Chapter Two Thousand Three Hundred Sixty-Four
25th March 1975
How many times had Karol Wojtyla cursed the collective stupidity of people in general. Countless times, he thought to himself as he viewed the destruction of the businesses along Nowy Świat towards Three Crosses Square. They had a plan, one that they only needed to stick to. Instead, they had attacked their own institutions, the businesses in Warsaw, and each other.
No one knew if Manfred von Richthofen’s words had been intended to incite this sort of reaction? It had struck Karol as the usual sort of posturing that men in positions of power engaged in. And for reasons that might be difficult for those in Warsaw to discern, the Richthofen family was quite popular in Silesia. Yet more proof that Polish opinion was hardly monolithic, regardless of what the Nationalist might have to say on the subject.
Silesia had only ever been the periphery of what was considered Poland. The population was too mixed up with ethnic Germans and Poles being the largest segments of the population, but substantial numbers of others as well not to mention the thousands of others who fit in somewhere in between. There were rumors about von Richthofen’s youngest granddaughter, that she was a foundling who had been taken in by his son Albrecht and Ilse, Albrecht’s wife. Having seen the girl, Karol figured the odds were extremely high that her background was probably a mixture of Polish and German.
Which was extremely common in Breslau and Oppeln.
Karol suspected that the similar situation existed in Galicia-Ruthenia whether the Nationalists wanted to admit it or not. In Poland proper it was easy to rile people up with bellicose language about those others, whoever they were. Elsewhere, you were complaining about people’s neighbors or even members of their family. Karol had read accounts of Ollie Bauer, the Farmer turned General who had fought the much larger Polish Army to a standstill, taking the heavy tractor he owned and ploughing his neighbor’s fields with no regard to what their surname was.
Karol had not bothered to explain that to the Government here in Warsaw. Instead, he had outlined a plan of just how they were going to get the Germans to withdraw from Poland. Now, that plan had been blown apart by two days of rioting. The only result was burnt out buildings that had been thriving businesses just a few days earlier and the presence of heavily armed Panzer Dragoons standing on the street corners as part of the effort to reimpose order. Oddly, while the Dragoons were mostly Germans, there was a broad spectrum of ethnicities within their ranks. The Heer infamously didn’t discriminate, any warm body was a warm body as far as they were concerned, especially if it played a useful role. Useful that was, until it became a cold body. The most humiliating part was that the City Government had practically been forced to beg the Heer to help restore order after the Polish Army had joined the rioters. If the Heer had not stepped in there was a good chance they would have been lynched by their own people.
What these stupid so-called leaders here in Warsaw failed to understand was that that the Germans had rules to the game they played. By engaging in guerrilla warfare eventually to the point where the Polish Army was fighting the Heer directly and now this latest round of violence they were playing the game according to those very rules. Until his own people got wise to that, the present Karol was looking at was what the future would look like as well. By the time they were sitting in a command bunker listening to German music blaring from their own radios it was already far too late.
Near Balderschwang, Bavaria
Though the calendar might have said it was spring, the storm which had descended on the mountain valley Balderschwang was located in was very much a winter storm. Kiki had received a call from Ben saying that he was stuck up at the observatory because of high winds had closed the cable tram and the access road wasn’t exactly passible either, so he was probably going to be late getting home tonight. Kiki had told him to take his time and to stay safe, that she would have supper with Nina and Fianna. She forgot to mention that they now had Frau Aue as a houseguest. The elderly Midwife said that she felt it in her bones that Kiki’s baby was going to come early and wanted to be nearby just in case.
Kiki really did hope that Frau Aue was wrong about that. This was going to be her second, so she knew what it was going to be like and was hoping that it would be at the predicted due date in Mid-April. At least not in the midst of a winter storm with Ben stuck up on the mountain.
Wrapped in a blanket on a sofa in the parlor, Kiki was enjoying the peaceful afternoon as snowflakes fell past the window. Rauchbier had joined her though she couldn’t help but notice that the arthritis that had afflicted him this winter had gotten worse. Having a dog or cat was a lifetime commitment and losing Smoke would probably be as painful as losing Hera had been. It was with considerable regret that the thought occurred to Kiki that he didn’t have many good days left.