Dipping my pen into shiny black ink, I smile, recalling that glorious summer of 1928 when the irises bloomed blue in the fields beside a cool lake outside Berlin.
And I spent my days in the nude.
Tossing a medicine ball and posing for photographs.
I embraced the warmth of those summer days in a seething hot bath of sweating nude bodies, shining with youth and sun, freed by a Teutonic visionary awareness that gained popularity after the Great War that the naked body was beautiful and should be admired, worshipped.
I was a model in a booklet touting the benefits of gymnastic techniques for women photographed by my old friend, Maxi von Brandt. Here’s Maxi in Cleopatra’s Perfume:
“We knew each other from the old days when we both worked the cabarets, me as a dancer, her as a photographer, chatting up strangers on the telephones at each table and drinking in the pleasure palaces of Berlin. Haus Vaterland and the Resi.”
Maxi convinced me the youth of Germany wanted to be free and celebrate the health of their bodies and minds, that new thoughts would make Germany strong.
I shudder now, remembering how the dream of a glorious nudism movement was crushed by this madman named Hitler, who destroyed whatever beauty those years brought us with his fanatical worship of a false god while he reviled the beauty of others. It was horrible how he destroyed so many lives with his Final Solution.
I still carry the burden of guilt in my mind that I did not question then the society that was capable of creating such tyranny. What is even more extraordinary is the methodical, orderly fashion in which it was carried out during the war: the allocation of war materials to build barracks at Auschwitz and the railway system that charged the Gestapo per kilometer one-way for the prisoners and round trip for the guards.
I hold the memory of that summer close to my bosom as one would a flower that bloomed for a brief moment then was crushed by an army of jackboots, trampled under the greed of these monsters.
A flower that once embraced the hopes of so many in the folds of its velvet-soft petals, innocents bearing blue, lavender marks. Numbers tattooed on their arms. In the end they paid the ultimate price.
God rest their souls…
Lady Eve Marlowe