Emigré Turned Remigré
from Smoke and Fire/Rauch und Feuer

You ask why
you weren’t asked to return
to where you came from.
You ask why
a Head of State
and Princes of the Church
didn’t express their desire
to have you set foot
on Austrian soil.
You ask why
your citizenship
wasn’t returned to you
along with a pension
and other benefits.

You ask why
you weren’t welcomed back
to Austria
by the Minister of Defense.
The answer is
you aren’t an old soldier
named Walter Reder
who did his duty
for the Führer and the Reich.

Reder too
was an emigré turned remigré.
He left Austria in the thirties
in order to swear allegiance
to that other illustrious son
and to embark on an SS-career
in Nazi-Germany.
And like his model,
the most famous of all
emigrés turned remigré,
he returned home
when Austria became Ostmark.

Major Reder, who’s most noted
for the Massacre of Marzabotto,
distinguished himself
by not only following orders
but also by giving them
and personally participating
in doing what was ordered.

When it came to slaughtering
old men, women and children
and setting houses alight,
Reder was there
to lend a helping hand,
and just to show his men
that he was one of them,
he raped a nun.

Don’t you agree
that it’s befitting
for one who practiced
these martial arts
to be welcomed
by the Minister of Defense?

It was forty years after
the collapse of the Reich
in the winter of ’85
when Major Walter Reder
was freed from his chambers
in the Italian fortress of Gaeta,
where he was attended by an orderly,
and flown back to Austria.

The notables who had pleaded
for the release of the former
“last Austrian prisoner of war”
saw to it that the good soldier
go his due for the slaughter
of more than a thousand victims
in the manner already described.

What’s so distinguishing
about the Jewish likes of you?
There’s no achievement
in merely being
an emigré turned remigré.
Is it an honor
to have had to abscond
or stay to go up in smoke?