This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
Where is Victor Laszlo?
John Tobin 6/8/2021 4:03 PM
OK Folks, today is a special day to many. It was the beginning of the end of Fascism in Europe. The Nazis had subjected old Europe to horrors unknown since the Middle Ages. They had destroyed the soul of a once proud continent, and now the day of reckoning had begun.
Hitler and his thugs started by taking over the education system of Germany, no longer reading, ‘riting, ‘rithmetic, but loyalty to the Fuhrer, children taught to report their parents for disloyalty. The Nazi thugs were destroying businesses, beating up old people, murdering “enemies, with the government attacking institutions for no reason except they would not bow to the new Nazi God. Whole departments concentrated on dividing people, isolating groups so no resistance could be formed. And they used human guinea pigs used for experimental drugs.
D-Day was to end that regime, it took nearly another year, but yes the Third Reich, the one world government dream of a Fascist dictator was dust in the wind. I watch the classic movie “The Longest Day” in honor of those young men, over 9,000 who died that day, freeing a continent from tyranny.
There is another movie I will watch, and maybe it should be a double feature. “Casablanca” came out two weeks after Pearl Harbor, and had a tremendous effect on America. It was about little people, little people who just wanted to be free, and Casablanca was a stop on the way, for some the last stop, but the only hope they had.
I will not spoil the movie by relating the plot but will give you one small blurb, a glimpse of its power. The Nazis are singing their war songs in a small café, showing their disdain for the French and the refugees who come there to share their hopes and dreams of freedom.
Watch on youtube, it will show what one brave man can do. It is only two minutes, but had this movie been made a bit earlier to show America just how evil Fascism is, maybe we would have been prepared for Pearl Harbor. Today in America, we are much like those refugees, watching our traditions, our rights, our Republic being trampled by the same power mad maniacs who worship only government.
Take a minute, watch Casablanca, watch the famous “Marseilles” scene, watch when Rick (Humphrey Bogart) give the nod to Victor Laszlo, and the band and then think:
Where is our Victor Laszlo?
FOOTNOTE: A bit about the characters you may not know even if, like me, have seen the movie many times. Not only did refugees see this movie, real refugees made this movie
Paul Heinreid, who played Laszlo the resistance leader, was a famous Austrian actor; he was so anti-Hitler that he was named an enemy of the Reich. Ugarte, the petty thief who stole the illegal transit papers was played by Peter Lorre, a Jewish refugee. Carl, the head waiter played by S.Z. Sakall, a Hungarian-Jew whose three sisters died in the holocaust. The main Nazi character was played by a German refugee: Conrad Veidt, who fled the Nazis with his Jewish wife. Others in the cast such as Louis V. Arco, Trude Berliner, Ilka Grünig, Ludwig Stössel, Hans Heinrich von Twardowski, and Wolfgang Zilzer were all real refugees"
There’s one person in this scene that deserves special mention. did you notice the woman at the bar, on the verge of tears as she belts out La Marseillaise? She’s is Madeleine LeBeau she and her Jewish husband fled Paris ahead of the Germans in 1940. Her husband, Marcel Dalio, is also in the film, playing the guy working the roulette table. Go back and rewatch the clip. watch madeleine LeBeau’s face.
God Bless America
COL (R) John “Jack” Tobin graduated from the Special Forces Training Course in 1968, as a communications supervisor. He served with 7th SFGA, and then was fortunate to serve with A503, A504, B55 “Mike Force”, 5th SFGA, Republic of Vietnam. After commissioning, he commanded ODAs, was Team Chief for the FORSCOM Intelligence Center for DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM, wrote new Tactics, Techniques and Protocols for Antiterrorism and Force Protection for J37, the Pentagon after the Khobar Towers event, and commanded the JRU, SOCJFCOM. He retired 1/1/2006, after serving as Chief of Plans, Combined Forces Command, Afghanistan, and Chief Military Liaison Team, US Embassy Kabul, 2004-2005. Between these assignments were there was a series of interesting posts in CONUS, Central and South America, Europe and Asia. Since retirement he served as the SF consultant on the conversion of nuclear submarines to SOF platforms, and was primary author of the ARSOF Future Operating Concepts 2016-2025. In 2012 he was named a Distinguished Member of the Special Forces Regiment, and served as the National President of the Special Forces Association. When his term as President, SFA ended, he happily returned to his duties as Deputy Chief Cook and Bottle Washer, of SFA Chapter VI, The Camp Mackall Chapter.
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