Exhibit gives a back room glimpse of World War Two

Tue Sep 22, 2009 1:16pm EDT
 
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By Nick Olivari

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Documents and personal letters from world leaders provide a glimpse of the back drop to key historical events and a new exhibit highlights several from the defining event of the 20th century -- World War Two.

In conjunction with the Museum of World War Two, a private collection of artifacts outside Boston, and coinciding with the release of the book "World War II: Saving the Reality," the exhibit at New York's Kenneth Rendell Gallery marks the 70th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of Poland and the beginning of the war.

Kenneth W. Rendell, 67, the gallery owner, author of the book and founder of the museum, has spent a lifetime collecting the letters and documents that reflect the leaders on all sides who were responsible for the dislocation of millions, and shaped the world as we know it today.

"The museum is full of ghosts," said Rendell. "I keep these people alive"

Exhibit documents include Nazi leader Adolf Hitler's order that Berlin be defended to the last man, as well as a letter from Otto Frank in which he expresses hope that his daughter's diary might be a success and Anne Frank be remembered.

"Evil fascinates people," said Rendell, who once helped expose purported diaries of Hitler as fakes.

Other documents include British Prime Minister Winston Churchill's never sent admonishment to the French president after British forces sent to bolster French troops were overwhelmed by superior German forces.

"You have no right to ask us to deprive ourselves of the sole means of continuing the war by casting away in a single battle the already small forces upon which we rely as the sole sure hope of ultimate victory to us both," Churchill wrote in the original text of a June 1940 communique after British and allied forces were evacuated back to England.   Continued...