30th August 1944

Wednesday
Rather late.  Rain early, but fine at 9.  There was a threshing set in the yard behind the house at Moore’s Farm, the engine blowing out a plume of white steam against the clear blue sky, the straw stack steadily mounting, and the elevator clanking.
There were lots of bombers and ‘Bolts going out after lunch, and at a quarter to 2 there was an alarm for 10 minutes, but nothing happened.  At lunch, reading “Picture Post”, which prints loathsome photos of the personal effects of a German soldier, found on his corpse in France, with typical “Picture Post” captions jeering at his pathetic souvenirs, the photo of his mother and his fiancée, a photo of Hitler, a photo of a nude girl.  Recently I saw in “Picture Post” photos of French Jews ill treating women who had married Germans, a proceeding viewed by the “Post” with great delight.

At 5 went down to see Duncan’s Gate, where Claypole is doing some much needed repairs.  What a sullen, rude beast he is, and not a good mason, either.

Had tea at home and then to Boxted early, to try to get some sleep.  Radio news tonight implies that the ‘diver’ attacks really are at an end, but I’m not sure.  Dozed for an hour then set off for the Post for the 1.00am watch. 

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Catherine

Some interesting comments by ER on Picture Post, a magazine that has quite a reputation (still) for its photo-journalism. It is also known for its reporting on the persecution of the Jews as early as 1938 - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Picture_Post

Perhaps another matter where the views we have been given of the war with hindsight differ from of people at the time.

Mike Dennis

Chris said...

Hello Catherine

I found the sentence about the French Jews exacting revenge on French women who had married German soldiers really intriguing. These kinds of cowardly and often hypocritical attacks (involving the beating, head-shaving and occasional cold-blooded executions of women who sometimes had simply been nothing more than “friendly” with members of the occupying army) were commonplace in liberated France and there is plenty of archived cinematic evidence to prove this. However, until now, I had never heard that members of the French Jewish population were involved in such attacks. It is nonetheless true that a disproportionate (in relation to the general French population) number of Jewish men and women were involved in the French resistance and I am guessing that some of those “résistants” could have been involved in such revenge attacks – even though one would have thought that they would have had concerns which went far beyond punishing defenceless women. So I remain somewhat dubious about the veracity of such reports and such photos.

But, without analysing Eric’s obvious moral disgust at such attacks, there is the wider issue of what exactly we British knew by the summer of 1944 about the fate of the Jewish population in occupied Europe. Certainly I am not aware that the general public knew very much about the holocaust and Hitler’s “Final Solution” before 1945. So, as I seem to remember a previous commenter saying, it would (will?) be interesting to find out if Eric tempers his anti-war stance when information about concentration camps and other Nazi atrocities really begin to filter through in early 1945. Then again, hindsight is a wonderful thing……

Kind regards,

Chris (in France)

Anonymous said...

To comment on Chris' comment, the plans of the Nazis to murder all Jews (the 'Final Solution') were known of in 1942 and discussed in the British House of Commons at the time. At the time there were newspaper reports of extent of the Nazis plans as well.
I too used to understand nothing was known until the liberation of the camps in 1945, as a mature student at Essex University in the 1990s I did a philosophy degree which included a course Post Holocaust Philosophy. As part of my research for an essay I discovered about what was known earlier in the war (I have posted the an amended version of the essay online at http://www.wickhams.fslife.co.uk/SHOAH.pdf)

Anonymous said...

Catherine

Sorry, that last comment was mine!

Mike Dennis

E J Rudsdale said...

Hi Chris and Mike,
Many thanks for your very interesting comments and also for the link to your research Mike - very glad to have this. Sorry for this late reply to your comments, I have been away, but I am grateful for your helpful insights on these issues.
Best wishes, Catherine