Prison Correspondence Brought to Light
On behalf of myself and probably most of the overflow crowd at Labyrinth Books on October 11, I would like to sincerely thank Dorothea von Moltke for introducing us to her remarkable grandfather, Helmuth James von Moltke, and his efforts to counter Nazi human rights abuses in territories occupied by Germany during World War II. Helmuth was a founding member of the Kreisau Circle, whose members discussed the prospects for Germany based on moral and democratic principles after Adolph Hitler. Helmuth was against the assassination of Hitler, believing that if one succeeded Hitler would become a martyr. For his activities in the Kreisau Circle, Helmuth was imprisoned in Tegel prison in Berlin in late September, 1944, and executed on January 23, 1945.
Letters from the recently translated book “Last Letters: The Prison Correspondence between Helmuth James von Moltke and his wife Freya von Moltke” were read by Dorothea, her brother, Johannes von Moltke, and her uncle, Helmuth Caspar von Moltke, the eldest son of Helmuth James and Freya. Johannes’ reading of the last letter his father wrote to him and his brother shortly before he was executed, served as an emotional and poignant reminder of the horrors of the Nazi era.
To Everyone Who Lives Here
You have the key to unlock the tool chest to rejuvenate and save the most basic foundation needed to support human life. “And what is that?” you ask. It is the vast and quickly diminishing community of native pollinators of bees, birds, butterflies, beetles, flies, and small mammals that work together to supply 85 percent of the main global crops that feed people — fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and oils. This hardworking group also is responsible for being the food for many other animals in the worldwide ecosystem. If they go, we go. And you can do something right now where you live to help them regenerate.
You can accomplish this and it does not depend on the size of your yard, your balcony, your community garden, an empty urban lot, or on large corporate campuses. Plant and they will find you. You will discover the incredible beauty of the plants that are native to wherever you live and the knock-your-socks-off intricate and colorful patterns that our native pollinators are dressed in. Not even our most outstanding clothing designers can match the delicacy of detail that is on display.
Take a section of whatever your outdoor space includes and create an oasis for pollinators by planting the native plants for your area that include flowers, shrubs, small trees, and large shade trees. Plan it in an arc of seasonal blooming that provides food and shelter for them in the spring, summer, and fall. It’s not difficult to start but you do need a plan. Throwing them into the ground with some fertilizer is not sufficient. Soil type, sun or shade, moist or dry conditions are important factors to know. You can still have some lawn, but implement better practices for it.
What are the factors causing pollinator decimation? Vast lawns of grass and gardens of exotic invasive plant species that are barren of pollinator support and are saturated with salt-based synthetic fertilizers that work in concert with the applied pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides to kill the vital life of the soil food web.
Because these plants are perennials their root systems grow deeper every year and thereby sequester more carbon (the connection with climate change that also includes the expansion of greening our planet).
Just like when you go on a trip, you need to have places to stop and get food, drink, and rest. That is what we need to supply in order to rejuvenate, revivify, and restore our vital and generous native pollinator co-existors!
Judith K. Robinson