Book reviews and cartoon



Book reviews and cartoon


Three clippings from The Star, the first reviewing a book written by Constance Babington-Smith, Evidence in Camera describing the work done by the Photographic Interpreters.
The second a cartoon.
The third dated October 17th 1957 is a book review which argued against all executions. The book review was illustrated by photographs of Irma Grese who was known as the Beastess of Belsen, the concentration camp.







Three newspaper clippings on two album pages


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The boffins were baffled

IN June, 1943, British experts puzzled over an air photograph of the German airfield at Peenemunde.

They were baffled by what they took to be a "thick vertical column about 40ft. high" rising from a bare stretch of ground.

[italics] Thirteen months later experts studied the same picture again. [/italics]

Suddenly they realised that the "vertical column" was a V2 rocket sitting on its fins – poised for launching.

[underlined] ALARMING FIND [/underlined]

The long search for Hitler's secret weapons had ended with a surprising and alarming discovery.

For it was evident that the V2 could be launched vertically from practically any clear patch of ground – even from a forest clearing difficult to detect.

[italics] This was not at all what Britain's rocket boffins had originally expected. [/italics]

The Air Ministry had been looking for (among other things) "some sort of tube located in a disused mine out of which a rocket could be squirted."

[underlined] UNDETECTED [/underlined]

[italics] In fact Germany's rocket launchings, when they came were so successfully dispersed and hidden that they defeated Allied photographic reconnaissance. [/italics]

BUT there was little else that escaped the probing eye of the camera as picked pilots flew deep into enemy territory to photograph factories, ports, ships, airfields, cities.

There was a dramatic moment when, after [missing letter]onths of searching [missing letters]graphs, a WAAF [missing word] Constance Bab-[missing letters] Smith, first spotted a flying bomb – the V1 – on its launching ramp and realised what it was.

Miss Babington Smith was one of Britain's most skilful "interpreters" of air photographs. Now she has told the achievements of photographic intelligence in a fascinating book published yesterday, EVIDENCE IN CAMERA (Chatto and Windus, 18s.).

[underlined] CAUGHT ! [/underlined]

The battle against the V-Weapons is only part of her story. Equally enthralling is her account of:

HOW the battleship Bismarck was caught.

WHY – despite photographic intelligence – the 1944 German offensive in the Ardennes took the Allies by surprise.

HOW Germany was photographed BEFORE the war.

Alan Fairclough, using a long-focus lens, says: "Let's have a real close-up!" He has been reading EVIDENCE IN CAMERA by Constance Babington Smith.

[italics] Constance Babington Smith doesn't say so – but there is a case for claiming that the long-range camera, fitted in Spitfires and Mosquitos, was the decisive weapon of the war. [/italics]

[underlined] DUDS [/underlined]

Fortunately for this country, the Germans were duds at "interpreting" air photographs whereas our experts were the finest in the world.

I recommend this book without qualification. And I suggest to the publishers that it should be followed by a full collection of the air pictures which provided the EVIDENCE IN CAMERA.

[italics] The twenty-three pages of pictures in this book are not enough! [/italics]

THE STAR – PAGE [missing number]

He listened

AFTER we had been married for three years my wife and I stayed at an hotel in Cornwall.

The manageress used to give us a tiny lounge to ourselves and when I asked her why she did this she said, "I knew you were a honeymoon couple – you can't fool me.

"You see, your wife talks to you at breakfast time, and you listen to what she says."

– J. Brown, Abercorn-place, NW8.

[page break]

[missing letter]AGE 8 – THE STAR THURSDAY, OCTOBER 17, 1957

[underlined[ SHOULD IRMA GRESE HAVE HANGED? [/underlined]


STAR BOOK REVIEWS by Joseph Taggart

[underlined] The two looks of Irma Grese [/underlined]

Irma Grese as a young girl (above). And left, after the Nazis had finished with her.

LIKE a good many more opponents of capital punishment I have had to admit a few exceptions. Creatures who really had lost the right to live.

Two of them were Kramer the Beast of Belsen and Irma Grese the Beastess.

And my view has been confirmed by a book which otherwise makes a powerful case against ALL executions.

The authors of The Offenders: Society And Atrocious Crime (Secker and Warburg, 25s), Giles Playfair and Derrick Sington, have included Irma among their cases along with Heath and the Rosenbergs.

That doesn't help their argument. But we are given a spine-chilling picture of this inhuman girl, mainly written by Mr Sington, who led the way into that camp of horrors and was a prosecution witness at the trial of the Beasts.


The two pictures on this page show what about three years as a concentration camp wardress did to Irma.

She was the pretty daughter of a respectable peasant family in Mecklenburg. With appalling ease and speed the Himmler machine turned her into a frozen-faced monster.

By day she plied a whip and enthusiastically marshalled squads of men, women and children for the gas chambers.

By night she joined with equal enjoyment in the customary orgies shared by the men and women guards.


When arrested she never flinched or budged. Says this eyewitness:

"Irma Grese, apparently convinced that she had been the servant of 'a cause' did not cringe or attempt excuses or self-exoneration (as so many did); she made no effort to collaborate, but stuck firmly by the political creed she had been taught."

"It was our duty to exterminate anti-social elements, so that Germany's future should be assured” she flung at her accusers.

Throughout her seven weeks trial, records Mr Sington, this de-humanised girl of only 21 broke down just once.

Not when some particularly horrible crime was being alleged against her, but when her sister spoke of their family and childhood.

The authors say that her execution was "useless and barbaric." I still think these were among the exceptions who could not be allowed to live.

Why angry?

THE Angry Young Men are still protesting that all they are angry about is being called angry.

In DECLARATION (Macgibbon & Kee, 18s) seven of them and a woman novelist, Doris Lessing, set out what they think is wrong with things and what they would do about it.

Some of them talk a lot of sense about our mixed up world. But they certainly don't seem so terribly furious when you think of such bygone prophets of the wrath to come as Bernard Shaw and D.H. Lawrence.

John Osborne, who earned this group its resented label, hits the hardest. He includes royalty among his targets.

Briefly recommended:

A BIT OFF THE MAP (Secker & Warburg, 13s 6d) by Angus Wilson. Short stories which give sharp pictures of the present-day social scene.

FORGOTTEN ISLANDS OF THE SOUTH SEAS (Allen & Unwin, 18s) by Bengt Danielsson. Still roaming around the side-turnings of Polynesia, the Kon-Tiki man makes another entrancing book about his adventures.

A VICTORIAN CANVAS (Bles, 25s). Nevile Wallis has packed into one absorbing volume the best of W.P. Frith's rambling three-decker memoirs which the artist first published 70 years ago.


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