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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

History: January through December 2003

December 31, 2003
It's hard to remember on days like these that somewhere tulip bulbs lie dormant, expectantly awaiting warm spring mornings. Or that our mulberry tree will ever have leaves. Everything looks like death, yet hopes of new life. Difficult year... Besides our own health issues, our family lost a dear friend in August. Dr. Johann Forster ~ Hansi to me and Denise ~ died tragically on August 4. He was only 46. His encouragement, both emotional and tangible, in the White Rose work had kept us going through some discouraging days.

This was also a time when we learned how closely mental, physical, and intellectual health are related. When one goes, the others are hard put to stay intact. It's nearly impossible to work well when you're not. Small things like data entry into the Access database took far too long. Everything slowed down to molasses.

On the bright side, in October I got to present our White Rose work at the Women in German conference (Carrollton, Kentucky). I could barely participate in many of the "extracurricular" activities and spent more time than I like holed up in my hotel. But it felt good to get a positive response from real, live people.

Lilo Ramdohr continues to encourage us. She embraces our vision. Amazing how the people who have nothing to hide don't mind it when you expose their warts!

Also got a very nice letter from Traute Lafrenz. She answered a bunch of additional questions, including queries I had about Werner Scholl (Hans Scholl respected and admired his younger brother far more than has been told to date), as well as about Katharina Schueddekopf (she did more than she's been credited with).

But we are going to have to evaluate the status of this work. That will come at the first of the New Year.

October 28, 2003
We have had a great deal of illness in our family this year. Common Ground has been all but abandoned. For now. The illness has meant that simple tasks take twice, if not three times as long.

We know that we are among the lucky few in this America ~ a place that can be harsh, if not deathly for someone in bad health. For all of us have health insurance. And we have doctors who can treat the IBS and skin cancers and infections and debilitating inflammations.

We're all getting healthy once again, slowly but surely. We are looking for 2004 to be a time of uncommon goodness. You're forewarned!

May 1, 2003
Common Ground column posted on Center for White Rose Studies Web site. Truly hoping this can turn into a forum for honest, meaningful discussion. Talking to a Turkish fellow we met at the Dreyfus Conference on using an excerpt from his discussion about historical attempts to establish a secular Muslim state in Turkey. This is the kind of thing that needs ~ desperately needs ~ a wide audience. War solves nothing.

April 25, 2003
Starting on the next White Rose "thing" ~ publication of the indictment, trial transcript and partial interrogation transcripts for the
third White Rose trial (Josef Soehngen, Manfred Eickemeyer, Wilhelm Geyer, and Harald Dohrn). Also, the 1937-1938 interrogations and trial for Hans and Werner Scholl, and Ernst Reden.

Have to proceed cautiously with the latter ~ not out of fear of Scholls, though I have no doubt they'd be livid. But because it includes information about Hans Scholl's sexual activities with boys who were minors at the time. Can't publish their names.

And have to make certain that we don't sell to minors. Pretty explicit text.

April 18, 2003
Taxing time of year, even if you don't count the IRS. Oh well. At least filing income tax returns gives me an excuse to clean up paperwork I've put off for months now. Massive filing campaign ~ I can see all of my office floor for the first time in a year!

Thanks to Dr. Ziegler, I now have a copy of
Detlef Bald's new White Rose book. It's pretty awful. Bald goes on and on about how wonderful it is that he has Dr. Wittenstein's diary entries and letters to use to expand his White Rose knowledge. Too bad Bald wasn't honest enough to admit that Wittenstein's diary entries etc. are "reconstructed" (yes, I have a copy!) and that they don't mention White Rose work.

Bald's book is one more example of horrible, fake "scholarship" by someone who just wants to cash in on the legend. So frustrating.

April 4, 2003
A week to play catch-up and not much else. Loads of emails to answer. Starting on the next White Rose project already. Very tired. Hard to get motivated.

March 30, 2003
What a great time we had in Springfield! Learned so much from the people at the conference. Fun being a presenter, but just as "fun" hearing what everyone else had to say.

Drove home the long way, down through Kentucky and the Smoky Mountains. It snowed in West Virginia. Eight inches of the white stuff. How wonderful was that.

March 21, 2003
Oh yea, oje, oy. Getting ready for Dreyfus Conference next week. Putting together materials, finalizing speech. Preparing handout. All the while, continuing to do administrative stuff for the Center. Glad I'm not in this alone. I'd go out of my blooming mind if that were the case. And frankly, I think I'd have walked away a long time ago if I didn't have familial support.

March 7, 2003
Yea! Sometimes I can just get on a roll and write like I'm talking to someone face to face. Inspiration seems to come easy during weeks like this! Completed the essay for the Dreyfus Conference!

February 28, 2003
Helping with the distribution of a press release about the two newest White Rose books. I feel like I am always complaining about how hard it is. Don't want to be a whiner, but this phase of our work is very wearing.

And I have to finish the Dreyfus Conference speech. I love the material, it's just hard juggling everything.

February 21, 2003
The big snow! In many ways, it felt like a "reward" for all our hard work of the last couple months, and especially the last few weeks. Everything was quiet, peaceful, and when it stopped, there was laughter on the street as people worked together to move all the white stuff. Funny how difficult situations can bring out the very best in people!

Tomorrow is the 60th anniversary of the execution of Christoph Probst, Hans Scholl, and Sophie Scholl. I hope our White Rose work can successfully raise the awareness of the other executions, so that one day, people will commemorate July 13 (execution of Kurt Huber and Alexander Schmorell), October 12 (Willi Graf), and May 5 (Harald Dohrn, shot by the Gestapo three days before war's end in 1945) as well.

February 14, 2003
Out the door! We shared pizza and laughter, cooked corn bread and stew, did whatever it took to make sure the backbreaking side of production and order fulfillment was not too painful.

Looking forward to taking a short break from White Rose work over the next month or two. The Ludwig Thoma/Muth/Herzl paper needs to be wrapped up and submitted, and we are beginning work on a couple other 'history projects', one Houston-based, the other hopefully right here in Pennsylvania. No official announcements to make at this stage. But if all goes well, we will be able to juggle several projects at once and not get in the rut of a single one (as with White Rose).

February 7, 2003
Such a wonderful feeling. . . The
Gestapo Interrogation Transcripts are about ready to ship. We are still such a small operation. Sometimes the non-creative aspects of our work can feel overwhelming, as each of us must wear so many different hats. You know, one of these days we will likely look back on these as the "good old days."

January 23, 2003
Dr. Armin Ziegler reminded me this week that I need to be more careful about generalizing groups of people. Though he does not live in Crailsheim these days, he considers himself a Crailsheimer. He asked me to remember that the seven or eight people in the so-called White Rose Task Force are not necessarily representative of 30,000 residents of that town. He's right... I apologize to him specifically. It does not improve my opinion of the wannabe task force ~ just narrows the focus of my irritation to the people who actually deserve it.

I am still up in the air about continuing White Rose work long-term. It seems fraught with more pitfalls than I can handle alone (even with the support of my amazing family).

When working on any topic that has to do with the Third Reich or history between 1933-1945 ~ even US history during that time period ~ you quickly learn to look askance at people who proclaimed their resistance post-war, where there is no evidence of said resistance documented during the war. Especially with the White Rose, this is a huge issue. The people who have been first in line at the microphone to tell about the White Rose and their involvement in it tend also to be the same people who are most likely to be lying through their teeth.

This causes problems for people like me who just want to know the whole story as it really happened. The handful who have traditionally controlled the telling of the story have also amassed small fortunes for reciting their fairy tales. It's a little scary to face an establishment like that.

January 16, 2003
Well, I thought the people in Crailsheim had finally found the bottom of their barrel. They had not. As of today's date, I am officially dissociating myself from them and repudiating every positive comment I've ever made about their work. (If you missed out on prior events, see my journal beginning November 29, 2002 and going forward to the end of the year.)

I will not even dignify them with additional comments. It's simply disgusting.

I will however note that though the people in Crailsheim have insisted that I am wrong about the Scholl family's continued censorship of the Scholl archives, I have an email received from the Institut fuer Zeitgeschichte in Munich ~ received THIS WEEK! ~ in which the person in charge of Scholl archives notes the following:

Scholl Archives will not be accessible till 2004;
They cannot yet tell if Sophie Scholl's entire diary was included in the sale from the Aicher-Scholl family to the IFZ; and,
They will not know for another year whether the Scholl archives will be open to everyone [or whether Aicher-Scholl demands for censorship of access to the archives will be honored].

In my opinion, this is unforgivable! The government of the United States of America evidently provided most of the funds that enabled Inge Scholl to establish "her" archives (as far as I know, there has never been a full accounting for how the funds were spent). If the IFZ does not quickly resolve the issue of access and equally quickly verify that 100% of the Scholl documents were turned over to the IFZ, I am of a mind to ask the Attorney General of the US to file a lawsuit against the Scholl Archives either to recoup the substantial money that flowed to Inge Scholl under the Marshall Plan and related organizations, or to bring the archives to the US where they were bought and paid for.

I am so fed up, I can hardly stand it! I am tempted to walk away right this minute.

January 10, 2003
The Gestapo Archives book is nearing completion and should ship by the end of this month or the first of February. Production considerations have included (but are hardly limited to) whether we should try to emulate the exact layout of the Gestapo files, or whether we should present the work in usual translation format. We finally opted for the latter and resumed production. (I know, it sounds trivial, but it was a decision that affected how we go forward with future translations of Gestapo archives (among others).

These last two weeks have also been marked by a very deep and hurtful White Rose experience that I cannot talk about yet. Maybe one day.

Funny, about the same time I was going through the unspeakable event, I ran across an article about the estate of "Winnie the Pooh" and how upsetting it has been for everyone ever associated with it. From the author to the author's son and even to those who first published and marketed the lovable bear, it has meant one personal nightmare after another.

My White Rose experiences have left me seriously doubtful as to whether I'll continue this work once this first volume of Gestapo archives is out the door. It seems to be a world where those who propagate lies are rewarded, and those who tell the truth are heroes left unsung.

January 3, 2003
Mom's home again, after spending several weeks with my little brother in England. Good to have her back in non-long-distance range.

A couple of friends forwarded me a vile article written by a fellow named William Grim. His virulent anti-German propaganda is mind-boggling. It makes absolutely no sense at all. If you happen to receive any of his works, please let me know. I am calling on the leaders of the American and Jewish communities to repudiate his racism. His other extreme positions, such as revoking female suffrage and expansion of American imperialism, should make him a pariah to anyone who values their brain.

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