dedalus Posted February 17, 2013 Share Posted February 17, 2013 Get up, silly boy, or you'll freeze! Oh, danke schoen. Danke schoen. I do not know why I lie upon the snow. Ich hole Dir ein Taxi. Weiss Du wo Du wohnst? Haha, of course. Darueber. Over there! Also, gut, steh auf. Komm mit. Ach, komme, Du! I began, I think, to sing: Nach Hause, nach Hause, nach Hause geh'n wir nicht! Wenn nicht der Fuehrer spricht, nach hause geh'n wir nicht! Ha, ha -- Heil Hitler! Sei ruhig! Stupid boy! So sorry, I am really sorry, tell me ... are you Jewish? Sind Sie ein Jude? Are you crazy? Halt's endlich dein Maul! And so Karlheinz got me home, saved my life and became my friend. I was ashamed, contrite, when we met again. Mein Lieber, auch wenn Du Auslaender bist darfst nicht sagen was Du denkst! You may not say what you think! I was no friend of the Nazis. I thought they were a joke. To Karlheinz they were no joke and so I started to listen and look around me and think. Before, life was grand unplanned, just happening every day in Berlin, so weird and strange, and rather lovely. I was living in Pankow in one of those huge awful houses from the Kaiserzeit. My landlady, Frau Weiss, had a picture of the Old Boy up on the wall and said, quite often, with a heaving sigh Ja, ja, das war die schoene Zeit. Yes, that was the lovely time. I couldn't see it, with my schoolboy images of Ypres and the Somme and the gas and ghastly Huns and the heavy memories of loss and hatred at home and so said nothing about it, I contented myself with platitudes about the horrors of war and Frau Weiss would sigh and talk about starvation and embrace me, embarrassingly, and say Mein Kind, mein Kind, so was soll nicht wieder geben! My child, my child, may such things never happen again! I couldn't help but notice that she liked the Nazis, thought that Adolf Hitler was the coming man: laughter at this was met by pained and frosty silence. Karlheinz would call around from time to time and I think Frau Weiss was afraid of him. He had exquisite manners, in the stiff Prussian way, the clicking of heels, the not-quite kissing of hands. She was in awe of him and to have such a friend did wonders for my reputation. Karlheinz, I fear, looked upon me as an idiot, a laboratary example of the strange enigmatic English (I protested I was Irish to no lasting avail: Ja, ja, ja, ja!) An Englaender who lies singing songs in the snow on freezing nights needed to be taken gently but firmly in hand! Vigorous protests followed, but this image was to remain until Karlheinz died for Germany, the real Germany, in July 1944. I am getting ahead of my story, I know, and am aware of that, as harsh iron tears squeeze slowly from my eyes. We were friends. We met in the year before Hitler and his gang came to power, and we remained friends in all the years to come, until I had to leave Berlin; even then, in different opposing armies, we still heard news of one another. Until that fatal end ... I went to Germany, a doddering old man, to seek out his grave. But he had no grave. They had denied him even that. I stood there. I lifted my arms and prayed for you. Karlheinz. And I can see your face even now, concerned, annoyed ... Was macht's Du denn, was soll das sein? You die, you die, don't you know, when you sleep inside the snow? Quote Drown your sorrows in drink, by all means, but the real sorrows can swim Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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