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 Doolittle Raid

The Doolittle Raid, a series of US bomb attacks on Japan, took place on the 18th of April, 1942. Also called the Tokyo Raid, it was seen as retaliation for the Pearl Harbor attack a few months before.

Army_B-25_(Doolittle_Raid)The Doolittle Raid, also known as the Tokyo Raid, on Saturday, April 18, 1942,

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: Russia’s mass deportations of the Baltic peoples began.

Estonian children who had been forcibly deported to Siberia by Russian authorities. 1952.

Estonian children in Siberia in 1952

Operation Priboi (“Coastal Surf”) was the code name for the Soviet mass deportation from the Baltic states on 25–28 March 1949. The action is also known as the March deportation by Baltic historians. More than 90,000 Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians, labeled as enemies of the people, were deported to forced settlements in inhospitable areas of the Soviet Union.

Over 70% of the deportees were women and children under the age of 16.

On this day…

Mount Vesuvius in Italy erupted in March, 1944, destroying a number of villages.

North American soldiers were in the area at the time, fighting in the Second World War.

The original caption of the picture reads:

Crew member cleaning the ashes and cinders off the wing of a North American B-25 of the 340th Bomb Group. This was caused by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius on 23 March 1944.

crew-member-cleaning-the-ashes-and-cinders-off-the-wing-of-a-north-american-b-25-of-the-340th-bomb-group-this-was-caused-by-the-eruption-of-mt-vesuvius-on-23-march-1944

On this day: the bombing of the USS Franklin

The USS Franklin, an American aircraft carrier, was struck by a Japanese dive bomber on the 19th of March, 1945.

While many on board were thrown into the water or killed, some stayed voluntarily and saved the ship.

It is thought over 800 people were killed in the attack.

Attack_on_carrier_USS_Franklin_19_March_1945The USS Franklin, an American aircraft carrier, was struck by a Japanese dive bomber on the 19th of March, 1945.

Mt Vesuvius in 1944

Mount Vesuvius, a volcano on the Gulf of Naples in Italy, had one of its more destructive eruptions in March 1944.

The eruption destroyed the villages of San Sebastiano al Vesuvio, Massa di Somma and Ottaviano. Part of San Giorgio a Cremano was also destroyed.

John Reinhardt, serving in the US Army Air Forces in the Second World War, took this photograph.

mt-vesuvius-erupting-in-march-1944-shot-by-john-reinhardt-b24-tailgunner-is-the-usaaf-in-wwii