2nd volume, no. 60

Introduction to the content

The poem title The New Battle of Leipzig refers to Curt Bloch’s belief that, after the famous Battle of Nations in 1813, there were supposed to have been further major military actions around the Saxon city. He derives this information from a Nazi-controlled newspaper, which in turn quotes the Swedish press. (In fact, seventy-nine heavy bombers of the British Royal Air Force did not return from the largely failed attack on the industrial city of Leipzig on the night of February 19-20, 1944. Approximately 420 crew members were killed, and another 131 became prisoners of war. At that time, this was the most costly attack by the Royal Air Force in World War II.) Bloch does not believe the propaganda reports, considering them to be fake news. He believes that Joseph Goebbels is using such lies to cover up the Germans’ hopeless situation and “strengthen the Führer’s weak position for a while.”

On December 25, Curt Bloch reflects on Christmas 1944. The biblical message of peace has been proclaimed for two thousand years, but its dream has not yet been fulfilled. Instead of songs and psalms, the sound of weapons can be heard, “instead of bells, sirens wail.” Bloch wishes for humanity to come to insight and reason – “then the time of eternal peace will come.”

In a metaphor for the course of the war, Curt Bloch compares the war to a football match. He depicts a match that, according to a newspaper report, was supposed to have taken place in 1936. (However, our research indicates that this particular match was actually played on April 24, 1932.) Back then, Ajax Amsterdam played against Sportclub Enschede. The capital club was considered superior and was leading 3-1 five minutes before the end of the game. Numerous Ajax fans left the stadium before the final whistle with the certain feeling of victory – and missed how Enschede turned the game into a draw in the last minutes. Bloch refers to the year 1940 when the Nazis already considered themselves as the winners of World War II. “Yet what remains for you at the end of the match is the German defeat.”

On November 15, 1944, Dutch resistance fighters committed a bank robbery in which 46.1 million guilders were stolen (value in 2023: 354 million euros). The money had been transported from Arnhem to Almelo on the orders of Reich Commissioner Seyß-Inquart, with the intention of ending up in Germany. This robbery of thirteen cash boxes is considered the largest bank heist in the Netherlands until well after the year 2000 and involved a larger sum than the infamous British train robbery. It was an act of resistance for which the Dutch government had granted written permission from London. The action ended in tragedy. Before the end of the year, the money was back in German hands, and six perpetrators had to pay with their lives. Curt Bloch responds with his replay to the Rakker (the Rascal) to a column by an editor; the editor fantasizes about all the possibilities with the high reward prize of one million guilders after the case is solved. For Bloch, the bank robbers are heroes, and he is deeply moved by this coup “to the detriment of the Krauts.” He would never betray the perpetrators.

Curt Bloch has strong doubts about the consistent application of the German racial theory because he believes that a German corporal in a press photo looks like a Jew. “No way he is a pure Aryan as the nose gives rise to suspicion” Bloch asserts. His ancestor must have been a rabbi. Accordingly, the grandfatherly comment to the grandson is also sarcastic.