Hansi: The Girl Who Loved The Swastika

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» February 2, 2024
Not Another Religious Tract Dissection by Boolean Union Studios

Cover

Hansi: The Girl Who Loved The Swastika - Comic #03 (SPR03)
Art by Al Hartley - © 1973 The Fleming H. Revell Company

Hansi: The Girl Who Loved The Swastika - Comic #03 (SPR03). Art by Al Hartley - © 1973 The Fleming H Revell Company

First Published: January 13th, 2024


Based loosely on the book of the same name, about the true story of Maria Hirschmann, a Czechoslovakian girl who became a Nazi during WWII, got forced into a Russian labor camp, and eventually found her way to America and the Christian faith


CommentatorsCommentators

  Jessica   Boudreaux   Mingnon   John  

Jessica

 

Boudreaux

 

Mingnon

 

John

 
 
Page Index
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31 32 33 34 35

Mingnon. John.

oCommentators: Jessica, Boudreaux Introduction

Jessica It is an often invoked idiosyncrasy of modern internet culture to hyperbolically refer to one's online detractors as "Nazis". During his lengthy publishing career, Chick no doubt had the accusation level at himself numerous times. However, today we are instead going to take a detour into the abyssal realm of the Spire Christian Comics, a road we have not trod for many a year now. While some of the Spire catalog involve the milquetoast shenanigans of the Archie crew, or even the juvenile lessons taught by Barney Bear or "The Brothers", we're diving into the deep end of their Biography series today by covering a comic which involves literal Nazis. This abomination features the story of Maria Anne Hirschmann, better known as Hansi... the girl what loved da Swastika, and covers the (heavily embellished) details of her life as she goes from a naïve Czechoslovakian peasant girl, to a dedicated member of the Hitler Youth, a Soviet labor camp inmate, and finally to a fresh-faced emigrant to the United States just itching to share the gospel of Jesus with all her new American brethren. Originally available for just 39¢ each, these Christ-forsaken things sometimes resell today for hundreds of dollars when found in pristine condition. We've got a crack team of commentators just itching to tear this baby apart, including an actual flesh-and-blood German person, our expert staff researcher who nearly killed the last of his brain cells reading Hirschmann's novel, and a dedicated member of our world-renowned Discord server who is expertly qualified to give a personal take on what it is really like to be a woman in America. So sit back, kick off your jackboots, drive your Blut und Ehre dagger into the hand-rest of your easy chair and settle in with an oversized tankard of Hefeweizen and a heaping plate of soggy Weißwurst. This is going to be one helluva ride.
   
John Hello once again!

Yes, you read correctly, we’re doing the Nazi one! I was asked on here as the resident German to offer my perspective. So sit back, relax, and learn all about how the evil atheist Nazis were evil and atheist, and how America is good and has never done a racism! This’ll be fun!
   
BoudreauxBoudreaux This should be interesting to me as well, as I am a secular Jew who grew up reading books about the Third Reich in his late father’s library. He fought on the front lines at the Battle of the Bulge, was the first Allied soldier to enter one of the smaller concentration camps, and investigated war crimes after the war. More recently, I have pushed back against Holocaust denial on the Internet.

And I read the book that the comic is based on, so that you don’t have to (and I really can’t recommend it). I will be adding context from it throughout the dissection.
   
MingnonMingnon As for me, I was brought on… because apparently the people on here like my commentary. I am fortunate enough to have been taught several of the basic realities of WW2, so there’s that as well. I guess my outside perspective is a factor in this, too.

And oh yeah, this is my first collab I’ve done with John. So yeah, nice to meet him.

 

o Page 1

Page 1 JohnJohn This is a girl who is very excited that she’s about to be run over by a motorcade.
   
MingnonMingnon I Can’t Believe It’s Not Nazi Propaganda!!

I imagine that a certain audience today would pick up this comic, and then grumble and chuck it aside just a third of the way through when they learn what this is really about.
   
JessicaJessica I don't know, Ming. I'm sure a certain American demographic would be drawn to the blatant Nazi ephemera, and may even be kind of bummed out when the Reich abruptly collapses on Page 10 (Spoiler Alert). But once they get through the meat of the comic, I'm sure the unapologetic, thinly-veiled Christian Dominionism will perk their spirits right up again. The Venn Diagram of people who enjoy those two topics typically seem to be a single circle in many cases.
   
BoudreauxBoudreaux Why are her pigtails flying off to the side? Can’t be a high wind, look at the flags. Maybe she just likes violently flinging her head from side to side? By the way, the real Hansi was neither blond, nor wore pigtails (except for the first several years in the US), but I guess, artistic license?
   
JessicaJessica That's for damn sure. She looked less like a blonde Pippi Longstocking and more like the Bitch of Buchenwald. Talk about false advertising.

 

o Page 2

Page 2 JessicaJessica Hartley's art is looking a tad off here. Hansi's arms resemble chicken wings more than anything else in that last panel, and her Mom's ashen complexion and fish lips give her the Innsmouth look, or the vague appearance of a 1960's Morlock, even.
   
BoudreauxBoudreaux The reaction to the annexation is accurate. According to Wikipedia, the Sudetenland was one of the most pro-Nazi regions in Germany. The annexation was agreed to by the European powers, as Hitler said that would be the end of his demands for territory. We all know how that worked out.

And if I can allow myself a bit of pedantry, the term Nazi was a pejorative, she would more likely have said Nationalsozialisten (National Socialist). From Wikipedia: “The renaming of the German Worker's Party (DAP) to the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP) was partially driven by a desire to draw upon both left-wing and right-wing ideals, with ‘Socialist’ and ‘Workers' appealing to the left, and "National" and ‘German’ appealing to the right.
   
JessicaJessica “What a strange cross! It has hooks on the ends!” This is right up there with the ridiculous “What is a Jesus?!?” nonsense you get in the works of Jack Chick and the like.
   
MingnonMingnon Men in intimidating uniforms, vehicles and all in a massive group claiming that they’re here to make you free? Surely they can’t really be the baddies.
   
JessicaJessica Despite all of the horrible things the Nazis did, I think you'd be hard up to argue that they didn't have a striking and distinctive style to their dress and uniform policies. As the most learnéd Atun Shei once put it: “God damn it Nazis! Why are you so fashionable, you evil fucking bastards?!?

This inevitably draws in all of those weirdos who collect Reich memorabilia and claim they just really like the aesthetic… but if you spend more than twenty minutes talking with them, they're likely to unironically try to morally justify the Fourteen Words or to attempt to debate “the Jewish question”.
   
MingnonMingnon Why skulls, though?
   
JohnJohn Isn’t it obvious? All the good guys decorate themselves in skulls! It just makes them more approachable.

 

o Page 3

Page 3 JohnJohn WHAT! They brought books other than the Bible?! What worse atrocities could those terrible Nazis possibly commit!

But, there seems to be at least some truth to this scene, as the people of Sudetenland have long been considering themselves to be Germans, and were basically just coming home. So, although the German government was forcing the hand of Czechoslovakia with the Munich “Agreement” to give up Sudetenland, the people there apparently were totally for it. At the time, mind you.
   
BoudreauxBoudreaux Hansi and her family seem more than a tad naive here. Also she had more books than the Bible according to the bio.

And her mother (and everyone else) would have called her Maria, her given name. She wasn’t called Hansi until she moved to Prague: “Someone began to call me ‘Hansi’ - I'll never know who started it. In just a matter of weeks even the teachers picked up my new nickname:- It fit so well! I was slim and bony, built like a boy. I acted like one, too, but everybody seemed to like me as I was, so I stopped worrying about my missing feminine curves and enjoyed life and my new name.

Regarding the Sudeten Germans, they were indeed discriminated against after the Soviet takeover, per the book. How their heritage was determined is not made clear. But this article covers it in depth.
   
MingnonMingnon I think they’re trying to go for max badness by indicating the Bible is all you need to read, and any other book will just sully that kind of purity. Soon you’ll start getting ideas… and thinking…

 

o Page 4

Page 4 Boudreaux BoudreauxKeep her mother’s admonition in mind for later pages, as clear evidence she knew about Jesus and Christianity. According to the book version, her mother was at least at first sympathetic to the Nazi party.
   
MingnonMingnon I had to take a moment to translate ‘Auf Wiedersehen’, and it’s just a form of saying goodbye. They should have at least added a subtitle since back in the days this comic was made, they didn’t even have translation sites! Oh yeah, and this also seems to be the only instance of German being spoken, so it just feels pointless.
   
JessicaJessica Hansi's Mutter vergaß, dass sie ein Klischee war, das nur zur Unterhaltung der idiotischen amerikanischen Leser existierte.
   
MingnonMingnon The FUDGE kind of linguistic monstrosity did I invoke!?! English! ENGLISH!!
   
JessicaJessica Es tut mir leid.

 

o Page 5

Page 5 JohnJohn Surprisingly enough, I can’t find much on the topic on how Nazis solved the conflict between “Jews bad” and “Jesus was a Jew”.

So I can only imagine it was the same way as any religious believer solves conflicts of this kind: “NO HE WASN’T SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP”.
   
MingnonMingnon Kind of ironic that Nazis would force out the initial jewish residents and then claim the place as their own. I guess they spent a whole month bathing everything in bleach, first. Gotta make sure nobody gets any cooties.

Also kind of weird how bob hair girl’s face looks like Holly’s in the bottom panel. “Remember Hansi, we’re changing gods! Jewish boy Jesus doesn’t stand a chance!”
   
BoudreauxBoudreaux They were indeed quite proud of the fact that they seized property from the Jews. The comic conveniently left out a major event happening at the same time, namely Kristallnacht. As to how they approached Jesus, it is ‘complicated’. The Nazi leadership believed that long term, Christianity was incompatible with their “Thousand Year Reich’. But there was a limit to how far they could go, and how fast. Hitler personally believed that Christianity was corrupted by Judaism, and that Jesus was actually an Aryan who fought against Jewry. And in the more fervent Protestant churches, this was indeed a popular approach taken by the clergy.
   
MingnonMingnon  …Whereas in the modern day, conservative Christianity portrays Jesus as white, and somehow against the ideals of charity and helping the unfortunate that he promoted. Guess White Jesus wasn’t really that new.
   
JessicaJessica This comes up in Chick's work a lot as well, and I suppose it's worth addressing. While the historical precedent for a “caucasian” Jesus stretches back at least as far as Renaissance art such as the likes of Da Vinci and Michelangelo, the most prolific modern version actually stems from right around this time in history, the 1940's. I'm sure if you have grandparents or great-grandparents it is possible they had one of these hanging on their walls. This is Head of Christ, by Warner Sallman. Due to it being marketed heavily to both Catholics and Protestants after he painted it in 1941, it became the de facto depiction of Jesus during the last century. It makes the “Saviour” approachable, but still venerable by making him appropriately historic, while stripping out all that unfortunate semitism he had lingering. Just perfect for modern American/European sensibilities.

 

o Page 6

Page 6 MingnonMingnon Yeesh, Hansi is already swept up in Nazi propaganda! BJ Blazkowicz and pals would have one hell of a day talking her down at this point in the story.
   
Boudreaux BoudreauxHansi’s attitude here is not atypical for a fervent follower of Hitler. The Reich was everything, and your value was only as much as you could benefit the Reich.
   
Jessica Jessica“The Russian bastards nicked my eyes! Those Borscht-eating monsters!!!”

 

o Page 7

Page 7 MingnonMingnon “Rudy is so dreamy, with his various glamor shots for The People’s Military Hotties Weekly!”

Her excitement hearing that Rudy’s arrived has even sent her into a thousand-mile stare.
   
Jessica JessicaThis is, like, the third or fourth page where Hansi has been drawn with a completely blank, dead-eyed stare. She's got the glazed over look of somebody who's smoked about 50 pounds of weed, and who has nothing left behind their eyes but a pile of ashes. It's happened roughly every other page so far and will continue to occur several additional times right up until the point where she finally buckles under and becomes a Christian (Spoiler Alert).
   
BoudreauxBoudreaux They glossed over how she came to know this Rudy in the first place. There was a letter campaign to write to an ‘unknown soldier’. Her letter went to Rudy, and they exchanged many letters after that, and even exchanged things like photos and books.

 

o Page 8

Page 8 JohnJohn And Rudy was being torn apart! And being watched through the Mirror of Galadriel!
   
JessicaJessica I see him more as sort of a Reed Richards here… with his Spidey-Sense tingling.
   
BoudreauxBoudreaux Darn, and here I thought we might get a Romeo and Juliet vibe going.
   
MingnonMingnon Here’s a thought: Maybe the parents started getting cold feet when they kept hearing Hansi saying she’s a peasant like every ten minutes?

 

o Page 9

Page 9 JohnJohn Yes, once again, the heavily catholic Nazi Germany is decrying the Bible as some sort of Jewish book.
   
JessicaJessica Oh yes, please send us Bibles!!! Never mind the food or antibiotics. The good ‘ol KJV is all we gute Deutsche Soldaten require!
   
MingnonMingnon Man, I would love to see a bit where some unlucky soldier gets stuck with the foreskins passage, or Jehoram having to watch his people get killed by soldiers and then suffer from bowel disease.
   
JohnJohn “Aaaaaw man, I got the one about the big dicks!
   
BoudreauxBoudreaux If the KJV is The One True Bible™ then what do poor benighted souls who don’t speak English have to resort to? Regarding the Reich’s attitude towards the Bible, it is complicated. While the Catholic church was indeed firm on supporting the Bible, Protestant churches varied. The most fervent, the Deutsche Evangelische Kirche (German Evangelical Church) was heavily Nazified. The Old Testament was banned as being too Jewish, and they re-wrote the New Testament. This movement, though, was joined only by a minority of German Protestants. The majority either belonged to the Bekennende Kirche (Confessing Church) which pushed back against Nazi domination of the church, or else those who tried to stay neutral in the debate. Most of the ministers who were killed were members of either the Catholic Church or the Confessing Church. And by the way, the question asked by the woman about the Bible was actually spoken by Kurt. See the next page.
   
JessicaJessica I have no idea what the KJV-Only equivalent would have been in Nazi Germany. Maybe they just insisted on using the original Gutenberg Bible, perhaps?

 

o Page 10

Page 10 Boudreaux BoudreauxHere we have a foreshadowing of her remaining a ‘true Christian’ at her core, in spite of the indoctrination she has received for six years. And there is a backstory the comic leaves out. The soldier is not some random guy. This is Kurt, who she had dated (as a friend) for several weeks. This scene takes place after he proposes to her, saying "Because I want to sleep with you!" Hansi declines and this scene ensues.
   
Jessica JessicaTake note, fellas. This is a sure-fire tactic. If your lady friend is reluctant to get “jiggy” with you, just take the approach of “We're all going to die soon, might as well!” and she will positively melt into your arms. Hansi is just continuing to resist because she's a prude.
   
MingnonMingnon After all, nothing screams romance like explosions and gunfire.

 

o Page 11

Page 11 JohnJohn And here’s where I think one of the lesser problems becomes apparent: We’re going from the annexation of Sudetenland (21st September 1938) to the Russian invasion of Prague (20th August 1968) straight to Hitler’s suicide (30th April 1945).

Did it… feel like that much time had passed? Or did it feel more like days or months at most? There’ll be a couple more unannounced time jumps ahead, so be warned.
   
MingnonMingnon Man, this guy is just a massive incel. “Oh, you’re gonna save yourself for someone you actually like? I hope [extremely hyperbolically bad thing] happens to you!” Typical for someone who just got rejected.

Oh yeah, turns out Reichenburg is a real place. Though it doesn’t really detract from the blatant symbolism on display.
   
Boudreaux BoudreauxI believe that this refers to the Prague Offensive, which would make this one of the last battles of the war in Europe. And since she was apparently a member of the Bund Deutscher Mädel, the female Hitler Youth, she likely would have believed in victory despite all evidence to the contrary. Those kids were thoroughly brainwashed.

Reichenberg is where Hansi was staying with her sister when the Russians invaded. I feel a quote from the book is warranted here “All at once our monotonous work was interrupted by some terrible screams from the inside of the building. We were all used to screams by then. Women screamed at night when soldiers broke into the German homes for rape and robbing. People screamed when the Russians decided to raid streets or public places for Germans who had forgotten their white arm bands which marked all of us as Nemci (Germans) and made us defenseless ‘game’ for anyone who felt like hunting.
   
JessicaJessica Given the condition much of Germany was in right at the end of the war, with the constant bombing and starvation and whatnot, I'd say the “dream” died quite a bit before Hitler's suicide and the Reich's defeat.

 

o Page 12

Page 12 JessicaJessica Something tells me these Russians wouldn't be discerning enough to pass over Hansi just because she doesn't have a bit more meat on her bones. I've read accounts of the sorts of things going on with Unit 731 Not Safe For Work over in the Pacific Theater, and it makes this sort of gang rape look positively mild in comparison.

Also, the chick in the foreground of the panel in the upper right… I'm having a seriously hard time not sniggering at that face. The situation is highly inappropriate for that, but come on!
   
MingnonMingnon Forget the face, one of the women is flying like a cat!
   
BoudreauxBoudreaux The Soviet Special Camps were indeed brutal. In Sachsenhausen for example, 12,000 out of the 60,000 inmates died of starvation and disease. Hansi was located in one that was a former farm estate, in Bohemia. It seems like it was not as bad as Sachsenhausen, but still really awful. Several of the women escaped the abuse by hiding in a hayloft at night. It was when their hiding place had been discovered that they decided to escape (which turned out to be relatively easy, at least the part of getting off the grounds).

 

o Page 13

Page 13 JohnJohn And here it is, the first mention of “American is more betterer than everyone else!”

As for the “don’t force their attention on women”, uh…

Let’s just say that Mr “I make necklaces out of my enemies’ ears” isn’t entirely innocent in this regard.
   
JessicaJessica As an actual American, I can assure you that international reports of our gum chewing tendencies are highly exaggerated.
   
Boudreaux BoudreauxAll armies commit war crimes. The American troops were far from blameless as was pointed out by John. However the Soviet troops were far worse. Germans far preferred to surrender to the Americans or British than to the Russians, who were out for revenge for the eight million killed by the German army. While the Americans were far from angels, and the women’s statements here are naive, wanting to go from Russian to American hands is very realistic.

And the work camp they were on did not have guard towers nor barbed wire fences, just a stone wall with gates.
   
MingnonMingnon I have no further comment… uh… Oh! That leaning Watchtower of Piza, huh?

Though I will also have to say that “The Russians are all over” is a very poor choice of words… *shudder*

 

o Page 14

Page 14 MingnonMingnon Ya sure about never forgetting Jesus, Hansi? You seemed a little too eager to not just forget him, but also stomp on the Bible and even do a little wee on it.
   
JessicaJessica You spend several months as a Comfort Woman for the Russian Army, I think you're justified in letting your faith waiver just a tad.
   
Boudreaux BoudreauxThat guy’s face in the last panel looks just, strange… Kind of like Patrick Stewart partially melted. And the story skipped a major story point here. Hansi and her ‘girlfriend’ escaped from the camp. Hansi then joined her sister in Reichenberg, where they stayed for a while. They then decided to make the push for West Germany, as German nationals were prejudiced against in the Soviet Union. They were joined by more refugees along the way.

 

o Page 15

Page 15 JohnJohn Ooooooooooooooookay, how in the cinnamon toast FUCK were you able to hold on to all that in that labour camp???

In any case, I’m sure that’s enough to buy out one of those Russian guardsmen.
   
MingnonMingnon Dammit John, you beat me to it.

Also the weird and disjointed way the ‘talk to the ferryman’ sidequest is presented.
   
Boudreaux BoudreauxThe misshapen guy now has enormous misshapen ears. I am going with him being a garden gnome now. And why wasn’t she told Don’t Pay the Ferryman until he gets you to the other side?

Regarding the loot, they had it sewn into the linings of their clothes. While the book doesn’t explicitly say, it is implied that this took place in Reichenberg, before they left for the West.
   
Jessica JessicaDon't even fix a price! But do make sure you are holding the Heart of Vlad when you meet him in the woods, otherwise he'll end up taking you somewhere completely different… HEH!! HEH!! HEH!!

Also, now I just cannot get the image of Hansi out of my head just completely stuffing her unmentionables full to overflowing with gold and jewels like a Thanksgiving turkey… dropping and scattering them all across the German hinterland as she flees like Mouth from The Goonies.

 

o Page 16

Page 16 JohnJohn STOP! Hammer (and Sickle) time!
   
Boudreaux BoudreauxRuh Roh…
   
Jessica JessicaThis might be a nitpick, but this unassuming “Ferry Pilot” gave the distance in yards, which is just the kind of Imperial measurement a filthy, gum-chewing American gangster would use. Germany adopted the use of the Metric system 70 years prior to this, and probably would have been more likely to say something like “100 meters ahead” or the like. So, me thinks this guy may not actually be entirely on the up-and-up.

Either that, or Al Hartley was just a dumbass American trying to pander to his dumbass American audience. It's a coin-flip, really.
   
MingnonMingnon Or maybe he’s a foreigner, given the slightly broken dialect? Yeah, again the writers of this comic don’t think too much about details.

 

o Page 17

Page 17 MingnonMingnon Not only is bob hair girl shot nearly off-screen, she is never mentioned or even mourned after this. The little girl doesn’t get a name either, she is just called “Child”.
   
Boudreaux BoudreauxWho thinks a firearm sounds like Poka Poka Poka? Sounds more like describing a table tennis match. And apparently after taking care of the kid for several days, she promptly forgot her name.
   
JessicaJessica Right. You can really tell she's going to make outstanding teacher material later on, can't you?

SHHHHH!!! Hush ‘Child’... the Russians have slain your mother with their deadly POKA guns… but you mustn't cry out, lest they release their fury upon you as well!

NOT THE DOLL!

 

o Page 18

Page 18 JohnJohn Archie cameo! Do me a favour, and bully the people over on the Boolean Union Discord into finally finishing an Archie dissection. You can find a link to it at the bottom of the page.
   
JessicaJessica I like how “gum chewing” has become sort of a conceptual shorthand for… I dunno… like, the degeneracy of the American zeitgeist or something. It's kind of quaint in an old-timey sort of way. These days, he'd be eating a Big Mac, or sucking down a 64 oz. Big Gulp or something. Driving one of those needlessly oversized modern luxury vehicles, perhaps.
   
Boudreaux BoudreauxI get that gum chewing was mostly a North American thing at that time, but why the heck is it given such importance? The book says it was because it was thought to rot the teeth, but is that so scary? One might think the Thompson submachine gun (an unusual weapon for him to have by the way) he is holding would be rather more remarkable to her, having just escaped being ‘Poka Poka Poka-ed’ to death.

 

o Page 19

Page 19 JohnJohn Yes, yes, do trust the American G.I.s! You have nothing to fear from them. Unless you’re a German woman. Or Japanese. Or former Waffen-SS (although personally I don’t shed a tear after those).
   
JessicaJessica Oh, yes. What do you think we are?!? RUSSIANS? Americans would never conduct themselves in an unbecoming manner during times of war.

That's right, Hansi. Unlike the Russians, Americans don't mind skinny girls. They'll bed any old thing, really.
   
Boudreaux BoudreauxSo what strikes me is that this was only a few months after the war, so at least some of these men would have experienced terrible combat. And tensions with the USSR were escalating in the Cold War. Yet these guys seem like a bunch of Boy Scouts at a Jamboree. And Hansi keeps switching back and forth between English and German. In fact she knew no English, and communicated with the Americans through an interpreter.
   
MingnonMingnon I’m pretty sure that since they know about what the Russians are doing, they might ease up a bit? Like geez, no need to push her in the door, she’s being defensive for a reason.

 

o Page 20

Page 20 JohnJohn Go ahead! Eat! Of course, you will owe me for that later! [A]
   
JessicaJessica That American G.I. to the middle left kind of reminds me of the red-headed kid from that old Canada Dry Ginger Ale ad. You know, the one who would later be repurposed and used as the modern face of Jenkem?

No ration card for the kid, though. Fuck ‘em.
   
BoudreauxBoudreaux I get that they want to take care of the refugees, but breakfast in bed? Even Bed and Breakfasts make you come to a table. And going by the timeline, I would not consider the US and Russia to be allies then.
   
MingnonMingnon If this were a musical, the boy scouts would not just open the door with breakfast, but also burst into a song number.

 

o Page 21

Page 21 JessicaJessica Ummm… I'm sorry. All Rudy left you? She told Rudy to go fuck himself. How did he have anything to do with this?
   
MingnonMingnon Here’s a thought bubble of recognizing a character established earlier. It serves to remind us that the woman randomly coming up to Hansi is in fact Rudy’s Sister. Though it’s odd how she wasn’t really given a name before now.
 
BoudreauxBoudreaux I am trying to figure out how an ex-girlfriend would somehow be a remembrance of their lost family member. And the sister’s headdress, is she a literal sister, as in a nun?

 

o Page 22

Page 22 MingnonMingnon So many good things were happening… I even got a replacement bob hair girl!

Hehe Sound of Music reference.
   
Jessica JessicaThe hills are allllllliiiiiiiive with the sound of GUNFIRE!!!!

Oh, jeez… Bavaria? I hear only steers and queers come from there!
   
JohnJohn As a Bavarian queer, I second this.
   
BoudreauxBoudreaux It was clear that she never stopped loving him, so this bit about never falling in love again, just makes no sense.

 

o Page 23

Page 23 Boudreaux BoudreauxFor some reason, my guess is that he is about to suggest they start swinging. Nah...
   
Jessica Jessica“Something was missing…”

What tipped you off? Maybe it's the fact he's still calling you “Hansi” after all this time. Given the origins and connotations of that nickname as Bou laid out earlier, I'd take pretty serious offense to my husband still insisting on using it.
   
BoudreauxBoudreaux That is another divergence from the actual story. Apparently the writer of the comic felt that the fact she only used Hansi for around 7 years was too complex for the comic version. Considering the full page they give later to the Pledge Of Allegiance, I would have thought that they could have worked in this bit. After all, she is clearly listed as Maria as the author of the book.

 

o Page 24

Page 24 MingnonMingnon I’m pretty sure your marriage doesn’t necessarily require becoming full-on Christians. How about seeing a couple’s therapist? There should be one able to help you with all the unhashed issues, mainly Rudy’s parents and how the romantic conflict pretty much got messed up when the war ended the way it did. But then again, this comic wants to make its point, psychiatry be damned.

Oh yeah, I also can’t help but notice that Hansi constantly flip-flops between being fully on-board for Jesus or deserting him.
   
Jessica JessicaHansi is a complete flip-flopping bitch about all sorts of stuff. First she's for Hitler, then against him. Then she's for Jesus, then against him. She's for Rudy, then against him. Everyone knows women just can't make up their minds. It's all the crazy lady hormones, and their wandering uteri and whatnot.
   
BoudreauxBoudreaux Rudy and Hansi joined the German Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) Church. Their leaders fully embraced the Third Reich, enthusiastically following Hitler. Their publications included racial and anti-semitic language as found in Nazi Party newspapers. Furthermore, they printed and distributed Nazi racial propaganda, and were one of the few sects allowed to publish throughout most of the war. In stark contrast to the Jehovah’s Witnesses, they were willing to abandon key tenets of their faith, at the demand of the Reich. Unlike many Catholics and Lutherans, they did not protest the Nazi euthanasia program. Many SDA leaders became Nazi party members, and they were one of the last German sects to remove such men from leadership (the Catholics had few such leaders to begin with). It wasn’t until 2005 that the German SDA leadership formally apologized for their actions.

 

o Page 25

Page 25 Boudreaux BoudreauxStandard comment here that there is no evidence that the Bible is God’s Word, rather the words of many different men. And what exactly do they need help for? The book tells us, as Protestants in a Catholic region, they had difficulty finding work (Hansi was fired from her teaching job for this reason). They had set aside much needed money for a tithe. They contemplated spending it, but decided to give it to their new church instead. And when Rudy brought it in, someone there recommended Rudy for a job, and he got it. Hansi attributes this to direct divine intervention. Smacks more than a bit of Prosperity Theology. And a side note, she went back to being called Maria (Mary in the US), around this time.
   
Mingnon MingnonHey, it’s not too late to turn back on taking the bible at complete face value and wanting to come to Papa Jesus as children and having him pour some of that loving (i.e. blood, however that happens) on you? Right? Right…? Please turn back while you can.

 

o Page 26

Page 26 MingnonMingnon Oh. My. Gawd. How much time passed? It’s like they got transported straight into the 60s/70s! And look at all the stereotypes! Oh yeah, and Shaggy, too.
   
JessicaJessica Like ZOINKS, Scoob! I think that's one of the incarnations of Dr. Who in the foreground there.

The Doctor is wearing an overcoat and a scarf, but the hippy chick behind him is wearing a belly shirt and slut jeans. What exactly is the temperature in this airport right now?
   
JohnJohn This is America. Everyone has their own personal air conditioner with them at all times, everyone knows that.
   
BoudreauxBoudreaux Ah, the good old days when you could smoke in the airport and on planes, I sure don’t miss that at all. And what kind of fashion statement is the guy with the military hat and the fur vest trying to make?
   
JessicaJessica I am a gay homosexual.

Surprisingly, that is not the most offensive stereotype found on this page.
   
BoudreauxBoudreaux And between the previous page and this one, around seven to eight years have passed. They traveled to America in 1955. I really doubt the artwork is at all representative of a 1955 airport. The artist yet again has no concern for what era he is depicting.

 

o Page 27

Page 27 JessicaJessica “Don't Americans have PRIDE in their country?”

Are you serious? This is a trick question, right?
   
JohnJohn First panel: Most clean street in [insert your least favourite city here]

Second panel: They have so much! So much cars! So much pollution! So much urban sprawl leading to places where the nearest place to buy food is an hour away by car, resulting in even more cars, more dependence, more pollution, more poverty!

Third panel: Low Cal! Low Sugar! Now with 50% less lead!
   
BoudreauxBoudreaux Is she saying here that litter only exists in America? And seeing this is around 1955, diet food would be yet another anachronism. The book mentions going on diets, but not diet food.

 

o Page 28

Page 28 JohnJohn Do you own THINGS? Did you know that OWNING THINGS is bad for your GOD??!

Stop owning things RIGHT NOW! Simply give all you own away to your local megachurch! The pastor there will happily take your sin for you.
   
BoudreauxBoudreaux OK, I am going to call total bullshit on this page. First, she definitely acknowledges income inequality in the book, and she attributes much of her students’ problems to that. And she actually does what little she can to help, like starting to make breakfasts for them in the school. So this page is 100% reversed from the source material.
   
MingnonMingnon Plus most of these things look like convenience items! Heaven forbid you own a blender, hair dryer or *gasp* a microwave!

Though once someone thinks about it, the message falls flat when you realize that only technology could create and mass-print a comic book, like the one we’re reviewing right now.
   
JessicaJessica No doubt music, television, and other modern conveniences can get in the way of someone loving God. There can be an inverse correlation between an individual's education level and religious belief and participation.

 

o Page 29

Page 29 JohnJohn “Under God” was added to the Pledge of Allegiance on June 14, 1954. So we have yet another time skip of unknown size. Hansi hasn’t aged a bit btw.
   
JessicaJessica Yeah, it's like she drank from the True Grail or something. Nazi refugees must have had a helluva skin care routine.
 
JohnJohn And, not to be a spoilsport by being accurate or anything, but “Gott mit uns” (God with Us) didn’t make a difference when the Germans used it, did it?
 
JessicaJessica You know, she just fled a country that espoused rampant, unbridled ultra-Nationalism under the flimsy guise of how God himself declared that they were the “Chosen” and “Superior” race. You'd think she'd be just a touch more wary of this kind of rhetoric.

…of course, Heaven knows Almighty God would never give contradictory messages to different groups of people at different points in history, right?
 
MingnonMingnon Why does it look like Hansi is having an intimate moment with the Pledge of Allegiance?
 
JessicaJessica She strikes me as exactly the kind of repressed Hausfrau that would only pleasure herself to thoughts of America and just how gosh-darn swell it is.
 
BoudreauxBoudreaux Man, this page is so over the top sappy. She was emotional about becoming a citizen, but a whole page of the comic’s worth? And ‘under God’ was added because of the rampant red scare of the period, because of all those Godless communists. There are some trying to get it taken out, but I can’t see that happening, at least in my lifetime. Ditto with ‘In God We Trust’, added to currency during the Civil War.

We get huge time jumps. The previous page is from around 1970, this page would be from 1962.

 

o Page 30

Page 30 JohnJohn  “Some people were afraid the neighborhood was changing—” due to that German girl moving in, no doubt. And now someone who is MEXICAN?!? Given this is 1950s America, the HOA was of course forced to evict everyone and burn the house to the ground.
   
Jessica JessicaThis particular Mexican actually looks a bit like Ponch from CHiPs… or maybe Ma-Ti from Captain Planet. “There goes the neighborhood”, indeed.
   
MingnonMingnon And here hopes of befriending yet another bob hair girl get dashed when the bob-haired neighbor turns out to be a Karen. Can’t win em’ all, I guess.
   
BoudreauxBoudreaux Also didn’t happen. The kids didn’t move into their house. But she did get some concern from friends and family when she decided to teach disadvantaged kids ‘on the wrong side of the tracks’. And if a kid was in trouble, she did what she could to help out.

 

o Page 31

Page 31 JohnJohn And on this page, he looks… well, not Mexican, but rather ash gray. Clearly an illegal alien from Gamma Scorpii!
   
Jessica JessicaI agree with both John and Hansi… he certainly does need to lay off the pills. He's practically turning blue for Christ's sake!
   
BoudreauxBoudreaux I am personally going to go with a well preserved zombie look. And I don’t think you need divine help to build a bridge or open a gate. Better to look to engineering.
   
MingnonMingnon God doesn’t build bridges or open doors, though. The engineers and keys do that. It’s like ‘God, please guide the surgeons’ all over again.

 

o Page 32

Page 32 BoudreauxBoudreaux Oh no, not militants! We would much rather have an audience full of murderers and rapists. The warden doesn’t have much of a clue.
   
JessicaJessica “Your Dad may have been there… your gum-chewing, Tommy gun wielding, Archie comic reading Dad. Pay absolutely no attention to the fact that, while it's presumably been no less than 30 years since that day… in defiance of the laws of both Man and God, I have somehow still managed to look younger than any one of you present here today. I am a goddamn witch as far as you are concerned and you will HEED ME!
   
BoudreauxBoudreaux The crowd goes wild! And the guards wade in, wielding their truncheons vigorously.
   
JessicaJessica “As I dashed across No-Man's-Land to freedom --- my nether regions nearly a'burstin with swag… I traded a nameless, expendable child to your G.I. forefathers that they might not demand that I exchange sexual favors with them for a warm, soft cot in which to lay my weary head… and for the comfort of a four-star breakfast in bed the following morning. Truly, America sind die Greatest Nation on Earth™ und seine people the mightiest I have ever known. Sieg Heil, Richard Nixon!!!
   
MingnonMingnon “I still believe that same American spirit is still around - the very same American spirit that also encourages littering, crash diets and ownership of a Devil-possessed refrigerator!!

*Ahem* please pay no mind to what I just said, everyone.”

 

o Page 33

Page 33 JohnJohn Oh, yes, America allows you the FREEDOM! To express your strictly anti-Communist opinions.

The FREEDOM! To be murdered for striking!
 
MingnonMingnon “I’m glad to leave my erstwhile fellow countrymen behind! I’m practically throwing them under the bus! Or a tank as it were!”
 
BoudreauxBoudreaux In line with the time period, she should have been aware of Kent State and Jackson State. I would like to quote this section from the book:

“Yes, I am aware that American people are afraid of your riots and protests, but I am not. I watch these happenings on the TV news and all I can feel is astonishment -yes, even gratefulness, that I am permitted to live in a country that is so free it lets you riot as much as you do. I only wish American young people would do it a bit nicer!”

I was around in this time period. And it may surprise folks who weren’t, but there was a LOT more violence in America then, than there is now.
   
JessicaJessica  “Man! This is the first time I'm PROUD to be an incarcerated African-American, serving a life's sentence for being caught in  possession of some marijuana.

AMMEEERRICAAA… AMMMMMEEEERRRICAAAAA… God shed His grace on thee!!!

 

o Page 34

Page 34 Boudreaux BoudreauxYou are holding up Anita freaking Bryant as a role model? The same person who became the face of the campaign against gay rights for a time? Now I will grant you Johnny Cash, he was indeed a badass and a good man to boot.
 
Jessica JessicaIt really is amazing how back then, like now, religious devotion (nay, zealotry) seems to always be directly proportional to an individual's level of personal bigotry. I'm sure there's absolutely no appreciable correlation that can be found between those two concepts, no siree!
   
   

 

o Page 35

Page 35 JohnJohn Can’t believe these books were 39 cents! Adjusted for inflation, that’s…. Ah, here it is: “way too much for toilet paper”.
 
JessicaJessica I am just itching to take a swing at The Cross and the Switchblade. It is my understanding that it was a major influence on fellow religious crank Jack Chick's associate John Todd… which is just an absolute bonus!
 
BoudreauxBoudreaux For some reason Christmas With Archie will set you back another dime. And a bit of trivia, the Fleming H. Revell publishing company is quite old, founded in 1869. They published Christian material early on.
   
MingnonMingnon Weren’t some of you guys going to review Adam and Eve?
 
JessicaJessica Indeed we were, a long time ago, before things got put on hold. Ah, the road less traveled. Still, I imagine we'll get to it someday. And I'm much happier we've had a chance to cover this one.

 

o Conclusion

Jessica JessicaSo what have we learned? For one, Maria was so incredibly full of shit it's amazing she had any room left to store all that war-time contraband in there as well. Additionally, one of the worst things Americans did during the war was indulge their unbridled gum habits. Lastly (but certainly not least... ly) it can take someone who fled from an overthrown Soviet vassal state in post-war ruin to look at the America of the modern day and see a land of unbridled opportunity and promise. The fact that this comic also took a gander at it through coke-bottle thick, rose-colored glasses is surely no coincidence. If there is interest, we will certainly sound off on some of the other entries in the Spire catalog in the near future. Be sure to make your voices heard... and until next time.
   
Boudreaux BoudreauxThe main source I have for Hansi is her autobiography. It is very clear that she tried to represent herself as favorably as possible. That said, I would like to outline her life, in a more nuanced way than the comic does.

Hansi was raised by foster parents, after her natural parents gave her up. She reconciled with her natural father later in life. But she did not have an easy time growing up. She joined the female version of the Hitler Youth. While membership was required, relocating to Prague was not. She was clearly very enthusiastic in that role, as she rose to a position of high leadership. This is an area which she largely glossed over. She talks about what happened to her, but almost nothing about what she did. She does so to portray her victimhood, but not her role as victimizer. From documentation, we know that she would have taught girls and young women all about the Nazi philosophy of white supremacy and racial hatred. She would have taught them about the Nuremberg racial laws, and about the dangers of ‘race mixing’. She would have taught about the Reich’s need for ‘living space’ (through conquest), and to revere Adolph Hitler. She would have known about Jews being beaten in the streets, and the forced relocation of all of Prague’s 46,000 Jews to the concentration camps.

She definitely suffered a lot after the war, and the trek to Western Germany was not an easy one. She helped others as she could along the way. She and Rudy converted to Christianity not long after they were married. This is a major theme of the book, else Spire never would have adapted it. They were fervent Christians, with a strong bent towards proselytizing. Marie talks to Jesus throughout the latter part of the book, and Jesus of course always talks back. Everything that happens for the positive is due to their faith, and everything negative is still part of God’s plan, in their view. Yet at least as far as we can tell from the book, they were not Jack Chick Christians. There was never any mention of judging others, and she wishes she could have taught the young women in her class about contraception. Not surprisingly they have a major blind side when it comes to faith. They see it as 100% a force for good, and never mention any of the negative consequences that readers of this site are familiar with. She never, even in later life, connects Christian anti-semitism to the Holocaust. It is never made clear why she and Rudy decided to emigrate to America. But in 1955 they did, along with their two children (she ultimately would have five). At first she regretted the decision, but later came to love the country. She was aware of America’s faults, though not as aware as she should have been. She admits she didn’t much concern herself with such things. Her fervent patriotism in the comic matches the book. She volunteered to teach disadvantaged youth, and to help them as she could.

The comic and the book it was based on ends in 1973. I however read a later edition, which goes out to 1996. We learn that later (it sounds like not much later), she and Rudy divorce. She provides no details. She describes herself as a Wife of Jesus later. We also learn that she finally accepts that the Holocaust actually happened around 1975, when she becomes friends with a Holocaust survivor. Her excuses for 30 years of denial ring hollow, but she does come to grips (more or less) with what she did as a Nazi eventually. This is meant to be a pivotal moment, but it is too bad it wasn’t in time for the original printing. She travels to Israel and to other countries, continuing to evangelize, and to help disadvantaged children.

As mentioned, she paints herself as positively as possible in the book. There isn’t much written about her by others. We do however have some of her words from a 2009 interview. I feel it best to close with her most recent statement (that I am aware of):
"Obama is the result of a trend in America that is going away from the Judeo-Christian ethic. Obama is a socialist, one step from communism. He could pave the way for a future Antichrist. Obama scares me because he has no record and people flock to him. Hitler also had no record, people flocked to him and both wrote a book. Christians laid flat and Hitler came to power, just like with Obama. Obama is the result of the secular news media brain washing America. The media put Obama into power. He is so inexperienced."
At the end of the day, I don't believe she ever completely put her Hitler Youth persona to rest. She is likely still alive, at 97 years old.

This has been the most interesting dissection I have participated in. I hope that you have enjoyed reading it.

 

o Footnotes


 

o Further Reading