Reaching for the Stars


The beginning of


FROM the daily in June 1934 when Nora Waln motored with her husband across the Belgian frontier, she was faced with the difficult human problem of trying to understand and interpret, without bitterness or malice, the new Germany. From the beginning this problem revolved about and was resolved for her by the Germans themselves — the human beings she met in the Rhineland, Vienna, Czechoslovakia, and at Dresden.

Hers had been a patient training in brotherly love. Born and brought up in a Quaker household in Pennsylvania, she learned as a child the fearlessness, kindliness, and tolerance of the Quakers. She learned also a love for another people and their culture, — the Chinese, — for her family had for a century traded with the great House of Lin. After graduating from Swarthmore, she went to China, where she was admitted as an adopted daughter within the Lin family circle — an intimate experience in the understanding of another people which she has described in her first book, The House of Exile. Early in her stay she fell in love with an Englishman in the service of the Chinese Customs, and after their marriage she lived on in China till 1932. Following her husband’s retirement, they went to France, where he spent eighteen months in pursuing his early love — the study of music. Then he decided to go to the Rhine Valley to continue his studies.

On the way to Germany, motoring through Belgium, Nora Waln was prepared for some of the conflicts she was to meet in the Reich — first by a Belgian woman who had known the Germans through the trying years of their invasion, and who distrusted and feared their conscientious desire to order life for everyone’s good, whatever the moans or cost; second by a German in Eupen-Malmédy who longed for the day when ‘the Leader’ would rescue him and his fellow Germans from the unfair Belgian rule and restore them to the Fatherland.

Everything that met her eyes in Germany made her aware of a new order, a strict, authoritative régime of nat ionalistic pride and powerful direction: the disciplined customs officials, the formalities of pass cards, the Labor Corps, the Hitler youth, the radio speeches, the road signs—‘Germans, while you enjoy life in the Fatherland, remember your brothers in the Saar,’ ‘Hitler — Work and Bread,’ ‘Thank the Führer for 415,673 hours of work.’

But underlying these stern aspect s of the new order were the warm and beautiful elements of German life and character — the music, the walks, the Gemütlichkeit of inns, the happy, healthy children, the family life. In these things she found the human bonds that linked German life to the life she had known among the Pennsylvania Dutch — the love of flowers and forests, the beauty of music and folk traditions, the devotion to home and kin.

Yet these very things made all the more shocking and disconcerting to her the contrasts between the morality and deep-hearted tenderness and nobility of the German people and the blindness and cruelty of their fierce nationalistic pride. The warmongering she heard over the radio, the concrete examples of persecution of innocent people, the desertion of the cause of free speech and of loyalty to kin and neighbors, the frightened desire to keep free of politics and to accept without discussion the new tenets of Hitler’s government, the blind obedience, the spying, made her determine in her first horror and revulsion to leave Germany. But her loyalty to her husband, and her realization that she could not run away from life and that only through love and understanding of each other can men be civilized, kept her there.

So she found a house for them to settle in, and set herself to learning to know the German people. She listened to the radio. She talked with Nazi officials and with shopkeepers, with musicians, teachers, and intellectuals who had been made to suffer. She went to high-school programmes, national celebrations, amusement places, and private homes. Officials and civilians all welcomed her warmly. An appreciative German publisher asked permission to bring out a German edition of her House of Exile. But when she went to the Customs to receive some boxes of her favorite books she had sent for, an official censored them with a ‘black list.’ Watching him nail fast the box of banned books that must leave the Reich, she felt each blow shake her as if it closed a coffin and beat a funeral dirge for the Germany whose wisdom many of those books reflected.

‘Is that Germany dead?’ she asked herself. ‘Or does she lie as Snow White in a trance from eating a poisoned apple?’ That is the question which absorbed her during the months to come as she kept her record of life within Nazi Germany. . . .

With each twelve months of the Atlantic





ON right and left my dinner companions were Rhineland merchants — merchants ‘ruined’ by post-war conditions, so they said. They told me of the loveliness of life here before the war, of peace suddenly broken in a beautiful summer — a summer when one had rooms at Le Zoute booked for August, and the other was on his honeymoon in the Baltic. They spoke of a Germany unprepared; of the closing in of a net by jealous encircling nations; of the bravery of their friends at the front; of the courage of German women.

It was a long dinner. They mentioned fourteen promises not kept by their foe; a forced democracy; a food blockade; invasion by black troops; inflation; Jews who got rich; disorder; immorality rampant; reparations; Bolshevism — on and on they talked to me, explaining why they needed their Führer and what a blessing his coming is to their race and nation.

At another dinner party we were twelve at table. The cooking was excellent, the service unobtrusive, and the menu not too long.

We had asparagus soup; roast back of venison, chestnuts and Brussels sprouts, potato puffs, sliced orange, and a dry Bordeaux; then snowballs of ice cream in different flavors; and coffee. The china was from Florence, the silver Danish, the glass Czechoslovakian; the guests, with the exception of ourselves, all German.

Talk was of many things, but principally of music and how music is similar and different in various lands. Then I drew attention to myself, uncomfortably, by my reply to a question from my host. He asked if I was finding opportunity to see and do the things I should like in Germany; and I answered that I should have liked to go to the All-German Harvest Festival in the Harz.

I knew about the festival because Rüdiger and Otto had written a long letter about it. ‘The Harvest’ is celebrated as a school vacation in Germany, a break several days long, and they went to the National Socialist Thanksgiving in happy company with peasants from the farm of Otto’s uncle. Tillers of the soil from every valley, plain, and hill in the Reich were invited. All were asked to come in native costume. Rüdiger and Otto wore the garb of peasants from the uncle’s farm.

Our farmer from Eupen-Malmédy was there also. He sent us a picture postcard from Hameln, the town of the Pied Piper. He wrote on it that he was there because farmers of German blood from beyond the frontiers drawn by the Treaty of Versailles were especially wanted. He closed his greeting with the proud exclamation, ‘We Germans are one folk with one Leader!'

More than a million farmers had assembled, the majority bringing their wives and children. Trains and buses put them down at Hameln. From here they must walk up the long hills of the Harz. From the summit of the granite Bückeberg a noted conductor and his orchestra called to them with music, playing well-known German tunes, thus helping them to climb.

In the purple and orange, green and blue and crimson, of their costumes they were a brilliant crowd, thronging up through the autumn-tinted trees to the gray boulders of the mountain top. When they had gathered round as closely as possible, Herr Hitler spoke to them from the loftiest rock, his voice relayed to the farthest edges of the crowd through loud-speakers. ‘In years to come our Government will stand as a rock of order and stability towering above the Red Flood’ was in his speech. Then came magnificent fireworks. A thousand rockets scattered golden stars. The peaks of the Harz smoked like volcanoes and burst into flame.

Hour after hour these flares of red light rose and fell, flickering gigantically against the night sky. There were food and drink in plenty for everyone. And on and on the enthusiastic conductor led the assembly in community singing. Songs known throughout the Fatherland were interspersed with folk songs which had been carefully gathered from the byways of the Reich. When the conductor introduced such a song just a few voices would join in; but if it had true German feeling it would belong to the vast throng before it had been repeated three times. Soon more than a million lusty voices would send it echoing down the valleys of the Harz.

In description of the gathering, Rüdiger and Otto had used this expression:

Er lebt. Der Volkstrom ist ein Geist. Er lebt’— literally, ‘It is alive. The folkstream is a spirit. It lives.’

This had seemed a marvelous festival when I read the letter. Now, as I spoke of it, I was suddenly conscious that all other conversation round the table had stopped. There was a strange element in the silence.

Finally a man said, ‘You will certainly have a chance to go another time. The National Socialists have made this an annual gathering.’

He dropped this into the vacuum — yet general conversation did not restart. I noticed several people crumbling their bread. At last a woman looked directly at me and held my gaze. She asked: ‘Have you read Faust?’

I had n’t.

‘At least you have heard the opera?’

I had — several times.

‘Don’t you realize that the Bückeberg in the Harz, this same granite summit from which Herr Hitler speaks annually to assembled multitudes, is the mountain to which Mephistopheles led Faust?’ Her tone was hard, accusing; then it softened. ‘Faust is the story of a man who sold himself to the Devil — at first he was pleased and then he was sad. Goethe did not spin Faust from his imagination. Goethe — the greatest of our thinkers — made this drama of our folk legends. He carried the manuscript with him sixty years — working on it and reworking it. Faust is us — us in a way perhaps no foreigner can understand.’


Another evening we were guests at a house where taste and wealth had combined to create a home into which it seemed right that art treasures from all over the world should be gathered.

Candles glowed on the table, their flame reflected on the polished board; but the night was moonlit and the curtains had not been drawn. Generous windows gave a view of the mountainside sloping irregularly down to where the Rhine flowed, a silver river between silvered banks.

A Chinese Goddess of Mercy, a beautiful figure, stood in a niche of the dining-room wall. Bronze chrysanthemums had been laid at her feet.

Our host and hostess were friends of German friends of ours in China, and this was the first time we had met them.

He is a noted scholar, a man who has devoted his life to the study of early man, with special emphasis on the Germanic race.

After dinner there was music, selections from composers before Bach. Nearly everyone played and sang. The set of songs I liked best were given by our hostess, songs similar to Elizabethan lyrics and sung to a harpsichord.

At the close of the evening we were asked to stay on a few minutes after the others had gone.

When we were alone with them our host said: ‘We had hoped that we should see much of you when you came to Germany. From the letters of our friends in China we feel we know you. But the way of our life has changed. I have been dismissed from my place at the university here. I have been invited to the university at Madrid. Elfriede thinks we should go.

‘We must go. We must get away from here. We must live where there is human freedom,’Elfriede declared with quiet intensity.

‘It might be best if we stayed here. I could work on my researches here at home. I do not know if I ought to do it,’said he. ‘My wife has always been wealthy. This house is hers, from her grandmother; her dowry supports it. She has always lived in luxury. She cannot understand what living on a professor’s salary will mean.'

‘ Helmut — that is not fair. I’m not a slave to materialism.'

‘No, Liebling, thou art not. Forgive me,'

They seemed to have forgotten us, and we rose to go. But they wanted us to stay.

‘It is like this,’ he explained. ‘I was a poor boy — a schoolmaster’s son in a little village. My parents contrived and I contrived. I got through the university. I was a teacher. I studied; I wrote things. I never gave any attention to politics. We Germans have a deep sight, but not a broad sight. I looked only at my own subject. I did not work for the National Socialists. I did not work against them. I never thought about them except to be sad when my brotherin-law mixed in politics and was killed. I thought just of my own subject. The book I worked on for years was published a month ago. The last twelve years every thought I have n’t given to the book I have spent on building up my department at the university. My department has a reputation — a reputation among scientists in Germany and beyond.’

‘The book is wonderful,’ put in his wife. ‘ It is a big book with dozens of illustrations. People like it. It is a costly book, yet it has sold more than a thousand copies in a month. It has not been forbidden — it was on sale in town this morning.’

‘I got my dismissal in a letter from Berlin, which came eight days ago. It says that I may no longer teach or lecture in the Reich. I took the letter to the head of the university. He had received no notification from Berlin; he said I had best go up to the Bureau of Education about it. I wrote for an appointment, but got no answer. I went up. At first it seemed I should never get past the clerks. Each person encountered in the bureau said, “It is not usual to question decisions of the Reich.” Finally I did see the Minister. He said the same thing, and no more. I said, “Then I presume all I can do is to say good-bye” — and he replied, “That would be the wisest course."'

‘ The wisest course is to leave Germany quickly,’ declared Elfriede.

‘I think, think, think all the time — what can I have done to sweep away my work like this? I lectured that week in Düren. It was a lecture on the Goths — what could I have said that was not allowed? I spoke only of the eastern Goths, their movements, their disappearance — the sagas. Or was it something else — something I did —’

‘It is futile to do that puzzling, Helmut. We are fortunate,’added his wife, ‘that he had this invitation to lecture in Madrid just at this time. We can be off at once now.'

‘Can you pack in a week?’ I asked.

She looked puzzled; then smiled, a sad smile that twisted one’s heart. ‘You do not understand, of course. We shan’t be able to take many things. Germans who leave their Fatherland today cannot take much. We are under a shadow — we do not know why. But we do know one thing with certainty. If we leave we shall be listed as traitors — my fortune, forfeit to the state, will go into the coffers of National Socialism. It is not the loss of the money I shall mind; but strangers — such strangers — in my grandmother’s house!’

In less than a week they were gone. I heard of their departure through a couple who had been our fellow guests at their house. They had gone quietly, without saying farewell even to relatives or their most intimate friends.

Sometime later these friends showed me a Berlin newspaper. It contained an article on ‘traitors against the Reich whose fortune is forfeit to the state’ and gave a list of names. There were seventeen in the column, some of them worldfamous. The names of our former host and hostess were on the list.

I was reminded that the professor had had a brother-in-Iaw who had mixed in politics and was killed. I asked about this brother-in-law, and learned that during the Republic he was an outspoken Social Democrat. When President von Hindenburg appointed Herr Hitler Vice Chancellor on January 30, 1033, this man issued a pamphlet warning citizens against the encroaching dangers of dictatorship. After the Reichstag fire on February 27, he stated without reserve his opinion that the National Socialists had done this themselves to unloose a wave of terror and ride to power on it.

He worked hard to oppose them in the March elections, and issued a pamphlet against the proclamation of the antiJewish boycott of April 1933. He tried to form a league of men and women organized to fight the ‘Law of April 7’ when published, because he felt that its ‘reform of the organization of the Reich ’ simply meant the handing of government over to complete Nazi control. He issued a pamphlet telling Catholics that the Concordat signed between Hitler and the Vatican on July 8 would be betrayed by Hitler as soon as he had made what use he could of the Catholics.

On July 16, not quite six months after Hitler became Vice-Chancellor, a law was published forbidding all parties except the National Socialist Party. Shortly afterwards this man went for a walk one evening and did not return. At Christmas the wife shot their fiveyear-old son and herself ‘while of unsound mind.’ She had that morning received a package — a cigar box marked with a swastika and the word ‘traitor’ before her husband’s name. It contained ashes.

I was not yet used to things like that, and recovered consciousness to find the narrator splashing cold water on my face and neck. My friend was crying quietly, as she scolded me: ‘You have got to learn to steel yourself against shock. This thing is n’t going to end in Germany — or in Europe.'


It was Christmas Eve. Marie was home from Switzerland for the holidays, Brenda spending hers with her grandmother in London. We had been invited to enjoy the festival with a family living some distance away. Ready before the others, I looked at the Christmas number of a magazine while waiting and, attracted by the ideal in it, read this: —

The Holy Night festival in German lands is not an invention of the Christian Church. It is an age-old custom handed down to us from our remote ancestors. The day of the Winter Solstice was sacred to them, and the period round it was a holy season. Down through the ages to the present day the true German gives himself to good deeds without the ulterior motive of expecting a reward from Heaven. For us the Christmas festival must be forever a festival of well-doing.

We were off. It was a long way, a winding way through town and countryside. The Christmas markets were still open, but their stalls were nearly empty of dolls, toy furniture, engines, dappled horses, woolly lambs, colored balls, tinsel, gilded cones, candies, fruits, and nuts. Folk hurrying home had their arms full of parcels. Every cluster of houses, no matter how large or small, had its Christbaum a tall evergreen tree standing in the open, its graceful branches decorated and ready to light at dusk, a star on its highest tip.

Each person we saw appeared engrossed with Christmas. A woman was busy setting a row of white candles in her front window. A man pulled a cart heaped with red-berried holly. Mistletoe in a great bunch swung on the back of a broad-shouldered youth in soldier uniform. A girl with Gretchen plaits herded geese through a roadside gate, hampered by a basket of bright apples in one hand and a basket of hazelnuts in the other. Axe in his belt, a handsome brown-bearded giant strode forward carrying a hemlock on his shoulder, whistling ‘Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht.’

Warmly dressed, we opened the car windows. Crisp and cool the December air blew in. Up and up wound the way into a place of pointed firs. Snow had fallen. We saw the tracks of deer, and then a deer. These were the scenes of the old German Christmas cards — this the same little red-breasted bird balancing serenely on a twig, these the houses, the villages, the people. ‘He is almighty and strong who at Christmas was born,’ sang a farmer unharnessing his team in a barnyard shed.

On and on we went. My heart sang.

I was happy — happy to have Marie, happy to be traveling through a German Christmas-card landscape to Christmas in a German home.

‘There is Saint Nick’s reindeer!’ cried Marie, pointing to a wood. He stood at its edge, a handsome buck with finely antlered head.

The road dipped, leading into a valley threaded with villages — villages as charmingly built as the others we had passed, but strangely quiet. Dusk was gathering. Each had its Christbaum; yet none were lit. At the entrance and exit of every village, and sometimes before houses, stood a sign against Jews.

’Juden dürfen hier nicht bleiben’ (Jews must not stay here) — ‘ Wer die Juden unterstützt fördert den Kommunismus’ (Who helps the Jews helps the Communists) — 'Juden unerwünscht’ (Jews not wanted) — 'Deutschland! erwache aus deinem bösen Traum, gib fremden Juden in deinem Reich nicht Raum!’—(Germany! awake from thy bad dream, give stranger Jews in thy Reich no room!) — ’Juda, entweiche aus unsrem deutschen Hans! ’ (Judah, vanish from out our German house!) — these were among the things we read. The writings before house doors were on white sheets stretched between two posts thrust into the ground and plainly lettered in black. They all had to do with women either married or engaged to men of Jewish blood. They were personal allusions to that girl or woman, and of a sexual vileness I would not have believed had I not seen them.

The signs continued, and there was one at the entrance of the village above which stands the Schloss of our host.

‘Where,’ I thought, ‘where are the sons of those Saxons who put into their tribal laws the peace of Josephus?’

We arrived and were welcomed. We took off our things in the wing assigned to us, admired the big tiled stove in each of our rooms, went down to where the household were gathered. We had met our host and his wife but once, at a house in Coblenz, and they had generously invited us to see a real German Christmas. They introduced us to their children, other relatives, and friends.

A pleasant wine was served. We had conversation, and more conversation. Supper was expected. We had been told that it would be early so that there would be time for the singing of carols, the compulsory listening to the Government broadcast, and the tree before going to midnight Mass. Supper did not come. I noticed that our hostess pulled a bell — pulled it again after a short interval. No one came. Then, outwardly composed, she pulled it steadily while taking part in the general conversation.

At last the man who had served the wine appeared.

‘Is the food not yet ready?’ she asked.

‘The cooking is done,’ he replied, ‘but I cannot serve it. There is a Jewess among you.’

‘Frau von D—— is a Catholic —

three generations a Catholic. You have served her every Christmas Eve since you entered our service.’

‘ I do not serve her any longer. I am a good German, a Kerndeutscher.’

‘You know well that she is a good German and that her husband was Kerndeutsch — he fell fighting for our country.’

‘I obey the Party. I do not hand food to a woman of Jewish blood ever again.’

‘Very well,’ our hostess answered. ‘The children will serve. You have been with us twenty-three years. You can pack your things and go.’

‘You cannot dismiss me. I belong to the Party. You can’t put my wife and me out of our quarters.’

‘That will do,’ interposed the master of the house. ‘You may stay until after Christmas, but you will not appear abovestairs again.’

‘No,’ said the butler. ‘It won’t do, and you had best not annoy me. I know too much about you, — international pacifist.’

‘Get out! I am master here!’ Their eyes met and wills clashed.

The man who had been butler for twenty-three years dropped his gaze, thrust his head forward on a bull neck, and advanced a step with clenched fists. ‘I have a book with every illegal telephone call and visitor you have received listed in it — with hour and date. You read the London Times — you are often in the borderlands.’


The butler turned and was gone. Then our host said gently: ‘It is Christmas Eve — please forgive my roughness, my friends.’

We were a company of sixteen in the room, among us several middle-aged women, and I had not distinguished which one might be ‘of Jewish blood.’ Now a pretty woman announced, ‘I will leave. I should not have come.’

‘No — no, Rösel,’ exclaimed our hostess. ‘No — you are always here at Christmas. We love you.’

‘Aunt Rosa!’ The children pressed round her. ‘Aunt Rosa, you can’t go. You can’t go when we are in trouble. You belong to us. You stayed when we had scarlet fever!’

‘Richard, don’t let her go,’ our hostess was crying.

‘She is not leaving,’ promised our host. ‘Sit down, Rösel — you are one of us. We are all Germans — Germans in trouble — Germans caught in an Alpdruck.’

(An Alpdruck is a nightmare in which the dreamer feels pressed down as with the weight of the Alps.)

We went in to supper. The table was decked with a beautiful linen cloth and adorned with evergreen, gilded cones, and gay Christmas ribbon. I have no memory of what there was to eat. No one could eat, but all made a pretense. The children served, and then a man came and took the task away from them.

He was Erich, the chauffeur, and he said, ‘Cook and I are against the conduct of that fool — he is a poor deluded sleepwalker.’

Wir sind ein schlafwandelndes Volk,' responded our host.

Staring at them, I thought that perhaps this was the answer to German conduct, and said it over several times to myself: ‘We are a sleep-wandering people.’

The parents seemed to have forgotten that they had children and that this was Christmas Eve. All we adults round the table were preoccupied with our thoughts, but Erich did not forget. He urged the little ones to partake of things he handed, he whispered to them, he brought smiles, he even hummed '0 Tannenbaum! 0 Tannenbaum! wie grüm sind deine Blatter'— reminding them that the Christmas tree followed supper.

Then our hostess roused herself. She told a German legend of Mary, the Mother of Christ. Mary, walking through a winter wood where snow and ice covered ground and trees, met a hungry child. Mary bent down to a frozen rosebush, pressing it against her breast. And while the child watched the frost melted, the bush became green; it put forth buds, and roses opened as by the kiss of a June sun — the most fragrant and beautiful roses ever seen. An apple tree that stood near saw this and broke from the grasp of winter, came into flower and leaf; little apples formed, grew, and ripened — all while the child watched. Mary gave the child to eat of the fruit and her hunger was fed. Mary filled the child’s apron with fruit, loaded her arms with roses, and sent her home.

From the supper table we went to stand before the salon doors and sing. Then the doors slid wide and there was a lovely hemlock soaring to the ceiling of the great room, a dark green tree lit with white candles.

Beneath the tree stood a Krippe — all the figures of the story of the night of the Christ child’s birth, beautifully made. And on low tables on either side were the Christmas gifts. Then I saw that the helpers of the Schloss had joined us — but not the quarrelsome butler. Master and mistress, children, helpers, and guests joined hands; circling the tree, we sang carols of the Child born in Bethlehem.

After this the father, aided by his two sons, gave out the gifts. Happiness came now, as there were many surprises. Few gifts had been bought; nearly everything had been handmade by the donor, carefully hidden from sight during the past year whenever the one who was to get it came near.

Die Bescherung, or gift giving, was interrupted while the radio was turned on for the Government’s Christmas Eve broadcast. This was addressed ‘to all Germans, particularly those beyond the present borders of the Reich.’ Herr Hitler’s deputy gave it, and there was announcement that it would be repeated twice on Christmas Day. It was: —

The world knows to-day, and politicians of other nations have recognized this, that thanks are due to the Führer alone that the peace of Europe was preserved during the past year when it was often in grave danger. His prudent hand and reassuring declarations have shown him to be a statesman of worldwide capacity. Germans abroad need no longer be ashamed of their Fatherland. They can be proud of it. No doubt many other nations prefer that other Germany which bowed to every foreign command no matter how humiliating or deadly — the Germany of party strife, self-mutilation, economic decay, unemployment, Bolshevist disintegration. They would have preferred Germany to yield up the Reichswehr’s last machine gun. Prowling foxes always prefer helpless mice to prickly hedgehogs.

In the fable by Wilhelm Busch, the fox on meeting a hedgehog said to him, ‘Don’t you know that peace has been declared, and that it is a crime against the King’s command to go armed? Hand over your skin.’ And the hedgehog made reply: ‘First have your teeth drawn, then we can talk’ — thereupon he curled himself into a ball with projected spikes and faced the world armed but peaceful.

In spite of a promise given a once-confiding hedgehog, the other nations have shown that they were not willing to have their teeth drawn and so should not now take it amiss if the hedgehog, grown wise, prefers to possess defensive spikes. This is certainly safest for peace between fox and hedgehog.

When the radio was turned off no one in all the company said anything until a youth, who I learned later was a stable hand, said grimly: ‘Well — I suppose that means conscription for army service is about on us.’

‘What makes you think so, Hein?’ asked our host.

‘That speech following on what I heard last week. I was at one of those compulsory meetings listening to a man from the South. Just at the end he pointed at a graybeard sitting by me and shouted: “Grandfather, you won’t have to wait long now to see your grandsons in the uniform you love.’”

Nobody spoke further, and the opening of gifts was continued. Hein was given the parcel for the butler and his wife.

We sat there enjoying our presents until time to go to midnight Mass.

I had never attended a Catholic Mass. We stayed for three. I found them very beautiful. In the gracious services of the Church every one of us seemed to have found reassurance about life. The lines of apprehension that had marked faces were gone, replaced by those of serenity. When we came out into the early morning air a few stars were still in the sky.

Rösel, walking beside me, said, ‘The Germans are a good people. This National Socialist Party is not representative. Its leaders are poor men sickened with longing for revenge on the defeat of 1918. They deserve our pity. I prayed God to forgive them, for they know not what they do.’


A fine damask covered the table. A low vase filled with Primeln stood on an embroidered doily in the centre. It was Sibylla’s turn to have the Reading Circle, and our custom to meet for Abendbrot, or ‘evening bread.’ They had had a membership limited to five before they took me in. Now places were regularly laid for six. In rotation, meeting by meeting, one member read aloud while the others sewed or knitted, always for charity and usually for Germans abroad — the Sudeten in Czechoslovakia, the Siebenbürgen in Hungary, the poor folk of Austria, the Saarländer, and the Süd Tirolers. The book must be worthwhile.

Just now we were having Theodor Storm’s Pole Poppenspäler. The last reading had broken off where Paul and Lisei, separated since childhood, have recognized each other by the crucifix before the church. The others knew the end, but I did not; and it was a regulation of my admittance to their circle that I should never, privately, peer ahead into the story.

Helma had the turn to read. I was anxious that she should begin — begin before supper, or read at table.

‘Certainly not. You cannot come here, Aasländerin, making rules. We eat first and then we read. That is our practice. Reading at table! Such manners! Have you no respect, for Sibylla’s food? We are here to enjoy eating as well as to read.’

The eating was good. Sibylla had a four-compartment Vorspeisen dish holding Sardinen, Appetitsilt, Geräucherten Aal, and Gemüsesalat; also raw tomatoes, salt and pepper, butter and toast. These we ate on small plates placed on little lace doilies on large dinner plates.

Vorspeise is the appetite rouser.

Little plates and doilies were removed and we took the next course on the large plates — hard-boiled eggs, Westphalian ham, slices of cold veal, Kümmelsülze, pumpernickel, and rye bread; cheese of three kinds, radishes, and butter; and a choice of draft beer, ice-cold, or hot tea.

When we had finished and helped her clear up — Sibylla keeps no servant — we got our work and Helma opened the book. She read of the glad reunion of Paul and Lisei, their love, marriage, and their life up to the place where Lisei’s father, the old player living in luxury in Paul’s house, longs to give again, just once more before he dies, his old puppet show — and wants his daughter, now the proud Paul’s wife, to help.

At the point where the old man pleads for this wish, Sibylla’s doorbell rang. The book was put down, and Sibylla went to the door. She stayed away. We sewed and knitted. Helma took up the cross-stitch work she was doing on a dress for an unknown child in the mountains of Czechoslovakia.

At last Sibylla returned, her face deathly white. ‘ I may as well tell you now,’ she said. ‘Karl has lost his paper.’ (Karl is Sibylla’s twin brother.) ‘He has lost his paper — but he is alive. They kept him five days. They took him last Monday — the family did not let mo know. Ruth is here — she has been sent to tell me.’ (Ruth is Karl’s daughter.) ‘They took him from the breakfast table — two young men in Party uniform. After five days they brought him home. He has signed a contract — sold the publishing business Grandfather and Father built up — given it in exchange for a farm.’

‘Is Karl all right, Sibylla? Normal?’

Ruth had come in. ‘Mother says he is like a man shell-shocked. Mother was a nurse in the war. She — she says he — he needs quiet.’


The invitation to dinner was finely engraved on nice paper. I wrote an acceptance and went to post it. It was about ten o’clock of January 14, the morning after the Saar plebiscite. Asking for a stamp, I got one of a new issue, ‘The Saar Comes Home,’ picturing a pretty young mother receiving into her arms a bonny child.

‘You had them ready in advance,’ I commented.

‘We did,’ replied the clerk, handing me a tiny sponge on which to damp the glue. ‘The poor Saar folk. The poor Saar folk.’

‘Now they are home, they will soon forget their exile,’ I consoled.

‘Now they are Nazi property, their sugar feeding will stop and they will feel the heel and the whip like the rest of us.’ And then he jerked himself up. ‘Mein Gott! What have I said!’

‘Nothing except that the weather is fine,’ I replied, and walked away.

If the reader should conclude that the Germany I saw in the winter of 19341935 gave the appearance of a sad and crushed land, then I shall have misled. Far from it. Music, dance, merriment, and enthusiasm were abundant in this world. My husband was in Germany for music. We went to opera several times a week, traveling here and there for it. Everywhere the opera houses were full. It was the same at concerts and theatres.

At the restaurants and amusement halls, — especially at the end of the month, which is pay day for many, — one could not get in if a little late in arriving. There seemed no end of balls celebrating various occasions. Cologne Carnival, with its motto ‘Fool let fool

pass,’ opened on November 11, Fool’s Day, rising through a crescendo of merriment to a climax on the night before Lent, when one heard the boast, ‘Few in the city have slept for three nights


Dissatisfaction was met but accidentally, and tragedy apparent only when stumbled on.

Lecturers stumped the Rhine Valley continuously, extolling the virtues of National Socialism — unheckled and uncontradicted. Hoping thus to widen my vocabulary, I became an attender, taken along by this and that acquaintance. I learned new words and phrases from ardent orators scorning liberalism, and how to shout in a dozen ways that democracy is dead.

The theme ‘Germany must keep the key to her breadbox in her own pocket’ was presented so often that when a speaker neglected any of the tenets of this belief I could have risen from my seat to prompt him. I listened more than once to the prediction that within five years of his acceptance of the Vice Chancellorship Adolf Hitler would have the Treaty of Versailles torn to ribbons, and in ten the German legions would stand on the frontiers of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. I came to accept as usual the statement that in our lifetime we should see the Third Reich, an armed fortress, holding the peace of Europe secure.

I was often in company of massed crowds. They sang more easily than they cheered. When such ambitions as above were mentioned, they seemed unenthusiastic. Except when led into acclaim they were quiet.

One day I went to Renate’s to give her some wool I had got from England. I found her in bed; not ill, just upset — upset over the continued arrests of Sisters of Mercy and their confinement in prisons under sentences of five or ten years of hard labor. She explained that these Catholic nuns had served their fellow Germans as true sisters of mercy during the war and the years that followed, nursing the sick and wounded, finding food and clothes for the hungry and cold.

She told how, when there was no more money in Germany for such use, they had gone to Holland, and succeeded in borrowing it. She emphasized that the German character is honest, and these Sisters are of the German people. They had given their word in Holland to repay, and they had been steadily repaying. Then, on October 1, an edict had suddenly been issued from Berlin forbidding any person to take more than ten marks over the frontier. They had tried to find some legal way to pay their debts — tried to deal with Berlin about it — and failed. Now brave Sisters volunteered to take it over, and, if caught, to suffer what came.

‘It is terrible,’ Renate said, ‘that these good women should be treated so. No gratitude shown for what they did in years not long past. And then the waste — the pitiful waste of it. They are needed — needed now to nurse the sick and tend the poor right here.’

The evening of the dinner party arrived. Our host was a National Socialist official. I sat on his left. He asked me my opinion of conditions in Germany, and I had his attention for my replies. Others were drawn into the talk. They were not rough people, or loud. They had the vigorous look of physical fitness which characterizes both men and women of the Party, and quick, frank ways of speech. All seemed to be ardent believers that through National Socialism leads a way to German salvation.

They were reassuring. I cannot explain how it was, nor remember distinctly what they said. But I came from that dinner reassured. I was won by earnestness and good words. That evening I wrote in my diary, ‘There are honest and intelligent people in the National Socialist Party — people who deplore the same happenings as I do — people who strive to restrain the rough and ignorant — strong and capable men and women who may succeed.’


Spring came on as beauteously as any spring I ever saw. Snowdrop gave place to violet. Windflower spread a white carpet round the gray boles of the budding beeches. Misty bluebell and dainty lily-of-the-valley filled wooded glades. Forget-me-nots gave charm to banks, and wild iris stood in rows along marshy streams.

But before the first winds of spring shook perfume from the tight buds, Germany suffered a sad fortnight. The local newspapers were peacefully busy reporting social discord in the neighboring nations of Europe and far-away Australia, India, and the United States; contrasting the sorry plight of people there with the accord in which the fortunate folk of Germany lived. In this fortnight I went twice to the cinema. Prior to a Greta Garbo feature I saw a strip depicting Bolshevik strife, rough and bloody, from which their Führer had saved Germans; and prior to Mickey Mouse a strip showing German soldiers of the old army embarking happily to war, cheered, embraced, and decorated with flowers by adoring womenfolk. In this latter strip the men were handsome, the women fair, the children sweet, and the photography lovely. It was attractive, I mentioned its charm to the stranger on my left. He muttered, ‘ Propaganda.’

During these days the National Socialist Secret Police made silent arrests. Late at night and early in the morning they took man after man from German homes. News of this was not published, but it traveled as if carried by the birds. Rumor gave the number of the taken at more than two hundred, whispering that all were of the cultured class. I knew three of the arrested. One of them was our host of Christmas Eve. They were taken without accusation and thrown into prison without trial.

As accurately as I could learn, this is how the arrests were made. The doorbell or knocker sounded. There stood two, or at most three, tall men with pairs of pistols in their belts— men between twenty-live and fortyfive with the daily-dozen-followed-by-acold-shower look, the smoothly tailored uniform, the precise manner, the direct speech, which characterize the National Socialist Party. The chosen hour was one at which they would find the wanted man relaxed, surprising him at a meal or in bed. They asked for their victim and were admitted. He got together the things they allowed him to have and went away with them.

Other members of the household behaved as if hypnotized. They had no faith that he would have a chance to free himself by any legal means, no hope that the courts of justice would be open to his use. Their minds were filled with memories of what they knew of others who had been taken in this way — disappearing forever, returned in a closed coffin, or, if let out alive, coming back starved in body and crazed in mind. Yet they did nothing. Family and friends let their man go. They neither stayed the arrestors nor insisted that they be arrested with him. They did nothing.

‘It would have been of no use. We should have been shot.’

When he was gone they wept and made efforts to find out where he was kept so as to send him food, bedding, clean things. They pulled wires trying to get him released — getting somebody who knew somebody who knew somebody else with power to have him let out.

The man’s church did not stand up in a body for his defense. The university where he had taken his degree made no move. Seemingly a German has no club or organization of any kind which looks to his protection. I had believed that the Student Corps were modeled on the principles of chivalry and supposed they would do something for their members in such cases, but learned that they do not.

So far as I was able to ascertain, there is no German group whatsoever to-day which publicly maintains that a German man should have an open trial in a German court, and that the judgment of that court is German justice. The persons I questioned told me that the present-day Germans have forgotten the use of the Saxon thing.

It seemed true. I saw and heard German men and women as yet unconnected with any such victim, as well as relatives and friends of a person so imprisoned, rest their heads in their hands and cry in despair, ‘We never had this in Germany before. It is not right. It is not right. But what can we do?’ Many times I witnessed this.

There was much patient suffering. Also, very frequently, I heard a hope expressed: ‘This terrible time will pass. It can’t last. It will pass.’ By some miracle, with no civic effort on the wisher’s part, a Santa Claus, a fairy godmother, a Prince Bismarck, would arrive on the scene of German history and make everything right again.

Others said, ’Herr Hitler does not know what is done in his name. He is a good man. He will straighten it out when he knows.'

On March 16, 1935, Herr Hitler’s edict reintroducing compulsory military service was broadcast. The people in whose company I happened to be just then heard the announcement with alarm. Their concern centred about the fear that France would reply with bombs.

In the succeeding hours I found this anxiety widespread. In street, home, and shop, people spoke of nothing but ‘Will France and England let this pass?' When bombs did not fall, there was general relief, and a return to laughter and song.

A man with whom we talked in an interval at the opera said, ‘This explains the recent raids of the Secret Police. Herr Hitler is shrewd. He has avoided any danger of German opposition to conscription by taking into the dreaded concentration camps a few men from every part of the Reich, thus striking terror into the hearts of pacifists in general. If we had the list of the arrested and the dossier of each, I imagine it would be found that every man had at some time or other in his life displayed an interest in pacifism.’

In my presence no one spoke against conscription. Many expressed hope that it would help solve the unemployment problem, and more were firm in the idea that a year of military discipline would do every youth good.

And spring came on. Our house looked to the Rhine, across a meadow sloping to the water’s edge. French windows opened to a paved terrace on the riverside. From the eastern end of this terrace, stone steps led down to a garden, where lawn, trees, shrubs, flower beds, and fountain had been neglected.

Sitting on the low wall that protected the terrace, I told my husband how I would fix the garden ’if I could.’ But his attention seemed entirely occupied in watching the sun set behind the dim spires of Cologne Cathedral, and lambs play a pretty game of run and dash on the meadow. I went away for a few days and returned after dark on Easter Eve. Easter morning I woke to find a note on my pillow telling me to seek my rabbit’s basket out of doors. From my windows I discovered crocuses, daffodils, tulips, and pansies in bloom where no flowers had been coming on. As my Easter surprise he had had a local nursery trim, repair, and plant exactly to my desire.

The song and movements of birds added charm to the silence of flowers. Lark, thrush, blackbird, finch, robin, wren, and warbler sang their delight in the loveliness of spring, winging flights through orchards of flowering pears, apples, peaches, apricots, cherries, and plums, halting to swing in formal gardens on branches of magnolia, lilac, mock orange, and snowball. Spring was here. A family resident in a valley famous for its nightingales asked us to come to hear their chorus, and we heard nightingales sing the whole night t hrough.

Life was marred only by the wickedness of man to man. Nature’s Easter was spoiled by horrid anti-Jewish banners and splashes of nasty yellow paint. By now I knew that shopkeepers did not put up the anti-Jewish signs in their own windows, or villagers hang them in their villages. The signs were forced on them by an anti-Jewish bureau in the National Socialist Party.

‘In such ways as this is the thorn of hate pressed into the German heart to fester a cancer there,’ a German woman, an ‘Aryan,’ declared.

Knowing of the cruel treatment of German Jews, and thinking of good men and women shut away in concentration camps, I had no happiness in the beauty I was free to enjoy. Many Germans were like me in this.

People often spoke of something Goethe wrote: ‘What our fathers have bequeathed to us we must earn to possess.’ But among these people none seemed able to do more than regret what they had lost, and the Germans of the National Socialist Parly had vigor. They kept up a steady flow of propaganda.


Our German relationship was fairly wide. We knew a number of Germans before we came here, and none neglected us. Without request from us, many resident abroad wrote their relatives and friends in the homeland asking them to be kind to us, and they were. Besides this, I cannot imagine any traveler, student, or sojourner in Germany being long without friends. The most casual meeting often leads to the suggestion, ‘Let, us meet again.’ My husband’s music drew many to us, and the publication of my book increased the number.

The book was issued during the spring of 1935. The translation was done by an American who came to Germany just after the close of the war, not knowing one word of German when she entered. Busy as a housekeeper, with music as a hobby, she had never tried a translation before.

The publisher had faith. When the finished job was in his hands he was warm in its praise. As for me, that translation is just the way I would write German —if I could. Critics shared this enthusiasm when they read the book, many stating that it read as if originally written in German.

The German public liked it and bought it. It is not a cheap edition. In fact, I thought when done that it had worked out rather costly. I had entered Germany with the feeling that these people had no money for luxuries, and I had not yet learned that among vast numbers of them a book is not counted a luxury. I never heard anyone express surprise on learning that a person had gone without meals or material things to buy a book.

My book brought me a contact with the German people which might have fallen to me from out their own Volksmärchen. It belongs, not to reality, but to the magic of the Gebrüder Grimm, Bechstein, or Wilhelm Hauff. I liken it to the wand given the old Chinese doctor in the German fairy tale, that he might look with it into the human heart as through a window.

I have been told that it is not a German habit for readers to write to authors. They do to me. Hundreds have written, and letters continue to come. The writers are of many kinds: a maker of violins, a pagan preacher, a Christian, a ship’s captain, a forester, a railway signalman, a banker, a schoolmistress, a farm family of eight who all signed their names below the mother’s, a man who dwells in a self-made boat moving happily over the inland waterways of his Fatherland, a wife who lives in a gray stone castle, Hitler Youth and Hitler Maidens, factory laborers and factory owners, young conscripts and seasoned army officers, folk whom I discover have disappeared for treason against National Socialism since they wrote, and members of the National Socialist Party who are the German Government to-day.

Rich and poor, of town and country, from up and down the hills and dales of their Reich they have written to me people of a land in dire revolution who write like poets, every one of them, and seem to look over what is at their feet into some wondrous garden.

My replies from a German address invariably brought an invitation to let my correspondent entertain us. My husband had come for music; he kept on the path of his intent. I had no reason for coming except that of keeping his house, and we had efficient German maids who quickly learned our ways. Soon they were competent in the same manner as our Chinese helpers, needing no further instruction from me, and by now I knew that I must widen my education to include as accurate a knowledge of the Germans as possible. A miracle had opened the way. I accepted the opportunity.

In the limit of my time it was not possible to go to all. I must choose carefully, hoping by meeting individuals of different walks in life and of varied opinions to come near to true understanding of German character. I gave first attention to avowed National Socialists.

Although I had now lived nearly a year among the Germans, my encounters with the Nazis had been purely accidental. I had at tended some of their lectures, but only for language study. I had repeatedly stumbled on their evil deeds. I had been impressed by good words at a dinner table. This had been followed by the Nazi arrest of my host of Christmas and others.

In deliberately setting to work to look at the National Socialists my intent was not malicious. My purpose was not to spy out their wickedness. It was evident that they were ardently engaged on a programme of some kind in the part of the world where I happened to have to live. I hoped to find some good purpose behind their apparent barbarism.

I have never reached toward acquaintance with a German — man, woman, or child — without response. The Nat ional Socialists were the busiest of people, yet they had time for me. To the company of Rüdiger and Otto, the young S. A. I had met through a sorority sister, and the people we had met at dinner, I could soon add a score of names. One and all, they took care to answer my questions, giving me the attention that earnest parents give to a child. They were always willing, even eager, to show me the work they had under way.

Submerged in music, my husband lived aloof from politics, as did the majority of the Germans we met through music. Such people said they were ‘uninterested in politics,’ but I had come to notice that they treated people who were Nazi with a caution which could not have been greater toward dynamite. They did this even though the Nazis were their own brothers, sisters, children, or parents. When it was seen that I was spending much of my time with avowed National Socialists, I was several times warned that I played with fire.

I could give this no heed; neither could I explain adequately. A number of people who had been friendly began to act as if they feared me. I could not leave my path although I lost acquaintances whom I had begun to treasure. I had to go on at whatever cost.

The creed I heard the Nazis proclaim resembled in no way anything I had been taught or had suspected about the Germans. Some of the people round me were enthusiastic about their ideas. Others cried, ‘How are we to get out of this strait-jacket?’ The majority kept cautiously out of the Nazis’ way, but lived, cheered, sang, and marched to their order. The Nazis were dominant over all Germans within the red and white frontier. Their flag with its red ground for socialism, its white circle for nationalism, and its Hakenkreuz for antiJewism, floated triumphantly above every head, my own included.

It had become imperative that I should know who were Nazis, and why. I needed also to know why they call their government the Dritte Reich, or Third Government, and just what their oft-seen posters, ’HitlerArbeit und Brot,' meant. I had to learn these things by actual acquaintance with National Socialists.


The term Dritte Reich was soon explained. Vaguely I remembered from history lessons that the Germans had a very long history, much too long to be encompassed under three periods of government. Those lessons belonged to the days when my grandfather was teacher; my new instructors treated the past differently. The Nazis call their period of government the Dritte Reich because they judge only three periods of German history to be of sufficient importance to count.

The first is the Deutsches Reich, generally known as the Holy Roman Empire, established by Otto the First. Until Francis the Second lost it in 1806, the Germano-Roman peoples were united under an Imperial Crown worn by German kings.

The second Reich is the one founded by Prince Otto von Bismarck, a Saxon, for the Hohenzollern Kings of Prussia. From 1862 until dismissed by the rashness of the last Kaiser, Bismarck took the lead in Prussian affairs. He created a German Reich composed of twentyfive state’s with Prussia at the head, and this government endured until 1918.

The Dritte Reich, or third period of importance, is the National Socialist Government, created by men who have never accepted defeat, who have always looked on those who signed the Versailles Treaty in the name of Germany as traitors to their race, and who have never had any feeling but scorn for the Weimar Constitution.

My Nazi acquaintances were serious, earnest people, belonging to various classes. A part of their creed is the abolishment of class barriers. They were alike in physical fitness, enthusiasm, and possession of well-fitting uniforms. They were always able to get good cars to take me to look at Nazi works, and generous in giving their time to my education. Each seemed sincere in belief that the road on which Germany was now started was the right road.

Several of them assured me that their Führer is a man to whom voices speak as voices spoke to Joan of Arc. They explained his accent, which I had found peculiar, by telling me that it has a similarity to the speech of the Sudeten Germans. They took satisfaction in the fact that the one singled out by God to be their leader comes from the borderlands of Germany, Austria, and Bohemia.

An S. S. (member of the Schutz Staffel, the black-shirt elite of the Storm Troops) told me that it is by psychology more than by might that the nation has been conquered. I learned that, according to the National Socialist idea, the will of the Führer is the will of the German people, and that logically ‘he who does not stand with the Führer is no longer German.’

German Jews he brushed aside as if of no importance. ‘Aryan’ Germans who do not think as National Socialists must be converted if possible. Otherwise, if of sufficient importance to be a political danger, they must be eliminated. When the Nazis came into power they already possessed a fairly wide index of outstanding persons, and since then this has been enlarged to cover the country. No one is disturbed who is not a potential danger to the fulfillment of the Führer’s laws when proclaimed, but it is necessary to have as complete a record as possible of everyone’s past. So this card index has been compiled.

The system used in keeping down uprisings is never to annoy until they can absolutely crush, separate, and then destroy, find ways to confuse elements that might join so there is no need to combat their united resistance. ‘A secret of National Socialist success,’ the serious youth explained, ‘is the accomplishment of a thing before others have any idea that there is intent to do it. Faced with the fact that it is already done, those who might oppose are put in a quandary.’

All National Socialists are pledged to blind obedience. For instance, should it ever happen that an S. S. finds his father’s name on the list of Germans he is to take to a concentration camp, he may not question or disobey. If, in such a time as the ‘cleanup’ of June 1934, he should see his brother against the wall when he is in the firing squad, it is his duty to shoot when the command is given.

The S. S. take a Spartan oath, and on them rests the duty of maintaining internal order in the state. They wear black uniforms decorated with silver. They may use firearms at need, and are closely united with the Secret Police. Theirs is not a state-paid service, nor is that of the men with the S. A.; they hold jobs in offices and industry, but must be given leave with full pay when needed for a state duty.

After the death of President von Hindenburg, when Adolf Hitler accepted the position of full responsibility for the Dritte Reich, the army swore an oath of personal loyally to him. In the weeks that followed, this same oath was asked from every branch of the many state services — church, school, railway, customs, postal, telegraph, telephone, police, tax bureaus, and so forth, until every person drawing state pay should be so pledged. All fell smoothly into line excepting the church and a few educators. The church opposition was too large to be immediately squelched. The educators had the choice of concentration camps or prompt exile.

None among those I met seemed to know with any certainty how many German men or women were in concentration camps. The numbers they mentioned varied from hundreds to thousands. They told me that earlier it had been said that such imprisonment was but a temporary measure during revolution, that there would be an amnesty and people would be let out as soon as National Socialism was established. But unfortunately people learned slowly, and certainly the number arrested was growing rather than getting smaller.

There was considerable talk of what should be done with these people in case of war. It was said that the task of guarding them, combined with keeping internal state order, would be more than could be managed by the force which could be spared from the front. Some said they would have to be put to death to save food. Others were emphatic that they must be forced to work on munitions and in other essential industries, housed in the work place under guard. But, as with everything else, they had to wait for an expression of their Führer’s will to know what would happen. Many were certain that at present all able hands in prison were kept at productive labor. ‘Since they have to be fed, any other system would be a waste.'

I heard much of the ‘legality’ of National Socialist actions during these days, but I never understood the reason for mention of this until I met a man versed in law. He said that Germans are very legal-minded and want things ‘legal.’ Excepting the present era, so far as he knew there had been no time in German history when laws were edicts, or a ruler occupied a position comparable to a Son of Heaven in China proclaiming the law and serving as the medium through which a God spoke his commands.

History shows that through the centuries the German people built up a thoughtful system of law for the regulation of their affairs, aiming at the protection of the individual as well as the maintenance of order in the state. It was the Germans’ boast that their courts were above corruption, law a sacred calling, and that no people anywhere surpassed them in this. Germany was divided into many states, and regulations differed somewhat, But they had a common legal tradition. Minor things might be unlike, but there was much exchange of experience, and a desire far beyond their own borders for ‘German law.’

They had such a vast accumulation of statutes that early in this present century a decision was reached to overhaul the legal system and revise the code. A group of German lawyers were appointed to make a survey of German, Austrian, and Swiss law. They began work in 1902, and in 1909 published a preliminary survey, followed by a more complete publication in 1913. Their work was interrupted by the war.

Immediately after the war the democratic governments of Austria and Germany agreed to revise their laws and make them exactly the same, basing their work on what had been done by the above commission. They reasoned thus: we are forbidden now to join together, but later, when we are united, our law will be in order and the unification of our affairs will be simple. So, without any public fuss, Austrian officials and lawyers came to Berlin and worked quietly on this with German officials and lawyers.

They made a joint plan, but, because of political unrest, it was never written into the Criminal Law Code. Immediately the National Socialists came into power they set lawyers to work on this problem. In the fall of 1933 the Prussian Minister of Justice put out the first memorandum on their effort, and in 1934 the Academy for German Law published a further report.

Up to then German law had held to the principle of no punishment without a law. The old book clearly stated, in the introductory remarks: ‘An act can be legally punished only when this punishment was legally established before the act was committed.’ The National Socialists have revised this, to read: ‘Whoever commits an act which the law declares punishable, or which deserves punishment according to the basic thought of a criminal law and in accordance with a healthy folk feeling, is to be punished. If no definite criminal law exists which can be directly applied to the deed, then the deed is to be punished according to the law which in fundamental thought best applies.’ Nullum crimen sine poena — no crime without a punishment.

Thus did they widen the power of the judge to a limitless authority, and also legalize their policy of bringing their fellow men and women into courts for deeds they did during the years before the National Socialists took charge of the Reich. For instance, a man who distributed pacifist literature in the twenties can be tried and convicted for that now; he may not be, but it hangs over his head like a sword on a hair— a warning to desist, from anything which may call the attention of the authorities to his past conduct.

The new code also widens police power. ‘The police have the task of putting into force the will of the Führer and can take all steps necessary for that.’ Hochverrat and Landesverrat (high treason and treason against the state) are terms broadened to include anything which might upset or disturb the smooth working of National Socialism. The use of the death sentence is given wide application.

And a new type of punishment is added to German law. This is called Fhrverlust, or loss of honor. It applies to political criminals in particular, but can be added to other sentences. A person so punished may no longer occupy public office. He is excluded from the National Socialist Party and all its suborganizations. He may not serve in the Labor Corps. He may not be a farmer, or an independent artisan. He must surrender all titles, orders, and medals he may have won in previous years of his life; he loses every right of German citizenship, including the right to serve as a guardian or custodian, and he loses control of his children. The Reich will take the children and put them into a home where National Socialist principles are respected and taught. Any father, mother, or guardian makes himself or herself liable to punishment with Ehrverlust by uttering a slanderous remark against the National Socialist State.

Lawyers, judges, and courts function busily. Their machinery has not been disturbed, except that in a state run on the Führerprinzip the will of the Leader transcends every written law. If the judges make a mistake and free a criminal who should be held, the Gestapo are within the law when they rearrest and confine the one mistakenly freed.


‘HitlerArbeit und Brot’ I had seen prominently displayed ever since our first day in Germany. On request, the way was quickly opened for me to see what was being done about work and bread. From the outset I was told that the attitude of the National Socialists to work is different from that of all others. Their emphasis is not on wages, but on the beauty of labor, the dignity of toil, the true happiness its successful performance brings.

My instructors said that a false shame has come into civilization, an attitude of scorn for the calloused hand which has made people strive after the whitecollar job. This has thrown society off its balance. I met lecturers and saw posters, pamphlets, and books prepared to emphasize the fact that all work honors the good workman. They aim at the ironing out of class barriers and envision a whole nation happy in working together under the will of one Führer, each person glad to put a hand to any task which needs doing.

The National Socialists want everyone in the Reich to have the experience of manual labor. Arbeitsdienst (labor service) is not yet compulsory for girls, but they are urged to volunteer for it. Many do; my daughter did. She went to a camp in which girls of her age from Cologne joined with the daughters of Essen factory workers. They got on well together. They had teacher-counselors. They rose early, had drill, camp housekeeping duties, and breakfast, and went off to land duty. I did not want her to go because I thought the task would be too hard. It was hard, and she liked it; she came back strong, brown, and enthusiastic. She had done her daily duty in a small farmhouse washing the overworked mother’s floors, dishes, and children. Her companion worker had taken on outside tasks such as milking the cow, hoeing, and fence mending. It was all under carefull management. They checked in and out for so many hours’ toil, and they worked always under the control of a counselor. College girls whom I know volunteered to spend their summer vacations in factories; they worked without pay, and let the girls they replaced go on needed holidays.

Six months’ labor service has been made compulsory for every German boy; there are camps enough to take care of them all as they reach the age of eighteen. The camp directors are men who have gone through a course of training for labor-service leadership, which has been made a state career. I was given a card granting me permission to visit any such camp I might happen to pass anywhere in the Reich. In all I visited seven. The camps are scattered all over Germany; those I have seen are by water, near woods, in meadows, or in as nice a place as was available in the locality. New buildings have been put up in some places, but wherever possible empty castles, old manor houses, empty barracks, or sets of cottages have been used.

Each camp I visited was immaculately clean and tidy both in its surroundings and inside, and this cleanliness extended to the Labor Corps and their director. All had parade grounds, lecture hall, sleeping quarters, dining hall, and a surprisingly modern kitchen. The beds had good mattresses, white sheets, blankets, and neat blue and white checked gingham spreads. Every camp had flowers in its rooms. I ate in each camp, found the food plain but well cooked, and enjoyed the meal.

The forty thousand ‘Soldiers of the Spade’ who go to Nuremberg each year are, of course, a carefully picked group. They are not the average of each year’s Arbeitsdienst; they are the cream. But the rest do not fall very far short of them in physical fitness, and it is amazing to see the stature and carriage improvement in a camp between the boys’ time of entrance and the finish of their six months. Coming as they do from shop, factory, farm, and every sort of family, rich and poor, some are pale and some strong, some are bent and some straight, when they arrive. They all emerge brown and hard, holding their heads high and their-backs flat.

When one visits a camp, all look contented; but the service is not done in pure contentment. Far and wide over Germany I have listened to considerable expression of dissatisfaction about it. I have heard farmers’ sons lament the ‘gentlemen’ in camp with them; and I have heard more gently bred boys grumble about having to mix with rough fellows. Besides this there is much complaint about having to take these six months and at first one, now two military years out of life for state service.

Some 250,000 come into camp each year. About a hundred are taken care of in each camp, the aim being to keep the groups small. The camp discipline is such as to make the boys slip easily into the discipline of their military service. Each boy is supplied with a work and a parade uniform, and each has two shovels— one for work and one kept unstained for drill. The days begin early and are strenuous. The boys have the task of camp housekeeping, which falls on them in rotation, drill, field work, and daily lectures in National Socialism.

It is the duty of the director to see that none of the boys overstrain themselves. Also care is taken that their labor does not disturb the paid labor market. They are assigned to tasks which would not otherwise get done, and they toil at land improvements such as draining swamps, cutting needed canals, dredging choked waterways, reclaiming land along the coast, helping with harvests, or filling in any farm labor shortage.

After visiting seven Labor Corps camps I wanted to halt and learn what was done about the employment of people who need to earn money to support families. ‘Everything in its order,’ I was told. ‘We have grounded you on the principle that everyone must learn to find work natural and good; next you will have the definition of a National Socialist state.’

A National Socialist state was defined as a state organized against poverty, discouragement, and enemy blockade. To achieve this result there must be overhead planning and a complete control of economic activities. In such a state the indifferent and the discontented have no rights which the patriotic will respect. The aim is to create and maintain a worthy standard of living in a powerful nation, which can be done by mathematical method and hard work. The bat talions of science must be harnessed to the programme.

Before the war, economists had warned Germany that an overdependence on the rest of the world had developed, but she had to suffer a blockade before taking this seriously. People had managed to live through those years, but under such distress as need never be repeated. Now was the harsh time of readjustment. A self-sufficiency which placed the Reich on a safe basis must be achieved, and the balance between town and country work put straight.

‘None shall be denied the right to work here. Neither will any who can work be allowed to be lazy. The majority of people really like to work; the fundamental thing is to fan that desire and then find things to be done. The truth is that there is so much in need of being done that every hand can be busy. We shall soon have a labor shortage. Unemployment is an absurdity, a disease of modern so-called civilization.'

The first step was to get an index of everyone able to work, and soon the Dritte Reich possessed a file of 25,000,000 people. Assigning them work was easy. The bureau of overhead administration needed thousands. Hundreds who knew languages were wanted for censorship work, as every tenth letter in the ordinary post must be examined and all the mail of people on the suspect list opened. Krupps and other rearmament factories needed thousands of workers. Builders, masons, carpenters, cement workers, in numbers beyond count were necessary to execute the Führer’s dreams for national rejuvenation— Berlin redone on a magnificent scale, Nuremberg made a fitting place for rallies, assembly halls in every city, a swimming bath for every village, a house and garden for every worker, boulevards joining every part of the Reich, and such a stir in manufacturing as ‘fairly took the breath away.’

As to labor conditions I learned that both employer and employee must be under close state control. Neither strikes nor lockouts are allowed, and no excessive profit on either side. The worker’s wages cannot be higher than production warrants, and watch must be kept that private wages do not coax men from government jobs. Employers of labor must not be allowed to take out more than 6 per cent interest on their capital invested, any further profit to be put back into enlarging and improving the works. ‘In this way we shall soon have the finest industrial equipment in the world.’

Hours of work are ‘twenty-four if our Führer needs twenty-four.’ No one can change a job without permission from the Labor Front. If a man’s wages absolutely are not enough for his family, he must turn to the various services for state aid. Wages are settled by the Labor Front. Some of them seemed microscopic to me, but I was assured that this is a practical Reich with the sense not to starve its workers to death. Its foundations rest, not on a gold standard, but on the strength of the producers.

‘The laborers had serious faces and a quiet mien. Visiting factories, I noticed how orderly and methodical they were. Often I heard music coming from radios, and I was told that men are quieter and work better with occasional music to do their work by. When I mentioned their paleness I was reminded that we had now reached midsummer, a time of trying heat, and was then told of the ‘Strength through Joy’ holidays on which many would soon be going. These are excursions at reduced cost.

There is a scarcity of skilled workers, technicians, chemists, and inventors. Prizes are given to those who find ways to replace the raw materials Germany does not have, and those who show ability for laboratory investigation receive every possible help. There are too many people wanting professional and clerical jobs, and too many small shopkeepers. No one is supposed to have a business which is nonessential. If a person wants to be a hairdresser and there are enough hairdressers, he cannot be one. Boys and girls about to leave school have to slate their preference for careers, but if that work is not needed they must take something else. The same with white-collar people; if there are no jobs of the kind they want, they must take what is offered. ‘It does a man who has only pushed a pen untold good to wield a shovel for a change.’ A person who refuses work may not draw any relief.

Taken to see public works, I saw a vast number of buildings in the process of going up. Scaffolding seemed to strew the land in such a fever of construction as probably has not been known here since the era of Gothic architecture. The Nazi period is marked by straight lines, precise shapes, calculated spaces, and size. The man who took me on this tour led me to scenes of activity with shining eyes; ‘This will be bigger than the Great Pyramid’; ‘This is going to be greater than the Roman Colosseum’; ‘Has the Great Wall of China more masonry than this?’ His enthusiasm was genuine. I, too, stood awed before the work of man’s hands. Human beings are so small, yet can do this, I often thought. The places for mass gatherings were largest — not cathedrals to honor God in a Heaven as in centuries past, but arenas for masses.

‘Why do you want them?' I asked.

‘To feel our greatness.'

I remarked on the fine workmanship.

‘ We build for the future. Our Führer’s orders are that all we build now must last at least a thousand years.’

Next I saw airports, new factories, and new farmhouses of the resettlement plan. We traveled over wide stretches of the Reichsautobahnen, and stopped at a place where a road was under construction. These roads are entirely new — no making use of old hits.

The Germans build well. The roads are not ugly scars across their land; they are things of beauty, exciting in their charm. They are invisible a short, distance off; then one comes on them — silver ribbons. No telegraph poles, advertisements, rows of refreshment stands, gasoline stations, or ugly houses line their banks. Grass strips separate the two ways of traffic, and these often divide around hills to meet and run side by side again. The roadsides are planted with shrubs and trees natural to the district; the bridges harmonize with the valleys they transverse.

None but motor traffic is allowed on them. In forest places, signs which light up at night ask one to be careful of the deer. Clear neat signs give the names of towns along the way, with a diagram showing how one must turn off to get to the town, and similar notices point out digressions to gasoline stations.

We stood now watching a machine from out of which a ribbon of road surface poured like paste from a tube. It lay there wet and smooth.

‘We have beaten the rest of the western world in road building,’ said my conductor. ‘We go forward at a cost of but three cents a square yard.'

‘How much do the workers get?'

‘Twenty-five marks for li fifty-three hours’ work. Five they give for various fees, and ten for their own keep; they are housed in temporary quarters put up along the way.’

‘How can you get men to work for that? ’

‘When road building is offered a man, he must take it.’ He turned to look back at the finished road. ‘It is beautiful, is n’t it ?’

‘It: is,’ I agreed.

‘It is — with a reservation in your approval,’he took me up quickly. ‘Now tell me what you really think about it.'

‘It is built with conscript labor.'

‘And so was the Grand Canal of China, and every stretch of world building that ever got done. Every man, woman, and child must he gathered up in a mighty sacrifice to one resolute will when great, things are to be accomplished. We have organization, discipline, enthusiasm, unity, ingenuity, generalship, and absolute control of resources,’he asserted quietly and firmly. ‘Our Führer’s will is decisive for all Germans —our law and his will are one. The working strength of every man, woman, and child within his dominion is power concentrated in our Leader’s fist. With that might he forges our destiny.’

That evening I heard on the radio: ‘The methods by which a people forces its way upward are of no moment,but the goal which is reached is important.’


‘Come and visit us and the trees,’ read the letter from Wiegersen.

In the autumn we sighted the red wall topped by four towers. Gates swung open to let us in. Rounding the curved road, we stood before the Schloss. Smooth lawns sloped to forest borders.

Katerlieschen and her family came down the steps to greet us. We were welcomed in under the arch of evergreen which by tradition spans the entrance door when a master of Wiegersen is in residence. Thus for the first time in my life I stayed on an estate devoted to the nurture of trees.

My room looked into a beech, my favorite of all the trees that grow. Leaning out of a window, I saw the noble tip reaching for the sky, lifted on a straight bole, and thought of roots going down into the earth deep as the tip is high. Not a rotten branch had the tree. Clean boughs curved gently up from the trunk to droop lower than the points of their take-off. What better than to dwell beside the wild live spirit of a glorious beech?

Here at Wiegersen, a paradise on earth, my troubled mind renewed its courage. Generation after generation the heirs of these broad acres have kept their land sacred to trees. Through the ups and downs of fortune, timber has never been sacrificed to the exigencies of the times. Lovely and beloved, the trees grow here from seedlings to maturity, the life span of many far longer than the life of man.

In the company of our host and hostess and little Katerlieschen, my doubting heart leapt up to faith in Germans. Amid their trees I remembered a thought Mencius has left us: ‘Through pain men grow.’ Walking forest ways, I recalled how the Chinese had to pass through the terrible era of Ch’in, when the unripe among them spent sixteen years in destroying their scholars, burning their books, scorning the precepts their forefathers had built up for the conduct of man to man, vesting right in might, drilling children to follow one fanatical will; and how this had passed and the Chinese had been able to make for themselves the era of Han, a period of enlightened living the like of which this earth has seldom witnessed.

Close to the eternity of nature, I felt how ephemeral are the mistakes of men. In the voice of the wood I seemed to hear a promise that this era in which Germans are living is but a purgatory through which they will pass. Under the forest sky I heard an eternal melody of which a German poet has written: —

Uber dcr Wipfel Hin-und Wiederschweben
Hoch droben dehi ein cruder Ton
Dem lauschen tausend Jafire schon
Und werden tausand Jafire lauschen.
(Over the treetops swaying to and fro
High stands a solemn melody
To which a thousand years have listened
And thousands more will listen.)

Somehow that serene rustle sang me a song of hope.

These are the forests of the German fairy tales. Through them move woodsmen dressed in uniforms so soft in their gray-green color as to be almost unnoticed among the trees. Light shines in shafts of gold through the conifers and cuts bars of silver across the trunks of oak and beech. Woodsmen fell and trim and plant in an unhurried quietness which seems scarcely to disturb the wild creatures. Under the trees, each hour of day and night has its ever-changing charm. I could never decide at Wiegersen whether I liked best dawn, noon, evening twilight, or the dark of the forest night.

The family at Wiegersen live long quiet days. The pace of their time seems tempered to the growth of trees. Our host is a man of mild temperament. loving simple joys, and our hostess gifted with kindness and the arts of a natural hospitality. Our days were filled with many small pleasures.

Breakfast was eaten all together at a table out of doors. It began at eight o’clock, a hearty meal for a family long up: brown bread and butter, boiled eggs, fresh tomatoes, slices cut from a ham, smoked sausage of several kinds, cheese, honey and jam, and a great pot of delicious coffee frequently refilled. Our breakfast plates were the country breakfast plates of Hanover — smooth, flat pieces of white wood on which one lays bread to spread it with butter and anything else to taste, then cuts the bread into squares for eating.

Eating was leisurely and accompanied by leisurely talk. In these hours I learned much of German forests in general, as well as of this one in particular. Perhaps most important of all, I grew to love a German family and have respect for them.

In such ways only will humanity get past the false barriers of nationalism which have so corrupted human society. Individually we must come to appreciate the truth our liberal forefathers glimpsed — that the nature of man and the operations of his mind are fundamentally the same in all places.

Life here was in the woods, the Schloss truly a forester’s home; and the trees seemed somehow more important than men. They were beautiful trees. And the season was autumn, a time when nature helps one to quiet thought. Pathways, called Pirschwege, led through the forests; these are aisles where, year by year, pine needles are piled to sink down into a cushion of springy softness on which footfall makes no sound. Many ladders led up to platforms where one could sit behind a screen of hemlock boughs, put on to protect the perch, and from there watch the fox, badger, deer, and other animals.

It is good to see them so, intent on their own affairs. A black buck roves these ways. He is the master of Wiegersen’s pride, a handsome fellow no gun is allowed to harm. For Katerlieschen the German forest would not be the German

forest without the deer; and, now that I have known woods where they live, every grove will be strangely empty without their shy presence.

At Wiegersen there are sheltered racks where food is put out for the deer in severe weather, and tables where dinner is laid for the birds. Deer get hay, unthreshed sheaves of oats, turnips, and sometimes corn, and they are provided the year round with salt to lick. Partridges like malt, bunches of mistletoe, and ripe apples, while pheasants favor roughly broken dried cod.

Often we walked with our host and his head forester and heard forestry lore. There have always been two schools of thought about tree planting. One favors mixed groves; the other, stretches of wood all of one kind. Both methods are practised at Wiegersen. The nineteenth century was an age of internationalism, and this shows in the forests here, as men then prided themselves on having as many kinds of trees in their soil as possible. In National Socialist times the rule is German trees on German lands, and only native trees may be set where new planting is needed. The self-important jay is himself a planter. He is fond of carrying seeds and acorns and putting them in where he will. Beeches especially he strews through groves where the forester did not intend to have them.

Willow, poplar, and birch reach the peak of their development at about fifty years; ash and maple have their best period near eighty; fir and larch can safely stand until two hundred; beech, elm, and silver fir keep in good heart longer, although at one hundred they are already noble trees. The oak, with its roots reaching into damp gray clay, will keep up a healthy growth well past three centuries. But it is not usual to let a forest have its full growth, and even the longest-lived trees are often hewn before one hundred and twenty years.

Every day has its task where a wood is kept in good condition, but wood folk never appear to hurry. Wood sawn up and arranged in neat piles, each holding so many cords, stands in the forest to season. Crooked and faulty pieces, butts and tops, are cut into firewood. Plantations of spruce are grown for the Christmas-tree market; they are cut at four to ten feet. The tender bark from young oaks twelve to fifteen years old is the most desired by tanneries. Yew is in demand for gateposts and other places where strength and endurance are needed. The cuttings from willow find a ready sale for basketry and other twisted work. The collieries are a big market for timber, which is also wanted for building, for paper, and now for the making of cloth. Nothing is wasted.

Sometimes we went to the Kindergarten, a nursery for trees set in a sheltered place deep in the forest. The care of these is an important part of the forester’s duty. Started from seed, they are kept in clean straight rows in a plot safely fenced against rabbits and deer.

I liked the Kindergarten. It whispered of a hopeful German future — each tree growing up toward light. Quite a foolish idea; but the little trees gave it to me.

Daily we went to the lake nature has provided as a swimming pool for Wiegersen. The water has the same look and feel as the water of the Rancocas in New Jersey — cool and warm in patches, with a clear brownness.

There was time for Katerlieschen to enchant me with the charm of her native tongue when used by poets. Beginning with Goethe’s Wandrers Nachtlied, she read aloud her favorites. She brought forward Lessing as a writer of animal fables, followed by Wilhelm Busch telling tales of Isegrim the Wolf and Reynard the Fox. In Im tiefen Forst we wandered with Erich Kloss deep into his wood.

During the last century a fire raged through the Schloss. Such treasures were rescued as there was time to save, but first attention was given to the protection of the surrounding woods. When the fire was conquered it was judged of less importance that the home had been destroyed than that no live trees had been lost.

When the rebuilt Schloss was ready, King George, the last to rule Hanover as an independent state, honored the housewarming with his presence. His signature is the first in the ‘new’ guestbook. At Wiegersen one saw many things of rare charm: a spread of Venetian lace lying across a couch, cupboards and chests made when hands cherished tools, exquisite needlework on fine linen, beauty definitely German, and treasures from far places. But the beauty most often in mind is that of the forests.

Without visits such as this I should have lost faith in all Germans; but following every period of doubt it was my fortune to be allowed to know people who gave me reassurance. By these friendships I am bound to Germany forever, one with that country in triumph and failure.

As we were leaving, our host said, ‘We in our generation are shaken by hard winds. Wind but settles the roots of strong trees. It should be the same with men.’


Wiegersen in Hanover is but a part of a vast system of forestation which holds sacred to trees a quarter of all land within the German frontiers. Living here, we had the pleasure of never going far out of sight of woodlands no matter where we traveled. I found this a happy contrast to the barrenness of those parts of China where centuries ago forests were sacrificed to the need of a time which has left in its wake drought, flood, and everrecurrent famine.

The present-day Germans are the children of people who worshiped their gods in groves. On forest walks one meets folk who speak of the beech as Wotan’s tree and mention the oak as belonging to the god of thunder. Once when I was out in a storm a woodman’s old wife opened her door and shouted at me to come in. I was glad to sit by her fire and while away the hours of the tempest listening to tales such as that of a raven whose duty it is to fly through the trees warning creatures and human beings by making a storm, which lets them know that the gods are about to ride past and they should go into their homes and not try to spy on holy secrets.

In a forest on the Deister I was shown a rocky place called Teufelstanzplatz, or Devil’s Dancing Ground, by the German who showed it to me. My attention was drawn to a large flat stone with a groove chiseled in it. According to legend, this stone is one formerly used for heathen sacrifices; the stained groove was a gutter for blood. My narrator called the stone Taufstein, or christening stone. She explained that when the first Christian priests came here they took the stone from its pagan use and used it in the service at which they baptized their converts.

Forest wandering is one of the joys of Germany, and Hans Schmidt introduced us to this pastime on our first Sunday. Then came the Wiegersen visit. Later I had beautiful weeks with the American who translated my book, wandering in Thuringia, ‘ the green heart ’ of Germany. She invited me to a house that had been lent her in a forest village. During our strolls she shared generously with me from the store of blossoms she has gathered out of German literature. The habit grew on me of going for forest walks alone, as many Germans do.

‘Here is a present,’ said Hans Schmidt one day, dropping a parcel on the table beside my sewing. ’I’ve joined the league to divert you from politics.’

It contained a Strollfuss-Karte for every forest in Germany, maps showing which kind of trees grow in various districts. I had the maps at hand ready for use whenever I felt the need of the quietness of forest strolls.

Paths are clearly marked. At crossways, signs explain the turnings. There are resthouses scattered through the forests ready to provide meals and shelter, and woodmen’s families have license to sell to wanderers much as if they were innkeepers. A nice thing about this forest wandering is that every German is a delightful person when encountered in the woods. Even people who have seemed crude when known only in town are gentle when amid the trees. This is a folk over whom nature has power for good.

Except when out shooting, I have never seen a German hurt an animal. This seems queer when one compares it with the cruelties the rough among the Germans do to their fellow men, women, and children just because some will not quickly adopt the tenets of National Socialism. But it is true that they are not unkind to animals. Birds especially have such confidence that they fly easily to the hand to feed, and deer are often seen quite close. The seasons for killing those that may be taken are strictly limited.

The German men are nearly all fond of hunting. They make a social affair of the chase and go to it gayly garbed. German hunting is usually done on foot, with the help of one or two dogs. The favorite chase is that of the deer and the boar; the favorite shooting is pheasant, partridge, and snipe.

The chase occupies but a small part of the forester’s year. One meets many woodmen who say that they are glad when the hunting is over and the forest left in peace. Such men like other times better than the days of killing, when deer run hither and yon seeking the right to live, and frightened birds fly through the copse.


At the time the Germans were changing from nomadic to pastoral habits, they cleared away virgin trees to enlarge their meadows and secure greater space for tillage than nature had provided. A whole period of their history is engrossed with a desperate struggle with the forests. The many place names ending in metz and hau, rode, schwand, brand, and hagen, bear eloquent testimony to the hewing, rooting up, burning, and fencing accomplished. Enormous areas of land were stripped.

As in other lands, the ardor of the people overreached its purpose. Troubles such as they had never known descended on them. Instead of an increase in the food supply, they had less. Seasons of flood and seasons of drought were successive. Wind blew away soil and seed. Even the rain changed its behavior. Clouds floated by without dropping their moisture, or else let it down in torrents to run away as fast as it fell.

Famine tested their endurance. They began to speculate on the cause, and to seek ways of balancing the extremes of water surplus and water shortage. Their food supply, key to man’s life, depended on a comprehension of the reason for these troubles and their remedy. Among them the romantic idea, common to many peoples, that droughts and floods are a duel between the elemental forces of nature and the heroic endurance of man soon gave way to a realization that trees have power over the incidence of rain and might to control water after its fall.

Far back in tribal history they came to know that when clouds drift above a bare track of country overheated by the summer sun they balloon upwards and pass without giving their rain. And when they float above the cool forest they let it down in a gentle fall. After the rain had fallen on the forest the Germans noticed that the trees held the water back so that it could not rush away, releasing it leisurely into the springs, which in turn fed the rivers in manageable volume so that they did not burst their banks when there was a heavy fall, or dry up when the rains held off.

Once these German tribes-folk knew their fault, they manifested no spirit of evasion or disposition to laziness. They set to work to restore forests as ardently as they had destroyed them. The deeper I look into the German past, the more cause I find for admiration for Germans, the more faith I have that they are of importance in the community of men, the more certain I am that they will return to political sanity and strive to repair what they have lost in recent years.

In regard to the forests, when they recognized the harm they had done they did not merely lament their loss. They replanted the trees. From then on they kept strictly to laws which they made for forest protection. German settlers, as they pressed into new lands, carried their forestry wisdom along. The preservation of a sensible balance between forest and cleared land became a fixed habit in every part of the world where Germans lived. They practised this for the sake of their water supply long before they had need to conserve or grow timber. The wood came in handy later. So far in German history, no matter how pressing the need was believed to be, no German ruler has ever yet sacrificed the forests to any state emergency.

The tribal community made the laws for the protection of the wood in the early days, and later each state had its forestry department. When the National Socialists came into power in 1933, control was centralized in Berlin. The states of the German federation are now provinces of the Dritte Reich, and copies of their forestry codes have been called in so that a national code may be devised. Forty-seven per cent of the forests are held in private families; 33 per cent are state lands; and 20 per cent belong to towns, charitable organizations, and various associations. Whatever the form of ownership, it has always been the custom for the woods to stand under government protection. Only foresters approved by the state may be employed in the care of woodlands. They all look like contented men. Every one I have seen has had a fine face, lean, weather-tanned, and wrinkled if old.

There is an unhurriedness about them, a peacefulness like that of the trees.


The toy train stopped for me to set down at a wayside station and puffed off. This was a pleasant valley fragrant, with the smell of newly sawn wood. The rutted track ran northeast through a grove of acacia, maple, and birch. At the sawmill I crossed a creek, and not far beyond this the way plunged into the darkness of pine forest. The only sounds were the scamper of a squirrel, twigs snapping under my feet, and the cackle of a cock pheasant who curled up on the wind trailing a handsome tail. Then, suddenly, I came out to oaks. Soon I saw the friendly lights of Doctor Z——’s house.

A curtain was drawn aside, and I saw him look out. He vanished, to reappear at the opened door. The moon had risen behind me; its radiance shone full on him, and to my glad surprise it revealed Doctor Z—— as the very sort of professor I had expected the Germans to have. Life had etched his face and whitened a halo of unruly hair. Arthritis forced him to walk with two sticks. But I could plainly see that in youth he had been the German professor I had always pictured as Jo’s dear man in Little Women. Even before he spoke I knew that life had made of him just what must have pleased exacting Jo March.

Abendbrot had been kept waiting for my arrival. When the meal was over and the table cleared, he asked his housekeeper to fetch from another room the manuscript which I had sent to him with a request for help. At the time I entered Germany I had been near the end of a book about the originator of the Great Wall of China. My story of the ‘Ten Thousand Li of Stone’ which Ch’in Shib Huang-ti ordered to be placed across his country’s northern frontier had been announced for publication.

Into the writing I had put legends gathered through twelve years, and material collected by research through every source of enlightenment I could discover on the subject.

I did not know why, yet I could not let this manuscript be published as I had written it. These were months in which I wrote nothing. Startled, emotionalized by life in Germany, my mind was barren just as it had been during the last year of the war and the time that followed until I went to China. I sought every possible scholarly help. That is why I had written to Doctor Z——. He had responded to my questions by suggesting that I send him my manuscript. Then he had written me no criticism; he had asked me to come.

My manuscript lay on his table; we sat in chairs before his fire. In compliance with his request, I fetched a book on Chinese philosophies from a shelf and opened it at the section relating to Yang Shang, whose theories influenced Ch’in Shih Huang-ti, the Great Wall’s builder. Then he dialed his radio until he picked up the broadcast of a National Socialist orator. I moved my chair so that I could look over his shoulder as, phrase by phrase, he traced on the printed page statements identical with those made by the speaker.

After a little while he turned off the radio. From a corner cupboard I got him a folder holding things he had copied from the broadcasts made by the Führer. He read aloud alternately excerpts from the book relating to life in China in the third century before Christ and sentences from tlie folder relating to life in Germany in the twentieth century.

‘Had you noticed this similarity?’ he asked.

I said that I had. Then he talked about my manuscript. When it arrived he had started to read it because of interest in the amount of research I had done. He told me that it was not in research that I needed aid. He had sent for me because he thought he might help me to diagnose my trouble over it.

Brought up a Quaker, and influenced by the wisdom of Confucius and his school of followers, I had in this manuscript spent my talent making a romantic hero out of a man of mighty force. All had gone too happily at the beginning, but fortunately, before I finished, the fates had moved me into Germany, where just such history as that of which I was writing was in the progress of making.

‘It is easy,’ he said, ‘ for two incompatible ideas to slumber side by side in the subconscious regions of the intellect, one condemning the brutalities of force and the other glorifying the achievements of might. You have written a thrilling narrative in words of amber and jade. I sat up all night to read it. But you must not publish this. You must not call it finished until your mind is mature. An author has power to influence others — and power to confuse others. Words must be used with care.

‘Before you issue this book you must know whether you believe in force or not. If you do not believe in it, then you cannot glorify a Napoleon or a Ch’in Shih Huang-ti.’

He was right. I acknowledged this, and we sat in a silence which was broken by the patter of little feet. The door was pushed open, and two sleep-tousled boys came in, the elder, about seven, carrying the baby one pickaback.

‘We could n’t sleep. You promised we could see the Chinese lady. Granddaddy, you forgot.'

They were sweet children, the elder serious, the younger merry. They stayed awhile; I went up to tuck them in when they had to go. After I came down the Doctor told me about them. The mother had died at the birth of the little one. Their father, who had never seen this child, had been in a concentration camp since the spring of 1933. He is my host’s younger son, the only one remaining. The elder son was lost in the battle of tHe Marne.

‘My son is thirty-two. He was christened Johann, but now I think of him as Florestan. Florestan, the hero of Beethoven’s opera Fidelio, symbolizes truth held captive by evil.’

‘I am sorry he was taken,’ I said.

‘And I am proud,’ answered this old German. ‘Truth crushed to earth shall rise again. I am proud that my son lies in chains for her. These boys and girls so imprisoned are the heroes of my Fatherland — their courage will echo down the ages.’

‘What did he do to get arrested?’

‘He refused to withdraw a remark he had made to the effect that the Versailles Treaty is less unjust than the treaty which would have been imposed on men in the name of Germany had our side won after four years of bitter struggle.’

I stared at this German professor and asked: ‘Do you think your son right in saying that?’

‘I do. Right in saying if, and right in sticking to his statement.’

‘Well—of course he would go to prison for lack of patriotism.’

‘Patriotism, nationalism — absurdities. The sooner we get rid of those foolish terms “patriotism” and “nationalism,” the quicker we shall arrive at an era of civilized living.'

The next morning when I left, my host hobbled out a short way among the oaks with me.

‘Trees give peace to the souls of men,’ was the last thing I heard him say. He stood with his back against the shaggy trunk of a magnificent tree.

(To be continued)

With each twelve months of the Atlantic