The final days of the Auschwitz concentration camp, its liberation by Soviet forces on January 27, 1945, the immediate aftermath, and the eventual effort to preserve the site for future generations.
The story of Mel Mermelstein who took some Holocaust deniers to court and got a California court to take judicial notice of the Holocaust. Specifically, Judge Thomas T. Johnson declared
“This court does take judicial notice of the fact that Jews were gassed to death at Auschwitz Concentration Camp in Poland during the summer of 1944. It is not reasonably subject to dispute. And it is capable of immediate and accurate determination by resort to sources of reasonably indisputable accuracy. It is simply a fact.”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mel_Mermelstein
This judicial notice had the effect of putting the onus on the other side (i.e. the Holocaust deniers) to prove that the Holocaust did not happen. Considering the mountains of admissible evidence that the Holocaust did happen, this gave the Holocaust deniers an essentially unclimbable mountain to climb if they hoped to win the case. Also, once one court has taken judicial notice of something, other courts are generally quite likely to take the same notice without a huge effort on the party seeking the notice (please keep in mind that IANAL and that a real lawyer would probably find at least a dozen things wrong with this paragraph 🤔).
How’s this for the plot of a spy story:
William Friedman, often regarded as the father of American cryptography, shares a meal in 1951 with his Swiss friend Boris Hagelin. They make a “handshake agreement” where Hagelin’s company will, in exchange for certain payments, allow the CIA and the BND to essentially control the development of the company’s mechanical encryption and decryption machines. For the next 30+ years, the CIA and the BND are able to read the crypto traffic of essentially any country in the world except for the “Five Eyes” (a very private club consisting of Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States), China, and the Soviet Union.
Here’s the thing: this isn’t the plot for a spy story. This is a short summary of something that actually happened. The operation’s codename was Rubicon, the company was Crypto AG, and Rubicon was quite possibly the most successful intelligence operation in history.
An interesting look at Polish-Jewish relations during the Second World War. Definitely worth reading if you’re interested in Second World War history and/or the history of the Holocaust.
A look at certain events during the Second World War:
- Poland’s role in the annexation of Czechoslovakia in the spring of 1939
- the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact on August 23, 1939
- the subsequent invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939 that marked the start of the Second World War
- the non-role of both the Polish resistance and the Soviet Army during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943
- the role of the Polish resistance during the Warsaw Uprising of 1944
An interesting review of the first volume of a relatively new biography of Stalin (note that the article dates from 2014).
The story of how Dan Bricklin changed the world by creating the world’s first electronic spreadsheet – VisiCalc.
Interesting “cloak and dagger” story from the Cold War era.
Could it be that most Shakespearean scholars have been looking for the “real Shakespeare” among the wrong half of the human race?
This looks like a fun way to while away the hours . . .
Warning: not for the weak of geek!