Monthly Archives: November 2013

A Man Discovers He’s Sitting With ‘Kids’ He Saved From Nazis

h/t Pamela Gellar……….An amazing shining light in a dark, brutal world.

A Man Discovers He’s Sitting With ‘Kids’ He Saved From Nazis (VIDEO)

Nicholas Winton Czech Kindertransport

In December 1938 — on the eve of World War II — a British stockbroker named Nicholas Winton was readying himself to leave for a skiing vacation when he was summoned unexpectedly by his friend.

I’m in Prague. I have a most interesting assignment and I need your help. Don’t bother bringing your skis.

Upon arrival in Prague, Czechoslovakia, Nicholas Winton found that he had traded his skiing vacation for working at a refugee camp for people who had been vacated from Western Czechoslovakia by Nazis after it was annexed by Germany.

Winton became very concerned about the people in the camp, particularly the children. Everyone was still saying “what war, we’re not going to war,” but he was convinced that German occupation would soon take over all of Czechoslovakia. Tales of the horrible Kristallnacht, a “night of broken glass” when Germans waged a violent attack against German and Austrian Jews, were fresh on his mind. He simply wasn’t having it. Not there, not those children.

Thus began the Czech Kindertransport.

He spent the next nine months raising funds, organizing transport, and finding foster families for 669 children. In the end, alarmed at the slow processes, he began creating fake papers for the children. He said “We didn’t bring anyone in illegally. We just speeded up the process.”

The children began to board eight trains. Their journey took them through Germany to Holland, and then by ship to England, and by train again to London, where they were united with their new families. The last train was the biggest train and held 251 children on Sept. 1, 1939, the day Germany and the Soviet Union occupied Czechoslovakia and all borders were closed. After waiting for two hours, the Gestapo ordered the train moved out. The children on board were never seen again. Without question, they were murdered by the Nazis. The thoughts of those 251 children have tormented Nicholas Winton for his entire life.

And then he told no one. Ever.

Nicholas Winton Czech KindertransportChildren arriving in London from Prague

His role in Kindertransport was exposed when his wife found his scrapbook, a list of the children’s names, and journals in a suitcase in the attic 50 years later. In 1988, Winton was coerced by his friends and family to go on a BBC television show, “That’s Life,” to tell his story. Unbeknownst to him, sitting in the audience, surrounding him, were 80 of “his” children, now aging adults themselves. Here is what happened:

Some of the children rescued by Winton grew up to be notable individuals. Some of the names are quite familiar to Americans, but most are not. An Emmy Award-winning documentary about the Czech Kindertransport and Winton’s role in the rescue was produced in 2002 by a Prague-based filmmaker. “Nicholas Winton: The Power of Good” is narrated by one of “Winton’s Children.” His name is Joe Schlesinger.

Nicholas Winton was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II and the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 538 recognizing his deed. He was nominated for a Nobel Prize for Peace in a petition signed by 120,000 Czech Republic school children and received a Golden Goody Award for Social Good. Nicky’s Family, as his children call themselves, gave him a ring inscribed with a verse from the Talmud, the book of Jewish law. It reads “Save one life, save the world.”

Nicholas Winton Czech Kindertransport

Below is a news piece from CBC News on Sir Nicholas Winston:

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Cartoon of the Day

peoples-choice-thumb-obama


Today in History….November 29

1530 – Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, former adviser to England’s King Henry VIII, died.

1864 – The Sand Creek Massacre occurred in Colorado when a militia led by Colonel John Chivington, killed at least 400 peaceful Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians who had surrendered and had been given permission to camp.

1890 – Navy defeated Army by a score of 24-0 in the first Army-Navy football game.  The game was played at West Point, NY.

1929 – The first airplane flight over the South Pole was made by U.S. Navy Lt. Comdr. Richard E. Byrd.

1939 – The USSR broke off diplomatic relations with Finland prior to a Soviet attack.

1945 – The monarchy was abolished in Yugoslavia and a republic proclaimed.

1947 – The U.N. General Assembly passed a resolution that called for the division of Palestine between Arabs and Jews.

1961 – The Mercury-Atlas 5 spacecraft was launched by the U.S. with Enos the chimp on board.  The craft orbited the earth twice before landing off Puerto Rico.

1963 – A Trans-Canada Airlines DC-8F with 111 passengers and 7 crew members crashed in woods north of Montreal 4 minutes after takeoff from Dorval Airport.  All aboard were killed. The crash was the worst in Canada’s history.

1963 – U.S. President Johnson named a commission headed by Earl Warren to investigate the assassination of President Kennedy.

1967 – U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara announced that he was leaving the Johnson administration to become president of the World Bank.

1971 – The Professional Golf Championship was held at Walt Disney World for the first time.
Disney movies, music and books

1974 – In Britain, a bill that outlawed the Irish Republican Army became effective.

1975 – Bill Gates adopted the name Microsoft for the company he and Paul Allen had formed to write the BASIC computer language for the Altair.

1981 – Actress Natalie Wood drowned in a boating accident off Santa Catalina Island, CA, at the age 43.

1982 – The U.N. General Assembly voted that the Soviet Union should withdraw its troops from Afghanistan.

1986-  Actor Cary Grant died at the age of 82.

1987 – A Korean jetliner disappeared off Burma, with 115 people aboard.

1987 – Cuban detainees released 26 hostages they’d been holding for more than a week at the Federal Detention Center in Oakdale, LA.

1988 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the rights of criminal defendants are not violated when police unintentionally fail to preserve potentially vital evidence.

1989 – In Czechoslovakia, the Communist-run parliament ended the party’s 40-year monopoly on power.

1990 – The U.N. Security Council voted to authorize military action if Iraq did not withdraw its troops from Kuwait and release all foreign hostages by January 15, 1991.

1991 – 17 people were killed in a 164-vehicle wreck during a dust storm near Coalinga, CA, on Interstate 5.

1992 – Dennis Byrd (New York Jets) was paralyzed after a neck injury in a game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

1994 – The U.S. House passed the revised General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

1994 – Fighter jets attacked the capital of Chechnya and its airport only hours after Russian President Boris Yeltsin demanded the breakaway republic end its civil war.

1996 – A U.N. court sentenced Bosnian Serb army soldier Drazen Erdemovic to 10 years in prison for his role in the massacre of 1,200 Muslims.  The sentence was the first international war crimes sentence since World War II.

1998 – Swiss voters overwhelmingly rejected legalizing heroin and other narcotics.

2004 – The French government announced plans to build the Louvre II in northern France.  The 236,808 square foot museum was the planned home for 500-600 works from the Louvre’s reserves.

2004 – Godzilla received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


10 Years Ago, 10 Thanksgivings Ago…..

via BlackFive… Excerpt email from a Captain in the 501st:

We knew there was a dinner planned with ambassador Bremer and LTG Sanchez. There were 600 seats available and all the units in the division were tasked with filling a few tables. Naturally, the 501st MI battalion got our table. Soldiers were grumbling about having to sit through another dog-and-pony show, so we had to pick soldiers to attend. I chose not to go…….

then……………….The mess hall actually erupted with hollering. Troops bounded to their feet with shocked smiles and just began cheering with all their hearts. The building actually shook. It was just unreal. I was absolutely stunned. Not only for the obvious, but also because I was only two tables away from the podium. There he stood, less than thirty feet away from me! The cheering went on and on and on.

Soldiers were hollering, cheering, and a lot of them were crying….

Seems like a totally different time, because…. it is. Read the rest. 

And, Happy Thanksgiving!


Today in History….November 28

On this day in….

1520 – Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan reached the Pacific Ocean after passing through the South American strait.  The strait was named after him.  He was the first European to sail the Pacific from the east.

1582 – William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway were married.

1757 – English poet, painter and engraver William Blake was born.  Two of his best known works are “Songs of Innocence” and “Songs of Experience.”

1919 – American-born Lady Astor was elected the first female member of the British Parliament.

1922 – Capt. Cyril Turner of the Royal Air Force gave the first public exhibition of skywriting.  He spelled out, “Hello USA. Call Vanderbilt 7200” over New York’s Times Square.

1925 – The Grand Ole Opry made its radio debut on station WSM.

1934 – The U.S. bank robber George “Baby Face” Nelson was killed by FBI agents near Barrington, IL.

1942 – 491 people died in a fire that destroyed the Coconut Grove in Boston.

1943 – U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet Leader Joseph Stalin met in Tehran to map out strategy concerning World War II.

1953 – New York City began 11 days without newspapers due to a strike of photoengravers.

1958 – The African nation of Chad became an autonomous republic within the French community.

1963 – U.S. President Johnson announced that Cape Canaveral would be renamed Cape Kennedy in honor of his assassinated predecessor.  The name was changed back to Cape Canaveral in 1973 by a vote of residents.

1964 – The U.S. launched the space probe Mariner IV from Cape Kennedy on a course set for Mars.

1977 – Larry Bird was introduced as “College Basketball’s Secret Weapon” with a cover story in Sports Illustrated.

1978 – The Iranian government banned religious marches.

1979 – An Air New Zealand DC-10 flying to the South Pole crashed in Antarctica killing all 257 people aboard.

1983 – The space shuttle Columbia took off with the STS-9 Spacelab in its cargo bay.

1985 – The Irish Senate approved the Anglo-Irish accord concerning Northern Ireland.

1987 – A South African Airways Boeing 747 crashed into the Indian Ocean.   All 159 people aboard were killed.

1989 – Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci arrived in New York after escaping her homeland through Hungary.

1990 – Margaret Thatcher resigned as prime minister of Britain.

1992 – In Bosnia-Herzegovina, 137 tons of food and supplies were to be delivered to the isolated town of Srebrenica.

1992 – In King William’s Town, South Africa, black militant gunmen attacked a country club killing four people and injuring 20.

1993 – The play “Mixed Emotions” closed after 48 performances.

1994 – Jeffrey Dahmer, a convicted serial killer, was clubbed to death in a Wisconsin prison by a fellow inmate.

1994 – Norwegian voters rejected European Union membership.

1995 – U.S. President Clinton signed a $6 billion road bill that ended the federal 55 mph speed limit.

2010 – WikiLeaks released to the public more than 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables.  About 100,000 were marked “secret” or “confidential.”


Meet the Disfigured Man Whose Embrace with Pope Francis Warmed Hearts

So touching and humbling…and beautiful. Video here…..

Vicenza, Italy (CNN) — A few years ago Vinicio Riva boarded a public bus in the northern Italian town of Vicenza. He went toward the nearest vacant seat but before he could sit down the man in the adjacent seat snapped, “Go away! Don’t sit next to me.”

“I wanted to answer back, but I controlled myself,” recalled Vinicio, now 53 years old. “I felt my blood pressure rise.” He stayed on the bus, standing.

“There were lots of people on the bus, and they heard it all, but no one said a word.”

Vinicio has long been accustomed to the unkindness of strangers. He suffers from a non-infectious genetic disease, neurofibromatosis type 1. It has left him completely covered from head to toe with growths, swellings and itchy sores. His mother suffered from the same illness before she died, and his sister has a milder version of it.

His aunt, Caterina Lotto, says his undershirt is often completely soaked in blood that seeps from the sores.

In early November Vinicio traveled with his aunt and dozens of others from northern Italy to Vatican City, where they attended a morning public audience held by Pope Francis. Vinicio, who has difficulty staying on his feet for long, was in a wheelchair.

“We didn’t think we would be so close to the Pope, but the Swiss Guard kept ushering us forward until we were in a corner in the front row,” recalled Lotto, a woman in her late sixties with a quick smile and an infectious laugh.

“When he came close to us,” she said, “I thought he would give me his hand. Instead he went straight to Vinicio and embraced him tightly. I thought he wouldn’t give him back to me he held him so tightly. We didn’t speak. We said nothing but he looked at me as if he was digging deep inside, a beautiful look that I would never have expected.”

Vinicio, accustomed to stares of shock and fear, was initially confused by the pontiff’s lack of hesitation. “He didn’t have any fear of my illness,” he said. “He embraced me without speaking … I quivered. I felt a great warmth.”

In moments of drama, odd details often remain vivid. “I looked down at his shoes,” Vinicio’s aunt recalled. “They were like this,” she said, holding her hands apart and laughing. “I thought yes, this is someone who really walks.”

The entire encounter lasted little over a minute, and soon Vinicio and his aunt were back on the bus, Vinicio in a state of combined shock and joy.

“He was almost not himself,” Lotto said. “He was shaking.”

“I felt I was returning home ten years younger, as if a load had been lifted,” Vinicio said.

But life returned to normal soon enough. He went back to his job at a home for the elderly, collecting and throwing out the trash, running odd jobs. He works there on weekdays and in slower moments enjoys chatting with the residents who don’t seem to notice his condition. His preferred topic of conversation is the ups and downs of Juventus, his favorite football team.

When I ventured to discuss football with him, suggesting he should consider the merits of other teams, like Rome or Lazio, he was dismissive, shaking his head and wagging his fingers in contempt.

Diego Munari, the director of the home, said Vinicio’s energy and humor help keep the residents’ spirits up. He said, “Everyday he meets a lot of people here who like him, who chat and joke with him.”

When Vinicio finishes work, he rides his bicycle back to the flat he shares with his sister Morena. Aunt Caterina says he can be lazy when it comes to preparing meals, and often prefers to make a sandwich to avoid having to wash the dishes.

CNN Rome producers Hada Messia and Livia Borghese had been trying for weeks to speak with Vinicio, ever since the photos of his embrace with Pope Francis were first made public. Initially his family was hesitant, but the encounter with Francis emboldened him. A change came over him, he said. “I feel stronger and happier. I feel I can move ahead because the Lord is protecting me.”

“Now that people have seen him they will be less detached,” said his aunt, who also hopes the Pope’s embrace and the media furor it whipped up will raise awareness about neurofibromatosis. She is worried that cuts in cash-strapped Italy’s health and social services could impact her nephew.

Vinicio savors his moment with Pope Francis, but says he still has unfinished business.

“I hope he calls me so we can have a face-to-face meeting him and I. I have many things to tell him,” Vinicio said. One of the hallmarks of Francis’ papacy has been to call people, out of the blue.

“What do you want to tell him?” I asked.

“That’s a bit private,” he said, shaking his head apologetically. “It’s between him and I.”


Class Has Officially…Officially Left The White House

As only Ace  can put it…….

Obama’s Handwritten Letter to a Critic: I Completely Dispute Your Claim That I Have Created a Hostile Environment for Dissent. And Furthermore, I Have Never “Made Fun” of “Tea-Baggers.”

Yup, he said the “t-b” word.
obama teabagger letter