The Nazis: Their Gifts Just Keep On Giving

The Danube River is the second-longest river in Europe, after the Volga in Russia.  It rises in the Black Forest mountains of western Germany and flows for 1,770 miles to its mouth on the Black Sea:

Along its course it passes through 10 countries:  Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova and Ukraine.

River cruises on the Danube are popular, like the Viking River Cruise’s Budapest-to-Bucharest trip that follows this course:

You’ll see I marked “Iron Gate” with an arrow.  It’s a gorge on the Danube.

Here’s a Viking River Cruise in the Iron Gate:

It’s not the only ship in the area.

There are others there are well:

According to this article:

“Europe’s worst drought in years has pushed the mighty river Danube to one of its lowest levels in almost a century, exposing the hulks of dozens of explosives-laden German warships sunk during World War II near Serbia’s river port town of Prahovo.”

“The vessels were among hundreds scuttled along the Danube by Nazi Germany’s Black Sea fleet in 1944 as they retreated from advancing Soviet forces, and still hamper river traffic during low water levels.”

“However, this year’s drought – viewed by scientists as a consequence of global warming – has exposed more than 20 hulks on a stretch of the Danube near Prahovo in eastern Serbia, many of which still contain tons of ammunition and explosives and pose a danger to shipping.”

The sunken ships pose a danger not only to shipping, but to the local fishing industry of both Serbia, and Romania across the river.

And the wrecks present a massive threat in terms of human life and the environment – according to an August 23 New York Times article:

“The wrecks contain nearly 10,000 pieces of unexploded ordnance according to the Serbian authorities.”

Ah, the Nazis: their gifts just keep on giving.

Here’s a bit more about Germany scuttling their ships from this article:

“The ships, some still laden with munition, belonged to Nazi Germany’s Black Sea fleet that was deliberately sunk by the Germans as they retreated from Romania as Soviet forces advanced.

“Historians say up to 200 German warships were scuttled in September 1944 near Prahovo in the Danube gorge known as The Iron Gate on the orders of the fleet’s commander as they came under heavy fire from the Soviets.  The idea behind the deliberate sinking was to at least slow down the Soviet advance in the Balkans.  But it didn’t help, and Nazi Germany surrendered months later, in May 1945.”

The appearance of the sunken ships was not a surprise – they’ve been hampering shipping for years.  And for years there were plans to take the ships out of the muddy waters, but the operation was considered too risky because of the explosives they carried and there were no funds to do it.

Fortunately, it appears that’s about to change – somewhat.  Again, according to the Star Advertiser:

“Now, the European Union and the European Investment Bank have agreed to provide loans and grants to finance the operation to remove some of the vessels near Prahovo in order to improve the traffic capacity of the Danube.  The total cost of the operation is estimated at 30 million euros ($30 million), of which about $16 million are grants.

“Alessandro Bragonzi, the head of the European Investment Bank in the Western Balkans…said the project consists of the removal of 21 sunken vessels.

“‘It has been estimated that more vessels are underwater, up to 40, but those that are currently impeding the fairway conditions of the Danube, especially during periods of low water level, are 21’ Bragonzi said.”

On August 30 NBC reported:

“Experts say the salvage operation will consist of removing the explosive materials from the sunken vessels and then destroying the wrecks, rather than dragging the ships out of the river.”

Removing explosives safely, disposing of them safely, destroying the wrecks, cleaning up from destroying the wrecks – a huge, costly, and dangerous process.

Here’s another dangerous gift from the Nazis that keeps on giving:

Riverside, CA 2009:

Charlottesville, VA 2017:

Washington, DC January 6, 2021:

This is Timothy Hale-Cusanelli, 32, of New Jersey.

He participated in the January 6 attack on the Capitol and, according to this article:

Prosecutors portrayed him as:

“…an extremist, who hoped for a second ‘civil war.’  The government presented evidence of Hale-Cusanelli using racist, antisemitic and anti-gay slurs, yelling obscenities at officers protecting the Capitol, and later enthusiastically boasting about breaching the building to a roommate.”

“Video showed how he joined the mob on the west side of the Capitol…Another video taken that day shows him moving a bike rack, which police had been using as a barrier against the demonstrators.  When a group of rioters eventually broke a window on the Senate side and gave the mob access to the building, Hale-Cusanelli followed them in.”

This article…


“One Navy seaman said Hale-Cusanelli told him ‘he would kill all the Jews and eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and he wouldn’t need to season them because the salt from their tears would make it flavorful enough,’ according to prosecutors.”

“Hale-Cusanelli was indicted on five counts:  obstruction of an official proceeding, entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly or destructive conduct in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly conduct in a Capitol building, and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.  The obstruction charge is a felony.  The rest are misdemeanors.”

Update:  September 19:

I waited to upload this post because Timothy Hale-Cusanelli was scheduled to be sentenced on Friday, September 16. It appears sentencing has been delayed.

Prosecutors are asking for 6.5 years.

Prior to his arrest, Hale-Cusanelli served in the U.S. Army Reserves as a human resources specialist and also worked as a security guard at a Naval base.  In court filings the government said he wore the “Hitler mustache” to work. 

Will he wear his Hitler mustache in prison?

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