Publish the Word
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Angelus -- Chapter 13

 

 The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it. Psalms 68:11

                     Chapter 13

 

July 19, 1944               I was so uncomfortable today from heat and a rash across most of my upper body, that I spent the afternoon in the soothing waters of the Konigsee.


         As I stared down into the unclouded depths at least 20 or 30 meters, I saw the forms of trout or salmon, I couldn't tell which, far below me, so placid and unaware of anything but their own existence.  They floated in glacial silence with just the occasional flick of their tail.  For them, the world above the waves, the sky, the sun, the towering Watzmann and Kehlstein, the orange dome of St. Bartholomus, the hunting lodge where Bavarian kings once slept, even the midday flugelhorn which echoed across the lake a few minutes ago do not exist, I thought.   They are prisoners in their bluish-green realm.  Even the slight disturbance of my swimming does not alter their routine.  Day or night have no meaning for them.  And like those wavering forms, I, in my loneliness, seem to be swimming in silence just as isolated from the real world beyond the Berg.  I hate my confinement.  I hate this war.    If not for you, secret swimmer of my womb, I would leave this vale of tears.
 


20 July, 1944               If my handwriting is bad, the reason is I am still shaken from today's horrendous event, the near death of my beloved, your father.  A bomb exploded inside his conference room at Rastenberg while I was again cooling off at the lake.  A Gestapo car drove right down to the rocky shoreline.  A young office waved me in, then handed me my towel and a sealed envelope with a dispatch from the Fuhrer informing me he had survived an assassination attempt.  I was alarmed and raced back.  Liesl poured me a vermouth as I began to phone East Prussia, but I could not make a connection.  After a few minutes, a communications officer appeared at the door to announce the Fuhrer was on the direct line reserved for military personnel.  I followed him down to the lower level,  trembling as I took the phone, still fearing the worst, that perhaps he was vitally wounded and might die.

No, I will live, he said, his voice faint but reassuring.  I wanted to call you personally, so you would not worry, he said.  What in God's name happened? I asked.  The meeting had just begun, he said, when a blinding flash and explosion flung me against the wall where I was studying a map.  I injured my right arm and suffered minor burns to my head, but God preserved me.  General Keitel carried me to my apartment so the doctor might attend me.  I am already recovered.  I cannot talk longer because Mussolini is here for a meeting, but please, dear Effie, don't worry your pretty head over this mishap.  Wrinkles are not becoming of your smooth skin.

I write this shortly after midnight, having again heard my Fuhrer's voice, this time on nationwide radio.  I copy his exact words to remind myself what the world is coming to know, that God's hand is upon him.  "The bomb placed by Colonel Graf von Stauffenberg exploded two meters to my right.  One of those with me has died; other colleagues very dear to me were severely injured.  I myself sustained some very minor scratches, bruises and burns, and I consider this fact a confirmation of the mission which Divine Providence has entrusted to me.  I thank Providence and my Creator, not for saving my life, but for making it possible for me to endure my cares and pursue the task which my conscience commands me."

The phone rang all evening from family and friends, even Magda G. from Berlin, everyone wanting to know if the rumors were true, how was the Fuhrer, who would attempt such an evil, was I managing the strain, endless questions to which I could give little reply.  I told Muti the Chief had long ago promised he would not die until he married me, so this attempt today was doomed to fail.  I came within an instant of revealing my condition to her, in my emotionally fragile state, but caught myself.  She will know soon, I hope, but not over the telephone whilst the country prays for the Chancellor's recovery.


 

July 21, 1944               Up early this morning to make certain the attempt to kill my F. was not a nightmare.  The radio stations from Munich, Salzburg and Vienna all blare the same news, a miracle he escaped, they proclaim.  Several of the plotters have already been executed in Berlin.    I don't know if I should send Magda G. a thank you letter or not for phoning.  Usually she snubs me as the F.'s concubine, if she acknowledges me at all.  But last evening I sensed genuine concern in her voice.  I don't know.  I am just now examining the porcelain figurine on my bedshelf, a gift which I, Frau Gobbels, Frau Goehring, Frau Hoffmann, who else??, several of us received to commemorate the two hundred year anniversary of the Selb Porcelain Factory.  I vowed never to forget the anger I felt that night.

The F. and all of us were honored guests.  Nestled in a Fichtelgebirge valley, the village of Selb had lined the road to the square with colorful lanterns, and all the children in smocks and dirndls, short breeches and embroidered stockings tossed flowers on the pathway before us.  A brass band was playing.  I was just behind the F., escorted by Herr. H., his wife on his other arm.  Frau Magda G. was immediately behind me with her husband who was dragging his club foot.  I would never say anything cruel to her about his deformity.  But as we were presented the lovely figurines, one by one, she rudely stepped in front of me to receive hers.  Excuse me, I said, elbowing her aside politely.  She stared right through me, as if to deny my very presence and said not one word.  Afterward I informed the Chancellor of her de class and he merely shrugged and said it's just the wives competing.

But I'm not a wife, I said.  Nor do they treat me like one.  Please have her husband speak to her.  I don't meddle in these petty, women affairs, he said, turning back to the newspaper he was reading.  But to not respect me is to dishonor you, I said, ever more furious at her.  Nonsense, he replied.  Now please, no more of this.

If I start thinking of other insults dealt by the wives, especially Frau Magda G., I will work myself into a froth.  But as much as I rebel against such an idea, I shall instruct Liesl to send her a box of strawberries with a thank you note.


 

August 8, 1944            I didn't realize until now I haven't put pen to paper for almost two weeks.  My lower back has been paining me greatly, all quite normal according to Herta.  So I have been reclining on cushions with a heated water bottle enduring the same old films again and again as Herr G. won't lift the restrictions he has placed on foreign cinema.  Our UFA films are, to quote Frau Speer, an excellent elixir for insomnia.  I can't bear to see Frederick the Great again, or Dietrich's Blonde Venus (I can sing her Hot Voodoo song by heart)  or Mademoiselle Docteur, or even Charlie Chaplin whose parody of the F. was hilarious the first couple viewings.

I must escape this bird's cage, if only for a day or two.  I will have the chauffeur drive me to Munich.  I will phone Herta and Inge and Gretl to meet for lunch in the Hofgarten.  We shall stroll along the Galeriestrasse arm in arm like old times and buy weisswurst from the vendors and listen to the violinists practicing under the trees.  We will forget the war.  We will have our nails manicured and try on dresses in the French shops.  I feel like an exile from life, bored, angry, sluggish, impatient, snapping at everyone.

HE has been too busy (so says his secretary) to phone.  Not a word now for three days.  I wish the Brits and the Yanks and the Reds would just go hang themselves and leave us alone.

 

 

 

 

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