MARTYRS’ GRAVES, SMOKING CHIMNEYS, AND MEN OF IRON
Homburg von der Höhe, 28 April 1953
My heart took to beating as I heard footsteps in the wooden staircase, at the top landing of which I had been sitting for over two hours, waiting for Herr E. — my beloved Hertha E.’s husband — to come home. (He was not expecting me.)
Something told me definitely that it was he. I leaned over the railing and looked down: a man, dressed in a greyish-green hunter’s suit was coming up as fast as he could. I knew Herr E. worked as a forester. I was now sure it was he. He stopped half way up the last flight of steps; gazed at me.
“Herr E!” exclaimed I, with enthusiasm. (In a flash, I remembered all that Hertha E. had told me about the “old fighter” of the early days of the National Socialist struggle and later S.S. officer to whom she was wedded.) And without uttering the two forbidden Words, I raised my right hand.
“Frau Mukherji! — Hertha’s friend!” said he, with joyous emotion, recognising me, although he had never seen me before, and raising his hand in his turn. “Come! Do come in — although my room is not a fitting place to receive anybody. But I know you do not mind those details. Come; I am so glad to make your acquaintance — at last!”
He stepped unto the landing — a blond man of moderate stature, with regular — irreproachably Nordic — features; blue eyes that looked intensely at me as hers had, sometimes. And I followed him into what was about the poorest, darkest and most desolate rooms I had, up till then, seen in Germane: a room with slanting walls (for this was the very top of the house) containing nothing but a table, two chairs, an old stove, and a narrow wooden bed like those one sees in a cabin on board ship, and lighted to some extent through a small window. But I saw all that without really seeing it; I could see nothing but Herr E. and, in the background — as in a dream —
Hertha E. in her blue overall and light grey apron (her prisoner’s clothes) as she had sat upon my bed in my cell in Werl, during those clandestine meetings of ours that were the great events of my life in jail; as she had looked when telling me about him.
So this was the man of whom she had said that “he would get on splendidly” with me; the fighter of those far-gone first years, during which one had all to lose and nothing to gain by joining Adolf Hitler’s iron band; the man who had chosen to march under the Swastika banner solely because he believed in Germany’s mission in the world and in the Führer’s mission in Germany, and because he was aware of the Jewish danger; the man who had won himself the Golden Medal of the Party and who, after the war, had known captivity in France and in England; also the man who adored her . . .
I remembered her relating me an episode that had taken place in a tramway car in Berlin, during the war; her husband, who had come from the front, on leave, and she, who had come, also on leave, from the camp where she was working as an overseer, were going together to the theatre. She was standing at his side when he suddenly noticed a Jew who had made himself comfortable in a corner without bothering to offer his seat to a lady and, which is more, to an S.S. officer’s wife. He had looked at the man sternly and, in an icy-cold voice, in which clang all the pride and power of the Third Reich, which he embodied, — a voice that had sent a thrill of satisfaction through most of the bystanders (and perhaps a tremor of terror through a few of them) — he had merely said: “Get down!” As one can well imagine, the Yid had not waited for the order to be repeated; he had speedily obeyed, shrinking before the man in black uniform, — the emanation of the Führer’s will, of Germany’s self-assertion; the master of the West. And I remembered myself telling her, in an outburst of enthusiasm: “Wonderful! I wish I had been there! Oh, the splendid days, the glorious days, when an S.S. man only had to look at a Jew to make him shrink and vanish into thin air! When will they come back?”
And there was the man: Herr E.; the officer in black; the man of the Third Reich; Hertha’s husband, whom I admired as I admired her. There he was standing before me. Who
could have foretold that I was to have the honour of meeting him so soon?
He closed the door, squeezed both my hands in his and said, with tears in his eyes and an expression of such ecstatic happiness that it verged on one of pain: “She will be free on the eighth — in ten days’ time! Do you know it? Free, free once more after all those nightmarish years, my poor Hertha! She is coming back, coming home. I am counting the days. Oh, I am so glad that you have come, you who love her; you who were such an uplifting force to her in jail (she told me all about you, last year, when she was allowed to come and spend a few days at my side in hospital, because the doctors thought I was going to die. And then I received your books and learnt from your own words how devoted you are to her). I am glad to make your acquaintance at last. I cannot talk about her to other people as I can to you.”
It was news to me that my beloved comrade was soon to be released — the happiest news I had heard, in fact, for a very long time. How I had thought of her (and of the others) all these three years! Not once had I seen a bright day, — a day when one is glad to live — without my mind rushing back to them (to those I knew, and also to those I did not know) and without my feeling ashamed of my undeserved freedom; urged, at any rate, to do all I possibly could to justify it, when not to deserve it. And now, during all this beautiful journey — over Greece and the sea and South Italy, in a plane; through Italy and the Alps and Germany, by rail, — how many times had I not thought of them, in particular of her, confined to that same old cell of hers (the last cell of the D wing, by the corner of the C wing) in that “Frauenhaus” in Werl, that I knew so well; living to the rhythm of prison routine, still, eight years after the end of the war — until when? until when? The answer was now given to me: until the 8th of May — the eighth anniversary of the Capitulation — in ten days’ time. The choice of the date shocked me, admittedly. And I could not help mentioning it. Still; this was the best news I had heard for months at least ever since that of Fieldmarshal Kesselring’s release.
“I am so happy to hear this, — much happier than when I was myself released,” said I sincerely. “It is doubtless hasty on
the part of the British to set her free on such a day, as though they were trying to make her forget the bitterness of the Capitulation in the joy of her own liberty. (As if she — or any of us — can ever forget!) But this is a detail; the main thing is that she will be free in ten days’ time.”
“Yes;” stressed Herr E. “Free! I can hardly believe it is true. Oh, nobody knows how I love her. And nobody knows what I have suffered . . .”
“I have heard of some of the hardships that you have endured,” replied I. “You too are one of our martyrs.”
I knew that Herr E. had been savagely beaten upon the head by an English Military policeman to whom he had refused to surrender his Party decorations for them to be defiled; so savagely, that he had never recovered from his injuries. I knew he had, after his return to Germany, spent all his time in a “Home for the brain-injured,” only a mile or two away from Homburg. In fact, I had first sought him there, not knowing that he had become well enough to work, and that he had taken a room in the town.
“As a prisoner of war,” continued Herr E., “I was, in England, for months confined to a cold, damp, and absolutely dark cell, my hands and feet chained to the wall, only because I had stood up to ‘them’ and would not say ‘yes’ to their nonsense about our glorious National Socialist régime. But even that was not the worst. They would come now and then to my cell to bring me my meagre food, and tell me about the Belsen trial. ‘Your precious wife you will never see again,’ they said. ‘She is to be hanged with the rest of that murderous lot. Serves her right!’ I could not see them, but I could hear the glee in their voices. They knew all the time that it was not true. Hertha had already been sentenced to fifteen years’ imprisonment as you know. And yet, they would come and tell me that for the sheer pleasure of tormenting me, only because I was — because I am — a convinced Nazi. Those kind-hearted Englishmen, who call, us ‘monsters’! That, for me, was worse than iron chains.” But he added: “It is, however, all past. And she is coming back; coming back!”
“My poor Herr E.! exclaimed I, filled at the same time with comrade-like love, admiration, disgust (for the Englishmen’s behaviour) and with the old longing for revenge. “May
I be, one day, given the opportunity of tormenting those who hated the Third Reich! I bet I shall also find nasty things to tell them, not things of the same nature as those our enemies told you (I am not so mean) but still, so nasty that they will beg to be killed rather than have to put up with my remarks. My poor Herr E.!”
He was, in my eyes, the embodiment of persecuted National Socialism.
“Then, one day,” continued he, “I came to know that she was alive and interned in Werl. This was very much later. And I was no longer in that dark cell. They had given up all hope of breaking my spirit. Nobody can tell how happy I was at the thought that, one day, be it after fifteen years, I was to see her again — my beautiful blonde Hertha . . .”
“May you and she soon stand together in the new struggle for freedom and for power, and I by your side!” said I, with all the fire of conviction.
The bright blue eyes, so full of human love but a minute before, looked at me with a different flame:
“The only thing I want is to begin again,” exclaimed Herr E. forcefully; “to wash away the bitterness and shame of these years of Jewish rule, and raise Germany once more out of this misery, to power and glory under Adolf Hitler’s leadership, if he be alive, under his inspiration and in his immortal spirit, — his invisible leadership — if he be dead.”
I enquired about Herr E.’s health. I had indeed never expected to find him looking so well after having been given up for lost only a year before.
“In Dornholzhausen, — in the Home for the brain-injured — I had the good luck of falling into the hands of an exceptionally able doctor,” explained he. “I suppose that is what saved me. That and . . . my own will to live; and Destiny . . .”
He asked me how and since when I had come back to Germany and what were my plans. He then spoke of my books. But I remembered the horror of his captivity in England. I pictured him in a dark damp cell, — probably somewhere underground — in fetters, and chained to the wall. And I imagined the voice of some slave of Jewry, or perhaps of a Jew, telling him in a sneer: “You won’t see your wife again: she is to hang with the lot of them . . .” And yet, he had stood up to them
to the end, and never lost faith in our Führer, in our truth, in Germany’s endless possibilities. I felt small before hint, as I always do in the presence of those real German National Socialists who were put to the test of persecution.
“I am merely the one who wrote Gold in the Furnace,” said I; “you are the ‘gold in the furnace,’ you, Herr E. and you, my Führer’s people, as a whole. I love you and revere you, and wish you the domination of the world! You deserve it.”
We talked a while longer, and then took leave of each other with the eternal words: “Heil Hitler!” I returned to Frankfurt by bus.
* * *
Frankfurt, 29 April 1953
The next day, I had a conversation with Herr S., — a man to whom I had no introduction whatsoever, but who proved to be one of us. (Did I not say, in the beginning of this book, that I have the knack of spotting out such ones?)
I met him in a shop where I had come to buy General Ramke’s well-known book Fallschirmjäger damals and danach. We spoke of General Ramke. Herr S. made a few remarks that I liked. In particular, he told me he entirely agreed with the General’s description of the Waffen S.S. as “the first pan-European army against Bolshevism.” The words, reported in the English newspapers, had filled me with enthusiasm at the time they had been uttered. Herr S. and I spoke more and more freely until we felt we no longer needed to hide anything from each other.
“How long is it since you left Germany?” Herr S. asked me.
“About three years.”
“And may I ask you what are your first impressions on coming back after all that time?”
“I have not seen enough of the reconstruction to speak about it,” replied I. “Yet, I was, already at the frontier — that false frontier in Salzburg — agreeably surprised by the fact that it now takes nearly a hundred French francs to make a German mark, while I remember having exchanged a mark for sixty-five francs only, five years ago.
“I have seen many buildings rebuilt — thank goodness! But too many shops (and too many cinemas) in proportion to the number of residential houses. The Jews are at the back of that, I bet — both those who have come back to plunder Germany after her defeat (and for whom cinemas are a better commercial proposition than houses) and those of the far-away ‘State of Israel,’ to whom this puppet government in Bonn has accepted to pay I do not know how many milliards in compensation for the ‘wrong’ that the National Socialist régime has done to ‘God’s own people’ (as they call themselves, and as good Christians call them). One cannot do everything: provide for millions of refugees from those provinces which the Allies have torn away from Germany; pay the expenses of three occupation armies; serve a pension to every man or woman of German nationality who, during the great days (never mind on what grounds!) has spent some time in a concentration camp; pay milliards to the State of Israel, and build houses for the faithful and worthy German families.
“My one great satisfaction here, in this land I so love, is to see that there still are people like you: National Scientists who have kept their faith in spite of all. Even when it is not definitely hostile to us, the rest of the Western world, in which such people do not exist, is so dull, so boring! Here in Germany, one is also depressed, at times: everything and everybody looks, outwardly, so goody-goody — so in tune with the Christian-like, liberal, hopelessly dull ‘bourgeois’ civilisation that I already hated before the First World War; in one word, so ‘de-Nazified’; as though all traces of the glorious days were wiped away forever. One sees quiet, ‘decent-looking’ people going to church, as in pre-Nazi times; one sees definitely anti-Nazi books (or perfectly non-committal ones: ladies’ novels and cookery books) at the book stalls; one encounters downright shocking sights: one meets, for instance, here in Frankfurt, German girls arm in arm with men of all races (Aryan, Mongoloid, Jewish and Negro) in American uniform, and one envies those who died in 1942, before the war took a bad turn. But then, one meets a man like you — or goes and spends an hour with a comrade like the one I went to see yesterday in Homburg — and all the bitterness and all the disgust of the present is pushed into the background, and one sees nothing but real Germany — Adolf Hitler’s Germany;
eternal Germany — in its invincibility. Again, one wishes to live; to see that Germany rise and conquer.
“Tell me: how long will all external signs of National Socialism remain banished, here, from everyday life? And it is not only the ‘external signs’ — the pictures of the Führer, the Swastika flags and the like. I miss the self-assertion of the great days — what the enemies of our faith call ‘the Nazi arrogance’ that joyous, boisterous aggressiveness that is the sign of healthy youth, and something so congenial to my own nature. How long more shall I have to go without the sight of that?”
“As long as it is Germany’s interest precisely not to show that,” replied Herr S.; “and as long as it is Germany’s interest that each and every one of us, should (in order to be sure not to show it by mistake) train himself not to feel in that way (save at times); as long as we are compelled to act in order to live and prepare, on a scale of which you have no idea, the glorious revenge for which you so ardently crave.”
His words reminded me strangely of those of that woman I had met in Nuremberg, — the one who had been eight years a prisoner in Russia.
“Rest assured,” added he, “that the feelings you so value are there all right, deep in the bottom of our hearts. They are alive. But we cannot impair the possibility of our reconstruction, for the sheer pleasure of exhibiting them.”
“What would happen,” asked I, “if, — for sake of argument — all Germans who have those feelings suddenly chose to exteriorise them, be it in a legal manner?”
“In a legal manner?” Herr S. was surprised. “How do you expect to exteriorise ‘legally’ feelings which are themselves ‘illegal’ under this hypocritical régime of so-called individual freedom?” said he.
“Well, suppose the whole country boycotted the elections which are, I am told, to take place in the autumn; I mean, suppose only an infinitesimal proportion of the people voted at all or, — better still — suppose they all or nearly all ‘voted’ but . . . wrote upon their paper ‘We vote for Adolf Hitler’ or ‘We don’t want your foul Democracy! We want a National Socialist régime. It suits us. We like it!’ A German woman I know told me that she had voted in such a manner in 1949, for which I congratulated her.”
“If we all, or even if a high percentage of us, did that,” answered Herr S., “we should once more get a taste of 1945 style Occupation: controls, interdictions, restrictions on our movements etc. . . . , to a degree which you cannot imagine, and should not be given a chance to raise our heads. In addition to that, our industries would either be taken away from us or placed completely under foreign control, and all financial aid from the U.S.A. would be denied us. In other words, we would live the days of the Morgenthau plan all over again. Do you want that?”
“Of course not!”
“Well, in that case, put up with the sight of the long-drawn farce which we have to play to these people. We are ‘de-Nazified’ — or supposed to be. We must continue pretending to be. We live, — or are supposed to live — only for ‘the integration of a Democratic Germany into a Democratic Europe’ under American protection. We look upon — or are supposed to look upon — our glorious National Socialist days as a ‘period of tyranny,’ and we are, or, at least, it is presumed that we are, most willing to ‘make good’ for all that was done to the ‘poor Jews’ during that period. We must not allow the silly Democrats to suspect, be it for a minute, that all that which they ‘suppose’ and ‘presume’ about us, boils down to nothing but a childish illusion. We must keep up the show. And at that price, in spite of all the expenses with which we are burdened, millions of dollars are lent us — i.e., given us, (for the future National Socialist Government will never recognise the debts of the German Federal Republic) — millions with which we can rebuild at least some houses. And new, ultra-modern machines are given us, in the place of the old ones which those people stole before they considered us as a ‘Democratic nation.’ See our industries come to life again! Go to Essen, to Duissburg, anywhere in the industrial area, and see if you can recognise the skeletons of factories that you left behind three years ago! See the wheels turning round and round, full speed; the rivers of molten metal streaming out of the blast-furnaces; the chimneys smoking, under the rising Sun . . .”
I shut my eyes and recalled the sight of the ruined towns: — Duissburg, Essen, Dortmund — that I knew so well for having passed through them number of times under police escort, in
the car that used to take me from Werl to Düsseldorf and back. And I smiled to the glorious vision that Herr S. evoked: the smoking chimneys, the streams of liquid steel, — Germany’s victory in spite of the disaster of 1945. But Herr S. still spoke. “And now,” — he was saying — “we are acquiring arms and ammunitions . . . at the expense of the American taxpayer. . .”
However, the idea of an “European Army” under American leadership roused me from my happy contemplation. “Arms and ammunitions to defend Democracy against its ex-Allies the Communists; to make the Germans cannon fodder for the war aims of the Yanks — a plague on them! Cannon fodder for the profit of the Jews in Wall Street!”
“No,” said Herr S. in a low voice; “no; but fighters for a Greater Germany extending further than we National Socialists had yet dreamed: a Greater Germany comprising all Europe . . .”
“A bastardised Europe into which the international Jew would like nothing better than to see Germany absorbed!” protested I.
“No; no;” answered Herr S, “but a Europe that we shall control through our skill, and upon which we shall, in the long run, impose our faith . . .”
“If it really be so, then, well and good,” said I, after a pause. “But if the best lose the feeling of being Adolf Hitler’s privileged countrymen, born to rule; if they no longer possess the inspiring consciousness of fulfilling a God-ordained mission, but merely think of themselves as good Democrats putting their skill ‘to the service of mankind’ — hypocritical Democrats like the rest of them — then, is it worth it? ‘What is the use of conquering the world, if you lose your soul?’ I find nothing so true as that Gospel sentence, provided it is given the proper — psychological — interpretation. And I only fear Germany’s soul will be lost through the bastardisation of the new generations brought up in democratic principles, (taught to hate racial pride, taught to look upon Jews and Negroes and what not as ‘men like others,’) if this Democracy were to last another fifty years. Personally rather than have that, I would prefer the atom bomb and the end of this continent. Of Course, what would be better still, would be the atom bomb and the end of the Democracies, and the unhindered rule of the Aryan élite upon their ruins.”
“Unfortunately, the atom bomb is not selective,” replied
Herr S. bitterly. “No bombs are. We had a practical demonstration of this during this war. You do not seem to realise what ruin another war would mean to us, let alone to Europe as a whole. Possibly our population would be reduced to something like ten million; that of the whole continent to fifty million — if as many as that.”
“And among those ten million, how many real, hundred percent National Socialists would survive, do you think?” asked I. “A hundred thousand at least?”
“A hundred thousand, perhaps,” admitted Herr S.
I smiled — although I felt sorry for those of my faith who would not survive. “Well,” said I, with sudden enthusiasm, “would not even that be better than endless peaceful prosperity under a pride-killing and race-killing régime? Would that — even that — not be enough to secure the strong, the beautiful, the healthy, the valuable, — the worthiest — the domination of the future, even if there still be some fifty million two-legged mammals scattered over the surface of what will once have been ‘the Western world’? One Nazi can control five hundred apes — don’t you think so?”
Herr S. gave me a warm, lovely smile of assent. “You are right!” exclaimed he, holding out his hand to me in a gesture of comradeship. “Yes; you are right.” And he added: “At heart, we all feel as you do. But, like most National Socialists who live abroad, you do not fully realise the practical difficulties that stand in our way, and that will continue hampering us until East and West Germany are again united into one state, and the last foreign trooper is gone. We are forced to put up an attitude in order to attain that double goal, which is the condition of our return to power. Don’t you understand me?”
“I do,” said I; “but don’t you lose your souls in the process! And don’t allow Germany’s body to be infected — defiled! That is my only warning. I was horrified, here in Frankfurt, at the sight of so many blonde girls walking about the streets in the company of American Negroes. And what about the mixed products? — for there must be some . . .”
“We’ll sterilise them — or ‘liquidate’ them — in time; don’t worry! And we’ll teach the young generations our clean and
virile way of life. It is only a matter of a few years, after all. Those who are now two or three, — perhaps even those who are now six or seven — will all be marching in the ranks of the reorganised Hitler Youth when they are fourteen.”
“Oh, I do hope you are right! That is all I want.”
“We are right: you and I, and our comrades,” said Herr S. And these were his final words.
I gave him a copy of my books. He gave me the address of one of the finest National Socialists in the world: a real, modern Germanic Heathen, who was already fighting for our ideals before the birth of the immortal NSDAP. “He is the man to understand you,” said he as a matter of introduction; “an old priest of the Sun and disciple of Friedrich Nietzsche as well as of Adolf Hitler.” I thanked him. And we parted saluting each other with the ritual gesture, and the holy Words: “Heil Hitler!”
* * *
Between Frankfurt and Koblenz, 29 April 1953
I don’t remember the name of the place; the train rolled too rapidly past it. But I remember, — I shall always remember — the sight: on the right side of the railway: motorcars; bright and shiny, comfortable-looking motorcars; and more and still more motorcars — light grey; dark grey; black; greenish-yellow; greyish-yellow; of all colours — in successive series of regular rows covering space as far as my eyes could see. And a whole double row of them, that seemed to me endless, already upon the flat wagons that were to carry them away . . . where? Never mind where! To the four corners of the earth — wherever there is a demand for products of Germany’s resurrected industry.
From the window of the railway-carriage, I gazed at them with elation, with enthusiasm; with love. Tears filled my eyes; and I felt a thrill of immense, inexpressible joy — such joy as I had, for years, believed I never should have a chance of experiencing again; something like a repetition of that which I had felt in the beginning of the glorious days, at the sight of pictures of new Germany’s unheard-of industrial expansion under Adolf Hitler’s rule.
Was it true? Were all these hundreds of cars not a dream?
Was the present-day industrial output of the martyred Nation really as great as that? — definitely beyond my expectation! And was this a sign that the glorious days were soon to come back? I was happy; sincerely, absolutely happy; happier than if all those autos had belonged to me personally. (In fact, they did belong to me in a way — nay, more intimately, more “personally” than they ever would to the people who would buy them. They were the first unexpected sign telling me that the long nightmare, which I had been living since 1945, was nearing its end. They were messengers of power; messengers of joy.)
I shut my eyes, and recalled the long nightmare — the mental torture I had experienced every day since my return to Europe and already before; since the Capitulation; since the time one had been practically sure that National Socialist Germany would have to capitulate. I remembered myself in September 1946, sitting in a garden in East Horseley, a place near London, by the side of Mrs. Saint-Ruth, one of the rare women in England to whom I could, in those days, pour out my heart. And I remembered her telling me: “Alas! they are planning to uproot Germany’s industries; to destroy them completely; to turn Germany into a purely agricultural area. Without her industries, Germany cannot possibly support her population. But these people don’t care. They want to force nine Germans out of ten to emigrate and get absorbed into the mixed population of the outer world — of the U.S.A. in particular — and cease being a conscious force, a collective will set against international Jewry. That is the spirit of this satanic Morgenthau Plan, which aims at nothing less than the destruction of Germany.” Crushed at the idea of all the possibilities the Jew was about to annihilate, and at the feeling of utter powerlessness before that crime, I had then wept. Now I recalled that awful experience as one recalls a bad dream, after one is once more wide-awake. Now, it was all a thing of the past; a thing that the skill of a few diplomatic Germans, who had played the Democrat, and the favour of the Aryan Gods, Protectors of Adolf Hitler’s Fatherland, had definitely made impossible. Shining under the Sun-like steel and lacquer beetles, in endless rows and rows, — ready for export — the hundreds of autos defied the obsolete Morgenthau Plan; defied the Allies and their unholy efforts to impose their will upon this land!
Slowly a tear ran down my cheek. And I smiled. “Look!” exclaimed I, with rapture, suddenly addressing the only person in the compartment besides myself, a man about fifty years old, who sat opposite me; “look! — The beginning of the great new Beginning! — Tomorrow, these will be rolling along all the roads of the world, telling the world that nothing and nobody can crush Germany’s will to live! How many years is it since one used to hear of the Morgenthau Plan? Seven years? Six years? It seems now a century ago; and yet, it was but yesterday. Look! In such a short time, in spite of defeat, ruin, occupation, and all the trail of misery that this means; in spite of all the efforts of the international Jew and of his vile satellites to break the spirit of this land, German industry is again flourishing. Hail, invincible people! I admire you, and I love you!”
The man looked at me with sympathetic surprise and curiosity. “But aren’t you not yourself a German?” he asked me.
“No. I am just an Aryan from far away, who looks up to the German people as to the embodiment of the finest qualities of our common race, and as its natural leaders,” replied I.
The man smiled. “I wish all Aryans of the world felt the same as you do about us!” said he, after a short pause.
“So do I! If they did feel as I do — if they had felt thus in 1939 — this fratricidal war for the benefit of the Jews would have been impossible!”
We talked a long time. The man was one of the right sort. At last, when he was about to get down, he held out his hand to me and said: “You have spoken the truth: we are real Germany, we National Socialists; and we shall win in the long run. In the meantime, I thank you for the confidence you have shown me by expressing yourself as frankly as you did.”
“I could not help it,” answered I. “The sight of those autos has given me back, all of a sudden, that old feeling of invincibility that I experienced so many times in the early months of this war. It is the loveliest feeling in the world!”
“It is a feeling that you will experience many times more in front of Germany’s extraordinary industrial expansion in spite of all hindrances,” said the man.
And he was right.
“How greater still that expansion could be, were only Germany not burdened with the Occupation costs, and the ‘damages’ to pay to the so-called ‘victims of National Socialism’ at home and abroad, and to the State of Israel!” thought I. But then, I remembered what Herr S. had told me: “It is only through our pretending to be ‘de-Nazified’ that we have been able at all to raise our heads again.”
I only hoped that the farce was not to last too long.
* * *
Koblenz, 30 April to 5 May 1953
“Heil Hitler, Bertel!”
“. . . You, Savitri! — Heil Hitler! — I was wondering who it could possibly be, greeting me at this time of night with the old, unforgettable, eternal Words. Come in and let me see you! I am so glad that you have come back!”
This exchange of greetings took place in Koblenz, in a pitch-dark staircase (the light was out of order) at about 11 p.m. It was lovely to be thus welcomed by one of the purest and finest National Socialists I know; lovely to hear the friendly voice — and the familiar salutation — after these three years in the hostile outer world.
“Come in. Dear me, you are drenched! So, it is still raining...”
“And you have lost your umbrella, naturally . . .”
“I left it in the plane, between Athens and Rome.”
“Exactly like you! Come, and take oft your coat, and sit down; I am going to make us a nice cup of coffee.”
Yes, it was lovely to come home. For here, at Fräulein B.’s, I was home.
I walked in, seated myself comfortably in the armchair she offered me. She put some water on to boil, and seated herself by my side.
“I thought you had told us then that you had been expelled from Germany,” said she. “How did you manage to come back?”
“Oh, that is a fine story,” replied I with a smile. “I’ll tell you some time — today or tomorrow. You see, my case is just an illustration of a general fact, which is the following: it is always easier for one of us to pass, undetected, through the meshes of the Democratic net, than it would be for one of our opponents to escape our control, if we were in power . . .”
“And yet,” remarked Fräulein B. sadly, “how many have escaped our control, and betrayed us, during this war! You know that yourself.”
She went and brought out some marmalade and honey, and a cake, for the coffee was now ready, and she called in her neighbour, Fräulein K., who also knew me, and who had not yet gone to bed, to come and see “who had turned up” and to share our feast. Further greetings, further exteriorisations of joy took place. I was happy — deeply happy; we were all happy. And yet there was a shadow in the picture; something that made us feel it would never be “like before.” And that was the absence of our beloved Fritz Horn, who had lived in this room after his release from two post-war Allied horror camps — Schwarzenborn and Darmstadt — in which he had spent three years, and who had died here on the 12th of December 1949. Fräulein B. had had a death mask of him taken. And that — so like him that it was hardly believable — hung against the wall right opposite my seat. There were a few fresh flowers in a vase upon a little shelf before it. Next to it was a photograph of his only son, a very handsome youngster of about twenty-five, slain upon the battlefield somewhere on the Russian front, in 1942. And on the other side — now, was that possible? Did she really deem it worthy to figure by the side of the likenesses of those two men who had died for Germany? . . . — picture of myself! A photo that I had sent her after my release from Werl.
I took a glance at the other walls. They were decorated with pictures of Schwarzenborn and Darmstadt that Fritz Horn had drawn himself during his internment. There was hardly anything changed in the room since the martyr’s departure: only the fact that there was now one bed there instead of two. The whole place was still alive with his presence. And his presence sanctified it. And any gathering of ours within its
walls took on an unusual seriousness — I would nearly say: a solemnity — of which I became more and more aware. And it seemed strange to me to see cups and saucers and bread and a pot of marmalade upon that very table at which Adolf Hitler’s life-long disciple had sat and read passages of Mein Kampf to me. Of course, it was only natural. The old fighter was now dead, and life continued . . . Still it was strange to feel myself drinking coffee in a sacred place.
I told Fräulein B. what I felt. She understood it perfectly. “I have often felt the same, although I live in this room where I have nursed dear Uncle Fritz till the end,” replied she. “But I have gradually got accustomed to his invisible presence. I say to myself that, if he were here, in flesh and blood, he would find it most natural that we should eat and drink. He did so himself when he was among us. Do you remember how delighted he was with that pound of coffee you had brought us? He loved coffee. And he needed it, to keep his heart beating. That was perhaps the only medicine that could have saved him. But coffee was an expensive luxury, then. I had no money to buy any. You remember how we lived in those awful days, don’t you?”
Didn’t I remember!
I recalled the welcome of those two perfect National Socialists: the former Ortsgrupenleiter Fritz Horn, and his former secretary and most devoted comrade Fräulein B., who knew nothing about me apart from the fact that I too belong to Adolf Hitler. I recalled the story of the Chambers of hell which Herr Horn had told me from his own experience and from that of other Party men in the American horror camps, — and the serenity, the detachment with which he spoke, as one who knows that his days are numbered but who, still, regrets nothing, while the Cause for which he lived and for which he is dying is that of Truth and that of Life. I remembered him seeking out exceptionally beautiful passages of Mein Kampf to read them over again to me and then, — on the day I had left Germany — giving me the immortal Book as a farewell gift: Germany’s gift to me, as he himself had said. It touched me profoundly to see that Fräulein B. had placed my likeness next to that of the martyr’s son and to his own death mask. I could not help telling her how I felt she had honoured me by doing
so. Her answer honoured me even more: “He loved you,” said she, speaking of Fritz Horn; “he liked that youthful enthusiasm that you have retained; that confidence in us, that the disaster of 1945 has not lessened; and above all he marvelled at the orthodoxy of your views, all the more noteworthy that you have evolved them so far away from us.”
‘‘Yes,” thought I; “would to goodness I had not remained so long far away . . .” And a great sadness came over me at the awareness of all I had missed. But it was no use deploring my past omissions again and again. The best I could do now was to face the future, making the greatest possible use of the experience acquired at such a price in the distant East. The future of National Socialism lay in men of Germany’s younger generation: old enough to be bitter on account of their memories of 1945; young enough to be fanatically devoted to the contrary of the imported Democracy, and to be proud, aggressive and merciless in 1955. The future was young Hermann — Fräulein B’s nephew — who had come with her to see me off, when I had left Germany, over three years before.
“By the way . . . how is Hermann — my youthful Nordic god?” enquired I. “And how is your sister, and the rest of the family?”
“Fine!” answered Fräulein B. “You will see them all again. Hermann is now nearly eighteen, as handsome as ever, and so tall and manly that you would hardly recognise him. He is still studying. He would like to fly — to pilot a bomber one day, whenever we have an air fleet of our own once more. He is an out and out National Socialist in spite of all the pressure ‘these people’ try to exert upon our young men. In fact, that pressure has only made him hate the Allies — and in particular the French, with whom we are here concerned — all the more. He was immensely pleased with your books, and so proud to be mentioned in one of them! Klaus is fifteen; a sweet child; working as an apprentice at an optician’s, for he did not want to go to school any longer. Doretta is twelve; still goes to school, naturally. She feels jealous when you write so enthusiastically about her elder brother; ‘I too have “hair like sunshine” and Germanic features,’ says she. Much as we dislike the whole business, she had to be christened and will have to be confirmed — to, avoid unpleasantness in her school life and hindrances
in her career (she wants to be a schoolmistress; she says. And nowadays, here in Rhineland at least, all schoolmasters and all students who wish to become teachers must be either “Catholics” or “Protestants,” whether they actually believe in Christianity or not). My sister and her husband accepted to go through the farce because it was not possible to do otherwise. ‘Freedom of the individual conscience’ as you can see!”
“Yes,” said I, disgusted; “Democratic freedom! But I do hope that will be all over — and our régime re-installed — before Doretta is old enough to be a schoolmistress.”
“I hope so too,” said Fräulein B. “And the child does not believe a word of the nonsense she is taught: we see to that. But we are forced — outwardly — to play up to these people in order to live. Take my own case: I am now working for an American-sponsored newspaper, the only work I could find after having lived two years on the State loan of 20 marks a week. Well, I had to swear — to swear, mind you! — that I am ‘not a Fascist,’ so that I might, be accepted. I swore it. In fact, I swore the truth. I am not ‘a Fascist’ but a National Socialist. It is not at all the same thing, save in ‘these people’s’ stupid heads.”
I could not help smiling. “During the war,” said I, “when my husband wished to get rid of some boring fool come to make him waste his time, he used to put him the question: ‘Can you tell me the difference between National Socialism and Fascism?’ Nine times out of ten the fool would declare that the two were ‘the same thing.’ Upon which my husband would tell him: ‘In that case — since you can see no difference between a way of life based upon eternal principles, and a politico-economic system, — you’d better talk of something else. Tell me, for instance, what price your wife paid for a pound of fish, this morning at the market. That, I suppose, you know.’ And nine times out of ten, the fool would invent an excuse to go away — to my husband’s relief! Of all varieties of mammals that I know, there are none sillier than the Democrats, whether they be Americans, or Bengalis, or whatever else.”
Fräulein B. laughed. “You are right,” said she. “And our dear Uncle Fritz used to say the same. Far from shattering his National Socialist faith, his contact with these reformers of mankind had strengthened it. Poor Uncle Fritz! I can see him
sitting at this table, reading Mein Kampf and telling me ‘Now — now, after I have seen what Democracy means — I understand better than ever the truth of those eternal sentences. Now — I know better than ever, how absolutely right our Führer is. There is not a word he wrote or said, which is not right.’ He used to read the Book every day, and ponder over that which he had read for hours. How I can understand him! . . . On Saturday afternoon, or Sunday, — when I am free — we shall go together to see his grave.”
“Yes,” said I. And the vivid recollection of the National Socialist martyr brought tears into my eyes.
We talked a long time more — till Fräulein K. went and prepared, upon a comfortable sofa in her sitting room, a place for me to sleep.
* * *
On the following Sunday, — 3rd May — Fräulein B. and I stood before Fritz Horn’s grave.
It was a warm day. But the weather was cloudy — with patches of blue sky between the clouds, and intermittent sunshine. The place where the grave has been dug — on a grassy slope between two woods, right at the top of the large Koblenz cemetery, — is lonely and beautiful. Through the trees, one can see something of the town in the distance. The grave is simple: a rectangle of earth and gravel; a few flowers in the midst of grass; a name; a date. But it is well kept. One sees that the man who lies here is not forgotten.
We lay the flowers we had brought — narcissuses, and dark velvety pansies — upon it. And we stood in silence, both absorbed in our thoughts.
In my mind, I recalled Herr Horn’s last words to me as he handed me the priceless copy of Mein Kampf — the only one he had — as a farewell gift. “Go wherever you might be the most useful,” had he said, “and wait. ‘Hope and wait.’ One day we shall welcome you again. In the meantime, if, being alone, you feel powerless, you have your burning faith, — our common Nazi faith — to sustain you. And you have this: our Führer’s immortal words; a remembrance from Germany.” And I recalled how he had, after I had thanked him, greeted me for the last time, raising his arm as though he had been accomplishing
a religious rite, and uttering the spell-like words — the Words that bind me to him and to all my comrades and superiors, alive or dead, forever and ever: — “Heil Hitler!”
And I could hardly believe that he was really dead; that his bones (all that was probably left of his tall and handsome physical self) lay under that earth and grass, and that I would never see him again. I felt all the irony of destiny in his words: “One day, we shall welcome you again . . .”
But he had said “we,” not “I.” And was he not right? reflected I. Had not his faithful comrade and friend, Fräulein B., welcomed me — and with what joy, what enthusiasm! — but a few days before? And had he not been right, also, when he had told me that, if only I were cautious, I should one day give Germany my written tribute of love and admiration Gold in the Furnace? The book was now printed, and was circulating among those for whom it had been intended. True, the wheel of history did not turn fast enough to please us. But Fritz Horn had told me — also during those last days I had spent with him in Koblenz — “Time does not count for us, who have truth on our side . . . We build for eternity.” He was doubtless right in that connection too.
I recalled his serene face, and that strange, more-than-human detachment —inseparable from absolute conviction — with which he used to speak of “the abysmal stupidity of the Democrats” who are preparing the irretrievable destruction of those very “values” that they pretend to represent. “They are more dangerous than the Russians, in a way,” he used to say; “more dangerous precisely because they hide their brutality under humanitarian pretences. Still they are doomed, for by persecuting us, they contradict their own profession of faith in ‘individual freedom’ and ‘the rights of every human conscience.’ Had they really given Germany ‘freedom’ in 1945, — granted every man the right to express himself, were he one of us or one of our opponents — then they might have, for a time at least, won Germany’s heart. Now, it is too late, even if they do reverse their policy. Germany’s respect is lost to them forever. Germany’s collaboration with them against Communist Russia, if at all it takes place, will be purely a matter of opportunism no ideological alliance whatsoever. And it is just as possible that Germany will collaborate with Russia against them, if
Russia is clever enough not to demand a collaboration upon an ideological basis. In any case, the Western Democracies have simply missed the bus. We shall be the ultimate winners, whatever happens; truth conquers, in the long run.” He used to speak of the political — and psychological — blunders of those who had ruined his health and wrecked his life, with the indifference of a grownup person talking about the destructiveness of some unpleasant brats of the neighbourhood. I had seldom met a man so absolutely foreign to all manner of conceit; a man who not merely thought but felt that nothing really counted but the triumph of our Cause, which was bound to come sooner or later, anyhow.
The Sun suddenly appeared in one of the patches of blue sky, and the woods, the grass, the graves, were transfigured in the wink of an eye. I thought of the One Who is “the Heat-and-Light-within-the-Sun-disk,” the inexhaustible fecundity of the earth, and the will of the better men to transcend humanity, and I prayed within my heart: “Make me also devoid of conceit, pettiness and sickly haste, like him who lies here, O impersonal One, — He-She-It Whom I do not know, but vaguely feel within myself and within Nature. Make me a passionless fighter for the cause of Life and Truth; a real National Socialist!” And a tear rolled down my cheek at the awareness of the beauty of Fritz Horn’s personality.
It is Fräulein B. who broke the silence. “He was buried as he had lived and died: as a German Heathen,” said she, speaking of him of whom we both were thinking. “I felt it would have been a mockery to call a Christian priest to mumble over his body words in which he had never believed. But a comrade of ours, an old fighter like himself, uttered a few sentences, reminding us of the virtues that had been his; of his career, and martyrdom and death for the love of Germany and of truth.” And she added after a short pause: “We should not weep over him. We should live and serve the Cause of Greater Germany, which is the Aryan Cause, in the spirit in which he served it; with similar one-pointed devotion and, if possible, with similar intelligence, detachment and efficiency. I have told you how painlessly and naturally — and fearlessly — he passed into the great Unknown. May the recollection of his death give us increased faith in our Heathen
values, in our Struggle, in our comrades, whom he so loved and trusted, in our immortal Führer (visible or invisible) whom he so adored; new life . . .”
“Yes,” said I, in a low voice. And I was suddenly seized with a strange emotion. Fräulein B.’s last words reminded me of those of an old dying warrior, in a Greek folk song that I had often sung in my far-gone adolescence: “. . . Weep not over me, my children, for the death of a brave man gives new life to the young.”1 It was an old song of the Turkish days, in which breathed the proud and violent soul of a pureblooded, poor and free élite of Greek mountaineers, embodiment of my Greece. That élite had nothing in common with the newspaper-reading parrots, admirers of Democracy and of the U.S.A.’s “generosity,” who had recently, in Athens, reproached me, on humanitarian grounds — again! — for my allegiance to Adolf Hitler’s people. And even though its descendants had been deceived during this war as during the last, they remained healthy to the extent they remained pure-blooded, and there would, one day, he hope for them, in our new Europe . . . In the meantime, in the way Fräulein B.’s words roused within my heart like an echo of the old song of my youth, here, before the grave of him who had died for our common Nazi faith, I took consciousness of the unity of my life, as I seldom had before.
“O my Bertel,” exclaimed I, as we slowly walked away along the grassy path, “it is so comforting to come here with you; and to feel myself, with you, in tune with National Socialist Germany, in the memory of Fritz Horn and of all our martyrs! What I sought as an adolescent, I have found in you, my Führer’s faithful ones, — in you, whom nobody could deceive and convert.”
“What I sought as an adolescent,” thought I, “i.e., the warrior-like outlook of the Aryan, as I then apprehended it in the virile poetry of the pure-blooded Greek mountaineers, — the klephtic songs; — but that, devoid of all Christian inconsistencies; carried to the end of its inner logic!”
Fräulein B. and I were silent until we reached the gates of the cemetery and found ourselves once more in the world of the living.
1 Words of the famous Greek song “O gero Demos.”
5 May 1953, in the train
Seated in a corner of the railway carriage, by the window, I gazed at the landscape that rushed past. The speed of the train — an express — was too great for me to distinguish any details in the foreground. But the background was still, in comparison, although it too seemed to rush into distance and disappear no sooner it had appeared . . . Leaning out of the open window, my face against the wind — like on that unforgettable first journey of mine through ruined Germany, on the 15th and 16th of June 1948 — I gazed at it: blue sky and smoking chimneys; blast furnaces in a row; oil tanks (or was it gas? Or coke? Or what? I did not really care. It was at any rate something that was used in or produced by Germany’s reborn industry; something that meant: dawning prosperity). And again chimneys — rows of proud chimneys — all smoking! . . . I recalled the autos I had seen on the side of the railway track after leaving Frankfurt. And I smiled. And I remembered what Herr S. had told me in Frankfurt: “See our factories come to life again; see the rivers of molten metal streaming out of the blast-furnaces; the smoking chimneys under the rising Sun! “ He was right.
In a flash, I recalled the nightmarish landscape that stretched in 1948 from one end of the country to the other: the torn and charred walls; the heaps of twisted iron; the towns that all looked like excavation fields; the factories that were all either bombed out of use or being dismantled by the Allies . . . And now? . . . Oh, now! . . .
The train rolled on. Had I been alone in the railway carriage, I could have sung for joy. But though my lips were silent, a hymn rose within my heart, to the glory of the invincible Nation — a hymn of boundless praise, of the same quality as that with which I had (from far away) greeted Germany’s industrial expansion twenty years before . . . “Oh, may this really be ‘the beginning of the new Beginning’!” thought I, with all the yearning of my being.
The train halted in an important station. Absorbed as I was in my joy at the sight of Germany’s reconstruction, I had not noticed the name on the side of the railway. I asked
my neighbours where we were. “In Düsseldorf,” was the answer. “Düsseldorf!” — the town in which my trial had taken place over four years before; the town in which I had lived the finest day in my life (after the great days of 1933 and 1940) and defied the persecutors of my Führer’s people, loud and clearly, in public, before the Military Tribunal! I could say nothing. But I was deeply moved at the thought that I was there once more.
But surely the station did not then look like this! I had not seen it, in 1949, (I had come every time in the Police car — under escort — directly to the Tribunal.) But I had seen it in 1948, as ruined as any other station in Germany. What a difference within five years! I could not recognise it. There were, in it, hardly any traces of destruction to be seen. Again, I thought of Herr S. and admitted that there was something in what he had told me.
I could have broken my journey here, and I very much longed to do so; to see, once more, the building in Mühlenstrasse in which I had stood before my judges and said: “I have come to defy the Democracies, their money and their might, and to tell you and the world that nothing and nobody can ‘de-Nazify’ me!” But Fräulein B. had advised me not to. The satisfaction — she had said — was not worth the risk of being found out and . . . again arrested for having come back without the permission of the Occupation Authorities. So I decided to remain in the train.
The train moved on, and soon resumed its speed. It halted in Duissburg; it halted in Essen; in Dortmund . . . In the corridor of the Nord-Express, somewhere between Duissburg and Düsseldorf, at about 3 o’clock in the morning, nearly five years before, two German railway clerks in uniform had thanked me “in the name of all Germany” for the message of fraternal solidarity — and of hope — contained in my leaflets, instead of having me arrested; in Essen, on one of my journeys between Werl and Düsseldorf, I had asked to get out of the police car, pretexting “a very urgent necessity” and . . . written “Heil Hitler!” upon a ruined wall; and I remembered the heart-rending feeling I had experienced at the sight of the charred skeleton of the immense iron and steel works, Krupp and Co. — Germany’s pride — wrecked out of all recognition by the
R.A.F. bombs; in Dortmund, I had once seen a young green bush growing out of the rubble, in the midst of the ruins, and wept for emotion at the thought of the invincibility of Life. Every place was thus connected with episodes of my former stay in Germany; with memories of love and hate — the most vivid and the richest I had. This was indeed my spiritual home, this German land. Overwhelmed, I gazed at it again after these three years of absence.
I would have liked to get down at every station and spend a day or two in every town in process of reconstruction; visit the resurrected factories — the Krupp Works, in particular, — if possible; congratulate the workers who had won the postwar battle for the survival and further expansion of German industry. But with the best will in the world, I could not afford to do so. I had to make the little money I still possessed last till I reached a place near Lübeck, where I intended to remain for a few days and where — I hoped — I would receive a few pounds from my husband. And on my way, I wished to stop at least in three places. For this reason, I had to be contented with a mere glance at that extraordinary industrial area that was, through relentless, methodical work — through determination and patience, and diplomacy, and all manner of intelligence and skill put to the service of the one-pointed will — freeing itself, little by little — in spite of the Montan Union — (and helping to free Germany) from Allied controls. It was all I could do. And one day, when the reconstruction would be even more complete, I would come again . . . In the meantime, I kept my head at the window, and gazed and gazed.
Was it in Duissburg? Was it in Essen? I could not tell. From some chemical factory quite near the station, where the train was stopping, came, in thick unfurling coils, like smoke, a tremendous gush of orange-coloured gas: most probably azote peroxyde — NO². The product reminded me of the time I had myself been a chemistry student in France, in 1930 and 1931; of the time the victors of the First World War were still trying — in vain — to keep Germany down. Now the victors of the Second World War would have liked to try to do the same. But their ex-“gallant Allies” had not granted them for long a chance of doing so. The Russian danger had forced them to give up the Morgenthau Plan; it was now forcing them to rebuild,
at their cost, — through their “aid” — the factories they had destroyed or dismantled. And the tide of German might and subsequent self-assertion — the old tide of Nationalism backed by both industrial and military efficiency, — was rising; rising irresistibly . . . I remembered old Professor Grignard’s references to the achievements of the German scientists, and thought: “Now, just as then the world admires their genius and fears their skill . . .” But I had nothing to fear — on the contrary! I had identified myself with my Führer’s beloved people; I welcomed with unmixed enthusiasm every sign of their new industrial expansion. I gazed at the blast furnaces and smoking chimneys that I could see in the distance as the train moved on, and leaned out of the window to watch the heavy coils of fiery-coloured gas as long as I possibly could, and felt I had never been so happy within the last ten years.
Like the smoke of the proud new chimneys; like the glow of the streams of molten steel, this ever-renewed cloud of azote peroxyde was an irony, and a challenge and a cry of victory. How sweet to watch it rise towards the bright sky, proclaiming the powerlessness — and foreshadowing the annihilation — of those who once conceived or supported the infamous Morgenthau Plan; and to repeat once more within my heart: “Heil, invincible Germany!”
* * *
Hoheneggelsen, 6th May, 1951
We were following a country lane; nearing the cemetery in which is buried one of the Seven of Landsberg.1 I walked by the side of the martyr’s widow and pondered over the extraordinary destiny that had brought us together.
I had been in correspondence with her for the last eighteen months but had set my eyes upon her for the first time only the night before, when she had come to the station to welcome me, and taken me to her house and received me as a sister. I would never forget that welcome and that reception — that homely atmosphere she had created around me, as though she had been knowing me for years. And that, solely because I
1 The seven last Germans legally murdered by the Americans, on the 7th of June 1951, for having done their duty.
had, along with many others, done my best, then, — two years before, — to save the life of the man of whose very soul hers was a part; the one whom she had loved, and whose struggle for the glorious Idea she had shared already in her young days, before she had become his wife and born him sons and daughters; because she knew that I admired him and loved his children. He — the martyr; the man whom “they” had killed for having lived and fought for our truth — was the link between us; a link that would grow stronger and stronger as time would pass . . .
I had come to know of him and of his career (as of that of the other six) through the enemy’s newspapers; also through a special reference to him in Maurice Bardèche’s forbidden book concerning the Nuremberg trials. The first thing that had roused my admiration had been the fearless detachment with which he had given the Allied judges an account of his own activities. He had known all the time that, by accepting his responsibility to the full, he could only win himself a death sentence. But he had felt that, to reject it, would have been to betray the ideals that he had upheld all his life; that, in; this present-day post-war world, delivered, through the folly of misled millions, into the hands of self-seeking hypocrites and docile slaves of the Jews, — indifferent to all manly values; either utterly childish or utterly criminal — the life of an active and prominent National Socialist such as he, could not have a more logical end. And he had welcomed the end — the conclusion of his own life’s drama — as he had welcomed life itself and every opportunity which had been given him to serve the truth and defend new Greater Germany, built upon truth. And his voice had resounded, loud and distinct, dignified, passionless — natural — in the pin-drop silence of that Nuremberg Judgement Hall which I had seen; it had resounded, above the heads of the liars assembled there to condemn him — and us — in the name of a “universal conscience” that has never existed and can never exist: “Yes, being in command of my Einsatzgruppe I have, as a soldier, according to orders, and in the name of the higher State necessities which I have mentioned before, caused the execution of over ninety thousand dangerous elements . . .” (I could not remember his answer word for word, but I recalled its substance within my mind, as I walked in silence along the country lane, by the side of the martyr’s widow.)
And I also recalled an article I had read, in a leading French newspaper, shortly before the legal murder of the Seven: the reportage of an interview with the latter, granted to a French journalist through the American authorities. The journalist had spoken to this man about his so-called “war crimes.” And the man who was soon to die had answered with dignity: “Was your Allied mass-bombing of civil populations in any way more ‘humane’ than our mass-executions of partisans and Jews — actual or possible enemies? War is war, under whatever form it be. And in war as in peace individual life does not count. Duty alone matters.” The Figaro had reported these words in order to condemn our faith in the eyes of the Christian West. But I had seen in them a expression of the immemorial warlike Wisdom of the Aryans: words in the very spirit of the Bhagavad-Gita, in which it is written: “Taking as equal victory and disaster, gain and loss, pleasure and pain, fight with all thy might,” for such is thy duty “as a member of the ruling race.”1 And I had admired the modern Aryan hero more than ever.
I remembered his latest likeness, taken shortly before the last Christmas that he had spent on this earth. He had been an exceedingly handsome man. But even more than the noble features, the serene expression of his face, the poise, the strength, and faith, that one read in his peaceful eyes, had stamped him in my estimation as one of the best among my superiors.
And now, in the company of his widow, who had become a friend to me, I was nearing the cemetery in which lie his remains. It was something as though I had the honour of being his own posthumous friend. I reflected sadly: “Had I but come years ago, I might have met him personally, who knows?” And once more I thought of all those I had never met and would never meet; and of all I had missed. And the well-known, awful sensation — the old torture expressed in the words: “Too late!” — twisted my nerves within my breast and cast upon me the shadow of despair.
We reached the cemetery, followed the main alley, turned to the left, took another alley parallel to the first. A rock stood on our right hand, a rock below which one could read, engraved upon a smooth slab of stone, the inscription: Ruhstätte
1 As a Kshatriya.
der Familie O . . . A new grave could be seen within the old enclosure. The widow told me: “It is here.”
I remained a while motionless, conscious of being on sacred ground. Then I went and filled a vase of water, and placed in it the flowers I had brought, and put it upon the grave. And again I stood in silence by the side of the martyr’s wife. I could hardly believe that I really was there, before the grave of that soldier and thinker whom I so admired, and whose life I had so intensely wanted — and so actively tried — to save. “Ruhstätte der Familie O . . .” The name which I had read so many times in the enemy’s newspapers now drew all my attention. It meant unconditional allegiance, — faithfulness to the bitter end — to all that which I revere; it meant the living practice of the motto engraved upon the girdle of every S.S. soldier: “Meine Ehre ist Treue.” But below the family name, I now noticed upon the stone words half-hidden behind green leaves: “Gott ist Liebe” — God is love . . . This grave was that of a man who had loved his Führer — our common Führer — and his people above all, and who had died for them. The Christian words reminded me of a whole world of thoughts and feelings entirely different from and in many a way in opposition to our hard and proud National Socialist wisdom. They seemed to me somewhat out of keeping with the significance of this grave; with the significance of this life as an everlasting example of devotion to other — and, according to me, higher — values. Or was I mistaken, and had the martyr blended within his heart that which is “positive” — eternal — in Christianity, and that which is eternal in the faith in Blood and Soil, for which he died? Had he lived “positive Christianity” in the new light of National Socialism, and National Socialism in the light of the whole Western Tradition? From what his widow had told me, I was inclined to think so. But I did not really wish to know. I had not come to discuss metaphysics, whether in the secrecy of my own heart or in conversations. I had come to be silent before the grave of a German soldier, who was and remains one of my great superiors; of a man who, whatever might have been his religious views, had fought years and years for the one people in the world who had, in modern times, collectively exalted my ideals; a man who
had suffered and died to assert their right to rule . . . while I was still alive, and had not suffered — save mentally.
Better than ever before, perhaps, I realised how unimportant all metaphysics are, and how futile all discussions, compared with those great realities: the Struggle; obedience; death; faithfulness to one’s oath in life and in death — that one religion of honour which is above all religions and which is free from metaphysics. In my mind, I recalled the oath of the S.S. men. This grave meant, to me, faithfulness to that oath before any other faith — nay, in spite of any other faith, it such be the case that another one’s commands (or implications) clash with it.
One could hear nothing except, now and then, the rustling of leaves under the breeze — a warm, spring breeze. The sky was cloudy. And there was peace in the air — an overwhelming, all-pervading peace that was not the peace of death but that of life eternal, in serenity, in harmony, in love in the highest, impersonal, more-than-human sense of the word: awareness of one’s unity with the Cosmos. I remembered the martyr’s aged mother telling me that a nightingale had sung in a tree near the grave, at the most solemn moment of the burial. The peace of this sacred spot was that of a garden filled with a nightingale’s aetherial music. Once more the words below the hero’s family name drew my attention: “Gott ist Liebe.” But I now no longer felt them to be strange. They expressed a supreme wisdom of Harmony beyond all struggles, including ours — the wisdom towards which we too, in fact, tend. What did it matter whether one attained that wisdom through the Christian path or through another, provided one did to the end one’s duty as a fighter, as this young high-officer had? And provided one died bravely and with detachment, as he also had? The Gospel words no longer appeared to me as in opposition with the glorious Oath but, on the contrary, as the prolongation of it. They were eternal Words, susceptible of more than one interpretation: words that we too could utter, in all sincerity. Here, before the grave of this modern knight, I felt something akin to the emotion which I had experienced in the little church at Leonding, at the thought of my Leader’s pious, simple and wise mother. Slowly a tear rolled down my cheek.
My mind flew back to those days of anguish — in early 1951 — when I had tried all I could to save the lives of the Seven. I recalled my long letter to McCloy, the U.S.A. High Commissioner in Germany, on the 2nd of February; my long telegram to President Truman on the 15th. I remembered myself on that awful day, coming out of the Lyons Central Post Office after dispatching my plea, and stopping in the middle of the bridge over the river Rhone, and gazing at the foaming green waters and praying — with what desperate fervour! — to Him Who is within all things, that the Seven might be allowed to live. And the roaring waters had rolled on — grand, living picture of irresistible Destiny — and it had all been in vain . . . And I recalled the unutterable night of anguish I had spent awake, thinking of them, directing all my energy in an effort to commune with them in a spirit of love and reverence as though I had known — felt — that it was their last night . . . And the news in the next day’s papers: that the Seven had just been hanged “in alphabetic order, between one and three o’clock in the morning”; and my reaction to that news (after the first minutes of acute grief and indignation): my rising to my feet with a strange feeling of supernatural compulsion; my stretching out my right arm in the direction of Germany and my singing aloud, in a voice I could not myself recognise: “Einst kommt der Tag der Rache, einmal da werden wir frei . . . ,”1 as though the Forces that Germany’s persecutors have roused against themselves through that dismal deed, had chosen me to chant the spell of destruction that was to set in motion, in the invisible Realm, the new chain of consequences fated to hasten the doom of the Democracies.
And at the thought of the agony of the Seven — and of all our martyrs — I wept.
“I have tried so hard to save them,” said I at last, turning to the widow standing at my side; “tried so hard, and prayed so intensely! Why could not at least McCloy grant me my request to die in their place, if the Invisible was deaf to my prayer?”
“Because McCloy was merely an instrument of the Invisible,” answered the widow with serenity. “This, apparently,
1 One day the Day of Revenge will come;
One day we shall be free! . . .
had to be. It was hard for me to accept it. But I have accepted it, nevertheless, as ‘he’ had. He and I knew each other in the early days of the Struggle. We lived for the Idea and accepted our responsibility. We said ‘yes’ to our destiny in life. We also said ‘yes’ to Destiny in death. He died with courage and full of faith; I live to bring up our children in ‘his’ spirit.”
“May he and all the others be avenged a million times!” exclaimed I with passion. “And may I be (among many others) an instrument of our persecutors’ downfall!”
“He did not want to be avenged,” replied Frau O. “I shall show you his last written words. He wanted his death to become a source of constructive power for the building of a new world, — not a cause of bitterness. The energy we spend in hating is lost for our creative effort.”
“Is not hatred of the forces of evil inseparable from love of all we stand for?” ventured I to ask.
And the martyr’s widow answered: “My husband conducted war without hatred in a spirit of absolute obedience to his hierarchic superiors and to his living ideals. We cannot strive to avenge him in a contrary — or even in a different — spirit, but only carry on, further and further, untiringly, the creative effort that his struggle represents. The merciless Play of Action and Reaction will avenge him — and the others — automatically, in a manner we do not know. It is not our business.”
I thought of the Teaching of the Bhagavad-Gita: the Aryan Teaching of detached Violence. I thought of the title of a book containing General Rommel’s memories and views War without Hatred. I thought of my own occasional insight into the higher truth of our National Socialist creed (even if I he too primitive to live up to that insight every day of my life). I remembered true words that I had happened to write in a moment of inspiration: . . . the perfect National Socialist is a man without passion; a cool-minded, far-sighted, selfless man, as strong as steel, as pure as pure gold; a man who will always put the interest of the Aryan Cause — which is the ultimate interest of the world — above everything, even above his own limitless love of it; a man who would never sacrifice higher expediency to anything, not even to the delight of spectacular revenge.”1
1 Defiance, edit. 1951, p. 500-501.
After a short silence, we walked out of the cemetery. “Oh, if only those who hate us could understand what we really embody!” thought I, as we followed the solemn alley and then, once more, the country lane, in the peace of darkening twilight. “How immeasurably high above all that the word, in its ignorance, now imagines, does the actual ideal of the S.S. stand!”
And I worshipped the dead hero within my heart; I worshipped, in him, the perfect S.S. high-officer which means, to me, the supreme type of German — the finest Western Aryan I can possibly conceive. And in him, the essence of the traditional ideal of the Christian knight, inseparable from European history, was not excluded but integrated. His last letters, a few of which I had the privilege of reading, during the following days, long letters, in which he discussed philosophical subjects in the most brilliant language, and in the most orthodox National Socialist spirit, and with admirable detachment, shortly before his hanging, — confirmed me in that feeling. While in the love with which his worthy widow and several beautiful children, and mother, and brother, received me, I experienced something of him as a living person; something like a hand stretched out to me from beyond the gates of timeless Life; something like a fleeting smile — all the more heart-rending that it was more natural and more friendly, — brightening his noble features at the sight of me sitting there, within his family circle.
* * *
Hanover, 10 and 11 May 1953
Herr S. — whom I had met in Frankfurt, — had given me Herr B.’s address as that of “a German Heathen according to my heart.” And every nerve of my body was tense with expectation as I rang the bell. An elderly man of proud bearing, with silver-white hair, bright eyes, and the classical features of an Aryan of the Ice Age, opened the door. “Frau Savitri Devi?” asked he, in a sympathetic voice.
“Yes,” replied I.
The old Aryan of the Ice Age and of today, — of all times — simply said: “Come in; you are heartily welcome. I was waiting for you.”
I stepped in, deeply moved. There was nothing particularly striking in the gentleman’s words: anybody could have
uttered them after receiving a telegram announcing my arrival. But my immediate impression at the contact of this nearly seventy year-old fighter for our Cause was about the nearest approach to “love at first sight” I had experienced in my life. I felt somehow, in him, the exact exponent of all I stand for. And I gave his words a symbolical meaning: he was Germany, welcoming in me the Aryan of the future outer world — the foreigner who had accepted her leadership for the love of Adolf Hitler, Saviour of the West. “Yes, how long have you been waiting for me, my Führer’s people?” thought I, as I heard his last sentence. “Oh, why did I not come before? And why has the outer Aryan world not accepted your leadership yet?
I was ushered into a comfortable room full of books. Against the wall, facing me, was a wall plate, the whole surface of which was occupied by a beautiful Swastika of the curved type, with a circle in the midst of it. I was introduced to my host’s wife, a sympathetic, middle-aged woman, with dark eyes like myself. And I felt I was in the atmosphere in which I had all my life longed to live.
We first spoke a little of Herr S., the comrade in Frankfurt who had asked me to give “the old German Heathen” his heartiest greetings. Then I showed the latter — as a matter of further introduction — the last two samples I had of the leaflets that had occasioned my imprisonment in Werl. And I put him the burning question, the right answer to which I do not know to the present day.
“All I wrote here against the Occupation is doubtless accurate,” said I, speaking of my leaflets. “But was I right — not merely symbolically, but rigorously right — to state that ‘our Führer is alive’? Oh, do tell me! I have never had the honour and joy of seeing him. Shall I never have it — never? Is it really ‘too late’? And even if I be, myself, never to see hint, still I would be so happy to know at least that he is alive . . .”
I spoke in a halting voice, with passion, as though my life depended upon the faithful old fighter’s reply. I had blind confidence in him because I knew he loved our Führer not merely as fanatically as I, but with the same sort of fanaticism: with religious devotion. “Do tell me whether he actually is alive?” begged I, after a few seconds’ silence.
The old fighter’s eyes gazed at me, hard and inspired. His
whole face brightened — suddenly looked thirty years younger. And he spoke with a smile that could have been mine when I speak of Adolf Hitler in circles where I am free.
“He is immortal,” said he with enthusiasm. “More than immortal: — eternal. ‘In five years’ time: the mythos of the German Nation; in ten years’ time: the desire of the whole world,’ thus have I, in 1945, as we, his people, lay at the bottom of the abyss of humiliation and powerlessness, summed up the history of his second and real ascension to glory and to power.
“It may he that he breathes somewhere upon the surface of this earth. In that case, one day, we shall acclaim his return. And the greatest demonstrations of collective love, verging on adoration, that greeted him in days bygone, will seem paltry in comparison with the delirious reception Germany will give him then. It may be that he is dead. In that case we shall not see him or hear him again. But we shall adore him for the rest of Germany’s life as the Man who gave us back our collective soul. Under the Sign of the Sun, which he stamped upon our flag, we shall rise and take the lead of the Aryan race. And his deified features will dominate our national life and the further evolution of superior mankind. In any case the destiny of National Socialism begins in 1945, when we ceased being a ‘Party’ to become, more consciously and more fanatically than ever, in the midst of persecution, the first few faithful of the true Religion of this earth and the founders of the new civilisation of the West.”
I experienced along my spine and throughout my body that peculiar sensation of sacred awe that I always feel at the renewed awareness of being integrated into something tremendous and everlasting. In my elation, I forgot that Herr B. had not answered — could, apparently, not answer — my precise question. For a while, any possible answer seemed to lose importance in comparison with the staggering certitude which he was giving me. Oh, it was worthwhile having gone through the experience of complete despair — through the horror of a life like unto a starless night — for three long years; it was worthwhile having chosen poverty and obscurity — complete insignificance in the eyes of the world — along with uncompromising faith; allegiance to my leader, whether in victory or defeat — in order to hear that from a German National Socialist, by far
my superior; from a man who had lived and fought not thirty but sixty years for the Aryan Cause! In a flash, I recalled the words of the Bhagavad-Gita; “I come again . . . I am born age after age to establish on earth the reign of truth.” “My beloved Führer,” thought I; “thou art He; I knew it all the time!”
And looking at Herr B. with burning eyes that were really full of the image of Adolf Hitler, I said, — I too, inspired: — “I have deified ‘him’ from the beginning — for what is ‘a God,’ if not a perfect exponent of higher mankind? I have hailed in him the embodiment of the everlasting Self of the Aryan race: Him Who comes back at the dawn — or before the dawn — of every new Age to establish the New Order of truth, image of the eternal Order of Nature, at the human scale, — for He Who comes back is nothing else but that. Where so many have served a political party, I have lived a religious faith: the perennial Faith of Light and Life rooted in this earth, but embracing the Cosmos — for the Religion of Race is nothing else but that. So, I was right?”
The man who had known Adolf Hitler personally from the earliest days of the Movement; the man who, before that, had taken, an active part in all the lesser movements that have prepared the ground for the N.S.D.A.P.; who had fought as a young man for Hans Krebs’ idea of the Greater Reich on a racial basis and who had, as an adolescent, greeted Friedrich Lange’s similar Idea, fixed upon me his bright, steel-blue eyes, and replied: “You were right; you are right — rigorously, absolutely right!”
Again the icy sensation of religious awe — the word is not too strong — ran along my spine. The old fighter, — modern priest of Light and Life on behalf of Germany’s collective soul, who had presided over national rites under the Third Reich — had accepted my life’s dedication to our common National Socialist faith; had accepted me within “the iron Legion, that struggles for freedom, against the Jewish danger”1: the one militia of the Forces of Light and Life, and Order, in the modern world. Could it be true?
1 “...die eiserne Schar,
die kämpfet for Freiheit, gegn Judengefahr...”
(Words of a National Socialist song)
I felt as one who has reached a high place, and who looks down at the winding path which has led him up to it, — and also at other possible paths that were, perhaps, shorter, or less dreary. But what does the path matter, when one has reached the summit, and when the breadth of the resplendent snow-clad ranges and of the world below stretches in the sunshine under one’s eyes? “What does indeed, the dull course of a life of failure matter,” thought I, “when one has at last conquered the clear knowledge of Thee in Thy eternal reality, my Führer?”
But the woman was, for a while, stronger in me than the selfless National Socialist. And the woman spoke: “And yet . . . ! How gladly I would give my life to see ‘him’ for five minutes! — to lift my arm in salute to him and say: ‘Heil, meinem Führer!,’ be it only once!” And at the awareness of all that I had, perhaps irretrievably, missed, a tear rolled down my cheek.
The man who had fought for our faith even before it had a name in modern history, reminded me of my nothingness: “We are not born to seek personal happiness in this world or in another,” said he. “We are not Christians who need hopes and consolations and ‘something to lean upon’ and ‘Somebody to love us.’ We are the Strong par excellence, who stand alone, equally indifferent to hope and fear, inspired exclusively by our binding sense of duty to and our unconditional love for our Führer and for all he represents and all he loves. It does not matter whether you ever see him or not. All that matters in your case is that you continue serving him and his people with all your heart, will and intelligence. None of us count, save as agents of his will; as instruments of the materialisation of his programme.”
“You mean his worldwide New Order, naturally,” commented I; “the spirit of the Twenty-five Points applied in all walks of life, not merely their strictly political tenets . . .”
“Yes, of course. I mean the new civilisation centred around the idea of blood-purity and the belief in the fundamental superiority of the Aryan. The conception of such a civilisation is contained in the Twenty-five Points, no doubt, but its reality exceeds their frame and their scope. Inasmuch as we
contribute to the advent of that reality, we are useful, and worthy of Adolf Hitler’s praise, — even if we never see him.”
“It is true,” admitted I — was I forced to admit: — “it is better to deserve his approbation and never to see him, than to see him and not to deserve it, or to deserve to a lesser degree.”
I put Herr B. another question. “Some seem to think they can be National Socialists while retaining what they call ‘the essential’ of the Christian teaching: such moral commandments as ‘love thy neighbour’ etc. . . . They are, (or feel themselves to be) National Socialists because they are good Germans. And they seem to wish to retain the essential of the Christian outlook on man because they are human beings. While I, on the contrary, would do anything, give anything, undergo anything to forward Germany’s interests because I see in her — in spite of all — the stronghold of the new (or very old) thoroughly anti-Christian National Socialist Weltanschauung. I love our Weltanschauung precisely because it appears to me to be the exact antithesis of that Judeo-Latin (or Judeo-Greek) bastard product: Christianity; because I was, am and will remain, on aesthetic as well as on moral — and racial — grounds, one of the sincerest and most relentless enemies Christianity ever had. And I have never ceased stressing the incompatibility of the two doctrines. Am I right?”
“The two doctrines are absolutely incompatible,” replied Herr B. without hesitation. “And apart from being a glaring tribute to Germany’s greatness, your course was and is the most logical which a racially conscious non-German Aryan could take. As for those who think they can reconcile our Hitler faith with that of Jesus Christ, they underestimate the significance of National Socialism, taking it for a purely political movement, while Adolf Hitler has proclaimed quite clearly that he was bringing ‘not a new election slogan, but a new outlook on the world”1 — a new philosophy and a new Way of life. Or, maybe, they mistake the deed for the spirit. In practice, no régime has succeeded better than ours in giving people, for one another, such feelings as one has become accustomed to miscall ‘Christian-like’; no régime has done as much in the way of social service. It was — and might be for a long time more — expedient
1 Mein Kampf, edit. 1939, p. 243.
to refer to that as to ‘positive Christianity.’ In reality, it is no Christianity whatsoever. We do not love one another because we are ‘human beings,’ but because we are blood-brothers — Germans; Aryans; — building together Adolf Hitler’s great New Order. We do not love and help our people because they are ‘human beings’ with an ‘immortal soul,’ nor as would the Communists, simply because they are ‘human beings’ more valuable than the rest of mammals on account of their alleged ‘reason,’ but because they are Germans, — actual or potential members of the natural élite of mankind, i.e., of the one section of mankind that really deserves kingship over the rest of the living. We would in fact, — like the Christians — help any human being in need, not, however, because he or she is ‘a man’ or a woman, but because he or she is a living creature. We would help any living creature in need, which is more than the Christians are taught to do. Only we ‘liquidate’ dangerous creatures of all kinds: vermin, Jews, dangerous elements of our own race, when any. We do not believe in the supposed ‘dignity of the human person’ whoever that person be, — just because he or she happens to be ‘human.’ No; such an idea is pure nonsense. But we love and respect all creatures that do not stand in the way of our God-ordained expansion.
“It is not so much what we did and are prepared to do again, that separates us from the Christians — not even the gassing of the Jews, so bitterly held against us by an hypocritical world (of the Jews whose number, by the way, has been so outrageously exaggerated — unfortunately! I wish our enemies’ mendacious statistics on that subject were true!). In that respect, the atrocities of the Christian Churches in the past (when they were still young) exceed ours by far. No; what separates us from the Christians is the spirit in which and the principles in the name of which we do the mentioned things. It is not that we have gassed Jews and think nothing of it. It is the fact that we gassed them purely in order to get rid of them in the quickest and cheapest possible way, not to punish them for believing this or that; not in order to save their souls. It is the fact that no ceremony, civil or religious — no christening; no naturalisation; — could have saved them from their fate, let alone made anyone of them one of us; the fact that we are a brotherhood of blood, irrespective of any non-essential personal beliefs,
and not a brotherhood of beliefs, opinions or tastes, irrespective of blood. It is the fact that we adhere to our Hitler doctrine because of our blood, not in spite of or regardless of our blood. Even you, a non-German, have come to us as an Aryan.”
“Yes,” said I; “and it is in the name of the beauty and virility of the Aryan that I became such a fanatical enemy of Christianity. I held that international pest responsible for the blood-mixture that marred the privileged race in the Hellenic world of the early centuries of the Christian era. And I saw in that superstition of the ‘value of man’ — so repulsive to me, anyhow, — which lies at the bottom of it, the psychological factor at the root of this sin and of its consequences. And I soon condemned no less categorically those so-called ‘mystical’ philosophies, mostly cooked up by or with the help of Greek-speaking Jews of Alexandria (such as that Philo, whose contribution to the decay of true Hellenism our enemy Eduard Herriot has shown so eloquently, without meaning to)1 which prepared the way for the Christian faith in the Near East. Theosophy, Anthroposophy, the Rosicrucian Order, Freemasonry and its various, more or less associated organisations, are the modern equivalents of such sects . . . All as dangerous as Christianity, although the Churches profess to detest them. True, blood contamination is as much the cause as the consequence of the thought currents that justify it, encourage it, or hold it as a matter of indifference. Timothy, — the half-Jew — readily took to Paul’s new interpretation of Jewish messianism (a Jewish swindle for Aryan consumption). And there were plenty half-Jews in the Greek seaports of the time. And the otherworldly swindle was soon to encourage the birth of many more. A vicious circle of shame and decay. We see the same today: half-Jews love anti-racialist doctrines; doctrines that give them the feeling that they are as good as anybody can be. And anti-racialist doctrines of all descriptions — otherworldly and of this world — encourage the birth of further half-Jews. The vicious circle, outside which we stand, is not yet broken. Or rather, our Hitler had broken it, here in Germany at least; after the disaster of 1945, his enemies set it in motion once more.”
“Right you are!” exclaimed Herr B. “The Churches and the Lodges (or their equivalent) in our times, are just two parallel
1 In his Doctorate thesis, upon Philo the Jew.
forms of the power of racial dissolution that we are fighting to free ourselves of: the power of world-Jewry.”
There was a silence. Frau B. had left the room to go and prepare the coffee. Herr B. had got up to seek in his library a book entitled The Political Aspect of Freemasonry, which he had written; he wished to present me with a copy of it. I was thinking of all the pseudo-“spiritual” societies, large and small, of which I had come to know in the course of my journeys in the East and in the West.
“As our Führer has so clearly pointed out in Mein Kampf,” said I, “it is the habit of the Jew to use ‘religion’ or ‘spiritual pursuits’ to undermine the power of Aryan States and, which is even worse, if worse can be, to emasculate the Aryan race. One has only to read the wartime issues of Conscience — the official paper of the Theosophical Society, edited at Adyar, South India, — in order to realise what a sinister organisation of international witchcraft Theosophy is. I let alone the fact that public prayers were offered, during the war, for the victory of the Allies, by Dr. Arundale, — entre nous, a debatable character — at the time, president of the whole organisation; and the fact that a very high proportion of Theosophists — in Iceland, practically all — are at the same time Freemasons. (In Reykjavik, the Masonic meetings take place, — or at least used to take place in 1947, when I was there, — in a room of the very flat in which the president of the local Theosophical Society lives, above the hall of the Society itself: 22 Ingolfsgata, as far as I can remember. I am, naturally, not expected to know that. I’ll tell you how I discovered it; it is a funny story . . .).”
But Herr B. had found what he had been seeking. He held in his hand a copy of Das politische Gesicht der Freimaurerei. “Here,” said he, “in this book, — which I give you (along with my history book for children So ward das Reich) as a remembrance, — you will find the Theosophical Society, and many other outwardly no less ‘spiritual,’ in fact, no less dangerous bodies, on the list of organisations with which a National Socialist should have nothing to do. The Freemasons never forgave me for having written this book. And that was partly the reason why I was so shabbily treated after the disaster.”
“I do thank you!” exclaimed I, taking the two books. “I shall treasure these.”
Frau B. had come back with the coffee and cakes. She filled my cup. And we resumed our conversation. I put Herr B. a question of moral discipline. “Some of our comrades tell me that my thirst of revenge is a weakness,” said I. “I am, of course, not speaking of personal revenge: that craving is foreign to me. I am speaking of the joy of seeing our persecutors lying, utterly powerless, in the dust; of the desire of persecuting them in our turn, when our Day comes. Would Our Führer blame me for having that desire? Would he order me to ‘rise above it’?’
“Never!” answered Herr B. resolutely. “He is not the man to ask of his disciples unnatural achievements. He stands for health and sincerity. And nothing is more unhealthy and less sincere than that wide-spread prejudice against vengeance. It has its roots in the Christian teaching ‘return good for evil, and love those who hate thee’ — which, by the way, no Christian applies in daily life, let alone in war. Since 1945, I have been living day and night for Germany’s revenge. And one of the oldest and noblest Germans of recorded history, Hermann the Cheruskan (who was anything but a Christian) used to say: ‘As long as the enemy defies us on German soil, hatred is our law, and our duty: vengeance!’ We say the same.”
“It is refreshing to hear you speak,” said I, delighted to be — at last — sure that there was, from our standpoint, nothing heretical in my naturally violent feelings.
Herr B. spoke a long time — about our principles; about the war, and the traitors who have brought about the disaster; about his own life during the darkest years, when he was, in spite of his old age, forced to break stones along the roads and to help in the repairing of canals, under the whip of the victors.
“Some of us had to work under the supervision of Negroes,” stated he. “At first, we thought we were still the less unfortunate, for our warders were Englishmen. But we soon changed our minds. Those who worked under Negro overseers were far better treated than we; it happened, now and then, that they were offered a cigarette; and they were not — as we were — beaten with the butt of their warders’ rifles, as soon as they would stop working for two seconds, to take breath.”
“. . . Hatred is our law; and our duty: vengeance!” quoted I. “You are right: Hermann’s two thousand year-old words
are as true as ever. Never forget those awful years! And never forgive!”
“Rest assured that we shall not forget!” replied Herr B. “Yet, one day, we shall look back to all this as to our necessary trial. As you wrote in your first leaflets, we are the pure gold thrown into the furnace, to be tested . . . Inasmuch as we really were pure gold, we stood the test. We are more conscious, more alive — more aware of our actual scale of values and of our ultimate aims — than ever before, we, the genuine National Socialists. And we are far more numerous than the world believes.”
“I am glad to hear it!”
“We are also more aware of our mistakes than ever before,” continued Herr B. “. . . and determined not to repeat them.”
“What do you call ‘our mistakes’?” asked I. “Do you believe, as I do, that we were too lenient in our days of power?”
“Too lenient, surely,” answered he; “but especially, not selective enough. The Party should have been closed as soon as we took Germany’s destiny into our hands. Most of those who came to us after 1933 were not National Socialists, but time-servers. They had no business to be in the Party. As for the salute, we have cheapened it — not to say profaned it — by making it compulsory in official life, and practically compulsory in ordinary life. It should have remained the monopoly of the old, hundred percent Nazis of the early days, — and that of those among the new generations, brought up under our régime, who sincerely adhered to our principles and were ready to die for them. Other people should have been contented with shaking hands and saying ‘Good morning!’ or ‘Good day!’ when meeting one another in the street.”
“You have just expressed that which I have always felt, in the bottom of my heart, without daring to tell any of our comrades, lest I might be blamed for feeling the wrong way,” said I. “Well, now I hear you feel the same, I need no longer fear that reproach. I know that drastic police measures can compell practically anybody (save people as uncompromising as ourselves, and these are rare) to do or say anything. But among the things done or said under such pressure, some are more important than others; some are essential, others are not. It matters little how much we hurt our opponents — and thereby,
increase their hatred — when, at that cost, we obtain some useful work that will help to bring about the success of our constructive plans, or contribute to the defence of the Reich and of the régime. But to suscitate further waves of hatred against us merely for the pleasure of making people who don’t want to, lift their right arms and say ‘Heil Hitler!’ is, in my eyes, useless, and even dangerous. I feel that way because I believe in the power of thought as in the power of love and of hatred; and because I know, from my own experience, how all the efforts of our enemies to draw me to their conception of life have only resulted in making me more conscious of my own scale of values, more uncompromising and more aggressive than ever. I do hope our mistakes in psychology will not be repeated, next time . . .”
“They shall not be; rest assured of that!” answered Herr B. “Bitter experience has taught us better . . .”
I wanted to add that I hoped I would, “next time,” be allowed to greet people with the ritual salute and to use, along with the privileged minority, those words — “Heil Hitler!” — which I had always uttered with such love, even after they were forbidden. But I did not. I was afraid of appearing childish. And I felt somehow sure that the answer could only be a very definitive: “Naturally!” In the person of Herr B. and of so many others of those whom I admire, National Socialist Germany had already accepted me.
It was late when I left the B.s. “We would gladly ask you to stay the night, if only we had place,” said Frau B. “Unfortunately, we only have this room and a kitchen (which we share with other tenants).”
I spent the night in a nearby hotel, and the following day again in the company of the old Heathen fighter and of his wife. When I took leave of them at last — to catch the train to Celle — I could not help feeling once more with particular intensity, that which I knew already, namely, that they and the rest of the iron minority of true National Socialists — my brothers in faith my superiors: — are my one real family; the only people to whom I belong in this wide world.
Although the station is far away, Herr B. insisted on seeing me off. We parted, as always, with the sacred words “Heil Hitler!” or rather (for this was a public place where one was
not unobserved) with a formula known to us, which means exactly the same.
* * *
Uelzen, 17 May 1953
In the railway carriage, beside me, sat Anni H., one of the few among my comrades of the “D wing” — i.e., sentenced as “war criminals” — whom I had, in Werl, personally come in touch with. And we were both on our way to meet Hertha E. — my beloved Hertha E., free at last! I could hardly believe it.
I looked at the happy, neatly dressed, middle-aged woman, in whose company I had just spent a whole week in Celle; and for the hundredth time, I recalled the same woman wearing the dark blue prisoners’ uniform. I remembered her sitting in my cell four years before, and telling me that “nothing had made me more popular” among my D wing comrades than the British Governor’s order that I was not to be allowed to come in contact with them. Whose orders could now keep me from sitting at Anni’s side? Whose orders could keep us from addressing each other as du and from feeling ourselves bound forever to each other and to all our comrades, women and men? Who could forbid us to book a ticket for Uelzen, and to go and meet Hertha E. (no doubt already waiting for us at the station)? I felt elated at the awareness that every one of my movements — and, first of all, my very presence in Germany, — was an act of defiance; a provocation to the Allied Occupation authorities and to the Allies themselves, persecutors of National Socialism. And I dreamed of the day I would be — at last! — granted an opportunity of defying them openly; of insulting individually their henceforth powerless fleeing forces, (as they used to insult us, in 1945) until I would bring tears of rage (and of despair) into every man’s eyes; the opportunity of compelling them to acknowledge, not only the defeat of their respective countries and of Democracy, but the utter bankrupt of their Christian values, of their way of life, of all they were taught to revere (and revered, like docile sheep) and of gloating boisterously to my heart’s content, as a real “Barbarian” — I who never was anything else, in fact. (But is it not better to be a conscious Barbarian than a deluded sheep?). I was revelling in the thought of that future delectation, as the train rolled into the Uelzen station.
“Look! Look! I can see her!” cried out Anni as the train halted.
“Where? I cannot see well from a distance, as you know . . .”
“There! — leaning against the railing with two men at her side, one tall and the other middle-sized . . . She has seen us, and is now waving to us . . .”
It was true. There she was. Our carriage stopped right before the entrance of the railing, where she stood. We stepped out. She walked up to us, followed by the two men, and threw herself into our arms. “Anni and ‘Muki’!” exclaimed she; “It is a joy to see you again!”
She was as pretty as ever and looked younger than four years before. Her glossy, light-blond hair, that she used to comb up straight, when she was in Werl, had now been “permed” and shone in the sunshine in metallic locks around her regular, classical features. And there was joy and self-assurance — confidence in destiny — in her proud smile and bright eyes — those same large, sky-blue eyes that I had seen so many times so full of yearning. She wore a well-cut dress of greyish-blue silken material, nylon stockings and elegant shoes. And the pearl earrings that I had left behind for her, on the day of my release, adorned her beautifully. I was glad to see that they had duly been given to her. I was glad to see her looking so well and so happy. Nobody could have believed that she had just spent over eight years in a prison cell. I gazed at her with love and admiration, nay, with a sort of reverence, for she was a miracle and a symbol: the miracle of Germany’s will to live, that no force can break — God-ordained invincibility, that man cannot kill — and the symbol of us all, who have never acknowledged defeat.
“My beautiful Hertha!” exclaimed I, unable to keep my eyes away from her. And I added in my heart, but without uttering them, the very words I had addressed her the last time we had met clandestinely, on the eve of my release: “My living Germany! . . .”
She introduced me the two men — and a third one, who was standing; in the background, and whom I had not noticed “Longin B. — we call him ‘Leo’ — former Oberscharführer S.S., released from Werl along with me, ten days ago: Heinz G. another S.S. comrade, released from Werl last year; Erich
X., for long years a prisoner of the Russians.” And she introduced me to them: “This is our ‘Muki,’1 of whom I have already told you the story,” said she. And she introduced our comrade Anni.
The three men shook hands with us. Leo B., the tall one whom Anni had seen from the railway carriage, patted me on the shoulder and said, with a happy smile: “I am very, very glad to meet you at last; Hertha has told us all such a lot about you!” Meanwhile Hertha added, turning to me: “Here, you can speak freely: we are among ourselves.”
Oh, to feel myself once more among people of my own faith, of my own ideals, after these three years of separation! To be able to talk freely — and intelligently — to out and out National Socialists, after all the hostility, and imbecility, that I had encountered abroad! Again, I thought of my own words to my mother (who is against us): “They, — my comrades; my superiors; the genuine followers of Adolf Hitler — are my real and only family.” And I looked up to my companions with admiring eyes.
An auto was waiting for us. Erich, who was to drive, sat in front. The two S.S. men tried to squeeze themselves at his side, but could not: Leo B., being nearly six feet tall, was big in proportion; and Heinz was not thin. We laughed.
“Come!” cried at last Hertha to Leo. “Let Heinz sit at the back with us. Can’t you see you need the whole place to yourself?”
“As though four can sit at the back when you are one of them, you fatty,” retorted he. “And Heinz is hardly smaller than I; and Anni . . .”
“‘Muki’ is the feather-weight among us; I’ll take her on my lap,” answered Hertha. “Come Heinz; and sit between Anni and me!”
And so we rolled — full-speed through the quiet streets of the little town, and then along a lovely country road between bushes and meadows full of flowers.
“I am taking you to a nice little café where we shall be alone — and free. I know the owner,” said Erich.
1 In Werl, we were called by our surnames. My surname — Mukherji — became “Muki,” “Mukchen,” etc. . . . in the mouth both of the prison staff and of my comrades.
“Wonderful!” cried Hertha.
“What is really wonderful is to see you again looking so well,” said Anni.
“I am not as well as I look,” replied Hertha; “my nerves are in a bad state, the doctor says. And what appears at first sight to be “fat,” in my body, is nothing but water-swelling; the result of eight years of prison diet.”
“Still, you are at last free,” said I. “It is a joy to see you free, and as firm as ever in our glorious National Socialist faith.”
“Firmer and more uncompromising than ever! Ready to begin again and avenge our dead comrades, and repay those swine for all that we have suffered,” said Leo, turning around and squeezing my hand in sign of warm approval.
“Absolutely right! And we will begin again!” cried Heinz at my side.
I shut my eyes for two or three seconds, and remembered . . . a scene that had been described to me in the darkest days: a long line of cattle wagons covered with snow, rolling through the Saarbrücken station in 1945, packed full of S.S. men on their way to the chambers of hell — to different anti-Nazi extermination camps in occupied Germany. And from those cold, damp, filthy wagons, in which the men had been standing for God alone knows how long, without food or sleep — or water — came the Song of the unvanquished: “When all become unfaithful, we remain faithful . . .” I had never thought of that episode without shuddering . . . Now, I gazed at the former prisoner in Russia and at the two S.S. men at my side and at my two friends Hertha and Anni, all so full of energy and faith after and in spite of those long years in jail . . . They were those who had victoriously stood the test; the “gold in the furnace.” Their boisterous gaiety, their spirit of defiance, their readiness to fight again — so refreshing to me — prolonged in unbroken time the song of the S.S. men of 1945 on their way to hunger, torture and death . . . They were invincible Germany; they were the seed of the new, National Socialist civilisation, firmly taking root, for centuries . . . I stretched out my arms, as though. I wished to embrace all five of them, — and, beyond them, the whole heroic legion of my brothers in faith — and, smiling to them, I intoned the Song of the S.S. men; the triumphant
hymn that had sprang from the wagons of death in 1945, defying the forces of darkness: Wenn alle untreu werden, so bleiben wir doch true . . .
The others joined me. Leo turned around and, for a second, looked at me with a beaming face, while continuing to sing. The car rolled on . . .
Along the sunlit country road, in the glory of spring, resounded the Song of the men of iron: an echo of the recent great years, and a spell, hastening the dawn of the great years to come.
* * *
The little café was lovely — and lonely. I sat between Hertha and Anni, opposite the three men.
“What will you have?” Hertha asked me. “A glass of beer?”
“I would prefer a cup of coffee.”
“You and your coffee! Have a glass of beer; beer is German; coffee is not.”
I smiled. “My Hertha!” exclaimed I, putting my arms around her neck — like on that unforgettable day she had first come to my cell — “there is nobody like you for finding the argument that will convince me! I’ll have a glass of beer.”
“Six beers!” ordered Heinz.
“Now, tell me how things stand in Werl; how many more of us are still there?” asked I.
“Ninety-seven men, to my knowledge,” replied Leo.
“And five women,” added Hertha: “Frau B., Frau G., Ella S., Gretel R., Marta D. On the other hand, the place is full of quite a different sort of political prisoners: Communists, mostly charged with espionage on behalf of Russia. They have been all packed into the A wing and are completely cut off from the rest of the prison. And, (I was told) they are often submitted to long cross-questioning, occasionally with the help of torture. The present Governor of the prison, Meech — far worse a type than Vickers, whom you knew, ever was — had the cheek to ask whether any of us would he willing to ‘assist’ the Englishmen in this nasty business, in exchange of better food and a few cigarettes a week. Frau S., the Oberwachmeisterin, was requested to transmit me the proposal, which
I turned down with contempt. Why should I, of all people, help the English in the repression of their ex-“gallant Allies” the Communists, after the disgusting manner England behaved to us, the natural enemies of Communism? And those women, who are cross-examined, are German women, whatever be their views. Why should I help the foreign Occupation to harm them for the defence of a régime which we detest? There is nothing to choose between Western-style parliamentary Democracy and Communism — the two modern forms of Jewish rule.”
“Right you are!” exclaimed I. “I am glad you refused to help the enemy. And I am glad to hear you speak in such a manner.”
“Those bastards would now like to have us on their side,” put in Heinz. “But I am afraid it is too late; they have missed the bus.”
“Let them first release all those of us whom they still detain behind bars,” said Leo. “In the male section in Werl, there are, as I told you, ninety-seven of us still waiting to come out — and great ones, such as General Meyer; you know: ‘Panzer-Meyer.’ . . . And how many more in Wittlich, and in Landsberg, let alone in the prisons of France and Holland and other countries of the so-called ‘free’ world, which we are now invited to defend ‘against Bolshevism’?”
“Several hundreds in Landsberg, it seems,” declared Hertha; “Hans F. said so the day before yesterday. And he was released from there only a couple of months ago.”
“And let them put a stop to those nauseating ‘war crime’ trials!” put in I. “In France, where I was, as you know, up till last year, they are still sentencing Germans to death for having done their duty. On the 3rd March 1950, out of thirteen S.S. men charged with the usual ‘war crimes’ — shooting of partisans in wartime, etc. . . . — the Military Tribunal of Lyons sentenced eight to death. The Paris lawyer, Ditte, who defended Kaeniast, one of the accused, was himself revolted at the way they were judged. “This is not justice, but hatred,”1 declared he, summing up in a few words the whole attitude of the French Courts, nay, of the French nation, to our comrades and to National Socialist Germany at large. Since then, many
1 Reported in the Lyons news paper Le Progrès at the time of the trial.
more ‘war crime’ trials have taken place. One I remember particularly well, for Mr. Claps, a lawyer whose wife has studied with me at the University, pleaded for the main defendant: an officer named Eckert. The latter was sentenced to death in spite of the advocate’s forceful exposure of the injustice of all ‘war crime’ trials. And now, again, — now, in 1953! — began on the 12th of January, before the Military Tribunal of Bordeaux, the trial of twenty-two S.S. men charged with having taken part in the reprisals at Oradour in 1944 . . . Of the twenty-two, eight, or rather nine, were Germans. (I say ‘nine,’ for the Alsacian Boos, who so boldly proclaimed his allegiance to Germany and his faith in Adolf Hitler to the end, deserves to be called a German.) Two: — Boos, and Lenz, — were sentenced to death; six, to long terms of penal servitude; one was acquitted: he obviously had no part at all in the reprisals . . .”
Hertha interrupted me. “Yes,” said she; “I have met him. He is in Fischerhof — the convalescent home, — with us. His name is Degenhat . . .”
I could hardly believe my ears. “What, Degenhat of the Oradour trial, here? And I can see him?”
“You shall see him this afternoon. I shall introduce you. “I must ask him about the trial . . . But tell me: what does he look like?”
“A blond young man with thoughtful blue eyes — very young; very quiet; and as harmless as a lamb. He hardly speaks at all . . .”
“Poor boy! I can imagine what he must have suffered at the hands of those brutes, these eight long years!” said I. “By the way: do you know why there were — why there had to be — reprisals at Oradour? Most people don’t know. But three persons, of whom two were French, told me in 1946. It is, in fact, one of the first things I heard on my return to Europe. It seems that the ‘heroes’ of the French résistance had caught hold of twelve German officers, tied them up, and pressed them to death in an enormous wine press . . . And there is something more, which a Frenchman told me last year: it seems that they also caught hold of three S.S. men, tied them by their feet to a motor-lorry, and, after thus dragging them along the road for a few kilometres, hung them on crooks — thrusting the latter through the flesh under their chins — before a butcher’s shop in or
near the village. I was told that they were still alive when men from the S.S. division Dais Reich passed by and saw them. Who would not have burnt down the village after such horrors?”
“Quite true! And we were not ruthless enough in matter of reprisals, if you ask me,” added Heinz.
Thus we conversed till it was lunchtime — time for Hertha and Leo to go back to the convalescent home where they had been transferred after their release from Werl. Heinz showed us some photos of the prison and some pictures that he had drawn himself in a “remembrance book” in which he and other prisoners had written on different occasions. Hertha compared the present-day Governor in Werl, — Meech — to Col. Vickers, the one who had been in charge of us in my time — much to the disadvantage of the former. Anni spoke of Ilse F., another victim of the Belsen Trial, released at the same time as her. Ilse’s health had been wrecked for life through the particularly horrid treatment she had experienced in 1945 at the hands of the British. I spoke of the eternity of the National Socialist Weltanschauung, and of Germany’s coming revenge. Erich, who spoke very little, declared however that, in the long run, nothing can stand in the way of our truth, and ‘that he hoped to see the Russian people themselves, one day, reject Marxism and acknowledge it.
At last, we all sat once more in the car, and Erich drove us along a beautiful road, through woods, to the convalescent home — “Fischerhof.”
“You will stay with us until tomorrow, Muki and Anni, won’t you?” said Hertha as we were nearing the home. “There is plenty of place. I shall speak to the doctor in charge. And she will agree, I am sure.”
“I am sorry I cannot. I have to go to work tomorrow morning,” replied Anni, who, since her release, had secured herself a job in some factory.
“A pity! It is really a pity. But you will stay, won’t you, Muki? This afternoon we are having a party to keep up our happy return to freedom (there are more of us in this home, as you will soon see). I shall introduce you to our friend Hans F., a man whom you will like — a former Sturmführer S.S., lately released from Landsberg. You must see him!”
“I shall stay,” answered I, overwhelmed with joy. And I
could not help adding, as a scene of the past suddenly crossed my mind in a flash: “Do you remember, my Hertha, how depressed you were in Werl, on one occasion, and how you wept in my cell asking me: ‘How long, how long more will this life behind bars last?’ And I told you: ‘This will pass like a bad dream. One day, you will be free. One day, you and I and others of our comrades will talk unhindered to one another! Didn’t I say that? See, the day has come! And greater days are coming. Oh, I am happy!”
I was happy, indeed.
* * *
The day flew by without my noticing it: the midday meal with Hertha and Leo (while Anni sat at another table, because there was no place); the coffee, in a cosy little room next to the dining room; my conversation with new comrades; then, the party at the café, and the trip to the station — to see Anni off, — and the return through the woods, took place in succession, like scenes in a cinema show. And the second day dawned, — and passed: a fleeting experience of the world I had so much wanted to live in, all these years; of the world to which I really belong: in Europe, no doubt, and “a European world” in the ordinary sense of the word, but, inwardly, further away from and more foreign to traditional Christian Europe than any circles I had come in touch with in India (with one or two exceptions); of the world of the first modern Aryans who think and feel as Aryans.
I can never forget Hertha’s introductions: “Hans F., Sturmführer S.S. just released from Landsberg; Lydia V., sentenced to death by the French, and now just released from Fresnes; Leo B., sentenced to death by the British, and released from Werl at the same time as I, i.e., on Thursday before last; Anni H., one of us of the Belsen Trial, released from Werl in 1951; our ‘Muki,’ released from Werl three years ago, author of Gold in the Furnace aid Defiance — our story — and . . . you know me, Hertha E., former overseer in Belsen . . .”
I recalled in my mind the words General Ramke had spoken in Verden before some five thousand S.S. men: “One day, the black lists will be lists of honor . . .” And I was happy. We are already — and we feel ourselves already — a legion of
honour. But how I felt small in the midst of it, by the side of the men of iron who had remained not months but years in jail, and come out as faithful as ever to our Führer, alive for all times, and to our ideals! I could not help saying: “It is not my fault if the British released me before I had served my term. I was — God knows! — outspoken and bold enough before my judges. But apparently all Democrats are fools . . .”
“That, they are, quite definitely!” exclaimed Hans F. good humouredly. Take my case, for instance. They sentenced me to fifteen years’ imprisonment for things which I have never done; and they mentioned not a word of all I really did, for the simple reason that they know nothing about it.”
“They don’t seem to know anything of my real activities in India during the war,” said I. “One day, when we are free and powerful — and they, powerless, — I shall tell them. It will amuse me to watch their faces . . .”
We laughed. Then we started speaking of our post-war experiences with our persecutors. Lydia V. told us something of her trial in France, where she had served during the war as an interpreter. She was charged with having — indirectly — contributed to the execution of number of people who belonged to the French résistance. “I was not allowed to speak,” said she. (“If you know France,” she added, turning to me, “you can well imagine what a ‘war crime’ trial looked like in that country, in 1945.) Still I managed to put in one sentence. I told ‘them’ that I had done my duty as a German, and that I was sorry — very sorry — that I had not done more.”
“And what did ‘they’ say to that?”
“Nothing. They gave me a death sentence, which was, after a time, commuted into a sentence of life-long imprisonment.”
“And how did ‘they’ treat you and the other German prisoners?”
“Disgracefully,” replied Lydia. “I myself was actually in chains for weeks and weeks. And I was not the only one. Then, they thrust us into one large room, — at the same time our dormitory, working room and dining room — along with the ordinary criminals. Over two hundred women were made to live in that room: twenty-five or thirty of us, so-called ‘war criminals,’ and — the rest — thieves and murderesses. Can you
imagine what our life was, day and night in that place, without any privacy, and without anything to read, for years? Can you imagine that pack of coarse and mostly debased types of womanhood, in whose constant contact we were — some singing, some quarrelling, some relating smutty stories, . . . some using the pails? And the way many of them used to abuse us because we were Nazis? (They had been in the French résistance, most of them!) A thousand times I wished I had been killed . . . Then, sometime in the beginning of last year, I was told that my sentence had been commuted to twenty years. But ‘twenty years’ sounds no better than fifty, when one is living in such a hell. The ‘good news’ left me indifferent. I only prayed I should not live till the end of my term. Then, one day — a month ago — I was again called and told that I was to be released at once; that I could pack up my few things and go . . . once more into the world of the free; back to Germany — home! I fainted.”
“I can well believe you,” said I.
With all the vividness of my imagination, I pictured to myself those long, dreary years of hour to hour irritation and humiliation and of occasional wild despair; those years of hell, as Lydia herself had described them. And I added: “May I, one day, be given the power and the opportunity to avenge you!”
Hans F. spoke of Landsberg, where over a thousand men had been imprisoned — and over three hundred hanged — for having done their duty to the end. He spoke of the fearlessness and serenity of the martyrs, happy to die for Germany and for the Aryan Cause, knowing that they were right and that history would justify their actions and prove the soundness of the National Socialist principles. He spoke of the Jews as of those who stood at the back of all the tortures inflicted upon our comrades and, before that, at the back of the foulest propaganda against Germany and of that whole policy of England which had made the Second World War unavoidable.
“Quite right!” exclaimed I. “Quite right! How well I remember that worldwide campaign of lies! It had its agents — and its effects, too, — in India, where I was. But let me repeat here what I have stressed so many times in the course of my life; let me stress it once more, even if it might sound boring: what I hold in the first place against the Jews, is Christianity,
that oldest and most successful invention of theirs in order to emasculate the Aryan race. Had the whole world, including the non-Christian countries, such as India, not been soaked in Christianity for hundreds of years; I mean, had the Christian values — the ‘dignity’ of every two-legged mammal, of whatever shape or colour; the ‘right’ of every variety of two-legged mammals to live and thrive, and other such stuff — not been accepted as the basis of universal ethics by practically all mankind (save we, and, perhaps, our Allies the Japanese,) the Jewish campaign of accusations against us would have met no response. All my life, I have fought with tooth and claw against these Christian values (thank goodness I was, myself, by Nature’s grace, free from their influence!). And what I love, what I worship in the Third Reich, is the fact that it has at last brought forth an élite — the S.S., — who also stood up against them in the name of the natural, eternal values of Blood and Soil, and of Aryan pride. Glory to the S.S., early vanguard of that regenerate Aryandom of my dreams! May I, one day, see its surviving veterans seize power and rule the earth!”
“Our ‘Muki’! It is a joy to hear you speak, ten days after one’s release,” said Leo, putting his strong hand upon my shoulder in a gesture of comradeship, and gazing at me with a happy smile.
Hans F. considered me earnestly, as though his hard blue eyes were reading in mine the history of a life devoted to our Idea.
“You have the right view of things, which is also ours,” said he at last; “the view of those few men who understood the deeper meaning of our Struggle against Jewry, and who inspired and directed our action. As you say, we are free from the influence of the lying teaching imposed through fire and sword upon our German land over a thousand years ago — teaching of ‘meekness’ indeed! — the most shameless swindle that ever existed. Auschwitz and Treblinka were our dispassionate answer to that standing shame and. standing lie; to that will to degrade us, that has been working relentlessly ever since Charlemagne’s ‘crusade’ against Heathen Germany. We did not hate the Jews. (As you say yourself, who hates vermin?) But we systematically got rid of them — although not as thoroughly as we should have, unfortunately — because we knew what a danger they represent
as a collectivity in all Aryan lands. And we showed Germany and we showed the Aryan world how easy it is to get rid of dangerous human beings, without hatred and without remorse, provided one has our spirit, i.e., as you say, provided one is free from the influence of the Christian lies.”
“ . . . From the lies of every man-centred faith, to be more accurate,” added I.
And Hans F. talked about the convoys of Jews that he had himself accompanied to the place of fate. And he described the activity of the crematoria, and the ‘great bright-red flames’ that would spring out of the main chimney as new fuel fed the furnace below. “You would have loved to see those beautiful great red flames!” said he, addressing me.
“Here is at last one who does not need more than half an hour to know me thoroughly,” thought I; “people of the same sort feel one another, I suppose.” And recalling in a flash the thousands of fools that had dared to tell me that I “surely would have ceased being a National Socialist” had I “only seen Auschwitz,” I felt: “Gosh, what a relief to be among one’s own people!” And I turned to the former Sturmführer, with a smile:
“Yes, no doubt;” replied I, referring to the picture which he had evoked — “for this was the sunset purple announcing the twilight of a world I have hated for years, (for centuries, maybe, if the belief in successive births be right,) and which I have, with all my might, striven to kill. As other flames, lit from isle to isle across the Aegean, once announced the destruction of Troy, so these told the world the end of Judeo-Christian civilisation — at last!”
“And the dawn of ours!” put in Hans-Georg P., a handsome young blond with a definite taste for history and philosophy — a perfect National Socialist, but too young to be a “war criminal” — who had just stepped into our circle.
“No;” protested I; “not yet! Night stretches between sunset and dawn — the long night of persecution and apparent annihilation that we are now living. Our dawn will shine when new and mightier red flames will spring out of the chimneys of Auschwitz as corpses not merely of Jews but of traitors of Aryan blood — of slaves of Jewry from all lands — will be thrown into the fire below. That is what I would really like to see!”
“You’ll see it one day, — I hope,” answered Hans F.
“By the way,” said I, “it seems that, in their desire to show tourists how ‘awful’ we were, the Democrats have built gas chambers in former camps in which there were none, and added new ones in such places as Auschwitz . . . Is it true?”
“It is just like them, anyhow!” laughed Hans F. “But let them do so! It will spare us the trouble — and the expense — of new installations, next time . . .”
However, he suddenly became serious, nay sombre. “We burnt Jews (although, admittedly not as many as we should have),” said he; “but they were dead — all of them, already dead; those who deny this, lie. While the kind-hearted Allies who accuse us, burnt us alive: — more than three million civilians — with their phosphorus bombs. Shame on their hypocrisy!”
We spoke of the future and of its possibilities.
“Shall I ever see him whom I never had the joy of greeting: our Führer?” asked I. “Is he really alive?”
“Yes,” replied Lydia V. “Of that I am sure. And that certitude has sustained me throughout those terrible years — at the time of the disaster and afterwards.”
“On the other hand, I have spoken to comrades living in Argentina, who have told me definitely that he is dead,” said Hans-Georg P. “We should have the courage to face the fact, bitter as it may be.”
“Dead or alive in the flesh, he lives in us,” declared Hans F. “I can tell you: we are determined to carry on the Struggle, through whatever means are the best adapted to the necessities of the present-day, which are different from those of the past. Our tactics may change — are, in fact bound to change — with the new situation that faces us after all these years. But our principles remain the same; they are eternal: they are those laid down in Mein Kampf for all times. And we shall win, sooner or later, because we are fanatically inspired by a faith which is founded upon objective truth, while the Communists have a faith rooted in an illusion (that will not stand the test of time) and the Western-style Democrats just no faith at all. Their Christianity? A bundle of prejudices, not a source of living inspiration. They cannot give it back the enthusiasm, intolerance and strength of youth.”
“I met two real Christians in my life,” said I: “one is a Negro, who declared in my presence, in London, in 1946,
that the Allies should release all so-called ‘war criminals’ in accordance with Christ’s commandment ‘Love thy enemies, and do good unto those who hate thee’; the other is a French woman, a former schoolmate of mine who, knowing I am an enemy of all she stands for, yet sought private tuitions for me, — helped me to earn money and to send presents to my German comrades, and expensive airmail dispatches of printing proofs to him who was then publishing my books in far-away India — as long as I was in France. And do you know what that woman once told me, of all things? She declared — on the 6th of December 1950, I remember the date, — that she would be glad if only her co-religionists loved Jesus Christ half as much as I love Adolf Hitler . . . !”
“Flattering for us,” remarked Hertha.
“And encouraging,” said Hans F.
* * *
I spent the whole next day in conversations with comrades, in particular with Lydia V. and with the young man from the Oradour Trial. I asked the latter whether the horrors that had been related to me were true.
“Only too true,” replied he.
“And why did you not, then, mention such facts in your trial?” enquired I. “Why was there not a word spoken about them by any of you or of your lawyers?”
“We were not allowed to allude to them directly or indirectly,” answered the former S.S. soldier. “We were bluntly told that, if we did so, we should, thereby, merely impair the possibility of saving our lives. Those who knew they had no chances of saving their lives — and who did not care — (like Boos) did not speak for fear their boldness would be punished upon us.”
“Democratic justice!” said I, bitterly. “Oh, when will the Day of reckoning dawn? I would have urged the woman who had related me the wine press atrocity to go and speak of it herself before the Military Tribunal of Bordeaux. Unfortunately, she had already died in 1947 or 1948. Her name was L.L. and she used to live in Nevers.” (I gave the woman’s full address.)
Lydia V. startled, and stared at me, surprised. “How did you come to know that woman?,” she asked me.
“I don’t know her. I have met her perhaps ten times in all my life,” said I; “I had the impression she was more or less on our side.”
“She was on no side, and worked during the war both for us and for our enemies. And she took money from both,” stressed Lydia.
“Are you sure, quite sure it is the same woman?” asked I. I was utterly taken aback; — dumbfounded.
“It can only be she . . . The same name; the same address . . . I remember her so well!”
“Well,” said I, “she must have known of her friends’ exploits, if, as you say, she was also in the résistance . . . But Gosh how the world is small! And how truth will come out, sooner or later . . .”
After supper, Hertha saw me off to the station. We walked to Uelzen arm in arm, through the woods. We sang the Horst Wessel Song on our way.
“Oh, I am happy,” said I, when the last notes of the conquering tune had died away into the fragrant peace of evening. “I am happy to have, through you, come in touch with some of our comrades. I would give my life for any of them. I love ‘him’ in them, and them in ‘him.’”
We halted for a minute or two. “And I love you,” continued I. “I admire you. I wanted to give you something as a remembrance of your release. I am too poor to buy anything worthwhile, — be it even a box of chocolates. But I have this . . .” And unfastening the gold chain that I wore round my neck — my last chain — I put it round hers.
“I was in Calcutta, — in safety, although my life was, then, a long mental agony — while you were forced to bury dead bodies and to pick up filth with your hands, under the threat of British bayonets. And you were eight years in jail for the sake of my ideals, . . . while I . . . was there for less than eight months. You deserve this better than I do.”
“But . . . ‘Muki,’ . . . how can I?”
“Take it,” insisted I; “I give it to you with all my heart. It is Indian gold. Keep it in remembrance of rue, you, the embodiment of that superior Aryan mankind, in the name
and interest of which I carried on in India my lonely struggle against all creeds of racial equality. And let us part here, for we cannot greet each other as we like, at the station.”
She let her face rest upon my shoulder and kissed me, as on the day we had first met, in my cell in Werl. Then, lifting her right arm, she uttered the holy syllables — now, as then; now, as long ago; now as in days to come: “Heil Hitler!”
“Heil Hitler!” repeated I.
* * *
Uelzen, 30 May 1953
We met again some days later: the Heimkehrerverband1 (the German association of both prisoners of war and political prisoners) was giving in Uelzen a dancing party, and we were all invited.
Hans and Hertha greeted me enthusiastically at the entrance of “Fischerhof,” and took me to the room where they were having coffee. “Come, come, Muki; we have good news for you; excellent news: we — or rather, as you say, the heavenly Powers through us, have found a solution to your financial troubles, and you can remain in Germany as long as you like . . . But have a cup of coffee first. We’ll tell you afterwards.”
Tears welled up to my eyes. I could hardly believe it, and yet I knew it was true. It was a detail in the workings of that tremendous Destiny to which I had linked mine: the destiny of the Greater Reich that I so longed to serve. It was the answer of the Lords of the Invisible realm to my daily prayer: “Send me or keep me wherever I am to be the most useful to the holy National Socialist Cause!” Apparently, — for the time being — I was to be useful here, among my brothers in faith.
I sat at the table Hans-Georg P., Herr K., (whom I had met during my first visit to Fischerhof), Edith — Hertha’s roommate; a girl of twenty-three, recently released from a Russian slave-labour camp where she had spent eight years — Lydia, all greeted me again. But I could not see Leo. “Where is he?” enquired I.
“Upstairs, in his room, brooding,” answered Hans F. sternly. “He has had a good ‘telling off’ from me, and is not to sit with us . . .”
1 Literally: the Fellowship of those who have come back home.
“Oh, why?” asked I, sincerely grieved at the tone of our comrade’s voice, no less than at the fact that Leo — whom I admired — had been put en quarantaine. “Poor Leo! What has he done?”
“He can’t behave himself,” explained Hans F. “He can’t keep his paws off the women . . . People complain. And it creates a very nasty impression here, upon those patients who are not of our faith. They all know who he is, naturally. And they say: ‘Those Nazis! Look at them!’ as though we all were a pack of he-goats, the lot of us. It is a disgrace.”
“Poor Leo!” repeated I. “Can’t you forgive him? After all, he has been for eight years confined to a prison cell. And he is ideologically irreproachable — as faithful and devoted to the Cause as the best of us can be. Personally, I could not care less what he might do or try to do with women, provided he remains a perfect National Socialist. And as for people who take pretext of silly incidents of such a nature to criticise us, well . . . they will criticise us anyhow, whatever we do. Tell them to go to hell!” I felt full of sympathy for the handsome S.S. man’s all-too-human weakness, and was rather amused at the importance which Hans F. (and Hertha herself, by no means a prudish woman) seemed to attach to it.
But Hans F. tried to make his point clear to me. “I don’t mind their reproaching us with our ruthlessness,” said he, speaking of our opponents. “Ruthlessness is a virtue. But I am not having anyone reproach us with lack of self-discipline. This man was eight years in Werl, you say. Well, I was eight years in Landsberg. We all suffered. That is no excuse for losing our dignity. A National Socialist — and specially an S.S. man — should be master of himself.”
“With me, he behaved perfectly,” pleaded I.
But Hertha interrupted me. “I received your letter from Nusse, said she. Dear me, what an idea to go and work in the beetroot fields, with your delicate hands! . . .”
“It was an experience for me,” answered I; “even though I did it only for three days. And I enjoyed it, dead tired as I was. I would have persisted; but I work too slowly. I earned something like two marks in three days, working from sunrise to sunset. It was not worth it.”
“And you went to Hamburg, also? You wrote in your letter that you were going.”
“Yes! Ah, let me tell you about Hamburg!” said I with enthusiasm. “That was something unforgettable! I spent three days there, seeking work and not finding any. I paid four marks a day for my room and lived on bread and coffee, after first booking my ticket to Uelzen — lest I should spend the money and not be able to come. I had expected to find a little sum — two pounds at least — waiting for me at the Nusse post office. But there was nothing there. My husband had not been able to send it, apparently. (It is no longer like when he was allowed to send me twelve pounds a month under my own name . . .) To cut a long story short, I finally found myself with one mark forty, — one mark forty, and my last bracelets: all I have in the world. And I went to several jewellers’ shops, trying to sell one or two of my bracelets . . . But, I tell you honestly: I came and went, and did all I had to do, mechanically. It was to me as though it had been another person whose money had run short, and whose immediate future was absolutely unknown to me. I could not really feel interested in my own fate, if you can believe me. I had long ceased worrying about it, and had left it entirely to the Gods. I had eyes, and interest, only for one thing: for Hamburg rising out of its ashes.
“I had passed through the martyred city in 1948. And the appalling sight had haunted me ever since. But now, — oh, now! — in the place where I had seen nothing but rows and rows of burnt and blasted walls calling for vengeance, I beheld an immense new metropolis already seething with life: — buildings, shops, factories, parks, avenues, . . . and the port! — the miracle of German will-power, of German perseverance, of German energy, self-confidence and determination to live, proclaiming the invincibility of my Führer’s people. How could I possibly think of my petty personal problems, in front of that grand sight? I was happy. One mark forty in my pocket, that may be. But this reborn metropolis was mine: it was my dream, my yearning taking shape materially (before it also, takes place ideologically, at the appointed time). It was the foreshadowing of the coming new life and new prosperity. And cars passed by: lovely big new cars. None of those who
sat so comfortably in them was happier than I. And at night, I could half see — guess — through the large lighted windows, new, well-furnished, comfortable flats, there where I had, five years before, seen but desolation. And none of those who live in those flats was happier than I . . . How many times have I, during those three days, recalled the nightmare of the phosphorus hell (as far as one can picture it without having lived through it) and the nightmare of the black, torn walls and deserted streets full of wreckage, which I have experienced. And with tears in my eyes, and a feeling of boundless joy that lifted me above myself, I thanked the unseen heavenly Forces Who are guiding my Führer’s martyred Nation to the glory of resurrection — to reconquered prosperity, first step to reconquered power.”
“But Hamburg is one of the ‘reddest’ cities in Germany; a stronghold of the S.P.D., — did you know that?” said Hans F.
“No, I did not know that. But that is secondary. How long will all those bogus parties — S.P.D., C.D.U., and the like — last, anyhow? As long as the Occupation and the Allied controls. These cannot last forever. When they go, willingly or against their will, then the actual, open struggle will begin for the National Socialist minority. I do not know how we shall triumph in that new struggle: practical problems of Realpolitik are too far beyond my woman’s brains. But I know we will triumph, because we are the only ones who have a true faith, which we live. And then, who will care for whom the sheep voted in 1953? All that will matter is that there will be healthy young people in Germany, to build up the new Western civilisation — the hard and proud and beautiful Heathen civilisation of Europe, that will last forever, to our Führer’s glory.”
“You are an optimist,” said Hertha. “But there is something in what you say. At any rate, it makes us feel that life is still worth living, and that is something.”
I looked at my comrades — my superiors, eight years in jail while I was there but a few months. “It is perhaps foolish on my part to speak, not having suffered,” said I. “You have all been incomparably more useful than I, during and before the war. And after the disaster, you have proved your worth in hardships when not, also, in actual physical torture, while I was, — unfortunately, — never given that opportunity. All I have is my
sincere faith in our Führer and in the Greater German Reich — Western Aryandom under the leadership of new Germany — and in our way of life. Had I not that to love and to live for, I could go and drown myself — so depressing would them be the feeling of the emptiness of my life. All I want is our triumph, — your triumph; our Führer’s triumph, whether he be alive in the flesh or not. Wherever I be when the time comes, call me, and place me where I shall be the most useful.”
I paused for a second and then said, especially addressing dauntless Hans F.: “Personally, I would like to play an active part in the repression of the anti-Nazi forces, when our Day comes; not to mete out justice to German traitors — I leave those to you; it is not my job to deal with them — but to be at the head of some camp for foreign anti-Nazis, or better still, for Jews, if you have a say in the matter. And if I happen to do things that the squeamish, hypocritical outer world does not like, you can always say ‘She is not a German; we are not responsible for her deeds.’”
Hans F. laughed. “Just remain quietly in your corner for the time being,” said he; “and we shall call you when we are as far as that, — or probably before. Rest assured of it!”
“And now,” put in Hertha, “let me tell you the news. A most sympathetic woman, who was here as a patient, heard you speak the other day (she was, it seems, listening behind the door, which is surely very naughty but, in this particular case, proved good). Being herself an ardent National Socialist, she liked what you said. And having heard more about you, through us, she wants to have you as her guest as long as it will please the heavenly Powers, Who put her on your way. Her name is Leokardia U., but everybody calls her Katja. She is a German born in Russia, and lives now somewhere in Westphalia with her husband, — who is also on our side — and two young children. She is coming to fetch you tomorrow morning and taking you to her house in a car. With her, you will not need to worry about anything, but will be able to write in peace and, which is more, in a National Socialist atmosphere . . .”
I could hardly believe it. It was another of those extraordinary things that happen in my life. I felt immensely grateful to this unknown Frau U., and even more so to my mysterious
destiny; to Hertha, also, for it was through her that I had (indirectly) come in touch with Frau U. I put my arms around my friend’s neck.
“My Hertha,” said I, “this does touch me! It all sounds like a fairytale; but fairytales come true, with me. I know I shall be happy there. It is something to be loved, and received like a friend, because of what I am and not, (as it was the case practically everywhere outside Germany, with the exception of my husband’s home and of very definite Indian circles) in spite of what I am. Now, tell me what does Frau U. look like . . .”
“She is tall, strongly built, blonde, with lovely large bluish-grey eyes. Typically Germanic. You’ll like her. And she is only twenty-six, and full of faith and fire. Was formerly in the B.D.M. and, after the war, a prisoner in Poland for two years. She’ll tell you her story . . .”
Within my heart, I blessed my new, young, yet unknown comrade, and once more thanked the invisible Powers.
* * *
Hans F. did not come to the Heimkehrerverband’s dancing party. Nor did Hans-Georg P. But Leo came. And so did Heinz, Erich, and the rest of us: Hertha, Edith, Lydia, and Anni. And Hertha’s husband was there too: he had come all the way from Bad Homburg, to see her.
Hertha had warned me: “Be careful and hold your tongue in the case you come across anybody you do not know. The place will be, as usual, full of spies.”
We had a table to ourselves. But a fellow who had insisted on coming with us from “Fischerhof” sat among us, and nay, right by my side. He had introduced himself as “a member of the Heimkehrerverband.” Hertha sat next to me on the other side. She whispered into my ear: “I don’t like that chap. I have seen him in ‘Fischerhof.’ He is not one of us. And if you ask me, he is after you. Suspects something and wants to find out. Try to get rid of him.”
“I shall try,” said I.
The man did, in fact, seem interested in me — i.e., in my outlook (not in my person, by any means). He put me embarrassing questions. I gave him elusive answers and gradually led him unto the subject of Indian religions; gave him a half
an hour’s lecture on the history of the disappearance of Buddhism from India and, for another half an hour, tried to explain to him the little I know of the different conceptions of nirvana. He was bored and went away — doubtless convinced that I was much too interested in the East to be, in any way, “politically dangerous” in Germany.
“There is nothing like being — or looking — pedantic, to turn away unwanted men,” declared I, as soon as he was gone. “It always worked with me, at least.”
But the music was playing again. Up till then, seeing how earnestly engaged in conversation I was, nobody had asked me to dance. Now a cavalier was standing before me: a tall, handsome man with steel-blue eyes that smiled to me: — Leo.
“But I don’t know how to dance!” said I, hesitatingly. And it was true: I had never learnt to dance — save Greek folkdances. The only ballroom dance I somewhat knew was the waltz. And I had not danced even that for the last thirty years or so. But Leo did not believe me.
“Not even with me, — a comrade?” asked he.
“Yes, I shall dance with you; I shall try . . .” said I, getting up and smiling. And when I was standing close enough to him to be able to speak without anyone else hearing, I added “. . . with you, an S.S. man, who suffered for the sake of all I love.”
He gazed at me with an emotion that had nothing, absolutely nothing of the nature of desire, but that could be described as respect mingled with pride.
“I have done all I could,” answered he. “And I have known what is man-made hell. And I am ready to fight again, not in order to regain what I have lost (there are things one cannot regain), but so that I might avenge our comrades who died in torture, with the Führer’s name upon their lips; avenge our now dismembered Reich, and build it up once more, stronger than ever, upon the ashes of those who destroyed it.”
I looked up to him, happy. “I like to hear you speak thus,” said I. “I then feel that I am not alone in this land that I have called ‘my spiritual home.’”
“You are not alone; that I can tell you! In whose hearts can your words — your burning words ‘Never forget! Never forgive!’ — find a better echo than in ours?” And he pressed
me to his breast as we whizzed around to the waltz music. (Fortunately for me, it was a waltz!)
In a flash, I recalled that other S.S. man, Gerhard W., who had stuck up posters for me in 1949. He too had held me in his arms in a spontaneous gesture of impersonal enthusiasm, as he had read my message in black and white: “Resist our persecutors! Hope and wait. Heil Hitler!” Then, I remembered that Leo B. had spent over seven months in the ‘death cell,’ waiting to be hanged, before the British had commuted his sentence to one of life-long imprisonment. Like the others, he had been condemned to death for having obeyed orders, — for being a soldier. But he was alive — nay, very much, and in various ways alive, if I were to believe the stories that other comrades had told me about him. Alive, and faithful. And his vitality and his unflinching faithfulness defied the forces of ‘de-Nazification’; were one of the numberless post-war individual victories of our Weltanschauung and of the tremendous unseen Powers of Light that stand behind it.
I could not help telling him so. “I am glad to feel you so strong and so alive in spite of all you went through,” said I. “Every breath, every step, every movement of yours is a cry of triumph — a laughter of defiance — in the faces of those who wanted to kill you for having served the Third Reich with all your heart.”
As I was saying that, Lydia V. and her partner came dancing past us. She had also been sentenced to death. And young Edith, who had been living eight years of daily hunger and agony in a Russian hard-labour camp, was also dancing with a so-called ‘war criminal’ with goodness alone knows what detailed experience of the horror of Democratic behaviour. Heinz and Hertha were dancing together.
I thought of all those who are still waiting behind bars — in Spandau, in Werl, in Landsberg, in Wittlich, in Breda, in Fresnes, in Stein, and in all the prisons and camps of Poland and Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Greece, and Russia, and Siberia . . . Waiting for our Day to dawn. I thought of all those who gave up their lives for the proud dream of domination of the best. An episode that Anni had related to me when I was in Celle, came back to my memory: that of an S.S. man, a warder in Belsen, whom the British were trying to
force to sign a false account of so-called ‘Nazi atrocities.’ He had been brought to the infirmary in such a state that he could hardly be expected to live. The British officer who accompanied him had told the German doctor: “See to it that he lasts at least till tomorrow morning: he must speak!” Blind, his bones broken, his whole body one bleeding wound, the unfortunate German lay upon the bed. The sister in charge (who had told Anni about him) had said: “Would to God he does die as soon as possible — and be relieved!” Then, early in the morning he had tried to move, but could not. The sister in charge, thinking he perhaps wanted to say something, had leaned over the bed. And the martyr’s lips had moved . . . “Heil Hitler!” said he, in a supreme whisper, as life departed from him.
I shuddered as I suddenly remembered that episode in the midst of the gaiety of the waltz music. And for a while a shadow came over me. But again, as I looked around me at the Heimkehrerverband’s evening party, I felt hopeful, if not yet happy. For there was hope in Leo’s words: “I am ready to fight again — to avenge our comrades who died in torture; to build up the Greater German Reich anew.” There was hope in Edith’s victorious youth, faithful to the B.D.M. ideals; in Hertha’s encouraging approval of my aggressiveness; in Lydia’s passionate certitude that our Führer is alive; in Heinz’s defiant spirit; in Katja’s spontaneous willingness to give a home to a foreigner whom she had never seen, on the sole ground that that foreigner had given unconditional allegiance to Adolf Hitler and to all he represents. There was hope in Hans F.’s striving towards the perfection of the integral Nazi way of life; in his ideal of life without a weakness — hope, nay, even in the austere intolerance in the name of which he tried to impose his moral restraint on poor Leo. There was hope in the vitality of the men of iron; in their unbending will; and, among the best of them, in that clear consciousness of what National Socialism really means, and in the certitude of its eternity as an outlook on the world and as a scale of values.