Sizzling aromas of bratwurst and curried mustard tweaked my appetite following the morning’s sightseeing in Munich, Germany. Cloudless skies warmed hundreds of other tourists seated at circular tables and chairs that filled the Marienplatz, Munich’s Civic Center, first established in 1158 AD. Across from us rose the Neo Gothic New City Hall with its clock tower and Glockenspiel. Soon it would be time for the show.

It was June 1977.



Around our table conversation was brisk. Only thirty-two years before, this entire area smoked in ruins, the result of Allied blanket bombing that ended World War II. Blueprints and photos of pre-existing buildings guided workmen in the square’s reconstruction, purposely weathered with centuries of wear and tear to look Medieval. In another part of Munich, a bombed brick wall, resembling a jagged tooth, still stood, a reminder of what had happened here. Ambivalent feelings tweaked my stomach as I dipped the bratwurst in mustard.



Suddenly from above, metallic bells jangled conversations as we leaned back in our chairs and holding hands over our eyes, squinted at the Glockenspiel; on its upper level, animated figures enacted a royal wedding and a jousting tournament; on its lower, three coopers danced a jig signaling the end of the 1517 plague. Then the show was over, the diversion well received.

Still uneasy, I wondered about humankind’s tendency, as well as my own, to bury the scars of evil within recesses of the unconscious, kept in bondage by sloth, and what it takes to face truth, when stripped of defense mechanisms.

Long ago, I was told that nothing is, as it seems. I’m still learning …