PAGE FOUR: GERMANY
When Heinz was three, his father committed suicide. He told other children his father had worked in a factory. Paul Kornagel, an inventor, had owned the factory. He refused to make weaponry in WWI. The business was taken from him for the war effort. A founding member of the communist party, he insisted his children have no more resources than available to everyone. Heinz wore shoes too small for his feet. This resulted in hammer toes. Heinz could recall his mother crying as the shoes were forced onto his feet. Heinz told the story omitting his own pain. Focusing upon the pain of others was a life pattern. He had no memory of his father, only scenes his influence had directed. Paul Kornagel had been an accomplished mountain climber. A fatal fall ended his life. As a young adult, Heinz visited the area of the death. Experienced climbers told him the fall had to be planned. No one with his father's skill would make those basic mistakes. Kornagel, a Germanized version of a Russian name. What was that name? A tale of anarchy gone awry and flight. The attempted bombing of an official's coach.
Two years after the death of her husband, Heinz's mother died of cancer. He remembered her as sensitive and stressed. Her family owned a music publishing bisiness. She was one of the first women in Germany to earn a PhD. Heinz explained she was allowed to achieve this level as music was an art, not a science. His mother taught at the Leipzig Conservatory. As she practiced, he would lie on his back underneath the piano wishing she would play with him. Pressures of an imminent world tour made this impossible. One day, Heinz sat at the piano. He began to play Bach. The music, this miracle, gave the little three year old his mother's attention. Two years later, Heinz would be taken to the hospital to visit her as she was dying and no longer able to recognize him. Heinz died on Mother's Day. Beautiful weather
The man in his nineties and the little boy watched from a distance. What did the man believe the child could learn from witnessing this political event? Heinz remembered people running in the streets and loud noises. A child's instincts knew, but could not understand each silence promised more fast movements and loudness. The Revolution of the Workers ended when Heinz was three. As he finished this story, he turned away. Knowing in two years the child would be orphaned, the vulnerability in his voice was heartbreaking. Heinz told me his grandfather never let go of his hand.
The children were seperated. Heinz was taken in by his mother's stepbrother and his wife. His uncle was kind but weak. The aunt was controlling and common. In a few years Heinz went away to music school, studying concert piano, organ and cello. His favourite composers were Bach and Clementi. He was allowed to play Bach's church organ. The church and organ survived the war. As he practiced Clementi, he created stories in his head. Most frequently, the characters to accompany the music were a happy young couple. Eventually, he stayed at the school year round, no longer visiting his aunt and uncle.
After the war, on the street in Berlin, Heinz recognized one of his rapists. Drunken SS were routinely granted access to Gestapo prison; friday night fun and games. Heinz confronted him, accusing him of repeated gang rapes. Overwhelmed, his defences shaken, the former SS spoke incoherently. He stammered, attempting denial. Heinz, knowing I would listen without passing judgement or immaturely negating reality, told me what happened next. Bursting forth, using few words, he stated feeling sorry for someone who had raped him. It was as if he were telling himself. The former SS had been overwhelmed. Heinz had been undermined, by the present and the past. While he experienced these feelings, the rapist got away, escaping violence. Past violence ruled.
Most people Heinz worked with in the army of shadows died. During the war, a comrad in the resistance was convicted of high treason and condemned to death. The mother of this young man had been told the time her son would be executed. Heinz stayed with her. Knowing the Nazis would be punctual, when this moment arrived, she became hysterical. Later, the mother received a bill for the cost of her son's execution.