Then, saying softly to a still surprisingly attentive Karen and with genuine feeling it seemed: “So I and my dear family will forever I suppose owe a great deal to the Reichsfuhrer that we could never possibly repay. And both my dear mother and myself can never thank him enough. Sorry, but I do so get so rather emotional” her voice shaking with emotion.
“When I think of how he just stepped in and did so much for my defenceless brother and for us at that painful period in our family’s lives when he had never met any of us, his generosity just came from nowhere” she said shaking her head in bewilderment.
“But I, my mother and especially my brother will always be eternally grateful I know for the unexpected kindness and concern that he unexpectedly offered to our struggling family” she now said looking into the distance at a dangerously circling falcon about to descend on its defenceless prey.
She then reached for her coffee, stirred it and sipped its welcoming sustenance. Then she sat back waiting for any response to what she had just shared with anyone outside of her immediate family. This was unusual for her.
Karen had then allowed the now emotional nurse to compose herself and then truthfully commented: “Well that certainly sounds to me rather like the dear Heinrich that I know and have always had great respect for.”
“Have you known him very long?” asked nurse Hoffman, happier now that she was not the centre of Karen’s interest and attention.
“Well,” said Karen, leaning back into the comfort of her chair and enjoying the silence of the garden pleased as well, that the sheltered garden was still deserted: “I grew up in Munich as did Heinrich. In fact, he and his family lived in Amalienstrasse just around the corner from my father’s medical practice in Ludwigstraße. So you could say we were neighbours. And he of course and his two brothers and their mother were all regular patients of my father. But I don’t ever recall ever seeing Heinrich’s father, Professor Himmler consult my father as a patient.”
She paused suddenly remembering this for some odd reason then added something else to the conversation.
“Heinrich often boasted to me and others I know, that his godfather was Prince Heinrich of Bavaria, can you believe? And that he had been baptised himself after the Prince. In fact, Heinrich’s father had personally tutored the young prince. Although our two families really never socialised either at Easter or Christmas as I recall.”
“You mentioned earlier your eternal gratitude to the Reichsfuhrer which rather interested me. Because when Walter, my husband, arrived just after the War in Munich as an ambitious, almost penniless young man he had also just buried his father when he was then helped enormously by Captain Ernst Rohm, a wonderful man by all accounts I’m told.”
Karen said rather too wistfully but privately always feeling there was something almost reptilian about the man. His redesigned face when ever placed near her at Party functions was subjected occasionally to his damp clammy limp handshake causing her to wipe her hand on the side of her dress when no one was looking.
“I don’t think I know of him or his name” claimed the nurse rather apologetically but was still very interested in learning more about Walter as a young man. She really wasn’t very interested in Rohm or his reputation or his numerous war injuries.
“Well Captain Rohm was a popular war hero and also badly wounded as well” stated Karen seriously with raised eyebrows to emphasise her point.
Recalling as well the many ugly scars and gashes openly crisscrossing his face like a well-worn road map.
“Captain Rohm would always when requested, organise much-needed protection for Adolf especially in the early days of the Party’s struggle in Munich, by simply commandeering so many of his discharged soldiers. All of whom were strong, loyal patriots ready to act when needed, for all paramilitary, military and security details. Usually for the Party meetings and other rallies that were then being constantly seriously and violently disrupted in Munich by assorted political enemies of the Party. And today? Well, he lives and works happily I believe in Bolivia of all places.” She paused seeing that the nurse had a question.
“So where on earth is Bolivia?” she asked with a raised question and amused eyebrow.
“Oh,” Karen laughed” it’s in South America my dear and I must admit I don’t know too much about it myself.”
“So will the Captain ever return to Germany do you think?” asked the nurse with some interest.
“Oh I doubt it” she replied.” He is now advising the Bolivian army high command and is living the so-called “good life” I’m informed from the frequent airmail letters he writes usually to Heinrich. But I suppose if Adolf ever asked him to return and organise again the Party’s growing military wing as a personal favour, then I’m sure he would. He is very patriotic and he and Adolf go back a long way it seems.”
“But anyway he generously helped my husband in several ways, years ago. And somehow organised a backdated widow’s pension surprisingly as well for my husband’s aged mother.”
“And was also very instrumental again in somehow obtaining for Walter a much needed respected job in the Munich police force.”
“Then later found him a position working part-time in the Party’s office in Ludwigstraße, which is near the church. And that’s where he first made the acquaintance of Reichfuhrer Himmler, who was then managing the Party office almost on his own I hear. And who was also the membership secretary for the Party which then only numbered in the low hundreds or so, I was informed”.
“Then Herr Himmler owned a trusted motorbike” she laughed” which he named for some strange reason the “Lady Cynthia”.
“And he and my husband then travelled all over Germany in those early years. Especially in the south, signing up much-needed new members and addressing many meetings in cold church halls. Sometimes in wet fields and in unheated beer cellars. Anywhere I suppose where people would pause and listen and hopefully sign a membership form. And then travelling in all weathers, be it snow, rain or ice.” Walter would frequently recount to me years later when he cared to remember those early years of the Party’s growth”.
“So both Heinrich and Captain Rohm played crucial roles in their own ways, I suppose in furthering my husband’s life and his future successful career in the police and later in the Party as well.”
This was the first time Karen realised, much to her surprise, that she had actually never divulged so many personal details to any strangers concerning her family life. And of course, the Party’s early years of struggle to finally become established in that tricky political arena.
But then she had never really been asked by others that she could recall, to reveal this important family information anyway. And really no one had ever really shown the slightest interest in her or Walter’s lives. And if they had in the past, no one had ever broached this subject with her.
And she would certainly have given them an instant, short shrift if they invaded her privacy of this she was certain.
She looked at the nurse who was just about to pose another question to her it seemed from the shape of her lips.
To be continued…
© G. Patrick Battell
(All Rights Reserved)