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California Literary Review » World War II California Literary Review

Frau Braun and The Tiger of Auschwitz

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Jascha
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Kessler

December 17th, 2019

The principal accused was an Auschwitz commandant, one Wilhelm Boger, whose sobriquet was “The Tiger of Auschwitz.” He was a man who had been arrested after a successful post-war career, having become a rich businessman who’d never been questioned before. At that time he was in his late 60s. Of the many witnesses for the prosecution there was a woman called Frau Braun.

The Persecution of P.G. Wodehouse

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Nandan
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Datta

December 4th, 2019

Was P.G.Wodehouse, the legendary master of farce, party to Nazi propaganda during World War II? This question recurs decades after his death, even as the author remains popular as ever. And the quest for an answer remains relevant today.

The Worst Movies of 2012

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Brett Harrison
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Davinger

January 10th, 2013

Brett Harrison Davinger and Matt Newlin present their most despised movies of 2012.

Book Review: The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng

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Ed
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Voves

September 10th, 2012

The Garden of Evening Mists is set in three inter-linked time frames. Past and present struggle to reconcile Yun Ling’s memories of wartime suffering and loss. But Yun Ling is faced by a cruel dilemma. Soon she will no longer have a future. Her brilliant, sensitive mind is slowly deteriorating from an incurable neurological disease. Oblivion will settle Yun Ling’s efforts to find inner peace if she does not achieve it first.

Book Review: Diaries by George Orwell

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Ed
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Voves

August 28th, 2012

Europe had yet to recover from the First World War and the Allied peoples were at a grave psychological disadvantage in comparison with the civilian population of Nazi Germany. Through nearly a decade of political indoctrination, news censorship and threats of imprisonment or worse, the German people were schooled for war. To Orwell, the only things that could shake the British out of their complacency were the drone of the engines of German aircraft over London and the detonation of the bombs they dropped.

Book Review: The Second World War by Antony Beevor

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Ed
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Voves

June 25th, 2012

Hitler’s Final Solution was not a separate campaign of mass murder, parallel to the fighting on the battlefronts. Instead, the Nazi assault on the Jews was characteristic of the depraved nature of the entire war. Daring commando raids and tank attacks were the stuff of movie newsreels. The “real” war was prosecuted with civilian-targeted aerial bombardments, starvation as a weapon, orgies of rape and torture and other government-sanctioned acts of mass homicide.

Book Review: HHhH by Laurent Binet

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Charles
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Haynes

April 25th, 2012

What results, however, is an awkward success story. Unseasonably dedicated to fact and accuracy, positively frightened of omission, Binet has written a tale of Heydrich to defy most academic study. Moreover, Binet has managed to engage.

A Watchful Eye On… Winston Churchill

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Dan
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Fields

March 2nd, 2011

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, known best as the wartime Prime Minister, held in his distinguished career a number of other high positions, including Home Secretary and First Lord of the Admiralty. Renowned as an orator and statesman, he enjoys a permanent place in Western history. The adventure and controversy pervading his professional life seem ripe for an enterprising screenwriter to pick.

Book Review: Winston’s War: Churchill, 1940-1945 by Max Hastings

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Ed
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Voves

June 29th, 2010

The next two years of the war for Churchill were a harrowing march through what his wife, Clementine called the “valley of humiliation.” Defeats in Greece, in the Battle of Crete and in North Africa in 1941 were followed by the Japanese capture of Singapore in February 1942. That same month, the daring “Channel Dash” by German warships under siege in Cherbourg to their home naval bases stung British pride to its core. Great Britain, the nation of Marlborough, Churchill’s warrior ancestor, and Lord Nelson was losing the war on land and sea.

The Art of Japanese Internment Camps at the Renwick Gallery

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Alix
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McKenna

March 15th, 2010

An exhibition at the Renwick Gallery in Washington DC titled The Art of Gaman: Arts and Crafts from the Japanese American Internment Camps, 1942-1946 showcases objects made by internees. The museum’s website tells us that the Japanese word ‘gaman’ means “to bear the seemingly unbearable with dignity and patience.” This moving show explores how creativity served as a necessary way of acquiring needful things that were otherwise unavailable, provided an outlet for frustration, and reinforced bonds in a painful and alienating time.

Churchill by Paul Johnson

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Julia
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Braun Kessler

December 1st, 2009

And Johnson reminds us of the memorable words he spoke after France capitulated: “Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duty and so bear ourselves that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour.’” Here the biographer also observes, “So the first true victory Britain won in the war was the victory of oratory and symbolism. Churchill was responsible for both.”

With Hitler to the End: The Memoir of Hitler’s Valet by Heinz Linge

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John
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Holt

September 28th, 2009

Unfortunately the book, while delivering a few marginal insights into Hitler’s character, motivations and global strategies, seems largely a one-dimensional narrative that more resembles a loss of contact with reality than a recounting of anything worthy of notice.

Movie Review: Inglourious Basterds

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Julia
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Rhodes

August 21st, 2009

Smart though Tarantino may be, his self-aggrandizing filmic techniques grow old. Placing arrows and title cards in the frame doesn’t make it more entertaining. By continuously removing the audience from the narrative, Tarantino seemed to say “LOOK! This is a MOVIE! This is MY movie!”

Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death March and Its Aftermath by Michael Norman and Elizabeth M. Norman

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John R.
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Guthrie

July 13th, 2009

This continued fighting retreat for allied forces persisted for the four bloody months from December 1941 to April of 1942. In an astounding oversight, General MacArthur, by then en route to Corregidor, disregarded the logistical requirements of his retreating army. He left behind, in one example, 450 million bushels of wheat in a single warehouse despite his junior offices protestations. His starving soldiers ended up eating carabou—until all carabou were gone—then snakes, lizards, crows, whatever. The allied forces, lacking resupply and experience, were pushed back repeatedly, finally making their last stand on the tip of Bataan at the town of Mariveles.

Résistance by Agnès Humbert

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Elinor
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Teele

October 28th, 2008

The early resistors soon discover that the Nazis don’t view their activities with similar lightheartedness. Oblivious to the reason why a German car might be parked outside the hospital her mother is in, Humbert walks straight into hell. A member of the Gestapo has infiltrated and betrayed their group, and she and her friends are rounded up for a show trial. It is only April 1941. What follows is an account that tests our 21st century belief in rationalism.

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