last update: 05.07.2024 19:57

Im Großen und Ganzen staubtrockene Berichte, die Wilhelm in der zweiten Hälfte des Jahres 1935 verfasste und dem "Senftenberger Anzeiger" zum Abdruck übergab. Es ist schwer vorstellbar, daß die Leserschaft der Tageszeitung bis zum Schluß "am Ball" blieb und die Texte mit Vergnügen las. Wilhelm war nicht der einzige Korrespondent, der damals aus Abessinien berichtete. Aber er war wohl einer der weniger talentierten. Ganz im Gegensatz zu seiner - zumeist englischsprachigen - Konkurrenz, die zwar weitestgehend über dieselben Begebnisse schrieb, dies jedoch sehr viel witziger, farbiger, anschaulicher.
Die Zahl der ausländischen Korrespondenten war hoch.
Sie fielen ab Juni in Abessinien ein und im August zählte man schon derer 50. Im Oktober, als der Krieg begann, waren es mittlerweile über 100. Bis Dezember waren über 150 Presseausweise ausgegeben worden.
Die Anekdoten, über die es sich lohnte zu berichten, waren gering und aufgrund der Tatsache, daß alle Schreiber mehr oder weniger auf denselben Pool an lokalen Informanten und Dolmetschern angewiesen waren, glichen sich die abgehandelten Ereignisse stark.
Deshalb verfiel der eine oder andere aus Mangel an Neuigkeiten oder Langeweile darauf, die jeweils anderen Korrespondenten zu porträtieren. Zumindest effektvoll in die eigenen Erzählungen einzuflechten.
"The Evening Standard" (25. September 1935), "The Sun (5. September 1935)
Und so verwundert es nicht, daß auch Wilhelm und seine Entourage hier und da Erwähnung finden. Ob dies jeweils in den regelmäßigen Kolumnen der britischen und amerikanischen Tageszeitungen geschah, lässt sich derzeitig nicht sagen. Dazu müsste man Zugriff auf die damalige Presse haben und diese gezielt durchsuchen.
In jedem Fall findet man hier und dort in nach 1935 erschienenen Büchern entsprechende Verweise.

Ohne einen Anspruch auf Vollständigkeit werden nachfolgend die bislang entdeckten Textpassagen wiedergegeben:

There was a Colonel Haroun-al-Raschid ("H. al. R" with a crown, was emblazoned on his luggage): a bald little Prussian who had instructed a Turkish machine-corps in the war and earned the title of King of Machine-guns (which apparently sounded enough like Haroun-al-Raschid to make no difference).
in "Fiasco in Addis Ababa" by Patrick Balfour (war-correspondent to the "Evening Standard" with the Abyssinian Army in Addis Ababa and Harar) as part of "Abyssinian Stop Press", edited by Ladislas Farago, London 1936.
there was a German who travelled under the name of Haroun al Raschid, a title, he said, which had been conferred on him during the Dardanelles campaign by the late Sultan of Turkey; his head was completely hairless; his wife shaved it for him, emphasising the frequent slips of her razor with tufts of cotton-wool.
in "Waugh in Abyssinia" by Evelyn Waugh,
The remarkable Haroun al Raschid, a German, who said he had fought with the Turks in 1914-18 and had taken a Muslim name, and who now claimed to be representing the Stuttgart Zeitung, must have appeared very suspicious indeed. Haroun al Raschid, who had shaved his head, had an attractive blond wife, a manservant called Fritz, and a fine custom-built car. He and his entourage disappeared in the last stages of the war, and afterwards the Abyssinians claimed that he was really a Wehrmacht colonel, his wife a coding clerk, and Fritz a German navy radio operator. This claim was never proved, but the Germans definitely had observers with the Italian troops, sometimes under the cover of being war correspondents, and so it seems quite likely that there were German observers in Addis Ababa, also.
in "The first casualty : from the Crimea to Vietnam : the war correspondent as hero, propagandist, and myth maker" by Phillip Knightley, London & New York 1975.

Ein Buch, das sich mit Kriegberichterstattern befasst und dabei unter anderem zeitgenössische (1935) Quellen auswertet.

Haroun al Rashid Was No Arab

It falls in the lot of a newspaperman in the course of a few years, in run across some of the more outlandish specimens of the human race. Or unusual anyway, which is a kinder way of putting it.
 I am not thinking in this connection of a certain literary group which assembles on Friday for lunch at a certain notorious Sarasota restaurant. A certain participant – or perhaps it was his wife – once referred in his gathering as “The Boy Vipers’ Discussion Group”. Some of its discussion have been, well, unusual.
 I am thinking of Haroun al Rashid.
 This particular character was not out of the Arabian Nights. He was German, and his family name had bee, if I recall correctly, Hintersatz. This is perhaps as good a reason as any other for calling oneself Haroun al Rashid.
 I met him on the narrow-gauge railroad which rattled and bucketed its way over the 400 odd miles from Djibouti, in French Somaliland, to Addis Ababa, back in 1935. It was in July during the rainy season, and the journey from sea level to 7.000 feet took two days. The train traveled only by daylight, because at night there was danger of running into a washout, and water buffalo or other large animals might be wandering the track – the locomotive looked like no match for a water buffalo. So there was plenty of time to chat with Haroun.

Straight As A Ramrod

 He appeared to be stylish. He was straight as a ramrod. There were dueling scars on his face. There was not a blade of hair on his head, rumor had it later in Addis Ababa that his much younger wife, who was travelling with him, carefully shaved it each morning. He had a German shepherd dog aboard.
 Haroun and his chauffeur, his car, and his guns were to follow him on the first available flatcar. The he said he was a correspondent for a famous German newspaper. From politeness or maybe from sheer confusion, I forebore remarking that was travelling rather heavy for a newspaperman assigned to a remote nation about to be invaded by Mussolini. Then he told me his name.
 I must have done a double-take. He explained with some aplomb that he had been sent from Berlin during World War I to organize the Turkish machine gun forces, that he had fought at Gallipoli, and that the government in Constantinople had rewarded his services by permitting him to pick an honorary name. With becoming modesty, I thought, he had chosen Haroun al Rashid.

Were Accepted

 The chauffeur, the guns and the car indeed follow Haroun up the railway. And such was Addis Ababa in 1935 that when the entire menage settled down in a small house, they were accepted as just another minor phenomenon in a delightfully bizarre society.
 Haroun, who was suave and wordly, and who could take on any subject in any of several languages, drove on his rounds of the Ethiopian government offices and the foreign legations. Most often he was driven by his wife. He was accepted socially, and appeared at the modest functions which in Addis Ababa passed for diplomatic balls and banquets. He never went near the compound of the British legation, however. He had learned to well in World War I to hate the British.
 Perhaps it should have occurred to the rest of us that he didn’t often appear to be working at the business of journalism. Maybe we assumed that he was dealing with grand strategy, thinking and writing in his home and sending his dispatches by mail. Or maybe we were just too busy with our own affairs to pay much attention.
 At any rate Mussolini’s invasion came with the end of the big rains in the fall and suddenly the truth came out.

All Under Arrest

 Addis Ababa awoke one morning to discover that the whole Rashid household, including dog, was under arrest. He was an agent in the pay of the Italians. His chauffeur was an expert radioman, and there was a powerful shortwave radio transmitter in the trunk of his roadster. If any particularly sinister activities were ascribed to the wife and dog, I have forgotten. Probably they were just window dressing. In any civilized country at war, there would have been a firing squad [Wort unlesbar]. But Ethiopia, so many Westerners thought, was not quite cultured. So, Addis Ababa being its own somewhat wacky self, the Ethiopian police chief, accompanied by the Dodecanese Greek who headed the secret police, escorted Haroun and party to the railway station. They were installed in the first class section of the train.
 The engine whistled and train began to move. Haroun stood smiling and waving at acquaintances from the window.

The chief of secret police reached up and shook hands. “Bon Voyage.” he said.
Abgedruckt in der "Sarasota Herald Tribune" vom 10. Juni 1962

Herewith is another interesting tale from the vast storehouse of memories accumulated by Ed Beattie during a long career as a United Press foreign correspondent.
It is the story of an Italian spy who received cavalier treatment rather than an introduction to a firing squad. And while considering Mr. Beattie and the business of shooting people there flashes from memory the one occasion on which the distinguished journalist was rendered speechles because no shots were fired.
Immediately before World War II, Mr. Beattie returned briefly from long service in Berlin where he had a firsthand view of the growth of the German war machine.
In a weak moment Mr. Beattie agreed to speak at a New York public school assembly. After a brief talk he invited questions and one lad arose to ask, "Do you know Hitler".
"Oh yes." Mr. Beattie replied. "Certainly."
"Well, have you been near him" the boy persisted.
"Yes, indeed." the correspondent answered. "Many times."
"Well just HOW close have you been to him" the young questioner continued.
"Right beside him." Mr. Beattie said. "I've stand right beside him."
"Well," the boy exclaimed in a voice filled with rising indignation, "why didn't you shoot him".
Mr. Beattie, incidentally, is still searching for a reply. - STAN Windhorn

Edward W. Beattie