Munich Nights Chapter 55: “Carin’s Grave Seriously Desecrated. Hermann Is Furious”

Munich Nights Chapter 55: “Carin’s Grave Seriously Desecrated. Hermann Is Furious”

Naturally “The Swedish Seaman’s Refuge” quickly followed suit by offering a silent male guard of honour in the church’s assembled room of condolences. But each silent man remembered with affection and some with open sadness what Carin had brought to each of their young lives over a brief period of time. Someone had suggested a local artist prepare a pen and ink sketch to remember Carin. Then when finished to be presented in the refuge hallway.

Hermann along with Karen and Walter some weeks later were both invited for the official unveiling of the new portrait. And he of course accepted this important invitation with alacrity and joy.

In the evening when they all arrived together, it had started to drizzle, but soon ceased when Hermann alighted from his always gleaming Mercedes-Benz. He was greeted as usual with an affectionate round of applause from a waiting curious crowd of onlookers. He began once inside by delivering his short unscripted speech in the crowded hall, addressing them in Swedish then later finishing in German.

The now-finished portrait depicted a delightful and a true loving representation of Carin herself. This had brought tears of emotion to Karen’s eyes at the uncanny likeness of Carin depicted by the artist and Karen foolishly wished yet again, her friend could be here to see his own depiction for herself.

An engraved brass plaque with Carin’s full name and title had been fixed to the gold frame. This had been acquired somehow from the “House of Hanover.” Someone had later also added these short words of affection in German and Swedish underneath in gothic script it reads:

    “She always lit a darkened path whenever she smiled or wherever she walked.”

At the packed reception following the unveiling of the commissioned portrait, Herrmann had made it his business if possible, to speak to each man in Swedish. So many of the young men that evening had never been given the opportunity to learn or speak German. And this kind gesture of his was much appreciated by all the staff and sailors.

Then when the evening was finally over ending surprisingly, with a spiritual and joyful rendition of the Swedish National Anthem, Hermann’s timbre baritone voice soared over all other voices around him as he sang with tears in his eyes.

Carin had always loved this 1866 anthem he remembered. And now in his heart, he could forever see his wife’s beautiful face as she sang the opening words with pride, joy and much emotion upon her happy face years before when the occasion had arisen in the past to salute Sweden.

  “Du gamla, Du fria” (Thou ancient Thou free)

“What a wonderful evening and what a kind gesture it was to place that beautifully finished portrait in the main hallway,” Karen had exclaimed to both men from the rear seat of the car when they had finally departed that evening. And it truly was, thought Hermann to himself as he drove them home that evening puffing on his cigar.

(However sometime on the night of the 8th of April 1945 this building was destroyed by allied bombers or perhaps nearby Russian heavy artillery guns. Nothing was left standing and afterwards, nothing was able to be salvaged from the ruins. Today that area is now just a private car park for an American technical giant.) 

The funeral for Carin was commemorated some days later in Sweden with Hermann and naturally Karen with Walter being present with many other grieving family and friends for her funeral. The simple, but moving service was committed in the Rockelstadt castle chapel. Where he had sat so often with Carin in the early days of their meeting and where their developing romance had happened. Then afterwards Carin was finally laid to rest in the peaceful Lovo cemetery near Stockholm being placed next to her devoted mother.

This really should have been the end of the story. But!

In 1931 Hermann was in Sweden to attend a family wedding. He had decided afterwards to visit Carin’s grave in the Lovo cemetery and to lay a spray of flowers on her final resting place.

Once there however he was furious and shocked to discover that her grave had been badly desecrated and vandalised by political troublemakers.

He had then ordered his driver to find the gravedigger immediately. And bring him over to give an account of what had happened here. And why had Carin’s grave been left in this shocking state?

The agitated man had then offered a feeble explanation when brought to Hermann. But this naturally did not satisfy Hermann, who then ordered that a high fence be placed around the grave. And with razor wire to be fixed on the top and all to be finished within six hours. And he further warned the man with mounting menace in his voice saying as he pointed his forefinger violently into the shaking man’s rib cage: “Heed my words, gravedigger, if I am not satisfied with how my orders have been carried out, then the next grave you dig will be your very own. Because you will be taken away in a dark forest then a bullet will penetrate somewhere in the back of your thick, numb, skull, “he had threatened.

Needless to say, the demand of this serious dangerous threat was carried out satisfactorily by the man well within six hours to Hermanns’s satisfaction.

But Hermann was now starting to seriously consider that perhaps Carin’s body could be resited to rest forever in Germany. And the growing germ of an interesting idea began to fester in his always enquiring mind.

Simply, he would design and construct on his acquired beautiful country estate a Baronial hall and numerous outbuildings to house his favoured falcons and other numerous birds of prey. As well as temperature-controlled stables.

It would be called “Carinhall.” Originally there had been an old hunting lodge used previously by Hermann and guests on the grounds and was situated just 50 miles outside of Berlin.

Now a  newly constructed burial site for Carin was to be prepared on the grounds close to the hall. There to receive and house his beloved wife’s coffin. So now he reasoned she would always be near to him. So that at any time he wished to, he could visit her alone in the crypt.

Some claim he visited it frequently in the dark days of the war. And there he communicated with her in the darkened crypt. Who knows? Obviously, public money was seemingly no object in this ordered project of his. And also with a large pool of labourers and craftsmen almost working around the clock, completion was amazingly achieved in under a year. 

Goering involved himself with every minute detail of this imperial-designed building and especially then in his looted art gallery that he loved to wander through under its high-ceiling rooms. And dream and speculate of perhaps of owning his own personal gallery “Par Excellence” one day. Perhaps after the war. Because wasn’t the man always optimistic in his outlook of what life should bestow or take away from him? 

To be continued……

(C) Copyright G. Patrick Battell, December 2022