I was born in post-war Germany in 1951. We immigrated to the States when I was nine with my post-air force step father. My mother and her brothers and sisters grew up in Hitler's Germany. She never mentioned the war.
If I asked she would say, "Evelyn, I do not want to talk about it!"
At the age of 11, I became very curious about the war and began reading books on the subject. That's when I learned about Hitler's grand plan to make the Aryan race the superior, one and only race on the earth and his diabolic program to exterminate all other races, especially the Jewish people.
I was stunned, horrified and stricken. Even though I was not born during that time, I felt the shame of being a German. How could a people do that to other people?
I believe we all carry darkness inside us. If we choose to nurture that darkness, it becomes a monster that rules and we become less than animals. Hitler nurtured his demons and surrounded himself with other monsters, and so the nightmare of the Holocaust was born, fed and committed.
What my mother witnessed, I do not know. I do know it was impossible to live in Germany during that time and not know something evil was happening. But as a child and a teenager, what could you do? And as you grow older and your understanding matures, how do you carry that burden with you?
My mother got pregnant in 1950. She was not married. I thank her daily for not aborting me. Today, being a single mother is an acceptable choice. In 1951, it was not. So much easier for her to eliminate the life inside her, than to bring that life to the light.
It took courage to give birth to me. Maybe it was because of what she had lived through, the waste, the sorrow, the deaths, that made her decide to choose life.
Go into yourself and see how deep the place is from which your life flows. Rainer Maria Rilke