Monday, February 10, 2014

Gurs Concentration Camp

The German Jews of Baden were sent to a concentration camp in Gurs, France. This was not a "death" camp; there were no gas chambers. However, it was a prison camp, and the conditions were miserable.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The first deportation

German Jews in Baden hold the dubious distinction of being the first German Jews deported by the Nazis, and the only German Jews to be sent west. Heidelberg, the main setting of Slow Boil, is located in Baden. Thus, the depiction in Slow Boil of German Jews being deported west in 1940 is accurate despite the unusual aspects of the scenario.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Phony War

While Great Britain and France did finally declare war on Germany in September 1939 after the invasion of Poland, they didn't do anything. In the meantime, Hitler and Stalin invaded Scandinavian countries. So great was the inactivity of the Allies that the period from September 1939 to June 1940 has been dubbed The Phony War.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Book Recommendation... The Endless Steppe

The Endless Steppe is an autobiography by Esther Hautzig about her experience growing up in exile on the Russian Steppes. She and her family were Polish Jews deported and exiled by the Soviet Union after the Soviets invaded "their half" of Poland. Great book to read to your school age kids!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

A little helping hand from Stalin

Despite being sworn enemies, Stalin and Hitler could agree on one thing. They both wanted Poland. That was the essence of the Non-Agression Pact. The Soviet Union would invade the eastern half of Poland and Germany the western. This is the truth behind why Poland was conquered so quickly; they were invaded on both fronts.