A PEEP INTO THE ENEMY’S CAMP
“Jede Halbheit ist das sichtbare Zeichen des inneren Verfalls, dem der äußere Zusammenbruch früher oder später folgen muß und wird.”
One of my earliest contacts with the representatives of the Occupying Powers in Germany was, naturally, at the technical frontier that separates Saarland from the French Zone. There I had a glimpse of the puerile arrogance with which one of the most conceited nations in Europe lords it today in a part of unfortunate Germany.
I crossed that frontier at Saarhölzbach on the 11th of September 1948, at about nine in the morning. It was a bright sunny day. I lined up with the other passengers for the control of my passport and the examination of my luggage, not without a little anxiety, for I had with me, among other things, an extremely heavy trunk containing, concealed between books, six thousand National Socialist leaflets—or, to be more accurate, six thousand minus the few dozen I had already distributed in Saarland. I had written them myself, in Sweden, and had them printed in England. It would not do, now, for “them” to find “those,” I thought, as a man helped me push the trunk in front of the customs officer. I was prepared for the worst. Yet, if I were destined one day to “get caught” I hoped it would be after I had finished distributing my papers, not before. For a moment, I withdrew myself, mentally, from the surroundings, and thought of our beloved Führer. And also of the invisible Gods who had, up till then, helped me to do my best for our ideals and at last brought me to Germany. If such was their will, they would also help me cross the border unscathed. If not, I would at least show our enemies that there are still National Socialists worthy of the name, even among the non-German Aryans. And I thought of all those who have suffered and died for our cause. Would I ever have the honour of suffering too? Of dying? I wished I had. But
1 “Every half-measure is a visible sign of inner decay which must and will be followed sooner or later by outward collapse” (Mein Kampf, I, x, pp. 268–69; cf. Mannheim, p. 246) [Trans. by Ed.].
not yet; not until I had distributed all my leaflets, stuck up all my posters; done all I could.
I was pulled out of my inner world by loud shouting. It was the French customs Officer who had lost his temper with some German traveller whose turn was just before mine. I shall never know why the man had suddenly become so angry. But I shall always remember the tone of his voice and the expression of his face. He was spouting out a series of abuse in bad German. His face was congested; his mouth was twisted. However hard he might have tried, he did not look a bit like a military officer in a conquered land. He looked, rather, like a clumsy and overgrown schoolboy attempting, in a game, to play the part of a policeman. The German passenger, nearly twice as tall as he, was gazing at him in silence, inwardly no doubt with contempt. At last, the officer’s vocabulary of abuse was exhausted; he pushed the passenger’s open attaché case violently along the table and, pointing to the exit, cried out in French at the top of his voice: “Foutez-moi le camp!”1 My turn was next.
I speak perfect French, having been brought up in France. I handed over to the officer a letter from the French “Office of German Affairs” (Bureau des Affaires Allemandes) in Paris, stating that I was the authoress of several books on “historical and philosophical subjects”—which is true; that I had come to Germany “in order to gather the necessary information for writing a book about that country”—which was partly true—and finally asking “the French and Allied Military authorities” to be kind enough to provide me “with every help within their power.” I had obtained that precious letter through a French woman who had once sat at school in the same class as I, and who, since then, had become the wife of one of General De Gaulle’s prominent collaborators and worked in London, during the war, in the “free French” information service.2 Both she and her husband knew the official in whose power it was to grant me a military permit to Germany. The woman had not seen me for nearly thirty years, and she did not ask me what views I held, nor what I had done in India during the war. She remembered that I had always been, even in my childhood, “an out-and-out ‘Pagan,’” and told me so. But it did not occur to her that “an out-and-out Pagan” in the modern world can hardly be anything else but a National Socialist. The official had seen me five
1 Bugger off!—Ed.
2 Jacques and Georgette Soustelle—Ed.
minutes and asked me nothing at all, so that I had not even needed to lie in order to obtain that unexpected sauf-conduit1 to occupied Germany.
The face of the enraged customs officer softened at once.
“So you know Monsieur S, you say?”
“Yes. I was at school with his wife, years and years ago . . .”
“Oh, well, in that case . . . it’s all right. Tell me all the same what you have in there,” he said, pointing to one of my travelling bags.”
“A few edibles; three kilos of sugar, five kilos of coffee . . .”
“Much more than one is allowed, you know. But it does not matter, since you know Monsieur S.”
“And what have you got in there?”
“There,” in an iron box, I had all my jewellery: lovely massive gold necklaces and armlets and earrings from India. I intended to sell them in Germany in order to live and carry on my National Socialist activities, or else—if I came across any serious Nazi underground organisation—to give them, for the same purpose. But intentions cannot be seen; papers can. I thought it good policy to distract the attention of the officer on this box. He would perhaps forget to examine the heavy trunk too thoroughly. So I opened the jewel box, and showed some of its contents. I was wearing my golden swastika earrings—under a scarf tied over my head. So they were not to be found in the box.
The officer marvelled at the exotic ornaments. In a minute, the whole customs office was around me, handling the glittering things.
“It is a treasure that you are carrying about with you!” said the officer: “Are you not afraid it might get stolen? There are plenty of thieves in this famishing country, you know!”
I thought within my heart: “They could have betrayed me for money, on the 15th of June, and they did not.” But naturally, I said nothing. The police stepped in, wishing to see the Indian jewels. “Dear me! That would be worth something, in Paris!” said a police officer. “Why do you take all that with you?”
“I know nobody with whom I could leave it.”
“And what about a bank?”
“Well,” said I with a smile, “the truth is that I do like to wear those things sometimes, when I put on my Indian dress.”
The policemen laughed. “Women are all alike,” exclaimed one of them. And the chief police officer put an end to the exhibition by
1 Safe conduct—Ed.
telling me that I was free to take the jewels into Germany. The trunk full of dangerous leaflets was completely forgotten. It is I who reminded the customs officer of its existence. He made an effort to lift it.
“It is damned heavy! What have you got in it?”
“Books are indeed heavy things. Well, open it, will you? We cannot let you pass without even opening it,” said he.
I opened the trunk with perfect assurance and calm. I now knew it would pass. The men were thinking only of the Indian jewels. The customs officer took a glance at it; picked out a book or two. “All in English?” he asked me.
“Some also in French,” I replied, showing him a volume of poems by Leconte de Lisle, “one or two in German—a grammar, a dictionary, easy story books—and a few in Greek.”
He laughed. “Greek! Oh, dear! That is too learned for me.” And at last he uttered the words I was longing to hear, the words that were to enable me to continue in the “Zones” of occupied Germany the happy and dangerous life of which I had had, already, a taste in Saarland. “You can pass,” said he.
And I sat once more in the train bound for Treves, with the jewellery that would now help me to live, and to move about, and with the leaflets written from the depth of my heart for the German people.
I sat in a compartment alone—there were relatively few passengers that day—and the train moved on in the beautiful valley of the Saar. Under the bright sunshine, both sides of the winding river, I could see nothing but green meadows and wooded hills. The train was making a terrific noise as it rushed along. And, with my head at the window, against the wind—like on my unforgettable first journey—I really felt, this time, that, notwithstanding my personal insignificance, I was entering Germany as a liberator. At least as a forerunner and as a sign of the coming liberation. Had I not put all I had and all I was to the service of the forces that are to free not merely my German comrades but the Aryan race at large, and the Aryan soul? “One day,” thought I, “in many, many years to come, I shall remember this life, now beginning for me, and feel, with happiness and pride: ‘I too had a place in the glorious Nazi “underground” during those darkest days.’”
And I felt elated at the thought that the Gods had willed me to do this. And, gazing at the lovely German land spread before me, I sang the Horst Wessel Song with something of the conquering joy of 1940.
The train was making too much noise for it to be heard in the next compartment.
* * *
Some time after this, I was going to Treves from a village named Wiltingen where I had spent a few days.
In occupied Germany, every train comprises several carriages reserved not only “for the troops of occupation,” as stated on a notice hanging outside, but also for any person travelling with an Allied passport, and, an equal or often a smaller number of other carriages in which the Germans are allowed to travel. The former—the occupation ones—are warm and comfortable. And as there are relatively few people travelling with Allied passports, they are not crowded. No German is permitted to use them. That is a regulation of the Allied Military authorities. The other carriages—in which people holding Allied passports can travel, of course, if they wish to, but in which the Germans are forced to travel whether they wish to or not, if they must travel at all—are neither warm nor comfortable. They are—or were, until very recently—not lighted at night. And naturally, as they are very few, they are overcrowded. Needless to say, I never used the “occupation carriages” as a matter of principle. (I never took advantage of any privilege that my British-Indian passport could grant me, unless I could share it with at least some Germans of my persuasion.) But, on that day, the signal for the train to move had already been given when I reached the platform. I had no choice. I stepped into the first carriage before me. It happened to be an occupation carriage. And it also happened that some fifteen or twenty Germans who could not guess that I held a British-Indian passport and who somehow felt that I could not possibly belong to the “personnel” of the Occupation, seeing me get into it, stepped in too.
At the next station, a French officer came along, red with fury from the start: “What are you people doing here? This is an occupation carriage. This is not your place!” he shouted. “Your papers! Show your papers!” The terrorised folk started showing their “ Ausweis.”1 Not one, naturally, had an Allied passport, except me. But this was not written upon my face. I was sitting in a corner with my luggage (including my heavy trunk full of Nazi propaganda tracts) at my side, and slightly smiling. I suppose my hardly perceptible smile infuriated the fellow all the more, for he turned to me and thundered: “And you! Your papers, I say! Have you not heard? Are you deaf?” This was all said in German, with the most shocking French accent.
1 Identification papers—Ed.
“I am showing you my papers,” I replied, in faultless French.
My accent must have impressed the man.
“But you are not French!” he exclaimed. “Or are you? You don’t look it.”
“I was born in France,” said I; “That is all.”
That simple assertion seemed to pour oil upon the fire of the man’s fury. He flared up.
“And you went and married one of those . . . sales Boches”1 (sic) he retorted. “In that case, you have no right to be here. Clear out!”
“I am sorry to disappoint you, sir,” said I—and a triumphant irony rang in my voice—“but the man who gave me his name is ‘only’ a Brahmin from faraway India.” And I produced my passport.
The Frenchman glanced at the cover, and his face changed. A passport issued in Calcutta in the days when India was still a British colony—that was enough to tame a foaming French officer in occupied Germany! “My Führer’s people, how long will these rats rule over you?” I thought. The Frenchman was all honey. He did not even open the British-Indian passport. The sight of the cover was sufficient. “Quite all right! Quite all right!” said he. “Naturally, you can stay here. Why did you not tell me at once?”
“I wanted to show you my passport,” I replied. “And it was at the bottom of my handbag.”
“Quite all right! Quite all right! Don’t bother to move.”
The train slowed down its speed as we were entering another station. The Frenchman suddenly forgot that he had just been overwhelmed by the reflected prestige of an ex-colony of his country’s allies. He only remembered that he was there to make as many Germans as possible feel the pressure of his unexpected and undeserved power. He turned to the other passengers. “Get out!” he shouted, “Get out!” He caught a man by the collar of his jacket and, opening the door, actually pushed him out before the train had stopped. Then—as at last it did stop—he pushed out half a dozen women who, in his estimation, were not getting down quickly enough. He kicked out what little luggage they had, and also kicked out a young boy about twelve or thirteen. The bulk of the passengers rushed to the other exit, and got down as speedily as they could. The frenzied man could not be at both doors at the same time.
Then, the railway employee on duty—who should have seen to it that these passengers did not enter the occupation carriage—was called
1 Dirty Krauts—Ed.
in, reprimanded in the most abusive language, and told he would be dismissed for his carelessness. He wished to say something. The Frenchman cut his speech short: “Shut up, I tell you! And get out!” He spoke to him as though he were a dog—or worse. He spoke to them all—and treated them all—as though they were worse than dogs. Harmless people; peaceable people—far less aggressive than myself, the whole lot of them! Sitting, immune, in my corner, I mused over the injustice—and irony—of the scene I had witnessed. “Yes, peaceable people,” thought I. “Not one of them is travelling with six thousand Nazi leaflets. But also, not one has a British-Indian passport!”
Alone with the Frenchman, I pretended to be sleepy, so that he might not talk to me. I did not wish to address a word to him—if I could help it—after the way he had behaved with the Germans. But we reached Treves, and I made ready to get down. The officer was getting down too, apparently. He remembered that I was a lady and not a German; nor in sympathy with the Germans—at least he thought, mistaking, as most people do, the average probability for the living individual reality.
“May I carry some of your luggage for you, Madam?” he asked me, as the train halted in the main station of Treves.
“How kind of you, Monsieur,” I replied. “I am really grateful. In fact, I have here a trunk that is a little heavy. If only you were so amiable as to carry that for me, I would consider it a great favour.”
He lifted the trunk and joined me, with it, on the platform.
“Gosh! It is heavy!” he said, “What have you got in there? Lead?”
“Where are you going? To the waiting room?”
“To the cloakroom.”
Along platform number one of the main station of Treves, and past those walls that the Allied bombs have reduced to a heap of ruins, straight to the cloakroom walked that French officer—that man whom I had heard and seen abusing and mishandling Germans, only half an hour before; that living embodiment of all that the word “Besatzung”—occupation—means to proud Germany. On he walked, ahead of me, carrying . . . my trunk stuffed with Nazi propaganda! That was something worth seeing indeed!
“Merci Monsieur; merci infiniment,” said I, with a smile, to the oppressor of my Führer’s people, when I reached the cloakroom and parted from the man forever.
* * *
On the 9th of October 1948, I paid a visit to a Frenchman in high position, Monsieur G,1 whose address in Baden-Baden had been given to me by the Paris official who had granted me my pass to Germany. “The more one indulges in forbidden political activities, the more one should remain on ‘friendly’ terms with the established authorities,” my wise husband once said shortly after the outbreak of the war. And I remembered the advice. I had therefore not come to discuss, still less, openly, to defy; but to hear, and to judge in silence—as far as possible.
This man had been in Germany ever since 1945, and before that had taken an active part in the French résistance. I had been in this country a little more than a month, and all through the war, nay for many years before the war, I had been living in India, officially “unconnected” with and outwardly “non-interested” in European affairs. It was easy for me, on account of these circumstances, to play the part of the ignorant in search of enlightenment. And I knew that, provided I had enough mastery over myself to conceal my natural Nazi feelings whatever the Frenchman might say, my acting would be welcome, for it would flatter the man’s vanity both as a Frenchman and as a high official of the “Information Department” in occupied Germany.
Monsieur G, knowing nothing about me save what was stated in the letter from the “Office for German Affairs” (which, naturally, I showed him) received me with great amiability. He asked me a few questions about my projected book on Germany. “From what I understand,” said he, after a while, “it is the German people—the German soul—that interest you, rather than the political or economical aspects of the ‘German question.’”
“Surely; economics can only come second, or even third; factors of ethics and race come first,” I replied. And I suddenly realised that I had been quoting Mein Kampf without meaning to.2 But Monsieur G—who did not know the book by heart; who, as thousands of notorious anti-Nazis, had possibly never even read it—did not notice that the words were not mine.
“But the Germans are not really one race,” he answered. “They have only tried to make us believe that they are, and failed. And as for ethics, National Socialism has deprived them of the little they had. You cannot imagine what a monstrous influence it has had on them. It has killed in them the sense of humanity. We are trying to re-educate them. But it is difficult, very difficult.”
1 Rudolf Grassot—Ed.
2 Mein Kampf, I, x, p. 247; cf. Mannheim, pp. 226–27.
My spontaneous answer would have been: “I do hope it is impossible!” But again, I had not come to discuss. I had come to see one of our persecutors, as he is; as they all are. I acted up to my rôle. “But,” said I—to see what the man would answer—“many Germans are Christians. And one cannot be a Christian and a National Socialist. At least I, who have studied logic under Professor Goblot,1 cannot understand how one possibly could.”
“You cannot; nor can I,” replied Monsieur G. “But the Germans seem to. Their logic is different from other people’s. You don’t know them yet. You probably find them all charming. They are, at first sight. But wait till you know them. Wait till you know the Nazis—if you are clever enough to spot them out; for nobody will tell you that he or she is one.”
“Have you not found any praiseworthy qualities at all in the Germans, including the National Socialists?” said I. “They are hard-working, clean, and courageous; one has to admit that. And,”—I added—“should I speak of that? Is it a general trait? Or did it strike me only because I have been but a few days here, and because I have come from India where the contrary has so often and so painfully impressed me? They seem to me to be kind to animals. Shall I tell you of a scene I witnessed in a village of the Saar?”
“Well, I was stopping, waiting for a bus to another village. Nearby, I saw a man trying to bring a horse and cart out of some waste land on the border of the main road. The cart was loaded with earth. The horse tried as hard as he could to pull it. But he could not. It was too heavy. The man coaxed him, encouraged him. He did not beat him. The animal tried again, twice, without any result. In India—in southern Europe, why speak of the distant East?—the driver would have lost his temper, and started whipping and kicking his beast. This man did not. He merely allowed about one third of the earth to drop from the cart; he coaxed the horse again, patted him on the neck. And the animal gave a jerk, and came forth drawing the cart behind him. I could not say what were that man’s politics, if any. But he was a German. And I have seen many other similar instances of kindness to beasts since I have come here. Only in England, and in the North of Europe, have I seen the same. The people, there, are of the same stock—which is perhaps an explanation.”
“As for that,” said Monsieur G, “I entirely agree with you; they
1 At the University of Lyons from 1924 to 1927.
kind to animals. And the Nazis more than the others. They were taught to be, under the Hitler régime. They were trained to love living creatures, trees, flowers, everything in Nature, and, at the same time, encouraged to be merciless towards their political opponents. Do you know,” he pursued after a pause, “that in that world-famous place of untold horrors, Buchenwald, they had beautiful flowerbeds? And, hung up in the trees, wooden shelters in which the birds could find food and protection against the bitter wind in wintertime? That, along with their gas chambers and their crematoria! That is the Nazi logic.”
I said nothing. For the only thing I could think of in answer to this tirade was: “I thank you, Monsieur, for your information about the flowerbeds and the bird shelters at Buchenwald. You have made me feel sorry that I cannot congratulate the governor of the place.” And to say that, would have been to step out of my incognito.
Monsieur G continued: “I say ‘the Nazi logic,’ for it is a logic in its own way, but a logic that baffles us; that baffles all decent people. It is the logic of a nation in which, as I told you before, all sense of human rights has been killed; a frightful logic.1 Those people’s whole mental outlook was guided, dominated by one principle, namely that everything else must be subordinated to the triumph of National Socialism. They crushed all opposition. But, at the same time, they used their opponents to the utmost. To make them work to their maximum capacity, in concentration camps, was not sufficient. They had to use them even dead. They made soap with their fat; strong ropes with the women’s hair; lampshades with their skins. Nothing was to be wasted. And those same people were against cruelty to animals. Those same people made the use of steel traps illegal; ordered that even pigs were not to be killed for food save in one second, by an automatic pistol. Can you understand such logic? I am sure our few French National Socialists would not have followed it to the end, had they seen it at work. But the Germans did. Because the German soul is fundamentally made up of contrasts and contradictions. Show that, in your book, and you will be telling the truth.”
“I am not a German,” thought I; “and yet that absolute logic, which frightens this fellow so much, is mine, nevertheless; has been mine all my life. To me, innocent animals are far more lovable than one’s human opponents. Undoubtedly! Does this Frenchman imagine that he is going to stir my sympathy for those who fought us or betrayed us, for the sole reason that they have two legs and no tails? No fear! The
1 “Une logique effroyable,” are the exact words of Monsieur G.
fellow does not know me.” That is what I thought. But naturally I did not say it. To the best of my ability I remained expressionless, and prepared my answer.
I knew that half the accusations against us (of which Monsieur G had only repeated a few) are groundless. But had they all been buttressed by facts, I could not have cared less. I surely could not—and cannot—understand why so many consider it a crime to make use of people’s hair (or skin) once they are dead. In my eyes, one can only object to such a thing on purely sentimental grounds, namely, in the case of one’s friends, not of one’s opponents; not of people who are out to destroy all one loves. And to raise such points against a régime that has done so much, on the other hand, not only for animals, as Monsieur G admitted, but also for the best among living people, seems to me utterly absurd; mad—all the more shocking that, in those very countries in which anti-Nazi propaganda has been the most successful, countless horrors are tolerated, nay, encouraged, even in peace time, provided they be performed in the name of some real or supposed interest of “mankind” upon innocent beasts instead of upon dangerous human beings. I did not wish to discuss the truth or falsity of Monsieur G’s statements about our doings, for I knew that this could only raise his suspicion. But I felt I could not remain silent about that inconsistency, that contradiction—for it surely is one—and I spoke. “Are not contrasts and contradictions the characteristics of average human nature?” said I cautiously.
I was going to say more, but Monsieur G interrupted me with vehemence: “That may well be. But no civilised people have ever committed such atrocities as those Nazis,” he exclaimed, “not in our times, at least; and not in Europe.”
“People who practice vivisection under the cover of the law in nearly all so-called civilised countries of the world, in Europe and elsewhere, and in our times, commit far worse atrocities,” said I, risking at last to be found out. I am not made for a diplomatic career, and could not stand the conversation any longer.
“But that is on animals,” retorted Monsieur G, “We make a difference between them and human beings. Don’t you?”
“I am not a Christian,” I replied; “and I love all life that is beautiful.” I did not add: “And I make a difference—and a very great one—between human beings who hate all that I love, and others.” I thought I had already spoken too much, and was inwardly reproaching myself with my lack of suppleness. But Monsieur G did not seem to notice, or even to suspect, the source from which my answer had sprung.
“I too, am no Christian,” said he; “but I believe in humanity. And I know you do too, at heart.”
I wanted to reply: “Do you, really?” But I thought it wiser to say nothing.
* * *
I have already reported some of the fanciful arguments which Monsieur G put forward to justify in my eyes the plunder policy of the Allies in occupied Germany.1 They rank among the most remarkable lies I have ever heard. But Monsieur G—that kind Monsieur G, who “believes in humanity”—said something more to me; something that will remain engraved within my heart as long as I live. He spoke to me of one of the unknown thousands who died for the National Socialist Idea; of one whom he had known, at least a few hours, and in the murder of whom I feel sure he played a part.
He was speaking of what he called the “contrasts” of the German soul—his favourite theme. He had told me that, in 1945, he had met some Germans who appeared to him to have “little dignity in defeat.” “But,” he added, “while I was in the résistance, during the war, I have seen a few of them die; all real, hundred percent Nazis. And those, I cannot help admiring. I have never seen anybody show such fortitude as they in suffering, nor such calm and fearlessness in front of death.”
I felt an icy sensation run along my spine and all through my body. I kept in my breath, and listened. This was the story of my own comrades—of those who had loved our Hitler as I do, and who had had the honour of dying for him, which I had not had. And one of our persecutors was telling it to me, as an eyewitness, if not . . . something more; something worse—without knowing who I was.
“Yes,” continued Monsieur G, wrapped up in his own recollections, and not noticing how moved I was, “yes; and there is one among them all, whom I can never forget; a boy of eighteen, a mere lad, but a lad whom we were forced to respect, we hardened men of the maquis.2 We caught him in France, never mind where. He was to be executed the next day. A tall, particularly handsome German type; the best specimen
1 In Chapter 7, p. 109.
2 Literally a thick and intricate wood in Corsica to which men pursued by the regular police fled for safety. During the 1939–45 war, another name for the French anti-Nazi underground organisation.
of Hitler youth one can imagine. I could have felt sorry for him, had I not known who he was. But I knew. And had I not been quite sure, my night long conversation with him would have been more than sufficient to convince me that he was a full-fledged Nazi. He had behaved as they all did: ruthlessly, without the slightest regard for human life. But he believed in what he did. He had a purpose, and ideals, and was perfectly sincere. He knew he was to die in a few hours’ time. Yet, during that night, he explained to me his whole philosophy with the earnestness and the happiness of absolute faith, thinking perhaps that, one day, I might remember what he said and admit he was right. You know the philosophy; I do not need to tell you. He believed in what they all did—in what they all still do, at heart: in the God-ordained superiority of the Aryan and the divine mission of the German nation; in the prophetic rôle of Hitler in world history. There was beauty, there was greatness in what he said, even if it were but a misconception, for he was beautiful from every point of view. Beautiful and strong; absolutely sincere, and absolutely fearless.
“He was shot the next morning. I have never seen anyone look so happy as that boy walking to the spot of execution. He refused to be tied or blindfolded; stood against the pole of his own accord; lifted his right arm in the ritual gesture which you can guess, and died in a cry of triumph; ‘Heil Hitler!’”
“And it is you, you yourself who killed him! I would bet anything that it is you—you swine, you devil!” These were the only words I could have said—shouted—had I not known that, to speak thus to Monsieur G was to ruin all the possibilities I had to work for the National Socialist Idea in occupied Germany. But knowing this, I said nothing. For the sake of the unknown thousands for the love of whom I had come, I had no right to be rash. Yet, I was moved to my depths. Every one of the Frenchman’s words had gone through me like a knife. I now loathed the creature, for I felt sure that he had been more than a mere eyewitness to this murder. And the handsome, sincere, and fearless young Nazi, I loved, as though he had been my son. I felt proud of him; and at the same time aggrieved, as one is for a loss that is irreparable. Those large thoughtful blue eyes that shone as the young man spoke of our great ideals; those eyes that had looked straight into the faces of the men who shot him, without a shadow of hatred or fear, would never see the Sun again . . .
Controlling the tears that I felt welling up into my eyes, I asked Monsieur G: “Could you tell me the name of that young German, and where exactly, and in what year he was shot?”
The Frenchman seemed a little surprised. “Why do you wish to know all those details?” said he. “I only told you of this episode in order to illustrate what I had tried to explain previously concerning the contrasts of the German soul.”
“That’s just it,” I replied. “I was thinking of putting it in my book, as it is so illustrative. And I was going to ask you if I could not quote your name, both in connection with this episode and with what you said of the ‘appalling logic.’”
“Oh, you can mention me with regard to the ‘appalling logic’ as much as you like. But not with regard to this. No please; on no account. Those were very tragic times and . . . I think it is better if my name does not appear.”
“Could you not tell me, at least, who shot that young man?”
“I am sorry,” replied Monsieur G, “but I cannot answer that question. Moreover, I cannot understand what interest all this has for you.”
I felt more and more convinced that he had done the deed himself, or that he was, anyhow, one of those who did it. I got up and took leave of the Frenchman, on the pretext of an appointment that I would miss if I did not go at once.
But the thought of that young hero pursued me. I imagined him telling me, from beyond the gates of eternity: “Why are you so grieved because of me? Did I not die the very sort of death you envy? And am I not happy, by the side of Leo Schlageter and of Horst Wessel, forever?”
I remembered it was the 9th of October 1948, exactly forty-one years after the day Horst Wessel was born.
And I recalled in my heart those two lines of the immortal Song:
Comrades whom the Red Front and the Reaction have shot,
March in spirit with us, within our ranks!
* * *
I met a few other specimens of the Allied forces in occupied Germany: one or two more Frenchmen in Baden-Baden and in Koblenz, and a handful of Britishers before and during my trial. The Frenchmen, who did not know who I was, were either typical representatives of France’s official opinion like Monsieur G, or else, equally mediocre but less conscious Democrats: people who really did
not care two hoots what happened to the world as long as they, and their wives and children, were all right and could get meat and wine every day and enjoy a cinema show once a week. These only hated war because it upset their insignificant little lives, and also because, one must admit, it is a dangerous game. They were “against Nazism” only because they had been taught that it was “the cause of the war.” In fact, they did not care for any “ism.” They cared for themselves, and felt uneasy in the presence of anyone who cared for something greater. Such people always do.
The Britishers with whom I came in touch—Military Intelligence officers, police officers, one or two members of the English governing staff of this prison, and the policewoman in whose charge I was on every one of my journeys between Werl and Düsseldorf—all knew who I was. I could therefore speak freely to them. I asked practically the same question to all: “You say you fought six years to make the world a safe place for the free expression of the individual—‘freedom of conscience’ as you call it. You fought us—you say—because we refuse to admit that the law should express the will of a majority of individuals won over by free propaganda. Why then do you deny us, now, the right to propagate our views, nay, the right to express ourselves as National Socialists? Why do you persecute us?”
The answer of all of them has been printed in a letter addressed to the editor of the Observer by E.I. Watkin, and published in that paper on the 27th of February 1949: “Experience of National Socialism and Communism should have taught us that toleration, if it is not to stultify itself, must have a limit. We cannot tolerate the dangerously intolerant.”1
The intelligent Frenchmen (like the one whose talk I reported in the beginning of a former chapter2) admit that “business”—that is to say, plunder—is the ultimate motive behind their whole disgusting policy in Germany. And the British would doubtless admit the same, had they the moral courage and intellectual honesty to do so. But the sincere and courageous ones among them are either fools, misled by the press and the radio, or (in those rare instances in which they happen to be intelligent) National Socialists, ex-internees of Brixton or of the Isle of Man under “18B,” not to be found in present-day Germany. The intelligent ones are, generally, neither courageous nor sincere. They are congenitally prudish, congenitally squeamish, and, if moral cowardice
1 This letter to the editor is entitled “Cromwell’s religion.”
2 In Chapter 7, pp. 90–95.
and hypocrisy can he cultivated, their whole education has helped to give those vices a foremost place in their psychological makeup. They will never call a spade a spade, even among themselves. They have grown so accustomed to a scale of spurious values, to moderation and “decency” through falsity, that they believe their own lies. And that is, partly, the secret of their diplomatic successes in war and peace. That is also the secret of their hold upon the mind of the average coward. Moderation; “decency”; toleration of all but the “dangerously” intolerant—of all but the sincere, the bold, the strong; of all but those who prefer healthy violence to diplomacy; who despise diplomacy, even when compelled to use it; the average coward relishes such an attitude and therefore likes them.
They—and the Americans, with whom I have not come into contact but who, I am told, are even more bent on “de-Nazification” than they are—have not come here for plunder. They do not persecute us because they know that, in our hands, a free and racially conscious Germany would not take more than a couple of years to rise once more, on the material plane also, to the leadership of the Aryan world. Oh, no! They do not want the material leadership of the world for themselves, those broad-minded, humane, peace-loving British and American Democrats—so they say. They persecute us for philosophical reasons: because we are prepared to enforce our scale of values—which is the complete denial of theirs—by violence, while they, old, sickly, decadent people, have nothing to enforce, save rules destined to protect, forever, the worthless lives and silly amusements of a more and more ape-like majority, as well as the profits of the “decent” capitalists with Christian ideals of charity and a deep-rooted horror for eternal truths expressed in new, living words.
There is, undoubtedly, a far more impressive connection between our enemies’ economic greed and fears, and their “philosophical” dislike of National Socialism, than one suspects at first sight. But it is not, perhaps, the simple causal connection one expects. The Democrats’ “philosophical” objection to our Ideology, and their alleged horror of our methods (as of those of the Communists, who, as I said before, are also earnest people) are perhaps not so much an excuse for their plunder policy, as the insatiable material greed behind that policy is a consequence of the whole mentality of the decadent West, embodied in Democracy. In other words, the Democrats want a free hand to exploit the world, and hate all possible competitors, because they have nothing nobler, nothing more lovable to live for than their pockets. And they are so “tolerant” not out of a generous
comprehension of every point of view (for, in such a case, they would tolerate us too) but out of indifference towards anything that does not threaten the cherished security of their little lives—the material security, no doubt; but the moral security also; the comfortable feeling that all is well with the established Judeo-Christian tradition of degenerate Europe.
They speak of us and of the Communists in the same breath, however fundamentally opposite our two philosophies be, however contrary be our basic aspirations. They are hypnotised by one fact, namely that we and our bitterest enemies both know what we want and believe in what we preach; that we are both prepared to use any methods which are expedient, any means that lead to triumph; in one word, that we and they are equally intolerant.
All living Weltanschauungen are equally “intolerant.”1 Christianity was, when it was alive. The Greek religion of old, in its narrow, ritualistic aspect, was not—so they say. But even if this be true, the real racial and national Weltanschauung at the back of the public cult—the Hellenic edition of our broader Aryan philosophy, expressed in the proud words: “Pas men Ellen, Barbaros” (“Every man who is not a Hellene, is a Barbarian”) could not have been more radical, more intolerant. As our Führer has rightly said: “The greatness of any active organisation which is the embodiment of an idea, lies in the spirit of religious fanaticism and intolerance in which it attacks all others, being convinced that it alone is right.”2 But the Democrats are old and sick and tired—decadent, as I said before. At heart, they are afraid of any people bearing, like we, that glaring sign of youth: intolerance—precisely because it is a sign of youth. They envy us that faith and devotion that fills us, that once filled the early Christians, their forerunners, and that they know they will never have again. And they fear us, and they hate us because we are young; because we are the embodiment of Aryan vitality, the everlasting Youth of the Race. For they know, as everyone else, that youth is to take the place of decrepit old age; that the living are to take the place of the dying and of the dead.
1 Except if—like Buddhism—they be aimed exclusively at drawing man out of the bondage of time.
2 Mein Kampf, I, xii, p. 385; cf. Mannheim, p. 351.
* * *
The attitude of the few French and British people whom I met in occupied Germany, to us and our way of life, is essentially the same as that of most anti-Nazi specimens one comes across in France or in England. Only a little more cynical, perhaps—or else, still more hypocritical—in the case of the clever ones; and, if possible, still stupider, in the case of the average. For one does not remain in the service of the Allies in that oppressed land, unless one is brazenly selfish and cynical, congenitally dishonest, or incurably stupid. Any person who does not possess one of these three qualifications—or two; or all three—becomes disgusted of the Allies’ doings and resigns, or is forced to resign, within a remarkably short time.
As a rule, I do not discuss with anti-Nazis if I can help it. I only wait for the time and opportunity to silence their quack1 by force. Yet, from the few I came in contact with, out of policy or out of compulsion—useful members of the British and American forces in India during the war; useful officials, in or outside Germany after the war, and, last but not least, people who cross-examined me during or before my trial—from all those, I say, the impression I received confirms entirely that which written Democratic propaganda had made upon me long before: those self-styled champions of “humanity” and “decency” have no philosophy whatsoever. Their stubborn enmity towards us; their blind hatred of all we stand for; even their pretended horror of our uncompromising methods, all spring from the same source: fear, and bitter envy—the envy of the mental (or physical) cripple at the sight of us, healthy Heathens, in whose world he knows he would have no place; the envy of the blasé, pitiable product of decay, at the sight of the rising Youth of the Race in whose heart, in spite of material disaster, confidence still abides and love can still work wonders; the envy of the weakling and of the coward, too cautious to be radical, too squeamish to face facts, too shaky to walk more than half way along the path of resurrection, at the sight of those who, in one frantic leap, have thrown themselves into the struggle for the survival of Aryan mankind with Hitler’s immortal words “Future or ruin!” as their battle cry; that envy, and . . . the fear of coming death.
Those are not our final enemies. However much they might hate us and persecute us, the real, the final issue does not lie between us and them—any more than it does between them and their “gallant allies” of yesterday, the Communists. The ultimate issue lies between us and the
1 Savitri seems to be (mis)using the English word “quack” as a synonym for the German word “Quackelei,” i.e., silly talk, nonsense, prattle.—Ed.
Communists. For they alone profess the Democratic principles without being impaired by that insurmountable shallowness of the Western Democrats; by that mania for “moderation” and “decency”; that unhealthy admiration for half measures. Their Weltanschauung is diametrically opposed to ours; but it is a Weltanschauung—not just an excuse for dabbling in politics without any serious inconvenience to one’s physical comforts and moral and intellectual slumber. It is Democracy, nay, it is Christianity—that oldest successful snare held out to the Aryan world by the ubiquitous Jew—carried to the limits of its logical implications. (The attitude of the Communist State to the Christian Churches, as temporal organisations, lessens in no way the importance of that philosophical fact.) It is more than the artificial creation of the brains of idle, decadent Aryans under the influence of Jewish thought. It is the brutal, physical impact of an immense portion of the multifarious non-Aryan world, coalesced in aggressive hatred against us, its natural betters, and against that outward expression of our legitimate consciousness of superiority: racial pride.
The unpardonable crime of the democrats is to have strengthened that, by fighting us for their petty ends.
May they suffer—and die—for that crime!