She survived Hitler and wants to warn America – On the Front Lines of the Culture Wars

I prepared this re-blog in August last year and then completely forgot about it. Since then, of course, Donald Trump has become the President.

Austrian kids loyal to Hitler

Kitty Werthmann survived Hitler. “What I am about to tell you is something you’ve probably never heard or read in history books,” she likes to tell audiences. “I am a witness to history.  “I cannot tell you that Hitler took […]

Source: She survived Hitler and wants to warn America – On the Front Lines of the Culture Wars

Celebrating St. Nicholas: the Story of the Three Condemned Innocents. | If It Happened Yesterday, It’s History

The reign of Constantine The Great was not always stable. Borders had to be protected, laws enforced and if unrest broke out or even a sniff of conspiracy surfaced, Constantine also dealt with these matters seriously and harshly. Often though he left law enforcement in regional centres to be carried out by governors and local authorities. In this setting Church leaders or bishops would also come to play an important role in Constantine’s new world by acting often as imperial officials to administer law and justice. The people of the empire then not only looked to their prefects, but to their local Bishops to help maintain law and order. In some Christian legends, Bishops like St. Nicholas would play an important role in…

Source: Celebrating St. Nicholas: the Story of the Three Condemned Innocents. | If It Happened Yesterday, It’s History

‘Bloody Mary’ or just Mary I? | W.U Hstry


The brutal personality of Mary I of England (1553-1558) has countlessly been regurgitated in historiography on the Tudor period. “Bloody Mary” is a name we know a lot more than Mary I, and the associations we link with this cause us to have one limited perspective on her personality as a monarch and the nature of her rule as a whole.

Admittedly, her actions in her own religious and political legislation show her hatred of what she saw…

Source: ‘Bloody Mary’ or just Mary I? | W.U Hstry

The Jewish Ghosts of Palermo

The Dangerously Truthful Diary of a Sicilian Housewife

There was a Jewish presence in Sicily for centuries, possibly from before the birth of Jesus. The Jews were the only outsiders who made their homes in Sicily and became part of her population without invading. They simply turned up, fitted in and made themselves indispensable.

IMG_20150416_110436 Possibly the most important Jewish street in Palermo, the Via dei Cartari was where all the Jewish scribes drew up any contract needed by the citizens of Palermo

The Jews were the literate and educated members of society and they also taught their children all the different languages they knew. This guaranteed them work as interpreters and scribes.


In Palermo, they lived and set up their shops in the Jewish quarter of Palermo, where they also build very modest synagogues, and schools to pass on their knowledge to their children. They were the educated and wealthy elite. Their skills made them indispensable to successive…

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The Great Storm of 1703 (Snippets 33) | Windows into History

Originally posted on Windows into History.


The Great Storm by JS Muller

One of the most severe disasters to ever occur in England was the Great Storm of 1703, which caused enormous structural damage, the loss of the entire Channel Squadron of ships, and thousands of lives lost.  It was the subject of newspaper articles and books for many years, and towards the end of the 18th Century it was still being discussed, with particular reference to the religious implications.  The church had announced shortly after the storm that it was a divine punishment.

The Seventh Day Baptist minister and writer of 39 hymns, Samuel Stennett, gave a sermon on the topic in 1788, which was published the same year, titled A Sermon in Commemoration of the Great Storm of Wind.  He provided a useful summary of the…

Source: The Great Storm of 1703 (Snippets 33) | Windows into History

A Time to Die – the Spanish Inquisition in Sicily

The Dangerously Truthful Diary of a Sicilian Housewife

The history books about Sicily have little to say about the time of the Spanish rule. I find this strange, because the Spanish changed Sicily more than any other conqueror. The way they wanted this island is the way it still is: the Sicilians just cannot seem to shake them off.

Prickly pears Prickly pears

Some history books do tell us they brought tomatoes, which the Sicilians planted around Etna and with everything. They brought cocoa beans which the Sicilians of Modica still make into bars of raw chocolate using the Aztec recipe the Spanish conquistadores taught them. They brought the potato, and made Sicilians such an island of chip-lovers that they even invented the chip pizza. They created the Sicilian baroque style of architecture which is unique to this island, is found all over it, and is so spectacularly beautiful it has made six baroque Sicilian towns into a UNESCO…

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Sokushinbutsu: Mummified Japanese Monks

Tribalmystic Stories

I have found these stories very fascinating. One story is about the Japanese monks and the other story is about ancient Chinese statues and an interesting discovery.


Scattered throughout Northern Japan around the Yamagata Prefecture are two dozen mummified Japanese monks known as Sokushinbutsu, who caused their own deaths in a way that resulted in their mummification. The practice was first pioneered by a priest named Kuukai over 1000 years ago at the temple complex of Mount Koya, in Wakayama prefecture. Kuukai was founder of the Shingon sect of Buddhism, which is the sect that came up with the idea of enlightenment through physical punishment. A successful mummification took upwards of ten years. It is believed that many hundreds of monks tried, but only between 16 and 24 such mummifications have been discovered to date.

The elaborate process started with 1,000 days of eating a special diet consisting only of…

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Huguenot Summer | Spitalfields Life

Originally posted on Spitalfields Life

The wooden spools that you see hanging in the streets of Spitalfields indicate houses where Huguenots once resided. These symbols were put there in 1985, commemorating the tercentenary of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes which brought the Huguenots to London and introduced the word ‘refugee’ into the English language. Inspired by the forthcoming Huguenot Summer which runs from May to September, I set out in search of what other visual evidence remains of the many thousands that once passed through these narrow streets and Dr Robin Gwynn, author of The Huguenots of London, explained to me how they came here.

“Spitalfields was the most concentrated Huguenot settlement in England, there was nowhere else in 1700 where you would expect to hear French spoken in the street. If you compare Spitalfields with Westminster, it was the gentry that stayed in Westminster and the working folk who came to Spitalfields – there was a significant class difference. And whereas half the churches in Westminster followed the French style of worship, in Spitalfields they were not interested in holding services in English.

The Huguenots were religious refugees, all they needed to do to stop the persecution in France was to sign a piece of paper that acknowledged the errors of John Calvin and turn up at church each Sunday. Yet if they tried to leave they were subject to Draconian punishments. It was not a planned immigration, it was about getting out when you could. And, because their skills were in their hands, weavers could…

via Huguenot Summer | Spitalfields Life.

The state of things

A good analysis of what has been and what state the world is in now.

Russell Chapman

The human-race is like a car which is rolling towards the edge of a cliff and instead of hitting the brakes we seem to be hitting the gas.

United Nations At the UN Headquarters, “let us beat our swords into ploughshares”

The vast majority of people just want to get on with their lives, wanting to raise their families in security both financially and physically, but we now live in a time when that is becoming harder and harder for more and more people. Society is becoming very deeply divided and tribal, politics,religion race and wealth are the dividing factors.

After World War 2, there was a period when things seemed to be going reasonably well. During that time we saw nations rebuilding themselves along with the fall of colonialism, businesses were booming and the quality of life was improving for the majority, medical care was made easily available, housing was easy…

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Aesthetes and ideologies

The Badger's Sett

There was an interesting article in the Guardian a couple of weeks ago on Noel Coward and Ivor Novello’s previously unreported flirtation with fascism – a chance discovery of a poster in a London market revealing both on the billing for the British Fascist’s Carnival Ball of 1925.

Both gay men, the author (Philip Hoare) argues convincingly that neither possessed a genuine political commitment or interest in fascism. Certainly, when conflict did break out 14 years later, both were involved in the war effort with Coward employed by the British secret service.

Fascism at the time was in fashion, particularly among the kind of establishment circles that Coward and Novello depended on to finance their artistic endeavours, where it was seen as an important counter-balance to communism, at a time when eugenicist ideas where supported earnestly on both the right and left of the political spectrum.

While, it’s pretty clear…

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