Looking Into the Mirror

Today I completed reading The Last Train to London, by Meg Waite Clayton. It left me saddened. The title caught me when I first picked it up at the library, as do most of the books I read. The premise of this one is what I call historical fiction which by my definition it is a fictional story based on historical events.

The story is told through the eyes of a Dutch woman Geertruida Wijsmuller-Meijer who preferred to be called Tante Truus (Aunty Truus). She is responsible for rescuing ten thousand Jewish children from the Nazis during World War Two by transporting them to Holland and then to England between 1933 -1940. The story is beautiful and inspiring, but the ruthlessness of the Nazi regime that perpetrated their racism upon so many people made me sad.

Deep seated emotions of hatred were opened in my mind by remembering WWII and Nazi atrocities. War stories and news reels of the fighting taught me to hate all Germans and Japanese. It was a struggle to unlearn and reprogram my mind to believe that not all Germans were Nazis. A few years after the war ended my brother Bill was drafted into the army, and was sent to serve in Germany. He spent two years there in the peacetime reconstruction period. He wound up bringing home a German girl to marry. It was she who taught me to separate the average German citizen from the Nazi’s. I thank her for changing my mind.

When I watched our own American people terrorizing cities over the last couple of years with their “peaceful” protests it mirrors the action of the Nazis who “peacefully”(I use the term “peacefully” as sarcastically as possible) took over Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, France, and Holland with their “loving” treatment of the local citizens who dared resist. If one didn’t do and act as they were told they were shot, beaten, sent to work camps and treated like slaves. Violence, confiscation, and destruction of personal property, torture, and imprisonment were the order of the day. Of course Jews were the primary target, but so were non-jews who resisted or, God forbid, helped a Jew. The one difference between a Nazi demonstration and a BLM, ANTIFA, or George Floyd demonstration was the American protests were totally conducted by citizens, while the Nazis were done by the full German military.

No doubt, it will take me several days to get over this emotional reaction to a story, but I am glad I read it. The phrase “never again” becomes meaningful. The trouble as I see it, is that it has been eighty-five years since these atrocities took place, and there are not very many people remaining alive to be able to reawaken these emotions. It frightens me to think that it will take a new Nazi-like movement in America to reteach us the lessons of damage that can be done by perpetrating such racist hatred.