The “wrong” sort of survivor?

rebel notes

The controversies that emerged this week, over the  harsh words about Israel uttered by

1523128801-marek-edelman Marek Edelman

a Holocaust survivor at a meeting eight years ago, have made me think about Marek Edelman, the last surviving member of the command group who led the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.  He died in 2009. I was fortunate and privileged to meet him briefly at a conference in Warsaw in 1997. In the current “debates” I have no doubt that in some people’s warped minds he too would be derided and disdained as the “wrong kind of Holocaust survivor”.

Edelman was a Bundist (Jewish socialist) – a lifelong anti-nationalist and internationalist,

6a00d834522bcd69e200e5545120b98833-800wi Mustafa Barghouti

and opponent of Zionism. He remained in Poland – his homeland – after the war, fought against the post-war Stalinist regime from a left-wing and democratic position, and continued to struggle for a better and more humane world. His work in this…

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On this day: the January Uprising began | In Times Gone By…

A symbolic painting of the aftermath of the uprising.

On the 22nd of January, 1863, people of present-day Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus and Latvia rose up against rule by the Russian Empire.The uprising would last into the following year, and would result in Russia harshly punishing those captured.

Source: On this day: the January Uprising began | In Times Gone By…

In Search of Sir Lancelot

History... the interesting bits!

winchester wiki The Great Hall and Round Table in Winchester

I have always had a soft spot for the Arthurian Romances. I love the legend of King Arthur and really hope that there was a historical Arthur who inspired the original tales. His Knights of the Round Table are held up as models of chivalry throughout Europe.

And the recent discovery of some wonderful wall paintings of Lancelot du Lac in a Ducal Tower in Siedlęcin in Poland is simply incredible.

Rodengo, Schmalkalden and Siedlęcin: Where Did the Knights of the Round Table Go?

rodengo222 Castel Rodengo

King Arthur is mortally wounded and taken to the isle of Avalon, the cream of the crop – his best knights dead. With their passing the age of chivalric deeds and marvelous exploits is over.

Is it really? After all, what the king and his knights have left behind is an extensive body of literature…

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Exciting Breaking News! Nazi Loot Found (Maybe)

A Scholarly Skater

The Amber Room panels, stolen from Saint Petersburg, Russia and still unrecovered. Branson DeCou [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons According to multiple news outlets, a train recently discovered deep underneath a Polish mountain, may contain Nazi-looted treasures, including the famous Amber Room panels. Once displayed at Tsarskoye Selo in Saint Petersburg, Russia, the panels were stolen during World War Two and disappeared without a trace until now; it was widely feared that they were destroyed near the end of the war. Although it is still unclear what the train cars can be expected to contain, Russia, Poland, and the World Jewish Federation are already squabbling over who should own or benefit from the contents. (1)

The train was first discovered by bounty hunters, who apparently received information about it from a dying man, and its existence has since been confirmed by Polish authorities. However, no one can access the train or verify its contents at the moment, since…

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World War II Erupts: Color Photos From the Invasion of Poland, 1939 | TIME

Captured Polish soldiers, 1939.

Captured Polish soldiers, 1939.

On Sept. 1, 1939, one week after Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union signed a non-aggression pact, more than a million German troops—along with 50,000 Slovakian soldiers—invaded Poland. Two weeks later, a half-million Russian troops attacked Poland from the east. After years of vague rumblings, explicit threats and open conjecture about the likelihood of a global conflict—in Europe, the Pacific and beyond—the Second World War had begun.

The ostensible aim of Germany’s unprovoked assault, as publicly stated by Hitler and other prominent Nazi officials, was the pursuit of lebensraum—that is, territory deemed necessary for the expansion and survival of the Reich. But, of course, Hitler had no intention of ending his aggression at Poland’s borders, and instead was launching a…

Source: World War II Erupts: Color Photos From the Invasion of Poland, 1939 | TIME

Blonde cargoes: Finnish children in the slave markets of medieval Crimea

You think you know your history and then you come across this article from Blast from the Past about a slave trade involving the Crimea.

A Blast From The Past

Testing a female captive's teeth in an eastern slave market. Testing a female captive’s teeth in an eastern slave market.

The horrors of the trans-Atlantic slave trade have left an ineradicable mark on history. In the course of a little more than three and a half centuries, 12.5 million prisoners – at least two-thirds of them men destined for a life of labour in the fields – were shipped from holding pens along the African coast to destinations ranging from Argentina in the south all the way north to Canada. It was the largest forced migration in modern history.

When we think of slavery, we tend to think of this African traffic. Yet it was not the only such trade – nor was it, before 1700, even the largest. A second great market in slaves once sullied the world, this one less well-known, vastly longer-lasting, and centred on the Black Sea ports of the Crimea. It was a huge trade in its own right; in its great years, which lasted roughly from…

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“God’s Banker” and the Fall of Ambrosiano

toritto

The Pope and Roberto Calvi

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Everyone loves a good conspiracy theory. I do. Don’t you?

And everyone loves a conspiracy involving all the big players – bankers, the mafia, the Vatican, the C.I.A., murder. I mean, how juicy can it get?

First, an introduction to “God’s banker” – Roberto Calvi, Chairman of Italy’s largest private bank in the ‘80s, Banco Ambrosiano.

Banco Ambrosiano was founded in Milan in 1896 by Giuseppe Tovini as a “catholic bank” as a counter-balance to Italy’s “lay banks”. Ambrosiano’s purpose was servicing “moral organizations, pious works, and religious bodies set up for charitable aims.” The bank came to be known as the “priests’ bank”; one chairman was Franco Ratti, nephew to Pope Pius XI.

Our man Calvi came to Ambrosiano in 1971 as chief of operations; in 1975 he was appointed as Chairman and began a dramatic expansion of the bank, including creating a…

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