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.


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



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


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.


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.



Forgotten Histories WW2 Miracles


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.


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.


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.


.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.



Forgotten History Limerick Soviet


With all this talk about the 1916 centenary celebrations I decided to go back to a bit of history which seem to have been forgotten outside of Limerick(and indeed in Limerick).

The era was called the Limerick soviet.

lim soviet

It was a self declared soviet that existed from 15 to 27 April 1919. At the beginning of the Irish War of Independence, a general strike was organised by the Limerick Trades and Labour Council, as a protest against the British Army’s declaration of a “Special Military Area” under the Defence of the Realm Act, which covered most of Limerick city and a part of the county. The soviet ran the city for the period, printed its own money and organised the supply of food



The general strike was extended to a boycott of the troops. A special strike committee was set up to print their own money, control food prices and publish newspapers. The businesses of the city accepted the strike currency over the short period of the strike, but could not have done so if it had lasted for months. Outside Limerick there was some sympathy in Dublin, but not in the main Irish industrial area around Belfast. The National Union of Railwaymen did not help.

After two weeks the Sinn Féin Lord Mayor of Limerick, Alphonsus O’Mara, and the Catholic bishop Denis Hallinan called for the strike to end, and the Strike Committee issued a proclamation on 27 April 1919 stating that the strike was over.

It just shows that Limerick people have always been a force to be reckoned with.

Isn’t it interesting to contemplate on how different Ireland as a whole would have been if the Limerick Soviet would have remained. We wouldn’t have the red flags of Munster in the city but the red flag of the Soviet. flag

There is a great alternative history story in this along the lines of Philip K Dick’s ” the Man in the High Castle”

Liam Cahill wrote a book about the era called”Forgotten Revolution-Limerick Soviet 1919, a Threat to British Power in Ireland


Chapter 1 of Not Just a Guide Dog(Part of it)

History of Sorts

Not just a guide dog Not just a guide dog


Frank Johnson an ordinary family man, married with 3 children, lived a reasonably ordinary life.

Until due to a degenerative eye disease he turned blind.

His life had changed but he was determined not to be defeated, he was going to be ready for anything that life was going to throw at him.

With this determination and the help of his family and a guide dog called Faust, Frank was ready for anything, even an apocalyptic event that would change the lives of everyone on the planet.

This is a tale of suffering and despair but above everything else also a tale of hope, love and endurance, or in short a tale of life.

Chapter 1   Coping with Blindness.

I didn’t know that they actually used Rottweilers as guide dogs, however I found it intriguing and decided to go for it. I always did…

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Why do we allow history to repeat itself?

With the Pegida marches which took place all over Europe the last weekend, one inescapable fact became clear, History is repeating itself and we are allowing it to do so.

I am not going to dismiss the genuine fears people in the west have about Islam, because some of it is real. There are those in the Muslim community who have a medieval view on the world, but guess what they are not the only ones. You will find people who are stuck in the 15 century in every level of society and in all religions,including atheism. Even withing Buddhism, several months ago some Buddhist . In may 2015 a number of Dutch Buddhist monks were arrested under suspicion of having abused students for decades. On the 6th of January a British Buddhist monk was arrested in Thailand for possession of child pornography. But yet I haven’t seen any protest stopping Buddhists entering Europe.



Bottom line is there are bad people everywhere.

And I do agree that the refugees who arrive in Europe will have to adapt to the cultural values of the countries that take them in, if they don’t like those values well then they have to re-evaluate their situation and leave.

However does this mean we have to stop the refugees coming in for fear that some of them might be terrorists,rapists or child abusers? No.

What this does mean that we do a pan European approach or even a Global approach for dealing with the stream of refugees, to police it adequately,to make sure we leave those in who really need it.

Constantly I hear people say why can’t we help them in their own country in Syria or Iraq.Here is why this is a picture of currently one of the better areas in Aleppo, which is currently under siege by the Syrian army, the Russian air force, the rebels and Isis. None of them have the interest of the citizens at heart.


Another theory I hear is “Why can’t their neighbors look after them?” and this is a valid point to an extend. however Lebanon with a population of 6 Million and a similar size as the Netherlands already took 2 Million refugees=1/3rd of the population. I do agree that countries like Saudi Arabia could take refugees, but Saudi Arabia is part of the problem and logic states a part of the problem can never become a solution.

All this is not new.

1915-1918 Armenian Genocide between 850.000 and 1.5 Million massacred


1939-1945 Holocaust


April to July 1994 Rwandan genocide  Up to 1 Million killed

File photo of a Rwandan boy covering his face from the stench of dead bodies


11-13 July 1995 Srebenica genocide 8,373 killed by Serbian troops


These events all happened in the last 100 years and yet we are letting it happen again, and yet the unfounded hatred is there for all to see.

In all of these cases the victims were HUMAN BEINGS. Part of the Human race, the only race.

Even when I write this backed up with facts I know there will be those who will come with that 3 letter  word that has caused so much damage “but”

They will find an excuse to justify the slaughter of innocent lives, however that is a reflection on their own ignorance and lack of compassion. I sincerely hope that they don’t forget the next time around it might be them or their children who find themselves to be refugees.

Ending this with one of the most powerful poems by Martin Niemöller

First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.

the Netherlands

Or rather the paradox that is the Netherlands

I would like to say the Netherlands is just like any other nation on the planet. But that would be lying.

It already starts with the name. Is it Holland or the Netherlands? Technically and officially it is the Netherlands but the Dutch also tend to accept Holland when people refer to the Netherlands. It is actually the Kingdom of the Netherlands. 2 of the 12 Provinces carry the name Holland, South and North.

If you get over the confusion of the name and you take a risk into the history of the country, things get very clear. No I am kidding it doesn’t.

In general countries turn from Monarchies into Republics, not so the case for the Netherlands. They were a republic twice.

The first time around from 1588 to 1795 as “the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands” when part of the Netherlands separated from Spanish rule.

In early 1795, intervention by French revolutionary forces led to the downfall of the old Dutch Republic and a new republic was born with the name “the Batavian Republic.


This lasted until 1806 when a French chap called Napoleon Bonaparte took a shine to the country.

In 1813 Napoleon was defeated and on 20 November of that year the then Prince of Orange Willem Frederik van Oranje-Nassau became the sovereign of the state. After the re-unification of the Northern ad Southern provinces in 1814 it was decided that on 16 March 1815, Prince Willem would be crowned King and henceforth the country became a Monarchy

Why Dutch? There doesn’t appear to be a clear explanation where the name Dutch came from, it is probably a confused version of Deutsch which is from our neighbors at the east.But let me stress we are not the same people.

The Dutch are known for their generosity towards their fellow man but on the other hand they are also know to be a bit tight, sayings like “Going Dutch” illustrates this. And yes the Dutch are generous they give substantial donations to charities and they willingly invite those who are in need of help.

However before we get carried away on how great the Dutch are. There are some black pages in the Dutch history books. And no I am not talking about the Dutch national team not qualifying for Euro 2016,embarrassing as it is it doesn’t constitute a black era in the history books.

During the 16th and the 17th centuries,the so called Golden ages, the Dutch gathered enormous amounts of wealth via colonization and by exploiting the colonies for their minerals,spices,gold, silver and via slavery. The Dutch were among the biggest slave traders.

Although the climate is a C-Climate being a moderate sea climate, there can be exteme differences in temperatures from -20deg c in winter to 42deg c in summer, albeit not like that every year, it does regularly happen.

Because of the often severe winters , skating on natural ice is very popular. In the most Northern province ,when weather permits is there is skate marathon called “de elfsteden tocht” meaning  the 11 cities tour which is a track of about 200 KM, for it to be held there needs to be severe frost for several weeks. The last one was held in 1997.


It is said that when a vote was taken which language was going to be spoken in the US , the Dutch language only was short 1 vote. How different the Hollywood movies would have been.

Most of the vegetables you see in supermarkets come from the Netherlands even though it is one of the countries with the highest density population wise.

The biggest enemy of the Dutch is basically the North Sea, but through the innovative approach by the Dutch in most all aspects of life, they appear to be winning that battle albeit at a high cost. During the floods of 1953,  about 1500 people perished. The Delta works are engineering at its best and is second to none.



Currently the population is close to 17 Million, packed in a country the size of Munster in Ireland but yet there is enough county side around, the Dutch are very creative with their spaces, they always have been. Ironically we are also the tallest people in the world.

With a few blemishes in the history the Netherlands, in all it’s complexity is a great nation.