By Kent Heckenlively, Esq.
I’m currently reading the memoir, “All But My Life” by Gerda Weissmann Klein, an account of her survival as a Jewish woman in World War II Poland. Maybe it’s an unusual choice for the dad of a daughter with autism but it has its attractions for me.
The New York Times praised it as “A moving personal testament to courage” while The Boston Globe wrote that the story was so moving because of “the passion with which she looked through the horror and found a heart-felt and basic goodness in humanity.”
World War II ended sixty-three years ago, eighteen years before I was born. Ever since I became politically aware I have known the outlines of that conflict. The identity of the good guys and the bad were never in doubt.
The question then becomes, why read such stories at all, if you already know what it’s going to happen?
When I studied writing I learned that what makes a story powerful is the lessons it teaches to the people of any time. I enter into this disturbing story of the Holocaust not to find out what happens to one single woman, but to know the strength people can show in difficult situtations. I am interested in the “courage” and the “heart-felt and basic goodness in humanity”, not the depravity.
And there is one more lesson I take away. The underground movements of today are the mainstream of tomorrow.
What Gerda Weissmann Klein could not know on that morning in 1939 when the bombs first fell on her hometown of Bleitz, Poland was what history would make of the invaders of her homeland. Sixty-nine years later there are few insults more vile than to call somebody a Nazi.
Although the tragedy of autism is immense I will refrain from using such epithets against the medical and pharmaceutical establishment. Instead, I compare them to foolish children who play with the powers of God and then walk away from their messes.
In my science class I teach students how the use of DDT in our country to stop mosquitoes nearly wiped out the Bald Eagle. It was supposed to be such a great advance that in 1948 the scientist who first synthesized it won the Nobel Prize in Medicine. My students easily grasp the idea of unintended consequences. They often seem to understand the concept better than adults.
I believe our struggle will one day end.
I believe that sometime soon, there will be a medical, scientific, and legal consensus that vaccines have neurologically damaged, and in some instances killed, a significant number of children.
At this moment in time all three leading candidates for President of the United States have urged research based on our concerns. The government has conceded in a single case that vaccines led to a young girl’s autism and seizures. I believe more concessions and outright defeats await our government. The process is inexorable, just as it was inevitable that free people would eventually triumph over tyranny.
A movement which has been underground for years is moving into the mainstream.
What comes through in Gerda Weissmann Klein’s book so movingly is the concern of the parents for the lives of their children. We fight as well for our children. We’re not looking for someone to blame. We are looking for what went wrong and how to fix it.
That will be the narrative of the future. It’s that story people will be reading over and over again sixty years from now.