A Journey Imperilled
Leopold pressed his ear to the kitchen door. “I can’t make out what’s being said,” he whispered.
“Gestapo generally appear at six in the morning not in the evening.” Arvid’s concerned expression convinced Harro that his comment had not allayed his fear. “I saw the most recent list. You weren’t on it.”
“One child could change everything.” Arvid removed his glasses and massaged his forehead. “Their eyes and ears are fiercely loyal to the state. They don’t know any better. Indoctrination at school and the Hitler Youth movement…well, you must know that? Loyalty of children. That’s what Hitler wanted. Brutal, domineering, fearless and cruel youth. I think for the most part Hitler has achieved that.”
Harro knew all too well. Two weeks ago, the secretary to a government inspector of Luftwaffe equipment, had been arrested. Her ten-year-old nephew had turned her in for expressing doubts during supper about the direction of the country. He decided to keep this to himself.
Arvid put on his glasses. “Leopold? Anything?”
“Only voices roused up.”
“I’m not sure. Excited? Maybe.”
Harro peered out the kitchen window onto the quotidian forms of lampposts and oak trees that lined the boulevard behind the tenement. “Well, gentlemen—" he braced himself against the counter—"Whatever our fate, it lies beyond that door. Let me go first. My uniform may carry weight.” He was on his way to the door when it swung open forcing him to stumble backwards.
“Leopold?” Immediately he reached for his revolver in his jacket and pointed it at Harro.
Arvid stepped between them. “Put that thing away! He’s one of us!”
“He is? Then why does he have that uniform on?” Max trained his gun on Harro.
Leopold placed his hand on Max’s forearm and forced it to his side. “Max, that is Harro, codenamed Corporal.’”
“So, you’re Corporal. Sorry about this. Can’t be too careful these days.” He returned his gun to his inside pocket and extended his hand. “I hope no bad feelings?”
“Captain Hall and Melissa Stark, I mean, Madame Henriette D...