Posts Tagged ‘fathers’



My mom’s Uncle Hans, the one who was in the SS, was the ranch foreman for a wealthy family in Bavaria after World War II.  It’s thanks to him that his wife’s family members had a place to live and work after the war had ended.  By all accounts, Uncle Hans was a short-tempered bigot.  I met him when I was ten.  He had a round, red face, and he allowed me to use the typewriter in his study to entertain myself.  He looked, I thought, like a Nazi.

Despite the fact that no one much liked him, it’s also true that no one ever crossed him, or asked about his involvement in the war.  No one asked him how much he knew.  I can only speculate about the reasons why.  Was it out of respect to him for offering his  wife’s five nieces and nephews a home?  Was it because there were former Nazi soldiers everywhere and it wasn’t fair to single him out?  Was it because he was the head of the household?  Had my mother’s relatives agreed one day to put the war behind them and not discuss it?  Could it have been because once he understood just what the Fuhrer was up to, he felt a deep sense of shame and had begged everyone to avoid the topic?  I don’t know.  I know of only one person who challenged him to explain the extermination of the Jews.

That person was my dad. (more…)


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