Oddfellows are some of the earliest friendly societies—mutual aid organizations formed to protect members against debts incurred through illness, death, or old age using what are now the basic principles of insurance. Though they date back to at least the 18th century in England, their early history is obscure. Some trace the Oddfellows' origins back to the Israelites' exile from Babylon in the 6th century BCE, but they more likely evolved from medieval guilds. What makes these fellows "odd"?
Back in the day
During the implementation of Nazi Germany's Final Solution, between 1.1 million and 1.5 million people, more than 90% of them Jews, were tortured, starved, and murdered at Auschwitz in southern Poland. The Third Reich's largest death camp network, it consisted of three main camps and dozens of satellite camps. Soviet troops liberated Auschwitz on January 27, 1945, a day that is now commemorated as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. How had the Nazis tried to cover up their crimes there?
Born on a day like today
Kern was one of the major US creators of the musical. With lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II, he wrote his most important work in 1927—Show Boat—in which he integrated lyrical text with the dramatic demands of plot and character to create the first American musical play. He became one of the most influential songwriters in American musical theater and is credited with more than 1,000 songs, including the standards "Ol' Man River" and "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes." How did he cheat death in 1915?