"Sibiu - Timişoara, August 31, 1944
At a time of great tribulation 1 have been chosen to take over the leadership of the German population in Romania. Now is not the time to speak of the past. We shall leave the verdict to History.
In these most fateful of days our sole concerns are today and tomorrow, life and death. And we want to live. "
Renate's eyes grow misty. "Go on reading, mother," her blind son pleads.
"What is to be done? Peace and Order, first and foremost. Our people
are in the greatest confusion. We must...
Renate's voice breaks. "...proceed with manly determination, unsullied by rumor, untainted by any false note of tragedy. " The woman's voice crackles like a dry leaf. She puts her apron to her face.
"That is why I call upon you. Do not leave your household and the place of your toil. Stay where God has willed you to be, steadfast, strong in your meekness. If you stray you will chip away at your family 's fortunes and shirk your sacred duty to your descendants.
Loyalty to the State," Renate reads laboriously, emphasizing every syllable.
"Oh, Walter, if you only knew how your father read all of this back then! Why, it's ten years since 1944."
"Throughout the centuries loyalty to the State has been the basis for our existence as a nation. It is no different today. That is why we shall stand loyally on the soil of the new order that is to come." After this, as I've told you before, Father underscored this here - the "rumors about repressive measures that might be taken systematically are the result of overblown fantasies. Power carries out its mission with tact and mercy." It was certainly worth mentioning since soon thereafter the very man who wrote these words, the much esteemed Hans Otto Roth, died in agony behind bars along with other innocents like himself, high government officials, and so many others.
"In these days of misfortune let us not waste words. Let us do our manly duty in silence."
"Renate, Renate," someone shouts from the street. The woman raises her eyes and looks at the boy's anguished face. "It's Onkel Gerhardt," he murmurs. "Please read the end quickly."
"He calm, firm, levelheaded, and brave in these difficult times. Do not
forget your wonderful land in the Transylvanian mountains and the blessed plains of the Banat. Think of the well being and the
.future of your beloved children... Hans Otto Roth."
The woman rushes to open the window and shutters. "Hurry, Renate! They're selling flour at the shop!"
Renate folds the old newspaper back into the pleats of her bridal gown and smoothes out the ribbons embroidered with small wildflowers. A dry tear appears on her furrowed cheek. She starts as if struck by a whip.