February 24 1941 Gallup Poll

gallup poll

I have always been fascinated by polls(I know it’s sad) more specifically how questions are asked in polls and how just wording the question slightly different can completely change the outcome of the poll as was the case in February 1941.

On 24 February 1941 a Gallup poll was published asking Americans, “Do you think the United States should try to keep Japan from seizing the Dutch East Indies and Singapore?” 56% said yes, 24% said no, 20% expressed no opinion.

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A different version of the question asked, “Do you think the United States should risk war with Japan, if necessary, in order to keep Japan from taking the Dutch East Indies and Singapore?” 46% said no, 39% said yes, 15% gave no opinion.-

Funny enough not much has changed when it comes to polling.

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I will be your voice

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Dear Marta Weisz, you don’t know me and I don’t know you but yet I pledge to be your voice.

You were a product of love between 2 people, but you were killed by a product of hate.

I say product because when you were born you produced a feeling in your parents which can not be described by any pen. Suffice to say it was heavenly.

You also produced the willingness in others to abandon their moral compass and to kill you, although they knew it was wrong.

My pledge is to be your voice because yours was silenced aged 2 in Auschwitz. What happened to your parents I don’t know, but I presume their voices were silenced too.

And if they survived do not feel anger towards them for not speaking, for surviving without you was not a blessing but a punishment, even though they did nothing wrong.

I will be their voice too.

Why so called ‘cultured’ and ‘sophisticated’ men butchered so many like you is hard to fathom for me.

All I can do is be that voice of the souls who perished so this will never happen again, although I know that it is.

 

Tulip Bulbs and Bicycle dynamo- Surviving WWII, Dutch style.

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Without trying to boast too much about my fellow Dutch folks,it is generally known that the Dutch are very inventive  and creative. Two skills which really came to fruition during WWII and especially the last few months of the war.

‘ As a result of the failure of ,Operation Market Garden’ the northern provinces had to endure a very harsh winter and famine.

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With the exception of a few pockets of German resistance at the southern border regions, most of the south was liberated in September 1944.

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For the North it was a different story After the national railways took heed of the request of the exiled Dutch government’s appeal for a railway strike starting September 1944 to further the Allied liberation efforts, the German occupiers  retaliated by placing an embargo on all food transports to the North and West Netherlands.By the time the embargo was partially lifted in early November 1944, allowing restricted food transports over water, the unusually early and harsh winter had already set in. The canals froze over and became impassable for barges.

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Over 20,000 people died during that time known as ‘the Hungerwinter’

Those who survived did so in part by eating what was still available: tulip bulbs. The government even published recipes to cook a nutritious meal with them. Below is one of those recipes.

Ingredients
1 cup of brown beans.
1 cup of tulip bulbs.
Onions (if available).
Curry-surrogate (if available).
Salt to taste (if available).
Marjoram to taste (if available).
Oil.

Preparation

  1. Cook the beans and bulbs until done.
  2. Let them cool and mix them together until you get a smooth paste.
  3. Fry the onion with the curry surrogate and add to the paste.
  4. Add salt and marjoram to taste.
  5. Form little balls of the paste and bake them in as little oil as possible

Throughout the war there were many power outages but that didn’t stop the Dutch. I remember the stories of my Mother and her siblings on how my Grandfather and some of the older siblings made sure that there still would be some light. But this was not only done in my family but by many families across the country

It was both easy and effective, easy as in setting it up, it did actually took some physical power to generate the energy.

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A bicycle was put in the room and the back wheel would be taken off or at least secured to the floor to ensure the bike would remain stationery, very much in the same way as an modern exercise bike works, then the bike would be mounted by a senior male member of the family and he would start cycling. The Bicycle dynamo would convert that energy into light from the bicycle light.

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The humour of Laurel and Hardy

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Today is the 53 rd anniversary of the passing away of Stan Laurel, time to look back at some of the wonderful and funny moments he and his ‘Partner in Crime’ delivered for our entertainment.

The power of the humour of Laurel and Hardy is that it did not date, it is still as fresh today as it was then.

Here are just some of their classic lines, very dry but very funny.

From ‘Another Fine Mess’

Ollie “Call me a Cab” Stan “Huh” Ollie “Call me a Cab” Stan “You’re a Cab”

L&H portrait 1929 Derby Pose

From Sons of the Desert

Ollie: You’d better take my temperature….. get that thermometer.
Stan: The what?
Ollie: Thermometer! You’ll find it on the shelf.
(Stan places the thermometer into Ollie’s mouth and starts to take his pulse)
Ollie: What does it say?
Stan: Wet and windy.

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From Way out West.

Lady “What did he die off” Stan ” I think he died of a Tuesday”

Capture stan

From Brats

Stan “You can lead a horse to water, but a pencil must be led.”

brats

 

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The Jetten Family-Risking their lives to safe others.

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It is a question I often ask myself “Would I do it, would I risk my life and the life of my Family to safe others? ” Honestly I don’t know. Risking my own life is one thing, but risking the lives of my Family is a different ballgame all together.

And yet that is exactly what the Jetten family did and especially their oldest Daughter Truus.

The Jetten family lived in the South East of the Netherlands in the province of Limburg near the city Roermond. To give a geographical indication of the area,below a map. As you can see it borders to Germany.

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When the war broke out, Mr. and Mrs. Hiegentlich were living with their three sons in Roermond, Limburg, where they owned a textile business. There, they employed a young girl, Truus Jetten, as secretary. Her parents owned a farm in the nearby village of de Weerd.

Cesar Hiegentlich did assiste many Jewish refugees who fled Germany since 1933 to either stay in the Netherland or move further afield to the UK or USA. Because of the discussions he had with the refugees,Hiegentlich had a good understanding on what the fate of the Jews would be0

After the “aryanization” of the Hiegentlichs’ business, the family left Roermond for Amsterdam. In 1942, the Hiegentlich grandparents contacted Truus and asked if her parents would agree to shelter their granddaughter Rosalie, born in 1938, on their farm.

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Without hesitation the Jetten family agreed. Truus whowas just 17 traveled to Amsterdam to collect Rosalie who was 3 years of age at the time.Truus renamed Rosalie to Lieke. and tookher back to the Jettsn’s farm. Hub and Maria Jetten had nine children, the youngest only a few years older than Rosalie, who was treated as their tenth child. Truus had helped initiate a rescue project creating a network of local people prepared to harbor Jews.

As the  war progressed the entire Jetten family was involved in assisting and housing fugitive Jews. Sometimes as many as 23 people were hidden on their farm waiting for a permanent hideout. Truus was pivotal in bringing people, mainly children, to the farm and her sister Ella helped her mother run the home and provide for the ever-growing household.

Among the many Jews who were afforded shelter on the Jettens’ farm were Rosalie’s aunt, Gedula Blum-Grunewald; the two young Cohen de Lara sisters; Mr. de Groot, his sons, and his sister Kitty; and sixteen-year-old Marietje de Man.

In August 1944 Truus moved to the more southern city of Heerlen where she started a course in midwifery. On Sept 17 1944 Heerlen was liberated.

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In 1944, Roermond and its environs, situated at the confluence of the Roer and Maas Rivers, became a war zone being defended by the Germans and the Jettens themselves became refugees. The entire household moved to Horn, to the home of Maria’s brother, Paul Hendrix, where they stayed in the cellar. After the war, Rosalie’s mother, who survived, came to collect her daughter. Rosalie  maintained a close relationship with the Jettens after the war.

On November 30, 1997, Yad Vashem recognized Hub Jetten, his wife, Maria  Jetten-Hendrix, and their daughters Truus Maria El Biyadi-Jetten and Ella Muysers-Jetten as Righteous Among the Nations.

 

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Mein Krampf- Laughing away the Holocaust.

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I am staring off by saying I know I will be getting angry comments, saying how disrespectful  I am. How do I know this?

I did post a blog before with the title “Holocaust and Humour” after I published it,a lot of people complained and even called it disgusting, When I asked if they read the blog the all said “no” they had only seen the title and that was enough, But each of them came back and praised the blog after reading it.

For this blog it will probably be the same, some will see the title(not even realizing that it starts with Mein Krampf-My Cramp- rather then Mein Kampf)

I can assure you nothing in this blog will be disrespectful in fact the opposite will be true.

Even in the darkest of times many holocaust victims were able to resort to humour as a coping mechanism to deal with the horrors that surrounded them on a daily basis

In the ghettoes, Hitler’s  self proclaimed “masterpiece” was referred to as Mein Krampf (My Cramp).His theory of the “Master Race” was the subject of many jokes. Following are a few of them.

“There are two kinds of Aryan, Non Aryan and Barb-Aryan”

“Aryan, blond like Hitler, slender like Goering and tall like Goebbels”

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The following jokes were heard in the Ghettoes, however I don’t know by whom, But they were recalled by survivors after the war.

“A young boy was asked in the Warsaw Ghetto. What would you like most of all if you were Hitler’s son?

He answered: “to be orphaned.”

“Hitler visits an astrologer  and asked Am I going to lose the war?”
“Yes,” the astrologer said.Then, am I going to die?” Hitler asked.
“Yes.”
“When am I going to die?”“On a Jewish holiday.”
“But on what holiday?”
“Any day you die will be a Jewish holiday.”

Peter Lorre, the famous actor who played the  murderous villain in the Fritz Lang directed movie M in 1931. He resided in Vienna and  was invited by Goebbels to come to Berlin, Goebbels was not aware Lorre was Jewish. Lorre friendly declined the offer and replied. “There isn’t room in Germany for two murderers like Hitler and me.”

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Anyone who mocked the Nazi regime would face harsh punishment, including the death penalty. A young Catholic priest Josef Müller, made a joke and was executed for it.

Müller was arrested after repeating a satirical joke about a dying German Wehrmacht soldier  on his deathbed, who asked a  nurse  to lay a portrait of Hitler on his one side, a portrait of Göring on the other. Then, he gasped: “Now I can die like Jesus Christ. between two thieves” Müller was interrogated and temporarily taken into custody on 6 September 1943 under charges of comparing Hitler and Göring with the two criminals crucified alongside Jesus Christ.

The indictment against Müller called this joke “one of the most vile and most dangerous attacks directed on our confidence in our Führer. . . . It is a betrayal of the people, the Führer, and the Reich. Although he was interrogated and tortured several times he would not divulge where he got the joke from. He was executed by guillotine n September 11 1944.

Joseph_Mueller_(Priester)

Auschwitz survivor Emil Fackenheim simply said “We kept our morale through humour”

 

In the summer of 1943 a satire was performed in Dachau concentration camp. The play lasted for several weeks.The main character was Count Adolar, a thinly disguised Hitler, The satire was written by Rudolf Kalmar.

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He survived the camp and became a popular actor in East Germany after the war. Another survivor, described the effect of this satire on the camp inmates: “Many of them, who sat behind the rows of the SS each night and laughed with a full heart, didn’t experience the day of freedom. But most among them took from this demonstration strength to endure their situation. . . . They had the certainty, as they lay that night on their wooden bunks: We have done something that gives strength to our comrades. We have made the Nazis look ridiculous.

 

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Who needs the Moon anyway- when the US wanted to nuke the Moon.

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Project A119 was the designated name by the US Air Force to detonate a nuclear bomb on the moon.

The project was called “A Study of Lunar Research Flights” aka ” Project A119 and was developed by the U.S. Air Force in the late 1950s.

Study_of_Lunar_Research_Flights_-_Vol_I_-_Cover

The aim was to intimidate the Soviet Union, who at that time were winning the space race, by seeing the nuclear flash from Earth.

The explosion would of course be best on the dark side of the moon for the best possible effect.

One of the leaders of the project, physicist Leonard Reiffel, figured  hitting the moon with an intercontinental ballistic missile would have been relatively easy to accomplish, including hitting the target with an accuracy of approximately two miles.  The accuracy would have been particularly important as the Air Force wanted the resulting explosion to be clearly visible from Earth.

The Soviet Union had successfully launched the Sputnik 1 on October 4th 1957, and the US was in need of some morale boost.

sputnik

Project A119, was cancelled though in  1959 for fears that a failed explosion on the moon might have might have adverse effects on Earth.

Thankfully the used a different approach by sending the first man to moon , a decade later,

Moon

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When I grow up, I am going to be….

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When I grow up, I am going to be a Doctor or a Pilot or Police man.

When I grow up, I am going to be a Baker, or a Carpenter or a Fire man.

When I grow up, I am going to write great stories and everyone in the whole wide world will read them.

When I grow up I am going to travel all over the world. I will go to China and Japan.And to Switzerland,Luxembourg and Italy. I will visit New York,London,Rome and Jerusalem.

When I grow up, I will get lost and lots of money and take my parents on a cruise ship , where we will have dinner every night at the Captain’s table. And I will laugh at my Father when he is trying to dance the Foxtrot with my Mother.

When I grew up , the world will be open to me and I can be whatever I want to to be.

But I am only 5 and evil men don’t want me to become anything. I am only a number to them, and not Srul (Hersch) Goldberg. I am 5 and I was killed in Auschwitz.

 

Picture source

Central DB of Shoah Victims

 

When the Dutch gave New Netherland to the Brits

treaty

Although the Dutch and the Brits are good friends now, it was not always thus. There have been several Anglo-Dutch wars.

The 3rd ,  Anglo-Dutch war ended this day in 1674 by the signing of the Westmnster Treaty of 1647. The English were dismayed by the unexpected fact that Dutch raiders managed to capture more English ships than vice versa and that New Amsterdam had been retaken by the Dutch in 1673.

New Amsterdam was the Capital city of New Netherland

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It was located on the east coast of North America(the Delmarva Peninsula to extreme southwestern Cape Cod,  part of the Mid-Atlantic States of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Connecticut, and  outposts in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.)

Part of the treaty was that New Netherland was to be returned to the Brits, while the Dutch kept Surinam.

The official peace was proclaimed  was proclaimed at Whitehall on 27 February at 10.00 am.

New Amsterdam is now called New York of course.

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Bon Scott-Let there be Rock

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In the beginning Back in nineteen fifty-fiveMan didn’t know about a rock ‘n’ roll show
And all that jive.

The above line is the start of the AC/DC classic let there be Rock. The whole song is basically a history lesson in Rock N Roll, brought to us by the one and only Bon Scott.

It is not often I dedicate a blog to a musician but since it is 38th anniversary of Bon Scott’s death I thought it only to be fitting since he was the lead singer of one off my all time favourite bands AC/DC

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On a side note. something not many people know is that the founders of AC/DC ,Angus and Malcolm Young, had an older brother called George Young who had a massive hit with the Easybeats called “Friday on my mind” He also co wrote “Love is in the Air” and “Standing in the Rain” recorded by “John Paul Young a fellow Scots-Australian but no family.

Like the Young brothers Bon Scott was also Scottish Australian.Scott, he emigrated to Australia aged six,  he joined  fellow Scotsmen brothers Angus and Malcolm Young in AC/DC in 1974.

His distinctive voice was so recognizable, the second he would start to sing you’d know “That’s AC/DC with Bon Scott”. Not was he only a singer he was also an accomplished drummer. There was always this twinkle in his eyes as if he was up to no good.

In  July 2004 the magazinn Classic Rock, rated  Scott as number one in a list of the “100 Greatest Frontmen Of All Time” ahead of Robert Plant and Freddie Mercury.

In 1980 he had started working with the rest of the band on the album “Back in Black” but unfortunately he never got to finish it.He had only input  on drums on 2 songs of the album.

Back in Black

On Feb. 19, 1980, he was found dead. He had been out drinking with friends, in a London nightclub  — but the casual evening took a terrible turn as Scott passed out in his car, and ultimately choked to death on his own vomit. He was only 33 years old.

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The album was finished 5 months later with AC/DC’s new front man Brian Johnson.

To end this tribute to Bon Scott I will use the words sang by the other AC/DC singer, Brian Johnson. “For those about to Rock we salute you”.

 

 

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