Category Archives: Denise Heap

Book Review: All God’s Children

Anna Schmidt. All God’s Children. Uhrichsville, OH: Barbour Publishing, 2013. Continue reading

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Old Hate Re-Packaged

It’s the sort of thing that makes you physically ill. “Have you heard about the group in Germany that calls themselves Neue  Weisse Rose [New White Rose]? They use White Rose as their banner for anti-Islam, anti-immigrant, far right-wing politics.”

Claiming to be disciples of Susanne Hirzel, whom they identify as somehow central to White Rose efforts, they manipulate the words of those powerful leaflets into a polemic against “foreigners” living and working in Germany. Their words sound suspiciously familiar – the language of Nazis from the failed Third Reich, seeking to marginalize Jewish citizens and Roma, Sinti, Jehovah’s Witness, homosexuals, and other so-called subhumans. And it’s disguised as Zivilcourage, the courage of one’s convictions. Continue reading

Doing the right thing

It doesn’t matter whether you are twenty, thirty, fifty, or one hundred years old. It doesn’t matter whether you’re rich or poor. It doesn’t matter whether you live in New York, Las Vegas, Slippery Rock, Luckenbach, or Los Angeles. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve got a high school education, an Ivy League B.A., or a PhD. It certainly doesn’t matter whether you’re Republican, Democrat, libertarian, or a socialist.

At some point in your life, you likely have had to stand up to someone who is abusing authority or acting irresponsibly. You may have had to confiscate the keys from a friend who intends to drive drunk. Or report a boss’s discrimination to your HR department. Or as happened recently at Texas A&M, take a public stand against bigotry.

It’s hard. Often we feel terribly alone. Sometimes the consequences of “doing the right thing” appear to cost too much. We may lose friends or family, we may lose our job. We can second-guess ourselves forever, wondering if it would have been smarter to stay silent. You know what I’m talking about. You cannot live life without facing these kinds of situations head-on. Continue reading

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Last week, I sat with Ita Gordon of the Shoah Foundation, discussing general matters regarding German resistance. Our conversation centered on those who claimed to have been part of the resistance, but who were not. That age-old “what-if” resurfaced. Continue reading

The Dichotomy of Dissent

By Denise Heap

Dr. Armin Mruck of Towson University recently observed that the stories of those who resisted Hitler during the Shoah remind us of the importance of being idealistic. “I don’t think there’s too many idealistic people in our environment. And it wasn’t just these students [White Rose], there were other resistance groups as well who thought it was worthwhile to put your life on the line. That’s not very popular these days.”

Mruck’s statement generated a fascinating and ongoing debate: What is the proper balance between idealism and realism when one is trying to right a wrong? Continue reading