2nd volume, no. 7

Introduction to the content

Bloch describes how heartened he feels by the featured news item: Churchill announces “important military operations” in the House of Commons. Bloch has never given up on the British and his spirit soars. His new outlook is that he could be liberated within a matter of weeks, and projects that by March he may be able to leave his hiding place.

The Nazi Sailor’s Tall Tale, reacts to a piece news item in Das Reich, the National Socialist propaganda digest. Goebbels “analyzes” the German position in light of an impending Allied offensive, calling this the moment at which the war is approaching its “critical peak of decision.” Goebbels claims the opportunity has never been more favorable to turn the war in Germany’s favor. That would be because — in plain language — Germany is losing. Bloch depicts Goebbels as a sailor serving under Captain Adolf Hitler, whose erratic steering has sent the Nazi ship to the edge of the abyss. Goebbels’ deceptive maneuverings insult the peoples’ intelligence; once they realize his deception, they will mutiny and “send the leadership to hell with Ahoy!”

Another “news” item about the medical care of German soldiers inspires Curt Bloch to write the poem Without Brain. The article claims that brain injuries achieve a particularly high recovery rate and that paralyzed brain hemispheres can be reactivated. Bloch marvels: what a stroke of luck! An army without brains is an army without desire, soldiers with head injuries are the “ideal royal subjects for the modern age.” “Adolf’s human machines” would no longer think, forget their wives and children, and blindly trust the propaganda.

In a uniquely engaging lyrical form, Curt Bloch asks the reader to Solve the riddle. Whodunit? Behold: the widows of two famous politicians “what do they have in common? Before the Anschluss, Engelbert Dollfuss, the dictatorial Chancellor of Austria, was fatally wounded by a trio of Nazis insurgents in July 1934 after he refused to resign. In 1938 Mussolini spirits Dollfuss’s widow and children out of Austria after the Nazi annexation. “Il Duce” ordered the assassination of his disloyal son-in-law, Galeazzo Ciano, who has advocated to the Fascist Grand Council for Mussolini’s replacement. This makes his daughter a widow. After the occupation of Italy (that Mussolini welcomed) by the Wehrmacht, Ciano was arrested in Germany and executed in January 1944. Edda Ciano, Mussolini’s daughter then “illegally” fled to Switzerland under an assumed name to a protect herself from her father who ordered her husband’s hit.