WWII

Sometime good things happen in War….


73 Years ago over Germany

The 21-year old American B-17 pilot glanced outside his cockpit and froze. He blinked hard and looked again, hoping it was just a mirage. But his co-pilot stared at the same horrible vision. “My God, this is a nightmare,” the co-pilot said. “He’s going to destroy us,” the pilot agreed.

The men were looking at a gray German Messerschmitt fighter hovering just three feet off their wingtip. It was five days before Christmas 1943, and the fighter had closed in on their crippled American B-17 bomber for the kill.

The B-17 pilot, Charles Brown, was a 21-year-old West Virginia farm boy on his first combat mission. His bomber had been shot to pieces by swarming fighters, and his plane was alone, struggling to stay in the skies above Germany . Half his crew was wounded, and the tail gunner was dead, his blood frozen in icicles over the machine guns.

But when Brown and his co-pilot, Spencer “Pinky” Luke, looked at the fighter pilot again, something odd happened. The German didn’t pull the trigger. He stared back at the bomber in amazement and respect. Instead of pressing the attack, he nodded at Brown and saluted. What happened next was one of the most remarkable acts of chivalry recorded during World War Il.

 Stigler pressed his hand over the rosary he kept in his flight jacket. He eased his index finger off the trigger. He couldn’t shoot. It would be murder.

 Stigler wasn’t just motivated by vengeance that day. He also lived by a code. He could trace his family’s ancestry to knights in 16th century Europe. He had once studied to be a priest. A German pilot who spared the enemy, though, risked death in Nazi Germany.  If someone reported him, he would be executed.

 Yet Stigler could also hear the voice of his commanding officer, who once told him: “You follow the rules of war for you — not your enemy. You fight by rules to keep your  humanity.”

 Alone with the crippled bomber, Stigler changed his mission. He nodded at the American pilot and began flying in formation so German anti-aircraft gunners on the ground wouldn’t shoot down the slow-moving bomber. (The Luftwaffe had B-17s of its own, shot down and rebuilt for secret missions and training.) Stigler escorted the bomber over the North Sea and took one last look at the American pilot. Then he saluted him, peeled his fighter away and returned to Germany .

 “Good luck,” Stigler said to himself. “You’re in God’s hands now…” Franz Stigler didn’t think the big B-17 could make it back to England and wondered for years what happened to the American pilot and crew he encountered in combat.

 As he watched the German fighter peel away that December day, 2nd Lt. Charles Brown wasn’t thinking of the philosophical connection between enemies. He was thinking of survival. He flew his crippled plane, filled with wounded, back to his base in England and landed with one of four engines knocked out, one failing and barely any fuel left. After his bomber came to a stop, he leaned back in his chair and put a hand over a pocket Bible he kept in his flight jacket. Then he sat in silence.

Brown flew more missions before the war ended. Life moved on. He got married, had two daughters, supervised foreign aid for the U.S. State Department during the Vietnam War and eventually retired to Florida.

Late in life, though, the encounter with the German pilot began to gnaw at him. He started having nightmares, but in his dream there would be no act of mercy. He would awaken just before his bomber crashed. Brown took on a new mission. He had to find that German pilot. Who was he? Why did he save my life?  He scoured military archives in the U.S. and England. He attended a pilots’ reunion and shared his story. He finally placed an ad in a German newsletter for former Luftwaffe pilots, retelling the story and asking if anyone knew the pilot.

 On January 18, 1990, Brown received a letter. He opened it and read: “Dear Charles, All these years I wondered what happened to that B-17, did she make it home? Did her crew survive their wounds? To hear of your survival has filled me with indescribable joy…”

 It was Stigler.

 He had left Germany after the war and moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1953. He became a prosperous  businessman. Now retired, Stigler told Brown that he would be in Florida come summer and “it sure would be nice to talk about our encounter.”  Brown was so excited, though, that he couldn’t wait to see Stigler. He called
directory assistance for Vancouver and asked whether there was a number for a Franz Stigler. He dialed the number, and Stigler picked up.

 “My God, it’s you!” Brown shouted as tears ran down his cheeks.

 Brown had to do more. He wrote a letter to Stigler in which he said: “To say THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU on behalf of my surviving crew members and their families appears totally inadequate.”

The two pilots would meet again, but this time in person, in the lobby of a Florida hotel. One of Brown’s friends was there to
record the summer reunion. Both men looked like retired businessmen: they were plump, sporting neat ties and formal shirts. They fell into each other’ arms and wept and laughed. They talked about their encounter in a light, jovial tone.

The mood then changed. Someone asked Stigler what he thought about Brown. Stigler sighed and his square jaw tightened. He began to fight back tears before he said in heavily-accented English: “I love you, Charlie.”

Stigler had lost his brother, his friends and his country. He was virtually exiled by his countrymen after the war. There were 28,000 pilots who fought for the German air force. Only 1,200 survived.

The war cost him everything. Charlie Brown was the only good thing that came out of World War II for Franz.  It was the one thing he could be proud of. The meeting helped Brown as well, says his oldest daughter, Dawn Warner.

They met as enemies but Franz Stigler, on left, and Charles Brown, ended up as fishing buddies.

Brown and Stigler became pals. They would take fishing trips together.  They would fly cross-country to each other homes and take road trips together to share their story at schools and veterans’ reunions. Their wives, Jackie Brown and Hiya Stigler, became friends.

Brown’s daughter says her father would worry about Stigler’s health and constantly check in on him.

“It wasn’t just for show,” she says. “They really did feel for each other. They talked about once a week.” As his friendship with Stigler deepened, something else happened to her father, Warner says “The nightmares went away.”

Charles Brown had written a letter of thanks to Franz Stigler, but one day, he showed the extent of his gratitude. He organized a reunion of his surviving crew members, along with their extended families. He invited Stigler as a guest of honor.

During the reunion, a video was played showing all the faces of the people that now lived — children, grandchildren, relatives — because of Stigler’s act of chivalry. Stigler watched the film from his seat of honor.

“Everybody was crying, not just him”  Dawn Warner says.

Stigler and Brown died within months of each other in 2008. Stigler was 92, and Brown was 87. They had started off as enemies, became friends, and then something more.

After Stigler died, Dawn Warner was searching through her fathers’ library when she came across a book on German fighter jets. Stigler had given the book to Brown. Both were country boys who loved to read about planes.

Warner opened the book and saw an inscription Franz Stigler had written to
Charlie Brown:

In 1940, I lost my only brother as a night fighter. On the 20th of December,

4 days before Christmas, I had the chance to save a B-17 from her
destruction, a plane so badly damaged it was a wonder that she was still flying.

The pilot, Charlie Brown, is for me as precious as my brother was.

Thanks Charlie.

Your  Brother,   

Franz

Categories: America's German war, Germany, Nazi Germany, Nazi's, Uncategorized, War, WWII | Leave a comment

Forbidden Photos Reveal What Life In Hawaii Was Like After Pearl Harbor….


It’s no secret that the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor, which killed more than 2,000 Americans, changed the course of history for the United States and the rest of the world.

But it also dramatically altered the identity of the island paradise of Hawaii, changing everyday life for the people who lived there and bringing tourism, one of the islands’ most important industries, to a halt.

PHOTO 12 VIA GETTY IMAGES
The West Virginia and Tennessee battleships are ablaze after the Pearl Harbor attack Dec. 7, 1941.

Hours after the attack, Hawaii, a U.S. territory at the time, was placed under martial law, and all of the islands’ residents were under the dictatorship of the U.S. military, according to Honolulu Bishop Museum historian DeSoto Brown.

Since Japanese-Americans made up 37 percent of Hawaii’s population, it was impossible for the military to incarcerate all of them, Brown told The Huffington Post. Instead, all residents of Hawaii — white, Native Hawaiian, Japanese, Filipino, Chinese — were forced to live under strict military rule.

“Everybody was under martial law and treated equally unfairly because the military couldn’t target just the Japanese, who were so important to the economy,” Brown said.

After all, Japanese-American residents had long-established themselves in Hawaii as business owners, teachers and community leaders. Without them, Brown added, Hawaii’s economy would have collapsed.

BETTMANN VIA GETTY IMAGES
A newspaper photo shows two Japanese-American workers at an emergency medical unit in Honolulu, with the caption saying they are “typical of the loyal Japanese-Americans in the Islands; they have been on continuous duty since the attack on December 7.”

Under martial law, life in Hawaii became dramatically restricted, according to Brown. Immediately after the attack, civilians were mandated by the military to dig holes for makeshift bomb shelters and were ordered to place barbed wire around everything, including beaches, water pumping stations, electrical installations and government buildings.

While they were free to live their normal lives during the day, Hawaii residents were forced to black out their windows, and a curfew banned civilians from being outside at night.

All electricity was required to be shut off after sundown, and the military enforced the curfew every night. Any unauthorized civilian out after hours faced the risk of being shot. If civilians were permitted to drive after-hours for official purposes, they were required to paint their cars’ headlights black.

Food on the island was rationed to families. There was a ban on liquor, and bars were shuttered. Waikiki’s iconic beachfront hotels, once thriving with tourists and affluent locals, were closed to the public and taken over by the military.

The military even banned Hawaii civilians from taking photographs of any of the islands’ coastlines (to prevent the Japanese from finding points of entries) and anything with war- or military-related imagery. As a result, officials reviewed and confiscated any photographs that contained barbed wire, beaches or military bases.

BISHOP MUSEUM/DESOTO BROWN
Barbed wire was installed at Waikiki Beach and other coastlines across Hawaii after the 1941 attacks on Pearl Harbor.

The harsh military rule in Hawaii ended nearly three years after the Pearl Harbor attacks, but, according to Brown, the islands were forever changed.

The poor treatment of the residents in Hawaii fueled the case for bringing the islands into statehood. And the military continued to maintain a stronghold in Hawaii, with every branch of the military stationed there today.

As a historian specializing in World War II and the attacks on Pearl Harbor, Brown has collected many of the contraband images that were photographed in Hawaii despite martial law.

Many of these images are on display at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu for the 75th anniversary of the devastating attacks.

Below, see the forbidden photos and other World War II memorabilia that reveal what life in Hawaii was like for those who lived through that day “which will live in infamy,” Dec. 7, 1941.

  • DeSoto Brown Collection
    A curfew was imposed by the military government on all civilians in Hawaii, which lasted for nearly the entire war. Without some sort of curfew pass like this one, citizens could be arrested after curfew.
  • DeSoto Brown Collection
    A printed schedule for Hawaii’s very strict nightly blackout, which began Dec. 7, 1941, and was gradually eased until it was eliminated in 1944.
  • DeSoto Brown Collection
    A blacked-out restaurant in downtown Honolulu, 1942.
  • DeSoto Brown Collection
    Pins like these showed a commitment to winning the war, but they also provided manufacturers some quick income.
  • DeSoto Brown Collection
    The patriotic slogan “Remember Pearl Harbor” was widely printed in the early war years. This sticker uses a snake to symbolize the treacherous sneak attack on Dec. 7, 1941.
  • National Archives
    Barbed wire along the front of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Waikiki, taken over by the U.S. Navy and used throughout the war only for military personnel.
  • DeSoto Brown Collection
    During World War II, Waikiki’s luxury Royal Hawaiian Hotel was seized by the Navy and was open only to military personnel, seen here in the hotel’s Coconut Grove.
  • DeSoto Brown Collection
    Gas masks were issued to all Hawaii civilians over the age of 7, and practices like this one were held to prepare for poison gas attacks or air raids.
  • DeSoto Brown Collection
    Every citizen of the Hawaiian Islands was required to be fingerprinted and issued an official ID card like this one. Under martial law, this card had to be carried at all times.
Categories: Emperor, Uncategorized, WWII | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

ALL EUROPEAN LIFE DIED IN AUSCHWITZ….


6-shoes-of-auschwitz-victims
I walked down the street in Barcelona , and suddenly discovered a terrible truth – Europe died in Auschwitz … We killed six million Jews and replaced them with 20 million Muslims. In Auschwitz we burned a culture, thought, creativity, talent. We destroyed the chosen people, truly chosen, because they produced great and wonderful people who changed the world.
The contribution of this people is felt in all areas of life: science, art, international trade, and above all, as the conscience of the world. These are the people we burned.
And under the pretense of tolerance, and because we wanted to prove to ourselves that we were cured of the disease of racism, we opened our gates to 20 million Muslims, who brought us stupidity and ignorance, religious extremism and lack of tolerance, crime and poverty, due to an unwillingness to work and support their families with pride.
They have blown up our trains and turned our beautiful Spanish cities into the third world, drowning in filth and crime.
Shut up in the apartments they receive free from the government, they plan the murder and destruction of their naive hosts.
And thus, in our misery, we have exchanged culture for fanatical hatred, creative skill for destructive skill, intelligence for backwardness and superstition.
We have exchanged the pursuit of peace of the Jews of Europe and their talent for a better future for their children, their determined clinging to life because life is holy, for those who pursue death, for people consumed by the desire for death for themselves and others, for our children and theirs.
What a terrible mistake was made by miserable Europe The Global Islamic population is approximately 1,200,000,000; that is ONE BILLION TWO HUNDRED MILLION or 20% of the world’s population. They have received the following Nobel Prizes:
Literature: 1988 – Najib Mahfooz
Peace: 1978 – Mohamed Anwar El-Sadat 1990 – Elias James Corey 1994 – Yaser Arafat: 1999 – Ahmed Zewai
Economics: (zero)
Physics: (zero)
Medicine: 1960 – Peter Brian Medawar 1998 – Ferid Mourad
TOTAL: 7 SEVEN
The Global Jewish population is approximately 14,000,000; that is FOURTEEN MILLION or about 0.02% of the world’s population. They have received the following Nobel Prizes:
Literature: 1910 – Paul Heyse 1927 – Henri Bergson 1958 – Boris Pasternak 1966 – Shmuel Yosef Agnon 1966 – Nelly Sachs 1976 – Saul Bellow 1978 – Isaac Bashevis Singer 1981 – Elias Canetti 1987 – Joseph Brodsky 1991 – Nadine Gordimer World
Peace: 1911 – Alfred Fried 1911 – Tobias Michael Carel Asser 1968 – Rene Cassin 1973 – Henry Kissinger 1978 – Menachem Begin 1986 – Elie Wiesel 1994 – Shimon Peres 1994 – Yitzhak Rabin
Physics: 1905 – Adolph Von Baeyer 1906 – Henri Moissan 1907 – Albert Abraham Michelson 1908 – Gabriel Lippmann 1910 – Otto Wallach 1915 – Richard Willstaetter 1918 – Fritz Haber 1921 – Albert Einstein 1922 – Niels Bohr 1925 – James Franck 1925 – Gustav Hertz 1943 – Gustav Stern 1943 – George Charles de Hevesy 1944 – Isidor Issac Rabi 1952 – Felix Bloch 1954 – Max Born 1958 – Igor Tamm 1959 – Emilio Segre 1960 – Donald A. Glaser 1961 – Robert Hofstadter 1961 – Melvin Calvin 1962 – Lev Davidovich Landau 1962 – Max Ferdinand Perutz 1965 – Richard Phillips Feynman 1965 – Julian Schwinger 1969 – Murray Gell-Mann 1971 – Dennis Gabor 1972 – William Howard Stein 1973 – Brian David Josephson 1975 – Benjamin Mottleson 1976 – Burton Richter 1977 – Ilya Prigogine 1978 – Arno Allan Penzias 1978 – Peter L Kapitza 1979 – Stephen Weinberg 1979 – Sheldon Glashow 1979 – Herbert Charles Brown 1980 – Paul Berg 1980 – Walter Gilbert 1981 – Roald Hoffmann 1982 – Aaron Klug 1985 – Albert A. Hauptman 1985 – Jerome Karle 1986 – Dudley R. Herschbach 1988 – Robert Huber 1988 – Leon Lederman 1988 – Melvin Schwartz 1988 – Jack Steinberger 1989 – Sidney Altman 1990 – Jerome Friedman 1992 – Rudolph Marcus 1995 – Martin Perl 2000 – Alan J. Heeger
Economics: 1970 – Paul Anthony Samuelson 1971 – Simon Kuznets 1972 – Kenneth Joseph Arrow 1975 – Leonid Kantorovich 1976 – Milton Friedman 1978 – Herbert A. Simon 1980 – Lawrence Robert Klein 1985 – Franco Modigliani 1987 – Robert M. Solow 1990 – Harry Markowitz 1990 – Merton Miller 1992 – Gary Becker 1993 – Robert Fogel
Medicine: 1908 – Elie Metchnikoff 1908 – Paul Erlich 1914 – Robert Barany 1922 – Otto Meyerhof 1930 – Karl Landsteiner 1931 – Otto Warburg 1936 – Otto Loewi 1944 – Joseph Erlanger 1944 – Herbert Spencer Gasser 1945 – Ernst Boris Chain 1946 – Hermann Joseph Muller 1950 – Tadeus Reichstein 1952 – Selman Abraham Waksman 1953 – Hans Krebs 1953 – Fritz Albert Lipmann 1958 – Joshua Lederberg 1959 – Arthur Kornberg 1964 – Konrad Bloch 1965 – Francois Jacob 1965 – Andre Lwoff 1967 – George Wald 1968 – Marshall W. Nirenberg 1969 – Salvador Luria 1970 – Julius Axelrod 1970 – Sir Bernard Katz 1972 – Gerald Maurice Edelman 1975 – Howard Martin Temin 1976 – Baruch S. Blumberg 1977 – Roselyn Sussman Yalow 1978 – Daniel Nathans 1980 – Baruj Benacerraf 1984 – Cesar Milstein 1985 – Michael Stuart Brown 1985 – Joseph L. Goldstein 1986 – Stanley Cohen [& Rita Levi-Montalcini] 1988 – Gertrude Elion 1989 – Harold Varmus 1991 – Erwin Neher 1991 – Bert Sakmann 1993 – Richard J. Roberts 1993 – Phillip Sharp 1994 – Alfred Gilman 1995 – Edward B. Lewis 1996- Lu RoseIacovino TOTAL: 129!
The Jews are NOT promoting brain washing children in military training camps, teaching them how to blow themselves up and cause maximum deaths of Jews and other non-Muslims. The Jews don’t hijack planes, nor kill athletes at the Olympics, or blow themselves up in German restaurants. There is NOT one single Jew who has destroyed a church. There is NOT a single Jew who protests by killing people.
The Jews don’t traffic slaves, nor have leaders calling for Jihad and death to all the Infidels.
Perhaps the world’s Muslims should consider investing more in standard education and less in blaming the Jews for all their problems.
Muslims must ask ‘what can they do for humankind’ before they demand that humankind respects them.
Regardless of your feelings about the crisis between Israel and the Palestinians and Arab neighbors, even if you believe there is more culpability on Israel ‘s part, the following two sentences really say it all:
“If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more violence. If the Jews put down their weapons today, there would be no more Israel .” Benjamin Netanyahu
General Eisenhower warned us it is a matter of history that when the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces, General Dwight Eisenhower, found the victims of the death camps he ordered all possible photographs to be taken, and for the German people from surrounding villages to be ushered through the camps and even made to bury the dead.
He did this because he said in words to this effect:
‘Get it all on record now – get the films – get the witnesses – because somewhere down the road of history some bastard will get up and say that this never happened’
Recently, the UK debated whether to remove The Holocaust from its school curriculum because it ‘offends’ the Muslim population which claims it never occurred. It is not removed as yet. However, this is a frightening portent of the fear that is gripping the world and how easily each country is giving into it.
It is now more than 60 years after the Second World War in Europe ended. This e-mail is being sent as a memorial chain, in memory of the, 6 million Jews, 20 million Russians, 10 million Christians, and 1,900 Catholic priests who were ‘murdered, raped, burned, starved, beaten, experimented on and humiliated’ while the German people looked the other way.
Now, more than ever, with Iran , among others, claiming the Holocaust to be ‘a myth,’ it is imperative to make sure the world never forgets.
How many years will it be before the attack on the World Trade Center ‘NEVER HAPPENED’ because it offends some Muslim in the United States ? Do not just delete this message; it will take only a minute to pass this along. — Sebastian Vilar Rodrigez —

Categories: America's German war, Auschwitz, Democrats, Execution, Germany, Nazi Germany, Nazi's, One Government, Terrorists, Uncategorized, world control, WWII | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Louisiana….WWII vehicles, planes may be in containers buried under Kisatchie National Forest…


A conversation 34 years ago convinced Morton Hurston Jr. there is buried treasure in Central Louisiana, and he thinks he’s found it. One thing stands in the way of him finding out for sure: government permission.

 Under the yellow clay soil of the Kisatchie National Forest, Hurston said he believes, is all manner of World War II equipment — tanks, half-track vehicles, trucks, jeeps and even P-40 fighter planes packed in their original shipping crates.

Hurston, of Baton Rouge, calls this a virtual gold mine of a time capsule, a potential source of exhibits for museums and other military displays. The P-40s, packed in corrosion preventative, might be in mint condition.

“There are only six P-40s flying in the world,” he said. “This could be a very significant historic site.”

Hurston believes the equipment was buried in 1943 at Camp Claiborne, an Army facility north of Forest Hill in Rapides Parish used during World War II, mostly for basic training and artillery practice. Camp Claiborne closed in 1948 and, except for signs on La. 112, little of it remains today.

In 1981, Hurston, an Army veteran of the Vietnam War and then an East Baton Rouge sheriff’s reserve deputy, met Jackie Peters, then a full-time deputy. Peters told him that his brother’s father-in-law, Sam Rathburn, of Baker, had described how he was a heavy equipment operator who helped dig three long trenches. A railroad spur was built, and the equipment was brought to the site, driven into the trenches, then covered with the soil, forming three berms.

Why?

Neither Hurston nor Peters, who also has tried to investigate the site, has found any paperwork acknowledging the equipment burial. Peters said he thinks the equipment, which was no longer state-of-the-art, had been sold to China, but it couldn’t be delivered because Japanese forces had cut off land access to that country. So, it was buried to prevent sabotage and, it seems, forgotten.

But not by Peters or Hurston.

When Peters was in the Navy Reserves in the 1980s, he knew men in an antisubmarine squadron who had an aerial magnetometer. He asked them if they could explore the area.

“They flew over and did a magnetometer sweep,” Peters said. “They said there was so much junk down there, ‘we couldn’t tell what was down there. It just blew us off the screen.’”

Peters also enlisted the help of helicopter pilot Reggie Fontenot, who approached Forest Service officials in Louisiana roughly 10 years ago about conducting an exploratory dig.

“They flatly said no, no way,” Fontenot said. “These are people that I knew and worked with, and they said they weren’t even going to entertain the thought of a request on it. … They said they didn’t see it as in the interest of the federal government.”

Unbeknownst to Peters, Hurston also has visited the site several times, and, in the past two years, he intensified his efforts. Remembering what Peters had told him about the site’s location, Hurston found three long, elevated areas on a topographical map and discovered berms, or small hills, overgrown with pine trees and bushes.

In 2014, Hurston spoke to U.S. Forest Service archeologist Velicia Bergstrom, who said she had never heard of such a site. Hurston hired a Houston firm, Ground Penetrating Radar Systems, to see if the berms covered anything unusual. Because he had to clear brush for the electromagnetic imaging equipment to work, there was time to survey only 100 feet of one berm. The equipment detected five objects at least the size of an automobile, Hurston said. Surveys of the ground adjacent to the berm turned up nothing.

So, Hurston said, something is definitely down there.

“We think that many items could be restorable because the compacted clay, according to my geologist friends and according to the … archaeologists, compacted clay forms like an impermeable membrane,” he said. “It can encase like concrete to prevent air and water intrusion that causes oxidation. Specifically, we believe that if, in fact, those aircraft are there … that they can be in good condition for restoration.”

Hurston wants to do a more detailed electromagnetic survey and, if that shows promise, do an exploratory dig to determine exactly what is buried. To break ground, he needs Forest Service permission. That’s where things have stalled.

He has gone up the Forest Service hierarchy through to Michael Kaczor, federal preservation officer in Washington, D.C., who referred him to Jim Caldwell, public affairs officer for Kisatchie National Forest. They spoke last week, and Caldwell directed him to District Ranger Lisa Lewis.

“I think it’s very interesting what might be out there,” Caldwell said. “The more knowledge we can gather, the better. If there’s really something out there, wouldn’t it be something if we had a hand in getting it to a museum so everybody could see it?”

That’s what Hurston wants.

“That is our (the public’s) stuff,” he said. “The Forest Service does not own that. They manage the surface area of the forest. That’s their job: to keep that managed. They don’t own that stuff.”

Categories: Louisiana, WWII | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Italy’s bloody secret…..


They were always portrayed as victims of fascism, but Mussolini’s soldiers committed atrocities which for 60 years have gone unpunished. Now the conspiracy of silence is at last starting to unravel.

The footnotes of Italian history record Giovanni Ravalli waging war on criminals. He was a police prefect who kept the streets safe and pursued gangs such as the one which stole Caravaggio’s The Nativity from a Palermo church in 1969. An adviser to the prime minister, a man of the establishment, he retired on a generous pension to his home at 179 Via Cristoforo Colombo, south Rome, to tend his plants and admire the view. He died on April 30 1998, aged 89.

The footnotes do not record a Greek policeman called Isaac Sinanoglu who was tortured to death over several days in 1941. His teeth were extracted with pliers and he was dragged by the tail of a galloping horse. Nor do they mention the rapes, or the order to pour boiling oil over 70 prisoners.

After the war Ravalli, a lieutenant in the Italian army’s Pinerolo division, was caught by the Greeks and sentenced to death for these crimes. The Italian government saved him by threatening to withhold reparations unless he was released. Ravalli returned home to a meteoric career that was questioned only once: in 1992 an American historian, Michael Palumbo, exposed his atrocities in a book but Ravalli, backed by powerful friends, threatened to sue and it was never published.

His secrets remained safe, just as Italy’s secrets remained safe. An audacious deception has allowed the country to evade blame for massive atrocities committed before and during the second world war and to protect the individuals responsible, some almost certainly still alive. Of more than 1,200 Italians sought for war crimes in Africa and the Balkans, not one has faced justice. Webs of denial spun by the state, academe and the media have re-invented Italy as a victim, gulling the rest of the world into acclaiming the Good Italian long before Captain Corelli strummed a mandolin.

In reality Benito Mussolini’s invading soldiers murdered many thousands of civilians, bombed the Red Cross, dropped poison gas, starved infants in concentration camps and tried to annihilate cultures deemed inferior. “There has been little or no coming to terms with fascist crimes comparable to the French concern with Vichy or even the Japanese recognition of its wartime and prewar responsibilities,” says James Walston, a historian at the American University of Rome.

The cover-up lasts to this day but its genesis is now unravelling. Filippo Focardi, a historian at Rome’s German Historical Institute, has found foreign ministry documents and diplomatic cables showing how the lie was constructed. In 1946 the new republic, legitimised by anti-fascists who had fought with the allies against Mussolini, pledged to extradite suspected war criminals: there was a commission of inquiry, denunciations, lists of names, arrest warrants. It was a charade. Extraditions would anger voters who still revered the military and erode efforts to portray Italy as a victim of fascism. Focardi’s research shows that civil servants were told in blunt language to fake the quest for justice. A typical instruction from the prime minister, Alcide De Gasperi, on January 19 1948 reads: “Try to gain time, avoid answering requests.”

Yugoslavia, Greece, Albania, Ethiopia and Libya protested to no avail. “It was an elaborate going through the motions. They had no intention of handing over anybody,” says Focardi. Germans suspected of murdering Italians – including those on Cephalonia, Corelli’s island – were not pursued lest a “boomerang effect” threaten Italians wanted abroad: their files turned up decades later in a justice ministry cupboard in Rome.

Britain and the US, fearful of bolstering communists in Italy and Yugoslavia, collaborated in the deception. “Justice requires the handing over of these people but expediency, I fear, militates against it,” wrote a Foreign Office mandarin. The conspiracy succeeded in frustrating the United Nations war crimes investigation. There was no Nuremberg for Italian criminals.

Given the evidence against them, it must rank as one of the great escapes. General Pietro Badoglio’s planes dropped 280kg bombs of mustard gas over Ethiopian villages and strafed Red Cross camps. He died of old age in his bed, was buried with full military honours and had his home town named after him. General Rudolfo Graziani, aka the butcher of Libya, massacred entire communities; his crimes included an infamous assault on the sick and elderly of Addis Ababa. His men posed for photographs holding severed heads. General Mario Roatta, known to his men as the black beast, killed tens of thousands of Yugoslav civilians in reprisals and herded thousands more to their deaths in concentration camps lacking water, food and medicine. One of his soldiers wrote home on July 1 1942: “We have destroyed everything from top to bottom without sparing the innocent. We kill entire families every night, beating them to death or shooting them.”

Italy’s atrocities did not match Germany’s or Japan’s in scale and savagery, and it is no myth that Italian soldiers saved Jews and occasionally fraternised with civilians. Glows of humanity amid the darkness; yet over time they have suffused the historic memory with blinding light.

The distortion can partly be blamed on British prejudices about Italian soldiers being soft and essentially harmless, says Nic Fields, a military historian at the University of Edinburgh: “Many British historians liked to focus on the luxury items found in Italian barracks. It reinforced the image of opera buffoons. Your average Tommy tended to caricature the Italians as poor sods caught up in the war.”

The crimes have been chronicled in specialist journals but never became part of general knowledge. Ask an Italian about his country’s role in the war and he will talk about partisans fighting the Ger mans or helping Jews. Ask about atrocities and he will talk about Tito’s troops hurling Italians into ravines. Unlike France, which has deconstructed resistance mythology to explore Vichy, Italy’s awareness has evolved little since two film-makers were jailed in the 1950s for straying off-message in depicting the occupation of Greece.

When Japanese or Austrians try to gloss over their shame there is an outcry, but the Italians get away with it. The 1991 film Mediterraneo, about occupiers playing football, sipping ouzo and flirting with the locals on a Greek island, was critically acclaimed. Captain Corelli’s sanctification of Italian martyrdom was not challenged. Ken Kirby’s 1989 BBC Timewatch documentary, Fascist Legacy, detailing Italian crimes in Africa and the Balkans and the allies’ involvement in the cover-up, provoked furious complaints from Italy’s ambassador in London. The Italian state broadcaster, Rai, agreed to buy the two one-hour programmes, but executives got cold feet and for 11 years it has sat in a vault in Rome, too controversial to broadcast. “It’s the only time I can remember a client shelving a programme after buying it,” says a BBC executive.

Kirby did manage to show it at a film festival in Florence. The reaction was toxic. “They put security on me. After the first reel the audience turned around and looked at me, thinking ‘what a bastard’.”

A brief storm of publicity engulfed Michael Palumbo, the documentary’s historical consultant. “I was practically assaulted by several Italian journalists. There was a sackful of death threats, some from former soldiers.”

The documentary gave a voice to Italian historians such as Giorgio Rochat, who have provoked disapproval from colleagues by attacking the myth. “There remains in Italian culture and public opinion the idea that basically we were colonialists with a human face.”

Another historian, Angelo Del Boca, says those guilty of genocide were honoured. “A process of rehabilitation is being organised for some of them by sympathetic or supportive biographers.” He says that for decades his research was obstructed – an accusation echoed by Focardi. Vital documents are “mislaid” or perpetually out on loan. Just one example: 11 years ago a German researcher found documents and photographs of Italian atrocities in Yugoslavia in the central state archive, a fascist-built marble hulk south of Rome. No one has been able to gain access to them since.

Such scholars are few, but thanks to their work a tentative reappraisal may be under way. While paying homage last march to the Italian troops massacred by Germans on Cephalonia, President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, noting that Italy invaded Greece, asked forgiveness. Newspapers such as La Stampa and Manifesto have reported new research, and a weekly magazine, Panorama, confronted Ravalli before he died. But Italy remains entranced by its victimhood. Television commentary for a military parade in Rome earlier this month hummed the glory and sacrifice of the armed forces. Newspapers splashed on the possibility that a 92-year-old former Nazi SS officer living in Hamburg, Friedrich Engel, may be prosecuted for crimes in Genoa. Other former Nazis accused of murdering Italians are being pursued now that the fear of a “boomerang” effect against Italian criminals has evaporated.

Last month workers digging in northern Ethiopia stumbled on yet another Italian arms depot suspected of containing mustard gas. Addis Ababa asked Rome to respect an international weapons treaty by revealing the location of stockpiles and helping to clear them. Like all other requests over past decades, it was rebuffed. “All efforts on Ethiopia’s side to convince Italy to live up to its responsibilities have failed,” lamented the government.

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Nazis Were Fueled by Crystal Meth, New Book Shows……


Nazis Were Fueled by Crystal Meth, New Book Shows

The abominable actions of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi soldiers were fueled by meth, records show. A new book, Der Totale Rausch (The Total Rush), by German writer Norman Ohler, will profile the rampant drug use after years of researching both German and U.S. records. Ohler, whose research shocked him mostly because of Hitler’s drug use, said the drugs are what helped, “maintain his delusion until the end.”

Nazis took to Pervitin: a pill-like crystal meth. At first it was an over-the-counter drug sold in European pharmacies guaranteeing alertness. According to Ohler, one pill was enough to keep the Nazis awake for hours—and allowed them to hike almost 36 miles in a day—making Nazis think of it like coffee. Once the effects wore off Nazis were became short-tempered and angry. 

A 2005 Der Spiegel report explained how Pervitin made its way into the hands of German soldiers citing a military doctor’s experiment of it on 90 college students where the doctor said the pill would  “help win the war.” Not even six months later and millions of the drug were flown to the Nazis where they were handed out before invasions. Ohler said Pervitin was specifically used for Blitzkriegs like the invasion of Sudetenland, Poland, and France.

Hitler, who famously used heroin, doping agents, and other hard drugs, according to his physician Dr. Theodor Morrell’s notes, may or may have not used Pervitin. If he did, it would’ve made for a dangerous combination since long-term meth use can have neurological effects causing aggressive behavior and psychosis, while long-term heroin use effects decision-making and causes irrational behavior when stressed.

Categories: Drugs, Germany, Nazi's, WWII | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hitler’s Abandoned Hospital…..


It’s hard not to wonder what the world might be like today if the Beelitz-Heilstätten hospital, whose ruins still stand in Berlin, were never there to nurse a wounded Hitler back to health.

But in 1916, during World War I, it did just that. Not to mention, it also cared for many wounded Nazi soldiers during WWII — and then the Soviet military from 1945 until the Berlin wall fell in 1990.

It was built in 1898 as a sanatorium to house people with tuberculosis, a fatal disease then, and a small section of the enormous complex is still used for neurological rehabilitation, according to Atlas Obscura.

But the rest has been abandoned, save for the occasional tour; with its crumbling surgical and psychiatry wards, you can understand why Conde Nast Traveler considers it one of the most terrifying places on the planet.

See why in the pictures below; you can almost feel the creepy vibes coming at you from your very screen.

Categories: America's German war, D Day, WWII | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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