war memoir
A Personal Journey Through Germany's World Wars and Postwar Years
by Dorothea von Schwanenflügel Lawson

"I highly recommend the book!...very easy to read, very well written. The historical background is very good and much appreciated. It gave me a much better understanding of the past. Once I started to read, I couldn't put it down till I finished!"
              ~ H. Hoppe, Muscatine, Iowa


The Nazis were masters of concealment and brainwashing, as evidenced by the fact that the outside world knew more about the terrible occurrences that took place under Hitler's command than we did. People never knew what kind of person he really was. On different occasions he defied the Versailles Treaty, which was overlooked by the Allies. They realized that the unjust terms of the Versailles Treaty was the cause of Germany's economic chaos, and were impressed how rapidly Hitler had reduced the massive unemployment in his first few years of power. Millions, and not only Germans, had been under his spell, and in later years his personal magnetism was often discussed, but never understood. (Wedding photo of 1942 - above.)
The war was only six weeks old when Goebbels introduced our first national Socialist welfare war relief action which was a compulsory charity for helping the poor during the cold winter. At a huge rally in Berlin on October 10, 1939, in the Sports Palace, the gathering place for famous Nazi Party conventions, he screamed over the loudspeakers, "Nobody should starve or freeze!", which the people immediately turned into: "Nobody should starve without freezing." We knew that the Nazis were not concerned about the public welfare, despite their empty clichés, but rather, how much money they could collect.

Goebbels announced that street collections would begin using boxes with the slogan "a dime for the poor". What poor? We did not understand who these poor people were because the Nazis had continually told us that everybody had employment with a good income. The next action was to declare the first Sunday of every month as Eintopfsonntag, a simple soup Sunday. On that day we were supposed to eat sparingly and make generous monetary contributions instead. The same applied to restaurants where you were supposed to eat sparingly but pay for a full price meal as a supplemental donation.
There were numerous ruthless fund raising schemes for obscure purposes. The workers' true wages were continually shrinking because pay raises on paper were immediately consumed by drastically increased deductions of pay for "voluntary" contributions, while their pressure of work had increased toiling for the Fatherland. As usual, the people reciprocated immediately with a new cynical joke:

Hitler, Göring and Goebbels request a typical German meal in a country inn. They are served a simple soup, which they eat reluctantly. Upon leaving the inn, they notice a common worker enjoying his sumptuous meal. Amazed, they inquire curiously how he could afford something as splendid as that. The man smiles cunningly, "Somebody in payroll made a mistake and paid me my deductions instead of my net pay!"

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