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Chapter Course Reader

EURO 3300 Chapter Notes - Chapter Course Reader: Bertolt Brecht, Hitler Youth

European Studies
Course Code
EURO 3300
Roberta Cauchi- Santoro
Course Reader

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Tuesday January 24th, 2017
Fear and Misery in the Third Reich – by Bertolt Brecht:
The Jewish Wife:
Frankfurt 1935. It is evening. A woman is packing suitcases. She is choosing what to take.
Now and again she removes something from her suitcase and returns it to its original place in
the room in order to pack another item instead. For a long while she hesitates where to take a
large photograph of her husband that stands on the chest of drawers. Finally she leaves the
picture where it is. The packing tires her and for a time she sits on a suitcase leaning her
head on her hand. Then she gets to her feet and telephones
She makes calls to a doctor, to Frau Schock, to Gertrud (husband Fritz’s sister), and Anna
She hangs up without calling again. She has been smoking. Now she sets fire to the small
book in which she has been looking up the numbers. She walks up and down two or three
times. Then she starts speaking. She is rehearsing the short speech, which she proposes to
make to her husband. It is evident that he is sitting in a particular chair
Fritz, you must let me go, you cant keep…I’ll be your downfall, it’s quite clear; I know you
aren’t a coward, you’re not scared of the police, but there are worse thing…”
I never told you I wanted to go away, have done for a long time, because I can’t talk when I
look at you, Fritz. Then it seems to me there’s no point in talking. It has all been settled
already. What’s got into them, d’you think? What do they really want? What am I doing to
them? I’ve never had anything to do with politics…But I’m just one of those bourgeois
housewives with servants and so on, and now all of a sudden it seems only blondes can be
that. I’ve often thought lately about something you told me years back, how some people
were more valuable than others, so one lot were given insulin when they got diabetes and the
others weren’t. And this was something I understood, idiot that I was. Well, now they’ve
drawn a new distinction of the same sort, and this time I’m one of the less valuable ones.
Serves me right
Yes. I’m packing. Don’t pretend you haven’t noticed anything the last few days. Nothing really
matters, Fritz, except just one thing: if we spend our last hour together without looking at
each other’s eyes. That’s a triumph they can’t be allowed, the liars who force everyone else
to lie. Ten years ago when somebody said no one would think I was Jewish, you instantly
said yes, they would. And that’s fine…I’m packing so they shant take away your job as a
senior physician. And because they’ve stopped saying good morning to you at the clinic, and
because you’re not sleeping nowadays. I don’t want you to tell me I mustn’t go. And I’m
hurrying because I don’t want to hear you telling me I must. It’s a matter of time. Principles
are a matter of time…Don’t get the idea that I’m angry. Yes, I am. Why should I always be
understanding?...There you sit watching your wife pack and saying nothing. Walls have ears,
is that it? But you people say nothing. One lot listens and the other keeps silent. To hell with
that. I’m supposed to keep silent too. If I loved you I’d keep silent. I truly do love you…The
next time I settle in a country things cant be like this. The next man I get must be allowed to
keep me. And don’t tell me you’ll send me money; you know you won’t be allowed to. And
you aren’t to pretend it’s just a matter of four weeks either.
Husband after all, it’s only for two or three weeks
The Spy:
Cologne 1935. A wet Sunday afternoon. The man, the wife and the boy have finished lunch.
The maidservant enters
German family decides to drop Jewish friends
German mother and father have personal conversation but son in the Hitler Youth overhears
The German father is an educator of children but is terrified of the youth because of the
power they hold
The boy leaves the house and the parents start panicking that he’s going to the police to rat
on his father/parents
They overreact and the boy comes back with a bag of chocolate
Shows that parents are afraid of children too
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