Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Munich, 1938

One of the books I've been reading this week is the unpublished diary of an 18 year old girl who was studying German in Munich in 1938. Ever wonder what it was like to live under the Nazis? Well I can tell you; if you were a privileged foreigner it was tea-dances, romantic friendships, amateur theatricals, 50 mile bike rides and skiing at the weekends. And once in a while it was Hitler giving three hour speeches on the radio or riding through town, very slowly in his open topped car, with a little smile on his careworn phizog because he'd just got the better of Chamberlain.

My diarist is frankly an appeaser.  The Austrians are German really and want to be absorbed, the Czechs are being beastly to the Sudeten Germans and it's family business if the Reich steps in to sort things out.  A lot of Brits thought this way- and I don't see how it was entirely ignoble to want to avoid another war.

But she does notice the new poster that's suddenly appeared in all the hotels- and it strikes her so forcibly she makes a drawing of the beastly thing with its big swastika in the middle and the words JUDEN UNERWONSCHT in a circle round it.  This is in the alpine village of Oberammergau, where they stage the world-fanous passion play.  Out dancing of an evening, she gets to meet the locals who play Jesus and Mary Magdalen and Jesus very obligingly gives her his autograph.

And then there's the page of jokes. They're not very good, but they suggest how, very cannily, the Nazis hoisted Goering up as a lightning rod for satire. Feeling a smidgeon of political diasaffection? Then it's permissible to draw attention to the Reichmarshall's love of military finery. And after all, by skewering Goering's excess you are also subtly pointing up the Fuehrer's comparative austerity, modesty, simplicity.  

So, what do you think Goering wears to go swimming? 

I've no idea; what does Goering wear to go swimming?

A bathing suit with rubber medals. 

Boom Boom. 
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