British WW2 Veteran Recalls How General Rommel Saved His Life
He was viewed as Hitler’s finest general, admired even by the Allies for his skills as a military leader.
But to one captured British soldier, Erwin Rommel was the man who saved his life – and gave him beer and cigarettes. Captain Roy Wooldridge, from the Royal Engineers, has told how he was introduced to the ‘Desert Fox’ after being taken prisoner in France. He had been caught during a covert night-time reconnaissance mission ahead of the D-Day landings. Without uniform or identification due to the secrecy of the operation, he was treated as a spy and told he would be shot.
But Field Marshal Rommel requested a meeting with the new prisoner and asked the Brit if there was anything he needed.
Captain Wooldridge said he replied: ‘A good meal, a pint of beer and a packet of cigarettes.’ To his astonishment he was then ushered into Rommel’s mess, where all three items were waiting for him.
Capt Wooldridge, now 95, saved the empty cigarette packet as a souvenir and will recount his adventure on Sunday’s edition of Antiques Roadshow.
He said: ‘I was told that Rommel always wanted to meet men who had been doing something unusual when they were captured.
‘I was meant to have been shot. I was told on several occasions during my interrogation that is what would happen unless I talked.
‘Hitler had issued orders that commandos were to be shot but Rommel declined to obey that instruction. Rommel saved my life. He was a very fine German and a clean fighter.’
As well as the cigarette packet, Capt Wooldridge’s Military Cross and Bar and a photo of him being presented with a ribbon to his MC by British army chief Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery will also be on display on the show.
He is told by the programme’s experts that his collection is worth as much as £10,000 – but to applause from onlookers, he responds: ‘Not for sale.’
Capt Wooldridge was awarded the MC for a death-defying mission to clear a path through a minefield in Alamein while under mortar fire, and the Bar for his role in Operation Tarbrush, the mission that led to his capture.
The operation took place during a remarkable two weeks in which he got married, met the King to receive his MC, was captured and encountered Rommel.
Capt Wooldridge, from Hendy, Glamorgan, said: ‘I was on my honeymoon in London and … there was a telegram asking me to report to my unit immediately and that Mrs Wooldridge was not to travel with me.
Reconnaissance photos had spotted these obstacles just below the waterline and they couldn’t determine from the pictures what they were.
‘They suspected they were some form of mine.’
Capt Wooldridge joined a group of four to carry out a series of covert night-time inspections – but on the last mission, they were seen by a German boat and captured.
He recalled: ‘We were taken to a house and interrogated for two weeks. They wanted to know what we had been doing but I didn’t say anything.
‘After that I was taken to a chateau and given a cup of tea and some cake. I was told to have a wash and smarten up because I was going to see someone very important.
‘I was marched into a room and there behind a desk was Rommel. I recognised him immediately because I had studied photographs of him while in the Western Desert.’
He continued: ‘Rommel asked me what I was doing in France but I didn’t say anything. He then asked me if there was anything I required.
‘I just said I could do with a pint of beer, a packet of cigarettes and a good meal. Then I was dismissed.
‘I was taken to his mess and served by his waiter and on the table was a stein [mug] of beer, cigarettes and a plate of food. I couldn’t understand it.’
Capt Wooldridge was taken to a PoW camp in northern Germany where he remained for the rest of the war.
He went on to become principal of Derby College of Art and Technology.
His wife Phyllis died 25 years ago, and he has two sons and three grandchildren.
German Grandmother, 87, is Jailed for Saying that „the Holocaust is the Greatest Lie in History”
A German grandmother has been sentenced to ten months in jail for saying Auschwitz was a labour camp.
Ursula Haverbeck, who is a friend of Gudrun Burwitz – elderly daughter of Heinrich Himmler – was sentenced in a court in Hamburg for sedition over an interview she gave to a TV denying that Jews were murdered in extermination camps.
In the interview with the german ARD network she claimed the camp of Auschwitz in Poland was nothing more than a labour camp for jews, communists and criminals.
Haverbeck has been sentenced several times in the past for her trenchant views supporting the National Socialists. Around 30 NS activists were in court in Hamburg to support her. During her defence she said that “the Holocaust was the greatest and longest lived lie in history”.
Judge Björn Jönsson struggled to maintain his temper with the elderly woman after she said she shlouldn’t be punished for the crime again as she had already been fined twice and given a suspended sentence for previous “Holocaust denials”.
He said: “I do not have to prove the Holocaust to you, same as I do not have to prove that the earth is round. It is futile to discuss facts with people like you. A thief who steals the same thing again and again is punished again and again”.
The zionist prosecutor in the case stormed: “It is regrettable that a woman who is still so vivid in her old age wastes her energy trying to spread such a hair-raising bullshit”.
France: Swastika Banner Displayed for Film Causes 6 Million Tears
I cannot believe the lack of responsibility showed by these film makers.
Displaying swastikas like this could easily result in another 60 trillion Jews being stuffed into pizza ovens. I agree with the many people who cried about this. We must never let another 60 trillion Jews be deposited into pizza ovens.
A gigantic Nazi banner sparked confusion and anger in Nice ahead of filming for a World War Two film.
The red flag, which featured a Nazi swastika, was hung from a government building during a pre-filming exercise in the French city of Nice.
Tourist Andrew Gentry told a local newspaper that locals reacted angrily when two men unfurled the banner on the Palais de la Prefecture.
“People started screaming… they were really agitated,” he told BBC News.
“There was nothing around to explain what was going on. The scene was just surreal.”
He added that tourists began taking selfies in front of the banner, which will be used in a film adaptation of French author Joseph Joffo’s memoir, A Bag of Marbles, about growing up during the Holocaust.
The Palais de la Prefecture defended its decision to allow the banner to be hung from its building, insisting it had informed the local community about the plans.
It said in a statement they had contacted the Jewish community in Nice, adding there was a “duty to remember” the horrors of the Nazi regime, the BBC reports.
The Prefecture will be used in the film to represent Nice’s Excelsior hotel during Nazi Germany’s occupation of the city in 1943.
SS captain Alois Brunner, one of the world’s most wanted Nazi, made the hotel his headquarters after Italy signed an unconditional armistice with the Allies.
‘Hitler Was Right’ Posters Popping Up at UK University Campus
A number of anti-Semitic posters have been plastered across the campus of Birmingham University,
including one with the slogan “Hitler was Right”. The West Midlands Police are investigating the case. The posters were discovered by Students’ Guild Education Officer Izzy Lenga, who posted a photo to Twitter.
The poster, and others like it, have since been removed from campus by the police who are investigating the matter as a “hate crime”. They will be forensically investigating the posters, as well as examining CCTV footage and talking to students and staff in an attempt to track down the perpetrators.
The posters are part of a wider trend of increasing anti-Semitism which seems to be taking hold across the country. In Stamford Hill, London, police are investigating after graffiti saying “death to da jew” was found scrawled across a window ledge.
A spokesman from the Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “This is a worrying and disturbing thing to see at a British university at a time when the number of recorded antisemitic incidents is rising, and when Jewish people are actively being targeted and killed in Europe and beyond.
“We have heard from a Jewish student organisation that they’ve had students express their discomfort and alarm at seeing a poster of Hitler suggesting support for Nazism. The reaction of the police and university must be serious and tough in order to reassure Jews and non-Jews alike that this will not be tolerated. The perpetrators of his hate crime must be found and brought to justice with zero tolerance.”
Sergeant David Cotter from West Midlands Police told the Campaign Against Antisemitism: “We take reports of hate crime extremely seriously and are working closely with the university to make it a safe place for everyone who works and studies there. This kind of behaviour is offensive and completely unacceptable and our investigation to identify those responsible is already progressing.”
Deborah Walker, Head of Communications at the University of Birmingham said: “We unreservedly condemn racist graffiti on campus. We have reported the matter to West Midlands Police and are working with them to identify those involved.
“Our University is a community of 150 nations and we are proud to be situated in a vibrant multi-cultural city. Discrimination of any kind will not be tolerated. We are therefore actively working with a range of groups to bring people together and ensure that our university is a place where diversity is celebrated and everyone plays their part in creating a vibrant and welcoming community.”
Patriotic German Politician Faces 5 Years in Prison for Showing Auschwitz Tattoo at Swimming Pool
A patriotic German politician who has a concentration camp tattooed on his back could be imprisoned.
Marcel Zech, 27, has been charged after appearing in public with a detailed drawing of the entrance to Auschwitz.
He also has the saying Jedem das Seine (‘to each his own’) written under the drawing, which was captured by a jewish photographer at pool in Oranienburg, a town 15 miles outside Berlin.
The words were emblazoned over the entrance to the Buchenwald concentration camp.
Zech, a member of a state council, faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison if convicted under strict laws which ban the display of “Nazi imagery”, according to the BBC.
He is a member of the National Democratic Party, and won a seat on the council of the state of Barnim, which is in north-east Germany and borders Poland.
Zech made the pool visit on November 21, where he was pictured with his tattoo on display.
Local police launched a manhunt at the start of this month to find the man’s identity, which led prosecutors in the town of Neuruppin to name Zech on Friday.
Zech has a criminal record for “race hate crimes”. In June this year he was ordered to pay €360 after posing as a police officer to try to learn the identities of anti-fascist demonstrators who tore down his party’s posters in his hometown.
In a 2013 court appearance he was fined €1,200 for assault. He won his council seat in 2014.
He has been seen at least once before swimming in a lake with his tattoos on show. On his stomach he has the old Reich eagle tattooed – not a forbidden symbol. On his left arm he has a black sun.
Germany’s Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the domestic intelligence agency, lists him as a ‘neo-Nazi’.
He belongs to one group which provocatively buried a wooden swastika in the ground opposite the gates of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp near Berlin.
Zech has so far declined to comment on the charges.
Joseph Kennedy: Hardcore Antisemite, Hitler Lover
Arriving at London in early 1938, newly-appointed U.S. Ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy took up quickly with another transplanted American.
Viscountess Nancy Witcher Langhorne Astor assured Kennedy early in their friendship that he should not be put off by her pronounced and proud anti-Catholicism. “I’m glad you are smart enough not to take my [views] personally,” she wrote.
Astor pointed out that she had a number of Roman Catholic friends – G.K. Chesterton among them – with whom she shared, if nothing else, a profound hatred for the Jewish race.
Joe Kennedy, in turn, had always detested Jews generally, although he claimed several as friends individually. Indeed, Kennedy seems to have tolerated the occasional Jew in the same way Astor tolerated the occasional Catholic.
As fiercely anti-Communist as they were anti-Semitic, Kennedy and Astor looked upon Adolf Hitler as a welcome solution to both of these “world problems” (Nancy’s phrase). No member of the so-called “Cliveden Set” (the informal cabal of appeasers who met frequently at Nancy Astor’s palatial home) seemed much concerned with the dilemma faced by Jews under the Reich. Astor wrote Kennedy that Hitler would have to do more than just “give a rough time” to “the killers of Christ” before she’d be in favor of launching ”Armageddon to save them. The wheel of history swings round as the Lord would have it. Who are we to stand in the way of the future?” Kennedy replied that he expected the “Jew media” in the United States to become a problem, that “Jewish pundits in New York and Los Angeles” were already making noises contrived to “set a match to the fuse of the world.”
During May of 1938, Kennedy engaged in extensive discussions with the new German Ambassador to the Court of St. James’s, Herbert von Dirksen. In the midst of these conversations (held without approval from the U.S. State Department), Kennedy advised von Dirksen that President Roosevelt was the victim of “Jewish influence” and was poorly informed as to the philosophy, ambitions and ideals of Hitler’s regime. (The Nazi ambassador subsequently told his bosses that Kennedy was “Germany’s best friend” in London.)
Columnists back in the states condemned Kennedy’s fraternizing. Kennedy later claimed that 75% of the attacks made on him during his Ambassadorship emanated from “a number of Jewish publishers and writers. … Some of them in their zeal did not hesitate to resort to slander and falsehood to achieve their aims.” He told his eldest son, Joe Jr., that he disliked having to put up with “Jewish columnists” who criticized him with no good reason.
Like his father, Joe Jr. admired Adolf Hitler. Young Joe had come away impressed by Nazi rhetoric after traveling in Germany as a student in 1934. Writing at the time, Joe applauded Hitler’s insight in realizing the German people’s “need of a common enemy, someone of whom to make the goat. Someone, by whose riddance the Germans would feel they had cast out the cause of their predicament. It was excellent psychology, and it was too bad that it had to be done to the Jews. The dislike of the Jews, however, was well-founded. They were at the heads of all big business, in law etc. It is all to their credit for them to get so far, but their methods had been quite unscrupulous … the lawyers and prominent judges were Jews, and if you had a case against a Jew, you were nearly always sure to lose it. … As far as the brutality is concerned, it must have been necessary to use some ….”
Brutality was in the eye of the beholder. Writing to Charles Lindbergh shortly after Kristallnacht in November of 1938, Joe Kennedy Sr. seemed more concerned about the political ramifications stemming from high-profile, riotous anti-Semitism than he was about the actual violence done to the Jews. ”… Isn’t there some way,” he asked, “to persuade [the Nazis] it is on a situation like this that the whole program of saving western civilization might hinge? It is more and more difficult for those seeking peaceful solutions to advocate any plan when the papers are filled with such horror.” Clearly, Kennedy’s chief concern about Kristallnacht was that it might serve to harden anti-fascist sentiment at home in the United States.
Like his friend Charles Coughlin (an anti-Semitic broadcaster and Roman Catholic priest), Kennedy always remained convinced of what he believed to be the Jews’ corrupt, malignant, and profound influence in American culture and politics. “The Democratic [party] policy of the United States is a Jewish production,” Kennedy told a British reporter near the end of 1939, adding confidently that Roosevelt would “fall” in 1940.
But it wasn’t Roosevelt who fell. Kennedy resigned his ambassadorship just weeks after FDR’s overwhelming triumph at the polls. He then retreated to his home in Florida: a bitter, resentful man nurturing religious and racial bigotries that put him out-of-step with his country, and out-of-touch with history.