Manchester United in WWII

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On 11 March 1941 Old Trafford football stadium, the home of Manchester United F.C., was hit by a bomb aimed at the industrial complex of Trafford Park, wrecking the pitch and demolishing the stands. The stadium was rebuilt after the war and reopened in 1949, until which time United played at Manchester City’s Maine Road stadium

A German bombing raid on Trafford Park on 22 December 1940 damaged the stadium to the extent that a Christmas day fixture against Stockport County had to be switched to Stockport’s ground Football resumed at Old Trafford on 8 March 1941, but another German raid on 11 March 1941 destroyed much of the stadium, notably the main stand (now the South Stand).

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August Dickmann-executed without a trial.

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Jehovah Witnesses were one of the groups of people hated by the Nazis and were killed by the hundreds, the numbers are unclear but are estimated to be between 1,000 and 2,500.

Nazi authorities denounced Jehovah’s Witnesses for their ties to the United States and derided the apparent revolutionary millennialism of their preaching that a battle of Armageddon would precede the rule of Christ on earth. They linked Jehovah’s Witnesses to “international Jewry” by pointing to Witness reliance on certain Old Testament texts.

Jehovah’s Witnesses could, however, escape persecution and personal harm by renouncing their religious beliefs. From 1935 Gestapo officers offered members a document to sign indicating renunciation of their faith, submission to state authority, and support of the German military.

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From 1935 the authorities began sending hundreds of Jehovah’s Witnesses to concentration camps, where they were imprisoned with Communists, Socialists, other political prisoners and union members. Most of the Jehovah witnesses were conscientious objectors

August Dickmann was interned in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in 1937. Three days after the outbreak of World War II in 1939, he was ordered to sign his military induction slip. When he refused, the camp commander contacted Heinrich Himmler,

Dickmann had refused to sign his military service record on religious grounds. The camp commander had asked permission to Himmler to make Dickmann an example for other conscientious objectors and Jehovah Witnesses.

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Himmler agreed and on September 15 1939 after evening roll-call all 8,500 inmates were told to stay put in the main square.The camp staff forced the around 360 Jehovah’s Witnesses imprisoned in Sachsenhausen to stand in the front rows – where Dickmann’s brother Heinrich was also made to witness the shooting.

The execution squad was under command of Rudolf Höss, the future commandant of Birkenau. From his pistol August Dickmann received the coup de grace(merciful shot). There was no trial, no judge, no jury just an execution.

 

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In the last days of the war, Himmler advised Höss to disguise himself among German Navy personnel. He evaded arrest for nearly a year. When captured on 11 March 1946 in Gottrupel , he was disguised as a gardener and called himself Franz Lang.

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The German War

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International Tracing Services

“Dear all, I have to tell you the worst – today I and my friends got the death sentence”

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Hitler expected very little resistance from the Dutch because he saw them as kindred spirits and fellow aryans. When he decided to invade the Netherlands he expected a similar reception as he got in Austria, but he was wrong.

Although the invasion only took 3 days the Germans suffered heavy losses.

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As in the other occupied countries there were some who embraced the German occupation and were more then willing to comply to the laws imposed by the Nazi regime.

However there were many who did not and were willing to give their lives for it.

On March 9, 1943, Dutch policeman Hendrik “Henk” Drogt refused to comply with an order to arrest seven Jews in Grootegast.Drogt and 11 fellow Dutch police officers refused to participate in the round-up of Jews.

The Nazis gave the local Marechaussee(-the Marechaussee is a police force with Policing the military and also with border control as well as other civilian police matters-) officers orders to bring the Jews to the nearby city of Groningen, but the 12 officers tasked with the duty refused. At first they gave excuses, saying the Jews in the area were sick, and they even brought a doctor to authenticate the story on their behalf .

Failing to convince their superiors, the higher command  started  pressuring them one-on-one and even threatened them with deportation to concentration camps.

The officers wouldn’t give in , however. All of them refused and were taken to the Kamp Vught concentration camp.

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All except one. After abandoning the police unit, Drogt managed to escape and subsequently joined the Dutch resistance. During his time on the Nazi regime’s wanted list, he helped smuggle downed Allied pilots to the Belgian border where they could escape to Britain. Additionally , working at night around the towns of Grijpskerk, Kommerzijl and Pieterzijl – in between the main northern cities of Groningen and Leeuwarden – Drogt helped move Jews to safety by taking them from hiding place to hiding place.

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Not long after, however, the Nazis tracked down Drogt and other resistance members in August 1943. After being held up in the Oranjehotel prison in Scheveningen, the 24-year-old was put on trial and sentenced to death.

Before his execution on April 14, 1944, he wrote to his family:

“Dear all, I have to tell you the worst – today I and my friends got the death sentence. It is terrible that we have to part from all those who are dear to us in this way… I always had hope that I could be with you for one more time, but the Lord wanted differently…”

Decades after the war, in 1988 Yad Vashem recognized the officers as Righteous Among the Nations, but because Drogt had managed to escape he wasn’t on the list submitted to the Commission for the Designation of the Righteous.

Twenty years later, El Al pilot Mark Bergman met Drogt’s son, Henk Brink, on a flight to South Africa. Brink told Bergman the stories that he had heard from his mother about the father whom he had never met, and Bergman in turn advised Yad Vashem of the former military police officer’s courageous deeds.

Finally, on Monday September 22, 2008, Yad Vashem posthumously named Drogt as a Righteous Among the Nations, recognizing the brave acts he had done to save members of the Jewish faith.

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It’s because of men like Hendrik Drogt I feel immensely proud to be a Dutch man. I know there were plenty of fellow Dutch country men who were just too eager to please their Nazi masters and did evil things, but the majority of the Dutch did not subscribe to the Nazi point of view.

 

Many thanks to Norman Stone for drawing my attention to the story.

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Calcutta Light Horse-Operation Creek

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Operation Creek (also known as “Operation Longshanks”) was a military operation undertaken by the British in World War Two on 9 March 1943.

Organized by the Special Operations Executive (SOE), the Calcutta Light Horse regiment was deployed to attack the German ship Ehrenfels, anchored in the Portuguese, hence neutral, Mormugao harbor in Goa, Portuguese India.

The Calcutta Light Horse was raised in 1872 and formed part of the Cavalry Reserve in the British Indian Army. The regiment was disbanded following India’s independence in 1947.Most of them had already volunteered for active duty and been rejected, and all of them were discontent–they did not like being left out of the war. They still trained regularly and enthusiastically, but any hope of seeing real action was gradually fading away.

For decades the Calcutta Light Horse, was more a social club than territorial regiment. The unit’s last military action had taken place in the Boer War almost 50 years earlier.

Ehrenfels became a target when it was discovered that she was transmitting information on Allied ship movements to German submarines, which played a part in the sinking of 12 Allied ships in the Indian Ocean in early Mar 1943.

The Germans had a secret transmitter on one of tthe Ehrenfels, a freighter that had sought refuge with two other German vessels, the Braunfels and the Drachenfels, in the neutral harbour of Goa on the outbreak of WW2

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The Calcutta Light Horse regiment sailed aboard the barge Phoebe and sailed from Calcutta to Goa. Upon reaching Mormugao harbor in the night of 9 Mar 1943, the men of the regiment infiltrated the German ship and detonated explosives.

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When British intelligence received word of the successful destruction of Ehrenfels, it sent an open message to announce that the British was about to invade Goa, which was a bluff. The crews of the other two German ships at Mormugao, Drachenfels and Braunfels, along with several Italian ships also present, scuttled their own ships to prevent British capture.

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The operation was later the inspiration for the movie “the Seawolves”

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Warfare History

Women at War- The heroines of WWII

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On the day it is in ,international women’s day, it’s the perfect time to celebrate women at war and World War 2 to be precise.

Women fulfilled many roles during WWII be at on the battlefield or on the home front.They were nurses, pilots, secret agents or workers in the factories. Each had a part to play.

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Below are just a few examples.

Nearly 350,000 American women served in uniform, both at home and abroad, volunteering for the newly formed Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAACs)

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A row of Harrods employees, each wearing the uniform of a different women’s service

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Reporter Ruth Cowan (at te far left of the picture) and some other  women war reporters.

 

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Nancy Wake served as a British Special Operations Executive agent during the later part of World War II. She became a leading figure in the maquis groups of the French Resistance and was one of the Allies’ most decorated servicewomen of the war.

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Hannie Schaft, a Dutch resistance fighter aka ‘Het Meisje met het Rode haar- the girl with the red hair’ she eliminated several members of the German secret police and Dutch collaborators.

On March 21, 1945 Hannie was arrested at a routine checking because she had illegal newspapers and her pistol in her bag. The Germans recognized her as the girl with the red hair, for whom they had been looking for so long. On April 17, 1945 she was executed in the dunes.

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Native American women from Chemawa train to work in shipyards.

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Yugoslavian female partisan fighters

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Canadian Women’s Army Corps

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After the Bataan Peninsula fell in April 1942, a group of Army and Navy nurses continued to perform their duties while imprisoned in a Japanese camp.

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Taught to Hate-The Hitler youth,part 2

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There are 2 indisputable facts when it comes to the youngest members of society.

  1. A child is born with no state of mind, a baby does not know how to hate or how to love, he/she is taught how to do both and is conditioned to the environment he or she grows up in.
  2. He who had the youth has the future.

Hitler was aware for his ideology to work on a large scale it needed to be indoctrinated from a very young age. The Nazi regime needed to have full control of life cycle from cradle to grave.

I have heard people say “If my child was in the Hitler youth I would severely discipline my son or daughter” the fact is you wouldn’t, because firstly you would have brought your child to the meetings, secondly you would fear your own safety if you would even say anything negative about the Nazi regime even to your child. In many cases Hitker youth children would even betray their own parents.

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Being part of a group was very intoxicating for a young child, in fact it still is. The truth is at the start it was fun. They did all sorts of cool things. They went camping together, built bonfires and they were even taught how to shoot a rifle, not a toy one but a real genuine rifle. What boy wouldn’t love that.

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They weren’t taught to hate straight away, it was a gradual process. Although it really doesn’t take that long to brainwash a child, if the conditions are right it only takes a few days to alter their attitude completely, as the ‘3rd wave experiment@ conducted in 1967 by high school teacher Ron Jones illustrated. This experiment even had the benefit of hindsight, Where the Hitler youth had no prior knowledge of what evil some of them would eventually embark on.

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Batman and Robin 1940

 

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On March 6 1940 WWII had not yet gone global, a lot of countries had not been affected by the war. Although the anxiety of an impending war was prevalent it was still a matter of “business as usual”  in a majority of nations.

On that same day Detective Comics introduced  Batman’s sidekick. Dick Grayson aka Robin-the Boy Wonder. About a year after Batman’s debut, Batman creators Bob Kane and Bill Finger introduced Robin the Boy Wonder in Detective Comics #38 (1940). The name “Robin the Boy Wonder” and the medieval look of the original costume were inspired by The Adventures of Robin Hood.

Although Robin was introduced on March 6 1940, the comic was only published in April 1940.

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The Gloster Meteor

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On this day 75 years ago the Gloster Meteor,  the first British jet fighter and the Allies’ only jet aircraft to achieve combat operations during WWII, made it’s first flight. Neill Michael Daunt was the first pilot to fly the Gloster Meteor on March  5 1943.

 

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Despite Germany’s technological advantage, the Meteor was the first operational jet fighter in the world. It became the history-making plane after beating the Me 262 into squadron service by a few days.

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The first unit to fly with the Gloster Meteors  was RAF No.616 Squadron. They received the first of their jet fighters on July 12, 1944..

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While the Me 262 saw action against Allied aircraft over Germany, the Gloster Meteor began its service career against the V-1 Flying Bomb, and despite the best efforts of its pilots never had the chance to prove itself against the Luftwaffe..

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Although I am a bigger fan of the Spitfire and Mustang, I have to admit the Gloster Meteor does look like an awesome piece of aviation.

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Age 6

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Age 6, I should have the whole world open to me

Age 6, there is still so much for me to do and to see.

Age 6, like all my friends I want to go to school.

Age 6, and sometimes I want to play the fool.

Age 6, I have yet so many games to play.

Age 6, so many words I still have to learn and say.

Age 6, my greatest ambition is to become seven

Age 6, I was murdered and sent to heaven

Age 6 , I am Jacqueline Bernheim killed in Auschwitz on May 22, 1944.

Age 6, with my family and friends I will be no more.

 

 

Richard Strauss-Nazi collaborator or victim of circumstance.

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For people who don’t know classical music the name Richard Strauss, but for music and movie fans they know the music of the man. His composition “Also Sprach Zarathustra” made famous by the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey”

In the early 1930s, Strauss did not join the Nazi party. For reasons of expediency, however, he initially cooperated with the early Nazi regime in the hope that it would promote German art and culture. Much of Strauss’s motivation in his conduct during the Third Reich was, however, to protect his Jewish daughter-in-law and grandchildren from persecution. Strauss used his considerable influence to prevent them from being sent to concentration camps.

In 1933, Strauss wrote in his private notebook:

I consider the Streicher-Goebbels Jew-baiting as a disgrace to German honour, as evidence of incompetence—the basest weapon of untalented, lazy mediocrity against a higher intelligence and greater talent.

Strauss privately criticized Goebbels and called him “a pipsqueak”. But, in 1933 he dedicated a composition, “Das Bächlein” (“The Little Brook”), to Goebbels, in order to gain Goebbels’s aid in extending German music copyright laws from 30 years to 50 years.

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Strauss defied Nazi bans on performances of works byMendelssohn. Debussy and Mahler.He also continued to work on a comic opera, Die schweigsame Frau, with his Jewish friend and librettist Stefan Zweig. When the opera was premiered in Dresden in 1935, Strauss demanded that Zweig’s name would appear on the theater billing, much to the ire of the Nazi regime. Hitler and Goebbels avoided attending the opera,  it was stopped after 3 performances and subsequently banned by the Nazi regime.

On 17 June 1935, Strauss wrote a letter to Stefan Zweig, in which he stated:

“Do you believe I am ever, in any of my actions, guided by the thought that I am ‘German’? Do you suppose Mozart was consciously ‘Aryan’ when he composed? I recognise only two types of people: those who have talent and those who have none”

This letter to Zweig was intercepted by the Gestapo and forwarded to Adolf Hitler. Richard Strauss was subsequently fired from his post as Reich Music Chamber president in 1935. The 1936 Berlin Summer Olympics however still used Strauss’s Olympische Hymne composed by Strauss in 1934.

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Much of Strauss’s motivation in dealing with the Nazi regime was, however, to protect his Jewish daughter-in-law Alice and his Jewish grandchildren from persecution. Both of his grandsons were bullied at school, but Strauss used his considerable influence to avoid his grandsons and daughter in law being sent to concentration camps.

In 1942, Strauss moved with his family back to Vienna, where Alice and her children could be protected by Baldur von Schirach, the Gauleiter of Vienna, he had been an admirer of Strauss.

Although Alice and her sons survived the war, members of Alice’s immediate family were deported to Terezín in what is now the Czech Republic, and when Strauss’ letters begging for their release fell on deaf ears the composer personally drove to the camp in an attempt to use his influence to get them released. It was futile: not a single one escaped the Nazi concentration camp alive.

I believe he was a victim of circumstances, in order to protect his family and his art he had to sometimes ally himself with the Nazi regime.

Richard Strauss died on 8 September 1949, absolved of any Nazi affiliations.

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