Returned this afternoon from an exhausting and ultimately frustrating sortie to find an Oberst Deist from the Kriegspresseamt and three oily 'gentlemen' from the press waiting in my office. As soon as everyone was seated, Oberst Deist introduced the three men as representatives of Norddeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, Berliner Tageblatt, and Vossische Zeitung respectively. After the obligatory small talk, Oberst Deist came to the point of this meeting by saying, "Rittmeister Auge since you well know that you are the leading ace in the Deutsche Luftstreitkräfte I should not have to tell you of your honor and duty to share with the people back home your glorious victories." His statement was quite shocking to me because I had no idea that I was leading the Luftstreitkräfte. Of course, I keep detailed records of every sortie I fly, but it never crossed my mind that I was the highest scorer. Anyway, I responded, "What about Boelcke? I thought he was providing that service for the Fatherland." Oberst Diest answered, "He is, he is and he is performing that duty quite admirably, but as you well know, the public needs more heroes. These men will ask you a few questions and take a few photographs and then you will be able to return to your duties. Gentlemen, I believe Rittmeister Auge is ready for your questions." Well, the truth was I wasn't ready for their questions but how do you argue with an Oberst so I grudgingly cooperated. The interview was actually quite pleasant until the reporter, I forget his name, from the Berliner Tageblatt asked, "Rittmeister Auge, can you tell our readers what's it like to shoot down an enemy aeroplane?" I sat stunned at the insensitivity of that stupid question and so I asked a question of my own, "Sir, are you asking me what it is like to intentionally stalk and kill another human being?" The reporter fumbled and stammered and ultimately was saved by Oberst Deist who graciously ended the interview. After thanking me for my time, the men filed out and left my office. Afterwards, I sat thinking of the stupidity and naivety of those back home, they really don't understand this war at all. One bright note of the interview, one of the photographers sent me a photo as a keepsake.
Member and provider of banjo music for the Illustrious BOC