1st volume, no. 7

Introduction to the content

Eastland Travelers describes the former plans of the Nazis to colonize and dominate Eastern Europe. Russians are depicted as “slaves” who would have to work for the new rulers. But now the Germans must flee from the occupied territories, some have already lost their lives, “The Eastland dream reached its conclusion, […] They [editor’s note: the ones who’ ve got killed] have stayed forever”.

Italy ended its alliance with Germany on September 8, 1943. On that day, a ceasefire was signed between Italy and the Allies, leading to a break in the Axis and the ousting of fascist leader Benito Mussolini. After the ceasefire, Italy declared war on Germany and joined the Allies in the war against the Axis powers. These developments inspired Curt Bloch to write the poem You must rely on your friends!

Bloch refers to Adolf Hitler, whose grand visions could not be realized, as a dreamer. First, he dreamt of victory over England, but had to postpone that dream. Then the Führer wanted to “free the Russians from Stalin’s grip,” but his troops were repelled. Even a collaboration with the Americans for a joint fight against the British did not succeed. “His time of wishful thinking is over.”

For Benito Mussolini, Curt Bloch also has a title: the bankrupter. The powerless Duce “is broke, lost”, the “war-weary Italy” refuses him credit.

Tacitus was a Roman historian who lived in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. In his writings, he described the Germanic people as a warlike society with a simple way of life. In the poem Back to Tacitus, Curt Bloch refers to the writer as the “Baedeker of the ancient Romans.” (This term originates from the German publisher Karl Baedeker, who published a famous series of travel guides.) Bloch describes in his verses how Adolf Hitler – after Italy had already been drawn into the abyss – is now leading the German people back to the “ancient Germanic ideals”: Because the country “becomes a heap of ruins, and you flee into the forests, yes, you nourish yourselves with roots there”.

During the Winter Relief Campaign 1943/1944, the Dutch population was asked to purchase a small butterfly-shaped pin. Officially, the goal of the charity initiative was to support needy people. However, the “Winterhulp” was also used by the German occupiers as a propaganda tool; it was intended to create the impression that Germany cared for the well-being of the Dutch population and served as a benevolent occupier. This was meant to promote acceptance of the occupation and reduce resistance against the German authorities. However, a portion of the proceeds from the “Winterhulp” was likely also used to finance German war efforts. This is also suspected by Curt Bloch; that’s why he calls on people in his poem “winter relief is not necessary … give nothing.”