Historic picture shows the different expressions of six polish civilians moments before death by firing squad, 1939.
This group of men show a wide range of emotions: the first from the left looks anguished, the next one looks defiant, the last one looks resigned… but the man third from the left is smiling at his executioners. He knows he is sure to die as others had been executed before him, but he faces his end with a smile.
On September 3, 1939, two days after the start of the German invasion of Poland, a series of killings occurred in and around the Polish town of Bydgoszcz (German: Bromberg), where a sizable German minority lived. These killings were termed ‘Bloody Sunday’.
The Nazis exploited the deaths as grounds for a massacre of Polish inhabitants after the Wehrmacht captured the town. In an act of retaliation for the killings on Bloody Sunday, a number of Polish civilians were executed by German military units of the Einsatzgruppen, Waffen SS, and Wehrmacht.
Evelyn Bross and Catherine Barscz, a couple, photographed after their arrest for cross-dressing and public indecency. Bross, who was 19 years old at the time, worked as a machinist at a WWII defense plant. But her men’s haircut and trousers clearly meant she was a danger to the public!
Racine Avenue Police Station, Chicago, USA, on June 5th, 1943.
Both British and American sailors have worn bell-bottom trousers. Named for the wide flare at the bottom, they were introduced in Britain in 1857, with the justification that it allowed men in the water to kick them off over their boots.
Although its unclear when the US navy introduced them, they were first recorded as being worn by US sailors in 1813. The American justification for the weird pants was that they could be easily rolled up and kept dry when sailors scrubbed the decks.
By the way, picture is from the World War II hit song, “Bell Bottom Trousers.”
“Your child can smile, talk, or play and does not have to sit up or put on a pretty face.” Algemeen Handelsblad, 12 April 1935
In April 1935, Polyfoto opened a shop in Amsterdam’s city centre. For 1 guilder, you could have a sheet made with 48 different portrait photos.
The Frank family went there to have their pictures taken. Photo sheets of all four family members have survived. Several photos were cut from the photo sheet of the 36-year-old Edith. One of these is in the photo album that Anne compiled when they were in hiding.
Germany developed the V-2 rocket to bomb England during World War II. After the war ended, the US seized unused V-2s and transported them to New Mexico. On October 24, 1946, scientists there place a 35-millimeter motion picture camera on the nose of a V-2, and launched the rocket vertically into space. The camera automatically captured a new image every few seconds while the rocket climbed to an altitude of 65 miles. Conventionally, space begins at 62 miles (100 km) from sea level.
Once it ran out of fuel the V2 fell back to earth. When the wreckage was found, the camera itself had been destroyed, but the film, in a steel cassette, survived unharmed. Range scientists apparently “were jumping up and down like kids” according to enlisted soldier Fred Rulli, 19, who was on the wreckage recovery team. “The scientists just went nuts.”
On the 19th of August, 1944, German tanks roared down the Champs-Elysees and the first clashes began between the occupying German forces and French Resistance fighters. In the two months since D-Day, the combined British and American forces had slowly but steadily advanced. Everything had fallen before them, and now, it was time to take Paris. Hitler’s orders were clear: if the enemy attacked Paris, it “must not fall into the enemy’s hand except lying in complete debris.” In other words, the Germans were ordered to hold Paris or destroy it.
We all know Paris was not destroyed. At 3:30 pm on August 25th, the German governor Dietrich von Choltitz surrendered. von Choltitz later wrote that he thought Hitler was insane and so he deliberately disobeyed Hitler’s orders. It now appears more likely that he was persuaded by the municipal council chairman Pierre Taittinger, but whatever the reason, Paris was liberated with no further bloodshed or destruction.