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WWII Timeline – Winter 1933

I’m continuing my WWII Timeline series with a look at January – March 1933 in this post.

A Timeline of WWII, Winter 1933

 

1933

In 1933, Germany’s Jewish population is estimated to be more than 500,000, but less than 600,000, or about three-quarters of one percent of the total German population.

January 30, 1933

German President von Hindenburg names Adolph Hitler Chancellor of Germany.

February 22, 1933

In Germany, forty thousand SA (Sturmabteilung) and SS men are sworn in as auxiliary police.  (The SA was eventually replaced by Himmler’s SS).

February 27, 1933

The Nazis set the Reichstag building, the seat of the German government, on fire and it burns. This creates a crisis atmosphere which enables Adolf Hitler to seize power under the pretext of protecting the nation from threats to its security.

February 28, 1933

The Nazis’ plan works and as a result of the Reichstag fire, emergency powers are granted to Hitler.

March 12, 1933

The Oranienburg Concentration Camp opens as one of the first detention facilities established by the Nazis. The camp was located in the state of Prussia and held political opponents of the Nazis, mostly members of the Communist Party of Germany and social-democrats, as well as homosexual men and other so-called “undesirables.”

March 21 or 22, 1933

The Nazis open the Dachau concentration camp near Munich for political enemies of the Third Reich. The opening of other camps follows in later years:  Sachsenhausen (July 1936) in northern Germany near Berlin, Buchenwald (July 1937) near Weimar in central Germany, and Ravensbrück (1939) for women in northern Germany north of Berlin.

March 23, 1933

The newly elected members of the Reichstag (German Parliament) meet in the Kroll Opera House in Berlin to consider passing Hitler’s Enabling Act. The Act was officially called the “Law for Removing the Distress of the People and the Reich.” Passage of the Act would effectively mean the end of democracy in Germany and would establish the legal dictatorship of Adolf Hitler.

March 24, 1933

The Reichstag passes the Enabling Act giving Hitler dictatorial powers.

March 27, 1933

Japan withdraws from the League of Nations.

Sources:

This series of posts is based on a compilation of timelines from:

The Holocaust Encyclopedia

The History Place:

The National WWII Museum Interactive Timeline

And other information from Wikipedia

Most recent post from the series:

The Early 1930’s

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2018

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Farrar Family in 1941

It was 1941. On December 7, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. On December 8, the US declared war on Japan, entering WWII. On December 11, Hitler declared war on the United States. President Roosevelt then asked Congress for a declaration of war on Germany saying, “Never before has there been a greater challenge to life, liberty and civilization.”

This was the year that life for this generation of Americans would change forever. This was the year that the Farrar’s took this family photo.

The Farrar family in 1941

Standing, back row, L to R: George Edwin (Ed, my dad), Bob Hunt (Janet’s husband), Janet Mae, Ozzie Couch (close family friend), Carroll Johnson Jr.
Standing, middle row, L to R: Martha Ann, Dorothy Gertrude (Dot) holding daughter Phyllis, Raleigh May, Carroll Johnson Sr.
Kneeling front row: Robert Burnham (Bob), Harold Eugene (Gene), Beverly Marie, Hugh Cobb (Dot’s husband), Denny (Dot’s son)
Not pictured: Nell Geraldine (Gerry)
Photo contributed by Joan Stephenson (Dot’s daughter)

My grandparents, Raleigh May and Carroll Johnson Farrar, Sr., had nine children twenty-seven years apart. The oldest was born in 1910 and the youngest in 1937. Of the nine children, four would be directly involved in the war effort, three sons and one daughter.

Nell Geraldine, the oldest child and first daughter, was born in 1910. Gerry married Wallace Mass in 1932 and moved to California. She was the only Farrar child to permanently move out of the state of Georgia and away from the closeness of the Farrar family.

Janet Mae was born in 1912. She married Bob Hunt (pictured) in 1936. During WWII, Janet joined the Georgia division of Bell Aircraft (known as Bell Bomber) in Marietta, Georgia, contributing at home to the war effort. She was hired as their very first policewoman in March 1943. Bell Bomber supplied the U.S. Army Air Forces with Boeing-designed B-29’s.

Carroll Johnson, Jr. was the first son, born in 1916. Carroll, Jr. enlisted in the US Army Air Corps on August 13, 1941. He served in Army Air Force Service Squadron 315 in the Pacific.

Dorothy Gertrude was born in 1919. She married Hugh Cobb in late 1936 or early 1937. Dot and Hugh followed in her parents’ footsteps and had nine children of their own. Included in the photo are the couples two oldest children, Denny and Phyllis.

George Edwin (my dad) was born in 1921. Ed enlisted June 4, 1942. He served in the Mighty Eighth Air Force in the 384th Bomb Group as a waist gunner of a B-17 crew stationed in England. He was knocked down on his sixteenth mission and became a prisoner of war.

Robert Burnham was born in 1925. Bob enlisted in the Navy on May 8, 1943. He served in the Pacific on the USS Intrepid and was injured when it was attacked by two Japanese kamikaze pilots on November 25, 1944.

Martha Ann was born in 1927.

Harold Eugene (Gene) was born in 1931.

Beverly Marie was born in 1937.

During WWII, Gerry, Janet, and Dot were married and living away from home. Carroll, Ed, and Bob were still living at home at the start of the war, but would all be far from home during their WWII service. Martha, Gene, and Beverly were the only children left to grow up in the family home during the war years.

The only person in the picture who has not yet been mentioned is a friend of the family named Ozzie Couch (I’m unsure of the spelling of his name). Ozzie and Carroll Jr. both worked at Rich’s Department Store in Atlanta. Ozzie’s inclusion in the family photo says something about his closeness to the Farrar family. Youngest daughter Beverly remembered that Ozzie brought many gifts to the family including a variety of plants, Beverly’s first Persian cat, and a retired circus horse named Danny Boy that lived for a time in the garage. Ozzie’s family was from North Carolina. Ozzie, too, served in WWII. I am curious about Ozzie and would like to find out more about him. If anyone reading this can tell me more about Ozzie Couch (sp.), please contact me.

Did the Farrar family, sensing the war moving right into their living room, take this photo in 1941 wondering if it might be the last photo of them all (except for Gerry) together? Many families lost sons to WWII, but the Farrar family was fortunate to see all three of their sons – Carroll, Ed, and Bob – and even family friend Ozzie return from the war. A family intact.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2018

Dad’s Escape and Evasion Photos

George Edwin Farrar Escape and Evasion Photo

In WWII, airmen were equipped with an escape and evasion kit to help them in the event that they had to bail out of a crippled plane. Once on the ground, if they were not immediately captured, they would have a few tools to help them evade capture.

George Edwin Farrar Escape and Evasion Photo

For those airmen in the European theater, the kit may have contained banknotes from several countries, multilingual language cards, silk maps, a knife, a small amount of rations, first aid supplies, and photos in civilian clothing for false papers.

George Edwin Farrar Escape and Evasion Photo

An airman forced to bail out over France or Belgium had a better chance of evasion than an airman forced to bail out over Germany. One who bailed out over Germany was much more likely to be found quickly by German soldiers and much less likely to be found by someone sympathetic to his predicament.

When my father, George Edwin Farrar, landed on German soil, he was severely injured. He was unable to walk and never had a chance to attempt to evade capture.

I found these photos in my dad’s wartime things along with two silk maps which he never had the chance to use.

Edouard Renière has written a nice piece on the items the airmen may have been given before their missions which you can read here.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2018

Lingering Shadows of an Aluminum Overcast

When  I look at written World War II history, I see names, dates, places of great battles, and statistics. I rarely see mention of family, but families are what’s at the core of such a great struggle. One man was not fighting this great war against his enemy, another man. Their families were right there beside them fighting, too. When one man went down, many more at home who shared his blood went down with him. The loss of one man became a great emotional loss at home and the loss of many future generations of his family.

Two B-17 flying fortresses collided above Germany on September 28, 1944. Of the eighteen men aboard the two forts, four survived. None of the four live on today, but their children and grandchildren carry on their legacy. At least three of the men who died that day had children or knew that they were to become fathers in the months to come. That makes seven families, not quite half, who share a common history dating back to WWII.

Of the eleven men who would have no descendants, most of them had siblings who had children and there are nieces and nephews, and great-nieces and -nephews who also share their history and cherish their memories.

We are known collectively as the Buslee and Brodie crews’ NexGens, the Next Generation of the men of these two crews of the 384th Bomb Group of the Mighty Eighth Air Force who bravely defended our country in WWII.

I began my search for Buslee/Brodie NexGens, who I consider extended family, in 2011 after I met Wallace Storey. I remember so clearly now my astonishment when Wallace told me that he had been in touch with other family members of the two crews. It was that light-headed feeling of shattered disbelief that almost knocked me off my feet, the thought of something I had never considered possible. There were others out there who knew my father’s story of the mid-air collision. It was no longer my family’s private history.

I had never before considered that my sister and I were not the only ones. From my dad’s stories, I knew he was the only survivor of the Buslee crew. At the time, I did not know that children were born to two of the men after the mid-air collision. And I never suspected that any of the men of the Brodie crew had survived the horrific accident, but three of them had. One of their sons had contacted Wallace Storey before me. So had a newphew and great-nephew of Buslee crew members.

I began contacting the relatives for whom Wallace provided information and I started researching each man who had been on those two planes, looking for their families, and finding some of them. During this process, I realized there was a lot we didn’t know about September 28, 1944, and that the other NexGens wanted to know as badly as I what happened in the skies above Magdeburg, Germany on September 28, 1944.

Top secret reports from WWII were public now, and I discovered details bit by bit and started putting them together, like pieces of a puzzle. I shared what I found with the other Buslee/Brodie NexGens and they shared knowledge, photos, and letters. These men who were our fathers and grandfathers, and uncles and great-uncles had an incredibly close bond. And now we NexGens were forming our own bond as we learned details about that late September day, details that in the 1940’s our families struggled so very hard to discover, but of which they were left uniformed.

With the power of knowledge of what happened to the boys that day, we are able to feel them again, hold them close, grieve for them, and look at them with a new sense of awe and respect. I have new family now, these descendants of the great airmen of WWII. We live in the lingering shadows of an aluminum overcast that will never fade away as long as we remember.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2018