Bright eyes no more shine- A stolen future

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I know many publish very graphic images of the Holocaust, which I can fully understand. Although I have posted them too, I have become more reluctant to do so.

I believe in order to understand the horrors of the holocaust it is often much more effective to look at the eyes of one of the young victims. The sparkling bright eyes that were no longer allowed to shine.

The picture is of Gerard Levy.

He could have been your mechanic, or your doctor.He could have been your painter, or your lawyer.

He could have been your neighbor,or your friend.

He could have even been your Father.

But he was never given that opportunity for his future was stolen.

Gerard Levy was deported with his mother and infant sister on December 18, 1943 and murdered a couple days later.

 

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Last will and marriage certificate of Adolf Hitler

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On December 30, 1945 Adolf Hitler’s will and marriage certificate were announced as having been discovered in Tegernsee near Munich.

Below are the original documents and the translations as translated by the US War department

Marriage Cert

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Translations

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The will

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Translations

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The WWII efforts of Laurel and Hardy

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I grew up watching Laurel and Hardy movies, and to this day I still watch them. Where the comedy of some of the other 1920/30s comedians dated, the comedy of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy stayed fresh.

What many people don’t know is that during WWII,Laurel and Hardy did contribute to the WWII efforts.

In 1942 the comic duo starred in a short film commissioned by the  U. S. Department of Agriculture and distributed by the U.S. Forest Service, featuring Laurel and Hardy, with narration read by MGM announcer and producer Pete Smith.

The film was called “The Tree in a Test tube”

The movie was made to raise awareness to  preserve and use domestic wood sparingly to help in the war efforts.

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They were a;so part of the Hollywood Victory caravan a two-week cross-country railroad journey in 1942 that brought together two dozen film stars to raise money for the Army and Navy Relief Society.

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The Hollywood Victory Caravan show was partially inspired by an all-star war bond show at Madison Square Garden on March 10, 1942 which was done for Navy Relief and organized by Walter Winchell. Plans were then made for a nationwide tour by Hollywood stars. The Santa Fe Railroad donated the use of a special train and this had up to fourteen railroad cars which had facilities for rehearsals on board with two portable dance floors, two pianos and ten musicians. Setting off from Los Angeles on April 26, 1942, it traveled to Washington DC where the stars went to a White House Tea Party at the invitation of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt on April 30 before opening their musical revue extravaganza that night at 8:30 p.m. at Loew’s Capitol. The total “on stage” troupe for opening night consisted of 75 people.

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They may not have fired guns but with their own theater shows and movies they brought laughter in a very bleak era.

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When Superman got his creator out of jail

 

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December 29,1940. Miami Florida. Cops arrest a man for attempting to steal a car. The man claimed to be innocent, but the cops did not trust this shady character.

Police officers in Miami Beach, FL. were alerted to a person displaying “suspicious” behavior.  Police were told that someone was attempting to enter cars; a clear insinuation that someone was trying to steal cars.  Police immediately arrested the suspect and the next day he was sentenced to 30 days in jail.

Throughout this entire process, the suspect had been claiming that he was Joe Shuster – the co-creator of Superman.

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Finally, someone thought to give this mystery man a pen and paper, and have him prove that he was the artist that created the “Man of Steel.”  Within a matter of moments, the suspected criminal produced a perfect drawing of Superman, causing the police station to fill up with red faces and apologies.

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After confirming that this was the Joe Shuster, the police let him go.  Shuster explained to them that he had come to Miami Beach for vacation “and was only looking into the luxurious automobile which police thought he was attempting to steal.

 

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Colonel Francis Fenton’s hardest battle.

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No parent should ever have to bury any of their children,unfortunately it does happen, During war time it just happens too much as was the case during WWII

Michael James “Mike” Fenton was the son of Colonel  Francis Fenton.

While Colonel Fenton advanced to higher command, his younger son, Michael, enlisted in the Marine Corps on August 17, 1943, and joined B Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division – the same division in which his father commanded the engineers. Reportedly turning down a commission so he could fight at the front, Michael served as a scout-sniper on Okinawa.

Landing On Okinawa

Father and son met once during the fighting when their paths crossed at a partially destroyed Okinawan farmhouse. After exchanging news from home, including information on Michael’s older brother, Francis, Jr., who had been commissioned a Marine officer in 1941, the two family members returned to their work.

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They would never talk again.

On May 7, 1945, while beating back a Japanese counterattack not far from Sugar Loaf, 19-year-old Pfc. Michael Fenton was killed. When his father received the bitter news, he traveled to the site of his son’s death and knelt down to pray over the flag draped body.

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Upon arising, Colonel Fenton stared at the bodies of other Marine dead and said: “Those poor souls. They didn’t have their fathers here”.

After the burial, Colonel Fenton returned to his headquarters and wrote a brief note to his wife, Mary, in San Diego. The soldier then resurfaced. Fenton fixed his attention on a large map hanging in his headquarters, studied it closely for a time, then said to his subordinate, “We’d better double the guard around No. 5 bridge. The Nips may try to blow it”. The war was back on.

Mary Fenton learned of her son’s death before receiving her husband’s letter. In fact, she experienced a bittersweet two days when, on Wednesday, a telegram arrived from the Marine Corps Commandant informing her of Michael’s death. The very next day came news that her husband had been awarded a second Bronze Star.

Mrs. Fenton told reporters she was proud that Michael had done his duty as a Marine. She quoted a recent letter from him in which the youth wrote that he ‘dedicated my life to my country’ and that he was ‘prepared to die”. Both Colonel Fenton and his older son survived the war. Mike’s body was later exhumed from his temporary grave and is now resting in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii.

RIP

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Matthias Sindelar-Protest through football.

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It is often believed that the Austrians accepted the annexation lying down. For a big part that was true however not every one was so enthusiastic about the ‘Anschluss’

Of Czech descent, Sindelar was born Matěj Šindelář in Kozlov, Moravia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the son of Jan Šindelář, a blacksmith, and his wife Marie (née Švengrová). Sindelar-autDespite occasional claims that Sindelar was of Jewish origin, the family was Catholic.They moved to Vienna in 1905 and settled in the district of Favoriten, which had a large Czech-speaking community. Young Matěj/Matthias began playing football in the streets of Vienna.

Sindelar was spotted playing in the street with a ball made from rags and joined the local Hertha club at the age of 15, a year after his father was killed on the Italian front during World War I. Before long he moved to the Vienna Amateurs, later to be renamed FK Austria Vienna, and soon broke into the first team despite a persistent knee injury. Many put his elusive style of play down to the fear of receiving a career-ending knock to his permanently bandaged knee

He played as a centre-forward for the celebrated Austria national team of the early 1930s known as the Wunderteam, which he captained at the 1934 World Cup.

Known as “The Mozart of football” or Der Papierene – ‘The Paper Man” for his slight build, he was renowned as one of the finest pre-war footballers, known for his fantastic dribbling ability and creativity.

Matthias Sindelar

Copyright Votavafoto Vienna

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Sindelar, an awkward, edgy character, had made clear that he was fundamentally opposed to the Anschluss, but, despite the fact that, at 35, he had begun to wind down his international career, he insisted on playing.

Sport was of course a key element in the Nazi propaganda machine, The 1936 Summer Olympic games gad all been about the Nazi image.

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April 3, 1938, the Prater Stadium in Vienna. For 69 minutes Matthias Sindelar, playing for his national side, does as he’s told. He passes up chance after chance during a ‘friendly’ match against Germany ,who just a few weeks earlier annexed his beloved Austria. This game – designed as a celebration of this ‘connection’ – was an official welcoming back of Austria into the Reich. Having been advised not to score, Sindelar keeps missing the easiest of chances.

Then, in the 70th minute, he tucks home a rebound and scores , much to the surprise of the 60,000 crowd, who are fully expecting the game to fizzle out into a diplomatic 0-0 draw.

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Then his team-mate and friend Schasti Sesta blasts home a free-kick to make it 2-0, and the pair dance a jig of delight in front of a box full of Nazi dignitaries.

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In the months that followed, Sindelar, who never made any secret of his Social Democratic leanings, repeatedly refused to play for Germany. In August 1938, he bought a café from Leopold Drill, a Jew forced to give it up under new legislation. paying DM 20,000  and was censured by the authorities for his reluctance to put up Nazi posters.

On the morning of January 23, 1939, Matthias Sindelar was found dead in his apartment, above the coffee house he had acquired the previous year, lying next to Camilla Castagnola, his new girlfriend. The official verdict was accidental death caused by carbon monoxide poisoning. However, the break-up of the team and city he loved had gradually forced Sindelar into depression and many felt he took his own life in a suicide pact with his girlfriend. There is a third theory, though: foul play. The police investigation was forcibly cancelled by the Nazis after a few months, and the files pertaining to the case disappeared soon afterwards.

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The Fear

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Officially WWII ended in 1945, however for most who lived through it the war never ended. The fear often turned to paranoia and secrecy. and was often reflected on their children, even those born decades after the war.

This is the story of my connection to WWII.

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Both my parents were born a few years before the war started,my Mother in 1935 and my Father in 1936.

They both spent a big part of their childhood in occupied  Netherlands.

The impact of the war was more then likely bigger on my dad, because his Father was killed shortly after the war had started. As I mention earlier after the war there was quite some secrecy so I don’t know how exactly died.

All I know is that he was killed resisting the occupiers whilst in the army, but I don’t know if this was done in a capacity as a soldier or as a member of the resistance.Even after the war there was still a fear of disclosing that information. It left my Grandmother to raise 11 children on her own.

It made her a hard and bitter woman, in a way that is understandable. It also meant that my dad never had a Father bond.

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On my Mother’s side the war had been harsh too but not to the extend as on my Father’s side. But She lost family members too.

I remember the stories often told at family do’s, especially of the time when my uncle and his cousin, stole some food from a local farmer .who had collaborated with the Germans, the farmer had seen them stealing the food and called the Germans.My uncle and his cousin were chased by the occupiers. At one point they had seen a few barrels and they both jumped in a barrel.

My uncle’s cousin must have been a bit slower then my Uncle for the troops chasing them had seen him jump in the barrel and sprayed it with machine guns. He died immediately.

The Germans never checked the other barrels.

My Mother told us about the times they had no light and my Grandfather connected a small light hanging from the ceiling to the dynamo of his bicycle, and he more or less turned the bicycle into an exercise bike  in order to generate electricity for the light.

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Although my Mother’s parents had 13 children, they still helped people whenever they could. I remember one of my uncle mentioning a Jewish girl he used to play with,was helped by my Grandmother, but in what way he could or would not tell me. Again this was born out of paranoia and fear for repercussions, probably we lived only a few kilometers away from the German border.

The fact that my Father had lost his dad at a young age, meant he never had that Father and Son bond, which also impacted the relationship I had with my Father.

My parents divorced when I was 9 and I did not see my Dad for 18 years after that. Eventually we did get in contact again although as a young teenager I blamed my dad for a lot of things, aged 27 though I was more mature and saw the things for what they were. My Father asked me for forgiveness which made him a Hero in my eyes, a man from his generation asking his Son for forgiveness is quite something.

Although I was born decades after the war it directly impacted me, but I am not unique in this.

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The Voiceless

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Your life was ended, your voice was taken. But today I am your voice.

I cannot bring you back to life but I can speak for you, your name will not be forgotten, your voice will be heard.

Jacques Kligman age 12 from Paris, France was  deported to Auschwitz on convoy 23 then murdered on August 1942

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Francoise Sukno was brutally murdered in the gas chamber in Auschwitz with his mother and older sisters on August 5, 1943 at age 2 months.

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Claude Vecksler age 11 months was sadly deported to Auschwitz then murdered on September 25, 1942.

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Marta Weisz- From Sarkoz Romania. Marta was  murdered in Auschwitz Death Camp on May 31, 1944 at age 2.

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I do not care if people will criticize me for telling your short story, I do not care that people say leave the past in the past.

You were once the future.

Rest in peace little angels.

Blood in the snow-Continuing evil in the Ardennes.

++++CONTAINS SHOCKING IMAGES+++++++++

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Although the German army had one last offence left in them,it must have become quite clear to them that despite the early success during the Battle of the Bulge, the war was coming to an end and they would be at the losing side of it.

Rather then accepting the inevitable in dignity, some of the German troops continued in an evil and brutal way.

The pictures below contain graphic images.

A war correspondent looks down at the dead body of a young Belgian boy, murdered by Nazi soldiers.

Stavelot, Belgium. December, 1945.

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The bodies of Belgian civilians litter the streets.
Belgium. Dec. 15, 1944.

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The blasted ruins of Bastogne after a raid by German bombers.
Bastogne, Belgium. Dec. 26, 1944.

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American soldiers, stripped of their equipment and one robbed of his boots, lie dead at the crossroads. Honsfeld, Belgium. Dec. 17, 1944.

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The scene of the Malmedy Massacre.
About 70 soldiers are stripped of their weapons, sent out into a field, and gunned down unarmed by Nazis soldiers after surrendering. Malmedy, Belgium. Dec. 17, 1944

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Another picture from the site of the Malmedy Massacre, where American prisoners-of-war were gunned down, defenseless and unarmed, by their Nazi captors.

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At a Belgian crossroads in the early hours of the battle of the Bulge, German soldiers strip boots and other equipment from three dead GIs. After U.S. troops captured this film, an Army censor redacted the road sign to Büllingen and other landmarks.

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Christmas in Belgium- ‘White’ Christmas at the Battle of the Bulge

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Bing Crosby sang “I am dreaming of a white Christmas” and made it sound like a magical event.

However for the men stuck in the Belgian Ardennes, a white Christmas was probably the last thing they wanted.But they did get the snow, in fact it was one the coldest and harshest winters on record.

Following are some impressions of Christmas during the Battle of the Bulge.

Brig. Gen. Anthony McAuliffe and his staff celebrate Christmas in the barracks, surrounded by Nazi soldiers. Bastogne, Belgium. Dec. 25, 1944.

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On the road to liberate Bastogne, the 5th Armored Regiment gathers around a tank and opens their Christmas presents. Eupen, Belgium. Dec. 25, 1944.

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Three GI’s proudly display the unit’s Christmas tree. December 1944

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Sergeant John Opanowski of the 10th Armoured Division, emerges from a dug-out built under snow in the Bastogne area.

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