a/n I won't be discussing postwar Germany and what happened to rank and file members of the Nazi party, etc, in this chapter. We all know that most escaped justice; the Western allies turning their attention to the Soviet Union.
Wolfgang Hochstetter was one of the few lower-level echelon members of the Gestapo to not escape justice. In retrospect, he realized his obsession with Colonel Robert Hogan was his downfall. If he had burned his files and not buried them so that a German shepherd working for the wrong side could sniff them out, he would have been one of the many German civilians ignored by the approaching Allied army. After a quick investigation, his cousin's home would have most likely been used as an Allied headquarters; he would have had to subsist on substandard rations for a while, but he would have been free.
Instead, Hochstetter was taken back to Germany, and sentenced to fifteen years in prison. He was let out on good behavior after 7 years, and thanks to connections, was given a desk job in the new German police force. The Allies were more concerned with the Cold War and Korea at this point; than rank and file members of the Nazi party. The few friends that had survived the last days in Berlin or Hammelburg, were swallowed up by the bureaucracy, and made new lives for themselves.
The millions of displaced persons were eventually housed in transit camps, and then repatriated or sent on their way. The Jewish survivors were not treated as well. Even Hochstetter felt a bit of guilt now and then, but he did not dwell on it. After all, as an investigator, he was not involved in the round ups. Besides, he had no idea of the extent of the atrocities, or so he convinced himself. Others in his social circle felt the same. Many, including him, blamed Hitler and his crowd for all the suffering that came from the war, including the utter destruction of their homeland, and the Iron Curtain that had fallen over Europe. No one would admit that the German public should also be held responsible.
Hochstetter was assigned to Essen, an industrial city north of Düsseldorf. The city had been the target of many air raids, and was heavily damaged. It was not a particularly pleasant place to be. He had hoped to move to Heidelberg, but his record left him little choice.
On a sunny day in April, a handcuffed man was dragged in front of Hochstetter, and shoved into the seat by his desk. Hochstetter sighed, and pulled his typewriter closer as he prepared to write a report.
"Caught this drifter shoplifting," the arresting officer stated. "He has a record." He handed Hochstetter some paperwork. "And he specifically asked for you."
The suspect gazed at Hochstetter's name plate, and a thin smile came over his face.
"It's your damn fault," he said quietly. "That's why I tracked you down. Our records are still good. It was as easy as taking candy from a baby." He then attempted to butt Hochstetter with his body, shoving the officer off his chair.
"Get control of yourself!" The arresting officer hauled his suspect back into chair by the desk, and then cuffed him to the arm of the chair. "Now I'm charging you with assaulting a police officer."
Hochstetter picked himself up off the floor, brushed off his jacket, and sat down. "My fault? For what? And do I know you?" Hochstetter glanced at the paperwork. The man had just been released from prison. The name did not look familiar. He patiently folded his arms across his chest and waited for an explanation.
"If you hadn't sent out that information about those men posing as Gestapo and helping that damn colonel, I wouldn't have been arrested, and my sister wouldn't have been executed."
"I have no clue what you're babbling about." Hochstetter looked at the arresting officer, who shrugged.
The perpetrator wanted to slug the officer, but all he could do was continue to explain the connection, as if speaking with a child. "You sent our contact information about two men posing as Gestapo and SS agents, including drawings. They worked at the same place as my sister." He lowered his voice to a whisper. "She was a sleeper in London. I worked with her."
"That's why he was in jail." The arresting officer, who was listening with complete fascination, told Hochstetter.
"Go on." Hochstetter prodded. "But, you're talking nonsense. And I don't recognize you or your name."
"You wouldn't. We were sleepers, like I said. Working for someone else. We got caught. My sister had this ridiculous scheme to kidnap those two and then get us to Argentina."
"If you got caught, why did you get a prison sentence, and your sister get executed?" the arresting officer asked.
"The bitch was going to leave me. I told them everything. Of course, if she had let me kill those two and dump them in the river when I suggested it, we wouldn't have been caught then, would we?"
This man is too stupid to realize what he just said, Hochstetter thought. "Call round and see if we can get hold of his file. Take him to holding until we get more information, and then send it up to the captain. And why again did you want to see me?"
"I'm telling you, when I get out of here, you'll be sorry. You should have arrested those nuts at Stalag 13 when you had the chance!" the man yelled as he was led out of the room.
Upon hearing those two words, Hochstetter rose. "Bring him back." The man was re-shackled into the chair. "Tell me everything," Hochstetter ordered. "Don't leave out any details." Drawings? Could it be?
"What's in it for me?" George asked.
"I'll leave out your previous conviction on the report. And I won't press assault charges."
George nodded in agreement. "They knew each other."
"Who?" Hochstetter began taking copious notes.
"That colonel and those two spies."
"But Hogan was in France, at a Lucky Strike camp," Hochstetter stated, although he now suspected this was not true.
"No he wasn't. Maria recognized him. And they knew each other," George said.
"One hundred percent."
At that bit of information, Hochstetter stood up. He grabbed his coat from the rack. "Book this nut," he said to his underling. "I have to go somewhere. And let American intelligence know he's violated his parole."
"Wait," George said to Hochstetter as the other officer uncuffed him from the chair and gave him a shove. "You said we had a deal."
"Bah," Hochstetter said. "I lied."
Outside Hammelburg (the one near Düsseldorf, not in Bavaria)
Brian Olsen was walking his German shepherd along the perimeter of what was once Luft Stalag 13; a small work camp located near the small town of Hammelburg, in the western part of Germany. After the war, he had remained behind; helping to sort out who was who, and to make sure members of the underground were not arrested or harmed. After also seeing to his relatives in the area, he returned to the United States with his fiancée, Oskar Schnitzer's niece, Heidi. They then returned to Germany. Olsen now worked for Army intelligence, while his wife took care of their first child, a girl. He paused near a tree stump and sat down. Taking out a sandwich, he offered a piece to his dog Schultzie, who eagerly swallowed the morsel whole. "This is where we used to sneak in and out," he told his pet. "Your mother knew." The dog wagged its tail; then lay down in the leaves, content. Standing up, Olsen strolled over to the fence line. Pieces of the barbed wire were still intact, but the interior of the camp looked neglected. The guard towers were down, and the remaining buildings were in need of repair or bull-dozing. Either way, the camp would eventually no longer exist. It was just a matter of time. Seeing that everything was calm, he walked back towards the road. As he turned in the right direction, Schultzie's hair stood up and he growled. "What is it, boy?" Olsen knelt and gave the dog a pat on its head.
Hochstetter no longer owned a vehicle, so he took the train down to Hammelburg and got a cab to take him to the front gate of the stalag. He paid the driver, and then stood and looked, oblivious to the man and the dog that approached him from the rear.
"Ahem," Olsen said. Right on time
Hochstetter turned around to see a young American lieutenant, and a large and fierce-looking German shepherd standing in front of him.
"What are you doing here?"Hochstetter asked.
Smiling pleasantly, Olsen replied. "Taking my dog for a walk, and getting a good look at my former prison."
At this, Hochstetter, who did not recognize the American, perked up.
"You were a prisoner here?"
"Yes, sir. And you are Wolfgang Hochstetter, formerly head of the Hammelburg Gestapo office. What are you doing here?"
Wary, Hochstetter stepped back and remained silent.
"It's no secret. You used to show up here a lot. In that black car of yours. We could hear your yelling all the way across the compound. Word got around."
"I'm in the police force," Hochstetter replied. "I have discovered a connection between a prisoner of mine and this camp. Sorry, I didn't catch your name."
"Olsen. So Hochstetter, what kind of connection would that be?"
"Ah, a couple of spies came to the camp posing as Gestapo, and then they posed as SS. And they were involved with Hogan. And he was involved with them. Were you aware that this area of Germany had the most sabotage during the war?"
"It's a fact. And Hogan was responsible. He was the ringleader."
Olsen laughed. "And how would he manage that?"
"Good question. He had to have a way in and out of camp. Tunnels, the guards. You knew didn't you? In fact, I would bet you were involved." Hochstetter stroked his mustache. "Although, I never saw you hanging around with those others that were always following your colonel around like puppy dogs."
Olsen ignored the disparaging comment about his friends and fellow bunkmates. "I would think that if he had a way in and out of camp, he wouldn't have come back. We needed all the pilots we could get. As for tunnels, as soon as we could dig 'em, Klink's ferrets sniffed them out. We bribed the guards. Everyone did. But not to get out. To get more food, hot water. The usual. So what do you hope to find here?"
"I don't know." Hochstetter stared at the camp. It looked desolate and neglected.
"You can't get in. It's locked," Olsen told him. "I heard they're going to raze it, and use the land to build housing." He could see Hochstetter was becoming agitated, and decided to end the conversation. "Look, the war's over. Why don't I go back to town with you, and buy you a beer. I was in that camp for almost three years, and the only hanky-panky going on was between the colonel and the secretaries."
"But I was with the Gestapo," Hochstetter countered. "Now why would an American soldier want to hang out with me?" he asked, hoping that Olsen would not renege on the invite.
"Like I said, Hochstetter. The war is over. We have other enemies now."
Believing that his still formidable interrogation skills would get at the truth, Hochstetter agreed to Olsen's invitation. Hopefully, he thought, Olsen's lips would loosen after a few drinks.
"Truth is stranger than fiction."
"Well that's a given. Garcon, une autre bière, s'il vous plait." Todd Boswell snapped his fingers. "Et une autre pour mon ami."
"No. That's the title of my book."
"The one I started back in '45," Garrett reminded him.
"You can't put half the things you should in the book, Mitch. It's still classified. The book will be boring."
"I'd expect you of all people to support me in my artistic endeavors," Garrett said, half-joking.
Boswell spit out his drink. "Look what you did." He grabbed a napkin and started wiping the stain off his tie. "No one wants to read or hear about the war anymore. Europe and the Pacific want to forget it, and Americans are more interested in television and moving to the suburbs."
"I'm not writing about the war, per se. It's going to have more of an international spy flavor. Two dashing and handsome diplomatic attachés recruited as spies, find themselves caught up in international intrigue in prewar Germany; then find themselves fighting evil as undercover agents in occupied Europe. It has Hollywood blockbuster written all over it." (1)
Boswell patted his friend's hand. "You've been spending too much time at cushy embassy assignments. Try working in Berlin, and you wouldn't have any time to chase after windmills."
"If you're so busy, how come you had time to come to Paris?"
"All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy." As Boswell finished his sentence he spied a very attractive woman taking a seat at a table several yards away. A waiter quickly placed a drink next to the woman and left. "Observe, my artistic friend." He walked over to the table, and said a few words. Garrett laughed as the contents of the glass landed in his friend's face.
A chastened Boswell returned to the table, as Garrett lifted his eyebrows. "So, you're not writing about?"
Garrett interrupted Boswell before he mentioned the camps. "I can't go there. I feel like we should have done something, but no one wanted to listen." He sighed. "No. I can't stay an agent forever. I want to retire eventually. I'll embellish on the more exciting aspects, and the part intelligence played in winning the war. What I can without getting arrested that is. Speaking of which, do you know when Papa Bear's operation will be declassified?"
(1) Ian Fleming beat Garrett to it. His first James Bond novel, "Casino Royale," was published in 1952