Entries in World War II (4)


90-Year-Old Former Nazi Begins Life Sentence for WWII Killings

HENNING KAISER/AFP/Getty Images(BERLIN) -- A 90-year-old man convicted of shooting three Dutch men as a Nazi SS death squad soldier during World War II began serving a life sentence.

According to a report by BBC News, Heinrich Boere confessed to the killings and was convicted in March 2010. Boere said he acted on orders from his superiors in 1944 when he killed chemist Fritz Bicknese, Dutch resistance member Frans Kusters and Teun de Groot, a sympathizer who assisted Jewish people to hide.

Boere, who is wheelchair bound, was taken from a German nursing home on Wednesday to begin his life sentence at an undisclosed location.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


World War II Evacuee Costume Sparks Outrage Online, England) -- This year’s Halloween costumes have parents debating what’s too revealing, too risqué and too gory for young kids, but a costume on sale in the U.K. is raising some eyebrows.

A World War II Evacuee costume has set the Internet aflutter, with many bloggers calling it both offensive and inappropriate, even dubbing it the “worst costume of all time.”

Marketed to young girls, the costume, which retails for £11.99 on Amazon, comes with a plain blue coat dress, a green beret and cross-body brown bag. (The evacuee tag and kid’s identity card are sold separately).

“All that’s missing is a yellow star,” Julia Rubin of the Styleite wrote.

Any costume that’s even remotely related to the Holocaust sets off a nerve, but the Huffington Post reports that the costume is intended as a way to teach kids British history and is not specifically for Halloween. Evacuee Day is commemorated in primary schools and museums across England, marking the evacuation of millions of schoolchildren from Britain’s cities to escape German bombing attacks during WWII.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Nazi Secretary Breaks Her Silence on Hitler's Propaganda Chief

PhotoQuest/Getty Images(BERLIN) -- She kept a promise of silence and secrecy for 66 years.  A promise made to one of the vilest leaders of Nazi Germany.

Now, Brunhilde Pomsel, 100 years old, is talking about her time as secretary to Joseph Goebbels, propaganda chief for Adolph Hitler, a man who railed against Jews and once wrote, “Adolf Hitler, I love you because you are both great and simple at the same time.  What one calls a genius.”

All these years later, his secretary calls him something else.

“I will never forgive Goebbels for what he brought into this world,” Pomsel tells Bild, Germany’s most widely-read paper. “And the fact that he could murder his innocent children in this way.”

Pomsel worked for Goebbels from 1942 until May 1, 1945 -- a week before V-E Day -- when he killed himself in Berlin.

“He got away lightly with suicide,” she says.  “He knew he would be condemned to death by the Allies.  His suicide was cowardly, but he was also smart because he knew what was coming if he didn’t take that way out.”

Countless books have been written about Goebbels and his role in the war, but none had the benefit of a conversation with Pomsel, whose job was to take down Goebbels’ every word -- “The Jews must get out of Germany, indeed out of Europe altogether", "The Jews ought to please observe the laws of hospitality and not behave as if they were the same as us,” and so on.

Pomsel tells Bild she was asked to work for Goebbels because she was a fast typist.

“It was an order to be transferred to work for him. You couldn’t refuse,” she said.

And while Pomsel kept notes on all her boss’ hate-mongering, she also claims -- in colorful language -- to have never known about the horrors that were underway.

“I didn’t know about the Holocaust.  I was a stupid, politically uninterested little sausage of simple means.  I only learned about the Jewish extermination program after the war,” she recalled.

In 1945, Pomsel was in the cellars of the propaganda ministry in Berlin.  The city was being leveled by British and American bombers, and Russian artillery. Nazi Germany was in its death throes.

“On May 1 the news came that The Boss -- Hitler -- had committed suicide the day before,” Pomsel tells Bild.  “The Russians came shortly afterwards and dragged me from the cellar.  I spent the next five years as a prisoner of the Russians in special camps.”

Later, Pomsel learned about her boss’ final hours. Goebbels and his wife Magda had killed their six children by breaking cyanide vials in their mouths. Goebbels then shot his wife before shooting himself.  Their charred corpses were discovered by the Soviet Army.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Russia Celebrates Annual Victory Day with Military Parade

Mark Harris/Photodisc/Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- The Russian military celebrated Victory Day, the annual commemoration of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany, on Monday.

The event involved upwards of 20,000 uniformed men parading alongside missiles. The troops sported new uniforms introduced earlier this year.

President Dmitri Medvedev spoke at the ceremony, reminding citizens that Russia's military might serves "global stability."

Victory Day was first celebrated at Stalin's behest on June 24, 1945.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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