Munich Night’s Chapter 25: “Karen’s Important Announcement And The Order of The Green Sash”
Placed diametrically along the walls were some gold and silvered framed and dated enlarged black and white gloss photographs of the party’s past progress taken over the previous years. They depicted marches and rally skirmishes and parades all now captured in portraits and with printed Bavarian newspaper headlines. Walter smiled when he noticed a small picture of Heinrich’s ‘Lady Cynthia’ prized polished motorcycle on display with him and Heinrich standing proudly smiling beside it taken some years ago. But now tall erected black fitted uniformed young soldiers were placed on each side of that room which was full of expectation. Something was in the coming air. Their piercing blue eyes seemed as cold as the Ruhr steel of their polished bayonets that they had been fashioned from. Their rifles were lowered, well for now, yet the power and the presence of the party of which they were the proud guardians seemed secure and safe on these young men’s black-uniformed shoulders. And for all to witness in that hushed hall full of anticipation.
Silence then descended as all expectant eyes were centred onto the bare stage apart from a silver screen being visible. An unoccupied wooden and polished swastika decorated podium stood waiting for its designated speaker to arrive to bring this momentous evening to order.
Then the house lights were lowered as a final hush settled on the seated waiting occupants in the hall.
Then the man of the hour strolled onto the stage almost nonchalantly and soon to be addressed as Der Fuhrer. He quickly divested himself of his silk-lined cloak, offered it to a female whom Karen suspected might just be Eva Braun whom she had spoken to earlier about her wish to purchase a puppy. Possibly a Labrador. Karen had promised to help her in the search from the local kennels.
He turned to accept the applause, bowed, then basked in its shower for several minutes. Then silenced the audience with a gesture of his hand being almost papal in its effect. A quilt of authority had now settled upon his shoulders and with familiar ease.
He began by welcoming all the assembled guests and loyal party member’s. The atmosphere was charged as if the pope in Rome was speaking on an ecclesiastical edict from that supposed imitation chair of the fisherman from Galilee.
He began by starting with the party’s long journey from the shame of 1919 to its success of today: “Yet today we remember those sixteen dear self-sacrificing comrades or young men who perished on the streets of old Munich. I’m informed stains of their blood can still be seen between the cobblestones.”
Then pointing to their photographs on the wall a lone red spotlight had now settled as if by his command upon the grouped faces of those lost men now depicted in the charcoal drawing’s for or all to pause and remember. He continued: “They who became by their deeds for our cause eternal martyrs of our party. We remember that their blood that fateful day ran like spilt red wine into the Munich streets in 1923. We will never EVER forget them” he shouted as a thunderous applause erupted like an exploding Mills bomb from the room. Many jumped onto their feet cheering.
His fiery blue eyes then seemed somehow to settle upon Hermann Gorin who had himself suffered two bullets buried into his groin. Carin’s eyes flooded with tears as she recalled the pain of being with her constantly suffering darling husband that day and the terrible long days and nights afterwards. And those wandering years that followed sometimes only one step ahead of starvation or the police. Of seeing him being confined in a vomit stained straight jacket in a mental hospital. Of being strapped down to his rusted bed frame as he begged her for pain-reducing drugs or just PLEASE let him die! It had almost shattered her heart as she listened to his praying pleading for any escape from the all-consuming pain. Then only measured morphine and nothing else it seemed could remove that agony that would never desert his suffering body then or in the long-suffering pampered years ahead (until 1945).
They were painful days to recall and as her dear mother had frequently recited these words like a favoured mantra,’ into every life some rain must fall but for some people, it arrives in torrents.’
In one of many emotional letters to her mother, she had shared her pain concerning Hermann: “The hospital was surrounded by guards and sentries but the rescue was miraculous. Hermann was carried out (for he can’t walk a step) into a car with a fur coat and rugs over his nightshirt. In two hours we were across the border using a false passport. I just don’t dare to describe how all this happened. They operated on him with an anaesthetic and for the past three days, he has been very feverish. His mind seems to wander, sometimes he even cries, and sometimes he dreams of street fighting. All the time he is suffering indescribable pain. His whole leg is fitted with little rubber tubes to draw out the pus. He is so kind, so patient, so good, but deep in his heart, he is desperately unhappy. Your loving daughter Carin.”
Heinrich recalled his own limited involvement that day but then serving only as a lowly foot soldier. He had been placed behind the barbed wire barricade waiting for the command to attack. Next to him, an emotional Karen clutched Walter’s hand as tears ran down her powdered cheeks as she too recalled that day herself when she had knelt and aided the dying alongside her father who was attending the sick and dying.
She remembered one young man named William expire slowly before her eyes as she held his limp hand. He had mistakenly believed she was his mother. She had not corrected him but comforted him until the light of life departed from his puzzled eyes as he whispered: “Mama I love you.” Around her then she heard screaming and shouting and pandemonium erupting over the blooded Munich streets. She herself could never forget it and frequently dreamed about it.
Then the speaker referred to the last war as: “The great swindle and betrayal” and never by the popular misleading title of ‘The Great War.’ This he claimed was a product of Hollywood’s drunken delusional misinformed writers.
How many dear friends he recalled had died and bled to death in vain for profiteers and criminal bankers who had bankrolled it from the beginning.
Today he emphasised those young men the finest stock of German youth who suffered and died on the battlefields of Europe must never be forgotten.
“But today you here in Munich in this great hall must grant them justice.” Those fourteen words brought his tired voice to a close. An acolyte somewhere shouted, “Heil Hitler,” the audience erupted to their feet and stamped and saluted with right arms stiffly extended.
“Now” he announced as calm settled in the hall, “I have rather a pleasant duty to perform to honour two dear remarkable ladies of our party.” He beamed at both Carin Goring and Karen Auer-Kyper as she was sometimes known.
He then beckoned them both to come up and join him upon the open stage. This they did quickly in unison, then to stand smiling before him. To Heinrich, they resembled two senior school prefects standing before the headmaster on Founders Day now waiting nervously to receive that much sought after end of term diploma.
From an attendant who appeared by his side, he reached for two green silk sashes displayed on a velvet tray, saying with pride: “Today I am very proud to present to these two ladies the sought after ‘Green Sash of Parsifal’ for what they had done admirably for the success of our party and beyond the call of duty.”
He then placed the awards over each woman’s neck and with a kiss on their cheeks.
For most of the invited audience, it was the first time any had been given an opportunity to examine this unusual party award which many did and talked about excitedly afterwards.
Stitched onto the silk lining was a detailed embroidered figure of that famed Wagnerian heroic knight holding high his heavy sword. Lightning runes were clearly seen embossed into the engraved pearl handle. Seen on Parsifal’s raised shield was a blood-red swastika. He was also surrounded by several striking Irish wolfhound hunting dogs who looked up at him admiringly against an emerald green background.
Adolph then proudly presented to each of the surprised women two miniature watercolour portraits of the old Vienna that he had painted years before. For Karen, her’s would be a depiction of the Hof Opera House seen at night with excited concert-goers arriving probably to see and enjoy a Wagner opera. For Carin, a pastoral scene of a past summer day captured in the Volksgarten where handsome uniformed soldiers of the emperor accompanied and always chaperoned young ladies to walk along the flowered promenade, and maybe later to join them to sip coffee and sample some sugared strudel with them. On each, he had penned in green ink a personal note of thanks and a personal dedication on the back of the wooden frame.
Geli was heard to remark proudly to Hermann that: “Uncle Alf used to be a painter before he became a politician you know.”
Heinrich also heard this childish utterance and shook his head thinking something needs be done quickly about this ‘stupid girl’. This was an election year after all and nothing must jeopardise the party’s success at the polls.
Both excited women bowed in unison then kissed the fuhrer on his cheek and hugged each other and returned to their seats clutching their prized paintings. Both in tears of joy and exposed emotion that both were now rather embarrassed about.
Apparently this party honour of the green sash was suspended for some reason after 1941. Possibly because of the ill-fated ‘Operation Barbarossa’ launched against Russia. However several of those sashes it is claimed have been seen and exhibited since the 1950s apparently in the Lincoln Centre in New York, La Scala Milan and the V&A in London. But for what purpose or who originally donated them is still unknown.
An announcement was heard over the tannoy that refreshments would soon be served in the commissary, and would the guests later assemble in the ballroom. Later both Karen and her friend Lina Heydrich always referred to it as ‘that enchanted ballroom.’
As the audience arose feelings that had been expectant then excited now settled into ease as they searched for suitable refreshments for parched throats and aching right arms.
On his way out as Walter guided Karen through the gathering throng she was congratulated by many and kissed by old and new friends who all wanted to see her sash and that prized watercolour.
Walter himself accepted a few handshakes and recognised most of the invited audience.
Only later would he read in the Munich morning newspapers the next morning that the ambassadors of Japan, Spain, Italy, Portugal and France and other European countries were in attendance as well as assorted well-plumed nuncios and other ambitious clerics all seeking patronage and favours it seemed that evening.
Once inside the ornate dining room he seated Karen in a small tea room and then went in search of the requested glass of Perrier water that Karen had requested. When he finally returned she was sitting still, alone and was examining the artwork of the green sash now placed on her lap. She then reached for the painting held it at arm’s length saying almost wistfully: “It’s beautiful isn’t it. I feel very honoured to have been presented with both of these awards.”
She remarked turning the painting around for his approval and to catch the light: “It certainly is … the thing is where shall we place it?” he asked as he handed her the requested drink.
She accepted the glass and placed it next to the open sash on the table saying mischievously: “Why in the nursery my sweet so that simply when our son or daughter awakens in the morning this painting will be the first sight he or she will see.”
She smiled running her fingertips around the rim of the still untouched glass making it almost hum musically: “You mean …” he stuttered as the truth slowly dawned on him … “yes, darling, we are going to have a baby.” She laughed at his surprise at the news.
“You mean you are pregnant..?” he spluttered into his glass of wine: “Women usually are when they say they are going to have a baby my love…my, whatever did they teach you at that police academy you attended?”
She laughed now still running her forefinger along the rim of the glass that somehow still emitted a higher muted musical whine.
“That sounds to me like an E flat she remarked” with a laugh.
He then arose placed his half-sipped glass onto the table and happily leaned over to awkwardly embrace her when he heard the familiar voice of Hermann coming from behind him: “Congratulations dear boy! Wonderful news. Both Carin and I are delighted” he announced through whirls of blue cigar smoke.
Carin had quietly followed him and leaned over Walter saying to Karen: “And may I be the first to kiss the blooming expectant mother? I’m so pleased for you both” but still addressing Karen.
They all laughed as Hermann with a cigar now clenched between his teeth pulled over two vacant chairs without being invited for them both to join the couple.
Yet Walter was now unnoticeably very annoyed that Karen had for some reason shared this family announcement with her friend Carin first and not with him. He concealed his feelings and thanked them both for their welcomed wishes.
“I would consider it a great honour if I were to be the future godmother” Carin announced raising her eyebrows expectantly. “And that if possible,” she remarked, she would deem it a great privilege and pleasure to accompany the child to Stockholm there for the two of them to visit and appreciate the Swedish government buildings, museums and beautiful parks and of course the Royal Palace and to possibly have an audience with her majesty, Queen Louise. “Not forgetting that little mermaid statue” she laughed. Yet all of them were aware privately that Carin’s still precarious health would never allow this dream of her’s to become a reality.
More small talk continued before the Gorings’ departed. Both women still embracing each other and still so happy at the news.
Before he could share his disappointment to an oblivious Karen about her sharing the news with others, Josef Goebbels and his fiancé Magda now also appeared to offer their own sincere congratulations.
Walter invited them to be seated, which they accepted. Then Joseph suggested that he and Walter visit his new office in the building. This left the two women alone to talk and hopefully establish a future friendship.
An immediate connection between the two was quickly established. Magda, of course, was not in the full flush of marriage or motherhood herself. A son Harold from her previous marriage would forever remain devoted to her and she to him. But it was in her marriage to the powerful Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels that Magda had perhaps fulfilled one of her foolish ambitions that being by bringing six healthy children into their marriage. Each child’s name would begin with the letter H. Perhaps Magda subscribed to that old Nordic adage that ‘every life has a purpose otherwise why are we here and for what purpose.’ Perhaps she had speculated her purpose was in the production and presentation of children for her husband’s glory and naturally the party of which she like both Karen and Carin was a proud devoted member.
Had not Walter’s late mother written in her Holy Bible: “My kingdom is not of this world.” He had remembered as a boy watching her write these famous words of Jesus along with many others in that little books fly leaf and margins that he still had in his possession. And always would.
Devastatingly in 1945 by Magda’s own hand and with her husband’s agreement the six little children were murdered in that infamous Berlin bunker. Please see our article on her.
Karen happily never lived to see this tragedy. But Walter who had grown close to the children on his frequent visits with Karen to the Goebbles homestead never forgave Magda for what she had performed in hastening their innocent deaths. He liked to speculate her mind was perhaps unhinged in those final days in the desperate fall of Berlin.
He now noticed Karen was looking tired and exhausted. They quickly made their farewells to Adolph and most of the assembled guests.
Later in the decorated foyer after collecting their coats Heinrich approached them both. He kissed Karen’s left hand again and once more offered his congratulations, then noticing the sash he remarked: “Don’t lose it. One day it just might be worth a great deal of money.” Then his tone changed saying with concern: “And Walter, I suggest you take a week’s leave. You are looking rather tired these last few days. Maybe take dear Karen up into the mountains. It will do you both the world of good to sample some cool glacial air. And congratulations on your wonderful family news. And please, if the baby is a boy do not call him Heinrich or Henrietta if a girl.”
They all laughed. Then he also reminded Walter about an arranged appointment the following week to attend the tailor Hugo Boss for his exemplary new black uniform fitting.
Both walked into the chill of the night as twinkling stars stared down upon them through a curtain of layered darkness.
Karen looked up at them smiled and cupped Walter’s face and kissed him before turning and blowing a silent long breath above her head at the sky: “What are you doing?” he asked placing her heavy sable fur coat over her naked shoulders.
“I’m trying to extinguish all the little stars above so that the last face I ever see in this night will be yours my sweet. Today has been the happiest day of my life except of course” … she paused and laughed saying ….”for my wonderful wedding day.”
Then their chauffeured car silently arrived to deliver them both on the homeward journey. Walter turned and offered a slow stiff salute to a watching Heinrich who returned it with an accepting nod. Karen did not turn but waited for the car door to be opened for her by Heinrich’s personal driver. Then she climbed inside the heated car.
Then the car with its two passengers drove away into the still night of the Munich backdrop and somewhere a church clock chimed the midnight hour as Heinrich checked its accuracy with his own pocket watch and smiled at the result. It was as he expected his own watch was never wrong. Then his thoughts returned to the ongoing problem concerning Geli Raubal and how and when it might be solved.
To be continued…..
(C) Copyright G. Patrick Battell
30 April 2020