The Nazi Next-Door

I can imagine that this is going to be one of those pieces of writing which will make people think or screech. I’m OK with either as long as it’s done constructively. These are things which happened in real life. The names have been changed obviously to protect people who can’t protect themselves.

I lived in Germany for a very long time. Just about 12 years. In that time, I lived in the same apartment and had the same next-door neighhbours. There was %Steve%, %Keira% and their little girl %Tanya%. Steve was a nazi.

Tanya was a baby when I moved in and I went to their place to meet the baby and to give them a little white hat I knitted for her. Keira was lovely to me. She let me hold Tanya even though a lot of people wouldn’t do that with a new blind person. She even let me feed the baby with a bottle sometimes. Steve did his share too, looking after the little one, talking to her without any baby talk whatsoever and making sure that if she did the wrong thing, she was reprimanded when she became old enough to understand right from wrong.

I used to do a lot of things on my own. I didn’t have the help I have over here. Steve would often ring up to tell us that someone had left a bike somewhere in the cellar where we could trip over it or if he was going shopping, would offer to either bring something home for us and we pay him when he gets back or for me to go with him if I needed to do a shop. When Tanya grew old enough to read and to go places on her own, he would let her go with me and she would help me do the shopping sometimes. I would always give her something when she did that as a thank you gift.

Sure, he would make all of the references to certain things sometimes. He would talk about his views and I asked him why, as a foreigner and a disabled person, I was not seen as problematic for people with his mindset. he told me that because I was fully integrated into society and spoke and acted as such, that I wasn’t an issue. I don’t know if that’s just how his group thought or if it was representative of most people who think like that, but it’s what he said to me.

I’ve heard of how many people say they hate nazis. They wish thez would be shot. They disparage others who are around nazis. Fact is, the place I lived was good rent wise, mobility wise and transport wise. Moving was going to take too much work for two blind people with very little help. We liked our place and the neighbours were good to us. There were other neighbours who treated us horribly but that set of neighbours did a lot to look after us. yes they sometimes did stupid things like all neighbours do and there were things he did sometimes that were not OK but that was more about how he was with people when he had taken something rather than the politics factor.

If something ever happened to him, the ones who would suffer wouldn’t be him, but his wife and soon to be teenaged daughter who would miss their husband and father.

Just because I am not happy with a person’s behaviour, doesn’t mean that I hate that person. I have seen so much of this all over the place and it’s taking people down a path which is just as destructive to them as to the people they are wanting to be destroyed. I do what I can to lead by example and for me, that example is treating people like people and condemning behaviours rather than the people who display them. I’d still say this if I were condemned for doing so. Hatred hurts the hater so much more than it hurts the hated.

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