I had never seen Nuremberg — any more than the other places which I had been visiting for the last eight days, — save on pictures. But, the name was, like theirs, full of memories; and, which is more, full of the most opposite memories: linked forever, in our hearts, with the vision of the grandest days of Adolf Hitler’s struggle and rule, as well as with all the horror of the post-war persecution of National Socialism.
As in a dream, I stepped out of the train, followed the porter who carried my heavy suitcase (while I carried the rest), gave my ticket at the exit, and waited for my turn to leave my luggage at the cloakroom, all the time strangely moved at the mere knowledge that I was in the immortal town: Julius Streicher’s town; the seat of the great Party Rallies: the place of the infamous Trial, and that where the Eleven great Martyrs of 1946 had given up their lives. I forgot, in my excitement, that I had not slept far nearly forty-eight hours. But it was too late to go visiting the town. I went to the “Station Mission”1: I was running out of money at an alarming speed (in spite of all my efforts to scrape and save) and I could think of no cheaper place to spend the rest of the night in.
Here, as in Hanover and in a few other railway stations in which I had slept in the course of my former journeys, five years before, the dormitory of the Mission is underground: the reception office also. I was shown a wooden staircase — some twenty steps — leading down to the place. Quite a number of people, men and women, were already there, waiting (for goodness alone knows how long!) for their turn to bring out their Ausweiss2 (or the equivalent) and to pay half a mark (if at all
1 A place attached to every important German railway-station, with a view to provide accommodation and food for poor travellers.
2 Identity card.
they could) and get in. I took my place in the dreary, shabby, resigned “queue.”
Had I come not as a National Socialist pilgrim but merely as an impartial, open-minded observer, I could not have chosen a better place to study real post-war Germany. And the impartial observer could not have helped comparing the dignified, but sullen, joyless faces in that “queue,” with those one met in Germany before and even during the war (according to people who were there and saw them). He (or she) could not have helped measuring the gap that separated those men and women, victims of the war, from those who, even at the end of 1944, listened to Dr. Goebbels’ fiery speeches with ever-renewed rapture, and who, in spite of all hardships — in spite of years of rationing; in spite of months of successive sleepless nights under the bombs — still shouted frantically — sure of victory — as the orator once more asked them whether they wanted “cannons or butter”: “Cannons!” He (or she) could not have helped experiencing a feeling of painful amazement at the sight of the difference between Germany with and without Adolf Hitler. And nowhere, perhaps, could he (or she) have, better than here, understood the immense, desperate nostalgia of the German people at the recollection of National Socialist rule; the frightful “moral ruins” (to quote the suggestive words of the most honest of all post-war non-German historians of recent times, Maurice Bardèche) which the American “crusaders” and their allies have accumulated in the heart of our continent.
These sullen men and women now standing before me and behind me, whether refugees from the Eastern Zone (or from further still) — turned out of house and home at the decision of the victors of 1945, or by the conditions of a life of slavery that they could stand no longer — or just people of this half of Germany who, like myself, hesitated to spend the night even in a cheap hotel; people without work, existing on the forty marks’ fortnightly State loan; people who had been waiting for months, perhaps for years, for a pension, again and again denied to them under some pretext or another; people on our side, politically persecuted after 1945, who have no rights, all knew that they had been robbed of the victory which they had deserved. They were full of lasting, silent, insurmountable
resentment, less perhaps because of their material losses (enormous as these were), than because of the loss of that happy confidence in the Nation’s future, which had been the keynote of the great “Hitler days.” The elder ones had put all their hopes in the miraculous Movement that had raised Germany out of the shame and misery of 1918 and of the following years. And lo, after seeming as though they had brilliantly and definitively materialised, their hopes had proved vain: the shame and misery of 1945 had been worse than that of 1918; and there was no young Movement that spoke of resurrection, as after the First World War. The younger folk had been brought up in the inspiring belief that Germany was invincible. And they now knew — or thought they knew — that this was not true; that victory and its fruits, riches and power, were for those whom they had been taught to despise as slaves of the Jews, while for them, who had been faithful to the new Faith of Aryan pride and had sacrificed everything for its triumph, there was but misery, injustice, all manner of abasement and oppression.
And now, Germany’s everlasting enemies and their agents — the comfortable slaves of Jewry — came and told them that “all this” (their being expelled from house and home; their being without work, or without a pension; without the hope of a future) was the consequence of the “arrogant” philosophy, to which they had so readily adhered; the bitter fruits of the new wisdom of that miraculous Movement, in which they had put their confidence; and that salvation for them lay, now, in the renunciation of proud Pan-Germanism for the sake of a “Democratic Europe,” bastion of the “free” world against totalitarian Communism. Were they deceived into believing this? Had the bitterness of defeat, and eight long years of wearisome, hard and insecure life shattered in them the glorious old faith to the extent that they could accept the enemy’s latest lie? I was the next day to know — to see, glaringly, for the thousandth time since my return to Germany a week before — that they had not; or at least that, if ever they had, — temporarily — the old faith had soon grown again, stronger than ever, thanks to the disgust with which Democratic hypocrisy had at once filled the people’s hearts.
Now, for the time being, I stood in the ‘queue,’ noticing the tired faces, the clean — spotlessly clean — and shabby clothes; hearing bits of conversations — bits of the recent life history of those men and women, who ten years before, were so happy; so sure (as I had been myself) that the future was theirs; ours.
I thus came to know that the woman who stood behind me lived in a refugee camp, and was travelling, with hardly any money, to meet her husband, who had only recently arrived from the Russian Zone, and who was staying with relatives of his, somewhere in the Nuremberg region; that the man on my left was, for over a year, without employ; that the woman in front of me was the widow of one of us — not entitled to a pension, because her husband had been killed by the Americans as a so-called “war criminal”; and that the girl, looking so tired, who was sitting upon her suitcase at her side, had been compelled, on account of her health, to give up the job she had as a household maid, and that her illness was the consequence of the cruelties she had undergone at the hands of the Russians, etc. . . . etc. . . . As the girl had finished speaking, a woman of my own age, standing on my right and leaning against the railing of the staircase, gave out calmly — casually; as though she were speaking of someone else —: “I too, have just come out of hospital, where I was since my return, a month ago. Before that, these last eight years, I was a prisoner in Russia. I worked in the mines, in the Urals. I was released without a penny, possessing nothing in the world but the rags I wore, and ill. And yet, I deem myself lucky: thousands of other German women are still there, for how long more? nobody knows.”
An icy sensation ran along my spine as I heard this. And tears filled my eyes, as I looked at the woman. “My Führer’s people,” thought I; “how long more are you to suffer for having fought for us all: for Aryan mankind? And when will Aryan mankind at last understand your sacrifice, and willingly accept your leadership?” I would have expressed my feelings openly, had I not known — from bitter experience1 — that police informers often hang around such places as “Station Missions” in present-day occupied Germany.
1 See Defiance, edit. 1951, Chapter 2.
The woman had an energetic, I should even say a masterful face — the face of someone who had intensely suffered, but who had stood the ordeal victoriously, and who was now prepared to carry on a new struggle, with the same courage; to win, in course of time, a new victory over Fate, or to accomplish her fate heroically, which is the same. One could not say that she was “pretty.” She had deep wrinkles on each side of her month, and her complexion was not healthy. But her large pale-blue eyes were young — much younger than her face; immortal. They looked straight into life beginning anew for the second or the third time, with confidence in spite of all; nay, with a detached interest in the future. The mouth showed will-power; the forehead intelligence. The expression was serene and strong. I admired this woman, as I had admired Fritz Horn, the martyr of Darmstadt, whom I had met in 1949: as I had admired my beloved comrade Hertha Ehlert, whom I knew to be still in Werl. “Those people of gold and steel, whom defeat could not dishearten, whom terror and torture could not subdue; whom money could not buy; my comrades, my superiors . . .” “One of them,” thought I, considering her, and recalling within my heart the words in which I had, myself, described the persecuted élite of Germany in one of my books.1 “Eight years in hell for having served our ideals faithfully, and now, so full of poise and dignity in the old clothes, too loose for her, that were probably given to her in hospital or in some Durchgangslager in which she has spent her first days home; so full of patient, unshakable strength! Could I have gone through what she has, and vet remain serene? — I wonder . . .” Once more I realised that every contact of mine with real Germany was for me a further lesson of humility.
But the woman was speaking, answering a question that the widow without a pension had put her. “Yes;” she was saying, “I now have a job. I am starting work on Monday morning.” (It was Saturday night.) “A good thing too,” she added: “for I have absolutely no money.”
“What sort of a job? Well paid?” was the next question.
“Hard work, but well paid,” replied the woman. “A kitchen maid’s job in the barracks for American coloured troops.
1 Gold in the Furnace, edit. 1952. (Introduction), p. xv.
Potatoes to peel; plates and dishes to wash. I took what was given to me. One cannot pick and choose, when one is in need. I only pray I remain in good health, and am able to work regularly. In course of time, I shall find a more suitable occupation, and slowly build up a new position for myself, after this long nightmare — a position in which I shall live decently while being useful.”
In ventured to ask her what work she had clone during the war. “I had a secretarial job in the Wehrmacht,” said she. “It was my line. I had worked in an office before the war.”
The bystanders, who heard this, seemed neither particularly astonished, nor shocked. They had come across so many many such cases! It was the history of the repercussion of defeat upon the individual life of a German — Germany’s own history of these last eight years in a nutshell. They were accustomed to it. And they understood it. They were too thoroughly warrior-like by nature, not to grasp the implications of the merciless words: Vae Victis! In the bottom of their hearts, they merely longed for an opportunity to reverse the parts in the endlessly repeated drama: to be themselves (for once!) the people who would enforce the Law of War, not those who have to submit to its dictates. And they waited patiently. I also waited — for the same opportunity. What else could I do? But I was shocked; and not patient. I was resentful. I was bitter. For the millionth time since 1945, I felt that the wheel of history did not revolve fast enough. And I suffered personally at the thought that it did not; at the thought that it still was the turn of my brothers in faith to be the vanquished, the destitute, the persecuted, the enslaved, and not yet the turn of our persecutors. That would no doubt come, one day. And I ardently wished I would be given a chance to play an active part in the revenge. But now — in the meantime — I had to put up with the fact that my beloved comrades, the only human beings I love on this earth, were the sufferers, and that I could no nothing about it.
I was so deeply moved that, had we been alone, I would have put my arms around the woman’s neck. Her hands, as unaccustomed as my own to hard work, had toiled under the whip from daybreak to nightfall, all these dreary years, while I
had merely suffered moral torture; they were now to wash plates and scrub floors for the Negro Occupation troops, while I would write my impressions about Germany . . . And she was one case among millions. She was the German people forced into a war which neither they nor the Führer had wanted, vanquished, and made to suffer for being the collective exponent of the Führer’s Doctrine of health and truth — of our National Socialist wisdom. And at the thought of those countless German lives that have been wrecked, when not destroyed, for the defence of the Aryan values that we uphold, I felt more strongly than ever the new Mythos take shape within my consciousness: the Mythos of Salvation in our sense of the word, i.e., of racial salvation, through Germany’s free sacrifice under the inspiration and in the name of Adolf Hitler, the Saviour Who comes back. And once more I realised that, alone my contribution to the creation, spreading and strengthening of such a new Mythos, in Western Aryan consciousness, could justify my existence on earth and make good, — if possible — for my past omissions; for my absence from this continent during the glorious years of National Socialist rule.
* * *
Step by step, the “queue” had come down to the tiny narrow room, at the end of which was the reception office. The men and women who stood before me, and she who had worked in the Ural mines, had been taken in one after the other. It was now my turn.
“Would you like, for two marks, a nice comfortable bed, with white bedclothes, in a four bed room, instead of a place in the general dormitory?” asked the woman in charge.
“Gladly,” said I.
I knew the general dormitories of the “Station Missions of other railway stations, if not of this one. They were all the same: upper rows and lower rows of straw mattresses on iron frames, with no bedclothes; light on, all night (or sometimes on and sometimes off, which is even worse); and thirty people in the same one large room, which resembled nothing as much as the “sleeping accommodation” for deck passengers on board the Greek steamers of the Piraeus-Marseilles lines, now as in the
days of my youth. I had slept countless times in such dormitories during my dangerous life in Germany in 1948. But I was now so tired that I wanted a good night’s rest. And two marks was cheap, in comparison with four or five, which I would have had to pay in a hotel.
The former prisoner of the Russians was apparently in the general dormitory for half a mark, or even for nothing. “Had she not already been taken in,” thought I, “I would have asked them to give her a place in my room and I would have paid for it. She deserves a good night’s rest more than I.” I hoped, however, to see her on the following day.
On the next morning, in fact, there she was: in the ‘queue’ waiting to wash at one of the three taps in the toilet room. She recognised me; greeted me. I felt that she liked me. I returned her greeting and, after washing, we both went upstairs and had a bowl of “mook-fook” and a slice of bread — breakfast. “It is for nothing,” said my companion, expressing the practical point of view of one for whom every penny counted, nay, of one who actually had not a single penny, as I was soon to learn; — the point of view of the destitute.
A young blond girl of about twenty-two or three, with a pleasant face, sat at our table. We spoke a little. The woman who had been a prisoner in Russia asked me where I had come from, and the girl, how long I had been in Germany, and whether this was my first journey. And she put us both the same question, as our simple breakfast was drawing to its end. “What are we now going to do? Going together for a stroll? I am free till ten o’clock.”
“I am going to see the town,” answered I. “I have come for that. I shall be glad to accompany you, if you want me.”
“Of course we want you . . .” said she. “But I cannot understand your coming from Athens, to see this place now. There is nothing left to he seen, — except, perhaps, the Castle. They have smashed all the rest; and smashed it on purpose: for the pleasure of destroying this loveliest of all German towns — the devils!”
Her sparkling eyes had become hard. But, oh, how I understood her! And how she would, doubtless, understand me, thought I. I looked at her earnestly:
“I have come precisely to see what they have done, and to feel once more how deeply I hate them,” said I. “I have come, also, to see the building in which the infamous Trials took place; to stand as near as I can to the spot where the martyrs of 1946 died for Germany and for the Aryan ideals that Germany embodies, and to call unto the unseen Powers of heaven for that revenge that I have been wanting, awaiting, — preparing, through the magical potency of thought — day and night, for the last eight years!”
The woman who had suffered in Russia spoke of the long-delayed revenge: “It will come anyhow, whether we call for it or not. It will come because there is such a thing as God’s Justice, even if it be slow in manifesting itself. I am convinced that it is so.”
“But I want to become Its instrument, be it through the power of thought, if I cannot get a better chance!” shouted I, passionately.
“Right! But there is no need to say so in such a loud voice,” whispered the young girl, putting her finger to her lips. She gave me, however, the unmistakable smile of comradeship, and shook hands with me across the table. “I feel as you do,” said she, again in a whisper. “But this is no talk for such a place as this. Let’s go!”
We all three got up, left the room, and went through the station into the street.
* * *
Walking between the two women, I had a first glimpse of what was left of Nuremberg, the old mediaeval walled city, famous for its arts and crafts, its Castle, its churches, its picturesque houses; the modern seat of the recent yearly Party Rallies and (I had been told) . . . the “city of cats” — one of the loveliest of all German towns, if not the loveliest, as the girl at my side had just now said. And I felt my heart sink within my breast and tears well up to my eyes as in 1948, during my first journey through ruined Germany.
The whole country was destroyed with calculated savagery. Nuremberg was destroyed with a still more relentless and, if possible, still more systematical savagery: with the fanatical glee and superhuman efficiency of devils mobilised against the
main bastion of the Forces of Light — the mad thoroughness of Anglo-Saxons when, for the love of big business, they give themselves up to devils and become traitors to their own Nordic blood. In 1948, all Germany looked like an excavation field. Now, bit by bit, her wounds are getting healed; in every town, new houses are being built over the ruins; new life is taking shape — present-day life, in which the bitterness of recent years, though never forgotten, is thrust into the background to make place for practical plans of reconstruction and for immediate hopes. But Nuremberg, in spite of all reconstruction efforts, still looks like an excavation field; and speaks of the past, not of the present. Its wounds are still gaping, unhealed — unhealable.
Here and there, of course, buildings have been repaired, or rebuilt. Others are being rebuilt (though, half the time, not in the lovely style of old). There are huge iron cranes — and hundreds of labourers — to be seen, feverishly at work, everywhere. But that — even that — does not change the aspect of general and irreparable devastation that the town now has, — any more than the modern living quarters, quickly built in the midst of an excavation field for the use of the surveying archaeologists, alter a ruined site as such.
I could not tell where we went. We wandered and wandered and wandered along skeletons of streets; along other streets that were but partly ruined — too ruined to be repaired; not ruined enough for the old loveliness not to be guessed, felt, lived, through many a surviving detail of architecture or decoration, and for one not to experience, at every footstep, an outburst of desperate nostalgia, coupled with hatred for the destroyers; — over charmingly picturesque old bridges: the same ones I had so often seen on postcards, before the war, in the irreplaceable setting that centuries had slowly given them. Occasionally, we passed under some beautiful mediaeval archway (a “gate” of the former walled city that had grown out of its walls.) That too stood alone against the charred remnants of its natural setting, or against a line of modern shops built upon them. The real setting, that perfect background of patient collective art in which the German soul of all ages used to breathe, has been charred and blasted to pieces by the “Crusaders to Europe” and their gallant allies of the R.A.F.1 And one
1 The British “Royal Air Force.”
cannot build it again — ever! — any more than one can build old Babylon, old Thebes or old Knossos again. The only difference (for there is a difference) is that the nations that once built Babylon, Thebes or Knossos, are dead. While the Nation that built Nuremberg — and paraded but yesterday through its streets under hundreds of Swastika flags hanging from the windows; and asserted, year after year, its will to live, in an immense display of pride and joy in Luitpold Arena and Zeppelin Wiese, is alive. The people of Nuremberg are part and parcel of that great Nation. And Nuremberg lives — in spite of its gaping wounds; in spite of its half-charred body. It lives, and cries for vengeance.
The woman who had been a prisoner in Russia spoke little. She looked intently all round her. I imagined her thinking, at the sight of the devastated town: “So that is what the Western Allies have done to our poor Germany! There is indeed nothing to choose between them and the Russians!” And I could not help expressing what I myself felt: “Look at this!” exclaimed I, pointing to a space in which there was practically nothing left but mere foundations of former houses, upon which a row of shops had been hastily set up along a part of the foot path; “look at this! It is the handiwork of those who, now, would like Germany to join them in their new ‘Crusade to Europe’ — a ‘crusade’ against Bolshevism, this time! As if Germany had not suffered this precisely for being the main, nay, the only fighter against Bolshevism, which they were, then, helping as much as they could, with arms and ammunitions and repeated declarations of friendship. Join in a new crusade to defend their stinking Democracy, in the name of which this was done? Never!
“Right you are!” burst out the young girl, without giving the former prisoner in Russia time to speak; “I shall never help these people, for one! It is not only the destruction of our towns that makes me hate them: horrible as it was, this was during the war. I hate them even more for the way they treated us after the war — and I don’t speak only of the important people, whom they hanged as ‘war criminals’; I speak of each and every one of us (save, of course, of the traitors, whom they pampered and are still pampering, as it is understandable). Take my case, for instance. I was fourteen when the disaster came.
I was in the B.D.M.1 We practically all were. And I liked it. I am not ashamed to say so; on the contrary! The loveliest time in my life, I spent it there, learning all sorts of useful things, singing, marching, camping, and living in a healthy atmosphere of comradeship and joy, such as I never knew the like of since. I was well-loved by our chieftain and by all those above me, and, had the Capitulation not put an end to everything, I probably should have been put in charge of a group of little girls, a year or two later. Well, these people, caught me as soon as they came in. They did not kill me, admittedly: I was too young to be classified as a ‘war criminal.’ But they made my parents pay a fine of 500 marks for me to be ‘de-Nazified.’ You know what a suns of 500 marks means to a modest workman’s family! We starved, in order to pay it (we were half-starving anyhow, then). But if they think they have ‘de-Nazified’ me for all that, they make a mistake. I am a more convinced, more fanatical Nazi than ever, and nothing can shake my faith in our Führer and in the Régime. I adore him. And I love it. I find it wonderful. It is my ‘right,’ as an individual to feel that way, isn’t it? And I will not help its enemies against Bolshevism or against anything else. Let them fight their own war — without us!”
“Bolshevism will not fall under any American ‘crusaders,’” put in the woman who had spent eight years in Russia. “The Russians are far too well-prepared for war; better prepared than anyone can imagine. And their military power is growing every day. No; Bolshevism will fall, but not as these people would like it to. It will fall, as a consequence of a national awakening of the Russians themselves, one day. That is, at least, what I am inclined to believe.”
“Why did the Russians fight so vigourously, if they do not really like their régime?” asked I.
“They fought for Russia, not for any régime,” was the answer. “Moreover, they did not know our régime in its proper light; I mean, they had no idea at all of its social aspect. They had a glimpse of that only as they themselves first came to Germany, be it under the worst possible conditions, i.e., as invaders.”
We walked a long time. It seemed to me, nay, as though
1 “Bund Deutschen Mädchen,” the girls’ counterpart of the “Hitler Youth”
we had come back to a place where we had been already, somewhere not far from the station. I had the impression that I recognised an outwardly fairly undamaged church, in front of which we had passed an hour before without stopping. “You are right,” said the two women; “this is Saint Lawrence’s, the first church we saw on our way from the station. Would you like us to go in and have a look at it?”
We went in. An old man offered to take us around, telling that we were not expected to pay him, but that we could leave whatever money we liked as a contribution to the reconstruction of the church, which had been heavily bombed. We accepted. “I’ll leave a mark for each of us,” said I to the woman who had come from Russia, knowing, as I did, that she was penniless.
I felt sorry for the poor church as I listened to the old man’s tale of awe, and as I saw, at the top of the main vault, and on the walls, the new coating of cement and plaster, sign of the recent extensive repairs. I felt sorry for it because it too was a part of the martyred town. The faith to the glory of which it had been built had, it was true, never been mine. Still I was compelled to take it into account as an aspect of that composite past of Europe, apart from which our present-day Struggle — rebellion against the Jewish values — would have no meaning. It was, moreover, a faith which had, in the days when it was a leading force, stimulated, in men of my race, the creative love of beauty.
“I am glad, so glad to see that the church has been repaired to such an extent,” said I to the old man. “I wish the whole town could he!”
“It is slowly coming to life again,” answered he. “But it will take time. And it will never be like before. This war has caused more irreparable destruction than any other.”
The woman who had been a prisoner in Russia spoke: “Naturally, it will never be like before,” admitted she. “But it is all the same better than what I saw of Nuremberg shortly before the Capitulation. The place was then so utterly smashed, that it looked as though it would never again he fit to live in.”
“Yes, I can imagine that — in early 1945! I can well imagine it, although I was not here,” said I. “And I can also imagine,
in the midst of those yet smoking ruins, that mockery of: justice if ever there was one, that shame of the West: the iniquitous Trial, and the hanging of the finest men of Europe; faithful men, who had done their duty to the end; who had obeyed orders as soldiers in war time, as citizens of a Nation fighting for its very existence . . .”
“ . . . But unfortunately, as citizens of a Nation that had fallen into the hands of a warmonger and a criminal, and therefore, as willing accomplices of crime,” answered the old man, who was, apparently, a Christian, aware, as few are in Germany, of the essentially anti-Christian character of our Hitler faith.
I felt my blood boil with sudden anger. “In the great days,” thought I, “I would have had this fellow immediately put away!” — without at once realising that “in the great days” the fellow would certainly never have aired his views so shamelessly. The young girl at my side pushed me with her elbow so as to say: “For goodness’ sake, don’t speak!” But it was useless. I just could not — now, in 1953 — allow such a statement to be made in my presence without protesting.
“What do you mean by ‘a warmonger,’” asked I. “There was only one warmonger in 1939: England, who, out of base commercial envy, was determined to crush Germany and who, therefore, gladly became the tool of the Jews. Lord Halifax himself, — that pious hypocrite — described in public as a ‘success of British diplomacy’ the fact of having forced Germany into a war that she had never wanted. And whom do you call ‘a criminal’? What appears ‘criminal’ to you in him who was Germany’s ruler” (I nearly said: “in the Führer”; but I prudently used the word “Herrscher,” which means about the same, but is less glaringly evocative) “and in his régime?”
The two women looked at me, astonished, and perhaps a little uneasy; perhaps fearing that my boldness might land all three of us into trouble, and regretting that they had come out with me, who knows? The man was not only astonished, but positively shocked.
“It is criminal to murder people by the thousand just because they happen to be Jews,” replied he, abruptly.
“It all depends upon one’s scale of values,” retorted I. “You people who believe in ‘the freedom of the individual’ (or pretend
tend to) surely do not expect to force the same scale of values upon everybody, do you?”
Again the young girl at my side — the very one who, when conversing with me, was, herself, so outspoken — pushed me with her elbow so as to tell me: “Enough! Enough! Stop it!”
There was a heavy silence. Our footsteps resounded under the high gothic vault, as we walked out of the empty church. The old man did not speak to me again. It is I who, after leaving two marks in the tray at the exit, summed up my position in a few words before I left: “I respect all faiths inasmuch as I have not the power to eradicate those which I look upon as dangerous,” declared I. “But I do not, personally, and never will, share the Christian superstition concerning the so-called ‘sanctity’ of each and every human life and, consequently, the Christian conception of right and wrong. Auf Wiedersehen!”
* * *
We came out; walked on in the direction of the Castle.
“I don’t like this fellow’s impertinence,” said I, recalling the guide in the Church, as soon as we were again among ourselves.
“Nor do I,” replied my youngest companion; “but what can one do, nowadays? A hundred thousand fellows of that description will jabber — the same old nonsense over and over again: that which they were taught. It is no use calling their attention upon one’s self. We cannot convert them any more than they can convert us. They love and want the exact opposite of that which we love and want. And they are now in power. And even such ones as this old fool can be dangerous.”
“But I can’t let him call our Führer ‘a criminal’ and say nothing!”
“Our Führer himself would no doubt order you to be prudent, if he could hear you,” put in the woman who had come from Russia.
Against the nightmarish background of destroyed Nuremberg — of that Nuremberg that he loved so dearly, and that loved him so, — I pictured to myself my adored Leader. “Yes, what would he say?” thought I. “Would he really blame me for not being able to hear people insult him without replying?”
And the ever-vivid feeling of inexpiable guilt for not having come to Germany years and years before, rose once more within my heart.
* * *
We reached the famous square: Marktplatz — formerly Adolf Hitler Platz. I recognised, for having seen them on pictures, the seventeenth-century fountain with its intricate, gilded bronze railing, near the footpath along which we came and, at the opposite end of the square, the quaint and lovely little church: Frauen Kirche. Had it not been for these two standing landmarks, I never could have guessed that I was at that particular place, for nothing else is left of it — not a house. The historical landmarks have remained, as though by miracle; the historical setting has completely disappeared; the square is now an uneven expanse of sandy earth, on one side of which (at right angle to the street) can be seers a row of shops built in haste. Behind these, down to the stream and beyond it, gapes a deep depression full of rubble, that iron cranes — then, at rest, for it was a Sunday — are gradually clearing up. On the other side, parallel to the street, the church stands alone against the background of the sky. The picturesque Old houses right and left of it no longer exist.
We visited the church, newly repaired. In Saint Lawrence’s at least some of the beautiful stained glass had been put back into its place; in particular, the magnificent rosace, in red and blue and ardent violet, was there again. Here, there were ordinary transparent windowpanes, through which the sunshine poured in; there were new benches; new blank walls. And yet, the place bore, like the whole town, in spite of all repairs, the stamp of devastation. I felt depressed.
We went out, walked across the square, had a look at the fountain. Within the ornamental curves of its railing, the two women showed me the famous Ring, mystery of workmanship, of which nobody can understand how it has been set in its present place. I left them in a group of people waiting to admire it from close and, if possible, to handle it and make it turn round, and went wandering for a while about the ruined square and along the footpath bordering it . . .
In the glorious days, at the time of the great Party Rallies,
somewhere facing that footpath and the opposite houses, from the upper windows of which then hung beautiful Swastika flags of red silk or velvet, with golden fringe, stood the Führer, dominating from his tribune the whole square behind him, the whole street before him. The square was entirely occupied by rows and rows of people; high officials, foreign delegates, specially honoured guests. From all the houses around it hung those splendid red, white and black flags, bearing the immemorial Sign of the Sun, which is that of the National Socialist faith . . . The crowd was silent. The church hells, that had rung in chorus with those of all the town at the opening of the solemnity, were also silent. Over the bridge and along the street, in the direction of the Castle, — from the Führer’s left to his right, — regiments and Party formations came matching by, to the conquering music of the immortal Song, in unbelievable coordination, one after the other, for hours . . . And Adolf Hitler, his right arm outstretched, watched them march. And they saluted him — the living Soul of the new Reich — halting before his tribune as they passed.
I tried to picture to myself that unique display of order, grandeur, power, controlled enthusiasm; that scene of the great Awakening of my race in the West; and I knew I could not. Nobody could, unless he or she had seen it, lived it, in its tangible reality . . . And again I thought: “Where was I, then?” In South India; in Central India; in Lucknow; in Lahore; in Kashmir; in Calcutta — at the time of every Rally, in some different far-away place, — striving to be the bridge between the two halves of the Aryan World; striving to make the path straight for the establishment of the National Socialist World Order; speaking against the false doctrines and the erroneous values that stand in its way; believing myself to be useful — the fool I was! Oh, why had I not been here?
I tried to imagine the Führer’s proud figure in the attitude of the ritual Salute, against that background of beauty, of strength, of joy; of youth in uniform, of waving flags and glittering helmets and heroic music, within the frame of the lovely old German city, there where I saw, now, nothing but desolate earth and a few pitiful new shops and, on the opposite side of the street, a new house or two, and faces full of disillusionment, nostalgia, bitterness or simply boredom; faces weary of that uninteresting post-war world, which is the contrary of all that the
German people had fought for, of all that they wanted, and still want. And the old longing grew in me: “Oh, to set up that vision of the modern Saviour of the West as the one around which all the scattered forces of Germany, nay, of Western Aryandom, would gather and crystallise! Oh, to preach the unity of the Aryan West — that is nothing else but the Greater Reich of his dreams — in his name, openly, one day . . . !” — But when?
In the meantime, children who were too young to have known the great days and who were taught in school to look upon them as a period of horror, were passing, with their parents who remembered, but dared not speak in this so-called “free” world. How long would all this last? For how long more would there be that ban on all we stand for? . . .
I walked back to the fountain where the two women were waiting for me. The girl was anxious to take leave of me, because it was not far from ten o’clock. “When are you leaving?” she asked me.
“This evening, or tomorrow,” answered I. “I wish I could stay longer, but . . . I am afraid I cannot. I just want to see Luitpold Arena and Zeppelin Wiese, and also the place of the Trial and, if I can, the place where the Eleven died.”
“In that case, I shall probably not see you again. But I am happy to have met you. And I shall remember you. Good luck to you wherever you go! Auf Wiedersehen!”
* * *
The woman who had been a prisoner in Russia remained with me.
We continued wandering among the remains of Nuremberg, and I kept trying to picture to myself the lovely city in the days of peace, pride and happiness, — before the devils destroyed it. Wherever we saw charred walls, blank spaces, or rows of shops quickly set up out of wood or cheap bricks and cement with or without a plaster coating, I tried to imagine such rows of houses as I had seen on photos or on the attractive tourist posters — “Visit Germany!” — that used to hang against the walls in travelling Offices or in important railway stations, before the war, calling people of the whole world to Adolf Hitler’s beautiful
and prosperous country. I remembered, also, that this bastion of National Socialism was, at the same time, “the city of cats,” and I recalled the picturesque wooden balconies before the windows of the dear old houses (and of many a modern, several-storied tenement building) — the balconies upon which the well-fed, glossy, happy felines, whose owners had no gardens, used to bask in the sunshine. One of the best German National Socialists I know, who happens to be, — like I — at the same time, a cat-lover, had told me about those balconies. And I imagined comfortable, round, furry heads, with silky cars, and green or golden eyes, black-and-white, velvet-black, ginger-coloured or ash-grey, — or bearing the primaeval stripes which make the wild felines invisible in the jungle — looking out between the bars of the wooden railings. Looking out over what? Over the rising of superior humanity: over healthy, handsome young men in brown uniform, parading the streets; over beautiful healthy children, growing in the consciousness of their strength; over young women and girls — more and more of the latter in blue uniform — happy to he the actual or potential mothers of more such children and more such real men; and, now and then, over happy crowds with arms outstretched in enthusiasm at the passing of some procession, above which flags would flutter against the blue sky (always those splendid red flags, hearing in black, on a white disk, the Sign of Life — and Death — in health and glory!). Yes; medieval-looking houses endowed, inside, with all modern commodities; homey cats, creatures of grace and poise; and thousands of young Germans — young, even if they were over fifty, for all Germany was young in the great days — working and speaking, marching and singing to the rhythm of a new life, under Julius Streicher’s immediate administration, under Adolf Hitler’s inspired leadership, in the shadow of the eternal Swastika; that had been Nuremberg — my own very dream, visible and tangible; materialised on this earth, for years . . . until the devils had destroyed it. How often had I not seen pictures of it on the “Visit Germany” posters! For the millionth time I wondered why I had always put off my return to Europe (as though there had been no need to hurry) and never seen that thing of glory that was a Party Rally in that extraordinary setting.
We saw the Saint Sebaldus church: a ruin, that German
skill, patience and will-power would bring to life again, one day — no one could yet say when. We saw the house in which the painter Albrect Dürer (who, like all exceedingly great artists, was also a sage) has lived and meditated, and created. Like the Frauen Kirche on Adolf Hitler Platz, it has escaped destruction as though it were by miracle. The whole neighbourhood is a series of pits full of rubble, between a growing number of entirely new houses. I thought of the mysterious, impersonal Power that had kept just that single old one standing in the midst of streams of fire. And I shuddered with a sort of religious awe . . .
On the doorstep of a half-ruined but still inhabited home, I noticed a well-fed, well-kept yellow cat — the first one I saw in Nuremberg. Another one, a black and white one, also in good condition, lay a few steps further. I halted, shut my hand, and held it out to the nearest one. The feline gazed at me with understanding, got up, and rubbed its glossy head against my fist, purring. I stroked it, picked it up, held it for a while in my arms. “My velvet, my silk, my yellow stripes, my purring fur!” said I, continuing to stroke it. It purred louder. I remembered the expression: “city of cats . . .” The lovely creature seemed to tell me: “Had you only come before . . . years ago! You would have seen plenty of us. Now they have wrought destruction on us also. It is too late . . .” Again tears came to my eyes.
I put down the cat and caught up my companion, who had slowly walked on, and was now looking at Albrecht Dürer’s statue in the middle of a small square. I too gazed at it in silence. It is a good statue; less evocative however — perhaps, — than the mere atmosphere of the old house.
There was a long pause, both my companion and I being absorbed in our thoughts. Then, suddenly, after having made a move and walked a few steps with her.
“Could you not take me to Zeppelin Wiese, and Luitpold Arena.” said I; “it is getting late. And I also want to see the place of martyrdom; you know what I mean: the place were the Eleven were killed on the 16th of October 1946.”
“Zeppelin Wiese and Luitpold Arena are far away — outside the town — and it looks as though it is going to rain, and I have no umbrella, nor have you,” replied she, pointing to the clouds
that had appeared in the sky. “But I shall take you to the other place. I only wanted us first to see the Castle. We are actually on the hill at the top of which it stands. Don’t you wish to see it? Kaiser Barbarossa’s castle?”
“Of course I do!” answered I without hesitation. “Only I was not aware that we had come back to the Rock after our wanderings. I did not know it was so near. Yes, let us go up!”
In a flash, I recalled the great Hohenstaufen Emperor, Friedrich Barbarossa, who took part in the Third Crusade with Richard the Lionhearted, king of England, and Philip-Augustus, king of France, and who died in the far-away East but who — it is said — “will come back.”
We went up and up, through old, narrow streets, clean, and still picturesque, still lovely, although many of them were half ruined. We reached the entrance of the Castle: the massive doorway, leading into a square courtyard, where a guide was now explaining something of the history and architectural features of the building to a few American tourists, before taking the latter upstairs. My companion, who had seen the Castle before, did not feel like seeing it again; she merely wanted me to see it. She sat in the office room, by the door, as she was tired, while the other appointed guide — an elderly man — took charge of me.
I followed the latter upstairs, into one hall and then into the other, half-listening to the detailed story of the Castle, which he was repeating to me after having told it a thousand times to other visitors, always in the same monotonous, tired voice, as though he were reciting a lesson. For a while, my eyes rested upon the portrait pictures of kings and queens, dukes and duchesses, that were to be seen hanging against high, whitewashed walls, and upon the armours of different types and different periods, that stood in a row, on each side of a special hall. But all the time I felt the presence of the ruined town at the foot of the rock on which the Castle is built. And whenever I could have a look at it though a window, I did. Even from a distance, one could see that it was ruined.
We reached the beautiful Double Chapel: two austere vaulted halls, one above the other, with little ornamentation, but of the very best style: stone pillars, with finely sculptured capitals — all different — and a sculptured stone altar. Here the
knights of old attended mass, and prayed for the success of their arms. Leaning over the railing of the higher Chapel, I stood just opposite the altar. There reigned an unearthly silence; a timeless silence — in which footsteps resounded strangely upon the cold stone pavement. Then the old guide spoke again, in his same monotonous, tired voice. For some reason, in this particular corner of the Castle, full of echoes, his voice took on a ghostly solemnity; sounded as though it too came from another world: “In 1188, here also stood and prayed Kaiser Friedrich Barbarossa, who was soon to lead the German knights to the East, and never to return,” that voice was saying. “You know the story, don’t you? He was drowned in a river of Asia Minor. But his people would not believe that he was dead. They related that he had retired with his paladins to a mountain fastness, but that one day, when the people need him, he would come back to lead them to glory once more. We needed him many times since the Twelfth Century. But he never came. And we are still waiting . . .”
I shivered, for the staggering Truth — the Truth behind the eternal Myth of salvation — had again all of a sudden dawned upon me.
“Are you so sure that He never came back?” asked I, enigmatically. “Would you have recognised Him, — the good Leader of all times, and Germany’s real Saviour; the natural Ruler of the ruling Race — had you seen Him? And if you see Him return, next year or the year after, or in five years’ time, will you recognise Him in His modern garb?”
“What do you mean?” exclaimed the old guide. Should I understand that you are alluding to . . . someone . . . of our times? Or are you speaking symbolically, without referring to any precise person?”
I did not want a discussion. I felt, somehow, that this was not the place for one. And I nearly repented for having spoken so openly. I answered evasively:
“Never mind what I said. Take it as you like. One can always give more than one meaning to poetical legends, can one not?”
But in reality, I had thought and was still thinking of our Führer.
I remained for a while leaning over the railing — as a
mediaeval lady . . . — to ponder over the old legend of the immortal Leader Who comes back. And the holy words of the Bhagavad-Gita — the oldest surviving Aryan Book of integral Wisdom — came to my memory, here, in the Chapel of the Caste, in the midst of ruined Nuremberg, as a few days previously in Braunau am Inn, before the house where Adolf Hitler was born: “When righteousness is crushed, when evil rules supreme, I come; age after age, I take birth again and again, to save the world.”1
At that moment, from a church somewhere in the town below, the sound of bells reached me. There are few things as nostalgic and as lovely as the music of bells. I vividly remembered myself listening to such music, with a strange awareness of fatefulness, for a long time, in my native town, on the eve of my departure to India, over twenty years before . . . Oh, why had I gone, then? Why had I had to go — and miss all direct contact with the Third Reich at the height of its splendour? Had it been thus ordained by the unseen Forces who rule every destiny, so that I might learn, there, to link the old German legend — expression of an everlasting collective yearning — with the immemorial Essence of Aryan truth; the Message of Him Who comes back? so that I might, now, after Germany’s temporary collapse, give National Socialism — her National Socialism — that stupendous more-than-political interpretation that few of its German exponents themselves dared to give it, hailing it as the Western equivalent of the old, old Wisdom of the fair, Sanskrit-speaking invaders of India, and bridging the gap between the two halves of Aryandom in Adolf Hitler’s sacred name? So that I might understand and proclaim Germany’s mission, in the light of cosmic Truth, as no one else — no foreigner, at least, — had done before? Oh, if that were the hidden reason, — the real reason, which I myself did not know — of my departure, to the nostalgic sound of hells, (thought I, with tears in my eyes,) it was worthwhile! I had not seen my beloved Führer, — ever; not seen the magnificent Party Rallies; not seen the Third Reich in its greatness. But even that enormous price was not too high, if I had paid it in order to become fit to do that which I alone could do for the triumph of our National Socialist truth forever: for the double domination
1 Bhagavad-Gita, IV, verse 7 and 8.
of the Greater German Reich: over the earth and over Aryan consciousness, forever!
The guide, seeing that I wanted to be alone for a while, had left me. The voice of the bells continued to speak to me, from the heart of martyred Nuremberg — to me, who had not heard the joyous chorus of bells from all the churches of the city, at the opening of the old Party Rallies, in the great days. “Performance of that action which is duty, for duty’s sake alone; renunciation of the fruits of action, in the words of the old old Book; is also the rule of our Struggle for the assertion of the Aryan values. See, have we not renounced immediate victory, nay, our very existence, in that holy Struggle?” said the Voice of Streicher’s city, — the Voice of Adolf Hitler’s Germany; also of Friedrich Barbarossa’s Germany and of Hermann’s, still long before; the Voice of Germany of all times; the living expression of the indestructible warlike Aryan Wisdom in the West.
So near, and yet distant, detached, aetherial, the Song of bronze seemed to foreshadow, beyond the disillusionment and bitterness and powerlessness of the present day, — beyond the heroic renunciation of rapid and easy success — the joy of the return of the eternal Führer Who comes back, age after age . . .
Reluctantly tearing myself away from the Chapel in which the great Hohenstaufen Emperor had prayed, I joined the guide in the adjacent hall, and followed him back to the entrance of the Castle, to the music of the far-away bells.
* * *
The other guide, who had long finished lecturing to his Americans, was standing at the door of the room where I had left my companion. He was much younger than the one who had taken me round, — younger than myself, in fact, — and had a beautiful energetic face; “the face of one of us,” thought I. My companion and I remained alone with him, as a new hatch of Americans (soldiers in uniform, this time) came in, and my former guide offered them his services.
The young man probably noticed that I was profoundly moved; perhaps, also, was I sympathetic to him as he was to me. He spoke to me. “Liked the Castle?” he asked me, as a matter of introduction.
“Surely!” replied I. “All those fortresses of the Age of
Chivalry appeal to me. They appeal to me apart from their architecture, because they belong to that age which had a faith (never mind if it was or not the one I have) and which was earnest, and believed in honour and loyalty, and in force put to the service of truth, as only the persecuted minority does nowadays.”
The man’s stern eyes looked scrutinisingly into mine. “Whom do you call, with such wholehearted admiration, ‘the persecuted minority’?” asked he.
“Those who suffered torture (and, in thousands of cases, death) not for the sake of an illusion, but for that of the unshakable Truth of all times in its present-day expression, and who would go through another eight years’ hell rather than deny their faith, that is also mine: faith in higher mankind, and in Germany as the herald and leader of higher mankind’s awakening; those whom the world hates, because they are free even behind bars and strong, even if their bodies he torn and broken — unvanquished, even if this war they fought he lost; those who are ‘faithful when all become unfaithful,’” answered I from the bottom of my heart, daring at last to quote the first words of the Song of the S.S. men. “Them I proclaim fit to rule the earth!”
The man drew me apart into a corner of the courtyard, gave me the reassuring smile of comradeship, stretched out his hand to me and said, holding my hand in his: “Your admiration touches me. I am an S.S. man, faithful to my oath. And you? . . . You look South European . . . But no foreigner ever spoke as you do. Who are you?”
“A South European indeed — partly at least,” replied I. “But an Aryan first and last; an Aryan who has hailed in Adolf Hitler’s new Germany the natural leader of Pan-Aryandom.”
“I know you mean what you say,” said the man. “And I am glad to have met you.”
He gave me his name and address. I gave him an address where he could reach me.
“Are you living in Germany?” asked he.
“I shall be, — if I possibly can...” answered I.
And we parted. The former S.S. man took a further boisterous
and showy batch of American tourists into the old Castle.
The woman who had been a prisoner in Russia was standing at the gate, waiting for me. I followed her down the half-ruined streets to a crossing that I did not recognise, although we had, she said, passed there before, sometime in the morning. From there a tramway car took us, along Fürtherstrasse, to the Palace of justice: the building in which the greatest infamy in world history — the series of Nuremberg Trials, in 1945, 1946, 1947 — has taken place; and near the prison walls behind which the Eleven have won forever the martyrs’ glory.
* * *
This succession of three-storied gabled buildings, of elegant and sober architecture, is one of the few large monuments of old Nuremberg that have survived the ordeal of the Allied air raids. It occupies (along with the ground, planted with beautiful trees, and the lawns, that stretch before it) the whole space limited by the broad Fürtherstrasse and two side streets running at right angles to it.
I slowly paced the footpath, along the iron railing limiting the green and shady ground. The gates were shut, so we could not go in. At one of the closed entrances, a notice attracted my attention: “Visiting hours from 8 to 12.” “I have come too late, — too late, as always,” thought I. “I should have come straight from the Station, instead of visiting those churches. But the harm was not irreparable. I would stay another night at the Station Mission, and come the next day and see the hall in which the sinister Trial had been staged . . . (Anyhow, it was Sunday; and who knows whether visitors were at all allowed, even “from 8 to 12”?) And if, for some reason, I were not left in on the next day, well, sometime . . . — when the Day of revenge would dawn — I would see the hall in any case. See it . . . and . . . — perhaps, who knows? . . . — be given the pleasure of impeaching our persecutors before the whole world, within those very walls within which they have conducted their long-drawn proceedings of hatred, hypocrisy and lies.
In the meantime, I paced the footpath, my eyes fixed upon the stately series of buildings, while the woman who had come
from Russia walked in silence at my side. I recalled in my mind those spectacular proceedings, and the comments of the newspapers of the time (that people had told me; for I never used to read them) and the worldwide campaign of slander that was then carried on to buttress the whole shameful show. I recalled my own life during the great infamy: my hitter quarrels over it, in India, with ill-informed or stupid people, or people actually hostile to our faith; and the even more detestable spirit I already had to face upon the steamer that carried me from Bombay to Southampton; and my arrival in London, only to see, somewhere in Oxford Street, in enormous black letters against a white background, the announcement of an exhibition “Nazi atrocities; entrance: one shilling six pence”; only the hear, wherever I went, — in milk bars and “express dairies”; in railway station waiting rooms, in people’s houses, — the wireless, barking at me its insults against all I loved; its information about the Trial, then going on; about further arrests of prominent National Socialists and further dismantling of German factories; its praise of the Morgenthau Plan and, more enraging than all the rest, its pious and patronising exhortations of naive clergymen for Germany’s “return to Christian feelings”; only to see, against the walls in the “tube” (the underground electric railway) that masterpiece of anti-Nazi hypocrisy: picture posters of Christ, with one hand nailed upon the cross and the other . . . blessing little boys and girls, under which one read the words: “Have pity upon the starving German children!” I remembered myself standing before one of those pictures — an insult both to us and to the Galilean Prophet (who was, at any rate, sincere, and cannot be held responsible for Paul of Tarsus’ caricature of his unworldly teaching) and feeling dumbfounded before the depth of inconsistency of the designer who had conceived it, and the depth of stupidity of the Bible-ridden masses it was intended to impress. (Could the latter not understand that they and their hatred and the R.A.F. bombers were at the root of the German children’s distress?)
I remembered the night I had spent at Mrs. Ponworth’s boarding house, 37 Wood Street — or was it Wood Lane? — Highgate, London; an international place, if ever there was one, which someone had recommended to me, naively presuming
that, “being a foreigner,” I could but like the atmosphere. And I recalled the supper table at which I had sat, right opposite a most objectionable Jewess, while an Indian sat at my side and a Negro between him and her. The English people present, hardly better than her, (and anyhow less justified than her in their hatred of us and of all we stand for) all listened with loud exclamations of horror to what the Israelite had to say about the treatment of her racial brothers in Germany and loudly shared her conception of “justice.” She and they — the whole brawling table, with two or three exceptions, — agreed with the principles that were supposed to justify the Nuremberg Trial. They merely found the Trial was lasting too long. The Indian was silent — perhaps not interested in European affairs; perhaps holding different views and not daring to speak. And I — I, the only Nazi in the place, as far as I can tell, — also said nothing; could say nothing, although I was boiling with indignation and hatred. I had come from India in order to secure myself, somehow or another, a military permit for Occupied Germany. At all cost, I had to remain unnoticed. But nothing was more against my nature, and therefore more painful to me, than that forced silence. Then, something unexpected, — something extraordinary — happened. As the Jewess and the slaves of Jewry had finished insulting our Führer and those about to die for Germany and for him and for the Aryan race, the Negro raised his voice. “I am a Christian,” said he simply. “I don’t understand politics, but I know one thing: Jesus, my Master, told all those who love him to love their enemies and not to judge any man. Such is his will. You English people also call yourselves Christians. In that case you should neither speak nor act as you do. God alone will judge those men whom you call ‘war criminals,’ as He will judge us all. Your business is to forgive them, if you think they have harmed you; to forgive them, and set them free. This Nuremberg Trial is a monstrous act of hypocrisy, and a shame upon Europe, America and Russia; and a shame upon all Christians who do not protest against it!”
This was so irreproachably logical in its naivety, that the brawlers did not know what to say. There was an uncomfortable silence, — the silence of the ashamed. Alone the Jewess laughed loudly and, turning to the Negro:
“That is the most comical thing I have ever heard,” exclaimed
she. “Defending Nazis in the name of Christianity! But they don’t believe in your Jesus, my fellow! They believe in Hitler. And would he the first ones to laugh, if they could hear you . . .”
But the simpleminded African was not to be disheartened. “That may be,” replied he. “But I believe in Jesus. And the judges who are sitting there, in Nuremberg, say they do too. Every man should do what his own Master tells him. The Nazis are right inasmuch as they treat others as Hitler wants them to. But we are wrong if we do not treat them as Jesus, — our Master — wants us to. And he said: ‘Love thine enemies, and do good to those who hate thee.’”
“Honestly, you are the end!” burst out the Jewess. And she added ironically: “You should ask to be sent to Nuremberg and take the place of the war criminals’ lawyer!”
For the first time as far as I can remember, — and perhaps also for the last — I had felt, in spite of myself, on that occasion, a meed of sympathy for the Galilean’s teaching, I, the proud Aryan Heathen, who had fought it so bitterly all my life. I had at least thought, in a flash: “Gosh, I had never realised that the old superstition could be put to such good use!,” this being the highest tribute I can pay to a teaching which is the denial of our Führer’s.
I now remembered that eloquent episode, in all its vividness. I also recalled the state of Germany in 1948, and imagined what it must have looked like two years before. And against that nightmarish background of ruins and despair and relentless, unheard-of persecution, I imagined them, — our Führer’s closest collaborators; his fighters of the early days; along with him, makers of the Third Reich and founders of the New Age; my superiors — I imagined them cross a hall packed with people, — somewhere, in one of those buildings right in front of me, — and stand one after the other before their judges and before the whole world and before history, their heads high, and declare: “I plead innocent!” I imagined, among others, Hermann Göring speaking for the last time before that hostile crowd — judges, public prosecutors, interpreters, secretaries, typists, official “observers,” private onlookers — as calmly and convincingly and inspiringly as though he had been addressing the Reichstag of a victorious Germany. And one after the other, the
firm and fearless voices drowned the worldwide din of base calumny and mad hate. And Göring’s voice — thought I — will still impeach and condemn our persecutors in five thousand years to come . . .
Standing in front of the “Palace of Justice,” now, after seven years, and recalling all this, I shuddered from top to toe.
The woman who had returned from Russia was, for a long while, silent and motionless at my side, doubtless thinking also of our martyrs. At last she turned to me. “Come,” said she; “I shall show you the wall behind which they died.”
We followed a street that runs along one side of the outer enclosure. The prison is behind the last block of buildings. The walls that surround it seem to prolong those bordering the Tribunal premises. We walked up to a place from which one could distinguish the roof and upper story of it. The woman who had come from Russia halted, and, stretching out her hand, said:
“It was here, somewhere behind this wall, in the Turnhalle — the gymnastic hall — of the prison, I was told . . .”
Once more, I shuddered. A cold sensation ran along my spine and throughout my body. And I had the strange impression that a power — a nervous flux — was released from the top of my head, (an experience that was not new to me, although I had but seldom had it in my life). I felt in direct touch with almighty Forces which I did not know and could not control, yet, which I did not fear — on the contrary; which I was glad to feel so near; at hand. I thought intensely of the Eleven — and of those (also sentenced by this Court of shame) who are still in Spandau, after all these years; and of all those who died or suffered, and are still suffering for their faith in our Führer, at the hands of our persecutors.
And my mind rushed back to Him-and-Her — to Her, Energy of the Lord of the cosmic Dance, inseparable from Him, — Whom I had thanked with offerings of rice and sugar and fruits, and bright red jaba garlands, for Germany’s victories, then, in glorious 1940, in Indian temples far away; and Whom I had implored in the depth of disaster, and over and over again, at the sight of the ruins of the martyred Land. Above the place where the gallows had been set up, nearly seven years before, I felt the presence of the double Avenger; I saw, with the inner eye,
the curved Sword of the Dark Blue Goddess — of the unfailing Killer — shining in the darkening sky: the one Sign of hope that had kept me alive during the nightmarish years, immediately after the war. And once more I prayed: “On the dismal day these men were hanged, I have asked Thee a million of our enemies’ lives for every one of theirs’ and a hundred thousand for every one of our other martyrs. Don’t forget, Essence of the Rhythm of Action and Reaction without beginning nor end; Mother of Destruction, Whom India honours with gifts of innocent blood, on moonless nights! And if this is not asking too much, make me an instrument of revenge!”
I remembered myself standing under the rain, on the evening of the ghastly Day — the 16th of October 1946 — and my friend Elwyn W., the finest Englishman I know — first an Aryan, and then an Englishman, — walking up to me, and there, at the corner of Great Russell Street and Museum Street, lifting his right arm and saluting me openly, fearlessly: “Heil Hitler!,” and then, as I had repeated the gesture and uttered in my turn the holy Words, pointing to me the buildings around us and, beyond them, London — immense London, of which one could see so little, but which one guessed, — felt — stretching in all directions, over miles and miles — and telling me: “See: in twenty years’ time, nothing will be left of all this! And that will be England’s wages for the crime committed this morning: the darkest crime in European history . . .” Not words of consolation, no, but words of revenge: the only words that could, then, in spite of all, rouse in me a feeling of elation. It had been the best sign of sympathy he could give the in that dark hour, and I had gazed at him as though he had promised me the world.
And I remembered myself answering: “May you be right! Fire and brimstone upon those who, today, hanged our martyrs! And who hanged them? All those who were pleased that the war ended as it did; all those who call that end a ‘victory.’ They are all responsible. May they all suffer — and all perish!”
Now, before the sinister wall, I recalled that conversation.
“They have not had Hermann Göring, at least,” said I
to the woman at my side. “Nor did they have Dr. Goebbels, nor Himmler, nor Ley . . .”
But among the Eleven, I was thinking of Julius Streicher more than of any other, not merely because of the exceptional beauty of his death after untold torture and humiliation, but because he was a man of Nuremberg, nay, the man who had “given Nuremberg to the Party,” as the Führer himself had said, and also, perhaps, because the particularly wild hatred of this ugly, Jew-ridden world has entitled him to special reverence on the part of Adolf Hitler’s true disciples. I mentioned him to my companion. “Poor Streicher! so uncompromising and selfless! I have always admired him whatever faults people may have found in him (it is so easy to discover others’ faults!). May he, and may they all be avenged a million-fold!” And I could not help relating the atrocity — the one among many inflicted upon him — the description of which I had read long before, in Montgomery Belgion’s book Epitaph on Nuremberg, published in London in 1947.
“As he lay in his cell, his tortured body in pain from head to heel, his throat parched with thirst,” said I, as we slowly walked away from the prison wall; “and as he begged his tormenters to give him a little water, they, — mostly Jews, — all spat in a basin and, holding him down, so that he could not move, forced open his mouth with crooks and poured the disgusting liquid into it, laughing and grinning and telling him jeeringly that, if the beverage was not to his taste, he could go and drink the contents of . . . the lavatory! Not only cruel, but mean, dirty, typically Jewish, such was the revenge of our persecutors; of those who ‘believe in humanity,’ and who sentenced the men of the Third Reich for believing only in Greater Germany. When the Day comes, our revenge will be different: terrible (at least I hope) but warrior-like . . .”
“You are right.” replied the woman who had come from Russia. “And many more horrors were committed. The persecution of National Socialist Germany is the one point on which Americans and Russians agreed from the beginning — and agree to this day. Take the case of the surviving victims of the Nuremberg Trial, in Spandau: everything has been invented by the representatives of the four victorious nations
(not only of one or two) in order to make their lives an uninterrupted moral torment, when not also a physical one, after all these years. And you know with what calculated cruelty the martyrs of the 16th of October were hanged. One only has to see the photographs of their dead bodies, in order to realise it. I saw them; was shown them a few days ago. And after what months of moral and physical agony, have they undergone that awful death! No treatment is bad enough for those who could perform such horrors in the name of justice. They will get their reward from God Himself, for no sin ever remains without its wages, no action without its consequences. And yet, we have to pretend to forget, so that we might be able to raise our heads once more with the financial help of the U.S.A.”
“It matters little, as long as we only pretend,” said I.
“Of course, we pretend,” answered the woman. “We act up to the part we have to play: the part that defeat has now imposed upon us. But in order to play his part perfectly, an actor has sometimes actually to forget — for the time being — that he is on the stage; that he is acting. What if we, what if some of us, at least, also have actually to forget all that they and their comrades suffered . . .”
“Never!” exclaimed I, interrupting her vehemently.
The woman who had spent eight years as a slave labourer in the Ural mines, fixed upon me her large eyes and replied calmly: “You say: ‘Never’! . . . and yet . . . If it were in the interest of the Reich, would you not, then, at least try to put yourself under the best possible conditions to act with a clear mind, in accordance with the sole necessities of now and of tomorrow, that is to say: efficiently?”
I thought of all she had gone through, while I had, in relative comfort (in absence of pain, at any rate) cultivated my hatred of the Anti-Nazi forces and of their agents. And I admired her serenity . . . “Perform without attachment that action which is duty, desiring nothing but the welfare of Creation...”1 The words of the eternal Book — the Bhagavad-Gita — came back to me. “The welfare of Creation and the interest of the Reich are ultimately the same,” reflected I. “This woman is nearer than I to the Essence of Aryan wisdom: nearer to it by
1 Bhagavad-Gita, III, verses 19 and 25.
nature, because she has in her blood the whole military tradition of the most Aryan of all Aryan nations; the sense of inner as well as outward discipline; the cult of efficiency . . .” And I felt small. The confidence that she showed in my loyalty to Germany, — the way she spoke to me as though I had, in fact, been a German, — helped me, however, to raise myself above all forms of weakness, be it the most deceitful ones, i.e., those that look like signs of strength.
“You are right,” said I, answering her question in a low voice. “I would indeed, if that were the case; if those who know better than I believed that it was. The interest of the German Reich comes before everything.”
And as I just had, from the bottom of my heart, uttered these words, I thought in a flash: “His Reich; his Germany . . . I am prepared to do anything in its interest because it is his... while she doubtless loves and reveres him — Adolf Hitler — because he is the greatest of all Germans. It may look different; it may be different, philosophically speaking. Practically, it boils down exactly to the same: selfless devotion put to the service of the Great German Reich.”
* * *
I had not the slightest desire to eat or drink. Had I been alone, I would have at once gone to Luitpold Arena and Zeppelin Wiese — the immense areas outside the town where the Party Rallies used to take place. It was visible that the weather was not going to remain fine, and that I had no time to lose. But I thought of my companion: recently come out of a hard labour camp in the Urals; ill; destitute; wearing nothing but a thin summer jacket over her cotton dress; perhaps tired and surely hungry, although too considerate to say so; and having suffered all she had — cold, starvation, ill-treatments, and eight years of dreary, unpaid labour under the whip — for the sake of my ideals . . . I had no right to go and see the places where those ideals had solemnly been proclaimed, leaving her to return alone to the Station Mission, now that she had taken me where I had wanted. And it looked also as if she enjoyed my company. (Any company, in fact, — I suppose — is enjoyable, after eight long years spent in the Ural mines.) And she seemed “in order” all right.
“Let us go in and have something to eat,” said I, crossing the road at the sight of the first Gastwirtschaft I noticed.
“I have not a penny,” was the answer of the woman who had cone from Russia.
The words brought tears into my eyes. I knew what it feels like to wish to walk into a shop and buy a bun or a piece of chocolate, and to stay out because one has “not a penny.” “Come,” said I; “you have suffered for all that we love. You are my comrade and my guest. I am only sorry I am not myself in a position to take you to a better restaurant than this one. Still, I hope we shall be comfortable here.”
“I thank you!” uttered she, her large blue eyes gazing at me.
“I thank you,” replied I. “You have defended me — the Aryan world. I can never do enough for your, or, in fact, for any German.”
We sat in a cosy corner. She ordered herself a portion of vegetable stew and a piece of boiled sausage. I ordered some lettuce salad, bread and butter and a cup of coffee for each of us. Boiled potatoes were brought to us as a matter of course, — as always in Germany — without us having to order them. And we talked . . . about our lives, about our faith, about present-day occupied Germany and the possibilities of tomorrow; the chances of peace and war; the Jewish question. The woman who had come from Russia was far from being as radical as I (and once more the fact struck me, that it is not always, — not necessarily — the most radical among His who suffered the most for the common Cause) but she — even she — admitted that destruction would be better than the indefinite extension of such “peace and freedom” as we now enjoy in the so-called “free” world, and that the Jews must be, sooner or later, made to leave Europe. (Personally, I would prefer that they be made to, leave the planet.) We talked for a long time, drinking further cups of coffee. It was about four o’clock when we left the place. It had rained. April showers. But the Sun was once more shining through the clouds. We took a tramway back to the Station. My companion wished to rest. I bade her farewell, and after asking the woman in charge of the Station Mission my way to Luitpold Arena, I walked out into
the street once more, and turned first to my right and then to my left, as I had been told.
* * *
“Follow Allersbergerstrasse until you get to the S.S. barracks, and then, turn again to your left . . .” I remembered the words as I walked along the dreary street, after having gone through the passage under the railway. The woman had mentioned “the S.S. barracks” as a matter of course; as though we had still been in the great days; she had not taken the trouble to say “the former S.S. barracks.” Were her words and attitude unconsciously prophetic? Would time soon mingle with time — the recent great days with the rising future — as water with water, effacing all trace of these present nightmarish years as that of a useless, powerless sword-thrust into the sea? Was one really, soon, to speak of S. S. men and of their barracks as though nothing had interrupted the course of the glorious new life that they represented and defended? “Oh,” thought I, ardently, as I already, in the distance, caught sight of the great modern blocks of dark red brick; against the bright background of the sky, from which the clouds had suddenly disappeared; “oh, how I do wish it were so! “ And all the hope, — the hope against all “normal” material possibilities; the faith in the everlasting German miracle, — that had sustained me ever since I had actually come to Germany and met members of the real National Socialist élite, filled me once more. And warlike music, and old songs of revenge and of conquest rang within my heart, as I hastened my footsteps.
I finally reached the red brick buildings, turned to my left into Wodanstrasse and, after a few minutes’ walk, came to a public park: trees, and emerald-green lawns, and benches on the side of neatly kept alleys running through the latter. An elderly woman was sitting alone on a bench. I asked her whether she could not tell me where Luitpold Arena was. “I know it is not far from here; but in what direction should I go?” enquired I.
The woman considered me with curiosity. “Luitpold Arena,” repeated she, slowly and thoughtfully. “Why do you wish to see the place? There is nothing for you to see there, but a few disjointed stones . . .”
“There is the earth, and there is the air,” replied I. And, so as to counteract the effect that these spontaneous words might have produced, I added cautiously: “It is . . . a historic place. And I am a foreigner visiting the town . . .”
“It is the place where our passionately beloved. Führer so often spoke,” stressed the woman, whether speaking sincerely or trying to find out who I was, I could not yet tell.
“I know,” interrupted I.
“But you surely do not love him, if you are, as you say, a foreigner. Foreigners hate him . . .”
This was more than I could bear. I experienced sudden anger at the idea of being — again! — taken for the contrary of what I am, merely on account of my nationality. I forgot I was not in a free land.
“I adore him,” retorted I, with vehemence. “I adore him, and fought on his side, and Germany’s. I am not a sheep that bleats in chorus with the rest of the contemptible herd. I look upon Adolf Hitler as the Saviour and Leader of all Aryans worthy of their race. Is that clear?”
The woman was forced to acknowledge that I was speaking the truth. She gazed at me with astonishment, admittedly, but got up and said: “Come, I shall take you myself to the tribune from which ‘he’ used to address the multitude . . .”
We walked between the fresh green lawns full of daisies. I soon caught sight of the remnants of a long structure, built of massive blocks of stone, that. stretched on our left, at right angles to the road. Grass and bushes half hid the entrance of an underground staircase. On our right began an immense crescent. Three successive flights of four enormous stone steps ran the whole length of it, dominated, in the centre, by regular rows of stone seats like those in a Greek or Roman theatre. Grass and bushes were growing between the disjointed blocks, upon the terraces that divided the monumental construction horizontally, into three parts: the gigantic eagles, at each extremity of it, had disappeared, while, half-ruined, but still recognisable, right in the middle of it, — on the side of the beautiful broad pavement that had, no sooner we had reached the crescent, taken the place of the former sandy alley, — appeared the Tribune. Stairs half-buried under rubble led to it from either side. And, exactly opposite, beyond the vast grassy space that
the crescent half-embraces, — the space where the S.A. and S.S. men once used to stand, in thick, regular formations — I recognised the Memorial to the dead of the First World War, with its nine arches. That, thank goodness, looked intact! That, at least, thought I, even the bitterest enemies of National Socialism had respected. Before me, limiting the horizon, — between the green landscape beyond the memorial and the green landscape beyond the end of the stone crescent — rose the proud structure of the Kongress Halle, another (but unfinished) building of the great days, that looked as though it had been spared.
The woman at my side pointed to the Tribune before which we now halted, and said: “It is from here that ‘he’ used to speak.” And the simple words sent a shudder through my body and brought tears into my eyes.
I was silent — overwhelmed by the atmosphere of utter desolation that pervades the whole place, even though the stately war-memorial and the Kongress Halle be still standing; crushed by the bitter, tragic, persistently torturing awareness of the irreversibility of Time: by that “Too late!” feeling which is the very essence of hell.
I pictured to myself the Tribune as it once had been; as I had seen it on photos of the days of glory: bearing in its midst, en relief, the holy Swastika, the Wheel of the Sun. I pictured to myself our Führer standing at this Tribune, over that immense expanse, that vast stone area (as it was, then,) covered with no end of orderly formations of men in uniform — thousands of them, bearing hundreds of standards — and surrounded by an even more numerous crowd of enthusiastic people pressed upon the stone seats of the great semi-circle. I imagined his voice, which the microphone amplified, filling the whole space; the roar of applause, divine and irresistible like the roar of the sea — Vox populi, vox Dei, — that answered at intervals the most impressive of his immortal sentences: “Sieg! Heil!”: the cry of the awakened Soul of the Best, proclaiming to the face of the bewildered world of the day and of the morrow. Germany’s everlasting will to live and will to conquer. And I imagined him — his extraordinary sky-blue eyes, under whose magnetic effulgence that disciplined and inspired crowd, nay, that whole nation of soldiers and artists, was at last living, in full consciousness
of its real divine Self; his extraordinarily eloquent hands, that moved in harmony with his speech. I imagined him, as the thousands — old fighters, who had carried him to power; onlookers, who breathed under his spell; foreign guests (some of whom already witnessed this awakening of Germany with bitter envy) — had seen him, while I had been far away. And the maddening feeling of irreparable guilt which had tormented me a whole day upon the ruins of the Berghof in Obersalzberg, nay, which had been tormenting me for the past eight years, wherever I had gone, rose once more within me: “Where were you, then! Why were you not here?”
Oh, to avoid the accusing Voice! Oh, to acquire the assurance that it was not ‘too late’ after all; that some day, in the course of my life, still I would witness on this spot, in his presence, the equivalent of the old mass meetings — and hear the triumphal “Sieg! Heil!” resound, from half a million breasts, and see the Swastika flags fluttering in the sunshine!
My hatred of the Anti-Nazi forces and of their agents suddenly flared up at the thought of all I had lost. “A curse upon those who destroyed that splendid new world that we were building!” cried I, as though speaking to myself. “May they become slaves, and see the precious values for which they fought mocked and despised all over the earth, and may they sink into nothingness, not through the rapid and clean death of the heroic vanquished, but through the slimy path of vice! No wretched end is wretched enough for them!”
But the woman who stood at my side — and whose presence I had forgotten — spoke in her turn: “Had the Führer’s close collaborators not made a mess of his whole work,” said she, “we would not have lost the war, and our new world would still be in existence. He is, of course, not to blame for the horrors committed in his name. But we must admit that these were horrors.”
I suddenly realised that, in spite of her professed devotion to Adolf Hitler, she understood nothing of his spirit and was not what I would call one of us.
“To whom among the great ones arc you alluding?” asked I. “And may I know what you call ‘horrors’?”
She hesitated a few seconds. She now felt, perhaps — at last — how wrong she had been to mistake me for an anti-Nazi on
the sole ground that I was a foreigner. Eight years had passed since the collapse of the Third Reich. But the outlook on life that had built new Germany (and that will, I hope, restore it) was everlasting; and it was my outlook. And she was becoming aware of that fact. However, she answered my question: “I was thinking of the things that were done to the Jews and of the people who ordered such things to be done,” said she. “Surely, you do not approve of the systematic uprooting of a whole people, — or do you?”
“I do when that people stands in the way of the Greater German Reich,” replied I, sincerely.
“But that is not human, and not Christian-like,” pointed out the woman.
“I could not care less: I am no Christian,” was my answer. “As for humanity, well . . . as long as men tolerate slaughterhouses and take such crimes as vivisection as a matter of course, they have no business to speak of such a thing. It is easier, far easier, to avoid inflicting pain and death upon innocent animals than it is to spare one’s dangerous two-legged opponents. I begin with that which is the easiest, and eat no flesh. But I am all for the destruction of bugs and lice, and a fortiori, of far more dangerous beings such as Jews and traitors.”
The woman felt it was useless to talk to me. Curiously enough, although I was a foreigner, I represented that very element which she disliked in the Third Reich; that proud, hard, heathen element, that had made our New Order appear so “strange” even to such a friend of Germany as Robert Brasillach. The same abyss gaped between her and me as between her — the old generation of modern Germany — and Goebbels, Streicher, Himmler, Terboven, etc. . . . and the most conscious among the S.S. men. But she naively imagined (because she loved him) that the Führer was on the other side of the abyss with her, not on the side of his best followers.
“I agree with you entirely about vivisection and the like,” said she. “The Führer was also against that. And he too ate no meat. But I feel sure he would equally have disapproved of the sort of things that went on in the camps, had he known of them. Whatever people may say against him, now that he is no longer there to defend himself, he believed in God.”
I replied nothing. I could have remarked that “God” is a
vague idea, susceptible of more than one meaning. But I did not want a theological discussion. Once more, I felt that this woman loved Adolf Hitler without understanding him. I was not going to cause her to understand him, while perhaps ceasing to love him. For love is a force, in the invisible Realm. And all forces that help us are to be kept. We spoke a while of other things, and the woman soon took leave of me.
I went up the steps that lead to the Tribune, from which Adolf Hitler spoke. And for a moment, I tried to picture myself the whole area packed with people, as he had seen it. Grass and bushes now grew where the S.A. and S.S. had stood in passionate, iron immobility, listening to his fiery words; scattered blocks of stone and rubble filled the place where the people had sat, feeling as though their own greater Self — their collective Soul — were speaking to them. The peace of desolation weighed oppressively upon the former field of enthusiasm. Alone the Monument to the dead soldiers, which hatred had spared, cried to me, across the now emerald-green expanse, that Germany is eternal. And my own good sense told me from within that National Socialism is nothing else but the justification of Pan-Germanism in the light of Aryan Wisdom: the integration of Bismarck’s dream and of Hermann’s dream, into the old old Doctrine of Pure Blood and of Detached Violence, as the Aryan seers of ancient India had expressed it. “And you are to contribute to that integration!” the place of desolation told me. “Even if these stones never be put together again, still, truth will conquer in the end; still, sooner or later, Aryan mankind will hail Adolf Hitler as its Saviour and his people as its natural leaders. And you shall contribute to that, whether you ever see him or not!”
Tears filled my eyes. I sat on the border of the Tribune and remained a long time motionless, absorbed in the thought of the everlastingness of National Socialism, of Germany’s coming resurrection, and also of the tiny but sincere part that I had played and would continue playing in the greatest drama of all times
I noticed two hollow places within the front wall bordering the Tribune. In one of these, were two flat stones, one on the top of the other. I had a sudden idea. I drew my pen and ink and a piece of paper out of my bag, and wrote down the
first sentence from Mein Kampf that came to my head “People do not go to ruin as a result of lost wars, but through the loss of that power of resistance that lies in purity of blood alone.” I wrote down the page of the Book, where this sentence is to be found, as I happened to remember it: p. 324. edition 1939. And I added: “Yes, never did these words ring so true as they do now. German people, you are the pure gold put to test in the furnace. Let the furnace blaze and roar: nothing can destroy you! One day you shall rise and conquer once more” — words I had written in the first leaflets I had distributed, in ruined Germany, in 1948. I carefully folded the paper in eight, and put it between the stones in the hollow place. One day, thought I, someone would find it. Then I got up, walked down from the Tribune, lifted my right arm in salute before it as though our Führer had been there, invisible (after I had, of course, made sure that nobody was watching me.) And I followed the paved road that leads, around the immense lawn, to the Monument to the dead.
It was intact in its structure, as I had surmised. But the enemies of our faith had rubbed out the old words upon the wall and put new ones: “To the victims of both wars 1914–18 and 1939–45, and of the rule of tyranny 1933–45, the town of Nuremberg.” “Rule of tyranny (Gewaltherrschaft)” thought I bitterly. “And what sort of a rule is it now, under which we cannot even open our mouths in praise of our Leader and of all we love? Is that not a “rule of tyranny’? The liars!”
But on one of the bronze stands fixed into the wall hung a beautiful fresh wreath, tied with a ribbon bearing the words: “The members of the armoured Division ‘Greater Germany’ of the traditional Community, to their comrades fallen in action . . .”
I knew, as everybody does, that “the armoured Division ‘Greater Germany’” is one of the famous divisions of the S.S. élite. And I thought of that élite, — of that National Socialist organisation par excellence — whose ideals were and have remained mine; whose members I still look up to as to gods on earth. Those among them whom I had actually met, or whom I knew personally, had not disappointed me: they had only made me feel more sorry than ever that I had not met them years before. That élite, thought I, would one day take the lead of resurrected Germany, and build up the world of our
dreams upon the ruins of Christendom. And I recalled the words of a comrade to whom I had once asked whether there was today, in Adolf Hitler’s unfortunate country, any group of people capable of organising and conducting a successful National. Socialist Putsch at the first opportunity: “Yes: there is the S.S.”
I stopped in the paved courtyard before the Monument, and once more took a glance at the wreath with the cleverly worded inscription which defied the spirit of those who had arbitrarily dedicated the memorial to the so-called “victims” of the so-called “tyranny” which the Hitler régime is supposed to have been. Defied it, — for the members of the S.S. division “Greater Germany” who were slain in battle during this war, died in defence of that régime.
On each side of the court, on my right and on my left, stood six square stone pillars. I pictured to myself fires burning at the top of every one of them, as there had been on solemn occasions, during the great days . . . ; and the last words of the defiling wall-inscription effaced and replaced by new words: “. . . and to the unflinching National Socialists who died from 1945 to 19... for the sake of their faith in Aryan superiority and in Germany’s God-ordained mission.” One day, hoped I, flames would again twist their restless tongues of light, in sunshine and darkness, in honour of my beloved comrades and superiors — from the Eleven of Nuremberg to the humblest martyr. And the names of all the latter would be exalted, at last.
* * *
It must have been not far from six o’clock. I walked out of the paved court, turned to my left, and followed the sanded alley that leads to the street (in the opposite direction to that from which I had come.) I crossed that street, stopping for a while to look at the Kongress Halle from a distance, turned to my left again, and then to my right as I reached the border of a lake — the famous Duzend Teig.
The upside-down image of the Kongress Halle shimmered in the shining waters, while a wood covered the border of the lake facing me as well as the one along which I was walking. On my left, luxury cafés outside which many people were having drinks, to the sound of dance music, succeeded one another in the shade of the tall trees.
I walked on, indifferent to the noise, and to the crowd seated at the tables, and to the passers by, — thinking of the great days, when all those men and women had something both impersonal and real to live for. And in my heart, I once more cursed the forces that have robbed the many of that glorious raison d’etre and reduced the few to silence and compelled them to secrecy.
The road I trod soon led me into a broad asphalted avenue, on the left side of which I could recognise the magnificent stone structure — rows and rows of seats, pillars and central tribune — that dominates the breadth of Zeppelin Wiese. And my heart leaped within my breast: I had reached the ground on which the great Party Rally of 1935 had been held — that unforgettable Party Rally at which the famous Nuremberg Laws, basis of our New Order, were proclaimed. I remembered myself in Lucknow . . . listening on the wireless to the proceedings of the gorgeous mass gathering, so far away, — and yet so near. The solemn martial music, and then, the speeches that filled the pin-drop silence, and the periodical thunder of applause — “Sieg! Heil!” — rang once more within my memory. And I recalled also the pretty, naive Bengali song that my host’s daughter had played upon the harmonium, after the grand voices of distant Europe were no longer heard: the tune that I can only think of with a profound sadness, as the reproachful reminder of all that for the sake of which I have missed my real duty and spoilt my life:
“Nanda, Nanda, Nanda Rani . . .”
And as upon the ruins of the Führer’s dwelling at Obersalzberg, and as at Luitpold Arena, the place of the first Party Rallies, I felt tears well up to my eyes. But, being in the street, I controlled myself.
I walked on. On my right, I could now see the series of blocks, with parallel rows of seats, all round the immense space, even broader than that of Luitpold Arena. Myriads of onlookers used to watch from there the Rally they had come to see, from all parts of Germany. I counted sixteen or seventeen blocks on each side. The immense space thus limited was now occupied: by two circular grounds — playgrounds for the American occupation troops — railed off. Nay, in the midst of the monumental structure on my left, on the very wall sustaining the terrace over which towered the Führer’s tribune, I could
read in great black letters the English words: Soldiers’ Field. At first, the words stirred in me bitterness and anger. Once more, I felt all my hatred for the occupants rush to my heart. But then, remembering the exploits of the German S.P.D. Government of Bavaria in Obersalzberg and in Munich, I thought it was perhaps, in one way, just as good that the Americans had requisitioned this sacred place of ours, thus protecting it against the destructiveness of German Anti-Nazis. After all, the words “Soldiers’ Field” would not be difficult to rub out, when my comrades, one day, would come back to power. And in the meantime, the presence of the detested Yanks prevented the monument from being torn down stone by stone, or blown up, like the Berghof, like the Brown House, like the double shrine to the memory of the first martyrs of National Socialism, on Königsplatz, in Munich.
Monumental walls, as massive as the pylons of some gigantic ancient Egyptian temple, limit the structure on either side. Between them stretch endless rows of enormous steps. Parallel flights of stairs, half as high, divide the slope into several regular sections, while in the centre, a double parallelepiped, as massive as the side pylons, and conveying the same impression of strength and duration, — two broad stone platforms, one on the top of other, — supports the Tribune from which the Führer used to speak. A flight of steps leads down to the latter, from a bronze door in the uppermost wall that dominates the central structure. On each side, connecting the middle wall (and the halls behind it) with the pylons at each end of the monument, a double row of twice thirty-six square pillars, runs along the highest terrace. Right at the top of each pylon, and of the central structure, untouched and in their places, I could see the three great vessels of bronze in which, on solemn occasions, fire was lighted. And the five flag staves above the central structure were also there — waiting for their new Swastika flags.
I pictured to myself the flames in those bronze vessels and the red-white-and-black flags stamped with the old Sign of the Sun, hanging from those staves, and the thousands and tens of thousands seated upon the tiers of this main building as well as of the thirty-two or thirty-four smaller structures all round the immense area; and the Party formations, — the Youth Organisations; the S.A.; the S.S. — and the Army, marching, from the
Field of Mars still further away, along, that very road in the midst of which I now stood, to the music of the Horst Wessel Song . . . ; constantly pouring in, and gradually filling the whole expanse . . . Oh, why, why had I never seen that?
Slowly, I walked up the tiers, reached the topmost terrace, — the stately pillared gallery; threw a glance over the splendid paved avenue which runs along the back of the building, and over the railway line and wooded scenery beyond and, — turning round, — finally over the vast area in which the thousands had heard the proclamation of the Nuremberg Laws in defence of mankind’s Aryan élite; the announcement of a new era.
Evening had come. And the weather had cleared. Above the last receding mass of clouds, the moon was making its appearance, ghostly bright, in a growing patch of luminous blue sky. And its phosphorescent light fell upon the white tiers and walls, and terraces and pillars, conveying them a sort of dreamlike life. The people whom I had, at first, seen, sitting here and there or walking about, had all, or nearly all, gone away. I followed the lonely gallery, full of the dark shadows of the pillars, till I reached the central part of the building. Then, I walked up to the bronze door and down again, along the steps that led, from it, to the Tribune from which the Führer has spoken. And there I stood, leaning against the railing, and watching the last ray of daylight disappear and night set in.
I thought of the Party Rallies, that I have not seen. Descriptions of them, that I had read long before in different books or magazines, came back to my memory, in particular, the beautifully evocative picture that Robert Brasillach has given of the 1935 one, in his novel Les Sept Couleurs. He had seen it, he who, in his own words,1 had been “first a Frenchman and then a National Socialist,” i.e., who never would have sided with National Socialist Germany (however much he might have admired it) had he not deemed his collaboration to be “In the interest of France.” So many others had seen it. But I . . . had been six thousand miles away. I imagined the whole scene so vividly that it was as though I felt it, saw it in the Invisible; as though I could feel and see the ghost of it — the endless crowd of onlookers seated upon the tiers, here at the foot of the pillared gallery and all round the immense ground; Party formations,
1 See Isorni’s book Le Proces de Robert Brasillach.
standing in impressive order and immobility in the midst of the field, while further sections of them, bearing flags, and flags and still more flags — streams of red-white-and-black — kept pouring in. I imagined the famous columns of blue light — the pillars of the “Temple of Light” — that enormous projectors, placed around the gathering, sent forth; and the flames in the great bronze vessels at the summit and at both ends of the building, and the long fluttering flags that hung from the five staves behind the central, topmost flame. I imagined the Führer speaking from the very place where I was now standing. The surface of the wall of the Tribune, facing the immense expanse, was now bare. In the past, here like in Luitpold Arena, a great stone Swastika was to be seen upon it. Now all signs of the splendid days had been effaced. But the air and the landscape were the same. And the people, although silent for eight long years, were the same German people whom Adolf Hitler had loved, and in whom he had awakened the consciousness of their superiority. One day, they would express themselves again.
And after the Führer’s speech, there was the roar of applause, and then, silence. And after the silence, there was the martial music of the great Days, — the Voice of the new era . . . And now, that voice was no longer to be heard. And the new era looked (outwardly) as though it had come to an end. Where the thousands and tens of thousands had gathered, I was now alone.
Would thousands and tens of thousands again one day, in my life time, fill this space in enthusiastic, solemn gatherings, in the name and spirit of Adolf Hitler, even if he no longer be alive to address them? An inner feeling of mine answered that question: “Why not?” And was the Führer somewhere upon this earth? “Wherever he be, alive or dead, his spirit is alive, and will ones day rule Germany. And Germany will rule the other nations of the West through it,” answered once more my inner certitude. It mattered little whether I could or not see the signs of its rising. Could one see corn grow? And could one see the burning lava rise in the bowels of the earth, months before the eruption of a volcano? The power of National Socialism, expression of the vitality of the Aryan race, is like the power of germinating corn and like that of slowly rising molten rock: invisible, and irresistible.
I remembered how it manifested itself in all the comrades I had met since I had crossed the frontier; in all those I had met before, during my former stay in Germany. And I realised its presence in me. And with all the ardour, all the determination of my being, I willed that I should, through all I might think, say, write or do, contribute to the resurrection of the Greater German Reich under National Socialist rule, whether I was or not to see the result of my action.
I walked down the steps between the tiers, and once more along the road where the S.A. and S.S. men had marched, so sure that our new world would last forever; back to the lake and to the street beyond the lake, and to Luitpold Arena. It was now completely dark.
I went and sat again for a while upon the ruined tribune facing the other site of the old Party Rallies and the Memorial to the dead of the two wars. The impression I had had on Zeppelin Wiese was strange enough. The one I had here, sitting alone in the night, was terrifying — or would have been so, had I not felt that a power from the very earth protected me. But I actually felt such a power. And I also experienced, in the chilly darkness — under the black clouds which, at that moment, once more hid the moon, — like a symbol of the time we are now going through. The next day, the Sun would shine again, and children would come and play upon the ruined site. They, and all German children — all Aryan children — would sooner or later realise the soundness of our Führer’s doctrine, the divine character of his mission. And it would then be his rule, in spirit, forever. In the meantime darkness — forgetfulness on the part of the hostile world; the widespread belief that our faith no longer exists — was a protection.
* * *
It was past midnight when I reached the station.
The first thing I did the next morning was to take a tramway going in the direction of Fürth — along the Fürtherstrasse — and to get down in front of the Palace of Justice. I remembered the notice: “Visiting hours from 8 to 12.”
This time I was alone. My companion of the day before had apparently begun to work. I had not met her again.
For some time, I walked up and down before the railing, having once more a general glance at the building. The latter, although not as old as many other historical monuments of Nuremberg, was, with its regular succession of gables, and with, on the ground floor, the long arched passages that characterise it, architecturally most attractive — austere, yet elegant; of perfect proportions. But the thought of the infamy that has taken place within its walls, made me insensitive to all externals.
I walked up to the cross street at the end of the building. There, I noticed a writing, with an arrow pointing to my right: “To the Jewish chapel.” “They would choose such a place to build a Jewish chapel!” thought I. And I recalled the fact that the Martyrs of Nuremberg were killed on an important festive day of the Jewish faith, as though one had consciously and intentionally sacrificed them to the Dark Forces, and sealed the victory of the latter through that deed.
I slowly walked back along the same footpath. Never, perhaps, had the whole post-war persecution of National Socialism, and the war itself, and the monstrous campaign of hate and lies carried on before the war against National Socialist Germany all over the world, appeared more glaringly to me as the work of the diabolical Jew. I knew more vividly than ever (although I had surely never ignored the fact) that all people who, without being Jews, have sided against Germany during this war, — from Mr. Winston Churchill, down to the last wretched Indian recruit who entered England’s service for eighteen rupees a month, without even knowing whom he was to fight and why, — were either criminals or fools; more often fools than criminals, but criminals of very first magnitude when they happened to be politicians or journalists: responsible deceivers of the masses.
I walked into the garden, seeking someone who would tell me what I should do in order to see the famous “Hall of Judgement,” and I was directed, by one of the numerous clerks I came across, to an office in one of the wings of the building, on the ground floor. There, a man seated at a desk told me that I needed a permit and was to apply for it to one “Herr Einstein,” head of the Bureau “for Compensations to the victims of National Socialism.” (A fellow with such a name would be the director of such a “Bureau”! though I, with bitterness. But I did not feel at all sure to get my permit: the
only people who ever have fully well understood me in this world, apart from out and out National Socialists, are Jews. They understand me — they even seem to detect me from a distance, through a sort of telepathy, — but . . . they do not particularly like me . . . !) However, I went to the “Bureau” I was told. For my good luck, Herr Einstein was not there. A clerk, — a German girl — received me. I told her, in a casual manner, that I wanted to see the building, being, myself “a tourist.”
“But,” said she, “there is nothing interesting to see in it, save the hall in which the so-called ‘war criminals’ were tried. The rest is just American offices . . .”
“All right,” answered I; “in that case, I would like to see that hall.”
I tried to look as unconcerned as I could. But my heart was beating. The girl took up a telephone receiver; spoke to someone (probably to Herr Einstein). The reply was apparently positive, for she took a bunch of keys and told me: “Follow me.” My heart beat faster. I was really going to see the room in which the greatest infamy in history had been staged — the room in which the élite of Europe had been “judged” by the agents of the dark Forces — less than eight years before . . .
We walked along a passage, reached a door — an ordinary brown door like any other, save that it bore a notice: “Hall of Judgement.”
The key turned in the keyhole, and I was ushered into a room much smaller than I had imagined. On my right: rows of wooden benches parallel to the wall — at right angle to the passage on which the hall opened — on my left: other rows of similar brown, polished wooden benches, parallel to the wall behind me, i.e., at right angle to the former ones. In front of these benches, a long writing table from which hung several listeners, each one before a brown polished chair; while against the wall, facing me, stood a high desk, — a desk that towered above the whole room — and, behind it, an American flag. The silence was impressive — ghostly.
No details of the iniquitous Trial, and no facts dating back to those atrocious days when the Trial was taking place, came to my memory, for I did not think. But I felt once more, — I experienced, in all its renewed vividness, — the atmosphere of those days and months, just as though I had suddenly been
thrown back into the past. I kept on telling myself (as to free myself from a nightmare): “It is not true; it happened seven years ago, not now. Now they will soon he avenged. Now every passing minute brings us nearer to the day when the judges who sat here will be judged in their turn by a higher justice, and publicly branded with infamy for all times to come . . .” But it was of no use. I was again in 1945–1946. And I shuddered from top to toe at the renewed contact with the depth of horror. In a feeble voice that I could not recognise as my own, I asked: “Where did they sit?”
The young woman pointed to the benches behind me. I turned around.
“There!” said my guide. And she added, pointing to the seats one after the other, beginning with the one at the end of the lowest bench, on my left, (on the right when one is facing the judges’ desk). “Here sat Göring and here Ribbentrop, next to him; and then Hess . . . and the others . . .”
I stretched out my hand and touched the polished wood on which the hands of my superiors had rested, day after day, for hours, during those eighteen months that the Trial lasted. Göring, von Ribbentrop, Hess, “and the others”. . . I could now visualise them sitting on this first bench and on the ones behind it. I could read upon their faces both bitter contempt for those agents of international Jewry who were pretending to judge them, and the proud, austere satisfaction that, whatever would be the fate assigned to themselves, they knew that our Führer, in whom they had believed, was right; and knew they had chosen the right way and done the right things.
“Marschier’n im Geist in unsern Reihen mit” — “March in spirit with us, within our ranks!” thought I, my hand upon the table upon which Hermann Göring had leaned, listening to the endless series of lies poured out against him and against our common faith. “March in spirit within our ranks, and live in us forever, great Ones, whom I have never seen, alas, but whom I love; close collaborators of our immortal Führer, live in me as long as I live!”
I was moved to tears. And I was silent for a long tune, my eyes fixed upon the now empty benches; my mind lost in the nightmare of 1945. The woman who had come with me was
considering me with astonishment. My attitude did not fit in at all with the preconceived idea she had of a foreign tourist.
“And where did General Keitel sit?” asked I at last, addressing her.
“Here,” replied she, pointing to the first seat on the second bench in the lower rows — the bench following Hermann Göring’s. And she added: “Jodl sat there, next to him. Are there any others, of whom you care to know?”
I hesitated a while and asked: “Could you tell me where Wilhelm Frick sat? Wilhelm Frick . . . and Julius Streicher . . .”
“There,” answered the young woman, showing me two seats on the upper benches, at the back of the first ones.
I pictured to myself the fine faces of the two men, and of the generals in the row below. I pictured to myself all the accused sitting there. “Yes, live in spirit in us — in me — men of devotion and of duty, forerunners of a nobler mankind, my superiors!” thought I. “Be an example to us, forever. And may we avenge you soon!”
And turning to my guide I asked: “And where did the accusers, — the so-called ‘witnesses’ — sit? May I know?” There was contempt in my voice, but the woman did not seem to notice it. She simply pointed to a place against the wall that ran at right angle to the benches of the accused and said “There.”
“And where were the so-called ‘judges’ seated?”
“There,” answered she, pointing to the desk under the American flag. “And here sat the lawyers,” added she, showing me the table right before me. Then, picking up one of the listeners that hung from it, she explained: “With these, one could hear any of the four languages one liked, i.e., German, English, French or Russian. One only needed to shift a lid a quarter of an inch this way or that, — like this” (she actually pushed a lid in the listener she was holding) “and the language that came through was a different one. Thus every word uttered during the proceedings was immediately heard in the four tongues. It is a wonderful achievement of modern technique . . .”
“Advanced technique put to the service of the most shameful farce in history,” thought I. But I did not speak; — not yet.
Pointing to the rows of benches facing the place from which
the so-called witnesses had spoken, the woman pursued — perhaps in a hurry to put an end to her role as a guide, and to go back to the work that was awaiting her in the “Bureau for Compensations to the victims of National Socialism”: — “And there sat the onlookers . . .” She made a gesture implying that I had seen all there was to see, and that my visit had, consequently, come to an end. But I was not in a hurry. And although I might have had finished seeing the room, I had not yet begun to say what I wished to say — what I had to say. I stood back, as the women mentioned “the onlookers at the famous Trial,” and, for the first time since I had entered the hall, expressed my feelings in unmistakable language:
“I could never have ‘looked on’ at such a thing as this trial,” declared I. “But there will be — I hope — some future trials, much shorter than this one, . . . trials in which I would most gladly be not merely an ‘onlooker’ but an accuser,” said I.
It suddenly occurred to me that I was, possibly, wasting my breath. So I asked the woman: “By the way: are you a German, or . . . an American?”
“A German,” replied she; “and a real one.” The pride in her voice told me that she was not lying.
“Gott sei Dank!” exclaimed I. “Well, in that case, do listen to me as a German.” And I pursued: “Yes; I would most gladly be an accuser one of the many accusers — when the sinister fellows who sat as judges over these men will be, in their turn, judged by their avengers . . .”
The woman gazed at me in bewilderment, not knowing what to think of me. Her intuition doubtless urged her to trust me. But months of daily work in a Jewish office had taught her to trust nobody. She answered cautiously: “Were this same trial to take place now, these men would not be sentenced to death.”
“I know,” replied I, impatiently. (I have no time for tardy remorse; especially for tardy remorse originated by fear.) “But they were sentence to death, and killed — murdered. Let Jackson, Strawcross, Andrews and Co. bring them back to life, if they can! Or let their people and the Allies of their people, — every man, woman or child who approved of it, out of ignorance stupidity, or whatever it be, — pay the price for this crime!”
Hatred poured out of my eyes as I spoke. Standing before
the American flag, and before the desk at which the judges of 1946 had sat, I uttered slowly and distinctly — mercilessly: “The price is annihilation. Nothing less.”
From the depth of my heart rose a cry of triumph as the verdict — not mine but that of the immortal Gods through me, — resounded in the empty, silent room. Seven years before, in that same hall, the Twenty One had stood and heard the verdict of the Judeo-Christian world against them and against our common National Socialist faith. And from the depth of my heart, along with that cry of triumph, rose an equally silent cry of love addressed to them: “Hear me, my superiors, wherever you be! I have come, and shall come again. I am defiance. I am revenge — the real justice that you have called for in vain, for months and months. I am the future that creates the past; the National Socialist future that will glorify you!”
Automatically, I had turned my back to the judges’ tribune, and was looking towards the rows of benches upon which the hallowed Accused had sat.
The German woman who worked in Herr Einstein’s office, was considering me with amazement.
I spoke a few words explaining the boldness and radicalness of my verdict on the Judeo-Christian world. “I revere these men,” said I, referring to the Martyrs of 1946, “They died for the cause of superior mankind; for that real Germany, which is the forerunner of it, the champion of its rights, the embodiment of its virtues. And they had lived and fought to make higher mankind a living reality.”
“Perhaps,” replied the woman thoughtfully — and cautiously — “but at what cost? And by what means?”
“At the cost of that which is not worth saving,” declared I, without hesitation; “and by the only means that work, in this Dark Age. Do you know any ruler, any nation, ancient or modern, who has used other means? I know none. I only know liars who, while denying them with feigned indignation, have used those same means to forward base ends. These men have used them to forward the very highest goal of creation. And they have not denied them. They were neither self-seekers, nor liars, but the builders of a coming Age of health and Truth.”
The young woman continued to listen to me without expressing
her own feelings, whatever these may have been. I knew it would have been for her the easiest thing to go and telephone to Herr Einstein and get me into serious trouble. But I knew no less certainly that she would never do so; that natural German pride was stronger in her than any amount of acquired allegiance to Christian or “human” values. In the existence of that deep-seated German pride was rooted, in fact, my hope that National Socialism would rise again. It would rise and conquer precisely because, apart from being in harmony with Nature itself, it is the most glorious expression of age-old, invincible German pride. In the meantime, my unhindered praise of our martyrs here in this hall, in defiance of the American flag, rang as a foretaste of the fiery impeachment of their self-styled judges, which would, — I hoped — fill this room and be broadcasted throughout the world, one day, when my comrades would once more he in power.
* * *
The young woman, my guide, asked me to follow her. “I shall show you the prison and the place of execution from as near a spot as I can?” said she.
She walked out of the room. I followed her to the door, but then came back, asking her to be kind enough to wait for me “just a minute.” Knowing I was now alone in the tragic hall, I stood before the benches upon which my superiors had sat and, lifting my right arm in the ritual gesture, I uttered in a low voice the words of faith, hope and defiance that I had written upon the ruins of Adolf Hitler’s dwelling in Obersalzberg: “Einst kommt der Tag der Rache! Heil Hitler!” And I felt as though I had, through these magical Words and this symbolical gesture, struck a further blow at our enemies in the all-important realm of the Invisible.
The young woman took me to a window somewhere in the passage, and showed me from there a building in which one could easily guess a cell behind each and every barred opening, and, in the midst of the nearby courtyard, a house, or maybe a mere shed with walls around it, — walls which were entirely painted in black.
“This is the prison,” said she. “It is no longer under
American management. That is why visitors are not admitted: The men of whom you spoke were a year and a half behind bars in that building. And they were executed in that black house — the ‘gymnastic hall’ of the prison — one at the time.”
“Murdered one at the time,” rectified I. “But let it be; they shall be avenged.”
I stood a long while by the window, looking at the sinister house of death. The woman waited for me in the corridor, her keys in her hand. She showed no sign of impatience. I was thinking of the Third World War, and calling the inexorable Nemesis — mathematical Justice that never forgives — upon the persecutors of our National Socialist faith. God alone knows what the woman was thinking. She waited for me till the end — till I had, within my heart, recalled the past and evoked, as long as I pleased, future scenes of redeeming violence. At last I turned to her and stressed:
“Yes, one day, they shall be avenged, — and exalted!” And I added: “When you see the revenge in all its terrifying grandeur, remember me. Remember you have met me in these dark days!”
She gazed at me as though she wanted to say something, but held her peace. She walked by my side along the passage until we came to a staircase. “This is the way out,” she then said. “Straight down, and then, past the sentry’s box — the way you came. It is easy. Auf Wiedersehen!”
“Auf Wiedersehen,” repeated I. And we parted.
* * *
I spent the rest of the day at the Stadium, and in the grassy open places around it; along the road that leads to the Field of Mars — the road along which the regiments and Party groups used to march (coming from the Field of Mars) to Zeppelin Wiese and to Luitpold Arena.
I remained hours sitting upon the steps below the pillared gallery that looks over the former, — hours thinking of all that had been said and done there, while I had been in the distant East, and being desperately aware of all that I had missed, of all that I had lost.
When the Sun became less hot, I walked back to the Lake
— Duzend Teig — and to Luitpold Arena, revisited the Memorial to the dead soldiers, and finally came and sat upon the half-ruined wall bordering the Tribune from which the Führer used to speak in the days of glory.
I sat there, absorbed in my thoughts, God knows how long, wondering when would this place, where hundreds of thousands had acclaimed our Führer, again become the site of solemn National Socialist mass demonstrations; when would the fiery praise of Adolf Hitler’s name (if not his own voice) be heard over the immense historic expanse, covered with rows and rows of fighters, in perfect order, and with Swastika flags, and, upon the tiers, all round, — enthusiastic men and women answering the speeches with the old cry of triumph: “Sieg! Heil!”
Now and then, along the road, people walked past the Tribune.
And the Sun followed his course. And shadows grew.
I was thrust out of my meditation by the shrieks of laughter of half a dozen children, boys and girls, from ten to five years old, who came running up the ruined stairs. Having reached the level of the Tribune, they ran and danced about the place for a minute and, — all save one — rushed down the steps on the opposite side. The one who did not at once follow them was the loveliest of all: a little girl about seven or eight, with flaxen-blond locks, regular features, and large, deep, inspired blue eyes. She came running up to the actual place from which Adolf Hitler once used to address the multitude, ascended the two steps that finally lead to it, stretched out her right arm, and cried, at the top of her voice: — as though she were speaking to invisible thousands and tens of thousands gathered in the vast area where the S.A. and the S.S. men used to stand.
“This place is the throne of the world, — and it is my throne! For I am the Queen; the Queen of the World! The Queen of the World! . . .”
Clear and joyous like the sound of bells, the German child’s triumphal words rang over the ruins, and over the empty space now covered with grass: Luitpold Arena.
I got up; opened my arms . . . I wanted to hold the little girl for a minute against my breast and tell her — although she would not have — yet — understood whit I meant — “You are right! This is the place from which “He” spoke; He, the
now invisible King, yours and mine, — the Führer. And you are beautiful, eternal Germany — his Germany — the aristocracy of the chosen Aryan Race; queen of the world indeed, for all times to come, if you so wish, by the side of Him, your everlasting King . . .”
But the child had already danced down the steps, and was now running along the road; running to catch up her playmates.
I remained a while standing, absorbed in an inner vision of grandeur: the vision of centuries of coming history, succeeding one another like a parade without end, to the glory of Adolf Hitler and of his faithful ones.
Evening was falling. I walked down from the historic Tribune, followed the sandy road through the darkening lawns, then the practically desert Wodanstrasse, and the long, busy Allerbergerstrasse, back to the station.
Like the nearing sound of bells of victory, like the nearing music of an army on its way, the child’s prophetic Words — the Voice of young Germany — accompanied me: “This — Adolf Hitler’s Tribune — is the throne of the world, and it is my throne — for I am the Queen . . . the Queen of the World!”