“It’s all there” she said, looking at the rows of books, and the framed photographs lined up on the shelf. “The authors we loved, the places we visited, the people we met…”
As she spoke, I wondered what their lives must have been like, their success, their hopes, and now, the calm after the storm, the stillness in this corner of a peaceful landscape they loved.
I knew him well, when we both were very young, and they had not met. The world was very different then. The world was at war. In a way we both lost everything we had, everything our parents had left for us. Perhaps this is what convinced him to look for her, to search for one human being who could redeem him. Him, and his crimes. Our crimes.
Redemption, he may have achieved, this old friend and comrade. Looking at him now, a small, old, white-haired man, in his wheelchair, surrounded by memories. Surrounded by her love.
Then, quietly, almost apologising, she showed me the black and white picture: the two of us, in uniform, somewhere on the Eastern front, two young men, arrogant, proud – two war criminals.
Image: SS-Propaganda: Plakat Tag der deutschen Polizei (1941), Gestapo Museum, Berlin.