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Photographs of the Eastern Front in World War Two (4)

About a year ago I bought a collection, on DVD, of what were, supposedly,  more than 12,000  images of World War Two . I was very surprised, and pleased, to see that most of them were not British or American but were in fact either Russian or German. I would like to share some of these photographs with you, because a number of them have great photographic merits as well as capturing a split second in history.

Please be aware that these photographs do indeed capture moments in history. They portray the deeds of the Soviet Union, not the deeds of  present day Russia, a country run, like China and North Korea, on the mushroom method of management, although, of course, you can be sure that Putin’s suit will always remain spotless.

Today then , I’m going to look at the some of the pictures of children. Some were really quite cute, although they made no effort to disguise the fact that a war was going on:

In this picture, the war is a soldier, looking out of the window, making a call by field telephone :

Another photograph made the point that in the twenty or so years since the revolution in 1917, the Soviets had made enormous strides in improving living standards, particularly in the cities. Don’t miss the Demonic Phantom in the middle of the back row. Or perhaps she’s the KGB Milklady

But then, the Germans invaded the Soviet Union and the Heinkels and the Dorniers rained death over Russian cities. This picture has done duty as being English boys watching the Battle of Britain, but the lack of clothing and the short, almost shaven haircuts, say to me “Western Russia”, a place of unending flat fields where Operation Barbarossa took place in absolutely splendid summer weather. Look at how the boys are amazed, fascinated, yet each one of them has a look of fear in their eyes.

Boys would play their part in the war. For Yuri Gagarin, the  cosmonaut, it was throwing caltrops on the road, pouring soil into tank batteries about to be recharged and mixing up the chemicals used for this job. No wonder! His school was burned down, his family were forced to live in a mud hut and two of his brothers went to Poland for slave labour. In this picture, the boys seem to be snipers of some sort, using enormous long barrelled rifles, or is the nearer one a machine gun?

Next comes a beautiful picture of three bewildered and possibly orphaned little children in front of what may well be the ruins of their house. In Yuri Gagarin’s village, some 27 houses were burnt down. Hitler’s plans for the Russians involved the complete eradication of all the Russian villages, towns and cities, and to have the population housed in large camps from which they would be able to cultivate the land for the Germans. As these slave labourers died off, German families would come east to farm the land as their own:

A similar picture but the little boy is clearly well aware of what has happened to their family, and he just can’t take any more:

This is an unknown Russian village with two more little children. Both the village and its population have been destroyed:

The Germans were not in the slightest bit interested in the Russian civilian population. How could they be when they had carried out the massacre at Babi Yar and killed 33,771 Jews in two days, and the Rumbula massacre in Latvia where around 25,000 Jews were murdered in two days? As the Holocaust moved forward, the Germans would expect to find and kill all the Jews of a small town in a single day.

Russians, and indeed, all Slavs, were merely “untermenschen”, sub-humans, to be killed as the mood took them. The exceptions were the higher echelons of the Communist Party, who were killed on sight.

Human beings, no matter what may have happened to them, will always want to talk to each other and discuss. Here is Grandad, with his three grandsons, talking to somebody they know, probably about the future and where they are going to live. The Wehrmacht would burn down houses just because they felt like it, which may be what has happened here:

PS

My records, which I was looking at last night, show that I published “An impossible Beatles Quiz (1….the Questions)” but that I did not ever publish the answers. For Quiz No 2, I did publish both the Questions and the Answers.

Does anybody out there remember?     

I clearly thought I had published both Questions and Answers for Quiz 1, but the WordPress list of “Published” seems to think otherwise! Indeed, it thinks different things about the subject every single time I do a search!

Please write any thoughts in the “Comments” section of this particular blog post if you can help. 

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Diversity Trip – McLeod Gunj

This is how Prasna Velcheru spent her December 25th. This post is perhaps a bit long to read in full, but it is absolutely magical just to look at her photographs and to see the sights on offer. You will need to click on

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to look at the entire post but it really is worth it…. a world that, sadly, may be on the edge of disappearing.

ART PEACE

From Jammu we reached Pathankot and from there took a bus to Dharamshala. More than 10 hours for 230 kms, the State Government should do something to improve the public transport.

Reached McLeod Gunj at around midnight – surprised to see some shops and restaurants open – checked into the hotel and called it a day.

Woke up to the view of the Dauladhar range and to the chirping of birds.

A warm tea is all I need to start my day.

I had listed out around 10-12 placesthings to do but once we were out on the streets I didn’t feel like working on my checklist. Dropped everything and went with the flow – which included again a pot of ginger tea and brunch – had a toast and pancakes for almost almost 2 hrs. Tibetan culture was getting onto me and I was enjoying it. One other reason could also…

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Mosquito . The Wooden Wonder.

This post is from Paol Soren in Australia, about his visit to the RAAF museum where they are currently restoring an Australian Mosquito. I know that a lot of the aviation fans who follow my blog will enjoy this, so, thanks a lot, Paol!

Paol Soren

My first job after year twelve was in a large Lawyer’s firm in Collins Street, Melbourne. There were two of the originating partners still alive and the one I knew was Mr Cook. Mr Cook had his right index finger missing and one day he noticed me looking at it and decided to tell me what had happened. Cookie had been a Pathfinder pilot during the War. He flew an unarmed and unarmoured plywood Mosquito over Europe. His job was to fly at great speed into the full horror of war, drop marking flares onto the target and then get the hell out of the way as the bombers flew over to destroy Hitler’s war machine. One night a German Messerschmitt got a bit cross with him and fired his machine-guns. Only one bullet hit the Mosquito passing through the cockpit and blowing the top off the plane’s joystick and Mr…

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by | December 10, 2017 · 9:18 am

Have You Heard the News?

Forget the cricket and the DUP, cheer yourself up for Christmas!

Re-blogged, incidentally, from “A trivial mind at work” by Dennis Wagoner.

A Trivial Mind At Work

If you were watching the news this week you may have missed these headlines from the past few days:

  • Waffle House customer cooks own food while worker sleeps (the customer left himself a generous tip for the delicious meal)
  • Squirrel vandalizes New Jersey city’s Christmas lights
  • ‘Drunk’ opossum found in Florida liquor store (policeman reports that opossum was ‘drunk as a skunk’)
  • Grenade found in box of donations at California Goodwill
  • Musician uses car’s windshield wipers to play violin
  • Police recover stuffed zebra head after caught-on-camera burglary (why would one have a zebra head? why would one steal a zebra head?)
  • US Government Shuts Down Flat-Earther’s Rocket Launch (the only thing Flat-Earthers have to fear is sphere itself)


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Victory!

The power of the people! 374,304 signed up in just 4 days!!

Life In The Gym

I’m delighted to tell you that the beautiful military working dogs who were scheduled to be put down this week have been given a reprieve.  They will be “re homed” with people who will care for them the way they deserve after all their hard work!

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Thank you, thank you to all of you who took a minute to sign the petition.  It made all the difference in this case.  The number of signatures topped out at 374,304 (in just 4 days) and was still going strong, before the Defence Secretary responded and ordered that the dogs be saved.

IMG_9520 Love and hugs to all who helped in the quest to save these dogs!

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Puppy Love

These brave animals deserve better than this. Incidentally, I reblogged this from “Life in the Gym” by Dr Lynn.

Life In The Gym

Help save the lives of some military working dogs

Sign the petition at the bottom of this post.  It costs nothing and only requires your name and email address.

kevin Kevin and his handler

Military working dogs are highly trained canines who go to war to help do very dangerous work.  Dogs have fought alongside American forces in every conflict since the Revolutionary War (but only officially since WWII).  The particular dogs in danger of having their lives taken, worked with UK forces on the battlefield.

According to an article in The Sun, two Army dogs who helped save thousands of lives while on duty in Afghanistan will be put down next week, be­cause Top Brass say they can’t be re-homed.  This is despite having trained, military dog handlers who are willing and able to take them in and provide a home for them.

IMG_0784 Kevin worked in Afghanistan (Helmand Province) sniffing…

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Saturday Time-Out

Enjoy these from a friend of mine in Indiana.

A Trivial Mind At Work

Some dry humor for your Saturday…

  1. The first time I got a universal remote control I thought to myself, “This changes everything”.
  2. I refused to believe my road worker father was stealing from his job, but when I got home all the signs were there.
  3. I recently decided to sell my vacuum cleaner as all it was doing was gathering dust.
  4. Don’t you hate it when someone answers their own questions? I do.
  5. As I watched the dog chasing his tail I thought “Dogs are easily amused”, then I realized I was watching the dog chasing his tail.
  6. Gambling addiction hotlines would do so much better if every fifth caller was a winner.
  7. Just because nobody complains doesn’t mean all parachutes are perfect.
  8. To the man on crutches, dressed in camouflage, who stole my wallet – you can hide, but you can’t run.
  9. Velcro – what a rip-off!
  10. My friend…

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Vietnam Wife (3 IMAGES)

I did not write this blog post. It is written by an American lady called Amy Rose. It is a wonderful wakeup call to everybody who thinks that a war is over when the troops all come back home. Take the time to read what Amy has written and then just think for a moment about all those young men who have gone to war over the years and come back forever changed.

Heaven On Earth

Gripping her cellphone, the woman shook so hard with fear, beads of sweat formed on her forehead.  She heard nothing but her rapidly pounding heart and the shrill of her ringing phone.  Please pick up!  Oh God, someone please pick up!

Listening … Is he still sleeping?  Listening … Oh thank God, yes!

She had just counted the pills.  Twenty-three gone where only a maximum of ten should have been missing.  Last time this happened, he flipped out and hallucinated thinking she was the “gook”.  He had tried to kill her.  She had to run for her life.

And here his psychiatrist had prescribed the exact same medication that had made him flip out.  Why wasn’t the drug alert notice in her husband’s chart?  OMG!  Someone please pick up!

It seemed like forever standing there shaking uncontrollably, heart pounding madly unable to catch her breath.  Finally finally an operator picked up saying, “Operator 13. How may I assist…

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B-25 Bomber Virtual Tour

Do try this tour of a B-25 Mitchell bomber, created by the Poltrack Family. It is really, really good and well worth your time.

Poltrack Family

North American B-25 Mitchell: The Ultimate Look: From Drawing Board to Flying Arsenal

My Uncle Ed Poltrack piloted 60 missions in the Pacific Theatre in WWII. He piloted a B-25 Mitchell Bomber.  The National Museum of the Air Force  website has an interactive photo  gallery of the interior of this aircraft (see the links under the photo). Note:Ed piloted a variation of the original design in which the transparent nose was replaced with two fixed machine guns.

38th Bomb Group - 823rd Squadron 38th Bomb Group – 823rd Squadron

Click on links to see a 360 degree view of the interior of this aircraft (links open in new window)

Pilot Station

Bombadier

Radio Operator

Tail Gunner

Ed Poltrack in Cockpit Ed Poltrack in Cockpit

From Ed Poltrack’s War Diary — Sunday, April 15, 1944 – Mission #48

Mission to Hollandia. Nil interception. Nil ack-ack. On return met a solid front near Bogadjim. Turned toward coast and found a hole on…

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Cooper Hewitt Design Museum’s Interactive Experience

I did not write this blog post. It was written by Susan and is one of the most interesting blogs I follow. If you are too busy for all of it, just read the first section about interactive pens. It is really, really imaginative!!

Finding NYC

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Although most people associate Smithsonian museums with Washington, DC, New York City is host to two very special Smithsonian museums: the National Museum of the American Indian, which we’ve previously explored here and here, and the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum. Located in what was once the mansion of successful businessman Andrew Carnegie, Cooper Hewitt’s surroundings and ever-changing exhibitions are fascinating and inspiring.

What makes Cooper Hewitt particularly fun to visit is its interactive features. When visitors step up to the ticket counter, they are given an pen that holds all kinds of possibilities. As you tour the museum, you can “collect” information about individual exhibits that interest you. Each exhibit has a special symbol on the sign describing the exhibit and, by pressing your pen to that symbol, it saves that information in a digital file. You are given a unique identifier for your pen and visit…

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