23 April 1953
Seated in a corner of the railway carriage, by the open window, I breathed the early morning air with delight and admired the scenery, refusing deliberately to think of the inconvenience that I should perhaps have to face at Freilassing. That inconvenience consisted in being compelled to wait an hour and a half for the next train to Munich, in the case I should not have time to collect my heavy suitcase at the cloakroom within the mere eight minutes this “through train,” in which I was travelling, was to halt at the junction station. “Why had I at all left the suitcase there, to avoid the trouble of dragging it with me to Berchtesgaden?” I wondered.
But to bother my head beforehand would not solve the coming difficulty. So I brushed the thought aside. I had rolled along this same track three days before, on my way to Berchtesgaden, but at 10 p.m., or so. So it was the first time that I was seeing the scenery. And it was too beautiful for me to miss a single glimpse of it: woods, and still more woods; then, suddenly, a stretch of gleaming water full of the upside-down reflection of bordering trees, bright, yellowish-green in the sunshine, and of steep dark slopes, at the top of which emerged, now and then, an impressive spur of rock; and, always, always, — above all that, far away — the resplendent outline of snowy ranges against the pure sky: the same Bavarian Alps, of which I had been admiring the splendour from the moment I had opened my eyes in Berchtesgaden; the same, but seen from an ever greater distance.
Freilassing — an abrupt return to practical reality. This time, I brushed aside every thought save that of my suitcase. Eight minutes’ time only! I had to make haste if I wished to catch the same train. I had explained my trouble to a tall, handsome, sympathetic young man who had helped me to step
out of the train with the luggage I had with me: a smaller suitcase and a travelling bag, which I could not leave in the railway carriage, as I was not at all sure that I would have time to come back. The young man accompanied me to the cloakroom, carrying half the things for me — thus enabling me to walk faster
The train had halted on platform 3 — as far as possible from the cloakroom. “It would!” thought I in a flash, inwardly acknowledging my bad luck. This meant that I should have to take the underground passage — to go down a flight of steps and then up another one; and then, down again and up once more with my suitcase weighing thirty kilos. And no porter anywhere to be seen! It was clear that I would miss this train and have to wait an hour and a half. Still . . . What could be done?
We reached the cloakroom. I produced my receipt, paid, took my suitcase. But I could not possibly carry it myself and be back to my train in time. The young man took it in one hand; held my travelling bag in the other: “Follow me as fast as you can!” cried he, as he walked down the steps, back into the underground passage through which we had come. “You have three minutes more; still time!”
I trotted along as fast as I could at his side. We reached the train within a minute. The young man pushed my things in, helped me to lift my heavy suitcase and place it in the net above my seat. “I do thank you!” exclaimed I, overwhelmed at the idea of all the trouble that he had taken for my sake. “It was most kind of you. I do thank you!” But it was not only that the man had spared me the inconvenience of waiting for the next train. What really touched me in him was that spontaneous will to help me. He was about thirty. “Twenty-two at the time of the Capitulation,” thought I; “ten, in 1933.” Which meant that he had been brought up in our principles. I was practically sure that he was one of us. (I had met only one German of that generation, who was not.) But he did not know me. He had not spoken to me in the train. He could not guess who I was. And yet . . . I felt sure that there existed in him some subconscious certitude concerning me. His subtle self knew who I was, if his conscious self did not. And he probably expressed the certitude of
his subtle self by finding me “extremely sympathetic” (or something of the kind) without knowing why.
In my eyes, he was Germany — Adolf Hitler’s people — responding to my love. And to the extent this was possible, I could not help telling him so.
“Do you know,” said I, leaning out of the window while he stood on the platform; “that I have never been shown such friendly attention — such affection, I can say: the word is not too strong — on the part of any people, as I have here in Germany? It looks as though they feel how much I love and admire them. And you have, once more, strengthened in me that impression.”
“Yes,” replied the young man; “you are right: I have felt . . .”
But the train had started, and I shall never know what he was going to say.
* * *
I sat down, and one single thought, one immense expectation filled my consciousness: “I am now really going to Munich, the birthplace of National Socialism.” The mere name of the town had upon my imagination a magical effect. Letting my head rest against the back of the seat, I shut my eyes and thought of the early days of the Struggle, and for the millionth time deplored the fact that I had come to Germany so late, while the oldest, strongest and deepest aspirations of my life should have drawn me there directly, even long before 1933.
We were nearing the hallowed city. Soon I read in large letters, on the side of the railway, the indication of the coming station: München. And tears welled up to my eyes. I recalled the words of one of the oldest and most beautiful songs of the early days of the Struggle for power: the song in honour of the sixteen first Martyrs of National Socialism:
“In München sind viele gefallen;
In München war’n viele dabei . . .”
I also remembered Adolf Hitler’s enthusiastic praise of the predestined town: “A German city; what a difference with Vienna!”1 . . . “What drew me to it more than anything else
1 Mein Kampf, edit. 1939, p. 138.
was that wonderful blending of primitive vital energy and of refined artistic disposition.”1
I got out of the train, went and left my luggage at the cloakroom, as usual, and wandered for a while in the newly rebuilt station. I remembered the railway stations with gaping walls and no roofs that I had seen five years before all over Germany, and I was elated at the sight of the contrast. And as I had not yet had anything to eat or drink, I sat at a table before the Refreshment room, and ordered a cup of coffee and a bun.
A man came and sat opposite me. I did not much like the look of him. He had none of the external traits that usually induce me to feel that a person is (or at least might be) one of us. But I told myself that he was, anyhow, a German. And I was romantic enough to hope that the first German who spoke to me in Munich could hardly be anything else but a sympathiser of National Socialism when not a fanatical supporter of it. But fate is sometimes bitterly ironical.
The fellow, who turned out to be anything but an embodiment of what I call a worthy German, had very definite views about foreigners. And he held, in particular, that a foreigner — and specially a citizen of one of those countries that fought on the side of, the Allies during this stupid war — is necessarily — must necessarily be — an Anti-Nazi, and consequently a person full of tenderness towards all “victims of National Socialism.” No sooner had I answered his first question and told him that I had come from Athens and that I was Greek, he imagined he had discovered someone who would not fail to admire him. “You know,” said he, utterly pleased with himself; “I have been interned in a concentration camp . . .”
I despised him. “Another of those confounded ‘victims of the Nazi régime,’” thought I. “And one who, on the top of that, has the impudence of imagining that he is going to stir my sympathy. Whom does he take me for?” But I refrained from letting him notice any sign of my reaction.
“Is it so?” said I, politely. “And in which camp were you?”
“In Dachau. You must have heard of Dachau, surely?”
“Heard of Dachau? I should think so!”
1 Mein Kampf, edit. 1939, p. 139.
And I could not have been more sincere than in this exclamation. I had indeed heard of the horrors that took place there: of the unbelievable tortures inflicted upon S.S. men by Jews in American uniform (and by degenerate Aryans, worse than Jews) in 1945, 1946, 1947 — after the all-too-famous camp had been taken over by the defenders of humanity in their “crusade to Europe.”
But the stupid ass took my exclamation for an unmistakable mark of sympathy. “Well, I have been there three years,” declared he, more pleased with himself than ever.
I could not help smiling. Then, I put him a most unexpected question: “Were you there before 1945, or after?”
The man looked at me as though he could not understand what I implied. “Before 1945, naturally,” said he.
“And what were you there for?” if it be not too indiscreet to ask you,” pursued I bitingly, in an icy-cold voice, with a sarcastic smile. “Was it, like so many other internees, for having transgressed against Article 175 of the German penal Code? Or was it for something even worse: for having worked against the National Socialist régime, for example?” (“Violation of Article 175 of the Penal Code” was an euphemistic way of referring to homosexuality — already bad enough, specially in our eyes.)
The “victim of National Socialism” was too abruptly taken aback to speak. I thought he was going to get up and walk away, disgusted by the brutality of my questions. But he did not. He answered me — after a few seconds.
“Oh, for nothing of all that, and surely for nothing connected with politics!” exclaimed he. “Don’t think I was an enemy of the Party, although I never belonged to it. I never was a member of any party . . .”
Now that he had become aware of the enormity of his blunder, he was trying his best to justify himself — at least, to lessen his culpability in my eyes — as though we still were in power, or as though he were sure that we would soon again be. “A good sign!” reflected I. But the man resumed his apology “I had merely punched the mayor’s face, in the course of a discussion, in our village. It was to teach him a lesson, for he had spoken haughtily to me. But he happened to be a Party member while I was not; that is why I was so severely punished.”
“Under any régime one is severely punished, if one assaults representatives of the established authority with one’s fists,” remarked I bluntly. And I got up.
“Another time,” added I, “you should not be in such a hurry to tell your adventures to the first person you meet, be he (or she) a foreigner. Now, of course, it is of little import. But you can never know what consequences it might have for you in the future.”
And I went my way, leaving the bewildered man to his thoughts.
I walked out of the station and, turning to my left, — as though some instinct had told me that this was the direction in which I should seek all that I had come to see in Munich — I followed the street. Munich has, during this war, suffered from Allied bombing as much as any German town. The station has been rebuilt, admittedly; and so have also many houses, bearing tangible witness to the peoples will to live. But there are still immense empty spaces to be seen — like gaping wounds — amidst the standing buildings, old and new; whole localities that have not yet come back to life. And there are ruined spaces over which have been built nothing but shops (and an occasional cinema) — no houses . . . I thought of the millions of uprooted Germans who, eight years after the end of the war, are still packed in “temporary” refugee camps or in no less precarious wooden lodgings. More of them are pouring in every day from the Russian Zone, one is told. And I thought of all the money that has been extorted from poor bleeding Germany during these eight years, and spent — wasted — on different useless luxuries for the benefit of the detested Occupants, or on shameful “compensations” granted to Israel as a State, to individual Jews, and to the traitors of Aryan blood, voluntary slaves of Jewry, “victims of National Socialism!”
I recalled a fairly large sign board that I had once noticed against a certain wall in Baden-Baden — somewhere on that avenue leading to what is now the French Gendarmerie —: “Office for Relief to the Victims of National Socialism.” With what delight had I, upon a foggy night of January 1949, at 2:30 a.m., stuck up one of my posters in the middle of that sign-board, and then walked past the place three or four times to
enjoy the defiance effect produced by the impressive black Swastika (that occupied one third of the surface of the poster) under the mendacious words: Victims of National Socialism!
I knew who those self-styled “victims” were: fellows of the type of that one whom I had just now met at the station, and worse. All the downright criminal elements among the women who, in 1949, composed the bulk of the non-political prisoners in Werl, had spent more or less time in concentration camps under our régime. I now remembered one of these who had remained four years in one for having killed a pig in a cruel manner — and in a flash, I compared that righteous verdict with that of the English tribunal which had, in 1950 or 1951, sentenced a man to a mere month’s imprisonment for having thrown a live cat into a burning oven. And once more I glorified our New Order. Many women who, under the Nazi régime, had been condemned to life-long internment for such crimes as abortion, complicity in murder of infants, etc, were afterwards set free by the champions of the “rights of man” and . . . had begun again. One, — a Czech, whom I had met in Werl, — had been nineteen times sentenced for theft and for abortive practices, by democratic judges, after we “monsters” had lost all power! And what is true of the women is no less true of the men. Such people were now given pensions; were paid for being criminals, “victims of National Socialism,” thought I bitterly, as I walked on, not having found yet, on the right side of the street at least, a single old building standing, nor a single new residential house, but only shops and still more shops, many of them luxurious. And I wondered how many of those shops were finally owned by Jews — Jews who had had them built and equipped with German money, here, upon this martyred earth, in the place of the German homes that their bombs, their war, their hatred of the predestined Aryan Nation, had destroyed!
Oh, until when would last this rule of Mammon, — of the Money Power, — which we came to crush? Until when would Germany be forced to pay those who are responsible for this war and for the disaster of 1945: the Jews of Palestine, the Jews of Europe, the Jews of the whole world, and their friends, — the German traitors and the foreign Occupants?
* * *
I walked straight on to Marienplatz, where I was glad to see that at least one side of the square had been spared by the Allied bombs. I wanted to see “the famous Feldherrenhalle, the building before which the Sixteen were shot on the 9th of November 1923; and someone had told me that I should first go to Marienplatz, and there, ask. But whom to ask? Obviously any “tourist” can wish to see the Feldherrenhalle, a historical building. Yet, it seemed to me as though every person would at once guess why I wanted to see it, and put me embarrassing questions. And I was determined to avoid questions, now, after my first conversation in Munich, at the railway-station. A young man who, at first sight, struck me as sympathetic, was standing before a shop. I asked him.
“The Feldherrenhalle? That is quite near,” said he. “Come with us; we are going in that direction; we shall show you.”
As he had finished his sentence, two other youngsters — for whom he had apparently been waiting stepped out of the shop and joined him. I now understood the meaning of “us,” and followed the three men. I followed then, without saying a word. I did not particularly like the two newcomers: and as I had a further look at him, one of them even struck me as possibly Jewish. It seemed strange to me to he walking to wards the Feldherrenhalle in his company. In a flash, I recalled the early Struggle, the sacrifice of the sixteen first blood-witnesses, and then, the clays of triumph, the years of power . . . What must have been the atmosphere of Munich, — cradle of the Hitler faith — then?, thought I. Oh, why had I not come then? Now, the man I had met at the station and this fellow, here, whose ears (in this connection, far more significant a feature than the nose, whatever most people might think) were placed too high, were the people one came across. The others? Those who had made the great days? Dead; or rotting in Landsberg and other prisons; or leading, as inconspicuously as possible, an eventless, when not hopeless, day-to-day life; faithful, no doubt; as ardently attached to Adolf Hitler as ever — more ardently than ever, perhaps, after their direct experience of Democracy, — but powerless and silent. I felt depressed.
But the three young men soon parted from me. “Now, it
is easy for you to find your way,” said the one to whom I had first spoken; “follow this street, straight on, till you come to a square. As you enter the Square — Odeonsplaz — the building on your right is the Residenz, the building on your left, the Feldherrenhalle. You cannot miss it.”
Indeed I could not. For after I had walked two or three minutes, there it stood, only a few yards away from me, facing, the square, with its three arches (that I had seen on pictures), its bronze group of victory, its two statues, — one on the right, one on the left of the allegorical group — its inscriptions upon two bronze tablets against the wall, and its two stone lions, one on each side, at the top of the flight of steps leading up to the statues and to the victory group. I walked up the steps, read the names of the warlords whom the statues represent: the famous Tilly, and Prince Karl Wrede, Fieldmarshal of Bavaria. I read the inscriptions upon the bronze tablets “During the victorious war 1870–1871, 134,744 Bavarians fought for Germany. Of these, 3,825 were slain upon the battlefield. The Bavarian generals were Ludwig Freiherr von und zu der Tann Rathgarnhausen, and General Jakob Ritter von Hartmann”; and, on the other side: “During the World War 1914–1918, 1,400,000 Bavarians fought for Germany, and 200,000 of them were slain upon the battlefield. Fieldmarshal Krownprince Rupprecht of Bavaria, General Fieldmarshal prince Leopold V of Bavaria, and General Oberst Fieldmarshal Count von Bothmer were in command.”
I was happy to read those words, everlasting testimony to Bavaria’s loyalty to the German Reich. But I had especially come to be silent upon the spot where the Sixteen had died for all that the German Reich means to me; to think of them; to think of him, full of whose burning faith they had died. I wanted to know where, exactly, the tragedy of the 9th of November had taken place.
It was not so easy to ask that as it had been to ask where stood the Feldherrenhalle: foreign travellers who are nothing more than tourists are not generally interested in such recent history. To them, the “Putsch” in Munich — our Führer’s first attempt to seize power in 1923 — and the repression on the part of the so-called German Government of the time, are just episodes of the inner political life of a foreign country.
I stood before the building, seeking among the passersby a sympathetic face — someone of whom I could feel that “he might be one of us.” I soon spotted one out. There are plenty of them in Munich after all, — even now.
“Excuse me, if you please . . . May I ask you a question? I hope you will not mind . . .” began I, still a little hesitatingly. “I have come from abroad, and I would like to know . . .”
The man, — a tall, handsome blond of about thirty-five — stopped and considered me with curiosity. “Of course I am glad to help you if I can,” said he most courteously. “What is it?”
“I would like to know . . . where exactly did the Sixteen fall, on the 9th of November 1923. ‘Vor der Feldherrenhalle’ says the old song . . . Was it actually there, in the midst of the square?”
The young man’s face suddenly brightened. But he did not at once allow himself to believe that which, in his subconscious mind, he already knew to be true, concerning me. He looked at me earnestly and instead of answering my question, questioned me. “You have come from abroad to ask me that!” exclaimed he, as though it were something hardly conceivable. “May I know why you are at all interested in the fate of the Sixteen? Is it just . . . from a historical point of view?”
“It is because I look upon them as the first martyrs of my faith,” replied I simply. “They died for Germany to become once more free and powerful. Thereby, they died also for my Aryan ideals, which Germany has embodied from the dawn of history onwards — unconsciously or half-consciously, for centuries; in full awareness, since Adolf Hitler’s message . . . I have come from abroad to pay homage to them; to think of them in religious reverence, on the spot.”
The young man gazed at me more earnestly than ever, stretched out ‘his hand to me, in the gesture of comradeship, and said: “Come, I shall show you. You have the right to know . . .”
He took me round the corner and showed me the wall of the Feldherrenhalle facing the Residenz building. “It was there,” said he, “in this street, before this wall. In the great days, there was there a commemorative board with an inscription
reminding us of the heroes’ sacrifice. Look: you can see the mark of it.”
He showed me, between the, blocks of stone, bits of iron that had once sustained the commemorative board. “And a Guard used to keep watch here, day and night, like before the sarcophagi of the Sixteen, on Adolf Hitler Platz,” added he. “S.S. men were permanently stationed in that building, part of the Residenz, now being reconstructed, on the other side of the street. But these people have taken down the board with the sixteen Names and smashed it to bits, naturally. They have destroyed everything that reminds us of our Struggle and of our martyrs. Never mind! We remember, nevertheless!”
“We do!” exclaimed I. “We shall never forget those first blood-witnesses, nor the others — the more recent ones. Never forget, and never forgive!” stressed I. And as I uttered those words, I remembered my beloved comrade Hertha Ehlert: those words had been my last message to her, before I had left Werl, over three years before. I had been three years free. But she was still there, as far as I knew; still behind bars, while I stood here in the sunshine, in the broad, busy street . . . I felt small before her; small before all those who suffered; before all those who died for our ideals.
I remained silent at the side of the faithful young German who could not have been more than four or five years old in November 1923. Looking straight before me, I thought of the Sixteen.
I recalled their names: Alfarth, Bauriedl, Casella, Ehrlich, Faust, Hechenberger, Körner, Kuhn, Laforce, Neubauer, Pape, Pfordten, Rickmers, Streubner-Richter, Stransky and Wolf. I knew them by heart. For years, on those great anniversaries that remind us of heroism and sacrifice for the love of our Führer, I had, with reverence, repeated those names within my mind. They were, — they are, like those of our other martyrs, — sacred names to me. And I pictured to myself the scene that had taken place on that 9th of November 1923 at 12:30 p.m. I imagined the Sixteen (and along with them, the wounded, among whom was Hermann Göring) lying there in their blood, on that very footpath where I now stood, shot by order of so-called national authorities, because, in Adolf Hitler’s
own words, they had “believed in the resurrection of their people.”1
“Where had I been, then, at that tragic hour?” reflected I. I knew; I remembered; I had been then in Athens — eighteen years old (the two youngest among the Munich blood-witnesses, Karl Laforce and Klaus von Pape, were only nineteen). I was already full of the one same lofty dream for which I had always lived: the dream of a people of my race building now, in our times, a civilisation of iron, rooted in truth; a civilisation with all the virtues of the Ancient World, none of its weaknesses, and all the technical achievements of the modern age without modern hypocrisy, pettiness and moral squalor. Only I used to speak — then — of “Hellenism,” not yet of “Aryandom.” But the dream was the same. And then, just as now. I lived for that dream alone. And I was already beginning to realise for the first time, perhaps, (although I did not want to realise it) how few were the modern Greeks who understood “Hellenism” as I did.
I now recalled those days of my early snuggle against every aspect of what I then called “the West,” meaning Democratic capitalism dominant by Christian values. I had spent the whole afternoon of the 9th of November upon the Acropolis of Athens, seeking in the sight of the unparalleled ruins, of the aetherial landscape, and of the deep blue sky, the inspiration that would help me to surmount all bitterness. I was living not far from the Acropolis, and had gone up just after lunch. Yes, at 1:30 p.m. — i.e., when it had been 12:30 or so in Munich — I had most probably been there . . .
I had not known what was taking place in Munich. Still less had I suspected the meaning of it. But I clearly remembered that, on the next day, one had read in the papers about “unrest” in the capital of Bavaria, where “a certain Hitler” had tried to seize power, and where the “agitator,” who had already given much trouble to the Allies (and to Germany’s own Democratic government) had been arrested with thirteen of his followers, while sixteen had been killed by Reichswehr bullets during the “unrest.” The event had been variously commented upon at lunch time, in the boarding house — “International
1 Mein Kampf (dedication).
Home,” 54 Leophoros Amalias — where I was then staying. And although I had been far from connecting the Leader who had (temporarily) failed, with my own dream of an out and out beautiful world of warriors and artists, I had exclaimed in a sincere outburst of sympathy for him: “I wish he had been lucky enough to seize power! — whoever he be. That would have taught ‘those swine’ a lesson!”
“May I know whom you call by such a name?” had asked the manageress, Mademoiselle Mauron, a sour Swiss old maid, thoroughly prejudiced in favour of everything French. She had been properly shocked at my vulgar language.
“You mean to say that you wish to know who ‘those swine’ are had I retorted, purposely stressing the objectionable word. “Why, the Allies, of course! I hate them ever since the French landed in Greece, during the war, after blaming the Germans for having marched through Belgium. And I wish they, or their agents, had not been able to lay hands on the German patriot. I wish he does, one day, succeed in tearing up their Versailles Treaty, that monstrosity, if any!”
“Will you please keep your opinions for yourself?” had replied the sour old maid.
“They are not ‘opinions,’ but unshakable convictions and deep-rooted feelings.”
That had been the very first time in my life that I had openly stuck up for Adolf Hitler, without (as I said) yet knowing that he embodied infinitely more than Germany’s will to rid herself of the Versailles Treaty, and surely without suspecting what a place he has to occupy in my life. I had stuck up for Germany during the First World War, — out of sheer indignation at the sight of the Allies’ vile hypocrisy. But this had been my first contact with real National Socialist Germany, six years or so before I had discovered that the Movement also aimed at the creation of a world such as I wanted it. I now recalled the whole scene, and for the millionth time I repeated to myself: “Oh, why did I not come then and join the Movement? Was I blind? Had I not yet been able to see that my struggle in Greece was a hopeless one? that individualism, the lure of Democracy, and belief in “human values,” were endemic diseases in the old classical land? Could I not have guessed the meaning of the new power that was rising against all I
hated, here, in those fearless men, under the inspiration of their fearless Leader?”
It is easy to say that, now. But how could one guess, then? With his extraordinary intuition of historical realities, Adolf Hitler was, doubtless already as early 1923, aware of the fact that the German cause and the cause of Aryandom were one and the same. Many passages in Mein Kampf go to prove it. But were even his closest followers aware of it? Did even the hallowed Sixteen themselves know for what a lofty Idea “exceeding Germany and exceeding our times” they gave up their lives, here, before that wall before which I now stood, in silence and reverence, in memory of them? They died for Adolf Hitler and for Germany, knowing that Adolf Hitler was Germany, and loving Germany because it was their fatherland. But they could not foresee what a significance Germany was soon to take on in the eyes of a racially conscious non-German Aryan élite, thanks to the spirit of Adolf Hitler’s revolution.
“They died for Germany,” said I, breaking the silence at last; “they also died, without realising it, perhaps, — for the liberation of the whole Aryan race from the Jewish joke under every form, foreshadowing Germany’s total sacrifice during and after the Second World War. I am the outer Aryan race, not as it stands now, poisoned by Jewish doctrines, but as it will one day be: wide-awake, conscious of its debt to Adolf Hitler and to Germany; I am Northern Europe, Italy, Greece, Aryan India, come to pay tribute to the Sixteen first Martyrs of National Socialism and to their people. Oh, I wish I could contribute to the resurrection of Germany as they wanted it: free; powerful; building, to the music of war songs, a new world in which the worthiest will rule . . . I wish I could contribute to the restoration of National Socialism . . .”
“But you are contributing to it!” said the young man, to my surprise.
“By your mere presence here. And by the things you say with the unfailing accent of truth.” And he added: “Where did you come from?”
“From the capital of classical Antiquity!” exclaimed he.
“Is it an omen?”
“I hope so.”
Then, after a while, as we were leaving the place, he asked me: “Are there many people in Greece today who feel as you do?”
“To the degree I do, perhaps none. I, at least, do not know any,” replied I. And I added: “In the days of the Trojan War you might have found Hellenes with our outlook on life. But that was more than three thousand years ago. Since then, more and more instances of blood-mixture have slowly made possible the advent of such a levelling creed as Christianity. And Christianity has largely contributed to promote further blood-mixture. There are, of course, still number of real Hellenes. But few among them are sufficiently free of prejudice and sufficiently aware of the world outside Greece to behold our Weltanschauung in its real light.”
We walked side by side for a while. I then asked the young man to show me the way to the Hofbräuhaus, and after he had done so, we parted. We could not, at the corner of the street, before everybody, greet each other with our ritual salute and the words of faith: “Heil Hitler!” We merely shook hands. But I uttered a formula which means: “Heil Hitler!” to those of us who know. My new acquaintance repeated the formula with perfect spontaneousness. He knew, apparently. And he gave me a friendly smile as he walked away.
* * *
I reached the Hofbräuhaus. Before walking in, I halted for a moment, not in order to study the architectural effect of the facade with its picturesque old arches, but to imagine the people pouring in through the door leading upstairs, some thirty-three years before, — on the 24th of February 1920, at 7:30 p.m. — to hear Adolf Hitler lay out before them, in an immortal speech, the programme of the new Party.
“In February, at 7:30 p.m., it must have been dark, outdoors,” thought I; “dark, and cold.” But the great festive hall was brightly lighted, and warm. And even if it had not been, it would have made little difference. The people could think of nothing but of the immense hopes that this extraordinary
young man — Adolf Hitler — was to awaken in their hearts; they could feel nothing but the divine magnetism of his leadership. They poured in by hundreds — more than the great hall could contain.
I went upstairs — yes, up those stairs, up which “he” had walked, on that historic evening, to tell Germany and the world that, with him and his handful of uncompromising followers, a new era had begun. I stopped on the first landing, on which is the restaurant. Several people, who had walked upstairs behind me, stepped in. It was about twelve o’clock, and they were apparently going to have lunch. But I had no time for such trivialities now. All that the restaurant meant to me was that, on that evening, many of those who were present at the great meeting had probably had supper there, in order to go straight from there to the hall, before the bulk of the audience would arrive. Would any of the Führer’s earliest close followers also have had something to eat there? I wondered. Maybe, of course, I was mistaken; but my answer to that question was “no; probably not” — for most of Adolf Hitler’s early followers were, at the time, too poor to treat themselves to a meal in such a restaurant as this one. But I would nevertheless go and have a cup of coffee there, after I had seen the historic hall.
I went up another flight of steps and found myself on the second landing. I pushed open the glass door before me, turned to my left, opened another door and entered the place in which the Twenty-five Points of the Party Programme — the basic articles of the National Socialist creed — have been proclaimed; in which Germany was given the new faith, the new principles destined to raise her to the leadership of the Aryan world. The platform from which Adolf Hitler has spoken was at the opposite end of the great vaulted hall, right in front of me.
The hall was empty. All the chairs had been piled up in rows, near the walls. Several workmen were busy decorating the place in view of some festive occasion. They were fixing streamers of variously coloured paper to different spots all round the hall, and to the three bulky clusters of glittering glass and electric bulbs that hung from the ceiling. A frame of brightly painted cardboard ran along the top and sides of the platform and, right above it, a clown’s face grinned against a canary-yellow background, doubtless intended to add a touch
of gaiety to the whole scheme. In a corner was an enormous semi-spherical drum and all the sound-producing instruments of a jazz band. Copper wires intercepted the space between the workmen and myself. There were, from place to place, blue and red bulbs fixed onto them. A huge basket, full of paper flowers, was to be seen under a table, near the workmen.
I stood in the midst of the hall, deeply moved, feeling tears well up to my eyes. I could not help gazing at the platform. I saw the crude decorations, the cheap, gaudy cardboard, the streamers, the paper flowers, the electric wires with their red and blue bulbs, the jazz instruments and the grinning clown: the whole carnival paraphernalia. And yet, I saw nothing of all that. Lost in a nostalgic dream, my eyes looked beyond the vulgar colours and forms — beyond the vulgar world of today — to the glorious meeting held in this hall by my Führer, on the evening of the 24th February 1920. I saw him — and heard him — young, and full of ardent certitude, full of confidence in the future — thirty years old — with his voice that could be in turn harsh, ironical, bitter, witty, passionate, prophetic; a voice that drew crowds like a magical spell; with his compelling gestures; his inspired eyes. I heard him develop his theme with crystal-clear logic, and all the burning eloquence of love, hate and despair . . . and yet confidence, in spite of all; the confidence of love; also the confidence of youth. I saw him and heard him: the one Man who adored Germany as no one ever has, and whose love prompted him to re-invent, in order to save her, the everlasting Wisdom of the Aryans, and to express it in modern language.
And I saw the crowd gathered in this great festive hall, listening to his message of salvation. To those men and women, — to most of them, at least, — “salvation” meant “freedom and bread”; the immediate possibility for the German people to live; nothing more. But in the new Gospel of Germanic pride that Adolf Hitler proclaimed before them and before the world, on that memorable evening, were implied the principles of cosmic wisdom, outcome of his intuition of perennial, cosmic truth. In order to secure his beloved Germany “freedom and bread” — and honour — for all times, he brushed aside, in one sweeping sentence, two thousand years of untruth, and founded the new Aryan Order, based upon community of blood alone,
irrespective of personal metaphysics, in contrast to the decaying Christian order, based upon community of faith, irrespective of blood. He proclaimed a new — or rather a very old — morality; a morality of this world, centred around the value of blood purity and the duty of racial pride, in contrast to the Christian one, centred around the false idea of the equal dignity of all human “souls.”
The people listened to him — grateful, enthusiastic; won over to him who promised to rid them of the burden of the Versailles Treaty, and to give them “work and bread”; ready to follow him wherever he would lead them. And he was leading them not merely back to being a “great power,” but back to being themselves, — the Germans of all times; the proud Aryan Heathens who had, for centuries, defied all spiritual powers based upon human equality, all temporal powers founded upon force of money and force of lies. It mattered little whether they were, at that time, conscious of this or not.
I stood in the middle of the hall, my eyes intently fixed upon the platform from which our Führer had spoken, and I shuddered from top to toe at the awareness of the immensity of the meaning of his ultimatum: “Future, or ruin,” as mercilessly in keeping with fact, today, as it was thirty-three years ago. It mattered little that this ultimatum was, literally speaking, the subject of one of Adolf Hitler’s later speeches, and not that of the one he had delivered for the first time in this hall. His whole career was an untiring proclamation of that tragic dilemma to Germany and to the Aryan race at large. I recalled the unforgettable words. “Future or ruin,” thought I; “yes; either back to the eternal Aryan wisdom of our forefathers, to whom the holy Swastika, the Wheel of the Sun, was sacred, as it is to us National Socialists, or else . . . onward, — and downward, — to slow decay in a boring world, in which the scientific genius of the Aryan and his technical skill, and his sense of organisation, will increasingly be put to the service of petty personal pleasures and personal vices, for the greatest glory of Democracy, and the greatest profit of the international Jew, whose business it is to exploit the weaknesses of the higher races, nay, to create weaknesses in men of the higher races, whenever he can do so. Either back to Aryan wisdom or . . . downward to slow decay in a world in which the warlike virtues of the
best Aryans will increasingly be put to the service of Jewish interests . . . until false doctrines of individualism, “human rights,” and pacifism, coupled with large scale blood mixture, irretrievably destroy the race itself!”
I recalled Adolf Hitler’s words concerning the representatives of the privileged, creative Nordic race: “If they cease to be, the beauty of this earth will sink with them into the grave.”1
“My beloved Führer, how right you are!” thought I. And remembering how England had, in the interest of the Jews, in whose hands she had given herself up, waged this criminal war on Germany, and remembering the intervention of the U.S.A., and Eisenhower’s “crusade to Europe,” I formulated once more within my heart the judgment that I had so many times expressed during and after the war: “Every Aryan who fights against National Socialist Germany is a traitor to his own race.”
Carefully stepping over the electric wires, I walked up to the platform, remained there for a while, absorbed in my thoughts, and then walked back to my former place. A man came in, holding a ladder. I waited till he had put it down, and then addressed him: “Could you please tell me what are all these preparations for?”
“For the First of May. There will be dancing here, on that occasion. Many people will come, including Americans . . .”
“Americans! . . . I understand,” said I. I had heard enough.
Once more I looked around me at the great festive hall as it was now — on the 23rd of April 1953. It struck me as a picture of the clownish world which they — our enemies — are trying to build upon the ruins of all we created and all we loved. Once, I knew, there had been, somewhere in this hall, a bronze tablet upon which was related the tremendous event that had taken place here on the 24th of February 1920: the birth of the National Socialist Party. That inscription had been removed, or more probably destroyed. Naturally! People were to forget the 24th of February 1920; they were to forget our Führer, to forget us — or rather, to be taught to hold us for a pack of “monsters”
1 Mein Kampf, edit. 1939, p. 316.
henceforth unable to do any further harm; they were to forget our record of sacrifice and glory, and to dance, to the noise of jazz, with ridiculous paper hats upon their heads and paper flowers in their buttonholes, here, in the very hall where our manly message of salvation had been proclaimed! They were to live and to earn money, and carry on their little amusements and little intrigues, as though Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich had never existed. I lifted my eyes and saw the grinning Clown, — the Symbol of the post-war West — above that platform where our Führer had spoken, and tears filled my eyes; and a bitter hatred filled my heart against that peace-loving, silly, “secure” world that the Democrats would like to establish with the help of a “de-Nazified” Germany. And one desperate yearning sprang from the depth of my being: “If we are not to rise and win and rule, then . . . may the Mongols set fire to all that!” (Forgive me, my millions of comrades, who suffered and died in Russia and far-away Siberia! But, between a world according to the bourgeois ideals of the “Crusaders to Europe” and death, I prefer death.)
Death . . . or, indeed, revenge and resurrection; there was, there is — there can be — no other alternative for us
I went and sat for half an hour in the restaurant, had a cup of coffee, came back, took a last glance at the historic hall. I remembered Adolf Hitler’s own impression of the great meeting: “As, after nearly four hours, the public began to leave the hall in a slow and compact crowd, I was aware that now, in the German people, had been laid the basis of a movement that would last. A fire had been lighted, out of the glow of which a Sword was to emerge, which would give back freedom to the Germanic Siegfried, and life to the German Nation. And, in the coming upheaval, I felt the presence of the Goddess of revenge that nothing can hold back, fighting with us to efface the act of treason of the 9th of November 1918. Thus the hall became gradually empty. And the Movement took its course.”1
1 “Als sich, nach fast vier Studen, der Raum zu leeren begann und die Masse sich Kopf an Kopf wie ein langsamer Strom dem Ausgang zuwälzte, zuschob und zudrängte, da wusste ich, dass nun die Grundsätze einer Bewegung in das deutsche Volk hinauswanderten, die nicht mehr zum Vergessen zu bringen waren. Ein Feuer war entzündet, aus dessen Glut dereinst das Schwert kommen muss, das dem germanisichen Siegfried die Freiheit, der deutschen Nation das Leben wiedergewinnen soll. Und neben der kommenden Erhebung, fühlte ich die Göttin der unerbittlichen Rache schreiten für dit Meineidstat des 9. November 1918. So leerte sich langsam der Saal. Die Bewegung nahm ihren Lauf. (Mein Kampf, edit 1939, p. 406.)
I knew that, in spite of all, he was right; that the German people would never forget — could never forget, even after a greater disaster than that of 1918. I had so many times already felt the fire of the tremendous Awakening burn, as ardently as ever, within my comrades’ hearts as well as in mine. No, we would not perish in the coming crash; our enemies would, with both their man-centred, equalitarian, international creeds of Jewish inspiration; we would rise for the second time upon their ruins. And the humiliation of 1945 would be avenged more thoroughly than that of 1918; not for a few brief years but for all times to come!
“May this be true — oh, may it not be just wishful thinking,” prayed I within my heart, as I left the hall and slowly walked downstairs. And at the same time I remembered that unseen Forces dominate and govern all things visible and tangible, and that the power of intense, one-pointed thought is one among those Forces.
* * *
An hour later, I stood in front of Bürgerbräukeller, the famous beer hall in which Adolf Hitler’s followers used to gather in the early days; the place in which the unsuccessful Putsch of November 1923 was planned. I had walked in the direction of the tramway line until I had reached it, admiring on my way the beautiful foamy river Isar and the gardens near the bridge which I had crossed.
I recognised the well-known entrance that I had so many times seen in pictures. But the Swastika flags that had once proudly fluttered on either side of it were, naturally, no longer there. And above the door bitter, ironical words struck my sight — white against a dark background —: U.S.A. Service Club. The Amis had taken over the place for themselves.
The door was open. A passage stretched before me — a
passage at the end of which there was another door. But I did not at once go in. I walked into a fairly broad courtyard planted with trees, into which an iron gate, wide open, gave access. It must have been about half past one or two o’clock in the afternoon. The sun was bright — and hot. The shade, pleasant. I walked up and down under the trees in spite of the notice “Loitering forbidden” that was stuck up at the gate. The building rose on my left: first, behind the main entrance on the street, a mere ground floor, which one accessed, from this side, through two doors; and then, above a flight of steps, a series of doors and windows, at a little distance behind which emerged a higher, yellow wall. One of the two first doors on the ground floor was shut. Over the other, that was half-open, one could read, in black letters on a background of light yellow paint, the words: Snack Bar; Service Club. Ultramodern motorcars bearing the words: U.S. Forces in Germany, were to be seen in a row nearby. Now and then an American would come out of the “Snack Bar,” get into a car and drive away. Another American would drive in from the street and, having added his car to the row, walk into the “Snack Bar.” None paid any attention to me. They probably thought I was waiting for one of them. But who cares what they thought? I continued loitering under the trees, in spite of the notice; looking at, what, on my left, seemed to be offices, or perhaps storerooms, and at the high — and obviously older — wall, behind these; at a tall chimney in the distance; and at the Americans in uniform, who came and went.
There is, in unfortunate post-war Germany, nothing which I detest as much as Occupation troops and Occupation officials of any description, unless it be . . . those Germans who have willingly contributed to the downfall of the National Socialist Order, and thereby to the inroad of such creatures into the country. But to see the creatures planted there, upon the very premises of Bürgerbräukeller as though they owned the place, is more than flesh and blood can stand. And yet, one is forced to see them, if one at all wishes to visit the historic spot. And even if one did not actually see them, one would still know that they are there — that they are everywhere. Until when . . . ?
The putsch of the 9th of November 1923 had been prepared somewhere here — somewhere behind those walls . . . My thoughts
rushed back to the Feldherrenhalle; to the wall facing the side street, that the young man had shown me in the morning telling me: “It was there that the Sixteen fell.” Had the Sixteen and, after them, our thousands, our millions of martyrs died for nothing? — for that? Had our beloved Führer lived and fought and suffered . . . for that? And was that — the presence of Americans and other varieties of “crusaders” for “humanity” (including Master Roosevelt’s and Master Churchill’s ex-“glorious Allies” the Russians) on Germany’s soil, and the strengthening of confounded Democracy (the strengthening of the Jew’s grip upon the world) — to remain the sole outcome of our whole grim and heroic struggle of these last thirty years? Oh, for how long — for how long more?
Just as I was thus thinking, a uniform-wearing specimen of that well-fed, brainless and cultureless humanity that the U.S.A. exports, passed quite close to me, looked at me with eyes in which there was nothing to read but abysmal boredom, and went its way, while its half-open mouth did not stop munching — chewing the cud . . . or its civilised equivalent: “chewing gum.” I suddenly recalled the funny definition that an English friend of mine had once given me of an American: “a mammal that cannot shut its mouth.” And I should have felt inclined to laugh had I been anywhere but in Germany, and nay within the courtyard of the historic beer hall in which the Putsch of November 1923 has been planned. But here, all my contempt for the individual uniform wearer as such was overshadowed by my consciousness of the riches and might of the Jew-ridden U.S.A. The ludicrous, blank-faced, chewing creature was nothing. A sheep in a flock. A gramophone in its box, repeating automatically, in private conversations, that which his whole silly education had conditioned him to think and to say. But behind him were those sinister forces which had worked out the programme and spirit of his education and dictated him the values which he was to hold as the right ones. Were we — the few, sincere, conscious, selfless National Socialists — in a position to crush those forces?
The fellow had long disappeared into the Snack Bar. I stood by a tree and thought of the formidable money-power of the U.S.A., of the mysterious and frightening kingship of the Dollar Exchange — the power to make any far-away country live
or starve — centralised neither in President Eisenhower, nor in the inhabitants of the U.S.A., nor in the American Army, composed of all races, but in the impersonal fraternity of the big banks. That power, what weapons have we to strike it to death? wondered I. And I answered my own question: detachment; absolute freedom from the usual ties of this world and from all seductions that money can offer; the freedom of such people as nothing and nobody can either buy or frighten; and, along with that, discipline; devotion to our Leader, visible or invisible, alive in the flesh or alive in spirit only; and the one-pointed, iron will of the believers who, periodically — every two or three thousand years — build new civilisations upon the rock of great new faiths: these are our weapons.
I gazed at the blue sky and imagined the map of Europe and the Atlantic Ocean, and the map of America beyond the Ocean. And — although I have never seen them — I tried to picture myself those great offices in which the fate of Europe in general and of Germany in particular is decided from a business standpoint, with businesslike mercilessness and exactitude.
Alone absolute detachment — sustained ascetic action, free from the lure of money and of all that money is able to procure — can match and beat that heartless and intelligent machinery, that far-sighted detachment (worthy of a better cause) which our enemies’ unseen General Staff displays in order to acquire more and more power for the Jews “at the top.”
I thought of the one-pointed will and dedicated day to day lives of the humblest among my comrades, and I decided that, in the scales of the Invisible, we still are the strongest; the ones who are, sooner or later, (provided our spirit never gives way) bound to win. The Jews and slaves of Jewry who, from their luxury offices far away, have now the power to reduce us to starvation, do not suspect the new Force, steadily rising against them, which we represent. But who ever suspects the direction that intangible factors are imposing upon history in one’s own times? Save a few exceptional seers — and a few ardent believers, who happen to be right — all are blind to the vision even of an immediate future.
I thought of pre-Columbian America — a sheer “association of ideas,” maybe, (one part of the vast double Continent reminding
me of another) or, perhaps, the intuition of some deeper historical parallelism; who can tell? I pictured to myself life in Tenochtitlan in February 1519: the people carrying on their traditional pursuits; the priests busy with their grim rites; the king and nobles absorbed in their usual preoccupations — their tribal wars with Tlascala — while the conquering Spaniards were already sailing across the Atlantic . . . Omens had spoken of the coming twilight of that civilisation of blood and gold which was that of the Aztecs and of their neighbours. But still . . . Who suspected it was to come so suddenly?
“We might not possess, now, over the present rulers of the West, that staggering technical superiority which the Spaniards had over the Aztecs in 1519,” reflected I; “but, as selfless fighters for the noblest goal, conscious of our mission, are we not still much higher above them, in the natural order of beings, than Cortes’ adventurers ever were above Montezuma’s people? The defenders of Tenochtitlan were at least warriors, if not soldiers (disciplined warriors). But these suckers of chewing-gum are neither. As for their masters, the big businessmen, . . . their money is their only weapon — useless against us.”
From a passage facing me — a passage between the houses that limited the courtyard — a motor-lorry was coming. It halted before one of the doors on my left. Three or four men, — German workmen, not Americans, — came out of it. Someone appeared at the door, that was flung wide open. And the men started unloading — dragging cumbrous cardboard boxes out of the lorry and shifting them into the room. I walked up to them and, picking out the one who seemed to me the most likely to be one of us, — the one whose face bore the most definite stamp of health and character — I asked him whether he could tell me which was “the great hall,” and whether I could visit it.
The man looked at me inquiringly so as to make sure that I was “in order,” and then (trusting, no doubt, his intuition, which told him that I was) replied: “You mean the hall in which we used to gather in the great days?”
“Yes,” said I.
“It is that hall, there,” answered he, pointing to the bulk of the building, above the row of new rooms along the flight of steps, near which the lorry had halted. “Unfortunately, you
cannot see it, now . . . And you would not recognise it if you could,” — added he, taking for granted that I had visited the place before the war, —: “the Amis, who rebuilt it after their bombs had smashed it, have turned it into a ping-pong room or something. But anyhow, they won’t let you in.”
I gazed at that wall painted in yellow, which I had noticed behind the new part of the building, and above its level, — a wall that looked like any wall in the world. But I now knew that, behind it, was that hall. And once more a shadow passed over me, and my heart sunk at the idea of all I had missed, of all I had lost by not coming to Germany in time. And the feeling of utter failure oppressed me. I thought of the solemn gatherings that used to take place in that hall, year after year, in the night of the 8th of November, and of the subsequent processions to the Feldherrenhalle, on the morning of the 9th: at the time at which those of 1923 had started on the fateful Day. The Führer himself used to lead those processions; and the old Party members who had stood by him in danger on that day, — the actual comrades of the Sixteen, — marched in honour at his side. I had never seen those processions, but I knew all about them. And I suddenly decided that I too would, today, walk back from here to the Feldherrenhalle in remembrance of the First Martyrs of the National Socialist cause, . . . and in the awareness of the second Struggle and of the second Seizure of power, never mind when.
I thanked the man, and after giving a last glance to the walls of the famous beer hall, left the courtyard.
As I came back to the main entrance of the desecrated building — the street entrance — I noticed an American standing there. The desire to see all I possibly could of the place, — even now, after its ruin — was stronger than my disgust at the sight of the occupant. I had never yet, in Germany, addressed a word to a man in Allied uniform, and had sincerely believed I never would. Yet I asked this one — myself astonished at what I was doing —: “May I go in?”
“Why not?” answered he.
I stepped in, without paying further attention to the usurper. A young woman was sitting at a desk, in a tiny room at the end of the passage, where another American was standing. On the left, a door led into a well-furnished hall. I addressed
the young woman in German. “Is it really not possible to see the great hall, — the historic one?” asked I.
She repeated to me what the workman in the courtyard had told me: the historic hall had become a place where the Americans played ping-pong; nobody could see it. “But you can see from these pictures what the hall and the whole building once looked like, and you can if you like read the notice concerning their history,” said she. And she pointed to three picture postcards and to a newspaper photograph, along with a typed notice, that were to be seen within a frame, under a glass covering, against the wall, in a corner. One of the postcards showed the entrance of Bürgerbräukeller as one could see it in the great days, — with a Swastika flag each side of it. Another, — also a coloured one —, showed the inside of the famous hall: the platform from which the Führer used to speak; the Flag hanging before it; the many tables at which the faithful used to sit; the balconies between the arches, with wooden railings, from which hung more flags. The third one — a black one — showed an unrecognisable heap of rubble, over which lay broken wooden beams and lumps of plaster: a picture of the hall after an Allied bomb had hit it in 1943 — a picture of Germany after the passage of the “Crusaders to Europe,” slaves and avengers of the Jews. “And yet,” thought I, “this was better — less humiliating — than becoming a ping-pong hall for the Amis!” This meant destruction. The ping-pong parties in the rebuilt hall meant conquest — worse than destruction, if it lasts long enough to defile a country’s blood and soul.
The typed writing stated that Bürgerbräu Keller was known to have been a beer house ever since the fourteenth century. It mentioned the meetings of the early National Socialists, the Putsch of 1923, the missed attempt against the Führer’s life in 1939, the destruction of the hall through a direct hit in 1943. Its comments on the putsch and on the criminal attempt were what one can expect in a place now in Allied hands. The photograph of a sly face, with neither courage nor conviction, had been stuck below the picture of the ruins. “And who is that?” asked I, turning to the girl at the desk, while the American stared at me, doubtless wondering why I was at all so profoundly interested in those pictures of what, to him, was nothing, particularly exciting.
“The man who attempted Hitler’s life, here, in 1939,” said the girl, answering my question.
I further considered the photograph, and then turned once more to her and to the American, and gave my opinion of the picture in a loud voice: “No wonder he looks like a criminal!” The two people gave me a strange glance, but made no comments. And after gazing, for a minute or two more, at the pictures of Bürgerbräu Keller in its splendour and in its ruin, I left the place.
* * *
I followed, in the opposite direction, the road along which I had come. It was this road, — reflected I — that they doubtless used to take, on the yearly commemorative marches to the Feldherrenhalle. I was also going back to the Feldherrenhalle, — like they, but alone, and in the midst of a dull, sheepish, bourgeois world that looked (on the surface at least) as though it had forgotten them.
The picture of the old hall in all its glory — of the old hall out of which Adolf Hitler had made (in the words of the short notice I had just read) “a shrine of the Nazi Party” — filled my consciousness as I walked on. And I left my mind wander back to those hard and splendid days, when men of great faith and of iron will, most of whom are now dead, sat there, round him of whom I have no means of knowing whether he is dead or alive; to the days when he — our Führer — was at the beginning of his astounding career. Comrades who have lived the whole history of National Socialism had more than once told me that those early days of the Struggle, those days in which, in the Führer’s own words, “one had all to lose and nothing to gain by joining our Movement,”1 were indeed the grandest of all. After the Seizure of power — and already before: as soon as one could be practically sure that Adolf Hitler would soon be the absolute ruler of Germany — all sorts of people, National Socialists and others, came and joined the N.S.D.A.P. In the very early days, when the N.S.D.A.P. did not yet count as a political force, those alone who were prepared to give their all for the triumph of its ideals, walked under its banner.
Other words of our Führer came back to my memory: “I
1 Tisch Gespräche, published after the war.
love those who supported us at the time we were weak.” It was in 1941, — at the height of his power, — that he had uttered those words. “. . . Those who supported us at the time we were weak,” thought I; “those who used to gather in this beer hall — a mere handful — immediately after the First World War, determined to rid Germany of the shameful Versailles Treaty and to give her back, under Adolf Hitler’s leadership, the place she deserves in the world; those who cared neither for money, nor “position,” nor “honours,” but solely for the higher interest of their people, which happens to be, also, the higher interest of Aryan mankind, i.e. the higher interest of Creation . . .”
How far away seemed, now, those ardent, inspired days! How far away! All was so quiet, so “normal” all round me, as though the Democratic order, re-installed by the victors of 1945, were to last forever; as though the glorious National Socialist revolution had been but an episode in the long history of Germany, a meaningless eccentricity in the history of the Aryan West; as though that Aryan West were definitively, irredeemably, won over to the Christian values and the silly Democratic way of life!
I recalled the judgement passed on Adolf Hitler’s Land at the time of the great Nuremberg Party Rally of 1933, by one of the very few French friends of National Socialism: Robert Brasillach: “This country is strange; more foreign to us than furthermost India or China . . .”1 Even he — the sympathiser, destined one day to die at the hands of his own people on account of his connection with National Socialism — even he, thought I, did not feel himself completely at ease under our régime, as I doubtless would have, — I who have hated the Christian values all my life. It was precisely because National Socialism is the glaring negation of those “values,” precisely because the new society built upon it contrasted so violently with that traditional Western civilisation soaked in Judaism — with that man-centred civilisation, which I had always detested — that I had loved it so passionately from the beginning. Because of that; not in spite of that, as was the case with so many foreign (and perhaps even German) followers of Adolf Hitler.
Now, all looked as though the “traditional values of the West” — the Judeo-Christian moral standards; the Judeo-Christian
1 Robert Brasillach, Les Sept Coleurs, p. 114 and following.
way of life — had prevailed. It looked as though, according to the wish repeatedly expressed on the London wireless by pious parsons and Christ-loving commentators of the Nuremberg Trial, during those horrible months that had followed my return from India, Germany had now “come back to the community of Christian Europe,” from which a “monstrous régime of tyranny” had severed her for a few brief years. It all seemed as though our sacred cause were “a lost cause.” It seemed so . . . at least on the surface.
Yes; on the surface. But . . . , what seems to be the most firmly established is not necessarily so; and what looks lost is sometimes the very thing destined to triumph and to last. I had myself said in Obersalzberg, upon the ruins of the Berghof: Christianity looked like “a lost cause” in year 20 A.D. No doubt we look lost. And yet . . . How many people in Germany are simply longing for the return of a National Socialist régime without daring to say so openly? And — in spite of all the efforts of the churches no less than of the foreign-sponsored Federal Government — how many are daily losing faith in those false “values” which we came to destroy, and thus, indirectly, preparing themselves to receive our message? Communism itself — along with the Christian Churches, our greatest enemy — is helping us (indirectly) by undermining, in the minds and hearts of millions of young people, the belief in number of other-worldly superstitions that stand in our way . . . And who knows of the silent, unsuspected activities of responsible National Socialists now busy taking, in Germany and elsewhere, the fullest advantage of the ever-widening split in the enemy camp, for the greatest benefit of the apparently “lost” cause?
I remembered with love the people I had met in Linz and in Obersalzberg; the intelligent German workmen who had spoken to me in the train on my way to Braunau; the young man who had shown me, but a few hours before, the spot where the Sixteen had died. I remembered the comrades that I was soon to meet again in Koblenz, and further up, in Hanover, in Celle, and other places of that faithful Niedersachsen, which struck me as the German province in which I would like to live, if I could. Where these not all, now, what the fighters of the first phase of the struggle were, then, after the First World War? And even more so! For the fighters of the early Struggle
had had Adolf Hitler’s material presence to sustain them, while these had nothing but their unshakable faith in him and in eternal Germany. Would not our Führer, if he were one day to return in glory, say of them: “I love those who stood by me when I was believed dead; those who supported the National Socialist cause when it seemed lost”?
And if we are never to see him, never to hear his voice again, — if he really be dead, as some say — then still . . . there is eternal Germany, even greater than he; there is the Swastika — cosmic Truth, integral Beauty; his Truth, more eternal even than Germany, — to be faithful to, and to strive for, without hope, without fear or desire, without any sort of weakness. “Seek not the fruits of action,”1 thought I, recalling the Words of Aryan wisdom that had given me strength at the most tragic hour of defeat, and during the years of despair; “Without attachment, perform that action which is duty.”2 One of our latest blood-witnesses, the hero Otto Ohlendorf, is said to have declared to a foreign journalist, a few weeks before the Americans hanged him for having done his duty to the end: “Individual happiness and individual life do not count. All that matters is duty done.”3 I remembered these words along with those of the Bhagavad-Gita, and marvelled at their similarity. And I felt that a cause served in such a spirit can never be lost.
* * *
After about half an hour’s walk, I reached the Feldherrenhalle, and stood there once more, silent, full of the thought of the Sixteen.
The fallen soldiers of the victorious war of 1871, and those of the lost war of 1918, whose memory had been allowed to remain honoured even under present-day Democracy, appeared more vividly than ever, to me, as the forerunners of their brothers slain upon the battlefields of this war, in defence of the new Reich, or killed after the war, as so-called “war criminals” by the enemies of all that the new Reich stood for. All that
1 Bhagavad-Gita, II, verse 47.
2 Bhagavad-Gita, III, Verse 19.
3 Reported in the French newspaper Figaro. Also, in Samedi Soir of the 3rd March 1951.
has, in course of history, contributed to exalt the feeling of the greatness of the German Reich and of its mission, has prepared the way for National Socialism. (The despair of a starving nation would not have carried Adolf Hitler to power, had it not been coupled with the consciousness of natural greatness, of God-ordained superiority.) And National Socialism has made the German Reich the leader of regenerate Aryandom in the West, for all times to come. And that is why I stood here, at the foot of these pillars, on the spot where the Sixteen had died, — I, the Aryan woman from far away.
I was not alone. Two young men had halted before the place where the commemorative tablet, bearing the names of the Sixteen, had once been. And I heard one say to the other “It was here. Can you see? There are still bits of iron in the wall . . . There was the tablet in honour of them . . . And it is here, in this side street, that they fell.”
“Yes,” said I, stepping into their conversation without even making excuses for being indiscreet. (I knew I could not be indiscreet in this connection.) “And this was the stone against which the tablet rested. I was here this morning. But I have come again to see it. I have come straight from Bürgerbräukeller — as the veterans of the Day used to, on every 9th of November. And I am not a German. I am the forerunner of the thousands of men and women of Aryan blood who, in centuries to come, will, like I, visit this spot as a sacred spot, and look upon this Land as holy Land.”
Both young men gazed at me in bewilderment, and then shook hands with me. Then, pointing to me, one of them said to the other: “I told you the National Socialist spirit is more alive than we dare to think. Now, was I not right?”
* * *
I walked to the Brown House (or rather, to the, place, where it once stood) admiring whatever I could of Munich on my way.
This is a beautiful city; certainly one of the loveliest I have seen. “A German town,” no doubt, as Adolf Hitler has written. But — thanks to that great artist, Duke Ludwig of Bavaria, of all German princes the one, perhaps, who understood and admired Hellenism the most genuinely, — the most Hellenic of all German towns, if one may use such a paradoxical
expression; the one that illustrates the most glaringly, through its own architecture, the fundamental identity of the Germanic and Hellenic conceptions of beauty.
I have seen many, — in fact, far too many, — modern buildings of “Greek style” in Europe and elsewhere. They are nearly all nothing but “imitations” and, for that very reason, bad imitations: buildings with Ionic or Corinthian columns, maybe, but surely buildings without any personality (let alone that one, which an ancient Greek artist would have given them). Here, in Munich, the colonnaded buildings around the magnificent great square — Königsplatz; formerly Adolf Hitler Platz — the Glyptothek, the Pinakothek, the monumental Gate on Luisenstrasse, are not mere “imitations.” They are not nameless and soulless international buildings trying to look Greek, but modern German buildings, essentially German — massive; well-inserted into their earthly surroundings; full of the healthy, primaeval strength of a nation that has never lost contact with the earth — who happen to have columns in the Greek style simply because the inspiration from which they proceed is deeply akin to that which once evolved Greek architecture.
And it is not only the buildings; it is the general planning of this whole part of the town in which they stand (and which, by a favour of the Gods, has not been quite so thoroughly ruined as some other localities); it is, nay, the atmosphere of the whole beautiful city, smiling in spite of its terrible wounds. Nowhere can one, as strongly as one does here in Munich, feel convinced that modern Germany harmoniously continues the cultural tradition of those Nordic men who, some four thousand years ago, migrated southwards, and produced in course of time, on the warm shores of the Mediterranean, that wonder of Western Antiquity: Hellenic civilisation. It is not the cerebral Hellenism of certain circles of French artists and scholars who love Greece; it is something deeper; it is the spontaneous and not necessarily so conscious, but more real, affinity of blood brothers separated by two and a half millenniums and more. And no one knew that — felt that — (with the exception of Friedrich Nietzsche) better than Adolf Hitler himself.
The Sun, although still well above the horizon, was not so hot when I finally reached Karolinenplatz.
I had been told that the Brown House was near the corner
of the street leading from Königsplatz into that square. I easily discovered the site of it. It was not possible to miss it: like the Site of the Berghof in Obersalzberg, it bears the stamp of the relentless hatred that urged our persecutors to raze the building to the ground. It is not a “ruined site”; it is a blank site, upon which there is practically nothing left, save, perhaps, in one or two places, (and along the footpath that separates the site from the actual street) traces of foundation walls and, in one corner, the hardly recognisable remnants of a room below the ground level: a cellar or something.
A few steps further, practically looking over the wilfully devastated site, stands a former administrative building now requisitioned by the Americans. From every window of it, the “crusaders to Europe” — more and more bored after eight years of office life in this enslaved land — can see the work of destruction begun by their bombers and perfected by their docile satellites, the German Democrats. The words: U.S. Information Centre, that one can read vertically at the corner of the building, and, above the entrance, the stripes and stars of the American flag, remind every passerby that Germany has lost this war. “Oh, for how long?” thought I, with bitterness, as I saw the detested colours fluttering right before my eyes: “for how long more will all this last?”
I pictured to myself the Brown House as it had once stood on that very spot, now so utterly desolate, and, hanging from its windows, the folds of the German flag of the great Days, — of that flag that I had expected to salute, along with the advancing German Army, in the distant East, in 1942, as the emblem of victorious Aryandom: blood red, with the white Disk and the holy Sign of the Sun, black in the midst of it like an almighty Shadow (the Shadow of eternal Reality, projected upon our purified earth: the mystical meaning of our National Socialist World Order). And tears filled my eyes as I turned from that lost vision of power to the sight of the present-day desolation dominated by the flag of capitalistic Democracy.
Years before, I had once stood upon the terrace at the top of the Golden Rock of Trichinopoli, in South India, and admired, beyond the Cauvery River, the twenty-eight monumental Doorways — the Gopurams — of Srirangam, emerging from the tropical vegetation, in the four directions of space. Then, as I had
turned my head the other way, I had caught site of the enormous, ugly Jesuit College of Trichinopoli, seat of the Missions that are out to destroy the old Wisdom of the Aryans and the immemorial cults that express it, in all the temples of Brahminical India. And I had thought with rage — and also with the precise determination to do all I possibly could to continue my life-long struggle against the Christian Churches and their man-centred values — “They have come, the agents of Jewish power, to try to replace that, by this! I shall stand in their way, and fight them with tooth and claw to my last breath!”
I now experienced a feeling much akin to that one. And the same relentless aggressiveness with which I had beheld the Christian Missionaries’ Headquarters at the foot of Lord Shiva’s Abode and within sight of Srirangam, now made my eyes blaze as I looked at the American flag, here, in Germany; here in Munich; here, over the foundation ground of the Brown House! Oh, — thought I — to be able to tear it down and trample it in the mud, to the cheers of a stormy crowd, howling with joy at the sight! Oh, to be able to sit and see the U.S.A. ablaze, — be it as an item of the “news reel” in a cinema show, if I cannot expect; to be granted a seat in one of the bombers that will one day avenge Hamburg and Dresden a thousandfold, and to watch the actual flames and smoke!
“. . . The old starry banner, the banner of the free . . .” With bitter irony, I recalled the words of the American song as I kept my cursing glance pinned upon the Flag of Democracy. “Freedom indeed!” thought I. “In the name of ‘freedom,’ you conducted your crusade against us, National Socialists; isn’t it so? In the name of ‘freedom,’ you reviled all that we hold sacred, destroyed or disfigured all that we love. You sit and tell us, in the name of ‘freedom,’ in the name of ‘the rights of human conscience,’ that ‘any man’ is entitled to be what he is, and to give his allegiance to whomever he pleases but — in the same breath! — that we are not to be Nazis (not openly, at least), you most repulsive of all hypocrites; you bastards! Why on earth should we fight the next war on your side? For you to build — or urge your German friends; to build — a ‘Rothschild Foundation Research Laboratory’ or something of the kind, upon the site of the Brown House, and some ‘Home for the incurable’ upon the spot where Adolf Hitler’s Berghof once stood? For young Germans
to learn, at your orders, or under your influence, to hold the Nazi régime for a ‘monstrous tyranny,’ our Führer for ‘a criminal’ or ‘a megalomaniac,’ and our immortal S.S. for an ‘association of murderers’? No fear! What is there to choose between you and your ex-‘glorious Allies’ — those who sat at your side in Yalta, in Potsdam, in Nuremberg? Let them crush you, if nobody else now can! We shall at least enjoy the pleasure of seeing you being crushed! For we hate you! Even the Jesuits are not so bad as you. They have at least an ideal, a faith, however detestable a one it may be to us. You have nothing; nothing but money put to the service of the silliest of pastimes. Hateful as it is, the presence of the Jesuit College at the foot of the Golden Rock is not such a profanation as that of your Occupation forces and your dirty flag on this spot in particular, and in Germany as a whole!”
I kept on pacing the track that runs from one corner of the ground where the Brown House has stood, to the opposite one — the path traced by the footsteps of all those people who cannot be bothered to walk around the site, along the regular asphalt footpath. A man, who seemed about forty, was coming towards me. According to my little experience, practically all Germans between thirty and fifty are National Socialists at heart, unless they have, for some reason or other, got into trouble during the great days. And as people who got into trouble with the authorities are, after all, a very small minority, compared with the bulk of the German population, I decided that this man was probably on the right side. And I spoke to him, because I was longing to exteriorise my feelings, be it in a sentence.
“Excuse me,” said I, halting as soon as he had come sufficiently near to hear me; “this is the site on which the Brown House once stood, isn’t it?” (I knew perfectly well that it was, but I had to say something.)
“Yes, it is,” replied the man. And I caught in his limpid blue eyes a shadow of immeasurable sadness — a feeling he did not wish to show me nor anyone, and which he constantly kept under control.
“And ‘they’ have reduced it to this! — ‘they,’ the slaves of the Jews, the swine . . . — just as ‘they’ have destroyed even
the ruins of the Berghof, in Obersalzberg, which I saw on the day before yesterday,” commented I.
“Yes; ‘they,’ the traitors . . . ,” answered he. And he considered me with curiosity, convinced, no doubt, that I spoke sincerely, but wondering who I could be, to have the courage to do so.
“Every man or woman of Aryan blood who, for whatever good or bad reason, took position against National Socialism in action, speech or thought, is a traitor — a traitor to our common race — even if he or she be not a German,” declared I, repeating one of the statements which I have made a hundred thousand times. “But, of course, I admit that the German traitors are the worst, for they cannot even pretend to have had the excuse of ignorance.”
The man looked at me with increased interest. “Are you a German?” he asked me.
“No,” said I; “I am just one of the rare — very rare — faithful Aryans from the broad outer world, who acknowledge the leadership of Adolf Hitler’s people, and who are waiting with you for the Day of revenge — and resurrection.”
The man held out his, hand to me, gazed at me with an inexpressible smile, and said, in a hardly audible voice: “In the name of all those of us who suffered, I thank you! And I am glad to meet you.” He did not ask me my nationality: it had no importance.
I lifted my hand a little — one could not possibly lift it higher, in such an open place — and whispered, with all the devotion of my heart: “Heil Hitler!”
“Heil Hitler!” repeated he, also in a whisper, with tears in his eyes. And he went his way speedily.
Alone in the middle of the desert-like site, I looked up once more, with defiance, at the hostile colours fluttering in the wind, and at the many windows, behind every one of which I pictured to myself men in khaki uniform, active instruments of all we hate when not also convinced enemies of all we love. “All the money and all the might of the U.S.A. and of the organised Anti-Nazi world, cannot prevent two National Socialists from asserting their faith in the Führer and in his mission and in his people, here, upon this holy spot, under our persecutors’
noses!” thought I. “Sooner or later, we shall win. Nothing can prevail against us.”
And an immense elation — the awareness of irresistible power: the loveliest of all feelings — filled me. And as I slowly walked away, I imagined the Brown House rebuilt and Swastika flags hanging like draperies from its windows, and . . . myself, describing in one of its rooms, to a few of my beloved comrades (then, again in power), how happy I was “at the news of the unconditional surrender of the Democracies.”
And I renewed in my heart my daily prayer of these last eight years to the Lord of the unseen Forces — the daily expression of an untiring yearning for justice, that is in itself an unseen force — “Treat the victors of the Second World War as they have treated National Socialist Germany, and, if possible, a hundred thousand times worse! Avenge my comrades and superiors; and give us back the conquering joy and pride of the great Days!”
* * *
I then sought the remnants of the twin shrines which once contained the bronze sarcophagi of the Sixteen and of a few other heroes of the early National Socialist Movement. I had seen pictures of them: two colonnaded monuments, one each side of the road on the corner of the immense paved square, — Adolf Hitler Platz, now Königsplatz. And I remembered very distinctly the sarcophagi in a row under the open sky, (the shrines had no roof) and the Guard of honour that kept watch over them day and night, like on the spot by the Feldherrenhalle.
I walked back to Königsplatz, where I had already been wandering without noticing anything, then back in the direction of the Brown House, and back again. On either side of the street, at the corner of the square — between the street and the “U.S. Information Centre,” and, on the opposite side, between the street and other administrative buildings — now, was a space cut off from its surroundings by a high wooden fence. It took me some time to realise that the ruins of the two memorials were behind those fences that they could not possibly be anywhere else. Still, I thought it safer to ask a passerby whether
I was not mistaken. “No,” answered he; “you have guessed right: there once stood the twin shrines, open to the bright blue sky. Nothing is left of them save the massive foundation stones that you can see here and there, wherever a piece of wood is missing in the fences. The rest has been blown up.”
“Blown up by the Americans?” asked I.
“No; by order of the German Social Democrats, now in power in Bavaria. They also wanted to blow up the neighbouring buildings, because these had belonged to the Party; were remainders of . . . other times. But the Amis requisitioned them, thus saving them.”
“Why did they not save the twin shrines, while they were about it?”
“Because these were of no practical use to them, while the other buildings were,” replied the man.
“Do you believe these monuments will one day be rebuilt?” asked I. I was used to be bold.
And to my astonishment, the man replied, taking my boldness as a matter of course — apparently, feeling sure that he was speaking to a National Socialist like himself — “Yes; when we are once more in power. And we shall be, one day!”
“Oh, may you be right!” exclaimed I with conviction. The man went his way.
I walked all round the fences, peering between the planks, trying to see the, foundation stones of the shrines. In one place, a plank was actually missing, so that I did not merely see the great, regular stone blocks inside, but stretched out my hand and touched them. I touched them as Christian pilgrims, or Mohammedan pilgrims, or Hindu pilgrims, touch the stones of the tombs of their respective saints. The Sixteen, and all those who, since the now far-gone 9th of November 1923, gave up their lives for the Cause of the Swastika, are our saints, whose blood has endowed our earthly faith with the same grandeur of sacrifice as any of the otherworldly ones.
Near the corner of the ruined shrine on the other side of the street, — by the U.S. Information Centre — lay a fairly big, lonely block of stone. I climbed upon it, and tried to look over the fence, but could see nothing. A layer of cement had been laid over the foundations that had withstood the power of dynamite. I could barely see the square opening of the inner
court under the pillars of which the sarcophagi once lay. The steps that led to the building from outside were still to be seen; but the underground entrance was blocked. And I was now aware that tons of earth had been poured into the inner court of the other shrine: from my stone, I could well see the shrubs that were beginning to grow in it. The same quality of desolation as upon the ruins of the Berghof in Obersalzberg; the same effort of our persecutors to efface every trace of our passage, every sign of our greatness; to make Germany and the world forget us.
But I remembered the words addressed to me only half an hour before by the unknown National Socialist who had had enough confidence in me to speak freely: . . . “when we are once more in power; . . . and we shall be, one day!” and I thought: “Germany will never forget.”
With the same devotion as I had those of the other twin shrine, I touched the stones beyond the fence, as far as I could reach them.
I then slowly walked back to the station wrapped up in my thoughts.
* * *
Willingly would I have remained another day or two in Munich, seen the Feldherrenhalle and Hofbräuhaus again; wandered along the splendid avenue and in the public gardens by the Isar; watched the foaming and boisterous river rush past at torrent speed under its broad, stately stone bridges; visited a few more places of interest — museums and churches, admittedly unconnected with the history of the National Socialist Movement, yet highly significant as features of that lovely town, in which the Movement has, one can say, taken birth in its final form.
But I thought of the long way I yet had to travel before I would reach a place where I would not be compelled to spend the night either in a hotel or at the “Station Mission” — or in the waiting room of the railway station. Decidedly, I had to be very careful; for even while living on bread and coffee, I could barely manage to make my money last as long as it had to. And I also had presents to buy for my comrades: I could not possibly be stingy in that connection! So I made up my
mind to remain the whole night in the waiting room and take the earliest morning train to Landsberg am Lech.
The earliest train to Landsberg was at 4:40 a.m. I booked my ticket, and went and sat at one of the tables in the “Third class waiting room,” which is at the same time a refreshment room. It was not hot enough to spend the night outdoors. Also, being indoors, I would avoid the sight of the Americans walking across the huge glass hall to and from their special waiting room, at the other end of the station. I was sick of seeing Americans, and wished I could never meet another one in my life . . . although I knew that I probably would meet many more, at Landsberg, on the very next day — alas!
I ordered the usual bun and coffee, and hoped that my bad luck would not, for the second time, inflict upon me the company of an ex-internee from Dachau (before 1945). But bad luck, — say those who seem to know — is unavoidable. It depends upon the positions of one’s stars at a certain time. And my stars were, apparently, on the evening of that day, 23 April 1953, as on the morning of the same, bent upon pushing me into contact with the most objectionable types.
I had hardly been sitting alone for an hour, when two fellows came and took place at my table — two skinny, dark-haired fellows, whose looks I did not like at all. One sat opposite me, the other on my left, between his companion and me. This latter one appeared to me even more non-Aryan than the former (if one can at all speak of degrees in such matters).
They talked for a long time, in a low voice, mysteriously. I pretended to be sipping coffee from the bottom of my cup (where there was, in fact, not a drop left) while in reality I listened with all my attention to what the men were saying. I listened in vain. I could not follow the conversation. I barely caught bits of it: Christian names, (meaningless to me) of people whom the two men knew, and of whom the one sitting near me was asking news; puzzling sentences such as “. . . he was there with us; do you remember?” or “that one who did not come back” or “the bad times are not over — anything but! You’ll see for yourself . . . But I am going to Vienna tomorrow . . . ; from there . . . !” But I could not catch a word of what they said after that. It sounded like some different language, with a German word here and there. “Yiddish?”
wondered I; “perhaps.” But I was not sure. At last, the man who was not going to Vienna got up and said to the other “Good luck to you! We shall meet again, anyhow . . .” To which the other one answered: “Surely!” The former one then went away. And a trying game soon began for me.
I felt that the man who remained — the one who was about to go to Vienna, — would talk to me. And so he did. But I felt at the same time that, whoever he may have been, he was not the harmless sort of fool that I had come across in the morning. Surely not harmless, and perhaps not a fool. And decidedly not a German. He would try to find out who I was before boasting of having been interned in a concentration camp, during our days of power — although I was practically convinced that he had been in one: he looked Jewish enough to deserve a priority place in such an institution! And the one thing that astonished me was that he had managed to come out of it.
He asked me the usual question: “Where are you going, if it he not too indiscreet to enquire?”
He did not seem to like the sound of the place. “Landsberg,” repeated he; “the place where the war criminals are?” I immediately understood that my only hope of safety in presence of this fellow lay in my capacity of impersonating the perfect imbecile. “Criminals?” said I. “I don’t know. I suppose there are criminals everywhere, just as there are honest people everywhere.”
The man showed signs of impatience. “I said war criminals,” emphasised he.
“Yes; don’t you understand what I say? Don’t you speak German?”
“I do, a little. I understand when you speak slowly and distinctly; but even then, there are many words I don’t know. I am a foreigner.”
“Oh that’s good!” replied the man. “The Greeks fought well, during the war.”
“No,” said I, pretending not to understand. “During the war I was not in Greece.”
“I did not say you were. I said that the Greeks — your people — fought well; fought on our side, I mean. Do you understand me, now?”
“I cannot make out what you mean by ‘on our side’ . . . On what side were you?”
“I mean on the side of the Allies, against the Nazi monsters. I am a Pole . . .”
“A dirty Polish Yid,” thought I to myself. But the fellow did not give me time to think. “And what are you going to do in Landsberg?” asked he, carrying on his cross-examination.
“Going to see a cousin of mine who is married there,” answered I, lying blatantly.
“Married to a German!”
“Yes, yes; to a very good man. She met him in Greece during the war.”
The idea was obviously not the one I should have picked upon, had I wished to please the dubious “Pole.” But it would keep the conversation off politics. Or, at least, I imagined it would. But I was mistaken. At last the man put me a direct question: “You have heard about concentration camps, haven’t you?”
“No,” replied I, looking as innocent as I possibly could, while doing all that was in my power to keep my face straight.
The man was amazed — if not positively indignant.
“Don’t tell me you never heard of such places as Buchenwald, for instance!” exclaimed he. “I was in Buchenwald, during the war; I, and that comrade of mine whom you just saw talking to me. He, and his brother and I, and many of our relatives, some of which are famous, were among the toughest enemies of the Hitler tyranny. My friend’s brother died in Buchenwald, do you understand? If you have at all any humanity in you, you should remember our names, Olshewski and Scholl, heroes of the resistance against the Third Reich. Do you understand me?”
“Scholl,” reflected I; “Heinrich and Sophie Scholl, brother and sister, executed on the 22nd of February, 1943, for treachery
and sabotage of the German war effort. I have heard of these, of course: who hasn’t? Anti-Nazi propaganda made enough fuss about them, at the time. I wonder what this fellow (whose friend is probably related to the pair) would say, if I were to tell him that the only reason why I remember the date of the execution with such accuracy is that it happens to be just a day before the thirteenth anniversary of Horst Wessel’s death . . . ?” But I kept those thoughts within any mind, and continued playing the part of a very ignorant person.
“I understand that I should remember your names because you are important people, heroes of something, — but I could not exactly grasp of what. And I shall remember them, rest assured. As for Buchenwald, I have never been there. What kind of place is it? Far from here? Anything worth seeing in the way of scenery? And I would also like to ask you what is that thing against which you fought: ‘the Third Reich’? I have never heard of it. Excuse me, if I am ill informed: but I was in India during the war . . .”
I was (in order to justify my abysmal ignorance) just about to say that I had lived in a harem. But I had no time to. The fellow abruptly got up, thoroughly disgusted with me. “How did you manage to travel such a lot, if you really are such a fool as you seem to be?” said he, after a short pause, controlling his anger.
“I travelled in the hope of becoming a little wiser,” answered I with a smile. “But apparently, it was useless.”
The Polish Jew gave me a vicious look, and walked away — at last!
I spent the rest of the night at that table. Several other people came and sat there one after the other, last of all a friendly couple who talked to me for a long time — good people, and good Germans, in fact; but too thoroughly poisoned by Christian influences to be, without reservations, on our side. It was about three o’clock when they went away. During my last hour in Munich, I was alone.
I shut my eyes, and tried to picture myself the atmosphere of this railway station in the glorious days; and the ever-recurring remorse again tormented me for not having come years before. And I longed and longed for the return of our régime
— never mind how; by means of what intrigues, of what temporary alliances, of what apparent concessions to hostile forces, which might be used, before they are finally crushed! I also longed to play a part, however small it be, in the working out of the coming revenge and of the coming resurrection — again, never mind how and where; “wherever I am to be, the most useful, and in that way, in which I am to be the most useful, thought I. I felt my destiny was but a detail within that tremendous Destiny which is preparing the irresistible triumph of Truth — the recognition of our beloved Führer by all Aryans; the establishment of the Greater Reich as He conceived it.
And a little before half past four, I went and sat in the practically empty train that was to take me to Landsberg am Lech.