World War II Conference in New Orleans

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This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the 10th International Conference on World War II, held in New Orleans and sponsored by the National WWII Museum.

With Norman Ohler

With Norman Ohler

I was particularly interested in hearing and meeting one of the program speakers, Norman Ohler, author of Blitzed, the 2015 bestseller (since translated into 25 languages) which depicts in great detail the rampant drug abuse by both Adolf Hitler and, more generally, the German armed forces during World War II. Ohler’s presentation was quite interesting, and I enjoyed the chance to meet with him afterward 1) to get my copy of his book signed (of course), and 2) to discuss his use of Odd Nansen’s Diary, From Day to Day, in support of his arguments.  As I have written previously, Nansen was an eye-witness (in Sachsenhausen) to the use of prisoners as guinea pigs in the development and testing of ever more powerful stimulants for use in the German war effort.

With Sir Richard Evans

With Sir Richard Evans

An additional highlight was meeting another of my favorite historians, Sir Richard Evans, formerly Regius Professor of History at Cambridge University.  Evans is the author of the magisterial Third Reich trilogy, as well as a number of other important works, such as The Third Reich in History and Memory.

It turns out that Evans and I have an acquaintance in common.  Nikolaus Wachsmann, the author of KL: A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps, and now a professor at the University of London, was once Evans’s research assistant.  Wachsmann begins Chapter 11 of his own highly regarded book with an in-depth description of Odd Nansen and Tom Buergenthal.  Since Wachsmann was already well acquainted with Nansen’s diary he readily agreed to provide a “blurb” for my book, which now graces the rear dust jacket:

“A long-forgotten masterpiece.  In his secret diary, written inside the Nazi camps, the Norwegian prisoner Odd Nansen paints a deeply affecting picture of everyday terror, sketching the inmates’ lives and deaths with exceptional clarity and compassion.  Rarely has the inhumanity of the camps been captured with such humanity.”

Other highlights of the conference were meeting Richard Overy, author of The Bombers and the Bombed (on which I relied for several of my annotations), and a spell-binding Closing Keynote Address by Hershel “Woody” Williams, one of only four living World War II Medal of Honor recipients (out of 472 awarded).  Now 94, Williams was initially rejected by the Marines for being too short.  When the height requirement was subsequently lowered, he re-applied and joined the 3rd Marine Division.  For his actions on Iwo Jima on February 23, 1945 (the same day the U.S. flag was raised above Mt. Suribachi), Williams was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Truman on October 5, 1945.

Williams receiving the Medal of Honor

Williams receiving the Medal of Honor

Woody Williams today

Woody Williams today

A memorable conference!

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Upcoming Events

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Book Signings

  • February 22, 2019: Providence Athenaeum, Providence, RI
  • February 23, 2019: Village at Waterman Lake, Greenville, RI
  • February 24, 2019: Brightview Commons, Wakefield, RI
  • February 24, 2019: Atria Bay Spring Village, Barrington, RI
  • February 25, 2019: Atria Lincoln Place, Lincoln, RI
  • February 25, 2019: Atria Aquidneck, Portsmouth, RI
  • March 6, 2019: North Oaks, Pikesville, MD
  • March 7, 2019: Maris Grove Retirement Community, Glen Mills, PA
  • March 7, 2019: Blakehurst, Towson, MD
  • March 8, 2019: Brightview Perry Hall, Nottingham, MD
  • March 8, 2019: Roland Park Place, Baltimore, MD
  • March 8, 2019: Edenwald, Towson, MD
  • March 9, 2019: Springwell, Baltimore, MD
  • March 10, 2019: York, PA Jewish Community Center, York, PA
  • March 22, 2019: Viterbo University, LaCrosse, WI
  • March 24, 2019:  Milwaukee Jewish Federation, Milwaukee, WI
  • March 25, 2019: Grand Dominion, Mundelein, IL
  • March 25, 2019: Carrington Lincolnwood, Lincolnwood, IL
  • March 26, 2019: Brookdale Lake View, Chicago, IL
  • March 26, 2019: Brookdale Lisle, Lisle, IL
  • March 26, 2019: Brookdale Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL
  • March 27, 2019: The Breakers at Edgewater Beach, Chicago, IL
  • March 27, 2019: The Admiral at the Lake, Chicago, IL
  • March 27, 2019: The Carillon Club, Naperville, IL
  • April 17, 2019: Greenspon Center for Peace and Social Justice, Charlotte, NC
  • April 24, 2019: Wofford College, Spartanburg, SC
  • April 29, 2019: The Watermark, Bridgeport, CT
  • April 29, 2019: Congregation B’nai Israel, Bridgeport, CT
  • May 2, 2019: Notre Dame High School, West Haven, CT
  • May 30, 2019: The Glebe, Daleville, VA
  • May 31-June 2, 2019: Georgetown University, Washington, DC
  • June 11, 2019: Osher Lifelong Learning, Clemson University, Clemson, SC
  • June 25, 2019: Nordic Center, Duluth, MN
  • June 27, 2019: Norway House, Minneapolis, MN
  • September 15, 2019: Center for Holocaust and Minority Studies, Oslo, Norway
  • October 15, 2019: American Scandinavian Society, New York, NY
  • October 17, 2019: 55-Plus Club, Princeton, NJ
  • November 1, 2019: Oshe Lifelong Learning, Furman University, Greenville, SC
  • January 21, 2020: Alpha Delta Kappa, Raleigh, NC

People are talking


“Our lodge members greatly enjoyed the presentation and are still talking about it! As a matter of fact, we enjoyed the presentation so much that we requested an encore so that even more of our members could hear about this topic.”

- Ruth Campbell, President
Norsk Carolina Lodge, Charlotte, NC

On This Date

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February
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  • Count Folke Bernadotte’s meets with Himmler to negotiate the release of Scandinavian prisoners
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For more posts please see our archives.

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< 2019 >
February
SMTWHFS
     12
3456789
10111213141516
171819
  • Count Folke Bernadotte’s meets with Himmler to negotiate the release of Scandinavian prisoners
20212223
2425262728  
Legend
  Previous/Upcoming Engagements
  This day in history

Upcoming Events

Share

Book Signings

  • February 22, 2019: Providence Athenaeum, Providence, RI
  • February 23, 2019: Village at Waterman Lake, Greenville, RI
  • February 24, 2019: Brightview Commons, Wakefield, RI
  • February 24, 2019: Atria Bay Spring Village, Barrington, RI
  • February 25, 2019: Atria Lincoln Place, Lincoln, RI
  • February 25, 2019: Atria Aquidneck, Portsmouth, RI
  • March 6, 2019: North Oaks, Pikesville, MD
  • March 7, 2019: Maris Grove Retirement Community, Glen Mills, PA
  • March 7, 2019: Blakehurst, Towson, MD
  • March 8, 2019: Brightview Perry Hall, Nottingham, MD
  • March 8, 2019: Roland Park Place, Baltimore, MD
  • March 8, 2019: Edenwald, Towson, MD
  • March 9, 2019: Springwell, Baltimore, MD
  • March 10, 2019: York, PA Jewish Community Center, York, PA
  • March 22, 2019: Viterbo University, LaCrosse, WI
  • March 24, 2019:  Milwaukee Jewish Federation, Milwaukee, WI
  • March 25, 2019: Grand Dominion, Mundelein, IL
  • March 25, 2019: Carrington Lincolnwood, Lincolnwood, IL
  • March 26, 2019: Brookdale Lake View, Chicago, IL
  • March 26, 2019: Brookdale Lisle, Lisle, IL
  • March 26, 2019: Brookdale Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL
  • March 27, 2019: The Breakers at Edgewater Beach, Chicago, IL
  • March 27, 2019: The Admiral at the Lake, Chicago, IL
  • March 27, 2019: The Carillon Club, Naperville, IL
  • April 17, 2019: Greenspon Center for Peace and Social Justice, Charlotte, NC
  • April 24, 2019: Wofford College, Spartanburg, SC
  • April 29, 2019: The Watermark, Bridgeport, CT
  • April 29, 2019: Congregation B’nai Israel, Bridgeport, CT
  • May 2, 2019: Notre Dame High School, West Haven, CT
  • May 30, 2019: The Glebe, Daleville, VA
  • May 31-June 2, 2019: Georgetown University, Washington, DC
  • June 11, 2019: Osher Lifelong Learning, Clemson University, Clemson, SC
  • June 25, 2019: Nordic Center, Duluth, MN
  • June 27, 2019: Norway House, Minneapolis, MN
  • September 15, 2019: Center for Holocaust and Minority Studies, Oslo, Norway
  • October 15, 2019: American Scandinavian Society, New York, NY
  • October 17, 2019: 55-Plus Club, Princeton, NJ
  • November 1, 2019: Oshe Lifelong Learning, Furman University, Greenville, SC
  • January 21, 2020: Alpha Delta Kappa, Raleigh, NC
< 2019 >
February
SMTWHFS
     12
3456789
10111213141516
171819
  • Count Folke Bernadotte’s meets with Himmler to negotiate the release of Scandinavian prisoners
20212223
2425262728  
Legend
  Previous/Upcoming Engagements
  This day in history