Posts tagged World War II
Posts tagged World War II
Polish prosecutors are investigating a Swedish artist’s claim that he used the ashes of Holocaust victims to make a painting, an act that could carry a prison term.
Spokeswoman Beata Syk-Jankowska said Tuesday that prosecutors in the eastern city of Lublin have opened an investigation to check whether there is truth to the artist’s claim. She said there is no evidence and prosecutors are acting on media reports.
This could be a completely false publicity stunt. Of course, it could be a true publicity stunt. :(
Chiune Sugihara was an awesome guy who was a Japanese diplomat to Lithuania during World War II.
Sympathetic to Jews who were trying to leave Lithuania after it was occupied by the Soviet Union, he took it upon himself to write thousand of exit visas for refugees, despite having orders from the Japanese Foreign Ministry to the contrary.
Sugihara continued to hand write visas, reportedly spending 18–20 hours a day on them, producing a normal month’s worth of visas each day, until 4 September, when he had to leave his post before the consulate was closed. By that time he had granted thousands of visas to Jews, many of whom were heads of households and thus permitted to take their families with them. On the night before their scheduled departure, Sugihara and his wife stayed awake writing out visa approvals. According to witnesses, he was still writing visas while in transit from his hotel and after boarding the train at the Kaunas Railway Station, throwing visas into the crowd of desperate refugees out of the train’s window even as the train pulled out.
In final desperation, blank sheets of paper with only the consulate seal and his signature (that could be later written over into a visa) were hurriedly prepared and flung out from the train.
What a badass.
Sergey Larenkov takes photos from World War II and merges them with present-day photos of the same locations. The one accompanying this post is titled “Vyborg. Bridge to the past.” You should probably go to his LiveJournal and check out his other work, including the first photo in this D-Day set and this set from Gatchina.
Bill Dedman on MSNBC’s Open Channel blog:
In the 70 years since the attack on Pearl Harbor, a dramatic photo of female firefighters has been published many times in magazines, history books and online as a depiction of action on Dec. 7, 1941. We published it this past week on msnbc.com. Now, with the help of our readers, we’ve located one of the women, who says the photo was definitely not taken on that day.
Really awesome piece involving crowdsourcing, personal history, and politics.
Today is the seventieth anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II. The Big Picture has a gallery of portraits of survivors, shots from ceremonies held in the past few days, and eleven photos taken the day of the attack. The above photo, from the Associated Press, is of the USS Arizona collapsing into the sea.
The whole set is definitely worth checking out.
Today, the British National Archives released 180 previously classified MI5 files on a variety of topics: World War II, the spread of Communism, etc. Professor Christopher Andrew of the University of Cambridge recorded a podcast about the files published in this current release.
One of the files, catalog number KV3/413, is a report on a failed German mission of sabotage in the United States during World War II. The story of the “Franz Daniel Pastorious Undertaking,” summarized by Jill Lawless of the Associated Press, is an amazing tale of incompetence:
They went to Paris, where one of the team got drunk at the hotel bar and “told everyone that he was a secret agent” — something, the MI5 report notes, that may “have contributed to the failure of the undertaking.”
The submarine dropping half the group on Long Island ran aground, and MI5 noted that “it was only owing to the laziness or stupidity of the American coast guards that this submarine was not attacked by U.S. forces.”
The Germans were stopped by a coast guard, who — to the evident astonishment of the British — did not detain them. He told his superiors, who were slow to contact the FBI.
The others in Florida also made it ashore, despite their attention-grabbing attire of “bathing trunks and army forage caps.”
The full 93-page report will be available for free through the Archives’ DocumentsOnline service for one month, if you have a hankering to dive into historical material. Here’s one of my favorite tidbits:
… he was taken first to see Captain Spies, who was believed to be responsible for [Abwehr] II work in Central America.
Captain Spies is the greatest military intelligence name ever.