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Damned if I don’t…

July 30, 2016


Although World War II is long over and the Germans lost the war in Europe,  I still harbor resentment, even though I know better.  I shouldn’t feel conflicted.  Here’s the situation.

Our pharmacy technician’s maternal Grandpa, Helmuth Walter, was indirectly responsible for my Uncle Carl’s death in World War II.  I’ve been re-reading Joaquin Sanders’ book “A Night Before Christmas,” in which Mr. Sanders said:

“A reception [by the Germans] was being arranged across the Channel.

“U-486 was one of the new Type VII C German submarines.  It carried a crew of 48 and was commanded by a young and previously undistinguished oberleutnant named Gerhard Meyer.  It was equipped with the latest of the snorkel devices.

“For a U-boat U-486 had led a dull and uneventful life since its commissioning at the Kiel Shipyards nine months before.  The bulk of its career had been spent in unadventurous little sorties from various Baltic ports and in cautious cruising of the relatively less dangerous Scandinavian waters.  This period, of course, corresponded with one of the lowest points of German submarine activity during World War II.  But winter of 1944 saw a change, a recrudescence of the U-boats, brought about partly by desperation, partly by the development of the snorkel [my emphasis] If the subs still did not have an even break against Allied convoys, with their radar and all-out attack tactics against U-boats, at least they now had a fighting chance.”

So what?  The late Helmuth Walter, who has his own website and Wikipedia article, was the German engineer responsible for designing the “latest of snorkel devices” at the German port city of Kiel in the mid 1940s.

Our technician is proud of her Grandpa.  I, on the other hand, still weep when I think of my heroic Uncle Carl Bonde’s death when a U-486 torpedo ended his life Christmas eve, 1944.

That’s why I struggle.

Similar to my feelings yesterday, when a theater technician enthusiastically showed me a photograph of his “new toy.”  Interested, I looked at his phone.

Turned out to be a semi-automatic pistol.  I said, “My goodness!” but my mind said, ‘fuck no.’  I heard him drone on about “concealed carry permit,” but I didn’t pay attention.


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