Operation Bernhard


Operation Bernhard was the name of a secret German plan devised during World War II to destabilise the British economy by flooding the country with forged Bank of England £5, £10, £20, and £50 notes.

The plan was directed by, and named after, SS Major (Sturmbannführer) Bernhard Krüger, who set up a team of 142 counterfeiters from among inmates at Sachsenhausen concentration camp at first, and then from others, especially Auschwitz.

Beginning in 1942, the work of engraving the complex printing plates, developing the appropriate rag-based paper with the correct watermarks, and breaking the code to generate valid serial numbers was extremely difficult, but by the time Sachsenhausen was evacuated in April 1945, the printing press there had produced 8,965,080 banknotes with a total value of £134,610,810. The notes are considered among the most perfect counterfeits ever produced, being extremely difficult although not impossible to distinguish from the real thing.

Although the initial plan was to destabilise the British economy by dropping the notes from aircraft, on the assumption that while some honest people would hand them in most people would keep the notes, in practice this plan was not put into effect.

Mussolini’s Rituals


‘Mussolini thought the Italians needed to be hardened, and he launched what he called an anti-bourgeois campaign. And among the things he banned, or tried to ban, anyway, was people shouldn’t shake hands, they should give the Roman salute, you know, raising their arm and their hand up in the air. […]

[A] man named Achille Starace, was kind of his circus master, who kept coming up with these ideas of rituals, mass rituals and other kinds of rites that he thought would make the Italians ever more devoted to their duce, which is the kind of Latiny term of leader that the Italians used to refer to Mussolini.

In fact, Mussolini required being referred to as DUCE, D-U-C-E,[1] it’s spelled, and it had to be written in capitals in the newspapers by the 1930s. It couldn’t just be written in the normal way.’

– Kertzer, D. (April 24, 2015) ‘Pope And Mussolini’ Tells The ‘Secret History’ Of Fascism And The Church. NPR.


[1] duce; ‘leader’ from Latin duco, meaning ‘I lead’. E.g. Il DUCE ha sempre ragione; ‘the leader is always right’.

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Guglielmo Marconi, the inventor of radio, was the great-grandson of the inventor of Jameson’s Irish whiskey.

The German Staubsauger and Dutch Stofzuiger, both literally translate as ‘dust-sucker’ to mean vacuum cleaner.

Victorian pantomimes starting at 7pm often did not finish until midnight.

In 2014, a pair of underpants donated by the mayor of Brussels was stolen from the Brussels Underpants Museum.

Between 1939 and 1945, World War II claimed an average of 1256 lives per hour; between 1934 and 1945, Holocaust claimed an average of 169 lives per hour.

See other: Quite Interesting Facts

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Viruses can get viruses. A new one recently discovered in a French cooling tower was found to be infected by another, smaller one.

In ‘The Sword In The Stone’ (1963), Merlin the Magician wears pink boxer shorts.

The Trojan Horse was in fact Greek.

According to Islam, the robe and banner of Muhammed were green. Muslims also believe everyone in paradise wears green silk robes.

During World War II, the British had an official “Hate Training Academy”. It was stopped because it made soldiers too depressed.

See other: Quite Interesting Facts

Conversations: Genocide and Dogma


Helena
Consider the Holocaust: centuries before the mid 20th century, Christian Europeans had viewed the Jews as the worst species of heretics and attributed every societal ill to their continued presence among the faithful. In the 1930’s and 1940’s, while the hatred of Jews in Germany expressed itself in a predominately secular way, its roots were religious, and the explicitly religious demonization of the Jews of Europe continued. The anti-Semitism that built the Nazi death camps was a direct inheritance from medieval Christianity.

Sappho
Examples aplenty, the Vatican itself perpetuated the blood libel in its newspapers as late as 1914. And both Catholic and Protestant churches have a shameful record of complicity with the Nazi genocide.

Galene
Hang on, what is this so-called blood libel? Continue reading

Liberal SS Circles


‘The shrink kept nodding. “Why? What did you do at Buchenwald?”

“I worked,” Hilarius told her, “on experimentally-induced insanity. A catatonic Jew was as good as a dead one. Liberal SS circles felt it would be more humane.” So they had gone at their subjects with metronomes, serpents, Brechtian vignettes at midnight, surgical removal of certain glands, magic-lantern hallucinations, new drugs, threats recited over hidden loudspeakers, hypnotism, clocks that ran backward, and faces. Hilarius had been put in charge of faces. “The Allied liberators,” he reminisced, “arrived, unfortunately, before we could gather enough data. Apart from the spectacular successes, like Zvi, there wasn’t much we could point to in a statistical way.” He smiled at the expression on her face.’

– Pynchon. T. 1966. The Crying of Lot 49 New York, United States: Harper Perennial (2006) p. 112

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The Ache tribe of Paraguay believe that babies inherit the characteristics of all the men who have had sex with the mother during pregnancy.

In Latin, testis both means witness and testicle.

The “M” on M&M’s candies were stencilled by hand until WWII labour shortages forced the confectioner to automate the process.

The international telephone code for Antarctica is 672.

In 2012, nearly half of Americans were not aware that Judaism is an older religion than Christianity – that is to say, nearly half of Americans did not figure out that, in Christianity, the Old Testament is older than the New Testament.

See other: Quite Interesting Facts

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In English, a jill is a female ferret; to jill means female masturbation.

When Navajo babies laugh for the first time, they get a party. The food is paid for by whoever made the baby laugh.

The Republican Party is the only political party in U.S. history to win a Presidential Election without achieving a majority of the popular vote. As a result, three Republicans were elected President even though their main opponent received more votes.

More than half the world’s population has seen a James Bond film.

During the Second World War, the Führer oath that every party member, officer and soldier had to take contained the words “I swear in the name of almighty God, my loyalty to the Führer.” Also, the belt buckles of German soldiers were inscribed with ‘Gott mit uns’ (God on our side).

See other: Quite Interesting Facts