TIME conflict

The Tragic Nobel Peace Prize Story You’ve Probably Never Heard

Carl Von Ossietzky
German pacifist writer Carl Von Ossietzky, circa 1933 Hulton Archive / Getty Images

This is the story of the "long-ailing, wornout, beaten Nobelman" Carl von Ossietzky

In some years, and this year was no exception, there is no obvious choice for the Nobel Peace Prize. Speculators can guess, pundits can argue, but ultimately the Norwegian committee’s decision — if there is one — comes as a surprise to many.

In 1935, however, the choice seemed obvious. The plight of Carl von Ossietzky, a journalist and socialist activist held in a Nazi concentration camp, had drawn international attention. After serving during the First World War, von Ossietzky became a staunch pacifist and decried German rearmament, facing persecution under successive German governments but refusing to flee despite the threat to his safety. He had been put in a Nazi camp in 1933.

Albert Einstein and French author Romain Rolland were among the period’s celebrity activists who supported Ossietzky’s nomination for the peace prize. Wrote TIME that year:

If ever a man worked, fought & suffered for Peace, it is the sickly little German, Carl von Ossietzky. For nearly a year the Nobel Peace Prize Committee has been swamped with petitions from all shades of Socialists, Liberals and literary folk generally, nominating Carl von Ossietzky for the 1935 Peace Prize. Their slogan: “Send the Peace Prize into the Concentration Camp.”

But the Third Reich was anything but pleased that one of its prisoners might receive the high profile award. The Germans pressured the committee against choosing him, with one Nazi state newspaper warning the Committee “not to provoke the German people by rewarding this traitor to our nation. We hope that the Norwegian Government is sufficiently familiar with the ways of the world to prevent what would be a slap in the face of the German people.” Under this Nazi pushback, the Committee announced it would not award anyone the prize that year–citing violence in Africa and political instability in Asia. “The time seems inappropriate for such a peace gesture,” the Committee said in a statement.

The Committee would redeem itself a year later, retroactively awarding von Ossietzky the 1935 prize, worth $40,000. The move infuriated Hitler. German media called von Ossietzky a “traitor” and the award an “insult” to Germany. The Führer threatened to cut off relations with Norway, even after the Foreign Minister resigned from the Committee over the decision, and declared that Germans would never again be allowed to receive Nobel Prizes. (Several German scientists who were subsequently awarded Nobel Prizes were unable to accept the award until after World War II.)

But by the time the award was announced, von Ossietzky’s health had worsened. The Germans had already moved him from the prison camp to a hospital in Berlin, perhaps aware of the impending international attention that would soon befall him. When they unexpectedly allowed journalists to meet with him, he was “looking thin and sounding tired,” TIME wrote after an interview with him:

But in high spirits, Herr von Ossietzky chirped, ‘I count myself as belonging to a party of sensible Europeans who regard the armaments race as insanity. If the German Government will permit, I will be only too pleased to go to Norway to receive the Prize and in my acceptance speech I will not dig up the past or say anything which might result in discord between Germany and Norway.’

Von Ossietzky was never allowed to accept his prize in Norway, and his tortuous saga continued. Though he was eventually released from prison supervision, it was widely assumed that the release was on the condition that he refrain from activism. In an eerie TIME interview in 1937, von Ossietzky praised the Nazi government and announced that he had been allowed to accept the prize money. But the TIME article also made clear that von Ossietzky’s words were not entirely freely spoken. “Hollow-eyed and pale, Ossietzky knew that if he got himself imprisoned again, it would be his death,” the article noted.

Still, the sickly Nobel Laureate’s troubles continued. A swindler claiming to be a lawyer proposed to collect von Ossietzky’s prize money for him, only to launder the funds and keep them for himself. Almost all of the money was recovered by May of 1938 when von Ossietzky died at 48 of, according to the official death record, meningitis — but by then he was, as TIME wrote, a “long-ailing, wornout, beaten Nobelman.”

Read the 1935 story about the Nobel Peace Prize Committee passing over von Ossietzky: Way of the World

TIME Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin’s Family Won’t Face Charges Over Party Brawl

Willow Palin told police that people were shouting "f--k the Palins" when the fight broke out

Police in Alaska said Thursday that no charges would be filed against members of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s family over a fight that broke out at a party that they were attending.

A police report released Thursday also shed new light on the brawl, which occurred at the home of Korey Klingenmeyer, where Palin’s husband Todd and children Willow, Track and Bristol had gone to a party Sept. 6.

Bristol Palin told police that Klingenmeyer had shoved her to the ground and insulted her, prompting the fight. Klingenmeyer and several others say that he let Bristol punch him several times before he pushed her back.

The report, which includes multiple statements comprising at times conflicting accounts, indicates that Sarah Palin, the former Vice Presidential candidate, was in the area in the wake of the altercation but does not suggest she was involved.

One officer says in the report that when he arrived on the scene, Palin’s son Track appeared “heavily intoxicated,” had blood around his mouth and was not wearing a shirt. Both parents, Sarah and Todd, were with him, and Sarah encouraged him to speak with the officer.

Willow told a police officer that people were shouting “F–k the Palins” during the altercation.

See the full report here.

TIME ebola

CDC Director Compares Ebola Outbreak to AIDS Epidemic

US-POLITICS-HEALTH-EBOLA-OBAMA
Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control, listens while US President Barack Obama makes a statement to the press after a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House October 6, 2014 in Washington, D.C. Brendan Smialowski—AFP/Getty Images

"In my 30 years in public health, the only thing that has been like this is AIDS."

The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Thursday that the world must act to prevent the current Ebola outbreak from becoming “the world’s next AIDs.”

CDC Director Tom Frieden made the remark while speaking at a conference at the World Bank in Washington, D.C. with representatives from around the world Thursday, including United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon and International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde, the Washington Post reports.

“In my 30 years in public health, the only thing that has been like this is AIDS,” Frieden said. “We have to work now so that this is not the world’s next AIDS.”

More than 8,000 people in Western Africa have been infected with the Ebola virus, according to the WHO, and 3,857 people have died. Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola inside the United States, died on Wednesday.

The CDC has projected that, without any intervention measures in West Africa, some 1.4 million people will be infected with Ebola by January. But the international community is stepping up efforts to contain the virus in the region, with the U.S. alone committing more than $500 million and approving the deployment of 4,000 troops to help fight the disease.

[Washington Post]

 

TIME Crime

St. Louis Police Officer Fatally Shoots Black Man, Sparking Protests

Crowds confront police near the scene in in south St. Louis where a man was fatally shot by an off-duty St. Louis police officer on Oct. 8, 2014. St. Louis.
Crowds confront police near the scene in south St. Louis where a man was fatally shot by an off-duty St. Louis police officer on Oct. 8, 2014. David Carson—AP

"It’s like Michael Brown all over again."

Protests broke out in south St. Louis late Wednesday after a white police officer fatally shot an 18-year-old black man who police say opened fire during a chase, just after tensions in the area had largely cooled following a similar shooting in August.

The shooting happened just weeks after another police officer shot and killed unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown in the nearby suburb of Ferguson, triggering weeks of sometimes violent protests.

St. Louis Police Chief Col. Sam Dotson told reporters Thursday that an off-duty police officer was patrolling a neighborhood for a private security company Wednesday night when he saw three men run from him, according to the Associated Press. He gave chase, believing that one of the men had a weapon from the way he grabbed his waistband. That man then turned and approached the officer, and during an ensuing altercation fired at the officer, according to Dotson. The officer, a 6-year veteran of the police department who was not identified, responded by firing 17 shots, killing the man. It’s unclear why the officer fired that many rounds.

But relatives of the man shot by the officer said he had been unarmed, according to the St. Louis Dispatch.

“He had a sandwich in his hand, and they thought it was a gun,” Teyonna Myers, who said she was the man’s cousin, told the Dispatch. “It’s like Michael Brown all over again.”

A crowd of some 300 people gathered late Wednesday and into Thursday, though most people dispersed by Thursday morning. Several police cars were damaged, but Dotson said no arrests were made.

[AP]

TIME Science

This Is Earth’s Biggest Storm This Year as Seen From Space

NASA/Reid Wiseman

NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman posted this shot from the International Space Station. 

Super Typhoon Vongfong is the strongest storm on Earth since the deadly Hurricane Haiyan swept through the Philippines last year, and it’s barreling up through the Western Pacific Ocean.

The storm, which was the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane, is slowly losing steam, but it’s expected to near South Korea and the Japanese mainland by early next week. See an image of the massive storm as spotted and tweeted by Astronaut Reid Wiseman aboard the International Space Station above.

 

TIME Books

French Novelist Patrick Modiano Wins Nobel Prize in Literature

French novelist Patrick Modiano poses for a photograph. Patrick Modiano of France has won the 2014 Nobel Prize for Literature.
French novelist Patrick Modiano poses for a photograph. Patrick Modiano of France has won the 2014 Nobel Prize for Literature. AP—AP/Gallimard

Modiano is well known in his home country of France

Patrick Modiano, a French author whose work deals with memory, identity and the impact of the Nazi occupation on his home country, won the Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday.

The Swedish prize worth roughly $1.1 million was awarded to Modiano “for the art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the occupation.”

Modiano’s father was of Italian Jewish origin, and his work often focuses on the effect of the Nazi occupation of France, according to the Associated Press. Some of his works, including “Villa Triste,” “A Trace of Malice,” and “Honeymoon” have been translated into English.

Peter Englund, permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, said that Modiano, 69, has written some 30 books, primarily novels, the Guardian reports. “Those are his important themes: memory, identity, and time,” Englund said. “He is a well known name in France but pretty well not anywhere else.”

He beat out several presumed front-runners for the prize, including Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami and the Kenyan poet Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o. Canadian short story author Alice Munro won the prize last year.

TIME conflict

India and Pakistan Clash Over Kashmir After Peace Talks Falter

Relatives of Rajesh Kumar, who was killed in mortar shell firing allegedly from the Pakistan's side, weep inside their residential house at Masha da kothe village, in Arnia Sector near the India-Pakistan international border, about 30 miles)from Jammu, India, on Monday.
Relatives of Rajesh Kumar, who was killed in mortar shell firing allegedly from Pakistan's side, weep inside their house at Masha Da Kothe village, near the India-Pakistan border, about 30 miles from Jammu, India, on Oct. 6, 2014 Channi Anand—AP

Hope for long-term peace unraveled after India called off a round of talks last month

Tens of thousands of villagers have fled their homes in Kashmir amid some of the worst violence between India and Pakistan since a 2003 cease-fire agreement.

Shelling from both sides that began on Friday has killed at least nine civilians, Reuters reports. Both sides have accused each other of starting the clashes, which coincide with the Eid al-Adha festival for Muslims in both countries.

Newly elected Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi raised expectations for a warming of ties between the two countries when he invited Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to his inauguration in May. But Modi called off peace talks last month because Pakistan planned to meet with Kashmiri separatists.

The two countries have fought three wars over the disputed region, and Muslim separatists have targeted Indian forces since 1989.

Thousands of people from Indian villages along the border have been evacuated to government shelters and underground bunkers, the Associated Press reports. Authorities in Pakistan say four civilians, including two children and a woman, have been killed in the clashes. An Indian official said five people were killed by Pakistani shelling.

[Reuters]

TIME faith

The Hajj Airlift You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

Hajj
Pilgrims arriving at Mecca's Grand Mosque on Oct. 10, 2013, during the hajj pilgrimage Fayez Nureldine—AFP/Getty Images

After thousands of pilgrims were stranded in Beirut on their way to Mecca, one American diplomat saw an opportunity to lend a helping hand.

The annual Islamic Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca kicks off this week, with some 2 million people expected to join. The religious occasion is considered to be the largest annual mass gathering in the world and is, unsurprisingly, accompanied by a litany of logistical hurdles, ranging from transportation to accommodations.

But it could be worse: in 1952, the problem was particularly acute. As TIME reported then, far more pilgrims were headed for Saudi Arabia, where Mecca is located, than had been expected, in part because Saudi Arabia had waived an entrance fee for pilgrims that year. As a result, flights from Beirut–a common layover–were overbooked, and thousands of people found themselves stranded in Beirut on their way to Mecca.

One American diplomat in Lebanon, Harold Minor, saw an opportunity to lend a helping hand and, in so doing, also attempt to mend the U.S.’s then-shaky relations with the Arab world. Here’s TIME’s account of the ensuing “miracle in Washington:”

Minor promptly dashed off a “night action” (most urgent) cable to Washington, pointing out that here was a real chance for the U.S. to make friends in the Arab world. Something of a miracle then happened: the State Department got the point. At Rhein-Main airport in Wiesbaden, Germany, at Wheelus Field in Tripoli, at Orly Field in Paris, U.S. airmen were suddenly alerted for special duty. Three days later, the first of 13 huge U.S. C-54s landed at Beirut’s airport. Next morning Operation Hajj was under way…

Five days later the last of 3,763 stranded pilgrims was loaded aboard the last flight. The airlift had traveled a total of 121,800 miles. Some of the U.S. airmen had spent 27 out of 40 hours in the air, but the trips had been more than worth it. The pilgrims’ airlift had done more good than any other act of the U.S.’s otherwise fumbling and unimaginative action and inaction in the Middle East. It was the one success U.S. diplomacy could claim in a week of continued crises.

The operation was reportedly a huge success and drew praise from Arab leaders and TIME readers alike. Wrote one reader, Nashville resident Robert Alvarez:

What a thrill—to read of our big, bumbling State Department actually showing a little imagination. This is the kind of thing they ought to be doing every day in the year—instead of once a decade . . .

Read the 1952 story about Operation Hajj: Airlift for Allah

TIME Supreme Court

Supreme Court Passes on Gay Marriage Debate for Now

Supreme Court of the United States
Supreme Court of the United States Phil Roeder—Getty Images

The top court could still decide to hear one of the seven gay marriage cases pending before it.

The Supreme Court skipped an early opportunity to wade back into the national debate on gay marriage Thursday.

The nation’s top court did not include the seven different pending cases regarding same-sex marriage on a list of arguments it has agreed to hear that was released Thursday, ahead of the beginning of a new term on Monday, USA Today reports.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean the Supreme Court won’t weigh in on the cases this term. The court often holds off on deciding whether to hear high-profile cases until later in its term.

The cases in question revolve around gay marriage bans in five states: Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Indiana and Wisconsin. The Supreme Court last year ruled that the federal government could not deny benefits to same-sex couples but did not take a position on whether states are constitutionally allowed to ban same-sex marriage.

According to USA Today, 31 states currently have marriage bans in place. But since last year’s Supreme Court ruling, judges in more than a dozen of those states have overturned the bans, leaving them in place pending appeals.

[USA Today]

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