CREATIVITY AT EXTREMES

By William Markiewicz

Creativity may be a matter of paroxysm. So creativity is more intense during war than in peacetime as on the left/right edges of the mind like Communism or Nazism. We know that in the Soviet Union, soldier folklore was powerful and epic. In Nazism we know less. “Lili Marlene” and “Heili Heilo” come to mind. As for poetry, I think of Mayakovsky first. I don’t know of comparable celebrities on the Nazis' side. I have seen powerful Soviet movies from wartime and a few equivalent German films, not comparable in quality to the Soviet ones. I saw a few German documentaries from the First or Second World War and I remember one that portrayed a group of Black prisoners of war. They gathered around the fire, singing and dancing and, on order, they showed their teeth like animals; all to present them as primitive subhuman. Then the film switched to parading German soldiers. The producer/producers didn’t realise that those blacks with the fire, their songs, even their teeth, were more artistic than those immaculate young soldiers who looked more like a commercial fashion parade. As for Nazi literature, I know of two examples that show that it may exist because if I encountered two novels there must be more. There could have been inspired individuals among Nazis as among any group. One young man, in answer to my friend’s question: “Why are you such a Nazi?” answered: “For me, it’s like orgasm.” For good or bad, silly or inspired reasons, something may happen. There is mostly paroxysm in dramatic situations; one can become a murderer, another, a poet (sometimes both).

Two examples showing true literature on the bad side: First, a short story originating from the epoch of Soviet-German wartime entitled, “ . . . sings” ( . . . = a masculine name which I don't remember). It was the story of an Eskimo from the Soviet Arctic who was driving his dogs across tundra to a distant meeting in a military compound. I’m not sure how he was contacted by the authorities as I don’t believe there was electricity. The topic was, of course, not easy because it portrayed somebody singing in solitude. We know nothing about their culture. But my feeling is that the author did his job well. At the meeting there were many people, mostly Russians and mostly drunk. A young attractive girl in a military uniform was making a diagram on the wall, explaining, “The Germans are attacking ..., etc…” Finally, a fight started in the bored and drunk audience and there were attempts to rape the girl who was probably also drunk because she laughed, defending herself, and repeated, “The Germans are attacking...” In the next chapter the Eskimo returns to his igloo singing. We don’t know what his musings were. All I remember is that he never knew what the meeting was about and the important thing was that it was good to spill the blood of the white man.

Second example. I read it in French, the publication was from some French right wing sources. It was the story of an old French peasant family in the heart of France. I don’t remember what happened; the author described never-ending sagas of the most common situations, just the sagas of life, of an old Aryan race. Then the peasant learned that war had broken out against Bolshevism (?). So he gathered his family and made a plan: his wife would cook for the soldiers. He and some others would fight. He volunteered at the draft center. There they told him, “Well, it’s too late.” He asked, “If it’s too late today, when should I come back?” The man answered, “When you will be younger – ha ha ha.” He returned home and announced to his whole family, “We have to celebrate – I am old! I am old!” With this great joyful celebration, the story ends.

In Polish, the press collaborating with the Nazis was called, ‘Reptilian.’ We know all too well that Nazi philosophy exists; less is known about the creators in letters, music, arts. Let’s know all we can about our friends and enemies to find our place in our struggle in the Darwinian universe.

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