In the year 1969, when I served as Pastor in a parish (Gethsemane-
Gemeinde) in Frankfurt/Main, one morning the phone rang and my colleague
Catholic from the Portuguese Mission, Father Almeida, warned me of the arrival
of a Brazilian refugee, a certain Alaím Araújo, journalist and politician, who
had asked for help. As I knew Brazil well, Father asked me
give the man due attention and give him an hour to tell
his story. I volunteered, and soon after this Brazilian refugee entered the
my office at Nesenstrale nº 4, without speaking our language, without guidance,
kinda aggressive, deeply frustrated and completely desperate. He is
Since then I have known Alaim, who soon started to share our life
enriching, with its northern-carioca style, the whole atmosphere of the house.
As a “clandestine” and “illegal” he occupied for a couple of months a cabin at the
side of our children’s rooms on the 4th floor, becoming almost their brother,
until he gained another asylum in the Catholic Workers’ Youth – the JOC – of
Frankfurt region. At that time we became friends and remain so today.
I followed Alaím’s path for almost three decades. In my
travels as director of the Ecumenical Work of Studies in Bochum I arrived
including meeting her sister Rita and family in Rio de Janeiro, who several
I often visited in passing, and even talked with his old parents and with the
older brother’s family there in the Amazon city of Belém do Pará.
I still remember very well the mother’s last sentence at the time of
farewell, a phrase that says a lot about the mother and no less about the son: “Say
let the Alaim obey! I visited the staff of “his” beloved newspaper in the old
from the Press Tribune at the back of the new Cathedral. I made friends with your
Amazon in Belém do Pará
great and faithful friend Jorge França. I got involved in Alaim’s curriculum, and since
1969 watched the ups and downs in the path of this extraordinary person, I was
witness to their joys and their sorrows. I always admired your
optimism, his almost irrational confidence in the future, as a rule “hope
not knowing what to expect”. There was even a moment when the asylum seeker
unemployed man considered the plan to die from a protest burned in front of the
Frankfurt Arbeitsamt. But as soon as a period of bad luck had passed,
next letter intoned that old Alaim tune: “I’m really
content and full of hope and confidence for the future.” hope was that
he never lacked. I am almost certain that without it the exile would not be able to
have survived. To understand this, it is enough to read the letters he wrote in exile.
I kept a lot of them, while others are in the archives of
Menschenrechtszentrum Nürnberg – DIML – Nuremberg Center for
Human Rights, or disappeared.
As a Protestant theologian, I have always admired the way in which Alaim
used to speak of God and Man in capital letters. This made me feel
deep roots of its humanism and Christianity, an original and
spontaneous, not that traditional and orthodox Catholicism, but a
existential and ecumenical Christianity, which also revealed itself when he – in a
article published in Spain – spoke of “Christ, my brother”, an article, by the way, that the
led to his being almost “expelled” by the Bishop of Salamanca.
In 1971 I did an interview with Alaim that was recorded on tape that
today it is in the possession of my son Ulrich in Brazil. There is also talk of
arrest of journalist and political activist Alaím Araújo by the Military Police of Rio de
Janeiro during the João Goulart Government. Alaim remembered this experience
bitter: they tortured him and put him in a cold, damp hole, without any
clothes, completely naked. Every day at 3 am they took him to a
room, focused the rays of the lamp on his face in order to make him
confess that Lacerda was the spiritus rector of the prisoner’s actions. arrived the
day when they took him in a state of nakedness to a corridor, placing him in the
wall, shouting: “Confess, scoundrel, that you’ve been taking orders from Lacerda –
otherwise you’ll be shot dead right away!” The prisoner remained silent. Then the
commander ordered the soldiers: “Aim!” At this time, Alaim,
who had always been an angry man, turned his face away shouting, really angry:
“Why don’t they shoot then? I want to be the first victim of this regime of
shit!” On September 20, 1963 they released him. Colonel Ventura – the
commander of the prison – advanced to General in 1971. In December
Alaim was arrested again. They wanted to silence the man definitively. he killed himself
without major scruples, as in the times of the Estado Novo. declared the
victims of such acts of political violence as suicides. After 5 days,
Ideological sympathizers lent a hand so that the prisoner could escape.
The latter asked Nicaragua for political asylum in January 1964 because his life
it was threatened by the Sa column of the PC, at the time infiltrated in the Army. the wing
right wing in Brazilian politics at that time was made up of a whole spectrum
of organizations, groups and subgroups. One of the most
prominent was the Democratic Youth Front (FJD). Alaim – boiling
fighter against the Iron Curtain” – went to the general secretary of the FJD.
50 it had emerged from the Democratic Academic Coalition (CADE) well
and the Brazilian Democratic Action (ADB). Later the FJD was supported by
first place by the Institute of Economic and Social Research, IPES, which
it had financial support from pro-American and anti-communist sources. alaim
Araújo then belonged to the Democratic Youth Front. He was the author of
Student Handbook Le Manuel de l’Etudiant “sur l’infiltration communiste”.
With the experience of his former militancy as a communist, in this Manual the
author resorted to his insider knowledge, showing the notorious
preferences of the PC in the organization of the most diverse movements, leagues and
committees: “League for the Defense of Petroleum”, “Women’s Rights”,
“Movement for Peace” etc. First of all, he proved the subversion of the UNE,
“the best instrument of the communists”, and called attention to the typical methods
in elections (with the presentation of candidates at the last moment, etc.). O
main objective of the FDJ was to denounce the subversion of the university, before
all from the famous National Faculty of Philosophy Rio de Janeiro. the official body
of the FJD for the combat was the DEMOCRACIA EM MARCHA newspaper – founded by
Waldo Viana. Alaím acted as responsible director of this publication which
left 189 times, until he died from lack of money. The FJD functioned as
combat organization, its name was an analogy to that of the FMJD – Federation
World of Democratic Youth – communist entity that periodically
used to organize things like the Youth Peace Festival and
Friendship, which took place in Berlin, Budapest and Prague. also the name
Front should remember the multiple existing communist fronts throughout
world. It was to create confusion on the left. While the most moderate
JUC – Catholic University Youth – defended the strategy of dialogue with
the leftists, the FJD, noting the trend of radicalization on the wing
left of the academic youth, opted for the same methods of struggle
used by communists. The slogan of the FJD remained: “It is preferable
dying in a minute of freedom living centuries in slavery.” “The theory
democracy teaches us that democracy is a regime that admits all
freedoms except the freedom to be destroyed. Therefore, those who have a vocation to
slaves cannot and should not have freedom to destroy freedom.” He was
this is the philosophy of the FJD. He created bonds of friendship with the Armed Forces. No
supported the concept of an army transformed into popular militias under the
command of czechoslovakian, russian or chinese women, masculinized
by terror regimes. People fought in the FJD with slogans like: “Reforms yes,
with Russians – no!” “One, two, three, Brizola in chess” “It’s time to
Jango go away.” On September 7, 1963, Independence Day,
during the military parade in Rio de Janeiro, in the presence of the Diplomatic Corps:
the FJD compromised President João Goulart by displaying a banner with the
sign: “And now, João, you have broken the sword of Caxias!” The militants of the FJD
they were young idealists of a nationalist and liberal nature. Your ideal leader and spiritus
rector was the Minister of the Navy, Admiral Sylvio Heck, plus Marshal Odílio
Denys and Air Force Brigadier Gabriel Grun Moss. the governor of
Guanabara State, Carlos Lacerda, was also part of the Heck group.
Alaim Araújo returned to Brazil from abroad in June 1964. He Wrote.
he studied, got involved in revolutionary politics. He worked in the advisory of the
Minister of Justice Gama e Silva. Until Institutional Act No. 5. This Al-5 was
announced on December 13, 1968. The new Act was justified by claiming
that the Constitution would not serve as an adequate instrument to guarantee
calm and the necessary internal security in the country, and to accelerate the
economic and cultural development, as well as establishing harmony
political and social in the beloved homeland. Journalist and political activist Alaím Araújo,
as well as his political boss Carlos Lacerda, crashed with this AI-5. It was the
Alaiim himself who had helped to prepare the new decree, which soon became
into a stone of offense to him also. He had fought for the ideals of
“Democratic Revolution” until April 1969, when on the 12th
he decided to leave, disenchanted with the paths he was following
Revolution, in which he had participated and which was deteriorating with the scabrous
Institutional Acts that led the nation to a dictatorship.
Press Tribune with white spaces” because of censorship
One more episode was missing which, once again, proved the temperament
and the bravery of the man from Pará: when he had become aware of the
fall of his idol and political boss, the governor of the State of Guanabara,
Carlos Lacerda, upon meeting Minister Gama e Silva in the precincts of the
legal division, where he had collaborated in editing the Al-5, exploding with
anger, he shouted: “In here I can do nothing, but finding the Lord
outside, in the street, I’m going to shoot you in the head!” Of course, Alaím was arrested at the
instant, but-with the help of sympathizers-he managed to escape in time.
He left Brazil so that what happened to him would not happen to him.
Wiadimir Herzog and many other Brazilians murdered or tortured in
dungeons of the dictatorship. The Institutional Act had been kept in the vault of the
minister Gama e Silva since the time of marches in March
- It was understood that the AI-5 was the last and definitive intervention with the 6
process of recovery and gradual redemocratization of the corpus of the Nation
Brazilian. It is known that at first President Costa e Silva had
refused to sign the decree after realizing that with this Institutional Act
the military would have just made a clean slate. He exclaimed in
moment of reading Institutional Act No. 5: “But that’s a dose for horses!” 1969, already in Frankfurt, in the
time of cancellation
of the imminent Assembly
General of the World Federation
Lutheran dial in Porto
cheerful for reasons
politicians, Alaím criticized
strongly the vision and
from the German left: “Your
arises at the cost of the explosion
ration of others. They have
the mania for demanding
violent revolution in Brazil
and get mad at me
when I reply that they should organize this violent revolution in their
own country, since they are the ones who exploit us. Instead, they
organize actions in order to ask for money to feed the children in the
Recife. Instead I recommend them bother the European capitalists
to demand that they pay decent wages to our workers, for them
exploited, instead of giving alms to feed their children.
Then the workers would have enough money to feed their children.
worthily and that kind of charitable works would no longer be necessary. But,
in fact, they are afraid of the communist revolution in their land, so
they try to help communism that revolution take place in our country.
Those criminal novels they write about Brazil describe us
as bandits and criminals, and the media calls us killers of Indians,
as if it weren’t they, who – like the great owners of wisdom –
enter the Amazon destroying our indigenous civilization and treat us like
if we were wild. We are the country of the future! It is our duty to fight for
strengthening of democracy in our country so that Brazil can
show the world the capacity of its people living in freedom
democratic. We have to have faith in Brazil!” The original version of the article in German: “Ihre eigene Ent-wicklung erfolgt
auf Kosten der Ausbeutung anderer. Sie haben die Manie, eine gewaltsame
Revolution in Brasilien zu predi-gen und sind mir bitterbóse, wenn ich ihnen
entgegne, dass sie die gewaltsame Revolution am besten hier bei sich selbst
veranstalten mússten, denn sie sind es doch, die uns ausbeu-ten. sie
veranstalten Aktionen, um Geld fur die Speisung der Kinder in Recife zu
- | — ——Ç— Workers who
- = AO — sl E be preyed, rather a human
- rem fronusia + Asprenoçs ” o. —
- yes no ae
- SE fo
- jante 6 as Pacino fx
- miss to donate; because then they would have
- | workers themselves enough money to their
- Sida peer potico nº bé | not that kind of works of love. In
- = são ed ado a Rm = se || Actually they are afraid of that
- fala camdõ-as +» dae estinto 1 o ada preabirass eo ‘ communist revolution in their
- V Toe a E “ own country and try instead-
- nt panic st of those who help communism
- to be to allow this revolution in
- ..) to let our country take place. The
- junio, crime novels you about Brazil
Write to Zee, present us as bandits and ATA fato lesbiar, EM Matas Tas nE-
- 3% ETA) Express Treasis Guesa ef irado “amelos 1) tera rrenomicr, perante À mocioi 1d. no 64, 1h he UAL TARITVIA Centro tis asse? os ok
ásia, 1h sprcnmão id ua e ud tatus
filos estrias ca ARteneiViiA e é Ieeido) TATA rag de “e Areias Mabe” Ss FRA À
lalécar 10166 ê Criando e Dan já, Eanb represent criminals, and the press
Fer eta cm s1ttsles sem area us
HM sta dis daTrlus a muro e e de sea marks us as killers of the Indians, as
é pente | o cínido deienlicioo? tl = parent Heomie FNQUOR Prgaeaa peca SST o if they weren’t the ones who were the big ones
SETAS know-it-all go to Amazonia,
Censura rigorosa da imprensa to protect our native civilization
destroy and treat us as
we were savages. We are the country of the future! It is our duty for them
Strengthening democracy in our country so that Brazil can
world can show the ability of his people in democratic freedom. We
must believe in Brazil!”) Foi numa atmosfera internacional tão aquecida que um reporter chegou a
perguntar o presidente Figueiredo o que ele faria se fosse tão pobre como um
morador da favela. Rude como era, este respondeu: “Eu me daria um tiro na
nuca!” Num artigo na Tribuna da Imprensa – O Brasil, um país de
vagabundos?” – (11.2.80) o Alaim se referiu a este episódio, comentando: “É
uma pena que o Brasil, o país da esperança, seja hoje, depois dessa
revolução de 64, que eu também fiz, o país da desesperança, do desespero,
da vergonha que se espalha pelo mundo afora. E até agora o pobre João
Baptista de Figueiredo – pobre de espírito e rico a custa do suor do povo –
ainda não deu um tiro na nuca.” A ultima gota pra transbordar a água no barril foi outro artigo agressivo dele:
“Exercito saqueou a Volkswagen” (Tribuna da Imprensa, 2/14/80). This no
artigo que durante uma greve em São Paulo o exército teria saqueado uma
fabrica; por example, o armazém de estoque de rádios – o “radio camp” – da
empresa ViWdo Brasil teria “desaparecido” completamente. Alaím: “Quando as
Forças Armadas de uma nação roubam, saqueiam, torturam e ficam impunes,
esta nação esta podre!” Perante tais “acusações caluniosas e infames” contra as Forças Armadas o
ministro do exército reagiu duramente e ameaçou enfrentar o jornal conforme
previsto na Lei de Segurança Nacional. Não tardou um desmentido da
Empresa VW do Brasil, que foi publicado na Tribuna nos dias 16/17 de
fevereiro, onde se disse que no contexto da greve não foi roubado nada e,
além disso, referente às tropas atuando no terreno da empresa, não teria se
tratado de membros do exército, senão da Polícia Militar do Estado de São
Paulo. Num commentário da Tribuna (20.2.80) leu-se: “A honra de um paíséo
very povo. E, com o povo pobre, miserável e explorado da maneira mais vil que
temos, não podemos ser honrados. “A Folha de Sao Paulo (2/20/80) notou: “A.
declare que o roubo foi commentado abertamente no recinto da Feira
Internacional de Automóveis realizada na cidade de Frankfurt de 13 a 23 de
setembro de 1979. Hélio Fernandes, com seu filho Helinho e o editor-chefe Paulo Branco, citado
para assumir a responsabilidade pela notícia perante um tribunal militar,
declarou: “No meu jornal todos têm a liberdade de defender suas ideias… É o
autor que assume a responsabilidade pelas graves acusações por ele
expressadas.” A revista Veja (27.2.80) criticou: “… o assunto foi publicado sem
entrevistar nenhuma pessoa em São Bernardo do Campo.” No dia 2.6.81, a
primeira Câmara da Justiça militar em Rio de Janeiro enviou uma solicitação
de extradição ou, respectivamente, de ajuda ou colaboração jurídica por motivo
da “proliferação de informações falsas na intenção de prejudicar a honra do
exército brasileiro, ou da destruição da confiança que o exército merece por
parte da comunidade.” A justiça alemã não entrou em ação porque Alaim
Araújo neste meio tempo havia assumido a nacionalidade alemã. Nao existia
any mutual extradition treaty.
Hélio Fernandes ended the dispute
with a comment in the Tribuna da
Press (17.3.80) under the headline:
“How far will João Figueiredo go?” – “1 year
of incompetence and uselessness”
During the regime of the generals also
the press suffered due to “censorship
of the bombs”. Around midnight
March 26th my friend Alaim
in Frankfurt called and, totally
out of breath and excited, he told me: “Today
at four o’clock in the morning they
electronically blew up six
bombs on the Tribuna da
Press in Rio. 15 people covered
ened and armed and equipped with
walkie-talkies approached in three
vehicles and broke into the building, arresting
they gave all 10 servants, taking them in more modern handcuffs. O
reporter Jorge França did not come home that night. And Helinho? had
given a deadline for Alaím’s extradition. By phone and leaflets left
in the building, the robbers identified themselves as “Herzog command”, remembering
journalist Wladimir Herzog, who died in the clutches of |l torturers.
Army in Sao Paulo. A telegram we would later receive from Rio
gave us an idea of the size of the destruction caused by the bombs: “Great
part of the diary facilities were destroyed.” The Chief of Staff of the
Army, General Ernani Ayrosa da Silva, was not ashamed to claim:
“elements of the company itself carried out the attack, disgusted with the
situation of the newspaper.” General Waldir Muniz’s pronouncement was even more
irrational, as it suggested that “the crime could be attributed to fugitives from the Island
Great.” The São Paulo newspaper O Estado de São Paulo on 3.31.81 suspected the
»Ultra-right”, while senator Evandro Carreira (MDB), according to Globo
(28.2.81), observed: “The possibility is not excluded that the terror of
right has the finger of the Government itself.”
On January 15, 1985, after 20 years of uninterrupted control
by the military, the electoral college chose by free will and decision, and
contrary to the ruling party’s proposal, a new president,
civil president, the legendary Tancredo Neves – who sadly passed away
before being appointed.
This liberal politician, son of the State of Minas Gerais, was declared candidate of the
Democratic Alliance, a “Front of National Reconciliation” and, as
authentic “mineiro”, he tended more towards conservatism than
to the side of political radicalism. He had already achieved considerable
progress in terms of reconciliation between antagonistic political groups. Your
main objective was the elaboration of a new Constitution. The country went through
an unprecedented period of democratic renaissance. The majority of the brasilians
he rejoiced at Tancredo’s victory with rockets and confetti. “It is still dark,
but the people sing”, commented my friend Alaím.
In one of his numerous letters he remarked: “When people begin to
writing, always finds words that form sentences and sentences that form
periods and periods that form prayers, and if people continue without
realize, ends up writing a book.” (16.4.72) True! I didn’t even imagine
that his collection of letters would one day make a book! And what happens
with this special edition composed by me on the occasion of the 65th anniversary of
author of the letters.
In one of his numerous letters he remarked:
“When we start to write, we always
finds words that form sentences and sentences that
form sentences and sentences that form clauses, and
if people continue without realizing it, it ends
writing a book.” (16.4.72) True! Nor
imagined that the collection of his letters would one day
a book indeed! That’s what happens with this edition
special piece composed by me on the occasion of the 65th
birthday of the author of the letters.”
Alaim in Frankfurt
About friend Alaim’s resume
Alaim’s first refuge appears to be in Spain; I conclude that he went there
where the former seminarian (who started with a philosophy and theology course at a
seminar in Canada) had obtained a first asylum, because one day he
told of an article he published in Salamanca, under the sign CRISTO
MY BROTHER, an article that obviously displeased the bishop because of a
Christology of an overly “anthropological” character.
author of the article was almost expelled from the city by the bishop.
Afterwards, and this is well proven, the exile stayed for a while in the
Belgium. He left there in a rage because he was deeply shocked.
with a bitter experience of racism: looking for housing, he found
an ad in the newspaper offering a room. When arriving at the place, hitting the
door, when he saw Alaim, a dark-haired man from Pará, the owner of the house got scared and
informed: “We do not accept Moroccans!” Then Alaím defended himself by shouting: “No
I’m Moroccan, I’m Brazilian!” And he left not only that house,
but from Belgium, racist country, as he commented. He went to Germany, and there
Upon arriving in this bustling city, the first place he looked for
Recreating from the trip was the cathedral. It was there that he discovered a notice posted
on the entrance wall: Catholic Mission for the Portuguese, indicating the address
from the office of Fr. Almeida, very my friend. He advised the refugee
Brazilian visit me to tell his story so we can see what to do.
After our first conversation, soon combined with the first chicken
in an Italian restaurant, Alaím returned to Padre, who hosted him for several
weeks at home until he got into trouble-something almost inevitable
considering the temperament of Alaím from Pará – and the man came to tell me
the thing, swearing that he would never go back to Padre Almeida’s house.
The result was my wife and I decided to host the exile in
our housing. So Alaim got a box next to our children
and became an “honorary and temporary son“. So he stayed for several months.
We hide an “illegal alien” in our house until, through a
known to the Liberal Party and editor-in-chief of the “Frankfurter Rundschau”,
I got a promise to get him a refugee document –
promise that was soon fulfilled. Then our “honorary son and
temporary“ found a place and a job with the JOC, first in
Frankfurt, then Limburg, working at a printing press owned by
order of the “Pallottiner”. That is to say: the “temporary son” is gone, but the “son
honorarium” for decades. We moved from Frankfurt to Bochum and then
to Nürnberg, hence so much correspondence. And, as noted, Alaim
liked to write and out of psychological necessity had to write – in the
vernacular, since he never mastered the Teutonic language.
Alaim on the campus of the Ruhr-Universitãt Bochum
Letters from my friend Alaim Araújo, exiled Brazilian
My dearest Father Dressel – Guten Tag!
Just today I received the two letters. Here, thank God, everything is going well. Already
I’m in my new house, which is not a room, as I consider one
true apartment, even if it is in one piece, and the bathroom and
restroom are in the hallway. Frankly, I’m very happy, and I hope that
God make this contentment permanent. I can tell you that I feel the
Mr. Alain Araújo. I think this is the first time since I left Brazil that
I am considered, or at least I consider myself a Human Person, that is
say, with my independence, owner of me. Friday I received mine
first fortnight. I already bought pans, the furniture was given to me by
Pallottiner, and I’m cooking my food, all afternoon when I get to
The only problem is that I feel a little without news of the things that are going to happen.
around the world since I rarely buy German newspapers (I can read very little
..) And here it is difficult to get newspapers in French language. However, already
I start to manage in German, because at work they only speak German and I have to
receive the orders. I believe that in about three months I will be
unraveling well. I only received a letter from home, and my sister tells me that
until now, this November 24th, the Tribuna had not received the latest articles
that I sent. If you don’t receive it, the SNI will keep your photo. But don’t be afraid
that I didn’t commit to you.
Receive my big hug, with your wife and children, and always and
always, my thanks for all that life has given me
here in Germany, which I hope you deserve, with God’s help.
Good morning! One o’clock in the morning, for those who have to get up at 5. But the night is
child. I couldn’t sleep until I finished reading VEJA” that
It arrived today at 5 pm when I got home from work.
Here everything is going well. Neither for better nor for worse. Floating like the DM.
I received an extension of my “work permit” until 1.2.72, along with the
expiry of the Passport. I believe I won’t have to go back to Belgium
to renew the extension, because not being there anymore, Germany
will probably give me a new Passport. Anyway, I still haven’t discussed it with
no one about the problem. I just wrote a letter to mr. Ziegelmayer in
Frankfurt (from Amnesty International).
Good morning! – Here everything goes well. My TV works wonders. I
I started pushing buttons, until I figured it out. On Monday I bought one
antenna and now it’s like a movie screen. Studies are going well.
Just that the course is too late for me. Thank God. Today the
Teacher wanted to know if I didn’t want to change to the more advanced classes.
I refused. I think I have enough time to study and learn well.
The tests I took were Sehr Gut [Very Good]. The only problem is that the
most colleagues, 96%, are Turkish and have more difficulties than us to
pronounce. They read 40 and pronounce 60 or 85. I don’t know if at first
I was like that. The class is tough: 8 hours a day plus homework.
Wonderful. I think I’ll have to learn German now, or else
buy a string to hang myself with.
We have breakfast at the Institute. It’s fed up. But there is no coffee.
Just tea. So I drink my coffee at home – I bought the hot ass
- and I don’t arrive until 08:45 for class. As I watch TV at night, I sleep at 11,
I get up at 5, shave, etc. and I study until 08:30. The lunch
we do it in 20 restaurants in the city of our choice and for that
we receive a bonus of 4.50 DM. Also, I get 304 DM per month.
Not bad. I feel in great health. Only the bed leaves me in a little pain
on the back. But I’m going to see if I buy a foam mattress next month
or anything else. The ,Incident in Antares“ is very good. Not yet
I finished because I don’t have time. But I think this weekend I will go
finish, because on Friday we only have classes until 12:45 and Saturday and Sunday
it’s free. ” 15
Limburg/Lahn 2/22/72 It’s just that I’m not feeling very well. I left early to go to the doctor. But
upon arrival, the doctor was not there. So I will go tomorrow morning. I believe that
I have appendicitis. The pains in the right groin, and stitches, are
horrible. And a gut is about to explode. Please God I can pass
Have a good night and nothing serious happens until you see the doctor. I think that
tomorrow I will enter the Hospital again and I will go under the knife. It’s the end. At least
now I’m calmer, because I know what I have and I don’t see any mystery anymore.
I confess I was worried. I thought it was cancer, or leukemia
(blood cancer). That fever intrigued me. Now things are
clarify. In any case, it’s always possible, if I die, you already know:
I don’t want my body to go to a dark pit to be devoured by the
worms. If “man is dust, and to dust shall he return,” let him be turned to dust.
as soon as possible. Therefore, may my body be cremated and the ashes
thrown overboard. I don’t want priests hanging around my dead body like birds of prey.
prey. Just reading Psalm 130. And, if possible, a yellow tulip. O
symbol of love and loneliness. That on the trip to the crematorium, my box
mortuary be involved in the Flag of Brazil. As for the news to my sister,
she can say that I died content and happy. I enjoyed my youth. I lived. if any
The hurt I carry is that of having been despised by my country. That’s why I don’t want
my body return to Brazil. I’m not thinking about dying. just, that is
a document for any and all eventualities. Yesterday I received Manchete magazine. I haven’t read it yet, but it’s really good. make some
criticism of “Der Spiegel” and “Stern”. As soon as I read it I will send it to you. Bring some pictures
Carnival. Always the same thing. Anyway, everything goes well. I say goodbye here, with a big hug to you, sir,
his wife and children. Don’t worry. I’m not worried. Yet
that gives you the impression, is that I just want to prevent it. Well, I don’t want this one
padralha saying they own my body. you know better than
me as they are. Finally, a big hug and see you later. As soon as you leave
Hospital, I write to you.
Here I am back at home, my first and virginal shelter in German lands. AND
what a beautiful return, return in early spring with the sun flooding with
its sparkling rays my room. In the morning, the happy song of the birds.
Me brand new, as if I had survived a nightmare in the midst of
I confess that when I went to the hospital for the first time, I was only thinking about the
death. I wondered if it was leukemia. That continuous fever of 40
degrees. The 40 degrees of my Rio de Janeiro, the blood burning in my veins and
the anguish devouring my soul. The doctors found nothing and
they said I was Monsieur Mystêre. Then back to the Hospital. One
alleged appendicitis. But it wasn’t appendicitis. A burst hernia, some
abscess. Three days later, an attack of angina pectoris”. Two days in the balloon
of oxygen. The doctors, the sisters, nurses and nurses, all in one
reconciliation, in a true brotherhood, in a universal fraternity.
The night I had the angina attack, it was a rush, massages in the
heart, bag of ice, and the sister’s concern to notify the family. I said:
“Ich habe nicht familie. Nur freund. Aber das ist nicht problem. morgen bin ich
guten.” [Not having a family, just a friend. But that’s not a problem. Tomorrow be fine]
The little sister laughed. Everyone treated me very well. I left the Hospital on the 8th.
I wanted to spend my birthday at the Hospital. You know, if we pass
birthday at the hospital we have the impression that he is sick. It is not
But on the 9th I went back to the hospital. The sister had invited me to have lunch at
13 hours with her and the children who were in my ward. 7 children
from 11 to 15 years. They prepared a feast, with cake, orange juice and coffee. I said
that the cup of coffee in the Hospital was too small and that in my house, in the
Brazil I drank coffee in a big mug. Because they gave it to me
a beautiful ceramic mug for me to drink coffee. my ward
turned into a Kindergarten [kindergarten]. I said that the hospital
it was a Kindergarten and the sister said that I was the only child she had in the
Hospital, because I was worse than all of them put together. I really didn’t let anyone
in peace. I had pillow fights, I was inventing something all the time.
Paper planes bombed the entire ward. the children learned
my name soon, and Alain Araújo resounded throughout the Hospital. When the
schoolmates came in delegations to visit them, I was introduced and
sung in prose and verse. I was the hero of these children. A Brazilian, from
South America, country of coffee and Pelé.
Yesterday, Sunday, I returned to the Hospital at 2 pm to visit the children. just me
let out at 6 o’clock after dinner. I’m full of invitations from families
of the children to spend the weekend. Then I learned from the children
very German. Only children can learn German. They speak the time
all over, they make us repeat a word more than 50 times and in the end we are
thank you to learn. Sometimes, when they spoke and I didn’t understand, I
it said: if you speak german i understand. But if you speak dialect I don’t
I understand nothing. They laughed.
Anyway, I’m happy. Only in Brazil and Germany can we be loved
by the children. If it were in Belgium, the parents would say: “My son, don’t talk to
this dirty foreigner.” That’s why I love Germany. A people
sentimental even if it seems cold; human, albeit disciplined. when god
made this people and this nation, he destined them to lead humanity to the
progress. In Germany there are also bad people. But that has in every
parts of the world. Good and bad exist everywhere. after all we are
humans and not angels. But taking German as a whole, there is no doubt that
it’s a great people.
But the main thing is that I won’t be back to work until April 4th. Friday-
thursday I went to my doctor to see if I could return to work today. The thief
told me no. I’ll let it go this week and next monday
I go to Pallottiner to see if they’ll let me work a few hours a day without
nothing extra, just to pass the time. Imagine I spent a year
without doing anything. Now it’s back to the same thing as before. I even look
cashless capitalist. I eat, sleep, read and walk. It’s the end of the end.
I pray to God that if I have to cause any misfortune to all of you that
helped me, which causes me. After all, you are more useful than me and can
do much more than I have done. I’m just dead weight on
balance. I can’t do anything. Why then destroy those who are giving any
thing for humanity? Sometimes God is unfair.
But I’ve already taken up too much of your precious time. It’s just that without having anything to do I
I write too much. When I write I have the impression that I am speaking and
I forget the time of others. In any case, I feel fine. The operation hurts
a little. Normal, of course. But in another two or three days everything will be fine.
good. I’ll stick around. Receive with your lady, Ulli, Fred and Helga my great
hug from son to father, mother and brothers.
I have already received two letters from you and so far I have not written to you. It’s just that before that
operation I got home and wrote until 9 pm. Now I do not have
courage for nothing. I get home from work, eat and sleep. Horrible tiredness.
Afterwards, I gained a lot of weight and I believe that all this helps our friend laziness.
However, I hope to get there, God willing and the Police. is that my
Passport sold out. My documents are all at the Police since today. Me
They promised that in two weeks everything will be ready. A Letter from
German ID and passport valid for two years for the entire Republic
Federal (the Identity Card), and then I can leave Limburg and
Pallottiner, to find a job myself and be free, that is, to assume
even my responsibilities. Mr. you know, until now I live in a
dependence on Pallottiner, and Amnesty International, trying to be careful
not to hurt sensibilities, never to say no, to accept everything. With the
my definitive permission, I will be able to choose the work that I think is best,
in the city where it pleases me best, to be my own boss, as they say in
Brazil. I hope mr. understand what I mean. when we get together
feel free, I can do my conferences, write articles if I find
any newspaper you want to publish, without asking anyone’s permission. Mr. remember
of the article to the Frankfurt Rundschau that Amnesty did not allow and called
for mr. Flash. Then, in 5 years from now, I will have the right to nationality
German. And Mr. you know how much I like and how much I love Germany, I think
that I love him as much as I love Brazil. Here I found comfort, warmth
human, and most importantly, the hope of being a free man. The Liberty
it is the essential foundation of Man. It is the reason for our life, our
existence and our faith. It was given to us by God and only he can take it away from us.
with death. And it was here in Germany that I really started to have faith in
Freedom. Mr. you cannot imagine my contentment, my joy of
soul, my happiness just thinking, that God allows, within more
in a few days I will receive my ,Letter of Manumission”, I don’t know if the Lord
know this term. The “Letter of Manumission” was a document that the Lord of
Slaves were given to the Negro when he acquired his freedom. He was free and not
it could no longer be bought by any other Lord. He was the owner of his
nose itself. Here is what I hope.
But I am also very happy to know that you are going to Brazil, to visit
that land of so many memories, of so many joys, where loves sparkle
like stars on moonlit nights at the whim of the winds that sway the
palm trees where the thrush sings in a salute to the green seas with their
billowing. I confess to you that I miss you. And miss you so much. But is
a longing in the depths of the soul. That longing that is only good when it hurts.
An eternal longing, and so eternal that I don’t want to feel it anymore
to go back. There I left everything I loved. I left the sound of the wind in the fall of the
afternoon; the sound of sea waves in the middle of the night; the dew on the flowers
spring mornings and blue skies on sunny summer afternoons. But not
I want to go back. I don’t want to go back so I don’t miss this longing. I want to have her
always hidden between the fibers of my heart so that I can always
love the land that saw me born.
Belém do Pará
Ainda que eu viva como um eremita na solidão, eu sou feliz. Feliz porque me
sinto livre. E quando o Homem é livre, ele é tudo. Ele é Homem. Daí porque
abomino os regimes de força, de direita ou de esquerda. Daí porque eu creio na
Liberdade e tenho a certeza que um dia todos os homens da terra serão livres,
Perdõe-me, Padre Dressel, se eu me perco nesta filosofia barata, filosofia
boêmia em madrugada enluarada, neste sentimentalismo vulgar. Mas
compreenda que é apenas o Homem que ama a vida e a humanidade inteira e
quer abraçar essa humanidade e que sente necessidade de ser irmão de todos
os homens e de com eles lutar para um dia sejamos todos tratados com
dignidade humana, em um mundo onde não haja guerras, onde não haja ódios
mas apenas a paz e o amor…
A esta altura eu creio que o sr. deve estar pensando lá com os seus botões (é
uma expressão brasileira) que eu perdi-me nas águas do Lahn e releguei-lhe ao
esquecimento. Não é tanto assim. Muito menos a falta de tempo, pois o tenho
de sobra. Até agora não voltei ao trabalho. Provavelmente, se o médico me
achar em condições, só lá para o dia 24 de abril. Não tenho escrito, por não
saber o que dizer. Às vezes eu penso de escrever. Mas, dizer que estou o dia
inteiro deitado na cama ouvindo rádio, como um verdadeiro vagabundo
“tocando viola de papo pro ar”? E assim o tempo vai passando, passando, e
quando a gente volta a realidade vê que já faz tanto tempo que recebeu sua
carta, e agora, um cartão da “doce França”, que não acho tão adocicada como
parece. E eis que agora vai esta carta, dizendo não sei o que. Talvez, que a
vida é bela apesar dos seus momentos tristes, mas que vale a pena ser
Daqui a 46 dias, 1 de junho, devo começar uma nova batalha. O pedido de
Passaporte alemão, já que o meu termina no dia 1 de junho. Estou louco para
que chegue este dia. Já estou cansado da Província e quero ir para a
Metrópole. Devo também ter um período de 15 dias de férias. Quero ver se
coincide com o 1 de junho, pois ao mesmo tempo terei oportunidade de
procurar um trabalho em Frankfurt, Núrnberg, Dusseldorf ou outra grande
cidade, menos Hamburgo que não sou lá muito fanático por ela.
Já fui duas vezes em Frankfurt visitar
=— OS Ziegelmayer. Aqui na Pallottiner
—— tem havido muita fofoca, muita intriga
“=. besta, coisas de padres e católicos
analfabetos e fanáticos pela CDU-
CSU [partidos políticos]. No Brasil
saiu um artigo meu, num semanário
que se chama POLITIKA – onde
chamo CDU-CSU de “ultra-direitistas”
e defendo Brandt e sua Ostpolitik. No
entanto, antes de me chegar esse
jornal, apareceu a conversa que eu
estava fazendo – política. Chamaram
aqui o sr. Ziegelmayer. Surgiu tanta
conversa, tanta intriga, e eu inocente,
sem saber de nada e sem poder
compreender. Só agora, com a
chegada do jornal foi que eu creio
haver entendido o que eles querem
dizer. Mas eu não dei nem estou
dando importância. Continuo com
minha “cara de pau” que não
compreende alemão e nem entendo o que eles querem dizer e continuo
largando o pau. São apenas 46 dias que restam, e isso a gente deixa correr
sem se aperceber que o tempo passa. Eu creio que foi alguém da Embaixada
alemã no Brasil que escreveu para Limburg, pois o artigo é escrito de Limburg.
POLITIKA é um semanário, especializado em assuntos políticos, e o melhor no
gênero no Brasil, segundo as informações que recebi, e é lido pelo Presidente
da República e por todos os deputados e senadores. Lamentavelmente não lhe
posso mandar no momento, pois emprestei ao Padre Theodor Reuter, Pastor
evangélico luterano de Limburg, muito meu amigo e que passou 19 anos no
Brasil, no Rio Grande do Sul, e, Santa Rosa. Já velinho, mas muito dinâmico.
Sempre vem me visitar em casa onde me dá algumas aulas de alemão.
The magazine analyzes the Revolution and the Presidents, from JK to
Medici. It’s a very good track record. Liberal newspaper, of the same genre as the Tribuna
da Imprensa, edited by Jorge França, and a group of liberal journalists. I
I didn’t know that my article had been published in that journal and I didn’t know
also that it was so widely read and that there had been this huge repercussion. Mr.
You know I’m happy, despite the situation I’m in. And, forgive-
me if I’m not modest, the vanity that leads me to follow the paradigm of the old
and late thief Ademar de Barros: “Talk badly, but talk about me.” For the
least am I sure, now, that Brazil knows I exist, and Germany
also. I’m tired of living in anonymity like a cattle rustler. Per
On the other hand, I think that the German Government will not now make it difficult for
give me the passport. What do you think?
But for what Mr. you see, I had nothing to say and I’m already on the back of the
first sheet, and almost at the end. When we start to write, always
finds words that form sentences and sentences that form periods and periods
that form sentences, and if we continue without realizing it, it ends
writing a book. And since I know your time is precious, I’ll stop by
here. I hope you had a good stay in Paris and that your contacts
have been fruitful and has not been involved by the Brazilian commune
which occupies “tout Paris”. Auf bald!! [See you soon!]
Here I go more or less. I’ve already been operated on again, on August 21st –
acute appendicitis – I went back to work and I’m home again, with a
bad flu, rheumatism [rheumatism], without being able to move my neck and
back. Until the 15th I’m on vacation forced by the flu. On the other hand, I gave
notice at Pallottiner Druck and on the 31st of October I leave work. I go
to southern Germany. I’m already speaking a little bit of German. For the
least I already understand well and the people I talk to say that
understand what I say. I don’t know if it’s true, but I can turn around. The course
of German that I did there in Bochum was formidable. Very good. Great pedagogy.
Just that 15 days was not enough. In any case, I enjoyed it well, so I
Jorge França also wrote to me saying that he sent to the airport
reporters and photographers, from Tribuna, Diários Associados and O GLOBO,
but he couldn’t find him. I learned later that you had
disappeared in a Kombi. Zé Augusto told me that he tried to locate you on
Rio Grande do Sul, in Brasilia and which he even had with Minister Jarbas
Passarinho, but did not obtain information about where you were
Very good morning! I have a rather serious problem and I need your help.
help and the other Brazilians out there. It is the following: On the next 8th
March will be a Brazilian (Latin American) night. Here to cooperate only
I have my Brazilian flag and a figurine. And it all. I just wrote to
VARIG to see if it can get films and posters about Brazil. I thought
also that there in Bochum it is possible that our Brazilian friends have
carnival records, sambas, etc., and there’s even a girl, I think
Jandira, who is a painter and could very well make an exhibition of her
paintings here, as we have a very large Club suitable for exhibitions.
Over here things are going well. I believe I’m making a little progress
in German. We have to go well, going slowly at the beginning to arrive quickly at the
end. Today I received a letter from Rita. I am sending you the envelope so that the
sir see how i got it. The effrontery is so great that they open the letter
and close with a stapler. When the lady handed me the letter, she said:
The postman said the letter arrived like this. What a shame this Brazil of mine is. In
in any case, as Brazil is not the government it has, we need to do
a beautiful night to wash the soul of so many dirt.
View to the Amazon River in Belém do Pará
Guten Tag! I had a great trip to Frankfurt. I got there at 10pm all night
wet. I stayed with the Ziegelmayers who send you recommendations.
I received a letter from the [foundation] Otto Benecke in which it tells me that it approves that
repeat this course I failed and warns that I cannot repeat the other one,
under penalty of losing the right to the scholarship. In this way I have in these two months
give everything and anything in German Grammar. There is no doubt that the
German if it is not one of the most difficult languages in the world, it is the most difficult, because
is a scientific language and idioms that cause depression in
any Christian who is unaccustomed to its subtleties and filigrees. AND
Faced with this great problem, I thought of writing to Mr.
requesting, if possible, a Letter of Introduction to the Academy
Evangélica, where I would like to visit on weekends and days when I am not
have classes in the afternoon and as long as they have a little time
free, to talk to them and thus be able to practice their German in order to see if
it is possible in the next exams to make a better figure. I also just
write to Brazil asking them to send me phosphate, because I think I need
to put your brain in order so you don’t forget grammar rules. If I
manage to learn German, I have no doubt that I will be a genius. see the
sir that the great philosophers and scientists who had the world were
Germans. If not for von Braun, Man was still wondering how
manage to open the paths of the Universe to go to the Moon and to the planets. AND
while man goes to the moon, I live on the moon to learn German.
I will also send, together with this letter, the letter that I think should be made
for the Tribuna to send the credentials for the World Cup matches. And not
on the 16th, God willing, I’ll go there, I’ll take the opportunity to watch the Game of
Brazil against Germany, which will be held in Berlin, hoping that
Germany win. Have you ever imagined if Brazil wins? It will be one more
victory of the “military democracy” that has already declared that no one holds Brazil back…
It’s the last letter I’m writing from Iserlohn, since at 3 pm I’m going to
to send my luggage and also the typewriter to Frankfurt.
I think the best solution is to leave and look for a job anywhere.
If I stay here for two more months, it will be two more lost months, since I believe that
only by speaking German can you learn German. I think I already have a little
base, enough to start turning around. Before I was afraid to face the
life and its realities. Now I have the German Passport which I believe will open me
the doors that 2 years ago were closed. I check in my bags today and
I leave on Tuesday, making a stopover in Bonn to meet the
Professor Goergen and also visit Otto Benecke to see if they have
anything you can help me with. If nothing is possible, I’ll travel
and I know that when I get there I have a job, at least temporary, in Frankfurt
Intercontinental Hotel, where the directors discussed with me
specials and was told my seat was always free since I
come back and with better salary as long as I had knowledge of German.
So why despair? I believe that working for a year with Germans, in a
daily contact, I will profit much more for the future. Then, you know, age.
When we start to get old, after 40, everyone denies work
saying they only want young people. Every day you lose is one day less
for my future. I no longer think in Brazilian terms, more in terms
Germanic. Here is my homeland, and here I have to try to solve all the
my problems. In a year or two, I’m sure I’ll be Herr Araújo,
because there is no lack of opportunities, as long as I am able to
unravel Goethe’s language. Don’t you believe the same thing?
As soon as I have my new address I will write to you telling you about the adventures and
misadventures, hopes and despairs, but always optimistic and with
confidence in the future of this world that God has given us and that we don’t know so well
A Merry Christmas!
It’s been a while since I cried with emotion. And today I cried after
I received the Christmas message that you, your wife and the children sent me.
sent. There is no doubt that it was the greatest morale uplift of all
times I have received in my entire life. I’ve been in a crisis lately
terrible depression; I’m out of work, like a large majority. I am
living on Arbeitslosengeld [unemployment insurance]. All day confined to
cell 104 of the Kolpinghaus. I’ve been fighting everyone at the Arbeitsamt.
All the jobs I was given were jobs of death, even if I had
told that he had already been operated on for hernia. I spent a few days in a critical situation,
without having money to eat. I had thought of the extreme solution, of paying the
Vietnamese bonzo at the door of the Arbeitamt [work office], when
I found an Agency to which I sold my Lohnsteuerkarte [card of
work], which alleviated the situation.
I fought, or rather Dr. Ziegelmayer slammed me down the phone after a
“Entrevero”, when he said that he was tired of receiving charity and that where
there is Law and Social Justice, respect for the dignity of Man, Man does not
need charity. And he told me that I needed to receive charity. AND
that the Arbeitsamt only pays the Arbeitslosengeld after 4 weeks, and when
they give the right, we are already at least 3 weeks without work. us
go complain and they send us to the Sozialamt [social assistance office].
There they treat us like poor wretches who go in search of alms. I myself
I rebelled and tore up the paper the Arbeitsamt had given me. When the
Ziegelmayer found out, he put a stand on “” Beamter ”[civil servant] and told me
that the invitation he had made for me to spend Christmas at his house
it was suspended. Yesterday, he wrote me a letter saying that Otto
Benecke had decided that I must go back to School on the 10th of January and that
I had to choose the School together with him. He reiterated the invitation for me to go
spend Christmas at your house overturning the decision to suspend and appointing me
… a Portuguese Jesuit priest so that I could go to him for guidance
Spiritual, probably. I currently do not need spiritual guidance, but
of Social Justice. So I won’t be spending Christmas at his place. AND
I imagine he doesn’t know about the plans he had made to burn to death in
opposite the Arbeitsamt. Perhaps you say it is madness. But it is not. the suicide
it’s not a solution. But my intention was not suicide per se, but that of
protest. What morale does Europe have to receive Chilean refugees when
who are here have nothing to eat? Receive only for charity and not for
human solidarity? I have real horror of this word. charity was
the word invented by Rome to replace the Gospel word love
taking away all the dimensions of love to humiliate the human being.
I had decided not to participate in Christmas, not to send votes. I already write you
only after Christmas. After all, Christmas is the birth of Christ, it is the feast of
family above all. However, I did not feel that I had the right to
join this party, since I am a bastard son of God and a bastard brother
This Christmas letter that you sent me opened my heart, filling it with
give me hope. I thank you infinitely for this letter at the moment
I needed it most. Thank you very much to your wife
and to their children. When there is love, Man does not need the Charity that
humiliates and depersonalizes.
A Merry Christmas to you and to the whole family, extended to the family of the
Ókumenisches Studienwerk Ecumenical Work of Studies]. A 1974 full of
happiness and health, peace and love for all humanity are my wishes
in this historic year that I may one day count. Tell Uli I’ll be home
at the end of the year and that I will be happy to receive his visit. See you soon.
Frankfurt Christmas Card 1973
Christmas barely arrives in the middle of the cold night,
Dawn is fast approaching…
In a mansion the bacchanalia of the orgy,
Between champagne the date celebrates.
To the side, a sad painting exists!
It is a hut where the humble lives,
Father, mother and son that starvation devours
And you, the Santa Claus of the rich,
Why deny them their annual joy,
The joy of a Merry Christmas?
Christmas, birth of Christ,
Christmas, children’s day,
Christmas, for capitalist profit
Christmas, for the hungry worker!
Christmas, don’t be ungrateful,
hurting my heart
Saying that you are from the poor
And protect the thief.
Christmas, don’t come to me anymore!
Don’t come to me anymore, Christmas!”
With best wishes for a Happy 1974
to Father Dressel and family.
Now in my free time (all of them are free), but when I’m bored of
read and watch TV, I study a little Greek and I made some Greek friends with
which I convert a little. It’s like a living dead. away from
reality, without faith, without hope, without affection, without love. A cruel situation
I confess that when I went to the hospital for the first time, I was only thinking about death.
… That continuous fever of 40 degrees. The 40 degrees of my Rio de Janeiro … the
blood burning in my veins and anguish devouring my soul. The doctors
they found nothing and told me I was Monsieur Mystêre…
The night I had the angina attack, it was a rush, massages in the
heart, bag of ice, and the sister’s concern to notify the family … I said:
“lch habe nicht familie. Nur freund. Aber das ist nicht problem. morgen bin ich
I am now able to express myself and make myself understood. the big problem
continue to be prepositions. But this is no longer surprising given that
German is an algebraic equation, embedded in pure mathematics, full of
theorems and theories where idioms and verbs mix
separable which subtract and add to find the
language purity, as a logical result. But despite passing all the time
studying, my weakness is the tests. We have to guess which one
corresponding preposition. And I always guess wrong. It’s no use even
consult horoscopes. When I write “durch” it was to write “auf”. AND
always like this …
I believe the last letter I wrote you was last year. And before that
complete a year, I write to you again. Only now has Otto Benecke resolved my
situation and I went back to school. I stayed in Frankfurt until the 4th of February and
day 5 I traveled to Staufen in Breisgau in Baden Wáúrttemberg. But for that the
Sir, you didn’t want to know about the fight I had and the mess I made, including
writing a letter to the UN Commissioner for Refugees in
Zirndorf-Nürnberg. It’s just that the people at Otto Benecke are right-wingers to the extreme.
For them, all political refugees in Latin America have to be
necessarily communist. And it all. I must stick around until the end of May
when I will finish the German Course. I’m not so bad anymore. I’m already able to
express and make myself understood. The big problem remains the
prepositions. But this is no longer surprising given that German is a
algebraic equation, embedded in pure mathematics, full of theorems and
theories where idioms and separable verbs are mixed
which subtract and add to find the purity of the language,
as a logical result. But despite spending all my time studying, my weakness
are the tests. We have to guess which preposition corresponds. AND
I always guess wrong. It’s no use even consulting the horoscopes.
When I write “durch” it was to write “auf”. It’s always like that .
But I have to tell you about Staufen. It is a small village, founded in the year 700 and
where the famous Dr. Fake. It’s very pleasant, and the people here are more sociable.
than that of Iserlohn. It has many mountains and valleys. It just doesn’t have snow. The winter
this year was demoralizing. It is a frustrated, sad, expressionless winter. Of
I haven’t heard from Brazil because I didn’t have an address to send it. thought
to go back to school on the 2nd of January. Then they transferred to the 10th. On the 15th,
they said that my scholarships were permanently suspended, which forced me
to scream. And so I lived in hope without knowing what to expect.
Now I start writing letters to Caritas, Diakonisches Werk, etc,,
requesting work as a Social Worker, to start in June, as
I don’t want the job that Otto Benecke offers me – Professor of Religion at
College of Fathers.
I hope that some of the letters get answered to me. I’m already tired
of this gypsy life. I need as soon as possible to stabilize myself. Each day
As the hair passes, it becomes whiter and whiter. It’s a sign that old age is coming
and that people need judgment and shame. Around the month of June, before the
Football World Cup, I look forward to paying you a visit.
And here I am writing to you after a long and dark winter. I didn’t want you
write before, because even if the situation wasn’t bad, I couldn’t
write saying I was happy and happy. The situation was neutral.
I waited, then, so that I could write to say that everything was at a thousand
wonders. At least that’s how I feel. At the end of March I left the Goethe-lInstitut
em Staufen e voltei para Frankfurt. Aqui chegando não consegui trabalho, porém
uma outra bolsa do Arbeitsamt por mais um ano, aqui em Frankfurt. 6 meses na
Sprachschule e depois mais 6 meses em uma Kaufmannschule. Comecei ir à
Escola desde o 8 de Abril, mas só vim receber o dinheiro no fim de maio. Do 30
de março até o dia 7 de abril fiquei no Arbeitslosgeld. Mas até agora não recebi
o dinheiro do Arbeitslos. Só os papeis. Quer dizer, que aqui a burocracia é um
pouco mais temperada que no Brasil. Durante o tempo que andava sem dinheiro
fiquei morando no Kolpinghaus, mas logo que recebi, procurei alugar um
Zimmenvohnung [quitinete], o que fiz a partir do dia 1º de junho. É um pouco
caro. Aluguel: 260 — Kaution [caução], eu pago em 14 meses à 40 DM por mês –
mais luz e gás, 40 todos os meses. Tem ainda o telefone que eu ainda não
mandei instalar, pois a verba ainda não dá. Estou aguardando uma
Wohnungsgeld [auxílio aluguel]. Se sair, então instalarei o telefone, pois eu
tenho umas promessas de um Freiarbeit [freelancer] para Wellerkôlner (Rádio
Deutshe Welle Kôln) e para isso irei precisar um telefone. Mas primeiro quero a
garantia que tenho o trabalho para depois decidir a instalação. Em caso
contrário poderei ter falência decretada. Meu apartamento é bonzinho e
simpático. Um quarto, cozinha e toalete. O banheiro coletivo. Estou contente.
Fica em Grúnburgweg, próximo à casa onde o senhor morava antes. É na
Fichardstr. 29. Francamente, eu me sinto contente e porque não dizer, feliz! Eu
espero que agora as coisas vão começar a andar. Alemão eu leio e compreendo
tudo muito bem. O único problema é escrever e falar. A estrutura gramatical é
ainda muito difícil. A construção do alemão é muito complicada. Mas em um ou
dois anos, se Deus quiser, eu serei um germanista.
Logo que tiver uma oportunidade eu darei um pulo até Bochum. É possível que
seja durante os Jogos da Copa do Mundo, pois estou esperando um grupo da
Tribuna da Imprensa e se eles chegarem, o que deve ser por estes dias, é
possível que vá com eles a Dortmund e então de lá telefonarei e se o senhor
estiver em casa eu darei um pulozinho para lhe visitar. Aquele abraço bem
brasileiro e bem alemão com os votos que sejamos os Campeões do Mundo de
Eu penso que a esta hora o senhor deve estar preparando a bagagem para
regressar à Alemanha. O senhor não pode imaginar a alegria incontida quando
recebi sua carta de Espanha. Creia que estava muito preocupado. É que na
véspera da explosão que houve na Costa do Sol, eu sonhei que o sr. estava em
um grande campo de terra batida. Existia então um barracão onde estava um
monte de pastas com documentos. Todas enroladas, ou melhor, cobertas com
uma renda azul cor de céu. Uma fila enorme aguardava a distribuição, que o sr.
e sua senhora iriam fazer. Então, eu chego e peço minha pasta. O senhor
pergunta se eu não posso esperar. Eu respondi que não, pois eu tinha que
apanhar o trem. Então o senhor me dava a pasta. Todo mundo na fila ficava
revoltado. Então o senhor dizia para a sua senhora: “Este Alaím nunca tem
tempo para esperar.” Aí eu acordei. No outro dia, na hora da Tagesschau eu
ouvi a notícia na TV. Aí fiquei preocupado. Telefonei para a Maria Filomena
pedindo que procurasse se informar em Bochum se havia acontecido alguma
coisa. E quando recebi a sua carta, dei três pulos de alegria. Agora eu espero
que o sr. volte o mais rápido possível para eu saber que realmente o senhor
está em boa saúde junto com sua esposa.
Aqui eu continuo na vida que não pedi a Deus. Comer, ver TV e dormir. Já não
aguento mais. Creio que estou psicologicamente enfermo. O que a gente ganha
dá apenas para viver e nada mais. Eu não tenho coragem de passear pelas
ruas. Eu penso que se o povo me vê todos os dias passeando vai dizer que sou
um vagabundo. Então fico em casa. Lendo. Sempre lendo. Compro romances
nessas livrarias que vendem livros velhos e passo o dia em casa. Também
pouco adianta sair. Por cada dia de sol fazem 5 de chuva e de frio. Este ano a
meteorologia traspassou as raias do absurdo. Eu penso que o epicentro do
planeta já está deslocado à causa de tantas experiências termo-nucleares. Eu
já prevejo o dia em que o planeta será pulverizado totalmente por um sismo e
tudo desaparecerá e então surdirá um novo planeta formado pelo
ressequimento dessa pulverização. E os novos seres serão monstros. Mas
talvez nós não sobrevivamos, nem mesmo como monstros para ver e sentir a
maldade dos homens que abusaram da inteligência para destruírem toda a
humanidade. Será o Apocalipse.
I pity. I’m sorry because I wish I could live. I always
i hope man discovers the serum of life so he can live
forever, even if you have to make a contract with the Devil as an account
Goethe in his novel Faust. But it is a vain hope. just the
crazy fantasy and childhood dreams that remain inside our
soul and that are implanted in our spirit in our moments of
depression. They are allegories of our imagination when we mull over in search of
something to do. They are the unrealities of life. understand me, but
I feel like writing. To say something, to mull over time to
let him pass more quickly without me feeling his passage. I just sometimes
I can rob you of the time you lose to read my excess of time
to ramble. (Note, this rambling comes from rambling and not from rambling). He wants
say: talk left and right, talk to pass the time.
But I seem to be back to reality. I wonder if they don’t exist
possibilities for you to contact the Diakonisches Werk to
see if there is a possibility of giving me a job as a Social Worker to
young people. I think I could do a good job, particularly with young people
difficult in this problem of drugs, alcohol, unterhaltung [entertainment], etc.
could organize football teams, train and many other things,
especially among foreigners. In addition to Portuguese, I speak very well and write
Italian, Spanish, French and I speak a little bit of Greek and Turkish.
Now in my spare time (all of them Are free), but when I’m bored
reading and watching TV, I study a little Greek and I made some Greek friends with the
which I convert a little. If you can test the possibility with the
Diakonisches Werk I would be very grateful.
Well, there I took a few moments of your precious time. I’m saying goodbye
over here. I ask that when you return from Brazil you buy the newspaper at the airport
of the day, preferably GLOBO or TI and a pack of cigarettes Hollywood or
Minister. Just so you don’t have a problem with Zoll. I’ll give you the phone number
Rita. You tell her that I’m in good health and I’m still eating and
sleeps”. The TRIBUNA phone number is … Jorge França is there after 9 am
night. He’s a candidate for deputy for the MDB, Rita has his home phone number.
I wish you a good trip to Brazil and hope your plane is not
kidnapped by PLO and Baader Meinhof terrorists. Until the turn.
My dearest Father Dressel, may the peace of God be with you. Saravá my
Well, as you know, I’m Brazilian, Catholic, and like all Catholics
Brazilian I have to use Saravá, my Father! which is the greeting of the macumba.
But seriously, because I have to be serious at least once in my life,
situation is not to tie a dog with a sausage. So far I haven’t found
no work. My arbeitslos should end around February 15th,
I’ve been doing a few hours as a “Baby Sitter” for a German family that
pays 6 DM an hour and that’s how we live.
I have already sought Propst Dr. Trautwein, but I never find him. One day
traveled to Berlin, another to Stuttgart, other times no one answers. today by
morning I was there again, but he is at the SINODO and maybe he won’t be back until the next
When I got home I found a package of newspapers by Jorge França, which
he left Brazil on the 13th of September by plane. In the package comes his article and
a very interesting letter that I am sending you, because it analyzes
very serious of the situation and envisages a Somoza-type dictatorship or a communist-type
in the face of the corruption degradation that surrounds Brazil.
I had thought of going back there in February when I finished my
Arbeitslos, if he didn’t find work. But I’ve already seen that in view of what Jorge tells me
France is better to stick around picking up rubbish in the street, in the last hypothesis,
to return to Brazil. I believe I have already lost faith in Brazil
I no longer feel homesick or nostalgic. I no longer have feelings of
love. It’s like a living dead. Detached from reality, without faith, without
hope, no affection, no love. A cruel situation, psychologically
talking. It’s better to end the days here. Brazil was destroyed. No longer exists
more. It was like a torrential cloud in my life. A day passed and I already
I forgot. At least I must try to forget. Remember only relatives and
few friends that perhaps I still have. It is desolation. This letter from
Jorge completely put me off.
I already received the cigarette and I already smoked. Here I live more or less. I left the
hospital on May 15th. I feel in very good health, but the doctors
they said no. After a series of tests they discovered that I
I have a Gallenstein [gallstone] and that I need an operation. According to them
this pebble prevents the gastric juice from passing through the bile returning to the
stomach and swelling the liver, thus causing the misregulation of the
intestines, fevers, and with fevers Lungenentzúndung [pneumonia].
Therefore, I will return to the Hospital around June 15th to be operated on. Second
them I’m still very young and the operation is not difficult. I believe that already
end of June I should be home God willing.
Here we had some good sunny days. Now it looks like we’re back at the beginning of
spring or perhaps at the end of winter. The sky returns to its gray color and the
wind to be cold. I think the German is the only human being capable of
adapt to all existing climates on the face of the earth. For if for three days
the temperature is tropical, 5 are Mediterranean and 15 are polar. So the German doesn’t
finds it very difficult to live in Brazil or at the North Pole. Well it’s already
accustomed to facing the vicissitudes of time.
The FDP went to hell, but I already expected this. The people are feeling the
fluctuation of the FDP and the fear of Emperor Franz Josef. I think the tactic of
Genscher is very naive. He plays with all groups and with all
trends within the party, when he should have taken a stand and assumed the
command. We can now feel the lack of leadership within the
party and the absence of President Walter Scheel. How I would like
to be able to vote. But it still won’t be this time. Let’s see if after this
operation I get a job to try to apply for nationality. O
Ordnungsamt sent me the papers saying I have the right, if I wish,
to opt for German nationality. Turns out they ask for a statement
of the Einkommen [lace]. And I do not have. What I earn from Deutsche Welle is not
enough and Arbeitslos is not Einkommen. So I have to wait. But I already
I feel integrated in Germany. I’ve just joined both
social elections and in April I participated in the elections of the journalists’ union. Already
is a big thing for a foreigner, especially when he doesn’t even
he is Gastarbeiter [foreign worker], just political refugee. Like me
I would be happy if the whole of Brazil knew about it and if the Government understood,
meditate and become aware of the foundations of democracy. But who
you know, one day the Brazilian people will acquire the rights that grant a
democracy and then you will be able to understand what a Democratic State is.
My dearest Father Dressel, Very good morning, well, well, well! (so say the
Portuguese). I received your letter with the stamps Helga sent me. I am
writing a letter to Helga to thank her. But I believe that the poor
you won’t understand at all. My German is the faithful portrait of underdevelopment
from Brazil. And so I am sending her along with the letter in German the
respective translation asking her to ask you to translate it.
Since the 11th of August I have returned to my old life … school! every day at
5:30 in the morning I get ready to go to work. I had to finish now
September. But because of the 3 months in the hospital I have to stay until February
But I’m not standing still. I move more than a cigar in a drunk’s mouth. Now
I have just come from writing to the Diakonisches Werk in the care of Mrs.
Ludolf a Bewerbung [candidacy]. Let’s see if anything comes out.
I must also, if my lyrics are selected with music made by a
Conductor of the Hessische Rundfunk, participate in the next Eurovision from |to
Chanson in March ’81 (here in Germany and later – if you get the first
place, because anything is possible – in the Ireland international).
I’ve been placing advertisements in the Frankfurter Rundschau. I just spent money and
I didn’t receive any offers. By all indications, the situation is for Leo. But
who knows if one day luck doesn’t change and I won’t end up winning Toto
Hope is what I don’t lack, much less the sandcastles and the famous
windmills with which Don Quixote and his faithful servant Sancho fought
I don’t know if I already told you that I received the Ehrenplakette from the city of Frankfurt for
my collaboration in the development of cultural relations between Frankfurt and
Brazil. It is undoubtedly a beautiful bronze medal. Just it. I continue on
same dependence on the Arbeitsamt and I fear I will end up as Frúhrente Arbeitslos
[by disability retirement].
In February I have to renew my Pass [passport]. Last year they
they gave the papers for the choice of nationality. But I think I can’t
choose – or they will not accept – with this arbeitslos condition. and it has me
worried a little. Let’s see if anything comes out of somewhere.
Frankfurt, 22.8.80 with Kopie des Briefes an Frau Ludolf …
Today I sent a Bewerbung [job application] to Frau Ludolph
a copy of which I am enclosing you. But I tell you sincerely that
when I wrote the letter I was full of animation. I did this yesterday at school
during Maschinenschreiben class [typing. But this morning
when I sent it, half of the animation had already been lost, and this is why: I peeed in the
bed. I believe the cause is the cold and I slept with the window open. But in Brazil if
says that when you do that in bed it’s bad luck. Who knows if here in Germany
lucky. But in fact it seems that bad luck has begun: I forgot my
Monatskarte [monthly ticket] for the S-Bahn [subway] and I’ve already received a ticket for
40,– DM. But the Kontrolleur told me that I have to go to the Buro to present
a Karte [ticket] and I only pay 5,– DM. Let’s see if it’s true. Today I received
money from the Arbeitsamt – from the 22nd of July to the 11th of August (Arbeitslosgeld),
because from the 11th onwards it’s Unterhaltsgeld [social aid] (I went back to school), only
20.25 DM. Reason, I receive from Deutsche Welle 162,- DM per week. for what the
sir you can see things don’t look very good. But let’s see what salt.
I believe Frau Ludolph should receive my letter on Monday. If
If possible, I would like you to make a recommendation. The letter is not there
very good, because the Professor only corrected the grammar. But I hope she
The landscapes in this letter remind me of Paulo Afonso’s Waterfalls that
intersect the majestic São Francisco River, which cuts through the hinterlands of the Northeast
Brazilian, at the same time that it brings me the idea of a comparison with the
life that is as turbulent and full of precipices as waterfalls.
Turbulences and precipitations that we have to bravely face, day by day
day with the hope of overcoming the dangers that surround us.
How many times do we feel abandoned by God? but in the moments
crucial, he extends to us a ray of light that illuminates the bitter paths and
gives strength to resist. It is only after a glossy existence (50 years) that
can understand and appreciate the daily toils that we go through. Yet
I have two years left to get there. But the lord who already surpasses this gloss
can say that only faith in the Creator can lead us to survival.
He receives on his birthday together with his beloved wife and dear children
my big hug and my best wishes for health, peace and love, may we
together celebrate the entry of the approaching new century.
It’s been a good couple of months since we’ve spoken. And now, taking the opportunity
From your Christmas birthday I am sending you news. I phoned in July,
however mr. was on vacation.
I’m just living off Deutsche Welle, 5 minutes a week and a few
few extras. The Spamrogramm [financial containment program] of the
government cut me 1 minute weekly. The interviews and reports – how
now from the Automobile Fair that used to be 15 minutes ago were reduced to
- So I’m too afraid to look at the phone. I only use it in case
of last necessity. I’m approaching 50. Nobody wants to be a problem. They think I’m old. A
Diakonisches Werk also did not give any opportunity. And the way is to vegetate
waiting for the day when the Robot [robot] industry goes on strike or else
be destroyed. MAN IS A BAD BEING: Selfish, he thinks of creating
amenities for your pleasure. He turned electronics into a god and is
being destroyed by it. Automatism reigns. The social problems caused
pos that expansionism of electronic technology so far have been forgotten,
both by government officials and by the big-boss of multinationals. It’s missing
the day will come when Man will revert to cannibalism for his own
subsistence. May only Man return to his primitive faith and remember that
God, when expelling Adam and Eve from paradise, pointed out; “Thou shalt earn bread with the
sweat from your face.” Whether the technocrats like it or not, the robot will never be able to
replace human intelligence. Well, I am sending you a “Letter Rogatory” that was given to me by
German Government in July. Since then I have received a couple of phone calls from
Staatsanwaltschaft of Frankfurt communicating that Brazil asks for my
presentation. The first was for the 26th of August pp., and the other was for the
September 23th. 38
The German Government has told me that I will only go of my own free will, that
do not advise me to go and that they do not give me any guarantees since I
leave the territory of the Federal Republic and that I shouldn’t worry. In the face of all this, I only receive the messages that the Government of Brazil is
commanding. I received the book that you sent with the interviews done in the
Brazil. Thank you very much for mentioning my name. I come from making the Antrag auf Einbúrgerung [citizenship application]. I make
votes to leave before March 1982. If not, I have no
hopes. Because the SPD and the FDP are doing so badly with this problem of
Demonstrations, Unemployment, Disarmament that Dregger will inevitably
win for Democracy’s Disgrace. From what you can see there are six
Capital D that makes people terrified. 39
Frankfurt, 23.11.81 Thank you very much for the “Gospel of Christmas” that you sent me and I have just
to receive. Thought transmission. I was going to write to you today – what
I’m doing now – not just to send a birthday card to your
madam, but also to send two Christmas poems that I wrote and that
should be published these days in a little newspaper in the neighborhood, entitled
“Christmas Meditation”. I am also sending a magazine from the union of
Radio, Film and TV journalists at the DGB which published three poems, two of
which you had corrected me. I am preparing a series of poems with the intention of arranging in the future
an editor who wants to publish. My real desire was to write philosophy and
political sociology based on current events in the modern world. but it is
very difficult for my german. Poems are short sentences that umfassen
[encompass] (I don’t know how to say, or rather, express in Portuguese the meaning of this
word in German) the feelings, the ideas, that message that we
means in a few words avoiding a waterfall of mistakes and sometimes of
contradictions for someone who is not capable, like me, of mastering the language. If God
help, it is quite possible that I can win something.
Here, life goes on as usual. I’m just living off the radio, with some
meager landmarks that remained from the government’s spar program to the
cut me a good few minutes.
Since the beginning of November I have been without Krankenkasse (right to
health plan services) and without Rentenversicherung (retirement),
always waiting to appear – falling from the sky through God’s carelessness – a
work. Thank God I feel fit and not even the flu caught me
until now, despite the weather that shakes more than the mulattoes of Escola de
However, as the late Ademar de Barros used to say – in his time the King of
Corrupt Brazilians – the thing is “Faith in God and foot on the board”, which one day
Until another day, God willing. In Brazil I would gather – and if the gods allow it.
Alaim’s nephew in the historic territory of Belém
Jacilene, a Brazilian writer who lives in Norway, wrote to me a little while ago.
speaking “about this problem of identification that all who leave their
countries to live in another live: we are not the same people as
when we leave our countries and we will never be like natives of the country
foreign country we choose to live in. That is, a single race, “hybrid”.
It seems to me that the trajectory of my friend Alaím could, to a certain extent, serve
us as a paradigm, at least partially confirming the observation of
writer Jaceline. The difference that we will see is that the exile
distinguishes in essential aspects from the immigrant, as our experience shows.
But without a doubt there are many similar things, and there are also many cases that
demonstrate a gradual “transformation” of exiles into immigrants, through
need to survive, so to speak.
After an extensive struggle, after having gone through ups and downs, in your letter
on 27.11.78 the exiled Alaím stated that he no longer misses nor
nostalgia that no longer has feelings of love for the country of origin. he if
compares to “a living dead person, far from reality, without faith, without hope, without
affection, without love. A cruel situation, psychologically speaking… Brazil was
destroyed. It no longer exists. It was like a torrential cloud in my life.
A day passed and I already forgot. At least I must try to forget. To remember
only relatives and the few friends that I may still have. AND
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A year and a half after this desperate cry, in a letter dated 5/25/80,
the content of the self-analysis already sounds very different: ,I already feel integrated in
Germany. I have just taken part in the two social elections, and in
In April, I participated in the elections for the journalists’ union.“
Already half a dozen years ago, in a letter dated 9/30/73, he had
confessed: ,I no longer think in Brazilian terms, more in terms
Germanic. Here is my homeland, and here I have to try to solve all the
my problems. In a year or two I’m sure I’ll be Herr Araújo,
because there is no lack of opportunities as long as I am able to unravel
Around the beginning of the new millennium, if I’m not mistaken, Alaim chronically
sick and almost always bedridden, depending on the good services of a
staff from a charitable organization in Frankfurt, who visited him daily,
he called and not only lamented his fate very sad indeed, but even
accused the municipality, the state administration, and the horrible devices of the
country per se in his regrettable case. Already with the bags packed for a
trip to the mainland, therefore prevented from making a trip to Frankfurt to
inform me decisively, I asked for the diaconal service of the evangelical parish –
Matthãusgemeinde – visit my old friend. Then I became aware of
that this visit was done satisfactorily, and even Alaim confirmed it.
It didn’t take long for Alaím to call me again and tell me more or less
following: “German bureaucracy lets me die in misery here, that’s why
I spoke to the Brazilian consul asking for political asylum in Brazil!”
time and learned that he was to be taken home by his niece
from Pará, stewardess from VARIG or TAP. And he traveled without any opportunity to
Came back – sick, poor, hurt and completely disillusioned – sought
by a niece, daughter of his older brother in Belém do Pará, the birthplace
where he lost track.
After my friend Alaím returned to his “beloved homeland”, on the occasion of my
next trip to the mainland, I visited Sister Rita in Rio, a demented lady,
eternally lying down and dependent on the help of a nurse. The nurse
found a small book with a lot of telephone numbers, among them the
brother’s number there in Belém. Tried it several times and asked others to try it
too, but always the same disappointment: a lady’s voice, when she heard
the name of Alaim Araújo hung up instantly. So it stayed. you don’t even know
whether the friend lives or has died. He arrived “out of the blue” at our house on a remote day
in Frankfurt and was gone – leaving impressive traces – and “dissolved” into
Heinz F. Dressel, 9.7.2010