24th February 1942, midday
How great artists can serve their country.
I‘ve learnt that young Roller has just fallen at the front. If I’d known that he’d gone out! But nobody told me. There are hundreds of thousands of men who could serve their country in no better way than by risking their lives for her, but a great artist should find another way. Can fate allow it that the most idiotic Russian should strike down men like that? We have so many men seconded for special duties!
What harm could it do to add to their number the five or six hundred gifted men whom it would be important to save? Roller is irreplaceable. We had only Sievert, Arent and Praetorius—Austria had given us the young Roller. Why didn’t Schirach warn me? I saw his Friedenstag. What a lovely thing! The young Roller was a brave man. Before the Anschluss he would have had to leave Austria. I’m convinced he went out as a volunteer.
I could have sent him anywhere at all, for personal reasons, if he hadn’t insisted on staying in Vienna.