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Monday, 27 August 2012

Day 131 - Remembrance......

Today is 23 years since my Dad passed on!  Last night, I was reading more of Gandhi's autobiography.  I like Gandhi's ideas on living a simple life insofaras material possessions.  My Dad was also a big believer in experiences rather than possessions.

The ideal that both Gandhi and my Dad shared and the one I like the most is; that it doesn't matter what your status is (or how small you feel in the big picture) that you can make a difference!

Also, on a somewhat lighter note!!!!!???I was thinking of my Dad and other people in concentration camps and how some of them  survived despite their hunger/pains/pangs as well as other things!

Anyhow, the positive thing is that it made me reflect on how I should continue to be be grateful for what I have and it also made me think I shouldn't whine about inconsequential things  - nothing wrong with that!!!!!

Excerpt from my Dad's blog:

My new block was now next to the fence in the Guinea Pig block or experimental block.  It was also the center for the combined operations of the camp Resistance, we were the main group.  The rest of the Resistance network was spread out evenly in all the blocks.  At this point, the biggest threat to us were the German Greens, they were the rascals.  They were still patriots and used as "Ferrets" - so we had to replace them as quickly as possible - we got rid of them through concessions given to us by the S.S. - due to our status as political prisoners.

The S.S. still needed us to fulfill their programs for the delivery of new weapons.  The war was now beginning more and more to take a turn against the Germans and so our rights as political prisoners had to be considered more carefully now.  This balance was achieved through a transition that sent the worst elements into oblivion!

Due to this new perspective, we were now supplied with a bit more food, this only lasted for a very short time.  The extra food was in the form of a thin porridge in the morning and Austrian cigarettes supplied by the S.S., later in the day.  However, we were soon back to Magorka cigarettes , which consisted of  chopped stems from Russian tobacco plants - made from the bottom dregs of Russia's country vineyards at Moselle.  We could buy these with our Marks - these small pauses, in our daily routine, gave us a bit of a breather. 

By June or July the heat was pretty constant now -  so our small slice of bread, with a finger of margarine, was now supplied in the evening.  This was  before the watery soup round, which sometimes had the addition of a small amount of salami or jam. The allocation of food was all experimental stuff or at least most of it.  They were always figuring out what was the minimum amount of food/rations that we could eat while still being of use to them.

The bread consisted of a lot of potato flour with straw in it and other local products - only some of the wheat was present as far as we saw and knew, the remainder consisted of birch nut flour and lots of chestnuts.  The margarine and jam were all concoctions and produced by the coal industry. 

The meat or salami - unknown to us in its consistency - was about one half an inch thick and one inch wide - it didn't last long either with its meager supply.  Sometimes, they made our rations smaller to suit themselves and then the ravages of hunger after that were terrible for us!

If you are wondering whether cannibalism had taken place - yes, we had heard of it.  One night, a body was laying outside in the quarantine area, waiting to be collected and in the morning the body was missing a foot. 

Nobody saw what happened!  New arrivals were constantly coming in via transports on an ongoing basis, usually from worse conditions, very likely coming over to die, which was more usual than unusual near the end...

My dad's story about his experiences during World War II begins at Day 1 of this blog .................

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Day 130 - Letter from a Belgian War Horse!

Letter from my Dad (in Flemish) to a bureacractic institution about his pension and war service in Buchenwald concentration camp and elsewhere)

Written: 16th December, 1985

Beste Heer; Mr. G.M. BOVY

Hartelyke Gelukwensen voor het nieuwe jaar.

Al mijn papiereu; levensberwyren, reducktie-kaart en formulier voor reistpensioen opgerhonden eender naar de Fuidertoren of wel Wolvengracht.

Als het past nal ik in Engeland vertoeven rond den 12 en tot 45 en van Januarie en in Belgie van der 21 en - 23 en.......

De kweste van rechthebbend op een "Order van Leopold II", in mejn geval, gerniem dat het ze was indertjiel en nooit aangevraagt zon een nieuwe indicening met 70 percent invaliditeit.

En vierder wat betrefgt een individuale decoratie voor aktei; date moet gedaan worden door uw commanding officer of wel gelykgestelde.

Gernien dat Meyintreer, Van Tolderverelt ...., een voormalige officier was in 't Belgiese Leger en Madame De Nile op 't zelfde adres dan; het contact was tueen, Vice-Admiral (Royal Navy, Mr William Stanton, Reserve Officer British Army; Mr. Ronald Stanton en Major in the British Army; Mr. Reginald Bellen,  Zyn dat genoeg commanding officieren????

Alsdat ik de Belgiese Inlichtuigsdienste heb geraadplaagt zal ik natuurlyk het hetzelfde doen met de Britse, beginnende met de
"War Archives: WHITEHALL, LONDON.  Meyn schoonbroeder advokaart en officer in 't Briste Leger kan een affidavit op maker....
In geval van meerdere gegevens:

Het was in Buchenwald dat een gealtieerde weerstande gesticht was onder al de intelligencies orgenten weerstenders en politicken.

Tot dewelke ik rechtstreeks behoorde na een strict verhoor de welke van het grootste belamy was, genierm: de acht V-2 en in Buchenwald alsook DORA met zyn "├»ntercontinental bullistic missile":, ondergrondse jet-installatioes, de PANZER - grenadiers rondom de Etterberg: dat was onskamp en constaint niewuwe  S/S in training ter plaatse en mogelyk om wapenen te parachuteren woor een eventuel uitbraak.

Voor dat, het was nan node een koerier to hebben; ingeval van mislukking, een andere, enrh.

Ik was tweede in lyn; gereedgewaakt Nummer een, een EIZASSER? gelukkiglyk, bereikte ryn doel holocaust van finale bombing en wat niet getroffer was kon niet meer getransporteert worden als gevolg.

Wapens werden niet gegropt in geval van "repercussions" op andere dampen, maar wy  waren in straat van zulks te nemer van de dode S/S.

De slachtoffering was enorm maar verhekering "Victory" was groter.

Een gelyk dat, stormden we uit, ieder in Tiejn vechtcommandos met een leider op het gejraste ogenblik en de stoelen varen omge-keerdt met 200 gevengenen op ovre rekening plus medewerking van de U.S.A. 8th Army.

Commanding Officier in Buchenwald was Blum,  Brusselse publisher en senator, thans overleden co-stryder en politieke gevangene Antoinio, ....

Voor de Amerikaanse "Control Commission, S/SGT. ELMER G. Luchterhand (unity Wisconsin).

Jose De Wever, Dentist Antwerpen, Camuz - Boekhandelaar Brussels.  Wing Commander Yeo-Thomas,  allernaal overleden house, Moulineux, Paris en Wales.

In memo: van zovele dappere mensen; de folteringen, ontsnappingen liekten en inviduale akties van moed.

Zal ik quoteern van, "THE MAN ON HIS OWN", Patrick, Ledeux 1963-65 FIRST PRIZE IIIrd CUNEO Festival of Films on the "Resistance";

"He means to react, so this means: Act!
Simply because his whole being, his faculties, his whole
intelligence make him say,
"No, I won't be passive any longer"

Myn mede-genoaten soldaat George, Barbaix wonende to Oostende heeft Engeland bereikt en in lichtingen verstrekt bestreffende de verplaatsing van de soldering voor de nachtbombers verantwoordeljk met de vernietiging van en van de u-boot basises in  Noord - Duitsland en die andre alsook in Oostende verlost in GROSS-STRELITZ kamp de Russen, ingelyjdt voer le maander met de kozaks

Dankie u voor uw aandacht.
Laat me geweten van de mogelykheden!
Fyd is aan het uit lopen veer ans, de laatste

Hoogachtend,

Signed by my dad Louis and written in 1985!

I definitely have typed some of the Flemish inaccurately.  However,  I was going to translate it but then I realized that it doesn't need to be translated it speaks with a universal tone!!!!

Most English speaking people can read between the lines and understand the message about war and its impact and effect on the lives of individuals. !!!!!. My dad was 62 when he wrote the above letter!!!!!! 







Thursday, 9 August 2012

Day 129 - Partly Peeled Potatoes and Ear Wiggling!

PEELING POTOTOES

Today, while peeling some spuds or potatoes I realized that it was not necessary to peel the skin off completely!  My dad always used to say that the goodness of potatoes is mostly in the skin!

Also, fortunately for me, I have had the benefit of being around quite a few compulsive people in my life.  My observations from watching people with compulsive tendencies has enabled me to learn a thing or three - I now have come to the realization that making everything perfect does not increase my personal satisfaction about the object produced!  So, my mashed potatoes had quite a few peels in but it was still edible!!!!Hey, I think I may have learned something today!!!!!

EAR WIGGLING

Yesterday, my friend Veronique and I went for a walk and I mentioned that my dad used to be able to wiggle his ear and she said that her dad could do that too.  Veronique's father was born about the same time as my dad and is Flemish too!  Veronique thought that maybe the ear wiggling talent may have been something Belgian boys learned in that era or that possibly genetics are at play!!!

She also mentioned a book she was reading on children who had been adopted.  The book mentioned that something like 98 percent of adopted children try to find their natural parents. That reinforces my experience that most people have an innate desire to connect with their roots. 

Like mentioned before, "I didn't know who I was until I learned more about where I came from!"

Monday, 6 August 2012

Day 128 - Abstract from a paper about Xenophobia!


The Logic of Xenophobia

  1. Jens Rydgren
    1. Department of Sociology,Stockholm University,SE-106 91 Stockholm,Sweden jens.rydgren@sociology.su.se

Abstract

In this article I discuss the subjective rationality of xenophobic and racist beliefs. Although such beliefs are mostly non-rational from an objective perspective, because of their incongruence with reality, under certain conditions they may appear rational from people’s subjective point of view – in particular in situations of uncertainty. The reason for this is mainly cognitive limitations and biased background information. I argue that xenophobic beliefs are often underpinned by categorization and inference biases. More specifically, xenophobic beliefs may arise out of invalid inductive inferences and by stereotyped categorization processes. Both these types of erroneous inferences result from thought processes that have the same form as cognitive mechanisms people use successfully in their daily lives, which give them good reason for relying on them without much reflection.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Day 127 - Is this Poem Relevant Today! !What do you think!

Based on reading the news lately, I felt compelled to include my dad's poem about war again!!


Piece written by my Dad and found with his memoir as a loose sheet of paper.  I bolded To Each His Own which was the title of my Dad's memoir.  Also, he talks of spectres, past and present - our family fought the Germans in WWI as well as WWII so he may be referring to that part of our family history!

Glory To War

To Each His Own, evolves a picture of an adverse assembly of spectres, past and present, sitting on a multitude of battle ready horses with mad, drunken, hysterical staring eyes; guided firmly in the saddle by a terrible ghost of grim corrupt dignitaries cloaked in all kinds of beautiful apparel of stupendous splendour, rich ornaments, tiaras, uniforms and medallions.  Covered by an eerie aura of bad stormy weather, darkening the pomp and glamour spectacle galore; wallowing in unsurpassed greediness with the sweet, rotten stench of death ever present around.

Passing by like a macabre parade; trampling casually on the mutilated corpses of long suffering mankind, foe and friend alike.

Little voices crying from beneath the holocaust, faintly heard, by the stunned helpless survivors.

We are next ...

Tell the world, please!

Written by: Louis Emanuel Fynaut

Day 126 - My Dad's 17th Birthday - May 10, 1940!


Blitzkrieg in the west
Friday, May 10, 1940www.onwar.com
German paratroopers drop in HollandOn the Western Front... The Germans launch Operation Gelb, the offensive in the west. Army Group C (Leeb) holds the German frontier opposite the French Maginot Line while Army Group A (Rundstedt) makes the main attack through the Ardennes and Army Group B (Bock) makes a secondary advance through Belgium and Holland to draw the main British and French forces north. During the day, Army Group A strikes, with three armored corps in the lead, heading for Sedan, Montherme and Dinant. The advance is rapid and the little opposition, mostly French cavalry, is thrown aside. To the north, Army Group B carries out parachute landings deep inside Holland which do much to paralyze Dutch resistance, while German units cross the Maas River near Arnhem and the Belgian fort at Eben Emael is put out of action by a German airborne force which lands its gliders literally on top of it. The fort is meant to cover the crossings of the Albert Canal nearby and this is not achieved. The Luftwaffe gives powerful support. At the end of the day the German advance has gone almost exactly according to plan. Meanwhile, the Allied Plan D provides for the French 1st Army Group ( General Billotte), consisting of the British Expeditionary Force ( General Lord Gort) and the French 7th Army (General Giraud) to advance to the line of the Dyle River and the Meuse River above Namur, to be joined there by the Belgian forces and on the left to link with the Dutch. General Gamelin is the Allied Supreme Commander and General Georges commands the armies on the French Northeast Front. The Allies react quickly to the German attacks as soon as they hear of them from the Belgians. By the evening much of the Dyle line has been occupied but the troops find that there are no fortifications to compare with the positions they have prepared along the Franco-Belgian frontier during the Phony War period. Some of the reserve is therefore committed to strengthen the line. Some of the advance forces of French 7th Army make contact with the Germans in southern Holland and are roughly handled.
In Britain...Churchill visits the King and officially takes office as prime minister.
In Norway... British forces are sent south from Harstad to Mo-i-Rana to join the small units trying to delay the German advance to relieve the Narvik force. Some of these units are now engaged at Mosjoen.
In Iceland... British troops land on the island. They are the advance elements of a force which is to set up a destroyer and scout-plane base to help in the convoy battles in the Atlantic. Equally, they will prevent the Germans using the island to aid their U-boat campaign.

See my dad's story beginning Day 1 of this blog!