Adolf Hitler crossing the Olef Bridge, Gemünd, Germany. His destination, the fortress Vogelsang.
20th November, 1936 | Photo from: Das Historische Gemünd by Markus Herbrand.
We were there,
Lisbet, Hilde and me.
The power of old photographs.
The three of us were in Gemünd and the vicinity when Hitler came to town.
Lisbet and Hilde were teenagers and I was 4 years old….each of our lives disrupted under the symbol of the swastika.
This morning after five intense days recounting the last 91 years in front of a camera, another old photograph appears uninvited, on my iPad feed.
Four women, left to right…Me, Hilde, unknown, Lisbet (standing)
The photograph was probably taken in 2003, 20 years ago, in the Kurpark Hotel, Gemünd.
I tell Lisbet and Hilde’s stories in A Garland for Ashes and Meine Krone in der Asche.
Lisbet was our live in maid and she gave me a gift of great worth when she shared her memories of Amalie Zack, her employer, her friend and my mother, so many years later.
She restored glimpses of my mother’s character, her personality to me her daughter, left with only scraps of memories.
And Lisbet trusted me with the details of her own fears and losses.
I remember standing on the steps leading to the front door of the Kurpark hotel, Gemünd listening to Hilde as she described my father’s reputation as a trustworthy businessman and then going on to recount her younger brother’s return from imprisonment for some infringement of Nazi law, physically and mentally shattered and broken.
Hilde is an artist and gave me the painting she created in response to our friendship, hinting at the source of her inspiration.
She spoke of words from the book of Revelation and I’m reminded of the poem in Tehillim, Psalm 45.
Why write and read a blog about 3 ordinary Germans whose lives were upended, in a far away little town so many years ago?
Isn’t this the season for celebration?
Don’t spoil the excitement, the peace and goodwill.
I turn to watch the latest news and see the face of Yaffa Adar an 85 year old Jewish woman being released after 49 days of captivity…….