Cigarette Butts, 05/9/2005

To: Community News  (5/9/05) 

 It was early winter in l945 when my mother took me, a girl of ten, to Augsburg to visit my grandfather who lived at  the outskirts. The train from Thannhausen to Augsburg   must have been running again, otherwise how could we have gotten there. After supper my step uncle, two years older than I,  said: “Let’s go to the Americans” with that he meant  the club for the American GI’s. I was encouraged to go along. We walked through a dark deserted street, only lit  by  the moon which  made the walls of the bombed  out buildings stand out, but left the empty windows dark and threatening. It was snowing lightly and I was cold.

   Did you have an advent calendar as a child?  Do you remember opening  the biggest door on Christmas Eve? There was Mary and Joseph and the Babe in the manger all bathed in a golden light. - When we got  to the American club I felt as if the door to Christmas Eve was open, not on  an Advent calendar but in real life. The building was undamaged with a big open portal from which light, warmth , and music  came out. There were already many German kids loitering on the entrance steps. The GI’s, most of them with their Fraeulein on  their arms, threw their cigarette butts down before they went in and now and then some chewing gum. The German kids scampered to pick up the these butts which were the  reason why we came. I felt an obligation to do my share in helping my grandfather to  some of these butts. But after I had scampered for  two or three I was overcome by a deep sense of  shame and humiliation and I just stood there freezing until my uncle said it was time to go home. At home my grandfather smiled happily at the evening “loot” undid the butts and rerolled the tobacco into new cigarettes. Let me remind you that  all the health damaging ingredients of the tobacco are concentrated in the end of the cigarette.

    Why  am I telling you this?  Since the day of  the defeat the Germans have never stopped  to scamper after American cigarette butts. Not only that; their relish for American  butts has increased year by year. This German habit has now become so grotesque that the German government, Catholic and Protestant church officials are picking up the American victory celebration over Germany and celebrating it as their day of  liberation.

   In 1979 I had to go to Germany.  At that time I had great hopes in Schoenhuber, in the meanwhile dashed.  In a  bookstore I asked  for Schoenhuber’s book  Ich war dabei.  “We do not carry  Schoenhuber’s books.” was the answer. When I asked why, the reply was: “dieser Mann gefaellt uns nicht – we do not like this man.” But the bookstore carried Hemingway.  Thomas Mann was a personal louse, but he is a world class author. Hemingway was a personal louse and is a lousy writer, his reputation made, not deserved. In a letter he described with relish how he shot a young “Kraut” three times in the belly and when the German soldier went to his knees he shot him in the head that the brain came out of his mouth and nose. But the Germans picked up Hemingway  as one of their favorite authors and made him their own. When I came out of the store which was on a beautiful square I could not help but be disgusted  by the chewing gum mess on the terra lock bricks.

   The last time I was in Germany was in l996.  During this trip I felt such a revulsion  to what the beloved Germany of my childhood had become that I did not want to see it again. It hurt too much. That was one reason. The other reason was political. I challenged Holocaust books in our public school libraries. A committee was formed with a Jewish professor of history being designated as the representative of the M. parents. He told the committee that I am known nationwide as a holocaust denier. I still have not made up my mind if  should be flattered  or consider it a threat. But since  the Jewish watch groups   report to Germany what goes on in the USA,  I think it wiser to stay here. When my mother died in 1998  I let my cousin do the burying. If the Germans can imprison a Hans Schmidt, what would prevent them from imprisoning me. I will never see Germany again.

     During the Nazi period the Germans had a  thriving film industry which made excellent movies. My husband had to join the US army from 1965 to l968. He was assigned to Landstuhl, Germany. I can attest to the fact that during this period the German TV industry still produced excellent documentaries. In the meanwhile the German TV stations have picked up Hollywood,  among them the abomination The Holocaust.

   My husband loved and taped  a German radio program featuring German folk music. A friend of mine visiting Germany recently, heard American music screeching over the Munich Marienplatz.

   The German “left-wingers” tolerated by the German government,  have picked up on  American “Wildings” in the inner cities. “Left-winger” is a euphemism for criminals who have no ideology unless you call the delight in destruction an ideology. Man is a restless animal especially when young, desiring of action. This desire for action can be directed to positive ends, as it was in the Hitler Youth, or used for destruction as it is in the present day Germany.

      I close with  a dialogue from Goethe’s Faust.  Let Faust stand for Germany.


Der Herr:

Nun gut, es sei dir ueberlassen!  Zieh diesen Geist von seinem Urquell ab

Und fuehr ihn, kannst du ihn erfassen,  auf  deinem Wege mit herab.

Und steh beschaemt, wenn du bekennen  musst: ein  guter  Mensch in seinem

dunklen  Drange, ist sich des rechten Weges wohl bewusst.



Schon gut! Nur dauert es nicht lange. Mir ist fuer meine Wette gar nicht bange.

Wenn ich zu meinem Zweck gelange, erlaubt Ihr mir Triumph aus voller Brust.

Staub soll er fressen, und mit Lust, wie meine Muhme die beruehmte Schlange.


English Translation:



Enough – I grant that you may  try to clasp him, withdraw this spirit from his primal source.  And lead him down, if you can grasp him, upon your own abysmal course-

And stand ashamed when you have to attest: a good man in his darkling aspiration

Remembers the right road throughout his quest.



Enough-he will soon reach his station;  About my bet I have no hesitation,         

And when I win, concede your stake and let me triumph with a swelling breast:

Dust he shall eat, and that with zest,  as my relation does, the famous snake.

                                                                  (Translation by Walter Kaufmann) 


 At the end Faust is saved.  But whither Germany?