11 February 2021

Published February 9, 2022 by rochellewisoff
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The next photo is the PROMPT. Remember, all photos are property of the photographer, donated for use in Friday Fictioneers only. They shouldn’t be used for any other purpose without express permission. It is proper etiquette to give the contributor credit.

PHOTO PROMPT © Bill Reynolds

A little preface for my story this week. I am an American and proud to be one. However, our history isn’t always pretty and erasing it won’t change it. It only makes it easier to repeat it. Nuff said. I give you:

Genre: Historical Fact
Word Count: 100

AMERICAN ICON

My father dubbed my VW Beetle the Nazi-mobile. How could I, a Jew, drive a German car? But, what about the automobile named for its inventor—fine, upstanding American Henry Ford?

From 1918 to 1926, in his newspaper the Dearborn Independent he blamed the Jews for the ills of the world. His prolific comments, targeting Jews and “inferior” blacks earned him the honor of being mentioned in Mein Kampf.

“You can tell Herr Ford that I am a great admirer of his,” said Hitler. “I shall do my best to put his theories into practice in Germany.”

God bless America.

A LITTLE HISTORY LESSON

92 comments on “11 February 2021

    • Dear Trish,

      So true. I’m disturbed by the current “trend” to whitewash history so we don’t have to feel bad. We only set the stage for history to repeat itself. Thank you for your validating comments.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • I had no idea. I have a Ford Focus, but I will probably go back to a subcompact Hyundai after this, because I want a smaller car and Ford is not great about its small cars. I do feel like that whole issue, bigger/smaller more/less fuel efficient is such an American thing. I’ve thought that even before I found out this about Ford and before owning one and finding out how little they care about their “low-end” vehicles compared to other manufacturers. It is an interesting fact. Not making that mistake again. There is so much multi-layered truth here. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Anne,

      My husband drives a humongous Ford truck. He loves it. But I have to laugh. At one time I owned a Ford Escort station wagon. I swear it was embodiment of Fix Or Repair Daily or Found On Road Dead. So now I think of it as another Nazi-moblie like my VW. They both knew there was a Jew at the wheel. 😉

      At any rate, I couldn’t not share this story. Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ugh, I know! It’s not quite that bad, but it definitely has had a lot of problems. LOL at “Found On Road Dead.” It’s not even ten years old and I’ve had to replace the transmission, the on-board computer, and the internal electronics still gets wacky now and again. Upon research, it isn’t just me, the vast majority of this make/model are like that. So, I don’t think the car is out to get me personally. Although, I do espouse certain liberal ideologies and did slap on Biden-Harris sticker on the dash, so it might be a little angry at me about that. LOL.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I make jokes about my former VW and Ford, but I’m not sure I’d ascribe emotion to inanimate objects. 😉 There is such thing as a car being a lemon. My husband says my Chevy Cruz falls into that category. Although, I did research on the 1985 Escort and it had many problems. We did have to replace the transmission on that POS.

          Liked by 1 person

  • Few of those big names of the past are unstained, but some are worse than others… I have heard unflattering things about Ford, but not this. We cannot work to improve our country if we do not recognize where we have been and has been said and done. Good story.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Trent,

      I’d heard Ford was an antisemite but it’s only been recently I’ve learned to what degree. No. We shouldn’t forget history, which I fear is going on here in the USA. Thank you for your validating comments.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Rochelle,

    I have always known that Henry Ford was Anti-Semitic but I didn’t know that he was also racist, although that doesn’t surprise me. Apparently, Hugo Boss joined the Nazi party in 1931 and made their uniforms.

    It angers and saddens me when people deny the Holocaust or as you said, try to “whitewash history”. Thanks for sharing this. I don’t drive but if I did, I would never drive a Ford. And you will never find me in a Hugo Boss store.

    Shalom,
    Adele

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Adele,

      I’m not familiar with Hugo Boss. Apparently we don’t have any stores here in KC. I’ll be looking him up.

      I’d known Ford was antisemitic but didn’t know, until recently, to what degree.
      I believe we’re headed for serious trouble in trying to whitewash history.

      Thank you so much for your validating and encouraging comments.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • Shamefully truthful. One of the reasons why I don’t like FORDS… that and it’s constantly in the shop. That said, I’m sure that if we really looked into the lives of the people who founded this land, and it’s industries, we might find ourselves rightfully ashamed of that history. It’s also one of the reasons I do not carry my husband’s last name. I do not wish to be party to that ancestry. However, that does not define who my hubby is. Great story this week. I hope I can write something up. Starting a new job today.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Bear,

      It’s my hope that not all founders are like Ford. However whitewashing history to make it less disturbing is the worst thing we can do IMHO. Thank you for your validating comments. I wondered if I’d get some backlash. However, the day’s not over, is it?

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

      • I never much thought about it until I married and Mr. F. (dad) brought up the subject about Volkswagons…. I had always thought them to be good, dependable vehicles. We had a little bug for many years in my early childhood. Anyway, after he spoke of it, I did some research and was apalled! Shalom, Bear

        Like

  • Ford has certainly lost his luster with many who know where he stood. Another American icon who has some tarnish on him is Charles Lindberg, who was thought to be sympathetic to the Nazis. It always seems ironic to me that people who have benefitted so much from free enterprise and capitalism can be guilty of such hatred and enmity to those who support them.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Even Shakespeare made no secret of his hatred for the Jews. It was common and accepted in his day. In his play “The Merchant of Venice,” the Jewish moneylender is described in most unpleasant terms, as the major antagonist of the play. He is defeated and converted to Christianity at the end, but I find that a little difficult to accept. In his situation, to refuse would have probably been a death sentence.

        Sorry. I was an English teacher for a long time 🙂 Literature is my jam 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Rochelle,

    We are constantly learning through your stories. I had no idea (then again, it never occurred to me to look into stuff like this). Makes me feel bad about having a Ford, now!

    And you are right. They have to stop trying to whitewash history. Rather than pull down statues, put them in one place with big placards explaining what they did and why we cannot honour them but that they remain to remind us…)

    Shalom and lotsa thoughtful love,

    Dale

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Dale,

      I’m not trying to lay a guilt trip on Ford owners. As I mentioned on your story, we have a Ford F150. Jan’s pride and joy. It’s wonderful for schlepping my stuff from fair to fair.

      Although I’m pretty sure my 1985 Escort Wagon, like my 1971 Beetle, was a Nazi on four wheels and knew I was a Jew. 😉

      I’m with you on the history thing and about the statues. We shouldn’t forget. Put the statues in museums with placards explaining who they were and why they shouldn’t be honored. I’ve been saying that for some time now. GMTA.

      Shalom and lotsa free-wheeling hugs,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Illa Cheatum W(T)F,

    I can see why you wanted a Volkswagen, much easier to see through the steering wheel. Now, I also know why my ’48 Ford pickup wants to run blacks and Jews off the road. Evidently, the racial hate goes in before the name goes on.

    I trust your art sales at the winery proved intoxicating. (hiccup).

    Rick “The Prick” Henderson, Attorney at Law

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Rick,

      Thank you for taking the time from ambulance chasing to comment on my story. I’ll be sure to stay out of the path your ’48 Ford pickup.

      Art sales weren’t bad. 😉 And I’ll admit to sampling some of the winery’s wares. Got a tad tipsy.

      Shalom,

      Illa Cheatum W(T)F

      Like

  • I knew that about Ford. Unfortunately, improved automobiles and assembly lines, came with a heaping side of xenophobia, antisemitism, racism, and general dicketry. People are generally human, not all good or bad. If we waited for only perfect human beings to invent, create, make art, contribute… we wouldn’t have fire, much less combustion engines.

    We have an obsession, especially lately, with focusing on the negative aspects of everyone, then trying to remove them from history. As George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” We have to accept our past, come to terms with it, and work on improving as individuals, then as a species.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Nobbin,

      You make some good points. Personally I’m glad that Ford’s antisemitism didn’t catch on here the way it did in Germany.

      We are living in a crazy world, aren’t we? I agree with you about accepting our past and coming to terms with it and improve.

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

      Shalom and pet a puppy for me,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • Querida Rochelle,
    YIKES … a BIG LESSSON learned here today. Ford is like an icon in the town of Fort Meyers, an hour south from me. His summer homes is there which is now a museum with all the fixings. There’s even a restaurant with a ford car hanging from the ceiling. Aahhh … Dios Mio. Well . I’m beginning to think there aren’t many people who don’t have a bit of creepiness in their background. Enjoy the rest of the week safely …
    Abrazos y Carino,
    Isadora 😎

    Liked by 1 person

  • Hey Rochelle,

    Nice one but I still envy those with VW busses, Bukowski drove a VW bug.

    Gawd! The list of disappointments is so long.. I learned about Ford years ago, Lindberg, too. The dark side of humanity seems endless. Genocide is our most honed skill. But anyway….

    Peace,

    Bill

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cello Bill,

      Or what about Arlo Guthrie in the red VW microbus with shovels and rakes and implements of destruction to pick up the garbage in the snow. (Careful, I’ve had whole sections of it memorized since I was 16).

      What is with humans and genocide. Why are some more equal than others? I don’t understand…nor do I want to.

      No one gets out alive, do they?

      Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • A concisely damning 100 words on the dark side of Henry Ford.
    The dark side showed itself even in his engineering. In the early days of Ford cars, they collected data on how the cars broke down. There was one part that never failed. Henry Ford promptly sourced an inferior component at a lower price so the cars were even more profitable (but broke down more).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Penny,

      I had a 1985 Ford Escort wagon in the early 90’s. It was a LEMON and now I think a Nazi on four wheels and knew I was a Jew. Talk about inferior. It embodied the anachronisms “Fix or Repair Daily” or “Found on Road Dead.”
      Thank you for your drive-by comments. 😀

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • It’s so important to avoid easy, over-simplified accounts of the past and of public figures from the past, and present. We all want our heroes to be blemish-free I guess, but nobody is, as I’m sure we all know. It’s also important to take a stand about important issues whenever we can, and using our buying power is one way we can do that. Your story’s really got me thinking, Rochelle. Well told. And btw the green VW with the frog legs is exactly the colour of a VW we owned many years ago. It was called ‘grasshopper green’ however, not frog green.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Margaret,

      Oversimplifying history is never my reason for writing a story. Of course no one is blemish free. However Henry Ford had more than a dark side…he had a dangerous side. Antisemitism is on the rise and people like him can influence others into a frenzy. For him to have been noticed by Hitler speaks volumes to me.
      Having said that, my husband drives a Ford truck and my first car was a VW Beetle. To carry a grudge against the whole of Germany today would be absurd.
      My Beetle was royal blue. 😉
      Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Rochelle. I feel I need to clarify my comment here. I didn’t intend to suggest that you were over-simplifying history. On the contrary – I meant there is a tendency for people generally to do that, especially when it comes to learning about the lesser known, ugly side of certain ‘esteemed’ individuals – your story, and all your work, exposes this superbly. And I should correct my word choice; I recognise ‘blemish’ and ‘dark’ are too bland here. Such people are dangerous, as you say. So you’ve got me thinking even more, and that’s always a good thing.

        Liked by 1 person

  • We are always told that we must learn from the failures of history, but listening to many of our politicians and world leaders (as reported in the press) there is only lip service to the evils their words unleash on the innocent people even today.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear James,

      There is a growing faction who still believe the lies Ford and Hitler spewed. Holocaust deniers who say the Jews staged the whole thing. People who believe that the Jews are plotting to take over the world and behead all the Christians. You can find these whack jobs across the internet. Their numbers are increasing and it scares me.
      The sad thing is that we don’t seem to be learning much from history’s failures.
      Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 2 people

  • Ugh, I really dislike when people who could have had a positive impact on the public choose to be narrow minded. I truly don’t understand the promotion of hate. I hope one day we, the human race, can learn to embrace what it means to love your neighbor. All people regardless of the shade of their skin, their ethnicity, their religion, or anything else that makes one person different than another, deserve to be respected and loved the same way we ourselves want to be respected and loved. Thank you for writing this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Kirstena,

      I’m with you. I don’t understand the hatred or the promotion there of. It boggles my mind that such hatemongers can be in prominent positions, spreading their vicious lies. If only we could see how alike we are as a human race rather than draw battle lines between us. Thank you for coming by to read and leave such a validating comment.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • Oh my, where to start. All big companies, it seems, are entwined in dark and dirty machinations one way or another. VW was a Nazi firm, but also ‘saved’ by a british major after the war. I always loved the Beetle, my grandpa had one and I drove one for a few years in my youth. My first car was a Ford, ironically.
    I didn’t know that Ford was an antisemite. They seem to be everywhere. An unholy entanglement of antisemitism, racism, colonialism in so many places and these days the rats feel strong again and come out of hiding. One of the few good things about social networks, I think, is the fact that governments might want to rewrite history but those who are willing to look beyond their borders can learn otherwise. Unless the can’t access them any longer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Gabi,

      My first car was a VW Beetle. It fit me just right but had so many mechanical problems. Then there was my Ford Escort. I’ve made jokes about both of them but I don’t think it had anything to with their companies’ beginnings.

      Those rats are rearing their ugly heads everywhere. We can only hope that history won’t be erased.

      Thank you for your comments.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • A shocking account, Rochelle, and I’m so glad you chose to write it. There is much in history that needs to be told and retold. There is so much hypocrisy too, it drives me nuts the way one human being can dismiss another with a lot of ignorant claptrap nonsense. The more information we have the better, that and socialising in whatever way we can with the entire world.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Jilly,

      We don’t live in a perfect world, that’s for sure. However, there are those who aren’t just dark, but dangerous. It gives me the chills to think that Henry Ford garnered Hitler’s admiration.
      Antisemitism as well as bigotry are on the rise.
      Thank you for your validating comments.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • I’m back again after eons, Rochelle. Aloha! 🙂

    Thanks for sharing this grim, yet eye-opener of a story. As always you bowl us over with these historical anecdotes you dig up for us.

    Added my link too.

    Have a wonderful week ahead.

    Slainte!
    🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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