I don't remember anything. Or, to be perfectly honest about it, what I have, regarding the period of the thirties and forties, could not be called memory. I've got no clear pictures, or names of faces, or anything like that. What it is, rather, is an overhanging notion of home and the familiar, like that feeling you get when there's a word just on the tip of your tongue, but you can't recall it. So, so, to begin with.
It started before I was in elementary school. I never really gave any thought to reincarnation as an idea, but my family (an atheist father and a mother who trucks for the Great Spirit), said and say still of me that my soul is Old. I learned to read before I could walk very well, and my favorite books were Greek Myths, the Hobbit, and Biographies of Hitler (Dad also got me to read Carlos Castaneda, but I didn't care very much for him).
I am finding this is pretty typical of dead nazis. I read anything I could find having to do with WWII, Germany, or German life and culture. I don't generally remember anything that I read, save Art Spiegleman's 'Maus'. In the 5th grade, I did my country report on Germany with great delight, and dressed as Hitler for my presentation. There is a picture. I'll post it soon.
The fascination culminated between jr high and high school. We had a whole unit on WWII and the holocaust. We read 'Night' by Elie Wiesel, I read 'Schindler's List' and 'Mother Night', by Kurt Vonnegut. Speakers came to our class-- a Liberator and a Survivor. At about this time, I found out that my grandfather was also a holocaust survivor. When he told me (if you've ever read Mother Night, his story is almost exactly the one mentioned in the 2nd chapter, about being next for the death at the liberation), I was immediately struck by a feeling of fearful fascination and deep shame. I had 'known' ever since the second grade, reading about Hitler's life and thinking 'I knew this man... I know half of this already...' that I had been there. I felt responsible, albeit in a somewhat sidelong way. Anyway.
In 10th grade, I went to the holocaust museum in LA with my class. It was a deadening experience. All I could think of as we went through the exhibit, (where you go through a slowly changing Berlin, till you end up in a Camp), what that it wasn't scary enough. They could have made it so much... more. I was disappointed. It didn't get the message across properly. Not to me, anyway. Perhaps they tried too hard. They give you a card with the name of a person on it, and at the end, you find out what happened to them. Mine was a 13 year old girl who was shot by Einsatzgruppen in Russia. I kind of sighed.
I was reading Mien Kampf at the time, and stopped after Hitler's awakening in Vienna. I think it was marking the turning point, when intelligent disagreement with a socio-economic view became a racial hatred. I felt no need to continue in my researches after that point, and rather, developed a fondness for satires of the time and talking about logical jumps, such as the one Hitler made in Vienna. Another thing that happened; I discovered Les Misérables, and also that a lot of German kids these days are bloody wretches. So my fascination and revulsion pendulum, rocketed in the opposite for French and German. But much of that belongs now to Caudelac, whom I will discuss in another place.
After I came to North Carolina, however, much of it came back. A combination of my first regression, (an utter failure), and meeting a good number of people who actually believed in Reincarnation, and recognized elements of my impressions. Again, see Caudelac for the most relevance, but between him and another spark of knowledge, I started reading again.
It started with Moscow. Actually, it started with the destruction of Perseopolis. I read about it in Mary Renault's 'The Persian Boy', and it made me cry. At the time, I didn't do such things, so I was very upset. It got worse when, in studying Napoleon, I read about Moscow. That had visual, something I get with Caudelac that I don't really get with the Dead Nazi (whom we shall call Ulrich, for simplicity). I was bitching about having a tendency to destroy the cities I love to a friend, (also a dead Nazi), who then told me that Paris was almost destroyed, during the Reich. I went cold. I was... unsurprised. I finally found 'Is Paris Burning?' which movie I watched and which book I read.
Hence, there are some suspicions about myself... that I might have been Choltitz, (the Prussian who Didn't Blow Up Paris), Robert Ley (who said, "The Führer is always right," and who killed himself before Nuremberg), or Boineberg (who was replaced by Choltitz and who died in the year I was born). Or someone else entirely. Considering that I'm a half-black lesbian toying with conversion to Judaism, I suspect my karma has got to suck... except that I'm generally pretty happy.
Some things stick in my head, and some don't. I remember almost anything that has to do with the holocaust I read, but nothing which has to do with War. When I try to meditate on the period, I just get great black gobs of black, and a vague cold.
Very, very occasionally, I do have 3rd Reich dreams. Usually, I am running around, being a Super Duper Ultra Nazi, to avoid people looking too closely at me, and some defect I have... this could be either because I think I was a gay man in that life too (and survived Rhoem! how cool is that!?), or it was a metaphor my mind would resonate with to some situation going on in my life at the time, when I was pretending to be something I'm not. Or both. Color me philosophical!
I have written some stories set in the period, also...
What any of this might have to do with my memory is buried so deep in my brain that I haven't the slightest how to dig it out. But there it is. Yay.