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August 2011 - Nr. 8

In disbelief, I watched a strange boy happily pocketing Monika’s candies and taking her seat the next morning. It was a very, very sad day for me, learning, that she had been adopted by some people far away. In her kindness she had helped me seeing some good in mankind worth reconnecting to and cherishing Monika, the unforgettable flower in the garden of my early life.

Around that time, a Queen was crowned in England; a bit later the Soviet Union lost its great leader Mr. Stalin. During that era I had been adopted by several parties. From church fanatics to outright criminals, I served them all. I was not destined to live life, but experience life firsthand at the bottom with desperate people stripped by the war of ethics and morals. Since the government paid a small monthly allowance, I had become a commodity. A “good home and love” was the slogan of that day. The “good home” often deteriorated fast, when it had become obvious that even an orphan needed a little more food than just the breadcrumbs from under the table and licking out pots to survive and work. And “love” was long, long forgotten, the last thing I ever expected. At best, I wanted to give some, but there was nobody to give it to.

The most beneficial environment while growing up, I always found in an orphanage among my own peers. Yes, we were all thieves and liars, but that had made us genuine survivors. Like animals in the wild we had learned to work and to fight for food and existence. There were no handouts. Nobody was pampered. Everyone owned the same, next to nothing. When we stole food, it was just enough to stay alive. We never begged. One got beaten; one beat others. We were friends or foes among ourselves. When challenged by outsiders, we became comrades. Nobody dared to attack an orphan in town for fear of our mob, as our display of togetherness and responsibility for each other had been the most effective deterrent. As individuals we had plenty of duties and responsibilities, the mortar of our little society, which functioned quite well. Rights, if any, were secondary and limited – tokens for achievements. We strictly enforced our very own rules. Misfits we removed ourselves. The common good always had top priority.

Circumstances helped develop our potentials at an early age. We “pruned” and “trimmed” each other, until we all had become fitting links within the chain of our commune. The strength and quality of a successful society comes from within itself by members driven and committed to achieve the common goal. Our goal was to overcome hunger and misery, and succeed we did. Shaped and forged by war and hardship, immune to rhetoric, religion and politics we rose from the ashes as the new generation. A generation envisioning and endorsing life in a homogeneous, peaceful society governed by its citizens collectively – as practiced and almost perfected in the orphanages. Having learned from mistakes of the past, we vowed to never again march to the beat of a single drummer. The past we could not undo, but the future was to be ours.

It was the greatest irony in our lives, that we the remnants of the war, a bunch of marauding little orphans in stolen or borrowed shoes eventually emerged from the shadows as decent citizens to serve and protect that very same politically indoctrinated generation that had brought all the misery upon us in the first place with a terrible war. And as if that was not enough, at the rim of society we had been “enghettoed” and left to fend for ourselves. As a remnant of those remnants, to this day, I am still extremely proud of our very own accomplishments!

When we entered the workforce as young adults, we did so as honest, yes, honest, disciplined, inventive and productive individuals. Most of us went on to become leaders or elitists of some sort. At age 14 one girl began working at the assembly line in a large shoe factory. At age 18 she was supervisor, at 22 personnel manager in the same place. That was my sister. Unfortunately I have never seen her again. In the armed forces I met many of the former mob again. Almost all had higher ranks. One of them managed to make it across that infamous wall that divided East and West Germany, which was I.

In the West I got a new name again: “Commie”, and was perceived as someone from an underdeveloped country needing proper education badly. It was understandable that a little cynicism always surfaced when those West Germans spoke with swollen chests about other nationals. They had the buying power and lots of horsepower. My bicycle was no match. Among their ranks I could not have found a friend again by sharing a shoelace or an apple. Often I was subjected to scorn and mockery. I took it all with a smile. While they had been rescued on all fronts by their American friends and enjoyed care parcels, we Easteners struggled alone to survive. Baptized with waters of the Dnjeper River I stood tall as an authentic survivor.

Like a little fledgling that had left the nest, enjoying freedom, hopping from tree to tree looking for its own nesting place, I ended up in Canada. A wide-open and free country ideal for wide-open minds and free soaring spirits. To some Canadians I was a “Nazi” again, but to most of them just another immigrant but with a darker history who was given a chance.

I made my contributions and earned the rewards. How much of a Canadian I had become, I never really knew until that very day, when this world-wide respected fine Nation of Peacekeepers had joined that dubious “Coalition of Willing Warmongers”. I was, and still am deeply hurt by that disgraceful action. May history be lenient when judging this young growing up nation.

Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever.

War has never been a shining beacon as to the glory of man; instead, it has always revealed the true level of human civilization. As product of World War II and witness to horrors and cruelty galore, I firmly believe that mankind still has a long way to go in order to rid itself of savagery and barbarism to actually reach that level it claims to have attained. I have not forgotten 1945, all those many victims around me. Please, let’s never do it again!

After many sacrifices and more than half a century of struggling through man’s foggy world, I was granted utmost gratification for having been able to discover myself and my very own place in this otherwise most beautiful world. No longer do I bear anger. I have no regrets. I have forgiven and ask to be forgiven. After every storm the sun will shine and heal again.

I have a home now, a real home that harbours peace and happiness. It provides warmth and food, precious food that is not merely consumed, but gratefully enjoyed and treasured to the very last crumb. I am very thankful to my lovingly caring wife and the almighty power of creation for providing me life that far exceeds my needs and desires.

There is no need to worship a plastic Jesus and plastic Mary. I was judged already back in 1945 and served my time. Ever since, I attended extensive rehabilitation courses under Stalinists, Fascists, Marxists, Socialists, Capitalists, Democrats and other Do-gooders. But none of them ever affected me as much as those few drops of Dnjeper River water that still must be flowing through my veins as constant reminder: Eat salt and bread and speak the truth!

If there is such a thing like paradise, I am enjoying it around my home here on Earth right now.

I have grown close to the beauty of nature and especially to all those innocent furs and feathers and little critters that have become survivors because of mankind’s neglect and abuse of the environment. All of them are heartily invited and congregate in sharing with me my newly found good fortune. At last my soul is at peace, as I have been awarded to live in harmony with, and as part of the creation. The strength and joy I derive from this divine serenity is unlimited. Life has never been a right to me, but the most precious gift. I look forward to the “Great Beyond”!

January 2011


No investment on this Earth
Yields more than my patch of earth.
Where upon with pride and pleasures
I grow and harvest healthy treasures.

As long as I fulfill my duty
Preserving Earth and Nature’s beauty,
My sacred world of peasantry
Prospers in peace and harmony.

And when time comes to part from here
I shall embrace my earth, so dear!
That crops may flourish on this Earth,
Then in return I’ll nourish earth.

Werner Bogdhan passed away about 2 month ago.

We shall always remember him. -
Sybille Forster-Rentmeister

To start from the beginning


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