N.W.BOYER…Christian Author

Horrors of War

The White Rose

There are many examples, leading up to and during World War II, of resistance movements. Usually it was a group outside Germany within countries that had been taken over by Hitler’s armies. The French are well known, as well as others, who risk everything for FREEDOM and eventual peace.

It may not be as familiar with some of my readers that there were Germans who also resisted. In fact, there were several movement who paid a great price for their heroic deeds. One was known as the White Rose. Perhaps three of the most famous were a brother and sister, Hans and Sophie Scholl, who were students in the University of Munich. Christoph Probst, a married father of three, was also part of the White Rose movement. They believed that the German people had suffered greatly under Adolph Hitler and the crimes he was committing against humanity was totally against their conscience and Christian beliefs.

White Rose Resistance at University of Munich

Exactly what was the White Rose?

The White Rose ( Weiße Rose) was a non-violent, intellectual, resistance group in the Third Reich led by a group of students. The group conducted an anonymous leaflet and graffiti campaign that called for active opposition to the Nazi regime. Their activities started on 27 June 1942, and ended with the arrest of the core group by the Gestapo on 18 February 1943. The Scholls, as well as others, carried on distributing the pamphlets, faced show trials  by the Nazi People’s Court  (Volksgerichtshof), and many of them were sentenced to death or imprisonment.

Hans, Sophie Scholl and Christoph Probst were executed by guillotine four days after their arrest, on February 22nd, 1943. During the trial, Sophie interrupted the judge multiple times. No defendants were given any opportunity to speak.

The Final Days Presentation of Sophie Scholl on trial.

The group wrote, printed and initially distributed their pamphlets in the greater Munich region. Later on, secret carriers brought copies to other cities, mostly in the southern parts of Germany. In total, the White Rose authored six leaflets, which were multiplied and spread, in a total of about 15,000 copies. They denounced the Nazi regime’s crimes and oppression, and called for resistance.

In their second leaflet, they openly denounced the persecution and mass murder of the Jews.  By the time of their arrest, the members of the White Rose were just about to establish contacts with other German resistance groups like the Kreisau Circle or the Schulze-Boysen/Harnack group of the Red Orchestra. Today, the White Rose is well known both within Germany and worldwide. (Wikipedia)

A surviving member of the White Rose gave this description of life in Germany at that time:

“The government—or rather, the party—controlled everything: the news media, arms, police, the armed forces, the judiciary system, communications, travel, all levels of education from kindergarten to universities, all cultural and religious institutions. Political indoctrination started at a very early age, and continued by means of the Hitler Youth with the ultimate goal of complete mind control. Children were exhorted in school to denounce even their own parents for derogatory remarks about Hitler or Nazi ideology.”— George J. Wittenstein, M.D., “Memories of the White Rose” (Wikipedia)

Should this not be a history lesson for all of us today, who have the democratic privilege to vote for our officials…or see that our own society’s voice may be slipping away with more and more government control?

What motivated Hans and Sophie Scholl to stand strong under such oppression?

Sophie’s own words tell of her CHRISTIAN CONSCIENCE. This was the great motivator to do something important in the midst of evil. Here are some of her quotes:

Stand up for what you believe in, even if you are standing alone.”

“An end in terror is preferable to terror without end.”

“How can we expect fate to let a righteous cause prevail when there is hardly anyone who will give himself up undividedly to a righteous cause?”

“The real damage is done by those millions who want to ‘survive.’ The honest men who just want to be left in peace. Those who don’t want their little lives disturbed by anything bigger than themselves. “

I will cling to the rope God has thrown me in Jesus Christ, even when my numb hands can no longer feel it.”

(quotes from article by Bill Muehlenberg)

On the back of Sophie’s indictment, she wrote FREEDOM (from Institute fuer Zeitgeschichte.)

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HONORS in recent history for Sophie and Hans Scholl by the German people

The Geschwister-Scholl-Institut (“Scholl Siblings Institute”) for Political Science at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) is named in honour of Sophie Scholl and her brother Hans. The institute is home to the university’s political science and communication departments, and is housed in the former Radio Free Europe building close to the city’s Englischer Garten. (Wikipedia)

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OPPRESSION CAN HAPPEN ANYWHERE

Will you or I be willing to speak up against it?

VIDEO Turn up your sound. Scenes from the movie The Final Days based on the true story of the White Rose Resistance. (The full movie is on You Tube)


SAVING THE CHILDREN

In the midst of evil, one man would not give up on saving the lives of hundreds of children in Czechoslovakia. His name is Nicolas Winton.

What this man did was remarkable and courageous. The parents of Prague were crying for help from any country before the invasion they knew was coming. Only England responded and said to send the children to them.

The heart wrenching decisions that the Jewish parents had to make in order to save their children is told in a film about Winton’s life.  It is definitely worth watching…as we learn of not only the parent’s courage, but that of a man who could have walked away from the situation. He left his job with the London Stock Exchange to do what he believed to be most important…save young lives.  Many of those parent would die in the concentration camps.

woman in film about Winton's life

In the film, Nicky’s Family, a mother puts her two daughters on the train for England.

It is 1939 and Europe is on the brink of war. Hitler has invaded Czechoslovakia, threatening the lives of the Jewish population. Nicholas Winton, a young British stockbroker, decides he will do everything possible to save the lives of as many Jewish children as he can. This film, transmitting on Holocaust Memorial Day, tells the extraordinary story of how Nicholas Winton rescued 669 children from the clutches of the Nazis, bringing them by train to Britain. (Berta film)

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Young Nicholas Winton with a rescued child.

children in Winton's scrapbook

A few of the hundreds of children he saved in Prague.

Shortly before Christmas 1938, Winton was planning to travel to Switzerland for a skiing holiday. He decided instead to visit Prague and help Martin Blake, who was in Prague as an associate of the British Committee for Refugees from Czechoslovakia then in the process of being occupied by Germany, and had called Winton to ask him to assist in Jewish welfare work. Winton established an organization to aid children from Jewish families at risk from the Nazis. He set up his office at a dining room table in his hotel in Wenceslas Square. In November 1938, following Kristallnact in Nazi-ruled Germany, the House of Commons approved a measure to allow the entry into Britain of refugees younger than 17, provided they had a place to stay and a warranty of £50 was deposited for their eventual return to their own country.  (Wikipedia)

An interesting fact of Winton’s early life is as follows: Winton was born on 19 May 1909 in Hampstead, London. His parents were German Jews who moved to London.  The family name was Wertheim, but they changed it to Winton in an effort at integration. They also converted to Christianity and Winton was baptized as a Christian. (History)

After World War II was over, Nicolas took up his own life and it wasn’t until his wife found an old scrapbook in the attic that she knew of the hundreds of children that he had helped save. This is probably the greatest example of his humility.

The life of this man, who with determination, skill and fortitude, proves how one decision can change a world. Generations have learned that they are alive because their grandparents were saved as children.

Sir Nicolas Winton lived to be 106 years old and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth.

The trailer below will make you want to see the entire film. It is available on Amazon Prime…Nicky’s Family.  May the world learn from his great example of giving of self and determination. We certainly need it today.

 


D Day Must NEVER be Forgotten

D Day graves at Normandy France

Saturday, June 6, is the date we remember  D-Day

This Day of courage must never be pushed into the background while the world looks on at the daily news.  Boyer Writes honors all those who bravely faced the possibility of certain death for the cause of freedom

On Omaha Beach alone, 2,400 American lives were lost…as were many thousands more of our allied countries during the war.

 

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Here are some facts about that day when so many were brave!

  • The First D-Day Happened in the early 1900’s

D-Day-Facts

The term D-Day is a generic term used by the military since the early 1900s to describe the date a combat operation takes place. Because of the monumental nature of the Allied invasion of Normandy, that day on June 6th 1944 became legendary. Ever since, people have been fascinated by D-Day facts, and the term D-Day for most people now means the date in history when the Allies started to win the war in Europe.

  • D-Day Could Have Happened A Day Earlier on June 5th, 1944

D-Day was actually supposed to happen the day before, on June 5th 1944. However, because of bad weather, it was decided that the D-Day invasion would take place the following day, on June 6th.D Day3

  • D-Day Changed the Landscape and History of Normandy

The D-Day invasion took place in a coastal area of France, known as Normandy. Despite the region’s rich history, it is now most famously remembered as the scene of this bloody invasion

  • D-Day Was Code named Neptune by the Allies

The code name for the Normandy Landings was Operation Neptune. Neptune is the Greek god of the sea, and it’s a fitting name, considering the invasion was launched from the sea.Landscape

 

  • German Troops Didn’t Leave the Islands Around Normandy until 1945

Although the Allies were successful in their invasion of Normandy, it was nearly a year later, on May 9th 1945, that the entire German occupation of Normandy, including the surrounding islands, was completely ended.D Day 8

  • Operation Bodyguard Was a Fake Allied Operation to Hide D-Day Plans

In order to deceive the Germans, the Allies created a fake operation, Operation Bodyguard. This way, the Germans would not be sure of the exact date and location of the main Allied landings.

  • There Were Multiple Fake D-Day Plans

There were actually multiple fake operations designed to deceive the Germans. These included fake operations detailing attacks to the north and south of the actual landing points in Normandy. Some efforts were even made to make the Germans think that the attack would take place in Norway!

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  • Normandy Was a Tourist and Resort Area Before D-Day

One of the lesser-known D-Day facts is that the beaches of Normandy were a popular destination for visitors to the Atlantic coast before World War II. From the 1800s onwards, Normandy was a popular seaside tourist area. There are still many beautiful towns and resorts on the Normandy coast.

 

  • D-Day Was Planned for a Full Moon To Give Aircraft Better Sight

The Allies wanted a full moon to provide better sight for their aircraft. They also wanted to have one of the highest tides. The invasion was carefully scheduled to land partway between low tide and high tide, with the tide coming in.D Day 7

  • D-Day was the Largest Multi-National Invasion in History

The Normandy Landings known as D-Day were a multinational effort, with many countries involved. The Allied forces invading Normandy included troops from the United States, Britain, Canada, Poland, France, and more countries.D Day 11

 

  • The Allied Forces Were 5 Years Younger than the Germans on Average

Many D-Day facts focus on the armaments each side had during the invasion. A lesser-known fact is the age of the German and the Allied forces. The German forces, due to heavy losses on the Eastern Front, no longer had a large population of young men to enlist. German soldiers were, on average, more than 5 years older than their Allied counterparts.

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  • D-Day Began when Troops Gathered on British Soil in June 1944

A lot of D-Day facts focus on Normandy, where the Allies landed. A commonly asked question is “where did the Allies launch their invasion?” The Normandy landings were conducted from across the English Channel, with troops first gathering on British soil before launching the attack on that fateful day in June 1944.

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  • D-Day was Only the First Part of a Larger Plan to Retake Europe

The D-Day invasion, codenamed Operation Neptune, was part of a larger plan to take the European continent back from the Germans. Operation Overlord was the name assigned to the large-scale plan, and Operation Neptune was the first phase of the plan.

 

  • The Draft of the D-Day Plan was First Accepted in 1943

Planning for the D-Day invasion began long before the event actually took place. Historical D-Day facts reveal that an initial draft of the invasion plan was accepted at a conference in August 1943.

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  • British General Bernard Montgomery Helped Eisenhower Plan D-Day

While a lot of D-Day facts focus on the numbers of ships, troops and military armaments, one fact that is often overlooked is the number of generals who planned the invasion. There were two generals: United States General Dwight D. Eisenhower and British General Bernard Montgomery planned the attack. It should be noted that Eisenhower was the Commander in Chief of Operation Overlord.

  • D-Day was the Largest Invasion by the Sea in History

Eisenhower and Montgomery reviewed the initial plans for D-Day and decided that a larger-scale invasion would be necessary. The goal of the Allies was to allow operations to move quickly, and to capture ports that were strategic to the overall plan of retaking the European continent.

  • More Than 150,000 Troops Landed on 50 miles of Beach on D-Day

It may be the epic scale of the D-Day invasion that explains just why people are so fascinated by D-Day facts. It was one of the largest single military operations of all time, with more than 150,000 troops landing on five beaches in just a 50-mile stretch of land.

  • 7 Days After D-Day More Than 300,000 Troops Had Landed

The first set of troops landing at Normandy signaled only the beginning of the invasion. Within seven days, the beaches where the Allies landed on D-Day were fully under their control. Get ready for some more massive D-Day facts! By that time, more than 300,000 troops, 50,000 vehicles and over 100,000 tons of equipment had been brought through the beaches of Normandy! By the end of June 1944, the Allies had brought over 850,000 troops through the beaches of Normandy and ports that had been opened up as a result of the D-Day invasion.APTOPIX France D-Day Anniversary

  • Omaha Beach Was 1 of 5 Main Beaches of the D-Day Invasion

The Allies divided the 50 miles of the Normandy coast into five beaches, or sections. The beaches at Normandy were named: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword.

  • Weather Delayed the D-Day Invasion by 1 Day

Many military historians who are interested in D-Day facts discuss how the weather impacted the D-Day invasion. In addition to delaying the invasion by one day, the weather blew the boats of the Allies east of their planned landing targets. This was especially true for the Utah and Omaha beach landing targets.

  • The Terrain of Omaha Beach Caused the High Number of Casualties

Omaha Beach was one of the areas where the Allies suffered the most casualties. The geography of the area played a role in the high number of casualties at Omaha Beach. High cliffs that lined the beach characterized the geography of the Omaha Beach landing target. Many American forces lost their lives because the Germans had gun positions on these high cliffs.

D Day Army Rangers.scaled cliffsjpg

The cliffside of Pointe du Hoc overlooking Omaha Beach in Saint-Pierre-du-Mont, Normandy, France. On June 6, 1944, U.S. Rangers scaled the coastal cliffs to capture a German gun battery. (Virginia Mayo / AP Picture below)

FILE PHOTO: Handout photo of a U.S. flag used as a marker on a destroyed bunker at Pointe du Hoc

  • More than 4,000 Allied Soldiers Died on D-Day

The saddest D-Day facts are the number of people who were injured, and the number of people who died, as a result of the invasion of Normandy. Due to the position of the German forces and the defenses they had built, the Allies suffered over 10,000 casualties, with over 4,000 people confirmed dead.

  • Over 2,400 American Soldiers Were Killed on Omaha Beach on D-Day

D-Day facts reveal that over 2,400 Americans were killed or injured on Omaha Beach. This was as a result of the geography of the Omaha Beach landing target, and the weather that had blown the ships off their target. The weather had also led to the sinking of some tanks which were intended to provide support for the troops landing at Omaha Beach. The high number of casualties at Omaha was also in part due to the lack of artillery providing reinforcements for the troops.

  • Germans Had Less Casualties on D-Day Due to their Positions

Due to their positions, the Germans suffered fewer casualties than the invading Allied troops at Normandy. However, the Germans had no reinforcements to help them retake positions. Once the Allies had landed at Normandy, they took control of the beaches and continued until all of Europe was free.

The massive scale of the D-Day invasion and its important role in World War II make D-Day facts fascinating, even today. Many people lost their lives fighting on the fateful day of June 6th 1944. The

Normandy landings were the beginning of a larger plan to retake Europe and codenamed Operation Overlord. Had the D-Day invasion failed, the result of World War II may have been very different. Thankfully, despite a heavy loss of life, the Allies were ultimately successful in taking the beaches of Normandy and retaking Europe.


  • Facts about D-Day Invasion Summary

D-Day facts continue to fascinate people, even more than 50 years after the D-Day invasion took place. We gathered interesting facts about that fateful day on June 6th 1944, when the large-scale invasion of Normandy, France took place. D-Day marked a turning point in World War II and dictated the course of history.
Military historians are interested in D-Day facts because of the sheer scale of the invasion. The saddest D-Day facts are those relating to the losses the Allies suffered during the course of the invasion. The people who lost their lives on the beaches of Normandy did not do so in vain, as D-Day marked the beginning of the Allies retaking Europe. (taken from Interesting Facts)

75th Remembrance of D-Day in 2019 Slide Presentation (Wait a moment for slide to change)

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Americans Liberate Flossenburg Concentration Camp…the site of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Execution

If you missed the last blog about the 75th Liberation of Auschwitz, I would highly recommend that you go back and view it.    Link: https://boyerwrites.com/2020/01/28/75-years-since-liberation-are-we-turning-our-backs/

 

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In this blog, I am writing about the non-Jews that knew the risks they were taking when defying the Nazi Regime. We honor them and the”righteous gentiles” who risked everything to hide the Jewish families during World War II.  One of the men who stood up again Hitler was Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a  German Christian pastor.

 

 Few twentieth century theologians have had a bigger impact on theology than Bonhoeffer, a man who lived his faith and died at the hands of the Nazis. For Bonhoeffer, the theological was the personal, life and faith deeply intertwined—and to this day the world is inspired by that witness.  (Google Books by Diane Reynolds)

…Apart from his theological writings, Bonhoeffer was known for his staunch resistance to Nazi dictatorship,, including vocal opposition to Hitler’s euthanasia  program and genocidal persecution of the Jews….Bonhoeffer’s efforts for the underground seminaries included securing necessary funds… By August 1937, Himmler decreed the education and examination of Confessing Church ministry candidates illegal. In September 1937, the Gestapo closed the seminary at Finkenwalde, and by November arrested 27 pastors and former students.

It was around this time that Bonhoeffer published his best-known book, The Cost of Discipleship, a study on the Sermon on the Mount, in which he not only attacked “cheap grace” as a cover for ethical laxity, but also preached “costly grace.” He was arrested in April 1943 by the Gestapo and imprisoned at Tegel prison for one and a half years. Later, he was transferred to Flossenburg Concentration Camp.  (Flossenburg concentration camp, located outside Weiden, Germany, close to the Czech border, was established in 1938, mainly for political prisoners. Once the war began, however, other prisoners and Jews were housed there as well.Apr 11, 2008)

After being accused of being associated with the July 20 plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler,he was quickly tried, along with other accused plotters, including former members of the Abwehr (the German Military Intelligence Office), and then hanged on 9 April 1945 as the Nazi regime was collapsing.   21 days later Adolf Hitler committed suicide.  (Wikipedia)

Quotes by Bonhoeffer:

 

Jesus Christ lived in the midst of his enemies. At the end all his disciples deserted him.

On the cross he was utterly alone, surrounded by evildoers and mockers.

For this cause he had come, to bring peace to the enemies of God.

So the Christian, too, belongs not in the seclusion of a cloistered life but in the thick of foes.

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We must finally stop appealing to theology to justify our reserved silence about what the state is doing

for that is nothing but fear. ‘Open your mouth for the one who is voiceless

for who in the church today still remembers that that is the least of the Bible’s demands in times such as these.

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The U.S. LIBERATION OF FLOSSENBURG:

At approximately 10:30 hours on April 23, 1945, the first U.S. troops of the 90th Infantry Division arrived at Flossenburg KZ,. They were horrified at the sight of some 2,000 weak and extremely ill prisoners remaining in the camp and of the SS still forcibly evacuating those fit to endure the trek south. Elements of the 90th Division spotted those ragged columns of prisoners and their SS guards. The guards panicked and opened fire on many of the prisoners, killing about 200, in a desperate attempt to effect a road block of human bodies. American tanks opened fire on the Germans as they fled into the woods, reportedly killing over 100 SS troops.

Additionally, elements of the 97th Infantry Division participated in the liberation. As the 97th prepared to enter Czechoslovakia, Flossenburg concentration camp was discovered in the division’s sector of the Bavarian Forest. Brigadier General Milton B. Halsey, the commanding general of the 97th Division, inspected the camp on April 30, as did his divisional artillery commander, Brigadier General Sherman V. Hasbrouck. Hasbrouck, who spoke fluent German, directed a local German official to have all able-bodied German men and boys from that area help bury the dead. The 97th Division performed many duties at the camp upon its liberation. They assisted the sick and dying, buried the dead, interviewed former prisoners and helped gather evidence against former camp officers and guards for the upcoming war crimes trials.

One eyewitness U.S. Soldier, Sgt. Harold C. Brandt, a veteran of the 11th Armored Division, who was on hand for the liberation of not just one but three of the camps, Flossenburg, Mauthausen, and Gusen, when queried many years after the war on his part in liberating them, stated that “it was just as bad or worse than depicted in the movies and stories about the Holocaust. . . . I can not describe it adequately. It was sickening. How can other men treat other men like this’”   (portion of an article By Colonel John R. Dabrowski, US Army Heritage and Education Center)

Piles of Shoes: As US forces approached the camp, in mid-April 1945, the SS began the forced evacuation of prisoners, except those unable to walk, from the Flossenbürg camp. Between April 15 and April 20, the SS moved most of the remaining 9,300 prisoners in the main camp (among them approximately 1,700 Jews), reinforced by about 7,000 prisoners who had arrived in Flossenbürg from Buchenwald, in the direction of Dachau both on foot and by train. Perhaps 7,000 of these prisoners died en route, either from exhaustion or starvation, or because SS guards shot them when they could no longer keep up the pace. Thousands of others escaped, were liberated by advancing US troops, or found themselves free when their SS guards deserted during the night. Fewer than 3,000 of those who left Flossenbürg main camp arrived in Dachau, where they joined some 3,800 prisoners from the Flossenbürg sub-camps. When members of the 358th and 359th US Infantry Regiments (90th US Infantry Division) liberated Flossenbürg on April 23, 1945, just over 1,500 prisoners remained in the camp. As many as 200 of them died after liberation. ( U.S Holocaust Memorial)

 

 

REMEMBER THE LIBERATION AND DIETRICH BONHOEFFER 

Ambassador Grenell lays a wreath at the Dietrich Bonhoeffer memorial in Flossenbürg Concentration Camp

 

Video of the Remembrance of the U.S. Army Liberation of Flossenburg concentration camp where Bonhoeffer was executed. (filmed in 2019)

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