Thursday, July 2, 2020

My Blog Posts

I post on the 1st of each month at the Heroes, Heroines, & History blog. If you enjoy reading about the WWII time period, the links below will lead you to my past posts.
February 1, 2018

The Doolittle Raiders Who Disobeyed Orders - March 1, 2018

More Exciting Doolittle Raid Adventures - April 1, 2018

What Happened to the Doolittle Raiders? The Story Continues 
May 1, 2018

Japanese Revenge for the Doolittle Raid - June 1, 2018

What Happened to the Doolittle Raiders after Their Escape from China? - July 1, 2018

What Happened to the Doolittle Raiders after China? The Story Continues - August 1, 2018

What Happened to the Doolittle Raiders after China? The Story Continues, Part 3 - September 1, 2018

Miracles in Norway:  A World War II Story - November 1, 2018

More Miracles in Norway: A World War II Story - December 1, 2018

The Rescue of Norway's Gold: A WWII Story - January 1, 2019

The Rescue of Norway's Gold: A WWII Story, Part 2 - February 1, 2019

The Rescue of Norway's Gold: A WWII Story, Part 3 - March 1, 2019

Escape from Norway:  A WWII Story - April 1, 2019

A Miracle in Denmark:  A WWII Story - May 1, 2019

Friday, December 1, 2017

What Happened to the Doolittle Raiders? The Continuing Story

B-25 Taking Off from the USS Hornet during the Doolittle Raid
Courtesy of U.S.A.F via Wikimedia Commons
Jimmy Doolittle, commander of the Raiders, piloted the first B-25 to take off from the deck of the USS Hornet. A terrible storm bucked the ship with tremendous waves, but all eyes focused on the lead plane. If the “Old Man” didn’t succeed, none of them would. Plane #1 lifted off with yards to spare, and the sailors across the whole convoy cheered. Each of the sixteen planes lifted off four minutes apart, and they headed to Japan spread out over a field fifty miles wide and one hundred fifty miles long.

Read More . . .

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

What Happened to the Doolittle Raiders?

Jimmy Doolittle and the Crew of Plane #1
Courtesy of the U.S. Air Force via Wikipedia
After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in December of 1941, the American people longed to strike Japan where it would hurt – in their homeland. But four months after the United States entered World War II, the Japanese continued to conquer territory in Asia and defeat the allies at every turn.

In January 1942, top commanders in the American military began planning a sneak air attack on Japan, targeting military sites and industrial facilities supporting the war effort. Dubbed "Special Aviation Project #1," the planned bombing was kept so secret that the volunteer army pilots selected to participate didn’t know their target until after they'd sailed out of San Francisco aboard the USS Hornet aircraft carrier.

Read More . . .

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Saving Kurt: A Kindertransport Story With A Special Ending

Kindertransport from Vienna, Austria
Courtesy of USHMM
The Germans marched into Austria in 1938 and immediately instituted the same Nazi racial policies they had gradually established in Germany during the previous five years. Kurt Fuchel was seven years old, and his idyllic life in Vienna changed rapidly. Kurt’s father was dismissed from his position as a mid-level bank manager, Kurt was dismissed from his school, and tensions mounted in the Fuchel home. Kurt’s parents spent many hours visiting consulates, making phone calls, and studying maps as they endeavored to escape their homeland. Kurt, accustomed to being the center of attention, coped by pulling the tablecloth off the table, dishes and all.

    Read More . . .

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Lory Gruenberger Cahn: Almost Saved by the Kindertransport, Part 2

Theresienstadt. Courtesy of
Last month I shared the first half of Lory's story—Lori Gruenberger Cahn: Almost Saved by the Kindertransport. After Lory boarded the Kindertransport for England, her father couldn't part with her and pulled her out the window of the train while it was leaving the station. As a result, Lory didn't escape the holocaust with the nearly 10,000 other children who fled German-occupied territories on the Kindertransports

Last month's story ended in March of 1942 with the SS loading Lori and her mother into a cattle car with thirty-five to forty frightened people. The SS had removed a very ill Mr. Gruenberger from their home on a stretcher, and Lori and her mother didn't know his whereabouts.

                                Read More . . . 

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Lory Gruenberger Cahn: Almost Saved by the Kindertransport

German Kindertransport Refugees
 in Great Britain. USHMM.
For the past two months, I’ve posted individual stories about children who fled the Nazis and survived the Holocaust by taking the Kindertransport to England. An earlier post explains how the Kindertransport program was created. If you missed that post and would like to read it, here’s the link:  The Kindertransports: Nearly 10,000  Children Rescued from Nazi Territory

Lory Gruenberger lived a happy childhood with her brother and parents in Breslau, Germany, close to the Polish border. To her doting father, Lory could do no wrong. Mr. Gruenberger, a partially paralyzed WWI veteran, had a flourishing law practice and refused his government disability pension. After the Nazis took power in 1933, they didn’t harass Mr. Gruenberger due to his veteran status.

Read More . . . 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Saving Jack: A Kindertransport Story

Kindertransport Passengers - Courtesy of the 
U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and Max Stern
In 1938 and 1939, the British provided homes for nearly ten thousand children and teens from the Nazi occupied countries of Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia, saving them from sure death in the ghettos, concentration camps, and gas chambers of WWII Europe. To read how this amazing endeavor began, clink on the link to my April 1st post: The Kindertransports: Nearly 10,000 Children Rescued from Nazi Territory.  

Who were these rescued children and what are their stories?

Jack Hellman lived in the little village of Tann, Germany, population fifteen hundred and eight percent Jewish. His parents owned a general store where they sold feathers and down, piece goods, and ready-to-wear items. Jack’s family observed Jewish holidays, ate strictly kosher meals, and attended the local synagogue faithfully.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Saving Ursula: A Kindertransport Story

The First Kindertransport from Berlin 
Courtesy of the Kindertransport Association
In 1938 and 1939, the British people rescued nearly ten thousand children from the Nazi occupied countries of Germany, Austria, Poland, and Czechoslovakia. The background information can be found in last month's post - The Kindertransports: Nearly 10,000 Children Rescued from Nazi Territory.

Who were these young people and what are their stories?

Ursula Simon and her family lived in the small town of Quakenbruck in northwest Germany. Her mother sent extra rolls and sandwiches to school for other less fortunate children — those who were hungry because their families didn’t have enough food to feed them. Unfortunately, the recipients grew to resent these acts of charity and the Jews in the town who always had enough to eat.

Read More . . .

Saturday, April 1, 2017

The Kindertransports: Nearly 10,000 Children Rescued from Nazi Territory

Courtesy of U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum
The tragedy of Kristallnacht, Night of the Broken Glass, took place in Germany, Austria, and the Nazi occupied areas of Czechoslovakia (Sudetenland) November 9-10, 1938, when the Nazis damaged or destroyed 1000 synagogues and 7500 Jewish businesses, sent 30,000 Jewish men to concentration camps, and beat 90 male Jews to death. These events shocked the world; however, many countries, including the United States, only permitted a small percentage of Jews to immigrate, regardless of guarantees of financial support from relatives, friends, and acquaintances in those countries.

Shortly after the events of Kristallnacht, a delegation of prominent Jews in England met with Prime Minister Chamberlain and requested that he allow young German children and teenagers to temporarily enter Britain, retrain, and re-emigrate at a later time. The Jewish representatives were most concerned about teenagers threatened with arrest and those already in concentration camps. The Jewish community guaranteed financial support for the refugee children and teens.                          

Read More . . . 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Escape from the Soviet Union - A WWII Adventure

Mietek Rymaszewski was a young teenager when the Soviet Union invaded Poland in 1939. The Soviets arrested him on trumped up charges in 1940 and sent him to the slave labor camps of Siberia. Today’s post begins more than a year after his capture. His earlier adventures were shared in these previous posts: September, October, and November.

The Soviets sent Mietek back to camp and tried to persuade him to join their army, but he carefully responded that he hadn’t been educated in Russian and wouldn’t feel right in the Russian Army. Instead, Mietek and a group of other former prisoners boarded a cattle truck and rode south to join the Polish Armed Forces in the East. They rode the same rail line they had previously built and relished the freedom of travelling unguarded in Russia for the first time.

Read more . . .

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

A Siberian Miracle

River Pechora - AAT at Russian Wikipedia
How did 1940’s prisoners in the Siberian labor camps survive serious illness? And how did they escape to tell their stories?

Mietek Rymaszewski wasn’t old enough to fight when the Germans and Soviets overran Poland in 1939, but that didn’t prevent the Soviets from imprisoning and sending him to slave in the gulags of northern Siberia. Mietek's story represents hundreds of thousands who took the same journey but didn’t survive to tell about it.

Today’s feature begins almost one year after Mietek’s capture in Poland. His previous adventures were shared in these earlier posts: September and October                 

Read More . . .

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Survival in the Gulags of Northern Russia - A Polish Young Man's Continuing Saga

Deportation Train
Today we will start with part two in the life of Mietek Rymaszewski. If you missed last month’s post, you can read about Mietek’s adventures in Eastern Poland at the start of WWII hereOnly a teenager at the time, Mietek’s fascinating story of courage and determination is inspiring. Last month’s story ended with the Soviets locking Mietek and other prisoners in cattle cars at the train station in Lomza, Poland.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

A Polish Young Man's WWII Survival Story

From the Soviet Cinema Newsreel
Germany and the Soviet Union defeated and divided Poland between them in September of 1939. The Soviets quickly arrested and deported University professors, police officers, border guards, lawyers, doctors, pastors, priests, physicians, engineers, journalists, pilots, teachers, landowners, writers, chaplains, civic leaders, and any other person deemed a threat to the establishment of a communist society. The Soviets arrested anyone wearing a uniform, even boy scouts!  

The fascinating story of Mietek Rymaszewski begins in the small town of Malkowicze in Soviet-occupied Eastern Poland during the winter of 1940.     Read More . . .   

Monday, August 1, 2016

Exiled to Kazakhstan: A Survivor Miracle

Courtesy of the United States 
Holocaust Memorial Museum
When the Soviet Union invaded and occupied Poland at the beginning of WWII, the secret police (NKVD) immediately began arresting and deporting Polish citizens identified before the invasion. They simply pulled out their lists. . . .

These initial arrests focused on individuals holding leadership roles in the government, in the church, in education, in the military, as well as foreigners and those who had visited foreign countries. In February of 1940, hundreds of thousands of landowners and their families were sent to labor camps in Northern Russia and Siberia, and in April of 1940, family members of individuals previously arrested were transported to camps in Kazakhstan. Smaller numbers of Ukrainians and Jews were also deported.

Over one million people "rode the rails" to exile.              Read More . . .

Friday, April 1, 2016

Revival Fires in Hungary (1937-1938)

Courtesy of Professor John L. Heineman, Boston College
In February and March, we learned about the spiritual awakening which spread across Eastern Europe prior to WWII. If you missed those posts and would like to read them, here are the links: A Pre-WWII Great Awakening in Europe and
A Message of Hope in a Time of Need - Eastern Europe, 1937-1939.

Today the story moves to . . . Hungary

After witnessing the changes taking place in the churches of Czechoslovakia, the chief physician for the Hungarian Railway, Dr. Alexander de Csia, invited Evangelist James Stewart to hold evangelistic meetings on behalf of the Evangelical Alliance of Hungary. Dr. Csia was burdened to see God work in his country, refusing to accept the attitude of many that revival in Hungary was impossible.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

A Message of Hope in a Time of Need – Eastern Europe, 1937-1939

Prague - Matthewsjs007 at Creative Commons

On the first of February, we learned about the message of faith and hope which spread through Latvia, Estonia, Eastern Poland, and Czechoslovakia from 1934 to 1936. If you missed that post and would like to read it, here’s the link:
A Pre-WWII Great Awakening in Eastern Europe.

Today we continue the story in Czechoslovakia in late 1937.

Monday, February 1, 2016

A Pre-WWII Great Awakening in Europe

Courtesy of Creative Commons
by Cindy K. Stewart

While researching for my first novel set in Eastern Europe in 1939, I often wondered about the emotional and spiritual state of the general population in these countries. Did they expect such widespread devastation? Were they 
prepared for the suffering ahead? How did they feel about their chances of survival if a war broke out? Did they think about their spiritual welfare?