Category: Holocaust

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Auschwitz Liberation Day

On this Day it’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The date was chosen because it was on this Day 76 years ago that Auschwitz was liberated. The above photo shows what is perhaps the most iconic item of the whole memorial site today, the sign “Arbeit macht frei” above the main gate to the “Stammlager”, Auschwitz I. The photo was taken in 2008, so it was still the original. In 2009 it was stolen (see below), but recovered. But after

A Very Dark Date

20 January is a very momentous day in dark history – 79 years ago today, on 20 January 1942, when the Wannsee Conference took place at this stately villa on the shores of the Wannsee lake on the south-western edge of Berlin.

The event was called for top-level Nazis to discuss how best to implement the “Final Solution”, the systematic deportation and industrial mass murder of all European Jews within the Nazi-occupied lands. At the conference

Escape from Sobibor

On this day, 77 years ago, on 14 October 1943, a revolt at the death camp of Sobibor led to the escape of hundreds of Jewish prisoners from this infamous and sinister place, of whom 50 to 60 individuals managed to survive and tell the story of this camp after WWII, especially Thomas Blatt (see also LAMOTH) and Alexander ‘Sasha’ Pechersky, the Soviet Red Army POW who led the revolt/escape.

The story is on record in various places where more of the details can be found. Here only the briefest of summaries has to suffice.

Of crucial importance is to note first of all the significant difference between a concentration camp and the three dedicated death camps that were purpose-built for the so-called ‘Operation Reinhard’. That was the

Dark Tourism & Villas

As decided in our recent poll, this blog post’s theme will be villas. You’ve probably been wondering how something as nice as a villa can be dark – but just read on …

Let’s start on a grand scale. The photo below shows Villa Grande.
This grand pile, more a stately mansion than a mere villa, really, was the oversized home of Vidkun Quisling, the right-winger who assumed power in Norway during World War Two as Germany’s Nazis invaded, with whom he happily collaborated. That’s what’s given the English language the expression “a quisling regime”!

Today the building houses

Viva Venezia – Venezia buia

I had a fantastic five days in Venice. Even though it wasn’t exactly empty and devoid of tourists, there was certainly not the degree of ‘overtourism’ that had plagued the city before the pandemic. Without the usual thick throngs of tourists, Venice was indeed much more pleasant to visit now.
While much of the trip was about just enjoying Venice as it is at the moment, wandering about and indulging in culinary delights, there had to be some dark elements too, of course. Venice may not be a top-league dark-tourism destination, but it does have its dark sides as well. The second Italian phrase in this post’s title, “Venezia buia”, means ‘dark Venice’, by the way.

Anne Frank’s birthday

On this Day, 12 June, it is Anne Frank’s birthday. She would have been 91 today, so could quite possibly have been still alive now had she not been discovered, deported and eventually killed during the Holocaust.

Until August 1944, Anne and her Jewish family had been living successfully in hiding in Amsterdam, but were somehow betrayed, so that the SS did find them after all and deported them first to the transit camp of Westerbork, then to Auschwitz. Anne and her sister Margot were later transported to Bergen-Belsen, where both died, most likely