person:thomas wolfe

  • An Interview with Ryszard Kapuscinski: Writing about Suffering


    Were you trained as a journalist? Kapuscinski: No, never. I started in journalism in 1950 — I was 18, just finishing secondary school, and the newspaper people came to ask me to work. I learned journalism through practice.

    Wolfe: How would you describe your genre?

    Kapuscinski: It’s very difficult to describe. We have such a mixture now, such a fusion of different genres… in the American tradition you would call it New Journalism. This implies writing about the facts, the real facts of life, but using the techniques of fiction writing. There is a certain difference in my case, because I’m trying to put more elements of the essay into my writing… My writing is a combination of three elements. The first is travel: not travel like a tourist, but travel as exploration, as concentration, as a purpose. The second is reading literature on the subject: books, articles, scholarship. The third is reflection, which comes from travel and reading. My books are created from a combination of these three elements.

    Wolfe:When did the idea of Aesopian writing enter into the genre, the idea of putting layers into official texts?

    Kapuscinski: Well, this is not a new thing — it was a nineteenth-century Russian tradition. As for us, we were trying to use all the available possibilities, because there wasn’t any underground. Underground literature only began in the 70s, when technical developments made it possible. Before that, we were involved in a game with the censors. That was our struggle. The Emperor is considered to be an Aesopian book in Poland and the Soviet Union. Of course it’s not about Ethiopia or Haile Selassie — rather, it’s about the Central Committee of the Communist Party. The First Secretary at the time was named Gierek, and he was very much the emperor with his court, and everybody read the book as being about him and the Central Committee.

    Wolfe: But you didn’t write explicitly about the Central Committee.

    Kapuscinski: No, but of course the authorities knew what it was about, and so it had a very small circulation, and it was forbidden to turn it into a film or a play. Aesopian language was used by all of us. And of course, using this language meant having readers who understood it.

    Cohen: The other day we were discussing the crisis of readership, and wondering whether people were still capable of doing the double reading, of taking apart a text that has been written in a complicated way.

    Kapuscinski: The limitation of sources under the Communists had a very political effect on reading. People had just one book, and nothing else — no television or other diversions — so they just read the same book very carefully several times. Readership was high, and very attentive. It was people’s only source of knowledge about the world. You have to understand that the tradition of Russian literature — and Russians are great readers — is also an eastern tradition of learning poetry and prose by heart. This is the most intimate relationship between literature and its readers: they treat the text as a part of themselves, as a possession. This art of reading, reading the text behind the text, is missing now.

    Cohen: When did you first arrive on the African continent?

    Kapuscinski:My first trip to Africa came when the first countries south of the Sahara became independent, in 1958. Ghana was the first African country I visited. I wrote a series of reports about Nkumrah and Lumumba. My second trip was just two years later, when I went to cover the events surrounding the independence of the Congo. At that time, I was not allowed to go to Kinshasa — it was Leopoldville at that time — but I crossed the Sudan-Congo border illegally with a Czech journalist friend, since there was nobody patrolling it. And I went to Kisangani, which was called Stanleyville then.

    Cohen: Were you in Leopoldville during the actual transfer[1]?

    Kapuscinski:No, afterwards. It was a moment of terrible international tension. I remember the atmosphere of danger: there was the expectation that the Congo might begin a new world war. I say this today and people just smile. But that’s why everybody was so nervous: Russians were going there, Americans were going there, the French, the United Nations… I remember one moment at the airport in Kisangani, thinking that Soviet planes were coming — all the journalists were there, and we all expected it to happen.

    Cohen: At that time, in the early 1960s, there weren’t more than three regular American journalists covering Africa.

    Kapuscinski:There were very few, because most correspondents came from the former colonial powers — there were British, French, and a lot of Italians, because there were a lot of Italian communities there. And of course there were a lot of Russians.

    Wolfe: Was there competition among this handful of people?

    Kapuscinski: No, we all cooperated, all of us, East and West, regardless of country, because the working conditions were really terrible. We had to. We always moved in groups from one coup d’état to another, from one war to another… So if there was a coup d’état of leftist orientation in some country I took my Western colleagues with me and said “look, let them come in,” and if there was one of rightist orientation they took me, saying “no, he’s okay, give him a visa please, he’s going with us, he’s our friend,” and so on. I didn’t compete with the New York Times, for example, because the Polish press agency is a small piece of cake, not important. And because conditions were so hard. For example, to send the news out, there was no e-mail, nothing: telex was the only means, but telex was very rare in Africa. So if somebody was flying to Europe, we gave him correspondence, to send after he arrived. I remember that during the period leading up to independence in Angola in 1975, I was the only correspondent there at all for three months. I was in my hotel room when somebody knocked on my door - I opened it, and a man said, “I’m the New York Times correspondent.” The official independence celebration was going to be held over four or five days, and a group of journalists from all over the world was allowed to fly in, because Angola was closed otherwise. So he said, “I’m sorry, but I’m the new man here, and I heard you’ve been here longer, and I have to write something from Angola, and this is the article I have to send to the New York Times. Could you kindly read it and correct things which are not real?” And he brought a bottle of whiskey. And whiskey was something which was absolutely marvelous, because there was nothing: no cigarettes, no food, nothing…The difference at that time, in comparison with today, was that this was a group of highly specialized people. They were real Africanists, and not only from experience. If you read articles from that time in Le Monde, in the Times, you’ll find that the authors really had background, a knowledge of the subject. It was a very highly qualified sort of journalism — we were all great specialists.

    Woodford: Professor Piotr Michalowski[2] says that when he was growing up in Poland, people lived through your reports in a very special way: they were like a big, exotic outlet, given the state of world politics. People of all ranks and stations followed these adventures. When you went back, did regular Poles, non-educated people, also want you to tell them about what it was like to see these things?

    Kapuscinski:Yes, very much so. They were very interested in what I was writing. This was a unique source of information, and Africa held incomparably greater interest for them at that time than it does now. People were really interested in what was going on because of the international context of the Cold War.

    Wolfe: What did the Poles know about Africa?

    Kapuscinski: They had very limited knowledge. This was very typical of the European understanding of Africa, which is full of stereotypes and biases. Nevertheless, there was a certain fascination with Africa. Maybe it has something to do with our literature: we have Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, for example, and Conrad is considered in Poland as a Polish writer. The similarity between Africa and Poland - and this is an argument I have always had with people in Africa - is that we were also a colonized country. We were a colony for 130 years. We lost independence at the end of the 18th century, and only regained it in 1918, after the First World War. We were divided between three colonial powers - Russia, Prussia, and Austria. There’s a certain similarity of experience. I’ve often quarreled with African friends about this. I’ve asked, “How long were you colonized?” "Eighty years," they’ve answered, and I’ve responded, “We were colonized 50 years longer, so what can you say about colonialism? I’ll tell you what colonial experience is.” And they’re shocked. But though there is a similarity of experience, the common people are not conscious of this.

    Wolfe: At the end of the Copernicus Lecture, you said that you wrote Imperium because it was important to bring a Polish way of seeing things to your topic. How did you come to a sense that there was a Polish way of seeing things? Did it emerge from your experiences in Africa, or in relationship to Russia?

    Kapuscinski: It developed in relation to Russia in particular. Our history, the history of Polish-Russian relations, is very tragic, very harrowing. There has been a lot of suffering on our side, because Stalin killed all our intelligentsia. It wasn’t just that he killed 100,000 people, it was that he purposely killed the 100,000 who were our only intelligentsia… When I started writing Imperium, I had a problem with my conscience, because if I wrote strictly from the point of view of this Polish experience, the book would be completely unacceptable and incomprehensible to the Western reader…So I had to put aside our Polish experience, and to find an angle, an objective way of writing about Russia.

    Wolfe: Isn’t there something inherently difficult in writing about suffering? How does one go back and forth between a sense of causation in daily suffering on the one hand, and an understanding of the purges as a social phenomenon, on the other? How does one attempt to understand the cultural propensity of Russians to suffer?

    Kapuscinski: There is a fundamental difference between the Polish experience of the state and the Russian experience. In the Polish experience, the state was always a foreign power. So, to hate the state, to be disobedient to the state, was a patriotic act. In the Russian experience, although the Russian state is oppressive, it is their state, it is part of their fabric, and so the relation between Russian citizens and their state is much more complicated. There are several reasons why Russians view the oppressive state positively. First of all, in Russian culture, in the Russian Orthodox religion, there is an understanding of authority as something sent by God. This makes the state part of the sacred… So if the state is oppressive, then it is oppressive, but you can’t revolt against it. The cult of authority is very strong in Russian society.

    Wolfe: But what is the difference between Soviet suffering and something like the battle of the Marne, the insanity of World War I and trench warfare?

    Kapuscinski: It’s different. In the First World War, there was the sudden passion of nationalism, and the killing took place because of these emotions. But the Soviet case is different, because there you had systematic murder, like in the Holocaust. Ten or 12 million Ukrainian peasants were purposely killed by Stalin, by starvation, in the Ukrainian hunger of 1932-3…It was a very systematic plan… In modern Russia, you have no official, formal assessment of this past. Nobody in any Russian document has said that the policy of the Soviet government was criminal, that it was terrible. No one has ever said this.

    Woodford: But what about Khrushchev in 1956?

    Kapuscinski: I’m speaking about the present. Official Russian state doctrine and foreign policy doesn’t mention the Bolshevik policy of expansion. It doesn’t condemn it. If you ask liberal Russians - academics, politicians - if Russia is dangerous to us, to Europe, to the world, they say: “No, it’s not dangerous, we’re too weak, we have an economic crisis, difficulties with foreign trade, our army is in a state of anarchy…” That is the answer. They are not saying: “We will never, ever repeat our crimes of expansionism, of constant war.” No, they say: “We are not dangerous to you, because right now we are weak.”


    When Vaclav Havel was president of Czechoslovakia, he was asked whether the state would take responsibility for the deaths, the oppression, the confiscations of the previous governments of Czechoslovakia, and he said “yes.” The same questions were asked in South Africa of the Mandela government. And I think Poland is now struggling with how much responsibility the government will have to take for the past. But the Russian official response has been that Stalin can be blamed for everything.

    Kapuscinski:This is a very crucial point: there is a lack of critical assessment of the past. But you have to understand that the current ruling elite is actually the old ruling elite. So they are incapable of a self-critical approach to the past.

    Polish-born journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski worked as an African correspondent for various Polish periodicals and press agencies from 1958 to 1980. In his book Imperium (Granta Books, 1994), he turns a journalist’s eye onto the Russian state, and the effects of authoritarianism on everyday Russian life. Kapuscinski delivered his November, 1997 Copernicus lecture: "The Russian Puzzle: Why I Wrote Imperium at the Center for Russian and East European Studies. During his visit, he spoke with David Cohen (International Institute); John Woodford (Executive Editor of Michigan Today ); and Thomas Wolfe (Communications). The following is an excerpted transcript of their conversation.

    Sei Sekou Mobutu seized control of the Congo in 1965. After the evolution, the name of the capital was changed from Leopoldville to Kinshasa, and in 1971 the country was renamed Zaire, instead of the Congo. return to text

    Piotr Michalowski is the George D. Cameron Professor of Ancient Near Eastern Civilizations and Languages at the Unversity of Michigan.

    Kapuscinski, more magical than real

    What’s the truth about Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski

    #presse #littérature #reportage

  • Das Geschäft mit den Flüchtlingen - Endstation Libyen

    Wenn sie aufgegeben haben, besteigen sie die Flugzeuge. Die Internationale Organisation für Migration (IOM) transportiert verzweifelte Flüchtlinge und Migranten zurück in ihre Heimatländer – den Senegal, Niger oder Nigeria. Es ist die Rettung vor dem sicheren Tod und gleichzeitig ein Flug zurück in die Hoffnungslosigkeit.

    Flug in die Hoffnungslosigkeit (picture-alliance / dpa / Julian Stratenschulte)

    Für die Menschen, die Tausende Kilometer nach Libyen gereist sind, um nach Europa überzusetzen, wird die EU-Grenzsicherung zunehmend zur Falle. Denn die Schleuser in Libyen haben ihr Geschäftsmodell geändert: Nun verhindern sie die Überfahrt, kassieren dafür von der EU und verkaufen die Migranten als Sklaven.

    Die Rückkehrer sind die einzigen Zeugen der Sklaverei. Alexander Bühler hat sich ihre Geschichten erzählen lassen.

    Endstation Libyen
    Das Geschäft mit den Flüchtlingen
    Von Alexander Bühler

    Regie : Thomas Wolfertz
    Es sprachen : Sigrid Burkholder, Justine Hauer, Hüseyin Michael Cirpici, Daniel Berger, Jonas Baeck und Florian Seigerschmidt
    Ton und Technik : Ernst Hartmann und Caroline Thon
    Redaktion : Wolfgang Schiller
    Produktion : Dlf/RBB 2018

    Alexander Bühler hat in Gebieten wie Syrien, Libyen, Haiti, dem Kongo und Kolumbien gearbeitet und von dort u.a. über Drogen, Waffen- und Menschenhandel berichtet. 2016 erhielt er den Deutschen Menschenrechtsfilmpreis in der Kategorie Magazinbeiträge, 2018 den Sonderpreis der Premios Ondas.

    #migrations #UE #externalisation #contrôles_frontaliers #frontières #désert #Sahara #Libye #gardes-côtes_libyens #Tunisie #Niger #OIM (#IOM) #évacuation #retour_volontaire #réinstallation #Côte_d'Ivoire #traite #traite_d'êtres_humains #esclavage #marchandise_humaine #viol #trauma #traumatisme #audio #interview #Dlf

    @cdb_77, j’ai trouvé la super !!! métaliste sur :
    externalisation, contrôles_frontaliers, frontières, migrations, réfugiés...juste que ce reportage parle de tellement de sujets que j’arrive pas à choisir le fil - peut-être ajouter en bas de la métaliste ? Mais le but n’est pas de faire une métaliste pour ajouter des commentaires non ? En tout cas c’est très bien fait cette reportage je trouve ! ...un peu dommage que c’est en allemand...

  • You Can’t Go Home Again, by Thomas Wolfe : 44. The Way of no Return

    “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

    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

    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

    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

    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.

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

  • You Can’t Go Home Again, by Thomas Wolfe : 39. “One Big Fool”

    The time had come for George to go. He knew he had to leave, but he had kept putting it off. Twice he had booked his passage back to America and made all his preparations for departure, and twice, as the day approached, he had cancelled the arrangements.
    He hated the thought of quitting Germany, for he felt, somehow, that he would never again be able to return to this ancient land he loved so much. And Else — where, and under what alien skies, could he hope to see her again? Her roots were here, his were elsewhere. This would be a last farewell.
    So, after delaying and delaying, once more he booked his passage and made his plans to leave Berlin on a day towards the middle of September. The postponement of the dreaded moment had only made it more painful. He would be foolish to draw it out any further. This time he would really go.
    And at last came the fateful dawn.
    The phone beside his bed rang quietly. He stirred, then roused sharply from that fitful and uneasy sleep which a man experiences when he has gone to bed late, knowing that he has to get up early. It was the porter. His low, quiet voice had in it the quality of immediate authority.
    “It is seven ‘o’clock,” he said.
    “All right,” George answered. “Thank you. I’m awake.”
    Then he got up, still fighting dismally with a stale fatigue which begged for sleep, as well as with a gnawing tension of anxiety which called for action. One look about the room reassured him. His old leather trunk lay open on the baggage rest. It had been packed the night before with beautiful efficiency by the maid. Now there was very little more to do except to shave and dress, stow toilet things away, pack the brief-case with a few books and letters and the pages of manuscript that always accumulated wherever he was, and drive to the station. Twenty minutes’ steady work would find him ready. The train was not due until half-past eight, and the station was not three minutes distant in a taxi-cab. He thrust his feet into his slippers, walked over to the windows, tugged the cord, and pulled up the heavy wooden blinds.
    It was a grey morning. Below him, save for an occasional motorcar, the quiet thrum of a bicycle, or someone walking briskly to his work with a lean, spare clack of early morning, the Kurfürstendamm was bare and silent. In the centre of the street, above the tram tracks, the fine trees had already lost their summer freshness — that deep and dark intensity of German green which is the greenest green on earth and which has a kind of forest darkness, a legendary sense of coolness and of magic. The leaves looked faded now, and dusty. They were already touched here and there by the yellowing tinge of autumn. A tram, cream-yellow, spotless, shining like a perfect toy, slid past with a hissing sound upon the rails and at the contacts of the trolley. Except for this, the tram-car made no noise. Like everything the Germans built, the tram and its road-bed were perfect in their function. The rattling and metallic clatter of an American street-car were totally absent. Even the little cobble-stones that paved the space between the tracks were as clean and spotless as if each of them had just been gone over thoroughly with a whisk broom, and the strips of grass that bordered the tracks were as green and velvety as Oxford sward.
    On both sides of the street, the great restaurants, cafés, and terraces of the Kurfürstendamm had the silent loneliness that such places always have at that hour of the morning. Chairs were racked upon the tables. Everything was clean and bare and empty. Three blocks away, at the head of the street, the clock on the Gedächtnis-kirche belatedly struck seven times. He could see the great, bleak masses of the church, and in the trees a few birds sang.
    Someone knocked upon the door. He turned and crossed and opened it. The waiter stood there with his breakfast tray. He was a boy of fifteen, a blond-haired, solemn child with a fresh pink face. He wore a boiled shirt, and a waiter’s uniform which was spotless-clean, but which had obviously been cut off and shortened down a little from the dimensions of some more mature former inhabitant. He marched in solemnly, bearing his tray before him straight towards the table in the centre of the room, stolidly uttering in a guttural and toneless voice his three phrases of English which were:
    “Goot morning, sir,” as George opened the door
    “If you bleeze, sir,” as he set the tray down upon the table, and then
    “Dank you ferry much, sir,” as he marched out and turned to close the door behind him.
    The formula had always been the same. All summer it had not varied by a jot, and now as he marched out for the last time George had a feeling of affection and regret. He called to the boy to wait a moment, got his trousers, took some money, and gave it to him. His pink face reddened suddenly with happiness. George shook hands with him, and the boy said gutturally:
    “Dank you ferry much, sir.” And then, very quietly and earnestly: “Gute reise, mein Herr.” He clicked his heels together and bowed formally, and then closed the door.
    George stood there for a moment with that nameless feeling of affection and regret, knowing that he would never see the boy again. Then he went back to the table and poured out a cup of the hot, rich chocolate, broke a crusty roll, buttered it, spread it with strawberry jam, and ate it. This was all the breakfast he wanted. The pot was still half full of chocolate, the dish was still piled with little scrolls of creamy butter, there was enough of the delicious jam, enough of the crusty rolls and flaky croissants, to make half a dozen breakfasts, but he was not hungry.
    He went over to the wash-basin and switched on the light. The large and heavy porcelain bowl was indented in the wall. The wall and the floor beneath were substantial and as perfect as a small but costly bathroom. He brushed his teeth and shaved, packed all the toilet things together in a little leather case, pulled the zipper, and put it away in the old trunk. Then he dressed. By seven-twenty he was ready.
    Franz Heilig came in as George was ringing for the porter. He was an astonishing fellow, an old friend of the Munich days, and George was devoted to him.
    When they had first met, Heilig had been a librarian in Munich. Now he had a post in one of the large libraries of Berlin. In this capacity he was a public functionary, with the prospect of slow but steady advancement through the years. His income was small and his scale of living modest, but such things did not bother Heilig. He was a scholar, with the widest range of knowledge and interests that George had ever known in anyone. He read and spoke a dozen languages. He was German to the very core of his learned soul, but his English, which he spoke less well than any other language he had studied, was not the usual German rendering of Shakespeare’s tongue. There were plenty of Germanic elements in it, but in addition Heilig had also borrowed accents and inflections from some of his other linguistic conquests, and the result was a most peculiar and amusing kind of bastard speech.
    As he entered the room and saw George he began to laugh, closing his eyes, contorting his small features, and snuffling through his sourly puckered lips as if he had just eaten a half-ripe persimmon. Then his face went sober and he said anxiously:
    “You are ready, zen? You are truly going?”
    George nodded. “Yes,” he said. “Everything’s all ready. How do you feel, Franz?”
    He laughed suddenly, took off his spectacles, and began to polish them. Without his glasses, his small puckered face had a tired and worn look, and his weak eyes were bloodshot and weary from the night before.
    “0 Gott!” he cried, with a kind of gleeful desperation. “I feel perfectly dret-ful! I haf not efen been to bett! After I left you I could not sleep. I valked and valked, almost up to Grunewald . . . May I tell you somesing?” he said earnestly, and peered at George with the serious intensity with which he always uttered these oracular words. “I feel like hell — I really do.”
    “Then you haven’t been to bed at all? You’ve had no sleep?”
    “Oh, yes,” he said wearily. “I haf slept an hour. I came back home. My girl vas asleep — I did not vant to get into ze bett wiz her — I did not vant to vake her up. So I laid down upon ze couch. I did not efen take off my clothes. I vas afraid zat I vould come too late to see you at ze station. And zat,” he said, peering at George most earnestly again, “vould be too dret-ful!”
    “Why don’t you go back home and sleep today after the train goes?” George said. “I don’t think you’ll be able to do much work, feeling as you do. Wouldn’t it be better if you took the day off and caught up on your sleep?”
    “Veil, zen,” said Heilig abruptly, yet rather indifferently, “I vill tell you somesing.” He peered at George earnestly and intently again, and said: “It does not matter. It really does not matter. I vill take somesing — some coffee or somesing,” he said indifferently. “It vill not be too bad. But Gott!”— again the desperately gleeful laugh —“how I shall sleep to-night! After zat I shall try to get to know my girl again.”
    “I hope so, Franz. She’s a nice girl. I’m afraid she hasn’t seen much of you the last month or so.”
    “Veil, zen,” said Heilig, as before, “I vill tell you somesing. It does not matter. It really does not matter. She is a good girl — she knows about zese sings — you like her, yes?”— and he peered at George eagerly, earnestly, again. “You sink she is nice?”
    “Yes, I think she’s very nice.”
    “Veil, zen,” said Heilig, “I vill tell you somesing. She is very nice. I am glad if you like her. She is very good for me. Ve get along togezzer very vell. I hope zat zey vill let me keep her,” he said quietly.
    “They? Who do you mean by ‘they’, Franz?”
    “Oh,” he said, wearily, and his small face puckered in an expression of disgust, “zese people — zese stupid people — zat you know about.”
    “But good Lord, Franz! Surely they have not yet forbidden that, have they? A man is still allowed to have a girl, isn’t he? Why you can step right out into the Kurfürstendamm and get a dozen girls before you’ve walked a block.”
    “Oh,” said Heilig, “you mean ze little whores. Yes, you may still go to ze little whores. Zat’s quite anozzer matter. You may go to ze little whores and perhaps zey give you somesing — a little poison. But zat is quite all right. You see, my dear shap,” here his face puckered in a look of impish malice, and he began to speak in the tone of exaggerated and mincing refinement that characterised some of his more vicious utterances, “I vill now tell you somesing. Under ze Dritte Reich ve are all so happy, everysing is so fine and healsy, zat it is perfectly Gott-tam dret-ful,” he sneered. “Ve may go to ze little whores in ze Kurfürstendamm. Zey vill take you to zeir rooms, or zey vill come wiz you. Yes,” he said earnestly, nodding, “zey vill come wiz you to vhere you live — to your room. But you cannot haf a girl. If you haf a girl you must marry her, and — may I tell you?” he said frankly —“I cannot marry. I do not make enough money. It vould be quite impossible!” he said decisively. “And may I tell you zis?” he continued, pacing nervously up and down and taking rapid puffs at his cigarette. “If you haf a girl, zen you must haf two rooms. And zat also is quite impossible! I haf not efen money enough to afford two rooms.”
    “You mean, if you are living with a girl you are compelled by law to have two rooms?”
    “It is ze law, yes,” said Heilig quietly, nodding with the air of finality with which a German states established custom. “You must. If you are liffing wiz a girl, she must haf a room. Zen you can say,” he went on seriously, “zat you are hiring wiz each ozzer. She may haf a room right next to you, but zen you can say zat she is not your girl. You may sleep togezzer every night, all you Gott-tam please. But zen, you see, you vill be good. You vill not do some sings against ze Party . . . Gott!” he cried, and, lifting his impish, bitterly puckered face, he laughed again. “It is all quite dret-ful!”
    “But if they find, Franz, that you’re living with her in a single room?”
    “Veil, zen,” he said quietly, “I may tell you zat she vill haf to go.” And then, wearily, dismissingly, in a tone of bitter indifference: “It does not matter. I do not care. I pay no attention to zese stupid people. I haf my vork, I haf my girl. And zat is all zat matters. Ven I am finished wiz my vork, I go home to my little room. My girl is zere, and zis little dog,” he said, and his face lighted up gleefully again. “Zis little dog — may I tell you somesing? — zis little dog — Pooki — ze little Scottie zat you know — I haf become quite fond of him. He is really quite nice,” said Heilig earnestly. “Ven he first came to us I hated him. My girl saw him and she fall in love wiz zis little animal,” said Heilig. “She said zat she must haf him — zat I must be buying him for her. Veil, zen,” said Heilig, quickly flipping the ash from his cigarette and moving up and down the room, “I said to her zat I vill not haf zis Gott-tam little beast about my place.” He fairly shouted these words to show the emphasis of his intention. “Veil, zen, ze girl cry. She talk alvays about zis little dog. She say zat she must haf him, zat she is going to die. Gott!” he cried gleefully again, and laughed. “It vas perfectly dret-ful. Zere vas no more peace for me. I vould go home at night and instantly she vould begin to cry and say she vill be dying if I do not buy zis little dog. So finally I say: ‘All right, haf it your own vay. I vill buy zis little animal!’” he said viciously —”‘Only for Gott’s sake, shut your crying!’ So, zen,” said Heilig impishly, “I vent to buy zis little dog, and I looked at him.” Here his voice became very droll, and with a tremendous sense of comic exaggeration his eyes narrowed, his small face puckered to a grimace, and his discoloured teeth gritted together as he snarled softly and gleefully: “I looked at zis little dog and I said —‘All right, you — you-u-u buh-loody little animalyou-u-u aww-ful — dret-ful — little bee-e-e-st — I vill take you home wiz me — but you — you-u-u damned little beast, you’"— here he gleefully and viciously shook his fist at an imaginary dog —”‘if you do some sings I do not like — if you viii be making some buh-loody awful messes in my place, I vill give you somesing to eat zat you will not enchoy’ . . . But zen,” said Heilig, “after ve had him, I became quite fond of him. He is quite nice, really. Sometime ven I come home at night and everysing has gone badly and zere haf been so many of zese dret-ful people, he vill come and look at me. He vill talk to me. He vill say he knows zat I am so unhappy. And zat life is very hard. But zat he is my friend. Yes, he is really very nice. I like him very much.”
    During this conversation the porter had come in and was now waiting for his orders. He asked George if everything was in the leather trunk. George got down on hands and knees and took a final look under the bed. The porter opened doors and drawers. Heilig himself peered inside the big wardrobe and, finding it empty, turned to George with his characteristic expression of surprise and said:
    “Veil, zen, I may tell you zat I sink you have it all.”
    Satisfied on this score, the porter closed the heavy trunk, locked it, and tightened the straps, while Heilig helped George stuff manuscripts, letters, and a few books into the old brief-case. Then George fastened the brief-case and gave it to the porter. He dragged the baggage out into the hall and said he would wait for them below.
    George looked at his watch and found that it still lacked three-quarters of an hour until train time. He asked Heilig if they should go on immediately to the station or wait at the hotel.
    “Ve can vait here,” he said. “I sink it vould be better. If you vait here anozzer half an hour, zere vould still be time.”
    He offered George a cigarette and struck a match for him. Then they sat down, George at the table, Heilig upon the couch against the wall. And for a minute or two they smoked in silence.
    “Vell, zen,” said Heilig quietly, “zis time it is to be good-bye . . . Zis time you vill really go?”
    “Yes, Franz. I’ve got to go this time. I’ve missed two boats already. I can’t miss another one.”
    They smoked in silence for a moment more, and then suddenly, earnestly and anxiously, Heilig said:
    “Vell, zen, may I tell you somesing? I am sorry.”
    “And I, too, Franz.”
    Again they smoked in troubled and uneasy silence.
    “You vill come back, of gourse,” said Heilig presently. And then, decisively: “You must, of gourse. Ve like you here.” Another pause, then very simply and quietly: “You know, ve do so luff you.”
    George was too moved to say anything, and Heilig, peering at him quickly and anxiously, continued:
    “And you like it here? You like us? Yes!” he cried emphatically, in answer to his own question. “Of gourse you do!”
    “Of course, Franz.”
    “Zen you must come back,” he said quietly. “It vould be quite dret-ful if you did not.” He looked at George searchingly again, but George said nothing. In a moment Heilig said: “And I— I shall hope zat ve shall meet again.”
    “I hope so, too, Franz,” said George. And then, trying to throw off the sadness that had fallen on them, he went on as cheerfully as he could, voicing his desire more than his belief: “Of course we shall. I shall come back some day, and we shall sit together talking just the same as we are now.”
    Heilig did not answer immediately. His small face became contorted with the look of bitter and malicious humour which George had seen upon it so often. He took off his glasses quickly, polished them, wiped his tired, weak eyes, and put his glasses on again.
    “You sink so?” he said, and smiled his wry and bitter smile.
    “I’m sure of it,” George said positively, and for the moment he almost believed it. “You and I and all the friends we know — we’ll sit together drinking, we’ll stay up all night and dance around the trees and go to Aenna Maentz at three o’clock in the morning for chicken soup. All of it will be the same.”
    “Vell, zen, I hope zat you are right. But I am not so sure,” said Heilig quietly. “I may not be here.”
    “You!” George laughed derisively. “Why what are you talking about? You know you wouldn’t be happy anywhere else. You have your work, it’s what you always wanted to do, and at last you’re in the place where you always wanted to be. Your future is mapped out clearly before you — it’s just a matter of hanging on until your superiors die off or retire. You’ll always be here!”
    “I am not so sure,” he said. He puffed at his cigarette, and then continued rather hesitantly. “You see — zere are zese fools — zese stupid people!” He ground his cigarette out viciously in the ashtray, and, his face twisted in a wry smile of defiant, lacerated pride, he cried angrily: “Myself — I do not care. I do not vorry for myself. Right now I haf my little life — my little chob — my little girl — my little room. Zese people — zese fools!” he cried —“I do not notice zem. I do not see zem. It does not bozzer me,” he cried. And now, indeed, his face had become a grotesque mask. “I shall always get along,” he said. “If zey run me out — yell, zen, I may tell you zat I do not care! Zere are ozzer places!” he cried bitterly. “I can go to England, to Sveden. If zey take my chob, my girl,” he cried scornfully and waved his hand impatiently, “may I tell you zat it does not matter. I shall get along. And if zese fools — zese stupid people — if zey take my life — I do not sink zat is so terrible. You sink so? Yes?”
    “Yes, I do think so, Franz. I should not like to die.”
    “Vell, zen,” said Heilig quietly, “wiz you it is a different matter. You are American. Wiz us, it is not ze same. I haf seen men shot, in Munich, in Vienna — I do not sink it is too bad.” He turned and looked searchingly at George again. “No, it is not too bad,” he said.
    “Oh hell, you’re talking like an idiot,” George said. “No one’s going to shoot you. No one’s going to take your job or girl away. Why, man, your job is safe. It has nothing to do with politics. And they’d never find another scholar like you. Why, they couldn’t do without you.”
    He shrugged his shoulders indifferently and cynically. “I do not know,” he said. “Myself — I think ye can do wizout everybody if ye must. And perhaps ye must.”
    “Must? What do you mean by that, Franz?”
    Heilig did not answer for a moment. Then he said abruptly: “Now I sink zat I vill tell you somesing. In ze last year here, zese fools haf become quite dret-ful. All ze Chews haf been taken from zeir vork, zey haf nozzing to do any more. Zese people come around — some stupid people in zeir uniform”— he said contemptuously —“and zey say zat everyone must be an Aryan man — zis vonderful plue-eyed person eight feet tall who has been Aryan in his family since 1820. If zere is a little Chew back zere — zen it is a pity,” Heilig jeered. “Zis man can no more vork — he is no more in ze Cherman spirit. It is all quite stupid.” He smoked in silence for a minute or two, then continued: “Zis last year zese big fools haf been coming round to me. Zey demand to know who I am, vhere I am from — whezzer or not I haf been born or not. Zey say zat I must prove to zem zat I am an Aryan man. Ozzervise I can no longer vork in ze library.”
    “But my God, Franz!” George cried, and stared at him in stupefaction. “You don’t mean to tell me that — why, you’re not a Jew,” he said, “are you?”
    “Oh Gott no!” Heilig cried, with a sudden shout of gleeful desperation. “My dear shap, I am so Gott-tam Cherman zat it is perfectly dret-ful.”
    “Well, then,” George demanded, puzzled, “what’s the trouble? Why should they bother you? Why worry about it if you’re a German?”
    Heilig was silent a little while, and the look of wry, wounded humour in his small, puckered face had deepened perceptibly before he spoke again.
    “My dear Chorge,” he said at last, “now I may tell you somesing. I am completely Cherman, it is true. Only, my poor dear mozzer — I do so luff her, of course — but Gott!” He laughed through his closed mouth, and there was bitter merriment in his face. “Gott! She is such a fool! Zis poor lady,” he said, a trifle contemptuously, “luffed my fazzer very much — so much, in fact, zat she did not go to ze trouble to marry him. So zese people come and ask me all zese questions: and say: Where is your fazzer!’ And of gourse I cannot tell zem. Because, alas, my dear old shap, I am zis bastard. Gott!” he cried again, and with eyes narrowed into slits he laughed bitterly out of the corner of his mouth. “It is all so dret-ful — so stupid — and so horribly funny!”
    “But Franz! Surely you must know who your father is — you must have heard his name.”
    “My Gott, yes!” he cried. “Zat is vhat makes it all so funny.”
    “You mean you know him, then? He is living?”
    “But of gourse,” said Heilig. “He is living in Berlin.”
    “Do you ever see him?”
    “But of gourse,” he said again. “I see him every veek. Ve are quite good friends.”
    “But — then I don’t see what the trouble is — unless they can take your job from you because you’re a bastard. It’s embarrassing, of course, and all that, both for your father and yourself — but can’t you tell them? Can’t you explain it to them? Won’t your father help you out?”
    “I am sure he vould,” said Heilig, “if I told zis sing to him. Only, I cannot tell him. You see,” he went on quietly, “my fazzer and I are quite good friends. Ve never speak about zis sing togezzer — ze vay he knew my mozzer. And now, I vould not ask him — I vould not tell him of zis trouble — I vould not vant him to help me — because it might seem zat I vas taking an adwantage. It might spoil everysing.”
    “But your father — is he known here? Would these people know his name if you mentioned it?”
    “Oh Gott yes!” Heilig cried out gleefully, and snuffled with bitter merriment. “Zat is vhat makes it all so horrible — and so dret-fully amusing. Zey vould know his name at vonce. Perhaps zey vill say zat I am zis little Chew and t’row me out because I am no Aryan man — and my fazzer”— Heilig choked and, snuffling, bent half over in his bitter merriment —“my fazzer is zis loyal Cherman man — zis big Nazi — zis most important person in ze Party!”
    For a moment George looked at his friend — whose name, ironically, signified “the holy one”— and could not speak. This strange and moving illumination of his history explained so much about him — the growing bitterness and disdain towards everyone and everything, the sense of weary disgust and resignation, the cold venom of his humour, and that smile which kept his face almost perpetually puckered up. As he sat there, fragile, small, and graceful, smiling his wry smile, the whole legend of his life became plain. He had been life’s tender child, so sensitive, so affectionate, so amazingly intelligent. He had been the fleeceling lamb thrust out into the cold to bear the blast and to endure want and loneliness. He had been wounded cruelly. He had been warped and twisted. He had come to this, and yet he had maintained a kind of bitter integrity.
    “I’m so sorry, Franz,” George said. “So damned sorry. I never knew of this.”
    “Vell, zen,” said Heilig indifferently, “I may tell you zat it does not matter. It really does not matter.” He smiled his tortured smile, snuffling a little through his lips, flicked the ash from his cigarette, and shifted his position. “I shall do somesing about it. I haf engaged one of zese little men — zese dret-ful little people — vhat do you call zem? — lawyers! — O Gott, but zey are dret-ful!” he shouted gleefully. “I haf bought one of zem to make some lies for me. Zis little man wiz his papers — he vill feel around until he discover fazzers, mozzers, sisters, brozzers — everysing I need. If he cannot, if zey vill not believe — yell, zen,” said Heilig, “I must lose my chob. But it does not matter. I shall do somesing. I shall go somevhere else. I shall get along somehow. I haf done so before, and it vas not too terrible . . . But zese fools — zese dret-ful people!” he said with deep disgust. “Some day, my dear Chorge, you must write a bitter book. You must tell all zese people just how horrible zey are. Myself — I haf no talent. I cannot write a book. I can do nozzing but admire vhat ozzers do and know if it is good. But you must tell zese dret-ful people vhat zey are . . . I haf a little fantasy,” he went on with a look of impish glee. “Ven I feel bad — yen I see all zese dret-ful people valking up and down in ze Kurfürstendamm and sitting at ze tables and putting food into zeir faces — zen I imagine zat I haf a little ma-chine gun. So I take zis little ma-chine gun and go up and down, and ven I see one of zese dret-ful people I go — ping-ping-ping-pingping!” As he uttered these words in a rapid, childish key, he took aim with his hand and hooked his finger rapidly. “0 Gott!” he cried ecstatically. “I should so enchoy it if I could go around wiz zis little ma-chine gun and use it on all zese stupid fools! But I cannot. My ma-chine gun is only in imagination. Wiz you it is different. You haf a ma-chine gun zat you can truly use. And you must use it,” he said earnestly. “Some day you must write zis bitter book, and you must tell zese fools vhere zey belong. Only,” he added quickly, and turned anxiously towards George, “you must not do it yet. Or if you do, you must not say some sings in zis book zat vill make zese people angry wiz you here.”
    “What kind of things do you mean, Franz?”
    “Zese sings about”— he lowered his voice and glanced quickly towards the door —“about politics — about ze Party. Sings zat vould bring zem down on you. It would be quite dret-ful if you did.”
    “Why would it?”
    “Because,” he said, “you have a great name here. I don’t mean wiz zese fools, zese stupid people, but wiz ze people left who still read books. I may tell you,” he said earnestly, “zat you have ze best name here now of any foreign writer. If you should spoil it now — if you should write some sings now zat zey vould not like — it vould be a pity. Ze Reichschriftskammer vould forbid your books — vould tell us zat ve could no longer read you — and ve could not get your books. And zat vould be a pity. Ve do so like you here — I mean ze people who understand. Zey know so vell about you. Zey understand ze vay you feel about sings. And I may tell you zat ze translations are quite marvellous. Ze man who does zem is a poet, and he luffs you — he gets you in, ze vay you feel — your images — ze rhythmus of your writing. And ze people find it very vonderful. Zey cannot believe zat zey are reading a translation. Zey say zat it must haf been written in Cherman in ze beginning. And-0 Gott!” he shouted gleefully again —“zey call you everysing — ze American Homer, ze American epic writer. Zey like and understand you so much. Your writing is so full of juice, so round and full of blood. Ze feeling is like feeling zat ve haf. Wiz many people you haf ze greatest name of any writer in ze world today.”
    “That’s a good deal more than I’ve got at home, Franz.”
    “I know. But zen, I notice, in America zey lull everyvun a year — and zen zey spit upon him. Here, wiz many people you haf zis great name,” he said earnestly, “and it vould be too dret-ful — it vould be such a pity — if you spoil it now. You vill not?” he said, and again looked anxiously and earnestly at George.
    George looked off in space and did not answer right away; then he said:
    “A man must write what he must write. A man must do what he must do.”
    “Zen you mean zat if you felt zat you had to say some sings — about politics — about zese stupid fools — about ——”
    “What about life?” George said. “What about people?”
    “You vould say it?”
    “Yes, I would.”
    “Efen if it did you harm? Efen if it spoiled you here? Efen if ve could no longer read vhat you write?” With his small face peering earnestly at George, he waited anxiously for his reply.
    “Yes, Franz, even if that happened.”
    Heilig was silent a moment, and then, with apparent hesitancy, he said:
    “Efen if you write somesing — and zey say to you zat you cannot come back?”
    George, too, was silent now. There was much to think of. But at last he said:
    “Yes, even if they told me that.”
    Heilig straightened sharply, with a swift intake of anger and impatience. “Zen I vill tell you somesing,” he said harshly. “You are one big fool.” He rose, flung his cigarette away, and began to pace nervously up and down the room. “Vhy should you go and spoil yourself?” he cried. “Vhy should you go and write sings now zat vill make it so zat you cannot come back. You do so luff it here!” he cried; then turned sharply, anxiously, and said: “You do, of gourse?”
    “Yes, I do — better than almost any other place on earth.”
    “And ve alzo!” cried Heilig, pacing up and down. “Ve do so luff you, too. You are no stranger to us, Chorge. I see ze people look at you ven you go by upon ze street and zey all smile at you. Zere is somesing about you zat zey like. Ze little girls in ze shirt shop yen ye vent to buy ze shirt for you — zey all said: ‘Who is he?’ Zey all vanted to know about you. Zey kept ze shop open two hours late, till nine o’clock zat night, so zat ze shirt vould be ready for you. Efen ven you speak zis poor little Cherman zat you speak, all ze people like it. Ze vaiters in ze restaurants come and do sings for you before everybody else, and not because zey vant a tip from you. You are at home here. Everybody understands you. You have zis famous name — to us you are zis great writer. And for a little politics,” he said bitterly, “because zere are zese stupid fools, you vould now go and spoil it all.”
    George made no answer. So Heilig, still walking feverishly up and down, went on:
    “Vhy should you do it? You are no politician. You are no propaganda Party man. You are not one of zese Gott-tam little New York Salon–Kommunisten.” He spat the word out viciously, his pale eyes narrowed into slits. “May I now tell you somesing?” He paused abruptly, looking at George. “I hate zese bloody little people — zese damned aest’etes — zese little propaganda literary men.” Puckering his face into an expression of mincing disdain, advancing with two fingers pressed together in the air before him, and squinting at them with delicately lidded eyes, he coughed in an affected way —“U-huh, u-huh!”— and then, in a tone of mincing parody, he quoted from an article he had read: “‘HI may say so, ze transparence of ze Darstellung in Vebber’s vork . . . ’ U-huh, u-huh!” he coughed again. “Zis bloody little fool who wrote zat piece about you in Die Dame— zis damned little aest’ete wiz zese phrases about ‘ze transparence of ze Darstellung’— may I tell you somesing?” he shouted violently. “I spit upon zese bloody people! Zey are everyvhere ze same. You find zem in London, Paris, Vienna. Zey are bad enough in Europe — but in America!” he shouted, his face lighting up with impish glee —“O Gott! If I may tell you so, zey are perfectly dret-ful! Vhere do you get zem from? Efen ze European aest’ete says: ‘My Gott! zese bloody men, zese awful people, zese demned aest’etes from ze Oo Ess Ah — zey are too dretful!’”
    “Are you talking now of Communists? You began on them, you know!”
    “Veil now,” he said, curtly and coldly, with the arrogant dismissal that was becoming more and more characteristic of him, “it does not matter. It does not matter vhat zey call zemselves. Zey are all ze same. Zey are zese little expressionismus, surréalismus, Kommunismus people — but really zey can call zemselves anysing, everysing, for zey are nozzing. And may I tell you zat I hate zem. I am so tired of all zese belated little people,” he said, and turned away with an expression of weariness and disgust. “It does not matter. It simly does not matter vhat zey say. For zey know nozzing.”
    “You think then, Franz, that all of Communism is like that — that all Communists are just a crowd of parlour fakes?”
    “Oh, die Kommunisten,” said Heilig wearily. “No, I do not sink zat zey are all fakes. And Kommunismus”— he shrugged his shoulders —“vell, zen, I sink zat it is very good. I sink zat some day ze vorld may live like zat. Only, I do not sink zat you and I will see it. It is too great a dream. And zese sings are not for you. You are not one of zese little propaganda Party people — you are a writer. It is your duty to look around you and to write about ze vorld and people as you see zem. It is not your duty to write propaganda speeches and call zem books. You could not do zat. It is quite impossible.”
    “But suppose I write about the world and people as I see them, and come in conflict with the Party — what then?”
    “Zen,” he said roughly, “you vill be one big fool. You can write everysing you need to write wizout zese Party people coming down on you. You do not need to mention zem. And if you do mention zem, and do not say nice sings, zen ye can no longer read you, and you cannot come back. And for vhat vould you do it? If you vere some little propaganda person in New York, you could say zese sings and zen it vould not matter. Because zey can say anysing zey like — but zey know nozzing of us, and it costs zem nozzing. But you — you have so much to lose.”
    Heilig paced back and forth in feverish silence, puffing on his cigarette, then all at once he turned and demanded truculently:
    “You sink it is so bad here now? — ze vay sings are wiz ze Party and zese stupid people? You sink it vould be better if zere vas anozzer party, like in America? Zen,” he said, not waiting for an answer, “I sink you are mistaken. It is bad here, of gourse, but I sink it vill be soon no better wiz you. Zese bloody fools — you find zem everyvhere. Zey are ze same wiz you, only in a different vay.” Suddenly he looked at George earnestly and searchingly. “You sink zat you are free in America — no?” He shook his head and went on: “I do not sink so. Ze only free ones are zese dret-ful people. Here, zey are free to tell you vhat you must read, vhat you must believe, and I sink zat is also true in America. You must sink and feel ze vay zey do — you must say ze sings zey vant you to say — or zey kill you. Ze only difference is zat here zey haf ze power to do it. In America zey do not haf it yet, but just vait — zey vill get it. Ve Chermans haf shown zem ze vay. And zen, you vould be more free here zan in New York, for here you haf a better name, I sink, zan in America. Here zey admire you. Here you are American, and you could efen write and say sings zat no Cherman could do, so long as you say nozzing zat is against ze Party. Do you sink zat you could do zat in New York?”
    He paced the floor in silence for a long moment, pausing to look searchingly at George. At length he answered his own question:
    “No, you could not. Zese people here — zey say zat zey are Nazis. I sink zat zey are more honest. In New York, zey call zemselves by some fine name. Zey are ze Salon–Kommunisten. Zey are ze Daughters of ze Revolution. Zey are ze American Legion. Zey are ze business men, ze Chamber of Commerce. Zey are one sing and anozzer, but zey are all ze same, and I sink zat zey are Nazis, too. You vill find everyvhere zese bloody people. Zey are not for you. You are not a propaganda man.”
    Again there was a silence. Heilig continued to pace the floor, waiting for George to say something; when he did not, Heilig went on again. And in his next words he revealed a depth of cynicism and indifference which was greater than George had ever before suspected, and of which he would not have thought Heilig’s sensitive soul was capable.
    “If you write somesing now against ze Nazis,” said Heilig, “you vill please ze Chews, but you cannot come back to Chermany again, and zat for all of us vould be quite dret-ful. And may I tell you some-sing?” he cried harshly and abruptly, and glared at George. “I do not like zese Gott-tam Chews any more zan I like zese ozzer people. Zey are just as bad. Ven all is going yell wiz zem, zey say: ‘Ve spit upon you and your bloody country because ye are so vunderful.’ And yen sings are going bad wiz zem, zey become zese little Chewish men zat veep and wring zeir hands and say: ‘Ve are only zese poor, downtrodden Chews, and look vhat zey are doing to us.’ And may I tell you,” he cried harshly, “zat I do not care. I do not sink it matters very much. I sink zat it is stupid vhat zese bloody fools are doing to zese Chews — but I do not care. It does not matter. I haf seen zese Chews yen zey vere high and full of power, and really zey vere dret-ful. Zey vere only for zemselves. Zey spit upon ze rest of us. So it does not matter,” he repeated harshly. “Zey are as bad as all ze ozzers, zese great, fat Chews. If I had my little ma-chine gun, I vould shoot zem, too. Ze only sing I care about more is vhat zese dret-ful fools viii do to Chermany — to ze people.” Anxiously, he looked at George and said: “You do so like ze people, Chorge?”
    “Enormously,” said George, almost in a whisper, and he was filled with such an overwhelming sadness — for Germany, for the people, and for his friend — that he could say no more. Heilig caught the full implications of George’s whispered tone. He glanced at him sharply. Then he sighed deeply, and his bitterness dropped away.
    “Yes,” he said quietly, “you must, of gourse.” Then he added gently: “Zey are really a good lot. Zey are big fools, of gourse, but zey are not too bad.”
    He was silent a moment. He ground out his cigarette in the ashtray, sighed again, and then said, a little sadly:
    “Veil, zen, you must do vhat you must do. But you are one big fool.” He looked at his watch and put his hand upon George’s arm. “Come on, old shap. Now it is time to go.”
    George got up, and for a moment they stood looking at each other, then they clasped each other by the hand.
    “Good-bye, Franz,” George said.
    “Good-bye, dear Chorge,” said Heilig quietly. “Ve shall miss you very much.”
    “And I you,” George answered. Then they went out.

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

  • Project MUSE - Resurrecting Thomas Wolfe

    Die Schilderung, welche Thomas Wolfe von seiner Abreise aus Berlin im März 1937 in The New Republic veröffentlichte, ist so heutig wie herzzerreissend. Sie könnte sich heute, achtzig Jahre später, in Ankara oder Istambul zutragen, mit dem kleinen aber bedeutsamen Unterschied, dass ihre Botschaft nicht mehr im Rhythmus der Schienenstöße während eines langen Tages reifen dürfte, sondern als Explosion den Lärm der Jet-Triebwerke übertönen und Protagonisten wie Leser ohne Bedenkzeit zu sofortigen Entscheidungen zwingen würde. Was für eine Überforderung.

    When Thomas Wolfe died of tubercular meningitis on September 15, 1938, his literary reputation was equal in the United States to that of Faulkner, Hemingway, and Fitzgerald. In the sixty plus years since, his artistic reputation has been all but destroyed. With the exception of his first novel, Look Homeward, Angel, he is read less and less often, and the academics who design anthologies and teach influential college courses routinely dismiss his work. So on the 100th anniversary of his birth, we are compelled to ask, Who killed Thomas Wolfe?

    Thomas Wolfe – Wikipedia

    In dem expressionistischen Dichter Hans Schiebelhuth fand er für seine ersten beiden Romane einen kongenialen Übersetzer, der dazu beitrug, dass Wolfe sich zeitweise in Deutschland höher geschätzt fühlte als in seiner Heimat. In Amerika gehörte William Faulkner, in Deutschland Hermann Hesse zu seinen Bewunderern. Er starb 1938 an Gehirntuberkulose und wurde in seiner Heimatstadt Asheville, die er als Altamont unsterblich gemacht hatte, im Familiengrab beigesetzt. Geweb und Fels und Es führt kein Weg zurück wurden postum aus den hinterlassenen Manuskriptmassen zusammengestellt.

    Wolfe spent much time in Europe and was especially popular and at ease in Germany, where he made many friends. However, in 1936 he witnessed incidents of discrimination against Jews, which upset him and changed his mind about the political developments in the country. He returned to America and published a story based on his observations ("I Have a Thing to Tell You") in The New Republic. Following its publication, Wolfe’s books were banned by the German government, and he was prohibited from traveling there.

    Thomas Wolfe: I Have a Thing to Tell You: II | New Republic

    Look Homeward, Angel. A Story of the Buried Life.
    Wolfe, Thomas, 1929

    Thomas WOLFE (1900-1938)
    Look Homeward, Angel (1929)—Text—ZIP—HTML
    Of Time and The River (1935)—Text—ZIP—HTML
    You Can’t go Home Again—Text—ZIP—HTML

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