Sunday, February 01, 2009


In a Thicket of the Forest at Artois

It was in a thicket in the Artois Wood.
Deep in the trees, on blood-soaked ground,
A wounded German warrior lay stretched
And his cries rang out in the night.
In vain ... no echo answered his plea ...
Will he bleed to death like a beast
Shot in the gut, that dies alone?

Then suddenly ...
Heavy steps approach from right and left
He hears them stamp on the forest floor ...
And new hope springs in his soul.
And now from the left ...
And now from both sides ...
Two men approach his dark resting place
A German, and a Frenchman.
And each watches the other with distrustful glance,
And threateningly they aim their weapons.
The German warrior asks: "What are you doing here?"
"I was touched by his desperate calls for help."

"He's your enemy!"
"He’s a man who is suffering."

And both lowered their weapons without a word.
Then entwined their hands together
And with muscles tensed, carefully lifted
The wounded warrior, as if on a stretcher,
And carried him through the woods
Till they came to the German outposts.
"Now it’s done. He’ll get good care."
And the Frenchman turns back toward the woods.
But the German grasps for his hand,
Looks, moved, into sorrow-dimmed eyes
And says to him with earnest foreboding:

"I don’t know what fate holds for us,
Which inscrutably rules in the stars.
Perhaps I shall fall, a victim of your bullet.
Perhaps mine will fell you on the sand —
For the fortune of battle is unpredictable.
But however it may be, and whatever may come:
We lived these sacred hours,
When human found himself in human ...
And now, farewell! And God be with you!"
                                                    Adolf Hitler 1916

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