Saturday, April 30, 2005

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Art decade.

Went to a gallery opening for a change, a sparkling new place close to the harbour.
Well dressed youth and artists in camo-jackets mingling with rich collectors.

A new spirit.



This great DJ was playing some old-school Hip-Hop, remember this one?..or this one?..
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Friday, April 29, 2005

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Danish SS-volunteers on the Eastern Front ca. 1942.

Some 6.000 Danes volunteered for service with the SS on the Eastern Front in WWII, and their first commander was C.F von Schalburg (seen here with his son) who was an avid anti-communist.

Von Schalburg was an officer in the Danish army, and the Danish government had made an agreement that officers who wished to join the SS to fight in Russia against bolchevism could do so without repercussions later (this was however revoked after WWII)

Von Schalburg's mother came from Russian nobility and in 1940 he had volunteered for the Finnish army to fight against the Soviets in the Russo-Finnish war.

His tenure as commander of the Danish SS volunteers ended abruptly when he was killed by a mine in 1942.

Following a trait also seen in recent years in the Republic of Ukraine and the Baltic States, an association of surviving SS veterans and their supporters will be commemorating his death with a ceremony on June 2'nd this year.
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Thursday, April 28, 2005

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A knocked out Panther next to a canal in South-Western Germany, courtesy of the American 12'th Armoured Dvision.

This Division, called "The Hellcats" also appeared in American comicbooks heralding its adventures in Europe.


Babe - Well, Why not stay on topic and have some German women next to a destroyed Sturmgeshütz IV in the spring of 1945.
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Wednesday, April 27, 2005

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At this time sixty years ago the Allied armies were advancing into a defeated Germany.
On April 25´th Russian and American troops had met outside the small town of Torgau near the Elbe river which meant that what remained of Nazi-Germany was now cut in half with the majority of its Army trapped in the South in Czechoslovakia, Austria and Bavaria.

In the East the Battle for Berlin had started on April 16'th, which would cost 150.000 German and Russian lives and mark the conclusion of the conflict between Nazi-Germany and Soviet-Russia.

Resistance from German forces in the West was scarce at this point, but American and British troops could sometimes experience fierce fighting from fanatic SS-units or Hitler youths, or maybe a single surviving Panzer attacking them.
With the owerwhelming numbers of Allied forces both on the ground and in the air the panzer rarely lasted long as you can see in the amateur photo of a direct hit on a Tiger-II.

In many cases abandoned or damaged vehicles set on fire by their own crew was all that was left of the once proud Panzerwaffe.

Babe - Ready, set - go!
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Monday, April 25, 2005

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Pope - Well, the new Pope is German and in his late seventies so maybe the question comes up: and what did HE do during the war... and to the delight of every prostestant or atheist - he was a goddamn Nazi!

Not quite, the picture of young Ratzinger in the uniform of the Hitler Youth was taken in 1943 when he was sixteen years old.
From 1941 membership of the HJ was mandatory for all German youths and like many sixteen year olds Ratzinger was drafted as a Flakhelfer (Anti-aircraft-gun-helper) manning an anti-aircraft gun at a BMW-factory outside Munich.

Later on he was sent to Hungary to dig anti-tank ditches and as his eighteenth birthday was approaching, Ratzinger risked being pressed into regular frontline service and maybe killed in the desperate fighting during the last weeks of WWII.
Facing this he decided to desert from the German Army in April 1945 and return to his home in Bavaria.
Fortunately he was not caught by the SS or the military police which would have meant certain death for him, but he was picked up by the Americans and spend six weeks in an outdoors internment camp for German POW's.

Like many catholics Ratzinger and his family were negative towards the Nazi regime which besides its criminal and inhumane nature also advocated atheism and had a wide interest in reintroducing pagan rituals from the pre-christian cultures in Germany.
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Sunday, April 24, 2005

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Operetta Romantico.

Babe - "...I'll never use that plastic surgeon again!..."
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Saturday, April 23, 2005

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Panzer - The men of the panzerwaffe faced many dangers during their service life and one of the risks of their trade was not related to the actual figthing, but to the very uniforms they wore.

When serving in the panzerwaffe you wore black and the origins of that are somewhat unclear to me, but the two most common explanations are that black was chosen because the inside of the panzers were often filled with oil and smoke which would have soiled uniforms in the standard feldgrau (a greenish grey) of the German Army.

Another explanation is that black uniforms formed a connection with the proud traditions of the German cavallery - most notably the Totenkopfhusaren (Death's head hussars) who wore black uniforms when they fought for Prussia against Napoleon in the early part of the 19'th century.

The ancestry with the hussars also explains the addition of two death's heads to the collar patches of the panzer uniform (the Totenkopshusaren wore a death's head on their headgear), as can be seen in a closeup of our panzer gefreiter (lance-corporal)

This combination of practicality and tradition could unfortunately prove fatal to members of the panzerwaffe if they were captured.

With the black colour and the death's head their uniforms were very close in appearence to the dreaded uniforms most allied soldiers had seen in pre-war newsreels from Nazi-Germany: The uniforms of the SS who also used the death's head in their regalia.

Since soldiers of the SS had massacred US and British prisoners on several occations during WWII, some allied soldiers would welcome the capture of an SS man as a chance for some payback.

In fact the black SS uniforms were discontinued when WWII started, so if a German soldier wearing black with death's head insignia was captured and shot by Allied troops, he was most likely a member of the panzerwaffe.

A US veterans account written many years after the war show how common this misconception was.

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Thursday, April 21, 2005

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

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This one if for the Danish readers only I suppose, a sign hung on a facade belonging to a Construction Workers Union, the text says something like "Waiting for what? - apartments? nursinghomes? we're happy to build them! - but what does the VC-government want?

(the V and C letters are used by the Conservative and the Liberalist party who formed the current government in Denmark)
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Tuesday, April 19, 2005

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Robert Crumb has an exhibition at an artgallery in England, and gets interviewed in The Guardian.

From Stuart - Man of T-melt
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Monday, April 18, 2005

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Saw this old shopfront on Amager, a suburb of Copenhagen where you can still find the dusty atmosphere of yesteryear.
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Saturday, April 16, 2005

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All over the world the 60'th anniversary of WWII is being celebrated at various intervals, so why not here!

The photos today show the surrender of 1'st company/ heavy tank battalion no. 512 to the Americans.

The battalion was equipped with the Jagdtiger, the largest and most powerful fighting vehicle to be used in WWII.

Only fourty-eight Jagdtigers were build before the war ended, and this colossus weighing 70 tons and fielding a 128 mm main gun in a fixed superstructure could destroy any allied opponent at distances of several kilometers. On top of that its unusually thick armor (250 mm at the turret front) made it invincible to existing allied armor.
Its only drawback was the excessive weight which made the vehicle extremely slow, prone to mechanical breakdowns, and almost impossible to salvage if it did break down.

The surrender took place exactly sixty years ago - April 16'th 1945.

In these pictures taken by a cameraman from the U.S.Army Signals Corps (who were responsible for a major part of the footage we have today of WWII) the unit is driving into the town of Iserlohn in the western part of Germany.

A full ceremony with the German commander - Hauptmann Ernst handing his Panzers over in the town square was arranged and extensively photographed.

Babe - Nice..well, forget it!
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Friday, April 15, 2005

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Panzer - An interesting photo taken in Denmark during WWII shows an Sdkfz 251 with a strange contraption.

It's not some secret weapon, but a late-war adaptation for battling the problem of fuel shortages: The engine of the 251 runs on gasses generated from burning wood in the "stowe" attached to the rear of the vehicle - a so called "gas-generator".

This cumbersome device took a long time to warm up before enough gas was generated to run the engine and it was not intended for use in combat, but operated by occupation forces who were far down on the German Army's list of gasoline recipients.

Babe - Well, we all love big hats!
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Thursday, April 14, 2005

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Panzer - By spring 1945 the German Panzerwaffe was reaching the end of its existence.
The few panzers left at the frontlines desperately lacked fuel now that Germany's last supplier of gasoline -Hungary, was occupied by the Red Army in March-April 1945.

As the allied armies penetrated deeper and deeper into Germany, the factories making the panzers were taken over and production terminated, as in this rare colour photo where Panther turrets and an unfinished Jagdpanther are left in the rubble of a bombed-out factory in the Ruhr.

Althoug the concentrated bombing of Germany's industial centres seriously disrupted the production of Panzers, it never completely stopped it.
Sixty-two Panther tanks were produced and delivered in April 1945, and from the written reports of still active units you can learn that new vehicles were accepted for deployment as late as May 5'th 1945, three days before the war ended.

Babe - Nice backdrop.
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Wednesday, April 13, 2005

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Panzer - Another "special" from Germany's WWII armoury was the Borgward B IV (not a Goliath as the caption says)

This vehicle was used for clearing minefields and worked in the same way as the Goliath, but instead of blowing itself up with the explosive charge it merely placed it in the minefield and then drove off to safety. The charge would then explode the mines and clear a path for an armoured or infantry attack.

Entire units, denoted as funklenk (radio-linked, or operated) were equipped with both Panzers and the Borgward which enabled them to attack through heavily mined parts of the front.

Babe - The tantalizing atmosphere of a 1969 stripbar...
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Tuesday, April 12, 2005

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Panzer - The Goliath mini-tank was one of the more peculiar additions to the German Panzerwaffe of WWII.
This tiny vehicle, seen here after capture by a G.I in Italy, contained an explosive charge and was directed to its target not by a driver but by wire operated remote control.

Once the target was reached the explosives were set off and the Goliath blew up with the target.

Babe - another Shady Sadie
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Monday, April 11, 2005

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Panzer - A Panther Ausf. A under restoration by a private collector in the US. This Panther was bought from a scrapdealer in Russia who had it standing in his backyard for over forty years.

Babe - Hayley Mills.
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Friday, April 08, 2005

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Panzer - Another pioneering piece of technology introduced by the German forces in WWII was the 8-wheeled armoured car Sdkfz 234/2 Puma

The Puma was used by reconnaissance units of Panzer divisions who needed a fast vehicle (the Puma could do 80 Kph on the open road) enabling them to spot the enemy's forward positions and disappear before he could react.

Generally considered the best armoured car to come out of WWII, only 101 Pumas were build 1943-44 as the crumbling German war machine had to concentrate on the more urgently needed battle tanks.

Although several Pumas were captured during the battles in Normandy and later, none of them have survived until today and the Puma sadly remains one of the lost relics of WWII.

Catherine Deneuve - Vive La France!
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Wednesday, April 06, 2005

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Swedish television are showing a series of films by John Cassavetes.
Yesterday they showed "Faces" from 1968.

Cassavetes is probably one of those directors it was hip to like during the last thirty years and then it became hip to denounce him.

A very pure, brutal, and complex film.

Thank God they didn't show it on Danish televison, it might have upset some elderly people or scared the children.
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Tuesday, April 05, 2005

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A milestone! the 10.000'th visitor to this blog was registered a few minutes ago.

Hip, hip, hooray!
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Monday, April 04, 2005

Saturday, April 02, 2005

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Some weeks ago I was walking through a residential area in a Copenhagen suburb, known for it's high concentration of young second-generation immigrants. As I approached a group of three young men fitting this description I honestly feared getting mugged as they were all acting in a very loud and agitated way.
When I came closer one of them asked me for a light and I streched out my hands in a gesture of abandonment not typical of Denmark but frequently used in the more southern parts of the world, and replied "Sorry, but I don't smoke" the young man lamented the inconvenience and returned to his beeping cell phone (which of course had an Arab song as a ring tone)

Some weeks ago I was visiting a friend who lives in a block which has an increasing problem with marihuana-clubs run by young second-generation immigrants.
As I approached the gate to his yard, a young second-generation immigrant was stepping out of a car you would consider way to expensive for a man of his age, while participating in an agitated discussion with several other people in the car.
As I was pulling a bicycle along with me the young man offered to open and hold the gate for me and I of course replied with a "thanks a lot".

Yesterday I went to the local shop on the corner which is run by a whole family of immigrants, mainly the old man who must be their father. The oldest son has been away for many months and the last time I saw him he was very thin and generally in a bad shape, it looked like heroine addiction or maybe AIDS had gotten to him.
His older brother died years ago in a car crash, and what I believe is the youngest brother also has no problem walking in their footsteps.
Since I've been coming to this shop for ten years I can buy stuff at bargain prices and enjoy some level of acceptance from these people who take turns at the shop to keep it open twelve hours a day with the local junkies and alcoholics as their main clientele.
The oldest brother was standing outside the shop, but now in much better shape, he had put on some weight, looked healthy and was sharing a joint with a friend.
Showing that his recovery pleased me I waved at him and he smiled back and wished me a pleasant weekend.

Oh, those dirty rotten Arabs and their slimy, sneaky ways.
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Friday, April 01, 2005

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Panzer - A lonely Panther destroyed in the burned out streets of Cologne in April 1945.

Naughty Nun - Enjoy the work of cartoon-pornographer Julius Zimmerman
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