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Hitler

Altered History With Hitler And Kafka

 

10

[Kafka’s passport]

There are rumours (none of them started by me) that Kafka had direct dealings with Einstein, Joyce, and even Hitler.

The first two are more than possible. Einstein taught at Charles University when Kafka was a student there. Joyce was in Prague when Kafka lived there. It is quite probable they travelled in the same literary circles. Went to the same coffee houses (which Kafka frequented). Attended the same readings, or literary events, or even book stores.

The Hitler connection is far more tenuous, but based on fact. Hitler was treated, in Munich, by a doctor who had dealt with Kafka’s family in Prague. And Kafka did visit Munich in the right time frame. Kafka did, after all, predict Hitler’s world as much as he did the Communists.

Although I have, in my novel about Kafka,  “filled in” his missing diaries, I never give him such speculative encounters – tempting though it was. All events in my Kafka novel are based on detailed research from his own writings, writings of his friends, and multiple biographies.

I have written one short story that is totally speculative, where Kafka is encouraged to meet “the Austrian with the tiny mustache”, so as to kill him and stop an impending terrible war. And save his sisters from the camps.  But that doesn’t  happen in my fiction, either.

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Berlin A City After A War

germany_berlin_fuhrerbunker_2

[Site of Hitler’s bunker today]newnormative.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/germany_berlin_fuhrerbunker_2.jpg

I first visited Europe years before the Euro was the accepted coin of the realm. In fact, there were many coins of many realms, and all that money caused a fuss.

I kept a daily diary of this trip, and plan to make it a part of any memoirs I might write. So I’ve hauled it out and will make some blogs from it. But they will be greatly abridged.

********************************************

May 29

Our guide took us to an Observation Tower which overlooked the old section of Berlin (now, of course, in the East), and where the government buildings once stood. I saw a part of the Kaiser’s Palace in the distance (you must remember that these buildings are restored or being restored) plus other buildings from that era.

What was most interesting for me, however, were the structures that were so prominent in Hitler’s Thousand Years – the War Ministry, Gobble’s Propaganda Office, the Air Ministry and, the place where Hitler’s Chancellery stood., from which he unleashed so much destruction, and now no more than a grassy mound in a field. A mound remains because Hitler’s Bunker is still there. It can not be destroyed because it would do too much damage to the surrounding area to blow it up. I wonder how long this symbol of Hitler, this place so close to him, will remain – perhaps a thousand years? [2019 – it is still there]

We left the Wall (though the Wall never left us) and continued on our way. We went to a stone building and stopped before it. We got out of the bus and walked into a pleasant court yard. It was a memorial – a place called Plötzensee. It was here that many of the people in the unsuccessful revolt against Hitler on June 20, 1944, were executed.

How strange it was to be standing in this grisly place of history. It was a stark, bare, small room, like a clean little room you would find in somebody’s cellar. The hooks sticking from the ceiling from which people were hung were very real. Here people died, here members of the Gestapo stood and smirked, hands on hips. I had heard of places like this, and read books, and now I saw what it was like.

Jewish Humour – Crying ‘Till You Laugh

rx8mfonadg-12

Decades ago I spent two years writing nothing but short stories. It was one of the happiest writing experiences of my life.

In the midst of all this, I used this ‘short story’ that I adapted from memory from something read years before that. I have no idea where I originally read it. A Google search finds four results, all citing the original story but not saying where it originated.

It actually (to my memory) originated in the Concentration Camps during the Holocaust. Perhaps nobody knows its direct source.

However – here is the way I expanded and presented it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In 1935, the Chancellor of Die Dritte Reich, Adolf Hitler, invited his friend, Benito Mussolini, and his adversary, Neville Chamberlain, for a quiet meeting in southern Bavaria. An old castle was put at their disposal, complete with acres of woodland and a small lake. During a break in the talks, Hitler invited his two guests to go fishing with him. It was a warm day, not too hot, but enough to make one feel drowsy. Chamberlain proposed a fishing contest to liven the occasion. They would see who could catch the most fish in a given half hour.

     The others agreed, and the British Prime Minister went first. He sat calmly beneath a tree, fishing line trailing in the water. When his half hour was through, he had a respectable pile of fish beside him.

     The next half hour was Mussolini’s, and he took full advantage of it. He dove headlong into the water, his arms outstretched, and started grabbing frantically at anything which swam past. After a hectic and wet half hour, he came out of the water and stood by his large pile of fish, grinning happily at Chamberlain.

     The final half hour was for Hitler. He spoke into a telephone, and immediately bulldozers, heavy trucks, loads of pipe, and numerous pieces of equipment arrived. Hitler had the lake drained. Within twenty minutes there was nothing left but a muddy hole, filled with flopping fish. Hitler stood on the rim and looked down.

     “Well?” asked Chamberlain. “Aren’t you going to get them?”

     Hitler looked over to the Prime Minister with a cold, condescending glare in his eyes.

     They have to beg me first.”

(image)https://cdn.drawception.com/images/panels/2013/12-27/Rx8mfOnaDg-12.png

Hitler, Kafka, And Me

arton3192

I owe my life to Hitler, thanks to the Second World War, and my Canadian soldier father meeting my British War Bride mother.

I imagine it is too crass to say I have a soft spot for Hitler. I’ve studied his personal history, and know something of the man who was (admittedly) only a small part of the monster.

If he had been able to sell more of his paintings . . . who knows what might have happened?

And, I even managed to track down a connection between Hitler and Franz Kafka. This possible meeting  goaded me to write a stand-alone short story about Kafka, in addition to my novel about his missing diaries.  In the short story Kafka is implored to join the Austrian army in WW I so he can kill ” . . . the man who will kill your sisters.”)

In reality, before Hitler came to power, he lived in Munich. In the apartment building where Hitler lived, a cousin of Kafka’s was also a resident.  Nothing is known as to whether the monster met the cousin. Or if Franz visited his cousin. Or if Franz Kafka met Adolf Hitler.

But it would be interesting, a challenge – and even fun – to have these two men (virtual teetotallers and vegetarians both) meet in a coffee house. Or an Art Gallery.

Kafka saw monsters everywhere he looked. Why not give him a real one?

DE

(image)http://oeuvresouvertes.net/IMG/arton3192.png

Hitler And Mein Kampf – The Power Of A Book

mein_kampf_dj1934_2

As I point out in my self-serving information in As He Is Known, I owe my life to Hitler. If there was no Hitler, there would be no me. Millions of others can also say this but, still, it puts existence into some sort of perspective.

My father – from Canada, met my mother – from England, when he went overseas to fight against Hitler. Otherwise, they would have never met.

Thank you, Adolf.

So it goes.

One of the facts about Hitler (which seems little-reported) is that he made most of his money from sales of his book, Mein Kampf. Yes, his wealth came  from his royalties as an author. A guiding light for all of us wordsmiths. Now, it is true that every citizen of Germany was, er, encouraged to buy a copy of the book. But, still.

 Mein Kampf is not great literature. It is a mixture of memoir and fanaticism and politics and hate. Hitler’s genius was on the stump, and not on the page. It was banned in Germany after the war until its copyright timed out, which happened this year. And now, though it has always been available if one wanted to delve into it, the book is printed anew.

It is selling like schnitzels.

It is a best-seller.  The first printing sold out in a week.  It clocks in at 2,000 pages (annotated) and sells for $64US. There are also 15,000 pre-orders.  As an author, I am envious.

There are the usual squabbles about the propriety of having such a book published and sold. Fears it will encourage dissent and anti-Semitism.  To which I say, look around the world to any day since Hitler killed himself.

DE

Kafka And Fame

(Charles University – Prague)

There are rumours (none of them started by me) that Kafka had direct dealings with Einstein, Joyce, and even Hitler.

The first two are more than possible. Einstein taught at Charles University when Kafka was a student there. Joyce was in Prague when Kafka lived there. It is quite probable they travelled in the same literary circles. Went to the same coffee houses (which Kafka frequented). Attended the same readings, or literary events, or even book stores.

The Hitler connection is far more tenuous, but based on fact. Hitler was treated, in Munich, by a doctor who had dealt with Kafka’s family in Prague. And Kafka did visit Munich in the right time frame. Kafka did, after all, predict Hitler’s world as much as he did the Communists.

Although I have, in my novel about Kafka,  “filled in” his missing diaries, I never give him such speculative encounters – tempting though it was. All events in my Kafka novel are based on detailed research from his own writings, writings of his friends, and multiple biographies.

I have written one short story that is totally speculative, where Kafka is encouraged to meet “the Austrian with the tiny mustache”, so as to kill him and stop an impending terrible war. And save his sisters from the camps.  But that doesn’t  happen in my fiction, either.

DE

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