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3 posts tagged with WW2 by orthogonality.
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" They that die by famine die by inches." -- Matthew Henry

The winter of 1944–45 is known as the ‘Hunger Winter’ in The Netherlands, which was occupied by the Germans in May 1940. Beginning in September 1944, Allied troops had liberated most of the South of the country, but their advance towards the North came to a stop at the Waal and Rhine rivers and the battle of Arnhem. In support of the Allied war effort, the Dutch government in exile in London called for a national railway strike to hinder German military initiatives. In retaliation, in October 1944, the German authorities blocked all food supplies to the occupied West of the country. Despite the war, nutrition in The Netherlands had generally been adequate up to October 1944. Thereafter, food supplies became increasingly scarce. By November 26, 1944, official rations, which eventually consisted of little more than bread and potatoes, had fallen below 1000 kcal per day, and by April 1945, they were as low as 500 kcal per day. Widespread starvation was seen especially in the cities of the western Netherlands. Food supplies were restored immediately after liberation on May 5, 1945.
But for many, who weren't even born when it started, the hongerwinter continues. Why? In part because "certain environmental conditions early in human development can result in persistent changes in epigenetic information" via DNA methylation. Epigenetics seems like a little bit of Lamarckism: environmental effects on a parent -- or even a grandparent -- can be passed to offspring, even without permanent changes to DNA. (previously)
posted by orthogonality on Sep 7, 2009 - 26 comments

"They gave me a uniform, a little gun and little pistol"

"Before you kill me, can you give me a bit of bread?" How a Jew, orphaned by Nazi atrocity, became a mascot -- to the Schutzstaffel.
posted by orthogonality on Aug 22, 2007 - 33 comments

whatever you do, don't mention the war

Winner of the 1999 Nobel Prize for Literature, a peace activist who opposed reunification for fear Germany might once again war against its neighbors, ghost-writer of Willy Brandt's speeches, author of the great fabulist history of World War II and postwar Germany, The Tin Drum, and of My Century, a novel of one hundred chapters, one for each year of the last century, a man considered part of the artistic movement known in German as "Vergangenheitsbewaeltigung" or "coming to terms with the past", Günter Grass belatedly admits the history he expunged from his personal narrative: his service as a member of the 10th SS Panzer Division Frundsberg of the Waffen-SS. In an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Grass explained his service would stain him forever, but that only after the war did he feel ashamed of having been in the Waffen-SS:
for me, because I am sure of my recollection, the Waffen SS was nothing frightful, but rather an elite unit that they sent where things were hot, and which, as people said about it, had the heaviest losses.

posted by orthogonality on Aug 12, 2006 - 46 comments

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