Interview Alois Kaufmann

Well, I was… let’s make this a bit… I was born on May 6, 1934, in the city of Graz. Out of wedlock, a disaster for my mother in those days. When she came after my birth to her father, that is my grandfather, with whom I had almost no contact, he said: “Do you know what,” and I am telling it exactly the way it was, “Take your child and jump with it right away into the Mur river, that would be best,” yes. That’s how things were. The woman was in total despair because this was already her second out-of-wedlock child. Later, my half-brother went a different way, but no matter. And then, I was… my mother didn’t know what [to do], I was [initially] packed off to the St. Joseph monastery, or whatever its name, as they say. This all still happened under the Black government, that is, under Christian-Social rule. But I had no clue at all, only later I became aware of all these things, when they explained them to me. And then, at the age of three, four or five I was brought to a foster home. In this year, in ’38, the Nazis were already there, they brought me to a foster home. That was a house, such a small garden house, strange, isn’t it, with foster parents who didn’t care about me a bit. Only the few Reich marks they received for me were important to them, I did not matter at all. And they treated me “nicely,” quote, unquote. And, when I did not behave well, I don’t know for what, they locked me up in the chicken coop and beat me and so forth. And, right beside, there was a house in the neighborhood, I remember as if it were yesterday, which had such little cut-out hearts, and there was a neighbor, in a brown house with green shutters, and the foster parents left and said “Listen, don’t leave” and so forth, as they usually say to a child. It was generally very authoritarian, then. Never “please,” just “you’ll do it!” and so on. So, the neighbor sees me, I walk away from the chicken coop, my God, I cannot… The neighbor calls me there, that is to the fence, and he is in a wheelchair and says: “Come, you can come in to my place, they are not here anyway.” And now there was I, no clue, a four to five-year-old child, I go to the neighbor and it is easy to guess what followed. Just now we had that in Austria with a guy that is seducing boys. Well, he had… What a shock and horror it was for me. There he tried to sexually abuse me in all possible ways.

After this, things changed very quickly, I was at once taken away from there, from that place, and was brought to Lustkandlgasse, to the former KÜST [lit. Child Acceptance Office], that is the Child Foster Care, very nice name, isn’t it? Sounds like handing in a parcel. And then, many years ago, Julius Tandler had written a sentence, a very beautiful sentence: “Whoever is building palaces [for children] is tearing down prison walls.” But this sentence wasn’t there anymore in these days. I came up there, and three fat women, I say it how I felt it, three fat women welcomed me with the words: “First, here one greets with ‘Heil Hitler,’ yes, remember this right away, and second, if you have anything, we are right away finished with you,” and they brought me down to a washing room or bathroom, whatever, and because I didn’t oblige at once, they washed me in ice cold water, really ice cold. I screamed like hell and so forth. And this Nazi-woman, yes, that’s how I have to say it, they were wearing these nursing uniforms, which are still worn today, she said to me: “I tell you only one thing: a German boy does not cry. The more you cry, the worse you will be off, yes!” There I remained for about four, five weeks for observation. And then, one day… The word “child” didn’t exist. I was just a thing, a minor, nothing else. They didn’t even use my name, neither my first name nor anything else.

Well, I have told you this, and now we get to Spiegelgrund. Well, I came to pavilion 15, I had not the slightest clue what kind of pavilion that was, and Toni, who took me there, had learned that I would come to pavilion 15. I had no clue that this was the death pavilion. I didn’t know, yes. I only knew that the children…, well the yelling of the children: “Idiot,” and [?], [I turned] white as chalk, yes, what… So, I thought I was in... After a while, about two, three weeks later, the supervisor came and said: “Well, you don’t stay here, you’ll get out of here. This is no pavilion for you. We decided about this and you go to number 18 or 17.”

Well, I will tell you more or less how the daily routine took place. In the summer, we had to get up at six o’clock. And we had only one shirt, no slippers, and the floor was ice-cold. A bed, a bed, well, it was an insane bed. And this bed unfortunately, you see, I then made films and a play at the Akzent theater with Thiel and so on. We never got the proper bed we would have needed, you know, where we had slept. It was a bed of rusty iron with thorns like this, with a brown and dirty mattress, a bed into which I would not put a dog nowadays. Well, we never got the bed we wanted for the play in the theater. You know, right after the war the bed was sent to Nicaragua. What do I know? In any case, the bed we needed was gone. Well, the beds… And then we were standing orderly like tin soldiers in front of our night tables. And we had blankets, and on the blankets was written “Spiegelgrund.” Then a friend said: “Listen, I tell you something, straighten out the blanket, straighten out the blanket! Do you hear, there must be a straight line when they check, yes, it must look like a line because [otherwise] the bed is gone, they will tear your thing apart.” And so they did. “What is that supposed to be? What, what a dirty…” The words “dirty pig” or “swine” were dropped like this. So the blanket was pulled apart. I redid it again, with tears in my eyes. Now, this was the beginning. Then about the food... Yes, then we left. From [there] we had to go to brush our teeth. There was some stuff that did not look like toothpaste at all, but rather like a small piece of soap bar. They were nuts about cleaning our teeth. And the toilet, believe me, lots of stuff happened there. Counting to 20, one had to be finished with peeing and at 30 with number two. Well, not everybody managed. I didn’t get out at 30. At this moment she came, tore me brutally away from the toilet and it… I have to [say] it brutally… it was laying there. And she said: “You pick this up with your hands and clean the toilet.” With my hand! Anyway, well, yes, I had to do this. It was a drama with those who wetted their beds. Thank God, God in heaven be thanked that I didn’t do such thing.

Then we came to breakfast. Breakfast was threefold. One thing was something like milk, well, a white substance, blue as the Danube, I’m joking. And we clowned around and said: “Look, here comes the Danube.” Then we got a sort of caraway seed soup, which was about the best we got. And as the third – they changed in a three days rhythm – we got a sort of coffee. Well, that coffee was a joke, it just was black. The bread, oh, yes the bread, Mr. Phillipp, I tell you, I will demonstrate it to you. Now let’s imagine this is the bread, this is thick, but it was a thin slice of bread, and jokingly we said that we could see through it as far as Paris. That’s how thin this bread was. We had whole-wheat bread, square of course, and in the beginning it was still normal, but the more children arrived, the worse the food got. And I will then tell you about the terrible thing that happened, also to me, and, of course, the bread became thinner and thinner. OK, it was one slice of bread, and everybody fought for an end piece, because there are only two at each loaf of bread, right? And the big, strong and better ones, like always in life, got the end piece. And the empty-handed were the small and weak ones like me, who stood there and cried. With a piece of bread in their mouth, the children took off to school. Well, there was a gravel path, of which I wrote in my book, and we had to walk it in rows of two. Don’t talk, don’t do anything, nothing. And I said to my friend next to me: “Look at the birds, I wish I could be as free as this bird.” Bang – I got a smack from behind, and blood [ran].

And then I had bad luck, we had school notebooks, and they were very thrifty at school, and we had to – that was common after the war too – to draw a border around the pages, around each page we had to draw a border. Of course, we made swastikas, that was the most popular. And I couldn’t find my math notebook. It had disappeared, it was gone. And the supervisor said: “Listen, where is your notebook? You are such a sloppy dog!” and so forth. Whatever, I can’t find the notebook. So I searched and searched, and it wasn’t there anymore. Gone. Either it was taken by another boy or by someone else. And she went angry with me and says: “So now we go to the principal.” Well, I go there. I went there trembling. Trembling like a dead leaf. “Now you are in for something.” After I went there, “Heil Hitler!” – “You shut up and talk only when people address you,” that’s how it was, and it went on. Well then. He is getting up, a giant of a man, he… Today I know who it was. It was the guy who after the war continued working in education with the municipality of Vienna, among other things. I have his signature too. So he gets up, looks at me, and says: “Well listen, you look like a nice boy. What the heck are you doing? Where do you have your notebook?” and so on, “this is unacceptable!” And I thought to myself: “Well, this one will be all right, no harm.” I thougt: “Hah...” And then: “There must be a little bit of a punishment. So you’ll remember. A small punishment. Be nice and take your pants down.” Well, I pull my pants down, [he] bends me over the chair, and he takes his belt off. It had such a buckle. Gives me ten on my… Says he: “And remember right away, each time when you cry, you get an extra portion.” So. After ten such hits… There one sees the sadism and the nastiness of these Nazi pigs, yes, when he had hit me, he told me: “My God, I am so sorry for you, yes. I am doing this only for you, it is only for your future. And you know anyway what to do now: Say ‘thanks!’ – Say ‘thank you because it was my fault!’” This I had to say in addition to the whole thing. After this, the supervisor went back with me. For two days, I was unable to sit.

They poured ice cold water into the hallways, right, ten, twelve buckets of water into the long hallways. I don’t know whether you have already seen the pavilions up there. We were forced to wipe the floors with a cloth and to wring it out like that, on our bare knees, without any cushion or support. What were the consequences? After two, three days I got terrible knee pain. Well, Doctor, I swear to you, knee pain as horrible as one can imagine. But I didn’t dare to say a word, because I had heard that those who complain will be taken away and so on, there were rumors. But I couldn’t lace my shoes anymore, it was all so swollen. Until nurse Funk, well, her real name was Fink, “Funk” I called her in my book, and she was one of the better ones: “Listen boy, how come you look so terrible?” And I: “Yes, I can…” – “You must go to the hospital.”

I was in the hospital in a small room, in a caged bed with bars up to the top, yes, because I had gotten scabies in addition to all. Most don’t know what this is, scabies, it itches horribly, and you get such spots, simply horrible. Now as I always had the urge to scratch myself, they bound me to the bed. And I could neither pee nor go for number two, nothing. I lay in this bed like a dog. And then there was an air raid, not aimed at the house, at the building. Because in front of the building, in front of the windows, they had put such concrete barriers. I was totally alone, laying in that little room, listening to the noise of the sirens, terribly afraid. There I was, a nervous wreck, shouting: “Help, Help, Help, Help.” Enters a doctor, a young doctor, but he was not Austrian, he was German, he even told me that he was from Berlin. I will later tell you something about Austrians and Germans, there is a big difference. Says he: “Now, boy, what is going on with you?” Say I: “Well, I am stuck here.” – “With your condition, we cannot take you down to the basement. You have to stay here, and nothing will happen to you. The planes are just flying over us, and then we have enough cannons,” and all such nonsense. But at least... Say I: “I need to pee.” Says he: “Alright, I’ll take care of this. I bring you something,” and so forth. This was the only human experience I had. After my knee inflammation and the scabies, I returned to the pavilion. The circumstances got much, much worse. The food turned out to be a sheer disaster. We got a cabbage soup, if one can call it this at all, a cabbage soup, where the worms were swimming on the top.

And always the biggest problems, Doctor, were two: hunger, the biggest. Everything was about food. Lunch was a catastrophe, with cabbage soup or rarely a kind of pea soup and occasionally a few potatoes, but they were…, I do not know whether you know glassy potatoes, when they are frozen, well, they taste disgusting. And barely any fruit, and nothing else. I had lost… let’s put it this way, when my dad came to pick me up, I was twelve kilograms underweight. I was unable to walk across Spetterbrücke, that is the bridge which still exists today. Later, they developed this bridge with shops and so, but then it was just a bridge. There is still the... I say: “Dad, I cannot, I cannot. I am scared of the br[idge].” I started crying, stopped. Then he took me in his arms and lifted me, and so we went across. Such was life in…, to put it shortly, in this Spiegelgrund. The purpose, and this they told us every day, any time, at school, at…, we didn’t have any toys, not at all, we had such sand blocks, kind of stones, with them we could build a little bit. No pawns, no chess, no curtain, no pictures except for these Nazi pictures. The way they talked, Doctor, was always the same, “Come on, let’s go! Let’s do! And so forth. And faster!” Always this rough tone. This eternal tone. And the bars, everything behind bars. From the beginning to the end. And the supervisors were a constant source of pain. They entered through the door, if you made any mistake, the slightest mistake...

And then I had the privilege, I say it somewhat cynically, because the supervisor Fink, who liked me, did this on the quiet. She says: “Do you know, I give you...,” we had such a small room, where things like rags were lying around, “and you clean up this room!” And there was such a small, maybe one-liter bottle with raspberry juice. In these days this was tantamount to going out today and buying for € 10,000 jewelry for my wife, yes. And I see the raspberry juice, I was there alone, of course... I found myself a cup and tried to get some drops of raspberry juice into the cup so I could once in my life get some raspberry juice to drink. And with my usual bad luck the bottle falls down. There was a little drainage, and I tried to push the glass into the small drainage pipe, of course, in vain. And there she comes, the supervisor. Well, the slap in the face was the least. Before I tell you the punishment, I’ll let you know something else: At first, we cried when we were slapped or beaten. But soon, we didn’t cry anymore. This kind of behavior disappears very soon and is replaced by a phase of laughing. Later, we only laughed. We really laughed at our supervisors. Which in turn…, but we enjoyed this. The [angrier] they were, the more we were grinning, although the beatings did hurt. But now to this one. It was winter, February 1944 or ’45, anyway, it was in February. Cold, minus 7, 8 C, with a little snow in the front yard, like sugar. Says she: “Listen, undress yourself.” – “Yes.” I undress myself. “Everything.” – “Everything?” – “Yes, except the undies.” Alright, there was no question… She takes me to the garden, think of that. “Well, and now you crawl back and forth 40 times!” 40 times! After the tenth time I was done. Yes, I broke down like a piece of wood. “Come out of there.” – “Please, please, forgive me,” said I, “please, please! I’ll never do it again. Please, forgive me. I know I am a parasite harmful to the people, a people’s parasite because I wasted the raspberry juice, because German soldiers are in the war and they are fighting for everything, and you are just sitting there and you are eating a lot and you are sleeping in a white bed,” and so on. Well, excuse me, the whole shit. Well, she didn’t react. She didn’t respond to my crying, to my…, to nothing. Until finally, finally I remembered what my friend, an older guy, had told me: “You must pronounce a sentence that they like: ‘I ask for forgiveness. And I know that it’s only me who is to blame. I am a bad child.’” After this sentence she was satisfied. As if sexually satisfied, well, they must have had an orgasm, because otherwise this would be impossible. Can you imagine today that a child, well, that one deals with a child in this way?

My brother, who was… by my mother, to be honest, she was a bumpkin, a Nazi-clod, that’s the only way to put it. He was with the Vienna Boys’ Choir. She takes him out of the choir, under Hitler, and puts him into Napola [National Political Education Facility], to this murderous institution for…, because that’s what it was and nothing else. And naturally, there [he] totally… The following happened to me. You’ll see. He comes into the [Spiegelgrund] facility, which was never allowed to anybody, never. With his cap, the Nazi boy from Napola. Says he: “Lois, you can come with me to Schönbrunn.” – “How this, I am not supposed to...” – “Well, I made it possible. I come from Napola, I am a child of the Führer.” Well, okay. He takes me with tramway number ten, and now it happens. – He had quite a mouth… We boarded number ten, it had still a platform, the old tram with the signal bell. And I thought to myself: “Well, a day with him to Schönbrunn, I am looking forward to it.” So we are on our way on tram number ten, and a man enters. I didn’t… You can tell how well he was trained, yes. I didn’t even notice it. And a briefcase, such an old briefcase. Says he: “Look at the man.” Say I: “Yes, what’s the matter?” – “Well, the way he is carrying his briefcase, something is not right.” Say I: “Listen, Franzl, leave him alone, we go to Schönbrunn.” – “What do you know, you retard. – Put down the briefcase!” The man turned pale like snow. The Jewish Star. “Off the tram with you! Out, Jewish pig!” A boy of fourteen. The tram driver stopped, rang the bell, continued. The people were sitting like… I said: “Franz, I feel ashamed.” That’s how it was. Exactly like this.

It was horrible. We beat each other, the stronger ones beat the weaker ones, the supervisors wanted it, yes, and they liked that. We took the beds apart so the other guy would fall through, we beat each other, we [plunged] them in the water. Yes, we did all the things to each other that the Nazis liked us to do. There was no solidarity. Doctor, if someone has told you something like that, he was telling the fairytales of aunty Jole, but among the kids, the weaker one was the weakest and the stronger [the strongest]. This was in principle accepted by the kids among themselves, also during meals. Fights were fought for two tenths of a ladle of soup, for the smallest leftovers. Someone said “If you give me a bread now,” – and I shouldn’t say this aloud – “If you give me bread, I’ll do with you... in the bed,” and so on; well, such were the circumstances. And masturbating, now that was a catastrophe. Fortunately, I didn’t want it, and I didn’t do it because I was too young, but those who masturbated and were caught by the supervisors, who came in felt slippers to the bedrooms and checked which blankets were moving – there are certain movements going on, right? The supervisors used to tear off the blankets, and the following day he had to dunk all ten fingers into a blue liquid, and had to walk around this way for days. He wasn’t made fun of only by them, but also by us and all that. Masturbating, so the Nazi-theory, damages the brain and spinal cord and causes stupidity.

And in the dormitories, you know the pavilions, there were only stone floors and nothing else, not like here, no carpets. In any case, a boy, the one boy, he rode high up, I mean he climbed on the bed, and he fell clumsily. And there was a thorn in the bed, I mean what was holding together the frame, and he landed on the thorn like that, on his… and the thorn is piercing through... Doctor, the boy pulled out the thorn by himself, just by himself. He left the sleeping quarters screaming, and the supervisor said the following: “Something like that can only happen to an idiot.” No sympathy, just “idiot.” The same boy, I met him years later at where nowadays Cafe Europa is located. And close to the Westbahnhof, there was a bakery, and there I met him, and he carried out rolls or something like that. And he never got any apology like‚ “I am sorry” from the supervisor, no way. We were just beings unworthy to live and useless eaters. And that’s it, it was enough, you see. That’s how I was classified, in terms of food. Then we had a guy whose name was Martin, who was fat, oh my God, that was horrible. The children who wore glasses were always bullied even by us, and “four-eyes,” and who knows what. Yes, he was fat, but his mother, who knows how she managed, brought food to him and also gave some food to the supervisors. I never figured it out, but we all hated that guy, for he got the food, and we had nothing. And thus we made life difficult for Martin. We unscrewed the bed and took it totally apart, and then we put it together again and jumped in our beds, intentionally of course, and Martin as well. The whole bed flew into bits and pieces. Martin got hurt, and we laughed, and I tell you, for us it was worth a laugh. Well, we were real sad[ists]. We were trained to turn sadistic even against each other.

And one day, or one night, depending on how you look at it, we woke up, and there was no yelling or screaming, nothing. We were alone. One of the boys, I put that in the theater play, said: “Listen, they have escaped, those clods,” you see, as children talk, “assholes” and so on. “Let’s go to the nurses’ room!” Mr. Phillipp, Doctor, in the nurses’ room nothing was left undestroyed, starting with the picture of Hitler, including the bed because that is where they vented their anger. Well, everything was smashed into pieces. Then we looked for some bread, and we found a piece of bread somewhere, but that was a… The big ones snatched it from us, and the little ones didn’t get anything. So we were standing there all alone, that’s how it was. Well, one of the older boys said: “What shall we do now? We can leave here and go to the kitchen, or…” But it never came to this. Suddenly, we were discussing this, there were Austrians with red armbands, you know, from the Communist party, and Russians, short Russians. We were always told that they were cannibals, while in fact they were just such small ones, such Mongols. And what did they give us? No bread, for which we had been waiting so much, but cigarettes. That was the best. I vomited all over myself because it made me sick.

And I became a member of the Socialist Youth. There was comrade Nedwed, comrade Hindels and so on. Then I joined the Marxist working group and so on. And there, for the first time in my life, I met people, friends, who accepted me as I was. Where I could talk, where I had joy and where I was recognized. So I became a left-wing Socialist. Well, today one can’t… Anyway, it doesn’t matter. I turned into a Socialist and proudly marched with the flag, you know, on the First of May. And there he stood, Körner, and Körner was our God. I passed by him with the Red Flag, glowing like a... And I had such paper carnations in my hand and went to the podium where he stood, gave him the carnations and said: “Comrade.” He patted my head and shook my hand and so. I went home and did not wash myself for three days. That’s how happy I was.

At the Viktor-Adler-Market I once experienced Strache. There was my wife buying vegetables, and I thought I was still in Hitler’s times. You see, there were thousands and thousands of people. The police shook hands with him, and the people wanted an autograph from him. I tell you, I thought I was in a different time. Have they all gone mad? Don’t they know what once happened? A lot, and I mean a real lot has to be done. You know, the right-wingers rule Hungary, and in Belgium there is that guy with the white hair, and he is... The rightists are very... As a Socialist and a politically thinking person, I do not want to go through this never, ever again. I’d rather open the window on the seventh floor and jump out. I don’t want to live through that again.

I don’t understand why the people treat the Nazis so tenderly, no, I do not understand it, no way. And with this entire FPÖ and whatever they are called, they are such a brood, yes, a brood. Hey, their roots are in National Socialism, yes, excuse me. I am only the little Kaufmann, you see. My book The Wagon of Death won third price at the Frankfurt Book Fair, but nothing in Austria. Not a single soul cares. Well, it does not matter. As long as I can live, breathe, and think, I stay what I am, a left Socialist, and an Antifascist, down to the bones. And for me it is disgusting when I see those who chum up to the rightists, yes that’s that. Then I start shaking, you know…

I am in favor of a society that is social and democratic, but recognizes its weaknesses, you know. You cannot live in a democracy where you can do everything just because it is allowed. No, there are certain limits and abuses have to be prevented. But you cannot start from the wrong end, for 10% of the Austrian population own 70% of the overall capital. There you can begin. But don’t start with the first and second level of senior care benefits. Well, dear Doctor, there I cannot see any logic as a Socialist, no, none so ever. That is a victory for Strache. That is were the problems are. And this has to be said directly.

We were ashamed, literally ashamed to tell that we had been in a youth correctional institution, in a euthanasia [facility], we didn’t bring it over our lips. I haven’t told it to anybody. And my stepmother said: “Don’t you dare telling anybody. There is nothing to be proud of.” And that was the answer of my stepmother, after the war. So I just did not say anything.

It is fear that is my daily companion to this day. A cruel fear of death up to this [day]. If I hadn’t my wife, well… It took me a long time before I boarded a plane. I tell you it was madness.

The municipal authorities wrote to me… I could show you bundles of papers, “only interned” and so forth. Until finally a doctor, Dr. Salzman, wrote a report about me. I was tested for 2 ½ hours, really. It said that the man had been totally destroyed as a child. I was not able to walk the streets, I just could not walk, and I could not cross a square or a bridge. I was always afraid and cried continuously until I was taken to ESRA, and there was Mr. Tauber to whom I go often and to Vyssoki, and slowly he turned me... When I got off at Nestroyplatz, can you image, I could not walk the short distance to ESRA. I could not walk alone, it was im[possible]. I started to cry, and then I screamed.

It took years. Years. And when I want to watch a movie, the doctor, Mr. Baumann, who is my psychologist, says: “Under no circumstances, do not watch any movie, please don’t do that.” Once I watched a movie about… And I cried and cried continuously. “Schindler’s List” – the same, I only cried. Well, everything comes back at once.

I had a total nervous breakdown. I was treated as a private patient, my wife paid for it, and it was a lot of money. I ended up at Pavilion 8, in the present time, on the last floor, where only private patients are taken in with chief physician Schinko, he was on TV, and he treated me. And while I was lying there on the bed, somebody next to me named Huss turned out to be a Nazi. A picture-book Nazi. On Hitler’s birthday, and this happened in present times, he drank rum until he fell over. Unforgettable. He was the chief physician’s servant. He cleaned the household, cleaned the car, the carpets, and took care of the garden. He did everything, everything. And one day Schinko said to me – there had been something on TV – “Listen Kaufmann, be good, I have to ask you a favor.” – “Yes” I said. “I give you a white coat.” If you don’t believe me, you can ask my wife. “I give you a white [coat], [all that] happened in the ’70s and ’80s. I give you a white coat with ‘Municipality of Vienna’ written on it, take a stethoscope or something and don’t breathe a word. “You are a young…” – I was much [younger] then – “you are a young doctor from Munich who wants to learn here. But please, not a word because what you are now going to see...” So he opens in Pavilion 17, well, a pavilion, he opens a room... Doctor, I thought I didn’t see right. There was a room, not even as large as this one, with ten people, men, without mattresses, and they constantly with the fin[ger], I am sorry I have to say this in front of a woman, they poked continuously their finger in their anus until they were bleeding. Mentally totally... It looked terrible, and Stephen King could have learned something there, well it was gruesome. Among them there was one person who could do math, people like this do exist. When you told him: 315x320, he knew it like zack, zack, zack. But totally… And Jakobi was also there, she was on the city council, and she wanted to hear this, too, and he bit her finger. He bit her finger! Of course, there was a huge... Well, I saw that room, Doctor, and I tell you, I thought I was still in the Nazi era. What the [male] nurses did with the mentally disabled in the 1970s and ’80s at Steinhof was surely a special chapter. We knew somebody, he owned a restaurant. “You know, when he makes a fuss, this guy… I just grabbed him, threw him into the bathtub and pulled him by his feet.”

You know, when somebody is stuck in a bathtub, and they pull him by his feet, he is hopelessly done for, yes, he is done for. He’ll drown and that’s it. Such were the jokes after the war, long after the war. For a long time, they did not want to hear about Spiegelgrund, nothing, and this is now my issue, nothing did they want to know. Then the Vice Mayor, Mr. Meyer, he was a comrade of mine in Branch 2 in Hütteldorf on Hütteldorfer Street, he literally said: “We will not lose the elections because of some idiots!” Yes, that’s the way it was. [That was] kept silent for a long time. A long time. And today, I tell you, I will still… And they would prefer that Kaufmann and others would rather shut up. Yes, they certainly would prefer that.