Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Himmler Almost Walks Through a British Checkpoint

Ahead of them was their first bridge and it looked easy. There was a checkpoint in the middle of it manned by two British sentries, whose only purpose seemed to be to announce to people that they were now in British territory. In the last fifteen minutes they had not bothered to stop even one of the hundreds of people passing by them.

Macher came over. “We need to go now, Reichsfuhrer,” he said. “The situation is optimal and we can’t risk it changing.”

Himmler nodded, looking over his papers again. “I’m just not sure.”

“Reichsfuhrer,” said Macher. “They’re never going to even look at your papers. They’re only interested in us passing through and not bothering them.”

“All right,” said Himmler. “Just give me another minute.”

“I’ll get the bags,” said Macher and walked off.

Himmler turned to Franzi. “I would like to ask you something, Loerber,” he said. “You are a homosexual, aren’t you?”

Franzi looked at him in disbelief.

“Don’t lie,” said Himmler sternly.

“Reichsfuhrer, I don’t know what to say.”

“Well you do know it’s wrong, don’t you?”

“Lots of things are wrong,” muttered Franzi.

“Don’t change the subject, Loerber,” said Himmler. “It’s one thing to have to do bad things because of operational necessity. But it’s another thing to do it because of weakness of character.”

“I’ve always tried to do the right thing, Reichsfuhrer, but it’s difficult,” said Franzi, boiling on the inside.

“I know that, Loerber,” Himmler answered, sounding suddenly paternal. “I just want you to promise me that when we get to the Argentine, you’ll stop and find a nice Aryan girl and settle down. It’s easier than you think.”

“I promise, Reichsfuhrer.”

“That’s all I have to say,” said Himmler. “Now let’s go.”

Macher said they should go across one at a time. Grothmann went first. He situated himself alongside a woman with her family, carrying one of the children. After that Kiermaier went, also without any problem. Once he saw them both on the other side of the bridge, Macher clapped his hand on Himmler’s shoulder. “Nothing to it, Reichsfuhrer,” he whispered. “Go right past him. Don’t look in his eyes, but don’t avoid them either. You’ll be fine. We’re right behind you.”

Himmler set off. Macher let about twenty people pass by, then grabbed Franzi into the line with him. Immediately Franzi could see it was not going to be so simple. Himmler’s movements were so jerky he stood out even though he didn’t look any different from anyone else in the crowd. Being anonymous had become contrary to his nature. Franzi wondered how long it had been since Himmler had even been in the presence of strangers. Ten years? Fifteen? Twenty? “Maybe I should go alongside him,” he suggested to Macher. “Calm him down.”

But Macher still didn’t trust him. “Forget it,” he grunted. “You’re not leaving my side. The Reichsfuhrer can manage this himself.”

But then, to Franzi’s surprise, Himmler got the hang of it. His footsteps began slowing down, his elbows and shoulders stopped jerking. Forty feet from the checkpoint he started becoming invisible.

Macher and Franzi kept close behind Himmler. Just thirty more feet, Reichsfuhrer. Just twenty more feet, just ten more feet. Himmler was now walking up to the checkpoint and then, he was past it. No problem at all. Himmler was clear. And in twenty more seconds, so would they.

But then Himmler did something strange. He stopped and turned and walked back to the British soldier and showed him his papers. And the British soldier put his hand up and stopped the line and began politely thumbing through Himmler’s documents.

“What the hell?” whispered Macher.

They could hear the British soldier saying to Himmler, “It says here discharged from the Geheim Feld Polizei. That’s SS! I’m afraid I’m going to have to arrest you.” He put his hand firmly on Himmler’s shoulder and said something in English to the other soldier. Himmler looked back at Macher helplessly.

“Wait here,” Macher said to Franzi and began pushing his way through the crowd to the checkpoint. Franzi watched as the British soldiers pointed their Enfields at Macher, who reluctantly put up his hands. One of the soldiers began searching him and pulled out a pistol and a dagger. Next thing he knew, both he and Himmler had handcuffs on.

Franzi stood there for a little while, frozen with disbelief. Then it suddenly occurred to him that he was free and he turned and began walking back to Flensburg.

(Excerpt from Germania)

No comments:

Post a Comment