A Traitor's Loyalty: A Novel (4 page)

“Yes.”

“Was he at all involved in . . . in my final operation?”

Talleyrand hesitated momentarily, nodded. “Yes, he was.”

Quinn said nothing, acknowledged the information with a fractional nod of his head. Silence hung in the air.

He stared out at the sea once more. Trapped. No hope of escape.

Talleyrand produced more documents from the valise and handed them to Quinn: a German passport and an SS ID. Quinn shook himself out of his reverie and inspected them both. They identified him as Matthias Kaufholz, a thirty-six-year-old native of Vienna. He was an
obersturmbannführer
in Amt III of the SS. Amt III was the SS’s internal security service, charged with maintaining loyalty within the government, the military and even the Gestapo itself. If Germany and Europe lived in fear of the Gestapo, the Gestapo lived in fear of Amt III.

“When you’ve completed your assignment, go to the British embassy in Berlin,” Talleyrand told him. “Ask the desk clerk for the Gatekeeper. The Gatekeeper will see to your transport back here.”

“Fine,” Quinn said.

The old man stood up and began making his way over to where his car still sat by the curb, its engine running, but paused when he saw Quinn had not followed. “Come now, Simon,” he said.

Quinn had risen when Talleyrand did, but had stopped to take a last look at his boat. The initial commotion was over, and the crowd around it had thinned. Policemen and ominous-looking plainclothes officials were carrying the crates containing the guns up from the hold and loading them onto an armored police truck. Reluctantly, he turned and followed Talleyrand to the car. The old man had the back door open, and Quinn climbed in. Talleyrand followed. As soon as the door was closed, the driver pulled away from the curb and started off.

“We’re on our way to the local airfield now,” the old man continued. “You’ll fly from here to Athens. From there, you’ll get to Berlin through a connecting flight from Zurich.” He checked his watch. “It’s a quarter past eight now. You should land at Reitsch Airport by noon. In the parking garage of the Lufthansa terminal, on the ground floor in the first row of cars opposite the lift, a grey Focke-Wulf will be waiting for you. In the boot will be an SS uniform, a change of clothes, a handgun, and what should be enough money to last you for a stay of a few days.”

He held out his hand. “You’re carrying a gun now,” he said. It was not a question. “You won’t get through Swiss customs with it.”

Quinn stared into those hard grey eyes. Once he did this, he knew, he would be irrevocably committing himself. Finally, reluctantly, he reached into his pocket, took out the pistol and placed it in Talleyrand’s hand.

CHAPTER III
Berlin

THE CLOCK had reached half past twelve by the time Quinn got through customs at Hanna Reitsch Airport. The first thing he did was find a phone and dial the French embassy. A secretary answered.

“Maurice Beauchamp, please,” he said, hoping Beauchamp was still in Berlin.

“Whom shall I say is calling?” the secretary asked.

“Johann Kreuz,” he said. It was an alias he had used when he had been stationed in Berlin, four years ago; Beauchamp would recognize it.

“One moment, please,” the secretary said, and the line went dead.

A few moments later, there was a click, and Beauchamp’s voice came over the line.
“Allo?”
The voice was tentative.

“Hello, Maurice,” Quinn responded.

“Jesus Christ,” Beauchamp exclaimed, suddenly agitated. “Is it really you?”

“Yes,” he said, “it’s really me.”

“What the hell do you want?”

“I don’t think we should talk about it over the phone,” Quinn said. “Why don’t we meet?” He checked his watch. “Outside the— Outside the Purification Museum, in about an hour?”

“Meet?”
Beauchamp repeated incredulously. “You mean you’re
in Berlin?’

“The Purification Museum,” Quinn said. “In an hour. Half past one. You’ll be there?”

Beauchamp sighed in resignation. “I’ll be there,” he said. “This better be good, Johann. I’m risking my life to be there.”

Quinn hung up the phone and made his way to the parking garage. The car waited exactly where Talleyrand had said it would be, the key in the ignition. Quinn checked the boot to make sure the SS uniform and the other change of clothes were there and put the handgun and some of the money—a roll of one hundred Reichsmark notes—in his pocket. Then he got in the car and left the airport.

He had not known how he would react, being back here after all this time. Now, as he drove through the familiar streets for the first time in four years, he felt no overpoweringly strong emotions, either positive or negative. Instead, there was only a curious detachment, a bland numbness in his chest. His eyes took in the landmarks he knew so well, but all his mind could do was note them clinically.

In a way, this bleak emotionlessness was mirrored in the city around him, but for different reasons. The people on the streets went about their tasks mechanically, staring glassy-eyed off into space as if their bodies were going through the motions, while their conscious minds had seemingly shut off. For almost four decades, their every action, every thought, had been controlled and directed by a single person, a single human will, and now that will was suddenly and unaccountably
absent
. Quite a few probably perceived him almost as a god. Many had probably begun to half-believe he would never die. Quinn secretly suspected that he had been among those.

Traffic was thick, and it was slow going across the city. He was initially surprised that there were so many people out, going about their business; he would have expected the government to declare today a Day of National Mourning. Most likely there was no one with both the authority and the confidence to have put that in motion. With the succession in such doubt, there were certainly quite a few at the top who were angling now for power. No one would want to seem to be gathering power to himself for fear of being the foe against
whom other pretenders to the throne would unite.

And who
would
be the next Führer? Hitler had never married, and though he had kept a string of mistresses—the most significant to him, Eva Braun, had committed suicide over twenty years ago—he had never fathered a child, declaring that any child of his would never be able to emerge from the shadow he cast.

His most likely successors therefore came from his inner circle, the potentates who had been the rulers of Germany for thirty-six years: Bormann, Himmler, and Heydrich. Martin Bormann was Hitler’s personal aide and head of the Nazi Party. Heinrich Himmler,
Reichsführer
of the SS, ruled the Nazi state’s labyrinthine secret police apparatus; his gaze—and his grasp—reached every corner of Germany and her European satellites. And Reinhard Heydrich, once Himmler’s protégé and now his greatest political rival, as Reich Commissar-General of the East, ruled the strife-ridden conquered territories of what had once been the Soviet Union essentially as his own personal fief.

Additionally, there were several other high-ranking members of the Party or the SS or the government, men like Remer, Kaltenbrunner, and Hanke. And then there were the war heroes and military leaders, such as Skorzeny, Gollob or Barkhorn.

Joseph Goebbels, who had perhaps been the key figure in the regime after Hitler for so many years during the war and afterwards, had died in 1963. Göring had died in 1947. When he had first named Göring his successor, the Führer had also named Party deputy Rudolf Hess as second-in-line—but the British had captured Hess in a bizarre episode in 1940, and he had sat in the Tower of London ever since. His captivity was only one of the many issues left unresolved by the Corunna Armistice that had ended the war in 1946; in the years since, no real attempt had ever been made for a proper peace conference to clear them up.

Despite the traffic, Quinn arrived at the Aryan People’s Racial Purification Museum a few minutes after one o’clock, almost half an hour before he was due to meet Maurice. He stood at the entrance to the plaza onto which the museum fronted and wondered why he had chosen to make the rendezvous here, at the museum dedicated to the extermination of the undesirable races of Germany and conquered Europe.

The museum was a hulking neoclassical structure that, like most of the architecture of the Reich, attempted to combine power with a sweeping grace and beauty, but only succeeded in conveying clumsy, depressing, monotonous brute force. Directly above its main entrance, a four-meter high marble swastika superimposed over the Star of David dominated its façade. In the center of the plaza stood a trio of three-meter statues in military-looking uniforms, staring nobly into the distance. Quinn walked forward to the raised pedestal on which they stood and read the plaque at their feet.

From left to right: SS-Obersturmbannführer Karl Adolf Eichmann (1906– ), SS-Oberstgruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich (1904– ) and Governor-General Hans Frank (1900–1968).
And then, in a smaller font beneath:
Three German heroes who were instrumental in cleansing the German people of the racial filth that had defiled us for a millennium. Learn more about these great Germans and more like them in the Hall of Heroes inside the museum
.

Quinn stared up at their faces. The one in the center, Heydrich—now Reich Commissar-General of the East—dominated the three, standing slightly in front of the other two, with his arms akimbo, for it had been Heydrich who bore overall responsibility for the purification program that had eradicated the Jews and other undesirables during and after the war.

Quinn skirted the perimeter of the statues and headed up the museum’s steps toward its entrance. A wrought-iron archway set into the wall framed the entrance; across its crest was emblazoned the legend
Arbeit macht frei.
Work makes you free. A plaque by the door informed him that the arch had originally been the frame for the entrance gates at the Auschwitz Purification center.

The museum’s expansive entrance lobby, kept bright and airy by its glass roof, was deserted save for a pair of elderly docents talking quietly at a reception desk off to one side and a family of Japanese tourists snapping photographs and chatting amongst themselves. Quinn wandered over to the large gilt dedication set into the floor at the lobby’s center.

When National Socialism took power in 1933,
it read,
our Führer had two principal, intertwined goals: the restoration of Germany to her proper place at the forefront of Europe, and the purification of the base elements that had
polluted the German race for too long. This museum is dedicated to the second of those aims
.

Quinn broke off from his reading and looked up as he felt a presence: one of the docents, a small, friendly-looking man in his seventies, was standing at his shoulder. The docent cast a slightly disapproving glance at the Japanese tourists and smiled at Quinn.

“You are German, mein Herr?” He nodded, and the old man’s smile widened. “It is good to see a young German taking an interest in his heritage.” His expression became more solemn, but he remained just as friendly. “You have picked a very appropriate day to visit us—what better way to honor the Führer on this day of days than to contemplate the greatest gift he gave us?”

He paused, clearly waiting for Quinn to say something. When nothing was forthcoming, he cleared his throat and continued, gesturing toward a large archway off to one side of the lobby. “The museum is arranged roughly in a circle; beginning your tour through that entrance will take you along the full path of the purification, beginning with an overview of the full extent of the infiltration of German culture by the undesirable races prior to 1933. Giving every section of the museum the attention it deserves can be a daunting task, however, so each section is also accessible individually via the Garden of Purification at the museum’s center.”

He paused again expectantly. Quinn broke eye contact with him, not sure what to say. The docent’s uniform had a distinctly militaristic tinge, accentuated by the row of ribbons on his jacket’s left breast. He nodded at them. “That’s a lot of ribbons.” His throat felt thick and rough.

The docent nodded and brushed his fingers over them. “These are service decorations,” he explained. “I was a camp guard.”

“Which camp?”

“At Sobibor,” the old man said proudly.

Quinn nodded, turned and simply walked away, leaving the docent standing there. His throat suddenly felt very uncomfortable, and he did not think he would be able to speak. With nowhere else to go, he headed through the archway the docent had indicated.

The images and exhibits along the walls of this first hall were divided into the various groups targeted during the Purification: Communists, homosexuals, the genetically criminal, the mentally retarded or physically deformed, gypsies, and, last of all, the Jews. Quinn walked slowly down the hall, stopping at the Jewish exhibit.

A large photograph taken in the 1920s or early ‘30s showed a dark-complexioned family sitting down for a meal in an opulent dining room; the butler and maid serving them were both blond and fair skinned. A caption informed him that the photograph was of the family of a Jewish factory owner in Mecklenburg. A few feet away, a photograph of a rich Jewish banker, in top hat and a tuxedo, was juxtaposed with a photograph of a German worker, his face covered in grime, with his wife, both of them in ragged clothing.

At the very end of the hall, a large glass case contained a row of human skeletons. Its caption informed Quinn that each skeleton came from a member of a different one of the purified races, while the skeleton at the very end was actually a plaster cast of the skeleton of a Nordic soldier from the Waffen-SS, killed during the conquest of Stalingrad. Quinn stared at them. The Nordic skeleton, a purer white than the others because it was made of plaster, stood ramrod straight, towering over the others, which the museum’s curators had arranged to stand crooked and hunchback—and, no doubt, had selected in the first place because of their small stature. Signs next to the skulls, the ribcages and the thighs compared the physiognomy of the purified peoples unfavorably to that of the Nordic race. A gypsy; a dwarf; a Jew. He stared at the Jew. In the reflection from the glass case he could see his own dark hair and beaked nose. He raised his hand before his face, staring first at its back, then at its palm.

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