2nd volume, no. 49

Introduction to the content

In Stalin-Varia, Curt Bloch enumerates how many regions Josef Stalin is already influencing. The Russian dictator demands restoration of the Dardanelles shipping route between the European mainland and the Asian peninsula; he has returned Georgi Dimitrov from exile in Moscow to Bulgaria; and he seeks to influence the political destinies of Romania, Belgium, France, Italy, and Finland. Just as drunkards see white mice everywhere, so “today, the Hitler devotees see red spectres on the horizon.”

Curt Bloch is surprised by the young age of a high-ranking Wehrmacht soldier: the signature on a press photo indicates the soldier is a 29-year-old general. Curt Bloch says the man is a German Wunderkind. “Hardly out of the womb, and he’s already a soldier.” Bloch exaggerates his rapid ascent through the ranks of the military – from private “before he can walk” to general “before he is confirmed.” And soon he will be carried to his grave with great honour.

Arnhem: In September 1944, a major battle ended with a German victory. Although the Allies made some progress and liberated portions of the Netherlands, they did not achieve their goal: a rapid advance into Germany. This slowed down the Allied advance in the west and influenced the future course of the war. The Battle of Arnhem and Operation Market Garden were later depicted in the famous book and film “A Bridge Too Far.” Curt Bloch sadly takes note of the news from Arnhem, but he does not lose hope for better times. “Let’s not hang our heads… in the end, everything will be fine.”

A fragment of “Self-Portrait as Saint Paul” by Rembrandt van Rijn (1661) appears on the cover of this issue. In Small Rembrandt Monologue, Bloch lets the world-famous painter speak. Because he lived in the Jewish quarter of Amsterdam, his paintings are now being removed from German museums. Formerly, people stood in admiration of him, but now the “bungler” (Adolf Hitler) denigrates his art. “They call me degenerate, Rembrandt, me, the king of painters.” He is annoyed, but he realizes: “I‘d be ashamed of myself, If I still would be liked by them.”

During the era of National Socialism in Germany, the Horst-Wessel-Lied was the Nazi anthem. The text was written by Horst Wessel, a member of the Nazi paramilitary force. When the Third Reich falls, Germany must, according to Curt Bloch, search for The New German National Anthem. Even the first verse of the national anthem (Deutschland, Deutschland über alles) is no longer appropriate in the face of defeat, he says. In line with the liberation of Paris from Nazi occupation, which was celebrated a few days before the publication date of this OWC edition, Bloch recommends the song “We Were in Paris.”

A press photo shows Benito Mussolini in February 1938 during the inspection of the Passo Romano. But the time for parades is over, Bloch writes. El Duce feels the hatred of the Italian people, his rule lies in ruins, and he now sits powerless in a palace in Venice, by Hitler’s grace. Bloch says that a contemplated escape plan over the Brenner Pass is futile, because both Mussolini and Hitler are “two moribunds, soon they will be dead.”