It is the little human interest vignettes that people remember most of my ZGrams. Today I have one for you that is very short and sad.
It was written by someone who responded to my statement that the German Americans have always been guilty of being too apolitical and having distanced themselves from any real struggle involving the Germans on the Old Continent.
Here is part of his letter:
"There was an active German movement that my father belonged to called the German American Bund. Roosevelt's propagandists implied that they were spies and saboteurs; the mysterious Fifth Column.
But it was mainly a social organization that did support Germany's cause and promoted German American friendship. In the thirties we would have an outing each Sunday during the summer at a park north of Pontiac, Michigan. I think a Bund member owned the land. There was a lake for swimming and a large Pavillion for Sunday dinner and then dancing. They also had youth groups similar to the scouts. We children played games and romped in the fields and woods.
You had to be an American citizen to be an officer of the Bund. They were quite a large group, and I believe they even held conventions in Chicago and once at the Madison Square Garden.
They occasionally held political meetings in the hall from which the children were excluded. This only rarely occurred. They were also plagued with government agents infiltrating the meetings.
The Bund had family parties for Christmas, Easter and other holidays that we would also attend. The Christmas party was held yearly at a German restaurant at the foot of the Detroit's Belle Isle bridge. I remember it being held one year on December 7m, 1941. As we left the restaurant my father, a Sudeten German, stopped in front of the newspaper stand where he read the Pearl Harbor headlines. He shook his head and muttered: "Germany has lost the war."
I, a boy of ten, asked how he knew.
He replied: "Germany cannot overcome the industrial might of America."
A few weeks later, the owner of the restaurant, Max, gave an escaped German pilot who somehow managed to get to Detroit from a Canadian prison camp five dollars and a suit of clothes. The police captured the pilot in Chicago. He then confessed and revealed who aided him in his escape.
They sentenced Max to death.
Roosevelt commuted the sentence to life imprisonment. He died insane in Alcatraz in 1948.
My father claimed that Max was a fine individual who loved children and entertained the Bund more for business reasons than political. My father felt he was apolitical, and without thinking helped the pilot who suddenly appeared, to Max's surprise, at his back door.
In all the years since, no one has ever talked or written about Max.
During the war, my father lost two jobs because of his politics. Several German families we knew disappeared into some camps or were deported. We never knew exactly what happened to them.
There were Germans involved politically in the thirties. The country, in spite of Roosevelt's oppressive politics, was still a comparatively free nation."
(Sent to the Zundelsite)
Thought for the Day:
"More worship the rising then the setting sun."
(Pompey, 106 - 48 B.C.)
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