Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Of Nazis and knitwear

Speaking of Nazis, Hansi was the girl who loved the Swastika (PDF), at least according to Spire comics. Then, the dream became a nightmare; then she loved Jesus. Then she loved America. She had a lot to give.

How do you solve a problem like Hansi? She is so keen, so eager, so gullible. The Nazis give her books: she loves them. Americans chew gum: she loves them. Jesus does nothing for her: she loves Him. She is always cheerful; she even gives the blinded soldier a friendly wave and cheerfully tells him that they are nothing and the Reich is everything.

She didn't love the Russians, even though they don't rape her, unlike the other girls; but that was because she was so thin; but then, she was so thin because she had starved herself for the Fatherland; not that she looked any thinner than the others. But still, she leads her friends, a group of Hipsters with great hair and knitwear, out of the Russian camp. They meet a ferryman; for a fistful of shiny things, he will take them to safety, althogh not by ferry. He takes them to no-man's-land, which somehow survived the First World War. Unfortuntely, the Russians are waiting and they shoot all the Hipster girls, including Hansi's best friend, who had the best hair of them all. Hansi, it seems, is too thin to be shot.

Fortunately, Hansi and some recently-orphaned peasant child find their way to West Germany. Obviously, this happened before the Iron Curtain was completed, and before the invention of the twin-set. There, they find a farmhouse full of Americans, who chew gum and don't want to rape Hansi. They make her breakfast. She even manages to change her fashionable knits for the traditional peasant costume she had before all this trouble started. She speaks some German as well.

Anyhow, time passes. She teaches in the Bavarian Alps. Then she is reunited with her boyfriend, who was in U-Boats but now dresses in anticipation of Rock'n'Roll. He has found Jesus as well. And then they go to America, for no good reason other than their good fortune. There, they find the airport is full of hippies. America has sold its soul for a mess of consumer goods, including Hi-Fidelity stereo and food mixers. And the American youth are troubled. The prison is full of militants. But Hansi teaches them to love their country. She tells them that America is so unlike her homeland, where Russian tanks mow down angry Hipsters. And so the story ends.

Morally speaking, it is not the most straightforward of stories. Its message seems to be that it is alright to love America, because God loves America. Hansi loved Hitler, but whether that was really a bad thing is never made clear. At least she didn't love the Russians, who have neither God nor Hi-Fidelity stereo.

This story is the real-life autobiography of Maria Anne Hirschmann. It was published in 1976 by Spire Comics, who also published Jack Chick's tracts and the Archie comics. So now you know.


Giovanni said...

Wow. It' s a pacey narrative, you've got to give them that. No time to dally in complex character development when you've got so much to tell!

Holy mother of mercy.

Favourite line: "Look at all this food! And yet everywhere I see diet!"

Anonymous said...

There is absolutely no substance to the rumour Hansi changed her name to Pauline, emigrated to Queensland and opened up a feesh and cheep shop, incidentally...