Monday, August 18, 2008

A Dream Deferred

Upon seeing my Nazihood blog, my supervisor told me about a little, old lady who lives across his street. Apparently, the kindly senior citizen spent her childhood in Nazi Germany, and her lifelong dream was to join the Jungmadel, the female arm of the Hitler Youth. Who knows? Maybe the schoolgirl uniform, blouse, and combat boots spoke to her. But she had to wait until she was ten to join. So, she learned the poems, sang the songs, spied on her neighbors, whatever aspiring Nazis did while World War II raged around them. Her dream was almost realized. But just as her class was to be inducted into the Youth, the Russians entered Berlin and the war ended. Verdammt!

Now, I know you're probably offended, disgusted, pissed, that this old woman would be telling this story in the twenty-first century. That she looks upon the end of the war with disgust--not at Nazi atrocities--but at the fact that she never got to join in. I mean, what is she thinking?! Hello, the Holocaust! What kind of barbarian would be looking wistfully back at the Hitlerian heydey?

But I don't know. I feel kinda sad for the old frau. I mean, here was a young, impressionable girl who had a dream. A twisted, genocidal dream, perhaps, but a dream nonetheless. You can remember your own of being a fireman, a ballerina, a doctor, a baseball player. Time played out your dream. Maybe you couldn't dissect that frog in biology. Maybe your knees gave out. Maybe you just couldn't hit the curveball. But the Soviets and Americans dashed our little girls dream. It is forever suspended in time. She can never know what would have become of her if only she had gotten to join the Jungmadel. It was her dream, and it was dashed. A dream deferred. And as Langston Hughes pondered, for our heroine, "maybe it just sags like a heavy load."


RonStrelecki said...

Agh! You let them know about your 'blog at work? That's supposed to be a big no-no.

Anyway... they didn't tell 9 year old girls about the Holocaust during World War Two. Joining the Hitler Youth was about as nefarious as joining the Boy Scouts. They didn't give out merit badges in Genocide. Berlin was being shelled daily and bombed nightly. There were piles of bodies burning in the streets. The last thing a nine year old girl would be thinking about was the Holocaust. This is like someone eighty years from now blaming your daughter for Guantanamo Bay.

boukman70 said...

Well, I'm definitely not going to blame _myself_ for Guantanamo.

But seriously, Ron, you know I was joking, right?

RonStrelecki said...

I guess I didn't get it. I'm stupid, what can I say? And I blame myself for Guantanamo all the time. I've been walking up and down steps on my knees while whipping myself with a knotted cord soaked in saltwater.

I think it's quite poignant somehow, an old woman pining away for the days when she looked forward to joining the Hitler Youth. Being born a girl in Germany in 1936 is a pretty rough fate.