10 Amazing Astronomical Events Caught On Camera

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10 Amazing Astronomical Events Caught On Camera



As mankind points more and more of our technology toward outer space, we’re getting the chance to see amazing astronomical events for the first time. Some are sought after, some are expected and planned, but most are surprises—things we see simply because we were looking in the right place at the right time. Here are 10 recent examples of amazing astronomical events caught on camera.

10Messier 82 Supernova Explosion

1- supernova
Messier 82 is a cigar-shaped galaxy in Ursa Major located about 11 million light-years away from us. On January 21, 2014, the first young supernova visible from Earth in 27 years was spotted by some astronomy students in London. The students snapped some photos of Messier 82, compared it to previous photos, and noticed a new, bright star in the familiar galaxy—they had found supernova 2014J. New supernovas (in visible wavelengths) are rare astronomical objects; this is the closest bright, young supernova to be discovered since 1987, when supernova 1987A burst into view.

Astronomers had hoped that this supernova would continue to brighten until it could be seen with binoculars, perhaps even with the naked eye, but within weeks the light had already begun to dim—meaning that, unfortunately, supernova 2014J will not become a new visible night star. But if you don’t get to see this year’s supernova, just wait. Astronomers are very confident that a star in our own galaxy will go supernova sometime in the next 50 years. Unfortunately, they also estimate that this supernova only has a 20 percent chance of being visible with the naked eye.


9Solar Tornado Captured On The Sun’s Surface

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The Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) has been sending back beautiful and fascinating high-definition color video of our Sun for two years. Over a 30-hour period on February 7–8, 2012, it recorded something unusual and never before seen: a solar tornado on the surface of the Sun. But unlike tornadoes on Earth, which are formed and driven by the wind, solar tornadoes are created and driven by magnetism.

These solar tornadoes are created on magnetic fields with points anchored to the Sun’s surface at either pole. At one end of the magnetic field, a blast of plasma (superheated gas) shoots from the Sun and then spirals along to the other end, creating a tornado-like whirlwind. These planet-sized magnetic fields swirl and twist the plasma into the well-known corkscrew shapes of a Kansas tornado—only these tornadoes aren’t in Kansas, Toto.

8The Little Comet That Couldn’t

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Comets are the space wanderers of our solar system, coming from way out beyond the planetary boundary of Neptune and Pluto in what is called the Oort cloud. From there they travel in toward the Sun, then loop back out again in giant, elliptical orbits. The Oort cloud contains trillions of icy bodies—potential comets, if they could just manage to make their way toward the Sun.

One such comet came toward the Sun in August 2013. Perhaps it had come and gone hundreds, maybe thousands of times before, safely entering our solar system, sailing around the Sun, and then shooting back out into the Oort cloud. This time, however, it made a kamikaze death plunge directly into the Sun. Normally such an event would never have even been noticed by astronomers, but this event just happened to be captured by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft, which watches the Sun, its corona, and solar wind. The SOHO filmed the comet coming in toward the Sun, never to leave again.


7Martian Solar Eclipse

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A solar eclipse on Earth is one of nature’s most spectacular extravaganzas. For a few minutes, the Moon passes in front of the Sun, obscuring all but a portion of it and sending the surrounding area into darkness during the day. It’s one of the few events that gives observers a brief chance to see the outer corona of the Sun. A solar eclipse can be viewed from the surface of other planets, too, as long as they have moons.

But until August 2013, man had never seen a solar eclipse from another world. That changed when the Mars Curiosity rover pointed its camera into the Martian sky and for the first time witnessed the larger of the two Martian moons, Phobos, passing in front of the Sun. Just like on Earth, the sky noticeably darkened as the moon blocked the sunlight. Pictures taken by the Mars rover show Phobos passing in front of the Sun, but the little moon does not block all of the Sun’s surface, so the solar eclipse does not appear as it would on Earth. But in its own way, it is just as beautiful.

6Watch An Asteroid Rotate As It Passes Earth

5- asteroid rotates

Near Earth Objects (NEO) are comets and asteroids that pass close to the Earth on regular orbits. These objects are fascinating to scientists because they may be composed of some of the earliest building blocks of the universe. They can also end all life on Earth if their orbit causes them to collide with our planet. Therefore, these objects are receiving more and more scientific scrutiny to try to find them and catalog their orbits.

In 2012, asteroid 4179 Toutatis came tumbling past Earth. Toutatis, a chunk of iron five kilometers (3 mi) wide, was named by its discoverers after a Celtic god from a comic book series. In fairness to the discoverers of Toutatis, the name did conform to the rules. In any event, the NASA Deep Space Network took radar images while the asteroid was 6.4 million kilometers (4 million mi) away. To put that into perspective, that’s about 18 Earth-to-Moon distances.

Toutatis is large enough to destroy life on Earth should it impact our planet. It completes an orbit every four years, so it has plenty of chances to nail us. Fortunately, astronomers know its orbit well and can assure us that Toutatis will not hit the Earth for at least the next 400 years. Its next close encounter with Earth is 2069.

5Moonrise On Mars


Man has been watching the Moon rise since the dawn of civilization. But our vantage point has always been here, on Earth. With our technology now, we can see moons rise on other worlds. On June 28, 2013, the Mars Curiosity Rover did just that, capturing the Martian moon Phobos rising above the horizon into the Martian sky. The video shows 27 minutes of the Martian moonrise condensed into 30 seconds. On the video, the halo you see in the sky is an anomaly created by the camera lens. The moonrise is not as spectacular on Mars given that Phobos is very small in comparison to our Moon, but it’s still amazing to see something that no human has ever witnessed.

If man ever colonizes Mars, they will see not just one but two moons rise above Mars (though Mars’s second moon, Demos, is even smaller). But it will be some time before any human gets to see a Martian moonrise. NASA is hoping to send humans to Mars by the year 2035, but even that far-off date is still very uncertain. There is a more ambitious project called Mars One that hopes to get humans to Mars by the year 2023, but there’s one catch—those who make it aren’t coming back. The Mars One mission is a one-way ticket. Still, this hasn’t stopped tens of thousands of Earthlings from signing up to make the trip.


4Photobombing Frog

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This wasn’t a Photoshop prank—it was in fact an image of a frog jumping into the field of view of a remotely tripped camera as a rocket launched from Wallops Island, Virginia. Considering that rocket launches are nothing more than controlled explosions, this frog gave a whole new meaning to the word “photobomb.” To assure the public that this was a photo of an actual frog, NASA actually issued a press release about it. NASA scientists figure that the frog was hanging out in one of the puddles of water surrounding the launch pad. The water was instantly turned into steam by the heat of the rocket engines, causing the frog to make a photogenic leap to safety.

The spacecraft in the picture, the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE), was launched from the Wallops Island, Virginia space facility and made a spectacular sight for viewers along the East Coast of the USA in September 2013. At the completion of its mission to study conditions in the atmosphere of the Moon, NASA intentionally crashed the spacecraft into the Moon.

3Eclipse Seen From Space

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On April 29, 2014, there was a partial solar eclipse visible from some of the most remote parts of our planet. A few lucky people, such as those living in Indonesia and Tasmania, got to witness one of nature’s greatest displays—a “Ring of Fire” annular solar eclipse. Unfortunately, you would have had to travel to a small part of Antarctica to see it in all its glory.

An even better vantage point was available to the European Space Agency Proba-2 spacecraft, which captured images of the eclipse not once, but four times. With the images the spacecraft captured, you can watch the Moon and the Sun doing their cosmic dance. Each time, a different part of the Sun is eclipsed as the Moon passes in front as seen from the spacecraft. You won’t have to travel to Antarctica to see the next partial solar eclipse of 2014. Most of Canada and the United States will get to see this eclipse on October 23, 2014.

2Earth From Mars And Saturn

About an hour after sunset on January 31, 2014, the Mars Curiosity rover looked up and spotted the Earth and our Moon. Just like Mars appears to be red when we view it from Earth, the Earth appears as a pale blue dot when seen from the surface of Mars. Slightly magnified, our Moon is also visible orbiting our planet. The Earth was 159 million kilometers (99 million mi) from Mars when the photo was taken.

Not to be outdone, on July 19, 2013, the Cassini spacecraft, while orbiting Saturn, turned its camera back toward the center of our solar system and snapped a photo of Earth from the other side of space. The spacecraft took advantage of the shadow of Saturn to block the Sun’s rays in order to get the amazing photos which were then spliced into a mosaic of the entire planet, its ring system, its moons, and its planetary neighbors.

The camera was able to spot not just Earth but also Mars and Venus at various locations around the rings. This was the first time the people of Earth were told in advance that their pictures were to be taken from space. NASA asked the inhabitants of Earth to look to Saturn in the sky and smile for the picture. You can see Earth (and just to the lower right of Earth, our Moon) asthe pale blue dot located between the E ring and the very faint G ring of Saturn in the lower right-hand side of the photo in the above link.

1Birth Of A New Moon

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The Cassini spacecraft has taken many beautiful and historic images of Saturn during its mission. Recently, it added to that list when it spotted what appears to be a new moon actually being formed and just emerging from Saturn’s rings. Astronomers have never before witnessed a new moon being born. The new moon, named “Peggy,” is only about .8 kilometers (.5 mi) in diameter and appears to be emerging from the edge of the “A” ring, the outermost of Saturn’s many rings.

Scientists believe that these moons form when icy material in the rings is pushed to the outer edge, sort of like a drop of water pushed to the edge of a spinning disc. Some of these small moons then “shepherd” the rings, keeping the rings in formation with their gravitational pull. Cassini is still too far away to see the new moon clearly, but in 2016 it will pass close enough to get better images.

Patrick Weidinger has been fascinated by all things outer space since, as a child, he experienced the NASA program of the 1960s.

10 Ways The World’s Religions Have Sworn To Protect Other Faiths

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10 Ways The World’s Religions Have Sworn To Protect Other Faiths



Our world is so fraught with men tearing down innocent lives, claiming to act on the will of God, that when two people from different religions help each other, it makes the news. We view a Christian helping a Muslim or a Muslim helping a Jew as something so unusual that it’s considered out of the ordinary.

It wasn’t always supposed to be this way, though. Peace is a tenant of every major religion. There are moments in history when members of the world’s religions have stood up and sworn to keep those who are faithful to another god safe and free.

10Muhammad Vowed To Protect The Christian Nation


Photo credit: Berthold Werner

Saint Catherine’s Monastery has something unique: a contract promising to protect them—written by Muhammad.

Muhammad held a good relationship with the monks there and in AD 626 wrote up document swearing an oath to keep them safe from his follower’s attacks. “No one shall molest them,” the founder of Islam promised. According to the document, Muslims are also not to tax the church, and they are to share crops with them whenever they have enough.

The contract goes beyond just protecting one church. In it, Muhammad promises to protect “the Christian nation” on the whole, “whosoever they may be, whether they be the noble or the vulgar.”

“Whosoever of my nation shall presume to break my promise and oath,” Muhammad wrote, “destroys the promise of God.”


9The Dalai Lama Urged Buddhists To Protect Muslims


Photo credit: Wikimedia

In 2014, an outbreak of violence against Muslims spread across Myanmar and Sri Lanka. These were countries that were primarily Buddhist, and when news of terrorist attacks spread, the people got frightened—and got violent. 250 Muslims died, and another 140,000 were chased out of their homes.

The Dalai Lama himself spoke out against the Buddhists’ actions. “Before [you] commit such a crime,” he told the people of the two nations, “imagine an image of Buddha.” The Dalai Lama explained that no part of Buddha’s teachings or life condoned these attacks.

Instead, the Dalai Lama urged followers of the faith to take up action toprotect their Muslim neighbors from other Buddhists. This, he said, was what Buddha would do if he was in the middle of a riot—and the way a Buddhist should live.

8Sikhs Are Required To Defend The Rights Of Other Persecuted Religions


Photo credit: Hari Singh

The Sikh religion is often misunderstood. More than a few people have confused Sikhs with Muslims, writing off all non-Christian religions as “turban-wearers” in a tone of distaste.

The Sikh turban, though, is part of a remarkable set of rules. It is a one of five rules called the kakaars—symbolic articles that Sikhs are to keep with them to remind them of their baptismal vows. Those vows show an extraordinary commitment to helping other faiths.

One of them requires Sikhs to risk their own lives to defend others against oppression—including oppression against other faiths. Sikhs are to carry a sword called a kirpan at all times to remind themselves of their commitment to help anyone who is in need. They’re not allowed using it to attack. It’s only to be used to defend oppressed people when all other means have failed.


7A Jewish University Won’t Let Its Chapels Cast A Shadow On Each Other


Photo credit: Brandeis

Brandeis University was started as a private, Jewish institution, and to this day still has Hebrew writing on their crest. They do not, however, exclude other religions—and have one of the most remarkable ways of showing respect to other faiths.

The university is home to three different chapels, one Jewish, one Catholic, and one Protestant. The three buildings are built quite close to each other, but they’re designed to be as equal as possible.

All three chapels have nearly identical designs. Each one has a floor-to-ceiling window, all facing the same pond, planned so that the best view is shared by all three faiths. Most remarkably of all, though, is that the buildings were planned to make sure that no chapel would ever cast a shadow on another—symbolizing peace and equality between the three faiths.

6When Muslims Conquered Jerusalem, They Invited Jews To Live With Them


Photo credit: Berthold Werner –

In 629, Jerusalem was captured by the Christian Byzantine Empire. These rulers were harsh to their Jewish subjects. They persecuted them brutally, ultimately sending them out of their ancestral home and denying them permission ever to return.

That changed, though, about 10 years later—thanks to a Muslim army. The Muslims laid siege to Jerusalem, took it from the Christians, and conquered the city. When the Christians surrendered, they were still so determined to keep Jews out that they made it a condition for their surrender—but the Muslims ignored it.

As soon as Jerusalem was under Muslim rule, Jews were invited back in. They were granted freedom to follow their own religion and a place on the Mount of Olives designated for Jewish prayer meetings and holiday celebrations.

The relationship between Jews and Muslims in Jerusalem wasn’t perfect, and it got worse over time—but the Muslims never kicked the Jews out, and the two faiths still lived together until Jerusalem was lost in the Crusades.

5Mormons Keep A Storehouse To Feed Needy People Of Any Faith


Photo credit: Rick Bowmer/AP

Mormons are prepared for anything. Members of the religion are expected to keep a three-month supply of food stockpiled at all times, just in case of an emergency—and the church does the same. The Church keeps a 50,000 square meter (500,000 ft2) warehouse ready at all times in case of a disaster.

Those disasters, though, aren’t just ones that affect Mormons. The warehouse is put to use when a disaster strikes anywhere in the world. The Mormons use it to send out aid to victims in need, regardless of their faith.

It’s used every day, too. Food from that warehouse and others like it are sent to 142 Mormon operations around the world that feed the hungry.


4Sikh Gurdwaras Offer Free Meals To Members Of Every Faith


Photo credit: Harisingh/Wikimedia

The Sikh religion employs a langar—a kitchen designed to feed hungry people in need. Free meals at langars are prepared by volunteers and are served to everyone, regardless of their race or religion.

Langars only serve vegetarian food—but not because of Sikh diets. Sikhs are free to eat all the meat they want; they just know that members of other religions are not. They exclusively serve vegetarian meals so that members of every religion can partake.

The biggest langar is at The Golden Temple, a Sikh shrine that serves 100,000 people every day. The temple goes through 1.5 tons of soup daily and take hundreds of millions of dollars to run, money the temple raises through donations that are put to use to help everybody.

3The Keys To The Holiest Christian Site Are Held By A Muslim Family


Photo credit: Jorge Lascar

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is one of the most significant places a Christian can visit. It’s built on the place where Jesus is believed to have been crucified and entombed, making it not just a church but a site for a key moment in the religion’s history. Thousands of Catholics travel to Jerusalem just to see it, and when they do, the doors are opened by a Muslim.

Since 1517, a Muslim family has held the key to the church. The family signed a contract swearing to keep it safe, and they’ve followed it ever since. Another Muslim family is tasked with opening and closing the doors, and they take the key in the morning and let the Christians in.

The tradition was started to promote peace and unity between the two faiths, which have often been at war. For 500 years, these families have passed the responsibility from generation to generation, each Muslim father teaching his son his role in helping the Catholic faith.

2Hindus Protected Sikhs When A Sikh Assassinated Indira Gandhi


Photo credit: Wikimedia

In 1984, the Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi, was assassinated by a Sikh bodyguard. The people of India were furious. Riots broke out, and Sikhs were dragged from their homes and killed.

Other Hindus, though, took a stand. When the country erupted in chaos, many Hindus brought their Sikh neighbors into their homes and sheltered them.

At one apartment, a mob threated to burn the whole building down if the Sikh family living inside wasn’t brought out and delivered to them—but the Hindu families there refused to do it. 200 Hindu families stood their ground and chased the mob off, saving the lives of the Sikh family within.

By the end, more than 600 Sikh lives were saved by the actions of their Hindu neighbors.

1Baha’i Temples Are Open To People Of All Religions


Photo credit: Wiki-uk/Wikimedia

For all the division that exist between religions, the Baha’i (an offshoot of Islam) embraces other faiths completely and unequivocally. This “world religion” believes “all the prophets of God proclaim the same faith.”

In a Baha’i house of worship, people of all religions are invited to worship their own gods. The temple is meant to bring people together rather than to encourage division, and so all prayers and forms of meditation are permitted within, without exception.

Sermons and speeches are forbidden, but members of the faith can read holy texts aloud. The religion doesn’t just limit its people to reading its own scriptures, either—people in their churches read from any text their religion considers holy.

10 Chilling Accounts From Survivors Of World War II Death Marches

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10 Chilling Accounts From Survivors Of World War II Death Marches



At the end of World War II, the death marches, which claimed the lives of countless people, were considered among the worst atrocities. Some were simply done to kill prisoners or to keep them from being freed by the advancing Allies, while some were marched for later use as hostages. Survivors were witness to the cold-blooded murder of family, friends, adults, and children. They lived to tell of some of the darkest days of World War II.

10David Friedmann

Blechhammer Death March

Photo credit: David Friedmann via the University of Minnesota

Before the Holocaust, David Friedmann was one of Berlin’s most important and prolific portrait artists. Although he and his family escaped to Prague in 1938, they were deported to Lodz’s Jewish Ghetto in 1941. Friedmann was ultimately sent to Gleiwitz I and was a part of the death march to Blechhammer. His family died at Auschwitz.

Friedmann and the other prisoners left on January 21, 1945, and marched the 100 kilometers (60 mi) to the next camp. Friedmann wrote of the execution of those too weak to walk and remembers that he was nearly one of those people. Friedmann gave credit to a doctor named Orenstein and two friends for saving his life and getting him to Blechhammer, where they were liberated days later by the Soviets.

After the war, Friedmann continued to paint and immortalized scenes from the concentration camps he was in as well as the death march.


9Salvator Moshe

Death March to Dachau

Photo via Tackk

Salvator Moshe was born in Greece, where his family had settled generations before, fleeing persecution by the Spanish Inquisition. Moshe and the other Jewish residents of Salonika were deported to German concentration camps in 1943.

Moshe and his brother-in-law were a part of the 4,000-person death march from the Warsaw Ghetto to Dachau in 1944. The march went on for days. On the third day, they were told to stop alongside a river, where the escorting officers told them they could finally have a drink. As they went to the water, Moshe recalled, “[A] fellow next to me, he was drinking water, but I heard bullets. They shooting. Zzz, zzz, zzz. Coming.”

The officers shot their charges as they kneeled to drink, and when the survivors made it back to the road, he saw another officer shooting those who couldn’t continue. Moshe and his brother-in-law survived and wereliberated by US troops outside Seeshaupt.

8William Dyess

Bataan Death March

Photo credit: US National Archives

A US fighter pilot, William Dyess was one of the soldiers who survived the Bataan Death March. He escaped in 1943 and made his way back to the States.

Dyess published an account of the horrors he witnessed, starting with the first murder. He described an Air Force captain being searched by a Japanese private, who found a handful of yen. As soon as the private, who Dyess described as a giant, saw the yen, he stepped to the side and beheaded the captain.

Dyess also talked about the so-called “Oriental sun treatment,” where captives were forced to sit in the blazing sun for hours on end, with no protection or water. The marchers were followed by a “clean-up squad” of Japanese soldiers who killed those who fell behind.

Once at San Fernando, Dyess and the other survivors found themselves in conditions so dire that they couldn’t even bring themselves to protest.


7Eva Gestl Burns

Auschwitz Death March

When Soviet forces approached Auschwitz and the surrounding labor camps, those being held there were forced to walk. Eva Gestl Burns was working at an ammunition factory when they were told to start walking, and she later recounted a courageous escape.

The prisoners were clad in winter coats, and each coat was marked with a striped square. The women, many of whom were carrying scissors and thread, were able to remove the striped squares, cover the hole with a piece of plain material from somewhere else on the coat, and then replace the striped piece until they saw their chance for escape.

For Eva and a single companion, that chance came as they were being assembled into rows. When no one was paying attention, they ran, tore the striped fabric off their coats, and ultimately joined a group of German refugees heading to Sudentenland.

6Stanislaw Jaskolski

Stutthof Death Gate

In January 1945, prisoners at the Stutthof camp system were herded from their camps. Around 50,000 people were scattered. Around 5,000 were marched to Baltic Sea, ordered into the water, and shot. Others headed into Eastern Germany.

Stanislaw Jaskolski later described the march. He remembered freezing cold temperatures and the small bag of supplies they were handed. It included shirts, long johns, half a loaf of bread, and some margarine. They were given a scattering of blankets that were meant to be shared and were herded onto the road.

As they marched, Jaskolski thought of what they were leaving behind—the gallows, the gas chambers, and the crematorium. They were freezing, he remembered, but he also remembered thinking that they were, at that moment, doing pretty good.

5Jack Aizenberg

Jack Aizenberg

Photo credit: ITV via the Daily Mirror

Jack Aizenberg was one of 60 people (out of 600) who survived the 160-kilometer (100 mi) death march from Colditz Castle to the Theresienstadt concentration camp. The 16-year-old boy was already starving, and he marched for a week with no food. Those alongside him were so hungry they were eating grass.

When they stopped to spend the night at a factory, Aizenberg found a single pea. He wanted to boil it over a fire they had started, and he was terrified that someone was going to try to steal it. He cut it into four pieces to make it last longer, and it was the only food he had for the entire march.

Aizenberg made it to Theresienstadt, and he knew he was dying—but he no longer cared. Soviet forces liberated the camp days later, and he would betaken to Britain as part of a resettlement program for the war’s orphans.


4John Olson

Bataan Grave

Photo credit: US Army

Colonel John Olsen survived the Bataan Death March and the horror that came after it—Camp O’Donnell.

When survivors arrived at the camp, locals were granted permission to give them food. They were also given a welcome speech by a Japanese captain who made it clear that his only regret was that the code of honor to which he had to abide forbade him from killing the prisoners outright.

As personnel adjutant, Olson kept a meticulous record of what went on every day in the camp and would later use his notes to write a book. His journal records things like an increase in daily sugar rations (to 10 grams each) and the daily death toll. He also wrote about the burial detail and how men would volunteer for the task in order to make sure that their friends could at least have a proper burial.

3Ingeborg Neumeyer

Brno Death March

Photo credit: History Images via Illustrated History

After World War I, around three million ethnic Germans were living in the area that became Czechoslovakia. By the time World War II rolled around, those Germans were no longer considered racially pure and became subject to the wrath of the Third Reich.

Ingeborg Neumeyer was 15 when she and her family were dragged from their apartment on May 31, 1945, and herded into the streets to join what would be known as the Brno death march. Later, she would recall seeing people shot for falling behind as well as her mother’s attempt to make sure her daughter at least had clothing. She was wearing three dresses when they started the march, but when she tried to discard two of the dresses, she was seen. She was beaten bloody, her clothes were taken, and her shoes were thrown away.

2Marie Ranzenhoferova

Brno Death March 2

Photo credit: History Images via Illustrated History

Marie Ranzenhoferova was 24 years old when she walked from Brno to the Austrian border. She was offered the chance to stay by a would-be suitor who promised that if she and her baby went to live with him, she would be safe. She refused, and he would later force her at gunpoint to join the march.

Marie talked about families forced to leave homes they had been in for generations, dropping priceless family heirlooms as they walked, unable to carry them anymore. She remembered being supervised by guards from concentration camps, who were nowhere near as cruel as the men from the Zbrojovka arms factory. Those men were violent drunks, and she remembered one grabbing a baby from a woman’s arms and throwing it into a field because it would not stop crying.

When they reached the border, Marie left the march, and around 700 people followed her into the village of Perna. She stayed there for a while and eventually moved to Mikulov.

1Keith Botterill

Sandakan Survivors

Photo via the Herald Sun

Keith Botterill (pictured above on the right) is one of only six people who survived the Sandakan death march. He and the other survivors only lived because they were able to escape their Japanese captors on the march from Sandakan Camp.

Botterill would later remember the camp itself as decent enough for the first 12 months they were there. As the war dragged on, the beatings and starvation got worse. As he and his companions planned for their escape, they were caught stealing rice in preparation. Botterill’s friend, Richie Murray, stepped forward and confessed to the theft. He was bayoneted.

After their escape, another companion, weakened by dysentery, slit his own throat to keep from slowing them down. The other survivors were Owen Campbell, Nelson Short (pictured left above), Bill Moxham, Bill Sticpewech (pictured center above), and James Richard Braithwaite. All Australian, they had been warned to escape by a sympathetic Japanese officer who knew about an upcoming slaughter.

Botterill died in 1997, just after the completion of a book about the remarkable story of the Sandakan Six.