Zeitgeistlyrik: The Führer of the Mind (Satis Shroff)

This is a triology of poems on the German philosopher Martin Heidegger from Meßkirch who was the Rector of the University of Freiburg during the Third Reich but was lated rehabilitated.Satish Shroff brings to you his thoughts during these historical days in his three poems..


The Führer of the Mind II (Satis Shroff)


In his ‘Seventh Letter’ Plato wrote

About his three journeys to Syrakus and Sicily

Between 389 and 361 BC.

Plato had close relations to the ruling tyrann:

At first with Dionysios I,

Later with his son Dionysios II,

Who he tried to educate and lead.


Among other philosophic questions,

Socrates had to answer this one:

In which way does a state have to use philosophy,

In order not to go under,

For all greatness is questionable.

Platon was defeated in Syrakus,

Because Dionysios II refused to overtake

His ideas about State,

Education, laws and constitution.

Plato became frustrated.

His state-philosophical plans had failed.


I hoped that history would repeat itself,

This time with a happy result.

So I chose Plato as my own hero,

For the political battle,

With Adolf Hitler in the role of Dionysios II.

On January 19,1933 after the big elections victory

In Lippe,

A great storm has come over me,

In which I’ve set out my full sail.

With this, a lot of old ties

Were torn or broken.

I can’t mend them now.

O what a storm it was,

In which you and I and all

Were swept away.

It was the greatness and exemplary Greek philosophy,

Waking up anew,

Albeit, the dark orders of a state and society,

Undergoing a massive change.


After Hitler was given the right

To govern by the old Reichspresident

Paul von Hinderburg,

My will to work for the Third Reich

Became stronger.

In order to stabilise the NS-rule,

My philosophy became a part

Of the Nazi ideology.

I had my doubts when deeds were done,

To lift the needs

Of the folk and the Reich,

But I believed that the political changes

Were a challenge to me,

My country needed me.

Between the Greek philosophy

And the NS movement,

I wanted to fight

Against the dying spirit of Christendom,

And the spectre of the communist world.

The Greeks and the German folk,

A politic of Being and Führer-state,

Platon and I myself.


I was a convinced National Socialist,

At the beginning of the Third Reich.

It was in the solitude

Of the autumnal and wintry Black Forest,

That I decided to be involved

In building a world,

Created by a folk.

That was the new reality.


The ‘Being’ I’d learned from Parmenides,

Platon and Aristoteles,

Should be used to make the NS-spirit,

A part and parcel of German history.

The NSDAP became my political home.

The Rectorat gave me the institutional confirmation.

I became a member of the NSDAP

On May 1, 1933

With the No. 3125894,

Gau Baden.


* * *




My first act as the Rector

Of the Freiburger University,

Was to send a circular letter

To all lecturers.

The construction of a new mental world,

For the German folk is the essential duty

Of the German university.

This is national work

Of the highest meaning and priority.


In 1933 I craved for power,

In the field of Political Science.

I wanted to be a Führer of the Mind,

To create a real geistige world

For the German folk.

I found a suitable forum

In the NS-Führer-State.

I greeted the Freiburger students

With the authoritative imperative words:

‘Not teachings and ideas

Are the rules of your being.

The Führer himself alone

Is the German reality

And your law today

Till hereafter.’


The teachers had to be taught again,

So I transformed my philosophical thoughts,

To political activities.

Again and again,

The being, the Germanvolk,

And the Führer were connected

In all my speeches.


At the beginning of 1934 ,

It became clear to me,

That the greatness (Hitler) which I desired,

Was destined to fall.

I noticed that the liberals and conservatives

Were disgusted with Hitler’s propaganda.

Erich Jaensch characterised my philosophical thoughts

As ‘tamundic-rabulistic,’

Which would have a magnetic attraction

For Jews and people of Jewish descent.

To Erich Jaensch,

I was a dangerous schizophrenic

And my pathologic writings

Would only be admired by weird people.

Ernst Krieck saw in my philosophy

A ferment of decay and decomposition

For the German folk.


I saw in the Führer not the egocentric powerful man,

But an instance of political knowledge,

With a concentration

Of the new spirit of state-and-folk community.

There is only one will for the state to exist.

The Führer has awakened this desire

In the entire folk and made it

To a common goal.

In lieu of the objective he-she-it,

I preferred the meaning of being ‘I am.’

I became a follower of the NSDAP,

The propagandist of national socialism.

I wanted to see people who had the will,

The inner power to make greatness even bigger.

Most people made the usual snarls

Of ordinary citizens,

Who cling to small and half-things;

They don’t want to see,

Never can see the big and farthest,

The unique and all-powerful.


My friends wrote to me on my 80th birthday:

‘Mr. H.,

Are you back from Syrakus?

Back from my escapade.

I felt like Plato,

Who was disappointed by Dionysios II.

My disappointment was much bigger

Than that of Plato,

Because the tyrant and his victim,

Were not beyond the seas,

But in my own country.


My thoughts moved to Being,

Das Sein.

In my search for heroes I came across:

Parmenides, Heraklit, Holderlin and Nietsche.

I abandoned political thought,

Embraced the thoughts of the poet,

Poetic thoughts,

For in the language of poetry,

You find the purest essence of language,

Which can begin and develop.

I wanted to show that language

Is not an expression of biological-racist humans.

The essence of humans through language,

Is the basic reality of the mind.


To the Nazis I became suddenly

A suspected person,

Who needed to be shadowed.


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