May 2

1945 - G.E.R Day

"They’ve announced on Hamburg Radio that Hitler is dead! Berlin has surrendered to the Russians... as soon as we came off watch we all piled into cars and set out for the nearest pub... when we had drunk so many toasts we could hardly stand, someone took over the piano and we sang till closing time..."

Joan Wyndham, a WAAF, in jubilant mood. Naomi Mitchison, the Edinburgh historical novelist whose brother was the scientist Haldane and whose friends included Huxley and Auden, took a less celebratory view:

"One feels Hitler’s death is just rather pointless now. He should have died some time ago. I wonder how many people comfort themselves with thinking he's frizzling. The Italian news is grand. I wonder if they’ll go on over the Brenner..."

Somewhere in my diaries I have this down as "Good Effing Riddance Day", and I may not only have been thinking of Hitler (who actually suicided on April 30: today was the announcement). Today we also got rid of:

In 1945, Martin Bormann, propoganda minister for Hitler, dies
In 1957, Joseph McCarthy, commie hunting senator (R-Wisc), dies at 47
In 1972, J Edgar Hoover, head of FBI (1924-72)/cross dresser, dies at 77

but there were some good guys too, and one particularly good gal:

In 1519, Leonardo Da Vinci, artist/scientist, dies at 67

In 1857, Louis Charles Alfred de Musset, French poet ("Les Caprices de Marianne"), dies

In 1864, Giacomo Meyerbeer, composer, dies at 72

In 1964, Nancy N Witcher Astor, US/Eng feminist/ex of Waldorf Astor, dies (see December 4)

Any further suggestions for GER Day welcomed by comment at the foot of this page - and no, you can't include Donald Trump, though if you're an American you have the power to vote him out before too long.

But you might well want to include "Stonewall" Jackson, a hero of the southern Confederacy in the American Civil War, who was "accidentally" shot by his own soldiers, today in 1863 (he didn’t die till May 10)

Thanks to somebody whose name I think is Thompson Reuter for posting this on November 16th 2017. Not quite there yet - but getting there!

And then there are the other names, the ones whose birth merits commemoration, the events that deserve to be recorded on plaques:-

Amber pages:

Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia (whose name was really Sophie); born today in 1729

Theodor Herzl, who went to Paris as an assimilated European Jew and left it as the principal advocate of Zionism (I would make a jest about him being the original Pest of Zionism rather than the original Zionist of Pest, but people might not understand the wit of it) , born today in 1860

1946: The Battle of Alcatraz. If you have ever visited, as I have, you would praise them for burning the place down and sinking the island, but alas all they did was attempt an escape, leave fourteen guards and one inmate wounded, two guards and three convicts dead, and then go back to those mediaeval barred closets with ensuite toilets called their cells.

And on the subject of acts of calumny perpetrated by people who like to call themselves civilised, and who are always the first to criticise any other country that ever behaves remotely badly, today, in 1982, during the war for the liberation of Las Malvinas (the Falkland Islands), the Argentine cruiser General Belgrano, sailing away from the conflict and already outside the designated war-zone, was sunk by a British submarine, killing three hundred and twenty-one conscripts on board.

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