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An Ode to a forgotten man who left a small contribution.
An Ode to a forgotten man who left a small contribution in hard and desperate time Nothing new I hear you say, but something old resurfaces.
What am I going to write, how is it going to be received after all this time? My first communication in almost ten years, will they believe this is really me, I wonder? They may think this is a trick, something sent to test them, to try them out, will they won’t they offer to help me if I get away to come and visit them?
Ten years of hell, I am here and may be going home to see them again, share some food whatever they offer me and feel a bit of love, family, love, family, love, family, love ……oh yes, yes!!! Will they hate me?? After all arrested and carted away, not to be heard from for all those years, can’t be a good thing for them. Certainly wasn’t a good time for me, no none of this was what I wanted. To share a moment of pleasure, to kiss my in-law’s, hug my brothers and sleep in a bed , oh how I am looking forward to that!!!
Boy the day they took me, those Gumbo Neuters, that was hard but not totally unexpected. Drove me away in a truck, punched and kicked me all the way to the place they called a prison, not a word was spoken. Kicking and punching me all the way, going mental and more vicious as the trip went on. Not a word, just hateful eyes and brute force, no let up, no mercy, no recognition no bloody humanity, none of them just hate, hate, HATE!!!
Okay, okay you can say it was my fault, going around collecting the money, tough guy being the bag man for the group. But tell me what else could I do? Those starving families of the victims of violence that makes and marks our current society, people being killed for their beliefs, supporting their hope for a better life by belonging to the group. What was I to do? Just leave it and go about my life and ignore it all? Yes I could look after myself and just get on with life, our economy was going well and I could survive okay!! But I didn’t and couldn’t just walk away, I just couldn’t. After all whats wrong with Socialism, sharing our wealth and allowing everyone a bit of a life. Yep all right, our rulers don’t approve and yes, make their goons go after us and give us sheer hell. But the victims they leave murdered on the street, in the park, some back block or down the river banks are victims not criminals. Professing a political belief is tough and yes deadly in our time, but the families behind must be looked after, its only right!!! That’s all I was doing for goodness sake, just getting some money from people good enough to donate so they could buy food, was that so wrong?????
In the months after Hitler took power, SA and Gestapo agents went from door to door looking for Hitler's enemies. They arrested Socialists, Communists, trade union leaders, and others who had spoken out against the Nazi party; some were murdered. By the summer of 1933, the Nazi party was the only legal political party in Germany. Nearly all organized opposition to the regime had been eliminated. Democracy was dead in Germany.
Essential to the intimidating effects of the terror was the willingness of many German citizens (whether out of conviction, greed, envy, or vengeance) to denounce their fellow citizens, Jewish and non-Jewish, to the police. The Gestapo could not have exercised such control over German society without the benefit of this steady stream of denunciations, many of which were entirely unfounded
Many of the new Nazi authorities, including the SA, SS, and municipal administrative heads, established detention "camps" throughout Germany. In addition to actual camps, these detention facilities included old warehouses, abandoned factories, and other buildings. Here the Nazi authorities held political opponents without trial and under cruel and brutal conditions. On March 20, 1933, the SS established a camp in an abandoned munitions factory outside Dachau, located near Munich in southwestern Germany. The Dachau concentration camp would become the "model" for a vast system of SS-managed Camps.
What happened in Germany happened in Austria a few years later and this is one story.
Well if I thought the maggots in the truck were crazy on us, with moribund futures, boy did I have a heap to learn about my new situation. Yes I’d been through hard time, it had been a depression after all, the hunger was something I really remembered…..but where they had taken me, hunger was the norm, and just shy of starvation was accepted as being our lot in this nasty hole where anyone who ran the place with any human traits was banned. But that was nothing compared to the beatings, electrocutions, drowning and other near death experiences I had so, so many times during my initial any many interrogations there after. They wanted names, others to make life hell for. Thank-the-shit they stopped when they did or I would have given them a name, any name of anyone I knew, anyone, just to have it stop. They got tired of me and just cast me aside as they had others, so many others to deal with……the numbers fell in my favor so they forgot me and just left me to the system. Just random beatings, hangings, floggings, shootings, garroting and starvation, murder at its best done by party people for the party…..merry old time ( shit did I just make a joke of that?). So many of my new acquaintances died or just gave in, had a gut full ( no not another joke??) or went out gutless, starvation, no food, insects, rats, spiders…..anything to fill the gut a little and survive for another day, hour, another minute. They hanged Fritz right in front of me, said they would do something better with me!!!!
Do something better with me???? They laughed out loud as they told me that I would serve the “fatherland” in a way “traitor communists” like me should serve their glorious country…..bomb disposals! Yep I was in their eyes a “heap of shit “ and every piece of me was waiting to be put to the test!!!! Human mine field sweeper in charge of making it safe for our great “fatherlands” troops until I got “discharged in pieces” that was their joke which they laughed at with great gusto. See we said we would make better use of you, give you something to do, make you a piece of the action……lots and lots of pieces in this action job. Yes there where others besides me that were given the job, lots and lots of others. Lots and lots of pieces of “ communist shit” were made on all those cleared minefields, they served their country those forgotten little people of no consequence, both men and women were given the role, both died in terror. Me, I just can’t believe my luck, just could not believe it, no one could. So many died, each time we had to clear a mine field. The terror, fear ripped through my brain, my gut, my limbs each and every time I was forced out in front to do my communist grunt job. Luck??? Well I’m still alive to write this yes, but the fear has left my brain in desperate mode, so so so many times. At least those that blew were saved from that raw experience, facing death time after time. Just what you “commi shitheads” deserve I was constantly told…….but I’m not a communist just believe in “Socialism” a fair share of a country’s resources for everyone…..deaf ears and laughter were all the responses I received back. But my luck just kept going, surprised everyone even my tormentors!!! Ten long years of hell.
Well today they just told me that my luck was just out of this world and my “tormentors” were just gob smacked , so much so that they would allow me a week a home with my family. Even more out of this world, they were allowing me to write to them today to tell them of my granted privilege. So here I am writing this letter, nothing for ten years so long ago, telling them I was coming to see them for a week!!! How could I write this, two hours before I am to go on my last field clearing jobs before a week, my week, our week, so so so long ago my relatives must think me dead. How am I going to write this, how??????
I’ve been allowed a huge privilege, after my next mine clearing job, I’m being allowed a week to come home for a break. So much to tell you. Love you bro…..
All my love
That all I could put together, nothing more came, too much terror creeping into my coming day, my future…….bloody sad isn’t it, so much to say so little I could get out.
These were the last communications from my great uncle, someone I have never met. These are the stories I heard from my relatives, the stories of Uncle Victor. So here is my version in the first person, from him the forgotten small unknown man, a believer in a fairer way of life for all, a conviction he was to make very personal in troubled Nazi times. He placed some valuable priceless human ethics in the river of life along whose banks we all live, and I believe the Chi he released made life a little better for many downstream ( Chi old Chinese belief from the Confucius era ….the philosophy emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity.) bring some healthy ,real and human value to the timeless water. Proud to have my DNA connected to this man of ethics, so very proud and honored, my family, my values are built on his gracious contribution, his soul has left it’s contribution to humankind.