vienna_la_rouge: (Saturn Kraut)
[personal profile] vienna_la_rouge
I originally posted this in Facebook, but I should also share this here. I've made this a somewhat permanent post at the top of my journal so it won't get missed by newcomers:

It was recently brought to my attention by a friend that perhaps some people who see photos of me in various modes of WWII German dress may be confused and even offended.
I don't feel as though I should have to apologize, however; I need to make a few points very clear.
Even posting any sort of disclaimer should never be needed, but I'm someone who likes to have her bases covered. I imagine some may even take it upon themselves to make assumptions about me and my general character, based on these images, instead of just asking me about them. These individuals may even start spreading lies and rumors in an attempt to stir up drama, of which I want no part.
So, for those of you who are either new friends or old here, and are curious as to why I have photos on LJ, Facebook and elsewhere of me wearing said uniforms, here's a nice serving of clarification:

1. Yes, some of the German uniforms I wear for historical reenactment events are going to have all the proper insignias, including some with swastikas.
This is purely for the proper historical impression, not due to any actual beliefs in the ideology behind those symbols, nor do I wear them for any political reason.

That said, I will never scratch off, pick out, paint over, cover or remove any of these symbols either. They are part of history and have a valid place in it, regardless of who they offend today.
Lest we forget,am I right?

2. Some of the impressions myself and my friends do at WWII reenactments include
the DRK (German Red Cross), and Helferinnenkorps (volunteers as auxiliary personnel. Literally translates to 'Women Helper Corps').
We reenact actual historical battles.
We do not reenact scenes at a concentration camp.
Here are some links to aid in a better understanding, and the DRK Yahoo group of the actual unit I belong to:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AachenStadt1/

An excellent and non-biased source of information and images From Osprey books. Scroll up or down for more:
http://books.google.com/books?id=m_G4kyaeOO0C&lpg=PA36&ots=cNL1_AzsPQ&dq=the%20deutsches%20rotes%20kreuz%20wwii&pg=PA3#v=onepage&q=&f=false


3. This mission statement pretty much explains it all, and can be applied to any German unit in the reenactment community. From the DRK group page;
"(the DRK is) a first impression member unit of the California Historical Group, Aachen Stadt 1 is a historical reenactment unit. The group is dedicated to preserving the history of the German Red Cross during WW2. By participating in living history displays, the unit strives to educate the general public about the experiences and function of the German Red Cross during a very critical time in history. Whenever possible period items are used in the display and unit members are encouraged to interact with the public in first person impressions.

Aachen Stadt 1 is non-political organization which doesn't condone or tolerate racist ideology. Anyone interested in advancing those ideas/beliefs is not welcome and will be immediately removed from this group.
"

4. Sure, I will admit to having a certain thing for men in uniform, and I love to wear clothes with a bit of military flair. It just so happens that German uniforms to this day, are the best most flattering cut around, and those are the ones I tend to prefer visually. That style also ends up inspiring a lot of the clothes and accessories I sometimes design for myself.

5. My own grandfather fought for Germany, not for Hitler, in the Wehrmacht (Army).
He began as your average soldier and later became a photographer and war correspondent.
He was killed in action when my father was 4 years old, and lies in a mass grave somewhere in the Ukraine.
Although it may seem strange to some, the WWII reenactments allow me to connect with my grandfather on a certain level. It gives me a better understanding of who he was, what he did, went through, and what he really stood for.
I think more people these days could use some added perspective in that regard when it comes to the German army.
So many forget that not all Germans were fighting for Hitler's ideology, but holding the lines at the Eastern Front. Communist Russia had been looming on Europe's back porch for a long time.

So, there you have it.
hope that helps people understand me a little better ;-)
xoxo

on 2009-11-12 12:29 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] pandorasbox.livejournal.com
Well said

on 2009-11-12 12:31 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] mahkara.livejournal.com
Speaking of the German uniforms (from WWII) being some of the best looking military uniforms...

I've actually heard that before, and am inclined to agree.

I'm also inclined to agree with the whole defacing a piece of history is horrible! I (personally) might not include all details (then again, I'm not overly detail orientated), but the idea of REMOVING them from a historical costume strikes me as absolutely awful! Not to mention that a lot of the symbols, though we associate them with Nazism, aren't inherently "Nazi". The swastika is a very ancient symbol found all over Asia (mostly connected to Buddhism), and I doubt that your average Christian would be OK banning all crosses because of their connection with Nazism...

on 2009-11-12 12:43 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] vienna-la-rouge.livejournal.com
Exactly. The swastika is even found throughout Norse and even ancient native American symbolism as well, particularly in the Navajo and Hopi tribes of the southwest region.
I'm always amused and a tad disgusted, whenever I see someone with a ironic t-shirt sporting a hammer and sickle. Do people somehow totally miss just what that symbol represents? It has no ancient roots like the swastika, and really is purely political.
Not that I'm going to run around on a daily basis sporting a swastika on my shirt due to the Norse connection, but seriously. If people want to talk about banning symbols that represent murder and oppression for many, we should begin with Christianity.
;-)

on 2009-11-12 02:39 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] mahkara.livejournal.com
Eh, I'm not THAT anti-Christian, although I do find it a wee bit offensive when people decide to push their faith at others. (And I honestly find WWJD to be heretical. Like you'd know! How incredibly arrogant.)

I find the hammer and sickle thing to be rather disturbing as well, for the same reason. I accept that it's a sign that someone has never read/understood history, but I'm annoyed at people who decide to use symbols that they don't understand.

I wouldn't run around with a swastika, either, but it DOES have a very wide (and very positive in general) historical connotation. And it does rather bug me when it's perfectly fine to be super proud of your X heritage, but not of a Germanic heritage. (Which is particularly odd as both world wars were fought in large part because Germany had been an oppressed country. Heck, the whole Romantic movement was centered on reclaiming traditional Germanic and Russian (and to a lesser extent English, Norse, etc.) mythos, which up until that point had been considered completely and totally unimportant, as the only "real" mythology was Greek or Egyptian, and the only "real" art was made by the Italians or French. In a very real way, some of our greatest "classical" art came from a period about Germany rediscovering its roots...) Then again, what do you expect from people who don't read history?

on 2009-11-12 07:40 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] cantarella.livejournal.com
Well put.

I am looking to get myself a Heer Helferin Uniform and have looked at the Stahladler site. Are you by any chance familiar with them? If yes, are the uniforms of good quality?

on 2009-11-12 07:31 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] vienna-la-rouge.livejournal.com
Yes, very familiar.
The owner is a friend of mine and I am actually going to be modeling all the female uniforms for him in the coming weeks. There is a box full of goodies in transit as I type this.
The quality is wonderful, but we are also working together to try and improve on cut for more accuracy. He, like so many others, must have them made in China due to cost. The man he has been stuck with for production is a rather difficult and untrustworthy person, and communicating isn't easy as it is.
But there is a good possibility that situation may change for the better.
Keep an eye on the website for more female service uniforms, we have plans ;-)

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