Thursday, 24th December, 2015
When Adolf Hitler became chancellor in January 1933, the Nazis only had a third of the seats in the Reichstag. Hitler ordered the arrests of leading figures in the the Social Democrat Party and Communist Party and they were sent to recently opened concentration camps. Newspapers that supported these political parties were also closed down during the 1933 General Election.
Although it was extremely difficult for the opposition parties to campaign properly, Hitler and the Nazi Party still failed to win an overall victory in the election on 5th March, 1933. The NSDAP received 43.9% of the vote and only 288 seats out of the available 647. The Catholic Centre Party (BVP) also did well, increasing their votes from 4,230,600 to 4,424,900. (1)
Hitler now proposed an Enabling Bill that would give him dictatorial powers. Such an act needed three-quarters of the members of the Reichstag to vote in its favour. The only way this could be achieved was by obtaining the support of the Catholic Centre Party. Hitler therefore offered the BVP a deal: vote for the bill and the Nazi government would guarantee the rights of the Catholic Church. (2)
Once in power Adolf Hitler attempted to make life so unpleasant for Jews in Germany that they would emigrate. The day after the March, 1933, election, stormtroopers hunted down Jews in Berlin and gave them savage beatings. Synagogues were trashed and all over Germany gangs of brownshirts attacked Jews. In the first three months of Hitler rule, over forty Jews were murdered. (3)
Hitler announced that on 1st April, 1933, that a one-day boycott of Jewish-owned shops took place. Members of the Sturm Abteilung (SA) picketed the shops to ensure the boycott was successful. As a child Christa Wolf watched the SA organize the boycott of Jewish businesses. "A pair of SA men stood outside the door of the Jewish shops, next to the white enamel plate, and prevented anyone who could not prove that he lived in the building from entering and baring his Aryan body before non-Aryan eyes." (4)
Michael von Faulhaber, the Archbishop of Munich, and the author of Judenum, Christentum, Germanentum, that defended the principles of racial tolerance and humanity and called for the people of Germany to respect the Jewish religion. On 12th March, 1933, Faulhaber went to see Pope Pius XI. On his return he made the following statement: "After my recent experience in Rome in the highest circles, which I cannot reveal here, I must say that I found, despite everything, a greater tolerance with regard to the new government... Let us meditate on the words of the Holy Father, who in a consistory, without mentioning his name, indicated before the whole world in Adolf Hitler the statesmen who first, after the Pope himself, has raised his voice against Bolshevism." (5)
On 24th April, 1933, it was reported "that Cardinal Faulhaber had issued an order to the clergy to support the new regime in which he (Faulhaber) had confidence". In the first few months of the new government no Church leaders spoke against the persecution of the Jews. The Concordat between the Nazis and the Catholic Church was signed in July 1933. It gave them the right to hold Catholic services and provided protection for its other organisations such as schools, youth groups and newspapers. However, there was a clause in the agreement that said "Catholic clerics who hold an ecclesiastical office in Germany or who exercise pastoral or educational functions must be a German citizen." The reason for this is that with the rapid rise in anti-semitism in Germany, some Jews had joined the Catholic Church for protection. When the Nuremberg Laws were passed, Jews lost the rights of citizenship and could no longer seek protection from the Catholic Church. (6)
The lack of protests led to the claims that the church was unconcerned about anything except its own welfare. However, this was not true of all Catholics. Erich Klausener, the leader of the Berlin's Catholic Action movement, was an outspoken critic of Hitler's racial policies. A meeting held at Hoppegarten racecourse, on 24th June, 1934, where he spoke out against political oppression, attracted 60,000 people. Six days later he was shot dead in his office by SS officer Kurt Gildisch. Not one German cardinal or bishop protested about this savage act. (7)
August von Galen, Bishop of Münster and Konrad von Preysing, Bishop of Eichstätt, did deliver sermons that criticised the racial policies of Hitler. Their opposition increased when they discovered details of Hitler's euthanasia programme. Both these men were never arrested and this destroys the argument that religious leaders kept quiet in order to keep themselves out of the concentration camps. Church leaders were protected by the Nazis. It was those without senior positions who were the ones in danger.
At the time that Hitler came to power the population of Germany was approximately 67% Protestant and 33% Catholic (Jews made up less than 1% of the population). The Protestant Church had a long history of anti-semitism that dated back to Martin Luther. In 1543 he published On the Jews and Their Lies. In the final section of the book, Luther addressed himself to the question of how Christian rulers should treat their Jewish subjects. "What shall we Christians do with this rejected and condemned people, the Jews? Since they live among us, we dare not tolerate their conduct, now that we are aware of their lying and reviling and blaspheming. If we do, we become sharers in their lies, cursing and blasphemy... First to set fire to their synagogues or schools and to bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them... Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed.... Third, I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings, in which such idolatry, lies, cursing and blasphemy are taught, be taken from them... Fourth, I advise that their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb." (8) As Derek Wilson pointed out: "Attitudes to his harsh and uncompromising advice have inevitably been coloured by the appalling events of later centuries and predominately by the Holocaust." (9)
Before the Nazis came to power it was common for leading Protestants to make anti-semitic statements. Lutheran bishops urged people to vote for Hitler. Before the 1932 Presidential election, the Bishop of Kurmark stated that in the past he had always encouraged people to vote for Protestant candidates. However, this time he urged the people to vote for Adolf Hitler: "Among the candidates there is once again a Catholic, namely Hitler. But he is not a candidate of the Roman Catholic Church, rather the leader of the great national movement, to which millions of the Protestants belong." (10)
In July 1933, Pastor Ludwig Müller, a long-term supporter of Hitler was elected as Reich Bishop. His work was supported by Professor Ernst Bergmann, who in 1934 issued the Twenty-Five Points of the German Religion. This included the following: (i) The Jewish Old Testament as well as parts of the New Testament are not suitable for the new Germany. (ii) Christ was not Jewish but a Nordic martyr put to death by the Jews, a warrior whose death rescued the world from Jewish influence. (iii) Adolf Hitler is the new Messiah sent to earth to save the world from the Jews. (11)
Martin Niemöller was the pastor of the Church of Jesus Christ at Dahlem. He was a long-term supporter of Hitler and he made speeches where he argued that Germany needed a Führer. In his sermons he also espoused Hitler's views on race and nationality. During the 1933 General Election he described the programme of the Nazi Party as a "renewal movement based on a Christian moral foundation". However, he objected to the election of Muller and on 21st September, he wrote to all German pastors inviting them to join him in his newly formed Pastors' Emergency League. An estimated 7,000 pastors joined him including Dietrich Bonhoffer. (12)
Niemöller established himself as the leader of the Protestant resistance to Hitler. However, as he admitted later, he remained a committed member of the Nazi Party. Niemöller pointed out that his group "acted as if we had only to sustain the church" and did not accept that they had a "responsibility for the whole nation". Niemöller therefore did not criticize the Nazi Party for putting its political opponents into concentration camps.
Niemöller wrote after the war: "First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a communist. Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a trade unionist; Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out - because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak out for me." (13)
Although religious leaders did little to resist Hitler, that is not true of the general population. Between 1933 and 1939 the ordinary courts sentenced 225,000 people to a total of 600,000 years' imprisonment for political and religious offences. During the Nazi period of power, three million Germans were held at one time or another in prison or in the concentration camps on political and religious grounds. (14)
It is claimed that the man who did the most for Jews in Nazi Germany, who had been motivated by his Christian faith, was an Englishman, Frank Foley. He was educated at St Joseph's Roman Catholic School, at Burnham-on-Sea and Stonyhurst College, a Jesuit-run school. (15) Foley studied at a Roman Catholic seminary in Poitiers. However, the "freedom and excesses of student life made him reconsider his suitability for the priesthood and he decided instead on an academic career". (16)
In 1908 he began travelling around Europe, taking teaching jobs to pay his way. (17) On the outbreak of the First World War Foley was living in Hamburg. After escaping back to England he joined the Bedford and Hertfordshire Regiment in 1915. It was not until February 1917 that as a second lieutenant he was sent to the Western Front. According to Michael Smith: "Foley was just five feet four inches tall and in what appears to have been an attempt to compensate for this he had a tendency to bark orders at his men. But coming from a relatively poor background and having been educated in France, rather than at one of the English public schools that produced so many of his fellow officers, he enjoyed an easy rappirt with the troops and seems to have been genuinely well liked." (18)
On 21st March, 1917, Foley was seriously injured when his left lung was damaged by a German bullet. After a six week stay in hospital it was decided that he was no longer fit for front-line action. A senior officer had noted his language skills and he was encouraged to apply for "secret service" with the Intelligence Corps. In 1919, after being interviewed by Mansfield Smith-Cumming, he was recruited by Military Intelligence (MI6) and sent to the British Embassy at Berlin. His cover job was Director of the Passport Control Office. (19)
Foley lived in a flat in Wilmersdorf, a largely Jewish middle-class area in the west of the city. In 1921 he married Kay Lee, the daughter of a hotelier from Dartmouth. The couple's daughter Ursula was born a year later. (20) His first task was to monitor the activities of Bolshevik agents in Germany. It was estimated that there were at least 50,000 Russians in Berlin. Most of them had fled from communism but some were believed to be Cheka agents. (21) During this period Foley developed "a long standing and officially established liaison" with the German police "for the exchange of information about Communism". (22)
Frank Foley also observed the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. The day after Hitler gained power stormtroopers hunted down Jews in Berlin and gave them savage beatings. (23) "He (Foley) was appalled by the moral and social depravity of the regime and horrified in the distress and desperation of the Jews as Nazi persecution against them increased." (24)
Hitler urged Jews to leave Germany. On 29th March 1933, Frank Foley sent a message to London: "This office is overwhelmed with applications from Jews to proceed to Palestine, to England, to anywhere in the British Empire." (25) By the end of the year some 65,000 Germans had emigrated. Most of these headed for neighbouring countries such as France and Holland, believing that Hitler would be removed in the near future and they could return to their homes. (26)
Others wanted to move to the Jewish homeland in Palestine. Since the First World War Britain had administered the area with instructions from the League of Nations to "facilitate Jewish immigration". However, after Palestinian Arabs began to riot, British policy on immigration was a constant attempt to appease the Arabs with strict limits on the number of Jews to be allowed into Palestine.
The number of Jews emigrating increased after the passing of the Nuremberg Laws on Citizenship and Race in 1935. The first Reich Law of Citizenship divided people in Germany into two categories. The citizen of "pure German blood" and the rest of the population. The Law for the Protection of German Blood and Honour forbade inter-marrying between the two groups. Some 250 decrees followed these laws. These excluded Jews from official positions and professions. They were also forced to wear the "Star of David". (27)
Adolf Hitler encouraged Jews to emigrate to Palestine by allowing "Jews who left for Palestine to transfer a significant portion of their assets there... while those who left for other countries had to leave much of what they owned behind". Richard Evans has argued: "The reasons for the Nazis' favoured treatment of emigrants to Palestine were complex. On the one hand, they regarded the Zionist movement as a significant part of the world Jewish conspiracy they had dedicated their lives to destroying. On the other, helping Jewish emigration to Palestine might mitigate international criticism of anti-semitic measures at home." (28)
In April 1936, the Arabs declared a general strike, began attacking Jewish property and killed 21 Jews in Palestine. (29) Benno Cohen, chairman of the German Zionist Organisation, complained that after the Arab unrest began, the British Government limited the influx of Jews to Palestine more and more severely. "It was the period of the British policy of appeasement when everything was done in Britain to placate the Nazis and to reduce Arab pressure in Palestine and the whole of the Middle East to a minimum. There were British envoys in posts in Berlin at that time who carried out London's policy to the letter, who were impervious to humanitarian considerations and who more often worked for the greater good of the Nazi regime in friendly cooperation with its ministers". (30)
According to a book on the history of MI6: "Most wanted to go to Palestine, but the very strict quotas imposed by the British meant that few were eligible. Foley realised the danger they were in and tore up the rulebook, giving out visas that should never have been issued, hiding Jews in his home, helping them to obtain false papers and passports and even going into the concentration camps to obtain their release." (31)
Foley told MI6 headquarters about the growing anti-semitism in Nazi Germany. "It is becomring increasingly apparent that the Party has not departed from its original intentions and that its ultimate aim remains the disappearance of the Jews from Germany or, failing that, their relegation to a position of powerlessness and inferiority. Indications of this recrudescence of anti-semitism are apparent in recent legislative measures, in regulations governing admission to the liberal professions, in the boycotting of Jewish concems and in the increasing virulence of speeches of leading members of the Party." (32)
After Kristallnacht the numbers of Jews wishing to leave Germany increased dramatically. A journalist, James Holburn, who worked for The Glasgow Herald, reported large numbers of people outside the British Embassy: "Desperate Jews continue to flock to the British passport control offices in Berlin and elsewhere in Germany in the hope of gaining admission to Great Britain, Palestine or one of the Crown Colonies... A visit to the Passport Control Office here this morning showed that families were often represented only by their womenfolk, many of them in tears, while the men of the family waited in a concentration camp until some evidence of likelihood of emigration could be shown to the Secret Police. While harassed officials dealt firmly but as kindly as possible with such fortunate applicants as had come early enough to reach the inner offices - about 85 persons were seen this morning - a far larger crowd waited on the stairs outside or in the courtyard beneath in the hope of admittance. The doors were closed and guarded much to the annoyance of Germans seeking visas, some of whom complained angrily of being forced to wait among Jews and demanded preferential treatment, though without success." (33)
Reinhard Heydrich reported to Hermann Göring that 20,000 Jewish men had been arrested following Kristallnacht. (34) These men had been taken to concentration camps. However, in January 1939, Reinhard Heydrich ordered police authorities all over Germany to release all Jewish concentration camp prisoners who had emigration papers. They were to be told that they would be returned to the camp for life if they ever came back to Germany. (35) Benno Cohen argued that this meant that the wives of these men besieged Frank Foley in "order to effect the liberation of their husbands from the camps". (36)
The Jewish National Council for Palestine sent a telegram to the British government offering to take 10,000 German children into Palestine. The full cost of bringing the children from Germany and maintaining them in their new homes, as well as their education and vocational training would be paid for by the Palestine Jewish community and by "Zionists throughout the world". (37)
The Colonial Secretary, Malcolm MacDonald, told his Cabinet colleagues that the proposal should be rejected because of a forthcoming conference to be held in London, between the British government and representation of Palestinian Arabs, Palestinian Jews, and the Arab States". He argued that "if these 10,000 children were allowed to enter Palestine, we should run a considerable risk that the Palestinian Arabs would not attend the Conference, and that, if they did attend, their confidence would be shaken and the atmosphere damaged." (38)
Frank Foley appears to have largely ignored the instructions he received from London. "Captain Foley had to carry out official policy. A happy chance had however brought to the post in Berlin a man who not only fully understood the orders issued to him but also had a heart for the people who often stood in long, anxious queues before him. He took advantage of his powers in so broadminded a way that many who under a stricter interpretation of orders would probably have been refused, were issued with the coveted visas to Palestine. To many who had to deal with him, he appeared almost as a saint." (39)
Margaret Reid had just arrived from London to help Frank Foley in his work. In the evening of 12th December, 1938, she wrote to her mother. "Today I spent entirely on filing - work that ought to have been seen to days before. The staff is about double its normal size and they are closing the office for two days a week in an effort to keep pace with the rush. There was a queue waiting when we got there at nine this morning and I believe some of them had been there since 4 am. When we had elbowed our way through, the porter tried to turn us away until I explained three times that we were here to work, when he laughed and took us to Captain Foley - our chief." (40)
Hubert Pollack, who worked closely with Frank Foley helping the Jews, later commented: "Immigration rules were very strict in those days of economic depression in order to prevent the entry of additional manpower looking for employment. But in the conflict between official duty and human duty Captain Foley decided unreservedly for the fulfilling of his human duty. He never took the easy way out. He never tried to make himself popular with the ambassador or the Home Office by giving a strict and narrow interpretation of the rules. He did not mind incurring the displeasure of top officials in the British Foreign Office and Home office. On the contrary, he was not above sophistic interpretation if he could help Jews to emigrate." (41)
Frank Foley told his friend, Benno Cohen, why he broke the rules to help the Jews in Nazi Germany: "What were the motives that stirred him to act like this? We who worked closely with him in those days often asked ourselves this question. Before all else, Foley was humane. In those dark days in Germany, to encounter a human being was no common occurrence. He told us that he was acting as a Christian and that he wanted to show us how little the Christians who were then in power in Germany had to do with real Christianity. He detested the Nazis and looked on their political system - as he once told me - as the rule of Satan upon earth. He loathed their base doings and regarded himself as duty bound to assist the victims of their misdeeds." (42)
Foley's biographer, Michael Smith, has argued: "He blatantly ignored the strict rules governing the issuance of visas to ensure that large numbers of Jews who might otherwise have gone to the gas chambers were assisted to safety in Palestine and the United Kingdom. Short, balding, and with his spectacles giving him an owlish appearance, Foley made an unlikely hero. Yet he went into the concentration camps to get people out, helped them obtain false passports and hid them in his own home, despite the fact that he had no diplomatic immunity and that the Germans, who were aware he was a spy, might arrest him at any time." (43)
On 25th August, 1939, Captain Foley and his team were ordered home. In a letter written on the ferry to Harwich, his assistant, Margaret Reid, expressed her regret at leaving the Berlin Passport Control Office behind. "They were a good crowd there and though I was worked off my feet I enjoyed the feeling of being of use and trusted." (44) Hubert Pollack has claimed that the Foley's team saved the lives of thousands of German Jews: "The number of Jews saved from Germany would have been tens of thousands less, yes, tens of thousands less, if an officious bureaucrat had set in Foley's place. There is no word of Jewish gratitude towards this man which could be exaggerated." (45)
Historians now accept that this figure of a least 10,000 Jews is correct. When you think of all the publicity Oskar Schindler has received, he is only credited with saving the lives of 1,200 Jews. The work of Foley, because he was working for MI6 remained a secret until after his death on 8th May 1958. It was not until Benno Cohen testified at the trial of Adolf Eichmann in 1961 that people became aware of what Foley had done. However, because no one has made a movie about the activities of Frank Foley, his name is not well-known. (46)
Maybe this Christmas we should spare a thought for this great Christian. We need to preserve the memory of people who made the correct moral judgements when living in Nazi Germany. I am reminded of what the authors of a book on the White Rose group said about the resistance movement: "The impact of the White Rose cannot be measured in tyrants destroyed, regimes overthrown, justice restored. A scale with another dimension is needed, and their significance is deeper; it goes even beyond the Third Reich, beyond Germany: if people like those who formed the White Rose can exist, believe as they believed, act as they acted, maybe it means that this weary, corrupted, and extremely endangered species we belong to has the right to survive, and to keep on trying." (47)
Frank Foley, a Christian worth remembering at Christmas (24th December, 2015)
How did governments react to the Jewish Migration Crisis in December, 1938? (17th December, 2015)
Does going to war help the careers of politicians? (2nd December, 2015)
Art and Politics: The Work of John Heartfield (18th November, 2015)
The People we should be remembering on Remembrance Sunday (7th November, 2015)
Why Suffragette is a reactionary movie (21st October, 2015)
Volkswagen and Nazi Germany (1st October, 2015)
David Cameron's Trade Union Act and fascism in Europe (23rd September, 2015)
The problems of appearing in a BBC documentary (17th September, 2015)
Mary Tudor, the first Queen of England (12th September, 2015)
Jeremy Corbyn, the new Harold Wilson? (5th September, 2015)
Anne Boleyn in the history classroom (29th August, 2015)
Why the BBC and the Daily Mail ran a false story on anti-fascist campaigner, Cedric Belfrage (22nd August, 2015)
Women and Politics during the Reign of Henry VIII (14th July, 2015)
The Politics of Austerity (16th June, 2015)
Was Henry FitzRoy, the illegitimate son of Henry VIII, murdered? (31st May, 2015)
The long history of the Daily Mail campaigning against the interests of working people (7th May, 2015)
Nigel Farage would have been hung, drawn and quartered if he lived during the reign of Henry VIII (5th May, 2015)
Was social mobility greater under Henry VIII than it is under David Cameron? (29th April, 2015)
Why it is important to study the life and death of Margaret Cheyney in the history classroom (15th April, 2015)
Is Sir Thomas More one of the 10 worst Britons in History? (6th March, 2015)
Was Henry VIII as bad as Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin? (12th February, 2015)
The History of Freedom of Speech (13th January, 2015)
The Christmas Truce Football Game in 1914 (24th December, 2014)
The Anglocentric and Sexist misrepresentation of historical facts in The Imitation Game (2nd December, 2014)
The Secret Files of James Jesus Angleton (12th November, 2014)
Ben Bradlee and the Death of Mary Pinchot Meyer (29th October, 2014)
Yuri Nosenko and the Warren Report (15th October, 2014)
The KGB and Martin Luther King (2nd October, 2014)
The Death of Tomás Harris (24th September, 2014)
Simulations in the Classroom (1st September, 2014)
The KGB and the JFK Assassination (21st August, 2014)
West Ham United and the First World War (4th August, 2014)
The First World War and the War Propaganda Bureau (28th July, 2014)
Interpretations in History (8th July, 2014)
Alger Hiss was not framed by the FBI (17th June, 2014)
Google, Bing and Operation Mockingbird: Part 2 (14th June, 2014)
Google, Bing and Operation Mockingbird: The CIA and Search-Engine Results (10th June, 2014)
The Student as Teacher (7th June, 2014)
Is Wikipedia under the control of political extremists? (23rd May, 2014)
Why MI5 did not want you to know about Ernest Holloway Oldham (6th May, 2014)
The Strange Death of Lev Sedov (16th April, 2014)
Why we will never discover who killed John F. Kennedy (27th March, 2014)
The KGB planned to groom Michael Straight to become President of the United States (20th March, 2014)
The Allied Plot to Kill Lenin (7th March, 2014)
Was Rasputin murdered by MI6? (24th February 2014)
Winston Churchill and Chemical Weapons (11th February, 2014)
Pete Seeger and the Media (1st February 2014)
Should history teachers use Blackadder in the classroom? (15th January 2014)
Why did the intelligence services murder Dr. Stephen Ward? (8th January 2014)
Solomon Northup and 12 Years a Slave (4th January 2014)
The Angel of Auschwitz (6th December 2013)
The Death of John F. Kennedy (23rd November 2013)
Adolf Hitler and Women (22nd November 2013)
New Evidence in the Geli Raubal Case (10th November 2013)
Murder Cases in the Classroom (6th November 2013)
Major Truman Smith and the Funding of Adolf Hitler (4th November 2013)
Unity Mitford and Adolf Hitler (30th October 2013)
Claud Cockburn and his fight against Appeasement (26th October 2013)
The Strange Case of William Wiseman (21st October 2013)
Robert Vansittart's Spy Network (17th October 2013)
British Newspaper Reporting of Appeasement and Nazi Germany (14th October 2013)
Paul Dacre, The Daily Mail and Fascism (12th October 2013)
Wallis Simpson and Nazi Germany (11th October 2013)
The Activities of MI5 (9th October 2013)
The Right Club and the Second World War (6th October 2013)
What did Paul Dacre's father do in the war? (4th October 2013)
Ralph Miliband and Lord Rothermere (2nd October 2013)
(1) Alan Bullock, Hitler: A Study in Tyranny (1962) page 265
(2) Michael Burleigh, The Third Reich: A New History (2001) page 154
(3) Richard Evans, The Third Reich in Power (2005) page 15
(4) Christa Wolf, Patterns of Childhood (1976) page 79
(5) Michael von Faulhaber, statement (March, 1933)
(6) Susan Ottaway, Hitler's Traitors, German Resistance to the Nazis (2003) page 74
(7) Anton Gill, An Honourable Defeat: A History of German Resistance to Hitler (1994) page 56
(8) Martin Luther, On the Jews and Their Lies (1543)
(9) Derek Wilson, Out of the Storm: The Life and Legacy of Martin Luther (2007) page 313
(10) Dietrich Bronder, Before Hitler Came : A Historical Study (1964) page 276
(11) Ernst Bergmann, Twenty-Five Points of the German Religion (1934)
(12) Susan Ottaway, Hitler's Traitors, German Resistance to the Nazis (2003) page 80
(13) Martin Niemöller, First they came for the Communists (1946)
(14) Peter Hoffmann, The History of German Resistance (1977) page 15
(15) Michael Smith, Frank Foley : Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-2014)
(16) Keith Jeffrey, MI6: The History of the Secret Intelligence (2013) page 194
(17) Lyn Smith, Heroes of the Holocaust (2013) page 9
(18) Michael Smith, Foley: The Spy Who Saved 10,000 Jews (1999) page 9
(19) Lynn Barton, Western Morning News (2015)
(20) Lyn Smith, Heroes of the Holocaust (2013) page 10
(21) Michael Smith, Foley: The Spy Who Saved 10,000 Jews (1999) page 31
(22) Keith Jeffrey, MI6: The History of the Secret Intelligence (2013) page 302
(23) Richard Evans, The Third Reich in Power (2005) page 15
(24) Lyn Smith, Heroes of the Holocaust (2013) page 10
(25) Frank Foley, cable to MI6 headquarters (29th March 1933)
(26) Michael Smith, Foley: The Spy Who Saved 10,000 Jews (1999) page 45
(27) James Taylor and Warren Shaw, Dictionary of the Third Reich (1987) page 208
(28) Richard Evans, The Third Reich in Power (2005) page 556
(29) Michael Smith, Foley: The Spy Who Saved 10,000 Jews (1999) page 96
(30) Benno Cohen, statement (25th April, 1961)
(31) Michael Smith, Six: A History of Britain's Secret Intelligence Service (2010) page 371
(32) Frank Foley, cable to MI6 headquarters (January, 1935)
(33) James Holburn, The Glasgow Herald (November, 1938)
(34) James Taylor and Warren Shaw, Dictionary of the Third Reich (1987) page 67
(35) Richard Evans, The Third Reich in Power (2005) page 598
(36) Benno Cohen, statement (25th April, 1961)
(37) The Manchester Guardian (21st November, 1938)
(38) Malcolm MacDonald, cabinet minutes (14th December, 1938)
(39) Benno Cohen, statement (25th April, 1961)
(40) Margaret Reid, letter to her mother (12th December, 1938)
(41) Michael Smith, Foley: The Spy Who Saved 10,000 Jews (1999) page 110
(42) Benno Cohen, statement (25th April, 1961)
(43) Michael Smith, Frank Foley : Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-2014)
(44) Margaret Reid, letter to her mother (August, 1939)
(45) Michael Smith, Foley: The Spy Who Saved 10,000 Jews (1999) page 171
(46) Benno Cohen, statement (25th April, 1961)
(47) Annette Dumbach & Jud Newborn, Sophie Scholl and the White Rose (1986) page 185
What the Pandemic Christmas of 1918 Looked Like
On December 21, 1918, the Ohio State Journal published a warning about the lingering flu pandemic from the state’s acting health commissioner: “Beware the mistletoe.” Not only should readers resist the temptation of a holiday kiss, but they shouldn’t even be at a social gathering where it might come up.
“You will show your love for dad and mother, brother, sister and the rest of ‘em best this year by sticking to your own home instead of paying annual Christmas visits, holding family reunions, and parties generally,” the commissioner said.
Christmas 1918 was not Christmas 2020. The pandemic had already peaked in the U.S. in the fall of 1918 as part of the disease’s second wave. Meanwhile, this week the deaths attributed to Covid-19 in the U.S. are the highest they’ve ever been, showing no signs of waning as the holiday approaches. But the flu also killed far more people (675,000) than Covid-19 has to date, in a country that was much smaller, population-wise, at the time. And it wasn’t over by any means. In some cities, a third wave was already starting as Christmas approached, says Kenneth C. Davis, author of More Deadly than War, a history of the pandemic and World War I aimed at young readers.
“There was an uptick, and it was a serious uptick in some,” he says.
A century ago, the federal government held much less authority and power than it does today the CDC, for instance, wouldn’t get its start until 1946. Decisions about how seriously to take the disease fell to states and, especially, municipalities.
Davis says San Francisco took it quite seriously, implementing a strong mask mandate in the fall as well as measures that’d be described today as social distancing. After cases rose sharply in mid-October, the city locked down harshly the measures worked to keep the flu at bay and, a month later, the city reopened and dropped the mask mandate. But the flu was not done with the city yet. Come Christmastime, Davis says, the cases were again on the rise, and residents, having finally escaped from the pandemic shutdown, were not eager to go back.
“San Francisco wanted to institute the mask rule again but people resisted,” he says.
Davis said some anti-maskers of the day felt their rights were infringed on. Some Christian Scientists cited religious objections. And other people simply found masks too much trouble. It didn’t help that masks at the time were generally homemade, using several layers of cheesecloth and were supposed to be boiled for ten minutes every day to keep them clean.
While it’s hard to tease out whether Christmas gatherings or shopping contributed, influenza case numbers did indeed rise again in San Francisco in early January.
Lendol Calder, a historian at Augustana College in Illinois and author of Financing the American Dream: A Cultural History of Consumer Credit, says it wasn’t just the debate over masks that seems familiar today. In some places, residents complained that officials shut down churches but left saloons open. The closing of churches was a major issue in Milwaukee, a city that took the pandemic especially seriously—and that was also home to deeply observant German and Norwegian immigrant communities.
“To have churches closed during the Advent-Christmas season was huge,” Calder says. “That was people’s social media, to go to church.”
But, Calder adds, even Milwaukee allowed churches to hold services on Christmas Day.
Of course, Christmas is also a shopping season, and that was already true in 1918. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade wouldn’t start until 1924, and Black Friday mania was decades away, but retailers were beginning to realize that the holiday shopping season could make or break their year.
“They pushed hard in November and December with advertising to get people to come shop,” Calder says. He says retailers were concerned about potential supply chain issues and urged shoppers to come in early in case items ran out. They also made sure to let potential customers know that they could deliver goods to those who were afraid to go out in public.
Davis says store-owners’ desire for a strong Christmas season also figured in anti-mask sentiment.
“They don’t want people to wear masks in the stores because they thought it was frightening,” he says.
Despite the anti-maskers, Howard Markel, director of the Center for the History of Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School, says the question of how to guard against the flu was not politicized in the way that anti-Covid measures are today.
“Most people did comply because they had greater faith in their public officials, and they had greater faith in the science of medicine, even though it was much more rudimentary than today,” he says.
Markel notes that epidemic disease was very familiar to the early 20th century public. Families, many of which had lost a child to diphtheria or watched a loved one suffer from polio, were generally willing to comply with some limitations on their activities. Most public health departments wore badges and had police powers, and this was generally uncontroversial.
“They could forcibly quarantine you or put you on a quarantine station on an island,” Markel says.
As municipalities determined what public activities should or shouldn’t be permitted, Calder says people were puzzling through their own choices about how to celebrate the holidays.
“When you’re reading people’s diaries, they are fatigued obviously but also measured,” he says. “You don’t find people freaking out about this. They mourn the loss of traditional ways of celebrating the holidays, and they want to see relatives and are wondering whether they can or not.”
Markel, who is also editor of the Influenza Encyclopedia, a digital archive of materials from the pandemic, says one advantage people of 1918 had in terms of making holiday plans is that family gatherings were generally not the treasured once- or twice-a-year events they are for many people now.
“Extended families often lived together or right near each other, next door or upstairs,” he says. “Getting together for a holiday meal was much less of an event than it is today, when many people don’t live in their hometown.”
At the same time, Americans longed to see each other during the holiday season of 1918 for a reasons beyond the Christmas spirit: Young men were returning from the battlefields of Europe and military bases following the official end of the First World War on November 11.
“Many people had the sense that they had just lived through one of the most historic years in history,” Calder says. “[The war was a] victory for democracy over authoritarianism. Just 11 months earlier, it hadn’t looked so good. It was just a huge shock and relief to see the Armistice signed.”
For the families of more than 100,000 men lost in the war, many dying from the flu, in the course of less than a year—and for those who had lost someone to the flu at home—it must have been a somber Christmas. But, for many others, the relief of the war’s end and the apparent decline of the pandemic encouraged many Americans to come together.
“The mood was absolutely euphoric for most of the country,” Davis says. “There’s a pent-up desire to get out—that existed back then as well. The mood of the country was, ‘We’ve come through something terrible. We have something to be thankful for.’”
To whatever extent that joy encouraged people to gather in public or hold Christmas parties at home, it certainly contributed to some of the infections and deaths in the third wave of the flu. In light of the current high rate of infections, that’s something worth taking seriously today. Much like Ohio’s health commissioner in 1918, Markel says we must go against the instincts that drive us to gather together in order to protect the people we love.
“It goes against everything we love to do to not celebrate the holiday season,” he says. “And we must nevertheless not do it. It makes me sad to say it.”
About Livia Gershon
Livia Gershon is a freelance journalist based in New Hampshire. She has written for JSTOR Daily, the Daily Beast, the Boston Globe, HuffPost, and Vice, among others.
- Condition means everything in a book's value. A book that has significant damage is likely not worth much. A book collector wants an attractive copy.
- Dust jackets. Most hard cover books published since the early 20th century were sold with a dust jacket. The dust jacket is both the most decorative part of a book, and the most delicate. A missing dust jacket, or a dust jacket that is in poor condition, can cut a collectible book's value more than 50%, and make it harder to find a buyer.
- Make sure that the copy you have matches the copy that is being offered.There are a number of ways that a book may, at first glance, look to be a rare collectible, but upon closer examination doesn't match up.
- Reprint editions: Some publishers specialized in reprinting popular works in affordable reprint editions. Publishers such as Walter J. Black, Sun Dial, Triangle, Collier, A.L. Burt, and Grosset & Dunlop, to name just a few, would use the printing plates from the original publisher and reprint works long after their popularity was established. One way to check if your copy is a reprint is to compare the name of the publisher on the book's spine to the name of the publisher on the title page. Reprints will often have the original publisher's name on the pages in the book, but the book binding will identify the name of the reprint publisher.
- Later printings: Publishers don't use any standardized systems for identifying a first edition. Each publisher uses their own individual system to state a first printing of a book. Even the words 'First Edition' aren't a guarantee. Publishers will sometimes forget to remove the 'First Edition' words from the printing history as they go into subsequent printings, and the number line is the only way that you can really know that your copy is a first edition.
Adding to the confusion, publishers will often change the way that they identify first editions. You can buy a here.
- Supply vs. Demand Too many comparable copies currently for sale may indicate a glut in the market. It's harder to sell a book if you have too much competition, and prices for that book tend to start going down.
- Check the range: get an idea of the full range of similar copies currently offered. Don't just settle on the lowest or highest price for comparison.
If you're unable to find a comparable copy on Biblio, try using BookGilt which searches for antiquarian and rare books across the entire internet.
If you do decide to sell your copy, it may be months, or even years before the right collector comes along.
You might decide to offer your copy to a reputable local bookseller instead of selling it on your own. A professional bookseller can give you an immediate fair offer for your book, but their price will need to factor in the profit they need to run their business, so don't be surprised to be offered 1/4 of the average retail. Their offer will figure in their costs and the time that they expect to have it in their stock before a buyer comes along.
Can you guess which first edition cover the image above comes from?
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The Story Behind Blessed Assurance
Francis Jane Crosby was born into a family of strong Puritan ancestry in New York on March 24, 1820. As a baby, she had an eye infection which a quack doctor treated by placing hot poultices on her red and inflamed eyelids. The infection did clear up, but scars formed on the eyes, and the baby girl became blind for life. A few months later, Fanny's dad became ill and died. Mercy Crosby, widowed at 21, hired herself out as a maid while Grandmother Eunice Crosby took care of little Fanny.
Grandmother took the education of her little granddaughter on herself and became the girl's eyes, vividly describing the physical world. Grandmother's careful teaching helped develop Fanny's descriptive abilities. But Grandmother also nurtured Fanny's spirit. She read and carefully explained the Bible to her, and she always emphasized the importance of prayer. When Fanny became depressed because she couldn't learn as other children did, Grandmother taught her to pray to God for knowledge.
In 1834 Fanny learned of the New York Institute for the Blind and knew this was the answer to her prayer for an education. She entered the school when she was twelve and went on to teach there for twenty-three years. She became somewhat of a celebrity at the school and was called upon to write poems for almost every conceivable occasion.
On March 5, 1858, Fanny married Alexander van Alstine, a former pupil at the Institute. He was a musician who was considered one of the finest organists in the New York area.
One evening, Fanny's friend and composer Phoebe Palmer Knapp was visiting and played a tune on the piano, asking Fanny what it sounded like. Fanny responded "Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine!" Phoebe and Fanny then continued to sing the melody and write the lyrics together.
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I Will Rise
I do okay with this one until the bridge, and then I can cry a river in anticipation of hearing heavenly voices when I finally meet my Savior. Those who know me know that Chris Tomlin is one of or even my favorite worship leader and song writer at this time. He wrote this with his good friend and frequent co-writer Pastor Louie Giglio. Inspiration for the song came during a lunchtime conversation that the two of them were having about the lack of songs that encourage others how to get through the tough times in life.  This is a great song for Easter or any time at all. See if you can listen to the whole thing without shedding a tear.
Revelation 5:11-13 - “And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever."
7 Reasons Why Traditions Are So Important
When you hear the word holiday, what comes to mind? If you’re like most people, shopping, parties, sales, and catalogs rank near the top of your list. The truth is, many holidays are becoming so commercialized that our proud traditions are in danger of becoming trivialized.
Many of us can’t even remember the true meaning of the holidays. Memorial Day has morphed from remembering our fallen soldiers to the unofficial beginning of summer. Labor Day’s role in recognizing the achievements of organized labor now just marks the end of summer and a return to school. Veterans Day is honored as a day off from work.
Traditions represent a critical piece of our culture. They help form the structure and foundation of our families and our society. They remind us that we are part of a history that defines our past, shapes who we are today and who we are likely to become. Once we ignore the meaning of our traditions, we’re in danger of damaging the underpinning of our identity.
- Tradition contributes a sense of comfort and belonging. It brings families together and enables people to reconnect with friends.
- Tradition reinforces values such as freedom, faith, integrity, a good education, personal responsibility, a strong work ethic, and the value of being selfless.
- Tradition provides a forum to showcase role models and celebrate the things that really matter in life.
- Tradition offers a chance to say “thank you” for the contribution that someone has made.
- Tradition enables us to showcase the principles of our Founding Fathers, celebrate diversity, and unite as a country.
- Tradition serves as an avenue for creating lasting memories for our families and friends.
- Tradition offers an excellent context for meaningful pause and reflection.
As leaders, role models, and parents, we must strive to utilize every opportunity available to us to reinforce the values and beliefs that we hold dear. The alternative to action is taking these values for granted. The result is that our beliefs will get so diluted, over time, that our way of life will become foreign to us. It’s like good health. You may take it for granted until you lose it. If we disregard our values, we’ll open our eyes one day and won’t be able to recognize “our world” anymore. The values that support the backbone of our country, our family, and our faith will have drifted for so long that the fabric of our society will be torn.
This is adapted from Follow Your Conscience: Make a Difference in Your Life & in the Lives of Others By Frank Sonnenberg © 2014 Frank Sonnenberg. All rights reserved.
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Posted on June 30, 2015 Filed Under: Blog, Family, Leadership Image licensed from Shutterstock
About Frank Sonnenberg
Frank Sonnenberg is an award-winning author and a well-known advocate for moral character, personal values, and personal responsibility. He has written eight books and was recently named one of “America's Top 100 Thought Leaders” and one of “America’s Most Influential Small Business Experts.” Frank has served on several boards and has consulted to some of the largest and most respected companies in the world. Additionally, his blog — FrankSonnenbergOnline — has attracted millions of readers on the Internet. It was named among the “Best 21st Century Leadership Blogs” among the "Top 100 Self Improvement and Personal Development Blogs" among the “Top 100 Socially-Shared Leadership Blogs” and one of the “Best Inspirational Blogs On the Planet." Frank’s newest book, Listen to Your Conscience: That's Why You Have One, was released November, 2020. © 2021 Frank Sonnenberg. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from FrankSonnenbergOnline.com is strictly prohibited. For permission, please email [email protected]
Your thoughts are truly inspirational. I feel enriched by each of your articles. .
Thank you so much, Mercy. I’m so glad you like it.
Ira Eudine Winchester9c says
I love your info on tradition. I’m in a class where tradition is being taught, and without understanding the meaning of the word we will be lost. I believe this is an helpful piece of information, thank you so much, and God bless.
i found this truly useful. I was writing a paper for my freshmen high school class and it helped me a great deal!
Traditions, as a set of actively taught expectations, primarily provide means of division: we do this, they do that—aren’t they evil, inconsequential, less-than-human. The folly that is religion illustrates this well. The core principles do not differ significantly among the various flavors of Mosaic religions, but the traditions of practice serve to create violent divisions between Jew, Christian, and Muslim. Take away those traditions and the reason (if the word is appropriate in reference to so irrational a system of thought) for the conflicts evaporates. The “us v. them” mindset codified in traditions has underpinned the institutions of slavery, the Hindu caste system, and the oppression of women and minorities.
Sonnenberg’s suggestion that “once we ignore the meaning of our traditions, we’re in danger of damaging the underpinning of our identity” just misses the mark. More accurately, when we stop thinking about the origins and ramifications of our traditions we suborn our identities to mindless compliance with the status quo, and by extension, with those who benefit most from the status quo. When, out of unthinking compliance with tradition, mothers actively participate in the genital mutilation of their daughters, one can see the horrific power of unquestioned acceptance of tradition. Authority, and particularly authority that has become petrified in tradition, needs constant examination if we hope to avoid becoming the pawns of others. Without vigilance, traditions take over our identities and replace consideration with obedience.
Similarly, Sonnenberg’s praise for tradition as “an excellent context for meaningful pause and reflection” needs tweaking. Traditions typically limit such thoughtful pauses to a few occasions. How often do you really give thought to peace on earth—outside of the Christmas season (for those who adhere to that theology)? The rest of the year it’s live and let die. How many go to church on Sunday to prepare for a new week of ignoring the precepts they claim to hold dear? I imagine that those who need a traditional reason for thoughtful reflection use it to excuse the lack of it during the rest of their lives. Thoughtless yahoos do not become considerate because of traditional time of reflection they just think they do. Tradition just cheapens the price of involvement.
Humans seem to need human contact for comfort, to a greater or lesser individual extent. However, a sense of belonging tends to result in the formation of out-groups: meaningful inclusion demands an excluded group. Traditions, as a human construct, reflect this. So while tradition “contributes to a sense of…belonging” be mindful that it also supports exclusion. Sonnenberg’s assertion that “tradition enables us to…celebrate diversity” does not ring true. Diversity finds celebration mostly in not belonging to the out-group: “Blessed are you, Lord, our God, ruler of the universe who has not created me a woman” (Jewish morning blessing—said by a man, of course). The threat of being ostracized from the in-group tempers the comfort of current inclusion.
Tradition, and again let me emphasize that I refer here only to the sort that is actively taught, such as religion, not the sort that emerges organically, such as eating at a particular restaurant every Wednesday, harbors dangers that Sonnenberg ignores in this article. Traditions have provided the excuse for the perpetration and perpetuation of terrible inhumanities and diminished the individual to a mere bit actor in life. While those who benefit from the outcomes—churches, males, warlords—naturally want the traditions to continue, the rest of us suffer.
I remain unconvinced that unquestioning adherence to tradition is a net good. Individuals can achieve everything Sonnenberg attributes to traditions through individual effort. You need not wait for Memorial Day to thank a vet, or wait for Thanksgiving to gather with your family, or Independence Day to celebrate the principles on which the USA stands, or New Year’s Day to think about the trajectory of your life, or a wedding anniversary to honor your spouse. Indeed, you may find, as I have, that turning from traditions and making conscious efforts to define my relationship with society on my own terms has provided a greater sense of satisfaction and meaning than I ever felt before. Try acting not in ways that have been defined for you but in ways you have defined for yourself.
Although we are all imperfect, we must work together to make the world a better place for our children. I choose to build upon the good in the world rather than throw the baby out with the bathwater. To that end, I continue to believe that tradition plays an important role in our society. The truth is, tradition isn’t the enemy of progress –– intolerance is.
Exactly my thoughts and in reply to Franks short rebuttal – tradition isn’t the enemy of progress –– intolerance is.
People holding onto some form of tradition are the root of ALL intolerance Frank. I think you know this too but have committed so much time to this idea that its become an unwavering tradition of thought for you too.
The problem with tradition is that people who practice it also preach it. What you need to grasp is that Critical thinking is a tradition too, as practiced by the Stoics who make of point of NOT preaching.
Critical thinking isn’t valued in society outside of people who are tarnished as “elites” becasue its roots are humanism not, spiritualism.
My wife and I spent this past weekend with good friends. One evening, they shared photos of their family and took us on a stroll down memory lane. They have wonderful memories of raising their family.
Now their children are grown up, and have kids of their own. Traditions strengthen the importance of family, reinforce important values, and bring everyone so much comfort and joy.
If others don’t want to celebrate traditions that’s entirely their prerogative. But we shouldn’t rob this family, or anyone else, of celebrating the traditions that they hold dear.
As I like to say, “We can’t expect others to abandon their values any more than we would forsake our own.”
Thanks for taking the time to write.
Dear sir,I am very much inspired by your personal life,personality and specially by your thoughts,I often use your thoughts as examples,and my classmates started to say me philosopher.
Thank you for reading my posts and sharing the thoughts with your friends. I hope to see you back again soon.
This gave me an idea about living my life because of my tradition and it has been going on for a long time that I’m proud of myself from being part of my tradition and living a good life with my family I learned a lot from this.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I’m glad that you found my words meaningful for you.
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Traditions serve as a signpost for the whole world. We should always be thankful of those “holidays” like thanksgiving and new years for they give us time to stop and reflect.
You’re right, Louie. Holidays are an important fabric of life. Traditions can also be as simple as reading to your kids before bedtime, saying your prayers, or having pizza with your family on Sundays.
Frank, I read your article with great interest and fully agree with not throwing the baby out with the bathwater. But I am at a total loss about how can I possible save the baby and just throw the bathwater which is indeed horribly dirty. While “Let’s keep traditions alive” sounds very nice and comforting, I have to agree with Kilroy’s views. With each generation, a heavy editing is required in traditions to make them a good thing for all concerned. In fact, I fully agree with your last comment that tradition can be something as simple as “Having pizza with your family on Sundays”. Which means that families and individuals should have the freedom to define their own tradition. But trust me, the way traditions degenerate and decay over time, even the pizza tradition can lose relevance or become outright harmful over time. I can fully imagine a scared daughter-in-law pushing the pizza down her throat out of sheer fear, even though she hates it and is fighting obesity. We must make it clear to future generations that they can dump a tradition if it does not bring them joy, and give them the freedom to define their own. Or else it just becomes a burden that needs to be dragged out of fear and guilt. And please can we all human beings stop getting upset with people who do not stick to “tradition”.
The world may have changed, but the values that I hold dear have not. And while you, or anyone else, may feel that the”bathwater is horribly dirty” I feel that there is a lot of good in the world. My hope is that we build upon it.
One of the great things about this country is that we still have an opportunity to express our ideas freely. And I’m always willing to listen –– even if I disagree. That’s how progress is born. I hope, and pray, that everyone who “fights” for progress affords others the same opportunity. Thank you for voicing your opinion.
Traditions represent a critical piece of our culture. They help form the structure and foundation of our families and our society. The truth is , many holidays are becoming so commercialized that our proud traditions are in danger of becoming trivialized.
Frank I was googling why traditions are important for my New Years Card, and I had in my notes many of the same points you raised (in a much more eloquent way). I think people attacking traditions (specifically religious traditions) are missing the point of your article. The theme for my card is that traditions allow family and friends the ability to share as well as add to memories that those that came before them and those that will come after them have/will enjoy(ed) It’s a powerful, uplifting feeling, a way to give thanks, to remember and honor those no longer here and to be a part of something bigger than yourself. To me It’s like adding another little figure or scene to an ever expanding snow globe. It is built around a common core but it becomes inclusive of everyone who shares in it and it makes you smile when you shake it up and lose yourself in the memory of it.
We send and receive Christmas / Hanukkah cards this time of year. It’s a wonderful way to keep in touch with folks and to show them that you care. As you say, “ [Tradition] It’s a powerful, uplifting feeling, a way to give thanks, to remember and honor those no longer here and to be a part of something bigger than yourself.” If people don’t want to take part in the spirit of the holiday season, all I can say is, “ Bah Humbug” I hope you have a wonderful holiday and a happy and healthy new year.
The True Story Behind the Song ‘Pancho and Lefty’
It’s one of the most beloved and recognizable Texas country songs ever recorded, but do you know what inspired Pancho and Lefty? Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard made the song famous with their 1983 duet, but the song had its origins on a 1972 album by the man widely regarded as the greatest Texas songwriter of all-time: Townes Van Zandt.
Pancho and Lefty is a story song, one of the finest of the genre. It tells of a Mexican bandit named Pancho and his friendship with Lefty, the man who ultimately betrays him. Many of the details in the lyrics mirror the life of Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa, who was killed by unknown assassins in 1923. Villa’s dying words? “Don’t let it end like this, tell them I said something great.” Or perhaps not it’s up for debate.
On the similarity between the song’s Pancho and the famous revolutionary, Van Zandt once remarked, “I realize that I wrote it, but it’s hard to take credit for the writing because it came from out of the blue. It came through me, and it’s a real nice song, and I think, I’ve finally found out what it’s about. I’ve always wondered what it’s about. I kinda always knew it wasn’t about Pancho Villa, and then somebody told me that Pancho Villa had a buddy whose name in Spanish meant ‘Lefty.’ But in the song, my song, Pancho gets hung. ‘They only let him hang around out of kindness I suppose,’ and the real Pancho Villa was assassinated.”
While on tour, Van Zandt actually met the real Pancho and Lefty. Well, okay, not exactly, but it’s still a pretty amusing story. “We got stopped by these two policeman,” Van Zandt recalled. “They said, ‘What do you do for a living?’ And I said, ‘Well, I’m a songwriter,’ and they both kind of looked around like ‘pitiful, pitiful.’ And so on to that I added, ‘I wrote that song Pancho and Lefty. You ever heard that song Pancho and Lefty? I wrote that.’ And they looked back around, and they looked at each other and started grinning, and it turns out that their squad car, you know their partnership, it was two guys, it was an Anglo and a Hispanic, and it turns out, they’re called Pancho and Lefty… so I think maybe that’s what it’s about, those two guys… I hope I never see them again.”
That wasn’t the only time Van Zandt had a brush with the law in connection with the song. Townes wrote the song in a crummy hotel on the outskirts of Denton, the only lodging he could find, because at the time, Billy Graham was staging a huge festival that would be called the “Christian Woodstock.” All the decent hotels in the area were booked solid, which meant Van Zandt was exiled to a lousy room in a place near Denton. Bored, Van Zandt decided to write a song. Three and a half hours later, “‘Pancho and Lefty’ drifted through the window,” he said, “and I wrote it down.”
The next day, Van Zandt and his buddy Daniel Antopolsky drove toward Dallas to play a gig. The streets were full of young Christian hitch-hikers going to see Billy Graham. Townes and Daniel heard sirens behind them a cop was pulling them over. It meant trouble, because neither man had proper ID.
The cop gave the pair a hard look. The musicians were a sight to see: both long-haired and wild-looking. When the cop asked for their IDs, Daniel had only an expired license. Hilariously, all Townes could show the cop was his face on an album cover. The situation looked grim, then out of nowhere, Daniel Antopolsky employed the one strategy that could save them.
As Townes explained, “Daniel, out of the blue, looks up at the policeman through the window and says, ‘Excuse me, sir, do you know Jesus?’ And the cop looks at him, hands him back his driver’s license, and says, ‘You boys best be careful.'”
Frank Foley, a Christian worth remembering at Christmas - History
Follow Franklin Graham on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for behind-the-scenes information, spiritual encouragement, and the latest news from Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
William Franklin Graham, III, born July 14, 1952, is the fourth of five children born to evangelist Billy Graham and his wife, Ruth Bell Graham. Raised in a log home in the Appalachian Mountains outside Asheville, North Carolina, Franklin now lives in the mountains of Boone, North Carolina.
Franklin conducted his first evangelistic event in 1989 and committed to spend 10 percent of his time preaching. Each year, he conducts festivals around the world as an evangelist for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
Franklin Graham has written several best-selling books, including The Name (2002), Living Beyond the Limits (1998), and his autobiography, Rebel With a Cause (1995). His first book was Bob Pierce: This One Thing I Do (with Jeanette Lockerbie in 1983), the story of the journalist, evangelist, and international relief worker who founded Samaritan's Purse.
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The Jan. 24 event was the 47th annual peaceful protest of the legalization of abortion in. ▶
Franklin Graham has devoted his life to meeting the needs of people around the world and proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The eldest son of Billy and Ruth Bell Graham, he serves as President and CEO of Samaritan's Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Under his leadership, Samaritan's Purse has met the needs of poor, sick, and suffering people in more than 100 countries. As an evangelist for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, he has led crusades around the world.
Mother’s Day Around the World
While versions of Mother’s Day are celebrated worldwide, traditions vary depending on the country. In Thailand, for example, Mother’s Day is always celebrated in August on the birthday of the current queen, Sirikit.
Another alternate observance of Mother’s Day can be found in Ethiopia, where families gather each fall to sing songs and eat a large feast as part of Antrosht, a multi-day celebration honoring motherhood.
In the United States, Mother’s Day continues to be celebrated by presenting mothers and other women with gifts and flowers, and it has become one of the biggest holidays for consumer spending. Families also celebrate by giving mothers a day off from activities like cooking or other household chores.
At times, Mother’s Day has also been a date for launching political or feminist causes. In 1968 Coretta Scott King, wife of Martin Luther King, Jr., used Mother’s Day to host a march in support of underprivileged women and children. In the 1970s women’s groups also used the holiday as a time to highlight the need for equal rights and access to childcare.