Dante’s Inferno I

Lead:  Dante, one of the world’s finest and most influential poets of western literature, was born in Florence, Italy, in 1265. He got caught up in the economic and political upheavals of his day.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Dante Alighieri was born of a prominent Florentine family during the high Medieval period and received a comprehensive education in classical and religious studies. His mother died when he was quite young, and at the age of twelve his family agreed that he would enter into a marriage contract with Gemma Donati. This was a common practice, particularly in upper class society and the marriage probably took place when Dante was about twenty years old.

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Voodoo II

Lead: Faced with intense opposition in the French ruling class, the African slaves of Saint-Domingue, now Haiti, took their traditional Vodou religion underground by combining it with Roman Catholicism.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Vodou originated in Western Africa. The word in the indigenous Fon language of Dahomey, now Benin, means “spirit” or “deity.” Each human is a spirit of the perceptible world and after death crosses over into the invisible realm which also is inhabited by spirits, ancestors those who are recently deceased and angels. Vodou (anglicized as voodoo), as it evolved in the Western hemisphere, gradually adopted many of the characteristics of Roman Catholicism, the most important being its acceptance of the Christian God as the deity. He created the spirits of the universe, the lwa, visible and invisible, to help Him keep humanity under control and give order to the world.

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Voodoo I

Lead: Originating in the ancient indigenous cultures of Africa and merged with many characteristics of Roman Catholicism in the early years of slavery, Vodou is practiced by many in Haiti and in the Haitian diaspora.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: One of the first places Christopher Columbus landed in the New World was the island he called Hispaniola. He enslaved the native Arawak population and set them to looking for gold, but the gold did not materialize, and the indigenous people soon died off due to disease and overwork. The island had potential, however, and after 1697 when Spain surrendered the western third to France in the Treaty of Rijswijk, the population and wealth of the colony began to expand. The newly designated Saint-Domingue became France’s richest outpost in the New World, shipping huge quantities of coffee, indigo, cotton and especially sugar. To work the plantations of the island, France imported thousands of slaves from west Africa, particularly Dahomey, now Benin, Togo and Ghana. By 1800 there were almost 600,000 slaves in Saint-Domingue.

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Anne Frank IV

Lead: Just hours after Anne Frank and her family were discovered in their hiding place, the “secret annex,” and arrested by the Gestapo, two of the family’s helpers recued Anne’s diary.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: After being betrayed to the Nazis and their Dutch collaborators by an informer whose identity is still unknown, Anne Frank, her family and four others in hiding with them were eventually deported to concentration camps where they all perished except for Anne’s father Otto Frank, who survived Auschwitz.

 

Anne Frank III

Lead: After twenty-five months of hiding from the Nazis in the secret annex behind their home in Amsterdam, Anne Frank and seven other Jewish fugitives were betrayed.  

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Through the long ordeal, four of Otto Frank’s most loyal and trusted employees sustained the group by smuggling in food, supplies, clothing, books and news from the outside world.  Though there have been well researched theories and speculation regarding the identity of the informer, a positive ID remains unknown to this day. Even though the “helpers” were organized, deliberate, and very careful in their activities, there were other employees working in the building and, of course, there were people in the neighborhood, perhaps even Nazi sympathizers or those seeking to ingratiate themselves with the occupiers, who could have noticed unexplained traffic or provisions going in and out of the building. It would have taken only a single phone call to bring down the police on the little group living behind the bookcase.

 

Anne Frank II

Lead: In June 1942, Amsterdam, Anne Frank received a gift for her thirteenth birthday – a red plaid book with blank pages. It became her diary - the most famous diary in the world.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Just weeks after her birthday, the Frank family went into hiding. When the Nazis occupied the Netherlands in 1940 there were about 140,000 Jews in the country – a large number in Amsterdam. During the occupation, it is estimated that 20,000 to 30,000 Jews went into hiding – aided by the non-Jewish population and protected by the Dutch Resistance. Unfortunately, approximately one third of Jews in hiding were betrayed or discovered by the Nazis. 

 

Anne Frank I

Lead: Born in Frankfurt, Germany in 1929 (June 12), Annelies Marie Frank would not live to see her 16th birthday, but she left a powerful memoir of Jewish life in Nazi occupied Europe, a legacy for the victims of the Holocaust.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Anne was the second of two daughters born to Otto and Edith Frank, a prosperous middle-class Jewish-German couple. After the Nazis came to power in 1933, they began to implement systematic anti-Semitic legislation. Otto, convinced that conditions for Jews would get even worse, moved his family to Amsterdam, and there started a food additives business. The Franks were happy in Amsterdam. They made good friends, attended good schools and enjoyed family vacations. Otto’s business prospered.

 

The Making of Santa Claus II

Lead:  It took 1,500 years and the customs and traditions from many lands to turn the mythical and vaguely historical figure of Saint Nicholas, into the beloved and legendary character we know today as Santa Claus.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Although the myth of Santa Claus has roots in a real person – a certain Nicholas, an early Catholic bishop from the ancient city of Myra in southwest Asia Minor – our modern-day Santa Claus is actually a blend of religious and secular customs and traditions from various parts of the western world.

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