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Otar Gogiashvili
Tiblisi
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
13 Feb 2012

Otar Gogiashvili is a WWII veteran from the Republic of Georgia who fought with the Red Army on the Russian front against the German invader.

"For over 12 hours the Germans bombed us with Stukas planes, while we were directing artillery fire at German positions," he said. "After my CO left, a Stuka bomb landed on my position, killing everyone except myself."

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Atsushi Hamato
Tokyo
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
13 Feb 2012

Atsushi Hamato fought in the Japanese Imperial army during WWII against American forces. Hamato fought in the battle of the Philippines as a company commander.

"We fought for honor and our country against the American invaders," he said.

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Hans von Vultejus
Ry
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
13 Feb 2012

Hans von Vultejus fought with the German army in Western Europe against the invading Anglo Saxon armies.

"I was given a Waffen SS uniform," he said. "However, I refused to get my blood type tattooed as was common practice in the SS. While waiting in line, I moved discretely to the already tattooed line so I was never tattooed."

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Art-Deco houses in Baghdad's Al-Bataw...
Baghdad, Iraq
By Mariwan Salihi
06 Nov 2011

The "African ghetto" in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

Al-Bataween was previously an affluent Jewish quarter, then inhabited by Iraqi Christians (mostly Armenians) after the Jews left Iraq when the state of Israel was created in 1948. Since the 1970s and 1980s, many African immigrants moved to this area, when Iraq was a rich nation with a large foreign presence. Many of the Africans --mostly Sudanese, Somalians and other East-Africans -- left Iraq in the 1990s and after the 2003 American invasion. But a large number of them still regard Iraq as their nation, and continue to live in this impoverished area in central Baghdad.

Once a posh area of the city, Al-Bataween is one of the last areas of the Iraqi capital where dozens of Baghdadi art-deco styled houses still remain --although in dire need of restoration. Anno 2011, it has been turned into a hub of illegal activity, including prostitution, drug dealing and other crimes - hence the comparison to a "ghetto."

Today, there's only one functioning Synagogue left - Meir Taweig - taken care of by Baghdad's last, and decreasing, Jewish community. There's also an Armenian Orthodox Church, at the end of the main street.

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African immigrants in Baghdad's Al-Ba...
Baghdad, Iraq
By Mariwan Salihi
06 Nov 2011

The "African ghetto" in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

Al-Bataween was previously an affluent Jewish quarter, then inhabited by Iraqi Christians (mostly Armenians) after the Jews left Iraq when the state of Israel was created in 1948. Since the 1970s and 1980s, many African immigrants moved to this area, when Iraq was a rich nation with a large foreign presence. Many of the Africans --mostly Sudanese, Somalians and other East-Africans -- left Iraq in the 1990s and after the 2003 American invasion. But a large number of them still regard Iraq as their nation, and continue to live in this impoverished area in central Baghdad.

Once a posh area of the city, Al-Bataween is one of the last areas of the Iraqi capital where dozens of Baghdadi art-deco styled houses still remain --although in dire need of restoration. Anno 2011, it has been turned into a hub of illegal activity, including prostitution, drug dealing and other crimes - hence the comparison to a "ghetto."

Today, there's only one functioning Synagogue left - Meir Taweig - taken care of by Baghdad's last, and decreasing, Jewish community. There's also an Armenian Orthodox Church, at the end of the main street.

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Baghdad's Art-Deco houses in Al-Bataw...
Baghdad, Iraq
By Mariwan Salihi
06 Nov 2011

Art-Deco houses line both sides of Al-Bataween's main road. The "African ghetto" in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

Al-Bataween was previously an affluent Jewish quarter, then inhabited by Iraqi Christians (mostly Armenians) after the Jews left Iraq when the state of Israel was created in 1948. Since the 1970s and 1980s, many African immigrants moved to this area, when Iraq was a rich nation with a large foreign presence. Many of the Africans --mostly Sudanese, Somalians and other East-Africans -- left Iraq in the 1990s and after the 2003 American invasion. But a large number of them still regard Iraq as their nation, and continue to live in this impoverished area in central Baghdad.

Once a posh area of the city, Al-Bataween is one of the last areas of the Iraqi capital where dozens of Baghdadi art-deco styled houses still remain --although in dire need of restoration. Anno 2011, it has been turned into a hub of illegal activity, including prostitution, drug dealing and other crimes - hence the comparison to a "ghetto."

Today, there's only one functioning Synagogue left - Meir Taweig - taken care of by Baghdad's last, and decreasing, Jewish community. There's also an Armenian Orthodox Church, at the end of the main street.

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Ruins of Palmyra
Palmyra
By Omar Al Khani
20 Mar 2011

Palmyra is "an oasis in the Syrian desert, north-east of Damascus, Palmyra contains the monumental ruins of a great city that was one of the most important cultural centres of the ancient world. From the 1st to the 2nd century, the art and architecture of Palmyra, standing at the crossroads of several civilizations, married Graeco-Roman techniques with local traditions and Persian influences." (UNESCO World Heritage Site Official Website,)


 

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Israel Barsuk
Brooklyn, NY
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
06 Dec 2010

Israel Barkuk is a Ukrainian WWII veteran who fought in the Red Army against the German army.

"My division was located on a plateau in central Ukraine, which was under German attack," he said. "They were just right below us and around us. A sniper killed my commander, so I was promoted the commanding commissar of a full battalion of 300 men."

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Thomas Louis Gilzean
Edinburgh
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
29 Mar 2010

Thomas Louis Gilzean, a Scottish WWII veterans who fought both in Asia as part of a commando outfit and in Europe against the Germans.

"In Benghazi we lived inside a very nice hotel with my unit," he said. "We fought there until March 1941, when the Germans invaded with Rommel. We soon had to retreat but before we booby-trapped the hotel, and took the fireplace with us. It looked expensive."

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Ante Vukovich
Dubrovnik
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
29 Mar 2010

Ante Vukovich is a Croatian WWII veteran who fought against German forces occupying his country during the Second World War. Ante fought with Communist partisan units as an infantryman.

"During my first firefight I couldn't control my Czech machine gun and almost shot one of my fellow soldiers," he said.

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Bernard du Bois
Vilvoorde
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
29 Mar 2010

Bernard du Bois is a Belgium WWII veteran who fought with the Allies against German troops occupying his country.

"After being wounded by a Stuka attack, I was picked up by Germans who brought me to a German field hospital in Montreuille-sur-mer, where a German army doctor operated on me atop 12 hundred liter barrel of Champagne," he said. "He saved my life."

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Salomon Freidlyand
Brooklyn, NY
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
29 Mar 2010

Salomon Freidlyand is a Byelorussian WWII veteran who fought within the Red Army on the Russian front against the German invader.

"I was sent back to the 297th division to start training partisans and to gather information on the German positions," he said. "I had my own horse, and would often go behind German lines and meet these locals and partisans."

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Thomas Hermann
Sicklerville, NJ
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
29 Mar 2010

Thomas Hermann is a WWII veteran who fought in the German army on the Russian front as an infantryman.

"I took part of a counter-attack in late November 1943," he said. "The entire regiment was send forward. The fighting was hard with many close-quarter battles. Two Russian divisions were wiped out in the process. During the fighting, I remember that I could see the white of my enemies eyes."

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Herbert Drossler
Verson
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
29 Mar 2010

Herbert Drossler was a loader in a German Tiger tank during the battle of Normandy against American forces.

"Near Vires during a British offensive only 60 meters away, I noticed a dying French civilian between the lines," he said. "He was shouting, 'mother, mother help me' and was wounded in the stomach by shrapnel. I then saw his mother run towards him, so I decided to help her to stop the blood coming out of her son's wound."

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Bjorn Ostring
Oslo
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
29 Mar 2010

Bjorn Ostring is an ex Waffen SS Norwegian volunteer who fought as a platoon leader on the Russian front.

"We arrived to the front near the town of Urizk," he said. "As soon as we arrived at the front, we were thrown into the battle to contain Russian troops attacking the area."

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Fernand Kaisergruber
Brussels
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
29 Mar 2010

Fernand Kaisergruber is a Belgium WWII veteran who fought in the Waffen SS as an infantryman on the Russian front.

"One day in late 1941, I overheard that two Flemish men had joined the Waffen SS to go fight in Russia," he said. "I talked to my boss and told him that I wanted to do the same. I therefore had the choice between the Waffen SS or the SS Wallonie. I chose the SS Wallonie."

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Adolph Straka
Ljubljana
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
29 Mar 2010

Adolph Straka is a Slovenian who fought as a volunteer in the German army against the Russians in Europe, and with alongside the Red army.

"When the Russian took me as prisoner, I was identified as a Yugoslavian, so I got better treatment," he said. "I remained prisoner of war for only three days, and I then swore to Stalin, my name was changed to Rudy, as I bore the same first name as Adolph Hitler."

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Jean Mathieu
Languimberg
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
29 Mar 2010

Jean Mathieu is a French national who was forced into the German army to fight against the advancing Russians during WWII.

"With the coming of the Germans, I remained at the family home, he said," but because I was a peasant, the Germans left me alone until 1942, when I was sent to Northern Bavaria to a work camp."

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Giovanni Doretta
Saint-Denis
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
29 Mar 2010

Giovanni Doretta who in an elite mountain unit in Russia as part of the Italian army on the Russian front.

"In August 1942 the division was sent to the Russian front, to the Caucasus," he said. "We took the train to the Ukrainian city of Izium, but counter-orders were sent by the Germans, and we had to unload and walked 300 kilometers to the Don front near Stalingrad."

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Eugeniusz Witt
New York City, NY
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
28 Mar 2010

Eugeniusz, a Polish WWII veteran is posing for the camera inside the WWII Polish association near Gramercy. He fought in the British army in Italy as part of an infantry outfit equipped by British forces.

"The Russians took my parents and I to Siberia, because my father was an officer in the Polish army," he said. "I never saw him again. My mother and I were put on a train. It took about two weeks to reach Siberia, with 30 other people in the same train car."

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Tunisian landscapes
Tunisia
By Sarah Mersch
27 Mar 2010

Pictures from various regions of the country, from traditional housings in the South over Roman ruins and Mediterranean landscapes to every day life in the old cities. Throughout the Tunisian history, many civilisations have passed through the country, from the original Berber population, Phenicians and Romans, to Arabs and Maures, Ottomans, Italians, Maltese and French, each of them leaving their traces that today built the modern Tunisia.

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The Last Village
Bohoniki, Poland
By Kirk Ellingham
01 Mar 2010

Muslim Tartars in Poland

Bohoniki is a peaceful little village not far from Sokolka in the east of Poland,it is the last Tartar village before Belarus; maybe also the last of its kind.
There is no doubt that few people would have heard about it be it not for one fact: it was in this area that, in 1679, thirty Tatar soldiers were granted land for their faithful service to the Polish King Jan III Sobieski. A Tatar lady, who takes care of the Mosque, does not fail to stress that it was a reward for their valour in battle. Other sources simply say that the King was in financial straits and presented the land to his Tatar soldiers in lieu of due pay.
There are now only three Tatar families living in Bohoniki, but, considering that the village does not comprise more than thirty houses altogether, they make up about a fifth of the local population. And it is their Mosque that makes the village famous and attracts visitors from all over Poland and abroad.
Eugenia Radkieicz is the Mosque caretaker and you catch her dashing across the empty street to the small wooden Mosque when a tour bus arrives to conduct her lecture on the history of Bohoniki for groups of Polish schoolchildren.

The few families that remain are mostly elderly or sick, Evelina's father is bedridden and suffers from a Liver complaint. She takes care of the animials now and her mother worries about her future, as she must take care of them both when she gets older.
Many of the other family members are alone with their children working in cities as far afield as London to Riad.
Mrs Koztowska's son is in Spain and her elder son just returned from London, she cares for her blind husband who was injured as a boy by a German shell during World War II.
The community is still strong, the Iman comes in from Bialystock once a week for friday prayers and they are trying to set up a Religouse School in nearby Sokolka.
The village is changing though,as the young leave for foreign cities the old are left behind, but they have survived for 400 years in Poland , so they will survive still, by struggling and adapting.
The large Muslim cementary on the wooded hill just outside the village is proof of their endurance and intergration; with its Slavanised surnames and Muslim Crescents.

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Jack Ukkonen
Palm Beach Gardens, FL
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
05 Dec 2006

Jack Ukkonen was a Finnish infantry man fighting to defend his country against the Russian invader.

"My regiment reached the front lines on January 1941 by train," he said. "On the way over there, we were sworn in at a local church with our entire unit. Once at the front, I was very scared, but I was young and reckless."

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Beyond the wall 22
Berlin, Germany
By Steve Weinberg
30 Jun 2005

Former East-West Berlin Wall border demarcation, These identifiers are all that remain throughout the city besides certain remnants remaining as tributary reminders of an extraordinary history within the country within a relatively short period.

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Beyond the wall 21
Berlin, Germany
By Steve Weinberg
30 Jun 1998

Rapid construction on a grand scale appeared rampant throughout the new Berlin during the 1990s period, depicted here with the rise of the new Reichstag German parliament during summer of 1998.

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Beyond the wall 19
Leipzig, Germany
By Steve Weinberg
31 May 1995

As Western product placement enveloped a formerly unapproachable part of the world soon after the opening of the Berlin Wall and subsequent reunification of Germany, contrasts arose as one social structure overtook another. A young family is pressed against the dynamics of a disappearing social safety net as the seeming attraction of consumerism with uncertain economic variables coincide. Certainly at the onset, the psychological need for incentive to thrive became a formidable challenge within the context of an entire country that had not previously engaged that system. Twenty five years later, eastern Germany has still not recovered from the promises of Western unification.

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Beyond the wall 12
Gorlitz, Germany
By Steve Weinberg
31 Jul 1990

In southeast Germany, Gorlitz borders Poland and in 1990 remained untouched and forgotten both during the war and for decades since, providing an eerie impression of the country's neglected infrastructure. Today it is fully modernized and renovated.

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Beyond the wall 14
Spandauer Str./Marienkirche, Berlin, 10178 Berlin, Germany
By Steve Weinberg
31 May 1990

Tile mural of propagandized East German Socialist benefits remained in East Berlin before Western consumerism values supplanted the new implemented direction.

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Beyond the wall 17
Berlin, Germany
By Steve Weinberg
31 May 1990

Dismantled sections of the Berlin Wall during pre-reunification summer of 1990; former East Berlin, Germany.

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Beyond the wall 20
Berlin, Germany
By Steve Weinberg
31 May 1990

A collision of time periods and cultures arose within former East Berlin in summer 1990 during a short transition between not yet dismantled sections of the Berlin Wall positioned near newly introduced Western advertisement billboards. German reunification would occur on 3 October later that year.

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Beyond the wall 18
Berlin, Germany
By Steve Weinberg
31 Dec 1989

Evident replacement of consumer tastes appears in humorous advertisement depicting post-Soviet era passage towards assimilated Western values.

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Beyond the wall 16
Berlin, Germany
By Steve Weinberg
22 Dec 1989

The Brandenburg Gate had an historic opening on 23 December 1989 ending 28 years of barbed wire seclusion positioned between the main borders of East and West Germany. Today it is a thriving international symbol and meeting point.

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Beyond the wall 15
Leipzig, Germany
By Steve Weinberg
04 Dec 1989

Weekly Monday night protests throughout late 1989 in Leipzig became infamous across former East Germany as a specter that the communist government had only weeks remaining before the Berlin Wall would ultimately open on 9 November. Leipzig held several 25th anniversary commemoration events during October 2014.

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Beyond the wall 07
Berlin, Germany
By Steve Weinberg
30 Nov 1989

Berlin Wall with still occupied sentry tower 3-4 weeks after opening; seen from within East Berlin, early December 1989.

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Beyond the wall 11
Bitterfeld, Germany
By Steve Weinberg
30 Nov 1989

Lignite coal miner in central GDR; once considered the most polluted region in Eastern Europe, Bitterfeld, Germany today has become a region for solar energy development plus tourism; December 1989.

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Beyond the wall 13
Berlin, Germany
By Steve Weinberg
30 Nov 1989

Time seemed to stop in former East Germany before the opening of the Berlin Wall occurred which abruptly opened the borders to the Western world of commerce. The impenetrable barriers between then Soviet central command ideologies against free market values extended between 1961-1989 when the wall was unexpectedly erected on 13 August 1961 then modified over a 28 year period until its final breach on 9 November 1989.

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Beyond the wall 08
Berlin, Germany
By Steve Weinberg
30 Nov 1989

Berlin Wall with still patrolled though no longer enforced death strip one month after opening; immediately seen from outside Western border looking into Eastern sector, early December 1989.

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Beyond the wall 09
Berlin, Germany
By Steve Weinberg
01 Apr 1983

Berlin Wall, East Berlin, 1983; six years before its historic dismantling.