LANDSBERG AM LECH
24 April 1953
With strange emotion I read the name of the little town upon the station wall: Landsberg am Lech. And I stepped out of the train as I would have in a dream. “Landsberg, place of martyrdom — place of glory,” thought I. And tears welled up to my eyes at the recollection of all that the name means to us; of all the suffering and heroism it evokes, from the early days of the Führer’s captivity to the present hour when, behind the barred windows of the same dismal fortress in which he dreamed and planned — sure of his mission — and wrote the Book that inspires us, hundreds of his faithful disciples keep on, day after day, bearing witness to his greatness and to the truth the proclaimed.
It was cold, but the sky was pure. It was going to be a bright day.
I walked out of the quiet little station into a clean and quiet street such as one could have seen in any German provincial town a double row of peaceful houses with spotless blinds at their windows, and flowers upon many a windowsill; shops — all still closed, at such an early hour; — and an occasional Gasthaus and Wirtschaft, in which one would soon be able to have something hot to drink.
After a few steps, I turned to my left, into a street every bit similar to the first one. Right in front of me, a broad stone bridge over the river Lech prolonged the street. I halted a minute; looked at the bridge; looked at the steep wooded hill that rose on the other side of the river; at the old castle on the top of the hill. I would now see all that: cross the bridge walk up the hill; walk down again. I could. I was free. I could go wherever I pleased, unaccompanied; unwatched (or at least not obviously watched). But somewhere in this little town, so picturesque and so peaceful, several hundreds of men, all
better than I, — S.S. men; generals; Gauleiters; men who had fought and suffered for my high ideals, while I was still in Calcutta speaking of them; men who had victoriously stood the test of torture, to which I had never had the honour of being put — could not get out of their cells. And they had been there eight years, while I had remained in a cell less than eight months! I shuddered from top to toe as that simple fact, — that commonplace fact that I was free, — suddenly dawned upon me, in contrast to the awareness of their captivity. And I felt small. Small, and as humble as dust; ashamed of my right to see the sunlit world.
Half way across the bridge, I halted. Leaning over the parapet, I looked at the greenish-grey water that rushed from a different level, forming across a part of its bed a roaring waterfall one or two metres high. I looked, . . . but was all the time thinking of them. They could not see that natural dam, dividing the waters of the Lech into a moving mirror and a torrent of foam. They could see neither the lovely green trees upon the river banks nor the play of the Sun in the drops of spray and over the resplendent liquid surface. They were not free. And it was for the sake of my lifelong ideals, for the love of my aristocratic philosophy of life (for the love of the new German Reich which had, alone in the West, set up that philosophy as the cornerstone of its own existence as a State) that they had lost their freedom, while others — millions of others; millions of Germans — had lost their lives. For those Aryan ideals: my ideals. For the survival and rule of the Aryan race; their race and mine also. “Martyrs of our holy Cause, my loved ones, my superiors, how shall I ever be able to repay my debt of gratitude to you and to your people?” thought I.
* * *
I followed one of the winding roads that lead to the top of the hill. The landscape broadened under my eyes, as I went up. Soon, I could see the whole town — not a very large one, indeed, — and the green fields that stretch all round it, and the green woods that extend beyond these and limit the horizon. And somewhere on the other side of the river Lech, between the town and the fields, I saw a mighty cluster of buildings surrounded with high walls, and I thought immediately:
“That must be the famous ‘Fortress of Landsberg am Lech,’ — the place where he was a year captive; where they are captive for already eight years.” And once more the desperate yearning for the day they will all be free (and again in power) filled my heart, as I pictured to myself my beloved comrades, my brothers in faith, sitting behind those walls. And at the same time, my old wild hatred for our persecutors possessed me, as violently as in 1945 and 1946, during the Nuremberg Trial.
I reached the hilltop: a square planted with trees, from which one can see the town and surrounding scenery even better than from any place on the way up. For a long time, I remained there, standing against the low stone wall that borders the square on that side of it where the rock hangs vertically over the slopes of the hill. Beyond the many red roofs and chimneys, beyond the patches of green, by the river, my eyes remained fixed upon that cluster of towered buildings — the Fortress — from which the Sound of a siren — the siren regulating the morning routine of the inmates of the place of gloom — just now reached me. “It must be about half past six,” thought I — “breakfast time.” And I pictured to myself the distribution of “mook-fook” — a tasteless beverage (hot water poured over baked seeds ground to powder) supposed to be a substitute for coffee — and of dry bread, to long rows of prisoners all waiting, each one with his tin in his hand — like at Werl. Every morning for eight years it had been the same. For how many years more would the routine continue?
On my left, hanging over the rock from a slightly higher level than the square itself, I noticed a wooden balcony. From there, one could surely see the town even better than from my place. The balcony ran along the ground floor of a Gasthaus und Café, above a wooded portion of steep hill. A road led from the square to the entrance of the café. I walked up and knocked — for it was closed. A young girl about twenty or twenty-five let me in. There was not a soul there, save a well-fed, friendly dog that welcomed me in the noisy, demonstrative manner of the canine species. I stroked the smooth, black-and-white head, while the eloquent, almost human eyes looked into mine as though to say: “I am glad you have come, Friend-of-Animals! I know you without ever having seen you; I know you, and love you!”
The girl apologised for the rows of chairs standing upside-down upon one another, on the tables. “I am sorry,” said she; “the café is not yet open. But it soon will be. If you care to wait a while . . .” And turning to the dog, she scolded him good,-humouredly: “Now, Fidu, be quiet! That’s enough! You badly brought-up creature!”
Fidu stopped barking and jumping, but remained at my side, wagging his tail. “Oh, let him!” said I to the girl. “It is so lovely to see animals that are not afraid of human beings — on the contrary; — animals that know (as it is the case, here in Germany) that human beings will not harm them! It makes one feel happy to be a person, while in so many countries one is so often ashamed of being one . . .” Then, answering her suggestion, I added: “I don’t think I shall wait till the shop opens. All I wanted was to have a look at the town from the balcony over the rock on the other side . . . But, of course, had the place been open, I would also have had a cup of coffee.” (I did not really wish to drink anything; but I imagined I could not possibly ask to see the town from the balcony, and not pay in some way for that privilege.)
The girl considered me for a minute, as though to make sure that I was a woman to whom such a proposal could be mentioned, and then said, to my surprise: “But if you like — if that does not sound too uncomfortable to you — you can have a cup of coffee with me in the kitchen. I am just about to have my breakfast.”
The proposal touched me deeply. I followed the girl into the kitchen; Fidu followed me, and lay at my feet. And the girl talked to me while the water was warming.
“First time you have come to Landsberg?” asked she.
“Yes; first time.”
“Going to see someone at the prison? some relation of yours?”
I felt honoured beyond expression at the idea that somebody could take me for a relative of one of those martyrs of duty whom I revere. “And who can ever tell?” thought I. “I might, after all, be distantly related to some of them. I am partly at least of Viking blood. Who knows whether the fierce seafarer who settled in England a thousand years ago and became the ancestor of my mother’s family, did not have brothers
(or sons) settled in Schleswig-Holstein or on the coast of Pomerania? My Mediterranean ancestors were also men of the North who went south — only a little further south, and many centuries earlier. It makes not much of a difference, really.” But, of course, the girl was referring to an infinitely closer relationship. I answered her question frankly
“I have no actual ‘relatives’ among those who have been thrown into this prison for the sole reason that they have done their duty faithfully, but I look upon them all as my brothers, nay, as my superiors.”
“We all do,” replied the girl. And her eyes were full of friendliness and confidence as she poured out my coffee — as though I were a neighbour or an old acquaintance. She then poured out another cup (for herself) and cut two slices of bread, which she buttered. She gave me one; lay the other in a plate, by her cup, and went and fetched a pot of jam out of a cupboard. “There is not much left in it,” said she apologetically, “but we shall finish it. It is plum. You like plum jam, don’t you?”
As I said before, I had no desire to eat or drink. At the most, I could have eaten a slice of dry bread. One cannot come to such a place as Landsberg, and not feel that one should fast. I honestly wished to fast — in remembrance of all my comrades and superiors who had suffered and died; in remembrance of the years of hunger; and in atonement for my past omissions: for the fact that I was not in Germany during those out and out horrid years 1945, 1946, 1947; that I had not been arrested already in 1945, with the others. But this young German girl, so sympathetic, was offering me the good food with all her heart. She might think I did not find it good enough if I did not eat it. So I ate it, giving also a morsel of bread and butter and a nub of sugar to the dog, as she did herself. And we resumed our conversation about the “Fortress” and its inmates.
“What do people think, here in Landsberg, of this standing insult to Germany?” asked I.
“What we think? I can tell you, because I know you are on the right side,” answered she. “There is not a soul in Landsberg who does not hate those swine — the ‘Amis’ — and who is not ardently waiting for the day of revenge.”
“I am glad to hear it!” exclaimed I. “I am waiting for that Day as ardently as anyone.” The girl shook hands with me.
“Tell me;” continued I, “what was the general reaction to that latest public atrocity of the ‘Amis,’ I mean, to the murder of the Seven on the 7th of June, nearly two years ago . . .”
“Yes, that horror, six years after the end of the war!” interrupted the girl. “We were all so indignant that we would have, gladly, torn every one of the ‘Amis’ to pieces, had we been able to lay hands upon them. And the bastards knew it, and they were afraid of us — afraid of some irresistible outburst of mass violence. As a result of which Landsberg was, for a few days, so full of jeeps and “Military Police” fellows that one could have thought that the whole accursed Occupation forces had been concentrated here. Unarmed, what could we do against all that? With rage in our hearts, we watched time pass. We still hoped — against all hope. We did not believe in their ‘humanity.’ We knew it is all bunkum. But we dared to hope that the bastards would not be such fools as to kindle our hatred, just at the time they need German soldiers so badly. But one day we were told that the irreparable had been done that the Seven had been hanged between midnight and half past two in the morning. We will never, never forget . . . !”
“Never forget, and never forgive . . .” stressed I, repeating the last message I had addressed my best comrade and friend, on the day before I had left Werl, over three years before; the words I had uttered all over Germany, so many times since my return. And I added after a pause, recalling those days of mental agony and hopeless struggle, that I would indeed “never forget”: “I did all I possibly could to save the lives of the Seven: wrote to McCloy on the 2nd of February 1951, sincerely offering him my own life in the place of theirs, as many others have; sent a telegram to Truman on the 15th of February, telling him that it was ‘in the interest of the U.S.A.’ to spare the prisoners; wrote to the Supreme Court of Justice in Washington. But it was all in vain . . . .”
“You are right when you say that you were not the only one,” replied the girl. “Among those who offered their lives was a Catholic priest who had been interned during the Hitler days (anything but a National Socialist, while you are one, and a
fanatical one, if I may say so). Hundreds of thousands have signed a petition that was sent to Truman. As you say: it was all in vain. But one day the ‘Amis’ will pay for that crime; pay a terrible price . . .”
“I wish they do!” exclaimed I.
For a minute or two we were silent, absorbed in our memories and in the joyous anticipation of the coming Nemesis. Then, turning to the girl once more: “It is refreshing to see that spirit in you said I at last. “It makes one feel that Germany has a future.”
“Everyone has that spirit, here in Landsberg,” replied she; “every single one, with the sole exception of those few females who go with the ‘Amis’ and who are not from this place, most of them. Bitches, I call them, not German girls! Never! I would not lie with an ‘Ami’ for any amount of money! Would not touch them with a pair of tongs! As for allowing one of them to touch me . . . peuh!”
Her face took on an expression of utter disgust.
As for me, the mere thought of German girls selling their bodies to the torturers of my comrades and superiors made me so indignant that I spoke in an impulse: “I would not touch any damned Anti-Nazi murderer with a pair of tongs . . . unless the tongs were red hot!” declared I, with flames in any eyes.
The words were not a rhetorical exaggeration. They bluntly expressed my positive physical revulsion for any man who hates our Führer and our glorious faith. But I wondered whether I had not, all the same, gone a little too far, and shocked the girl with the gruesome evocation implied in my speech. The girl, however, did not give me time to wonder. “Well said!” exclaimed she, with the unmistakable accent of wholehearted approval. And she laughed boisterously — not “shocked” in the least.
We got up, and she took me to the balcony from which I had wanted to see the town. She pointed to the “Fortress” between the green trees bordering the river Lech and the vast green fields beyond the limits of the inhabited area. “That is the prison,” said she: “the place in which Germany’s finest men are punished for having served their fatherland with all their energy, to the end. Or rather, one of the several such places, — for there are more than one, as you know. And what
you see there, on the very left, is the chapel . . . for our persecutors believe in God (or pretend they do) and wish to save the souls of the so-called ‘war criminals.’ And next to the chapel — between it and the Fortress proper — is the cemetery where so many martyrs are buried . . . You can visit the chapel and the cemetery. But you cannot visit the prison without a special permission from the ‘Amis.’ And I know you would never go and ask them for one any more than I would myself.”
“I? I should think not! I could not dream of such a thing,” interrupted I. “All I want — all I have come here for — is to spend the day somewhere as near the Fortress as I can, and think of him who was interned there thirty years ago, and of those who are now captive for the love of Germany and of him.”
“I understand you.”
We came back to the kitchen, where I had left my handbag on the table. Before going away, I asked the girl what I owed her for my breakfast.
“Nothing,” replied she. “You are one of us, come here on a pilgrimage.”
“I am, no doubt,” answered I. “Still, we all have to live.” But she insisted on not being paid. Unobtrusively, I left a one mark coin under a pile of newspapers upon the table. Then, lifting my hand and looking intently at the girl, I uttered in a low voice the greeting of our common faith: “Heil Hitler!”
“Heil Hitler!” said she in her turn, repeating the dear old ritual gesture, with all the earnestness of her heart.
In a flash, I pictured to myself my superiors in the different work rooms of the prison, busy with the various dreary daily tasks that had been theirs for the last eight years. “My brothers, my loved ones . . . If only you could see us; if only you could feel us — and know that you are not: alone!” thought I. And my eyes were full of tears.
* * *
Thoughtfully, I walked down the slope, back to the river Lech and, across the bridge, back to the left bank on which “the Fortress” stands. Turning to my right, I followed she road along the border of the water, — a lovely road, with houses and
gardens and trees on one side of it, and trees, bushes, and grass full of flowers on the other side. I did not need to ask my way: I felt — I was sure — that this road led to the Fortress.
The Sun was not yet hot, but already bright; the sky, unchangingly blue. Indeed, I had not had a single rainy day since I had left Athens. It looked like a special favour of the heavenly Powers. Or was the German spring always so lovely?
I recalled the meadows full of buttercups and the fruit trees covered with blossoms that I had admired on my way from Werl to Düsseldorf and then again from Düsseldorf to Werl, on the last day of my trial, more than four years before. I remembered how I had, for a while, felt depressed at the idea of being cut off from the sunlit world — of never seeing a tree — for three long years. And I thought of all my comrades still behind bars — here in Landsberg, and in Werl also, and in Wittlich, and in Spandau, and in a thousand other prisons and concentration camps in and outside Germany, in and outside Europe. I recalled my friend Hertha Ehlert and the other comrades of mine that I knew to be in Werl to that day, — for how long more? And I felt small — so small; so insignificant, so worthless, compared with them, the real iron élite; my brothers and sisters in faith who have been tried and have proved themselves worthy. “They have suffered; not I. Before undergoing the ordeal of captivity, they have, most of them, undergone the ordeal of physical torture, of which I have no experience. They have given our Führer infinitely more than I have — alas!” I kept thinking. And I admired them. And I envied them. And I hated the British authorities (who had dealt with my case) for having denied me the glory of martyrdom — denied me, nay, even the opportunity of being put to test.
I listened to the birds that twittered in the bushes and trees by the river. I had been, then, for a while (on the way back from my trial) depressed at the idea that I would not hear them for three years. And yet I had remained but a few months in jail. And how quickly those months had passed, busy as I had been writing my Gold in the Furnace with the silent consent of the German staff of the prison! But they — my comrades — were still there; still in Werl, still in Landsberg, or elsewhere. When would they again be able to sit in the grass and listen to birds
singing? And see the Sun through branches covered with green leaves or pink blossoms?
A pretty blond child came out of one of the houses on the left side of the road, crossed the garden, stepped out, and walked towards me along the footpath. At the sight of him, I remembered what the Führer has said so many times, namely, that a German child is the loveliest being which Nature has produced, the masterpiece of Life’s creative artistry. And I thought: “How right he is!”
The little boy was carrying a puppy in his arms; carrying it carefully, as one accustomed to deal with animals and knowing how to hold them so that they be comfortable. He noticed that I had paid attention to him and to his pet and he spoke to me: “I am carrying him back to auntie Emmy,” said he, probably referring to some neighbour. “He is hers. I took him to give him some milk. But mammy says I must carry him back because auntie Emmy wants him.” I stroked both the child’s soft, silky, white-blond hair, and the young dog’s soft, fluffy coat. “What are you called?” I asked the little boy.
“A beautiful name. And how old are you?”
“Four years old.”
“One of Dr. Goebbels’ children was also called Helmut,” thought I. And I remembered the tragic words which Magda Goebbels is said to have uttered a short time before her suicide and that of her whole family: “If the Third Reich ceases to exist, my six children have no place on this earth . . .” This Helmut was born four years after the death of the other one. He would live and see the resurrection of the Third Reich and learn to love the Führer — Germany’s Führer forever. He would march in the new parades, after the Day of revenge. In the meantime, he walked in the shade of the trees, holding the puppy in his left arm while he stroked it gently with his right hand.
“My beloved Führer, how right, how absolutely right you are!” thought I for the millionth time, as I pondered over that inborn friendliness towards living creatures which, more eloquently than anything else, proclaims, in my estimation, the natural superiority of the Germanic race. I could easily imagine a Scandinavian child, an English child and maybe some French children — though surely not all, nay, perhaps not most —
acting in the same manner, but (apart from rare exceptions) not a child from Southern Europe or from the Near or Middle East. “Spontaneous kindness to creatures is as much a sign of Aryan blood purity as a properly shaped nose or as ears on the right line, and so forth,” concluded I. “It distinguishes the Aryan who deserves to belong to the Greater German Reich — the Nordic European — from the less pure sort.” And I remembered with satisfaction that I had, from earliest childhood, set myself, in that respect, among the privileged Aryans.
I was absorbed in such reflections when, suddenly, appeared before me, on the opposite side of a broader road, into which the one I was following led, the main entrance of the Landsberg prison.
* * *
The entrance as such was — at first sight — less forbidding than the one I remembered so well, at Werl. There was a garden, with clean-cut, emerald-green lawns and neatly trimmed flowerbeds, and trees, in front of it. And the door looked new, and was polished. And I easily imagined the luxury of the Governor’s and Chief Warder’s offices and private quarters: American luxury, that leaves even the British far behind it. For all I knew, the prisoners’ recreation rooms and their cells themselves were possibly more comfortable than those in Werl or Wittlich — or Stein — now, at least, that the masters of the place realise more and more how much they need the collaboration of those against whom they once conducted their sinister “crusade to Europe”; the Americans believe they can buy anybody — even us! — with good food and comfort. (Our other persecutors are often silly enough to believe the same . . . until we get our opportunity [at last!] and knock the silliness out of them with a masterful hit on the head.)
But all that facade of luxury merely made me more intensely conscious of the horror — and sanctity — of the twice famous place of gloom, death and glory. I knew that, only a few yards beyond those lawns and flower beds, somewhere, over three hundred of my brothers in faith had died for our Führer between 1945 and 1951, at the hands of these American bastards, believers in money. And I shuddered at the recollection.
And here, behind these high walls, somewhere, — in a well-known cell that I would not, this time, see, — Adolf Hitler himself had been interned in 1923–24, for about a year, and had written his immortal Mein Kampf, our Book for all times. Here, thirteen of his best early followers (among whom Rudolf Hess, now interned in Spandau) had shared his captivity. Here, to this day, hundreds of those who have lived and still live in unflinching loyalty to him and to his dream of a new Germany, are detained, for having done their duty thoroughly and to the end, as one should. One day, from the four corners of the earth; thought I, — hoped I, — men and women of Aryan blood will come and visit this place, as Christians visit the Mamertine Prison in Rome, and will think of our martyrs in a spirit of reverent gratitude.
Halting on the border of the road, I looked at the prison. I could not enter the garden: both alleys running through it were guarded by armed sentries. And a “jeep” was stopping before one of them. (The other one was blocked with heaps of gravel, as the road was being repaired). And two more “jeeps” — Military Police — were stopping near the opposite footpath, just behind me. Indeed, I had never seen a prison so thoroughly guarded as this one. It looked exactly as if the Americans were afraid; as if they felt the waves of hatred that surround them, perhaps even more wildly, here in Landsberg, than in any other place in Germany; as if they were aware of being in a hostile land — hostile in spite of all their efforts to bribe the Germans into an alliance with them, — and realised that danger, even though it be not vet obvious, will soon be threatening them from all sides.
I probably could have (as the young girl to whom I had spoken in, the café on the hilltop had told me) obtained a permit to visit the prison: nobody knew me under by maiden name, — the name on my passport; and there was no earthly reason why the Americans should refuse such a favour to a foreigner, subject of one of their economical and cultural protectorates in the Near East. I remembered the visitors who, occasionally, used to walk around in the “Frauen Haus” at Werl, escorted by the British Governor of the prison, by his assistant, (then, Mr. Watts), the German interpreter and “Frau
Oberin.” Quite possibly, I could have, in a like manner, been chaperoned through the Landsberg prison by the American Governors — Thomas Graham, or what was his name? — and shown “the places of historical interest”: Adolf Hitler’s cell, and the place of execution of the so-called “war criminals.” Technically speaking from the administrative point of view — I could have. But in reality, being what I am, I never could have. I would have died rather than be seen by my captive brothers, by my superiors, in the company of our persecutors; rather than see them, without telling them how I revere them; rather than stand their silent contempt — the contempt of the captive lion for the ugly sub-men grinning around his cage — without shouting to them; “My comrades, don’t take me for a ‘tourist’ come to see what ‘war criminals’ look like, or for an insulting fool come to pity you! No! No! I have come from the world of the free to tell you, eight years captive for the love of our common National Socialist faith: ‘Hope, our Day is drawing nigh. Every passing second brings you nearer not only to long-desired freedom, but to reconquered power!”
If I were not allowed to tell them that, what use was it visiting the prison? One day, — when the latter no longer is in our persecutors’ hands — my comrades would take me to the cell in which Adolf Hitler wrote Mein Kampf, and also to the place of martyrdom, and observe silence with me in remembrance of our Leader’s captivity and of the sacrifice of his faithful ones. In the meantime, — thought I, — I would walk around the premises: see the outer walls of the Fortress: and think of those who are waiting inside for our Day to dawn.
* * *
I turned to my right, and walked on.
Along the road, quite near the prison enclosure, are the houses in which live those Americans who are connected with the prison service: houses that look newly built, with gardens. I saw children playing in those gardens — children not different in appearance, many of them, from German ones: Nordic children. But their parents were “Americans.” And they would go to American schools, and he taught to hate our Führer and
all we stand for, and to throw the whole responsibility of this war upon National Socialist Germany. And most of them would do so as a matter of course, without ever questioning the accuracy of the facts or the soundness of the principles laid down before them, because children in general are not I — not passionate seekers of consistency such as I was as a child — and believe what their history books and the grownups tell them. And yet, among those little ones, were descendants of Germans who had once migrated to the U.S.A. — German children, by blood. Once more I remembered the Greek child born in the U.S.A. whom I had met years and years before — the little boy who wanted to be an American. “Accursed U.S.A. killer of nations,” thought I; “killer of those real collective souls, inseparable from blood and soil, through which, alone, man can raise himself to the awareness of living Divinity; — to the experience of his own greatness, within and in spite of his personal insignificance. May you and your Democratic ‘values’ and your mendacious “universal conscience” disappear forever from the surface of this earth!” I ardently wished that, inasmuch as they be of Nordic blood, those children would, one day, curse their false education, despise their silly, gullible parents, acknowledge the deeper natural link which hinds them, in spite of all, to us, and proclaim their allegiance to a future worldwide Aryan Reich under Germany’s leadership. And I walked on.
I turned to my left and followed the outer enclosure of the prison: a long, long white-washed wall, above which ran several rows of barbed wire, which I knew was electrified, and at both ends of which could be seen a square watchtower occupied by an armed American sentry. From the opposite side of the road (where I was), it was visible that a fairly great distance separated that enclosure from a second one, from behind which emerged the red roofs and a part of the grey walls of the actual prison buildings. I walled along in the grass, counting the buttresses that could he seen at regular intervals from one another, against that inner enclosure. They were fifty-three, if I counted right.
I walked past a lovely-looking house surrounded with a flower garden. On the verandah facing that garden, a man was seated at a table, apparently having some refreshments. “Another one of those confounded ‘Amis’ — a plague on them
all!” thought I. I had never liked the sight of an English bungalow in India. The English may be, as a whole, on a racial level higher than that of the enormous non-Aryan multitudes of India. But their Christianity, even when they did not try to spread it, (and all the more when they did), made them unworthy to exploit even those non-Aryan masses: it made them hypocritical to the extent they did so. And the Aryan castes of India, faithful to the age-old Teaching of harmony within God-ordained racial hierarchy, were, in my eyes, by far worthier than they to hold the land and enjoy its riches. But to see Yanks living in Germany as the English once did in India is too much — especially when their accursed “bungalow” is just a few yards away from the outer enclosure of the Landsberg prison; looking over it, so as to say! — a shocking sign of undeserved luxury and power, standing insult to those who are suffering for the love of the real values of life, in the cells and workshops of the famous Fortress.
I reached the second corner tower, at the top of which another sentry kept watch, and again I turned to my left. I was now walking between the outer prison wall — that went on, and on, and on, with its many parallel rows of barbed live-wire — and an immense expanse of grass. On my left, at a much further distance from the outer wall than formerly, I could see the whole cluster of prison buildings within its narrower enclosure I could see the chapel at the other end of it — on my right as I turned my back to the green horizon and faced the Fortress from behind. For the very reason that the latter was now further away from the wall that stood before me, I could see it better, although my bad eyesight did not allow me to distinguish the details of its various parts. But that did not matter. I had not come to study the place. I had come to commune as perfectly as I could, through the mysterious waves of intense thought and of intense love, with those whom I admire — whom I revere. The sight of the surroundings merely centred my whole consciousness around them exclusively.
* * *
I looked round . . . The great meadow on the border of which I was standing stretched endlessly . . . The wind caused
ripples, and occasionally waves, to appear upon its surface, as on that of an immense green lake. Dark woods limited it in the distance. I sat in the thick, soft, fresh, scented grass full of daisies and buttercups, bluebells and wild violets, under the radiant blue sky, and looked at the prison beyond the wall and the successive rows of live barbed wire.
“Why am I free and sitting here, while you are still there, behind bars, my brothers in faith, my superiors?” thought I. “Why have mysterious distant influences — influences from another continent — intervened in my favour and flung the heavy prison doors wide open before me, while you, and our comrades in Werl and in a hundred other places, remain captive?” And once more I felt small. I felt guilty for being free — although I had done absolutely nothing to obtain my release from Werl, a thing which had always been — and is, to this day — a perfect enigma to me. I felt I could never do enough for each and every one of my persecuted comrades, individually.
The sound of a siren suddenly tore the divine silence of the fields. And I shuddered. It was exactly like the sirens in Werl. It stirred in me ineffaceable memories. “Time to go and walk around the courtyard for fifteen minutes — which is called ‘the free hour’ (die freie Stunde)” thought I. Or was it not, rather, time for lunch? In the immense blue vault of the sky, the Sun, now positively hot, was not quite above my head: it was not twelve yet. But I remembered that, in Werl, lunch was served to us before twelve. And I could not make out whether it was half past ten or half past eleven. It did not really matter. Whether it announced “free time” or “lunch” or whatever else, the siren meant routine. It meant dreariness; the inexpressible dreariness of prison life: waking tip and washing (in a mere jug of water) going to work; having a tin of “mook-fook” and a slice of bread; going to work again; going out into the courtyard two by two, in a row, and walking round and round for fifteen minutes going back to work; having lunch: going to work again; going out in a row into the same courtyard for another fifteen minutes and coming back; going to work again; having supper; having — at last! — the right to bring down the iron bed, fastened, during the daytime, against thee wall of one’s cell, and to lie upon it — whether to sleep, or to think of the past and make plans for the future, the prison authorities do not care. And,
for the men behind these walls, that had been lasting eight years already. For how long more would it last?
For a while, I lay upon my belly, in the grass. The grass was fresh; alive. And under it, I could feel the freshness and strength of the living earth. I thought of that earth, of that soil which is Germany. It stretched all round me for hundreds of miles, in all its invincible loveliness, bringing forth its moss and its daisies, its grass and bushes and young oak trees, untiringly, out of its wounded bosom; forgetting, at the holy touch of the Sun, six years of torture under the phosphorus bombs, centuries of devastation under all sorts of instruments of torment. And I was aware of it under me. I was lying in its embrace. A mysterious, all-powerful, almost physical bond such as had yet never existed between it and any foreigner, — a lover’s tenderness which I experienced in the depth of my being — united me to it, forever. For the sake of that Land, my beloved comrades had undergone martyrdom and death. For the sake of that Land, those whom I had come here to commune with still sat behind those walls, only about a hundred yards away from the place where I lay, living, day after day, month after month, for eight long years, to the dreary rhythm of prison routine, and, in spite of all, happy to do so — a thousand times happier than the traitors now in high position. For the sake of that Land, our Führer himself had suffered the Agony of 1945 and . . . perhaps of the following years.
I recalled the words of the beautiful song:
Germany, holy Word,
Thou who containest Infinity . . .
Be blessed throughout the ages . . . !1
“Du voll Unendlichkeit,” repeated I, within my heart; “Thou who containest Infinity; Thou through Whom the natural aristocracy of my race takes consciousness of its eternal Self; of its collective divinity!” And drawing a daisy to my lips, tenderly, reverently, without tearing it from the maternal earth, I performed the rite of love — the supreme religious rite — and kissed its fresh, golden heart. I thought of those other equally beautiful but immeasurably more conscious beings, sap and substance of the same sacred Soil: my German comrades and their
1 “Deutschland, heiliges Wort, Du voll Unendlichkeit
Uber die Zeiten fort, seist Du gebenedeit . . .”
children. All lands bring forth grass and flowers. And the delicate white petals are everywhere as lovely. But all lands do not give birth to such people, whose dedicated lives remain, in all their intelligent and organised activity, as pure and beautiful as the innocent daisies and, at the same time, as thoroughly rooted as they in the living earth. The fact that it bears such men and women makes this Land holy. And the bond of comradeship that makes me one of them (he it the least) in spite of all, has created between this German soil and me — felt I — a mystical filiation, and made me too a part of it.
It must have been midday, by now. The Sun was burning. The cloudless sky above me was an abyss of shimmering heat and light, which the blazing Orb, too bright to be faced, filled with its splendour from one horizon to the other: from the woods in the distance to the irregular line of prison-buildings beyond the long white wall. A flight of birds appeared, emerging out of nowhere, and sailed across the depth of light. Away, far away above the sinister Fortress, in the aetherial liberty of trackless space, silver wings shone and flapped, until they soon appeared as nothing but spots of brightness, and finally vanished into the radiant blue infinity.
From the prison, once more arose the sharp sound of a siren. And again I shuddered. And tears welled up to my eyes, and my mouth quivered. My mind rushed back to my comrades and superiors, here, in Spandau, in Werl, in Wittlich, in Stein, in Breda, in Fresnes, in far-away Russia and Siberia, wherever they be. For how long more would they have to remain captive? And what had they done, but lived faithfully and selflessly for our common ideals, for our Führer and for the truth he proclaimed; for the Greater Reich of our common dreams?
I sat up and, looking to the sky into which the free birds had disappeared, I prayed to the Unknowable and Unutterable — to Him-Her-It behind the veil of visible existence: “Fling open the doors of gloom, Lord Who resplends in the flaming Orb, all-powerful Avenger, our only hope! Free them: those who, now, at the call of the siren, are leaving the work-rooms to go and have food, or to go and walk around the court-yard two by two; those who are living under a similar routine in all the jails of our persecutors in and outside Germany, while the sunlit world lives and sings; while birds fly across the sky
above the roofs of their cells! Oh, free them, — and give them back the power they deserve!”
* * *
I recalled the words I had myself so many times uttered and written, during, after, and even before the war — from the time the international Jew had started his worldwide atrocity campaign against new Germany: “I hold myself personally responsible — morally responsible — for anything that has been, is or will he done in the name and in the highest interest of the Third Reich and therefore of the Aryan race.” (In fact, I hold every true believer in a Weltanschauung to be morally responsible for anything that has been, is or will be done for the triumph of his or her faith, i.e., for the materialisation of that which — one should presume — he or she wants the most, in life; and that, even if it be “wrong” i.e. from a practical standpoint, useless or harmful to the cause of the professed faith.) And I remembered my release. And once more I realised, with painful vividness, that I was free, while so many of my comrades and superiors were not. And I felt humble, as I always do at such a thought.
Yes; free to stay here, sitting in the grass, or to get up and go away; free to take a sheet of letter-paper out of my hand-bag and to write what I pleased, without it being controlled (to my knowledge) — at least, without having to hide it in impossible places for it not to be: free to walk into a shop and buy more paper, when this was finished, without, having to ask for more (and, like in Werl, to wait a fortnight before I could obtain it); free to go back to Munich or to star here another day: free to send a letter or not to send it: free to go and have a cup of coffee whenever I liked . . . while they were still hampered by all the hindrances that make a prisoner’s life a misery. And why? What had they done, of which I did not whole-heartedly approve, to the knowledge of all those who care to believe what I say or to read the sincerest words I wrote? What had they done, which I would not gladly have done myself, in similar circumstances, if endowed with similar power? In fact, I was, quite possibly, more thoroughly in agreement with the orders that they had obeyed than many of themselves; and
doubtless as Anti-democratic and Anti-Christian as the most radical among them could be. The Democratic authorities were fools indeed to have released me, while keeping them in jail!
Thus I reflected. And I felt small before all those who, to this day, remain in captivity for the love of my — of our — ideals. “All I can do now is to justify, to the utmost of my capacity, that undeserved privilege of freedom that the Gods have given me,” thought I. “May every minute of my life bear witness to our Führer’s greatness! May my thoughts, my speech, my actions, my writings, never cease to be the living tribute of allegiance of an Aryan to him and to his Germany!”
And I was glad to feel that I had, at least up till now, used my freedom for the service of Adolf Hitler’s truth, to the exclusion of everything else.
* * *
Another siren was heard — another landmark in the dreary, daily routine. “Free time, probably,” I surmised; for it was definitely long past lunch time.
Free time; then again work; then supper . . . The hopeless succession of occupations continued, as it had on the preceding day and on the day before, and on the day before that one, and so forth, up to that dismal day — now, nearly eight years ago — when our comrades had been ushered into captivity; as it would continue every day, until the last day — the day of their release — would dawn. When? When?
They were living, — they are living, to this day — cut off from the stream of time, with no means of connecting the past, that they knew, with the future, in which they believed, in spite of all. With no news of the world of the free; no accounts of what ground the indestructible National Socialist Idea is gaining in both halves of vivisected Germany; no reports of the increasing tension between the two halves of the divided enemy camp; no news of the progress of the forces that are steadily working for us in all countries.
But those forces are nevertheless working. And the enemy camp is nevertheless definitively broken in two. And out of growing worldwide discontent, slowly but steadily, an immense yearning for an order of justice in honour, which is none other than our New World Order, is seeking expression in the hearts
of millions. And unfailing Nemesis — the mathematical Law of Action and Reaction — is slowly but steadily drilling the opposite camps for their final clash and common annihilation, so that, for every single one of our martyrs, a million of those who hated us should die.
My brothers, my superiors here in Landsberg, and in Spandau, in Werl, in Wittlich, in the camps of the Urals and of Siberia, wherever our enemies may still be detaining you, you are not suffering in vain! Men of iron and gold, our Führer’s faithful ones, of whom I sang the glory, you are the seed of the future that nothing can destroy. My one satisfaction is to be utilising my undeserved freedom to write in praise of you and contribute to keep your spirit alive among your people — while not yet in a position to do anything more practical.
* * *
I spent my last unforgettable hour in that meadow behind the Fortress expressing something of my feelings in a long letter to the one man in India who has, to my knowledge, consciously and actively stood on our side, before, during and after the war. I wrote with the eloquence of sincerity. Thus, in a few days’ time, the tale of martyrdom and of glory, — the epic of Landsberg — would reach far-away Aryavarta. And after reading it, a few at least of the descendants of the Sun-worshipping conquerors of old, would feel proud of being Aryans.
How late could it have been? Three o’clock? Four o’clock? I had not the faintest idea. I knew there were several trains to Munich. And were there not, I could always spend the night in some cheap Gasthaus. I got up, walked as far as I could into the meadow — until I was sure that nobody could see me from the road. And there I stood, my right arm outstretched in the direction of the place in which Mein Kampf was written; in which the Seven Blood-witnesses of 1951, and over three hundred others before them, have won the martyrs’ immortality; in which a few more hundreds of my superiors are prisoners for the sake of our everlasting Hitler faith. And I sang the selfsame old Kampflied that had sprung from my lips upon the devastated site of the Berghof in Obersalzberg
“One day, the Day of revenge will come;
One day, we shall be free . . .
Creative Germany, awake!
Break thy chains asunder! . . .”1
Tears ran down my cheeks as I sang the conquering words, the old message of revenge, freedom and power, as relevant today as twenty-five years ago, if not more so.
My loved ones, my superiors, from behind the barred windows of your work rooms and cells, did you hear my voice? Or did you at least, on that afternoon, — the 24th of April, 1953 — feel, with somewhat more insistence than usually, the certitude of our coming dawn?
* * *
I walked back to the road and, turning to my right, followed it on and on, until it led me into another road running, to my right, between the meadow in which I had been sitting and another endless one, and, to my left, along the remaining side of the prison enclosure. I turned to my left, and continued walking past high walls and courtyards and various sheds, behind which the bell tower of the prison chapel could, now and then, be seen; I walked until I finally found myself back on the road into which I had at first emerged, when coming from the riverbank — the road that ran along the front part of the premises of gloom. There was the chapel, quite near behind the forbidden walls, and, by the side of it, the cemetery of the prison. Turning once more to my left, I soon reached the entrance of the cemetery. It was open. There was nothing to indicate that one should not go in. Seeing this, I crossed the threshold, and slowly walked along the alleys.
Among the many graves were those of our martyrs — or at least of some of them, for others had been, with the permission of the Occupation authorities, taken back by their families and buried in different other cemeteries of Germany. I read the names upon several wooden crosses, seeking the few which I knew —
1 “Einst kommt der Tag der Rache;
Einmal da werden wir frei;
Schaffendes Deutschland erwache!
Brich deine Ketten entzwei!”
which I remembered, for having read or heard of their trials and sentences to death. Bur I could not find any of them.
I walked further on, and came to a series of graves that bore neither names nor dates, merely numbers (apparently, the numbers of the cells in which the men who lay there had spent their prison life). And something — some intuition, — told me that these were precisely my comrades’ graves; the ones I was seeking.
I had no flowers. I had not known that anybody could, without special permission, visit the cemetery of the prison. And it would have anyhow been difficult to bring flowers for all, for the nameless graves were one hundred and fifty-eight (I counted them before leaving the place). But I knelt upon the bare earth before one of them — anyone. And my mind wandered back to the nightmarish years 1945, 1946, 1947; to the collapse of the Greater German Reich through treason; to the ghastly persecution of its creators and defenders, — the long-drawn mock trials; the daily tortures; the final hangings. How vividly I remembered all that! How vividly I also remembered the relentless propaganda of lies which our enemies so loudly carried on in order to justify their own atrocities in the eyes of the stupid world — and the readiness with which the stupid world had swallowed it. And now, before my comrades’ graves, I lived once more, as intensely as ever, all the horror of that death that they had faced so bravely; of that death at the end of a rope, for having loved and obeyed our Führer unquestioningly. I thought of the many who had been killed in 1945 and 1946, when the hangman in this prison was busy practically every day; I thought of the last ones, of the exalted Seven, killed in 1951, — the Seven, whom I had tried so hard to save — and I wept. And I prayed. I called the wrath of the heavenly Powers upon those who had had a part in the executions; upon those who had ordered them or allowed them: upon those — all those; all the millions — who in or after 1940, had approved of them; upon all those who had believed our enemies’ propaganda, and looked upon the “war crime” trials as a good thing. “Just as I, who approve of whatever my comrades may have done for the triumph of our ideals and the strengthening of our régime, am morally responsible for it all.” thought I, “so
are those millions of fools, who hate us in the name of ‘humanity,’ personally responsible for the persecution of National Socialism and the death of our martyrs. I accept my responsibility in its entirety, and carry it with pride. Surely they can do the same, if they really have faith in that which they profess to uphold! Fire and brimstone upon them!”
I thought not of any personal God, but merely of the mathematical justice, immanent within the cosmic Play. To It and to It alone I appealed, now, as five years before when facing for the first time the ruins of Germany: “Avenge my Führer’s faithful people, Thou merciless One, inaccessible to remorse, hope of the Strong! And allow me to be, in Thy hand, an instrument of Thy vengeance!”
* * *
I went to the chapel and remained there for a while. It was empty, — peaceful. Yet, I could feel nothing of the emotion that had seized me in the little church at Leonding. This place, unconnected with anything sincere and vital in the lives of those I love, did not speak to my heart. None of Adolf Hitler’s iron fighters imprisoned here, be it in 1923 (with him) or in 1945, were men likely to have needed any Christian “consolations”; none were likely to have sought, in this chapel, that hope of a hereafter, without which most people outside our circles cannot face death with serenity. No. The Strong, dedicated to our Führer and too his impersonal Truth, are not — never were; never will be, — like “most people.” They have faced death with serenity — with the detachment of perfect warriors — without lulling themselves into believing that they knew what comes afterwards. Or rather, they knew what would — what shall — “come after” their death, on this earth; what would remain, indestructible, of their life-long action, once they would be no more: Germany, who would one day resume the glorious onward march; Germany, who would, sooner or latter, find, in any possible succession of events, a reason to look back with nostalgia to the golden days of National Socialist rule, and in any teaching other than that of Mein Kampf — more and more, as tine would go on — nothing but dreary nonsense; lies,
and unexciting ones at that; Germany, awakened by Adolf Hitler, once and for all. That awareness — along with the satisfaction of duty done — was enough for them.
Such was at least the feeling that I had. It is possible that I was mistaken. It is possible that there was, in the reactions of my comrades and superiors, place for more variety than my simple logic could conceive. If so, I am not to judge those who died. They died for my — for our — proud heathen ideals, — for the ideals embodied in the National Socialist Way of life, — whatever might have been, at the approach of death, their attitude to that traditional Judeo-Christian philosophy, which is incompatible with ours. And I revere them unquestioningly. Yet, a “Landsberger” whom I had the honour of meeting a month later, told me, confirming my own feeling, that practically every single one of our martyrs died with the courage and serenity befitting an Aryan warrior, with the Words of pride, faith and power upon his lips: “Long live eternal Germany! Heil Hitler!”
Although I knew it, I was glad to hear it.
* * *
As I came out of the cemetery, I saw a man with a sympathetic face, who was cleaning the road. Doubtless, he lived in Landsberg, and probably in the neighbourhood of the prison. He probably knew whether the nameless graves in the cemetery were or not, as I had surmised, those of the victims of Democratic hypocrisy and cruelty, and would not mind my asking him.
The man at once scented in me a National Socialist like himself, and spoke without the slightest restraint.
“Of course they are!” said he, answering my question. “You guessed the truth all right. In the beginning, all the graves bore the usual inscriptions, with the names of the dead, as a result of which ours were honoured as tombs of heroes, which indeed they are. On Sunday afternoons, all Landsberg used to come here, with masses of flowers. And on weekdays, children would step into this cemetery on their way to school, bringing a few roses or carnations from their mothers’ gardens to those who died for Germany. When the American
bastards saw this, they tore off all the names and dates. But still people come. They know that the nameless graves are ours. And this is and will remain a place of pilgrimage in spite of those swine — a plague on them!”
“A place of pilgrimage for all times . . . You are right,” replied I. “Do you know? I came from Athens in that spirit: to see (from outside) the prison where our martyrs suffered; where our Führer himself was once imprisoned . . .”
“Quite natural!” agreed the man. “I know two people who came the other day from Argentina, with the same devotion. We are all over the world — and more powerful than these people think, although we may be silent, for the time being. One day, when the Third World War starts, they will find out that we don’t forget . . .”
“Yes,” said I. “And they speak of ‘collaboration against Bolshevism’ — Now! They should have thought of that in 1941, and made peace with Germany. Too late, now; too late! We shall never forgive! They speak — the fools — of ‘defending the values of Christian civilisation’; the ‘values’ in the name of which they killed the Seven only two years ago, and thousands of others before them, including the great ones of Nuremberg. Who wants to defend such ‘values’? Who wants such a civilisation to live? Not I! The sooner it is smashed, the better. We will rule upon its ruins, — rule, and avenge those who died here, and elsewhere, for the love of Greater Germany.”
The man gave me a smile of sympathetic understanding. “I can tell you,” exclaimed he, “one will not need to call me, when the time at last comes — the time for taking revenge for all that I have seen. I’ll be there all right! And God help them — if there be a God who helps liars and hypocrites, and Jewish swine and slaves of Jewry! For I shall spare none of them!”
He had put down his broom to talk to me. His eyes blazed. I was delighted to find someone like myself. “Indeed, the further away from ‘intellectual’ circles, the more thoroughly like myself,” thought I. And I was pleased at the feeling that I was so free — that I had always been so completely free — from the various prejudices of my supposed ‘class’ and upbringing; pleased to experience that I was more at ease with this handsome,
noble, pure-blooded German roadman, than with any of the University professors whom I had met (people who had the same diplomas as I, but not the same scale of values. “Better the same scale of values, without the diplomas!” thought I).
“Do you know what I would like to do, when our days come back?” said I, resuming our talk after a pause. “I would like to be at the head of concentration camp; or to hold a responsible post in some ‘Bureau for Jewish Affairs.’ Gosh, I would enjoy myself!”
“I readily believe you,” answered the workman, with a bright smile. “And how I understand you! After all that went on here, I feel exactly as you do. And I tell you: every single man in Landsberg feels the same.”
“I have seen the houses where the ‘Arms’ live . . . That luxury . . . !”
“Naturally! — at our cost! But the Day will come. Not one of the bastards will get out of Germany alive . . .”
“May I then be here, and take an active part in the revenge! I remember the Nuremberg Trial as though it were yesterday. It haunts me . . .”
“It haunts us all. You are not alone, believe me!”
“Avenge our martyrs, merciless One, inaccessible Power, deaf to whining remorse, and allow me to be an instrument of Thy vengeance!” I recalled the prayer I had just now uttered from the bottom of my heart, by the graves of those who were hanged for having been faithful to Adolf Hitler to the end. It sounded definitely as though, apart from me, there would be other willing instruments of the irresistible Nemesis.
I took leave of my rough and sincere comrade after exchanging with him one of the formulas that mean: “Heil Hitler!” (We were in the street, and could not utter the actual forbidden Words.)
Once more, before walking down to the river bank and back to the station I passed before the main entrance of the prison. Once more, I pictured to myself my brothers in faith behind the high walls and rows of live barbed wire, and barred windows. I also thought of the humble madman whom I had just met in the world of the free — on this side of the walls. “The indignation of that man and of millions of others — including mine — is working in the invisible realm against all those who
are, directly or indirectly, responsible for the iniquitous ‘war crime’: trials, and the spreading of all the lies connected with them,” thought I. “It will — it must — unfailingly bring fire upon their countries, and death upon them, one day.”
My brothers in Landsberg, in Spandau, in Werl and elsewhere, — my superiors — stronger than the armed guards and live-wires and Military Police Jeeps around your prisons, are these intangible Forces. They will release you — one day — and avenge you!
* * *
I caught a last glimpse of the prison as the train carried me back to Munich. And again the painful feeling — the strangely depressing feeling of indefinable guilt — caught hold of me at the thought that I was free — sitting in a railway-carriage; travelling — while they were there; would still he there the next day, the day after, and the following . . . For how long more?
On the right side of the track, in the grass, I noticed, as we rolled past them, two tombstones bearing the Jewish star. A man seated opposite me told me that these were graves of Jews who had been killed there, during our days of power.
“I do hope we shall one day, blow tip all those monuments to the memory of dead ‘Yids’ — these, and the others,” declared I, unable to refrain from speaking in a manner that could have landed me into serious trouble. (My visit to Landsberg had thoroughly upset me.) But for my good luck, the man was “in order.”
“That is what I feel, every time I see a stone such as these,” replied he.
I recalled the question that had once been put to me in France: “With whom will Germany side during the Third World War?” I had then answered: “With those who will first have the good idea of encouraging the Germans to blow up, with as much spectacular defiance as possible, the monuments that they were forced to erect in all ‘Zones’ to the memory of dead Jews, ‘victims of the National Socialist régime.’”
I was glad to see that one more German agreed with me.
I reached Munich in the evening, and was able to catch at once a train to Nuremberg, where I arrived at about ten o’clock at night.