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J.J.Janicki

Wondervogel by Solticeman

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Thanks for leaping in J.J. Praise from you is always appreciated.

I must take this opportunity to say that this time I have sought help, and have a few people to thank. Cole Parker stepped in with what amounted to a masterclass on punctuation that has I hope resulted in a much tidier feel.

Setting a story so close to the Holocaust filled me with trepidation and I sought reassurance from a few friends here. Timmy of iomfats and Mihangel reassured me that I hadn't overstepped the mark, which was great relief.

Timmy's input also put me in contact with the work of the late Rabbi Simchah Roth in particular his responsum on homosexuality...Dear David...

http://www.bmv.org.il/ab/dd.asp

I urge anyone with a taste for closely argued rabbinic study to read it. It is surprisingly readable and is incredibly generous towards us... a shaft of sunlight among the Abrahamic religions. In essence his view appears to be that God created us homosexual and that therefore the sin against God is not homosexuality but rather is homophobia

In particular his views on lovers who breach Torah by anal sex should be read by every gay Jewish teenager...

Rather than stoning or eternal darkness he says...

So, my advice would be that if occasional weakness results in mishkav zakhur [anal sex], thank God for the deep love that prompted the act and for the deep emotional sense of togetherness and the ecstatic union of souls that in its turn the act generated. Go out of your way to relate to others with a shadow of that outpouring of love that you have been privileged to experience. Go and giveצדקה charity to the needy or to a worthy cause as an expression of a deep gratitude to Heaven and a desire that others share a modicum of the happiness you have been vouchsafed. Be loving, kind and considerate to each other, and then try to emulate the ecstatic joy of the physical love you have experienced in your spiritual relationship with God

Way to go Simchah!!

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I've read a lot of historical material over the years in support of the things I like to write and yet I have never assembled a story quite this hard core. What Jeff has given us took courage to plot and plan because the story contains the harsh realities of war and the excesses of the maniacal leaders of the Third Reich.

Like many in my generation whose parents endured those war years I am aware of the facts surrounding the Holocaust in a statistical way. It leaves me with an empathy towards the surviving Jewish people who lost so much. But here the Wandervogel story diverts that general empathy into something specific towards the characters in this drama. Survival is a much more basic, gut wrenching feeling when confronting the horrors through the eyes of a heroic young man.

Religious thought has never been of much interest to me, and yet here we are faced with something beyond religion since the Jews are an ancient race of people who faced extinction. Like any historical story this one allowed Jeff to preach a little which only allowed me to see that the author embraced the knowledge he has gained. A tough story to read because the emotions and images come across so real. But like most history, this is all something we should never forget. Thanks, Jeff.

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I've read the whole story. At first, I was intrigued by the amount of research suggested by so many accurate details. Then I simply kept reading till unholy hours. I used quite a few kleenexes too and I must admit being envious of a guy plucking at our emotional strings with such maestria.

I find no better way, for the time being, to express my appreciation than to say that it reminds me, in some parts, to "Le Roi des Aulnes" by Michel Tournier who is not the least of modern french writers.

Go on Jeff, and give us more of the same quality.

José

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Dear Chris and Jose, Thank you so much for your comments. It was a worry to write. I was well into it, maybe fifteen chapters and was still not sure that the Holocaust was a suitable backdrop to work with. As you say its a tale with Kleenex at the ready. I hope I didn't make it too bleak.

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Jeff, you just wrote a truth, an uncomfortable truth for many but it was all very real. The readers here range from those who embrace the mild to those of us who plan to deal with anything Mike posts and try to see it for what it is...good writing. I have several stories on the shelf which may never post anywhere because the truth is just too hard to take, but as an author I enjoyed writing them. Have no fear, we're still with you!

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Growing up in Germany at that time, it would have been a near-miracle if you weren't caught up, believing well past the bitter end that you were a part of something that could change the world... for the better. Alfons Heck came of age in that environment, as a proud member of the Hitler Youth, and having read his story (A Child of Hitler), in that respect, Wandervogel rings true.

Alfons Heck also appeared in a BBC documentary (seen on our Military Channel), and courtesy of YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1-HFb_w71k number one: Hitler was charismatic. Whether you know a word or German or not, you still cannot help but feel it. (At the very start of the video.) And then at the 7:17 mark, there's Alfons Heck, and after watching... I understood that something very similar could happen in any country. Even here. It's possible.

J.J.

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When Wandervogel finished posting, Engor and Jolyon Lewes pointed out that the period spent in the Berlin archives dragged its tail and between them they said that I could have made more use of Gramma's kids in the plot. They were quite right!

I have written two more chapters... 19 and 20. Inserting them required a slight re-arrangement of 18 and tidying and re-numbering of 21 to the end. If you have already read the story then reading 19 and 20 will fill you in on the new material. The two chapters can be read as short stories.

http://www.awesomedude.com/solsticeman/Wandervogel/index.htm

This is an opportunity to thank all those that wrote here and by email. I was very doubtful about the plot... your comments and support made it worth the risk.

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Just read this absolute gem of an alternate history. It's utterly amazing how Solsticeman has woven fact, fiction, and something in-between to arrive at this rewritten tale taking place during the Second World War. I'm long a fan of contributions to this genre, but they pale in comparison to this exceptional work. Absolute kudos to an extraordinary writer, Mr. Solsticeman!

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