Board index Arts, Entertainment, and Activities The Inkwell O Holy Night (Part 4 )

O Holy Night (Part 4 )

A place for Short Stories, fiction or non. Please be sure to credit all sources if they are not your own.

Post Tue Dec 18, 2007 3:05 pm
watcher MVP Member

Posts: 229
Scott went back to his hotel, but he couldn't sleep. Somehow, he tossed and turned, and kept thinking about Christmas. And German carols, and that made him think of Germany. That led him to think about...World War II. How was it possible for the Germans to even write a song like Silent Night, he thought, when two world wars started there? It made him fume when he contemplated war, and Christmas, and war again. Of course, he couldn't deny the fact that he was partly German too. Maybe if he could think through all this...after all, he was in Europe. He could go to the concentration camps, and try to make some peace with his soul about life, and love, and war.

Then he remembered about the story of Anne Frank... Wasn't it true that Anne Frank had gone into hiding in Amsterdam with her family? And there was still a museum, or he was almost sure there was. Surely, he could check it online. So he brought out his laptop, which he had taken even to Europe to stay connected with his family, and Googled Anne Frank. Sure enough, there were the details of the museum. There were over a million visitors in 2004, and they had expanded the museum. After writing down the directions, Scott went back to sleep. When he awoke, he dressed, and told the taxi driver where he wanted to go, and soon they were on their way. Prinsengracht 267, he mused as he climbed out of the taxi and stared at the thin houses, smack up against one another. And so he went in, and viewed with the others the precious artifacts saved to document a life of a young girl who went into hiding in a war in her father's place of business. He saw the Secret Annex, and heard the stories, and thought of this life. One life can make a difference, he thought. It may sound stupid, but it is true. He heard the story of the chestnut tree that had stood in the backyard, that was now in danger of dying, and the plans to remove it, and plant a new tree. Would he like to buy a chestnut seed? And so he did, and treasured this little memento, that he placed lovingly in his pocket, and he couldn't see as he left the building because of the tears that stood in his eyes.

He caught the train to Bergen-Belsen, the concentration camp where millions of Jews had gone, including Anne Frank. 60 kilometers northeast of Hanover, Germany he read in his pamphlet, as the train sped on its way. So he arrived in the afternoon, and stood by the Memorial, and wondered at the fate of so many who had been here 60 some years before. It was said that both Anne Frank and her sister, Margot, had succombed to Typhus, Anne herself only weeks from the end of World War II at the tender age of 15. Why wasn't her life spared? How could such racial cleansing ever have happened, or was there no point in asking questions like that? As he studied, and listened, and read facts, he realized another little known fact. 6 million Jews had been killed in the death camps, but there were also millions of Christians who had helped them and gone to concentration camps, in fact some said the number was even. He heard the story of Corrie Ten Boom later, who wrote the book, The Hiding Place, and whose father and sister, along with many others, in Holland, had hidden Jews, and finally were placed in concentration camps. Her father and sister died there. She escaped, even though not young, and lived on to tell her story, which certainly would be worth reading, he reflected.

As he traveled back on the train, Scott wondered what it would be like if some of these people had talked. What would they have said? Anne Frank, whose diary had been published, and had been printed in many languages, and whose pages shared her heart. Would her most famous phrase have been, "I shall go out into the world and work for humanity.." as her website mentioned. One of many...his favorite reflection of her was her heart, her vibrancy, her love, her youth. And Corrie Ten Boom, who was little known, possibly among some, whose humility had become legendary. She wrote and inspired many books also, in many languages, and yet now, was her life forgotten? No, just probably not as popular. She had not died as a girl, she had lived on, and worked, and inspired, and died of old age.

As he stood in the twilight from his journey, Scott realized he had so much more to do, places to visit, people to meet. He stood in the cold, and remembered the story of one Christmas night on the front when they said that shelling had stopped as German and American soldiers sang Christmas carols on into the night...It was a bitter-sweet memory. What good had it done in a way? Even today, there was wars, rumors of wars, and too many lives snuffed out for too little reason. But he turned around and heard a group of carolers singing.

Oh holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of our dear Saviour's birth.

Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Till He appear'd and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angels' voices!

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever,
His power and glory evermore proclaim.
His power and glory evermore proclaim



It was his favorite Christmas carol, and the words, "HIs law is love, and His gospel is peace" made him weep. Where had the world gone wrong? Did they even know what Christmas was all about? No, the idea of the baby was not what had saved him, if it ever had. He needed to understand even more.



Minuit, chrétiens, c'est l'heure solennelle,
Où l'Homme-Dieu descendit jusqu'à nous
Pour effacer la tache originelle
Et de Son Père arrêter le courroux.
Le monde entier tressaille d'espérance
En cette nuit qui lui donne un Sauveur.


The carol echoed back in French, and Scott knew he would remember the words by heart from now on....



Author's note: I used the websites, Anne Frank Stichting, which is official Anne Frank Museum website, copyrighted. Also, the Wikepedia definition to provide lyrics for O Holy Night, and the Bergen-Belsen website and memorial website. Information about Corrie Ten Boom is also available online, including her book, The Hiding Place. I would highly recommend researching these and other sites. Enjoy the Christmas holiday! watcher...cJLIT :flag:

P.S. Also, the chestnut seed I mentioned, are going to be gathered and distributed to Anne Frank schools throughout the world, apparently. I don't think they are being sold...I digressed there a little, but it served my point. You can contribute to the Anne Frank Museum foundation also, of which more information is available on their website.

Post Wed Dec 19, 2007 3:34 pm
My2Cents MVP Member

Posts: 1132
Location: Tyrone, PA
watcher wrote:

Author's note: I used the websites, Anne Frank Stichting, which is official Anne Frank Museum website, copyrighted. Also, the Wikepedia definition to provide lyrics for O Holy Night, and the Bergen-Belsen website and memorial website. Information about Corrie Ten Boom is also available online, including her book, The Hiding Place. I would highly recommend researching these and other sites. Enjoy the Christmas holiday! watcher...cJLIT :flag:

P.S. Also, the chestnut seed I mentioned, are going to be gathered and distributed to Anne Frank schools throughout the world, apparently. I don't think they are being sold...I digressed there a little, but it served my point. You can contribute to the Anne Frank Museum foundation also, of which more information is available on their website.


WOW !!! Gotta' say watcher... I am enjoying your stories.This one in particular caught my attention. I have been into the history of WWII for many years. Thanks for the Anne Frank web site information... I didn't realize there was so much out there on the web, including pictures I had never seen. I personally have been in Amsterdam and was able to actually go into the building where the Franks went into hiding. This was back in 1985...the public was allowed to go upstairs, then go behind that book case and up that little narrow stairway into the attic... Oh my, was really something to see and I shall never forget it... they left every room as is, and you could walk into each one of them... in Anne's room you could see where she slept and the pictures she had tacked onto her wall... she admired Judy Garland and had some pictures of her on the wall. You could also go up the stairway leading to where Peter stayed... you couldn't walk into the room itself though ( they had it blocked off) .. but, looking around you could see his bicycle, where he slept, and other things, etc. I remember thinking... how did they ever manage to stay in that attic for so long without being caught or without someone telling on them ?? There were quite a few long narrow windows in the attic that they had covered over...Just looking around and remembering things she had written in her diary... I was very, very overwhelmed standing there, looking at it all.... and imagining all the things that had happened there. I'm so glad I was able to go there and see all that... I have been reading about all this stuff for years. I bet the public can't walk thru the actual rooms now... back then, during WWII, the floors were creaking... when I was there, the floors were creaking... I'm sure they couldn't withstand constant walking on by tourists day after day for too long.... they probably had to do something to keep it all intact. Anyway... that story brought back memories and I just want to thank you for mentioning that web site.

Post Wed Dec 19, 2007 6:18 pm
watcher MVP Member

Posts: 229
You're welcome!!! I enjoyed looking at that website too, because I wasn't sure either if the public could still go in. Apparently, though, according to the website, they do. I think they're talking about moving or expanding, because this tree they mentioned (which Anne mentioned in her diary) is in danger of falling on the building. It's apparently rotten inside, or diseased. That is why they are talking of planting a seedling in its place. Anne Frank was always an inspiration to me...although I know I'll never have her impact. Young people do have such great insights, and she lived in terrible circumstances triumphantly, as much as possible. Hope you do have a chance to check these other ones out! Have a great Christmas too!

watcher :wink:


Return to The Inkwell

cron