Remembering History: Anne Frank Family Goes Into Hiding (6 Jul 1942)

Anne Frank – 1940
Photographer Unknown
Public Domain (United States/Netherlands)
Wikimedia Commons

Although neutral, Germany invaded the Netherlands (Holland) in May 1940. Although resistance was very strong, the bombing of Rotterdam by the German Luftwaffe had left its city center in ashes. Although the army wanted to resist, without enough artillery and air support to stop the bombers, the Netherlands surrendered on 14 May 1940. It would remain occupied until 1945.

As would become the norm in countries where Germany invaded, strict rules about Jews were immediately imposed. Jews were dismissed from government held jobs, forbidden from visiting public places, and other restrictions were imposed as well. Deportation of Jews began in 1941 sending many to the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp. Dutch people opposed the action and organized a two-day strike in February 1941. It did nothing to stop the deportations and by this time every Jew had to wear the Star of David badges on their clothing. There were many atrocities committed against the Jews but one of the worst was the forced eviction of Jews from the Jewish psychiatric institution Het Apeldoornse Bosch. Disabled and mentally ill jews were sent to Auschwitz to be killed.

On 6 July 1942, fearing deportation to a Nazi concentration camp, Otto Frank decided to take his family into hiding along with the Van Pels family. They would later be joined by Fritz Pfeffer. Otto Frank had left Germany when Hitler came into power and settled in the Netherlands selling first pectin and later spices. He had hoped to set up a business in Great Britain, but the plans never came to be. When the Germans invaded and new rules forbade Jewish ownership of companies, he was helped by his employees to keep his business out of German control. Now faced with likely deportation, they decided to go into hiding.

The place that was chose was a Secret Annex above the warehouse of the company he owned. Access was through a bookcase that covered the door. They had to be very quiet in the early morning when workers arrived so as to not attract attention. Usually, some helpers who assisted them came up to join them for lunch (the workers left at this time for their lunches). Johannes Kleiman, Victor Kugler and Bep Voskuijl came up frequently as did Jan Gies. Miep Gies stayed below to keep an eye on things. They were able to learn what was going on through them and listening to a radio. During this time, Anne Frank began writing her diary recording her life and her thoughts about having to hide during this time.

They were able to hide out successfully for two years but on 4 August 1944, the Gestapo discovered the Secret Annex and arrested them along with two Christian helpers. All who hid in the Secret Annex were deported. Only Otto Frank would survive and return home. He would discover the diary written by his daughter, which was published and shared with the world. It would be made into several movies and documentaries.

Lingering questions remain as to whether or not they were betrayed or whether the Gestapo got lucky that day. It is likely that someone, perhaps a known Dutch collaborator, passed on information that Jews were hiding out in the warehouse. It is also possible the raid that occurred had nothing to do with Jews but looking for other things but unfortunately resulted in the discovery of the Secret Annex.

Sources:

Anne Frank House
History.com
Holland.com-Invasion and Occupation During World War II

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Titanic News: Titanic Size Compared to Cruise Ships Today;Robots to Find Shipwrecks

 

RMS Titanic pictured in Queenstown, Ireland 11 April 1912
Source:Cobh Heritage Centre, Cobh Ireland/Wikimedia Commons

How Big Was Titanic Compared To Modern Cruise Ships?
Newshub, 5 Jul 2021

But how big is big? If you were to judge its size by the movie Titanic alone, you would assume RMS Titanic was one of the largest things ever built, perhaps so big that it’s yet to be matched since. However, as time rolled on and technology evolved, the cruise ships taking to the ocean these days are so big they’d make Cal Hockley spill his hair wax. Putting Titanic next to some of the largest modern cruise liners underlines just how massive and amazing cruise ships have become.

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Lawton Heritage Association To Tell The Story Of Titanic Through The Eyes Of Women
Lawton Constitution, 4 July 2021

A fundraiser by the Lawton Heritage Association will allow visitors to experience the tragedy of the Titanic through the eyes of women at various levels of the social strata, while telling the broader story of an active historical era. Sandi Colby, who is coordinating the event for the Lawton Heritage Association, said the idea is to share the stories of women who were aboard the Titanic when it struck an iceberg and sank into the icy waters of the Atlantic in April 1912, while also linking the tragedy to the suffrage debate that had intensified about the same time.

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Deep Sea Robots Will Let Us Find Millions of Shipwrecks, Says Man Who Discovered Titanic
Guardian, 4 July 2021

All the work I’ve done in the past in archaeology used vehicles that were connected to a ship. The ones that we’re building now are revolutionary new vehicles, able to work in extremely complex and rugged terrains – a new class of autonomous underwater vehicles that have their own intelligence and that are going to revolutionise the field of marine archaeology.” They are all the more extraordinary because they allow marine archaeologists to explore the ocean floor without needing to go to sea themselves. In the US, he recently undertook an expedition exploring Lake Huron and found an 1800s wreck – a search that was all done from land.


Happy Independence Day

On 2 July 1776, the Continental Congress adopted a resolution that formally declared that American colonies independent of Britain. A final document had to be created explaining the reasons. A committee of five composed of John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert Morris, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson worked on a draft form for the Congress to approve. On 4 July 1776 the Declaration of Independence was published. Although John Adams believed 2 July would be remembered for generations, it would be the day the Declaration was published that would be remembered.

Declaration of Independence (1819) by John Trumbull (1756-1843).
Public Domain

It would be spread in July and August in a variety of ways. It was published in newspapers throughout the American colonies. It was spread via word of mouth by horseback and by ships. Newspapers published the Declaration and was read aloud for people and troops serving the Continental Congress. It was also sent to Europe as well. The Declaration clearly spelled out the reasons for the split and roused support for the American Revolution. It was a shocking document read in London and in other capitals. For it laid out clearly and precisely the reasons why a people could, and under the proper circumstances, rise up and replace their government with something better.

“4th-of-July-1819-Philadelphia-John-Lewis-Krimmel” by John Lewis Krimmel – Unknown. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons –

Thomas Jefferson, one of the principal writers of the Declaration, wanted to convey in a commonsense manner the reasons for the split. He wanted everyone who read or heard it read aloud to know exactly why this had to occur. He drew upon well-known political works in the language he used. His most important goal was to express the American mind against the tyranny of Britain.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. 

 The Declaration announced to the world the uniqueness of the American Revolution. This was not like simply toppling a monarch and replacing him with a Cromwell or another king. It was about creating a government that believed and supported civil liberties along with the idea of self-government. A government that ruled with the consent of the governed, and not the other way around which was common in most of the world. The Declaration would become the cornerstone of what the United States would stand for and inspire others around the world to believe in it as well.

Fourth of July Parade Boise, Idaho
Circa 1917-1920
Public Domain (U.S. Library of Congress,digital id#cph 3a18275)

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IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

— John Hancock

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts:
John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut:
Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania:
Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware:
Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland:
Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia:
George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia:
Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

For your Friday: In the Mood (Glenn Miller)

One of Glenn Miller’s enduring hits is In the Mood. The big band era which he helped define set a standard for great entertainment for the people. And this popular piece of music, along with others, had many people dancing to it. So sit back, relax, and enjoy this classic bit of music from the big band era.

 

 


Welcome To July

Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry-July
Limbourg Brothers (1385 – 1416)
Public Domain US/Wikimedia

July is the seventh month on both the Gregorian and Julian calendars. On the old Roman calendar, it was the fifth month since the new year did not start till March. It was called Quintillis until it was renamed July in honor of Julius Caesar. This occurred in 45 BC when the Julian calendar was adopted and January became the first month of the new year. In the Northern Hemisphere it is considered one of the warmest months of the year. Conversely it is considered one of the coldest months in the Southern Hemisphere where it is winter. The symbols for July are the ruby (birthstone) and Larkspur or Water Lilly for the flower.

Baker’s Larkspur
Kate Symonds/USFWS
Public Domain

Titanic News:1st Class Dinner, Diver Tells Titanic

 

RMS Olympic’s A la Carte Restaurant, located in B-Deck level. Circa May 1911
Robert John Welch (1859-1936), official photographer for Harland & Wolff
Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

First Class Dinner Gala Returning To Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition
ClickOrlando.com, 29 June 2021

If you have ever dreamed of dining like one of the guests onboard the famous Titanic, now is your chance once again. Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition — 7324 International Drive, Orlando — announced on Tuesday that its popular first-class dinner gala is returning on July 2. Guests can join Captain Smith, Margaret “Molly” Brown, and additional first-class passengers for a night to remember. The reserved dinner event includes a Captain’s cocktail party, a tour of Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition, a first-class dinner, and reenactments of the night of April 14, 1912.

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What It’s Like to Dive the Titanic
ScubaDiving.com, 24 June 2021

We landed in our job zone away from the ship, slowly moved off in the direction of the ship and after about 10 minutes, we gently bumped into a mud bank. The sea floor at this stage has been quite beveled with ripples in the sand. And as we got nearer and nearer the wreck site you could see debris starting to fall — bits of wreckage or small items on the seabed. And you know you’re getting nearer and nearer to it. But as we approach the mud bank, the pilot had slowed down and gently bumped into it. He then started to rise because, at this stage, the mud banks where the ship — the bow — plunged into the seabed. It literally buried itself 60 feet below the surface of the seabed. And so the pilot just started to make the sub rise slowly in front of us.


Titanic Wedding Blues

RMS Titanic pictured in Queenstown, Ireland 11 April 1912
Source:Cobh Heritage Centre, Cobh Ireland/Wikimedia Commons

According to the U.K.’s Daily Mail, newlyweds have received stinging rebukes on social media for a Titanic-themed wedding. Their uncle shared a photo of the two posing on a homemade Titanic bow celebrating their nuptials. It quickly drew criticism from people who were mad at how this trivialized the tragedy. The comments were all over the place, but the message was clear that they had crossed a line.

There have been many tacky things over the years from Titanic shaped ice cubes, knick-knack of all kinds, and even children’s slides. And there have been lots of people who have tried to recreate the famous scene from the James Cameron movie, sometimes just in jest. There was a famous advertisement some years back for a Red Bull, an energy drink. It showed a carton of it being loaded onto a ship. The captain asks about it and the crewman says it is an energy drink that gives you wings. The captain scoffs saying they only serve champagne on his ship, and you do not need wings on a ship. As the carton is lowered back down, the ship’s name is revealed as Titanic. You can view it on YouTube.

There were some who criticized the commercial for being in bad taste, but it was just a lighthearted joke to sell a product. Does anyone criticize James Cameron for having that bow scene in that famous movie? Not that I have heard. Here we have a fiancée who knew his future wife loves that scene. With some assistance from a relative, they build one so that they can both stand on it for the reception. How many times has this happened already? Probably a lot where couples got married in a Titanic-themed setting. The Titanic themed exhibition in Pigeon Forge offers wedding packages where they can get married at the outdoor fountain or at the Titanic Grand Staircase. And all the marriages are done by an ordained minister dressed as the Titanic Captain. I hardly think that is tacky and I bet whether at the fountain or on the staircase, it is a wedding to remember. They do not offer one with a bow setting because that is from that movie. It also may be difficult to pull off as well.

At the risk of sounding like William Shatner in the famous skit of his on SNL, get a life. They were recreating a scene from a movie. A movie, I must remind, that though depicting historical events, was fictional as were the characters of Jack and Rose. That is what they are recreating, two fictional characters standing on Titanic’s bow in a romantic scene. It would be different if they were dressed as Isidor and Ida Straus for the wedding and saying to each other “where you go, I go” type of vows. That would trivialize their deaths and others as well. The fact so many people got worked up into a frenzy is quite astonishing. And that some of the comments were quite vicious as well. Those who have been around the Internet for a long time have a feeling of déjà vu as it reminds one of the old flame wars on the old Internet groups and email discussion lists.

The newlyweds should not be ashamed, nor made to feel so. I wish them nothing but happiness for their life together. Enjoy the Celine Dion song here.*

*Due to restrictions imposed by creators who post on YouTube, some videos and music can now only be played at YouTube. YouTube will generate a message that the content is unavailable and must be played on their site. Rather than seeing that ugly message, we will provide the direct link for you to view.


Summer Solstice 2021

The sun rising over Stonehenge on summer solstice(2005) Photo:Andrew Dunn (Wikimedia)
The sun rising over Stonehenge on summer solstice(2005)
Photo:Andrew Dunn (Wikimedia)

Today is the Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. For those below the equatorial line, it is the Winter Solstice. The June Solstice usually takes place between June 20-22.  For both the UTC and local time of the solstice, go here.

For those in the Northern Hemisphere, it usually is the longest day of sunlight as the North Pole tilts directly towards the sun. Which translates into more sunlight particularly the further north you live. For those more closer to the North Pole (Alaska, parts of Canada, and Scandinavian countries)the sun literally never sets during this time of year. Of course the reverse is true in the Southern Hemisphere. They get less sunlight on the June Solstice and the closer you are to the Antarctic Circle means less sunlight or total night. For them, it is the Winter Solstice.

The coming of summer is usually a time for celebration in many cultures. Festivals in Northern Europe celebrate summer and the fertility of the Earth. Bonfires are lit and homes are decorated to mark the festival. Many cultures honor the sun in some fashion. Modern day pagans and druids also celebrate the day with their own festivals and many go to Stonehenge in England to witness the first rays of summer.

Slideshow of Former Widener Home Lynnewood Hall

Lynnewood Hall, 2013
Photo: Shuvaev/Wikimedia Commons

Few estates showcase the wealth of the Gilded Age than Lynnewood Hall in Elkins Park in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Built by A.B. Widener between 1897-1900, it was a masterpiece of design. The 110-room mansion sat on 300 acres that were meticulously cared for and adorned with statues. The mansion was 70,000 square feet and designed by the noted American architect Horace Trumbauer. Aside from being a place to live, it was also to be the home of one of the largest private art collections in the country. It is estimated to have cost $8 million to build. Sadly, both his son George Dunton Widener and grandson Harry, died when Titanic sank in 1912. George had two other children who were not aboard at the time. His wife Eleanor and maid did survive but it was a devastating blow to AB. He would die in 1915.

Between 1915-1940, it was a private art gallery open to the public by appointment. In 1940, over 2,000 pieces of art were donated to the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.  When Joseph Widener passed away in 1943, none of his children wanted the responsibility (meaning cost because it took a lot of money to keep the house and grounds maintained). It was abandoned and left to slowly disintegrate until 1948 when a developer bought it for a very low price. After that it was purchased by the Faith Theological Seminary. They sold off most of the land and now sits on 33 acres. Most of the art that was left was sold off prior to the sale. The seminary sold off many the famed interior detailing to raise funds. You must go to the National Gallery in Washington to see the Widener art collection, which is still preserved.

The house has been left to rot having been stripped of its precious art and detailing. Some rooms and areas are still in good condition as the slideshow indicates. It has been added to the list of endangered historic properties in the region. The secret tunnels referred to in the title were possibly used by staff to navigate the large house without being seen by Widener’s guests. The home was up for sale in 2014 for $20 million but that was brought down to $17.5 million in 2017. It appears off the market but not really known if it was sold or not. Perhaps it ought to be renovated and made open to the public (for a fee, of course) like many mansions and estates in Britain and France. You can view the slideshow here.

Titanic, historic ship, and general history news.