Nazi

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The remains of Hitler’s bunker. Photo Getty Images.

Adolf Hitler’s Last Days

At one time, Adolf Hitler was the most powerful individual in the world. Yet he ended his life cowering in a foetid bunker, surrounded by enemy troops and raging against those he believed had betrayed him. Hitler’s last days were a humiliating final chapter in the life of a man once revered by millions. But they were also the last days of a man who had been mentally and physically unravelling for months.

By April 1945, Hitler’s health was deteriorating fast. His left arm often shook, his skin was sallow and his face was puffy. An assassination attempt in 1944 had damaged his eardrums. Witnesses reported that his eyes were often filmed over. He suffered from intense stomach cramps at moments of crisis. He was taking Benzedrine and cocaine-laced eye drops to get him through the day and barbiturates to help him sleep at night. His diet cannot have helped his situation. A committed vegetarian and paranoid about being poisoned, he was only eating mashed potatoes and thin soup by the end.

In late April 1945, chaos reigned in Berlin. Years of war had turned former superpower Germany into a battleground, and its cities from strongholds into places under siege. The Red Army had completely circled the city, which now called on elderly men, police, and even children to defend it. But though a battle raged on in the streets, the war was already lost. Adolf Hitler’s time was almost up.

Despite the hopeless situation, he was now in, visitors to the bunker were amazed that Hitler was still able to work himself up into a megalomaniacal frenzy in which Berlin would be saved and the Nazi dream fulfilled.

While in one of these moods, Hitler would pore over maps, moving buttons to represent military units. In truth, the divisions he imagined himself to be directing were broken remnants. What was left of Berlin was defended by old men and teenagers hurriedly conscripted from the Hitler Youth.

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Brave: Eileen ‘Didi Nearne operated as an undercover agent called ‘Rose’ in Occupied France and was caught and tortured by the Nazis.

Eileen Mary “Didi” Nearne

The Spy Who Took Her Secret With Her To The Grave—Almost

Eileen Nearne — known as Didi — was, in fact, one of the bravest secret agents of World War II. When caught, she showed exceptional courage, withstanding torture and incarceration in concentration camps. Didi was a modest woman who seldom spoke about her wartime exploits. Her latter years were solitary and reclusive. Keeping quiet was one of Nearne’s great strengths, and she saved many lives (including her own) through silence, bluff and determination in the face of what must have seemed a hopeless situation. Buried deep in Eileen Nearne’s secret World War II file, released by the National Archives, is the secrecy agreement she signed on Sept. 4, 1942. It was a commitment she honoured until her death.

The death of an eccentric recluse is rarely an event to be given more than a few lines in a local newspaper. But when, in September 2010, police were called to a tiny, cluttered flat in Torquay and discovered the body of local ‘cat lady’ Eileen Nearne, they also found a small bundle of possessions that told an amazing story.

It transpired that the eccentric old lady who fed stray cats had once been one of the most successful agents of Special Operations Executive (SOE), as had her sister, Jacqueline, who had died many years before.

After Eileen Mary “Didi” Nearne died in 2 September 2010 (date body found) a frail 89-year-old alone in a flat in the British seaside town of Torquay, Eileen Nearne, her body undiscovered for several days, was listed by local officials as a candidate for what is known in Britain as a council burial, or what in the past was called a pauper’s grave.

But after the police looked through her possessions, including a Croix de Guerre medal awarded to her by the French government after World War II, the obscurity Ms. Nearne had cultivated for decades began to slip away.

Known to her neighbours as an insistently private woman who loved cats and revealed almost nothing about her past, she has emerged as a heroine in the tortured story of Nazi-occupied France, one of the secret agents who helped prepare the French resistance for the D-Day landings in June 1944.

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Irena Sendler. An unfamiliar name to most people, but this remarkable woman defied the Nazis and saved 2,500 Jewish children by smuggling them out of the Warsaw Ghetto.

Irena Sendler. An unfamiliar name to most people, but this remarkable woman defied the Nazis and saved 2,500 Jewish children by smuggling them out of the Warsaw Ghetto.

Remembering Irena

A Light that Never Went Out

Arrested, tortured, and sentenced to death, Sendler managed to escape her sentence for smuggling over 2,500 Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto and saving them from certain death.

Irena Sendler, born in 1910, in Warsaw, Poland, was raised by her parents to respect and love people regardless of their ethnicity or social status. She grew up in the town of Otwock, Poland. Her father, a physician, died from typhus that he contracted during an epidemic in 1917. He was the only doctor in his town of Otwock, near Warsaw who would treat the poor, mostly Jewish community of this tragic disease. As he was dying, he told 7-year-old Irena, “If you see someone drowning you must try to rescue them, even if you cannot swim.”

When World War II started in 1939, Irena immediately started protecting her Jewish friends in Warsaw. She worked as a social services director in Warsaw. She would make false documents for Jews in the city and had already started gathering her famous rescue network. When the Warsaw Ghetto was erected in 1940, Irena saw the danger ahead.

When liquidation started in 1942, Irena and her network accelerated the rescue process. The number 2,500, in connection with children rescued, is estimated by Irena and historians to be of this division. About 800 were taken from the Warsaw Ghetto, many of which were orphans. Approximately the same number were in orphanages and convents, Irena and her network assisted in the hiding of these children.

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After: Joseph R. Beyrle: His POW mug shot shows a justifiably angry young man. That anger would earn him a beating when he insulted a German officer who interrogated him. But it would also motivate him to attempt escape at every turn.

After: Joseph R. Beyrle: His POW mug shot shows a justifiably angry young man. That anger would earn him a beating when he insulted a German officer who interrogated him. But it would also motivate him to attempt escape at every turn.

“A Hero of Two Nations”

A Long and Arduous Odyssey through a World at War

As the twentieth century closed, the veterans of its defining war passed away at a rate of a thousand per day. This is the story of Joseph R. Beyrle. It is a story of battle, followed by a succession of captures, escapes, then battle, in the final months of fighting on the Eastern Front.

Twice before the invasion he parachuted into Normandy, bearing gold for the French resistance. D Day resulted in his capture, and he was mistaken for a German line-crosser – a soldier who had, in fact, died in the attempt.

Getting the nickname “Jumpin'” when you’re in the 101st Airborne’s “Screaming Eagles” division and everyone’s job is to jump out of planes has to be an achievement in itself. Not satisfied with that, Jumpin’ Joe Beyrle also went on to become the only American soldier to serve in both the U.S. Army and the Soviet Army in World War II … but not before having to go through hell and back. Just looking at his face before and after his ordeal should tell you the whole story

From his spot in the hayloft, American paratrooper Joe Beyrle watched as Russian soldiers cautiously advanced across the Polish fields and toward the farm where he was hiding. He saw the soldiers approach the adjacent farmhouse and summon the old German couple who lived there. The Russians gunned down the man and woman, then cut up their bodies and fed them to their pigs. Beyrle remained hidden. That night he heard the sound of arriving tanks, and dawn broke to reveal a Russian tank battalion.

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Auschwitz 31. Women survivors huddled in a prisoner barracks shortly after Soviet forces liberated the Auschwitz camp. Auschwitz, Poland, 1945.

Auschwitz 31. Women survivors huddled in a prisoner barracks shortly after Soviet forces liberated the Auschwitz camp. Auschwitz, Poland, 1945.

How One Woman Delivered 3,000 Babies During The Holocaust

Auschwitz had all sorts of facilities, such as sleeping quarters, offices, kitchens and latrines. It also had a “sick ward” where, in atrocious conditions, sick prisoners were looked after by physicians who were prisoners themselves. Anyone who appeared unlikely to get well was killed. Thus the physicians were constantly concealing serious cases by falsifying records to permit a longer stay to those who otherwise would have been sent to the crematorium. Almost all survivors of Auschwitz suffered from typhoid, a disease that qualified inmates for liquidation, but was never reported thanks to the courage of the physicians. They were risking their lives since the punishment for breaking any rule in the concentration camp was death. Auschwitz also had a “maternity-ward.” Many of the women who arrived at the camp were pregnant. They were needed for work; their babies were not. One of the midwives working in the ward was Stanislawa Leszczynska.

When Stanislawa Leszczyńska first became a midwife, she never could have imagined that she would one day be whisked away from her home in Poland, where she routinely walked miles to deliver babies, and into the real-life nightmare of Auschwitz. After the murder of her husband in Poland and the forced removal of her son to another work camp, Stanislawa and her daughter entered Auschwitz with only one hope: that they would survive.

Born Stanislawa Zambrzyska in 1896, she married Bronislaw Leszczynski in 1916 and together they had two sons and a daughter. In 1922, she graduated from a school for midwives and began working in the poorest districts of Lodz. In pre-war Poland, babies were normally delivered at home. Stanislawa made herself available at any time, walking many kilometers to the homes of the women she helped. Her children recall that she often worked nights but she never slept during the day.

After the war, she returned to her job in Lodz. Her husband had been killed in the Warsaw uprising of 1944, but all of her children survived and, inspired by their mother’s example, went on to become physicians. Stanislawa supported their education, earning the family livelihood through a devoted service to childbirth.

In March 1957, as her retirement neared, a reception was organized to commemorate her 35 years in the profession. Her son, Dr. Bronislaw Leszczynski, remarked to her before the reception that she might be asked about Auschwitz. Until that time, she had said nothing about her work in the concentration camp. Her son began taking notes and later, during the reception when all the speeches were over, he stood up and told his mother’s story.

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Photo Of The Day

Image sources: The House Under the Wacky Star, National Digital Archive, Museum and Institute of Zoology, Warsaw Zoological Garden.

Image sources: The House Under the Wacky Star, National Digital Archive, Museum and Institute of Zoology, Warsaw Zoological Garden.

The House Under A Whacky Star

Jews in hiding at the Warsaw ZOO

Refuge, haven, ark – that is how those who had survived the Second World War owing to the Żabiński family’s help referred to the Warsaw ZOO.

It was World War II, Warsaw was under German occupation, and the wife of the director of the Warsaw zoo spotted Nazis approaching the white stucco villa that she and her family inhabited on the zoo grounds.

According to plan, she went straight to her piano and began to play a lively tune from an operetta by Jacques Offenbach, a signal to Jews being sheltered in the house that they should be quiet and not leave their hiding places.

That scenario, repeated over years of war, was one of the tricks that allowed Jan and Antonina Żabiński to save the lives of many Jews, a dramatic chapter in Poland’s wartime drama. The Żabińskis’ remarkable wartime actions included hiding Jews in indoor animal enclosures.

The Żabińskis saved hundreds of Jews during World War II by hiding them in animal cages in the Warsaw zoo and sheltering them in their home.

Many cages in the zoo had been emptied of animals during the Germans’ September 1939 bombing campaign on Warsaw, and zoo director Jan Żabiński used them as hiding places for fleeing Jews. Over the course of three years, many Jews found temporary shelter in these abandoned animal cells, located on the eastern bank of the Vistula River, until they were able to relocate to places of refuge elsewhere. In addition, the Żabińskis sheltered Jews in their two-story private home on the zoo’s grounds.

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Who dares wins

One should never underestimate the power of a few motivated, highly skilled and well resourced people.

Fast and furious had always been the SAS way. Now they could sow even more panic among the ‘grey lice’, dashing in with all guns blazing and then making a clean getaway.

Not everything went to plan. On his way back to ‘bandit base’ from one mission, Druce cruised into the square at Moussey to see SS troopers lined up opposite frightened villagers, rounded up for yet another round of brutal reprisals.

For a split second SAS and SS eyed each other. But Druce was the first to react, accelerating his jeep at the SS ranks as his gunner fired from close range. SS soldiers were blown off their feet as Druce steered for the exit, leaving 20 dead and wounded soldiers in his wake. As he sped away, all he could hope for the villagers was that, in the chaos, they had managed to escape. In reality, they were all being herded away for deportation.

Furious at their fate, Franks stepped up the raids so that no German officer could sleep soundly in his bed or travel the roads of the Vosges in comfort. Soon Operation Loyton had destroyed eight German staff cars and their high-ranking occupants. The final tally would be 13.

A key part of their mission had been to decapitate the Nazi serpent in the area and they succeeded, making a significant dent in the SS command structure as well as spreading fear among the occupiers. It was as much as any group of raiders like this could expect, if not more. Read more »

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Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Further on this morning’s story about an ex NZME “journalist” not feeling the love when she found competing in the real world just too damn hard, it seems one of her NZME ex-colleagues doesn’t have much love for her.

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Employees have faced disciplinary action and lost their jobs for less than that, yet the people at A newspaper are truly just on the rampage without any kind of oversight.

Matt Nippert, who is “known to the Police”, still works at that waning rag of a newspaper, and it appears that denigrating women and ex staff in public by invoking Godwin’s Law is just fine. Read more »

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Photo Of The Day

Colourized photo of the Ovitz Family

Colourized photo of the Ovitz Family

Ovitz Family

In Our Hearts We Were Giants

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Pot Kettle black

A writer on the Left has his tighty whities in a knot and is SHOCKED that others are making connections between Hitler and Kim Dotcom and his bought and paid for Internet Party.

His angry response to these connections was to post this.

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