My Mother made a beautiful stitched picture that hangs on my wall. Every time I look at it, I think of her fingers carefully pulling the needle and thread. The message was important to her and it should be for all of us today.
History also is most important to us because it teaches us so much. We can look at what has happened in the past and in some ways project the future…unless we refuse to learn. Most present-day issues are sensitive and hard to discuss, but we must think about these things.
What kind of “fragile” times are we going through and what has history taught our last generations?
Let’s take a hard look at now and then.
- Everyone has become fearful of the possibility of becoming sick or dying from our recent virus.
- Governments have taken control world-wide more than we can remember in our modern history.
- Life and travel has completely changed.
- Tragedies have led people to respond with demonstrations as they let their concerns be known. This is the democratic way, according to our Constitution, and should be respected.
- More tragedies have occurred for business owners, of every race and creed, whose livelihood has been ruined by the breaking and looting, which should have never been connected with those wanting peaceful demonstrations. Some organizations have as their goal to bring down democracy and pit our citizens against one another.
(Let’s look at those in other parts of the world who are fighting to keep their democratic way of life.)
- People in Hong Kong are facing further governmental crack-downs from mainland China as Beijing proposes new legislation. ( “China stunned Hong Kong when it announced it would impose a national security law on the city. Many worry this could spell the end of Hong Kong’s unique freedoms…”) whole story on BBC News
Why even mention the present day problems? It is because these are only a few of the world’s problems that makes “Life Fragile” for all of us, in this country and around the world today.
What can we, the present generations, learn from history?
- The slave owners and slave ship captains were the ones responsible for the sins of the past…not people living today. By making slavery the sin of those living today only makes our society more fragile. Unfortunately, history cannot be relived, as much as we would like to correct the wrongs of the past. Looking at and condemning the actions of the past by individuals or governments is one thing…to place it on the shoulders of those not responsible is another.
We talk of the need for “being together and unified” and for everyone to work together to rid all injustices in society. Yes, the present and future are our responsibilities. To rectify present problems is an honorable goal that most would want to see accomplished, but talk is cheap if we continue to blame those who are not responsible for past injustices.
Mass blame only leads to disruption and a society sickness within groups of people, leadership, the media, and our communities in general.
( Let’s think also about German history.)
- The Nazi regime blamed an entire group of people. They were the builders of the death camps, designed to eliminate the Jews from their culture. I had the honor of taking young Americans to Auschwitz to remember this tragic time during World War II. It is an experience one never forgets. Even the Jews, themselves, could not believe that their businesses were being destroyed and that they would be rounded up to die, simply because they were a particular group of people. Society has a way, through the evils of leadership, to turn against one another. Interestingly enough, Hitler continued to use the expertise of his Jewish doctors and dentist. How could he not have known the value of the individual? Mass hysteria became the weapon of choice, as well as propaganda through the German media, leaflets, and posters against people as a whole.
The German youth today, or their parents, are not responsible. We will make life more fragile if we try to pin on innocent people what tragedies were espoused when they were either tiny children or not even born.
- Past generations of Native Americans had the horror of walking to their death on the Trail of Tears, which is a despicable part of our own history of governmental policies. The white, mostly of European descent, who rode their wagons through the tribal territory to settle the West were often murdered and scalped. No living Native American had anything to do with this tragedy.
- We must not forget the hundreds of Japanese Americans, who were placed by our government leaders during World War II in the U.S.Internment Camps because of being Japanese. The generations today of U.S. Government officials had no part in this.
- Because some policemen have acted in evil ways against defenseless people, ALL men and women wearing the badge can not be blamed or demonized for the acts of others… for many have dedicated their lives to helping safe-guard our communities. Without them, those who mean harm will be let loose on those who will see a greater need to protect themselves. In this case, those wishing for more gun control may find their proposals will fall on deaf ears.
Are we getting the picture?
Blaming ALL people for the actions of some only leads to an extremely fragile society. It leads to the persecution of the innocent and instability of our nation and the world today.
Our last question: Can destroying the representations of history remove it from memory?
Condoleezza Rice, former 66th Secretary of State, explained her view about destroying history to the Washington Examiner. She believes that the Confederate statues and associated names of schools and universities should be used as teaching tools. It is as a way to understand history even as we learn not to celebrate it.
This is why we, the Believers in Christ and of the dignity of all people who were created in the image of God, must not forget to pray. We must pray for each other, all mankind of every nationality and the government leaders around the world, who have the power to turn our world upside down.
We are a fragile world.
“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” Nelson Mandela, former Pres. of South Africa
Video: Turn up sound
If you missed the last blog about the 75th Liberation of Auschwitz, I would highly recommend that you go back and view it. Link: https://boyerwrites.com/2020/01/28/75-years-since-liberation-are-we-turning-our-backs/
In this blog, I am writing about the non-Jews that knew the risks they were taking when defying the Nazi Regime. We honor them and the”righteous gentiles” who risked everything to hide the Jewish families during World War II. One of the men who stood up again Hitler was Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German Christian pastor.
Few twentieth century theologians have had a bigger impact on theology than Bonhoeffer, a man who lived his faith and died at the hands of the Nazis. For Bonhoeffer, the theological was the personal, life and faith deeply intertwined—and to this day the world is inspired by that witness. (Google Books by Diane Reynolds)
…Apart from his theological writings, Bonhoeffer was known for his staunch resistance to Nazi dictatorship,, including vocal opposition to Hitler’s euthanasia program and genocidal persecution of the Jews….Bonhoeffer’s efforts for the underground seminaries included securing necessary funds… By August 1937, Himmler decreed the education and examination of Confessing Church ministry candidates illegal. In September 1937, the Gestapo closed the seminary at Finkenwalde, and by November arrested 27 pastors and former students.
It was around this time that Bonhoeffer published his best-known book, The Cost of Discipleship, a study on the Sermon on the Mount, in which he not only attacked “cheap grace” as a cover for ethical laxity, but also preached “costly grace.” He was arrested in April 1943 by the Gestapo and imprisoned at Tegel prison for one and a half years. Later, he was transferred to Flossenburg Concentration Camp. (Flossenburg concentration camp, located outside Weiden, Germany, close to the Czech border, was established in 1938, mainly for political prisoners. Once the war began, however, other prisoners and Jews were housed there as well.Apr 11, 2008)
After being accused of being associated with the July 20 plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler,he was quickly tried, along with other accused plotters, including former members of the Abwehr (the German Military Intelligence Office), and then hanged on 9 April 1945 as the Nazi regime was collapsing. 21 days later Adolf Hitler committed suicide. (Wikipedia)
Quotes by Bonhoeffer:
Jesus Christ lived in the midst of his enemies. At the end all his disciples deserted him.
On the cross he was utterly alone, surrounded by evildoers and mockers.
For this cause he had come, to bring peace to the enemies of God.
So the Christian, too, belongs not in the seclusion of a cloistered life but in the thick of foes.
We must finally stop appealing to theology to justify our reserved silence about what the state is doing
for that is nothing but fear. ‘Open your mouth for the one who is voiceless
for who in the church today still remembers that that is the least of the Bible’s demands in times such as these.
The U.S. LIBERATION OF FLOSSENBURG:
…At approximately 10:30 hours on April 23, 1945, the first U.S. troops of the 90th Infantry Division arrived at Flossenburg KZ,. They were horrified at the sight of some 2,000 weak and extremely ill prisoners remaining in the camp and of the SS still forcibly evacuating those fit to endure the trek south. Elements of the 90th Division spotted those ragged columns of prisoners and their SS guards. The guards panicked and opened fire on many of the prisoners, killing about 200, in a desperate attempt to effect a road block of human bodies. American tanks opened fire on the Germans as they fled into the woods, reportedly killing over 100 SS troops.
Additionally, elements of the 97th Infantry Division participated in the liberation. As the 97th prepared to enter Czechoslovakia, Flossenburg concentration camp was discovered in the division’s sector of the Bavarian Forest. Brigadier General Milton B. Halsey, the commanding general of the 97th Division, inspected the camp on April 30, as did his divisional artillery commander, Brigadier General Sherman V. Hasbrouck. Hasbrouck, who spoke fluent German, directed a local German official to have all able-bodied German men and boys from that area help bury the dead. The 97th Division performed many duties at the camp upon its liberation. They assisted the sick and dying, buried the dead, interviewed former prisoners and helped gather evidence against former camp officers and guards for the upcoming war crimes trials.
One eyewitness U.S. Soldier, Sgt. Harold C. Brandt, a veteran of the 11th Armored Division, who was on hand for the liberation of not just one but three of the camps, Flossenburg, Mauthausen, and Gusen, when queried many years after the war on his part in liberating them, stated that “it was just as bad or worse than depicted in the movies and stories about the Holocaust. . . . I can not describe it adequately. It was sickening. How can other men treat other men like this’” (portion of an article By Colonel John R. Dabrowski, US Army Heritage and Education Center)
REMEMBER THE LIBERATION AND DIETRICH BONHOEFFER
Video of the Remembrance of the U.S. Army Liberation of Flossenburg concentration camp where Bonhoeffer was executed. (filmed in 2019)
Turn up sound:
In 2016, I wrote my first historical novel. This was available online as a blog and then published as a paperback. More recently, I renewed this book called The Seeds and the updated version is now available on Amazon.
What is this book about? A brief summary is below:
After World War II, a number of high-ranking officers fled to places like Argentina. This question seemed to be of great interest to my blog readers. Some readers wrote emails that they knew where General Kammler had lived. One even said the General was an uncle who was elderly and had escaped prosecution.
General Kammler, as portrayed in this book, is entirely fiction. However, the accounts of him, are based on historical facts. From 1944, General Kammler was head of advanced weapons development in Nazi Germany, including the Me-262 jets, the V-2 rockets and perhaps even the exotic Bell Project. The enormous interest in General Kammler led me to explore the thoughts of where he might be hiding and exciting portrayal of him in The Seeds novel evolved.
Locations as described in this novel, such as the World Seed Vault in Norway…sometimes referred to as the “Doomsday Seed Vault”… are actual places that are active today. For many readers, other locations, people and culture of the Middle East are generally not understood by people around the world. The story involvement in the Middle East only increases the mystery behind the writing of this historical fiction. Link to The Seeds
Whatever happened to SS. General Hans Kammler?
This is the question that many history readers are asking and will enjoy THE SEEDS novel that attempts to answer it.
THE SEEDS, a historical fiction novel by N.W.Boyer
THE SEEDS originated from a blog that I have written for a number of years called Boyer Writes. One post on World War II and the Nazis, who fled to Argentina and other places, seemed to be of great interest to my readers. I was amazed that one particular post called What Happened to General Hans Kammler? received hits every day for years. Some readers wrote me that they knew where General Kammler had lived or that he was an uncle who was elderly and had escaped prosecution. Readers even started to make comments back and forth to one another because they were certain that they knew the answer to the question of the General’s whereabouts.
Who was General Hans Kammler?
General Kammler, as portrayed in this book is entirely fiction. The accounts of him, based on historical facts is that Kammler, from 1944, was head of advanced weapons development in Nazi Germany, including the Me-262 jets, the V-2 rockets and perhaps even the exotic Bell Project.
This fascination about General Kammler also led me to explore the thoughts of where he might be hiding and thus, this novel evolved.
First, I gave it birth online with the help of pictures and videos found on the web. Many of the places described in the novel, as the World Seed Vault in Norway, sometimes referred to as the “Doomsday Seed Vault” or the people, places and cultures of the Middle East, are generally not known or understood by other parts of the world. This only increased the mystery behind the writing.
I hope you will follow or return often to this blog site to see what other books I have written. Thank you for reading.
See further information on THE SEEDS: Available on Amazon in paperback or on Kindle.
There are many people who are alive today because the people of the United Kingdom took thousands of children into safe care. Most would never see their parents again. The agony of placing one’s little child or teenager on a train headed for an unknown family; trying to look brave; smiling; waving….but knowing that this was their only chance is hard to imagine.
“10,000 thousand, mainly European Jewish children fled to the UK when they were threatened by the Nazis in the run up the Second World War.The youngsters were evacuated between December 1938 and September 1939 as war clouds gathered over Europe and the Nazis began their systematic extermination of the Jews which culminated in the Holocaust.”
There are two videos that I am sharing today. Video 1 is the story of the survivors who express the deep emotions that they felt and at times the inability to admit to true feelings about their past. Some, who have children and grandchildren of their own today, know why they survived and are grateful for the kindness of non-Jewish and Jewish families in Great Britain who took them in. They finally know that they have a purpose to their lives.
Some survivors also worry that people of today will forget how hatred and intolerance can lead to another holocaust….a part of history we do not want to repeat. After viewing, with sound, the first video, be certain to see the second one on the children’s memorial in Israel, Yad Vashem.
Video 1:HISTORY AND THE CHILDREN OF THE TRAIN
Thousands of other children did not survive. They did not make it to the transportation or the short window of time that was open to their departure to Great Britain. These died with their parents in the concentration camps.
A visit to Yad Vashem Children’s Holocaust Memorial in Israel is one of the most moving displays of remembrance. The thousands of stars on the ceiling represent the names of each child being read aloud.
Video 2: Yad Vashem Children’s Holocaust Memorial
Along the coast of Harwich, UK, is a memorial plaque which says in part, “At 5:30 am on 2 Dec. 1938, the SS Prague docked at Parkeston Quay. On board were 196 children, the first arrival of what would become known as the kindertransport….” Not only did families meet this particular boat, but the Salvation Army put them in hostels. A number of the older children were carrying babies. Keep in mind that they had just traveled across the North Sea and then for some on to London by rail. This meant for some mothers and fathers that a baby was placed in the arms of a teenage child, who journeyed on by train and then boat….to have to turn away forever knowing it was their children’s only chance. The future for most of these heart-broken souls meant pending arrest…forced labor camps…gas chambers and death.
See pictures of Dedication of Kindertransport Memorial Plaque in Harwich, UK