sudeten germans

5

The Most Terrifying Church in the World

When Czech artist Jakub Hadrava was asked to help transform a dilapidated village church, he knew he would have his work cut out.

Thankfully he came up with a frightfully good idea.

Mr Hadrava has helped secure the future of the 14th century St George’s church in Lukova after creating a spooky art installation that features a collection of hooded ‘ghosts’ that line the pews and aisles.

The church, which is in the north-western Bohemia region of the Czech Republic, had initially fallen into disrepair in 1968 after the roof collapsed during a funeral service.

These veiled statues represent the ghosts of Sudeten Germans who lived in Lukova, before World War II, and used to come and pray in this church. 

Kurt Knispel (1921 – 1945) was a Sudeten German Heer Panzer loader, gunner and later commander, and was the highest scoring tank ace of World War II with a total of 168 confirmed tank kills,the actual number, although unconfirmed is as high as 195.He is counted with Johannes Bolter, Ernst Barkmann, Otto Carius and Michael Wittmann as being one of, if not, the greatest tank aces of all time.

Knispel was born in Salisfeld of Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia.After completing his apprenticeship in a automobile factory in 1940, Knispel applied to join the armoured branch of the German Army.
For his basic training, Knispel went to the Panzer Replacement Training Battalion at Sagan in Lower Silesia. There he received basic infantry training before tank training on the Panzer I, Panzer II, and Panzer IV. On October 1940, he was transferred to the 3rd Company of the 29th Panzer Regiment, 12th Panzer Division where he finished his training as a loader and gunner on a Panzer IV.Training lasted until June 1941 and consisted of courses at Sagan and Putlos.
Knispel first saw action in August 1941 in a Panzer IV tank,during Operation Barbarossa. By January 1943 had returned to Putlos to undergo his training in the new Tiger I tank.Next he was transferred to the 1st Company of the 503rd Heavy Panzer Battalion (Schwere Panzer-Abteilung 503) where he took part in the Battle of Kursk and saw further action in other battles.
From there he went on to commanding of a Tiger II (King Tiger), when his unit was re-equipped, and fought around Caen and in the retreat from Normandy. From there the unit was transferred back to the Eastern Front and continue to fought in many battles.His final battle was in Wostitz where he was fatally wounded on April 1945, ten days before the end of war.

He was awarded the Iron Cross, First and Second Class, after destroying his fiftieth enemy tank and the Tank Assault Badge in Gold after more than 100 tank battles. When Knispel had destroyed 126 enemy tanks, he was awarded the German Cross in Gold,(May 1944). He became the only non-commissioned officer (Unteroffizier) of the German army to be named in a Wehrmacht communique,(April 1944).
Although he was recommended four times, he was never awarded the Knight’s Cross (a standard award for most other World War II German tank aces).
Unlike some other commanders,Knispel was never pursuit decorations. When there were conflicting claims for a destroyed enemy tank,always stepped back,willing to credit success to someone else.
Knispel was an excellent gunner (he is credited with knocking out a T-34 at 3,000 metres) and as a tank commander was also in his own element.At times he faced superior enemies he gave the units he was supporting the best chance to advance or the safest passage of retreat. Alfred Rubbel, one of Knispel’s first commanders, stated that when he was on the field of battle he never abandoned anyone,even in the worst of situations and conditions.

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1993
Like no other film, Schindler’s List changes Spielberg not only as a director, but also as a person. For the first time, Spielberg confronts his Jewish identity and the Holocaust in one of his films. What Spielberg always feared in the anti-semitic suburbs of his childhood (and beyond) now comes only naturally to him: embracing his Jewish faith.

In his novel Schindler’s Ark, Thomas Keneally tells the story of several Jewish families between 1939 and 1945. They are saved from being murdered in concentration camps by the Sudeten German Oskar Schindler who hires them for “war-critical production” in his Krakow factory. The book is based on interviews with 50 of the 1,200 so-called “Schindler Jews”.

One of them is Leopold “Poldek” Pfefferberg. After the war, he makes it his life’s mission to thank his savior by communicating Schindler’s story to the world. As early as 1963, he tries to produce a biopic, but the project gets cancelled. In 1980, he meets Thomas Keneally and sparks his interest to write a book about Schindler. Spielberg later signs Pfefferberg as a consultant for the location shoot in Poland.

When Keneally’s novel is published in 1982 Universal studio boss Sid Sheinberg purchases the film rights for $500,000, with Steven Spielberg attached as director. However, Spielberg hesitates and nearly passes the project over to colleagues such as Martin Scorsese, Roman Polanski and Billy Wilder, before he finally takes it into his own hands (encouraged by Billy Wilder). “I didn’t go to work on it right away because I didn’t know how to do it. The story didn’t have the same shape as the films I have made. […] I needed time to mature within myself and develop my own consciousness about the Holocaust.”

Spielberg’s decision to make the film is triggered by the growing media presence of Holocaust deniers and the rise of the neo-Nazi movement after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Spielberg waives his fee as a director and any profit sharing.

Screenwriter Steven Zaillian focuses on Oskar Schindler (played by Liam Neeson) and combines several people to create the figure of Schindler’s accountant Itzhak Stern (Ben Kingsley). Spielberg adds more stories of Schindler Jews that he is told. “I wanted the story to be less vertical – less a story of just Oskar Schindler, and more of a horizontal approach, taking in the Holocaust as the raison d'être of the whole project. What I really wanted to see was the relationship between Oskar Schindler – the German point of view – and Itzhak Stern – the Jewish point of view. And I wanted to invoke more of the actual stories of the victims […].”

Spielberg avoids simple explanations for Schindler’s motivation to help the Jews, and put at risk his business and his life. He portrays Schindler in an ambigious constellation similar to Faust & Mephistopheles: torn between the life of luxury and liquidation, represented by camp commandant Amon Goeth (Ralph Fiennes), and his human conscience, represented by Itzhak Stern. His accountant eventually helps him to set up the titular list of persons that Schindler signs to work in his factory. Spielberg lets Itzhak Stern speak the famous phrases from the novel that are missing in Zaillian’s screenplay: “This list… is an absolute good. The list is life. All around its cramped margins lies the gulf.“

For the first time, Spielberg works with the Polish-born cinematographer Janusz Kamiński (and continues to do so in all his movies to this date). The two of them develop a cinematic language that has little in common with the techniques of Spielberg’s previous films and instead follows a documentary approach. To emphasize the authenticity of events, large parts of the film are shot with a handheld camera. Spielberg feels “like more of a journalist than a director of this movie. I feel like I’m reporting more than creating. […] I’m sort of interpreting history, trying to find a way of communicating that history to people, but I’m not really using the strengths that I usually use to entertain people.” „The authenticity of the story was too important to fall back on the commercial techniques that had gotten me a certain reputation in the area of craft and polish.“

Spielberg insists to shoot the film in black and white and categorically rejects advances by the studio to shoot the film on color negative (for a potential release of a color version). “The Holocaust was life without light. For me the symbol of life is color. That’s why a film about the Holocaust has to be black-and-white.“ In front of the black and white ghetto scenes, Spielberg can effectively employ his concept of the girl in a red coat: here, it is a symbol for life, but shortly after, Schindler and the audience discover the girl on a pile of corpses. The girl is a cipher, representing approximately 6 million murdered Jews.

Unlike Jurassic Park, the film he has finished just three months before, Spielberg directs Schindler’s List spontaneously – like in a fever – and abstains from using storyboards, creating up to 40 shots per day (the film wraps 4 days ahead of schedule). Some ideas emerge only a few hours before the shooting or on the film set. Amidst principal photography, Spielberg conceives a new epilogue in which we see the actual survivors together with their performers – building a bridge between past and present, reality and film.

Before the credits roll, Spielberg dedicates his film to Steve Ross. The philanthropist and CEO of Warner Communications has inspired Spielberg during the development of the film character Oskar Schindler: “Steve Ross gave me more insights into Schindler than anybody I’ve ever known. […] Before I shot the movie, I sent Liam all my home movies of Steve. I said, „Study his walk, study his manner, get to know him real well, because that’s who this guy is“. Ross supports Spielberg as mentor and – like Itzhak Stern – helps to turn a non-political showman into a mensch who is committed to contribute to a better world.

During the 72-day location shoot in Poland, Spielberg is drained physically, and pushed to the limits of his emotional strength. Kate Capshaw and his children rent a house near the set for the duration of filming, so they can give him support. Robin Williams calls Spielberg on a regular basis in order to cheer him up.

For Schindler’s List, film composer John Williams collaborates with famous violinist Itzhak Perlman (with whom he worked on the 1971 film adaptation of the musical Fiddler on the Roof). Williams creates a mournful score that remains one of his most cherished accomplishments. “When he showed me Schindler’s List,” says Williams, “I was so moved I could barely speak. I remember saying to him, ‘Steven, you need a better composer than I am to do this film.’ And he said, 'I know, but they’re all dead.’ ”

At the film’s release, the critics response is almost unanimously enthusiastic. Filmmakers Jean-Luc Godard, Claude Lanzmann and Michael Haneke accuse Spielberg of using Hollywood techniques to depict the Shoah.

At the Academy Awards, Schindler’s List receives 12 nominations and is awarded in the categories Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score, Best Film Editing, Best Cinematography and Best Art Direction. This is Spielberg’s first Oscar for Best Director. Brilliant actors Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes are nominated, but go away empty-handed.

No one expects the enormous audience appeal of the more than three-hour black and white film. At a budget of $22 million Schindler’s List grosses more than $320 million worldwide. All proceeds from the film are used for the Shoah Foundation. It is founded by Spielberg with the goal of providing an archive for the filmed testimony of as many survivors of the Holocaust as possible.

Tom Riddle Timeline : 1926 - 1940
  • Friday, December 31, 1926: Tom Marvolo Riddle is born at Wool's Orphanage in London, England, UK.
  • Tuesday, October 29, 1929: Tom Riddle is only a few months shy of his 3rd birthday. The stock market on Wall Street in New York City (USA) crashes. The Great Depression begins, ushering in a global recession.
  • Sunday, August 19, 1934: Tom Riddle is now 7 years old. Adolf Hitler becomes Führer of Germany.
  • Monday, January 20, 1936: Tom Riddle is now 9 years old. King George V dies, and his son ascends the throne as King Edward VIII.
  • Saturday, March 7, 1936: Germany invades and occupies the Rhineland, beginning Hitler's conquest of Europe. In May, Mussolini's Italy takes Ethiopia.
  • Saturday, August 1, 1936: The Summer Olympic Games in Berlin take place. The games were the first to be televised, and the radio broadcasts reach 41 countries. Over 70 hours of coverage is aired. Blackouts would occur from time to time, and the quality was generally poor. The opening ceremony was held at the Berlin Olympic Stadium. After the parade of nations and a speech by the president of the German Olympic Committee, the games were declared open by Adolf Hitler. Writer Thomas Wolfe, who was there, described the opening as an "almost religious event, the crowd screaming, swaying in unison and begging for Hitler. There was something scary about it; his cult of personality". Germany wins the most medals (89), with the United States placing second in numbers (56). The UK places 10th, with 14 medals.
  • Friday, December 11, 1936: King Edward VIII, the eldest son of King George V and Queen Mary, abdicates the British throne. He does so to wed Wallis Simpson, an American divorcee. He famously said, "I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility, and to discharge my duties as king, as I would wish to do without the help and support of the woman I love." His brother, Prince Albert, Duke of York, succeeds to the throne as King George VI. George VI's elder daughter, Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II), becomes first in the line of succession, as heiress presumptive.
  • Thursday, May 27, 1937: King George VI and Queen Elizabeth are coronated at Westminster Abbey in London. The return procession to Buckingham Palace was over six miles in length, making it the longest coronation procession up to that time; crowds of people lined the streets to watch it, over 32,000 soldiers took part, and 20,000 police officers lined the route. The event was designed to be a public spectacle, which was also planned as a display of the British Empire. May 1937 included a programme of royal events lasting nearly the entire month to commemorate and mark the occasion. In the lead up to the coronation, guests from across the Empire and around the world assembled on Buckingham Palace, and official receptions were held to welcome them; amongst those attending were Indian princes, and, for the first time, native African royalty. For the event itself, the prime ministers of each Dominion took part in the procession to the abbey, while representatives of nearly every country attended. Contingents from most colonies and each Dominion participated in the return procession through London's streets. It was also the first coronation to be filmed, as well as the first to be broadcast on radio.
  • Monday, December 12, 1937: The Daily Express reports that Lloyd's of London was "quoting 32 to 1 odds against Britain being involved in a war before December 31, 1939".
  • Tuesday, December 21, 1937: The Walt Disney animated film "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" premieres at the Carthay Circle Theatre in Los Angeles, California (USA). It is the first full-length, cel animated feature film. The film goes on to be featured on the cover of TIME magazine, 6 days later. The film opens to a tremendous critical success, with many reviewers hailing it as a genuine work of art, recommended for both children and adults. By May 1939, its total international gross of $6.5 million made it the most successful sound film of all time. Noted filmmakers such as Sergei Eisenstein and Charlie Chaplin praised the film as a notable achievement in cinema; Eisenstein went so far as to call it "the greatest film ever made". The film inspired Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to produce its own fantasy film, "The Wizard of Oz", in 1939. Within two years, Disney completes "Pinocchio" and "Fantasia", and had begun production on features such as "Dumbo", "Bambi", "Alice in Wonderland", and "Peter Pan".
  • Thursday, December 22, 1937: A strange fish was found on a fishing trawler in East London, South Africa, part of the British Empire (Commonwealth). It was later identified as a coelacanth, previously thought to be extinct.
  • Saturday, December 25, 1937: George VI delivers his first Royal Christmas Message. At four minutes, it was the shortest Message to date.
  • Wednesday, December 29, 1937: The new Constitution of Ireland goes into effect. The Irish Free State was abolished, and the country was renamed simply "Ireland", or "Éire".
  • Friday, December 31, 1937: Tom Riddle turns 11 years old, and is visited by Albus Dumbledore, the Transfiguration Professor at Hogwarts, at Wool's Orphanage. Tom learns that he is a wizard.
  • Sunday, February 20, 1938: Tom Riddle is 11 years old, several months shy of his 12th birthday. Hitler gives a three-hour internationally broadcast speech in the Reichstag, Berlin (Germany), vowing to protect German minorities outside of the Reich, and reiterating demands for "restoration of German colonies". Later on, the House of Commons continues to endorse Neville Chamberlain's policy of appeasement towards Germany.
  • Thursday, March 10, 1938: Hitler orders his generals to prepare for an invasion of Austria.
  • Saturday, March 12, 1938: The German army crosses the Austrian border at 8:00 AM, completing "Anschluss" (union) with Austria.
  • Monday, March 14, 1938: Hitler visits Vienna. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain makes a speech in the House of Commons on "the Austrian situation", saying the government "emphatically" disapproved of Germany's deed, but that "nothing could have prevented this action by Germany, unless we and others with us had been prepared to use force to prevent it."
  • Sunday, March 20, 1938: Thousands of demonstrators march in London to protest the Bombing of Barcelona, and the Chamberlain government's refusal to allow arms to the Republicans [in the Spanish Civil War].
  • Sunday, April 10, 1938: 50,000 attend a "Save Spain" rally in Hyde Park, protesting the British government's policy on the Civil War.
  • Tuesday, April 26, 1938: On Budget Day in the United Kingdom, Chancellor of the Exchequer Sir John Simon introduces the biggest peacetime budget in the nation's history. Taxes on income, gasoline and tea were increased to help pay for the national rearmament program.
  • Friday, June 24, 1938: The Royal Air Force launches a new recruitment campaign, and receives 1,000 inquiries on the first day alone.
  • Saturday, June 25, 1938: Douglas Hyde becomes the 1st President of Ireland.
  • Sunday, July 5, 1938: The famous psychoanalysist Sigmund Freud, 82 and frail, arrives in Paris on the Orient Express, having fled persecution by the Nazis in his homeland of Austria. After a few hours of rest, he continues on his way to London, where he had been granted asylum. The next day, he establishes a residence at a rented home near Regent's Park in London. Freud was also made a British citizen upon his arrival in Britain, despite normally requiring five years' residence.
  • Monday, July 18, 1938: Queen Marie of Romania [Princess Marie of Edinburgh], 62, last Queen consort of Romania, and wife of Romanian King Ferdinand I, dies of pancreatic cancer. She was one of Queen Victoria's five crowned granddaughters and one of three to retain their position as consort after the conclusion of World War I, alongside the Queens of Norway and of Spain.
  • Thursday, July 28, 1938: The Cunard White-Star liner RMS Mauretania is launched.
  • Sunday, August 7, 1938: The RMS Queen Mary sets a record for east-to-west Atlantic crossing of 3 days, 23 hours and 48 minutes. On August 14, the RMS Queen Mary sets a record for the eastbound Atlantic crossing of 3 days 20 hours 42 minutes.
  • Friday, August 26, 1938: Germany sent notes to Britain and France asking them to compel Czechoslovakia to accept the demands of the Sudeten Germans, including giving them the right to autonomy. The British government announces the mobilization of the Royal Navy in response to German military exercises.
  • Saturday, August 27, 1938: Winston Churchill makes a speech in Theydon Bois, saying that war was not inevitable, "But the danger to peace will not be removed until the vast German armies which have been called from their homes into the ranks have been dispersed. For a country which is itself not menaced by anyone, in no fear of anyone, to place over 150,000 soldiers upon a war footing is a very grave step." Churchill said that Europe's fate lay in the hands of "the extraordinary man at the summit of Germany. He has raised the country from defeat; he has brought it back again to the foremost ranks of power. It would indeed be a fatal act if he were to cast away all he has done for the German people by leading them into what would almost certainly become a world war."
  • Tuesday, August 30, 1938: The British cabinet holds a meeting on the Sudeten crisis, and then issues a vague statement to the public: "At the conclusion of the meeting the ministers expressed their entire agreement with the action already taken and the policy to be pursued in the future."
  • Wednesday, August 31, 1938: Winston Churchill writes the Foreign Secretary, Lord Halifax, urging the formation of a united front with France, the Soviet Union and the United States.
  • Thursday, September 1, 1938: At 11:00 AM, Tom Riddle boards the Hogwarts Express for the first time. He sets off from King's Cross Station in London. Later that evening, he is Sorted into Slytherin.
  • Sunday, September 4, 1938: A Royal Air Force plane crashes into a residential area in the Edmonton region of London, killing the pilot and twelve other people.
  • Saturday, September 10, 1938: Alfonso, Prince of Asturias, heir apparent to the throne of Spain from 1907 to 1931, dies at the age of 31 in a car accident. He crashed into a telephone booth, and appeared to have minor injuries, but his haemophilia led to fatal internal bleeding.
  • Monday, September 12, 1938: Hitler makes a bombastic speech in Nuremberg, declaring that "the oppression of Sudeten Germans must end". The speech was broadcast live to the United States by CBS Radio and was the first time that many Americans had ever heard Hitler speak. The British cabinet held a meeting almost as soon as Hitler was finished speaking. They were relieved that Hitler had only demanded "justice" for Sudeten Germans, and had not committed himself to war.
  • Thursday, September 15, 1938: Thomas Wolfe, 37, an American writer and playwright, dies of miliary tuberculosis of the brain, after a bout of pneumonia. The next day, The New York Times wrote: "His was one of the most confident young voices in contemporary American literature, a vibrant, full-toned voice which it is hard to believe could be so suddenly stilled. The stamp of genius was upon him, though it was an undisciplined and unpredictable genius.... There was within him an unspent energy, an untiring force, an unappeasable hunger for life and for expression which might have carried him to the heights and might equally have torn him down." TIME wrote: "The death last week of Thomas Clayton Wolfe shocked critics with the realization that, of all American novelists of his generation, he was the one from whom most had been expected."
  • Monday, October 3, 1938: Irish troops take over the forts of Dunree and Leenan on Lough Swilly, ending 247 years of British military presence in Ireland.
  • Wednesday, October 5, 1938: Winston Churchill delivers a now-famous speech to the House of Commons, calling the Munich Agreement "a total and unmitigated defeat". In the British periodical "The Week", Claud Cockburn writes that Charles Lindbergh, the famous American airman, had recently told a meeting of the Cliveden set that "the Luftwaffe could defeat the British, French, Soviet and Czechoslovak air forces combined".
  • Sunday, October 16, 1938: Winston Churchill gives a radio address to the United States, outlining the threat of Nazi Germany, and the need of both Britain and the United States to arm themselves. The speech was titled "The Defence of Freedom and Peace", but subtitled "The Lights are Going Out", an allusion to the famous comment attributed to Sir Edward Grey at the beginning of the First World War, "The lamps are going out all over Europe".
  • Sunday, October 30, 1938: A radio drama performance of "The War of the Worlds", directed and narrated by Orson Welles, airs over the CBS radio network in the USA. It becomes famous for allegedly causing a nationwide panic among people who thought the drama about an alien invasion by Martians was a real news broadcast, but such accounts have been wildly exaggerated.
  • Tuesday, November 1, 1938: Seabiscuit defeats War Admiral in a special race at Pimlico Race Course in front of a crowd of 40,000.
  • Wednesday, November 16, 1938: The Halifax Slasher scare begins in West Yorkshire, England, when two young women reported being attacked by "an unseen assailant with a mallet or hatchet". Scotland Yard is called to assist as reports of the "slasher" grow. The case is dropped on December 2, when it is revealed to have been a mass hoax.
  • Sunday, November 20, 1938: Queen Maud of Norway ["Maud of Wales"], consort of Norwegian King Haakon VII, and the youngest daughter of King Edward VII of the United Kingdom and Queen Alexandra; the aunt of King George VI, dies from heart failure.
  • Thursday, December 1, 1938: Britain introduces a "national register" for war service.
  • Saturday, December 31, 1938: Tom Riddle turns 12 years old.
  • Tuesday, March 15, 1939: Tom Riddle is now 12 years old, and is set to attend his second year at Hogwarts in September. The Nazis take Czechoslovakia. Over the course of the next few months, Nazi Germany allies with Italy, as well as Soviet Russia.
  • Friday, August 25, 1939: Britain signs a Mutual Assistance Treaty with Poland.
  • Thursday, August 31, 1939: It is the day before Tom Riddle is set to take the Hogwarts Express from King's Cross in London. The British fleet mobilizes; Operation Pied Piper begins in London. On the morning of Thursday, August 31st 1939, news outlets across Britain were all reporting the same thing. In the coming days, millions of vulnerable civilians would be evacuated from the country's centers of industry and shipping for their own safety. The government feared aerial bombardment of cities and towns, something the world had so recently witnessed during the horror of the Spanish Civil War. "Evacuation Begins To-Morrow," were the words printed in large type across the front page of newspapers like the Express and Echo in Devon, which quoted the government announcement on evacuation: "It has been decided to start evacuation of the school-children, and other priority classes, as already arranged under the Government's scheme, to-morrow, Friday September 1st. No one should conclude that this decision means war is now regarded as inevitable."
  • Friday, September 1, 1939: At 11:00 AM, Tom Riddle boards the Hogwarts Express, and sets off for Hogwarts. Operation Pied Piper begins evacuations of London. Nazi Germany invades Poland. On September 1, 1939, Muggle children arrive at their school, clutching their gas masks and rucksacks which they had been required to bring to school for over a week in anticipation of the evacuation. They are organized in squads of fifty, with at least five teachers per squad. A banner giving the school name and colors leads each squad. Teachers wear bright-red armbands with the school numbers in black lettering. They were then marched to the train stations. Some mothers followed behind weeping, and a few had to be restrained by the police, from joining their children or snatching them back. Other children mustered at their local primary school, carrying their gas-mask, toothbrush, change of underclothes and label. Many of the evacuees thought they were going on vacation. In his Mass Observation diary, Joseph Welbank describes a conversation with a school mistress the night before the evacuation. "I said 'I bet the kids feel miserable don’t they?' She said 'No fear, they are looking forward to it. Some of them are sorry there wasn't a war last September. They want the holiday. That's the best way to look at it." This shows that many of the children did not know what was really going on, or why they were being evacuated. Some younger children had even arrived with shovels and pails, having been told by their parents that they were going to the seashore. The biggest problem for the evacuees during the long journey was a lack of food and water. Teachers had forbidden the children from bringing any water, the "official" reason being to avoid broken glass, but in truth, they did not want to worry about children having to use the bathroom. Fruit, such as apples, oranges, and pears, were used as thirst quenchers. When the children arrived at the railway platforms, they were loaded onto whatever train was available, with little effort to control their destinations. School groups and families were broken up in the rush to get everyone on trains. Parents were told that their children would send them a postcard notifying them of where they were once they had reached the reception area. One mother was overheard saying, "She (her youngest child) cried a lot last night…wish I knew where she was going." Other parents saw the disorganization and secrecy as reasons to evacuate their children privately.
  • Sunday, September 3, 1939: Britain, France, Australia and New Zealand declare war on Germany. By this point, nearly 1,437,000 people had been moved from British cities without a single casualty or accident. Evacuees are lower in number than anticipated by the British Muggle government. In London, only half of the schoolchildren went at this time. Nationwide, 827,000 schoolchildren, 524,000 mothers and children under five, 13,000 expectant mothers, 7,000 handicapped people, and 103,000 teachers and helpers were all evacuated. Aside from the complaints of mistakes in the evacuation, most of the hosts' grievances regarded child guests who were "verminous, bed-wetters, liars, thieves, had no respect for property, unclean habits, rude, quarrelsome, stuck-up, gave no assistance in the home, and would be too expensive to keep". Most of these problems were "diseases of poverty," which helped to make the middle and upper classes, as well as the poor people of the countryside, aware of the "deep and shameful poverty which exists to-day in the rich cities of England". E.A. Stebbing wrote in his diary for Mass Observation, "If good can come out of evil, then this war is surely doing good in showing people how other people live. There is no doubt that people in this district have been taken aback by the habits and conditions of the life of slum children." The hosts would have been more sympathetic to the conditions of their evacuees had London been bombed, but since it was not, they felt that the exposure to these dirty habits and "diseases of poverty" was unnecessary and their moods quickly changed from sympathetic to hostile. There was also the question of decent clothing. Many slum children were ill prepared for evacuation. Some arrived with little clothing, and others had clothes that were not suited for the wear and tear of country living. Kind foster parents felt it their duty to re-outfit children who came ill prepared. They often did this at their own expense, and then asked the parents to pay later, which caused issues because many parents could not afford new clothes for their children. In some towns, charitable funds were organized for children who had insufficient clothes or shoes and the government secretly distributed thousands of pounds for the poorest and most "necessitous cases". The children in London, who had not been evacuated, were left without school for several months. Since the government had expected more people to take part in the evacuation, they had re purposed many of the schools for the war effort, and sent all of the teachers to the country with the evacuated children. Doctors and social workers began to note the physical deterioration of the children left behind, because of the absence of school supervision, medical services, and school milk. The government was reluctant to re-open the schools in the evacuation areas, because it meant admitting the evacuation had failed.
  • Monday, September 4, 1939: British Royal Air Force attacks the German Navy.
  • Tuesday, September 5, 1939: United States proclaims its neutrality; German troops cross the Vistula River in Poland.
  • Sunday, September 10, 1939: Canada declares war on Germany; Battle of the Atlantic begins.
  • Wednesday, September 27, 1939: Poland surrenders to Germany. Nazis and Soviets divide up Poland.
  • Thursday, November 30, 1939: The Soviets attack Finland.
  • Monday, January 8, 1940: Tom Riddle is now 13 years old, and midway through his second year at Hogwarts. Rationing begins in the UK. Great Britain begins issuing ration books containing coupons for bacon, butter and sugar. Shortly after, tea, jam, biscuits, breakfast cereals, cheese, eggs, milk and canned fruit rationing were introduced. Later, as the war continued, many more items of both food and non-food items were introduced including meat, petrol, clothes, tea, and soap were rationed. The Ministry of Health records that 43% of the unaccompanied schoolchildren had returned home. Overall, Operation Pied Piper is considered to have failed, because by the beginning of 1940, almost 700,000 evacuees in England and Wales had returned home.
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                                          The Lost Woman - 1945

May, 8 1945, near Pilsen, Czech Republic. After the liberation of   Czechoslovakia.


In May 1945, Czechoslovak troops took possession of the borderland. In July, Czechoslovak representatives presented plans for a “humane and orderly transfer” of the Sudeten German population. An estimated 1.6 million ethnic Germans were deported to the American zone, an estimated 800,000 were deported to the Soviet zone. Several thousand died violently during the expulsion and many more died from hunger and illness as a consequence. The deaths caused by violence and abnormal living conditions amount approximately to 10 000 persons killed. Another 5,000 - 6,000 people died of unspecified reasons related to expulsion making the total amount of victims of the expulsion 15,000 - 16 000 (this excludes suicides, which make another approximately 3,400 cases).  



Camera: Oren W.Haglund from US Army Air Force.   

“Sudeten Germans make their way to the railway station in Liberec, in former Czechoslovakia, to be transferred to Germany in this July, 1946 photo. After the end of the war, millions of German nationals and ethnic Germans were forcibly expelled from both territory Germany had annexed, and formerly German lands that were transferred to Poland and the Soviet Union. The estimated numbers of Germans involved ranges from 12 to 14 million, with a further estimate of between 500,000 and 2 million dying during the expulsion.”

(AP)

“One Reason Germany Slows Down,” Montreal Star, July 23, 1938.  

“Here’s the situation in Czechoslovakia as another major crisis seems imminent because of Sudeten German disapproval of the Government effort to compromise the ‘racial minorities’ problem.  There have been warnings that any effort to impose the plan would create a ‘dangerous situation’ - meaning possible invasion of Czechoslovakia by Germany to ‘protect the rights’ of Czechoslovakians of German extraction.

The map shows how the hardy Czechs would meet any such invasion.  The little republic’s 2500-mile frontier - touching hostile territory all the way round except for 150 miles bordering friendly Rumania - is heavily and cleverly fortified.

Military experts believe that despite the comparatively small size of the Czechoslovakian army, any invasion across the three defensive lines built by the Czechs would be made at heavy cost.”