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Beginning our new serial... the latest powerful novel

By JON CLEARY

"YOUR SECTION goes on Frida) night," said Ben Keppel.

.'We aren't ready yet!" Luise Graz felt a nutter of apprehension, tried to keep her voice calm but failed. Not so long ago she had thought she would never be afraid of anything again; not because she had conquered fear but because all feeling itself had gone. Now Ben Keppel was offering her the chance of freedom and she

was afraid to take it because of what else it involved.

She went on, piling up excuses like a barricade: "You said it would not be for at least another month. It will be too cold in the mountains for the children. And two of the women are still getting over pneumonia."

"Then you'll have to leave those women

behind."

"And who makes that decision - me?

You know they'll hate me if I tell them they can't go."

"Then put it to a vote. Prove you're a leader - explain the situation. Then do it the democratic way - no one should resent a majority vote."

He had taken off his jacket and rolled up his sleeves. He wore only a thin sleeveless jumper over his shirt, but he did

not seem to feel the chill breeze that blew down from the mountains. He was a thin

dark-haired young man with an old face. He had lived a lifetime before he had yet passed his majority.

He was rubbing the tattooed number on

his forearm. It was a habit of his that

irritated Luise, who always kept her sleeves

down over her own number and tried to

avoid looking at it. If she got to Palestine she would seek out a surgeon and have him

remove the tattoo. For her it was not a

badge of honour, as it was with so many in the camp, but a searing reminder of how much, as a human being, she had been degraded.

Keppel noticed her look and said a little sheepishly. "I keep hoping I may be able to

rub it off."

She was surprised: she had always

taken him for one of those who would all

his life boast of having survived Auschwitz.

"Are you ashamed of it?"

He shook his head emphatically.

"No, no. But it gives me away when I'm travelling through Italy - as soon as the . English see me, they have me marked. The English in Italy are much more suspicious

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CONTINUED FROM PAGE 109

than the ones here in Germany." He grinned, his teeth gaunt in the shrunken sums. "And of course they should be. Italy is so much closer to Palestine."

Luise smiled, aware with a flicker of the old youthful vanity that by some miracle her own teeth and gums had recovered. Her beauty of face and figure, too, had survived, emerging over the past nine months, as if she had been re-born, from the grey shrunken husk that had been released from Birkenau a year ago.

There was an early tint of grey in her dark hair, but it only seemed to highlight the lustrous darkness. Her skin had regained its old bloom and her body was as rounded and graceful as it had ever been.

If she went back to the theatre (and even in Palestine, she expected, there would be opera of some sort) she would not be condemned to playing middle-aged women or old crones. At twenty-six. she would now be ready to sing the great roles that all young singers dreamed of.

"You must be more careful, Ben. You've been lucky so far. How many trips have you made?"

"Friday's will be the thirteenth."

"That's an omen. Forget my section this Friday - we're just not ready to go."

"You've been warned to be ready to go whenever we call you!" Then he gestured an awkward apology. "I'm sorry. But it is orders. There is a ship at Lerici, near La Spezia."

"But why do we have to go at such short

notice?"

"The ship was to have been filled by a section from the Displaced Persons camp near Graz -" He smiled again, the smile uglier than he meant it to be. "Did your family own that town?"

She sighed. "Ben, that joke isn't funny any more. We sold it to the Turks, at a discount, some time back in the 17th century -"

"Now you're pulling my leg -" He was still smiling, but he looked uncertain. He felt the disparity in their ages, women were always so much older than men; even more he felt the difference of class, a feeling he despised in himself. He had thought the years in the concentration camp had eliminated all that from his thinking.

He became the Bricha man again, the underground contact man: it gave him

more protection.

"The British must suspect something at Graz. They've alerted the Americans, who usually don't care, and now they're watching the camp like hawks. It is going to be tougher and tougher for us to get you

to Palestine."

Palestine: six years ago she had not

known the country still existed outside the pages of the Bible. She would have laughed at the suggestion that she would be a volunteer to help build a new nation.

But it was less than six years ago that

she had seen trust, which had been her

only religion, crumble and fall apart like foul flesh. Bricha men had told her that, in the new post-war world, trust could only be found in a brand-new country.

"We're gathering groups from wherever we can," said Keppel. "The ship can't be allowed to sail half-empty, lt cost too much, takes so much time and effort."

She did not bother to ask how much

money, time and effort. Before the war money had been so readily available she had never felt the need of it. She had lived

in a fantasy world where everything was seemingly free.

Time and effort: yes, she had expended those, at the Hochschule fur Musik and at the Opera, because she had been a dedicated singer. But even there the rewards had come just as easily as the dresses and furs and sumptuous meals that were now like the haunting dreams of some stranger's life.

She had expended effort, if not time, in the concentration camp: one did not survive such horror by being utterly passive. In Camp 93. among the other Displaced Persons, time and effort were also necessary for survival.

"There'll be a truck on this road at eight o'clock Friday night. A small truck, so you'll be crowded a bit."

"We're used to it." Did she have to

remind him that none of them

remembered the luxury of travelling in an

uncrowded truck or bus or train?

Even when the Americans had brought them here to Camp 93 there had been no attempt to make them comfortable, lt was not that the Americans were unkind, just that the U.S. Army trucks were needed for other purposes.

The road ran from Garmisch Partenkirchen up through Oberammergau and then on to Augsburg. Villages stretched at intervals along it and the overflow of

Americans from Garmisch were billeted in

the village inns and requisitioned houses. The fields stretched away on either side,

and in the distance the mountains climbed

toward the sky that was Austrian. Her

home sk\.

"The truck will be parked in that lane up there." Keppel nodded off to the right.

"Just behind those trees. You'll have to

walk up from the camp. In small groups,

twos and threes. You should not be noticed

if you separate the groups. Make it look as if you're going for an evening stroll."

"Just to freeze us up for bed. It's cool even in the middle of the day. And if we're supposed to be just going for a stroll, how do we smuggle our things out? None of us has much, but there'll be things we don't

want to leave behind."

For the first time he seemed to notice her lack of enthusiasm. "Don't you want to go?"

"Of course."

"Then why -?"

But she was saved from further answer

by the arrival of a jeep. It swung in beside them and Major Dunleavy flashed his big.

wide ail-American smile.

"Hi. Miss Graz. You want a lift to the

camp?"

Luise had never met such a friendly policeman, especially a military one.

"Thank you." She felt recklessly curious, she wanted to see how Ben Keppel

would handle himself when close to the

enemy. After all, beginning Friday night,

she and the others of her section would be

in his hands and close to the enemy for perhaps weeks on end. It was time he learned the merits of diplomacy. "This is Herr Keppel."

Keppel sat stiffly beside her in the back of the jeep as its driver. Corporal Martin, thrashed the gears and took them away in a quick burst of speed. Dunleavy grinned back at them, sitting half-turned in his seat.

"Are you new to the camp?" he said to Keppel, "fhaven't seen you before."

"There are over three hundred people in the camp." It was the first time Luise had heard Keppel speak English.

"Three hundred and twelve, to be exact. I know them all - by sight, anyway."

Dunleavy's smile hadn't faded, but now Luise saw the sharp gleam in the blue eyes. She had never really examined Dunleavy

To page 115

The safe house

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 111

properly, even though he went out of his way to approach her each time he came out to the camp. Twice a week he came out, Sundays to play poker with his brother Roy, the camp director, Wednesdays on his

routine cheek.

Still cautious about involvement,

changed completely from the gregarious girl she had been before the war, she had listened politely but with only half an ear to his easy conversation.

He was a tall good-looking man with sandy-colored curly hair and a friendly outgoing disposition that was all at odds, to her mind, with his occupation as a military policeman. Before the war, he had told her, he had been a lawyer, just starting out, in

some small town in Nebraska.

Keppel was aware that this American was not as bluff and simple as he looked. He knew from experience that life in the American zone of occupation was so much easier than in the other three zones, that all Displaced Persons wished they could be

moved into the 49th State, as he had heard it called.

He forced an answering smile to Dunleavy's.

"I've come down from Feldafing. Pm visiting Fraulein Graz. She is my cousin."

"Oh sure," Dunleavy nodded agreeably,

then turned to face ahead. "I can see a resemblance."

Camp 93 came into sight ahead of them. It sat in the middle of a long sloping field; a dozen lines of long huts, a parade ground with a pock-marked surface, patches of vegetable gardens, washing flapping on clothes-lines up by the latrine

block.

Several posts stood at odd intervals round the perimeter, all that was left of the

wire fence that had once surrounded the camp.

Corporal Martin, drove the jeep in through the gateless gateway, brought it to a halt with a jerk.

Dunleavy, got out and helped Luise down. His manners had a natural grace of which he seemed to be unaware; with dim memories of the mannered politeness with which she had been treated before the war, Luise found herself looking with sudden approval at Major Dunleavy. I must be recovering, she thought.

"I want to speak with Fraulein Graz." Dunleavy said and led her away from the jeep.

She went with him, suddenly apprehensive as he looked back at the watching Keppel.

"He's not really your cousin, is he?" Her throat went dry. "No."

He grinned comfortingly, but she didn't trust him. "I know how it is - you people

have to keep inventing excuses if you want to move around." He looked directly into her face. "Is he your boyfriend? Or may be your fiance?"

"He is a little young for me, Major."

"He doesn't look it."

She glanced back at Keppel, watching them like a prison guard. "He is just

someone several of us met after we were all released from Auschwitz. He's come down to visit us. that's all."

"I see." He was silent for a moment.

Then he said, "Friday night-"

Her throat, which had begun to relax, tightened again. "Yes?"

"There's a dance at the Officers' Club down in Garmisch -"

She laughed aloud with relief, and saw Keppel stare at her furiously. Dunleavy's expression, too, had abruptly changed. He

looked hurt.

"Forget it, Fraulein. I didn't think an

1 ?

attempt to be friendly would be so damn funny -"

She was instantly sorry for him.

"I apologise, Major. I'm not used to being asked out - not by anyone. It's been so long -" Her voice trailed off.

"Fraulein Graz -" sober-faced

Dunleavy was gently sympathetic. He pressed her hand and out of the corner of his eye saw Keppel coming toward them. 'TU have Corporal Martin pick you up at eight o'clock. I'll be on duty till then, but by the time you get to the club VU be waiting

there."

Then Keppel was beside them, stiff and stern and a little pompous. "Luise, the children will be waiting." He added, "She gives them speech lessons. Some of them gave up talking when they were in the concentration camps."

Dunleavy nodded. "Sure, I know. I've tried to talk to some of them. For a visitor, you seem pretty well up on this camp's

schedule."

Keppel wasn't caught off guard by the

casualness of the remark. "Fraulein Graz

was telling me about it when you picked us up. We have organised something like it at Feldafing."

"Good idea. Well, there's my brother waiting for me. Friday night, Fraulein, eight o'clock."

He walked away, tall and straight and confident. Luise watched him greet Roy, his brother, slapping the older, shorter man on the back with that open display of affection that at first she had suspected of being spurious. But she was steadily coming to admire, even envy, the Dunleavy brothers' deep affection for each other.

Keppel waited till the major was out of earshot, then he spun round, came toward her. "Friday night?"

She told him about Dunleavy's invitation, then said sharply, "You didn't give me time to tell him no."

"You looked too friendly with him!"

"Herr Keppel, you had better stop being so distrustful of me. Too many of you Bricha people are the same. I'm just as determined as you that everyone in my section will get to Palestine - or Eretz

Israel or the Promised Land or whatever

you like to call it."

He changed the subject back to Dunleavy. "You'll have to tell the major you can't go with him Friday night. Invent

some excuse."

"Such as? Oh, never mind -" She

walked away, suddenly no longer wanting to argue with this man who was such a boy.

As she went on up the slope behind the camp, she drew her coat around her, wondering how it would protect her against the cold of the mountains when they began their trek. It had once been a very good coat, thick warm camelhair.

Clothing for the DP's had been levied from the Germans and Austrians at first,

before the UNRRA parcels had begun arriving from overseas with the cast-offs of

those who had had a better-dressed war.

Luise remembered her bitter cynicism when she and the other DP's had lined up for the distribution of the clothing; but she also remembered with a certain disgust at

herself how she had raced with the others

to pick over the clothing and how she had fought another woman for this particular

coat and had won.

She felt a chill, from the wind, from the past, she was not sure which. She turned and looked up toward the distant mountains, the borders of what had once been home. Vienna was less than three

hundred miles away as the bombers had flown; a day's journey if she wanted to go by train.

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The safe house

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 115

But she knew she would never go back, not a second time. She had gone back three

months after she had been released from

Birkenau. She had loved the city, had wept

at how it had been smashed.

All her mother's relatives, the Jews, were dead or missing. Her father's relatives, the non-Jews, had survived; but she no longer thought of herself as related to them. They had chosen to live with the Nazis; they had betrayed her when she had

trusted them.

Her father had died for his principles and nothing more, a hero to his daughter

and a fool to those who had turned their backs on him.

She had stayed in Vienna a week, then left it and moved out to Feldafing, wanting nothing more than to be lost in anonymity

while she found another road to the future.

She had come here to Camp 93 three months ago, having at last decided upon

the road she would take.

Friday night it would lead over those mountains, south to Eretz Israel.

Beyond the mountains, beyond the Inn valley and in the mountains that were the Austrian border to Italy, Karl Besser sat in

the small cluttered room that was his

surgery and looked across his desk at the police sergeant who had come up from Innsbruck on his ancient motorcyle and

sidecar.

"Dr Haider -"

Besser had become accustomed to his

new name, responding to it as a reflex

action.

"Dr Haider, we have a message from your friends. You are to be ready to leave Friday night."

Besser felt a surge of excitement. "At last! Pohl, you don't know how much I've been waiting for this!"

Pohl was a long-faced man who had

had a wartime tooth-brush moustache

which had now been replaced by a more politically discreet walrus growth; by some freak chance the new growth was lighter than the old, so that the shadow of his past adornment was there under his long nose.

He had come back from a prisoner-of war camp, convinced still that Der Fuehrer would have given them all a better world, and taken up his old rank of sergeant in the Innsbruck police.

His superiors, conscious of the need to show the Occupying Powers that, for the time being, they were not going to favor Nazis and ex-Nazis, passed him over for promotion to higher rank. In return he had

decided to contribute what he could to the

small secret war that was still going on.

"I wish I could be going with you, Hen

Doctor. South America - it sounds

otfa "That's my nature - I'm too ^accommodating. For a cop, anyway When

' I 2et back to the States, I'm going to get a ^master's degree. If I can." he added !î m°She offered a little of herself, a crumb 1 of her background: "My father was a a lawyer. He specialised in international

"I know about him. I looked up some

SÜold law journals - he had some pieces in

them."

She looked at him with sudden new 311 interest.

s -'He used to say he was before his time. Cl that law might never be truly

-e international."

"Right now, I guess he'd say he was 1 -right. But I'm a bit more optimistic. I'm 1 going to take international law. Maybe I'll ^1 be before my time, too. But it'll come. Who :r : knows, some day I may use some of your cl father's arguments to win a case."

u I "I'd like that," she heard herself say.

' "I'd like it, too. Especially if you were a 8 there to hear me."

She withdrew a little. "You sound 1 ambitious."

"There's nothing wrong with that, so \ long as you don't let it go to your head, a You should get ambitious about your ir .-singingagain."

3J' She didn't ask him how he had learned c M about her career. "Do you like opera?"

s "I've never heard any - seen a e - performance, I mean."

I Perhaps I should start educating you."

n "It might be an idea. If things go well

' Friday night and we have other dates, I » may some day ask you to marry me."

r It was a joke, of course, just as his i !f brother's similar remark had been, and she

ii laughed. "Major Dunleavy. I'll start

considering my answer now."

A "Do that," he said, the joking note still e in his voice; but was she mistaken or were

iii his eyes serious, looking at her more e carefully than the banter warranted?

Corporal Martin drew up beside them in the jeep. Dunleavy offered her a lift ii ¡J hack to the camp, but she declined.

Suddenly tired of thinking of the j problems of the next few days, she let her ,1 : Noughts wander off into fantasy. What n might have happened if she were to have i ( gone to the dance Friday night, if Bricha

had not called on her and the others for another month or two?

j Would the sudden liking for Major

Dunleavy have ripened into something , deeper?

Friday evening was suddenly upon e . them. Thursday had dragged; Friday

seemed even slower. Barlow, the Assistant

? Lamp Director, young and conscientious, { ' Prowled the huts all day. To Luise, it ¡! ooked as if he suspected something un a usual was going on.

They had been smuggling their luggage r . Ut throughout the day and it was now all

hidden in the trees bordering the lane where they were to meet Keppel and his

truck.

With Barlow popping in and out of his

office. Luise had sent off the first of the

section right after lunch, to fill in their time down in the village or just walking the surrounding roads and fields. When seven o'clock came, and it was time to go. there were only Luise, David Weill and Simon Berger left of the section.

Berger was a tall man in his early thirties; he had been a miner and there was still a hint of muscle in his bony frame.

The meeting time with Keppel had been brought forward to seven-thirty.

lt took them ten minutes to reach the

copse of trees in the lane; the truck was already waiting for them. The rest of the section were already in the back of the

truck, hidden behind a stack of boxes.

Keppel, in an American greatcoat and field cap. handed Luise a similar greatcoat and cap. He tapped the door of the truck and Luise dimly saw the white letters there: U.S. Army Liaison Headquarters. "You ride up front with me - you're

"We can guarantee you real

homecooking here, sir!"

supposed to be a WAC officer. Can you do

an American accent?"

"Passable." Luise took off her own coat,

struggled into the greatcoat. It was too big for her and so was the cap; she hoped she would not have to get out of the truck's cabin. "Where did you get the truck?"

"Stole if from the transport pool in Garmisch. We have a man working there for us - he painted the sign."

Luise helped him put the tarpaulin cover down over the tailgate, secured it. She heard David Weill begin to pray softly: as she climbed up into the cabin beside Keppel she heard the others take up

the refrain.

Keppel switched on the engine, let in the gears, then eased the truck slowly down

the lane toward the main road. As it reached the junction the lane dipped in between high banks, so that anything coming down it was invisible to any driver coming from either direction along the

main road.

Corporal Martin, driving at his usual headlong speed, came up the main road

from Garmisch. He had had trouble

borrowing the staff car from the transport pool sergeant; then he had had to go around and pick up Roy Dunleavy. who had been arranging something, probably a poker game, with the boss at M.P. headquarters.

He came round the sweep of the bend in the road and saw the beam of lights striking across the road as the truck moved out of the lane and turned toward him. Its

lights blazed into his eyes and he slammed on the brakes, jerking the car to the right.

There was a crashing sound, then the car was ploughing into the ditch beside the road, miraculously staying upright. It jerked to a stop, flinging him hard against the steering wheel, and the lights went out as the headlamps were smashed.

But he was alive, and suddenly he was more angry than hurt. He switched off the engine, then looked at Roy Dunleavy leaning back in the seat.

"You OK? Goddam Kraut farmers -"

"I'm OK," said Dunleavy, but his voice wheezed. "Let's see what the damage is."

They got out, their legs suddenly weak, and looked at the truck thirty yards away.

Ben Keppel switched off the truck engine, opened the cabin door and jumped down. He could hear the children crying in

the back of the truck and someone was

moaning as if in pain.

He quickly examined the truck; the damage to it was slight and he would be

able to drive it out of the shallow ditch

without any trouble. Then he ran round to the back, to be joined by Luise. They loosened the tarpaulin, flung it up.

The boxes just inside the tailgate had been toppled over. Anna Bork's head appeared above the jumble of them. "One of the boxes fell on Frau Kogan! She sounds as if she's badly hurt!"

Keppel cursed, then spun round as Corporal Martin, legs still weak, came shambling up the road toward them. "What's the matter with you guys? Where the hell did you think - ?"

Then he came closer, seemed to

recognise that things were not what they seemed. He grabbed at his waist, realised that he was off-duty and not wearing his holster and pistol.

He swung his fist at Keppel, coming in

behind it.

Luise didn't see the gun in Keppel's hand, just heard the shot. Martin fell forward, and slumped down in the long grass of the ditch. Then the second man came running up from the car on unsteady legs, shouting something incoherent.

He rushed straight at Keppel and Keppel shot him, too. He clutched at Luise. She caught him, lowered him to the ground, knew who he was even before she saw his face, knew he was already dead.

To page 131

wonderful. People like us are still welcome there - they know who should have won

the war -"

Besser nodded, decided against getting into a discussion on the war. He had his own opinion about who deserved to have won the war, militarily if not morally, had had that opinion since 1943 when he had begun to realise that Der Fuehrer should have left the running of the war to the professionals.

He was a professional himself, to his manicured fingertips, and he had resented the half-trained students, classed as doctors, who had been forced on him by his SS superiors; he knew how the generals must have felt when given lessons in strategy and tactics by the Austrian ex-corporal.

But he said nothing, knowing Pohl would never listen to a word said against

Hitler.

"1 trust the organisation has been in touch with my wife?"

"Of course. You know how efficient

they are."

Besser had not learned of the existence

of Spinne, Spider, till almost six months

after the end of the war. There had been rumors in Berlin that an escape organisation had been set up for the top Nazis if the worst should happen.

Then Berlin had fallen, Hitler had committed suicide, and he had spent the next three months trapped in the ruined city, intent only on survival. Then, risking all. he had gone back to Wurzburg, to his

wife and two children.

He had been there three months, still undiscovered, when Spinne had found him, told him he was to be put on the Allies'

wanted list of war criminals and that the

organisation would help him escape to South America if he wanted to go.

"And my wife and children?" he had

asked.

The Spinne man, Topp, was portly, jovial, a real family man. "Of course! Haven't you been separated from them long enough? 1 work for UN RR A as an interpreter - I know what it is like to see children who don't know where their parents are."

"You work for UNRRA?"

Topp laughed at the surprise in Besser's voice. "Half the time they don't know who they are employing. So long as we help them get the job done -" He gestured, turned the gesture into a pat on Besser's arm. "So long as they don't know we are also helping our own."

"When do I go?"

"At once, tomorrow. Your wife and

children will follow in a week - they will meet you in Italy, but I don't know exactly where. Nobody but those at the very top know the exact route our friends take. You will be telephoned tomorrow afternoon at four o'clock sharp and given your instructions." Topp stood up.

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CONTINUED FROM PAGE 117

"You don't have to worry any further, Herr Doctor. We pride ourselves on our efficiency. Good luck. Heil Hitler!"

Besser had given a half-hearted return, to the salute, wondering why they should be bothering to salute a leader who had taken the easy way out and left them to carry on the struggle. And for once there had been something wrong with Spinne's organisation.

There had been a thick fog, and the truck that had been taking him from Wurzburg to the first port of call had lost its way. They had driven right into a military road block, the driver had panicked and tried to crash his way through, and Besser, one of four SS men in the truck, had been the only one to escape.

He had had no idea where the next port of call was. But he knew that the truck had been heading south, that his embarkation point for South America was somewhere in Italy; that meant through Austria and he knew that, pro rata, there were more Nazi sympathisers in that country than in the whole of Germany.

If he could get into Austria he felt sure

he could find someone who would hide

him till he contacted Spinne again. Now

that he was on the Wanted list he knew it

would be suicidal to go back home.

He had made it to Austria with

ridiculous ease. The Americans really were the most casual military personnel; one wondered how they had managed to be so

successful in their wars.

Two days after being thrown out of the truck north of Stuttgart, he had walked

into Innsbruck and the first man he had

spoken to had been Police Sergeant Pohl.

He had seen the shadow of the old moustache hidden in the new one and he had taken another risk.

"Sergeant, I am looking for some friends

"Who isn't?" said Pohl dolefully. "What

name?"

"Ah, that's the difficulty. So many people have had to change their names - " He saw the shift of focus in Pohl's gaze and

at once knew he was safe. "Circumstances

beyond their control affect people - all they want is a quiet life - "

"Who doesn't?" said Pohl, still with an interested eye cocked at the big handsome German. "Would you care for some coffee,

Herr - ?"

"Haider," said Besser, taking for the first time the name on the forged papers in his pocket. "Dr Haider."

"A medical man? Good. We can always find you a place in one of our villages while we look for your friends - doctors are always welcome - "

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CONTINUED FROM PAGE 119

Two days later Besser was installed in a house in Kalburg, a village two miles off the Brenner Pass above Innsbruck. He had two rooms in the home of the Fricks, a dour elderly couple who never asked questions and did not object when Besser, to fill in his time, started to take in patients.

The village had no doctor and the villagers were pleased at the luxury that had been presented to them. Besser was kept busy and soon was making more than enough money for his needs.

A French sergeant came up from Occupation Zone headquarters in Innsbruck, checked his papers perfunc- torily, then left him alone. Then with Pohí's help. Besser sent word to Spinne that he was willing to try again for South

America.

Sergeant Pohl had known nothing of Spinne when he had first met Besser. "Spider? What is that?"

By then Besser trusted Pohl. He explained what Spinne did. and saw excitement glimmer in the policeman's

eyes.

"They could use someone like you, Pohl

Pohl shrugged modestly. "Anything I

can do - "

Besser had not fully confided in Pohl. The policeman only knew that he was a

Nazi officer. That he had been an SS man

engaged in medical research at Auschwitz, and finallv at the headquarters of T4. the euthanasia experts, in Berlin, was something that Pohl did not need to know.

"They have a file on me. perhaps even photographs. The risk is too great. But I have to get in touch with my wife - she will know whom to contact. Would you go to Wurzburg for me, Pohl? If my wife gets in touch with Spinne, I'll have her recommend that you be their contact man

here in Innsbruck."

"I'll be proud to. Herr Doctor."

The following weekend Pohl took two days' leave and' went to Wurzburg. He found Frau Besser, having made no

comment when Dr Haider had told him his

wife was living under an assumed name. He had become used to such camouflage

since the war.

He had liked Frau Besser, a good-looking red-headed woman and he had admired the two boys, fine

tow-headed children such as he had seen so often in pictures with Der Fuehrer.

Ilse Besser had wept with happiness

when Pohl had told her he had come with a

message from her husband. She had hardly slept since the Spinne man had come to tell her that the escape plan had gone wrong and her husband was missing.

When she had recovered, she had

phoned the number Herr Topp had left

with her. He had arrived within half an hour, talked to Pohl, been convinced that he could be trusted, then given the policeman a name and address to contact

in Innsbruck.

"But he lives next door to me! He works in the post office -"

"We have our men in the most strategic places, sergeant."

Pohl returned to Innsbruck, went to the house next door to his own and asked his

neighbor Fischer to go for a walk with him. They caught the bus that went up the Brenner, then walked the two miles up the snow-banked road to Kalburg.

Fischer waited on the outskirts of the

village while Pohl went in and brought out

Besser. Then the three men walked back down to the main Brenner road.

"We can't get you a passage immediately. The damned English are

conducting another one of their blitzes."

Fischer was a short thin man who smiled at

everything. He smiled now at his use of the word blitz. "They have a nice sense of humour, the way they misuse our words."

Besser laughed. "I can wait. Herr

Fischer. Another few weeks -"

"It may be longer than that. We are examining a new route. I don't know the

details - I don't even know what the old route was." He looked at Pohl, who seemed disappointed. "We're just cogs,

Pohl. What we don't know we can't

divulge, if ever we are picked up."

"What about my wife and children?"

Besser asked.

"They'll probably be moved first. We'll have them waiting for you in Italy.

Someone will take them across the

border as his family, with forged papers. Perhaps me, perhaps Pohl here. Getting them down there will be the easiest part. But we'll get you through, too, Dr Haider. But you'll have to be patient."

And now on this March morning Pohl had ridden up on his motorbike to Kalburg, bringing the news that Besser was once again to start on his way to South

America. He took Besser in his sidecar

down to the Brenner road where they could talk safely, then outlined the plan for Friday night.

"A French army truck will meet you here at eleven o'clock. It will be driven by one of our men. Its trip is perfectly legitimate - it is going down to Bolzano with mail and other things for the French liaison unit there. You'll have papers that say you are a French civilian doctor, from Alsace, attached to UNRRA. Can you speak French?"

"Schoolboy French, that's all."

"Then Fischer suggests you have a sore throat or something, say as little as possible. You can pretend to be asleep. It will be midnight by the time you get to the border check post. In any case, they are looking for Jews and black marketeers, not us. Once you are over the border the driver will take you first to Merano. That's your next stop."

As he spoke, a truck, with French army markings, came grumbling up the hill, and went on up round a bend of the pass. In the back of it, hunched together under the tarpaulin roof, their white faces staring back down the road were twenty or thirty young boys. The sight was too familiar,

Besser had seen it so often: he felt a shiver

run through him.

"Who are they?" His voice was just a whisper.

"Jews," said Pohl. "There's a village up there, Rennwald, that's made them welcome. They've set up some sort of farm for Jewish kids, teaching them to farm."

"Who looks after those Jewish boys?"

"Some older Jews. An Austrian is in

charge, but there are a few Poles there, too. The Bergermeister there says it is a matter of conscience for what happened in the concentration camps. I don't see what it

has to do with our conscience. We

Austrians didn't build the camps. No

offence. Herr Doctor."

Pohl had suddenly seceded from the

Fatherland.

Luise's father, Rudolph Graz, died on November 9, 1938, from a stray bullet from a gun that was never identified. The pogrom ordered by Reinhard Heydrich had that night destroyed all the synagogues in Germany and Austria, and Jewish stores

were looted and had their windows smashed.

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CONTINUED FROM PAGE 120

But Rudolph Graz, a non-Jew, had not needed the fury of a pogrom to tell him what could happen to his wife and perhaps his daughter. He had read the message six

months before when the Anschluss had

brought Hitler back to Vienna as a

conqueror.

On the morning of November 9 he

heard rumors. He checked them with a

friend he had in the police department,

then he left his office and hurried home to

the apartment on Esteplatz in the Third

District.

Luise would remember the almost

hysterical reaction of her mother, who refused to believe that her frivolous social

world might come to an end; but Rudolph Graz, normally a calm man. had been fiercely adamant.

The Vuitton luggage had been brought out and hastily packed. Luise had looked at it and thought of other, unhurried departures, to Waldgarten, St.Moritz. Nice, always on the same dates every year. For the first time she caught the chill of her father's distraction, knew that something besides her mother's tight brittle world was coming to an end.

Fifteen minutes later they were driving

out of the city, heading east toward Waldgarten, the country estate of Ruth Graz's parents. Friedrich and Hedy Wald. Rudolph himself did not go with them and they never saw him alive again.

He was found next morning on the cracked pond of glass outside a Jewish store. The police identified him from his papers and took him home. Werner, the butler, telephoned Waldgarten with the

news.

Luise and her mother came back to

Vienna that day. Friedrich Wald wanted to go with them; it was Luise, suddenly older and cautious overnight, who insisted he and Grandmama Hedy should stay at Waldgarten.

Later. Friedrich Wald closed up the big house on Prinz Eugen Strasse, close by the Rothschild Palais, shut down the three country houses and he and Hedy moved into the smaller, but still grand Graz apartment with Ruth and Luise.

On the advice of Rudolph's cousins and uncles, he offered the use of the house on Prinz Eugen Strasse and the three country estates to the government; he received a stiffly formal letter of acceptance, distinguished by the lack of any mention of thanks, and he and his family never saw the country estates again.

They never inquired what use the government was making of the house or the estates. But they knew that the

Rothschild Palais was the headquarters of the Vienna Agency for Jewish Emigration

under the administration of an SS officer named Eichmann.

Luise went back to the Opera, to the chorus and understudying. She buried herself in study and practice, went on with her Italian language course: she began to feel safe again, sure now that the Nazis were no longer interested in her and her mother and her grandparents.

Near the end of August, Friedrich Wald died in his sleep. Two weeks later, war broke out and the lights, and the light, of

Vienna went out. Luise continued to work

at the Opera, but it seemed a hopeless, empty career now.

On a beautiful sunny autumn day in October the SS men from the Agency for Jewish Emigration, with orders signed by an officer named Eichmann, came for Hedy Wald and Ruth Graz.

No, they did not want Luise Graz. She was only half-Jewish and her father's family had spoken to higher authority on her behalf; they were prepared to certify that she had never practised the Jewish religion and was a good Catholic like

themselves.

But none of the Graz family appeared at the apartment, though Luise tried to call

them: their secretaries or their servants,

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CONTINUED FROM PAGE 123

voices as impersonal as those of robots,

said that their masters or their mistresses

"unfortunately, Fraulein, are not available just now."

"I am going with my mother and my grandmother," she told the SS men. "You must take me, too."

Ruth and Hedy both argued fiercely with her even while they wept with fear,

and even the SS men tried to dissuade her. "Fraulein, we have no orders that cover

your deportation. We can't take you without the proper orders."

"Then go and get them!" She tried not to sound like a bad actress, but she was learning that real life drama often looks

like bad theatre.

One of the junior SS men went away.

She looked at the two who had remain-

ed, "My mother and grandmother are Jewish, so I, too, am Jewish. You have heard my confession. Isn't that enough?"

The SS men said nothing, turned away and went wandering through the huge apartment, feeding their hatred of the Jewish pigs who could live so well. Then the young SS man came back, a piece of paper in his hand.

"She goes with them. The truck is

downstairs."

The truck took them to a long train standing in the shunting yards. They were locked in one of the coaches, pushed in against the thick mass of humanity that already packed it. Next day the train, the coaches still locked, the people in them feeding only on what little food they had been able to grab and bring with them, left

for Lodz in Poland.

The train was shunted and sidetracked

to make way for troop trains and it took ten days to make the 350 miles journey to Lodz. Scores of people died on the way. among them Hedy Wald.

Some groups were marched straight off to the ghetto in Lodz. Then Luise and her mother, numbed by grief and exhaustion, were bundled along with the remaining frightened miserable women into cattle trucks on another train which finally brought them to two large depressing looking camps in the middle of a vast expanse of marshland.

The larger camp, one of the less brutal guards told them, was Auschwitz, the men's labor camp. The other, "your new home and you'd better get used to it." was Birkenau, the women's camp.

Luise and Ruth clung to each other as they were herded in a line toward a table on the station platform where three SS guards sat; behind them stood a tall

handsome SS officer.

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Only when they were twenty yards from the table did Luise notice that the line was being separated, some being sent to the right, some to the left. Then she saw that those going to the right were all elderly, middle-aged or infirm. She clung to her mother's hand, felt the desperate panic in the fingers held in her own. Ruth had also seen how the women were being divided.

Then they were standing before the table. The officer looked at the expensive Vuitton suitcase that stood between them. On his order, one of the guards emptied its contents onto the ground and took it back to him. He nodded appreciatively and gestured to the guard to put it down beside

him. Then he looked at the Graz women.

"We don't want the older one." he said. "The girl, yes."

Ruth screamed, tried to cling to Luise; but guards came up and roughly separated them. Ruth, still screaming for Luise, was dragged away.

The last sight Luise ever had of her mother was that of Ruth, head twisted back over her shoulder as the guard brutally pushed her along, calling her daughter's name with an anguish that would forever echo in Luise's memory.

She learned the next day that her

mother and all the other women on the

line to the right had gone straight to the gas

chambers. She also learned the name of the officer who had sent her mother to her

death: Hauptsturmfuehrer Karl Besser.

He left Auschwitz and Birkenau two

days later and she saw him boarding the train, the Vuitton suitcase among his luggage. She stopped for a moment, staring

across the distance between them.

Then she was hit hard in the back by one of the women guards, told to keep moving. She passed inside another fence and went to work in the squat ugly factory that housed the Union Fuse Company, a Krupp subsidiary.

She remained there till the end of the war. mixing and packing high explosives to be used against the forces that were fighting to release them.

Luise never forgot her last sight of her mother being taken away to the gas chamber. But gradually the face and name of Hauptsturmfuehrer Besser faded into the back of her mind as she concentrated only

on survival.

Anna Bork, a sturdy Czech peasant, had been in Birkenau, but had not worked in the explosives factory, so that she and

Luise had not encountered one another

there. Their relationship, one of strong antagonism on the part of Anna and of mild indifference on the part of Luise, started when they arrived at Camp 93.

Luise at first could not understand why the Bork woman had taken such a strong

dislike to her. It was David Weill who had

tried to explain it to her.

"She resents what you once had."

Weill had been a professor of history at Cracow University, devoted to the past and an avoidance of the present. He had

somehow survived Auschwitz. But thc

efforts of surviving had their effect. In the months after release he suddenly aged; his hair abruptly turned white, he walked with a stoop. He was only fifty-one.

"Didn't you know her family worked for your grandparents? The ones who had the estate at - Waldgarten was it?"

"But my grandparents treated everyone

who worked for them so well!"

"Anna doesn't think so. She told me stories -" He shook his white head, not wanting to say any more.

Luise, against her wish, had been

elected the section leader. When she called

a meeting of the section to discuss details of the move on Friday night, Anna Bork as usual had been the spokeswoman for the

rest.

"Herr Keppel told us you are supposed to be going to a dance with Major Dunleavy on Friday night. Where do we pick you up - in Garmisch?"

Ben Keppel was not at the meeting: he had left the camp, telling Luise only that he would be back Friday night at the appointed time. She was on her own. This would be her first test of leadership.

"I shall be up in the lane with the rest of you when the truck comes at eight o'clock," she said. "In the meantime. Anna. I am putting you in charge of seeing

that no one. and I mean no one. takes more

than one suitcase with them - no more."

It had been a shrewd move on Luise's

part. Anna Bork was the camp scrounger;

she had a corner bunk in the hut and the

corner was filled with the junk she had col- lected, anything and everything that might

come in useful in the new life in Palestine.

Anna was on her feet at once. She was a

sturdily built woman in her early thirties who might have been good-looking had

she been allowed to live another life.

"That's ridiculous! We can't get all we'll

need into one suitcase - we can't land in

Palestine with nothing] I've heard stories - the people there have only enough for

themselves -"

"My orders," said Luise evenly, "are

one suitcase each, no more. There won't be

room in the truck - we're going to be packed in tightly as it is. Everyone should wear as much clothing as they can - I don't know how long we are going to have to stop in the mountains before they move us on again. You're in charge of the luggage, Frau Bork. Next -"

"Do we have to go Friday night?" asked

David Weill. "It is Shabbat - "

"I am sorry, but I'm afraid our organisers make no provision for the Sabbath. I don't think they can afford to. You'll be in charge of the food. Herr Professor. We shall need enough for at least twenty-four hours. No fancy stuff, because the food pack, too, has to be kept

small."

Weill stood up. smiled his twisted grin. "At your command. Fraulein Graz. The Red Cross parcels come in again tomorrow, and perhaps I can persuade the Bürgermeister that we need a little extra."

"Don't let him suspect anything," said Luise, "and one thing - at my request, not my command. That sounds too much like what we are trying to leave behind us."

"Perhaps." said Weill, "but where we are going they won't build a nation without

commands. I think it is time we started

getting used to obeying orders from our

own kind."

It was the first outright support she had

had from him; then Michael Klein in the

front row nodded. "Herr Professor is right.

If Fraulein Graz is to be our leader, then we

do what she says."

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"You'd better tell them to quieten the baby, Fraulein," he spoke in German.

For the first time she heard the

whimper of the child in the back of the

truck.

Acting on reflex, Luise tapped on the back of the cabin. The whimpering stopped at once. Luise looked down at the policeman.

"Are you going to report it?' she said in

German.

He shook his head. "You're doing me no harm. Are they from one of the camps?"

"Yes. Why are they having the spot

checks?"

"Black market stuff."

"No." She smiled. "That's the truth." Then from the other side of the truck

Keppel said, "They want to inspect the truck. Lieutenant. Our papers are OK. but the sergeant says he still wants a check."

Then out of the corner of her eye she saw the policeman move round to stand beside the sergeant.

"I've already inspected it, Sergeant. Everything looks all right."

"OK" He repeated his sloppy salute to Luise. "Sorry to have held you up,

ma'am."

Luise gave him her most gracious smile. "Thank you, Sergeant." Then she looked at the policeman standing behind him. "And you. too."

She spoke in English to him and he answered in the same language. "You're welcome, Fraulein. Good luck."

Keppel climbed up into the truck, slammed the door and then they were driving past the barrier and down the road to the Austrian post. He slowed as they

came to the second barrier, but the French

weren't interested in coming out into the cold. A great-coated soldier stepped out of the booth, waved them by and stepped quickly back inside as they drove past and

on into Austria.

"The policeman," said Keppel. "Did you bribe him or something?"

"No. He knew who was in the truck, but he was on our side."

"Conscience," said Keppel sourly. "A lot of them are suffering from it now."

There was no answer to his prejudice: it was burned too deeply into him. She lapsed into silence as the truck began to climb toward the pass that would take them down into Innsbruck. She was in her homeland again.

They passed through Innsbruck, crossed the river and began the climb up the road that led to the Brenner Pass. A little way up, they stopped and all got out. following an urgent demand from Anna Bork: "Don't you think we have bladders?"

Luise looked up at the dim signpost

above her. "Kalburg," she said to Keppel. "Is that where we're going?"

"No, Rennwald. It's further up the

road."

"How long do we stay there?"

"Till tomorrow night. Then it's on foot, up through the woods and down to the

main road on the other side of the border.

"We'll stay in another safe house about

fifteen kilometres from Rennwald. But we have to be down on the main road on the Italian side by nine o'clock Sunday night. There'll be another truck there to pick us up."

"Then Anna Bork came across to them.

"Frau Kogan will have to be taken to hospital - she's in a bad way. poor

woman."

It was the first time Luise had ever

heard Anna say a word of sympathy for anyone. "The Grunfeld sisters aren't well,

either."

"Frau Kogan can't be taken to hospital tonight. We'll have someone from the

. And do you cream rinse it

every other night too?"

village where we're going take her down to Innsbruck in the morning. I'll decide about the Grunfeld sisters also in the morning."

Everyone was clambering back into the truck. Luise and Keppel had just fixed the tarpaulin back in position when they heard the chug-chug of an elderly motorbike coming up the main road. It swung in beside them, and the rider dismounted.

"Something wrong?" he said in German. "I am Police Sergeant Pohl. I am off duty, but perhaps I can help."

"It is nothing, Sergeant." said Keppel in German; and Luise looked at him, wondering if he realized his mistake. "The

call of nature."

Then Pohl seemed to become aware

that he was standing by an American army truck, that the man and woman were in American uniforms. "Americans, are you? You speak German very well."

"My parents were German." said

Keppel truthfully. "They taught me the mother tongue."

"Where are you from?" Pohl was suspicious and uneasy. Fischer had knocked on his door half an hour ago to say that the plans for moving Dr Haider

had been postponed for at least . twenty-four hours.

Word had just come through from their man at the German border post that the Americans were looking for a partv of

Jewish DPs who had murdered two

Americans: every vehicle was being searched and the word had gone through to the Italian border post.

Pohl, on his way up now to give Haider the bad news, was wishing he had ridden by this parked truck. "There are no

Americans in this zone."

"We've just moved in." said Keppel easily. He gestured at Luise. "The

lieutenant knows more about it than I do.

but unfortunately she doesn't speak

German."

Pohl had a pre-war contempt for women in uniform. He said stiffly. "Ask the Fraulein Lieutenant if you are going up to Kalburg."

"I can tell you we're not headed there. We're on our way up to the border - we have some supplies. We'd better be moving. Goodnight, Sergeant."

He went up to the front of the truck. Luise nodded quickly to Pohl and hurried up to join Keppel. As he started up the truck, the motorbike chugged past and went on up the side road.

"Hut 13 is empty," said Barlow, coming into the camp office. "There's no one

there."

"They're probably over in one of the other huts. The camp clerk was a mild looking little man named Silberstein. "This is Friday night, they get together for family suppers on the eve of Shabbat -"

"I've checked the other huts - they're not therel All the kids have gone from Hut 13, too. Something's going on, Silberstein."

"I'm sure your're mistaken," said Silberstein, who knew exactly what was going on. "Tomorrow morning you'll find them all back there in the hut. You go off now, I know you have your date in Oberammergau -"

Barlow drove out of the camp in his jeep and turned into the main road.

Two minutes later he saw the staff car

in the ditch, the two figures lolling awkwardly in the front seat. He pulled the jeep to a stop, grabbed his flashlight and

went across to the car.

Ten minutes later the phone rang in the requisitioned house that Matt Dunleavy shared with three other officers. He picked up the phone and learned that his brother had been murdered.

He hung up then called Headquarters and filled the duty officer in on the two deaths, and details of the escaping Jews.

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CONTINUED FROM PAGE 134

He dressed hurriedly, and was on his way downstairs when he heard the jeep pull up outside.

They drove out through the cold clear night. Dunleavy sitting hunched in his greatcoat. Besides the grief he felt at Roy's death, there was the gradually growing sick disappointment at the way Luise Graz had

been involved. He would have staked his life on her decency.

When they reached the scene of the accident, with the staff car still in the ditch, Barlow and Silberstein were waiting for them. Dunleavy walked across and looked at the dead Roy and Corporal Martin. They both looked suddenly small compared to how he remembered them.

"There's an ambulance on its way."

Silberstein said.

Dunleavy looked at the white-faced man wrapped in an overcoat several sizes too large for him. "Did you know what was going on?"

Silberstein hesitated, then nodded. "The camp council knew. But we didn't know the route they were to take."

"Were they heading south for Italy, going to pick up a ship for -Palestine?"

'Tm sorry, Herr Major. I know nothing."

The ambulance arrived and the two

bodies were put into it. Then Dunleavy got back into the jeep. Its driver was a lean gangling kid.

"What's your name?" Dunleavy asked. "Charlie Lincoln, sir."

"Keep the gas tank full, Charlie. You and I may be doing a lot of travelling. I'll bring back those killers, even if I have to follow them all the way to Palestine."

The village of Rennwald was not large, but it was old. Keppel drove down the twisting main street and out of the other end and finally turned into a yard beside one of the larger houses on the outskirts.

A man came out of the house carrying a lantern and waved them into a big barn where the door already stood open. Five minutes later everyone was inside the big house, Frau Kogan was the last to be brought in. She lay on the old disused door that had been used as a stretcher on which to carry her.

Luise and Anna Bork, their antagonism put aside for the moment, knelt beside the injured woman. "We are going to have to send you to hospital, Frau Kogan," Luise said. "Someone from here will take you down first thing in the morning."

Gunther Kogan looked anxiously down

at his wife. "Isn't there a doctor in the village here?"

"None." Max Lazar ran both the agricultural hostel and the safe house.

"There's one down in the next village. Kalburg. But he's a German, probably a Nazi looking for a quiet place to retire to. They're all Nazi sympathizers down there."

"Why can't she be taken down to the hospital in Innsbruck tonight?" Anna Bork

asked.

"We don't know who's on duty there at night. We have a friend on the staff, a senior doctor, but he's only there during the day. He'll see there aren't too many questions asked when she is admitted."

"What are you going to tell them?"

Lazar looked at Gunther Kogan. "You have two boys?" Kogan nodded.

"Doesn't matter. We'll put them on the

roll here as students. You could have been

paying them a visit when you had this unfortunate accident. But the three of you will have to stay here till your wife is well again."

Luise left them and went to look for

Ben Keppel, who was shepherding the rest

of the new arrivals to the bedrooms. He turned them over to Lazar's wife, a stout happy woman who looked made for mothering families small or large, and

went out to the kitchen with Luise.

"The Kogans will be staying," she told him. "All four of them." He nodded, looking depressed. "The Grunfeld sisters aren't going to make it, either. That cuts the party down to fifteen, including you

and me."

"I told you - you should have got another group. You're too single-minded, Ben -" She was still angry and sick at what he had done to Roy Dunleavy and

Martin.

"You don't understand! I've got to get you to that ship! I've never failed yet - they depend on me!"

They were saved from more violent argument by the entrance of Lazar. He went to the big woodburning stove. "My

wife has made stew and coffee - we'll feed them all in ten minutes."

"You are very well organised here." Luise took the cup of coffee he gave her, sat down opposite Keppel, who had lapsed

into morose silence.

"We have to be, if we're not to have the French up here worrying us. We run the farming school strictly as a school should be run. It hides what we are doing."

He sat down at the table with them, big work-scarred hands wrapped round a large mug of coffee. His sleeves were rolled up

and Luise could see the tattooed number on his wrist.

"The boys are up at our other house for the evening - we move them up there whenever we have a group coming through."

"Do the villagers suspect what is going

on?"

"Not suspect - they know. But they turn a blind eye to it. There never have been any Nazis in Rennwald. They're devoutly Catholic and they practise what

Christ taught. We don't have to worry

about them."

There was a note in his voice that Luise

caught. "Whom do we have to worry about

then?"

"Some Poles. Four of them, they arrived here a month ago. The Agency sent them, said they were farm workers who would help me instruct the boys. None of

them has ever been on a farm-in his life before."

"Then how - ?"

"I think these four men stole the

original men's papers."

"What would have happened to the other men?" But with a sickening feeling Luise had already guessed the answer.

Lazar nodded. "It wouldn't have been

the first time it's happened. Not all Jews are good men. Fraulein. It took me a couple of weeks to wake up to these men."

"What would they be planning? Not to give you away, surely?"

"Nothing like that. This is a perfect cover for them. I think - but I've got no proof - that they are in the black market. If they are, and the French get on to them,

that will be the end of us here."

"Why haven't you contacted the Agency?"

"I haven't been able to get away and there's no one I could trust to take a message.

"I knew you'd be coming soon. I want you to take the message to the Agency contact in Merano - you'll be going through there again. Tell them to send

someone here to deal with these men."

Then Frau Lazar opened the door of the kitchen, ushered in the others.

Soon everyone was warmed and revived by thick, hot stew, home-baked bread and apples brought up from the cellar.

When Luise went up to bed she found she had been put in a room with the two ill sisters, Ruth and Irma Grunfeld, and Anna Bork. She busied herself making the two women comfortable, not wanting to have any conversation at all with Anna Bork.

Ruth, the elder of the Grunfeld sisters, looked up at her out of eyes that had no light in them. "We shan't be going with you tomorrow night. Fraulein. All that worries my sister and me is where will they send us? Back to the same camp?"

"Is that where you'd like to go?"

"Yes. At least there are familiar faces

there - we have no friends or family anywhere else." She took a thin claw from under the blanket, held Luise's hand. "If you can arrange it. Fraulein Graz - please? We don't want to die among strangers."

Luise was powerless, she knew; getting the two women back to Camp 93 was beyond her control. But the hand that clutched hers was an expression of faith in

her: someone trusted her.

She looked across the room at Anna

Bork watching her closely from her bed:

there was someone who had no faith in her, would never burden her with trust.

"I'll do everything I can, Fraulein Grunfeld. But go to sleep now - you'll need all your strength for the journey

back."

She went across to her own bed, took off her shoes, lay down and pulled the blankets over her. Keppel had warned them all that they would not have the luxury of taking their clothes off for the first forty-eight hours, not till they were

over the Italian border.

They had to be ready to move at a moment's notice, and a moment's notice didn't mean while they got dressed and gathered up their belongings. But Luise was so tired, it was a luxury not to undress.

She looked across again at Anna Bork,

but the other woman had turned her face

to the wall, was already asleep. Luise turned down the oil lamp, stared up at the darkness. The journey had at last begun,

but her mind refused to look ahead. She

fell asleep and dreamed of the past, the

black winter of the last five vears.

To be continued

(C) Sundowner Productions Pty Ltd 1975. Published by William Collins Sons & Co

Glasgow.

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