kindkit: Erik Lehnsherr wearing an awesome suit and hat (XMFC: Erik has an awesome hat)
[personal profile] kindkit
Title: After the War, Before the War
Fandom: X-Men: First Class
Characters: Erik
Rating: Teen
Warnings: Holocaust references
Word count: 300
Summary: Erik is a displaced person.
Notes: There's some historical fudging here; see the endnote for an explanation.




From one camp to another, that's liberation. In this camp Erik still has a number, but he's not tortured. There are no crematoria. He's called a displaced person, not a filthy Jew.

At first, memories half drown him. His mother. His father, who Erik learns was gassed the first day. Then they subside, and even his dreams are rare.

He doesn't make friends. When he came here he was hungry, but not skeletal. He has all his teeth and he's taller than other boys his age. So rumours went round. They think he was a sonderkommando or a kapo in a special section. Some kind of collaborator, anyway.

Perhaps they're right.

They talk about Israel, his fellow Jews. Their state, their home, where they will be safe. Where they will be one people again, united.

Erik has decided that he will not go. He's not one of them, not entirely. He's a new creature, and the new are persecuted as monsters or worshipped as gods. Schmidt's words, but yet not wrong. There's no home for Erik. Anyway, he has work to do, once he's strong enough to do it.

On ration tins of condensed milk, Erik sees the words Product Of Ireland. A small island, far from Germany and Poland, and far from Palestine too. He likes islands. He likes the thought of a place with so much milk that people give it away.

Perhaps he'll go there. Not to eat and breed and grow old peaceably like a beast spared from the slaughterhouse; just until he's a man. A boy could kill Schmidt, but it'll take a man to find him. Someone who can travel, negotiate, manipulate, threaten, and bribe.

When he's a grown monster, a young god, he can avenge his mother. Who was human, and is dead.


****



Endnote: Erik is in a DP camp like the ones established in Austria and western Germany, but Auschwitz was actually liberated by the Soviets. I'm presuming, since Erik didn't end up stuck in Eastern Europe, that Erik wasn't still in Auschwitz when the Soviets arrived. It makes sense that Schmidt would've somehow had himself and Erik transferred west as the Soviets advanced.

Also, although Israel was not established as a state until 1948, I'm assuming that post-war Zionists were already using the language of statehood to encourage Jewish immigration.

on 2011-07-22 03:16 am (UTC)
lilacsigil: 12 Apostles rocks, text "Rock On" (12 Apostles)
Posted by [personal profile] lilacsigil
I'm so glad to see someone writing about how Erik's concentration camp experience was very different to that of most people, even though his experiences up to that time were no different. The decisions here, not to go to Israel, and just to wait until he is an adult, make a lot of sense in that context - his persecution as a Jew turned into torture as a mutant. I wonder also if it gives him some sense of control - in this fic he is very clear about his future - to hang everything on Schmidt as his mother's murderer, something that he can plausibly do something about.

on 2011-07-22 07:18 am (UTC)
st_aurafina: Rainbow DNA (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] st_aurafina
Best explanation of the accent yet. Also, nice to acknowledge that once he's out of the camp, things are not all rosy and wonderful. It's very scary to see him start the process of forging himself into a weapon.

on 2011-07-22 07:58 am (UTC)
starlady: Raven on a MacBook (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] starlady
Well done.

I'm assuming that post-war Zionists were already using the language of statehood to encourage Jewish immigration.

If by "post-war" you mean post-World War I, yeah. From what I've read, there wasn't much need for encouragement after 1945--the British were interning Holocaust survivors on Cyprus to try to keep them from immigrating to Palestine for a while. And people were going despite the guerrilla war.

on 2011-07-22 11:27 pm (UTC)
skywaterblue: (kosher boys)
Posted by [personal profile] skywaterblue
Yep. Zionism actually began as a reaction to the Dreyfus affair, which was pre-WWI. The modern state of Israel views Theodor Herzl as its founder and he was radicalized to create a secular political Zionism (in contrast to, say, a religious-based Zionism centered around the restoration of the Temple - couldn't tell you when that started, possibly has existed since 68 AD) after reporting on the trial for a Franco-Yiddish newspaper.

IRL, Herzl died before the Zionist movement settled on Israel and it is (I believe) not entirely clear that he was 100% in favor of it. Immigration to Palestine started shortly after whenever they did decide, however, because on my Birthright trip we learned that Tel Aviv was founded in 1908. And the reason I remember that is because it meant my hometown, Las Vegas, is actually three years older. Which is weird - Tel Aviv still has a pretty old world European feel and Las Vegas is probably the model modern American sprawling metropolis.

on 2011-07-23 12:49 am (UTC)
starlady: Raven on a MacBook (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] starlady
Weren't they thinking about Madagascar for a while?

I think, but could very well be wrong, that the spiritual Zionism didn't actually start until after the Bar Kokhba revolt and the dissolution of Judaea in the 120s--between the destruction of the Temple in 70 and then, records seem to indicate that Judaea was never really fully pacified, maybe to the point where Roman writ only ran in the towns. Certainly the Romans were keeping an unusually large military presence in the province until Bar Kokhba.

on 2011-07-23 01:04 am (UTC)
skywaterblue: (magneto)
Posted by [personal profile] skywaterblue
Madagascar, Uganda, provinces of Russia, Alaska... I've heard lots of stories and I would not at all be surprised to hear of more. Essentially Herzl met with any old European colonialist who had a relatively empty chunk of land for a while there.

That might be right. This conversation is reminded me I was wanting to read Chabon's newest book.

on 2011-07-22 11:33 pm (UTC)
skywaterblue: (Amnesty International)
Posted by [personal profile] skywaterblue
This is a nice short piece that really smooths over the ruffles of Movieverse canon. (I believe the comics answer is that Erik and Magda escaped Auschwitz months before the end and got out on foot.) I enjoyed it.

on 2011-07-23 01:07 am (UTC)
skywaterblue: (Magneto Was Right)
Posted by [personal profile] skywaterblue
This new film was essentially a soft reboot. I have to say I somewhat prefer what X3 had to say about Erik and Charles pre-X1, and I'm not terribly wild about the way this one re-writes Erik's camp experience. Pleased as pie about the new Mystique canon so it is a wash.

on 2011-07-23 01:54 am (UTC)
skywaterblue: (Amnesty International)
Posted by [personal profile] skywaterblue
Maybe re-write is too strong. Overpersonalizes is my issue. I prefer the version where it we didn't know about Shaw mainly because I don't think the Holocaust needs to be any more awful than it already was.

I also prefer a shades-of-grey Erik, though. Not only is he a more interesting character that way, he can also serve as a didactic tool for talking about a lot of issues that probably need a good fictional hearing-out.

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kindkit: A late-Victorian futuristic zeppelin. (Default)
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