Regardless of your political beliefs, you must concede the post-1945 world owes much to the Nazis. This is a great paradox and attraction for me.
Without the holocaust there would likely be no Zionist State of Israel. Without the Nazi invasion of Russia there may well have been no Cold War and ultimate collapse of Communism. And don’t forget the numerous technological advances in modern health practice that derive directly from experiments carried out in the concentration camps.
These examples and others prove that history consists of a series of devils’ bargains.
Even liberal political ideas which have figured so prominently in the 20th century owe much to the evil personified by Hitler and his henchmen as “anti-examples,” images so obnoxious they’re responsible for winning many ardent followers to the opposite of what they stand for.
For this reason I’ve assembled a collection of hiking pennants of the German youth movement, most of which display examples of the runes.
Because such flags are said to embody the “souls” of the youth who once marched beneath them, and because no extant German youth group would ever even dream of relinquishing its pennant, it has been very difficult collecting many flags except from extinct units of the Hitlerjugend. I have a few examples of older and newer flags, but most are from the Nazi years when every German young person was required by law to become a member of the Hitler Youth. I am always obliged to explain to new visitors that I am not a Nazi sympathizer, just a collector.
A few years ago I came upon a Wikipedia page showing representative examples of the flags of the Hitlerjugend, and three out of maybe a dozen happened to be unique flags in my collection. This made me realize that I had done a constructive thing in collecting well during my earning years, now receding farther behind me with every week.
I realize that the subject of this post does not have universal appeal, but today is my 66th birthday and I wanted to indulge myself by writing about something that brings me personal happiness, unusual though it may be.
It is no coincidence that one of my favorite runes is Wynn, which is said to represent a pennant fluttering in the wind. Wynn is the rune which means “Joy.”
Grooves of the Day
Not knowing whether to select music that reflects the aspiration or ultimate reality of the youth movement, I chose both because they tell the whole story.