Tag: World War II (1939-45)

Lovers in Auschwitz, Reunited 72 Years Later. He Had One Question.

The first time he spoke to her, in 1943, by the Auschwitz crematory, David Wisnia realized that Helen Spitzer was no regular inmate. Zippi, as she was known, was clean, always neat. She wore a jacket and smelled good. They were introduced by a fellow inmate, at her request. Her presence was unusual in itself: […]

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The Lost Jewish Brands of Berlin

Last month, Andreas Valentin, a 66-year-old professor at the State University of Rio de Janeiro, traveled more than 6,000 miles from Brazil to Berlin to participate in a restitution ceremony, of sorts. He was the guest of honor at the unveiling of a … well, not new, exactly, but renewed fashion brand: Manheimer, founded by […]

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Father’s Nazi Past Overtakes German Business Guru

FRANKFURT — In his heyday, Roland Berger may have been the best-connected man in Germany. He advised chancellors and chief executives, founded one of Europe’s leading management consulting firms and rode Germany’s postwar rebound to become one of the country’s richest self-made men. Business magazines put him on the cover. But in the twilight of […]

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Hitler’s Birthplace in Austria to Become a Police Station

BERLIN — After years of wrangling over the future of the butter-yellow house in Austria where Hitler was born, the authorities have decided to turn the building into a police station, in a bid make it less of a magnet for neo-Nazis. With the move, announced by the interior minister on Tuesday, the Austrian authorities […]

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Navy Submarine, Missing for 75 Years, Is Found Off Okinawa

A 75-year-old mystery has been solved, and the families of 80 American sailors lost at sea will now have closure: the U.S.S. Grayback has finally been found. It was hidden from discovery all this time by a single errant digit. The mystery began on Jan. 28, 1944, when the Grayback, one of the most successful […]

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Teenage Rescuer, Now 92, Meets Family She Saved From Nazis

Sarah Yanai, an 86-year-old Holocaust survivor, clutched the handle of her wheelchair as she closed her eyes, and then opened her arms to embrace the woman who helped save her and most of her family from the Nazis more than 75 years ago. “How are you, how are you Melpo?” Ms. Yanai asked in Greek […]

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U.S. Navy Destroyer Sunk in World War II Is Found 20,000 Feet Under the Sea

It was a mismatch — a small task unit of United States Navy ships confronted by a mighty squadron of Japanese destroyers. The Americans went on the attack with every mortar and torpedo that they had, repelling the enemy vessels that had threatened to cut off the supply lines for an amphibious landing led by […]

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The Story of the Great Japanese-American Novel

IT WAS THE LATE ’60s, and a University of California, Berkeley, undergraduate named Shawn Wong wanted to write the next great American novel. He was born in Oakland, Calif., in 1949 to parents who emigrated from Tianjin, China, both of whom died by the time he was 15. Wong had fallen in love with literature, […]

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America’s Great Betrayal

The sudden decision to pull about 1,000 American troops out of northern Syria, and leave Kurdish allies in the lurch after they did so much to fight off the Islamic State, has already had terrible consequences. The Kurds have been forced to make a deal with the murderous regime of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, […]

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Dorothea Buck, 102, Dies; Nazi Victim and Voice for Mentally Ill

In March 1936, a week before Hitler’s troops reoccupied the Rhineland, violating the treaty that a defeated Germany had signed to end World War I, Dorothea Buck, the 19-year-old daughter of a German pastor, was so traumatized by the prospect of another brutal European war that she had to be hospitalized. Ruled schizophrenic, she was […]

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A Nazi Version of DDT Was Forgotten. Could It Help Fight Malaria?

What if, after the Allies won World War II, world health officials had employed a Nazi version of DDT against mosquitoes that transmit malaria? Could that persistent disease, which still infects more than 200 million people a year and kills 400,000 of them, have been wiped off the planet? That is one of the musings […]

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A Second Man in Iwo Jima Flag Photo Was Misidentified, Marine Corps Says

It’s among the best-known photographs in American military history: six United States Marines raising an American flag over the Japanese island of Iwo Jima during World War II. But for the second time in more than three years, the Marine Corps said that one of the men in the picture had been misidentified for decades. […]

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Trump Says the Kurds ‘Didn’t Help’ at Normandy. Here’s the History.

President Trump drew an odd historical parallel this week as he defended his decision to pull American support from allied Kurdish fighters in northern Syria, leaving them vulnerable to a Turkish offensive that began on Wednesday. “They’re fighting for their land,” Mr. Trump said of the Kurds on Wednesday. “And as somebody wrote in a […]

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Francis Currey, Who at 19 Was a Hero in Battle, Dies at 94

The town of Malmedy in the Ardennes region of Belgium is remembered for one of the most notorious war crimes against American prisoners in World War II. More than 80 unresisting G.I.s were shot to death on the town’s outskirts by members of a German SS armored division in December 1944, soon after their surrender […]

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Overlooked No More: Mitsuye Endo, a Name Linked to Justice for Japanese-Americans

Overlooked is a series of obituaries about remarkable people whose deaths, beginning in 1851, went unreported in The Times. By Stephanie Buck It was January 1942, and Japanese-American civil servants in California were alarmed. Within weeks of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, the state government had sent an invasive questionnaire to its employees of Japanese […]

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Paid Child Care for Working Mothers? All It Took Was a World War.

I am typing this from inside an indoor playground in Portland. We are new to town, it’s the tail end of summer and my 4-year-old daughter can’t start her new preschool until next week. It’s also raining, and our house is full of boxes. We took a bus here and paid $11 to enter, and […]

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Revisiting Hitler, in a New Authoritarian Age

When not at work on a book about the roots of anti-Semitism in his country, the German historian and Holocaust expert Peter Longerich has been thinking about 1923. In that year, Longerich explained, Germany faced a severe crisis. The economy teetered, separatist movements accelerated in multiple states and, in November, the upstart politician Adolf Hitler […]

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Dutch Railroad Reckons With Holocaust Shame, 70 Years Later

AMSTERDAM — The indispensable role that German railroads played as part of the Nazi machinery of genocide during World War II has long been known. But it may be only now that the Dutch are beginning to fully reckon with the role that their own national railroad played in the Holocaust. For several decades, according […]

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Deep Looking, With Vija Celmins

In the 1960s art world, illusion was a dirty word. The old tradition of a painting as a window onto imaginary realities seemed beyond exhausted — just more proof of painting’s death. Abstract painting was tolerated, especially if big and flatly painted so that it was undeniably an object. Magic and poetry were banished. “What […]

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Hearing the Shofar’s Cry in the Jerusalem of Lithuania

I spend a lot of time in cemeteries. It’s part of the gig: I’m a rabbi. And my Hebrew name — Avraham Yitzhak — is common enough that I often see myself on gravestones, an eerie reminder of the liturgy we’ll recite this Rosh Hashana: “A man’s origin and end is from dust.” But last […]

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Teenager’s Diary Offers Window Into Life Under Soviets and Nazis

ImageElizabeth Bellak under a picture of her sister, Renia Spiegel, in New York, in 2016.CreditBrian Harkin for The New York Times PRZEMYSL, Poland — She was a Jewish teenager in a small trade city in southeastern Poland when she began writing her diary, months before the advent of World War II. By the time she […]

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An Improbable Relic of Auschwitz: a Shofar That Defied the Nazis

For years there have been fragmentary reports of almost unbelievable acts of faith at the Nazi death camps during World War II: the sounding of shofars, the ram’s horn trumpets traditionally blown by Jews to welcome the High Holy Days. These stories of the persistence of hope even in mankind’s darkest moments have been passed […]

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