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Somehow Still Walking February 16, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Somehow Still Walking

Beachcombing used to live on a farm next to an SS veteran who had escaped from a Soviet prisoner of war camp with four ‘through and throughs’, a lot of random shrapnel and with one of his eye balls conspicuously absent: he was a bit of a ‘card’ and refused to wear a glass eye. […]

I was afraid to move: I was gasping for breath February 12, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
I was afraid to move: I was gasping for breath

As those who favour the death penalty have found, killing a human being is surprisingly difficult. How much more difficult if you have a hundred, or a thousand or a hundred thousand human beings to kill and little time to do it. Bullets will only do so much, men and women can be filled with […]

Stalingrad’s Madonna December 25, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Stalingrad's Madonna

In late 1942 Kurt Reuber (obit 1944) found himself in the Stalingrad Kessel where 300,000 Axis troops awaited almost certain death, surrounded by an understandably vengeful Soviet enemy: only 6000 would survive the war. As the festivities drew near Reuber – curiously, given his subject a Protestant pastor – sketched this beautiful madonna that became […]

Review: Five Days in London December 19, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Review: Five Days in London

John Lukacs, Five Days in London, May 1940 (1999) has a simple thesis. The United Kingdom could not have defeated Hitler alone, but she could have lost the war before the Soviet Union and the USA entered as Allies. And she never came nearer to this, according to Lukacs, than 24-28 May 1940 – the […]

Dunkirk and Golden Bridges December 13, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Dunkirk and Golden Bridges

Dunkirk is one of those moments in recent history that you have to look at sideways to have even a modest chance of understanding and still then there is something that defies analysis. How was it that the British Expeditionary Force, demoralized, bloodied and on the run, with the greatest army of the twentieth century […]

Luftwaffe Kills Two Rabbits, Perhaps December 10, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Luftwaffe Kills Two Rabbits, Perhaps

  Little Miss B in seventh heaven last night and this morning as the family has been gifted a small black rabbit. This black rabbit is not destined to have the happiest of lives as LMB insists on watching Disney cartoons with it. Beachcombing, in any case, fell asleep with rabbits and woke up thinking […]

Impressionist Heresy in the Soviet Union November 22, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Impressionist Heresy in the Soviet Union

Beach has spent the day in bed reading books he once loved and in doing so came across this fabulous picture by Sergei Gerasimov (obit 1964). While not normally a big fan of Soviet art, except, of course, for its kitsch value, Gerasimov’s Mother of a Partisan (1943) is worth making an exception over. For […]

Hitler’s Italian Fantasy Life November 16, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary