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Today, 16th of October, in history

As some of you might know and I make no effort in hiding it , one of my biggest interests is WWII history and especially Nazi history. No, again , I am not a nazi, I do not support Hitler or any of the bad things he did and if u choose to believe so cause of your narrow thinking than I don’t care btw.

Anyway, today in history, on the 16th of October 1946, in the early hours of the day, the ones who were given the death penalty ,after the main and first Nuremberg Trial , were hanged. Of course, now everyone will jump to say “good for them” or “justice has been made” or “who cares, they were criminals!” but I don’t see it that way. Sure, some of them were criminals in this trial and in the subsequent trials ,but none of the ones in this trial deserved the death penalty in my view and in general I am against the death penalty itself. Sure, I guess I can agree that for guys like Hoess ,Eichmann ,some of the other guards or commandants of concentration camps and for some of the ones in charge of Einsatzgruppen, it can be deserved cause they did horrible stuff ,they were the ones actually committing crimes and sometimes being even crueler than they should have been. Still, the death penalty I don’t generally agree with.

Anyway, back to the main point of this post. I read quite a bit about the Nuremberg Trial, I’ve watched almost all the footage I could find online and I think that, say what you will, it was legally a farce . No matter what the accused did, no matter if they were guilty or not, no matter if the sentence given was in some cases fair, it was generally illegal, an illegal trial. I mean, come on, even the indictment was all wrong legally since they were accused of things that didn’t exist prior to the trial.

What I am most sorry about is the hanging of Alfred Jodl. Jodl is a military figure and historical personality I find fascinating. Not many people know about him or care about him and it’s easy to just say the politically correct/simplistic “he was a lackey” or “he did what hitler said so he must have not given a shit” ,etc but in a totalitarian regime and in the case of a military man of Jodl’s kind and education, things aren’t that simple. I’m not going to go into details about his life, most of you might find him boring in the sense that he was for the most part an introvert ,not the glamorous, bombastic figure (like Goering or Heydrich or Goebbels or even Sepp Dietrich) but he was a smart, capable, loyal, disciplined man . When he went to the gallows he left his cell in perfect order, everything clean and organized and his last letters to his wife were beautiful and he showed a lot of selflessness ,much more feeling for her than for his own situation.

I also felt sorry for Wilhelm Keitel although he was truly a lackey ,he was Hitler’s puppet and all that. But, as a person, Keitel was actually a fine man, he was emotionally weak, he couldn’t handle Hitler and Hitler could easily push his buttons but if you look at his career before that, the man was hard working, disciplined, very correct ,likable and competent in administration. His case to me is the tragedy of how weakness can destroy someones life by making them take the wrong decisions/accepting the wrong thing/allowing the current to just drag them away from “shore” and into shark infested waters. He lost 3 of his kids in the war along with his life. He also suffered the most when hanged, took 24 minutes for him to die.

Other than these 2 I think Ribbentrop was just a vain snob who did only what Hitler told him to , death was too much for him as well . I can’t stand some of the others, especially Streicher and Frank but Streicher didn’t really deserve death for being a sick pervert, who condemns sick perverts to death for just spreading their ideas around? In fact Streicher killed one of his own in the last days of the war, should have tried him for that instead, that’s real murder.

None of these men were little angels, they weren’t without sin but neither were their counterparts from the Allies’ side. No one tried anyone for the atomic bomb, that was just deemed necessary , same as Dresden and Hamburg and the labor camps in the US for ex after the war. No one tried the USSR for the gulags and for the millions of rapes of innocent women and girls and no one tried Stalin for being even worse than Hitler in everything he did.

As I said, I am no Nazi and u can think whatever you want. I don’t deny the Holocaust , I visited Auschwitz and spent probably about 10 hours there in total, read books, saw footage. What I’m saying is that I hate when people generalize because no, not all “nazis” were bad or criminals and yes, some of these people were severely influenced by Hitler on a psychological level in a totalitarian regime that threw propaganda meant to brain wash them in a most successful way.  And no matter what, this trial was a legal farce . Jodl, if not tried in this trial, would have never gotten the death penalty, his second in command didn’t, his colleagues and equals didn’t for similar charges.

Sorry if this was a snooze fest or not very coherent, I am a bit tired and in a mood to rant .

This is the story of the hanging written by  Kingsbury Smith:

   Hermann Wilhelm Goering cheated the gallows of Allied justice by committing suicide in his prison cell shortly before the ten other condemned Nazi leaders were hanged in Nuremberg gaol. He swallowed cyanide he had concealed in a copper cartridge shell, while lying on a cot in his cell.

The one-time Number Two man in the Nazi hierarchy was dead two hours before he was scheduled to have been dropped through the trap door of a gallows erected in a small, brightly lighted gymnasium in the gaol yard, 35 yards from the cell block where he spent his last days of ignominy.

Joachim von Ribbentrop, foreign minister in the ill-starred regime of Adolf Hitler, took Goering’s place as first to the scaffold.

Last to depart this life in a total span of just about two hours was Arthur Seyss-Inquart, former Gauleiter of Holland and Austria.

In between these two once-powerful leaders, the gallows claimed, in the order named, Field Marshall Wilhelm Keitel; Ernst Kaltenbrunner, once head of the Nazis’ security police; Alfred Rosenberg, arch-priest of Nazi culture in foreign lands; Hans Frank; Gauleiter of Poland; Wilhem Frank, Nazi minister of the interior; Fritz Sauckel, boss of slave labor; Colonel General Alfred Jodl; and Julius Streicher, who bossed the anti-Semitism drive of the Hitler Reich.

As they went to the gallows, most of the ten endeavored to show bravery. Some were defiant and some were resigned and some begged the Almighty for mercy.

All except for Rosenberg made brief, last-minute statements on the scaffold. But the only one to make any reference to Hitler or the Nazi ideology in his final moments was Julius Streicher.

Three black-painted wooden scaffolds stood inside the gymnasium, a room approximately 33 feet wide by 80 feet long with plaster walls in which cracks showed. The gymnasium had been used only three days before by the American security guards for a basketball game. Two gallows were used alternately. The third was a spare for use if needed. The men were hanged one at a time, but to get the executions over with quickly, the military police would bring in the man while the prisoner who proceeded him still was dangling at the end of the rope.

The ten once great men in Hitler’s Reich that was to have lasted for a thousand years walked up thirteen wooden steps to a platform eight feet high which also was eight square feet.

Ropes were suspended from a crossbeam supported on two posts. A new one was used for each man.

When the trap was sprung, the victim dropped from sight in the interior of the scaffolding. The bottom of it was boarded up with wood on three sides and shielded by a dark canvas curtain on the fourth, so that no one saw the death struggles of the men dangling with broken necks.

Von Ribbentrop entered the execution chamber at 1.11 a.m. Nuremberg time.

He was stopped immediately inside the door by two Army sergeants who closed in on each side of him and held his arms, while another sergeant who had followed him in removed manacles from his hands and replaced them with a leather strap.

It was planned originally to permit the condemned men to walk from their cells to the execution chamber with their hands free, but all were manacled following Goering’s suicide.

Von Ribbentrop was able to maintain his apparent stoicism to the last. He walked steadily toward the scaffold between his two guards, but he did not answer at first when an officer standing at the foot of the gallows went through the formality of asking his name. When the query was repeated he almost shouted, ‘Joachim von Ribbentrop!’ and then mounted the steps without any sign of hesitation.

When he was turned around on the platform to face the witnesses, he seemed to clench his teeth and raise his head with the old arrogance. When asked whether he had any final message he said, ‘God protect Germany,’ in German, and then added, ‘May I say something else?’

The interpreter nodded and the former diplomatic wizard of Nazidom spoke his last words in loud, firm tones: ‘My last wish is that Germany realize its entity and that an understanding be reached between the East and the West. I wish peace to the world.’

As the black hod was placed in position on his head, Von Ribbentrop looked straight ahead.

Then the hangman adjusted the rope, pulled the lever, and Von Ribbentrop slipped away to his fate.

Field Marshall Keitel, who was immediately behind Von Ribbentrop in the order of executions, was the first military leader to be executed under the new concept of international law – the principle that professional soldiers cannot escape punishment for waging aggressive wars and permitting crimes against humanity with the claim they were dutifully carrying out orders of superiors.

Keitel entered the chamber two minutes after the trap had dropped beneath Von Ribbentrop, while the latter still was at the end of his rope. But Von Ribbentrop’s body was concealed inside the first scaffold; all that could be seen was the taut rope.

Keitel did not appear as tense as Von Ribbentrop. He held his head high while his hands were being tied and walked erect towards the gallows with a military bearing. When asked his name he responded loudly and mounted the gallows as he might have mounted a reviewing stand to take a salute from German armies.

He certainly did not appear to need the help of guards who walked alongside, holding his arms. When he turned around atop the platform he looked over the crowd with the iron-jawed haughtiness of a proud Prussian officer. His last words, uttered in a full, clear voice, were translated as ‘I call on God Almighty to have mercy on the German people. More than 2 million German soldiers went to their death for the fatherland before me. I follow now my sons – all for Germany.’

After his blackbooted, uniformed body plunged through the trap, witnesses agreed Keitel had shown more courage on the scaffold than in the courtroom, where he had tried to shift his guilt upon the ghost of Hitler, claiming that all was the Führer’s fault and that he merely carried out orders and had no responsibility.

With both von Ribbentrop and Keitel hanging at the end of their rope there was a pause in the proceedings. The American colonel directing the executions asked the American general representing the United States on the Allied Control Commission if those present could smoke. An affirmative answer brought cigarettes into the hands of almost every one of the thirty-odd persons present. Officers and GIs walked around nervously or spoke a few words to one another in hushed voices while Allied correspondents scribbled furiously their notes on this historic though ghastly event.

In a few minutes an American army doctor accompanied by a Russian army doctor and both carrying stethoscopes walked to the first scaffold, lifted the curtain and disappeared within.

They emerged at 1.30 a.m. and spoke to an American colonel. The colonel swung around and facing official witnesses snapped to attention to say, ‘The man is dead.’

Two GIs quickly appeared with a stretcher which was carried up and lifted into the interior of the scaffold. The hangman mounted the gallows steps, took a large commando-type knife out of a sheath strapped to his side and cut the rope.

Von Ribbentrop’s limp body with the black hood still over his head was removed to the far end of the room and placed behind a black canvas curtain. This had all taken less than ten minutes.

The directing colonel turned to the witnesses and said, ‘Cigarettes out, please, gentlemen.’ Another colonel went out the door and over to the condemned block to fetch the next man. this was Ernst Kaltenbrunner. He entered the execution chamber at 1.36 a.m., wearing a sweater beneath his blue double-breasted coat. With his lean haggard face furrowed by old dueling scars, this terrible successor to Reinhard Heydrick had a frightening look as he glanced around the room.

He wet his lips apparently in nervousness as he turned to mount the gallows, but he walked steadily. He answered his name in a calm, low voice. When he turned around on the gallows platform he first faced a United States Army Roman Catholic chaplain wearing a Franciscan habit. When Kaltenbrunner was invited to make a last statement, he said, ‘I have loved my German people and my fatherland with a warm heart. I have done my duty by the laws of my people and I am sorry my people were led this time by men who were not soldiers and that crimes were committed of which I had no knowledge.’

This was the man, one of whose agents – a man named Rudolf Hoess – confessed at a trial that under Kaltenbrunner’s orders he gassed 3 million human beings at the Auschwitz concentration camp!

As the black hood was raised over his head Kaltenbrunner, still speaking in a low voice, used a German phrase which translated means, ‘Germany, good luck.’

His trap was sprung at 1.39 a.m.

Field Marshal Keitel was pronounced dead at 1.44 a.m. and three minutes later guards had removed his body. The scaffold was made ready for Alfred Rosenberg.

Rosenberg was dull and sunken-cheeked as he looked around the court. His complexion was pasty-brown, but he did not appear nervous and walked with a steady step to and up the gallows.

Apart from giving his name and replying ‘no’ to a question as to whether he had anything to say, he did not utter a word. Despite his avowed atheism he was accompanied by a Protestant chaplain who followed him to the gallows and stood beside him praying.

Rosenberg looked at the chaplain once, expressionless. Ninety seconds after he was swinging from the end of a hangman’s rope. His was the swiftest execution of the ten.

There was a brief lull in the proceedings until Kaltenbrunner was pronounced dead at 1.52 a.m.

Hans Frank was next in the parade of death. He was the only one of the condemned to enter the chamber with a smile on his countenance.

Although nervous and swallowing frequently, this man, who was converted to Roman Catholicism after his arrest, gave the appearance of being relieved at the prospect of atoning for his evil deeds.

He answered to his name quietly and when asked for any last statement, he replied in a low voice that was almost a whisper, ‘I am thankful for the kind of treatment during my captivity and I ask God to accept me with mercy.’

Frank closed his eyes and swallowed as the black hood went over his head.

The sixth man to leave his prison cell and walk with handcuffed wrists to the death house was 69-year-old Wilhelm Frick. He entered the execution chamber at 2.05 a.m., six minutes after Rosenberg had been pronounced dead. He seemed the least steady of any so far and stumbled on the thirteenth step of the gallows. His only words were, ‘Long live eternal Germany,’ before he was hooded and dropped through the trap.

Julius Streicher made his melodramatic appearance at 2.12 a.m.

While his manacles were being removed and his bare hands bound, this ugly, dwarfish little man, wearing a threadbare suit and a well-worn bluish shirt buttoned to the neck but without a tie (he was notorious during his days of power for his flashy dress), glanced at the three wooden scaffolds rising menacingly in front of him. Then he glanced around the room, his eyes resting momentarily upon the small group of witnesses. By this time, his hands were tied securely behind his back. Two guards, one on each arm, directed him to Number One gallows on the left of the entrance. He walked steadily the six feet to the first wooden step but his face was twitching.

As the guards stopped him at the bottom of the steps for identification formality he uttered his piercing scream: ‘Heil Hitler!’

The shriek sent a shiver down my back.

As its echo died away an American colonel standing by the steps said sharply, ‘Ask the man his name.’ In response to the interpreter’s query Streicher shouted, ‘You know my name well.’

The interpreter repeated his request and the condemned man yelled, ‘Julius Streicher.’

As he reached the platform, Streicher cried out, ‘Now it goes to God.’ He was pushed the last two steps to the mortal spot beneath the hangman’s rope. The rope was being held back against a wooden rail by the hangman.

Streicher was swung suddenly to face the witnesses and glared at them. Suddenly he screamed, ‘Purim Fest 1946.’ [Purim is a Jewish holiday celebrated in the spring, commemorating the execution of Haman, ancient persecutor of the Jews described in the Old Testament.]

The American officer standing at the scaffold said, ‘Ask the man if he has any last words.’

When the interpreter had translated, Streicher shouted, ‘The Bolsheviks will hang you one day.’

When the black hood was raised over his head, Streicher’s muffled voice could be heard to say, ‘Adele, my dear wife.’

At that instant the trap opened with a loud bang. He went down kicking. When the rope snapped taut with the body swinging wildly, groans could be heard from within the concealed interior of the scaffold. Finally, the hangman, who had descended from the gallows platform, lifted the black canvas curtain and went inside. Something happened that put a stop to the groans and brought the rope to a standstill. After it was over I was not in the mood to ask what he did, but I assume that he grabbed the swinging body of and pulled down on it. We were all of the opinion that Streicher had strangled.

Then, following the removal of the corpse of Frick, who had been pronounced dead at 2.20 a.m., Fritz Sauckel was brought face to face with his doom.

Wearing a sweater with no coat and looking wild-eyed, Sauckel proved to be the most defiant of any except Streicher.

Here was the man who put millions into bondage on a scale unknown since the pre-Christian era. Gazing around the room from the gallows platform he suddenly screamed, ‘I am dying innocent. The sentence is wrong. God protect Germany and make Germany great again. Long live Germany! God protect my family.’

The trap was sprung at 2.26 a.m. and, as in the case of Streicher, there was a loud groan under the gallows pit as the noose snapped tightly under the weight of the body.

Ninth in the procession of death was Alfred Jodl. With the black coat-collar of his Wehrmacht uniform half turned up at the back as though hurriedly put on, Jodl entered the dismal death house with obvious signs of nervousness. He wet his lips constantly and his features were drawn and haggard as he walked, not nearly so steady as Keitel, up the gallows steps. Yet his voice was calm when he uttered his last six words on earth: ‘My greetings to you, my Germany.’

At 2.34 a.m. Jodl plunged into the black hole on the scaffold. He and Sauckel hung together until the latter was pronounced dead six minutes later and removed.

The Czechoslovak-born Seyss-Inquart, whom Hitler had made ruler of Holland and Austria, was the last actor to make his appearance in this unparalleled scene. He entered the chamber at 2.38 1/2 a.m., wearing glasses which made his face an easily remembered caricature.

He looked around with noticeable signs of unsteadiness as he limped on his left foot clubfoot to the gallows. He mounted the steps slowly, with guards helping him.

When he spoke his last words his voice was low but intense. He said, ‘I hope that this execution is the last act of the tragedy of the Second World War and that the lesson taken from this world war will be that peace and understanding should exist between peoples. I believe in Germany.’

He dropped to his death at 2:45 a.m.

With the bodies of Jodl and Seyss-Inquart still hanging, awaiting formal pronouncement of death, the gymnasium doors opened again and guards entered carrying Goering’s body on a stretcher.

He had succeeded in wrecking plans of the Allied Control Council to have him lead the parade of condemned Nazi chieftains to their death. But the council’s representatives were determined that Goering at least would take his place as a dead man beneath the shadow of the scaffold.

The guards carrying the stretcher set it down between the first and second gallows. Goering’s big bare feet stuck out from under the bottom end of a khaki-coloured United States Army blanket. One blue-silk-clad arm was hanging over the side.

The colonel in charge of the proceedings ordered the blanket removed so that witnesses and Allied correspondents could see for themselves that Goering was definitely dead. The Army did not want any legend to develop that Goering had managed to escape.

As the blanket came off it revealed Goering clad in black silk pyjamas with a blue jacket shirt over them, and this was soaking wet, apparently the results of efforts by prison doctors to revive him.

The face of this twentieth-century freebooting political racketeer was still contorted with the pain of his last agonizing moments and his final gesture of defiance.

They covered him up quickly and this Nazi warlord, who like a character out of the days of the Borgias, had wallowed in blood and beauty, passed behind a canvas curtain into the black pages of history.

 

 

 
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Posted by on 16/10/2011 in random

 

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Summer shenanigans ,a trip to Germany.

   Oh wow, long time since I made a post on this blog, it looks like I’ve abandoned it but I haven’t !

Now that summer is over there’s only one more thing that will probably keep me away from making decent updates on this blog until October…..a trip to Egypt !!! Fun, fun, fun!!!

In case anyone is wondering and since travel posts are cool and entertaining, since my trip to Poland I’ve also been on a 2 week trip to Germany in the second half of July. Yes, I do love going to Germany ! In my trip I visited a few new places like Nuremberg, Heidelberg, Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Berchtesgaden + a day in Munich. Anyone care for specifics? Yes? No? You get them anyway cause maybe someone will benefit from them and because I have an exam today that I don’t want to study for !

So, we boarded a Lufthansa flight to Munich one beautiful summer’s day in July . From Munich airport (which is not exactly close to Munich city center) we took (and you can too ,dear reader, if you ever decide to visit) a train that goes to central Munich and the train station where we needed to go. There are, if I remember correctly, 2 lines that go to the airport from the train station and they take about 40 minutes.

1.Nuremberg

Once at the central train station ,I ate a quick Kasekrainer and then we took a train to Nuremberg (the journey takes a little over an hour) using the one country Interrail pass. After we got to Nuremberg and checked into our hotel right across from the station, we went around the center of the city. BTW, the train station in Nuremberg is right at the edge of old town so hotels around there are perfectly located.

In Nuremberg, during the next couple of days, we visited a lot of World War II/ Third Reich related stuff since the history of that particular time is such a big interest of mine. We went around old town, walked on all the streets and the surrounding area too. What I think you can’t miss when in Nuremberg :

a) Old Town of course

b) Reichsparteitagsgelände aka Reich’s Party Congress Land where the big Nuremberg party celebrations took place, stuff you can see in old footage and that is also featured in Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will. Now some of the stuff aren’t there anymore but you can still see the unfinished Congress Hall where there’s also a little museum, some of the original layout of the place as you walk towards the Zeppelinfeld and ,of course, the actual Zeppelinfeld which remained almost as it was. You can go up to where Hitler spoke and take a funny picture or something haha. It’s very interesting, like it or not history was made there and, as bad as it was, it is a fascinating one.

c) The Palace of Justice where the Nuremberg Trials took place. The Palace still stands and looks the same, it’s also still in use. There’s a small exhibition and you can visit the actual Room 600 where the court sessions were held. The room looks almost the same, slightly different layout and furniture but you’ll see the many resemblances. It will also look smaller because during the trial they actually made it bigger at the back by removing the walls and expanding it . Being there was pretty amazing for a WWII history nerd like myself and in the exhibition you can see two of the benches they sat on, one of them is the one Goering, Hess, Ribbentrop and Keitel sat on.

Pictures here :

Nuremberg

2)Rothenburg ob der Tauber

From Nuremberg we decided to go on a day trip to Rothenburg ob der Tauber. This is a beautiful ,small medieval town famous also for its Christmas decorations. The town is gorgeous, very beautiful streets and houses, a positive, joyful, relaxing atmosphere, good food, very nice, highly recommended . From Nuremberg you can get there easily although it wouldn’t seem so on paper. You have to change trains 2 times but trust me, it”s easy and it doesn’t take a long time to get there.

Pictures :

Rothenburg

3) Heidelberg

After Nuremberg we went to Heidelberg. To get there we took a train to Frankfurt and then one to Heidelberg. I don’t remember exactly how long it took but probably around 3 hours in total,not more than 4.

Anyway, Heidelberg is very beautiful ! Settled in the valley of the river Neckar, flanked by wonderful green hills where it has also expanded with beautiful residential areas, this town I’d gladly move to at any moment ! Just walk on the streets and up the hills, go to the castle area, have a nice meal at one of the many restaurants ,you can’t go wrong here. I also went to see Albert Speer’s grave, that was interesting !

Pictures

Heidelberg

4) Garmisch-Partenkirchen

From Heidelberg we then took the train to Garmisch. We had to change the train in Munich which ,again, was no big deal, don’t let these stuff scare you haha. The whole journey took a little less than 5 hours.

In Garmisch the hotel gave us a guest card that you can use during your stay to get some discounts at different attractions in the area and also to travel free of charge on the bus. Very useful thing, I liked it very much !

Here we weren’t very successful with the weather, it rained ALL day during the first day but we went to see the ski jumping hill platform (we’re big ski jumping fans and have none to see around here) and then to a beautiful  gorge. We also walked around the central areas. There are some very beautiful houses with murals ,very typical for this area. The second day we went to the Zugspitze (highest peak in Germany), it was very nice even though the clouds were obscuring the view all the way down. There was also snow, I love snow😀. After that we went down to the Eibsee , a very beautiful, quiet lake close to Garmisch, where the cable car goes down from the Zugspitze . We took a pedal boat or whatever they’re called in english and spent some time on the lake, ate a great meal, walked around on a trail that goes around the lake and got on the last Zugspitzbahn train to Garmisch. The next day the weather was acting up again so we decided to take the train to nearby Innsbruck(approx. 1h20 min). There it was sunny and nice and we went to see the Bergisel ski jumping complex. In Garmisch we couldn’t go up to the top of the platform but here you can visit it ,I loved it and then we went to the place where the coaches stay during the competition and suddenly a jumper appeared on the platform and jumped. This was a first for us, we’ve been watching ski jumping on the telly each winter for 10 years now but it was the first time we got to see someone jump “in the flesh”. When we got down to the foot of the hill, I immediately recognized the jumper, a famous Austrian one, Andi Kofler, so I said hi and politely asked to take a picture . He was very nice and then we saw him jump a couple more times. After this we went to the old part of town. Innsbruck has a small and quaint old town, very crowded

Pictures :

Garmish-Partenkirche

4) Berchtesgaden

From Garmisch we went to Berchtesgaden ,by train, via Munich . Let me say this : I love Berchtesgaden ! The area is BEAUTIFUL ,there are some great lakes nearby ,great views and lots of things to see ! The center of the Berchtesgaden is small but beautiful and up the hill so there is also a place where you can see a bit of a panorama. Here we sadly had one day of rain, rain, nothing but rain so we took a bus to Salzburg(40 min away) to eat at Demel and walk around. The other 2 days we went to the Obersalzberg ,the area where Hitler had his famous Berghof retreat/vacation home and where most of his closest collaborators had homes. The Berghof isn’t there anymore, all that’s left is a wall but it’s a must see and then go down the path to the Zum Turken hotel and do yourself a favor, enter the bunker under the hotel . This bunker is part of the network of bunkers built by Hitler. Most of the bunker system is either gone, collapsed/damaged or closed to the public and the one at the Documentation Center is so touristy some of its charm is gone. The bunker under the Zum Turken hotel ,on the other hand, is almost unaltered . Yes, there are no doors ,it’s not really water proof anymore ,it’s cold inside and they wrote directions on the walls in some places so you don’t get lost ,but otherwise it’s intact and offers a genuine experience . Plus, it’s on more than one level. It also connected with Bormann’s bunker and Hitler’s bunker. After that you can walk around the area and find many related ruins and such if you look online and look carefully. You can go to the Intercontinental hotel and walk around cause that’s where Goering’s house was located. A total must see is the Kehlsteinhaus aka Eagle’s Nest ! The house was built on Bormann’s order as a gift for Hitler’s 50th birthday. It sits upon a mountain top with great views in all directions and you get there by taking a bus or a long walk. Even the road up the mountain is breathtakingly beautiful ,up a steep ,narrow road. Once at the end of the road, you can take the elevator built inside the mountain, a work of art in itself, designed by Speer as his present to Hitler on his 50th birthday. The house itself looks pretty much like it did back then. The main room looks the same only it’s furnished as a restaurant now and you can still see Mussolini’s gift to Hitler, the fireplace. There’s also the option to walk around on the outside, near the house, there are splendid views to be seen and paths to be walked.

The next day we went to 2 lakes, the Konigsee and the Obersee. These are 2 gorgeous lakes everyone should see ! You can take a cruise on the Konigsee to the last stop ,Salet, and from there take the path ,1km, to Obersee and walk around it . The Obersee is just fantastic ! A small-ish lake between mountains, no boats, no houses ,nothing but crystal clear water that acts like a mirror. On the other side of the lake there’s one small cabin like structure that serves as a sort of shop where you can get fresh milk, bread and locally made cheese and butter ,beer, stuff like that. One of the most beautiful places I’ve been to, there’s nothing like the Alps ,what can I say ! Oh yeah, btw, fun fact, Hitler liked that lake too and there was a rock where he liked having his picture taken, u can go take a picture there too lol, I did !

Pictures :

Obersalzberg/Kehlstein House
Konigsee/Obersee/Berchtesgaden

From Berchtesgaden we went back to Munich ,walked around, did some shopping ,drank more beer and the next day we got on a plane back to Bucharest.

If you want to see pictures, click on the thumbnails that take you to my picasa account !😀

 

 
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Posted by on 23/09/2011 in Uncategorized

 

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On the road again ,day 3 : Auschwitz I & Auschwitz II – Birkenau

Yesterday I went to Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II – Birkenau. This was one of the most fascinating, amazing places I’ve ever visited (and I’ve seen the Pyramids, Petra, most of the popular European capitals,etc). Of course, I am a WWII/Nazi  history enthusiast so I was visiting a place very relevant to my interests but even if you have little idea about the 2nd World War as a whole, it should be an incredible experience !
I am not the very sentimental type and since I’m interested in the history that the place is part of, I looked at it more from a historical point of view than an emotional one but you do feel that you are in a special place, a place where many people lost their lives and suffered and where some of their ashes and remains are mixed with the soil.
It’s probably a good idea to have some knowledge of the place and the war before you go though cause I feel that is the perfect place to learn about respect and equality and the value of each individual and their lives but it can just as well promote hatred towards a group of people (germans alive in the 30s-40s and, thus, part of the Nazi regime and war) which is not fair either because not everyone was a monster. One must learn to only accuse people truly involved and separate them from the rest, otherwise it’s just like racism.
Ok, moving on !
How you get there, you might be wondering ? Well, from Krakow you can take a train or a bus. I would like to advice everyone to go without an organized group,don’t book a day trip, just go on your own, it’s easy . There are 2 places : Auschwitz I (the “Arbeit macht frei” one) and Auschwitz II – Birkenau (the famous train tracks image and the wooden barracks one).
If you take the train (and probably the bus as well but I suggest the train, it’s comfortable) then you get out of the station at Oswiecim and go to the right, you’ll soon see a sign for Auschwitz. You can walk to both Auschwitz I(a little further away) and Auschwitz II – Birkenau(the first one as you leave Oswiecim). If you’re going on your own and want to be free to visit at your own pace ,you should first go to Birkenau(at one point you take a right,there’s a sign,cross a bridge,walk a bit and you’ll see it). Birkenau is HUGE, I spent 4 hours there. It’s ,for me, the most interesting one and the one where you really get a feel of a concentration camp . It’s also quite a beautiful place (aesthetically), it’s all green with trees and grass and open spaces ,the buildings are made of red brick or wood. You can see a lot of things there and just walk around, feel the immensity of the place .
Then you can take the free shuttle that runs every half hour or so, from Birkenau to Auschwitz and back. At Auschwitz I I suggest ,if you go during the summer, to go after 3pm because before 3pm you have to join a guided tour but after 3pm you can walk just as you do in Birkenau. Oh and they are both FREE, it’s all FREE.
Auschwitz I, with its Arbeit Mach Frei sign, is smaller than Birkenau, all the buildings are multiple story red brick structures ,it’s also aesthetically nice, I think they weren’t built by the Nazis(at least not all). Inside some of the buildings there are exhibitions about the HOlocaust and WWII (including the famous hair and confiscated stuff).
Anyway, as I said, it was an amazing experience, everyone should visit it at least once in their life to learn about history and life and the human nature.

Now pictures !

Mai tarziu scriu si in romana

 
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Posted by on 24/06/2011 in Uncategorized

 

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On the road again : Krakow Day 2

English :

Today, day 2 in Krakow, is/was the 22nd of June. You know what happened on the 22nd of June ? Well, in 1940 France capitulated on the 22nd of June and in 1941 Operation Barbarossa began. Yup, stuff like that ! Apart from that, on the 22nd of June 1987 I was born ,that is the most important event to happen on the 22nd of June. Oh and Meryl Streep was born on the 22nd of June as well. Factbook,that’s what they should call me !

Anyway, today ,for my bday, I walked for about 9 hours straight with 2-3 breaks to have a drink and eat and rest my legs.

I visited the Jewish quarter , Kazimierz(I might be butchering the spelling but Polish is horribly hard, sorry!) ,Schindler’s factory museum ,streets from where I guess the ghetto used to be and the area where the nearby concentration camp was that is now basically an open field/park. Then I ate at a Jewish place back in the Jewish quarter.

Tomorrow if it doesn’t rain I’m going to Auschwitz. Hopefully it will be sunny like today .

Romana :

Azi, a 2a zi in Cracovia, a fost 22 Iunie. Stiti ce s-a intaplat pe 22 Iunie? Pai, de ex, in 1940 Franta a capitulat in fata Germaniei, in 1941 a inceput operatiunea Barbarossa si in 1987 m-am nascut eu ! Da, a fost ziua mea (si a lui Meryl Streep haha) , am aparut si eu pe planeta in 1987.

Eh, azi, de ziua mea, am mers vreo 9 ore aproape non stop cu ceva opriri pentru a ma adapa(cu bere), a manca si a-mi odihnii picioarele putin.
Am fost in cartierul evreiesc, Kazimierz(daca scriu gresit imi pare rau si probabil ca scriu gresit dar e grea limba asta de numai pot), la fabrica lui Schindler, prin zona pe unde cred ca era ghettoul si la fostul lagar de concentrare din apropiere (din care nu a ramas mai nimic, e un loc ca un parc/camp/deal)cu verdeata,carari si vreo cateva monumente pentru cei ce au murit acolo).

Mi-a placut tot ce am vazut, Cracovia are un aer pitoresc si prietenos, cladiri vechi ,unele renovate altele nu dar locul per total ingrijit si numa’bun de plimbat. La fabrica lui Schindler e acum muzeu ce tine de muzeul de istorie si e frumos organizat, inventiv ( e o camera unde pe jos podeaua e cu model….zwastici…mi-a placut maxim haha)

Maine daca e frumos ca azi , ma duc la Auschwitz !

Now pictures/acum poze !

 
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Posted by on 22/06/2011 in Uncategorized

 

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On the road again ! This time….Krakow ,Poland . Day 1

I’m away on a trip again YAY ! This time my destination was Krakow, Poland . This is like my bday present ,my bday is tomorrow, the 22nd and I prefered going on a trip alone than just doing the same thing I do every week at home (aka go out with a couple of friends).
So here I am , in Krakow ,after a very busy first day.
I left BUcharest at 6am when I boarded a LOT flight from Bucharest to Warsaw. This meant I didn’t sleep at all last night since I left home at 4am . Anyway, once in Warsaw I needed to get to the train station so I took the 175 bus from just outside the terminal and this bus passes by the train station (around 20 min from the airport to the train station).At the station I already had a seat reservation and an Interrail pass so I found the platform and waited for the 8:27am train to Zakopane via Krakow. Three hours later I was in Krakow, it was 11:35am.

Couldn’t check in until 2pm so I went and ate in the center, then came to the hotel ,checked in and left my luggage in the room so I could go walk around town comfortably.

I walked for hours on most of the streets that make up the so called Old Town city center. It’s very beautiful ,especially the large main square and the Cathedral. I didn’t go into any museum or anywhere except inside the Cathedral and another Church so I won’t get into details.

Now I bought something to eat and came back to the hotel because I am a bit tired after 30+ hours of no sleep.

Romana

Am plecat iar in excursie ! De data asta destinatia principala e Cracovia , Polonia. Excursia asta e cadoul de ziua mea ,practic si e bine ,am preferat sa merg singura in excursie decat sa stau acasa si sa facem acelasi lucru pe care il fac saptamana de saptamana.

Daca e cineva intersant de datalii tehnice si de organizare …sa va povestesc pe scurt ! Am luat avionul de la Bucuresti la Varsovia. Acolo am luat autobuzul 175 pana la gara centrala de unde trebuia sa iau trenul spre Cracovia. LA 8:27am eram in tren iar la 11:34 eram la Cracovia.

Nu m-am putut instala in camera pana la ora 14:00 asa ca m-am dus sa mananc in centru ,m-am plimbat nitel si m-am intors sa imi iau camera in primire ca sa-mi pot lasa actele si alte chestii ,sa merg mai comfortabil. Asa ca de pe la ora 3 pana pe la 7 m-am plimbat prin centrul vechi. E foarte frumos, mai ales piata centrala si catedrala dar nu intru in detalii ca n-are rost.

Mai multe date maine ! Pana atunci…..poze

 
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Posted by on 21/06/2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Leapsa : Daca eram ……………. as fi fost……………

Bun, am vazut leapsa asta pe un blog al unei prietene si am zis sa “fur” si eu idea . Enjoy!

Daca eram un anotimp, as fi fost toamna.
Daca eram o luna, as fi fost Decembrie.
Daca eram o zi a saptamanii,as fi fost Joi.
Daca eram o parte a zilei, as fi fost dupa masa.
Daca eram un animal marin, as fi fost delfin.
Daca eram un animal de uscat, as fi fost cal.
Daca eram o virtute, as fi fost cunoasterea/curiozitatea.
Daca eram o planeta, as fi fost Jupiter .
Daca eram un lichid, as fi fost bere.
Daca eram o piatra, as fi fost smarald.
Daca eram un metal, as fi fost aur alb.
Daca eram o pasare, as fi fost o bufnita.
Daca eram o planta, as fi fost floare de colt.
Daca eram o stare a vremii, as fi fost furtuna.
Daca eram un instrument, as fi fost pian.
Daca eram un sentiment, as fi fost exaltare.
Daca eram un sunet, as fi fost un tunet
Daca eram un cantec, as fi fost Keane – Nothing in My Way
Daca eram un film, as fi fost Inglorious Basterds
Daca eram un serial, as fi fost LOST
Daca eram un oras, as fi fost Londra.
Daca eram un gust, as fi fost dulce-acrisor.
Daca eram o aroma, as fi fost caramel.
Daca eram o culoare, as fi fost aquamarine.
Daca eram un material, as fi fost bumbac.
Daca eram o parte a corpului, as fi fost ochi.
Daca eram un drog, as fi fost marijuana.
Daca eram un accesoriu, as fi fost ochelari de soare.
Daca eram o expresie a fetei, as fi fost zambet.
Daca eram o materie, as fi fost istorie.
Daca eram un personaj de desene animate, as fi fost personajul Scooby Doo.
Daca eram o forma, as fi fost sfera.
Daca eram un numar, as fi fost 22.
Daca eram o masina, as fi  fost Jaguar.
Daca eram o haina, as fi fost camasa.

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on 09/06/2011 in random

 

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International Children’s Day / Ziua Internationala a Copilului

ENGLISH

Today, the 1st of June,  in some countries around the world ,most of them from the Eastern block (aka former communist countries) or related, we celebrate the International Children’s Day.

A quick search on the mighty and holy Google reveals the following about the origins of this day

The World Conference for the Well-being of Children in Geneva, Switzerland proclaimed June 1 to be International Children’s Day in 1925. It is not clear as to why June 1 was chosen as the International Children’s Day: one theory has it that the Chinese consul-general in San Francisco (USA) gathered a number of Chinese orphans to celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival in 1925, which happened to be on June 1 that year, and also coincided with the conference in Geneva.

Other countries celebrate Universal Children’s Day on November 20th and others on various other days, according to their own customs.

But all this isn’t really important, the date and month are irrelevant ,it’s the significance we’re interested in after all !

So, what is Children’s Day? It’s a day to celebrate children, of course , but when does one stop being a child ? Is it when they are physically and mentally considered to have reached maturity? What about those of us who can be mature but also children at heart? Should the playful ,childlike enthusiasm/curiosity/energy of people of all ages be celebrated as well? I think it is a great thing to keep the child in you alive and that should be celebrated.

This Children’s Day is normally and conventionally a celebration of the young members of our society and I’d say it’s important because they are the future and also because ,as children, they are defenseless and dependent on us, grown ups, on society . Has anyone ever stopped to truly ponder on just how much influence we adults have over the little ones? Some parents ,many parents, take this lightly . Usually it’s considered that taking care of the child and giving him/her “all that they need growing up” equals the best food, shelter ,education ,toys/activities and safety measures one can provide and if the parent is able to provide those things then the job’s basically done. Well, I think that is incomplete , very incomplete and yet rarely do parents think of that ! Sure, a good ,safe environment, proper nutrition and education are all very important and essential but there are other things that are also essential but are being overlooked for lack of time or visible effects. I’m talking about affection , real displays of affection ,physically showing the child that you care ,that he/she is not alone and that he/she is loved and taken care of.

You see, when children are small and even up until the teenage years, they can’t properly realize and understand those indirect signs of affection and care like providing the best in terms of material things and education, they are in need of physically being shown that affection ,being comforted , having the people around them spend time with them , things like that . So , there are many children who grow up with emotional problems that are not always visible and that have a subtle but very important influence on the choices they make in life, their self esteem and the way they relate in society, their romantic life and their social life.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that there should be more Children’s Days because this is a day when adults are supposed to pay attention and spend actual time with their children ,learn to really value and enjoy them as individuals not just as their offspring or cute little boys and girls.

Romana

Astazi e Ziua Internationala a Copilului , zi care se serbeaza pe 1 iunie mai ales in tarile ce au facut parte din fostul bloc comunist. In Vest si in restul tarilor Ziua Universala a Copilului se serbeaza pe 20 Noiembrie (dar exista tari unde Ziua Copilului are loc in cu totul alte zile).

In fine , ce este Ziua Copilului? Cine se incadreaza in aceasta categorie? Oare adultii care-si pastreaza o parte din sufletul de copil ,din entuziasmul ,curiozitatea si bucuria de a trai specifice copilariei, nu au si ei dreptul sa fie inclusi in categoria celor sarbatoriti in aceasta zi? Pana la urma e un lucru minunat sa nu lasi copilul din tine sa moara !

Daca e sa vorbim despre insemnatatea traditionala a acestei zile , o zi pentru si despre copilarie in forma ei pura si conventionala, cred ca e important sa reflectam asupra rolului ei important in viata unui copil inconjurat de adulti.

In ziua de azi (dar si in trecut) , a avea grija de un copil si a-i oferi toate sansele/conditiile inseamna in special ,pentru parinti si societate , a-i oferi copilului lucruri ce tin de material si pragmatic : hrana , adapost ,educatie, siguranta ! Daca acestea sunt asigurate la un nivel cat mai ridicat (hrana de cat mai buna calitate si o dieta cat mai sanatoasa, o casa cat mai spatioasa, moderna, dotata si confortabila/salubra/sanatoasa ,educatie de un nivel cat mai ridicat) se considera ca parintele si societatea si-au facut datoria fata de copil iar acesta are toate conditiile si sansele de a reusi in viitor, de a se maturiza si de a deveni un adult responsabil si fara probleme de adaptare. Intradevar, cele mentionate mai sus sunt mai mult decat importante ,necesare, esentiale insa multi uita ca mai exista un aspect la fel de esential legat de partea emotionala.

In general un copil si chiar un adolescent in ultima faza de maturizare, are nevoi emotionale, e influentat la nivel emotional de cele mai mici lucruri . Un copil nu percepe emotional ,constient sau nu , lumea si actiunile adultilor din jurul sau in acelasi fel in care o face un om matur. Un copil poate sa aprecieze eforturile parintilor de a-i oferi cele mai bune conditii material si fizic dar emotional nu le va percepe la fel de puternic precum percepe o dovada fizica si concreta de afectiune si atentie. Un bebe, un copil mic ,un copil ce abia a inceput scoala inca nu este destul de matur emotional sa perceapa aceste dovezi indirecte de dragoste si atentie la nivelul la care parintii lui si-ar dori, el are nevoie de o mangaiere, o imbratisare, o ora de joaca, un zambet, o jucarie, un pupic de noapte buna. Din pacate in multe cazuri aceste dovezi de afectiune lipsesc cu desavarsire si nu din rautate sau nepasare . Lipsa acestor lucruri poate duce ,din pacate, la probleme emotionale care il vor afecta pe copil de-a lungul vietii. Este de ajuns sa ne uitam in jur ,sa citim despre anumite personaje din istorie ,celebritati ,etc. Depresie, oameni incapabil sa-si exprime emotiile chiar daca le au, incapacitatea de a socializa corespunzator, lipsa stimei de sine si increderii in propria persoana ,lucruri care nu sunt vizibile dar care afecteaza de multe ori “pe ascuns” deciziile pe care viitorul adult le va lua ,felul in care va interactiona social ,romantic si in familie, calea pe care o va apuca si capacitatea de a se bucura de viata.

Deci, ce vreau eu sa spun este ca aceasta zi a copilului ar trebui poate serbata mai des pentru ca este o zi in care se presupune ca cei mici sunt in centrul atentiei ,o zi in care adultii petrec timp cu ei si le arata fizic si direct afectiune si pretuire ,lucruri de care orice copil ,orice om are nevoie si e pacat ca multora le trebuie zile ca aceasta sau cliseul dezgustator care e Valentine’s Day, pentru a-si arata direct sentimentele .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on 01/06/2011 in Uncategorized

 

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