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Friday, November 14, 2014

Die Leiden des jungen Montags (The Sorrows of Young Montag)

My daughter and her husband were traveling through Georgia like a film reel of Sherman's March To The Sea run backwards, going from Savannah back to Atlanta, and according to the glowing praises of the Georgian cooking, foraging like royalty off the rich produce of the land.

They visited the National Center For Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta. They found that it wonderfully fulfilled its mission, as described on its website:
The mission of The National Center for Civil and Human Rights is to empower people to take the protection of every human's rights personally. Through sharing stories of courage and struggle around the world, The Center encourages visitors to gain a deeper understanding of the role they play in helping to protect the rights of all people.
My daughter sent me the photograph above, which is in a display at the Center.

She-who-must-be-obeyed wondered over it for a bit, not quite divining why our daughter had sent it to me. When I looked at it, it was quite obvious: it looked like young me and a young picture of gramps on my mother's side.

Of course, we did not know what context the photo appeared in. This caused me some premonitory whim-whams, knowing my daughter as I do. I thought there was a 70-30 chance the context in which the photo appeared would not be to my liking.

It looked vaguely Eastern Europe with German troops at some unpleasant time, perhaps...

In other words, I thought that there was only a 30% likelihood that the photo appears in the National Center For Civil And Human Rights with a caption resembling:
"Handsome Bloke Stands Up For Justice!"

Again, there was only a 30% chance that I was Mr. August in a  calendar of hunky guys from the shtetls.

Appositely and oppositely, there was a sneaking suspicion that there was a 70% prob. that this was a young man standing outside the local SS office, waiting to sign up.

I was seriously conflicted. I take my diverse heritage seriously.
I also take it in a medley of dyslexia.
For example, my mother loves Werther's Original Caramel candies, those butterscotch colored, melt in your mouth lozenges of joy. For me, however, they are ganz verboten mainly because they (1) make me sad, and (2) are considered a bad omen.

I know the reason why this is so is very obvious, but I shall be tedious and explain it all again:
Goethe wrote a novel titled  Die Leiden des jungen Werthers, or The Sorrows Of Young Werther.
Young Werther ends up (Spoiler Alert !!!) a suicide, so the combination of "sorrows" and "suicide" makes an acronymic "ss" and that's too many "s" for me.
So I do not eat Werther's Candy... mostly out of a sense of support for his family in their ongoing battle to receive royalties for the use of Werther's name.

That's diverse dyslexia.

So it turns out that the photo was that of a young lad, one of the gay blades of German-occupied Poland, who was watching an involuntary beard-trimming of old Jewish men. It was the fashion at the time.
So there was grandfather - or even uncle! -  Stanislaw Augustus (named after the king!) hooting at anti-Semitic hijinks.

I guess I always knew it.


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