• La plongée des « collapsologues » dans la régression archaïque – Daniel Tanuro
    http://www.contretemps.eu/critique-collapsologie-regression-archaique

    A l’heure où la jeunesse de différents pays entame des mobilisations de masse face à la catastrophe climatique, se pose de façon d’autant plus urgente la nécessité de débattre des cadres d’analyses et des réponses politiques face à la crise environnementale. Parmi les courants de pensée les plus récents sur le marché éditorial, la collaposologie[1] s’avère être un succès de librairie, en particulier grâce aux livres co-écrits par Pablo Servigne. Ce succès, largement porté par une campagne publicitaire des plus classiques, est-il un bon signe pour les luttes écologiques et sociales ? Ou n’obscurcit-il pas les horizons émancipateurs que de telles luttes sont à même dessiner ?

    « Le regard tourné vers l’avant est d’autant plus pénétrant qu’il est conscient. L’intuition, authentique, se veut nette et précise. Ce n’est que si la raison se met à parler que l’espérance, vierge de toute fraude, recommence à fleurir » (Ernst Bloch)

     

    Dans leur ouvrage Comment tout peut s’effondrer, paru en 2014, Pablo Servigne et Rafaël Stevens créaient le concept de « collapsologie », qu’ils définissaient comme suit :

    « La collapsologie est l’exercice transdisciplinaire d’étude de l’effondrement de notre civilisation industrielle et de ce qui pourrait lui succéder, en s’appuyant sur les deux modes cognitifs que sont la raison et l’intuition et sur des travaux scientifiques reconnus ».

    Ce n’était qu’un point de départ. En 2017, Pablo Servigne signait un deuxième ouvrage – L’autre loi de la jungle – avec Gauthier Chapelle. Les auteurs y reprenaient la thèse de l’anarchiste russe Kropotkine qui, dans un essai célèbre, paru en 1902, défendait l’idée – déjà émise par Marx et Engels – que l’évolution des espèces ne résulte pas seulement de la compétition, mais aussi de l’entraide[2]. Enfin, en octobre 2018, le trio Servigne-Chapelle-Stevens signait Une autre fin du monde est possible. Vivre l’effondrement et pas seulement y survivre.

    L’impact de cette trilogie mérite qu’on s’y arrête. Les « collapsologues » jouissent en effet d’une grande renommée, dans des milieux extrêmement différents. D’une part, ils sont fort populaires sur les réseaux sociaux, dans des mouvances alternatives et auprès de nombreux/ses activistes de la mouvance écologique radicale. D’autre part, ils ont été reçus à Bercy et à l’Elysée, invités par les fédérations patronales de Belgique et de Suisse et les plus grands médias mainstream ont amplement commenté leurs écrits. Certains journaux dits « de qualité » ont même été jusqu’à saluer en eux les fondateurs d’une nouvelle discipline scientifique…Qu’est-ce donc qui suscite tant d’intérêt, voire d’engouement ?

    On se concentrera ici sur le dernier livre paru, Une autre fin du monde est possible. Pablo Servigne et ses amis y répondent implicitement à certaines critiques, en ignorent d’autres et approfondissent des thèmes développés précédemment. La grande nouveauté de l’ouvrage est de proposer aux lecteurs de passer de la « collapsologie » à la « collapsosophie », autrement dit de la science de l’effondrement à la philosophie de l’effondrement. On verra que cet exercice ambitieux les entraîne vers des conceptions fort discutables, et même dangereuses.

    #collapsologie #naturalisation_des_rapports_sociaux

    • Eh bé ça va loin là…

      D’emblée, le lecteur est frappé par une contradiction : Servigne, Stevens et Chapelle découvrent l’écoféminisme… mais Une autre fin du monde n’évoque ni la lutte des femmes pour leur émancipation, ni la nécessité d’un mouvement autonome des femmes, ni la place centrale de ce mouvement dans les combats contre la destruction environnementale et sociale. Les auteurs préfèrent développer l’idée que les « archétypes féminin et masculin » sont « des polarités qui ne s’opposent pas ». Estimant que « les hommes souffrent aussi de la blessure secrète du patriarcat », ils plaident pour la « réconciliation hommes-femmes » et nous invitent à pratiquer à cet effet des « rituels initiatiques ».

      C’est là que la « collapsosophie » dérape pour plonger dans la régression archaïque, non seulement en paroles, mais en actes. Question rituels, les auteurs recommandent en effet leurs bonnes adresses : aux lecteurs mâles, ils conseillent de suivre, comme ils l’ont fait eux-mêmes, les week-ends d’initiation du « nouveau guerrier » (New Warrior Training Adventure) organisés par le ManKind Project, dont ils chantent les louanges.

      Ce ManKind Project est un business mis sur pied par trois étasuniens à l’initiative d’un certain Bill Kauth. Pour celui-ci, psychothérapeute jungien, il s’agissait de répondre à la vague féministe des années quatre-vingts. Impressionné par le potentiel émancipateur des groupements féministes, Kauth décida de mettre sur pieds des groupes non mixtes censés permettre aux hommes aussi de se libérer, en retrouvant leurs racines profondes et leur âme de mâles « adultes et sains ». Bref, en assumant leur archétype masculin.

      #anti-féminisme #essentialisme #masculinisme

    • Merci ! J’appelle @tranbert qui a aussi lu le livre et m’a donné envie d’en savoir plus.
      De loin, le bouquin ressemble à ce que j’aime des alternatives écolo : la #positive_attitude qui refuse d’envisager les rapports de force, le gloubi-boulga de références mystico-philosophiques, etc. Et derrière la controverse sur les universaux en anthropologie, il y a vraiment ce truc de l’#essentialisme d’une « nature humaine » dont justement l’anthropologie a montré la variété...

      #effondrement #collapsologie #psychologisation #dépolitisation #anthropocène #bah

    • Merci @aude_v !

      #Daniel_Tanuro avait déjà écrit des articles un peu critiques sur ce sujet :

      Une critique de la « collapsologie » : C’est la lutte qui est à l’ordre du jour, pas la résignation endeuillée
      https://www.gaucheanticapitaliste.org/leffondrement-des-societes-humaines-est-il-inevitable-une-cri

      Crise socio-écologique : Pablo Servigne et Rafaël Stevens, ou l’effondrement dans la joie
      http://www.lcr-lagauche.org/pablo-servigne-et-rafael-stevens-ou-leffondrement-dans-la-joie

      Et il y a un article de Pierre Thiesset dans de numéro de mars de La Décroissance qui montre bien comment ces "scientifiques" se font les dupes volontaires et enthousiates de diverses mystoqueries...

    • À mettre en lien, donc, avec l’escroquerie intellectuelle d’#Aurélien_Barrau qui met sur le compte d’une nature humaine essentialisée le désastre écologique.
      (J’en causais ici : http://blog.ecologie-politique.eu/post/Des-mesures-potentiellement-impopulaires et depuis lors Descola a pris des distances très claires avec ce discours, lui qui avait gentiment signé la pétition des people.)
      C’est dix ans de réception de Jared Diamond par des scientifiques qui ont très peu d’humanités, au pluriel. D’ailleurs, au passage, dans un cours modestement intitulé « Histoire du monde », un de mes profs nous a raconté que personne sur l’île de Pâques ne s’est dit : « Allez, c’est moi qui vais couper le dernier arbre sinon c’est les autres qui le feront. » Il s’agit plus probablement d’un rat mangeur de graines d’arbres (entre autres) qui a ravagé un système qui à part ça ne devait pas aller très bien à cause de ce que le pouvoir de quelques-uns de nuire fait aux autres et au milieu...

    • Ceci dit, chez Adrastia, ils ont même prévu un kit de « résilience » : une sacoche de biffetons bien planquée sous un matelas (et quelques marchandise trocables accumulées en réserve), solutions on ne peut plus efficace pour assurer sa survie en milieu hostile : chacun pour soi et la monnaie pour tous. Mais c’est tellement « bien argumenté », que ces vieux réflexes d’accumulation (en cas de guerre, en cas de crise ou de victoire de la gauche) et bien ça passe crème, enfin chez les CSP++, je suppose. Mais sinon, l’essentiel est de garder sa capacité à « faire société » hein ! ... Un faire société en mode « arnaquez-vous les uns les autres et malheur aux vaincus ». Une somme pour tous les bons petits soldats (guerriers sains, droits et courageux d’avant le patriarcat) du capitalisme productiviste ’globalized’

      http://adrastia.org/plan-damortissement-des-chocs-deffondrement

      Je suis un citoyen lambda, plutôt aisé, ingénieur et entrepreneur, maison, famille nombreuse, les deux pieds dans le système, le bon hamster dans sa roue en fait.

      C’est on ne peut plus clair, non ?

      #la_résilience_sans_peine #darwinisme_social #pourritures #hamster (et fier de l’être)

    • Où l’on découvre un nouveau syndrome dépressif : l’éco-anxiété :
      https://www.francetvinfo.fr/sante/environnement-et-sante/quand-le-changement-climatique-attaque-la-sante-mentale-et-si-votre-dep

      (et aussi)
      Histoire en BD d’un jeune couple gentil qui décide de passer à la « résilience ».
      http://adrastia.org/tout-va-bien-enfin-ca-va-aller

      Plüche est illustratrice et travaille sur un projet de BD, Nours est menuisier et travaille en parallèle sur des projets d’écriture et de photographie. Tous les deux sont fusionnels et vivent heureux et modestement. Mais en ce début d’année, l’équilibre économique mondial commence à s’effriter sérieusement et nos deux personnages, habitants d’une grande ville et loin d’être autonomes, vont subir ce qui se révèlera être la plus grande crise économique que l’Histoire ait connue.

      Pour passer direct à la lecture de la BD :
      https://bdtoutvabien.tumblr.com/post/179654965981/tout-va-bien-sur-vos-%C3%A9crans-en-janvier-2019

      Où l’on découvre (page 12) l’engouement de nos deux jeunes gens pour la collapsologie :
      Madame écoute (en faisant un peu d’exercice physique) une interview de Pablo Servigne (sur la chaîne Youtube de Thinkerview)
      Dialogue entre Madame et Monsieur (page 13) :
      Elle : Il faut que tu écoutes cet interview.
      Lui : D’accord. Je ferai ça cet aprèm en allant à l’atelier.
      Elle : J’ai écouté le début.
      Lui (les pieds déjà sous la table) : Notre cher Pablo est toujours aussi calme ?
      Elle (finissant de réchauffer une gamelle de pâtes) : Ah, toujours.
      (Puis faisant une petite bise affectueuse à Monsieur qui semble un peu contrarié quand même)
      Et toujours aussi beau !

      (Ouch ! ...)


  • Pourquoi le ‘prince de la torture’ de Bahreïn est toujours bienvenu au Royaume-Uni malgré les appels à son arrestation · Global Voices en Français
    https://fr.globalvoices.org/2019/02/09/232970

    Ce cas flagrant d’impunité a renouvelé la question de savoir si le Royaume-Uni est à la hauteur de ses obligations internationales, résultant en particulier de la Convention de l’ONU contre la Torture et les autres traitements et châtiments cruels, inhumains et dégradants de 1987, qui dispose que les États doivent criminaliser la torture et poursuivre les agents publics des autres pays qui se trouvent présents sur le territoire des dits États”.

    #torture #Bahreïn #impunité



  • The roundabout revolutions

    The history of these banal, utilitarian instruments of traffic management has become entangled with that of political uprising, #Eyal_Weizman argues in his latest book

    This project started with a photograph. It was one of the most arresting images depicting the May 1980 #Gwangju uprising, recognised now as the first step in the eventual overthrow of the military dictatorship in South Korea. The photograph (above) depicts a large crowd of people occupying a roundabout in the city center. Atop a disused fountain in the middle of the roundabout a few protestors have unfurled a South Korean flag. The roundabout organised the protest in concentric circles, a geometric order that exposed the crowd to itself, helping a political collective in becoming.

    It had an uncanny resonance with events that had just unfolded: in the previous year a series of popular uprisings spread through Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, #Oman, Yemen, Libya, and Syria. These events shared with Gwangju not only the historical circumstances – they too were popular protests against military dictatorships – but, remarkably, an urban-architectural setting: many of them similarly erupted on roundabouts in downtown areas. The history of these roundabouts is entangled with the revolutions that rose from them.

    The photograph of the roundabout—now the symbol of the “liberated republic” – was taken by #Na_Kyung-taek from the roof of the occupied Provincial Hall, looking toward Geumnam-ro, only a few hours before the fall of the “#Gwangju_Republic”. In the early morning hours of the following day, the Gwangju uprising was overwhelmed by military force employing tanks and other armed vehicles. The last stand took place at the roundabout.

    The scene immediately resonates with the well-known photographs of people gathering in #Tahrir_Square in early 2011. Taken from different high-rise buildings around the square, a distinct feature in these images is the traffic circle visible by the way it organises bodies and objects in space. These images became the symbol of the revolution that led to the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011 – an event described by urban historian Nezar AlSayyad as “Cairo’s roundabout revolution”. But the Gwangju photograph also connects to images of other roundabouts that erupted in dissent in fast succession throughout the Middle East. Before Tahrir, as Jonathan Liu noted in his essay Roundabouts and Revolutions, it was the main roundabout in the capital of Tunisia – subsequently renamed Place du 14 Janvier 2011 after the date on which President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali was forced to flee the country. Thousands of protesters gathered at the roundabout in Tunis and filled the city’s main boulevard.

    A main roundabout in Bahrain’s capital Manama erupted in protests shortly after the overthrow of Mubarak in Egypt. Its central traffic island became the site of popular protests against the government and the first decisive act of military repression: the protests were violently broken up and the roundabout itself destroyed and replaced with a traffic intersection. In solidarity with the Tahrir protests, the roundabouts in the small al-Manara Square in Ramallah and the immense Azadi Square in Tehran also filled with protesters. These events, too, were violently suppressed.

    The roundabouts in Tehran and Ramallah had also been the scenes of previous revolts. In 2009 the Azadi roundabout in Iran’s capital was the site of the main protests of the Green Movement contesting President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s reelection. Hamid Dabashi, a literature professor at Columbia University and one of the most outspoken public intellectuals on these revolutions, claims that the Green Movement was inspirational for the subsequent revolutionary wave in the Arab world. In Palestine, revolt was a permanent consequence of life under occupation, and the al-Manara roundabout was a frequent site of clashes between Palestinian youth and the Israeli military. The sequence of roundabout revolutions evolved as acts of imitation, each building on its predecessor, each helping propel the next.

    Roundabouts were of course not only exhilarating sites of protest and experiments in popular democracy, but moreover they were places where people gathered and risked their life. The Gwangju uprising is, thus, the first of the roundabout revolutions. Liu wrote: “In all these cases, the symbolism is almost jokingly obvious: what better place to stage a revolution, after all, then one built for turning around?” What better way to show solidarity across national borders than to stage protests in analogous places?

    Why roundabouts? After all, they are banal, utilitarian instruments of traffic management, certainly not prone to induce revolutionary feeling. Other kinds of sites – squares, boulevards, favelas, refugee camps – have served throughout history as the setting for political protest and revolt. Each alignment of a roundabout and a revolution has a specific context and diverse causes, but the curious repetition of this phenomenon might give rise to several speculations. Urban roundabouts are the intersection points of large axes, which also puts them at the start or end of processions.

    Occupying a roundabout demonstrates the power of tactical acupuncture: it blocks off all routes going in and out. Congestion moves outward like a wave, flowing down avenues and streets through large parts of the city. By pressuring a single pivotal point within a networked infrastructure, an entire city can be put under siege (a contemporary contradistinction to the medieval technique of surrounding the entire perimeter of a city wall). Unlike public squares, which are designed as sites for people to gather (therefore not interrupting the flow of vehicular traffic) and are usually monitored and policed, roundabout islands are designed to keep people away. The continuous flow of traffic around them creates a wall of speeding vehicles that prohibits access. While providing open spaces (in some cities the only available open spaces) these islands are meant to be seen but not used.

    Another possible explanation is their symbolic power: they often contain monuments that represent the existing regime. The roundabouts of recent revolutions had emblematic names – Place du 7 Novembre 1987, the date the previous regime took power in Tunisia; “Liberty” (Azadi), referring to the 1979 Iranian Revolution; or “Liberation” (Tahrir), referring to the 1952 revolutions in Egypt. Roundabout islands often had statues, both figurative and abstract, representing the symbolic order of regimes. Leaders might have wished to believe that circular movement around their monuments was akin to a form of worship or consent. While roundabouts exercise a centripetal force, pulling protestors into the city center, the police seek to generate movement in the opposite direction, out and away from the center, and to break a collective into controllable individuals that can be handled and dispersed.

    The most common of all centrifugal forces of urban disorganisation during protests is tear gas, a formless cloud that drifts through space to disperse crowds. From Gwangju to Cairo, Manama to Ramallah, hundreds of tear-gas canisters were used largely exceeding permitted levels in an attempt to evict protesters from public spaces. The bodily sensation of the gas forms part of the affective dimension of the roundabout revolution. When tear gas is inhaled, the pain is abrupt, sharp, and isolating. The eyes shut involuntary, generating a sense of disorientation and disempowerment.

    Protestors have found ways to mitigate the toxic effects of this weapon. Online advice is shared between activists from Palestine through Cairo to Ferguson. The best protection is offered by proper gas masks. Improvised masks made of mineral water bottles cut in half and equipped with a filter of wet towels also work, according to online manuals. Some activists wear swim goggles and place wet bandanas or kaffiyehs over their mouths. To mitigate some of the adverse effects, these improvised filters can be soaked in water, lemon juice, vinegar, toothpaste, or wrapped around an onion. When nothing else is at hand, breathe the air from inside your shirt and run upwind onto higher ground. When you have a chance, blow your nose, rinse your mouth, cough, and spit.


    https://www.iconeye.com/opinion/comment/item/12093-the-roundabout-revolutions
    #révolution #résistance #giratoire #carrefour #rond-point #routes #infrastructure_routière #soulèvement_politique #Corée_du_Sud #printemps_arabe #Egypte #Tunisie #Bahreïni #Yémen #Libye #Syrie #Tahrir

    Du coup : #gilets_jaunes ?

    @albertocampiphoto & @philippe_de_jonckheere

    This project started with a photograph. It was one of the most arresting images depicting the May 1980 #Gwangju uprising, recognised now as the first step in the eventual overthrow of the military dictatorship in South Korea. The photograph (above) depicts a large crowd of people occupying a roundabout in the city center. Atop a disused fountain in the middle of the roundabout a few protestors have unfurled a South Korean flag. The roundabout organised the protest in concentric circles, a geometric order that exposed the crowd to itself, helping a political collective in becoming.

    –-> le pouvoir d’une #photographie...

    signalé par @isskein

    ping @reka


  • US Syria withdrawal may speed up Arab-Israeli detente, well-connected rabbi says | The Times of Israel
    https://www.timesofisrael.com/us-syria-withdrawal-may-speed-up-arab-israeli-detente-well-connected-

    The rabbi, Marc Schneier of New York, also predicted that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will travel to Bahrain next month, and that the small Gulf kingdom will soon establish formal ties with Israel.

    (...) Schneier, the founder and head of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, has for many years conducted extensive ties with the rulers of many Muslim countries, including nearly all Gulf states.

    Earlier this month, he was named a “special adviser” to the king of Bahrain, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. In this unpaid position, the rabbi was tasked with assisting the King Hamad Global Centre for Peaceful Coexistence based in Manama, and to “help in preserving and growing the country’s Jewish community,” he said.

    (...) “There’s a growing interest on part of Gulf leaders to developing Jewish life,” said Schneier, who established and runs a Jewish community in the Hamptons.

    Earlier this month, The Times of Israel for the first time revealed the existence of a tiny Jewish community in Dubai. Jewish communities exist also in Bahrain and Qatar, according to Schneier.

    “There is a genuine commitment and desire to establish relations with Israel,” he said. “It used to be, ‘Let the Israelis and Palestinians work our their differences and then call us.’ Now it’s, ‘Let the Israelis and Palestinians be in discussion and at the same time we can discuss establishing relations,’” he said.

    “I predict that in 2019 it will happen. You will see one or two Gulf states establishing diplomatic relations with Israel. I think Bahrain will be the first.”

    N’allez surtout pas croire que cet étrange rabbin soit le moins du monde un fonctionnaire israélien officieusement en poste dans ce petit Etat du Golfe...

    #israël #bahreïn #normalisation


  • CleverShuttle will noch mehr Autos nach Berlin bringen
    https://www.taxi-times.com/clevershuttle-will-noch-mehr-autos-auf-berlins-strassen-bringen

    Laut Berliner Zeitung soll die Zahl der Fahrzeuge bald von 30 auf 150 steigen. Einen entsprechenden Antrag hat das Unternehmen eingereicht. Rechtlich ist die Möglichkeit gegeben, denn das Personenbeförderungsgesetz beinhaltet eine Experimentierklausel. Nach der hat CleverShuttle eine Genehmigung, seine Dienste anzubieten – und dies bis August 2020.

    Die Genehmigung zur Erweiterung der Flotte muss das Berliner Landesamt für Bürger- und Ordnungsangelegenheiten, kurz LABO, erteilen. „Keinesfalls sollte das LABO dies genehmigen“, sagt Leszek Nadolski von der Berliner Taxi-„Innung“. Und dann sprudeln die Argumente dagegen nur so aus ihm heraus. „Die Deutsche Bahn steht hinter CleverShuttle. Sie wollen für die Zugreisenden mit dem Dienst auch die sogenannte letzte Meile von den Bahnhöfen bis zur Haustür der Passagiere überbrücken. Aber in den Randbezirken fährt kein CleverShuttle. Das macht nur das Taxi. Sich nur die Rosinen aus dem Kuchen zu picken, ist aber kein fairer Wettbewerb. Am Hauptbahnhof ist nun mal mehr los als in Grünau. Aber da fahren sie nicht!“

    #Berlin #Taxi #ride_sharing #disruption #Bahn


  • Ostbahnhof in Berlin: Erst Ostbahnhof, dann Hauptbahnhof, jetzt wieder Ostbahnhof | Berliner Zeitung
    https://www.berliner-zeitung.de/berlin/tor-zum-osten-erst-frankfurter-bahnhof--dann-hauptbahnhof--jetzt-os

    Hans Fallada beschreibt das Viertel in seinem Roman „Wolf unter Wölfen“ so: Zu der „Trostlosigkeit der Fassaden, den üblen Gerüchen, der öden, dürren Steinwüste kam eine wilde, verzweifelte Schamlosigkeit, Geilheit aus der Gier, einmal selbst etwas zu sein in einer Welt, die in sausender, irrer Fahrt jeden mitriß, unbekannten Dunkelheiten zu“.

    In diesem Milieu wohnen Menschen, die weit über Berlin bekannt werden sollten: In der Kleinen Andreasstraße lebt Heinrich Zille als Kind; in der Blumenstraße verbringt Alfred Döblin seine Jugend; in der Langen Straße 22 hinter dem Bahnhof haust der Schuster Wilhelm Voigt , der „Hauptmann von Köpenick“, und in der Lange Straße 88 Carl Großmann , der Serienmörder, der vor dem Bahnhof Wurst verkauft und im Wartesaal seine Opfer anspricht.

    #Berlin #Friedrichshain #Lange_Straße #An_der_Ostbahn #Bahn #Verkehr #Geschichte #Literatur



  • Bahn verzichtet aus Kostengründen auf Elektrifizierung des Güter-Innenrings - Schöneberg - berliner-woche.de
    http://www.berliner-woche.de/schoeneberg/verkehr/bahn-verzichtet-aus-kostengruenden-auf-elektrifizierung-des-gueter-in

    Bisher wurde davon ausgegangen, dass die Bahn den Güter-Innenring elektrifiziert. Die SPD-Fraktion in der BVV setzte sich für eine „integrierte Schallschutz-Gesamtlösung“ entlang der Trasse von Autobahnring, Ringbahn und Güter-Innenring in Schöneberg und Friedenau ein. Nun bleibt alles, wie es ist.

    #Berlin #Stadtentwicklung #Verkehr #Bahn #Lärm #Umweltschutz


  • Bahrain strikes biggest oilfield since 1932, dwarfing current reser...
    https://diasp.eu/p/6958749

    Bahrain strikes biggest oilfield since 1932, dwarfing current reserves

    Source: South China Morning Post [Hong Kong]

    “Bahrain has discovered its biggest oilfield in more than 80 years. The ‘highly significant’ oil and deep gas resource is thought to dwarf the Gulf kingdom’s current reserves, according to an official announcement on Sunday. It is located in the Khaleej al-Bahrain basin, located off the country’s west coast.” (04/02/18)

    http://www.scmp.com/news/world/middle-east/article/2139899/bahrain-strikes-biggest-oilfield-1932-dwarfing-current

    #bahrain #oil Originally posted at: http://rationalreview.com/archives/292169



  • Falsches Signal - Wie die Bahn beim Güterverkehr versagt
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KaSeJkA9g0U


    Fähren, Taxi, Bus, Bahn und vielleicht die eine oder andere Seilbahn sind Teil der öffentlichen Daseinsvorsorge in Deutschand. Sie alle werden seit über dreißig Jahren Schritt für Schritt zurückgefahren, behindert, amputiert. Die Bahn steht unter besonders schwerem Beschuß. Sie war schon vor der Weimarer Republik Eigentum aller Deutschen, denn es hatte sich gezeigt, dass die enorme Anstrengung für Aufbau und Unterhalt ihrer Infrastruktur und ihres Betriebs von Privaten nicht zu bewältigen war. Ihr riesiger Wert wird heute geplündert um Steuersenkungen zu finanzieren, um der sakrosankten unsichtbaren Hand aller Absurdität zum Trotz doch noch zum Erfolg zu verhelfen.

    Dieser Film legt ein kleines Stück des Wegs zurück, der zum Verständnis von Mechanismen und Ursachen führt.

    Kommentar von Nils Endjer

    Wenn Mercedes und Co Güterwagen herstellen würden, wäre jeder Tante-Emma Laden mit eigenem Gleisanschluss versehen. So zieht man jedoch jeden Euro aus dem Bahn-Netz. Viele Gelände werden nicht stillgelegt, weil sie zu unwirtschaftlich sind, sondern weil man beim Verkauf des Geländes / der Immobilie schnell Geld machen kann um es dann den Aktionären hinten rein zu schieben.
    Man kann viele Mängel befunden, aber es wird einem keine Zeit sowie Material zur Verfügung gestellt, um selbige zu beheben. Lieber aufschieben, damit in dem aktuellen Jahr die Ausgaben gering und der Umsatz hoch ist. Im nächsten Jahr Druck von oben nach unten geben warum denn jetzt die Weiche, das Stellwerk, der Bü total ausgefallen ist. Dabei hätten teilweise schon einige hundert Euro und ein Paar Arbeitsstunden gereicht, dann wäre es nie sowei gekommen.

    #Bahn #Verkehr #ÖPNV #Deutschland #Schweiz


  • Bahrain faith group visits Israel amid Jerusalem tensions
    https://apnews.com/bba695f5b71546ba907d78e1b03dd1a0

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — An interfaith group from Bahrain is visiting Israel amid turmoil there over U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital, angering some in the island nation who support the Palestinians.

    The group’s trip comes after two U.S.-based rabbis have said that Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa thinks that the longtime boycott of Israel by Arab countries should end.

    While organizers repeatedly described the trip as nonpolitical and unrelated to its government’s policies, the timing comes as Bahrain increasingly looks like the test case for other Gulf Arab nations in seeing what could happen if they recognize #Israel.

    #Bahrein #normalisation



  • Reporter Sans Frontières Suisse demande d’annuler une conférence sur les casques blancs

    Guy Mettan sommé d’annuler une conférence

    Genève : RSF demande au président du Club suisse de la presse d’annuler une conférence sur les Casques blancs.

    Le Club suisse de la presse doit accueillir mardi une conférence de presse consacrée aux Casques blancs syriens. Un sujet sensible. Plusieurs fois récompensée pour son action sur le terrain au profit des populations civiles, l’ONG reste dans le collimateur des autorités syriennes et de son allié russe. Damas et Moscou n’ont eu de cesse de dénoncer la proximité de cette organisation crée par un ancien officier britannique avec les « rebelles syriens ». Sous le titre « They don’t care about us » (Ils ne se soucient pas de nous. Casques blancs, leur véritable agenda), la conférence organisée lundi annonce la couleur. Ce qui n’est pas du goût de tout le monde.

    Dans un courrier adressé jeudi au Club Suisse de la presse (lire ci-contre), Gérard Tschopp et Christiane Dubois, respectivement président et directrice de Reporters sans frontières (RSF) en Suisse, pressent son directeur, Guy Mettan, de renoncer à l’organisation de cette conférence de presse qui, selon eux, porterait « atteinte à l’image du Club suisse de la presse ». Ils menacent de s’en retirer si la conférence n’est pas annulée. Ils accusent deux des intervenants – Vanessa Beeley et Marcello Ferranda De Noli, président de Swedish Doctors for Human Rights – d’être au service de « la propagande russe ».

    RSF, qui figure dans la liste des membres médias du Club suisse la presse, refuse d’être associé à un tel événement. Joint par téléphone, Guy Mettan avoue tomber de sa chaise (lire sa réponse intégrale ci-contre). « Je n’ai jamais vu une chose pareille, soupire le président. Voilà qu’une organisation qui défend la liberté d’informer me demande de censurer une conférence de presse. »

    Guy Mettan, qui a souvent été « attaqué » pour ses engagements « prorusse », assure qu’il s’est toujours employé à donner la parole à tout le monde. « D’habitude, les pressions pour faire annuler des conférences de presse viennent de pays qui sont connus pour être des dictatures. La démarche de RSF me stupéfait. C’est prendre les journalistes pour des imbéciles. Comme s’ils n’étaient pas capables de se faire une opinion par eux-mêmes. »

    TDG : https://www.tdg.ch/geneve/actu-genevoise/Guy-Mettan-somme-d-annuler-une-conference/story/14091151

    La lettre de RSF adressée à Guy Mettan

    Genève, le 23 novembre 2017,

    Monsieur le Directeur, cher Monsieur,

    Nous avons eu connaissance de l’événement organisé par le Club suisse de la Presse le 28 novembre prochain : « They don’t care about us ». About white helmets true agenda. » Nous avons également été interpellés sur notre « soutien » à cette conférence, le nom de notre organisation apparaissant dans la liste des membres médias.

    Nous nous dissocions totalement de cet événement et ne souhaitons en aucune manière être associés à une conférence qui accueille une soi-disant journaliste, Madame Vanessa Beeley,qui justifie l’utilisation dela torture par lerégime syrien afin de le préserver.Quand bien même elle n’a jamais été publiée dans un média indépendant, il est étonnant qu’elle soit référencée au moins deux cents fois dans les médias russes de propagande (SputnikNews, Russia Today).

    De plus, il est pour le moins inacceptable d’inviter Monsieur Marcello Ferranda De Noli, président de Swedish Doctors for Human Rights, une association qui, selon nos informations, agit comme un outil de propagande russe. Il est probable que vous n’avez pas eu connaissance de ces éléments d’information, nous tenons le cas échéant les liens utilesà cet effet.

    Quoi qu’il en soit, nous vous invitons à renoncer à ce projet qui portera atteinte à l’image du Club suisse de la Presse. Selon votre décision, nous nous réservons l’opportunité d’étudier de conserver notre carte de membre.

    Dans l’attente de vos nouvelles, nous vous adressons, Monsieur le Directeur, cher Monsieur, nos salutations les meilleures,

    Gérard Tschopp et Christiane Dubois

    La réponse de Guy Mettan à RSF

    Chère Madame, Cher Monsieur,

    J’ai bien reçu votre courrier qui a retenu toute mon attention.

    En ma qualité de membre fondateur de Reporters sans frontières aux côtés de François Gross dans les années 1980, je dois avouer que j’ai été atterré par sa teneur. Je peux comprendre que le fait de donner la parole à des voix dissidentes puisse susciter de la réprobation. Mais de là à exiger l’annulation de cette conférence de presse, il y a un pas dont je n’aurais jamais pensé que vous puissiez le franchir.

    D’une part, cela me semble une atteinte grave à la liberté d’expression et en totale contradiction avec la « liberté d’informer et d’être informé partout dans le monde » que RSF prétend défendre dans sa charte et qui figure en toutes lettres sur votre papier à en-tête. Cela reviendrait ensuite à prendre les journalistes et les rédacteurs en chef pour des imbéciles incapables d’analyser les faits et les arguments qu’on leur présente et de se forger une opinion par eux-mêmes.

    Par ailleurs, depuis 20 ans que j’exerce mes fonctions au Club suisse de la presse, j’ai toujours été soumis à des pressions afin d’empêcher des gens de s’exprimer. Mais jusqu’ici ces pressions sont toujours venues de régimes autoritaires ou dictatoriaux, tels que la Chine, l’Arabie saoudite, l’Egypte ou le Bahrein. C’est la première fois qu’une organisation de défense des journalistes d’un pays démocratique m’adresse une telle demande. Il va sans dire que je ne peux y donner suite. Ce serait déshonorer un métier qui, je l’espère, est toujours le vôtre.

    Plutôt que de pratiquer la censure, je ne peux donc que vous proposer de participer à cette conférence de presse, comme je l’ai d’ailleurs suggéré aux partisans des Casques blancs, et de poser les questions que vous jugerez utiles aux intervenants. Pour ma part, fidèle à l’esprit d’ouverture et de recherche de la vérité qui caractérise le Club suisse de la presse depuis sa fondation, je suis naturellement prêt à accueillir une rencontre de presse avec les organisations qui soutiennent les Casques blancs afin qu’ils puissent faire valoir leur point de vue. Mais ils n’y ont pas donné suite pour l’instant.

    Vous me permettrez de ne pas vous répondre en ce qui concerne les attaques personnelles que vous avez adressées à notre consœur Vanessa Beeley et à M. De Noli. Elles sont indignes du journalisme.

    Enfin, je vous transmets par courrier séparé quelques-uns des innombrables messages de soutien que je reçois d’un peu partout dans le monde et qui me confortent dans la conviction que la liberté d’expression est désormais davantage menacée chez nous que chez les « autocrates » que vous prétendez dénoncer.

    Avec mes messages confraternels

    Guy Mettan

    Source : Les Crises : https://www.les-crises.fr/rsf-suisse-demande-dannuler-une-conference-sur-les-casques-blancs

    #RSF #presse #Suisse #casques_blancs #Syrie #censure #Démocratie #Club_suisse_de_la_presse #Russie #dictature #Guy_Mettan #Journalistes #gérard_tschopp #christiane_dubois #Chine, #Arabie_saoudite #Egypte #Bahrein #Liberté_d’expression


    • Le milliardaire Rybolovlev maintient sa plainte contre Yves Bouvier RTS - kkub avec ats - 17 Novembre 2017
      http://www.rts.ch/info/culture/9095530-le-milliardaire-rybolovlev-maintient-sa-plainte-contre-yves-bouvier.html

      Le milliardaire russe Dmitri Rybolovlev, qui vient de vendre un tableau de Léonard de Vinci pour un montant record, maintient sa plainte contre le marchand d’art genevois Yves Bouvier, qu’il accuse d’escroquerie.

      Le « Salvator Mundi » de Léonard de Vinci a été vendu mercredi à New York pour 450,3 millions de dollars (445,4 millions de francs), devenant ainsi la toile la plus chère du monde.


      L’oligarque russe Dmitri Rybolovlev, président du club de football de l’AS Monaco, avait acquis la toile en 2013 pour 127,5 millions de dollars auprès du marchand d’art suisse Yves Bouvier, qui l’avait lui-même acheté peu de temps avant pour 80 millions de dollars.

      « Tromperies et stratagèmes »
      Le milliardaire estime avoir été floué par le Genevois, qui lui avait procuré toute sa collection. Il l’accuse d’avoir empoché une plus-value cachée exorbitante de 47,5 millions de dollars sur cette peinture, au lieu d’une commission. Au total, il chiffre son préjudice à un milliard de dollars.

      Après la vente de mercredi, les avocats d’Yves Bouvier avaient immédiatement jugé que la plainte déposée en 2015 par Dmitri Rybolovlev était désormais sans fondement.

      La défense de l’oligarque, au contraire, continue de reprocher au marchand d’art ses « manoeuvres frauduleuses, tromperies et stratagèmes répétés » autour de l’achat de 38 oeuvres en dix ans.

      #Suisse #Monaco #marchand_d_Art trés #gros_sous

    • Inculpé à Monaco, le marchand d’art genevois assume « ses plus-values » RTS - agences/sbad - 06 mars 2015
      http://www.rts.ch/info/regions/geneve/6596639-inculpe-a-monaco-le-marchand-d-art-genevois-assume-ses-plus-values-.html

      Le Genevois arrêté est l’actionnaire majoritaire des Ports francs de Genève.

      Le plus grand locataire des Ports Francs à Genève, mis en examen par la justice monégasque pour « escroqueries » et « complicité de blanchiment », donne sa vision de l’affaire dans le journal Le Temps.

      Libéré après avoir été obligé de verser une caution de 10 millions d’euros, le plus grand locataire des Ports Francs à Genève se déclare dans Le Temps de vendredi « totalement confiant » quant à la suite de la procédure.

      L’homme est accusé par l’oligarque russe Dmitri Rybolovlev d’avoir surfacturé des toiles de maîtres qu’il lui achetait.


      Rybolovlev au courant
      « J’assume parfaitement avoir fait des plus-values, c’est légal et je vous assure que Dmitri Rybolovlev le savait très bien », ajoute l’entrepreneur suisse. Il explique avoir agi comme « marchand d’art » et non pas comme « courtier en art » quand il a vendu de nombreux tableaux de maître au milliardaire, qui réside à Monaco.

      En tant que « marchand d’art », il peut fixer librement selon lui sa marge, alors que s’il avait agi en tant que « courtier » entre un acheteur et un vendeur, sa rémunération est fixée par un pourcentage sur le prix.

      Selon l’homme d’affaires, il avait d’abord acheté les tableaux, avant de les revendre à l’oligarque.

      Une quarantaine d’oeuvres vendues pour 2 milliards
      Selon le journal Le Temps, « en dix ans, le marchand d’art a vendu à Dmitri Rybolovlev une quarantaine d’oeuvres majeures pour une valeur totale d’environ 2 milliards de francs suisses ».

      La collection constituée est digne d’un musée, avec des tableaux de Picasso, Modigliani, Rothko, Klimt, Magritte, Toulouse-Lautrec.

      La plainte concerne la vente de deux tableaux, le Salvador Mundi attribué à Léonard de Vinci et le Nu au coussin bleu de Modigliani, selon Le Temps qui a pu la consulter.

      #Ports_francs #Genève #courtier #tableaux

    • Tentative d’évasion (fiscale) Monique Pinçon-Charlot, Michel Pinçon et David Leloup -
      Emission REGARDS - Ajoutée le 27 oct. 2016 _

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQEGkqWR01Q

      Plus forts que les #Panama_Papers et les #Bahamas_Leaks ! Dans cette nouvelle émission « Regards », Monique #Pinçon-Charlot, Michel Pinçon et David Leloup démontent les rouages de l’évasion fiscale et ses enjeux politiques. Depuis les plages paradisiaques des #îles_Caïman jusqu’au cœur de nos Etats où s’organise la fraude à grande échelle, ils mettent en lumière le cynisme et la cupidité des plus riches, mobilisés pour accumuler toujours plus d’argent... sur le dos des peuples. Rencontre avec Monique et Michel Pinçon-Charlot, sociologues, autour de leur nouveau livre, « Tentative d’évasion (fiscale) », paru aux Editions Zones-La Découverte, et David Leloup, journaliste indépendant et réalisateur du film « L’homme qui voulait détruire le secret bancaire » (A Leak in Paradise).

      #évasion_fiscale


  • #Maroc : le #PopCorn a explosé sous #François_Hollande
    https://reflets.info/maroc-le-popcorn-a-explose-sous-francois-hollande

    Le 8 mai 2015, quelques médias marocains évoquaient une plainte du ministère de l’Intérieur qui allait être déposée afin d’identifier et punir plusieurs militants et journalistes. Ceux-ci avaient déclaré que le Maroc avait acheté un […]

    #Bienvenue_chez_Amesys #Monde #Abu_Dhabi #Amesys #Arabie_Saoudite #Bahreïn #Eagle #Jordanie #Lawful_Interception #Nexa #Qatar #Wassenaar



  • « À #Bahreïn, l’absence de #droits_humains balise le chemin d’une montée de la violence »
    https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/international/231017/bahrein-l-absence-de-droits-humains-balise-le-chemin-d-une-montee-de-la-vi

    Le cheikh #Maytham_al-Salman posant devant une plaque en hommage au jeune Tunisien qui a involontairement déclenché les #printemps_arabes de 2011, dans les locaux de la FIDH à Paris © Thomas Cantaloube Depuis le soulèvement de 2011, le micro-État de Bahreïn a disparu des écrans radars. Pourtant, la situation des droits humains ne fait que s’y détériorer. Maytham al-Salman, directeur de l’ONG Bahrain InterFaithn, en appelle à la pression de l’Occident pour faire changer les choses.

    #International #Arabie_Saoudite #chiites #démocratie #Droits_de_l'homme #printemps_arabe


    • Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa denounces the Arab boycott of Israel and allows the subjects of his kingdom in the Gulf to visit Israel freely.

      (...)

      In recent years, Bahrain has begun to slowly externalize its relations with Israel. Khedouri recently met Israeli Transportation and Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz at a conference of the World Jewish Congress, and the two were even seen in public together.

      Meanwhile, most of Bahrain’s pro-Israel activity takes place through the heads of the Jewish community in the United States, in order to stay close to Washington and earn points in the White House. Qatar is also very active in this sphere, as the country is under a Sunni blockade in the Middle East.

      Al-Monitor learned that the government in Bahrain recently contacted high-ranking officials in Israel with the suggestion to institutionalize mutual visits and trade between the two countries.

      #Bahrain #israel #Normalisation


  • You Can’t Go Home Again, by Thomas Wolfe : 44. The Way of no Return
    https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/w/wolfe/thomas/you-cant-go-home-again/chapter44.html

    “Well,” said Adamowski, turning to George, “I think this is a sad end to our journey.”
    George nodded but said nothing. Then they all went back into their compartment and took their former seats.
    But it seemed strange and empty now. The ghost of absence sat there ruinously. The little man had left his coat and hat; in his anguish he had forgotten them. Adamowski rose and took them; and would have given them to the conductor, but the woman said:
    “You’d better look into the pockets first. There may be something in them. Perhaps”— quickly, eagerly, as the idea took her —“perhaps he has left money there,” she whispered.
    Adamowski searched the pockets. There was nothing of any value in them. He shook his head. The woman began to search the cushions of the seats, thrusting her hands down around the sides.
    “It might just be, you know,” she said, “that he hid money here.” She laughed excitedly, almost gleefully. “Perhaps we’ll all be rich!”
    The young Pole shook his head. “I think they would have found it if he had.” He paused, peered out of the window, and thrust his his hand into his pocket. “I suppose we’re in Belgium now,” he said. “Here’s your money.” And he returned to her the twenty-three marks she had given him.
    She took the money and put it in her purse. George still had the little man’s ten marks in his hand and was looking at them. The woman glanced up, saw his face, then said quickly, warmly: “But you’re upset about this thing! You look so troubled.”
    George put the money away. Then he said:
    “I feel exactly as if I had blood-money in my pocket.”
    “No,” she said. She leaned over, smiling, and put her hand reassuringly upon his arm. “Not blood-money — Jew-money!” she whispered. “Don’t worry about it. He had plenty more!” George’s eyes met Adamowski’s. Both were grave.
    “This is a sad ending to our trip,” Adamowski said again, in a low voice, almost to himself.
    The woman tried to talk them out of their depression, to talk herself into forgetfulness. She made an effort to laugh and joke.
    “These Jews!” she cried. “Such things would never happen if it were not for them! They make all the trouble. Germany has had to protect herself. The Jews were taking all the money from the country. Thousands of them escaped, taking millions of marks with them. And now, when it’s too late, we wake up to it! It’s too bad that foreigners must see these things — that they’ve got to go through these painful experiences — it makes a bad impression. They don’t understand the reason. But it’s the Jews!” she whispered.
    The others said nothing, and the woman went on talking, eagerly, excitedly, earnestly, persuasively. But it was as if she were trying to convince herself, as if every instinct of race and loyalty were now being used in an effort to excuse or justify something that had filled her with sorrow and deep shame. For even as she talked and laughed, her clear blue eyes were sad and full of trouble. And at length she gave it up and stopped. There was a heavy silence. Then, gravely, quietly, the woman said:
    “He must have wanted very badly to escape.”
    They remembered, then, all that he had said and done throughout the journey. They recalled how nervous he had been, how he had kept opening and shutting the door, how he had kept getting up to pace along the corridor. They spoke of the suspicion and distrust with which he had peered round at them when he first came in, and of the eagerness with which he had asked Adamowski to change places with him when the Pole had got up to go into the dining-car with George. They recalled his explanations about the ticket, about having to buy passage from the frontier to Paris. All of these things, every act and word and gesture of the little man, which they had dismissed at the time as trivial or as evidence simply of an irascible temper, now became invested with a new and terrible meaning.
    “But the ten marks!” the woman cried at length, turning to George. “Since he had all this other money, why, in God’s name, did he give ten marks to you? It was so stupid!” she exclaimed in an exasperated tone. “There was no reason for it!”
    Certainly they could find no reason, unless he had done it to divert suspicion from their minds about his true intent. This was Adamowski’s theory, and it seemed to satisfy the woman. But George thought it more likely that the little man was in such a desperate state of nervous frenzy and apprehension that he had lost the power to reason clearly and had acted blindly, wildly, on the impulse of the moment. But they did not know. And now they would never find out the answer.
    George was still worried about getting the man’s ten marks returned to him. The woman said that she had given the man her name and her address in Paris, and that if he were later allowed to complete his journey he could find her there. George then gave her his own address in Paris and asked her to inform the man where he was if she should hear from him. She promised, but they all knew that she would never hear from him again.
    Late afternoon had come. The country had closed in around them. The train was winding through a pleasant, romantic landscape of hills and woods. In the slant of evening and the waning light there was a sense of deep, impenetrable forest and of cool, darkling waters.
    They had long since passed the frontier, but the woman, who had been looking musingly and a little anxiously out of the window, hailed the conductor as he passed along the corridor and asked him if they were really in Belgium now. He assured her that they were. Adamowski gave him the little man’s hat and coat, and explained the reason. The conductor nodded, took them, and departed.
    The woman had her hand upon her breast, and now when the conductor had gone she sighed slowly with relief. Then, quietly and simply, she said:
    “Do not misunderstand me. I am a German and I love my country. But — I feel as if a weight has lifted from me here.” She put her hand upon her breast again. “You cannot understand, perhaps, just how it feels to us, but —” and for a moment she was silent, as if painfully meditating what she wished to say. Then, quickly, quietly: “We are so happy to be-out!”
    Out? Yes, that was it. Suddenly George knew just how she felt. He, too, was “out” who was a stranger to her land, and yet who never had been a stranger in it. He, too, was “out” of that great country whose image had been engraved upon his spirit in childhood and youth, before he had ever seen it. He, too, was “out” of that land which had been so much more to him than land, so much more than place. It had been a geography of heart’s desire, an unfathomed domain of unknown inheritance. The haunting beauty of that magic land had been his soul’s dark wonder. He had known the language of its spirit before he ever came to it, had understood the language of its tongue the moment he had heard it spoken. He had framed the accents of its speech most brokenly from that first hour, yet never with a moment’s trouble, strangeness, or lack of comprehension. He bad been at home in it, and it in him. It seemed that he had been born with this knowledge.
    He had known wonder in this land, truth and magic in it, sorrow, loneliness, and pain in it. He had known love in it, and for the first time in his life he had tasted there the bright, delusive sacraments of fame. Therefore it was no foreign land to him. It was the other part of his heart’s home, a haunted part of dark desire, a magic domain of fulfilment. It was the dark, lost Helen that had been forever burning in his blood — the dark, lost Helen he had found.
    And now it was the dark, found Helen he had lost. And he knew now, as he had never known before, the priceless measure of his loss. He knew also the priceless measure of his gain. For this was the way that henceforth would be forever closed to him — the way of no return. He was “out”. And, being “out”, he began to see another way, the way that lay before him. He saw now that you can’t go home again — not ever. There was no road back. Ended now for him, with the sharp and clean finality of the closing of a door, was the time when his dark roots, like those of a pot-bound plant, could be left to feed upon their own substance and nourish their own little self-absorbed designs. Henceforth they must spread outward — away from the hidden, secret, and unfathomed past that holds man’s spirit prisoner — outward, outward towards the rich and life-giving soil of a new freedom in the wide world of all humanity. And there came to him a vision of man’s true home, beyond the ominous and cloud-engulfed horizon of the here and now, in the green and hopeful and still-virgin meadows of the future.
    “Therefore,” he thought, “old master, wizard Faust, old father of the ancient and swarm-haunted mind of man, old earth, old German land with all the measure of your truth, your glory, beauty, magic, and your ruin; and dark Helen burning in our blood, great queen and mistress, sorceress — dark land, dark land, old ancient earth I love — farewell!”

    #Deutschand #Berlin #Geschichte #Nazis #Rassegesetze #Juden #Literatur #Bahnhof_Zoo #Kurfürstendamm #Charlottenburg


  • You Can’t Go Home Again, by Thomas Wolfe : 43. The Capture
    https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/w/wolfe/thomas/you-cant-go-home-again/chapter43.html

    Adamowski and George stepped out on the platform together and walked forward to inspect the locomotive. The German engine, which had here reached the end of its journey and would soon be supplanted by its Belgian successor, was a magnificent machine of tremendous power and weight, almost as big as one of the great American engines. It was beautifully streamlined for high velocity, and its tender was a wonderful affair, different from any other that George had ever seen. It seemed to be a honeycomb of pipes. One looked in through some slanting bars and saw a fountainlike display composed of thousands of tiny little jets of steaming water. Every line of this intricate and marvellous apparatus bore evidence of the organising skill and engineering genius that had created it.
    Knowing how important are the hairline moments of transition, how vivid, swift, and fugitive are the poignant first impressions when a traveller changes from one country to another, from one people to another, from one standard of conduct and activity to another, George waited with intense interest for the approach of the Belgian locomotive in order to see what it might indicate of the differences between the powerful, solid, and indomitable race they were leaving and the little people whose country they were now about to enter.
    While Adamowski and George were engaged in observations and speculations on this subject, their own coach and another, which was also destined for Paris, were detached from the German train and shifted to a string of coaches on the opposite side of the platform. They were about to hasten back when a guard informed them that they still had ample time, and that the train was not scheduled to depart for another five minutes. So they waited a little longer, and Adamowski remarked that it was a pitiful evidence of the state Europe was in that a crack train between the two greatest cities on the Continent should be carrying only two through coaches, and these not even filled.
    But the Belgian locomotive still did not come, and now, glancing up at the station clock, they saw that the moment for departure had arrived. Fearful of being left behind if they waited any longer, they started back along the platform. They found the little blonde-haired lady and, flanking her on each side, they hastened towards their coach and their own compartment.
    As they approached, it was evident that something had happened. There were no signs of departure. The conductor and the station guard stood together on the platform. No warning signal had been given. When they came alongside of their car, people were clustered in the corridor, and something in the way they stood indicated a subdued tension, a sense of crisis, that made George’s pulse beat quicker.
    George had observed this same phenomenon several times before in the course of his life and he knew the signs. A man has leaped or fallen, for example, from a high building to the pavement of a city street; or a man has been shot or struck by a motor-car, and now lies dying quietly before the eyes of other men — and always the manifestation of the crowd is just the same. Even before you see the faces of the people, something about their backs, their posture, the position of their heads and shoulders tells you what has happened. You do not know, of course, the precise circumstances, but you sense immediately the final stage of tragedy. You know that someone has just died or is dying. And in the terrible eloquence of backs and shoulders, the feeding silence of the watching men, you also sense another tragedy which ‘is even deeper. This is the tragedy of man’s cruelty and his lust for pain — the tragic weakness which corrupts him, which he loathes, but which he cannot cure. As a child, George had seen it on the faces of men standing before the window of a shabby little undertaker’s place, looking at the bloody, riddled carcass of a negro which the mob had caught and killed. Again, as a boy of fourteen, he had seen it on the faces of men and women at a dance, as they watched a fight in which one man beat another man to death.
    And now, here it was again. As George and his two companions hastened along beside the train and saw the people gathered in the corridor in that same feeding posture, waiting, watching, in that same deadly fascinated silence, he was sure that once again he was about to witness death.
    That was the first thought that came to him — and it came also, instantaneously, without a word of communication between them, to Adamowski and the little blonde woman — the thought that someone had died. But as they started to get on the train, what suddenly stunned them and stopped them short, appalled, was the realisation that the tragedy, whatever it was, had happened in their own compartment. The shades were tightly drawn, the door closed and locked, the whole place sealed impenetrably. They stared in silence, rooted to the platform. Then they saw the woman’s young companion standing at the window in the corridor. He motioned to them quickly, stealthily, a gesture warning them to remain where they were. And as he did so it flashed over all three of them that the victim of this tragic visitation must be the nervous little man who had been the companion of their voyage since morning. The stillness of the scene and the shuttered blankness of that closed compartment were horrible. They all felt sure that this little man who had begun by being so disagreeable, but who had gradually come out of his shell and become their friend, and to whom they had all been talking only fifteen minutes before, had died, and that authority and the law were now enclosed there with his body in the official ceremony that society demands.
    Even as they stared appalled and horror-stricken at that fatally curtained compartment, the lock clicked sharply, the door was opened and closed quickly, and an official came out. He was a burly fellow in a visored cap and a jacket of olive green — a man of forty-five or more with high, blunt cheek-bones, a florid face, and tawny moustaches combed out sprouting in the Kaiser Wilhelm way. His head was shaven, and there were thick creases at the base of his skull and across his fleshy neck. He came out, climbed down clumsily to the platform, signalled and called excitedly to another officer, and climbed back into the train again.
    He belonged to a familiar and well-known type, one which George had seen and smiled at often, but one which now became, under these ominous and unknown circumstances, sinisterly unpleasant. The man’s very weight and clumsiness, the awkward way he got down from the train and climbed up again, the thickness of his waist, the width and coarseness of his lumbering buttocks, the way his sprouting moustaches quivered with passion and authority, the sound of his guttural voice as he shouted to his fellow-officer, his puffing, panting air of official indignation — all these symptoms which ran true to type now became somehow loathsome and repellent. All of a sudden, without knowing why, George felt himself trembling with a murderous and incomprehensible anger. He wanted to smash that fat neck with the creases in it. He wanted to pound that inflamed and blunted face into a jelly. He wanted to kick square and hard, bury his foot dead centre in the obscene fleshiness of those lumbering buttocks. Like all Americans, he had never liked the police and the kind of personal authority that is sanctified in them. But his present feeling, with its murderous rage, was a good deal more than that. For he knew that he was helpless, that all of them were, and he felt impotent, shackled, unable to stir against the walls of an unreasonable but unshakable authority.
    The official with the sprouting moustaches, accompanied by the colleague he had summoned, opened the curtained door of the compartment again, and now George saw that two other officers were inside. And the nervous little man who had been their companion — no, he was not dead! — he sat all huddled up, facing them. His face was white and pasty. It looked greasy, as if it were covered with a salve of cold, fat sweat. Under his long nose his mouth was trembling in a horrible attempt at a smile. And in the very posture of the two men as they bent over him and questioned him there was something revolting and unclean.
    But the official with the thick, creased neck had now filled the door and blotted out the picture. He went in quickly, followed by his colleague. The door closed behind them, and again there was nothing but the drawn curtains and that ill-omened secrecy.
    All the people who had gathered round had got this momentary glimpse and had simply looked on with stupefied surprise. Now those who stood in the corridor of the train began to whisper to one another. The little blonde woman went over and carried on a whispered conversation with the young man and several other people who were standing at the open window. After conferring with them with subdued but growing excitement for a minute or two, she came back, took George and Adamowski by the arm, and whispered:
    “Come over here. There is something I want to tell you.”
    She led them across the platform, out of hearing. Then, as both of the men said in lowered voices: “What is it?”— she looked round cautiously and whispered:
    “That man — the one in our compartment — he was trying to get out of the country — and they’ve caught him!”
    “But why? What for? What has he done?” they asked, bewildered.
    Again she glanced back cautiously and, drawing them together till their three heads were almost touching, she said in a secretive whisper that was full of awe and fright:
    “They say he is a Jew! And they found money on him! They searched him — they searched his baggage — he was taking money out!”
    “How much?” asked Adamowski.
    “I don’t know,” she whispered. “A great deal, I think. A hundred thousand marks, some say. Anyhow, they found it!”
    “But how?” George began. “I thought everything was finished. I thought they were done with all of us when they went through the train.”
    “Yes,” she said. “But don’t you remember something about the ticket? He said something about not having a ticket the whole way. I suppose he thought it would be safer — wouldn’t arouse suspicion in Berlin if he bought a ticket only to Aachen. So he got off the train here to buy his ticket for Paris — and that’s when they caught him!” she whispered. “They must had have their eye on him! They must have suspected him! That’s why they didn’t question him when they came through the train!” George remembered now that “they” had not. “But they were watching for him, and they caught him here!” she went on. “They asked him where he was going, and he said to Paris. They asked him how much money he was taking out. He said ten marks. Then they asked him how long he was going to remain in Paris, and for what purpose, and he said he was going to be there a week, attending this congress of lawyers that he spoke about. They asked him, then, how he proposed to stay in Paris a week if all he had was ten marks. And I think,” she whispered, “that that’s where he got frightened! He began to lose his head! He said he had twenty marks besides, which he had put into another pocket and forgotten. And then, of course, they had him! They searched him! They searched his baggage! And they found more”— she whispered in an awed tone —“much, much more!”
    They all stared at one another, too stunned to say a word. Then the woman laughed in a low, frightened sort of way, a little, uncertain: “O-hoh-hoh-hoh-hoh,” ending on a note of incredulity.
    “This man”— she whispered again —“this little Jew ——”.
    “I didn’t know he was a Jew,” George said. “I should not have thought so.”
    “But he is!” she whispered, and looked stealthily round again to see if they were being overheard or watched. “And he was doing what so many of the others have done — he was trying to get out with his money!” Again she laughed, the uncertain little “Hohhoh-hoh” that mounted to incredulous amazement. Yet George saw that her eyes were troubled, too.
    All of a sudden George felt sick, empty, nauseated. Turning half away, he thrust his hands into his pockets — and drew them out as though his fingers had been burned. The man’s money — he still had it! Deliberately, now, he put his hand into his pocket again and felt the five two-mark pieces. The coins seemed greasy, as if they were covered with sweat. George took them out and closed them in his fist and started across the platform towards the train. The woman seized him by the arm.
    “Where are you going?” she gasped. “What are you going to do?”
    “I’m going to give the man his money. I won’t see him again. I can’t keep it.”
    Her face went white. “Are you mad?” she whispered. “Don’t you know that that will do no good? You’ll only get yourself arrested! And, as for him — he’s in trouble enough already. You’ll only make it so much worse for him. And besides,” she faltered, “God knows what he has done, what he has said already. If he has lost his head completely — if he has told that we have transferred money to one another — we’ll all be in for it!”
    They had not thought of this. And as they realised the possible consequences of their good intentions, they just stood there, all three, and stared helplessly at one another. They just stood there, feeling dazed and weak and hollow. They just stood there and prayed.
    And now the officers were coming out of the compartment. The curtained door opened again, and the fellow with the sprouting moustaches emerged, carrying the little man’s valise. He clambered down clumsily onto the platform and set the valise on the floor between his feet. He looked round. It seemed to George and the others that he glared at them. They just stood still and hardly dared to breathe. They thought they were in for it, and expected now to see all of their own baggage come out.
    But in a moment the other three officials came through the door of the compartment with the little man between them. They stepped down to the platform and marched him along, white as a sheet, grease standing out in beads all over his face, protesting volubly in a voice that had a kind of anguished lilt in it. He came right by the others as they stood there. The man’s money sweated in George’s hand, and he did not know what to do. He made a movement with his arm and started to speak to him. At the same time he was hoping desperately that the man would not speak. George tried to look away from him, but could not. The little man came towards them, protesting with every breath that the whole thing could be explained, that it was an absurd mistake. For just the flick of an instant as he passed the others he stopped talking, glanced at them, white-faced, still smiling his horrible little forced smile of terror; for just a moment his eyes rested on them, and then, without a sign of recognition, without betraying them, without giving any indication that he knew them, he went on by.
    George heard the woman at his side sigh faintly and felt her body slump against him. They all felt weak, drained of their last energies. Then they walked slowly across the platform and got into the train.
    The evil tension had been snapped now. People were talking feverishly, still in low tones but with obvious released excitement. The little blonde woman leaned from the window of the corridor and spoke to the fellow with the sprouting moustaches, who was still standing there.
    “You — you’re not going to let him go?” she asked hesitantly, almost in a whisper. “Are — are you going to keep him here?”
    He looked at her stolidly. Then a slow, intolerable smile broke across his brutal features. He nodded his head deliberately, with the finality of a gluttonous and full-fed satisfaction:
    “Ja,” he said. “Er bleibt.” And, shaking his head ever so slightly from side to side: “Geht nicht!” he said.
    They had him. Far down the platform the passengers heard the shrill, sudden fife of the Belgian engine whistle. The guard cried warning. All up and down the train the doors were slammed. Slowly the train began to move. At a creeping pace it rolled right past the little man. They had him, all right. The officers surrounded him. He stood among them, still protesting, talking with his hands now. And the men in uniform said nothing. They had no need to speak. They had him. They just stood and watched him, each with a faint suggestion of that intolerable slow smile upon his face. They raised their eyes and looked at the passengers as the train rolled past, and the line of travellers standing in the corridors looked back at them and caught the obscene and insolent communication in their glance and in that intolerable slow smile.
    And the little man — he, too, paused once from his feverish effort to explain. As the car in which he had been riding slid by, he lifted his pasty face and terror-stricken eyes, and for a moment his lips were stilled of their anxious pleading. He looked once, directly and steadfastly, at his former companions, and they at him. And in that gaze there was all the unmeasured weight of man’s mortal anguish. George and the others felt somehow naked and ashamed, and somehow guilty. They all felt that they were saying farewell, not to a man, but to humanity; not to some pathetic stranger, some chance acquaintance of the voyage, but to mankind; not to some nameless cipher out of life, but to the fading image of a brother’s face.
    The train swept out and gathered speed — and so they lost him:

    #Deutschand #Berlin #Geschichte #Nazis #Rassegesetze #Juden #Literatur #Bahnhof_Zoo #Kurfürstendamm #Charlottenburg


  • You Can’t Go Home Again, by Thomas Wolfe : 42. The Family of Earth
    https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/w/wolfe/thomas/you-cant-go-home-again/chapter42.html

    The woman smiled at them as they came in, and all three of their 1 fellow-passengers looked at them in a way that showed wakened curiosity and increased interest. It was evident that George and Adamowski had themselves been subjects of speculation during their absence.
    Adamowski now spoke to the others. His German was not very good but it was coherent, and his deficiencies did not bother him at all. He was so self-assured, so confirmed in his self-possession, that he could plunge boldly into conversation in a foreign language with no sense whatever of personal handicap. Thus encouraged, the three Germans now gave free expression to their curiosity, to the speculations which the meeting of George and Adamowski and their apparent recognition of each other had aroused.
    The woman asked Adamowski where he came from —“Was fur ein Landsmann sind sie?”
    He replied that he was an American.
    “Ach, so?” She looked surprised, then added quickly: “But not by birth? You were not born in America?”
    “No,” said Adamowski. “I am Polish by birth. But I live in America now. And my friend here”— they all turned to stare curiously at George ——“is an American by birth.”
    They nodded in satisfaction. And the woman, smiling with good-humoured and eager interest, said:
    “And your friend — he is an artist, isn’t he?”
    “Yes,” said Adamowski.
    “A painter?” The woman’s tone was almost gleeful as she pursued further confirmation of her own predictions.
    “He is not a painter. He is ein Dichter.”
    The word means “poet”, and George quickly amended it to “ein Schriftsteller”— a writer.
    All three of them thereupon looked at one another with nods of satisfaction, saying, ah, they thought so, it was evident. Old Fussand–Fidget even spoke up now, making the sage observation that it was apparent “from the head”. The others nodded again, and the woman then turned once more to Adamowski, saying:
    “But you — you are not an artist, are you? You do something else?”
    He replied that he was a business man —“ein Geschäftsmann”— that he lived in New York, and that his business was in Wall Street. The name apparently had imposing connotations for them, for they all nodded in an impressed manner and said “Ali!” again.
    George and Adamowski went on then and told them of the manner of their meeting, how they had never seen each other before that morning, but how each of them had known of the other through many mutual friends. This news delighted everyone. It was a complete confirmation of what they had themselves inferred. The little blonde lady nodded triumphantly and burst out in excited conversation with her companion and with Fuss-and-Fidget, saying:
    “What did I tell you? I said the same thing, didn’t I? It’s a small world after all, isn’t it?”
    Now they were all really wonderfully at ease with one another, all talking eagerly, excitedly, naturally, like old friends who had just met after a long separation. The little lady began to tell them all about herself. She and her husband, she said, were proprietors of a business near the Alexander-platz. No — smiling — the young man was not her husband. He, too, was a young artist, and was employed by her. In what sort of business? She laughed — one would never guess. She and her husband manufactured manikins for show-window displays. No, it was not a shop, exactly — there was a trace of modest pride here — it was more like a little factory. They made their own figures. Their business, she implied, was quite a large one. She said that they employed over fifty workers, and formerly had had almost a hundred. That was why she had to go to Paris as often as she could, for Paris set the fashion in manikins just as it did in clothes.
    Of course, they did not buy the Paris models. Mein Gott!— that was impossible with the money situation what it was. Nowadays it was hard enough for a German business person even to get out of his own country, much less to buy anything abroad. Nevertheless, hard as it was, she had to get to Paris somehow once or twice a year, just in order to keep up with “what was going on.” She always took an artist with her, and this young man was making his first trip in this capacity. He was a sculptor by profession, but he earned money for his art by doing commercial work in her business. He would make designs and draw models of the latest show-window manikins in Paris, and would duplicate them when he returned; then the factory would turn them out by the hundreds.
    Adamowski remarked that he did not see how it was possible, under present circumstances, for a German citizen to travel anywhere. It had become difficult enough for a foreigner to get in and out of Germany. The money complications were so confusing and so wearisome.
    George added to this an account of the complications that had attended his own brief journey to the Austrian Tyrol. Ruefully he displayed the pocketful of papers, permits, visas, and official stamps which he had accumulated during the summer.
    Upon this common grievance they were all vociferously agreed. The lady affirmed that it was stupid, exhausting, and, for a German with business outside the country, almost impossible. She added quickly, loyally, that of course it was also necessary. But then she went on to relate that her three-or four-day trips to Paris could only be managed through some complicated trade arrangement and business connection in France, and as she tried to explain the necessary details of the plan she became so involved in the bewildering complexities of cheques and balances that she finally ended by waving her hand charmingly in a gesture of exhausted dismissal, saying:
    “Ach, Gott! It is all too complicated, too confusing! I cannot tell you how it is — I do not understand it myself!”
    Old Fuss-and-Fidget put in here with confirmations of his own. He was, he said, an attorney in Berlin —“ein Rechtsanwalt”— and had formerly had extensive professional connections in France and in other portions of the Continent. He had visited America as well, and had been there as recently as 1930, when he had attended an international congress of lawyers in New York. He even spoke a little English, which he unveiled with evident pride. And he was going now, he said, to another international congress of lawyers which was to open in Paris the next day, and which would last a week. But even so brief a trip as this now had its serious difficulties. As for his former professional activities in other countries, they were now, alas, impossible.
    He asked George if any of his books had been translated and published in Germany, and George told him they had. The others were all eagerly and warmly curious, wanting to know the titles and George’s name. Accordingly, he wrote out for them the German titles of the books, the name of the German publisher, and his own name. They all looked interested and pleased. The little lady put the paper away in her pocket-book and announced enthusiastically that she would buy the books on her return to Germany. Fuss-and-Fidget, after carefully copying the paper, folded the memorandum and tucked it in his wallet, saying that he, too, would buy the books as soon as he came home again.
    The lady’s young companion, who had shyly and diffidently, but with growing confidence, joined in the conversation from time to time, now took from an envelope in his pocket several postcard photographs of sculptures he had made. They were pictures of muscular athletes, runners, wrestlers, miners stripped to the waist, and the voluptuous figures of young nude girls. These photographs were passed round, inspected by each of them, and praised and admired for various qualities.
    Adamowski now picked up his bulky paper package, explained that it was filled with good things from his brother’s estate in Poland, opened it, and invited everyone to partake. There were some splendid pears and peaches, some fine bunches of grapes, a plump broiled chicken, some fat squabs and partridges, and various other delicacies. The three Germans protested that they could not deprive him of his lunch. But Adamowski insisted vigorously, with the warmth of generous hospitality that was obviously characteristic of his nature. On the spur of the moment he reversed an earlier decision and informed them that he and George were going to the dining-car for luncheon anyway, and that if they did not eat the food in the package it would go to waste. On this condition they all helped themselves to fruit, which they pronounced delicious, and the lady promised that she would later investigate the chicken.
    At length, with friendly greetings all round, George and his
    Polish friend departed a second time and went forward to the Speisewagen.
    They had a long and sumptuous meal. It began with brandy, proceeded over a fine bottle of Bernkasteler, and wound up over coffee and more brandy. They were both determined to spend the remainder of their German money — Adamowski his ten or twelve marks, George his five or six — and this gave them a comfortable feeling in which astute economy was thriftily combined with good living.
    During the meal they discussed their companions again. They were delighted with them and immensely interested in the information they had gathered from them. The woman, they both agreed, was altogether charming. And the young man, although diffident and shy, was very nice. They even had a word of praise for old Fussand–Fidget now. After his crusty shell had been cracked, the old codger was not bad. He really was quite friendly underneath.
    “And it goes to show,” said Adamowski quietly, “how good people really are, how easy it is to get along with one another in this world, how people really like each other — if only ——”
    “— if only ——” George said, and nodded.
    “— if only it weren’t for these God-damned politicians,” Adamowski concluded.
    At the end they called for their bill. Adamowski dumped his marks upon the table and counted them.
    “You’ll have to help me out,” he said. “How many have you got?”
    George dumped his out. Together, they had enough to pay the bill and to give the waiter something extra. And there was also enough left over for another double jolt of brandy and a good cigar.
    So, grinning with satisfaction, in which their waiter joined amiably as he read their purpose, they paid the bill, ordered the brandy and cigars, and, full of food, drink, and the pleasant knowledge of a job well done, they puffed contentedly on their cigars and observed the landscape.
    They were now running through the great industrial region of western Germany. The pleasant landscape was gone, and everything in sight had been darkened by the grime and smoke of enormous works. The earth was dotted with the steely skeletons of great smelting and refining plants, and disfigured with mountainous dumps and heaps of slag. It was brutal, smoky, dense with life and labour and the grim warrens of industrial towns. But these places, too, had a certain fascination — the thrill of power in the raw.
    The two friends talked about the scene and about their trip. Adamowski said they had done well to spend their German money. Outside of the Reich its exchange value would be lower, and they were already almost at the border; since their own coach went directly through to Paris, they would have no additional need of German currency for porters’ fees.
    George confided to him, somewhat apprehensively, that he had some thirty dollars in American currency for which he had no German permit. Almost all of his last week in Berlin had been consumed, he said, in the red tape of departure — pounding wearily from one steamship office to another in an effort to secure passage home, cabling to Fox Edwards for more money, then getting permits for the money. At the last moment he had discovered that he still had thirty dollars left for which he had no official permit. When he had gone in desperation to an acquaintance who was an official in a travel agency, and had asked him what to do, this man had told him wearily to put the money in his pocket and say nothing; that if he tried now to get a permit for it and waited for the authorities to act on it, he would miss the boat; so to take the chance, which was, at most, he thought, a very slight one, and go ahead.
    Adamowski nodded in agreement, but suggested that George take the uncertified money, thrust it in the pocket of his vest, where he would not seem to hide it, and then, if he were discovered and questioned, he could say that he had put the money there and had forgotten to declare it. This he decided to do, and made the transfer then and there.
    This conversation brought them back to the thorny problem of the money regulations and the difficulties of their fellow-travellers who were Germans. They agreed that the situation was hard on their new-found friends, and that the law which permitted foreigners and citizens alike to take only ten marks from the country, unless otherwise allowed, was, for people in the business circumstances of the little blonde woman and old Fuss-and-Fidget, very unfair indeed.
    Then Adamowski had a brilliant inspiration, the fruit of his generous and spontaneous impulses.
    “But why ——” he said —“why can’t we help them?”
    “How do you mean? In what way can we help them?”
    “Why,” he said, “I have here a permit that allows me to take twenty-three marks out of the country. You have no permit, but everyone is allowed ——”
    “— to take ten marks,” George said. “So you mean, then,” he concluded, “that each of us has spent his German money ——”
    “— but can still take as much as is allowed out of the country. Yes,” he said. “So we could at least suggest it to them.”
    “You mean that they should give us some of their marks to keep in our possession until we get across the frontier?”
    Adamowski nodded. “Yes. I could take twenty-three. You could take ten. It is not much, of course, but it might help.”
    No sooner said than seized upon. They were almost jubilantly elated at this opportunity to do some slight service for these people to whom they had taken such, a liking. But even as they sat there smiling confirmation at each other, a man in uniform came through the car, paused at their table — which was the only one now occupied, all the other diners having departed — and authoritatively informed them that the Pass–Control had come aboard the train, and that they must return at once to their compartment to await examination.
    They got up immediately and hastened back through the swaying coaches. George led the way, and Adamowski whispered at his shoulder that they must now make haste and propose their offer to their companions quickly, or it would be too late.
    As soon as they entered the compartment they told their three German friends that the officials were already on the train and that the inspection would begin shortly. This announcement caused a flurry of excitement. They all began to get ready. The woman busied herself with her purse. She took out her passport, and then, with a worried look, began to count her money.
    Adamowski, after watching her quietly for a moment, took out his certificate and held it open in his hand, remarking that he was officially allowed twenty-three marks, that he had had that sum at the beginning, but that now he had spent it. George took this as his cue and said that he, too, had spent all of his German money, and that, although he had no permit, he was allowed ten marks. The woman looked quickly, eagerly, from one to the other and read the friendship of their purpose.
    “Then you mean ——” she began. “But it would be wonderful, of course, if you would!”
    “Have you as much as twenty-three marks above what you are allowed?” asked Adamowski.
    “Yes,” she nodded quickly, with a worried look. “I have more than that. But if you would take the twenty-three and keep them till we are past the frontier ——”
    He stretched out his hand. “Give them to me,” he said.
    She gave them to him instantly, and the money was in his pocket in the wink of an eye.
    Fuss-and-Fidget now counted out ten marks nervously, and without a word passed them across to George. George thrust the money in his pocket, and they all sat back, a little flushed, excited but triumphant, trying to look composed.
    A few minutes later an official opened the door of the compartment, saluted, and asked for their passports. He inspected Adamowski’s first, found everything in order, took his certificate, saw his twenty-three marks, stamped the passport, and returned it to him.
    Then he turned to George, who gave him his passport and the various papers certifying his possession of American currency. The official thumbed through the pages of the passport, which were now almost completely covered with the stamps and entries which had been made every time George cashed a cheque for register-marks. On one page the man paused and frowned, scrutinising carefully a stamp showing reentrance into Germany from Kufstein, on the Austrian border; then he consulted again the papers George had handed him. He shook his head. Where, he asked, was the certificate from Kufstein?
    George’s heart jumped and pounded hard. He had forgotten the Kufstein certificate! There had been so many papers and documents of one kind and another since then that he no longer thought the Kufstein certificate was needed. He began to paw and thumb through the mass of papers that remained in his pocket. The officer waited patiently, but with an air of perturbation in his manner. Everyone else looked at George apprehensively, except Adamowski, who said quietly:
    “Just take your time. It ought to be there somewhere.”
    At last George found it! And as he did, his own sharp intake of relief found echo among his companions. As for the official, he, too, seemed glad. He smiled quite kindly, took the paper and inspected it, and returned the passport.
    Meanwhile, during the anxious minutes that George had taken to paw through his papers, the official had already inspected the passports of the woman, her companion, and Fuss-and-Fidget. Everything was apparently in order with them, save that the lady had confessed to the possession of forty-two marks, and the official had regretfully informed her that he would have to take from her everything in excess of ten. The money would be held at the frontier and restored to her, of course, when she returned. She smiled ruefully, shrugged her shoulders, and gave the man thirty-two marks. All other matters were now evidently in order, for the man saluted and withdrew.
    So it was over, then! They all drew deep breaths of relief, and commiserated the charming lady upon her loss. But they were all quietly jubilant, too, to know that her loss had been no greater, and that Adamowski had been able in some degree to lessen it.
    George asked Fuss-and-Fidget if he wanted his money returned now or later. He replied that he thought it would be better to wait until they had crossed the frontier into Belgium. At the same time he made a casual remark, to which none of them paid any serious attention just then, to the effect that for some reason, which they did not follow, his ticket was good only to the frontier, and that he would utilise the fifteen minutes’ wait at Aachen, which was the frontier town, to buy a ticket for the remainder of the trip to Paris.
    They were now approaching Aachen. The train was beginning to slacken speed. They were going once more through a lovely countryside, smiling with green fields and gentle hills, unobtrusively, mildly, somehow unmistakably European. The seared and blasted district of the mines and factories was behind them. They were entering the outskirts of a pleasant town.
    This was Aachen. Within a few minutes more, the train was slowing to a halt before the station. They had reached the frontier. Here there would be a change of engines. All of them got out — Fuss-and-Fidget evidently to get a ticket, the others to stretch their legs and get a breath of air.

    #Deutschand #Berlin #Geschichte #Nazis #Rassegesetze #Juden #Literatur #Bahnhof_Zoo #Kurfürstendamm #Charlottenburg


  • You Can’t Go Home Again, by Thomas Wolfe : 41. Five Passengers for Paris
    https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/w/wolfe/thomas/you-cant-go-home-again/chapter41.html

    The train gathered speed. The streets and buildings in the western I part of the city slipped past — those solid, ugly streets, those massive, ugly buildings in the Victorian German style, which yet, with all the pleasant green of trees, the window-boxes bright with red geraniums, the air of order, of substance, and of comfort, had always seemed as familiar and as pleasant to George as the quiet streets and houses of a little town. Already they were sweeping through Charlottenburg. They passed the station without halting, and on the platforms George saw, with the old and poignant feeling of regret and loss, the people waiting for the Stadtbahn trains. Upon its elevated track the great train swept on smoothly towards the west, gathering momentum steadily. They passed the Funkturma. Almost before he knew it they were rushing through the outskirts of the city towards the open country. They passed an aviation field. He saw the hangars and a flock of shining ‘planes. And as he looked, a great silver-bodied ‘plane moved out, sped along the runway, lofted its tail, broke slowly from the earth, and vanished.
    And now the city was left behind. Those familiar faces, forms, and voices of just six minutes past now seemed as remote as dreams, imprisoned there as in another world — a world of massive brick and stone and pavements, a world hived of four million lives, of hope and fear and hatred, of anguish and despair, of love, of cruelty and devotion, that was called Berlin.
    And now the land was stroking past, the level land of Brandenburg, the lonely flatland of the north which he had always heard was so ugly, and which he had found so strange, so haunting, and so beautiful. The dark solitude of the forest was around them now, the loneliness of the kiefern-trees, tall, slender, towering, and as straight as sailing masts, bearing upon their tops the slender burden of their needled and eternal green. Their naked poles shone with that lovely gold-bronze colour which is like the material substance of a magic light. And all between was magic, too. The forest dusk beneath the kieferntrees was gold-brown also, the earth gold-brown and barren, and the trees themselves stood alone and separate, a polelike forest filled with haunting light.
    Now and then the light would open and the woods be gone, and they would sweep through the level cultivated earth, tilled thriftily to the very edges of the track. He could see the clusters of farm buildings, the red-tiled roofs, the cross-quarterings of barns and houses. Then they would find the haunting magic of the woods again.
    George opened the door of his compartment and went in and took a seat beside the door. On the other side, in the corner by the window, a young man sat and read a book. He was an elegant young man and dressed most fashionably. He wore a sporting kind of coat with a small and fancy check, a wonderful vest of some expensive doelike grey material, cream-grey trousers pleated at the waist, also of a rich, expensive weave, and grey suede gloves. He did not look American or English. There was a foppish, almost sugared elegance about his costume that one felt, somehow, was Continental. Therefore it struck George with a sense of shock to see that he was reading an American book, a popular work in history which had the title, The Saga of Democracy, and bore the imprint of a well-known firm. But while he pondered on this puzzling combination of the familiar and the strange there were steps outside along the corridor, voices, the door was opened, and a woman and a man came in.
    They were Germans. The woman was small and no longer young, but she was plump, warm, seductive-looking, with hair so light it was the colour of bleached straw, and eyes as blue as sapphires. She spoke rapidly and excitedly to the man who accompanied her, then turned to George and asked if the other places were unoccupied. He replied that he thought so, and looked questioningly at the dapper young man in the corner. This young man now spoke up in somewhat broken German, saying that he believed the other seats were free, and adding that he had got on the train at the Friedrich-strasse station and had seen no one else in the compartment. The woman immediately and vigorously nodded her head in satisfaction and spoke with rapid authority to her companion, who went out and presently returned with their baggage — two valises, which he arranged upon the rack above their heads.
    They were a strangely assorted pair. The woman, although most attractive, was obviously much the older of the two. She appeared to be in her late thirties or early forties. There were traces of fine wrinkles at the corners of her eyes, and her face gave an impression of physical maturity and warmth, together with the wisdom that comes from experience, but it was also apparent that some of the freshness and resilience of youth had gone out of it. Her figure had an almost shameless sexual attraction, the kind of naked allure that one often sees in people of the theatre — in a chorus girl or in the strip-tease woman of a burlesque show. Her whole personality bore a vague suggestion of the theatrical stamp. In everything about her there was that element of heightened vividness which seems to set off and define people who follow the stage.
    Beside her assurance, her air of practice and authority, her sharply vivid stamp, the man who accompanied her was made to seem even younger than he was. He was probably twenty-six or thereabouts, but he looked a mere stripling. He was a tall, blond, fresh-complexioned, and rather handsome young German who conveyed an indefinable impression of countrified and slightly bewildered innocence. He appeared nervous, uneasy, and inexperienced in the art of travel. He kept his head down or averted most of the time, and did not speak unless the woman spoke to him. Then he would flush crimson with embarrassment, the two flags of colour in his fresh, pink face deepening to beetlike red.
    George wondered who they were, why they were going to Paris, and what the relation between them could be. He felt, without exactly knowing why, that there was no family connection between them. The young man could not be the woman’s brother, and it was also evident that they were not man and wife. It was hard not to fall back upon an ancient parable and see in them the village hayseed in the toils of the city siren — to assume that she had duped him into taking her to Paris, and that the fool and his money would soon be parted. Yet there was certainly nothing repulsive about the woman to substantiate this conjecture. She was decidedly a most attractive and engaging creature. Even her astonishing quality of sexual magnetism, which was displayed with a naked and almost uncomfortable openness, so that one felt it the moment she entered the compartment, had nothing vicious in it. She seemed, indeed, to be completely unconscious of it, and simply expressed herself sensually and naturally with the innocent warmth of a child.
    While George was busy with these speculations the door of the compartment opened again and a stuffy-looking little man with a long nose looked in, peered about truculently, and rather suspiciously, George thought, and then demanded to know if there was a free seat in the compartment. They all told him that they thought so. Upon receiving this information, he, too, without another word, disappeared down the corridor, to reappear again with a large valise. George helped him to stow it away upon the rack. It was so heavy that the little man could probably not have managed it by himself, yet he accepted this service sourly and without a word of thanks, hung up his overcoat, and fidgeted and worried around, took a newspaper from his pocket, sat down opposite George and opened it, banged the compartment door shut rather viciously, and, after peering round mistrustfully at all the other people, rattled his paper and began to read.
    While he read his paper George had a chance to observe this sour-looking customer from time to time. Not that there was anything sinister about the man — decidedly there was not. He was just a drab, stuffy, irascible little fellow of the type that one sees a thousand times a day upon the streets, muttering at taxi-cabs or snapping at imprudent drivers — the type that one is always afraid he is going to encounter on a trip but hopes fervently he won’t. He looked like the kind of fellow who would always be slamming the door of the compartment to, always going over and banging down the window without asking anyone else about it, always fidgeting and fuming about and trying by every crusty, crotchety, cranky, and ill-tempered method in his equipment to make himself as unpleasant, and his travelling companions as uncomfortable, as possible.
    Yes, he was certainly a well-known type, but aside from this he was wholly unremarkable. If one had passed him in the streets of the city, one would never have taken a second look at him or remembered him afterwards. It was only when he intruded himself into the intimacy of a long journey and began immediately to buzz and worry around like a troublesome hornet that he became memorable.
    It was not long, in fact, before the elegant young gentleman in the corner by the window almost ran afoul of him. The young fellow took out an expensive-looking cigarette-case, extracted a cigarette, and then, smiling engagingly, asked the lady if she objected to his smoking. She immediately answered, with great warmth and friendliness, that she minded not at all. George received this information with considerable relief, and took a packet of cigarettes from his pocket and was on the point of joining his unknown companion in the luxury of a smoke when old Fuss-and-Fidget rattled his paper viciously, glared sourly at the elegant young man and then at George, and, pointing to a sign upon the wall of the compartment, croaked dismally:
    “Nicht Raucher.”
    Well, all of them had known that at the beginning, but they had not supposed that Fuss-and-Fidget would make an issue of it. The young fellow and George glanced at each other with a slightly startled look, grinned a little, caught the lady’s eye, which was twinkling with the comedy of the occasion, and were obediently about to put their cigarettes away unsmoked when old Fuss-and-Fidget rattled his paper, looked sourly round at them a second time, and then said bleakly that as far as he was concerned it was all right — he didn’t personally mind their smoking — he just wanted to point out that they were in a non-smoking compartment. The implication plainly was that from this time on the crime was on their own heads, that he had done what he could as a good citizen to warn them, but that if they proceeded with their guilty plot against the laws of the land, it was no further concern of his. Being thus reassured, they produced their cigarettes again and lighted up.
    Now while George smoked, and while old Fuss-and-Fidget read his paper, George had further opportunity to observe this unpleasant companion of the voyage. And his observations, intensified as they were by subsequent events, became fixed as an imperishable image in his mind. The image which occurred to him as he sat there watching the man was that of a sour-tempered Mr. Punch. If you can imagine Mr. Punch without his genial spirits, without his quick wit, without his shrewd but kind intelligence, if you can imagine a crotchety and cranky Mr. Punch going about angrily banging doors and windows shut, glaring round at his fellow-travellers, and sticking his long nose into everybody’s business, then you will get some picture of this fellow. Not that he was hunchbacked and dwarfed like Mr. Punch. He was certainly small, he was certainly a drab, unlovely little figure of a man, but he was not dwarfed. But his face had the ruddy glow that one associates with Mr. Punch, and its contour, like that of Mr. Punch, was almost cherubic, except that the cherub had gone sour. The nose also was somewhat Punchian. It was not grotesquely hooked and beaked, but it was a long nose, and its fleshy tip drooped over as if it were fairly sniffing with suspicion, fairly stretching with eagerness to pry around and stick itself into things that did not concern it.
    George fell asleep presently, leaning against the side of the door. It was a fitful and uneasy coma of half-sleep, the product of excitement and fatigue — never comfortable, never whole — a dozing sleep from which he would start up from time to time to look about him, then doze again. Time after time he came sharply awake to find old Fussand–Fidget’s eyes fixed on him in a look of such suspicion and ill-temper that it barely escaped malevolence. He woke up once to find the man’s gaze fastened on him in a stare that was so protracted, so unfriendly, that he felt anger boiling up in him. It was on the tip of his tongue to speak hotly to the fellow, but he, as if sensing George’s intent, ducked his head quickly and busied himself again with his newspaper.
    The man was so fidgety and nervous that it was impossible to sleep longer than a few minutes at a time. He was always crossing and uncrossing his legs, always rattling his newspaper, always fooling with the handle of the door, doing something to it, jerking and pulling it, half opening the door and banging it to again, as if he were afraid it was not securely closed. He was always jumping up, opening the door, and going out into the corridor, where he would pace up and down for several minutes, turn and look out of the windows at the speeding landscape, then fidget back and forth in the corridor again, sour-faced and distempered-looking, holding his hands behind him and twiddling his fingers nervously and impatiently as he walked.
    All this while, the train was advancing across the country at terrific speed. Forest and field, village and farm, tilled land and pasture stroked past with the deliberate but devouring movement of high velocity. The train slackened a little as it crossed the Elbe, but there was no halt. Two hours after its departure from Berlin it was sweeping in beneath the arched, enormous roof of the Hanover station. There was to be a stop of ten minutes. As the train slowed down, George awoke from his doze. But fatigue still held him, and he did not get up.
    Old Fuss-and-Fidget arose, however, and, followed by the woman and her companion, went out on the platform for a little fresh air and exercise.
    George and the dapper young man in the corner were now left alone together. The latter had put down his book and was looking out of the window, but after a minute or two he turned to George and said in English, marked by a slight accent:
    “Where are we now?”
    George told him they were at Hanover.
    “I’m tired of travelling,” the young man said with a sigh. “I shall be glad when I get home.”
    “And where is home for you?” George asked.
    “New York,” he said, and, seeing a look of slight surprise on George’s face, he added quickly: “Of course I am not American by birth, as you can see from the way I talk. But I am a naturalised American, and my home is in New York.”
    George told him that he lived there, too. Then the young man asked if George had been long in Germany.
    “All summer,” George replied. “I arrived in May.”
    “And you have been here ever since — in Germany?”
    “Yes,” said George, “except for ten days in the Tyrol.”
    “When you came in this morning I thought at first that you were German. I believe I saw you on the platform with some German people.”
    “Yes, they were friends of mine.”
    “But then when you spoke I saw you could not be a German from your accent. When I saw you reading the Paris Herald I concluded that you were English or American.
    “I am American, of course.”
    “Yes, I can see that now. I,” he said, “am Polish by birth. I went to America when I was fifteen years old, but my family still lives in Poland.”
    “And you have been to see them, naturally?”
    “Yes. I have made a practice of coming over every year or so to visit them. I have two brothers living in the country.” It was evident that he came from landed people. “I am returning from there now,” he said. He was silent for a moment, and then said with some emphasis: “But not again! Not for a long time will I visit them. I have told them that it is enough — if they want to see me now, they must come to New York. I am sick of Europe,” he went on. “Every time I come I am fed up. I am tired of all this foolish business, these politics, this hate, these armies, and this talk of war — the whole damned stuffy atmosphere here!” he cried indignantly and impatiently, and, thrusting his hand into his breast pocket, he pulled out a paper —“Will you look at this?”
    “What is it?” George said.
    “A paper — a permit — the damn thing stamped and signed which allows me to take twenty-three marks out of Germany. Twenty-three marks!” he repeated scornfully —“as if I want their God-damn money!”
    “I know,” George said. “You’ve got to get a paper every time you turn round. You have to declare your money when you come in, you have to declare it when you go out. If you send home for money, you have to get a paper for that, too. I made a little trip to Austria as I told you. It took three days to get the papers that would allow me to take my own money out. Look here!” he cried, and reached in his pocket and pulled out a fistful of papers. “I got all of these in one summer.”
    The ice was broken now. Upon a mutual grievance they began to warm up to each other. It quickly became evident to George that his new acquaintance, with the patriotic fervour of his race, was passionately American. He had married an American girl, he said. New York, he asserted, was the most magnificent city on earth, the only place he cared to live, the place he never wished to leave again, the place to which he was aching to return.
    And America?
    “Oh,” he said, “it will be good after all this to be back there where all is peace and freedom — where all is friendship — where all is love.”
    George felt some reservations to this blanket endorsement of his native land, but he did not utter them. The man’s fervour was so genuine that it would have been unkind to try to qualify it. And besides, George, too, was homesick now, and the man’s words, generous and whole-hearted as they were, warmed him with their pleasant glow. He also felt, beneath the extravagance of the comparison, a certain truth. During the past summer, in this country which he had known so well, whose haunting beauty and magnificence had stirred him more deeply than had any other he had ever known, and for whose people he had always had the most affectionate understanding, he had sensed for the first time the poisonous constrictions of incurable hatreds and insoluble politics, the whole dense weave of intrigue and ambition in which the tormented geography of Europe was again enmeshed, the volcanic imminence of catastrophe with which the very air was laden, and which threatened to erupt at any moment.
    And George, like the other man, was weary and sick at heart, exhausted by these pressures, worn out with these tensions of the nerves and spirit, depleted by the cancer of these cureless hates which had not only poisoned the life of nations but had eaten in one way or another into the private lives of all his friends, of almost everyone that he had known here. So, like his new-found fellow countryman, he too felt, beneath the extravagance and intemperance of the man’s language, a certain justice in the comparison. He was aware, as indeed the other must have been, of the huge sum of all America’s lacks. He knew that all, alas, was not friendship, was not freedom, was not love beyond the Atlantic. But he felt, as his new friend must also have felt, that the essence of America’s hope had not been wholly ruined, its promise of fulfilment not shattered utterly. And like the other man, he felt that it would be very good to be back home again, out of the poisonous constrictions of this atmosphere — back home where, whatever America might lack, there was still air to breathe in, and winds to clear the air.
    His new friend now said that he was engaged in business in New York. He was a member of a brokerage concern in Wall Street. This seemed to call for some similar identification on George’s part, and he gave the most apt and truthful statement he could make, which was that he worked for a publishing house. The other then remarked that he knew the family of a New York publisher, that they were, in fact, good friends of his. George asked him who these people were, and he answered:
    “The Edwards family.”
    Instantly, a thrill of recognition pierced George. A light flashed on, and suddenly he knew the man. He said:
    “I know the Edwardses. They are among the best friends I have, and Mr. Edwards is my publisher. And you”— George said —“your name is Johnnie, isn’t it? I have forgotten your last name, but I have heard it.”
    He nodded quickly, smiling. “Yes, Johnnie Adamowski,” he said. “And you? — what is your name?”
    George told him.
    “Of course,” he said. “I know of you.”
    So instantly they were shaking hands delightedly, with that kind of stunned but exuberant surprise which reduces people to the banal conclusion that “It’s a small world after all.” George’s remark was simply: “I’ll be damned!” Adamowski’s, more urbane, was: “It is quite astonishing to meet you in this way. It is very strange — and yet in life it always happens.”
    And now, indeed, they began to establish contact at many points. They found that they knew in common scores of people. They discussed them enthusiastically, almost joyfully. Adamowski had been away from home just one short month, and George but five, but now, like an explorer returning from the isolation of a polar voyage that had lasted several years, George eagerly demanded news of his friends, news from America, news from home.
    By the time the other people returned to the compartment and the train began to move again, George and Adamowski were deep in conversation. Their three companions looked somewhat startled to hear this rapid fire of talk and to see this evidence of acquaintance between two people who had apparently been strangers just ten minutes before. The little blonde woman smiled at them and took her seat; the young man also. Old Fuss-and-Fidget glanced quickly, sharply, from one to the other of them and listened attentively to all they said, as if he thought that by straining his ears to catch every strange syllable he might be able somehow to fathom the mystery of this sudden friendship.
    The cross-fire of their talk went back and forth, from George’s corner of the compartment to Adamowski’s. George felt a sense of embarrassment at the sudden intrusion of this intimacy in a foreign language among fellow-travellers with whom he had heretofore maintained a restrained formality. But Johnnie Adamowski was evidently a creature of great social ease and geniality. He was troubled not at all. From time to time he smiled in a friendly fashion at the three Germans as if they, too, were parties to the conversation and could understand every word of it.
    Under this engaging influence, everyone began to thaw out visibly. The little blonde woman began to talk in an animated way to her young man. After a while Fuss-and-Fidget chimed in with those two, so that the whole compartment was humming with the rapid interplay of English and German.
    Adamowski now asked George if he would not like some refreshment.
    “Of course I myself am not hungry,” Adamowski said indifferently. “In Poland I have had to eat too much. They eat all the time, these Polish people. I had decided that I would eat no more until I got to Paris. I am sick of food. But would you like some Polish fruits?” he said, indicating a large paper-covered package at his side. “I believe they have prepared some things for me,” he said casually —“some fruits from my brother’s estate, some chickens and some partridges. I do not care for them myself. I have no appetite. But wouldn’t you like something?”
    George told him no, that he was not hungry either. Thereupon Adamowski suggested that they might seek out the Speisewagen and get a drink.
    “I still have these marks,” he said indifferently. “I spent a few for breakfast, but there are seventeen or eighteen left. I shall not want them any longer. I should not have used them. But now that I have met you, I think it would be nice if I could spend them. Shall we go and see what we can find?”
    To this George agreed. They arose, excused themselves to their companions, and were about to go out when old Fuss-and-Fidget surprised them by speaking up in broken English and asking Adamowski if he would mind changing seats. He said with a nervous, forced smile that was meant to be ingratiating that Adamowski and the other gentleman, nodding at George, could talk more easily if they were opposite each other, and that for himself, he would be glad of the chance to look out the window. Adamowski answered indifferently, and with just a trace of the unconscious contempt with which a Polish nobleman might speak to someone in whom he felt no interest:
    “Yes, take my seat, of course. It does not matter to me where I sit.”
    They went out and walked forward through several coaches of the hurtling train, carefully squeezing past those passengers who, in Europe, seem to spend as much time standing in the narrow corridors and staring out of the windows as in their own seats, and who flatten themselves against the wall or obligingly step back into the doors of compartments as one passes. Finally they reached the Speisewagen, skirted the hot breath of the kitchen, and seated themselves at a table in the beautiful, bright, clean coach of the Mitropa service.
    Adamowski ordered brandy lavishly. He seemed to have a Polish gentleman’s liberal capacity for drink. He tossed his glass off at a single gulp, remarking rather plaintively:
    “It is very small. But it is good and does no harm. We shall have mote.”
    Pleasantly warmed by brandy, and talking together with the ease and confidence of people who had known each other for many years — for, indeed, the circumstances of their meeting and the discovery of their many common friends did give them just that feeling of old intimacy — they now began to discuss the three strangers in their compartment.
    “The little woman — she is rather nice,” said Adamowski, in a tone which somehow conveyed the impression that he was no novice in such appraisals. “I think she is not very young, and yet, quite charming, isn’t she? A personality.”
    “And the young man with her?” George inquired. “What do you make of him? You don’t think he is her husband?”
    “No, of course not,” replied Adamowski instantly. “It is most curious,” he went on in a puzzled tone. “He is much younger, obviously, and not the same — he is much simpler than the lady.”
    “Yes. It’s almost as if he were a young fellow from the country, and she ——”
    “Is like someone in the theatre,” Adamowski nodded. “An actress. Or perhaps some music-hall performer.”
    “Yes, exactly. She is very nice, and yet I think she knows a great deal more than he does.”
    “I should like to know about them,” Adamowski went on speculatively, in the manner of a man who has a genuine interest in the world about him. “These people that one meets on trains and ships — they fascinate me. You see some strange things. And these two — they interest me. I should like so much to know who they are.”
    “And the other man?” George said. “The little one? The nervous, fidgety fellow who keeps staring at us — who do you suppose he is?”
    “Oh, that one,” said Adamowski indifferently, impatiently. “I do not know. I do not care. He is some stuffy little man — it doesn’t matter . . . But shall we go back now?” he said. “Let’s talk to them and see if we can find out who they are. We shall never see them again after this. I like to talk to people in trains.”
    George agreed. So his Polish friend called the waiter, asked for the bill, and paid it — and still had ten or twelve marks left of his waning twenty-three. Then they got up and went back through the speeding train to their compartment.

    #Deutschand #Berlin #Geschichte #Nazis #Rassegesetze #Juden #Literatur #Bahnhof_Zoo #Kurfürstendamm #Charlottenburg


  • You Can’t Go Home Again, by Thomas Wolfe : 40. Last Farewell
    https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/w/wolfe/thomas/you-cant-go-home-again/chapter40.html

    When they got downstairs the bill was made up and ready, and George paid it. There was no need to count it up, because there never had been a cheat or error in their reckoning. George distributed extra largess to the head porter — a grey, chunky, sternly able Prussian — and to the head waiter. He gave a mark to the smiling boy beside the lift, who clicked his heels together and saluted. He took one final look at the faded, ugly, curiously pleasant furnishings of the little foyer, and said good-bye again, and went swiftly down the steps into the street.
    The porter was already there. He had the baggage on the kerb. A taxi was just drawing up, and he stowed the baggage in. George tipped him and shook hands. He also tipped the enormous doorman, a smiling, simple, friendly fellow who had always patted him upon the back as he went in and out. Then he got into the taxi, sat down by Heilig, and gave the driver the address — Bahnhof Am Zoo.
    The taxi wheeled about and started up along the other side of the Kurfürstendamm, turned and crossed into the Joachimtalen-strasse, and, three minutes later, drew in before the station. They still had some minutes to wait before the train, which was coming from the Friedrich-strasse, would be there. They gave the baggage to a porter, who said he would meet them on the platform. Then Heilig thrust a coin into the machine and bought a platform ticket. They passed by the ticket inspectors and went up the stairs.
    A considerable crowd of travellers was already waiting on the platform. A train was just pulling in out of the west, from the direction of Hanover and Bremen. A number of people got off. On other tracks the glittering trains of the Stadtbahn were moving in and out; their beautiful, shining cars — deep maroon, red, and golden yellow — going from east to west, from west to east, and to all the quarters of the city’s compass, were heavily loaded with morning workers. George looked down the tracks towards the east, in the direction from which his train must come, and saw the semaphores, the lean design of tracks, the tops of houses, and the massed greens of the Zoologic Garden. The Stadtbahn trains kept sliding in and out, swiftly, almost noiselessly, discharging streams of hurrying people, taking in others. It was all so familiar, so pleasant, and so full of morning. It seemed that he had known it for ever, and he felt as he always did when he left a city — a sense of sorrow and regret, of poignant unfulfilment, a sense that here were people he could have known, friends he could have had, all lost now, fading, slipping from his grasp, as the inexorable moment of the departing hour drew near.
    Far down the platform the doors of the baggage elevator clanged, and the porters pulled trucks loaded with great piles of baggage out upon the platform. And presently George saw his porter advancing with a truck, and among the bags and trunks upon it he could see his own. The porter nodded to him, indicating at about what point he ought to stand.
    At this same moment he turned and saw Else coming down the platform towards him. She walked slowly, at her long and rhythmic stride. People followed her with their eyes as she passed by. She was wearing a rough tweed jacket of a light, coarse texture and a skirt of the same material. Everything about her had a kind of incomparable style. She could have worn anything with the same air. Her tall figure was stunning, a strange and moving combination of delicacy and power. Under her arm she was carrying a book, and as she came up she gave it to George. He took her hands, which for so large a woman were amazingly lovely and sensitive, long, white, and slender as a child’s, and George noticed that they were cold, and that the fingers trembled.
    “Else, you have met Herr Heilig, haven’t you? Franz, you remember Frau von Kohler?”
    Else turned and surveyed Heilig coldly and sternly. Heilig answered her look with a stare that was equally unrelenting and hostile. There was a formidable quality in the mutual suspicion they displayed as their eyes met. George had observed the same phenomenon many times before in the encounters of Germans who were either total strangers or who did not know each other well. At once their defences would be up, as if each distrusted the other on sight and demanded full credentials and assurances before relenting into any betrayal of friendliness and confidence. George was used to this sort of thing by now. It was what was to be expected. Just the same, it never failed to be alarming to him when it happened. He could not accustom himself to it and accept it as an inevitable part of life, as so many of these Germans seemed to have done, because he had never seen anything like it at home, or anywhere else in the world before.
    Moreover, between these two, the usual manifestations of suspicion were heightened by an added quality of deep, instinctive dislike. As they stood regarding each other, something flashed between them that was as cold and hard as steel, as swift and naked as a rapier thrust. These feelings of distrust and antagonism were communicated in a single moment’s silence; then Else inclined her head slightly and sternly and said in her excellent English, which had hardly a trace of accent and revealed its foreignness only by an occasional phrase and the undue precision of her enunciation:
    “I believe we have met, at Grauschmidt’s party for George.”
    “I belief so,” Heilig said. And then, after surveying her a moment longer with a look of truculent hostility, he said coldly: “And Grauschmidt’s drawing in ze Tageblatt— you did not like it — no?”
    “Of George!” she spoke derisively, incredulously. Her stern face was suddenly illuminated with a radiant smile. She laughed scornfully and said: “This drawing by your friend, Grauschmidt — you mean the one that made George look like a wonderful and charming sugar-tenor?”
    “You did not like it, zen?” said Heilig coldly.
    “But ja!” she cried. “As a drawing of a Zuckertenor— as a drawing of Herr Grauschmidt, the way he is himself, the way he sees and feels — it is quite perfect! But George! It looks no more like George than you do!”
    “Zen I may tell you somesing,” said Heilig coldly and venomously. “I sink zat you are very stupid. Ze drawing vas egg-zellent — everybody sought so. Grauschmidt himself said zat it vas vun of ze very best zat he has effer done. He likes it very much.”
    “But natürlich!” Else said ironically, and laughed scornfully again. “Herr Grauschmidt likes so many things. First of all, he likes himself. He likes everything he does. And he likes music of Puccini,” she went on rapidly. “He sings Ave Maria. He likes sob-songs of Hilbach. He likes dark rooms with a red light and silken pillows. He is romantic and likes to talk about his feelings. He thinks: ‘We artists!’”
    Heilig was furious. “If I may tell you somesing ——” he began.
    But Else now could not be checked. She took a short and angry step away, then turned again, with two spots of passionate colour in her cheeks:
    “Your friend, Herr Grauschmidt,” she continued, “likes to talk of art. He says: ‘This orchestra is wonderful!’— he never hears the music. He goes to see Shakespeare, saying; ‘Mayer is a wonderful actor.’ He ——”
    “If I may tell you somesing ——” Heilig choked.
    “He likes little girls with high heels,” she panted. “He is in the Ess Ah. When he shaves, he wears a hair-dress cap. Of course his nails are polished. He has a lot of photographs — of himself and other great people!” And, panting but triumphant, she turned and walked away a few paces to compose herself.
    “Zese bloody people!” Heilig grated. “0 Gott, but zey are dretful!” Turning to George, he said venomously: “If I may tell you somesing — zis person — zis voman — zis von Kohler zat you like so much — she iss a fool!”
    “Wait a minute, Franz. I don’t think she is. You know what I think of her.”
    “Vell, zen,” said Heilig, “you are wrong. You are mistaken. If I may say so, you are again also one big fool. Vell, zen, it does not matter,” he cried harshly. “I vill go and buy some cigarettes, and you can try to talk to zis damn stupid voman.” And, still choking with rage, he turned abruptly and walked away down the platform.
    George went up to Else. She was still excited, still breathing rapidly. He took her hands and they were trembling. She said:
    “This bitter little man — this man whose name it means ‘the holy one’— he is so full of bitterness — he hates me. He is so jealous for you. He wants to keep you for himself. He has told you lies. He has tried to say things against me. I hear them!” she went on excitedly. “People come to me with them! I do not listen to them!” she cried angrily. “0 George, George!” she said suddenly, and took him by the arms. “Do not listen to this bitter little man. Last night,” she whispered, “I had a strange dream. It was a so strange, a so good and wonderful dream that I had for you. You must not listen to this bitter man!” she cried earnestly, and shook him by the arms. “You are religious man. You are artist. And the artist is religious man.”
    Just then Lewald appeared on the platform and came towards them. His pink face looked fresh and hearty as always. His constant exuberance had in it a suggestion of alcoholic stimulation. Even at this hour of the morning he seemed to be bubbling over with a veiny exhilaration. As he barged along, swinging his great shoulders and his bulging belly, people all along the platform caught the contagion of his gleeful spirits and smiled at him, and yet their smiles, were also tinged with respect. In spite of his great pink face and his enormous belly, there was nothing ridiculous in Lewald’s appearance. One’s first impression was that of a strikingly handsome man. One did not think of him as being fat; rather, one thought of him as being big. And as he rolled along, he dominated the scene with a sense of easy and yet massive authority. One would scarcely have taken him for a business man, and a very shrewd and crafty one to boot. Everything about him suggested a natural and instinctive Bohemianism. Looking at him, one felt that here, probably, was an old army man, not of the Prussian military type, but rather a fellow who had done his service and who had thoroughly enjoyed the army life — the boisterous camaraderie of men, the eating and drinking bouts, the adventures with the girls — as, indeed, he had.
    A tremendous appetite for life was plainly legible all over him. People recognized it the moment they saw him, and that is why they smiled. He seemed so full of wine, so full of spacious, hearty unconventionality. His whole manner proclaimed him to be the kind of man who has burst through all the confines of daily, routine living with the force of a natural element. He was one of those men who, immediately somehow, shine out luminously in all the grey of life, one of those men who carry about their persons a glamorous aura of warmth, of colour, and of temperament. In any crowd he stood out in dominant and exciting isolation, drawing all eyes to himself with a vivid concentration of interest, so that one would remember him later even though one had seen him only for an instant, just as one would remember the one room in an otherwise empty house that had furniture and a fire in it.
    So now, as he approached, even when he was still some yards away, he began to shake his finger at George waggishly, at the same time moving his great head from side to side. As he came up, he sang out in a throaty, vinous voice the opening phrases of an obscene song which he had taught to George, and which the two of them had often sung together during those formidable evenings at his house:
    “Lecke du, lecke du, lecke du die Katze am Arsch . . . ”
    Else flushed, but Lewald checked himself quickly at the penultimate moment and, wagging his finger at George again, cried:
    “Ach du!” And then, in an absurdly sly and gleeful croon, his small eyes twinkling roguishly: “Naught-ee boy-ee! Naught-ee boy-ee!”— wagging a finger all the time. “My old Chorge!” he cried suddenly and heartily. “There haf you been — you naught-ee boy-ee? I look for you last night and I cannot see you anyvheres!”
    Before George could answer, Heilig returned, smoking a cigarette. George remembered that the two men had met before, but now they gave no sign of recognition. Indeed, Lewald’s hearty manner dropped away at sight of the little Heilig, and his face froze into an expression of glacial reserve and suspicion. George was so put out by this that he forgot his own manners, and instead of presenting Else to Lewald, he stammered out an introduction of Heilig. Lewald then acknowledged the other’s presence with a stiff and formal little bow. Heilig merely inclined his head slightly and returned Lewald’s look coldly. George was feeling very uncomfortable and embarrassed when Lewald took the situation in hand again. Turning his back on Heilig, he now resumed his former manner of hearty exuberance and, seizing George’s arm in one meaty fist and pounding affectionately upon it with the other, he cried out loudly:
    “Chorge! Vhere haf you been, you naught-ee boy-ee? Vhy do you not come in to see me dese last days? I vas eggsbecting you.”
    “Why — I— I—” George began, “I really meant to, Karl. But I knew you would be here to see me off, and I just didn’t get around to dropping in at your office again. I’ve had a great deal to do, you know.”
    “And I also!” cried Lewald, his voice rising in droll emphasis on the last word. “I alzo!” he repeated. “But me — I alvays haf time for mein friends,” he said accusingly, still beating away on George’s arm to show that his pretended hurt had not really gone very deep.
    “Karl,” George now said, “you remember Frau von Kohler, don’t you?”
    “Aber natürlich!” he cried with the boisterous gallantry that always marked his manner with women. “Honourable lady,” he said in German, “how are you? I shall not be likely to forget the pleasure you gave me by coming to one of my parties. But I have not seen you since that evening, and I have seen less and less of old Chorge since then.” Relapsing into English at this point, he turned to George again and shook his finger at him, saying: “You naught-ee boy-ee, you!”
    This playful gallantry had no effect on Else. Her face did not relax any of its sternness. She just looked at Lewald with her level gaze and made no effort to conceal the scorn she felt for him. Lewald, however, appeared not to notice, for once more he turned to her and addressed her in his exuberant German:
    “Honourable lady, I can understand the reason why the Chorge has deserted me. He has found more exciting adventures than anything the poor old Lewald had to offer him.” Here he turned back to George again and, with his small eyes twinkling mischievously, he wagged his finger beneath George’s nose and crooned slyly, absurdly: “Naught-ee boy-ee! Naught-ee boy-ee!”— as if to say: “Aha, you rascal, you! I’ve caught you now!”
    This whole monologue had been delivered almost without a pause in Lewald’s characteristic manner — a manner that had been famous throughout Europe for thirty years. His waggishness with George was almost childishly naive and playful, while his speech to Else was bluff, high-spirited, hearty, and good-humoured. Through it all he gave the impression of a man who was engagingly open and sincere, and one who was full of jolly good will towards mankind. It was the manner George had seen him use many times — when he was meeting some new, author, when he was welcoming someone to his office, when he was talking over the telephone, or inviting friends to a party.
    But now again, George was able to observe the profound difference between the manner and the man. The bluff and hearty openness was just a mask which Lewald used against the world with all the deceptive grace and subtlety of a great matador preparing to give the finishing stroke to a charging bull. Behind that mask was concealed the true image of the man’s soul, which was sly, dexterous, crafty, and cunning. George noticed again how really small and shrewd were the features. The big blond head and the broad shoulders and the great, pink, vinous jowls gave an effect of massive size and grandeur, but that general effect was not borne out by the smaller details. The mouth was amazingly tiny and carnal; it was full of an almost obscene humour, and it had a kind of mousing slyness, as if its fat little chops were fairly watering for lewd tidbits. The nose was also small and pointed, and there was a sniffing shrewdness about it. The eyes were little, blue, and twinkled with crafty merriment. One felt that they saw everything — that they were not only secretly and agreeably aware of the whole human comedy, but were also slyly amused at the bluff and ingenuous part that their owner was playing.
    “But come, now!” Lewald cried suddenly, throwing back his shoulders and seeming to collect himself to earnestness with a jerk. “I bring somet’ing to you from mein hosband . . . Was?” He looked round at all three of them with an expression of innocent, questioning bewilderment as George grinned.
    It was a familiar error of his broken English. He always called his wife his “hosband”, and frequently told George that some day he, too, would get a “good hosband”. But he used the word with an expression of such droll innocence, his little blue eyes twinkling in his pink face with a look of cherubic guilelessness, that George was sure he knew better and was making the error deliberately for its comic effect. Now, as George laughed, Lewald turned to Else, then to Heilig, with a puzzled air, and in a lowered voice said rapidly:
    “Was, denn? Was meint Chorge? Wie sagt man das? Ist das nicht richtig englisch?”
    Else looked pointedly away as though she had not heard him and wished to have nothing more to do with him. Heilig’s only answer was to continue looking at him coldly and suspiciously. Lewald, however, was not in the least put out by the unappreciativeness of his audience. He turned back to George with a comical shrug, as if the whole thing were quite beyond him, and then slipped into George’s pocket a small flask of German brandy, saying that it was the gift his “hosband” had sent. Next he took out a thin and beautifully bound little volume which one of his authors had written and illustrated. He held it in his hand and fingered through it lovingly.
    It was a comic memoir of Lewald’s life, from the cradle to maturity, done in that vein of grotesque brutality which hardly escapes the macabre, but which nevertheless does have a power of savage caricature and terrible humour such as no other race can equal. One of the illustrations showed the infant Lewald as the infant Hercules strangling two formidable-looking snakes, which bore the heads of his foremost publishing rivals. Another showed the adolescent Lewald as Gargantua, drowning out his native town of Kolberg in Pomerania. Still another pictured Lewald as the young publisher, seated at a table in Aenna Maentz café and biting large chunks out of a drinking-glass and eating them — an operation which he had actually performed on various occasions in the past, in order, as he said, “to make propaganda for meinself and mein business.”
    Lewald had inscribed and autographed this curious little book for George, and underneath the inscription had written the familiar and obscene lines of the song: “Lecke du, lecke du, lecke du die Katze am Arsch.” Now he closed the book and thrust it into George’s pocket.
    And even as he did so there was a flurry of excitement in the crowd. A light flashed, the porters moved along the platform. George looked up the tracks. The train was coming. It bore down swiftly, sweeping in round the edges of the Zoologic Garden. The huge snout of the locomotive, its fenders touched with trimmings of bright red, advanced bluntly, steamed hotly past, and came to a stop. The dull line of the coaches was broken vividly in the middle with the glittering red of the Mitropa dining-car.
    Everybody swung into action. George’s porter, heaving up his heavy baggage, clambered quickly up the steps and found a compartment for him. There was a blur of voices all round, an excited tumult of farewell.
    Lewald caught George by the hand, and with his other arm around George’s shoulder half-pounded and half-hugged him, saying: “My old Chorge, auf wiedersehen!”
    Heilig shook hands hard and fast, his small and bitter face contorted as if he were weeping, while he said in a curiously vibrant, deep, and tragic voice: “Good-bye, good-bye, dear Chorge, auf wiedersehen.”
    The two men turned away, and Else put her arms round him. He felt her shoulders shake. She was weeping, and he heard her say: “Be good man. Be great one that I know. Be religious man.” And as her embrace tightened, she half-gasped, half-whispered: “Promise.” He nodded. Then they came together: her thighs widened, dosed about his leg, her voluptuous figure yielded, grew into him, their mouths clung fiercely, and for the last time they were united in the embrace of love.
    Then he climbed into the train. The guard slammed the door. Even as he made his way down the narrow corridor towards his compartment, the train started. These forms, these faces, and these lives all began to slide away.
    Heilig kept walking forward, waving his hat, his face still contorted with the grimace of his sorrow. Behind him, Else walked along beside the train, her face stern and lonely, her arm lifted in farewell. Lewald whipped off his hat and waved it, his fair hair in disarray above his flushed and vinous face. The last thing George heard was his exuberant voice raised in a shout of farewell. “Old Chorge, auf wiedersehen!” And then he cupped his hands round his mouth and yelled: “Lecke du——!” George saw his shoulders heave with laughter.
    Then the train swept out around the curve. And they were lost.

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