Left without a Father

mYERS

The US armed service often get bad press and maybe sometimes that’s warranted. but what is often forgotten nowadays and especially in Europe, we owe these brave men and women a great deal.

As a Dutch man I am so aware of the liberty that was bestowed upon me by the sacrifice of so many Fathers.

Over the end 180,000 American children were left fatherless by World War II, many of these children never even met their dads.

The children of Cpl. William H. Myers, Jr. wre left without their Father on February 3, 1945. He was killed in action.

His remains are buried at the Netherlands American Cemetery,Margraten in the Netherlands.

This is fo his children.

You’re Father died so that many others could live. I and the world owe him a debt which cannot be paid. all I can say is thank you.

His death was not in vain and every time people forget about the sacrifice and his brorhers in arms made, I will remind them

Because of them we are free to do what we ant and free to say theing s we feel are important to say.

I think it is extermely important to say that your Father was a Hero.

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Three shots! Three lives lost! All I can hear are shots, shots.

diary

“Three shots! Three lives lost! All I can hear are shots, shots.” This line is the final entry of Renia Spiegel’s diary. It is the final entry but it was not written by her but by her boyfriend.

Renia had left her diary with her boyfriend ,Zygmunt Schwarzer,  for safekeeping. You see Renia could not write that line because one of those three shots was for her.

Zygmunt Schwarzer had helped Renia and his own parents  to hide in the attic of his Uncle’s house but an informant betrayed her whereabouts to the Nazis;s and Renia and Schwarzer’s parents  were shot in the street on July 30, 1942.

Her last name Spiegel means mirror in both the German and Dutch language. Renia’s story as so many others is a mirror we should look at. If we truly look into that mirror we can only come to one conclusion. So little has been learned form the horrors of the past, so little that we are bound to repeat them.

Ending this blog with some of Renia’s own words from July 15,1942 just over 2 weeks before she was killed . May her words  be a mirror to our souls.

“Remember this day; remember it well, You will tell generations to come. Since 8 o’clock today we have been shut away in the ghetto. I live here now. The world is separated from me and I’m separated from the world. Leaving the ghetto without a pass,  is punishable by death.

Inside, there are only our people, close ones, dear ones. Outside, there are strangers. My soul is so very sad. My heart is seized with terror,”

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Sources

The Smithsonian

The Guardian

Irish Times

 

There is no place for hate in this world.

ivan

You killing me did not stop your hate. Hate is like a disease, a cancer, it eats on you bit by bit , the more you hate the sicker you get. Hate is like a tumout in your head,it drives you insane. Up to the point that you don’t even realize anymore that killing an 8 months old baby is an act of depravity.

I am Ivan Rozenbaum , born in Romania. I was 8 months young when you killed me in Auschwitz. Your hate died with you but the love for me grew stronger each day.

When people see my face they are equally amused and saddened. Amused because who doesn’t smile when they see the innocence of an infant. Saddened because they cannot comprehend the hate that killed me.

J am Ivan Rozenbaum, for ever remembered as a product of love between 2 people.

Don’t you realize that your birth was a result of an act of love. If there had been no love, there had been no you. Yet you wasted your time and energy with hate.

You should have spent your time learning about me and my people. We did not ask for you to become like us, all we wanted was for you to respect and except us. We will never become special by being the same, it is our differences that makes us special. But your hate stopped you seeing this. Your color was black and white and you missed out on all those colours in between.

Do I feel sorry for you? No! I pity you and the pathetic ideology you followed. An ideology based on hate. If you had only had the epiphany that Love is the strongest weapon you have, yet you never used it.

I am Ivan Rozenbaum and it saddens me that so many decades after my murder, some people still are not able to use that powerful weapon called love.

There is no place for hate in this world. But alas there are those who are so eager to create some space for hate. But hate will never win. It might win a few battles but never the war.

 

When Police Academy’s Commandant Lassard went to war.

lassard

Who hasn’t seen Police Academy or any of the sequels? I reckon mots people have. But one of the actors in the movie had such an interesting life that his story would warrant a movie and would probably become a box office success.

George Gaynes who played the clueless Commandant Lassard was born George Jongejans  May 3, 1917, in Helsinki, Finland  which  was then still, part of the Russian Empire , the son of Iya Grigorievna de Gay , a Russian artist, and Gerrit Jongejans, a Dutch businessman.

Tsar Nicholas II of Russia had abdicated the throne on March 15, two months prior to Gaynes’ birth, and the Empire was about go through some turbulent times, and was already at war.

Tsar

The Jongejans familyy left the country, and George was primarily raised in France, England, and Switzerland.

George attended college in the vicinity of Lausanne, Switzerland and graduated in 1937. He then attended a music school in Milan, Italy for about a year.

In 1940, George Gaynes was living in France,when France was occupied by Nazi Germany. George attempted to flee France, by crossing the Pyrenees mountains into neutral Spain. He was arrested by the Spanish authorities for illegally crossing the border, but was soon released.

In 1943, George joined the Royal Netherlands Navy. With the Netherlands under German occupation, the headquarters of the Navy had moved to London, in the UK. George had no previous military experience, but he was noticed for multilingual skills. He was  fluent in   Dutch, English, French, Italian and Russian. He was soon detached to the (British) Royal Navy to serve as a translator.

During his naval service in World War II, George took part in the Allied invasion of Sicily, the Battle of Anzio in the Italian Campaign, and the Adriatic Campaign. The War ended in 1945 and George was honorably discharged in July, 1946. His highest military rank was that of a sergeant.

In 1946, George returned to France but an American theater director offered him a role in a Broadway musical and he moved to New York City later that year and became an American citizen in 1948.

In the early 1960s, George started appearing as a character actor in various television series. He was also offered a number of film roles. His career unexpectedly took off in the 1980s, with a major part in the television series Punky Brewster.

But his most famous role was that of Commandant Lassard in the Police Academy franchise.

police

He died at his home in North Bend, Washington, on February 15, 2016, at the age of 98.

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Sources

IMDB

 

The World War 2 hero who saved my sight.

Charles

Just before Christmas 2011 I lost the sight in my right eye. The retina had become detached but after 2 operations the sight could not be saved, in fact my eye shrunk, dramatically  and I have now a glass shell with  an eye painted on it in front of the remainder of my eye.

In November 2014 the retina in my left eye also became detached, so I was facing going blind. I had to undergo an emergence operation in a Hospital in Cork which is 100 km away from my home in Limerick.

In Cork the consultant surgeon advised me he would be putting a scleral buckle in place to re-attach my retina and to save my eye and sight.The operation was a success this time and my eye was saved.

buckle

The man who pioneered this technology was Dr Charles L. Schepens. Hewas born in Mouscron, Belgium, in 1912  He initially studied mathematics before graduating from medical school in 1935 at State University of Ghent in Belgium.In 1937 he served as assistant to Dr. L. Hambresin in Brussels.

In 1940, he was appointed as a Captain in the Medical Corps of the Belgian Air Force, where he served until the country was invaded by the Nazis in May 1940. He escaped to France and worked with the French and Belgian resistance,  In 1942, under the nom de guerre “Jacques Pérot,” he spearheaded a secret information and evacuation pipeline in the Pyrenees, under the cover of a country lumber mill near the village of Mendive. He was arrested several times by the Gestapo.

He was firts arrested by the Gestapo in October 1940 while he still was in Belgium  on false accusations  of using a bus to transport Allied pilots out of Belgium. Although he was released 10 days later, this experience turned the previously apolitical doctor into an activist, and he allowed his office to be used as a post office for underground agents, arranging for the transfer of maps and such information as troop movement.

In 1942, a spy in Gestapo headquarters alerted him that he was about to be arrested, and he escaped to Paris.

In an of the mill  effort to find  an escape route to Spain, he and a group of fellow resistance members came across  an abandoned sawmill near the town of Mandive in the Pyrenees on the Spanish border.

One of the key features was a 12-mile-long cable-car system extending up the mountain and ending near the border.

Dr. Schepens, bought the mill in July 1942 with backing from a wealthy French patriot and had it in full operation by the end of the year. The site became a functioning lumber enterprise, taking orders, delivering wood and meeting a payroll. Not to cause any suspicion Dr. Schepens(aka Jacques Perot)  developed relationships with the occupying Germans, leading his Basque neighbors to think that he was a Nazi collaborator.

Men,mainly men he helped to escape, who did manual labor around the mill could secretly ride the cable-car system to the top of the mountain and slip into Spain, often with the assistance of a shepherd named Jean Sarochar.

MILL

More than 100 Allied pilots, prisoners of war, Belgian government officials and others made their way out of France over the cable railway. The system also was used to move documents, currency, propaganda and other materials into and out of France.

Everything went according to plan until 1943: That year, a captured resistance agent exposed him. The Gestapo came for him a second time. He escaped before they could arrest him.He had told the Gestapo “it is now 10 o’clock. I have 150 workers idle, because they have not been given their orders this morning. Give me 10 minutes with them. I’ll give the orders and come back.”. He then just walked out.

He spent 16 days in the forest before reaching Spain and, eventually, England, where he resumed his medical career.

In the mean time the Nazis held Dr. Schepens wife and children as bait to lure him out of hiding. However eventually his wife and children  made their own daring escape, hiking through the mountains to reach Spain, and were reunited with Dr. Schepens nine months later in England.

After the war, Schepens resumed his medical career at Moorfields.[3] In 1947, he immigrated to the United States and became a fellow at the Harvard Medical School.

harvard

He became famous in the ophthalmic community for his work in creating the first binocular, stereoscopic indirect ophthalmoscope (1946) and in treating retinal detachment with an encircling scleral buckle (1953).

If the Gestapo had arrested him the second time, he more then likely would have been executed. Amazing to think of what could have happened to my eye in that case.

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Sources

https://eye.hms.harvard.edu/news/charles-schepens-featured-in-eyeworld

https://eye.hms.harvard.edu/charlesschepens

Washington Post

https://www.eyeworld.org/article-ophthalmologist-who-created-vitreoretinal-subspecialty-lived-double-life-as-wwii-resistance-fighter-and

https://www.aao.org/biographies-detail/charles-schepens-md

 

 

 

 

 

 

Would you willingly hurt someone,if someone in authority told you to?

experiment

I have already done a piece on the Milgram experiments, and this will be more of a follow up.

The Milgram experiment,was designed to observe the extent to which individuals would perform acts that violated their personal conscience when under orders from an authority figure. Basically they wanted  to investigate whether Germans were particularly obedient to authority figures as this was a common explanation for the Nazi killings in World War II.

What they found out was shocking. It more or less proved that given a certain set of circumstances the Holocaust could have happened anywhere.

The experiment was set up in the following way  a scientist” an authoritative figure”— ordered participants to ask another individual a series of questions and administer increasingly painful electric shocks for every wrong answer. The intensity of the shocks started at a level of mild pain when the experiment began but could be built up to lethal doses of electricity as the experiment continued. Not know to the participant, the setup was fake.

“The experiment requires that you continue. It is absolutely essential that you continue. You have no other choice, you must go on.” was the order given to participants.

The experiment started in 1961 and conclude in 1963.

50 years later actor/director Eli Roth repeated the experiment for a documentary on Discovery Channel titles “How evil are you” Trying to find out how people would react nowadays, knowing whet we know now.

This is the real shocking thing ,in 1963 ,65% of the participants continued with the task put do them, knowing that it could actually kill the other participant.

In 2013 the percentage rose to 77%.

 

So the answer to the question ‘Would you willingly hurt someone,if someone in authority told you to?’ would probably be Yes.

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Your smiley face makes me cry.

11 months

Your smiley face makes me cry.

It makes me cry because I know you were born on June 13,1942 in The Hague , the Netherlands and you were killed June 11,1943 in Sobibor. You were not even given the opportunity to blow one candle on your first birthday cake.

I cry but I no longer have tears because they have dried up due to crying for the 1.5 million childer that were killed.

There is one question that occupies my mind constantly. Why?

I know why, but I just can’t comprehend.

Ywo days before your birthday you were murdered.

You are Joseph Blok, you could have been an  inspirational musician or a motivation speaker, or  just simply the father of my best friend.

The biggest fear of your parents  should have been to keep you safe from the measles,chicken pox ,mumps and rubella, but it was men who probably had children themselves, perhaps even babies like you.

Men, who did not see you as human being they though of you as vermin, but it was these men who were the real vermin.

Men who felt heroic for killing babies who could not defend themselves.

Rest in peace young Joseph Blok.

 

 

A rumour was enough to be sentenced to death.

Leo

It is strange how you can come across some stories. I was actually doing some research on the fate of the pets of Jews during the Holocaust, when a picture came up of Leo Katzenberger. What drew my attention to the picture was the fact that Leo looked a lot like one of my Uncles who was also called Leo, now my uncle wasn’t a particularly nice man, where Leo Katzenberger by all accounts was a good neighbor and a good man. But why his picture came up in the place I don’t know.perhaps it is because of his last name.

The story of Leo is a disturbing one and although I don’t like drawing parallels with the Holocaust and current state of affairs, I can’t but help seeing some similarities. The holocaust did not happen overnight ,it was a gradual process, Conditions were created without being properly challenged,conditions which eventually resulted in mass destruction of innocent human lives. It only takes a rumour nowadays to get a person convicted, but today the courts are set in social media, People might not realize it but the Holocaust started by slowly picking on people, making false accusation creating the perfect situations to single out scapegoats.

The Katzenberg tral is a chilling example of what can happen.

Leo Katzenberger was a well known  Jewish businessman in Nuremberg he was the owner of a wholesale shoe business and a number of stores throughout the south Germany, he was also  a leading figure in the Nuremberg Jewish community. Early 1932, he rented out  an apartment and a small storefront in his building at 19 Spittlertorgraben to Irene Seiler, a  daughter of a non-Jewish friend. Although Katzenberger’s business was ‘Aryanized’in 1938, he was still fairly comfortable and still kept his own building and rent space to Seiler.

irene

In March 1942, Katzenberger, aged  76 at the time , and Seiler, who was 30, were accused of having a sexual affair and  were  arrested on charges of racial defilement (Rassenschande).

Both Katzenberger and  Seiler,stated that their friendship was platonic and claimed the relationship between them was more that of a father and daughter, and the only “evidence” was the testimony of a single witness who had seen him leaving her apartment.The investigating judge concluded there was too little evidence to proceed with the case.However the case had come to  the attention of Oswald Rothaug, a judge known for his severity and fanatic support of the Nazi party, Rothaug arranged for the case to be brought to him.

Rothaug

Rothaug knew the trial would create massive publicity and there turned out to be great public interest in the proceedings. The courthouse  was full both trial days. In what was a deliberately set up show trial, Rothaug made remarks about Katzenberger  like “syphilitic Jew” and an “agent of world Jewry.”

Given the fact the trial only last 2 days it was clear there was only going to be 1 outcome. Katzenberger was sentenced to death for race defilement .The usual sentence for this ‘ crime’ would have been a term of imprisonment of several years. But, the Volkschädlingsgesetz, a wartime law, which allowed  the death penalty because it was claimed that Katzenberger used the wartime black outs to visit Seiler.

Irene Seiler was found guilty of perjury for denying an affair had taken place and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment

Leo Katzenberger was killed by guillotine at Stadelheim Prison in Munich on 2 June 1942.

But Even among some Nazi officials, the very weak evidence used  and grounds on which Katzenberger had been sentenced to death caused some discomfort.

 

 

 

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Sources

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/katzenberger-case-march-13-1942

March 18: On Trial for “Racial Defilement”

The Forgotten heroes of WWII.

k9

Today is World Animal Day and what better day to pick to remember some of the forgotten Heroes of WWII. The animals that often played a very important role.

Pfc. Rez P. Hester of the Marine Corps Seventh War Dog Platoon on Iwo Jima takes a nap while Butch stands guard. February 1945.(courtesy National Archives)

1

Cpl. William Wende brushes GI Jenny, the burro mascot of an Army unit in North Africa. The interested terrier is named Pito. Ca. 1943.(Courtesy National Archives)

2

Antis was a dog who received the Dickin Medal in 1949 from the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals for bravery in service in England and North Africa during WWII.

antis

Lin Wang was an Asian elephant who served with the Chinese Expeditionary Force during the Second Sino-Japanese War :1937–1945.

lin

Chinese cavalry during WWII.

Cavalry

William of Orange was a male war pigeon of British military intelligence service MI14. He was awarded the 21st Dickin Medal for delivering a message from the Arnhem Airborne Operation. This message saved more than 2000 soldiers at the time of the Battle of Arnhem in September 1944. Its official name in military record is NPS.42.NS.15125. He received the Dickin Medal in May 1945.

william

 

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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

National Archives

Daily MaiL

Archives MOD.

 

Werner Lott -U Boat commander.

werner

Captain(Korvettenkapitän)Werner Lott was commander of U-35 from 15 August 1937 until 29 November 1939.He sank 4 ships and damaged one.

You often hear about war crimes committed by the German armed forces, but there were also acts of decency.

u35

Around 15.40  on 3 Oct, 1939, the Greek freighter Diamantis, although the ship was neutral it was carrying strategic cargo to Britain and was therefore considered a “legitimate target” for the German Navy. It was therefore torpedoed by U-35 and sank 40 miles west of the Scilly Islands, . Because the lifeboats were not suited for use in the bad weather, Capt Lott decided to take all crew members aboard and landed them the next day at Dingle, Co Kerry.Ireland.

Lott’s role in the war would be very limited.On 29 November 1939  the U-35 was scuttled by its crew in the North Sea,after a depth charge attack from the British destroyers Kingston, Icarus, and Kashmir. Lord Louis Mountbatten was the commander of the British squadron.

Lott and his crew were taken as prisoners of war.While imprisoned at the Tower of London. He complained about the accommodations, and demanded to talk to the officer in charge. But it was Lord  Mountbatten who visited him instead,  Mountbatten arranged for the Admiralty to allow Lott and his second-in-command to dine at Scott’s restaurant on the condition they would  not attempt to escape. Lott agreed to the demand and kept his promise, he was returned to the Tower later that evening.

A few days later, he and his fellow officers were moved to the Grizedale P.O.W. camp.

GizedaleLater, the entire crew was moved to P.O.W. camps in Canada.

The fact that the U35 was scuttled in the early stages of WWII and because the crew was taken as POW’s the entire crew survived the war.

u 35 com

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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

https://uboat.net/men/commanders/754.html

http://www.u-35.com/english.htm

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