A Perfect Madness

A Perfect Madness by Frank H. Marsh Read Free Book Online

Book: A Perfect Madness by Frank H. Marsh Read Free Book Online
Authors: Frank H. Marsh
Tags: Romance, World War II, Nazi, Holocaust, Jewish, Love Story, prague, hitler, eugenics
from
Julia’s life, Erich thought, just as Dr. Kaufmann turned to face
him.
    “ Please forgive my
manners, Erich. My mind has been running back and forth between
German and Czech, trying to find the appropriate words. While I
prefer Czech, it seems everyone is speaking German these days in
Prague, which perhaps is trying to tell us something,” Dr. Kaufmann
said, leading Erich by the arm into the living room, where Mrs.
Kaufmann was busily filling magnificent gold-rimmed cups with
freshly brewed coffee.
    “ Please sit down, Erich.
We will speak German.”
    Erich sat down on a small settee
facing Dr. Kaufmann and Julia, who was sitting next to her father.
He still couldn’t fathom the formality of what was happening.
Everything seemed so weirdly strange to him. It was as if he should
now ask for Julia’s hand in marriage. In his twenty-eight years of
living, being here visiting in Julia’s home was only the second
time for him to be in a Jewish home. Few Jewish families had lived
near his home in Dresden, and those that did, kept mostly to
themselves. He knew only a few of the neighbors by name, and one
Jewish boy who lived several streets away. It was in his house that
he sat the one time drinking a cool glass of water on a very hot
afternoon. One day during summer recess with his father away, he
had journeyed through the neighborhood, wandering several streets
away from home. Benjamin Keiler was tossing through the air a small
airplane made of balsa, when he came upon him. Watching the futile
efforts of Benjamin to make the plane sail farther then a few feet
before plunging to the ground, Erich asked if he might try, which
he did. But he had even less success with his flying skills and
felt ashamed he had asked to try. In a while, Benjamin’s mother
called him to come inside for a cool drink, and he took Erich with
him. They had become friends for the afternoon, that was all, and
Erich never saw Benjamin again, nor his family. When he returned to
his own house that day, he said nothing to his mother about where
he had been. Not that she would have minded, but that she would
tell his father, who cared even then nothing for Jews, even those
holding prestigious professorships at Berlin University. Erich
thought more about Benjamin’s house that night in bed than he did
about trying to fly the plane. While there he had been intrigued
with a lone candle burning in the living room where they sat
drinking the cool water, and believed it must be some kind of
witchcraft, but was afraid to ask. The Lutherans burned candles,
too, he knew—in church, though, where it made some sense to do so,
not in the home. Sensing Erich’s uneasiness, Julia smiled and
leaned forward to offer him a bagel that her mother had baked
earlier in the morning.
    “ You’ll find these much
better than the ones served in the coffee houses.”
    “ Yes, I will try one.
Thank you,” Erich said, deciding to play along with the proper game
of manners being displayed by his hosts. Out of the corner of his
eye, he caught a lone candle burning on a small table in the foyer,
very similar to the one he remembered burning in Benjamin Keiler’s
home, and turned to look at it.
    “ The candle is in memory
of my father,” Dr. Kaufmann said quickly, noticing Erich’s
interest. “It is a Jewish tradition to light a candle on the
anniversary of a loved one’s death. Do you not do the
same?”
    “ No, I might visit a grave
with my parents, that is all,” Erich responded, beginning to feel
uneasy by the direction of the question. He knew nothing about
Jewish customs, and really didn’t care to know. Their religious
beliefs had always been sort of mystical to him, with weird
intonations from a rabbi that seemed to make little
sense.
    “ Julia has asked
permission to visit with you away from the university,”
    Dr. Kaufmann said, smiling for the
first time. “You may think it strange that she must request
permission at her age, but things may start to

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