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  • The Ski Troops of WWII
    This week we’re bringing you a story about the 10th Mountain Division, a World War II military experiment to train skiers and climbers to fight in the mountains. The men of the 10th led a series of daring assaults against the German army in the mountains of Italy. Though the division fought in WWII for only four months, it had one of the highest casualty rates of the war. After they returned home, many of the soldiers helped to create the modern ski industry. This story originally aired on NPR’s All Things Considered in 2007.
  • Sofia's Choice: A Ukrainian Diary, One Year Later
    Sofia Bretl has lived in New York City for the last decade. But she was born and raised in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, about 25 miles from the Russian border. The city has received some of the worst shelling so far in the war. That’s where her mother lived when war broke out. As conditions in Kharkiv worsened, they faced a difficult choice. Music in today’s episode includes the Ukrainian band Dakha Brakha — playing at San Francisco Jazz Center on March 14th. Proceeds and donations go to organizations supporting Ukraine. Other music from Blue Dot Sessions and Dakh Daughters.
  • Living with Dying
    On Valentine’s Day 2020, Peter Fodera’s heart broke. It stopped working. He collapsed in the middle of teaching a dance class. Someone performed CPR, someone called an ambulance. EMT’s showed up and he lay motionless. Many people in the class thought they had just witnessed the death of their favorite teacher. But later at the hospital, Peter’s heart started beating again. On the anniversary of Peter’s brush with death, he sat down with his daughter Juliana who has Noonan Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder. While Peter’s experience may seem miraculous to some of us, it doesn’t to Juliana. By her count, she’s died 21 times. **** Music this week from Podington Bear, Blue Dot Sessions, Man Man, and Gotan Project.
  • The Rise and Fall of Black Swan Records
    In 1921, a man named Harry Pace started the first major Black-owned record company in the United States. He called it Black Swan Records. In an era when few Black musicians were recorded, the company was revolutionary. It launched the careers of Ethel Waters, Fletcher Henderson, William Grant Still, Alberta Hunter, and other influential artists who transformed American music. But Black Swan’s success would be short-lived. Just a couple years after Pace founded the company, larger, wealthier, white competitors started to take an interest in the artists whose careers Pace had propelled. Then, Pace’s own life took a mysterious turn. This episode originally aired on NPR’s All Things Considered in 2021.
  • The Real Refugees of Casablanca
    It’s been 80 years since the release of the Hollywood classic, Casablanca. When the film opened in 1943—just a year after the U.S. joined World War II—audiences were thrilled by its love story. Humphrey Bogart stars as the cynical owner of Rick’s Café, a nightclub in Morocco. Ingrid Bergman plays his old flame Ilsa, who’s married to a dashing Resistance leader hunted by the Nazis. Many of the characters at Rick’s Café are European refugees trying to make their way to America. What most viewers didn’t know is that those characters were played by actors who themselves had recently fled the Nazis. This casting choice lent the film an authenticity that helped deliver its message: that a war far from our borders was a war worth waging.

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