Sunshine and Swastikas

This collection of rare color photos of Berlin in 1937, taken by Thomas Neumann and uncovered from Norwegian archives,  show life in the German capital during a tumultuous decade.

They capture scenes in the vibrant city,  which was under the iron grip of Adolf Hitler and his Third Reich at the very height of his power. Yet just eight years later the city was in ruins as Russians and Allies occupied it in victory.

But at the time these images were taken,  Hitler’s Berlin was vibrant. Hitler had taken power after the collapse of the democratic Weimar Republic in 1933 as severe economic problems caused by the Depression drove ordinary Germans into the Nazi party’s arms.

As well as chilling pictures of  buildings emblazoned with swastikas, there are scenes of ordinary life as Germans go about their business. They show a child in a sun-drenched square, smiling friends at a train station, a cart selling bananas and a food vendor in a sunny  park.

Regal: These rare color photos of Berlin in 1937 give a unique perspective of the capital's pre-war period. The Stadtschloss, or Berlin City Palace. It was heavily damaged during bombing and demolished by East German authorities after the warThese rare color photos of Berlin in 1937 give a  unique perspective of the capital’s pre-war period. The Stadtschloss, or Berlin  City Palace, was heavily damaged during bombing and demolished by East German  authorities after the war
Devastated: The Stadtschloss after it was gutted by Allied bombs. It was torn down by East German authorities after the war but is currently being rebuiltThe Stadtschloss after it was gutted by Allied bombs. It was torn down by East German authorities after the war but is  currently being rebuilt
Ominous: In 1937 Hitler was at the very peak of his power. Ordinary Germans were content and opposition was being ruthlessly crushed In 1937 Hitler was at the very peak of his power. Ordinary Germans were content and opposition was being ruthlessly crushed
Smiling: An unknown trio at a train station. it is likely they were friends or colleagues of the photographer An unknown trio at a train station. It is  likely they were friends or colleagues of the photographer
Rally: Soldiers and civilians at a rally on the decorated streets in Berlin. This photo is believed to have been taken on Labour Day (May 1) in 1937Soldiers and civilians at a rally on the decorated streets in Berlin. This photo is believed to have been taken on Labor Day (May 1) in 1937
Bustle: A cart sells fruit on a busy Berlin streetA cart sells fruit on a busy Berlin  street

Norwegian engineer Thomas Neumann (1901-1978)  took the photos while working in Germany. The film he used was the first of its kind, and there are few similar images preserved in Norwegian collections. His colored pictures gives historians a valuable view of the interwar period.

In 2007 his photo gallery given to the  National Archives of Norway by his daughter.

Thomas Neumann trained as an electrical engineer in Dresden. After graduating in 1928 he worked in Berlin until 1933.  Neumann was a member of the National Unity party, a fascist organization and was appointed its propaganda leader in Oslo and Akershus. He left the party in 1937 and in October 1944 he was arrested for illegal activities and sent to the notorious Grini concentration camp.

Echoes of history: This street scene shows the Augustiner Keller, a beer cellar in central Berlin. Few buildings were not festooned with Nazi regalia This street scene shows the  Augustiner Keller, a beer cellar in central Berlin. Few buildings were not  festooned with Nazi regalia
Power: Hitler had consolidated his power by the mid-1930s, thanks to widespread disillusionment with the Weimar Republic Hitler had consolidated his power by the  mid-1930s, thanks to widespread disillusionment with the Weimar Republic
Youth: A little boy outside an unknown sunny square in BerlinA little boy outside an unknown sunny square in  Berlin
Order: This intimidating picture shows troops lining a boulevard festooned with swastikas in anticipation of a parade This intimidating picture shows troops lining a boulevard festooned with swastikas in anticipation of a parade
Relaxation: Berliners enjoy snacks in a sun-soaked park Berliners enjoy snacks in a sun-soaked park
Crowds: The pictures were taken by Thomas Neumann, a Norwegian engineer who worked in Germany The pictures were taken by Thomas Neumann, a  Norwegian engineer who worked in Germany
Church and state: Swastikas and a maypole outside Berlin CathedralSwastikas and a maypole outside Berlin Cathedral
Docking: Two men in suits aboard the steamer Preussen, presumably approaching GermanyTwo men in suits aboard the steamer Preussen,  presumably approaching Germany
Quiet moment: A driver leans against a state car and enjoys a cigarette. The photos show candid moments among Berliners A driver leans against a state car and enjoys a cigarette. The photos show candid moments among Berliners

One candid picture shows a Brownshirt  (a member of Hitler’s paramilitary force) lounging against a state car  in front of a building draped with the maligned Nazi symbol.

On 30 January 1933, President Hindenburg, under pressure from Franz von Papen, appointed Hitler as Chancellor of Germany.  Shortly after the Fuhrer seized power.

The Nazi government restored prosperity and ended mass unemployment using heavy military spending. Extensive public works were also undertaken, including the construction of the Autobahns, to boost employment.

Just two years later Germany would invade Poland and begin the most destructive war the world has ever seen. An estimated 60 million people lost their lives as a result of the Second World War and the global political landscape changed forever.

Ripple: The 1937 May Day celebration was also a celebration of 700 years of Berlin's history The 1937 May Day celebration was also a  celebration of 700 years of Berlin’s history
Grand: The Messe Berlin situated in Berlin-Westend. It was completed in 1937The Messe Berlin situated in Berlin-Westend. It  was completed in 1937 yet heavily bombed by Allied aircraft
Masses: A lkarge crowd in Berlin, presumably in connection with Labour Day A large crowd in Berlin, presumably in  connection with Labor Day
Force: In this picture we see military personnel father beneath decorations. An officer appears to be inspecting the men  In this picture we see military personnel father beneath decorations. An officer appears to be inspecting the men
Overseer: A guard in a pristine white uniform looks on at a gathering crowdA guard in a pristine white uniform looks on  at a gathering crowd
Civilians: Walkers on a mystery German street. Eight years later it would have been filled with Russian, British and American troopsWalkers on a mystery German street. Eight years later it would have been filled with Russian, British and American  troops
Serene: An unknown park in Berlin. The heat of the summer of 1937 meant sprinklers were required to keep the grass verdantAn unknown park in Berlin. The heat of the summer of 1937 meant sprinklers were required to keep the grass verdant
History: Flags snap and flap in the breeze among a throng of Germans celebrating May day Flags snap and flap in the breeze among a throng of Germans celebrating May day
Colourful: Berliners gather to look at a giant maypole outside the Berlin City CathedralBerliners gather to look at a giant maypole outside the Berlin City Cathedral

Attribution: Sam Webb

As Much Fun as Stripping Paint

Prototype robots autonomously strip paint from aircraft using lasers

Team of robots decoating a cargo plane
Team of robots decoating a cargo plane

If you think stripping paint off an end table can be a messy, time consuming job, imagine removing paint and other coatings from an aircraft like the C-130 transport plane. Tasked with developing a robotic system that would take such a chore out of the hands of maintenance personnel, Carnegie Mellon University’s National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) and Concurrent Technologies Corporation (CTC) of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, developed a team of robots that gets the job done – using laser beams, no less.

Close up of Laser Removal Arm

The prototype robots are being tested at the Hill Air Force Base in northern Utah as part of a program sponsored by the National Defense Center for Energy and Environment to develop ways to cut down on the labor costs, health hazards and environmental problems of repainting military planes. CTC is building six autonomous, mobile robots that work in teams to remove paint and other exterior coatings from fighter and transport planes.

Coating removal system

The large robots consist of a mobile platform on which is mounted a large, articulated arm that moves up and down on hydraulic lifts. On the end of each arm is an array of sensors that allow the arm to glide evenly over the plane’s surface and a continuous wave laser that removes the paint in selective layers. The sensors can also assess the plane’s condition as they go. The speed at which they work needs to remain even so that the laser can strip the paint without overheating the plane’s skin. Meanwhile, a custom High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) system safely collects paint debris as it is removed from the aircraft.

How many robots are required for each team depends on the aircraft. Two robots are enough for a fighter, but four robots might be needed for a cargo plane. The system controlling the robots generates plans for stripping the plane, which can be updated as the job proceeds. It also “virtually” masks areas of the plane that shouldn’t be touched, so maintenance crews don’t have to run about with masking tape and paper.

Mobile robot teams

Using robots means that plane maintenance can carry on around the clock, but it also offers other advantages. For one thing, since they operate autonomously, crews aren’t exposed to harmful chemicals or laser light. According to Jim Arthur, CTC principal process engineer and project manager, “automated laser decoating is expected to significantly reduce labor, waste volume, environmental risk, and overall cost.”

The system is currently in the testing and demonstration phase, but NREC/CTS foresee the robots being used to not only strip, but to also apply paints and coatings as well as inspecting aircraft and doing maintenance and repair work.

Attribution:  , Real Clear Science

Faux Ceasefire

Report: Spy Satellite Detects Iranian Long-Range Rocket Shipment to Gaza

by:  at the Blaze

Showing just how fragile the Israel-Hamas ceasefire declared Wednesday is, a new report says Iran was already preparing a new shipment of long-range rockets for terrorist groups in Gaza even while the ceasefire was being finalized.Sunday Times Reports Israeli Spy Satellite Detects Iranian Long Range Rocket Shipment to GazaIsrael’s Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepted incoming rockets fired from Gaza (photo credit: IDF)

Britain’s Sunday Times reports Israeli spy satellites last week detected a cargo ship being loaded with rockets and other weapons at the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas. Israeli intelligence officials believe those weapons are headed for Gaza.

Ynet provides further detail on the route Iranian secret shipments take via Sudan and Egypt:

Israeli intelligence sources believe the weapons-laden cargo ship will pass through the well established Iranian weapons smuggling route to Gaza, through Sudan and the Red Sea. Sources told the British newspaper that they believe Iranian ships stationed in Eritrea will escort the ship from the moment it enters the Red Sea. “Regardless of the ceasefire agreement, we will attack and destroy any shipment of arms to Gaza once we have spotted it,” an Israeli defense source said.

It appears that the ship’s cargo includes Fajr-5 missiles, which terrorist groups have already fired at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem during Operation Pillar of Defense, and possibly Shahab-3 missiles, which can hit deep in Israeli territory.

Adding another layer to the threat facing Israel, the report suggests those Shahab-3 missiles wouldn’t even need to make it all the way to Gaza and could be fired at Israel from Sudan.

Intelligence officials believe the Fajr-5 missiles are broken apart for shipment, whisked through smuggling tunnels into Gaza and then reassembled by terror groups on the ground.

Last month, a weapons factory in Sudan was destroyed in a bombing Sudanese officials blamed on the Israeli Air Force. Some reports suggested the factory was being used to build Iranian long-range missiles. The Israeli Defense Ministry’s Director of Policy and Political-Military Affairs Amos Gilad then said Sudan is a key transit point for shipment of arms to Gaza terrorists.

On Sunday, a Sudanese official said the arms factory that was bombed will be relocated away from residential areas, according to the Associated Press.

As TheBlaze posted Saturday, whereas in the past it was more secretive, Hamas is now openly boasting about the support it receives from Iran. Senior Hamas official Mahmoud Zahar said Saturday he believes Tehran will increase military support for Hamas and Islamic Jihad. If the Sunday Times report is accurate, it appears that is already happening.

Comment by the Common Constitutionalist: This ceasefire, like most all ceasefires is bogus. Hamas was getting their ass kicked by the Israelis. They (or one of their colaborators) asked for the ceasefire in order to regroup and rearm, with the help of Iran. Israel was foolish to agree to this. They must know they are the most hated country on earth. So what’s the point in agreeing to this farce? They will eventually sign their death warrant by doing these types of things. Victory is only achieved by beating the enemy into submission. They can’t do that if they keep letting the enemy up off the canvas. 

The Growth Triangle

by: the Common Constitutionalist

This past election has taught me a couple important lessons. One is that evidently, cheaters do prosper, at least temporarily. That, however, is a discussion for another time. The second is, what is really important to concentrate on going forward.

What I’ve discovered is that relatively minor issues are constantly sidetracking us.

It isn’t that they are not important, they are, but we need a grander vision.

Issues like pro-life versus pro-abortion, homosexual marriage, funding PBS and such. They are all important, but without a viable and vibrant free Republic to decide them, they are all meaningless.

Thus is my grand vision.

Going forward, I have decided to concentrate on three major issues. If I am unable to find candidates that concur on these positions, I cannot and will not vote for them. No more exceptions!

The three issues are the economy, national defense and illegal immigration.

I chose these because I believe them to be the fire triangle of America, as it were.

If you recall, the fire triangle is named for its three essential components; fuel, heat and oxygen (air). A fire must have these three components in order to be maintained.

If you take one of these components away, the fire cannot sustain itself and will extinguish. Likewise, if you are lacking just one of these the fire will not ignite.

Let’s examine the three components of my newly adopted “Growth Triangle”.

The fuel of the “fire triangle” would equate to the American economy. Mitt Romney touched on this during the campaign. Without it, obviously we would cease to exist as a nation.

But there are many types of fuel for fire. If one were to make a fire using only sticks and twigs, it would still be considered a fire, albeit a small one and not much good for warmth, cooking and fending off predators. The small fire could be sustained, however would service but a very few.

If however, you added large logs, thus greatly enhancing the fuel source, quite soon the fire would grow, providing ample warmth, a reliable cooking source and a formidable barrier for predators or enemies.

Merely maintaining a small economy is not good enough either. A weak economy is the twig and stick fire. Yes, it’s a fire, but a pretty sorry one.

The twigs, sticks and logs equate to jobs that fuel economy. Adding little twigs and sticks to your fire will never do. Large logs must be added to keep it stoked properly.

Without these logs, the fire cannot grow and without jobs, lots of jobs, nor can the economy.

The heat of the fire triangle, I liken to our national defense. Without heat the fire cannot be sustained, regardless of the fuel source. You may add all the sticks, twigs, logs or even gasoline you like and without heat they will never ignite.

Thus is the dependency of the economy and a strong national defense. No economy can thrive and grow without protection.

When the heat is drastically reduced, the fire will not extinguish, but will become much more vulnerable to attack by the slightest rain or wind.

Thus it is regarding national defense. By drastically reducing our military, we become more vulnerable to attack and not just by a large force.

Immigration has always been the oxygen of the “Growth Triangle”.

Without a constant stream of fresh air, no amount of fuel and heat will sustain a fire. On the other hand, too much wind and the fire will be blown out. The fires fresh air supply must be controlled. Two little and the fire will choke; too much and it will also succumb.

Such is it with immigration. Too few legal immigrants and our country becomes lazy and stagnant. Too many and the fuel and heat cannot maintain the imbalance.

No fire or economy can sustain the hurricane force winds of illegal immigration.

Looking ahead, I pray I can find at least a few viable candidates that fit into my “Growth Triangle”.

It is sad they all don’t.

Iran / Hamas Connection

What Will U.S. Do as Iran Admits It Is Behind Rocket Attacks on Israel?

by: Tad Cronn

Israel is under siege again, being pummeled by rockets fired by Hamas in the Gaza Strip  and now from the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula.

The assault, which has seen almost 40 rockets launched into Israel in the past few days, has even targeted Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Israel’s capital.

[Common Constitutionalist adds: In fact, since 2009, Hamas and others have fired over 8,000 rockets into Israel. That’s more ordinance than Nazis threw at England during the entire Second World War.]

On Friday, Iranian officials announced that its rockets are being used in the  attacks. On the same day, it was announced that Iran is stepping up its uranium  enrichment.

According to a source in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, cited by World Net  Daily, Iran has large stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and it has  provided those weapons to Hamas. Also, Iran has military advisers in Gaza to  teach the Palestinians how to set up and operate the missile systems.

The same source said the attacks were meant as a message to Israel that any  attack on Iran would be countered by Iran’s puppets.

The U.S. so far has not responded to the attacks on Israel, being too wrapped  up in evading questions about what really happened in Benghazi, Libya, on  September 11.

The U.S. response will be crucial because the current attacks are not  occurring in a vacuum. They are just the latest move in the game President Obama  has been  playing in the Middle East during his first term in office.

With one hand, the Obama Administration has been dealing with the United  Nations to try to pressure Iran into giving up its nuclear weapons program. It  has also reportedly been involved in secret face-to-face talks with Iran.

With the other hand, though, Obama has been toppling governments in the  Mideast and North Africa by funding and arming “resistance” groups that more  often than not turn out to be linked to al Qaida, our supposed enemy.

In Benghazi, information leaked by Administration sources  suggests the  CIA was involved with funneling heavy arms and personnel to the Syrian “rebels,” who are fighting the Syrian government, which is backed by Iran. Making the  situation more complex, Syria and Iran are both supported by Russia, for whom Obama has vowed to be more “flexible” after the election.

The attack in Benghazi was led by Ansar al Sharia, an al Qaida-linked group  that has its strings pulled by Iran. Many of the Ansar al Sharia members in  Libya were in fact armed by the U.S. during its effort to overthrow Moammar Gadhaffi.

U.S.-Israeli relations have been strained almost since the day Obama came  into office. It’s entirely possible that he will wash his hands of Israel’s  problems. If he does, this will likely be seen by the Iranians and Russians as  further signs of weakness.

Mitt Romney said during the debates that he would support the rebels in Syria  and Israel, so perhaps his policy wouldn’t have been all that different on the  surface. But support for Israel, the only functioning democracy in the region,  is crucial to the region’s politics.

Now that the U.S. has foolishly re-elected the Man Who Would Be King, the  U.S. is poised to have the rug pulled out from under its feet and being forced  to watch the ascendancy of a new Muslim Caliphate allied with Russia and  Iran.

Attribution: Godfather Politics

Not So Honorable?

Generals and Geographic Bachelors

By: G. Murphy Donovan

General David Petraeus illuminates two grand military issues at just the right moment: officer corps character and flag officer performance. Petraeus could be the poster child for a clueless Gilbert and Sullivan character too — “The very model of a modern major-general.” Major-general was the highest rank to which an officer might aspire to in the last century. Grade inflation has created the contemporary glut of four stars, including Petraeus.

David Petraeus gloried in wearing every token of service on his chest, including presumably the good conduct ribbon. Or maybe not! The good conduct medal only goes to grunts, not officers. Clearly, the good conduct award should hereafter be a badge of misplaced military expectations.

Nonetheless; the US Army, West Point, and officers like Petraeus continue to pay lip service to traditional military values and ethics like “duty, honor, and country.” The second imperative seems to have been honored in breach by the former ISAF commander. It’s hard to believe, as it was with Bill Clinton, that Paula Broadwell was a “one off.”

Or maybe the West Point honor oath is more relevant: “a cadet will not lie, cheat, or steal; or tolerate those who do.” Ironically, cheating on your wife seems to be a moral misdemeanor in the Army; while cheating on your trigonometry quiz could lead to dismissal. Alas, Cadet David gets the hat trick here. On the larceny count, Petraeus stole reputation from both sides of his family. His wife Holly is the daughter of a former West Point commandant.

And be not distracted by any “honey trap” nonsense; cheating on wives is a military tradition, not a scandal. Officially, a remote tour is designated “unaccompanied,” but overseas orders seldom require celibacy. Alas, unaccompanied officers are known in the trade as “geographic” bachelors. A senior officer is not busted for cheating; he gets drummed out of the corps for getting caught — too visibly.

And morality only becomes an issue when it embarrasses the Service. In this respect, contemporary military culture is no different than American political culture. If and when, Holly Petraeus, sings a few choruses of “Stand by Your Man,” as did Hilary Clinton; the triumph of the bimbo ethics will be confirmed. Men behave like swine because the women in their lives, mothers and wives, have low or no expectations.

Petraeus not only gives new meaning to terms like “embedded” and “all in” but he and Mrs. Broadwell give a whole new dimension to “ring knockers,” a military euphemism for arrogant military academy graduates. Indeed, if the general was making booty calls with GI Jane in Kabul, the angst in the ranks should be unique. Unlike Europe, Korea, and Vietnam; ordinary soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan are discouraged, if not prohibited, from fraternizing with Muslim women. Like Saigon back in the day, however, apparently the brass gets first run on the imported camp followers. Rank still has perks.

For those who might argue that the military ethos is different, consider who comes to defend Petraeus and the nature of the arguments. Members of both political parties, (e.g. Nancy Pelosi and Lindsey Graham ) and the Media lament the loss of a “great leader” to personal, as opposed to professional, failings.

This is the same limp mantra cooked up for Bill Clinton. Neither defense holds water. Perjury is a crime in any court; and adultery, as Petraeus should know, is a court martial offence under the UCMJ. Note that it is the Republican House who excuses Petraeus from testifying, as scheduled, in the Benghazi fiasco. Republicans can’t seem to court enough ill will these days.

So much for the general’s character.

Defending Petraeus on performance grounds may be an even a shakier argument. The general belongs to the “kiss up, kick down” school of military management, again an import from the political world. Like politicians, political generals insist on deprivations from which they usually exempt themselves.

Recall, that during the hot war in Iraq, serving under a Republican, Petraeus was vilified as General “Betrayus.” Now, under a Democrat administration, as the retreat from Afghanistan unfolds, the former ISAF commander is held up as a national hero. Where are the victories? Is the Arab or Muslim world more pacific or stable today, because Petraeus marched through?

Even insipid goals like “transition” are a shell game. We still have troops in Iraq; and after 2014, a similar contingent will remain in Kabul. The true accomplishments of all those small wars in the Muslim world to date are twofold; NATO has simplified the Islamist target set and enabled the triumph of radical religious politics. Indeed, American troops are now killed by our so-called “moderate” Muslim allies; surely a comfort to Islamists.

The great failure of senior officers like Petraeus is candor, or more bluntly, integrity. America cannot do for Muslims what Islam is unwilling to do for itself. That fundamental ground truth is ignored or spun by senior military officers and politicians alike.

And are we to believe that Petraeus reinvented the Army with a novel counterinsurgency (COIN) doctrine? The test of any doctrine is achievement; or to use a word absent from flag officer vocabulary these days, the test of military theory is victory. There are only two routes to change in the Ummah; reform or defeat. Neither is evident after 50 years of futile American sacrifice.

Politics and yearly troop rotations are at odds with the Petraeus doctrine. The force ratios required by the Army Manual (FM 3-24) will never be achieved with the current force structure; and brief, but repeated, deployments are at odds with consolidating any annual gains or winning any “hearts or minds.”

Problems with academic theory begin with flawed assumptions; nearly all conflicts in the Muslim world are civil wars, not insurgencies.The Army doesn’t have a foreign civil war mandate. Unfortunately, the Marine Corps has bought into the COIN nonsense too. The elimination of the draft makes it easier for politicians and generals to play fast and loose with national treasure and volunteer lives, another ground truth ignored by Petraeus doctrine.

Before leaving the performance report, we might look at some of the small steps that allowed Pataeus to advance from Kabul to Langley. First was that borderline anti-Semitic CENTCOM study commissioned by Petraeus that suggests that resolving the Israel question is key to abating Muslim rage. Nonsense!

Israel/Palestine is a regional problem; Islamism is a global conflict. Secular governments worldwide are the real Islamic targets. Israel is a convenient distraction, a political stalking horse. And Tel Aviv has made a host of territorial concessions since defeating the Arab armies, all to no avail. Elimination of Israel is the oft-stated goal of Palestinians and Islamists alike.  Appeasement in the Levant could only hasten another Holocaust. Petraeus is no friend of Israel, and that alone made him a poor choice for CIA.

Israeli Palestinians are better off than any similar group living in any Arab country, including Jordan and Lebanon. Indeed, at one time or other, Jordanians, Egyptians, and Lebanese have successfully exterminated militant Palestinians. Israel’s tolerance of Arabs and Islam, by any measure, is enlightened.

The CENTCOM study and Petraeus clearly catered to existing bias, a kind of closet anti-Semitism, among the American academic Left and Obama acolytes. Petraeus subsequently consolidated his politically correct posture on Islam by taking a knee in Afghanistan. American women in uniform were encouraged to wear the hijab while on patrol. Pandering now trumps American troop safety as America slinks out of South Asia.

By such baby steps does an officer, with little or no Intelligence experience, advance from Princeton to the CIA. Petraeus garnered an Agency sinecure with a wet finger in the political winds. He was politically correct on all things Islamic. He was reliable — until Paula came along.

So we are left to ponder the merits of several hagiographic Petraeus biographies. In retrospect, Paula Broadwell’s powder puff pastiche, All In (sic): the Education of David Petraeus  is at once an inside joke and reminiscent of Doris Kerns Goodwin’s methodology and subsequent biography of Lyndon Johnson — another politician who quit in the middle of a tedious war. The literary world needs to stop calling tomes about the living, “valentines.” A more appropriate classification would be toilette biography.

G. Murphy Donovan is a Vietnam veteran and former Intelligence officer who writes frequently about national security, military affairs, and politics.

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Survivor Tribute

A Holocaust survivor returned an American flag to the family of a soldier who had given him the gift, the sole memento from his war-torn childhood that he kept for 67 years.

Stephan Ross, now 81, was ten years old when U.S. serviceman Steve Sattler came across him, emaciated and terrified at the Dachau concentration camp in Germany.

After handing over his rations to the boy during the 1945 liberation, Sattler then gave the ten-year-old his handkerchief decorated with the Stars and Stripes.

Never forgotten: Stephan Ross (pictured in striped jacket) hugs family of soldier Steven Sattler who liberated him from Dachau concentration camp, 67 years ago. Left, a picture of the late Mr SattlerStephan Ross (pictured in striped jacket) hugs family of soldier Steven Sattler who liberated him from Dachau  concentration camp, 67 years ago. Left, a picture of the late Mr Sattler
Poignant memento: Stephan Ross, dressed in a uniform like one he was forced to wear in the Nazi camps, kisses the handkerchief-flag that was given to him by an American soldier in 1945Stephan Ross, dressed in a uniform like one he was forced to wear in the Nazi camps, kisses the handkerchief-flag that was given to him by an American soldier in 1945

On Veteran’s Day this Sunday, Mr Ross had the opportunity for the first time to thank the family of the man who rescued him.

He hugged the children and grandchildren of Mr Sattler during the emotional meeting at the State House in Boston. Mr Ross wore a striped jacket and hat, like the camp uniform, along with his identification number.

The 81-year-old gave Mr Sattler’s family a boxed flag, saying: ‘God Bless, America’.

After the War, Steve Sattler had returned to live quietly on his farm in Unionville, Michigan, according to the Boston  Globe. The father-of-six and Purple Heart recipient passed away in 1986 at the age of 70.

Mr Ross, who now lives in Newton, Massachusetts, had spent the War in ten different concentration camps.

Loving tribute: The children of soldier Steve Sattler (l-r) Gwen Allanson, Stephanie Sattler and James Sattler meet Stephan Ross to show him a picture of their late father after he gave them an American flagThe children of soldier Steve Sattler  (l-r) Gwen Allanson, Stephanie Sattler and James Sattler meet Stephan Ross to  show him a picture of their late father after he gave them an American flag
Symbolic gesture: Mr Ross's son and Boston City Councillor Michael Ross holds up the flag his father received from an American soldier at Dachau concentration camp in Germany almost seven decades ago Mr Ross’s son and Boston City Councilor Michael Ross holds up the flag his father received from an American  soldier at Dachau concentration camp in Germany almost seven decades ago

Ever since being liberated by the Allies on  April 29, 1945, Mr Ross had always  wondered what had happened to the soldier  who had shown him kindness.


The concentration camp at Dachau, near Munich  in Germany, was founded in 1933 by Nazi commander Heinrich Himmler.

The first prisoners were mainly political opponents of the Nazi regime along with Gypsies and homosexuals.

The camp was expanded under horrific working conditions by prisoners – and operated until the fall of the fascist regime in 1945. Thousands of prisoners were worked to death.

With the increased persecution of the Jews,  the number of prisoners at the camp increased in the late Thirties.

It was the original model for all concentration camps – divided into barracks, workshops and areas where medical experiments took place and the crematorium. However it is believed that rather than gas chambers, the Nazis used this area as a firing range and gallows for most prisoners.

Those who were deemed too sick or old to work were sent to Hartheim in Austria where they faced the gas chambers. Thousands of prisoners from Dachau died in this way.

Hundreds of prisoners died or were left disabled during horrific medical experiments at Dachau which included malaria, hypothermia and tuberculosis trials, new medications and methods to stop excessive bleeding.

More than 188,000 prisoners passed through the heavy gates of Dachau in its 12-year history. Although 28,000 were known to have died, there were many, many more victims who have never been accounted for.

The octogenarian, who came to the U.S. as an orphan in 1948, even went on TV show Unsolved Mysteries in the hope of finding the man.

In August this year, he received a phone call  from a woman named Brenda Clark – Mr Sattler’s grand-daughter – who said Mr  Ross’s story resembled one she had been told.

Mr Sattler had spoken little about his time during the liberation of Dachau.

However he did once tell his daughter Gwen Allanson that he had given food and ‘something else’ to a young boy at the German concentration camp.

Mr Sattler did not say what he had given the boy, only that he ‘hoped it helped him’.

After the families compared details of Mr Sattler’s service with Mr Ross’s memories, the personal histories matched up.

Mr Ross, a retired psychologist, told the Globe: ‘I recalled thinking: ”If this is true, there is some God in this world.”’

He shared his stories of being held in a Nazi prison camp which left him starved and beaten within an inch of his life.

Mr Ross lost his entire family in the Holocaust apart from one brother.

Sattler was a member of the 191st Tank Battalion who were part of the troops who liberated Dachau, about ten miles northwest of Munich in southern Germany.

The U.S. forces who breached the gates of Dachau in April, 1945 were faced with thousands of starving prisoners, many near death. The soldiers also came across the gruesome discovery of 30 railroad cars piled high with bodies.

Attribution: Daily Mail

POW Revelations

To an untrained eye, the small room must have looked like a telephone exchange. A console of sockets and plugs was placed on top of a table, at which was sat an operator who was wearing a pair of headphones.

Occasionally, he would swap some of the plugs around, but there would be little more movement than that.

Wearing the uniform of a British sergeant-major, the operator was, however, no telephone operator. In fact, he was taking part in one of the most secret operations ever conducted during World War  II.

Spy game: British officers listened to conversations of German prisoners-of-war incarcerated in Trent Park House, a Hertfordshire mansion British officers listened to conversations of  German prisoners-of-war incarcerated in Trent Park House, a Hertfordshire  mansion

The man was part of a team of eavesdroppers — fluent in German, quite often Jewish, and more than likely to have fled from Nazism to Britain during the Thirties — who were listening to conversations of German prisoners-of-war incarcerated in Trent Park, a Hertfordshire mansion that housed the Combined Services Detailed Interrogation Center, or CSDIC.

Between 1939 and 1945, no fewer than 10,191  German and 567 Italian prisoners passed through Trent Park and its two related POW listening centers. The operation was unimaginatively nicknamed ‘Operation Eavesdrop’, and what the listeners heard appalled them, as the German soldiers, sailors and airmen reminisced about committing some of the most barbaric atrocities imaginable.

They would recall machine-gunning civilians  from their fighter planes, or knowingly torpedoing boatloads of children. They would laugh about raping Russian women and Jews before slaughtering them, or wiping out inhabitants of Russian villages with grenades and petrol.

As one CSDIC officer said at the time: ‘If we didn’t know why we were fighting the war before this, we sure as hell knew afterwards.’

‘I had an hour to spare and we went to a kind of barracks and slaughtered 1,500 Jews. There were some 20 men there with tommy-guns. It only took a second, and nobody thought anything of it.’

Recordings and transcripts were made of these conversations, and then, for several decades, they remained under lock and key, before they were sent to the National Archives, where they gathered  dust.

It was not until 2001 that they were finally unearthed by a German historian called Sönke Neitzel, who quickly realized that the conversations constituted some of the most important testimony to have emerged from the war.

And, most controversially of all, Dr Neitzel realized that the CSDIC transcripts gave the lie to the notion that the regular  German armed forces — the Wehrmacht — had more or less behaved honorably, and that it was only the fanatical members of the armed SS that had committed the most repellent of war crimes.

After working on the transcripts for a decade, Dr Neitzel published his book about the recordings in Germany last year, and now it is published in Britain.

The fact that ordinary German soldiers were likely to be complicit in acts of barbarity has shocked modern German readers.

The fact that ordinary German soldiers were likely to be complicit in acts of barbarity has shocked modern German readers
Onslaught: Nazi soldiers rush into action against Red Army positions during the invasion of the Soviet Union in this October 1941 Nazi soldiers rush into action against Red Army positions during the invasion of the Soviet Union in this October 1941

What emerges most strongly in the recordings, is the fact that many German soldiers did not see their acts as crimes, no matter how horrific. As one soldier put it: ‘the fact that we were soldiers was enough to justify any crimes and corruption, and was sufficient basis for an existence in hell.’

Between them, the German Army, Navy and Air  Force most successfully did create their own version of hell, and they created it all over Europe. A Luftwaffe corporal called Müller recalled how he had travelled around the Ukraine by truck, from which he had observed women being forced to work.

‘They were employed on road-making,’ he told his companion in his cell at Trent Park. ‘Extraordinarily lovely girls; we drove past, simply pulled them into the armored car, raped them and threw them out again. And did they curse!’

These women were fortunate compared with those living in the Belgian village of Hilay, who found themselves at the receiving end of the anger of Private Franz Diekmann and his comrades. The Germans had just lost one of their men to a ‘terrorist’.

‘We fired MGs [machine guns] into the midst of thirty Belgian women,’ Diekmann said. ‘They wanted to raid the German supply dump. But they were chased away in no uncertain manner.’

When Diekmann’s cellmate asked whether the women managed to run away, Diekmann simply replied: ‘No, they were all dead.’

Even women in Britain were not safe from the murderous impulses of members of the Wehrmacht. The operators at Trent Park once heard two Luftwaffe officers sharing tales of how they had machine-gunned civilians in British towns.

‘We once made a low-level attack near Eastbourne,’ recalled a pilot called von Greim. ‘When we got there, we saw a large mansion where they seemed to be having a ball or something; in any case we saw a lot of women in fancy-dress, and an orchestra. We turned round and flew towards it. The first time, we flew past, and then we approached again and  machine-gunned them. It was great fun!’

Similar atrocities were carried out by other members of the Luftwaffe. First Lieutenant Hans Harting from Fighter Wing 26 recalled how he had raided southern England in 1943: ‘We were ordered to fire at everything, except military targets,’ he claimed. ‘We killed women and children with baby carriages.’

At sea, submariners were just as likely to kill children as from the air. In September 1940, the vessel U-48 spotted the civilian passenger ship the City Of Benares, which was carrying 90 evacuee children from Britain to Canada.

Target: Passenger ship City of Benares was sunk by a German U-Boat in September 1939 as it was taking evacuee children to CanadaPassenger ship City of Benares was sunk by a German U-Boat in September 1939 as it was taking evacuee children to Canada
Lucky ones: Two survivors from the unprovoked attack on the evacuee ship the City of Benares Two survivors from the unprovoked attack on the evacuee ship the City of Benares
Prisoners: German soldiers are marched through an English village to a PoW camp in June 1944 German soldiers are marched through an  English village to a POW camp in June 1944

On board the U-boat was a corporal called Solm, who later claimed that the Germans knew that the boat was carrying children, and yet they still decided to attack.

‘We bagged a kiddie ship!’ Solm triumphantly told his Trent Park cellmate. ‘Six thousand tons. We heard on the radio what was on board. No one survived.’ In fact, 13 of the children did survive, but 260 of the 407 on board were killed.

Often during the conversations, the German prisoners justified their crimes by claiming that they were a reaction to the brutalities carried out by the Russians.

An army Lieutenant called Leichtfuss recalled how he had come across six dead German soldiers on the Eastern Front who had had their tongues nailed to a table, as well as another dozen who had been thrown down a well and stoned to death.’These incidents were taken for a reason for repaying it tenfold, twenty and a hundredfold,’ said Leichtfuss.

‘When a small detachment of about ten or 15  [enemy troops] was captured there, it was too difficult for the soldier to transport them back 100 or 120km. They were locked in a room and three or four hand grenades were flung in through the window.’

Such reprisal killings by the army were not uncommon, especially in Russia. Attacks by partisans often meant nearby villages were razed, and their inhabitants slaughtered.

Private Müller recalled how he and his comrades disobeyed an order to kill every tenth man in a village, and decided  instead to simply kill everybody.

Brutality: A Nazi firing squad guns down prisoners in Poland in 1941 A Nazi firing squad guns down prisoners in  Poland in 1941
Warmongers: This photo, taken on April 19, 1943, shows a group of Jews, including a small boy, being wscorted from the Warsaw Ghetto by German soldiersThis photo, taken on April 19, 1943, shows a  group of Jews, including a small boy, being escorted from the Warsaw Ghetto by German soldiers

‘We filled beer bottles with gas,’ he said, ‘and put them on the table and, as we were going out, we just threw hand grenades behind it. Immediately everything burned merrily — all roofs were thatched.

‘The women and children and everyone were shot down; only a few of them were partisans. I never took part in the shooting unless I was sure that they were proved to be partisans; but there were a lot of fellows who took a delight in it.’

The idea that mass murder could be ‘fun’ was also shared by some members of the Luftwaffe. Even in the very earliest days of the war, during the invasion of Poland, members of the German air force would take similar delight in mowing down people and horses from the air.

‘On the first day, it seemed terrible to me,’  said Lieutenant Pohl, a Luftwaffe airborne observer, ‘but I said to myself, “Hell! Orders are orders”. On the second and third days I felt it didn’t matter a hoot, and on the fourth day I enjoyed it. But, as I said, the horses screamed.  I hardly heard the plane, so loud did they scream. One of them lay there with  its hind legs torn off.’

Of course, the most infamous crime to have occurred during the war was the Holocaust, and although much of it was carried out by units such as the SS, the Gestapo, and the SD — the SS Security Service — there were men and officers of the Wehrmacht who also participated.

When talking in their cells at Trent Park, German officers would often try to convince themselves it was only really the SS that carried out mass killings, but there were some, such as Colonel Eberhard Wildermuth, who knew better.

‘In carrying out the mass executions, the SS did things which were unworthy of an officer,’ said Wildermuth, ‘and which every German officer should have refused to do, but I know of cases where officers did not refuse, and did do them, those mass executions. I know of similar things that were done by the army, and by officers.’

One of them was a First Lieutenant in the Luftwaffe called Fried, who was flying transport planes during the campaign in Poland. ‘I was at Radom once,’ he was recorded saying, ‘and had my midday meal with the Waffen SS battalion who were stationed there. An SS captain or whatever  he was said, “Would you like to come along for half-an-hour? Get a tommy-gun and let’s go”.

‘So I went along. I had an hour to spare and we went to a kind of barracks and slaughtered 1,500 Jews. There were some 20 men there with tommy-guns. It only took a second, and nobody thought anything of it.  They had been attacked at night by Jewish partisans and there was a lot of indignation about those damned Poles. I thought about it afterwards — it wasn’t very “pleasant”.’

When Lieutenant Fried was asked by his cellmate, a First Lieutenant Bentz, whether he had fired as well, Fried replied:  ‘Yes I did. Some of the people who were inside there said, “Here come the swine”, and swore and threw stones and things at them.

‘There were women and children there too! . . . There were whole families, some were screaming terribly and some were just stupid and apathetic.’

Although participation by members of the Wehrmacht in the ‘Final Solution’ was relatively infrequent, Fried’s admission shows the German armed forces knew exactly what the SS was doing to the Jews.

Soldiers and officers in the Army often witnessed killings first hand, and in the CSDIC recordings,  feelings of regret or sorrow are rarely expressed. One who witnessed a mass shooting of Jews was Major General Walter Bruns, who watched a pit fill up with slaughtered families.

‘I can still see it all in my memory,’ said  Bruns in his cell. ‘A pretty woman in a flame-colored chemise. Talk about keeping the race pure! At Riga, they first slept with them and then shot them to prevent them from talking.’

German Soldiers, sailors and airmen were caught by operatives at Trent Park listening centre in the UK reminiscing about committing some of the most barbaric atrocities imaginableGerman Soldiers, sailors and airmen were caught by  operatives at Trent Park listening centre in the UK reminiscing about committing  some of the most barbaric atrocities imaginable
Although participation by members of the Wehrmacht in the 'Final Solution' was relatively infrequent, the transcripts show German troops knew exactly what the SS was doing to the JewsAlthough participation by members of the Wehrmacht in  the ‘Final Solution’ was relatively infrequent, the transcripts show German troops knew exactly what the SS was doing to the Jews

Nazi concepts such as physical and racial purity were not just expressed by the SS. The chief quartermaster of  submarine U-187, Heinrich Skrzipek, maintained that ‘cripples should be put out of the way painlessly’.

‘It’s just a question of not being sensitive,’ Skrzipek insisted. ‘After all, we aren’t women! . . . Because the half-wits are the very people who have very large families and for one mental-defective you could feed six wounded soldiers. Of course you can’t please everybody. Several things don’t suit me, but it’s a question of the good of the people as a whole.’

But it appears Nazi ideology was not the chief motivating factor that made ‘ordinary’ members of the German armed forces commit atrocities. Dr Neitzel argues they took part in such actions because they saw it as their job, and that war normalizes violence and creates a context in which men can commit bloodthirsty acts with little or no conscience.

Although war crimes were undoubtedly committed by all sides during the war, the  Trent Park transcripts reveal that the German military machine was uniquely  brutal.

This tendency was even identified by the commander-in-chief of the Germany Army, General Walter Brauchitsch, who lamented the behavior of some his officers during the Polish campaign. ‘The image that results,’ he wrote, ‘is that of a pack of marauding mercenaries who cannot be reprimanded sharply enough.’

Thanks to the recordings made in Hertfordshire 70 years ago, it is an image that remains today.

Attribution: Guy Walters

Protect the Right…Hooyah! reports that retired Navy SEAL Ben Brink told Fox News that he is reaching out to former special operations personnel to help monitor polls, especially in areas where voter intimidation has been reported.

“The nation saw the video of members of the Black Panthers in Philadelphia intimidating people trying to vote in 2008. We are going to try and make certain that nothing like that happens this year,” he said on the Larry Mendte show, according to a report at

“Don’t let the bravado fool you,” Mendte wrote. “The mission, according to the Captain, is to observe and report, not to engage. ‘We are going to watch for intimidation, videotape it, if possible, and report it to the proper authorities’.”

“Brink claims to have over a hundred former Army Rangers, Navy Seal, Delta Force, Green Berets and others who have volunteered for duty. The idea of Navy Seals and Black Panthers getting into it at a Philly polling site gives a whole new incentive for casting a ballot,” the report added.

“Our guys aren’t easily intimidated,” Brink added.

Earlier Tuesday, we reported that the New Black Panther Party showed up at the same Philadelphia polling place where two baton-wielding activists were located in 2008.

Other reports say the New Black Panther Party is making its presence known in Ohio as well.

Conservatives on Twitter enjoyed hearing that America’s heroes are once again stepping up to protect freedom.

“Special Forces in Ohio, Navy Seals in Philly to keep Black Panthers from harming & Intimidating Voters. What’s THAT tell you America?” tweeted “Terri.”

“BREAKING! SEALS have arrived at polling places in Phillie where Black Panthers are intimidating voters! God bless our Navy SEALs,” exclaimed “dq24.”

According to Phillymag, the special operations veterans will be going to cities like Cleveland, Miami and Las Vegas, and Brink assured Mendte that voters have nothing to fear from the highly-trained operatives.

“Voters showing up to the polls probably won’t even notice they are there. These men are trained to be ghosts,” he said.