Unity sees the bright side

There is more to the story I told in “the previous entry”:http://www.thewormbook.com/helmintholog/archives/2007/12/27/nazis_stole_my.html#002172 about the SS man who found he was a Jew. Here is how it ended, in Unity’s telling to Diana.

bq.. Of course poor Heinz was completely _erledigt_ [shattered] when he heard it, & wanted to shoot himself at once, which it seems to me would have been the best way out.

Though, officially, he doesn’t count as a Jew as both the grandparents were baptized. But for Heinz, being a real Nazi _’aus überzeugung’_ [by conviction], that naturally made no difference. His father made him promise not to do anything until they had had a reply to their _Ersuch_ [request] to the Führer, but so far there has been no reply, & in the meanwhile of course he is having what is practically a nervous breakdown. Well it seems that there are several half-Jews who have, at one time or another, been allowed to remain in the Party on account of special _Verdienste_ [services]. So they hope that he also will, though of course this will anyhow, from his own point of view, have ruined his life. So she came to ask me if I would help her, & I told her that if she would write a personal letter to the Führer I would give it to him personally. Isn’t it awful for them, poor things. I must say it gave me an awful shock when she told me.

p. Unity is in many ways less unpleasant than Diana, whose combination of intelligence with quite psychotic self-deception is horrible. In later life, she is constantly roused to indignation because vulgar lower-class people will claim that her husband was anti-Semitic (is if there were anything wrong with that) or, most exquisitely, when a journalist quotes her as saying she was “very fond” of Hitler. This seemed to her a monstrous misunderstanding of “Off the Record”. So the last word goes her refutation, in 1976, of the suggestion that Unity might have made a snobbish remark about the Queen Mother, who was known to the Mitfords as “Cake”:[1]

bq. The nastiest, well one of the nastiest, is Mr Float [The rector of Swinbrook] … He (apparently) told such an obviously false story of Bird [Unity] saying, in conneciton with the abdication, that Cake was like a shop girl. It is so particularly offensive and silly and, as we know, Birdie had strong _race_ feelings, but not so much as a soupçon of _class_ feeling and thus its something she couldn’t have said.

Italics in the original. What does it take to have such an inexhaustible fountain of self-righteousness?

fn1. Hence “Cake’s Dump”, a reference by Debo to Clarence House.

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8 Responses to Unity sees the bright side

  1. Remind me, Andrew, just why the upper classes are necessary?

  2. Mrs Tilton says:

    Fragano: so we can get the occasional Andrew.

  3. acb says:

    Oh, really. I’m not a member of the upper classes. I went to some schools with some of them, but that is very different. I neither made money nor married it nor inherited it. I own no land.

  4. Mrs Tilton says:

    All the best aristocrats are landless and impoverished these days, Andrew.

  5. Rupert says:

    The British class system is like obscenity – impossible to define and impossible to mistake. Andrew is, of course, in that multidimensional tessaract that inhabits the part of the spectrum between middle-upper-middle and lower-upper, but like an electron one can only assign probabilities to where he may be at any one point – and observing any one of the dimensions will leave the rest unknowable. (I know a few sons of diplomats: there are strong correlations between them which could only be done justice in a clever, observant, sympathetic yet far-sighted farce).

  6. The best aristocrats are the natural ones — those who naturally and instinctively are the best people they can be. I think that includes Andrew.

  7. Rupert says:

    Ah, but that’s not part of the British class system – where being the biggest arse you can be is far more important for diagnostic purposes.

    It’s often been noted that there’s more scope for utter arsehood in the working and upper classes (although far from unknown elsewhere, the true extremes of the condition are more supportable when your money comes from actually doing something with things, or from mater+pater. The two can actually be synthesised into uber-arse, much like plutonium in a fast-breeder reactor, in the City.)


  8. I suspect that’s true of the upper classes everywhere.

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