Tragedy and Triumph in Schweinfurt -Memoirs of a Jewish Pig Farmer in Third Reich.
byFerrel Glade Roundy
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'Why the hell did it take you so damned long to get here?' the captain barked at father.
Without bothering to greet the SS official, father smiled and said, 'Captain, how very thoughtful of you to give poor old Atlas a reprieve by holding up the world for him!'
'Now what the hell is that supposed to mean, Silbermann?'
'Ah, you even know my name. What intelligence must have gone into this all-important operation! Did you also check my dental chart to see how many teeth I have? We Jews, you know, have several more teeth, sharper ones too, than those of your ilk. As to your specific question, my dear captain, one single little synapse was required for me to reach my deduction. You see, all I had to do was to note how your puny little shoulders droop, which told me one of two things--either you are holding up the world or that shiny monkey suit you're wearing is too heavy for your tender little framel Now which is it, my little captain?'
'Why, you lousy, impudent Schweinhund! I ought to have you shot right this . . .
'Tut, tut, tut, captain. You have it all wrong. I'm not a Schweinhund like you. I'm a Schweinebauer [pig farmer]--a Jewish one at that! And to be right truthful, captain, I'm proud to be a Jewish pig farmer, for the past several months now we've been presenting the Fatherland with upwards of
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a hundred pigs a month. Just think of all the high-grade meat and leather that my family and I are contributing to the cause. How would you, my dear little captain, compare your personal contribution to the Fatherland with mine? Let me save you the brain strain and answer that question for you. Your personal commitment to the Fatherland compared with mine is no more significant than a fart in a windstorm. Would you not agree, captain?'
I had never seen father goad anyone in this manner, especially an officer in the SS. Obviously, the captain had not come prepared for such a reception. He was used to barking out commands and having everyone snap to, and at the moment he was so angry that I thought his little beady eyes would pop out of his head. Then I made a most interesting discovery. I knew the character, for we had gone to the same schools; indeed, I used to help the dumb cluck with his math. So in that instant while the captain was collecting his thoughts, I said, 'Father, do you not recognize this captain? This is none other than little Willy Buckelmeyerl'
'Willy Buckelmeyer?!' father exclaimed. 'Well, I'll be damned and then some!' father said laughing. 'It is you, Willy, isn't it?'
'Yes, it's me, Silbermann .
'Now just a moment, young buck,' father said. 'I have a keen mind, and nowhere in the recesses thereof is the recollection of my ever having
Schweinfurt, p. 20
given you permission to address me as anything other than HERR Silbermann. AND DON'T FORGET IT!'
The captain was out of his element. Angry, embarrassed, confused, he stood there momentarily trying to collect his thoughts.
'And one other thing, Willy,' father said, 'I see you've finagled your way up to the rank of captain in the SS, Hitler's finest Do you know what SS stands for?'
'Course I know what SS stands for! Schutzstaffel!'
'You've been badly misled, Willy. The first S stands for Scheisskopf, and the second S also stands for Scheisskopf, which means that the two s's together stand for DOUBLE SCHE! SSKOPF, which makes it doubly appropriate for you to wear the SS insignia, for you, my lad, are a double Scheisskopf if ever I've seen one before! You were a Scheisskopf back in your school days, and you're an even greater Scheisskopf now, clad as you are in your monkey uniform. And, incidentally, what are you doing with that swagger stick? Are you planning to swagger someone with it? Or does it lend gravity to your all-impressive appearance and personality?'
The sergeant and the two corporals were visibly embarrassed as was their not-so-proud leader, who had been brought down several notches. Coming out to confront father was a bad decision on Willy's part. Again assuming his imperious bearing, the captain ordered father to open the
A German Jew named Max Silbermann, along with his wife Marta and their six children, had raised cattle before the start of the war. But in the late 1930s, after noting the harsh treatment of Jews by Hitler's henchmen, Silbermann convinced his wife and children that for them to survive, they should sell their cattle and raise, of all things, pigs! This they did with a high degree of success, but they were harassed constantly by members of the Gestapo, the SS, and other contingents of the military establishment and also the local police force. Herr Silbermann, however, was far smarter than his adversaries, most of whom he and his family members made to look like jackasses. The novel is not without sadness, but it ends on a note of triumph. In fine, it is a 'start at the beginning and read straight to the end' kind of book with excitement on virtually every page. You'll recommend it to all of your friends!
About the Author
Ferrel Glade Roundy has been an English professor for over thirty years. Upon retiring from the teaching profession, he will return with his wife to their native southern Utah and their 160 acres of sage and cedars to build a home and to bask in the inimitable beauty encompassed by the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. In that pristine environment Ferrel will continue to write, adding to the dozen or so books he already has authored.