Wednesday, September 8, 2010

"The Train"

A few weekends ago I saw a great, old movie on one of the classic movie channels, "The Train." The plot of the movie which was made in 1964 involves, an inspector of a French railway attempting to prevent a trainload of priceless French paintings from being stolen by the Nazis. The only movie star whom I knew was Burt Lancaster, and I can only assume the remainder of the cast were European-know stars.

The movie is truly very good, and reminds me other World War II films which were made during that period of time. If you like suspense tossed in with your history, you will enjoy "The Train."

I attempted to find just a clip of the film for you, but instead found the entire available for you on your computer at this link:

Personally, I would rather watch the movie on TV or by DVD, but if you don't mind being on the computer long enough to watch the entire movie, you may; or if you just would like to see a few minutes of it, you may do that as well. In any case, I hope you will enjoy "The Train" as much as I did!

Historically yours,

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Residents of Berlin and the Holocaust

United States Holocaust Memory Museum, Washington, DC

I found this very curiously interesting article entitled, Beyond Belief: Berliners and the Holocaust which you may read in its entirety HERE. The article begs to answer questions such as, "what did the residents of Berlin know about the Jewish deportation, when did they know it and were they aware of the possible fate of the Jewish residents of Berlin?"

What seems to boggle my mind about the entire shroud of evil Nazi regime, is the denial in the minds of those who witnessed the mass migrations and heard the rumors of their fate, not only of Jews but of Christians. There are those who today who refuse to believe the Holocaust occurred, one such was a dear friend of mind, whose father was a "German soldier." One day we somehow got on the topic of World War II, and she related the story of her father; she said while he was not a Nazi, he was a soldier, and all that the world had reported to have occurred, never happened. "It just never happened! The Holocaust never happened!" she adamantly told me in her thick German accent.

I could have intelligently argued and recited evidence which discounted her claim, but I saw it was fruitless...I was after all, speaking to the daughter of German foot soldier, at the least.


by Alexander Kimel- Holocaust Survivor

Do I want to remember?

The peaceful ghetto, before the raid:

Children shaking like leaves in the wind.

Mothers searching for a piece of bread.

Shadows, on swollen legs, moving with fear.

No, I don't want to remember, but how can I forget?

Do I want to remember, the creation of hell?

The shouts of the Raiders, enjoying the hunt.

Cries of the wounded, begging for life.

Faces of mothers carved with pain.

Hiding Children, dripping with fear.

No, I don't want to remember, but how can I forget?

Do I want to remember, my fearful return?

Families vanished in the midst of the day.

The mass grave steaming with vapor of blood.

Mothers searching for children in vain.

The pain of the ghetto, cuts like a knife.

No, I don't want to remember, but how can I forget?

Do I want to remember, the wailing of the night?

The doors kicked ajar, ripped feathers floating the air.

The night scented with snow-melting blood.

While the compassionate moon, is showing the way.

For the faceless shadows, searching for kin.

No, I don't want to remember, but I cannot forget.

Do I want to remember this world upside down?

Where the departed are blessed with an instant death.

While the living condemned to a short wretched life,

And a long tortuous journey into unnamed place,

Converting Living Souls, into ashes and gas.

No. I Have to Remember and Never Let You Forget.


Please read the article, and always feel free to post your comments, I look forward to reading them!

Historically Yours.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Fate of Gettysburg

I find this plan a little more than disturbing and extremely sad; but I suppose today in this world, everyone wants to "turn a buck." How many of us had ancestors (on both sides) who fought not only in this particular battle, but others where there will proposed construction for entertainment in the future?

As I recall a few years ago, there was a plan in this very area to construct an amusement park...I suppose that fell through and they are now planning for a casino. Here are two articles which I extracted for you. What do you think?

New Battle Fought Over Casino Plan Near Gettysburg

GETTYSBURG - Civil War preservationists are retrenching for another battle four years after defeating a proposal to build a casino near Gettysburg's historic site.

Casino principals, supports and opponents will speak Tuesday in a public meeting with state regulators who are considering the license application.

Developer David LeVan is a noted local philanthropist and former Conrail chairman. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board rejected his first plan in 2006 amid an outcry that gambling would sully the character of the battlefield considered by many to be the war's turning point.

Opponents include Ronald Maxwell, producer of the 1993 epic movie Gettysburg.

LeVan and supporters contend that the new casino plan is much smaller than the first, and would renovate an existing hotel and conference center and promise new jobs.

Tourists Sandy and Brian Augustine of East Freedom, Pa., read about Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg National Military Park on Monday, Aug. 30, 2010, in Gettysburg, Pa. Some preservationists worry that a plan to build a casino near the park, if successful, would cheapen the sacrifice of the soldiers who died in the 1863 Civil War battle and ruin the area's wholesome reputation that draws tourists. (AP Photo/Marc Levy)

Casino Proposed Near Battlefield Splits Gettysburg

By MARC LEVY, Associated Press Writer
GETTYSBURG, Pa. (AP) -- The town where the Civil War's tide-turning battle was waged is fighting dissension in its own ranks, with even hard-core preservationists split over a proposed casino that would rise near the historic battlefield and be named for the line that divided North and South.

It's the second time in five years that Gettysburg has fought over a plan to build a casino. This time it's the Mason Dixon Resort & Casino, proposed on a hotel and conference center site within a mile of the southern boundary of Gettysburg National Military Park.

"No Casino" and "Pro Casino" signs pepper shop windows in the quaint streets of Gettysburg, where more than a million tourists shop, dine or sleep each year.

Supporters say the casino plan doesn't tread on hallowed ground and will bring jobs, more tourists and tax relief to the area. But the potential that a casino will cheapen the wholesome reputation that draws tourists to Gettysburg, where 160,000 Union and Confederate soldiers fought a three-day battle in the summer of 1863, is what worries many.

"It seems like a lot of people, they just want more business, they want more money to flow in the community at any cost, and that's really upsetting," said Barbara Schultz, a Gettysburg native and casino opponent who owns a bed and breakfast and collectibles gallery.

On Tuesday, casino principals, supporters and opponents will speak at a public meeting with state regulators who are considering the license application to build the casino. More than 390 people have registered to speak, meaning the hearing could spill into Wednesday.

One registered speaker, Violet Clark, who traveled from La Follette, Tenn., said a casino disrespects the sacrifice of the soldiers, who include her ancestors.

The developer, David LeVan, is a well-known local philanthropist and former Conrail Inc. chairman who lives across the street from the park's museum and visitors center. He has helped renovate the town's historic Majestic theater and donated family land to help preservation efforts.

He declined to comment Tuesday through a spokesman, David La Torre, who said casino opponents should instead focus their attention on development that is happening on land outside the park boundaries that was the site of battle activity.

"You've got to really keep it in its proper context," La Torre said. "You've got to realize how big this place is. It's humongous, and people are fighting us and we're not even located on it."

The nearly 6,000-acre park is bordered by the town, as well as areas already saturated with hotels and fast-food restaurants.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board rejected LeVan's first plan in 2006 amid an outcry that gambling would sully the character of the battlefield where Union soldiers stopped the Confederate advance.

LeVan and supporters contend the new casino plan is much smaller than the first - they are seeking a license that allows up to 600 slot machines and 50 table games - and would pump new life into a struggling hotel and conference center.

The county is supporting the plan in exchange for a $1 million annual contribution to its treasury. A local group, the Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association, endorses the plan, saying the potential to strengthen the local economy could boost preservation efforts. Park officials say they have determined that the casino does not directly affect park resources.

Still, the Washington, D.C.-based Civil War Preservation Trust put the Gettysburg National Military Park on its endangered list because of the casino plan.

In April, Ronald Maxwell, who made the epic 1993 movie "Gettysburg," came to town to deliver an impassioned speech to casino opponents.

The French would not allow a casino to be built on famous battlefields along the Somme River or in the Ardennes, and the Polish would not allow a casino a half-mile of the site of the Katyn massacre or the Auschwitz concentration camp, he said.

"Why stop at Gettysburg? Maybe we should build some casinos at the site of the World Trade Center," he said. "That would create some jobs right? Heck, that would help the tax base, right?"

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ship Uncovered at WTC Site

I was "digging around" (no pun intended) and discovered this article which I found very fascinating! Read the entire article, "Mysteries Abound in WTC Ship Remains" by James Williams. This should prove to be a very interesting mystery!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Bermuda Triangle Mystery

Although this is not strictly a historical article, (it borders on physics and history) many people in past decades have gone missing within this area of the globe, and I found it rather interesting. As a matter of fact, I saw some program on this very topic a few weeks ago and the discussion was concerning the possiblity of methane gas being responsible for the disappearances of more than a few air and water craft in past history.
Do you think this is a plausible explaination or some is there still something else responsible for this enigma?

Bermuda Triangle "Mystery" Solved With "Astounding New Insight"

Teresa Neumann (August 12, 2010)

"Step aside outer space aliens, time anomalies, submerged giant Atlantean pyramids and bizarre meteorological phenomena—the 'Triangle' simply suffers from an acute case of [methane] gas."

(Chicago, Illinois)—Research scientists Joseph Monaghan and David May of Australia have reportedly solved the mystery of vanished ships and airplanes in the region dubbed "The Bermuda Triangle." Their "astounding new insight" has been published in the American Journal of Physics.

Notes a report in "Step aside outer space aliens, time anomalies, submerged giant Atlantean pyramids and bizarre meteorological phenomena—the 'Triangle' simply suffers from an acute case of [methane] gas."

According to the report, "the methane—normally frozen at great pressure as gas hydrates embedded within subterranean rock—can become dislodged and transform into gaseous bubbles expanding geometrically as they explode upwards. When these bubbles reach the surface of the water they soar into the air, still expanding upwards and outwards."

"Any ships," the report continues, "caught within the methane mega-bubble immediately lose all buoyancy and sink to the bottom of the ocean. If the bubbles are big enough and possess a high enough density they can also knock aircraft out of the sky with little or no warning. Aircraft falling victim to these methane bubbles will lose their engines-perhaps igniting the methane surrounding them-and immediately lose their lift as well, ending their flights by diving into the ocean and swiftly plummeting."

Source: Terrence Aym -

What do you think?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Disservice to Our Children?

In recent years I have noticed a decline in the amount of what I would consider a solid and basic education, within the public school systems (specifically within the high schools). This neglect of education includes but is not limited to American, and English Literature, Art, and naturally History of all types. Since the inception of President Bush's "No Child Left Behind" decree, our children have been horribly denied all I consider vital and basic to a fulfilling education.

Now, I DO NOT condone children dropping out of school, but is there any wonder the drop-out rate is increasing at alarming rates? Our children in this country are not challenged; they are simply told they must meet a certain amount of criteria in order to pass that wonderful test (in Florida it is known as the FCAT) administered at the end of the end of the school year, so their school will be ensured they are granted a set amount of dollars. What is wrong here? What is happening? When my elder daughter was in school, she could not even tell me who Thomas Jefferson was and she was 15 years-old!

I did some research yesterday and this is what I discovered:

"Education Secretary Duncan Announces $115.3 Million for 124 Grants to Improve Teaching of American History

AUGUST 6, 2010
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today announced the award of $115.3 million to 124 school districts to improve the quality of teaching American history in our nation's schools.

The Teaching American History grant program aims to enhance teachers' understanding of American history through intensive professional development, including study trips to historic sites and mentoring with professional historians and other experts. Projects are required to partner with organizations that have broad knowledge of American history, such as libraries, museums, nonprofit historical or humanities organizations, and higher education institutions.
History is one of the core academic subjects under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
Teaching American History grants are funded for a three-year period. They will be awarded to school districts in 40 states, the District of Columbia, and American Samoa.
Note to Editors: Following is a list of grantees by state. Included are the grant recipients, contacts and grant award amount for the first year of the grant."

Following this little announcement, there is a list of major cities within the United States whose school districts will be awarded these monetary grants. There is only one fly in ointment, and that is these are school districts in major US cities...what about my school district which lies well outside the jurisdiction of those major cities?

This is not enough, not enough effort, not enough caring! Why cannot this country go back to the basics of a good education which fosters an inquisitive spirit and mind, as well as a love of learning?

What do you think? I would love hear your opinions on this matter! Please leave me your comments, I am eager to hear your opinion.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Great Mortality

I purchased a book from eBay, entitled The Great Mortality, An Intimate History of the Black Death, the Most Devastating Plague of All Time, by John Kelly. My cousin who attends Emory University and is writing her disortation at this time, recommended this book to me.

Some weeks ago I was watching a program on The Black Death, and some interesting points were brought out concerning the ramifications of the plague. One of them being it was a valued, albeit devastating, precursor to the Renaissance. The theory was after so many people were victims of the disease, it forced societies all over western Europe to find new means and methods of doing things, from the menial tasks to scholarly ventures. No longer could a single man rely on another individual to assist him in his work, for the majority of the population had been disseminated, and thus the birth of new and reliable inventions.

Here is some basic information concerning the book:
"John Kelly's history of the Black Death is a colorful, compulsively readable, and very complete look at the subject, including his theory of what caused it (the rapid growth of trade, i.e. ships spreading disease from port to port) and also of what sprang from it: the middle class, property law, and the persecution of the Jews (who, of course, were blamed for it).

Length: 364 pages
Height: 9.5 in.
Width: 6.5 in.
Thickness: 0.8 in.
Weight: 22.4 oz.

Publisher's Note
A compelling and harrowing history of the Black Death epidemic that swept through Europe in the mid-14th century killing 25 million people. It was one of the most devastating human disasters in history.

"The bodies were sparsely covered that the dogs dragged them forth and devoured them . And believing it to be the end of the world, no one wept for the dead, for all expected to die." Agnolo di Turo, Siena, 1348

In just over 1000 days from 1347 to 1351 the 'Black Death' swept across medieval Europe killing 30% of it's population. It was a catastrophe that touched the lives of every individual on the continent. The deadly Y. Pestis virus entered Europe by Genoese galley at Messina, Sicily in October 1347. By the spring of 1348 it was devastating the cities of central Italy, by June 1348 it had swept in to France and Spain, and by August it had reached England. One graphic testimony can be found at St. Mary's, Ashwell, Hertfordshire, where an anonymous hand carved a harrowing inscription for 1349: 'Wretched, terrible, destructive year, the remnants of the people alone remain.'
According to the Foster scale, a kind of Richter scale of human disaster, the plague of 1347-51 is the second worst catastrophe in recorded history. Only World War II produced more death, physical damage, and emotional suffering. It is also the closest thing that Defence Analysts compare a thermonuclear war to - in geographical extent, abruptness and casualties.
In The Great Mortality John Kelly retraces the journey of the Black Death using original source material - diary fragments, letters, manuscripts - as it swept across Europe. It is harrowing portrait of a continent gripped by an epidemic, but also a very personal story narrated by the individuals whose lives were touched by it.

I just received the book and once I have read it, I will naturally give you my thoughts. But, in the meantime, I thought I would share it with you.

Historically yours,

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Welcome and Discover "Paddy's Lament"

Welcome and thank you for stopping by, I hope you find this to be a pleasant and informative blog. My plan for this blog is to recommend historical reading material and movies, include some noteworthy articles and perhaps sometimes include some of my opinion on certain events, people and places.

Within the past 6 months or so since I discovered through researching my genealogy, my paternal g-g-grandparents were survivors of the Irish Famine, and immigrated to the United States. I was in Barnes and Noble one day and happened upon a fantastic book, entitled Paddy's Lament, Ireland 1846-1847: Prelude to Hatred, by Thomas Gallagher. This book was so engrossing I simply could not put it down.

Within the pages of this astounding book, you will discover what led to Irish potato famine, and exactly what our ancestors endured at the hands of English. You will be enlightened, stunned and perhaps even saddened by what you will discover. I recommend this book to anyone interested in Irish history, The Great Famine, or their Irish ancestry.

"Published : May 13th 1987 by Harvest/HBJ Book (first published 1982)

Details Paperback, 372 pages

ISBN: 0156707004 (isbn13: 9780156707008)

For the Irish, England was - is - too close. Stripped by England of religious freedom in the sixteenth century and economic freedom in the seventeenth, Ireland by the mid-1800s was primarily a population of peasants. Never far from the brink of economic and physical disaster, they lived as tenants on small plots, working for absentee British landlords. Ireland produced a yearly abundance of cattle and grain, but under British law these products were forbidden to the Irish and designated for export only. Thus the peasants and their families were forced to live on a single, moderately nutritious crop: potatoes.

Quite suddenly in 1846 an unknown and uncontrollable disease turned the potato crop to inedible slime, and the meager existence of all Ireland was threatened. Appealing to their Britain governors for relief, the peasant tenants instead received eviction, starvation, rampant sickness, and death.

Their plight is portrayed in staggering detail: In less than two years, two million Irish -- one-quarter of their entire population -- had died."

Extracted from:

Historically yours,