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The Eye of Chaos
by William Keefe
World War II is thundering to its frenzied conclusion in Hitler’s capital, Berlin. Discipline gone, ranks scattered, the attacking Red Army drives its assault into the city from multiple compass points.
Isolated in their damaged home in a quiet corner of Berlin, the Hartmann family struggles to accommodate to life in their cellar. The upper two floors of the home were rendered uninhabitable by a shell or aerial bomb. Just now, “Papa” Hartmann, 67, and daughters Elli, 26, and Gisela, 17, are “making do.” In these final days of April 1945, Papa has observed Elli as she stands looking out through the cellar’s only window.
This concerns Papa. Elli has told him the living, but apparently wounded, body of a German solider lies just beyond the window. Papa speaks to Elli: “Another mouth to feed would mean the end of our larder, my Treasure.”
“Don’t worry, Papa. I’m already stretching it.” And there they rest. The Red Army sack will go on. The Hartmanns will struggle on, filling pages with defiance.
About the Author
Drafted out of Loyola University in Chicago, William F. Keefe served in the United States Army and the United States Information Agency (USIA) from 1943 to 1954. A personal experience article that he wrote on his return to the United States was published in the September 1955 issue of Vogue.
Mr. Keefe spent several years as the editor of a weekly newspaper, as a senior editor of a leading encyclopedia, and as author of several novels. Drawing on his summers as a laborer in a steel plant in south Chicago, he wrote a “steel mill novel” titled Steel Summer. The novel became the dramatic source of a screenplay that remains for sale as a movie. Those efforts continue under the skilled representation of a professional agency in Los Angeles.
In the meantime, Mr. Keefe continues his writing. The Eye of Chaos, comments the author, “echoes many similar, and often tragic, episodes that cost thousands of innocent lives in Berlin in the closing days of World War II.”
(2013, Paperback, 88 pages)