Seven Decades

Hans woke up from his coma to find a world radically changed from the one he left in 1940. Photo Source:

Jack Scott, Staff Writer

On a dreary afternoon in New York City in mid-April 2016, a man’s eyes opened for the first time in 76 years. The light of the hospital room was, while dim to others, nearly blinding to a man who had not seen light in over seven decades. It took a few minutes for his eyes to adjust, but when they did, he immediately noticed a throng of people in pure white clothes staring at him; expressions of shock plastered upon their faces. The second thing he noticed was the black rectangular screen fixed to the wall opposite of his bed. The device was strange, and it captured his attention for a short while before he turned his attention to the left – and what he saw left a mark on him for the rest of his days.

He saw a row of enormous structures, rising farther into the sky than anything else he had seen in his life – except, possibly, for the airplane. It was at that moment he realized that he was no longer in a world he recognized. He was somewhere else, wherever that place was. Indeed, the entire room felt somehow different and foreign, but he couldn’t tell exactly why. He turned back to the one doctor still in the room.

“Was ist das Jahr?”

The doctor, who stood at nearly six feet tall, shook her head. “Sorry, Mr. Hans, I don’t speak any German. Do you speak English?”

Luckily for her, he did. “What year is it? And who are you?”

“My name is Dr. Clara. It’s 2016. You’ve been in a coma since 1940. Your family immigrated to America in 1948 and took you with them.”

Hans was floored. Entire generations had come and gone and he was asleep for the whole thing. He felt his skin; it was wrinkled and withering, a far cry from the youthful body he had when he was a soldier in the Wehrmacht (the German army at the time) in France in 1940. Images came flooding back into his brain. He remembered Hitler’s rallies which he attended in his teen years, his friends in the Wehrmacht, and the French partisan who shot him, sending him into the coma that had lasted for seven decades. His second question was a bit unusual.

“Who won the war?”

For a second, Dr. Clara was bewildered, but she then realized what Hans was talking about. “The Allies won.”

Hans could not believe what he had just heard. After conquering France and Poland, Germany lost the war? It was too much for the old Nazi to take. Tears began to roll down his face, and he hid back under the bedsheets. A few minutes later, he fell asleep again. Dr. Clara left the room visibly shaken. The old Nazi was not going to like the world he had just woken up to.