In my farming community, a couple from Germany bought a farm circa 1965. It had been a dream of Eberhardt to be farmer for many years.
He had been a soldier in Nazi Germany. He was a radio operator, calling in artillery strikes as the Allies were pushing the Germans from France. He ended up in a POW camp in Scotland, working as a farm laborer. When he was finally repatriated back to Germany in 1947, he found his sweetheart Gertrude. They got married and made plans to immigrate to Canada. When they got permission, they and their two toddlers went to southern Alberta. Eberhardt worked as a farm laborer for about a decade before he had enough funds to buy a farm in my community. And two more kids came into the picture.
Eberhardt and Gertrude were two of the nicest people one could meet. They loved children and were community minded, volunteering for all sorts of events and organizations. Soft spoken and gentle. Well respected by all the community. Family before making lots of money: Eberhardht was not the most ambitious of farmer in my community.
But they had a past. They were part of the Hitler Youth Movement.
After a few drinks in an evening of socializing, my father and mother got curious about that past. They asked how these German youth could be so involved is such a repressive regime. How could they support the Nazis?
Their only response: “We didn’t know at the time”.