Daniel slowly opened his eyes. Where am I? And how did I get here? he wondered. Suddenly the events of the following night rushed back to him.
Major Ubel had Max and Helena! He had to get to them, they had to get to Switzerland! He tried to raise himself on his left arm, but a sharp pain caused him to cry out. At that moment the door opened and man hurried in, carrying in his hands, a tray with what seemed to be coffee, essg and toast. hurriedly setting the tray down, he hurried over and helped Daniel to sit.
“I wouldn't try that again if I were you, my boy. That shoulder got hurt somethin’ awful.”
“Yes, my shoulder. I’m surprised I'm not dead. Who are you?”
“Well, I could be askin’ you the same thing my boy. I found you a layin’ in a pool of blood.”
“I--I got shot.”
“Well, that was pretty obvious. But, where are my manners? My name is Fremont,Fremont Baxter. I was out on a ride with my horse when I found you. I brought you back here and the doctor came and took the bullet out, stitched you up. And,” he walked over and picked up the tray. “My wife just sent this breakfast up for you. So, what’s your story? I know you’re a jew. That much was pretty obvious.” He leaned closer. “You can trust me. My wife and I along with our two kids have been hiding jews here ever since the Gestapo have started their midnight raids. Killing God's chosen people is a terrible crime. We feel that God has led us to be a part of the saving of his people, though why he would chose us is beyond me. I’m just a simple man, full of flaws just like everyone else.”
Daniel looked at the man. There was something in his eyes that made Daniel rust him completely.
“Well, you may not believe me, but I am a lieutenant,” he paused to let it sink in. ‘In the Third Reich.”
At this the man sat up in shock.
“Yep, I knew you wouldn't believe me.” Daniel sad, taking a drink of coffee.
“It’s not that it just--wow! A jew in the Third Reich.”
“Well, I’m am no longer a “jew” in that sense. You see, I was adopted by German parents when I was just five years old. They gave me the German name Wilhelm. When I was adopted I became part of the higher circles in Berlin. No one ever knew I was a jew. Except my parents. Except me. I became friends with two other boys from leading families. We were close friends, grew up together, entered the Wehrmacht together. They are both Majors, I’m a lieutenant and we are still friends. But they are friends with Wilhelm, not Daniel.’
“My jewish name. You see, I lead the life of two very different people. On one hand I’m a respect lieutenant, I’m am for Hitler, for the Third Reich. On the other hand, I’m the informer. I warn others of raid, pass on important information, and,” he sighed. “I was helping two children escape when I got shot. Shot by one of my friends, Major Ubel.”
“Does he know it was you?”
‘No, I have the weekend off to visit my parents. And believe me, I look much different in what I’m wearing now then in my uniform.”
Fremont chuckled. “I can believe it. You don’t look more than seventeen years old, especially with those glasses!”
“Well, let me assure you that I am older than seventeen! I’m twenty-three.”
“So what are you going to do now?”
“What else? I’ve got to be back in Innsbruck by Tomorrow afternoon and--”
“Wait,” Fremont interrupted him. “You’re going back? That’s crazy! What if they recognize you?”
“Be assured, they won’t. BUt before that I’ve got to get Helena and Max away into Switzerland.”
Fremont shook his head. “Now I know you’re crazy. You can’t move your shoulder, let alone lead two kids over the mountains!”
“Well, that's not even the worst of it. Helena can’t walk without help. Might not be able to walk at all now.” he muttered. “Not if Ubel got a hold of her.”
‘And why is that? What would he have done?”
“Ubel enjoys seeing people at his mercy. That would have been Helena. The past few weeks she’s relied on Ramond and Ada for everything. Then it was me.”
“Ramond and Ada?”
“Ada was one of the cooks back in Innsbruck and Ramond is the other Major.”
“But why would he help her at all?”
“Ramond is dedicated to the cause of Hitler, but he isn’t hard like Ubel. Ubel would have delighted in tormenting Helena. Kicking her, striking her, making her walk without help.”
“How do you work in that kind of setting?”
Daniel sighed, “Only by the grace of God. But back to the present, I’ve got to get to Helena and Max and get them over the border tonight.”
“Let us help.”
“No, no. I can’t get you involved.”
“Daniel, You won’t get far on your own. You must realize that. Let us help!”
Daniel sighed. “Thank you.”
Fremont stood up. “Well, you finish breakfast and I’ll go fill in my family. Then we can work on a plan.
“Wait, wait, wait a minute. So that’s your plan? Go in there and bluff your way to the kids?”
Fremont nodded. “I’ve done it once before. It wasn’t the best experience, but it worked out alright.”
Daniel shook his head. “There is no way either of them will let you near the children. It won’t matter if you’re higher rank, you don’t have papers. They’ll know immediately what you're up to. And there’s another problem. Ramond keeps Helena with him. All the time. When she’s alone the door is locked If it’s difficult enough to get Max out from there, it will be nearly impossible to get her out. “
Fremont sat back. “Well then what do you suggest we do?”
Daniel sighed. “That’s the problem. I don’t have any ideas either. If only we knew what the place was like! Is there anyone you know who has any access to the inside?”
Fremont shook his head.
Suddenly Daniel's eyes lit up. ‘I've got an Idea! What’s your son like?”
“What’s he like? I’m not sure I follow you.”
“Oh, you know! His features! Is he dark haired? Light haired? What about his eyes? How old is he”
Fremont nodded. “I see what you’re getting at. He’s the perfect example of a pure aryan. He’s tall with sandy blond hair, light blue eyes. He’s seventeen.”
“Perfect! Just what they’re looking for here in Austria! Okay, here’s my idea. Most people in Austria resent the German, but I probably don’t need to tell you that. If a certain young man was to walk up to the garrison and act interested and intrigued with everything. Major Ubel is tough, but his weak spot is flattery. He could get a tour then--”
“Yes, it’s perfect!” Fremont exclaimed. “I’ll go and get , Matthaus then you can give him some instructions.” He hurried out the door and returned only minutes later with a tall, handsome young man.
“Mathaus? It’s good to meet you! Has your father told you what we’ve been talking about?”
Mathaus nodded.” I’m supposed to pretend to be interested in everything about the Third Reich.”
“Not just interested, Mathaus, exuberant! So excited about the new agreement you can hardly contain it. Do you think you can pull that off?”
Mathaus nodded, the smallest hint of a smile showing through his eyes. “Yes, sir. I’ll enjoy it.”
“Okay, we need to know where exactly they are being held. Max is fifteen, he has blond hair, gray eyes. He’s almost as tall as you. Helena is a bit different. I think that’s one of the reasons Ramond keeps her with him. She’s fourteen, but small for her age. She has dark brown hair, dark blue eyes, and she’ll have a cast on her right leg. She may be small, but she’s full of spunk. Now the Majors. Major Ramond is tall and slim, he has blond hair and his disposition isn’t as hard as Major Ubel’s. If you see them together, you’ll know what I mean. Major Ubel is a couple inches shorter and he’s heavyset, he has steel gray eyes and trust me, you can’t forget them. Flatter him. Make him enjoy telling you about Third Reich, that’s one subject he’ll go on about for hours. Just don’t try that with Major Ramond. It won’t work Also, Major Ramond has a heavy German accent.”
Mathaus nodded. “I’ll leave right away.”*************