#1013- Dick Bernard: Flossenburg

In today’s Minneapolis Star Tribune I read a most interesting column about Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the noted German Lutheran Theologian and Pastor, who was part of the conspiracy to remove Adolf Hitler during the dark days of the Third Reich. He died by hanging 70 years ago today, April 9, 1945.
The first paragraph of the commentary noted “Bonhoeffer was hanged at the Flossenbürg concentration camp in Germany for participating in the conspiracy to kill Adolf Hitler.”
The mention “Flossenburg” especially peaked my interest.
For a dozen years, now, I have been privileged to have as a close friend, Annelee Woodstrom. Annelee grew up as Anneliese Solch in Mitterteich, Germany, near the Czech border.
Now 88, Annelee grew up in the time of the Third Reich, and speaks often of her memories then.
She was 18 when the war ended.
A vignette she always mentions in her talks was the time, very near the end of the war, when a group of POWs were marched past the family home. They were from Flossenburg, she said. Until then she didn’t even know there was a prison at Flossenburg, much less that it was a concentration camp, and she admits that fact may be hard to believe.
(Until this moment, when I looked it up, I didn’t know that Flossenburg was just 20 miles south of Mitterteich.)
It is simple to say, now, that “she must have known. That town was only 20 miles away.”
But if you factor in everything about the place and the time and the circumstances, there is little doubt that townspeople knew only what was told to them. Even today, with all of the means of communication we have access to, we are regularly deceived and misled. Think now of some town 20 miles from you, where you don’t know anyone. Even today, lots could go on in that town without your knowledge….
I sent the commentary along to Annelee this morning. Three weeks from Friday, in Minneapolis, Annelee Woodstrom will remember, among many other memories, the end of World War II as she experienced it in Germany (Adolf Hitler killed himself on April 30; VE Day came on May 6, 1945.)
Here is the flier for the event: World Law Day May 1 2015.
Reservations are requested.

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