from PROUD MONSTER: SKETCHES / Ian MacMillan THE UKRAINE, FALL 1941 - About Face THE THREE OF US were drunk as usual, on spirits confiscated from the executed. First there was Matthes, whom I thought of as "the poet" because he fancied himself an intellectual and this his stint in Einsatzgruppe C an adventure for a man of refined tastes. During our conversations he would jot notes in a leatherbound journal. Then there was Köhler, recently new to our drinking group, a large man who spoke rarely and was given to black moods. Then myself, an Unterscharfuehrer like Köhler. This evening I watched Kohler in his moody indulgence, gazing into his schnapps while Matthes talked on about literature in the new Reich. I knew what was troubling Köhler. Our function, normally, was to oversee and do administrative work connected with the liquidation of village populations in the Ukraine, and this was done by Waffen SS, executing people in threes into tank ditches using small bore rifles and PPK' s in the backs of necks. Because of a troop shortage Köhler had found himself in the position of shooting these Jews himself, and had whispered to me after the
The Missouri Review – University of Missouri
Published: Oct 5, 1981
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