An ordinary day

At the end of 1942 nobody foresaw yet the Stalingrad defeat in January 1943 and the subsequent turn of the war. However, the eastern front noticeably stalled, the targets set in the swing of the spring could not be achieved, and the German propaganda ministry judged it advisable to reassure the hinterland that all is quiet on the eastern front. Thus on 22 October in the Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung, a million-circulation journal of the official propaganda, a report was published on an ordinary day of 19-year old Inge B., who came to the pacified German Kiev as the secretary of a German industrial company.

The elegant and proud Inge arrived at Kiev with the afternoon train from Lemberg, the seat of Distrikt Galizien. The article points out that the young Ukrainian porter recounts her in broken German how the retreating Soviets blew up the main street.

Inge stays at Hotel Kiev, which escaped the devastation of war. The skirt, pulled up unusually high in the good-moraled German press is legitimized by the intimate solitude of the hotel room, while the official German press read even in the intimate solitude of the hotel room bears witness to the good morals of Inge.

The fashion shops, like any other store in the German Kiev, are well provided with goods, although Inge, according to the article, has just declared “an antique shop” the outdated assortment of the Ukrainian hat store.

Fortunately, there are also stores exclusively offering German goods, which are even better provided than the other well-provided shops of Kiev.

Inge takes lunch in the restaurant of the Deutsches Haus. The restaurant with 2000 seats (!) is mainly attended by soldiers (check the hairstyle) and the members of the city administration, but the waiters are Ukrainian.

Going out to the beach after lunch is just part of an ordinary day. The brilliant white sand of the Dnieper shore does not fall behind that of the Baltic Sea. The flying ball just fitted into the cropping. The St. Andrew’s Church, formerly the Museum of Atheism in the background was restored to ecclesiastical purposes by the Germans.

After beach, a coffee is a must. The terraces of the “Dnieper Steps” Café offer a stunning view of the river and the city.

Here ends the spectacular consumption, intended for the German readers. In the last picture Inge goes to work. Here we do not see her workplace – which, being an industrial company, is likely a secret even to the German readers – but the building which must inevitably figure in any report on the German Kiev: the headquarters of the Generalkommissariat Ukraine at Bismarckstrasse.

In Soviet times the building was the headquarters of the Ukrainian Communist Party, and now the office of the President of Ukraine. In the time montage by Sergei Larenkov about the occupied and modern Kiev, the flags of the independent Ukrainian state are fluttering across that of the former ally. The history goes on.

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