In the Guise of Bane
In the Guise of Bane
To The Limits of Human Existence
Translated from the German by Gerard W. Kellen
Selected sketches by Georg Hiernoymi
6 X 9 inches, 64 pages
50 sketches by Georg Hieronymi selected from "Barbed Wire--Hunger--Homesickness", published by Buchdruckerei Davos
TACITURN BY NATURE, Engelbert Heller never said much about the terrible nightmare of his long months in Soviet labour camps. Only in the late 1980s, stricken with a heart disease that was probably a result of his suffering during his early life, did he tell of his gripping experiences, his physical and mental suffering "to the extremes of human endurance."
His is a story of incredible hardship, frustration, and loss. His message to mankind is valid for our time and generation. No matter how bad things get, how much we suffer, regardless of the extent of the frustration, we must search for reasons for the evil, reflect what good may come as a result of the bad. We must try to understand the supreme being's plan. Heller recognized that there is a trace of good in everyone, a trace that may need to be developed. He tells us in his own touching layman's language that often salvation and blessing mysteriously "walk among us in the guise of bane."
Engelbert Heller was born in the late twenties in Cottbus, south of Berlin. Toward the end of the Second World War, before he had finished his secondary school studies, he was drafted and served in an anti-aircraft unit. He became a Prisoner of War of the Americans. To his horror, he and many others were turned over to the Red Army, a fate dreaded by everyone. It is this harrowing ordeal that he recalls so many years later. In the interim, during over thirty years as a Catholic priest, Heller served as vicar, then rose in the ranks of his church, became a parish priest, and finally a dean. He was posted in many places in the Federal Republic and Hungary. He died in 1987.
Gerard W. Kellen
Gerard W. Kellen, the translator, was a close friend of Engelbert Heller's in his own years of study after the war. He was in close contact with the earnest quiet seminarian and attended Hellers's solemn ordination as a Catholic priest in the Cathedral of Cologne. Heller and Kellen then went in different directions. Kellen studied in Germany and Spain, later migrated to Canada, and spent eight years working in South America.