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Tragi-comic diversions – “Goodbye to Berlin”, Christopher Isherwood

May 17th, 2012 · No Comments · Genocide, WW2

“My existence, in comparison with yours, is sadly hum-drum, I fear… Nevertheless, there are certain tragi-comic diversions.”

“What sort of diversions?”

“This for example –“ Bernhard went over to his writing-desk picked up a sheet of paper and handed it to me: “It arrived by post this morning.”
I read the typed words: Berhard Landauer, beware. We are going to settle the score with you and your uncle and all other filthy Jews. We give you twenty-four hours to leave Germany. If not, you are a dead man.

Bernhard laughed: “Bloodthirsty, isn’t it?”

“It’s incredible.. Who do you suppose sent it?”

“An employee who has been dismissed, perhaps. Or a practical joker. Or a madman. Or a hot-headed Nazi schoolboy.”

“What shall you do?”

“Nothing”.

“Surely you’ll tell the police?”

“My dear Christopher, the police would very soon get tired with hearing such nonsense. WE receive three or four such letters every week.”
“All the same, this one may quite well be in earnest… The Nazis may write like schoolboys, but they’re capable of anything. That’s just why they’re so dangerous. People laugh at them, right up to the last moment…”

Berhard smiled his tired smile: “I appreciate very much this anxiety of yours on my behalf. Nevertheless, I am quite unworthy of it… My existence is not of such vital importance to myself or to others that the forces of the Law should be called upon to protect me… As for my uncles he is at present in Warsaw…”

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