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[Promoted from the diaries by DavidNYC. My father is a Holocaust survivor - and my grandfather a victim of it - so I imagined this diary might have special meaning for me as I read it. But I could never have imagined the stunning conclusion. I insist that you read to the very end of this miraculous story.]

After writing my diary "A Promise to My Grandfather" yesterday, I received over 40 emails from all over the country (I am still getting some right now) from those that were also impacted by the Holocaust. I read each one of them and shed a tear for every word. Many thanked me for sharing the story of my grandfather, but I should thank all of them for their stories. It helped me see that I am not alone in my pain, but also to see that there is hope. Hope that there are those that want to fight the hate that is now forming and stop it before we repeat it.

However, there was one email from BettyG in San Rafael, California that moved me that it is taking me way too long to write this diary.

Here is my follow up with BettyG's email.

The original diary:
Last year at my grandfather's funeral, I made a promise to both him and myself that I would fight to the very end to prevent the evil that he had to endure in his life from happening again. Everyday when I look into the blue eyes of my daughter, the same blue eyes my grandfather had, I am reminded of that promise and know that it is not only a promise to him, but to her as well.

Diaries :: amprather's diary ::
In the fall of 1943, after being captured by the Nazis in the Ukraine, my grandfather was sent to Auschwitz. At first, he was just one of many Soviet POWs held at the camp, but it was later discovered that he was Jewish, so he was removed from the Soviet soldiers and placed with the other European Jews. My grandfather never knew why he survived while others parished, but there was never a day that passed after liberation in 1945 that he thanked God for that gift of life.

My grandfather was able to get to England and then on to America to restart his life. He raised 5 children and later cherished his 22 grandchildren. He loved to work in his garden, even on the hottest of days. As a child, I always wondered why he wore long shirts even on those August days when it would easily be 100 degrees (even in the shade). When I was 9, I caught my grandfather shaving in the bathroom and that is when I saw it: His Camp Number - 58877241.

Not knowing any better, I asked him why he got such a "stupid tattoo". He told me that he really didn't want to get it and quickly tried to cover it with a towel. I followed him asking him, "Why don't you get it removed then?" He stop dead in the hallway and without turning around said "So I don't forget." We never discussed it again.

When he died last summer, I told myself that he was finally at peace. As I stood over his coffin with my wife, I reached down and took his arm in mine. I unbuttoned his sleeve and rolled it up. I looked at the number again - 58877241. My wife looked at me and asked "Why are you doing that?" All I could say was "So I don't forget." Right then I made my promise to him - Never again.

Now when I see the hate and bigotry that comes out of those that call them "Christians" or "Moral People", I know that this is how it began seven decades ago in Europe. It was too late, when people finally woke up, millions had been carted away in cattle cars to their deaths.

I don't want to see that here or anywhere else. I do not want there to be cattle cars filled with people that these hate mongers scream out against. I do not want to see gays, liberals, Mexicans, hippies, Hollywood Actors, or anyone else have to be tattooed with a number. No more 58877241s.

This summer, my family and I will be traveling to Auschwitz, so my children understand what there grandfather went through. I want my daughter to know why I see him in her eyes. And then everytime I look in her eyes I will see hope and love and not 58877241.

So to the Phelps and Coulters of the world, you are on notice, we will fight your hate because we will not have this happen again.

Here is BettyG's email-

amprather,

After reading your email, I was moved to tears because it reminded me of my grandfather, Ivan Feduleyev. He was also a soldier in the Red Army, captured in the Ukraine. He was taken to Auschwitz as a POW. At first his unit was held in a special part of the camp, but things changed when the guards heard from one of the officers that there were Jewish soldiers in the unit.

All of the soldiers were beaten for a few days as the guards demanded they identify the Jews. None of them would identify the Jewish troops. Finally, the Captain of the Guard decided that the only way to make them talk was to execute one of the soldiers. They brought the unit into a yard and lined the soldiers up for selection. They choose my grandfather. They hauled him in front of a firing squad. The Captain of the Guard again demanded that the Jews among them be identified. Then one of the soldiers came forward and identified himself as a Jew. The Captain grabbed him and hauled him away and stopped the execution. The troops never saw the soldier again.

[....]

My grandfather never forgot that soldier's name, he named his first son after him, Roman. The soldier's name was Roman Edemskoi.

[....]

Roman Edemskoi (58877241) was my grandfather.

I am traveling to San Rafael next week to talk to BettyG. If you don't think the Web is a powerful, earth-shattering tool, I hope you think differently.

To all that wrote me via email or posted a comment on the original diary, again thank you.
Update [2005-3-5 1:41:11 by amprather]: I want to thank everyone that has read and was moved by this, since this went in to the Most Recommend Section, my email has blown up from many of you and some journalists. This is causing some concerns, though, with Betty and I. We are starting to think that this is no longer our time to talk next week. Trust me, we want to share our meeting with everyone, but first we want to be able to talk to each other face to face in peace. Also we want the two families to talk, we don't want media hounds destroying what could be a beautiful time. Because of that, we ask that you continue to support Betty and I, but do not suffocate us. Trust me, DailyKos will be the first to hear about the meeting and the eventual news stories. Again Thank You for all of the kind words, they have moved me and Betty. God Bless all of you and I look forward to writing next week. Adam (amprather) [UPDATE2]Well, what I feared would happen, happened. There would be skeptics that would rather attack me for this diary. That is why I didn't at first want to share it. Well I did and my email account blew up. So I took down my link on my profile. Oddly, I still got emails after that. Then there were questions about the open casket. My grandfather was not a practicing Jew when I knew him. So his service took place at a funeral home. I am not Jewish, all five of my grandfather's daughters did not practice Judaism, so all of us grandchildren were not raised Jewish. So there. As for BettyG, I said I got an email from her. Up until then I knew nothing about her. If she was a blogger on DailyKos or not. She just wrote me. I asked my cousin and a friend that are bloggers on DailyKos, what I should do. I wanted to just delete the diary. But they told me to leave it up. My cousin came over to my place to help me write this and keep me calm. If people want to tear the story apart before I can put it all together. Then fine, do so. Believe the story or not. It's my life anyway. I guess I have learned the other side of a diary, it can cut you down too. I will reconsider if I want to post in the future if this is what I have to go through. For those of you that still like the story, again thank you, but now I am in real limbo here about going forward. -Adam

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 04:07 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Incredible (4.00)
    I highly recommend that you forward this story to the press.


    "It is a common delusion that you make things better by talking about them." - Dame Rose Macaulay

    by Zackpunk on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 12:09:40 PM PST

    •  We Are. (4.00)
      We have an interview with a reporter in San Francisco Tuesday.

      The simple minded and the uninformed can be easily led astray and those that cannot connect the dots, Hey look the other way.

      by amprather on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 12:11:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Excellent (4.00)
        I'm looking forwards to reading that, and hearing more about your meeting with BettyG.


        "It is a common delusion that you make things better by talking about them." - Dame Rose Macaulay

        by Zackpunk on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 12:14:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Local Jewish paper (4.00)
        I don't know who you're talking to, but I'm sure the local weekly jewish newspaper (called "J") would love to talk to you.

        [Open to suggestions for clever signature line here]

        by mwk on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 02:37:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  two more recommendations (none)
          I really, really think you ought to get in touch with the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills, MI - an amazing facility, an amazing set of people who are doing wonderful things to document stories such as your grandfathers'.

          Also, the Jewish News in Detroit would appreciate hearing from you, I"m sure.

          amazing, wonderful story.

          •  Also the Holocaust Museum in DC (4.00)
            But in time.  You have time. This is like finding a long-lost family member that you never knew you had.
            Both of you and your families should have some quiet time to sort through your feelings and really digest, meditate, and pray on this.  

            Speaking for myself and anyone who may feel so inclined...these are scary times, and we need to know stories of courage and hope more than even the air we breathe. We cling to them. We are not so selfish, however, that we can't give you time to really come to terms with the truly amazing discovery and connection you've made.

            God bless you.

            "Sir, we've already lost the dock." A Zion Lieutenant to Commander Lock, The Matrix Revolutions

            by AuntiePeachy on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 05:37:13 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  I often remark... (3.98)
         That a particular post has made me weep, brought me to tears, or even brought a sob from my throat.

        But it's taken me five minutes to compose myself enough to be able to see the keyboard through my swollen eyes, still releasing tears as if there is an endless supply.

        Oh, god. I didn't see your diary when you first posted it. Thank you for posting the text in addition to the letter.

        Oh, god.  I will never forget that number as long as I live. Cursed with a bizarre memory for random numbers, I will forever remember your grandfather and his tattooed number. 58877241.

        Oh, god. I keep typing it because it keeps escaping my lips as I sit here alone, listening to the rain and Joni Mitchell, thinking about your grandfather and that UNBELIEVABLE, MIRACULOUS convergence so many years after the defining moment for evil in the 20th century.

        I opened the diary in another window so I could keep reading it again and again as I sat here staring at this text box, trying to articulate the extraordinary and conflicting emotions your story has evoked in me -- and, doubtless, everyone who has read it.

        And every time I reach the first mention of the name Roman... I burst into sobs again.

        What kind of a WORLD is this? The terrible beauty and evil that have coexisted since our time began -- what can POSSIBLY be the meaning of all of this?

        I just veered back from atheist to agnostic, sitting here, contemplating this. It's a familiar pendulum swing for me. BUt your tale has shaken my recent and fairly tenuous grip on atheism. So it's back to my old standby, William Shakespeare:

        "There are more things in heav'n and earth, [Maryscott], than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

        How can I possibly hope to grasp the meaning of life, the composition of the universe and my place in it? I can't even discern the difference between anger and fear.

        I thank you for bringing us all this glorious and awe-inspiring piece of your history; it is now a piece of our history. I know that I will repeat it for the rest of my life. It will return to me during those spiritual droughts when I feel alone in the universe. It will be passed on to my son as evidence of the unknowableness of this existence of ours.

        Thank you, a thousand times. I think I can speak for everyone who passes thorugh this diary when I say you have enriched our lives immeasurably by sharing this with us all.

        with love and gratitude,
        Maryscott

        Rage, rage, against the lying of the Right.

        by Maryscott OConnor on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 03:06:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Also - Marin Independent Journal (4.00)
        The local paper in San Rafael would probably be very interested in this story.

        A newspaper is a device for making the ignorant more ignorant and the crazy crazier. H.L. Mencken

        by SallyCat on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 04:19:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Beautiful, just beautiful (4.00)
        That story made my year.  Wow.  This story deserves to be a movie or a book.  

        What color are your pajamas?

        by Unstable Isotope on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 04:28:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Perhaps (4.00)
        Olbermann would be interested?
      •  What a wonderful surprise for you (none)
        And what a wonderful story for us to weap over.

        Thank you.

      •  hate to be a party pooper (none)
        but I've never heard of an open casket at a Jewish funeral.  I'm assuming it was a Jewish funeral, though.
        •  Private viewing? (none)
          When my grandmother passed away, the family was given the "opportunity" to view her one final time prior to the service.  So, viewing is not unheard of.

          We fight on. We fight for ourselves and the people who do not have a voice.

          by mlk on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 05:10:58 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Private viewing here too... (4.00)
          For my grandmothers funeral. My grandfather was a little different. He lived until he was 99. He whispered to his brother right before his death...I think I went four years too long. He insisted on a graveside service, come as you are, longer than 20 minutes and have a big party at his favorite Italian restaurant.

          Incredible story. Thanks for sharing it.

        •  careful where you poop... (none)
          Private viewings for family and any others close to the deceased that the family invites are common in my experience, in Southern synagogues anyway.
          •  My experience (none)
            When my stepfather died in 2000, the fellow at the funeral home who was handling everything asked my mother if she wanted to open the casket so those who wanted to pay their respects with it open could do so.  She did NOT permit it, but it was brought out as an option.  This was a Jewish funeral home in New Jersey.
        •  I thought the same thing when I read it (none)
          I didn't know some synagogues allow private viewings. I always thought the whole point is that we're not to have contact with the dead.  That's what I was told when my grandfather died.

          Anyway, this is an amazing story.  Definitely brought tears to my eyes.

      •  your interview (none)
        Let us know where and when it will be published.
      •  Thank you for sharing (none)
        MaryScott expressed everything I wanted to say (further down) so I will let her words speak for me, but I had to include a thank you to you. Your story is truly inspiring. I look forward to reading the story in the local paper next week, as I live in the Bay Area.

        Again, thank you!

        "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." - FDR

        by Vitarai on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 08:16:23 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  For one of the few times in my life (4.00)
    I am absolutely speechless.  I just read this to my partner, and she is sitting here in tears., and I am not far from it.

    Know that for however long it takes, there are millions of us prepared to stand with you in your mission.

    Peace, my friend, peace.

  •  Twice In Two Days (4.00)
    ... you've got me crying at my desk at work.

    Thank you for sharing these deeply moving stories.  May we all show your grandfather's bravery in the days to come...

    •  This will be the last (4.00)
      atleast for a while.

      It is still painful to write, but it has been good therapy.

      Thanks.

      The simple minded and the uninformed can be easily led astray and those that cannot connect the dots, Hey look the other way.

      by amprather on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 12:15:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I respect your wish for silence and a (4.00)
        chance to digest this incredible sequence of events.

        However, on behalf of all of us sitting here with tears in our eyes, I'd like to ask you to post the link when the story runs in SF, so that we can all read it. (of course, I admit I'd love to hear your account of the meeting between you two grandchildren, but I will restrain myself... sort of...)

        Peace and blessings

        "God help the political system in which a thoroughly addled sovereign is faced with a real crisis." Anatole Lieven, Carnegie Endowment for Peace

        by Tulip on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 12:36:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  As a European - (4.00)
        one of my great concerns for America has been that we have not learned or remembered history very well.

        Which is why now that you hear and read all this hate from the Republicans/Religious right - it frightens me.  I am afraid that the chasm between then and now is getting narrower and narrower.

        Unfortunately I do not think it will take much for these nut-cases to go off the deep end - and we'll have another Third Reich on our hands.

        This is why letters like yours are of such importance -- it makes people stop and think -- and hopefully take action against the hate on the right against whomever they decide is not worthy.

        SpongeBush SquarePants: SpongeBush lives in a bubble in D.C./absorbent and shallow and porous is he! - - Maureen Dowd

        by sara seattle on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 04:22:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree and I have an unpopular take (3.88)
          We must never forget.  But at the same time, we must not allow ourselves to treat Hitler as if he is unique.  

          People always get nervous when Hitler is suggested to be a human being.  "He is a monster!" they say.  If you comment that he was an incredible speaker or was charismatic and loved by his followers, you are somehow defending him.  

          I think this is wrong.  Hitler was a man.  When we demonize Hitler, we diminish the value of what his existence can remind us of.  For if he is the devil incarnate, he is a singularity.  He cannot be repeated.  Thus, we need not worry about there being another Hitler.  He is uniquely evil.  An aberration.

          If he is a man, a popular man, (which is the truth) we have more reason to stay ever vigilant.  We cannot assume we will know the devil when we see him.  Hitler was a charismatic, well spoken, leader.

          Already, it has gotten to the point where you can't compare any person to Hitler.  It is considered hate speech.  If this is the case, then we truly have already forgotten.  He was not a monster.  He was an evil man.  Spotting a monster is easy.  Spotting an evil man is not.  It is just too easy to say that the Germans were duped by this monster and that is that.

          Hating Hitler is easy.  Understanding that people loved him is not.  We must not let people remove Hitler from the human race (and this happens on both sides of the aisle but for different reasons).  He is very much a part of the human race.  

          •  perhaps unpopular, but not alone (none)
            I agree.

            I have always been fascinated by Hitler. And whenever I say that, more often than not I have to defend that "fascinated" does not mean "respect or honor".

            He never advanced beyond Corporal in the Army, yet he rose to lead a nation. And gathered such a large and violent and loyal following.

            Scary. And Fascinating.

            •  ah (none)
              Kinda remind you of someone else?  
              •  comparisons (none)
                yes
                but to make the absolute comparison is "unpatriotic"
                •  Bush is no Hitler... (none)
                  He's not nearly as talented.
                  •  Yes, but he has a support network (none)
                    Karl Rove, et al. Folks with a historic sense of themselves versus "evil".  Damn scary to me.

                    "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." Dr. ML King, from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

                    by bewert on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 09:31:20 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Karl Rove... (none)
                      Karl Rove's grandfather was a Nazi..Gauleiter of Oldenburg and helped plan and build concentration camps in that area. Small wonder his grandson still has the "family values". And don't forget, Bush's grandfather did business with Hitler, through his bank. He facilitated the buying of raw materials for the Nazis during the war. These people don't only behave like fascists, they have a family background that seems to condone it. I learned alot from my grandmother(a lifelong liberal Democrat) and I carry many of her attitudes and standards through my life. It isn't a big stretch to assume that Rove and Bush have had the attitudes and standards of their grandfathers passed on down to them.  
                      •  asdf (none)
                        that's an urban myth ... please don't repeat, it only discredits us ...

                        vote early - vote often

                        by wystler on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 09:19:57 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  asdf addendum (none)
                          (the part about Rove's grandfather)

                          vote early - vote often

                          by wystler on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 09:20:52 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  Googled it.. (none)
                          And not all the sources are "urban myth" type sites. Common Dreams, and several others also say the same thing. His name was Karl Heinz Roverer, the Gauleiter of Oldenburg. It's a matter of record, Nazi records. They kept very good ones.
                          •  Yeah (none)
                            That's why I find CommonDreams so damned disappointing. I can only hope that their own editorial decision - to not remove it - is based on a decision to take their lumps, rather than on an assertion that it's true. There's solid historical documentation out there that refutes the claim, and the original source - Al Martin - has time and again demonstrated his proclivity to play the wild-eyed loose cannon. He really is everything that the right attempts to ascribe to Michael Moore. Yes, the Nazis were rigerous in documenting - there was no Gauleiter of Oldenburg.

                            For more facts on KarlHeinz Röver (take it for what it's worth, since it's from a geocities page):

                            "On the night of May 13, 1942, Röver startled the party hierarchy when he announced that he was going to see the Führer on the next day and then proceed to meet Winston Churchill, in order to make peace. Coming virtually on the first anniversary of Rudolf Hess' flight to Scotland, the matter was immediately brought to Martin Bormann's attention. An SS physician diagnosed the last stages of syphilis in Roever, and he was rushed to an isolated area. Two agents [Georg Joel, Ministerpräsident of Oldenburg and the Stabsleiter of the Röver's Gauleitung] were sent by Bormann to examine Röver, and they reported on May 15 that the sick man had succumbed to heart failure. The whole matter was hushed up and soon forgotten in the course of the war."

                            (Excerpted from Charles Hamilton's Leaders and Personalities of the Third Reich, R. James Bender Publishing, 1984; story also found in Karl Höffkes, Hitlers Politische Generale, Grabert-Verlag, 1986/1997)

                            Röver was then given a state funeral in the Mosaic Hall (Mosaiksaal) of the Reichskanzlei in Berlin on 22.05.1942. He was buried in the Neuen Friedhof, Oldenburg on 23.05.1942.

                            This rumor is precisely the kind of crap that discredits the folks who promote it. With all the charges one can level at BushCo that stick, there's absolutely no reason to raise this manure-laden charge.

                            The right has made up shit too. Anybody not get an email "reporting" on the Senate hearings in the 80s, when Ollie North told off Al Gore about OBL, nevermind it was neither Gore, nor bin Laden?

                            Of course, I'll eat my words if you can connect the dots between KarlHeinz and a hospital in Denver in 1950, where Karl Rove was born. It'd be fairly elementary to link a birth record listing a father, Ellis Island records, and either wind up in Bremen or not. You really should ask yourself why this whirlwind of 2003 has not been sustained ...

                            vote early - vote often

                            by wystler on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 12:28:36 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

              •  the scariest part after World War II (4.00)
                was that (in Europe) it was your neighbors that had killed everyone and everything in sight.

                and it is still happening - I was in Croatia not too long time ago - and the most frightening thing I heard was: - during the war my neighbors came and killed my whole family - AND YOU KNOW THEY ARE STILL LIVING NEXT TO ME!!

                How would you ever be able to go to sleep at night.

                Man's inhumanity to man.

                SpongeBush SquarePants: SpongeBush lives in a bubble in D.C./absorbent and shallow and porous is he! - - Maureen Dowd

                by sara seattle on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 08:21:30 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  speaking of neighbors killing neighbors (none)
                  Hotel Rwanda is an excellent film, and I recommend it to everyone.  I waited in a 2 hour line to see Paul Rusesabagina (the guy whose heroism inspired the film) and the saddest thing he said, but the thing that stuck in my head, is that 'he has no faith in people anymore.'  (paraphrasing)

                  I've wondered whether I would have the courage to see and act in such a situation.  Sometimes it seems to me that seeing is what people don't do.  Paul and Hotel Rwanda are inspirations for me, and make me think I might be strong enough.  But I am very sad that he doesn't assume people are good anymore, after what he has seen.

          •  See "Triumph of the Will" (4.00)
            Yes, some of it is dated, but it is still a fantastic piece of propaganda, not only because Riefenstahl was a great filmmaker, but because her subject knew so much about manipulating people and did it so well.

            Hitler was an extraordinary man, evil through and through, but elected during a bad time in Germany, a country that had been a world leader in science and the arts. Yes, Germany had a lot to answer for, but I'm not convinced that we are so different that we cannot follow that path if we become complacent.

            •  Also "The Dictator and The Tramp" (none)
              It's a documentary about Chaplin's The Great Dictator, and it covers the making of the film, but also Chaplin's morbid fascination with Hitler.

              Hitler stole his moustache! And Chaplin was fascinated with Hitler's speaking ability, calling him a great actor (Hitler did take acting lessons to enhance his oratory).

              In this country, we usually just see Hitler in foaming-at-the-mouth mode, but he would build up to that in highly dramatic fashion.

              I remember reading an interview with John Cusack when Max came out, and he emphasized Hitler's humanity, too. He said something like, "He wasn't some monster, he was a human, of woman born, and we have to remember that."

              •  Pennsylvania (4.00)
                Many years ago I was living in Lancaster PA, a Mennonite town in rural PA.  The KKK organized a demonstration against a gay bookstore and "other" people in general.  I tried to set up a counter demonstration, but nobody wanted to confront the KKK.  So, instead, since I lived on one of the blocks they marched on, I played that wonderful speach by Charlie Chaplin from the The Great Dictator.  The one where the other Hitler speaks out in favor of difference and for tolerance.  I ended up receiving death threats at 3:00 a.m. and shit scrawled in front of my house.  I decided to move the San Francisco and never looked back.

                I have visited Dachau and I am with you...Never, ever, fucking again.

                •  Oh Damn (none)
                  What I meant to say was I played the speach out my windows on louspeakers at top volume.  We were actaully told to turn it down by the police and told we were committing a disturbance of the peace.  Argh.
                •  Well, God love ya (none)
                  Down here in Tennessee, the people of Pulaski, birthplace of Nathan Bedford Forrest's KKK, all shut down their stores and turned their backs on the KKK.

                  But there's this patch of private land that has a statue of Forrest. It's right on the interstate, and it is so hideous, it alone devalues the Southern Whatever for whoever sees it.

                  If they don't rip their own eyes out first. Lucky it's on the interstate, so no one really catches its hideousness.

              •  Mustache (none)
                I read somewhere that Hitler grew that mustache because he had a big nose and the mustache deflected the viewer's eyes from the nose to the mustache.  In WWI, he had a more conventional mustache...a bit walrus-like.
            •  See Nacht und Nebel too.. (none)
              It means "Night and Fog" and is a film about a Nazi program for terrorizing the local populace. They would arrest people, and no information would be given, no letters, no nothing about what had happened to them. They just disappeared. It turned out that most of them were shot shortly after being arrested, and the rest were sent to concentration camps or "labor details". Not many of those survived the war, but a few did. The thing about the Night and Fog directive is that it sounds eerily like the current administrations way of dealing with "terrorist suspects" in this country. Fortunately, we are not yet so intimidated that we don't notice and make a fuss when one of our neighbors disappears into the gaping maw of "Homeland Security". Thank God the courts are FINALLY taking notice of this agregious violation of the Constitution. And just as an aside..does anyone besides me wonder if Bush actually read the Constitution before swearing to uphold it??
          •  yeah (4.00)
            I see it as that Hitler met an appetite.

            I don't remember the direct quote, but Jung said something like "that which we deny in ourselves is what becomes most primitive".

            I think that can happen to societies as well, creating appetites.

            And when you're ravenously hungry, you don't care so much what you eat.  You can eat poison if it looks good on the surface.

            At some point I am going to learn more about German culture pre-Hitler, but I think there was a ton of denial there that meant a huge appetite for pseudo-morality and pseudo-populism, a reaction away from stagnation and immorality.  But since they weren't measured about it, it opened them up to the kind of corruption that Hitler represented.

            •  pre-nazi Germany (none)
              Check out "A Chorus of Stones" by Susan Griffin - incredible book, great research and insight into Himmler, his background, etc. Fascinating stuff.
            •  You have to go back to WWI (none)
              Germany was ignominously defeated in WWI, and was forbidden to create arms, which Hitler built upon. It was very poor during the depression of the 30's, which Hitler blamed on the Jews. Plus he was a great orator, in a time where radio was everywhere and TV was nowhere. He built on the problems of post-WW1 Germany to get elected and then declared that his election was the last.

              But he was human, very much so, which is the scary part, since so many people supported him.

              "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." Dr. ML King, from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

              by bewert on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 09:43:00 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Great Orator he was not (none)
                I've studied this a lot. In fact, when I was in college, I took a course called "Nazi Germany, Could it Happen Again?" We studied their history, culture and what led up to it. Unfortunately, I walked away with the answer "yes".

                Hitler was not a good public speaker. He even studdered. Many of the tapes that were released were heavily edited. He had a great group of "handlers". A marketing campaign like we've never seen. He did know how to fire up the masses. And he gave a consistent message.  

                THIS is why I am so freaked out now. There are a lot of people who believe W is a great public speaker.

            •  Also, "Hitler's Willing Executioners" (none)
              You can get this book on Amazon.

              To cut to the chase: ordinary people, just like us, perpetrated the Holocaust. Monsters not needed. Book extremely popular in Germany.

              "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

              by CarbonFiberBoy on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 10:44:40 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Better yet (none)
                Get it on Barnesandnoble.com or borders.com.  Amazon is a major red donar. B&N and Borders tend to go blue.
              •  also the documentary (none)
                The documentary "The Sorrow and the Pity", the book "Vichy France" by Robert O. Paxton, and the book "Crimes of Obedience" by Herbert Kelman and Lee Hamilton.

                The Sorrow and the Pity was made in 1971 but banned from being shown in French cinemas or on French TV until Francois Mitterand came to power in the early 1980's (Mitterand was the first postwar French leader to have an untainted record during WWII - he'd been an active member of the Resistance and rescued author Marguerite Duras's husband from a concentration camp - Duras and her husband were in his Resistance cell) rather than cooperating in one form or another. It's about how the French government and many ordinary French people went along with their occupiers and actively persecuted Jews and resisters. It's available to buy on Amazon, I believe, but should be hard to rent unless you live near a university library. On the same subject, historian Robert O. Paxton wrote a very compelling book about Vichy France, also published in 1971, also banned from being sold in France until Mitterand's presidency. That should be easier to find in a library than the documentary.

                I realize we were talking about Germany, but  collaboration, even enthusiastic collaboration, happened elsewhere too, even when the collaborators were betraying their own people. My godmother's uncle was in the Dutch Resistance. He was picked up by the Gestapo at the pharmacy in Amsterdam where he worked after a tip-off from one of his neighbours (also Dutch, not German). One of his colleagues at the pharmacy called his house as soon as he'd been arrested and told his wife to take their baby son and leave the house immediately. She went underground and his Resistance cell smuggled her and the baby to England. Why did the colleague call, and why did the cell work so hard to keep her and the baby out of sight? If an interrogation subject wouldnt' cooperate, the Gestapo might pick up their family, in hopes that someone who wouldn't break under torture would break if their loved ones were tortured in front of them.

                There was a huge infrastructure of ordinary people in Germany who helped carry out out Hitler's commands, either by actively participating or by not caring, and a smaller but equally obedient infrastructure in the occupied countries who did the same for the occupiers.  

          •  It could happen anywhere (none)
            Never forget, Hitler was democratically elected.
            •  Not exactly. (none)
              After the Nazi Party scored big (though not a majority, IIRC) in the parliamentary elections the aging von Hindenburg was persuaded by wealthy industrialists to appoint Hitler.  The industrialists were worried about "Bolshevism" and thought they could control Hitler.  Hitler never got a majority of German votes in a free election, as far as I know.

              Put on your jumping shoes, which are intellect and love--Meister Eckhart

              by smusher on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 10:31:21 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  To see how Hitler was *made* (ruined) (4.00)
            by his childhood, read Alice Miller's "For Your Own Good".

            Incredible. Shows how the incredible abuse heaped on him as a child -- created an anger which was still not slaked after killing millions. Stalin had similar childhood.

            One of the most incredible books ever written to understand how people are warped beyond belief. And how it plays into politics. Truly pivitol -- a must read.

            http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0374522693/qid=1110002746/sr=2-3/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_3/103-7049814 -7526226

            Reframing the news and people's views of our world: http://www.HeroicStories.com

            by AllisonInSeattle on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 10:02:07 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Alice Miller (none)
              has a new book due out sometime this year. I would also recommend "The Truth Will Set You Free." In what has been an eye-opener, I went from reading Miller to Wilhelm Reich's "The Mass Psychology of Fascism."  These writers were in touch with the seeds of and the ramifications of repression and wrote to warn us.

              This diary is a stunning reminder that we must remain awake.

          •  Well put (none)
            I agree with your statement. Hitler was just another person, with no magical powers. He was able to move huge numbers of people to do totally horrible things. This is not something unique or unheard of. Which means it can happen again.

            The other point would be, Hitler did not act alone. Millions cooperated in his evil. Millions!

            Which is all the more reason to be vigilent.

          •  Read "Inside The Third Reich" (none)
            By Albert Speer

            Speer's recollections say exactly what you said.

            Hitler was very charasmatic - to the point where Speer and others did evil (without realizing it) because they were patriotic to Hitler and the Reich.  

            I highly recommend this book.  It tells how persuasive the snake-oil can be.

          •  Another Hitler (none)
            There may be no duplicate of Hitler, but there are those leaders who share his ego-manical ways.  Hitler never achieved great success in the military (he was an Austrian, by the way, not a German national), but we have a president who has not won any presidential elections legitimately.

            We need to be dillegent in seeing the similarities of what happened in late 1930's Germany, and what is happening in this country today.

        •  Roll Up Our Sleeves (4.00)
          Bernie Sanders says we "do not have the luxury of being depressed."

          Delay, Rove, Perle, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Gonzales, Luntz, Cheney, and the rest, plus their army of drones are working day-in and day-out every day to create the world they want.

          We won't beat that with arm-chair outrage. We can't defeat them with occasional weekend activism.

          We must roll up our sleeves, get out, get organized, and go to work.

          Hold community discussions. Do fundraisers. Organize protests. Take non-violent activist training. Teach non-violent activist training. Talk with your friends and neighbors. Seek out houses of worship, peace and justice groups, political groups, wherever you think you can connect and make a difference, and get started. If every Kos member reaches 50 unaware people over the next year, we'll create a sea-change.

          Just please, whatever you do, don't do nothing.

          [Note: This is a plea, not a criticism. I know many people reading this are working very hard. It's time for all of us to take it to the next level. We are the proverbial "they" who will make the change happen.]

          Beware the everyday brutality of the averted gaze.

          by mataliandy on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 06:07:42 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  true (none)
          few people realize how close we were to joining the wrong side on wwii, even though revisionists like hurricane zell would like to deny it.
          •  Europe the pacifier (none)
            England and Europe did nothing to stop Hitler. They only continued to appease him. They did nothing when the Nazi's took the following aggressive actions:

            1936 took over the Rhineland
            1937 Luftwaffe bombed Gurnica, Spain (Picasso's famous painting of the distruction)
            1938 Kristallnacht
            1938 bullied Austria into unifying with Germany
            1938 manufactured a reason to take over the Sudentenland - part of Czechoslovakia

            Only when Poland was invaded in 1939 did they act.

            Finally, finally Europe declared war!

            George W. Bush - Often wrong, but never in doubt!

            by auapplemac on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 09:25:11 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  that's the half of the story the right wants (none)
              to remember. They'd like to forget how prominent right-wingers were pro-Hitler.

              The most prominent wingnut of the day was Charles Lindburgh. This bio notes that he did eventually join the war effort:

              German medal of honor

              While in Europe, Lindbergh was invited by the governments of France and Germany to tour the aircraft industries of their countries. Lindbergh was especially impressed with the highly advanced aircraft industry of Nazi Germany. In 1938, Hermann Goering, a high Nazi official, presented Lindbergh with a German medal of honor. Lindbergh's acceptance of the medal caused an outcry in the United States among critics of Nazism.

              Opposed voluntary American entry into World War II

              Lindbergh and his family returned to the United States in 1939. In 1941, he joined the America First Committee, an organization that opposed voluntary American entry into World War II. Lindbergh became a leading spokesman for the committee. He criticized President Franklin D. Roosevelt's foreign policies. He also charged that British, Jewish, and pro-Roosevelt groups were leading America into war. Lindbergh resigned his commission in the Army Air Corps after Roosevelt publicly denounced him. Some Americans accused Lindbergh of being a Nazi sympathizer because he refused to return the medal he had accepted.

              After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, Lindbergh stopped his noninvolvement activity. He tried to reenlist, but his request was refused. He then served as a technical adviser and test pilot for the Ford Motor Company and United Aircraft Corporation (now United Technologies Corporation).

              50 combat missions

              In April 1944, Lindbergh went to the Pacific war area as an adviser to the United States Army and Navy. Although he was a civilian, he flew about 50 combat missions. Lindbergh also developed cruise control techniques that increased the capabilities of American fighter planes.

              Luce's hard right anti-communism faced resistance within his own party. PBS notes:

              Luce's concern for the world began with the Second World War. Like many members of the Eastern Establishment - an informal collection of publishers and political and financial leaders - Luce viewed the early victories of Nazi Germany with alarm. No longer, Luce argued, could America afford her traditional isolation from the world. Even if Britain stopped Hitler, Luce correctly surmised, the war would leave her too exhausted to play the great world power. Americans had to be made to accept the "inevitable": armed intervention to save Europe and a new postwar order dominated by the United States - Luce called it the American Century.

              Luce's vision of America hegemony still faced obstacles. Some powerful conservative elements within the Republican party and some newspapers, most notably the Chicago Tribune, fiercely opposed Luce's new imperialism. Abroad, the Soviet Union began late in the war to assert its own will over Eastern Europe. Even before the disintegration of the U.S.-Soviet alliance. Luce's magazines, in 1944 and 1945, started to question Russia's intentions for the postwar world. Stalin, like Hitler, seemed bent on upsetting a balance of power favorable to the United States.

    •  I was JUST about to say the same thing (4.00)
      Stop making me cry at work! :)

      Bless you both and your families... let us know how the trip goes!

      "Revolutionary change does not come as one cataclysmic moment...but as an endless succession of surprises, moving zigzag toward a more decent society."

      by saint on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 12:36:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thank God I'm not the only one (4.00)
      I've shut the office door and I'll get it together in a few moments.  Jesus.
  •  this is (4.00)
    horrible and beautiful at the same time.

    Keep telling the story.

    How old would you be if you didn't know how old you were?

    by getmeoutofdixie on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 12:19:13 PM PST

  •  Wow (4.00)
    That's an amazing story. I've been to Dachau (sp?) and was horrified by what I saw. The story of what happened in Germany has always interested me because I couldn't understand how people could behave this way. It seems I'm starting to get a taste of it now.
    •  when i watch the Hitler channel.... (4.00)
      aka the History channel, I find myself turning away from the picture when they show the evil, evil men who perpetrated the Holocaust. Oddly (not really), when members of our current administration are shown on TV, I again turn away. Evil, evil men...

      ... there never was a revolution unless there were some oppressive and intolerable conditions against which to revolute. -- Twain

      by FemiNazi on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 04:21:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Unreal. (4.00)
    That is an absolutely gut-wrenching story.  In the midst of the craziness, one soldier was willing to die for his Jewish comrades.  Another soldier stood up and saved him.  

    Even in the ultimate insanity, some humans remain strong and brave. Amazing men; you are both so lucky to have descended from such people.  

    Deep breath. Compose self.  Keep tears off keyboard...

  •  Stunned (4.00)
    Miraculous coincidence.

    Thank you for letting us know about this - I'm speechless!

    I'm thanking the stars for your grandfather. You must be even more proud of him, if that was possible. True hero.

    Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing grooves of change. - Tennyson

    by bumblebums on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 01:12:06 PM PST

  •  Thank you for your story. (4.00)
    We have a lot of work to do.

    At my nieces wedding a few years ago I sat for a long while listening to her new husband's great uncle tell of his escape from Nazi Germany.  He was a very young man at the time with several siblings.  In order for Jews to leave Germany they had to pay an exit tax.  This meant they sold everything they owned and gave the proceeds to the German government and if the government felt it was sufficient, they could leave...with only the clothes on their backs.

    One sister was married and had three children.  Her husband owned a factory of which he sold so his family could leave.  However the Nazi government decided they didn't get enough for the sale of the factory and demanded more.  They attempted to raise more but in the end, could not.  They were not allowed to leave and at the end of the war, my nephew-in-law's great uncle discovered that his sister, her husband and their children had all perished in the camps.

  •  I hope you won't mind (4.00)
    but I just made a promise to your grandfather myself.

    thanks.

    I support Soulforce - seeking Justice for God's GLBT children. Please join us.

    by its simple IF you ignore the complexity on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 01:22:40 PM PST

  •  Wow (4.00)
    Amazing and beautiful. My uber stoic teenager just walked in and asked why I was crying, so I shared it with her. She left with tears on her face. We wish you well and look forward to reading about your visit with BettyG.
  •  ....wow.... (4.00)
    this left chills up my back. This is an amazing coincidence, but I'm sad that it had to come from a byproduct of an era where human beings were at their absolute worst and their absolute best at the same time.

    What's madness but nobility of the soul at odds with circumstance?

    by slinkerwink on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 01:54:58 PM PST

  •  What a fantastic diary. (4.00)
    There is so much I want to write, but none of it would do your story justice.

    Thank you.

    Dino Ironbody is my father.

    by strengthANDwisdom on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 01:56:41 PM PST

  •  Brought me to tears (good ones, not bad) (none)
    •  ditto (4.00)
      I'm also in tears -- I've been astonished and moved and enraged and engaged by other stories on the Internet, but never moved before to sudden, spontaneous tears.

      So this fightin' Catholic thanks you (and BettyG).  Mazeltov!

  •  Amazing (none)
    What an unbelievably moving story.  Thank you so much for sharing it.  
  •  Holy Shit (4.00)
    Pardon my language. I get vulgar when I get emotional.

    I was not expecting that.

    I'm incredibly moved right now.
    (... to say the least.)

    •  me too (4.00)
      "holy fuck" and "wow" are about all i can muster.

      wow

      holy fuck

      see?

      oh, i'm crying too.  god bless the internets.

      my grandfather, while not jewish, was also a POW.  he would only ever talk about it if he was sauced up.  conflicting reports about his fate and whereabouts drove my grandmother to an early grave via drink.  i never knew her.

      not that anything could compare to the families of holocaust victims, but i'm starting to think that nobody was unaffected by that war.  nobody

  •  Thank You (4.00)
    I know that it is difficult to share these stories. Thank you.
  •  What A Beautiful Story : ) (none)
    Thanks for sharing. You've just made my day.

    "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." Dr. ML King, from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

    by bewert on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 02:29:30 PM PST

  •  Your story is so compelling, (4.00)
    I'm also moved to tears.  There is just one pragmatic point, the publicity  that could follow this story will be an opportunity to point out that joking about killing ones political opponents is the first step.

     I'm going to get a tissue now.

  •  Thank you (4.00)
    Thank you for reminding us that while there is great selfishness and evil in this world, in the midst of it there may be acts of transcendent good and self-sacrifice which may bring about joy beyond words.
  •  Amazing story! (4.00)
    The serendipity of this story is so amazing on so many levels.  I can't imagine the emotions you had when you read your grandfather's name in BettyG's email, amprather.  You have brought tears to many often-cynical eyes; thank you for this diary.

    My grandfather was a rotten drunk who pimped his daughter (my mother) to another drunk for a bottle of whiskey when she was 16.  

    Your grandfather was truly a man of honor and compassion.  Even though his time on earth has passed, his act of courage so long ago could be a catalyst to stop the current madness.  

    I hope that you and BettyG do everything you can to publicize this story, and that you appreciate how blessed you were to be loved by such a great man.

    We should all send this story to our friends, and ask everyone to make a promise to Roman Edemskoi.

    •  We should make a promise to your mother, too, (4.00)
      to do something about child abuse. Once and for all. To declare from the highest hills that it's not OK. That parents don't "own" their kids.

      We need to change social norms and laws so people who do things like that can be punished with jail time, and the whole of society expects that. Instead of us thinking, "That's another family's business, too bad for the kids, nothing I can do."

      That is a sick perspective -- the parallels to Germany are all too obvious. We can do better than this.

      I'm sorry this happened to your mother, if she's still alive would you please tell her that for me? In just those words.

      And for you, I'm sorry you have to live with this story. I hope you've been able to adopt some other elders to function as loving guides in your life.

      Good grief, how horrible for you all.

      Reframing the news and people's views of our world: http://www.HeroicStories.com

      by AllisonInSeattle on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 10:12:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I broke the cycle in my life (4.00)
        As soon as I was old enough, I married someone completely different from my family and adopted his big warm loving family.  My kids were respected and cherished by my husband's relatives, so they have been spared the horrors of abusive alcoholic dysfunction.  They are grown now, beautiful, loving, responsible adults.  Praise God.

        I learned about my mother's abuse from my grandmother (my father's mother who knew my mom's family before she was born) when I was 17.  This kindly old lady was trying to explain to me the reasons for my mother's alcoholism and destructive behavior.  

        Mom passed away nearly a decade ago.  We made our peace long before she died, and she tried to make up what she lacked as a mother by being a good grandmother.

        Thank you for your wonderfully kind words on her behalf.
        I too wish she had not been abused; For me, I can only say that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and I left that life behind a long time ago.

        I should point out that I could never have escaped my family and built a life without the help I received from government social programs.  Yes, I was on welfare.  Just long enough to get some education (with a Pell Grant) and feed my kids (food stamps) until I could land a good job, which I did, nearly 20 years ago.

        The best legacy we could give my mom would be to send people like my grandfather to the depths of hell, and save the institutions that allowed her daughter and grandchildren to escape to a better life.

  •  I join you (4.00)
    Somehow I missed your first diary, so let me add to this one.  My husband is the son of Jews who were fortunate enough to escape German in the latter days of the 1930s, just before the doors slammed shut to immigration.  My mother-in-law recently turned 90 and is still as alert and informed as anyone can be.

    While she and her husband (plus her brother, her mother and father, her husband's brother) were all able to escape, many member of her family were not.  My mother-in-law and her family were initially denied entry to the US, so they lived for a while in Brazil.  Her 92-year-old brother put down roots in Brazil and is still there today.

    I have been interested in genealogy for years, so a couple of years back I sat down with my mother-in-law to collect as much information as I could about her family and that of her husband.  I knew that one day my children would consider this information to be like a gift of gold.  I methodically covered the members of her family, asking about birthdates, spouses, dates of marriages, and dates of death.  One by one she told me about her sister, her sister's husband, her sister's children, then her other sister, that sister's husband, that sister's children.  Over and over, I had to enter "Died in death camp -- date unknown."  

    Then, she pulled out a old scrapbook and she took out pictures.  The first one she showed me was her sister, taken when she was in her twenties.  I looked at this picture of her sister and saw my daughter's eyes looking back at me.  I was devastated.

    As I said, my mother-in-law is as sharp as anyone would hope to be at age 90.  She watches the news and understands what's going on.  When we were visiting her last November right after the election, I asked her what she thought of Bush and his people.  "No good,"  she said.  "They worry me."  I asked why and she make it clear that she sees too many parallels emerging in our country to the repression and hatred that existed as she was growing up in Germany.

    I hope to God we can learn from people like my mother-in-law, who may be better able than anyone else to identify the warning signals in our society.

    •  forgive me (none)
      but now that my emotional reaction has played out, i'm getting political.

      how do we get that meme out there - that modern day america is reminiscent of nazi germany - i mean, really, as in people who were there should know, not just sensationalist OMG Bu$H is eth H17l3r!!one!

      that is something the world needs to hear ad nauseum.

  •  this has my mom (4.00)
    in tears.  And made me well up.

    never, ever, again..

  •  Tears (none)
    Having been moved by your original post already, today I sit here with tears streaming down my cheeks.  Truly amazing.

    When a whole nation is roaring Patriotism at the top of its voice, I am fain to explore the cleanness of its hands and the purity of its heart. - Emerson

    by foolrex on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 03:22:01 PM PST

  •  Wow. (4.00)
    Just...wow.  Thanks for sharing such a remarkable story.

    Politics: It's all fun and games until somone dies.

    by advisorjim on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 03:26:05 PM PST

    •  Your sig line. (4.00)
      Politics: It's all fun and games until somone dies.

      I shuddered when I read it just now.  The story of amprather's grandfather and the other countless victims of the death camps is an illustration of its ominous truth.

      What does it take to wake people up?  Why do so many people insist on sleepwalking into catastrophe?

      It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, more vengeance, more desolation.

      by martianchronic on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 04:39:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tears, too (4.00)
    I can't stop crying about this miracle.  What an amazing, remarkable story of the grandchildren of such tortured and brave men who find each other so many miles and so many years from when their grandfathers fatefully encountered one another.

    What a miracle that, with all of the diaries on DailyKos that fly by every day, Betty would happen to read yours.

    What a miracle that Betty's grandfather would remember your grandfather's name enough to teach it to his family, and that she would actually type it in her email to you.

    There is some major cosmic gift here, beyond the DailyKos readers that you have moved with this story.  I can't wait to watch what good will come from this fateful meeting.

    I think this is the most amazing diary I've ever read on DailyKos.  It's not only front-page material; it should be the front page of every newspaper in America.  The triumph of love and courage over hate, two generations later, and how the online community helped you find each other.  Bless you both.  

    I don't know if I've ever witnessed a true miracle before this one, but I know I have now.

  •  You've just done (4.00)
    an immeasurable service to this country as well as to all those who have fallen victim to the genocidal impulses of societies gone crazy...Nazi Germany, Rwanda, Sudan...these are all instances of countries in which hatemongers bartered societal eruptions of fear, moral relativity, and ultimately violence, to gain and retain power.  Thanks for your sage reminder of what "treasonous liberal" and "demonic gay" rhetoric can so quickly and easily disintegrate into.  I'm with you in your pledge that we will one day live in a world in which bartering hate is punished, not rewarded with high governmental positions.  

    Highly recommended.

  •  Good to remember (4.00)
    also a reminder that very little has been settled in the Sudan.

    An opposition party need only oppose.

    by litero on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 04:03:27 PM PST

  •  Sometimes I wonder (4.00)
    if those things of value that seemingly go unnoticed make a difference.

    Today, I can say, yes, they do make a difference.

    Thank you for sharing.  This site is a wonderful place.

  •  what can I say but (4.00)
    how amazingly powerful that story is.

    Thank you, as a gay man, as a father, thank you.

    The story and your resolve made me cry and have bit more hope.

    "If you and I think exactly alike, one of us is unnecessary" "at least bleeding heart liberals have one"

    by wclathe on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 04:08:55 PM PST

  •  The saddest url in the world (4.00)

    blog updated 3-2
    one man's conspiracy is another man's business plan

    by DuctapeFatwa on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 04:10:00 PM PST

  •  Thank you. (none)
    We must never let the world forget.
  •  Stories like this.. (4.00)
    ..only re-affirm a promise I made years ago..that I would not allow injustice to stand..that I would do whatever possible to help my fellow (wo)man..

    My girlfriend is Jewish, and I know that her grandparents dealt with this firsthand. I hope never to have to experience that. I hope no one else ever has to.

    Thank you for your sharing.

    "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." - MLK

    by amayernx on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 04:13:08 PM PST

  •  Holy Wow, Batman (none)
    That just gave me the goosebumps.
  •  Passing the kleenex around... (4.00)
    I'm most touched by the fact that your grandfather never told of his heroism to anyone, that it is a fact he kept largely to himself.  

    I hope that you will share your meeting with BettyG with us.  

    I've never read anything like this.  As others have said, truly a miracle.

  •  An amazing story (4.00)
    I'm heartened and humbled and in awe of this powerful connection you made. Thank you for having the strength and conviction to share your story in the original diary, and to share with all of us the miracle that it has wrought.

    What keeps bringing me back to this place are all the people here I've come to know and love, the friendships we've built, and the little pieces of each others' lives that we share. Your story confirms for me what a very, very special place this is. It also confirms for me the potential of what we can all do together. My words are failing me. Just now that I am so encouraged and gladdened by your story.

  •  I promise, too. n/t (4.00)

    Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God.-Thomas Jefferson
    We are the resistance.

    by boadicea on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 04:20:25 PM PST

  •  I can't say anything new that (none)
    hasn't already been written above but they all bear repeating - through tears, Thank You for sharing your story.
  •  Wow. (4.00)
    There's nothing that can be said about this diary.  It's amazing.

    What I would say is that in addition to the newspaper reporter, you should really contact local or national news outlets, or possibly any of several production companies in the Bay Area, and share this story with them.  For some reason the notion of the online community has been lost in the fever over blogswarms and scalp collecting.  I'm here to talk politics and engage in a community with those who have common interests.  Those of us who have been around for some time (I lurked for years before writing in earnest in '04) know full well about the power of online communities.  I've seen some of the best of humanity come from them (I've also seen some of the worst, but it hasn't stopped me from coming back).

    My point is that there would be much to gain from your story in the nation at large.  It would not only show the power of the connected world, but it would give a real perspective on what can happen on these weird things called "blogs" that people don't truly understand.  The media has taken notice of the blogosphere, but this would be a new and enlightening angle. I'd email the network morning shows, CNN, Olbermann, everyone, and get this story out there.

    Furthermore, as a TV production guy myself, I can see this being an amazing short subject documentary.  I'm not in the Bay Area anymore, but somebody ought to tell this story to the world.  Maybe I can help in bringing that into fruition.

    email if you wish.

    "Killing a man to defend an idea isn't defending an idea. It's killing a man." -Jean-Luc Godard, "Notre Musique"

    by dday on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 04:24:44 PM PST

    •  I agree - film is the way to go (4.00)
      Newspaper articles reach thousands.

      Films reach hundreds of thousands or even millions.

      This story is just screaming to be adapted as a film. I've adapted a couple stories into screenplays, and written a couple scripts, but have never had any optioned.

      But this one - I bet you money someone would jump at the chance to make the film.

      If I lived in the Bay area, and this was my grandfather's story, I would check out Francis Ford Coppola's online "studio", American Zoetrope, and link up with a team of writers. An excited writer could crank out a draft in a month - research would take 3-6 months - and then you could get helpful criticism and reviews on the AZ site.

      If you're lucky, Coppola or his company might option the story.

      -What have you got that a man could drink with just a minimum risk of blindness and death.

      by Toadvine on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 04:42:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And before anyone balks at the idea (none)
        Commercialization may seem crass at this point.  There is much more good to be achieved by going that route:

        Exposure of the story, reminder of the roots of the story.  It is also a powerful demonstration of that which is right and good about the internet and blogging.

        Connection.

        My mother's menu consisted of two choices: Take it or leave it. - Buddy Hackett

        by kfred on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 05:57:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Midwestern view (none)
          I had cause to think about this more..

          My grandfather was a full-blooded German, his folks came to America in the late 1800's.  Protestant, farmers - Grandpa was a Doughboy in WWI.  We had no immediate relatives in WWII - they were busy raising sheep to make the uniforms and raising the crops to feed the soldiers.

          We had no idea what a Jew was in relation to the horror.  It didn't matter.  It just wasn't right.

          Therein being the point - religion has nothing to do with it.  If there is anything about Holocaust, nothing irks me more than any suggestion that this is a religion-based discussion.

          THIS is a question of right or wrong.

          My mother's menu consisted of two choices: Take it or leave it. - Buddy Hackett

          by kfred on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 06:15:50 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Money? (none)
          It's unlikely the production company would do more than break even. Independent film and small budget films aren't big money makers, FAIK, unless they're huge hits like Blair Witch Project, or similar freakish hits.

          You're right - the reason to make this movie is to gget the message to as many people as possible. When facing fascism, one man stands up to defend another - and, two generations later, those men's descendants meet in an online discussion about fighting the rebirth of fascism.

          -What have you got that a man could drink with just a minimum risk of blindness and death.

          by Toadvine on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 06:23:40 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Spielberg(sp?) would be better.. (none)
        After all, he is deeply involved with the Shoah project and with several Holocaust museums.
  •  Serendipity (4.00)
    Weird, especially since the thing I read before this diary was an email from MoveOn asking that people mobilize because "Karl Rove recently announced that he was setting up a "permanent campaign" -- modeled on Bush/Cheney `04 -- to force a sweeping right-wing agenda through Congress. The same corporate donors are donating, the same ground troops are organizing -- even people like the Swift Boat Veterans are back in business, all working together to gut Social Security, confirm extremist judges, and silence the Democrats"

    Shiver...

  •  Very moving... (none)
    ... intense. Thank you for taking the time to share this story with us.
  •  Another sad thing (4.00)
    is that all those who experienced these horrors and survived will soon be gone.  There will be only their children and then their grandchildren to keep their stories alive.  And soon there will be only their great-great grandchildren...and so on into the inexorable march of time.

    I remember sitting in a cafe in Arromanches which had been a major landing site for the British on D-Day.  Looking out the window I could see several aged  Englishmen with their walkers and canes trudging slowly down the streets, on their way to the beach.  Tears came to my eyes when I realized that soon they would be gone and no one would remain to tell their story.

    We have to be sure that these stories remain alive even if those who lived them are gone.  So thank you very much for your beautiful diary.

    "Pro-life" really means "pro-criminalization"

    by Radiowalla on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 04:27:57 PM PST

  •  Dear Kos, (none)
    Thank you for your "steal what you want policy."  I had to share this with my nearest and dearest --

    Never forget. Never again.

  •  Wow (4.00)
    The stunning conclusion of the diary almost made me forget what I thought of before I got to BettyG's email.  

    I was having a conversation with a friend on the subject of the Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol.  We were discussing generally the fact that the Supreme Court will hear the Constitutional challenge submitted regarding this monument.

    We are on opposite sides of the issue: I think the statue, regardless of historical value or what have you, flagrantly violates the separation of church and state.  My friend thinks that we have bigger worries as a country and that it has historical value from the perspective of our laws and the foundations of our Democracy (tangent: this is a good, smart friend who considers things carefully and whose opinion I respect even if I don't always agree).

    My main point in the discussion was the slow erosion I see in the separation of church and state and I reminded my friend that our founders fled to what would become America to avoid religious persecution.  I essentially made the point that I think state sponsorship of religious symbols and language is another form of persecution.  My friend thought that was a bit extreme and pointed out that historical religious persecution included being killed for one's religion, drawing the point that the comparison I had made was weak - the situations are not the same.  My answer was simple: "Not the same YET".  

    Amprather's entry brought that back to me - that the small things were ignored and it "wasn't so bad" or things were "isolated events".  Eventually it grew - through small steps, erosions and changes, to wholesale persecution and murder of the jews.  I watch the encroachment of religion in our government and the growing din of intolerance with exactly the same thought: it all starts somewhere and it's imperative to remember, to never forget or you'll miss its seeds all around you until it's too late.

    GREAT diary.

    Note for Amprather: I've been to Dachau - it was one of the most moving experiences of my life and I deeply applaud you and your family going over there.  I don't have ties to the holocaust, through family or otherwise and it was a life-altering event for me.  Be safe on your journey.

    The revolution is coming... and we ARE the revolution.

    by RenaRF on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 04:29:25 PM PST

    •  "Killed for their religion" (4.00)
      What does your friend think about attacks on Muslims post-9/11 were? Or the cab driver killed for wearing a turban -- Muslims don't wear turbans but most of these numbnuts don't know that.

      It seems there's an increase in vandalism at synagogues...or maybe I'm just more aware of it. Those that say "it can't happen here" are being very naive.
      ****
       I think you and BettyG should send your stories to Keith Olbermann over at Countdown; it's the kind of story that he would like, and a great demonstration of the positive power of the Internet.

      Have a great visit, and blessings and peace to both of you...

      "It's an unnerving thought that we may be the living universe's supreme achievement and its worst nightmare simultaneously." -- Bill Bryson

      by Cali Scribe on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 05:08:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Agreed with your post and point... (none)
        ...however, when you state:

        What does your friend think about attacks on Muslims post-9/11 were? Or the cab driver killed for wearing a turban -- Muslims don't wear turbans but most of these numbnuts don't know that.

        This is not exactly correct. There are indeed many muslims who do wear head coverings that are generally called turbins. It is however a cultural thing, and not a religious one. For example, you can find vast numbers of men in Lahore Pakistan wearing "turbins" and they are muslims.

        cheers,

        Mitch Gore

        Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

        by Lestatdelc on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 05:43:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I Frequently Scream at Postings (4.00)
    Rarely do I cry.

    We the undersigned urge you to support Federal funding for research using human pluripotent stem cells. -80 Nobel Laureates to Pres. Bush

    by easong on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 04:29:38 PM PST

  •  whoah (none)
    powerful and inspiring stuff.  I'm sharing this with my friends and family.  

    I look forward to hearing how your meeting next week goes.  please keep us posted.

    "When people think, Democrats win." - Bill Clinton

    by Todd Beeton on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 04:31:19 PM PST

  •  I too missed (4.00)
    your first posting of your diary and am so glad you posted it again along with the miraculous outcome.

    I am sitting here in my office(resident apartment manager) at the end of my day, waiting for a new tenant to come in to sign a lease that happens to be a two tours of iraq Marine. I have posted about him recently on other threads. He just called to say he was running really late, he is stuck in traffic. My normal response would have been oh well, see you tomarrow. BUT, I had just read this and the whole thread and was in such a space of deep inner tranquility. I will wait the extra fifteen minutes or longer for this brave young man.It's the least I can do for him.

    I am sharing these thoughts because I have been feeling so damn angry all week with one crappy thing in the news after another and then the Italian fiasco in Iraq, literally telling myself to stop comong here to dkos I was feeling so badly, pissy and all. Then I came back from a break and automatically signed on and there you were with your amazing story. It totally changed my mood, to a deep sadness and then one of joy with the end result being you and Betty G finding each other. I could not stop the tears.

    I too will stand for you and Betty G and for Roman Edemskoi and little Roman. May the Universe shine on you and please publish this story. It is one we all need to read. Thank you so much for sharing and allowing yourself to be so vulnerable. I admire you greatly!

    The more understanding one posesses, the less there is to say and the more there is to do.

    by Alohaleezy on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 04:33:32 PM PST

  •  Very moving (4.00)
    And inspiring, and uplifting.  It's important to know that out of so much evil, there are moments that shine through. This is one of them.

    In loving memory: Sophie, June 1, 1993-January 17, 2005. My huckleberry friend.

    by Paul in Berkeley on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 04:35:49 PM PST

  •  You gave me goosebumps (none)
    Perhaps finding BettyG through your diary, which expressed your refusal to let what happened to your grandfaher happen again, has a deeper meaning.

    To me it means you did the right thing and both yours and BettyG's grandfathers are proud of you two.

    In the future people will wonder why most didn't challenge Bush's excesses
    The truth? Complacency was easier

    by lawnorder on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 04:37:05 PM PST

  •  Heroes (4.00)
    I don't say this lightly.  I think the term hero is used way too often these days.  Someone who can run fast or catch a ball is not a hero.  A hero is a regular person who does something incredible for unselfish reasons.  Roman and Ivan are heroes.  Both men were willing to sacrifice their lives for the good.  I'm incredibly moved and grateful to hear their stories.

    What color are your pajamas?

    by Unstable Isotope on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 04:40:38 PM PST

  •  Free Republic (4.00)
    Read the contents of this thread, and then go read any... I mean any...thread on Free Republic.

    I don't believe in souls or any such nonsense, but  if they exist, which denizens of these two sites could possibly have souls.

  •  God bless (4.00)
    Today I went to a memorial service for a friend who died suddenly last month.  The room was packed with family and friends who had been touched by this sweet, humble man and his unstinting warmth.  I bawled because I miss him, and because it reaffirms some element of the decency of people.

    Now I read this, and the decency and courage of amprather's grandfather, and the serendipitious good fortune of meeting bettyG makes me think that perhaps there is hope when we listen to our better angels.

    Oops,  now I'm crying again.  But in a good way.  So much for today's mascara.  Thank you, amprather, for sharing your remarkable story with this online community.  

  •  A Divine Story of Life (4.00)
      What an incredible feeling of pride you must have.

      To finally understand what an amazing man your grandfather was.

      To face the pain he knew he was going to endure, and most likely death, to save a another soul.

      To never speak of it, and to hold steadfast his beliefs and faith.

      For because of his strength, a story of life has continued, through both families.

      Now you can view in your childrens eyes, the strength of the soul that lies within.

      "Blessed are the true believers"

     

    "who is gonna make it..we'll find out in the long run" (eagles)

    by infidelpig on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 04:41:42 PM PST

  •  While you're in the Bay Area . . . . (4.00)
    It would be neat if you two could get together with Markos, who indirectly brought you together.
  •  It can happen here (4.00)
    The George Bushes of the world gain power by appealing to the fear, hate, bigotry and ignorance that lies within his supporters. Not to their reason. The man has made a deal with the devil, of sorts.

    And to those who believe it can't happen here, we say, "Oh, yes, it can indeed happen here."

    We must be ever vigilant to ensure it does not.

  •  stunning...the small world of it all (none)
    And now you have new family.

    How wonderful.

    'Truth Aggressively Told' Dogfight04

    by BigDog04 on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 04:49:00 PM PST

  •  Amazing (4.00)
    Stories like this reafirm my faith in humanity. There's so much I want to say but can't find the words to say it. Thank you for showing that when you  do the right thing, good things follow that you may never know but others will forever.
  •  I Cried (4.00)
    I almost never cry when I read something, but this diary (and the original)is an amazingly powerful piece of truth and of history.

    What a gift you have received from BettyG. You have the chance to connect with your father's divine act and to see the fruit of that act in our world today.

    I recently finsished a book called Stones from the River about a Jewish dwarf who grew up in a small German village. It brought home to me how these insidious changes can spiral a society made up of ordinary, decent people to such depravity that could never be proposed as a policy.

    It's the little steps, the seemingly justifiable "little" changes that add up to a horror.

    Our country is populated by people no different than the typical German person. People have their frustrations, their prejudices, their petty greeds. It is the duty of the society as a whole, however, to mitigate these things and steer the society for the common good of all it's citizens.

    I am not a Christian, a Jew, or a Muslim but I would never advocate restricting someone's right to take communion, to wear a headdress, or to forbid someone the right to have their child circumcised. Individual freedoms and rights need to be protected against the unthinking wishes of the mob.

    What disturbs me so much about this present regime is their willingness to promote mob-like thinking. There is no acknowledgement of the rights of people who are minorities to live their lives differently.

    Indeed, these people are demanding loyalty oaths to even hear their leader speak. They disseminate propaganda in the form of Repub-speak, seed audiences with shills, and use coercion to enact their desired policies.

    I still remember hearing Ann Coulter on Bill Maher saying that anyone who disagreed with the president was a traitor.

    If we are not free to disagree, we are certainly in danger of becoming Hitler's Germany.

    9/11 was a faith-based initiative

    by Liberalated Woman on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 04:50:56 PM PST

  •  The Greatest Generation (4.00)
    Americans need to know (and understand) that they do not hold the rights to that phrase.

    Thank you for sharing your story.

    We all owe a debt to the generation of heroes who stepped up to the plate (in all forms). Sometimes we need a reminder of that.

  •  Never Again (4.00)
    Never ever again, to anyone in any place at any time.  This is our burden which we owe to the 12 million who died in the holocaust and to the untold multitude who have been tortured, slain, or enslaved because of what they believed or who they were descended from.

    We must never forget, we must remember the dead by preventing their atrocity from being repeated. We must remember history so that we can prevent it when, inevitably, someone tries to repeat it.

    We honor the tormented and the massacred when we remind ourselves and others of their unspeakable fate.  When we point out the shadow of a threat which resembles the one which haunted Europe two generations ago.

    It all started a society began to treat some of its members as less than others.  When individual freedoms were abridged for the greater good of the State.  The slide is not inevitable once it begins, but we must remain ever vigilant against the dehuminization of our neighbors.

    We have already taken too many steps in that direction and we must prevent ourselves and our nation from treading any further down that path.

    Once they come for one of us, they come for all of us.

    The only international crime is losing a war

    by Luam on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 04:52:25 PM PST

    •  This is so true. The difficulty is (4.00)
      in following through. If we come out to protest one at a time, we will be taken that way. If we come out all at once, there, my comrades, there is the power.

      Do not think about what you might lose when it comes time to turn out. Think about what we all shall gain.

      When they kick at your front door, how you gonna come?

      Perhaps this analogy is not appropriate here, but...

      I saw The Clash in 1982 in Detroit. Towards the end of the show, a fan jumped on stage, and a roadie came out and thur him off. Then, another fan, and the same outcome. And then, hundreds of fans jumped on to the stage. No roadies came forth.

      But it was The Clash. They just kept on playing. Unlike Joey Strummer and the boys, the Bushies are not on our side. They will not have roadies, but Bradley's full of Reserves. WE must trust in them.

    •  In a world where (none)
       the people that murdered Daniel Pearl are cheered...  In a world where people like Louis Farrakhan are respected and made wealthy.  Where Amiri Baraka served as the state poet laureate of New Jersey.  In a world that sees hundreds of innocent Israelis murdered by Homicide bombers.  I simply can't believe that the promise this guy made to his dead grandfather who had lived through the holocaust, the 1972 Munich Olympic massacre and the Klinghoffer murder on the Achille Laurel, was to save the world from Ann Coulter and Rev. Phelps.

      Today a professor from the University of Colorado is actually being paid to speak at collages across the country.  Among the ideas he spews are that the attackers of the World Trade Center were somehow justified in killing 3000 innocent Americans.  But who needs Ward Churchill when we got Ann Coulter to worry about? Right.

      If the bloggers in this group actually think there is any chance that Fred Phelps will someday be president or that Ann Coulter will send Ben Affleck off to a work camp in a cattle car, then you are far more paranoid than the worst right-wing militia group I've ever read about.

      The Holocaust happened due to pacifism on the part of the victims and appeasement on the part of the nations that could have stopped it before it started.  Period.

      The holocaust ended with strong military force used against the nation that perpetrated it.  My father was part of that military force. World War II ended the holocaust and cost over 250,000 American lives.  I wonder how many in this group would have put on a uniform, picked up a gun and actually joined the battle to help save this guy's grandfather. Just remembering isn't enough to keep this from happening again.

       Today our nation is engaged in military action against enemies that make no secret that they would like to kill every Jewish man, woman and child on this planet.  They also have no use for hippies, liberals, gays, infidels and especially Hollywood Actors.  This war the action that best fulfills the grandson's promise.  

      The forces against this evil are being lead by our president George W. Bush without the support of Germany, the designers and perpetrator of the holocaust and France, whose ass was saved from the Germans by the United States.  

      The Jewish people of Israel are forced to deal with the reality that countries exist whose national policy is to destroy them.  I believe this was probably the grandfather's greater concern.  Remembering the Holocaust is an important part of their defense.  Also, having one of the most powerful armies in the world comes in handy to remind others that would do them harm, that they haven't forgotten the Holocaust.

      So if you believe that remembering something is all it takes to keep it from reoccurring, go ahead and remember. Then remember the people that saw evil, called it by its name and destroyed it.  Remember the days when you could have supported that effort to challenge evil but did nothing but blog, blog, blog.

  •  Dear God. (4.00)
    I really need to remember the long view and the big picture.  Thanks so much for posting this.

    "Reagan proved deficits don't matter." Dick Cheney

    by 2kate2 on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 04:53:42 PM PST

  •  thank you n/t (none)

    "the prophet is a fool, the spiritual man is mad... for the multitude of thine inequity, and the Great Hatred" - violent femmes

    by Tirge Caps on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 04:54:00 PM PST

  •  wow (none)
    As mentioned by everyone else, the tears just started streaming as I read on....
    I am moved that you shared this with us, and know I too will never forget.
  •  Could I ask... (none)
    Is BettyG's Grandfather still alive
    and able to hear the news that Roman lived!

    I guess not or that would have been in her note.

    Very moving.

  •  I stand with you because (4.00)
    of a similar promise I made to my grandfather, to my dad and to my son and daughter.

    My promise to them was to not let their military service be in vain.

    My grandfather served during WW I in the US Army.
    My father served during WW II in the US Navy.
    My son just recieved his discharge from the US Army.
    My daughter was discharged in 2004 from the US Army.

    We all served to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic

    None of us served to:
    see the hate and bigotry that comes out of those that call them "Christians" or "Moral People

    see gays, liberals, Mexicans, hippies, Hollywood Actors, or anyone else have to be tattooed with a number. No more 58877241s.

    I proud to have also served.
    United States Air Force veteran (medic) 1965-1969

    •  *And domestic* (4.00)
      I felt the need to give those two words particular emphasis when I took that same oath for the Peace Corps (and this was under Clinton). I don't understand how anyone working under the current administration can swear (or affirm) to those words without reservations.

      Thanks to you and your family for your service.

      Amprather and BettyG, thank you for sharing your stories. Most of the older generation on my dad's side of the family was exterminated by the Nazis. We don't know a lot about the circumstances of their murders; stories like yours help me understand it all a little better. They were all so brave.

      Some will rob you with a six-gun / And some with a fountain pen. -- Woody Guthrie

      by abw on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 06:21:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Now THAT is a hero!!! (4.00)
    "My grandfather never knew why he survived while others perished..."

    I desperately want to believe that he survived because of his heroism. Not to diminish the worthiness and dignity of all the other millions who were slaughtered, but you just gotta wonder if God didn't reach down and declare "Now this is ONE that I will NOT allow you evil bastards to destroy."

    What courage. What would I do in that situation? Would I step forward? How many of us would? I would feel pathetic and small in the presence of such a true giant of the earth. You must feel incredibly proud to have such genes coursing through your veins.

    I'm looking forward to the movie...

    "Who told you that you were naked?" Genesis 3:11

    by mrhelper on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 05:00:05 PM PST

  •  Beautiful parable (4.00)
    Two people of integrity, refusing to allow or be complicit in the senseless murder of a comrade, change their immediate universe and prevent an orgy of slaughter.  Most beautifully and miraculously, both men survive, and quite literally "live to tell the tale," while bringing forth new generations - families upon families born and raised to reflect upon the power and real-life consequences of such integrity.

    And the facts of this incident, with every detail, endure.  And generations later, common cause (prounounced Kos?!) draws the heirs of this magical, honorable moment in history, in humanity, to the same ethereal place.  Where the telling of this very particular story brings them, like moral cousins, or co-actors in a curiously double-blind play, to meet and speak and greet each other once again.

    Best of all, all is well.

    Thanks so much, amprather and BettyG, for sharing this brilliant (downright cinematic) reunion with all the readers here.  During times of trouble (now, as then), it's so very good to gaze upon the shining rays that emanate (and propagate) from peaceful forms of courage.  

  •  WOWWWWWW........ (none)

    "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." - John F. Kennedy

    by Dean Nut on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 05:08:32 PM PST

  •  There (none)
    are few words that can even come close to the power of your story.

    As I sit here, in tears, all I can think of is the power of the internet, your story goes to so many levels, I can't even begin to touch them all.

    Please, please, let us know how your meeting with BettyG goes.

    Thank you, for posting your original diary, for sharing this amazing story with us.

    "September 11, 2001, already a day of immeasurable tragedy, cannot be the day liberty perished in this country." Judge Gerald Tjoflat

    by SanJoseLady on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 05:11:32 PM PST

  •  Wow!! (4.00)
    It's stories like that one which are our only hope as human beings. As ugly and vicious as we can be still within some of us is  astounding courage and breathtaking spirituality.
       

    "It's better to die on your feet then live on your knees"

    by Blutodog on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 05:16:34 PM PST

  •  beautiful...... (none)

    I'm in tears....
  •  Never Forget! (4.00)
    I remember a few Xmas past, I was working at a local department store and an elderly couple, who clearly could not speak Spanish, were trying to pick some gifts. The store was packed (it was Xmas Eve) I chatted with the as I helped them. Then I noticed the tattoo in the gentleman's wrist.

    We shared a look....

    Tears welled up in my eyes, and in his...

    I helped them with the rest of their shoping and bid them fairwell.

    No one deserves what I saw in that that man's eyes.

    Never Forget!

    Note to GWB, numbers don't lie, unless you lie about the numbers.

    by Ralfast on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 05:24:42 PM PST

  •  Thank you (none)
    and thank you to every death camp survivor who tells their story.

    The librarian in my daughters' grade school had a number on her arm.

    Thanks to her, they will never let a Holocaust denier go unchallenged.

    I've got blisters on my fingers!

    by Elwood Dowd on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 05:29:21 PM PST

  •  Like of all you I was moved. (4.00)
    This story has profound emotional resonance and it seems somehow wrong to comment beyond simply recording its deep human meaning for each of us as individuals.

    Yet amprather shames our reactions by reminding us of why his grandfather did not remove the tatoo. He did not want to forget.

    Never again should an Auschwitz arise, people write here.

    My friends it has done so many times in many places. If I mention the Balkans, it is only that they seem more easy to imagine than those that have died subsequently a myriad of times in a myriad of countries overseas. Countries in which our own hands are not always clean.

    "Never again" is a false statement of hope that also contains a lie.It has been said many times over the years on memorial days by our leaders. yet it has happened again and again and is happening now in many places of the world.

    As in Dafur this very day, Auschwitz is just a few neighbours and the silence of good people away, This is the human condition that has barely evolved and in which we struggle to make our lives peaceful and secure.

    •  Quietly may I add... (4.00)
      If you feel moved by amprather's diary, as I feel sure you will be, you may like to respond positively by taking action to prevent rape, torture and illegal detention over which we do have some say right now. Please use this link to a diary containing the State Department's confirmation that this is happening during this time of our care and responsibility for Iraq and use the link provided there by Caldonia to contact your representative in Congress.

      I feel certain that the request of amprather's grandfather to never forget will include all those who are suffering now what he suffered then and that this urging would not be regarded as an intrusion into his own personal story.

    •  I don't believe (4.00)
      "never again" is a false statement of hope or a lie.  Rather, it is a loud call to action from the voices of the ages that we must never cease hearing.  To abandon those words or give into despair is, in the words of Elie Wiesel, "to kill the victims a second time."
  •  Never Again (none)
    First they came for the Communists,
      and I didn't speak up,
        because I wasn't a Communist.
    Then they came for the Jews,
      and I didn't speak up,
        because I wasn't a Jew.
    Then they came for the Catholics,
      and I didn't speak up,
        because I was a Protestant.
    Then they came for me,
      and by that time there was no one
        left to speak up for me.

    by Rev. Martin Niemoller, 1945

    "I mean it, man, is there an emergency-level outbreak of flag desecration no one's kept me posted on?" -President Bartlet

    by Greg in TN on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 05:34:52 PM PST

    •  The original quote... (none)
      First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out--
      because I was not a communist;
      Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out--
      because I was not a socialist;
      Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out--
      because I was not a trade unionist;
      Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--
      because I was not a Jew;
      Then they came for me--
      and there was no one left to speak out.

      Not slamming you, but there are numerous variants attributed to Rev. Martin Niemöller's famous quote.

      cheers,

      Mitch Gore

      Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

      by Lestatdelc on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 05:52:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Martin Niemöller was liberated in 1945 (none)
        The son of a pastor, a U-Boat Captain (WWI) and later a pastor in a comfortable Berlin Suburb in the 1930s Niemöller did not start out as a great advocate for intellectual freedom. He initially supported Hitler but quickly grew disillusioned. Although arrested by the Gestapo in 1937 for his open opposition to Hitler and incarcerated in Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps, he nonetheless berated himself for not doing more, as in the quote above.

        His accomplishments include:

        Founded "Confessing Church" part of the larger Lutheran Reformed Church of Germany.
        Founded the Pfarrernotbund (Pastors' Emergency League) During the 1930s.
        Partly responsible for the "Stuttgarter Schuldbekenntnis" ("Stuttgart Confession of Guilt") acknowledging the German People's collective guilt for the Holocaust
        President of the World Council of Churches (1961-1968)
        He became unpopular with many Western political leaders for his outspoken pacificism: he preached reconciliation and disarmament throughout the post-war years.

        The quote above serves as a rallying cry for intellectual freedom advocates and the most eloquent justification for defending the free speech rights individuals and groups that many in society regard with contempt (i.e.: the KKK, Larry Flynt, Oliver North, to name a few).

        http://internet.ggu.edu/university_library/if/Niemoller.html

        He spoke out a lot, and may have been part of a plot against Hitler. Hence his arrest. This is a quote from someone with serious mojo.

        "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

        by CarbonFiberBoy on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 10:28:15 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  No retreat. No surrender. No appeasement. No compr (none)
      No retreat. No surrender. No appeasement. No compromise. The "enemy" views all these often rational acts as a sign of weakness. They are not interested in compromise. We all know the "enemy" when we see them, even if it is difficult to define them.
  •  Wow (none)
    Can't thank you enough for having the courage to share this with us.  Very moving.
  •  Thank you so much (none)
    I can only imagine how difficult it must have been to write.  

    I'm glad to see this is getting media attention, and I hope that it will help other Americans to change their thoughts on standing passively mute in the face of anti-semitism and genocide wherever they exist today.  

    WindyCityLefty Nudging the Midwest to the left one reader at a time.

    by WindyCityLefty on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 05:50:26 PM PST

  •  thank you (none)
    I finally stopped crying. Read it to my 9 yr old.
    By the way, last Sunday's New York Times Magazine has a story about how American Jewish Troops were especially mistreated by the nazis (and that this was covered up by the American Government).
  •  Grandson (4.00)
    of Roman Edemskoi, please know that you have multiplied your grandfather's blessing.  

    Thank you from all of us who have felt it passed on to us today.

  •  For amprather and BettyG (none)
    A mother may forget her child,
    When stirred by passions fierce and wild,
    But God will not forget his own;
    Faith rests on this foundation stone.

    No greater love a friend can give,
    Than die to let his comrade live.
    But God his love doth thus commend,
    He died for foe as well as friend.

    Oh matchless love, oh love divine,
    Come dwell in this glad heart of mine.
    Thyself reveal, thyself bestow,
    In flood-tide waves my soul o'er flow.

    Could I thy deepest depths explore,
    I know that I should love thee more.
    If I thy highest heights could climb,
    I'd love Thee with a love sublime.

    Could I but know the breadth and length,
    And Thou thyself would give me strength,
    I'd cease to sing "more love to thee,"
    For I should Love as thou lovest me.

    divine love - charles wesley turner

  •  Miracles (none)
    We discussed miracles in my seminar today.  How to treat of them as historians and academics, which is to say by bracketing out the question of whether they really happen.

    I must say, I don't know what I believe about miracles, but this story is uncanny, to say the least.  

    Maryscott hit it on the head, there are indeed more things in heaven and earth...

    Thank you for reminding us yet again how blessed we all are to be a part of this extraordinarily generous community.

  •  Speechless..... (4.00)
    Amprather -- and BettyG -- I just don't know what to say.

    You must feel almost as if you're related somehow.

    I'm a journalist and I just proposed this story to a big-city paper near me, up here in Canada, so I might be asking how to contact you.

    This story has to see the light of day!!

    Warmly,
    Karen

    •  Forgot (none)
      my email -- hearth@vianet.on.ca

      I also forgot to say... you've got incredible character in your blood, amprather.

      Love and PEACE,
      Karen

    •  Yes but (none)
      it would be a miracle if any major US Newspaper picked this up.

      The only cable news show that might even consider this is Olberman's show.  Might be worth calling them or emailing a link to this kos diary to  Msnbc.

      Actually I am going to send this to Olberman and suggest others do to.

      email to:  countdown@msnbc.com

      •  Yes, major US newspapers would run (none)
        Perhaps in "human interest" section. Or perhaps in an individual's column in a paper. But to imply that no major newspaper would run it is simply overly judgemental.

        The Denver Post recently picked up one of our HeroicStories (URL below), did more research into it, and ran it as a tribute to one of the heroes.

        Reframing the news and people's views of our world: http://www.HeroicStories.com

        by AllisonInSeattle on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 10:35:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Maybe (none)
          I'm too cynical
          •  They wouldn't run the fascism part (none)
            The newspapers would love this story, without the politics.  How one person posted that her grandfather was a survivor and how she found out, and that another replied with her story, and it turns out ...

            They would NOT mention that the original post was meant to remind us Never Again and about the creep of fascism.

            I'm a Democrat because of my beliefs. Democrats believe in economic, social, and moral responsibility. Republicans take risks with our future.

            by Katydid on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 02:16:34 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  No tattoos (4.00)
    Some of family immegrated from Berlin to America in 1887.  Their decision to emmigrate came shortly after the Pittsburgh Declaration of Principles.  The rest stayed in Berlin.  I have no knowlege of any of them surviving.

    So I have no 58877241s to remember.  But I know several Hungarian Jews who have numbers to remember.  I visit them on Yom Ha-Shoah (Holocaust Rememberance Day - May 5, 2005).  I do what I can.

    It is no accident that Liberty and Liberal are the same word.

    by Sorceress Sarah on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 06:00:13 PM PST

  •  wow (none)
    just wow

    thanks for following up with dkos

  •  Grandfather promise (none)
    If only this Country would stand behind our loved ones like this wonderful person and her grandfather.  We have left our soldiers out to dry, now we are trying our hardest to undermind security for retired people.  What has this country come to?  How can anyone that voted for these people hold their heads up?  
  •  one more comment (none)
    Perhaps apparent to all but I needed to read the story a second time in order to fully understand this: That BettyG's grandfather must have always believed that Roman Edemskoi was killed by the Nazis, since he was never seen again- presumably for coming forward so heroically.
    Miraculously he was not killed.
    BettyG's grandfather would have never known that.
  •  Wow (none)
    That's amazing. Goes to show that even in this world of billions, amazing connections can still be made.
  •  Beautiful, Thank You (none)
    Your Diaries should be placed in the halls of Congress, and sent to every Congress Person and Religious Leader.

    What an excellent day for an Exorcism.... Social Security THERE IS NO CRISIS!

    by DianeL on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 06:24:49 PM PST

  •  Words fail (none)
    Hugs to you both and many prayers from me.  Thank you for sharing this story.
  •  Ivan and Roman (none)
    Yes indeed -- your grandfather Roman was watching you that day as you rolled up his sleeve and memorized his number and made your promise.  

    And he and Ivan Feduleyev have likely conspired to use you and BettyG as conduits to make sure all of the rest of us don't forget.  

    And we won't.  The story of 58877241 is now with me forever and will be an inspiration when I need a lift.  Thanks for an amazing story.  You've done a fine thing for us all with it.

  •  wow... (none)
    This story got me too.  Tears are rolling down my face.  I've heard many stories of incredible coincidences that have happened of family members and friends coming together after the holocaust in my life and each one is amazing.  
  •  Legacy, & a call to Roll Call (none)
    The legacy, and lessons, of the Holocaust, and of the Germans who allowed, and suffered the consequences of, Nazism speak through our voices here.  This is the purpose of knowing History, and of remembering Family.

    It is never more clear that the hateful voices of the present "Right" are the voices of the power-hungry descendents of Nazism intruding into our own lifetimes, and threatening our children's future, than when this contrast of voices is thrust before us.

    Today's proto-Nazis cannot quote these real voices of the Holocaust and that War without shining the light on their own perfidy and smallness.

    The only question remaining is how strongly we will stand up and carry on the legacy that we are called to honor.

    I believe we should have a Holocaust Roll Call here in our dKos pages, open to those who have a family connection to that event.  It should be re-posted, and added to, at least once per month.

    And, out of respect, those of us not of that heritage, create and post only on a separate thread of support for it.

    Also, those who are descendents of the Germans, or Russians or others, who suffered in those times, should have a like forum.

    Some appeared today (Kenevan McConnon & theRoaringGirl) on this thread:

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/3/4/15504/77847

    Grandfathers who were political arrestees by the Nazis were the topic there.

    If we do not hear the quiet voices of the dead, who were completely our peers in daily life, in perception, intelligence, and family concerns, until tragedy intervened, then their fate will become ours with the inevitability of one season turning to the next...

    If a thousand men were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State...

    by HenryDavid on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 06:31:52 PM PST

    •  i respectfully disagree (none)
      i think it would violate our sense of community and common humanity to be divided thusly into groups, especially considering that it was exactly the fallacy of ancestry determining the individual that greased the wheels of the holocaust in the first place. we are one people, and any crime done to one is done to us all.

      e pluribus unum.

      •  I'm imagining (none)
        the concentration -- growing concentration -- of powerful voices.

        I picture us, here, creating pages that can be lifted off of dKos, and planted whole on the pages of NYTimes, Harper's, The Nation, etc.

        It's more of a self-editing documentary function than a political division.

        But then, me -- I'm a megalomaniac about the binding power of true words...

        If a thousand men were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State...

        by HenryDavid on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 09:38:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Nürnberger Gesetze? (none)
      What you propose would result in an ultimate triumph of the  Nazi racial laws (Nürnberger Gesetze), which divided German citizens into subgroups.

      German communists, social democrats, unionists fought against the nazi ideology because they understood that Hitler wanted to destroy the universal ideas of our shared common humanity, as expressed in the ideals of the French and American revolution - Equality and Freedom of and for all (wo)men, and replace them with a nationalistic, racially defined new "purpose" of an "unique mission" of the German people.

      Gingrich, Norquist and Rove attemt to do exactly the same in America. They want to foster the idea of American "exceptionalism" as "one nation under God", which has to accomplish a "unique mission" in the world. They, too, want to do away with universal values and replace them with nationalistic "virtues".

      I'm against your proposal.

       

  •  I know you must be deluged with contacts (4.00)
    given all the support and good wishes so deservedly coming your way right now.  But soon, when you have a moment, please do contact this man.  Bernard, who now lives in the United States, is a holocaust survivor from Krakow. His family lost 50 people in various death camps and only he and two older brothers survived.  He is also one of the most wonderful people in the world, and your stories have much resonance with his.  I promise you, you will not regret looking up Bernard Offen.  I hope you can and will.
    Peace for you and your family.  Your story is the stuff of tears and joy all rolled into one.

    < / uncharacteristic Eddie Haskell sincerity >

  •  Tattoos (4.00)
    I remember seeing them on the arms of my friends' grandparents -- a few of them, anyway -- as I was growing up near New York.

    It wasn't until 20 years later that I got the real dynamic of the survivors who, I believe, had best healed from their imprisonment.

    I was staffing a leaflet table at a rally in L.A. against Reagan's attacks on Central America in the mid-1980s.  Our sign urged complete resistance to complicity in the massacres being revealed at that time.

    A man and woman of about age 70 came and talked with us briefly, then rolled up their sleeves and proudly showed us the tattooed numbers on their forearms.

    And then gave us their blessing: "If there had been more people like you, then this (thrusting out their arms again) would never have happened."

    If a thousand men were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State...

    by HenryDavid on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 06:40:46 PM PST

    •  My tattoo story... (4.00)
      In 1977, I was a young mother with a baby in my arms at the grocery store.  I'd popped in just to pick up a few things and didn't need a cart.  As it turned out, I bought more than intended and while reaching for a package of butter, I dropped some food items into the refrigerated store display unit. Standing nearby was a very kindly elderly gent.  Seeing that I had my hands full with a squirmy child, he quickly reached to help me out and retrieve the wayward tomatoes.  It was a bit messy, so he rolled up his sleeve.  My eyes immediately fell upon a faded tattoo that at first seemed odd to me ... hmmm, just a bunch of numbers I thought. Then he turned to me and with a hint of a German accent exchanged some small pleasantries.  It was then I knew that I'd come face-to-face for the first time in my life with a holocaust survivor.
  •  I have all the same feelings (none)
    as everyone else posting...

    Although a whole wing of my family probably died in Auschwitz (Jews from Krakow) my direct ancestors emigrated several decades before that and lost touch with that side.

    How utterly right it was that your grandfather, who was willing to sacrifice himself for his comrade, would survive and live to see you looking up to him.

    And look up to him we all are.

    Yesterday we stood at the abyss; today we are taking a step forward.

    by peeder on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 06:40:56 PM PST

  •  Beautiful. (none)
    Thank you for sharing.  I'll be directing family and friends to this.
  •  Circle (4.00)
    We're all connected. But it helps when you see it in black & white like this. 2 people who didn't know each other during the War were connected then. And all these years later, the children that came after them have shown this connection again. Add that to all of us who have read this story and the circle gets bigger and bigger.

    "I mean it, man, is there an emergency-level outbreak of flag desecration no one's kept me posted on?" -President Bartlet

    by Greg in TN on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 06:45:41 PM PST

  •  Sand monkeys (4.00)
    We are not nearly so far from those attrocities as we might wish to believe.  Racial profiling, a willingness to torture terrorists, all kinds of untermensche-type racial epithets (see title for one a coworker uses), general condemnation of islam as a backwards hatefull religion - all of this happens now with astonishing frequency.

    We all have in us the capacity for this hatred.  All that is necessary for its activation is the right trigger, be it an economic depression brought about by excessive war reparations, or an attack on a quiet tuesday by a few radial fundamentalists.

    We must always remind ouselves that Hitler was democraticaly elected.  He didn't come from outside the system and force his way in through a military coup (he tried that first but failed), instead he worked the people up into such a frenzy that they voted for him freely, building on their fears and convincing them that the 'other' was responsible for their plight, convincing them that only he could rid them of this menace.

    Never let anyone think for a minute that these forces don't exist in this very country, at this very time.  I witness them every day, from all of the anti-muslim comments I hear, to the blaming by Fallwell of the gays and feminists for the lowering of 'God's protection', to the daily passing of laws marginalizing certain groups of people.

    We must fight with every breath to remind everyone we encounter that the moment we allow these forces to take over, we have surrendered everything it means to be American and forfeited our right to take any pride in it.  The terrorist will have won in that instant.

    America must ALWAYS be a shining beacon of hope to the world, that no matter how bleak the present, we always look forward to the future with optimism, seeking to better outselves by bettering the lives of those around us.  Every single word of our founding documents demand that of us.  Every single reason for our very existence is predicated on that promise.

    We are here because all people are created equal, because no one has a right to take away anyone's rights, because we demand a world free from persecution and opporession, where all can dream and even the most impoverished child can become the leader of the free world.  If we give that up in the name of fear or anything else, we will have sold our soul to the devil and gotten nothing in return.

    "They that give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

    - Benjamin Franklin

  •  Number tatoos (4.00)
    Like amprather's grandfather, my stepmother also had a number tatoo from the Auschwitz/Birkenau death camp which she also never removed for the sake of remembrance.

    She did, however, keep it covered with a thick layer of makeup.

    Only once could I bring her to talk about it.

    One morning I saw her putting the makeup on over her number.  I asked her why she kept hidden the symbol of her ultimate triumph over Nazism.

    She said that it gave her no pride, because it was a symbol that she was Hitler's property.

    Let's resolve to make certain that no person will ever have to wear such a symbol again.

    The only thing we have to fear is four more years of George W. Bush. -- Sen. Edward Kennedy

    by Outsourcing Is Treason on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 07:05:50 PM PST

  •  My God, what a story! (none)
    This gives me such hope--that such a story could be possible from utter evil.

    Yes, the web is "just" a tool; but it's possibility and the connection that it can provide.

    My God...this just takes my breath away.

    "Sir, we've already lost the dock." A Zion Lieutenant to Commander Lock, The Matrix Revolutions

    by AuntiePeachy on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 07:11:01 PM PST

  •  I think (none)
    my goosebumps have goosebumps.

    What an incredible story. Thank you for sharing.

    I hope that someone will be recording your meeting with BettyG...this is a story that deserves to be remembered.

    GWB will pry my 19 year old son from my cold dead fingers.

    by Momagainstthedraft on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 07:16:02 PM PST

  •  Thank you so much.... (none)
    for sharing your inspiring story... I am so glad you and BettyG found each other.  We can never forget, not only the horror, but what led up to it.  Thank you for renewing my faith that even in the midst of evil, miracles happen.
  •  A similar (though not as dramatic) story (4.00)
    A few years ago, I became interested in the life and 1944 rescue of my Great Uncle, a French doctor who died in France when I was only one year old.  He had no children, but I followed various family leads and wrote to the mayors of the various towns in which he lived.  On a trip to France in 1997, I met the son of Francois Naffrechoux, the farmer who rescued him in Western France (Deux-Sevres) in 1944, and people who knew him in his home town of St. Avold in Alsace-Lorraine, right on the Maginot Line.

    Before WW I, and in 1939-40, he lived in the town of Thiaucourt, near Nancy.  The Mayor of Thiaucourt sent me the name of a M. Thirot, who the Mayor said remembered him from 1939-40.  But when I approached the town, I couldn't reach either M. Thirot or the Mayor.  I'd pretty much given up on finding him when I arrived in St. Avold.

    The Mayor of St. Avold had given me the names (and phone numbers) of two prominent Jewish residents of the town who remembered my great uncle.  One of them, Jacques, owned "Dodo," a quilt company based in St. Avold.  Dodo's heir apparent was Jacque's son Didier.  I asked Jacques and Didier if they knew anyone in Thiaucourt.  Didier stunned me by saying that he was originally from Thiaucourt, that he knew both the Mayor and M. Thirot and that he would be glad to set up an appointment to meet him.

    Thiaucourt is a tiny village about fifty miles from St Avold, and there was no earthly reaosn for Didier to have been from there.  It seemed like more than a marveolous coincidence, and felt like somehow my great uncle was guiding me on my journey to his past -- as though my persistence had elicited some spiritual help from the man himself.  The next day M. Thirot met us in Thiaucourt right outside my great uncle's old house, and recounted his memories of him.

    Based on all of this information, I nominated the Naffrechouxs for the Medal of the Righteous Among Nations, and they were admitted posthumously at a ceremony in Paris in 1998.  Their granddaugther Therese accepted on their behalf.
     

  •  I have never had a tear in my eye (none)
    reading something on the internet.

    I can't say that anymore.

    Let the Democratic Reformation Begin

    by Pounder on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 07:31:07 PM PST

  •  I am simply speechless (none)
    I am so proud for the both of you.  All my sincerest prayers go out to you both.  As other, my heart is with you both with your memories to share with each other.  What an increadable story.  Thanks to the both of you for sharing it with us all.
  •  Responsibility. (4.00)
    My father has once or twice told me this story: When he was little and lived in Israel for a few years, his family had a maid who had been in one of the camps.  I can't remember if the prisoners had to go out to work, but for some reason every day they had to walk a distance, and those who were not strong enough to keep up were shot.  One day, toward the end of the war, the maid couldn't keep going, and fell down.  The Nazis who were supposed to shoot her didn't; I think they even helped her up.  This was almost certainly because they knew that the Allies were about to win, and hoped that a moment of - not kindness, but cessation from brutality maybe - would help them when judgment came.  So because they didn't shoot at that one moment, she lived.

    Today I'm reading Philip Gourevitch's amazing book We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families and there's a similar moment, where a car carrying a child being transported to the relative safety of the Hotel Milles Collines was stopped, and the child was probably about to be killed, only to have one of the leaders of Hutu Power prevent the killing, citing world opinion.  The child's mother tells Gourevitch about this, and says (to paraphrase) "but that doesn't negate what he did; he deserves to die."  

    So even before I came to this marvelous diary, I was thinking about responsibility.  Our responsibility to each other and to justice.  It's not enough for a killer to stay their hand once.  It's not enough for an onlooker to refuse to participate in evil.  Nothing less than resistance against it is enough.  Whether it's an individual act of courage like Ivan and Roman, or our massed fight against what some people want to make of our country, our insistence that Rwanda not be the precendent for Darfur and that our government - our government, no matter what Bush wants us to believe - take action to save not just individual lives but a people, whatever it is, we have to resist, not simply to sit by.  

    Thank you for again making this imperative concrete and personal and beautiful.

    •  "Nothing less than resistance..." (none)
      And to resist the earlier, when it is safer and the leverage is more effective, is the wisest course...

      If a thousand men were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State...

      by HenryDavid on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 09:48:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm speechless. (none)
    I've had a vague sense in the past of why this was such a great site:  a sense of community, the site as a font of debate and ideas, our effectiveness in speaking truth to power, and so on.

    But this is truly a miracle.  Thank you so much for this, amprather, and I hope something great comes from your meeting with Betty G.  Thank you again.

    Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of nonthought. -- Milan Kundera

    by Dale on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 08:38:51 PM PST

  •  This reminds me of a story.... (4.00)
    my grandfather told me of his experiences in WWII. He was in the N. African/Italian (and cleanup in S. Germany at the very end) theater. He was one of the first American troops to see combat in the war, and served throughout the whole war.

    Anyways he was in an armored reconaisance division where he commanded a tank. Now, it wasn't one of those "nice" Sherman tanks (I put nice in quotes because they really were out gunned by their German counterparts). He was stuck in an older, lighter tank. They were designed for reconasaince, some light fighting if the need arose, but generally not designed for tank/tank action.

    Well, one day in N. Africa his unit happened to be near where a group of German Panzer tanks had been spotted (the Panzers were the lighter of the German tanks, but still better armored and more powerful than our Sherman). Well, his Sargent got a call over the radio for my grandfather's unit to confront the German tanks. Because the order was essentially a suicide mission, the Sargent decided not to answer the radio.

    For that he more than likely saved the lives of every man in the unit. However a couple days later he was removed of command and hauled off to the stockade. My grandfather is sure he was courtmarshalled for disobeying the command, but says it was the best command (or non-command) he ever had in the war.

    The point is, after reading your diary (and crying for the second time in a week...hadn't cried in 10 years before that) it made me think about what happened to that poor Sargent who probably saved my grandfather's life. I hope he was rewarded in life after his discharge, he sure deserved it (or at least I tend to think so). Thanks for getting me thinking, always appreciated.

    Fighting for peace is like fucking for virginity, only not as much fun.

    by Toktora on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 08:39:12 PM PST

    •  Interested in using your story (none)
      If you would consider it. We publish stories similar to yours twice a week (from all avenues of life.) All uplifting stories of heroism in everyday life -- 595 so far. Please email: itzimportant(at)yahoo(dot)com. Thank you so much.

      URL to learn more about our publication below.

      Reframing the news and people's views of our world: http://www.HeroicStories.com

      by AllisonInSeattle on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 10:55:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  My grandfather was in a concentration camp (none)
    As a British (subject) Communist, in France.

    He didn't experience any major hardship at the hands of the Nazis. He got married while he was in the camp - to someone that wasn't.

    Sorry if that's not what you want to hear, and I don't mean to discount the suffering of those in the more horrible camps.

    Resuscitate investigative journalism! Reality-Based does NOT mean investigations are wrong - it means investigations are essential.

    by nephalim on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 08:44:53 PM PST

  •  Amazing story (none)
    So many have added such beautiful comments about this amazing story. All I can say is thank you very much for sharing.
  •  From the pit of despair also comes hope (4.00)
    Several years ago I read a story about life in the camps that burned into my brain, I'd like to share it here.

    The woman writing was in the death camp as a young girl, about 7 years old.  She had a friend her age and she remembered that as giving her strength to survive.  They subsisted on starvation rations and were driven to work just like the adults.  One day while they were out toiling in the fields, her friend found four wild strawberries.  She shared them with her.  Imagine a place so brutal and dismal and hopeless that the only thing you own in the whole world is 4 strawberries.  Now imagine a place so full of love that you share them with your friend.

  •  Thank you, thank you, thank you! (none)
    Amprather, thank you so much for your story. As I sit here, at my desk, grading papers and trying so hard to regain that faith and trust I had in people before I saw the systematic exclusion of my gay friends, I read your story and I have hope all over again.

    I know this comment is buried so deep here, and you will probably never read this, but I have to thank you for that story. I literally burst into tears when I read the end of your diary. I cry, but never does the tears just burst out of me. Your story is powerful and should be told.

    I recommend that you contact the Shoah Foundation people, http://www.vhf.org/. Although your grandfather is sadly not with us anymore, you may be able to record your meeting with BettyG for posterity using the resources at Shoah. If they can't help you find a way to get this story out, then perhaps they can get you in contact with those who can.

    I am a Deist, so I do believe in God. I am certain that he has blessed you and your family with such a wonderful legacy, the progeny of that brave soul who stood up for others even though the risk for him was so high.

    I plan on sharing this link with others in my family in the hopes that will spread this lesson amongst all of those I love.

    I live in Alabama. I don't know of any Holocaust survivors here personally. Most of the people I encounter are Christian or Muslim or don't make mention of their religion at all. We may be at risk to forget because we don't have those same reminders. Maybe this story will be that reminder.

    Thank you again.

    "Just as war is freedom's cost, disagreement is freedom's privilege." William Jefferson Clinton

    by smileypv on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 09:33:09 PM PST

  •  Thanks is poor reward... (4.00)
    ...for the gift you've given everyone who reads this diary.  I'm still crying after reading through all of the comments.  If this diary leaves the front page before the Sun goes dark, it would be too soon to do it justice.

    I really do think this story deserves broader treatment, if the two of you are willing to give it a go.  It's one of the most compelling stories I think I've ever read, heard, or seen.

    Please, take your time of peace and reflection, and spend an enjoyable time meeting with BettyG.

    Thank you for a memory that I will never forget.

    True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. --Martin Luther King Jr.

    by Phoenix Rising on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 09:44:50 PM PST

  •  Warsaw Ghetto Uprising? (4.00)
    Just thinking, thinking, about those waiting too long to begin to fight...

    We all ask ourselves, "Why did they go so passively?"  Just look around you...and in the mirror.

    These were civilized people, who assumed the same of the well-dressed, well-spoken people who rounded them up.

    It is my operating theory of American political life, that the veneer of civility is as thick -- has always been, under Democrats, but now being worn thin by Republicans -- as needed to keep the educated, functionary class of mostly-Democrats working dutifully at their jobs to keep the Empire going.

    Push aside the veil too diligently, get a peek at the viciousness reserved usually for the poor and non-white of the world, and you will get a spray of fire to send you back to your unthreatening place.

    If a thousand men were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State...

    by HenryDavid on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 10:01:58 PM PST

    •  The holocaust survivors (4.00)
      are always pointed when people talk about the holocaust. And their plight was horrific.

      But people overlook those who fought back.
      We dont hear the stories of the Ghetto Uprising. When Jewish victims fought the Nazis to the death and were so successful large numbers of troops were forced to spend their time doing battle with horribly equipped people fighting back literally from the depths of hell. It probably made a difference in the war.

      People overlook the German resistance. The anti-fascists, the communists, the socialists, the priests and preachers who stood up to the Nazis and paid the price for it. They overlook the German Jews, gypsies and others who took up arms against their government to stop the wave of evil that took over the country.

      We should mourn the victims and send sympathy to the holocaust survivors and the families of the victims. But we should never forget the Heros who fought and died to stop the evil of the party Prescott Bush, the British Royal Family and many others supported. We should never forget the free french who were critical in our liberation of france.. who died by the thousands waiting on a hilltop for the Allies to tell them to attack. We should never forget the Heros in America who fought the rising tide of Naziism and Fascism here.. foremost among them Franklin Roosevelt.

      Never forget the victims. Never cease to honor the Heros.

      The Democratic party needs to adopt its own moral and values principles (clawed)

      by cdreid on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 04:57:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Jewish Partisans (none)
        http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/article.php?lang=en&ModuleId=10005441

        With a Google on "Jewish Partisans", I could spend the day reading more about these heroes of mine.

        May we carry their spirit with us in the fight ahead.

        If a thousand men were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State...

        by HenryDavid on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 11:39:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It is the untold story (none)
          of world war two. Patton, FDR, Churchill, etc etc get the credit. But the courage of the Jewish and French resistance. Of the germans who risked and even gave their lives. And at the end see America appointing Nazis to power. Even jews and history nuts dont often know of the stunning courage and morality of these people. It is a tremendous loss their stories arent told more often.

          The Democratic party needs to adopt its own moral and values principles (clawed)

          by cdreid on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 04:09:55 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  It's a small world... (none)
    But I wouldn't want to paint it. ;)

    Amazing story.  If this doesn't show the power of the 'net, nothing does.

  •  Never Again (none)

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful story.  Two friends, willing to die for each other.  The amazing thing about tragedy is that layered within it, one can sometimes find the deepest beauty there is in this world.  

    Perhaps this story can open some eyes?  I can see it as a Spielberg movie.  So long as he promises to cover the full angle of your discovery - that it started with a fear that the Religious Right would take us in that horrific direction.

    As the son of a man who (barely) survived as a kid in hiding, I share your sentiments.  

    Our lesson is Never Again, and we must act early to stop rabid hatred.  Abe Foxman, the ADL director who thinks it's inappropriate to talk about the Holocaust in the context of American politics, should sit down with some survivors, their children & grandchildren.  NOW is the time to intervene.  The only question is, how?

  •  Thank You (none)
    soooooooooo much for your diary.  Reminds me of the film "Life is Beautiful".  Take care...
  •  Ohmigod! (4.00)
    I read this earlier today but had to digest it for awhile before I could think of anything to add.  I often tear up at things I read on the internet.  However, I have never literally gasped and burst into tears the way I did when I read the ending.  Wow!  I shared it with my daughter who started crying as well.  Thank you for sharing this amazing story.

    My dad was a young man during WWII, living in occupied Norway under Nazi rule.  He hated it and them with a passion.  One time he and one of his brothers escaped a rather dangerous mission to steal some crates of food off the docks.  While they were certainly not treated as horribly as Jewish people, and they weren't imprisoned, decent food was scarce.  I suppose this is because they are Nordic...ya know, part of the Aryan race (whatever the heck that is).

    Anyway, one night, he and another brother were out and two German soldiers were walking along with two Norwegian girls.  My uncle picked a fight with the Germans and called the girls bad names for cavorting with Nazis.  The soldiers rallied other soldiers and chased my dad and uncle through the streets, caught them, and arrested them.  Fighting with Germans was grounds for execution or, at the very least, getting roughed up really bad.  But that night was Christmas Eve.  After a relatively light roughing up that resulted in just a bloody nose, cut lips, and other minor injuries, and threatening and scaring the crap outta my dad and uncle, they decided to let them go in the Spirit of Christmas.  

    While certainly not as compelling as some of the other stories here, I still felt a need to share this small bit of fortune in my family in a time of great evil.

  •  A great story, but there's a problen with it (none)
    Jewish funerals do not have open caskets.

    I don't want to try and diminish this story -- because it is powerful and very appropriate for this time in history.

    However, as a Democrat and true lover freedom, I can't just blanketly accept stories I read from the right OR the left.

    I'm jewish with my family coming from Russia just before World War I.  Something in this story jumped out at me, when he saw his grandfather's tatoos in the opened casket at his funeral.

    Again, Jewish funerals do not have open caskets.

    This is a small hole in this story, and I'm just refusing to leap to any conclusions about the truthfulness or non-truthfulness of this story.

    But I do want it to be known that I'm only interested in knowing the truth -- which is why I support the Democratic party -- and not giving credence to any propaganda on either side of the aisle.

    Again, I'm not saying this story is not true, I am merely pointing out a hole in the story that I find worth noting.

    •  This was addressed upthread (none)
      Where a few Jewish people talked of private viewings with open caskets.
    •  I agree... (none)
      That one part of the story definitely did not ring true to me, either, as I have NEVER heard of an open casket at a Jewish funeral. Never. After sending this along to many people last night, this morning I wished I hadn't, because I have an inkling this story just might be a fabrication. Too much Hollywood. Too much hope at a point where so many of us are grasping for the smallest bit of it. Now I am waiting for Snopes to dig into it. And then I will send out an ooops, sorry to clutter up your inbox! if it comes up false.
      •  Open (none)
        Lord, it's not like open caskets are de rigeur at non-Jewish funerals, either.  We don't have them in my family, for example, and if I went to a funeral where there was one, I certainly wouldn't look in it.  How macabre!

        Beyond this, I am taking a wait and see attitude.  If this is a real story, it will certainly get wider coverage than this.  If we don't hear about it again for a while, perhaps what you suggest about the veracity is true.

        Jonestown, U.S.A.: The Rapture is a metaphor for collective suicide.

        by bink on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 07:50:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Hating my inner skeptic (none)
        Like you, leap, I sent this story along to MANY people last night.  I had such a positive emotional reaction to the story that I wanted to share it with others.  

        A few hours later, my inner skeptic had creeped in to my head, berating me for just believing this story at face value.

        Where's BettyG?  There's no dKos user account under that name. [Maybe she uses a different name, but the implication seemed to be she was another dKos user.]

        How did all these people get amprather's email address if it's not posted?  [Maybe he took it down before I looked.]

        The tattoo number mentioned in the story doesn't seem to conform at all with what a very cursory search of Internet sources says were used for Auschwitz tattoos - 5 or six digits, usually preceded with a letter combination and dash.  Letters AU were usually used for Soviet POW's.

        I feel horrible that these thoughts are even occurring to me.   I want to believe that such a wonderful story could be true, but after my initial elation, my inner skeptic has creeped in to berate me soundly for believing it.   I hate that.  Hate it hate it hate it.  But I'd also hate to hear that all these genuine emotional reactions were inspired by a purposeful hoax.  And I feel like a jerk for even thinking that.

        •  BettyG account (none)
          There IS an account under that name

          BettyG

          User 46052. Pretty recent.

          No comments, no ratings, no diaries.

          What's the official User Count on Daily Kos?

          My google search for Auschwitz Tattoos yielded some information that indicates the first series of tattoos -- "regular" --  included no letters, only a consecutive series of numbers. They were later added to with "A" series, "B" series, "AU," "Z" and "EH."

          Reading the Update, I am still inclined to believe this. He does seem to have deleted hs email address due to overload. As for the discrepancies of numbers, caskets and high UIDs, I'll take a wait and see.

          ADAM PRATHER, if you're reading this, you might want to address the skeptics here. After the initial euphoric response to a story this uplifting NATURALLY comes a skeptic-hangover of sorts, wondering if we've been had. For how could something so serendipitous and so beautiful and so UNBELIEVABLE... be true?

          Rage, rage, against the lying of the Right.

          by Maryscott OConnor on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 10:23:38 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I should just delete this diary (4.00)
            Mary,

            I really questioned if I wanted to write this diary. I knew that there would be skeptics that would question this. One side said do it, because that is how I found Betty. One side said no, look what they did to Gannon.

            My cousin told me not to post it. He has been blogging on DailyKos for over a year. He told me that there would be people that would not believe it and find a way to prove that. It would just pile on to my pain.

            My friend Ryan told me to do it, even if people thought it was a myth that they would take away from the story hope.

            I hate to say it, but my cousin was right.

            1. Open Casket because it was not a Jewish funeral. My grandfather never was a practicing Jew, when I knew him. My mother attended a Catholic high school, I myself am Catholic now.

            2. BettyG. I didn't know where or how BettyG read my diary. If you see in her email, it says "your email", as if that is how she received it. If BettyG is a DailyKos member, then that is new to me.

            3. Numbers. All I know is what I saw on the two times I saw it.

            4. My email listing. I took it down after my email account was overwelmed.

            As for the rest of this. If people want to call this a hoax. Then call it a hoax. It is no skin off my back. This is my story. I can always hit delete to this diary. But if this is any sign of the pain me or my family (or Betty's) would have to go through if this went into the mainstream media, then we will keep it to ourselves.

            Thanks to you, Mary, and others that did like the story. But I don't know right now, if there will be anymore follow ups on this story.

            Adam

            The simple minded and the uninformed can be easily led astray and those that cannot connect the dots, Hey look the other way.

            by amprather on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 12:34:45 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Please, please (none)
              don't delete this. It is too wonderful a tale to not share. There will always be doubters. There are still those who say that the holocaust is a myth.

              It IS a pain to be in the public eye. We have some relatives who are fairly well-known and the tabloids have a field day making stuff up about them. However, that is no reason for them to "hide their light under a bushel"

              •  No one ever said keeping your promise (4.00)
                would be easy, Adam.  You have been given an unique opportunity to point out the similarities between 1930s Germany and 2000s America while telling the story of yours and Betty's grandfathers.

                Of course the hatemongers are going to attack you, and the skeptics doubt you. But aren't the people who need to hear this more important than them?

                In the end, it comes down to you, and the promise you made.  How much are you willing to do to keep your promise?

                Can you endure your 15 minutes of fame (and all that it entails) for a chance to make people see where we're headed if we don't stop the madness?

                What would Roman do?

                What color are my pajamas? BLUE of course!

                by Jesus was a Liberal on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 01:12:45 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  I second the pleas, Adam (none)
              I believe you wholeheartedly, though we've never interacted on Kos and I don't know you from...(nah, too easy!) anywhere.  The fact is, this story touched my increasingly saddened heart like nothing else has over the past four, going on five, years.  We need to believe it. We need to believe in you, and BettyG, and Roman, and others out there who truly care about their fellow human beings. We need to believe in some redemption for suffering and pain.  Thank you for reminding us that it's possible. Please do not remove the diary and have the courage to keep telling your story. It's all each of us has, our stories.
            •  "Attacked" is a very stong word. (none)
              Well, what I feared would happen, happened. There would be skeptics that would rather attack me for this diary."

              No offense, but don't you think that "attack" is a little strong?

              As my posting strongly says, I'm not taking any stance on you, the story or even attacking you.

              I agree that it is a wonderful story, and one I would like to believe is true.

              The simple fact is you cannot belive what you read anymore -- or ever -- on the internet alone.

              I've been to many jewish funerals -- most of them of relatives fro the old country -- and they NEVER had an open casket.  So, as such, I must hold back on my blind acceptance of this story.  Since the KOS community is filled with people who's opinions, views and morals I respect, I felt compelled to bring my experience out there.

              Again, note in my message that I say over and over that I am not claiming this story to be untrue!  To say that I am attacking you is a great distortion of facts.

            •  Please keep the diary (4.00)
              Hundreds of people are touched, blown away, uplifted, sharing this with friends. Trust me, more than have commented. And some small number (under 10?) have expressed "doubt".

              I wrote earlier (below)about publishing material like this on a daily basis for five years, at http://www.HeroicStories.com . Just like clockwork, the "doubters" write in, nearly every story. But they're like a mosquito bite compared to the flood of people who're uplifted, whose lives are changed for the better.

              There's a phrase: "What you think of me is none of  my business." It applies here, don't let the doubters bug you. (Email me if you'd like.)

              And please steer your own course from here, as private as you want. Privacy is good. Wishing you the very best in this astonishing and remarkable journey,

              Reframing the news and people's views of our world: http://www.HeroicStories.com

              by AllisonInSeattle on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 01:56:06 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  amprather (4.00)
              It's a very small number of people who doubted you. Please leave the diary up, take the time you need to process this event with BettyG and come back if and when you're ready.

              We're all behind you. You're like a prism, having deflected a marvelous shaft of light that fell through your heart and onto this "page". We all marvel at its colors and brilliance, and treasure the dimensions of the story. It's powerful because it tells about not only your extraordinary grandfathers, but about all of humanity and what we truly are.

              Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing grooves of change. - Tennyson

              by bumblebums on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 02:00:51 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  asdf (none)
              Dear Adam,

              I hereby nominate you for the "Giraffe Award," given semi-frequently and always generously to anyone willing to stick his/her neck out....

              with best regards,

            •  Do what you think is right (none)
              but speaking for myself, I hope you don't delete the diary.  I was very touched by it and I believe you.
              •  I agree. (none)
                I'm disgusted, in fact, that people question you.  I don't.  And I can't properly describe the effect your story has had on me.  Beyond profound.  I've read it over and over again, and it still makes me cry.  Your story touched me very deeply because I wonder whether I could be as brave as your grandfather or BettyG's grandfather if I was in a similar situation.  I hope the answer is yes.  Please keep the story up and know that there are a lot of people out there that you and your grandfather have touched.  
            •  Better here than on FOX. (4.00)
              Amprather, I can understand the hurt and frustration that skeptics here might cause you, but I think in a way they're doing you a service. In the long run, it'll be easier to address any questions your story raises here, before it hits the mainstream media.

              Your grandfathers' stories have the potential to move many people and do a great deal of good; but when it gets a national audience the right wing will try to give it the Rathergate treatment. If you don't answer the questions raised by skeptics here, they will be asked again, far more nastily, on FOX, Free Republic, LGF et al. And people there will never get to hear your answers.

              I know this kind of thing is probably the last thing you want to have to think about now -- but if you don't want to deal with it, at least leave the thread up and let us hash out any potential issues on our own.

              Good luck!

              Those who don't remember the future are doomed to repeat it.

              by Abou Ben Adhem on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 02:43:09 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Danm the torpedoes! (none)
              Full speed ahead.
            •  Don't delete. (none)
              First, the damage is done. This story is flying around the Internets at the speed of God.

              Second, There will always be doubters. They are valuable people. If they raise questions that offend, answer them anyway or ignore them -- but don't revile them. Skepticism on the Internet is a necessary evil.

              Third, and this is what's really important to me:

              While I do believe your story is true... I don't CARE if it isn't true. Because if it weren't true, it would merely be a mythologizing of circumstances that have surely occurred repeatedly throughout history. The way you told your story ensures it a place in our history, be it true or myth. And believe me, by the time this is esconced in the pantheon of Great Stories We Read on the Internet, there will always be a small or great number of people who scoff and dismiss it as myth -- how could it not be myth, when it is so fantastic and -- AND -- they read it on the Internet?

              Think of some great Urban Myth. One you know is a myth.

              What if it isn't? What if the only reason you KNOW it's a myth is because a certain faction of people spread... a MYTH... that the "Urban Myth" is a myth?

              What if there is another Adam Prather out there, who told his tale -- his true tale, of a fantastical event in his life... and watched with fascination, possibly bitterness, as over the eyars his true story became labeled for all time a Great Urban Legend?

              Does that render it any the less fantastic an experience for that other Adam? HE knows the truth. Presumably his friends and loved ones know it, too. Beyond that, he has shared his story with the universe; what the universe DOES with that story is no longer his business.

              I hope what I've said -- particularly that last reason -- strikes home with you. EVERYTHING I said in my comment yesterday, far up th page, is still true.

              love,
              Maryscott

              Rage, rage, against the lying of the Right.

              by Maryscott OConnor on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 05:27:11 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Tell ya what (none)
              If this was fiction, it deserves a pulitzer.

              And far better in effect that it was presented as true.

              By and large, the art of storytelling has suffered, replaced by whiz-bang hollywood production factors. This was a prime example of the ancient craft.

              I sniff this kind of thing out for a hobby. I believe this diary; stories told by dKos readers with "Rakkasan" in their user names, for instance, I did not believe.

              However, many people enjoyed them, as did I. They would have made passable TV episodes. This one was worthy of a movie.

              Yesterday we stood at the abyss; today we are taking a step forward.

              by peeder on Sun Mar 06, 2005 at 01:57:47 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Please don't delete (none)
              One my favourite writers, Primo Levi, tells the story of the recurring dream he had while in Auschwitz. When he discusses his dream with his friend, his friend tells him he has the exact same dream and so did many others.

              In the dream Levi tells the story of the horrors he has been subjected to, to his sister and some friends. But his sister gets up and turns her back towards him, and his friends do the same.

              After the war the first time we find him telling his story to somebody he knows, the person tells him it is better not to speak about this. His nightmare became true.

              Please do not delete this diary because some people question the validity.

              This is your testimony in honnor of your grandfather and all the millions of others who lived through this hell, and they deserve their story to be told.

          •  Being skeptical isn't necessarily natural (4.00)
            That concept just gets my goat.

            After the initial euphoric response to a story this uplifting NATURALLY comes a skeptic-hangover of sorts, wondering if we've been had. For how could something so serendipitous and so beautiful and so UNBELIEVABLE... be true?

            Look at HeroicStories.com: http://www.HeroicStories.com . We've printed 596 stories more or less like this, since May 1999, two per week. Stories of people going out of their way to do something heroic for another person. No reward, no personal gain. Our stories aren't often "life or death", because life isn't often "life or death". They are "right place, right time", and "went the extra mile" stories.

            Yet frequently when we publish a story, someone writes, "Oh, I don't believe this." Why on earth not? We research them. We call the authors. We toss out stories that are obviously college students trying to "fool" us with tall tales. (Repeat, those stories are obvious, a false tale rings false.)

            Amprather poured his heart out to us. Why on earth is it incumbent upon us to tear him down or question him? Why should he justify his story?

            Why would anyone think this is "unbelievable"? Newspapers publish accounts like this all the time. "Guideposts" (Norman Vincent Peale's publication) has published stories like this for over 50 years. (Sappy and with a religious bent, but true.)

            What is it about humans that has to  gang up on success or bliss or blinding insight to reduce it to rubble?

            What could possibly be more logical, than that sooner or later, connections like amprather and BettyG would in fact happen? (Mathmatically: two grandfathers, say 32-60 relatives on each side in this generation close enough to know the story well.)

            OK, rant off. I suppose it's likely that my perspective on the world is changed by reading HeroicStories for the last five years. Oh, I know it's changed me. Other people say that's true for them. Daily media feeds a dose of  "Crooks and bad guys are everywhere", "Horrible things are happening everywhere", "Fear the other", "Be depressed and huddle in your bunker" into my consciousness.    How could reading stories of what's right about people and the world not change us?

            If you'd like a little balance in your worldview, HeroicStories is there, free subscription, 52 weeks a year. Not every story is a knock-out like this one. But over time they stand up for what's right about humanity, and restore balance in our worldviews, and a sense of pride in what we're all capable of.

            Reframing the news and people's views of our world: http://www.HeroicStories.com

            by AllisonInSeattle on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 01:26:24 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Skepticism can be important (none)
              I mean sure skepticism can be annoying, but it also can find a fraud or strengthen a truth...

              It's hard not to be a little skeptical...  I mean you have frauds popping up around huge tragedies...  

              In this case I agree that skepticism is a little unneccesary...  and really sidetracks from the diaries point that we should never forget...

              "children of the gone lost and forgotten, minds rotten The arcade shot em, Channel Zero on the TV got em" PE

              by chrissabian on Sun Mar 06, 2005 at 11:49:26 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  open caskets (none)
          This is also from a cursory seach, but it seems to show that Jewish funerals in this country can have open caskets (though that is definitely not the traditional way):

          http://www.jewish-funerals.org/breathing.htm

    •  misplaced assumption (none)
      I'm Jewish, have buried both my parents, in religious services, presided over by rabbis, & both times with open caskets.  Other relatives and their friends, as well.  One "uncle" (my father's best friend) who was a very observant orthodox jew, attended synagogue every morning, his entire life, was also buried with an open casket.

      Hope that eases your mind.

      "God help the political system in which a thoroughly addled sovereign is faced with a real crisis." Anatole Lieven, Carnegie Endowment for Peace

      by Tulip on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 08:02:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I had the chance to see both grandparents before (none)
      their caskets were closed.  I chose not to view, as I wanted to remember them living, not dead.
      My mother wishes she had not seen the open casket of her father.

      Fortunately for us, there were no tattoos. My grandparents came over as a result of the pogroms, a similar, but less recent historical tragedy.

      Another beauty of this diary is to see so many survivors' children and their children here on dKos.  We can be grateful that we are here to remember.

    •  And I say you don't know what you're talking about (none)
      Read my posting further up.  Perhaps Orthodox funerals never have open caskets, but in my own family we had a funeral where the option was offered...in a Jewish funeral home.  The offer was declined, but the option was there.
  •  Reminds me.. (none)
    of the article i read in reader's digest years ago. It was about a jewish kid in a camp who used to get food thrown in by a local girl. Years later the kid comes across the same girl in america....has anybody here heard/read about this...
  •  My God... Tears. So Beautiful. *nt* (none)
    (nt)

    ---
    More dangerous are the functionaries ready to believe and to act without asking questions.

    by Titian on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 05:29:55 AM PST

  •  How... (none)
    ...do you get somebody's email address on dKos?

    (Just curious.)

    Life is like this analogy...

    by shock on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 08:07:11 AM PST

  •  Geez (none)
    i wasn't expecting to bawl like a baby at the end of this. The whole story is amazing from start to finish.
  •  ty (none)
    Stories/connections like this make you so appreciate the good the world has to offer. Even through the evil/horrendous of this life there is always hope. Thanks for sharing. May we all never forget.

    "I'm also not very analytical. You know I don't spend a lot of time thinking about myself, about why I do things." -- George W. Bush

    by BouncedGranola on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 09:35:09 AM PST

  •  The Power of the Internet and bloggers (4.00)
    This story was so incredibly touching. Thank you for sharing it with us. And if I may, I would also like to share a memory.

    My father came to America from Poland as a young boy of twelve. When he grew up, he was drafted into the U.S. Army during World War II and returned, as a GI, to Europe. His unit was one of the first American troops to march into one of the concentration camps. It wasn't Auschwitz or Dachau or any of the larger, more notorious camps. But it was still bad enough to haunt him even to this day and he's 92 years old.

    He was so conflicted. On the one hand, he was the American hero who marched in to liberate these concentration camp victims. But on the other hand, he like them was a Jew. And there but for fortune, it could have been him on the other side as the victim.

    He always taught me that it wasn't the German people who killed the Jews and so many others. It was hatred. It was Nazism, it was ideology.

    Once when I was sixteen and we were traveling down South, my father pulled our car over to the side of the road on I-95 in North Carolina. There was a sign in a field that pictured a hooded Klansmen on a horse that was rearing up on its hind legs. The sign proclaimed, "You are in Klan Country now."

    My father pointed at that sign and said, "that is what killed the Jews, the gypsies, the liberals in Europe and the now the blacks in America. That is your true enemy. Hatred, wherever it is and whoever preaches it."

    That's why I still fight it whenever I can. And why, when I'm finished here, I'm posting a link to this from my own blog.

  •  A gesture, yes... (none)
    On my new blog, I've established a "Person of the Week" award.

    I feel honored that the first person I've had the privilege to give this award to is Roman Edemskoi.

    Link to post is here.

  •  Amazing (none)
    amprather -

    Do not be concerned with people who try to tear you and your story down. Some are those who are jealous that they have nothing meaningful like that to look to and therefor believe no one else could either, or they are people who have been suckered by the scams of others and are terribly skeptical.

    I wish you the best of luck to you and BettyG.  It's an inspiring story.

    Like everyone and their mother, I have a blog too - www.moxiegrrrl.com

    by MoxieGrrrl on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 03:13:23 PM PST

  •  Heartwarming and heartwrenching story (none)
    I loved it. I believe you and I sorry that your grandfathers story, shared with the world, has brought out the skeptics. Don't take the diary down.

    I've been to Jewish funerals.....open caskets. I have also seen other stories of Jewish Holocaust survivors who have numeral tatoos with no letters.

    I hope your meeting with Betty is comforting and uplifting to you both.

    "Suppression of a political opinion leads to it's violent expression".

    by JenD on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 03:15:18 PM PST

  •  Thank you... (none)
    After seeing a few weeks of unmitigated selfishness and gluttony on Capitol Hill and the White House, I needed to remind myself what a powerful force love and compassion are in this world.

    And it also reminds me that karma, at it's core, is the idea that you don't "get away" with anything.

    I hope your grandfather is at peace, and I'm sending good thoughts to you and your family.

  •  Too many digits? (none)
    amprather says
    I looked at the number again - 58877241
    .

    As far as I can tell, Auschwitz tattoos had at most 6 digits. That makes some sense as serial numbers in a camp complex that "processed" around 500,000 people.

    In particular holocaustsurvivors.org says

    The Auschwitz numbers ran from 1 to over 202,000. Those selected for death were not registered in the camp and did not receive numbers.

    So I am having trouble understanding how Roman Edemskoi (58877241) could have an 8 digit number.

    •  what the hell has poisoned your minds? (none)
      I can't believe  some  of   you would piss all over this beautiful story.  Why would someone make it up? For Christ's sake. We  live in  such   a rude, selfish   and  cynical world these days,  someone shines a little  ray of  light and  you  look  at  it  like   it's  a stream  of bat's piss.  While  you're being such  a  horse's ass, why   don't  you go down  to the playground and tell the kids there's no  Santa  Claus. Fuck.
    •  I probably should just ignore this comment ... (none)
      Tattooing has never been systematically studied and it differed for Jews and Soviet POWS and it changed over time...
      From Minnesota's Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies :
      For many, the blurred blue lines of a serial number on a forearm are an indelible image of the Holocaust. The tattoos of the survivors have come to symbolize the utter brutality and of the concentration camps and the attempt of the Nazis to dehumanize their victims. The tattoos are also a testament to the resilience of those who bear them. Yet despite the importance of the tattoos, as testament, symbol, and historical artifact, little scholarship has been devoted to the subject. There exist virtually no official period documents relating to the practice; what we know stems from anecdotal evidence contained in camp records and the accounts of those who were at the camps.
      •  Tattoo quick study... (none)
        ... reveals Roman's 58877241 - eight characters - compares to another, A1913627, also found on the net, also eight characters.  Three seven-character tattoos mentioned on the net:  8-25441, 23-5634, and A-25466.  Jews were sometimes identified with a triangular symbol before the number, and there were Zs for gypsies, As, Bs, etc.  Porter's "analysis" of why there "was no Holocaust" is as full of hype and idiocy as that of those who suggest this story cannot be true because of an open casket or a number which does not seem to make "sense."  Mr. Prather shared, post initial thread, that his family was not one of practicing Jews... and if the Pope's mother was indeed Jewish, he would be one of millions who decided to take a different path.  It is far easier to cut flesh and cut souls than it is to mend and heal.  I throw down the gauntlet to those who wish to deny me that after years of research, my family tree lost many branches to this horrible time in history.  I challenge every thinking person to take the time to better themselves and enrich the world by walking the walk of ethical and moral behavior.  Look within before cutting into your fellow human's soul.
    •  6 digits + year? (none)
      Given that the German invasion of the Ukraine took place in 1941, is it possible that only the first 6 digits are the actual serial number, and the last two are the year?

      Those who don't remember the future are doomed to repeat it.

      by Abou Ben Adhem on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 05:53:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Likely explanation: (none)
      From IBM and Auschwitz:

      Tattoos, however, quickly evolved at Auschwitz. Soon, they bore no further relation to Hollerith compatibility for one reason: the Hollerith number was designed to track a working inmate-not a dead one. Once the daily death rate at Auschwitz climbed, Hollerith-based numbering simply became outmoded. Soon, ad hoc numbering systems were inaugurated at Auschwitz. Various number ranges, often with letters attached, were assigned to prisoners in ascending sequence. Dr. Josef Mengele, who performed cruel experiments, tattooed his own distinct number series on "patients." Tattoo numbering schemes ultimately took on a chaotic incongruity all its own as an internal Auschwitz-specific identification system.

      Those who don't remember the future are doomed to repeat it.

      by Abou Ben Adhem on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 06:00:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  How you could have read this (none)
      story and the only thing you can post in response to it is your problem understanding how Adam's grandfather could have a 8-digit number, rather than a 6-digit number is obscene.  Your user name is well-earned.  It galls me that assholes like you have hounded this guy.
  •  Good God (none)
    It's a great story. Take it for what it is and stop you're silly nitpicking.
  •  Wow (none)
    Simply amazing.  Know that my heart, for one, is with yours, as are the vast majority of hearts everywhere.  This is powerful, but it is powerful to YOU, Adam.  If everyone else gets on your nerves, there's no need to worry - it's YOUR story, not anyone else's.

    .....

    To anyone else out there who thinks it is their story to mess with, to those that have felt the urge to quibble with an astounding individual event they have no actual experience with, thanks for bringing dkos down to the freeper level.  Seriously - get a life.  Find something you actually have some knowledge about to fuck with if you want to call yourself a respectable person.

  •  Folks, this is not a political story... (none)
    This is not a story coming from the left or the right.  It's one man's story of his experience, the way that he experienced it.

    Believe it, don't believe it. Who cares?  Whether or not I believe it is of no relevance to whether or not anyone else does, for cryin out loud.

    This is a problem in America.  The idea that we all have to have the same experience of an event.  The idea that we all have to agree somehow on an absolute truth.  

    foks, the true value of our lives is that we all percieve and experience thing differently.  It's our differences which inform our creativity an ultimately our humanity.

    So frankly, whatever you believe about this story, it is, in the end, nobody's business but your own.

    The only thing I can think of to do here, is to thank Adam for sharing it with us, so that we may have a choice in how we would like to experience it.

    Thank you, Adam.

  •  Thank you (none)
    and I'm sorry about all the haters and doubters out there. Yours is an amazing story.
  •  It's your story (none)
    Don't let anyone take it from you... and don't let them take it from us... people will always try to spin something so it seems less credible... just look at the media today - but the love and the pain you feel are real and here I am, just one more person moved by your story... and I, like so many others, want to hear the next chapter... I hope you will be strong for us...because your promise will help all of us...even those who seek to tear you down...

    Thank you

    Act as if it were impossible to fail. - Dorothea Brande

    by crkrjx on Sun Mar 06, 2005 at 08:14:48 AM PST

  •  A story too important NOT to tell (none)
    Amprather, I have never posted on Kos before, but I feel compelled to in this case.  There are some questions, obviously - the number that was tattooed on you grandfather's arm doesn't fit into the usual numbering system there, but apparently it wasn't quite as organized as some people think.  Quote from the linked article: "Soon, ad hoc numbering systems were inaugurated at Auschwitz. Various number ranges, often with letters attached, were assigned to prisoners in ascending sequence."

    People will always doubt that which seems to incredible to be true.  But that doesn't make it false.  

    You made a promise to your grandfather. "I made a promise to both him and myself that I would fight to the very end to prevent the evil that he had to endure in his life from happening again."  Every story of the Holocaust helps.  It's looking at things like this from an individual perspective that really drive the point home.  When you hear a number like "Six million Jews were killed," it's so overwhelming as to make you numb to it.  But one story, two stories, three stories.  These are digestable for the average person.  THIS is how you can fulfill your promise.  Do what you have to do.  Endure the questions.  Make the rounds of newspaper and television interviews.  Remember that what you will go through, the questions, the denials, is for HIM - for ALL those who were tortured and killed.  Their suffering - HIS suffering - is so much worse than what you may possibly go through.  95% of people will be moved by it.  Screw the 5% of idiots.  The world is better served by making this public.  Have a private meeting.  Then please get this story out there.  It's your story, true.  But it's too important not to tell.

  •  Update2 (none)
    We really do have a crab mentality in this country...  When a crab reaches the top of the barrel those on the bottom knock them back down...

    I lost my grandmother this week and it has been severely painful...  I could only imagine what it must be like having people disect any of the truths about a lost loved one.

    But when you put a great story in the public forum, especially here...  I think it's unavoidable.

    I hope you maintain...    

    "children of the gone lost and forgotten, minds rotten The arcade shot em, Channel Zero on the TV got em" PE

    by chrissabian on Sun Mar 06, 2005 at 12:02:31 PM PST

  •  Head up from "This Week in Fascism" (none)
         I have a policy of letting diary authors know what I said about their diaries in my series on This Week in Fascism 03-06-05 [Major Announcement]

         Come on over and let me know what you think about my comments. I also remind the Authors that I probably recommended their diaries and am consistantly the top recommended each week. Hint! Hint!

         without further ado here is what I said.

         This weekend has presented us a few excellent touching stories about personal brushes with Nazism and Fascism that deserve to be mentioned. Kenevan McConnon's diary titled Might is Right = The Republicans New Fascism is actually a story of his grandfathers ordeal when he dared too attempt to defend an accused terrorist charged with being responsible for the Reichstag Fire.
         Amprather gave us two diaries from the heart. A Promise to my Grandfather and A Promise to My Grandfather: A Follow Up which tells includes the original diary plus an E-mail he received from Betty G. Betty told him privately how her grandfather was saved by from execution when Roman Edemskoi gave himself up to German soldiers to keep Betty's grandfather from being executed. As proof that this Internet and world is not so big after all it turns out that Amp's grandfather was Roman Edemskoi. They will be meeting each other soon.

    "It's about the accountability, stupid." Thomas Davis 2005

    by Tomtech on Sun Mar 06, 2005 at 09:15:16 PM PST

  •  Adam, listen to me (none)
    whatever you do, do not let them take your stories away from you.

    pure and simple, keep it pure and simple and no one will ever be able to take anything important away from you. i know of what i speak. good luck and know all will keep revealing itself. just keep trusting and listening.

  •  too bad you can't find... (none)
    ... your own post...

    It's still there... for all to see...

    •  I'd be glad to help... (none)
      ... only if you promise to take the time to research before you accuse...

      Amazing how you can't find something, and all of a sudden, you are the victim, and the alleged censors are Nazi-like.  What you did here is exactly the kind of idiocy you proclaim you are trying to destroy.

      To find something on almost any page anywhere (on the net, on an application, etc.), make sure the window is active, and hit Ctrl+F.  The "Find" dialogue appears.  Type in a word, part of a word, a phrase... hit enter, and it will appear... follow the prompts.

      I look forward to your apology.  Perhaps you will review other accusations you've made in your life...

      •  Not politically motivated? (none)
        Actually, I do not see his original post, only his follow up. Perhaps I'm also doing something incorrectly. In any case, I copied his original post because it was pretty much my own reaction to this story. Here it is again. If it's already in this thread somewhere, I apologize also.

        Quote:
        --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
        This is a nice story and would have made a good Movie of the Week. You know, the kind where no one cares if it's real or just "based on a few facts." So kudos for that.

        But you disgraced the ordeal that your grandfather allegedly endured by equating Nazi concentration camps to the Christian right in this country. Disagreeing with you on issues does not equal rounding people up and gassing them to death. And no, it's not even the first step.

        What you need to learn is that some people disagree with you about some issues and that does not make them nazis in training. Learning to deal with that is part of a process called "growing up."

        If there is a lesson to be learned from this exercise that is related to Nazism, it is how easily people will believe an improbable story when you connect it to a position they already agree with.

        If I believed there was a shred of truth to your story, I would be sad for the way you diminished your granfather's legacy to score some cheap political points. Fortunately, I think you're full of crap from word one.

      •  you're looking in the wrong... (none)
        ... thread.

        You're initial absurd remarks were made to the original post, not the follow-up.

        They are still there, along with your other absurd remarks.

        So glad I could assist you in finding them...

        •  Literary devices and the Byrd Syndrome (none)
          Apparently, your questioning Amaprather's motives in including wild analogies in his story is absurd Murray.

          I don't know or care if the story is true. I only care that no one here saw this as a political post.

    •  Here's a bit of enlightenment (4.00)
      Your comment was troll rated so it became hidden.  When you've been around long enough, and earned some magic number of "4" ratings, troll-rated comments will magically become visible again (unless you choose to keep them hidden).

      Yes it is censorship, but mostly people don't troll rate a view simply because they disagree with it, but they do when it is also abusive.  I had a look at some of your hidden comments (which I can magically see) and they aren't exactly polite.  Which is not to say that you have to be polite around here, but being both of a minority opinion and abusive is a recipe for troll rating.

      Rule of thumb:  the more you disagree with the general feeling in a thread, the more care you have to take with being abusive in your disagreement if you want your comments to stay visible!

      Editing, really, rather than censorship.  And not Nazi.  

      And in response to your hidden comments, I agree that most Christians are not Nazis either (I am a Christian not-Nazi myself), but as I Christian I am ashamed to realise that there is a strong homophobic, racist, anti Muslim strain about a lot of so-called Christian invective that is all too reminiscent of Nazism.  What else would you call Fred Phelps but a Nazi? Or anyone else who advocated the murder of other human beings simply because of their race, sexual orientation or religion?  

      Read this diary.  Tattoos are the least of it.

      •  So, will there be an apology (none)
        from Sharit for accusing this poster of imagining that his posts were censored when they were in fact censored?

        And does Fred Phelps hold some government position that I am unaware of?

        If you are going to hunt up every wingnut a country with free speech rights protects and conclude that is a sign of nazism, you will of course be including every democracy.

        Here's the bottom line. Instead of just relaying his story, true or not, Amaprather chose to draw some specious analogy between the religious in this country and nazi germany, and what's even more egregious, in doing so, he managed to trivialize nazi crimes.

        It's good to know that Senator Byrd isn't an aberration, and that the left truly does believe themselves maryrs.

        •  See response to Murray below. (none)
          plus: Sharit probably didn't know that Murray's posts had been hidden, if s/he could see them.  No paranoia (or apology) required.

          Yes, thank God, Fred Phelps holds no government office, though he makes the odd bid for governor as a Democrat, would you believe.

          If you define Nazism as a large movement, then I hope you are right, that America is not in danger.  But Nazi is as Nazi does, and there are plenty of Nazi websites purporting to be based in Christian faith, mostly fundamentalist.  If I was gay I'd be worried.

          And I simply disagree that Amprather trivialized Nazi crimes.  It was a moving story.  Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it - and one way of repeating it is to let it sneak up on you.  We know it can happen, and what it looks like.  Size isn't everything.

      •  Nope (none)
        no authority, and I haven't been here long myself, just long enough to find out the rules, mostly by trial and error.  Try the FAQ here, and a diary by Pastor Dan on suggested community norms here.

        And if you hang around a bit longer you will find that there is plenty of disagreement, often vociferously (to put it mildly) expressed.  Browse through some recent diaries if you don't believe me. There are even fierce arguments about whether someone should have been troll rated or not, and sometimes "hidden" comments will reappear, having been rated back up.

        Sarcasm is also appreciated on the whole.

        But it is a Democratic blog, and does not claim to be anything else, so if you want to make an argument that comes from out of field, it is probably best - if you want to stay in the conversation - to be on your best behaviour ;).  I presume the logic is to protect discussions from being hijacked from opponents who simply want to hijack the thread with meretricious abuse.  I'm not saying that's what you did, but it happens, believe me.

        But I can also assure you that plenty of unpopular views get aired, and are not troll-rated (although they sometimes are), but are nonetheless vigorously both denounced and re-articulated.  And sometimes even the old-timers get troll rated.  In fact I won't really feel I belong here until it's happened to me at least once.  And there are even a few Republicans (and some ex-Republicans) in the community.

        So feel happy to discuss Christianity here with me if you like!  Here's one of my diaries on the subject. If it appalls you I won't troll rate you, and no-one else is about anyway.  It generated one of the milder arguments I've seen on this site.

        And it's Ms Febble, I'm not a Democrat, for the simple reason I'm not even an American. I'm a Brit, and came to this brilliant blog in the run up to the presidential election.

      •  PS (none)
        Just seen your original comment:

        If I believed there was a shred of truth to your story, I would be sad for the way you diminished your granfather's legacy to score some cheap political points. Fortunately, I think you're full of crap from word one.

        Calling someone else a liar, without evidence, is what I call abusive.

  •  Something I whipped up (none)
    Take it or leave it.  I'd rather share than keep it for myself.

    Desktop Background

  •  I'm encouraged by this diary (none)
    Thank you for sharing (& baring yourself to skepticism).   I hope that you decide to continue to share as the days and weeks pass.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    "So long as we have enough people in this country willing to fight for their rights, we'll be called a democracy." ~Roger Baldwin

    by spyral on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 12:56:53 PM PST

  •  IMPORTANT MESSAGE TO AMPRATHER (none)
    I can certainly understand why you'd be reluctant to make a media circus of your meeting with BettyG. But there is another alternative, and one that's much more useful and valuable to the public and will be far more rewarding to the two of you.

    I strongly encourage you to bypass the media as your first contact, and instead, make your story known to staff members at one of these museums: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum or Yad Vashem, The Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Authority. In a museum setting, a number of positive things will most likely happen: your story will receive  respectful treatment by people who have knowledge and understanding of its context. You and BettyG may be able to be interviewed for oral history documentation. In accordance with museum ethics, your story will not be used in any way you haven't given explicit permission for. Your story would be shared for the larger purpose of education and prevention. In a museum, your story stands a much better chance of reaching and affecting individuals who are ready to hear, understand, and be positively moved by your story than you would on TV or in print. It will have lasting impact, since it will become part of the body of research used to construct exhibitions, write books, and develop programs --it will reach people over a much longer time period than would a feel-good spot on the nightly news. Museums will be able to connect you with resources, scholars, and others who have had similar experiences. No one will be making a profit from the story via advertising sold to support the medium.

    At Yad Vashem's site, you can write a page of testimony and download a survivor's registry form. At the USHMM, you can also register a survivor, and you can gather and share information about members of the liberating military units. I would encourage you to look around these websites, then pick up the phone and call the museums. Explain the broad outlines of your story. You may have to go through several people until you are put in touch with a curator or researcher; but ultimately, since you have such a remarkable experience to discuss, I am sure you will get the right person's attention. Best of luck.

  •  Good story, stupid conclusion. (1.00)
    What a great story of a WWII hero. I'm glad the grandfather survived and was able to inspire his grandchild to be vigilant against fascism. It's unfortunate that in this particular case the grandchild disgraced his grandfathers hardship by twisting it to fit his hate-filled ideaology. My grandfather survived WWII as a G.I., fighting to bring freedom to oppressed people. My uncle was the only survivor of his demolition team fighting for the same goal in the same war. They both died long before the war in Iraq, so I won't presume to talk for them. But they taught me to love this country and to love freedom. I spent six years in the Navy because of this, seeing "combat" in both the Iraq bombings of 98 and the bombing of Kosovo in 99. ("combat" is in quotations, because, honestly, lobbing cruise missiles from over 1000 miles away from a submarine is nothing like the combat my grandfather and uncle saw)There is something truly tragic in the use of a nobe story of herosim in the face of Nazi atrocity being used as nothing better than Goebbels-like propaganda.
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