There are no monsters under my bed

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There are no monsters under my bed who want to hurt me or do me harm

There are no monsters under my bed, but I wish there were for I know they aren’t real.

There are no monsters under my bed, but there are monsters everywhere else.

The monsters can be a stranger, a teacher, a neighbor or a friend.

The monsters don’t look scary or ugly. They are well dressed and are well to do.

The monsters even wear uniforms designed by well known designers.

The monsters don’t really know me and yet they want me dead.

The monsters, are they afraid of me? Am I a monster to them?

The monsters they now know who I am, they now know my name. It’s Rachel Narcyz age 11 from Paris.

The monsters put me on a train to a camp called Auschwitz.

But here is the thing, they are not monsters. They are human beings, they need oxygen just like I do. They need food and sleep. They speak the same language and read the same books, Some of them even pretend to care.

They are not monsters, they are human just like me. But I am dead.

There are no monsters under my bed.

 

Picture source

Yad Vashem

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WWII-The Hardware

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World War II saw rapid technological innovation in response to the needs of the various combatants. Many different weapons systems evolved as a result, but also data processing equipment. Machines such as this US Navy ‘Bombe’ (picture above)were used to assist cryptologists in deciphering German Enigma-machine encrypted secret messages during World War II. 1945.

Following are just some examples of weapons used during WWII on land, air and sea.

An American M4A2 carrying a Japanese Type 94 light-tank on its back, Namur, 1944.

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Unfinished German Type XXI U-Boats at the AG Weser shipyard in Bremen, Germany, 1945.

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A German tank factory. 1940.

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A British tank is pulled by a train from a Midlands factory bound for the Eastern Front to aid the Soviet Union. 1941.Tank_factories_of_WW2 (12)

Two lend-lease Bell P-63 “Kingcobra” aircraft flying over the Niagara falls. Note the Soviet stars on the fuselage of the airplanes. These planes are most likely being moved to be shipped off to join the fight in the European theater against the Nazi war machine. 1943.

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Natives admiring an American Air Force F4-U “Corsair” somewhere in the Pacific. 1943

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A V-2 rocket ready for launching at Cuxhaven in Lower Saxony. 1945.

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Luftwaffe pilots playing cards during the African campaign, 1942. The plane in the background is a Me-109.

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152 mm howitzer battery fires during Operation Bagration, 1944

Stand to Death, 152 mm howitzer battery fires during Operation Bagration, 1944

3rd Squadron Hell’s Angels, Flying Tigers over China, photographed in 1942 by AVG pilot Robert T. Smith

The Flying Tigers over China, 1942

One of the heaviest WW2 tanks ever created, the Tiger II. It weighed ~68.5 tonnes and had 100-180mm armour on the front. Budapest, Hungary, 1944.

Budapest, Panzer VI (Königstiger)

USS New Jersey (BB-62) during World War II with French battleship Richelieu

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Historical Pictures

Easter at WWII

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Easter nowadays has little to do with the religious meaning of the holiday. Now it only serves the god of commerce, it is all about large chocolate Easter eggs, self indulgence of food and drink. Don’t get me wrong I do enjoy it but I do find it a pity that the true meaning has nearly disappeared.

During WWII celebrating Easter was a much different affair due to food shortages kids could count themselves lucky if they’d get a carrot on a stick rather then a chocolate egg.

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The two men in the photograph at the start of the blog are Technical Sergeant William E. Thomas and Private First Class Joseph Jackson of the 333rd Field Artillery Battalion, but at the time of the photograph were part of the 969th Artillery Battalion. Scrawling such messages on artillery shells in World War II was one way in which artillery soldiers could humorously express their dislike of the enemy.

Below are some pictures of how Easter was celebrated on the battlefields.

US soldiers celebrate Easter Mass in Italy on 9 April 1944

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WWII Easter Egg from the Royal Air Force

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The National WWII museum

Give us your bicycle or die- The story of the Bicycles in WWII in the Netherlands.

 

30.-stalen-ros-met-houten-bandenThe Dutch are known for their love of bicycles, for most Dutch people it is the first choice of means of transport.

Needless to say that the bicycle did play an important role in WWII. There is a long running joke about the Germans giving back dutch bikes, this comes from WWII, The German occupiers demanded all Men’s bikes to be handed over to the Germans. In July 1942 additionally to the demand of the confiscation of bikes, all Jews were also forbidden to even ride a bike.

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Some exemptions were made to some groups who were allowed to keep their bikes, often they would be people working with the Germans or people working on a farm. A pamphlet was distributed  in Amsterdam in relation to those exemptions.

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As the end of the war approached the Germans stole a great number of bikes either to escape to Germany or to get to the allies to surrender.

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At the later stages the reprisals of not handing over bicycles to the German occupiers became more severe. The picture below shows a notification posted in the town of Heilo sating that all bicycles had to be delivered to the town hall on October 9th 1944 at before 15:30, failure to fully comply would result in 10 citizens being executed.

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The bicycle was also used by many Dutch to generate light during times of power outages.

The German occupier abolished freedom of the  printed press. An illegal press was established  in response to this. The first newspapers appeared occasionally , however  by the end of the war the number of illegal publications had increased to 1300.

Creating and distributing these papers was very dangerous work, punishable by death. Even having a single copy in your possession put your life at risk. Along with the growing shortages caused by the war, for instance of paper, these illegal presses also faced other difficulties. Members of the Amsterdam Resistance used a bicycle-powered mimeograph machine to stencil underground newspapers, most likely from late 1944, when the electricity in the city was cut off more and more frequently.

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So next time you visit the Netherlands and you see the millions of bicycles, just remember it is not just a means of transportation, It is also a cultural heritage that people have died for in order to preserve it.

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Sources

NIOD

Verzets Museum

Learning German via Radio in WWII

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At the moment there is a lot of talk how social media is used to distribute propaganda, but the widespread of propaganda is nothing new.

The ‘social media’  during WWII was the radio. About 18 months after the Germans invaded the Netherlands they started broadcasting German language course programs.

During World War II radio listening was restricted in the Netherlands In 1940 the Dutch were forbidden to listen to foreign broadcasting and Dutch broadcasting- organizations were censored by the Germans. The VARA was the first organization to openly protest against the Germans when they had to report about a march of the Dutch Nazi-organization NSB.

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Broadcasting of English and American songs was forbidden in January 1941. The grip of the Nazis on the programming was increasing, they ordered to broadcast Aryan “Auflagesendungen” (mass-produced programs) like the music programs with German titles : “Gruss aus der Heimat” (greetings from the fatherland) and “Wunschconcerte” (request concert).
The Dutch society protested against the German rule and persecution of the Jews with the “February-strike” of 1941. After this the Germans let no more room for talking. On 9 March 1941 the broadcasting organizations were dismantled, and a German propaganda-station “De Netherlands Omroep” (Dutch for: Dutch Broadcasting Organization) was founded. The personal and property of were taken over by “De Netherlands Omroep”.

On Sunday 5 October 1941 listeners readied themselves with a textbook for their first German lesson, broadcast on a Dutch radio station from the city of Hilversum. Alfred Rügner began by telling his audience a little something about German pronunciation.

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But this wasn’t any ordinary German lesson: this was about teaching National Socialist German. Those following the course learned military terms, translated the Nazi slogan-of-the-week and penned Hitler’s words to paper.

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The lessons in the book were interspersed with antisemitic illustrations and drawings of soldiers and members of the NSB (Dutch Nazi Party). As the war progressed, the Germans interfered with Dutch radio programming more and more. By mid-1941, all of the Dutch stations were incorporated into one Rijksradio (State-controlled) broadcaster. From then on, the propaganda transmitted via the radio simply continued to increase.

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Many Dutch listened with their hidden radios to the Dutch broadcasts of “Radio Orange” from England. The BBC was also very popular. Being caught with a hidden radio or listening to either the BBC or Radio Orange could result in a death penalty.

Onderduikers luisteren naar radio-uitzendingen uit Engeland.
With “wire-broadcasting” the Nazis could control the programs which were passed on. Wire-broadcasting (in Dutch “Draadomroep” or “Radio-distribute”) was the only radio which was allowed. During the last months of the war the Dutch could listen to “Radio Herrijzend Netherlands” from the liberated parts of the country.

Donation

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

NIOD

KMLA

 

 

A tear rolls down my face

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A tear rolls down my face because you made me cry, not because you hurt me.

A tear rolls down my face because you made me sad, not because you did me wrong

A tear rolls down my face and I wonder why, because I don’t know you.

A tear rolls down my face although I have never met you.

All I see is a young boy aged 9 with a happy smiley face, full of life .

This last picture of you, taken outside the entrance of a bank. is all that remains of you.

On the same day  day you started 1st grade in school, September 1,1939 an evil force swept through your land and declared you an enemy.

An ‘enemy’ that was all in their twisted mind, for how could a 6 year old be a threat.

There was no room anymore in your own land for people like you, so the evil force gave you a new ‘home’., called  Majdanek concentration camp.

You and your family had to go through a selection in this new home, in spring 1942 you survived.

On November 9th 1942 you were killed in a Gas chamber, you were 9. Your name is Henio Zytomirski

A tear rolls down my face because now I know your name and age.

A tear rolls down my face because I know I was 9 once.

A tear tolls down my face for I know the pain you felt was real.

A tear rolls down my face, knowing you died innocent.

A tear rolls down my face.

 

 

The Nanking Massacre-The Rape of Nanking

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Officially World War II started on September 3 1939,but in all earnestly it had really already started in 1937 with Japan attacking China.

We often hear about the atrocities committed by the Nazi regime, however the Japanese were as brutal if not more brutal and evil.

The Nanking Massacre was an episode of mass murder and mass rape committed by Japanese troops against the residents of Nanjing (Nanking), then the capital of the Republic of China, during the Second Sino-Japanese War. The massacre is also known as the Rape of Nanking.

The massacre occurred over a period of six weeks starting on December 13, 1937, the day that the Japanese captured Nanjing. During this period, soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army murdered Chinese civilians and disarmed combatants who numbered an estimated 40,000 to over 300,000,[7][8] and perpetrated widespread rape and looting.

Some of the pictured below are graphic but it shows the brutality of the Japanese Imperial Army.

A 16-year-old girl who had been gang-raped and infected with venereal disease by Japanese soldiers during the Nanking Massacre.

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A young Chinese civilian kneels down, his hands tied behind his back, awaiting execution by beheading at the hands of a Japanese soldier.

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Dead bodies lay next to Qinhuai River.

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Chinese victims being forcibly buried alive during the Rape of Nanking.

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Chinese prisoners being used as live target practice for Japanese soldiers trying out their bayonets.practice

A grinning Japanese soldier holds the severed head of a victim in his hand.

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Young Chinese men with their hands bound together are piled into a truck. After this photo was taken, the group was driven out to the outskirts of Nanking and killed.

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Although these pictures are graphic in nature John Gillespie Magee  an American Episcopal priest, shot pictures and a film is much more graphic then the pictures in this blog. One photograph  showed the body of a woman with a stick or some other sharp object inserted in her private parts.

I deliberately not include that picture because I will probably have a sleepless night after seeing it and I don’t want to cause that distress to anyone else.

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“These are not the soldiers you are looking for” The Jedi in WWII

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This blog is about 2 men of whom you could say “They just don’t make them like that anymore” Both Christopher Lee and Sir Alec Guinness were formidable actors and both served in WWII.

Christopher Lee

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Famous for so many iconic roles like Dracula, Count Dooku in Star Wars prequels  and Saruman in The Lord of the Rings. And lets not forget Christopher Lee was also an accomplished Heavy Metal performer and recording artist. However he showed his true grit in WWII.

In an interview with the Independent he said “When the Second World War finished I was 23 and already I had seen enough horror to last me a lifetime,”

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When the Second World War broke out, Lee volunteered to fight for the Finnish forces during the Winter War in 1939.He and other British volunteers were kept away from actual fighting, but they were issued winter gear and were posted on guard duty a safe distance from the front line.

Christopher Lee enlisted in the Royal Air Force in 1940, where he worked as an intelligence officer specializing in cracking German ciphers . In North Africa he was attached to the Long Range Desert Patrol, the forerunner of the SAS,

As an intelligence officer attached to No. 260 Squadron RAF, he reportedly prevented a small mutiny after troops – frustrated and lacking news from the eastern front – threatened to break ranks.

For a while he was assigned to the Long Range Desert Group.

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For the final few months of his service, Lee, who spoke fluent French and German, among other languages, was seconded to the Central Registry of War Criminals and Security Suspects Here, he was tasked with helping to track down Nazi war criminals.Of his time with the organisation, Lee said: “We were given dossiers of what they’d done and told to find them, interrogate them as much as we could and hand them over to the appropriate authority … We saw these concentration camps. Some had been cleaned up. Some had not.” He retired from the RAF in 1946 with the rank of flight lieutenant, and later again Jedi Master and Sith Lord.

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Sir Alec Guinness

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Sir Alec Guinness(center row third from right in the picture above) was one of the most versatile actors of all time. His genres included comedy,drama and science fiction. Probably most known for his portrayal as Ben Kenobi aka Obi Wan Kenobi in the original Star Wars Trilogy.

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The Bridge on the River Kwai is one of my favourite WWII movies, actually one of my favourite movies overall and it is mainly because of Alec Guinness’s convincing portrayal of Lieutenant Colonel Nicholson that makes the movie so compelling.

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Alec Guinness de Cuffe was born to mother Agnes Cuff and an unknown father in Britain in 1914.

Guinness served in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve in the Second World War,download initially as a seaman in 1941, before receiving a commission as a Temporary Sub-lieutenant on 30 April 1942 and a promotion to Temporary Lieutenant the following year.[Guinness then commanded a landing craft at the Allied invasion of Sicily, he aslo saw action in the , the invasion of Elbe,and Normandy and later ferried supplies and agents to the Yugoslav partisans in the eastern Mediterranean theatre.

During the war, he was granted leave to appear in the Broadway production Flare Path, which was a play about the RAF Bomber Command.

 

Two heroes on and off screen.

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The trans-Saharan railway

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The phrase “From hero to zero” is probably the most appropriate way to describe Philippe Pétain.

Pétain was after World War I regarded ,without a doubt, the most accomplished defensive tactician of any army and one of France’s greatest military heroes and was presented with his baton of Marshal of France at a public ceremony at Metz by President Raymond Poincaré on 8 December 1918.

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However after the Nazi occupied France in June 1940 he was very eager to please his new lords. He would their puppet and they would pull his strings. If they told him to jump, he would ask “How high?” If they ordered him to deport Jews he would say “How many?”. He and his Vichy regime would be serve their Nazi masters any which way they could.

France has always been a colonial power therefore there would be many French Jewish citizens living and working  in the North African colonies like Algeria,Tunisia and Morocco.

In October, 1940, Pétain’s Vichy government, not the Germans, passed antisemitic legislation called the Statut des Juifs.

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There was no German pressure on Pétain to promulgate racial laws in the fall of 1940. Just to illustrate how eager the Vichy regime was to implement the Statut des Juifs, below a timeline comparison between the time it took for the Nazis to implement the antisemitic laws and how long it took for the Vichy regime.

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Nor was there German pressure on Pétain to apply these racial laws to the colonies of North Africa. Finally, there was no German pressure on Pétain to repeal the Crémieux Decree, which had made the Jews of France and of Algeria and Tunisia full citizens 70 years before in 1870..

North Africa

One of the first moves of the pro-German Vichy regime was to revoke the effects of the Crémieux Decree, thereby abolishing French citizenship for Algerian Jews, affecting some 110,000 Algerians. Under Admiral Darlan and General Giraud the antisemitic legislation was applied more severely in Algeria than France itself, under the pretext that it enabled greater equality between Muslims and Jews.

Philippe Pétain signed a bill to construct a trans-Saharan railway, which was to be built by prisoners of war and Jews.

Approximately 2,000 Algerian Jews were put into labor and concentration camps throughout Algeria, including the camps at Bedeau and Djelfa. Though the camps were not a Vichy innovation, the plan to construct a trans-Saharan railroad to serve coal mines across North Africa was an exclusively Vichy initiative. Work camps were set up for this purpose. Prisoners were forced to labor in difficult conditions, performing strenuous work, for ten hours each day. They were poorly fed and housed, and lived in terrible sanitary conditions. Tortures and atrocities were inflicted by the guards for the slightest breach of the rules; the internees were not treated as human beings. Many died from beatings; even more died from outbreaks of typhus or just from exhaustion and hunger.

Although there is a lot of information available om the construction of the Burma railroad, there is relatively little information on the construction of the Trans-Saharan railway and how many perished.

The Algerian Jewish community survived due to the early Allied Liberation of Algeria in November 1942.

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However, the Jews were not entirely “liberated.” It took until October of 1943 for all of the anti-Jewish laws to be cancelled and for the Jews of Algeria to be reinstated as citizens of France. Giraud  promulgated the cancellation of Vichy statutes on March 14, 1943, retained exceptionally the decree abolishing citizenship rights for Algerian Jews, in so far as he attributed France’s defeat to the Jews.[10] His decision was overruled, on appeal, by the CFLN( French Committee of National Liberation)in October of 1943.

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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

Yad Vashem

Wikipedia

Dachau

Bundesarchiv_Bild_152-11-12,_Dachau,_Konzentrationslager,_Besuch_Himmlers

Dachau is a small picturesque town in in Upper Bavaria not too far away from Munich, but despite its pretty  and even fairy tale like appearance, it will be forever associated with death and destruction.

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The Dachau concentration camp was opened on March 22 1933. It was the first regular concentration camp established by the Nazi regime. Heinrich Himmler, as police president of Munich, officially described the camp as “the first concentration camp for political prisoners.

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Political prisoners arrived by truck in early days of the Dachau Concentration camp.

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Dachau originally held Communists, leading Socialists and other “enemies of the state” in 1933, but over time the Nazis began to send German Jews to the camp.

Prisoners were divided into categories. At first, they were classified by the nature of the crime for which they were accused, but eventually were classified by the specific authority-type under whose command a person was sent to camp.Political prisoners who had been arrested by the Gestapo wore a red badge, “professional” criminals sent by the Criminal Courts wore a green badge, Cri-Po prisoners arrested by the criminal police wore a brown badge, “work-shy and asocial” people sent by the welfare authorities or the Gestapo wore a black badge, Jehovah’s Witnesses arrested by the Gestapo wore a violet badge, homosexuals sent by the criminal courts wore a pink badge, emigrants arrested by the Gestapo wore a blue badge, “race polluters” arrested by the criminal court or Gestapo wore badges with a black outline, second-termers arrested by the Gestapo wore a bar matching the color of their badge, “idiots” wore a white armband with the label Blöd (Stupid), and Jews, whose incarceration in the Dachau concentration camp dramatically increased after Kristallnacht, wore a yellow badge, combined with another color.

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The pictures below are from the camp and some of them are graphic, I don’t like showing graphic images but sometimes it is necessary.

Bodies in the Dachau death train

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The photograph below shows six of the SS men on the staff at Dachau in 1934. Theodor Eicke, who became the second Commandant at Dachau in 1933 is the second man from the left in the back row.

 

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American soldiers inspect the remains of concentration camp victims after the liberation of Dachau, a National Socialist concentration camp, April 29, 1945.

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Befreiung des Konzentrationslagers Dachau im April 1945

SS men confer with General Henning Linden during the capture of the Dachau concentration camp. Pictured from left to right: SS aide, camp leader Untersturmführer Heinrich Wicker (mostly hidden by the aide), Paul M. G. Lévy, a Belgian journalist (man with helmet looking to his left), Dr. Victor Maurer (back), Gen. Henning Linden (man with helmet, looking to his right) and some U.S. soldiers.

 

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Something that has been debated and disputed after the liberation of Dachau is the execution of the SS guards,after surrender, by the US troops. By many it is seen as a war crime, I don’t subscribe to that point of view, although I do not condone it either, I can fully understand why they did it. They had just seen the worst atrocity and depravity they had ever witnessed, not surprisingly they felt the urge to bring those responsible to a swift justice.

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Closeup of the bodies of SS personnel lying at the base of the tower from which American soldiers had initially come under attack by a German machine gun.

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The joy of liberation

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Donation

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

USHMM

Bundesarchiv