Caryn

Kristallnacht, translated “Crystal Night,” referred to as the Night of Broken Glass, was an atrocious pogrom against Jews throughout Nazi Germany that took place on November 9–10, 1938. It was carried out by Sturmabteilung (SA) paramilitary forces and civilians. The German authorities looked on without intervening as the mobs tore through the towns. The attacks were said to be retaliation for the assassination of the Nazi German diplomat Ernst vom Rath by Herschel Grynszpan, a seventeen year old German-born Polish Jew living in Paris. I guess I don’t understand why the act of one person should cost the lives of so many.

The name Kristallnacht comes from the shards of broken glass that littered the streets after the windows of Jewish-owned stores, buildings, and synagogues were smashed. Of course, the carnage didn’t stop with the windows. Estimates of the number of fatalities caused by the pogrom have varied. Reports in 1938 estimated that 91 Jews were murdered during the attacks, but modern analysis of German scholarly sources by historians such as Sir Richard Evans puts the number much higher. It also includes deaths from post-arrest maltreatment and subsequent suicides as well, and puts the death toll into the hundreds. Additionally, 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and incarcerated in concentration camps. The numbers of those killed there are unknown, but we can easily imagine based on what we know of the Holocaust.

Breaking windows wasn’t enough for these mobs either. Jewish homes, hospitals, and schools were ransacked, as the attackers demolished buildings with sledgehammers. The rioters destroyed 267 synagogues throughout Germany, Austria, and the Sudetenland, and over 7,000 Jewish businesses were either destroyed or damaged. The British historian Martin Gilbert wrote that no event in the history of German Jews between 1933 and 1945 was so widely reported as it was happening, and the accounts from the foreign journalists working in Germany sent shock waves around the world. At that time it was still hard to believe that mobs of lawless people could exist, but that was 80 years ago. These days we have no problem believing it, because these actions are almost commonplace.

The British newspaper The Times wrote at the time: “No foreign propagandist bent upon blackening Germany before the world could outdo the tale of burnings and beatings, of blackguardly assaults on defenseless and innocent people, which disgraced that country yesterday.” Kristallnacht was followed, of course, by additional economic and political persecution of Jews, and it is viewed by historians as part of Nazi Germany’s broader racial policy, and the beginning of the Final Solution and The Holocaust.

I didn’t know my husband’s Uncle Butch Schulenberg when he was young of course, but I have had the opportunity to get to know him over the past few years, and I feel very privileged to know him. He is a kind and loving man, who loves his family very much. I think that when it comes to his grandchildren, he is probably a big teddy bear, and I think they all know it. Of course, he would never admit it, but his family knows.

As a young boy though, the youngest of his dad’s children, I think he must have been quite a kid. I don’t know if growing up as the sheriff’s son would have made him think he could get away with more than most people, but I think he might have had a side of him that might consider trying it to see how things went. Of course, not as a little boy. From what I’ve seen in the pictures he let me copy, he was a little boy who maybe liked his wheels. I found a picture of him on his tricycle, and later a picture of him with a car. The boy going from one set of wheels to another. It looked like a pretty nice car to me. I imagine he was well liked in high school…and I can see why people liked him, because he is a very likable guy.

Not much has changed with Butch, at least not in his personality. He is still the kind of guy you want to be around. He always has nice things to say about people, and he always makes you feel welcome. Anyone who knows him feels blessed to know him. I haven’t known him well for my whole time in this family, but I consider him to be one of my very favorite people. And today is Butch’s birthday. Happy birthday Butch!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My mom always had quite a bit in common with her older sister, Evelyn Hushman. My mom was close to all her sisters, but she and Aunt Evelyn had things in common that she maybe didn’t with some of the other sisters. I think it’s possible that it was their husbands got along very well. In fact, even before my mom was married, my parents, Al and Collene Spencer double dated with Aunt Evelyn, and her husband, my Uncle George. After both couples were married and had children, we all spent lots of time together. I remember growing up playing with the Hushman kids, and because they were all a little bit older than I was, they usually set the tone for the games. It didn’t matter, because it was always fun.

Later, my parents bowled on the same team on Monday nights with Aunt Evelyn and Uncle George. They bowled together for a number of years, and then they decided to quit, with the exception of Aunt Evelyn, who bowled for many years after. In fact, when she was bowling with her daughters, I substituted on their team many times. I enjoyed bowling with them, because it kept our families close.

As the years went by, they quit bowling too, and I began to see less and less of Aunt Evelyn. That made me sad. Everyone is so busy thee days, and before you know it, the ones you love have grown into their latter years, and you find yourself wondering where the time has gone. That was where I found myself with Aunt Evelyn, seeing her ate the family Christmas party and the annual family picnic, and then not even at those. When Aunt Evelyn passed away on May 4, 2015, just a little over two months after my mom passed away, I found myself feeling very sad and lonely, because we had lost them both within such a short time, but I guess the sisters, who always had so much in common, were together again, and enjoying their new lives. Today would have been Aunt Evelyn’s 90th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven Aunt Evelyn. We love and miss you very much.

A couple of days ago, I wrote a story about the denazification process that took place in post-World War II Germany and in the American concentration camps. while the story inspired thoughts of horror as the German soldiers discovered the truth about the atrocities of Hitler, it also made me a couple of my readers think about events that are far more recent. the feelings that American citizens have against each other in these tumultuous times in which we live. It makes me wonder, just how we got here. Of course, it’s the same way the Nazis got to where they were…hatred.

Nevertheless, I think there is a bigger problem in this day and age, because along with the hatred there is a civil war of sorts going on. The political controversy between Republicans and Democrats has taken a turn toward different forms of hatred. My readers cited the recent shootings at a Jewish temple in Pennsylvania, which very much reminds us of the hatred that Hitler had for the Jewish people, but that isn’t all there is to it. Slavery was abolished many years ago,and or many years racism was practically gone in America, then suddenly because of the rhetoric of a president who was set upon stirring up racism again for his own agenda, we are suddenly faced with that kind of hatred again. The hatred doesn’t follow race either. Along with the the racial fighting we have now, came the hatred for certain groups such as the military and the police.

In fact, this latest version of nazi’ism for lack of a better word, seemed to authorize the hatred of anything we didn’t agree with. To top it off, we have video games that make killing seen like a game, and mobs seem like fun. There are even games played with text messages to bring mobs together to terrorize. People have been so desensitized to death from television, games, and movies, that I’m not even sure that making people sit and watch a movie showing what was happening would really change anything. The news already does that, and we have become used to that too. So, how do we change this present world from one in which hatred is the excepted normal to one that understands the value of life…all life, not just one race or one group. Of course, the only real way to do that is to learn to love each other. Will that stop the political wrangling? Probably not, but if we realize that we can have a difference of opinion and still love each other, maybe we can move in that direction.

Over the years of my marriage to my husband, Bob, I have had the great privilege to know his family, both here in Casper, Wyoming, in Forsyth, Montana, and other areas of the United States. I can tell you that they are all wonderful, hard working people, and upstanding citizens. Bob’s uncle, Eddie Hein, like Bob and his dad, Walt Schulenberg, worked in the mines in the area they lived in. They didn’t work in the same mines, but they were all in mining. For those who don’t know, mining is hard work…no matter what part of mining you are in. From the people who keep the equipment running, to the operators of the equipment, each plays a vital role in the mining process. Eddie worked in the mines for a long time, and was a valued member of the crew.

When Eddie came home from work, the work didn’t just stop. Eddie worked a lot over the years to remodel their home. What started out as a little house, slowly grew into a beautiful home. I was especially impressed with the beautiful fireplace he built. The rock work was stunning, and it added an elegant touch to the house. Eddie worked hard to make his house into a great home for his family. It was a place that we all enjoyed visiting whenever we made the trip to Forsyth.

Eddie was always a symbol of strength and stability to everyone who knew him, and is still a source of inspiration today. Following a stroke,Eddie worked his way back to health, and was able to take the trip to Miramar Beach, Florida to walk his daughter Kim down the isle on her wedding day. It was a happy day for all. Today is Eddie’s 75th birthday. Happy birthday Eddie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Everyone knows the horrors of the Nazi regime, but few people can say that while they thought it was all a part of war, until one day they were forced to see it for what it really was…horrible. These soldiers honestly thought that the concentration camps were no different than the prisoner of war camps they were in, but when they saw the truth, it made them sick. They were forced to face the awful truth that their leader was a complete monster…and worse yet, that they could do nothing to stop his tirade. This forced confrontation brought Germans face-to-face with the worst works of the Third Reich. I can’t imagine the horror of finding out that human beings were being murdered in the gas chambers. The absolute horror of it shows on the faces of the prisoners of war in the United States camps, as they compared the treatment they received at our hands, to what the Nazis were doing to the Jewish people.

An important part of keeping moral up in any war is making sure that the people believe that what their nation is doing, is the right thing. To find out that their nation…their leader, Hitler…was involved in the unwarranted killing of human beings, just because these people were a race they did not like, had to have been such a shock…a sickening shock. This forced process was part of the Allied policy known as denazification, which was designed to to purge Germany of the remnants of Nazi rule and rebuild its civil society, infrastructure, and economy. The program included actual visits to nearby concentration camps. Posters displaying dead bodies of prisoners hung in public places, and forced German prisoners of war to view films documenting the Nazis’ treatment of “inferior” people. The German people had to be changed. They had to realize that Hitler’s evil agenda could not continue. The only way to do that was to change the hearts of men. The best way to change the hearts of men is to show them the horrible truth that they have been lied too and taken advantage of.

While such a harsh method designed to facilitate change was necessary, I must think that it was as hard on the Americans as it was on the Germans. I don’t think anyone could easily watch such horrible murders, without feeling something…except maybe Hitler and his serious henchmen. I still believe that the majority of human beings cannot easily stomach blatant hatred, and horrific murder. I can’t say exactly how big an impact the denazification efforts had at that time in history, but I believe that it was huge. The reason is that the German soldiers weren’t necessarily Nazis, and the Holocaust was just one side of the World War II. They were also fighting for territory and power. Strong nationalistic feelings were quite normal back then. Oddly, no conflict existed between not following the Nazis and fighting for the “good of your Fatherland.” Some soldiers were Nazis, some just wanted revenge for Versailles, others wanted to sit at the same table as France and Britain. And many followed because they had no other choice. It was a very strange situation, and one that had to be changed. It may not have been a humane way to bring change, but it was all they could do, so denazification was what they did…and at that time, it worked.

These days, driving our cars everywhere we go, there are certain amenities in our cars that we take for granted, but that in reality, we just couldn’t live without. One of those amenities is the automobile air conditioner. Summers would be just miserable without air conditioning in the car. While a company in New York City first offered installation of air conditioning for cars in 1933. Most of their customers operated limousines and luxury cars. I don’t suppose too many people could afford to add that to their car. Then, in 1939, Packard became the first automobile manufacturer to offer an air conditioning unit in its cars. I’m sure that everyone who could afford to buy a car that year, was really excited about the possibilities.

The cars were manufactured by Bishop and Co, of Cleveland, Ohio. The “Bishop and Babcock Weather Conditioner” also incorporated a heater. This looked like a perfect car. Cars ordered with the new “Weather Conditioner” were shipped from Packard’s East Grand Boulevard facility to the B&B factory where the conversion was performed. Once complete, the car was shipped to a local dealer where the customer would take delivery. There were some drawbacks, however. When you think about automobile air conditioning and heat, you immediately think what drawback could there be?

Packard fully warranted and supported this conversion, and marketed it well. However, it was not commercially successful for a number of reasons. The main evaporator and blower system took up half of the trunk space. That problem was alleviated as trunks became larger in the post-war period. The system became outdated by more efficient systems in the post-war years. The original system had no temperature thermostat or shut-off mechanism other than switching the blower off, and even with the switch off, cold air would still sometimes enter the car with any movement as the drive belt was continuously connected to the compressor. Systems designed later would use electrically operated clutches to remedy this problem. The several feet of plumbing going back and forth between the engine compartment and trunk proved unreliable in service. Probably the biggest deterrent was the price, at $274, which would be over $4,692.12 in 2014 US dollars today, it was not affordable to most people in post-depression/pre-war America, but I doubt if the fact that you had to turn off the engine and get out of the car to flip the switch, located in the trunk made it impractical for the most part, and because it also had to be turned off the same way,and with no adjustment, it was something you had to do often. The option was discontinued after 1941. Of course, as you all know, while this version was discontinued in 1941, the air conditioner was not, because we all have a much more efficient version in our automobiles today.

It is so hard to believe that another year has passed since my grand niece, Laila Spethman was born, back in 2010. I suppose the years would have been less shocking if we had been able to watch Laila grow up, but that was not to be, because just 18 days later, Laila went to Heaven, and our hearts were broken. This year, Laila would have turned 8, and she would have known her brothers, Xander, Zack, and Isaac, as well as her little sister Aleesia. It’s hard and yet pretty easy to imagine what Laila might have been like today. My guess is that she and her little sister would have been two of a kind. While it would have been Laila teaching Aleesia how to be the goofy little girl they both would have been, I have to think that Aleesia would have taught Laila a thing or two as well. The two little girls, younger sisters of three brothers, would have grown up much like Aleesia has…well able to handle life as a girl with older brothers…part Tomboy and part Princess.

It always makes me sad that Laila never got the chance to become that little girl who was a perfect mix…just like her little sister. Instead, Laila will always be the little princess and sleeping beauty, waiting in Heaven for the day when we all meet her there and get to know her. Until then, she is missed very much, and loved so much. I would say that she was loved more than she could know, but I think she knows now. And while she loves us all too, right now she is busy getting to know her grandparents and great grandparents who are in Heaven with her. And there is no sadness there, because Laila knows that we will all be together again in Heaven, and that this time apart is like a drop in a bucket. While we view the years as long and many, she sees them as only seconds ago. Today would have been Laila’s 8th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven Lila. We love and miss you very much.

The horrors of the Nazis were many, but the worst were what they did to the Jewish people. The gas chambers and the labor camps, experimentation and beatings, were horrible, and this only names a few of the things they did. Hitler was intent on killing as many Jews as he could, and he didn’t care how it got done, as long as it got done. One of the worst, in fact the second worst event of World War II, exceeded only by the 1941 Odessa massacre. The Aktion Erntefest, which translates to Operation Harvest Festival was the murder of 42,000 Jews at the same time. How anyone could call something like that a “festival” is beyond me.

The action was set in motion by the SS and Order Police, and the Ukrainian Sonderdienst formations in the General Government territory of occupied Poland. The murder of the Jewish laborers in concentration camp Lublin/Majdanek and the forced-labor camps Trawniki and Poniatowa was an unfathomable atrocity. The murders were performed in retaliation for the uprisings at the Treblinka and Sobibor killing centers and the Warsaw, Bialystok, and Vilna ghettos that had led to increased concerns about Jewish resistance. To prevent further resistance, SS chief Heinrich Himmler ordered the killing of surviving Jews in the Lublin District of German-occupied Poland. Most of the remaining Jews were employed in forced-labor projects and were concentrated in the Trawniki…at least 4,000 people, Poniatowa…at least 11,000 people, and Majdanek…about 18,000 people. They were killed at Majdanek, near Lublin on November 3rd and 4th, 1943. The SS shot them in large prepared ditches outside the camp fence near the crematorium. Jews from other labor camps in the Lublin area were also taken to Majdanek and shot. Loud music was played through speakers at both Majdanek and Trawniki to drown out the noise of the mass shootings. The killing at Majdanek was the largest single-day, single-location massacre during the Holocaust.

On the orders of Christian Wirth and Jakob Sporrenberg, the approximately 42,000 to 43,000 Jews were gunned down, and dumped in the ditches. It was not only retaliation for actions of rebellion, but probably also a way to deter any further resistance among the other Jews. The fact that the Jews were viewed an non-humans, made it easier to kill them, I suppose, but the killing were beyond horrible to most decent people, but to the Nazis it was almost considered sport or at the very least fun. To anyone who values human life, it was totally horrific.

The inspiration for inventions comes from many different sources, and things we would never think could turn into something great, can surprise you. Swiss electrical engineer, George De Mestral had gone for a walk in the woods with his dog, When they got back, De Mestral found himself fascinated with the cockleburs that he had to pull off of his dog. After taking a walk in the woods with his dog, was fascinated by the cockleburs’ ability to cling to his clothes and his dog’s fur. For many dog owners cockleburs are a good reason to grumble. When their pets play outside and return with all sorts of nature stuck to their fur and feet, bringing the outside environment into their once-clean homes, people get annoyed. Nevertheless, not everyone saw this as a big problem.

When De Mestral looked at the cockleburs under a microscope, he saw the tons of tiny hooks that line cockleburs and discovered they could easily attach to the small loops found in clothing and fur. De Mestral saw this as a opportunity to invent something useful. He experimented with different materials to make his own hooks and loops form a stronger bond. In 1955, after much trial and error, De Mestral decided nylon was perfect and thus Velcro was invented. These days, Velcro is a vital part of everyday life. We use it all the time, and give no thought to life without it.

The word Velcro is a combination of the words “velvet” and “crochet,” and was showcased in a 1959 fashion show held at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. However, it didn’t receive positive reviews from fashion enthusiasts. I’m sure they thought it would snag material, and pull hair, which it can do, but its positive uses far outweigh its negative issues. Nevertheless, Velcro wasn’t widely used until NASA made it popular in the early 1960s. Apollo astronauts used it to secure items that they didn’t want escaping in their zero-gravity environment. Hospitals and athletic companies eventually used Velcro after realizing the practicality of the material. In 1968, Puma was the first to use Velcro on shoes. Adidas, Reebok, and others followed suit. Today it is used in many things, including the blood pressure cuff. it has simplified our lives immensely, and to think that it was invented by accident.

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