Sunday, September 30, 2007

Google Earth Slide Shows

I didn't know until recently how to export a google map into google earth. It is all done with the "KML" tool on the google map page. This creates a file that takes you right into google earth and places your map, even if it is just one marker into the temporary places folder. From there you can share your file with the google earth community. The end result is the placement of your map in one of several category folders. I'm still learning my way around with all this. I believe my Sacramento map can be located with this link
Once successfully posted a kmz file is created that allows you to make it part of "your" spaces in Google Earth. Google Earth is great but it is a memory hog since you have to run a separate, memory intensive, application. There is a slide show tour feature that will take you from place mark to place mark if you create a map with several sites. The above movie was a
screen capture of the movie of my Sacramento tour.

My Google Maps: Sacramento

This is the latest map I'm working on (it's my 12th) and I'm just about through. Above is an image of it, it's location on the web is here. It coincides with much of the historical information I gathered from the Burns' War documentary. Sacramento was one of the the series' four anchor cities and it was the most diverse. I believe it is considered now the most diverse city in the country. It's uniqueness of the anchor cities was its considerable Japanese-American population and their subsequent isolation in internment camps.
From the PBS War site:
"Sacramento, California, the state capital, had been the gateway to the California Gold Rush and the western anchor of the transcontinental railroad. Europeans had first arrived in the 1830s, followed by thousands of Chinese laborers who had helped build the railroad and then settled in Sacramento. A small African-American communityemerged in Sacramento as well, and by 1860, the only two black doctors in the far west had practices in the city.
Surrounded by some of the most fertile land in the west, Sacramento was a diverse farming town of 106,000, including Italian, Filipino, Portugese, and Mexican Americans. The city’s biggest employers were the local cannery, the state government and the Southern Pacific Railroad. On the eve of WWII Hundreds of “Okies” — refugees from the dust bowl — still camped on the edge of town and worked the fields, orchards and vineyards of the surrounding Sacramento Valley. Jobs were scarce during the Great Depression, and many in the city were dependent on charity, relief and federal work programs."
What I tried to do is map sites mentioned in the show as well as other historical sites I researched. I also tried to make the map more engaging by linking images to each marker. This can be a tedious process because care most be taken to limit the size of the picture, otherwise the "bubble" for the marker becomes "overwhelmed." This map has about 50. Google limits you to 100 per map, which is just as well because the markers become too crowded and indistinguishable especially if the geographic area is not too spread out. I also try to pick up clues from the show and supporting site as to where some of the "witnesses" lived. I also use census records
(the closest being 1930) to help spot the location. Some of those mentioned are Earl Burke, Barbara Covington, Burnett Miller, Harry Schmid, Burt Wilson, Susumu Satow, Sascha Weinzheimer, Dolores Silva, Asako Tokuno and Robert Kashiwagi

Saturday, September 29, 2007

History Animated: Doolittle Raid

Another gold mine site for WW2 tech integration for kids is one I recently discovered, called historyanimated Here the small screen doesn't allow you to view the text, but you get the gist. That's General Doolittle speaking so this gives you a primary source bonus as well. I used Snapzpro to capture the video.
A really good idea is to give some Flash savvy kids the task of doing research on certain military campaigns and then creating an accompanying animation. It would be livelier than the Google Mapping "place matters" concept that I've been diligently and obsessively working on, but which I fear may not be worth the effort. It's tough to give it up.

Goodbye Mama, I'm Off To Yokohama

The Doolittle Raid did actually hit Yokohama. The Japanese supposedly killed 250,000
Chinese as punishment for helping downed US fliers. There are only a handful of the original 80 Raiders left.
Johnny was a soldier boy who never looked for scraps
But this young buckaroo
Was Yankee thru and thru
Then Johnny heard our country called to arms against the Japs
And as he marched away
His buddies heard him say

Goodbye mama
I'm off to Yokohama
For the red, white, and blue
My country and you.
Goodbye mama
I'm off to Yokohama
Just to teach all those Japs
The Yanks are no saps
A million fightin' sons-of-Uncle Sam, if you please
Will soon have all those Japs right down on their Japa-knees
So goodbye mama
I'm off to Yokohama
For my country, my flag, and you.
Goodbye to mama.
We're off to Yokohama.
So be brave and be strong,
You won't be gone long.
Goodbye bye-bye mama,
The land of Yama-Yama,
Until April, I guess,
Will be our address.
Tell dad I plan a big surprise, nobody knows
I'll bring him back a Jap valet to care for his clothes
Goodbye mama
I'm off to Yokohama
For my country, my flag, and you.

We're learning jujitsu, where you kick with the feet
We'll Kick'em in their Tokyo and watch'em retreat

Friday, September 28, 2007

WW2 Plaque On The Lower East Side

This will link back to a post in 2005 about utilizing plaques for primary document research

Carroll Street Veterans

Though this deals with a WW1 monument, the idea could be applied to WW2 Veteran monuments. From 11/06, the video portion had been on youtube:
"A week late for this, but there has been a big backlog of blogworthy material to manage. A semi-retirement pleasure is breakfast at favorite bagel stops. One such place is "Bagels By The Park" on Smith Street. Afterwards a walk through Carroll Street Park to photograph the World War I Memorial there. An idea was to add to the plaque material by tracking down census data on some of the soldiers listed. By chance, a free week of Ancestry came my way. Lots of detective work to figure out who might be the right "Hugh McHugh," etc. One thing that became apparent is that many of these guys were either border, lodger types or teenagers wanting to prove their manhood. Many of them were only 10 or so in 1910, which meant they enlisted and died by 18. Probably many lied about their ages. This would be a good DBQ project for some kids. Being that Carroll Gardens is such a stable neighborhood, it's possible that many family members might still be in the vicinity."
The only problem is that the slides with the census data is hard to view in the small frame. If anyone actually wanted the original, with a better view of those images, I'll send it (6MB)

Verse One:
Johnny get your gun, get your gun, get your gun
Take it on the run, on the run, on the run,
Hear them calling, you and me
Every son of liberty,
Hurry right away, no delay, go today,
Make your Daddy glad, to have had such a lad,
Tell your sweetheart not to pine
She'll be proud her boys in line
Over There, Over There, Over There
Send the word, send the word Over There
That the Yanks are coming, the Yanks are coming,
The drum drum druming everywhere
So Prepare, say a prayer,
Send the word, send the word, to beware,
We'll be over, were coming over,
and we won't come back til it's over, over there
Repeat Chorus
Verse Two:
Johnny get your gun, get you gun, get your gun
Tell it to the Hun, your a son of a gun
Hoist your Flag and let her fly
Yankee Doodle, Do or Die
Pack your little kit, show your grit, do your bit.
Yankees from the ranks to the towns and the tanks
Make your Mother, proud of you and
The old Red, White and Blue
Over There, Over There, Over There
Send the word, send the word Over There
That the Yanks are coming, the Yanks are coming,
The drum drum druming everywhere
So Prepare, say a prayer,
Send the word, send the word, to beware,
We'll be over, were coming over,
and we won't come back til it's over, over there

On-Line History Comic Gold Mine

This is an incredible site, an archive of historical comics done for The Hampton News in Virginia There are some missing links and images vary in resolution. They sell some of the collections as books. Well worth it. Here's a link to my .mac account where I created a pdf of the comics related to WW2
It's only 1.9MB

WW2: Holocaust Studies

A repost from November 2006, now with a Barry Sister's audio enhanced video no less
While at my Uncle's unveiling my wife pointed out a memorial to the Martyrs of Budzanow:
The Martyrs Of Budzanow

Stephanie pointed out this grave monument at Beth David, opposite the "Greek" section. I was curious to find out about these people. My research led me to find: "Budzanów is included in the Suchostaw Region Research Group (SRRG). Shtetlach were interwoven together like a tapestry and the Jewish people of neighboring shtetlach linked by marriages, trade and marketing. They shared schools, cemeteries, kosher butchers, bakers and more. Smaller shtetlach registered their birth, marriages and death in a nearby larger shtetl." Also on a holocaust remembrance site, a survivor, Immanuel (Donio) Ashberg, Rehovot from Yanov, a nearby shtetl wrote the following.
"My Shtetl Yanov
Dedicated to my parents, my sister and to all residents of my town—be their memory blessed.
Yanov, a tiny shtetl located between the shtetl Budzanov from one side and Trembovla from the other side, was populated by Ukrainians and Poles. In its center lived about a hundred Jewish families. The main occupation of the majority of the Jews was trade (sales and purchases); a small part of them were craftsmen, and an even lesser part were waged workers and clerks. Many Jews were poor people, and the life was difficult for them. They worked hard to gain a penny and, adding grush to grush, to save a zloty. But despite a hard life they were happy.
All the Jews lived as one close family. All of them knew each other from the youngest to the oldest. We knew all of them and remembered their first and last names. Everyone also had a nickname.
Our mothers also worked very hard. In addition to that they were housewives and helped the welfare of the family. They didn't have housemaids (maidservants). My mother – be her memory blessed – worked very hard. She was a very good housewife and also the one who was the main supporter of the family. She took care of me and my sister Batya – be her memory blessed – and was happy. She didn't have the living conditions that we have here in our land. There was no electricity or running water in the house, and there was no gas. We didn't have an electric iron. Our iron was with the coals. There was no refrigerator or washing machine and no other basic utilities. Nevertheless we never heard someone complain.
We carried water from the well, and in winter also from the river Seret. This was an occupation that was called in Yiddish “vasser treger” (water carrier), which does not exist in our country [Israel]. I remember two of this kind of professional, Bertsi and Shaya, be their memory blessed. In every Jewish house there was a wooden or iron barrel, and a water carrier filled it for a couple of grushes. Bertsi carried water on his shoulders. Shaya was more progressive. He had a horse harnessed with a cart on two wheels and a big barrel, like Tevye der Melchiker. He distributed water – in the winter with the “free addition of ice.” His mustache and all the liquid under his nose were frozen from the cold, and when he entered a well heated house, the ice which was under his nose melted and dripped right into the bucket and the barrel. The earnings of these two were very poor, and in addition to that they were blessed with many children.
Instead of an electric light we used an oil lamp. We bought oil in bottles in the store. We cooked our food on a stove that was heated by fire wood. We kept our food in a basement in order that it would not go bad. We didn't know that it could be otherwise. And everybody was happy with his lot.
We already said that all the Jews lived as one close family. We knew what was going on in every house. We felt much better on Shabbat and holidays. Who among us does not remember all the preparations, all the goodies that our mothers cooked and baked. In fact, they made everything to celebrate Shabbat and holidays with the best of everything. We all, from the youngest to the oldest, went to the synagogue. There were those who prayed inside, and there were those who chatted outside. Nevertheless, everyone went to the synagogue, the religious people and the secular ones.
No one of these two groups would desecrate the Shabbat and holiday. No one was riding on Shabbat, and no one ate non-kosher. We didn't smoke on Shabbat and kept separately plates and dishes for milk products and for meat products. I am not from a religious family, but nevertheless we kept all the laws of kashrut. I remember how my mother – be her memory blessed – sent me to a goy to bring the milk. I went with three jugs in order that the milk would not be poured out straight from the jug of a goy. With the first they milked the cow, the second was used as a measure, and finally they poured milk into the third jug. On Shabbat I went to a goy who would light a match to light the stove in order to warm up the food. For this he would get a piece of chalah. On the evening of Shabbat I went outside to see whether candles were lit in the House of Study in order to learn if it was already permitted to kindle the oil lamp, although we weren't especially religious.
On holidays the young people had a lot of fun. Who among them did not receive some new clothes or new shoes ? Parents made extraordinary efforts to start saving money (at least) two months before the holidays, and they were very happy if they succeeded in giving their sons and daughters new clothes for the holiday. On Shabbat and holidays we did not write. There was no Jewish school, and we went to the school of Goyim. On Shabbat we did not study in order not to desecrate the Shabbat, and this was not agreeable with the Goyish teachers who ordered us to come to school and also to study on Shabbat. A delegation of Jewish dignitaries of the town addressed the administration of the school and persuaded the principal that Jewish children would come to the school after the prayers in the synagogue without pens, and they would not write in order not to desecrate the Shabbat.
In addition to our studies in the school, in the afternoons we studied in the “cheder.” In our town there were several cheders. One of them was that of Yudel Hershel-Leib, another that of Shaya—be their memories blessed. Cheder like that was usually located in the living quarters of the melammed, a small room that also served as a kitchen, a dining room, a bedroom and a living room. We were crowded there, each sitting next to the other. We studied Torah according to the system of the melammeds of that time. In winter, because the day was short, we studied also in the evening. Every boy had a candle lamp because there was no lighting in the streets, and it was impossible to walk on a dark and muddied street. The lamp was very primitive—an iron box with a glass and a candle lit inside. We studied in the cheder even during the summer vacation.
In the center of the town groups of Jews assembled and chatted about any subject imaginable. The young people also concentrated in separate groups, or they walked on central streets, and especially walked outside of the town. They also feared getting a stone on the head from sheygetses. The landscapes outside of the shtetl were very nice – fields, the river, and the forest attracted all of us. All the meetings happened in the bosom of beautiful nature.
The shtetl itself was charmingly beautiful. It was surrounded by the forest, the river and fields. Many houses were in the middle of gardens which were extremely well kept. Among such houses was also our house with the garden of which my father – be his memory blessed – took great care. It was full of beautiful trees, bushes, all kinds of vegetables and flowers. Also, the garden of Moshe Balaban – be his memory blessed – was very well kept and attracted a lot of visitors.
Almost all the Jews of the shtetl belonged to a Zionist club. There were two clubs: Hitahdut Poale Zion and Ahvah. The meetings were held in the evenings and on Shabbat, and lectures were delivered on Palestine. Jews read newspapers. In every house there was a money-box of K.K.L., and everybody contributed to the common cause. I was among those who collected money from these money-boxes, and I recollect especially the money-box of Berl Kahana – be his memory blessed—the husband of Sheyndl Kahana who lives in Petah-Tikvah. His money-box was always full and included a considerable amount of money.
There were two youth movements: Ha-shomer ha-Tsair and Ha-noar ha-Tsiyoni. In the organization of Ha-noar ha-Tsiyoni I was among the leaders of the group. We met in the evening on weekdays and on Shabbat to listen to lectures on Palestine and to study Hebrew. We went on excursions and trips to the neighboring towns—Trembovla, Budzanov and Horostkov and made preparations to make aliyah to Palestine. All the young people were raised to love Palestine and to make aliyah.
We didn't go to the movies or to theaters. There were no movie theaters in our shtetl. Among the young people there were some creative personalities. They would select actors among us and prepare a spectacle themselves with no professional help. They would stage usually very nice and entertaining dramas. Such an entertainment occurred usually once per year or even more seldom. There was no special club for entertainment in our shtetl. We used for this purpose a long, wide corridor in the house of Shalom Kornblau – be his memory blessed – or the similar corridor in the house of Leib Gur-Arye – be his memory blessed. We collected chairs from the houses of the entire shtetl. We constructed the stage from the lumber borrowed from the above mentioned Shalom Kornblau's trade company. All the works and the spectacle were realized by oil lamp lighting.
Everything above mentioned came to an end on September 1, 1939. The war started. The Hitlerians cruelly attacked Poland and advanced to our places enormously fast. We were all in panic. It was Rosh Hashanah. All of us were in the synagogue, we prayed enthusiastically. After the service the majority of the residents started to pack their belongings and to prepare their escape from the shtetl. I recollect that upon my return from the synagogue my mother – be her memory blessed – handed me a backsack with some clothes and said: “Do not worry about us, go with everybody. Save yourself! And tears covered her eyes and cheeks. At home there was no festive atmosphere of Rosh Hashanah like in years past, but this was a day of mourning. I worked then in Manheim Abramtzi's store – be his memory blessed—and although this was holiday, I went to help him pack his goods in the store. He also was in preparation to flee the town. The same was going on in the entire shtetl.
After the holiday we heard surprise news: the Russians are coming. They arrived on September 17, 1939. It was a big joy. We were saved from the Nazis. Again groups of Jews assembled, chatted, argued and waited. Polish policemen threw down their uniforms, the officers fled, and soldiers left their military units. At noon the first Russian detachments entered with not a single shot. Most of the officers in the Russian units were Jewish. We were happy that we were saved from the Nazi monsters.
Our saviors left a very bad impression on us from the first glance. Russian soldiers, as well as officers, wrapped their tobacco in a piece of newspaper and smoked it – we never saw this kind of smoking. And what buyers they were! They would come to a store and buy everything. Then we started to grasp what is awaiting us. Life became even harder than it was before. There was rationing in everything. In order to buy a little sugar or a piece of fabric to sew clothes there was needed protection with the vendor. There was liquidation of private stores and investigation of everyone's past. There was no end to investigations. Then Asi Pohoryles—the devoted Communist, disappeared. The trials of the Jews for their business started, and they usually finished with the confiscation of the property and exile in Siberia. Freedom and happiness disappeared from the shtetl Yanov. Zionist clubs were closed, and we lived in fear that some information on our past will reach our saviors because “Zionist” was a term for a criminal to them.
I started to look for a job, and after a long time seeking I found a job in a neighboring shtetl, Budzanov, which was located 7 kilometers from Yanov. I walked this distance on foot every day. There were no buses.
I and my friend, Koba Balaban, who also got a job in the same office in Budzanov, would wake up early in the morning and walk together to Budzanov, and after work we would walk back home. No one complained, we didn't think that it could be better. And here comes the cold winter. All the roads are covered with high hills of snow. We reach our work place several hours late. The Russian boss, the Communist, is angry for our lateness, but for the first time has mercy on us – he said he hopes this is our first and last coming late, he will not tolerate this a second time. After that we decided to rent a room in Budzanov and came home only once a week – on Sundays.
In this office, most of the employees and administrators were the Jews from Yanov and Budzanov. There were very few Gentiles. The Jews from these shtetls were noted for their knowledge more than the Gentiles, and they were more capable at office jobs. We worked, we excelled, but our fear of NKVD and members of the Communist party, owners of a red membership card, didn't leave us due to continued investigations and trials. We suffered quietly. We were afraid to talk. There was no choice. We were getting used to this kind of life.
Also this situation didn't continue for a long time. On June 21, 1941 a new war started. Again Hitler started the war, this time against Russia, his ally. There was declared general mobilization. And I received a telephone call from Yanov, and I was informed that I was drafted. The next day I arrived home. My mother – be her memory blessed – again was worried about me, and the backsack was ready…however it was home. My parents and sister – their memories blessed – cried because I became a soldier and had to go for war, and when people go for war, who knows if they will come back.
I took from my pocket all the money I had, took off my wrist watch and handed it to my parents because I knew that it is safer to leave it with them, and maybe they will feel a need because they stay home. I grabbed the backsack and parted from them – I didn't think then that separation will be forever, that I will never again see my beloved family and my house. It didn't occur to me that there will be no one to whom to return. The tears suffocated me. All my dear ones cried. And I left confused and disturbed together with the rest of the youth from our shtetl to report to the Red army.
The suffering was great. Together with the youth from Yanov and Budzanov I reached Zhitomir which is located in Ukraine. Here we were divided into many groups. I parted from my friends and remained with a small group. I didn't see my friends again because most of them were killed in the front. The Hitlerians advanced very fast, conquered the entire Ukraine and penetrated a long distance into Russia.
In Russia we heard a lot about what was going on in lands conquered by the Nazis. We were informed about their cruelty. It was difficult to believe the stories published in the Soviet newspapers and on the radio. I always hoped this was just Soviet propaganda, and that I will find all my beloved at home, well and healthy.
Four long years passed. I happened to be in Siberia. I suffered quietly and hoped for an end and salvation. The Germans were in retreat. In the beginning of 1944 my shtetl was liberated. I sent a lot of letters to my parents in Yanov. I thought they were alive. I also wrote to our Gentile neighbors. To all my letters I received only one reply from a Gentile woman called Dzurba. Her letter revealed to me all the horrible truth. Yanov does not exist for me. My parents are not among the living. There is not my sister. There are no living Jews. Gentiles robbed our property, they occupied our homes. Our beautiful and famous synagogue does not exist any more. Yanov became one big ruin. From several hundred souls, the souls which were dear to me, only a few remained alive.
Today about ten people from Yanov reside in Israel, and a similar number are in the USA. This is a tragic end of our beautiful shtetl."

Rube Garrett's Guadalcanal Diaries

Another good literacy link to the WW2 topic and this through a primary source. Rube's extensive site has his diary, links to other diaries and lots of images. His intro:
"My name is James R. "Rube" Garrett. I was a Corporal, ammo chief for I Battery, 3rd Battalion, 11th Regiment and a charter member of the 1st Marine Division, formed in Cuba in 1940. The following are my diary entries for the Battle of Guadalcanal. A glance through the pages shows while we were there, 59 enemy air raids flew in. That doesn't include many false alarms and numerous shellings from Japanese battleships, destroyers and cruisers. It seemed like about an air raid or shelling every day for three and a half months. I remember a lot of diving into ditches and ducking in and out of bomb shelters, or whatever we could find to hide under.
The entry for August 28, 1942, just three weeks after the landing, reads " date, have seen 133 Jap planes fall and some 20 odd ships sunk." Many more would follow.
These figures are by no means complete. Some pages of my diary were blank because we were just too busy shooting or being shot at. We were scared a lot of the time. The weeks and months of anxiety and tension...long days of tedious work, night watches at the edge of the jungle suddenly punctuated by sheer terror are only hinted at - if you can read between the lines. What is there are the impressions of a young 20 year old Marine just as they were written 53 years ago. They detail the war in the Solomons as I lived day at a time."

World War II and Comic Books: Sgt. Rock

Here's another I'm reminded of and what's good about Sgt Rock is that they are still being published and older issues have been reprinted in book form. Again the converted slide show I did as a manual read doesn't convert too well here. About Sgt Rock from wikipedia:
"During World War II, Sgt. Rock fought in the infantry branch of the U.S. Army in the European Theatre and eventually rose to authority within his unit, Easy Company. The unit was made up of a disparate collection of individuals who managed to participate in every major action in the European war. Rock's dogtag number was 409966, which had been, it was claimed, Robert Kanigher's own military serial number.
Robert Kanigher mused in letters columns in the 1970s and 1980s that Rock probably belonged to "The Big Red One" (First US Infantry Division) given his appearance on battlefields in North Africa, Italy and Northwest Europe. The backstory for Rock was fleshed out in different comics over the years; generally he is considered to have come from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where he worked in a steel mill. Enlisting after the attack on Pearl Harbor, he went to North Africa as a private but promotion came quickly as his superiors were killed, to assistant squad leader, squad leader, and then platoon sergeant. His unit is only ever given as "Easy Company", but no regiment or division is named nor is unit insignia ever shown. Rock also usually wears the chevrons and rockers of a Master Sergeant on his uniform and also applied, oversize, to the front of his helmet."
Kaniger was the main writer, but the artist is the famed Joe Kubert, a Brooklyn boy who lived on Schenck Ave in Brownsville.
Here's a link to an April 2006 blogpost where there is more on Sgt Rock and also a downloadable, better resolution slide show

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Using Movie Transcripts

Many movies have free downloadable scripts. It would be a pretty good literacy link for many topics. My favorite of WW2 vintage is
"A Walk In The Sun." It's not available, but "Saving Private Ryan" is. I found it on drew's script o rama Other movie script sites are simplescripts and there is also the dailyscript
Here's an excerpt from the opening of the movie:
Pushes through the men. Puts himself
in front of DeLancey.

The figure is CAPTAIN JOHN MILLER. Early thirties. By far
the oldest man on the craft. Relaxed, battle-hardened,
powerful, ignoring the hell around them. He smiles, puts a
cigar in his mouth, strikes a match on the front of DeLancey's
helmet and lights the cigar.

DeLancey tries to look away but Miller grips him by the jaw
and forces him to lock eyes. Miller smiles. DeLancey is

Delancey Captain, are we all gonna die?

Miller Hell no, two-thirds, tops.

Delancey Oh, Jesus...

Miller I want every one of you to look at the man on your
left. Now look at the man on your right. Feel sorry for
those to sons-of-bitches, they're going to get it, you're
not going to get a scratch. A few, including DeLancey, manage
thin smiles. Miller releases his grip on DeLancey who moves
his jaw as if to see if it's broken. Miller pats him on the
cheek and moves on to the bow.

Pearl Harbor: The Attack

Did they know it was coming? A BBC documentary and many think it was

An exchange with Gore Vidal on his belief the Japanese were provoked

a 12/7/2000 article on the Senate vote to pardon Admiral Kimmel

The Real Yankee MVP

From the Village Voice
The Long Ball
The secret to the Yanks' success? A guy named Kevin
by Allen Barra
September 25th, 2007 6:38 PMFor fans of a team that (as we go to press) hasn't yet caught the Red Sox for the lead in the AL East or even clinched the wild-cardberth—not to mention having lost 11 of 20 postseason games over the last three seasons—Yankee fans have gotten awfully arrogant in the last couple of months. Then again, they may have reason to be.For the first 74 games of the season, the Yanks were 36-38 for a won-lost percentage of .486 and looked like they were going to be the first team since Buck Showalter's last year, 1995, to be under .500 at the All-Star break. On July 2, they beat the Minnesota Twins 5-1 to begin a comeback that has, as of Sunday, September 23, resulted in a 52-24 record and .684, tops in the major leagues over that span.
In the second half of the season, the Yankees haven't just looked different from other Yankee teams in recent years headed for the postseason; they've looked radically different from the Yankees in the first half of this season. What's responsible for the turnabout? Some of the changes are subtle.
The Bench. The Yanks had an abominable bench before the acquisition of infielder Wilson Betemit and second-string catcher Jose Molina and the calling-up of Shelly Duncan. In truth, their bench isn't all that great now, but the upgrade—marginal for some teams—has been huge for the Yankees. Betemit has hit four homers and driven in 20 runs in 32 games; Miguel Cairo, essentially the man he replaced, had no homers and just 10 RBIs in 54 games. Molina, .321 with just one home run in 24 games, has been a monster compared to the man he replaced, Wil Nieves, who had no home runs and a .164 average in 26 games. Duncan, who filled in as an outfielder and at DH, has hit six home runs with a .541 slugging average—higher than anyone on the team except A-Rod and Jorge Posada—in just 30 games.
Pitching. Phil Hughes hasn't yet blossomed, but at 4-3 with four quality starts, he's been Sandy Koufax compared to Kei Igawa, who had just one decent start and an ERA more than two runs per nine innings higher than Hughes.
The Yanks' staff has also been shored up by two pitchers who were just a gleam in their eye at the beginning of the season: Ian Kennedy (a 1.89 ERA in three starts) and, of course, the absurdly under-used Joba Chamberlain. Joba's impact has been minimal only because the Yankees have kept him on too short a leash (just 21.2 innings in 16 appearances, with a ridiculous ERA of 0.42). If they'd let slip this dog of war, it could dramatically change the Yankees' postseason chances.
First Base. A handful of recent hits by Doug Mientkiewicz has obscured how awful he was before the All-Star break, hitting just .226 from April through June with four home runs while playing what's supposed to be the premier hitter's position in baseball. The Yankees were so desperate that at one point they played Miguel Cairo, perhaps the worst hitter in the league. After Mientkiewicz went out with an injury, Andy Phillips filled in well, hitting .292 with 25 RBIs in 61 games. Jason Giambi's return from the DL bolstered both the first-base and DH spots.
The Batting Order. The Yankees' biggest change since July 2, though, didn't involve any new players but four old ones. What really changed their season was the explosion of four mainstays of last year's team. For the first three months of the season, Johnny Damon, Bobby Abreu, Robby Cano, and Melky Cabrera, in 1,064 at-bats, combined for a .257 batting average. Over the last three months, in 1,130 at-bats, they have hit a collective .306. Not only that, but their power numbers have shot up as well—just 15 home runs for the four of them from April to June, and 38 home runs since.
In the first half of the season, especially over a stretch when Hideki Matsui missed two weeks with a hamstring, the Yankees' hitting was in jail; since then, the batting order has been the best in the major leagues. That all four players have had a strong resurgence—not to mention that A-Rod is topping all of last season's numbers and Posada, at age 36, is having his best season ever—can't be written off as coincidence. Nor do the Yankees think it is: They all credit their rookie batting coach, Kevin Long. Over the winter, Long worked with Alex Rodriguez, eliminating his high leg kick and helping him to get around better on inside pitches. The results, however, didn't start showing up until the second half of the season.
Says Bobby Abreu: "It took a while for Kevin's instruction to sink in. He had us all swinging inside-out, going with the outside pitch to the opposite field, and making contact again put us back in our groove." And if hitting is the Yankees' strong suit as they look toward the postseason, a good case could be made for Kevin Long as the Most Valuable Yankee of 2007.

The Great Migration

An excellent book that explains both WW1 and WW2's effect on race in our country. Vibrant illustrations by Jacob Lawrence. I added a soundtrack by Duke Ellington, Misty Morning and Night Train
the amazon review
Grade 3 Up-A noted African-American artist chronicles the 1916-1919 migration of blacks from the South through a sequence of 60 paintings and accompanying narrative captions. The story begins with the call for new workers in the North to replace those men fighting in Europe. There was no justice for African Americans under Southern law, and sharecropping kept them poor. Lawrence depicts their arrival in Chicago and Pittsburgh; their new jobs in factories; the attacks against them by white workers; and their new opportunities, such as voting and going to school. At first, most of the paintings are set in the South, showing only a few people venturing north. Later on, the artwork is more crowded, with the phrase "And the migrants kept coming" repeated over and over again. The cumulative effect is powerful, and could not have been achieved by illustrations or words alone. Although more abstract than realistic, the paintings evoke fear and hope and transmit the courage of those who left behind everything they had known in order to find a better life. Since its completion in 1941, the art has been scattered among several museums, and young readers are fortunate to have it collected here in a single volume. A moving poem by Walter Dean Myers makes a fitting conclusion to this exceptional title.

Racial Propaganda In Fighting WW2

I found an incredibly comprehensive site on our homeland Japanese in WW2. I used some of the comic book examples along with some of the explanatory text and combined it with a particularly prejudiced WW2 song from authentic history
"The purpose of this section of The Authentic History Center is to educate about the power of imagery in the stereotyping of race. By understanding how it happened, we can recognize it happening now. Once aware, we can make a conscious effort to avoid the messy thinking stereotyping promotes that leads to fear, prejudice, hate, and discrimination. The purpose is not to blame, but to increase people's sensitivy to these stereotypes by decreasing ignorance. Promoting racial tolerance is a goal because intolerance is destructive and not acceptable in a free, civilized society. Ultimately, however, we must all learn to value the racial and cultural diversity of our histories, our nations, and the world in which we live in order to be truly civilized"
Two recordings most notable for their themes of revenge and anger appeared on sides A and B of a December 1941 Bluebird release by Carson Robison. This performer had earned a living and reputation as a cowboy and hillbilly artist throughout the 1920s and 1930s, spending many of those years working with Vernon Dalhart. His most prolific years were before 1930, but with the attack on Pearl Harbor, Robison found a temporary niche as a novelty song artist. Robison's version of "Remember Pearl Harbor," while emphasizing the sneak attack, manages to call the Japanese "rats," "vultures," and "yellow scum" (no longer deserving of being considered our "little brown brothers"). Twice he advocates killing all Japanese, managing in the last verse to invoke both religion and the patriotic duty of all Americans to help support the war effort by buying more war bonds. On the B side is a rather amazing anti-Japanese recording, "We're Gonna Have To Slap The Dirty Little Jap (And Uncle Sam's The Guy Who Can Do It)," written by Bob Miller. This song, as well as the previous, refer to the Japanese as "yellow." While this is undoubtedly a reference to the "cowardly" act of a sneak attack, it also seems clear that use of the word is part of the common race caricature of Japanese seen throughout the war. Even the sheet music is yellow. The Carson Robison version of this song did not include the third verse. That verse was recorded in a version by Lucky Millinder on February 18, 1942

We're Gonna Have To Slap The Dirty Little Jap (and Uncle Sam's The Guy Who Can Do It)"
Performed by Lucky Millinder, Written by Bob Miller, Recorded February 18, 1942
We're gonna have to slap the dirty little Jap
And Uncle Sam's the guy who can do it
We'll skin the streak of yellow from this sneaky little fellow
And he'll think a cyclone hit him when he's thru it
We'll take the double crosser to the old woodshed
We'll start on his bottom and go to his head
When we get thru with him he'll wish that he was dead
We gotta slap the dirty little Jap
We're gonna have to slap the dirty little Jap
And Uncle Sam's the guy who can do it
The Japs and all their hooey will be changed into chop suey
And the rising sun will set when we get thru it
Their alibi for fighting is to save their face
For ancestors waiting in celestial space
We'll kick their precious face down to the other place
We gotta slap the dirty little Jap
We're gonna have to slap the dirty little Jap
And Uncle Sam's the guy who can do it
We'll murder Hirohito, massacre that slob Benito
Hang'em with that Shickle gruber when we're thru it
We'll search the highest mountain for the tallest tree
To build us a hanging post for the evil three
We'll call in all our neighbors, let'em know their free
We gotta slap the dirty little Jap

NY War Stories: 761st Tank Battalion

In the NYC companion edition to "The War" one of the people who is highlighted is William McBurney who was a member of this famed Battalion. The story of the battalion is the focus of an excellent book written by Kareem Abdul Jabbar. Tavis Smiley interviewed him back in 2004.From a previous post with a replacement video (I matched pics with the audio0 I even supplied the transcript to read along

original airdate May 21, 2004
Most know that hoops legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was the kind of player that graces a sport once in a lifetime. What may be a surprise is that he's a student of history, his major at UCLA. As a child, he spent hours exploring Harlem's Schomburg Center. Inspired by a 1992 documentary, Abdul-Jabbar co-authored Brothers in Arms, the storyof World War II's forgotten heroes - the 761st Tank Battalion, one of the first all-Black tank crews.
Kareem Abdul-JabbarTavis: You've been all right, man?
Kareem: I've been fine, thank you.
Tavis: Good. Before I get into this book, one of the things that troubles me to this day, and I've got any number of conversations about these. I don't know if you have had these kinds of conversations, but I find myself in conversations routinely where because African-Americans, according to the polls and surveys and studies are opposed to the war in Iraq. No community is more opposed to the war in Iraq than African-Americans are, and there are a lot of folk who will take those statistics and suggest that black folk are not "patriots," that they're not down with the cause, they're not down with the struggle, they're not patriotic as other Americans are, and my sense is that they feel that way because what these poll numbers suggest, but they don't understand the sacrifice African-Americans have made for years serving in the military. You have any conversations like that?
Kareem: I haven't had very many. No, from what I can see, just from what I've observed, black people are pretty much in the middle. They're supporting both sides of the issue.
Tavis: Yeah. How did your attention get drawn to the 761st specifically?
Kareem: Well, my father was a police officer with one of the gentlemen in the unit. I've known this gentleman since I was like, 8 or 9 years old. He's one of my dad's best friends, and I had no idea that he was a war hero. I didn't find out he was a war hero till 1992. I was in my forties.
Tavis: You'd known him your whole life, but you didn't know he was a war hero?
Kareem: Right. I had no idea and watched a documentary that talked about what they did and how they had to fight for the right to fight for their country and some of what they did, but unfortunately in that documentary, a number of the facts got confused, and it again created more controversy and saw to it that these men did not get their due recognition.
Tavis: I know you've been asked about this before, but it is really a fascinating part of the book, so forgive me in indulging me for asking again, but Jackie Robinson, the Jackie Robinson, was a part of the 761st.
Kareem: Yes, Jackie Robinson was their morale officer. He came over from the Ninth Cavalry, and he was dealing with a court-martial when they got called over to Europe. He had refused to sit in the back of the bus. He was told to do so by a white bus driver and because he resisted, both verbally and threatened to do so physically, they put him up on court-martial charges, and he was dealing with that when the unit got called over to Europe, and so after he beat the charges, he had a choice either to stay in the army and rejoin his unit or to take an honorable discharge, and he had had enough by then.
Tavis: You said morale officer. What did a morale officer do back then?
Kareem: Morale officer is supposed to keep up the esprit de corps, and just they...soldiers want their officers to be intelligent and athletic and capable, and, you know, Jackie was all of that.
Tavis: Yeah, no question. What specifically did the 761st do? They were a tank battalion, obviously, but what role did they play in World War II? What did they do specifically?
Kareem: Well, in World War II, they were--A battalion would be used by any infantry unit that needed it. What happened was after the D-Day invasion, the Allies, when they went up against the front-line German tank units, the Allies really didn't do very well, and by September of 1944, Patton needed trained tankers. The 761st was the only battalion left that had been totally trained and was just sitting around doing nothing, because they were only supposed to be doing it as a public-relations ploy to get black people to support the war effort.
Tavis: I'm glad you said that. I wrote down this quote from Patton, which was stunning to me, the juxtaposition, at least, of these 2 quotes. So Patton, General Patton addressing the troops in 1944, addressing these black troops, 761st, in 1944, says, and I quote, "Everyone has their eyes on you and is expecting great things from you, most of all, your race is looking forward to your success. Don't let them down, and damn you, don't let me down." That's what Patton says in '44 to these African-American troops. Later on, writing in his diary, he says that the men of the 761st gave a very good first impression, "But I had no faith in the inherent fighting ability of their race."
Kareem: That was the same night.
Tavis: That's the same night?
Kareem: He wrote that the same night.
Tavis: Now, that threw me.
Kareem: He said he addressed them today, and then you quoted him.
Tavis: So during the day, he's like, "Don't let me down. Don't let your race down. We're depending on you, rah, rah, rah."
Kareem: Then you see what he really feels.
Tavis: And then, that night, in his own diary, he writes, "I ain't got no faith in these cats, because their race don't know how to represent here."
Kareem: Exactly.
Tavis: So to your earlier point then, I'm gonna leave Patton alone for a second. That's disturbing me, but--I used to like General Patton. He's tricky now to me.
Kareem: Yeah, he is.
Tavis: He's very tricky, but let me ask you, though, whether or not the troops ever found out what Patton really thought of them?
Kareem: Patton wanted them to go out there and do what they needed to do to help his army win, and they did a very good job of that, so he appreciated them on that level, but then at the same time, he saw to it that they didn't get the recognition they deserved. All the paperwork, for example, that people put in to give these guys, to nominate them for honors, got lost in Patton's chain of command somewhere, just disappeared, and it took people working decades later looking back to see to it that they were honored correctly.
Tavis: What's your sense of how they dealt with knowing they were only used because Patton didn't have any other troops left?
Kareem: They knew that it would probably take something like that for them to get a chance, but that's all they wanted was a chance, and they ended up being the best-trained unit that we had. They trained for 2 1/2 years.
Tavis: 'Cause they couldn't fight. All they did was train, so they were the best.
Kareem: They knew everything. They knew all the German equipment, its strengths and weaknesses, and the strengths and weaknesses of the Sherman tank, so when they got out there in the field, they knew how to stay alive, even though they didn't have better equipment.
Tavis: But back to the Jackie Robinson role, at least the role he played earlier on, being their morale officer, though, I can't imagine--maybe you can--I can't imagine knowing that I'm being player-hated on, I'm being mistreated because I'm an African-American. I'm the last one to fight, and you only let me go fight, represent my country 'cause you ain't got nobody else left to go, but then I'm supposed to go out there and be down with America and help us win. That really is the definition to me of patriotism and bravery to do that when you know you only being used because you're black. You're the last thing left.
Kareem: Well, they felt that if they did well, they would prove to America that their bravery and competence went across the board, and it wasn't just in these emergencies when they were needed to fight a very formidable foe.
Tavis: I'm out of time here, unfortunately, but yet, when they came home, they had to still sit in the back of the train, goin' down south, these troops behind...
Kareem: But they came home with an attitude that they could change things, that there was something left to do. I'm sure that what they learned in their military service is what gave them the gumption to go out and make the civil rights movement happen, 'cause it started immediately when these guys got home. All of a sudden, the civil rights movement started, and it didn't stop.
Tavis: Well, it's a great book. 'Brothers in Arms: The Epic Story of the 761st Tank Battalion: World War II's Forgotten Heroes.' No better time now than to read this and be reminded of the contribution that all Americans have made, but certainly, African-Americans as well to the freedoms that we enjoy today. Kareem, always nice to see you, man.
Kareem: Hey, thanks a lot.
Tavis: We'll talk basketball maybe next time.
Kareem: Anytime.
Tavis: All right, we'll do it again. Up next on this program, now we've talked to Kareem. Now we'll talk to another great actor, Glenn Close. Stay with us.

A Real Mensch

If only we had political and educational leaders like this man. I love him and I thank him for getting me through a rough few months along with Joba and Derek & Co. I also want to publicly apologize for doubting, not his abilities as a man, but as a manager.

No Pasaran

Posted originally back in April, but the video component was "youtube removed." I figured it belonged here.
Burns has been criticized for taking a strictly domestic view of a World War. Even if he didn't I doubt he would have the chutzpah to include the story of the Lincoln Brigade. Here's what I blogged previously and moved here, where it sort of belongs theme wise. I love the song which I struggled mightily to "karaoke." I actually met Paul Robeson Jr. and gave him a disc copy.
There is a new Lincoln Brigade exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York and a new book out about the Brigade
"No men ever entered the earth more honorably than those who died in Spain," wrote Ernest Hemingway in 1939. Between the years of 1936-1939, an estimated 1,000 Americans, many from New York, died fighting to protect the elected government of the Spanish Republic against a rebellion led by General Francisco Franco and backed by Hitler and Mussolini. Facing Fascism: New York and the Spanish Civil War examines the role that New Yorkers played in the conflict, as well as the political and social ideologies that motivated them to participate in activities ranging from rallying support, fundraising, and relief aid, to fighting--and sometimes dying--on the front lines in Spain. The stories of these New Yorkers will be told through photographs, letters, uniforms, weapons, and an array of personal and historical memorabilia.

the soundtrack, by John McCutcheon
From the farms, from the cities, from every land
Came the Abe Lincoln Brigade
With a dream in their hearts, with a gun in their hands
The Abraham Lincoln Brigade
No pasaran, no pasaran
So sang the Abe Lincoln Brigade
Across the years and the oceans
We still sing the song
Of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade
Cries from the cities, shouts from the hills
The Abraham Lincoln Brigade
The fire in the hearts that is warming us still
The Abraham Lincoln Brigade
No pasaran, no pasaran
So sang the Abe Lincoln Brigade
Across the years and the oceans
We still sing the song
Of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade
All the teachers, the artists
The workers who died
Oh the Abe Lincoln Brigade
Their stories still thrill me
We work side by side
With the Abraham Lincoln Brigade
No pasaran, no pasaran
So sang the Abe Lincoln Brigade
Across the years and the oceans
We still sing the song
The Abraham Lincoln Brigade
So raise glasses and voices
Give them a toast
Of the Abe Lincoln Brigade
Those who die best are the ones who live most
Like the Abraham Lincoln Brigade
No pasaran, no pasaran
So sang the Abe Lincoln Brigade
Across the years and the oceans
We still sing the song
Of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade
No pasaran, no pasaran
So sang the the Abe Lincoln Brigade
Across the years and the oceans
We still sing the song
Of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade

World War II and Comic Books

Here's another school literature/connection to WW2 that I'm reminded of. Captain America got his start fighting Nazi's in the 40's. It was a creation of Joe Simon and 76 Suffolk Street's Jack Kirby (I lived there for my first 4 years). Later the Captain was co-opted by The Right."King" Kirby also had his earlier Newsboy Legion right here in NYC. If anyone is interested in comic book collecting you can contact my old friend's son Josh Nathanson at
Again, because this was created as a self controlled slide show the conversion to automatic is too fast. Use my advice about this on the Always Remember post of yesterday. The text is also too small because of the size limitations of google video on blogs


The Chancellor wrote to teachers the other day about the Little Rock 9. I found it amazing that he mentioned them, because hardly anyone ever talks about history or social studies at Tweed. But what chutzpah, because he talked about how the system has done so much to lessen injustice and inequalities by raising scores and closing gaps, yet we all know the statistics are inaccurate. Read about it here in the nysun
By the way you'll see nothing coming out of Tweed in terms of any initiative or professional development to compliment the Ken Burns' documentary. This despite the fact that they are swimming in History Grant money

Always Remember My Name, by Marisabina Russo

I have a lot of book resources for kids to accompany the WW2 topic. Here's a beautiful one that I scanned. I originally used buttons for this slide show to manually turn the pages. It won't convert in that fashion for a streamed video, so here I re-did it and timed it at 10 seconds per page. However, you can always stop it manually and then restart. You just have to give it time to fully load. You won't be able to read it in this size but I think you get a sense of the story. Great illustrations. Some reviews:
Grade 2-4–The experiences of Russo's relatives before, during, and after World War II are the basis for this story about a grandmother sharing with her young granddaughter photo albums of her "first life" (in Germany) and her "second life" (after the war). Rachel's family gathers for Sunday dinner at Oma's. After the meal, Oma tells the girl of her marriage and her family's happy life; her husband's death after World War I; the rise of the Nazi party and denial of rights to Jews; the burning and looting of Jewish businesses; and life in a concentration camp. At war's end, Oma and her three daughters were reunited in America. Now she gives Rachel the gold heart necklace that her own grandmother gave her many years ago when her family left Poland for Germany ("When you wear this…always remember me and…May luck follow you wherever you go"). This book introduces the Holocaust in a simple but factual narrative that can be easily understood by youngsters who have no knowledge of World War II. Gouache illustrations in Russo's familiar folk style are accompanied by many re-creations of old photos, government papers, money, an identity card–all helping to bring the events to life. Photos on the endpapers show the author's family. This offering answers the need for appropriate Holocaust literature for young children and should be considered a first purchase.–Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH

From Booklist
Gr. 3-5. In a moving picture book, Russo tells her Jewish family's story of Holocaust survival. She remembers herself as a small child visiting her grandmother, Oma, who tells Russo the family history with photos stretching back to Oma's youth and marriage before World War I. Children will need help to understand the multigenerational time frame and to keep track of who's who; in fact, the book may appeal more to adults than to young readers. But Russo personalizes the history with photo-album entries printed on the endpapers, and her gouache illustrations, framed like photos, show the individuality and strength of family members as they faced the Nazis who sought to destroy all Jews. Miraculously, Oma and her three daughters, two of whom were in the camps, survived to be reunited in the U.S. An afterword fills in some Holocaust history. Hazel Rochman

Any Bonds Today?

Another combination of images from the PBS "The War" site with music from authentic history. Song by the Andrews Sisters
The lyrics:
Any bonds today?
Bonds of freedom
That's what I'm selling
Any bonds today?
Scrape up the most you can
Here comes the freedom man
Asking you to buy a share of freedom today
Any stamps today?
We'll be blest
If we all invest
In the U.S.A.
Here comes the freedom man
Can't make tomorrow's plan
Not unless you buy a share of freedom today

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

We Did It Before And We Can Do It Again

The PBS "The War" site has a wealth of great resources available. One section has WW2 posters. I thought I'd combine them with WW2 songs I found at authentic history
Here are the lyrics for this song, written by New York boy Charlie Tobias
December seventh nineteen-hundred and forty-one
Our land of freedom was defied
December eighth nineteen-hundred and forty-one
Uncle Sam replied.
We did it before and we can do it again
And we will do it again
We've got a heck of a job to do
But you can bet we'll see it thru.
We did it before and we can do it again
And we will do it again
We're one for all and all for one
They'll get a licking before we're done
Millions of voices are ringing
Singing as we march along
We did it before and we can do it again
And we will do it again
We'll knock them over and then we'll get the guy in back of them
We did it before, we'll do it again

We did it before and we can do it again
And we will do it again, we'll take the nip out of Nipponese
and chase them back to the cherry trees
We did it before and we can do it again
And we will do it again
When we get going and start to click
We'll put the ax in the axis quick
Millions of voices are ringing
Singing as we march along
We did it before and we can do it again
And we will do it again
This country never has lost a war since days of William Penn
We did it before, we'll do it again
Millions of voices are ringing
Singing as we march along
We did it before and we can do it again
And we will do it again
And even though it may take a year
or two or five or ten
We did it before, we'll do it all over again

I'll Be Seeing You

Again from 2002, one of my first karaoke attempts. Who better to use but Rosemary Clooney. This was a big WW2 song.

Day Of Infamy

also from 2002
good source from the University of
the full text
To the Congress of the United States:
Yesterday, December 7, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.
The United States was at peace with that Nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its Government and its Emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in Oahu, the Japanese Ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to the Secretary of State of form reply to a recent American message. While this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or armed attack.
It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time the Japanese Government had deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.
The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. Very many American lives have been lost. In addition American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.
Yesterday the Japanese Government also launched an attack against Malaya.
Last night Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.
Last night Japanese forces attacked Guam.
Last night Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.
Last night the Japanese attacked Midway Island.
Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our Nation.
As Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense.
Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us.
No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.
I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.
Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory, and our interests are in grave danger.
With confidence in our armed forces -- with the unbounded determination of our people -- we will gain the inevitable triumph -- so help us God.
I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December seventh, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

The White House, December 8, 1941

Joba: Game 4

Time for a Joba Break from WW2 obsession.
I did this in IMovie instead of my slide show app so I could make use of the transitions. I was searching for a Joba theme song. Here it's "The Natural." I was trying to push Eli's Coming, but the youtube yahoos weren't big Laura Nyro fans. (I couldn't stand the Three Dog Night version). They wanted heavy metal crap. Turns out Joba himself ultimately picked a Motley Crew song, "Shout at The Devil." Well, nobody's perfect.

Remember Pearl Harbor, 2

Found this from 2004. Not very visible in the 320x240 size, but it's not really worth the effort to redo. The main characters are the heroes Dorie Miller and John Finn. The song is the highlight here.
by Don Reid and Sammy Kaye
History in ev'ry century records an act that lives forevermore.
We'll recall, as into line we fall, the thing that happened on Hawaii's
As we go to meet the foe.
As we did the Alamo.
We will always remember how they died for Liberty.
And go on to victory."

Guadalcanal Diary: The Movie

Found this as part of my History First Hand resources from 2002, although I notice my name is strangely missing?
Boy is William Bendix missed. He was a Yankee fan even before he played Babe Ruth. Here's an article the Daily News did many years ago on "New York Characters" that goes with this clip:
It's Game Two of the 1942 World Series, Sportsman's Park, St.Louis. Cardinal rookie Stan Musial awaits New York hurler Ernie Bonham'spitch, bottom of the eighth, as Enos Slaughter, the winning run, inches off second. Musial s-w-i-n-g-s, the sputtering radio set carrying play-by-play action snaps and crackles — and the game's highlight is erased. You can't blame
Aloysius T.Potts for growling in frustration. Or maybe you can. Flatbush-bred Potts, a full-blooded Brooklynite, loudly trumpets his Dodger faith, and Dem Bums didn't even make this World Series. Their 1941 American League conquerors did, and here he is, actually rooting for those damn Yankees. Baseball loyalties should be made of sterner stuff.But you gotta make allowances. Taxi Potts is no longer steering his cab through friendly Prospect Park, Bensonhurst and Coney Island while exulting in the fortunes of Pee Wee Reese, Pete Reiser and Dixie Walker on the car radio. Sure, 12 months back, Mickey Owens' passed ball, which turned the tide in the Yankees' favor, broke his heart. But that was then, this is now, and the wounded radio set around which Cpl.Potts and his Marine platoon mates huddle rests beneath soaring palm trees on steamy, malarial, Japanese-infested Guadalcanal. Any link to the annual rite of nine guys in flannels facing nine other guys in flannels for the world championship thousands of miles away is a link worth grasping. But rooting for the men in Yankee pinstripes? "New York's my home town," Cpl. Potts explains to his new Marine buddies, all out-of-towners from the twangy Midwest or drawling South. Anyway, he amplifies his excuse: "Who ever said anything about Flatbush being part of New York? It's vice versa." Pinpointing on a map Guadalcanal, strategic jewel of the Solomons chain, would have left Potts geographically challenged. But as he crossed the ocean to fight for Kings County and country, he had much more to learn (check treetops for snipers, wear your helmet, beware of booby-trapped souvenirs). And some things to unlearn. Selection of small arms, for example. Aboard the transport conveying them, conventional troops prepare ammunition belts, but Taxi shows off his private arsenal. "That's not government-issue," a sergeant points out. "No, that's Flatbush-issue," responds the unapologetic Taxi, confidently waving his blackjack. "Do you want to take the island all by yourself?" "That would go over good in Brooklyn!" Cocky before combat, Taxi Potts is a bearlike, earthy, dems-and-dese guy, whether joshing a teenage recruit about his first stubble of facial hair ("You know your mother don't let you go with no dames") or ruminating on his own dealings with the opposite sex ("That's a tomato, every time").
He longs for the simple pleasures of bygone days — his beverage of choice, for example. There'd be Mom, pouring "a swig of gin. What a sweet old lady." And, of course, "Ebbets Field, that's for me. Just watching my beautiful Bums." But now, there's a war to be won. Initial landings go strangely unopposed. But snipers hidden amid palm leaves soon take their toll, and night infiltrators turn Marine sentries trigger-happy. Behind the beach, American troops take a Japanese landing strip, rename it Henderson Field and prepare perimeter defenses. "Maybe if we dig deep
enough," muses Taxi, "we'll come out somewhere near Ebbets Field." Counterattacks, bomb runs by Japanese planes farther up the Solomons chain and nightly shellings by warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy make life a nightmare for nearly 11,000 men of the 1st Marine Division. The grueling campaign now under way fosters a durable rhyme about Marines standing before the Pearly Gates and reporting to St. Peter that they've already served their time in hell. And the ordeal extracts from normally lighthearted Potts some somber reflections: "I don't know about those other guys, but this thing is over my head. I ain't much at this praying business. My old lady took care of that. I'm no hero. I'm just a guy. I don't want no medals. I just want to get this thing over with and get back home." "Guadalcanal Diary," the movie, loosely adapted from "Guadalacanal Diary," the book, combat correspondent Richard Tregaskis' day-by-day account, premiered at the Roxy on Nov. 17, 1943. The film's fictional Marine unit contributed to an evolving Hollywood formula — a geographical melting pot with a Texan, a Southerner, a Midwesterner and, unfailingly, a guy from Brooklyn. This one was played by New York-born William Bendix, later radio and television's lovably bumbling Chester W. Riley. According to Borough President John Cashmore's numbers, 327,000 real Brooklynites took part in the war effort, 71,000 of them laboring in round-the-clock shifts at the Navy Yard from which the star battlewagons Iowa and Missouri rolled into the East River. Over in Red Hook, the Todd
Shipyard churned out the workhorse assault landing craft that carried the Taxi Pottses of the 1st Marines to enemy-held atolls throughout the Pacific. And Brooklyn's unglamorous Army Terminal became departure point for 50% of the East Coast's war zone-headed cargo.
"A Long Way From Brooklyn — And Them Beautiful Bums," proclaimed the "Guadalcanal Diary" theater ads about Flatbush's native son. Ironically, even as Potts' lament reached the neighborhoods, Italian POWs shifted here from North Africa were being hospitably interned at Greenpoint, an enviable 5-cent ride from The House That Ebbets Built. Enough to make Taxi grumble, Riley-like: "What a revoltin' development this is! "Personal for Taxi: Still haven't caught up? Here's the Sportsman's Park update for Oct. 1, 1942 (Oct. 2 on Guadalcanal's side of the International Date Line): Musial singles. Slaughter races home. The Cards win.

Guadalcanal Diaries: Part 1

from 8/02, americanexpeditions on npr
audio from:
great image source

Siege Marked First American Offensive of World War II
Aug. 7, 2002 -- Sixty years ago today, thousands of U.S. Marines splashed ashore on a remote island in the southwest Pacific, called Guadalcanal. The first American offensive of World War II, their mission was to seize an airfield. What followed was six months of desperate struggle against not only the Japanese military, but heat, jungle, rain, disease and hunger.
In a two-part series for NPR/National Geographic Radio Expeditions, Neal Conan visits some of the famous battle sites and talks with veterans about the crucial struggle.
The Coastwatchers
The Japanese began scouting for an airfield location in the southern Solomon Islands early in 1942. From there, air attacks could disrupt supply and communication lines between Australia and its Allies, the United States and Britain. The best spot was a smooth plain on the northern coast of Guadalcanal.Guadalcanal Losses
Japan: 2 battleships, 1 light cruiser, 3 heavy cruisers, 1 light carrier, 11 destroyers, 6 submarines
U.S.: 2 heavy carriers, 6 heavy cruisers, 2 light cruisers, 15 destroyers
Total Ground Forces on Guadalcanal:
Japanese Imperial Army: 31,400 troops
U.S. Army, Marine: 60,000 troops
Total Ground Force Troop Losses:
Japanese Imperial Army: 20,800
U.S. Army, Marine: 1,769
Source: "Guadalcanal: The Definitive Account of the Landmark Battle," by Richard Frank.
But when the Japanese arrived on the obscure island to build the airfield, the Allied forces knew of their plans.
Prior to the war, a few hundred Europeans lived among the Solomon Islanders. The Europeans were mostly planters, shopkeepers and colonial officials. After Pearl Harbor, most of the Europeans fled -- except for the Coastwatchers, a small group of men organized by the Australian Naval Reserve. Martin Clemens, a Scot, was one of them. As the district officer on Guadalcanal, he served as administrator, judge and police chief.
And when the Japanese arrived, he served as a critical part of an intelligence network, reporting by radio details of their actions and plans from a hideout in the hills. Clemens and his team of native scouts survived hunger and malaria as they avoided Japanese patrols and gave the crucial advantage of surprise to the Allied forces.
As World War II commander Admiral William "Bull" Halsey put it, "Guadalcanal saved the Pacific, and the Coastwatchers saved Guadalcanal."
The Battle
Before the Japanese were able to finish the airfield, the United States invaded. On Aug. 7, 1942, U.S. Marines landed, and with surprise on their side, quickly seized the field, later named Henderson Field. The Marines completed construction and put the field into operation. But the Japanese soon struck back, and six months of brutal land, air and sea battles followed as the two sides struggled for control of the island.
Military historian Richard Frank, author of the book Guadalcanal: The Definitive Account of the Landmark Battle, describes Guadalcanal as a mutual siege, where control of the waters around the island changed every 12 hours. By day, U.S. ships took advantage of the air cover from Henderson Field to land supplies. But by night, Japanese navy destroyers raced in to land troops and what supplies they could.
In the end, says Frank, it came down to food. The Marines may not have eaten well or often, but they ate. The Japanese did not.
The Japanese destroyers didn't have enough time to drop off both troops and supplies under cover of darkness. The troops could rush off the destroyers, but supplies took time to unload. "They kept dumping mouths on Guadacanal and not food," says Frank. "It's no wonder why the Japanese came to call it Starvation Island."
By January, the Japanese command decided it chances for re-capturing Guadalcanal were slim, and could no longer justify its losses. An evacuation began, the battle ended -- and the tide changed in the Pacific war.
Prior to Guadalcanal, the Japanese initiated every move in the Pacific theater. After it, the United States and its allies decided where and when to fight.

Lost And Found Sound: The Sullivan Brothers

One of the greatest tragedies of WW2.
audio is from lost and found sound
from wikipedia "On 8 November the USS Juneau departed Nouméa, New Caledonia, as a unit of Task Force 67 under the command of Rear Admiral R. K. Turner to escort reinforcements to Guadalcanal. The force arrived there early morning 12 November, and Juneau took up her station in the protective screen around the transports and cargo vessels. Unloading proceeded unmolested until 1405 when 30 Japanese planes attacked the alerted United States group. The AA fire was effective, and Juneau alone accounted for six enemy torpedo planes shot down. The few remaining attackers were then attacked by American fighters; only one bomber escaped.
Later in the day an American attack group of cruisers and destroyers cleared Guadalcanal on reports that a large enemy surface force was headed for the island. At 0148 on 13 November Rear Admiral D. J. Callaghan's relatively small Landing Support Group engaged the enemy. The Japanese force consisted of two battleships, one light cruiser, and nine destroyers.
Due to bad weather and confused communications, the battle occurred in close to pitch darkness and at almost point-blank range as the ships of the two sides intermingled with each other. During the melee, Juneau was struck on the port side by a torpedo causing a severe list, stopping her dead in the water, and necessitating withdrawal. Before noon 13 November, Juneau, along with two other cruisers damaged in the battle- Helena, and San Francisco, left the Guadalcanal area to return to Espiritu Santo for repairs. Juneau was steaming on one screw, keeping station 800 yards on the starboard quarter of the likewise severely damaged San Francisco (CA-38). She was down 12 feet by the bow, but able to maintain 13 knots. A few minutes after 1100 three torpedoes were launched from the B1 type submarine I-26. Juneau successfully avoided two, but the third struck her at the same point which had been damaged during the surface action. There was a great explosion; Juneau broke in two and disappeared in 20 seconds. Fearing more attacks from the I-26, the Helena and San Francisco continued-on without attempting to rescue survivors. Although the ship went down with heavy loss of life, more than 100 survivors had survived the sinking. They were left to fend on their own in the open ocean for eight days before rescue aircraft belatedly arrived. While awaiting rescue, all but 10 died from the elements and savage shark attacks, including Captain Swenson and the two remaining Sullivan brothers. (The other three died as a direct result of the 2nd torpedo.)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Sound Portraits: Bergen Belsen
Recorded in Near Celle, Germany.
Premiered April 20, 2002, on Weekend Edition Saturday.
On April 15, 1945, British forces liberated the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in northern Germany. Sixty-thousand prisoners were living in the camp when the troops arrived, most of them seriously ill. Thousands more lay dead and unburied on the camp grounds.
BBC reporter Patrick Gordon Walker was among the press corps that entered Bergen-Belsen with the British troops that day. Over the next few weeks, he documented what he saw, recording the first Sabbath ceremony openly conducted on German soil since the beginning of the war, interviewing survivors, and speaking to British Tommies about what they had witnessed at liberation.
One of the people who heard Walker's radio dispatches was soon-to-be-legendary folk-music producer Moe Asch. An engineer at the time at New York radio station WEVD, Asch recorded the shortwave broadcast onto an acetate disc. Decades later, the record was re-discovered at the Smithsonian Institution by historian Henry Sapoznik.
Bergen-Belsen was the name of an infamous Nazi camp which has become a symbol of the Holocaust that claimed the lives of 6 million Jews more than sixty years ago. In 1943, Bergen-Belsen was initially set up as a detention camp (Aufenthaltslager) for prisoners who held foreign passports and were thus eligible to be traded for German citizens being held in Allied internment camps. In December 1944, Bergen-Belsen became a concentration camp under the command of Josef Kramer, the former Commandant of the Auschwitz II camp, also known as Birkenau.
A section for sick prisoners, who could no longer work in the Nazi forced labor camps, was set aside in March 1944. In 1945, when World War II was drawing to a close, civilian prisoners were evacuated from other concentration camps as Russian troops advanced westward; thousands of these prisoners had been brought to the Bergen-Belsen camp which was not equipped to handle such a large number of people. Finally, Bergen-Belsen itself was right in the middle of the war zone where bombs were falling and Allied planes were strafing the Autobahn and the railroads. British and Germans troops were doing battle on the Lüneberg heath right outside the camp. In February 1945, the situation at Bergen-Belsen became catastrophic when a typhus epidemic broke out in the crowded camp where a typhoid epidemic was already claiming thousands of lives.
Emaciated corpses were thrown into mass graves at Bergen-Belsen
Hitler's second in command, Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler, had been plotting behind Hitler's back in an attempt to negotiate a peace with America and Great Britain, with the aim of forming an alliance to fight against the Communists. He knew that half of Germany and all of Eastern Europe, with a population of 120 million people, had been promised to the Communists by American president Franklin D. Roosevelt at the Yalta Conference. As the leader who was in charge of all the concentration camps (his rank in the SS was equivalent to a 5-star General in the US Army), he planned to use the Jewish prisoners as bargaining chips in his negotiations with the non-Communist Allies.
Himmler was determined to do all he could to hamper the inevitable take-over of Europe by the Communists. To this end, beginning on April 5, 1945, he ordered the execution of Communist leaders being held at the three main concentration camps in Germany: Dachau, Sachsenhausen and Buchenwald.
Before surrendering Bergen-Belsen to the British on April 15, 1945, Himmler ordered about 7,000 people to be evacuated from the camp. The three train loads of prisoners, which left the camp between April 6 and April 11, were made up of prominent Dutch Jews, Hungarian Jews, Jewish prisoners from neutral countries and Jewish prisoners who held foreign passports. Himmler was hoping to use these prisoners to negotiate with the Allies. The rest of the prisoners at Bergen-Belsen were to be voluntarily turned over to the enemy.
On April 4, 1945, American soldiers had seen their first Nazi horror camp in Germany, the abandoned forced labor camp at Ohrdruf, a sub-camp of Buchenwald. On April 11, American troops had discovered Buchenwald, which had already been taken over by the Communist political prisoners there. The next day, on April 12, 1945, Franklin D. Roosevelt died and Himmler had renewed hopes of negotiating a surrender to the Americans and the British, but not to the Communist Soviet Union. It was within this context that Himmler began negotiations to voluntarily turn the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp over to the British in early April 1945.
Two German officers were sent to a British outpost to explain that there were 9,000 sick prisoners in the camp and that there was no water after the electric pump had been hit in an Allied bombing attack. The Germans proposed that the British Army should occupy the camp immediately to keep the epidemics in the camp from spreading to the troops on both sides. In return, the Germans offered to surrender the bridges over the river Aller. At first, the British rejected the German proposals, saying it was necessary that the British should occupy an area of ten kilometers around the camp in order to be sure of keeping their troops away from the epidemic, but eventually a compromise was reached and the British agreed. On April 15, 1945, Bergen-Belsen was surrendered to British Officer Derrick Sington, who wrote about it in a small book called "Belsen Uncovered" which was published by Duckworth, London in 1946.
As a result of the British Army taking control, Bergen-Belsen became the first Nazi horror camp to become widely known to the American public. After the British revealed the Nazi atrocities to the world, this camp came to epitomize the brutality and depravity of the Nazis who called the German people the Master Race (Herrenvolk) and who were carrying out a systematic plan to kill the Jews and others whom they considered undesirable (Untermenschen). Thanks to the British Army, which filmed the unbelievable sights that greeted them when they entered the camp, a grim record of the atrocities exists to this day.
Anne Frank, the most famous victim of the Holocaust, lies in an unmarked mass grave at Bergen-Belsen, the date of her death unknown. Both Anne and her sister Margot died in the camp during one of the world's largest epidemics of typhus, a disease which is spread by body lice.

Remember Pearl Harbor

I'm remembering all these place where good WW2 material resides on the web; material that is adaptable to converting to google video. If anyone is interested I use snapzpro to capture the audio as it streams and then compress it further in quicktime pro (Format: AAC 44KHZ,Mono,64kbps). The aim is to get the file as small as possible. I then harvest images that accompany the theme. I use Live Slide Show to map it out in a storyboard. The application has a feature to match the timing of images to the length of the sound file. If use titling you have to make sure it is brief and as large as possible since you must compress the size to 320 by 240. Another application called VideoHub can be used to trim the excess black space from the screen in order to highlight the remaining image. There are probably better and more eloquent solutions and applications, but that's what I'm used to. Here's the background on this movie:
The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. After two tense years spent watching the war overseas, "the day that will live in infamy" thrust the United States into World War II overnight. The day after the attack, the Library of Congress sent archivists around the country to record the thoughts and fears of a citizenry newly at war. Stored at the Library of Congress for nearly sixty years, these interviews -- conducted on 9th and 13th Streets in Washington, D.C. -- captured the voices of ordinary Americans at one of the most cataclysmic times in the nation’s history.
Producer: David Miller / Funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the New York State Council on the Arts and the Corporation. Archival recordings courtesy of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Special thanks to Joe Hickerson. "The Day after Pearl Harbor" is a co-production with City Lore.

Vern Tott's Story, Linked To Ben Sieradzki's

Vernon Tott quit high school and snuck into the military so he could fight for his country. Like many soldiers, Tott learned to accept the realities of war. His 84th Infantry Division fought in the Battle of the Bulge and lost a third of its troops. But, when Tott's battalion headed toward the city of Hanover, Germany, in April 1945, members of the 84th were totally unprepared for their next encounter.

"There was a road," says concentration camp survivor Ben Sieradzki. "And we saw soldiers. One of them brought out a ... baseball."

The barely alive survivors of the Ahlem slave labor camp realized the soldiers must be Americans.

"We started screaming, 'Come on up here, come on up here,' and some of them were just bewildered. They didn't know it was a concentration camp," Sieradzki said.

Tott, who died in 2005 from cancer, said he and the other soldiers were unaware of the existence of the camps and were shocked at what they saw.

"We were witnessing hell on earth," Tott said at an 84th Infantry reunion. "Piles of dead bodies. Men in ragged clothing that were just skin and bones ... Me and the soldiers with me, it made us sick to your stomachs and even cried what we seen there."

Forgetting the War

What the soldiers saw were wraithlike prisoners, some near death lying in their own urine, ravaged by dysentery, typhus and other diseases. A few days before, German guards marched hundreds of able-bodied prisoners to the Bergen-Belsen death camp. They left those too sick, like Sieradzki, to die.

Not quite believing what he saw and wanting to share his horrified disbelief with family back in Sioux City, Iowa, Tott pulled out his pocket camera.

"Actually, the infantrymen weren't supposed to carry cameras, but a lot of them did, so I got a lot of pictures during the war," he said.

After the war, Tott stashed his photographs from Ahlem in a shoebox on a shelf in his basement in Sioux City. He put the war behind him.

"I think so many people put away that stuff on a shelf and wanted to forget," said his stepdaughter, Donna Jensen. "I think our whole country's put it on a shelf."

Stepson Jon Sadler remembers rummaging through the basement with his friends and sneaking peeks at the photos.

"In junior high, we'd open up the box and think, boy, this is terrible," Sadler said. "Look what my dad saw in the war. We just always assumed nobody ... in those pictures [survived]. They looked so horrible and sick."

Searching for the Photographer

For 50 years, Tott held the same assumption. Then, in his army newsletter in 1995, Tott spotted an inquiry from Sieradzki, a retired engineer in Berkeley, Calif. Sieradzki was searching for whoever took photographs of himself and other prisoners when Ahlem was liberated.

Tott went into his basement and found his old shoebox. He called Sieradzki, who remembers, "The telephone rang. 'My name is Vernon Tott and I think you're looking for me.' And I said, 'Are you still a tall blonde fellow?' And he said, 'Not any longer.'"

The two men talked many times that day. Tott made copies of his black-and-white snapshots and sent them to Sieradzki. In one of the photos, Sieradzki saw dead bodies piled on the ground in front of some barracks. In the foreground, was a huddle of skeletal prisoners. On the extreme left he saw himself.

Just hours before that picture was taken, the prisoners were handed some civilian clothes. Sieradzki changed out of his striped, ragged uniform into a "funny looking" jacket, hat and pants, which were too long, so he stuck them in his socks. This is the only known photograph of Sieradzki at liberation.

Sieradzki was 18 years old and weighed less than 80 pounds. He had endured more than five years of unimagined misery. It started in 1939, when his family was forced to live in a rundown slum district in Lodz, Poland, with 200,000 other Jews, called the Lodz Ghetto.

During this time, Sieradzki's parents and one sister were taken away and killed. His other sister died in the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. Sieradzki survived three concentration camps, including Auschwitz, and eventually ended up in the slave labor camp called Ahlem, near Hannover, Germany. Near the end, his worsening health confined him to the barracks.

"They called people like me musselmen — goners," he writes in a short story about the war years. "Other prisoners started to steal my ration of food. There was no use to waste food on the likes of me."

An older cousin of Sieradzki's arrived as a new prisoner to the camp and urged him to eat. He says his cousin, a man who already lost his wife and young children in the gas chambers at Auschwitz, gave him hope.

When Sieradzki saw Tott's pictures of the Ahlem camp 50 years later, he was angry at first. The photographs released a flood of dark memories. But then Sieradzki was grateful, he said, "because I had no record of that horrible time, and here I am."

There were other official photographs taken at Ahlem. The Red Cross filmed the camp, but Sieradzki describes Tott as his true witness — and not because he helped liberate the camp. It's for what he did later with his photographs.

Tott realized there might be other survivors, like Sieradzki. And perhaps, he could provide them a piece of their past. So, he launched a quest to track them down.

The Angel of Ahlem

Eventually, Tott located nearly 30 Ahlem survivors, across the United States and in Canada, Sweden and Israel. More than 16 are in his photographs. In 2001, he returned to Hannover with three of those survivors to help dedicate a memorial at Ahlem. And he traveled to Poland for the 60th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto.

In 2003, Tott's name was inscribed on a wall of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.

"To Vernon W. Tott, My Liberator and Hero," Ahlem survivor Jack Tramiel had engraved on the wall. Tramiel, founder of Commodore Computer, is also a founder of the Holocaust Museum.

"I have to make sure that this man is going to be remembered for what he has done," Tramiel said. "His family should know that he is to us, a hero. He's my angel."

Earlier this year, Tott's hometown, Sioux City, hosted the premiere of a documentary about him, called Angel of Ahlem, produced by the University of Florida's Documentary Institute. More than 1,000 people came to see the film at the historic downtown Orpheum Theatre, including some survivors. They also had the chance to walk through the first public exhibit of Tott's photographs.

In May, Angel of Ahlem was shown at New York City's Lincoln Center. Nearly a dozen survivors were there — reunited because of Tott, his pocket camera and his unwavering determination.

The documentary was introduced by another member of the 84th Infantry, who helped liberate Ahlem, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

"There's nothing I'm more proud of, of my service to this country than having been one of those who had the honor of liberating the Ahlem concentration camp," Kissinger told the audience.

Kissinger grew up in Germany and became a U.S. citizen in 1943. He said many articles have described him as being traumatized during his childhood in Nazi Germany.

"That's nonsense," he said, "They were not yet killing people. A traumatic event was to see Ahlem.

"It was the single most shocking experience I have ever had."

And then Kissinger made a special request. He invited the survivors to come up on the stage and have a picture taken with him.

Slowly, deliberately, the white-haired survivors — who'd been brutalized, then rescued from desperate circumstances, so many years before — made their way to the Lincoln Center stage. As they gathered, it was clear that the most important person missing from this one last photograph was Vernon Tott.