On this day: Persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses

The 24th of April, 1933 is considered to be the day Nazi Germany began their persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses, as it is the date the Bible Student headquarters in Magdeburg were seized by police. This came only a few months after Adolf Hitler came to power.

If Jehovah’s Witnesses were willing to renounce their religion they were promised freedom from persecution. Below is a Nazi renouncement document.

If Jehovah's Witnesses were willing to renounce their religion they were promised freedom from persecution. Nazi renouncement document.

From 1935 onwards, many people who kept their religion were sent to concentration camps.

The persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses continues today, with Russia outlawing the religion only days ago.

On this day: the destruction of Duckett’s Grove

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Duckett’s Grove, a great house in County Carlow, Ireland, was destroyed by fire on the 20th of April, 1933.

Built around 1830 for the Duckett family, they lived at the house until 1916, when a family dispute between the only remaining family members – none of them male (males would usually inherit) – led to the house’s management being taken over by locals.

By 1930 the house was being used by the Irish Republican Army, and when they left the property it was still in good condition.

In 1933, a week after local farmers – who had been managing the estate – reported a minor fire at the house, Duckett’s Grove burnt in earnest over the course of a night.

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Today, the frame of the house still stands.

On this day: the demolition of the Old Melbourne Gaol

Australia’s Old Melbourne Gaol photographed while being taken apart on the 19th of April, 1937.

The gaol is most famous for being the place of the execution of bushranger (highwayman) Ned Kelly in 1880.

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Wartime Ukrainian Easter

Before, during, and after the Second World War, Ukrainians resisted (often in underground organisations), occupation by both Russia and Germany, as well as military aggression from others including Hungary and Romania. Additionally, the west of Ukraine was under Polish rule before the Soviets invaded. The region suffered heavily during Operation Barbarossa.

These vintage Ukrainian Easter cards are from that turbulent time – note the rifle carried by the man on the horse.

The writing is the typical Easter message for Ukraine, and translates to ‘Christ is Risen’.

American professor Timothy Snyder is a good place to start for information on the most overlooked aspect of the war, particularly his book Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin.

Easter_card_Ukr_Legion These Easter cards are Ukrainian, and represent the era and the underground forces fighting more than one invader at the same time

Easter_card_ukr_leg These Easter cards are Ukrainian, and represent the era and the underground forces fighting more than one invader at the same time

On this day: the invasion of Albania

Italy’s rapidly successful invasion of Albania, run by fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, began on the 7th of April, 1939. The Albanian king, Zog I, was forced into exile, and the entire operation was complete only five days later, on the 12th.
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Albania was made part of the Italian Empire, with its sea ports being considered important to the regime.
Italian_army_2Italian invasion of Albania 7th April 1939 Fascist Italy Italian Empire

On this day: the end of the Winter War

Finnish_ski_troops The Winter War, which began in November 1939 when the Soviet Union invaded Finland, ended on the 13th of March, 1940.

Finnish ski troops in 1940.

The Winter War, which began in November 1939 when the Soviet Union invaded Finland, ended on the 13th of March, 1940.

Despite being victorious, Finland was still required to hand over some of their land to Russia at the end of the war.

The invasion of Finland was deemed illegal by the League of Nations, and was the cause of Moscow’s expulsion from the League in December of 1939.

The style of hybrid warfare used by the Kremlin in Finland has been replicated a number of times since, most recently in Ukraine.

On this day: International Unemployment Day

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International Unemployment Day was an event that took place at the time of the Great Depression, occurring on the 6th of March, 1930. Hundreds of thousands of people around the world, including in the United States, Germany, England, France, Spain and Austria marched to protest mass unemployment.

In New York City and Detroit the protests turned violent, with baton-wielding police attacking crowds of tens of thousands.

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New York’s The Communist newspaper gave the incorrect date for the event.

Germany, the non-Soviet country with the largest Communist Party, also saw their protests turn violent, while in Austria demonstrators clashed with Fascist youth in the streets of Vienna.