2nd volume, no. 15

Introduction to the content

Coinciding with the Easter weekend of 1944, Curt Bloch describes, in the first poem of this edition, the melancholic Mediations of the Easter Bunny. Due to a severe shortage of food, there were no eggs available for the festival, and many chickens had died during these difficult times. However, the long-eared creature would not give up hope for a better future. “In the end, everything will surely be fine.”

On the Eastern Front, the German Wehrmacht suffered numerous defeats and territorial losses. Nevertheless, Nazi propaganda, as seen in the newspaper excerpt that Bloch includes before this poem, continues to sow hope: for the German military leadership, there are Sparks of Hope. According to Bloch, this new modesty no longer compares with the old “splendor” and “grandeur” of the Reich. It would be seen as a success it the Russians did not overrun some parts of the front.

Either – or! discusses an absurd choice made by Joseph Goebbels. According to the German Reich Minister of Propaganda, there are only two options: either one accepts the destruction of German cities and secures ultimate victory, or one avoids rubble and conflagrations, but then faces defeat in the fight against the Allies. Curt Bloch succinctly captures this equation: “The more destroyed in Germany, the more you cover yourselves in glory.”

Curt Bloch labels the Frenchman Marcel Déat (1894–1955) as The Imitator, who, at the behest of the German occupiers, was appointed Minister of Labor and National Solidarity in March 1944. His task was, among other things, to bring French workers to the German Reich. According to Bloch, Déat resembles a “leader in pocket-size” like Adolf Hitler and displays the same martial characteristics. However, Bloch believes that France is “not a land for Nazis,” and already, behind Déat, death already senses its chance.

Luxury?! was inspired by a newspaper advertisement for the brand “Mouson Lavender.” In it, the company J. G. Mouson & Co requests people to refrain from using their perfume “Mouson Lavender” during the war. This may not have been entirely selfless, as the factory buildings and machinery of the Frankfurt perfume factory were 70 percent destroyed in Allied attacks. Curt Bloch reflects in his verses on the sacrifices of pleasures that have already been made in Germany. Instead of coffee, substitute drinks are consumed, people live “in miserable caves,” and now even perfume has “found the hero’s death.” However, the stench that has long pervaded the Third Reich cannot be masked with perfume anyway.

On the Friday following the publication of this OWC edition, Paula Bloch would have celebrated her 61st birthday. In her honor, Curt Bloch writes the poem For Mother (April 14), from which one can discern her son’s concerns. What he does not know is that his mother had already died a year earlier, on May 21, 1943, at the Sobibór concentration camp.

The failures of the Wehrmacht in the East prompt Curt Bloch to write the song lyrics The Petroleum Fields of Romania. He lists the various places already occupied by the Red Army or soon to be abandoned by the Germans. The various centers of the Romanian oil industry, primarily located in the regions of Transylvania, Moldavia, and the western part of the country, are at risk of being lost to Hitler soon as well. If he runs out of gasoline as a result, “Then things look bad for him.”