My mother was born in Germany in 1929. While growing up in southwest Pennsylvania, I had heard more than once my mother called a Nazi.

I initially had no idea what that meant other than it was an insult. Later in my life when I learned what a Nazi was, I asked my mother if she was one. She said no. She also said most Germans were not Nazis either.

I then asked why they had followed Hitler and let him lead them into the war and commit all those crimes? She explained to me that the depression in Germany had been much worse than in the states. People were actually starving to death. So, when this man came along and said he would not only make things better but also restore Germany's former glory he gave the people hope so they followed him and elected him chancellor.

I asked if this meant she hated Jews. She said she didn't and neither did most Germans and they never believed Hitler would actually do such horrible things. She explained he did restore the economy and give Germans back their national pride and by the time it became obvious he was evil and insane it was too late; Germany was no longer a democracy and dissenters would disappear or be publicly executed.

Many years ago when I heard my mother's story I told her I was glad I lived in America because nothing like that could happen here. Her response was don't be so sure.

PETE CRAFT

Conneaut Lake

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