Extract from Michael Mitchell's translation

Andreas Okopenko's Child Nazi


Episode I

Papa, why …? The oak table must be two meters square. Solid. Four thousand decorative squiggles. Standing in the middle of the German Renaissance room together with its four huge chairs, even more ruthlessly decorated and thickly upholstered in deep red, no, that's as near to black as makes no difference. Despite its presence, and that of all the other church seating, for example the upholstered pew — on which Papa and Mama are sitting, emaciated, very pale today —, the room is still an airy ballroom. That's how big the rooms are here. And room upon room, only one requisitioned, furniture included, for those two, mother and daughter, who've been bombed out. That's how big the apartments are in the Complex. In the executive wing people call the Tetrahedron. And Tolko, much too weighed down for his lightweight, is trotting round and round the table like a convict in all this free space.

Pussy willow. And this Sunday's pink Easter bunny. Seen through a mist. As if his eyes had cataracts. No school any more. Vienna declared a war zone. Now, after the news on the radio that Wiener Neustadt has fallen, Papa-on-the-upholstered-pew reviews the situation. Come here, Tolko. You're fifteen. My people are brave, you know. You must be brave too. But I want to fight, says Tolko tearfully. Tilki! says pale-gray Mama-on-the-upholstered-pew. For today you can still be a Nazi, says Papa, and cry over the collapse. Tolko keeps on trotting round the table and weeping.

That's enough now, commands Papa. Anatol! Hitler's lost the war, right? We have to adapt. Be reasonable. And be a man. Imagine you were a big star, a child star, and now you're a man and that's all over. Tilki, you mustn't be a Nazi any more, says a very limp Mama. A child Nazi, says Anatol angrily and starts crying again. Papa gives Mama a look. He's grown up today, he says in a loud voice. But Anatol's in a shivering fit; the situation's invading the house, it's not the wall map of Eastern Europe with little flags dotted all over it any more. Will I really throw the petrol bombs I've got ready at the first Russians? Am I ready — from play-hero to real hero — the real enemy — real fright — wounds, pain, death everlasting? Wouldn't I rather construct my telescope at last?

Papa, why did it all have to end like this? asks Anatol, bursting into tears one last time.