The Wolves of Brandenburg

Erwin Journal Entry Part 2

Journal Entry part 2

For me it began with my older brother Eric. He was the one that helped me fall in love with flying I think. I remember going up in that flimsy balloon of his. Father ordered it for him from Berlin after Eric showed him a similar one in an aviation catalogue. Father adored Eric above all his children so no one was surprised when it showed up on Eric’s birthday soon after. It took weeks to put everything together properly. I remember my brother letting me help him construct that silly wood and straw basket that we went up in.
And the fire, I had almost forgotten about the fire. I accidentally set the woods ablaze playing with the igniting mechanism that fills the balloon. Father was furious. Why was I out of bed and in the woods in the middle of the night, my father raged? To tell the truth it was my fault. I had snuck out of bed to play with the igniter because Eric (a teenager at the time) wouldn’t let me touch it. He had been right; I was only six years old and wasn’t overburdened with thoughts of self-preservation or safety at that age. Who knows what would have happened if my brother hadn’t noticed my absence and come looking. Luckily Eric put the fire out with a nearby extinguisher that I had in forgotten in about in my panic. When our father arrived a few moments later suffused with fury it was my brother who took the blame. I am ashamed to admit I let him. When I asked him about it later he told me that it was his job as my older brother to protect me. Eric said that father would only give him a slap on the wrist but would have punished me much more severely. Eric was right, a few days later Eric was forgiven and up we went in that balloon. There are no words to describe the sense of freedom that first balloon ride gave me, and I will not cheapen it by trying. Suffice it to say I chase the feelings of elation from that first balloon flight every time I get into a plane now. Sometimes for a few precious moments I manage to recapture it.



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