Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact- No honor between dictators.

Many people give great credit to the USSR for their pivotal in the allies defeat of the Nazi regime. They say if it hadn’t been for the Soviets, the war could have lasted a lot longer and could have gone Germany’s way.

However, it can be argued that because of the USSR the war lasted longer. The did aligned themselves with the Nazis a few weeks before the start of WW2. For the first year and a half or so they fought along with the Nazis, in Poland.

On August 23, Germany and the USSR signed a non aggression pact.

The German-Soviet Pact was an agreement signed by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. It was negotiated by German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop and Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov. Commonly called the German-Soviet Pact or the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, it is also known as the Nazi-Soviet Pact or the Hitler-Stalin Pact.

On 23 August 1939, two Focke-Wulf Condors, containing German diplomats, officials, and photographers (about 20 in each plane), headed by Ribbentrop, descended into Moscow. As the Nazi emissaries stepped off the plane, a Soviet military band played “Deutschland, Deutschland über Alles”. The Nazi arrival was well planned, with all aesthetics in order. The classic hammer and sickle was propped up next to the swastika of the Nazi flag that had been used in a local film studio for Soviet propaganda films. After stepping off the plane and shaking hands, Ribbentrop and Gustav Hilger along with German ambassador Friedrich-Werner von der Schulenburg and Stalin’s chief bodyguard, Nikolai Vlasik, entered a limousine operated by the NKVD to travel to Red Square. The limousine arrived close to Stalin’s office and was greeted by Alexander Poskrebyshev, the chief of Stalin’s personal chancellery. The Germans were led up a flight of stairs to a room with lavish furnishings. Stalin and Molotov greeted the visitors, much to the Nazis’ surprise. It was well known that Stalin avoided meeting foreign visitors, and so his presence at the meeting showed how seriously that the Soviets were taking the negotiations.

In late July and early August 1939, Soviet and German officials agreed on most of the details of a planned economic agreement and specifically addressed a potential political agreement, which the Soviets stated could come only after an economic agreement.

Below are some impressions of the signing of the treaty.

The conclusion of the non-aggression pact between Germany and Soviet Russia gave a thorough rebuff to England’s encirclement methods. At the signing of the pact in the Kremlin. Mr. Stalin (right), Reich Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop (centre) and the lecturer Legation Councilor Hencke (left).

“The Prussian Tribute in Moscow” in the Polish satirical newspaper Mucha of 8 September 1939.

Signing of the Non-Aggression Pact between Germany and the Soviet Union (Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact). 23 August 1939,under the watchful eyes of Lenin.

The German-Soviet Pact consisted of two parts, one public and one secret. The public part was a non-aggression pact in which each signatory promised not to attack the other. They further promised that, should one of the two signatories be attacked by a third country, the other signatory would not provide assistance of any kind to the third country. In addition, they each agreed not to participate in any arrangement with other powers that was directly or indirectly aimed at the other. The non-aggression agreement was to last for ten years and be automatically renewed for an additional five years if neither signatory moved to end it.

The secret part of the pact was a protocol that established Soviet and German spheres of influence in eastern Europe. It recognized Estonia, Latvia, and Bessarabia as falling within the Soviet sphere. The signatories agreed to divide Poland along the line of the Narev, Vistula and San Rivers.

Two German sentries stand guard at Augustow on the demarcation line between Soviet- and German-occupied Poland. September 1939.

With the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact in effect, Germany attacked Poland on September 1, 1939, without fear of Soviet intervention. On September 3, 1939, Britain and France, having guaranteed to protect Poland’s borders five months earlier, declared war on Germany. Just over two weeks later, on September 17, the Soviet Union invaded Poland from the east. These events mark the beginning of World War II.

Germany and the Soviet Union then moved to take control of the spheres of influence delineated in the secret protocol of the non-aggression pact. They amended the protocol to assign Lithuania and the city of Vilnius (then Wilno, Poland) to the Soviet sphere and adjusted the boundary they had set in Poland. On September 29, 1939, they partitioned Poland between them. Germany occupied western and most of central Poland and proceeded to annex the western provinces to the Reich. The Soviet Union occupied and annexed the rest of Poland.

The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact (German copy)

Who knows what would have happened of Stalin had not signed the treaty. Would Hitler still have invaded Poland. Basically it was a treaty designed and agreed by 2 men, who had no honor among them.

SOURCES

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/german-soviet-pact

The 2nd Battle of Kharkiv

I don’t think not too many people would have expected at the start of 2022, that Kharkiv would be dailyin the news in relation to battles happening in the area.

It is the second-largest city and municipality in Ukraine.Kharkiv was founded in 1654 as Kharkiv fortress, and after these humble beginnings, it grew to be a major centre of industry, trade and Ukrainian culture.

The 2n battle I am referring to is not in relation to the current war between Ukraine and Russia , but a battle which started on May 12,1942 during WW2.

The Second Battle of Kharkov, so named by Wilhelm Keitel, was an Axis counteroffensive against the Red Army Izium bridgehead offensive conducted from May 12 to May 28, 1942, on the Eastern Front during World War II. Its objective was to eliminate the Izium bridgehead.

On May 12, 1942, Soviet forces under the command of Marshal Semyon Timoshenko launched an offensive against the German 6th Army from a salient established during the winter counteroffensive. After initial promising signs, the offensive was stopped by German counterattacks. Critical errors by several staff officers and by Joseph Stalin himself, who failed to accurately estimate the 6th Army’s potential and overestimated their own newly-trained forces, led to a successful German pincer attack

The Soviets struck first. At 0630 hours, on May 12 an hour of artillery bombardment began, with the final 20 minutes joined by aircraft. At 0730 hours, the ground offensive began, meeting tough German defense from the start. By the end of the first day, the deepest penetration achieved by Soviet troops was merely 10 kilometers. Soviet generals realized that poor intelligence prior to operation led them to misjudge German strength in the region, which was twice as strong as they originally expected; part of that German advantage was possibly due to the Germans detected a possible Soviet attack, thus had bolstered strength at strategic locations. By the end of 14 May, both sides had suffered serious casualties. On the German side, the German 6th Army saw 16 of its battalions nearly wiped out.

By the end of May 24, Soviet forces opposite Kharkiv had been surrounded by German formations. Hemmed into a narrow area, the 250,000-strong Soviet force inside the pocket was exterminated from all sides by German armored, artillery and machine gun firepower as well as 7,700 tonnes of air-dropped bombs. After six days of encirclement, organized Soviet resistance came to an end as the Soviet formations were either killed or taken prisoner. The battle was an overwhelming German victory, with 280,000 Soviet casualties compared to just 20,000 for the Germans and their allies. The Second Battle of Kharkiv is know as a major Soviet setback that put an end to the successes of the Red Army during the winter counteroffensive.

The failure is often attributed to the Soviet inability to account for the military strength of the Wehrmacht as well as the reorganize their troops. The initial purpose of the attack on Kharkiv was for the Soviets to retake the previously captured strategic city of Kharkov assuming that they were now better prepared to deal with the German troops that had caught them off guard the previous year.

sources

https://ww2db.com/battle_spec.php?battle_id=50

https://worldhistoryproject.org/1942/5/12/the-second-battle-of-kharkov

https://ukrainetour.com/activity/kharkiv-battle-history-tour/

The USSczaR

Dear Comrade Putin,

You are telling the world that you have carried out this military mission in the Ukraine, to protect its citizens, to rid it of Nazis. However you have not fully explained to us what you consider to be Nazis.

I would love it of you could just clarify that matter to a simpleton like me. When you say Nazi, are you referring to the Ukraine’s Jewish president whose grandfather barely survived the Holocaust?

Or were you perhaps referring to the 10 year old school girl Polina, who was murdered on your orders?

Maybe it is the 2 year old Shpak who was murdered during a shelling ordered by you. Was he that Nazi you were referring to? Is that the type of funerals you want to see more in the Ukraine to achieve your goals?

Dear Comrade Putin, if you can’t explain it to me may you can explain it to Oleh,Shpak’s Father? Because he asked “I don’t know if there is a God. What is this all for? For what?”

Dear Comrade Putin, your actions look a lot like that of a nationalised German Austrian, he also said in the 1930’s that he wanted to liberated the people in the Sudeten land and Poland. But he was a Nazi, So are you perhaps a Nazi, Comrade Putin? If so, the only thing for you to do to rid the Ukraine from Nazis is by withdrawing your troops.

Perhaps that isn’t your goal. Perhaps you long to the Russia of the days of yore? Where it was still part of the USSR and maybe you want to rule like Czar Nicholas once did. Maybe you want to become the new USSczaR.

If you ask me that is what you want to be. But people will not remember you as a Czar. They will see you like cowards such as Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler. That is what you real legacy will be.

Is that what you really want? It is not too late yet, you can still change that.

sources

https://www.news.com.au/national/what-is-this-all-for-father-mourns-2yearold-son-killed-in-russian-shelling/video/bae940c1ab46c5291ed2848ba1e2c53b

https://www.independent.ie/world-news/schoolgirl-polina-shot-dead-by-russian-troops-among-at-least-16-children-killed-in-ukraine-invasion-41395376.html

https://www.indiatoday.in/india-today-insight/story/from-the-archives-vladimir-putin-the-new-czar-1917416-2022-02-24

Report on the Holocaust-December 1942.

Following is the transcript of the report from the World Jewish Congress on the annihilation of Jews in Europe which was issued on December 1,1942. I just want to make it clear that these are not my word. Bizarrely we live in a time where I feel compelled I have to mention this, because despite the fact they are the words of people who witnessed it and lived in that time, there are people now who will be offended by it because it is not political correct.

WORLD JEWISH CONGRESS December 1st, 1942.

(BRITISH SECTION).

————

ANNIHILATION OF EUROPEAN JEWRY.

HITLER’S POLICY OF TOTAL DESTRUCTION.

“The Jews of Europe are being exterminated by the Nazis. It is not merely that atrocities are being committed against the Jews. They are being quite literally slaughtered in masses, in pursuance of a systematic plan and in accordance with a deliberate policy.

This is Hitler’s ‘final solution of the Jewish problem of Europe’. He has openly proclaimed his design. He is now executing his policy with a diabolical fiendishness unknown in the whole history of human savagery.

2,000,000 is the barest minimum number of Jews murdered, tortured and deliberately starved to death in Eastern Europe. The number is probably much greater.

It is now clear that the mass deportation of Jews from France, Belgium, Holland and other Western European countries, has been for the purpose of concentrating all the Jews of Nazi occupied Europe chiefly in Poland for the purpose of facilitating their mass massacre.

On the 27th November 1942, it was stated at the Polish National Council in London that at the beginning of last September about 1 ½ million Jews have been murdered in an organised way. About half a million were deported to the U.S.S.R. in 1940, and of the rest of the peace-time Jewish population of Poland, several hundred thousand Jews have died of starvation, disease and frightful living conditions imposed by the Nazis.

Several hundred thousand Jews have been murdered in the Nazi occupied areas of the U.S.S.R. and in the Ukraine.

Almost the entire Jewish population of the Baltic States have been exterminated.

Hundreds of thousands of Jews of Roumania have been deported to Transdniestria and there massacred.

In addition, scores of thousands of German, French, Belgian, Dutch, Czechoslovak and Yugoslav Jews have been deported to Poland and the occupied areas of the U.S.S.R. for mass slaughter.

Many transports of Jewish deportees from Western Europe do not reach their destination. The victims, crammed into closed cattle-trucks, either die of suffocation or disease on the way or are done to death by their captors.

It is known that at the beginning of last August train-loads of Jewish deportees reached Germany from Belgium, Holland and France. The compartments were filled with dead and living Jews crowded together.

POLAND HAS BECOME THE NAZI SLAUGHTER-HOUSE FOR THE JEWS OF EUROPE:

Massacres of Jews have been going on from the first say of the German occupation. The holocaust took on a formal design, under an explicit policy, in March 1942. Himmler then gave orders for the extermination of 50% of the Jewish population of the so-called Government-General. The extermination was to be completed by the end of 1942.

Not satisfied with the speed and extent of the mass massacres, Himmler, in July last, decreed the total destruction of all the Jews concentrated in Poland.

It is from approximately this date that the large-scale deportations of Jews from Western Europe began. The massacres started on July 21st 1942, when German Police cars invaded the Ghettoes, shooting the inhabitants indiscriminately and at sight. On that date all the Jewish members of the Jewish Council of Warsaw were arrested on bloc as hostages.

On July 22nd 1942, the Nazis ordered the deportation to Eastern Poland and the Ukraine of all Jews irrespective of the age and sex. The daily quota of deportees was fixed at 6,000. Later this quota was increased to 10,000. Victims were dragged from their homes or seized in the streets in organised manhunts.

Jews were congregated in the squares. Old people and invalids were driven to cemeteries and shot in droves. Others were loaded into trucks, 150 persons being crowded into the space normally holding a maximum of 40. The trucks were then driven off. Hundreds died of suffocation.

This process is now going on continuously. The floors of the trucks are covered with a thick layer of lime and chlorine sprinkled with water. The doors are locked. Often the trains remain on a siding for a day or two or longer. The fumes of lime and chlorine, the lack of air, water and food, cause hundreds of deaths, with the result that dead and living remain packed side by side.

On arrival at their destination, 50% of the deportees were found dead. The remainder were taken to the special camps of Treblinka, Belzec and Selibor, where they were shot. Neither children nor babies were spared. By the end of September 1942, 250,000 Jews had been thus exterminated.

The deportations are described by the Nazis as “the re-settlement of the Jews”. The “re-settlement” is a final one in the sense that few, if any, of the “re-settled” Jews remain alive.

THE WARSAW GHETTO:

In March 1942, according to official German statistics, there were 433,000 Jews packed into the Ghetto – the area walled off by the Nazis which formerly contained about 200,000 Jews.

According to ‘Arbeitsamt’ – the official Nazi Labour journal – only 40,000 Jews are to be left in the Warsaw Ghetto. These are the highly-skilled workers who the Nazis require for their war industry.

For September 1942, the Nazis distributed 120,000 ration cards for the Warsaw Ghetto. In October, the number issued was only 40,000.

The same process of elimination and massacre is going on in all the other Ghettoes of Poland. The reports state that the Ghetto of Lodz which formerly contained about 250,000 Jews has been entirely cleared of Jews.

NAZI METHODS OF EXTERMINATION:

Besides the Firing Squads, the Nazis are now facilitating mass executions by the use of electrocution and lethal gas chambers in which Jews are crowded and ‘eliminated’.

An electrocution station has been installed at the Belzec Camp. Transports of deportees are de-trained near the execution place, sheds with a metal plated floor. The sheds are then locked and an electrical current passed through the metal plates. Death is almost instantaneous.

A large digging machine for mass graves has been recently installed at Treblinka.

In Chelm, 10,000 Jews have been gassed recently.

The Germans have organised special Extermination Squads – Vernichtungskolonne – whose task is to round up and kill Jews on sight. The Squads fire indiscriminately into windows of Jewish houses.

The above summary takes no account of suicides, the insanities of mothers whose children are seized or murdered, and the innumerable outrages and atrocities resulting in the deaths of many thousands of Jewish men and women.

source

https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/education/resources/holocaust/annihilation/

Arthur Nebe—Responsible For At Least 45,000 Deaths

There are some in Germany and in other countries who portray all of those involved in the 20 July plot as heroes. I believe this is a misinterpretation. Firstly they are not heroes because they did not succeed, and secondly, there were quite a few of them who had no issues with the Nazi policies but had more of an issue with Adolf Hitler.

Arthur Nebe was one of the plotters. He was to lead a team of 12 policemen to kill Himmler, but the signal to act never reached him. After the failed assassination attempt, Nebe fled and went into hiding.

Prior to this part in the plot, Nebe rose through the ranks of the Prussian police force to become head of Nazi Germany’s Criminal Police (Kriminalpolizei; Kripo) in 1936, which was amalgamated into the Reich Security Main Office (RSHA) in 1939.

In an August 1939 speech, he defined crime as “a recurring disease on the body of the people.” This disease was supposedly passed hereditarily from criminals and “asocial individuals” to their children. In the Nazi state, asocials were people who behaved in a way considered outside of social norms. The category included people identified as vagabonds, beggars, prostitutes, pimps, and alcoholics; the arbeitsscheu (work-shy); and the homeless. This category also included Roma. The Nazi regime viewed Roma as behaviorally abnormal and racially inferior. Defining crime as a disease connected to certain groups radicalized Kripo’s practice.

Kripo officials from the KTI developed early techniques to gas people en masse. In October 1939, Nebe instructed the KTI to experiment with methods of killing people with mental and physical disabilities. This effort was conducted in cooperation with the Euthanasia Program. A KTI chemical engineer and toxicology expert, Albert Widmann, tested possible killing methods. He ultimately suggested carbon monoxide gas. In the fall of 1941, Widmann helped create gas vans. The vans used carbon monoxide gas generated from exhaust fumes.

Planners of Operation Reinhard killing centers adopted this development. At Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka, large motor engines were used to generate carbon monoxide gas for the gas chambers.

In 1941 during operation Barbarossa, Nebe volunteered to serve as the commanding officer of Einsatzgruppe B, one of the four mobile death squads of the SS. During Nebe’s tenure, this deadly unit was responsible for the mass murders of 45,000 people in the areas around Bialystok, Minsk, and Mogilev. Many of these victims were Jews. Nebe was not forced to take control of this Unit, he volunteered.

In July 1941, Arthur Nebe reported that a “solution to the Jewish problem” was “impractical” in his region of operation due to “the overwhelming number of the Jews”, as in there were too many Jews to be killed by too few men. By August 1941, Nebe came to realize that Einsatzgruppe’s resources were insufficient to meet the expanded mandate of the killing operations, due to the inclusion of Jewish women and children since that month. This mean, seem to some as a person with a conscience, but the only reason he said these things, is not because he didn’t want to kill more Jews, he said it because he did feel he didn’t have enough men to do the job. Just let that train of thought sink in for a minute.

In late 1941, Nebe was posted back to Berlin and resumed his career with the RSHA. Nebe commanded the Kripo until he was denounced and executed after the failed attempt to kill Adolf Hitler in July 1944.

Nebe was arrested in January 1945 after a former mistress betrayed him. He was sentenced to death by the People’s Court on 2 March and, according to official records, was executed in Berlin at Plötzensee Prison on 21 March 1945 by being hanged with piano wire from a meat hook, in accordance with Hitler’s order that the bomb plotters were to be “hanged like cattle.”

sources.

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/the-july-20-1944-plot-to-assassinate-adolf-hitler

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/the-nazi-kripo-criminal-police-1

Helmut Machemer caught between love and hate.

This is a story which must have been repeated many times in Nazi Germany, German men married to Jewish women and the anxiety and fear they must have gone through, However there is also a uniqueness to the Machemer’s family situation. And in a bizarre way this is also directly connected to me.

Helmut Machemer was a German ophthalmologist who served as “Truppenarzt” with the rank of “Unterarzt”, corresponding to the rank of sergeant with the wehrmacht in the USSR.

He worked with Professor Aurel von Szily in Münster during the 1930s and, with him, pioneered an electrical treatment for retinal detachment, to form a chorioretinal scar , that’s where my connection comes in. The retina in both my eyes became detached several years ago., one eye could not be saved.

Machemer dated Erna Schwalbe, who studied medicine at the university of Kiel.

In 1932 Erna found out her mother was Jewish. The couple were aware that this could become an issue due to the rise of the Nazi Party. Erna’s father wrote her a letter which confirmed her mother’s ancestry, which he had tried to keep hidden. Erna immediately offered to separate from Machemer, but he refused to do so on the grounds that he loved her. They married in October 1932. Erna’s mother divorced her father and moved to the Netherlands the following year, after the Nazis came to power.

The couple had 3 children. When the war broke out in 1939,Machemer decided to volunteer. He knew that due to his age he would not be drafted. He was born on May 7,1903 so he was 36 at the start of the war. Now one might think it odd that he volunteered. He could have stayed at home with his wife and children, but because of the Nuremberg laws he knew that his half Jewish wife and quarter Jewish children would not be safe.

He therefore volunteered in an attempt to make use of a little-known exception in the Nazi racial laws: that the “non-Aryan” family of an Aryan could be classified as being of “German blood”, if the man made a significant contribution to the Nazi state. Machemer became convinced that if he was awarded the Iron Cross, first class for bravery on the battlefield then he could secure the reclassification of his family.

Machemer served during the 1940 invasion of France and the 1941 invasion of Russia, in which he served as an Unterarzt (medical officer aspirant) of the reconnaissance unit of the 16th Panzer Division.

For his part in the latter operation he was awarded the second class Iron Cross. At one point he worked in a captured Soviet hospital, operating on captured Russian soldiers.

Whilst in action Machemer was shot in the neck, but after checking it was not serious, returned to duty treating soldiers who had been shot through the lungs.

He noted this in a letter home to his wife and Erna’s reply was that he “shouldn’t consciously put yourself in danger again, it seems to me like a challenge to fate”. Helmut also wrote to Erna of his concern that he might be withdrawn from the front line and placed in a field hospital where he would be unlikely to be recommended for a bravery award.

In a letter dated December 12,1941 he wrote:

“My place is at the front here, and the front line, which suits me perfectly. Therefore do not think that I am reckless and put myself in unnecessary danger”

To his 3 sons he writes:

“Daddy is not yet allowed to leave here, because not all Russians have been shot dead or captured yet. But it won’t be long now.”

He was also a enthusiastic photographer and took many pictures on the battlefield and even filmed it. Some of his film footage can be see in the BBC documentary “Lost Home Movies of Nazi Germany” especially in the 2nd part.

He describes the horrors of the battlefield.

“An unforgettable picture presents itself here. The whole height is thickly covered with dead Russians. I count around 200 corpses, and there could be more than that. The Russian came here in numerous waves throughout the night, but each new wave was mowed down like the previous one. (…) Such a harvest of death, said an experienced tank commander, he had never seen in France or Russia during the entire war. This is the picture of the Russian war with its unheard of cruelty.”

On May 14,1942 he receives his coveted Iron Cross. He hopes that this will reclassify his wife and kids as of ‘German Blood’. He tells his wife:

“Since I also receive the wounded badge in addition to the EK II and I as well as the assault badge, I now have all the medals and badges that can be bestowed to me.” He also records that he celebrated this decision with sparkling wine and, the next day had a hangover.

Four days after receiving the Iron Cross ,Machener was killed at mid-day , while on a trip to screen the battlefield for wounded soldiers. He was hit in head by shrapnel from a grenade during the Second Battle of Kharkov. He was travelling in a car at the time, his companion was heavily wounded, but survived.

Machemer, who was 39 when he died, in his final diary entry of 18 May he says that he had slept well and was awaiting orders. In March 1943 Erna and her children were granted “German-blood” status, in what is believed to be the only known case of such an exemption.

As a scientist, he wished to document his and his company’s way through wartime. His partly critical writings would have been unacceptable for promotion by the Nazi party and may have placed him at risk of arrest and he would not have been able to accomplish his mission. His collection included more than 160 letters, 2,000 photographs and five hours of film footage.Some of the records included depictions of dead German soldiers, dead civilians, burnt houses and dead horses. The majority of Machemer’s reports and private letters were sent via “Feldpost” through the postal service.

Machener did not go to war for hate, but for love. Undoubtedly he will have killed too, but as the saying goes ‘All is fair in love and war’ He was a husband and a father whose only aim was to safe his family.

sources

https://www.spiegel.de/geschichte/helmut-machemer-aus-liebe-freiwillig-an-die-weltkriegsfront-a-1195017.html

https://www.medizin.uni-muenster.de/fakultaet/news/das-eiserne-kreuz-als-letzter-ausweg-arte-doku-ueber-den-wwu-augenarzt-helmut-machemer.html

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000crdh

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Trying to Please the Monsters

I was watching a documentary last night called Lost Home Movies of Nazi Germany. The documentary contained footage taken by German civilians and soldiers. Some of the footage was truly horrendous but other parts of the footage appeared at first glance quite pleasing. For example, it showed a young attractive woman dancing topless for some German soldiers.

However, when I thought about it later and put it in context, those pleasing images suddenly became very disturbing. The film material was taken in the USSR during Operation Barbarossa, and the young woman dancing was a Roma. It occurred to me that she wasn’t dancing half-naked because she enjoyed it, she was dancing because she thought it would please the monsters that had invaded her village. In her culture as in many other cultures, women would not show themselves naked in front of men—unless it was their husband.

Initially, I didn’t want to post the pictures, but I thought it was important to show the forgotten side of the horrors of the Holocaust. Also to celebrate the beauty of this young woman, not only her external beauty but also her internal beauty and the courageous soul she was. She must have realized that this could also result in her being raped.

The footage also showed how hypocritical and condescending the Nazis were. One soldier got his hand palm read while sneering at the woman.

Other young women tried to look their best, again to find favour with their occupiers.

Roma were seen as subhumans by the Nazis, but when it suited them they were willing to temporarily ignore that. If it would suit the purpose to make them feel good about themselves or playing God over these women, they would even flirt with them. Knowing well that these women would possibly be murdered, even by themselves.

I don’t know what happened to these women, even if they survived the war, there was a chance they would have been punished after the war for “entertaining” the enemy.

That same enemy would stare from a distance at a beautiful woman dancing half-naked for her survival, risking being raped or worse. The gawking soldier looks more like a Peeping Tom.

source

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000crdh

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I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2, however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thank you. 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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Symphony of destruction.

symphony

People who know me, know I am a big Heavy Metal fan ,and one of my favourite tracks is called Symphony of Destruction by Megadeth.But this blog is about a different Symphony, a Symphony which was composed and first performed amidst great destruction.

The piece of music is commonly known as the Leningrad Symphony, It was Dmitri  Shostakovich 7th Symphony.

The disturbing news of the German attack on the Soviet Union, Operation Barbarossa, had reached Leningrad at midday June 22 as Molotov announced the attack via loudspeakers throughout the city.

barbarossa

The 35-year-old composer Shostakovich  was head of the Leningrad Conservatoire’s piano department. He began work on his Seventh Symphony in the first hot days of July.

He had volunteered for the army but was dismissed because of his poor eyesight.

Shostakovich

Instead he became a volunteer for the Leningrad Conservatory’s firefighter brigade. However as a musician he set his talents to work and help the war effort in a different way. I did not research this but as a musician myself I know how powerful music can be, it cam alter moods, lift spirits and boost morale.

When Shostakovich played the first two tacts of his Seventh Symphony to some of his friends, in the besieged city of Leningrad in the summer of 1941, the performance was brutally interrupted by a German bombardment.

Shostakovich endured and worked with an inhuman intensity to finish what would become his best known work. Not because he wanted to become rich from it but because he knew how important art was and especially music in the most dire circumstances.

The first full performance in Leningrad (now St Petersburg) was given in August 1942 by a half-starved orchestra, whose emaciated state is symbolised by the drummer Dzaudhat Aydarov, who had literally been rescued from the dead.

Karl Eliasberg, the conductor on that occasion, stated that Soviet artillery pounded known German battery positions  prior to the start of  concert in order to silence them.

It was the same Eliasberg who went to the morgue looking for the drummer Aydarov,He found his presumed cadaver  still moving and breathing.

Despite the destruction around them and being under siege by the German army, the people of Leningrad still found a bit of comfort by buying a ticket for the mammoth work which lasted for over 78 minutes. 78 minutes where they could forget the war, the hunger and the despair.

ticket

Below is the music  the symphony in its full length.

 

 

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Sources

Classic FM

The Guardian

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The Fighting Girlfriend

tank

Your husband goes off to war and gets killed in battle. What do you do?

Well like any other wife you would sell all your belongings and with the money earned from that sale, you go an acquire a tank, to take revenge.

It sounds like a great plot for a revenge movie directed by Quentin Tarantino perhaps, However this is exactly what Mariya Oktyabrskaya did.

Her husband was killed fighting the Germans in Kiev in 1941. Mariya only found out 2 years later.The news enraged her and she was determined to take revenge. In order to do this she sold everything she had, and then went straight to the chief himself, Stalin. She wrote him the following letter.

“My husband was killed in action defending the motherland. I want revenge on the fascist dogs for his death and for the death of Soviet people tortured by the fascist barbarians. For this purpose, I’ve deposited all my personal savings–50,000 rubles–to the National Bank in order to build a tank. I kindly ask to name the tank ‘Fighting Girlfriend’ and to send me to the front line as a driver of the said tank.”

Stalin had no choice but to agree. The propaganda value would be priceless and it would provide for a much needed boost to the morale. With Mariya’s money a T 34 tank was bought.

t 34

Mariya received 5 months of training, which was uncommon because usually tank crews were rushed straight to the front line with minimal training.

After the training she was assigned to the 26th Guards Tank Brigade in September 1943, where she soon took part in the Second Battle of Smolensk.

smolensk

Although other tank crews regarded her as some kind of publicity stunt, she got the chance to prove them wrong.

During her first battle, Oktobskaya showed some excellent tank handling skills and helped in destroying machine gun nests and artillery positions. Whilst under heavy fire, her tank, “The Fighting Girlfriend,” drove  through enemy lines, but was badly damaged in the process.

damaged t 34

Oktyabrskaya, disregarded orders, leaped out of her tank and fixed the tank, amidst heavy fire. Because of  this feat she was promoted to the rank of Sergeant.

Her last battle was on 17 January 1944, she fought in another night attack as part of the Leningrad–Novgorod Offensive. It would  be her last.

nov len

The attack took place at the village of Shvedy near Vitebsk. She neutralized resistance in trenches and machine-gun nests with her Fighting Girlfriend. and she and her crew  also destroyed a German self-propelled gun. Subsequently, the tank was hit by a German anti-tank shell,and  the tank once again suffered damage , Oktobrskaya tried to pull the trick once again. She managed to repair the damaged track but was hit in the head by shell fragments and lost consciousness.

She was transported to a Soviet military field hospital at Fastov, near Kiev, where she stayed  in a coma for two months, before finally succumbing to her injuries / She died on the 15th of  March 1944. In August that year, she  was posthumously made a Hero of the Soviet Union.

Mariya

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Source

Vintage News

 

First human in Space

Yuri-Gagarin-1961-Helsinki-crop

Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarinwas a Soviet pilot and cosmonaut. He was the first human to journey into outer space when his Vostok spacecraft completed an orbit of the Earth on 12 April 1961.

Vostok1_big

During the flight, the 27-year-old test pilot and industrial technician also became the first man to orbit the planet, a feat accomplished by his space capsule in 89 minutes. Vostok 1 orbited Earth at a maximum altitude of 187 miles and was guided entirely by an automatic control system. The only statement attributed to Gagarin during his one hour and 48 minutes in space was, “Flight is proceeding normally; I am well.”

Vostok1

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Sources

ESA

Armaghplanet