Thursday, June 11, 2020

Book Signing - Zephyrhills Museum of Military History

Zephyrhills Museum of Military History

39444 South Avenue
Zephyrhills, FL 33542

Date: June 13, 2020

Time: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

Annual D-Day Commemoration Event:

This FREE event is to commemorate the D-Day landings by U.S. troops on the beaches of Normandy, France on June 6, 1944, which marked the beginning of the end to Hitler’s “Fortress Europe” during World War II.

This year is the 76th anniversary of the D-Day invasions.

·        Reenactors will be on hand in their period uniforms wearing the equipment and weapons they carried by the troops to illustrate what the soldiers, on both sides, both Allied & Axis, would have looked like.

·        Weapons demonstration

·       Vehicles Allied and Axis

About the Book:

Reflections - The Story of Dorothy Swanson - Wife of an 82nd Airborne Paratrooper

Reflections is the intimate memoir of English born Dorothy Swanson, wife to paratrooper Norman, from the 82nd Airborne Division, 327th Glider Infantry Regiment, and a mother of nine.

She shares the most exciting, emotional, amusing, embarrassing, horrifying, and interesting moments from her life as a military wife, traveling from country-to-country, base-to-base with her husband Norman, to studying to become an operating room nurse, and to caring for one of the world's most beloved comatose patients, Terri Schiavo.

“Dorothy gives us light and hope having lived through the horrors of WWII as a child and a meandering life as a military wife. Reflections is a gripping read; you will fall in love with Dorothy’s courage, perseverance, and joy for living. A book to enlighten and encourage us all.”

~ Sam Uhl – ~

“With frankness tempered by sensitivity, Cynthia A. Sandor renders the true story of a woman’s untiring faithfulness in her intrinsic worthiness and her heroic striving toward personal actualization.”

~ Linda Lee Greene - Author “A Chance at the Moon” ~

“A beautiful read that touches one's senses to the core"
~ Jeanne Onuska-European Military Historical Society ~

“Dorothy Swanson and I have quite a lot in common. Although I did not arrive in England until 1948, from a DP Camp, with other Estonian WWII refugees, my experiences in post-war England were tumultuous. Like Dorothy, I ran the gamut of being ‘filthy foreign goods' in an orphanage and a textile weaver at fifteen until I got a scholarship to a London drama school and became an actress and writer for the BBC. I am now an international author. Like Dorothy, every step forward was a milestone achievement. I recommend Dorothy’s book to everyone who understands that a hard climb uphill is exhausting but the view from the top usually worth the struggle. Definitely an inspiring book!”

~ Elin Toona Gottschalk, English, Estonian and American Author - “Into Exile: A Life Story of War and Peace”; nominated Best Memoir of 2013 by The Economist Magazine, and nine other book awards ~

"The voice of women in the realms of military literature has been largely silent over the decades following the end of the Second World War in 1945.  Through her remarkable life, Dorothy endured privations most men would have found unbearable.

Dorothy's memoir has been vividly yet skillfully brought to life by Cynthia A. Sandor in what is a journey of happiness, pain, sadness, extreme hardship, and pure determination often against seemingly impossible odds. Reflections presents to its reader not only an important literary work from the perspective of the struggles many women have had to face throughout the last century but also a bare-knuckle brawl of female social history which makes for both powerful and emotional reading.

~ Tim Heath Pen and Sword Books Ltd, Author/Military Historian. ~Hitler's Girls-Doves Amongst Eagles ~

To purchase an autograph copy click here:  Reflections - The Story of Dorothy Swanson

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Why did these Jungmädels wear white on this day in 1935?

It is unbelievable how much controversy is surrounding this photo taken in 1935 in Coburg, Germany during the 75th anniversary of the foundation of the German Gymnastic Association. 

On February 5, 2019, a Facebook user name Anna Love, shared this same photo on her website. She claimed that "the photograph show Nazi Socialist women wearing their customary white attire. They always went to public events wearing white." An identical post appeared on her Twitter account.

Some people are associating this photo of a group of 7 - 9 year old girls wearing white were part of the Lebensborn children.

They are also associating this photo with Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic women of Congress wearing white to President Trump's State of the Union Speech in February 2020. The women were wearing white "as a way to show their unity and a commitment to defending the rights of women and disenfranchised groups at the 2020 State of the Union address. The decision to wear white is an homage to the white outfits often worn by suffragists during their fight to get women’s votes recognized. (To read the entire article: Time Article)

The truth behind this photo is this:

On April 3, 1935, a short article appeared in the The Straits Times that read:

"10,000 gymnasts, men and women, from all over Germany are to take part at the Whitsuntide in the national memorial demonstration at Coburg to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the foundation of  the German Gymnastic Association." 

At this point, you might be asking yourself "What is a Whitsuntide?"  Good question. I'll tell you what it is in a moment. But, before I do, here's a little background information first. 
The German Gymnastic Association was known as the Deutscher Turnerschaft. Under the leadership and influence of Edmund Neuendorff, the Turnerschaft was completely absorbed into the National Socialist movement, losing its independence. It was done in a sense of duty to National Socialism at the Coburg Day of German Gymnastics in 1935. The German Gymnastic Association now became part of the National League for Physical Exercise, a centrally directed National Socialism sport association. (Source: Ueberhorst, Horst. Friedrich Ludwig Jahn - 1778/1978. Munich: Heinz Moos Verlag, 1978). 

Through Neuendorff's proclamations, the National Socialistic ideology used Friedrich Jahn's physical education program, which had renewed the spirit of German national defense and liberation against Napoleon. Neuendorff stressed that German gymnasts must be proud Germans, upholding the character of their largely Nordic blood, must uphold and defend their German freedom and self-reliance, and must regain what has been lost since 1918.  (Source: Ueberhorst, John, pg. 77). (1)

The Reich Sports Leader, Hans Von Tschammer und Osten said;

"When, therefore, the Deutsche Turnerschaft celebrated the 75th anniversary of its foundation at Coburg (Whitsun 1935), I was in a position to give expression to the thoughts which all sportsmen, owing to their National Socialist views, expected to result in their own sphere of activities from the fundamental transformation in all domains of public life. It will always redound to the credit of the executive of the Deutsche Turnerschaft that they voluntarily resolved upon the dissolution of their great organisation and that they enabled their large number of members to join the Reich Federation for Physical Exercises in a body." p. 106 (2)

There's that word again "Whitsun."  So, what does the word Whitsun or Whitsuntide really mean?

It is the reason why these Jungmädels wore white on this 9th day in June 1935.

Witsun means Pentecost.

What is Pentecost?  Pentecost is:

1. The  Christian festival celebrating the descent of the Holy Spirit on the disciples of Jesus after his Ascension, held on the seventh Sunday after Easter - the day on which Pentecost is held.

2.  The Jewish Festival of Shavuouth.

So there you have it.  So, no.

The photo above is not associated with the Lebensborn program or Nancy Pelosi and the suffragette movement.

No. The young girls in the BDM did not wear white to their meetings. They had a uniform. Please see BDM History for a complete description of their uniforms.

Besides, the color white in the BDM was associated with purity and innocence. 

Also remember too that there was a group of  women called The Nationalsozialistische Frauenschaft - NS Frauenschaft. It was the National Socialist Women's League, not the League of Nazi Socialist Women.

And, if you are questioning the dates from the newspaper clipping to the actual date of the anniversary, please read the newspaper article again. It says "are to take part at the....."

"10,000 gymnasts, men and women, from all over Germany are to take part at the Whitsuntide in the national memorial demonstration at Coburg to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the foundation of  the German Gymnastic Association."

(1) To The Berlin Games: The Olympic Movement in German From 1896 - 1936. Thesis Presented to the Graduate Council of the North Texas State University in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirement for the Degree of Master of Science by William Gerard Durick, B.S. Denton, Texas, May 1984. 
Link: Durick Thesis.

(2) Germany Speaks by 21 Leading Members of Party and State with a Preface by Joachim Von Ribbentrop, Reich Minister for Foreign Affair - published June 1938, by Thornton Butterworth, LTD, London. English translation: Ostara Publications - all rights reserved - used by permission.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

MVPA's First Florida Chapter - Winter Rally Swap Meet and Military Vehicle Show FREE EVENT

Making the annual trek to Renniger's to watch the MVPA's First Florida Chapter - Winter Rally Swap Meet and Military Vehicle Show that is held the 3rd weekend in February. It seems like we go back in time watching the WWII Battle Re-enactment and weapons demonstrations, getting muzzle flash photo with the tanks firing, talking to the military vendors and the owners of the military vehicles. It's great fun for the entire family. 

There's the battle re-enactments between the AMERICAN - WW2 Armor, 41st Armored Infantry Regiment, the COMMONWEALTH - 15th Scottish Recon Regiment and the AXIS - 211th Panzergrenadier Regiment, 6th SS Gebirgsjager Division. 

And with the battle raging on, 82 years old, nine - time award winning book author, Elin T. Gottschalk will be watching the battle from a distance and autographing her book "Into Exile: A Life Story of War and Peace." 

Such an exception lady who is full of spunk and life! She lived through the bombs dropping down all around her with only the bodies of her mother and grandmother for protection. 

Spanning the years from 1939 to 1990, the horrors of war are exemplified in this compelling memoir of a young girl and her family. 

Young seven year old Elin, her mother, and grandmother are swept up in the mass exile from Estonia during World War II, through Germany and into Great Britain. 

"Artfully written, the author provides the reader with a detailed and compelling story of hardship turning into triumph! " 

Winner of 9 book awards! 

Autograph books will be available for $20.00 

Facebook Page: 

Feel free to stop by and say "Hi" to Elin!

PS:  I'll be over at the next table if you'd like to drop in and say "hi" too!  I'll be there with my BDM History display and selling my book "Through Innocent Eyes - The Chosen Girls of the Hitler Youth."  

Renniger's Antique Center - Trip Advisor

Address:  20651 US-441, Mt Dora, FL 32757
Phone: (352) 383-8393

Thursday, January 9, 2020

World War II Commemorative Weekend Dade Battlefield - 2020 - Bushnell, FL

March 7 - 8, 2020

Dade Battlefield Historic State Park
7200 Battlefield Parkway
Bushnell, FL  33513

For over twenty years, the Dade Battlefield Society has been commemorating the most widespread armed conflict in history and celebrating both military and popular civilian culture during the WWII war years..

This weekend includes:

Allied and Axis uniformed re-enactors
Authentic camps and equipment
1940’s military vehicles
USO - Style Music
Comedy performance in the style of George Burns and Gracie Allen
Participate in intelligence gatherings and other missions
WWII Military Vendors
WWII Book Authors

Each site has a representation of authentic memorabilia during WWII with living history re-enactors available to answer your questions. You become fully immersed when they regale you with their stories. They portray the units of the military and civilians from different backgrounds, German, and American. One such German re-enactor is Aldis Grauds who portrayed Bruno Almanis who was the Unit Commander for the First SS Panzer Battalion. I’ve even seen a Russian or two walk around!

Elin T. Gottschalk experienced WWII when she was a child and documented her story in her award winning book “Into Exile: A Life Story of War and Peace.”  It’s always a pleasure talking to her at the event. Publisher: Evershine Press, Inc. Facebook:  Author Elin Toona Gottschalk

Four months before her mother passed away,  Cynthia Sandor found her mother’s secret journal from the time she was in the League of German Girls and wrote her biography entitled “Through Innocent Eyes – The Chosen Girls of the Hitler Youth.”  She will be displaying various BDM items.
Publisher: BDM Publishing
Facebook: Cynthia A. Sandor - Author

Set under a canopy of oak trees, military vendors display their authentic pieces and food vendors will fill your belly. Stroll along the hiking trails with their abundant wildlife, stop by the visitor’s center and view the WWII displays. The bathrooms are clean and everyone is friendly! This is a great place to bring the kids and educate them about World War II history.

Schedule: Saturday and Sunday

10:00 am - Saturday - opens to public
10:15 am -  Raising of the colors at the Gazebo
11:00 am - USO style Armed Forces Radio broadcast at the Alligator Pavilion
12:00 pm / 2:00 pm - Review of military troops and vehicles
4:00 pm - Sunday - Closing ceremony lowering of the colors

It takes a dedicated group of people to plan, organize and host this annual event. Special thanks to Steve Resnick, President of the Dade Battlefield Historical State Park Society, the First Florida Chapter MVPA, and the Florida Historical Preservation Society for putting this annual event together.  

There is a $4 per person fee into the park.
Kids under 6, WWII & Korean Vets FREE.
Please contact the Dade Battlefield for more information Dade Battlefield Historical State Park