New day – new project. Weasel Words by politicians of all nations.
The house on the Wannsee where the ideas for Nazi genocide were distilled into reality. This picture was taken by me at least 10 years ago. Sometimes things germinate slowly.
I have been working on the idea for years without knowing where it was going. Then an editing job took me to the history of Königsberg and its senseless destruction at the end of World War 2.
‘Senseless destruction,’ is a moot point. It depends where you were at the time. Russian soldiers flogging their way westwards, losing thousands of brothers a day, saw the bombing as necessary. The innocent citizens caught in the firestorm as the old town burned had a different point of view.
And then, there are the excuses – Weasel Words I call them, or Ausflüchte in German and I thought of the instances when senseless actions became senseless excuses. Three occasions seemed worth studying.
- The postwar excuses for not bringing all the war criminals to justice – very few were tried.
- The famines, tolerated by the British, in Madras over a period of 200 years, the last disaster being contemporaneous with the freeing of Belsen Bergen by British troops. The world was stunned by the starvation pictures in the KZ, but managed not to see the horror in India.
- The strategic bombing of Germans towns, especially medieval wood-built such as Dresden. But Dresden is the one we know about. The rest have been forgotten.
I also chose to do them in English and German. Here are the first of Weasel Words – Ausflüchte. Mass Murder in two languages.
Part 1. Topography of Terror
The Museum in Berlin, built on the site of the old GESTAPO Headquarters
1. Winter at the Museum
It’s winter in Berlin.
Snow and iced paths lead past
Arched remains of the
Gestapo Head Quarters.
The Topography of Terror rises
In glass and steel - a museum
About state-sanctioned murder
With free entrance in two languages.
Why? Why now?
2. Das Museum in Winter
Es ist Winter in Berlin.
Mit Schnee und Eis bedeckte Wege führen
An den übrig gebliebenen Gewölben
Des ehemaligen Gestapo Hauptquartiers vorbei.
Die Topographie des Terrors
Ragt aus Stahl und Glas empor.
Ein Museum des staatlich sanktionierten Mordes,
Für kostenlosem Eintritt, zweisprachig.
Warum? Warum jetzt?
Where to, now? I’m trying to find a publisher in Berlin. Watch this space.