Politics aside, there are times when war is necessary. However, whether justified or unprovoked, war inevitably has its share of victims, the innocent, the powerless – those souls who are unwilling thrown into the mix as their world unravels as well as those who unknowingly, blindly follow a tyrant hellbent on domination and destruction.
This rather eye-opening edition of Throwback Thursday is dedicated to them…
War is about as close to Hell as a human being can be.
Some readers may find some of the images disturbing.
Reader discretion is advised.
June 1944 : A sergeant of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps bandages the wounded ear of ‘Jasper’, a mine-detecting dog, Bayeux, France
April 1945 : A German woman runs through the streets of burning Siegburg with what belongings she is able to carry, as the American 97th Infantry Division and German troops battle for control of the city street by street.
1932 : An uniformed small child joins a parade of forty thousand teenage Fascists(ONB) at Rome’s Place du Peuple
Opera Nazionale Balilla (ONB) was an Italian Fascist youth organization.
Oct 1945 : Homeless orphaned sisters on a street in Rome, Italy after the end of WWII.
1915 : 19 year old Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna of Russia with wounded Russian soldiers.
“My sister Olga is working as a Nurse. Olga, Tatiana and mother became nurses and worked in hospitals, even assisting in surgeries. Maria and I were too young to become real nurses, but both of us, and Aleksey, observed and helped out in operations. We saw many wounded soldiers die. Maria and I had our own hospital in the Fyodorovsky Village near the Alexander Palace. We went there all the time and tried to cheer up the wounded men. It felt like we were attending funeral services all the time.”
Olga was assassinated by the Bolsheviks on July 17, 1918 aged 22 after they were refused sanctuary in England. Olga fell in love with a wounded officer she was nursing.
March 1933 : The last picture taken of Anne, Edith, and Margot Frank in Germany, prior to emigrating to Netherlands.
Anne Frank is 3 years, 9 months old. They are standing in the Hauptwache square in the center of Frankfurt am Main.
Dec 1940 : A Dutch woman keeping Balls of paper – the main fuel in winter during Nazi occupation, Amsterdam.
1917 : A loaded cart pulled by two dogs in Belgium during WWI
Horses in World War I were used by the belligerent nations for transportation of troops, artillery, materiel, and, to a lesser extent, in mobile cavalry troops. Due to lack of Horses, most carts in France, Germany and Belgium were pulled by dogs.
Dec 1945 : Elderly citizens of Berlin rest on a bench marked ‘Not for Jews’, after the end of WWII
An ugly reminder of Nazi days.
It took 3 years to remove of all Nazi images and symbols, however with a country as large as Germany, a few were missed and still exist even to this very day.
Jan 1945 : A Chinese girl who recently discovered her husband’s body in their burned out home, sifting through the ashes for personal possessions, Kweilin, China
Much like the Slavs, Jews, Poles, Indians and Gypsies, the Chinese were slaughtered without mercy during WWII.
Photo by Jack Wilkes, LIFE magazine.
70 years ago this month – Mar 1945: Anne Frank dies at age 15 of typhus in Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp.
Anne Frank’s enduring legacy still resonates around the world.
1943 : Polish youngster carrying an armload of loaves of bread at Red Cross refuge camp in Tehran, Iran during WWII.
English children who had been evacuated during WWII are finally reunited with their families.
A man looks directly at the photographer, an Einsatzgruppen soldier, the moment before he is shot; below him are his dead friends, neighbors and family. The soldier wrote on the back of this photo “the last Jew in Vinnitsa, 1941.”
Dec 1918 : A young Serbian refugee in the town of Grdjelitza after the end of WWI, as photographed by Lewis W. Hine.
Hine was hired by the Red Cross to document its European relief efforts. In the waning months of World War I and after the armistice, Hine traveled through France, Belgium, Germany and the Balkans shooting the shattered continent devastated by World War One.
Hine wrote as he took the picture of this young Serbian girl: “With not even a roof over their heads, these families were finding their way back home on foot from northern Serbia where the Austrians and Germans had sent them to produce food for the enemy … When these people reach home, it will not be home, but simply ruins.”
Allied servicemen stop to hand out sweets to Dutch children during the Allied liberation of the Netherlands, summer 1944.
A German dog hospital, treating wounded dispatch dogs coming from the front, 1918
Colourized WWII photo :
Pfc. Harvey White of Minneapolis gives blood plasma to a Pvt. Roy W. Humphrey from Toledo, Ohio of the 7th Inf. Regt., US 3rd Division at the aid station, Sant’Agata, Sicily, after he was wounded by shrapnel on the 9th August 1943
(Pvt. Humphrey was wounded near San Fratello and was later taken to the 93rd. Evacuation Hospital, where he recovered)
1943 : An on-leave serviceman and his date take a break from a dance at Fullerton Beach, Chicago.
Anna Zakrzewska served with the Polish underground army as a courier and a medical orderly.
Zakrzewska’s underground code name was Hanka Biała (White Hannah). She received training at the end of June and in July 1944 in the Wyszkowa forest. She was killed in the course of desperate combat during the Warsaw Uprising, aged 18.
Concentration camp survivor – This little girl was asked to draw a picture of her home, while living in a residence for disturbed children in Poland 1948.
As you can see, she no longer has any concept of what ‘home’ is (or was) The look in her eyes is truly haunting…
May 1945 : Inmates of the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria pull down the swastika emblem over the main gate after Liberation
This camp had many prisoners of war(Pow’s); mostly Soviet & French officers. Nearly 210,000 inmates perished at Mauthausen.
1942 : Three Soviet citizens are hanged from a tree near Minsk in Belorussia by SS forces with a placard reading “We are partisans and have shot at Germans” in both German and Russian.
1948 : A little girl with her battered doll, waiting for milk distribution along with her little brother at an Orphanage run by Unesco at Naples, Italy
The World War II casualties and even larger numbers of POWs meant that many Italian children were left with only their mother to support them. And in a collapsing economy this was very difficult. When the fighting reached Italy itself, villages and cities were devastated all the way up the peninsula. Many children were killed or wounded and in many cases lost both parents. Large numbers of children were displaced as well as many orphaned.
March 1946 : A young orphan eating bread provided by the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Association in post war Rome, Italy.
From mid 1945 to 1949, most of mainland Europe was in absolute poverty caused by the devastation of WWII.
Guide Dogs for the Blind was founded in 1942 to aid blinded servicemen returning from World War II.
The first veteran to graduate from the program was Sgt. Leonard Foulk, who was paired with a Guide Dog named Blondie.
1945 : The Cologne Cathedral stands tall in the midst the ruins of the city after Allied bombings, Germany.
During the period from 1939 to 1945, the Royal Air Force dropped 34,711 tons of bombs on Cologne.