Note regarding comments

I love comments. I enjoy debate. I welcome both praise and thoughtful criticism. However, I've had to change comments-permissions to require self-identification. No more anonymous messages, please!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A thankful day

     I've posted my "official" Thanksgiving essay (Festival of Plenty) along with companion commentary (Changing, and not so changing, times) on my "other" blog. Please take a moment to read those two, and join me in a happy dance celebrating bubblegum and vanilla ice cream. Among other things!
     I want to add to that a thank you to readers and friends of our work who have given me (and the rest of our family) the energy to keep going. Whether it's Chris Hewitt coming back from a trip to Munich, excited about the places he visited... Or Dr. Armin Mruck, who has long found value in what we do, and often lets us know... Or dear MK, Mr. Munich, who shares all of the passion and some of our pain... Or a new friend, James Richards, who fell into the story and wants to know more... Or Prof. Hammer, who inspires his students at TAMU, who in turn inspire us...
     And so, so many more of you. If I kept going, I would surely miss one or two names, so it's best to stop when I'm missing hundreds. Thank you. Without you, what we do would be meaningless, a worthless void, a clanging cymbal. With you, we're a philharmonic.

Counterfactual history

     For the second time, I'm quoting Jon Meacham here. Funny in some ways, because often my world view diverges comfortably from his. Yet I find his editorials thought-provoking.
     His November 16 column - entitled Rethinking the Lessons of Vietnam - addresses the tendency of historians and journalists alike to repackage history into a form and format that best suits their conclusions.
     In other words, instead of digging for truth, a truth that is objective and as close to stark reality as possible, we who write tend to narrate the historical record subjectively, as seen through our own particular lenses. I know that I do so, although I try to clearly label opinions as such, and subjective discourse similarly as separate from cold, hard facts.
     Meacham's opening quote, attributed to Napoleon, asks, "What is history but a fable agreed-upon?"

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Major

     Yesterday's news about the tragic, horrific shooting spree at Fort Hood, Texas must send the same shudders through America's (and the world's) moderate Islamic community ... the same way that Herschel Grynszpan's November 7, 1938 assassination of German diplomat Ernst vom Rath must have sent shudders through the German-Jewish community.
     Far-right-wing, radical groups here in the USA are reacting in much the same way the National Socialist government did seventy-one years ago. Instead of seeing the murders as the work of a isolated gunman, they are now transferring Nidal Malik Hasan's guilt onto an entire religion and ethnic group. Just as Nazis turned the act of a 17-year-old into a crime attributable to a global Jewish conspiracy, so now bloggers see terrorists in every Middle-Eastern face. If that face happens to wear Islamic garb...

Monday, November 2, 2009

Truth Will Tell

     Anyone who has followed our work for more than half a second knows that a major obstacle to truthful telling of White Rose history is, has been, and for the foreseeable future will continue to be Inge Aicher-Scholl and her heirs. In addition to Inge's still-mindboggling refusal to grant me an interview, the overwhelming majority (about 90%) of Scholl Archives are off limits for the next 20 - 25 years.
     Inge and her heirs have controlled the White Rose story almost mercilessly for the past sixty-four years. They've browbeaten anyone who's deviated from her carefully crafted half-truths, including (but not limited to) Christian Petry, Vincent Probst and the Probst family, and even Fritz Hartnagel, Inge's own brother-in-law and Sophie Scholl's sometimes-boyfriend.
     She controlled photographs, Borg*-ing copyrights from dozens of White Rose friends and associates with her "Copyright Geschwister Scholl Archiv" stamp - even when they had not granted her copyright permission. She refused her own family members (specifically, the Hartnagels)