Forgotten History-WW2 Hero John Steele.

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Who is John Steele I hear you say. Well to be honest until recently I had never heard of him either. It’s just that I am a great WW2 movies fan I came across his name.

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In the movie ” the Longest Day” about D-Day there are a few scenes which made me wonder if they really happened. Some of them are quite funny, there is one scene where a German patrol and an American patrol pass each other by not realizing they are enemies and just walk on minding their own business. Another one where a German officer puts on his boots the wrong way. However there are also some sad scenes. One is showing a paratrooper whose parachute was caught in one of the pinnacles of the church tower.

I could not find anything on the patrols or the visually impaired German officer but the story of the paratrooper is true and really happened. This Paratrooper’s name was Private John Steele. he was the American paratrooper who landed on the church tower in Sainte-Mère-Église, the first village in Normandy liberated by the Americans on D-Day, June 6, 1944.

On the night before D-Day (June 5–6, 1944), American soldiers of the 82nd Airborne parachuted into the area west of Sainte-Mère-Église in successive waves. The town had been the target of an aerial attack and a stray incendiary bomb had set fire to a house east of the town square. The church bell was rung to alert the town of the emergency and townspeople turned out in large numbers to form a bucket brigade supervised by members of the German garrison. By 0100 hours, the town square was well lit and filled with German soldiers and villagers when two sticks (planeloads of paratroopers) from the 1st and 2nd battalions were dropped in error directly over the village.

The paratroopers were easy targets, and Steele was one of only a few non-casualties. His parachute was caught in one of the pinnacles of the church tower, causing the cables on his parachute to stretch to their full length, leaving him hanging on the side of the church to witness the carnage. The wounded paratrooper hung there limply for two hours, pretending to be dead, before the Germans took him prisoner. Steele later escaped from the Germans and rejoined his division when US troops of the 3rd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment attacked the village capturing thirty Germans and killing another eleven. For these actions and his wounds, Steele was awarded the Bronze Star for valor and the Purple Heart for being wounded in combat.

Though injured, Private Steele survived his ordeal. He continued to visit the town throughout his life and was an honorary citizen of Ste. Mère Église. The tavern, Auberge John Steele, stands adjacent to the square and maintains his memory through photos, letters and articles hung on its walls. Steele died of throat cancer on May 16, 1969 in Fayetteville, NC just three weeks short of the 25th anniversary of the D-Day invasion

But his story as a brave soldier starts much earlier and continued well past the episode in Sainte Mère Église. There is much more to the story of paratrooper John Steele.

There are some inconsistencies in various stories that have been cobbled together about him, but it is clear that John Steele was a fearless and brave soldier. He had volunteered his service as a paratrooper and had earlier served in the 82nd Airborne Division in North Africa, prior to parachuting into combat in Sicily with F Company, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment.  On the night of 9 July 1943, John broke his left leg and was sent to a hospital in North Africa.  After he recovered he returned to Italy and fought with his unit from Salerno to Naples.

During his jump into Ste. Mère Église on the night of 5-6 June 1944, John was wounded by a shell fragment and was unable to steer his parachute.  As he dangled from the church spire while a battle was going on below him, he tried to cut himself free but his jump knife slipped from his hand. He dangled helplessly for more than two hours, until a German soldier named Rudolf May cut him down and took him prisoner. Despite being wounded, he escaped three days later and rejoined a nearby Allied unit. He was then transferred to a hospital in England for recovery.

After recovery from his latest wounds, he returned to action and parachuted into action nearNijmegen Netherlands where he participated in the liberation of that city.  In November of 1944 he participated in the Battle of the Bulge in the Ardennes region near Reims, France.  When the Allies crossed the Rhine River into Germany in early 1945, John Steele was there, advancing with his unit from Frankfurt to the crossing of the Elbe River, when World War II ended.  He finally returned to the United States in September 1945.

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Today, these events are commemorated by the Airborne Forces Museum in Place du 6 June in the centre of Ste-Mère-Église and in the village church where a parachute with an effigy of Private Steele in his Airborne uniform hangs from the steeple. Bullet holes are still visible in the church’s stone walls. Inside, there are stained glass windows, with one depicting the Virgin Mary with paratroopers falling in the foreground.

http://www.army.mil/article/22006/church-tower-windows-pay-tribute-to-paratroopers-who-jumped-into-first-town-liberated-during-world-war-ii/

This is just one of the thousands of the forgotten histories of WW2.

Thanks to brave soldiers like John Steele  the people in Europe now live a prosperous life and have freedom it is important that the sacrifices which were made are never forgotten.

More and more I hear the pleas for history to be taken out of the school curriculum but it is my believe and conviction that history is now more important than it ever was. If we forget our history we will forsake our future.

 

Forgotten History-The Nazis that got away

It is a well known fact that 1000’s of Nazi’s escaped after the war and fled to South America, what is a less know fact that some of them returned to Europe and the US and lived a good life. Here are just a few examples.

Otto Skorzeny

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Otto Skorzeny (12 June 1908 – 5 July 1975) was an Austrian SS-Obersturmbannführer (lieutenant colonel) in the German Waffen-SS during World War II. After fighting on the Eastern Front, he accompanied the rescue mission that freed the deposed Italian dictator Benito Mussolini from captivity. Books and papers written about him prior to the 2013 release of records pursuant to the Nazi War Crimes Declassification Act incorrectly refer to him as “Field Commander” of the operation. Skorzeny was the leader of Operation Greif, in which German soldiers were to infiltrate through enemy lines, using their opponents’ languages, uniforms, and customs. At the end of the war, Skorzeny was involved with the Werwolf guerrilla movement.

Although he was charged with breaching the 1907 Hague Convention in relation to Operation Greif, the Dachau Military Tribunal acquitted Skorzeny after the war. Skorzeny fled from his holding prison in 1948, first to France, and then to Spain. He later lived in Ireland.He was Hitler’s favourite Nazi commando, famously rescuing Mussolini from an Italian hilltop fortress, and was known as “the most dangerous man in Europe”.After World War Two, he landed in Argentina and became a bodyguard for Eva Perón, with whom he was rumoured to have had an affair.

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So when Otto Skorzeny arrived in Ireland in 1959, having bought a rural farmhouse in County Kildare, it caused much intrigue.At 6ft 4in and 18 stone, known as ‘scarface’ due to a distinctive scar on his left cheek, Skorzeny was an easily recognisable figure as he popped into the local post office.

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http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-30571335

Friedrich Buchard

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Friedrich Buchardt (17 March 1909 in Riga – 21 December 1982 in Nußbach) was a Baltic German SS-Obersturmbannführer (lieutenant colonel) who commanded Vorkommando Moskau, one of the divisions of Einsatzgruppe B. He then worked for MI6 until 1947, and then, presumably, for the CIA. Buchardt was never molested by the law, being one of the agents of more sinister reputation who was used by the West, and he died at the age of 73

From January to September 1942, he supervised the deportation of about 80,000 Jews and Romani to Chełmno extermination camp.

In February 1943, Buchardt succeeded Obersturmbannführer Wilhelm Wiebens as commander of Einsatzkommando 9 of Einsatzgruppe B. He was in charge of extermination actions nearVitebsk. The death toll perpetrated by Buchardt’s commando is likely to be in the tens of thousands. Buchardt was awarded the Iron Cross First Class, the War Merit Cross First Class with Swords, a Silver Badge of Courage, and an Infantry Assault Badge in Silver. In June 1944, he was promoted to Obersturmbannführer.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1202005/The-Nazi-monster-recruited-MI6.html

Klaus Barbie

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Nikolaus “Klaus” Barbie (25 October 1913 – 23 September 1991) was an SS-Hauptsturmführer (rank equivalent to army captain) and Gestapo member. He was known as the “Butcher of Lyon” for having personally tortured French prisoners of the Gestapo while stationed in Lyon, France. After the war, United States intelligence services employed him for their anti-Marxist efforts and also helped him escape to South America. The Bundesnachrichtendienst, the West German intelligence agency, recruited him, and he may have helped the CIA capture Argentine revolutionary Che Guevara in 1967. Barbie is suspected of having had a hand in the Bolivian coup d’état orchestrated byLuis García  Meza Tejada in 1980. After the fall of the dictatorship, Barbie no longer had the protection of the Bolivian government and in 1983 was extradited to France, where he was convicted of crimes against humanity and died in prison of cancer

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Although he was eventually imprisoned he had lived a life of luxury for decades.

http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2007/dec/23/world.secondworldwar

Artur Axmann

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Artur Axmann (18 February 1913 – 24 October 1996) was the German Nazi national leader (Reichsjugendführer) of the Hitler Youth (Hitlerjugend) from 1940 to the war’s end in 1945. He was the last living Nazi with a rank equivalent to Reichsführer.

In September 1931, Axmann joined the Nazi Party and the next year he was called to the NSDAP Reichsjugendführung[ to carry out a reorganisation of Hitler Youth factory and vocational school cells. After the Nazi seizure of power in 1933, he rose to a regional leader and became Chief of the Social Office of the Reich Youth Leadership.

Axmann directed the Hitler Youth in state vocational training and succeeded in raising the status of Hitler Youth agricultural work. In November 1934, he was appointed Hitler Youth leader of Berlin and from 1936 presided at the annual Reichsberufswettkampf competitions. On 30 January 1939 he was awarded the Golden Party Badge

During Hitler’s last days in Berlin, Axmann was among those present in the Führerbunker.[1] During that time it was announced in the German Press that Axmann had been awarded the German Order, the highest decoration that the Nazi Party could bestow on an individual for his services to the Reich. He and one other recipient, Konstantin Hierl, were the only holders of the award to survive the war and its consequences. All other recipients were either awarded it posthumously, or were killed during the war or its aftermath.

On 30 April 1945, just a few hours before committing suicide, Hitler signed the order to allow a breakout. According to a report made to his Soviet captors by Obergruppenfuehrer Hans Rattenhuber, the head of Hitler’s bodyguard, Axmann took the Walther PP pistol which had been removed from the room in the Fuehrerbunker by Heinz Linge, Hitler’s valet, which Hitler had used to commit suicide, saying that he would “hide it for better

In May 1949, a Nuremberg de-Nazification court sentenced Axmann to a prison sentence of three years and three months as a ‘major offender’.[10] On 19 August 1958, a West Berlin court fined the former Hitler Youth leader 35,000 marks (approximately 63,000, or $8,300 USD), about half the value of his property in Berlin. The court found him guilty of indoctrinating German youth with National Socialism until the end of the Third Reich, but concluded he was not guilty of war crimes. During his trial, Axmann told the court he heard the shot by which Hitler committed suicide. He also stated he had attempted to escape from central Berlin along with Martin Bormann, who he said had died during the attempt.times”.

After his release from custody, Axmann worked as a businessman with varying success. From 1971 he left Germany for a number of years, living on the island of Gran Canaria.[Axmann returned to Berlin in 1976, where he died on 24 October 1996, aged 83. His cause of death and details of his surviving family members were not disclosed.

 

 

Forgotten History War Criminal Pieter Menten

This is not so much a Forgotten History but more a not often mentioned history, why I don’t know. Maybe because it is a bit awkward to talk about since it is a black page in my country’s history.

I had heard about this man when I was a kid living in the Netherlands. I remember his trials between 1977 and 1980, it did have an extensive media coverage at the time.To be honest at that time I thought there could only be German war criminals, my excuse I was  still in primary school at the time

Pieter Menten’s story spans a few decades and has connections to the Netherlands,Poland and Ireland.

Born into a wealthy Rotterdam family, Menten became interested in Poland through his father’s business connections. He soon developed an extensive export trade in Dutch products to Poland. Menten moved to East Galicia in 1923 (then in Poland and later part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic), where he became a wealthy landowner and businessman. Described as mild-mannered and quiet, he developed a deep grudge against a prominent neighboring Jewish family over a business dispute. Menten travelled back to the Netherlands in 1939, when Russia invaded eastern Poland, and returned in 1941 after the Nazi counter-occupation—this time as a member of the SS. Menten was involved in the massacre of Polish professors in Lviv and robbery of their property. According to witnesses, he helped shoot as many members of the offending family in Galicia as he could find, then turned on other Jews in the area.

While travelling in his personal train with his prized art collection, he was recognized by Dutch Resistance fighters. He was brought to trial. His chief defense lawyer was Rad Kortenhorst, President of the Dutch House of Representatives. The controversial trial concluded in 1949, with the prosecution unable to prove most allegations, and Menten was sentenced to an eight-month term for having worked in uniform as a Nazi interpreter. In 1951 the Dutch government refused a Polish request for Menten’s extradition.

Menten would go on to become a successful art collector and businessman. His 20 room mansion was filled with valuable art work (Nicolaes Maes, Francisco Goya, Jan Sluyters, etc.) and he held vast areas of real estate.

Jewish laborers display a confiscated work of art

Menten was quoted as saying that his fortune had first been acquired in pre-war Poland, he had been ruined by the Nazi occupation, but he had restored his finances, and his art collection.

What Menten failed to mention was his service in the Abwehr before the war, and his wartime service as an SS Sonderfuhrer, and that he was personally responsible for the slaughter of hundreds of Jews and communists in the villages of the Stryj valley.

He also failed to mention that his coveted art collection was the proceeds of theft from the residences of the Murdered Professors of Lvov and elsewhere in the Galician District.

In 1976, the case was reopened.On the 14th of November he day before he was going to be arrested he escaped to Switzerland.He eventually was captured on the 6th of December.

It was a Dutch Journalist, Hans Knoop who was tipped of by an Israeli colleague, she had seen an article in De Telegraaf newspaper about the pending art auction of some of Menten’s collection and she made Knoop aware of Menten’s dealings in Poland.Hans Knoop

Knoop interviewed Menten about his collection, at first Menten presumed it was going to be for an article on art, but Knoop advised Menten that he was investigating the accusations made about Menten. Initially Menten dismissed as being rubbish accusations but he stayed amicable , after a short while he became agitated ,Knoop said.

Knoop travelled to the Galicia region to investigate.

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He came back with enough evidence to present to the prosecutors to warrant a trial.

On 9 May 1977 the trial began with Menten claiming it was a KGB stunt, a show trial. Chaviv Kanaan and four women who had witnessed the executions in Podhorodze, testified at this trial. Menten was found guilty and sentenced to fifteen years in prison, but this sentence was annulled on a technicality and a further trial was held in The Hague.

At the end of 1978 the Menten trial re-opened in the Hague, Menten was given a last word, a “word” that lasted for two hours, full of allegations against Police Commissioner Peters, against Hans Knoop and against all the others who had contributed to his conviction.

He stated that the late Justice Minister Donker had given him the promise in 1952 that he would not be prosecuted, as he claimed he had a secret dossier containing revelations about high ranking Dutch officials who had collaborated with the Germans during the war.

On 4 December 1978 the court announced its verdict Menten was released, which triggered public demonstrations against the release of a convicted war criminal. The Supreme Court reconvened during May 1979 and the verdict reached was that Menten’s appeal should be rejected and that he should stand trial again before a special court in Rotterdam.

During the trial, Menten’s mansion was set ablaze after a survivor of Dachau concentration camp threw a petrol bomb onto its thatched roof. The building suffered extensive damage and some of the art collection was destroyed

.In 1980 Menten was sentenced to 10 years in prison and was fined 100,000 guilders for war crimes, including being accessory to the murder of 20 Jewish villagers in 1941 Poland. Upon his release he believed he would settle in his County Waterford mansion in Ireland.

In 1985, then Minister for Justice Michael Noonan issued a barring order preventing his return to the State. Following Menten’s death in 1987 at the age of 89, his widow decided to sell the estate in Waterford.

 

Pieter Menten died on 14 November 1987, a demented old man age 88

 

The Eighties

 

The decade probably best described as the ‘Paradox Decade’ Why? I hear you ask.Allow me to elaborate.

It was the decade that gave us great music like New Wave,New Romantics, the New wave of British heavy metal,bands like the Cure,Duran Duran,Iron Maiden and even Bon Jovi (before they went all Country and Western)to name but a few.

However in tandem it is also the decade where the demise of the music started with the numerous Stock Aitken and Waterman acts.

It was the decade where testosterone fueled Rock anthems were played by men who looked like women.

Who could forget the drama that had as all glued to the TV to find out who shot one of America’s biggest oil tycoons on that ranch Southfork, just outside of Dallas. The Ewings hit by more then one tragedy. Bobby Ewing who had disappeared for god knows how long just to appear again in the shower as of nothing happened. No this wasn’t the prequel to the X Files, it was in fact the Uber Soap called Dallas.

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We celebrated the lives and times of another oil magnate family in Dynasty and that of a wine family in Falcon Crest basically they were all identical shows just set in different locations, but boy did we love them.

 

On this side of the Atlantic we were following the antics of 2 brothers and their grandfather and later uncle in Only Fools and Horses

It was the decade where it was acceptable for women to display their shoulders as if they were injected with some alien DNA making their shoulders bigger then the rest of their bodies, wearing your underwear as street fashion was not frowned upon.As for men they could wear their blazers over T-Shirts and there was no longer the requirement to wear socks.

On a serious note it is in this decade where Political Correctness started sneaking in. The music industry was subjected to censorship which resembled the McCarthy era.The Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) was an American committee formed in 1985 with the stated goal of increasing parental control over the access of children to music deemed to be violent, have drug use or be sexual via labeling albums with Parental Advisory stickers. The committee was founded by four women: Tipper Gore(Tipper is the name she chose, I kid you not), wife of Senator and later Vice President Al Gore; Susan Baker, wife of Treasury Secretary James Baker; Pam Howar, wife of Washington realtor Raymond Howar; and Sally Nevius, wife of former Washington City Council Chairman John Nevius.

Their actions did actually the opposite effect they had hoped for, these labels actually became a badge of honor of sorts. Of course when you tell teenagers(and adults) something is bad for them. it makes it more exciting for them. A lot of bands purposely made sure to get the labels on their album because they were guaranteed sales.The labels are still used nowadays but no one takes notice of them.

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At the end of the decade the end of the Iron Curtain was heralded, in November 1989 the Berlin wall came down.This was the start of the end of the cold war. However in retrospect I am not sure if the cold war ever ended.

I am leaving you with the ultimate 80’s song, well at least in my opinion, originally recorded by Gloria Jones in 1965, but it was turned into a Mega Hit by Soft Cell in 1981.

 

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Forgotten History Unlikely Allies

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When I say Unlikely Allies I am not referring to the German.Italian,Japanese pack nor the US,Canada,British,Russian alliance but something more surprising. The Jews who fought along the Germans.

In 1941 Finland was still allied to Nazi Germany. The picture above is that of Major Leo Skurnik a soldier/medical officer

In September 1941, he performed a deed so heroic he was awarded an Iron Cross by the German high command. With little regard for his own safety, and in the face of heavy Soviet shelling, Major Leo Skurnik, a district doctor who had once fostered ambitions of becoming a concert pianist, organised the evacuation of a field hospital on the Finnish-Russian border, saving the lives of more than 600 men, including members of the SS. Now Major Skurnik wasn’t the only soldier rewarded an Iron Cross but what makes his case different he was Jewish.

Skurnik was not the only Jew fighting on the side of the Germans. More than 300 found themselves in league with the Nazis when Finland, who had a mutual enemy in the Soviet Union, joined the war in June 1941.

Despite Germany demanding that Finland introduce anti-Semitic laws like in the rest of Nazi-controlled Europe, the Finns refused, treating their Jewish soldiers with respect. When Heinrich Himmler visited Finland in August 1942, he asked the Finnish Prime Minister, Jukka Rangell, about the “Jewish question.” Jukka’s reply was brief; “We do not have a ‘Jewish Question.’ ” There was even a field synagogue for the Jewish soldiers, with some Germans actually visiting the synagogue and showing respect for the Jews who prayed there, despite the propaganda they had been shown for years.synagoge

For the Finnish Jews it was more a case of my enemy’s enemy is my friend. They allied themselves with the Germans to fight a common enemy, the Soviet Union.

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It wasn’t only Finnish Jews that served in the Nazi regime, in Germany there also had been Jews who were active in the Wehrmacht.Below is a picture of Werner Goldberg  whose image appeared in the Berliner Tageblatt as “The Ideal German Soldier” Werner’s father was Jewish even though he had converted to Christianity so he could marry his Lutheran girlfriend.

 

 

 

Werner had saved his Father twice from the Gestapo.Werner died in 2004.

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This picture shows ‘Jewish’ Senior Officers In Hitler’s Army: Erhard Milch, Wilhelm Keitel, Walther von Brauchitsch, Erich Raeder, and Maximilian von Weichs during a Nazi rally in Nuremberg, Germany, 12 Sep 1938. They served in the German military with Adolf Hitler’s knowledge and approval.

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Although these men weren’t 1st generation Jewish, according to the Nazi doctrine they were still considered Jewish.

In relation to the Finnish soldiers, some of them are still alive, they all said they had no regrets, I suppose it was their way to survive, deep down inside I reckon they must have felt at least uncomfortable about it.

It is believed that in total 150.000 Jews fought either in the Germany army or with them.

20 of them received the highest German military order the Knight’s cross.

 

Donation

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

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The demise of Music

History of Sorts

As a teenager I pledged that I would accept the musical taste of my children and would not be like the older generation in my family, who constantly criticized my choice of music. Although in my ‘humble’ opinion they were utterly clueless, and frankly most of them were.

Music is by far my biggest passion and it has an important part in my life.However now I have children of my own I feel like I have slightly been reneging on my pledge to accept their music, or have I?

After doing my own research, and note it is not scientific just my own opinion, I discovered that the music that is produced nowadays is really of poor standards. It really feels like vocals and instruments  have been thrown into a big blender and turned into soulless songs, zombie versions of music so to speak.

My question though was “When did all…

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What if? Anne Frank and Adolf Hitler

I am always intrigued by the concept of What if? What would have happened if  a certain event would have had an alternative outcome.Sometimes it may just have minor consequences but in other cases it could have altered history completely. These are 2 examples. The first one about Anne Frank, whose situation mirrors the current refugee crisis. The second example is about Adolf Hitler, a split second decision could have saved the lives of millions.

Documents uncovered in 2007 revealed that Anne Frank’s father, Otto Frank, desperately attempted to secure asylum in the United States

It is not clear when Otto Frank had initially applied for a Visa but it is is believed he was quite late with the application. although the exact date is not know we know the year was 1941. The Frank family had already moved to Amsterdam from Germany at that stage. And in 1941 things weren’t that bad yet in Amsterdam for the Jewish population, there were some cases of violence against the Jews but most of them were seen more like nuisances. The Nazi rules weren’t enforced entirely at that stage.

This could be the reason why the US Visa was denied because the Frank family were still living ‘comfortably’ then.

By June 1941, no one with close relatives still in Germany was allowed into the United States because of suspicions that the Nazis could use them to blackmail refugees into clandestine cooperation. That development ended the possibility of getting the Frank girls out through a children’s rescue agency.

However there had been a glimmer of hope a few months later because on the 1st of December a Cuba had issued a Visa, unfortunately this was cancelled 10 days later when Germany declared war to the US.

If any of these Visa would have been issued Anne Frank would have been a 86 year old woman today and none of us would have probably heard of her, because her diary would more then likely not been published.

There is a lesson to be learned here, since we are in a similar situation at the moment. Let’s make sure we will not find out the horrors of the current refugee crisis via a diary of a teenage girl.

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.Below are the 2 sketches that failed to secure a place at the Vienna Academy of Art for a young artist called Adolf Hitler.

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Hitler moved to Vienna as a young man in 1905 and lived a bohemian life, making small amounts of money by selling pictures he copied from postcards.

At one point he ended up in a hostel for the homeless and later he claimed it was in Vienna where the fires of his anti-Semitism were ignited.

In 1906 Hitler’s mother had given him money to go to Vienna to try his luck in the art academy, at that stage he failed to secure a place. He tried again in 1908 and for the second time he failed to secure a place. However he was advised to try the Architect Academy but because he had finished high school it would have been impossible for him to get in.

Hitler spent six years in Vienna, living on a small legacy from his father and an orphan’s pension. Virtually penniless by 1909, he wandered Vienna as a transient, sleeping in bars, flophouses, and shelters for the homeless, including, ironically, those financed by Jewish philanthropists. It was during this period that he developed his prejudices about Jews, his interest in politics, and debating skills.  Adolf Hitler, two of his closest friends at this time were Jewish, and he admired Jewish art dealers and Jewish operatic performers and producers. However, Vienna was a center of anti-Semitism, and the media’s portrayal of Jews as scapegoats with stereotyped attributes did not escape Hitler’s fascination.

These are 2 more of Hitler’s paintings.

How different the world would have been if the powers to be at the Vienna Academy of Art had given him a place, since they did acknowledge that even though he wasn’t a genius he did have some skills.

Forgotten History- ABBA and WW2

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The baby in this picture is no other than Anni-Frid Synni Lyngstad, from ABBA.She was one of the approximately 12,000 known as the Tyskerbarnas or German children.

Anni-Frid Lyngstad’s story is typical of the suffering of thousands. After her birth in November 1945 – the result of a liaison between her mother, Synni, and a German sergeant, Alfred Haase – her mother and grandmother were branded as traitors and ostracized in their village in northern Norway. They were forced to emigrate to Sweden, where Anni-Frid’s mother died of kidney failure before her daughter was two.

She found her father by chance three decades later. They met for an emotional reunion in her Swedish villa, instigated by Benny Anderson, an Abba founder and Anni-Frid’s then husband.

 

It is alleged that some 0f these ‘Tyskerbarnas’ were even used as guinea pigs in drugs trials. These kids were part of a programme called Lebensborn e.V. (literally: “Fount of Life”) was an SS-initiated, state-supported, registered association in Nazi Germany with the goal of raising thebirth rate of “Aryan” children via extramarital relations of persons classified as “racially pure and healthy” based on Nazi racial hygiene and health ideology. Lebensborn encouraged anonymous births by unmarried women, and mediated adoption of these children by likewise “racially pure and healthy” parents, particularly SS members and their families.

Himmler regarded the Norwegians with their blue eyes and blond hair as especially Aryan and pure.

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Initially set up in Germany in 1935, Lebensborn expanded into several occupied European countries with Germanic populations during the Second World War. It included the selection of “racially worthy” orphans for adoption and care for children born from Aryan women who had been in relationships with SS members. It originally excluded children born from unions between common soldiers and foreign women, because there was no proof of racial purity on both sides

 

These children (and also their mothers) were not treated very nicely by the post-war Norwegian authorities. When you were born in one of the “Lebensborn” homes, you could be institutionalized just because it was assumed that if your mother got involved with a German, she must have been mentally ill and you must have inherited her insanity or at least her debility. This would often result in forced adoptions and also sexual abuse.

Anni-frid Lyngstad was taken by her grandmother to Sweden, where they settled in the region of Härjedalen and her grandmother took any available job. Lyngstad’s mother, Synni, remained in Norway and worked for a period in the south of the country. Synni joined her mother and daughter in Sweden, and the three moved to Malmköping (72 km from Stockholm). Synni soon died of kidney failure, aged 21 leaving Lyngstad to be raised solely by her grandmother. In June 1949, they both relocated to Torshälla (just outside Eskilstuna), where Agny Lyngstad worked as a seamstress. Frida Lyngstad grew up in Torshälla and began attending school there in August 1952. Close contact with her family in Norway (notably her uncle and four aunts) continued, and Lyngstad recalls summer holidays spent with them at her birthplace. She was especially close to her Aunt Olive, who once stated that she saw how lonely and subdued Frida was and, as a result, always did her best to make her feel loved and welcomed during visits.

Her Father Alfred Haase died in 2009.

 

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Forgotten Histories WW2 Miracles

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This edition of Forgotten Histories is about 2 Miracles which happened during WW2 and have gone unnoticed for many.

The 1st one was a miracle in the divine sense of the word. On the 9th of April about 250 parishioners attended a mass in the  The Church of the Assumption of Our Lady in Mosta, in Malta when suddenly the alarms rang out. Some parishioners decided to seek shelter in a safe place,however quite a few stayed in the church to say prayers.

Two bombs fell on the church, the first one pierced the dome and fell on the church floor where the second one, cleared the left side of the triangle on top of the church’s facade.Neither of the bombs exploded. The bomb that pierced the Dome still is on display in the church as a constant reminder of the Miracle of the Mosta Dome. The picture above is a picture of that bomb. Below are some pictures of the church and it’s surroundings itself, just to give you an idea of the geography of it.

I visited the Dome in November 1990 this was just a few weeks before the first gulf war broke out, and already then we could see the warships  sailing by  on the  Mediterranean Sea.It was clear to see that the Maltese were nervous at the time in a similar was they would have been during WW2.

The 2nd miracle is in a way also a divine intervention even though many might argue this.It is the story of Albert Göring, the younger brother of Hermann Göring.

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This unsung hero saved hundreds of jews

Albert Göring used his influence to get his Jewish former boss Oskar Pilzer freed after the Nazis arrested him. Göring then helped Pilzer and his family escape from Germany. He is reported to have done the same for many other German dissidents.

Göring intensified his anti-Nazi activity when he was made export director at the Škoda Works in Czechoslovakia. He encouraged minor acts of sabotage and had contact with the Czech resistance. On many occasions, he forged his brother’s signature on transit documents to enable dissidents to escape. When he was caught, he used his brother’s influence to gain his release. Göring also sent trucks to Nazi concentration camps with requests for labourers. The trucks would stop in an isolated area, and their passengers were then allowed to escape.

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After the war, Albert Göring was questioned during the Nuremberg Tribunal. However, many of those he had helped testified for him, and he was released. Soon afterwards, Göring was arrested by the Czechs, but he was again released when the full extent of his activities became known. It has even been reported that at one stage he told 2 SS Officers to kiss his ass after they had given him the Hitler salute.

Although many might say he could get away with this because of his brother, which is probably true, but on the other hand if Hermann Göring would have found out about his younger brother’s activities I have no doubts that Albert would have dies a gruesome death.

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.Incidentally Albert Göring’s godfather was Hermann von Epenstein a prominent Jewish physician in the late 19th and early 20th century. Which indicates again how bizarre the Nazi ideology was. The final solution was designed to rid the world from the Jews but yet there were so many Jewish links to prominent Nazi’s

During the post-war-years he had many difficulties, the name Goering had become an almost impossible handicap. Grateful survivors, rescued by Albert Goering, helped him survive bitter years of joblessness. He married several times and died in 1966, after working as a designer in a construction firm in Munich

In my opinion it was a true miracle that this man saved so many lives despite his brother being one of the most evil men that ever roamed the Earth.

http://www.auschwitz.dk/albert.htm