POLAND AND EAST GERMANY IN THE FALL
I’m not obsessed with World War II, but I have found it interesting enough to sign up for a WWII-oriented tour of Poland and East Germany in September and October. I probably have a 50/50 chance of it actually taking place, given the political situation, but I will proceed until something becomes officially canceled.
You can view the trip offering listed on GlobusJourneys.com. I’ve traveled with this tour company before and I like how they do things.
The tour begins in Warsaw, Poland, where the greatest number of Jews in Europe lived in 1939, when Hitler invaded Poland. I’ll go next to Krakow and see Auschwitz, then to Wroclaw and Dresden to see the museums. I’ll spend a couple of days in Berlin seeing the typical tourist spots, and hope to also see the model of Germania that Hitler designed. Next is the city of Weimar, to see the Buchenwald concentration camp. I’ll spend a day in Nuremberg, where I’ll see the stadium where the Nazis held giant rallies, the documentation museum, and the courtroom where the trials were held.
It will then be on to Munich, where I’ll visit the Dachau Concentration Camp and SS Training Center, plus the town structures built during the Third Reich. I’m staying two extra days to visit Salzburg and Berchtesgaden, where the Third Reich established its southern center of government (Hitler’s home) and the Eagle’s Nest.
Along the way, I’m sure to eat more than my share of sausage.
I want to see the country and get a broad view of what happened in the two years after the war – 1945 and 1946. There were 40 million “displaced persons” frantically wandering around Europe after the war and getting them resettled was difficult, at best. It became even more complicated by the vengeance-minded governments who rolled “ethnic cleansing” into the efforts.
On the home front, I have the resolution of The Biggest Cowboy In The World. This was my adult fiction book manuscript that I submitted to my publisher in May of last year, and then retracted it because my editor thought it was awful (she was right). After I rewrote the story, removing about 40k words, I resubmitted the manuscript in October. It was significantly better, but the senior editor still didn’t like it. In January, I retracted it a second time and tossed it back into the drawer. There must be something that I’m missing, but I have since moved on. I’ll try again sometime in the future.
Moving on to my current research for my next writing adventure, I mentioned in a previous blog about being wary of involving myself too deeply in the history of the Third Reich and the atrocities that occurred. It didn’t take as long as I expected to get depressed about the whole mess. In January, I began reading the secret diaries of young women imprisoned in the work camps, concentration camps or in the ghettos of the larger cities.
The diaries describe the horrors of daily living and are hard to read; there’s no emotionally-neutral academic prose to shelter me from their abuse. When my four-year-old granddaughter started showing up in my nightmares, I decided to quit for a while. I’ll get myself balanced out by looking at other sources and then go back to reading the diaries a little at a time.
I’m still not sure what kind of story I want to write, but getting a greater understanding of the situation has shed a lot of light on what’s happening in today’s world. That is, in itself, profitable.
I’ve received feedback that sometimes my blogs are not easy to find on Facebook. I understand—I once posted a blog, then looked for it fifteen minutes later. In that time, more than fifty other posts had shown up; my post was way down in the clutter. I’ve also found that my posts will occasionally just disappear, which is one reason I post not only to the Mogi Franklin site, but to my main site; it seems to help.
If you want to skip Facebook altogether, you can go directly to DonaldWillerton.com and go to the listing of my blogs. You will see not only the current post, but the previous posts, if you want. I post regularly every Sunday afternoon or evening, if able.
William H Willmon
2/20/2022 08:43:41 pm
I've been to Poland twice . Warsaw, Krakow, Berlin, but decline to go to any of the camps you mention. I've been to the Holocaust museums here in the US, Warsaw has an excellent WWII museum. I know evil exists and that WWII was full on evil. I do not need to go to those places. Hopefully you will change your mind about going on this trip.
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Don Willerton has been a reader all his life and yearns to write words like the authors he has read. He's working hard at it and invites others to share their experiences.