We are all supposed to think that WWII ended in 1945 and all traces of Nazism are either demolished or illegal, but, speaking of my own experience, I must disagree…
When I was growing up, I felt as though I were living in some sort of bizarre Nazi camp; one not unlike Dora from which the illegally housed immigants were worked to death in the military installations of Mittlework and Nordhausen to create the fantastic V-1 and V-2 rockets. I am exaggerating, of course, to some extent, for literally speaking, my existence was far superior to theirs. However, emotionally and spiritually speaking, there was an unfortunate relevance. And, as part of the persecution, I was intermittently being caused to ingest toxic substances of some sort without my knowledge or permission, so I was constantly on guard…
Of all the unpleasant treatment that I received in my birth family, one of the most difficult aspects of it as a child was the spectacle called “Christmas”. I call it “Xmas”, as it blotted out every conceivable vestige of what the advent of The Lord Jesus Christ is really all about. Ours was about tinsel and cotton padding on the mantel, and was as empty.
The worst trick that my Mother seemed to enjoy playing on that holiday was what I ended up calling a game of ‘substitution’. Whatever gifts it was that I wanted usually ended up on my sister’s chair, while my gifts were things that were irrelevant to me, such as a holder for my records, or sports equipment which I had no interest in. I learned to prepare for the indignity by locating as many gifts as possible ahead of time, so that my sister would not see me reduced to tears Xmas morning. Apparently, the theme of my life, according to my birth family, was supposed to have been that ‘god’ (whatever that was) was blessing my sister and cursing me.
This was such a strange and lonely time of year. We had no family in Connecticut. A colleague of my father’s included us every Thanksgiving as extended family, but at Xmas time we were on our own. I used to think that the Nazi’s must have celebrated Xmas in a similar way — with their haves and have nots, blotting out everything that was true and graceful and substituting that which is cold and dark. When I grew older and became involved with a family who had come to the US after the war as part of Wernher Von Braun’s team (specializing in jet engines, however; not rockets) I came to understand that my impressions of our family Xmas were not at all incorrect.
Since those sad times I have been able for the most part to happily let go of Xmas almost entirely. I don’t decorate, and only participate when I feel I have no choice. I always preferred Chanukah anyhow. 🙂
*M4B=Mozart For Believers
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