Great Danes

CCC#64

Danish Bacon –

And Danish Ham –

Danepak Products –

Much nicer than SPAM.

Even Danish pastries –

I find rather tast-ee –

But Danish Wishbones?

To mark a Battle at Sea?

 

Padre

Crimson’s Creative Challenge #64

Image: Crispina Kemp

 

 

 

A Visit to Breendonk, Belgium

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I have noted before that I am a Holocaust educator. As part of my ongoing researches, I have visited many of the sites associated with the dark events of the Nazi era. One of these is the Belgian fortress of Breendonk.

Breendonk was constructed as a military fortification in the years immediately before the First World War. But it is more notable as a Nazi prison during the Second. Over three and a half thousand people were imprisoned, or transported through the facility.  Many of these later died in concentration camps deeper within the Reich.

On visiting the fortress today, it is notable that it is an official Belgian memorial and museum. It is imposing, and as one approaches the main gates over the moat, you are met with the eerie sign which translated says anyone passing that point will be shot.

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The inner gates are thick, and one moves through a tunnel to the inner precincts. Here rows of cells can be found, along with latrine blocks and dining facilities.  There is a solitary cell section, and it is a moving memorial marking out the suffering committed there.imageedit_3_7980646651 (1).jpg

The guard’s dining area is troubling.  In Holocaust education, it is accepted practice to not glorify the perpetrators in any way.  But the mess hall still bears the death head ans swastika logo on the wall, prominent over the head table.

The outer quarters in inner wall area are bordered by the moat. This area while peaceful, and somewhat beautiful today still have their tragic past as a backdrop.  The watchtowers along the moat are reminders of this.

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It was a moving few hours as I explored the facility.  The town surrounding has some cafes, and things to do, but the real thing to see is the museum and grounds.

Padre

Forest Walk at Desert Rats Memorial (Park)

 

Desert Rats Memorial

Churchill Tank

The Thetford Forest is a relatively modern invention with the ground works laid out during the First World War, in part to provide the much needed lumber for Britain during the conflict.  It had matured fairly well as a coniferous forest by the time of the next great war, and as such served as both cover and as a training ground for British Forces.

One unit that trained in this area was the 7th Armoured Division (The Desert Rats).  This unit was instrumental in the North Africa campaign, and served throughout the war including the Normandy invasion and then across northern Europe.

 

The Desert Rats Memorial is easily found from the roadway (A1065) by the prominence of the brick plinth and Churchill tank. This is added to by a 1.5 km memorial trail which passes through the Desert Rats’ training grounds. There are multiple education boards located along the route noting information on such things as the headquarters, dining facilities and training regimes; as well as data on the Cromwell tank. It is a good place to visit for anyone with an interest in the Second World War, or just wanting a quiet walk in the woods (with a difference).

Desert Rats Walk 1

The walk is relatively level, and clearly marked, and makes for a pleasant short stroll.

Padre

Desert Rats Association link