There's nothing else for us to do. That's what most people say today. It's true. But there is also a piece of love of passivity, a piece of comfort in not throwing ourselves into the adventure, the destruction. Sometimes we don't ask our neighbour for heroism lest he ask it of us. That's slightly the mentality of European democratic nations.
That is natural when viewing the state of comfort of the individual and the nation, though dangerous if we take a higher, not merely political but other spiritual point of view. That is why many people do not blame President Hácha for not having himself shot, for not having Prague bombed rather than having us drink the humiliation to the last drop. That's why many of us don't begrudge General Syrový for standing on the main platform at the military parade, even the first one celebrating the seizure of Bohemia and Moravia, and the second one honouring Protector Neurath.
- What could he do?
- He should have shot himself. For he is a soldier and chose the profession of a hero and not a tax collector; he accepted military honours and chose the craft of death. (That’s what people in the pub say.) General Syrový's wife tells her good friends that her husband is looking forward to getting out of the difficult position imposed on him and going to rest at his villa in Dobřichovice.
Is “necessity” really an excuse for everything? Is it also an excuse for the signature of President Hácha and his official Chvalkovský? Their signatures stand out on the declaration of Czechoslovakia's submission as the signatures of two eager-to-please and sensible schoolboys or clerks next to the pathologically exceptional signature of Hitler and the fraudulently magnanimous signature of Ribbentrop. Somewhere in a newspaper there was a graphological analysis of Hitler's signature: a mystic. “Mysticism” can also be interpreted in an entirely rational way by the development of German
So we return to where we began: that no individual is so great that he is not the product of the material and moral forces of the whole nation. And that no individual is so small that he does not contribute to world events. According to the pattern of the categorical judgment: Everyone is expendable. Everyone is not expendable. What would Socrates say?! He, too, appealed to simple reasoning and conscience, for he felt the power of the established gods and the welfare of man declining.
Let us come to the gathering of men in the Little Town, all of whom desire wisdom and do not intend to be silent. One of them asks if anyone has heard about the inscription written on the wall in Prague:
Screw the Germans
The Americans are coming
Laughter. The inspector takes out of his breast pocket a paper on which he jotted down the decree posted by the Germans on Wednesday morning, March 15; it was quickly taped over. Two copies of it are kept in the museum in the Little Town. Teacher, you never this is the worst assignment your students have ever submitted in all your years, not even from that biggest fool who repeated years until he was too old to go to school. Wasn't there a traitor who could have modified the Germans' decree a little? Or did they despise us so much that they didn't even look for anyone? The writer in me speaks: I doubt if any language has ever been so abominably defiled and pilloried as the Czech language in that German decree.
|Subject:||A Woman in the Pantheon|
|Title:||Typescript of the book "Testimony. Diary from 1939" - p. 6, 7|