Vital Hasson, the Jew who worked for the Nazis, hunted down refugees and tore apart families in WWII Greece

Reading time: 7 minutes
I learned a lesson when conducting research for my book, “Family Papers: a Sephardic Journey Through the Twentieth Century.” I had discovered the story of a young Jewish man forgotten to history until now, a story that taught me that neither cultural affiliation nor family history is a reliable predictor of future behaviour. In short, identity is not destiny, and all of us can fall prey to the tides of history.

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The Scrap Iron Flotilla – Speaker: Mike Carlton via Zoom

Live Presentation via Zoom August 17 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm AEST (UTC+10)
When war broke out in the Northern Hemisphere in 1939, the British called upon their Australian allies for support. The Australian government responded by sending five navy destroyers – HMAS Stuart, Vendetta, Vampire, Voyager and Waterhen.

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Blimp Vs U-Boat, WW2 – Video

In July 1943 one of the most remarkable duels of the battle of the Atlantic took place between US Navy Airship K-74 and U-134 off the coast of Florida. Thanks to declassified documents and eye witness accounts we are able to relive this truly one of a kind engagement.

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Women in the Second World War: The sinking of SS Khedive Ismail

Reading time: 7 minutes
On the afternoon of 12 February 1944, travelling in a convoy from Mombasa to Ceylon (modern-day Sri Lanka), troopship SS Khedive Ismail was struck by two Japanese torpedoes just south-west of the Maldives. Hit directly in the vicinity of its engine and boiler rooms, the ship sank within just two minutes of the attack. Of the 1,506 passengers and crew on board, mostly military personnel, there were little more than 200 survivors.

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Finding ‘Forgotten’ Allies

Reading time: 8 minutes
Although it is difficult to calculate exactly how many Burmese personnel were recruited by SOE for operations within the country, we do know that it was in excess of 20,000.  Those personnel represented at least fourteen different ethnic communities, from the majority Burman (Bamar) and well known Shan, Karen, Kachin, Chin, and Arakanese (Rakhine) peoples, to the less heard about Palaung, Kuki, and Lahu.  Also included were nationalities who had large populations in Burma, such as the Gurkhas, Indians, and Chinese.  Add to this the Anglo-Burman, Indo-Burman and other mixed ethnicity personnel, for example Shan-Kadu, and it is clear that there was a huge contribution made to Force 136 operations by non-Caucasian peoples.  As my research for the Men of SOE Burma page has revealed, finding out about Asian Special Forces personnel in Second World War Burma has many obstacles.  

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Australians in the Mediterranean during WW2 eBook

Thousands of Australian soldiers saw combat in a series of battles in the Mediterranean and North Africa. Their service is less well known as it has tended to be overshadowed by the later battles in New Guinea and the Pacific. History Guild has created and published this eBook which tells the stories of the determination, resilience, bravery and sacrifice of the Australians who served in the Mediterranean theatre of the Second World War. It is available as a free download below.

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X Troop – The Secret Jewish Commandos of WWII

Reading time: 8 minutes
When we hear ‘Jewish’ and ‘World War II’ in the same sentence, our minds often lead directly to the Holocaust. The extent of Jewish resistance to the brutal treatment on their own was limited due to the extent of their persecution by Nazi or Nazi aligned governments. These governments generally had the broad support of the populace, making it hard for small groups of Jews within these societies to fight back. One exception to this were the Jews of Poland, the X Troop commandos were another.

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39th Militia Battalion and the Kokoda Track – Part 2

Reading time: 10 minutes
After the retreat from Kokoda, the battered survivors of B Company, 39th Battalion regrouped at the small village of Deniki. Major Allan Cameron, a 30th Brigade staff officer, arrived shortly after at Deniki on 4th August.  Disgusted by the apparently ‘unsoldierly’ appearance of B Company, he jumped to the conclusion that these men must have run away from the fighting and had abandoned Kokoda for no reason. He sent them further back to Isurava in disgrace, depriving the remainder of the 39th of the only troops with battle experience. This wouldn’t be the last time that a textbook tactical withdrawal would be mistaken for cowardice. Cameron then decided that Kokoda must be recaptured.

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The Battle of Crete, WW2 – Video

The Battle of Crete saw around 40,000 Allied troops, including over 6,500 Australians, defending against a German airborne invasion. The Allies fought valiantly, but were eventually overcome by the German paratroopers. However, they inflicted such severe casualties on the Germans that they never again used their airborne forces on a large scale.

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Ruin Ridge – Podcast

During the 1st Battle of El Alamein the 9th Australian Division was tasked with the capture of Ruin Ridge. Despite heavy fighting during the opening stages they achieved some of their objectives, but their successes obliged General Rommel to divert large numbers of troops to contain the Australian advance. The fighting then became desperate, leading to heavy casualties and the near decimation of one battalion.

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Cretan Resistance During WW2

Reading time: 8 minutes
One of the more impressive feats of arms during the second World War was the way in which the people of Crete fought a guerrilla campaign against the German occupation force. With help from the allies, the Cretans — men, women and even children — fought a brutal and bloody campaign against the invader. In this article, we look at what happened through the eyes of some of the people who participated, Cretan, British and Australian.

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Australian VC’s in the Mediterranean, WW2 – Video

There were six Australian VC recipients during the Mediterranean and North African Campaigns of the second world war. From the heroics of Lt. Roden Cutler in Damour, Corporal Edmondson of the Desert Rats defending Tobruk in 1941 to Sgt. Kibby with his tommy-gun in El Alamein. Learn more about Australian gallantry in the Deserts of North Africa.

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Fort Khiam, Syria. Australian troops

When Australia Fought France, WW2 – Video

Operation Exporter was a little known, but very important campaign for the Australian military. It involved Australian’s fighting a strange war against confused Frenchmen who were not supposed to be our enemy. France had been defeated and subjugated by the Germans. The new French government, installed at Vichy, was answerable to the Führer. With France vanquished, the fate of their territories in Syria and Lebanon became uncertain.

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3 Squadron RAAF – Podcast

As the Allied armies fought across North Africa, first against the Italians and then the Vichy French and Rommel’s Afrika Korps, one squadron of the RAAF was there from the beginning. No. 3 Squadron was the first RAAF squadron to leave Australia and played an important part in many of the important battles from 1940 to 1943 across North Africa, Tunisia and Sicily.

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