Tuesday, August 16, 2011

For Sunday Scribbling and ABC Wednesday

“E” is for “Major Eberhart”
(Summer, 1944)
“Come in, come in, Colonel. Sit down. It’s a pleasure to see you again.”
“The pleasure is mine, Ma’am. I hope you’re comfortable here in the hotel.”

“Oh, yes. The Forum is a fine hotel. By the way, we’ve known each other for quite a while; call me Anna.”
“Oh, no, Ma’am. I mean, the General’s wife…”
“Couldn’t we forget all that General’s wife thing for a while? I feel almost as though I was here on vacation. You see, Colonel, I know Bratislava well; I went to school here as a teenager. And now, here I am staying at the famous Hotel Forum.”
“Ma’am, I do apologize for bringing this up, but Major Eberhart has put out an official proclamation doing away with the old name of this city, Brato...”
“Yes. Since March of ’39, this city has a new name, a proper German name: ‘Pressburg.’ That is the only name that we can use when referring to this city in either conversation or in writing.”
“And that is on the orders of – Major Eberhart?”
“Colonel, I’m a little puzzled. My husband placed you in command here until he arrives next month. You certainly outrank a major. Why is this Eberhart giving orders?”
“Well, Ma’am, it’s a bit complicated. I realize you are new to the army and it must be confusing at times. It’s just that this is the way things are done”

“Is Major Eberhart SS?”
“Yes, but that has nothing to do…”
“I see. Don’t worry; I’ll say no more about it.”
“Perhaps that would be best.”

“Look at this picture, Colonel. Someone slipped it under my door back in Berlin. We were told that the Slovaks welcomed us when we came in ’39. Now here’s a picture of a woman who was forced to give the Nazi salute and she was crying as our troops marched in.”
“No, not at all, Ma’am. That’s a famous picture. Those are tears of joy. She is happy at the thought of her country becoming part of the Third Reich and that it will last for the next thousand years.”
“I see.”
“Is there anything else I can do for you, Ma’am?”
“Well, yes, Colonel. There is something; I wanted to ask a favor of you. I thought it wouldn’t be difficult – (she laughs) – but that’s before I heard about Major Eberhart! You see, I have a friend here in…uh…”
“Yes. Her husband has been arrested and is being held somewhere here in the city; they won’t tell her where. She swears he has done nothing wrong. This woman is an old school friend of mine, a very close friend, Colonel. I wonder if you could allow the man to be released to go home to his wife and family.”
“I wish I could be of help, Ma’am.”
“It would certainly mean a lot to me. It’s why I made the trip here.”
“I’ll submit the request to the proper authority and we’ll see what can be done.”
“The proper authority – that would be Major Eberhart?”
“I’m afraid so.”
“And that means there is little chance that this will happen?”
“Very little.”
“Perhaps there is a way that you could do this without having to bother friend Eberhart, without having to notify him of it?”
“Perhaps I should explain. I could easily do this. I could sign a paper and your friend’s husband would be home with her in a couple of hours. But Ma’am, I would be a dead man! Do you know how the SS handles people they regard as traitors?”
“I have tried not to think about it, actually.”
“Well, think about it for a moment. They use a hook, a huge sharp meat hook that they place here, see, right under the chin – and they HANG YOU LIKE MEAT!”
“Good heavens.”
“If I may offer some advice, Ma’am. Take the sightseeing tour of the city and then go back to Berlin and plan for what you might do when the war ends – and it looks like that might not be all that far in the future.”
“Back to Berlin? You don't know how bad things are back there now, Colonel. Everyone's running around like people in a shipwreck. Tell me the truth – do you think we might lose the war?”
“I bid you good day, Ma’am.”


Leslie: said...

Powerful post...and eerie...

abcw team

Roger Owen Green said...

Yes, what Leslie said.

ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Carver said...

Great post for the letter E.

mrsnesbitt said...

Agree with leslie - the hairs on my neck are still prickling!
ABC Team

helenmac said...

powerful and chilling.
ABC Team

kaykuala said...

A chilling episode, this! Reminds one of a respite in war films, the lull before the big battles!


Gigi Ann said...

Sorry Berowne, not my favorite story. I like comedy, light romance with a bit of mystery thrown in. Just sayin'

Wanda said...

Wow, what a powerful story!!!! I was hanging on every word....I don't doubt the truth of it either.

Meryl said...

Powerful post! I loved how you twisted the photo to represent two sides of the coin!

Anonymous said...

war and pieces??

Pheno, ABCW Team

Pat said...

Are those days really over?

Francisca said...

Pat has a point. Chilling, your Major Eberhart. And I agree with Meryl, that was a clever twist on the two points of view on the same image... there's a lot of that going on these days...

kris... said...

Always enjoy your stories.

Berowne said...

kris: "Always enjoy your stories."
Always enjoy your comments. :-)

marginalia said...

A chilling and harrowing reminder of evil.

Abce Wednesday Team

Berowne said...

A great way to sit down at my 'pewter on a Thursday, to read such positive comments from Leslie, Roger O G, Carver, mrs n, helenmac, kaykuala, Wanda, Meryl, Pat, Francisca and marginalia -- thanks.

Jo Bryant said...

this is chillingly powerful

Berowne said...

Jo B.: "This is chillingly powerful."
A chillingly powerful comment -- thanks. :-)

Berowne said...

Gigi Ann: "Sorry Berowne, not my favorite story. I like comedy, light romance with a bit of mystery thrown in. Just sayin'."
But don't you think that just once in a while we can post a story on a serious topic? Just once in a while?

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