A Holocaust story that’s true

You’ve no doubt read about the false Holocaust love story that’s caused Oprah such anguish.  I have a real story for you.  I knew the players and can speak to their veracity.

Harry’s parents were able to get him out of Germany during the late 1930s.  By that time, he’d already suffered mild brain damage from being beaten by a gang of Hitler youths, but while it impaired his speech, it affected neither his intelligence nor his moral sense.  Harry spent the early war years in England and then joined the British military, spending the later war years fighting the Nazis.

At the end of the war, Harry returned to Germany to find his parents.  He learned that, shortly after the war started, they’d been snatched from their home and taken first to Dachau, where they survived long beyond what anyone would have expected from two middle-aged, middle-class Jews, and then to Auschwitz, where they died in the gas chambers.

Their survival in Dachau was because of their shop girl.  When they were arrested, Lotte, a German girl who loved them dearly, moved to the town nearest Dachau and found work there.  Every day, she gathered together food and, at extraordinary risk to herself, smuggled it to Harry’s parents.

When Harry learned what Lotte did for his parents, he vowed to care for her.  Since he was young, healthy and a skilled mechanic, there was every reason to believe he could fulfill this vow.

Harry finally located Lotte living in some distress in the chaos that was post-war Germany.  Although she was a good decade older than he was, and he remembered her only vaguely from his childhood, he married her immediately and cared for her to the end of her days.

When I met them, they were in their 50s, and presented at first as a rather typical, ponderous German couple.  There was nothing to distinguish them from any other older Germans you might meet touring America.  The only truly noticeable things about them were (a) how much older she was and (b) how solicitous he was.  It was only later, when I Iearned their true story, that I realized I’d been in the presence of moral greatness, his and hers both.

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  • Indigo Red

    I had a German girlfriend, Bianca, years ago. Her father was a Captain in the Merchant Marine of the Third Reich. He was a loyal NAZI party member as were the other members of her family in Hamburg.

    We lived in Long Beach, CA at the time. On a popular street, there was a German bakery with authentic German breads and pastries. Bianca was hoemsick and wanting a taste of home so we stopped in and she ordered something sweet. When the counter lady reached her hand over the display with the pastry, her sleeve was pulled back revealing a tatooed number.

    We paid for the pastry and left. I noticed Bianca was very white and not eating the pastry and I asked if anything was wrong. Very haltingly, she told me of the role her family had played in the NAZI death machine. We never went back to the bakery.

    That was the closest I have ever come to NAZI Germany and the Holocaust.

  • Ymarsakar

    Hollywood and the Media are often dupes. What else would you expect from them?

    Rumbled: Talk show host Oprah Winfrey interviewed the couple and described their experience as ‘the single greatest love story we’ve ever told on air’

    The Main Sewer Media and their various figure heads and allies, Hollywood and Leftist, conduct propaganda operations for our enemies. But that is not why I despise them.

    Oh no, I despise them because they actually believe in their own propaganda. This makes them not so much propagandists, to me, as they are dupes and tools. Tools that happen to be using the art of propaganda and its techniques, yes, but still tools. Conscientious propaganda operators take great pains not to believe in their own propaganda. It is not only unprofessional, it is also very dangerous.

    In common man speak it would be the same as saying “don’t believe in your own advertisement company’s hype”. You see, ad campaigns and slogans are supposed to convince the customer that the product is super, not the company representatives. If the company representatives start believing in their own advertisement campaign, they can start losing sight of the very real problems that can crop up from product defect and Q/A control. This is slightly different for salespeople, since they can sell more effectively if they believe in the product that they are selling, but that is by no means a requirement for sales.

    Bill Clinton would be an example of a salesman, except on the grand political scale rather than the retail market scale.

    Neither Bill Clinton nor Obama believes in the foundations of this nation but they can put on a good show that will entertain and wow the audience. Which is sufficient.

    And, friends asked, if the tale was true, why hadn’t the couple mentioned it at their wedding? Amid mounting pressure, the Rosenblats finally cracked yesterday. Calling it only ‘my story as I remember it’, Mr Rosenblat insisted: ‘I wanted to bring happiness to people.’

    The book that was due out in February – Angel At The Fence – is to be pulped, and publishers Berkley, an offshoot of Penguin, are demanding their advance back.

    I am not going to take the “advice” and “political analysis” of a bunch of fruit cake activists that can’t even prevent themselves from buying into scams. And these are the people telling me that they know how we can negotiate with Iran? Incompetents.

  • David Foster

    Dietrich Bonhoeffer:

    “Today there are once more saints and villains. Instead of the uniform grayness of the rainy day, we have the black storm cloud and the brilliant lightning flash. Outlines stand out with exaggerated sharpness. Shakespeare’s characters walk among us. The villain and the saint emerge from primeval depths and by their appearannce they tear open the infernal or the divine abyss from which they come and enable us to see for a moment into mysteries of which we had never dreamed.”

    In the NYT a few days ago, there was a review of the film “Valkyrie” which ended on the following snarky note:

    “(World War II is) a war that offers moral absolutes (Nazis are evil) and narratives (Nazis are evil and should die) that seem easier to grasp than any current conflict.”

    I strongly suspect that had today’s NYT writers been around in the late 1930s and early 1940s, they would also have been finding reasons why “nuance” should be sought in place of “moral absolutes.”

  • SADIE

    Ms. Bookworm:

    Thank you for the background on Harry. No doubt the trauma as a survivor of parents who perished in the Shoah helped create the need to tell a story.

    Oprah’s anguish is ‘ego’ and Harry’s anguish is real.

  • Danny Lemieux

    David Foster – the 1920s and 1930s were marked by the age of competing gangs of Fascist ideologies. The Nazi’s actually had a chi chi following among Ivy League intellectuals in the U.S. However, I suspect that the NYT was hardly pro-Nazi, as they were already firmly allied with the rival Communists at the time (note Walter Duranty’s whitewash of Stalin’s crimes).

    That being said, I have to wonder where the NYT’s nuance lay during that brief time that Hitler and Stalin were allied in their quest to dismember Poland. Does anyone else know?

  • David Foster

    Danny…I wasn’t asserting that the NYT was in fact lukewarm on Naziism in the 30s/40s (although it *did* seriously under-report the Holocaust), rather that many of the specific individuals who write for it *now* would, if they were transported back in time somehow, be seeking to find “nuance” and avoid moral clarity.

    See this for some American and British religious leaders who *did* seek shades of gray during this time period…their comments sound like a lot of contemporary “progressives.”

  • David Foster

    Also, some readers here might be interested in my post Oster, Stauffenberg, and VALKYRIE.

  • Ymarsakar

    I strongly suspect that had today’s NYT writers been around in the late 1930s and early 1940s, they would also have been finding reasons why “nuance” should be sought in place of “moral absolutes.”

    I believe you overlook something, Foster. The New York Times would have been backing Stalin and who was Stalin backing? The Nazis at first, yes, but in the end the Nazis betrayed the Party and thus Stalin became allied with the West. The New York Times would have been for the war to crush Nazism, if on because of Nazi betrayal of the “people”.

    WWII was won, the defeated tried and destroyed or forced underground. We, the victors, wrote the history books. This is why it is uncontested. In today’s world, the stasis America has imposed upon global causes of instability has allowed wars to go on for decades without being resolved. We live in a time where North Korea is still separated from South Korea, where Israelis are still fighting Palestinians, and just a few short decades ago East Berlin cut off from West Berlin. This is not a European feudal model where lands change hands throughout the centuries (Normandy was previously in the hands of the King of England, who also claimed the throne of France and vice a versa). This is an American superpower model where the borders are held stable, period, regardless of what conflicts go on and on.

    Even Israel did not expand their borders after winning territory. What expansions they acquired, they gave back. What enemy territories they still occupied, they gave back that as well. And all on their own initiative, not because the President of the USA wanted it.

  • Ymarsakar

    Given the indecisiveness of today’s state of conflict non-resolution, of course people will be confused. They haven’t yet been told the “official history” yet that “everyone” knows is true. These people are natural dupes, followers, and tools. They need to be told what is true. They don’t want to have to figure out for themselves who is evil or who is good. They want to be told who is evil and then they want to be told how they can defeat that evil.

    And if America won’t tell them, then Global Warming, Somalian pirates, Islamic JIhadists, Russia, the UN, and various other enemies of humanity will do it instead.

    Interesting post, Foster.

  • Mike Devx

    Ymar,
    >> This is why it is uncontested. In today’s world, the stasis America has imposed upon global causes of instability has allowed wars to go on for decades without being resolved. >>

    Would you agree that this statis is politically unstable? The statis seeks to shake itself into destabilization, and only with great effort is the statis kept in place?

    We’ve seen some of the statis devolve after the Iron Curtain collapsed. If America loses the ability to enforce the stasis, or voluntarily withdraws from this costly, expensive global effort… I think all the pressures built up beneath the statis could erupt, quickly and violently.

    Change is permanent…

  • Ymarsakar

    The situation during the Cold War and the situation after are two different states. There have been plenty of nations and city-states that have utilized Cold War style proxy farming and spycraft, even if their reasons had nothing to do with nuclear deterrence. Something else was deterring them from declaring open warfare, however.

    The stasis I mentioned is ahistorical and thus unstable. Meaning not that it will change eventually but that the change is unpredictable based off of historical cycles. The problem with ahistorical moments, those not part of the regular historical cycle of boom and bust, is that you have no other reference to go by.

    Now I don’t know all of humanity’s histories, the written or the unwritten (I am pretty certain no mortal human does) but I have seen no mention in the histories of a superpower, which could destroy all other threats and which had enemies that did threaten it, allowing those threats to be preserved. There have been Empires that were non-expansionist, look at some of the Indian Empires for an example, but no Empire could afford to allow its enemies both strength and security for long before something breaks. Rome, however, often had no choice because they were either fighting wars in their beginning or prevented from conquering enemies because of a lack of sufficient power. There were economic reasons to stop expansion and economic ones to promote expansion as well.

    There have always been isolationist empires, such as Axum, which once ruled the Indian Ocean but then retreated into the inner parts of Africa. But I have never seen a power that could expand, but chose not to, had the legal tradition and power to do so but chose not, had threats that needed the expansion of American power to ensure but chose to allow locals to decide most of these issues, and all of them combined with relatively non-isolationist policies.