19 Jun 2014

Strauss post 1945

From Appointment, 7:00 pm on 19 June 2014
Richard Strauss

Richard Strauss Photo: Public Domain

April 30, 1945. As the last tatters of Nazi resistance are being swept away by Allied forces, Adolf Hitler commits suicide in his Berlin bunker. Across Germany, the occupation begins, as Allied soldiers go from house to house, arresting Nazi officials and party members, and establishing base camps.

On the same day in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Bavaria, Lieutenant Milton Weiss and a small detachment of troops enter an isolated villa outside of town, in the shadow of the Zugspitze. In the study upstairs, only a few weeks before, the elderly gentleman occupant had written in his private diary, "The most terrible period of human history is at an end, the twelve year reign of bestiality, ignorance and anti-culture under the greatest criminals, during which Germany's 2000 years of cultural evolution met its doom." Now he comes down the stairs, greeting the fresh-faced liberators with the words "I am Richard Strauss, the composer of Der Rosenkavalier and Salome."