75 years ago today, Rudolf Vrba, a Jewish teenager, and Alfred Wetzler, 26, escaped from the Auschwitz (Birkenau) Nazi death camp, bringing the first credible news to the Allies about the extermination of Jews. Their detailed report effectively saved up to 200,000 lives, by halting the mass deportation of Hungary’s Jews to Auschwitz for what officials claimed would be “resettlement.” (1944)
After the war Vrba worked as a biochemist, Wetzler as an editor.
MORE Good News on this Date:
- The first Arbor Day was celebrated in Nebraska (1874)
- The CCC, Civilian Conservation Corps, was created by President Franklin Roosevelt to bring new jobs to unemployed Americans during the depression (1933)
- The People’s Republic of China welcomed the U.S. table tennis team for a week long visit, called ‘ping pong diplomacy’, in an attempt to thaw relations with the United States (1971)
- The U.S., USSR, and 70 other nations agreed to ban biological weapons (1972)
- Imprisoned IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands was elected to British Parliament (1981)
- Heinz, Van Camp Seafood and Bumble Bee agreed not to buy tuna caught in nets that also trap dolphins (1989)
- Today is also National Siblings Day, an annual holiday in the US created by Claudia Evart, a paralegal in NYC who wanted to honor her late sister, Lisette, who died early and was born on April 10. (1998)
And, on this day in 1866, the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was formed. Henry Bergh from New York had seen horses and other livestock whipped and abused, and it finally broke him down in tears–until he decided to devote his life to stopping it.
His non-profit organization, the ASPCA, pioneered the establishment of legislation on behalf of animals–including the use of animal hospitals, anesthesia, a 24-hour animal poison control line, promotion of spay-and-neuter programs, grief counseling, rescue plans for animals during emergencies, ending unnecessary euthanasia, and pet health insurance.
The 50-year-old son of a wealthy New York shipbuilder, was also instrumental in the founding of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. READ the book, Mercy: The Incredible Story of Henry Bergh, Founder of the ASPCA and Friend to Animals, and other books about Mr. Bergh at Amazon.
The Northern Ireland peace talks, which had dragged on for two years, culminated in the historic Good Friday Agreement, which ended 30 years of bloody conflict and bombings. With the United States overseeing as a mediator, weary, but determined, delegates from 2 countries and 8 separate political factions signed off on the accord that established self-rule for Northern Ireland, which had been under direct British control for 26 years. (1998)