A Holocaust survivor raised a fist to death.
'Leon Weinstein survived the Warsaw Ghetto. But it is the story of the little girl that he wants to tell.' 'He lay Natalie on their front step. Tears ran down his cheeks. You will make it, he thought. She had blond locks and blue eyes. They will think you are a Gentile, not one of us. Walking away, he could hear her whimper, but forced himself not to look back until he crossed the street. Then he turned and saw a man step out of the apartment. The man read Weinstein's note. He puzzled over the baby. Cradling Natalie in his arms, the man walked half a block to a police station and disappeared inside.' [more inside]
posted by VikingSword
on Aug 5, 2011 -
While most Westerners are familiar with the Holocaust and Nazi war crimes, fewer Westerners know much about the war crimes committed by the Japanese military throughout Asia, particularly the human medical experiments conducted by Unit 731. [more inside]
posted by The ____ of Justice
on Jun 7, 2011 -
Early 1940: British police listening for radio transmissions from German spies within the UK pick up weird signals, and pass them to Bletchley Park
, the United Kingdom's main decryption establishment in WWII. The source of these German messages is an unknown machine, which the Brits dub Tunny
(10 minute video with Tony Sale
describing the Tunny). August 30, 1941: German operators send two very similar messages with the same key, providing insight into the encryption scheme. By January 1942, British cryptographers deduced the workings of the German code machines, sight unseen. The British were able to create their own Tunny emulators to decrypt messages sent by German High Command. After the war, these and other British code-breaking and emulating machines were demolished and/or recycled for parts and their blueprints destroyed, leaving a hole in the history of the British WWII code breaking. Efforts to rebuild the British Tunny emulator started in the 1990s, and quite recently a Tunny emulator replica was completed
. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief
on May 30, 2011 -
802 Prisoners attempted escape from Auschwitz. 144 were successful. Kazimierz Piechowski, a Polish boy scout, was one of them. Today, at age 91, he tells his story
. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Apr 13, 2011 -
WWII German soldiers speak about their experiences.
'The myth that the Nazi-era German armed forces, the Wehrmacht, was not involved in war crimes persisted for decades after the war. Now two German researchers have destroyed it once and for all. Newly published conversations between German prisoners of war, secretly recorded by the Allies, reveal horrifying details of violence against civilians, rape and genocide.''What already seems hardly feasible for current military operations like the war in Afghanistan is nearly impossible when it comes to an event that happened so long ago as World War II. Nevertheless, two German historians have managed to produce precisely such a documentary of perceptions of the war using live historical recordings.' [more inside]
posted by VikingSword
on Apr 10, 2011 -
Last year, the unofficial Dean of the White House Press Corps, Helen Thomas,
spoke about the State of Israel on camera. (Previously)
: "Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine,"
and that the Jews "can go home"
to "Poland, Germany and America and everywhere else,"
sparked media outrage,
prompted her to issue an apology and retire
. After months of being out of the the public spotlight, she has now given her first long-form interview, which will appear in the April issue of Playboy Magazine
. In it, she explains what she meant, tells us how she would like to be remembered and expands upon her positions regarding Israel, Jewish political influence, Presidents Bush and Obama, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
posted by zarq
on Mar 22, 2011 -
Richard Sullivan has posted the 16mm color footage
his father shot of the "spontaneous celebrations that broke out upon first hearing news of the Japanese surrender" on Kalakaua Ave in Waikiki on August 14th, 1945.
posted by zzazazz
on Feb 11, 2011 -
Rediscovering WWII's female "computers"
. While researching a documentary in Philadelphia, filmmaker LeAnn Erickson came across two women with a story she'd never heard before: thousands of women with advanced mathematical skills employed as "computers", working day and night during WWII to supply soldiers in the field with precise ballistics algorithms. Some of those women also went on to program ENIAC
, the first general-purpose computer (previously
). Erickson turned their stories into Top Secret Rosies
, a documentary released to theaters last year and to DVD this month. One of those programmers, Betty Jean Jennings Bartik, spoke at length
to the Computing History Museum in 2008. [youtube, 1:07:19] [via
posted by Errant
on Feb 8, 2011 -
"Just months before the Nazis launched their attack on the Soviet Union, they had nothing better to do than to obsess about this dog." Introducing Jackie, the Finnish dog
that infuriated the Nazis.
posted by naju
on Jan 7, 2011 -
The House of Sharing is a place for the Halmoni to to live together and heal the wounds of the past while educating the future generations of the suffering they survived.The View From Over Here
details her visit to the House of Sharing, a therapeutic group home and museum for surviving "comfort women", who were systematically raped by the Japanese military during World War II. The museum displays art for and by the survivors. Via Ask a Korean
. [more inside]
posted by ignignokt
on Dec 17, 2010 -
Robert F. Gallagher served in the United States Army's 815th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion (Third Army) in the European Theater during WWII. He has posted his memoir online: "Scratch One Messerschmitt,"
told from numerous photos he took during the war and the detailed notes he made shortly afterwards. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Nov 23, 2010 -
Mr. Vonnegut talked about my dad a lot and put him into a lot of his books. Sometimes he was Dad, and sometimes he was just a character Mr. Vonnegut made up. So what I would say to any of you who are wondering is this: My dad was what people called a real character, which always made us laugh because it was so literally true owing to his association with a famous fiction writer. He could also get pretty obnoxious. But he was a good man. And he definitely wasn’t crazy. At least not until the brain tumor.
Kurt Vonnegut Didn't Know Doodly-Squat About Writing: Finally, Literary Analysis Worth Reading
by Bernard V. O'Hare, with an introduction by Meghan O'Hare.
posted by shakespeherian
on Nov 3, 2010 -
In the scale of its intensity, its destructiveness and its horror, Stalingrad has no parallel. It engaged the full strength of the two biggest armies in Europe and could fit into no lesser framework than that of a life-and-death conflict which encompasses the earth.
- The New York Times, February 4, 1943 [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese
on Oct 27, 2010 -
Color Photos of the Russian Front
Even though color photography was no longer entirely a novelty by the time of the Second World War, it is still uncommon and intriguing to see color photos from the war. Even moreso in this case, as the pictures in this EnglishRussia.com post are mainly of the German army fighting in Russia. The images include scenes of actual combat as well as behind the lines, though there was only one I noticed that featured a wounded soldier. There's even a picture of some GIs near the end of the series.
posted by briank
on Oct 7, 2010 -
This is all rooted in a vision I had, of William S. Burroughs as a CIA agent, and Philip K. Dick as his young henchman, going head-to-head with notorious gangster and pervert Adolf Hitler somewhere in Hamburg to find out where Hitler is shipping all the computers he can get his hands on.
- In another world Charles Stross wrote this sprawling work
of Alternate History
instead of the Merchant Princes
books. Fictional books are of course themselves a common them in Alternative History stories, from The Grasshopper Lies Heavy in The Man in the High Castle
to Adolf Hitlers pulp novel Lord of the Swastika
in The Iron Dream
. Stanisław Lem was particularly enamoured with the idea of the fictional book, and wrote two volumes of reviews and introductions for them, lovingly described here
by Bruce Sterling.
posted by Artw
on Sep 23, 2010 -
History and mystery wonderfully blended.
Although doubtless well-known to UK Mefites, I was only recently directed to this marvelous and engaging TV series featuring Michael Kitchen as Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle. It's a refreshing change from American fare, entirely adult, with crisp dialogue and meticulous attention to detail and historic accuracy. Speaking as a Yank weary of plasticity, it's also wonderful to see actors with real faces. The series can be seen on Youtube in pieces that can be viewed fairly seamlessly: Series One: The German Woman
, The White Feather
, Lesson in Murder
, Eagle Day
. Series Two: Fifty Ships
, Among the Few
, War Games
, The Funk Hole
. Series Three: The French Drop
, Enemy Fire
, They Fought in the Fields
, War of Nerves
. Series Four: Invasion
, Bad Blood
. Series Five: Bleak Midwinter
, Casualties of War
. Series Six: Plan of Attack
, Broken Souls
, All Clear
. [more inside]
posted by kinnakeet
on Sep 19, 2010 -
Lookout Mountain Laboratories (Hollywood, CA) was originally built in 1941 as an air defense station. But after WWII, the US Air Force repurposed it into a secret film studio which operated for 22 years during the Cold War. The studio produced classified movies for all branches of the US Armed Forces, as well as the Atomic Energy Commission, until it was deactivated in 1969. During this time, cameramen, who referred to themselves as "atomic" cinematographers, were hired to shoot footage of atomic bomb tests in Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and the South Pacific.
Some of their films have been declassified and can be seen here. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Sep 14, 2010 -
Poetry in Hell
contains a complete collection of poems recovered from the Warsaw Ghetto's Ringelblum Archives
. The project, which took ten years to complete, gives English translations of poems that are shown in their original Yiddish. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Jul 23, 2010 -
“People talk a little more of the war, but very little. As always hitherto, it is impossible to overhear any comments on it in the pubs, etc. Last night, E[ileen] and I went to the pub to hear the 9 o’c news. The barmaid was not going to have it on if we had not asked her, and to all appearances nobody listened.”
On May 28, 1940
, George Orwell
began keeping a war time diary
. Printed in “full and in chronological order
” by the Orwell Trust
, 70 years after he wrote them
, with selected historian’s notes. Pre-war entries are a little duller, focusing on topics like recipes
!), the weather, gardening and farming.
posted by stratastar
on Jun 18, 2010 -
“Let us acknowledge the measure of their sacrifice by honoring them as brave women, and by honoring them as women who served without thought of glory which we accord to heroes of battle. The service pilot faces the risk of death without the emotional inspiration of combat. Men who battle in the sky have the grim, triumphant knowledge that their bombs and bullets are destroying the enemy, and their courage is sustained by the emotions of conflict.
These women have given their lives in the performance of arduous and exacting duties without being able to see and feel the final results of their work under the quickening influence of aerial action. They have demonstrated a courage which is sustained not by the fevers of combat, but the steady heartbeat of faith—a faith in the rightness of our cause, and a faith in the importance of their work to the men who do go into combat.
Let us pay tribute to these women by honoring their memory . . . Let us treasure their memory as women whose sacrifice has brought honor not only to their country, but also to their organization.
We shall not forget the accomplishments of our women fliers and their contributions to the fulfillment of our mission. And we shall always keep and remember the brave heritage of the women who gave their lives. It is the heritage of faith in victory and faith in the ultimate freedom of humanity.” [more inside]
posted by caddis
on May 31, 2010 -