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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

September 1, 1939 - WWII Begins

On September 1, 1939 - World War II begins as Germany invades Poland. Hard to believe it was only 70 years ago, when the 2nd war to end all wars did not end all wars after all. I mean, my dad is older than that, and I don't consider him to be that old - so in truth, it is not really that long ago after all. As a simple search for WII reveals - there's a lot of movies, tv shows and even cartoons related to World War Two, so we thought it best to highlight some of the best content to watch and save some precious time for our cherished viewers.

For movies - we recommend Roberto Rossellini's Open City, Escape From Sobibor, Forbidden Games and Orson Welles' The Third Man. There are also a bunch of WWII movie documentaries that are quite good but we thought it best to create another short list as there are a bunch to sift through. The top three would probably include - The Battle of Britain, December 7, 1941 and The Battle of Midway, with War Comes to America and The Secret Life of Adolph Hitler as honorable mentions.

In the TV Shows related to World War II, our top picks include - 3 episodes of One Step Beyond, Dream, Emergency Only and Prisoner.

In the cartoon category - we'd like to suggest, Scrap Happy Daffy, The Ductators and Superman in Eleventh Hour. In all honesty - there are a ton of war related cartoons, too many great ones to even list. But allow us to add a few more choice toons to check out. Boom Boom, Superman's Japoteurs (incorrect PC, big time) and Superman's Destruction Inc. Even though it is pre WWII, check out this Popeye classics, I'm in the Army Now. Okay - that should keep you busy for a while. And don't forget to Buy US Bonds.

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Friday, August 14, 2009

Maximilian Kolbe - August 14th

Each year on August 14 - there's a celebration and memorial of a wonderful man you probably never even heard of. His name was Maximilian Kolbe and he was a Catholic priest in Poland during World War II. During the war, Catholic priests were marked for death by the nazis, and Max was no exception to this rule. But Max was exceptionally wicked as far as any nazi was concerned. His crimes also included trying to harbor Jews and to try and get them out safely. But that is not why he is honored today.

He lived a very good life as a priest - a Franciscan, ordained in Rome, and did much more in his life - but he is honored not so much for his life, but for his heroic death. The nazis sent him to Auschwitz, and someone tried to escape. The punishment for this included not only death for the prisoner trying to escape, but the nazis decided that someone else must be killed as well - just to make the point that escaping was not a good idea. When a father of several children was selected to be killed and tortured for the escape - Fr. Max Kolbe asked to be killed and tortured in his place, telling the guards - he had no family - so please take me instead. And he was brutally tortured, and finally died from the torture. And Fr. Kolbe knew what was coming, yet he still chose to volunteer his life for the young father of several children.

The Catholic church at first was a bit perplexed as to whether or not to honor Max Kolbe as a martyr - because he volunteered to die. But, in the end he was designated as a martyr, specifically, a martyr of charity. Years later, when the church was planning to beatify Kolbe as a saint - the father whose life was spared many years before - spent most of his life's savings to attend the ceremony.

To honor Max Kolbe today - we thought we'd suggest a powerful movie in the movie library you might have missed. Escape from Sobibor, starring Alan Arkin, Rutger Hauer, and Joana Pacula - tells the story of the most successful escape from a concentration camp in Poland during World War II. Yep - another great story you probably never heard about. If time allows - check it out, it is a great film, and an even better story.

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