An envisioning . . . .. eight in the evening and a compact out of one’s evening bag in the powder room of the Hotel Adlon in Berlin. A summer’s night in the midst of war.

Oh to be here

Eight in the evening, a stocking seam adjustment and compact to use in the powder room of the Hotel Adlon in Berlin.

The war and all that but the noise and bombs some place else and in someone else’s country.

Dinner, a room upstairs and then home. But what can one do? A chest full of medals and a big suite at the Reichstag. Enough power to protect and that is all that matters.

A husband taken off and a daughter to watch out for. No. Better an affair with one of them. Safe that way. Too much money spent on silk frocks but a need to look glamorous.

Jewelry all right. Aquamarines, rubies from somewhere and emeralds from Vienna. Better not to think too hard on it. Eye candy, that and being a living ornament on an officer’s arm.

Tomorrow not to be thought of. Summer up on the Baltic if they can ever take Leningrad. A watering place otherwise or a stay by the lake. Everyone for a month but for his wife wherever she goes.

But the finest champagne brought back from France and a toast from the other end of the banquet table. The best food anyone can buy in the dining room of the hotel where one’s parents’ wedding reception was. Something. Still the best place.

Hard though. Living a schizoid existence. Glamour queen trying to look like a film star on the outside and scared on the inside with a child half Jewish that they could find if they looked hard enough.

A nice fellow down the hall wanting to share dinner but impossible. Better to be immoral and safe than free to dine and scared. Better than anything . . . .life . . .. freedom . . . . .a better day to come whenever it does . . . .

This is not my story. I heard it from a woman I worked with when I was young about her friend who was a child in Berlin during World War II. The story was that of a beautiful woman whose Jewish husband was taken off to the camps early in the war. The mother had an affair with a high ranking Nazi though all of the war to keep her little girl safe . . . .You know I would have done it too to protect my babies.

Ladies power room. Hotel Adlon, Berlin. 1908.
Ladies power room. Hotel Adlon, Berlin. 1908. Photograph taken from a brochure that advertised the hotel, a hotel so fine that the Kaiser’s guests stayed there. Image via


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