More than seventy million dead and 55 years later, Hitler’s last secretary looks back with incomprehension on the fact that she did not say ‘no’ at the time: ‘I was not a convinced National Socialist’, says Traudl Junge in Der Untergang. “When I came to Berlin I could also have said: ‘No, I do not want to participate in that and I do not want to be sent to the Fuehrer’s headquarters.” But I didn’t. My curiosity was too great for that.’
Since the Trump victory and with each appointment of yet another hardliner, I have wondered, ‘And which no is next for me? And how do I shape it, other than in words?’
The assassination in Sarajevo of Franz Ferdinand and his wife was one of the reasons for the First World War. I was in the alley, walked the routes, read about it. What has kept me busy ever since: the flame never strikes out of nowhere in the war pan. Year after year, little by little, more and more oil is poured into it. It goes almost unnoticed, as if in an inevitable process. And yes, with every new shot the media screams murder and there is great concern at the coffee machines, but life also resumes its course. After all, everything has to be done, maybe it’s not too bad and oh what a person can do alone.
One drinks a glass and takes a pee and everything remains as it was.
Rarely does a person come to his senses without first hitting the wall with his nose. It also seems to apply to societies.
I have no beginning of an answer to my questions. But at least I can share them. “The Question Holds The Lantern,” says O’Donohue.
So don’t fall asleep. Keep asking. And above all: continue to recognize the young Traudl Junge in myself.