Munich Nights Chapter 24: “New Party Headquarters Opened, And Geli Gets Frightened”
Although Walter fully supported the policy of the party and indeed had helped write the party’s manifesto as regards the so-called ‘Jewish question’, he had always remained perhaps rather ambivalent about such a ‘conspiracy’ concerning the accused Jews and their role in the coming political portrait of Germany. He was rather content now to just wait and see.
The priority he had always hoped would be to lower the unemployment rates that brought shame to every German street corner and soup kitchens as so many hungry, angry men waited for charity to be served to them. It was simply a disgrace he reasoned to Karen. The country she argued must be ready to welcome and accommodate the new government when it was eventually to be formed. That corrupt and finally collapsing old guard had always been reluctant to be cast aside. But this was as natural as the sun rising each morning and the moon appearing each evening. The old king is dead. Long live the new king, she proclaimed as she hugged him tightly on his birthday.
Years later whilst watching the controversial moon landing in 1969 he recalled Adolph’s speech in the Brown House concerning that subject. He had also like millions of others witnessed this historical event on a black and white television set in a Munich suburb with his faithful rescued German Shepherd. In fact, at the designated Olympic Games stadium situated some nineteen miles outside in Berlin in 1936, he and Karen had then witnessed for the first time clear, live internal televised pictures of the games.
Everyone had agreed the quality of the picture was indeed startling even on that small screen. But was it just a novelty he wondered rather foolishly then?
He had himself in the 1940s known and politely socialised frequently with Werner Von Braun when both of them were serving officers in the S.S. So he had laughed in the sudden realisation that arrogant old Von Braun had dispatched American astronauts into space, and then for a later comfortable moon landing – who would have thought it? Ah, good old German technology and wouldn’t Heinrich and Adolph have been proud of this achievement he remarked to his uninterested sleeping dog.
Back in 1931 in the new party headquarters, he could only surmise in believing that something critical had occurred to Adolph during the war, or in those muddy blooded deep trenches and that fatal gas attack at Ypres that had rendered him blind for several days but had later solidified into this distrust of the Hebrew race that he espoused to all he encountered.
Karen, of course, accepted the cause of confining and containing the Israelite race as almost a personal catechism that she openly subscribed to wholeheartedly. So many of her political statements had emanated from other peoples lips he well knew and had been buttressed from what she had learned from newspapers and from their immediate circle of friends.
But he simply adored her more with each passing day and not for her political views! They were unimportant to him. But because of the passion and the pleasure and love that she had brought into his empty lonely life. But for Walter, it was rather like a creeping marsh mist that his political party had also become his peripheral family. Heinrich had also somehow morphed into a favoured father figure, although he would never confront this to Heinrich personally.
Yet now, fear of the uncertainty of the future was the greatest serious threat to the sanity for many working people in Germany. To Walter, the fuhrer had amazingly plucked a popular antidote from his political bag of tricks and sold it to the public so easily.
Walter noticed the German people had welcomed the suggested solution that the Jewish financiers and those wicked Versailles vipers were the cause of that present tapestry of misery and humiliation that had brought pain to Germany. Walter always suspected that all personal fears hung like an albatross around people’s necks. Now it seemed to him that finally that metaphorical bird had been sliced away and banished to the depths forever. The party now offered a welcomed beginning to the war-damaged and scared people of Germany. And he with other loyal party members was to lead it towards that exciting future. Thankfully that cloud of defeated war shame had finally been removed from the German psyche and a new fanfare of hope was finally being orchestrated. He with millions of others looked forward to its arrival.
The newly renovated and almost completed edifice of the new party headquarters was certainly impressive as buildings of that era usually were. Walter and Karen noticed its elegance with appreciation as they were escorted by liveried pages through the imposing entrances oaken carved doors on their arrival.
“All it needs is a moat” whispered Karen. It had been designed he explained to her and built by the prodigious talents of Paul and Gerdy Troost Adolph’s much-favoured architects, and with him probably offering unsolicited professional advice Walter suspected. If they requested it from him or not!
On now entering the building most of the work had it seemed been partially completed. Yet some wooden scaffolding with heavy sheets of paper and tarpaulins hung decorously down with coloured discarded half-rolled drapes, along with the building’s half-finished ceilings and walls, numerous wooden sawhorses along with still rolled carpets were on open display. New expensive desks and chairs and aluminium cabinets were also waiting to be unpacked. Most of the corridors still needed painting with certain lighting and bare cables being partly exposed.
The executive offices of which Walter had been allocated had each been fitted with a small dressing room area and an en-suite bathroom. Some even boasted showers and bidets.
In the numerous dining and sitting rooms thick pile Persian carpets boasted the swastika motifs stitched on the surface. Heavy leather blue Chesterfield settees and armchairs with monogrammed cushions of the swastika were arrayed in the comfortable lounges. One invited British diplomat later remarked to Hermann that it rather reminded him of an Englishmen’s private club situated in the fashionable area of Pall Mall, London.
A bank of newly installed telephone booths was placed within easy reach in the foyer. Each booth was covered with a small enclosed canopy that offered some but little privacy to the caller. Several of them had the single word ‘PRESS’ fixed to a box. These had been translated into several languages including Sanskrit for some unknown reason? Probably on Heinrich’s personal suggestion Walter speculated being well aware of his friend’s predilection for all things that arrived from the ‘mysterious’ east.
A modern commissary would and could cater to the varied demands of the staff and guests and their numerous dietary requirements. A nervous five-star master chef from Budapest was hired overseeing everything that moved in his kingdom of food preparations. Numerous staff would be employed in the kitchens preparing a selected and varied food menu each day.
Adolph then welcomed his arriving guests and assembled audience with enthusiasm and excitement. For this auspicious occasion, Walter noticed Adolph was wearing a new bespoke double-breasted charcoal grey pinstriped suit with a Jaeger silk blue tie. He rather looked like a prosperous merchant banker but said nothing about this selected attire.
Then surprisingly offsetting this sartorial effect was a full length black silken initialled and dated opera cloak with a high ruched collar. And this being fully lined and fitted with a silken scarlet inlay that was glimpsed as he walked over to greet them all with naturally a party salute.
(This cloak later was used it seems for one of the many televised spectacular productions of the ‘Phantom of the Opera’ to be staged on ice several years ago in Madison Square Garden. But who the owner was of the cloak I never discovered).
His moustache seemed to have been professionally waxed and with a possible discreet auburn tint now noticed in his hair.
Then he stood welcoming them with handshakes and the obligatory kissing of hands for the ladies, and with all now soon standing obediently around him in the building as he now proudly espoused the salient rather fussy features of this newly commissioned building.
He somehow resembled it seemed an actor standing on an operatic stage. Perhaps akin to a Bella Bartok favoured grand opera.
Also placed at intervals on the winding staircase were life-sized marble statues, supposedly of murdered Roman emperors and senators now standing securely on concealed lighted plinths. The glory that was once Rome was certainly now being witnessed on full display here in Munich.
Surprisingly situated on the ground floor in the cloakroom and placed on a raised stage was an original Parisian guillotine! Its sharpened raised blade stained and pitted with mottled blood dating it seems from the bloodthirsty French revolution. It now looked rather ominous. This artefact had been finished with a wooden kneeling block that appeared as ancient as that forbidding suspended knife and an aged wicker basket to catch the fallen heads. Some months later the apparatus was suddenly and quietly removed. It seems it had been consigned to a cluttered cellar in the bowels of the building. Apparently, according to Heinrich, the cleaners felt uncomfortable cleaning around it and terrified that sinister blade might be released onto their bare hands whilst dusting.
“Good job too I say, messy things, too much blood… glad to see the back of it … give me an old fashioned bullet any day” remarked Heinrich who had himself probably given the order to re-home that historical beast.
Their host now eagerly explained that this refurbished building was to be his own unique ‘White House,’ the centre and spiritual home of the NSDP Party. He would later place a snow globe depicting the Washington White House alongside a photograph of Henry Ford on his desk in the building, and claim with pride: “I regard Henry Ford as my inspiration.”
All political paths of the New World Order he said would, in the future, arrive at this building to pay homage to him. He spoke of the splendour of the Italian and the French government buildings. But poured disdain on England’s Downing Street, the historical residence of the British Prime Minister. It was a rabbit warren of crumbling walls, sunken floors and draughty bedrooms with erratic plumbing he had been reliably informed on many occasions.
“And this the so-called hub of the mighty British Empire where the so-called dubious sun never sets!” he remarked with exaggerated exasperation.
He then invited both Karen and Carin Goring, who through sheer will power it seemed had managed herself and with doctor Auer’s medical aid to attend this ‘gala’ opening of the newly dedicated building. Both women were then requested to accompany him to admire and examine some of the newly fitted black and white tiled bathroom fixtures transported from Verona, Italy. These he had selected himself from many samples he had confessed to them with a half-smile. He was also toying with the idea of manufacturing small artefacts correlated from the prized party ‘blood flag.’ This symbolic relic of the party was later to be viewed in the downstairs hallway known as the ‘flag museum.’ Maybe these and other party items such as copied ceremonial daggers and belts could be purchased in the future by the many visitors from a purpose-built souvenir gift shop?
The idea was later quietly rejected for some reason but later re-introduced after the interceding of Eva Braun no less to Adolph. She would occasionally happily be seen serving in the kiosk when asked especially when busy and few it seemed recognised her.
Years later Karen was to learn that when Adolph Hitler was a corporal serving in the trenches during the First World War he had struck up a friendship with a certain Lieutenant Fritz Braun the father of three-year-old Eva.” It’s a small world” Karen remarked when she heard about this from Eva herself.
Now both very obliging women Karen and Carin walked obediently as if by the side of their master and with both their arms firmly coupled through his. Both were laughing at some banal remark he had made to only them that was then inaudible to others who hoped to hear what he had shared with them.
Watching the departure of their captivated wives were Walter and Hermann who remarked laughingly: “He thinks the world of them both you know. And they of him it seems” remarked Walter quickly with a sardonic raised eyebrow.
“You know if either of us ever ends up in the divorce court – heaven forbid – we can name him as the other man,” said Walter jokingly”.”Or as a correspondent” finished Herman politely with a smile.
Unbeknown to both men doctor Auer had quietly entered the room still being concerned about the health of countess Carin. He had also brought his medical bag just in case an emergency might arise with her always delicate health.
Walter and Hermann were then approached by a smiling young girl who somehow seemed to recognise Hermann.
“Hello, Herr Goring and how are you? And how is dear countess Goring today?” she asked smiling at Walter with enquiring eyes and a brief curtsy.
“Hello, Geli and how are you, my dear?” he replied as she shyly mumbled quietly that she was very well. He answered her second question saying wistfully: “And yes Frau Goring is well I’m pleased to say …. but as they say with a few fair days and many just fair days I’m afraid he replied offering her his usual undivided attention.
Walter had always been aware of this personal touch that Hermann was so skilled in performing on many previous occasions. Whoever Hermann engaged in and for whatever reason, they always received his full undivided attention. The recipient of his gaze could be the only person in the room as far as they were concerned.
Walter had noticed this telling trait as well when directed especially at young people to which he seemed to have empathy for. And years later both he and Karen had watched him addressing the assembled young nervous pilots of the Luftwaffe as they departed on their prepared sorties to fly over the English Channel in June of 1940. That same charm and familiarity never failed him whatever the occasion.
(Hermann Goring seemed to have exploited some of this charm to his own advantage to the Americans at the Nuremberg trials in 1946 and later suspiciously cheating the ordered death by the court as well. See our Goring article.)
“I understand Geli you’re going to become a student of medicine or music is that right?” he enquired with immediate interest.
This young lady Walter was to later learn after an introduction was the controversial Geli Raubal the twenty-three-year-old niece of Adolph and the daughter of his stepsister Paula who would later become the housekeeper at his infamous Berghof mountain retreat. (See also our article about young Geli Raubal.
“I really do so want to be a famous opera singer…” she confided to him with an almost childlike enunciation of the words.
“And sing Tosca at the Met perhaps?” Hermann asked with an encouraging smile and raised eyebrow.
“The Met? Where is that, Herr Goring?” she asked looking puzzled at his question.
“New York City my dear” he smiled patiently lighting a cigar.
“Oh, that’s much, too far for me to travel … no, I want to sing here in Munich or in Vienna if possible” she replied with a beaming schoolgirl smile.
“Ah yes Vienna and maybe at the world-famous State Opera House. I know it very well and with our favoured maestro Boehm conducting of course” he replied smiling at her, his voice full of encouragement.
“Is Herr Boehm an opera singer as well she asked looking puzzled again not knowing who this man was being spoken about with such respect?
“No Geli he is the famous conductor of the Munich orchestra and not a singer, well not as far as I know” he replied with kind patience so as not to upset her.
“So how can he conduct an opera if he is not a singer and does he play all of the instruments in the orchestra as well, I don’t understand she enquired still confused.
“Now that’s a good question Geli” interjected Hermann and adding a simple explanation he hoped: “Frequently a conductor who is unable to master all musical instruments but perhaps a few will professionally after years of training feel qualified to stand out there on that naked podium waving a baton at all the musicians who can and do play musical instruments to perfection.”
“Or what about an undertaker preparing a corpse for viewing for burial and selecting an urn or a coffin for the grieving family or friends? He certainly has never experienced death himself but is familiar with all of its signs of rigour Mortis as he washes and prepares that corpse for a tearful family viewing.” Geli shuddered at that unpleasant thought turning her button nose up in revulsion. Hermann continued now in his stride.
“Or a surgeon Geli who understands all about the devastating effects that say cancer can cause or some other debilitating disease on his patient. He is the medical expert but probably himself has never been afflicted by any of these symptoms yet but can offer professional medical advice on possibly halting its destructive march in the body. Yes, it’s all a bit of a conundrum I suppose” Walter nodded in agreeing with him. Geli had somehow lost interest at what she was hearing and Walter’s observant eyes were searching the room for Karen.
Geli still looked lost as she listened to the two men. She didn’t really understand a word of what they were discussing especially politics. She then waited until their conversation had ceased, then proudly announcing apropos of anything. Really she was just a simple Catholic girl who perhaps should have taken the veil thought Hermann.
“Uncle Alf is paying for my singing lessons and my teacher says I have great promise, isn’t that wonderful Herr Goring?” she remarked proudly and began to hum some melody perhaps known only to herself.
Walter had noticed that Heinrich had now joined the group and was listening intently to the young girl’s aimless ‘chatter.’ She seemed unaware of his presence. Heinrich somehow always had that uncanny ability to appear and suddenly disappear. Maybe it was due to the rubber soles on all of his boots and shoes his enemies remarked behind his back.
He was now listening to Geli chattering and almost appraising her like a specimen in a bottle. Hermann noticed Heinrich’s arrival then he suddenly asked her: “Geli would you be a dear and fetch me a glass of water please I’m suddenly rather dry for some reason.”
Hermann requested rather quickly with a kind smile, observing Heinrich with interest and why he had quietly joined them. He had witnessed it many times before usually when Heinrich had something important to say or add to the conversation. His honed senses were now suddenly alerted about what was to be said.
She quickly complied with his simple request with an obliging smile.
Geli had also now noticed and with concern the silent arrival of the other man she knew as Herr Himmler from the corner of her eye. And now she wanted to get as far away from him as she could. She had seen him many times before always in deep conversation in the past with her uncle Adolph. He always somehow made her feel insecure and she did not trust or like him. But she did like the man known as Walter and his wife Karen. He had kind eyes and of course Herr Goring and his dear wife countess Carin as well. She and Karen had always been very kind to her on numerous occasions in the past when they had met.
Only recently Geli had informed uncle Alf about her dislike and suspicion and distrust about Herr Himmler. But he just laughed and told her not to be silly saying: “I know everybody seems to dislike Heinrich but he does get results for me if and when I need him to solve any problem that affects or might harm our party.” But that wasn’t all about this man she did not care for. He also reminded her of the creepy Herr Gruber from her childhood. His family were their next-door neighbours. And her earliest memory of him was as a little girl seeing him one day drown six defenceless kittens in an outside lavatory. She had looked shocked and had cried clutching his sleeve begging: “No, no….no please don’t” as several of the poor little kittens had reemerged from the swirling water gasping for breath now crying pitifully after being flushed down the pan and then brought up to the surface, then finally they had disappeared down that stained lavatory. She had never forgotten that childhood incident nor the sound of the distress of the helpless kittens as they yowled for their mother. And how she hated Herr Gruber and his cruel murder of the little crying kittens.
Walter had been able to observe this young girl briefly. Both he and Karen had liked her polite simple manners when she addressed them both. There was genuine kindness in all the girl said and did. And he, of course, like others in the party was aware of the rumours that Adolph was somehow fixated with her.
She was a tall girl and a little uncomfortable with her height he had heard only recently from Karen. She always somehow reminded him of the numerous country girls from his youth. They always appeared with a clear smooth complexion it seemed. This was simply according to his late mother because of the long tedious uncomfortable hours they spent milking cows usually with their warm cheeks pressed against the cow’s hind leg. This he was informed somehow enriched their complexion. But he couldn’t see why or believe this old wives tale.
Yet even now he mused Geli offered a trusting face and was probably the same even in private or in a conversation with strangers. He simply liked her.
She dreamed or hoped she had informed Karen that she had an untapped pool of musical talent waiting to be explored and promoted by some impresario. Others who knew her since childhood laughed at her naïve pretensions. She also reminded Walter of the shop girls who served in the large stores in Munich, with their heads it seemed always full of romance and boyfriends and dancing, and most with drawers full of unfulfilled dreams waiting to be opened by a prince charming. Yes, he supposed young Geli was just like most other girls of her own age always fantasising about their lives and what fate had in store for them. Walter himself had never been aware of that luxury for himself or had any ambition himself as a boy. But perhaps it was different for young girls … who knows? He was as a youth himself too occupied then in surviving and protecting his sister and himself from the unwanted attentions of a brutal psychotic father.
Hermann’s voice broke into his thoughts as Geli made her way to the kitchens for the requested water. A small orchestra now began playing selections of Lehar melodies. Geli paused to listen and smiled at the cellist who mouthed a silent hello. She obviously knew the young man noticed Walter. He hoped Adolph had not seen this innocent greeting from his niece. He would not be pleased. He also disliked his dog getting too friendly with strangers it was also observed.
“You look concerned Heinrich as if you’re about to witness an oncoming train crash?” Hermann suggested, always cautious of Heinrich and his many concerns.
“I think gentlemen, there could be serious problems emanating from this young lady in the future political elections for the party” he announced rather gravely.” And it has to be eliminated before it spreads. How shall I say … he paused thinking of a suitable example … it’s rather akin I suppose to Dutch elm disease.” He removed his glasses and produced a soft cloth to polish the already spotless lenses.
Somehow now the fate of this young girl’s life rested precariously in these three men’s well-manicured hands thought Walter. They quietly discussed some possible options but came to no agreement just yet about the coming problem imaginary or not.
Geli then quietly returned with a tall glass of water that she presented to Hermann saying with an innocent smile: “I asked for some ice cubes to be placed in your drink. I always think … and so does dear mother …. that water tastes so much better when it’s cooled … I hope you don’t mind Herr Goring” she smiled with a raised eyebrow before waving to a friend, then said a brief goodbye as she walked over to join her.
But Heinrich had noticed a trace of lipstick stain on the rim of the glass. He quickly placed his hand onto Hermann’s arm thereby preventing him from taking the glass to his lips saying: “I wouldn’t drink from that … leave it… it’s dirty!”
He pointed to the blooded smear. Hermann now noticed the mark wrinkled his nose in disgust and placed the glass onto a nearby table.
Geli, however, had wandered previously off in search of her mother and had failed to notice the glances from the three men as they now followed her departure. As regards the smudge on the glass, she had simply not noticed it, her mind too full of other frivolous things girls of her age were subjected to.
Then two full liveried young footmen, who could have stepped out from the powdered dressing rooms of the infamous court of King Louis XIV, now politely ushered all the guests to quickly assemble in the main (almost completed) conference hall that could double, if required, as a fully fitted cinema. American films especially westerns, and for some strange reason, Hollywood musicals were always a popular favourite with Adolph and his guests for an invited viewing night.
The small group consisting of Walter, Heinrich and Hermann with Geli following closely behind quietly obeyed the whispered directions as requested and walked through the open doors to their arranged seating. The hired orchestra had now ceased performing. The main event of the evening was about to commence. None could or should be late!
For now, the musicians’ instruments were being placed safely by their music stands. That young smiling cellist noticed by Geli it seemed had already gone in search of her and was hoping to introduce himself to arrange a liaison perhaps.
But now seen inside the auditorium of almost gothic proportions and seated in the two front reserved seats were both Carin Goring and Karen Kyper. Placed several rows behind them were Walter and Heinrich and Hermann with poor Geli unfortunately seated rather uncomfortably right behind Heinrich Himmler. She was not happy to be in such close proximity and now felt frightened for her future for some reason.
To be concluded…
(C) Copyrighted G. Patrick Battell
31 March 2020
(All Rights Reserved)