What Happened on July 22nd – Deportations of Jews to Treblinka

On July 22, 1942, the systematic deportation of Jews from the Warsaw ghetto begins, as thousands are rounded up daily and transported to a newly constructed concentration/extermination camp at Treblinka, in Poland.

On July 17, Heinrich Himmler, head of the Nazi SS, arrived at Auschwitz, the concentration camp in eastern Poland, in time to watch the arrival of more than 2,000 Dutch Jews and the gassing of almost 500 of them, mostly the elderly, sick and very young.

The next day, Himmler promoted the camp commandant, Rudolph Hoess, to SS major and ordered that the Warsaw ghetto (the Jewish quarter constructed by the Nazis upon the occupation of Poland, enclosed first by barbed wire and then by brick walls), be depopulated–a “total cleansing,” as he described it–and the inhabitants transported to what was to become a second extermination camp constructed at the railway village of Treblinka, 62 miles northeast of Warsaw.

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Within the first seven weeks of Himmler’s order, more than 250,000 Jews were taken to Treblinka by rail and gassed to death, marking the largest single act of destruction of any population group, Jewish or non-Jewish, civilian or military, in the war. Upon arrival at “T. II,” as this second camp at Treblinka was called, prisoners were separated by sex, stripped, and marched into what were described as “bathhouses,” but were in fact gas chambers. T. II’s first commandant was Dr. Irmfried Eberl, age 32, the man who had headed up the euthanasia program of 1940 and had much experience with the gassing of victims, especially children.

Irmfried Eberl

Irmfried Eberl

 

He compelled several hundred Ukrainian and about 1,500 Jewish prisoners to assist him. They removed gold teeth from victims before hauling the bodies to mass graves. Eberl was relieved of his duties for “inefficiency.” It seems that he and his workers could not remove the corpses quickly enough, and panic was occurring within the railway cars of newly arrived prisoners.

By the end of the war, between 700,000 and 900,000 would die at either Treblinka I or II. Hoess was tried and sentenced to death by the Nuremberg Tribunal. He was hanged in 1947.

Defendants at Nuremberg Trials: The Nuremberg Trials were a series of trials held in Nuremberg, Germany in 1945–46 where former Nazi leaders were tried as war criminals by the International Military Tribunal. The indictment filed against them contained four counts: crimes against peace, crimes against humanity, war crimes and " a common plan or conspiracy to commit" the criminal acts listed in the first three counts. (Photo Credit: Corbis)

Defendants at Nuremberg Trials: The Nuremberg Trials were a series of trials held in Nuremberg, Germany in 1945 and 1946 where former Nazi leaders were tried as war criminals by the International Military Tribunal. The indictment filed against them contained four counts: crimes against peace, crimes against humanity, war crimes and ” a common plan or conspiracy to commit” the criminal acts listed in the first three counts. (Photo Credit: Corbis)

WARNING!  As you are probably aware, videos about the concentration camps are usually graphic and this one about Treblinka is no exception.

What Happened on July 21st – RIP Space Shuttle Program

On July 21, 2011, NASA’s space shuttle program completes its final, and 135th, mission, when the shuttle Atlantis lands at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Space shuttle Atlantis (STS-135) touches down at NASA's Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF), completing its 13-day mission to the International Space Station (ISS) and the final flight of the Space Shuttle ProgramPhoto Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Space shuttle Atlantis (STS-135) touches down at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF), completing its 13-day mission to the International Space Station (ISS) and the final flight of the Space Shuttle ProgramPhoto Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

During the program’s 30-year history, its five orbiters—Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavour—carried more than 350 people into space and flew more than 500 million miles, and shuttle crews conducted important research, serviced the Hubble Space Telescope and helped in the construction of the International Space Station, among other activities. NASA retired the shuttles to focus on a deep-space exploration program that could one day send astronauts to asteroids and Mars.

On July 8, 2011, Atlantis was launched on its 33rd mission. With four crew members aboard, Atlantis flew thousands of pounds of supplies and extra parts to the International Space Station; it was the 37th shuttle flight to make the trip.

The space shuttle Atlantis STS-135 lifts off from launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, July 8, 2011. The 12-day mission to the International Space Station is the last mission in the Space Shuttle program. REUTERS/Scott Audette (UNITED STATES - Tags: TRANSPORT SCI TECH)

The space shuttle Atlantis STS-135 lifts off from launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, July 8, 2011. The 12-day mission to the International Space Station is the last mission in the Space Shuttle program. REUTERS/Scott Audette (UNITED STATES – Tags: TRANSPORT SCI TECH)

Thirteen days later, on July 21, Atlantis touched down at Kennedy Space Center at 5:57 a.m., after a journey of more than 5 million miles, during which it orbited the Earth 200 times. Upon landing, the flight’s commander, Capt. Christopher J. Ferguson, said, “Mission complete, Houston. After serving the world for over 30 years, the space shuttle has earned its place in history, and it’s come to a final stop.”

0 astronauts of NASA's shuttle Atlantis and Space Station on final shuttle flight

0 astronauts of NASA’s shuttle Atlantis and Space Station on final shuttle flight

 

During its 26 years in service, Atlantis flew almost 126 million miles, circled Earth 4,848 times and spent 307 days in space. The estimated price tag for the entire space shuttle program, from development to retirement, was $209 billion.

After completing their final missions, the orbiters were sent to museums around the country: Discovery went to the National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia.  During a visit to Washington DC last summer, my family and I visited the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center and seeing the Space Shuttle Discovery was quite an experience.

Endeavour was sent to California Science Center in Los Angeles.

Atlantis was sent to Kennedy Space Center.

A space shuttle prototype, the Enterprise, is now housed at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York.

Sunday Photo Fiction Challenge – The Diaries (Part 12)

Submitted for Sunday Photo Fiction

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The Assignment: The idea of Photo Fiction is write a story of around 100-200 words (which is also called Flash Fiction) based on a photo as a prompt. In this particular photo fiction, the story must be based on the photo below. With the link tool below, you can add your story as well as read all the amazing stories written by others.

This is a multiple part story.  To follow the story from the beginning, click hereAnd now, The Diaries, Part 12.

Credit: Al Forbes

Credit: Al Forbes

 

“Is Samuel your grandpa?”

“I knew that Grandma had been engaged during the war but she met my Grandpa Louie after she came to the United States.”

“We better keep reading to see what your Grandma has to say next.”

 August 10, 1941

I knew people at Bletchley were hiding something. Two men I had seen working with Samuel before were whispering in the hall and when I approached they turned and entered a door to their right that happened to be a maintenance closet. I waited for them to come out but they did not. Later, while I was doing the filing, the door opened and the men came out. When the coast was clear, I approached the door and turned the knob. It was locked but I wasn’t going to let this setback deflate me like an old soccer ball. Using a hairpin, I managed to open the door. Inside I didn’t find mops but a secret staircase leading down. I descended the stairs and found a major operation going on below the offices at Bletchley. I decided that I better get out of there for now but I vowed to ask some important questions about Samuel.

 

 

What Happened on July 20th – Viking 1 Lands on Mars

On this date last year, I wrote about the first lunar landing and moon walk from 1969.

Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin Plant US Flag on the Moon

Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin Plant US Flag on the Moon

There was another significant event in the United States Space program that occurred on the seventh anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing, the Viking 1 lander, an unmanned U.S. planetary probe, became the first spacecraft to successfully land on the surface of Mars on July 20, 1976.

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Viking 1 was launched on August 20, 1975, and arrived at Mars on June 19, 1976. The first month of its orbit was devoted to imaging the surface to find appropriate landing sites. On July 20, 1976, the Viking 1 lander separated from the orbiter, touched down on the Chryse Planitia region of Mars, and sent back the first close-up photographs of the rust-colored Martian surface.

Chryse_Planitia

In September 1976, Viking 2–launched only three weeks after Viking 1–entered into orbit around Mars, where it assisted Viking 1 in imaging the surface and also sent down a lander. During the dual Viking missions, the two orbiters imaged the entire surface of Mars at a resolution of 150 to 300 meters, and the two landers sent back more than 1,400 images of the planet’s surface.

The World’s Outstanding Women (WOW): Sandra Day O’Connor

WOMENS-symbolThroughout history women have made their mark in a wide variety of ways.  Each Saturday I plan to highlight one of these remarkable women.  There will be no limit to the areas of history that I may include; however as a guide I will look to the month of their birth, the month of their death or the month associated with their mark in history when I select them.  Is there an outstanding women in history you would like me to include?  I welcome your suggestions.  Would you like to guest blog one of the world’s outstanding women?  Let me hear from you.

Today’s Outstanding Woman is from the World of Law and Politics.  Meet Sandra Day O’Connor.

Supreme Court Justice, Sandra Day O'Connor

Supreme Court Justice, Sandra Day O’Connor

 

On July 7, 1981, President Ronald Reagan nominated Sandra Day O’Connor, an Arizona court of appeals judge, to be the first woman Supreme Court justice in U.S. history. On September 21, the Senate unanimously approved her appointment to the nation’s highest court, and on September 25 she was sworn in by Chief Justice Warren Burger.

Early life and education

Sandra Day was born in El Paso, Texas, in 1930. She grew up on her family’s cattle ranch in southeastern Arizona and attended Stanford University, where she studied economics. A legal dispute over her family’s ranch stirred her interest in law, and in 1950 she enrolled in Stanford Law School. She took just two years to receive her law degree and was ranked near the top of her class. Upon graduation, she married John Jay O’Connor III, a classmate.

Sandra Day O'Connor (front row, 2nd from left) , Robert Thornburgh (2nd row, 3rd from right)  and William Rehnquist (back row, far left)  were members of the 1950-51 Stanford Law Review editors

Sandra Day O’Connor (front row, 2nd from left) , Robert Thornburgh (2nd row, 3rd from right) and William Rehnquist (back row, far left) were members of the 1950-51 Stanford Law Review editors

 

Career

Because she was a woman, no law firm she applied to would hire her for a suitable position, so she turned to the public sector and found work as a deputy county attorney for San Mateo, California. In 1953, her husband was drafted into the U.S. Army as a judge, and the O’Connors lived for three years in West Germany, with Sandra working as a civilian lawyer for the army. In 1957, they returned to the United States and settled down in Phoenix, Arizona, where they had three children in the six years that followed. During this time, O’Connor started a private law firm with a partner and became involved in numerous volunteer activities.

Sandra and John Jay O'Connor III

Sandra and John Jay O’Connor III

In 1965, she became an assistant attorney general for Arizona and in 1969 was appointed to the Arizona State Senate to occupy a vacant seat. Subsequently elected and reelected to the seat, she became the first woman in the United States to hold the position of majority leader in a state senate.

Sandra Day O'Connor was the first female majority leader in Arizona state history

Sandra Day O’Connor was the first female majority leader in Arizona state history

In 1974, she was elected a superior court judge in Maricopa County and in 1979 was appointed to the Arizona Court of Appeals by Governor Bruce Babbitt, a Democrat.

Two years later, on July 7, 1981, President Reagan nominated her to the Supreme Court to fill the seat of retiring justice Stewart Potter, an Eisenhower appointee. In his 1980 presidential campaign, Reagan had promised to appoint a woman to the high court at one of his earliest opportunities, and he chose O’Connor out of a group of some two dozen male and female candidates to be his first appointee to the high court.

O’Connor, known as a moderate conservative, faced opposition from anti-abortion groups who criticized her judicial defense of legalized abortion on several occasions. Liberals celebrated the appointment of a woman to the Supreme Court but were critical of some of her views. Nevertheless, at the end of her confirmation hearings on Capitol Hill, the Senate voted unanimously to endorse her nomination. On September 25, 1981, she was sworn in as the 102nd justice—and first woman justice—in Supreme Court history.

he U.S. National Archives - Photograph of Sandra Day O'Connor Being Sworn in a Supreme Court Justice by Chief Justice Warren Burger

he U.S. National Archives – Photograph of Sandra Day O’Connor Being Sworn in a Supreme Court Justice by Chief Justice Warren Burger

Initially regarded as a member of the court’s conservative faction, she later emerged from William Rehnquist’s shadow (chief justice from 1986 to 2005) as a moderate and pragmatic conservative. On social issues, she often voted with liberal justices, and in several cases she upheld abortion rights. During her time on the bench, she was known for her dispassionate and carefully researched opinions and was regarded as a prominent justice because of her tendency to moderate the sharply divided Supreme Court.

burg5_photograph

O’Connor announced her retirement from the Supreme Court on July 1, 2005. Her decision sparked dismay among pro-choice groups who worried that President George W. Bush would choose a replacement likely to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that established a woman’s right to an abortion. She was replaced by Samuel Alito, who became the court’s 110th justice in January 2006.

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Friday Historical Fiction Giving the Facts – Brenda Lee: I’m Sorry

historical-fiction Each Friday as an alternative way of posting about a historical event that occurred on this day in history, I will weave the event into a fictional story while still providing all the necessary facts.

 

 

“I love that your mom kept all these old dresses from when she was a teen in the 1960s,” said Maria.

“My dad calls her a pack rat but I agree with you.  I might wear this green skirt to school tomorrow.  It is so retro,” said Karen.

“Do you think your mom would mind if I borrowed this pink dress?  I love it.”

teen-dress-2-sears-68

“Hey! You didn’t tell me that your mom had all these old record albums and 45 RPMs.  Do you still have a record player?”

“My parents have a turntable with the stereo in the family room downstairs but there is an old box record player here in the attic somewhere.”

The girls started looked around the attic and eventually located the record player on the bottom of a shelf.

1960s Dansette Junior De-Luxe

1960s Dansette Junior De-Luxe

Karen plugged in the record player, selected the first 45 rpm from the stack, I’m Sorry by Brenda Lee and put it onto the turntable.  After turning on the power, Karen moved the needle over to start the music.

“Brenda Lee was my mom’s favorite when she was a teen.  My mom was the smallest in her class so I think she could relate to Brenda Lee who was several inches short of five feet.  Brenda Lee was 15 years old when this record reached the top of the Billboard charts on July 18, 1960.”

“My mom liked her too.  The media called her “Little Miss Dynamite”.  Wasn’t she from Georgia just like us?”

“Yes.  She was born Brenda Mae Tarpley on December 11, 1944.  Her father was a itinerant semipro baseball player and carpenter but he was killed in a construction accident when she was eight years old.”

“My mom told me that Brenda Lee was a singing prodigy and sang in regional talent contests and on television at a very young age.  It was country star Red Foley that invited her on stage in Augusta Georgia that gave her the big break.  She was eleven years old and she performed Hank Williams’ “Jambalaya” with Red.

Red Foley

Red Foley

 

“She mostly sang country music but she was also known for her rockabilly.  That is what gave her the entry into the the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”

Brenda_Lee
“Did you know that when she toured Great Britain, the “Silver Beetles” now famously known at the Beatles opened for Brenda Lee.”
The Silver Beetles (with Pete Best, pre Ringo Starr)

The Silver Beetles (with Pete Best, pre Ringo Starr)

“There are probably more of Brenda Lee’s records in the stack.  Brenda Lee followed her #1 hit “I’m Sorry” with 27 more top-40 hits over the course of the 1960s—more than any other solo female performer in that decade.”
Today, Brenda Lee lives in Nashville and still performs to sell out audiences

Today, Brenda Lee lives in Nashville and still performs to sell out audiences

 

What Happened on July 17th – Potsam Conference

The final “Big Three” meeting between the United States, the Soviet Union, and Great Britain takes place towards the end of World War II. The decisions reached at the conference ostensibly settled many of the pressing issues between the three wartime allies, but the meeting was also marked by growing suspicion and tension between the United States and the Soviet Union.

A photo from July 23, 1945 showing the handshake between Winston Churchill, left, Harry S. Truman and Josef Stalin, right in front of Churchill's residence in Potsdam, Germany.

A photo from July 23, 1945 showing the handshake between Winston Churchill, left, Harry S. Truman and Josef Stalin, right in front of Churchill’s residence in Potsdam, Germany.

On July 17, 1945, U.S. President Harry S. Truman, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill met in the Berlin suburb of Potsdam to discuss issues relating to postwar Europe and plans to deal with the ongoing conflict with Japan.

potsdam map

By the time the meeting began, U.S. and British suspicions concerning Soviet intentions in Europe were intensifying. Russian armies occupied most of Eastern Europe, including nearly half of Germany, and Stalin showed no inclination to remove his control of the region. Truman, who had only been president since Franklin D. Roosevelt died three months earlier, arrived at the meeting determined to be “tough” with Stalin. He was encouraged in this course of action by news that American scientists had just successfully tested the atomic bomb.

The Manhattan Project Scientist

The Manhattan Project Scientist

The conference soon bogged down on the issue of postwar Germany.

Potsdam Conference

Potsdam Conference

The Soviets wanted a united but disarmed Germany, with each of the Allied powers determining the destiny of the defeated power. Truman and his advisers, fearing the spread of Soviet influence over all Germany–and, by extension, all of western Europe–fought for and achieved an agreement whereby each Allied power (including France) would administer a zone of occupation in Germany. Russian influence, therefore, would be limited to its own eastern zone. The United States also limited the amount of reparations Russia could take from Germany. Discussion of the continuing Soviet occupation of Poland floundered.

berlin-zones

When the conference ended on August 2, 1945, matters stood much where they had before the meeting. There would be no further wartime conferences. Four days after the conference concluded, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima in Japan; on August 9, another bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. World War II officially came to an end on August 14, 1945.

 

On July 17, 1945, President Harry S. Truman recorded his first impressions of Stalin in his diary.  Truman described his initial meeting with the intimidating Soviet leader as cordial.

“Promptly a few minutes before twelve” the president wrote, “I looked up from the desk and there stood Stalin in the doorway. I got to my feet and advanced to meet him. He put out his hand and smiled. I did the same, we shook–and we sat down.”

After exchanging pleasantries, the two got down to discussing post-World War II policy in Europe. The U.S. was still engaged in a war in the Pacific against Japan, and Truman wanted to get a read on Stalin’s plans for the territories that he now controlled in Europe.

Truman told Stalin that his diplomatic style was straightforward and to-the-point, an admission that Truman observed had visibly pleased Stalin. Truman hoped to get the Soviets to join in the U.S. war against Japan. In return, Stalin wanted to impose Soviet control over certain territories annexed at the beginning of the war by Japan and Germany. Truman hinted that although Stalin’s agenda was “dynamite” or aggressive, the U.S. now had ammunition to counter the communist leader. Truman had refrained from informing the Soviet leader about the Manhattan Project, which had just successfully tested the world’s first atom bomb, but knew that the new weapon strengthened his hand. Truman referred to this secret in his diary as

“some dynamite which I am not exploding now.”

After their meeting, Truman, Stalin and accompanying advisers”had lunch, talked socially, [and] put on a real show, drinking toasts to everyone” and posing for photographs. Truman closed his entry for that day on a note of confidence.

“I can deal with Stalin,” he wrote. “He is honest, but smart as hell.”

Excerpt from the diary of Harry S. Truman

Excerpt from the diary of Harry S. Truman

What Happened on July 16th – J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye

Catcher-Signed-Copy410

J.D. Salinger’s only novel, The Catcher in the Rye, is published by Little, Brown on July 16, 1951. The book, about a confused teenager disillusioned by the adult world, is an instant hit and is taught in high schools for half a century.

J.D. Salinger

J.D. Salinger

The 31-year-old Salinger had worked on the novel for a decade. His stories had already started appearing in the 1940s, many in the New Yorker.

JD Salinger's Cornish NY home

JD Salinger’s Cornish NY home

The book took the country by storm, selling out and becoming a Book of the Month Club selection. Fame did not agree with Salinger, who retreated to a hilltop cabin in Cornish, New York, but he continued to publish stories in the New Yorker periodically. He published Franny and Zooey in 1963, based on two combined New Yorker stories.

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Salinger stopped publishing work in 1965, the same year he divorced his wife of 12 years, whom he had married when he was 32. In 1999, journalist Joyce Maynard published a book about her affair with Salinger, which had taken place more than two decades earlier. Notoriously reclusive, Salinger died at his home in New Hampsire on Jan. 27, 2010. He was 91 years old.

 

My post one year ago today:  The Manhattan Project

It @#%$! To Be Me

Today when I was driving home from work there was a torrential downpour.  It has been like this the last few days as we are getting the effects of Hurricane Arthur.  I came to a stop at a traffic signal and the tractor trailer behind me was driving too close and he didn’t have enough time to stop except for into the rear end of my car.  On the positive side, there were no injuries.  Probably because neither of us were at full speed, I was stopped and then he was.  Anyway it proceeded to get worse because we were in the middle of traffic and the driver suggested that we pull to somewhere else.  I got in my car and drove up the road a bit until I found a side road that I could pull off.  Unfortunately he did not follow me.  I have a police report but no other driver.  It really @#%$! to be me today.

What Happened on July 15th – Just Whose Spy Was He Anyway?

On July 15, 1941, master spy Juan Pujol Garcia, nicknamed “Garbo,” sends his first communique to Germany from Britain. The question was: Who was he spying for?

Two faces of World War II double agent Juan Pujol Garcia, as seen in the documentary "Garbo the Spy." Photo: Smith Rafael Film Center

Two faces of World War II double agent Juan Pujol Garcia, as seen in the documentary “Garbo the Spy.” Photo: Smith Rafael Film Center

Juan Garcia, a Spaniard, ran an elaborate multi-ethnic spy network that included a Dutch airline steward, a British censor for the Ministry of Information, a Cabinet office clerk, a U.S. soldier in England, and a Welshman sympathetic to fascism. All were engaged in gathering secret information on the British-Allied war effort, which was then transmitted back to Berlin. Garcia was in the pay of the Nazis. The Germans knew him as “Arabel,” whereas the English knew him as Garbo. The English knew a lot more about him, in fact, than the Germans, as Garcia was a British double agent.

4Gallery-MI5-The-Garbo-net

None of Garcia’s spies were real, and the disinformation he transmitted to Germany was fabricated—phony military “secrets” that the British wanted planted with the Germans to divert them from genuine military preparations and plans.

Among the most effective of Garcia’s deceptions took place in June 1944, when he managed to convince Hitler that the D-Day invasion of Normandy was just a “diversionary maneuver designed to draw off enemy reserves in order to make a decisive attack in another place”—playing right into the mindset of German intelligence, which had already suspected that this might be the case. (Of course, it wasn’t.) Among the “agents” that Garcia employed in gathering this “intelligence” was Donny, leader of the World Aryan Order; Dick, an “Indian fanatic”; and Dorick, a civilian who lived at a North Sea port. All these men were inventions of Garcia’s imagination, but they leant authenticity to his reports back to Berlin—so much so that Hitler, while visiting occupied France, awarded Garcia the Iron Cross for his service to the fatherland.

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That same year, 1944, Garcia received his true reward, the title of MBE—Member of the British Empire—for his service to the England and the Allied cause. This ingenious Spaniard had proved to be one of the Allies’ most successful counterintelligence tools.

 

My post from one year ago today: Ford Model A