UNIT 731-Japanese WWII Experiments

The Nazi’s did not have ‘the monopoly’ on evil acts. Their Asian counterparts in Japan did not shy away from evil in order to get what they wanted. Some of their acts made the Nazi’s look like choirboys.

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Unit 731  was a covert biological and chemical warfare research and development unit of the Imperial Japanese Army that undertook lethal human experimentation during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945) of World War II. It was responsible for some of the most notorious war crimes carried out by Japan. Unit 731 was based at the Pingfang district of Harbin, the largest city in the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo (now Northeast China).

It was officially known as the Epidemic Prevention and Water Purification Department of the Kwantung Army. Originally set up under the Kempeitai military police of the Empire of Japan, Unit 731 was taken over and commanded until the end of the war by General Shiro Ishii, an officer in the Kwantung Army.

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The facility itself was built between 1934 and 1939 and officially adopted the name “Unit 731” in 1941.

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Referring to their victims as maruta, meaning logs, the researchers experimented on, apparently, anyone they could get their hands on: Chinese, Russians, Koreans, Mongolians, Pacific Islanders, other South East Asians and even a few American prisoners of war all fell victim to the doctors at the camps.

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Unit 731 veterans of Japan attest that most of the victims they experimented on were Chinese, Koreans and Mongolians. Almost 70% of the victims who died in the Pingfang camp were Chinese, including both civilian and military.Close to 30% of the victims were Russian.Some others were South East Asians and Pacific Islanders, at the time colonies of the Empire of Japan, and a small number of Allied prisoners of war. The unit received generous support from the Japanese government up to the end of the war in 1945.

Instead of being tried for war crimes, the researchers involved in Unit 731 were secretly given immunity by the U.S. in exchange for the data they gathered through human experimentation. Others that Soviet forces managed to arrest first were tried at the Khabarovsk War Crime Trials in 1949.

 

Americans did not try the researchers so that the information and experience gained in bio-weapons could be co-opted into the U.S. biological warfare program, as had happened with Nazi researchers in Operation Paperclip.On 6 May 1947, Douglas MacArthur, as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces, wrote to Washington that “additional data, possibly some statements from Ishii probably can be obtained by informing Japanese involved that information will be retained in intelligence channels and will not be employed as ‘War Crimes’ evidence.” Victim accounts were then largely ignored or dismissed in the West as Communist propaganda.

Thousands of men, women and children interred at prisoner of war camps were subjected to vivisection, often without anesthesia and usually ending with the death of the victim. Vivisections were performed on prisoners after infecting them with various diseases. Researchers performed invasive surgery on prisoners, removing organs to study the effects of disease on the human body. These were conducted while the patients were alive because it was feared that the decomposition process would affect the results.The infected and vivisected prisoners included men, women, children, and infants, including pregnant women (impregnated by Japanese surgeons) and their infants.

Prisoners had limbs amputated in order to study blood loss. Those limbs that were removed were sometimes re-attached to the opposite sides of the body. Some prisoners’ limbs were frozen and amputated, while others had limbs frozen, then thawed to study the effects of the resultant untreated gangrene and rotting.

Some prisoners had their stomachs surgically removed and the esophagus reattached to the intestines. Parts of the brain, lungs, liver, etc. were removed from some prisoners.

Prisoners would be buried alive to see how long it would take before they died and what the effects were.

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Prisoners were injected with inoculations of disease, disguised as vaccinations, to study their effects. To study the effects of untreated venereal diseases, male and female prisoners were deliberately infected with syphilis and gonorrhea, then studied. Prisoners were also repeatedly subject to rape by guards.

Plague fleas, infected clothing, and infected supplies encased in bombs were dropped on various targets. The resulting cholera, anthrax, and plague were estimated to have killed around and possibly more than 400,000 Chinese civilians.Tularemia was tested on Chinese civilians.

Unit 731 and its affiliated units (Unit 1644 and Unit 100 among others) were involved in research, development, and experimental deployment of epidemic-creating biowarfare weapons in assaults against the Chinese populace (both civilian and military) throughout World War II. Plague-infested fleas, bred in the laboratories of Unit 731 and Unit 1644, were spread by low-flying airplanes upon Chinese cities, coastal Ningbo in 1940, and Changde, Hunan Province, in 1941. This military aerial spraying killed thousands of people with bubonic plague epidemics.

 

Physiologist Yoshimura Hisato conducted experiments by taking captives outside, dipping various appendages into water, and allowing the limb to freeze. Once frozen, which testimony from a Japanese officer said “was determined after the ‘frozen arms, when struck with a short stick, emitted a sound resembling that which a board gives when it is struck'”, ice was chipped away and the area doused in water. The effects of different water temperatures were tested by bludgeoning the victim to determine if any areas were still frozen. Variations of these tests in more gruesome forms were performed.

Female prisoners were forced to become pregnant for use in experiments. The hypothetical possibility of vertical transmission (from mother to fetus or child) of diseases, particularly syphilis, was the stated reason for the torture. Fetal survival and damage to mother’s reproductive organs were objects of interest. Though “a large number of babies were born in captivity” of Unit 731, there has been no account of any survivors of the facility, children included. It is suspected that the children of female prisoners were killed or the pregnancies terminated.

While male prisoners were often used in single studies, so that the results of the experimentation on them would not be clouded by other variables, women were sometimes used in bacteriological or physiological experiments, sex experiments, and the victims of sex crimes. The testimony of a unit member that served as guard graphically demonstrates this reality:

“One of the former researchers I located told me that one day he had a human experiment scheduled, but there was still time to kill. So he and another unit member took the keys to the cells and opened one that housed a Chinese woman. One of the unit members raped her; the other member took the keys and opened another cell. There was a Chinese woman in there who had been used in a frostbite experiment. She had several fingers missing and her bones were black, with gangrene set in. He was about to rape her anyway, then he saw that her sex organ was festering, with pus oozing to the surface. He gave up the idea, left, and locked the door, then later went on to his experimental work

Human targets were used to test grenades positioned at various distances and in different positions. Flame throwers were tested on humans. Humans were tied to stakes and used as targets to test germ-releasing bombs, chemical weapons, and explosive bombs.

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At the end of the war, unit 731 scientists destroyed much of the evidence of the program. According to reports, however, some infected test animals were released; it is believed that at least 30,000 people died from the plague in the Pingfang area within the first three years after the war.

In Japan, not one was brought to justice. In a secret deal, the post-war American administration gave them immunity for prosecution in return for details of their experiments.

 

Some of the worst criminals, including Hisato Yoshimura, who was in charge of the frostbite experiments, went on to occupy key medical and other posts in public and private sectors.

Like the German rocket scientists and engineers who were folded into military and other governmental programs at the end of World War II through Operation Paperclip, unit 731’s scientists were given immunity from prosecution and their atrocities were covered-up in exchange for exclusive access to their findings.

I don’t know what is more disturbing. The actual atrocities or the fact it was covered up and immunity was given or the fact that some of these’scientists’ were actually medical doctors, who subscribed to the principle of “First do no harm”

The amounts of graphic pictures relating to Unit 731 are staggering, but most of them were just too horrendous to include in this blog.

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Part 6 of Little Know WWII facts

The US Ghost Army.

ANGLETERRE - GUERRE - LEURRE

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The Ghost Army was a United States Army tactical deception unit during World War II officially known as the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops.The 1,100-man unit was given a unique mission within the U.S Army: to impersonate other U.S. Army units to deceive the enemy. From a few weeks after D-Day, when they landed in France, until the end of the war, they put on a “traveling road show” utilizing inflatable tanks, sound trucks, fake radio transmissions and pretence. They staged more than 20 battlefield deceptions, often operating very close to the front lines. Their story was kept secret for more than 40 years after the war, and elements of it remain classified.

Corporal Wojtek

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During World War II, the 22nd Artillery Supply Company of the 2nd Polish Corps had an unusual soldier among its ranks, a 440-pound Syrian bear named Wojtek.

Wojtek first came to the company as a cub, but over the course of the war he matured and was given the rank of corporal in the Polish army.

The bear became a major morale boost to the troops.

Everyone knows that some of the last fighting men in Berlin were SS troops who knew death was certain upon surrender. What everyone doesn’t know is that the last fighting troops in Berlin were…..French and Norwegian. Around 350 men of the SS Charlemagne as well as the surviving members of the SS Norland division were fighting in the basement of the Reichstag as long as possible.

Eventually the 12.8cm guns from the nearby Flak tower fired on the Reichstag collapsing part of the building and killing some of the SS men. From this though, the surviving members were able to escape and disappear into the city. Although fewer then 50 French SS members were ever found it is believed that many ditched their uniforms for regular Wehrmacht ones. Of the ones that were found they were turned over to the French army and executed. When the French General asked the soldIers what they were doing in a foreign uniform, one soldier quipped back why are you in one? (the general was wearing an American uniform at the time).

On the 14th of April 1945, U-1206 eventually sank due to a malfunctioning toilet on the submarine.

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During the Winter War the Soviets attempted to use paratroopers without parachutes. The idea was the plane would slow down to 100mph and the soldiers were to jump from 100 feet off the ground. The Soviets believed they would land safely in the large snow covered fields in northern Finland. The idea was scrapped when testing “volunteers” took roughly 30% casualties between fatalities and other injuries.

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The German city of Konstanz (at the German-Swiss border) was never bombed by the Allied Forces as it left all its lights on at night. Allied bombers thought it was a city in Switzerland.

Dogs were used in World War II to find where the enemy was hiding.The Marine Corps found they were crucial in preventing ambushes by the other side.

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Adolf Hitler was nominated for the Nobel peace price in 1939.The Nazi dictator was nominated in 1939 by Swedish lawmaker EGC Brandt for the Nobel Peace Prize, which is meant to promote “fraternity between nations” and global disarmament. Brandt later withdrew the nomination, saying it was meant as satire. This just shows that anyone can be nominated — it doesn’t say anything about their chances of actually winning

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In the last moments before the end of World War I, Private Henry Tandey fought in a battle near the French town of Marcoing, when a wounded enemy soldier entered his line of fire.The battle weary man never raised his rifle and just stared at Tandey resigned to the inevitable.  “I took aim but couldn’t shoot a wounded man,” said Tandey, “so I let him go.”

The young German soldier nodded in thanks and the two men took diverging paths, that day and in history, that young German soldier was Adolf Hitler.

 

In 1945 Stalin was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Halvdant Koht, a historian and former foreign minister. He was also in the Nobel committee.

In 1948 Stalin was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Professor Wladislav Rieger of Charles University, Prague.

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Unsinkable Sam

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Well among the heart wrenching stories that flood World War II, this particular one is quite the opposite. Sam, the cat, first served on a German war ship to rid of it of rats but soon the ship was torpedoed. He was found on a floating plank and served on two other British ships all receiving the same treatment and Sam did the regular of floating on planks till found. This Veteran Cat soon retired after the war in Belfast

Forced sex

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In order to expand his “master race”, that of Aryan blood, Hitler ordered all women, even unmarried girls who were as old as 15 to get impregnated. He forbade contraception and offered medals and incentives to those women who had more children. Propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels even produced magazines, posters and nudie flicks promoting “healthy eroticism” to support this desperate cause.

Chichijima incident-Cannibalism in WWII and George H.W. Bush’s remarkable survival.

This story is best to be categorized as creepy. There is one other story I came across which is creepier ,about an allied Army unit stationed in neutral Switzerland, where a soldier, Private Reginald, had complete gone insane in and kidnapped and ate several children. But I could not find any evidence if this actually happened or if it was just a ghost story told by some grandfather.

However the Chichijima incident did really happen and it does include cannibalism. One of the survivors,  is George H.W. Bush , the 41st President of the USA.In fact he was only 1 of the 2 survivors

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The Chichijima incident  occurred in late 1944, when Japanese soldiers killed and consumed five American airmen on Chichi Jima, in the Bonin Islands.

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George H. W. Bush, then a 20-year-old pilot, was among nine airmen who escaped from their planes after being shot down during bombing raids on Chichi Jima, a tiny island 700 miles (1,100 km) south of Tokyo, in September 1944. Bush was the only one to evade capture by the Japanese. After the war it was discovered that the captured airmen had been beaten and tortured before being executed. The airmen were beheaded on the orders of Lt Gen. Yoshio Tachibana.

 

 

 

American authorities claimed that Japanese officers then ate parts of the bodies of four of the men.

Lt. George Bush was a 20-year-old pilot when in the waning days of the war (September 1944) his Avenger airplane was shot down by Japanese forces.

 

 

 

In a decision which almost certainly saved his life, Bush ditched his burning plane further from the island than other crews. Retired squadron mate Charlie Bynum recalls:

“We saw him in the water. And we saw the Japanese boats coming out from land to pick him up. They had guns on them”

Bush managed to scramble onto a life raft while American planes launched a hail of fire at Japanese boats which had set out to capture the downed airman. The Americans drove back the Japanese boats and Bush, who was vomiting and bleeding from a head wound (his head struck the tail of the airplane as he exited the aircraft), was rescued from the waters by a US submarine (the USS Finback).

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Details of Bush’s crash and rescue have long been known to Americans – he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions. What was not known, was that Bush’s downed comrades made the mistake of swimming to the island’s shore where a fate worse than death awaited them.

It was originally believed that eight other men from the downed aircrafts had simply disappeared while trying to swim to the island’s shore. When details of their true demise were discovered during war crime trials in Guam, the files of the missing soldiers were sealed sparing their families further grief. It was found that those who had been captured on the island were tortured, beaten, and executed. Some were beheaded with swords while others were stabbed repeatedly with bayonets and sharpened bamboo stakes. Some were bludgeoned to death. After the brutal execution, the men were butchered by island surgeons, cooked, and eaten by battalions and senior Japanese officers. In at least one instance, it is believed that in order to keep the meat fresh, the victim was kept alive and extremities amputated one-by-one.

The names of the eight aviators executed are:

Navy Aviation Radioman Jimmy Dye, from Mount Ephraim, New Jersey
Navy Pilot Floyd Hall from Sedalia, Missouri
Navy Aviation Radioman Marve Mershon from Los Angeles, California
Marine Pilot Warren Earl Vaughn from Childress, Texas
Navy Aviation Radioman Dick Woellhof from Clay Center, Kansas
Aviation Gunners Grady York from Jacksonville, Florida
Navy Aviation Gunner Glenn Frazier from Athol, Kansas
Navy Pilot Warren Hindenlang of Foxboro, Massachusetts.

The pictures below are of Marvie Mershon and Warren E Vaughan, I believe.

 

 

 

The ninth aviator, Navy Pilot William L. Connell from Seattle, Washington was held as a Prisoner of War until the end of hostilities in September 1945..

This case was investigated in 1947 in a war crimes trial, and of 30 Japanese soldiers prosecuted, five (Maj. Matoba, Gen. Tachibana, Adm. Mori, Capt. Yoshii, and Dr. Teraki) were found guilty.Tachibana was sentenced to death, and hanged.n his book Flyboys: A True Story of Courage, James Bradley details several instances of cannibalism of World War II Allied prisoners by their Japanese captors.The author claims that this included not only ritual cannibalization of the livers of freshly killed prisoners, but also the cannibalization-for-sustenance of living prisoners over the course of several days, amputating limbs only as needed to keep the meat fresh.

Later interviews suggest George Bush Sr. was greatly troubled over his survival (he did not learn about the cannibalism until many years later).  In 2004, the former President returned to Chichi Jima island with a film crew to recreate the harrowing rescue at Chichi Jima. He recalled that while on the submarine, he wondered why he had survived while others had perished on the island.

 

 

 

 

 

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Battle for Castle Itter

Castle-Itter

The Battle for Castle Itter is the only battle during WWII where the allies fought alongside the Wehrmacht.In early May 1945, American and German soldiers fought together against the Nazi SS to free prominent French prisoners of war..

The Battle for Castle Itter in the Austrian North Tyrol village of Itter was fought on 5 May 1945, in the last days of the European Theater of World War II.

Troops of the 23rd Tank Battalion of the 12th Armored Division of the US XXI Corps led by Captain John C. “Jack” Lee, Jr.

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, a number of Wehrmacht soldiers, and recently freed French VIPs defended Castle Itter against an attacking force from the 17th SS Panzergrenadier Division until relief from the American 142nd Infantry Regiment of the 36th Division of XXI Corps arrived.

The French prisoners included former prime ministers, generals and a tennis star. It may have been the only battle in the war in which Americans and Germans fought side-by-side. Popular accounts of the battle have called it the “strangest” battle of World War II.

Itter Castle (in German, Schloss Itter) is a small castle situated on a hill near the village of Itter in Austria.After the Anschluss, the German annexation of Austria, the German government officially leased the castle in late 1940 from its owner, Franz Grüner.

The castle was seized from Grüner by SS Lieutenant General Oswald Pohl under the orders of Heinrich Himmler on 7 February 1943.

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The transformation of the castle into a prison camp was completed by 25 April 1943, and the facility was placed under the administration of the Dachau concentration camp.

The prison was established to contain high-profile prisoners valuable to the Reich.Notable prisoners included tennis player Jean Borotra, former prime ministers Édouard Daladier and Paul Reynaud,former commanders-in-chief Maxime Weygand, and Maurice Gamelin,Charles de Gaulle’s elder sister Marie-Agnès Cailliau,right-wing leader and closet French resistance member François de La Rocque, and trade union leader Léon Jouhaux.

Besides the French VIP prisoners, the castle held a number of Eastern European prisoners detached from Dachau, who were used for maintenance and other menial work.

In May 1945, the last days of the war in Europe, the German guards at Schloss Itter fled. But the French prisoners were trapped, as the woods around the castle were full of roaming units of the Waffen SS and Gestapo secret police.

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The French sent out two prisoners on bicycles to find help.

On 3 May, Zvonimir Čučković, an imprisoned Yugoslav communist resistance member who worked as a handyman at the prison,left the castle on the pretense of an errand for commander Sebastian Wimmer. He carried with him a letter in English seeking Allied assistance he was to give to the first American he encountered.

The town of Wörgl lay 8 kilometres (5 miles) down the mountains, but was still occupied by German troops. Čučković instead pressed on up the Inn River valley towards Innsbruck 64 km (40 mi) distant. Late that evening he reached the outskirts of the city and encountered an advance party of the 409th Infantry Regiment of the American 103rd Infantry Division of the US VI Corps and informed them of the castle’s prisoners.[18] They were unable to authorize a rescue on their own but promised Čučković an answer from their headquarters unit by morning of 4 May.

At dawn a heavily armored rescue was mounted, but was stopped by heavy shelling just past Jenbach around halfway to Itter, then recalled by superiors for encroaching into territory of the U.S. 36th Division to the east; only two jeeps of ancillary personnel continued.

Upon Čučković’s failure to return and fearing for his life after the 2 May death at the Castle of the fleeing last commander of Dachau, Eduard Weiter, Wimmer abandoned his post. The SS-Totenkopfverbände guards departed the castle soon after, with the prisoners taking control of the castle and arming themselves with the weaponry that remained.

Failing to learn of Čučković’s effort, prison leaders accepted the offer of its Czech cook, Andreas Krobot, to bicycle to Wörgl mid-day on 4 May in hopes of reaching help there. Armed with a similar note he succeeded in contacting Austrian resistance in that town, which had recently been abandoned by Wehrmacht forces but reoccupied by roving SS. He was taken to Major Josef Gangl, commander of the remains of a unit of Wehrmacht soldiers who had defied an order to retreat and instead thrown in with the local resistance, being made its head.

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Gangl had intended to free the castle prisoners, but was unwilling to sacrifice the few troops he had in a suicidal attack on a heavily defended fortress manned by the SS; instead, he was conserving them to protect local residents from SS reprisals, in which troops shot at any window displaying either a white or Austrian flag and summarily executed males as deserters, traitors, and defeatists. His hopes were pinned on the Americans reaching Wörgl promptly and surrendering to them. Instead, he would now have to approach them under a white flag to ask for their help.

Around the same time, a reconnaissance unit of four Sherman tanks of the 23rd Tank Battalion of the 12th Armored Division of the US XXI Corps,

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under the command of Captain Lee, had reached Kufstein, Austria, 13 km (8 mi) to the north. There, in the main platz, it idled while waiting for the 12th to be relieved by the 36th Infantry Division. Asked to provide relief by Gangl, Lee did not hesitate, volunteering to lead the rescue mission and immediately earning permission from his HQ.

After a personal reconnaissance of the Castle with Gangl in the major’s Kübelwagen,

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Lee left two of his tanks behind but conscripted five more and supporting infantry from the recently arrived 142nd Infantry Regiment of the 36th. En route, Lee was forced to send the reinforcements back when a bridge proved too tenuous for the entire column to cross once, let alone twice. Leaving one of his tanks behind to guard it, he set back off accompanied only by 14 American soldiers, Gangl, and a driver, and a truck carrying ten former German artillerymen.6 km (4 mi) from the castle, they defeated a party of SS troops that had been attempting to set up a roadblock.

In the meanwhile, the French prisoners had requested an SS officer they had befriended during his convalescence from wounds in Itter, Kurt-Siegfried Schrader, to take charge of their defense. Upon Lee’s arrival at the Castle, prisoners greeted the rescuing force warmly but were disappointed at its small size.Lee placed the men under his command in defensive positions around the castle, and positioned his tank, “Besotten Jenny”, at the main entrance.

Lee had ordered the French prisoners to hide, but they remained outside and fought alongside the American and Wehrmacht soldiers. Throughout the night, the defenders were harried by a reconnaissance force sent to assess their strength and probe the fortress for weaknesses. In the morning of 5 May, a force of 100–150 Waffen-SS launched their attack.Before the main assault began, Gangl was able to phone Alois Mayr, the Austrian resistance leader in Wörgl and request reinforcements; only two more German soldiers under his command and a teenage Austrian resistance member, Hans Waltl, could be spared, who quickly drove to the castle.The Sherman tank provided machine-gun fire support until it was destroyed by German fire from an 88 mm gun; it was occupied at the time only by a radioman seeking to repair the tank’s faulty unit, who escaped without injury.

Meanwhile, by early afternoon, word had finally reached the 142nd of the desperation of the defenders’ plight and a relief force was dispatched.[29] Aware he had been unable to give its superior complete information on the enemy and its disposition before communications had been severed, Lee accepted tennis great Borotra’s gallant offer to vault the castle wall and run the gauntlet of SS strongpoints and ambushes to deliver it.[30] He succeeded, requested a uniform, then joined the force as it made haste to reach the prison before its defenders fired their last rounds of ammunition.

The relief force arrived around 16:00 and the SS were promptly defeated.Some 100 SS prisoners were reportedly taken.The French prisoners were evacuated towards France that evening,reaching Paris on 10 May.

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For his service defending the castle, Lee received the Distinguished Service Cross.

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Gangl died during the battlet from a sniper’s bullet while trying to move former French prime minister Reynaud out of harm’s way, but was honored as an Austrian national hero and had a street in Wörgl named after him.

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The Authot Stephen Harding wrote a book about the event with the title ” the Last Battle”

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Heinz Drossel-Wehrmacht Soldier and WWII Hero

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Not everyone who served in the German army were evil,nor were all of them Nazi’s. Many were drafted into the army because they had no other choice, often it was even a matter of life and death.

This blog is about Heinz Drossel, one of the German soldiers who did not only risk his life on the battlefield but also by defying the Nazi regime.

Heinz Drossel (September 21, 1916 – April 28, 2008) was a German lieutenant in World War II who was named one of the Righteous Among the Nations, shared with his parents, for helping Jews escape persecution. He was the son of Paul and Elfriede Drossel, anti-Nazis and shared their political philosophy, refusing to join the Nazi Party. Drafted in November 1939, Drossel served in the Battle of France before serving on the Eastern Front for the rest of the war.

Drossel, the son of ardent anti-Nazis, completed his education in law just before the war but was barred from joining the legal profession because he refused to join the Nazi party or its affiliated organizations.

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Instead, he was drafted into the army. While remaining steadfast in his opposition to the Nazis, he took part in the invasion of France in 1940 and then was sent to the Eastern Front to fight against the Soviet Union. He was commissioned as an officer in 1942.

At great risk to his own life, Drossel acted on his convictions in the most extreme circumstances. In 1941, he released Russian prisoners to return to their own lines rather than execute them as he was directed. When his unit captured a Russian officer, Drossel quietly defied his commander’s order to take him back to headquarters where he knew the prisoner would be shot. Rather he turned the officer loose and directed him toward the Russian lines, telling him, “I am no killer. I am a human being.”

On leave in Berlin in 1942 while recovering from illness, Drossel came across a young woman who, seeing him approach in his uniform, seemed increasingly agitated as he neared and poised to leap from the railing of a bridge into the river below. He stopped her from jumping and, while trying to calm her fear, learned that she was Jewish and was terrified that she would be discovered and sent to a concentration camp. Drossel took Marianne Hirschfeld to his family’s apartment, which had been empty since they had left Berlin for the little town of Senzig in the nearby countryside to escape the danger of the night-time bombing raids by the Allies. Risking his own life, he kept her secret and gave her money so she could find a safe place to stay before he returned to his unit.They married after the war.

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In 1945, while on leave to visit his parents at Senzig, a Nazi supporter in the community denounced friends who were Jewish and had been living quietly with forged identification papers.Even at this late stage of the war the Nazi indoctrination was still very strong. Jack and Lucie Hass, their daughter Margot, and her friend, Ernst Fontheim, faced imminent arrest and asked the Drossels for help. Heinz quickly took Jack Hass and Fontheim to the safety of the family apartment in Berlin, and found Margot and her mother shelter in another apartment. The Gestapo arrived in Senzig the next day to find no trace of them.

On May 4, just four days before the war would end, he was ordered by the Waffen-SS to lead his troops in a suicidal attack on Soviet positions.

Russland, Kradschütze, Beiwagenkrad

Drossel refused in fact Drossel told his unit to open fire on the SS unit and when threatened with execution, he was saved with the capitulation of the Wehrmacht. He was briefly imprisoned by the Soviets and released before the end of the year.

Drossel was released from a Russian prison camp and went home. In the streets of a ruined Berlin he encountered Marianne Hirschfeld, who he had saved three years earlier. They were married in 1946. Heinz Drossel was able to take up his legal career. He became a judge, retiring in 1981.

Ernst Fontheim moved to Ann Arbor with his wife Margot where he became a senior research scientist in the department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences at the University of Michigan.

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In 2001 the German government awarded Heinz Drossel its highest civilian medal and he was honored as one of the Righteous Among Nations by Yad Vashemwas honored as one of the “Righteous Among the Nations” by Yad Vashem, . He said, “After I got the honor of Yad Vashem, I have spoken before more than 5,000 German young people in schools and high schools. It’s necessary to give young people the courage to be human.

Heinz Drossel died in April, 2008 in Simonswald, Germany

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The Sounds of WWII

In every war music is very important, the same applied to WWII. Music lifted the spirit and boosted the morale of the troops. Organisations like USO(United Service Organisation) and the British equivalent ENSA(Entertainments National Service Association) provided much needed entertainment for the troops.

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Starts like Vera Lynn,Bob Hope and Irving Berlin would often perform for soldiers all over the world.

Often these entertainers would do this at the risk of their own lives.Dancer Vivian Hole (stage name Vivienne Fayre) was killed in the Netherlands in 1945 when the scenery truck in which she was travelling ran over a land-mine.

But the sounds of WWII were more then just songs or jokes, they were also broadcasts by the resistance to convey messages .Below are some of the sounds of WWII.

Broadcasts would begin with “Before we begin, please listen to some personal messages.” It was clear to nearly everyone that they were coded messages, often amusing, and completely without context. Representative messages include “Jean has a long mustache” and “There is a fire at the insurance agency,” each one having some meaning to a certain resistance groups.

Excerpts from Radio Londres. These messages were inserted with the radio program in the form of personal greetings, they were often peculiar and obviously had hidden meanings intended to a specific audience. The last two messages (taken from the poem, Chanson d’automne) was to inform the underground movement that Operation Overlord (D-Day landings) was to commence in 24 hours.

 

1945: Churchill announcing the end of World War II in Europe

Vera Lynn

Irving Berlin

George Formby

The Andrew Sisters

Bob Hope and Jerry Colonna

BBC D-day announcement

Eddie Leonski- US Soldier and Serial Killer

War time is a great opportunity for evil men to act upon their instincts and get away with it. Fortunately they don’t always succeed. When I was doing research on Paul Ogozow, the S-Bahn murderer, I discovered there was a whole list of serial killers that operated during WWII and even in WWI.

Eddie Leonski, a US soldier who was stationed in Melbourne,Australia was one of them.

Private Edward Joseph Leonski of the United States Army, a heavy drinker, raped and strangled to death with his own hands three women in Melbourne: about 3 May 1942, he killed 40-year-old Mrs. Ivy Violet McLeod, about 9 May 31-year-old Mrs. Pauline Thompson, and on about 18 May 41-year-old Miss Gladys Lilian Hosking. He was arrested on 22 May, was tried by an American Court Martial and sentenced to death for triple murder on 17 July 1942. It was the first and only time that the citizen of another country was tried and sentenced to death in Australia under the law of his own country. Leonski expressed himself to be lucky with his death sentence. In spite of this, he was declared sane, and was hanged at Pentridge Gaol on 9 November 1942.

Edward Joseph Leonski (December 12, 1917 – November 9, 1942) was a United States Army soldier during World War II. He was also a serial killer responsible for the strangling murders of three women in Melbourne, Australia. Leonski was known as both the “Brownout Strangler”, given Melbourne’s wartime status of keeping low lighting (not as stringent as a wartime blackout) and also as the “Singing Strangler” due to his self-confessed motive for the killings being a twisted fascination with female voices, especially when they were singing, and his claim that he killed the women to “get at their voices”

Born into a Polish-American family in New Jersey, Leonski grew up in an abusive, alcoholic family, and one of his brothers was committed to a mental institution. According to a psychologist who interviewed Leonski during his trial, his mother had been overprotective and controlling. Leonski had been bullied by other neighborhood kids and called a mama’s boy. Accordingly, the psychologist ruled that Leonski’s crimes were born of his resentment and hatred of his mother and thus constituted “symbolic matricide.”

He was called up for the U.S. Army in February 1941 and arrived in Melbourne on February 2, 1942.

On May 3, 1942, Ivy Violet McLeod, 40, was found dead in Albert Park, Melbourne. She had been beaten and strangled, and because she was found to be in possession of her purse it was evident that robbery was not the motive.

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Just six days later, 31-year-old Pauline Thompson was strangled after a night out. She was last seen in the company of a young man who was described as having an American accent.

Gladys Hosking, 40, was the next victim, murdered on May 18 while walking home from work at the Chemistry Library at Melbourne University. A witness said that, on the night of the killing, a disheveled American man had approached her asking for directions, seemingly out of breath and covered with mud. This description matched the individual Pauline Thompson was seen with on the night of her murder, as well as the descriptions given by several women who had survived recent attacks.

Joan Robb, whom he had previously told had the voice of an angel, was due to have a date with him the night he was captured.

These survivors and other witnesses were able to pick 24-year-old Edward Leonski out of a line-up of American servicemen who were stationed in the city during World War II. A private in the 52nd Signal Battalion, Leonski was arrested and charged with three murders.

Although Leonski’s crimes were committed on Australian soil, the trial was conducted under American military law. Leonski confessed to the crimes and was convicted and sentenced to death at a United States Army general court-martial on July 17, 1942. Gen. Douglas MacArthur confirmed the sentence on October 14, 1942, and a Board of Review upheld the findings and sentence on October 28, 1942. General Court-Martial Order 1 promulgated Leonski’s death sentence on November 1, 1942. In a departure from normal procedure, on November 4, 1942, MacArthur personally signed the order of execution (in subsequent executions, this administrative task was entrusted to MacArthur’s Chief of Staff, Richard Sutherland). Leonski was hanged at Pentridge Prison on November 9, 1942.

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Leonski’s defense attorney, Ira C. Rothgerber,attempted to win an external review, even from the U.S. Supreme Court, but was unable to do so. Rothgerber kept the issue alive after the war, and Leonski’s case contributed to the development of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

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Leonski was temporarily interred at several cemeteries in Australia. His remains were eventually permanently interred in Section 9, Row B, Site 8 at Schofield Barracks Post Cemetery (located between Wahiawa and Kunia) on the island of O’ahu, Hawaii. His grave is located in a section of the facility reserved for prisoners who died in military custody.

In 1986 director Philippe Mora directed the movie “Death of a Soldier” which is based on the case of Eddie Leonski.

 

 

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Forgotten History-Rab Concentration camp

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It is a popular misconception that the concentration camps were a Nazi invention, but in fact the British had already established concentration camps in South Africa during the 2nd Boer war.

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It could be argued that the Indian reservations in the US were also concentration camps.

But of course the sort of camps which were established just before and during WWII were of a complete different level,than the South African camps and Native American reservations.

It seems that history has also forgotten about the concentration camps built by the Fascist regime of Italy. Although Il Duce, Mussolini is often seen as a farcical figure, he was nevertheless a very evil man following a very disturbed philosophy.

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Italy is often portrayed as having been a somewhat benign fascist power during World War II, a reluctant partner of the Nazi regime. The wartime Italian Army is remembered as hapless and inefficient compared to the ruthlessly brutal German war machine

One of the camps established by the Italians was the Rab Concentration camp.

The Rab concentration camp was one of the several Italian concentration camps and was established during World War II, in July 1942, on the Italian-occupied island of Rab (now in Croatia). According to historians James Walston and Carlo Spartaco Capogeco,at 18%, the annual mortality rate in the camp was higher than the average mortality rate in the Nazi concentration camp of Buchenwald (15%). According to a report by Monsignor Jože Srebrnič, Bishop of Krk (Veglia) on 5 August 1943 to Pope Pius XII:

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“witnesses, who took part in the burials, state unequivocally that the number of the dead totals at least 3500”.

In September 1943, after the armistice with Italy, the camp was closed, but some of remaining Jewish internees were deported by German forces to the extermination camp at Auschwitz.Yugoslavia, Greece and Ethiopia requested extradition of some 1,200 Italian war criminals, who, however, were never brought before an appropriate tribunal as the British government, at the beginning of the Cold War, saw in Pietro Badoglio a guarantor of an anti-communist post-war Italy.

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Under the Italian army commander Mario Roatta’s watch the ethnic cleansing and the violence against the Slovene civil population easily matched the German with the summary executions, hostage-taking and hostage killing, reprisals, internments into Rab and Gonars concentration camps, the burning of houses and villages. Additional special instructions that included instruction that the orders must be “carried out most energetically and without any false compassion” were issued by Roatta.:

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“if necessary don’t shy away from using cruelty. It must be a complete cleansing. We need to intern all the inhabitants and put Italian families in their place.”
Mario Roatta in his Circolare No.3 “issued orders to kill hostages, demolish houses and whole villages: his idea was to deport all inhabitants of Slovenia and replace them with Italian settlers” in Province of Ljubljana, in response to Slovene partisans resistance in the province.

Following Roatta’s orders, one of his soldiers in his July 1, 1942 letter wrote home:

“We have destroyed everything from top to bottom without sparing the innocent. We kill entire families every night, beating them to death or shooting them.”

Roessmann Uroš, one of the Rab internees, a student at the time, remembers:

“There were frequent razzias when the train taking us to school in Ljubljana from our village of Polje pulled in to the main station. Italian soldiers picked us all up. Some were released, and others were sent to (Italian) concentration camps. Nobody knew who decided, or on what grounds.

Anton Vratusa, a former prisoner at Rab who went on to be Yugoslavia’s ambassador at the United Nations, 440px-Anton_vratusasaid that there were four distinct camps at Rab and a place that prisoners darkly referred to as the fifth camp, a cemetery where the hundreds who died of cold, starvation or illness were buried.

The camp at Rab, built near the village of Kampor, was one of a number of such camps established along the Adriatic coast to accommodate Slovenian and Croatian prisoners. Opened in July 1942, it was officially termed “Camp for the concentration and internment of war civilians – Rab”

Slovenes and Croatians, many of whom were women and children, including pregnant women and newborns, suffered from cold and hunger in open-air tents, surrounded by barbed wire fence and guard towers. At its peak there were up to 15,000 internees.

Conditions at the camp were described as appalling: “filthy, muddy, overcrowded and swarming with insects”. The Slovene writer Metod Milač, an inmate at the camp, described in his memoirs how prisoners were quartered six to a tent and slowly starved to death on a daily diet of thin soup, a few grains of rice and small pieces of bread. Prisoners fought with each other for access to the camp’s meager water supply, a single barrel, while many became infested with lice and wracked with dysentery caused by the unhygienic conditions. Part of the encampment was washed away by flash flooding. Some of the Italian authorities eventually acknowledged that the treatment of the inmates was counterproductive; in January 1943, the commanding officer of the 14th Battalion of Carabinieri complained:”In the last few days some internees have returned from the concentration camp in such a state of physical emaciation, a few in an absolutely pitiful condition, that a terrible impression has been created in the general population. Treating the Slovene population like this palpably undermines our dignity and is contrary to the principles of justice and humanity to which we make constant reference in our propaganda”

By 1 July 1943, 2,118 Yugoslav Jews were recorded having been interned by the Italian army. Starting in June 1943, they were moved into a newly constructed section of the Rab concentration camp, alongside the Slovenian and Croatian section. Unlike the Slovene and Croatian prisoners, the Jewish ones were provided with proper accommodation, sanitation and services; they were provided with wooden and brick barracks and houses in contrast to the overcrowded tents sheltering the Slavic prisoners.

Historian Franc Potočnik, also an inmate in the Slavic section of the camp, described the much better conditions in the Jewish section:

“The [Slavic] internees in Camp I could watch through the double barriers of barbed wire what took place in the Jewish camp. The Jewish internees were living under conditions of true internment for their ‘protection’, whereas the Slovenes and Croatians were in a regime of ‘repression’. . . . They brought a lot of baggage with them. Italian soldiers carried their luggage into little houses of brick destined for them. Almost every family had its own little house…. They were reasonably well dressed; in comparison, of course, to other internees.”

The difference in treatment was the consequence of a conscious policy by the Italian military authorities. In July 1943, the Civil Affairs Office at the 2nd Army HQ issued a memorandum on “The Treatment of Jews in the Rab Camp”, which was enthusiastically approved by chief of the office and the 2nd Army’s chief of staff.

The memorandum’s author, a Major Prolo, urged that the infrastructure of the camp must be:

“…comfortable for all internees without risk to the maintenance of order and discipline. Inactivity and boredom are terrible evils which work silently on the individual and collectivity. It is prudent that in the great camp of Rab those concessions made to the Jews of Porto Re  to make their lives comfortable should not be neglected.”

He concluded with a clear reference to Italian awareness of the massacres of Jews that were ongoing elsewhere in German-occupied Europe:

“The Jews have the duties of all civilians interned for protective reasons, and a right to equivalent treatment, but for particular, exceptional political and contingent reasons , it seems opportune to concede, while maintaining discipline unimpaired, a treatment consciously felt to be ‘Italian’ which they are used to from our military authorities, and with a courtesy which is complete and never half-hearted.”

Some members of the Italian military also saw humane treatment of the Jews as a way of preserving Italy’s military and political honour in the face of German encroachments on Italian sovereignty; Steinberg describes this as “a kind of national conspiracy [among the Italian military] to frustrate the much greater and more systematic brutality of the Nazi state.” According to the Slovenian Rab survivor, Anton Vratuša,  “We were prisoners; they were protected people. We used their assistance”

By mid-1943 the camp’s population stood at about 7,400 people, of whom some 2,700 were Jews. The fall of Mussolini in late July 1943 increased the likelihood that the Jews on Rab would fall into German hands, prompting the Italian Foreign Ministry to repeatedly instruct the General Staff that the Jews should not be released unless they themselves requested it. The ministry also began to put in place a mass transfer of the Jews to the Italian mainland. However, on 16 August 1943 the Italian military authorities ordered that the Jews were to be released from the camp, although those that wished could stay.[14]

The island remained in Italian hands until after the Armistice with Italy was signed on 8 September 1943, when the Germans seized control. About 245 of the Jewish inmates of the camp joined the Rab Brigade of the 24th Division of the People’s Liberation Army and Partisan Detachments of Yugoslavia, forming the Rab battalion, though they were eventually dispersed among other Partisan units.

Although most of the Jews from the camp were evacuated to Partisan-held territory,204 (7.5%) of them, the elderly or sick, were left behind and were sent to Auschwitz by the Germans for extermination.Ivan Vranetić was honored as one of the Croatian Righteous among the Nations for saving the Jews evacuated from Rab in September 1943.

 

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Lesser Know WW2 Facts-Part 6

The decision to implement the “Final Solution” or Die Endlosung was made at the Wannsee Conference in Berlin on January 20, 1942. Heinrich Himmler was its chief architect. The earliest use of the phrase “Final Solution to the Jewish Problem” was actually used in an 1899 memo to Russian Tzar Nicholas about Zionism.

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The Germans used the first jet fighters in World War II, among them the Messerschmitt ME-262. However, they were developed too late to change the course of the war.

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Until late 1942, it was common for German U-boats to provide torpedoed survivors with food, water, and the direction of the nearest landmass. This ended when a U-boat towing lifeboats and flying the Red Cross flag was attacked by a US bomber.This was issued in the Laconia Order after the Laconia incident.

During the Nazi occupation of France, Hitler did not destroy the Canadian Vimy Memorial and told the Allies that it remained intact, as he admired the peaceful nature of the sculpture.

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During the outbreak of World War II, London Zoo killed all their venomous animals in case the zoo was bombed and the animals escaped.

Japanese war criminal, Tojo Hideki, attempted suicide after the surrender. He was saved and resuscitated by Allied forces, who then hanged him.

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The SS ran a brothel named “The Kitty Salon” for foreign diplomats and other VIPs in Berlin. It was wiretapped, and 20 prostitutes underwent several weeks of intense indoctrination and training. They were specifically trained to glean information from clients through seemingly innocuous conversation.

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The most important medical advance that saved soldiers’ lives during WWII was the blood transfusion.

SS Leader Heinrich Himmler frequently carried out occult rituals in an ancient German castle, and may have believed he was the reincarnation of Germany’s first king.

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Below are just some random rare and weird pictures from WWII, some of them are creepy.

 

Paula Hitler- The sins of the Brother.

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Can you hold people accountable for the actions of their siblings?

Generally not ,but in this case it is a bit more complicated, since the sibling was the most evil man ever to roam the earth.

It would have been easier if she just had admitted her brother’s wrong doings, rather then insisting that she could not believe he was able to have done the things that people said he had done. At the end of the day it is my opinion that complacency does make you an accomplice , but that is all it is , my opinion.

Paula Hitler (also known as Paula Wolff)(21 January 1896 in Hafeld, Austria– 1 June 1960 in Berchtesgaden) was the younger sister of Adolf Hitler and the last child of Alois Hitler, Sr. and his third wife, Klara Pölzl.

Paula Hitler was born on the 21st January 1896 and died on the 1st of June 1960. At the time of her various interviews with the US intelligence services she was in possession of a passport with the date of 21st November 1896 as her birth date (see interview dated 5th June 1946) however the first date is more accepted. She was born at Rauschergut in Hartfeld, Gemeinde Fischelham (upper Austria).

Paula was the younger sister of Adolf Hitler and the last child of Alois Hitler and his third wife Klara Pölzl. Paula was born in Hartfeld, Austria and was the only full sibling of Adolf Hitler to survive infancy after their brother Edmund died of measles in February 1900 .

After their mother died, Hitler turned over his share of their orphans pension to Paula when he went to Vienna to study art. Apparently, Paula lived with her half-sister Angela throughout childhood, but details are very sketchy. She did not see Adolf between 1908 and 1921, when he arranged to meet her in Vienna and to her delight, took her shopping.

Paula worked for an insurance company in Vienna until she was sacked for no other reason that the boss of the company disapproved of her brother’s political activity in Germany. Paula appealed to Adolf for help and he provided her with a monthly income and a larger sum each Christmas.

By her own account, after losing a job with a Viennese insurance company in 1930 when her employers found out who she was, Paula received financial support from her brother (which continued until his suicide in 1945), lived under the assumed family name Wolff at Hitler’s request (this was a childhood nickname of his which he had also used during the 1920s for security purposes) and worked sporadically. Hitler appears to have had a low opinion of her intelligence, referring to both Paula and his other sister Angela as “stupid geese”.

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She later claimed to have seen her brother about once a year during the 1930s and early 1940s. She worked as a secretary in a military hospital for much of World War II, but eventually gave the job up because she found the work too difficult (It is unknown if was for medical reasons or not).

She took the name Wolf (or Wolff) at her brother’s insistence and it is interesting to note the Adolf himself used the name Wolf to denote his various headquarters throughout the war years: The Wolf’s Gorge and Wolf’s Lair.

Paula never married, or had children and died of natural caused on the 1st of June 1960 and was buried in the Bergfriedhof in Berchtesgaden under the name of Paula Hitler.

There is some evidence Paula shared her brother’s strong German nationalist beliefs, but she was not politically active and never joined the Nazi Party. During the closing days of the war, at the age of 49, she was driven to Berchtesgaden, Germany, apparently on the orders of Martin Bormann.

She was arrested by US intelligence officers in May 1945 and debriefed later that year. A transcript shows one of the agents remarking she bore a physical resemblance to her brother. She told them that the Soviets had confiscated her house in Austria, that the Americans had expropriated her Vienna apartment, and that she was taking English lessons.

She characterized her childhood relationship with her brother as one of both constant bickering and strong affection.

 Paula later told about Adolf and their childhood during her interrogations after the war:

“My brother was very good in some subjects, and very weak in others. He was the weakest in mathematics and, as far as I can remember, in physics, also. His failures in mathematics worried my mother. He loved music. He preferred Wagner even then. Wagner was always his favorite.”

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Paula said that she could not bring herself to believe that her brother had been responsible for the Holocaust. She had also told them that she had met Eva Braun only once.

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Paula was released from American custody and returned to Vienna, where she lived on her savings for a time, then worked in an arts and crafts shop. In 1952, she moved to Berchtesgaden in Germany, reportedly living “in seclusion” in a two-room flat as Paula Wolff. During this time, she was looked after by former members of the SS and survivors of her brother’s inner circle.

In February 1959, she agreed to be interviewed by Peter Morley, a documentary producer for British television station Associated-Rediffusion. The resulting conversation was the only filmed interview she ever gave and was broadcast as part of a programme called Tyranny: The Years of Adolf Hitler. She talked mostly about Hitler’s childhood and refused to be drawn on political questions. Footage from this and a contemporary interview with Peter Morley was included in the 2005 television documentary The Hitler Family (original German title Familie Hitler. Im Schatten des Diktators), directed by Oliver Halmburger and Thomas Staehler.

In a statement  in 1957 she said the following about her brother.

“Sir – do not forget one thing! Your name will be long disintegrated with your corpse – forget and decayed – while the name Adolf Hitler will still shine and blaze! You cannot kill him with your liquid manure tubs, neither strangle him with your ink-daubed, greasy fingers – you can not extinguish his name from hundred thousand souls – to that you are very small and too small!

Where he has loved… it happened around Germany. Where he has fought… it happened around Germany. Where he has been absent… it happened around Germany, and if he argued about honour and respect, it was around German honour and German respect…

And what did you give up to now? And who of you wanted to give his life for Germany? You have had before your eyes always only the power and the wealth, the pleasure, the food and the gluttony – a marvellous life without responsibility – if you have thought of Germany!

Count on it, sir – alone the pure, unselfish thinking and action of the leader is enough for the immortality!

The fact that his fanatical struggle for Germany was not successful, as for example Cromwells struggle once in Britain – also this maybe lies in the mentality, because the Briton does not forget with all slope to the vanity, to envy and to the recklessness – still to be an Englishman, and the loyalty to his crown lies to him in the blood – while the German is everything, only not primarily German in his desire for being successful. Thus you small souls do not care, if the whole nation goes to ruins. Your leading idea is not: Common good goes before self-interest, but always only vice versa! And with this idea you want to prevent the immortality of a greater man?

What I wrote down in the first postwar years, is still valid in 1957 and confirms the correctness of my conviction

Paula died on 1 June 1960, at the age of 64,the last surviving member of Hitler’s immediate family. She was buried in the Bergfriedhof in Berchtesgaden/Schönau under the name Paula Hitler. In June 2005, the wooden grave marker and remains were reportedly removed and replaced with another burial, a common practice in German cemeteries after two or more decades have elapsed. In May 2006, however, it was reported the grave marker had been returned to Paula’s grave and a second marker had been added, indicating another more recent burial in the same spot.

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Donation

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