No Hero, for A_german_in_Amerika

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
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Submitted: August 05, 2011

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Submitted: August 05, 2011




I came to this country following the terror that I witness in my homeland. I came seeking to escape from the pain and the cries in the nighttime. I came to be free from those who would oppress me. For nearly thirty years I have hidden my story from the world. Today, I shall share it with you my little ones, today you shall know how your grandfather came to America.

I was born in the city of Frankfurt in 1918, right after the ending of the first Great War. Our homeland was in turmoil, seeing as we had not won the conflict. We were poor, and had little to eat. Eventually, my father left us, venturing to Berlin. You see, he was not a strong man, not like your father my little ones. He was a weak man, he was a coward, for he had fled from the field of battle in France. I had no respect for that man. I vowed that I would follow him to the ends of the earth if only to punch him square in his face. In any case, I followed him to Berlin in 1933, right following my fifteenth birthday. I still remember my mother’s tears and fear as I left her alone with my little sister. I vowed to return to her some day.

In the great city of Berlin I found many things my little ones, many wonderful things. It was here I first found love, first found freedom, for the first time I fully felt alive. I soon forgot why I had come to Berlin in the first place. I had no interest in the weasel that had left me, there were far more interesting things to do in this city. However, all was not well in the city of Berlin. The great fuhrer was soon to claim his power, promising to lift our great country from this low in which we found ourselves. Of course we believed him! So would you in our position! Forgive me, I know not of my temper little ones.

One night, in 1941, many years after leaving my family, I was struck by the odd feeling that I should return to Frankfurt. I could not explain to you why I felt this way my little ones, but I did. I boarded the first train that I could find to my home city, spending the entire voyage consumed by a worry that I could not explain. My worry was rewarded however, when I learned that your great-grandmother had been murdered for hiding a family of Jews. Words can not begin to express the pain and betrayal that I felt at that moment. The regime in which I trusted so deeply had betrayed me.

I stumbled back to Berlin in a daze, my eyes and my mind were clouded by pain. I became astutely aware of each camp that we passed by, the horrid camps, the horrid places that reeked of death. I remember little of the following. I escaped to France, and joined their partisan resistance. Those harrowing years of my life were full of adventure, danger, and intimacy. I saw things that I will never be able to tell you of my little ones. The things that I did, they were awful, terrible things my little ones, I’m ashamed of them. So ashamed of them.

I came here, to this wonderful country, in the year of 1951, seeking to escape from my past. I was unsuccessful, for I am still haunted by my memories and by my thoughts. My little ones, I love you greatly, but your grandfather is not a good man. I was at one time, but I am no longer. I know you want to believe I was a hero, but I treated the men that ruined lives no better than they treated me. Your grandfather is no hero, my little ones.


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