Answer to a question

As the occupation authorities If 1946 asked him to answer in writing the routine question "What were your feelings during the Nazi period?", Erich Schairer wrote in the form of a reply to a friend:

You ask me (a little curious, it seems to me), as it looked inside me during the Nazi era. Bad, I can tell you. I was torn between mourning, shame, and hatred.

I remember one afternoon when I was on duty on the Lindau train station completed; a compulsory service that was not even so unwelcome to me, because it gave me the opportunity to keep me off guard. In the train I had just dispatched sat my 25-year-old son, a good, peaceable, somewhat dreamlike boy whom she turned to SS had pressed. He had had a few short days off, which he had taciturn than before. He seemed inwardly out of balance; He must have seen many evil, perhaps terrible things, and could not prevent them. So again robber killer would be his daily dealings. Poor guy - I could not save him if he might die.

When I left the platform after leaving the train, I came to one Freight wagons which I had to put in the Munich train afterwards. I glanced through the open door. There lay and squatted and stood under the guard of a few armed men about thirty to forty Dachau protective custody in their striped criminal clothes. Greenish-pale faces with tangled stubble, figures leaning towards the skeleton. They were from Überlingen ins Dachau concentration camp brought back because they were too weak and sick to be able to be further eviscerated.

Who knows what would happen to them now? They stared apathetically to themselves; hardly anyone who might have thought that over six miles from the lake, Switzerland, the land of freedom, was shining. This or that one looked at it: he was an "intellectual", a spiritual person like myself. If you had to go around here wearing a red cap in a pretty uniform and, of course, prefer sitting in Switzerland over there, you would not really have to be among them, I thought thieves who would die now because they had protested against the man whom I also considered a criminal?

Slowly and absentmindedly I went back to my well-heated office and sat down on my armchair behind the desk with the papers and telephones. Opposite on the wall, so that I had it constantly in my face, there was a large portrait of the "Führer". Once again I looked into that disgusting, ordinary grimace, and my imagination painted the small, round hole with the thin streak of blood on my receding forehead, which I always had to think of when I looked at the hated features. When and how would this person end? And then wouldn't it be too late, too late for all of us?

1946