December 20, 2016
The guy in the red suit is about to take off! Track his progress around the world with friends and family. Have a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
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.
November 29, 2016
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October 21, 2016
I’m not sure why, but I’ve been thinking a lot about the presidency of the United States. Call me crazy, I just can’t get it off my mind. (Note the heavy sarcasm)
I don’t want to talk about modern politics, but it sent me searching about Lincoln last week and Kennedy this week. Check out what I discovered.
- John F. Kennedy was obsessed with his weight and traveled with a bathroom scale everywhere he went. Seriously?
- This is a shout-out to the author, Will Graham who is a Bond aficionado and faithful MuseTracks follower! President Kennedy was a Bond fanatic and To Russia With Love was his all-time favorite book! He even tried writing his own Bond like book about a coup d’etat headed by Lyndon Johnson!!
- He was the first president to dance with black women at the Inauguration Ball.
- His last year in office is when his son, Patrick, died.
- A month before his death, he created a “James Bond” movie about his own assassination! The grieving widow was played by Jackie and frazzled Secret Service agents were, indeed, played by his very reluctant Secret Service agents. Now that is creepy.
- He spent time in the company of his mistresses, but after Patrick’s death, he never had sex with any of them. He drew much closer to Jackie and was determined to “keep the White House, white”.
- On Nov. 11, 1963, he laid a wreath on The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington. He would be buried at that cemetery two weeks later.
- The open top limo that he rode in on that fateful day was flown in from Washington. .
- Lyndon B. Johnson became president 99 minutes after the shooting.
- Jackie removed her wedding ring and put it on his finger to be buried with him.
- One of his legs was shorter than the other which caused life-long back pain.
- Kennedy desperately wanted to learn to speak French. Jackie was fluent and he often turned to her and their daughter Caroline for help. It was…a struggle never mastered.
- President Kennedy bought 1200 Cuban cigars the day before he set a ban on them. Hmmmm…….
- Taken from ABC’s article on President Kennedy: “Kennedy had been the target of at least four assassination attempts before Dallas, one barely a month after he was elected president, when a retired postal worker, his car loaded with dynamite, followed the president-elect from Hyannis Port to Georgetown to Palm Beach. “Brother, they could have gotten me in Palm Beach. There is no way to keep anyone from killing me,” Kennedy told a Secret Service agent shortly after the suspect was apprehended, recounted Thurston Clarke in “JFK’s Last Hundred Days.” Two more assassination plots — one in Chicago, one in Tampa, Fla. — were uncovered in the weeks before Nov. 22, 1963.”
- President Kennedy gave his entire $100,000 salary to charity every year.