25 comments

Nov 14, 2020

Historical Fiction Drama

You’ve heard, I’m sure, of the Hitler Youth: young men (not quite of age to truly join the fight) that were indoctrinated into Nazism. Young women found an equal path through the League of German Girls.


Just smaller Nazis, honestly.


Father raved on and on about the Youth from the moment I turned ten years old. Oh, the unwavering pride he held for the Nazi Party and their great leader. The way he smiled when he talked about his son joining a militaristic group of innocent children….


I kept my mouth shut, but my mind never stopped screaming. To live a childhood tied to the short chain of my father, and then be forced to spend my teenage years training? It was too much.


I had it all planned out, the noose in my closet and the note for Mother, until I heard a whisper through the streets of Cologne.


The Edelweiss Pirates


I turned fourteen in 1939, when membership in the Hitler Youth became required and non-membership was punished. Father practically bounced on his heels, twitching to haul me off. Mother tearfully hugged me the night before our planned departure. I waited until I heard their snoring before running.


Following the whispers took days (and very nearly my life, too), but I soon melted into the open arms of the Pirates. My earliest duties consisted of petty crimes: graffiti, throwing eggs, that sort of thing. I rose quickly in rank until I held the esteemed title of Captain of the Navajos, the western tribe of the Edelweiss Pirates.


It wasn’t until 1944 that I received my first real mission: finding The Treasure.


I would find The Treasure. I would find it, or die trying.


***


“Evening, lads.”


We huddled in Hambach Forest. I represented the Navajos from Cologne. Captain Lukas led the Roving Dudes of Essen and Captain Fynn, the Kittelbach Pirates of Dusseldorf and Oberhausen.


Commander Felix reigned over the entire group Edelweiss Pirates, all three thousand of us. He was the first one to welcome me to the organization and the one to crown me Captain of the Navajos. I couldn’t help but feel a fierce protectiveness over him.


“Let’s get to business,” murmured Commander Felix. “Captain Fynn--news?”


“Just rising membership, in both the Pirates and the Youth.” Captain Fynn shuffled his feet. He stood at least a foot above the other boys despite being the youngest. 


“Aye. Captain Lukas?”


“Not looking good. Kids are getting scared, Commander. Pirates getting sent off to the camps, or killed….” Captain Lukas sported a scar that ran from his forehead to his jaw. He refused to discuss it.


The Commander pursed his lips. “And Captain Ben?”


I cleared my throat. “More of the same, Commander.”


He tapped his foot, staring around at each of us before finally settling back on me.


“It’s time, Ben.”


I stiffened, every muscle in my body tensing. “You have a lead?”


“Yes. Munich.”


I looked at Captain Lukas and Captain Flynn, who nodded their heads determinedly.


I would find The Treasure: the weapon to kill all the Nazis.


We weren’t exactly sure what it was, of course. A bomb, perhaps. The little ones were convinced it was poison that only affected the Nazis.


The rumors of The Treasure spread through the tribes of the Edelweiss Pirates like wildfire, setting alight the flame of hope. Of desire. 


We were a nuisance, of course. We assumed the Nazis thought of us like one would a pesky fly; irritating, small, yet too much work to squash. 


The Treasure would propel us from frustrating to dangerous.  


I would not let Commander Felix down. I would find The Treasure, or die trying.


***


“Navajos,” I said, nodding. The small group broke out in smiles. We sat at a grassy spot close to the lake. 


“Heya, Captain.” There were only twelve of us among the higher ranked. Giselle, my second in command, was the only girl in the tribe. “News?” she asked, her eyes fierce.


“It’s time,” I said in a low voice.


Gasps rushed throughout the Pirates. 


“You have a lead?” said Giselle.


I nodded. “It’s in Munich.”


Jonas, one of the younger Navajos, cleared his throat. “When--when do we leave?”


I stayed quiet for a moment, staring at my team. Sean wouldn’t meet my eyes. Leon stared at his shoes. Jonas rubbed his arms.


“You’re scared,” I said quietly.


Giselle scoffed. “Ridiculous, Captain.”


I raised my hand and she closed her mouth. “I’m scared, too.”


Sean snapped his head up. “You are?”


“Of course I am. But you know what I’m more scared of?”


“The Nazis,” answered Leon.


I stood. “Yes. I’m more scared of...pain. Of torture. Of either becoming a damn Nazi or dying in the camps.”


The tribe nodded, sharing looks. “Yeah!” said Sean, clenching his fists.


“And I’d rather die free than live imprisoned,” I said, raising my voice.


Yes!” said Giselle, rising to her feet.


“Captain Ben!” shouted Leon.


“Captain Ben! Captain Ben!” they cheered, pumping their fists in the air. I let their shouts fill my soul as I grinned at my tribe.


We would find The Treasure and live in infamy as the Pirates that eradicated the Nazi Party.


***


I suppose I should've realized it was all too good to be true.


He got in our way, that Gestapo chief. We set off to Munich and ran into him, and who better to test our strength? He lay dead upon the ground before we could comprehend the implications.


They found us not long after.


As I sit in my cell now, preparing for hanging, I have no regrets. We did not kill all Nazis, but I’m holding strong to the belief that we saved countless lives by destroying just one.


I will stand by my Pirates tomorrow, hands tied and head held high.


If you find this letter, trust that we will be long dead--but the spirit of the Edelweiss Pirates will live on in the young, in the free, and in the hearts of those brave enough to push away fear and stand up to injustice.


Captain Ben Wolf

Navajo Tribe

The Edelweiss Pirates

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25 comments

Akshaya Sutrave
07:49 Nov 18, 2020

I always enjoy historical fiction, and your story was amazing! The perspective of the Edelweiss Pirates made it interesting till the very end. They were extremely courageous to risk their lives for a good cause. The ending was sad, but it was necessary. World War II was a hard time indeed. Great job!

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Leilani Lane
20:01 Nov 18, 2020

Thank you so much, Akshaya! I considered doing a happier ending but 12 of the pirates were actually killed for killing a Gestapo chief, so I wanted that to be accurate...definitely tragic.

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Akshaya Sutrave
02:25 Nov 19, 2020

That's true, Leilani. Especially as it was something that happened in real. Accuracy is definitely always better than writing a happy ending for such a tragic event.

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I like how the format of this is a letter before death. A last word before being gone forever.

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Leilani Lane
19:17 Nov 19, 2020

Thank you! :)

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C. jay Loren
17:29 Nov 18, 2020

Having recently discovered this information about The Hitler Youth and all the other terrible things in Nazi Germany, this story I feel does justice to the history. I am so glad that there were people, children especially, that saw and understood the bigger picture and were brave enough to try to do what they thought was the right thing to do! Nicely done. :) Feel free to read my latest story if you would like. :)

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Leilani Lane
20:01 Nov 18, 2020

Thank you!! I am happy to hear it does justice to the history--it's definitely loosely based, but I tried to get the beginning accurate at least! I will definitely add your story to the list!! Looking forward to it. :)

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Molly Leasure
00:23 Nov 18, 2020

Ooooh, historical fiction. I was wondering as I was reading whether it was based fully or loosely on a story from that time. I think those children had incredible, incredible bravery and I think you did well to showcase it. What a difficult time to write about, and what a difficult ending. So much of me wanted at least, somewhat of a positive ending, but I understand why there couldn't really be a "happy" ending. They had what they considered a satisfactory ending and that was enough for them. Ah, it just hurts to think about it. This story ...

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Leilani Lane
20:03 Nov 18, 2020

Thank you so so much, Molly!! I NEVER write historical fiction so this was a totally new experience for me. The ending is actually close to the truth--there were 12 of the Edelweiss Pirates hanged for killing a Gestapo chief. But the rest (except for some of the facts at the beginning) is all fiction! Hard to find that balance between fact and fiction... I definitely want to keep practicing historical fiction!

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Molly Leasure
22:16 Nov 18, 2020

That makes me sad :(. I think you did pretty darn well! The thing about historical fiction is that it is "fiction" and therefore can be manipulated to fit what you think the story should look like! And I thought your story was wonderful. The boy running away at the beginning, their meeting where they cheer about the treasure, and the ending. I'm definitely interested in seeing some more historical fiction from you ;).

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Leilani Lane
22:53 Nov 18, 2020

Aw thank you so much!!! I'm hoping there's some holiday prompts coming up and I feel like there can be a lot of historical fiction made from those maybe??? Who knows, this weeks prompts were surprising!!

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Molly Leasure
23:34 Nov 21, 2020

I literally read your comment and just thought of doing a four-part story with the Christmas Carol...the Twisted Carol? Even if it doesn't fit on here...I might write one to put somewhere else, haha! I hope there are more historical fiction prompts, now. Because I want to read more of your creations!! I have to admit, I'm not the biggest fan of this week's prompts. But, I'll still try to write something. Maybe I'll branch out even more and write a REAL romance...jokes.

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Rayhan Hidayat
14:44 Nov 17, 2020

Very unique, from the setting to the interpretation of “treasure.” I like how your stories tend to be short and sweet; they never drone on. Awesome as always 😙

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Leilani Lane
20:04 Nov 18, 2020

Thank you so much, Rayhan! I don't think I've ever gone about 1,500 words... XD Maybe I should. I just prefer closer to 1,000!

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Rayhan Hidayat
10:57 Nov 19, 2020

Being able to tell a concise, satisfying tale in less words is a skill! I almost always end up going above 3000 and have to trim down :P Also I just realized you put my story in your little hall of fame... Thank you, I'm extrememly flattered, and you picked a good one ;)

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Leilani Lane
14:23 Nov 19, 2020

Of course, we love a butterfly reproduction story!! XD

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Leilani Lane
15:16 Nov 19, 2020

I just saw you added my name to your bio!! That was so nice, thank you, Rayhan. :) Also, the cockroach and the crumb is secretly my favorite of my own stories even though it's absolutely ridiculous so that entirely made my day when I saw that in your profile :')

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Rayhan Hidayat
15:23 Nov 19, 2020

No worries, it would be a sin not to ;) The fact that I still remember your cockroach story to this day just goes to show how memorable it was!

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Leilani Lane
15:24 Nov 19, 2020

Lolololol that makes me so happy!! :D

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Iris Cordova
04:47 Nov 17, 2020

This was really interesting to read. I want to research more about the pirates, and l love how you used the prompt. The part where Ben talks about short chained was great. The story had parts that reminded me of Peter Pan and that only made the ending hit me more.

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Leilani Lane
20:05 Nov 18, 2020

Thank you so much, Iris! They are a fascinating group to read about. I just Googled "real life pirates" or something like that and happened upon their history, so decided to suit it to this prompt. Hope you are well! :) Need to catch up on your stories!!

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Leilani Lane
02:47 Nov 14, 2020

Based loosely on the Edelweiss Pirates, a real anti-Nazi youth organization of Nazi Germany. Read more here: https://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/nazi-germany/the-edelweiss-pirates/

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Stephen Closson
10:45 Nov 23, 2020

Wow, that was such a great story! I really like the way you shifted perspectives throughout. As a history major, I was immediately drawn into the setting. The Edelweiss Pirates had such fascinatingly tragic lives, you did them a great service by keeping their story alive.

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Ray Dyer
03:51 Nov 21, 2020

Talk about an opener that just grabs you by the throat. How do you not read a story that starts with that line? And then this line soon after: "Following the whispers took days (and very nearly my life, too)..." That's just fantastic, Leilani - I love it! I remember reading about the Hitler Youth and the Edelweiss Pirates, and understanding a little about them, and their place in history, just gave this story the added edge that it needed to be completely irresistible. The end was a brave choice, and the story is stronger because o...

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Thom Brodkin
18:28 Nov 20, 2020

I consider myself to be a history buff and I was unaware of the Edelweiss Pirates. After reading your story and comments I immediately set out to read about them. I loved your story anyway but I loved it even more after I put it into historical context. I also think the story was much more powerful because of your choice of ending. It's tragic and heroic. A real triumph. I do have a favor to ask. I wrote a story this week called "Silence". I'm actually quite happy with it but I respect your opinion and would love to get your feedba...

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