Sharing with you a wonderful First World War film that I truly love to watch on or around the Holidays & New Year. Joyeux Noël depicts the widespread spontaneous ceasefires or the “Christmas Truce” that took place along the Western Front in 1914. Lest we forget.

Title: Joyeux Noël
Category: World War I, Politics

The year is 1914, & as World War I continues to rage across the European countryside, four individuals stuck on the front lines find themselves faced with the unthinkable in director Christian Carion’s Academy Award-nominated account of the true-life wartime event that would offer hope for peace in mankind’s darkest hour. When the war machines began rolling in the summer of 1914, the devastation that it waged upon German, British, & French troops was palpable. As the winter winds began to blow & the soldiers sat huddled in their trenches awaiting the generous Christmas care packages sent by the families, the sounds of warfare took a momentary backseat to the yearning for brotherhood among all of mankind. It is here that the fate of a French lieutenant, a Scottish priest, a German tenor, & a Danish soprano’s lives were about to be changed forever. On Christmas Eve of that year, the lonely souls of the front lines abandoned their arms to reach out to their enemies on the battlefield & greet them with not anger or hostility, but with the simple, kindly gesture of a much needed cigarette or a treasured piece of chocolate, & to put their differences aside long enough to wish their brothers a sincere “Merry Christmas!”

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Title: 48 Hours of Kristallnacht
Author: Mitchell G. Bard, Ph.D.
Genre: World War II, Politics

I have posted a couple of excerpts from this book over the past year or so & it is high time I recommended it to those of you who are interested in what transpired on Kristallnacht (the Night of Broken Glass).

48 Hours of Kristallnacht is the first book to thoroughly chronicle this pivotal event by presenting a wide array of eyewitness testimony, much of it previously unpublished, & to set the event firmly in historical context. Drawing on his unprecedented access to key archives, Dr. Mitchell G. Bard presents a shocking story that centers on the words of those who, as children, were on the scene first-hand. Together, these accounts & Bard’s incisive analysis reveal what led up to the pogroms, how they transpired, & their aftermath – & why the Holocaust can be dated from these two harrowing nights.

Kristallnacht’s new Book of Lamentations. The power of Mitchell Bard’s 48 Hours of Kristallnacht derives from the start & vivid words of German Jewish children who, in a single day, saw their well-ordered world suddenly destroyed by the Nazis’ brutality & by the apathy & silence of their neighbors & classmates.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper
Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center

Mitchell G. Bard’s book, 48 Hours of Kristallnacht can be purchased online via Amazon in hardcover, paperback or for your Kindle.

48 Hours of Kristallnacht
Night of Destruction / Dawn of the Holocaust

NO CRIME TO BE JEWISH

The progressive steps to remove the Jews from German society still allowed them to remain in their homes, & most still enjoyed a certain degree of comfort. The most serious indication that Jews were no longer welcome in Germany occurred on October 27th, 1938, when about 18,000 Jews from around the Reich were arrested & transported by train to the Polish border. They were allowed to take only one suitcase with them, & all of the rest of their possessions were either looted by their neighbors or seized by the Nazis. Only 4,000 were allowed into Poland; the rest were stranded at the border.

The expulsion of the Polish Jews ultimately had an unexpected & even more devastating impact on those who remained in Germany.

Among the Jews sent to Poland was the Grynszpan family. They had been expelled from Hanover where they had lived for the previous 27 years. Their oldest son, 17-year-old Herschel, escaped the deportation because he was living in Paris, where he had been arrested & sent by cattle car at night without food or water to the Polish Border. Once they reached the frontier, the Nazi SS guards forced the Jews to run, whipping those who were not obedient or quick enough to escape the lash. Inside Poland, the Jews were housed in filthy horse stables. The starving people eventually received a shipment of bread, but not enough arrived to feed everyone.

The postcard infuriated Herschel. He decided to seek revenge for the treatment of his family.

At 8:35am on November 6th, Herschel went to a sporting & hunting goods store in Paris & bought a gun. About an hour later he calmly presented himself at the German Embassy & asked to see the ambassador, Johannes von Welczeck. The ambassador was actually heading out & overheard the request, but ignored it & continued on his way. Herschel insisted on seeing someone to whom he could deliver what he claimed was an important document. His persistence lead him to Third Secretary Ernst vom Rath.

Ironically, vom Rath was under investigation by the Gestapo because he was suspected of lacking the proper zealotry expected of a Nazi official, particularly toward the Jews. Grynszpan knew nothing about the man except that he represented the government that had deported & abused his family. When vom Rath asked to see the document he was carrying, Herschel shouted, “You are a sale boche (filthy kraut) & here, in the name of 12,000 persecuted Jews, is your document!” He then fired five shots at close range; the first two penetrated the diplomat’s stomach, the rest missed. Vom Rath was wounded but still conscious. Herschel seemed surprised he wasn’t dead & remained standing calmly in the office as the scene grew chaotic. Herschel did not resist when police came & escorted him from the embassy to a nearby police station. “I did it to avenge my parents, who are living in misery in Germany,” Herschel informed the officers. He later told his interrogators, “It’s not a crime to be Jewish. I’m not a dog. I have the right to live & the Jewish people has the right to exist in this world. Everywhere I am persecuted like an animal.”

Vom Rath was rushed to the hospital after the shooting, but he succumbed to his injuries & died at 5:30pm on November 9th.

From 48 Hours of Kristallnacht: Night of Destruction / Dawn of the Holocaust, by Mitchell G. Brad, Ph.D.

Title: Aliens & The Third Reich
Type: Documentary
Category: World War II, Politics

If ancient aliens visited Earth in the remote past, could they have given us advanced technology, past down through human history? & could this technology have helped the Third Reich build mysterious weapons & crafts far beyond the limits of 20th century science? During World War II, there were reports that the Germans built an operational flying saucer, known as the Hanebu, which was said to use mythical technology found in ancient Indian texts. Another craft was rumored to have been constructed with the help of psychics & mediums who claimed to have received detailed blueprints from extraterrestrial beings. Is it possible Hitler’s quest for world domination was aided & abetted by ancient extraterrestrial technology that was rediscovered? & could the allegedly rebuilt alien devices developed in Germany have played a role in America’s ability to land a man on the moon?

Title: WWII In HD: Darkness Falls
Type: Documentary
Category: World War II, Politics

Seventy years in the making. Three thousand hours of color film footage few knew existed. The first documentary to show original color footage of World War II in immersive HD, the world premiere HISTORY series WWII IN HD uses the journals & accounts of those who served in the war’s biggest battles to create a personal, introspective, & detailed look at life on & off the front lines. Follow 12 unforgettable Americans, & experience the war through their eyes, in their own words, as it really looked & sounded. WWII IN HD transforms their stirring journey into a tangible piece of history. Culled from rare color film found in a two-year worldwide search & converted to HD with meticulous technique, WWII IN HD provides a picture of World War II as it has never been seen before.

WWII IN HD is a ten-part documentary series consisting of the following episodes:

Hard Way Back, Bloody Resolve, Battle Stations, Day Of Days, Point Of No Return, Striking Distance, Guts & Glory, Edge Of The Abyss, End Game.

Title: Fateful Choices: Ten Decisions That Changed The World (1940-41)
Author: Ian Kershaw
Genre: World War II, History, Politics

The series of events that marked the opening of the Second World War left most of the world in a state of shock. Suddenly it seemed almost anything was possible. For the aggressors there was no limit to what they could do; for their victims a new Dark Age seemed to beckon. Within this hurricane of events, small groups of individuals were faced with a huge range of decisions on which triumph or extinction could turn.

In this gripping book Ian Kershaw re-creates ten critical decisions taken between May 1940 (when Britain decided to fight on rather than surrender) & the autumn of 1941 (when Hitler decided to destroy Europe’s Jews). In London, Tokyo, Rome, Moscow, Berlin & Washington, politicians & generals, often working with very poor information & vast logistical, financial, economic & military problems, had to decide how they were going to exploit or combat the unfolding crisis. These decisions really did determine the future of the world.

Fateful Choices gives the reader an extraordinary sense both of the real constraints within which leaders worked but also of the role of personality: Churchill fighting on in the face of the catastrophe in France, Hitler ordering the invasion of the USSR despite Germany’s failure to defeat Britain, Stalin trusting Hitler & leaving his country wide open to Operation Barbarossa, Roosevelt realizing that the revolutionary idea of lend-lease could keep Britain fighting, the Japanese high command opting to attack the USA even in the face of evidence that it would fail.

Fateful Choices is a remarkable book that looks into the terrible heart of the modern age, & attempts to understand how decisions that changed or ended millions of lives really came about.

Read more about Sir Ian Kershaw @ Wikipedia

Title: A Place of Hiding
Author: Elizabeth George
Genre: World War II, Espionage, Mystery

An isolated beach on the island of Guernsey in the English Channel is the scene of the murder of Guy Brouard, one of Guernsey’s wealthiest inhabitants & its main benefactor. Forced as a child to flee the Nazis in Paris, Brouard was engaged in his latest project when he died: a museum honoring those who resisted the German occupation of the island during World War II. It is from this period that his murderer may well have come. But there are others on Guernsey who want Buy Brouard dead. As forensic scientist Simon St. James & his wife, Deborah, soon discover, seemingly everyone on the history-haunted island has something to hide. & behind all the lies & albis, a killer is lurking.

Visit George’s website @ Elizabeth George Online