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Archive for '- World War II'

John F. Kennedy and PT Boat 59

Today’s post is written by archivist Dr. Greg Bradsher.

When one thinks about President Kennedy’s naval career in World War II, what most often comes to mind is his command of Motor Torpedo Boat PT-109.

Thanks to the 1963 movie PT 109, adapted from the 1961 book PT 109: John F. Kennedy in World War II by Robert J. Donovan, Kennedy’s wartime exploits with PT-109 were well-publicized and became part of the Kennedy legend (see Stephen Plotkins’s “Sixty Years Later, the Story of PT-109 Still Captivates” in the summer 2003 issue of Prologue.)

What few people realize is that after the loss of PT-109, Kennedy was given command of another boat: PT-59. Actually, the last scene in the movie PT 109 shows Kennedy and this boat sailing off into the sunset to begin new adventures on his path to the White House.

The story of Kennedy and PT-59 begins on the morning of August 2, 1943, in the Solomon Islands, when PT-109. Lt. (jg) John F. Kennedy, USNR, was in command when PT-109 was rammed by a Japanese destroyer and sunk. Kennedy and the surviving crew members were rescued on August 8, and Kennedy was then sent to Tulagi Island to recover.

But Kennedy was eager to get back into the fight, and he was soon was assigned to command PT-59. He reported … [ Read all ]

An Orphan of the Holocaust

His parents were victims of the Nazis when he was only four, and he and his uncle spent two years hiding in the forests of Poland, waiting until the end of World War II.

But the ordeal of Michael Pupa was far from over. He became a “displaced person,” or DP, moving from one DP camp to another until 1951, when Michael, by then 12, and his cousin were flown to the United States and sent to a home for refugee children, then to foster homes in Cleveland.

Michael Pupa’s story does have a happy ending, and it is told in a new exhibit that opens at the National Archives on Friday, June 15, called “Attachments: Faces and Stories from America’s Gates.”

Curator Bruce Bustard says the exhibit draws from millions of immigration case files in the National Archives holdings to tell a few of these stories from the 1880s through World War II.

“It also explores the attachment of immigrants to family and community and the attachment of government organizations to immigration laws that reflected certain beliefs about immigrants and citizenship,” he says. “These are dramatic tales of joy and disappointment, opportunity and discrimination, deceit and honesty.”

Of the individuals chosen randomly to be included in the exhibit, only Michael Pupa is alive, and he and his family from Cleveland will be at the … [ Read all ]

More Hitler art albums discovered

This morning in Dallas, TX, the Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero, Senior Archivist Greg Bradsher, and President of the Monuments Men Foundation Robert M. Edsel announced the discovery of two original albums of photographs of paintings and furniture looted by the Nazis.

The Monuments Men Foundation will donate these albums, which have been in private hands since the end of World War II, to the National Archives.

These albums were created by a special Nazi task force, the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg (ERR), to document the systematic looting of Europe by Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. The ERR was the main Nazi agency engaged in the theft of cultural treasures in Nazi-occupied countries.

“The Foundation often receives calls from veterans and their heirs, who don’t know the importance of items they may have picked up during their service, or aren’t aware that anyone is looking for the items,” Edsel said. “These albums are just the tip of the iceberg for hundreds of thousands of cultural items still missing since World War II.”

In the closing days of World War II, U.S. soldiers entered Adolf Hitler’s home in the Bavarian Alps. Many picked up souvenirs to prove they had been inside the Berghof.

Cpl. Albert Lorenzetti (989th Field Artillery Battalion) and Pfc. Yerke Zane Larson (501st Battalion of the 101st Airborne Division) each took … [ Read all ]

Thursday Photo Caption Contest: March 8

Your captions were as sweet and delicious as cold beer on a hot summer’s day!

And we knew just who to ask to serve as guest judge: beer enthusiast and information technology specialist Crystal Brooks. Even though Crystal modestly claims to still be a novice when it comes to home brewing, we knew that she had the discerning palate to choose a winner.

Congratulations to Denise! Check your email for a discount code for 15% off in the eStore. Crystal was impressed that you correctly identified the beer as Ruppert’s Knickerbocker Beer, and she was delighted that you connected the contest date to Rupert’s birthday. We raise a glass to Denise’s captioning skills and Rupert’s birthday!

This photograph comes from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and the original caption reads:  “Sgt. Henry Klein sells T/4 Ralph Lohman his ration of American beer. Seven cans were rationed in Sept. but future deliveries were uncertain.”

Today’s photograph looks like the result of several cases of Knickerbocker beer. Put your wittiest caption in the comments below!… [ Read all ]

Thursday Photo Caption Contest–March 1

Apparently the sight of a scantily clad man engrossed in his knitting fired up the imaginations of our readers! We made a cup of tea and settled down to knit one, purl two our way through your many caption submissions. Leg warmers! Greek mythology! Puns! Poor fashion sense!

We became so tangled that we turned to guest judge Lynn Bassanese, the Acting Director of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library, to decide which captions to cast off.

Congratulations to James! (Check your email for a code for 15% off in your eStore.) Lynn chose your caption as the winner. “Eleanor Roosevelt was a knitter and we have many of her knitting needles and projects in our museum collection,” said Lynn. ”She would applaud this young man’s efforts!”

This photograph comes from the holdings of the FDR Library, but its World War II  context is not quite so sunny as the stoop in the picture. The original caption reads:  ”Believed to be Italian nationals in a U. S. Detention camp.”

Today’s photo also features men, but they seem to be engaged in a more traditionally masculine activity! Give us your wittiest caption in the comments below!… [ Read all ]