1st volume, no. 5

Introduction to the content

In Audacious!(?) Bloch reports on a Turkish extreme diver who aims to endure one hour underwater but gives up after only fifteen minutes. The newspaper headlines this plan as daring, but compared to Bloch’s own situation it’s a joke. After all, he has already been submerged for 13 months now!

With the Canzonetta Italiana, Curt Bloch writes a mournful aria for the Italians. Benito Mussolini is in prison, Africa and Sicily are lost, and Hitler has brought great suffering to the country. The text concludes with the statement: “Ah, it’s finito, every man for himself.”

In One saw the Duce … Curt Bloch conjures the many familiar photo ops of Hitler’s puppet, the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. Pictures where he stands next to Hitler during fleet maneuvers, or appoints King Victor Emanuel emperor, or pats the heads of school children. The image of the “Duce” has appeared in many situations, but no image has been provided for his sudden departure. When Mussolini was overthrown and imprisoned in July 1943 there was nothing to see here!

Curt Bloch portrays Benito Mussolini as a megalomaniac who made empty promises who’s incompetence completely destroyed Italy. In the course of the poem The Duce deceitfully kidnapped, Bloch portrays how King Victor Emmanuel had put Mussolini in his place and has had him transported away as though he were being committed to a psychiatric hospital. Bloch suggests this plan should have been put into effect 20 years earlier.

King Boris praises the “greatest of the Bulgarians,” Georgi Dimitroff, an international anti-Nazi hero who — at the time — is well known, having lived freely in Moscow, where he has been granted asylum after being acquitted of setting the Reichstag fire. Bloch hopes Dimitroff will succeed King Boris III, the Tsar of BuIgaria who, three weeks before the publication of this issue, has died under mysterious circumstances. Bloch believes the king has been murdered, and that with his death Hitler has lost yet another partner in addition to Benito Mussolini. Bogdan Filow, Hitler’s representative in Bulgaria, must seat Boris’s six-year-old son on the country’s throne.

In the poem With and Without Imagination, Bloch addresses accusations by Joseph Goebbels, who accuses the English of lacking fantasy in their warfare. Bloch argues that the rational approach the British take to warfare contradicts Hitler’s risky strategy and grandiose fantasies. This is precisely why the British are successful. He digs at the accuracy of Nazi war reportage, saying that those who lack fantasy need only to read the battle reports of the Wehrmacht.

In the Song of a Disappointed One, Curt Bloch speaks from the perspective of a disillusioned Hitler supporter, who believed the claims that with the rise of the Reich all evil would end and Germany would transform into a paradise where everyone would drive a Volkswagen and enjoy beautiful trips to foreign countries. Now, realizing he’s been deceived and that the Germans have come to the end of the road, the illusions of glamourous trips to exotic lands have faded and the steep cost of these flights of fancy are undeniable. “Our travel price was our blood.”

Even though they are currently losing the war, and sons are falling in battle – according to Curt Bloch’s assessment, Germany can’t shift gears appropriately and rigidly follows the motto Keep smiling. His fellow countrymen feign optimism to save their own skin. Expressing doubts about victory leads to execution. This outward smile is as forced, as the smiles on the women in a chorus line.

In Night Watch 1943, Curt Bloch gives us a glimpse into his inner life. He barely sleeps because he feels discovery and arrest are always imminent. Understandably, by day he feels tired and numb. This waiting time is depleting, but he can already see that these are “the last war nights before freedom will finally rise.”

In True to Tradition, Bloch reminds the Italians that during World War I, Italy switched sides and joined the Allies (led by France and Britain). Curt Bloch appeals to the Italians’ sense of tradition and recommends abandoning the Germans once again. If they align with the British, they might still save their sorry asses.

With the poem The Duce is loose!, Bloch refers to an event from the previous week (September 12) when the imprisoned Benito Mussolini was sprung from captivity in the Gran Sasso Massif by a commando operation of German paratroopers. “Once again, the monster is free,” Bloch writes frustratedly; they missed his execution. However, the country wants nothing more to do with the “Duce”; he is “a puppet on Hitler’s string” without power of his own.

The liberation of Benito Mussolini in the Abruzzo mountains is also the subject of the text Playfulness. Bloch suspects the “cavalry raid” of the German “heroes” against hundreds of Italians is much exaggerated, and that the Italians “powers that be” allowed the liberation to be staged as a propaganda event. This way King Victor Emanuel and Prime Minister Badoglio could appease both the Germans and the Allies. Bloch warns that this “Playfulness,” may soon be shattered by the rage of the Italian people.