Extract from Michael Mitchell's translation

Ingeborg Bachmann's War Diary

Dear Diary, now I'm saved. I don't have to go to Poland, nor to bazooka training. Papa was here in Vellach [1] and went to Klagenfurt; he went to see Dr Hasler, who advised him to register me for the teacher-training college immediately, since so many teachers are needed. Not in my wildest dreams would I have thought the day would come when the hated teacher-training college would be my salvation. I was accepted immediately and enrolled in the final-year class, actually for a crash course and you have to teach while you're still at the college. Everything went smoothly at the District offices. The only unpleasant part was with the woman responsible for female students liable for substitute service. [2] I went twice, the first time she wasn't there, I could hardly remember her, her face, only the terrible registration at which she told me I had to “behave myself” otherwise I would be for it despite my good report. And the way she said “girl” with a triple “i”. This time she wanted to give me a good talking-to again, but I forestalled her because I knew how you had to go about it from H. and I told her that now I was quite sure I was unsuited to university and therefore wanted to be a teacher, also because it was more important for the war effort, for the children, I added, and there was nothing she could object to in that. The only problem was that I knew that you had to sign a form with a legally binding declaration that you relinquished your right to attend university. I hesitated for a moment and then signed. No, I'm sure I won't go to university, not in this country, not during this war. Crazy to hesitate even for a moment. Today was the first lesson. I was almost glad to be sitting in a classroom again. But can you call it a classroom. I think all the girls in the class are fanatics. After the first lesson there was an air-raid alert and that was that. But Wilma from our year at school is there too. She did the same as me. She didn't come with me, but went home to Annabichl on her bicycle, and I'm lying here in our favourite spot, on the edge of the woods. Issi [3] has brought the meal pap from the chemist's again and we mix it with water from the stream. Sunshine. She's sleeping and sunbathing, the alert has lasted five hours already. Still no bombs. At one point there were two low-flying aircraft and they let off a few rounds.