Germany

German Kamikazes: Little-Known WWII Tale of Suicidal Pilots Over Europe

Towards the end of World War II, the German Luftwaffe airforce resorted to a series of deadly suicide missions. Die Welt journalist and historian Sven Felix Kellerhoff examines a little documented chapter in Germany’s military history.

The Messerschmitt Bf-109
The Messerschmitt Bf-109
Sven Felix Kellerhoff

The attack came from above. On April 7, 1945, as more than 1,300 four-engine, U.S. Air Force bombers began their approach over northern Germany, on a mission to target factories and freight stations, they were suddenly challenged. At 1:35 in the afternoon, German single-engine planes began to fall out of the sky from above them. But instead of closing in from the usual distance of about 600 meters, firing, and then turning away, the German planes set themselves on a collision course.

The U.S. pilots of the B-17 and B-24 bombers were left with only seconds to quickly maneuver their comparatively slower planes out of the way. Nearly two dozen of the Flying Fortresses and Liberators did not succeed: they collided with the fighters. Various reports cite that between eight and 15 U.S. planes were torn apart or so badly damaged that they had to be abandoned. Another 28 bombers were shot down by German fighters.

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Society

Face In The Mirror: Dutch Hairdressers Trained To Recognize Domestic Violence

Early detection and accessible help are essential in the fight against domestic violence. Hairdressers in the Dutch province of North Brabant are now being trained to identify when their customers are facing abuse at home.

Hair Salon Rob Peetoom in Rotterdam

Daphne van Paassen

TILBURG — The three hairdressers in the bare training room of the hairdressing company John Beerens Hair Studio are absolutely sure: they have never seen signs of domestic violence among their customers in this city in the Netherlands. "Or is that naïve?"

When, a moment later, statistics appear on the screen — one in 20 adults deals with domestic violence, as well as one or two children per class — they realize: this happens so often, they must have victims in their chairs.

All three have been in the business for years and have a loyal clientele. Sometimes they have customers crying in the chair because of a divorce. According to Irma Geraerts, 45, who has her own salon in Reusel, a village in the North Brabant region, they're part-time psychologists. "A therapist whose hair I cut explained to me that we have an advantage because we touch people. We are literally close. The fact that we stand behind people and make eye contact via the mirror also helps."

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