What's Going On Here?

There are SO MANY wonderful book review blogs out there and I can't compete with them, that is for sure. So this is not a book review blog. This is just a way for me to organize what I have read so that I can be better at matching the right book to the right person. The blog title comes from the brilliant mind of the most talented woman who ever lived, Ms. Judy Garland. The full quote is, "Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of someone else." That is what I hope to do here and in ever aspect of my life.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Books (and worlds) Collide

Like I said back here, reading The Cat Ate My Gymsuit and Hitler Youth:  Growing up in Hitler's Shadow really made me look at TCAMG in a different way.
I've written about Susan Campbell Bartoletti before, when I read The Boy Who Dared.  She is a very incredible author.  I had read Hitler Youth years ago, listened to on those old CD things and I yet I was still sickened and horrified in the same manner hearing it again.
Hitler Youth.

"The weak must be chiselled away. I want young men and women who can suffer pain. A young German must be as swift as a greyhound, as tough as leather, and as hard as Krupp's steel."  That is what Adolph Hitler said about German young people.
Watch this interview that Joan Rivers did with Mr. Rogers in the 80s.  Watch it because it is beautiful, but also listen very carefully to what Mr. Rogers has to say about children.  Look at his face when he talks about having respect for them.

Mr. Rogers couldn't be more different from Adolph Hitler, of course, but again, I happened to see this interview while I was listening to Hitler Youth and the comparison just BAMMED me on the head.
It also got me thinking about when I was back in seminary school.  A professor had just retired before I started there, Eberhard Von Waldo.  He had written my Biblical Hebrew text book.  I had heard that was a soldier in Hitler's army.

After reading this I started thinking about him again, as I have, off and on, since I first heard that a seminary professor was once a Nazi tank commander.

So of course, I took to google.  First, I found a death notice of a different pastor, here.  The obituary says this, "As a student at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, East Liberty, she also came under the influence of the Rev. Dr. Eberhard von Waldo, a former German tank commander in World War II. Because of his strong Christian convictions against the war, he surrendered his command to the Allied troops, made his way to South America, completed seminary and arrived in Pittsburgh."

So when I read that, I thought...oh...okay, I see.  Here was a young man who really faced evil and risked his life to do what was right.

But then I found this, which gives the details of the surrender, "In 1945 the war was essentially over. He was serving on the German western front as the British and American armies were relentlessly pushing toward Berlin and victory. Since there was no fuel available the German tanks were abandoned. Von Waldow was put in command of ground unit of new recruits. I remember the sadness in his voice as he told of very young boys and very old men who were now being forced to serve on the front lines. There was not enough ammunition, and many of the new recruits had no training, and some did not even have weapons. Von Waldow was supposed to use these recruits to stop the oncoming allied forces! As they were on the very front lines waiting for the attack, von Waldow walked up and down his line commanding that no one shoot until his command. His troops were to wait a long a possible as the allied forces advanced until he personally gave the command to attack. Finally, their unit could see the British troops advancing toward them; von Waldow was screaming orders for his men to hold their fire until his command. The Brits kept advancing toward their line. Before any of his men fired their weapons, with the British forces in sight, von Waldow personally stood up, raised his hands and surrendered himself and his whole unit to the British. As he told this story I remember the pain in his voice, but also the pride that he had not caused the inevitable death of those young boys and old men who were under his command."

I don't know, to me they seemed like two very different stories of surrender.

 I found his obit just now.  I just found this, too.  After reading those, I am even more confused, concerned, sickened, even?

I don't know.  I just don't know.  Here is another article I found.

Maybe he did a lot of wonderful things for Jewish-Christian relations.  I am sure he did, right?  I mean, there are many other people who say so.  But man...I just don't know.

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