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April 12, 2011 / jmeuropeana

Yuri Gagarin, birth of Spam, Westerbork

On the 12th of April –

In 1961 Yuri Gagarin becomes the first man in space – in Vostok 1 he circled the earth. For this act of heroism, he was awarded the ‘Hero of the Soviet Union’. He went back to his old job as a test pilot, and crashed some years later. Recently the archival material surrounding the investigation into the crash was released – apparently he was outmanoeuvred by a weather balloon. Food for conspiracy theories: didn’t they say ‘weather balloon’ at Roswell as well?
Russische ruimteman majoor Gagarin , die om aarde heeft gecirkeld
And after his visit to space, he was introduced in even higher places:
1 mei viering te Moskou. Gagarin, Croestjef, Breznew / Labour Day celebration in Moscow: Yuri Gagarin, Nikita Khrushchev, Leonid Brezhnev
This is a nice period video from France:
L'homme de l'espace..

Gagarin was preceded by a number of test animals, the most famous of them was Laika the space-dog. At that stage of the program they hadn’t solved the reentry problem yet, so Laika died when the satelite re-entered the earth atmosphere, 😦 so sad.
Laika, in Sputnik II voor de start

In 1994 Internet Spam was born – Laurence Canter and Martha Siegel spammed 5500 Usenet groups with an ad for their services in the ‘Green Card Lottery‘. While many at the time viewed it as ‘the end of the internet as we know it’, it was in many ways the beginning of success for the internet, because people realised they could actually make money using the ‘net. Advertising just had to get much more sophisticated. And yes, I hate spam as much as the next guy.

Finding something about Spam in Europeana was not easy – but the Polish came to the rescue: they have uploaded this book on Spam Prevention and Protection:
Spam. Profilaktyka i obrona
And if they say that Spam is part of our Cultural Heritage, who are we to disagree?

The transport camp (Durchgangslager) Westerbork in the Netherlands is liberated by Canadian Forces in 1945. Westerbork was the place where Dutch Jews and other targeted groups were rounded up before being shipped off to concentration camps in the East.
Front Noord-Oost Nederland. Rijtoer van prins Bernhard door Noord-Oost Nederland. De prins temidden van de bevrijde gedetineerden in het voormalige concentratiekamp Westerbork.
Ironically Westerbork had been build as a place to house German refugees (mostly Jews). After the war it was repurposed as a housing estate for the Moluccan KNIL military that were repatriated from Indonesia. The camp was then renamed Schattenberg.
Dak van grote barak vanaf een hoog punt gefotografeerd
Later the barracks were demolished, apart form a few that were moved to serve as sheds on nearby farms. One of these is now being restored as part of the Westerbork Memorial site.

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