A Businessman’s Thoughts on Concentration Camps and Capitalism

Two Extracts from Hellema’s The Wrath of the Wind

Hellema – aka Alexander Bernard (Lex) van Praag – is a master of letters who has remained unknown – a writers’ writer. Van Praag (1921-2005) was a member of the Resistance during the Second World War who ended up in a number of German concentration camps. After the war, he travelled as a businessman through Europe to obtain orders for a textile factory. In doing so, he also had to do business with the very same people who had once consigned him to Buchenwald. Life goes on.

After the first pilot projects, the privatisation of the prison system is now really getting underway.
Van der Kamp & Kamp Executive Recruitment.
For the creative posting of managers.
Flossenbürg, subdivision of a reputable nationwide concern, is a medium-sized concentration camp with, as its special field, the business-like and cost-conscious contracting out of the supplied human resources via head office in Berlin.
The marketing section investigates the feasibility and potential of the market and is responsible for the drawing up of strategic guidelines regarding a product-oriented supply of the materials involved. The optimalisation of efficient work conditions within the camp and the supplying of all services related to general and technical management is also in accordance with the deployment policy of available detainees. For the transportation and/or elimination of superfluous and non-detachable forces, there is close collaboration between the firing squads and the sanitary experimental barracks.
For our client, we are looking for a marketing manager to lead the section. The candidate is expected to implement a structure within which the functioning of his own organisation can be benchmarked by means of index numbers with corresponding sections in the camp of similar nature and extent within the concern. A flexible personality that can easily operate within a continuously changing and expanding organisation, innovative and diplomatic. Good communication skills, capable of handling the major accounts himself.
Completed higher SS training and at least five years’ experience in a comparable position in an organisation within a closely related sector. Career boost for top talent. Wage classification according to the gravity of the duties involved. Send your cv by e-mail to kampkamp.com@euro-on-line

I have worked for fifteen, twenty years – or even longer – in a biotope where such concepts as return on investment, positive cash flow and the entire caboodle of capitalist expletives were living conditions. For the person who does not guzzle from the pot of capitalism, drinks from the cup of death. By so doing, I have contributed more to the clothing of the naked than if I had continued to run around waving a red flag. Quia absurdum.

From The Wrath of the Wind (De woede van de wind, 2003)
By Hellema van Praag
Translated by John Irons

First published in The Low Countries, 2007