A Life for the Fatherland

Lukas was born on a spring day in 1920, in a village in eastern Germany that no longer exists. His father had been the mayor, but when Lukas was four the family moved to a different village on the edge of a forest to become farmers. Every morning Lukas would go out and milk the cows, and every night he would fall asleep to the sounds of his father’s anger.

When Lukas was thirteen, he heard the new chancellor speak for the first time. One of the other men from the village had a radio, and all would gather to listen every evening as the sun set. Lukas hated being a poor farmer, and this man’s words made him feel strong.

When Lukas was sixteen, he and the other boys went to a camp on a nearby lake for the summer. He learned that his Führer loved him like his father never had. There was a girl’s camp across the lake, and one night the two camps had a party. Lukas was taken behind a barn by a girl with pigtails and they had sex. He never saw her after that night, nor would he think about her much.

When Lukas was eighteen, he walked with his friends through the streets of Vienna. There were women handing out flowers, and one ran up to Lukas and kissed him on the lips. She was older than Lukas, and smelled like fresh bread. He would think about her often.

Lukas died on a winter day in 1942. In the midst of their enemy, he led his friends through crumbling piles of stone and iron. Lukas told them all to be brave, and then fell to the ground as a bullet struck his chest. He quickly bled to death, and two others were shot while dragging him to safety.

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