Fact of the day: 18th July

On this day in 1925 Adolf Hitler published his personal manifesto Mein Kampf.

Mein Kampf  is an autobiographical manifesto by Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, in which he outlines his political ideology and future plans for Germany. Volume 1 of Mein Kampf was published in 1925 and Volume 2 in 1926.

The book was edited by the former Hieronymite friar Bernhard Stempfle, who was murdered during the Night of the Long Knives.

Hitler began dictating the book to his deputy Rudolf Hess while imprisoned for what he considered to be “political crimes” following his failed Putsch in Munich in November 1923.

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Although Hitler received many visitors initially, he soon devoted himself entirely to the book. As he continued, Hitler realized that it would have to be a two-volume work, with the first volume scheduled for release in early 1925.

The governor of Landsberg noted at the time that “he [Hitler] hopes the book will run into many editions, thus enabling him to fulfill his financial obligations and to defray the expenses incurred at the time of his trial.”


Fact of the day: 12th June

On this day in 1942 Anne Frank received a diary for her thirteenth birthday.

Anne Frank is one of the most discussed Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Her wartime diary “The Diary of a Young Girl” has been the basis for several plays and films.

Born in the city of Frankfurt in Weimar Germany, she lived most of her life in or near Amsterdam, in the Netherlands. Born a German national, Frank lost her citizenship in 1941. She gained international fame posthumously after her diary was published. It documents her experiences hiding during the German occupation of the Netherlands in World War II.

The Frank family moved from Germany to Amsterdam in 1933, the year the Nazis gained control over Germany. By May 1940, they were trapped in Amsterdam by the German occupation of the Netherlands.

As persecutions of the Jewish population increased in July 1942, the family went into hiding in some concealed rooms in the building where Anne’s father worked. After two years, the group was betrayed and transported to concentration camps.


Anne Frank and her sister, Margot Frank, were eventually transferred to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, where they died of typhus in March 1945.

Otto Frank, the only survivor of the family, returned to Amsterdam after the war to find that Anne’s diary had been saved, and his efforts led to its publication in 1947. It has since been translated into many languages.

It was translated from its original Dutch and first published in English in 1952 as The Diary of a Young Girl. The blank diary, which was given to Anne on her thirteenth birthday, chronicles her life from 12 June 1942 until 1 August 1944.

Fact of the day: 31st May

On this day in 1962 Adolf Eichmann was hanged in Israel.

Otto Adolf Eichmann (19 March 1906 – 31 May 1962) was a German Nazi SS-Obersturmbannführer (lieutenant colonel) and one of the major organisers of the Holocaust.

Eichmann was charged by SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich with facilitating and managing the logistics of mass deportation of Jews to ghettos and extermination camps in German-occupied Eastern Europe during World War II.

In 1960, he was captured in Argentina by the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence service. Following a widely publicised trial in Israel, he was found guilty of war crimes and hanged in 1962.

After Germany’s defeat in 1945, Eichmann fled to Austria. He lived there until 1950, when he moved to Argentina using false papers. Information collected by the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency, confirmed Eichmann’s location in 1960.

A team of Mossad and Shin Bet agents captured Eichmann and brought him to Israel to stand trial on 15 criminal charges, including war crimes, crimes against humanity, and crimes against the Jewish people.

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Found guilty on many of these charges, he was sentenced to death by hanging and executed on 31 May 1962. The trial was widely followed in the media and was later the subject of several books, including Hannah Arendt’s work, Eichmann in Jerusalem.

Arendt calls him the embodiment of the “banality of evil”, asserting that he appeared to be ordinary and sane, yet displayed neither guilt nor hatred. Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal said: “The world now understands the concept of ‘desk murderer’.

We know that one doesn’t need to be fanatical, sadistic, or mentally ill to murder millions; that it is enough to be a loyal follower eager to do one’s duty.”

Fact of the day: 9th May

On this day in 1942 The SS murdered 588 Jewish residents of the Podolian town of Zinkiv. The Zoludek Ghetto (in Belarus) is destroyed and all its inhabitants murdered or deported.

In 1942, the Nazis began Operation Reinhard, the systematic deportation of Jews to extermination camps. Nazi authorities throughout Europe (e.g., France, Italy and many others) would deport Jews to ghettos in Eastern Europe or most often directly to extermination camps.

Almost 300,000 people were deported from the Warsaw Ghetto alone to Treblinka over the course of 52 days. In some ghettos, local resistance organizations staged ghetto uprisings. None were successful, and the Jewish populations of the ghettos were almost entirely killed.

On June 21, 1943, Heinrich Himmler issued an order to liquidate all ghettos and transfer remaining Jewish inhabitants to concentration camps. A few ghettos were re-designated as concentration camps and existed until 1944.

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Fact of the day: 26th April

On this day in 1933 the Gestapo, the official secret police force of Nazi Germany, was established.


The Gestapo was the official secret police of Nazi Germany and German-occupied Europe. Hermann Göring formed the unit in 1933. Beginning on 20 April 1934, it was under the administration of SS national leader, Heinrich Himmler who in 1936 was appointed Chief of German Police (Chef der Deutschen Polizei) by Hitler.

In 1936, Himmler made it a suboffice of the Sicherheitspolizei  (“Security Police”). Then from 27 September 1939 forward, it was administered by the Reichssicherheitshauptamt  (“Reich Main Security Office”) and was considered a sister organization of the Sicherheitsdienst  (“Security Service”). According to historian Rupert Butler, “From its creation in 1933 until its death in May 1945, anyone living in Nazi controlled territory lived in fear of a visit from the Gestapo…”


Fact of the day: 1st April

Happy April Fools day! Don’t forget, it only counts until midday and then you’re the fool 😛

On this day in 1933 the recently elected Nazis under Julius Streicher organised a one-day boycott of all Jewish-owned businesses in Germany, ushering in a series of anti-Semitic acts.

In April 1933, after Nazi control of the German state apparatus gave the Gauleiters enormous power, Streicher organised a one-day boycott of Jewish businesses which was used as a dress-rehearsal for other anti-Semitic commercial measures. As he consolidated his hold on power, he came to more or less rule the city of Nuremberg and his Gau Franken. Among the nicknames provided by his enemies were “King of Nuremberg” and the “Beast of Franconia.” Because of his role as Gauleiter of Franconia, he also gained the nickname of Frankenführer.


To protect himself from accountability, Streicher relied on Hitler’s protection. Hitler declared that Der Stürmer was his favourite newspaper, and saw to it that each weekly issue was posted for public reading in special glassed-in display cases known as “Stürmerkasten”. The newspaper reached a peak circulation of 600,000 in 1935.

Streicher later claimed that he was only “indirectly responsible” for passage of the anti-Jewish Nuremberg Laws of 1935, and that he felt slighted because he was not directly consulted.


Generally I try to choose unusual facts because I find sometimes people are just unindated with 20th century facts, but this one is different. It was a time when things were starting to change in Germany. Slowly at first, with acts like this, but it wouldn’t take as long as you would think before things escalated.

This fact is important then because it shows the early days of what the Nazis were willing to try and see what reaction would get from the rest of the world.

Fact of the day: 13th February

On this day in 1990 an agreement was made to reunite Germany.

On 28 November 1989—two weeks after the fall of the Berlin Wall—West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl announced a 10-point program calling for the two Germanys to expand their cooperation with the view toward eventual reunification.

Initially, no timetable was proposed. However, events rapidly came to a head in early 1990. First, in March, the Party of Democratic Socialism—the former Socialist Unity Party of Germany—was heavily defeated in East Germany’s first free elections. A grand coalition was formed under Lothar de Maizière, leader of the East German wing of Kohl’s Christian Democratic Union, on a platform of speedy reunification. Second, East Germany’s economy and infrastructure underwent a swift and near-total collapse. While East Germany had long been reckoned as having the most robust economy in the Soviet bloc, the removal of Communist hegemony revealed the ramshackle foundations of that system. The East German mark had been practically worthless outside of East Germany for some time before the events of 1989–90, further magnifying the problem.

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While the Basic Law was modified rather than replaced by a constitution as such, it still permits the adoption of a formal constitution by the German people at some time in the future.

To commemorate the day that marks the official unification of the former East and West Germany in 1990, 3 October has since then been the official German national holiday, the Day of German Unity. It replaced the previous national holiday held in West Germany on 17 June commemorating the Uprising of 1953 in East Germany and the national holiday on 7 October in the GDR,  that commemorated the foundation of the East German State.

It’s hard to believe this was only 24 years ago. It seems like forever ago, but it wasn’t. For me, it was only a year before I was born. Funny just how quickly things can change.