The Devil, & the train trip from Dresden!

Memories and encounters in Germany 1991

The Contrarian Blog Carl Smith



He screamed at me and then continued to scream at the top of his lungs, as I tried to exit the Train carriage compartment that he was blocking. I’m looking at a very drunk and angry man, accusing me of being the Devil!

The day hadn’t started like this, I had spent several very interesting days in Dresden, The wall between East and West Germany had only been down not even two years and I had planned to view the transformation of the former communist state while it was still raw. (And that is worthy of another post)

However, back to the story at hand, I had boarded the train at Dresden and was headed west to Munich for several days of exploring. The train was nothing like the Intercontinental Express (capable of 280 KPH) instead this train lurched and rocked along on old poorly maintained tracks. The highlight was spotting several wild deer through the wild. Today the trip takes just 5 hours, this journey was close to 7.5 hours. 

We had stopped in some smallish town and as I had the carriage to myself, I had spread out a map and read about Munich, it was then that I spotted him, his eyes looked wild, and his hair and clothes were messy and dirty. I averted my eyes as he staggered down the corridor, but like a heat-seeking missile, he wrenched open the door and fell into the seat opposite me. There was a strong odour of an unwashed body, plus many litres of Jaggermiester that wafted like a cloud from his person. 

“Guten Tag” I proffered as he leered at me. I was not terribly worried as I had met some pretty suspicious people in Dresden, literally seen people glancing out curtains for their house as I walked down a street with my bright blue backpack, White reebok sneakers and Levi jeans on. 

“Humfp” he shrugged, I collected up my belongings and stuffed them into my carry-on, and moved over by the window.

“Woher Kommen Sie?” (Where are you from?) he asked

“NeuSeeland” I replied enthusiastically 

“Humpf” he then looked me up and down

 “Auslander” (Foreigner) He said with some spite in his voice

I reached into my bag to get a specially created photograph album I had to show people the farm I was from, and a few choice shots of NZ.

I opened the album, but he brushed my hand aside.

“Was ist das?” (What is that)

“Foto….” I stated

“Der Teufel” he muttered and pointed a dirty finger at me.

“Nine” I protested, “Ich bin nicht der Teufel” 

“JA” he shouted back, “Sie SInd der Teufel, Sie SInd der Teufel, Sie SInd der Teufel, Sie SInd der Teufel,” he started to shout over and over.

“Nine, nine, Ich bin nicht der Teufel” 

He then became more intense.

“DU” now makes it very personal (Du is the “You” one uses when they are not wanting to be formal or as a way to show disrespect.)

“DU” his eyes fixed on me “BIST DER TEUFEL” 

Then he started several tirades of anger and hate directed at me, his German was thick and my translation ability was running out. But got words like 

“-angel of death,”

“Hell has come to Germany” and “Christ protect me” 

I then decided it was time to get out of the cabin, but he stuffed his legs across the door, and more drool ran down his matted beard.

It was just at this stage by some miracle the conductor came to check tickets.

He opened the door and was instantly treated with a tirade of curses and then the mad man pointed his finger with all the earnestness he could gather.

“ER IST DER TEUFEL” (he is the devil”) 

The conductor looked at me, promptly shut the door and went back down the train.

Oh great, I thought…But he returned almost as fast as he left, two burly guards appeared and entered the cabin, All hell let loose.

Our man was not going to give up his accusations of me, and of course, the whole of Germany needed protection from the Devil, who as fate would have it was sitting on the train on his way to Munich to wreak havoc.

A good 5 minutes passed as he spat and screamed, and the men struggled to get him under control.

They dragged him out and the train came to an abrupt halt at a small town, more police were waiting and they dragged him onto the platform. As the train started to pull away, his eyes met mine.

And he screamed “DU BIST DER TEUFEL” His eyes burning into my soul.

The rest of the trip was uneventful and it was here that I met the Angels of the underground (read here) and then only two days later I was face to face with a neo-nazi skinhead confronting me about Hitler, (but that is another story!) 

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