Category: Third Reich

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White Rose & Total War

On this day, 78 years ago, on 18 February 1943, two very dark events in Germany’s darkest history coincided on this same day.

One was the arrest of siblings Sophie and Hans Scholl, who as members of the White Rose resistance group at the university of Munich were distributing flyers, in which they harshly criticized the Nazi regime and

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

30th Anniversary of German Reunification

On this day, thirty years ago, on 3 October 1990, Germany was officially reunified and the GDR (the old communist East German state) ceased to exist, just eleven months after the so-called Fall of the Berlin Wall (or, more precisely, the opening of the border crossing points, which is generally seen as the beginning of the end for the GDR). The physical Wall too was soon after mostly demolished. So it has now actually been gone longer than it had been in existence! How time flies.

30 years is of course a big anniversary and the German media are predictably full of

New Flak Tower Photos – and a New Poll

Flaktürme, or ‘flak towers’, in Vienna’s Augarten park. In case you don’t know, “Flak” is short for “Flugabwehrkanone”, or ‘anti-aircraft gun’, and these towers were constructed to house batteries of big guns of that type during WWII. They were each complemented by another tower for radar/aiming technology. Hence the main towers were called “Gefechstturm” (‘combat tower’), while the smaller secondary tower was called “Leitturm” (‘directing tower’ or ‘lead tower’). Thus these installations always came in pairs. On the lower floors they additionally provided much needed air-raid-shelter space for civilians. But in their main military purpose,

Light at the End of Dark Tunnels

The idiomatic phrase ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ is probably being used a lot in these weird times– as something that is hoped for, the end of a crisis. Alas, with regard to the current pandemic, that light remains very faint at best, if it’s discernible at all. There’s still no cure, no vaccine, no clear outlook of what’s yet to come.
These thoughts inspired me to look through my photo archives searching for images of tunnels with lights at their ends, and indeed there have been some on my extensive travels. Here we go, the first one is

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

Switzerland and its Darker Sides

Just back from Switzerland this morning! It was a nice eight-day trip, mostly in the Alps, but also a bit of city (Zürich). The main emphasis was on the spectacular Alpine scenery. Around Zermatt this is indeed dominated by the Matterhorn, the planet’s most iconic peak.
As for the dark elements: well, the building of the Jungfrau Railway cost several workers their lives during the tunnelling. At the touristified complex at the summit one section commemorates those victims of the project (which took decades to complete from the late 1890s to the 1920s). Most names looked Italian. But there was also

Stauffenberg’s Execution after Operation Valkyrie’s Failure

On this day, 76 years ago, in the early hours of 21 July 1944, Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg was summarily executed by firing squad in the courtyard of the Bendlerblock building in Berlin, together with some of his co-conspirators.

Their plot, code-named “Operation Valkyrie”, had been to assassinate Adolf Hitler at his command post of Wolfschanze (‘wolf’s lair’) in what today is in north-eastern Poland (then German East Prussia).

Stauffenberg, thanks to his high rank in the military, had access to Hitler, and so it was decided that he would plant a bomb hidden in a briefcase near Hitler during a meeting at Wolfschanze. Stauffenberg was to leave the briefing early and

Dark Tourism and Electricity!

I finished the reconstruction of the posts on my purged Facebook page for the year 2017. And noticed that it had been a good year, especially for themed weeks of successive posts with a common topic or keyword.

Some of those were rather unusual and probably unexpected for most readers, such as ‘dark tourism and animals’, ‘dark tourism and ash’, ‘dark tourism and bridges’, etc. – and perhaps the most exotic one was ‘dark tourism and electricity’. I reproduce it here (with some adaptations):

Dunkirk 1940

On this day, 80 years ago, on 4 June 1940, the last of the Allied evacuations from Dunkirk took place, and the next day Nazi Germany declared victory in the Battle of Dunkirk.

It was the first major confrontation on the ground between British and German troops in WWII within France. The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) had been deployed to France after Germany invaded Poland and Britain and France declared war on Germany. When the

The Fluffy Side of Nazism

Another one related to my recent purge from Facebook. I mentioned in my earlier post about this censorship case that I had posted photos on Facebook that I would have considered more “risqué” than the one that started all the trouble. Here’s an example from way back, namely from 25 May 2017. This had been part of a themed week of posts all showing the “fluffy side of something” (see below!). This was probably

An allegedly controversial photo/topic

As a suitable first blog post photo I thought I should pick the very one that started the whole Facebook fiasco (for more on that see here). While it may have been against “community standards” there (though I don’t think it really was, but so what), we do not have any such restrictions of freedom here. So consider it for yourself.
What I wrote about it on Facebook on that day (at a time when I was trying to insert little allusions to the coronavirus crisis) was this: