Kristallnacht

Here is a persuasive paper I wrote for my performance assessment in my history class. The topic was to write about the most important/significant person, event, or invention studied throughout the year. I chose “Kristallnacht” & enjoy your brief history lesson 🙂

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To start off, between November 9th and 10th, 1938, the Nazis and their supporters staged violent pogroms against Jewish communities throughout Germany, Austria and areas of Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia. These anti-Jewish riots came to be known as Kristallnacht, often referred to as the “Night of Broken Glass”. Not only was the Kristallnacht the most significant event studied throughout the year, but also it was the cause for many other historical events.

 

Firstly, Kristallnacht earned its significance through the hardships that many Jewish people had to face. In 1938, after a Polish-Jewish youth shot a German embassy officer in Paris, France; this fueled attacks on German Jews to be even more brutal. Under the veil of the Nazi regime, rioters and supporters knew no boundaries to violence. Seven thousand Jewish shops were either vandalized or looted, 267 synagogues were either burned or destroyed, 20 000 Jews were arrested and many were savagely beaten. Also, many rioters damaged Jewish cemeteries, hospitals and homes – without the intervention of police and firemen. These events came to to be commonly referred as “Night of Broken Glass”, a reference to the broken windows of numerous synagogues, Jewish shops, etc… Previously, laws targeting Jews had been passed, such as the Nuremburg Laws. However, Kristallnacht is far more significanct as it showed Jews that they were no longer protected under law from acts of violence and assault commited by Nazi-influenced German citizens. Therefore, not only were the pogroms the first time the Nazi regime deliberately targeted Jews and their property, but they were the first time that Jews faced such brutal attacks with no protection from their government – a true violation of basic human rights.

 

Secondly, Kristallnacht was a turning point in the National Socialist (Nazi) anti-Semitic policy. After the events of Kristallnact, the treatment of Jews increased in brutality and radical acts were taken. The Nazi regime intensified its operation in removing the Jewish people from German economic and social life. Kristallnacht is a perfect example of the treatment of minorities, an important theme in Canadian History. The consequences that Jews faced were devastating and long-lasting – Jewish businesses and factories were confiscated, Jews were barred from a vast majority of public places, forced into emigration and expelled from school. In addition, Jews were forced to wear the Star of David for identification – an iconic symbol during Hitler’s regime, something that wouldn’t have happened without Kristallnacht. In the forthcoming years, policies of forced emigration and deportation of Jews were taken, only to culminate in the Holocaust – the mass murder of Jews. Moreover, Kristallnacht is significantly more important since without it, two other extremely significant and tragic historical events – the Holocaust and World War II – would have never occurred. Thus, Kristallnacht was an essential turning point in Nazi Germany’s persecution of Jews, which culminated in the attempt to exterminate the Jewish population.

 

All in all, far more than glass was shattered on Kristallnacht – the treatment of Jews, a true minority in Nazi Germany, was appalling. Jewish people lost their basic human rights, their dignity and hope. Kristallnacht is the most significant historical event studied this year, because not only did many Jewish people face discrimination amongst other hardships, but also many believe that Kristallnacht was the fuel for Hitler’s actions and the start of World War II.

 

To learn more, please visit:

 

  • Cruxton J.Bradley & Wilson W.Douglas. Spotlight Canada Fourth Edition. Canada. Oxford University Press Canada. 2000. Print

 

By: Purple Pansy

 

 

 

 

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News!

Hey guys!

It’s been a very long time since I’ve posted consistent posts, which is why I have some very exciting news to announce!

With my school ending this friday – YAY – I will finally have an abundance of time on my hands to write consistent posts at least once a day during the summer! 😀 Isn’t that great? So I’ve put together a list on posts to expect:

  • Photography (I’ve always been interested in photography and with my year old Canon Rebel T3i, I’ll be posting a lot of my snaps on here!)
  • Book/Movie Reviews (With summer comes reading book after book and going to a bunch of movies! Especially with a bunch of hit movies being released this summer *cough, cough* TFIOS *cough* So don’t be surprised when a lot of reviews get uploaded.)
  • Spoken Word Poetry (This summer I’m very interesting in further exploring the wonderful world of spoken word poetry and slams – I already have ideas brewing up!)
  • Blog about my Kenya experience (Yes! I went to KENYA  this March Break with my school! Isn’t it crazy?! My first time in Africa for 2 weeks! It was an experience of a lifetime and I can’t wait to share it with you!)
  • Art Portfolio (I took art as an elective this year – along with art history – so I’ve expanded my skills and knowledge and have quite a few interesting works of art that I wanted to share with you! 🙂 )
  • Music Discoveries (I’m almost always listening to music, which leads to the discovery of amazing artists and groups! Stay tuned (guilty! hehe, sorry I had to put that pun in… )
  • DIY’s (Who doesn’t love a good DIY? *cricket, cricket*)

So that’s all the ideas off of my head, I’m sure there are more to come!  For those of you in exam week, best of luck, we’re in the same boat right now! If you’re still chilling before exams – don’t procrastinate, get studying – you’ll thank me later!

Bye for now!

 

Monster – a descriptive paragraph

Here is the descriptive paragraph that inspired me to write “Remorse”, a World War I poem (see the following post). Hope you enjoy 🙂 – Purple Pansy

It’s crisp, the air… I know it’s just after dawn, almost my time to shine. Others were proud to go over the top, but not me. I’m ashamed of who I am, it’s not me. I wasn’t meant to be a killer. I’m soft on the inside, filled with yellow rays of happiness. Suddenly, I can hear the general coming, I hear his barks, and I am stricken with fear. The ground rumbles under his weight and it makes me feel small and a bit compressed. I wasn’t meant to do this, I could just live a normal life, maybe make some friends, oh I don’t know… I’m shaken, up and down, up and down, rattled from end to end. I prepare myself, to go over the top, onto the battlefield. Eins, dvei, drei… It’s time; I am propelled over the barbed wire, soaring like a bird. I quickly plummet to the ground, my metal armor hitting the firmly packed dirt. Plunk, plunk, plunk, it explodes and I seep out. Then just like I was prepared to do, I slither across the ground, exactly like a snake. The wind isn’t my enemy this time, we’re allies today. With the wind driving me, I come closer to the enemy ground. I wish I could stop and turn around. I want to escape, shed my skin and hide. As I approached the trenches, I notice there’s no lookout, not a single guard is present. What a perfect sneak attack… Here’s my cue, the moment everyone at base has been waiting for. I swivel through the trench’s zigzags, unnoticed for now. I start creeping near sleeping soldiers, targeting the poor fellows and after a few minutes killing them. I’ve covered the frontline, so many men have perished. “I’m sorry”, I utter. I come face to face with a soldier. Poor boy; he turned as pale as a sheet and froze like a statue. Is this what he imagined a German looked like? I wish I could help him but I know I can’t turn back now. He starts hyperventilating, breathing deeper and deeper. Oh no, I’ve scared him, I start weeping. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry”, I wail. I’ve never felt this much remorse before, but then again I’ve never been this alive. Mouth to mouth, nose to nose, he gulps his last breath of air. Auf Wiedersehen young soldier. As I look behind me, I see the deaths that I’ve caused. More bodies plunge to the dirt and I feel pathetic; man has made me a killer. “Forgive me, please.”, I whisper. I begin travelling to the support trench until I’m spotted. I don’t know what to do, it’s like my thoughts were stolen from me. All I can do is linger there. Whistles go crazy, everyone takes cover – they hide from me, the monster. I don’t know what to do anymore, so I loiter around. I manage to escape this deadly scene; it’s like a graveyard on exhibit. I can’t help but cry that I’m sorry. I start to dissipate, all that lingers in my head are the cries of those poor soldiers: Gas, gas, gas!

By: Purple Pansy

Remorse

Here is a World War I poem that I wrote. Try to figure out who the subject is, scroll down to the bottom to find out 🙂 – enjoy…

 

It’s crisp, the air.

Just after dawn, my time to shine.

Others were proud to go over the top,

Not me, I’m not a killer.

I’m soft, filled with yellow rays of happiness.

I can sense the general coming,

I feel his footsteps, fear strikes me.

The ground rumbles from his weight,

It makes me feel small, compressed.

I’m not meant to do this,

I could just live a normal life,

Make friends, have fun. Smile.

 

I’m shaken,

Up and down, up and down,

Rattled from end to end.

I prepare to go onto the battlefield.

Eins, dvei, drei – it’s time.

 

I am propelled over the barbed wire,

Soaring, flying like a bird.

I plummet to the ground,

My metal armor hitting the firmly packed dirt.

Plunk, plunk, plunk…

 

It explodes and I seep out.

Just like I was drilled to do,

I slither across the ground, like a snake.

The wind is on my side, we’re allies.

It drives me.

I come closer to the enemy ground,

I want to stop and turn around,

Escape is my only thought,

I want to shed my skin and hide.

Closer and closer I come,

To the enemy trenches.

No lookout, not a single guard.

A perfect sneak attack waiting to happen.

 

Here’s my cue – I swivel through the zigzags,

Unnoticed… for now.

I creep against sleeping soldiers,

Target and aim, target and aim.

I’ve covered the frontline, poor fellows…

I’m sorry.

 

Face to face with a soldier,

He’s pale as a sheet, frozen like a statue.

I want him to run, I wish I could help.

He’s hyperventilating, breathing deeper and deeper,

Tears collect under his eyes

He’s scared of me, the German monster.

 

I’m sorry, I’m sorry – I’ve never felt this much remorse

But I’ve never been this alive.

Mouth to mouth, nose to nose

He is breathing hard against me,

He gulps his last breath – Auf Wiedersehen

 

More bodies plunge to the dirt,

I am pathetic; man has made me a killer.

Forgive me, please. Please forgive me.

I travel deeper into the trench, until I’m spotted.

I am stolen from my thoughts – I can only linger.

Whistles go crazy, men take cover,

They hide from me, the monster.

I manage to escape this deadly scene,

It’s a graveyard on exhibit.

I start to dissipate,

All that lingers in my head,

Are the cries of the soldiers:

Gas, gas, gas…

Who is the subject ? (highlight to see answer) : Mustard Gas, I used personification to give the gas human-like characteristics and to give the poem a unique twist 🙂 

By : Purple Pansy

Private Peaceful : A Historical Film Review

I recently watched the movie Private Peaceful and thought that I would do a review of the film, exploring the historical accuracy. Enjoy 🙂

     Based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo, Private Peaceful portrays the touching story of two brothers as they enlist for the British Army at the start of World War I. Directed by Pat O’Connor and released in 2012, the movie stars George Mackay, Jack O’Connell and the late Richard Griffiths. As the film progresses, the details of war become more elaborate – from the weaponry, to the treatment of minorities, Private Peaceful makes it clear to its audience that war is not a pleasant thing. Under the clever directing of Pat O’Connor and the attention paid to the details, Private Peaceful is a somewhat accurate historical film. Overall, the film accurately illustrates the horrors of war, both at the frontlines and back home through a colorized version making it easy for any audience to grasp.

     Private Peaceful depicts the story of two young brothers, Tommo (Mackay) and Charlie (O’Connell), as well as their poor Devonshire family from 1908 to 1916. The film starts off with a teenaged Tommo, who is imprisoned in an army cell and begins to retell his memories from past to present. Throughout their childhood, the brothers grow very close to each other– from falling in love with the same girl to working together on the farm, the boys develop a loving and protective bond. When the horrors of the Great War arrive to their village, the boys enlist to serve in the Devon Regiment (British Forces) to go overseas in Flanders, Belgium. As months pass by, the two brothers encounter the many consequences of war, such as coping with the death of their peers or avoiding exploding shells and gas attacks. The brothers manage to remain together and support each other in these times of despair, especially Charlie’s overprotectiveness towards his younger brother Tommo. What allows the audience to empathize with the brothers is Charlie’s brotherly love during an attack on the German lines when he disobeys his sergeant’s orders and stays with his injured brother in no man’s land. Accused of cowardice in front of the enemy, under the orders of General Haig, Charlie is sentenced to execution by the firing squad and the film winds down to his death. Tommo concludes the film by speaking in present tense and promising to look after his nephew, hinting towards an optimistic future.

     First of all, the minute war breaks out during the film, the pressures of war arise in the rural village of Devon. As the British casualties increase, the rural village of Devon must encourage men to enlist in their regiment. The Colonel, who governs the village, indicates that the men needed must be “fit able-bodied men, able to fulfill their patriotic duty”. This leads to different tactics used by the Devonshire authority in order to increase the amount of recruits, which are quite similar to those used historically. For instance, the Colonel and other high ranks of the Devon Regiment, parade through the city to promote the enlistment of the men. One officer gives an encouraging speech and further persuades the men by intimidating them with the possible violation of their women and murder of their children, all done by the Hun (Germans). While listening to the officer, Tommo is encouraged by an older woman to enlist. She continues to pressure him, claiming that it is “every man’s duty to fight when his country calls” but stops abruptly when he does not step up and instead claims that he is not a man and is a coward. In my opinion, this moment shows the public embarrassment caused by not enlisting and can be compared back in history when women handed out white feathers to symbolize a man’s cowardice. I found them similar, as both women’s aim was to publicly embarrass the men who did not enlist. Not only are men persuaded into enlisting in the regiment, but farmers must also give their horses since they’re not just needed for cavalry but also for the transportation of soldiers and munitions. Another example of the promotion of recruitment is the propaganda posters spread throughout the village. Much like in history, these posters sparked the patriotism within men as optimistic images and inspirational phrases (such as “Are YOU in this?”) made them want to serve their country and fulfill their patriotic duty. Despite his doubt of enlisting, as the film progresses, Tommo believes that being a soldier is far better off than working for someone else, it gets a better pay and it’s a way of getting away from home. Thus, much like other young men in history, Tommo enlists underage by using a false birth year. Tommo’s way of thinking can be justified by historians as many claimed that men enlisted to increase their stereotypical manliness and many men thought that going off to war was like going off to an adventure. On the other hand, there were the women who had to stay back home while their sons and husbands went off to war. Mrs. Peaceful and Molly did not support the Peaceful brothers going off to war as they had plenty of roles to fulfill at home. Much like the women in history, both women in this film tried to persuade the Peacefuls to stay but were unsuccessful. Therefore as depicted in the film, the effects of war touched everyone and many were expected to make sacrifices for the well being of their country.

            Secondly, much like in history, throughout the film many minorities are mistreated. One of the first situations introduced to the audience is the character and treatment of Big Joe. Big Joe is Charlie and Tommo’s older brother and he has a learning disability. Although different, his two brothers protect him from bullies and love him nonetheless. However, when the boys’ father dies, the Colonel who employs most of the village, suggests to Mrs. Peaceful that she lock Big Joe up in the lunatic asylum and come work for his wife. Mrs. Peaceful reacts quite disturbingly and makes it clear that she must look after he son. This reaction is fairly unique for this time period, as at the time, mental illnesses were not highly accepted amongst the society and many suffering from mental illnesses were locked up in asylums. Thus, Mrs. Peaceful’s answer to the Colonel was quite courageous and I found that the director included her loving and nurturing character to send the message that being different is okay. Another example of Big Joe’s maltreatment is when Grandma Wolf (Mrs. Peaceful’s auntie) literally bullies him because of his disability. Although this behavior nowadays is very wrong, during those times mental illnesses and disabilities were taboos amongst others. In addition, the treatment of women was very poor, although they were of great importance. Many already know the great roles that women played, specifically the stereotypical stay at home moms or housewives. However, once the men went overseas to serve their countries, barely any workers were left and women were needed to replace their position in munitions factories. Although they were of great importance, many believed that allowing women to work was unacceptable and they were often made fun of. This historical controversy was shown by the Colonel when the war had just broke out and replacements were needed in work areas. Also, the treatment of ethnic minorities was another historical segment that was incorporated in the film. Throughout history, the treatment of ethnic minorities was very flawed and many people from enemy or ethnic descents were deprived from their everyday rights. This is simply and clearly shown when the soldiers of British decent from Devon, including Tommo, were faced with some Indians at the local pub. The group of Brits treated them poorly by uttering racial slurs at the Indian men who enlisted, such as making fun of their accent and smell. This short scene was pertinent to the audience as it showed the harsh standards that people from ethnic minorities had to face, as they struggled with racial discrimination. Therefore, Private Peaceful accurately displayed the different types of discrimination that have occurred in history, specifically at the time of World War I.

            Thirdly, one of the most historical representations in this entire film was trench warfare. One of the most devastated parts of the war was having to fight in trenches. With the knowledge from veterans, many have grown up knowing the horrible conditions that the soldiers faced. However, in this specific film, I found the trenches very clean, if you will. They were not filthy, rats did not scurry along the wooden boards and only one corpse was shown on the barbed wire. This film’s representation of the trenches was, in my opinion, fairly innocent however this can be explained by two reasons. One might say it was the beginning of the war thus the dirt hadn’t settled in yet, the weather was fairly good and the trenches were not contaminated. However, the troops were fighting in Flanders (where Ypres is) and the gas attack at Ypres was very deadly; so more gory trenches would have made the battle scenes more realistic. On the other hand, Private Peaceful is a film intended for older children and the contents must be suitable for its audience. However the one element of the trenches correctly portrayed was the architecture of the trenches as they were in zigzags. Throughout World War I, trenches were dug in zigzags in order to prevent fires from spreading, shells from exploding further in the trenches and enemy raids would become more difficult because of the maze-like rows. Thus the film correctly portrayed that aspect of the trenches. Another significant part of this film was the gas attacks. In this film, the gas attacks occurred many times and the soldiers knew how to respond to them. However, the gas attacks were out of place since in history, the first gas attack occurred at the Second Battle of Ypres on April 22nd, 1915. Although the location is correct, as Ypres is in the region of Flanders, the date is incorrect since the Devon Regiment had just gone off to war so the time period was 1914. Also in the film, the soldiers were equipped with fairly advanced gas masks, which were also out of place. At the time, technology was not developed and soldiers used handkerchiefs soaked in urine to act as gas masks. Even after gas masks were invented, they weren’t as advanced and were of low quality. Nonetheless, one attribute that was extremely accurate were the uniforms and the weaponry used by the Devon Regiment. The uniforms were highly accurate as the soldiers were wearing the 1914 Pattern Leather Equipment; the details put into the uniforms made them seem like originals. The weaponry used by the soldiers were bayonets, rifles and handguns. Also I found that the training the soldiers went through at the rest camp is what made the film very realistic for the audience, as it showed the hardships soldiers had to go through. On top of the trench warfare, one significant scene in the film was the court martial scene and Charlie’s execution. Charlie was sent to a court martial hearing as during an attack on the German lines he disobeyed his sergeant’s orders and stayed with the injured Tommo. Despite Sergeant Hanley’s warnings that he will be sentenced to death, Charlie refuses his orders several times and continues to stay beside Tommo. He is then accused of cowardice in front of the enemy, which has severe consequences in the British Army. After the court martial, under the orders of General Haig, Charlie is sentenced to execution by the firing squad. These scenes are highly accurate as not only is the character of General Haig a real general in the British Forces at that time but this scene also indicates the harsh consequences enforced in the British Army. At the time, desertion and disobeying commands were the main reasons for execution by the firing squad. Therefore Private Peaceful very accurately displayed the consequences of cowardice and bravery. Thus, as a result of the variety in the accuracy of trench warfare and the British Forces, I found that the film was confusing at some scenes and its accuracy diminished.

In Private Peaceful, there were many attributes that made the film historically accurate. Alongside these historical elements were details that made the film enjoyable. To start off, the film was composed of many strengths and weaknesses. I found that the way the director introduced Tommo and Charlie’s brotherly love for each other at the beginning of the film is what triggered the audience’s empathy. Another strength that stood out was the portrayal of Charlie Peaceful’s trial and death. The scenes with the court martial and his execution by the firing squad created a sense of suspense in the film as well as indicating the harsh consequences of the British Army. As for the weaknesses of the film, I found that the battle scenes were poorly shot and placed in the film. The battle scenes only occurred towards the end of the film and I found that they were very innocent and did not correctly display the despair and struggles found in war. Also the gas attacks were out of place and gave viewers an incorrect perception of the events that occurred in World War I. However what made up for the poorly shot scenes and other flaws was the brilliant acting of several actors. I found that the acting of John Lynch (Sergeant Hanley) made the training and battle scenes very accurate since his harsh and bitter lines made it clear that the war was not a pleasant thing. The young George MacKay (Tommo Peaceful) added an innocent vibe, which was very much needed during the violent times. To top it off, the late Richard Griffiths (The Colonel) portrayed his character in such an outstanding way, especially when his arrogance and greedy manners indicated his overpowering authoritative figure. Despite these actors that fulfilled their roles very precisely, one inadequate actress stood out: Alexandra Roach who played Molly Monks/Peaceful. I found that this actress lacked emotions, specifically when her husband went off to war as she failed to display the worried and heartbroken emotions that would naturally occur in this situation. In my opinion, the plot did build itself to a logical climax with Charlie’s refusal to leave the injured Tommo in no man’s land. With the building suspense of the viewers, the film resolved itself in a bittersweet manner, with the execution of Charlie Peaceful. I found that the film’s resolution left doleful and empathetic reactions with the film’s audience. In my opinion, more gory scenes would have made the film better as the events that took place would be more realistic. Overall, I would definitely recommend Private Peaceful to another student as not only did it hold my interest uniformly but it also portrayed historical content accurately and in a manner that was easy to grasp.

            To conclude, Private Peaceful was not only a touching film but also a film that made its viewers reflect on the historical events that took place during World War I. Despite its few flaws, I found that the film’s content made its audience more aware about historical events that took place in the past. The brilliant acting, the details of the costumes and the placement of the historical events are what contributed to the accuracy of Private Peaceful. 

By: Purple Pansy

Justice

Here is a spoken word poem that I wrote about justice. I hope you enjoy it, Purple Pansy. 

 

Justice!

Where have you gone?

Justice.

Where are you when this man beats his wife,

From dusk till dawn?

Were you there when she drank, till she could drink no more?

What about when many countries declared war?

 

Are you there when streets are flooded with children?

Where were you when we needed you to listen?

How about when an innocent was locked up?

This justice system, it’s just corrupt.

 

What we call justice is fake,

The people have taken the government’s bate.

We believe that you’re here, to do us good,

Instead, the police stuff their face with food.

We’ve milked justice till it can provide no longer…

And many of us are left to ponder:

Where, where is justice hiding?

Has it given up? Lost its silver lining?

We all wonder where justice went.

Why it flapped its wings and left.

 

But to me, justice is no longer existent,

It’s failed to show up when we most need it.

I cannot count the times where justice disappeared.

Leaving me to face everything that I feared.

Justice…

You’ve been wanted for too long,

People have been waiting for you to come along.

Instead they wait and think to themselves,

Maybe they’re just another book put on the dusty shelves…

 

What is justice?

Justice is just a word

That is often misheard.

Because the truth is,

 Justice just is.

Leaves

Golden, bright leaves dancing on the trees,

Swirling and twirling, as if on a trapeze.

One by one, they fall to the ground,

Awaiting the children to horse around.

 

As days go by, the piles of leaves grow very high,

As more plummet down, there’s enough to touch the sky!

These chameleon leaves have completed their long transition,

The plethora of colors was an art exhibition!

 

The night of Halloween is quickly approaching,

To get much candy is what children are hoping.

As many of the parents rake leaf by leaf,

Children dream of candy that they shall receive.

 

Going trick or treating and dressing up as they desire,

Incapably waiting for their costumes to be seen,

They’ll stroll through the streets, making many admire,

And receive lollipops, chocolates and jellybeans!

 

How I love the season of fall, when you get to sit and relax,

Wear sweaters, drink hot coco and watch the dripping candle wax!

Some prefer to stay inside and stay warm,

While others must have fun free-form!

 

Fall, the time of thanksgiving and pumpkins,

People’s faces plastered with many grins!

It’s the time where everyone unites together,

To honor the pilgrims that we must remember!

 

As the days grow cold, the leaves must utter:

“So long fall, goodbye fall… Hello winter!”

After all the fun times we’ve spent in fall,

It’s time for icicles and snowfall!