teacher in a small Michigan community college. In the same
small town, I have also taught a Sunday School class. One
day, in the Sunday School room, a small family came to register
their daughter. This would have been a normal event, but I
had a deep sense-impression of the "father" as a
Nazi officer - so much so, that I pulled back from him.
later, this same man enrolled in my college research writing
class. He no longer gave me the impression of being a Nazi
officer, but I was taken aback when, leaning arrogantly back
in his schoolroom chair, he said he wanted to write his research
paper on the "fact" that in World War II the Holocaust
never happened - no ovens, no dead Jews. I tried to talk him
out of this topic, saying it was impossible to prove a negative
- especially since after the liberation of the concentration
camps, Germans who lived in nearby towns were photographed
carrying out prisoners who had starved to death.
he said, "that is a lie. Trick photography. It didn't
happen." The upshot was that the man, unable to find
trustworthy sources, dropped the course.
years later, supposedly by chance, I again met this same student
in a hallway of the college. I was astounded by the physical
change in him. He was bent, twisted, his face contorted in
pain. I asked whether he had been in an accident.
he said. "No accident. I've had operations. But now I've
had all the operations the doctors will do. Now I will have
to live with it," and then he added angrily, "But
that's not the worst of it! The worst part of it is the voices
I hear when I'm in the shower!"
him what voices. He peered angrily down into my eyes. "Yes,
that's what I told you - I told you it's the voices! I get
in the shower, I turn on the water. That's when I hear the
aback again by his intensity, I could only think to ask him
what the voices were saying. "Saying? What is the matter
with you? The voices are not saying anything! The voices are
June 13, 2006