Friday, May 19, 2017
There is the idea that we are only separated "six degrees" of separation from other people.
Mrs. Olsen has met two people who had close contact with Adolph Hitler--so that means there is only one person between her and the famous dictator. So, far all her students--they are only two degrees of separation from one of the most evil men of all time.
One day, several years, ago, she met a woman at a nursing home in Salem, who had met Hitler as a young woman. He was then the leader of Germany, but World War II had not yet begun. She had been an excellent swimmer and was the winner of several swim meets. He came through her small town in Germany and shook hands with her and awarded the medal. The woman was quite elderly, but she asked to remain anonymous. Still, she said that Hitler smiled at her and made small talk.
The next man, was Arnie Lehman, who was one of the last messenger boys for Hitler when he was living in a bunker underneath the city of Berlin. He was only 15 when he ran back and forth delivering messages from the bunker to military personnel around the city. Arnie lived in Oregon and spoke at the Salem Public Library in 2003. He has since died, but it was interesting to hear him talk about the last days of Germany before it was defeated in World War II.
Its kind of neat to know that history--even history about the bad guys--is not that far removed from my students who are learning about the Rise of Dictators and World War II.