been an exemplary prisoner he could have been released in 1943 but because of the German occupation and of fear he would be drafted into the German army, Durk opted to remain in  prison.

Durk died on Friday 16 September 1949 in Surhuizum, Achtkarspelen, aged 46. He shot himself after killing his mistress Grietje Groenland-Hayema.

Durk is also one of the main characters in the movies “the Mark of the beast”

 

Part 3 of lesser known WWII facts

To conserve metal during World War II the movie Oscars were made out of wood.

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When World War II began the neutral Republic of Ireland banned all war footage from their newsreels.

In England, during World War II, Lord Woolton, the Minister Of Food, actually considered a plan by Government scientists to feed the population with black pudding made from surplus human blood bank donations.

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This idea was rejected

Oise-Aisne American Cemetery Plot E

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The Oise-Aisne American Cemetery Plot E is the fifth plot at the Oise-Aisne American Cemetery and Memorial, an American military cemetery in northern France that comprises four main burial plots (i.e., A, B, C and D) containing the remains of 6,012 service personnel, all of whom died during World War I

Plot E is approximately 100 metres away from the main cemetery and is a separate, hidden section which currently contains the remains of 94 American military prisoners, all of whom were executed by hanging or firing squad under military authority for crimes committed during or shortly after World War II. Their victims were 26 fellow American soldiers (all murdered) and 71 British, French, German, Italian,Polish and Algerian civilians (both male and female) who were raped or murdered.

The Chichi-jima Incident

During World War II, nine American servicemen were shot down over the Japanese-held island of Chichi-jima. One was picked up by the submarine USS Finback finvback

 while the other eight were captured by the Japanese. The Chichijima incident (also known as the Ogasawa incident) occurred in late 1944, when Japanese soldiers killed and consumed five American airmen on Chichi Jima, in the Bonin Islands.Yes that is right, consumed as in eaten.Oh yes before I forget the one service man that was picked up was a certain  George H. W Bush.

Elsie Mitchell and five children died in Gearhart Mountain, Ore., in May 1945, by touching a Japanese “balloon bomb” that had drifted into America. They are the only US mainland war deaths on record.

The first German serviceman killed in the war was killed by the Japanese.

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The first American serviceman killed was killed by the Russians.

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This fact is technically not a WWII Fact since it is from 1889

German painter Franz von Stuck may have painted this picture in 1889, but it sure looks like the adult version of a soon-to-be dictator who was born a year later. We’re talking about Hitler. Stuck’s Die Wilde Jagd depicts German war god Wodan leading an army of corpses through Germany, much like a certain mustached maniac we came to know during World War II. It was said to be Hitler’s favorite painting as a child. How creepy is that?

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The Croatian fascist group, the Ustaše, butchered hundreds of thousands of Serbs, Croats and Jews with primitive weapons. They had little children impaled, cut off women’s breasts, sawed off noses, ears and burned them alive. Their crimes even horrified the Nazis

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