These are just a few random bits of World War 2 history.
The above picture is of Reich Commissioner Dr. Seyss-Inquart receiving a group of BDM girls: demonstration of gymnastics exercises. Netherlands, location unknown, September 29, 1941. What puzzles me is why would a 39 year old man be interested in a group of teenage girls, doing gymnastics? I can’t help but wonder if this was just the desire of a dirty old man gawking at young girls.
Germany. A submachine gun, a helmet and a Leica camera, the attributes for a war reporter/war photographers. September 29, 1941 location unknown. Ernst Leitz II was the owner of the Leica company during WW2, unlike some of the other big German companies to help his Jewish workers and colleagues, Leitz quietly established what has become known among historians of the Holocaust as the “Leica Freedom Train,” a covert means of allowing Jews to leave Germany in the guise of Leitz employees being assigned overseas. Employees, retailers, family members, even friends of family members were “assigned” to Leitz sales offices in France, Britain, Hong Kong and the United States. Leitz’s activities intensified after the Kristallnacht of November 1938, during which synagogues and Jewish shops were burned across Germany.
In October 1941, John F. Kennedy was appointed an ensign in the United States Naval Reserve, joining the staff of the Office of Naval Intelligence. After entering the Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron Training Center in Melville, Rhode Island, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant (junior grade) in October 1942, and shortly thereafter ordered to report for duty as commanding officer of a motor torpedo boat in Panama. Prior to his departure, playwright Clare Boothe Luce, a close friend of the Kennedy family, sent the young naval officer a good luck coin that once belonged to her mother. On September 29, 1942, Kennedy wrote to Luce thanking her for sharing such an important token with him.
“I came home yesterday and Dad gave me your letter with the gold coin. The coin is now fastened to my identification tag and will be there, I hope, for the duration. I couldn’t have been more pleased. Good luck is a commodity in rather large demand these days and I feel you have given me a particularly potent bit of it.”