Eight o’clock in the morning (Morgens um acht)


I saw a dog recently. He was on his way to work. It was a sort of stuffed sofa cushion, decorated with long tassels of skin, wobbling down the Leipziger Strasse in Berlin. He was dead serious, he looked neither to the left nor to the right, he sniffed at nothing, and certainly did nothing else. He was definitely on his way to work. What else could he have been doing? Everybody around him was doing it.

Continue reading

A Boy in My Class (Ein Kind aus meiner Klasse)


For Hans M.

I recently ran into a boy from my school class, after so many years. It was just like in a storybook. The poor man was standing outside the fence, begging, and the rich man was inside, brushing the cake crumbs from his jacket. “Don’t you recognize me?“ asked the poor man, gently. And then the rich man recognized his former class-mate, and… I can’t remember how the story ends. Anyway, the boy from my school class, with whom I used to walk around the school playground in deep discussions, has become a government councillor. I probably won’t achieve anything respectable during my lifetime, either. And I have my doubts about afterwards as well.

Continue reading

The Great Families (Die großen Familien)


In the trial of our friends Küster[1] and Jacob before the Imperial Court, the State Prosecutor, Herr Jörns, rose, and spoke to Berthold Jacob[2], „Do you have a brother in Paris?” “Yes.“ „What is your brother doing there?“ „He is studying literature and history. He is about to publish a book.“ The prosecutor, „Does your brother have contacts to the French General Staff?” “No.” “To the scond level of the French General Staff?”

Continue reading