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October 23, 2006


We arrived Charleston SC Amtrak depot for 8:45 pm departure to Minneapolis. World Series on TV, a man with 2 canes falls down and fellow travellers come to his aid, one of our bags is overweight so we buy a box for $2 and transfer 20 pounds of contents. Train is 30 minutes late. WC in our coach car is broken, we're seated near some very smelly people but luckily humans get used to anything and we quickly acclimate. Arrive DC 7 am, 8 hour layover, Jen Seltzer who I met in Spain 1995 meets us outside and Andy drives us to swank breakfast place. They treat, drop us at Holocaust Museum. As with all DC institutions admission is free. I like how much background is given about Hitler's rise. Assholes take over when good people do nothing. I get choked up when I read about resistance... the White Rose Society. As a child I had a morbid interest in WWII. Partly because my family lived it. And to children, vicarious violence is totally cool. As I get older, I feel more empathy. Some of the films are hard to watch but necessary. I'm struck by how dead people seem so alive as they're carried or dragged to mass graves and funeral pyres, heads bobbing. Maybe film can't differentiate between life and death; it kills all equally. I find my step-father's name on the wall of righteous rescuers: Otto M. Springer, Germany. Hero or villain is a matter of perspective. I was bitter when he left my mother in 1982. By 1990 we were reconciled and I'm glad to have known him. He taught me some things. It's hard to say what exactly--maybe just a basic sense of skepticism and the importance of never forgetting. Across the street from the museum is the US Dept. of Agriculture building, erected 1913 with exterior swastika motif. How quickly symbols can change their meaning. lunar