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Roger's Ramblings


Hi everyone, I am so very happy to be back for another rambling. The last few weeks, we have had a lot of fun and adventures reading about urban legends and stories of our Ozarks. Folks: this week, we are shifting gears and going to learn about a couple that lived among us on a typical Ozarks farm for many years. Their life and background is fascinating to me. They were both survivors of a German concentration camp during Hitler's reign. The Germans were very precise record keepers, requiring each prisoner to be tattooed with numbers. The lady had her identification numbers across her forehead, and the man had him on his forearm. You may ask, and rightly so, why are you so very interested in this terrible time of history and this couple? My interest in Hitler and Germany began in 1963 when I was a third grader. I saw movies of the Allies capturing concentration camps and bulldozing tens of thousands of bodies into pits to bury the bodies. Our school teachers taught history back then without the fluff and wanted us kids to know what our soldiers had freed the world of. My family came from Germany, and my wife was born in Nurnberg. My mother-in-law told me of the time when she met Adolf Hitler as a young girl at school and got clobbered over the head by an S. S. Nazi soldier for not saluting the Fuhrer. Hitler began WW2 in 1939, and after conquering Poland, he began his roundup of Jews and undesirables to be slaves in war factories or sent to concentration camps. Friends, our couple that immigrated to our country were both victims of Hitler's hatred. This story of Otto and Zelda Hofstein is heart-wrenching and disturbing. In order to help understand how a whole nation could take on the world, we must understand Hitler's Germany. Hitler was a very evil and cunning politician; he became the ultimate leader in 1933 and implemented his programs to transform his nation fundamentally. Number one: Indoctrinate all children through the schools. Number two, control the news media. Number three, create a hate group to blame the nation's problems on. Hitler hated Jews. When he began WW2, he envisioned conquering the world and terminating all Jews. Number 4, Hitler also hated Christians who believed in the Bible. He strongly warned the preachers never to mention anything about government activities from the pulpit, or else they would be rounded up. (mmm mmm, is today's America repeating history?) When Hitler's army began their invasion of Poland, they destroyed buildings and structures and began rounding up all Jews and former military and government officials and terminating them on the spot. Word spread quickly! The Polish army was no match for German armor and was defeated in only 35 days. Meanwhile, The families of Otto and Zelda both lived a few miles from Warsaw in the country and were able to hide out in various caves and underground hidden cellars when German soldiers came around. Everyday life was searching for food, hiding their gardens and animals in the forest, and always on guard for Nazi soldier patrols. Fast forward two more years, and our Hofstein and Abram families are struggling, to say the least. They have evaded German capture by changing their names and dressing differently. The two families have joined ranks together and live in a secret cave next to a big cliff. One evening a Nazi patrol is spotted, and our Zelda is hoeing the cabbage and spots a motorized patrol of 20 Nazis coming their way. She runs to warn everyone, but it's too late. The soldiers have already spotted her. Oh no, folks! We have got to stop at this point. Next week, the brutal treatment of our Zelda and Otto and their families will begin. Tell your friends and neighbors to read the Rambling. This series will be several weeks. Do not miss a single issue. Until next time, my friends. This is Rambling Roger. P. S. This story is not for the fluffy; we will describe in detail what happens to them, their families, and millions of others just like them.


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