For A. – Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to the four billion people in the world living on less than four dollars a day.  Merry Christmas to the hundreds of thousands, soon to become millions, of home owners heading to the streets in the sub-prime crisis. Merry Christmas to the forty-seven million Americans without health insurance. Merry Christmas to all the privileged people who have to work for peanuts and then die when they reach the age of retirement if they have a retirement system which will give them less than they need to eat anyway. 

And a Jolly ho-ho-ho to all those on Wall Street and the City who are collecting multi million dollar bonuses for a job well done destroying our world’s economy.  Season’s Greetings to those who send out people strapped with bombs to blow up busy markets.  And to American fighter jet pilots who never get to see the collateral damage. 

A. is 83 and dying.  They just removed three-quarters of one lung so her death from cancer will not be too painful.  She is stronger than ever.  The German helath care system has sent her to a sanatorium in the Black Forest.

As a child in Southern Germany, she would often be scolded for running off to the Gypsy camp to have fun.  During the war she fell in love with a Bulgarian studying medicine in Germany until he was expelled when Sofia changed sides.  She worked as a secretary at a news paper during the war which meant she had to go to de-nazification training although she was never a nazi.   

A.’s father, a postman, was forced to take the often bombed night train to Stuttgart because he refused to join the party.  One day while watching American bombers pass over, a side gunner took at shot at him with his 50 cal. 

A.’s mother, who was taught to cook by the Jewish family whose house she cleaned, went out and helped the Jews sweep up the glass after the Kristal Nacht. 

A. does not understand.  The real Nazis, the big ones, were put in the post-war government by the allies to write Germany’s new constitution.  They built post-war Germany.

A. lived through the five days of rape and plunder at the end of April 1944 which French officers awarded their Moroccan troops for taking Tübingen without a fight. 

A. does not complain.  She is of strong stock, determined and principled.  When the Bulgarian love of her life called her forty years later, she hung up on him.  He should have called sooner.

A. believes in God. She is poor and has maintained her war rationing habits. 

There is one thing Analeise would like to do before she dies.  She wants to visit her brother’s grave in Czechi.  Her only brother was killed in the opening days of the war.  He was 18.  She has never been to his grave.