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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

V IS FOR NAZIS

"Humor is a means of obtaining pleasure in spite of the distressing events that interface with it."
 - Sigmund Freud


Don't miss it!  Michelle Wallace spotlights me and Victor Standish on her lovely blog today:
 http://www.writer-in-transit.co.za/v-is-for-victor-standish-must-die/
 



 "Vienna," I said to Freud's question of what occurred to me at the letter V.  

"Berggasse 19 to be exact."

Freud sucked in a breath and nodded, 

"Of course looking at me how could you not think of the address 

where I lived for 47 years, seeing patients every working day for eight or more hours?"

Mark Twain and I joined Freud in sucking in our breaths.  



As sometimes happened at the haunted jazz club, Meilori's, magic stirred echoes from the past atop our table.

In billowing mists, a scene from over 70 years ago in Vienna slowly took shape:

The sign on the building reading ''Prof. Dr. Freud/3-4'' had already been removed 

and a swastika flag had been draped over the doorway. 

Freud was one of many thousands of Jewish Viennese who were harassed 

in the weeks and months after Hitler's triumphant entry into the Austrian capital in March 1938.

 When the Nazi commandos barged into the apartment, Freud's wife, 

Martha, in her unflappable Hamburg way, asked them to leave their rifles in the hall. 

Mark Twain smiled at the courage shown by the unbowed woman.

The leader of the intruders stiffly addressed the master of the house as ''Herr Professor."

In a brisk, rough manner, the commander, with his men, proceeded to search the vast apartment. 

Finally the Nazis left.

Martha Freud, in quiet dignity, went from room to room, straightening up the shambles they left in their wake.

With only a slight tremor to her voice, Martha informed her husband they had seized an amount of money worth about $840. 

''Dear me,'' Freud remarked, ''I have never taken that much for a single visit.''

Mark Twain sputtered a laugh and studied the man as the billowing scene evaporated atop our table.  

"Doctor, I don't much care for you.  But damn, you and your Mrs. had sand."

He cocked his head at Freud.  "And who would have thought you had a sense of humor?"

Freud smiled sadly, 

"I have found humor to be a means of obtaining pleasure in spite of the distressing events that interface with it." 

Mark grimaced, "Leave it to a Saw-Brains to take all the joy out of a laugh by dissecting it!"

He looked at the table-top as if still seeing the Nazis invading the home of harmless citizens.

"What is it that strikes a spark of humor from a man? 

It is the effort to throw off, to fight back the burden of grief that is laid on each one of us. 

In youth we don't feel it, but as we grow to manhood we find the burden on our shoulders. 

Humor? 

It is nature's effort to harmonize conditions. 

The further the pendulum swings out over woe the further it is bound to swing back over mirth."  

Freud nodded.

"Humor must not professedly teach, and it must not professedly preach, but it must do both if it would live forever."

Mark Twain sat up straight.  "I wrote that!"

Freud smiled drily, 

"Yes, eventually even fools get some things correct.  The law of averages always has its revenge." 

I made a face.  "As apparently do professors."


28 comments:

  1. I never knew that story about the Freuds and the Nazis. Oh yes, sometimes the only way we can keep going forward through madness is to keep a sense of humor.

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    1. I thought that story was little known and showed Mrs. Freud in a valiant light. :-)

      Yes, humor is one of the best ways to keep a slippery hold on your sanity whether you be a soldier on the front lines, a doctor in E.R., a policeman on grim streets, or a harried single mother!

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  2. Oh my, Mrs. F. certainly did have a lot of pluck, facing down the enemy. I can't even imagine how she must have felt. And Jimmy Stewart... too funny!

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    1. Yes, Mrs. Freud demonstrated more courage than I think I would have in the situation. And Jimmy Stewart cracked me up with his delivery of his joke. :-)

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  3. Oh my, Mrs. F. certainly did have a lot of pluck, facing down the enemy. I can't even imagine how she must have felt. And Jimmy Stewart... too funny!

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  4. Another fabulous post full of points to ponder... and wit! Very well done, Roland.

    Susan A Eames from
    Travel, Fiction and Photos

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    1. Thanks, Susan. The wit all belongs to Mark Twain, Mr. and Mrs. Freud! :-)

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  5. Another fabulous post full of points to ponder... and wit! Very well done, Roland.

    Susan A Eames from
    Travel, Fiction and Photos

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  6. Good for her. No woman should have to have her parlor littered up with both guns AND Nazis!!!

    @Kathleen01930
    Meet My Imaginary Friends
    #AtoZchallenge

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  7. "Martha... asked them to leave their rifles in the hall. " Love that!

    And the ending was great, too.

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    1. Yes, Martha Freud is my hero for doing that ... which makes what Freud did to her with her sister more upsetting to me.

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  8. Wonder if the Nazis had a sense of humour too?

    Enjoyed your post, as always.

    Nilanjana.
    Ninja Minion, A-Z 2016
    Madly-in-Verse

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    1. I think not, but perhaps they admired her courage just a bit for they left their rifles in the hall. Now, if only some street urchin like Victor Standish had stolen them! :-)

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  9. Hi Roland - I didn't know that about Mrs Freud - but I'm sure it happened in many places and by many women and elderly ... gosh I see Freud died just before WWII in Hampstead, London .. so he did get out of Austria aged 82 to die at 83.

    The film "Woman in Gold" is about trying to bring back Klimt's amazing art work .. I loved the story .. and it's set in Vienna ...

    Then there's Herstmonceux Castle here in Sussex - that was bought by a Viennese Kindertransport child - who came to Britain and then was sent to Canada at the beginning of the War ... but who created a chemical empire and became a philanthropist ... his story is fascinating ...

    It's so interesting when one's thoughts can tie in with history ... now we are fighting with an even worse refugee crisis ... so desperate ...

    So sad ... thanks for bringing this to our attention ... Hilary

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    1. I did not know that about Herstmonceux Castle in Sussex, though I did know about the film, "Woman in Gold"

      I have always been fascinated by Vienna; I have a pre WWII McCord story perculating in my mind set in Vienna. :-)

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  10. The highs of humor balance out the depths of despair.

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    1. Abraham Lincoln said, "If I could not tell my stories, I would go insane."

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  11. A thought provoking conversation today, Roland. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Wait until tomorrow and more about Freud's treatment of his wife and her sister!

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  12. Glad he had a bit of a sense of humor even in that awful time.
    Liz A. from Laws of Gravity

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    1. Liz, sometimes it is only our sense of humor that saves our sanity in horrible times. :-( Thanks for visiting and commenting. :-)

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  13. Ahhh! That's my sigh of relief out here. I still have a chance to get something right if Freud is correct.

    As usual I was entertained and I learned something new about Freud. His mother had hutzpah without a doubt.

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    1. LOL. Freud was being snippity with poor Mark Twain!

      Actually, it was Freud's wife ... about whom you will learn more tomorrow ... and about her sister, too!

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  14. you had me LOL-ing at V is for Nazi!
    and Michelle is awesome, isn't she!
    great job with the challenge =)

    The Really Real Housewives

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    1. Thanks for visiting and commenting, Tara. V for victory against bullies through humor, right?

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  15. Humour keeps us going when all looks dark. It's a coping measure.

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    1. Much better than many other coping measures!! :-)

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