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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Imagining a War, Through Their Eyes...

Sometimes when I look out over Otterberg, or when I walk through the older parts of the village, I imagine the World War II era.  And I think about the people of Germany during that time.

Because I am sure that, just as in our own dear country, there were many who didn't agree with their government's decisions.  And there must have been moms like me that lived here in this very same village 70 years ago... moms of small children are generally pretty clueless about current events.  Or maybe that's just me.  But there must have been moms so busy caring for little ones, cooking meals, and running a household as best they could that there was little time to take an active role in global political affairs.

Young women who worried about and prayed for their military husbands as they wiped noses and changed diapers.

My WWII history is a little rusty... and I have no clue if the civilians would have stayed or fled as the American forces advanced on this area.  But I know that Lilo told me much of the village of Morlautern was destroyed by incendiary bombs, including her family home.  Morlautern is about seven minutes away from here by car.  I have friends who live there now... and it was actually the first German village I spent any time in because we hung out at the Oglevee's the second weekend we were here.

I can't be certain, but I bet a young woman in Otterberg would have been able to stand in her living room or on her front porch and see the bombs.  She could probably hear the sound of the explosions.  With each faint blaze of destruction over the horizon, what was she thinking?  She had no idea if the bombs would reach her home in Otterberg.  Would she have tried to run?  Hidden somewhere safe?

Imagine it.  Imagine the fear.  The pain.  The loss.  Homes gone... husbands never coming home from war.  Family or friends lost in bombings.  A country in shambles because of the evil greed of a handful of men.

It challenges my old stereotypes of "the Germans."  The pictures painted in my high school history books are so different from the picture I get when I walk down my street.  Or go to my favorite German stores or restaurants... the smiles and kindess, the diligence and pride in their homes, yards, gardens.  Their love of country, despite it's dark past.  

When I think of the young German mother of two who may or may not have lived and worked and worried and cried in one of the beautiful old homes in my village during that awful time...

...my heart hurts for her.