Every Little Bit Counts

>> Friday, May 7, 2010

I've spoken before about paying it forward and how every little bit counts. I've said you don't have to change the world to make it a little better. Every erg of energy you find away not to use is one less erg to pump from the ground (and/or spill in the Gulf). Every please and thank you or unexpected smile can be a ray of sun in someone else's gloomy day.

And spreading even a modicum of good, standing up for what you think is right even a little bit, is better than doing nothing at all.

So, I found this story interesting. Roger Cohen of the NYT wrote about it in an editorial, particularly the novel recently released in English written by Fallada called Every Man Dies Alone (aka Alone in Berlin [UK] and Jeder stirbt für sich allein [originally]). Written in 1947 in apparently less than a month, it was described by Cohen as gripping and powerful, bringing life in Nazi Germany to vivid and painful life. It's the tale of two real people, Otto and Elise Hampel, who defied their own country in a small, quiet every-man kind of way and died for it. Their files were given to Fallada after the war was over and inspired this novel.

I can't speak to the quality of the novel. I have not (yet) read it. However, I am quite inspired by the Hampels, leaving angry postcards denouncing the Nazi regime all over their city in prominent places. Yet another noble story I'm glad to have stumbled across and thought I'd share it with you, those of you who haven't heard it yet.

I have to admit I liked the smirk on Otto's face.


  • Roy

    Oh good, somebody finally translated Jeder stirbt für sich allein into English. Took 'em long enough! I read it in German years and years ago, and then went on to read up on the real people the book was based on.

    I have a vested interest in stories like this; I'm of German heritage and still have a lot of family in the old country. During the time of the National Socialist regime many of my relatives in Germany were involved in the Confessing Church, a protest movement within the German Protestant church resisting the "aryanization" of the church. One of my relatives was a clergyman and a signer of the Barmen Declaration and was a close colleague of Martin Niemöller and Dietrich Bonhoeffer; he was imprisoned and died there. And growing up I learned about Hans and Sophie Scholl and the White Rose pamphlet conspiracy; for much of my teenage years they were my heroes. They still are, for that matter.

    I always bring these stories up when I hear people blame "the Germans" for the Holocaust and WWII; it wasn't "the Germans", it was the National Socialists (Nazis), and not only did not all Germans belong to the Party, many even actively resisted it. That's a part of German history I'm very proud of!

  • Jeff King

    First i have heard of it... might give it a read.


  • The Mother

    Sounds like an interesting read.

  • Anonymous

    I remember reading some twenty years ago about the White Rose.  I believe a German language movie (with English subtitles) was later made of the story.  Three very brave young people.

    Mike H.

Post a Comment


Blog Makeover by LadyJava Creations