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 Post subject: Why they fought ...
PostPosted: Thu May 30, 2019 7:45 pm 
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Here's a look at one reason of many.

1944, Germany, Nordhausen, Konzentrationslager Dora-Mittelbau, Prisoners working on construction of V1 and V2 rockets - Original color photos
Photos taken by "Oberleutnant" Walter Frentz from inside camp tunnels early July 1944. Walter Frentz was a photographer of PK (Propagandakompanie) of the Luftwaffe.

While preparing a propaganda film on the effectiveness of the V1 and V2 rockets, Adolf Hitler decides that he be allowed to enter the secret missile factory of Dora-Mittelbau where most of the workers were extracted from different concentration camps and POW camps.

These poor souls were most likely the lucky one's, if there was such a thing.

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 Post subject: Re: Why they fought ...
PostPosted: Thu May 30, 2019 8:49 pm 
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A sad fact often overlooked by Luftwaffe fans.

And no, I'm not calling them Nazis or even bad guys, just that some of them overlook where the neat German aircraft and rockets came from.

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 Post subject: Re: Why they fought ...
PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2019 6:03 am 
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JohnB wrote:
A sad fact often overlooked by Luftwaffe fans.

And no, I'm not calling them Nazis or even bad guys, just that some of them overlook where the neat German aircraft and rockets came from.



John, you are 100% correct. I was among that number until a couple years ago when I saw this same photo collection, among others, and started hearing the term "Zwangsarbeiter" and "Ostarbeiter". And the more I dug into it, the more overwhelming it became... I genuinely had no idea how pervasive the use of forced/slave labor was throughout the entire Third Reich. Much is often made of the "Production Miracle" of 1944 when German aircraft manufacturers miraculously doubled their output despite the massive Combined Bombing Offensive, and German troops on the ground all over Europe and Russia... nobody seems to ask the question, "who actually built them?" The German aviation industry became reliant on forced labor, and the SS was only too happy to oblige with concentration camp prisoners in many instances - for example, at Flossenbürg there was an entire Bf 109 assembly line where SS would rent non-skilled workers to Messerschmitt at 4 RM/day, and skilled workers at 6 RM/day. Daniel Uziel wrote an eye-opening book on the subject a few years ago, and it has spurred me to take on a huge project to document surviving Luftwaffe aircraft built with slave labor, in 1/32 scale. And I may expand that into a book project of some sort.

It has fundamentally changed my views of wartime Germany - not that they were very positive to begin with, but I had always had this idea that "not every German was a Nazi". No, they may not have been Party members, but the extensive use of slave labor across the entire German war industry directly impacted average Germans because they were issued strict instructions by the Nazi government not to interact with them - there's reams of documentation about it, but it's all in German. Below is a picture illustrating a woman from the East ("Ostarbeiter") being inspected by a soldier. Note the "OST" badge pinned to her coat; all forced laborers from Russia had to wear this badge under severe penalty. Polish workers came in for their own separate humiliation - they were forced to wear a yellow and purple diamond "P". And of course, Jews had to wear their own badges. The Ostarbeiter would also be tagged like cattle (see below) - oh, it was all very thorough and efficient, I assure you.

And there were hundreds of thousands, if not millions of them throughout Germany through the war. Do not attempt to tell me the average German did not know about this because these workers were present in every war industry right down to small local subcontractors.

Lynn

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 Post subject: Re: Why they fought ...
PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2019 6:58 am 
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Thanks for the photos Mark and comments Lynn. Fascinating juxtaposition of technology and humanity.

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 Post subject: Re: Why they fought ...
PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2019 9:02 am 
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Well done Lynn.

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 Post subject: Re: Why they fought ...
PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2019 11:47 pm 
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My Dutch grandfather, who was in the Dutch Cavalry before being injured. Was sent to Czechoslovakia in mid 43 as forced labor by the Nazi war machine. He was made to work at the Waffenwerke Brünn I arms factory making K98k Mausers. I have a DOT 44 coded Mauser made there in my collection, and I have to wonder if my Opa touched it or made some of the parts for it.

He was one of the lucky ones that survived the war, he arrived back in Holland and to his family in 46, and laid eyes on and held his daughter for the first time, as she was born while he was away in early 44. This daughter of his, would become my mother.

Not many people were untouched by WWII, they either served, were sent to concentration camps, labor camps, were used as forced labor, etc or they knew someone that was one of the before mentioned.

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 Post subject: Re: Why they fought ...
PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2019 11:26 am 
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FWIW ......

I used to be "All about the warbird's". Couldn't get enough of seeing warbird's flying around. Couldn't look at enough "Airplane Magazines" growing up. Love the power and the noise, but cared little for the history and I rarely thought about what they really were designed to do. I rarely thought about what damage they did to where ever they were being used, both on the enemy and towards the pilots who flew them, but over these many years of digging and studying, I feel like I'm starting to feel the effects of what it was like to endure certain elements of that war. Don't get me wrong, I'm certainly NOT stating I feel the effects a combat veteran felt or feels. It's nothing like that at all. What I feel is a much better understanding of the sense of loss and sacrifice many of these veterans endured then and now. I'm grateful that I've been forcing myself to dig much deeper into that horrible war and what it actually has done to the world. I have learned by my own hard digging that ANY WAR and any reason for War should never be an option at all costs. I'm sure most of us feel the same way.

No one, and I mean no one who has ever served their country in a combat situation ever comes back home the same person, never, ever the same. I've seen this several times now over my recent years. I have been doing my small part to try to help veterans who need someone to talk to. My phone number is always available and my time is always available to any veteran who would ever want to just chat. I'm by no means a counselor, therapist or authority on mental health, PTSD, combat experiences, etc., but I do have great ears for listening and nothings off limits to me for listening to anyone who needs just to talk to someone.

I loved flying with my dad and listening to his war experiences. But he only talked about the airplanes he flew and never much about the war he flew them in. I loved flying with him so much I became a pilot myself, but only now that he has been gone for a few years do I greatly regret not being interested in his life as a US Navy pilot. I feel that there were plenty of times I could have had lengthy conversations with him, and he was very willing to talk about all of it, but both I had no interest and he most likely felt no one wanted to hear about it anyway. Tragically a shame on my part.

As I got older I started to become more interested in my father's service so I started to research his career. He told me very little about it when he was alive, so I had to piece it together without him. Needless to say he had a relatively mild career when he was flying Hellcats and Corsairs. He felt some heat in the Pacific while on the US Carrier Franklin in 1944, but other than that, he had mostly mild times. He lost a few friends during the war, but other than a broken thumb cranking up a wildcat's landing gear, he didn't suffer a scratch as far as I can tell.

It was not until I was a grown man and started my research that I found out my father lost his brother (my uncle) during the Battle of the Bulge. I never knew any of this growing up as dad didn't tell me how he died. My father had a private 'dark side' to him that I recall noticing from time to time growing up and I never knew how to explain it. I know now though. My mother also had a very dark side growing up that I didn't understand. She also lost a brother (my uncle) during the Battle of the Bulge. He was KIA as well. Both Uncles were KIA 40 miles apart ten days apart. They never knew each other as far as I know. One was 20 and the other was 23. Just kids.

I've lost two veteran friends recently to suicide. We were only phone and email friends, but friends never the less. I won't mention their names as it's not my place to do so, but I've been struggling lately with guilt that I couldn't do more to help them. Both were distant from me as they lived in other parts of the country and I introduced them to WIX. I thought maybe they would be interested in the old airplanes like many of us are and both had told me over the past couple of years that they liked my threads and to keep it up. I promised them I would.

I've never felt a close consequence of loss from War. I wasn't born yet when my two uncles were KIA, but although we all have demon's we struggle with, and God knows I have my own, this sense of loss is really tough to deal with. I know I could have done more but I didn't. I should have. I invited both to come stay at my house for a while if they wanted. Both always turned me down. I didn't do enough and that I know for sure. I'm feel selfish for feeling sorry for myself when there's two families that are most likely devastated and suffering. I don't know the families and I'm not sure if down the road I should try to contact them. I certainly don't want to bring any additional pain their way.

To sum this long, drawn out, most likely boring post. I'll list something that I've been trying to do.
It's just food for thought and I am in no way trying to encourage anyone here on WIX to do more. I'm sure many of you are helping veterans much more that I ever could.

Here are nine ideas:

1. Give a veteran a ride

Medical care may be needed for some veterans for the rest of their lives. Disabled American Veterans provides free transportation to men and women who can't travel to Veterans Affairs medical facilities on their own. You can volunteer to drive a van for those who need a lift.

2. Donate frequent flier miles

The Fisher House Foundation has a network of homes on the grounds of military and VA hospitals around the country. These homes help family members be close during the hospitalization of a loved one for a combat injury, illness or disease. Fisher House operates the Hero Miles Program, using donated frequent flier miles to bring family members to the bedside of injured service members. You can also volunteer or donate household items.

3. Sponsor a companion dog for veterans with PTSD

More than a third of all Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have or will experience post-traumatic stress disorder. And veterans of past wars are still dealing with the ghosts of their time in the service. Coping with PTSD can put stress on not just veterans but also their families and friends.
Puppies Behind Bars is a program in which prisoners train companion dogs for veterans with PTSD. Donors can sponsor a dog and receive updates on the dog's training and life with its veteran.
(If you know a veteran dealing with PTSD, the VA offers the PTSD Coach Online to help veterans learn to manage symptoms, come up with ways to cope and find professional help.)

4. Help build a home for severely injured vets

Severely injured veterans often come home needing a place to live that better accommodates their physical disabilities. Building Homes for Heroes builds specially modified homes for veterans that help them live independently. These homes are provided at no cost to the veterans. The organization also provides financial planning services.

5. Keep veterans off the streets

In times of war, exhausted combat units were removed from the battlefield to "stand down" in a place of relative security to rest. The Department of Veterans Affairs' Stand Down program is designed to help homeless veterans "combat" life on the streets. Stand Downs are usually one- to three-day events to provide food, shelter, clothing and health screenings to homeless and unemployed veterans. To find a Stand Down program in your community, contact your local VA hospital in the VA Medical Center Directory.
A phone call can also make difference in the life of a veteran who is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Call 877-4AID-VET, or 877-424-3838, to be connected 24 hours a day, seven days a week with help at the VA.

6. Send a care package or a letter

Operation Gratitude has sent more than 1.5 million individually addressed care package to the military community. The packages are sent to current military members as well as veterans, wounded warriors and their caregivers. As more American troops return to civilian life, the Operation Gratitude veterans program has been growing. It also has a letter writing campaign encouraging everyone to write handwritten letters of gratitude to veterans.

7. Help them take flight

The Honor Flight Network helps veterans of the "greatest generation" make a free pilgrimage to the World War II Memorial on the National Mall in Washington. You can volunteer to escort these men and women on the flight to see this memorial. Honor Flight also helps terminally-ill veterans who served in any conflict visit memorials to those wars in Washington as well.

8. Share their stories

So many veterans' stories have been left untold, but the Library of Congress is collecting the tales of veterans of every war with the Veterans History Project. If you are related to a veteran or know one who has a story to tell, the Library of Congress wants to hear it. Help veterans share their stories before it's too late.

9. Say thank you

It's simple, but it can make an impact. And so many veterans have never heard the words "thank you." If you know a veteran or see someone in a military uniform, say something. It may make his or her day and yours.

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 Post subject: Re: Why they fought ...
PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2019 2:24 pm 
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Couldn't the Nazis see that they were trusting perhaps their most important military weapons project to enslaved peopled who hated them? I wonder how many V-2s or V-1s blew up or went astray because some enslaved person had enough sense to leave a screw under torqued or made a cold solder joint or a pretty weld joint with no penetration? For example the German built and early French built Fiesler Storchs used wooden wings. When production was transferred to Morane Saulnier in occupied France the workers took any opportunity to urinate in the glue pots thereby diluting the glue. There were a number of crashes due to structural failure of the wings. The Germans sought to establish tight control over the glue with no result. Ultimately they had to redesign the wing in metal since riveted and bolted construction is easier to inspect.

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 Post subject: Re: Why they fought ...
PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2019 8:09 pm 
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The German female work force was also mobilised far less than in Allied nations.
Many women were forced out of the work force to enable their perceived role as wives and mothers.

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 Post subject: Re: Why they fought ...
PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2019 10:46 am 
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Here is an interesting read on Wernher von Braun and his legacy.

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperi ... yat0JQe5Zo

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 Post subject: Re: Why they fought ...
PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2019 11:27 am 
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Met a German once who said her grandmother was one of eight children of which on two survived. The four brothers died in military service, submarine and the army. Two sisters and other family members died working in factories that were bombed.
Last Christmas a wealthy flight student invited me to stop by his home on Christmas Eve morning. His father was shot down flying a B-24 and was one of 176 allied servicemen kept at Buchenwald for over a year before being transferred to Stalag 3. He handed me a small clay jar that was the color of ash gray and pale blue. He said his father’s roommate, a Jew, made it and gave it to him when he was transferred out. His roommate didn’t survive . It was one of the most powerful items I’ve ever seen from that war. I couldn’t put words together.
Evil exists and thank God our side won.


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 Post subject: Re: Why they fought ...
PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2019 9:15 pm 
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Rick65 wrote:
The German female work force was also mobilised far less than in Allied nations.
Many women were forced out of the work force to enable their perceived role as wives and mothers.


Exactly right. In fact, there was an entire awards system predicated on the German view of women as little more than breeders of future Nazi übermenschen... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cross_of_Honour_of_the_German_Mother

As distasteful as that is, it pales in comparison to the Lebensborn program though, the worst excesses of which saw as many as 250,000 children from occupied countries stolen from their parents and given to childless German families to raise as their own. Only roughly 10% of those children were found and returned after the war. https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-quot-lebensborn-quot-program (Trigger warning: parents of young children might find this subject extremely upsetting. First time I read about it, I literally had to leave work- I couldn't even think straight the rest of the day. It's that bad.)

There.
Were.
No.
Good.
Nazis.

And there never will be. Remember that.

Lynn


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 Post subject: Re: Why they fought ...
PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2019 9:29 pm 
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John Dupre wrote:
Couldn't the Nazis see that they were trusting perhaps their most important military weapons project to enslaved peopled who hated them? I wonder how many V-2s or V-1s blew up or went astray because some enslaved person had enough sense to leave a screw under torqued or made a cold solder joint or a pretty weld joint with no penetration? For example the German built and early French built Fiesler Storchs used wooden wings. When production was transferred to Morane Saulnier in occupied France the workers took any opportunity to urinate in the glue pots thereby diluting the glue. There were a number of crashes due to structural failure of the wings. The Germans sought to establish tight control over the glue with no result. Ultimately they had to redesign the wing in metal since riveted and bolted construction is easier to inspect.


Excellent question John, and the answer is an unequivocal YES, they fully knew, and they instituted horrific punishments for sabotage.

At Gusen II, there was a tiered system of punishment. If a Russian screwed up a part, they were subjected to 25 lashes. A Jew received 50 lashes for the same infraction. "Western" workers (French/Dutch/Italian/non-Russian) lost food privileges, etc.

At Flossenbürg, a Jewish survivor who built Bf 109s in the camp said, "We treasured the opportunity to be selected for the production line, as it kept us from going up the chimney." Trust me when I tell you that still screws with my head something fierce.

Another account from a Zwangsarbeiter noted that he engaged in some sophisticated sabotage; he worked at the Heinkel factory in Rostock, as I recall, and he told the tale of how he intentionally under-heated a chemical bath designed to harden alloy parts, so that the parts would fail prematurely. He also told how poorly educated Russians couldn't think of anything else to do, so they urinated into electrical junction boxes. Hey, every little bit helps, right?

To give you an idea of the scale of slave labor used in the German aviation industry, I'm attaching a table that documents the planned and actual workers in each of the major manufacturers.

There.
Are.
No.
Good.
Nazis.

Lynn


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