I think fear of the unexpected is a normal human reaction. I also feel that conditioning people to be fearful is an art that seems to be a well worn tactic by those who have no conscience, or hide behind the lies of their confidants- the people they hire to be a buffer for their out of control behavior. Predators choose to implement their own particular aspect of control unto the lives of those they wish to intimidate. I have seen this countless times.
To state that Adolf Hitler defines the above description, is a misnomer and a travesty for the history on mankind. Monsters are rare, but they do arise. And as a result of the physical intimidation they inflict, the long term carnage extends to generations of us- the human beings we believe we are- and takes it’s toll on the children of the abused and perhaps farther.
So I am a victim- I am a witness- I am the son of a mother that certainly tried to hide the trauma of her youth, and in the end, the spiders and snakes got to her. There was no fortress she could build- that was strong enough to hide behind- so it was false bravado, and the mission always remained: Teach. Teach away- so that somehow in the process of imparting knowledge to others, the sins of an entire people could be washed away. Which of course was impossible.
But she was relentless and never stopped trying. So I owe her this. A story she never told.
Please understand that this is my way of dealing with the loss of my mother. I want every part of her to serve as a tribute to the magnificence she brought in her own way to this world.
She affected and influenced so many people- to not stand up and pay tribute to her, would be a blunt refusal of everything she stood for,
My mother and aunt Ellen (Mom is on the right)
The 1st page of my mother’s diary
My mother getting a girl tan 🙂
He fought against the greatest military ever assembled on earth. As an American, I am glad we defeated Germany, and as a military man in the United States Navy, I have earned the right to be proud of courage, regardless of which side it was on. The Iron cross was won- not in the slaughter of Americans, it was earned saving the lives of 5 drowning victims in the river Rhine- a formidable bed of water, that my grandfather leaped into to save every life.
5 Times he dove in- swam down river, and retrieved another drowning survivor. He had to swim back up river to deposit those souls. That is the mark of a great man- clearly a bold and selfless action, that I refuse to allow to be forgotten.
I have no aspiration to live in- or somehow assume that it is his courage that is imbued in me. That is something earned- and never passed down. But I can take pride that yes- he was courageous in action, and selfless of his own safety on that day.
As far as the war goes-
He was a musician, so killing wasn’t in his blood.
I don’t know the unimaginable fear and horror he had to negotiate within his soul- to be witness to what he obviously knew was a terrible mission- of cowardly acts, and a systematic destruction of defenseless people. I have no I idea how any German citizens could live through that, and not die perhaps death’s as filled with same as the prisoners they held- that died in numbers only. They were just numbers.
What separates us from them ( Americans from Germans) is not just a higher standard. What differentiates us- is that we have the courage to sacrifice our lives- in order to disway the callous murder of the disenfranchised.
Germany could have been that great. But they were not. America was that great- and will remain the greatest nation on earth for one simple reason. A shear respect for freedom and liberty, and justice.
The Iron Crosses of Deutchland: Each one below was earned.
The Iron Cross used to be a real honor. The Cross has been designed in impressive, subtle simplicity in 1813 for the war against Napoleon by the famous artist Schinkel and reestablished in 1870, 1914 and 1945. ‘Iron’ has the meaning without gold etc., just to honor bravery in action. It has been exclusively given to soldiers with merits on the battlefield – not for any other merit. (an exeption: commanders of important strategic moves). In the Second Wold War the higher classes of the Cross could and has been given to ordinary soldiers for the first time. The Knights Cross for an infantry man gave him an enormous reputation.
The Cross of your Grandfather is the second class (with a ribbon). As the war lasted on more and more soldiers received it. Hitler got the first class as a private and could rarely be seen without it. Contemporary German military airplanes carry the sign still on their wings. But no Iron Cross could be won since 1945.
Yours, Dieter Henrich