The Dutch Pope

Pope

When you think of Popes you wouldn’t think that a small country like the Netherlands ever would produce a Pope. But yet it did.

Born as Adriaan Florensz Boeyens in Utrecht on March 2 1459. He would become thr  head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 9 January 1522 until his death on 14 September 1523.  He would be the only Dutchman so far to become pope, and was the last non-Italian pope until John Paul II, 455 years later.

He was designated the title Pope Adrian VI or also Hadrian VI. Adrian was resented by the Romans as an outsider. He took up the task of reforming the church. Pope Adrian VI took over from Pope Leo X, who had been Pope from 1513 to 1521.Pope Leo had left the papacy in chaos. The treasury was depleted by wars, construction, and private leisure activities.

Adrian chose to keep his birth name. Immediately, the stern theologian made sure that people understood . he was not the sovereign’s puppet. He embarked on a program of reformation to replenish the treasury by putting an end to unnecessary spending

Adrian VI tried to unite the Christians in a crusade against the Turks, he failed in this. Swiftly the Turks under Suleiman the Magnificent conquered Rhodes.

suleman

Adrian also underestimated the early stages of the Lutheran revolt. Adrian did condemn Luther as a heretic, but he took no defensive actions against the Lutheran movement. Ironically the country he was born in would later become one of the most Lutheran countries in Europe.

Adrian VI died in Rome on 14 September 1523, after one year, eight months and six days as pope. Most of his official papers were lost after his death.

Pope A

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Sources

Papalartifacts.com

Britannica.com

 

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Seducing the nation

kDF

It is easy to blame the German civilians for being complacent during World War II and especially the Holocaust, and to an extend this blame is understandable.

But I have my doubts if this complacency  would be different in any other country. After World War I Germany was engulfed in internal conflicts and even an internal revolution, which was basically a civil war.

civil war

After this political upheaval and social uncertainty followed by economical woes,partially caused by the repayments as laid out by the treaty of Versaille and partially caused by the great depression, the country was facing an uphill struggle. There was poverty,famine and a hyper inflation. Money was worth nothing,  people would sometimes use  paper money  to fire up the stove.

stove

It is not hard to understand that in those times it didn’t take much for people to follow a party who not only promised things but also delivered on those promises, at least temporarily . We now know of course that these promises eventually only served one reason, which was for the NSDAP to get to power.

These promises coupled with a well functioning propaganda machine proved to be a very powerful weapon.

In the early 1930s the Nazis started setting up programs like “Kraft durch Freude” Strength through Joy which was was a large state-operated leisure organization which worked in conjunction with the German Labour Front . The KdF provided affordable leisure activities such as concerts, plays, libraries, day trips and holidays. Large cruise ships, like the  Wilhelm Gustloff, were built specially deigned  for KdF cruises.

Ship

Beach resorts were also built, resorts like Prora , which facilitated beach holidays on a massive scale. An enormous building complex on the island of Rügen, located off the Pomeranian coast in the Baltic Sea. It was built between 1936 and 193 by the KdF as a beach resort to accommodate affordable beach holidays.

Prora

The Nazis promised that every family should have a family car. Designed by Ferdinand Porsche , the KdF cars were known as the People’s car or Volkswagen. Porsche developed the Type 12,  the concept f the or “Auto für Jedermann” (car for everybody) for Zündapp in 1931. On 26 May 1938, Hitler laid the cornerstone for the Volkswagen factory in Fallersleben.

VW

The Nazis made sure that everyone in the country would get a radio, the so called “Volksempfänger” or People’s receiver. Of course people were delighted with this. This bit of technology would connect them with the wider world, They did not realize then that this was also a toll for mass propaganda, a brainwash device for in the living room.

radio

The Nazi regime even attempted to provide families with their own airplanes, the so called Volksflugzeug (people’s airplane) was never fully implemented though.

plane

The keyword in many of these technologies was “Volk” or ‘People’. It created the illusion that the Nazis only had the best intentions for the People, There were People fridges and even People gas masks.

This combined with the creation of employment, a new found prosperity was created in Germany. This prosperity after the years of hardship and poverty worked nearly as a drug, and people believed what Hitler and his cronies told them, because for a while they did what they promised.

It was relatively easy to find a scapegoat to blame for the poverty they had endured, and to ensure this wouldn’t happen again and  people fell for it.

Of course their eyes should have been opened when they saw what was really happening to the Jews,disabled and other groups which the Nazis had deemed as subhuman, but at that stage so many were brainwashed and believed the lies they were fed, because life was good.

Sometimes when a politician keeps his promise is not necessarily a good thing.

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The Vegetarian Migrant Dictator

AH GERMAN

The title of this blog could be from any fictitious novel. A children’s book or even a fairy tale, but it actually describes a bizarre reality which caused so much destruction.

The story of Hitler’s naturalization process resembles something of a farce. On April 7 1925 he had given up his Austrian citizenship, it was only on February 1932 he received his German citizenship. This means for 7 years he had been stateless, technically had had been an illegal immigrant. At any stage in that period he could have been deported, however instead of deportation he managed to become the leader of one of the biggest political parties.

On 25 February 1932, Dietrich Klagges, who was the interior minister of Brunswick and  a member of the NSDAP, appointed Hitler as administrator for the state’s delegation to the Reichsrat in Berlin, making Hitler a citizen of Brunswick, and also of Germany.

In less then 3 weeks after receiving his German citizenship he ran against Hindenburg in the 1932 presidential elections, which was held in two rounds, March 15 and April 10 1932.

elections

Ir surprises me that none of the opposition parties questioned the legality of his candidature. I am not saying it was illegal but it strikes me at least odd that a man who had been an illegal immigrant 19 days before the election suddenly was able to run for the highest office in the country.

I am not going into his political career because too much of that has already been documented.

I will however go into the fact that he was a vegetarian, although he hadn’t been a vegetarian all his life but certainly by 1937/38 he followed a vegetarian diet, He also abstained from smoking and alcoholic beverages.

The fact he was vegetarian was used as a propaganda tool.In a contemporaneous pro-Nazi children’s magazine called “Die Weisse Fahne- Neugeist” (the white flag- new spirit)  a magazine which basically promoted something which is now called ‘mindfulness’ published the following article in one of its editions.

“Do you know that your Führer is a vegetarian, and that he does not eat meat because of his general attitude toward life and his love for the world of animals? Do you know that your Führer is an exemplary friend of animals, and even as a chancellor, he is not separated from the animals he has kept for years?…The Führer is an ardent opponent of any torture of animals, in particular vivisection, and has declared to terminate those conditions…thus fulfilling his role as the savior of animals, from continuous and nameless torments and pain.”

Bizarrely it links on of  the most evil men(if not the most evil) who ever lived to something as peaceful and supposedly serene as mindfulness.

 

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Do you dream of me at night?

Henny

Yesterday it would have been my 80th Birthday. Henny Sophia Frank, born on February 23,1939 in Amsterdam. My name is Henny Sophia but people call me Henneke.

But alas I was not allowed to celebrate my 80th birthday. Nor was I allowed to celebrate my 70th or 60th, in fact I wasn’t even allowed to celebrate my 5th birthday.

You see, you killed me in Sobibor when I was 4. All the things I could have been never came to pass. In the end I became a number, a statistic. But I am so more then that.

I am a child who had many dreams, dreams of becoming a teacher, a nurse, a doctor or just simply someone that works in a shop, a boutique where they sell the lastest fashion from Paris and Milan.

My dream were cut short by you and the regime you so admired, a regime of hate and greed.

My dreams were cut short, but do you see me in your dreams?

Do you ever think of me or all the others you killed, the ones you lied to. You told them not to worry, they’d be fine after they had a shower, but they did not get water but death.

Do you ever see my eyes in your dreams? My eyes that only displayed innocence.

I doubt you dream at all.

 

World War 2 violence in Nijmegen.

nijmegen

On February 22nd, 1944 the people of the Dutch  town of Nijmegen were subjected to an attack which killed more than 750 civilians. One would assume that this awful attack was carried out by the German occupiers , but that was not the case. The attack was carried out by B-24 bombers of the 446th and 453rd Bombardment Group if the United States Army Air force.

B-24

The bombers had been on the way on a mission to bomb the German city of Gotha,where the Gothaer Waggonfabrik aircraft factory was producing Messerschmitt fighters and other Luftwaffe planes.

But due to poor visibility the mission was cancelled and the bombers were told to return to base to the RAF Bungay airbase.

map

Initially it was reported that the bombing of Nijmegen had been a mistake, it was said that after the command to abort the Gotha mssion the bombers looked for alternative targets like the German cities of Kleve or Goch which are near the Dutch border.

However in reality the bombers  for targets of opportunity on the way back to Britain. The targets were found in the form of a railway emplacement near Nijmegen, a gasworks in Arnhem, and an industrial area in Enschede.

The devastation caused to of the city centre of Nijmegen was certainly not intented, according to the airmen’s reports. They had dropped the  bombs dropped too early.  a study by Dutch Historian Rosendaal indicated that the bombers were inexperienced. And those were not the only errors: not all the pilots realized they were targeting Nijmegen, nor did they rknowthat Nijmegen was occupied Dutch territory and that it would have needed  special clearance  required to bomb it.

The Germans were quick to use this incident as a propganda tool, They had accused the Dutch government in exile had given the go ahead to bomb Nijmegen.The Germand hung posters in several places  with the text ‘With friends like these, who needs enemies?’

nijmegen propaganda

Their propaganda efforts failed seven months later, the American ground troops were welcomed as heroes by the inhabitants.The propaganda had been counterproductive.

On that day more then 750 civilians were killed, which was close to the  amount of casualties of the bombing of Rotterdam , which was 900,at the start of the war.

monument

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Beat it- The guitar solo

beat it

The guitar solo on Michael Jackson’s “Beat it” could have sounded completely different and perhaps it would not have become the massive hit it was if it wasn’t for Quincy Jones’s persistence.

Eddie van Halen was  relaxing at home one day in the summer of 1982, where he suddenly received a call, The caller claimed to be Quincy Jones. Eddie thinking it was a prank, kindly told to caller to leave by using 2 words including 3 f’s. One at the start of the first word and 2 at the end of the 2nd word(I don’t mean Funny Stuff). He then put down the phone.

However he caller called 4 more times, van Halen then realized that it was indeed the legendary music producer Quincy Jones.

Quincy had just working with Michael Jackson on his mega selling album “Thriller” and he wanted Eddie van Halen to play the solo on “Beat it”

Quincy Jones and Michale Jackson took a skeleton version of Beat it up to Eddie van Halen’s place. After Eddie van Halen did some minor adjustment to the part of the song, he recorded the solo and he did it in one take.

He did not charge anything for it either, no fee no royalties, totally free. Well kind of, legend has it he did ask for a six pack of beer.

Eddie van Halen wasn’t the only legendary guitarist involved in the project, Steve Lukather from the rock band Toto also worked on the Thriller album.

 

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Funding Evil

hoesch

For the NSDAP to become as powerful as it did, it had to receive financial backing, They could not only rely on donations of party members, because in the early 1930s many of them were not that wealthy, one of the reasons they had joined the party was to get themselves in a financial better position.

On November 19, 1932 , twenty representatives of industry, agriculture and the finance sector signed a petition ,urging Paul von Hindenburg to make Adolf Hitler the Chancellor of Germany.

The drafting of the petition was aided especially by Hjalmar Schacht, who had been the President of the Reichsbank until 1930 and resumed that position again after Hitler took power in January 1933.

SCHACHT

A few months after that petition, on February 20 1933, a group of 20 German  industrialists had a secret meeting with Hitler at the residence of Hermann Göring.  Hjalmar Schacht was again one of the participants. The meeting was held to facilitate funding for the Nazis election campaign for the March 5 ,1933 election.

The aim was to  achieve a two-thirds majority in order  to pass the Enabling Act,which would give Hitler total power over the Reichstag,   they wanted to raise three million Reichsmark to fund the campaign.

The Nazis  did not achieve the 3 million they desired during that meeting, but according to records,  over two million Reichsmarks were contributed or pledged at the meeting.

This is where it gets a bit problematic for me although several of the companies present on that day or who contributed monies afterwards, are no longer in existence. Some of them were disbanded after the war, or others like Hoechst who were  bought up r merged into  by other companies, Hoechst for example was partially acquired by the Dutch Hoogovens in the 1970s and the remainder of the company merged with France’s Rhône-Poulenc S.A. in 1999.

But there were companies who are still trading nowadays and are some of the biggest brands in the world. Companies like Siemens,Opel,Allianz insurance,BMW or companies like Osram lighting  who contributed 40,000 Reichsmark and AEG Electronics who gave 60,000 Reichsmark.

These companies are now household names, my dilemma is do we need to boycott them? Which would mean we can no longer sit leave alone drive an Opel or BMW, and lets not forget VW and Ford had also links to the NSDAP.

IG Farben who not only contributed 400,000 Reichsmark but also supplied Zyklon B via its subsidiary Degesch.

zyklon

But a part of IG Farben continued trading after the war as Bayer, which is one of the biggest pharmaceutical and life sciences companies in the world, many patients depend on their medicines,

As for Hjalmar Schacht who so willingly  participated in the meeting and petition, he was one of the non military people involved in the 20 July plot to kill Hitler.

I genuinely struggle with this because it is not a black and white issue. Do we really boycott all the companies who had ties with the Nazi regime? Because that is basically a great deal of companies who have been around since before WWII.

Coca Cola(via Fanta); Hugo Boss;Mercedes Benz;C&A;IBM;Chanel,Audi;Nestle;Barclays Bank;Kodak;AP;Adidas and Puma. There are literally hundreds of companies.

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The day German troops invaded Canada

if

On February 19, 1942 Winnipeg, the capital city of the province Manitoba in Canada, was invaded by Nazi troops. By 5.30 am Nazi broadcasts had been made from a radio station they had taken over.

At 7.00 am air raid  sirens sounded, and a blackout was ordered. And by 9.30 am the brave defenders of the city of Winnipeg surrendered to the German troops. Shortly afterwards German armored vehicles entered the city.

if 2

The Germans didn’t waste any time imposing German rules on the city.

Ankundigung

IT IS HEREBY PROCLAIMED THAT:

1. This territory is now a part of the Greater Reich and under the jurisdiction of Col. Erich Von Neuremburg, Gauleiter of the Fuehrer.

2. No civilians will be permitted on the streets between 9:30 p.m. and daybreak.

3. All public places are out of bounds to civilians, and not more than 8 persons can gather at one time in any place.

4. Every householder must provide billeting for 5 soldiers.

5. All organizations of a military, semi-military or fraternal nature are hereby disbanded and banned. Girl Guide, Boy Scout and similar youth organizations will remain in existence but under direction of the Gauleiter and Storm troops.

6. All owners of motor cars, trucks and buses must register same at Occupation Headquarters where they will be taken over by the Army of Occupation.

7. Each farmer must immediately report all stocks of grain and livestock and no farm produce may be sold except through the office of the Kommandant of supplies in Winnipeg. He may not keep any for his own consumption but must buy it back through the Central Authority in Winnipeg.

8. All national emblems excluding the Swastika must be immediately destroyed.

9. Each inhabitant will be furnished with a ration card, and food and clothing may only be purchased on presentation of this card.

10. The following offences will result in death without trial

a) Attempting to organize resistance against the Army of Occupation

b) Entering or leaving the province without permission.

c) Failure to report all goods possessed when ordered to do so.

d) Possession of firearms.

NO ONE WILL ACT, SPEAK, OR THINK CONTRARY TO OUR DECREES

published and ordered by the Authority of (signed) Erich Von Neuremburg

if 3

Reichmarks were given out as change, and were to replace the dollar. One group of Nazis burst into the cafeteria at Great-West Life. Employees were kicked out and some jailed, while the Nazis grabbed all the food.

if 4

The Germans  burned a pile of books in front of the main branch of the Winnipeg Public Library.

books

Even the newspapers were now under control of the German occupiers. The speed in which they operated was unprecedented.

winnipeg

The city of Winnipeg had experienced a Blizkrieg style attack by the German army. The Germans now had started the invasion of Canada.

Except they hadn’t , no German army had invaded.

The whole invasion was simulated It was organized by the Greater Winnipeg Victory Loan organization, which was led by prominent Winnipeg businessman J. D. Perrin. The event was the largest military exercise in Winnipeg to that point.

The event was named “If Day”  it was a campaign to promote the purchase of Victory Bonds. Manitoba’s fundraising target was $45 million , including $24.5 million from Winnipeg

bonnds.JPG

The simulation included 3,500 Canadian Army members, making it the largest military exercise in Winnipeg. It included 300 veterans of the First World War and a number of reserve and civilian groups.

The long day ended at 5:30 p.m. with a ceremonial release of prisoners, a parade, and speeches from the released dignitaries in front of the Parliament buildings.

Members of the organizing committee and local business people marched down Portage Avenue with banners reading: “It MUST Not Happen Here!” and “Buy Victory Bonds!”

The If Day event not only resulted in Victory Bond sales well over Greater Winnipeg’s goal, but brought Winnipeg’s innovative efforts to the attention of people throughout North America. Life Magazine ran a pictorial spread of the If Day activities in Winnipeg and in smaller centers across Manitoba.

2019-02-19

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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

Manitoba Historical society

British Pathe

 

The brave words from a Mother to her Daughter.

olga

This story is both heartbreaking and uplifting. Heartbreaking because it is a story about a mother who knew she was going to die. Uplifting because her last words were so positive and courageous, despite the fate that awaited her.

Olga Bancic was born on May 10, 1912 to a large Jewish family living in the Bessarabia province when it was still part of the Russian Empire.

In 1936, she traveled to France, where she supported communist activists in transporting weapons to Spanish Republican forces fighting in the Spanish Civil War. Shortly before the outbreak of WWII she gave birth to her Daughter Dolores, the child’s father was Alexandru Jar. After the outbreak of the war Olga left Dolores in care with a French family. Olga joined a resistance group.

She was arrested on November 6, 1943 by the Gestapo, during the interrogation she was tortured.Despite the torture she refused  give information about her comrades.

On February 22,1944 Olga and 22 others were sentenced to death. All male defendants were executed later that day at Fort Mont-Valérien. Olga had been the only female defendant and due to a loophole in the French law which prevented women from being executed on French soil, Olga was deported to Stuttgart. She was executed in Stuttgart on May 10,1944 , her 32nd birthday. She was decapitated with an axe in the local prison’s courtyard.

One of her last deeds was throwing a letter out of a window during her transportation to her place of execution. The letter had a note attached to it saying.:

“Dear Madame: I ask you to please give this letter to my little girl Dolores Jacob after the war. This is the last wish of a mother who will only live twelve more hours.”

Miraculously the letter did reach Dolores, who had been given the name Dolores Jacob, the letter said the following:

“My dear little daughter, my darling little love

Your mother is writing the last letter, my dear little daughter; tomorrow at 6:00, on May 10, I will be no more.

Don’t cry, my love; your mother doesn’t cry any more either. I die with a peaceful conscience and with the firm conviction that tomorrow you will have a happier life and future than your mother’s. You will no longer have to suffer. Be proud of your mother, my little love. I always have your image before me.

I’m going to believe that you will see your father, and I have hope that he’ll meet a fate different from mine. Tell him that I always thought of him, as I always thought of you. I love you both with all my heart. Both of you are dear to me. My darling child, your father is, for you, also a mother. He loves you a lot. You won’t feel the loss of your mother. My darling child, I finish this letter with the hope that you will be happy all your life, with your father, with everyone.

I kiss you with all my heart, a lot a lot.

Farewell my love.

Your Mother”

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Hermine Santruschitz aka Miep Gies

Miep

The name Hermine Santruschitz will mean very little to most, however the name Miep Gies is a well known name, a name which would forever be linked to a teenage diarist called Anne Frank.

Miep Gies born  Hermine Santruschitz would have celebrated her 110th birthday today, she did not get that old but she still reached the age of 100.

She was born in Vienna on February 15,1909.Her parents Mathias and Genofeva (née Jakuschitz) Santruschitz sent her to Leiden in the Netherlands in 1920. Austria was stil suffering the consequences of World War 1, there were a lot of shortages including food.

The Netherlands had remained neutral during WWI and was reasonably affluent. Hermine was sent to The Nieuwenburg family, consisting of 2 parents and 5 children. The The Nieuwenburg family initially agreed to take Hermine in foster care for 6 months, but due to bad health this was extended to one year. In that time Hermine got very attached to the family and the decision was made for Hermine to remain with the family. They called her by the shortened version of her name Miep.

In 1922 Miep moved with her foster family to Amsterdam.Miep was a bright student and after  graduating high school she got a job as an accountant.

In 1933, Otto Frank had been appointed Managing Director of Opekta, a German company which had expanded into the Netherlands.

Jam

In need of a secretary the Dutch branch, headed by Otto Frank hired Miep in 1933.

In 1933 Miep gad also met Jan Gies but due the fact that Jan had to go into the Dutch Social Services, the couple didn’t meet socially again until 1936.

Jan and Miep became close friends yo the Frank family. Shortly after the Nazis occupied the Netherlands, Miep was urged to  to join a Nazi women’s group. But she refused to do so, because of this threatened with deportation back to Vienna. Jan and Miep decided to get married, this would secure Miep’s residence in the Netherlands. They got married  in Amsterdam on 16 July 1941, The Frank family was in attendance at the wedding.

Frank

Less than a year later the lives of both the Frank and the Gies family would change forever. All of them faced death , the Frank’s simply because they were Jewish, Miep en Jan Gies for helping the Frank , the Pels family and Fritz Pfeffer , hide.

The fate of all those hiding in that little secret annex in an office in Amsterdam is well documented

Miep died on January 11,2010 aged 100.

An unassuming, immigrant foster child who became an icon for heroism.

Happy Birthday Miep.

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