Friday Fictioneers : What Hanne did after the war


PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

His war work often took Klaus away for days, occasionally weeks.

On his return he would give Hanne a package of dazzling white tissue paper, tied with fine red string. Inside, a glass flower.

Roses, their petals furled and gilded; daffodils whose golden trumpets captured the sun; lily of the valley, crocuses, celandine, all spun and blown, Klaus said, to imitate the garden she’d sacrificed when they moved from Bavaria to an apartment near the Reichstag.

After the war, after the trial, Hanne bought a granite mortar and pestle, took each flower in turn and ground them to powder.

***

Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneer’s. See here to join in and be inspired.

After reading Rochelle’s moving story this week, I got to wondering how other women spent the war. Thanks for the inspiration, Rochelle.

33 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers : What Hanne did after the war

    1. I’m guessing it was a pretty rare occurrence for the wives not to share the beliefs of party members and high up Nazis. But perhaps the shame of the trial … ? She might feel that more than his crimes. Thanks so much for reading Dale

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      1. I imagine it would be so. Perhaps not out loud.
        The shame of the trial would be awful to bear as well.
        Really good story, Lynn.

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  1. Dear Lynn,

    The flowers are beautifully described. And, of course, the theme and message shrill through me. You never tell us exactly what side Klaus is on but I get the impression he’s opposed the 3rd Reich. (At least I hope so.) Wonderfully written.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

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    1. I had a darker thought I’m afraid. That perhaps he was a high up Nazi who went through the Nuremberg trials and Hanne is now ashamed of him, even if she was complicit at the time. So many people carried dark knowledge through theose days, didn’t they? Perhaps pretending to themselves the truth of the horrors. Thank you for your thoughtful comment Rochelle

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  2. I really like the visual flourish of unwrapping these jewel like flowers, which get crushed and turn to ‘dust’ after the War. A powerful image of loving hope turned to bleakness and destruction for the couple – I imagined that Klaus was a Nazi, though you leave it open. Good story.

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  3. So open as to what he could have done or not done. Assuming the trial means he committed some sort of war crime, and innocent Hanne has found out the hard way about the one she loved. Expertly done Lynn.

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  4. Layer upon layer in this story, Lynn. We’ll never know how much Hanne knew about her husband’s role, the extent to which she feared her husband and what might happen if she refused the flowers. Excellent story!

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    1. Thank you so much Penny. You’re right on all counts. I think a lot of wives of high up officers were happy to lie to themselves, especially after the war, about how much they knew, about how much of a blind eye they were willing to turn in exchange for power and status. Thank you so much for the kind thoughtful comment

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    1. I think Hanne knew, but was perhaps shamed after the trials. How could you not know? But it’s easy to fool ourselves, especially after the fact. Thanks so much Jane

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      1. After years, with guilt added into the mix, I can see how easy it would be to convince yourself you were an innocent, how that truth would make it easier to sleep at night

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  5. This is great, and you leave so much unsaid which, by the little hints, is actually quite clear. Hanne didn’t want to know, and Klaus must have been high up, otherwise why Berlin, why Trial. I doubt that he was a witness… I wonder if destroying the flowers for her was a kind of exorcism or rage at having lost. Excellent, but very different.

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    1. Ah, thank you so much Gabi. What an insightful interpretation of the story – just what I imagined. It’s perhaps not that she feels betrayed because her husband was a war criminal, but that they were publicly shamed and humiliated. Thank you for your close reading and the lovely comment

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