All entries for Thursday 15 March 2012
March 15, 2012
It is spring time in Berlin. But today the streets are speckled with blood rather than bluebells, and the city does not look forward to its summer. It looks instead to the graves and the craters and the flames. It looks at what it has done, it looks at its wounds. Berlin weeps now. The heart of the Reich is stopped, its veins are cut, and its arteries blocked.
I look at the damaged building in front of me. The Reich Chancellery. Our bombs and bullets have ruined its grandeur. The crumbling walls surrender to my troops, and I give the order to proceed. As I follow my men inside I feel no triumph. I am no proud victor, no champion over tyranny. I have killed men and I have reached Berlin and I have felt nothing along the way. I have felt no remorse, and I have felt no triumph. I suppose I have survived.
We are not interested in the interior, I shout. It has already been searched. The same applies to the bunker. Nothing there but the bodies of the six young children, laid still in their beds, little faces tinged blue with the poison of their parents. We were too late for them. So we move to the garden and greet spring again. The birds sing in time with the rifle shots, and the flowers shrink amidst the smoke.
We get down on our hands and knees and search amongst the rubble and the grass. Splinters of glass from the blasted windows sting my hands as I crawl. My eyes scan the ground for a clue, but at first I see nothing but the glare of the sun, and feel the sweat sticking under my arms. Now suddenly my hand catches on something both rough and smooth, a corner of grey fabric clumsily covered by the soil of a shell hole. I shout to my men.
I have already started to dig with my hands when spades are brought across. I sit back now and let my comrades finish the job. I take a drink and bite the earth out of my nails. After a while digging, a hush falls amongst us, the soldiers in the garden. I stand and look down on the excavation. A grey blanket covers a large bulk at the base of the hole. My men look to me now, their Captain-Lieutenant.
I jump into the hole, unsettling the flimsy soil. The stench is repelling but I dare not flinch in front of my audience. In a sudden movement I sieze the blanket and pull it off its secret. Partially burnt corpses, two human two animal. I give the order to radio Moscow. It is my belief that I have just found the remains of Hitler. Perhaps now I might feel a little triumph, and savour the Berlin spring.