Q 418

Here, a café was opened in December 1942 seating about 100. A ticket was valid for 2 hours, ersatz cofee and tea was being served. A band played, and cabaret artists from the ranks of the prisoners performed.


(Coffee-house built for the Nazi propaganda film)

Oh, the coffee house is a wonderful place,
They've got tea and coffee and air and space,
But the music's off-key, and I look down
On the German HQ in the garrison town.
And the wenches that carry the coffee in
Wear their faces bent in a permanent grin.

I'm having fun too, and my face is smiling
(While down below they cart off the dying
And old men are pushing the funeral carts
With tears in their eyes and heavy hearts.)
And that green building, its outlines vague
Is left half empty by a typhoid plague.

Why must we sit here, void of strife
While the "world down there" fights for its life?
People clap hands while the band plays jazz,
And I'm carried away by the razzamatazz
That assaults my ear like a caterwauling,
Like ravens in winter, raucous, appalling,
Like shattering glass, like a cresting wave
That would fling me ashore and into my grave.

I embrace it, this world of time and tide,
The world where anguish and hunger collide.
Like sun-kissed blossoms winding round me,
It welcomes me back to reality.

- Ha- (Hanuš Hachenburg)


A clean tablecloth, tasteful tables
Gentlemen in dark suits
Girls painted scarlet
Witty repartee Swinging jazz
Coffee served in the salon
You can even get whipped cream
Or just get whipped - but that's next door.

Josef Taussig