Jesus was an imposter! What can he do for us?
Hansi, The Girl Who Loved The Swastika is the real-life autobiography of Maria Anne Hirschmann. She lived in the Sudetenland in 1938 when the Germans took it over from Czechoslovakia. That year Maria won a "contest" to join the Hitler Youth. She joined the organization and became a volunteer nurse at military medical clinics across the western front of Germany. At the conclusion of the war, she was captured by vigilante Russian soldiers, who constantly threatened her with rape. Finally she escaped and rejoined her long lost sweetheart in Switzerland. Eventually they emigrated to America, where she runs ex-Nazi Christian support groups in prisons and half-way homes across California.
The book is an engaging read, if only because the story is so compelling, and the morals, though heavyhanded, are uplifting. But what makes this title worth noding is the comic book version.
That's right, you heard me.
In 1975, Spire Comics (home to the Jack Chick tracts and Al Hartley's Christian Archie comics issues) had begun doing "graphic autobiographies" of public Christians - mostly friends of Billy Graham, who helped fund the company. In addition to Johnny Cash, Tom Landry, and concentration camp survivor Corrie ten Boom, Spire also turned Hirschmann's story into a 32-page mini-epic.
The cover itself is emblazoned with, you guessed it, a swastika. What's really shameless is the short shrift the comic gives to Maria's real life, dissolving it down into a few pithy rejection-redemption episodes and more than a few overly-stylized images of the Hitler Youth and the bloodshed of war. Its hamfisted Christian dialogue and occasionally questionable content makes it a hallmark of bad comics.
All the same, if you see the comic at your local comic shop or newsstand, grab a copy and buy it. This comic (along with all Spire Comics) are valuable collector's items today.