April 23

I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self.” -Aristotle

...Triple Intervention: Russia persuades Germany and France to gang up on the Japanese with unrelenting diplomatic pressure; an attempt to deny them their war prize of Port Arthur. The three powers successfully compel Japan to return the Liaodong peninsula to China this day . . . . Future Japanese Ambassador to London, Baron Hayashi, from an internal memo discussing the recent humiliation at the hands of the "Triple" powers:  “If new warships are considered necessary we must, at any cost, build them: if the organization of our army is inadequate we must start rectifying it from now; if need be, our entire military system must be changed . . . . At present Japan must keep calm and sit tight, so as to lull suspicions nurtured against her; during this time the foundations of nautical power must be consolidated; and we must watch and wait for the opportunity in the Orient that will surely come one day. When this day arrives, Japan will decide her own fate...” April 23

White Rose: “Nothing is so unworthy of a civilized nation as allowing itself to be governed without opposition by an irresponsible clique that has yielded to base instinct. It is certain that today every honest German is ashamed of his government. Who among us has any conception of the dimensions of shame that will befall us and our children when one day the veil has fallen from our eyes and the most horrible of crimes -crimes that infinitely outdistance every human measure -reach the light of day? If the German people are already so corrupted and spiritually crushed that they do not raise a hand, frivolously trusting in a questionable faith in lawful order of history; if they surrender man's highest principle, that which raises him above all other God's creatures, his free will; if they abandon the will to take decisive action and turn the wheel of history and thus subject it to their own rational decision; if they are so devoid of all individuality, have already gone so far along the road toward turning into a spiritless and cowardly mass then, yes, they deserve their downfall.” April 23

The Last Letter From Mordecai Anielewicz (Warsaw Ghetto Revolt Commander): “It is impossible to put into words what we have been through. One thing is clear, what happened exceeded our boldest dreams. The Germans ran twice from the ghetto. One of our companies held out for 40 minutes and another for more than 6 hours. The mine set in the "brushmakers" area exploded. Several of our companies attacked the dispersing Germans. Our losses in manpower are minimal. That is also an achievement. Y. [Yechiel] fell. He fell a hero, at the machine-gun. I feel that great things are happening and what we dared do is of great, enormous importance . . . . Beginning from today we shall shift over to the partisan tactic. Three battle companies will move out tonight, with two tasks: reconnaissance and obtaining arms. Do you remember, short-range weapons are of no use to us. We use such weapons only rarely. What we need urgently: grenades, rifles, machine-guns and explosives. It is impossible to describe the conditions under which the Jews of the ghetto are now living. Only a few will be able to hold out. The remainder will die sooner or later. Their fate is decided. In almost all the hiding places in which thousands are concealing themselves it is not possible to light a candle for lack of air. With the aid of our transmitter we heard the marvelous report on our fighting by the "Shavit" radio station. The fact that we are remembered beyond the ghetto walls encourages us in our struggle. Peace go with you, my friend! Perhaps we may still meet again! The dream of my life has risen to become fact. Self-defense in the ghetto will have been a reality. Jewish armed resistance and revenge are facts. I have been a witness to the magnificent, heroic fighting of Jewish men in battle. M. Anielewicz ...” April 23

Today's Featured Site: Mordecai Anielewicz | Jewish Virtual Library

...in an episode some historians will describe as a nervous breakdown, Hitler suddenly leaps up and, while flushed in the face and trembling violently, sputteringly rants and raves against them all, declaring that they are guilty of every evil attribute from cowardice to incompetence. 'The war is lost,' he screams. 'Everything is falling apart.' He states that suicide is now his only recourse: 'Alive or dead,' he declares, 'I shall not fall into the hands of the enemy. I can no longer fight on the battlefield; I'm not strong enough. I shall shoot myself.' He then slumps into his seat and begins to sob: 'The war is lost. I shall shoot myself.'...” April 23

Today’s Idiot: Charles Lindbergh (1941) –“It is obvious that England is losing the war.”

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Today Is: April 23

Today's Tweet: Jeffrey Middleton (@jm82abn) A Putin affiliate evokes Hitler. The West should be worried. http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/richard-cohen-a-putin-affiliate-evokes-hitler-the-west-should-be-worried/2014/04/21/ddbd3794-c980-11e3-95f7-7ecdde72d2ea_story.html

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Today's Comic: Craig Ferguson: “Today is John Muir Day. He is the father of our national parks, the most famous naturalist of all time. Do not confuse a "Naturalist" with a "Naturist." A naturalist is an expert on nature. A naturist is an expert on walking around outside naked. John Muir devoted his life to preserving nature. Without his tireless effort, America would be a dirty, over-developed commercial wasteland. Or as we call that here, "Los Angeles." John Muir and I actually have a lot in common. He was born in Scotland. I was born in Scotland. He relocated to America. I relocated to America. His activism changed U.S. history. I relocated to America. John Muir was so dedicated to the environment that he would house woodland creatures in his beard. That's Scottish tradition. Sean Connery does it in his chest hair.”

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Today's Insult: “Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is running for re-election, and he's got a catchy campaign slogan:’"Forget my first term. I was on crack’." –David Letterman

They wanted it to be a very special occasion, one, which would never be forgotten. A safari Bar Mitzvah was being done too often, a neighbor's son had had his ceremony at the Wailing Wall, and the South Pole was just too cold. So the father of the boy arranged to rent the shuttle from NASA and take the Rabbi, family, and all their friends into space. The scientists had returned from MIR and it was not being used at present. The excursion created a lot of worldwide attention, and all the press was there to find out how it went. The first person off the shuttle was the grandmother, and the reporters asked her, "How was the service?"

Grandma answered, "OK".

"How was the boy's speech?"

"OK."

"How was the food?"

"OK."

"Everything was just OK? You don't seem to have liked it? What was wrong?"

"There was no atmosphere!"

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Note: Images may or may not accurately represent the item adjacent to them. Also, please note that there is much, much, MUCH more detail available-and many, many, MANY more items as well-every day on the linked What Happened Today page. For the full story behind the events of this day, click the April 23 link. Really, April 23. Seriously, the April 23 link is the one to click. That's right, this one: April 23

Disclaimer: The selected Quotes, Jokes and Cartoons may or may not represent the views of the compiler of these daily posts. If they give you something to think about, they will have accomplished their task. Levi Bookin, Copy Editor, in particular bears no responsibility for any of them. He does, however, do a truly admirable job on the linked Daily pages, which everyone should peruse on a daily basis. It is WELL worth the small effort required. The Trick is to Click-> April 23

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Munich Jewish Memorial in honor of the victims of the Holocaust. This is the original site of Munich's main Synagogue.

April 23

From The Third Reich at War, by Richard J. Evans: The so-called 'Red Orchestra' was not the ring of Soviet spies portrayed in subsequent Nazi propaganda but a home-grown resistance movement whose contacts with Soviet intelligence were made on its own terms. It was far from being the only left-wing group of this kind, though it was larger than most. One of the most remarkable was a tiny, little-known but tightly knit organization called the 'League: Community for Socialist Living'. Formed in the early 1920s by the adult education lecturer Artur Jacobs, it set up a number of centres where it held discussions, offered dance and movement classes, and tried to build a lifestyle that crossed class boundaries and transcended the egotism of the individual. Some of its members were Communists; others were Social Democrats; a good number had no party affiliation at all. In any case its members, as it were, left their party cards at the door when they entered the League's premises. From the very beginning they identified anti-Semitism as the core of Nazi ideology, and in 1933 the League and its members went underground and began helping Jews to escape arrest and, from 1941, deportation. Here its small size - there were never more than a few hundred members even at the height of its popularity in the 1920s - and the close personal ties that had grown up between its members helped the League stay intact and to carry on its work undetected by the Gestapo. Its members organized false identities for Jews in hiding, ferried them secretly from one location to another, and helped them evade the attentions of the Gestapo. From the point of view of the League's members, this was a way of keeping the spirit of social and racial equality alive in the face of Nazi persecution. In this way, they provided a practical alternative to the usual activities of left-wing resistance groups, which focused on the largely futile attempt to rouse popular opinion against the Nazis.

The milieu from which the League emerged in the 1920s, in which small groups of various political hues tried to build new lifestyles of one kind or another, also gave rise, at a greater distance, to a far better-known resistance movement, the self-styled 'White Rose', some of whose members had been involved in the autonomous youth movement of the Weimar years. Any initial enthusiasm they might have had for the Nazi regime was quickly dispelled by its racism and its anti-Semitism, its restrictions on personal freedom, and above all the extreme violence it unleashed on the Eastern Front in 1941-2. While they were studying medicine at Munich University, some of the young men who played a key role in forming the group had been sent to work in the army medical service on the Eastern Front. The group gradually expanded to include not only Kurt Huber, a Munich professor who acted as a kind of mentor to many of its members, but also friends, colleagues and students in other university towns from Freiburg to Stuttgart, and especially Hamburg. Leading members included the Scholl siblings, Hans and Sophie, as well as a number of other Munich students, Alexander Schmorell, Christoph Probst and W i l l i Graf. Some of them tried to take up contact with Falk Harnack, brother of the key figure in the 'Red Orchestra' network, though he d id not respond to their overtures.

As it expanded, the group became bolder, typing, cyclostyling and posting to a wide and more or less random range of recipients a series of six leaflets in quantities ranging f r om just a hundred up to several thousand. Their aim, like that of traditional left-wing resistance groups, was to rouse popular opinion so that the masses would rise up and bring an end to the war by overthrowing Hitler and his regime. They roundly condemned the mass murder of the Jews and the Polish elites, and pilloried the apathy of the German people in the face of the Nazis' crimes. After Stalingrad they began daubing graffiti o n the walls of public buildings in Munich ('Hitler Mass Murderer', 'Freedom' and so on). O n 18 February 1943, however, Hans and Sophie Scholl were observed by a university porter scattering copies of their latest leaflet in the courtyard. He reported them to the Gestapo, and they were arrested. Despite their refusal under torture to betray the other members of the group, the police soon identified and arrested Probst and the rest of the 'White Rose' activists. Hitler wanted a quick trial. Probst and the Scholls were brought before the People's Court on 22 February 1943, found guilty of treason and beheaded; Huber, Schmorell and Graf were condemned on 19 A p r i l and also executed. Ten others were given prison sentences. The Hamburg group continued to distribute the leaflets but it was also eventually discovered by the Gestapo; the last of its members was arrested in June 1944. Copies of the final leaflet reached the British via Sweden, and the Royal Air Force dropped hundreds of thousands of copies over Germany in the spring of 1943. Thus the message of the 'White Rose' did not go unread.

For the most part, however, moral and political critics of the regime sat tight, hoping for better times, and keeping their beliefs to themselves. It is impossible to say with any certainty how widespread such behavior was. One example can be found in the diary of Erika S., born in Hamburg in 1926, into a formerly Social Democratic family. Her journal mixed in unselfconscious juxtaposition with her own daily cares her moral outrage at the larger damage she thought the war was causing. 'Ah,' she wrote on 4 June 1942, 'if only this unholy war were soon at an end! Nothing to eat and then these many cruel murders, it's too terrible, especially when you think of all the victims and those left behind. Nobody knows how many young people have already had to sacrifice their lives for Hitler's devilish cause, it's no longer anything but one huge campaign of murder.' Such sentiments were doubtless shared by her father, who was taken into custody by the Gestapo on more than one occasion, the last time on 23 August 1944. Undaunted by this final arrest, Erika sat down and wrote a letter to Himmler, assuring him that her parents had 'brought me and my 14-year-old brother up in a completely National Socialist way'. She reminded the SS chief that she was a member of the League of German G i r l s and had joined the N a zi Party the previous A p r i l . So she could not understand why her father had been taken into custody. After waiting in vain for a reply, she went to the nearest Gestapo office to pursue her quest. The officers were polite, but made no concessions, i t just can't be borne any longer,' she wrote in her diary, 'how one is treated in Germany. And all the same, one still does everything to avoid attracting attention.'

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/17/books/review/Reich-t.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

A black granite memorial to the White Rose Movement in the Hofgarten in Munich

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