Publish the Word
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Angelus -- Chapter 7


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

      Chapter 7

June 7, 1944                I am distraught.  Herta has been injured in a car accident, but worse, Heini H. a talented actor and friend has been killed in a bombing raid.  I wanted to rush off to Munich as soon as I heard the news, but the F. is right this time to forbid me because of the danger.  These are perilous times for a child to be born.  Each day now I feel you moving inside me.  I am unable to describe the strange sensation, a gurgling, as if you were trying to tell me what it's like in there, a heaviness, but not entirely unpleasant, not like indigestion.  My normally flat stomach is beginning to pooch just slightly and though my appetite is insatiable, I seem not to be gaining weight.  Dr. Brandt, who I have sworn to secrecy, says not to  worry as I am fit and hale.  I believe my skin is more tender and I have begun to sleep poorly, but my nerves are jangled from the incessant bombing.  Fortunately there were no sirens on Saturday to disrupt Gretl's wedding.  She glowed with contentment, and during the vows even I began to cry.  After a luncheon back in Berchtesgarden, the Fuhrer made a short speech and a toast, then we all crammed into the elevator and rode up to the teahouse.

What merriment!  Vati kept slurping the champagne, Mutti danced with all the Fegeleins, Herr Bormann drank too much schnapps and had to be carried home.  The band was a hastily assembled group of SS musicians who played too loud, but no one minded -- except the F. who excused himself  to  find out from his communications officer if the enemy had invaded France yet.  Watch Rommel  throw the invaders back into the sea were his parting words.  After he left Frau Magda G. came up and whispered into my ear how the war has aged the Chancellor.  And what about the trembling in his hands? she asked.  I ignored her and went off to dance with Heini, poor soul.   If we had only known that days later he would be taken from us.

 After the bride and groom left for their honeymoon at the Fegelein castle at Zell-am-See in Austria, we turned out all the lights for five minutes to watch the moon bathe miles and miles of the countryside in its silver milk, almost like we were suspended in the nightsky, free of the earth and all its sorrows.  Poor Heini.  And Herta, too, despite her mother's assurances she is only bruised and banged, lies in a hospital.  She had to swerve off the road to avoid a bomb crater and thus rolled her car over two times.  At least the children were not with her.  I want to visit as soon as I can, but swarms of B-17s over Bavaria make even short trips treacherous.  The F. calls them gnats, but too many are wrecking havoc on my beautiful Munich.  I pray my little villa is safe and that angels are guarding over all my friends.  I am in knots with worry.

And now the rumor is my F. is preparing to leave for the western front.  I asked Waffen-Schutzstaffel Officer G., who should know, if the rumor was true.  A couple hours later he showed me travel plans -- flight papers to Metz, then a waiting armored car scheduled to drive to Margival, across France, near Soissons, the flat farmland northeast of Paris.  He showed me his mapbook and made me promise not to breathe a word, so my time with your father is again shortened.  I still have not told him about you, the blessed jewel of our union.  He is so distracted now and spends what little time we might have together with his military aides planning strategy, oh, like so many little boys hunched over a gaming table.  Daily I grow more and more bored with this war and wish it would end before HE shrivels up entirely from neglecting his health (and neglecting me who is good for his health).  But I won't make demands on him.  After the foes are vanquished.  I pray victory comes soon so you can be born into a world of  peace.  Dream well, child.


June 22, 1944              I was looking through a box of my old photos and found a stack from ten years ago.  My hair seemed much lighter then.  My clothes were so shapeless.  How the styles have changed!  In one photo taken at Castle Herrenchiemsee I looked like someone's grandmother, a dwarf  in a long coat next to the F., who wore a plaid knit suit.  I couldn't help but laugh.  I found photos of me with Frau Dreesen from Rome, I think, and me feeding pigeons in Venice, another in grossmutti's wedding dress smiling dreamily, then a hilarious print of three liebelei (flirts) straddling an Ardie motorbike-- me behind Herta and Inge Schropp.  What fun we had back then.  I wonder how different my life would have been if I had never met my Fuhrer.  I would probably be a hausfrau with rough hands from working in a munitions factory.  I would probably have three or four children and have lost my slim figure.  I do miss those days before him.

At first, I indulged my fantasy.  Ah, Frau Chancellor an invitation to the Cannes Festival.  Will you be able to attend the royal wedding?  Can you be the hostess at the premier of Herr Pabst's new film?  A shipment of Paris gowns?  Yes, thank you.   A case of Italian shoes?  For me?  A charity event when?  The hospital is having a fundraiser?  I've been asked to meet whom?  Which duke and duchess?  An audience with his Holiness?  Let me re-arrange my social calendar.

I invented a life which has yet to happen.  Always Effie the dutiful, ever discrete, the lady in waiting, always waiting.   I am still young, but what has become of the dashing, intense young politician?  Here is the history you won't read from the propaganda minister:

We would usually meet for lunch at Cafe Heck, his favorite restaurant.  Herr Hoffmann encouraged this liaison because he was forever trying to ingratiate himself into the entourage.  Eventually he was named official court photographer.  But back then I worked for him.  I knew Hoffmann's daughter Henny had slept with him on numerous occasions because she would brag while we worked together in the darkroom.  Of course, she slept with anyone who asked and with many who didn't.  A tramp, but likeable.  He asks about you, she said one day.  What about Fraulein Effie, the attractive one with the thin legs?  He said that? I asked.  I acted dumb because by then we had gone out several times, although I had not spent the night at his apartment.   

When I started seeing him in the evenings I lied to my parents.  They would not understand.  Soon Herr Wolf was asking Hoffmann to have me deliver the photo orders.  I asked him one day why he insisted on being called Wolf.  What is so special about the wolf?  Wolves, he said, are predators, cunning and courageous, able to withstand pain and hardship.  Wolves are solitary.  In the mountains you will hear them howling at night.  I warned him that if he howled under my parents' window at night my father would shoot him.  You have a quick wit, he said.  You do not fawn over me like other women.  What other women? I asked.  He wagged his finger at me.  Only my sister who keeps my house.  I could tell he was now being coy and flirtatious.  But I had heard stories from Henny of the other women,  of actresses,  and wealthy widows, and certainly his niece, Geli, who killed herself.

I never asked directly about Geli, who was only 23 when she shot herself with his Walther pistol, but I have concluded several facts from talking to others: he loved her more intimately than an uncle should, he infected her with the "French" disease, and he forbade her from eloping to Vienna with his chauffeur, Emil Maurice, where she planned to study voice lessons.  She was passionate, but immature.  I suspect she acted rashly to punish her uncle, not realizing how permanent death would be, but she succeeded in both wounding him deeply and in concluding their relationship.  I do not judge him over Geli as this was before our love blossomed.

I was passionate, too, at 17 when I met your father.  And I, foolishly, attempted twice to kill myself over him as some romantic heroine in a Der Sturmer tale might do.   The first time, on All Saints Day in 1932, I managed to lodge a 6 mm bullet against my neck artery because I was despondent from not having seen him for two months.  I hardly recall the second time, a handful of tablets.  Strangely, Geli and I were not the only ones willing to make the final decision for him.  Maria Reiter hung herself in 1927.  The actress Renate Muller leapt from a third story window, although she was always unstable.  Inge Ley, Suzi Liptauer, Countess Magistrati of Savoy, the English girl Unity Mitford -- I have kept my accounts.  Why this self-destructive madness he inspires in so many women?  I have been a pawn of this obsessive love, unable to think, or sleep or eat, unable to breathe, irrational, yes, but he is like a mesmerizing flame, and I, love-blind, am drawn by some inner force of his personality.  I have seen this attraction over others so often, particularly women.  It is something other-worldly.  He is unlike other men.  He is annointed.

I am prattling on today, not sugar-sprinkling the truth, which you should know.  Perhaps you will also be annointed for greatness!  With his blood flowing inside you I hope and fear that is inevitable.  Oh, I am so lost without him and I so wish to tell him we have produced a child between us, a son or daughter to bear the Chancellor's name.  As I stand sideways in the mirror I cannot help but stare and stare at how my body is changing.  I feel alive, excited, delirious, but torn by this secret I am carrying.  I absolutely must tell him, no matter what his reaction.  I vow to do so next time he phones.