The first German settlers arrived in Texas over 150 years ago and successfully passed on their native language throughout the generations - until now.
German was the main language used in schools, churches and businesses around the hill country between Austin and San Antonio. But two world wars and the resulting drop in the standing of German meant that the fifth and sixth generation of immigrants did not pass it on to their children....
Hans Boas, a linguistic and German professor at the University of Texas, has made it his mission to record as many speakers of German in the Lone Star State as he can before the last generation of Texas Germans passes away.
Mr Boas has recorded 800 hours of interviews with over 400 German descendants in Texas and archived them at the Texas German Dialect Project. He says the dialect, created from various regional German origins and a mix of English, is one of a kind....
Wednesday, May 15, 2013 - 12:27
Curators at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture are working with restoration experts to dismantle an antebellum slave cabin on Point of Pines Plantation in Edisto Island, S.C. The cabin was donated to the museum last month by the Edisto Island Historical Society. The two-room cabin, which measures 16 by 20 feet, is believed to be in its original location and will become part of the “Slavery and Freedom” exhibition in Washington when the museum opens its doors in 2015.
“Slavery is one of the last great unmentionables in public discourse,” said Lonnie Bunch, director of the museum. “The cabin allows us to humanize slavery, to personalize the life of the enslaved, and frame this story as one that has shaped us all. [Slavery] is not just an African American story.”
The museum had been searching for a slave cabin to display for its permanent collection. The cabin will be displayed prominently in the museum, visible from three levels. Although the cabin will be reconstructed on-site, visitors will not be able to enter or touch the cabin because of its fragility....
Wednesday, May 15, 2013 - 08:34
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Manuscripts and other materials that offer new perspectives on Thomas Jefferson are being donated to the foundation that owns his estate.
The Thomas Jefferson Foundation was to formally accept 2,500 manuscripts, works of art and decorative objects at a reception Tuesday afternoon at the Jefferson Library at Monticello. The items donated by Sister Margherita Marchione are related to Jefferson’s longtime friend, Philip Mazzei.
“The materials shed new light from different angles on Jefferson, Monticello, and the whole founding generation,” Jack Robertson, Monticello’s foundation librarian, told The Daily Progress (http://bit.ly/10UNnTC )....
Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - 17:21
Anastasia Romanov, the youngest daughter of the last Russian Tsar, was already smoking at the age of 15, encouraged by her proud father Nicholas II.
The anecdote about the Grand Duchess, a key figure in the conspiracy theories that followed the gunshot and bayonet murders of the Romanovs, has been revealed by a series of photographs found in a remote museum in the Urals.
Taken in 1916 near Mogilyov, where the Russian military was headquartered during World War I, the photo shows the young girl puffing at the cigarette with every encouragement from her father.
“At the time there was not the same stigma attached to smoking,” wrote the Siberian Times, which described the pictures found in the local history museum of Zlatoust, a small city about 186 miles from Yekaterinburg. It was there that the tsar and his family were slaughtered in 1918 by the Bolsheviks on the orders of Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin....
Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - 17:20
BALTIMORE — FBI and National Archive officials are returning to their rightful owners more than 10,000 important historical documents seized during a massive theft investigation involving a well-known collector of presidential memorabilia.
Barry Landau and assistant Jason Savedoff were caught stealing documents from the Maryland Historical Society almost two years ago. An investigation led authorities to a cache of thousands of stolen documents in Landau’s New York City apartment, including some containing a who’s who of American and international history. Both men pleaded guilty to their crimes and are serving prison sentences.
Now, officials are returning the documents to 24 identified victims nationwide, including university libraries and historical societies in New York, Connecticut, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. On Monday, they returned 21 items to the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore....
Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - 17:01
Tristram Hunt, a Labour education spokesman and historian, has attacked Education Secretary Michael Gove over his use of evidence.
It follows a Freedom of Information request showing Mr Gove's claim about children's lack of historical knowledge had been based on a UKTV Gold survey.
Mr Gove had been setting out the need to raise standards in history.
A Department for Education spokeswoman said: "There is plenty of other evidence to support this argument."
Mr Hunt, taking up last week's attack by the education secretary on the use of Mr Men characters in teaching history, accused Mr Gove of being "Mr Sloppy"....
Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - 15:48
A massacre of 50 Maori on Wellington's south coast has been brought to light thanks to a lucky Google search.
Historian Elsdon Best wrote a comprehensive history of Wellington Maori, The Land of Tara and They Who Settled It, in about 1919.
However, an incident in which northern Maori swept into Wellington and killed 50 Ngati Ira iwi at Tarakena Bay about 1820 came to his attention only after his book was published.
He told fellow historian Henry Christie, who wrote about it in 1931. Miramar military historian Allan Jenkins came across Christie's record of the massacre about 30 years ago but, despite numerous searches, was unable to find it again....
Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - 15:40
TOKYO (AP) — An outspoken nationalist mayor said the Japanese military's forced prostitution of Asian women before and during World War II was necessary to "maintain discipline" in the ranks and provide rest for soldiers who risked their lives in battle.
The comments made Monday are already raising ire in neighboring countries that bore the brunt of Japan's wartime aggression and have long complained that Japan has failed to fully atone for wartime atrocities.
Toru Hashimoto, the young, brash mayor of Osaka who is co-leader of an emerging conservative political party, also said that U.S. troops currently based in southern Japan should patronize the local sex industry more to help reduce rapes and other assaults....
Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - 15:25
A study of remains from Central Europe suggests the foundations of the modern gene pool were laid down between 4,000 and 2,000 BC - in Neolithic times.
These changes were likely brought about by the rapid growth and movement of some populations.
The work by an international team is published in Nature Communications.
Decades of study of the DNA patterns of modern Europeans suggests two major events in prehistory significantly affected the continent's genetic landscape: its initial peopling by hunter-gatherers in Palaeolithic times (35,000 years ago) and a wave of migration by Near Eastern farmers some 6,000 years ago. (in the early Neolithic)...
Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - 15:13
Madrid, May 7 (EFE).- Eleven of the 13 Neanderthals who lived in northern Spain's El Sidron cave were right-handed, indicating that these cousins of modern humans had a brain structure similar to that of Homo sapiens, a study published in Plos One magazine said.
Researchers, among them members of Spain's CSIC research council, analyzed grooves in more than 60 Neanderthal dental pieces.
Manual laterality "reflects specialized organization of the brain, so its evolutionary origin has been the subject of research for decades," project director Antonio Rosas said....
Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - 15:06
Plague may have helped finish off the Roman Empire, researchers now reveal.
Plague is a fatal disease so infamous that it has become synonymous with any dangerous, widespread contagion. It was linked to one of the first known examples of biological warfare, when Mongols catapulted plague victims into cities.
The bacterium that causes plague, Yersinia pestis, has been linked with at least two of the most devastating pandemics in recorded history. One, the Great Plague, which lasted from the 14th to 17th centuries, included the infamous epidemic known as the Black Death, which may have killed nearly two-thirds of Europe in the mid-1300s. Another, the Modern Plague, struck around the world in the 19th and 20th centuries, beginning in China in the mid-1800s and spreading to Africa, the Americas, Australia, Europe and other parts of Asia. [In Photos: 14th-Century 'Black Death' Graveyard]....
Monday, May 13, 2013 - 14:11
In the popular imagination, it is a conflict associated with foreign battlefields and, above all, the muddy trenches of the Western Front.
But a major new project aims to identify and record thousands of remaining traces of the First World War on the landscape of the British Isles.
The research is expected to run for the four years of the centenary of the conflict, 2014-2018, and will cover sites such as factories, camps, fortifications, airstrips and dockyards, as well as locations that were bombarded by German ships and aircraft....
Monday, May 13, 2013 - 14:09
RICHMOND, Va. — Preservation Virginia’s annual most endangered list includes Arlington National Cemetery, a network of rural schools that aimed to improve educational opportunities for young black students in rural areas, and Manassas Battlefield.
The private, non-profit preservation group on Monday identified eight places, buildings and sites that it concludes face “imminent or sustained” threats, even to the point of their survival in some cases. The threats include planned roads, neglect or development....
— Arlington National Cemetery, threatened by the 27-acre Millennium Project expansion. It would disrupt the cemetery’s surroundings and destroy a 12-acre section of Arlington House Woods, as well as its old-growth hardwoods and a historic boundary wall.
— Rosenwalds Schools, a rural school building program by Julius Rosenwald to provide a better public education to African-American students in the segregated South. A total 381 of the schools were built in Virginia. They are now threatened with demolition and neglect....
Monday, May 13, 2013 - 14:00
Caked in dust and full of turn-of-the century treasures, this Paris apartment is like going back in time.
Having lain untouched for seven decades the abandoned home was discovered three years ago after its owner died aged 91.
The woman who owned the flat, a Mrs De Florian, had fled for the south of France before the outbreak of the Second World War.
She never returned and in the 70 years since, it looks like no-one had set foot inside....
Monday, May 13, 2013 - 12:03
GUATEMALA CITY — A Guatemalan court on Friday found Gen. Efraín Ríos Montt, the former dictator who ruled Guatemala during one of the bloodiest periods of its long civil war, guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity.
Judge Yasmín Barrios sentenced General Ríos Montt, 86, to 80 years in prison. His co-defendant, José Mauricio Rodríguez Sánchez, who served as the director of intelligence under the general, was acquitted of the same two charges.
“We are completely convinced of the intent to destroy the Ixil ethnic group,” Judge Barrios said as she read the hourlong summary of the ruling by the three-judge panel. Over five weeks, the tribunal heard more than 100 witnesses, including psychologists, military experts and Maya Ixil Indian survivors who told how General Ríos Montt’s soldiers had killed their families and wiped out their villages....
Sunday, May 12, 2013 - 23:21
After 51 years educating and entertaining Gettysburg visitors, the American Civil War Wax Museum is up for sale.
"The owners are looking to retire," said Tammy Myers, general manager of the museum. It has always been a family business and the owners' children are not interested in operating it, she added, so they are ready to sell.
The 12,450-square-foot property located at 297 Steinwehr Av. is currently on the market for $1,695,000, acording to a listing by Prudential Bob Yost-Sites Homesale. As to whether or not the museum will remain open once it is sold, that will depend on the buyers, Myers said....
Sunday, May 12, 2013 - 14:32
In contracting tender documents, the Canadian Museum of Civilization has provided more details about the kind of history it will focus on once it is transformed, at the edict of the Conservative government, to the new Canadian Museum of History.
The lengthy request for tender (see below) posted on the MERX contracting site this week sketched out a storyline of “broad topics and more focused communication intentions” that are grouped into themes and time periods in the Canadian History Hall.
There is little evidence in the more detailed descriptions to support concerns that the mandated refocusing of the museum would effectively rewrite Canadian history to emphasize certain values — the military, for example — or, perhaps, embellish the fathers of Canadian conservativism....
Saturday, May 11, 2013 - 13:54
The "Great East Coast Cicada Sex Invasion of 2013" is upon us.
After 17 years of feeding and living under the earth's surface, billions of "Brood II" cicadas will emerge this summer between Connecticut and Georgia, swarming in thick, forbidding billows of shed exoskeletons and raucous insect lovemaking. (To get an idea of what the cicada mating call sounds like, click here for audio.)
For all their physical creepiness and loud public sex orgies, the (actually completely harmless) bugs have a rich cultural history in the United States. Bob Dylan wrote a song about the cicadas, for instance. But cicadas also have a rich political history in this country. Here are their greatest hits:
1. Ronald Reagan name-checks the cicada: In June 1987, Greatest President in American History Ronald Reagan delivered one of his weekly radio addresses on the budget plan for fiscal year 1988. In his prepared statement, he used the cicada in a simile to bash Democratic budget proposals....
Saturday, May 11, 2013 - 13:52
A huge quarry, along with tools and a key, used by workers some 2,000 years ago have been discovered during an excavation in Jerusalem prior to the paving of a highway, the Israel Antiquities Authorities (IAA) announced.
The first-century quarry, which fits into the Second Temple Period (538 B.C. to A.D. 70), would've held the huge stones used in the construction of the city's ancient buildings, the researchers noted.
Archaeologists also uncovered pick axes and wedges among other artifacts at the site in the modern-day Ramat Shlomo Quarter, a neighborhood in northern East Jerusalem....
Friday, May 10, 2013 - 11:27
ARLINGTON, Va. — For more than 100 years, the cremated remains of two brothers — Civil War soldiers from Indiana — sat on a funeral home shelf, unclaimed and largely forgotten.
On Thursday, their remains were given a final resting place at Arlington National Cemetery, which dedicated a new columbarium court designed to hold the cremated remains of more than 20,000 eligible service members and family.
It is the ninth columbarium court at Arlington, where roughly 400,000 are interred.
The first six remains to be interred at the court were recovered by the Missing In America Project, an organization based in Grants Pass, Ore., that scours funeral homes across the country to recover remains of veterans that have gone unclaimed....
Friday, May 10, 2013 - 11:23
The education secretary, Michael Gove, has attacked a "culture of low expectations" in English schools, criticising the use of Mr Men characters in teaching 15 and 16-year-olds about Hitler.
Too many teachers were treating "young people on the verge of university study as though they have the attention span of infants," Gove said. He said worksheets, extracts and mind maps had replaced whole books, sources and conversation in history and other subject lessons.
"As long as there are people in education making excuses for failure, cursing future generations with a culture of low expectations, denying children access to the best that has been thought and written, because Nemo and the Mr Men are more relevant, the battle needs to be joined," Gove said.
Gove told the Brighton College education conference: "I may be unfamiliar with all of Roger Hargreaves' work [the author of the Mr Men series], but I am not sure he ever got round to producing Mr Antisemitic Dictator, Mr Junker General or Mr Dutch Communist Scapegoat....
Friday, May 10, 2013 - 11:20
During the Reagan Revolution, the Heritage Foundation was seen as the soul of the free market conservative revival. As senior vice president for research at the think tank from 1981 through 1992, Burton Pines was in charge of its intellectual output — “If Heritage were General Motors, I ran the factory,” he says — but as Heritage comes under fire this week for a controversial immigration report, Pines says the storied organization has lost its way.
“It’s a new Heritage and it’s one that’s not standing by the principles of Ronald Reagan,” he told Salon Thursday. “I’m puzzled why they came out with this study and I’m more puzzled why they seem to be against immigration.”
The foundation’s new report, which estimates that immigration reform will cost taxpayers $6 trillion, has touched off a civil war on the right....
Thursday, May 9, 2013 - 17:28
Of all the commemorations marking this month’s 70th anniversary of the Second World War’s most famous bombing raid, it is perhaps the most poignant.
A new plaque has been unveiled in a German field where one of the Dambuster bombers crashed, with the loss of all seven men on-board.
The memorial has been installed by a local historian who located the crash site as part of his research into the fate of the aircraft, AJ-E....
Thursday, May 9, 2013 - 10:52
Guido Westerwelle today (MON) added Germany's voice to mounting concerns over extreme nationalism in Hungary and EU criticism that Prime Minister Viktor Orban's strong government is eroding the checks and balances common to European democracies.
"We have questions and we have some doubts," Mr Westerwelle told Bild newspaper before addressing a meeting of the World Jewish Congress in Budapest.
"The European Commission and the Council of Europe have not concealed their criticism of the Hungarian government. It must now be spoken about openly and honestly."...
Thursday, May 9, 2013 - 10:49
...The year was 1946. Winston Churchill stood in a small Midwestern college gymnasium in Fulton, Missouri, just a few miles to the west of St Louis. He was accompanied by President Harry Truman and had been driven to the speech by the grandfather of one of my co-workers. And his speech, later to be called The Iron Curtain Speech, would resonate from the halls of Westminster College, and be heard throughout the world.
Today, those echoes are still being heard, and are being amplified in the US by the National Churchill Museum, a museum recognised by the US Congress as "America's National Churchill Museum" and built on the site of that 1946 speech. The museum, staff, volunteers and supporters are dedicated to commemorating and celebrating the life, times, and distinguished career of Sir Winston Churchill, and inspiring current and future leaders by his example of resilience, determination and resolution.
And it was the museum that drew leaders from across the Midwest, elected officials and representatives of Her Majesty's Government to St Louis to honour Sir Winston and to present the Churchill Leadership Medal to former US ambassador, Stephen Brauer.
Thursday, May 9, 2013 - 10:47
On a hot Provencal day in July 1890, Vincent van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo – blocking out, as he often did, space for a drawing. In it a black cat stealthily circles a dead painter’s garden. The portentous ink was set: four days later van Gogh had shot himself. Now a collection of papers, for sale at Sotheby’s in New York on Wednesday 8 May, shows that many of the artist’s contemporaries shared his epistolary flair.
Letters by Manet, Picasso, Renoir, Signac, Matisse, Chagall and Gauguin are composed not only of the articulated preoccupations of the artist (Picasso and Renoir are fixated on culinary pursuits) but also their visual riffs. Snapshot compositions sketched on the fly and odd motifs punctuate these sheets.
The letters date from 1880, with Manet in genial mood, to 1950 as Matisse settles into the snug embers of his sunset years. The form is played into a wonderful hybrid: part picture, part message. In pencil and pen, crayon and watercolour, major and minor moments are captured. Manet adds a snail to a shopping list; a weary Paul Gauguin heads a letter to the owner of his 1894 Tahitian oil, Day of the God, with a cartoon of the work. He includes an apology. “Excuse the barbarism of this little picture. Certain dispositions of my spirit are probably the cause.”...
Thursday, May 9, 2013 - 10:42
The British government is negotiating payments to thousands of Kenyans who were detained and severely mistreated during the 1950s Mau Mau insurgency in what would be the first compensation settlement resulting from official crimes committed under imperial rule.
In a development that could pave the way for many other claims from around the world, government lawyers embarked upon the historic talks after suffering a series of defeats in their attempts to prevent elderly survivors of the prison camps from seeking redress through the British courts.
Those defeats followed the discovery of a vast archive of colonial-era documents which the Foreign Office (FCO) had kept hidden for decades, and which shed new and stark light on the dying days of British rule, not only in Kenya but around the empire. In the case of the Mau Mau conflict, the secret papers showed that senior colonial officials authorised appalling abuses of inmates held at the prison camps established during the bloody conflict, and that ministers and officials in London were aware of a brutal detention regime in which men and women were tortured and killed....
Thursday, May 9, 2013 - 10:24
A controversial Nazi-themed production of Richard Wagner's Tannhäuser has been cancelled after it caused some audience members to seek medical help and prompted others to walk out in anger.
The Rheinoper in Düsseldorf said it was in a state of shock after being deluged with complaints by members of the public who called the opera tasteless and unnecessarily provocative.
The production, which opened last Saturday and was expected to be one of the highlights of the celebrations for the bicentenary of Wagner's birth later this month, has a Nazi storyline, and includes scenes of people dying in gas chambers, being shot and raped, and of members of a family having their heads shaved before their execution....
Thursday, May 9, 2013 - 10:11
The House of Commons heritage committee has launched a study of how history is preserved in federal, provincial and municipal programs, and how easily Canadians can access historical information.
However, it backed down from a plan to examine how history is taught in schools after a barrage of complaints from the opposition, which had accused the government of intruding on provincial jurisdiction, which includes school curriculum development, and of wanting to revise history in its own image.
The committee began hearing from witnesses for its history study on Monday....
Thursday, May 9, 2013 - 09:12
A virtual newspaper bringing the most momentous period of Irish history to life has gone live.
Ten years of news from 1913 will be published by Century Ireland every fortnight over the next decade in real-time.
Jimmy Deenihan, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, said the digitalised material will catalogue the major events that shaped modern Ireland from the Home Rule debate to the Civil War in a balanced and fair way....
Thursday, May 9, 2013 - 09:05
WASHINGTON, May 8 (Xinhua) -- Visiting South Korean President Park Geun-hye Wednesday urged Japan to face history honestly for the good of Northeast Asia.
"Those who are blind to the past cannot see the future," Park said in an address to the U.S. Congress, a day after meeting with President Barack Obama.
"This is obviously a problem for here and now. But the larger issue is about tomorrow," she said, adding "for where there is failure to acknowledge honestly what happened yesterday, there can be no tomorrow."...
Thursday, May 9, 2013 - 09:03
TOKYO — Japan’s conservative government will abide by official apologies that the country’s leaders made two decades ago to the victims of World War II in Asia, top officials said Tuesday, backing away from earlier suggestions that the government might try to revise or even repudiate the apologies.
Japan formally apologized in 1993 to the women who were forced into wartime brothels for Japanese soldiers, and in 1995 to nations that suffered from Japanese aggression during the war. Both apologies rankled Japanese ultranationalists, and there were concerns that the hawkish current prime minister, Shinzo Abe, would try to appeal to them by whitewashing Japan’s wartime atrocities, a step that would probably infuriate Japan’s neighbors.
The United States shared those concerns, and it urged the Abe government to show restraint on historical issues so that Japan would not further isolate itself diplomatically in the region....
Thursday, May 9, 2013 - 08:54
After a complicated 20-year effort to save a redbrick mill in North Carolina that was once considered the largest in the world for textiles and that played a significant role in the South’s textile history, the plant is finally moving toward a new life as a multiuse complex.
The Loray Mill, which for decades produced fabric for car tires, last month began a $40 million conversion project that will create 190 apartments in its six stories, as well as several floors of shops and restaurants. The mill, which was the site of an famous labor strike in the 1920s, is in the city of Gastonia, a former industrial hub outside of Charlotte.
To the delight of preservationists, the development team of JBS Ventures, of Palos Verdes Estates, Calif., and Camden Management Partners, of Atlanta, will retain much of the original 600,000-square-feet structure of the complex. This first phase of the redevelopment will reinvent about 450,000 square feet of the mill, including the main section, which dates to 1902....
Thursday, May 9, 2013 - 08:53
ATLANTA — Inside Craig Ivey’s travel bag are objects reminiscent of the Middle Ages.
He has a steel, rounded shield; a five-sided, wooden shield; a red, white and blue surcoat; a protective vest; a wraparound helmet, pockmarked with dents; steel pads to hide his forearms, knees, legs and hands; and a blunt-edged sword designed to inflict pain but not cut. His collection cost about $4,000.
Ivey, a fitness trainer in Atlanta, will use all 60 pounds of the equipment Thursday at an outdoor arena in Aigues-Mortes, in the south of France. He will compete in his first Battle of the Nations, a modern-day, medieval-like combat involving national teams of fighters....
Thursday, May 9, 2013 - 08:52
NEWARK, N.J. — Carol Wilkins leaned over the side of her father’s wheelchair and handed him the small red box, a heart-shaped cutout revealing its contents: a weathered, bent silver dog tag.
“Oh, Daddy, look,” Wilkins exclaimed as her 90-year-old father opened it, his eyes beaming and smile wide. “They’re back.”
Sixty-nine years after losing his dog tag on the battlefields of southern France, Willie Wilkins reclaimed it Wednesday after a trans-Atlantic effort to return it to him. It started more than a decade ago in a French backyard and ended with a surprise ceremony in Newark City Hall....
Thursday, May 9, 2013 - 08:46
A Chicago alderman introduced an ordinance Wednesday that would allow museums to display unloaded firearms for historical purposes.
According to DNA Info Chicago, city museums are currently prohibited from displaying unloaded firearms....
Thursday, May 9, 2013 - 08:30
REHOVOT, Israel — With a hand on her chest, 82-year-old Rivka Fringeru battled back tears as she reeled off a list of names she has rarely voiced in the past 70 years: her father, Moshe, then her mother, Hava, and finally her two older brothers, Michael and Yisrael.
All perished in the Holocaust after the Harabju family from Dorohoi, Romania, was rounded up in 1944 and sent to ghettos and camps. Only Rivka and her brother Marco survived, and like many others, they spent the rest of their lives trying to move on and forget.
Now, Yad Vashem, Israel’s national Holocaust memorial and museum, is asking them to remember.
Decades after the Holocaust, experts have documented the names of about 4.2 million of the roughly 6 million Jews who were killed by the Nazis in World War II, and officials are going door-to-door in a race to record the memories of elderly survivors before their stories are lost forever....
Wednesday, May 8, 2013 - 12:34
COSTA MESA, Calif. — A book about surfers in the early 1900s is expected to sell for about $40,000.
A copy of “The Surf Riders of Hawaii” will go before bidders Saturday at the Surfing Heritage Vintage Surf Auction. The auction will include more than 60 vintage surfboards and other items.
The book is one of eight made by hand by A.R. Gurrey Jr. between 1911 and 1915. Gurrey is considered the father of surf photography. The book helped spread surfing’s appeal from Hawaii to the mainland.
It is composed of six leaves of heavy brown woven paper, with eight mounted gelatin-silver photographs of native Hawaiians surfing Waikiki. Among them is Duke Kahanamoku, the Olympic medalist swimmer who helped popularize the sport....
Wednesday, May 8, 2013 - 12:33
TOKYO — Japan does not plan to revise past apologies to neighboring countries for atrocities committed by its Imperial Army before and during World War II, top government officials said Wednesday.
The comments by the chief government spokesman and the foreign minister appear intended to allay criticisms of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s earlier vows to revise the apologies, including an acknowledgement of sexual slavery during the war.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that Japan recognizes the harm it caused during its invasion and occupation of much of Asia, and that it has repeatedly and clearly stated that position.
“The Abe government has expressed sincere condolences to all victims of the war, in and out of the country, and there is no change in that,” Suga told reporters. “We have repeatedly said we have no intention of making this a diplomatic and political issue, but I’m afraid this may not be fully understood.”...
Wednesday, May 8, 2013 - 12:27
SHARPSBURG, Md. — A Maryland producer is hoping an online campaign will help him create a documentary about annual Antietam National Battlefield Memorial Illumination
Michael Wicklein recently started a campaign to raise $23,110 to help fund the documentary through the website Kickstarter. The Herald-Mail of Hagerstown reports (http://bit.ly/13yIK6e) that “Gods and Generals” author Jeff Shaara announced this week that he plans to match up to $5,000 in contributions to help fund the documentary.
Wicklein hopes to finish early next year after filming the 25th annual illumination. During the December event, volunteers place 23,000 luminarias at the battlefield to represent the casualties from the bloodiest single-day battle on American soil....
Wednesday, May 8, 2013 - 12:25
TOKYO — Japan has acknowledged that it conducted only a limited investigation before claiming there was no official evidence that its imperial troops coerced Asian women into sexual slavery before and during World War II.
A parliamentary statement signed Tuesday by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe acknowledged the government had a set of documents produced by a postwar international military tribunal containing testimony by Japanese soldiers about abducting Chinese women as military sex slaves. That evidence apparently was not included in Japan’s only investigation of the issue, in 1991-1993.
Tuesday’s parliamentary statement also said documents showing forcible sex slavery may still exist. The statement did not say whether the government plans to consider the documents as evidence showing that troops had coerced women into sexual slavery.
Over the past two days, top officials of Abe’s conservative government have appeared to soften their stance on Japan’s past apologies to neighboring countries for wartime atrocities committed by the Imperial Army, saying Japan does not plan to revise them....
Wednesday, May 8, 2013 - 12:22
What do Bob Dylan, J.D Salinger, Harrison Ford, Jon Stewart, Barbara Walters, Barbara Hersey, and Leonard Nimoy all have in common, aside from being awesome?
They're all Jewish Americans.
May is Jewish American Heritage Month, and this year's theme is American Jews in entertainment.(With apologies to William Shatner, who was born in Canada, and judging by his acting he's probably not kosher anyway.)
Jewish American Heritage Month was established by presidential decree in 2006, after lobbying efforts by the Jewish Museum of Florida, the South Florida Jewish community, Florida congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Pennsylvania senator Arlen Specter (Fittingly, Manischewitz is one of the major corporate sponsors.)
The Library of Congress, the National Archives, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Gallery of Art, the National Park Service, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum have partnered to create a website for JAHM, featuring selections from their digital collections on Jewish American history, oral histories, and online exhibits. NEH has its own collection of American Judaica on their EDSITEment! website, and the JAHM foundation has its own website, complete with a national events listing. They are also sponsored an essay contest for high school students and, in a nod to modernity, JAHM even has a dedicated Twitter feed.
And though the sequester has taken a bite out of cultural budgets in Washington, D.C. (unlike past years, there will be no White House reception for JAHM), the nation's capitol will still host a number of events to commemorate Jewish heritage. Some highlights:
Thursday, May 9, 7:00pm: Gerda Wasserman Klein, a Holocaust survivor who was the subject of the Academy Award-winning HBO documentary One Survivor Remembers, will discuss her life after a screening of the film. National Archives, William McGowan Theater.
Monday, May 13, noon: Documentary filmmaker Aviva Kempner will discuss The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg, the baseball Hall of Famer known as “the Hebrew Hammer.” Library of Congress, Pickford Theater.
Thursday, Mary 16, 7:30pm: Pamela Nadell, chair of the history department at American University, will lead a discussion on Jacob Riis's landmark work of photojournalism How the Other Half Lives, which exposed the terrible living conditions in New York City's slums. American University.
Wednesday, May 8, 2013 - 10:51
Celestine V, the hermit pope who set precedent for Benedict XVI, has been given a new face and fate by researchers who have examined his skeletal remains.
The last pontiff not chosen by a conclave — and the first to declare that a pope could rightfully resign — Celestine V is regarded as one of the Catholic Church’s most enigmatic popes.
His remains, kept in the Basilica of Santa Maria di Collemaggio in L’Aquila, Italy, did not show his real face, but a wax mask with the likeness of Cardinal Carlo Confalonieri, the Archbishop of L’Aquila from 1941 to 1950....
Wednesday, May 8, 2013 - 08:47
Glenn Beck roused the National Rifle Association's annual convention this weekend with his attacks on New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, but he also aroused criticism by a major Jewish group for depicting the mayor giving what appears to be a a Nazi salute.
The head of the Anti-Defamation League called Becks' comments "deeply offensive on so many levels," and B'nai B'rith called for Beck to apologize.
"Glenn Beck, the keynote speaker at the NRA's annual convention, trivializes the Holocaust when he compares New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to Adolf Hitler," B'nai B'rith told ABC News.
"The casual use of Nazi imagery or words serves to undermine the atrocities of the Holocaust. Glenn Beck should apologize," the organization said....
Tuesday, May 7, 2013 - 18:35
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco International Airport is not going to be renamed after slain gay rights leader Harvey Milk, after all.
Supervisor David Campos says he has abandoned the idea of putting a ballot measure on the city ballot asking voters to approve the name change he proposed in January....
Tuesday, May 7, 2013 - 16:07
LONDON — The Irish government is to reverse what has been described as a historic injustice by granting a pardon to soldiers who deserted their units to fight the Nazis in World War II.
An amnesty and immunity bill, scheduled to be enacted on Tuesday, includes an apology to some 5,000 men who faced post-war sanctions and ostracism after they quit the defense forces of neutral Ireland to join the allied war effort against Hitler.
The measure comes too late for most of the deserters — only about 100 are believed to be still alive — but it was welcomed by their families and supporters....
Tuesday, May 7, 2013 - 10:59
WASHINGTON — While most Americans have never seen Ernest Hemingway’s home in Cuba where he wrote some of his most famous books, a set of 2,000 recently digitized records delivered to the United States will give scholars and the public a fuller view of the Nobel Prize-winning novelist’s life.
A private U.S. foundation is working with Cuba to preserve more of Hemingway’s papers, books and belongings that have been kept at his home near Havana since he died in 1961. On Monday at the U.S. Capitol, U.S. Rep. James McGovern of Massachusetts and the Boston-based Finca Vigia Foundation announced that 2,000 digital copies of Hemingway papers and materials will be transferred to Boston’s John F. Kennedy Library.
This is the first time anyone in the U.S. has been able to examine these items from the writer’s Cuban estate, Finca Vigia. The records include passports showing Hemingway’s travels and letters commenting on such works as his 1954 Nobel Prize-winning “The Old Man and the Sea.” An earlier digitization effort that opened 3,000 Hemingway files in 2008 uncovered fragments of manuscripts, including an alternate ending to “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and corrected proofs of “The Old Man and the Sea.”...
Tuesday, May 7, 2013 - 10:54
WASHINGTON — A request by the Bulgarian Embassy to name a Washington intersection after a favorite native son — a man credited with helping save the country’s Jewish population from deportation — has gotten tangled up in a broader debate about whether the nation is accurately accounting for the actions of its leaders during the Holocaust.
A tense exchange between the embassy and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum has played out behind the scenes as the D.C. Council prepares to consider honoring Dimitar Peshev this month. The debate underscores not only the complexities of Holocaust history but also the difficulty countries can face reconciling the heroic deeds of an individual during World War II with the record of a nation as a whole. It also comes as historians and Jewish organizations continue encouraging nations to take unvarnished stock of their actions in Nazi-era Europe....
Tuesday, May 7, 2013 - 10:48
A historian claims he has found the site of a Dutch settlement about 100 kilometres north of Perth, that pre-dates the First Fleet.
Henry Van Zanden believes the survivors from the Dutch shipwreck Gilt Dragon in 1656 came ashore and started a tribe which may have thrived into the 19th century.
A so-called white tribe was mentioned in a newspaper report in the 1830s but it has often been dismissed as a hoax.
Mr Van Zanden believes it refers to the group of 68 survivors of the Gilt Dragon who disappeared after coming ashore....
Tuesday, May 7, 2013 - 10:06
Coded letters sent from a British prisoner of war to his parents in Cornwall have been deciphered thanks to academics at Plymouth University.
Sub Lt John Pryor was captured at Dunkirk in 1940 and sent to a German prisoner of war (PoW) camp.
He was held for the next five years but as a reward for good behaviour he was allowed to send letters home to his parents in Saltash.
Those letters contained secret messages for the British military.
The research began after military intelligence expert Barbara Bond, a pro-chancellor at the university, heard about the letters from Sub Lt Pryor's son Stephen, a university governor....
Tuesday, May 7, 2013 - 09:57