segunda-feira, 14 de dezembro de 2015

The Brazilian ranch where Nazis kept slaves

On a farm deep in the countryside 100 miles (160km) west from Sao Paulo, a football team has lined up for a commemorative photograph. What makes the image extraordinary is the symbol on the team's flag - a swastika.
The picture probably dates from some time in the 1930s, after the Nazi Party's rise to power in Germany - but this was on the other side of the world.
"Nothing explained the presence of a swastika here," says Jose Ricardo Rosa Maciel, former rancher at the remote Cruzeiro do Sul farm near Campina do Monte Alegre, who stumbled across the photograph one day.
But this was actually his second puzzling discovery. The first occurred in the pigsty.
"One day the pigs broke a wall and escaped into the field," he says. "I noticed the bricks that had fallen. I thought I was hallucinating."

The underside of each brick was stamped with the swastika.
It's well known that pre-war Brazil had strong links with Nazi Germany - the two were economic partners and Brazil had the biggest fascist party outside Europe, with more than 40,000 members.
But it was years before Maciel - thanks to detective work by history professor Sidney Aguilar Filho - learned the grim story of his farm's links to Brazil's fascists.
Filho established that the farm had once been owned by the Rocha Mirandas, a family of wealthy industrialists from Rio de Janeiro. Three of them - father Renato and two of his sons, Otavio and Osvaldo - were members of the Acao Integralista Brasileira, an extreme right-wing organisation, sympathetic to the Nazis.
The family sometimes held rallies on the farm, hosting thousands of the organisation's members. But it was also a brutal work-camp for abandoned - and non-white -
"I found a story of 50 boys aged around 10 years old who had been taken from an orphanage in Rio," says Filho. "They were taken in three waves. The first was a group of 10 in 1933."
Osvaldo Rocha Miranda applied to be a guardian of the orphans, according to documents discovered by Filho, and a legal decree was granted.
"He sent his driver, who put us in a corner," says 90-year-old Aloysio da Silva, one of the first orphans conscripted to work on the farm.
"Osvaldo was pointing with a cane - 'Put that one over there, this one here' - and from 20 boys, he took 10.
"He promised the world - that we would play football, go horse-riding. But there wasn't any of this. The 10 of us were given hoes to clear the weeds and clean up the farm. I was tricked."
The children were subject to regular beatings with a palmatoria, a wooden paddle with holes designed to reduce air resistance and increase pain. They were addressed not by their name, but by a number - Silva's was number 23. Guard dogs ensured they stayed in line.
"One was called Poison, the male, and the female was called Trust," says Silva, who still lives in the area. "I try to avoid talking about it."

Silva was known by a number - 23

Even the cattle on the farm were branded with a swastika

Argemiro dos Santos is another survivor. As a boy, he had been found on the streets and taken to an orphanage. Then Rocha Miranda came for him.
"They didn't like black people at all," says Santos, now 89.

"There was punishment, from not giving us food to the palmatoria. It hurt a lot. Two hits sometimes. The most would be five because a person couldn't stand it.

"There were photographs of Hitler and you were compelled to salute. I didn't understand any of it."
Some of the surviving Rocha Miranda family say their forebears stopped supporting Nazism well before World War Two.

Maurice Rocha Miranda, great-nephew of Otavio and Osvaldo, also denies that the children on the farm were kept as "slaves".

He told the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper that the orphans on the farm "had to be controlled, but were never punished or enslaved".
But Filho believes the survivors' stories. And despite it being a long time ago, both Silva and Santos - who have never met since - tell very similar, harrowing tales.
Image caption Santos with his war medal
The orphans' only respite came in football matches against teams of local farm workers such as the one pictured in the photograph with the swastika flag. Football was key to the ideology of the integralistas. Military parades took place at the Vasco da Gama football ground and the game was regularly used for propaganda purposes under Brazil's dictator, Getulio Vargas.

"We'd have a kick around and it evolved," he says. "We had a championship - we were good at football. There was no problem."

But after several years, Santos had had enough.

"There was a gate and I left it ajar," he says. "Later that night, I was out of there. No-one saw."

Santos returned to Rio where, aged 14, he slept rough and worked as a newspaper seller. Then in 1942, after Brazil declared war on Germany, he joined the navy as a taifeiro, waiting on tables and washing up.
He had gone from working for Nazis, to fighting them.

"I was just fulfilling what Brazil needed to do," says Santos. "I couldn't have hate for Hitler - I didn't know the guy! I didn't know who he was."

Santos with his war medal
Santos went on patrol in Europe and then spent much of World War Two working on ships hunting submarines off the Brazilian coast.

Today Santos is known locally by his nickname Marujo - "sailor" - and proudly shows off a certificate and medal that recognises his war service. But he is also famous for another reason - as one of Brazil's top footballers of the 1940s, becoming a midfielder for some of the biggest teams in Brazil.
"At that time professional players didn't exist, it was all amateur," says Santos. "I played for Fluminense, Botafogo, Vasco da Gama. The players were all newspaper sellers and shoeshine boys."
Nowadays Santos lives a quiet life in south-western Brazil with Guilhermina, his wife of 61 years.

"I like to play my trumpet, I like to sit on the veranda, I like to have a cold beer. I have a lot of friends and they pass by and chat," he says.
Memories of the farm, though, are impossible to escape.
"Anyone who says they have had a good life since they were born is lying," he says. "Everyone has something bad that has happened in their life."

Colour pictures by Gibby Zobel. His report was broadcast on Outlook, on the BBC World Service. 

sexta-feira, 30 de outubro de 2015

Creating the Medal of Honor

IN MANY WAYS, it resembles an old fashioned cookie-cutting operation — but the most prestigious of the "cookies" stamped out at a Manhattan metalworking plant are surely a batch apart.

They are Medals of Honor — the nation's highest award for valor — destined one day to be hung about the necks of American military heroes from the various services, presented with a presidential handshake in the name of the Congress of the United States.

Some, sadly, will be conferred posthumously. All, to be sure, will be cherished by recipients and survivors as the ultimate symbol of national gratitude.

Fittingly, these medals, being stamped out almost cookie-like from sheets of base metal, will have little intrinsic value when their manufacture is complete. Such an honor, signifying gallantry beyond the call of duty and at the risk of life itself, could scarcely begin to carry a sufficient price tag. So the true worth of the Medal of Honor stems largely from the exceptional heroism of the relative few who are privileged to wear it.

"The Navy and' Marine Corps medal isn't even gold plated," said William McAllister, vice-president of His Lordship Products, Inc., a Seventh Avenue firm which has been making the star-shaped pendants since 1963. As lie spoke, a jeweler sat at a workbench polishing up stampings of the Army's medal. "It's just red brass," said McAllister.

The medals, which by now had a high luster, would soon be gold plated and given a final satin finish.

Then each would be attached to the familiar pale blue neck ribbon by means of a small, eagle-shaped suspense bar, and placed in an attractive dark green box along with a rosette and service ribbon for ultimate presentation by the president.

In mid-manufacture, though, this batch of 90 Army medals being produced under a special government contract, looked like a big tray of star-shaped cookies popped from the oven a moment before they would begin to rise. The jeweler was polishing the edges on a spinning wire brush.

"THE ARMY and Air Force medals get a final gold plating, but even then the metal value is still probably only around a dollar or so," McAllister remarked as he led a visitor through one of the firm's three floors of workrooms.

"So far, we have produced about 350 Medals of Honor for the Army, 150 for the Air Force and 100 for the Navy and Marine Corps," said McAllister, who believes his firm is the only company currently producing them.

"We happen to have the right tools and we bid on every lot the government wants made," added the youthful-appearing veteran who spent four years in the Navy during the Korean Conflict.

"I'll tell you one thing, though. We make certain we never make a penny on them. The cost is figured as finely as we can get it, and that is the full amount of our bid.

"You just couldn't possibly want to make money on something like the Medal of Honor, and I'm sure that's the way most people would feel about it. We have had contracts for all kinds of military decorations and have produced medals for the services numbering into the millions.

"We made the original Republic of Vietnam Service Medal; we made the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force Commendation Medals; the Legion of Merit; the Distinguished Service Medal for each service; the Air Force Cross; the Purple Heart, and I could go on and on."

Every contract, he said, was handled on a fair-profit level; but when it comes to the Medal of Honor, the emphasis is on making as perfect a product as possible, never money.

The company produces the Medal of Honor; under a "100 per cent inspection, no defects" contract so that company inspectors sometimes reject as much as 25 per cent of every lot to assure that the finished product is totally free of flaws. By the time a shipment is ready to be turned over to the government, it has many times been examined with the kind of care usually associated with fine jewelry.

For the manufacturing process, the government furnishes a contract winner with heavy cylindrical pieces of metal called "hubs," each with one of the various Medal of Honor designs embossed on its face. The Army and Air Force have their own designs, with the latter being the newest and the largest. The Navy and Marine Corps versions are identical.

The contractor begins by sinking the hubs into steel blocks to extract his own working dies.

BRASS SHAPES in the approximate form of the medal are then "blanked out" of metal strips the way a housewife would use her cookie cutter on a batch of dough.

The star-shaped blanks are then placed individually into a drop hammer holding the working die, and a series of blows, struck at tremendous pressure, bring up the design as the brass is forced against the die.

Then the stampings, now having both the shape and the embossed design of the finished medals, go into a trimming operation where the "flash" — or excess metal which has been squeezed out by the force of the drop hammer — is cut away prior to polishing.

The Navy and Marine Corps medals are then given their oxidized, satin finish. The Army and Air Force versions take longer to produce because they go through a final gold lamination process and a hard-fired green enamel coat is applied to the laurel wreath around the medal and to the leaf at each point through a final gold lamination process of the star.

Aside from a few embellishments, of course, it is basically the same metal working process from which hundreds of quite pedestrian, everyday items are mass-produced. The difference — and it is certainly vast — is largely in the mind of the onlooker.

It takes a little getting used to, therefore, to watch a drop hammer operator stamping out the Medal of Honor — working shoulder to shoulder with one banging out little sailboats for key chains.

Yet, of course, this is the way such work is done, especially considering that most firms working on military decorations also produce civilian goods.

In McAllister's case, the sailboats, and hundreds of other items of nautical jewelry, came first. His Lordship Products was founded in 1948, and specialized in making gold and sterling charms, common to the yachting set.

The firm later branched into the ad specialty business, producing metal replicas of the corporate symbols of hundreds of major business firms and fastening them to tie clasps, cufflinks, money clips, charms and similar items.

McAllister's first military contract came in 1959 when the company manufactured an anchor superimposed on a three-bladed propeller for the caps of enlisted Waves.

SINCE THEN the company has expanded, its 85 employees having handled as many as 10,000 different military and civilian contracts ranging from such diverse, objects as the famous PT109 tie clasps handed out as White House souvenirs by the late President John F. Kennedy to millions of "tiger in your tank" key chains for a major oil company promotion.

"We even make the keys for the City of New York," said McAllister, recalling a rush contract of several years ago when City Hall officialdom was shaken to discover that the honorary "keys to the city" all had the previous mayor's name stamped on them.

The company also handles a large volume of military officer hardware such as gold and silver bars, oak leaves and stars worn by generals.

McAllister and his colleagues, in fact, are still puzzling over a government order they filled in 1963 for 360 pairs of stars for five-star generals. "I suppose they just wanted to be ready in case," McAllister conjectured.

And, of course, there have been the increasing contracts for the Medal of Honor, with increasing numbers of the decoration going to heroes of the fighting in Vietnam.

Occasionally, McAllister will get letters from people claiming to be servicemen or former servicemen who have either lost or misplaced a Medal of Honor and wanting to know if they can buy a replacement.

He writes back, telling them that they had best contact government authorities about it. The brass medal, worth only a few cents, isn't for sale at any price.

By Walter Hennessey
Stars and Stripes
Published: January 19, 1969

quinta-feira, 24 de setembro de 2015

Soldado Milhões uma Lenda

Aníbal Augusto Milhais, mais conhecido por Soldado Milhões (1895-1970), é o herói de guerra português mais celebrado do século XX. Combateu na Primeira Guerra Mundial, onde se distinguiu pela sua bravura em La Lys, assim escrevendo a letras de ouro o seu nome na história militar Portuguesa. A ser entrevistado por Carlos Cruz para a RTP em 1967, contando a história dos seus feitos heróicos cerca de 50 anos depois dos eventos narrados.

Este vídeo, uma raridade dos arquivos da RTP, é dedicado à memória de todos os bravos do Corpo Expedicionário Português, em particular aos heróis anônimos que perderam a vida longe da ditosa pátria-mãe.

quinta-feira, 17 de setembro de 2015

O Almirante-de-Esquadra Maximiano Eduardo da Silva Fonseca


   O Almirante-de-Esquadra Maximiano Eduardo da Silva Fonseca Nasceu em São José das Taboas, Estado do Rio de Janeiro, em 6 de novembro de 1919 e faleceu, no Rio de Janeiro, em 3 de abril de 1998.
   Tendo cursado a Escola Naval entre 1937 e 1941, durante o curso mostrou especial entusiasmo pelas matérias ligadas à navegação, instrumentos náuticos e hidrografia; foi, assim, natural a escolha da sua especialidade: a Hidrografia.
   Em 1952, na Amazônia, ainda sem dispor de equipamentos eletrônicos de posicionamento, o então Capitão-Tenente Maximiano realizou admiráveis trabalhos como Comandante do NHi Rio Branco, chefiando a comissão que executou o levantamento hidrográfico e produziu as cartas náuticas que permitiram a abertura do Canal Norte do Amazonas a navios de grande porte. Posteriormente, teve decisiva participação na escolha do equipamento de posicionamento Raydist, o qual, a partir de 1955, acelerou substancialmente a execução do Plano Cartográfico Brasileiro.

   Recebeu, em janeiro de 1958, como imediato, o NHi Sírius, construído no Japão. Em setembro do mesmo ano, assumiu o Comando do Navio, no qual voltou a realizar levantamento na Barra Norte do Rio Amazonas. No comando do NHi Canopus (1963) completou o levantamento da costa sul do Brasil e iniciou o dos Abrolhos.

    Como Comandante do CAMR elaborou o planejamento para recuperação e melhoramento da sinalização náutica no Brasil que consubstanciou-se como o primeiro plano de longo prazo para a atividade, servindo de base para a elaboração da parte do Plano Diretor da Marinha pertinente à sinalização Náutica.

   Em 1979, o já então AE Maximiano assumiu a pasta da Marinha. Na área da Hidrografia, além da incorporação de novos meios flutuantes, foram adquiridos novos equipamentos, notadamente o Sistema de Automação Cartográfica, que veio colocar a DHN no mesmo nível dos melhores serviços hidrográficos. Sua ação culminou com a transferência da DHN para a Ponta da Armação, o que vem permitindo, hoje, a contínua expansão da Diretoria e de suas organizações militares subordinadas.

    A Sinalização Náutica foi outro setor para o qual o ministro deu permanente atenção; ao deixar a pasta contávamos com 414 faróis e faroletes, destes, nada menos de 116 haviam sido acrescentados na sua gestão.

   Dentre os exemplares serviços que o Almirante Maximiano prestou à Marinha, à Hidrografia Brasileira e suas pesquisas, cabe ainda lembrar seu entusiasmo e apoio as Operações Antárticas, desde a aquisição do Navio Polar Thala Dan (Barão de Teffé 1982), seguida pela Primeira Expedição à Antártica e da instalação de nossa base na Ilha Rei George, por ocasião da Segunda Expedição. 
Foto: Internet

Hierarquia militar Brasileira

A hierarquia militar é a base da organização das Forças Armadas e compõe a cadeia de comando a ser seguida por todos os integrantes das forças em sua estrutura organizacional. No Brasil, a constituição prevê que o Presidente da República exerce o comando supremo das Forças Armadas.

De acordo com o Estatuto dos Militares (Lei 6.880, de 9 de dezembro de 1980), os militares estão distribuídos em duas classes: oficiais, classificados por postos; e praças, classificadas por graduações. Essas classes se subdividem em outras de acordo com o nível de responsabilidade e qualificação profissional. A cada grau hierárquico corresponde uma insígnia regulamentar.

  Providos apenas em tempo de guerra

Marinha do Brasil Exército Brasileiro Força Aérea Brasileira

Marechal do Ar FAB.gif
AlmirantedeEsquadra MB.png
General do Exército.gif
General de Exército
Tenente-brigadeiro FAB.gif
Vice-Almirante MB.gif
Insígnia de General de Divisão.gif
General de Divisão
Major brigadeiro.gif
Contra-Almirante MB.png
Insígnia de General de Brigada.gif
General de Brigada
Brigadeiro FAB.png

CapitãodeMareGuerra MB.png
Capitão de Mar e Guerra
Coronel FAB.png
CapitãodeFragata MB.png
Capitão de Fragata
Tenente-Coronel FAB.gif
Capitãodecorveta MB.png
Capitão de Corveta
Major Exército.gif
Major FAB.gif

CapitãoTenente MB.png
Capitão FAB.png

PrimeiroTenente MB.gif
Primeiro Tenente
Primeiro Tenente
Primeiro-Tenente FAB.gif
Primeiro Tenente
SegundoTenente MB.gif
Segundo Tenente
Segundo Tenente
Segundo-Tenente FAB.gif
Segundo Tenente
Guarda-Marinha MB.gif
Aspirante FAB.png

Suboficial MB1.png
Suboficial FAB.png
Primeiro-Sargento MB.png
Primeiro-Sargento FAB.png
Segundo-Sargento MB.png
Segundo-Sargento FAB.png
Terceiro-Sargento MB.png
Terceiro-Sargento FAB.png
Cabo MB.png
Cabo FAB.png
Marinheiro MB.png
Soldado FAB.png

  • Todas as platinas da Marinha (insígnias de ombro) no quadro acima estão com alguma especialidade.
  • As insígnias de praças do Exército no quadro acima estão representadas com alguma especialidade.
  • As platinas da Força Aérea estão representadas sem a especialização - que ficaria aposta entre a insígnia e o botão prateado - com exceção das platinas de Tenente-Brigadeiro e de Marechal-do-Ar, postos exclusivo a Aviadores.
  • Os postos de Almirante, Marechal, e Marechal-do-Ar somente são preenchidos em caso de guerra.
  • Na Marinha, os oficiais do Corpo da Armada possuem uma ligeira distinção (acréscimo da Volta de Nelson) em suas insígnias, em relação às dos demais oficiais.
  • Com poucas exceções, anexo às insígnias, são também usados os distintivos de especialização.
Observações e Glossário de Abreviações:
  • Ordem estabelecida conforme o Estatuto dos Militares (Lei 6.880 de 9 de dezembro de 1980);
  • Guardas-marinha e Aspirantes-a-oficial são praças especiais que gozam de prerrogativas de oficiais subalternos e, com frequência, são considerados oficiais. Em verdade, ainda não possuem uma carta-patente, porém a maioria já concluiu o período de formação. Pode ser considerada, então, uma etapa probatória antes da ascensão ao primeiro posto;
  • Os Aspirantes da Escola Naval e os Cadetes da AMAN e da AFA, bem como os Alunos do Colégio Naval, da EsPCEx e da EPCAR, Alunos do IME e Alunos da EEAR tem hierarquias internas conforme o ano ou série escolar em que se encontram;
  • CFOE - Curso de Formação de Oficiais Especialistas, realizado no Centro de Instrução e Adaptação da Aeronáutica (CIAAR);
  • EAOF - Estágio de Adaptação ao Oficialato, como o CFOE, também realizado no CIAAR;
  • C-FSG-MU-CFN - Curso de Formação de Sargentos Músicos do Corpo de Fuzileiros Navais, cursado no Centro de Instrução Almirante Sylvio de Camargo (CIASC);
  • CFS - Curso de Formação de Sargentos de Carreira, cursado em diversas escolas (EsSA e EsSLog);
  • C-FCB - Curso de Formação de Cabos do Corpo Auxiliar de Praças da Marinha cursado no CIAA (Centro de Instrução Almirante Alexandrino);
  • EP - Efetivo Profissional (soldados engajados);
  • EV - Efetivo Variável (soldados não engajados, em cumprimento do serviço militar obrigatório).
Referencias e Fontes :


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