I woke up laying face down, on my belly, on a massage table.
My eyes focused on the grout lines running across the tile floor.
“Those tiles are as white as hospital sheets.”
Cold air rushed across my naked body and I wondered, “Where am I?”
“Why am I naked?
I hadn’t a clue.
But I shivered, lifted my head and stretched my neck.
My cracking cartilage broke the silence.
And then out of the corner of my eye, I saw her.
She was naked.
“Am I dreaming?”
She crouched low in the corner of the room, with one of her arms covering her breasts, while the other tried to hide her mound.
I sat up and observed a frightened, shaking, middle-aged woman.
I seemed to recognize her.
That face, that hair, that Roman nose, those eyes filled with fear.
Hadn’t I seen her in old newsreels, before and during the war?
Yes, that was it.
Yes, I had seen her in movie theaters standing next to Hitler—smiling, surrounded by her husband and her children. A bunch of blonde-headed kids.
Yes, her husband was the notorious anti-Semitic, Nazi Minister of Propaganda.
Yes, his speech to Nazis fanned the fires on Kristallnacht.
Yes, he, with Hitler’s backing, completely supported the extermination of the Jews.
Yes, she was Magda Goebbels—the wife of Joseph Goebbels.
And yes, she was infamous.
She murdered six of her seven children.
During the last days of the war, Magda resided in the führerbunker.
Where she and her husband decided to copy their leader by taking their own lives, as well as their children’s.
First they drugged their children and then Magda placed and crushed ampoules of cyanide into their sleeping mouths.
Then Magda and Joseph committed suicide.
This fanatic murderer gave her kids names that started with the letter “H” allegedly in honor of Hitler –Hilagard, Helga, Helmut, Hedwig, Heirun, and Holdine.
Now, I knew where I was.
I was in hell with a naked Magda Goebbels.
I was in a 10′ x 14′ sterile white room with no doors or windows, only a massage table and the wife of one of the biggest Jew-baiting and Jew-hating men in the Third Reich. This anti-Semitic bitch was a prominent Nazi —a close ally, companion and political supporter of Adolf “Fucking” Hitler.
For untold seconds, I tried to wrap my arms and my brain around my predicament,.
What do I say to this evil monster?
I thought and stared in silence.
Playing it safe, I said, “My name is Mort. Who are you? And where are we?”
Now she stood and I saw her in all her glory—stretch marks and all.
“I’m Magda and we’re in Hell.”
G-d, please let this be a nightmare.”
“Sorry, Mort, I’ve been here for quite a while and this isn’t a bad dream.”
As tears formed in my eyes, I rattled off three questions:
“And why with you?”
“Sorry, Mort, I haven’t a clue.
But it’s not that bad for you. You’re only here for a day and I’m here for eternity.”
“Only a day?”
“You’re not bullshitting me.”
Magda’s eyes ran up and down my body.
“No sir. You’re my Jew-for-the-day. I get a new one every day.
What could be more cruel?”
Magda spewed out the word, “Jew” as if spitting poison.
I guessed Magda’s time in hell had no effect on her hatred of the Hebrews?
“Is the purpose of hell to rehabilitate lost souls?” I wondered.
I didn’t think so.
“Magda were you famous?”
“Mort, don’t be coy. Your eyes give you away. You know I’m Magda Goebbels. You know why I’m here. You know a hell-of-a-lot about me and I know absolutely nothing about you.”
“Magda, you’re right. I do know a whole lot about you.
I also know it was easy to get caught up in all the Jew-hatred in Germany, even the killing of one and a half million Jewish children, but to kill your own kids—your own flesh and blood—with your own hands.
As if on cue, on each wall there appeared one 5’x5′ photograph.
I recognized the photo.
It was one of the iconic Holocaust pictures of Jewish boys and girls on their liberation from Auschwitz—some of them wearing the prisoner striped pajamas and some of them as young as four-year-olds— pulling up their sleeves and showing the cameraman their numeric tattoos on their forearms.
But there was a difference.
Instead of the faces of Jewish children, these kids were blond-haired. These were Magda’s children. Their faces replacing those of the Jewish kids. These were the children Magda murdered—Hilagard, Helga, Helmut, Hedwig, Heirun, and Holdine.
Magda let out a screech and collapsed to the floor.
She wailed uncontrollably, flaying her naked body against the photographs.
I climbed back onto the massage table, face down on my belly, placed my hands over my ears and focused on the grout lines running across the tile floor.
All the while thinking, “Yes, there is a G-d.”