Thursday, November 18, 2010

When Lines are Blurred: If we could see in Color in 1943.

Close your eyes and imagine Eastern Europe 1943 through the lens of a black and white movie camera.    The camera focuses on the large wheel of a locomotive as steam puffs from the spokes.   The camera begins to slowly zoom out, blurred lines cross the screen, transforming into barbed wire as they come into focus.  A full length of wired fence crosses the horizon, broken only by a small gated opening.  Standing on either side are the tall imposing figures of German soldiers in grey winter uniforms, machine gun held at the ready.  Seated behind a wooden desk at the gate’s entrance is a SS officer, the red SS arm band is the only color visible.  On top of the pale officer with wire rimmed glasses is the officers cover, with the skull and bones emblem centered perfectly.  Stretching for 100 yards from the desk is a haggard line of people, barefoot, some holding their pants up for the lack of a belt.   A German NCO paces along the line of people with a sack stretched out, as shaking hands place any water they may have had into the sack.  A child expresses their thirst to their parent in line, which is met with a muted hush.   At the head of the line opposite the desk, a long wooden table sits.  The first person in line places all of their belongings onto the table as the germans sort through them, exchanging jokes as the person in line’s expense.  As he watches his possessions being rifled through, the nonchalant SS officer asks the man his business and destination.  After an inquisitive look, the officer stamps his papers.  He then moves forward to the gate where he is ushered through by the guards.  The next in line, a father and his young daughter, come to the table and empty their belongings.  The man is questioned by the officer and his papers are stamped.  Instead of being ushered through the gate, the father and daughter are separated by the guards.  The father implores for an explanation as his daughter screams “daddy”.  “What are you doing to my daughter”, the father asks.  “Quite down, we have search your daughter”, responds the soldier.  The grisly looking soldier begins to conduct the physically intensive search while the girl screams.  As the helpless father looks on, tears pour down his face.  The soldier finishes his search and the father and daughter are reunited.  The daughter, tears still clinging to her lashes, is despondent.  The father’s spirit is deflated.  They grab their belts and shoes off of the table on the other side of the fence.  They gather up their belongings and walk to the train.  As the conductor at the door of the train reaches for the father’s ticket, he transforms from a 1940’s conductor into a 21st century flight attendant.  The train changes into a fuselage.  The father and child transition to color and their surroundings change into an airport.  Before stepping onto the causeway, the father looks back at the security gate and while all other things have changed into the 21st Century, the German soldiers remain conducting the security screening.


Kansas Bob said...

Sad story for sure.

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