Page 37 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 22

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G
runberger
— T
h e
L
it era ture
of
R
emorse
31
—there was something almost like love, or was it scorn?
She sang: Fili, Redemptor Mundi, Deus—he had never before
heard a woman sing like that.
“Spiritus Sancte, Deus,” her voice was strong, warm and
of extra-ordinary purity. He was obviously dreaming. In a
moment she would sing “Sancta Trinitas, Unus Deus”—he
still remembered it—and indeed she sang it now. “Sancta
Trinitas. . . .” Catholic Jews, he thought; I am going mad.
He ran to the window and tore it open. Outside no one
moved; they were all standing and listening.
Filskeit felt a spasm. He tried to shout but only a hoarse
groan broke from his throat. From outside came a breathless
silence whilst the woman sang on.
“Sancta Dei Genetrix . . .” he picked up his gun with
trembling fingers, swung round and blindly aimed at the
woman who fell and started to scream. Now that her voice
was no longer singing he found his again. He yelled “Kill
them; all of them . . . the choir as well . . . out with them,
out of the block. . .
He emptied the whole magazine of
his gun into the woman who was lying on the ground and
vomiting with fear in agonies of pain.
Outside the massacre began.
Boll has drawn representative examples of the philistines and
the demons—the bottom and top layers of Nazi society. Both
groups’ psyche exhibited a total dichotomy: the philistines com­
bined the natural human attributes of family-affection and sen*
timentality with a stony indifference to the fate of others, and
in the minds of the demons giftedness cohabited with total
inhumanity.
The thugs, the medium-layer of Nazi society, were less com­
plicated. Their
raison d’etre
was simply violence, torture and
destruction for its own sake. A short, but infinitely telling
example of this middle-category occurs in Gunther Grass’ best
selling novel
Die Blechtrommel
(The T in Drum). It refers to
the events of the Kristallnacht (November 9, 1938), the day on
which Germany reached—and passed—the point of no return.
There was once a grocer who closed his store one day in
November because something was doing in town; taking
his son Oscar by the hand he boarded a Number 5 streetcar
and rode to the Langasser Gate, because there as in Zoppot
and Langfuhr the synagogue was on fire. The synagogue had
almost burned down and the firemen were looking on,
taking care that the flames should not spread to other
buildings. . . .