3rd volume, no. 8

Introduction to the content

Princess Juliana (1909–2004), who was to become Queen of the Netherlands in 1948, in England, receives a motorhome as a gift from Queen Elizabeth (1900–2002), the wife of King George VI. Curt Bloch presents the corresponding newspaper report before his poem, but expresses Criticism of a Gift: The princess and her relatives already have palaces and do not need a new dwelling. It would have been better to have given Juliana an alligator. With this, Bloch refers to the “Alligator Tank,” an amphibious tank officially designated as LVT1. Certainly, Curt Bloch’s criticism plays on the fact that the Dutch royal family had fled to Great Britain at the start of the German occupation – many subjects resented their flight into exile. An “Alligator” – so Bloch believes – could bring Queen Wilhelma back on the right path and, together with Juliana, Beatrix, Irene, Margriet, and Bernhard, get her safely back home.

In The Eternal Smile Curt Bloch steps back in his mind, “smiles through the eternities,” and lets the millennia-old human history pass by. In recurring regularity, there have been dictators whose vanities and dreams of rulership always came to nothing. “Will humankind ever learn?” asks Bloch. He wishes for a future where people dedicate themselves to better tasks than warlike confrontations. When his “smile through the eternities” becomes the “smile of all beings,” humanity will be healed.

That Curt Bloch studied many newspapers and also kept older articles in his hiding place is evidenced by the poem “In Schwiebus and in Züllichau.” These verses are based on an advertisement from Circus Busch from 1938 – with the announcement of performances in cities such as Züllichau, Landsberg, and Schwiebus. Great excitement prevailed in these places when the attractions of the capital’s circus were to be experienced. But the euphoria of past times – regarding predator shows, tightrope walking, and acrobatics as well as “Adolf Hitler’s circus show” – had faded, six years later the “Russian storm wind” had removed the “Nazi clownery” from the playbill. The poem ends with current, pasted reports from the front: Schwiebus and Landsberg are occupied by the Russians, Schneidemühl is already surrounded.

The Belgian newspaper “Het Laatste Nieuws”, influenced by Nazi censorship, reports on a German warplane that can also move underwater. Curt Bloch mocks this marvelous invention with his poem The Flying Submarine. He believes he has found the source of the fantasy in a science fiction story by H.G. Wells (1866–1946) and presents the corresponding text passage in a newspaper clipping.