Archive for September 2009
Who could have thought…
The bars were sponsored by liquor companies, the kitchen by Lufthansa. One room had marble walls, another, cashmere. Hundreds of guests plucked hors d’oeuvres from Plexiglas trays, but when I reached for a passing tray of pigs in blankets, the waitress tried to stop me. “These are for Michael,” she said.
That would be Michael Moore, filmmaker, who was enthroned nearby on a crowded sofa nibbling from a skewer, which did seem less in harmony with his everyman sneakers and populist persona than a sausage wrapped in fried bread. The Monday night party in Manhattan, which spread over two luxurious penthouse suites, was sponsored by Esquire and tricked out with the magazine’s advertisers’ products. The guests were there to celebrate Moore’s latest movie [Capitalism, A Love Story], which had just had its New York premier uptown.
I have just started to realise how many blogs there actually are at the BBC, even if most of them are extremely hard to find unless one takes a look at the “BBC News blogs” area somewhere in the rightmost column of some blogs.
Today I “discovered” Tom Feilden’s blog…only because Tom has sent a link to it to me. Nothing about it in the “blog network” either. In there, there is instead a link to the Climate Change “Bloom” blog, mysteriously abandoned since 29 July (hopefully the people over there have not been sent to a re-education camp😎 )
If one goes to what might have been the “home” page for the BBC reporters’ blogs there appears a sad page that has been dead for three years (a terrible thing for a news organization, if you ask me).
And where people would actually look, the left column of every page, no link to any blog at all. Is the Corporation as such singularly uninterested in blogs of all things, one wonders?
A few step forward in my search for details about Charles Morabito, PoW 25084 at the Berga slave camp in Nazi Germany. Charles was very unfortunate, part of what might have been the very last group of American prisoners of war tortured/neglected and ultimately killed by the Nazis. As reported by the PBS, he was one of the few American victims of “Vernichtung durch Arbeit — the Nazi policy of physical destruction through labor“.
As of now, I believe Charles Morabito was killed while trying to escape, sometimes in March 1945.
(1) I have now found this article in the New York Times: “CAPTIVE U.S. TROOPS BEATEN WITH PICKS; Survivor of German Camp Tells How He Put In Long Hours as Slave Laborer” from June 13, 1945. It contains the results of an interview with 20-year-old Daniel D .Steckler, survivor of Berga. He speaks of slave labor under appalling conditions, and of a total of around 350 dead between Feb 28 and Apr 18, 1945.
The article says the Americans had belonged to the 28th Division, fighting in Luxembourg.
(2) There is a Wikipedia entry for the U.S. 28th Infantry Division, but no mention of Berga in the World War II section. Also, that entry includes the 109th, 110th, 111th, and 112th Infantry Regiments for the 28th Division, whilst other sources indicate the 106th Regiment.
(3) Via the Jewish Virtual Library one can find the following 1994 book: “Forgotten Victims: Abandonment of Americans in Hitler’s Camps” by Mitchell G. Bard (Author). Interestingly, the Amazon UK site brings up next to that book, a work by Flint Whitlock entitled “Given Up for Dead: American GI’s in the Nazi Concentration Camp at Berga“.
I will try to source both books at my local library.
(4) Whitlock’s book is described with these words, providing more about the background of the whole Berga camp story:
This is the extraordinary and little-known story of American GIs taken prisoners at the Battle of the Bulge and forced into unspeakable slavery in the Nazi concentration camp at Berga. When thousands of American soldiers were captured by the Germans during the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944, most were marched off to prisoner-of-war camps where they were relatively well-treated. A few hundred others, mainly Jewish, were marched off to the Nazi slave-labor camp at Berga-an-der-Elster, where many met an unspeakable fate. This is their story. For over three months, the soldiers worked under brutal, inhuman conditions, building tunnels in a mountainside for the German munitions industry. Many of them died. The others struggled to survive in a living nightmare. Strangely, when the war was over, many of the Americans who had survived Berga were required to sign a ‘security certificate’ which forbade them from ever disclosing the details of their imprisonment at Berga. Until recent years, what had happened to the American soldiers at Berga has been a closely guarded secret.
(5) Via “Look Inside“, it is possible to find references to “Morabido, Charles” for pages 156-159 (it is a misspelling…check out “Morabito” as written on Charles’ tomb’s cross; and his name in the prisoners’ list):
1. on Page 159:
” … escape was tied to Morabido’s “plundering” at the farm, and he explained the predicament to Bokanic. A German noncom “badgered Bokanic about knowing and escaping with Morabido”
2. on Page 158:
” … Bokanic dashed from the storeroom, out the gate, and ran for cover to wait for Morabido. Five minutes passed and then a shot rang out from the direction … ”
3. on Page 157:
“asked Bokanic where Morabido was and he said that Morabido went to milk a cow. Believe it! Soon, we heard the noise of cows mooing, then … ”
4. on Page 156:
” … known of the plan and, once Mark was at work in the tunnel, two GIs, Charles Morabido and another whose last name was Bokanic, approached him and said they … ”
5. from Index:
“xv, 25, 28 Morabido, Charles: 156-159 Moselle River, France: 68 Munk, Honzo: 140,176-177,179-180 Nabburg, Germany : 189 Nachtmandersheid, Luxembourg: 41 … “
(6) Those pages speak of an escape attempt, and Charles is described by fellow prisoner Joe Mark as a “devil-may-care soldier“, together with his friend ??? Bokanic, very much interested in having finally something to eat. For some reason he decided to milk a cow at a nearby farmhouse. At page 158 the book says Charles might have been shot by the farmer.
It was March 1945.
(7) It is very unfortunate that none of the four original documents displayed in the PBS site about Berga contains the entry about Charles Morabito. There is plenty of information in that site though. For now I have extracted the following map:
From Robert B Reich’s review of “The Heart of Power – Health and Politics in the Oval Office“ By David Blumenthal and James A. Morone:
- a new president must move quickly, before opponents have time to stoke public fears
- a president must set broad health reform goals and allow legislators to fill in the details, but be ready to knock heads together to forge a consensus
- “The only way to deal with Congress is continuously, incessantly and without interruption” (L. Johnson)
- disregard or overrule [the] economic advisers
- there is an art to losing, too — in a way that can tee up the issue for future presidents
They have an entire Universe to display, and still they came up with a selection of portraits…of themselves??
Exhibition: Portraits of Astronomers
Thursday 1 to Friday 30 October 2009
Location: Marble Hall, The Royal Society
To celebrate the International Year of Astronomy, photographer Lucinda Douglas Menzies has created a series of portraits of contemporary British astronomers. Each photograph is accompanied by the astronomer’s explanation of what led him or her to enter the field, giving a fascinating insight into the inspiration behind their great achievements.
A selection of the portraits will be on display at the Royal Society’s building during the month of October. The exhibition is open to the public, but we ask you to register in advance of your visit by contacting the Royal Society Library on 020 7451 2606 or email@example.com.