3rd volume, no. 4

Introduction to the content

Curt Bloch depicts himself on the cover of this edition as the cheerful, dapper publisher and author of his underground magazines. But In the poem OWC Transpirations, he’s in a sweat due to the general paper shortage. A pasted-in report complains that newspapers in the Netherlands have been reduced to miniature size and are publishing at reduced frequency. This, of course, affects Curt’s work because “such a scrap of paper doesn’t provide me with enough material.” But unlike crises of confidence he’s experienced before, this time Bloch doesn’t entertain the notion of stopping. He’ll keep his OWC editorial office open until the time of peace arrives because the Onderwater-Cabaret keeps morale high.

An article in the newspaper celebrates German victories on various fronts. These are said to embarrass Eisenhower and Stalin, with the Allies making no progress. In his hiding place Curt Bloch despairs, if these victories are all true, the renewed strengths of the German military makes his prospects for freedom hopeless. But he’s not actually convinced they’re real. “They are just… newspaper victories,” stories made up to keep German morale high.

In the heavily sarcastic Seyss Reassessed, Bloch comments on an address by Arthur Seyß-Inquart, the Nazi-appointed Reich Commissioner for the Netherlands. Seyß-Inquart addresses the Dutch people with lies that insult their intelligence. He admits that the state of affairs is terrible, but that’s not the Germans fault. He lies: the Germans wanted to provide a generous food supply, but Dutch sabotage has made that impossible. Bloch mimics the logic of these lies: he shouldn’t have written against the Germans! They have done so much for the Dutch since 1940 (the Dutch had been suffering privations since the occupation). Together with the Dutch people Bloch had been living in a paradise that has now been ruined by the railroad strike. He would love to thank Seyß-Inquart for the good care he wanted to give – “But … I’d better wait for peace.”

Though Bloch labels many of his verses as songs, only the Resistance Song is scored with musical notes. Curt Bloch has written a simple song of hope to be sung to a melody composed in G major: calling on all who hear it to be brave, not dominated by fear and sorrow. Those in the resistance should feel joy and courage in the face of the approaching peace, as they head toward a new life of freedom. – This musical piece inspired Julian Becker to a short improvisation. The award-winning German composer, pianist, and organist lives in Leipzig and Hannover.

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