There was nothing strange about them. Diary of a German soldier

Based on real diary entries

There was nothing strange about them really. They were men. Boots. Uniforms. Things I knew very well. But what were considered men? In my experience of boots and uniforms and red banners that was a call of judgment, not fact. Opinion could determine an individual’s idea of what constituted humanity, and what did not. I learned well not to look down so much upon the damned. Yet I could not help but look down on myself. I was damned. The boots had been stripped away. There were no remaining uniforms. The banners had been burned. Instead, I was in a wool sweater on a stretcher being pulled through a foreign country as a war criminal; an invader.

I was aware that a noble mind still existed amongst the English people, but recently, it had been elusive to my eyesight. There was no hospitality any longer to a foreign man, whether or not at war. Enemies yes, but mainly humans. And human I was, and human I was not being treated as. I only hoped that this mindset would change. Men became vicious in war, but I was here, hopefully, to make an end of this war.

I landed in Glasgow just months ago, wishing to impart some knowledge to the English that could potentially slow the bombings between them and Germany. I wanted the governments of our respective nations to come to their senses if they had any. They didn’t understand what we were trying to do, to unify a purified world. These men looked at me like a monster. Their eyes at first were wide, startled, disgusted. They thought of me as nothing more than an animal. They were blind to the truth. Later I would understand that they were the animals.

Immediately I sent letters, hoping to attract envoys and ambassadors to come to my aid. My letters were going nowhere. The consulate wouldn’t come. No one could hear my pleas. I was cut off, simply, and I realized it. I also realized that, for my own safety, I needed to get out of this place. Little did I know I’d soon be turned into a lab rat. Me, a statesman, a leader of German people, now confined to a hospital room where the door is locked and the windows are barred, with no fresh air but a pile of carcasses outside my opened window and the sound of lazy guards playing ball. Those were the least of my worries.

Within my first few weeks of captivity, throughout the night a lantern would be shown in my face to see if I were still alive, waking me every time and this behavior was continual. The Tommies around me, members of the royal guard, supposedly here to show that I was under royal protection were boorish. They carried themselves provokingly and taunted me at every turn. Even my physician Dr. Graham started to act as they did. I had only seen him acting acceptable once and it was on the first visit, welcoming me generously, examining my injuries which I incurred after my descent into Britain. He bandaged my wounded my leg, and wished me a pleasant stay. After that instance, nothing around me would feel sane again.

The second time I met Graham, he came to my locked room. I spoke to him of the painful headaches I was experiencing, and that my leg was incredibly swollen. The look on his face was incredibly strange, a glassiness came over his eyes, matched with a manufactured smile seared on his face. Upon getting nowhere with my medical complaints, I asked if I could receive a newspaper. No one would inform me what was happening in the outside world, how the war was going. He, and the Tommies, made abundantly clear there was no allowance for news, radio, papers, or any other way of knowing what was going on in the world to reach me. I was alone in this room, listening to dreadful humming right outside my door every time I try to lay down to catch up on sleep I so desperately needed to recover from my injuries.

Once again that concern soon moved to the back of my mind. I had been continually offered food and drink that others did not partake in and because of this I was increasingly suspicious of my food. I already didn’t feel comfortable eating food from an enemy nation considering my life was no more than a sentimentality, and probably a convenience. My life was no more than a beating heart and some breath. It did not matter if I were mentally or physically sound. It may be better if I were a raving lunatic.

After avoiding the food and drink, my stomach twisted and churned with the need for food, but no trust or ability to partake in what was put before me without the knowledge of what was to follow. It was a test, what was stronger, my will or my stomach? At the moment, my stomach was winning. In either case, I would suffer. If I did not eat, I would starve. If I did eat, I may be poisoned. With no way to bring in my own food, I had no choice. That night was the first of many instances of illness. I drank some milk and immediately felt incredibly ill. I suffered from peculiarly sharp headaches and eye disturbances. The light hurt my eyes and caused pressure in my forehead, yet not similar to a migraine. The pressure felt external and became exceeding detrimental as the hours went on. It became difficult to stand, or walk, or move my fingers. My fears were correct. They were trying to poison me.

That night was only the beginning of my continual war with food and sleep. There were up to four air-raids every night. The sirens went off inside and outside the building, one after another, after another, without any sign of there being any real danger outside. In later days if the sirens did not go off, it was still impossible to sleep. Incessant knocking and banging of doors and humming in the room beside me raged as soon as I laid in the metal cot. The stress of these occurrences built in me.

After having been in captivity for two weeks, with little food and sleep, Tommies entered my room and sat around me, asking peculiar questions about my past. If I answered correctly, their faces betrayed disappointment. If I simulated a fading memory, they remained content and would leave me be. Concerned about these expectations, I sent a letter for an ambassador to come and meet me. Of course, the letter had to go through the British Government in writing. I wrote what I believed to be the truth, I needed a diplomatic envoy to be delivered to me as I was concerned I was being subjected to a brain poison. I realized my suggestion sounded insane.

The government sent me an envoy soon after. Surprised that they received and accepted my request, I made sure to avoid eating for three days prior to the meeting, and only drink water. The envoy came with a physician to examine me and my claims. This doctor seemed like an upright, reasonable fellow with bright eyes and a confident gait. He listened to me kindly and wrote down my grievances with interest. Yet the following day he became exceedingly strange. His eyes changed dramatically since the day before. Now, he appeared glassy with a dreamy expression on his face. He was set in his opinion that I was the victim of prison-psychosis, and I couldn’t convince him otherwise. Richard, the physician, was assigned to me and prescribed me tablets to help me sleep and free me from pains.

Hopeful, I took the medication. On the contrary, though, I realized they did not help, instead they caused a stoppage in my bladder. It was incredibly difficult, if near impossible, to urinate. When I told him of this problem, he only advised me to drink a great deal of water. I did that, but the result was increased pains. Looking for relief, I stopped taking the tablets, pretending only to ingest them. The stoppage ceased with