Published online by Cambridge University Press: 07 September 2018
First thing the next morning I went to Abbé Scolardi. As before, he offered me a glass of Vieux Marc. We drank, he put on his flat, round priest's hat, and we left for the Police Prefecture.
“Give me your papers and wait here,” he said to me outside, “I don't want to have another scene like last time.” I waited, and a few minutes later he came back with a permit for my temporary residence in Marseille. He wouldn't hear any thanks. If I ever wanted to drink a Marc I should pay him a visit.
I stood on the street of a big city, a legal resident. First I bought cigarettes. Then I sat down on a café terrace near the Vieux Port and ordered a cognac; the coffee still available in France was of poor quality. I listened to the city noise, saw the crowds of people and once again felt myself one of them. My wife and son were to arrive that afternoon. Maybe, I thought, we could live an almost normal life here for a few weeks or even a few months. The single, painful worry pursued us, that since the time of my wife's departure from Paris we'd heard nothing from our older son Heinz in England.
The suburbs were full of emigrants; there wasn't a bed free in Marseille. A constant stream of refugees swept through the city. I went to the Hotel Aumage, whose owner I knew from my last stay.
“You're in luck,” he greeted me, “a room opened up just this morning. The woman was a refugee, she had a fight with a German fellow, he injured her. They took her to the hospital.” I learned later that the man was from the Gestapo, and the woman the sister of a former Berlin fi lm producer. She had told him about a safe in Zürich, he had demanded the combination and the key, and had hit her in the face with a chair when she refused to give him either one. They found her blind and unconscious. The bloodstains on the fl oor were not yet dry when we moved in.