This is one of my favorite outrageous World War II stories.
Everyone knows how insane the Nazis were in violating the rights of people, but did you know they also put a ban on certain types of flowers?
Orange is the color of the Dutch royal house. “Oranje Boven” – “Orange Above” – is a song saluting their Queen. “Radio Oranje” – “Orange Radio” – was the name of the BBC station that broadcast to Holland, in Dutch, throughout the war. In the dark days after the Nazis invaded Holland, the Queen and her family fled to England. Orange suddenly became a much more popular color than it was already. It was a symbol of resistance. It meant solidarity with the exiled Queen.
Lots of Dutch people promptly went out of their way to plant not just any kind of flowers, but orange ones, like orange marigolds.
It was the Nazi’s idea of a no-no.
I have to laugh out loud whenever I think of Nazis, who everyone believes, after the fact, to be about might without right, getting all threatened by the planting of a bunch of orange flowers. They outlawed them. They actually went and outlawed a certain color of blossoms.
The Japanese were just as crazy regarding flowers when they invaded Korea. The national flower of Korea was the Rose of Sharon. You can figure out what happened next: the Japanese promptly banned them.
Is this insane, or what?
It’s said that after the war, in both locations, people planted the illegal flowers again the minute the occupiers left.
That just goes to show you what you’re really dealing with when the wrong kind of conquerors are on the loose, folks: no matter what such louts may be saying on the outside, they’re scared out of their wits of everybody they can’t control on the inside. Need a smile today? Picture members of the Gestapo or the Kempeitai quaking in front of some flower beds. Resistance, to them, even resistance with a bloom, is one of the most dangerous scenarios of all. I’d say anyone threatened by the sight of a harmless little flower, to the point they feel they have to pass regulations against them, must already know their eventual defeat is on the way.
All this gives me a whole new appreciation for Roses of Sharon and marigolds.