WW2 History

Lieutenant Edwin Wright of the 404th Fighter Group shows off the damage caused by flak to his P-47 Thunderbolt. USAAF airfield near Sint-Truiden, Belgium, October 1944.

‘Lt “Lucky” Edwin Wright, just over 19 yrs. old, just returned from his 39th mission- over Munster. He got hit by flak but continued on his mission dropped his bombs, did a spot of strafing and returned. When he got back he found a hole 8ins. in diameter through his 11ins. diameter prop blade, caused by a direct hit from an ‘ack ack’ shell. If the shell had deviated an inch and a half either side, his blade would have severed and he would have been brought down. This is the 6th time that Wright has been hit by Flak and is now known as “Lucky Wright”. He has 5 and a half months of combat to his credit and 39 missions.’ - Roger LIFE

Edwin Wright flew a total of 88 missions in P-47 Thunderbolts over Europe during WWII. He left the Army in 1946 after the war and was again called up for the Korean Conflict in 1950. He retired from the US Air Force as a Major. Edwin Wright passed away in 1959, from lung cancer, age 34.

Original: Roger Freeman Collection/American Air Museum in Europe/IWM (FRE 9553)

Members of the Red Warriors – a French street gang part of the ‘80s anti-fascist punk movement, known for violent confrontations with neo-Nazi skinheads

16 May, Romani Day of Resistance.

Romani are usually excluded whenever the topic of the Holocaust/WW2 comes up, so it’s not all too surprising that the Romani Day of Resistance is very unknown to the majority. But it should be celebrated and embraced since it represents a change in the way Romani culture and identity appear in public space - where a history of resistance replaces a history of oppression:

  • On 15 May 1944, the underground resistance movement in the Auschwitz, Birkenau concentration camp BIIe warned the Roma that the SS guards were planning to round up the nearly 6,000 Roma and Sinti prisoners and send them to the gas chambers. 
  • On the morning of 16 May, the Romani prisoners did not show up for the usual morning roll call and ceased cooperating with the SS guards.
  • The Roma barricaded themselves into their shanties. They had broken into an equipment warehouse and armed themselves with hammers, pickaxes and shovels, taking apart the wooden sections of the bunks they slept on to make wooden stakes. 
  • When the SS guards approached the area, they were met with armed resistance from the inmates. 
  • The prisoners forced the guards into retreat, and though some prisoners were shot that night, the act of resistance allowed the Roma and Sinti prisoners to put off execution for several more months.
  • The SS were in shock because they had completely failed to anticipate this resistance. Concerned they might lose more men and that the uprising might spread to other parts of Auschwitz, they retreated from camp BIIe.
  • No Roma died in the gas chambers that day. The Nazis subsequently put the prisoners of BIIe on a starvation diet.
  • Later, on 23 May 1944 the Nazis moved 1,500 of the strongest Romani prisoners to Auschwitz I, many of whom were then sent to Buchenwald concentration camp.
  • On 25 May 1944, 82 Romani men were transported to the Flossenburg concentration camp and 144 young Romani women were sent to the Ravensbrück concentration camp.  
  • Less than 3,000 Romani prisoners remained in the family camp at BIIe, most of them children.
  • On 2 August 1944, the Nazis gassed all the remaining Romani prisoners to death in gas chamber V, although the Roma fought back on that dark night as well.

In Hungary the 2nd of August was designated in 2005 by the Parliament as “Roma and Sinti Genocide Remembrance Day”, yet most European countries make no or insufficient mention of the Roma victims in their official position regarding the Holocaust. 

Roma are still misrepresented by stereotypes that overshadow our culture and real identity and it should be needless to say that Europe should put some effort on making the Roma genocide widely known and recognized, to serve as a counterforce to the increasingly violent rhetoric and action against the Roma because and through them. Yet it does not seem like anything like that will happen any time soon. 

& Yes, please reblog this to make at least some of our history known.

A picture of Freddie Oversteegen, a Dutch girl who was the unsuspecting killer of dozens of Nazis. Along with her friend Hannie and her sister Truus, the girls worked with a team from the Dutch Resistance to lure men into the woods for a promised kiss. Once they reached a remote location, the men got a bullet to the head instead.

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LGBT Hero: Alan Turing

His name was Alan Turing. Most people still don’t know who he was. That must change. Turing was a prodigiously gifted British mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, and computer scientist. In fact, Turing is considered the father of computer science and artificial intelligence. He designed the programming of the world’s first commercial computer. He was also the inventor of the Turing Machine in 1935, a device which even to this day all digital computers are modeled on. Crucially, he was central to the building of The Bombe, an electro-mechanical machine which greatly helped in the breaking of the Enigma code used by the Nazi’s during World War Two. By 1942 his team was decoding up to 39,000 Enigma messages a month. This rose to 84,000, or about two messages decoded every minute. 

Winston Churchill said that Turing’s work shortened the Second World War by at least two years, saving millions of lives. Turing also helped decode the Fish cipher used by the German High Command to transmit messages between Hitler and senior officers in the field. So Turing was an architect, many would say the architect, of the modern world - and he was living in it decades before the rest of us.

Alan Turing was homosexual. He was quite fearlessly homosexual in an era when it was still a crime. When it became known he lost his security clearance. In 1952 he was convicted of acts of ‘gross indecency.’ They gave him a choice between prison or a process they called 'chemical castration.’ The barbaric and pointless process of being injected with female hormones - it gave him female breasts, it rendered him impotent - proved so traumatic it eventually led to his suicide in 1954. He was 41.