Munich Nights Chapter 9: “Reopening Painful Family Wounds In Berlin”
Frequent reoccurring health ailments had arrived and assaulted Walter Kyper’s health. These being a painful ear and throat infection. He always blamed these ailments on being assaulted by his frequently inebriated father. He had in fact been frequently rendered unconscious as a defenceless boy, suffering from his father’s gnarled fists. His physical scars had partially healed of course but not mentally.
Walter, ever the practical patient, had brought several bottles of his mother’s special prepared honey balm. He speculated as to what would be available for him when this family ‘brew’ was finished.
After several days he felt he had recovered sufficiently enough to return to the city police station to take up his duties. And to his relief, the investigation for the killer of the three young women had been closed.
The suspect was now still lying safely, he hoped, at the bottom of a well. His face is unrecognisable after the rats had feasted upon its flesh to the bone. Only he would know of that location.
Now the Munich forces were to be employed on solving a series of violent bank robberies that was causing concern to insurance investigators and the public. He was however complimented on his professional diligence by being presented with a written commendation for other outstanding detective procedures.
Heinrich, when he viewed him walk through the office party doors later that day, proclaimed in mock horror: “Walter, you really look awful. Are you sufficiently recovered? Remember always reward yourself an extra day for recovery. An old doctor friend of the family offered this medical advice to me years ago. And I suspect he was correct because there’s no point in overdoing it.” The two men then sat down at their desks still talking softly.
Both men compared their own medical ailments. Heinrich had suggested that the nerves in his chest were now partially damaged and that he feared he would experience little sensation in that muscle region again after the attempted murder.
Their conversation touched on the usual office politics and the popular Munich weather, an approaching party rally and with party membership now was increasing in the north. This was definitely seen as encouraging for the approaching future elections.
Heinrich then mentioned that he had heard from his old travelling comrade Willy Friedhofer that the rings Walter had personally selected were now ready for his collection.
“Willy informs me you have become quite the connoisseur in your selection of a splendid wedding ring and surprisingly a Romanov family heirloom that once proudly adorned one of the young princess’s fingers. Ah those poor sisters and that little boy slaughtered by those Bolsheviks butchers,” he shook his head in angst.” Sadly never to emerge as the women their mother would have hoped them to become.” He then looked forlornly into the distance as if experiencing a vision of them sadly standing before him with tears in their young eyes.
He then removed his glasses to wipe away an imaginary smear, this being used as a precursor of what he was about to impart. Now choosing his words he spoke with his usual authority he began: “You know Walter, we must always be alert in the future coming days and months. Today I believe we may have hopefully crushed a dangerous communist spy network operating in the country. As well as happily dispatching comrade Stavisky,” he laughed, replacing his glasses.
“To a region where he has rightly descended. But the communists like us have elongated memories. And the time may well be approaching when we will be fighting the Russians hand to hand for our very survival in our very own country. There could be indeed dark terrible days ahead for a defenceless Germany.
Why Carin Goering herself has informed me privately, and with great emotion, that well into the future, she has witnessed hoards of Russians soldiers descend into Germany, looting, raping and murdering. It was painful for me to listen to her predictions. I can only hope she was incorrect”.
Walter knew of course how he rarely showed emotion but now seemed to be the exception. Then Heinrich quietly changed the subject by remarking that both the Goerings had unexpectedly visited the office recently. Seeking it seems news about Walter’s poor health. And by kindly bringing boxes of Belgian chocolates and biscuits. Carin added to these unexpected gifts with small bunches of wrapped lilies, her favourite flower she had informed Heinrich. Walter had been touched when they were hand delivered some days ago by young Fritz the always cheerful office boy. He would years later be captured at Stalingrad in 1943, then later be forced marched to the Soviet gulags with 90,000 prisoners of war. Disease and starvation would claim the lives of most in the ensuing years.
Carin then suggested as an after thought as they were about to depart that Walter perhaps pays them a call. But only if he was not too exhausted to partake of an afternoon tea with them.
“A delightful couple,” remarked Heinrich who having been surprised with their thoughtfulness and generosity towards a sickened Walter.
Later he prepared and sampled a cup of apricot tea, his now favoured beverage. Walter declined the offer to join him. Settling instead for a small bottle of refreshing alpine spring water. Then later he reached for his cap and coat and departed with a brisk handshake from Heinrich.
He sauntered towards the Friedhofers emporium, that most respected of Munich jewellers. Whilst walking down the busy Schellingstrasse he was aware of more French and English imported cars on display. Brash American cars were making an appearance as well. A promising sign the economy was finally expanding, he had been informed by Heinrich.
A sky blue blimp balloon drifted lazily over the Ludwigstrasse advertising a popular laxative. Then walking past that prominent police station in Ettstassse, once a former Augustine monastery, he decided quickly to see who was on the duty roster to perhaps gossip with the station sergeant an old Ernst Rohm’s street fighter of the freikorps. The then glory unforgotten days of this man’s youth he recalled. He had also proudly shown Walter of the numerous scars on his body.
Within five years, this historic building would be the official residence of Chief of Police, Colonel Walter Kyper. By then Walter would become the master of all that he surveyed in this, his own domain. All who entered and departed through those secured doors were aware of the presence and personality of Walter Kyper. He would neither overlook nor forgive those who denied loyalty to the Third Reich nor tolerate any who hindered its very survival.
Karin referred to the building laughingly to her friends as his other secret women. There he had made it his mission in his first week to visit every cell, interrogation rooms, every custody room suite, shooting range, cafeterias and dispensary. And to walk every corridor. Even surprisingly to discover those secret rooms not even placed on the original feudal plans of this former church building.
But now he was excited to go and see again those wedding rings as he later departed the station. The only problem concerning him was that he was still unaware if he had sufficient funds in his bank account to purchase them. He hoped he might come to a favourable financial understanding with Herr Friedhofer, that would somehow be agreeable to both of them. Time would tell he thought as he arrived at the shop’s ornate entrance. Yet hadn’t he always feared the shame of any debts? They had always seemed to follow him in the past rather like an unwanted animal that he could not shake off.
This double fronted jewellers, where he now stood admiring its window display, had graced the same shopping site in Munich for over a century, hadn’t Heinrich informed him proudly of this building?
Kurt Friedhofer it seems had started selling paste jewellery from a market stall before renting a shop in 1886. It had prospered and when his son William came of age his father had dispatched him to Amsterdam. There he had learned the value and secrets of preparing precious stones, later returning to Munich with a prized velvet pouch of gems. These he claimed he had acquired in the game of backgammon. But that story would change in the coming years when he frequently recounted it.
As well as returning with the assorted jewels he managed to bring home with him, his young Dutch wife Helga. When he died in 1905 his son Hugo took over the directorship of a now thriving business. Later two jewellery shops would be added to the families already established wealth. One in Berlin the other in Edinburgh. In 1942 this Munich establishment suffered severe damage by the American flying fortress bombers. Both Herr and Frau Friedhofer were killed that night. Most of the valuable stock that wasn’t destroyed was later looted that same day.
A popular myth concerned the shop’s loyal goldsmith Jacob Schmidt. He had previously designed and created the wedding ring for Herman Goering’s second wife Emmy. When Herr Goldsmith was arrested under the Nuremberg Race Laws in 1936, he would be quickly released on the personal orders of none other than Hermann Goring. Apparently, Goering had informed the arresting officer with the menacing words that: “I decide who is Jewish not you!” Herr Schmidt was himself killed alongside the shop proprietor and his wife in 1942 in that night of heavy bombing. His body was never recovered. Apparently, he left no surviving family except for a loved Siamese cat named Caesar. His whereabouts are unknown.
Arriving now at the imposing shop entrance he placed his gloved hand on that worn brass plate that announced ENTER. He speculated about the thousands of former tired sticky nervous hands that had followed the same procedure he was now performing. Each of course, with a unique epistle to relate to any who showed interest as to why they were entering this Munich establishment.
As Walter gained admittance to the shop the proprietor and Jacob Schmidt were examining with great interest a glittering necklace. Seeing who was entering and calling him over, the proprietor proclaimed.
“Herr Kyper, good morning. You know his exquisite necklace once belonged to Catherine the Great can you believe? It once adorned her beautiful swan-like neck … it is simply … stunning!” Both men handled this Russian regalia with respect and reverence. It was an education to behold their faces and lighted eyes.
Herr Friedhofer spoke quietly to Schmidt who returned later with two small boxes that were placed on the counter side by side and unopened.
Friedhofer began as if delivering a speech to an invited audience. Walter listened with polite respect: “You must understand sir that all kingdoms and republics disappear eventually, but beautiful sacred objects as these displayed before us will survive forever. Well almost, unless destroyed by man.”
“Men have maimed and murdered to possess this priceless irreplaceable necklace held in my hand. Perhaps more than we will ever know … or want to know! And today here in Munich, we privileged three can admire and appreciate the amazing workmanship that was designed in creating its eternal almost divine beauty. Created by Catherine’s personal craftsman, Pietro Guiseppe.”
He paused, still enthralled by the necklace and its almost bewitching effect. As their enquiring eyes searched its elusive secrets, he continued in a more official tone: “Now I believe Herr Kyper has arrived to claim his rings. So Jacob please open the boxes.”
And with a flourish rather like a magician, he performed just that. Exposing the two sparkling rings. Now both polished to perfection as would be expected and demanded from such an establishment as Friedhofers.
The proprietor gestured to Walter to inspect and claim his purchases.
Then the two men silently watched Walter withdraw the first gem. It was the diamond sapphire. His personal wedding gift to Karin, his bride to be.
The shop goldsmith then bid a farewell to Walter with a firm handshake and departed to return to his workbench and to the favoured familiar trusty tools of his trade. The Proprietor then invited Walter into his office to offer him a celebratory glass of schnapps. Then calling for his daughter to place a CLOSED sign on the door.
After doing as she was requested she followed her father into the office and prepared the drinks and offered each man a sparkling glass. But politely declined, for some reason, one for her self Walter had noticed.
After the toasts were made, he was then invited to remove both rings and examine them. To his untrained eye, they seemed even more beautiful to behold than when he had first viewed them. But he realised that he still had to discuss finances, so he nervously returned them to her for wrapping, which she proceeded to undertake, bringing them back later to place in her father’s open hand.
Then sensing something was concerning the young man in his demeanour and correctly suspecting it concerned his finances, he enquired over his half-moon spectacles: “Is there a problem?” Aware of what he was about to hear: “Well you see it’s about … stuttered Walter then only to be silenced by Herr Freidhofer raising his hand insisting that: “There is nothing for you to be concerned about financially. They have already been paid for and offered as a personal wedding gift to you and Fraulein Auer. The matter as far as I am concerned has been settled Herr Kyper! Are we agreed?”
Walter stared at him in surprise asking: “You mean YOU have kindly offered to pay?
“No sir, not me sir,” he laughed in a jocular manner.
“No, they had been offered to you as a generous gift by a very kind donor who wishes to absolutely remain anonymous. In fact, he insists on it!”
He then presented Walter with a small handled coloured monogrammed cardboard box containing both the wrapped precious purchased items. Their business as far as he was concerned, was completed.
After warm handshakes from both father and daughter and clutching his possession, Walter departed Friedhofers. Yet in the future, he would return frequently to this establishment, and in an official capacity always on important government party business.
He hailed a passing taxi and directed him to the party head office being too tired to walk. Once there he placed the box into Heinrich’s surprised hands requesting that it be secured in the office safe. Later that day Heinrich, however, placed it into the purpose designed a reinforced box that he had constructed at his homestead. There the rings remained secure until the morning of the approaching wedding.
But later he would secretly open both boxes to examine them. They had, after all, cost the Party a great deal of money. But he had no qualms about the proposal he had previously pitched to Adolph. That their purchase would be a wise investment for the future of the party and for Walter’s career.
He then wandered into the garden to tend to his herb/kitchen garden a daily therapeutic task he performed when time permitted.
Some days later Walter wearily returned from his regular night patrol and was informed unexpectedly that he had been offered a furlough of several days. His superior had decided he needed it to recuperate and ordered him to take it immediately. Walter gratefully accepted. He then reasoned that he had some private family business to settle in Berlin. Now, it seemed, was the opportune time.
Watching him depart, his superior officer reached for the phone and dialled a Munich number that he knew very well. When connected he spoke quietly saying: “Hello Heinrich…Yes, I have informed him… Yes, it’s all been taken care of. Of course, he will receive full pay and with a rail pass for Berlin. Yes, Heinrich, thank you. And if there is anything else I can do for the party and for Herr Hitler please do let me know.”
He replaced the phone into its cradle. Satisfied that he had been of some useful service to the party and would willingly be so in the future if required. There was no doubt now in his mind now that young Kyper was a rising star in the party to watch. Maybe one day he might even achieve the position of the Chief of Police for Munich.
He then recalled that Captain Goring with his wife Carin had in this very office some weeks ago predicted Walter’s future within the party. A remarkable woman this Swedish Countess. And with hands, he had noticed, as silky as damask. When she had searched the lines on his palm.
She had at that meeting seemed aware of embarrassing details of his previous personal life that he had preferred to forget. He had that day then happily escorted them on a private tour of this establishment. Captain Goring seemed very interested, he remembered in the numerous metal cabinets containing known criminal fingerprints. He had even to the Captain’s surprise dropped the word ‘dactyloscopy’ into their conversations. Maybe his own ‘prints’ were recorded here in the Police files, he had thought with a smile.
Without delay, Walter requested the personal use of the office telephone. This was usually frowned upon but on this occasion, permission was granted. He then placed an operator call to Berlin the residence of doctor Abraham Doll his sister’s employer. After several rings, a voice announced that the requested Berlin number had been connected. He then asked to speak to his sister. The phone was replaced and he waited for her to arrive.
“Walter, is that you is everything alright?”
His sister sounded concerned. It had been a long time since the two had conversed.
“Yes, all is well. But how are you? Why are you calling? Well, I’m getting married and I hoped to deliver personally your invite to the wedding”.
If he expected an exclamation of joy and an excited response he was sorely disappointed with how she now cautiously responded: “That’s wonderful news Walter,” she replied almost as a whisper.”
“It really is but I really couldn’t possibly come … I never leave the neighbourhood. I really couldn’t. I know it’s been a long time since we have seen each other…. but.” She paused as if considering a compromise. Then she spoke: “Walter, I’m usually in the park opposite the house each day from two to four. I always take the children there when the weather permits. Maybe we could perhaps meet and talk? …. Oh and congratulations again.”
And with those whispered words of dismissal, his sister had departed. He now hoped that the Berlin inclement weather would be favourable for their planned afternoon encounter. He realised it had been several years since they had last conversed. So this unexpected opportunity was long overdue he reasoned as he cautiously replaced the receiver.
Earlier that morning he had telephoned Karin with the news that he had decided to visit Eloise in Berlin. Once there hoping to hand deliver their wedding invitation to her personally. He thought this gesture offered more of a personal touch. He had, after all, no other family to invite. Karin thought it a wonderful gesture and encouraged him to do so. She was also looking forward to being acquainted with her future sister-in-law.
Early the next morning Walter boarded the Berlin ‘flying’ express’ from the Hauptbahnhof’ in Munich.
Heinrich had recommended him a novel by the Munich author Thomas Mann called the Magic Mountain.
The book offered little to hold his attention and instead he dozed for most of the journey. Then after an uneventful journey, he arrived at that city’s splendid central station. He paused outside to purchase some fruit, peaches and cherries for his sister, from a cheerful one-legged war veteran. He paused then to admire the capital’s daunting skyline. Then he finally hailed a passing taxicab giving his destination to the driver.
The man then informed him as they drove through Charlottenburg, that he was suffering from a painful toothache and apologised for his facial grimaces. Walter politely sympathised.
The suburb was then a prosperous perimeter of the city and quickly captured his attention, especially the imposing town hall tower, illuminated from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. each day by order of the Burgermeister his suffering driver informed him.
The imposing edifice of Theater Des Westens also captured his eye.
Coincidently fifty years later in 1980 Walter would himself win a pair of theatre tickets much to his surprise, to attend the Berlin premiere of West Side Story in the very theatre. He had agreed with the music critics that the songs were delightful and Karin would have adored them herself, especially Somewhere and Tonight. He had then purchased a long-playing vinyl record of the show playing it frequently until Puzzi his dog jumped up one day and damaged it. He had not cared to replace it.
(Premier performed of West Side Story)
Now his friendly but pain inflicted driver deftly manoeuvred the taxi outside of number one Charles Square. He had arrived at his destination and with some trepidation admired the surgeon’s house now in front of him.
It was a fine large Edwardian house very familiar to that privileged area. Seen then boasting three stories and with latticed double gables, this abode looked imposingly down upon all who passed by. Conveniently placed back from the Square, it offered its owner the required purpose of privacy. It seemed to him the ideal happy family home. Special care had also gone into maintaining the well-trimmed manicured lawn and featured different coloured rose bushes. The lawn was a delight to view but definitely not for walking upon he thought. But was that perhaps an unwelcome a molehill he noticed? Then seen planted near to the oaken entrance door was an imposing Monkey tree. He was later informed by his sister that it was a Chilean Pine now averaging over twenty feet in height. A fixed plaque on the one side of the door displayed the traditional three candle Jewish Menorah.
He was later tempted to remove it but resisted the impulse by using his small nail file and inserting it behind this Jewish symbol then quickly to prise it away and kick it discreetly under that prickly tree. But he refrained from doing so.
He then settled his fare and decided not to request a later callback. Then he turned and crossed the empty road entering the iron park gates, with surprisingly the initials of the deposed Kaiser still branded upon them. A few dog walkers sporting pampered pedigree dogs strolled along the paved promenade.
A stately designed fountain had now been silenced with an official sign announcing ‘Under Repair.’ Somewhere some children laughed and screamed nearby. And possibly a parrot or cockatoo screeched somewhere else from the park’s enclosed children’s zoo. Their jarring screeching causing him to flinch. But it was a prepared oasis of calm and privilege denied to so many, yet appreciated by those few now enjoying its delights.
So unlike the parks of Munich that he recognized and had walked through many times with or without Karin. There toothless armless legless young veterans of the so-called: Great War begged or stole to survive.
And suddenly there she was, his sister. Silently sitting unnoticed on a seat scanning a daily newspaper headline with a concerned interest. And with other newsprint and magazines placed on her lap. She seemed unaware of his presence.
He was surprised to see she was wearing a fashionable pair of tinted glasses. And more surprised to see her enjoying a cigarette drawing through an extended ivory holder. Two children, maybe her charges played safely close to her. A heavy full-length mink fur coat was draped around her. He later learned that it had previously belonged to the doctor’s wife. He noticed she had gained some weight but nothing too noticeable. Her still lustrous hair was now streaked with grey wisps. This presented to him the effect of her resembling a schoolteacher or librarian. Her mouth was fixed into a firm line as she absorbed what she was intently reading. Immediately her features somehow resembled her father’s cruel face that was usually displayed in a permanent rage.
What was that old adage he had learned at the Police Academy? Girls seemed to resemble their father’s features whilst boys their mother’s?
Her eyes slowly suspiciously lifted from her paper as somehow becoming aware of his presence.
Had she somehow sensed his being near to her? She then noticed him and quickly her face erupted into a smile. He noticed she displayed some well-maintained teeth. He also noticed that no wedding rings adorned her manicured clear-varnished fingers and that she wore only a faint tinge of makeup.
She stood up crushed out her cigarette and waited for him to walk towards her. They then embraced. Watching this display of affection from their beloved Eloise to a strange man confused the children. She then introduced them to her older brother, then informing them solemnly that he was a policeman. Seriously nodding her head at their enquiring faces.
“You don’t look like a policeman and where is your uniform,?” asked the little boy. “And where’s your gun,?” he added with a hint of mischief in his little voice.
“Do you lock the naughty men up,?” asked the little girl raising an enquiring eyebrow. “And throw the key away,?” she enquired giggling. Two little faces then looked up at him demanding answers.
And so the Doll children’s questions were fired at him like arrows from a sling until Eloise quietly silenced this inquisition of her brother by saying firmly: “Enough”. She then kissed them both and informed them to go and search for ‘Otto,’ a hundred-year-old African tortoise who roamed this domain at his own slow leisurely pace, Walter was informed with a smile from her.
Each of the children was then given a small prepared bag with their names written on the side in bold red crayon. Each contained damp clumps of lettuce and carrots and potato peelings obtained from the household kitchen to offer Otto, she informed an enquiring Walter.
“That should keep them busy as they hunt for him.”
She laughed as he settled next to her. He then reached into his inner pocket and removed the wedding invitation. This, after all, had been his purpose to place it into her hand personally. She must have recognized what was inside immediately by the colour of the envelope. Saying quietly but firmly as she sat and faced him.
“I’m afraid I’m not going to attend your wedding Walter. I really couldn’t. I never go anywhere now unless I have to or if the need presented itself to me.” Her words trailed off. He had certainly not expected this curt dismissal of his offered invitation.
She then quickly enquired of him if he had a recent photograph of Karin for her to see. He reached for his wallet and offered her his own favourite portrait of her that she had lovingly signed for him.
She removed her glasses and examined it carefully silently nodding her head, then remarked: “Oh, she is so beautiful Walter. And didn’t you perhaps tell me in your last letter that she is the only daughter of a doctor?”
“How strange that I am employed by a doctor and you are about to marry a doctor’s daughter”.
He said nothing to this unexpected remark but just silently nodded. By now he was concerned as to where this visit was now likely to progress.
And that heavy unopened scented envelope still remained ominously in her hands as she carefully moved it from corner to corner.
He had now correctly speculated that his sister would not be attending his wedding. Nor would she ever open the invitation, only to return it to him covertly before he departed for Berlin later that day.
She began to speak almost as if she had rehearsed her words that she was about to impart. Maybe she had done just that, he later speculated.
“You see Walter my life here is now complete, living and working here with the doctor and his family”.
“They are all I need or indeed wish for I suppose. Today I think of them as my spiritual family”.
She emphasised the last few words: “They are all I have. They are all I need Walter.”
She then removed her spectacles and polished them with a silken handkerchief stating.
“No. I am not of their faith of course but they have welcomed me as a family member and offered to me so very much more.”
She then paused choosing her words with care with a smile: “Then each day, well weather permitting, I accompany the children to this popular park and they love it! And so do I.”
“I also prepare their daily meals with our cook and select what clothes they will wear and what is suitable for the weather.
I wake them and dress them and when needed, organise and help with their schoolwork. Even listening to and helping them with their nightly prayers known as the Schema which is from the book of Deuteronomy if you didn’t know”.
Walter did not know nor did he care! She then smiled confirming that: “And I am the one who finally dims their night light. Then my duties for my day are finished unless of course one of them wakes in the night suffering from a bad dream. And I’ve had plenty of those myself if you know what I mean?”
She smiled at him then her features softened as she sighed: “Sadly madam Doll suffers from poor health with her nerves and is unable to perform many of the tasks I am employed to do. So I have a great deal of responsibly Walter you see in the household. Then in my free time, if any, I attend my Evangelical church on a Sunday and if possible go along to Bible studies on a Wednesday night, oh and knitting for the Mission fields once a month. Well sometimes, that is if time allows”. This new life that has been offered to me is all I shall ever need Walter and I do so want.”
She reached over and held his hand saying: “For you to please understand how I would find it too stressful meeting Karin and your other guests”. And of meeting and being introduced as your sister to strangers? I’m sorry, I just couldn’t manage it”.
She looked at him imploringly. He nodded sympathetically to her. Yet he wanted to remind her that blood was apparently thicker than water even though he did not subscribe to it believing it was a fallacy. Yet the Jewish blood he believed could never conquer the Aryan blood but only contaminate it. Yet her affectionate remarks seemed to show that she had allied herself to this family.
Now leaving him feeling somehow betrayed and confused. He was annoyed also by her cloying need to depend on their kindness and charity. He remembered the expensive mink coat she had been given. So had she become bewitched by this Jewish benevolence? He decided to refrain from using any racial rhetoric. But it would be raised again by him sometime in the future. How he would or could resolve it he was not sure.
“But I do appreciate you coming all of this way from Munich to see me, honestly I do,!” she smiled sympathetically. She then stood up and he followed her example.
“Shall we walk a little? Because there’s something very important I need to talk to you about,” she informed him ominously still clutching that unopened envelope, before slipping it into her empty coat pocket. She was still holding the folded newspapers and magazines awkwardly in her left hand. So he relieved them from her himself.
They then strolled slowly towards the now laughing children he had been introduced to earlier. And it seems still holding their paper bags, Otto not wishing to be located by them or any other young explorers.
Finally, when they were alone, she then inserted her arm affectionately through his own. Yet he had noticed her disposition had cooled somewhat. This placed him on guard as to what she was to say.
When later and out of reach of any hearing ears, she spoke quietly and cautiously, as if reliving a terrible holiday disaster: “I still remember that night when our father died, but did you know I was pleased? Oh yes, so pleased!”
She said now smiling. Her eyes now fired like coals as if reliving that night of her youth, perhaps for the hundredth time?
“And I watched you that night Walter … I did … I heard you go quietly outside when he returned drunk as usual”.
You didn’t know that did you? Because I had crept out of bed and watched from the shadows at what was happening. I heard your angry voice then observed what you did when he stumbled into the pig pen and was unable to get himself up from the muck”.
“And when you placed your boot on his neck and head and forced his face into the swill so he could not breathe”. Oh, I was so pleased with what you were doing to him!!
“Go on, I said to myself and urged you go on.”
“Kill Him! Kill Him! Make him suffer!”
“Then I ran back to bed, elated and free at last from this lustful evil monster we were expected to call our father”.
Her eyes were now aglow with gratitude for Walter had performed that night on the Kyper homestead.
These details from his sister had seriously shocked him. He was dumbfounded to know she had witnessed the event! But he was also not prepared for what would later emanate from her lips, which she related to him with passion and pain.
She now continued forcing herself to impart other details to him of what occurred that night in the darkened farmyard.
Now she spoke clearly and concisely as she relived that night of her past: “That evening I had earlier decided that I would never allow him to do it again, what he had subjected me to for so many years. I could suffer no more at what he had performed on me … of how he would enter my room stinking of drink and lust and perch himself on my bed. Then his filthy nicotine-stained fingers slip under the sheets rather like a seeking snake searching for its defenceless prey. Then feeling his uneven fingers touching me and then entering me where no father’s hand should enter.”
“I still remember what he did with revulsion even today. Then forcing me to touch him where no young daughter’s hand should be placed”.
“That night I removed mother’s heavy cutting scissors from the kitchen drawer. Do you remember them? I had then decided that I was going to kill him that very night” She nodded her head reliving that night. ” Oh yes, I had made my mind up to do it! Why I even coated the blades with lard to make it easier for the blades to penetrate his filthy deformed body, can you believe”?
“But you my dear saintly brother, you came unexpectedly to my rescue. Rather like an avenging angel that night. Because you killed him for me and for all of us. And I never ever thanked you did I”?
She now watched at him in admiration and love saying softly: “You became my hero, dear Walter. Oh, thank you so much.”
She then cupped his face and kissed him with tender gratitude.
“Later when you had gone to sleep I crept out to the pen placed on my rubbers boots and danced around his body kicking him repeatedly in the face. It was wonderful, oh so wonderful.”
He said nothing as she relived those momentous minutes of her life with a marked glee. Memories never to be lost or allowed to be.
Yet he was shocked. Not only that she had observed him murder their father. But that she had held that secret. Leaving it to simmer, to be shut away in the cloisters of her mind for all of those long lonely years, when she must have relived them daily. Sharing with none.
“Did mother ever know,” he enquired now desperate that the answer would be a negative response?
“If she did she never said so. But I think she must have known, yet somehow elected to remain silent. But did you know Walter or ever hear anything?”
She asked now looking pointedly at him. He had been aware of course for a long time of what was being perpetrated to his sister. But through fear and shame in himself, he had remained mute. He shook his head, quietly lied, and whispered, “no”.
He now hoped there would be no further questions or accusations from her about what she had been subjected to. Then perhaps sensing his unease, her face lightened.
She then leisurely pointed out some favoured park monuments for his approval. His eyes had focused on an imposing bronze statue of a seated general. He is the conqueror of some forgotten military campaign fought long ago in a far away unpronounceable named country. Now only swallows and other birds settled on his decorated helmeted head and pointed cutlass. Maybe they themselves had recently flown in from that far away country. Only later to swiftly depart seeking a more favourable climate that Berlin could ever offer them.
She led them to another bench then searched for the children. Quickly seeing them, she waved and turned back to her brother. He watched as her face betrayed anxiety of what she hoped to converse with him about. Memories of those events in the Kyper pigpen could never desert either of them. Then looking at the unopened wedding invitation that she had previously removed from her coat pocket, she spoke cautiously almost as if an apology.
“I simply could not face or be acquainted with any of your invited guests. My attitude would just be a hindrance to your enjoyment and also to your guests and I would not want that, “she stated.”
“But to smell again that alcohol and witness people slobbering over their drinks and laughing at lewd remarks. Oh no! It would remind me too much of our father and the company he kept at that wicked tavern that he patronised, spending our money. I’m sorry Walter, I just couldn’t.”
She paused still reliving that pain of what she had silently endured for so long. Then suddenly her mood lifted as she spoke.
“I do enjoy however reading about weddings. Maybe yours will be reported in the Munich papers”?
Then her smile faded as she said: “But never will there be a happy wedding day for me, because never will I marry. I just couldn’t! Not after what I suffered and was subjected to from our father”. No long ago I resolved that never ever would I commit myself to any man”.
If there was any reproach in what she had just shared with him he did not sense it.
“This is my home now with the children, the park and my church. The doctor and his family, they have been so good to me in accepting me as one of their own. Where they go I go!,” she said definitely.
These five words would later come to haunt Walter.
“They are my family now and always will be and of course, naturally you, Walter. But here I have everything I could wish for,” she opened her arms embracing the park.
“And it’s all just a five-minute walk to my church. “Unless,” she laughed, “I have to go to Berlin for our regular dental appointments. Doctor Doll is very insistent on dental hygiene being observed you know. But I have no dreams of my own to pursue or ever will”.
She moved closer to him and enquired with concern: “But what if you Walter and your political party?” Then frowned enquiring: “Aren’t you trying to erect a shining new city on the hill out of the debris of a now broken Germany? And with your leader, Herr Hitler, holding high that famous swastika banner that we all recognise so well. Now pointed forward to an unknown but exciting future. And with a nervous Germany, it seems, if the newspapers are correct, sprinting breathlessly behind trying to catch up with him. Once there either to march dangerously forward with him to a victory or to simply fall off the cliff to destruction rather like?” She paused thinking of a suitable word – “lemmings” – she declared snapping her fingers.
“Well am I right Walter or am I being perhaps too cynical? Simply because your leader will never, ever be able to solve all of Germany’s problems. Nobody can or ever will. Only God can determine this. Then to be executed and completed in His own time and without your Herr Hitler’s help”!
Her accusing eyes then quickly softened again searching the park to see where the children were. Her barbed criticism against his party seemed to have partially expired he was glad to note.
Then she surprisingly enquired, with her eyes focused on the children: “Tell me, Walter, just how did you become acquainted with Fraulein Karin Auer?”
Yet he still wished to respond to her remarks against the party and her assault on Adolph. But he, however, curbed his tongue, by calmly answering her unexpected question of that first fortuitous encounter with Karin.
He briefly informed her of the plight of her stolen handbag in Munich, and of how he had been the officer dispatched to return the item to her for safe recovery. And how later their friendship had surprisingly blossomed into a romance.
“Well, what a coincidence that was, wasn’t it!” she remarked still peering towards the now running, laughing children.
“Because if not you would never have made Karin Auer’s acquaintance would you? And now here you are preparing to be joined in ‘holy’ matrimony.”
Her tone was now almost accusing.
This was not, of course, the first time Walter had speculated himself about his first encounter with Karin. Of how his own life had indeed changed and for the better, he had reasoned. But had it after all been somehow arranged by persons unknown to him? And the accusing tone of her voice reminded him too much of their late unlamented father and in the cruel use of his tongue against his family.
She continued her face now pleated and pained. As yet again she changed the subject: “Our two upbringings were so different weren’t they? Karin’s would have been a life of continued privilege and prosperity.
Some of that I see daily bestowed upon the two darlings in my own charge and by their loving parents. One day they too will enjoy even more of the same luxuries as your Karin has always enjoyed and I suspect probably still does and always well?
“Yet we had nothing as children did we? Have you forgotten so quickly? We lived in total squalor. Why sometimes the farm animals were treated better than we were. They had to treat them well naturally because they were our main source of income, especially on market day. They always had to eat plentifully”.
“And what were we offered on a dirty tin plate, only the leftovers and whatever mama could scrounge for us”. Her face becomes even more accusing.
“We were clothed if that’s what you can call it, in rags and hand me downs. Neither of us ever owned any underwear. Oh at times I felt so ashamed of what was happening naturally to my body as I was growing up. Most of the time I wore father’s cut off trousers, for comfort and modesty, I had to if you know what I mean?” And he did. How could he ever forget so much of that period of the family’s pain and shame? It would he knew forever be engraved in his mind as if etched with a scorching poker.
“Mother was little help”. She paused to examine her manicured fingernails inspecting each cuticle covered by a clear varnish.
“And the food if you can call it that,” she sighed, “just about kept us alive. I remember once as I was enjoying an apple when HE snatched it from me then tossed it into the pigpen saying that they deserved it more than I did. Oh, how I hated him! Yet our father always had plenty of money for drink and visits to his fancy women didn’t he”? Then surprisingly she paused and took her pulse rate looking at her wristwatch and silently counting.
“Is something wrong,” he enquired, confused at what she was now doing as she clutched her wrist?
“No, seriously, it’s nothing to worry about but it seems that I’m afflicted with high blood pressure, whatever that is,” she laughed as if dismissing this as a triviality.
“And doctor Doll, as my doctor, has suggested I check my pulse rate every hour or so.” Walter really did not care to know about this shared medical history from his sister. It grated on his nerves as well that this doctor was Jewish. He then nervously enquired: “You haven’t informed him about what happened that night with our father on the farm,” he asked anxiously? Her answer was not long in being delivered.
“Of course not Walter! Why would I do that? No! That’s our little family secret never to be told or shared with anyone and it will always remain so. Well as far as I’m concerned … unless?” She paused focusing her eyes on him saying: “You chose to inform Karin know about our idyllic childhood on the happy valley farm of playing with the baby lambs and singing carols around a heavily decorated tree. Oh such a happy childhood for both of us … I don’t think,!” she said with scorn and sarcasm.
She smiled at him conspiratorially. He was becoming aware of more uncomfortable traits of their late father being shown in her gestures and voice. Then he shook his head mouthing a guilty silent, no’ to her question.
She then quickly softened her composure and slowly delved into her pocket withdrawing her cigarettes, but declined the desire to ignite one and then returned the crumpled packet into her coat pocket. Yet again somehow she now swiftly changed the subject. It was if she somehow was able to pluck a topic of her choice from the air.
“Now your political party the National Socialists are often in the newspapers I have noticed. I try to read them all you know when I can get hold of them, that is including Volkischer Beobacher and Der Angriff“.
Walter, of course, knew both well and of their crucial role in presenting the party’s future political proposals. The first he had taken delivery of himself many times, to distribute on his travels around the country with Heinrich. The second had surprisingly commissioned him only some days ago to write a series of featured articles. His subject being the early days of the party and of its struggles. Karin had kindly offered to take some historical photographs to illustrate his article, finances permitting he had been informed.
He would, in fact, be meeting the next day with Joseph Goebbels the papers’ now editor to finalise the details.
“Some of the other nannies,” continued Eloise, “talk very admiringly about Herr Hitler. Some also say that when he and his party come to the government he is going to turn Germany upside down and inside out shaking it like a bottle of fizzy lemonade. Is that true Walter,” she asked replacing her glasses?
He then informed her that Adolph certainly had some controversial ideas that he wanted to be implemented. And that they may not be very popular with everyone. But in time, he hoped many of the resisting electorates would be persuaded to understand, that the survival and salvation of a new Germany would occur and be protected within the Third Reich.
“Then I do hope it will beneficial for the country and for us. By the way Walter, I do so like the look of that big roly-poly man who is always smiling. He reminds me of a big polar bear.”
“Caption Goring,” he asked knowing of course whom she referred to?
“Yes, that’s him. Is he married? Does he have any children?”
“No. No children, but he is a very good friend of mine and his wife is Karin’s dearest friend.
“And that poor little man,” she said sadly, “with the deformed foot. I feel so sorry for him and his awful affliction. He always looks so wretched. He must have had a miserable childhood”.
She was referring of course to Joseph Goebbels as Walter well understood. She continued in her lament.
“Never being able or allowed to kick a football with the other little boys or ride a bicycle. But only to be able to sit at home and watch through the window at the other children playing. Poor little boy. One of the nurses I meet and talk to here in the park, her name is Eva by the way, also suffers from this deformity. And the agony she informed me is so, so painful that it sometimes reduces her to tears. Especially in the summer when her throbbing foot fitted inside that heavy black boot swells up rather like a balloon”.
“Then there is the agonizing daily ritual of having to painfully remove it she says and wash it each night and place it on again in the morning. It must be an awful affliction that he must suffer as well. So I think I will now silently pray for your little friend”.
She then immediately removed her gloves and glasses and placed her hands together with her lips moving in a silent conversation. Rather as their mother he recalled, had performed many years before when they were children. At the dinner table at night and before their bedtime.
As he waited for her to finish he admired yet again this secluded park. And especially its glorious copper beeches that offered a fist of flaming colour. Karin would have adored it. It was indeed a gift for all tired eyes. Especially his own.
Walter was also slyly tempted to inform his sister, but refrained from doing so, that Joseph would rather have appreciated her electoral vote in the coming elections rather than her prayers.
At that minute her eyes became alert and were directed to the form of a distinguished Mercedes saloon car that had now parked outside of the family home.
Then seen emerging awkwardly and with some difficulty from the high padded driver’s seat, was the appearance of a well-dressed man seen in a fitted overcoat and a felt Homburg hat.
And with a slight stoop, he now turned and waved suspiciously at them through his pince-nez glasses. He then turned and entered his house and closed the door only to re-appear some minutes later. A neatly trimmed van dyke beard gave him the appearance of a practising popular physician. And maybe thought Walter, that’s what he expected to convey to the general public and especially to his paying patients.
“Oh look, here comes doctor Doll,” she had exclaimed excitedly.
“He will certainly expect to be introduced to you Walter,” she proclaimed with some pride gripping his arm.
When he arrived the two men shook hands. He then situated himself for some reason next to Eloise. Then he removed his hat revealing thinning dyed hair. His children it seemed had not noticed their father or he of them or of their whereabouts. They began a stilted conversation with each other discussing that old favourite topic of the weather. And was this his initial visit to Berlin was also asked and of course, the approaching Kyper family wedding was then naturally discussed. Obviously, his sister had informed him previously of the purpose of Walter’s now surprise visit. He informed Walter that: “Both my wife and I had hoped she would be attending your special day. Why we even offered to have her chauffeur driven to Munich. But sadly she declined. A woman’s privilege or so they inform me,” he then laughed, patting Walter on the leg.
Walter now began to dislike this patronising gesture. And then an unwelcome odour of either hospital or iodine had somehow settled on to the man’s clothes rather like a London east end cloying fog. After some tedious talk, with the doctor doing most of it and without any interruption, they all stood up eventually with Eloise calling for the children looking at her expensive wristwatch. It was time it seemed for their afternoon tea Eloise informed Walter. They then walked towards the house with the children running excitedly ahead.
Once inside that spacious wood-panelled hall, the doctor it seemed had previously arranged for some light refreshment for Walter. He politely accepted the offer mainly for his sister’s sake. Any puerile need for food now abandoned him as they entered the Doll household.
She meanwhile had departed to supervise the children’s afternoon tea in the nursery. He had promised to see her before he finally departed for Berlin. She silently nodded her acquiescence.
He was then invited to follow his host into his study and acting consulting room, which reminded him of doctor Auer’s surgery. The cream coated walls displayed the usual anatomical charts of the body with the familiar eye-testing chart seen on open display.
He must have expected that Walter would remain for the offered refreshments because seen placed before him was a steaming pot of coffee and sandwiches that had been placed on an occasional table by an unseen hand.
The doctor pointed to a worn leather seat and gestured for Walter to be seated. He himself remained standing in front of the lighted fireplace, obviously now hindering any welcoming warmth from entering the cold room. Maybe that was his planned intention speculated Walter? It seemed however that his sister had informed him about Karin’s father Doctor Auer previously. This caused him to reminisce about their student days together. Walter listened with a decided dislike of the doctor and of his tedious monologue of self-praise.
“Yes I certainly recall young Christoff Auer from our university days,” he announced as if giving a lecture to first-year medical students. He then continued without prompting remarking that: “In fact, we both studied obstetrics in the same year can you believe? Although my final grades were far higher than his if I recall correctly. And I also seem to recall that he had vague pointless ambition or vocation as he called it to the minister in the Mission fields. But I never witnessed that spiritual aspect in him or discussed it with him. So really it couldn’t have been that serious could it? No to me, he was rather a dreamer and undecided as to what he really wanted to pursue in life”. Then after graduating and practising medicine, our professional paths did occasionally converge over the years. Of course, I heard later about the awful accident of his young daughter. And of the advanced intellectual decline of his wife. All very tragic of course”.
He then slowly reached into his inside pocket and removed a decorated Iron Cross looking at it in open admiration. Then he reverently placed it next to a framed photograph of himself seen sporting that awarded decoration and attired in full military uniform. The arrogance of the man continued as he then dismissed Walter’s future father-in-law’s medical accomplishments, naturally at the same time magnifying his own merits and minimizing his colleagues.
Walter was now growing more annoyed with the verbiage and exaggerated gestures of this man and his pious platitudes. Then the doctor finally paused, reached over and examined two chocolate biscuits which he then fitted one by one into his mouth. He continued talking whilst spilling crumbs into his double-breasted suit: “I too was stationed and later wounded at Ypres and later was awarded that coveted Iron Cross as indeed Herr Hitler was I believe”. He paused perhaps for awaited praise that did not arrive, before continuing as in a monologue.
“So, this was something both Herr Hitler and I shared in common although there is not much else that I can think of, he laughed patronizingly.
“Yet we were indeed both wounded and decorated. And of that, there is no doubt. Yet I was born a German and will die a proud German. Herr Hitler was born an Austrian and even if he expires in Germany he will still be a disgraced Austrian. I am the true German and he is NOT and never will be. I was born and tutored in the Jewish faith while he was born an illiterate nobody, a failed picture card artist. I will die a proud Hebrew with an honourable Biblical heritage and your Herr Hitler? … well, he will die a forgotten man, a nobody!”
The atmosphere had grown fraught. Yet Walter remained composed and waiting and expecting the next verbal sling from doctor Doll’s mouth. And it soon arrived.
“Herr Kyper, many of my medical colleagues and other professional gentleman are making rather discreet arrangements to leave Germany if Herr Hitler should seize power”.
“At the Democratic Ballot box,” Walter corrected him forcibly.
“And for those of us,” he continued his voice becoming impatient, “who like myself refuse to be removed from our homes or professions, what will be the future for us? Just what do you intend to do about it,” his voice had become louder.
He then looked accusingly at Walter who answered quietly: “You, my dear doctor, will be relocated to possibly Palestine or Madagascar.”
“RELOCATED,!” trumpeted the doctor in anger.
“Four useless syllables that are ambiguous as …” he struggled to use the correct word. Then unable to do so he turned his sarcasm on Walter saying: “Quite simply young man, your hero Hitler is nothing but a fake, a liar and a fraud. A stupid little man with a ridiculous Chaplin moustache.”
He then walked to his desk and seated himself and reached for his medal. Taking some comfort from its image. Yet his eyes flashed with anger at the sheer impertinence of this young man. He would definitely lodge an official letter of complaint to his Munich superior in the morning. An official letter was indeed received from this doctor to Walter’s Superior. It arrived by post some days later. And would be thrown into his overflowing office waste paper bin.
Walter stood up ready to depart. He had endured enough from this man. He brushed some stray lint from his jacket saying with a half smile.
“I hear the climate in Madagascar is unbearable at times doctor Doll and coupled with local tropical diseases. So I suspect your medical services there will be in great demand! Of course under the future party laws yet to be finalised, non-Aryan doctors here in Germany such as yourself will be forbidden to teach or practise medicine. And with that encouraging news, I wish you a good day … oh and don’t forget your sun helmet, you’re going to need it”.
He then nodded politely before turning into the hallway, hoping to see if his sister was waiting for him to close the study door after himself. He had no desire to waste another minute in this unwelcome Jewish household. Poor Eloise he speculated, how does she tolerate his conceit?
Out in the hallway, his sister indeed stood to wait and silently placed a small wrapped parcel into his hand then saying quietly: “Open it later Walter … and please send me some photographs of the wedding and of your honeymoon. Oh and I will definitely be following the fortunes of your party, it so exciting isn’t it. And do please send my regards to uncle Herman, my cuddly smiling bear,” then whispering to him she confided.
“Don’t worry about the doctor Walter he has many worries especially with Frau Doll who is now almost an invalid. And of course, what he reads in the newspapers about your party’s future arrangements for him and his people does not help his blood pressure either,” she informed him shaking her head.
“Now God be with you Walter and my love to Karin. I will be praying for you both and all in the Auer household as well.”
She kissed him tenderly on both cheeks. Then two little voices shouted down to him from top of the stairs: “Goodbye officer Kyper and please bring your gun with you the next time you come”. He promised that he would hope maybe one of them might use it on their insufferable father. She walked him to the front door waving smiled and disappeared.
Walter then thoughtfully slowly strolled back to Berlin still holding the unaccepted invitation she had discretely placed into his hand. And still trying to arrive at some perspective of what this day had offered him. He then pushed it into his empty pocket and forgot about it. He decided to hail a passing taxi to take him back to his hotel. Then he suffered the annoyance of his supercilious driver informing him that Berlin had always been ‘red’ politically and would never be Munich ‘brown’.
By then Walter had tolerated enough of the man’s unsolicited party political prospects. He then quickly ordered the car to stop, settled the fare minus a tip of course and walked back in the rain to Berlin. It had been a difficult day. Not proceeding as he had hoped or expected it would.
Now as he trudged along the wet streets he relived much of what Eloise had informed him about herself. And much of her shocking disclosure still clung to him like a shroud. Coupled with the introduction to the odious doctor Doll a delight he could certainly have passed on, he certainly would make it his duty not to forget this particular doctor in the future.
He had already decided that he definitely would NOT be informing Karin of the sexual abuse from their father that Eloise had shared with him, or of his own perpetrated involvement in the previous murders of his unlamented father or of the assassin Leon Stavisky.
He saw no merit in her hearing these details of the past that had scarred both him and his sister.
He then on an impulse entered into a small smoke layered noisy bistro. Once inside and seated, sipping a coffee and cognac, he turned his attention to the music. A young female singer accompanied by a mediocre trio performed: “Ich Kann dir nichts Auber Liebe Bieten baby”. He would later hear it frequently after the war on the American forces radio (AFN). Then translated as: “I can’t give you anything but love baby”. He found he rather enjoyed its subtle but misleading lyrics.
Karin, of course, would have detested it. Jazz she staunchly claimed was degenerate and encouraged people to experiment with drugs and alcohol and in the process contract sexual diseases. He finally settled his drink’s bill and departed. He manoeuvred his way through more boisterous arrivals and then walked pensively back to his pension. He still had much to digest about what his sister had finally confided in him.
He was now aware that any desired sleep he so needed, would not be easily claimed that night. Later when he arrived in his hotel room he removed his overcoat and remembered the wedding invitation still in his pocket. He reached inside and withdrew it and much to his surprise he noticed it had been sliced open and badly resealed. But surprisingly still, folded inside was a smaller envelope with his name on. It was in his sister’s handwriting. He then sat on the bed opened it and drew out her brief note and began to silently read.
Dearest ‘Saintly’ Walter,
I do so hope that you really understand why I cannot attend your coming wedding day. I simply could not commit myself to do so
for the personal reasons that I gave today.
However, doctor Doll has kindly offered to pay for some driving instructions for me. If and when I do qualify to be allowed on the roads, I will certainly motor down to Munich to visit you and to meet Karin and her father.
I wish you all the best for the future and I will be praying for you both on your special day.
I hope you both enjoy a long and fruitful marriage. You deserve it, Walter.
Love E. x
He studied its meaning again before painfully replacing it into her envelope next to his unwanted invitation. Then tears flooded his eyes. Not because of her refusal for whatever reason she chose not to attend the wedding, he had after all accepted this disappointment after they walked and talked in the park and she had revealed her true feelings to him. But that he painfully realised that she would never attempt the drive to Munich. Her driving outings would occur only twice a year and then only to Berlin with the two nervous children in the rear of the car to attend their annual dental appointments. He lay on the bed still dressed thinking of the day’s events being played out before him.
He then decided he would speak in the morning with Karin. But only to offer her a revised version of why his sister would not be joining them. He would cite that numerous family commitments prevented her sadly from joining them. He definitely would not be confiding to her how emotionally exhausted this shared day with her had surprisingly affected him.
The following morning he arrived at the imposing Reichstag to greet the proud twelve serving elected party members.
Hermann kindly offered to escort him around this impressive building. Both men were amazed how the party had expanded over the last years.
“Who would have thought it,” remarked a laughing Herman.
“And hadn’t my darling Carin predicted that within a few years all of Germany with Adolph as the leader, would be placed at our feet”?
“Well, as usual, she is correct,” added Walter in agreement.
Later before he departed that day for Munich, he had noticed at lunch that Joseph was suffering acutely in silence, possibly he surmised from his deformed foot? He recalled what his sister had noticed about his suffering as a crippled boy. He was certainly touched by her kindly concern for a man whom she had never met and was unlikely ever to be acquainted with.
He previously had jokingly informed a surprised Hermann of his sister’s comical description concerning himself. This caused him to roar with laughter whilst slapping his thigh. Walter then suggested that perhaps a signed photograph would be much appreciated by her.
“Then a personal photograph signed from ‘uncle Herman, your big smiling bear and always at your service,’ will be posted in the morning with that inscription”.And it was!
Walter was still angry, sitting on the train travelling back to Munich, with his sister’s employer doctor Doll. An odious self-centred man and a typical representation of his religion. He hoped their respective paths would not become entwined again (but tragically they would do so). For the remainder of the journey, he closed his eyes and dozed. What he had failed to inform his sister about for obvious reasons was that he had indeed listened to the cries of her rape many times. But he had always feared to intervene to help her, fearing vicious reprisals against himself from his sadistic father. How ashamed he was for his lack of courage in failing her in her hours of need. How satisfied he was now that he had ended her suffering at the cruel hands of their father forever. He still had no regrets of what he perpetrated that night in the pigpen in silencing his father.
In the Doll household meanwhile, it was now bedtime for the tired Doll children. Then bathed, pampered and prepared for bed they waited for Eloise to read a favourite story as she had each evening. Rapunzel and Rumpelstiltskin were always requested and never to be denied by her. Prayers were said by them in unison than they quickly climbed into their beds closed their eyes and drifted into sleep. She silently returned to her own room. Another day over she thought. But What a day!!
Later sitting crossed legged on her bed her heavy fur coat draped over her shoulders. She contemplated how the afternoon encounter with her brother seemed to have deeply affected him. She had suspected it had been an emotional strain for both of them. Yet she had always hoped one day to confide in him of what her father had cruelly subjected her to. Now she was happy that she had finally done so.
She then stood up and walked towards the gilded veranda opened the door and stood on the balcony. She then reached into her housecoat and retrieved a packet of cigarettes. She had some years ago been introduced to American toasted tobacco by one of the park nurses. It was a serious craving that she enjoyed succumbing to.
In fact, she welcomed its secret slow nicotine release into her bloodstream and throughout much of the day. Simply its calming effect always satisfied her. Now selecting a cigarette and using her trusted Ronson lighter, she inhaled a deep satisfying breath of nicotine then slowly exhaled all the whilst admiring the skyline of this Berlin suburb stretched out before her.
She then returned sadly for the hundredth time to the past events of that night years before on the farm at the hands of her father. But it was a simple version she had relayed to Walter. She had not informed with him or anyone else that she had been brutally raped by their father repeatedly, usually in the hay barn.
Yet years later she suspected that her brother MUST have known. She was of course much too ashamed of course to divulge those terrible assaults on her defenceless body to her brother or anyone else. Never even confiding to the mother of her perpetual shame. Although she had suspected her mother was somehow cognizant of it. But her mother had elected to remain silent perhaps in total denial, simply as weak as milk.
Eloise had sadly never grieved when her mother had died after the War. Maybe she should have performed some grieving motions that were expected of her at the funeral for the women she had once long ago lovingly called Mama. Instead, she had sat in composed silence. Hoping and waiting for this pantomime to be finished and move on into her new life in Berlin.
Now she remained still shivering on the balcony for a few more minutes. Then finally finishing and dousing her cigarette she later retired for the night. It had been an arduous afternoon for both of them. Yet she still had no regrets about not attending her brother’s wedding as she slipped into her soft bed. Of that decision she was certain. She hoped her brother would accept her decision and with love. Then she slowly descended into the deep valley of sleep. Only later to dream surprisingly of ravens. ‘The birds of ill omen’ seen feeding off the carrion of all things. When she surfaced in the morning she prayed this would not be a suspicious coming omen for her and the children in her care. For her future and theirs.
In Munich that same night Karin was now seated in her bedroom before her dressing table mirror. Brushing her hair to the prescribed one hundred strokes, she had decided that when Eloise arrived she would place her in the pink guest bedroom. She also hoped to accompany her to the stables and introduce her to Frederick. Eloise was a country girl after all she reasoned, was she not?
Growing up happily on the family farm. And with all the animals around her whom she had probably lovingly named, as had Karin as a child. Even laughingly riding her own farm horse each day through the fields after performing her morning milk chores.
This would be her special surprise for her future sister in law to ride Frederick. She really wished they could be and would remain friends. Maybe Eloise could even occupy that missing place that Ingrid had once happily inhabited. Yet even now she still suffered that the premature death of Ingrid was because of her own blunder. And would never leave her.
Those events still haunted her and perhaps always would, well according to doctor Freud’s private prognosis shared with her father one morning. That she had listened to secretly outside of his study door that had been left half open.
Then she dimmed her bedside light and gazed serenely out of her bedroom window at the luminous full moon arrayed before her like a Van Gogh painting. A favourable portent she hoped of her forthcoming married life stretching out before her like a wooded sheltered pathway.
This now seemed then to be in harmony within her inner self. And to all those who had watched and admired its brilliance then radiating over Munich that silent night. Later ominous storm clouds would arrive from the east and smother its face. Yet by then, Fraulein Karin Auer soon to become Frau Auer-Kyper had her self descended into a dreamless repose. She was unaware of those natural nocturnal assaults now being pelted outside on her closed, rain battered, bedroom window. A pristine day was dawning for her and for an unprepared transitional Germany as well.
To be continued…
(C) Copyright G. Patrick Battell
(All Rights Reserved)