Don’t Let it Happen Again

Friday night= pizza and a movie night for the boys and I. They requested Poltergeist (the remake), but it wasn’t there, so I brought home Woman in Gold.

I remember my WWII phase. If ‘phase’ is an appropriate term. I read everything I could find. It horrified me that such a thing had happened. A few of my schoolmates in high school, though, argued that it never did. Propaganda. For what, they couldn’t explain. But by sharing the experiences of those authors, I felt like I was remembering it, so that maybe it won’t ever happen again.

I believed I had had my fill of it, and have not been able to absorb any more. If a book mentions Nazi or WWII, I walk away. Can’t read it any differently. At what point do you say, maybe it’s time to forget? Maybe holding onto this pain and this bitterness (however well-warranted) is barring actual…..what……healing? Closure?

Yet I found myself following the case of the now 92ish German man recently charged with war crimes for his role as an accountant who kept track of the items stolen from Jewish people as they were unloaded from the trains. I watched The Monuments Men. Bought my oldest the book Schindler’s List. And I watched Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle. That hit me, how we could so very easily have lost. Learning in school, it always felt like the Allies winning and the Nazi’s losing was a no-brainer. That it could not have ever happened any other way. We’re the good guys. Good guys always always win. In all honesty, that’s not the case. The Man in the High Castle is like eating wasabi peas: horrible in a strange way, yet you can’t stop. I’m anxious for them to continue.

And now I rented Woman in Gold. My boys are old enough now, and they’ve gravitated to it themselves. I don’t trust what the school’s teach. They need to feel it, they need to grasp how wrong and evil it was, and mostly, how it could have happened that half the world held those beliefs and contributed to such a…..crap…..what? Atrocity? Doesn’t even cover it.

In it I saw tiny glimpses of how easy it all was for one man to turn so many against so many more. Keeping up with the political races and debates and campaigns, I hear it here and there. It exists in the men and women who flee towards ISIL and carry out much of the same. It scares me now. As a kid, I couldn’t fathom it ever happening again. Up until recently, I didn’t see why the topic kept getting refreshed. It won’t ever happen again. But now….

How can that be? And how could we ever cope if it should?

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