Friday Fiction – The Fűhrer’s New Armour

Isn’t it interesting what makes us uncomfortable? I found it quite difficult to write this story, not because of the writing itself, but because it felt somehow like trivializing a subject that shouldn’t be. I hope you won’t feel like that about the resulting 100 words. It isn’t actually the first story that came to mind, but it’s the one that stuck when I started writing things down.

We are guided on these waters by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, who has offered us her own picture this week. copyright for the image is hers and for everything else is mine. I welcome your constructive criticism, feedback and general musings. And my guests leave today, so I hope to get around more of the other stories this week too.

old-building-staircase

The Fűhrer’s New Armour

A guard raised his arm as they entered; the Kommandant only nodded in reply. “You’ll want to inspect the Fűhrer’s personal commission, of course.” He led the way into a small workshop.

“Did you design it yourself?” Rolf asked.

The Kommandant laughed. “Anshel Ben Haim – formerly an armourer – was here. His intersecting triangles provide superior blast protection and it will be painted yellow to deflect invisible waves apparently known to cause blindness.”

“I’d like to meet him.”

“He is no longer available.” The Kommandant sounded almost disappointed, but a moment later he smiled. “Shall we see the ovens before dinner?”

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37 Comments

Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

37 responses to “Friday Fiction – The Fűhrer’s New Armour

  1. trip to the oven – eh? 🙂

  2. I don’t think it trivialised the subject at all – if anything, it placed it in the spotlight. The detached attitude of the Kommandent was excellently portrayed.

  3. Dear Jennifer,

    And it’s happening all over again in Crimea. What is past is prologue.

    Aloha,

    Doug

  4. Dear Jennifer,

    I never confuse trivialization with dark humor. I also noticed the obvious star of David pattern in the grate and purposely avoided it. I’m pleased that you didn’t. The last line seemed a well placed exclamation point or punch line, if you will. All in all, subtle, stark and well done.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    • Thanks, Rochelle. I hoped I’d fallen the right side of the line, so I’m glad you think it did. I had actually originally seen this as a cell wall, but then Anshel’s character came to me and had to be heard.

  5. Yes–a good take on the photo and the topic.

  6. Definitely not trivialized… very gritty!

  7. Yikes! Chillingly nonchalant! Good job!

  8. I think you portrayed the attitude of the Kommandant just right, Jen, as you did the rest of the story. Looking at people as assets or worse was the only way so much horror could have been perpetuated. Just a German note, if no umlaut is available for the “u”, the spelling changes to “Fuehrer.”

    janet

    • Thank you, Janet. I had actually intended to find the umlaut character (now done) but then forgot when spellcheck didn’t pick it up. I didn’t know about the +e alternative.
      And yes, I think the only explanation of much human inhumanity has to be detachment and seeing the victims as not just other but lesser. Frighteningly common, whether you’re talking about slavery, holocaust or ‘merely’ war.

  9. This is fabulous! The humor here is truly ironic, which makes it work. Far from making light of something that shouldn’t be taken lightly, you are pointing out the ludicrous nature of hate. Nicely handled.

    All my best,
    Marie Gail

  10. you portrayed the emotionally detached mind of the sociopath well!

  11. Very good story and done well. In every war someone has to be chosen to shoulder the blame and the enemy has to be made to be inhuman. Propaganda does that job. This is so people don’t think of their treatment of others as unjust. Guilt is something dictators can’t afford. It’s dangerous. This is still happening. War of course brings out the worst in people.

  12. Your story is rich with layers that reward more than one reading, Jen. Well done.

  13. This is fantastic, the dark humour and yet an inking of the horror of those days, they come across so well. That last line is just brilliant.

  14. Sick to my stomach! Well written.

  15. I think it set the tone quite well for how they treated their prisoners. Vague disinterest, and the obvious use of talents before disposing of unnecessary complications 🙂

    Does that make any sense??

    • That’s where I was aiming, yes. I wanted to show that the Kommandant slightly regretted the loss of Anshel, but only as a valuable asset rather than as a man, and only vaguely – not something that would trouble him to think about for more than a second or two

  16. hopefully, what’s in the oven isn’t dinner.

  17. It seems that history keeps repeating itself because people refuse to believe that they could be wrong. Very well written story – the Kommandant is creepy – unfortunately it will happen again sometime. Good story and well written! Nan

  18. I know exactly what you mean about feeling uncomfortable when writing about tragically serious issues like this. That doesn’t come through at all in the story Jen, which was extremely well handled.

  19. ‘He is no longer available’ – chilling. Just shows what you can accomplish with a few words. Very good. And not trivialising at all.

  20. count me among those who loved the last line. effortless storytelling… chills down my spine. 🙂

  21. I think you got closer the to the mundane of the crimes as seen be the perpetrators… to a large extent it makes it even more horrendeous .. not trivialized at all… but yes I can follow your thougths (it caught my attention as well).

  22. Jen, you did fine. I could actually see it happening. I found it interesting that there were some WWII stories with this prompt. Like you, I had trouble with my story, particularly the ending. A good and sickening ending line, too. Nice work!

  23. I think you handled it well. I’m of the opinion that in the right hands, no topic is taboo. I’ve come to trust in your responsible storytelling.

  24. Jen, what a grim twist at the end. You did a great job though, not trivializing it at all. I think this type of dark humor can be an effective way of telling difficult stories, especially when it’s in the mouths of characters like these.

  25. Oh! Man,

    I am amazed with the type of story you have conjured with this prompt. What an amazing portrayal of a moron.
    This one is my favorite.

    Mousume

  26. This isn’t a story to like at all. You have got just the right amount of superiority into the Kommandant’s voice. The understated, ‘He is no longer available,’ is perfect.

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