Inge is sick. For several days she has had a light fever and a headache. But Inge did not want to go to the doctor.
“Why go to the doctor for such a trifle?” she said again and again when her mother suggested it. Finally her mother insisted.
“March! Go to Dr. Bernstein and let him examine you!” her mother ordered.
“Why Dr. Bernstein? He is a Jew! And no real German girl goes to a Jew,” Inge replied.
Her mother laughed.
“Don’t talk nonsense! Jewish doctors are all right. They are always chattering nonsense about it at your BDM [League of German Girls] meetings. What do those girls know about it?”
“Mother, you can say what you want, but you can’t slander the BDM. You should know that we BDM girls understand the Jewish question better than many of our parents. Our leader gives a short talk about the Jews nearly every week. Just recently she said: ‘A German may not go to a Jewish doctor! Particularly not a German girl! Because the Jews want to destroy the German people. Many girls who went to a Jewish doctor for healing found instead sickness and shame!’ That’s what our leader said, Mother. And she’s right!”
Her mother grew impatient.
“You always think you know more than the grown-ups. What you said just isn’t true. Look, Inge. I know Dr. Bernstein well. He is a fine doctor.”
“But he is a Jew! And the Jews are our deadly enemies,” Inge replied.
Now her mother became really angry.
“That’s enough, you naughty child! Go to Dr. Bernstein right now! If you don’t, I’ll teach you how to obey me!”
Her mother screamed and raised her hand.
Inge did not want to be disobedient, so she went. Went to the Jewish doctor Bernstein!
Inge sits in the waiting room of the Jewish doctor. She had to wait a long time. She leafs through the magazines that are on the table. But she is much too nervous to be able to read more than a few sentences. Again and again she thinks back on the conversation with her mother. And again and again she recalls the warning of her BDM leader: “A German may not go to a Jewish doctor! Particularly a German girl! Many girls who went to a Jewish doctor for healing found instead sickness and shame!”
As Inge entered the waiting room, she had had a strange experience. From the examination room of the doctor came crying. She heard the voice of a girl:
“Doctor! Doctor! Leave me alone!”
Then she heard the scornful laugh of a man. Then all was suddenly silent. Breathlessly Inge had listened.
“What does all that mean?” she asked herself, and her heart beat faster. Once again she thought of the warnings of her BDM leader.
Inge has been waiting for an hour. Again she picks up the magazines and tries to read. Then the door opens. Inge looks up. The Jew appears. A cry comes from Inge’s mouth. In terror she lets the newspaper drop. Terrified, she jumps up. Her eyes stare in the face of the Jewish doctor. And this face is the face of the Devil. In the middle of this devilish face sits an enormous crooked nose. Behind the glasses glare two criminal eyes. And a grin runs across the protruding lips. A grin that wants to say: “Now I have you at last, little German girl!”
The Jew comes toward her. His fat fingers grasp for her. But now Inge has recovered. Before the Jew can grab her she hits the fat face of the Jew-doctor. Then a leap to the door. Breathlessly Inge runs down the steps. Breathlessly she dashes out of the Jew-house.
In tears she returns home. Her mother is shocked to see her child.
“For God’s sake, Inge! What happened?”
It is a long time before the child can say anything. Finally Inge tells about her experience with the Jew-doctor. Her mother listens in horror. And when Inge finishes her story, her mother lowers her head in shame.
“Inge, I shouldn’t have sent you to a Jewish doctor. When you left I regretted it. I couldn’t relax. I wanted to call you back. I suspected suddenly that you were right. I suspected that something would happen to you. But everything came out all right, thank God!”
Her mother moans, and tries to conceal her tears.
Gradually Inge calms down. She laughs again. “Mother, you’ve done a lot for me. Thank you. But you have to promise me something: about the BDM . . . “
Her mother doesn’t let her finish.
“I know what you want to say, Inge. I promise. I’m finding that one can learn even from you children.”
“You’re right, Mother. We BDM girls, we know what we want, even if we are not always understood. Mother, you taught me many sayings. Today I want to give you one to learn.” And slowly and significantly Inge says:
The Devil, it was he
Who sent the Jew-doctor to Germany.
Like a devil he defiles
The German woman, Germany’s honor.
The German people, they’ll not be sound
Unless very soon the way is found
To German healing, German ways,
To German doctors in future days.
[Translation copyright © 1983 by Randall Bytwerk. No unauthorized reproduction. My e-mail address is available on the FAQ page.]
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