My Words to Infamy | Teen Ink

My Words to Infamy

June 17, 2021
By SydneyOdile BRONZE, Carbondale, Illinois
SydneyOdile BRONZE, Carbondale, Illinois
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

My Words to Infamy

The vacant seats that litter your lecture halls represent not only absent students, but lost lives. The Nazi party taking friends, family, neighbors, and classmates from us is what lead to those empty chairs. Whether you're Jewish or not, we have to rise. Whether you’re a man or a woman, we have to rise. Whether you’re young or old, we have to rise. Rise against this mistreatment of our fellow citizens of Germany. Let my words ring in your mind. Let my voice echo by your own. We don’t have to take up arms to fight against this current and upcoming tragedy. Written words are enough to empower one, just as much as any gun. Hear my words to infamy.

***

Everett Hans

144, Apfelallee St.

Munich, Germany


21, August, 1939


Fitz Hans

100, Hauptstraße St.

Bamberg, Germany


Dear Brother,

I hope you are well, Fitz. At the time I’m writing, three more of my classmates have stopped coming to classes. It’s been a year since Kristallnacht, yet the violence still has not faded. Not that I expected it too. University of Munich was one of the few to still have Jewish students attending. Most of them, of course, aren’t registered as Jewish. 

I’m not sure how much longer I can take it, Fitz. All this misplaced anger and resentment. We lost the war, yet some, like children, can’t let it go. The game of placing blame has no position in a matter that serious. 

I’m sure you get enough about politics at home with our Mother and Father, so I’ll change the course of this letter, if you don’t mind. 

I spent the day yesterday chasing my neighbor’s orange tabby up and down the campus sidewalk. The cat, whose name was Gertrude, had gotten out of the window. That furry mammal has no soul, I swear. The claw marks I have up and down my arms alone are gruesome.

My pain from the vicious cat is nothing compared to the pain that the Jews are facing, though. How did our country take such a dark turn as to appoint a man who kills those different from him? How can it be possible for one to have that darkness in their soul?

All I can ask you though, brother, is don’t go down that path. No matter how many of your friends join the Hilter Jugend, don’t follow such cold people. I can promise you that I will not. All I am asking is for you to use your stubbornness now more than ever. Now is when we need it most. 

I’ll write later, I have class to go to.

Send my love to Mother and Father.

Your brother,

Everett Hans


Fitz Hans

100, Hauptstraße St.

Bamberg, Germany


4, September, 1939


Everett Hans

144, Apfelallee St.

Munich, Germany


Everett,

You will never know the gratitude I have for the letter you sent. It has seemed to be weeks since your last one arrived. 

Things have grown uncomfortable with our friends and neighbors. My school lessons have started to be taught by members of the Nazi party. I feel terrible just writing the name. They are teaching us horrible things. The worst part is, my peers are falling for what they're telling us. They believe it. Every terrible world, every horrible phrase. They think that the segregation and descrimination of our friends and family based on beliefs is okay. I will not allow myself to fall for their twisted mind games. I refuse to. 

I do ask you though, brother, if I show the slightest sign of shifting to their side, please, in all your power, stop me. I don’t want to hurt anyone the way they're hurting people. And I certainly don’t want to believe in their horrendous actions.

Bringing the topic of my friends back up, Jon joined the Hitler Jugend a week ago from when I’m writing. His parent’s were threatened. He said an SS officer arrived at his door along with a Hilter Jugend official and told him that he had to join. I think we both know that they didn’t just tell him.

It’s common knowledge in Bamberg that our family is against the Fuhrer and the Nazi party’s beliefs. So, as you can imagine, that puts our family and our friends on the SS officers radar. A few have stopped our Mother in the market to ask her what she was doing. “Who was the food for?” If family or a friend is staying with us? No one has searched the home yet. But that doesn’t mean they won’t.

As Ma says though, we have to hold onto hope no matter how dire the situation. There is always a hope to hold onto. I guess now is a time to use her phrases more than ever.

Ma and Father send their regards. May us both, brother, keep the Jews of Germany and all of Europe on our minds.

My dearest wishes,

Fitz Hans


Everett Hans

144, Apfelallee St.

Munich, Germany


17, September, 1939


Fitz Hans

100, Hauptstraße St.

Bamberg, Germany


Dear Fitz, 

I’m sorry to hear about Jon. I know he was a good friend of yours. That just goes to show the extent that the Nazi party is willing to go to to spread its posionous beliefs. I know that the SS patrols have been strict here in Munich and on the campus, but I just didn’t quite realize the level they were at in Bamberg. 

That reminds me, just a few days before I got your letter, the SS officers ransacked the apartment across the street from my dorm. Based on the stories in the paper the following day, the resident of the home was hiding a Jewish family. Both the owner and the family were sent to Dauchau. The owner was sent as a “political prisoner” and the family because of their belief.

I’ve grown beyond sick of it, Fitz. I need to do something. I have to do something. I could drop out of school and join an undercover resistance group, or get a job in a camp and smuggle people out. I can’t wait around anymore, I can’t watch people young and old stand at the mercy of a merciless man. 

The guilt I felt because of watching my classmates and fellow Germans be tormented on Kristallnacht still lives with me today. It eats at me. Britain declaring war on Germany could help stop Hitler and the Nazis but even that will take a great time.

I have a history lecture to get to now. 

Give my wishes to Mother, Father, and your friend Jon. Like Mother says, hold onto hope, dear brother. Hold onto hope.

Your older brother,

Everett Hans


Fitz Hans

100, Hauptstraße St.

Bamberg, Germany


3, October, 1939


Everett Hans

144, Apfelallee St.

Munich, Germany

Dear Everett,

Ma, Father, and I are all deeply sorry to hear about your neighbor as well as the family they were hiding. The violence of the Third Reich has truly gone beyond too far. 

A similar situation unfortunately happened while Ma was at the market a few days before the time written on the letter. I didn’t witness it, but she got home in quite the angry mood, and was short the rest of the night. When she had gone to bed early I asked Father what had happened. 

He informed me that Ma had witnessed a group of three SS officers arrest a eight and fourteen year old boy along with their mother. They told the gathering crowd that they had stolen something. Ma knew that wasn’t true though.

Like most other Jews in Bamberg, they were loaded into a train and taken to a camp. 

I agree with you, brother, when you say something needs to be said. We cannot go silent, not with what’s happening. With that said, I wouldn’t wish it upon you to take up arms with other resistance fighters or apply for work at a camp. I wouldn’t want you to have to do things like the Nazis to be able to do true good. 

I think you should do what you do best. You write a storm, Everett. And you are as opinionated and stubborn as any. 

You don’t have to pick up a weapon to do good, brother. There are other ways to show resistance.

The family’s wishes,

Fitz Hans


Everett Hans

144, Apfelallee St.

Munich, Germany


10, October, 1939


Fitz Hans

100, Hauptstraße St.

Bamberg, Germany


Fitz,

I’ve decided to do something, with great thought into what you wrote in your last letter about the matter of showing resistance. 

I shall write! I shall pour my soul onto a piece of paper, and hope that will be enough to encourage others to do the same. As Mother says, you must hold onto hope.

I’ll be back with another letter in some time.

With love,

Everett Hans


My Words to Infamy

For many of us, Kristallnacht was a turning point in our society. We had to pick a side. The Nazi party, or simply not. Many of us who have chosen not to be a follower of the Fuhrer, have also chosen not to openly show dislike of the political belief

The terrible night that happened a year ago, cannot be met with silence.

Did you have neighbors tormented and beat in the streets because of their beliefs? Did you have family treated that way? Friends? Did you walk down a street in your town the next day and see smashed windows and class littering the streets? 

If you didn’t, you are blinded by arrogance. It is impossible to be unable to see what is happening to our fellow German citizens.

It is our duty to stand back up when pushed over. It is our duty to fight the hate thrown amiss with acts of kindness. 

Hear my words to infamy.


Everett Hans

144, Apfelallee St.

Munich, Germany


27, October, 1939


Fitz Hans

100, Hauptstraße St.

Bamberg, Germany


Brother,

I wrote a paper. More of a pamphlet, really. 

I expressed my feelings and opinions on the matter of Germany’s current state of government. I don’t think I’ll need to inform you what that is. 

I do beg you not to share this letter with anyone, dear brother. Not even mother and father. Burn it. I’ll be doing the same to yours after I read them. If I get caught, I don’t want there to be any connection to you, or Mother and Father.

I’m risking you enough, writing in the first place. They could check the mail, as you know. I’m willing to risk it if you are. Checking mail hasn’t become a popular practice here yet. At least for student's mail, that is.

I’m sorry to put you in danger in the slightest, but if I must go, I rather go knowing you know the complete truth, than there be a web of secrets left untold between the two of us, brother. 

If you don’t mind, I’m going to trail towards the topic of the climate of the University. Munich, as you’ve probably heard, is becoming more and more overcome by the Nazi regime. Since I last wrote, I’ve heard shooting in the distance at night. 

Quite the unsettling feeling. Something I never thought I’d have to do. Fall asleep to a lullaby of gunfire. 

I went to my Lecture class for History in Literature, a day previous from the date on letter. The professor was gone. Some have been saying that he stood in the way of a SS officer and Jewish boy and was sent to a camp. Others say he was shot dead in his tracks for the “stunt.” It angers me beyond comprehension, Fitz! While I might not know what happened to Professor Burkhart, I do know what happened to most who’ve acted like him. I know what happened to people like the Professor were trying to protect.

The fates of both are terrible.

Please write next with some good news. Make something up if you must! 

Remember to hold on to hope,

Everett Hans


My Words to Infamy

Blood on the streets, being washed away by rainwater. Blood on one's hands being washed away by the misinterpreted truth. 

We can help stop the misery and sadness the Jewish and other mistreated people of Germany and Europe face. 

If we stand against the Nazis and our false hero of a leader, we can end a terrible time before it grows worse. 

We’ve all seen Jews beaten in the streets, as well as those who oppose the Nazi occupation. We can’t live in fear of that being our blood on the streets or on someone else’s hands. We can’t expect those fighting to express our opinion. We can’t expect others to take the initiative. We have to take it.

Whether you're Jewish or not, this is a calling to rise against the terrible people that have Germany gripped in a stronghold.

Hear my words to infamy.


Fitz Hans

100, Hauptstraße St.

Bamberg, Germany


8, November, 1939


Everett Hans

144, Apfelallee St.

Munich, Germany


Dear Everett,

I’m glad you’ve chosen to do something about it. 

I wish wholeheartedly to do so as well. I fear for Ma and Father, though. It makes me feel better to know that you're standing up for what we believe in. You’ve always been rather good at that. Very confident. A trait I must admit, I’m jealous over. 

I did as you wished with the past letter. I understand your reasoning behind it. We should start writing differently, though. We’ve received word that they’re going to start checking letters in Bamberg. I’m certain that means they’ll start doing the same throughout Munich. 

As for the good news, I hate to lie to you brother. In our neighborhood, you know, we have a large number of Jews. Or had. It’s gone from a large welcoming area full of life, to an empty road, with it’s vacancies filled with sadness. It’s hard to be happy when you know so many people are being mistreated in such a way. 

I’m still going to school, but they are bringing in the Hitler Jugend. Jon was one of them earlier this week. 

I must say that I’m surprised that Ma and Father haven’t been approached. I’m thankful for it, though.

The family sends their love,

Fitz Hans


My Words to Infamy

As if Nazi’s don’t think we heard them the first time, they are now poisioning the minds of the youth of Germany.

Storming into their learning environments to alter their political beliefs. Inspiring them to turn against their families to follow a soulless man.

Lecture halls of Universities to small schools in the country, have rooms littered with empty seats. Those empty seats provide a visual on the lives that have been lost, and the people who have been taken.

If you won’t stand for yourself, stand for the children of Europe and Germany. If you won’t fight for yourself, fight for your children. 

Those in school have the ability to rise up too. Stand for your peers. Fight for your brothers and sisters.

Whether you're young or old, this is your calling to rise.

Hear my words to infamy.


Everett Hans

144, Apfelallee St.

Munich, Germany


17, November, 1939


Fitz Hans

100, Hauptstraße St.

Bamberg, Germany


Dear Fitz,

It was nice to hear from you again, dear brother. I must say, getting your letters has become a positive experience to look forward to in a time of such darkness.

I thought I would let you know that I wrote another piece that I plan to put in my novel. Based on school. The others I’ve written during our recent exchange of letters have been about the aftermath of the war and the political structure of Germany today. 

Along with the others, the education based piece has just passed the editing process. 

I’m glad Mother, Father, and you are still safe. It’s been such a long time since I’ve written last. It feels good to write to you.

The last few weeks all I’ve been writing is the excerpts for my novel and papers for school. 

The political tension in Munich has grown thicker since I last wrote. There are anti-Nazi pamphlets going around that have caused quite a stir on the University campus and in the nearby neighborhoods.

Well, remember Gertrude the cat I wrote about several weeks ago. Well, the ginger tabby got out again, only this time she somehow managed to get into my apartment. She destroyed the place, tearing papers as well as scratching furniture. She also gifted me with a few fresh scratches. I swear to you, brother, that cat is not normal. 

Two months into the war with Britain, not much has happened. I hope Britain pointing out what the Nazi party is doing, will help people realize what the Nazis are doing is wrong. However, you can’t force people to think things. No matter how big the guns are. 

I shall continue to hold onto hope though, as Mother says. Tell her that as well. Tell Father, too. And most of all, brother, you need to look out for them.

Being in the city at the beginning of what we can tell will be a difficult war, I don’t know what will happen to me.

Know that I love all of you, though. Mother, Father, and you. 

Tell mother, I wish to finish school and become a teacher. I think she’ll appreciate that.

This isn’t goodbye, dear brother. This is a warning. Germany has gotten herself into something that one cannot get out of simply. I wish for you to keep writing. I need whatever light I can get. It provides hope.

Now, I’m off to write. I want to add a few more sections that will be placed in my novel.

My best wishes and love,

Everett Hans


My Words to Infamy

The words written under the same title as this, have sparked resistance. Teachers, students, the young, the old, Jewish, and every other faith are beginning to fight back.

Britain and France joining forces and fighting Germany is another call for your help. Help the British and French risking their lives for us. Help them by defying the Nazis. 

A war has begun. But we are far from done. We will fight alongside those fighting the Nazis and we will show the Third Riech that we will not bend to its will. 

Show resistance by picking up arms or by writing. That’s something too often forgotten. We must remember, especially now, that written words are just as powerful and can influence change just as much as any gun. 

Hear my words to infamy. 


MUNICH OBSERVER               11.17.1939

Author of a Series of Pamphlets Against the Nazis Titled, My Words to Infamy, Wanted by Government

By Corian Handel 

Starting mid-October of this year, pamphlets started appearing around the University of Munich and its neighboring streets. The papers very clearly expressed intentions of influencing a revolution against Fuhrer Hilter and the German Government. 

While only four editions of the pamphlets have been in circulation, they have caused many to believe in what the author stands for. It can be said, that many of the current signs of resistance against the Nazi belief, aswell as the Furher, around the University of Munich can be related to the pamphlets titled My Words to Infamy.

 

Fitz Hans

100, Hauptstraße St.

Bamberg, Germany


27, November, 1939


Everett Hans

144, Apfelallee St.

Munich, Germany


Everett, 

You mustn’t be so negative! I hang onto positive thoughts by a pathetic thread and the since of you giving into the negativity only thins it. With that, I didn’t show Ma, nor Father, your last letter before I disposed of it. They would’ve read it too much as a goodbye.

If writing your novel is what caused you to write that letter, I’m begging you to stop. You’ve sparked a thought in Munich, my brother. Isn’t that what you wanted. 

I know it sounds selfish to say, but put your pen down, please. Even if it’s just for a few months. Things have gotten more violent here. Ma and Father are keeping me home from school so I don’t have to sit in the lessons taught by Nazis.

I come again, please...please, dear brother, don’t give into hopelessness. 

Your younger brother,

Fitz Hans


Everett Hans

144, Apfelallee St.

Munich, Germany


6,December, 1939


Fitz Hans

100, Hauptstraße St.

Bamberg, Germany


My Brother,

I’m not giving into hopelessness, Fitz. I refuse to. I wrote that letter because a dangerous and unfortunate time is looming in the near future. Things are bad now, and they will only get worse. The current war that just started is only being stoked. It hasn’t reached a full flame yet. But when it does, it will be harder than ever. 

I’ll keep you in my mind, dear brother. And I trust I’ll be in yours.

Sincerely,

Everett Hans


My Words to Infamy

The leaders of Germany and the Nazi party feel threatened by us resisting them. They claim that we want to spark a revolution against the government of Germany. We’d be wrong to say that their inquiry was incorrect.

The Nazi party has planted it’s roots deep in the minds of the people of Germany. Spreading its propaganda to young and old like weeds to a garden.

Carry on standing up for the Jews and other poorly treated people in Germany. Keep standing up against the Nazi belief. 

Remember that the vacant seats that litter your lecture halls represent not only absent students, but lost lives. The Nazi party taking friends, family, neighbors, and classmates from us is what lead to those empty chairs. Whether you’re Jewish or not, we have to rise. Whether you’re a man or a woman, we have to rise. Whether you’re young or old, we have to rise. Rise against this mistreatment of our fellow citizens of Germany. Let my words ring in your mind. Let my voice echo by your own. We don’t have to take up arms to fight against this current and upcoming tragedy. Written words are enough to empower one, just as much as any gun. 

One last time, hear my words to infamy.


MUNICH OBSERVER              12.10.1939

Author of My Words to Infamy Pamphlets Killed During Public Reading of His Pamphlet

By Vincent Walace

Author of anti-Nazi pamphlets titled My Words to Infamy was identifyed three days ago as a University student named, Everett Hans. This was found out when Hans was seen outside University campus reading the latest pamphlet aloud to a crowd of fellow students, and citizens of Munich.

SS officers approached him during the event, and asked him to step down. In defiance, the young man continued to stand, finishing his key phrase that occurred as the last sentence of every pamphlet while looking an officer in the eye. Hans said, “One last time, hear my words to infamy.”

The SS men fired at the student which was met with an outraged crowd. Those who fought against the SS officers after Hans was shot have been arrested and declared political prisoners…


***

The night sky is dark and sprinkled with glowing stars. Underneath the moonlight gather a group of men and women alike, both young and old, both Jewish and not. They’re all enraged and saddened by my death. Under the light of the night they whisper. A phrase which has become a beacon of hope for them. A phrase that was a beacon of hope for me. My words echo on their own. “Hear our words to Infamy.” 

Fitz was right. Now I feel that I can rest.


The author's comments:

This is an Expository Narrative Essay that I wrote as an assignment for English class. The prompt was to write about the Nazi occupation of Europe from the perspective of a chracter we created. 

I read a lot of novels about World War II. But what really inspired me was the White Rose Student Resistance movement. 

What I found most inspiring about the White Rose was that instead of picking up guns, the group of University students decided to write. 

I wanted to write my own narrative to show that words of resistance are powerful.


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AbbyWou said...
on Jun. 26 at 1:24 am
AbbyWou, Springfield, Il, Illinois
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
Really love the narrative and the inspiration from the Whute Rose Student Resistance Movement! I really love their story and what they did during WW2!