My Golden Rules

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
A young man in 1930 Germany struggles in life with the rise of the Nazi party, and must deal with his wife as she is hiding a dark secret.

Submitted: December 18, 2012

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Submitted: December 18, 2012

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We were in love. I met her in the spring of 1928. She was lovely, had a great sense of humor, always understood me, and was very good looking. We were married the following Winter, a young couple, just settling in for the rest of our lives in Germany. I was still a student, hoping to get a degree in behavioral sciences; she, a reporter, hoping to become an editor in the years to come. I won't lie, my family was blessed with wealth. It allowed me to continue on with my schooling after the war, and my loving parents also paid for a bit of our rent, as her reporter income wasn't enough for everything. But in five years she would have her editor job. I'd also have my degree too - along with a wake up call. It would show me the importance of knowing truth over tolerance, doing the right thing, and having courage to walk away. You probably heard of my wake-up call. Other people call it The Holocaust.

I went to church one day. My parents are hard-core Christians, and it makes them feel proud whenever I come along. I'm not necessary religious, but I like the moral values. The preacher said something I liked because it explained that poster I saw. “We must not trade truth for tolerance.” He said this while praying, and it stuck with me. That is exactly what we were doing. Most people were accepting of the sign. Even following it's wretched ways. I saw that sign again, and I looked at it closer. What I saw stunned me. It was printed by a newspaper company, the same one my wife edited! How could she do this? Let those big, ugly, red letters defile the wall! I ran to confront her immediately, but I kept seeing more and more signs and papers. In people's hands, on the walls, and in stores. Their threats got worse the closer I got to home. They swirled around in my head, and when I reached my house, I broke down crying. My wife wasn't even home, she had to work late. So I kept crying. For those who were affected-those who saw it. How would they live? Today's economy was already tough, why make it harder, just for them? “Don't buy from Jews.” I grimaced when I spoke. This would destroy their business, and starve their children. Month by month it got worse. My wife and I had arguments. She said she was just doing her job, she that she would change when I got one too. “This isn't about money!” I screamed. It should be about being equal. They should tolerate the Jews because I will not tolerate them. Everyone's made equal. That's the truth. All that they have to offer are lies. But the moment that scared me the most was that swastika on the back of the paper. “That's ridiculous; my wife couldn't be a Nazi,” I thought. It turns out, I was lying to myself.

The nights were the worst. Nightmares of families ripped apart in debt and poverty. Children, rotting on the inside from hunger, losing hope, and dying. They could have been scientists, musicians, world peace makers, great philosophers and charitable billionaires. Even average good Samaritans. Now their gone. All because of those wicked camps. My wife told me she stopped printing those lies, and I believed her. How could I have been so foolish. Right then and there I should have known, should have left. But I still loved her. Although we didn't laugh as much then. She hardly would even listen to me. I thought my parents would see me as unrighteous, getting a divorce and all. If they knew what she was supporting however, they would have been my biggest supporters. However, I struggled on for the next couple of years, as the camps got worse and worse. I thought the Nazi incident was over with my wife. So when one of my Jewish friends, Victor, asked me to help him stay off the streets, which I knew meant hide him, I thought nothing of it when I said yes. My wife came and was surprised, and showed resistance at first. I talked her into, at least I though I did, helping him out. One week later, only a week later, I came home to a disaster. Actually I stopped about a block away, frozen in fear. There they were, in their green suits, dragging Victor away. I had to stifle a scream. I failed him. Now he would suffer and die just like the rest of them. I was not able to build up the courage to stop them. I could have tried, most likely failed, but at least I could have suffered along with him. He might have survived then. I'm so sorry, Victor. I didn't know my wife would betray you. I didn't want to know.

At the moment I saw the police, I thought it wasn't possible what had happened. But then the logic was right there. My wife gave Victor up. My assumption was confirmed seconds later. She walked out of the house, talking to the guards. Laughing even. That pitiful, piercing laugh. She was no longer the funny, understanding, beautiful woman I once knew. She was now a cruel, deceiving, heartless oppressor. I hated her for what she did. I bet that she would also turn me in for hiding Jews. I decided to stay at my parents' house for the night because of this. In the morning I took out some money from the bank and ran away. I knew they would look for me, hunt me down like an animal. It was so hard, leaving behind my family. But I had to do it. I had to leave. I traveled to Switzerland, not knowing it would be the perfect place for me to stay. I was able to get an apartment, and a job as a psychologist assistant. It kept my mind occupied, keeping out thoughts of home. Of Victor in the camps. Of everyone's foolishness. But sometimes they would sneak by, tempting me home. I missed my old life so much. I wanted my old wife back, my home, my parents caring words. But they were gone now, and I had to be strong. I had to stay, or else go back to certain death. I was in constant fear of being caught, even if I had no reason to be. That's what the Nazis really took from me. My security, my confidence, my life. They always took something from you. No one was outside their grasp. And when their filthy hands shook me, I had to throw all I ever knew away.

After the war, I came back to my parents. Because I was missing for so long, my wife was able to apply for a divorce. Obviously I wasn't able to continue on with my job, but after working for my parents for a bit I was able to start my own business. Because of the war, many people did have psychological problems, and I tried to help many of them. Their stories both saddened but fascinated me, and I do believe I helped most of them. However, some were so damaged, so warped. It would take an entire team to help them. I'm long retired now, and I have gotten to learn so much. I hope to speak out against the tolerance that hides the truth. The lies that are seeded into our minds. I also want to show how we must always do the right thing, even if it means leaving everything you've ever known behind. I've never had so much courage as those who were prisoners. And Victor, God rest his soul. We must never let this kind of darkness happen again, never let it reach our hearts. For if we do, we might not be able to stop it.


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