Creek Speak April 2017 - Page 13

circumstances out of these peoples control. As you were reading the letter one may have assumed that this is a Syrian Refugee which I am interviewing but in fact this is my great uncle Rolf recounting his times being a refugee in the Netherlands in 1942, recalling his story of escaping from the Nazi’s who wanted to send him and his family to the concentration camps to die. Rolf was a quarter Jewish making him a target, he did not practice the Jewish beliefs and didn’t really known anything about them but was still targeted. This 7 year old child with white blonde hair and vibrant blue eyes, practically the poster child for the perfect German child, yet his father's bloodline made him a target. Rolf continued with his story explaining after they finally landed from the long boat ride “ Two new faces were expecting our family. We had to walk a mile or so,when we reached a farm. We were pushed into a shack. One of the men gave us something to drink and to eat, before disappearing into the darkness. The next morning the owner of the barn gave instruction to my parents and us children, the instructions were on how to behave in our new surrounding. It became our home for the next 27 months!!! Dad taught us to read, write and count. Due to shortage of pencils and books, we learned to memorize many things, to be good in spelling, and do mathematics in our head. A fair amount different languages we learned as well. Nevertheless, we had lots of time on our hands...A luxury in our dull daily life was a hot bath in a tub every 10 days, and to put on clean clothing. I remember two pistols (handguns), hidden in a safe place. We knew it was for protection. My parents had told us, that Mom and Dad would had used them on the four of us, as a last resort. Came May 1945, seeing our parents looking so much happier, one early morning we saw big tanks rolling down the country side. My Dad, who spoke English quite fluently, had figured out, it were Canadian tanks. Not before long a tank stood before our "home". Out came, what a shock for us kids, a soldier with a black skin. Our first sight of someone not looking white. But he was such a lovely person, handing out chocolate and sweets to us, it was an unforgettable moment. Dad became during the next weeks quite busy. The news of us, someone fluent in English (my Mom spoke French), had been passed on between the armored vehicles. Liberation Day, May 08, was the end of our Odyssey. We kids gained weight again, my parents full of joy, that this all had come to an end.. In Fall 1945 we went back to Northern Germany, where the nightmare had begun over two years ago... Uncounted Allied soldiers liberated Western Europe from the German occupancy.”The bar against German refugees like Rolf in the 1940’s during World War II was happening because Americans feared Nazi’s entering the U.S. Similar to the reason Syrian refugees are no longer allowed to enter America today, because of fear of attacks on American citizens. In today's world we are facing the Syrian refugee crisis where innocent children, and people in general are targets and are being killed. Instead of helping them we are allowing history to repeat itself and are barring refugees from entering the country in fear of terrorism. Even though out of all the acts of terrorism committed according to the FBI, 6% of terrorist attacks in the United States Between 1980 to 2005 have been Muslims. That leaves 94% of terrorist attacks being carried out by non-Muslim, and non- Syrian people. It is important to remember that refugees can be any race, any age, and any gender. The fear surrounded is fostered by what the media feeds the mass public. Refugees are people; in the 1940’s there was an immigration ban and thousands like Rolf, and others were trapped in Europe and were unsafe because America refused to let innocent people in. Because of this, millions of innocent people died. Anytime the Holocaust is brought up we are always told to never forget and never let it happen again, we always say “If I was alive at that time I would have done something.” Well now is your chance to not let history repeat itself. Syrian or German. At the end of the day everyone is human and deserves every chance to live a happy, healthy and safe life, regardless of race, religion, age, or gender.