Hitler Commits Suicide (1945)

In the final days of World War II, as the Red Army of the Soviet Union was closing in on his underground bunker in Berlin, Nazi leader Adolf Hitler committed suicide by shooting himself while simultaneously biting into a cyanide capsule. Hitler’s body and that of Eva Braun—his mistress whom he had wed the day before—were then placed in a bomb crater, doused with gasoline, and set on fire by German officials. How did Soviet soldiers identify Hitler’s remains? Discuss

May Day Eve (Czech Republic)

According to an old Czech superstition, witches try to enter people’s homes on the eve of May Day and do them harm. The “Burning of the Witches” ceremony is observed in some parts of the country by building bonfires on the mountain tops. In Postupice, a town in the Bohemian region, a Maypole and Burning of the Witches Festival is held April 30-May 1 every year. The young men put up a maypole in the village square on the afternoon of April 30. The next day the burning of the witches takes place, when the villagers throw their broomsticks into the bonfire and burn the witches in effigy. Discuss

Kaspar Hauser (1812)

In 1828, a teenage boy appeared in Nuremberg, Germany, carrying a letter that stated he had been placed in the care of the anonymous author as an infant. This caretaker claimed to have taught the boy reading, writing, and religion but never let him leave the house. The boy barely spoke but confirmed that he had been kept in a dark prison hole. In the following years, he sustained several mysterious injuries, and he was fatally stabbed in 1833. Who is thought to have been behind his death? Discuss


A rickshaw is a small, two-wheeled carriage that is usually drawn by one person. The first rickshaws appeared in Japan around 1868 and became a popular mode of transportation because human labor was considerably cheaper than that of horses. Rickshaws were mainly used in Asia, but nowadays they are outlawed in many places and have been replaced by cycle and auto rickshaws. What is the origin of the carriage’s name? Discuss

The Elektromote Is Tested (1882)

Ernst Werner von Siemens demonstrated his Elektromote, the world’s first trolleybus, on a 591-yard (540-m) test track in a suburb of Berlin, Germany. The trolleybus was a converted four-wheel coach equipped with two electric motors. Electric power was transmitted to the coach via a flexible cable from a small, eight-wheeled “contact car” running on the power lines above. How long was the Elektromote in operation? Discuss

New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival

A 10-day feast for the ears, the eyes, and the stomach held in New Orleans, Louisiana, this festival brings together thousands of musicians, artisans, and cooks who do their thing for more than half a million visitors. The concerts feature not only traditional and contemporary jazz, but also other music forms developed in New Orleans: ragtime, country, Cajun, zydeco, gospel, folk, and Latin. Food tents serve a multitude of indigenous foods, such as jambalaya, andouille, crawfish bisque, gumbo, frog legs, and so on. Hundreds of artisans also display their crafts. Discuss

Henri Poincaré (1854)

One of the greatest mathematicians of his age, Poincaré made important contributions across the full range of mathematics, both pure and applied. He enlarged the field of mathematical physics through his work on the theory of functions, did notable work in differential equations and celestial mechanics, and also wrote extensively on the philosophy of science. He was elected to the Academy of Sciences in 1887 and the Academie Française in 1909. How many hours a day did he devote to his work? Discuss