WW II


A few years ago, French photographer Sacha Goldberger found his 91-year-old Hungarian grandmother Frederika feeling lonely and depressed. To cheer her up, he suggested that they shoot a series of outrageous photographs in unusual costumes, poses, and locations. Grandma reluctantly agreed, but once they got rolling, she couldn’t stop smiling.

Frederika was born in Budapest 20 years before World War II. During the war, at the peril of her own life, she courageously saved the lives of ten people. When asked how, Goldberger told us “she hid the Jewish people she knew, moving them around to different places every day.” As a survivor of Nazism and Communism, she then immigrated away from Hungary to France, forced by the Communist regime to leave her homeland illegally or face death.

I like this one:

via Grandma’s Superhero Therapy (18 photos) – My Modern Metropolis.

“Ghosts of Amsterdam” is a fascinating site, the work of Jo Teeuwisse, a Historical Consultant in Amsterdam, who superimposes World War II photos of Amsterdam over modern photos of the same places

Years ago I found some negatives in a fleamarket. I scanned them and put them online. I then found some of the spots in the photos and took pictures there.  The picture below is of the Liberation Parade on Friday June 29th, 1945 in the Vijzelstraat, Amsterdam.

via Ghosts of Amsterdam « How to be a Retronaut.

Imagine entering an apartment that has been locked up for 70 years, not knowing what was inside.  Now, imagine finding a $2.5 million painting.

Behind the door, under a thick layer of dusk lay a treasure trove of turn-of-the-century objects including a painting by the 19th century Italian artist Giovanni Boldini.

The woman who owned the flat had left for the south of France before the Second World War and never returned.

But when she died recently aged 91, experts were tasked with drawing up an inventory of her possessions and homed in on the flat near the Trinité church in Paris between the Pigalle red light district and Opera.

Entering the untouched, cobweb-filled flat in Paris’ 9th arrondissement, one expert said it was like stumbling into the castle of Sleeping Beauty, where time had stood still since 1900.

“There was a smell of old dust,” said Olivier Choppin-Janvry, who made the discovery. Walking under high wooden ceilings, past an old wood stove and stone sink in the kitchen, he spotted a stuffed ostrich and a Mickey Mouse toy dating from before the war, as well as an exquisite dressing table.

But he said his heart missed a beat when he caught sight of a stunning tableau of a woman in a pink muslin evening dress.

The painting was by Boldini and the subject a beautiful Frenchwoman who turned out to be the artist’s former muse and whose granddaughter it was who had left the flat uninhabited for more than half a century.

via Parisian flat containing €2.1 million painting lay untouched for 70 years – Telegraph.

Just finished reading Agent Zigzag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal by Ben Macintyre.  Great book. It’s the real-life story of Edward Chapman, an English criminal, scoundrel, and very effective charmer, who became a double agent during World War II, nominally working for the German Abwehr, doubling for the British MI5, and constantly tripling for his own account.  In some ways, Chapman’s story is more improbable than a James Bond thriller, and Macintyre tells it well.

What General Weygand called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, “This was their finest hour.”

via Their Finest Hour.

Jack Churchill is the only man known to have killed an enemy with a longbow … during World War II.

An early Commando, Churchill had incredible adventures throughout the war.  Including the night attack that he led on the town of Piegoletti, Italy, in which he and a corporal captured 42 German soldiers … Churchill was using a sword.

Churchill himself was far in front of his troopers. Sword in hand, accompanied only by a corporal named Ruffell, he advanced into the town itself. Undiscovered by the enemy, he and Ruffell heard German soldiers digging in all around them in the gloom. The glow of a cigarette in the darkness told them the location of a German sentry post.

The first German sentry post, manned by two men, was taken in silence. Churchill, his sword blade gleaming in the night, appeared like a demon from the darkness, ordered “haende hoch!” and got results. He gave one German prisoner to Ruffell, then slipped his revolver lanyard around the second sentry’s neck and led him off to make the rounds of the other guards. Each post, lulled into a sense of security by the voice of their captive comrade, surrendered to this fearsome apparition with the ferocious mustache and the naked sword.

Altogether, Churchill and Corporal Ruffell collected 42 prisoners, complete with their personal weapons and a mortar they were manning in the village. Churchill and his claymore took the surrender of ten men in a bunch around the mortar. He and his NCO then marched the whole lot back into the British lines.

via WWII History Magazine – Column “Profiles” July 2005.