Category Archives: WW II

The Passing of a WWII Hero: Joachim Ronneberg, 1919-2018

The worst thing about living in Norway for the past nineteen years (twenty next April) has been contemplating the dire future that lies in wait for the Norwegian children of today, whose feckless leaders are surrendering their beautiful country to a totalitarian religion. One of the best things about living here has been learning about Norway’s history. What is especially stirring to me is the story of the Norwegian resistance — which is a story almost entirely about a group of very young men who, faced with the occupation of their kingdom by a totalitarian foe, chose not to knuckle under and lie low but to risk their lives in an effort to (at the very least) cramp the enemy’s style. It has been moving just to be alive at the same time as some of these men.


Treasure hunt to recover £4.5billion worth of British gold trapped in merchant ships torpedoed by Nazis

Four research groups have spent 25 years producing a database tracking the gold shipped by the British Government to pay for munitions and goods during both World Wars.

Of the 7,500 merchant ships sunk, the teams have identified more than 700 which they believe may have been carrying vast quantities of gold and other precious metals.


Animals of War

Animals not only served as cuddly mascots that buoyed the spirits of soldiers but also acted as beasts of burden and couriers.

Cases in point:

Judy, an English Pointer who twice survived Japanese POW camps


This cat


A pack horse during the Battle of Pilckem Ridge



And Now….

That’s a nice gesture but it would have been better that the arch had never been destroyed in the first place:

A replica of a 2,000-year-old Syrian arch which survived blasts by Isis will be erected in Trafalgar Square after being recreated using the world’s biggest 3D printer.

The full-size recreation of the entrance to the Temple of Bel, one of the city of Palmyra’s most important monuments, is reportedly being built as a symbol of defiance against terrorists’ attempts to erase the Middle East’s pre-Islamic history.

The monument was largely reduced to rubble by Islamist fighters, but one of its arches survived and the 15m-high structure, which stood at the temple’s entrance, remains standing.

It’s a well-meaning hashtag at this point.




How a symphony by Dmitri Shostakovich was played by a starving orchestra:

When conductor Karl Eliasberg received instructions to rehearse Shostakovich’s Seventh Symphony he had a problem.

After a performance the previous December of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture – which depicts the Russia’s victory over Napoleon’s invading army – the only remaining orchestra in the city, the Leningrad Radio Orchestra, had shut down.

A note in the ensemble’s log records: “Rehearsal did not take place. Srabian is dead. Petrov is sick. Borishev is dead. Orchestra not working.”

So it was no surprise that when Eliasberg recalled his musicians for a rehearsal, only 15 turned up.

Read the whole thing.



British Woman Reveals That She Decoded Messages For the Battle of the Atlantic

Another unsung heroine:

Lorna Collacott can keep a secret.

The British girl didn’t tell her parents about her true wartime duties. She didn’t tell her husband, even though she met and married the bomber mechanic from Windsor during the Second World War. She didn’t tell her four kids.

Half a century passed before Collacott mentioned her secret work coding and decoding messages for the Battle of the Atlantic.

“You were told to keep your mouth shut,” the 90-year-old Windsor woman says in her matter-of-fact way.


Ladies and gentlemen, Mrs. Vera Lynn.


Berlin Authorities Shut Down Museum After WWII Ordinance Found


Berlin’s Jewish Museum has been closed for the day and the area around it evacuated as authorities work to remove a World War II bomb found in the vicinity.

The 250 kilogram American bomb was unearthed during construction work in the German capital Friday.

The popular museum was closed Sunday as were portions of two subway lines as experts worked to defuse and remove it, and 11,000 residents were forced to evacuate their homes as a precaution.

World War II-era bombs are still commonly found in Germany’s cities, even 70 years after the end of the conflict.



Witnessing Japan’s surrender in China

The Japanese empire in China had collapsed over night. It was clear to my great-uncle that the Japanese army in Nanjing was not happy with its orders.

“The Japanese army gave me the impression of being extremely tough and dangerous as indeed it had proved itself in battle,” he wrote. “There is clearly no realisation of the extent of the disaster Japan has suffered. It regards itself, with some reason, as an undefeated army which, to its regret, has been ordered by the emperor to lay down its arms.”


Alleged Nazi war criminal wanted by Russia dies in Quebec

Part of the memorial for the 2,230,000 citizens of Belarus who were killed during World War II, located at Khatyn. Source.

MONTREAL (AP) — The lawyer for the man in the No. 2 spot on the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s list of most wanted Nazi war criminals says his client has died at 93.

Vladimir Katriuk passed away last week after a long illness, his lawyer Orest Rudzik said Thursday.

Russia charged Katriuk earlier this month with genocide in connection with the 1943 killing of civilians in Khatyn, now part of Belarus.

According to war reports, Katriuk was a member of a Ukrainian battalion of the SS, the elite Nazi storm troops, between 1942 and 1944. He had denied the accusations against him.

Katriuck moved to Canada in 1951 and eventually became a Canadian citizen.


Pix: Russian-Israeli WW II vets march in Jerusalem

Immigration Minister Sofa Landver walks with Russian-Israeli World War II veterans as they take part in the Veterans Day parade in honor of 70 years since the Allies’ victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, in the center of Jerusalem. May 10, 2015

Russian-Israeli World War II veterans march in Jerusalem, marking the 70th anniversary of the Allies’ victory over Nazi Germany.




Putin defends notorious Nazi-Soviet pact

The Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov signing the non-aggression pact between Germany and the Soviet Union. Behind him, the German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop and Josef Stalin.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, during a visit by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, defends the infamous pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union that agreed to divide up eastern Europe.

Putin had, in the past condemned, the pact as unethical.

On August 23, 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union agreed to carve up eastern Europe between them in a secret clause of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact on non-aggression.

“When the USSR realized that it was left facing Hitler’s Germany alone, it took steps so as to not permit a direct collision and this Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was signed,” Putin says at a news conference in response to a question from a journalist.

He was asked to respond to comments by Russia’s outspoken culture minister Vladimir Medinsky praising the pact as a triumph of Joseph Stalin’s diplomacy.

“In this sense, I share the opinion of our culture minister that this pact had significance for ensuring the security of the USSR,” adds Putin…

unnamed-16If looks could kill: German Chancellor Angela Merkel exchanged frosty glares with President Vladimir Putin during Russia’s VE Day celebrations today.  More on Merkel’s visit The Daily Mail.


Victory Day Frenzy Peaks in Moscow

World War II era T-34 Soviet tanks make their way through the Red Square during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade which will take place at Moscow’s Red Square on May 9 Picture: AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin

Preparations for the May 9 Victory Day ceremonies and military parade in Moscow have the city on edge. Repeated real-time rehearsals have been blocking traffic as armor and troop formations march time and again through downtown streets to Red Square and back again.

The first workweek of May is shortened in Russia, with May 1 and May 9 being public holidays, so millions of Muscovites took additional days off and left town on April 30 to go to their dachas to plant vegetables, to picnic or to travel somewhere, planning to return on May 11, after the Victory Day hullabaloo is over.

Moscow is a half-deserted town and civilian traffic is reduced, which helps a lot—the traffic jams caused by constant tank war games in the streets are less severe. In addition to the ground parade, hundreds of jets and helicopters have been overflying the capital, going low in close formation to prepare the pilots and crews and acquaint them with the terrain to avoid any hiccups on May 9, in the presence of foreign dignitaries.

On midday May 7, during the last full-dress real-time rehearsal of the parade, an embarrassing hiccup did happen: a new T-14 Armata main battle tank, which has been the focus of a massive propaganda effort to present it as the symbol of Russia’s revitalized military superpower capabilities (see EDM, April 28, 30), apparently lost power and became stranded in the middle of Red Square, opposite Vladimir Lenin’s tomb and the Kremlin…


Vladimir Putin’s Stalinist biker gang ‘friends’ camp out on Polish border after authorities ban them from entering country on WWII memorial ride

Vladimir Putin rides a Harley Davidson trike next to Night Wolves leader Alexander Zaldostanov in the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk, in 2011

A Russian biker gang, which Vladimir Putin describes as his ‘friends’, has camped out on the Polish border after being banned from entering the country for a World War II memorial ride.

Polish authorities said last week they would ban entry to the Night Wolves, with leaders calling their plans to ride through Poland en route to commemorations of World War II a ‘provocation’.

The group vowed to enter anyway and 15 were seen Monday morning at the border crossing between Brest, Belarus, and Terespol, Poland…

unnamed-10A flag bearing the image of Stalin is seen as Night Wolves bikers gather in Moscow ahead of the memorial run


Pro-Putin bikers defy bans, ride to Berlin for WWII anniversary

A Russian biker shows a banner depicting Joseph Stalin and reading a WWII slogan “For the Motherland! For Stalin!” in Moscow on April 25, 2015. (photo credit: AFP/Dmitry Serebrayakov)

MOSCOW, Russia (AFP) — Dozens of bikers from pro-Kremlin gang the Night Wolves on Saturday set off on a ride to Berlin ahead of the anniversary of Soviet victory in World War II, despite Poland and Germany barring the riders.

The bikers gathered Saturday morning in a Moscow suburb to launch the ride to Berlin, planned to retrace the 6,000-kilometer (3,730-mile) march of Soviet troops through Belarus, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Austria.

The Night Wolves’ long-haired, heavily tattooed leader Alexander Zaldostanov led a column of bikers waving red flags with portraits of Stalin and the wartime slogan “For the Motherland! For Stalin!” out of the gang’s clubhouse in northwestern Moscow…


Germany faces paying billions to Greece in compensation for Nazi wartime atrocities

May 1941: A policeman directs German motorcycle troops in Athens

Germany should pay reparations to Greece for ‘serious wrongs’ by the Nazis, members of Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition said last night.

The German Chancellor has angrily rejected demands from Greek ministers for Berlin to pay £240billion in compensation for Nazi atrocities during the Second World War.

But, in an astonishing twist, senior members of the SPD, which shares power with Mrs Merkel, yesterday disagreed.

Gesine Schwan said: ‘I think it would be good for us Germans to sweep up after ourselves in terms of our history. It is about recognising that we have committed serious wrongs in Greece.

‘The government’s legal case isn’t convincing. It leaves a bad impression that Germany doesn’t want to face up to its responsibilities’…

This could set off a veritable torrent of groups claiming reparations.  It could make it forever impossible for Turkey to admit any guilt over the Armenians, for example.   It could backfire very badly.