The Aftermath
Rhidian Brook

by

Sharon Fleming

Chapter 7
Summary

German children such as Ozi and his gang friends have learned new strategies of getting something to eat. The war has effectively made them beggars. Thus, to survive, Ozi has learned various tactics, such as learning to speak English in order to flatter women with the hope of getting something to eat as well as to take to his leader, Berti. Ozi’s latest tactic of getting food, such as pretending to be dead gets him three cigarettes from a soldier guarding the British Military Headquarters' entrance (Brook 132).  Together with a watch, he had taken from a pocket of a dead person, Ozi decides to exchange the two items for food and a truck driver's pass to Hokker, a black marketeer in Hamburg (Brook 137).

Brooks takes the readers in another scene where Lewis is getting ready for work. The lack of physical satisfaction from his wife compels Lewis to increase his intake of cigarettes in the hope of staying occupied (Brook 139).  Lewis arrives in Atlantic Hotel and finds Ursula, his interpreter waiting for him. Both Ursula and Lewis exchange some words before proceeding to the meeting with the minister of Kensington (Brook 142). At breakfast, the discussion gets heated, particularly when Major Burnham suggests that the British military should ensure that followers of the Nazi regime are rooted out and destroyed. According to General Burnham, Britain needs to cleanse Germany first before engaging in any reconstruction process. Burnham states that insurgency still exists in Hamburg, as evidenced by the latest convoy attack, which was full of gin, and the presence of the ‘88’ Nazi movement on both insurgents’ forearms. The attackers seemed to believe that Hitler was still alive and would come back to redeem the nation from invaders, such as British. According to Major Burnham, the 88 tattoo is a code signifying HH, that is, Heil Hitler (Brook 146). However, contrary to Barnham’s views and opinions, Lewis thinks that in order to introduce democracy in Germany, Britain has to house Germans, feed the people, reunite separated loved ones, as well as create work. Nonetheless, Lewis’ views are seen as being sympathetic to the Germans and a way of fraternizing. The scene ends with Minister Shaw, warning Lewis to watch out, lest his kindness comes back to bite him.  

At the Interrogation Center, Major Burnham is interrogating Lubert (Brook 148). Although Lubert is convinced that he has nothing to fear, he knows quite well that the British are vigorous in their interviews with the effort of identifying followers of the Nazi regime. Despite filling in a detailed questionnaire referred to as fragebogen, Burnham seems to mistrust Lubert and, thus, asks personal questions with the focus of assessing Lubert’s reaction (Brook 150-154).

Brook takes the readers to another scene where Racheal and Lubert are having a heated argument over a half nude female portrait that Lubert had placed on the wall. Racheal thinks that Lubert had placed Hitler’s portrait on the empty space as most Germans did. The accusation results in Lubert pouring out his feelings about the Nazi regime. Lubert informs Racheal that the assets in his house do not reflect the previous regime. According to Lubert, he could not take pride in a leader whose creed was to damage families, people, cities, lives, and God himself (Brook 157). Lubert is tired of people telling him what to do and he is exhausted of being associated with the Nazi regime. Thus, Racheal’s accusation provokes Lubert into saying things he should not have said, as well as doing things, he should not have done such as kissing Racheal. Brook states, “Lubert suddenly took her by the shoulders and kissed her. He slightly missed her mouth, and it was rough and quick. He stood back, waiting for the backlash” (159). Lubert feels he had to leave before he did something worse. However, he is surprised when Racheal unexpectedly tells him “that really won’t be necessary” (Brook 159).

The author chronicles Edmund’s encounter with Ozi and Bertie who commands him to bring cigarettes every week. In another scene, Brook provides an account of Lewis giving Minister Shaw a tour across the city of Hamburg with the intent of showing him the dire need for food and providing the Germans with work. Later, Minister Shaw encounters a German man who had been following him. The man informs Minister Shaw that Britain should feed Germans or else they would keep remembering and supporting their Nazi leader, Hitler. In the attempt to learn more about the Germans, Shaw keeps on directing questions to the man who ultimately responds out of anger that the British should "fuck off back to England" (Brook 170).  Later, Lewis agrees to drive Ursula back to her house before going to his home. Back at home, Racheal is thinking about her previous encounter with Lubert. For the first time since Michael’s demise, Lubert has made Racheal recognize a feeling she had not realized at first, a feeling of being understood (Brook 176).

Analysis

The author uses this chapter to show how the British viewed Germans with contempt. Although both nations had participated in the war, the British blamed Hitler, for the present chaos. As a result, British officials feel the need to root out any Nazi supporter before reconstructing the city. To achieve this, British intelligence Officials had formulated 133 questions intended to provide an in-depth understanding of A Germans' loyalty to the Nazi regime. The British mistrust the Germans and thinks that every German must have not only been involved with the Nazi regime but also must have been a loyal supporter of Hitler. Brook also seems to reveal the challenges likely to face Lewis [such as Major Burnham’s dedication to treating Germans as criminals] as Lewis attempts to unite both British and Germans.  

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