Category
Literature

Einschluss mit Engeln

Helene and Wolfgang Beltracchi spent fourteen months in pre-trial detention, only a hundred metres apart and yet strictly separated in the Cologne-Ossendorf prison. A good 8,000 pages of letters passed back and forth between their cells during this time, as an assurance that they were still there as sentient, thinking beings, as an expression of love, as a survival ritual performed through writing.

In it, they describe – in a downplaying manner so as not to alarm the other – the circumstances of their imprisonment, which are often not easy to grasp even in the downplaying, their history and finally the trial.

“Because two people miss each other, they start writing to each other. Everyday life in prison. Then a writing miracle happens. This density of facts, this tremendous abundance of reality. Everything is equally important. They don’t count anything. Everything lists itself. Everything that is and everything that is not. Writing has never become so important. And never so innocent. Everything is heightened by imprisonment, isolation, loneliness. Even love. We are witnessing the birth of literature out of the spirit of loneliness.” (MARTIN WALSER)