Thursday, August 16, 2007

You Should Write A Story


Once an acquaintance told me that he was having sex with Hitler's great grand-niece and couldn't continue because if birth control failed, he'd be responsible for a relation of Hitler being born. I didn't fully believe him (how in the devil had he happened upon Hitler's kin in west Texas?), but I kind of did. If anyone was going to have an intriguing sex life full of love and misery, fraught with crazy decisions, it would be him. My buddy was a terrific writer, one of those people I idolized when I was a baby writer, a tragic star in graduate school (when I was a lowly undergraduate) who kept going in and out of mental hospitals, sort of a Texan version of Richard Brautigan meets Kurt Kobain. He read at a place called Joe's Diner once a month during open mike night, and people would stand in line to see him read in a way that say, they didn't for Schizophrenic Pete who performed his epic masterwork, a poem of couplets called "Taxicab Tom." Here comes Taxicab Tom, vroom vroom, Pete would yell. Joe had the good sense to open with the worst and save the best for last as to help beer sales at the end of the night. Although given the opening line-up, I'm thinking a beer would have been mighty fine under those circumstances.

"What do you think I should do?" my friend asked (I'd upgraded myself to his friend by this point in the conversation given that he was talking to me about his sex life) and looked at me with his big blue eyes, eyes that could give a person a fright. I'd gone from fan to confidant quick and didn't know what to say. I don't put too much stock into bloodlines -- I think people are pretty much assholes (if they go this route) for a variety of reasons, only some of them involving whatever genetic stew they get from their parents. But Hitler, man, that was bad to nearly everyone except the Coors family who didn't mind naming their kids after the fuhrer. Thinking fast, I said, "You should write a story where it happens." That was the last time I saw him given that he overdosed on pills a few months later, fresh out of the latest snake pit. I don't know if he ever wrote the story, but here's a small part of it, for what it's worth.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"The greater the lie, the greater the chance that it will be believed." Adolf Hitler

Cocktail Hour
Drinking nonfictin suggestion: Against Love Laura Kinipis

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Thursday!

6 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

I saw some show on history channel once about Hitler's relatives. Hard to imagine in a way that he has living relatives, but I suppose that shows how he's become a villain "character" rather than a real person. Strange.

eric313 said...

We are all Hitler's relatives. He was monstrous, but still he was a human being. He was a product of what ever forces shaped him. God knows, the same kind of life as he had is lived out all over the place by millions of others, and they still don't turn into Hitler like personalities.

I blame the Bavarians. They encouraged it by not telling him to sit down and shut up and drink his beer, as would have happened if he was in Detroit or Texas and stood up on a table to start yelling about "the true evil". They'd all want to know who let the bug-eyed sauerkraut with the charlie chaplin 'stache into the room.

funny story...
peace out

Cheri said...

Maybe it was true and that's why he OD'd on the pills, creating a spawn of Hitler. Somehow I think it was more or less because he was crazy, and sometimes crazy people do strange things to "help" themselves.

the walking man said...

http://www.mail-archive.com/ctrl@listserv.aol.com/msg46828.htmlISSUE 1878 Sunday 16 July 2000

Hitler's lost relatives found on Long Island - 'in terror of identification'
By James Langton in New York
SHOWING no sense of regret, the dictator's closest surviving kin are living
secret lives in Middle American neighbourhoods.

For more than half a century they have lived with the terrible legacy of the
most hated man in history. Now, for the first time, the secret lives of Adolf
Hitler's lost relatives have been revealed. The family tree of the survivors
of the Hitler clan is traced in the latest issue of the New Yorker magazine.

Publication follows a year-long investigation by the writer Timothy Ryback,
who discovered the Nazi dictator's relatives living on both sides of the
Atlantic. Hitler's closest surviving kin are three great-nephews living on
Long Island, barely an hour's drive from New York city.

Mr Ryback, in an interview with The Telegraph, said: "They live in absolute
terror of being uncovered and their lives being turned upside down." Hitler's
American relatives have consistently refused to give interviews. Even their
lawyer has asked not to be identified. When contacted, he said: "If they came
forward, then where's your life after this?"

Mr Ryback says that several of the relatives bear some physical resemblance
to Hitler, pointing out: "If you block out everything else, you have that
forehead and those eyes staring back at you." The legacy of the Hitler name
has brought a life of trouble for his surviving kin, says Mr Ryback.

The writer found it ironic that his search had ended knocking on a door in
suburban Long Island. He said: "There were American flags hanging from the
houses of neighbours and dogs barking. It was a quintessentially Middle
American scene." The New Yorker article, "Hitler's Lost Family", includes
interviews with relatives in Germany and Austria. Most express little regret
for their ancestor's crimes.

Mr Ryback, an American now living in Salzburg, Austria, believes that many
descendants would like to lay claim to the Hitler estate, which in theory
could include royalties from his autobiography Mein Kampf and photograph
albums belonging to Eva Braun, currently stored in Washington. According to
one calculation, Hitler's estate might be worth up to £15 million.

Interviewed by Mr Ryback, one middle-aged Austrian descendant said he would
have "absolutely no reservations" about taking the money. "The Jews have got
their compensation," he is quoted as saying. "And now the slave labourers
have got theirs. It is time for us to get ours."

Mr Ryback said: "For the most part, they do not seem to be very nice people.
I don't know if you could say that this is genetic or just living under the
shadow of the Hitler name. But I had no sense of regret from them. Rather, it
was more of fear and terror of what might happen if they came forward."

Hitler was the eldest child of his father Alois's second wife, Klara Pölzl, a
cousin who died of breast cancer in 1907. His only full-blood sibling, Paula,
lived in Vienna until the final weeks of the war, when she was summoned to
Berchtesgaden to be near her brother's Bavarian villa. Paula Hitler was
contacted by a United States Army intelligence officer in May, 1945. She
refused a formal interview, but agreed to talk briefly in exchange for a lift
to a baker's.

During the drive, she said her brother had been deeply affected by his
mother's death when he was 18. After breaking into tears, she said: "Please
remember, he was my brother." After the war, Paula lived in seclusion in a
two-room flat near Berchtesgaden until her death in 1960. She is the only
member of the immediate family to carry the name Hitler on her tombstone.

Hitler's closest living relatives are the descendants of his father's first
marriage to Franziska Matzelsberger. Apart from the American relatives, the
grandchildren of his half-sister Angela live near the Austrian city of Linz.
At least five cousins and nephews are known to have died after capture by the
Russians.

Dozens of more distant relatives live in Austria's Waldvietel region, near
the Czech border, whose inhabitants are still regarded as peasants by many of
their compatriots. The Hitler name derives from the German for smallholder.
The New Yorker article quotes Werner Maser, the unofficial administrator of
the Hitler estate as saying: "Most of the Hitler heirs were poor, uneducated
farmers."

The exception was Leo Raubal, the son of Angela, who became a director of the
Linz Steelworks, and looked so much like his uncle that he occasionally
served as a Hitler double during the war. The most intriguing members of the
family are the only survivors of the paternal line, through Hitler's
half-brother Alois, who worked as a waiter in Dublin in 1909, where he fell
in love with Brigid Dowling, the 17-year-old daughter of a local businessman.

Alois Hitler eloped with the teenager to Liverpool in 1910, but abandoned her
with a young son, William Patrick, shortly before the First World War. Brigid
later claimed in her memoirs that her brother-in-law had visited the couple
in Liverpool, where she persuaded him to trim his handlebar whiskers to the
trademark Hitler moustache.

William "Willie" Hitler's first glimpse of his uncle was at the 1929
Nuremberg Rally. He later returned to Britain, giving several newspaper
interviews about his uncle, and enlisted in the American navy later in the
war. Interviewed by US intelligence in 1943, Willie claimed that he had been
beaten as a baby by his father, who had himself been treated cruelly by his
grandfather.

The young Adolf had been the favourite when the half-brothers were growing up
together. Willie also enjoyed telling lurid anecdotes of meetings with his
uncle in Berlin in which the dictator raged against members of his family for
attempting to exploit the family name.

According to Brigid's account of her son's meeting with Hitler, the Führer
claimed that he was "surrounded by idiots", and told his half-brother Alois:
"You are tearing down everything I have built with my own two hands." Whether
such a meeting ever took place is not clear. Willie claimed to have asked his
uncle for a job in Germany, saying that the notoriety of the Hitler name made
it impossible for him to find work in Britain.

After working in a car factory, he returned to England shortly before war was
declared. In a report in the Daily Express, Willie Hitler was described by an
interviewer as wearing a brush mustache and parting his hair to the right. He
also crossed his arms in Führer style when talking, claiming: "The gesture
must be in my blood."

Shortly before his uncle invaded Poland, Willie Hitler was sent across the
Atlantic for a speaking tour. He gave lectures across North America about his
infamous family for the next two years. After initially being rejected by the
US military because his uncle had served in the German army in the First
World War, he wrote to President Roosevelt and was enlisted in the navy in
1944, serving under the Hitler family name.

Few have used it since. After leaving the navy in 1946, Willie married a
German-born American and changed his name. The couple had four children, one
of whom has since died in an accident. Willie Hitler died, aged 76, in 1987,
and is buried under a tombstone which carries no surname. His mother died in
1969. None of his surviving sons - living in various parts of Long Island -
has married.

His widow, now in her seventies, is said to live in a log cabin in a rural
part of the island. The neighbours are unaware of the family history.

eric313 said...

Wow. Glad I dropped back by. That was a good article.

Nick said...

Thanks for you kind comment, I will let you know when I post again. We take turns.

I love how you write.