Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafesj

Post to this Thread - Printer Friendly - Home
Page: [1] [2] [3]


Ken Burns: The War

Related threads:
PBS - Ken Burns Country Music (74)
NOT Ken Burns Country Music (3)
BS: Where to buy Ken Burns DVD in San Diego? (4)
Ken Burns's 'The Dust Bowl' (28)
If Ken Burns botched Jazz, then who... (3)
Peter T & Rick do Ken Burns and Dylan (61)
JAZZ-Ken Burns 10 part Series-2001 (44)
Ken Burns Jazz? Really that stupid? (55)


Alba 24 Sep 07 - 08:14 AM
Alba 24 Sep 07 - 08:17 AM
fretless 24 Sep 07 - 09:16 AM
Rapparee 24 Sep 07 - 09:21 AM
Alba 24 Sep 07 - 09:31 AM
Deckman 24 Sep 07 - 10:12 AM
Alba 24 Sep 07 - 10:30 AM
Amos 24 Sep 07 - 11:00 AM
katlaughing 24 Sep 07 - 11:08 AM
SINSULL 24 Sep 07 - 11:18 AM
Rapparee 24 Sep 07 - 11:46 AM
Big Al Whittle 24 Sep 07 - 12:09 PM
fretless 24 Sep 07 - 12:31 PM
Ebbie 24 Sep 07 - 12:39 PM
Desdemona 24 Sep 07 - 01:08 PM
GUEST,Neil D 24 Sep 07 - 02:49 PM
RangerSteve 24 Sep 07 - 04:30 PM
fretless 24 Sep 07 - 04:38 PM
jacqui.c 24 Sep 07 - 04:50 PM
katlaughing 24 Sep 07 - 05:38 PM
GUEST,Dani 24 Sep 07 - 07:30 PM
Don Firth 24 Sep 07 - 08:12 PM
michaelr 24 Sep 07 - 09:57 PM
Stilly River Sage 24 Sep 07 - 10:23 PM
Amos 24 Sep 07 - 11:47 PM
ard mhacha 25 Sep 07 - 04:43 AM
Alba 25 Sep 07 - 09:01 AM
Riginslinger 25 Sep 07 - 09:04 AM
Stilly River Sage 25 Sep 07 - 12:06 PM
katlaughing 25 Sep 07 - 01:23 PM
Amos 25 Sep 07 - 01:36 PM
Don Firth 25 Sep 07 - 02:00 PM
jeffp 25 Sep 07 - 04:15 PM
katlaughing 25 Sep 07 - 06:26 PM
Little Hawk 25 Sep 07 - 09:14 PM
Stilly River Sage 25 Sep 07 - 09:26 PM
GUEST,torkoff 25 Sep 07 - 10:27 PM
Matt_R 25 Sep 07 - 11:22 PM
catspaw49 26 Sep 07 - 12:03 AM
Amos 26 Sep 07 - 12:35 AM
catspaw49 26 Sep 07 - 01:59 AM
catspaw49 26 Sep 07 - 07:31 AM
Alba 26 Sep 07 - 09:39 AM
Charley Noble 26 Sep 07 - 11:23 AM
Donuel 26 Sep 07 - 11:37 AM
Greg B 26 Sep 07 - 12:40 PM
PoppaGator 26 Sep 07 - 12:57 PM
artbrooks 26 Sep 07 - 01:18 PM
Wesley S 26 Sep 07 - 01:18 PM
fretless 26 Sep 07 - 01:27 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:













Subject: Ken Burns: The War
From: Alba
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 08:14 AM

Watched the first episode last night of this 6 years in the making documentary.
In the very first episode my eyes were opened to many facts that I never really did "get" and also found myself in tears more than once.
I look forward to the next 6 episodes but in a strangely uncomfortable way. I don't know if that makes sense to anyone else.
This morning I can still see some of images in the Episode last night flashing through my head and I find myself thinking of my Dad.

Is anyone else planning on watching this Documentary?
Best Wishes,
Jude


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Ken Burns: The War
From: Alba
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 08:17 AM

Eh, perhaps a kindly Elf would remove the 'O' prefix as it was supposed to be a BS one and then pop this topic into the non-music section.
Thank you muchly in advance. A lesson to all, never write a serious post or start a thread on one cup of peppermint tea!
:)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: fretless
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 09:16 AM

It didn't knock my socks off the way The Civil War did, but The War is still darn fine. I'm assuming the final 20 minutes of segment 1 was part of the add-on requested/demanded by portions of the Latino comunity when they realized that their contributions to the war effort had been largely or entirely ignored by Burns. Leaving that controversy aside, I'm looking forward to the remaining 5 episodes.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Rapparee
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 09:21 AM

I haven't watched it and I'm not sure I can at this time.

Given the sacrifices made then by millions and contrasting it to the current situations in Afghanistan and Iraq (undeclared wars with the only sacrifices being made by those involved and their families); with people coming home minus limbs and/or with traumatic brain injury and/or PTSD and an administration that wants to cut the budget for the VA over the next ten years instead of recognizing that these problems will be with us for a very, very long time; with media that's more interested in whether or not Paris Hilton is wearing underwear than in actual news; when sports figures are arrested for everything from rape to armed robbery -- I can't really cope with it at this time.

Sorry. Perhaps it's because my family lived it, too.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Alba
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 09:31 AM

The final 20 minutes of episode one was the additional footage that was requested. Burns spoke about that last week in an interview on MSNBC.
Five more then. As I say it has captured my attention so I will be watching them all. (Thank you for the correction Fretless. I was under the impression the Documentary was to be spread over Seven episodes. Probably just me being greedy!:)

Jude


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Deckman
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 10:12 AM

Rapaire ... I couldn't agree with you MORE! Very well said. Bob


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Alba
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 10:30 AM

I truly appreciate your comments Rapaire.
I can see exactly what direction you are coming from and I must admit that I was undecided as to wether I could watch this for some time before it aired. In part to several of the reasons you have stated and because War is Hell.. Something struck me last night however and that was some of the dialouge and a number of the statements made could just as easily be applied to this present moment in time. That in itself was very revealing to me.
Thanks for your post Rapaire.
Best Wishes
Jude


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Amos
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 11:00 AM

We've taped it so far; but I will watch it slowly. My roots are also embedded in this war, in various ways.

A


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: katlaughing
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 11:08 AM

I feel the same way as Rapaire...the war we are living through right now, while much different here at home, is enough for me, Albadarlin'.

Plus, when I checked our PBS website, it said they were running a rerun of something called "War," not "The War" so I assumed it was NOT the Ken Burns series, which I also assumed because they have been advertising showings of it at a theatre near Denver, so I though it wasn't going to be on PBS for a while, if it was being released that way. Big confusion, I guess.

Anyway, I am glad you found some things of interest in it.

kat


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: SINSULL
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 11:18 AM

A combination of my aversion to John Wayne and my disgust with war made it impossible for me to watch this one. I feel the same about movies based on the Viet Nam war.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Rapparee
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 11:46 AM

I am not disgusted with war per se -- sometimes, as my Mennonite friend Kevin has said, violence is the only way left to oppose evil (he had this revelation after visiting Dachau). But:

1. My wife was 3 years old when her dad returned from Europe.
2. I was 10 months old when my father returned from the Pacific.
3. In the case of my wife, at least three maternal uncles served in Alaska, Europe, and the Pacific. I don't know about the paternal ones.
4. In my case, two maternal and three paternal ones served in the Pacific.
5. I had two uncles in Korea; at least one in WW1.
6. My two brothers served in Vietnam. I was in Korea at the same time; the only difference was that the killing in Korea was retail, in 'Nam it was wholesale.
7. I have had cousins and nephews (no nieces yet) who have served in Bosnia, Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan. One nephew is currently on 30 day leave before overseas deployment courtesy of the USMC.

8. I have seen the "thousand yard stare" on the faces of my relatives, and my wife tells me that I too sometimes have it. I know why it is there, but it is impossible to explain to someone who "hasn't seen the elephant."

I will probably watch the show someday. Not right now, though. Thanks, anyway.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 12:09 PM

I loved The Civil War series.

do you have a clicky to take me to details of this Ken Burns epic?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: fretless
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 12:31 PM

Try this for The Civil War.

As for The War, I think Burns did a good job in the first episode to make it clear that there was more going on than "What a good time we had in the 1940s killing the bad guys," but I think he still falls too easily into the trap of seeing WWII as "the good war." But this is only episode 1 and there was enough there to suggest hints of balance. I'm willing to hope that whole package will be worth watching (and, since it is on PBS, rewatching).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Ebbie
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 12:39 PM

I too watched it last night and will probably watch most of the rest of the series.

Coming from a pacifistic background, it has a poignancy to me that may be quantitatively different from others'. War, by its very nature and rationale seems such an atavistic thing to me that I will never condone it. At the same time, I recognize that as long as rage exists, as long as families fight amongst themselves, as long as countries disagree, the possibility of war exists.

Why we can't resist and resolve disputes at the very top instead of sending people to fight each other physically and to the death in our name is incomprehensible to me.

I was not aware that the east coast of American was so late in instating 'blackouts'. I remember them very well on the west coast although I don't know in what month they began.

Being raised as I was, we didn't have a radio so local people came by and told us of when a blackout order was issued. The only thing that wasn't made clear to a 5-year-old kid was that the blackout didn't necessarily mean that the Japanese airplanes were overhead looking for a glimmer of light from our house. It terrified me if my parents were late in drawing the curtains or lighting the oil lamps.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Desdemona
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 01:08 PM

I absolutely loved "The Civil War" (most of which I saw in the wee small hours of the morning while soothing a teething baby, now 16!), but I'm feeling conflicted about this one, for primarily personal reasons. At this point I'm not sure if I'll watch it or not; aside from my own feelings, the reviews have been extremely mixed, to say the least.

My father was a GI in WWII, and my mother was a British war bride, so I, too grew up steeped in this story...I heard about this series on NPR last spring, only a few weeks after my Dad had suddenly passed away. My first thought was, "Oh, Dad will *love* this!" before that stunned, slapped-in-the-face feeling hit me. So we'll see; it may be that I'll have to wait and see it at a later date.

~D


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: GUEST,Neil D
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 02:49 PM

"Civil War" was the best program ever seen on television. I also greatly enjoyed "Baseball" amd what I was able to catch of "Jazz".
Ken Burns is a brilliant filmmaker so I have looked forward all summer to seeing his latest work, "The War".
   So far I have not been disappointed. I don't think it is quite on a par with "Civil War" but still very good. The angle of focusing on four communities, both the service men from them and the people left behind gives it a personal feel. The technique of mixing real war footage, photographs, live interviews and NO re-enactments was top-notch as usual. (My wife whose sharp eye could enable her to do continuity for movies busted him using some of the same footage for different battles. I, myself, didn't catch it as I was working the NY Times Crossword while I watched and I hope this bit of sloppiness doesn't become so obvious as to be a distraction.)
   World War II was such a defining historic event that I think it well warrants a look back. I understand the feeling of war-weariness some have expressed and lack of interest in revisiting "The Big One"
but I for one will continue to watch and learn and remember my Dad who was "in for the duration."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: RangerSteve
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 04:30 PM

My father was in the war, as were most of my friends fathers, so this is reacent history to me, and I've heard most of it before this show came on. It was still interesting, but brutal. The description of the Bataan Death March nearly did me in. amd the part about Guadalcanal finished the job. I'm not sure I can handle 5 more nights, so I'll probably wait until the DVD is available and watch it in smaller doses.

One thing, though. While I agree that the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were brutal and I'd prefer it never happened, there are people who act as though we bombed the Care Bears factory. They need to see that first episode to realize what we were really up against.

ALso, I realize that this is about the U.S. in the war, not an entire history of the war. In a way, that's too bad. There's probably a lot that was glossed over in school about the beginning of the war in Europe.

I agree about the Civil War being the best thing in the history of TV. Howver, Jazz fell short for me. Not enough music. It was like experiencing Thanksgiving dinner by having it described to you.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: fretless
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 04:38 PM

Neil, I too saw the footage being repeated, but I didn't catch it as being represented as different battles, just different takes on the same battles. I'll have to watch the remaining episodes more closely.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: jacqui.c
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 04:50 PM

I grew up with a series called 'The World At War' that was shown in the UK. I suppose that WWII was always more with us in the UK - I lived in London and when I was growing up there were still bomb sites around and recounting of the Blitz was something that we heard quite often. I knew people who had been held in prisoner of war camps both by the Germans and the Japanese.

It is interesting to see this account of the War from an American perspective and I will continue to watch it for now.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: katlaughing
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 05:38 PM

My uncle got caught in Guadalcanal. I am glad I didn't watch this last night. He wound up, wounded, in a foxhole for a terribly long time and had to convalesce in New Zealand a full year before thwy would allow him to travel home. He killed himself, years later, because he couldn't get over the horrors he experienced and perpetrated as a U.S. Marine in WWII.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: GUEST,Dani
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 07:30 PM

Caught the last 30 min or so last night, and I thought it was very good. Especially the man who was speaking about his experiences with the Marines near the end. Very moving. I'll try to catch more of it, probably a good candidate for Netflix.

What was the very haunting song sung by a very familiar female voice, something about what was given for America? It was just beautiful, a perfect counterpoint to the horror of war footage.

Not that there IS a lighter note to war docs, but a funny side note: when we first moved to the South 10 or 12 years ago, we had begun watching the Civil War series (amazing; everyone should see it, especially students). Went to our local, teeny-tiny movie store for our VHS tapes one at a time, week or so in between. One evening, as he handed the next one over the counter, the clerk fixed us with a serious look and said, "This one's whar it startit goin bad fer ar boys....."

Dani


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Don Firth
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 08:12 PM

I watched every episode of "The Civil War" and was thoroughly enthralled—and educated, not just to the historical details which I had learned in school, but to the human factors as well, which I thought Burns did a fine job bringing forth.

My wife and I watched the first episode of "The War" last night, and we plan to watch the whole thing. I was ten years old when Pearl Harbor was attacked, and I followed the news avidly as the war progressed. Barbara was barely more than a toddler when WWII started, and as she grew up, she had the impression that "news" meant war news. Food rationing and gasoline rationing, buying Defense Bonds (later War Bonds), scrap drives, blackout curtains, air raid wardens—all these things, I remember very well. I had an uncle in the Merchant Marine and a cousin who survived the Bataan Death March and subsequent imprisonment.

Again, Ken Burns is getting right down to the nitty-gritty. Barbara and I find it uncomfortable to watch and more than just a bit unsettling. Nevertheless, we're sticking with it. There is much to be reminded of, there is much to learn that we didn't know at the time, and there is a great deal to think about.

One thing to ponder deeply is the question of how so many of the fine peoples of countries such as Japan, with its delicate art work, beautiful gardens, and ritual courtesy; and Germany, with its lofty level of education and science, and its wealth of philosophy, literature, and music can, when cetain leaders take the helm, allow themselves to be turned into the most cruel and vicious of brutes.

It reminds us to look to ourselves to be sure of our own values. And to chose our leaders wisely, and then watch them carefully, always with a level of skepticism. We need to be especially sensitive to the kind of madness that led to the horrors of World War II, to recognize it, and to stop it immediately when it reappears.

Watch the series. "Those who do not learn from history. . . ."

Don Firth


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: michaelr
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 09:57 PM

Don wrote: "One thing to ponder deeply is the question of how so many of the fine peoples of countries such as Japan, with its delicate art work, beautiful gardens, and ritual courtesy; and Germany, with its lofty level of education and science, and its wealth of philosophy, literature, and music can, when cetain leaders take the helm, allow themselves to be turned into the most cruel and vicious of brutes."

Amen to that. It is crucially relevant to what Americans are allowing to happen now. I cannot believe there aren't millions of Americans out protesting Bush's crime every day.

Michael


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 10:23 PM

I agree with Don. We need this reminder of the history we don't want to repeat. It is gruesome, and it is recent enough that it hits home. It needs to. Too bad Dubya didn't see something like this before he decided to invade a sovereign nation. As Don said . . . with its lofty level of education and science, and its wealth of philosophy, literature, and music can, when certain leaders take the helm, allow themselves to be turned into the most cruel and vicious of brutes. That applies to the U.S. now, not just to Japan or Germany in WWII.

Both of my parents served in WWII. Dad didn't talk about it much, Mom spoke of it frequently, and she spent 18 months in Japan after the war. No, it the atomic bombs weren't dropped on Care Bear factories. They were dropped on Japanese civilians. Mom was appalled.

SRS


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Amos
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 11:47 PM

I just watch the first episode. It is an awesome job of wide coverage with some rich details.

There were recently discovered a series of private phtoos of the Germans running Auschwitz in their leisure moments, lounging and having a glass of red, gathering at a retreat n the woods and so on. It is mind boggling to see their ordinary human, smiling faces and realize there was a death factory waiting for them Monday morning.

We're popping for the DVD set of The War. It is incredibly rich and stirring stuff, and also grim and horrifying and heartbreaking. But it is something not to forget. It is the kind of understanding that W so profoundly lacked when he signed the marching orders for Iraq.

A


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: ard mhacha
Date: 25 Sep 07 - 04:43 AM

I hope Ken Burns didn`t start with Pearl Harbour, as I remember it was 1939 to 1945.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Alba
Date: 25 Sep 07 - 09:01 AM

ard mharcha here is a link if you would like to read more about this Film The War: Ken Burns
Best Wishes
Jude


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Riginslinger
Date: 25 Sep 07 - 09:04 AM

I started to watch it, but I guess I'm just too sick of war.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 25 Sep 07 - 12:06 PM

The point made by some of us is we NEED to be sick of war. Sick enough to finally make a stand.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: katlaughing
Date: 25 Sep 07 - 01:23 PM

NPR did a story, this morning, on one of the soldiers who evidently was featured in this documentary. It was stunning. I sat in my car in a parking lot, tears rolling down my face as I listened. Audio is enough for me to remember; I cannot take the images into my heart and mind. It is a self-protection for me not to watch it and I have no problem remembering, ever, what I have already seen and heard about this war since I was very young.

Here is the bit from NPR (the audio is avialable, plus more stories HERE on Morning Edition):

Vernon Tott quit high school and snuck into the military so he could fight for his country. Like many soldiers, Tott learned to accept the realities of war. His 84th Infantry Division fought in the Battle of the Bulge and lost a third of its troops. But, when Tott's battalion headed toward the city of Hannover, sic Germany, in April 1945, members of the 84th were totally unprepared for their next encounter.

"There was a road," says concentration camp survivor Ben Sieradzki. "And we saw soldiers. One of them brought out a ... baseball."

The barely alive survivors of the Ahlem slave labor camp realized the soldiers must be Americans.

"We started screaming, 'Come on up here, come on up here,' and some of them were just bewildered. They didn't know it was a concentration camp," Sieradzki said.

Tott, who died in 2005 from cancer, said he and the other soldiers were unaware of the existence of the camps and were shocked at what they saw.

"We were witnessing hell on earth," Tott said at an 84th Infantry reunion. "Piles of dead bodies. Men in ragged clothing that were just skin and bones ... Me and the soldiers with me, it made us sick to your stomachs and even cried what we seen there."

Forgetting the War

What the soldiers saw were wraithlike prisoners, some near death lying in their own urine, ravaged by dysentery, typhus and other diseases. A few days before, German guards marched hundreds of able-bodied prisoners to the Bergen-Belsen death camp. They left those too sick, like Sieradzki, to die.

Not quite believing what he saw and wanting to share his horrified disbelief with family back in Sioux City, Iowa, Tott pulled out his pocket camera.

"Actually, the infantrymen weren't supposed to carry cameras, but a lot of them did, so I got a lot of pictures during the war," he said.

After the war, Tott stashed his photographs from Ahlem in a shoebox on a shelf in his basement in Sioux City. He put the war behind him.

"I think so many people put away that stuff on a shelf and wanted to forget," said his stepdaughter, Donna Jensen. "I think our whole country's put it on a shelf."

Stepson Jon Sadler remembers rummaging through the basement with his friends and sneaking peeks at the photos.

"In junior high, we'd open up the box and think, boy, this is terrible," Sadler said. "Look what my dad saw in the war. We just always assumed nobody ... in those pictures [survived]. They looked so horrible and sick."

Searching for the Photographer

For 50 years, Tott held the same assumption. Then, in his army newsletter in 1995, Tott spotted an inquiry from Sieradzki, a retired engineer in Berkeley, Calif. Sieradzki was searching for whoever took photographs of himself and other prisoners when Ahlem was liberated.

Tott went into his basement and found his old shoebox. He called Sieradzki, who remembers, "The telephone rang. 'My name is Vernon Tott and I think you're looking for me.' And I said, 'Are you still a tall blonde fellow?' And he said, 'Not any longer.'"

The two men talked many times that day. Tott made copies of his black-and-white snapshots and sent them to Sieradzki. In one of the photos, Sieradzki saw dead bodies piled on the ground in front of some barracks. In the foreground, was a huddle of skeletal prisoners. On the extreme left he saw himself.

Just hours before that picture was taken, the prisoners were handed some civilian clothes. Sieradzki changed out of his striped, ragged uniform into a "funny looking" jacket, hat and pants, which were too long, so he stuck them in his socks. This is the only known photograph of Sieradzki at liberation.

Sieradzki was 18 years old and weighed less than 80 pounds. He had endured more than five years of unimagined misery. It started in 1939, when his family was forced to live in a rundown slum district in Lodz, Poland, with 200,000 other Jews, called the Lodz Ghetto.

During this time, Sieradzki's parents and one sister were taken away and killed. His other sister died in the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. Sieradzki survived three concentration camps, including Auschwitz, and eventually ended up in the slave labor camp called Ahlem, near Hannover, Germany. Near the end, his worsening health confined him to the barracks.

"They called people like me musselmen — goners," he writes in a short story about the war years. "Other prisoners started to steal my ration of food. There was no use to waste food on the likes of me."

An older cousin of Sieradzki's arrived as a new prisoner to the camp and urged him to eat. He says his cousin, a man who already lost his wife and young children in the gas chambers at Auschwitz, gave him hope.

When Sieradzki saw Tott's pictures of the Ahlem camp 50 years later, he was angry at first. The photographs released a flood of dark memories. But then Sieradzki was grateful, he said, "because I had no record of that horrible time, and here I am."

There were other official photographs taken at Ahlem. The Red Cross filmed the camp, but Sieradzki describes Tott as his true witness — and not because he helped liberate the camp. It's for what he did later with his photographs.

Tott realized there might be other survivors, like Sieradzki. And perhaps, he could provide them a piece of their past. So, he launched a quest to track them down.

The Angel of Ahlem

Eventually, Tott located nearly 30 Ahlem survivors, across the United States and in Canada, Sweden and Israel. More than 16 are in his photographs. In 2001, he returned to Hannover with three of those survivors to help dedicate a memorial at Ahlem. And he traveled to Poland for the 60th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto.

In 2003, Tott's name was inscribed on a wall of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.

"To Vernon W. Tott, My Liberator and Hero," Ahlem survivor Jack Tramiel had engraved on the wall. Tramiel, founder of Commodore Computer, is also a founder of the Holocaust Museum.

"I have to make sure that this man is going to be remembered for what he has done," Tramiel said. "His family should know that he is to us, a hero. He's my angel."

Earlier this year, Tott's hometown, Sioux City, hosted the premiere of a documentary about him, called Angel of Ahlem, produced by the University of Florida's Documentary Institute. More than 1,000 people came to see the film at the historic downtown Orpheum Theatre, including some survivors. They also had the chance to walk through the first public exhibit of Tott's photographs.

In May, Angel of Ahlem was shown at New York City's Lincoln Center. Nearly a dozen survivors were there — reunited because of Tott, his pocket camera and his unwavering determination.

The documentary was introduced by another member of the 84th Infantry, who helped liberate Ahlem, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

"There's nothing I'm more proud of, of my service to this country than having been one of those who had the honor of liberating the Ahlem concentration camp," Kissinger told the audience.

Kissinger grew up in Germany and became a U.S. citizen in 1943. He said many articles have described him as being traumatized during his childhood in Nazi Germany.

"That's nonsense," he said, "They were not yet killing people. A traumatic event was to see Ahlem.

"It was the single most shocking experience I have ever had."

And then Kissinger made a special request. He invited the survivors to come up on the stage and have a picture taken with him.

Slowly, deliberately, the white-haired survivors — who'd been brutalized, then rescued from desperate circumstances, so many years before — made their way to the Lincoln Center stage. As they gathered, it was clear that the most important person missing from this one last photograph was Vernon Tott.

Story produced by NPR's Cindy Carpien with help from the University of Florida's Documentary Institute, Duane Kraayenbrink and Gretchen Gondek of member station KWIT in Sioux City, Iowa, Brian Bull of Wisconsin Public Radio, and producer Kara Oehler. The music from the documentary Angel of Ahlem, heard in the NPR story, was composed by Todd Boekelheide.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Amos
Date: 25 Sep 07 - 01:36 PM

Dear God in Heaven. These stories, and the stories of the Bataan Death March I saw last night, are neough to make you give up on humanity. Well, not quite.

Burns reorted that at the surrender of Bataan to the Japanese, the American general's only question was whether his men would be treated decently. "Of course. We are not barbarians." was the reply of the Japanese general accepting the surrender.

I guess neither of them knew what they were getting into.


A


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Don Firth
Date: 25 Sep 07 - 02:00 PM

We need to be reminded again and again of these things until we, as a species, finally get it.

Don Firth


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: jeffp
Date: 25 Sep 07 - 04:15 PM

kat, I heard that story this morning as I was driving in to work. I was about to put in a CD as it came on and decided, "I'll go ahead and listen to this one." I'm glad I did. Sometimes we need to be reminded that there are, and always have been, good people.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: katlaughing
Date: 25 Sep 07 - 06:26 PM

It was pretty incredible, wasn't it, jeff? Just the hearing of it, the images rolled through my mind and I couldn't stop the tears.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Little Hawk
Date: 25 Sep 07 - 09:14 PM

In many cases the Japanese frontline commander did not know what horrors their Allied prisoners would soon face in the prison camps, so the Japanese general was probably quite sincere in what he said, Amos.

In other cases, however, Japanese frontline commanders and soldiers were utterly brutal and merciless to Allied prisoners. It all depends on who, when, and where.

And for that matter, American soldiers were often totally brutal to Japanese prisoners, torturing and executing them without reason or justification...just a vendetta mentality. (revenge for Bataan and other such incidents) My family knew a US Marine Corps sergeant from that war who fought through the island campaigns, and he told me that a lot of that happened, despite his efforts to prevent it from happening. He wanted the enemy prisoners kept alive and treated decently, partly from a sense of honor, partly because live prisoners can sometimes provide valuable information...but a lot of his men didn't have any intention of sparing the lives of any captured Japanese...and he couldn't watch them all constantly in the heat of battle.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 25 Sep 07 - 09:26 PM

There was a wonderful British serial drama on many years ago called Tenko that dealt with a lot of this, women in a POW camp. It was like watching a car wreck, and you usually knew what was coming, but it kept us riveted.

SRS


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: GUEST,torkoff
Date: 25 Sep 07 - 10:27 PM

quote from above:
"In many cases the Japanese frontline commander did not know what horrors their Allied prisoners would soon face in the prison camps, so the Japanese general was probably quite sincere in what he said, Amos.

In other cases, however, Japanese frontline commanders and soldiers were utterly brutal and merciless to Allied prisoners. It all depends on who, when, and where.

And for that matter, American soldiers were often totally brutal to Japanese prisoners, torturing and executing them without reason or justification...just a vendetta mentality. (revenge for Bataan and other such incidents) My family knew a US Marine Corps sergeant from that war who fought through the island campaigns, and he told me that a lot of that happened, despite his efforts to prevent it from happening. He wanted the enemy prisoners kept alive and treated decently, partly from a sense of honor, partly because live prisoners can sometimes provide valuable information...but a lot of his men didn't have any intention of sparing the lives of any captured Japanese...and he couldn't watch them all constantly in the heat of battle."

This brainless posting is just the kind of thing that would be settled by actually watching the show that is being talked about in the topic Ken Burns: The War

If the writer had bothered to actually see the episode referred to he (or she) would have seen a description, eloquent and brief, at the disjunction between the Allied attitude and that of the Japanese.

"Will my men be treated well?"
"Of course, we are not barbarians."

But the Japanese by culture and training believed that surrender was a sign of cowardice, hence they treated the prisoners as sub-humans. The Bataan death march recounts the emptying of canteens, the casual slaughter of the laggards, or those who merely couldn't understand orders barked in Japanese.

As for the allied soldiers, the series has recounted in their own words that after finding their own buddies dismembered and disfigured, they stopped taking prisoners.

What part about "War Is Hell" do you not understand? If you are not interested in the specifics of THIS particular hell, start your own thread about how you feel about NOT seeing the series.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Matt_R
Date: 25 Sep 07 - 11:22 PM

I'm a huge World War II buff. Every book I've read since May (30 or more) have been nonfiction about the war. In my spare time I build World War II armor. I REALLY want to see this but have no cable. :-(


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: catspaw49
Date: 26 Sep 07 - 12:03 AM

Got some letters and a word for ya'........DVD-Library

Spaw


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Amos
Date: 26 Sep 07 - 12:35 AM

Matt:

Your dad should be proud to spot you the proce of the DVDs. I believe they're about $100 for th whole War.

Such a boggain!


A


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: catspaw49
Date: 26 Sep 07 - 01:59 AM

Times were better then weren't they? A hundred dollars gets you a whole war. And to think how much Iraq has cost us..............................

Spaw


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: catspaw49
Date: 26 Sep 07 - 07:31 AM

As it happens often with Ken Burns, every episode seems better than the last. Later as you review the series you realize that isn't quite true but in the "present" that is often the way it seems. Last nights program was for me extremely compelling and told well the story of the effect of a war for entire families which is of course one of the themes of The War.

Its not traditional history even from the American viewpoint but it is the history untold by most.

Spaw


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Alba
Date: 26 Sep 07 - 09:39 AM

Yes Spaw, last night's episode was very compelling.
Babe's letters home had me bawling my eyes out and his Mother sending him letters written in Italian and telling him to visit his relatives in Rome..oh..heartbreaking.
Jude


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Charley Noble
Date: 26 Sep 07 - 11:23 AM

I watched last evening's episode as well. Most likely the standard for the entire series will be as good. It certainly makes a sharp constrast to the more one-sided contemporary newsreels, which are effectively made use of in the Burns series. It was years before the families in the states had much appreciation of how tough this war was, and the mistakes that were made but were censored from public release. Some degree of censorship is understandable in any major war but it also makes sense to show our dead soldiers, our sinking ships, and our airplanes in flames to harden resolve at home; evidently there was some change in policy in 1944 to release more grim footage.

On the family level my father had a tough time in this war although he was much too old to volunteer or be drafted. His challenge? Well, his name was Adolph. My parents took care to name my brother and me more mundane names such as Bob and Charley!

Charley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Donuel
Date: 26 Sep 07 - 11:37 AM

The interconnectedness of certain small anecdotes are showing up all over the place in this documentary. I anticipate many of them being puled together in later episodes such as the final fate of the Indianapolis.

Anzio and Monti Casini were portrayed well as the long drawn out carnage reminiscent of the civil war.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Greg B
Date: 26 Sep 07 - 12:40 PM

Two things struck me about the first episode, which I just
got around to watching. The first was that many of the photographs
seemed very familiar; I did some multimedia work on the subject
30 years ago, and recognized some of the great war photos that
I myself used.

The second was the vibrancy and youthfulness of many of the veterans
being interviewed. In an age where WWII vets are dying off at a rate
of hundreds per day, some of the interviewees seem to have sipped from
the Fountain of Youth.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: PoppaGator
Date: 26 Sep 07 - 12:57 PM

Note to Matt R (25 Sep 07 - 11:22 PM ) who thinks he can't watch this because he has "no cable":

"The War" is on PBS, which is NOT a cable network. The Public Broadcasting System maintains on-the-air broadcasting stations in virtually every media market in the USA. Check your local listings!

I'm sad to see that some folks say they won't watch because it's too depressing, etc.

People NEED to see just how brutal and evil and stupid war really is. Maybe then there wouldn't be so many naive young men and women signing up for our "volunteer" army, and our leaders would be less able to pander to their war-profiteer sponsors by going off half-cocked on misguided international adventures, with their cavalier attitude towards other people's lives.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: artbrooks
Date: 26 Sep 07 - 01:18 PM

I missed the first two episodes. We buried my father, who served 53 months in combat in World War II and the Korean War, at Arlington National Cemetery on Monday. I think I'll skip it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Wesley S
Date: 26 Sep 07 - 01:18 PM

Yes - It's important that all the folks who were raised on John Wayne films have a chace to see war for what it really is.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: fretless
Date: 26 Sep 07 - 01:27 PM

My one complaint about the series so far is that it has tended to represent the U.S. as universally mobilized on behalf of the war effort. The reality seems to have been more complex: my father was stationed in rural Tennessee at one point during the war, and my mother moved down with my two sisters to be near him. I grew up with her descriptions of a local population that saw the war as something that belonged exclusively to the hated "North," and a local economy that was dedicated to profiteering off the enlisted men and their families. Burns has hinted at this with one reference to an estimate that fully a quarter of the domestic economic transactions during the war involved the black market, but a more nuanced picture of the U.S. home front would be welcome.

I was born after the war. When I was a kid our toys often included kiddie versions of military gear, and our games on the U.S. East Coast included nonstructured role play of WWII battles. My recollection is that these were games of GIs vs. Japs much more frequently than they were GIs vs. Germans. And the enemy was almost always imaginary, because none of us would role play Japs the way we occasionally did Indians or robbers (in cowboys vs. Indians and cops vs. robbers). War games were, in my experience, boys' activities, and my daughter never indulged. So here's my question: did boys in the 70s, 80s, and 90s play GIs vs. Viet Cong, and to boys in the 90s and today play GIs vs. Al Qaeda/Iraqis?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
Next Page

  Share Thread:
More...


You must be a member to post in non-music threads. Join here.


You must be a member to post in non-music threads. Join here.



Mudcat time: 27 October 12:54 AM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.