God of Hunger
She arrived at the Embassy promptly at nine and was met in the hallway by the
First Secretary. Greetings were exchanged but before she could draw the next
breath she was shepherded into a large office occupied by the Ambassador.
He rose from his desk and walked slowly, hand extended, to meet her in the
middle of the room.
“Aah. Our new Secretary. Charmed to meet you again. Welcome to London.”
“Greetings from Warsaw, Comrade Minister. It is my privilege to be in your
service once more.
With that they sat down, all three, around a dark heavy highly polished coffee
table on which three glasses of steaming lemon tea had already been set out.
The new Secretary’s first day in post at the Embassy in London, the fourteenth
of March, 1969, coincided with the banning, of the theatrical performance and
book called „Soldiers’; a play by the German author Rolf Hochuth.
Warsaw was alerted the night before and she was sent for immediately. As the
rising star on the staff of Vistula Poland’s leading journal of foreign affairs,
Marisha’s brief was simple: “turn it in our favour.’
The German playwright, made two assertions. Firstly that Churchill had
ordered the assassination of General Wladyslaw Sikorski, leader of the
’London’ Poles and said that he had the evidence locked up in a Swiss bank
vault which would reveal its contents in fifty years time. Secondly that the
„Katastrophe’, the Dresden holocaust, had been too long ignored in the
kakography of war. A debate about its tactical value and strategic morality was
long overdue; Hitler and his generals were no angels; no more so were
Churchill and his military advisers.
What, asked Hochuth, was Churchill's role in the operation code named
Gommorrah? This was a new campaign which saw Bomber Command evolve,
during 1942-43, the practice of area bombing over Germany. On 30-31 May
1942 Bomber Command tried out its first Thousand Bomber Raid over
Cologne. To quote from the report of the Chief of Police of Cologne: „High
Explosive bombs and incendiaries were dropped for about one and a half hours
... From the outset, bombing was spread almost evenly over the entire city area
... the attack had no recognizable centre of main effort. Residential areas ...
were primarily affected. The main losses included 13,000 workers flats. The
casualty rate was 469 dead and 5,027 injured."
This was read as failure in London.