Tag Archives: family history

Encounter at Berchtesgarten (1938)

He will go for a walk on his
own today,just the dog for company;
the turned up collar leather overcoat
a barrier against the early morning
mountain drizzle common to these parts;
the battered felt hat completing the
proper garb for such a walk;
the dog’s features eager now to go,
it is time,early enough in the day
to avoid attention from his own staff,
he shan’t inform them about his adventure;

Walking down cobbled narrow streets
toward a Gasthof stirring with activity,
a Frauelein arranging patio furniture
looks up but without interest;
he walks past exchanging perfunctory
greetings as is the custom;
he passes close by with turned up
collar and felt hat obscuring his profile,
the Gastwirt’s wife admonishes the busy
Frauelein,”don’t you know who that was?”
as those words echo faintly behind him,
he allows himself a self-deprecating smile,
the Schaefferhund looks up at him smartly;
how was the Frauelein to know?
how was anyone to know?
after all,
the world had yet to hear
of the litany
of obscure little towns
such as,
Auschwitz..Dachau..Theresienstadt.

Glossary of terms:-

*My Mother is the “fraulein” referred to the
establishment’s general dogsbody- waitressing staff et al)
*Gasthof – guest house/restaurant/
*Gastwirt – Landlady,wife of the proprietor
*Schafferhund – Shepherd Dog
* Berchtesgarten was an unassuming Bavarian village (across
the border from my Mother’s native Salzburg;) and location of
The Eagle’s Eyrie fortress retreat of one AH.