Remains of Kurt Knispel, the highest scoring WWII tank ace, located in a grave the Czech Republic
The remains of the world's greatest ever tank ace have been found in a grave the Czech Republic. The remains of Kurt Knispel were found by historians at the Moravian Museum in Vrbovec lying in an unmarked grave for German soldiers at a cemetery in Znojemsko. With 168 confirmed and 195 unconfirmed kills Knispel was by far the most successful tank ace of the Second World War, even knocking out a T-34 at 3,000 metres. He fought in every type of German tank as loader, gunner and commander, and was awarded the Iron Cross, First Class, after destroying his fiftieth enemy tank and the Tank Assault Badge in Gold after more than 100 tank battles.
In pictures: Vivid WWII re-enactments caught on camera
In pictures: Vivid World War II re-enactments caught on camera.
Stern's forged Hitler diaries to be placed in state archives and to go public
Thirty years after publishing what it believed were Hitler's diaries, German news magazine Stern said it would hand over what it still owns of the forgeries to the country's state archive, making them accessible to the public.
WWII Bunker turned into renewable energy power plant in Hamburg
A WWII bunker is undergoing a major transformation. Long story short, the bunker is set to be turned into a renewable energy power plant in Hamburg. During WWII, the bunker helped shield countless people against aerial attacks. Once turned into a renewable energy power plant, it will help improve on Hamburg's ecological footprint. Inhabitat informs us that the bunker is expected to meet the heating demands of 3,000 households. Furthermore, the facility is set to generate sufficient energy so as to keep 1,000 homes up and running.
Amsterdam forced Jews to pay rent while in WWII concentration camps
Amsterdam council has vowed to probe revelations that it forced Jews returning from concentration camps to pay rent arrears, even if their homes had been destroyed or occupied by Nazis. The scandal, involving an unknown number of Jews and non-Jews living in city-owned properties, was uncovered by an art history student in Amsterdam`s archives. Less than a quarter of Amsterdam`s Jewish population survived the war, with the Netherlands occupied by the Nazis from 1940 to 1945. `On their return, Jews received letters from Amsterdam council demanding the settling of their back rent,` the art historian, Charlotte van den Berg, 23, explained.
1913: When Hitler, Trotsky, Tito, Freud and Stalin all lived in one section of Vienna
In January 1913, a man whose passport had the name Stavros Papadopoulos disembarked from the Krakow train at Vienna's North Terminal station. "I was sitting at the table," wrote the man he had come to meet, "when the door opened with a knock and an unknown man entered. The writer of these lines was a dissident Russian intellectual, the editor of a radical newspaper Pravda (Truth). His name was Leon Trotsky. The man he described was not, in fact, Papadopoulos. He had been born Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, was known to his friends as Koba and is now remembered as Joseph Stalin. Trotsky and Stalin were just two of a number of men who lived in central Vienna in 1913 and whose lives were destined to mould, indeed to shatter, much of the 20th century.
The Desert War Then And Now by Jean Paul Pallud (book review)
This is an impressive book from almost any angle - a study of the North African campaign of World War II through the eyes of an author who recently wandered the battlefields making colour photos to compare with black and white images from the war years. Pallud's on-site research was completed just before revolution and civil war swept through the region. We have here a very large book with nearly 600 pages and over 2000 photos. It is not a publication you would like to drop on your foot. The text is easy to read, on well-laid-out pages, with simple maps that accompany the narrative of the campaign.
Desert War: Two-part documentary film about the conflict in North Africa during World War II
As Anzac Day approaches, documentary maker Steve Westh, hopes more people will look beyond the parades and ceremonies to their elderly relatives and neighbours, whose experiences of war too often remain untold. In making Desert War, his latest two-part film about the conflict in North Africa during World War II, Westh met with men from both sides of the trenches of Tobruk and El Alamein. Gathering stories which paint a vivid picture of the soldiers' ordeals.
The role of modern media in the liberation of Paris 1944
It`s hard to countenance in an era when political uprisings are documented by tweets, blog posts and the uploading of videos but the first multimedia insurrection took place nearly 70 years ago, in Paris. However, many of the tactics involved in winning such critical communications battles were pioneered by the media workers of the French Resistance, including names such as Robert Doisneau and Henri Cartier-Bresson. As the Allied armies finally broke through the German lines in Normandy in August 1944, the collaborationists fled the city and the newspaper reporters, photographers, cinematographers and radio broadcasters of the Free French promptly moved in to fill the media vacuum.
Escaping the train to Auschwitz - One boy who jumped to freedom retains vivid memories
On 19 April 1943, a train carrying 1,631 Jews set off from a Nazi detention camp in Belgium for the gas chambers of Auschwitz. But resistance fighters stopped the train. Simon Gronowski, who jumped to freedom that night, retains vivid memories, 70 years later. "My parents had made a mistake - only one, but a serious one, which was… to have been born Jewish - a crime that, at the time, could only be punished by death."
Doolittle Raiders stage Last Reunion at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida
At 97, retired Lt. Col. Richard Cole still can fly and land a vintage B-25 with a wide grin and a wave out the cockpit window to amazed onlookers. David Thatcher, 91, charms admiring World War II history buffs with detailed accounts of his part in the 1942 Doolittle Raid on Tokyo, in which he earned a Silver Star. Retired Lt. Col. Edward Saylor, 93, still gets loud laughs from crowds for his one-liners about the historic bombing raid 71 years ago that helped to boost a wounded nation's morale in the aftermath of Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor.
Deserter: The Last Untold Story of the Second World War by Charles Glass
Of the 100,000 British and 50,000 American troops who fled the ranks during WWII, Eddie Slovik must count as the most unlucky... in a small French village in January 1945, he became the 6-year conflict`s first and only soldier to be executed for desertion. Slovik, a 25-year-old infantryman and ex-con from Detroit, was sentenced to death by musketry for desertion during the Battle of the Bulge. The US Army was fighting a bloody, violent battle for survival. Every man was vital. Before he was executed, Slovik wryly declared: "They`re not shooting me for deserting the United States Army, thousands of guys have done that. They just need to make an example out of somebody and I`m it because I`m an ex-con... they`re shooting me for the bread and chewing gum I stole when I was 12 years old."
Memories of WWII: A German Family's Tangled Wartime History
Her aunt was executed by the Nazis, her uncle was a far-right political leader and her father told her stories of nighttime battles on the Eastern Front. Marianne Wellershoff traces her family's complicated place in World War II history.
Video: Anne Frank's stepsister Eva Schloss: life after Auschwitz
Anne Frank's stepsister Eva Schloss has been describing how she survived the Auschwitz concentration camp, "The human spirit is amazing, hope is amazing - I was one of the few lucky ones". She told BBC how her mother went on to marry Anne's father Otto and how he helped her to overcome her bitterness at the world. Talking about her new memoir After Auschwitz: A Story of Heartbreak and Survival, she described how she also felt a sort of jealousy at the attention focused on her dead stepsister.
British army veteran Frank Hunt, who served in Commandos, recalls killing French civilians
Frank Hunt fought in the British army, survived the Battle of Dunkirk and served in the British Commandos during World War II. "We were in a bad situation, the French had been Hitler`s secret weapon. He had a lot of French people who were being paid money to give him information. We had orders to shoot and kill every French person in and around a house frequented by the German army. When they came out to hang clothes, we`d shoot and kill. It was cruel. You just managed to look after yourself and your mates - and they would do the same for you. We killed a lot of French people — we shot women and children. We shot them because of what they were doing for the Germans."
German investigators on trail of dozens of former Nazi guards
German investigators have said that they are on the trail of dozens of former guards at Auschwitz. They said the suspects could face charges as accessories in the murders of detainees at the camp. The suspects are all around 90 years old and live in various parts of Germany, according to the head of the Central Office of the State Justice Administrations for the Investigation of National Socialist Crimes.
Militaria Collector to return Japanese WWII Flag nearly 70 Years after Capture
A collector of WWII memorabilia has succeeded in a daunting quest thanks to help from the Japanese government. A veteran from Clarkston, Washington has found the right person to receive a Japanese war flag taken in battle nearly 70 years ago. Years ago, memorabilia collector George Koller bought an inscribed "good luck flag." It belonged to a Japanese fighter pilot killed in combat. Last year, Koller asked the Japanese consulate in Seattle for help to give the flag back. Now, based on handwritten notes on the flag, the Japanese Ministry of Health has identified the fallen WWII pilot as Lance Corporal Kirihara. Then the ministry located a living brother northeast of Tokyo.
The Girls of Atomic City: How tens of thousands of women worked on the Manhattan Project in a secret nuclear base
History remembers brilliant men who developed the atomic bomb that forced the surrender of Japan. But, history seems to have forgotten the women of Atomic City. Without them, no atomic weapon would have been possible. Tens of thousands of young women from across the United States moved to a muddy boom town in the Appalachian Mountains in 1942 to work on the top-secret project of refining and enriching uranium. None of them knew exactly what was happening at Clinton Engineer Works in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. They were purposely kept in the dark about the nature of their work. They only knew that it was something that would help win the war.
Hitler's food taster Margot Wölk lived in constant fear
It might have been something as simple as a portion of white asparagus. Peeled, steamed and served with a delicious sauce. And with real butter, a scarcity in wartime. While the rest of the country had to spread margarine diluted with flour on their bread, Margot Wölk could have savored the expensive vegetable dish - if not for the fear of dying, that is. Wölk was one of 15 young women who were forced to taste Nazi leader Adolf Hitler's food for some two and a half years. Interestingly Wölk, a young woman who had refused to join the League of German Girls (BDM), the girl's version of Hitler Youth, and whose father had been hauled off for refusing to join the Nazi party, became Hitler's helper.
The incredible Nazi plans for a mile-wide sun gun to fry cities from space
It sounds like something only a James Bond villain would propose, but the Nazis planned a mile-wide space gun powered by the sun. A long-forgotten article from Life magazine in 1945 revealed how "US Army technical experts came up with the astonishing fact that German scientists had seriously planned to build a sun gun". The idea came to renowned rocket scientist Hermann Oberth in 1923. With a cost of three million marks and taking 15 years to construct, the original purpose of the space mirror was to provide the people of Earth with sunshine on demand, anywhere on the globe. But Oberth later described it as the ‘ultimate weapon`.
British Ghost town abandoned since WWII shortly open for public (photos, video)
Day trippers strolled down a path unfazed by a nearby sign which reads, "Danger. Unexploded military debris. Do not leave the carriageway." This peculiar image gives an insight into a real-world ghost town which has been deserted for almost 70 years. Welcome to Imber, Wiltshire. Population: just soldiers... except on the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, when it is open to the general public. The locals were evacuated in December 1943 and never allowed to return. Now, the abandoned village, on Salisbury Plain, is used as a training site for the Ministry of Defence. But it was opened to the public over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend.
Churchill's secret guerillas were poised to execute senior British figures who were potential Nazi collaborators
They were Britain`s "secret army", volunteers prepared to sacrifice their lives to fight against a Nazi invasion of the UK. Issued with top-secret orders, their role has remained unsung for decades. Now, the Royal British Legion has agreed to officially recognise the 4,000 volunteers who once formed the secret guerrilla cells created to resist the Nazis. If wartime church bells rang to warn of enemy invasion, the orders for the Auxiliary Unit volunteers were to disappear without telling anyone and to report to hidden bases in the countryside. Each was issued with sealed orders giving a list of potential collaborators, who might have to be executed if there was a risk of them helping the Germans.
A new TV drama-mini-series about wartime Germany stirs up controversy
German TV viewers are used to frequent programmes exploring the Nazi era and the second world war. But rarely has such a programme triggered as much debate and interest as the screening of a 3-part drama, `Unsere Mütter, unsere Väter` (Our Mothers, Our Fathers), which tracks the lives of five young German friends from 1941 to 1945. The fictional drama, based on scrupulous research, had on average 7.6m viewers per night. Suddenly the few survivors of Germany`s wartime generation are being sought out as never before by talk shows and newspapers.
The story of a family of dwarves snatched from the gas chamber by Josef Mengele sounded incredible - How to verify the testimony of Holocaust survivors?
"I was saved by the grace of the devil," Holocaust survivor Perla Ovitz told, recounting how she and her dwarf family were taken to the gas chamber. A heavy door opened and they were pushed inside. "We stood in what looked like a large washing room, waiting for something to happen. We looked up to the ceiling to see why the water was not coming. Suddenly we smelled gas. We gasped heavily, some of us fainting on the floor. With our last breath we cried out. Minutes passed... then we heard an angry voice from outside – 'Where is my dwarf family?' The door opened, and we saw Dr Mengele standing there. He ordered us to be carried out and had cold water poured on us to revive us."