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April 8th, 2013
11:47 AM ET

Holocaust survivors still hope for proper reparations

By Jim Roope, CNN

Editor's Note: Listen to the full story in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.

(CNN) - Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day; calling to mind those who suffered, died and survived the Holocaust of Nazi Germany.

Nearly 70 years after millions were liberated from ghettos and concentration camps, many aging survivors are still seeking proper reparations, like Serena Rubin:

[0:40] “My pain is never gone. It’s always with me.”

Rubin and her sister Rita were barely teenagers when their family was taken out of their Romanian home in 1940 by Nazi soldiers.

After their parents, grandparents and brother were killed, they were moved from concentration camp to concentration camp ending up at Auschwitz, in Austria. Serena and Rita were liberated by the Russians in 1945 and eventually made their way to the U.S.

They’ve been working with the legal aid group, Bet Tzedek (House of Justice), to secure proper reparations from the German government.

In 2009 a German court ruled that survivors get regular pensions. But it’s not much. Serena and Rita receive about 300-dollars a month.

[4:34] “Nothing can replace the loss of our parents and our families. Money will not replace anybody’s life. But we need it,” says Rubin

The German finance ministry says the German government has paid an estimated 91 billion dollars in reparations and pensions since 1951.

It's estimated that around 500 thousand holocaust survivors are still living today.

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March 29th, 2013
12:48 PM ET

Distinguished WWII spy honored at Arlington

By Jonathan Binder, CNN

Follow on Twitter: @jbinder

Editor's Note: Listen to the full story in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.

(CNN) – On Friday Rene Joyeuse's ashes will be placed in Arlington National Cemetery after a ceremony held by his family.

For much of his life, Joyeuse hadn't told many people about his time in the military and the dangerous missions that he went on during WWII. He was a Swiss-born spy for the U.S. Office of Strategic Services or OSS, which was the precursor to the CIA.

But his achievements were so great that  General Dwight D. Eisenhower personally gave him  the Distinguished Service Cross.

In 2002, Joyeuse  invited author and combat historian Patrick O'Donnell into him home to have dinner with his family. O'Donnell has written eight books, all focusing on the heroism of the U.S. Military throughout history. It was that night when Rene shared with O'Donnell his incredible stories from WWII. Rene recalled a near-death escape from the Nazi forces in northern France.  Listen to the full account of that story in the player above.

After hearing Joyeuse's story and later writing about it, O'Donnell believes Joyeuse  is one of the greatest spys to come out of the OSS:

[3:20] "His contributions are extraordinary. He provided actual intelligence on a V1 jet propulsion rocket factory that was bombed by the Allies – variou units that were heading toward the Normandy Beach, he identified."

Joyeuse even created an underground railroad network to help guide close to 300 downed airmen to safety. And the list of his achievements continues.

O'Donnell and Joyeuse's  family believed this incredible spy would be put to rest at Arlington National Cemetery, but that almost didn't happen. At first, the request was denied. But over the course of several months O'Donnell, the family and many other supports made the case for Joyeuse's urn to be placed in Arlington, and eventually the board at Arlington approved.

Joyeuse's son, Remi, remembers his father telling him when he was a child that he would end up in Arlington National Cemetery. And when Rene died in 2012, the family had him cremated, but didn't hold any ceremony. Remi Joyeuse said they would wait until it could be done at Arlington.

[4:25] "He is I'm sure honored to be buried with his comrades, and the fact that his achievements are being recognized and of all places Arlington National Cemetery – it's about as big an honor as you could ever imagine. We're just blessed and thankful for all those that have put their time and effort to make this happen."

For more on what it is like to be a professor falsely attached to a hoax for 13 years, listen to our story above. Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or Stitcher. And listen to CNN Soundwaves on our SoundCloud page.

 

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March 21st, 2013
12:11 PM ET

Iraqi refugee: 'mistake for American army to leave'

By Jonathan Binder, CNN

Follow on Twitter: @jbinder

Editor's Note: Listen to the full story in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.

(CNN) - Musadaq Alsamawi was able to escape Iraq with his family in 2009.  He lived there all his life and, before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, he was a farmer and veterinarian living in southern Baghdad.

Ten years ago, he supported the U.S. mission in Iraq because, he says, he felt his country would be better off with out Saddam Hussein:

[1:10] "All the people welcomed America to help us to release this dictator from our country. All the people thinking very good about America. They are welcome to come to our country to release our country from this regime." FULL POST

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CNN Profiles: Jodi Picoult on the dark side
March 15th, 2013
12:24 PM ET

CNN Profiles: Jodi Picoult on the dark side

Hosted by Michael Schulder

Follow Michael at: www.wavemaker.me

Editor's Note: Listen to the full interview in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.

(CNN) - Before you click play on our conversation with best-selling author Jodi Picoult, ask yourself this: Would you forgive Ieng Sary?

I never heard of Ieng Sary either until I stumbled upon his obit on CNN's website:

"It was one of the worst genocides since the Nazi era. The brutal Khmer Rouge took over Cambodia in 1975 and terrorized the population for four years, killing more than one million people. One of its infamous leaders died Thursday, escaping judgment for war crimes at the hands of a U.N. tribunal. He was the foreign minister under, and the brother-in-law-of, Khmer Rouge dictator Pol Pot." FULL POST

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March 9th, 2013
07:00 AM ET

Enemies discover a 'higher call' in battle

By John Blake, CNN

Editor's Note: Listen to the full story in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.

(CNN) - We love to hear war stories about epic battles or crack troops like Seal Team 6, the elite Navy unit that brought down Osama bin Laden.

But there is another side of war that’s seldom explored: Why do some soldiers risk their lives to save their enemies and, in some cases, develop a deep bond with them that outlives war?

Stories about the bond that surfaces between enemies have been told for centuries.

One such story in particular involves a German and American pilot who met as enemies over the skies of Europe during World War II but reunited as brothers 50 years later.

Listen to our story in the player above and read the full story here.

Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or Stitcher. And listen to CNN Soundwaves on our SoundCloud page.

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Filed under: Behavior • History • Soundwaves • Stories
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