Tag Archives: WWII

The Gliders: WWII’s Unsung Heroes

Growing up, I had heard my grandfather fought in WWII, but as a kid I really didn’t know in what capacity. My family knew the basics: he was in the ETO; at various points he was in Iceland, England, France, and Germany; he had medals; and worked with the gliders. He rarely spoke of his service and on the off-chance he did, he was vague. Everyone knew better than to pry too much. He avoided flying and planes, and later in life, he suffered PTSD. When he passed, his secrets and experiences died with him.

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The Fabulous Forties: Romanticizing a Harrowing Period

People talk a lot about the glamour of the 1940s.

Of course, we all know what they mean. The classy outfits. The perfectly curled hair. Epic Hollywood blockbusters and dazzling Hollywood stars, from Casablanca to Citizen Kane, from Bergman to Bogart. Swing bands and soda fountains and “going steady” … and over it all, the distant rumble of foreign war. Just foreign enough to be thrilling, rather than terrifying.

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Sept / Oct 2019: The 1940s

The 1940s bring a lot of things to mind. Glamorous Hollywood starlets. Fabulous hairstyles. Some of the most memorable movies of all time. And of it, of course, looms the Second World War. This issue of Femnista explores a little of everything, from a veterinarian in the British downs to the dirty streets of New York city, to the harrowing adventures of Glider pilots. We hope to introduce you to some new favorites, and commemorate some classic films. Enjoy.

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Anne Frank: An Inspirational Life

On December 30th, 1998, I turned twelve years old. Like every twelve-year-old, I had a party. Family and friends came over to celebrate and showered me with presents. One stood out among the others and continues to stand out to this day. My aunt’s gift was a girl’s diary. I peeled back the wrapping paper, read the title aloud, and looked to her for an explanation. I had never heard of Anne Frank. It interested me, though, since I was a bookworm.

The following day, I found an inscription inside. Veronica: Anne Frank was just a year older than you when she began this diary. It became her personal refuge when she and her family were forced into hiding from the Nazis. She died in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp at the age of 15 and was probably buried in a mass grave, but her thoughts live on. This book has meant a great deal to me since I first read it at age 12. I hope it does to you, as well.—Aunt Barbara.

This intrigued me. Who was Anne? Why was her diary published? Who were the Nazis? I read. Though I liked the girl the diary entries introduced me to, it confused me. Why was she persecuted for being Jewish? What was going on in Europe during the 1940s? At that time in my life, I knew next to nothing about WWII. This was sad since my grandfather had been in the Airborne and fought in the ETO.

annefrank002Through added research, I soon learned Anne Frank was a girl after my own heart. A deep, abiding love for her developed. Born in Germany, she and her family fled the Fatherland when the Nazis came to power. As Jews, the Nazis would have targeted and killed them if they remained. Anne, her parents, and sister Margot settled in the Netherlands. They lived carefree lives until Germany invaded in 1940. This time the Frank family could not escape. They made plans to go into hiding. Her father, Otto, worked with his friends and employees to prepare for his family’s “disappearance” and their subsequent stay in his office building’s attic. The Frank’s would hide with another family and one other.

On Anne’s thirteenth birthday, she received a gift that changed her life: a diary. In it she recorded all her thoughts and feelings. It became a witness of the suffering she and the other Jews experienced under the thumbs of the Nazis. When it was time for her family to go into hiding, Anne brought her diary with her. For two years, the Frank’s, the van Pel’s family, and Fritz Pfeffer hid in the annex. They hoped one day the war would end and they could be free. Under their noses, Anne blossomed into a wise, strong, independent girl. On hearing a radio broadcast asking for people to save their diaries and letters for post-war publication, she rewrote her diary. Anne intended to publish it someday.

The fateful day came when the Nazis arrested Anne, her family, and friends and sent them to Auschwitz. Only Otto survived. On learning of his daughters’ deaths, one of the helpers gave him Anne’s diary. He published it and spent the rest of his life sharing her story.

They say there is a book that changes your life forever. For me, that was The Diary of Anne Frank. It has influenced me as much as the Bible. My life has never been the same since I met Anne Frank. I’ve spent years studying the Holocaust and have written almost as many years writing about it. Anne taught me to persevere, to believe in the good of humanity, to never give up my faith. In 2015, I fulfilled my dream of visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau, where Anne, her family and friends, and over a million others perished. Maybe someday I will visit the Frank family’s hiding place. No matter how much studying I do on the Holocaust, I know the next time I open Anne Frank’s diary, I will fall in love with her all over again.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Veronica Leigh has been published in several anthologies and her work has appeared on GoWorldTravel.com and the Artist Unleashed, and she has published a couple of fictional stories. She makes her home in Indiana with her family and her furbabies. To learn more about her, visit her blog.

Marvel’s Agent Carter: We Know Our Value

Many have lauded marvel’s short-lived TV show ‘Agent Carter’ as a triumph for modern feminism (especially because of how the show deals with office politics – Peggy Carter versus the men of the SSR). And while there are more than a few feminist touches throughout the show, I think people who interpret ‘Agent Carter’ merely as a vehicle for feminism are missing the bigger picture.

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Paul Milner: The Everyday Sleuth

Although Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle is most the center of this drama (with his name in the title, seems only fair, haha), and comes up with the final piece needed to solve every case, for this article I wanted to focus on another member of the main detective trio as he appeared through Seasons 1-5, Detective Sergeant Paul Milner. Continue reading

Shades of Evil: The Man in the High Castle

NOV / DEC 2017: BY CHARITY BISHOP

Amazon’s series The Man in the High Castle is many things… a sci-fi adventure with an alternate timeline, a mind-bending glimpse into a different history, a philosophical exploration of abstract concepts and themes, and… a heart-wrenching story of love, loss, and struggle within different households. The series’ inability to choose sides, its devotion to creating villains and heroes in every faction, and its emotional moments make it unique. Continue reading

The Rosenbergs

SEPT / OCT 2016: BY LILA DONOVAN

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What makes people become traitors? It’s understandable when people defect a country that’s fallen under a corrupt government and want to seek a better life away from tyranny and chaos. When Europe fell under the control of Hitler and the Nazis during World War II, those that could leave Nazi occupied countries did leave.

However, it’s difficult to understand why citizens would betray a first world country like the United States. America is wealthy, with a high quality of life and endless opportunities; many people try to immigrate here. Continue reading

Exemplary Courage: Count von Stauffenberg

SEPT / OCT 2016: BY VERONICA LEIGH

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A devout Catholic nobleman and German patriot would be the least likely candidate to assassinate the world’s most evil dictator.

Born Claus Philipp Maria Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg in the eastern part of Swabia, his noble roots extended back many generations. Well educated, Claus adored literature, especially poetry. Poetry involving religious themes would later inspire him to act on his conscience. He followed his family’s tradition and entered the military. He married a loving woman named Nina, and they had five children. The future seemed bright for the young Stauffenberg family. Continue reading