The United States – Caliphate Enabler

by: the Common Constitutionalist

 

“We have to do something!” regarding Syria. That’s the clarion call of both the right and left. It’s actually the call of the progressives for I hear few if any constitutional conservatives calling for action.

 

It’s like saying we have to do something to put out a wildfire and then throwing gasoline on it. That’s doing something, is it not?

 

Yet virtually every politician and pundit I see or hear insists we have to help. We can’t just stand by and do nothing. Assad has clearly crossed the “red line” with chemical weapon attacks and must be dealt with.

 

However, I personally have seen or heard no evidence that Assad is the one ordering the chemical attacks. Everyone is just assuming it must be his regime. It most likely is but if the Al Qaeda “rebels” had them, they would surely use them and blame Assad knowing the West would fall right in line. It wouldn’t surprise me a bit to find that Al Qaeda were the ones firing on the UN inspectors.

 

As an aside: I wonder where Assad got his WMDs? If you recall, during the run-up to the Iraq war, there were reports of Russian convoys leaving Iraq headed for Syria/Lebanon. Reports were that the trucks were loaded with WMDs and were eventually hidden in the Bakaa Valley, Lebanon that borders Syria. Could these be the weapons that Assad used? Just something to ponder.

 

Meanwhile, many in our government and the media are beating the drums of war – or at least a hefty American response, for progressives believe we are indeed the world’s police force.

 

Just as they think we can continue to spend money we don’t have domestically, they give no thought to involving us in every international conflict.

 

The American people aren’t as keen to involve the U.S. as say John McCain or Lindsey Graham. According to a Reuters poll, 60% of Americans polled want nothing to do with the attack on Syria, or any involvement whatsoever. 9% were in favor. I’m no fan of Reuters but I tend to believe this.

 

One poll respondent, a former military officer said: “the United States has become too much of the world’s policemen and we have become involved in too many places that should be a United Nations realm, not ours.”

 

Monday afternoon Sean Hannity weighed in on the subject. He said it would be like sitting back and watching thugs mug an old lady. He asked, “Would you just do nothing?”

 

I gotta tell ya. Hannity has all but lost me. It’s bad enough that he gives the likes of Karl Rove a platform on his show, but equating a mugging to this is a specious argument. One has nothing to do with the other.

 

When we get involved in these conflicts it inevitably ends up worse. Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, Libya and now Syria. They are all now or will be worse off than before we “did something”.

 

Is this what Ben Franklin meant when he stated: “Wars are not paid for in wartime, the bill comes later.” Or John Adams prescient statement of the arrogance of power: “Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views beyond the comprehension of the weak.”

 

Will we ever learn through conflict after conflict to just butt out?

 

I feel for the innocents in all the Middle East. Their lives revolve around one tragedy after another. But we as a nation must adhere to the Constitution. That document is, as were the founders, very specific about matters of war.

 

George Washington adamantly stated: “The Constitution vests the power of declaring war in Congress; therefore no offensive expedition of importance can be undertaken until after they shall have deliberated upon the subject and authorized such a measure.”

 

If something is to be done, let Congress deliberate and authorize it, not President Cruise Missile.

 

As evil a human being as Assad is, just like Egypt and Libya, if he falls things will be much worse.

 

After that – watch for Iraq and Lebanon – they’re next.

 

Caliphate anyone?

Warsaw Uprising

Black and white silent footage taken during  the 1944 Warsaw Uprising against the Nazis have been turned into a mesmerising  feature movie with sound and color.

The film is a riveting account of the  fierce  house-to-house fighting against the German army that began on  August 1 and  ended 63 days later with the insurgents surrendering,  following the deaths of  some 200,000 rebels and residents.

Titled Warsaw Rising, the film shows the  crews that the Polish resistance Home Army sent fanning through the city to  chronicle the uprising.

Captivating footage: Black and white footage taken during the 1944 Warsaw Uprising against the Nazis have been turned into a mesmerising feature film with sound and colour
Captivating footage: Black and white footage taken  during the 1944 Warsaw Uprising against the Nazis have been turned into a  mesmerizing feature film with sound and color

 

Egyptians Can Storm a Mosque – Why Can’t We?

by: the Common Constitutionalist

 

Maybe we can learn a little from the Egyptian army and I’m only being half facetious. Not that I agree with the wholesale slaughter of people, but the Egyptian military appears to have little tolerance for uprisings and Islamists.

 

Now wholesale slaughter may not be accurate. I’m not currently in Cairo and wasn’t during the last week of violence and hundreds of dead. As far as I can tell there has been no determination of massive loss of “innocent” lives. It may very well be mostly Muslim Brotherhood radicals. If that’s the case, it’s fine by me.

 

The most recent incident of Egyptian authorities intolerance for Islamists was at the Fateh Mosque in Rameses Square, Cairo. One report from a witness inside the mosque claimed that they were 700 people including women and children. One has to wonder if the women and children were to be used as human shields.

 

NBC news reported that armed men began entering the Fateh mosque last Friday night and on Saturday gunmen in the mosque “unleashed bullets at security officials below”. The gunmen were positioned on a minaret.

 

The Huffington Post reported that Egyptian security forces stormed the mosque after firing tear gas at hundreds of “Islamists” barricaded inside. Huff Po also reported that gunmen on a minaret fired first.

 

The New York Times described the scene similarly and also called the mosques occupants “Islamists”.

 

The Egyptian security forces did storm the mosque and did clear out the “Islamists”. They didn’t give a second thought to returning fire when fired upon from inside a mosque.

 

Although I feel for the innocent civilians being caught up in the violence, that’s not what this is about.

 

What surprised me, a little, was the liberal use of the word “Islamist” by the lefty news outlets. Although, not surprisingly, Al Jazeera made no mention of that word. They called them protesters.

 

In not one of the mainstream media articles I read, was there any mention of “freedom fighter” or “insurgent”. I guess those terms are reserved for those who kill Americans.

 

It also appears that the mainstream media has little problem with the Egyptian security forces “rules of engagement”. Nowhere did I see any condemnation or any editorial comment regarding the firing upon or storming of a mosque. Funny how that is.

 

So why don’t the Egyptian military or police appear to care? Simple; they want to win and do so quickly and decisively.

 

This prompted me to look back at America’s politically correct “rules of engagement” for some contrast.

 

It seems that if we fire upon a mosque even after being first fired upon, it will just lead to further jihadist recruiting and riots in the streets – that a mosque attack would just further the notion that America is at war with all of Islam.

 

A military spokesman said US soldiers do not enter mosques. They are to respect the sanctity and holiness of all places of worship. I wasn’t aware firing an AK-47 was integral to prayer.

 

During the Iraq war soldiers were forbidden from entering mosques even during a firefight without permission of senior commanders under consultation with Iraqi authorities.

 

A military strike that might have caused more than 30 civilian casualties had to be signed off by the Secretary of Defense. You read that right; The Secretary of Defense!

 

Yet even according to the Geneva Convention – a place of worship, a hospital or any structure that is used for military purposes is considered a “dual structure” and can be targeted.

So the politically correct girlie men that set American military engagement policy evidently believe the Geneva Convention doesn’t go far enough.

 

Andrew Exum, a former Army Ranger and counterinsurgency specialist said: “They (our leaders) are thinking – How’s that gonna play on Al Jazeera? ”

 

In contrast, the Egyptian military evidently couldn’t care less what Al Jazeera thinks. That’s why they will most likely win. And that’s why we haven’t won a war since the Second World War and assuming we don’t change, why we never will again.

 

It’s a sad fact, but a fact nonetheless.

Iranian Nukes or Chicken Little

by: the Common Constitutionalist

 

I don’t know about you but I haven’t heard much about the Iranian nuclear threat lately. Maybe it’s because the rest of the Middle East is on fire.

 

Some experts as well as American lawmakers have said recently that not just piling up sanctions but diplomacy should be given another chance.

 

We all know how many conflicts have been averted due to diplomacy. Let me think… None. Okay, maybe one. The peace between Israel and Egypt lasted for quite a while, although one could say the Egyptian people drew the short straw on that deal. The dictator Mubarak was a real “man of the people”. They’re lot hasn’t improved much at all. In fact, one could claim it’s even worse now and one would be right.

 

But wait, say the “experts”. Help has arrived. The big meany Ahmadinejad is out and the relative moderate Muslim cleric Hassan Rouhani has been elected as Iran’s new president.

 

I guess being a moderate is relative. As body counts go, one could say Hitler was moderate compared to Stalin and Mao.

 

Benjamin Netanyahu described him this way. Ahmadinejad was a “wolf in wolves clothing”; Rouhani is a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”.

 

Israel’s minister of international affairs, strategy and intelligence, Yuvel Steinitz told the Washington Post: “Rouhani is charming, he is cunning and he will smile all the way to the bomb.”

The peace loving moderate Rouhani has appointed as his new defense minister, General Hussein Dehghan. who was implicated in the 1983 bombing that killed 241 American servicemen in Beirut, Lebanon. That’s what moderates do, I guess.

 

It harkens me back to Jonah Goldberg’s description of American progressives – fascism with a smiley face.

 

Netanyahu and Steinitz agree that there are only two options: voluntarily shut down all uranium enrichment or see it destroyed with brute force.

 

But of course the American government, the Obama administration and those in lefty think tanks don’t see it that way.

 

Former CIA official and liberal hack Paul R Pillar in May stated: “Are the United States and Israel really afraid of a nuclear Iran? Don’t they know that Iran is ideologically and practically opposed to nuclear weapons? Is this nuclear program simply a pretext for confrontation with Iran?”

 

Yes Mr. Pillar, yes it is. You’ve discovered Israel’s diabolical plan to conquer all countries in and around the Middle East. A Zionist caliphate, as it were. Giving back land that they’ve taken legitimately during war has simply been a ruse to mollify the Arab world.

 

Pillar believes a peace accord between Iran and Israel is achievable; substantial relief from sanctions for restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program.

 

Hold it. I thought he said Iran is against nuclear weapons? Why would he suggest they would have to restrict the enrichment program if they are dead set against these weapons? I’m just asking. That’s like saying I’ll lessen the sanctions on my children’s ice cream consumption if they agreed to restrict their brussel sprout intake.

 

Others have stated that the Iranian nuclear threat is so much Chicken Little, the sky is falling nonsense. That the threat has been hanging over our heads for years and still no nukes.

 

Well I for one trust Israel and Israel alone in that region of the world. I trust that they have not and will not strike unless attacked or provoked.

 

Regardless of the puppet president, as long as Iran is controlled by the whack job Mullahs they cannot be trusted.

 

Those lefty politicians, pundits and think tankers can sit safely in their Washington offices and witness the decimation of Israel if Iran is left to its own devices. Those in Israel do not have that luxury.

It Was Gun Running

Gee, I wonder where we first heard this? Last year when we knew and reported the gun running, we were called crazies and conspiracy kooks! The only thing they’re still missing is that Stevens was also probably CIA.

 

From: WND:

 

CNN  is reporting lawmakers are speculating on the possibility U.S. agencies  operating in the Benghazi compound attacked Sept. 11, 2012, were secretly  helping to transfer weapons from Libya, via Turkey, to the rebels in Syria.

That  possibility was first reported by WND two weeks after the Benghazi attack,  when the news agency cited Egyptian security officials who said murdered U.S.  Ambassador Christopher Stevens played a central role in arming and recruiting  rebels to fight Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

In November 2012, Middle Eastern security sources further described both the  U.S. mission and nearby CIA annex in Benghazi as an intelligence and planning  center for U.S. aid to the rebels, which included weapons shipments being  coordinated with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Many rebel fighters are openly members of terrorist organizations, including  al-Qaida.

The information may help determine what motivated the deadly attacks in  Benghazi.

The State Department told CNN it was helping the new Libyan government  destroy weapons deemed “damaged, aged or too unsafe retain” but denied it was  transferring weapons to other countries.

The State Department, however, clarified it “can’t speak for any other  agencies.”

The CIA would not comment to CNN on the weapons-transfer reports.

Meanwhile, clarification on the weapons transfers may have inadvertently come  through recent statements by a Libyan weapons dealer from a group hired to  provide security to the U.S. mission in Benghazi. The dealer told Reuters he has  helped ship weapons from Benghazi to the rebels fighting in Syria.

The detailed account may provide more circumstantial evidence the U.S.  Benghazi mission was secretly involved in procuring and shipping weapons to the  Syrian opposition before the deadly attack that killed the U.S. ambassador and  three other Americans.

In an interview  with Reuters published in June, Libyan warlord Abdul Basit Haroun declared  he is behind some of the biggest shipments of weapons from Libya to Syria. Most  of the weapons were sent to Turkey, where they were then smuggled into  neighboring Syria, he said.

Continue Reading

 

Camp Footage

Their crude camera was smuggled into the camp  in sausages and carefully hidden away in a hollowed out dictionary. The precious  8mm film stored in the soles of their home made shoes.

Had they been discovered it would have likely  meant a firing squad.

But for a group of daring French World War  Two prisoners incarcerated in a German POW camp in 1940, it was a risk worth  taking.

Scroll down  for video

Candid camera: Footage taken using the French POWs' secret camera shows prisoners milling around the compound in the Nazis' Oflag 17a camp in Austria
Footage taken using the French POWs’  secret camera shows prisoners milling around the compound in the Nazis’ Oflag  17a camp in Austria
Secret film made by French prisoners of war in  WWII

And not only did they use the secret device  to film daily life around the Oflag 17a camp in Austria, but they even went so  far as to film the digging of a tunnel used for their own great escape.

The 30 minutes of footage they captured  entitled Sous Le Manteau (Under The  Cloak) now  serves as a unique historical record giving a fascinating glimpse into what life  was really life in the Nazi-run prison camps.

The incredible story of the French prisoners’  secret camera is being celebrated in Paris this week after the only living  prisoner who managed to escape the camp and make it back to France celebrated  his 100th birthday, the BBC reports.

Lt Jean Cuene-Grandidier was among 5,000  officers marched to Oflag 17a situated close to the Czechoslovakian border  following their defeat in the battle of France.

The camera was hidden in a hollowed out dictionary
The film was hidden in the soles of their home-made shoes
 The camera was hidden in a hollowed  out dictionary and the film was stored in the soles of their home-made  shoes

Originally built for German troops it was a  sprawling camp composed of 40 barracks and surrounded by two lines of barbed  wire with lookout towers and floodlights guarding the perimeter.

Life was bleak and monotonous and with little  food many of the prisoners were left on the brink of starvation.

But they refused to allow their spirits to be  broken.

Realizing that when the German soldiers  checked food deliveries they only cut down the middle, the prisoners arranged  for camera parts to be brought in smuggled in the ends of sausages.

Once assembled, a hollowed out dictionary from  the camp library served as the perfect hiding place with the spine of the book  opening up like a shutter.

High security: The camp was surrounded by two lines of barbed wire and with lookout towers and flashlights used to guard the perimeter
The camp was surrounded by two lines of  barbed wire and with lookout towers and flashlights used to guard the  perimeter
One of the POWs is seen holding the dictionary used to hide the camera as he stands next to one of the barracks
One of the POWs is seen holding the dictionary used to hide the camera as he stands next to one of the barracks
A cape-wearing POW is seen holding the dictionary used  to hide the camera as he stands next to one of the barracks. The 30-minute film  produced was entitled Sous Le Manteau (Under The Cloak)

Considering the conditions and the basic  equipment the quality of the footage is quite remarkable.

The cameramen would become so bold they even  filmed the guards tearing their barracks apart in a surprise search.

But perhaps the most striking footage shows  badly malnourished prisoners digging their own escape tunnel.

Lt Cuene-Grandidier who has been presented  with France’s highest award – the Legion d’honneur, recalled the escape  attempt.

He said: ‘In the early days we tried digging  a number of tunnels from the huts in which we were barracked.

‘It was viewed as a form of resistance. We  were never punished. The Germans seemed to accept it, though it never worked.

The distances to the wire were too great. And  in any case the guards were clever. They always found the tunnels we started.  They were looking for the earth we’d removed.’

Brazen: A German guard is filmed walking past one of the barracks
A German guard is filmed walking past one of the  barracks

In total the prisoners of Oflag 17a dug 32  tunnels. Most were discovered by the guards but one attempt did prove  successful.

The  Germans had permitted the prisoners to build a theatre which they decorated with  branches to obscure the view of the guards.

Situated between the barracks and the wire it  meant the distance they had to dig was far shorter.

In addition the prisoners had been issued  with shovels to dig their own air raid trenches folowing a complaint fromn the  International Red Cross.

Using these valuable tools they braved  suffocating conditions to burrow 90m (295 ft) underneath the perimeter and on September  17 1943 they were ready to go.

Over two nights, 132 men slipped out into the  darkness. They had been provided with civilian clothes and forged papers. Each  had been ordered to travel in different directions to reduce the possibility of  capture.

Gruelling: A French POW is seen inside the tunnel through which 132 prisoners made their escape. Only two managed to make it back to France
A French POW is seen inside the tunnel  through which 132 prisoners made their escape. Only two managed to make it back  to France

Lt Cuene-Grandidier recalled: ‘The short  length of the tunnel and the number of people inside, meant we had to lie in the  foetal position.

‘There was so little air. Some of the men  fainted. We waited almost 10 hours to go, all the time imagining the worst; the  German firing squad that would surely be waiting at the end of the  tunnel.’

But getting onto the other side of the  perimeter was just the first step and finding themselves deep in enemy territory  hundreds of miles from France, the odds were stacked against them.

Of the 132 who broke out, 126 were recaptured  within the first week. Only Lt Cuene-Grandidier and one other prisoner managed  to return to France.

The story of Lt Cuene-Grandidier’s escape  sounds like the plot to a Holywood film. After making his way to Vienna, he  worked as a hospital nurse treating German soldiers for venereal disease.

After securing a weekend pass to Paris he  travelled by train with German officers. His work treating their embarrassing  problems must have held him in good stead as one even offered to drive him home  in a German army staff car.

But Lt Cuene-Grandidier’s loyalty was never  in doubt and Within weeks he had joined the Resistance

Attribution: Daniel Miller, Mail Online

Life on the Battlefield

They’re the first tintypes created in a  combat zone since the Civil War.

Seeking to capture the humanity of his peers  fighting in the Afghanistan war, California Air National Guard aerial gunner  Ed Drew asked  them to sit for photos on the battlefield.

While the process was painstaking and  laborious – when duty called, the Brooklyn-based photographer dropped his camera  and jumped into a helicopter – the images were gripping.

Drew was on active duty in the Helmand  Province as a helicopter aerial gunner with a U.S. Air Force Combat Rescue  Unit.

‘To do this process in a war, let alone a  foreign war, is  historically significant,’ Drew told the New Yorker.

‘The process of wet-plate tintypes is  challenging enough with perfect conditions and the availability of  chemicals.  In a foreign war, with the stresses of combat, lack of basic  materials, drying  desert air, and the wind and dust of Afghanistan, it  was quite a  challenge.’

The spectacular images can be viewed at his  website Ed Drew Photography. 

Drew's images are the first combat zone tintype photos created since the Civil WarDrew’s images are the first combat zone tintype photos  created since the Civil War

 

Drew said it was tough convincing his peers to sit through the tedious photo shoot Drew said it was tough convincing his peers to sit  through the tedious photo shoot

 

Drew was staff sergeant in the California Air National Guard and deployed to Helmand Province, Afghanistan, as a helicopter aerial gunner with a U.S. Air Force Combat Rescue Unit when he captured these images Drew was staff sergeant in the California Air National  Guard and deployed to Helmand Province, Afghanistan, as a helicopter aerial  gunner with a U.S. Air Force Combat Rescue Unit when he captured these images

 

Drew said taking tintype pictures in a war zone was 'historically significant' Drew said taking tintype pictures in a war zone was  ‘historically significant’According to fstoppers.com,  tintype ‘is a slow, laborious wet plate process that is difficult to master and  work with in warm temperatures’.Introduced in the mid-nineteenth century,  this artistic process was used to document the Civil War.It involves hand-pouring a collodion mixture  onto a metal plate, which is then made light sensitive in a darkroom via a  silver nitrate solution.

The plate, encased in a light-tight film  holder, is exposed to light in camera and then must be processed within ten  minutes of exposure.

For Drew, the unique artistic process helped  him work through his own involvement in the war.

‘As a photographer and artist I wanted to  achieve something that was physical, one of a kind and very unique,’ he told  PetaPixel.

‘I believe in the Japanese aesthetic of  ‘Wabi-Sabi’ so the idea that something is imperfect and impermanent interests  me.

‘I wanted that to translate in my Afghan  images as metaphors for what I  experienced in the war, I thought tintypes to be  the perfect  photographic process to translate Wabi Sabi in my  portraits.’

 

The stresses of combat, lack of basic materials, drying desert air, and the wind and dust of Afghanistan challenged Drew's artistic ability The stresses of combat, lack of basic materials, drying  desert air, and the wind and dust of Afghanistan challenged Drew’s artistic  ability

 

While Drew's peers were initially reluctant to sit for him, they went back for more after seeing the incredible results While Drew’s peers were initially reluctant to sit for  him, they went back for more after seeing the incredible results

 

Drew photographed his fellow soldiers in the front of the Air Force rescue helicopters they flew Drew photographed his fellow soldiers in the front of  the Air Force rescue helicopters they flew

 

Drew chose tintype photography because he 'wanted to do a process that was historical, but also made me take my time and work slowly to focus on my subject.'Drew chose tintype photography because he ‘wanted to do  a process that was historical, but also made me take my time and work slowly to  focus on my subject.’But convincing his peers to sit for a formal  portrait was tough, with many frustrated with the painstaking process.’Initially, I really had to convince them to  do it,’ Drew told fstoppers.com.’I work with these guys, but they know me as  a gunner.

‘After they started seeing how amazing the  plates looked, they began booking appointments.

‘One of the guys I flew with is the great  great grandson of Buffalo Bill so  he asked for a photo just like his  grandfather. It was one of my best  plates.’

 

 

Drew's photographic goal was to 'show the humanity of war in the eyes of airmen I fly combat missions with.'Drew’s photographic goal was to ‘show the humanity of  war in the eyes of airmen I fly combat missions with.’

 

Not since Matthew Brady¿s work documenting the Civil War has the tintype photographic process been used on the battlefieldNot since Matthew Brady¿s work documenting the Civil War  has the tintype photographic process been used on the battlefield

 

Drew gave everyone who sat for him a high resolution scan and a print to thank them for participating Drew gave everyone who sat for him a high resolution  scan and a print to thank them for participating

 

Taking photos during an active mission meant Drew often had to 'drop everything' and jump in a helicopter Taking photos during an active mission meant Drew often  had to ‘drop everything’ and jump in a helicopter

 

Drew's Afghan images were 'metaphors' for what he experienced in the warDrew’s Afghan images were ‘metaphors’ for what he  experienced in the war

 

Drew said switching 'thought process, from creative to tactical' was difficult, as he had to make sure he maintained his 'situational awareness'Drew said switching ‘thought process, from creative to  tactical’ was difficult, as he had to make sure he maintained his ‘situational  awareness’

 

For Drew, the photos helped him to document his 'life in the aftermath of my deployment' For Drew, the photos helped him to document his ‘life in  the aftermath of my deployment’

Attribution: Mail Online

WWII Diary

Her country stood on the brink of collapse, allied bombs rained down at night, the army was in retreat and an attempt had just been made on the exalted leader’s life.

But German teenager Brigitte Eicke wasn’t bothered by any of that, of far greater concern was her terrible hairdo.

Never mind the mysterious disappearance of all the neighbourhood’s Jews, Brigitte now had to suffer the indignity of ‘a disastrous perm’ which meant going to work ‘looking a state’.

 
Terror: The teenager's diary gives a candid insight into the world of Nazi Germany
Terror: The teenager’s diary gives a candid insight into the world of Nazi Germany

In so many ways Brigitte was just another typical teenage girl, obsessed with her friends, first kisses with boys and trips to the cinema.

But as a Berlin resident in the late 1930s and 1940’s, Brigitte was a first-hand witness to one of the most turbulent chapters of modern history and crucially, at the age of 15, she began keeping a diary.

The journal now serves as important historical record and has just been published in German under the title ‘Backfisch im Bombenkrieg’ – backfisch being an old-fashioned term for a girl on the cusp of womanhood, and Bombenkrieg meaning bombing war.

The seemingly mundane description of a girl’s day to day existence gives a rare and fascinating insight into what life was like inside wartime Germany and just how the German people were able to turn a blind eye to the brutality of the Nazi regime.

For years the wartime accounts of German people have been largely ignored. Their suffering paling into insignificance compared to that of the millions of Jews who died as a result of their country’s atrocities.

But today as fewer and fewer of the wartime generation remain, German historians are increasingly realizing the historical importance of these first-hand accounts.

Despite her apparent innocence and naivety, Brigitte was absolutely fastidious when it came to keeping her diary.

She used it primarily to practice her stenography skills which meant she was economical with what she wrote, completely frank and honest and rarely felt the temptation to embellish or exaggerate.

‘There were some Jewish girls in my first ever class photograph, taken in 1933, but by the time the next was taken, they were all gone. When I asked my mother about them, she said they had moved to Palestine.’

Now 86, Brigitte lives just a few streets away from where she grew up and where in March 1943 an air raid killed two people, injured 34 and left 1,000 homeless.

But such is her indifference that Brigitte only makes mention of her annoyance at the fact the raid took place ‘in the middle of the night, horrible, I was half-asleep.’

Another entry on February, 1, 1944 reads: ‘The school had been bombed when we arrived this morning. Waltraud, Melitta and I went back to Gisela’s and danced to gramophone records.’

Then on March, 2, 1945, just a matter of weeks before the fall of Berlin she notes: ‘Margot and I went to the Admiralspalast cinema to see “Meine Herren Söhne.” It was such a lovely film but there was a power cut in the middle of it. How annoying!’

Perhaps most haunting is the casual reference to the disappearance of the local Jews made on February, 27, 1943

She writes: ‘Waltraud and I went to the opera to see “The Four Ruffians.” I had a ticket for Gitti Seifert too. What a load of nonsense, it was ridiculous.

‘We walked back to Wittenbergplatz and got on the underground train at Alexanderplatz. Three soldiers started talking to us. Gitti is so silly, she went all silent when they spoke to her. The least one can do is answer, even though we weren’t going to go anywhere with them.

‘Jews all over town are being taken away, including the tailor across the road.’

But despite this Brigitte remains unapologetic. In a recent interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel she explained:’I was young and busy with my own life.’

‘My son always said to me: “How could you have been so oblivious?”.

‘I never saw a thing!’

And of the holocaust she still uses an old Nazi term, when she remarks: ‘Berlin was already Judenrein (“cleansed of Jews”) by then, and I was too young to have noticed anything before that.

 
Unapologetic: In her diaries Brigitte recalls seeing 'Jews being taken away, all over town'
Unapologetic: In her diaries Brigitte recalls seeing ‘Jews being taken away, all over town’

‘There were some Jewish girls in my first ever class photograph, taken in 1933, but by the time the next was taken, they were all gone. When I asked my mother about them, she said they had moved to Palestine.’

In March 1944 Brigitte makes a casual remark about joining the Nazi party. It appears she did so mainly to make friends.

‘Usually all we did was sing songs,’ she explains. ‘But yes, we were pretty keen on Hitler — of course we were, we were all indoctrinated as children.

‘We just muddled through, we had no choice.’

It would take some 30 years before Brigitte was able to fully comprehend what had happened.

She said: ‘It was only when I visited Buchenwald in the 1970s that I saw photographs of the camps.

‘It took me years to realize what had gone on.’

From many of the passages it would be easy to assume that Brigitte was completely oblivious to the horrors of the war. But that is too simplistic.

 
Realisation: Brigitte admits he took her years to realise what had gone on in Germany during the war
Brigitte admits he took her years to realize what had gone on in Germany during the war

Brigitte experienced the Battle of Berlin first-hand, she lost both her father and her uncle on the front.

Her apparent naivety could instead be understood as an attempt to insulate herself from the grim reality of war.

Her diary is already being compared to that of Dutch holocaust victim Anne Frank who began writing just a few months before Brigitte.

But while both girls’ wartime accounts share a similar innocence, the Anne Frank was killed in the Bergen-Belsen concentration while Brigitte was able to continue her life.

Brigitte’s diary was only saved when she sent it to German historian Annet Gröschner, who co-edited and annotated the published version.

Gröschner told Der Spiegel: ‘The paper was yellowed and had virtually disintegrated. It was almost unreadable.

‘What is striking about the diary is its authenticity. It’s very different from personal accounts of World War II that were written with the benefit of hindsight and with later generations in mind.’

Attribution: Dan Miller, Daily Mail