2nd volume, no. 23

Introduction to the content

Curt Bloch’s poem To My German Readers is a particularly remarkable piece. It is not addressed to his current OWC network but rather to Germans in the post-war period. He hopes that especially those who would like to escape the shadow of the past will read his poems. Bloch does not aim to expose or condemn them but rather to warn them not to be deceived again with the words, “Not to become spoofed again”. He firmly believes that after the war, a “new puppet master” will attempt to make the Germans “drunk” and lead them to a “new slaughterfest.” Those who forget the old mistakes are easily seduced, and then “the same pain” threatens again.

The next entry is about Anton Mussert (1894–1946). The leader of the Dutch National Socialist Movement (NSB) was appointed “leader of the Dutch people” by the German occupiers. On Mussert’s 50th birthday, Curt Bloch confronts him and his followers. The leader is in power solely thanks to the Nazis and has brought neither salvation nor prosperity, only confusion. But soon Mussert will “be gone to the moon,” and the Netherlands will have a future again.

The cover montage of this OWC edition depicts a German soldier driving defenseless civilians ahead of him with a drawn weapon. In the accompanying poem, Curt Bloch uses compelling words to describe the Nazi tyranny to which he himself has been exposed for years. He tells his tormentors that the world will never forget what it has seen, and their revenge will reach them. And he comforts himself and other persecuted individuals: even if the Nazis kill freedom fighters, they cannot kill freedom itself.

In the poem The dogs of the NSB, Curt Bloch criticizes the submissive behavior of the National Socialist Movement in the Netherlands. He describes its members as “Krauts chain dogs”. They serve the German occupiers in a “pan-Germanic” manner by sniffing around and obeying commands. However, they also enjoy hunting people and betraying innocent Dutch citizens. In a postscript, Bloch apologizes to his own dog for the comparison, stating that his dog is “a thousand times superior to such an NSB dog”.

After four and a half years of war, Hitler’s propaganda minister, Josef Goebbels, claimed that there were no signs of crisis in the German population. Given the obvious hardship and war fatigue, Curt Bloch finds this to be more of a rallying cry and far less cheerful than, for example, Goebbels’ “English dream” in the summer of 1940. Back then, people sang enthusiastically a sailor’s song from World War I – “When we set sail …” against England. But now, Bloch dryly observes, “England is setting sail for you.”

The occasion for Curt Bloch’s poem Pentecost 1944 was a newspaper report about Allied air raids. Both at Easter and Pentecost, the British and Americans had bombed German cities. Bloch condemns the moral “fuss” of the fascists regarding bombings on important Christian holidays. Since they had already turned Good Friday into a “day of slaughter” and generally showed no regard for anyone or anything, he poses the rhetorical question to them: “Are you such good Christians then?”