PAGE ONE: HEINZ
"What happened to the left wing?". The man who asked me that question survived resisting the Third Reich. A life directed by meaning and responsibilities. Pioneers of human rights understood hope required work. Step one: responsibilities. Step two: rights. Rights workers lived within step one and could not know most people need full instructions. Heinz laughed when he heard the title"A Short History of Progress."[i]. Not a saint; he was frequently impossible. Knowing I could rely upon his basics kept us together.
During the war, Heinz was allowed to travel to Italy and work in film. Gestapo gave him his passport and a warning. If he did not return to Germany, a friend of his would be put in a concentration camp. The Nazis and Heinz understood each other: what each was capable of doing. They knew he was not a flight risk. Heinz would not consider this an option. These opposites of evil and humanity, were most predictible. The people between, a gray area. Many people make good choices as often as possible. Most people make choices which benefit themselves. This includes choosing not to know what is guiding them. During intense times, when there is no clear choice, facts become distorted. Momentum from fear and the need to believe, can result in mass support of evil. From evil, there is power for the powerless. On the journey to Italy, Heinz had a train car to himself. Desperate people clung to the outside of the moving train. Heinz was compelled to help. In the telling of this story, he explained why he could not help these people. If he were killed, his friend would be put in a concentration camp. As Heinz protected the life of his friend, quite possibly, his friend may have saved Heinz's life. Without focusing upon himself, he survived the war.
Beautiful memory. As Heinz would look up to search the sky, I could see a boy and a man in his face. The childlike wonder of endless possibility within the protection of knowing he was looking in the right direction.