[OPE-L:4112] Falada's Last Interview

Gerald Lev (glevy@pratt.edu)
Thu, 30 Jan 1997 11:25:39 -0800 (PST)

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Michael P wrote in [OPE-L:4111]:

> Brecht is a perfect source for this. He is continually showing that
> workers can behave like capitalists when put in their position and vice
> versa.

Workers don't have to be put in the role of capitalists to act unlike
humans. This was understood, as well, by Brecht. Read his interview with


Ghastly story from the Frankfurter Allee:
Humans launch attack on fallen horse!
Reduced to bones in ten minutes flat!
Is Berlin arctic? Has barbarism set in?
Falada, Falada, there thou art hanging!
Had thy mother known
Her heart would have surely broken.
Be so good as to tell us all about the fearful incident.

I tugged at my wagon though I felt so feeble
And stopped in a street in our East End.
I stood there and thought: If you don't make an effort
You'll start collapsing in front of all these people ...
Twenty minutes later I was nothing but a heap of bones in
the roadway.

Was your wagon too heavy then? Your fodder insufficient?
In times of such shortage it is not without pity
That we observe man and beast fighting against unbearable
Falada, Falada, there thou are hanging!
Stripped -- right -- down -- to -- the -- bones!
In the midst of our giant city, at eleven A.M.!

And while I was lying collapsed in the darkness
(My driver ran to telephone)
A horde of hungry people appeared
Out of the doorways, started frantically trying
Each to be the first to cut the meat from my carcass
And they saw that I was still alive, and very far from
finished with dying.

Falada, Falada, there thou art hanging!
But these aren't humans! But these are wild beasts!
Coming out of their houses with knives and cookpots and
helping themselves to meat!
And when you're still alive! Cold-hearted blackguards!
Be so good as to describe these people to use right away.

But all these people, I thought, were once my familiars.
They used to bring sacks to help me keep off the flies
Gave me old crusts to eat, and came up to advise
My driver that he must not beat me.
Once so kind-hearted, now they're all turned to killers!
What on earth could they have been through that would make
them change their ways so completely?

It led me to ask: What sort of people are these?
Have they no human feeling left? No heart beating
In their breast? With cast-iron foreheads
They come forward forgetting all human standards
Coldly forgetting discipline and control, they yield
themselves up
To the basest instincts. How can we help, then?
Help ten thousand people! It can't be done!

This led me to ask: What has brought such coldness
Right into [the] heart of the human race?
What's striking them in the face
So as to make them grow so freezing?
Please come to their aid, and act now with boldness
Or the consequences could well be beyond all reason!