Publish the Word
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Angelus -- Chapter 15


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



                                        Chapter 15


August 10, 1944                      At last we have spoken.  He told me all about the new trick he has taught Blondi and insulted my hand-lickers, as he calls the terriers.  They can do tricks also, I said in their defense.  Ha! he said.  They have diminished brain capacity.  They are Scottish.  Have you called only to offend me? I asked.  At that he laughed himself into a coughing fit.  No, forgive me, my Tschapperl, he said finally.  Guess what else I have accomplished today?  You have routed the invaders, I said.  No, not yet, was his reply.  After a short silence he said, guess again.  I don't know, I said, becoming exasperated.  I haven't seen you in months.  How would I know?  He said, I have managed to write you a passage of poetry.  You have done what? I asked.  He had never before written me a single line of poetry.  I have not finished it, he said, but it is after Schiller's Ode to Joy.  I was examining a volume General Runstedt's daughter had given him and was inspired to create a verse.  Would you like to hear it?  Yes, it would please me greatly, I replied.  He cleared his voice.

Sweet the orchard flowers above Lindau, and sweet the pastries of  morn, sweeter still did the angels sing, the day my love was born.

He paused to wait for my reaction.  I was overcome with emotion, but managed to say, you wrote that for me?  I can't hear you so well, the F. said.  Since the bomb I have a constant ringing in my ears.  I said louder, I love the poem.  I shall send it to you then, he said.  Tschuss, my Effie.  Tschuss, I replied. 

The words of his poem are burned into my thoughts forever.  I can recall no other time he has put such sentiments for me on paper.  As I write now, I am still blinded by tears of joy.


August 12, 1944                      After two days in Munich I am finally now just back to the Berg.  How sad to see destruction so commonplace, the collapsed medieval churches, the quaint, half-timbered cottages, streets and train tracks -- the aftermath of bombing everywhere I looked.  Even my little villa is a casualty.  A bomb landed just outside the wall and shot debris through the windows and walls and collapsed part of the roof over the garage.  Fortunately a heavy beam protected my cars, though the cabriolet was scratched.  I immediately phoned Herr. B to have a work crew begin repairs.  By God's grace I was not home when it happened.

To lift my depression, Herta took me to lunch in the Hofgarten and we watched the old men play chess while the girls chased each other about like puppies.  I try to imagine you, my child, the age of Uschi, pulling yourself onto my lap, so eager with questions and new sensations, such clear eyes and soft skin, so unexpectedly falling asleep without warning, no matter where you are, as she did on the bench beside us.  We concluded after much discussion that unless I could tell the F. about our child to his face, I should continue my charade.  Though I am pregnant now six months, in the looser fitting clothes I have begun to wear, my expectancy is far from obvious.  I no longer swim in my  latex suits.  I avoid form-fitting dresses.  And I pray that soon, perhaps in the next couple weeks, I shall be able to travel to Berlin and finally tell the F. the truth.  I worry now that he will scold me for waiting so long to inform him.  I worry also he will put me away in some convent.  My mental turmoil grows worse the longer this deception continues.

I had a pleasant memory of my father today.  After Herta went to take Gitta to the toilet, with Uschi still napping beside me and I inhaling the summer aromas, two old men and a little boy  drew my attention.  The men were hunched over a chessboard.  The boy sat silently next to one, attentive to their game.  Before each move the one old man seemed to turn to the boy, who was no more than four or five years, as if to consult with him.  When I was a girl of a similar age, and I don't remember why it was just Vati and I, but the two of us were in this very same park, almost in the identical spot as the two elderly men and the boy.  Vati was engaged in a chess match with someone.  I don't remember the man's name, but he had a bushy, grey mustache and overgrown eyebrows, a fleshy face.  I can recall the spice of Vati's shaving lotion, because I was sitting on his lap, very close to the chessboard so I could study the carved wooden figures, the knight on his prancing steed, the king and queen who towered above the other pieces, the pawns and rooks and bishop with his wand.  Before each move Vati would whisper in my ear, do you think this is a clever move, Effie?  Should we capture that square?  I recall my delight at winning the game, how he hoisted me onto his shoulders and marched me about, singing a military song and proclaiming me the victor, commander of the chessmen, he told his opponent.  We ate hot peanuts from a paperbag, so it must have been the autumn.  I don't know why we were there, just the two of us.  Usually he left early for the trade school where he taught and wouldn't return until nearly dark.  Perhaps it was a Sunday and Mutti was shopping.  I don't remember  But it was a warm memory and I cherish it to this day.

 When Herta returned, we rode the tram to her house and played cards while the girls laid down for their official naps, but two are not enough for a good game of Bimbo.  We discussed my pregnancy further and I resolved to tell my parents as soon as possible.  I will make a special trip to Ruhpolding and make arrangements to give birth at the hospital there.  Because Vati is administrator, he can provide the utmost privacy so no one else need know.


August 14, 1944                      Dinner this evening with Albert Speer who had come out of friendship to expressly warn me to prepare for the worst.  Despite the creation of 25 new Volksgrenadier divisions, he said, the production of 3,000 fighter-planes this very month, and the completion of the V-2 rocket, armament supplies are exhausted.  We have lost a million men on the Western Front.  Petrol supply lines have been crippled from allied bombing.  Refineries are being systematically destroyed.  By September the last reserves of  fuel will be exhausted.  The outlook is bleak, Fraulein Eva.  I told him, you must communicate this to the Fuhrer.  If only I could, he said, imploring me to use whatever influence I might have.  I cannot penetrate his ring of generals who fabricate reports to hide the truth.  And if I could, you know the Fuhrer as well as I do.  Forgive me, better, he said.  You know he will not tolerate such pessimism.  I have seen him dress down other doomsayers on many occasions.  He will not listen to me, Fraulein Eva.  He does not know we are losing this war.  In another 30 days we will have no fuel.  And then what?  Speer! he will say.  More fuel!  What can I tell him?  Please try to convince him of how dire is our situation.  I do not exaggerate the facts.   I will talk to him, I said, squeezing our loyal friend's hand between my own.  Herr S. is a true patriot to honestly face our problems, but in my heart, though I did not speak my thoughts, I felt the Fuhrer might still prevail.  As God had so often delivered the Israelites from defeat, so too would he guide our people. 


August 17, 1944                      At last I have announced to my parents that I carry the Chancellor's unborn child.   Yesterday in the staff dining room at the Ruhpolding military hospital, Mutti and I had just finished a light lunch when Vati arrived, having returned from Trauntein, perspiring in his formal uniform.  I spoke calmly, having rehearsed my words a thousand times in my mind.  I expected more of a reaction, but Vati appeared to shift his gaze off into the distance while Mutti's hand flew up to cover her mouth, her eyes never leaving mine.  Can this be true, Effie? she said.  I placed her other hand onto my stomach and together we felt the gentle mound.  How many months?  Three, I answered, understanding her to mean until the baby was due.  Three and you are already so pronounced? she asked.  No, three until I deliver.  Mein Gott, she said softly.  Three months, she said, glancing up for my father's response.  I, too, awaited his words.

What does the Chancellor say? he asked at last.  I have not told him, I said.  Neither spoke a word, as if the import of this were slowly settling into their thoughts. With reluctance, I explained my fears in telling the Chancellor this news and my equally abject worries in not telling him.  And with Herr Speer's concerns weighing heavily on me, which were confirmed by Vati who was having severe difficulty in obtaining medical supplies, we together agreed our dilemma did not offer a simple solution.  How long since a doctor has examined you? Vati asked.  I said, not since May.  He shook his head, but I interpreted it to be from fatherly concern.  Then I will arrange for our best doctor to examine you this afternoon, he said, a specialist.   My mother asked, how long can you keep this from the Chancellor?  Is this wise to deceive him?  I don't know, I said, suddenly tearful.  I want my baby.  God gave this child to me.  No one will take it away.   She nodded and said, we will support you, won't we, Fritz?  My father, never a sentimental man,  laid his hand upon my shoulder and said, of course we will support our daughter.

I was later examined by Dr. ___, who will deliver you, my child.  I hesitate to write his name because I fear what punishment the F. might bring upon the heads of anyone I have now drawn in.  He attended me with great patience and gentleness.  He told me as he measured, then probed my pelvic structure that I appeared to be in excellent health, an athlete, was I?  Gymnastics, I answered through clenched teeth, and swimming and skiing.  He recognized my tenderness in that region and paused to allow me to regain my composure.  We will take blood and urine for lab tests, he said.  But I foresee no problems.  He asked questions about my diet and daily habits.  No more smoking, he said, and when possible, avoid falling bombs.  His attempt at humor brought a smile to my lips, but I was too nervous to say much.

On the way back to Obersalzburg I thought of several matters I wish I had asked, but the doctor has scheduled to see me again in a fortnight and regularly after that.  I felt as if an oppression had been lifted off me, especially now that my parents know and understand my situation.