Column -You have an ostrich, but can’t get a pineapple

Published 5:02 pm Tuesday, March 28, 2023

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Although the war was over, shortages of numerous items continued, although the shortages were now caused by massive labor strikes nationwide. Some of the companies that experienced massive labor strikes during 1946 and ’47 were Packing House, a meat packing facility, tugboats in New York, telephone workers, electric railway workers, motor coach operators, transport workers, dairy workers, miners, airplane mechanics, railway workers, soup canning factory workers, truckers, Ford Motor plant workers, and pineapple industry workers in Hawaii. 

Here locally, the Virginia Ferries operators were on strike for a short period. Several attempts were made to allow the state to take over operation of Chesapeake Ferry Company, which ran the ferries between Newport News and Pine Beach and Old Point Comfort and Willoughby Spit. One story about the proposed state running of the ferries claimed them to “constitute a vital part in the integration of our highway system.” 

One of the main items declared as reason for the strikes was pay. In spring of 1946, an increase in minimum wage was proposed, from 40 cents an hour to 65 cents. It would then be raised to 70 cents by the end of year, and 75 cents in two years. These proposed increases failed to happen. The minimum wage would not go up until 1950. 

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In the aftermath of the war, many Nazis were put on trial for war crimes. The reports from these trials exposed the horrific extent of their inhuman treatment of Jews and prisoners.

One such example was published on March 20, 1946, titled “German confesses Nazis killed 2 million Jews.” The story details one of the most prominent war trials held. “The gassing of 2,000,000 Jews and other persons at the Oswiecim horror camp was admitted in a signed statement given to British authorities by Rudolf Hoss, 46-year-old commandant of the camp, who was arrested on March 8. Hoss, who was found hiding out on a farm near Flensburg, signed the confession on March 16, British officials declared. They quoted Hoss’ statement as saying: “I personally arranged, on orders received from Himmler in May 1941, the gassing of 2,000,000 persons between June and July 1941, and the end of 1943 during which I was commandant at Oswiecim.”

Rudolf Hoss was executed by hanging on April 16, 1947. He was convicted of sending 4,000,000 persons to death while Nazi commandant of Oswiecim, now better known as Auschwitz-Birkenau, Nazi Germany’s largest concentration and extermination camp.

Suffolk Peanut King Amedeo Obici died May 22, 1947. He was buried beside his wife at Cedar Hill Cemetery. Much of the Obici estate was put into the Louise Obici Memorial Hospital Foundation. His will and the trusts set up ensured the building of Suffolk’s hospital. 

For all the returning military, the Army issued guidance on what could be brought back to the United States, as was reported in the following brief story: “U.S. Eighth Army today granted GIs permission to take ostriches home as pets. Nobody knows who asked. There aren’t any ostriches here. The Army circular also said donkeys can be taken home on government ships ‘if free from exposure to epizootic lymphangitis.’” Also approved: Dogs, cats, monkeys, swine, some parrots, and ‘domestic wild ruminants.’”