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German AA Missiles / SAMs / Flakraketen in WW2. Look at efficiency and counter-measures

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February 22nd 1943: White Rose group executed

On this day in 1943, three members of the peaceful resistance movement in Nazi Germany, the White Rose, were executed. The White Rose, comprising students from the University of Munich and their philosophy professor, began in June 1942. The group secretly distributed leaflets protesting against the regime of Adolf Hitler and the war being waged in Europe, highlighting the repressive nature of the Nazi police state and drawing attention to the mistreatment of Jews. The group took precautions to avoid capture by keeping the White Rose group very small. However, on 18th February 1943, the siblings Sophie and Hans Scholl were discovered distributing leaflets by a university janitor, who informed the Gestapo. Hans and Sophie were arrested and immediately admitted guilt, hoping to avoid being coerced into implicating their fellow members of the White Rose, but after further interrogation were forced to give up the names. Four days later, the Scholls and Christoph Probst - some of the founding members of the group - were put on trial and found guilty of treason; they were sentenced to death. That same day, February 22nd, the three were executed by beheading at Stadelheim Prison. After their executions, the remaining members were arrested and killed, thus ending the White Rose resistance movement. The White Rose, alongside other groups like the Edelweiss Pirates, are an important example of Germans speaking out against Hitler’s regime, and their deaths are yet another in the litany of Nazi crimes.

“We will not be silent. We are your bad conscience. The White Rose will not leave you in peace!”

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February 2nd 1943: Battle of Stalingrad ends

On this day in 19423 during the Second World War, German troops surrendered to the Soviet Red Army in Stalingrad, thus ending five months of fighting. The battle began in August 1942 during the Nazi invasion of Russia - codenamed Operation Barbarossa - and Adolf Hitler ordered an attack on the major city of Stalingrad. Stalingrad became a major playing field of the war, as Soviet leader Stalin was determined to save the city which bore his name. Under the leadership of General Paulus, German bombing destroyed much of the city and troops captured areas through hand-to-hand urban warfare. In November, Marshal Zhukov assembled six Russian armies to surround Stalingrad and trap the Germans in the city, barring provisions and troops from reaching them. Many German soldiers died of starvation and frostbite following the onset of the harsh Russian winter, with temperatures down to -30°C, but Hitler insisted they fight until the last man. After five months, the Russian Red Army claimed victory when the remaining German troops surrendered in February 1943. 91,000 Germans were taken prisoner, including twenty-two generals; this was all that remained of the 330,000 strong German force who arrived at Stalingrad. The Battle of Stalingrad is among the bloodiest battles of the Second World War, causing nearly two million casualties. The disaster depleted the German army’s supply of men and equipment, allowing the Allies to gain the advantage, which enabled them to invade Germany and win the war.

“The God of war has gone over to the other side”
- Adolf Hitler upon hearing of the German surrender at Stalingrad

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January 27th 1945: Liberation of Auschwitz

On this day in 1945, the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Poland was liberated by the Soviet Red Army. One of the most notorious camps of Nazi Germany, Jews and others persecuted by the Nazi regime were sent to Auschwitz from 1940 onwards. During its years in operation, over one million people died in Auschwitz, either from murder in the gas chambers or due to starvation and disease. As the war drew to a close and the Nazis steadily lost ground to the Allied forces, they began evacuating the camps and destroying evidence of the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed there. The leader of the SS, Heinrich Himmler, ordered the evacuation of the remaining prisoners at the camp as the Soviet Red Army closed in on the area. Nearly 60,000 prisoners from Auschwitz were forced on a march toward Wodzisław Śląski (Loslau) where they would be sent to other camps; some 20,000 ended up in the Bergen-Belsen camp in Germany. However, thousands died during the evacuation on the grueling marches, leading to them being called ‘death marches’. 7,500 weak and sick prisoners remained in Auschwitz, and they were liberated by the 322nd Rifle Division of the Soviet Red Army on January 27th 1945. Auschwitz remains one of the most powerful symbols of the Holocaust and the horrific crimes committed by the Nazi regime against Jews and numerous other groups.

The invincible German soldiers were human too. Here they are seen catching up with their sleep during the move from Holland to Belgium. May 1940.

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Bamberg is a town in Oberfranken, Bayern (Bavaria) on the river Regnitz. Its historic center is a UNESCO world heritage site. During the post-Roman centuries of Germanic migration and settlement, the region included in the Diocese of Bamberg was inhabited for the most part by Slavs. The town, first mentioned in 902, grew up by the castle Babenberch, which gave its name to the Babenberg family. On their extinction it passed to the Saxon house. The area was Christianized chiefly by the monks of the Benedictine Fulda Abbey, and the land was under the spiritual authority of the Diocese of Würzburg. In 1007, Holy Roman Emperor Henry II made Bamberg a family inheritance, the seat of a separate diocese. The purpose was to make the Diocese of Würzburg less unwieldy in size and to give Christianity a firmer footing. In 1008, after long negotiations with the Bishops of Würzburg and Eichstätt, the boundaries of the new diocese were defined. Pope John XVIII granted papal confirmation the same year. Henry II ordered the building of a new cathedral, which was consecrated in 1012. From the mid-13th century onward the bishops were princes of the Empire and ruled Bamberg, overseeing the construction of monumental buildings. In the 1200′s, the see obtained large portions of the estates of the Counts of Meran. The old Bishopric of Bamberg was composed of an unbroken territory extending from Schlüsselfeld to the Franconian Forest, and possessed estates in the Duchies of Carinthia and Salzburg, in the Nordgau (now Upper Palatinate), in Thuringia, and on the Danube. By the changes resulting from the Reformation, the territory was reduced nearly one half in extent. 

The witch trials of the 17th century claimed about 1000 victims in Bamberg - the famous Drudenhaus witch prison is no longer standing today. In 1647, the University of Bamberg was founded. Bambrzy (Posen Bambergers) are German Poles, descended from settlers in villages around Posen in the 1700′s. When the secularization of church lands took place (1802) the diocese had a population of 207,000. Bamberg lost its independence in 1802, becoming part of Bavaria in 1803. It was first connected to the German rail system in 1844, which has been an important part of its infrastructure since. After a communist uprising took control over Bavaria in the years following WW1, the state government fled to Bamberg and stayed there for 2 years before the Bavarian capital of Munich was retaken by Freikorps units. The first republican constitution of Bavaria was passed in Bamberg. In 1926 Bamberg served as the venue for the Bamberg Conference, convened by Adolf Hitler in his attempt to foster unity and to stifle dissent within the then-young Nazi party. Bamberg was chosen for its location in Upper Franconia, reasonably close to the residences of the members of the dissident northern Nazi faction but still within Bavaria. In 1973, the town celebrated its 1000th anniversary. 

The crew of a Panzer IV Ausf.G Tropenfähig (Tropical) of 1./Panzer-Abteilung z.b.V. 66 of the Afrika Korps, Wehrmacht, posing in front of their tank in Neuruppin during the preparations for the planned invasion of the island of Malta (“Unternehmen Herkules”, Italian “Operazione C3”). The operation was then canceled shortly after.
Brandenburg, Germany, May-June 1942.

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Swingjugend

Translating to ‘Swing Kids’ or ‘Swing Youth’ the Swingjugend were a group of teenagers between the ages of 14-18, that opposed Nazi Germany and the Hitler Youth. Their name acts as a parody of the numerous youth groups that flourished before the National Socialists. They also referred to themselves as Swings or Swingheinis (“Swingity”); the members were called “Swing-Boy”, “Swing-Girl” or “Old-Hot-Boy”. Throughout Germany, many young people were encouraged to join the fascist Hitler Youth movement. As swing music and Jazz music was offensive to Nazi ideology, because it was often performed by blacks (Negroes) and a number of Jewish musicians, the leaders formed their own group, focusing on American and British swing and jazz.  They organized dance festivals and contests and invited jazz bands. These events were occasions to mock the Nazis, the military and the Hitler Youth, and they even chanted “Swing Heil!”, mocking the Nazi “Sieg Heil!”

Königsberger Klopse

Königsberger Klopse, aka Soßklopse, are a Prussian specialty of meatballs in a white cream sauce with capers. They’re named for the Prussian city of Königsberg (now Kaliningrad) and are a highlight of East Prussian cuisine. In the former DDR/East Germany, the dish was called Kochklopse to avoid any reference to its namesake city, which in the aftermath of WW2 had been annexed by the Soviet Union. The German inhabitants were expelled, and the city was repopulated with Russians and renamed after Mikhail Kalinin, a close ally of Joseph Stalin. Königsberger Klopse were jokingly referred to as Revanchistenklopse. Traditionally, they’re made from finely minced veal, though less expensive beef or pork is often substituted, like in this recipe. Serve with boiled potatoes or rice and lemon. 

250 g Hackfleisch vom Schwein - 250 g Tatar - 1 Brötchen - 2 Eier - 1 Schalotte - 1/2 EL Sardellenpaste - 1/2 TL Majoran - 40 g Butter - 40 g Mehl - 1/2 Liter Rinderbrühe - 3-5 EL Kapern - 100 ml Wein, weiß - 1/2 Zitrone, den Saft - Salz und Pfeffer - 1 TL Zucker - 2 Eigelb - 1/8 Liter saure Sahne

Hack, eingeweichtes, ausgedrücktes Brötchen, Eier und geriebene Zwiebel vermischen. Mit Sardellenpaste, Salz, Pfeffer und Majoran abschmecken. Aus der Masse Klopse formen. Rinderbrühe zum Kochen bringen, und die Klopse darin in etwa 15 Min gar ziehen, aber nicht mehr kochen lassen, sonst zerfallen sie! Wenn sie oben schwimmen sind sie gar. Man kann nun die Klopse aus der Brühe nehmen und die Brühe absieben, um sie für die Soße zu verwenden. Für die Soße Butter oder Margarine erhitzen, und das Mehl darin andünsten. Nach und nach unter Rühren die Fleischbrühe hinzufügen. Die Soße aufkochen und ein paar Minuten kochen lassen; anschließend mit Wein, Zitronensaft, Zucker, Pfeffer und Salz abschmecken. Die Kapern nun ebenfalls zufügen. Eigelb und Sahne verrühren und unter die Soße mischen. Nun nicht mehr kochen lassen und Klopse in die Soße geben. Die Menge ergibt ca. 12 Klopse.