If Hitler Had a Son
Author's note: I love WWII. I got the idea after having a nightmare. I dreamed that the Nazis (with the help of... Show full author's note »
Chapter 3Cold and frightened, Björn sat alone in a corner watching a man, woman, and boy a couple years younger than himself. Both the women and child looked frightened.
The man was standing over the boy, a frown spread across his face. He was greatly displeased. The young boy looked bored, ready to go home. He gazed up at his mother, confused. “Where are we, Mutter?” he whined. “I want to go home!”
The room felt cramped with three people in the middle while another hid silently in the corner, sometimes holding his breath to make so he wouldn't make a sound. There were several old chairs and a bookshelf in the corner where Björn was hiding, but most of the space was occupied by a large Victorian desk.
“We are in Germany young man,” the man replied, taking a couple steps back. “Stand up. I must have a proper look at you.” The young boy did as he was asked.
Björn was losing interest in their conversation. His eyes were fluttering, just about to close when he was startled awake by someone shouting. It was the man. “How dare you lie to me!What is his name? What is the boy's name?”
“Arthur,” she meekly replied. “His name is Arthur.”
The man walked up to Arthur’s mom and struck her. The blow knocked her to the floor. Helpless to do anything, Arthur stepped back as he was forced to watch as the stranger proceeded to beat his mom. He froze in horror. Björn felt pity for him, but there was nothing he could do, so he just sat there, safely hidden in his little corner and waited.
Finally, the man stopped and allowed the mother and Arthur to leave. Björn looked up as they walked by. Arthur’s mom caught his eye. Her face was all bloody and her clothes were torn. For a moment, he feared she would give him away, but she did not. It didn’t matter anyway.
“Dummer junge, you stupid boy! Get up, out of that corner.” the man snapped as soon as the others were out of the room.
“Me?” Björn asked in surprise as he obeyed.
“Yes, you. Explain yourself! I would have dealt with you earlier if I didn’t have business to attend to.” His icy blue eyes bore into Björn, waiting for a reply.
“What happened to that poor lady?” Björn asked timidly. “She looked so nice. Did she do something wrong?”
The man just stared at him. “Did she do something wrong? Yes, you stupid boy. She did something wrong! She lied to me and she got her just punishment. Liars are not to be tolerated. You hear?”
“Yes, sir.” Björn mumbled, staring at his dirty shoes.
“Now tell me. Why are you here?” the man said, repeating his previous question, a look of content on his face. He stroked his mustache as he waited for Björn to speak. “Come on now. I don't have all day.”
“Well,” said Björn, “My parents need to meet someone here and they said I could look around.” His voice began to falter. “I got lost.” He dropped his head again.
“I see, but why did you come? Why didn't your parents just leave you at home with a baby sitter?”
“It’s my birthday. We are going out to dinner after their meeting. I turned seven.” Björn replied, holding up seven skinny fingers on his hands.
“In that case, I’ll let you go. Don’t let me catch you in here again. Got that?” the strange man asked, lifting up his eyebrows. Björn was sure he even winked.
“Yes, sir.” Björn started to leave but stopped in mid step. He forgot he was lost. “Excuse me kind sir, I would most gladly leave but I’m lost and don’t know where my parents are. Could you help me please?”
“Sorry my boy, but I cannot. I’m too busy as I have more business to attend to. Go out into the hall, turn right, and find door number three on the left hand side. Ask for Herr Drei. He’ll help you.” The man than proceeded to sit at his desk to rifle through papers. When he looked up he found a nervous seven-year-old still standing there, still waiting to be shown the way.
“Well, are all little boys in Germany incapable of following simple instructions?!”
“No, sir. I just… I just… I was just going.” Björn replied drooping his head in shame.
“Be gone then! I have work to do.”
Björn turned to face the door, took a deep breath, and pushed out into the hallway. Turning right, he counted slowly as he passed the majestic mahogany doors on the left hand side. “Eins… zwei… drei…” Upon reaching the number three, he stopped, gazing at the enormous door before him. Nine golden little letters sprawled across the door to spell out Auskunft, Information.
Lightly nudging the door, Björn stepped inside. It was not a large room. In fact it was rather short and skinny. He took a short breath closed his eyes. He could feel the walls closing in on him, but then he remembered why he was there. Björn wished to make his presence known. “Entschuldigen Sie! Herr Drei? Excuse me!” He waited and soon after, a tall, skinny man with brown eyes and spectacles came scuttling in.
“Guten Tag, Herr…”
“Knapp.” Björn added politely.
“Ahh. Young Herr Knapp. I grew up with up with your father and think most highly of him. I talk to him from time to time and he tells me you are doing well in your studies. What are you doing here?” He motioned for Björn to take a seat and sat in a chair beside him. He took that as a time to get a better sense of the room. He saw light peach walls adorned with many posters he couldn't read. He also saw that there were more doors leading to other rooms. Satisfied in his observations, he did as he was told.
Björn recounted what happened and how he some how ended up in the room across the hall and told, somewhat reluctantly, about the beating he witnessed. “Who is that man, the one in the room across the hall? He would not give his name and sent me here to find my way back.” Björn asked tentatively.
Leaning forward in his seat, Herr Drei frowned contemplating what to say. Finally, after several moments of silence, he spoke. “I do not know who that is. I wish I could tell you, but I should really get you back to your parents.” Herr Drei looked worried. Did he really know who that man was? Was he reluctant to tell Björn for fear he would say something? Björn knew those questions would never be answered, at least for awhile.
“That sounds wonderful.” Björn agreed, standing up. Herr Drei stood up and led little Björn out of the room into the cold, desolate hallway. At once they set off to find his parents but to no avail. They roamed the halls for at least a good half hour before they finally found them.
They were standing in the most ironic place, right across the hall from Herr Drei's room. Their meeting had been with the strange man.
Björn ran to hug his father, but stopped halfway, confused. He couldn't understand the look his father gave him. One of hatred, rejection, and agony. Seeing this, Björn slowly inched up to him. “Father?”
Björn woke to sunshine in his eyes, trying to forget that ridiculous dream. It had been nearly twelve years to the day since he'd been there, since he had seen that boy's face. It was a face would never forget.
Kicking off his covers, he sat up in his small bed. His uniform stared him in the face. All black, it was outdated but it served it's purpose, a secret purpose. It was the uniform for a secret group with no name and no ranks, except for one: The Führer. It was a big day. The day they would get their missions.
He reached out and fingered the rough black material. He couldn't believe it was finally happening, after so many years. Why had they picked him? That was a question he had constantly asked himself since they had picked him on that cold, but cloudless day in 1933. Björn closed his eyes and allowed himself to be overcome by another memory.
There was not a single cloud in the sky as Björn followed the rest of his classmates into the school gym. It was the only place in the entire school that could hold all 723 of them. Constant noise and chatter filled the room. Björn took a seat in the middle of the crowded bleachers and looked around. He was surrounded by students, most of whom were about his age. Even though he was only eleven, he could sense the feeling of uneasiness that hung in the air. That certainly wasn't a good sign. The only times they were all gathered together like this was when the principle had bad news, very bad news.
They were right, at least a little, for after several minutes of waiting, their principle came in, followed by men in black uniforms. The principle was a man in his 50s. Already he had grey hair, but all the students thought it just made him look smarter. Clearing his throat, he began to speak. “Thank you for waiting patiently. I have an important announcement to make today, one that will likely affect some of you very much. But there is something else I must do first. If I call your name, please come down and stand next to me.” He paused before continuing.
Björn didn't pay much attention to what the principle said until he heard his own name. Stunned, he stood up and worked his way down the bleacher. “Me?” he asked when he got to the front of the gym.
“Yes, you.” replied the principle. “But excuse me. I really must finish.” He only had two names left. In all, only 12 names were called, all boys, no girls. That surprised Björn greatly. What could they have been chosen for where no girls where needed? Sports? Who knew. They would soon find out anyway.
“I'm sure you're very interested in why your names have been called. These men have come to choose, and have chosen, 12 fine young boys for their special school in Berlin. You have been chosen because you intelligence and athletic abilities far exceed many others in the area. They will train and teach you to be heroes. You will bring your country honor.”
Björn didn't like the sound of that. Leave home to move to Berlin? Leave all his friends? Start a new life? But as the principle said, he would bring his country honor.
“Herr Knapp? Herr Knapp? Wake up!” Björn blinked his eyes several times as he tried to process what was going on. He knew two things. One, he was on the floor staring at the ceiling. Two, someone was shaking him awake.
“What happened?” he asked, rubbing the back of his head.
“I get in here and you're on the floor, asleep.” The young man was not much older than Björn, yet he was treated with the respect of someone much older.
“I must of bumped my head,” he said, tenderly rubbing a lump on the back of his head. “What time is it?”
“It's ten minutes till nine.”
“Scheisse! I'm late! Leave! Now! I must get dressed.” The young man left without hesitation. He looked around. He couldn't find his uniform. Where did it go? He remembered seeing right after he had gotten out of bed this morning. Where could it have gone? Of all days to misplace his uniform, he had to choose this day. To his left was a table. It wasn't there. To his right was a bookshelf. It wasn't there either. Lastly, Björn looked by the door where the coat hanger was. It wasn't there. Standing up, he fell backwards on his bed, stretching his arms in fustration Moments later, his hands came upon a rough material. When Björn turned around, he saw his uniform folded neatly on his pillow.
After quickly changing, he stood before the mirror on his door. Everything was perfect. His uniform was clean and wrinkle free, and a sharp black swastika on his blood red armband. Yes, everything was perfect, except for his boots, for it was covered with scuffs and dirt marks. Björn made no attempt to clean them. On such an important day, who would care if his boots were a little dirty. Grabbing for the knob, he flung open the door and he was off.