Underground Resistance Groups during World War 2 Were Often Anti-Semitic

During World War II, partisan groups arose in the forests of eastern Europe. Often small bands, they were desperate people who hoped that by retreating to the forests and keeping their numbers small, they could survive Nazi occupation and potentially use guerrilla warfare to help weaken the Nazis in their area. Most were not Jewish. Most were locals who wanted to resist the occupation of their homelands.

Some number of the groups were Jewish, however. There were many reasons separate Jewish partisan groups arose, but one notable reason was anti-semitism. Jews in non-Jewish partisan groups often hid their religion for fear of their countrymen turning on them.

Norman Salsitz, for example, used seven non-Jewish identities while fighting the Nazis in two partisan groups. At the second and larger one, the AK Polish Underground, a command was given to seek out and kill Jews being hidden on a farm. The AK Polish Underground took time from fighting Nazis to kill Jews hiding from the Nazis. Let that sink in.

Norman Salsitz volunteered for the mission. He killed the Poles who had been sent with him, and rescued the Jews in hiding. He then returned to his first partisan group. It was smaller and less effective, but they did not ask him to murder innocents, for the crime of being Jewish.

Russia Leads The World With Their National Parks

In the final months of Nicholas II's reign as czar, he created the country's first zapovednik, or "strict nature reserve," near Lake Baikal in Siberia. He never knew that the reserve succeeded in saving the Barguzin sable, a species long prized by the Russian imperial family for its fur, which was nicknamed "soft gold." The czars were overthrown but their approach to nature conservancy stayed. Throughout the 1900s, Russia's approach to protected lands was to keep humans out of them, not save them as pleasure parks. Nature reserve were intended to preserve primordial nature.     Today, Russia has 174 million acres of federally protected lands. Of those, 85 million are zapovedniks, where human visitors are extremely limited. No other country has as much highly protected land.

Napoleon the War Criminal

On March 10, 1799, the Ottoman city of Jaffa (in what is today Israel) fell to Napoleon and his French troops. The general ordered his men to slaughter several thousand men in the city’s garrison that had been taken prisoner, mainly Albanians. Napoleon viewed this as justice for the Ottomans killing French messengers sent to Jaffa. Today it would be a war crime.

Abraham Lincoln Doesn't Mind Being Called A Fool

In fact, his sense of humor greatly facilitated his sustained relations with the testy [Secretary of War Edwin M.Stanton and the pompous [Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P.Chase. For instance, when a delegation, which he had sent to Stanton with orders to grant their request, returned and reported that not only had Stanton refused to do so, but had actually called Lincoln a fool for sending such an order, Lincoln, with mock astonishment, inquired: “Did Stanton call me a fool?” – and, upon being reassured upon that point, remarked: “Well, I guess I had better go over and see Stanton about this. Stanton is usually right.”

Quoted from "Lincolns Humor" and Other Essays, by P. B. Thomas

Archaeologists Confused By Aboriginal Tools

When workers constructing a rail line south of Sydney discovered a trove of Aboriginal artifacts, archaeologists at first were baffled. Many of the stone tools were crafted from flint, which is not native to the area. A subsequent investigation concluded that the flint was actually chemically identical to samples found along the Thames River in London. The flint cobbles were likely loaded onto ships in England for ballast and then discarded in Australia, where they were repurposed by Aboriginal artisans.

DNA Ends A Century-Long Debate

DNA testing on the mummies of two elite men, Khnum-nakht and Nakht-ankh, finally clears up what their relationship was. The mummies died around 1800 BCE, and were buried in a joint tomb at Deir Rifeh, which was discovered in 1907.     Since their discovery, there has been a debate about how the mummies were related. Though they share a tomb, there are many suggestions that the two were not normal brothers. Their inscriptions state they had the same mother but one has listed both a father and grandfather, the other just a father. The two bodies were mummified using different methods. Facial reconstructions from their skulls in the 1970s revealed they looked extremely different, with "almost a total anatomical difference between the features of the two." Because of these differences, some thought one of the brothers was adopted, and they were not biologically related. Others thought the mother could have remarried, hence the different fathers and anatomies.     Now those debates can be ended. The two were half-brothers, sharing the same mother. Their mitochondrial DNA (from their mothers) were similar, suggesting one mother, but their y-chromosome DNA (from their fathers) showed variations suggesting two different fathers. Presumably, the mother remarried at some point, but the brothers were raised together and eventually buried together.

Reconsidering Bacchus

The ancient Roman god, also known as Dionysus, does not have a good image today. His name is linked to drunkeness, excess, madness. But the ancients did not see him as one-sided. He was the god of losing one's inhibitions. But he was also the god of getting together. Ancient nicknames included Bacchus the Liberator, Bacchus the Saviour, and Bacchus the God Who Gives Men's Minds Wings. Those do not sound all bad, right?

Bacchic cults were banned in Roman times, because their members held allegiance to "a parallel state," but at the same time, Roman leaders have quotes on how fantastic it is that conquered populations enjoy Roman wine so much -- it makes them easier for Rome to control. To the ancients Bacchus was an ambiguous god, both beneficial and harmful.

How Much Is This Teapot Worth?

A cracked teapot missing its lid recently sold to the Metropolitan Museum in New York City for £460,000. It was bought recently at a British auction for just £15. What??? Turns out, this teapot was made in South Carolina in the late 1700s by John Bartlam, the first American porcelain manufacturer. This piece is only the seventh example of Bartlam porcelain to have been rediscovered. And it is the only known surviving Bartlam teapot. Making it worth a pretty penny!

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    By Lillian Audette

    This blog is a collection of the interesting, the weird, and sometimes the need-to-know about history, culled from around the internet. It has pictures, it has quotes, it occasionally has my own opinions on things. If you want to know more about anything posted, follow the link at the "source" on the bottom of each post. And if you really like my work, buy me a coffee or become a patron!

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