Make our country great again

tiergarten-lake-3It’s a picture of the idyllic biergarten on the banks of Neuer See in Berlin. Imagine the trees festooned with Nazi flags, the perimeter of the gardens patrolled by Brownshirts. This would have been how it was in 1932 when the National Socialists used the biergarten for a rally.

In Out of Such Darkness Leo Plomer, who is Jewish, takes Cameron Mortimer to the park to introduce him to the reality of living in Berlin as an extreme, right-wing nationalist party, which promises to make Germany great again, gains ascendancy.

When I wrote Out of Such Darkness (published 2015) I had no idea how relevant and prophetic its stories would be today.

As Leo and I approached them the Brownshirts stepped to one side to let us through the first ring of trees and now we were on the edge of a lake. Red-hulled wooden rowboats lined the shore to the left as we carried on into the crowded clearing. Here the surrounding trees and posts were festooned with swastikas which also adorned the raised wooden platform set with long pine tables and benches.

There were two stages. The band dressed in Lederhosen played from one and on the other was a choir of young boys and girls dressed like boy scouts with open-neck, khaki shirts and light-blue, cotton neckerchiefs. They were joking amongst themselves and I was struck by their open smiling faces and their chubby knees poking out from their dark knickerbockers. For all Leo’s imputation that the National Socialists were a sinister cult I have to say that all I could see was young people having fun protected by a necessary ring of strong men who were needed to defend them against any of the Communist Red Front Brigades who might try and disrupt this idyllic German scene.

Extract from Out of Such Darkness (Patrician Press  2015)


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Robert Ronsson

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01 2017

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