Hello Cruel World
Sunday, March 05, 2006
Erich Kastner, writer - part of his story
Erich Kastner at the Looniverse

To establish the proper atmosphere, this is as good a place as any to show a sample of the bill you got for having your husband killed by the Nazis for political, or any, reasons.
Hangman's Bill
The Hangman's Bill
Yes, you were supposed to pay for the execution (or else...) It comes to a total of what now must be well over $6000. They even charged you 12 cents for the stamp to send you the bill.
A Sample of Erich Kastner's Poetry
Kennst du das Land, wo die Kanonen blühen?
Du kennst es nicht? Du wirst es kennenlernen!

Do you know the country where the cannons bloom?
You do not know it? You will get to know it!

[Mein Gott! I actually know the poem this is based on - I did an amateur translation of it, used on Chris' Memorial Site.]

Kennst du das Land, wo die Zitronen blühn,
Kennst du es wohl? Dahin! dahin

Do you know the land where lemon blossom grows,
This land you know? To there! To there;
And in the year of 1933 my books were burned with dark festive splendor in Berlin, on the large square next to the Opera, by a certain Mr. Goebbels. He triumphantly called out the names of twenty-four German writers, who symbolically had to be eradicated for eternity. I was the only one of the twenty-four who had appeared in person to witness this theatrical insolence...

Crystal Night, 1938

When, on November 10 1938 at 3 o'clock in the morning, I drove up the Berlin Tauentzien in a taxi, I heard glass tinkling on both sides of the street. It sounded as if dozens of wagons full of glass were being turned over. I looked out and saw, on the left and right, a man standing in front of about every fifth house, each using an iron rod to smash store windows with mighty blows. The job done, he walked over to the next shop with a measured pace and, with powerful calmth, dedicated himself to that one's still intact window-pane.
Except for these men, wearing black breeches, riding boots and civil jackets, there was no human being in sight. The taxi turned into the Kurfürstendamm. Here, too, men were standing at regular distances and with long bars smashed "Jewish" show windows. Each one seemed to have some five to ten windows for a job. Cascades of glass fell down, crushing on the concrete. It sounded as if the entire town existed of nothing but crashing glass. It was a drive right through a madman's dream.
Between Uhlandstraße and Knesebeckstraße I asked to stop, opened the door and was just putting my right foot on the street, when a man emerged from the nearest tree and softly and energetically told me: "Don't get out! Drive on at once!" It was a man in hat and cloak. "But listen", I started, "I just wanted to…" "No", he interrupted threateningly. "Getting out is forbidden! Get on your way at once!" He pushed me back into the car, beckoned the driver, threw the door shut, and the driver obeyed. On we went through the ghostly "splinter night".


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 / . Lives in Australia/New South Wales/Sydney, speaks English. Eye color is hazel. I am what my mother calls unique. My interests are photography, reading, natural history/land use, town planning, sustainability.

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Australia, New South Wales, Sydney, English, photography, reading, natural history, land use, town planning, sustainability.