One day I was walking along in a shopping mall and was approached to purchase some item that I had no use for. I was amazed with the sales-skills of the young woman. I listened and started to ask her questions and soon a striking elderly woman with blond hair and blue eyes showed up in a bright colorful dress that was accessorized by someone that had great style. (Notice I have no style, but I appreciate people that do)
What can I say, at that time in my life, I was a sucker for blonde hair, and blue eyed women. It wasn’t till years later the my best friend said, “I forbid you from ever dating another blonde, they just aren’t good for you.”
Somehow a strange friendship of sorts happened with my friend Jutta. I figured she was somehow of German descent because of the accent, as well as she had the same features you will see with the flight attendants on any Lufthansa long haul flight. The striking tall, blond hair woman, long legs...you get the idea.
One day, I had to ask Jutta how old she was. Usually I could guess or tell a woman’s age, but she defied me actually being able to fairly guess. That is what she made me do, and I must confess that when she did tell me her actual age, I was shocked.
As I did the calculations in my head, I soon realized that Jutta was just a young girl when the war was over. I asked her about the war. She was kind enough to sit down and share a cup of coffee and actually start talking in her perfectly coiffed attire while her mind went back to a sad time of her life. Her tale went like this:
My father was in the army, just like every other German man. It didn’t matter what one really believed in ideology, you simply went into the service. We never heard from him, or really knew what happened to him. Rumor is that soldiers fighting on that front were either killed or sent to a Russian prison camp after the war, usually it was a sort of death sentence.
We don’t really know what happened to my mother. Was she killed in a bomb run? Shot? We never saw her again. It left me with my small brother, (I think she said she was 12 and he was 7) to take care of.
After the war, it was not great to be German. There was lot of hatred towards us by everyone for what had transpired the previous years. So in a sense, everyone was out to punish us. I did whatever I had to survive and take care of my brother. I would beg food; many times we would go through the garbage dumpsters of the soldiers to get their scraps. It was not a normal childhood. We were the targets for retribution and punishment for what the people at the top did.
I really don’t remember how Jutta got to the united states, or how she made it from the horrors she described of what happened to the losers left behind with rape, pillaging and enjoying the spoils of war, but I do remember her telling me this:
You might wonder why I wear such bright colors; it is simply to not give in to remembering what happened to my brother and I as kids. The bright colors remind me of the sunshine of life. I really don’t care what another thinks, even if I look like an Easter egg in yellow. I will never wear dark colors again.