Author: Marilie PM
Nazi Germany as seen through the eyes of a young, Nordic German boy. Warning: Nazi ideas and dialogue.Rated: Fiction T - English - Chapters: 4 - Words: 11,682 - Reviews: 6 - Favs: 5 - Follows: 2 - Updated: 10-30-09 - Published: 09-17-09 - id: 2721493
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Disclaimer: I do not sympathise with any of the beliefs portrayed by the characters in this story - both fictional and non. The characters in this story are merely a writer's interpretation of history and the everyday people who lived in Hitler's Germany. This story is about the 'other side' of WWII, without remorse, with no apology. This is not a Holocaust story, but a study of one young boy's life under the National Socialist regime. There will be anti-semitic dialogue and subtext for realism's sake. These opinions and ideas are not my own.
This story will be a series of events in the life of Kasper Haupt, in varying styles and in various points of history.
16 October, 1934
The boy and the pen regarded one another - the boy wary, the pen nearly trembling with unconcealed anticipation.
'Mama?' Even as he uttered the words, he knew it was useless. Mama was off visiting her friend, Frau-something-or-other, and would not be back until dinner, which left Kurt in charge. The boy sighed, his pudgy fist curling round the cool metal in defeat. 'Kurt. Kurt. Kurt,' he hmphed, scratching his own name onto the scrap of paper his brother had set before him half an hour before, with strict instructions not to budge an inch until he had finished, or else. 'K...ASP...SP...AH. Kasper Ha... Hau...pt.' Pausing only briefly to grin over his handiwork, he pressed the nib of the pen once more onto the thin paper and added another three lines of massive, clumsily-lettered "KASPER HAUPT"s with gusto. He held the paper up for inspection.
KASPER HAUPT, it read.
'Och,' exclaimed the boy, clapping delighted at the grand success the endeavour to write his name had turned out to be. 'Wie klug du bist, Kasper!' His bright, blond head fell forward once more; he flexed his fingers, eager to try his hand at something more difficult than "Kasper Haupt". 'Ahhh... All... es... g-gu... gut. Alles Gute zzzz... zum... Geb... urt... ssss... Geburts... Geburtsta... g. Alles Gute zum Geburstag!'
Beaming, Kasper scanned over the words, crossed out one of the "Kasper Haupt"s at the bottom, and scribbled a messy, potato-like creature that was given a pair of swirly, blue eyes, several rough lines in the air above his head (hair, Kasper thought happily, adding a few more dashes to the mix), and three long, stick arms that ended in little blue blobs for hands and one foot. Regrettably, the potato-man's head had intercepted the "ALES GUT ZUMM GEBOSTAG". He sighed again. Would it really matter? Mama always liked everything that Kasper made, whether the potato-men and the "Happy Birthday" phrases had been kept separate, or not.
Someone cried out in the street below, the sound muffled beneath the boisterous shouts of a group of teenage boys, and Kasper winced. His distraction had cost the birthday card dearly. 'Sheiße!' Smack dab in the middle of potato-Kasper's forehead was a shiny blot of blue ink. 'Sheiße!' he whinged, his voice rising to a petulant squeak. 'SHEIßE!' Kurt said "Sheiße" in between every two-to-three words these days, much to Mama's dismay; Kasper thought the exclamation sounded fantastic. He liked the way the sounds slipped from his tongue to his teeth, lisping and twisting their way into the open air, where they were usually smacked from his mouth by his extremely cross and red-faced mother.
'JUDE!' called the same voices as before. They were louder this time, as though their owners could not have been much further than the street below his family's flat. Ought he to go and see what all the fuss was about? Kasper considered it, bottom lip clenched firmly between his teeth. It really was agony hearing the shouts and not knowing what they were about. Then again, was it worth a telling off from Kurt? He groaned. Kurt's telling-offs were always worse than Mama's and usually included a thumping or two. But, he really did want to know what was going on. What if there was some sort of wonderful game being played right now by his neighbourhood friends, and he wasn't a part of it? Perhaps one of the boys had got a bicycle, or a football, or a toy aeroplane! Certainly Kurt would understand.
After all, it was not every day one of the neighbours had a scale-model of a Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter plane - painted red, he decided - with double wings and a little army man to sit inside and... if he left his chair right now and ran as fast as he could into the street, he might just make it before the others had all gone home and the chance of playing with a model aeroplane had passed. His brown, leather shoes thudded across the kitchen, short arms reaching out to wrench open the front door with such force that it dazed him for a brief moment. 'Hej!' Kasper shouted, waving his arms, despite the fact that no one could see him. 'Where is the plane? Where is the - ?'
By the time he reached the street, his jumper was soaked and his round face beaded with sweat. He glanced round wildly for the others, but there was no one but Kurt and his friends having a play fight on the opposite end of the street.
'Jude Saumensch!' Kurt was shouting, while his friends chanted behind him, 'Saumensch! Drekiger Jude!' Beneath his brother's boot-clad feet Kasper could just barely make out the prone form of another boy. This one he had never seen before, which was strange, as all of Kurt's friends had spent so much time at the Haupt house Kasper now knew each of them by name. He edged closer, frowning slightly as Kurt landed a particularly violent kick into the unknown boy's ribs. The collar of his brother's Hitler Jugend uniform had been torn, and Kurt was bleeding from his nose, but he seemed not to notice. Indeed, he was oblivious to everything but the battered object of his frustration, who was now struggling to stand as the other boys took turns pushing and jeering at him.
What sort of new game was this, Kasper wondered, to make his brother so angry? Determined to find out, and possibly to be included (though, loathe as he was to admit it, the scene was quite frightening) he neared the group and called out excitedly, 'Kurt! What are you playing, Kurt? Can I play, too?'
The attackers froze. The boy on the ground, seizing the opportunity, sprang off lopsidedly in the opposite direction. Swearing profusely, Kurt advanced on the small boy, and Kasper found his feet backing up despite themselves.
'Kurt,' he pleaded, confused. 'I didn't want to sit at the stupid old table anymore, and I - '
Mama's arms were unmistakable, even from behind. Warm and slender, they plucked him from the street in a single, swift motion and hugged him tightly as she jostled them up three flights of stairs and back onto the worn wood of the kitchen floor. She was on him before he had a chance to defend himself, flipping him down over her knee and delivering the unexpected smacking with as much force as she could muster. By the time she had finished, Kasper was sniffling, and Mama was saying something, and there, by the kitchen door, was Kurt, looking more than contrite.
'Haven't I told you you're not to go following after your brother when he's going to his meetings? Haven't I?' Mama hugged him tighter, her glare directed, not at Kasper, but at the teenage boy lounging miserably in the open doorway. 'Torn your uniform again,' scolded Mama crossly, 'and if those blood stains don't come out it'll be up to you to explain to the youth leaders why you need another one! What were you thinking, Kurt? Letting your brother into the street while you - letting him watch you! I could cheerfully throttle you just about now - do you know that? Cheerfully!'
Mama continued to scold, while Kurt continued to stare at the scuffs in the floor, and through it all Kasper had grown quite bored. He rubbed the remaining tears from his cheeks with a dismissive swipe from the back of his hand and freed himself from his mother's iron grasp. Mama was always angry with Kurt for something. Kasper had all but ceased to be interested when he heard his mother giving Kurt a telling off, opting instead to carry on with whatever he had been doing when he'd noticed the by-now familiar sounds of Mama's shouting and Kurt's stiff apologies.
He fled from the kitchen, intending to stop at the toilet for a minute and then off to the tiny room he shared with his brothers, Paskal and Reiner, but the large, un-Mama-ish hand on his shoulder had other plans. 'Dummkopf!' Kasper briefly considered fleeing. If he reached the kitchen in time, Kurt would have no chance of giving him a thumping. The older boy took him by the collar of his hand-me-down jumper, his thin lips and nose twisted into a scowl as he deposited them both onto the larger bed that Kurt had shared with Hans and Heinrich for as far back as Kasper's rather limited memory stretched.
Kurt was raging. 'Idiot! I told you to stay at the table, didn't I? Told you not to come and stick your snotty little nose into things that don't concern you! What - you didn't understand me? You didn't think I meant it?'
Kasper's huddled form seemed to visibly shrink into the lumpy pillows on the bed as he shook his head "no".
'What are you, a mong? You don't understand what 'stay inside the house' means? Is that it?'
Again, Kasper shook his head. While Kurt was often angry, and usually about things that Kasper, with his five year-old's slanted view of the world and skewed sense of logic, could not hope to understand, he had never been so furious, so violent, before.
Sticking out his bottom lip, Kasper replied sulkily, 'Just wanted to play with you. Why wouldn't you let me? I like play fighting.'
At once, Kurt deflated. His cheeks, rouged as he had hissed abuse at his younger brother, had paled, and the corners of his lips sagged tiredly as he snaked an arm round the tiny shoulders, kissed the boy's blond head, and explained cautiously, 'That wasn't play, Kasper. That was grown-up stuff. It's not for little kids.'
'But, you were fighting with him,' Kasper insisted, ignoring, for once, the slight to his age. He had more important things to discuss, like strange game the older boys had been playing and distinct lack of Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter planes.
'No,' corrected Kurt, sighing, 'I wasn't fighting with him. I was teaching him a lesson. He...' He hesitated, avoiding the imploring gaze of the smaller boy as he struggled to find a concept that Kasper would understand. 'He's a bad boy.'
Kasper considered this for several seconds. Bad boys were always being taught lessons, that was true. When he was a bad boy, his mother or Kurt would give him a smacking, or send him to his bed without dinner. But, the boy in the streets had not been sent off to his room, and the smacking Kurt had been giving him was far more like a beating than a mild spanking. Did punishments change when one became a grown-up?
One question was niggling at the very tip of his tongue, begging to be set free. 'But why is he a bad boy? Doesn't he listen to his mother?'
The scowl returned, fiercer and redder than before, as Kurt chewed out, 'No, he doesn't. He doesn't listen to anyone. He's not like us, Kasper. He's....'
'No,' his brother sighed. 'No, he's not a grown-up. He's... there are some people in the world, in the Fatherland, that might look like people, but they aren't. They're tricky, you see. They pretend... to look like... normal people. But really, on the inside, they're not people at all.' He rubbed his eyes, frowning, and continued, 'They're wild animals. Vicious ones. They walk around like normal people, trying to trick us, to steal from us and cheat us, and sometimes even to hurt us....'
'Monsters,' suggested Kasper helpfully.
'Yes,' Kurt agreed. He grinned thinly, his hand reaching out to pinch the boy's arm. 'Something like that.'
Kasper frowned thoughtfully, his eyes downcast. What sort of horrible monster walked around with the face of a boy, just to trick you? What if he met one and Kurt or Mama were not around to save him? Could he fight one off all by himself?
'Anyways,' said Kurt, 'The Führer is going to solve our monster problem for us, so you haven't got to worry about it. That's why he's making new laws, to separate them from us, so they can't trick us anymore by pretending to be normal people. And soon enough, I s'pose he's going to send them all away to Madagascar or something - somewhere very far from us.'
Kurt shook his head. 'No, Kasper, not for holiday. For good. So they can't poison us anymore.'
'Oh.' They had been poisoned, and he hadn't even realised it! Releasing the breath he hadn't realised he'd been holding, Kasper wriggled from his brother's arms. 'That's good, then, isn't it, Kurt?' he demanded. 'Then you won't have to fight with them anymore, and Mama won't be so cross with you.'
The smile on his brother's face was genuine this time as he stood, straightening his soiled uniform. In a single stride he crossed the length of the room and withdrew a thin picture book with a drawing of a mushroom whose nose had to have been the size of a banana, as far as Kasper was concerned. Intrigued, he tore it from the older boy's grasp and began to flip through the pages eagerly. Kasper loved picture books, especially when Kurt read them aloud to him. Kurt always did funny voices for the characters, and he'd sometimes change the stories so that his younger brother would like them better - adding a violent fight into the middle of a sappy bit, or killing off a particularly despised character while promoting the hero further.
'It's called 'The Poisonous Mushroom',' said Kurt helpfully, pointing at the cover. 'I'll read it to you after dinner, if you promise to be good until then. I think you'll like it.'