A few weeks ago I spent a couple of sunny hours on the terrace of the Stadtcafe with my former theater colleague B, now living again in her native Switzerland. She has also been writing online, for a site in Rorschach called Schatzsucher (treasure seeker), and her goal is very similar to mine, in that she finds all sorts of interesting local things to write about, whether news or history or weird stuff. (The main difference being that she’s getting paid to do it!) She wanted to meet with me and tell me a little about her grandfather, and this is where my side of blogging comes in, because this grandfather wrote a book about his thoughts on humanity, science and Christianity during the years when the local Frontisten were preparing for Hitler’s takeover of the Swiss-German cantons. These preparations by Swiss Nazis, called Operation Tannenbaum, is a little-discussed chapter of Second World War history.
B told me that her grandfather had been approached by the Frontisten but had declined their invitation to him to join their ranks. He managed to stay out of trouble (knowing full well that if the Germans did “liberate” German-speaking Switzerland, he’d be among the first to be sent to Dachau.) He spent the war in the army doing border control, and had enough time on his hands to write down his thoughts and experiences and keep his papers safely hidden.
I ordered my own copy of this book (Hans Weber, Das Gemeinsame Leben: Bekenntnisroman einer Liebe, Verlag Otto Walter, 1945) and will report back when I’ve had time to read it.