Friday Flashback – Hitler’s “Art”

Story and photo from Reuters

Did you know that last week a Norwegian museum director claimed that he has discovered sketches of Disney characters, Bashful and Doc from the 1937 animated film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs as well as a sketch of Pinocchio from the 1940 film? Did you also know that he is attributing them to Adolf Hitler? Yes. William Hakvaag purchased a painting signed “A. Hitler” at auction in Germany. The sketches were found inside the painting. Imagine what it must have been like to make such a huge discovery!

It is well known that Adolf Hitler tried to make a living as an artist prior to his meteoric rise to power as the Fuhrer of the Nazi party. It is also common knowledge that Hitler loved movies. His favourite film apparently was “King Kong”.

It is quite amazing to learn, however, that he was a fan of Disney and particularly the film, Snow White (although it is based on a German fairytale). He is said to have owned a personal copy and viewed it privately in his own screening room. The same despot who murdered people by the thousands, may have had a softer side. The mind boggles.

Lest you think I feel some sympathy for the man, let me assure you that my trip at the age of 16 to the abandoned war camp at Dachau will forever prevent me from harbouring any leniency for Die Fuhrer. From the high walls crowned with barbed wire, to the sniper-towers, to the cold, dank cells, and perhaps most definitively, the crematorium where human remains were reduced to dust after having died of malnutrition or disease or suicide, every visual image is permanently lodged in my brain.

Dachau was the model upon which all other concentration camps were designed. Auschwitz-Birkenau and Belzec in Poland and Sobibor (where gas chambers were first used to put the prisoners to death more efficiently) and Treblinka (designed to exterminate Jews in the ghettos)–all evolved from the prototype of the work camp at Dachau.

I suspect not too many 16 year olds in the seventies were visiting Nazi war camps on their Summer vacation. My impression was truly of the horror and reality of the situation, but I also recall the strange juxtaposition of the profusion of roadside poppies blowing in the wind across the road from the camp–as if a memorial to the blood shed by all the innocent inside.

This week’s Friday Flashback is the poem I wrote while driving through Germany after that visit.

Malice Unchained

This is where it all began,
The core of all dissension.
Where rival countries went to war;
A war with no prevention.

The devious plots were wrought
And schemed in Hitler’s tyrannical mind.
Orders to ensure these plans
Came from others of his kind.

For unity it was his goal
To join the world as one,
And he would stop at nothing
Until the job was done.

To satisfy his insane mind
And lust for heartless killing,
He massacred some countless Jews
Which proved to him fulfilling.

And so he continued for many years
To murder trap and conquer,
Until the Allies joined their forces
And they held back no longer.

The fighting rallied back and forth
The outcome was unsure,
And as combat continued on
Our standing became secure.

Then, six years later all war ceased
For we had held our ground.
The epitome of madness reached,
The “Fuhrer” was not to be found.

Married, aged, and lost in grief
The war-lord’s game had died.
With cyanide he left this world,
And remnants of his pride.

By Kathleen Davison © 1977 (written on a Summer holiday in Europe)

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Trip to the Salon


Salon stinks of potions and peroxide
Almost masked by sprays and shampoos
The girl at the desk has the latest look—
An animated advertisement
She checks her appointment book
For my name.
Tick. “Take a seat”.

“Trixie” clicks
Across the tiles
Towards me
Big grin—
Her fingers, French-manicured,
Reach for mine.
Shake the hand, then shear the head.

I need to use the “Ladies”.

Down a steep, stone flight.
At the base of the stair
Former hair-model heads
Heaped on a shelf
Are the stuff of nightmare.
I swear.
George Michael is in there.

Unsettled, it takes some time to produce.

Trixie leads the way back
To the black basins
I contemplate that man can
Plan to live on another planet,
And yet not create a sink
Less like torture
For the trapezius.

Muted mood music
Moving through the room
Reminds me of a classy restaurant
As Trix, clips to specification
From the photograph
Of Mrs. Beckham…
“All the ladies love this cut”.

Bits of hair harass the back
Of my neck.
The bristle brush whisks,
But still I itch.

Fifty bucks (with a tip for Trixie)
“Come again” she chirps.
I glance in the mirror and recognize
I have about an hour
Before the look is lost
For good.

©2008 – Kathleen Mortensen

Left to Die


Never has he known a gentle hand,
Nor been free of the tether and the tie.
Born to bear the burdens of this land;
He hangs beside the road and waits to die.

Ever has he heard the snapping whip,
Full-felt the strip of leather rip his thigh.
From birth his fate to make each touring trip;
He hangs beside the road and waits to die.

No feedbag left to ease him to his end;
He casts his glance on foe with careworn eye.
The bones begin to buckle and to bend;
He hangs beside the road and waits to die.

The cart still stands beside his broken frame;
Unloaded and unloved by passers-by.
New laws conspire to halt this grievous game;
He hangs beside the road and waits to die.

Perhaps the end will be his saving grace;
The punishment and pain he will defy.
When comes that time, his shade will surely race;
He hangs beside the road and waits to die.

©2008-Kathleen Mortensen

For further information please read here:

Daily Telegraph: Horses left to starve…

Stolen Ideas

Michelle Hix, who often has the bravest things on her blog, just posted a cool poem based on the alphabet. Seeing as I have come out of my stagnation with a bang(!) I’ve just stolen the idea off of her (with permission) and here’s my version. Go see hers though, it is most worthy (not in the Simon Cowell sense).

ABCs of a Morning



Crusty lashes

Dare to open

Ease the sheets

From off your warm body

Glide slowly off the bed

Hey! Where are those socks?

Inch cold toes across the floor

Jump into the shower

Karaoke a few numbers

Laugh at the madness of it all

Make faces at the mirror

Neglect those brows again

Oh! What shall I wear today?

Pull-over and pants as usual

Quick! Get that tea down you.

Run a comb through the rats nest

Snatch a piece of toast from the toaster

Turn on the laptop

Usual stuff

Visit some friends

Wait for inspiration

Xanadu , did Kublai Khan (Thank you STC!)

Youth is lost on the young…

Zipcode? I keep telling you, it’s postal!

©2008-Kathleen Mortensen

Photo by Wendy on Flickr

Blarney Stone story shaken up.


Up ‘til now for the gift of gab, rare,
We’ve been kissing a slab in old Eire
Of that big Blarney rock,
But now some smart Sherlock’s
Gone and proved that it may not be there.

If you’re one of the fortunate lot,
Who’s been hung by your heels at the spot
For to get the gab’s gift,
Then you’ll need a mind shift,
Since contention is currently hot.

Some grandiose names pressed a lip,
Even Churchill and Bly made the trip,
But that’s now been up-shaken;
Seems we’ve all been mistaken–
The historians’ book claims a gyp!

What they’re saying is causing a fuss,
With the tourists who’ve long come to buss.
The famous old rock
May now be a crock,
Causing previous bussers to cuss!

The result will be anyone’s guess;
Sure, it’s caused castle-owner, distress.
Blarney brings thousands in,
Every year it’s win-win–
Will they come still if it’s all BS?

©2008 – Kathleen Mortensen

Top o’ the Mornin’!

Youse didn’t know I was an artist, did ya?

With the Winter we’ve been having this year, everyone needs something to look forward to. With our family, that usually means food!
Now what better thing to anticipate than a festive occasion that combines, song, good eats, lot of libations and family and friends? I’m talking of course about St. Patrick’s Day! (On March 17th, don’t you know?)
In our household, St. Paddy’s Day means the wearing of the green, very bad, tear-inducing Irish jokes, Irish food, Irish drink, Irish coffee, reminiscing and wistful contemplation.
I’m Irish and I’m proud! Me father (pronounced like “rather”) hails from Belfast, Northern Ireland, from a Catholic family of 12 children (him bein’ lucky number 7). Meself, I was an only child ’til I was 9 years of age, when me parents were after adopting me a sister who was 3. I kept askin’ them “When’s she goin’ home?”, but to no avail.
A few years back, I learned that I had another sister who was older than me, but who no one thought to tell me about until I was in me thirties and married. Ah! Them were the days when havin’ a child outa wedlock were a right sin. Thank the Lord, we’re all happy with it now. So, today I’m the middle girl between me sister Nancy and me sister Lorna. We don’t keep in touch much as one is busy with her wee fam’ly and t’other don’t seem ta care much about me and the folks. Ah well! That don’t stop us havin’ a “hooley” in the kitchen come St. Paddy’s day.
We throw on the oul Clancy Brothers records and some Chieftains and have a grand oul time!
Even if you’re not from the “oul’ Sod”, go on an’ root ’round your closet and find some hideous green sweater, pour yourself a “meal in a glass” (that’s a pint of Guinness for the uninitiated) and practice your Irish accent (think Colin Farrell or Sinead O’Connor).

To help youse all out, I’m holding a new contest. Post a comment for the next few weeks, and win yerself a one-of-a-kind Irish poem by yours truly, Kat ( it’s really Kathleen — as in “I’ll take you home again…)

If it’s a limerick you want, I’ve got them on the tip o’ me tongue. Or, if it’s a sad, whiskey-soaked ode, I’ll do that for ye. Just comment on me blog and we’re away to the races!

Erin go Bragh!

Remember; I kissed the Blarney Stone.


And you thought only the Danes had made their mark on this household!

10 things…Part II

And now for the other extreme (as suggested by my husband):

10 things most often said in our house

1. It’s your turn to feed the cats.
2. What’s the heat at?
3. Anything interesting in the paper?
4. I’ve got nothing to wear! (husband)
5. Cup of tea?
6. Don’t answer it!
7. Hairball!
8. Are you on the computer?
9. Did those multi-grain pancakes work for you?
(alternates with “Did you have your prune juice?”)
10.What’s on your mind for dinner?