Friday, August 29, 2008

Death From Above

So sorry for the lengthy hiatus, dearest readers. No excuse for it except that I have been one busy, busy Billy this past month. 

No need to go into everything that has happened; but one thing I do want to mention is that I have been finishing up on a World War Two book and hope to see it published before the snow flies this winter. The book's title is: Hellstorm--The Death of Nazi Germany, 1944-1947.

Below is a brief snatch from a chapter on the Allied "Terror Bombing" of Germany. In that chapter, I describe, in the words of those who we compelled the endure the ordeal, what it was like to live through, from beginning to end. It was nothing like the old movies; it was something much, much worse.

As nightmarish and surreal as conditions were in the shelters, the situation was vastly more terrible for those trapped outside. Caught in the open with an old woman and her grandchildren, Ilse Koehn lay helpless as "all hell breaks loose."

[B]ombs fall like rain. Millions of long, rounded shapes come tumbling down around us. The sky turns gray, black, the earth erupts. The detonations begin to sound like continuous thunder. . . . "Grandma! Grandma!" wails the little girl, pulling at her skirt. "Grandma, let’s go to the bunker; please, please, Grandma!"

I’m flat on the ground. Bombs, bombs, bombs fall all around me. It can’t be. It’s a dream. There aren't that many bombs in the whole world. Maybe I’m dead? I get up, drag pail, old woman and girl with me toward a porch, a concrete porch with space underneath. Above the detonations, flak fire, [and] shattering glass, rises the old woman’s high-pitched voice: "God in Heaven! God in Heaven!" And now the baby’s wailing, too.

Hang on to the earth. It heaves as if we are on a trampoline, but I cling to it, dig my nails into it. Why is it so dark? The old woman crouches over the baby. She shakes a fist at the little girl, then screams: "God in Heaven forgive her. Forgive her her ugliness, her sin. . . . O Lord, I know she didn’t say her prayers!" Her fist comes down on the little girl’s head. A sizzling piece of shrapnel embeds itself in the concrete of the porch. The little girl grabs me, her nails dig into my neck. Her voice, as if in excruciating pain, pierces my eardrums: "Mama! Mama! Where are you, Mama?" A clod of soil hits me in the face. I’m still alive. Alive with fear and ready to promise any powers that be that I’ll become a better person if only my life is spared.

Warrrooom. Warrrooomwarroomwaroom.

My whole body is lifted off the ground, dropped again, up and down again. . . .

"You wicked girl . . . O Lord! . . . Why didn’t you say your prayers?" Over and over again. . . . "Mama! Mama! Mama!"


Grandma, little girl and baby wailing over the bombs, the flak. Will this ever end?

And then, like a miracle, there was nothing. Ilse continues:

Suddenly, it’s quiet. Dead quiet. A spine-chilling, eerie quiet. I’m breathing. We’re all breathing. Strange to hear our breaths. What’s that? Oh, only a fire engine. Sirens. Sirens again? All Clear. That means I can leave.

"I’m sorry, but I have to go. I have to collect some pig fodder," I say.

"Of course, my dear," the old lady replies. "I’m sorry you have to leave so soon. You must come again. Come visit us. We’ll have tea. It’s very nice to have met you."

We shake hands very formally.

Tomorrow . . . or the next day . . . or the next, I will add another excerpt from the book. Again, in their own words, I will describe what German women were forced to endure when they faced Soviet rape. Some women were raped as many as a hundred times . . . a week.


Fish-Eye photo of the Day