"Attempted Assassination On Himmler"
Some days later, Walter reported to the party headquarters before signing in that afternoon for duty at the police station. The security was visible outside as usual, he was satisfied to note. However, he was aware that there were two men outside that he hadn't noticed before. Both young men were seen smoking and laughing as they approached the building taking little interest in him, or who he was or what his business here concerned.
He nodded a short greeting at them and climbed the stairs and as usual as he entered the office he noticed Heinrich was seated at his desk. Heavy buff folders piled up before him, as well as newspapers and galley proofs that almost obscured him. He sometimes speculated if he ever returned home for family duties.
Walter knew Heinrich often hoped to return to the farm to observe the progress of his chickens, but official matters always seemed to materialise, claiming his attention. Heinrich looked up at Walter and smiled saying: "Morning Walter, I hear you are the hero of the hour. Is that correct,?" he asked raising an eyebrow.
"In what way?," enquired Walter, knowing it concerned the Kyper household. In fact doctor Auer's daughter had been very much in his thoughts since their meeting. He simply had never encountered anyone like her. "In returning Fraulein Aure's stolen handbag of course. She must indeed be very grateful," he said, pursing his lips as he corrected a document in front of him with a stroke of his pen.
Walter speculated as to how he was aware of the crime concerning the stolen handbag and of his official visit to the Auer household? Walter smiled, saying as he walked towards his own desk to sit down: "She was very grateful and a delightful young lady to meet and converse with....."
Heinrich silenced him with a wave of his hand saying: "I know Walter. I too have had the privilege and pleasure of being acquainted with both her and Carin Goring. Both delightful ladies and passionate party members as well."
He then signed his name with a flourish on the letter before him and placed it into a typed envelope.
Walter interjected by asking: "Yes that certainly was news to me because I've never noticed their names in the membership card drawers?"
Heinrich interrupted explaining: "That's because I secure all senior members home addresses by locking their cards into my desk."
He paused after confiding this important information to him, then adding: "I always remove any confidential material, leaving nothing here overnight. Now I will let you into a little secret Walter." He stood up and walked forward speaking quietly: "In the chicken coop at the farm, situated behind the third stall, I designed and installed a small metal box with one of those new combination locks you've probably read about. We cannot be too careful Walter as I have warned you frequently in the past. We have many enemies out there waiting to destroy us and the party."
"What did the American, Benjamin Franklin correctly state"?: 'If we make ourselves sheep, the wolves will eat us.' "Very true indeed."
Then he lowered his voice again: "Now listen Walter, I'm going to give you the code. But please do not write it down. Just try to remember it ... understand?"
Walter nodded wondering what was to follow. Heinrich could be dramatic at times: "It is 8762932. It's an important number to me personally Walter," Heinrich said tapping him gently on the shoulder.
"You can do the detective work yourself to solve the meaning of the numbers."
He ended with an oblique reference to Walter's future police employment.
Walter decided to refrain from mentioning the two ladies that Karin had informed him of who were offering their typewriting services. It didn't seem an appropriate time he reasoned.
Himmler continued in his affable way kindly enquiring: "And how is the good doctor? Still smoking those disgusting cigars?"
He laughed then saying with genuine respect: "He's a remarkable man you know. During the putsch when we lost sixteen brave young men, all martyrs to the cause of course, he tended to many of the wounded. I witnessed it myself. He certainly saved six lives that I know about. He even visited Adolph in Landsberg prison to inspect his shoulder wound .... as did Carin Goring as well ... Adolph was very touched by her visit, why she even brought him some fruit that was out of season, goodness knows where she acquired it from."
Walter hadn't learned about this information before now being offered to him by Heinrich. So the Countess had embarked on a social visit to Hitler in prison very interesting he thought and as usual this lady was full of surprises.
"Is the doctor a party member?," he enquired, changing the subject.
"No, not yet, but we always live in hope especially in the pool of politics, do we not Walter? But I suspect and have suggested to others, that he is sympathetic to our cause as indeed all patriotic Germans should and one day will be."
Walter smiled and commenced as usual to arrange the piled mail placed on his desk that had been delivered earlier that morning.
"Anything interesting?," Heinrich would call out, as Walter sliced open the envelopes with the office paper knife, a gift from 'The Munich Agricultural Bank, established 1848.'
This was a memorable morning office ritual that Heinrich had delegated simply to Walter's capable hands for whatever reason only he knew.
Then before he could answer that usual question, his antenna announced an approaching danger.
His ears were alerted to footsteps climbing the stairs slowly and softly. This was unusual indeed, because Heinrich had arranged previously with Rohm's men to whistle a warning alert loudly up the stairs if a suspicious stranger approached the outer office door. This would naturally prepare the office staff for whoever was approaching and for whatever reason and to be prepared for their entrance. This time no warning whistle had sounded which was concerning to Walter.
Walter was instantly alert as to what or who was approaching. Himmler still unprepared and oblivious was reading his mail or checking something and still standing at his desk.
The door slowly opened and a small wiry man in his forties dressed in a grubby nondescript mackintosh entered. He stared at Himmler as he approached him being unaware of Walter's presence on his left side.
"Can I help you?", Heinrich enquired, walking towards the man with an outstretched hand, somehow detached to the danger that was at present in the room. Now advancing towards him with an evil intent to harm him the stranger suddenly launched himself at Heinrich and snatched from his overcoat pocket an eight inch primed hunting knife, then proceeded to hack at Heinrich's raised forearm with his now deformed hand.
Walter jumped up and diverted his attention with a shout of "HEY!"
Suddenly the attacker turned towards him then lunged, slashing the air just inches from Walter's undefended face.
In his free hand he now clutched a pistol and aimed it at Himmler. Walter quickly reached down retrieving a heavy lead paperweight from his desk depicting the 'three monkeys' and rammed it in to the sweating perspiring felon's forehead and nose.
The intruder fell backwards stunned by the pain and a broken nose but quickly regained his balance and lunged yet again towards Walter. The gun however jammed as he aimed and pulled the trigger.
Walter, still holding the gripped paperknife in his hand, plunged it into the attacker's right eye up to its gilt handle.
The man screamed and collapsed on to the floor. His legs violently kicking the air in a silent rhythm, blood pooling around his head. His undamaged eye looked at Walter as if in surprise of what had happened to him, and if he sought any help it was never to arrive.
Walter then slowly raised his right boot and secured it onto the man's windpipe and slammed it onto the exposed throat. Seconds later the man was silent but his body still jerked in grotesque spasms in its dance of death.
Walter then immediately diverted his attention to Heinrich who was now slumped on a high back chair suffering with pain and from shock.
Then noticing that blood was seeping through the sleeve on his right arm and upper chest he retrieved the hunting knife from the floor and sliced through the arm of the jacket and staunched the open wounds with his uniform tie. Then he gently settled a plaid blanket over Heinrich's shoulders before racing from the scene of the attack.
He then charged down the stairs two at a time and when outside he searched for the two so-called guards. Of course they were absent from their post. He then witnessed both of them about twenty yards away engaged in a conversation with a laughing young lady. He shouted at both of them and ordered them to get over to him immediately.
Then seeing the look of anger etched on his face they scrambled towards him immediately.
"Get up those stairs…NOW!!," he bellowed at them.
Then he followed and chased the two frightened men pushing them violently into the office.
Himmler was still sitting where he had left him, his face, ashen now, his eyes still glazed with shock. Some years before had not Carin Goring warned of a future attempt to murder him in a confined office space, but it would fail due to another person close to him being able to avert it.
Walter then turned to the eldest of the two men and pulling him against the wall, he threatened between clenched teeth: "Get this body downstairs NOW. Then put him into the small room in the hallway ... take everything out of his pockets, and I mean everything, and bring them to me."
"Then, both of you run back to the barracks and inform the sergeant of the guard as to what has happened. Get him to telephone Herr Hitler and tell him he needs to get here immediately! It's urgent! Then inform the sergeant to report here with six men and a car ... and I never want to see you two ever again. UNDERSTAND!!"
He then banged both of their heads together and ordered the dazed pair to carry the body down stairs to the deserted hallway. He realized he didn't know if the man was alive or dead and neither did he care!
Then seated with a wounded Himmler, Walter realized he desperately needed a doctor.
He recalled the slip of torn paper still folded in his pocket with Dr. Aure's telephone number given to him by Karin torn from her pocket book.
Then reaching for the office phone, he dialed the number, Munich 316 and waited impatiently drumming his fingers on the desk.
Gertrude's voice announced briskly: "Doctor Auer's residence."
"Gertrude, this is officer Kyper. Is the doctor there? It is important."
He heard her drop the phone. Then minutes later he heard Karin's cautious enquiring voice on the line.
He explained to her that her father was needed desperately to come to the party office because Herr Himmler had been attacked by a man armed with a knife and gun. He heard an intake of breath over the wire from her.
He quickly assured her that he himself was unharmed. She then informed Walter they would leave immediately. He thanked her and put replaced the phone.
Turning to Himmler he looked at him again, noticing that his glass frames were twisted and that a crack had splintered one of the lenses. Both frames and lenses were covered with blood splatters.
Himmler looked exhausted. Somehow they both had escaped death that morning.
He finally spoke, quietly hosing his words carefully: "Walter, I am indebted to you for saving my life. I cannot thank you enough. Without your rapid response, I would be bleeding to death on the floor or have a bullet lodged into my brain. I just need to tell you something ..."
He was interrupted by heavy footsteps running up the stairs. Then a voice shouted out: "Heinie, are you alright?"
Within seconds Hitler rushed into the confined office area, followed by Hess and Max Amann (Hitler's publisher and treasurer) with Alfred Rosenberg, bringing up the rear with other member's of Hitler's entourage. Both Hermann and Carin Goring were away in Sweden visiting her family. Strangely enough at the hour of the attempted murder Carin herself had been made aware of something dangerous occurring in the Munich party office to Himmler. She had been prohibited in warning him herself due to a high temperature that had confined her to her sick bed.
The office then quickly become a room filled with fearful faces hushed tones and suspicious eyes. It was a room full of secrets to perhaps be uncovered, if at all.
As Hitler listened studiously to Himmler's account of what had just occurred, both men turned to squint at Walter, nodding their heads in unison about some shared information.
Then further footsteps announced more visitors to the office. This time it was Karin Auer. She agitatedly gazed at the scene stretched out before her.
She then entered the room stepping over the pool of drying blood now pooled on the floor.
Then turning to Walter her face now expressing anguish, she whispered: "Have they harmed you Walter?" He smiled at her concern and shook his head: "No Karin, not me. Poor Heinrich had the misfortune to sustain the attack but he is made of stern stuff it seems."
She then surprisingly stroked his left cheek whispering words he could not understand. They were in fact Swedish expressions of affection she had learned from Carin Goring some years before in Sweden.
Karin then turned and walked over to the seated wounded man who was still dazed and confused.
Hitler stood back reaching for her hand. He then kissed it speaking quietly to her. Walter still recalled years later the look of admiration on her face as she gazed at him in saintly adoration.
Then she slowly turned away and knelt down placing Heinrich's shaking hand into her own. They then conversed quietly and quickly as if they were old friends. There seemed to be a bond between them he surmised.
Walter was unable to learn what was being said, much of it being spoken in whispers.
Hitler suddenly turned, walked towards Walter, asking abruptly: "Where is the body?" His eyes as cold as an artic gale. He was then informed that it had been taken away to be disposed of.
Hitler then turned and issued instructions to one of his men ordering that all documentation located on the body was to be destroyed after inspection first by Walter, he said with approval and some affection.
"Walter, you have performed an admirable service to the party," Hitler said shaking Walters hand. And I thank you. Oh, and sterling work retrieving Frauline Auer's stolen handbag."
How on earth, wondered Walter, was this man aware of the handbag robbery and recovery? Hitler was full of unexpected surprises rather like Himmler. He wondered if it was perhaps contagious both men having attended the same school of deception.
Then entering the room gasping and exhaling and spluttering heavily was doctor Auer himself, proclaiming: "Gentlemen, next time you acquire a new office building, please make sure it has a lift."
He immediately walked over to Himmler and opened his medical bag retrieving some secreted surgical scissors and proceeded to cut away the rest of the sleeve and around the chest area. He then listened to his pulse and nodded with satisfaction at what he heard. Then he angled his pocket torch to shine its searching beam in his patient's eyes, then placed it into his suit pocket.
Turning away from his 'audience' he extracted a syringe from his battered case and filled it with a serum. He then quickly inserted the needle into Himmler's useless arm. It soon revived him. Seconds later doctor Auer looked down to survey his work, saying to his patient: "Well the wounds looks superficial as far as I can see but you will need stitches. The chest wound will need cleaning to prevent further infection Herr Himmler."
Karin's eyes followed the procedure with avid attention clutching Walter's arm tightly at the same time. Hess then turned and walked over to the couple breathing heavily remarking: "You did well Walter. The party is proud of you and so am I. This deed will not be forgotten by Herr Hitler."
He saluted and departed leaving a hint of halitosis to linger in the air. Hitler then wished all of them an abrupt goodbye, then agreed something confidential with Himmler which none could hear.
Then he and his escort and the body in the broom closet of the unknown assailant all departed from the building. Walter later retained the knife and the pistol of the attacker. All other personal items were incinerated in the office stove.
Strangely enough some days later an unidentified male body was pulled out of the river Isar. No mention was reported in the Munchener post (Munich Post) of the gouged eye damage or of his identity.
Days later, the unlikely felon that Walter had visited and retrieved Karin's stolen handbag from was he found floating in the river face down. The cause of death was recorded by the police doctor as a simple suicide. Both cases were quickly forgotten by the police and the public.
Heinrich Himmler was driven home later that day under armed guard. Walter would not see him in the office for three days and heard nothing from him either. Apparently he would only require some stitches in his arm. The shoulder however would take longer to heal. It seemed the tip of the descending blade had damaged an artery and an infection had set into the wound.
This was pre the days of antibiotics and the medical miracles they later performed.
Later he showed the scar tissue to Walter informing him that a nerve in the shoulder had been permanently damaged but that he had learned to tolerate this discomfort. "What else can I do?," he asked enquiringly to Walter with a shrug and stoic smile.
The whole assassination attempt on Himmler's life would and could never be disseminated to the public for security reasons of course. That secret remained only with those then present in the room that day. All now were deceased.
Years later when Walter would read a recently published book on the life of Heinrich Himmler, there would be no hint of that failed assassination attempt on the Reichfuhrer's life.
Walter immediately issued orders for a carpenter and locksmith from the barracks to begin securing the office and the outer premises. This was completed within hours to his satisfaction. Also on orders later issued from Ernst Rohm's adjutant, armed guards would be deployed outside the building both day and night.
As a postscript Karin and the Gorings did arrive for their delayed medical appointment in Berlin with the recommended doctor from Columbia hospital, New York.
Apparently the elixir offered to Carin Goring on that day granted her a new lease of life.
"She looked twenty years younger the poor darling," Karin enthused to Walter some days later.
It seemed also that they had an enjoyable dinner with Goebbels and Hitler. Walter's name was praised frequently for his quick thinking in saving the Reichfuhrer's life.
Apparently doctor Isaac Solomon the (American Jewish specialist) was a delight to encounter, remembered Karin. It seemed the Gorings had personally invited him to join them for dinner. The good doctor had politely declined.
Looking back years later at those two occasions that had occurred in his life and within a matter or hours, he speculated it was perhaps then that he had matured emotionally with his newly formed friendship with Karin Auer. He certainly hoped so.
And therefore, maybe, he reasoned, his loyalty towards the party had increased, which previously had somehow been somewhat lacking and luster.
He had witnessed something new materialise in Hitler's character that perhaps his late unlamented father had first noticed in captain Ernst Rohm years before during the war. This being that Adolph Hitler was possibly to be the future saviour of Germany. Only time and events would tell, he speculated. Yet the political prognosis as Carin would later inform him looked promising and hopeful for the country and the fledgling party.
Over the next few days two crucial letters came into his possession. The first was from Himmler, scripted in his difficult to understand handwriting.
In short, he thanked Walter most profusely for his dangerous yet decisive action in saving his life. He would always be forever grateful to him and would do all in his power and authority to assist Walter, should he ever require it now or in the future at any time.
The second unexpected letter arrived on heavily scented lavender paper and had been hand delivered from Karin Auer herself (or probably by Gertrude) in which she had tenderly recounted.
It was so wonderful watching you talk with Herr Hitler.
I'm so sorry and sad that it was under such terrible circumstances. How brave Herr Himmler appeared to me. I wish him a full recovery and please do inform him that he is very important and an inspiration to both Carin and myself and of course to our party of which we are both very proud.
Well dear Walter, we dined with Dr. Goebbles at the famous 'Horcher' restaurant and the cuisine is all it is claimed to be. Afterwards Hermann insisted on complimenting the chef through the headwaiter whom he remembered from his flying days. He then insisted on being escorted to the kitchen to personally shake the chef's hand.
Carin and I remained absorbing the awe-inspiring atmosphere of the room which was so regal and elegant whilst we were discussing the future of the party with Joseph. Hermann was absent it seemed for such a long time. And eventually he arrived back to our table with a beaming smile on his face and wearing the chef's hat no less that had been kindly presented to him. He informed us that most of the kitchen staff were loyal party members which pleased all of us. We all laughed and it was such an unprecedented, wonderful, unforgettable evening. I have to confess however Walter I missed you being there with us very much.
P.S. Please meet me tomorrow if possible at noon in the English garden by the Chinese Tower. I have a special surprise for you.
Later then closeted in his small cold garret, Walter stood before his full-length mirror. Placed on either side of the wooden frame, he had positioned his police issue uniform and on the other side his tailored party uniform.
With his farm inheritance he was now somehow able to rent two small rooms in Schleissheimer Strasse close to the Munich main station. Incidentally Adolph Hitler had occupied a room in the same location just yards away in the early 1920s, he was informed later from Heinrich.
If he passed his detective exams, he speculated then, he would no longer be required to wear the standard serge police uniform but would work in more comfortable civilian clothes. He understood now that the police uniform would represent his previous life and that period would finally depart. He would be delighted to see its total demise of course.
Now the new party uniform and all it represented would be his coning future and the prelude he hoped for in his life and career.
He was now somehow suspended at a crucial crossroad in his career. It was all very daunting to him but exciting.
Later he climbed into his cold bed and as always after he had shaved and was preparing to sleep, he thought of his mother as he did most nights. He prayed that his sister was content in her job. And he really must write to her soon with his own news.
Then slithering across his mind he realized that at the age of twenty-six he had killed two men ... well, one in self-defence in saving the life of Heinrich.
Yet he experienced no sorrow or shame at what he had inflicted on the lives of the two men, only contempt. He had no regrets at all. Nor would he indulge in any useless self-pity that he knew was a waste of his time.
No, it was merely a means to an end. Simply a purpose he had carried out with neither feeling nor fear. Repentance never entered the equation and if it had he would have rejected its offered salvation.
Those men had to be removed from his life and at whatever the cost. They were simply obstructing him. Conscience had never been a hindrance to Walter Kyper.
He had long journeyed past that perilous regretful point of no return. Now he was primed and prepared to proceed into an unknown, uncharted region that was the coming new Germany.
Then a sombre sleep quickly descended over him taking him into that dell of dreams doubts and desires only later when he awoke refreshed in the morning did he recall dreaming about an offered China cup of Earl Grey tea and a watercress and egg sandwich from a smiling beautiful Karin Auer.
To be continued ...
(C) Copyright G. Patrick Battell