Category Archives: History

Brusilov Offensive

The Brusilov Offensive (Russian: Брусиловский прорыв Brusilovskiĭ proryv, literally: “Brusilov’s breakthrough”), also known as the “June Advance”,[7] of June to September 1916 was the Russian Empire’s greatest feat of arms during World War I, and among the most lethal offensives in world history. Historian Graydon Tunstall called the Brusilov Offensive the worst crisis of World War I for Austria-Hungary and the Triple Entente’s greatest victory, but it came at a tremendous loss of life.[8]

The offensive involved a major Russian attack against the armies of the Central Powers on the Eastern Front. Launched on 4 June 1916, it lasted until late September. It took place in an area of present-day western Ukraine, in the general vicinity of the towns of Lviv, Kovel, and Lutsk. The offensive takes its name after the commander in charge of the Southwestern Front of the Imperial Russian Army, General Aleksei Brusilov.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brusilov_Offensive

Russian Empire: 500,000 to 1,000,000 casualties
Austira-Hungary/Germany/Ottoman Empire: 962,000 to 1,337,000 casualties

The Soviet Gas Chamber – and Wikipedia Cover-up

Soviet mobile Gas Chambers were vehicles which would execute their passengers by making them breathe deadly exhaust fumes.

Wikipedia has recently been heavily edited, removing the Soviet Union completely from the Introduction, which now portrays these mobile gas chambers as an exclusively Nazi thing.

It seems that there’s still a section on the Soviet Union’s use. I wonder whether the multiple spellings of the alleged inventor’s name is an intentional obfuscation:

Isai Berg
Isaj Berg
Isay Berg

ccording to testimony given by NKVD officer Nikolai Kharitonov in 1956, Isai Berg had been instrumental in the production of gas vans.[19] Berg had become chief of the administrative economic department in Moscow’s NKVD in the summer of 1937.[20] In October 1937 he was charged with the supervision of the Butovo firing range.[19] Berg had to prepare Butovo for the mass execution of people from greater Moscow and to ensure that these executions would take place smoothly.[21] According to testimony given by Fjodor Tschesnokov, a member of Berg’s execution team, in 1956, trucks were used, which were equipped with valves through which the gas could be directed inside the vehicles. The interrogations revealed that the prisoners were stripped naked, tied up, gagged and thrown into the trucks. Their property was stolen.[19] Berg was arrested on 3 August 1938.[22] sentenced to death for participating in a “counter-revolutionary conspiracy within the NKVD” and executed on 3 March 1939.[19]

The scale at which these trucks were used is unknown. Author Tomas Kizny assumes that they were in use while Berg oversaw the executions (October 1937 to 4 August 1938). He points to archaeological excavations conducted in 1997. Then 59 corpses were exhumed who most likely had been killed during Berg’s tenure. Only four of these victims had been shot in the head, which leads Kizny to conclude that at least some of them had been gassed.[19]

Journalist Yevgenia Albats maintains that gas vans were a “Soviet invention”.[23] Kizny names Berg as the “inventor”.[19] Historians of the Holocaust like Henry Friedlander argue that the mobile gas chambers were invented in 1940.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gas_van

Christmas used to be outlawed . . . by Christians.

In England, during Henry VIII’s reign, Christmas became sort of a Mardi Gras–a time of partying and carousing. When Puritans took over England and outlawed Christmas as too worldly.

When the Puritans settled Massachusetts, they had a five shilling fine for anyone caught celebrating Christmas.

Puritan leader, Rev. Cotton Mather (1663-1728), told his congregation, December 25, 1712:

“Can you in your Conscience think, that our Holy Saviour is honoured, by Mad Mirth, by long Eating, by hard Drinking, by lewd Gaming, by rude Revelling; by a Mass fit for none but a Saturn or a Bacchus, or the Night of a Mahometan Ramadam? You cannot possibly think so!”

https://selfeducatedamerican.com/2016/12/06/tradition-st-nicholas/

https://www.jstor.org/stable/42968994?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

During Holodomor

One of my wife’s grandmothers was left with her brother an orphan edge, because their my mother, my wife’s great-grandmother, thought they had better chances of getting food there and surviving. She was right. Both she and her children survived. After the hunger passed, she was able to collect them and bring them home.

This was in Poltava Oblast.

***

There was an expression during Holodomor which happens to rhyme in both Ukrainian and English.

Something like this: “вовна бавовна, Хот шлунок повні”

cotton. wool. At least stomach is full.

***

On the other side of my wife’s family, they survived Holodomor in part because of a golden cross which someone had won as a Tsarist military decoration. They family would break off pieces of the cross and take it into town to sell to merchants in exchange for bread.

East European Genealogical Society

https://eegsociety.org/Home.aspx

***

Using Cadastral Maps of Galicia

If you’re researching Christian ancestors from the Galicia region of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, chances are good that you’ve come across church records which mention a house number where your ancestor lived at the time he married, died, or had a new baby baptized. Moreover, if you’re interested in genealogy, chances are good that you’ve used Google Maps to obtain a street view of a home located at a particular address where your ancestors lived. So it’s inevitable that those researching Galician ancestors would want to use the house number from an old church record to find that ancestor’s home on a modern map, or at least see what exists in that place now. Unfortunately, this process is not quite as straightforward as it seems. In this post, I’ll provide a little background information about Galician cadastral maps, which can be used to assist in this process, and then walk through the steps needed to locate a Galician ancestor’s house on a cadastral map so you can then determine the corresponding location on a modern map.

https://fromshepherdsandshoemakers.com/2018/09/26/using-cadastral-maps-of-galicia/

NY Times Praises Mass Murdering Mao as “One of History’s Great Revolutionary Figures”

The New York Times was forced to delete a tweet that praised Communist dictator Mao Zedong – who was responsible for the deaths of around 45 million people – as a “great revolutionary leader.”

Under Mao’s Great Leap Forward policy, over the course of just 4 years between 1958-1962 some 45 million people starved to death, making it the biggest episode of mass murder ever recorded.

Countless other victims also lost their lives as a result of Mao’s ruthless oppression, incarceration and execution of political adversaries who stood in his way.

That historical context was noticeably absent when the NY Times effusively tweeted about how Mao, “died one of history’s great revolutionary figures.”

The newspaper was forced to walk it back after a huge online backlash.

https://summit.news/2019/09/10/ny-times-praises-mass-murdering-mao-as-one-of-historys-great-revolutionary-figures/

Lys Mykyta Journals

Lys Mykyta (Ukrainian: Лис Микита) was a Ukrainian-language satirical and humorous magazine. The magazine took its name from Ivan Franko’s story about a wily fox. It was published between 1947 and 1990 by Edward Kozak and featured cartoons and caricatures. The poet Bohdan Nyzankiwsky was a regular contributor under his pen name Babay. Lys Mykyta was originally published in Munich where Kozak taught, but when he emigrated to the United States with Liuboslav Hutsaliuk (another regular contributor and friend of Kozak), it moved location.

My mother’s collection of Lys Mykyta Journals was recently donated to the Museum of the Ukrainian Diaspora in Kyiv.

But before sending them, I had them all scanned and threw up this website:

https://lysmykyta.com/