10th November 2021


4 minutes read

Hubert Klimko-Dobrzaniecki

Whiter than white

translated by Sean Gasper Bye

10th November 2021

4 minutes read

It was midday. In the conference room, the senior lab technician turned on the radio. He turned the dial and found Bond, a station based in the east of the country. The chief midwife entered the room holding a paper bag. She sat down at the table and took out a half-liter bottle of mineral water and a tuna fish sandwich. After a moment the head nurse joined her. On the radio, the weather report was just wrapping up. Then, the most important person of them all appeared in the doorway: the Medical Director of the Obstetrics Division of the Capital City University Hospital, Professor Bianca Nagy-Weiss. She took the seat closest to the radio. A voice from the speaker proclaimed proudly:

“Dear compatriots! In a moment we will hear an address from our Leader. May it bring you joy, emotion and inspiration for this day and beyond.”

The head nurse started nervously unwrapping her breakfast baguette from its white paper. The rustling made the professor shoot a glare that stopped her dead, her hands seemingly frozen stiff. Professor Biana Nagy-Weiss came from a distinguished family line that before the war had played a major role in overthrowing the monarchy. After the war, their fame grew as promoters of the new political system’s ideology, until the subsequent bloodless coup that left them sidelined. It had been a bitter pill to swallow but swallow it they had. Now, a hypnotizing, deep, masculine voice began to reverberate from the speaker:

“Our country, our beloved homeland, our hearth, cradle and pride for lo these many centuries, is now approaching a dangerous juncture. Daughters and sons of our country, why are you weighted down with sloth? Why do you fear being fruitful? Why do you shy from multiplying? Why are you murdering this country? Why are you letting it be murdered by others, by foreigners?”

The Leader paused dramatically. Professor Nagy-Weiss leaped from her chair and started clapping; the midwife and nurse followed her lead. The senior lab tech whistled a cheer.

“This land, our land, is your land and mine! Not no-man’s-land, certainly not their land!”

This time thunderous applause echoed over the radio from the hall where the Leader was speaking.

“Thank you, thank you!” And once more he said emphatically: “Thank you!”

Only then did the applause die down.

“This land, which has nourished you, which has granted you solace and prospects for the future, is starting to bleed because of the thoughtless policies of the Unionists! To bleed with our blood! The rightful sons and daughters of this country! That blood is shed, and as God is my witness, it will not be shed in vain!

Our blood will give life to flowers! Bright, white flowers, and not dark, colored weeds!”

And once more thunderous applause echoed in the conference room and over the radio, drowning out the Leader. He said thank you again and again until the people’s hands grew weak with clapping.

“Oh great nation, oh nation that for centuries has cleared the forests and drained the swamps of primitive elements! Awake, spare your blood and your tears! Rise again to the challenge and grant us children! Give us our children! The future of our country is not dark, not colored! The future of our country is bright and white!”

Now the Leader didn’t try to quieten the applause, he didn’t speak in his confident, super-masculine voice. Instead, he roared: “Awake, oh, nation! There is still time! We must do everything in our power to ensure not only the present and future belong to us, but eternity as well!”


written by

Hubert Klimko-Dobrzaniecki

More about the author

Issue 01


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translated by

Sean Gasper Bye

More about the translator


Whiter than white by Hubert Klimko-Dobrzaniecki
A troubling short story by Hubert Klimko-Dobrzaniecki which uses skin color as a way of exploring the traumas of life under a dictatorship propped up by propaganda.