Thursday, April 5, 2012
Two months later Hitler’s government announced a new program designed to weed out Germans who were less than perfect. Doctors would sterilize them for the glory of the Reich. Under the new law, men and women would be sterilized if they were “idiots” or schizophrenics or if they suffer from depression, epilepsy or chorea or have “a physical weakness.”
That clinched it for Francois. One of his children had polio, and the disease had left her physically weak. Very weak. For his children and for his wife’s sake, he had to quickly leave his beloved Berlin. This was despite claims by the Nazis (under international pressure) that they would abate the campaign against the Jews.
The day the small Berdau family left Berlin for France they heard that terror had gripped the fashionable Kurfurstendamm district. A gang of 200 angry Nazis viciously beat a group Jews, screaming “Destruction to Jews!” Any cooperation of Germans with Jews brought about immediate punishment.
Towns in the Cologne district forbad any Jews from settling there. Even Barbers weren’t allowed to cut their hair. If they did so, they were arrested as “race defilers.” If any Germans became romantically involved with Jews, both were arrested and sent to separate Concentration Camps. The males were sent to Lichtenberg and the females went to Moringen.
Francois sold his business to a German publishing company, gathered his earnings and his family and took a fast train to Paris. They then traveled on to the Island of Corsica.
He was surprised how little the Island had changed in the twenty or so years he had been gone. He showed his family where he went fishing, and where he went hiking with his friends. He showed them a tree house he built. He smiled as he pointed out that it was still in the tree…after all the years.
As soon as he purchased his farm on Corsica he decided to build the secret room to hide his family should persecution spread throughout Europe. His fears were soon realized as he watched the conquering of the countries that surrounded Germany. One by one they fell, while the world passively watched.
Despite his provision, he never used the room to hide his family. When it became evident that the Germans would conquer France, he instead sent his wife and children to friends in Britain, deciding that his German citizenship and the fact that he spoke fluent German would ensure his safety. It did.
The Resistance met with him just before the occupation, and decided that he should be publicly known as a German sympathizer, but would secretly work with the French. This is why Bonnier so admired his friend.
Few of the locals knew that Francois was loyal to France, and because they saw him as a Nazi sympathizer, the French hated him. He had even been seriously beaten by a group of fishermen, because they saw him as a traitor. Despite the beating, Francois didn’t let his true loyalties be known. The beating actually worked in favor of the Resistance. From then on the Nazis completely trusted Francois, and he often hosted dinners for local Nazi leaders, giving them wine, women, song, and the fatted pig.
This was one reason that the Germans never discovered the secret room filled with weapons. There was another reason. This one that made both Francois and all that knew of its location, quietly smile. The arsenal was hidden under Francois’ pigsty, and the pigsty was always in a pigsty. Piles of stinking waste covered the concrete floor, ensuring that that immediate area was never searched. Only once did the Nazis come close to finding the arsenal. In their efforts to uncover members of the local Resistance, they decided to thoroughly search every part of the island. That included Francois’ property.
They systematically checked all areas of the farm, except for a certain part of the floor of the pigsty. Two soldiers thrust their bayonets into a few piles of straw. They checked out the pig food, and crawled into a foul-smelling area where the pigs slept at night. They even tipped over a large water container, revealing nothing but a solid concrete floor.
Concrete also protruded out of the filth in two other places in the sty, giving the impression that the whole floor was rock-solid. And it was…except for one eighteen-inch square, three-inch deep concrete trap door that led to the huge arsenal of weapons. He had drilled a tiny hole through the door and when he wanted to lift it, he simply threaded a nail attached to some strong thin wire through the hole, and when he pulled it upward, it lifted the door. The opening was just big enough for the lean Frenchman to get into and pass out weapons to thankful Resistance leaders.
To be continued.
Posted by Ray Comfort on 4/05/2012 06:15:00 AM
Two months later...