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Dumpu, New Guinea, 7 October 1943. Members of the 2/2nd Australian Independent Company

Dumpu, New Guinea, 7 October 1943. Members of the 2/2nd Australian Independent Company on their return to camp after a twelve-day patrol in the Ramu Valley.

Left to right: NX37195 TROOPER (TPR) F. J. THORPE; WX11366 CORPORAL J. F. FOWLER; NX130254 TPR J. A. PRIOR; WX13118 TPR W. R. WATSON.

The 2/2nd Commando Squadron was one of 12 independent companies or commando squadrons raised by the Australian Army for service during World War II. The 2/2nd served in Timor, New Guinea and New Britain during World War II, taking part in the Battle of Timor in June 1942 as part of Sparrow Force. Following the capture of the island, the company was withdrawn in December 1942 and returned to Australia, later taking part in operations in New Guinea in 1943–44 and then on New Britain in 1945.

After the war, some of the unit's members became advocates for the rights of the Timorese people, recognizing the contribution that they had made to Australia's war effort. One member, John Patrick "Paddy" Kenneally, who died in March 2009 at the age of 93, said that the Australians would "...not have lasted a week had the Timorese not protected them". Kenneally visited East Timor four times after World War II; once in 1990 and a further three times after independence from Indonesia was achieved in 1999. In 2005, he appeared in TV advertisements promoting a fair deal for the people of East Timor in negotiations over Timor Sea gas and oil and was instrumental in securing a fair share of the gas field for the Timorese people.

Marie Curie in her laboratory in Paris, 1912

Marie Skłodowska Curie (7 November 1867 – 4 July 1934), born Maria Salomea Skłodowska, was a Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first person and only woman to win twice, the only person to win a Nobel Prize in two different sciences, and was part of the Curie family legacy of five Nobel Prizes. She was also the first woman to become a professor at the University of Paris, and in 1995 became the first woman to be entombed on her own merits in the Panthéon in Paris.

She was born in Warsaw, in what was then the Kingdom of Poland, part of the Russian Empire. She studied at Warsaw's clandestine Floating University and began her practical scientific training in Warsaw. In 1891, aged 24, she followed her older sister Bronisława to study in Paris, where she earned her higher degrees and conducted her subsequent scientific work. She shared the 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics with her husband Pierre Curie and with physicist Henri Becquerel. She won the 1911 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Her achievements included the development of the theory of radioactivity (a term that she coined), techniques for isolating radioactive isotopes, and the discovery of two elements, polonium and radium. Under her direction, the world's first studies were conducted into the treatment of neoplasms, using radioactive isotopes. She founded the Curie Institutes in Paris and in Warsaw, which remain major centers of medical research today. During World War I, she established the first military field radiological centers.

While a French citizen, Marie Skłodowska Curie (she used both surnames) never lost her sense of Polish identity. She taught her daughters the Polish language and took them on visits to Poland. She named the first chemical element that she discovered‍—‌polonium, which she isolated in 1898‍—‌after her native country.

Curie died in 1934, aged 66, at a sanatorium in Sancellemoz (Haute-Savoie), France, due to aplastic anemia brought on by exposure to radiation while carrying test tubes of radium in her pockets during research, and in the course of her service in World War I mobile X-ray units that she had set up.

Marie Curie and Pierre

Marie Curie and Pierre

 Madame Curie’s papers, even a notebook she kept on meals she cooked, are considered so highly radioactive that they are kept in lead-lined boxes. Those who wish to consult them have to wear protective clothing.

Tsar Nicholas II Of Russia And His Children With Cossack Officers Of The Konvoy, 1916

Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and his children with Cossack officers of the Konvoy (Grabbe, their commandant is seen between Anastasia and Olga) at GHQ Moginav (Mogilev), circa 1916.

Cossacks, a class of Eastern Slavic people that by the start of the 20th century numbered about 4 million, emerged in the 14th-15th centuries, forming democratic communities in the great river basins of what is now southern Russia and Ukraine. Since their early days they had maintained the traditions of military training in their families, were excellent horse riders and brave and skillful soldiers. By 1914, their loyalty to the authorities had been boosted by a preferential tax regime (they paid practically no taxes or levies), free education and health care. Yet the majority of ordinary Cossacks were rather poor. Their only source of income was land, which they either worked themselves or leased. However, land was often unfairly distributed by Cossack chieftains.

Cossack divisions, whose supreme commanders were called atamans, were one of the main pillars of Russia’s ruling regime. They were frequently used to disperse rallies and to suppress peasants and workers during the 1905 revolution. Yet some of the Cossacks refused to go against the people and protect landowners. Frustrated by their never-ending hardship, in some villages Cossacks even dared to rise against the authorities, but the outbreak of World War I changed everything.

The name of Cossack Kuzma Kryuchkov was to become known across the whole of Europe during the war. Kryuchkov, together with three fellow soldiers, killed a German cavalry platoon of 27 men, and became the first soldier in World War I to be awarded the Cross of St George, for "undaunted courage". Overall, more than 120,000 Cossacks received different distinctions of St. George in the course of the war. In the meantime, villages left without a male workforce were slipping deeper into poverty. The authorities had completely lost the support of the Cossacks by the time the February 1917 revolution took place. A number of Cossack units that were sent to disperse the protesters not only refused to obey the command but joined in the uprising. In October 1917, the Bolsheviks overthrew the provisional government of Alexander Kerensky, and many Cossack units in St Petersburg went over to their side.

The revolution divided the Cossack people. Many poor Cossacks welcomed the first decrees of the new authorities: The Bolsheviks announced that Russia was quitting the war, promising land to the Cossacks and not to interfere in their affairs so long as they did not oppose Soviet rule. And yet it was in the very heart of Cossack Russia that the main hotbed of resistance to the new Soviet authorities was to emerge, on the banks of the river Don.

In 1918, General Pyotr Krasnov, who came from a generations-old Cossack family, became the Ataman, or commander, of the Don Cossack Host, a formidable independent Cossack army fighting on the side of “White Russia” against the Bolshevik authorities. Krasnov canceled Bolshevik decrees and declared the lands of the host an independent state with himself a dictator. From 25,000 to 40,000 "red" Cossacks were executed and another 30,000 exiled. Krasnov sent a telegram to Kaiser Wilhelm II, the German emperor, with an offer of cooperation in exchange for recognition of his "state". Berlin sent Krasnov trainloads of weapons, but after Germany retreated, Krasnov's "tsardom" broke up and he was forced to flee to Germany. By 1920, Cossack resistance was over.

The Bolsheviks began to exterminate Cossacks, seeing them as a class hostile to the Soviet authorities. Many were executed, while whole families were banished from their land and exiled to other territories in order to "dilute" the Cossacks' social unity. In 1922, the lands belonging to Cossack hosts were absorbed into the Soviet republics of Russia and Ukraine. However, this was far from the end of the Cossacks.

Rasputin, mystical adviser in the court of Czar Nicholas II of Russia

Rasputin, a wondering peasant who eventually exerted a powerful influence over Nicholas II and Aleksandra, the last Tsar and Tsarina of Imperial Russia, is one of the most mysterious and dark individuals of Russian history.

Born to a Siberian peasant family, Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin received little schooling and probably never learned to read or write. In his early years, some people of his village said he possessed supernatural powers, while others cite examples of extreme cruelty. For a time, it was believed his name "Rasputin" meant "licentious" in Russian. Historians now believe that "Rasputin" meant "where two rivers meet," a phrase that describes an area near where he was born in Siberia. He entered the Verkhoture Monastery in Russia with the intention of becoming a monk, but left shortly thereafter, presumably to get married. At age 19, he wed Proskovia Fyodorovna, and they later had three children (two others died shortly after birth). In his early 20s, however, Rasputin left his family and traveled to Greece and the Middle East, making several pilgrimages to the Holy Land.

In 1903, Rasputin's wanderings brought him to St. Petersburg, where he arrived with a reputation as a mystic and faith healer. Two years later, he was introduced to Russian Czar Nicholas II and his wife, Alexandra Feodorovna, who were seeking help for their sickly son, Alexis. Rasputin quickly gained their confidence by seemingly "curing" the boy of hemophilia. This action won him the passionate support of Alexandra. Between 1906 and 1914, various politicians and journalists used Rasputin’s association with the imperial family to undermine the dynasty’s credibility and push for reform. Rasputin helped their efforts by claiming to be the Czarina’s advisor, and accounts of his rampant lascivious behavior emerged in the press, compounding contempt among state officials. In truth, however, Rasputin's influence at this time was limited to the health of Alexis. As Russia entered World War I, Rasputin predicted that calamity would befall the country. Nicholas II took command of the Russian Army in 1915, and Alexandra took responsibility for domestic policy. Always Rasputin's defender, she dismissed ministers who were said to be suspicious of the "mad monk." Government officials tried to warn her of Rasputin's undue influence, but she continued to defend him, giving the impression that Rasputin was her closest advisor.

On the night of December 29, 1916, a group of conspirators, including the czar's first cousin, Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich, and Prince Felix Yusupov, invited Rasputin to Yusupov's palace and fed him wine and cakes laced with cyanide. Though Rasputin eventually became rather drunk, the poison seemed to have no effect. Baffled but not deterred, the conspirators finally shot Rasputin multiple times. He was then wrapped in a carpet and thrown into the Neva River, where it was discovered three days later.

Although Rasputin was gone, the last of his prophecies was yet to unfold. Shortly before his death, he wrote to Nicholas to predict that if he were killed by government officials, the entire imperial family would be killed by the Russian people. His prophecy came true 15 months later, when the czar, his wife and all of their children were murdered by assassins amidst the Russian Revolution.

Angoni Warriors at King George Vs Coronation celebrations, Zomba, 1911.

The Ngoni people (also called Angoni) are an ethnic group living in Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia, in southeast-central Africa. The Ngoni trace their origins to the Nguni and Zulu people of kwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. The displacement of the Ngoni people in the great scattering following the Zulu wars had repercussions in social reorganization as far north as Malawi and Zambia.

The rise of the Zulu nation to dominance in southern Africa in the early nineteenth century (~1815–~1840) disrupted many traditional alliances. Around 1817, the Mthethwa alliance, which included the Zulu clan, came into conflict with the Ndwandwe alliance, which included the Nguni people from the kwaZulu-Natal. One of the military commanders of the Ndwandwe army, Zwangendaba Gumbi (c1780–1848), was the head of the Jele or Gumbi clan, which itself formed part of the larger emaNcwangeni alliance in what is now north-east kwaZulu-Natal. In 1819, the Zulu army under Shaka defeated the Ndwandwe alliance at a battle on the Umhlatuze River, near Nkandla. The battle resulted in the diaspora of many indigenous groups in southern Africa.

In the following decades, Zwangendaba led a small group of his followers north through Mozambique and Zimbabwe to the region around the Viphya Plateau. In this region, present-day Zambia (Chipata district), Malawi (Mzimba, Ntcheu and Karonga district) and Tanzania (Matema district), he established a state, using Zulu warfare techniques to conquer and integrate local peoples. The date on which Zwengandaba's party crossed the River Zambezi, sometimes given in early writings as 1825, has been argued to have been on 20 November 1835.

Following Zwangendaba's death in 1848, succession disputes split the Ngoni people. Zwangendaba's following and the Maseko Ngoni eventually created seven substantial Ngoni kingdoms in Tanzania, Zambia and Malawi. While the Ngoni were primarily agriculturalists, cattle were their main goal for raiding expeditions and migrations northward. Their reputation as refugees escaping Shaka is easily overstated; it is thought that no more than 1,000 Ngoni crossed the Zambezi River in the 1830s. They raided north, taking women in marriage and men into their fighting regiments. Their prestige became so great that by 1921, in Nyasaland alone, 245,833 people claimed membership as Ngoni although few spoke the Zulu dialect called Ngoni.

The Ngoni integrated conquered subjects into their warfare and organization, becoming more a ruling class than an ethnic group, and by 1906 few individuals were of pure Ngoni descent. It was only after Ngoni status began to decline that tribal consciousness of the component groups began to rise along with their reported numbers. In the early 1930s, the Ngonde, Nyasa, Tonga and other groups once again claimed their original tribal status.
While the Ngoni have generally retained a distinct identity in the post-colonial states in which they live, integration and acculturation has led to them adopting local languages; nowadays Zulu is used only for a few ritual praise poems.

Emmeline Pankhurst

Emmeline Pankhurst was born in England in 1858. In 1903, she founded the Women's Social and Political Union, which used militant tactics to agitate for women's suffrage. Pankhurst was imprisoned many times, but supported the war effort after World War I broke out. Parliament granted British women limited suffrage in 1918. Pankhurst died in 1928, shortly before women were given full voting rights.

Body of Confederate sharpshooter, 1863.

On July 5, 1863, photographer Alexander Gardner and his assistant, Timothy O’Sullivan, arrived at the site of the Battle of Gettysburg. The battle had ended two days earlier. On parts of the battlefield, bodies were still unburied. 

Over the next three days, Gardner did not hesitate to photograph the carnage. On July 6, when he saw the body of a Confederate soldier in an area called “Devil’s Den,” he photographed it. He and O’Sullivan then saw an opportunity for another, more dramatic photograph. They moved the corpse more than 40 yards to what they believed to have been the sharpshooter’s position, and O’Sullivan made another exposure. The photographs became two of the most famous of the Civil War, but for over 100 years historians did not question the captions Gardner wrote for them in his Photographic Sketch Book of the Civil War. These described a “sharpshooter” who had died a slow death and who had spent his final moments thinking of his family. Gardner also wrote that when he returned to Gettysburg in November 1863, the body and the gun were still there.

 

Devils Den is a boulder-strewn hill at Gettysburg Battlefield, once used by artillery and infantry (e.g., sharpshooters) on the second day of the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War. A visitor attraction since the memorial association era, several boulders are worn from foot traffic and the site includes numerous cannon, memorials, and walkways, including a bridge spanning 2 boulders.

Filthy Thirteen member Clarence Ware applies war paint to Charles Plaudo. England, 31 December 1943.

Filthy Thirteen member Pvt. Clarence C. Ware, 438 W. 15th St., San Pedro, Calif., gives a last second touch to Pvt. Charles R. Plaudo, 210 N. James, Minneapolis, Minn., make-up patterned after the American Indians. Somewhere in England, 31 December 1943.

The Filthy Thirteen was the name given to the 1st Demolition Section of the Regimental Headquarters Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, of the United States Army, which fought in the European campaign in World War II. The Demolition Section was assigned and trained to demolish enemy targets behind the lines. They were ordered to secure or destroy the bridges over the Douve River during the Normandy Invasion of Europe in June 1944. Half were either killed, wounded or captured, but they accomplished their mission. They also participated in the capture of Carentan. The group was airdropped for the mission by aircraft of the 440th Troop Carrier Group of the United States Army Air Forces. This unit was best known for the famous photo which appeared in Stars and Stripes, showing two members wearing Indian-style "mohawks" and applying war paint to one another. The inspiration for this came from unit sergeant Jake McNiece, who was part Choctaw.

During Operation Market Garden, the Demolition Platoon was assigned to defend the three bridges over the Dommel River in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. German bombing of the city killed or wounded half the demolitions men in the platoon, and McNiece was promoted to platoon sergeant. Jack Womer took his place as section sergeant. For the rest of the campaign, the demolitions men secured the regimental command post or protected wire-laying details. On one occasion, the survivors of the Demolitions Platoon were assigned as a rifle squad to an understrength company. After coming back from AWOL to Paris after the Netherlands, McNiece joined the Pathfinders. These were paratroopers sent in ahead of the main force to guide them in or guide in resupply drops. Half the surviving members of the original Filthy Thirteen followed him into the Pathfinders thinking they would sit out the rest of the war training in England. Expecting casualties as high as 80–90%, the pathfinders were dropped into the encircled town of Bastogne at the height of the Battle of the Bulge, losing only one man. Their CRN-4 beacon enabled them to guide in subsequent airdrops of supplies crucial to the continued resistance of the trapped 101st Airborne Division.

Jake McNiece, left, enjoys the story being told by fellow "Filthy Thirteen" paratrooper Jack Agnew during the American Veterans Center's 2008 annual conference in Washington, D.C. Joe Gromelski / S&S / Source: stripes.com

Jake McNiece, left, enjoys the story being told by fellow "Filthy Thirteen" paratrooper Jack Agnew during the American Veterans Center's 2008 annual conference in Washington, D.C. Joe Gromelski / S&S / Source: stripes.com

McNiece considered that any activities not directly concerned with his mission were irrelevant, an attitude that got him in constant trouble with the military authorities. Nevertheless, McNiece finished the war as the acting first sergeant and with four combat jumps, a very rare feat for an American paratrooper. His jumps were made in Normandy, the Netherlands as part of Operation Market Garden, the pathfinder jump in to Bastogne, Belgium, during the Battle of the Bulge, then his last jump as an observer with the 17th Airborne Division during Operation Varsity. 

Of the activities of the Filthy Thirteen, Jack Agnew once said, "We weren’t murderers or anything, we just didn’t do everything we were supposed to do in some ways and did a whole lot more than they wanted us to do in other ways. We were always in trouble."

The name "Filthy 13" referred to the fact that, while training in England, they washed and shaved once a week and never cleaned their uniforms because they used their water ration to cook illegally poached deer, rabbits and fish. The number 13 referred to the 13 enlisted men of a demolitions section, two six-man squads and the section sergeant.

Travel Back in Time With the Master of Photo Colorization. via WIRED

Time travel might be impossible (for now!), but Marina Amaral gets pretty close with Photoshop. The Brazilian artist digitally colorizes black-and-white photographs from the past with obsessive accuracy and stunning near-perfect hues.
— WIRED MAGAZINE

It's a great pleasure for me to have my work featured in the WIRED Magazine. Check it out!

https://www.wired.com/2016/08/marina-amaral-colorized-photos/

Captain Wilm Hosenfeld: helped to rescue several Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland.

Innumerable Jews have been killed like that, for no reason, senselessly. It is beyond understanding. Now the last remnants of the Jewish inhabitants of the ghetto are being exterminated. An SS Sturmführer boasted of the way they shot the Jews down as they ran out of the burning buildings. The entire ghetto has been razed by fire. These brutes think we shall win the war that way. But we have lost the war with this appalling mass murder of the Jews. We have brought shame upon ourselves that cannot be wiped out; it is a curse that cannot be lifted. We deserve no mercy; we are all guilty. I am ashamed to walk in the city
— June 16, 1943 diary entry, upset by the orders to destroy the Warsaw Ghetto

Wilhelm Hosenfeld was born in a village in Hessen, Germany, in 1895. His family was Catholic and he grew up in a pious and conservative German patriotic environment. After serving as a soldier in World War I, he became a teacher, and taught at a local school. By the time World War II broke out, Hosenfeld was married and had five children. In the end of August 1939, a week before the German attack on Poland, 43-year-old Hosenfeld was drafted into the Wehrmacht (the German Army). He was stationed in Poland, first in Pabiance, and as of July 1940 in Warsaw, where he would stay until the end of the war. Hosenfeld spent most of the war years as a sports and culture officer, rising from the rank of sergeant to captain. In summer 1944, during the Polish uprising, when all military forces were engaged in suppressing the revolt, he was involved in the interrogation of prisoners.

Although joining the Nazi party in 1935, Hosenfeld soon grew disillusioned with the regime and disgusted by the crimes against Poles and Jews that he became witness to. All through his military service he kept a diary in which he expressed his feelings. The texts survived because he would regularly send the notebooks home. In his writing, Hosenfeld stressed his growing disgust with the regimes’ oppression of Poles, the persecution of Polish clergy, the abuse of Jews, and, with the beginning of the “Final Solution”, his horror at the extermination of the Jewish people. In 1943, after witnessing the suppression of the Warsaw Ghetto revolt, he wrote in his diary: "these animals. With horrible mass murder of the Jews we have lost this war. We have brought an eternal curse on ourselves and will be forever covered with shame. We have no right for compassion or mercy; we all have a share in the guilt. I am ashamed to walk in the city…."

Two pages from the diary of Hosenfeld from the year 1942

Two pages from the diary of Hosenfeld from the year 1942

Hosenfeld not only expressed his deep revulsion in words, but also actively helped the victims. Leon Warm escaped from a train to Treblinka during the 1942 deportations from Warsaw. He made it back into the city, and managed to survive with the help of Hosenfeld who employed him in the sports stadium, and provided him with a false identity. His help to another Jew became famous with the film "The Pianist", based on Waldislaw Szpilman's life story. After his entire family was killed, Szpilman managed to leave the ghetto and survived on the Aryan side with the help of Polish friends [Janina Godlewska, Andrezej Bogucki and Czeslaw Lewicki were honored as Righteous Among the Nations in 1978]. After the Polish Uprising in summer 1944, the Polish population was evicted from the city, and Szpilman remained alone, hiding in the ruins of the destroyed city, hungry, frozen, frightened and with no support whatsoever. It was there that Hosenfeld found him in mid-November 1944, and helped him survive during the critical final weeks before liberation.

In January 1945 Hosenfeld was taken prisoner by the Soviets. Five years later, on 7 May 1950 a military tribunal in Minsk sentenced him to 25 years in prison. The trial, so the one-page verdict stated, was held in the absence of the defense. The verdict stated that Hosenfeld had personally interrogated prisoners during the Warsaw uprising and sent them to detention, thereby strengthening Fascism in the struggle against the Soviet Union. Six months after the trial, in November 1950, Leon Warm came to visit Hosenfeld's wife in Thalau. A Polish priest who had met Hosenfeld in the POW camp had found him and told him of his rescuer's predicament. Warm, who was about to emigrate from Europe, also wrote a letter to Szpilman in Warsaw. It seems unlikely that something could have been done by the two survivors who had lost their families and who were, like others, working hard to pick up the pieces and try to build a life in a world that had little interest in the Jewish tragedy. Suffering several cerebral strokes, Hosenfeld died in a Soviet prison in 1952.

 

Source: yadvashem.org

In memory of Czesława Kwoka

Czesława Kwoka (15 August 1928 Wólka Złojecka – 12 March 1943 Auschwitz) was a Polish Catholic child who died in the Auschwitz concentration camp at the age of 14. She was one of the thousands of child victims of German World War II crimes against Poles. She died at Auschwitz-Birkenau, in Poland, and is among those memorialized in the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum indoor exhibit called Block no. 6: Exhibition: The Life of the Prisoners.

Czesława Kwoka was born in Wólka Złojecka, a small village in Poland, to a Catholic mother, Katarzyna Kwoka. Along with her mother (prisoner number 26946), Czesława Kwoka (prisoner number 26947) was deported and transported from Zamość, Poland, to Auschwitz, on 13 December 1942. On 12 March 1943, less than a month after her mother died (18 February 1943), Czesława Kwoka died at the age of 14; the circumstances of her death were not recorded.

She was one of the "approximately 230,000 children and young people aged less than eighteen" among the 1,300,000 people who were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau from 1940 to 1945. The Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum's Centre for Education About the Holocaust and Auschwitz documents the wartime circumstances that brought children like Kwoka and young adults to the concentration camps in its 2004 press release announcing the publication of an album of photographs of some of them, many years in development, compiled by its historian Helena Kubica; these photographs were first published in the Polish/German version of Kubica's book in 2002. According to the Museum's press release, of the approximately 230,000 children and young people deported to Auschwitz, more than 216,000 children, the majority, were of Jewish descent; more than 11,000 children came from Romani (Roma) families; the other children had Polish, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Russian, or other ethnic backgrounds.

Most of these children "arrived in the camp along with their families as part of the various operations that the Nazis carried out against whole ethnic or social groups"; these operations targeted "the Jews as part of the drive for the total extermination of the Jewish people, the Gypsies as part of the effort to isolate and destroy the Gypsy population, the Poles in connection with the expulsion and deportation to the camp of whole families from the Zamość region and from Warsaw during the Uprising there in August 1944", as well as Belarusians and other citizens of the Soviet Union "in reprisal for partisan resistance" in places occupied by Germany. Of all these children and young people, "Only slightly more than 20,000 ... including 11,000 Gypsies, were entered in the camp records. No more than 650 of them survived until liberation [in 1945].

After her arrival at Auschwitz, Czesława Kwoka was photographed for the Reich's concentration camp records, and she has been identified as one of the approximately 40,000 to 50,000 subjects of such "identity pictures" taken under duress at Auschwitz-Birkenau by Wilhelm Brasse, a young Polish inmate in his twenties (known as Auschwitz prisoner number 3444). Trained as a portrait photographer at his aunt's studio prior to the 1939 German invasion of Poland beginning World War II, Brasse and others had been ordered to photograph inmates by their Nazi captors, under dreadful camp conditions and likely imminent death if the photographers refused to comply.

These photographs that he and others were ordered to take capture each inmate "in three poses: from the front and from each side." Though ordered to destroy all photographs and their negatives, Brasse became famous after the war for having helped to rescue some of them from oblivion. Such acts of courage as Brasse's and his colleagues enabled many like Kwoka not to become forgotten as mere bureaucratic statistics, but to be remembered as individual human beings.

Senator John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy on their wedding day, September 12, 1953.

The wedding was celebrated at St Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Newport, Rhode Island, on a crisp, sunny day. A breeze whipped up whitecaps in the bay as waves of publicity powered by the groom’s father, Ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy, drew crowds to the streets. It was he who had picked out Jacqueline Bouvier as the right wife for a future president of the United States, and he is said to have run the whole event like a Hollywood production. The bride was twenty-four and the groom, United States Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts, was thirty-six. She had warmed to her prospective father-in-law personally, and to his money, but friends said she was nervous of marrying a confirmed philanderer and of being swamped by his boisterous family.

Both bride and groom were Catholics. Her step-family, the Auchinclosses, were Protestants, but Janet Auchincloss’s pleas for the ceremony not to be ‘too Catholic’ were brushed aside. So were her requests for a reasonably limited guest list. The Kennedys treated the wedding as a political event and the hundreds of guests included senators and congressmen, Boston and Massachusetts political figures and Hollywood luminaries. Ambassador Kennedy had enlisted Cardinal Cushing, Archbishop of Boston, to conduct the nuptial mass (only because the Pope was not available, it was said). The groom arrived with a scratched face after being knocked into a rosebush in a last-minute game of touch football with his brothers and the ushers. His best man was his brother Bobby.

The bride’s adored father, ‘Black Jack’ Bouvier, who was supposed to lead her proudly down the aisle, was found drunk in his suite in the Viking Hotel at ten that morning. He was discreetly shipped back to New York in an ambulance and his place was taken by Jackie’s stepfather, Hugh Auchincloss. Inquisitive reporters were told that poor ‘Black Jack’ had been suddenly stricken with flu. When Jackie arrived at the church for the 11am ceremony, the crowd across the street surged forward and almost swamped her. Her off-the-shoulder gown, which she disliked intensely, was made of fifty yards of ivory silk taffeta. Her younger sister Lee was matron of honour and the eleven bridesmaids were in pink taffeta.

The reception was at an Auchincloss residence, Hammersmith Farm, where Jackie and Jack stood in the receiving line for three hours to greet the 1,300 guests. Opportunities for political gladhanding were fully exploited. The ambassador’s glamorous ex-mistress Gloria Swanson did not crash the party, as the womenfolk of both families had feared. After champagne, lunch, speeches and dancing, the bride and groom left for a short honeymoon in Acapulco. The media coverage was extremely satisfactory. The tragedy lay ten years ahead.

Source: historytoday.com

Alexander Graham Bell, 1907

Alexander Graham Bell (March 3, 1847 – August 2, 1922) was a Scottish-born scientist, inventor, engineer and innovator who is credited with patenting the first practical telephone.

Bell's father, grandfather, and brother had all been associated with work on elocution and speech, and both his mother and wife were deaf, profoundly influencing Bell's life's work. His research on hearing and speech further led him to experiment with hearing devices which eventually culminated inBell being awarded the first U.S. patent for the telephone in 1876. Bell considered his most famous invention an intrusion on his real work as a scientist and refused to have a telephone in his study. Many other inventions marked Bell's later life, including groundbreaking work in optical telecommunications, hydrofoils and aeronautics. Although Bell was not one of the 33 founders of the National Geographic Society, he had a strong influence on the magazine while serving as the second president from January 7, 1898, until 1903.

Bell died of complications arising from diabetes on August 2, 1922, at his private estate, Beinn Bhreagh, Nova Scotia, at age 75. Bell had also been afflicted with pernicious anemia. His last view of the land he had inhabited was by moonlight on his mountain estate at 2:00 a.m. While tending to him after his long illness, Mabel, his wife, whispered, "Don't leave me." By way of reply, Bell signed "no...", lost consciousness, and died shortly after. Bell's coffin was constructed of Beinn Bhreagh pine by his laboratory staff, lined with the same red silk fabric used in his tetrahedral kite experiments. To help celebrate his life, his wife asked guests not to wear black (the traditional funeral color) while attending his service.

Upon the conclusion of Bell's funeral, "every phone on the continent of North America was silenced in honor of the man who had given to mankind the means for direct communication at a distance".

Dr. Alexander Graham Bell was buried atop Beinn Bhreagh mountain, on his estate where he had resided increasingly for the last 35 years of his life, overlooking Bras d'Or Lake. He was survived by his wife Mabel, his two daughters, Elsie May and Marian, and nine of his grandchildren.

Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain, 1907

Missouri native Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain, was one of the premier writers of late 19th century America. He based his fictional works "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" and "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" on his hometown. This portrait is from 1907.

Born on November 30, 1835, in Florida, Missouri, Samuel L. Clemens wrote under the pen name Mark Twain and went on to author several novels, including two major classics of American literature: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. He was also a riverboat pilot, journalist, lecturer, entrepreneur and inventor. Twain died on April 21, 1910, in Redding, Connecticut.


Source: biography.com

Thomas Edison relaxing on a "Vagabonds" camping trip, 1921

Between 1915 and 1924, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone, and John Burroughs, calling themselves the Four Vagabonds, embarked on a series of summer camping trips. The idea was initiated in 1914 when Ford and Burroughs visited Edison in Florida and toured the Everglades. The notion blossomed the next year when Ford, Edison and Firestone were in California for the Panama-Pacific Exposition. They visited Luther Burbank and then drove from Riverside to San Diego.

In 1916, Edison invited Ford, Burroughs and Harvey Firestone to journey through the New England Adirondacks and Green Mountains; Ford, however, was unable to join the group. In 1918, Ford, Edison, Firestone, his son Harvey, Burroughs, and Robert DeLoach of the Armour Company, caravanned through the mountains of West Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia. Subsequent trips were made in 1919 to the Adirondacks and New England; in 1920 to John Burroughs' home and cabin retreat into the Catskill Mountains; in 1921 to West Virginia and northern Michigan; and in 1923 to northern Michigan. In 1924, the group journeyed to northern Michigan by train, gathered again at Henry and Clara Ford's Wayside Inn in Massachusetts, and visited President Coolidge at his home in Vermont.

The trips were well organized and equipped. There were several heavy passenger cars and vans to carry the travelers, household staff, and equipment; Ford Motor Company photographers also accompanied the group.

The 1919 trip involved fifty vehicles, including two designed by Ford: a kitchen camping car with a gasoline stove and built-in icebox presided over by a cook and a heavy touring car mounted on a truck chassis with compartments for tents, cots, chairs, electric lights, etc. On later trips, there was a huge, folding round table equipped with a lazy susan that seated twenty. After 1924, the growing fame of the campers brought too much public attention and the trips were discontinued. Source: TheHenryFord.org

Hermann Göring sits in the dock at the Nuremberg trial, 1946.

Of course the people don’t want war. But after all, it’s the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it’s always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it’s a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger.

— Herman Göring at the Nuremberg trials

Hermann Goering was head of the German air force. He was one of 22 major war criminals tried by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. The Tribunal found Goering guilty on all counts and sentenced him to death. Goering committed suicide shortly before his execution was to take place. Source: www.ushmm.org

The Conspirators of Abraham Lincoln's Assassination, 1865

After the great success of the Lewis Powell portrait, I decided to colorize all conspirators of Abraham Lincoln's assassination. Mary Surratt and Samuel Mudd are not included here because I could not find photos with the minimum quality requirements.

The assassination of Abraham Lincoln involves a gang of Confederate operatives and sympathizers that first plotted to kidnap the President and, when that failed, decided to murder not only him, but the Vice President and Secretary of State as well. Their goal was to decapitate and destabilize the federal government in hopes of forcing a settlement to the war that would avoid the South's total defeat. In the end, they managed to kill Lincoln and seriously injure Secretary of State William Seward.

John Wilkes Booth

A member of a famous acting family, and a fierce partisan of the Confederacy, Booth was the subject of a 12-day manhunt through Maryland and Virginia after he shot Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre. Union cavalry pursued him to the Garrett farm, burned down the barn to flush Booth out, then, as he rushed out, killed him with a bullet to the neck.

David Herold

An impressionable and dull-witted pharmacy clerk, Herold led Booth on the escape route into Virginia. He surrendered at the Garrett farm, was tried and convicted, and was executed by hanging in July 1865.

George Atzerodt

German-born Azterodt was a carriage painter and boatman who had secretly ferried Confederate spies across Southern Maryland waterways during the war. Recruited by Booth into the conspiracy, he was assigned to kill Vice President Andrew Johnson, but lost his nerve and stayed in a hotel bar, drinking, instead. Azterodt was executed by hanging in July 1865.

Lewis Powell

Powell was a former Confederate prisoner of war. Tall and strong, he was recruited to provide the muscle for the kidnapping plot. When that plan failed, Booth assigned Powell to kill Secretary of State William Seward. He entered the Seward home and severely injured Seward, Seward’s son, and a bodyguard. Powell was tried and convicted, and was executed by hanging in July 1865.

Michael O'Laughlen

Booth’s childhood friend was an ex-Confederate soldier. After he turned himself in to the authorities, he was tried as a conspirator, though his role remained unclear. O’Laughlen was sentenced to life in prison and sent to Fort Jefferson, off of Key West, Florida, where he died of yellow fever in 1867.

Samuel Arnold

Another long-time friend of Booth, Arnold was not in Washington at the time of the assassination. However, investigators tied Arnold to Booth’s original kidnapping plot. Sentenced to life in prison, Arnold was pardoned by President Andrew Johnson, and survived until 1906, when he died of tuberculosis.

Edman Spangler

A stagehand and carpenter at Ford’s Theatre who was also known as Edward, Edmund, and Ned, Spangler knew Booth well and assisted him on April 14 at the theater. He was not connected to the kidnapping plan, but he was found guilty and sentenced to six years in prison. Pardoned by President Andrew Johnson in 1869, Spangler moved to Maryland, where he remained until his death in 1875.

John Surratt

Booth’s most valuable conspirator was a Confederate spy with a college education. Surratt introduced Booth to Herold and Azterodt, and conspired with the others to kidnap the president, but was not in Washington several months later when the assassination was carried out. Surratt fled the U.S. when he heard news of the crime, and lived in Europe as a fugitive for several years until he was apprehended in Egypt in 1866. Tried by a civilian court in 1867-1868, Surratt was not convicted. He would survive until 1916.

 

Captions provided by PBS, original photographs by Library Of Congress.
Special thanks to Dave, Lincoln assassination and Booth family researcher.