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June 12, 2013

Little girl with a hand grenade….the liberation of Hadamar by American soldiers (updated)

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, World War II — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 3:07 pm

Update June 14, 2013:

German Steilhandgranate (stick hand grenade)

German Steilhandgranate (stick hand grenade)

I talked to a friend of mine who knows a lot about hand grenades, and he told me that the German stick grenade was known to Americans as a “potato masher.”  As the photo above shows, it does look a bit like an old fashioned wooden potato masher.

German soldier throwing a "potato masher"

German soldier throwing a “potato masher”

I looked up hand grenades on Wikipedia and found the photo shown above, along with this information:

German stick grenade
Section of the Stielhandgranate Model 24.
Main article: Stick grenade

The German Model 24 Stielhandgranate stick grenade was introduced in 1915 and the design developed throughout World War I. A friction igniter was used; this method was uncommon in other countries but widely used for German grenades. A pull cord ran down the hollow handle from the detonator within the explosive head, terminating in a porcelain ball held in place by a detachable base closing cap. To use the grenade, the base cap was unscrewed, permitting the ball and cord to fall out. Pulling the cord dragged a roughened steel rod through the igniter causing it to flare-up and start the five-second fuse burning. This simple design continued to evolve throughout the First and Second World Wars, with the Model 24 grenade (popularly known as the “potato masher”) becoming one of the most easily recognized of all small arms, and synonymous with the German soldier.

Continue reading my original post:

With nothing better to do on a lazy Summer day, I got out my copy of David L. Israel’s book The Day the Thunderbird Cried, Untold Stories of World War II.  I read this book, which was first published in 2005, when I was doing research, a few years ago, on the liberation of Dachau by the 45th Thunderbird Division of the U.S. Army.

The first chapter of The Day the Thunderbird Cried, tells about the liberation of Hadamar, an institution where mental patients were put to death during the Nazi era in Germany.  According to the story, as told by David L. Israel, when American soldiers approached Hadamar, they saw a little girl, about 5 years old, talking to some German soldiers.  The Germans handed something to the little girl, pointed to the Americans, and told her to take this “Gift” to them.  As it turned out, the “Gift” was a hand grenade that the Germans wanted the little girl to give to the Americans.  At the last minute, the little girl tripped and the hand grenade exploded, killing her, and the American soldiers, who had refused to fire at the little girl, were saved from certain death.

Painting of a little girl with a handgrenade

Painting of a little girl with a hand grenade

Did this really happen, or is this just a fictional story to illustrate how the German soldiers were heartless and cruel, but American soldiers would not shoot a little girl, even if she was holding a hand grenade, and their lives were in imminent danger?

The book does not specifically say that this incident happened to 45th division soldiers.  In the front of the book, it is mentioned that the information in the book came from interviews with soldiers in the 42nd, 45th, 99th and 106th divisions of the American army. Perhaps this story was told by a soldier in the 99th division or the 106th division.

According to Wikipedia, the Hadamar Euthanasia Centre (German: NS-Tötungsanstalt Hadamar) was a psychiatric hospital in the German town of Hadamar near Limburg in Hesse.

It was used by the Nazis as a site of the T-4 Euthanasia Programme, which performed mass sterilizations and mass murder of “undesirable” members of German society, specifically those with physical and mental disabilities. The programme started in 1939 and lasted until the German surrender in 1945.[1]

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website states that Hadamar was liberated by the 2nd Infantry Division.  This quote is from this page of the USHMM website:

As the 2nd Infantry Division marched across Germany, it uncovered several sites of Nazi crimes. In early April 1945, the unit captured the German town of Hadamar, which housed a psychiatric clinic where almost 15,000 men, women, and children were killed between 1941 and March 1945 in the Nazi “euthanasia” program.

In any case, the image of a little girl with a hand grenade seems to be a metaphor for something, but I don’t know what.

Painting on side of building in Washington, DC  Photo Credit:  Photo Credit: DC Street Speaks

Painting on side of building in Washington, DC Photo Credit:
Photo Credit: DC Street Speaks

Note that both photos show the same blonde girl, probably with blue eyes, who could be the little German girl who was bringing a “Gift” to American soldiers when she accidentally blew herself up.

I have searched and searched on the Internet, but I have not come up with any proof that the story of the little girl with the hand grenade is true.  I am relying on the vast knowledge of the followers of my blog to explain the story of the little girl with the hand grenade.

If you don’t have mandatory Holocaust education in your state, demand it

Filed under: California, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 9:42 am

There are only 5 states in the United States of America that have a law which makes Holocaust education mandatory.  I didn’t realize this until I read a newspaper article about a workshop at Youngstown State University in Ohio, at which teachers were taught about the Holocaust.

This quote is from the newspaper article which you can read in full here:

A workshop at Youngstown State University on Monday educated local teachers about the Holocaust and genocide.

The Ohio Council on Holocaust Education sponsored the free workshop for teachers from public, private and parochial schools around the state. They were given a curriculum to use in their respective schools.

For more than 25 years, the non-profit organization has been pushing for Holocaust education to be mandatory.

“I’m sure our legislators will be involved within the state, and I am hoping through more publicity and marketing such as today’s workshop, we will be on the right road and finally see some type of mandate for Holocaust education in our schools,” said Suzyn Schwebel Epstein, president of the Ohio Council on Holocaust Education.

I looked up mandatory Holocaust education laws on Wikipedia and found this: “As of September 2009, laws of this kind [mandatory Holocaust education] were on the books of Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Israel, the United Kingdom, and the American states of Florida, New York, New Jersey, California, and Illinois.

The first state in America to pass a law making Holocaust education mandatory was California; Holocaust education was mandated in California in 1985.

According to the California law: “Instruction shall provide a foundation for understanding … human rights issues, with particular attention to the study of the inhumanity of genocide, slavery, and the Holocaust, and contemporary issues.”

Note that, in California, Holocaust education is included in education on slavery and “the inhumanity of genocide.”  There was no slavery in California and no genocide, unless you categorize the killing of American Indians as “genocide.”  California is also mandated to teach “contemporary issues,” whatever that means.

The next state to enact a law which mandated the teaching of the Holocaust was New Jersey, which passed a law requiring Holocaust education in 1991.  Then New York and Florida passed similar laws in 1994.  But Illinois passed a law on mandatory Holocaust education in 1989.

The Holocaust didn’t happen in America and was not perpetrated by Americans, so why should Holocaust education be mandatory in America?  I don’t know for sure, but I think it is because there are now around 6 million Jews in America, many of them Holocaust survivors or descendants of Holocaust survivors, who want to make sure that there will never be another Holocaust.  Americans must learn tolerance, so that Jews will be safe in America.

The Nazis forced the Jews to wear a Star of David on their clothes

The Nazis forced the Jews to wear a Star of David on their clothes

How are American children introduced to the Holocaust?  Around 17 years ago, one of my grandchildren came home from kindergarten and very proudly told his family about what he had learned in school that day.  He said that the King of Denmark had worn a yellow star because all the Jews were forced to wear a yellow star and the King wanted to show that, although he was not Jewish, he was sympathetic to the Jews and wanted to show his disapproval of Jews being forced to wear identification on their clothing.

Was this 5-year-old kindergarten student told to verify what he had learned by looking it up on the Internet?  No, of course not — he had not learned to read yet.

You can look it up yourself on the website of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum at

Who doesn't love Anne Frank, the most famous Holocaust victim?

Who doesn’t love Anne Frank, the most famous Holocaust victim?

Another one of my grandchildren was assigned to read “The Diary of Anne Frank” in the 5th grade.  Ann Frank died at Bergen-Belsen, so this gives the schools a chance to teach American students about the Jews who were killed at Bergen-Belsen.

This sign was put up by the British at the Bergen-Belsen camp

This sign was put up by the British at the Bergen-Belsen camp

The words on the sign, that was put up by the British, after the Bergen-Belsen camp was voluntarily turned over to them, read as follows:  “10,000 unburied dead were found here. Another 13,000 have since died.  All of them victims of the German New Order in Europe and an example of Nazi Kultur.”

Are American school children taught about the typhus epidemic that killed thousands of people in the last days of World War II?  The Belsen camp, which had been originally set up as an EXCHANGE CAMP, was turned over to the British because there was a typhus epidemic in the camp and the camp was located in a war zone.  Are American students told this in their mandatory education classes?  I doubt it.

Why should all this bother me?  Recently, I wanted to go to a local high school to hear a Holocaust survivor speak.  I changed my mind when I learned that the price of a ticket for the lecture was $18 in advance and $25 at the door.  It was too late for me to get an advance ticket; I was not willing to pay $25 to hear a Holocaust survivor tell about how she escaped the gas chamber at Auschwitz, no matter how unique her story was.

The only time that I heard a Holocaust survivor speak, she spent 55 minutes ranting against “Holocaust deniers” and 5 minutes telling her sad story about how she suffered at Auschwitz, starting WHEN SHE WAS FOUR YEARS OLD.  She didn’t explain why she was not gassed, even though, as everyone in the world knows, Jews under the age of 15 were immediately gassed at Auschwitz, unless they were twins, who were saved by Dr. Josef Mengele because he wanted to experiment on them.  Strangely, some children, who weren’t twins, also survived Auschwitz.

Children who survived the Auschwitz death camp show their tattoos

Children who survived the Auschwitz death camp show their tattoos