I think what I will start doing is posting art at the end of each month.
I think what I will start doing is posting art at the end of each month.
Welcome to the art part of Legacy Writer! I make cards, little booklets, and draw. I am willing to tackle anything new art-wise!
The inspiration to name my art business Dustfinger Designs came from a character in the trilogy, Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. (Read Inkheart if you want to know more) Besides loving Inkheart, Dustfinger, as a word is actually beautiful because it implies, in the art sense, the ability to make art with the most basic of the elements. However you view the word “Dustfinger”, I hope you enjoy my art. SPOILER ALERT, I am by no means a natural artists, rather I am self taught.
From the man who led the evacuation of USS Arizona to the fighter pilot who took to the skies in his pajamas, learn the stories of eight of the many servicemen who distinguished themselves on one of the darkest days in American military history.
Youtube credit goes to Les Glassman
British Pathe, the world’s leading multimedia resource with a history stretching back over a century. The finest and most comprehensive archive of fabulous footage and stunning stills.
Personally, I LOVE BRITISH PATHE, when researching.
This is a story I wrote this July and one of the better ones that I have written. I hope that you will enjoy. I like writing about WWII and the Holocaust. I focus mainly on, what I call, the heroes of the Holocaust. These people would be men and women who saved a life in some way, big or not. Raoul Wallenberg and Oskar Schindler are two men who are famous for saving lives in a big way. Miep Gies, the woman who hid Anne Frank, is a female who hid two families. However, I want to point out an example of someone who saved a life in a small way. In the biography, The Nazi Officer’s Wife by Edith Hahn Beer, she tells about a man who was dressed like a Nazi official. She was told to tell him of her dilemma and she did. He gave her instructions that basically saved her life. This man saved a life in a small way. Yet, his identity is unknown and will never be fully honored for his incredible actions.
This story is about a saver of a life.
The Fire of Fear and Anticipation
In 1944, Hitler’s war machine rampaged all of Europe devouring everything within sight, whether it be the innocent enemy or themselves. Caught in the belly of the machine was a young Jewish girl, age sixteen, who likes to call herself Greta Pfeiffer after her hero who was the star of When the Wind Calls, her favorite book. Her real name was Helene Else and she lived in the fiery heart of the war machine also known as Nazi Germany. Let me tell you her story of amazing redemption and survival.
“Open up! Open up! Gestapo!” an intolerable force shouted. The shouts broke through the darkness making dawn come faster.
“Was ist dies? Was ist dies? Yosef! Erwachen! Yosef!” a brown haired woman in a white bathrobe yelled at her husband. Panic was slowly rising in her throat and she fought the urge to curse Yahweh for their terrible luck.
“Darotka stop choking me! What is all this commotion?” Yosef yelled at his panicking wife.
“Herr Steinfield, open the door. Herr Steinfield, offen die tür.”
As quickly as he woke, Herr Steinfeld met the Gestapo who were banging on his door.
“You have caused probable damage to my door. I can barely afford to support my wife and her needs. What makes you think I can afford to repair the damage that you’ve done to my door? What do you have to say to me in my wrath?” Herr Steinfeld quickly stated as he fumbled with the cloth straps that fastened his robe.
“Herr Steinfield, our apologies. We have reason to believe that you may be hiding a Jewish family in your home. May we examine your house?”
“Why, of course. I don’t want any of that filth in my home. Please do come in. Please don’t mind the mess. My wife is quite expensive and she wants everything her eyes see.” Herr Steinfield explains.
“Well, the Germans are the best. We deserve everything while those maggots don’t even deserve to live,” Frau Darotka said to defend herself.
“Ja, yes, Frau Darotka.”
The leader of this particular Gestapo ring prodded an antique German leather couch. To his surprise or disgust (it was hard to tell), nothing squirmed in response. He repeated this process throughout the entire German house with its two stories of furnishings. They even went out back but they found nothing.
“Well it seems that you have no Jews hiding in your home. Guten nacht, Herr und Frau Steinfield.”
After the Gestapo left, Herr Steinfield counted to ten in his head with Frau Steinfield counting simultaneously. Once they hit eleven, the both rushed upstairs to their attic that did not exist to the Nazis.
“Gott, are you ok? Everyone all right?” Herr Steinfield whispered to the door of his attic.
“Danke, danke schön, Herr und Frau Steinfield. I can’t express how much this all means to me,” a raspy voice answered back.
“Nein, nein, there was nothing else to do. How is Helene?”
“She is better. I have been giving her the medicine you have given me and it has been helping.”
“How much better is she?”
“She is still unconscious.”
“From hunger and fatigue?”
“Herr Else, why don’t you bring her and come down to the guest bedroom?”
“Nein, Herr Steinfield, I don’t want to jeopardize your safety anymore than I already have. You have done so much for me that I not know how to pay you back and I don’t think that my actions will best match what you have done for me.”
“I do not want you to pay me back. And you WILL come to the guest bedroom for the sake of your daughter. Verstehen sie?”
“Ja, Herr Steinfield.”
“Darotka, attend to Helene. Herr Else, come with me.”
It was a miracle that Helene was nursed back to consciousness by dawn.
“A fire has started,” she murmured when she first woke up.
“What do you mean, mein tochter?” Darotka asked her gently.
“Would you mind explaining it’s symbolic meaning?”
“It means that an emotional fire of fear and anticipation spread across Europe. Fear is in the hearts of all the persecuted Jews, Gypsies, and everyone who is declared a national hazard to the ‘perfect superhuman’ German race. Anticipation is felt in the hearts of the persecuted, the Axis, and the Allies alike. The persecuted anticipate the end of their suffering. The Axis anticipate their victory over European nations. The Allies anticipate victory over the Axis powers.”
“Yes but that has happened months ago! Thirty-three to be exact.”
“I just said a fire has started, not when it started.”
“…She will be safe. Nein, Herr Else. Don’t give me that face. We both know that this house is the safest for the both of you despite the present changes,” exclaimed Herr Steinfield as he entered the room as Herr Else trailed quietly behind.
“What present changes?” Helene asked curiously.
“Well… how do I put this? The NSDAP has ordered … me to battle.”
“The army, Herr Steinfield?”
“Yes. Now calm child, everything will be alright. The war will end soon.”
“That is what you hope. Not what you know will happen.”
“You are too smart, young one.”
“See, Frau Steinfield? Fire!”
“A whirlwind of fire spreading across Europe in the form of Hitler’s nasty war machines. Each speck fighting for their egocentric leader. Each speck, dying for him. A fire of passion for the Führer lingers in their hearts.”
“Yes, that is true, but why should a young girl like you be thinking of such sad thoughts?”
“I have all the time in this world to think until the Führer comes and kills me and only then I will not be able to think anymore.”
“Well, God will save you from the Führer.”
“Yes, I suppose. One person from my family must survive and so must one of you. Do whatever you can to survive these lengthy years of oppression in the fires of the monsters belly. I want to honor you one day when Germany falls for trying to save my life.”
January 27, 1975 – International Holocaust Remembrance Day
Dignity Speech – Helene Else (47 years old)
“Today we are gathered here at the Avenue of the Righteous to honor two Gentiles who saved a Jew’s life. The Jewish community is a big family. We laugh together. We weep together. And we expect each other to save one another. But we owe it to the Gentiles for the air we breathe today. Many Gentiles have saved us. Raoul Wallenberg. Oskar Schindler. Herr and Frau Steinfield. To name a few.”
“In 1944, Herr and Frau Steinfield harbored my father and I from the Nazis who were looking for us. They deliberately lied to them and faked their beliefs for the sake of our lives. Even after Herr Steinfield was sent to battle the Russians on the Eastern Front, Frau Steinfield daily put her life at risk for our lives. So I say this and I will not regret these words: Herr Yosef Steinfield und Frau Darotka Steinfield, I honor you by giving you the Righteous Among Nations medal. During the 1940s era, your actions have proved that you are worthy of this medal. I thank you from the from the bottom of my heart for what you have done for me and my father. From Heaven, my father says ‘Danke für alles!’ L’chaim to Herr und Frau Steinfield!”
The original K.G.B. chief’s diaries, long hidden, state outright for the first time that Mr. Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat and war hero, was executed in a Moscow prison.
World War I began when the heir to the Austro-Hungarian, Archduke Francis Ferdinand was assassinated by a Serbian nationalist named Gavrilo Princip. As a complicated web of alliances unraveled, war broke out on July 8, 1914, one month after Archduke Ferdinand’s assassination. Everyone at that time expected the war to end by the Christmas of 1914. However, both sides were stuck in deadlock. The main cause of deadlock was the fact that all the nations had a different goal to achieve. Before the war, Germany had conquered the French territory of Alsace-Lorraine, which is modern day Belgium. The French wanted to re-conquer this land. Britain was focusing on the Ottoman Empire, which is modern day Middle East. Germany was having difficulty fighting a two front war. Also, both sides had equal military power. As the war dragged on, each side attempted to break the deadlock.
In 2014, the Sainsbury supermarket aired a commercial depicting the Christmas Day Truce of 1914. This event was real. On December 7, 1914, the newly elected leader, Pope Benedict XV called for a Christmas truce but the idea was rejected. Accounts suggest that on Christmas day, the Germans initiated this famous and highly significant truce. Witnesses say that the German troops began singing in their language and the British would follow. On Christmas day, soldiers came onto No Man’s land and exchanged gifts. They even played soccer. The saddest event was when the British and German troops buried their dead. An estimated 100,000 soldiers participated in this miraculous event. However, the truce did not happen everywhere. Accounts say that soldiers attempted to make peace but they were shot.
Maximilian Kolbe was born on January 8, 1894 in Poland. His parents, Julius Kolbe and Maria Dabrowska named him Rajmund Kolbe. Kolbe had one older brother named Francis and two younger brothers named Joseph and Walenty, Unfortunately, neither Joseph or Walenty lived until five years old. When Kolbe was twenty, his father was captured by the Russians. Kolbe’s father was fighting for a partially free Poland which was under Russian control.
In 1907, Kolbe and his older brother joined the Conventual Franciscans. In 1911, Kolbe changed his first name from Rajmund to Maximilian. Seven years later, he was ordained as a priest. During World War II, Kolbe hid an approximated amount of 2,000 Jews. On February 17 in 1941 Kolbe was arrested by the Gestapo and imprisoned. Three months later he was sent to Auschwitz as #16670.
Sometime between May and August in 1941, a man went missing. The German custom with missing prisoner was that for every prisoner not present, ten men would be starved. A man named Franciszek Gajowniczek was picked to be starved. As the guards gathered the group, Gajowniczek sobbed over his family. This prompted Kolbe to offer to take his place. Kolbe convinced the guards to let Gajowniczek stay in the camp and let him take his place to die. The ten prisoners were then held in a cell and left to die. By the end of three weeks, Kolbe and two other men still lived. The guards then injected carbolic acid into these remaining prisoners.
For this heroic deed, Kolbe is known as the Saint of Auschwitz and he was canonized by Pope John Paul II on October 10, 1982. Kolbe is the patron saint of drug addicts, political prisoners, families, journalists, prisoners, and pro-life movements. Pope John Paul II named Kolbe “The Patron Saint of Our Difficult Era”.
When I first heard the story of Maximilian Kolbe was surprised. In Night by Elie Wiesel, Wiesel tells of man who keeps his promises in Hitler because God has stopped keeping His promises. Thousands of Jews lost their faith in God in the Holocaust. Recently, I hear of men and women who kept their faith in God. Whoever carved the words “I believe in the sun even though it doesn’t shine, I believe in love even when it isn’t shown, I believe in God even when He doesn’t speak” has faith with magnitude. These few people who put their faith in God in the most violent and murderous era has caused me to wonder about my faith. If people who went through the Holocaust have faith, what is making me stumble? Kolbe was an example of Jesus’ work on Earth. Like Kolbe, Jesus died in someone else’s place.
Raoul Wallenberg was born on August 4, 1912 to Maj Wising Wallenberg and Raoul Oscar Wallenberg in Sweden. He was born 3 months after his father’s death, so he grew up with his stepfather, Fredrik von Dardel who his mother married when he was six. Wallenberg had a sister named Nina and a brother named Guy. The Wallenberg family was famous for being bankers. Despite the fact that he was breaking the family legacy, Raoul got a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture at the University of Michigan. From there he traveled to Cape Town, South Africa to sell ship building materials. After that he went to Haifa, Israel to become a copartner with Koloman Lauer for the Mid-European Trading Company. As a non-Jew Wallenberg was able to travel more than Lauer considering that Lauer was Jewish.
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9417 to establish the War Refugee Board. It was the War Refugee Board who established Raoul Wallenberg in the Swedish Legation with the purpose to save as many Jews as they could.Wallenberg was different than other “saviors” to the Jewish people because he asked the Swedish Legation if he could work on his own without the need of approval by authority. Along with Per Anger, Wallenberg’s associate, they issued thousands of illegal shutzpasses, which were pieces of worthless paper that were decorated with official looking stamps and signatures.
According to Anger, at least 100,000 Jews can thank Wallenberg for saving their lives. Wallenberg’s methods of saving people were extraordinary because he used bribery and threats. Many of the authorities were shocked by the tactics Wallenberg used, but they undoubtedly saw the success of the tactics. Today, a tree is planted at the Avenue of the Righteous in Yad Vashem, Israel in honor of Raoul Wallenberg. In 1981, Raoul Wallenberg posthumously became an honorary U.S. citizen. This honor is only held by eight people.
Raoul Wallenberg inspires me because he was daunting in the way he defied the Nazis. Today, not much is being shown to observe the characters of heroes during the Holocaust. I think that history books have done enough to show the horrific events that Nazis and ultimately Hitler orchestrated. However, they don’t show the men and women with integrity who stood up in what they knew was right. They don’t show how these people saved thousands of lives. Not all of them saved more than a hundred lives, because there are people who saved only a family yet they are still heroes. Much evil was done during this era but difficult times challenge humans on their faith and what they believe in. I believe that during tragic era’s in history, men and women rise up to challenge the wrongdoers. Eventually, these people of integrity do something about it.