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I had thought about posting this in the miscellaneous thread, but not only is it too serious, it's also not miscellaneous at all.

I like science, but I also like history. Having been raised on a diet of mostly the Tudors and the British Empire, I've recently looked further afield. Eastern Europe is huge and has a heck of a lot of history that I knew nothing about. For instance, Churchill said, "The Balkans produce more history than can be consumed locally." Which takes a bit of thinking about, but does sum up the situation over there.

I've also been learning about the history of the USA. I was watching a documentary on the History Channel the other day, which was about the experience of American soldiers fighting in Europe in WWII. But not the Hollywood version. These were soldiers who had been captured and sent to a labour camp associated with Buchenwald.

You can read the story here:

http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/explorer/articles/facts-hitlers-gi-death-camp/

It's distressing to read, but most of the old soldiers who spoke on the documentary told of how they had kept silent for so many years out of shame. That was so very sad.

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nice to see history from the victims point of view as it is usually written by the victors or colored by government .  the old adage ' figures don't lie , but liars figure is too often the case !   a friend of mine here in senior care was in the battle of the bulge and was a POW until the end of the war .  he just celebrated his 99th Bday .     sadly there are many parallels between the US government vs Native Americans and Nazi government vs Jewish people .  

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I watch a great number of documentaries.  I hated history as a kid, but now, i watch it  via documentaries, often.  I've watched the POW   stories from WWI and from Viet Nam,  and watched holocaust documentaries,  all kinds of documentaries regarding man's inhumanity to man.

The conquer and exterminate  way of doing things has been one of what I consider the curses of mankind.  

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 I  feel bad for the POWS and any prisoner of another who feels shame.   to have survived  in a GERMAN camp, or survived in  a POW camp, or survived anything like that anywhere, is  a testament to the determination and will of the survivor.

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This conversation reminds me of a quote that warms my heart every time I read it.

Obstacles

Viktor E. Frankl

(Man's Search for Meaning)

"We who lived in the concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: The last of his freedoms ~ to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."

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I think the "shame" aspect is a consequence of the propaganda that was also in WWI - and actually way earlier than that. It's the idea that being a soldier is to be a hero, "going over the top", lobbing hand grenades and taking out a tank, pushing an aircraft to its limit, shooting down a kamikaze pilot. Being taken prisoner is ignominious. Even worse if you've been beaten and starved to within an inch of your life, because that's not being a hero.

Europeans, both military and civilian, were closer to the war in Europe, so POWs got transported back fairly quickly. But American POWs in Europe got transported back by ship, so had many days of good food and recuperation before they got back home. It probably wasn't until the full story of the war in the Pacific was understood and the full realisation of what it was like to be a captive, a "non-hero". That was a bit too late for some of those men who weren't believed and thereafter kept silent.

I do so much like that quote, Earthnut. Read it several times and it still sends shivers down my spine.

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Thanks Libby, the quote gives me shivers every time I read it.

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Quote

There's a story I heard once about two men, almost lifelong friends, that had been sent to one of the camps during the war. One morning one of the men saw his friend kneeling outside praying. He asked his friend what he was doing:

       "I'm thanking God" the man replied

       Looking around the camp, at the barbed wire imprisoning them, at the armed guards he said "What could you possibly be thanking God for?"

       His friend replied "For not making me like them."

 

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20 hours ago, FrankBlack2 said:

There's a story I heard once about two men, almost lifelong friends, that had been sent to one of the camps during the war. One morning one of the men saw his friend kneeling outside praying. He asked his friend what he was doing:

       "I'm thanking God" the man replied

       Looking around the camp, at the barbed wire imprisoning them, at the armed guards he said "What could you possibly be thanking God for?"

       His friend replied "For not making me like them.

FrankBlack2, you're getting an Amen from me for this story.

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