3rd volume, no. 9

Introduction to the content

A newspaper report on the heaviest Allied air raids on the German capital, which killed over 2,000 people in early February, praised the resilience of the Berlin population. In the poem “They will not keep us down”, Curt Bloch describes the current situation: the Western forces were approaching from one side, the Russians from the other. The empire is falling apart just like its capital, and despite the hopeless situation, victory continues to be spoken of. The lying and cheating until the last moment will inevitably lead to Germany being “smashed to bits.”

“Everyone at least once in Berlin!” – this was the advertising slogan of the Tourist Office in the twenties to attract tourists to the capital. Curt Bloch applies this phrase to the Allies in his poem of the same name, who with their troops are inexorably advancing and have already reduced the once beautiful city to rubble. Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin want to meet in Berlin, but certainly not as tourists …

In the face of Stalin’s advancing troops, many high-ranking Nazis in the East are experiencing a Panic among the Bigwigs fleeing their places for fear of Russian revenge and seeking safety in the West. Heinrich Himmler is very angry about this and some of the refugees are executed, due to “cowardice and dereliction of duty”. Curt Bloch’s sympathy is limited, as after all, these individuals were themselves responsible for death and destruction.

With his poem The Blitz Recruits, Bloch responds to a newspaper note; it states that young German men who are now being recruited for military service no longer receive any training in the barracks. They quickly learn to shoot and are sent straight into battle. “Those who go to school today / are tomorrows field soldiers.” So, the blood will continue to flow – “until your last man / is buried for Hitler.”