Erin Einhorn grew up begging her mother to tell her all about the remarkable story of how she survived World War Two, thanks to a Polish woman named Honorata Skowronski, who risked her life. But her mother didn't like to talk about it.
Erin Einhorn's story continues. She tells what happens once she arrives in Poland.
Sarah Vowell tells the story of General Lafayette's triumphant reunion with America, after becoming really, really unpopular in his native France. Sarah's is the author of “Lafayette in the Somewhat United States” among other books.
Starlee Kine rents a room at a Ramada hotel in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, where a ghost supposedly plays pranks on the guests and staff. The ghost's name is Walter, for Walter Schroeder, the guy who originally built the hotel in the 1920s.
Writer Shalom Auslander reads his short story about how he decided to start forgetting the dead, even though his job required him to remember. Shalom's most recent book is Hope: A Tragedy.
Chris Neary tells the story of how a bungled Nazi sabotage operation from the early days of World War II has become the legal foundation for the Bush administration's current push to try U.S. citizens in military tribunals. But when you return to the original facts of the case, it's not only unclear if they support current Administration policy, it's unclear if they support the Supreme Court's decision in the original case.
Ira talks to historian Ted Widmer about two of the first pen pals in the New World. John Winthrop and Roger Williams were both Puritans in Massachusetts in the 1630s.
Sarah Vowell tells the lost story behind a patriotic song, "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." An early version of the song celebrated an American terrorist. She's accompanied by Jon Langford and the band.
Sarah Vowell tells the story about the first time the United States attacked a country that hadn't attacked us first. It was also the first time the U.S. went to a foreign country to force a regime change.
A few years back, a writer named Lee Sandlin wrote a story for the weekly paper The Chicago Reader about what makes wartime different—how a country's perceptions and logic during war are fundamentally different than during peace. It was a massive historical article, exhaustively researched.
The story of a preventive act of war committed 3200 years ago, in the land that's now Turkey, not too far from Iraq. Seneca's The Trojan Woman takes place at the end of the Trojan war.
For many years, Israeli citizens learned a sanitized version of what happened during their War of Independence in 1948. They learned that 700,000 Arabs fled the country on their own accord.
A fable of how America got its name, and how it was named after someone who was a fraud, but the kind of fraud people love, the kind of fraud who knows how to please a crowd. Jack Hitt tells the racy and little-known story of how Amerigo Vespucci got his name all over the map of the western hemisphere by telling lies about what he found there—the type of lies which can be found today in the pages of Penthouse magazine.
Ira explains that our show's a little different this week. It consists of one long story, lasting the entire hour, about a young boy, an abandoned house, and the mysterious family who once lived there and then seemed to disappear without a trace.
Adam Beckman continues his story. He returns to the town in New Hampshire where he discovered the abandoned house as a kid and tries to find out what happened there.
In 1946, a man named David Boder started to investigate the Holocaust before it was known as the Holocaust. He dragged a primitive recording device around Europe and gathered the first recorded testimonials of concentration camp survivors.
We hear the story of the Persian Gulf war, as told by Issam Shukri, a family man from Bagdad who was drafted into Saddam's army against his will. He had to explain to his three-year-old son why those usually civilized Americans were bombing their city night after night.
U.S. special operations forces will lead the first part of the coming war we're all bracing for. We hear how a simple half-hour mission turned into a bloody all-day battle in one of the last times special operations forces went out: in 1993, in Somalia.
David Rakoff tells the story of the day that used to hold the record as the worst disaster in New York history: June 15th, 1904, when the steamship The General Slocum, caught fire and sank in the Hudson river, killing 1,031 passengers. Almost everyone aboard was from one neighborhood in New York, and by all accounts, that neighborhood was never the same again.
Host Ira Glass joins a group of tourists to walk through the captured German submarine that's on permanent display at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry. He notes that the Museum chooses to underplay the murderous Nazi origins of the boat.
Reporter Alix Spiegel tells the story of the Ostwind, the boat that came to be known as "Hitler's Yacht." (25 minutes)
Alix Spiegel's story continues.
Reporter Adam Davidson is related to George W. Bush.
Host Ira Glass tells the story of a time capsule project designed to document our lives so that people a thousand years from now can know what we were like. Ira explains that when a friend of his got involved in the time capsule, Ira realized that he hates the people of the future.