Viola Liuzzo

Viola Liuzzo

On March 16th, 1965, Viola Liuzzo “called her husband to tell him she would be traveling to Selma after hearing the Rev Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. call for people of all faiths to come and help, saying that the struggle ‘was everybody’s fight.'”

She was 39 at the time, living in Detroit. A housewife, a mother of five kids.

She had already taken part in the fight for civil rights. But her fight had always been in Michigan. Now she was heading to the south.

On Sunday, March 21, 1965 over 3,000 people began the march from Selma to Montgomery. There were blacks and whites, doctors and nurses, wealthy and working class, priests and nuns and rabbis, students and housewives, and there was Viola.

And it was there that four days later, after the march had ended and she was helping shuttle marchers home, that Viola was stopped at a red light. With her in the car a young black protester also helping shuttle marchers.

A car of local KKK members pulled up beside her. And when they saw a white woman and a black man in the car together they followed her. She tried to outrun, but she couldn’t. They caught up to her. They shot her. Twice in the head.

She died instantly.

Sources: http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2013/08/12/209595935/killed-for-taking-part-in-everybody-s-fight, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viola_Liuzzo

Witold Pilecki

Witold_Pilecki_in_color

“Together with a hundred other people, I at least reached the bathroom. Here we gave everything away into bags, to which respective numbers were tied. Here our hair of head and body were cut off, and we were slightly sprinkled by cold water. I got a blow in my jaw with a heavy rod. I spat out my two teeth. Bleeding began. From that moment we became mere numbers — I wore the number 4859.”

Witold Pilecki was a Polish resistance fighter who decided to enter Auschwitz to gather intelligence on the camp and organize an inmate resistance. This happened on September 19th, 1940 when he deliberately went out during a Warsaw street roundup and was caught by the Germans.

Until then little had been known about how the Germans ran the camp. It was thought that Auschwitz was more of an internment camp or large prison rather than a death camp.

But as Pilecki started to get messages out about what was happening inside the camp, “the underground army was completely in disbelief about the horrors. About ovens, about gas chambers, about injections to murder people — people didn’t believe him. They thought he was exaggerating.”

These reports became a principal source of intelligence on Auschwitz for the Western Allies.

After about two and a half years of imprisonment, Pilecki escaped, taking with him documents stolen from the Germans. He then published the first comprehensive Allied intelligence report on the Auschwitz concentration camp.

Note: this is a colorized photograph of Pilecki.

Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witold_Pilecki, http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129956107

Hedy Lamarr

Hedy Lamarr

Hedy Lamarr was considered one of the most beautiful woman in Europe.

Born in Vienna in 1914, by the 1930s she was a film star. First in Europe and then in the U.S. But she didn’t stop with movies. Hedy became an inventor.

Inspired to help the U.S. effort in World War II, she worked to design a radio guidance system for Allied torpedoes that would defeat the threat of jamming.

Ultimately her innovation was not used in the war, but the principles of her work are now incorporated into modern Wi-Fi, CDMA and Bluetooth technology.

She was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2014.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hedy_Lamarr