Another of those extraordinary World War II stories that continue to surface. The setting was south-central France in the village of Le Chambon. In d Another of those extraordinary World War II stories that continue to surface. The setting was south-central France in the village of Le Chambon. In defiance of Nazi and the collaborationist Vichy government, the Protestants and Catholics in the village provided a safe haven for Jews and others persecuted by the right-wing regimes. The project was coordinated by pacifist minister Andre' Trocme' and his assistants and it is estimated that perhaps as many as 3,000 lives were saved; although that number is in dispute. The subterfuge included forgeries for documents that enabled the targets to elude capture and helped some to obtain refuge in neutral Switzerland.
Although the village was in a somewhat remote location which spared it from frequent sweeps, there were harrowing episodes and some, including village leaders, were ensnared. The Resistance also set up quarters there and this led to some tensions with those committed to total pacifism. Once the Allies landed and began advancing across France, the Resistance would become more visible and violent as they retaliated against the Germans and collaborators.
A film version of the Le Chambon story was released in 1989 - " Weapons of the Spirit". However that didn't have the benefit of the subsequent decades of research that are covered in this gripping account by Grose which demonstrates that even under the most oppressive of regimes, heroism can flourish and human dignity can be preserved....more
A fascinating story how the most famous and destructive spy of all time managed to elude detection by both British and American intelligence agenciesA fascinating story how the most famous and destructive spy of all time managed to elude detection by both British and American intelligence agencies for decades. A James Bond-like tale of the notorious Philby. By the way, he knew Ian Fleming, author of Bond. The story becomes more compelling as the narrative unfolds, right up to Philby's ultimate defection to the Soviet Union. A defection which was probably done with the assent of the British to save them the embarrassment of acknowledging Philby's penetration of their highest ranks in MI 6. If you are in for spy lore, add this to your reading list....more
A remarkable story about how the Hollywood studio owners accommodated German censors in the Reich during the 1930s and even into the early phases of A remarkable story about how the Hollywood studio owners accommodated German censors in the Reich during the 1930s and even into the early phases of the war. Germany was a major market for American films and in order to sustain viability in that market, the owners (many of whom were Jewish)consented to rigorous overview of content by Reich censors. This included removing Jews from key roles or not acknowledging them in credits. Although there was exploration with some anti-fascist productions, those were squelched by the Germans. Even when widespread abuse of German Jews such as Krystallnacht in 1938 was common knowledge, the owners continued to grovel and edit. Maintaining profit was at a premium and concern for human rights fell by the wayside. MGM added to this shameful chapter of corporate greed by knowingly working a scheme to help finance the German war machine. On some occasions the Reich editing committee spent so much time sorting through films to eliminate Jewish staff and actors they neglected to notice the film itself. On other occasions, like most racist ideologues, the appetite for maintaining racially pure messages reached levels of absurdity. The censors weren't sure what to do with the film King Kong because an Aryan woman was in the clutches of a beast. They were overruled on that matter because Hitler liked the film. Mickey Mouse was in, Tarzan was out. And on it went until German domination of Western Europe made commercial transactions iimpractical. ...more
Well-organized and stays focused on the main topic. Covers how Berliners reacted to the Allied bombing; what life was like in the bomb shelters; and hWell-organized and stays focused on the main topic. Covers how Berliners reacted to the Allied bombing; what life was like in the bomb shelters; and how each successive bombing raid created nagging doubts about the propaganda of the Nazi regime. It also covers topics such as war rationing, the removal of children from the city to "safety" in the countryside, and how foreign workers and Jews were treated during the trials that Berlin experienced. Moorehouse draws from a wealth of primary source material and mixes it effectively with his narrative commentary. A good addition to the always vastly expanding World War Two reading collection....more