Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Just One Last Time...

Today I read King's The Stand and
For the first time I felt their pain,
You died a week ago and my life
Will never be the same,

I exist 
Through the good days and bad,
The ups and the downs... 
Oh, how they threaten to drown!

My mind in a fog, 
My emotions on hold,
I never knew 
How much I loved you 
Until you were gone,

I wonder,
Does one ever get past this pain,
This suffocating sense of loss?

I love you, Mom,
Wish you were here,
Just one last time with
Your laughter and smiles,

We could journey down roads unknown,
Just you and me, how much fun it would be, 
We could picnic at the end of our miles!

I love you, Mom. Rest in Peace

Copyright - 2015 - Ingrid Foster

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A MOST DANGEROUS BOOK by Christopher Krebs

Originally I signed this book from the library while researching the fall of the Roman Empire and the Dark Ages. As this book is based upon the Roman historian Tacticus' observation of the Germanic hordes that had taken over Europe as Rome declined, I had hoped it would prove useful to my research.

Then, as I started reading, I wondered if it would provide insight into the German psyche, especially during the late 1800s and early 1900s, prior to and including Hitler's rise to power. While I found the book a very interesting and fascinating read, I also must note that Krebs' premise, though well researched, is one man's opinion.

The German descendant in me found the book enlightening, helping me to understand the nationalistic spirit I had witnessed while stationed in Germany during the nineteen eighties. One of the key facts to be noted is that German nationalism, the cement that holds Germany together, did not truly exist prior to the late 1800s.

Prior to that, what we now know as Germany was a loose confederation of states. In 1871, under the leadership of Prussian Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, these states united to become the German Empire. There's a vast amount of history here that I will leave out, but the bottom line is that the depression that followed Germany's defeat at the end of World War I was devastating not only financially, but also psychologically to the country.

Prior to Hitler's rise to power, the citizens of Germany were looking for someone, anyone, to help them. No doubt Germany as a whole was also looking to regain that pride in their country, that nationalistic spirit that unified them under Bismarck. The Nazi party gave them that and according to Christopher Krebs, the manipulation of the book, Germania by the Roman historian Cornelius Tacticus, was instrumental in helping to regain and renew that sense of German pride.

I learned a great deal by reading A Most Dangerous Book and encourage everyone with an interest in understanding history and society to read the English translation of Tacticus' Germania before reading this book. You will find both a very enlightening experience.

Surviving Hitler's Germany

After a long struggle with a mentally-crippling illness, my mother died yesterday. Due to her illness and other psychological trauma, we were never able to get as close as I would have liked. She was just not capable. But as a direct result of her passing, I had reached out to my aunts, her sisters, and a world of understanding enveloped me.

Shortly after World War II, at the age of eighteen, my mother left Germany with her mother and three sisters. As a child, I knew my mother was German, but what I never knew was how much the trauma of living in Hitler's Germany had affected her and her family.

In 1933, Hitler began his reign of terror in Germany. That same year both the Gestapo and the Hitler Youth Organization were formed. From 1933 until 1945, my mother's family, like most families in Germany, watched their beloved country change from one of freedom to one of oppression. Our American history books teach us that Germany was so much better off under Hitler and, at first, they were. What the history books don't acknowledge is the psychological trauma...and of course, as Hitler built up his army and prepared for military aggression, the lack of food for the German populace, the long lines in local shops and the rations began.

I remember when I was a child my mother told me that she once ate worms during the war, she was so hungry. She said they weren't so bad if you add chocolate. Though she was probably joking, as a teenager with a growing body, I can only imagine her reality.

Per my discussion with one of my aunts, I was enlightened to a world where six people, a family, struggled not only to survive but because of Hitler's indoctrination of German youth, found it hard to communicate. Each of the six members of their family seemed to live in different worlds coping with their individual reality the best they could. 

My aunt also told me of a family where the son had been belligerent with his father in regards to Hitler. In the heat of the moment, the mother had slapped her son. This could have gone so badly for them, but fortunately the son realized his lack of respect and apologized to his father. When my aunt told me that story, I could only imagine the minutes of absolute terror in the hearts of his parents as they awaited their son's reaction.

It has been seventy years since the end of World War II and Hitler's Reich in Germany, but the survivors of his world are still suffering with post traumatic stress. My mother seldom talked about her life in Germany. When she did it was mostly about her childhood years before the war. With her mental illness, I can only imagine the continued post traumatic stress she must have faced daily even as her body slowly shut down over the weekend.

To All of You Who Are Motherly!

Happy Mother's Day to all of you who are motherly! Mother's Day has always been an enigma to me and every year I am puzzled as to...