nurses in world war 2 images:
A Birmingham Litter Bin
Image by Wootang01
The flight arrived on time; and the twelve hours while on board passed quickly and without incident. To be sure, the quality of the Cathay Pacific service was exemplary once again.
Heathrow reminds me of Newark International. The décor comes straight out of the sterile 80’s and is less an eyesore than an insipid background to the rhythm of human activity, such hustle and bustle, at the fore. There certainly are faces from all races present, creating a rich mosaic of humanity which is refreshing if not completely revitalizing after swimming for so long in a sea of Chinese faces in Hong Kong.
Internet access is sealed in England, it seems. Nothing is free; everything is egregiously monetized from the wireless hotspots down to the desktop terminals. I guess Hong Kong has spoiled me with its abundant, free access to the information superhighway.
Despite staying in a room with five other backpackers, I have been sleeping well. The mattress and pillow are firm; my earplugs keep the noise out; and the sleeping quarters are as dark as a cave when the lights are out, and only as bright as, perhaps, a dreary rainy day when on. All in all, St. Paul’s is a excellent place to stay for the gregarious, adventurous, and penurious city explorer – couchsurfing may be a tenable alternative; I’ll test for next time.
Yesterday Connie and I gorged ourselves at the borough market where there were all sorts of delectable, savory victuals. There was definitely a European flavor to the food fair: simmering sausages were to be found everywhere; and much as the meat was plentiful, and genuine, so were the dairy delicacies, in the form of myriad rounds of cheese, stacked high behind checkered tabletops. Of course, we washed these tasty morsels down with copious amounts of alcohol that flowed from cups as though amber waterfalls. For the first time I tried mulled wine, which tasted like warm, rancid fruit punch – the ideal tonic for a drizzling London day, I suppose. We later killed the afternoon at the pub, shooting the breeze while imbibing several diminutive half-pints in the process. Getting smashed at four in the afternoon doesn’t seem like such a bad thing anymore, especially when you are having fun in the company of friends; I can more appreciate why the English do it so much!
Earlier in the day, we visited the Tate Modern. Its turbine room lived up to its prominent billing what with a giant spider, complete with bulbous egg sac, anchoring the retrospective exhibit. The permanent galleries, too, were a delight upon which to feast one’s eyes. Picasso, Warhol and Pollock ruled the chambers of the upper floors with the products of their lithe wrists; and I ended up becoming a huge fan of cubism, while developing a disdain for abstract art and its vacuous images, which, I feel, are devoid of both motivation and emotion.
My first trip yesterday morning was to Emirates Stadium, home of the Arsenal Gunners. It towers imperiously over the surrounding neighborhood; yet for all its majesty, the place sure was quiet! Business did pick up later, however, once the armory shop opened, and dozens of fans descended on it like bees to a hive. I, too, swooped in on a gift-buying mission, and wound up purchasing a book for Godfrey, a scarf for a student, and a jersey – on sale, of course – for good measure.
I’m sitting in the Westminster Abbey Museum now, resting my weary legs and burdened back. So far, I’ve been verily impressed with what I’ve seen, such a confluence of splendor and history before me that it would require days to absorb it all, when regretfully I can spare only a few hours. My favorite part of the abbey is the poets corner where no less a literary luminary than Samuel Johnson rests in peace – his bust confirms his homely presence, which was so vividly captured in his biography.
For lunch I had a steak and ale pie, served with mash, taken alongside a Guinness, extra cold – 2 degrees centigrade colder, the bartender explained. It went down well, like all the other delicious meals I’ve had in England; and no doubt by now I have grown accustomed to inebriation at half past two. Besides, Liverpool were playing inspired football against Blackburn; and my lunch was complete.
Having had my fill of football, I decided to skip my ticket scalping endeavor at Stamford Bridge and instead wandered over to the British Museum to inspect their extensive collections. Along the way, my eye caught a theater, its doors wide open and admitting customers. With much rapidity, I subsequently checked the show times, saw that a performance was set to begin, and at last rushed to the box office to purchase a discounted ticket – if you call a 40 pound ticket a deal, that is. That’s how I grabbed a seat to watch Hairspray in the West End.
The show was worth forty pounds. The music was addictive; and the stage design and effects were not so much kitschy as delightfully stimulating – the pulsating background lights were at once scintillating and penetrating. The actors as well were vivacious, oozing charisma while they danced and delivered lines dripping in humor. Hairspray is a quality production and most definitely recommended.
At breakfast I sat across from a man who asked me to which country Hong Kong had been returned – China or Japan. That was pretty funny. Then he started spitting on my food as he spoke, completely oblivious to my breakfast becoming the receptacle in which the fruit of his inner churl was being placed. I guess I understand the convention nowadays of covering one’s mouth whilst speaking and masticating at the same time!
We actually conversed on London life in general, and I praised London for its racial integration, the act of which is a prodigious leap of faith for any society, trying to be inclusive, accepting all sorts of people. It wasn’t as though the Brits were trying in vain to be all things to all men, using Spanish with the visitors from Spain, German with the Germans and, even, Hindi with the Indians, regardless of whether or not Hindi was their native language; not even considering the absurd idea of encouraging the international adoption of their language; thereby completely keeping English in English hands and allowing its proud polyglots to "practice" their languages. Indeed, the attempt of the Londoners to avail themselves of the rich mosaic of ethnic knowledge, and to seek a common understanding with a ubiquitous English accent is an exemplar, and the bedrock for any world city.
I celebrated Jesus’ resurrection at the St. Andrew’s Street Church in Cambridge. The parishioners of this Baptist church were warm and affable, and I met several of them, including one visiting (Halliday) linguistics scholar from Zhongshan university in Guangzhou, who in fact had visited my tiny City University of Hong Kong in 2003. The service itself was more traditional and the believers fewer in number than the "progressive" services at any of the charismatic, evangelical churches in HK; yet that’s what makes this part of the body of Christ unique; besides, the message was as brief as a powerpoint slide, and informative no less; the power word which spoke into my life being a question from John 21:22 – what is that to you?
Big trees; exquisite lawns; and old, pointy colleges; that’s Cambridge in a nutshell. Sitting here, sipping on a half-pint of Woodforde’s Wherry, I’ve had a leisurely, if not languorous, day so far; my sole duty consisting of walking around while absorbing the verdant environment as though a sponge, camera in tow.
I am back at the sublime beer, savoring a pint of Sharp’s DoomBar before my fish and chips arrive; the drinking age is 18, but anyone whose visage even hints of youthful brilliance is likely to get carded these days, the bartender told me. The youth drinking culture here is almost as twisted as the university drinking culture in America.
My stay in Cambridge, relaxing and desultory as it may be, is about to end after this late lunch. I an not sure if there is anything left to see, save for the American graveyard which rests an impossible two miles away. I have had a wonderful time in this town; and am thankful for the access into its living history – the residents here must demonstrate remarkable patience and tolerance what with so many tourists ambling on the streets, peering – and photographing – into every nook and cranny.
There are no rubbish bins, yet I’ve seen on the streets many mixed race couples in which the men tend to be white – the women also belonging to a light colored ethnicity, usually some sort of Asian; as well saw some black dudes and Indian dudes with white chicks.
People here hold doors, even at the entrance to the toilet. Sometimes it appears as though they are going out on a limb, just waiting for the one who will take the responsibility for the door from them, at which point I rush out to relieve them of such a fortuitous burden.
I visited the British Museum this morning. The two hours I spent there did neither myself nor the exhibits any justice because there really is too much to survey, enough captivating stuff to last an entire day, I think. The bottomless well of artifacts from antiquity, drawing from sources as diverse as Korea, and Mesopotamia, is a credit to the British empire, without whose looting most of this amazing booty would be unavailable for our purview; better, I think, for these priceless treasures to be open to all in the grandest supermarket of history than away from human eyes, and worst yet, in the hands of unscrupulous collectors or in the rubbish bin, possibly.
Irene and I took in the ballet Giselle at The Royal Opera House in the afternoon. The building is a plush marvel, and a testament to this city’s love for the arts. The ballet itself was satisfying, the first half being superior to the second, in which the nimble dancers demonstrated their phenomenal dexterity in, of all places, a graveyard covered in a cloak of smoke and darkness. I admit, their dance of the dead, in such a gloomy necropolis, did strike me as, strange.
Two amicable ladies from Kent convinced me to visit their hometown tomorrow, where, they told me, the authentic, "working" Leeds Castle and the mighty interesting home of Charles Darwin await.
I’m nursing a pint of Green King Ruddles and wondering about the profusion of British ales and lagers; the British have done a great deed for the world by creating an interminable line of low-alcohol session beers that can be enjoyed at breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner; and their disservice is this: besides this inexhaustible supply of cheap beer ensnaring my inner alcoholic, I feel myself putting on my freshman fifteen, almost ten years after the fact; I am going to have to run a bit harder back in Hong Kong if I want to burn all this malty fuel off.
Irene suggested I stop by the National Art Gallery since we were in the area; and it was an hour well spent. The gallery currently presents a special exhibit on Picasso, the non-ticketed section of which features several seductive renderings, including David spying on Bathsheba – repeated in clever variants – and parodies of other masters’ works. Furthermore, the main gallery houses two fabulous portraits by Joshua Reynolds, who happens to be favorite of mine, he in life being a close friend of Samuel Johnson – I passed by Boswells, where its namesake first met Johnson, on my way to the opera house.
I prayed last night, and went through my list, lifting everyone on it up to the Lord. That felt good; that God is alive now, and ever present in my life and in the lives of my brothers and sisters.
Doubtless, then, I have felt quite wistful, as though a specter in the land of the living, being in a place where religious fervor, it seems, is a thing of the past, a trifling for many, to be hidden away in the opaque corners of centuries-old cathedrals that are more expensive tourist destinations than liberating homes of worship these days. Indeed, I have yet to see anyone pray, outside of the Easter service which I attended in Cambridge – for such an ecstatic moment in verily a grand church, would you believe that it was only attended by at most three dozen spirited ones. The people of England, and Europe in general, have, it is my hope, only locked away the Word, relegating it to the quiet vault of their hearts. May it be taken out in the sudden pause before mealtimes and in the still crisp mornings and cool, silent nights. There is still hope for a revival in this place, for faith to rise like that splendid sun every morning. God would love to rescue them, to deliver them in this day, it is certain.
I wonder what Londoners think, if anything at all, about their police state which, like a vine in the shadows, has taken root in all corners of daily life, from the terrorist notifications in the underground, which implore Londoners to report all things suspicious, to the pair of dogs which eagerly stroll through Euston. What makes this all the more incredible is the fact that even the United States, the indomitable nemesis of the fledgling, rebel order, doesn’t dare bombard its citizens with such fear mongering these days, especially with Obama in office; maybe we’ve grown wise in these past few years to the dubious returns of surrendering civil liberties to the state, of having our bags checked everywhere – London Eye; Hairspray; and The Royal Opera House check bags in London while the museums do not; somehow, that doesn’t add up for me.
I’m in a majestic bookshop on New Street in Birmingham, and certainly to confirm my suspicions, there are just as many books on the death of Christianity in Britain as there are books which attempt to murder Christianity everywhere. I did find, however, a nice biography on John Wesley by Roy Hattersley and The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. I may pick up the former.
Lunch with Sally was pleasant and mirthful. We dined at a French restaurant nearby New Street – yes, Birmingham is a cultural capitol! Sally and I both tried their omelette, while her boyfriend had the fish, without chips. Conversation was light, the levity was there and so was our reminiscing about those fleeting moments during our first year in Hong Kong; it is amazing how friendships can resume so suddenly with a smile. On their recommendation, I am on my way to Warwick Castle – they also suggested that I visit Cadbury World, but they cannot take on additional visitors at the moment, the tourist office staff informed me, much to my disappointment!
Visiting Warwick Castle really made for a great day out. The castle, parts of which were established by William the Conquerer in 1068, is as much a kitschy tourist trap as a meticulous preservation of history, at times a sillier version of Ocean Park while at others a dignified dedication to a most glorious, inexorably English past. The castle caters to all visitors; and not surprisingly, that which delighted all audiences was a giant trebuchet siege engine, which for the five p.m. performance hurled a fireball high and far into the air – fantastic! Taliban beware!
I’m leaving on a jet plane this evening; don’t know when I’ll be back in England again. I’ll miss this quirky, yet endearing place; and that I shall miss Irene and Tom who so generously welcomed me into their home, fed me, and suffered my use of their toilet and shower goes without saying. I’m grateful for God’s many blessings on this trip.
On the itinerary today is a trip to John Wesley’s home, followed by a visit to the Imperial War Museum. Already this morning I picked up a tube of Oilatum, a week late perhaps, which Teri recommended I use to treat this obstinate, dermal weakness of mine – I’m happy to report that my skin has stopped crying.
John Wesley’s home is alive and well. Services are still held in the chapel everyday; and its crypt, so far from being a cellar for the dead, is a bright, spacious museum in which all things Wesley are on display – I never realized how much of an iconic figure he became in England; at the height of this idol frenzy, ironic in itself, he must have been as popular as the Beatles were at their apex. The house itself is a multi-story edifice with narrow, precipitous staircases and spacious rooms decorated in an 18th century fashion.
I found Samuel Johnson’s house within a maze of red brick hidden alongside Fleet Street. To be in the home of the man who wrote the English dictionary, and whose indefatigable love for obscure words became the inspiration for my own lexical obsession, this, by far, is the climax of my visit to England! The best certainly has been saved for last.
There are a multitude of portraits hanging around the house like ornaments on a tree. Every likeness has its own story, meticulously retold on the crib sheets in each room. Celebrities abound, including David Garrick and Sir Joshua Reynolds, who painted several of the finer images in the house. I have developed a particular affinity for Oliver Goldsmith, of whom Boswell writes, "His person was short, his countenance coarse and vulgar, his deportment that of a scholar awkwardly affecting the easy gentleman. It appears as though I, too, could use a more flattering description of myself!
I regretfully couldn’t stop to try the curry in England; I guess the CityU canteen’s take on the dish will have to do. I did, however, have the opportune task of flirting with the cute Cathay Pacific counter staff who checked me in. She was gorgeous in red, light powder on her cheeks, with real diamond earrings, she said; and her small, delicate face, commanded by a posh British accent rendered her positively irresistible, electrifying. Not only did she grant me an aisle seat but she had the gumption to return my fawning with zest; she must be a pro at this by now.
I saw her again as she was pulling double-duty, collecting tickets prior to boarding. She remembered my quest for curry; and in the fog of infatuation, where nary a man has been made, I fumbled my words like the sloppy kid who has had too much punch. I am just an amateur, alas, an "Oliver Goldsmith" with the ladies – I got no game – booyah!
Some final, consequential bits: because of the chavs, Burberry no longer sells those fashionable baseball caps; because of the IRA, rubbish bins are no longer a commodity on the streets of London, and as a result, the streets and the Underground of the city are a soiled mess; and because of other terrorists from distant, more arid lands, going through a Western airport has taken on the tedium of perfunctory procedure that doesn’t make me feel any safer from my invisible enemies.
At last, I saw so many Indians working at Heathrow that I could have easily mistaken the place for Mumbai. Their presence surprised me because their portion of the general population surely must be less than their portion of Heathrow staff, indicating some mysterious hiring bias. Regardless, they do a superb job with cursory airport checks, and in general are absurdly funny and witty when not tactless.
That’s all for England!
Enclos des Fusillés – Ereperk der Gefusilleerden; Ernest Chaerels 1
Image by historic.brussels
The ‘Park of Honour of Those Who Were Shot’
Memorial and graves of resistance heroes and martyrs – brave Jews, brave Christians, dissidents, anti-fascists, socialists, rebels, samizdat journalists and organisers – those who dared to question and fight oppression, and the evil Powers That Be.
Here you see the faces of my brothers, my own dear family, my partners in fighting sheer political evil – resting in their graves here, in perhaps the most poignant place in all of Brussels, Belgium. Here lie those in Belgium who were shot fighting the Nazis of the 1940s – as I myself have nearly been killed fighting the more recent fascists, some of the ‘new Nazis’ of the 21st century.
Shortly after I arrived in Brussels as a political refugee from the US, under threat of murder by far-right political figures, this is one of the first places I visited. I came here to weep some tears amid the companionship of my anti-fascist comrades, who also looked death in the eye as they tried to speak and act for what is right.
The camera used here, and the chance to make these photos, are gifts of the brave dissident US Jewish physician, Dr Moshe ‘Moss’ David Posner, who risked and gambled his own life, to support me and help keep me alive in the face of threats by neo-Nazi assassins.
These are photos from the daily life of writer and political refugee from the US, Dr Les (Leslie) Sachs – photos documenting my new beloved home city of Brussels, Belgium, my life among the people and Kingdom who have given me safety in the face of the threats to destroy me. Brussels has a noble history of providing a safe haven to other dissident refugee writers, such as Victor Hugo, Karl Marx, Charles Baudelaire, and Alexandre Dumas, and I shall forever be grateful that Brussels and Belgium have helped to protect my own life as well.
(To read about the efforts to silence me and my journalism, the attacks on me, the smears and the threats, see the website by European journalists "About Les Sachs" linked in my Flickr profile, and press articles such as "Two EU Writers Under Threat of Murder: Roberto Saviano and Dr Les Sachs".)
This extremely moving memorial and gravesite, is known locally as the Enclos des Fusillés – Ereperk der Gefusillerden (Brussels is bi-lingual French- and Dutch-speaking, so place names are given in both languages here.) – In English, the name is perhaps best rendered as the "Park of Honour of Those Who Were Shot".
The Enclos des Fusillés – Ereperk der Gefusilleerden includes many martyrs of the Belgian resistance of World War II, being both their gravesite and also the place where many of them were shot to death by a Nazi firing squad. – And it is also a memorial and the place of death, of other heroic figures who were shot to death in the previous German occupation of Belgium during World War I. One heroine from the First World War who was shot by the Germans and is now commemorated here, is the famous British nurse Edith Cavell.
The reason that this was a convenient place of execution by firing squad, is that it was originally part of a Belgian military training area and rifle range that existed here once upon a time, and you still see here the tall hillside that served as an earthen ‘backstop’ to safely absorb high-powered rifle bullets. The hillside was thus ready-made for the German commandants who occupied Brussels in both wars, to carry out their firing-squad executions.
Nowadays, the Enclos des Fusillés – Ereperk der Gefusilleerden appears quite ‘central’ in urban Brussels, as it lies in the Schaerbeek – Schaarbeek commune, directly in the path from the EU institution area toward the roads that lead to the airport, and very near to the 90-metre high VRT-RTBF communications tower that has long been a major Brussels landmark.
The Enclos des Fusillés – Ereperk der Gefusilleerden is walking distance from the eastern Brussels ‘prémétro’, which is a grouping of tram lines that run underground for several stops on both the eastern and western sides of the Brussels city centre, supplementing the regular métro underground system with a similarly high frequency of service and also underground. If you continue along the prémétro lines south from the Diamant stop which is near the Enclos des Fusillés – Ereperk der Gefusilleerden, you shortly arrive at the elaborate 19th-century military barracks buildings which once housed the soldiers who used the rifle range and parade grounds, which later become the place of martyrdom for members of the anti-Nazi resistance.
This is a place of great emotion for me personally, because the resistance martyrs who lie in these graves – a number of them socialists, journalists and with Jewish-heritage, critics of corruption just like myself – are my comrades in my own ordeal. I barely escaped alive out of the USA, nearly murdered by neo-Nazi-linked thugs, who themselves spoke favourably of Hitler as they moved toward killing me, as well as trying to ban my ability to write and speak.
It is sad that this place, Enclos des Fusillés – Ereperk der Gefusilleerden, is very little visited nowadays. Most of the time when I come here to contemplate and shed a few tears amid my comrades, and also to gain strength from their brave spirits, I am alone. Many of the family members and children of those who died or are buried here, have now themselves often passed away.
But on occasion there are people visiting, and on one day I was privileged to meet the daughter of one of the resistance martyrs who is buried here. She spoke to me of being a little girl, and seeing the Nazis arrest her father inside their home. She spoke about how they tied his hands behind his back, and yet how bravely he looked at her one last time. – She never saw her father alive again, and she is now in her seventies. – But when she spoke of her father, her voice grew energised and strong. She said she remembered the day of her father’s arrest like if it was yesterday. And as she spoke, I could feel it and almost see it, as if I had been there myself.
The heroes in these graves are quite alive for me still. I am a religious man, a person of faith, and I believe in the life hereafter. – Many people have been afraid to help me, abandoning me to be murdered by the powerful forces of the American government – people too frightened to dare oppose the deadly US power of global assassination, the vicious US global media slandering of a dissident’s reputation – Yet when I walk here at the Enclos des Fusillés – Ereperk der Gefusilleerden, I feel myself amid a powerful throng of comrades, among brave people who understand me, people who know what it is like to be menaced with murder and to look death straight in the eye. – I feel the spirits in these graves support me and sustain me, that they welcome me as one among themselves.
It is my privilege now to honour these brave companions of mine, giving their memory some further renown and support. And I have wanted very much to do so, as the Enclos des Fusillés – Ereperk der Gefusilleerden still is in need of expanded documentation on the Web, before some of what can be seen here fades away much further.
One of the most powerful aspects of visiting this tree-lined and grassy cemetery and memorial, is that you see on a number of the grave markers, not only names and comments from loved ones, but in some cases actual pictures of these brave people, pictures rendered into sepia-type photos on porcelain. Though efforts were made to make these photographs permanent, the elements and the years and decades have taken their toll. Many of the pictures are now faded, or cracked, or broken, or fallen on the ground from their mountings. In one case I held a cracked porcelain image together with one hand, while taking the photo with the other hand. The years are passing, and I have wanted to document the faces of these brave heroes before they disappear, before time takes a greater toll on this place of sacred honour.
You look into the eyes of these brave people, and you see and feel the spirit of true bravery, of genuine resistance of oppression, resistance to the point of death, their hope that sacrificing one’s own life in the fight, will yet do some good for others in the world. Look into their eyes, and you see their faces, faces of real people, quite like anyone in some ways, but in other ways very special, with a light in them that carries far beyond their own death – people who yet had the fire of faith in that Greater than mere earthly existence.
In this hillside that you see in the photos – the hillside in front of which many of these heroes stood in the moment as they were shot to death – in that hillside is a large memorial marker to the heroes of World War I who died here. On that marker it says:
sous les balles allemandes
35 héros victimes de leur
attachement à la patrie
onder de duitse kogels
35 helden ten offer
aan hun liefde voor het vaderland
Here fell 35 heroes
who offered their lives
for their country
shot by the Germans
You’ll notice that the 4th name down on the marker is that of Edith Louisa Cavell (1865-1915), with just her initial and last name and the date of her death here, on 12 October 1915:
Cavell E. 12-10-1915
The banners that you see here, in the colours of red, yellow, and black, are in the three colours of the national flag of Belgium
There are 17 rows of graves here at the Enclos des Fusillés – Ereperk der Gefusilleerden, 12 on the upper level closer to the hillside, and then five on the lower level below. Between the upper and lower levels is an obelisk serving as a kind of centre for the memorial as a whole. On the obelisk it says, on one side in Dutch, on the other side in French:
Opgericht door de Verbroedering van de Vriendenkringen der Nazikampenen Gevangenissen
Erigé par le Fraternelle des Amicales de Camps et Prisons Nazis
In English this would be:
Constructed by the Association of Friends of Those in the Nazi Camps and Prisons
Around this obelisk lay some faded but still visibly grand wreaths, placed here by the highest figures of Belgian public life. One great wreath at the centre, placed here by the King of the Belgians, Albert II, and his wife Paola, whose royal household has very quietly but effectively supplied some of the protection for me in Belgium, that has so far prevented me from being murdered here by foreign powers. – You see the ribbon say simply ‘Albert – Paola’.
And another large wreath has a ribbon saying ‘la Gouvernement – de Regering’, from the government of Belgium.
Though many of the resistance martyrs buried here, were shot by firing squad right on this spot, a number of these martyrs died in other places, most especially in the Belgian concentration camp at Breendonk (Breendonck), which due to its stone structure is one of the best-preserved Nazi concentration camps. Breendonk can be visited today, about 40 kilometres north of Brussels in the direction of Antwerp, very near the Willebroek train station.
Among the graves here, a number are of heroes of the anti-Nazi resistance whose names are unknown: ‘Inconnu – Onbekend’ say the grave markers in French and in Dutch. In one row, there are six unknowns side-by-side; and then the entire final last row of the Enclos des Fusillés – Ereperk der Gefusilleerden, is all the resting place of unknown heroes, 21 altogether.
In any struggle against oppressive government, there are often unknown heroes. – And as I myself am a victim of brutal deceptive media smear campaigns, as well as the US regime ordering search engines to suppress my own websites, I can testify as to how hard the evil powers work, to try to see that those who fight the system, remain unknown, or else smeared and slandered with propaganda and lies.
There are perhaps yet other heroes of the World War II resistance, whose anonymous graves somewhere, may yet one day be found. One of the photos here is of a maintenance area by the side, where fresh grave markers are ready, some with crosses, some with a star of David, awaiting use for some other hero whose remains are yet to be discovered.
In addition to the photographs on the grave markers, which speak for themselves, a number of the graves are also marked with heartfelt statements by those who loved and honoured them. Most are in French, and with photos where there are such engraved statements, there are transcriptions of what you find, along with a translation.
Many of these resistance martyrs to the Nazis who lie here, are of course Jewish. The majority are Christians of Belgium, but a significant proportion of the heroes who lie here, are Jewish resistance martyrs of the Holocaust. And even more than one from the same family – the Livchitz brothers who lie here. Moreover, some of the Christians who are buried here, are of Jewish heritage as well – as I am myself, a unitarian Christian.
My own heritage on my mother’s side is Jewish, and it was my commitment to honour the memory of relatives and other Jews who died in the Holocaust, that led to my being forced to become a political refugee from the United States. – Back when living in the US, I received a letter threatening the book-burning of the books of this Jewish-heritage writer, and I responded strongly. A few weeks later my freedom to speak and write was banned, and threats to extort and murder me were put in motion. This story has been told in other places (see link to press articles in my profile), but suffice it to say here, that it was my honouring the memory of murdered Jews, which led me to be a Jewish-heritage political refugee today in Brussels.
Though I am unitarian Christian by faith, the old Jewish sites of Brussels and Belgium strike deep chords within me, as I very much feel the spirit of the Jews who suffered and died under the kind of racist threats I have also suffered.
One of the things I am often-asked, as a Jewish-heritage political refugee, is why the Jewish groups and Jewish leaders, do not say or do more to defend me, against the threats to have me murdered, against the lies and hoaxes spread about me, against the blocking of my own journalism sites from the internet search engines. – For example, in my efforts to stay alive these last few years, I have received much more comfort and assistance and support from brave Muslims, than from the Jewish people who share my own heritage.
There are two main reasons for this kind of neglect of someone like myself by Jewish leaders. One is that I am not a political Zionist – I favour peace and justice for all the residents of the ancient holy lands of Palestine. – A second reason, is that there is a sad heritage among Jewish people, to stand by and do nothing while other Jews are attacked by the dominant power of the day. – It was that way in the old pogroms of Eastern Europe, it was that way under the Nazi-era exterminations, and it is that way today regarding the case of the United States. – Since it is the US regime which has been attacking me and forcing me to be a refugee here, Jewish ‘leadership’ simply does not want to confront the USA. Given that I am a non-Zionist, and a unitarian Christian in faith, well, that settles it as far as Jewish leaders are concerned, and they turn away and say nothing.
There are still some brave Jews, however, like one brave Orthodox Jewish physician in America, a friend who has helped me to be able to be here now, supplying these photographs of the Jewish and other martyrs of anti-Nazi resistance.
And the Jewish heritage is there in me, and I am glad I honoured the memory of the Holocaust dead, even though it led me into terrible sufferings at the hands of US political figures and the US regime.
There is a sense of profound spiritual achievement that I have, as I place on-line this historical record of the martyrs of the Enclos des Fusillés – Ereperk der Gefusilleerden. It is perhaps only by the grace of God that I was able to escape the US alive, from the clutches of the people menacing to illegally jail me and murder me in a US jail cell. – My now being able to honour the memory of my fellow anti-fascist figures in Belgium, who were shot dead by the Nazis of an earlier era, feels to me to be one of the important purposes, for which I was kept alive by divine hands.
To visit the Enclos des Fusillés – Ereperk der Gefusilleerden, you can walk about 600 metres from the Diamant ‘prémétro’ or underground tram stop which includes tram lines 23, 24, and 25. If you wish to get even closer by bus, you can take buses number 12, 21, or 79 the two stops from Diamant to the Colonel Bourg – Kolonel Bourg bus shelter sign. Alternatively, if you are in the EU area, you can take these same buses 12, 21 or 79 directly from the Schuman métro station by the EU’s main Berlaymont building. Another route is that bus 80 from the Mérode metro station will also take you directly to the Colonel Bourg – Kolonel Bourg stop. A few tens of metres west of where the bus halts, along the rue Colonel Bourg – Kolonel Bourgstraat, you see the sign directing to the entrance of the Enclos des Fusillés – Ereperk der Gefusilleerden.
Number 814 BELLCHAMBERS, Victor
Image by State Records SA
GRG26/5/4 Photographic Portraits of South Australian Soldiers, Sailors and Nurses who took part in World War One
Number 814 BELLCHAMBERS, Victor
2nd Division, 4th M.T.M. Battery
Place of birth: Mannum
Residence: Humbug Scrub, near One Tree Hill
SRSA ref: GRG26/5/4/814