Survivors of Salzwedel concentration camp in Germany, Eva Braun (left) and Elly Gross (right), reunited with one of their liberators, Norman Werbowsky, a combat medic in the 84th infantry, 309th battalion, in Long Beach, New York on August 26, 2012. They all had lived within three miles of each other in Queens never having met until coincidences brought them all together earlier that year in 2012. Photo taken by Adam Kent-Isaac
“Like girls from Mars are these “top women” at U.S. Steel’s Gary, Indiana Works, Their job is to clean up at regular intervals around the tops of twelve blast furnaces. As a safety precaution, the girls wear oxygen masks while they are doing the clean-up job”
By an unknown photographer, ca. 1941–45
During World War II, the sight of women working in manufacturing was unique enough that the Federal Women’s Bureau, a part of the Labor Department, took hundreds of photographs of women workers, emphasizing their new roles and the precautions industry was taking to safeguard them.
National Archives, Records of the Women’s Bureau (86-WWT-33-58)
Happy Birthday to Ernest Hemingway! Born July 21, 1899 He served as a journalist in WWII and witnessed the Normandy landings and Liberation of Paris. Best known as an American author with such titles as, “Farewell to Arms” and “To Have and Have Not” and so many more.
English Channel Yields Rare WWII Find During the week of June 12th, 2013, Britain’s RAF Museum recovered the wreckage of a German Luftwaffe bomber from the depths of the English Channel, more than 70 years after it was shot down during the Battle of Britain. Read more at History.com
AlanTurning, credited with ending WWII, to be given Posthumous Pardon Source: NYPost.com
The “Father of Computer Science” — who played a key role in defeating the Nazis during World War II — is set to be posthumously pardoned of his gross indecency conviction, according to a new report.
WWII hero Alan Turing is widely credited with hastening the falls of the Nazis because he cracked the German Enigma, which allowed U-boats to securely communicate in the North Atlantic.
Turing, who was gay, was later convicted under anti-homosexuality legislation and sentenced to chemical castration.
In 1954, Turing, 41, was found dead of cyanide poisoning — a half-eaten apple sitting on his bedside table.
A long-held urban legend about Turing claims the genius was obsessed by the poisoned apple in “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves” and may have killed himself in the same way to end the persecution he suffered as a result of being gay, according to the BBC.
For years the UK parliament refused to pardon Turing or any of the other 49,000 gay men, including Oscar Wilde, convicted under the 1885 Criminal Law Amendment Act.
Now, however, Turing is expected to be pardoned in October — nearly 50 years after his death, according to The Guardian.
Liberal Democrat Lord Sharkey, who has been campaigning for Turing’s pardon for years, said of the government’s reversal, “The government knows that Turing was a hero and a very great man.”
“They acknowledge that he was cruelly treated. They must have seen the esteem in which he is held here and around the world.”
May is National Nurses Month in the U.S., and with all due respect to astronauts, teachers, firefighters and the rest, it’s right and fitting that we single out this ancient profession and its practitioners for praise. Depending on what their patients require, nurses care, comfort, humor, cajole, gently (and sometimes maybe not so gently) badger and, in the end, they save lives. They’re on the front lines, literally and figuratively, of a ceaseless war against suffering. We owe them a lot.
“Man working on hull of U.S. Submarine at Electric Boat Co., Groton, Conn.”
By Charles Fenno Jacobs, August 1943
American workers made a staggering contribution to victory during World War II. They built 5,777 merchant ships, 1,556 naval vessels, 299,293 aircraft, 88,410 tanks, 6.5 million rifles, and 40 billion bullets. Average weekly wages rose 65 percent, and manufacturing workers saw their real income jump 27 percent.
Considered one of the most conversational generals in history… After serving with distinction in both World Wars, MacArthur was placed in command of U.S. and U.N. forces in the Korean War. On April 11, 1951, less than a year after the conflict began, he was relieved of command by President Truman after he openly disagreed with Truman’s policy for a limited war. (Photo Credit: Getty)
Read about more controversial leaders at History.com
General Dwight D Eisenhower, Supreme Allied commander, inspects art treasures looted by the Germans and stored away in the Merkers salt mine. Behind GEN Eisenhower are General Omar N. Bradley (left), CG of the 12th Army Group, and (right) LT Gen George S. Patton, Jr, CG, 3rd U.S. Army. 4/12/45. RG 111-SC-204516
Seven Decades After World War II, the Search for Germany’s War Dead Continues
This weekend, German officials will travel to Russia for the opening of the latest in a long line of war cemeteries containing the graves of Wehrmacht soldiers killed on the Eastern Front during World War II. The cemetery, located near the western Russian city of Smolensk, will eventually be the final resting place of 70,000 soldiers and is just one of 20 similar sites in Russia, commonly known as “concentration cemeteries,” that have been created in the country since the fall of the USSR two decades ago.
The cemetery is operated by The German War Graves Commission, or Volksbund, which was founded in the wake of World War I and authorized to locate and identify the graves of German dead under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. With nearly 90 percent of Germany’s 1.9 million fallen soldiers buried outside of the country, the commission’s early work was mostly limited to organizing commemorations and decorations at foreign-based cemeteries. However, in the immediate aftermath of World War II, which saw more than 4 million German military deaths (with some estimates as high as 5.3 million), the Volksbund’s work intensified and its aim shifted to the arduous search for the dead in Western Europe and North Africa. This work eventually led to the establishment of more than 400 cemeteries in Germany and nearly 500 cemeteries in 45 other countries.
Similar efforts in what was the war’s 1,000-mile long Eastern Front were stymied for nearly 50 years because the West German-based Volksbund was denied access to Soviet records documenting the burial sites of the nearly 3 million Wehrmacht soldiers (and 1.4 million German citizens) who were killed during the brutal fighting that followed Hitler’s invasion of the USSR in June 1941. The collapse of the USSR in 1991 and the opening of the formerly sealed off Eastern Bloc nations finally gave the Volksbund the opportunity to locate and, in many cases, identify its long-lost dead. In the last 20 years, it has repaired more than 300 cemeteries in the former USSR and has reburied more than 800,000 soldiers in 82 massive war cemeteries where internments number in the tens of thousands.
The Volksbund had relied on both governmental assistance and the help of local citizens to locate and identify the graves of German soldiers, but the process has not been without controversy. Seven decades after the war, anger and resentment still lingers over the Nazis’ vicious treatment of a Slavic population that they considered both racially and morally inferior. Hitler may have failed in his ultimate goal of complete obliteration of the Untermensch (or “sub-humans”), but more than 11 million Soviet soldiers and 15 million civilians were killed. Unlike Germany, however, Soviet officials paid little attention to the commemoration of individual war dead, instead erecting mass monuments and cemeteries honoring collective groups. One example is the enormous Piskaryovskoye Memorial Cemetery in St. Petersburg where just 186 mass graves contain the bodies of nearly 500,000 civilians and soldiers who died during the legendary siege of the city during World War II.
The Volksbund, which relies on private donations and thousands of volunteer workers to supplement its full-time staff, has said that the Smolensk cemetery will be the last cemetery to be constructed in Russia, but that it plans to continue its work elsewhere. It expects to recover an additional 150,000 bodies and continue the search for 250,000 more believed to be buried in remote locations or scattered throughout the Eastern European countryside. (The commission is only able to investigate burial sites believed to contain the remains of more than 50 soldiers). Last May, the commission launched an online database that contains records of more than 4.5 million German soldiers who were killed or went missing in action during both World Wars, providing family members with new insight into how and where their loved ones died.
Germany is not alone in their ongoing efforts to commemorate their war dead. The United Kingdom and its Commonwealth member states have a similar war graves commission. France’s Ministry of Defense maintains cemeteries containing the graves of French, German, English and American soldiers; and since 1923 the American Battle Monuments Commission has established nearly 60 overseas military cemeteries, containing more than 120,000 graves—including the nearly 10,000 Americans buried in Normandy, France.