January 2013

Jan

21

January 1943

Dr Mengele intervenes at Auschwitz

For this the S.S. had sound reason. When they opened the waggons, the sight was so revolting that they could not face it. So they whipped in the prisoners to handle some of the dirtiest work that even Auschwitz had witnessed. In some of the trucks nearly half the occupants were dead or dying, more than I had ever seen.

Jan

20

January 1943

Evading deportation from the Warsaw Ghetto

There was one small electric lamp installed by the owners of the bakery, who had their own families among the crowd. Their children were the only youngsters in the bunker. Though the place seemed safe enough, the danger of discovery was considerable. The SS-men directing operations in the street would stop in the bakery above us, since the bakers had to provide them with food and drinks every day. The slightest noise would have betrayed us.

Jan

19

January 1943

Welcome to the British Army in North Africa

It was a vast concrete arena. We queued for an hour. When that had passed we queued for blankets. Next, find somewhere to sleep, like a football stadium in North Africa. We dossed down on the terraces. After ship`s hammocks it was murder. If only, if only I had a grand piano. I could have slept in that.

Jan

18

January 1943

No end to the bitter struggle on Guadalcanal

On the Marine front last night a Jap came in with his hands up, saying ‘Me sick, me sick.’ The Major, knowing there were other Japs watching, motioned him to come on in – told his men not to fire. One Marine raised his rifle and the Major knocked it down – but on the other side of him another dope brought up a shotgun and blew the Jap apart. The Japs watching melted away – they’ll never give up as prisoners now.

Jan

17

January 1943

RAF Bomber Command visits the ‘Big City’

Then I thought about the message from the Chief of Bomber Command which had been addressed to us tonight and read out at Briefing, ‘Go to it, Chaps and show them the red rose of Lancaster in full bloom.’ Someone behind a desk had given an order to a great organization and here we were a few hours later, one of the pawns in the game, sitting up over the North Sea with the temperature at minus 30° Centigrade, wondering if we would ever see England again.

Jan

16

January 1943

Royal Artillery open up for another attack

The Jocks (ours are Gordons and Black Watch) are I suppose forming up, and somewhere a few thousand yards ahead, Germans and Italians know something is in the wind but not that an hour from now a curtain of steel and an armoured wall will move in to destroy them. The enemy guns are nervously banging away all the time. We are completely silent.

Jan

15

January 1943

The agony continues in Stalingrad

They had no weapons, often no shoes. Their feet wrapped in rags, their emaciated faces encrusted with ice, suffering from their wounds, they dragged themselves deeper into the Kessel. At the edge of the road lay the dead and dying. I saw people crawling on their knees because their feet were entirely consumed by frostbite.

Jan

14

January 1943

Churchill and Roosevelt meet at Casablanca

Admiral King then did so, and it became clear at once that his idea was an ‘all-out’ war against Japan instead of holding operations. He then proposed that 30 per cent of the war effort should be directed to the Pacific and 70 per cent to the rest. We pointed out that this was hardly a scientific way of approaching war strategy!

Jan

13

January 1943

Chance escape for the sole survivor from U-224

As soon as his head appeared, “U 224″ was peppered with gunfire. Danckworth says he remembered seeing the bow of a ship bearing down on him, and after that he remembered nothing more except that he was at one moment some 5 to 6 yards below the surface and automatically making swimming movements.

Jan

12

January 1943

Living the German nightmare in Berlin

To think Hitler as the Master of Europe! The picture supplement we had to get out for our New Year issue was entitled ‘The German Soldier Keeps Watch’ – in the Russian winter, under the African sun, in submarines in the Atlantic, beneath the palm trees of Southern France, in the ice of Finland. How can we possibly hold such an extended front for any length of time?