PAGE THREE: GUILT
Heinz believed guilt is for one generation. Artist and cherished friend, Christiane Pflug, was a daughter of the person who betrayed him to Gestapo. This fact never entered their friendship. For the remainder of his life, he was devastated by her suicide. At the Toronto International Festival of Authors, Herta Muller spoke of her childhood. At the end of the war, her father and other former members of the S.S. moved to Romania where they established their own community, speaking only German. She learned to speak Romanian as an adult. A member of the audience asked her if she felt guilty her father had been in the SS. She responded "Why should I feel guilty?"No inheritance of guilt. Quoting her words to Heinz, he was deeply moved, shouting "Good for her." On severl occasions, I have heard him say "Why should they pay for it?" They had nothing to do with it!" in a raised volume. He was referring to Germans who were children during the war or born after the war. For younger Germans, Heinz answered any question about the war. He knew they had grown up without this. One exception. Heinz could not tell Christiane why he cut her mother out of his life. When guilt lasts one generation, our learning from history may occur without interruption.
The marathon of suirviving severe trauma, carrying heavy baggage, can have a more constructive chance when the trauma has occured early in childhood. Life is defined as if only after the person was damaged. Acceptance, for the most part, is unknown. Life before haunts other survivors. Focus and resourses are lost Heinz and my father carried heavy baggage from early childhood. Both men were intelligent, talented and good looking. Neither was capable of self promotion My father could not defend himself. Heinz could defend his beliefs and sometimes attempt to defend himself. Dad would sigh. Heinz would sigh. Women sigh. A type of surrender. Dad was five years old when he was admitted to Boy's Home. He could not understand why the women taking him in were crying. He had Kwashiorkor; a distended abdomen from starvation. His life would appear to be modest in accomplishments. Dad was a commercial artist for the T. Eaton Company. For thirty five years he drew ads for the newspapers. He produced few paintings and sketches for a life of eighty years. Dad went to war. Make the artist shoot people. The Canadian Army recognized he lacked the nerves of steel for the front line and placed him at the back in the artillery, with the big guns. In a time when males did not have to make positive choices with the challenges of the unspoken, Dad chose to and achieved moment to moment miracles. Someone with a less constructive father, told me I was lucky.