Author's Words - Imagine yourself

02.12.2014 00:09

You joined the schutzstaffel, or the SS as it is better known. Conditioned from an early age to be a warrior you join the Hitler Youth, believing that you were part of a greater race, a people above rebuke. You fought for these people, you followed an oath of loyalty and above all you believed in this movement. Then imagine yourself wounded on the Russian front, hiding from a sniper behind the lifeless body of your friend. The dumdum bullets have destroyed your knee and you find yourself passed from one hospital to another.

On recovering, you are sent against your will to be guard in the most notorious concentration camp in history. You become witness to the killing of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions. All this happens in an atmosphere of normality. Then one day, your life changes and a woman sings her way into your heart. Your whole life unfolds as you realize that your loyalties have been wrongly placed and that you do all that you can to protect those that you were supposed to condemn. Even the Gestapo wants your neck, but the camp is closed before you stand trial.

Imagine that on surviving the war you try to find this lover. But now the tables have changed. You're the war criminal and now you are confined to prison of flight desparately avoiding the Russians. Everything of your past has collapsed and even your home is a place of hostility and revenge. Still, you are free to look for the only thing keeping you alive. You find out she is alive, but you're unable to seek her, for your past would mean death if caught in Czechoslovakia. Then, you receive word that this intense passion, this profound love was a nothing. Her relatives refuse to accept your letters and condemn you as a war criminal, advising suicide. She has abandoned you, married another man and left for Israel.

Life returns to some normality, but then when all seems to calm, the storm erupts again and thirty years after the war, you are forced to stand trial for war crimes. Now, the inmates you rescued have forgotten your acts and condemn you one by one for your role in the camp. Your only refuge is to call back the woman you lost as witness. Does she come?

Far fetched! Read Truth in Ash and experience the life of Franz Wolff.