My Grandfather died 1963, just a few months before I was born. We never met, but I know him well. His pictures were everywhere in our home and my Grandmother talked about him a lot. She made sure that he was present, even though he wasn’t around.
She shared many stories and anecdotes with me and I loved listening to them. My Grandfather was a great man and I could feel the love he had for his wife and his family throughout our home. He was a proud man and a devoted Catholic.
I asked once, “What did he die from,” and the answer I got was given quietly. “He never got over it.” That’s all my Grandmother ever said and her face made clear that I wasn’t suppose to ask more questions.
Get over WHAT I wondered, but couldn’t come up with an explanation that made sense. Years later, when I was older, that’s when she talked more about the bad times.
My Grandfather was in prison, twice, that at least was the official statement. He got arrested and was treated as a political enemy. There was no trial, just a hearing and after the hearing he was transported.
The first time was only for a couple of weeks, the second time was more severe and he was sent away for 6 months. His first arrest was in 1940, the second one in 1942 – both times he was arrested for not answering the Hitler greeting with the same salute. The salute was mandatory for civilians, but optional for military personnel. My Grandfather refused the Nazi salute that was always accompanied by a”Heil Hitler” or “Sieg Heil.” He refused to do so, because he was religious and he preferred the original Austrian greeting “Gruess Dich Gott,” (May God greet you).
My Grandfather spent 6 months in the Concentration camp Dachau in the South of Germany, because he refused to salute a dictator and murderer.
My Grandmother said he came back a changed man and I can just imagine what that must have done to him; what he must have seen.
He got drafted shortly after that and was sent to the front in Russia, that was his ultimate punishment. He became a POW in Russia and came back home 1950…years after WWII had ended.
I opened the news today at lunch time and I looked at this picture in absolute disbelieve.
Donald Trump asks his supporters in Orlando to raise their right hands and swear to vote in the primary. It’s mind-blowing isn’t it? Trump of course denies any resemblance to the Nazi salute, but he denies so many things that one -with a brain- cannot believe anything he says. Last week he didn’t know who his supporter David Duke (former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan) was, this week I assume he will tell us that he never heard of Hitler either.
The Donald seem to be unaware of the fact that we here in the U.S. pledge with the hand over our heart -well, at least the ones that still have one.
I always try to understand people and I can see why many are frustrated with politics these days; I feel the same way. I can understand why people are asking for change, even when they overlook that the change that they are looking for, would be the same thing that we tried so hard to get rid of just 8 years ago.
But what I can’t understand is ignorance. How dare you people stay there and lift up your right hand to pledge like that. Even the most poorly educated must know that this is a slap in peoples face. It was a slap in my face that’s for sure. Millions have lost family members during WWII and in the Holocaust.
This is going too far, it hurts people. It shows a stupidity that I didn’t expect in the 21st century. The Donald looks and sounds more and more like the bizarre leader Kim Jong-un in North Korea.
This CANNOT happen here, we are better than this, aren’t we?
I am deeply ashamed~!
RIP Grandpa – I am proud of you