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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

KEN KUBOTA & EDGAR HILSENRATH

   http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/print/d-87482743.html

Ja,der Zeitpunkt Edgar zu helfen wäre wohl der Moment gewesen als Volker Hage bei ihm war und er zugab sich sogar mit seinem Bruder verkracht zu haben und selbst vollkommen entmachten liess. Versuchen Sie doch wenigstens mal mit ihm zu telefonieren! Und wenn er nicht ans Telefon gelassen wird dann sagt man dem Kubota oder dieser 2ten Frau, dass man zu Polizei geht - so ein Krimineller wie Kubota macht in diesem Fall dann Fehler durch die man sie überfuhren kann. Unterhalten Sie sich darüber mit Volker Dittrich.
Konischer Weise habe ich jetzt keine Antwort von dem Robert Schindel, den ich auch übersetzt habe under der doch die Laudatio auf Edgar gehatlen hat.
 In den frühen  60ziger Jahren habe ich 2 Blocks entfernt von der 86zigten Strasse und dem Broadway gewohnt, was Edgar in Ihrem Interview sagt stimmt schon.
Ihr Michael Roloff





2014-03-31 10:53 GMT-07:00 Marko Martin <bigsikpa@hotmail.com>:
Lieber Herr Roloff,

entschuldigen Sie bitte die verspätete, abwesenheitsbedingte Antwort! Leider habe auch ich zu Edgar  seit längerem keinen Kontakt mehr, und ebenso  geht es seinem Verleger. Unglücklicherweise aber ist das nicht das erste Mal, dass Künstler von ihrem mehr oder minder familiären Umfeld "gekidnapped"  werden...

Ihnen Alles Gute & mit einem herzlichen Gruß,

 Ihr Marko Martin


From: mikerol@gmail.com
Date: Fri, 28 Mar 2014 20:41:51 -0700
Subject: Re: Abwesenheitsnotiz
To: bigsikpa@hotmail.com

Ja diese Hilsenrath Angelegenheit ist wichtig!
Ihr Michael Roloff


2014-03-28 20:31 GMT-07:00 <bigsikpa@hotmail.com>:


Ich bin bis inkl. Montag, 31.3.,  auf Arbeitsreise, habe in dieser Zeit nur begrenzten Zugang zu meinen Mails, melde mich aber danach gern bei Ihnen.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen, 
Marko Martin  



Nachdem mir, erster Amerikanischer Hilsenrath Uebersetzer und Freund, bei Verhandelungen mit Hilsenrath Bevollmaechtigten Ken Kubota mulmig wurde stiess ich auf Volker Hage's Artikel
 Inzwischen laesst mich Kubato nicht mehr mit Hilsenrath telefonieren und haelt ihn als Gefangenen. Durch Verbindung mit Hilsenraths ehemahligen Verleger volker Dittrich hat sich Meinung von Kubota als brutal und geldsuechtig bewiesen.

AUSZUEGE AUCH UNSERER KORRESPONDENZ

Lieber Edgar, der Ken Kubota verhindert es dass wir telefonieren. Weist du eigentlich wem du da anheimgefallen bist? Einem brutalen und geldsuechtigen Kriminellen!! "Nach dem Abitur muss Ken für eine Computerfirma in Australien tätig gewesen sein und später hat er einmal ein halbes Jahr bei seinem Vater gelebt. Er war dort nur in dessen Haus, hatte kein eigenes Auto und war völlig vom Vater abhängig, denn das Haus lag völlig abseits. Naomi erzählte mir diese Geschichte nachdem sie zehn Minuten bei mir im Verlag war. Sie meinte, Ken sei es damals psychisch sehr schlecht gegangen. Sein Vater forderte wohl täglich, dass er Betriebswirtschaft studieren sollte und nicht Philosophie. Kens kleiner Gott war damals Theodor Adorno, neben Horkheimer der Begründer der kritischen Theorie, dessen Theorien damals viele 68er in Deutschland folgten. Nur Ken war viel jünger und er muss seine Schwester und alle anderen Menschen um ihn herum mit den Theorien Adornos agitiert haben und ihr Vater agitiert sie mit dem BWL-Studium. Als Ken schon länger bei seinem Vater lebte, und es ihm sehr schlecht ging, besuchte seine Schwester ihn. Ken sagte ihr in der Pose des Revolutionärs, das letzte Inzest-Tabu müsse endlich gebrochen werde, und deshalb müsse seine Schwester mit ihm schlafen. Es sei dann nicht dazu gekommen, sagte Naomi, aber Ken versuchte schon immer alle Leute zu manipulieren. Seiner Freundin soll er gesagt haben, Sigmund Freud habe herausgefunden, wenn der Mann nicht genug Sex habe, dann bekäme er Neurosen. Und wenn sie nicht mindestens ein Mal am Tag mit ihm schlafen würde, dann würde sie schuld daran sein, wenn er Neurosen bekäme. 

Naomi Kubota sagte mir, Ken habe etwas sehr Zerstörerisches. Und seine Mutter sagte, Ken sei immer sehr faul gewesen und wollte immer, dass sie ihm Entschuldigungen für die Schule schreibe. 

Als Naomi aus den USA zurückkehrte, lebte Ken in Berlin-Spandau in einer kleinen anderthalb Zimmer Wohnung, die seine Mutter ihm bezahlte. Sie finanzierte ihm auch den Unterhalt. Naomi zog zu ihm und studierte wie Ken an der Uni Philsophie. Weil sie so eine Überfliegerin war, bekam sie ein Stipendium von der Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes für Hochbegabte. Ken setzte sie dann so sehr unter Druck, dass sie ihm die Hälfte des Geldes abgab. Ohne sie darüber zu unterrichten, beantragte er dann Bafög (Geld für Studenten, die nicht von ihren Eltern unterstützt werden können) und kassierte dann auch Bafög, den Unterhalt seiner Mutter und das Geld seiner Schwester, so dass er dann mehr Geld als Naomi hatte. Die Mutter lebte damals länger in Japan und Naomi hatte die Verfügung über das Bankkonto der Mutter und "verwaltete" die gemeinsame Wohnung. Als es zum Streit wegen des Geldes kam, und Naomi ihm die Tür vor der Nase zuknallte und sich weigerte ihm den Schlüssel zu geben, hat Ken an die Studienstiftung geschrieben und seine Schwester angeklagt, dass sie versucht habe, ihn zu "ermorden", weil sie ihm kein Geld mehr gab. 

Die Mutter und auch Naomi haben mir beide erzählt, dass Naomi von der Mutter vorgezogen wurde, weil die Mutter gegenüber ihrem Bruder benachteiligt wurde, und sie nicht wollte, dass es ihrer Tochter auch so erginge. Naomi hat wohl auch mehr Geld erhalten als Ken und deshalb hat er dann vermutlich auch später seine Mutter verklagen wollen, dass sie ihm 20.000 DM geben solle. Was sie ihm dann freiwillig gegeben hat.

Ken und Naomi sind beide nicht getauft worden. Ken trat später, vermutlich unter dem Einfluss Chiaras, dem Christentum bei, und Naomi, jetzt kommt der Höhepunkt, beschäftigt sich seit längerem mit dem Judentum und möchte gern Jüdin werden!!! 

Diese Familie ist völlig krank."

about an hour ago · Like

Thursday, March 20, 2014

PART II OF THE PROLOGUE TO "SCREEN MEMORIES: (DERIVATIVES) + NOTES

PART II (DERIVATIVES) + NOTES

The anecdotes hint at the past and of the period of the original conception for Screen Memories. The book initially ran under the title Irreducible Losses for the aboriginal trauma of having felt abandoned at age 9 months, by parents who were engaged in conspiratorial work, the first of a series of disorienting catastrophes. I now understand why I, an early retreat into voluminous reading, latched onto Friedjof Nansen’s The Journey of the Fram and felt squashed just like that ship in the pack ice. Extreme heat, demyelization, followed by arctic loneliness and cold describes the experience which was repeated during the complete regression during my analysis. Guess the name of my favorite somewhat schmaltzy tone poem! From beautiful young breast to the withered ones of a spinster hag, from beauty to nauseating ugliness.

Pscho-analytic case histories subsequent to Freud’s initial half dozen become progressively drier and even less emotional, often extremely well-crafted and heavily footnoted documents – which does not mean that a healthy analyst will not respond emotionally to rather dry indices of trauma – the operatic aspects of existence and of the analysis that seeks to repair damage, or make the damage more bearable, cannot, need not be displayed in full: these dramas of the interior as they play out between analyst and patient. Thus “out of wounds I am writing” - a host of associations and stories and people surround these memories, come alive within it, scar tissue could not be more temporary, disintegrates as easily as the thinnest ice, as rice paper; there really is no healing, and there can never be, and maybe there ought not to be no matter the host of hortatory imprecations for “closure”: “Let the healing begin” screamed the headline of my local paper within days of the Oklahoma City bombing. Steely somewhat, bending steel, yet steel, as I know, can also crumple like that of the supermarket cart on which you see the legend “do not put children into the basket” (a dream), yet quite able to deliver the coup de grace to an ailing horse.           
The screen memory of leaving Fir Place, at age 4, ends once again with tears (that had originally been window glass that the first bombs in my life had shattered and that, in the morning, mingled with dew drops on flowers); that is, this memory of a singular event once it has become a “screen memory” contains, yields yet shields a host of other tear-inducing matters, yields tears within seconds, something has been crying inside me, it turns out, evidently a child, since the abandonment experience at age 9 month, and I wonder how many others of my generation may harbor such a crying inside - a dam breaks and the great lakes flow forever and inundate the world when you acknowledge the horror visited on children during the last six years of the Nazi regime. Consumers of the blues and of Mahler. Fortunate future mourner as translator of the poems of Nelly Sachs (Oh, The Chimneys), an experience that wiped me out emotionally for a year.
Bombers bomb during night raids, tear dreams apart, create night mares, dogs commit suicide, an entire zoo blows up in animal screams, glass shatters, shattered glass and tear drops mingle, turn into dew drops, bomb craters turn into caves for children’s sex games, the forever Brummer (bumble bee or a big horse fly, the same really as Handke’s hornets in his Hornissen) the sound of our childhood sky, and that the sky brought not just bombs but splinters of all kinds, showers of them. The fir forest looked as though rabid squirrels had been chewing off the fir branch tips. Yet the branches were covered with tinsel, just like x-mas, anti-radar measures.The opposite of a sheltering sky.
 By the time of the forced departure from Paradise it is actually already all over - a world of railway travel with my police woman overseer Ms. No ensues – and only re-inforces.
You cannot mail order a regression of the kind I had, nor is to be had at a light switch. Such proneness to regression is itself an aspect of a certain fragility that these wounds leave behind. What fertile wounds!

Time passed. I was busy living loving editing translating and reading. See my on-line piece on demi-monde restaurant Elaine’s for that: http://artscritic.blogspot.com/2011/02/emanations-of-memorialization-attendent.html

I did have a six month spell between jobs in 1972-73, which – looking back at my then state of mind  - might have been better spent checking out analysis. I took a boat trip halfway around the world with two steamer trunks full of books, and translated two volumes of Hans Magnus Enzensberger’s elegant essays on Politics and Crime, and Peter Handke’s short play, Quodlibet.
   Living loving editing continued and became uniquely adventurous during the Urizen Books time of 1974 to the early 80s.

That experience - of not going to a lawyer in a timely manner with a partner who manifested many Hitler-like qualities (he stomped his feet, shouted, ran off if he didn’t get his way, maddened everyone he worked with, was a major financial crook who sluiced his investments, http://artscritic.blogspot.com/2013/08/wieland-schulz-keil-hunting-socieity.html

While I myself was  willing to deal with criminals under the grandiose impression that I could save the firm entirely on my own, got me into so much trouble, I decided to find out what I might be doing wrong! The fantasy that a small book company might be a revolutionary cell was one matter***, the other - that the middle class authors we had might be soldiers in any kind of revolution - was another. Somehow I didn’t want to do it on my own, other matters seemed more interesting at that point, in 1980 I noticed that a single large room in the so-called cottages that the robber-barons had built on Jekyll Island, would suffice, and what a cute little coffee shop on that shrimp dock in the Marshes of Glyn! Subsequently I had a girlfriend, but what interested me most deeply was the small cottage where her parents had given refuge to a scholar gnome!
   Maybe if the inheritance had sufficed. I might also have drawn a partner who was not a monster.- And I finally did an analysis. And I am glad I got myself into sufficient trouble, because the analytic experience and the work that it entailed is the most priceless of experiences, the most priceless of adventures: from the adventure that I embraced in Alaska in late fall 1960 by choosing Pound’s way of The ABC of Reading to such a different one as psychoanalysis.
I had the aforementioned complete regression (“all resistance is gone, completely open”), and then you work through the derivatives, the “sequaelae” in the words of the discipline, the derivatives that squeal, life-long, not that you stop singing the blues. And then I wrote up the several analyses about 10 years ago as one stage toward completing this book (and am putting pertinent sections into the Appendix).
Having read, say, a thousand case histories I am not certain how interesting my case is. Now that I have these first twenty + years of my life down on paper I am a little bored, I don’t find my childhood all that interesting, not by comparison with that of many other German and Europeans kids who lived through far worse – think of well-known cases like Jerzy Kosinsky, XXXX, the kids who survived concentration camps, also indirectly, as most of my wounds were acquired. Not that I wish my childhood on anyone – well, there aree the years starting with the appearance of the refugee cousins in Fall 1944, our wild life as neglected kids: “Idyllic years” was another half-ironic title under which I ran the book for a time!
Not all of the derivatives had manifested themselves by the time that I left graduate school and headed to Alaska, or had hinted at their eventual manifestation, but most of them had signified themselves and already taken their confusing toll.
   I have mentioned disorientation, which in nature, only occurred a single time (in a wasteland of ash in Alaska during the time of the midnight sun). Socially it was to be expected on emigrating, either I would catch on or I wouldn’t. But you, or I, never do completely.
   If you have a beautiful mother as I did who is so much more desirable than the governess you will hold a cigarette the way she did. More likely than not, at least initially, you will tend to be enamored by beautiful and beautifully dressed elegant young women. And since you only listened to your mother, you tend to be hoerig to her newest incarnations.
   The effect of the governesses seven years of “no” will have disastrous effect in making, at least me, far too passive, unable to “seize the day” when it offers itself, and e.g. when you drag the beautiful beasts into your cave she will gradually and unconsciously transmogrify into the emasculating nay-saying governess, to the point of lowering my sperm count during my first marriage to someone nearly as beautiful and delicate as Audrey Hepburn, the great beauties becoming none the happier at this comedown from the anticipated continued high initial romance. The governess in my head!
   Sleepwalking – a good derivative! A stubborn goat! What would I have done without that residue under the circumstance of an early crushing and seven year prison sentence.
   The effect of the sense of being enclosed oddly enough did not manifest itself at my first boarding school (Plön, 1948-1950) even though Plön was a huge ancient castle which prior experiences had joined with the governess effect – I suspect Ploen failed to bring out the stir-crazy in me because suddenly I had lots of male friends, and a spectacular girl friend, was a star chess player, was on the soccer team, started to write, had older friends who were interested in poetry, had good teachers, i.e. I was flourishing and don’t recall missing Fir Place!
   However, stir-craziness manifested itself at once in West Orange, in leaping out the window of a too-small house at night to go aroaming. Contributory factor: puberty. Two years later, at Oakwood, the need to go roam at night persisted, despite the fact that there were oodles of pretty girls, few of whom were governessy, rather the opposite, but my availing myself of this sudden wealth turned skittish – the slightest hint of a “no” and I would pull back. The first emotionally laden sexual experience ended as the master prophesied – I couldn’t handle the transgression.
Ditto for Haverford, it and all other institutions became confining, thus the first memory of Haverford is of the spontaneous destruction that its inhabitants wrought of a dormitory scheduled for complete revamping. City College of New York would have been the right school for me, and not to live in yet another dorm. After a Junior year abroad, Haverford felt even smaller and more confining, Bryn Mawr helped, but insufficiently. Not just the place but a sufficiency of kindred spirits amongst those scheduled for a regular and breeder’s life. It wasn’t the teachers, most of whom were first rate, or the courses or lack of interest in the subjects I studied.                                                   The kind of upbringing I had had was both confining and kept me away from dirt, not just germs, but from the kind of wear and tear that kids are exposed to who grow up unconfined in the country as well as in the city. I needed city dirt in me, and eventually I got it, until I felt I had seen it all and the city became too distracting for someone who then wanted to retreat into a scholarly mode. I of course managed to acquire some dirt as soon as I was in the U.S. since I – whose early years were those of a spoiled rich kid - had to make a living as of my teenage years. Thus I developed “the common touch” and made acquaintance with every-day American lingo, which came to stand me in good stead when translating certain texts. Even during my pre-teens I used to mourn “couldn’t I have had Frieda” (the juicy milkmaid cook) for a governess! I spent time in the kitchen, and with our foreman and the Ukrainian guest worker (?) and liked the American working class, also for their warmth, though their limitations, of education and curiosity, inevitably interfered.
The prospect of being the life-long member of a department of German made me go dead at Stanford Graduate School, and at my orals! It wasn’t a question of being able to compromise and ease out after getting a doctorate. The allergy was overpowering, and, moreover, it was unconscious. I as puzzle to myself.
Life might have been very different if I had had a sound analysis in adolescence. Life would have been very different if my father had managed to get to England by the mid-30s. Still, then I might have had Margaret Thatcher for a governess! Or my parents not divorced, in which case I would have happily become a part-time farmer at Fir Place and instead of chatting to engineer old timers in Seattle would be chatting to old familiars, most of them named Krudop (Kuhdorf/ cow village) in Schönebeck, “Whatever did happen to Witt’s bull that used to chase me every time I took a short cut through his meadow on my way to school?” (That, the last time I visited, 25 years ago, was posted with a round sign with a green border and a crow in a white field, as environmental warning not to pick a single leaf of grass!)

Skittish… Hamleting…. Indecisive… at numerous instances. (I spare you a bucket of neuroses!) Insecure. The analyst had mentioned the emasculating effect. True enough, beyond his imagining. However I had not lived with a woman since my governess at age 8. Thus I have to advance a few years beyond my cutoff date.
   However, there was the comical instance of a girl I had necked with prior to my Junior year abroad writing me if I wanted a pair of socks, weren’t Munich winters cold? And that bit of motherliness meant the end of the incipient affair with the delicious female.
   Someone who is at the mercy of such a governess at such a young age invariably develops attachments, the wish to be attached if only to a surrogate, for a real family - and I did a few times in my life. Frank Conroy’s mother Helga, a big blowsy Danish woman, was an occasional fine surrogate, occasionally I attached myself to what seemed surrogate families, not too discerningly. With so much opposing me when young, it always helped to have a bit of a back-stop, as Ashmead was at Haverford, both supportive but also a tough critic.

Looking back, I function best in nature, as I did at camp, in Alaska as a fire fighter and surveyor, later on as the owner of a hunting lodge in Billie the Kid country. I can see myself having chosen a second love, as a wild life biologist. I doubt that I would have encountered the same kind of beasts.
Possibly as a captain of a ship. My time on freighters has always been productive. Hereabouts I feel nicely part of the woodwork of my three very standard venues – a coffee house, a Fedex with a clean work space, an eatery with lots of the local old-timers: for a time I had considered hauling each morning to a particular bohemian coffee place near the University. 
In one sense, that of a translator, I have no need to write an autobiography.
The translation of 65 poems for OH THE CHIMNEYS was my mourning.
The translation of Hochhut’s TELL 38 (the account of would-be Hitler assassin Maurice Bavaud’s trials) during then torturous governess transference stretch of the analysis was the childhood torture, concentrated.
The translation of Peter Handke’s great WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES during the most intense part of the analysis touched each and every aspect of my being and left me a husk gasping for air, my biography and sides thus was articulated without recourse to the chaff of biographical detail. The translation of Josef Winkler’s Flowers for Jean Genet drove home the wages of abandonment, and brought a figure into my life, Genet, to love, and one of the few authors, Winkler, whom I will continue to translate. On that score, also the early playful Handke plays, I have no complaints. The devotion during the past 25 years, also critical, to Peter Handke’s work has been astonishingly rewarding. American critical failure in that respect, also to perform his later plays, as well as punishment for his taking a different line on the disintegration of Yugoslavia has sharpened my general disappointment in American intellectual life and American theater.
I have few regrets for the books that the guerilla cuckoo managed to lay in various nests. That there would be monsters among the culture vultures came as a surprise.
How American have I become?
A few years back a song by soul singer Al Greene came on and I knew how American I was.
My guess is that at this point the venue where I would complete Screen Memories and the novels in progress makes little difference, all I require is uninterrupted time. I could write it in jail if the jail keeps kept me alone – is it as important to me as Our Lady of the Flowers was to Jean Genet that he rewrote it a second time after his jail keeps had destroyed it and did so in double bottomed shit can?
Six more months and I may get to a book called Breakup Under Analysis which, after 30 + years of dwelling on the subject, I think I found a way of doing, Among several other uncompleted ones – e.g. The Darlings & Monsters Quartet - while needing to sell completed others.
I could not be more keenly aware that I need a second life-time, as I keep saying, to complete my projects, and that on my ninth life there are no miracles in store. I am living and writing under the gun. That is yet another reason I look forward to being done with this attempt at self-understanding and I think I ought to be able to, barring major impediments, such as the liquefaction of my neighborhood in in the event of one of these over-due, once every thousand years, cataclysmic earthquakes of the region; or the irruption of Mt. Rainier twenty-five miles south; or major illness – although if I fell again on black ice as I did a few years back and needed to repair to a nursing home, I expect I would find myself working as well under five star conditions as I did then.




NOTES –

GROSSKURT
After months of research on the Grosskurt project, first in the Gestapo material that had been deposited in Washington, D.C and then at the Institute for Zeitgeschichte in Munich I discovered that Grosskurt had been taken a prisoner at Stalingrad in 1942 and died a Russian prisoner of war. Someone at the OKW (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht – Army Supreme Command) had gotten wind of his oppositional sentiments and sent him to the Eastern Front. There was no book, only a promising opening to one. Meanwhile I had become exceedingly well apprised about most aspects of the conspiracies and had a cast of splendid characters. At about the time of Munich 1938 Grosskurt, utterly frustrated, had flung a rock at the Berlin Reichs Chancellery. My parents, who had the right kind of contacts in the U.K., had traveled there to convince the Brits that Hitler meant war, not to compromise with him. It would be nice of course if there were regular workers who could go on such informative trips and not just the members of the classes that make war. In the Washington D.C. archives I discovered that all the Gestapo seemed to have had on my father was that he supplied sea food from his position as the General Manager of Germany’s largest fishing fleet, to the conspirators. No mention of General Schwerin sluicing him across to the British lines on the 20th of July. No mention of the position he was meant to occupy at the successful coup, that of the chief technocrat responsible for feeding the motley German people. No mention of course of what a dreadful father he had been to his son!
My mother had always said that the police knew far less than you assumed they did. Certainly true in this instance, I wonder - now that Admiral Pointdexter’s “total awareness” project has been realized - whether the police are still as limited.
And then my father I found out had had yet another of his infinite affairs, with, wouldn’t you know it, Colonel Grosskurt’s secretary! – Wasn’t it astonishing, as you rummaged around the lives of conspirators who were risking everything, that near invariably they were involved in the usual romantic hanky-panty.


FATHER
His father, my Danish emigrant (to the once until the war of 1864 Danish possession Altona, adjacent to Hamburg) grandfather dentist (famous for sewing the WW I shattered jaws back together), wanted his first son, in rather typical fashion, to become a regular physician. However, William fell in love with physics at Goettingen and was brilliant at it. Aside that there were no paying jobs as a physicist in the early 1920s, he was afraid of telling his father that he had not really studied medicine, and said that he wanted to go into business as he then did, with the family of his first wife, Hamburg Jews with business connections in the UK, and he quickly was a super-successful guilt driven businessman who after running factories in 1933 became general manager of Germany's biggest fishing fleet, Nordsee, part of Unilever.  As friend of Oswald Spengler he subscribed to the notion that this was the age of engineers, not that he, of whom I saw very little once in the U.S. and serious studying began, could subject me to Spengler's views, as he did my half brother, an artist, to the extent where Steven actually studied engineering while taking a lot of acid - counter measure to the toxic effect his father had on him, but remembers nothing of engineering, never used it, and became a production designer in T.V. instead.

MOTHER LEXI
After grandmother Alvensleben had her fourth child, aunt “Baby” Harriet, she announced she would not sleep again with her husband, since she wanted no further children. Whether dark lady of the night Maude Volmer was already in Opa’s life I do not know, but evidently she was not the reason that the delicate pianist Omi Alvensleben was sick of physical proximity with Herr Radetzy March, allegedly the only piece of music Opa liked!
Omi A., a challenged mother, left the raising of the kids – one other daughter, smart Annaliese, and son Werner, famous “Baron in Africa” to be - to servants and then to the oldest child, my mother, who developed a fine sense of family, which, to a more limited sense, I inherited from her, and extended on to authors as best I could, which was insufficient in many cases, at least financially.
   My mother’s fate was that though brilliant she had no professional training, but that all her really close friends did, Dr. Maria Dahlen, sculptor Puppe Sarre, actress Viola Duisberg, actress Ursula Liedke (who had a safe house at Fir Place once all Jews started being rounded up in Berlin) thus Mami was dependent on men and I don’t think as clever as rasant as Annalie, close friend of Augstein and Ledig Rowohlt.


GRANDFATHER ALVENSLEBEN
One matter that piques my curiosity is how I managed to acquire such a fixation having seen him only very briefly at the age of four. Of course quite continuously from Spring 1945 until his death, of lung cancer, in 1947 – whereupon 10 year old me made such a spectacle of himself at the funeral, and the following week that I would only attend one other funeral for people I was fond of during the rest of my life. Opa playing Skat with my father and stepfather and me kibitzing! Going hunting one early morning a single time! However, I always begged to be taken along when he drove his BMW, to the point that he called me by the expression I then voiced: “Kann ich mitfahren?”/ “May I come along.” And I don’t think he ever did take me along, as compared to my stepfather in his Jeep. Most of the amusing stories that feature him involve practical jokes that have a sadistic edge to them, a matter that makes me wonder.

The Governess
name was Elizabeth, whittled to “Lite”, allegedly the daughter of an alcoholic father in permanent state of rejection of everything her father had been, reaction-formation is the technical term. She had been previously employed as governess, when younger, by my father’s family, but also by others, in the same position. Not only did I take a profound dislike, a veritable allergy, to this unfortunate spinster, no one in the entire household liked her. My mother made her dislike clear in front of me, yet kept abandoning me to her. When I thought I had killed her at age seven by kicking her in the stomach as she tried to spoon-feed me, and guilt-stricken I ran downstairs to report her demise (she doubled up and moaned) to the Roloff grandmother, she, her first employer didn’t seem to care a hoot – which had the effect of making me, the perp, feel weirdly estranged from myself. When she had actually died, some years after leaving our employ and my mother reported the news to me I did not react at all – and I will forever recall the odd look that my mother gave me, for hadn’t it been not that long ago – in 1947 – that I had bawled for a week when my grandfather had died. And here not one tear! Or then ask me why – in which case I doubt I would have been able to describe the torture it had been to have been subjected to this prison warden’s NO, perhaps I might have mentioned if I remembered her flipping my little penis as a child when she caught me masturbating. Back at Fir Place she had a room next to mine with direct entrance, there she sat darning socks, a Fingerhut was her escutcheon. The ruin of my life, and no one knew or seemed to have a sense of it, and I don’t ever appear to have gone to any of the neglectful family members and complained, not my style I suppose. There are infinite variations of “Lite” in the world, and I have an extra-antennae to go on alert when one is in the vicinity.

My Stepfather, Richard Weber, who retired as a full colonel, was a lieutenant when I set eyes on him the first time as he drove up in a captured Fiat in German Army camouflage to report that his superior, a Colonel Fink, had requisitioned my father’s company car, a Maybach, for the Bremen OSS, and was a playful relief from previous men, and we got along fine until he returned an ill man from the Korean war in 1956; also, by then I, a sophomore, had outgrown him, or so it seemed to me when we talked books. However, for his having been a Shakespeare nut I owe him a debt, and many more compared to many a hated stepfather. After he retired, I sluiced translations to him for which I myself was too busy. Toward the end of her suddenly cancer-abbreviated life, my parents were going to remarry. However, my mother did not marry the man she always seemed to long for, a fellow conspirator, Eddie Vaetchen, whom I think she knew even before she met my father. And I am trying to think whether I ever met him.

***Hadn’t the first psychiatrist I ever talked to – at the physical for my induction into the U.S. Army designated me a “phantast?”



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Sunday, March 09, 2014

Preface to SCREEN MEMORIES part I

SCREEN MEMORIES
SUMMARY INTRODUCTION
PRE-& RE-VIEW / VOR & RÜCKSCHAU

Initial scratchings for this self-analytic memoir - of age one to twenty-one – my way of finding out who I am, to come face to face, face to face with myself - were made in the late 60s. Be true to your self! = A dozen elves are laughing hysterically at me!
I try to think what motivated me. A then obscure sense that it might be a good thing to find out what that murk inside me was, I felt troubled, and it turns out I was so for good reason.

Even within the first half dozen years in the United Stated, from age 12 in 1950 to Sophomore College year in 1956, I felt haunted by the country that I had fled - “like a black bear with Texans and their hounds at its heel” is my exorbitant analogy - yet longed for a particular place – a fir forest that was also part farm, called Fichtenhof/ Fir Place or Manor - whose initial loss - I was four years old in 1940 and taken away to avoid the bombings – was one of my first wounds,  which wound - by this writing - has grown into one of my most important “screen memories,” a veritable magnet for associations of all kinds. That screen memory, together with an even richer one of six months prior,  of a catastrophe when two toy railway train locomotives collide inside an Alpine tunnel, and you and I have the fractured psychogram of a young child. And if you know just these two screen memories plus my aboriginal Oedipal dream of a Billygoat chasing a four year old me up a clearing in Fir Place, you would be a seriously worried child analyst! However, there was no child analyst around! Not even anyone to wonder why I might have looked such a delighted child as my mother leads me, a harnessed toddler, through the flower beds, who then looks so miserable, like such an unhappy child, in his sandbox with his governess hovering nearby. 
Fir Place kept pre-occupying me, always hovering in the back of my mind, during the first two years in the so sour experience of West Orange, New Jersey, and while at summer camp or when camping and also at Oakwood School: on graduating from high school I was meant to spend a summer as a lumber jack in the Quebec north woods. I was pretty “woodsy” and had started to become so during early childhood.
Subsequent to coming to the U.S. in 1950, age 12 – with a Karl May envisioned South West and Seton Thomson’s images of American nature as the chief images, as well of course as American girls and cars - I returned twice to Fir Place, during a Junior Year abroad in 1957 and in 1964, a year spent literary scouting and translating. Both times I paid brief, memorial, walk-about visits to a place and its village that evidently occupied a paradisiacal spot in my experience. And one last time in the early 90s by which time the house and parts of Fir Place had been seriously modified – it had become a full-fledged and expanded retirement village for mentally challenged older patients of the City of Bremen.
 Paradise lost, the reasons why were discernable, were clear to me. But I can visit any time, virtually, courtesy of Google Earth! Although Fir Place is much changed, the surrounding farming area not so much. As a matter of fact, the surround is much spruced up since the end of World War II in 1945. The fachwerk farm houses look freshly painted, the huge clump of a Chateau looks glazed – in my recollection it is filled with refugees who have hung ragged laundry out of the windows.
The one good story I wrote in college – Sandro – also features Fir Place. I had the idea for the story – after just having written a truly dreadful, forced something - outlined it for a toughy, for Professor John Ashmead, discussed it and had it in two drafts. An F was succeeded by an A+. Everyone loved it, Bill Packard published it in the Haverford-Bryn Mawr review prior to a breakdown as editor of the campus paper. Sandro (see Appendix) came as no other story had so far in English, it welled up, formed like a fairy tale, sort of wrote itself, the way I had started to write shortly before emigrating. It is a lyrical story of death and loss, set in Fir Place. I was astounded at what one Bryn Mawr girl brought to, found in it – and I suppose ought to have married, entrusted myself to someone who had deep insight, ways of seeing into matters of which I was unconscious.
One other reason that I may have begun to dwell in the late 1960s on the material that has become Screen Memories may have been that by then decade-long friend Frank Conroy was writing Stop Time – he had found his voice. I read chapters as he was completing his childhood (the then too hurried) memoir in his shoebox of a studio on Ann Street, vis-a-vis City Hall Manhattan - and suggested to a Partisan Review editor to do a section, as they then did. Were Frank and I in competition with each other? I am uncertain, which may means that in some respects the answer may be yes even though I had no intention of emulating his way of sinking mine shafts into his childhood for a series of them to form a spectrum of the whole of it. I realized that I would have to go about it very differently (vide the note on Frank in the Appendix). Friends can be like places and a host of memories attaches to some of them. I had two such during my early years, Michael Lebeck is the other. Frank and I succeeded each other as editors of the Haverford part of the Haverford-Bryn Mawr Review, we collaborated, exchanged books and tips on music, classical and jazz. If we competed it was playing chess, and there we were even-steven. I recall playing chess all the way back from Malibu to New Orleans and New York and then doing little but play chess that summer in New York as well as Connecticut, one year subsequent to graduation. I recall a Christmas at his mother’s apartment where Frank and I were playing a stupid game where you knocked staves into holes in a wooden board as quickly as possible, and how Frank just couldn’t take it that I apparently had the better hand-eye coordination. Looking back, this instance foretells the fine story he published in Mid-Air where he portraits how obnoxious he could be at trying to win at squash. However, he and I, but for that one instance, were not like that with each other.
We happened to sleep with a fair number of the same women, once even at the same time, but neither of us hound-dogged our main squeezes! I do recall an evening that I had brought the Kansas Beauty Queen with me to a restaurant and Frank also danced with her and then followed us to the Chelsea Hotel, and I had to nudge him ever so gently not to follow us into my room – give another ten years and that would have been cool too, since he was certain that she would make love to him too.

It so happened that one of the first persons to whom I showed the first dozen pages of what is now called Screen Memories was Frank’s editor at Viking Press, Aaron Asher, but scratchings is all they were, there was no concept yet as I began to develop one about a decade ago when, preparatory to Screen Memories, I wrote an account of a psychoanalysis, which featured a total regression, A Patient’s Experience of his Analysis, that had stirred up memories going back to my birth. One very odd and puzzling experience subsequently was that one of my favorites, Nabokov’s Speak Memory - favorite for the intensity it evoked in me of how he seemed to note his recollections - suddenly seemed to have gone flat and pale. The obvious thought behind that seeming realization was that, by God, mine when I write them will retain and convey all the intensity with which they welled up. Except the self-analytic parts I suppose.
Yet another old friend, though not as close as either Frank or Lebeck, George Malko, e-mailed me a while back that he found it more interesting when I wrote in the first person than when I called myself Gabriel in Screen Memories. I followed the suggestion, which is not the modus of my usually obstreperous being, because on rereading and rewriting I found the third person narrative about childe and then youth Gabriel rather boring, too distant. However, I well recall why and when I decided to call myself Gabriel, it was because I wanted to gain distance and I thought I might be more what is called objective doing it the “Gabriel” way, and thus more truthful. Meanwhile I have concluded that at least my way of being “objective” is just a different, but more limited way, of being subjective! Yet I keep moments of that approach, especially for stretches in my life from which I suddenly feel estranged, where I know I existed, sort of see myself but appear as a shadow. Also, the twin approach may keep readers on their toes!

I don’t recall whether I showed the initial scratchings to my own Viking editor, dear Alan Williams, but for an entirely different book, the biography of a Colonel Kurt Grosskurt of German Counter Intelligence (Admiral Canaris). Grosskurt had been a major mover in the late 30s conspiracy against Hitler that eventuated in the unsuccessful 20th of July 1944 plot to assassinate the man I felt was chiefly and directly as well as indirectly responsible for, evidently, not just my ruined and stunted and stunting childhood and for specific wounds and catastrophes, but that series of what I regard as ultimately stunting traumas!  - It would have to be then that I not only translated Walter Kempovski’s marvelous Did You Ever See Hitler (http://www.amazon.com/Did-You-Ever-See-Hitler/dp/0380005190) – which I then did on photos and newsreels, yet without any of the associations that the many others who saw him in that fashion pouring out of me but sheer dread, and that I came to know the two psychoanalysts who wrote most insightfully about him, Fritz Redlich in his Diagnostic of a Destructive Prophet, whose approach is more medical than psychoanalytical, and then here, in Seattle, Ted Dorpat whose Wounded Monster posited the, so I found, convincing thesis that Hitler - who had remained on the front line for five straight years but for one late mustard gas interrupted stint, and then was exposed to a major shell shock - suffered from the kind of post-traumatic stress syndrome that kept him in the state of mind that sought out forever war as the only way ever to overcome his trauma. The clue to Hitler’s success was that once he found his voice he tapped into the people’s hysterical ears. No ears, no Hitler. I myself never heard the voice while he and I were alive at the same time, not that I recall, until after he was gone. Goebbels’ voice I recall and people’s heads near the radio when that fellow was screaming. And then a fair number of little Hitler’s after Hitler himself was long gone.
The Grosskurt project, which had been suggested by the espionage writer Ladislas Farago (don’t ask me how I met the brilliant code-cracker known as “Ladsi”), interested me because it involved material that also had coursed and bubbled inchoately in me as of my college years and had also poured out in stories, very confused and murky ones - for my parents had been in the resistance to Hitler and part of the 20th of July plot, as of 1934, the year my grandfather managed to avoid the cutlery of Hitler’s Night of the long Knives by following a buddy’s suggestion to spend the coming weekend at his hunting lodge, prior to surviving four different concentration camps. The college stories I imagine were part of an attempt to orient myself in the past. Disorientation was one of the derivatives of an abandonment experience at age nine months (that if you traced the reason for it also led to the great monster). As life went on I became fairly adept, though not necessarily happy, at these self-orientations.                                     The parents miraculously, with the help of several physicians (see Dr. Charlotte Pommer Memoir about my mother http://www.lukasverlag.com/neuerscheinungen/titel/317-gestapo-im-op.html
survived their Gestapo imprisonments during the Siege of Berlin in April 1945. Thus I had a dim sense, as was evident from some of these stories, that a childhood during a period of such mayhem had perhaps wrought similar wreckage in me as it had all around. Very dim!
   A further reason that I was interested in Colonel Kurt Grosskurt had to do with his being a Protestant Pastor’s son, and not deriving from the usual self-perpetuating military caste; that his conscience was richer. To that caste I myself was related through my mother’s family. The beloved grandfather whom Hitler sought to have assassinated had been a colonel, too, during the First World War. He had been the go-between the previous Chancellor, the assassinated General Schleicher, and Hitler. He and my grandmother had had Hitler “over for lunch” in 1932 – he had made fun of Hitler, recounted the demise of Napoleon’s campaign in the Russian winter, Hitler had been annoyed, instead of poisoning the man he knew to harbor Napoleonic ambitions he had made fun of him. Big mistake! After all, he had a murderer for lunch, and in that case all bets ought to have been off. Later, Hitler heard the amplified rumor that Herr von Alvensleben was planning to send the Potsdam Guard Regiment to have him arrested, a rumor that appears to have seriously worried Hitler, as it well might, but grandfather Alvensleben was in no position of to call out the regiment - however the man he represented, General Schleicher certainly was, and again I wonder why Schleicher didn’t prior to letting Hitler assassinate him. Perhaps Hitler and what his gangsters might do were still inconceivable to him even at that point?                    Grandmother Alvensleben had subsequently expressed her dislike of Hitler in the following manner: she wished not to have this man for lunch again. Hitler, famous in Munich for his charm, did not charm Alexandra von Einsiedel. Perhaps it is from her that I inherited the immunity. The hairs at the back of my neck rise like a wire hair terriers when charm perfume is in the air, usually to camouflage extraordinary brutality. This grandmother was also known for expressions such as “You don’t learn manners, you are born with them” (more about her anon).    A great grand uncle who bore my middle name Constantin had won a major battle during the Franco-Prussian war, against orders, and been stripped of rank and decorations prior to promotion – the kind of Prince of Homburg wishfulfilment story – break the rules yet be rewarded - that was bound to register mythically in his fantasy with someone as refractory as I!
However, with regard to the opposition to Hitler I was not all that impressed at the time that I proceeded on my Grosskurt researches in the late 60s. The appeal to nationalism as the only way to salvage the nation - the belated realization that Admiral Canaris had been right in saying “This is the end” when Hitler invaded Poland under false pretenses: (Who said as much when G.W. Bush invaded Iraq under false pretenses?) - seemed to have been the chief motivation of those who joined the opposition at a late date.
Indeed, that invasion of Poland it turned out was very much the beginning of the end. But that beginning had a long pre-history during which no end of caste members had been bought off, or had actually joined the murderous party or one of its wings, and murdered along with it or barely blinked at the murders that the murderous party was committing to consolidate command over the German people – no, I was not enamored of that very large side of the family, there definitely had been too few in opposition when it counted.
On yet unfamiliar ground, what amazed me most was the total lack judicial action to prosecute these murders, and then, later, that this absence did not make a big impression on the world at large. Like so many of the so-called elites, the judiciary appears to have capitulated to a criminal regime and barely whimpered. And when the great warriors, the conspirators, finally took action they proved dreadfully ineffectual (and Hitler proved incredibly lucky.) “Wasn’t there a captain with a sidearm,” is a refrain that punctuates its way like a seagull cry through any number of accounts. I was then fortunate, during the time of my analysis, to translate Rolf Hochhut’s Tell 38, and thus make as intimate acquaintance as was then feasible with the religiously motivated would-be assassin Maurice Bavaud and his torturous calvary. Hitler, it appears, was truly afraid of the religiously motivated loners.

Aron Asher said it was fascinating material, so did fifteen years later someone who once figured as “the great fondness” in the firmament of my affections. Perhaps it is fascinating, you be the judge. Yes, the wounds certainly are – abandonment at age 9 months, the heat, the cold of that, but it is not unique; seven years of imprisonment, torturous, on the hands of an unwelcome governess whom no one liked, mortifying re-abandonments; the sequealae (see anon in Part II), too, are standard stuff. So is the initial first nightmare, that reminds the analyst in me of Freud’s beloved Wolfman. The wounds don’t strike me as unique not when you examine the ones I have encountered in the one thousand plus psychoanalytic case histories I have read. Perhaps the series of wounds, their combination, their quick succession at such a young age is unique, the long-term trauma of the felt imprisonment, which refuses to yield a screen memory no doubt is the worst:  Imprisoned within a cell whose every wall spells “no”? My own “Ilse Koch”, a notorious female concentration commander?                                The major screen memories, however, to the extent that I am able to unravel them, are unique: they act like lodestones for experience, they are like the kernels around which dreams form, they look to me like the germs for mares, for fairy tales, for myths to come. Unlike dreams, which they resemble in the wealth of their associations, the surface level doesn’t seem to distort and sublimate, yet they condense in the same fashion as dreams. Screen memories it appears are a stage of arrested dream formation. You (or at least I) can replay them at will.
My parents life under the dictatorship looks a lot more fascinating and adventurous, as does that of that one grandfather who had been on the list of the to be assassinated during the infamous Night of the Long Knives in 1934 (Brecht had it right in Artuto Ui, U.S. Chicago-style rub-outs had become the rule). Upon finally being entrapped by the Gestapo (there had been close calls a few years prior when the Gestapo had eliminated a cell known as “Die Rote Kapelle”), my mother, confronted with the sidearm and Swiss Passport she had contrived for a conspirator who was meant to be sluiced over to Switzerland after the failure of the 20th July assassination, her first words were “of course.”
What do you mean “of course” said the cop who assumed that a criminal confronted with prima facie evidence would confess and make life easy all around.
“Of course, because I am working for you, I am trying to get my husband out of jail.”
 Of that truth that my father was in their captivity the entrappers had no doubt. She had been on their surveillance list on the 20th of July when she called her husband to apprize him of the failure of the plot: “Everyone is in the hospital” meant everyone is in jail. Her phone had been bugged, the Gestapo traced the call to the headquarters of General Schwerin’s division near Aachen/ Aix-la-Chapelle and arrested her husband my father whom his friend the General was going to sluice over to the British lines to inform the Brits with whom he had a long relationship that the coup plotters wanted an immediate cease fire and were willing to surrender, and who was who in the new government. Thus it was not all that surprising that my father,  after his first interrogation, tried to commit suicide, which he tried by slicing his wrist length-wise: that is - having  studied some medicine - he knew what to do so as not divulge names; an attempt that happened to save his life. The suicide attempt triggered a heart attack and the Gestapo delivered him to the Berlin Police Hospital that was meant to patch him up so he could be tried and executed. That hospital happened to be run by a Dr. Albrecht Tietze whose doctor’s oath meant that he would keep as many bodies out of the reach of the Gestapo as he could. Tietze and his assistant Dr. Charlotte Pommer kept my father in the hospital, out of reach from Public Prosecutor Freisler, until that henchman had been killed during an air raid: a timber fell on his head.
It appears my mother had devised a story during the car ride to Gestapo Headquarter.
And what is you code name?
“Karo,” said my mother who had not anticipated this question – she was hungry and named the first food that came to mind, the brand of a well-known Berlin Pumpernickel.
And what office is running you?
“Prague” said my mother who happened to know what the general public did not yet know, namely that Prague had fallen to the Russians, and that there was no more Prague Gestapo office. Her story was not entirely unlikely. I doubt that I, who tend to be phlegmatic, would muster her sang froid under similar circumstances. They didn’t quite know what to do, so they let her live, and then they let the women go while the men were being led out and executed during the siege. However, that prison had been shelled, half the SS and Gestapo guards had fled and an old Socialist led an uprising. One question I did not get to ask my parents was how in God’s name they had managed to find each other during the extraordinary mayhem of The Siege of Berlin. But I imagine that as by then experienced conspirators they had safe houses and one of them was still intact. At any event, four months later, in August 1945, there they are at Fir Place, they, and one of the physician who has saved my father’s life, Dr. Charlotte Pommer, bicycle through what is now called “The Russian Zone.” And we have the one solitary moment during our unhappy relationship when I am proud of my father (as I of course am of his role as a conspirator – God forbid that I like some unhappy children that I know had major criminals for parents) when, as he prepares to walk up the long stairway, eight year old me asks him whether he has been in jail, and he replies yes. I, it appears, had caught on awfully fast in the interim between the end of the war and August. And then the conspirators, after they shared such past, have to get divorced and fracture their child yet once more.
  
And what about my grandfather’s fabled life whose existence as a provider of practical joker stories seemed to serve as a story board to amuse me in my childhood? During the week prior to the Night of Long Knives, an hunting buddy who yet worked for the henchman, suggested to Opa that he might want to spend the coming weekend at his hunting lodge. Averting the weekend’s slaughter he was then condemned to death, for the aforementioned alleged plan, or maybe jokey idea, of calling out the Potsdam Guard Regiment; and then the death sentence was commuted, and then he was even, occasionally, allowed to have vacations from one or the other concentration camp, and had he not been I would not have my first major screen memory, that has him lying prone next to the toy railway tracks of my father’s x-mas gift at x-mas 1939/40. That memory would be absent one of its major players, might not even exist, for no one else might have flipped the switch at the entrance to a toy railway tunnel and there would have been no head-on crash of two engines driving in opposite direction, some other catastrophe would have to have arisen in memory to represent the catastrophe that I had undergone at that point that that crash represented so concretely and then so angrily. Rarely and little as I had seen of him I yet adopted, identified with certain features of his. First time back in Germany in 1957, I buy my first car, a two-seater BMW convertible of the kind that he had appeared in, jauntily, at Fir Place within two weeks of being liberated at Buchenwald; except that in 1957 it was the same 1939 BMW my grandfather had been driving with the first engineer of the Zeppelin Graf Hindenburg, a man who had survived its disintegration at Lyndhurst, New Jersey, but was chiefly scar tissue. I, too, could be jaunty within a short time of torturous experiences it turned out, also nonchalant like my grandfather, which had both good and bad sides, good in that I tended to be forgiving but for major insults, that is, pleasantly easy going, but also that I tended to fail to look after important business in a timely manner. There even was a hunting lodge in my future, though I would have never guessed as much; but only to find a place to live in Billy the Kid Country when El Paso had become too depressing, not as weekend refuge from an assassination attempt. And also a dark lady of the night such as my grandfather’s Maude during his Berlin demi-monde days, who I suspect was not a fatale as was mine.
More fascinating, too, is the life of the beloved Jean Genet who, after recounting in his Journal de Voleur how he bummed his way through 30s Nazi Germany from Poland back to Paris - observed, appalled, that Germany was topsy-turvy, the criminals were in charge – the great book thief’s sense of French logic had not deserted him.
A further reason that Colonel Kurt Grosskurt interested me was that as a conspirator against a criminal enterprise that meant to conquer the world Grosskurt became a possible model for U.S. Army opposition during the Vietnam War.
The little eight year old nationalist that I had been in Spring 1945 who, and his “blood brother” Ditloff, wanted to ambush the American conquerors, had turned horrified anti-Nazi by the fall of that year: after getting ears and eyes full of what had transpired, and not just to family members; a self-education that the country as a whole appears not to have shared. Then something clicked inside me in 1947 on reading an account of the idol of my childhood, my grandfather, being tortured in Buchenwald, I had my own psychological torture to have a notion of what torture was and to look back on at that point, and also how we had our own nearby Devils Moor camp, and that click meant, “you have to get out, get out of this murderous country,” escape this nighmare fairy tale. As someone whom his German friends called “Ami,” and sporting a crew cut, the pet of the Bremen O.S.S. that I was then, who had only had positive experiences but one of all things American (but chiefly of the Declaration of Independence), the opportunity to get out was upon me by 1950. But by 1952, the disappointment of my first two years in the United States, in Sour Orange, not yet having its antacid, there was the disorienting overly welcoming Oakwood which, however, acquainted me with McCarthyism and some of the children of its victims and with the Army McCarthy House Un-American Hearings; the overthrow of Mossadegh and of Guatemalan democracy, and more recently there had been the 1961 infamy of the Bay of Pigs invasion, and then by 1966 the Vietnam War had taken the last petal off the bloom of my enchantment with all things American, and fortified my sense that maybe it wasn’t all that wrongheaded to regard the government through the lens of fascism as I had come to appreciate to do it for the country of my birth.
At the time I signed the contract for the Grosskurt book and was scratching around my childhood past I was writing a documentary type Vietnam War play entitled The Committee Hearing. This docu-drama, much in a Brechtian Kipphardt tradition, suggested that some SDS (Student for a Democratic Society) types had kidnapped the likes of the U.S. Vietnam war perpetrators such as Dean Rusk, McNamara etc. and were holding them hostage as they conducted a televised war crimes trial. The important part was the media – that the trial be seen and the truths revealed in that fashion. I myself seemed to be sufficiently well apprised about how war-like enterprises operate to know that these states invariably seek to legitimize their crimes either legislatively or by means of documentation, and I was sufficiently foresighted to provide the Prosecutors of my play-trial with the kind of material that was eventually published as The Pentagon Papers!  Call my prescience the fruit of being prematurely jaundiced, but neither the then existence of the papers nor current, 2014, revelations about surveillance surprise me in the least. That is what Imperiums have done as long as there are imperiums, and the U.S. of A. appears to be a kind of summa of all the long-lived European impulses of that kind.
It so happened that during my 1963-64 year in Germany I befriended Peter Weiss and found him a publisher for his prose in the man I was working for as a literary scout, Sam Lawrence who ran Atlantic Monthly Press. I had done a long interview with Peter, he and I struck it off, we were kindred, especially his Leave-Taking from my Parents had done it for me. At dinner at my apartment in New York in 1966 Peter revealed that he was working on a Vietnam play – and that was all it took for me to abandon work on my Committee Hearing. And after all the work I had put in! Now I imagine I would do it differently, now, after wringing my Oedipal sides through the analytic wringer, and merely mention that I, too, had an idea – and not be so automatically deferential to someone whose Marat/ Sade and The Investigation were indeed overpoweringly impressive works. Peter’s Vietnam play then turned out to be a simple black and white affair, whereas my Committee Hearing contained all the contentiousness of the period. However, aside writing and publishing – say, Wilfred Burchett’s Mosquitoes & Elephants - my outrage remained confined to going to a few demonstrations. I recall, pathetically, berating a NY City Police Captain when the Police were rioting during respective adjacent Black Panther and George Wallace rallies near Madison Square Garden, sputtering that I would report his refusal to reign in his men to the New York Times! As impotent as Grosskurt turned out to be, tossing a rock at the Reichs Chancellery in 1938! If there had been a Sierra Maestre to go to I certainly would have at that time – but in temperate climate. The tropics did me in at once, moreover south of the border every amoeba lay in wait for me! Thus, fantasies of being an in the field revolutionary!

Peter, the longed-for good father is what I am driving at! – The fact that mine had behaved heroically in the political arena did not mean that he was a good father to his first son, nor to his second either! Rather the opposite, in my first nightmare he is the old Oedipal goat! (That I 50 years later find out that I, too, potentially have such a domineering old goat in me, at least the impulse, does not come as that much of a surprise as that then ancient dream revealed its last secrets.)
The screen memory – of Christmas 1939 -where my father is trying to run two trains in opposite directions through a tunnel, reveals that by age four I had a preference for my for my grandfather, no doubt I was not only terrified of my father but had also picked up my mother’s disappointment in him and her preference for her father; and that my supposed x-mas gift was my father’s plaything, if its provenance was even made clear to me who however in the screen memory is sitting very much in the center of things!, I was not to be bought off that easily. His periodic appearances once I was back at Fir Place as of late fall 1943 involved being chased, escaping him – the original dream had it right! He was the old goat, and then at his periodic appearances during the war actually did chase and hunt me who identified with the rabbits, as a dead one I appear in the story Sandro!
If the 20th of July is the well-known historic date the 19th is it for me, for my father appeared in uniform, on his way to his assignment at General Schwerin’s Headquarters, and lay in wait for me and beat me for disobeying by going with the foreman in the wagon with the nag Lisa to fetch coal during constant air raid danger. I knew very well that I was being disobedient, had lain in wait until I thought he might be asleep, but had been caught and beaten, and fell asleep with a suicide note on my bed and a knife under my pillow! I was seven then.
     The oodles of cousins who came to live with us at the end of the war were as frightened of him as was I and were all used as factotums. His only pride in me ever seems to have been that even as a newborn I loved the music of Mozart, he, Furtwaengler’s ear, a talented painter at the end of his life, might have thought of asking me whether I wanted to learn an instrument. During the war during one of his appearances out of the seeming nowhere he had mentioned that nothing would become of me, a Ritzenschieber, someone who cleans the grooves in tramway tracks - without ever even asking if I at that early an age had ideas for the future. That appears to have been regarded as paternal motivation during those days. One cousin was treated to the same kind of motivation by his businessman father. Seven year old me had barely seen a tramway, much less given the slightest thought to future profession, and was not about to take him and the great pathos, with which he underwent his immensely successful business career, as aspirational model – and thus he ruined, initially, the prospect of what fun being in business can be like. On divorcing my mother, and I going to the U.S., there was not a single contribution to the various boarding schools and colleges. Letters such as they were always mentioned that I ought to wear a tie! My mother mentioned that, being inarticulate emotionally, he copied Rilke’s love letters, and that he wanted nothing more than to be loved – and that one could wrap him around one’s little finger if one showed him that one did. Not that I was going to pretend anything of the kind, but the idea that one might be the way he was and have those wishes and expectations I found both sad and funny. Now I would know how to approach him and try to fathom how he, the great businessman, had become so pitiable.  At his death I was relieved, although our way with each other had become mutually less hard-assed, he was sufficiently pleased at my starting a publishing firm to make a small contribution, and his legacy helped pay for the analysis, the most interesting adventure of them all, a way to try to repair the damage that had been done during the childhood. Yet, at his death I felt relief - I thought he would never get out of my way! However, during and subsequent to analysis I found that not only there was that longing for a good father but that there was an absence. I, too, appear to belong to Mitcherlich’s “fatherless generation”. There is a hole where a father ought to be. The playful stepfather did not fill it. “Freud,” say, in a near metaphysical sense, does. The subject did not really come up in so many words during the analyses, indirectly of course. Greatly in the what is called “working through.” Very much so during my analytic monograph on Peter Handke’s far unhappier and more complicated relationship with paternal figures. However, the dream I had so as to catch the first analyst in the lie of claiming he did not know German, as  friend and Jungian analyst, name-cousin Leland Roloff then pointed out, by re-dreaming Goethe’s ballad, I was also expressing a longing for a father during a critical feverish wounded time. Indeed, I had been very injured during the first year of my life and also at the time that I dreamt that dream – and I well understood the purity of the analytic situation where you cannot expect or receive love from an analyst, and as someone - the Prussian elf in me - I already had a nicely honed military stoic side, now being refined, so I thought, where understanding substitutes for absences of all kinds. Nonetheless, to whatever degree and how deeply Freud (in the widest sense) was absorbed, it wasn’t until a couple of years ago when I happened to befriend a morning Tully’s companion my age who always appeared with his yellow legal writing pad that I realized what I had missed early on in life. A big Navy flier Vietnam Vet it turned out to be! Beats me why as sons we need a real father, a substantial one in our past. An anchor. We have barely made a deep acquaintance the fellow has to crawl away and die with a case of cancer of the colon that he had neglected early on!





NOTES – GROSSKURT, FATHER, GRANDFATHER

GROSSKURT
After months of research on the Grosskurt project, first in the Gestapo material that had been deposited in Washington, D.C and then at the Institute for Zeitgeschichte in Munich I discovered that Grosskurt had been taken a prisoner at Stalingrad in 1942 and died a Russian prisoner of war. Someone at the OKW (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht – Army Supreme Command) had gotten wind of his oppositional sentiments and sent him to the Eastern Front. There was no book, only a promising opening to one. Meanwhile I had become exceedingly well apprised about most aspects of the conspiracies and had a cast of splendid characters. At about the time of Munich 1938 Grosskurt, utterly frustrated, had flung a rock at the Berlin Reichs Chancellery. My parents, who had the right kind of contacts in the U.K., had traveled there to convince the Brits that Hitler meant war, not to compromise with him. It would be nice of course if there were regular workers who could go on such informative trips and not just the members of the classes that make war. In the Washington D.C. archives I discovered that all the Gestapo seemed to have had on my father was that he supplied sea food from his position, as the General Manager of Germany’s largest fishing fleet, to the conspirators. No mention of General Schwerin sluicing him across to the British lines on the 20th of July. No mention of the position he was meant to occupy at the successful coup, that of the chief technocrat responsible for feeding the motley German people. No mention of course of what a dreadful father he had been to his son!
My mother had always said that the police knew far less than you assumed they did. Certainly true in this instance, I wonder - now that Admiral Pointdexter’s “total awareness” project has been realized - whether the police are still as limited.
And then my father I found out had had yet another of his infinite affair, with, wouldn’t you know it, Colonel Grosskurt’s secretary! – Wasn’t it astonishing, as you rummaged around the lives of conspirators who were risking everything, that near invariably they were involved in the usual romantic hanky-panty.
NOTES – PART II (DERIVATIVES) TO COME

FATHER
His father, my Danish emigrant (to the once until the war of 1864 Danish possession Altona, adjacent to Hamburg ) grandfather dentist (famous for sowing the WW I shattered jaws back together), wanted his first son, in rather typical fashion, to become a regular physician and to study medicine. However, William fell in lover with physics at Goettingen and was brilliant at it. Aside that there were no paying jobs as a physicist in the early 1920s, he was afraid of telling his father that he had not really studied medicine, and said that he wanted to go into business as the then did, with the family of his first wife, Hamburg Jews with business connections in the UK, and he quickly was a super-successful guilt driven businessman who after running factories by 1933 headed Germany's biggest fishing fleet, Nordsee, part of Unilever.  As friend of Oswald Spengler he subscribed to the notion that this was the age of engineers, not that he, of whom I saw very little once in the U.S. and serious studying began, could subject me to Spengler's views, but he did my half brother, an artist, to the extent where Steven actually studied engineering while taking a lot of acid - counter measure to the toxic effect his father had on him, but remembers nothing of engineering, never used it, and became a production designer in T.V. instead.


GRANDFATHER ALVENSLEBEN
One matter that piques my curiosity is how I managed to acquire such a fixation having seen him only very briefly at the age of four. Of course quite continuously from Spring 1945 until his death, of lung cancer, in 1947 – whereupon 10 year old me made such a spectacle of himself at the funeral, and the following week that I only attended one other funeral for people I was fond of during the rest of my life. Opa playing Skat with my father and stepfather and me kibitzing! Going hunting one early morning a single time! However, I always begged to be taken along when he drove his BMW, to the point that he called me by the expression I then voiced: “Kann ich mitfahren?”/ “May I come along.” And I don’t think he ever took me along, as compared to my stepfather in his Jeep. Most of the amusing stories that feature him involve practical jokes that have a sadistic edge to them, a matter that makes me wonder.

The Governess
Name was Elizabeth, whittled to “Lite”, allegedly the daughter of an alcoholic father in permanent state of X, had been previously employed as governess, when much younger, by my father’s family, but had also for others, in the same position. Not only did I take a profound dislike for this unfortunate spinster, no one in the entire household liked her. My mother made her dislike and made it clear in front of me. When I thought I had killed her at age seven by kicking her in the stomach as she tried to spoon-feed me and I ran downstairs to report her demise (she doubled up and moaned) to the Roloff grandmother, she, her first employer didn’t seem to care a hoot – which had the effect of making me, the perp, feel weirdly estranged from myself. When she had actually died, some years after leaving our employ and my mother reported the news I did not react at all – and I will forever recall the odd look that my mother gave me, for hadn’t it been not that long ago – in 1947 – that I had bawled for a week when my grandfather had died. And here not one tear! Or then ask me why – in which case I doubt I would have been able to describe the torture it had been to have been subjected to this prison warden’s NO, perhaps I might have mentioned if I remembered her flipping my little penis as a child when she caught me masturbating. Back at Fir Place she had a room next to mine with direct entrance, there she sat darning socks, a Fingerhut was her escutcheon. The ruin of my life, and no one knew or seemed to have a sense of it, and I don’t ever appear to have gone to any of the neglectful family members and complained, not my style I suppose. There are infinite variations of “Lite” in the world, and I have an extra-antennae to go on alert when one is in the vicinity.

My Stepfather, Richard Weber, who retired as a full colonel, was a lieutenant when I set eyes on him the first time that he drove up in a captured Fiat in German Army camouflage to report that his superior, a Colonel Fink, had requisitioned my father’s company car for the Bremen OSS, and was a playful relief from previous men, and we got along fine until he returned an ill man from Korean war in 1956; also, by then I, a sophomore, had outgrown him, or so it seemed to me when we talked books. However, as Shakespeare nut I owe him a debt in that respect, and many more compared to many a hated stepfather. After he retired, I sluiced translations to him for which I myself was too busy. Toward the end of her suddenly cancer-abbreviated life, my parents were going to remarry. However, my mother did not marry the man she always seemed to long for, a fellow conspirator, Eddie Vaetchen, whom I think she knew even before she met my father.


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MICHAEL ROLOFF http://www.facebook.com/mike.roloff1?ref=name Member Seattle Psychoanalytic Institute and Society this LYNX will LEAP you to all my HANDKE project sites and BLOGS: http://www.roloff.freehosting.net/index.html "MAY THE FOGGY DEW BEDIAMONDIZE YOUR HOOSPRINGS!" {J. Joyce} "Sryde Lyde Myde Vorworde Vorhorde Vorborde" [von Alvensleben] contact via my website http://www.roloff.freehosting.net/index.html

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