Richard Dimbleby and Dirk Bogarde’s accounts on what they saw in Bergen Belsen

It absolutely amazes me that in this day and age there are still people who deny that the Holocaust ever happened. In fact there appears to be an increase of Holocaust deniers.

Some use the picture above, of liberated women in Bergen Belsen as their ‘evidence’ that the Holocaust was a myth. They say of you look at the picture you can see that the women are healthy and seem to be happy. Well of course they were happy, they had just been liberated and they may appear to be healthy, but they are fully covered up and you can’t see the scars and bruises. Additionally some were ‘healthy’ because the human soul and mind is a powerful thing, they just kept going no matter what.

From late 1944, food rations throughout Bergen-Belsen continued to shrink. By early 1945, prisoners would sometimes go without food for days; fresh water was also in short supply.

Sanitation was totally inadequate, with few toilets and water outlets for the tens of thousands of prisoners imprisoned in Bergen-Belsen at this time. Overcrowding, poor sanitary conditions, and the lack of adequate food, water, and shelter led to an outbreak of diseases such as typhus, tuberculosis, typhoid fever, and dysentery, causing an ever increasing number of deaths. In the first few months of 1945, tens of thousands of prisoners died.

Despite all of this being well documented there are still some who deny the Holocaust.

The Holocaust did happen, but don’t take my word for it but take the words of 2 neutral and very reputable and trustworthy men, English broadcaster and Journalist Richard Dimbleby, and British actor Dirk Bogarde. Both men had been present at the liberation of Bergen Belsen, These are the accounts of what they saw that day.

Richard Dimbleby

“I have just returned from the Belsen concentration camp where I drove slowly about the place in a Jeep with the chief doctor of the Second Army. I had waited a day before going to the camp so that I could be absolutely sure of the facts now available.

I find it hard to describe adequately the horrible things that I’ve seen and heard but here unadorned are the facts.

There are 40,000 men, women and children in the camp, German and half a dozen other nationalities and thousands of them Jews. Of this total of forty thousand, four thousand two hundred and fifty are acutely ill or dying of virulent disease. Typhus, typhoid, diphtheria, dysentery, pneumonia and childbirth fever are rife.

25,600, three quarters of them women, are either ill from lack of food or are actually dying of starvation.

In the last few months alone thirty thousand prisoners have been killed off or allowed to die. Those are the simple horrible facts of Belsen.

But horrible as they are they can convey little or nothing in themselves.

I wish with all my heart that everyone fighting in this war – and above all those whose duty it is to direct the war from Britain and America – could have come with me through the barbed-wire fence that leads to the inner compound of the camp.

Outside it had been the lucky prisoners – the men and women who had only just arrived at Belsen before we captured it.

But beyond the barrier was a whirling cloud of dust, the dust of thousands of slowly moving people, laden in itself with the deadly typhus germ. And with the dust was a smell, sickly and thick, the smell of death and decay of corruption and filth.

I passed through the barrier and found myself in the world of a nightmare.

Dead bodies, some of them in decay lay strewn about the road.

And along the rutted tracks on each side of the road were brown wooden huts. There were faces at the windows. The bony emaciated faces of starving women too weak to come outside – propping themselves against the glass to see the daylight before they died.

And they were dying, every hour and every minute.

I saw a man wandering dazedly along the road then stagger and fall. Someone else looked down at him, took him by the heels and dragged him to the side of the road to join the other bodies lying unburied there. No one else took the slightest notice, they didn’t even trouble to turn their heads

Behind the huts two youths and two girls who’d found a morsel of food were sitting together on the grass in picnic fashion sharing it. They were not six feet from a pile of decomposing bodies

Inside the huts it was even worse.

I’ve seen many terrible sights in the last five years but nothing, nothing approaching the dreadful interior of this hut at Belsen0

The dead and the dying lay close together

I picked my way over corpse after corpse in the gloom until I heard one voice that rose above the gentle undulating moaning.

I found a girl, she was a living skeleton impossible to gauge her age for she had practically no hair left on her head and her face was only a yellow parchment sheet with two holes in it for eyes. She was stretching out her stick of an arm and gasping something. It was ‘English, English. Medicine, medicine’ And she was trying to cry but had not enough strength.

And beyond her down the passage and in the hut there were the convulsive movements of dying people too weak to raise themselves from the floor. They were crawling with lice and smeared with filth. They had no food for days. For the Germans sent it down into the camp en bloc and only those strong enough to come out of the huts could get it. The rest of them lay there in the shadows growing weaker and weaker

There was no one to take the bodies away when they died. And I had to look hard to see who was alive and who was dead

It was the same outside in the compounds. Men and women lying about the ground and the rest of the procession of ghosts wandering aimlessly about them.

In the shade of some trees lay a great collection of bodies. I walked round them trying to count. There were perhaps a hundred and fifty flung down on each other – all naked, all so thin that their yellow skins glistened like stretched rubber on their bones.

Some of the poor starved creatures whose bodies were there looked so utterly unreal and inhuman that I could have imagined that they had never lived at all. They were like polished skeletons, the skeletons that medical students like to play practical jokes with.

At one end of the pile a cluster of men and women were gathered around a fire. They were using rags and old shoes taken from the bodies to keep it alight and they were heating soup on it.

And close by was the enclosure where 500 children between the ages of five and twelve had been kept. They were not so hungry as the rest for the women had sacrificed themselves to keep them alive.

Babies were born at Belsen, some of them shrunken wizened little things that could not live because their mothers could not feed them.

One woman distraught to the point of madness flung herself at a British soldier who was on guard in the camp on the night that it was reached by the 11th Armoured Division. She begged him to give her some milk for the tiny baby she held in her arms. She laid the mite on the ground, threw herself at the sentry’s feet and kissed his boots. And when in his distress he asked her to get up, she put the baby in his arms and ran off crying that she would find milk for it because there was no milk in her breast. And when the soldier opened the bundle of rags to look at the child he found it had been dead for days.

I have never seen British soldiers so moved to cold fury as the men who opened the Belsen camp this week and those of the police and the RAMC who are now on duty there, trying to save the prisoners who are not too far gone in starvation.

The SS guards who shot several of the prisoners after we’d arrived in the camp when they thought no one was looking are now gathering up all the bodies and carting them away for burial. German prisoners are being sent up for the same sort of work.

Kramer, the SS major who was Commandant of the camp and who had been second-in-command of one of the mass murder camps in Poland lies today in a British prison cage.

As we went deeper into the camp and further from the main gate we saw more and more of the horrors of the place and I realised that what is so ghastly is not so much the individual acts of barbarism that take place in SS camps but the gradual breakdown of civilisation that happens when human beings are herded like animals behind barbed wire. Here in Belsen we were seeing people, many of them lawyers and doctors and chemists, musicians, authors, who’d long since ceased to care about the conventions and the customs of normal life.

There had been no privacy there of any kind. Women stood naked at the side of the track washing in cupfuls of water taken from British Army water trucks. Others squatted while they searched themselves for lice and examined each other’s hair. Sufferers from dysentery leaned against the huts straining helplessly. And all around and about them was this awful drifting tide of exhausted people neither caring nor waiting – just a few held out their withered hands to us as we passed by and blessed the doctor whom they knew had become the camp commander in the place of the brutal Kramer.

We were on our way down to the crematorium where the Germans had burned alive thousands of men and women in a single fire. The furnace was in a hut about the size of a single garage – and the hut was surrounded by a small stockade.

A little Pole whose prison number was tattooed on the inside of his forearm, as it was on all the others, told me how they burned the people. They brought them into the stockade, walked them in and then an SS guard hit them on the back of the neck with a club and stunned them and then they were fed straight into the fire, three at a time, two men, one woman. The opening was not big enough for three men and that I verified by measuring it. They burned 10,000 people in this fire in reprisal for the murder of two SS guards.

And back in the hut by the main gate of the camp I questioned the sergeant who’d been in charge of one of the SS squads. He was a fair-haired gangling creature with tiny crooked ears rather like gerbils and big hands. His SS uniform was undone and dirty; he was writing out his confession while a young North Country anti-tank gunner of the 11th Armored Division kept watch on him with a tommy gun that never moved. I asked him how many people he had killed. He looked vacant for a moment and then he replied ‘oh I don’t remember’.

I have set down these facts of length because in common with all of us who’ve been to the camp I feel that you should be told without reserve exactly what has been happening there.

Every fact I’ve so far given you has been verified but there is one more awful than all the others that I’ve kept to the end.

Far away in a corner of Belsen camp there is a pit the size of a tennis court. It’s 15 feet deep and at one end it’s piled to the very top with naked bodies that have been tumbled in one on top of the other.  Like this must have been the Plague pits in England 300 years ago, only nowadays we can help by digging them quicker with bulldozers, and already there’s a bulldozer at work in Belsen. 

Our army doctors on examining some of these bodies found in their sides a long slit apparently made by someone with surgical knowledge. They made enquiries and they established beyond doubt that in the frenzy of their starvation some of the people of Belsen had taken the wasted bodies of their fellow prisoners and had removed from them the only remaining flesh, the liver and the kidneys to eat.

May I add to this story only the assurance that everything that an army can do to save these men and women and children is being done and that those officers and men who’ve seen these things have gone back to the Second Army moved to an anger such as I have never seen in them before.

Richard Dimbleby, BBC, broadcast April 19th 1945.

Dirk Bogarde wasn’t sure about the date, he thought it was the 13th of April but the camp was liberated on the 15th of April 1945.

“I think it was on the 13th of April—I’m not quite sure what the date was when we opened up Belsen Camp, which was the first concentration camp any of us had seen, we didn’t even know what they were, we’d heard vague rumours that they were. I mean nothing could be worse than that. The gates were opened and then I realised that I was looking at Dante’s Inferno, I mean … I … I still haven’t seen anything as dreadful. And never will. And a girl came up who spoke English, because she recognised one of the badges, and she … her breasts were like, sort of, empty purses, she had no top on, and a pair of man’s pyjamas, you know, the prison pyjamas, and no hair. But I knew she was girl because of her breasts, which were empty. She was I suppose, oh I don’t know, twenty four, twenty five, and we talked, and she was, you know, so excited and thrilled, and all around us there were mountains of dead people, I mean mountains of them, and they were slushy, and they were slimy, so when you walked through them … or walked—you tried not to, but it was like …. well you just walked through them, and she … there was a very nice British MP [Royal Military Police], and he said ‘Don’t have any more, come away, come away sir, if you don’t mind, because they’ve all got typhoid and you’ll get it, you shouldn’t be here swanning-around’ and she saw in the back of the jeep, the unexpired portion of the daily ration, wrapped in a piece of the Daily Mirror, and she said could she have it, and he” [the Military Police] “said ‘Don’t give her food, because they eat it immediately and they die, within ten minutes’, but she didn’t want the food, she wanted the piece of Daily Mirror—she hadn’t seen newsprint for about eight years or five years, whatever it was she had been in the camp for. … she was Estonian. … that’s all she wanted. She gave me a big kiss, which was very moving. The corporal” [Military Police] “was out of his mind and I was just dragged off. I never saw her again, of course she died. I mean, I gather they all did. But, I can’t really describe it very well, I don’t really want to. I went through some of the huts and there were tiers and tiers of rotting people, but some of them who were alive underneath the rot, and were lifting their heads and trying …. trying to do the victory thing. That was the worst.”

sources

https://www.bbc.co.uk/archive/richard-dimbleby-describes-belsen/zvw7cqt

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/bergen-belsen

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The Old Grey Whistle Test

The best known music show is without a doubt Top of the Pops, and even though the show was cancelled in 2006, there are still weekly reruns on BBC 4.Most people were surprised that the BBC cancelled the show because i was and still is very popular, there have been speculations though that it may return again.

However this blog is about another iconic and legendary BBC music show,’ The Old Grey whistle test’ It was commissioned by none other then David Attenborough and aired on BBC2 from 1971 to 1988. Unlike Top of the Pops, the whistle test had some more edgier music and catered more for rock fans and focused more on albums then hit singles.

The show hosted many seminal acts of the era, including the first British TV performance of Bob Marley and the Wailers as well as then little-known acts of whom any early footage is now considered precious, such as Billy Joel, Judas Priest (with a long haired Rob Halford), Wishbone Ash, Judee Sill, Heart, and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

The series was cancelled in the spring of 1987 by Janet Street-Porter, who had been appointed head of Youth Programmes at the BBC.[7] The series ended with a live New Year’s Eve special broadcast through to the early hours of New Year’s Day 1988; material included “Hotel California” by The Eagles, live from 1977, and “Bat Out of Hell” by Meat Loaf.

Many viewers think that the performances were always live but that was always the case, although for the vast majority they were.

On 23 February 2018, the BBC broadcast a special show, hosted by Bob Harris, to mark the 30 years since the legendary series was last broadcast. This live studio show featured music, special guests and rare archive footage. It featured performances from Peter Frampton, Richard Thompson, Albert Lee and others. Bob Harris chatted to Whistle Test alumni, including Dave Stewart, Joan Armatrading, Ian Anderson, Chris Difford and Kiki Dee, as well as fan Danny Baker.

BBC 4 regularly plays old episodes from the show and I am always amazed about the new things I learn. For example I never knew that Elkie Brooks and Robert Palmer were in a band together. The band was called ‘Vinegar Joe’

Whistle Test was also the British television debut of the American glam punk band New York Dolls. Their performance influenced the following punk rock scene such as the Sex Pistols and The Clash as well as alternative bands like R.E.M. and The Smiths and the glam metal scene of the 1980s.

David Johansen was the front man of this line up of the New York Dolls, David had some solo success later on under the name of Buster Pointdexter.

Brinsley Schwarz were a 1970s English pub rock band, named after their guitarist Brinsley Schwarz. They made an appearance on the Old Grey Whistle Test in 1973.

In case you are wondering who the singer and bass player is, it is Nick Lowe from such hits as “I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass” and “Cruel to be Kind”

By 1988 it was considered well past it’s sell by date however it was an influence on many music shows that came after such as Later With Jools Holland.

As mentioned earlier Bob Marley had his first appearance on the BBC on the Old Grey Whistle test. This was another thing I hadn’t realized, Peter Tosh was also a member of the Wailers.

It would be great to see a show like the Old Grey whistle Test again on TV, but I don’t think that the same caliber of performers are available nowadays

Sources

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006zbkl

https://pop-culture.fandom.com/wiki/The_Old_Grey_Whistle_Test

Happy Birthday Gary Moore

Robert William Gary Moore was born in Belfast on 4 April 1952,the son of Winnie, a housewife, and Robert Moore, a promoter who ran the Queen’s Hall ballroom in Holywood.He grew up near Belfast’s Stormont Estate with four siblings.

He credited his father for getting him started in music. When Moore was six years old, his father invited him onstage to sing “Sugartime” with a showband at an event he had organised, which first sparked his interest in music. His father bought him his first guitar, a second-hand Framus acoustic, when Moore was 10 years old. Though left-handed, he learned to play the instrument right-handed. Not long after, he formed his first band, The Beat Boys, who mainly performed Beatles songs. He later joined Platform Three and The Method, amongst others.[Around this time, he befriended guitarist Rory Gallagher, who often performed at the same venues as him. He left Belfast for Dublin in 1968 just as The Troubles were starting in Northern Ireland. A year later, his parents separated.

After moving to Dublin, Moore joined Irish blues rock band Skid Row. At the time, the group were fronted by vocalist Phil Lynott. He and Moore soon became friends, and they shared a bedsit in Ballsbridge.

After leaving Skid Row, Phil Lynott formed the hard rock group Thin Lizzy. After the departure of guitarist Eric Bell, Moore was recruited to help finish the band’s ongoing tour in early 1974. During his time with the group, Moore recorded three songs with them, including “Still in Love with You”

After Thin Lizzy, Gary Moore had a successful solo career. He is one of my all time guitar heroes. Unfortunately I never got to see him live, he died on 6 February 2011. I did get to see his brother Cliff Moore perform live in our local pub. In 1994.

Be on your guard- It is April 1, don’t be fooled

How did become the first day of the 4th month, aka April 1, the day of trying to fool people or to play pranks on them. Since I come from a long line of pranksters and it appears it has transferred into the newest generations of the family, I always have a slight sense of paranoia on this day. They are all out to get me.

The origin of April Fools’ day seems to be a bit vague. Some say that it started in 1582, when France changed from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar. The switch took place because France has decided to commence their New Year with the Spring Equinox, which takes place around April 1, not all of France’s citizens accepted this change and were therefore called April Fools.

Another theory is that April 1st became the fool’s holiday due to Geoffrey Chaucer’s 14th century collection, The Canterbury Tales, wherein Chaucer includes a playful reference to “32 March,” or April 1st. However, most scholars consider it to have been a mere copying error.

In my native ,the Netherlands, the origin of April Fools’ Day is often attributed to the Dutch victory in 1572 at Brielle, where the Spanish Duke Álvarez de Toledo was defeated.”Op 1 april verloor Alva zijn bril is a Dutch proverb, which can be translated as: “On the first of April, Alva lost his glasses.” In this case, “bril” (“glasses” in Dutch) serves as a homonym for Brielle. This theory, however, provides no explanation for the international celebration of April Fools’ Day.

Some even suggested that the tradition goes back to biblical times. Some scholars say it goes back as far as to the flood in Noah’s time as described in Genesis chapters 6–9.

The London Public Advertiser of March 13, 1769, printed: “The mistake of Noah sending the dove out of the ark before the water had abated, on the first day of April, and to perpetuate the memory of this deliverance it was thought proper, whoever forgot so remarkable a circumstance, to punish them by sending them upon some sleeveless errand similar to that ineffectual message upon which the bird was sent by the patriarch”

Over the centuries people have come up with some many different ways to fool their fellow men.

On April Fools’ Day 1957 by the BBC current-affairs program Panorama, purportedly showing a family in southern Switzerland harvesting spaghetti from the family “spaghetti tree”. At the time spaghetti was relatively unknown in the UK, so many British people were unaware that it is made from wheat flour and water; a number of viewers afterwards contacted the BBC for advice on growing their own spaghetti trees.

In 1962, Swedish national television broadcast a 5-minute special on how one could get color TV by placing a nylon stocking in front of the TV. A rather in-depth description on the physics behind the phenomenon was included. Thousands of people tried it.

In 2016, one of the biggest pornography sharing sites Pornhub changed its name to Cornhub and displayed suggestive videos featuring corn. The site used a similar prank for 2018’s April Fools Day – this time changing its name to Hornhub and displaying videos about women blowing horns instead of pornography.

I wish you all a good April Fools’ day and I hope that you will have lots of laughs.

Donation

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sources

https://english.jagran.com/lifestyle/april-fools-day-2021-why-april-1-is-celebrated-as-fools-day-know-history-and-significance-of-years-funniest-day-10025082

https://www.dictionary.com/e/fool/

http://hoaxes.org/archive/permalink/instant_color_tv

https://www.complex.com/life/2016/04/pornhub-april-fools-prank-corn-hub

https://www.ladbible.com/community/viral-awesome-pornhub-offering-very-different-videos-after-changing-name-to-hornhub-20180401

The Broadcasting voice restrictions

BBC

On this day 30 years ago the British Home Secretary, Douglas Hurd, issued a notice under clause 13 of the BBC Licence and Agreement to the BBC and under section 29) of the Broadcasting Act 1981 to the Independent Broadcasting Authority prohibiting the broadcast of direct statements by representatives or supporters of eleven Irish political and military organisations. The ban prevented the UK news media from broadcasting the voices, though not the words, of ten Irish republican and Ulster loyalist paramilitary groups, these included  IRA, INLA, UVF and UDA as well as Sinn Féin.(bizarrely enough it did not include Ian Paisley’s DUP).the thatch and hurd

The Government’s notice on Northern Ireland broadcasting restrictions came into force on 19 October 1988 after an escalation in paramilitary violence over the preceding summer months.

Home Secretary Hurd, told the Commons that the ban was being instituted because ‘the terrorists themselves draw support and sustenance from access to radio and television .the time had come to deny this easy platform to those who used it to propagate terrorism. Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, said it would “deny terrorists the oxygen of publicity”.

The ban did not have the desired effect and any one with a common sense would have been able to guess that.

It did create a few ironies though.

The ban sparked the creativity  of broadcast organisations and actors were hired to do voice overs. Actors became so skilled in lip-syncing sound clips for news bulletins that viewers barely noticed the dubbing.Some actors could earn up to £120 per session.

Stephen Rea, who was among the actors to voice Gerry Adams in interviews, later told the Irish Times he tried to speak the lines “as clearly and neutrally as possible, Stephen Rea’s wife though had been an IRA volunteer at the time.

rea

The restrictions also applied to non news or current affair TV Shows.In December 1988 the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Tom King, ordered Channel 4 to cancel an episode of the US drama series Lou Grant that featured the story of a fictional IRA gunrunner, even though it had aired previously.

Restrictions were temporarily  lifted during the 1992 general election, facilitating  a political debate between the SDLP leader John Hume and the  Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams  to be heard during the election campaign, but the ban resumed once the polls were closed.

Adams and Hume

The Republic of Ireland had its own similar legislation that banned anyone with links to paramilitary groups from the airwaves, but repealed this in January 1994. The British government followed suit on 16 September 1994, two weeks after the first IRA ceasefire had been declared.

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know a 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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Sources

BBC

RTE

Guardian

 

 

 

 

R.U.R: Rossum’s Universal Robots

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On this day 82 years ago the BBC broadcast the first piece of television science-fiction ever.

On 11 February 1938 a thirty-five-minute adapted extract of the play RUR, written by the Czech playwright Karel Čapek, was broadcast live from the BBC’s Alexandra Palace studios. Concerning a future world in which robots rise up against their human masters, it was the only piece of science fiction to be produced until the BBC television service resumed after the war..

The play introduced the word robot, which displaced older words such as “automaton” or “android” in languages around the world. In an article in Lidové noviny Karel Čapek named his brother Josef as the true inventor of the word.In Czech, robota means forced labour of the kind that serfs had to perform on their masters’ lands and is derived from rab, meaning “slave”.

rur

The play had been referenced in several popular TV shows after it’s first broadcast in 1938.

n the Star Trek episode “Requiem for Methuselah”, the android’s name is Rayna Kapec (an anagram, though not a homophone, of Capek)

Rayna Kapec

In Batman: The Animated Series, the scientist that created the HARDAC machine is named Karl Rossum. HARDAC created mechanical replicants to replace existing humans, with the ultimate goal of replacing all humans. One of the robots is seen driving a car with “RUR” as the license plate number.

The 1999 Blake’s 7 radio play The Syndeton Experiment included a character named Dr. Rossum who turned humans into robots.

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In the 1977 Doctor Who serial “The Robots of Death”, the robot servants turn on their human masters under the influence of an individual named Taren Capel.

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In the 1995 science fiction series The Outer Limits, in the remake of the “I, Robot” episode from the original 1964 series, the business where the robot Adam Link is built is named “Rossum Hall Robotics.

In Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone, when Wolff wakes Chalmers, she has been reading a copy of R.U.R. in her bed. This presages the fact that she is later revealed to be an android.

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Although the original play was written in 1920 nearly a 100 years later it is still referenced in Sci Fi shows and ganes. Currently a new movie version is in production with a release date in 2019.

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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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Unity Mitford-Hitler’s groupie

unity

Unity Valkyrie Freeman-Mitford (8 August 1914 – 28 May 1948) was an English socialite best known as a devotee of Adolf Hitler.

Both in Britain and Germany, she was a prominent supporter of Nazism and fascism, and formed part of Hitler’s inner circle of friends.Following the declaration of World War II, Mitford attempted suicide in Munich, and was officially allowed safe passage back to England in her invalid condition, but never recovered.

Unity was a member of the Mitford family, tracing its origins in Northumberland back to the 11th century Norman settlement of England. Her sister Diana was married to Oswald Mosley, leader of the British Union of Fascists.

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In June 1933 Unity and her sister, Diana Mitford, joined the British Union of Fascists, the extreme right-wing group founded by Oswald Mosley the previous year. Mosley described her as “young, ingenuous, full of enthusiasm, in a way stage-struck by the glamour and panoply of the national socialist movement and the mass admiration of Hitler” She was active in the women’s section headed by Esther Makgill, the daughter of John Makgill: “I created the women’s section of the BUF… Unity Mitford didn’t mean anything to me in those days. She was swept in by her sister.” Her friend, Mary Ormsby-Gore, said that she sold The Blackshirt on the streets of London:

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“She began to go to the East End, and I went to one meeting with her… One day she took me to Selfridges saying, let’s make a record, and she spoke into it, The Yids, The Yids, We’ve gotta get rid of the Yids

Unity and Diana Mitford travelled to Germany as part of the British delegation from the British Union of Fascists, to the 1933 Nuremberg Rally, seeing Hitler for the first time. Mitford later said, “The first time I saw him I knew there was no one I would rather meet.” Biographer Anne de Courcy confirms: “The Nuremberg rally had a profound effect on both Diana and Unity … Unity was already, as it were, convinced about Hitler, but this turned conviction into worship. From then on she wanted to be near Hitler as much as possible

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Mitford returned to Germany in the summer of 1934, enrolling in a language school in Munich close to the Nazi Party headquarters,she  became friends with Ernst Hanfstaengel.

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Unity told a friend ,Armida Macindoe, that she was determined to meet Hitler: “She used to go to the Osteria Bavaria restaurant and sit waiting for Hitler. She’d sit there all day long with her book and read. She’d say, I don’t want to make a fool of myself being alone there, and so she’d ask me to go along to keep her company, to have lunch or a coffee. Often Hitler was there. People came and went. She would place herself so that he invariably had to walk by her, she was drawing attention to herself, not obnoxiously but enough to make one slightly embarrassed. But the whole point was to attract his attention. She’d talk more loudly or drop a book. And it paid off.”

After engaging Adolf Hitler in a conversation on 9th February 1935 she commented that it was “the most wonderful and beautiful day of my life”. He was struck by her curious connections to the Germanic culture including her middle name, Valkyrie. Mitford’s grandfather, Algernon Freeman-Mitford, had been a friend of Richard Wagner, one of Hitler’s idols, and had translated the works of Houston Stewart Chamberlain, another inspiration for Hitler. Mitford subsequently received invitations to party rallies and state occasions.Hitler told newspapers in Germany that Unity was “a perfect specimen of Aryan womanhood”.

Hitler and Mitford became close, with Hitler reportedly playing Mitford off against his new girlfriend, Eva Braun, apparently to make her jealous.

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Braun wrote of Mitford in her diary: “She is known as the Valkyrie and looks the part, including her legs. I the mistress of the greatest man in Germany and the whole world, I sit here waiting while the sun mocks me through the window panes.”Braun regained Hitler’s attention after an attempted suicide and Mitford learned from this that desperate measures were often needed to capture the Führer’s attention.

Albert Speer also spent time with Unity Mitford and Hitler at the Osteria Bavaria. “I met her in the Osteria Bavaria.

GERspeer1 She was very romantic. The Osteria was a small inn, it is still there, and hasn’t changed much. Small tables. There was a wooden partition, and behind it a table to seat eight. An adjutant would phone the owner to warn that Hitler might be coming and to have the table clear. There was also a courtyard, with one table under a pergola and this was Hitler’s favourite seat when the weather was not cold. Unity was quite often there, I was invited only every second or third time. Like me, Mitford would be invited by the adjutant Schaub. She was highly in love with Hitler, we could see it easily, her face brightened up, her eyes gleaming, staring at Hitler. Hero-worship. Absolutely phenomenal. And possibly Hitler liked to be admired by a young woman, she was quite attractive – even if nothing happened he was excited by the possibility of a love affair with her. Towards an attractive woman he behaved as a seventeen-year-old would. She was influential with Hitler in that she was of the group in the Osteria.

From this point on, Mitford was inducted into Hitler’s inner circle and remained with him for five years.

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When Hitler announced the Anschluss in 1938, she appeared with him on the balcony in Vienna. She was later arrested in Prague for distributing Nazi propaganda. and the suspicions of the British SIS were aroused. MI5 officer Guy Liddell wrote in his diary: “Unity Mitford had been in close and intimate contact with the Führer and his supporters for several years, and was an ardent and open supporter of the Nazi regime. She had remained behind after the outbreak of war and her action had come perilously close to high treason.

 

A 1936 report went further, proclaiming her “more Nazi than the Nazis” and stated that she gave the Hitler salute to the British Consul General in Munich, who immediately requested that her passport be impounded.

 

In 1938, Hitler gave her a choice of four apartments in Munich, one flat lived in by a Jewish couple. Mitford is reported to have then visited the apartment to discuss her decoration and design plans, while the soon-to-be-dispossessed couple still sat in the kitchen crying.Immediately prior to this, she had lived in the house of Erna Hanfstaengl, sister of early Hitler admirer and confidante Ernst Hanfstaengl, but was ordered to leave when Hitler became angry with the Hanfstaengls

Many prominent Nazis were also suspicious of Mitford and her relationship to their Führer. In his memoirs, Inside the Third Reich, Albert Speer said of Hitler’s select group: “One tacit agreement prevailed: No one must mention politics. The sole exception was Lady [sic] Mitford, who even in the later years of international tension persistently spoke up for her country and often actually pleaded with Hitler to make a deal with Britain. In spite of Hitler’s discouraging reserve, she did not abandon her efforts through all those years”.Mitford summered at the Berghof where she continued to discuss a possible German-British alliance with Hitler, going so far as to supply lists of potential supporters and enemies.

At the 1939 Bayreuth Festival, Hitler warned Unity and her sister Diana that war with Britain was inevitable within weeks and they should return home.

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Diana returned to England where she was arrested and imprisoned, while Unity chose to remain in Germany, though her family sent pleas for her to come home.After Britain’s declaration of war on Germany on 3 September 1939, Unity was distraught.Diana Mitford told an interviewer in 1999: “She told me that if there was a war, which of course we all terribly hoped there might not be, that she would kill herself because she couldn’t bear to live and see these two countries tearing each other to pieces, both of which she loved.”Unity went to the English Garden in Munich, took a pearl-handled pistol given to her by Hitler for protection, and shot herself in the head.She survived the suicide attempt, and was hospitalised in Munich, where Hitler frequently visited her. On Hitler’s instructions she was moved to Switzerland, and then returned to England on 3rd January 1940. Her mental and physical powers were impaired, and she lived under the protection of her mother

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Mitford was taken seriously ill on a visit to the family-owned island of Inch Kenneth and was taken to hospital in Oban. Doctors had decided it was too dangerous to remove the bullet in her head. On 28 May 1948, Mitford died of meningitis caused by the cerebral swelling around the bullet. “Her sisters, even those who deplored her politics and hated her association with Hitler, mourned her deeply.” She was buried at Swinbrook Churchyard. Her gravestone reads, “Say not the struggle naught availeth.”

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Her oldest sister Nancy Mitford,was an English novelist, biographer, and journalist. Her novel The Pursuit of Love ,which is loosely based on some of her relatives, is currently on the BBC as a mini series.

source

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt10556338/?ref_=tt_mv_close

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Fake news WWII style

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Between 1941 and 1943, an exceedingly peculiar series of transmissions reached radio sets in Germany. The broadcaster called himself Der Chef, or the chief, and his Berliner accent and prodigious knowledge of military affairs suggested he was a high-ranking German of the old guard, probably an army officer.

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A patriot and Hitler loyalist, Der Chef bemoaned the corruption enveloping Nazi headquarters while the war was being fought across Europe. He disclosed worrying news that injured German soldiers were receiving infusions of syphilis-tainted blood from captured Poles and Slavs, and gossiped about an Italian diplomat in Berlin who was bedding the wives of German officers. German civilians picking up the shortwave radio transmissions thought they were eavesdropping on the affairs of a secret military organ led by Der Chef.

“Had his listeners been able to take a peep at the surroundings in which his messages were, in fact, recorded,” the British journalist Sefton Delmer wrote years later, “our audience would, I am sure, have shrunk to zero.” Delmer knew of what he spoke: He had helped create Der Chef.

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Denis Sefton Delmer (24 May 1904 – 4 September 1979) was a British journalist of Australian heritage and propagandist for the British government. Fluent in German, he became friendly with Ernst Röhm who arranged for him to interview Adolf Hitler in the 1930s.

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During WWII he led a black propaganda campaign against Hitler by radio from England, sufficiently successful he was named in the Nazis’ Black Book for immediate arrest after their invasion of England.

Although this was hardly the first instance of a wartime disinformation campaign, Delmer’s “Black Propaganda,” as he called it, shared plenty with today’s “fake news.” It was agitprop masquerading as inside dirt. To be sure, British intelligence agents played a role, but it was behind the scenes, unlike traditional government propaganda. By most accounts the broadcasts were insidiously effective: Hitler’s high command repeatedly attempted to block the signal.

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It turns out that Delmer, developed a fake news factory aimed at disrupting the Nazis. He introduced several other radio stations, including one anchored by a young German named “Vicki,” who read a mixture of real news culled from intelligence sources and fake items, including a fabricated report about an outbreak of diphtheria among German children.

Delmer had access to Aspidistra, a 500 kW radio transmitter obtained from RCA in the US (their largest off-the-shelf-model), which Section VIII bought for £165,000.

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Use of Aspidistra, which began in 1942, was split between PWE, the BBC, and the RAF. Delmer’s creation was Deutsche Kurzwellensender Atlantik (or popularly Atlantiksender).

Soldatensender Calais (“Calais Armed Forces Radio Station”) was another clandestine radio station directed at the German armed forces by Delmer. Based in Milton Bryan and transmitting from Crowborough, Soldatensender Calais broadcast a combination of popular music, “cover” support of the war, and “dirt” – items inserted to demoralize German forces.

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In November 1943, Delmer ended Der Chef’s reign of error by penning a script that had Nazi troops storming the studio and “shooting” him mid-broadcast, but many other ruses lived on. Beginning in May 1944, he produced a German-language newspaper called Nachrichten für die Truppe (News for the Troops), which was air-dropped to soldiers on the Western front.

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After the war, Delmer rejoined Britain’s Daily Express, revealing his earlier role as a source of fake news in a 1962 memoir.

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Chanson d’automne- a coded message

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Chanson d’automne” (“Autumn Song”) is a poem by Paul Verlaine, one of the best known in the French language. It is included in Verlaine’s first collection, Poèmes saturniens, published in 1866 (see 1866 in poetry). The poem forms part of the “Paysages tristes” (“Sad landscapes”) section of the collection.

 

In World War II lines from the poem were used to send messages to the French Resistance about the timing of the forthcoming Invasion of Normandy.

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In preparation for Operation Overlord, the BBC had signaled to the French Resistance that the opening lines of the 1866 Verlaine poem “Chanson d’Automne” were to indicate the start of D-Day operations. The first three lines of the poem, “Les sanglots longs / des violons / de l’automne” (“Long sobs of autumn violins”), meant that Operation Overlord was to start within two weeks.

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These lines were broadcast on 1 June 1944. The next set of lines, “Blessent mon coeur / d’une langueur / monotone” (“wound my heart with a monotonous languor”), meant that it would start within 48 hours and that the resistance should begin sabotage operations especially on the French railroad system; these lines were broadcast on 5 June at 23:15.

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