Historical fiction: The tragic life of Albrecht von Haar in journal format

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First Time since War that Communists and Socialists Protest Together in Berlin

In a surprise move, the Reds and Socialists are protesting together today in the Lustgarten. What brought them together is Von Papen’s command to close the Vowaerts newspaper for five days.  His edict was upheld by the Supreme Court. The court’s ruling confirmed Von Papen’s claim that he had been slandered by a cartoon depicting him paying for new Nazi uniforms out of government funds. I have a grave concern with the government closing an opposition newspaper, even for a week. It may have a chilling effect on editors and reporters. I cannot imagine such a thing happening in London, Paris, or Washington. But in Berlin, we live in difficult times.

Chancellor von Papen making an address to Amer...

Chancellor von Papen making an address to American radio (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

May 31, 2015   No Comments

Illicit “Red Cross” mustard gas production

“Gassed” by John Singer Sargent

I received a clandestine report from a source today that a large factory located in Hamburg, Chemische Fabrik Stoltzenberg, has produced a new blistering gas agent that is 40 times more deadly than the Yellow Cross and Blue Cross gases of the Great War. It is being named “Red Cross.” The noted chemist Hugo Stoltzenburg supervises production. For secrecy’s sake, work on the gas fabrication lines is limited to members of the Stahlheim (Steel Helmets). My source indicated that aeroplanes, either civil or military, can deliver this new gas.

Against whom are we planning to use this terror? What madness lies just below the surface of this growing and hidden German war machine! Chemical gas production and experimentation is against the international law of the Geneva protocols of 1925. I wonder if the Nazis are yet aware of this development. My guess is that there is a fair amount of undisclosed collaboration between Hitler, Goring and various leaders of the German Army. There is another alarming question: Is Hindenburg aware of such unlawful preparations, or is he simply too old and ill to know or care? What of his advisers? I will notify the British of the chemical gas production as soon as practicable. One can only assume that the British disposed of all chemical weapons per Geneva. They should be made aware of this madness.

June 13, 2014   No Comments

Hitler flying madly across Germany prior to July 31, 1932 elections

Hitler is careening around Germany like a madman (again) prior to the July 31 elections. He feels The Old Gentleman won’t live forever. Hitler is flying crisscross over Germany like the proverbial Flying Circus – visiting some 50 cities. He has almost crashed several times in bad weather. He won’t fly with any pilot other than Hans Bauer. This week a crowd of 10,000 in Stralsund, Pomerania was kept waiting for 6 hours before Hitler showed up after dark to speak. If this fanaticism on the part of German voters is any indication, the Nazi numbers will very likely increase in the Reichstag come August.


Hitler (left), standing behind Hermann Göring ...

Hitler (left), standing behind Hermann Göring at a Nazi rally in Nuremberg (c. 1928) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

August 25, 2013   No Comments

A gift from Lausanne

I heard good news as I arrived back in Berlin. At the Lausanne Conference it appears von Papen has done us some good after all. The conferees have agreed to postpone $45 million US dollars in payments due July 2. The topic of payments should not come up again until after the U.S. presidential elections (between President Hoover and Governor Roosevelt).  I see the payments delay as a gift to von Papen and his cabinet.  England and France obviously want to stabilize von Papen’s government against the attacks by Hitler and his disgusting mouthpieces Goering and Goebbels. Although the Versailles document is not abrogated, war reparations may now be in permanent limbo. The war guilt clause was not resolved due to French intransigence – as usual.

The unfair outflow of hard currency from our country can now stop for the time being. The overall result is good for the German people and cannot but help Herr von Papen. This could go a long way towards putting our Fatherland back on its feet economically.  I certainly pray so for the beggars in the streets across the country. And for my family and all our Fatherland, of course.

From the French minister Herriot: “(British) Prime Minister MacDonald pleaded with me to come to the middle of the road. I went further and we have reached, I believe, the best conclusion that could be reached for world peace, especially European peace. We came here not to reach a solution for profit, but for justice. I believe that we have succeeded. And here for France I hold out my hand in friendship to the world.”

If the French truly want peace, they should stop balancing their national budget with billions of marks stolen from the German people.

October 13, 2012   No Comments

A scare before leaving Bracknell

The last morning with the Duke of Bracknell gave me a bit of a scare. The Duke informed me that one of his servants had accidentally seen me looking inside my small suitcase prior to breakfast and had noticed that it looked from a distance like a radio transmitter set. The Duke asked me if it was so. Well, at that point I had to own up to it, didn’t I? He seemed relieved when I told him the story of my working with, well, you know who – and that I was bringing the radio set back to Berlin for use by a British agent.  The Duke admitted that the particular servant who spied me had lost two boys in the Great War and had little feeling, other than distaste, for the likes of me in the household, honestly, and was concerned that I was a spy reporting back to Berlin ! I assured the Duke it was the other way around, old boy, and that I had trouble operating a toaster much less a radio transceiver.

I then gave the Duke Hess’s package.  I was relieved to be rid of it.  “Oh yes, our old friend Hess,” said the Duke with a frown, “A bit of an odd duck, isn’t he?” I shook my head in agreement, but said nothing more. The Duke indicated that he’d take the package to the proper authorities at Whitehall in a few days. It was undoubtedly another manifesto claiming that England and Germany should bond together against the Red Horde from the East, meaning Russia, of course. “The man is simply over the top when it comes to Stalin. It can wait for a few days”

The Stormy Abyss - Whitehall 1932

Whitehall 1932

“Paul” arrived shortly thereafter and I was soon on my way back to Berlin. As I left the estate, I tried to pick out the servant who had fingered me. It seemed they were all giving me the evil eye.

I was nervous about the radio transmitter, but was pleased to hear from Paul during the pleasant drive back to London that I would not have to bring the suitcase containing the radio transmitter through German customs. One never knew when customs would be tightened. I would be leaving the small suitcase on the ship when it docked in Hamburg. I was to leave it in my state room, in the closet. What a relief. I’m not cut out for these spy activities. I could get myself and my friends and family into very, very serious trouble. I’m an academic.  I love my country. But I feel strongly that I’m doing the right thing by helping the British understand what’s happening inside Germany. Or as best as I can understand it myself.

May 18, 2012   No Comments

Japanese lessons for German supernationalists?

I gave my lecture today on the subject of the Japanese situation. It was held at the British Imperial War College in Bracknell. The English, of course, have vast interests in the Far East, so the topic drew a crowd. My main thesis is that the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy view themselves as unabashedly imperialist. They see themselves as the leaders of a new Asia, marking the Asian continent as their own with no room for Westerners. The army’s assassination of Prime Minister Inukai in Tokyo initiated the shameless beginning of the militarization of Japanese politics. The military oligarchy was now in the process of taking over Japan.

Imperial Japanese Army Academy, 1907

Japanese Imperial Army Academy.

There has been talk of a Japanese Monroe Doctrine. If the United States can claim sovereignty over the Panama Canal, why can’t Japan do the same with Manchuria? The League of Nations is powerless to do anything about Manchuria or the China incursions. Europe is still shy of war after losing a generation in the Great War, not 15 years gone. The Japanese are essentially free to do as they wish with little repercussions. The only power they fear is the growing presence and might of the United States. The English looked a bit crestfallen at this assertion.

I finished the lecture by stating that the Imperial Army was now conducting seishin kyoiku, or spiritual training, of all its recruits. This involves instilling a deep, spiritual sense of serving the emperor into the troops and making each soldier realize that the army is the mother and father of them all. I noted that in Germany, since we no longer have an emperor, an increasingly popular and equivalent word to emperor is ‘Führer.’ As I closed the lecture, I could not help but share my wonder at how the German militarists were viewing this Japanese model of naked aggression and ‘spiritual’ training of war fighters.

March 19, 2012   No Comments

A drive to Bracknell

Before leaving London, I made good on Ada’s request to drop off her letters. The address of her aunt and uncle was not far from Hyde Park, to the north a bit, near Regent’s Park, and Paul readily agreed to help me run the errand. We pulled up to a weathered white townhouse near the Baker Street Underground Station. It so happened that Ada’s relatives were not home, so I popped the letters into the mail slot and we were off to Bracknell. We passed one of my favorite scenes – a distant look at Windsor Castle across beautiful green fields. It is a beautiful sight, indeed.

Windsor Castle at sunset as viewed from the Lo...

Windsor Castle

The remaining drive to the Earl’s estate in Bracknell is less than 10 miles from Windsor. Paul took this opportunity to ask me if I had any more knowledge about IBM’s involvement with Deutsche Hollerith Maschinan Gesellschaft. I stated that I would continue to be on the lookout, but that I only had  limited information at this time. He also asked about the militarized cipher machine. I told him that I had heard that the German Navy had been using a version of the cipher machine for several years. Messages were encoded and then sent by Morse code ship to ship. Apparently the Navy now has an electric version of the cipher machine and it will soon be adopted by the Army. I had also heard that the Polish government was working to break the resulting codes, so far with no success. Paul gave no indication if this information was new to him.

We soon arrived at the Earl of Berkshire’s estate, where we were greeted warmly by my friends, the Earl and Lady Berkshire and their staff. Paul unloaded my luggage, said he’d pick me up in three days, wished me well with my academic presentation and drove off into the dusk.

December 4, 2011   No Comments

A walk in Hyde Park

The Serpentine lake at Hyde Park   I had expected to be met at Waterloo station by one of the Earl of Berkshire’s men, but was instead met by one of Menzies’ intelligence types. He walked up to me as though we had known each other for ages. He said his name was Paul, though I suspect that simple fact was doubtful. He shook my hand, took a quick glance around at others on the platform and led me to the front of the station. Another man arrived shortly and brought my things, including my large, trustworthy portmanteau. Paul noticed my small, empty suitcase and gave me a nod of approval. My luggage, including the small suitcase was loaded into an awaiting AC Sedan. I was then told we were going for a short detour through Hyde Park. What is it with these kind of people and metropolitan parks? We headed off and crossed the Thames, with Paul driving. We approached Hyde Park from the Knightsbridge or south side. We pulled over into a no parking zone where a constable stood. The officer gave a knowing glance in Paul’s direction and said nothing. He stood his ground as we walked away. There was a man standing nearby, puffing on a cigarette. He tossed it aside and walked up to our sedan and slipped inside. I was startled, but Paul took me by the arm forcefully and said, “Never look surprised. That man will meet us with the car on the other side of the park. His job is to put the wireless equipment in the suitcase while we walk through the park.” I regained my composure as we strode down to the Serpintine. Paul told me that I was being given state of the art wireless equipment as had been discussed in Berlin, but that the equipment was not for me. He said his group never expected me to learn how to use such a telegraphic device and its associated codes. Instead I was to deliver the suitcase to a British agent back  in Berlin.

September 5, 2011   No Comments

The moving earth dream

I had a disturbing dream while I was catching a nap on the train from Southampton to London. In the dream I was walking in a beautiful field of tall grass looking at a copse of tall trees in the distance. Some mist was forming by the trees.  A little boy came up to me and spoke in a language I did not understand, some Slavic tongue, yet somehow I knew precisely what he was telling me. He violently grabbed me by my right hand insisting that I follow him back home to his house in the nearby village. He implored me not to go into the woods.

I asked him why I should not proceed and he told me that “the ground moved” in those woods and that no one should go near the place until the ground stopped moving and the elders in the village did not know when that would be, if ever. He  called the wooded area the “Singing Forest” because villagers had heard what sounded like singing coming from the woods the day before. I asked him where his parents were, but he didn’t know. I insisted that that I must look into the wooded area. Something was pulling me there.The child finally let go of my hand and ran off to what appeared to be an Alpine mountain side, reminding me of my boyhood home in Bavaria.

I remember the sky was blue and the grass was waving like grain as I walked into the wooded area. There was no path. I made my own way. Shortly I came to a star-shaped bare earth area about 100 meters long and 30 meters wide. As I walked on it, I could feel some trembling in the soles of my shoes. I looked down and indeed the earth was moving in chaotic waves. It seemed as though something was buried and trying to get out. I knelt down to examine the ground and began to dig with both  my hands. After a few moments the earth stopped moving and was I preparing to stand up and leave this mysterious place when suddenly what looked like a woman’s hand shot out of the ground and grabbed me by the ankle. The hand was covered in some white substance and was unusually strong. I fell over, writhing and kicking in the dirt. I tried to scream but my vocal cords were paralyzed and that’s when I awoke.

The strangest thing was that my ankle had a burning sensation long after I had woken up.

July 27, 2011   No Comments

Off to England

I thought I could escape Berlin for England without a visit from Hess, but I was wrong.   The morning of my trip had started nicely with a most welcomed visit by Ada. She stopped by to wish me well and to give me a few letters.  She has relatives in London and wanted me to pass the letters to them. She is convinced international letters are read by our government. My typical reply is that gentlemen do not read others’ letters, but I assured her that I would deliver the letters posthaste.  She then gave me a kiss and was off to visit her parents for the long weekend.

Lehrtner Banhof

I had just called a taxi for the train station when Hess rang in at my side door. He barely said hello before  shoving a large package into my hands.  He seemed flushed and agitated. “Please deliver this to the Earl, ” he said. “He’ll know what to do with it. And, by the way, hide it well in your things, I don’t want anyone seeing you carrying it.” I thought this was an odd statement and Hess must have noticed my quizzical look.  He told me the Weimar government should not know of it.

Well, I was turning into quite the courier! Hess fled the studio muttering something about running late for a meeting with Hitler. He hurried down to his chauffeured Mercedes and sped off. I must say I was taken aback, but glad that he had not stayed for an extended visit.   It was time for me to be off. I did not want to be late for my train, known as the “The Flying Hamburger,” which would deposit me in Hamburg in about two hours.

The taxi arrived and I was finally on my way to the central train station. Next stops Hamburg, Southampton, London and Bracknell.

July 24, 2011   No Comments