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  • Death by Oak January 10, 2018

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Death by Oak

    Beach has recently been having nightmares about narrow corridors. This story is a form of reverse therapy. It also taps into other stories told in this place of men and women who get into trees and can’t get out afterwards. It is well known that during the French Revolution, the wood Kusel, near Deux Ponts […]

    Baby Face Günter in Saverne January 8, 2018

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Baby Face Günter in Saverne

    A delicate occupied zone with an unfriendly population. Think US Marines patrolling in southern Afghanistan or Israeli troops walking through a Palestinian village. That is challenging enough. But could we make it a little more interesting for, say, an HBO series? Why not, for example, put the occupying troops under the control of a young […]

    The Prince of Peace in a World at War December 25, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    The Prince of Peace in a World at War

    Happy Christmas to all readers and their families: originally published in the Graphic.

    Big Brother Urban Legends November 28, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Big Brother Urban Legends

    The three great totalitarian states that dominated Europe in the 1930s were the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. Did these have their own urban legends? Of course. But what were they? Beach wants only to open one obvious form of totalitarian urban legend: what he will provisionally call ‘the big brother story’. Now, […]

    Mermaid Monday: Mermaid in Berlin October 9, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Mermaid Monday: Mermaid in Berlin

    Bit of a melancholy mermaid story this week that has, sorry, little to do with mermaids and nothing to do with the sea. The following story has been published at Berlin under quasi-official sanction [those Prussians!]: ‘On the 15th, the wife of a painter in Old Schonhaus Street, brought into the world a most wonderful […]

    And If Your Sister Was About to Be Raped…? September 10, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    And If Your Sister Was About to Be Raped...?

    When the insufferable Lytton Strachey was asked, in WW1, what he would do if he saw a German trying to violate his sister, he responded ‘I would try and get between them.’ Strachey gave this answer in a legal setting. He wanted to be certified as a pacifist and Beach was curious about the question, […]

    The End of German Bohemia, May 1945 August 25, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    The End of German Bohemia, May 1945

    Thanks to Stephen D. for sending in this extraordinary video of the disintegration of German Bohemia in May 1945. Bohemia was a mixed Czech-German province and German speakers had lived there since perhaps as early as the year 1000. Bohemia became part of the Czech Republic after the First World War, and the ‘cause’ of […]

    Letter from the Enemy August 23, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Letter from the Enemy

    Beach ran across this very sad piece in the Dundee Evening Telegraph (8 Oct 1915), 4. It is perhaps not remarkable that an enemy soldier honour the body of a fallen foe: who is it who says that you can best measure relations in a war not by how soldier treat their enemies alive but […]

    Myths of Twentieth-Century History August 6, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Modern
    Myths of Twentieth-Century History

    Seven twentieth century myths follow. Any other contributions or angry rebuttals, drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com Great War: A Disaster Waiting to Happen, 1914 The Great War was going to happen sooner or later because two countries, Germany and France, wanted it. However, the consensus that the Great War would have inevitably led to the ‘breaking […]

    The Raven Stone Spell February 10, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval, Modern
    The Raven Stone Spell

    Location: tradition found in the Germanic regions of Continental Europe and Scandinavia, and also in parts of Britain. Aim: The collection of the raven stone (korp-sten in Scandinavia, Lloyd 1854, 331) that will render the owner invisible, though note that the stone is also credited with bringing luck and curing humans and cattle of diseases: […]

    A Very Old Carp January 30, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    A Very Old Carp

    This is an uncommonly good fish story. It appears in a curious book entitled: Johann Heinrich Cohausen, Hermippus redivivus, or, The sage’s triumph over old age and the grave. If you want to achieve immortality you should probably give said book a read. In any case let’s move on to a centuries-old carp. It is not only the […]

    Mermaid Lies January 24, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Mermaid Lies

    Thomas Crofton Croker was an early mid, nineteenth century Irish writer, most famous today for his Fairy Legends and Traditions of the South of Ireland, which appeared in three volumes between 1825 and 1828. Croker was not, in the modern sense, a folklorist. Some of the stories he wrote out he had heard as a […]

    Review: Hitler’s Forgotten Children December 5, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Review: Hitler's Forgotten Children

    Lebensborn is a Nazi word to place side by side with such Teutonic charmers as Einsatzgruppen, Lebensraum and Endlösung. The Lebensborn or Life’s Fount was a scheme to breed a hundred million blond supermen and their hand maidens. It had various reflexes: sex between consenting Aryans was encouraged, against conventional Christian morality; Aryan women siring children […]

    Review: Postwar November 22, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Review: Postwar

    Tony Judt is often touted as one of the great historians of the later twentieth century. Yet really his writings are, with one exception, not the stuff that world reputations are made on The Burden of Responsibility: Blum, Camus, Aron, and the French Twentieth Century or Socialism in Provence 1871–1914: A Study in the Origins […]

    Herman Göring in Plymouth November 11, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Herman Göring in Plymouth

    In Plymouth, in the Second World War, a strange idea evolved, among the bombed out population: Plymouth, as an important port, was all too frequently visited by the Luftwaffe. The population came to believe that Herman Göring, the head of his Luftwaffe, personally took part in the attacks on the city. Plymouth folk even claimed […]

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