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It’s very convenient to think of wars as having neat beginnings and endings but that’s rarely the case, especially World War II. Perhaps you could describe for us continental Europe in the months and years immediately after VE Day in May 1945, the date when hostilities officially ended.
Borderlines explores the global map, one line at a time. June 13th, 1990, was a historic day for weather forecasting in Germany. For the very first time, the weather map on the Tagesschau  showed the newly reunited country’s international borders. Before, German meteorologists made do with merely topographical maps of a borderless Europe. This was to keep ideology out of meteorology: showing (or not showing) the border between East and West Germany would have meant acknowledging (or denying) that this too was an international border. Now defunct by just over two decades, the border between the two Germanys already seems like a surreal relic from a much more distant past.
28 June 2011 Last updated at 02:50 GMT An attempt to recover a Spitfire from a peat bog in Donegal will highlight the peculiar story of the men - both British and German - who spent much of World War II in relative comfort in neighbouring camps in Dublin, writes historian Dan Snow. In Northern Ireland in 1941, a routine Sunday afternoon sortie by a pilot flying one of Britain's Spitfire fighters runs into difficulties. Returning to base after flying "top-cover" for maritime convoys off the coast of Donegal, the Rolls Royce Merlin engine overheats and fails.
One of the most horrific terms in history was used by Nazi Germany to designate human beings whose lives were unimportant, or those who should be killed outright: Lebensunwertes Leben, or "life unworthy of life". The phrase was applied to the mentally impaired and later to the "racially inferior," or "sexually deviant," as well as to "enemies of the state" both internal and external. From very early in the war, part of Nazi policy was to murder civilians en masse, especially targeting Jews. Later in the war, this policy grew into Hitler's "final solution", the complete extermination of the Jews.
What do we learn about the Holocaust from Saul Friedländer's book, and what is his personal experience of it? Friedländer, a professor of history at UCLA, was born in Prague and his family moved to France in 1940. He himself survived the war in a Catholic monastery, even converting temporarily to Catholicism. But his parents were caught and eventually killed by the Nazis.
Father Patrick Desbois is on a mission to Uncover the Mass Graves of Nearly Two Million Jews. 60 Years After the Holocaust, Time is Running Out.
WRITING THE STORY of the Holocaust is a futile ambition—not because the events of 1939 to 1945 are too horrible to be told, but because they are too various to be compressed into one definitive or representative story. The 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis came from every part of Europe, from every social class and profession and age group, from every point on the spectrum of Jewish life between militant atheism and traditional piety. All these stories had a similar ending—but then, so do all human stories, and the monotony of death does not annul the immense multiplicity of life.
In Germany the words 'protective custody' have a double meaning. Originally the term meant the incarceration of people who were threatened by others and who were guarded for their own safety so that they might be protected from their enemies. Now, however, men in protective custody are mostly those who are brought, for the 'protection of the people and the State,' into a concentration camp without hearing, without court sentence, without the possibility of redress, and for an indefinite time. Frequently people sentenced by a court are taken into protective custody by the Gestapo after serving their prison sentence, often directly from the prison gate. Such, for example, was the fate of Pastor Niemöller, who, after being released from prison, was taken into the camp Sachsenhausen near Oranienburg, the camp with which we shall be concerned here. He is in solitary confinement there, and I never saw him.
It should have been a straightforward talk on the impossibility of talking about the Final Solution. But a funny thing happened on the way to the abyss that night—an event that led me to rethink the place of the Holocaust in modern history. I was giving a guest lecture on the subject of Primo Levi at a synagogue in Houston, presenting Levi’s masterpiece, Survival in Auschwitz , to a crowd of 50 or so. I spoke about the nature of Levi’s experience at Auschwitz: his relationship with fellow prisoners, the camp’s makeshift economy and pecking order, the reasons he thought he survived while so many others died, and the narrative strategies he adopted to describe something that could not be described. In particular, I dwelt on Levi’s notion of the “gray zone”—the ways in which death camps blurred the frontiers between guilt and acquiescence, persecutor and victim.
It was an unusual coincidence, one that presented a difficult choice. Mossad agent Rafi Eitan described the missed opportunity to an interviewer from Der Spiegel almost fifty years later: In the spring of 1960, as we were planning the arrest of Adolf Eichmann, we learned that [Josef] Mengele was also in Buenos Aires. Our people checked out the address and it proved to be correct. … There were just 11 of us and we had our hands full dealing with Eichmann. After we had brought Eichmann to the house where we kept him until we flew him out, my boss at the Mossad, Isser Harel, called.
Your latest book, The Pursuit of the Nazi Mind , is a historical study of American and British attempts to use psychology, psychiatry and psychoanalysis to delve into the motivations of the Nazi leadership and the mentality of the so-called masses. When did the Allies begin these efforts? There are several starting points, but a key moment occurred in 1943.
The site for the assassination was carefully chosen at a point where a steeply sloping street in Prague's Libe district made a hairpin turn, forcing approaching cars to slow down considerably. This is precisely what the driver of a heavy convertible Mercedes did as his vehicle climbed toward the curve at approximately 10:30 a.m. on May 27, 1942. Dieser Artikel ist aus dem SPIEGEL
His home was a dense area of rainforest and he lived on the wild coconuts that grew in abundance. His principal enemy was the army of mosquitoes that arrived with each new shower of rain. But for Hiroo Onoda there was another enemy - one that remained elusive. Unaware that the Second World War had ended 29 years earlier, he was still fighting a lonely guerrilla war in the jungles of Lubang Island in the Philippines. His story is one of courage, farce and loyalty gone mad.
She was one of the most remarkable women of the 20th Century, but Coco Chanel's reputation is again under scrutiny over allegations that she was a Nazi agent in World War II France. To millions of people around the globe Chanel stands for style, opulence and understated elegance, from haute couture worn by the few to ready-to-wear treasured by the masses. Her achievements are undeniable.
For readers not familiar with the history, what was the siege of Leningrad?