This Week In History News, Oct. 8 – 14

Uncovered Auschwitz letter reveals camp's horrors, Civil War letter reveals the origins of "kick ass," and a German WWII POW returns to the U.S. to thank his former captors.

True Horrors Of Auschwitz Revealed By Prisoner’s Buried Letter Found At Nazi Camp

Birkenau Ramp

Wikimedia CommonsHungarian Jews disembarking from the transport trains at Auschwitz–Birkenau.

A letter that was recently made legible, buried by a Sonderkommando at Auschwitz further reveals the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps.

A buried letter written by Greek Jew Marcel Nadjari while he was at the Auschwitz concentration camp has recently been made legible thanks to the efforts of Russian historian Pavel Polian who spent years reconstructing the document.

Read more here.

Civil War Letter Shows The Phrase ‘Kick Ass’ Is 100 Years Older Than We Thought

Kick Ass Letter

University of GeorgiaThe 1862 letter by John B. Gregory.

The phrase “kick ass” may seem like a modern invention, but a new letter shows its usage nearly 100 years before we previously believed the phrase was invented.

Slate reports that last week Jonathan Lighter, author of the Historical Dictionary of American Slang, discovered the phrase “kick ass” in a letter from a soldier fighting in the Civil War, about a century earlier than when linguists believed the phrase first emerged in the English language.

Dig deeper here.

WWII Nazi POW Returns To American Prison Camp To Say ‘Thank You’

Grewe Pow Bike

Steve Ringman/The Seattle TimesGünter Gräwe points to the barracks where he was once kept prisoner.

Rather than with sadness or anger, a 91-year-old German World War II veteran recently returned to the Washington base he was kept prisoner to affectionately remember his time there.

The Seattle Times reports that Günter Gräwe, a 91-year-old German WWII veteran who was captured by the Americans at Normandy, visited the Washington prison camp he was held in earlier this month to reminisce fondly about his time as a POW.

Read on here.

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