Stones From The River
1. Trudi established her status and power in Burgdorf , not through beauty, marriage, or motherhood, but rather as the town’s librarian and relentless collector of the secrets of the towns people. Growing up she was always alienated from society. She realized that most of the people in Burgdorf would never accept her because of her physical difference and that frustrated her. She did not want to accept it , but later on she learned to cope with
her difference and realized that she would never fit in. Working in the pay library Trudi got to mingle with the townspeople. She absorbed gossip, everyday life stories, events, and truths. She embellished the stories and became a source of information. She decided to use her difference as a tool to attract people. Trudi also gossiped the secrets she had obtained around town to get back at everyone. Ridiculing the people of Burgdorf gave her pleasure.
2. One day when Trudi was swimming alone near the Braunmeier’s barn Trudi was molested by Hans-Jurgen , Fritz Hansen, Paul Weinhart and her former friend Georg Weiler. She was very humiliated and the humiliation stayed with her forever. From that day on she suffered from emotional damage and the story still haunted her when she was a mature woman. She cursed all four boys for what they had done to her and later on in their lives those curses came true. Hans-Jurgen was arrested for killing his wife who cheated on him , Paul Weinhart lost his jaw in war , Fritz Hansen disappeared and Georg lost everything he had on gambling and also died at an early age. Trudi decided to hurl stones against the riverbank in revenge. After the sexual abuse she did not seek to blend into society but to survive with her handicap. Later on in life Trudi met Max Rudnick, who later became her lover. One day by the river , Trudi used a fairy tale to describe her sexual abuse to him, protecting herself by not allowing the scars to be reopened.
3. Leo Montag , Trudi’s father, suffered a great deal of pain when his dear wife Gertrude died when Trudi was only 4. When she died Leo had Herr Abramowitz took pictures of her in her coffin. He hung those pictures in his bedroom to always remember her.
After Gertrude’s death numerous women flirted with Herr Montag , to bring him back his happiness with a possible marriage. Several married women flirted with Leo also, but he always managed to refuse their proposals. The women of Burgdorf envied the love and compassion that Leo had given Gertrude through the years and his continuing love and devotion for her. They also longed to be loved and understood by their husbands. Men that were good listeners were hard to find in Burgdorf so many women went to Leo for answers to their problems. He had a big heart and enjoyed helping others. He was the ideal man to them.
6. During this time in Germany Jews were being discriminated against because of their beliefs and power. The Jews were punished, shipped to concentration camps, and killed. Many Germans were against Hitler and the Socialist Party, yet they conformed due to fear for their own lives. Trudi and Leo Montag were outraged by the circumstances some of their Jewish friends were in. They did whatever was in their power to help them.
One afternoon when Trudi was carrying the Persian hallway rug outside she saw a women and a little boy hiding in her mother’s nest. They were both Jewish refuges. Trudi decided to hide Frau Neimann and her son Konrad in her house. Later on with the help of Herr Hesping they build a tunnel which began at their cellar and led to the Blau’s cellar. When the house was being searched for refuges the tunnel would help them hide. Frau Neimann and Konrad were joined by Trudi’s friend Eva and a priest later on. The Montag’s knew that they were putting themselves in a lot of danger by hiding Jews in their house but they felt it was the right thing to do.
7. An unknown benefactor played the role of a mysterious Santa Claus in the Burgdorf community, bringing gifts to those in need. Nobody could understand how this person
knew all their wants and needs. The unknown benefactor was Burgdorf’s angel , the only interesting thing about the lifeless town of Burgdorf. Trudi felt that his identity should remain a secret , and if it didn’t, it would take away the only spark of light the town had.
He symbolically removed some of the pain Hitler’s tyranny had caused. Later on the identity of the unknown benefactor was revealed. It was Emil Hesping, the man who soon after Trudi learned had an affair with her mother. Emil Hesping was killed by an officer when he removed Hitler’s statue from the town’s square. There were records found in his home of all the gifts he had ever given. The people of Burgdorf never forgot the unknown benefactor. He remained in their hearts forever.
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