Sometimes in the little small-town newspapers there is a section about local people and their goings-on. Mrs. G had lunch with Mrs. F; Lois was visited by her nephew and his family from Duluth. It’s friendly. The closest we come here is that page buried in the back of the metro section. Where, on any given Sunday, we learn that several dozen people have gone to meet their Lord and Savior, many of them after courageous battles with cancer. Some in the column no doubt went to meet someone else, or had nowhere to go at all, but that is rarely mentioned.
In any case, their earthly containment vessels have for the most part been left right here, six feet under, minus the watery bits. This way they more or less stay put where people can venerate them, if they have a mind to, although nothing lasts forever. I don’t know where the oldest known marked gravesite is, but it can’t be that old, geologically speaking. Things happen. Progress occurs, backhoes come by, tectonic plates shift, and what with one thing and another you’re going to lose track. My own parents had battles with cancer, which I’m not prepared to qualify; I don’t know what a cowardly battle would look like. I do know that the other side had most of the bullets, and now they’re both interred somewhere in some form. And I know more or less where they are, or can look it up, and I think there was a marker put down, although I’m not sure, and I admit I have not venerated them in an way, except in my thoughts with great gratitude on a daily basis. I’m glad other people keep up graveyards, though. I love to walk in them and examine the headstones. It’s peaceful to be among all those people resting for eternity.
Or ten years, whichever comes first. That’s the average in Spain, where gravesites are leased for just that long, and your survivors are expected to re-up. If they don’t come through with the cash, you’re scooped out of there for a more reliable tenant. You are banished from your usual haunts, and have to go live under a bridge. Or your skeletal remains will be propped up behind a sign at the freeway entrance (“homeless–anything helps”).
It’s a little less disruptive in Germany, where you may remain at rest for twenty years before the bill comes due. But if your relatives decline, your spot is up for grabs, although you will not be evicted. Someone else is going to get shoveled in, and whether you like it or not, you’re not going to be on top.
This is the very fate that awaits the Hitlers. Someone paid the rent for a hundred years, but finally, the last elderly descendant balked. Alois and Klara Hitler are mainly famous for not letting their son go to art school like he wanted and thus causing the deaths of millions. Alois and Klara had six children and lost four of them, but quit before they could finish the job. After years of paying the ante, a descendant of Mr. and Mrs. Hitler finally decided, screw it. I’m not paying.
It was probably an easy call. There’s the money, and all the upkeep, and then there’s the persistent infestation of neo-Nazis come to do their version of veneration, and no amount of petunias can brighten that shit up. Adolf Hitler himself is not available to venerate. Showing the same lack of perseverance as his parents, he killed himself in 1944 after a most unfortunate thirty years of procrastinating. He was then doused with petrol and set afire but refused to stay lit, knowing, perhaps, that this was not where he was supposed to burn.
Various identifiable shards of him got moved around for years until 1970 when he was gathered up and refried and flushed into the sewer. Where modern Nazis are cordially invited to visit.
Hitler's skull, at least, was kept in the Soviet military archives for decades, though that was not made public during the Cold War. I'm sure their attitude toward it was anything but veneration.
His suicide was, perhaps, an example of a "cowardly battle"; he took his own way out because he didn't have the guts to face the retribution of the Russians in person (and, perhaps, the judgment of the German people whom he had led into disaster).
You always have lots of information at your fingertips. I wonder: did the world know about his suicide right away?
It was announced in Berlin by (what was left of) the German military authorities in their proclamation informing the public of the surrender to the Soviets. Of course there were those who didn't believe it — and even to this day a few still don't.
Hitler committed suicide on April 30 (actually 1945, not 1944), ten days after his birthday. There had actually been a birthday party of sorts held in the bunker, but it must have been quite a downer since everyone knew the end of the regime was near. Each guest received two gifts — a photo of Hitler and a cyanide capsule.
I should go into editing and fix that date, but I'll keep it there as a sign of false humility. Thanks. I do believe that Hitler married his girlfriend the day before. A photo of Hitler and a cyanide capsule does seem to go together.
Yep. Eva Braun proudly became Frau Eva Hitler as her last act in life — does that qualify as "hitling"? One can't exactly say he "made an honest woman of her", as the old cliché has it, but I suppose it was the fascist equivalent.
On Hitler's last days, for anyone who's interested, I highly recommend the film Der Untergang (usually titled "Downfall" in English), starring Bruno Ganz. It's unfortunately become known for all those stupid joke-subtitled YouTube versions of the scene where Hitler loses his temper and screams at his generals, but it really is an excellent film.
Hitler's death was announced by the German military, but of course not his suicide. He was reported to have died bravely fighting to protect the city of Berlin from the Soviets.
I want to second the recommendation of "Der Untergang." It is a great and historically accurate (as far as we know) depiction of the last few days in the bunker. I worked on a movie a few years ago with the director, Oliver Hirschbiegel, and he was a very nice guy.
Nasty little man. The sewer was the best place for him. I don't like to think what kind of art his diseased mind would spew out but probably the sewer would have been the best place for that as well.
From what little I know about the artistic temperament, it can go along with "not getting things done." Can't say that describes him.
Hitler had charisma. He wasn't handsome or intelligent, but he could get people to believe him, to trust him, and to do what he told them. Franco, Mussolini, Peron, Castro, Jim Jones, The Baghwan, all had charisma. And isn't Mitt Romney a charming fellow?
I started to snicker at Roxie's comment, and then I thought—-it's not really funny. I even had a nightmare about Romney's victory the other night. Hard to say what he would really do, since he changes his statements so often, but I think it wouldn't be good no matter what.
Please, people, I'm an Obama supporter myself; but let's not start comparing Romney to Hitler. Let's leave such odious comparisons to Fox News.
Because, really? Obama has a heck of a lot of charm and charisma, too. It's pretty much needed to win an election.
Sometimes I think the people who make easy comparisons to Hitler (not you Roxie) are the same sorts that would have followed and admired him. As far as Romney goes, I don't think he really has much charisma. At least, I'm counting on that. I think he'll get the anti-Obama votes but not inspire much on his own.
Thanks for your vote of confidence, Murr. I wasn't really comparing Romeny to Hitler. I was just nudging us to consider who we follow and why. To pause occasionally and ask, "Where amI going? And why am I in this hand basket?"
Such a cute baby! It is amazing indeed how much damage one human being can inflict upon the whole species.
He had a lot of willing helpers, you know.
I think we should take a good hard look at all babies. You never know. Big smile one second, poop on you the next. Can't trust them.
SC, it's the helpers that scare me. It's how easy it is to persuade people of atrocious things. We see it all the time.
Such a haunted look for a baby–his mother, too…
It is always a frightening thing for great masses of people to be led by righteous judgment and hatred. The US is getting scarier and scarier to me. Great post!
That's why I don't read those OTHER kind of blogs. The comment section gets scary.
Wonder how history would have been different if he'd gone to art school. Would someone else have come along?
When you look at the antics of various world leaders over time, it's hard not to conclude that childhood slights, failed romance, and the like are at the heart of a lot of evil. Which is exceedingly weird.
Given the historical circumstances, another German war to avenge and negate the imposed peace after World War I was probably almost inevitable. But the extreme cruelty and totalitarianism of the Nazi movement, the ambition to wipe out the Slavs and colonize their land with Germans (ultimately extending Germany all the way to the Pacific), and the Holocaust were Hitler's personal contribution. Without him, I think there would have been a war, but without those added horrors.
Murr, I remember reading an article once that said that a study of highly successful business executives found that their number one motivation was to get back at people who had slighted them in high school.
If you would like to see a very, very extended version of exactly what Infidel is saying, you might try reading Ian Kershaw's massive biography of Hitler. This point is central to Kershaw's analysis.
So, in Spain, how many people don't pay up after 10 years? And where do the buried bits actually go if they don't pay? I know I could Google it, but I'm thinking you already did the research, and asking you will save me an hour or two if you did 🙂
Good plan, but sadly, I only read enough to riff on, and then forget it. Okay, I'll tell you. They heap them up into a mass grave. Sounds cozy to me.
Sorry, darling….I can't laugh at anything about Hitler….I am probably your only reader who lost friends during the Big War and personally patrolled the streets during Siren Warnings enduring the blackouts as an Air Raid Warden Messenger because of that Monster. Can you picture me with my trusty gas mask hanging over my shoulder? By the way…..my favorite memory of that was when I asked the Air Raid Warden I was assigned to patrol with what we were supposed to do if there really were an air raid and he replied, "Damned if I know."
However, I can fully appreciate your initial subject and am going to memorize one of your greatest lines….
…"although you will not be evicted. Someone else is going to get shoveled in, and whether you like it or not, you're not going to be on top."
You are SO good.
Where were you when you were an air raid warden messenger?
I think the disposal of both Hitler's and Bin Laden's bodies was appropriate and smart.
I agree with you about the disposal of those wretched bodies…
As to where I was when I was an Air Raid Warden Messenger…..right across the Hollywood Hills in the heart of Los Angeles in what was called the Wilshire District…….why do you ask?
(It wasn't German planes we were fearing or expecting….Don't forget, we were also at war with Japan who were capable of launching rockets and such at us from submarines off the Pacific coast……in fact I recall at least one Japanese sub was detected or discovered prowling very near our beaches.)
I think they've found unexploded ordinance from Japan here in Oregon.
I was born after that war, but we were drilled because the Soviets were going to bomb us because we were so close to Washington, D.C. Which is as good a place as any to bomb, I guess.
My parents grew up in Britain; as children they experienced German bombing raids and the constant fear of invasion. France, the low countries, and Scandinavia were already under Nazi occupation and everyone in Britain knew full well how horrific the results of a successful invasion would be. Yet humor and mockery directed against the Nazis were common in Britain at the time. It was part of how people kept their spirits up.
Among the other popular shows we weren't allowed to watch in my house was Hogan's Heroes, because Dad didn't think there was any funny in Nazis. (Other prohibited fare included Mission: Impossible and Walt Disney.)
In Mexico, the term of "residency" is (was?) 7 years. After that, the bones are turfed out and I have seen them piled in a heap at the back of the cemetery. The vultures always hang around that area, cleaning up any leftovers.
I saw a sign about 40 years ago, advertising "permanent" occupancy, for a price. I always wondered how they could guarantee that.
They called my Toni a permanent, and I had it shook out in three days.
My parents, having been cremated and loving placed in a little cubicle, are not subject to "removal." As far as I know.
And while there may not be many (or any) Hitler's around these days, there are a lot of Fascists. I'm shocked by their appearance in Canada and the United States, where many have risen to positions of prominence in government.
I have always wanted to be buried in a post hole, head down, feet sticking out.
Both my parents were cremated- my father's ashes were kept by his evil wife and we don't know where they ended up. I suspect he's down the gurgler with Hitler. My mothers' were scattered at sea. Legend has it that my sister didn't eat fish for a year after.
Sounds like life was a little roughie.
As I read your post, I wondered if the subject was inspired by my blog posts of late. If so, I am honored. I know many of our generation still remember the atrocities that happened under Hitler's rule. Even though we "baby boomers" may not have lived through it all, we were well educated and reminded so it should never be forgotten. But this upcoming generation and future ones may not be told and may not learn of it all, and if forgotten, there is danger of repetition. I pray it never happens, but the children, the children's children and all who come should be shown the photographs, should watch the films, should hear and read the stories, and should weep so that they will prevent any re-occurrence. Now I will step down from my soapbox.
We will keep your soapbox here handy, Rose.
Whew! Glad I made it to art school 🙂
I'm glad you did too!
You know, I read about Hitler's parents' grave situation, not realizing that people got evicted, and that's what mainly interested me enough to start this post. I think what happens to dead people is interesting. I really wasn't planning to write about Hitler.
My dad had a friend that was one of the concentration camp survivors. He spent lots of time at our house since he had no family. I'll never forget the time he took when I was very young and asked him why he had numbers on his arm. I pray we never see that much evil again.
The last man I knew with the tattoo died last year. Some people spend time claiming he doesn't exist, and now they're finally right.
Just another source of information that was fascinating to watch and ponder is a documentary of one of Hitler's secretary called Blind Spot. Here's a link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0311320/
Here in Patagonia, there is a journalist and author called Abel Basti who has long researched the lives of the Nazis who escaped to Argentina following WWII and died here many years later.
This guy is so into the subject and so hot on the trail of proof of his claims that he was, for instance, sitting in former SS Captain Erich Priebke's living room in San Carlos de Bariloche with him the day in the mid-90s that Interpol agents arrived with a warrant for Priebke's arrest for his part in the notorious summary execution of 335 Italian civilians in Rome's Ardeatine Caves in 1944 (the movie version of the story starred Gregory Peck). Until then, Priebke had been living, since 1949, as a well-known mover and shaker, a model citizen, under his own name in Bariloche. But he was hardly alone. Rather, he was part of a close-knit community of WWII German exiles living here.
Shortly after Priebke's arrest and extradition, Basti saw a tour bus stop in front of the former SS captain's house and foreign tourists filing off to snap pictures of the place. This led him to write "Bariloche Nazi" A Tour Guide of Nazi landmarks in the little Andean ski town, and he asked me to write the back cover notes. His research later led him to investigate the possibility that one Ricardo Bachmann, the late owner of a lumber operation on the other side of the Andes in Chile had actually been Nazi Party official Martin Bormann. And he ended up presenting some very compelling evidence in this regard, before turing his attention to the investigation of two sunken submarines off the Patagonian coast and the theory that they had conveyed not only former German officers but also Hitler himself, with Eva Braun, to Argentina. The leads he has traced since that time have led him to the conclusion that whoever died in the bunker in Berlin, it wasn't Hitler and that the former Nazi leader probably ended his days on a remote ranch near Bariloche in about 1960.
Basti has gathered a vast amount of documentation to support his theory and now has backers in Europe for a documentary on the subject. Besides "Bariloche Nazi" he has also written two other books called "Hitler in Argentina" and "Hitler's Exile". I understand at least one of them has been translated into English, but on Amazon only the Spanish titles are given.
I guess you have to hang someone upside down in the square to really settle the matter.
Dan, I've actually read something about all this. The Bormann theory is quite possibly correct but not so sure about Hitler and his bride. History is rife with conspiracy theories, all made to sound quite plausible. But I'm certainly making note of Basti's works. Thanks.
Every notice nobody dies after "a rather cowardly battle with cancer." That'd be me. Sorry about the Hitlers senior and their gravesite. Even sorrier they didn't send the brat to art school. Oh, pedantic point from an ex history teacher, Adolf snuffed it in '45 not '44.
Infidel already pointed that out, and I didn't fix it out of humility. History was never my subject, but now that I'm old enough to be genuinely historical, I'm interested.
Good grief Murr, I knew nothing about Alois and Klara. On the subject of surprise information, did you realise that Cheetah (the original chimp from the Tarzan movies) died only recently, aged 80-ish? She lasted far longer than Mr. Weissmuller. Anyway, it seems there are some gaps in my historical tapestry. Roth
Now there's some News We Can Use. Some people claim that that particular chimp, although old and now, as you report, dead, was not actually one of the Tarzan actors. Additional reports claim that he was indeed on the set, but that he lip-synched the "eee-eee-eee."
Good looking but couldn't remember his lines? It's an old story.
Rumour had it Charles de Gaulle looked for a rental mausoleum. Figured he would only need it for three days.
I hope to be cremated. One last chance to make a complete ash of myself.
For WWII aficionados, people in the Czech Republic are marking the seventieth anniversary of the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-18183099
I've got a plan for my remains too. In a blog post coming soon to a computer near you!
I neVer made it to art school either, but I neVer felt like kiLLing 6 million people. I do have a nice collection of weLL used pens and pencils, lotza colors, lotza shades. Self taught.
I've certainly never felt like killing six million people, but there are folks I wouldn't miss.
As evil as Hitler was, his support team was just as evil, if not more so. In fact, I have read where it was suggested that the thugs he surrounded himself with were not, as claimed, merely following orders. They were in fact the architects and Hitler, who was not particularly interested in details, could care less what was done or how it was done. This is by no means an apology for the man but it might serve as a lesson of how the inmates can take over the asylum. See any parallels to what's happening in our own country today?
"Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty" is usually quoted by people who think we need to keep our missiles bristling, but I think it applies to your kind of vigilance even better.
Good. I'm glad his remains ended up in the sewer, where they belong.
I wonder if the rats saluted.
Murr, I happened to see your link on another blog and clicked out of curiosity. I'm so glad I did! This is one of the most interesting posts I've read in a long while.
I had no idea about cemetery/grave rentals–what food for thought! And I'm forever fascinated when it comes to any info about Hitler.
I'm in Portland too. 🙂
Thanks! And I wouldn't expect a Super Earthling to live anywhere else!
I suppose it makes sense when you consider we're on our way back to somewhere. we just need to drop off this body before we leave. Interesting post, Murr.
I hope I get dropped in a vulture belly.
I did an article once on compostable coffins. There are even sites you can be naturally planted so you return to the earth (or sea, depending on your choice of venue).