Anne Frank- Just a teenage girl.

Anne Frank

When you look up in formation on Anne Frank, the first thing you will see is that she is described as a German born or Dutch Diarist as if she was a well established author or Journalist, but she wasn’t.

She was just a teenage girl who happened to write a diary, like so many other girls did in that time and probably still do. If she had been a teenager now, I am certain she would have been on Instagram.Snapchat, Facebook and other social media. She was a very bubbly girl who like to express herself.

Does this make her diary less valuable? No of course not, it makes it even more valuable because the diary was not written by a professional author but by a young girl who described her daily life , a life which so few can even fathom nowadays.

Her diary became her closest friend and ally. A tool to express her fear, boredom, and the struggles as a teenager growing up. On 16 March 1944, she wrote: “The nicest part is being able to write down all my thoughts and feelings, otherwise I’d absolutely suffocate.”

12 days later on March 28,1944 the exiled Dutch minister for education,Gerrit Bolkestein, gave a speech on Radio Orange where he appealed to listeners in the occupied Netherlands to record their everyday experiences on paper.

“If future generations are to realize to the full extent what we as a population are going through and what we are experiencing in this time of war, then it is clear that we will need simple documents: a diary, letters from a laborer forced to go to work in Germany, sermons spoken by a clergyman”.

Bolkesijn

Anne Frank, was one of the many who heard Bolkestein’s appeal at the time. That night she wrote about her housemates: “…of course, everyone rushed for my diary all at once”. She started to rework her diary and called it The Secret Annex.

Next week , June 12th will be Annelise Marie Frank’s 90th Birthday . I had planned to write a blog about Anne on that day, but I will be busy make a preparations for a trip I am taking with my teenage daughter.

Next time when you read about Anne Frank and you see her described as a German born or Dutch diarist please do not forget she was also just a teenage girl, who happened to have written a diary.

A teenage girl who still could be alive today, but her life was cut short by a brutal fascist regime. A regime which had no regard for life.

anne frank diary

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Sources

geheugenvannederland.nl

History Extra

 

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The Nine Sovereigns at Windsor for the funeral of King Edward VII.

9

I have often wondered If World War I was nothing else then a family feud gone out of control.

If you look at all the royal families in Europe and even outside of Europe, they are mostly all related  in one way or another. There is nothing more clearer indicating this then a picture which was taken after the funeral of King Edward VII of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and Emperor of India occurred on Friday, 20 May 1910.(picture above)

Standing, from left to right: King Haakon VII of Norway-  the late King’s nephew by marriage/son-in-law and fourth cousin (once removed);Tsar Ferdinand of the Bulgarians-  the late King’s second cousin; King Manuel II of Portugal and the Algarve,-the late King’s fourth cousin;Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany and Prussia- the late King’s nephew;  King George I of the Hellenes(Greece) – the late King’s brother-in-law/fourth cousin and King Albert I of the Belgians- the late King’s second cousin.

Seated, from left to right: King Alfonso XIII of Spain-the late King’s nephew-in-law; King George V of the United Kingdom- the late King’s son; and King Frederick VIII of Denmark-the late King’s brother-in-law/fourth cousin.

These nine Sovereigns all had direct connection but most of the other Royal dignitaries also had direct or indirect ties.

Only 4 years later most of the sovereign states these men. were head of state of would be at war.

Two of the main nations at war German and Great Britain had direct blood ties.As a grandchild of Queen Victoria, Wilhelm II was a first cousin of the future King George V.

(Wilhelm with his father, in Highland dress, in 1862)

wilhem kilt

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Letter to Henio

Henlo

The “Letters to Henio” project began in the city of Lublin in 2005 as part of an activity to preserve and reconstruct the city’s Jewish heritage. A local cultural center, Grodzka Gate – NN Theatre, organizes this educational activity. According to the center’s director, Tomasz Pietrasiewicz, the main idea of the project is as follows: “It is impossible to remember the faces and names of 40,000 people. Remember one. A shy smile, white shirt with a collar, colored shorts, side haircut, striped socks… Henio.”

Every year on 19 April, which is Holocaust Remembrance Day in Poland, pupils and citizens of Lublin are asked to send letters addressed to Henio Zytomirski at 11th Kowalska Street, the last known address of Henio in Lublin.

I am not a citizen of Lublin, but I felt compelled to also send a letter to Henio. Howver I will not send it to his last known address but will post it below.

“Dear Henio,

I don’t know you and you don’t know me.

But looking at your last photograph I can see a proud young boy, standing straight and ready to pose for his picture to be taken. A white shirt, pure white socks the symbol of your purity and innocence.

You were only 6  years old when this picture was taken. It was perhaps taken after a long school day and you were eager to go home, to kick a ball or just to have a cod glass of water or lemonade.

Maybe it was a hot day ,because it was July 1939, and you were promised an ice cream after the picture was taken.

None of this was extraordinary because every child is entitled to have a treat after being such a good child.

A few months after this picture was taken at the start of a new school year your world was turned upside down, On September 1 1939, a foreign army invaded your country. A foreign army with ver bad intentions.

You this army did not only want to take all the land it also want to get rid of people like you. You were Jewish and according this evil new regime your life was not worthy.

First they took you and your family from your home in Lublin and were put into a ghetto, Then in November 1942 you and your father were sent to the Majdanek concentration camp, it was not too far away from your house.

But you were never to see your house again because on that day  November 9th,1942 you were murdered. You were put into a gas chamber where you died an awful death. You were only 9.

I don’t know you and you don’t know me but from now on ,every year on March 25th, your birthday, I will light a candle for you and remember you until the day that I shed my earthly coil.

And maybe one day our souls will meet.”

 

BOAC Flight 777

bOAC 777

On June 1,1943 the BOAC Flight 777,a scheduled British Overseas Airways Corporation civilian airline flight from Portela Airport in Lisbon, Portugal to Whitchurch Airport near Bristol, England.The Douglas DC-3 serving the flight was attacked by eight German Junkers Ju 88 fighter planes and crashed into the Bay of Biscay, killing all 17 on board.

BOAC was a temporary wartime consortium of prewar airlines including British Airways and KLM.

Although it was a civilian flight it was not that uncommon that Civilian flights were attacked during the war. But what makes this attack special is some of the passengers on board.

bOAC

I will only go into more detail of 2 of the passnegers.

Leslie Howard

Leslie

Leslie Howard was a leading actor and figure  in the British film industry, and in Hollywood. Famous for his roles in  The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934) and Gone with the Wind (1939). He was also involved in making and promoting pro-Allied films such as Pimpernel Smith (1941) and propaganda.  That’s what he  actually was was doing in Portugal, having been invited there by the British government to promote a film called The Lamp Still Burns.

Wilfrid Israel

wILFRED

Wilfrid Israel was a German-born Jew  WHO helped tens of thousands of Jews, many of them children, escape Germany during the Holocaust. He had played a significant role in the Kindertransport.

On 26 March 1943, he left Britain for Portugal and spent two months investigating the situation of Jews in Spain and Portugal; he found as many as 1,500 Jewish refugees in Spain, many of whom he aided in obtaining Palestine certificates and he proposed a plan to the British government to aid them.

The flight took off from Lisbon at 7:35 AM, five minutes late due to the late delivery of a package to Leslie Howard. A bit more than three hours later, over the Bay of Biscay, eight eight German Junkers Ju 88s appeared and began firing at the DC-3. The Dutch pilot radioed the ground that he was being followed by “strange aircraft” and then that cannon tracers and shells were ripping through the fuselage. His last words were, “Wave-hopping and doing my best.” One of the plane’s engines was severely damaged in the first salvo.

REPORT

There had been a few theories to why the Luftwaffe had attacked the flight. The most popular theory surrounding the downing of BOAC Flight 777 is that German intelligence mistakenly believed Winston Churchill was on the flight.

But there were also theories that Leslie Howard and Wilfrid Israel had been the intended targets. However the German pilots deny that they had any knowledge about the passengers on board and had actually thought it was a military plane.

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Sources

RAF

WWII Forums

IMDb

 

Marcus Lelyveld-Jewish Footballer-Killed.

marcus

The Dutch are a proud footballing nation, the sport is part of our DNA. But there is a part of our footballing history which has been forgotten.

Marcus Lelyveld born September 9,1905 in the Hague, the Netherlands. His father made furniture but in 1914 he changed from furniture to selling fruit.

Marcus was  a talented football player. When he was 17 he managed to secure a place in the first team of VUC, a club based in The Hague.He was a defender and sometimes played as a defending midfielder.In 1930 Marcus was selected as part of a elite The Hague team to play a match against a Belgian team from Brussels.

Later that year he was selected to play with the B-team of the Dutch National squad.In 1931 the head coach  of the National team, Bob Glendenning selected him for a match against France in Paris, Although Marcus was selected he didn’t get a chance to play.

However on February 14 ,1932 he finally got a chance with the mighty Dutch national team. Mauk Weber, of ADO Den Haag, wasn’t fit enough to play so Macus took Mauk’s spot. The match was a friendly match against Belgium and was played in the Amsterdam,Olympic Stadium. The Belgian team won by 2-3.

11 tal

Unfortunately that was the last official international match he played for the Dutch national team. He did play several international matches on club level against the Irish Champions F.C. Bohemian,, and also against English teams like Port Vale and Stoke.

In 1934 he was sacked by VUC but the Dutch FA(KNVB) intervened and he was reinstated. However it would be the last season he played Football.

On June 19,1935 he married a single Mother Theodora Antonia Schoonen, unlike Marcus she was not Jewish.

In 1942 a Dutch judge sent Marcus to jail for a minor offence,due to the overcrowding of jails he was sent to Camp Erica,near Ommen instead, in June 1942.

Erica

The camp was designated mostly for Dutchmen convicted of black market trade or resistance to the occupational authorities; only eight Jews were detained here.The camp was notorious for the brutal behaviour of its personnel.

Herbertus Bikker aka The Butcher of Ommen was a member of the Waffen-SS. In this function he served as a guard at the prison and work camp Erika.

Although there were a few Jewish prisoners there, they were particularly harshly treated.

Marcus Lelyveld suffered severe physical abuse in the camp and he eventually died on September 5,1942 as a result of the abuse.

On 19 januari 1943, a second Jewish prisoner,Salomon Roet, dies as a result of severe physical abuse.

What I find very disturbing about these deaths is that they were personal, it wasn’t done by a bullet or by gassing, but by beating, kicking on a one on one basis. Whoever abused these men most of looked in their eyes.

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Sources

Joods Monument

WO2 Slachtoffers

 

White House Prom

prom

We sometimes forget that the White House is not only the residence of the President of the USA , but also the residence of the President’s family.

In 1975 Susan Ford, daughter of President Gerald Ford, was in her final year at Holton-Arms School.Her classmates, petitioned headmaster James Lewis to ask Susan if she could arrange for them to use the White House for the senior prom.Susan Ford asked  White House Chief Usher Rex Scouten that they be permitted to hold that year’s senior class prom at the White House. 

The request was granted, however there were a few terms and conditions connected to it.

  • No expenses associated with the dance could be borne by the United States Government.
  • All participants to the prom  were required to provide their names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers to the United States Secret Service a minimum of thirty days prior to the event.
  • Members of the band, ‘The Outerspace Band’, selected to perform at the prom could not have any outstanding drug charges against them.

 

ourespace

The Class of ’75,  paid $1,300 for the prom out of class funds.

While the President and first lady  were thousands of miles away on a historic European diplomatic mission,  Susan Ford was making some modest history on her own back home. She played host to the first . and thus far only, high school senior prom ever held in the White House. It was held on May 31, 1975, and  it was generally well-received by those who attended.

News

style

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Sources

Washington Post

Vanity Fair

People Magazine

Ford Library Museum

 

Dr.Robert Ritter and Eva Justin

Ritter

One lesson that many people haven’t learned from the Nazi era is that scientist don’t always have the best interest of humanity at heart. They often are driven by their own curiosity rather then what’s best for their fellow man. Yet people often follow their advise blindly, without questioning motives or who funds the research carried out by scientists. This week I heard a newly elected politician say during an interview on the radio”Why wouldn’t we trust scientists?” A statement like that scares me. Not because I am anti scientists, far from it, science has made so many positive changes in our lives, but it scares me because it is accepted without being questioned. Science is like any other thing in life, don’t just accept things because someone says it is the right thing to do.

Dr.Robert Ritter was a German scientist. The Nazis established the Racial Hygiene and Demographic Biology Research Unit  in 1936. Which was  headed and run  by Dr. Robert Ritter and his assistant Eva Justin.

Their task was  to conduct an extensive  in-depth study of the “Gypsy question  and to provide the regime with the data which would be used for policies to set up a new Reich “Gypsy law”. After a substantial fieldwork in the spring of 1936. The research consisted of interviews and medical examinations to ascertain the racial classification of the Roma, the Unit concluded that the majority of  Romani,  were not of “pure Gypsy blood”,  and posed a danger to German racial purity and should be deported or eliminated.

BLODD

Ronert Ritter, who was  a psychiatrist,with a background in child psychiatry and the biology of criminality, hoped to determine the links between heredity and criminality. With funding from the German Association for Scientific Research and access to police records. In 1937  he began to systematically interview all the Gypsies living in Germany.

In a report of his research findings in 1940, Ritter concluded that 90 percent of the Gypsies native to Germany were “of mixed blood.” He described such Gypsies as “the products of mating with the German criminal asocial sub-proletariat.” He further characterized Gypsies as a “primitive” people incapable of real social adaptation.”

Eva and Robert

Eva Justin was an anthropologist, she specialised in so-called scientific racism. (a pseudo-scientific belief that verifiable evidence exists to support or justify racism (racial discrimination).

Justin was one of the first Registered Nurses to earn a PhD. She was able to speak the  Romani language, which earned  her the trust of Roma and Sinti people. Her doctoral thesis was titled “Lebensschicksale artfremd erzogener Zigeunerkinder und ihrer Nachkommen” (fates of alienated educated gypsy children and their descendants)

romani

The children that Justin studied had been selected for deportation. However the transport was delayed to facilitate the conclusion of  her research and until she received her PhD. The children were then sent to the Gypsy family camp at Auschwitz on 6 May 1943. Just over 3 weeks later on May, 30 1943, Josef Mengele  became  chief medical officer of the Romani family camp  at Auschwitz. Some of the children were subjected to his experiments and most were eventually killed in the gas chamber. Approximately 39 or 40 children that Justin had studied were sent to Auschwitz , and all but four died before the end of the war, many before her thesis was published.

She was present when the Sinti and Roma deportations to concentration camps were organized.

ANTHRO

Despite the de-Nazification of Germany after World War II, Ritter was not required to take responsibility for his actions during Nazi rule.

In post-war West Germany, Justin worked as a psychologist for the Frankfurt police, even acting as a consultant to the legal system for compensation cases for Holocaust survivors.She died from cancer in 1966 in Offenbach am Main, a city on the outskirts of Frankfurt. In 1958 the Frankfurt district attorney initiated an investigation into Justin’s wartime actions, but the investigation was closed in 1960.

 

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Sources

USHMM

Bundesarchiv

 

Frederik Goldsteen- Holocaust Victim , whose shop I often visited.

Frederik

I remember as a kid , my neighbor and I made our own bows and arrows, We used it to target practice on a spare door we had in the storage rooms in the basement of our apartment block.

We bought the materials for these ‘weapons’  in a shop in the center of our town,Geleen, in the Netherlands. It was a DIY shop, called Hubo, located on Annastraat 24.

2019-05-29

Also later in life when I needed something DIY related I would frequent the establishment and would purchase what I required.

I can’t remember how often I went in there, it would not have been an awful lot because when it comes to DIY I am pretty much double left handed. But I would have been in there at least a few dozen times, and would have passed by the shop on a daily basis.

Never did I realize the fate of one of its former occupants.

Frederik Goldsteen was born on  the 9th of  july 1918 in  Rheydt-Germany. As a student he lived with his brother in Voorburg a suburb of the Hague in the Netherlands . He studied to become a a radio technician. Between 1937 and 1940 he would reside in Geleen with his widowed Mother and in the Hague with his fiancee Elfriede.

Shortly before they got married  they moved back toLimburg, the south of the country.They got married on May 9th ,1941 in Vaals, Elfriede’s mother lived in Vaals. Vaals is the place where the Netherlands borders with Belgium and Germany, It is  in the foothills of the Ardennes–Eifelrange, and with 322 metres it is the highest point of the Netherlands.

3 landend

Shortly after they got married the couple moved to Geleen. Frederik opened a Radio repair shop “Radio Technisch Bureau F. Goldsteen” located on Annastraat 24. In  October 1941, the couple were blessed with a baby girl,Carolina .

On March 12 ,1942. Frits was ordered by the German occupiers to close the shop. As a Jew he was not allowed to built or repair radios.

He did find a job with a company that worked for the coal mine Maurits.

maurits

However on the 19th of May, 1942 he was arrested for secretly still working on radios and also for being critical about Hitler.

He was sent to Camp Amersfoort via Maastricht . On July 16,1942 he was deported to Auschwitz , where he was killed less then a month later, on August 15,1942.

His wife and daughter both survived the war.

What amazes me . and kind of disturbs me is how close the Holocaust was to me to an extend. Over the last few months I have come across stories of Jewish fellow citizens and town folk, whose addresses I have passed by a multiple of times and U was never award of their fates.

I got most of the information about Frits Goldteen from a foundation called Stichting Stolpersteine:Geleen-Sittard. At the bottom of Frits’s page they state the motivation of his persecution was for being Jewish. No other reason, just for being Jewish and therefor seen by an evil regime with a warped ideology as sub human. Where the real sub humans were those who subscribed to that warped fascist ideology.

When I go visit my hometown in 2 weeks time I will go into the shop again, but this time armed with the knowledge of its history.

Hubo

 

 

 

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The conditions at Bergen Belsen.

Bergen Belsen

I was in two minds on how to do this blog. Initially I was considering adding graphic pictures to accompany the text , but then I thought that the pictures may just be too horrific and it would turn people away from reading the text. Additionally there would be a chance that this blog would be deleted on social media outlet, and there would be a chance that I’d get banned again.

Therefore on this occasion I believe the text will be more then sufficient to give an understanding how the conditions were in Bergen Belsen.

It was originally established as a prisoner of war camp, in 1940. However in 1943, parts of it became a concentration camp. The camp was liberated on April 15,1945.

liberated sign

Below are 2 testimonies of witnesses, describing the horrors of the camp. The first account is a part of a description of conditions at the camp on 16 April, 1945, taken from file WO 235/19/76008 at the National Archives UK. The author’s name is not mentioned.

The second account is from  survivor Dora Almaleh, prepared for British War Crimes Tribunal, 13 June 1945 .

compound

Men’s Compounds.

No.1.

Typhus was on the wane and reached its peak in March. It is understood that it commenced early in February.

No. 2

This was the largest men’s compound and contained approx 8,000. Typhus had commenced here at a later date than in Compound 1 and had now reached its peak. There were 266 cases and new cases were still occurring, but the medical members considered the worst was over. It was in this Compound that the story of cannibalism was reported to me by one of the doctors. There had been none for the last 2 days but before that there had been many cases.

account

Transcript

IN THE MATTER OF WAR CRIMES

AND

ATTROCITIES AT BELSEN

DEPOSITION OF DORA ALMALEH (Female) late of 19B Othos Peve Ganna, Salonika, Greece, sworn before Major SAVILE GEOFFREY CHAMPION, Royal Artillery, Legal Staff, No. 1 War Crimes Investigation Team.

1. I am 21 years of age and because I am a Jewess I was arrested on 1st April 1942 and taken to Auschwitz Concentration Camp where I remained until I was transferred to Belsen in November 1944.

2. I recognize No. 2 on photograph 22 as an S.S. woman at Belsen. I knew here by the name of HILDE and I have now been told that her full name is HILDE LISIEWITZ. One day in April 1945 whilst at Belsen I was one of a working party detailed to carry vegetables from the store to the kitchen by means of a hand card. In charge of this working party was LISIEWITZ. Whilst I was on this job I allowed two male prisoners, whose names I do not know, to take two turnips off the cart. LISIEWITZ saw me do this and she pushed the men, who were very weak to the ground and then beat them on their heads with a thick stick which she always carried. She then stamped on their chests in the region of the heart with her jack-boots. The men lay still clutching the turnips. LISIEWITZ then got hold of me and shook me until I started to cry. She the said ‘Don’t cry or I’ll kill you too’.

(In the picture below)Hilde Lisiewitz is second from the left)

guards

She then went away and after 15 minutes I went up to the men and touched them to see if they were still alive. I formed the opinion that they were dead. I felt their hearts and could feel nothing. They were cold to the touch like dead men. I then went away leaving the bodies lying there and I do not know what happened to them.

3. I recognize No. 1 on photograph No. 5 as an S.S. man at Belsen who was in charge of the bread store. I have now been told that his name is KARL EGERSDORF. One day in April 1945 whilst at Belsen I was working in the vegetable store when I saw a Hungarian girl, whose name I do not know, come out of the bread store nearby carrying a loaf of bread. At this moment EGERSDORF appeared in the street and at a distance of about 6 meters from the girl shouted ‘What are you doing here?’. The girl replied ‘I am hungry’ and then started to run away. EGERSDORF immediately pulled out his pistol and shot the girl. She fell down and lay still bleeding from the back of the head where the bullet had penetrated. EGERSDORF then went away and a few minutes later I went and looked at the girl. I am sure she was dead and men who were passing by looked at her and were of the same opinion. The bullet had entered in the centre of the back of the head.

(In the picture below,Karl Egersdorf is first on the left. )

male gurads

I do not know what happened to her body.

SWORN BY THE SAID DEPONENT DORA ALMALEH AT BELSEN THIS 13TH DAY OF JUNE 1945, BEFORE ME

S.G. Champion [Signed]

Major R.A.

I HEREBY CERTIFY that, the said Deponent not understanding English, this Affidavit was translated in my presence to the said Deponent before swearing and I am satisfied that its contents were fully understood by the said Deponent.

Dated this 13th day of JUNE 1945. S.G.Champion[signed] Major R.A. I HEREBY CERTIFY that I have accurately translated this Affidavit to the said Deponent. Dated this 13th day of JUNE 1945. [signed] It appears to be a matter for medical evidence as to whether it is possible for a human body to have lost its warmth by death within 15 minutes, even where the man was in a weak state and had been savagely assaulted.

S.G.Champion

Major R.A.

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Sources

The National Archives UK Government.

 

Charles Durning WWII Veteran.

Charles Durning

Anyone who knows movies will know the name Charles Durning. He has starred in so many classic movies in a variety of genres, comedies, thrillers, musicals/ Movies like “Dog day afternoon”, “The Choirboys” ot “The best little whorehouse in Texas” the list is endless. Additionally he has also starred in a great number of TV shows.

But his illustrious career as an actor nearly didn’t happen. Charles was one of the many brave men who landed in Normandy on the 6th of June, 1944-D-Day, at age 21.

D-DAY

Even though he survived the initial assault reasonably  unscathed, he was injured by a German mine a few days later which earned him  a Purple Heart. After a recovery period of  six months, he was put back on the front lines to combat the German Ardennes offensive. In the battle of the Bulge.

During a German attack, Charles recalled that a particularly young soldier charged him, however  Charles couldn’t bring himself to fire. The two engaged in battle by using  their bayonets, and Charles got wounded again during the fight. Charles did manage to kill the German infantryman, with a rock .. After the offensive, He received his second Purple Heart.

He was discharged in January 1946 as a private first class.

He died on December 24, 2012, Christmas Eve, which is ironic because he played Santa Claus 6 times(Once as Kris Kringle)

A truly remarkable actor and human being. They just don’t make them like that anymore.

Charles

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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

IMDB

Military.com