December 9, 2016
Jenn’s post on Pearl Harbor earlier this week got me to thinking about World War II. It was a terrible time with terrible atrocities. Did you know Jewish American GIs and other GIs were sent to a special camp where they were worked to death?
- 1945- More than 4000 soldiers were at Stalag IX. It was notorious for having the worst conditions out of all the Stalags.
- One day they were all ordered out on to the field. The commandant decreed all Jewish soldiers to step forward and identify themselves. Others whispered for them not to do this. He then stated they had until 6am to declare themselves. After that, all Jews found in camp would be shot as would anyone who tried to help.
- About 130 stepped forward. They were put in segregated quarters. 50 other non-commissioned officers were also taken. Any others that were deemed trouble makers were also taken. They left camp never to return.
- Berga was a special camp for the creation of underground tunnels leading to a munitions dump located deep in a mountain.
- They were placed in train cars like so many others going to concentration camps.
- After 5 days, they arrived at Berga, a quaint little town on the Elster River. There is almost no mention of these concentration camps in the history books.
- Stalag IX seemed like a hotel when they discovered life in Berga.
- Each day they walked nearly two miles each way to these shafts cut deep into the earth. Cruel overseers forced them to work until they literally dropped dead.
- The tunnels were made by explosions. They wouldn’t even let the air clear before they sent them back in. Sometimes they couldn’t see more than a few inches in front of their face.
- They huddled together to survive the cold at night. Their meager food rations were sometimes mixed with saw dust or ground glass.
- On April 4, 1945, the commandant received orders to evacuate the camp because the allies were closing in.
- He gathered the survivors and forced them on a death march. If they stumbled, they were shot.
- When they were rescued, most men only weighed 85 lbs or so.
- The American government has never publicly acknowledged they were mistreated. In fact, one survivor was told he should go to a psychiatrist. Officials at the VA told him he had made up the whole story.
- 2 of the men responsible for these atrocities were tried and found guilty of war crimes- even though there was no witnesses there. The case was reviewed later and the verdict was upheld. Even so, a few years later, it was reviewed again and decided there was insufficient evidence and they were released with time served. Many believe it was a trade made for intelligence that they may have had.
- Only 63 of the original 350 US GIs returned home after Berga. 23% were Jewish.
December 7, 2016
In lieu of Hump Day Kick Start, I wanted to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor.
December 7th 1941, the day that will live in infamy. Though he was not there, it was a day my grandfather remembered well, as his life, like the lives of so, so many, was forever changed.
On this day, my grandfather, Master Sergeant W.V. Bray, and his wife were at a cinema in downtown Houston, Texas. In the middle of the show, the movie was shut off and the lights brought up to announce the attack on Pearl Harbor. As you can imagine, his liberty was over. He had been on medical leave, recovering from injuries he sustained during a fatal airplane crash on the Laughlin air force base outside of San Antonio. Therefore, he was not immediately sent overseas. Instead, he was stationed on Matagorda Island off the Texas coast where he oversaw the crash boats, boats used to rescue survivors of sinking ships torpedoed by German U-boats in the Gulf of Mexico. His assignment didn’t last too long—well, at the very least until March of ’42 because my dad was born in December of that year. He was deployed to the Pacific at the start of the Guadalcanal Campaign in August. This was the start of his many Pacific campaigns during WWII as well as later during the Korean War. In the end throughout his career, my grandfather survived eight plane crashes, two air raids (one of which had him hiding, unbeknownst to him, in an ammunitions shed and the other being buried alive in sand after a bomb strike), and, the worst of all for him, the occupation by Japanese paratroopers of their tiny island airbase in the Leyte Gulf where he hid in the jungle for days. He was truly a remarkable man and my hero.
For more information on Pearl Harbor:
Remember Pearl Harbor
December 6, 2016
Holidays contests are under way! Here is your chance to nab you some goodies.
I am running a Goodreads contest for a free paperback copy of Dead Man’s Kiss.
Forced to make a bargain…
One drunken night in Cuba lands Captain Valeryn Barone in a life or death situation. To escape the gallows, Valeryn must agree to a bargain only a fool would make: Escort the tempting and tenacious niece of his captor across the Caribbean or lose his ship, his crew and his life! The caveat? The beautiful Spanish woman must remain untouched for the entire voyage.
Determined to get what she wants…
Catalina Montoya will stop at nothing to get what she wants—even when trouble is certain. Sent to live with her uncle after a scandalous affair, Catalina intends to concentrate on her dream to become a renowned naturalist. She never expected her uncle would send her with a notorious pirate to further her studies. Worse, she never expected to want the devilishly handsome pirate more than anything else.
It’s a battle of wills…
Now Catalina only has 8 weeks to seduce Valeryn and collect her specimens before he returns her to her uncle. And Valeryn has 8 weeks to secure his redemption. Except neither would be that lucky. Not when ruthless enemies threaten to destroy them at every turn. Can Valeryn save those that foolishly depend on him? Can he resist Catalina’s heart? Does a dead man walking even have a chance?
Enter the contest below!
But that’s not all! The Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood is having a Ruby Cookie Exchange. Not only can you collect luscious cookie recipes, you could win a grand prize of a $150 gift card! Plus, there are opportunities all along the hop to win more prizes. Yours truly is participating! You can stop by my website starting the 8th for a chocolatey treat plus a $10 Amazon gift card. www.jbrayweber.com
November 30, 2016
Hump Day Kick Start – for your muse, a writing picture prompt, or just a visual treat.
Is it Wednesday already? With the holidays and shopping crazy deals behind us, I give you today’s sexy prompt.
Who are they and what’s going on? Socialite not quite understanding how placing a bet on the game works? A hypnotist who successfully fleeces old men with old money and their young wives by playing high-stakes pool? Are they double-agent spies seducing each other for intel before the next tournament? Maybe she was losing so bad, she decided to distract him. Could she be performing a bank shot? *wink, wink* Sure hope that stiletto doesn’t put a rip in the table’s felt.
Balls, sticks, pockets, even chalk, I’m sure you can come up with something. Tell me a tale or caption the pic.
November 29, 2016
We all have problems from time to time to achieving our goals. Here’s a terrific site to help you do just that!
“stickK was formed by combining personal experience and scholarly research. Our story began at Yale University a few years ago when Dean Karlan (Economics Professor at Yale and Co-Founder of stickK) came up with the idea of opening an online ‘Commitment Store’.”
The Commitment Contract concept is based on two well known principles of behavioral economics:
1.People don’t always do what they claim they want to do, and
2.Incentives get people to do things
November 23, 2016
Hump Day Kick Start – for your muse, a writing picture prompt, or just a visual treat.
It’s the Thanksgiving holiday for Americans. Many of us will be in the kitchen today. So how about a fun prompt?
Most folks would recognize these two but for the sake of creativity tell me who they are in your story. What is going on? Is this her first time to make him a meal? Is she worried about how to cook a feast for his extensive family? Had she already burned the turkey and is scrambling for a recipe using only bologna? Could she have finally decided on a recipe with ingredients calling for milk, only, uh-oh, he just drank the last of it? Maybe she’s pretending to read the cookbook, but instead, is reading a super sexy and highly entertaining romance novel. And he’s eating carbs because he will need his energy and soon.
You know the drill. Tell me a tale or caption the pic.