In the poverty-stricken neighborhood where the Gruener family lived, tuberculosis was a well-established part of life. But in the fall of 1918, something new visited their Frankfurt community that remained until 1920. It began as a fever and sore throat. Headaches, body aches, cough and nose bleeds were common. Doctors advised their patients to take up to 30 grams of aspirin per day. For some, this regime appeared to work as their symptoms improved. Days would pass before this mysterious manifestation re...
Werner glanced out the train window with indifference at the countryside passing by him. His breakfast with Heimrich had been its usual mundane chatter about inconsequential things. The only good thing about it was that Heimrich had paid for it. Such a nosey bastard! Werner mused. Tight-lipped and mastering the art of deflection ensured that his erstwhile friend never got close to the heart of his personal business. Anyway, as he saw it, friendship was one of those lean words that c...
he early morning shadows were receding and traffic, both foot and vehicle, animated the city landscape. Berlin’s daytime soul was rising while the Babylonian night, admonished by the austere and conservative, flourishing with youthfulness, explosive sexual freedom, creative thought and expression, receded, sparingly, anxious to awake into its hedonistic daily dive into the city lights again.
Werner pulled back the heavy curtains and peered out onto the street from his second-story bedroom wi...
An Offer Is Made
Everything about Wilhelm Richter’s attitude discouraged conversation, though, in a perfunctorily sort of way, he did raise his eyes from the newspaper to acknowledge Werner’s presence. The large window behind him furnished amble morning light to assist in his present endeavor while its wedge made the recently starched white tablecloth almost blinding to the eye. His black hairline was receding along a tongue-shaped peninsula. He was close-shaven, had small hands and a cautious, candid manner ...
Destiny and Fate Unfolding
Werner had moved what little he had brought with him to Berlin across the hall into Meinhard’s room. He sat on the freshly made bed soaking in his new surroundings. Except for the clothes hanging in the armoire and the tightly filled bookshelves on one wall, all personal remnants of Gisella’s brother had been removed to another, undisclosed, location in the house. He could see that the rugs and furniture that remained had been chosen with care while the bed he sat on was not only deeply comfo...
Arrival at the 'Resi'
erlin was a city living in its libertine moment. It was a city where the post-war shimmering light had become a jewel-like sparkle. A capital deemed representative of the new democracy where women were emancipated like nowhere else, and its people were obsessed with the arts, ballets, and cabarets full of burlesque performances and transvestites.
But it must be remembered that the preface to Berlin’s culture was WWI. On June 28, 1919, under intense pressure from the victors, Germany wa...
The moment Werner entered the Residenz-Casino, commonly called the ‘Resi,’ he knew he had entered another world. ‘A fish out of water’ barely scratched the surface of how he felt while people brushed past him. Unseen like a cellophane man he watched the gyrations of the congregated mass on the dance floor cocooned in a cacophony of laughter, whistling and joy-filled screams and the general clatter of a night running wild. To his left was a cigarette stand. Making a beeline to it, ...
An Understanding Is Reached
erner’s eyes raked over the raven-haired beauty who in his judgement was all too aware of her stunning good looks and the effect they had on men. Yet it was obvious to him by the company she kept that she was urbane and well-connected. The guarded manner by which her worldly-wise eyes scrutinized him said a lot.
“Herr Schilling! What a surprise!” Gisella said, tilting forward to light her cigarette on his lighter. She peered at his companion and smiled. “Hello, Eva.”...