A Traitor's Loyalty: A Novel (5 page)

Abruptly he turned and walked out the exit. Rather than continuing into the next hall, he instead went through a door through the cracks of which he could see daylight. He emerged into an idyllic garden, its winding brick paths lined with pleasant, shady trees and intermittent benches.

“The Purification Garden,” a sign informed him.
This garden marks the center of the museum. The tree is an
ancient symbol of the renewal of life. The trees planted in this garden symbolize the renewal of the German and Aryan races that the purification of the pollutants has made possible. Each tree is dedicated to an individual German hero who played an especially significant role in the Purification, or to an Aryan colony in the East founded on lands freed from subhuman infestation during the Purification
.

Quinn passed quickly through the garden, for its serenity did nothing to dispel the growing sickness he felt rising in his throat. He picked a door at random on its far side and exited the garden into another exhibition hall.

Another sign greeted him at the hall’s entrance:
The Purification proceeds. As Wehrmacht forces completed the pacification of the Soviet Union, the SS constructed several more camps dedicated solely to purification in the newly conquered territories and accelerated the deportation of subhumans to the Eastern Territories, concentrating especially on Jews
.

Large black and white photographs of emaciated inmates arriving at the camps in cattle cars, being sorted into male and female, healthy and unhealthy groups by SS doctors, dominated the walls. The inmates’ uniforms bore triangles whose different colors would have indicated what class of prisoner they were; the Jews bore the Star of David in place of a triangle. Prisoners classed as troublesome had large targets sewn onto their backs. Quinn’s eyes searched the inmates, staring at their gaunt, emaciated faces, shaven heads, and sunken eyes.

A sudden peal of laughter jerked him out of his reverie, and a young girl—four or five years old—ran past him, clutching something black in her hand. A moment later another child—a boy, a year or two older—followed, carrying something grey. He turned to follow them with his eyes. The boy caught up with the girl and grabbed her by the upper arm, reaching for the object in her hand, and Quinn realized it was a Waffen-SS figurine, possibly from the museum’s gift shop; the grey toy the boy clutched—it took Quinn a moment longer to tell what it was—was a figurine of a partisan fighter, one of the groups of Slavs or Jews who had taken to the hills and fought the German conquest. The Propaganda Ministry represented them as pests, a minor irritation who struggled futilely against their inevitable cleansing. They were less than the German soldiers they opposed: smaller, toothless, in ragged clothing. The girl was managing to keep the Waffen-SS figurine just out of the boy’s reach, and giggling uncontrollably.

“Hans, Frida,” a voice said, firmly but not angrily, and Quinn turned to see a couple standing next to one of the exhibits, the father facing the children while the mother examined the display. “Come here,” the father said. “Don’t stray so far from us.”

Obediently the children returned to their parents, the girl still giggling as she successfully kept the Waffen-SS trooper away from the boy. Quinn turned away and focused his attention once more on the exhibits.

In the center of the hall was a sunken pit. Quinn stood over it and peered down. It contained three piles: what looked like a mass of rubber, a glittering pile of tiny gold pebbles, and a mass of sheared animal hair.
Recovered from incoming inmates,
a sign set into the floor informed him.
Every effort was made to reap as many resources as possible from the purified. Their shoes were kept for the rubber soles, and their hair was shaven to provide raw material for woolen garments. After incineration, gold tooth fillings were recovered from the ashes
.

The bile rising in Quinn’s throat threatened to overpower him now. He stepped back and checked his watch. Twenty-five past one; five minutes until he met Maurice. He turned and hurried from the hall. He crossed through the garden once more, then through the lobby, ignoring the docent he’d met before when the old man called out to him. Half-stumbling in his haste, he passed through the front entrance and out into the plaza beyond.

He saw Maurice Beauchamp immediately, sitting on one of the public benches ringing the plaza. The Frenchman was expecting him to come from the direction of the street, not the museum, so Quinn was able to come upon him from behind. As Quinn approached, he paused to collect himself and took the opportunity to study any changes in the man he had once known so well.

Maurice was of medium height and rather thin, with a thin mustache. He had bad eyes and, to correct them, wore a pair of wire-rimmed spectacles with circular frames. A shock of bright red hair had already gone
half grey after only forty-two years. Quinn regretted the grey; he knew that it came, like his nervous tic and stammer, from the immense stress under which Maurice lived every second of his life, and to which Quinn had been a great contributing factor; for it was he who had discovered Maurice’s secret.

Quinn walked over to the bench and sat down next to Beauchamp. The Frenchman looked up at him with a start. He had been feeding pigeons with breadcrumbs from a paper bag.

“S-so you’re r-really here,” he stammered. He spoke French, as the two of them always did together. There was less chance of an eavesdropper overhearing them this way, and Maurice spoke almost no German anyway. “I don’t think I’ve really b-believed it until now I’ve actually s-seen you.”

“Believe me,” Quinn said, “I wouldn’t ever again set foot in Germany of my own free will.” He paused. “It’s good to see you, Maurice.”

Beauchamp went back to feeding the pigeons. “I w-wish I could say the same. I’m risking my life just sitting n-next to you. Himmler’s eyes are everywhere.” Reflexively, his eyes darted around his surroundings, searching the passersby for any who might be clandestine agents of Heinrich Himmler’s Gestapo. “Why are you here?”

“What do you know about Richard Garner?”

Beauchamp did not look up from his pigeons. “I know he’s part of the MI6 contingent at the British embassy. Liaison with the local Resistance, I believe. Rumor has it that he’s gone to ground. Preparing to defect.”

“I see the intelligence agencies in Berlin are still just as good at keeping each other in the dark about their affairs,” Quinn said dryly.

“Sent you after G-Garner, have they?” Beauchamp asked, bitterness creeping into his voice. “You always were the best at ferreting out whatever it was anyone had to hide.”

Quinn was instantly defensive. “Hey! Karl was my friend too. I didn’t want him killed anymore than you did.”

“Yes,” Beauchamp said. “B-but it wasn’t
my
people that killed him.”

Quinn frowned and opened his mouth to ask what Beauchamp meant; the
Germans
killed Karl. But now he did not have the time. With a strong effort of will, he pushed these thoughts to a back corner of his mind and returned to the more pressing matter. “Can you help me with Garner?” he asked. “You said he works with the Resistance. Do you know any of his contacts?”

Beauchamp stared at him for a moment, obviously noticing the reaction his words about Karl had produced, before he answered. “Yes,” he said. “One. Jürgen Denlinger, a student at Friedrich Wilhelm. He’s the leader of a local
Weisse Rose
cell.”

Weisse Rose
, the White Rose. There were several civilian anti-Nazi organizations in Germany, most of them student-based, and they loved to name themselves after the ring of Munich students who had been beheaded by the Gestapo in 1943 for distributing anti-Nazi literature. In reality, none of the various small meetings that used the name had anything to do with each other. The Gestapo and the dissidents they tried to suppress both liked to talk of “the White Rose” like some monolithic institution with conspirators at every German university, but really it was simply dozens of disparate, isolated groups.

“Where would he be right now?” Quinn asked.

“At home, probably. The university probably canceled classes for the day.”

“Do you know where he lives?”

Beauchamp hesitated. “Yes,” he said reluctantly.

Quinn rose. “I can’t just walk in and ask him about the White Rose. You’ll have to introduce us.”

“What? Right now?”

Quinn nodded. “I’m in a hurry.”

“B-but I can’t right now. I have things to—”

“I don’t have time to argue, Maurice. Come on.”

He turned and headed towards the museum. With a sigh, Beauchamp got up and followed.

There was a bank of payphones in the museum lobby. Quinn waited while Beauchamp looked up Denlinger’s number and called him.

“Hello?” Beauchamp said into the receiver. “Jürgen Denlinger? We have met before. My name is Maurice Beauchamp, from the Fren— Yes, well, I’d like to meet with you please. Immediately . . .” His German was halting, broken. “There is someone who would like to meet you. . . . No, no, I assure you, you are in no danger. There is no deception here. Herr Denlinger, if the Gestapo r-really wanted to take you into custody, don’t you think they could come up with a better and l-less complicated method than having a French diplomat lure you to a meeting with a mysterious stranger?. His name is—” He faltered, looking at Quinn.

“Matthias Kaufholz,” Quinn supplied quickly.

“—Matthias Kaufholz,” Beauchamp finished. “He—is interested in a mutual friend. . . . What? Yes, I know the place. . . . Yes, we’ll be there. Half an hour? . . . Excellent. See you soon, Herr Denlinger.”

Beauchamp hung up the phone and started walking towards the museum exit. Quinn fell into step beside him.

“He wants us to meet him at a small corner café in the student district,” Beauchamp said. “In half an hour.”

Quinn nodded. “Good job, Maurice. I appreciate it.” Maurice just shot him a dirty look.

“So,” Quinn asked, once they were in the car and on the way to their rendezvous, “is there anything else you can tell me about Garner?”

Beauchamp thought for a moment. “I think I may have heard that he’s been at some of the meetings.”

“Meetings?”

“The meetings. At Prinz Albrechstrasse.”

Quinn stared at him. Gestapo headquarters? “What meetings?”

“You haven’t heard about them?”

“I landed in Berlin less than two hours ago.”

“But if they didn’t include them in your briefing, perhaps he hasn’t been to them after all.”

“What meetings?” Quinn asked.

“There have been meetings going on at Prinz Albrechstrasse for almost a year now,” Beauchamp explained. “Between British embassy staff and representatives from the RSHA.”

RSHA—
Reichssicherheitshauptamt
—State Central Security Office. The parent body of the SS, the SD, and the Gestapo, and the most feared intelligence agency in the world.

“Why would British embassy staff be at Prinz Albrechtstrasse?”

Quinn asked. “What were these meetings about?”

Beauchamp shrugged. “I’ve no idea. They’re supposed to be very secret. Very few people know about them, but I have my sources.”

“How high-ranking was the British staff?”

“I really don’t know. The embassy first secretary was at a few, I believe.”

“And from the RSHA?”

“Just aides. But aides to powerful men—Skorzeny, Kaltenbrunner. Even Himmler maybe.”

Quinn frowned, considering. Otto Skorzeny, the SS’s greatest wartime adventurer, and Ernst Kaltenbrunner, head of the RSHA under Himmler’s supervision. And Heinrich Himmler, Reichsführer, the man who had built the SS and RSHA into the most feared secret police the world had ever seen; after Adolf Hitler, the most powerful man in Germany. And now Hitler was dead.

What could these meetings have been about?

And why had Talleyrand not mentioned them?

Quinn decided not to voice these questions, but brooded on them the rest of the way to their rendezvous.

The café stood in a run-down area full of low apartment buildings a few blocks from Friedrich Wilhelm University. There were few people about. The café’s only customer sat nursing a cup of coffee at one of a handful of tables lining the pavement just outside the café door. He was tall and gaunt, with stringy, shoulder-length blond hair and an unimpressive scraggle of stubble. He wore a grey coat and a pair of jeans, and in his
hand he held of beer bottle bearing the distinctive Heineken logo of a red star clutched in the claws of the National Socialist eagle.

He looked up and fastened his gaze on Maurice as he and Quinn approached. “Beauchamp,” he said when the two men reached his table. His voice was thin and reedy. He cocked his head slightly, shifting his gaze to Quinn. “You must be Herr—Kauffmann?”

Quinn nodded, aware of the trap to see if he really responded to the name. Only the very inexperienced would fall for it, but it was still worth paying attention to the basics. “Kaufholz,” he corrected. “A friend of Richard Garner.” His German, he knew, was flawless, with the slightest hint of a Bavarian accent.

Denlinger’s eyes widened slightly at Garner’s name, then darted about as if to check that no SS man had craftily hidden himself behind one of the café’s small wire-framed chairs. Finally he nodded for the two men to sit down. “How do you know Garner?” he asked.

“We work for the same people,” Quinn said. “I assume you know he’s disappeared?”

“I’d heard something along those lines.”

“I’ve been sent to find him.”

“Sorry, can’t help you,” Denlinger said quickly. “I have no idea where he is.”

“Maurice tells me you’re his contact with the White Rose. Are there any other members of your cell that Garner knows?”

Denlinger paused and stared at Quinn. Quinn could see the thoughts running through his mind: was he really who he said he was, or was he Gestapo? But if he was Gestapo, then why was he here? Denlinger was, after all, a known associate of Richard Garner, so he would already be under surveillance. And, at the moment, he was not enough of a threat to do anything more than simply keep an eye on. There had not been any strong resistance movements in Germany outside the military for over twenty years. At best, all the White Rose did nowadays was spray seditious graffiti on alley walls. The SS was always trying to stamp them out on general principle, but they were not willing to put any effort into it.

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