Publish the Word
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Angelus -- Chapter 5

 

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

      Chapter 5

 May 19, 1944              I have felt exhilarated the past couple days, so clear-headed and energetic, taking long walks up to the cafe atop the Lockstein for lunch, then down the valley road to the market or the station if Gretl or Mutti is coming from Munich.  But I realize I have neglected my diary .  So much is happening!  The war is a strain on all of us and HE, my F. the most.  His stomach churns daily.  He snatches an hour or two of sleep, at best.  I worry about his health even more than my own.  This morning he informed me he is coming home, if he can, in another week.  The Italians have let me down, he kept repeating. I must rescue the Mediterranean without them, he said.  His voice sounded thin and weary.  I wanted so much to be with him because I know Dr. M., the meister-jabber is going to ruin him with injections.  His generals lie to his face.  His secretary, Traudl, has told me in confidence how the Chancellor has aged, and no wonder, because he alone, like the maestro of a great orchestra, must direct every movement down to the smallest details.  Great wars are won by minutia, he has said -- a meter at a time on the battlefield.  I miss him so.


 

Let me tell you of your father.  He suffered many personal tragedies as a child: a brutal, alcoholic father who would beat him senseless, the deaths of three brothers and two sisters, all of them still children, cruelty by teachers and schoolmates, his mother's agonizing death of breast cancer, rejection to art academy as a young man, then hunger and poverty and homelessness, a war injury which caused temporary blindness and deafness, the suicide of his niece, who was like a daughter to him, beatings and mockery as he tried to bring civil justice to our people and even imprisonment for a noble cause.  But God's hand was on him because he has been raised up as Germany's savior.  Though he was denied a university education, he is a genius and educated himself.  His book, My Struggle, is over 1000 pages.  He is an inspired architect.  He speaks to millions of people who revere him for the economic prosperity he has brought to our fatherland.

No one can deny that he has been chosen for this time.  I have heard him often tell this war story of the fierce battles of 1915, as a member of the Bavarian 6th Army for Crown Prince Rupprecht.  Late one night near Becelaere he was eating his rations in a trench with several comrades.  A distinct voice told him to get up and move, which he did, twenty paces away.  He resumed eating, but all at once a flash and deafening roar from a shell blasted his comrades, all of whom died that instant.  It was Providence, he said.  Who can deny the miraculous?  While he lay near death in the military hospital in Pomerania, he was anointed by God himself.   The same as he had to St. Paul on the road to Damascus, God appeared in a vision and said "I have chosen you for this time and this place to announce a new era of Divine Rule, first to those who will listen in Munich, then to the people of Germany, then Europe and all the world."  That is why no adversity can defeat him. GOD IS WITH US, as you will see emblazoned on every belt buckle of every soldier.


 

But what kind of man is your father, you may ask?  What kind indeed!  Though he can be harsh when he needs to, he is, to those who know him, kind and gentle. He has the soul of an artist, a Novalis or Goethe or Durer.  He loves music, art, nature, children and animals.  At times I wonder why the rest of the world does not know him as he really is.  I wish I had a Reichsmark for every time I have seen him bend low to listen to a child.  On innumerable occasions I have watched him comfort a mother or widow grieving for a husband or son killed in battle.  What kind of man is he?  Behind closed doors, after he has dismissed the dignitaries and generals and hangers-on, when the two of us settle onto the floor before a blazing fire and toast each with cups of caraway seed tea and slices of fresh apple cake, when we gaze into each other's eyes and talk softly and taste love in long, caressing kisses, his mustache a tickle to my upper lip, his hands so childlike as they stroke my hair, then we are like any other man and woman.  Yes, I will tell you what kind of man your father is. 

He is polite and mannerly.  Every morning he will greet each of our staff: "Guten morgen, Frau Mittelstrasse.  Sleep well, Fraulein Schroder?  How is your wife, Herr Doering?"  As we breakfast, he will stare off into the distance of the Salzburg countryside and listen to the conversation, never interrupting, always patient with long-winded or foolish speakers as we dine on fruit and cracked wheat or black bread, cocoa and tea, a peaceful time when he presides like a patriarch or nobleman with great affection for our Berghof family.  After dining we might go to the winter-garden room or onto the terrace to watch the eagles swoop from their nests near the cross on the Untersberg down to the pine-green waters of the Konigsee.  Or if we decide to walk up the slope toward the meadows, he in his velour cap and trench coat, Blondi's leash in one hand, his other wrapped around mine, he will tell me his plans for Linz, how he will transform it to the art capital of the world with more masterpieces than Rome or Florence, with museums and concert halls and schools.  Politics is the farthest thought from his mind.  He is not obsessed with military campaigns as the newspapers would have us think.  No, he desires a simple life, a tranquil life.  But he cannot abandon God's mission, so he unselfishly lays down his life for the German people.  Someday you will know this.

Reading back over what I have just written, I realize I have been rambling.  Perhaps it is because I am hungry again (still?!).  So I will discontinue now and go find something nourishing to eat that you might grow inside me as healthy as a bear cub in your long summer's nap.

 


 

May 20, 1944              I am furious and could chew off someone's head.  Gretl, Herta, Gitta, Uschi and I were planning a boat trip along the Chiemsee to enjoy the warm weather, but he has forbidden it.  Absolutely not, he said.  And then he hung up!  Before I could protest, he hung up.  He is not my father whose permission I must seek.  Lest you think he is too godlike, child of mine, I forgot to add that he can be over-protective and unreasonable, too!

 

May 23, 1944              The best of news: General Hermann F. and my sister are to be married!  At last I will be free of her endless "Does he love me or does he not?"  Though he is an arrogant Don Juan (but exceedingly handsome), I do so hope their union will be a good match.  I have little time to prepare -- less than two weeks.  Moreover, the Fuhrer arrives home tomorrow, as usual, with almost no advance warning.  I have missed him to no end.

The festivities will be held in the Kehlsteinhaus, but where shall I find a band?  Nor do I have time to shop for a new dress.  Mein Gott!  What shall I plan for the menu?  They have already decided on the Salzburg town hall for the ceremony, much against Mutti's protests for a proper church wedding, but I soothed her by promising a double-church weddingonce the peace is won.  The Chancellor and I and Gretl and the General will invite all of Munich to the Cathedral, if that will make her happy, but she glared at me like I was being sarcastic, which I wasn't.  Someday soon she will see.  But for now I must undertake Operation Nuptial.  I have spoken to Herr Krumel about the cake, a majestic one, I hope, because he was the most renowned baker in Berlin, having made cakes for the Kaiser, for Archduke Otto, for the coronation of Belgium's King Leopold.  What else?   I do not mean to use up diary pages for list-making, so I will tear out what will be of little interest to you, my slumbering angel.  And as soon as I organize the F.'s  welcome home and your aunt's wedding, I shall return to your history lessons.