The terrible events in Charlottesville reminded me that the only Nazi I’ve ever knowingly met was nothing like the vile thugs I watched on news streamed over the Internet. She was a quite lovely lady with wonderful memories she shared with me as a little boy.
The Countess, forgive me but I can’t remember her actual name, she liked to be called Countess was a very strange hire by my farmer father in a long ago time when the sun always shone. I can’t recall exactly how old I was but I’d say about 8 or 9. The Countess had heard that Dad was looking for a farm worker who could hand milk and she turned up explaining that she learnt to hand milk on her father’s Austrian estate before the war.
She had a stereotypical educated German accent and a natural commanding way. She was, for her age, obviously a striking woman but I was pre puberty and didn’t really take that in. It may have given her a bit of an edge when Dad interviewed her. She got the job but because Mum hated her from the first moment they met it was for a trial period.
The Countess was obviously used to having servants and she soon had everyone running about getting her things or doing some of her heavier work. Even Dad used to boil kettles at the crack of dawn to ensure the water she used to wash the cow’s udder prior to milking was nice and warm.
It was summer and the cows were tethered in fields some way away from the farm. The Countess would ride in the tractor pulled trailer but only after bales of hay were found to make her comfortable. I would go along because it was during the holidays and she would have me carrying and fetching for her.
She could milk but she didn’t like the cows moving around and one of my jobs was to hold it still while she milked it. It was then she would tell stories of her grand life before the war. It was very Sound of Music with her father an Austrian nobleman managing his vast estate.
She was a beautiful young woman, her words, the belle of every ball. She eventually found herself in Berlin High Society and she developed a crush on Herr Hitler. She joined the Nazi party and was “a low number” of which she was very proud. Gradually she got into the Fuhrer’s social circle and lived some sort of magical life.
I told Mum these stories and she said that’s what they were, just stories. The Countess was a liar.
I told the Countess what Mum had said. This was the time when it was decided the Countess should leave. She was quite sad and just before she left she brought a photograph album to show me. Lots of glossy black and white pictures of ladies in slinky dresses and men in fancy uniforms. She pointed herself out in one and I could see it was a much younger version of herself.
She was at a fancy dining table. The man sat next to her I recognised as Adolf Hitler. She pointed out other men whose names I only knew from a playground song about testicles. She was telling the truth.
Are you familiar with the Kevin Bacon six degrees of separatio? Well there’s only one degree of separation between me and Hitler. Can you beat that?
She was a Nazi, she did know Hitler and she was a very nice lady.
Years later I was reminiscing about the Countess with Dad. Mum had given him hell until he fired her. He did add a bit to her story which was she was from a Jewish family and had to make a quick exit just before the invasion of Poland. Now I’ve no idea if she was telling the truth or was just trying to get around Anti German sentiment in Guernsey at that time. Who knows?
But I do know that I knew a real Nazi and that she knew Hitler.