Wednesday, September 25, 2013


1940 [Berlin]

     It burns me up that I cannot mention a raid that is going on during my broadcast.  Last night the anti-aircraft guns protecting the Rundfunk made such a roar while I was broadcasting that I couldn’t hear my own words.  The lip microphone we are now forced to use at night prevented the sound of the guns accompanying my words to America, which is a pity.  Noticed last night too that instead of having someone talk to the studio below to keep our transmitter modulated for the five minutes before I began my talk, the RRG substituted loud band music.  This was done to drown out the sound of the guns.

  As soon as I had finished my broadcast at one a.m., the Nazi air-wardens forced me into the air-raid cellar.  I tried to read but the light was poor.  I became awfully bored.  Finally Lord Haw-Haw and his wife suggested we steal out.  We dodged past the guards and found an unfrequented underground tunnel, where we proceeded to dispose of a litre of the schnapps which ‘Lady’ Haw-Haw had brought.  Haw-Haw can drink as straight as any man, and if you can get over your initial revulsion at his being a traitor, you find him an amusing and intelligent fellow.  When the bottle was finished we felt too free to go back to the cellar.  Haw-Haw found a secret stairway and we went up to his room, opened the blinds, and watched the fireworks.


   Sitting there in the black of the room, I had a long talk with the man.  Haw-Haw, whose real name is William Joyce, but who in Germany goes by the name of Froelich (which in German means ‘Joyful’), denies that he is a traitor.  He argues that has renounced his British nationality and become a German citizen, and that he is no more a traitor than thousands of British and Americans who renounced their citizenship to become comrades in the Soviet Union, or than those Germans who gave up their nationality after 1848 and fled to the United States.  This doesn't satisfy me, but it does him.  He kept talking about ‘we’ and ‘us’ and I asked him which people he meant. 

     ‘We Germans,” of course, he snapped.

William L. Shirer, Berlin Diary 1934-41


Note:  This isn’t the synoptic, “significant” Lord Haw-Haw post I’ve been intending to create for a long time, but William L. Shirer’s Berlin Diary entry from 73 years ago today paints a perfect, horrible and fascinatingly familiar portrait of the über-ghastly William Joyce. 

With America currently hoving to and being politician-tractor-beamed into fascism’s grip, reading Shirer’s entry I thought (alternatively): “bull’s-eye,” “drastic emetic” or “both.” 

They hanged William Joyce at Wandsworth Prison, London, as shown below in the Telegraph’s Lord Haw-Haw post-mortem news photo.  I’m against capital punishment personally, but Joyce’s failings were profound and affected the heart and soul of a nation.  He was “all about” (as they say) hurting people deeply and disorienting them utterly.  I’m still disoriented.

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