It was in the summer of 1940 that Uncle Felix took me on holiday to Bad Godesburg. We stayed at the Rheinhotel-Dreesen, a beautiful building right on the river bank. He said that the hotel had been used by the Fuhrer on a number of occasions, most importantly as one of the places where he negotiated with the English prime-minister Neville Chamberlain… It was when he took back the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia, rescuing so many of our brother Germans from foreign rule. That had been in September 1938.
The hotel sold postcards of the Fuhrer standing across the river looking towards the hotel and its big pier for river steamers. Uncle Felix had promised that we would take a trip on a steamer. Unfortunately, as you will see, Heydrich put paid to that!
Actually I was on holiday, Uncle was there to treat Hess, the Deputy Fuhrer. So, each morning he would go to Hess's room and I would go for a walk in the town, along the river and to explore the ruins of the castle, a rather strange single tower… it looked more like a light-house than a castle. I was used to the fairy-tale Schloss castles of the south.
It was the school holidays so there were a lot of boys about.… excellent!
The first evening we had a formal dinner in the hotel's dining-room. Hess was paying our bills. The room was quiet and the waiters were respectful. They walked where we could see them, and they didn't eavesdrop. Uncle said that in earlier times they would have tried not to be noticed, but now they wanted senior party members to know exactly where they were. They didn't want them to think that they were listening to their conversations.
He told me interesting gossip that Hess had told him. The hardest to believe was that the Fuhrerbefehl order from Adolf Hitler that halted the Wehrmacht advance and allowed the English and French armies to escape at Dunkirk was intended to have just that result.
The Fuhrer's view, according to Hess was that the enemy was already defeated. When they returned to the English islands they were as good as in a prison camp. He had said it was important that they not be destroyed because he planned an alliance with England and France to combine their three armies in defiance of Bolshevism when the time came.
I had been disappointed when the English escaped, but now I could see the Fuhrer's logic… I thought… 'He is a great man. We are lucky to have such a leader.'
Uncle Felix said that Hess wanted a treaty with the English. Then Greater Germany and England would form an axis that could withstand anything the Bolsheviks could throw at us.
After breakfast I went for a stroll. The concierge told me that the castle was worth a visit and that I would find it by heading almost due west. He said that I would see it once I crossed the railway lines. Wearing my Jungvolk uniform and using the compass in its pocket I did as he said. When I crossed the railway lines the strange tower of the castle was visible above the house-tops. On the Burgstrasse I found a number of small paths that led up onto the castle mound. A steep one led straight up, but this was a lazy stroll so I took the one that wound around the hill.
I came out of the trees and there was the castle. It was quite a small castle in ground area but extraordinarily tall, a single very tall tower surrounded by high walls. I sat under the trees to contemplate the sight and eat the mid-morning snack that the kindly concierge had provided. He knew who and what my uncle was. The reservation had come from the Deputy Fuhrer's office and if that office knew my name then I deserved all the kindness at his command!
To the schoolboy approaching me on the other hand I was just another tourist, a year or so older than he. Observing my uniform, he raised his arm in salute. I stood up and returned his greeting. He extended his hand. As I took it a thrill ran up my arm. I was suddenly aware of how handsome he was, more than pretty, handsome. I was also aware of how far from the bustle of the town we were, and how alone.
I gestured for him to sit with me. The tree was not very thick. With both of us resting against it, our shoulders and hips were touching… firmly.
We chatted quietly about the war (his father was on the Atlantic coast near Normandy) and school life (he attended the Paedagogium in the town). He asked where I was staying and I said the Rheinhotel Dreesen, and he seemed quite impressed.
"It has quite a history" he said.
"I know that the Fuhrer has stayed there a few times, when he was negotiating with the English Prime Minister Chamberlain."
"Oh, it has more history than that!" He said
"Yes, it was where the Fuhrer met his inner circle, to plan the purge of the SA, the Sturm Abteilung, Ernst Rohm's lot of brown-shirts."
"That must have been quite a night when that went down"
"Well… you know what they say about what they found when the bedroom doors were knocked down… half the SA leaders were in bed having sex!"
"With their wives you mean?"
"Gott no… They were having sex with each other!"
He giggled again…
"The SA went from attention to stand-easy in no seconds flat that night! and… the Brown-shirt youth-leaders… they had more than each other to play with!"
I was astonished, these were rumours that had not reached our Jungvolk troop. But, if our own youth leaders were anything to go by I could easily believe that the SA youth leaders had brought a little light relief with them.
"Boys you mean?"
I told him that I could believe such things if camping with our Jungvolk leaders when hamstering was typical. He asked what I meant, so I explained. He said similar things had happened last summer at the KLV camp. The Kinderlandverschickung or "sending children to the countryside" camps were being used for summer holidays when they weren't needed to remove children from bombing.
He said that the leader of his group had chosen a different boy each night to share his room. The boys competed for his attention, just to sleep on a featherbed instead of a straw-mattress. They were told that it was to reward them for good teamwork or sporting score
"Of course, we weren't fooled… We knew he just wanted to get into our pyjamas!"
I laughed… "You mean your pyjama bottoms!"
"Yes, our bottoms!"
We had a joke in common, always a good start.
By this time we were both more than a little excited. I gestured at the erection that was tenting his pants…
"Did they get into yours?"
"Scheiss yes! I got chosen twice… damn they were good… I hadn't realised… how good it could be!"
My own trousers were now showing evidence of growing arousal. Occasionally people walked along the path, so I said…
"We need to get these out of sight, and get them to go down again. Fancy a walk in the trees? … at least we shall be out of sight!"
"Perhaps we can make them go down again as well." He grinned.
Once we were out of sight, well into the trees, he turned down a narrow path and into a clearing.
"We won't be disturbed here… I have been here before… we weren't disturbed."
Then he realised what he had said
"It's alright, I know exactly what you mean. I was planning to find somewhere like this after I had finished my lunch. The Party wants us to produce beautiful blond babies in a few years, so we have a duty to practise."
Then I spoilt it by giggling, and he knew my patriotic fervour for what it was… a teenage boy with an erection and someone to help him lose it. He grinned and reached across…
"May I check to see how ready you are to fulfil your duty to re-populate the new eastern provinces?"
"Of course. Provided you also allow me to check your credentials as a Nordic baby-maker." I replied with a grin.
He gently cupped me, and fondled me gently. I gasped, and reached to him. He too was erect, although being a year or so behind me he was not such a hand-full… although, in fairness, it was he and not I that had made the first move.
He was still taking the lead… he had my leather belt undone and my pants open. It was the best sucking I had enjoyed since last camp. His KLV youth leader had taught him well. I imagined he had been an eager pupil. Then I caught up with him and he too proved his willingness if not quite readiness to father blond babies.
When I had recovered from the small depression that always follows such fulfilment, I became nervous, as did he. We looked around to make sure that nobody had been watching us, shook hands, said Heil Hitler and went our separate ways.
I hurried back to the hotel. I had been gone some hours and I didn't want Uncle to be worried. His trust and the freedom to take these walks alone were worth protecting!
When I got there he was nowhere to be found. Eventually I thought of asking the concierge at the front desk. He looked very frightened when he saw me, and ushered me to a quiet corner amongst the raincoats of the cloakroom.
I asked him what the problem was.
"Your uncle went off with four SS and two civilians in police leather coats."
"I heard one of them say… Herr Heydrich has some questions for you to answer regarding Herr Hess."
"So my uncle has been arrested?"
"Quick, how long ago was this?"
"Two hours ago, just after you left this morning."
I thought, 'Don't panic… this is not the time to panic, keep calm!'
Quietly but urgently I said….
"I must make a phone call… quickly."
"To your mama to come fetch you?"
"No! to Reichsfuhrer-SS Himmler!"
"Good God, you will get us killed!"
"No… We won't be killed for phoning the Reichsfuhrer's office, but you could well be killed if the Reichsfuhrer finds himself without his favourite doctor. Quickly man, you must have the Reichsfuhrer's office phone number, he has stayed here often enough!"
I was only 12 but I was barking orders as the Reichsfuhrer's man on the spot!
"How will you get past his guards?"
"Don't be silly, I don't want to reach him, That would be impossible. It's his secretary I need to reach, Rudolf Brandt, he calls me "little Hansi". Once I have reached him my message will have reached Himmler!"
So that's what we did. The concierges told Berlin that it was the Reichsfuhrer's hotel in Bad Godesburg ringing about his booking and please to speak to his personal secretary.
When he heard his voice he handed the phone to me… his risk taken, his job done, he ran like a rabbit to his concierge station, to shuffle papers.
I said "Its Hansi, Herr Rudolf, Please, please you must help us… Herr Heydrich has arrested Dr Kersten, Uncle Felix… he has been holding him for over three hours. It's something to do with Herr Hess!"
"Calm down… how do you know this?"
"It happened mid-morning. He was seen leaving with four SS and two Gestapo officers. They were heard saying "Herr Heydrich has questions for you regarding Herr Hess."
"Liebe Gott, the Reichsfuhrer will be furious when he hears. The last thing he wants is for your Uncle to run back to Sweden leaving him with nothing but herbal remedies!"
"Leave it with me, he will be free within the hour!"
I went to the coffee-shop and waited. It took more than an hour, but not much more.
Eventually, a huge black Mercedes pulled up at the door of the hotel, and my uncle alighted. He was clearly shaken, but was in control of himself. He turned to the other man in the back of the car, and said…
"Please give my compliments to Herr Heydrich and thank him for his hospitality, particularly the coffee and cake at the end."
Then he Heil-Hitlered, turned smartly and walked into the hotel.
I rushed across to him, and in a most informal manner hugged him. He held me at arm's-length and said
"What's that all about?"
"You are free, Herr Heydrich released you? You are alright?"
"Yes, I am alright… but how did you know that he had me?"
"Of course I knew… Who did you think it was that rang Reichsfuhrer-SS Himmler to get you released?"
"Mein Gott Hansi, what a boy you are!"
There were tears in his eyes and he hurried us into the lift before he could embarrass himself.
As we entered his room he said…
"Without your call Herr Himmler might have been seeking a new doctor."
""I know. That's what I told Rudolf Brandt to tell him. I expect that's why you are free."
He looked visibly shaken for a moment, and then said quietly…
"Hansi, you are a most remarkable young man." Then he kissed me!
Later, Uncle Felix told me that Hess had told him that he was particularly keen to achieve a negotiated peace with Britain. He said that if Germany could halt the war in the next few months and sign a treaty with the English then Greater Germany and England would form an axis that could withstand anything that the Bolsheviks could throw at us.
That morning, just before the arrest, Hess had said to him that he Hess "had to stretch out his hand to achieve reconciliation between Germany and the other nations."
Hess had said that he was toughening himself "for an act of national importance."
Uncle Felix said that clearly Heydrich knew that Hess was up to something, but it was going to take more than coffee and cake for him to find out what, and then he smiled…
"Of course, the coffee and cake style of questioning didn't happen until after you made your phone call!"
Just to finish off that adventure… It was in early May of the following year (1941) that Uncle Felix was summoned urgently to see Reichsfuhrer-SS Himmler. As soon as he entered the office and before he could sit down, Himmler shouted at him…
"Was Heydrich right? Were you up to something with Deputy Fuhrer Hess?"
"Hess, Reichsfuhrer? What has he been up to?"
"Our glorious Deputy Fuhrer has taken it upon himself to fly to England. The Fuhrer is furious… we all need to be very careful. What did you know last year? What went on in Bad Godesberg last May?"
"Absolutely nothing Reichsfuhrer! I treated him for some minor ailments, and he said that he needed to stay fit because he expected to be called on for an important war-role. I assumed the Fuhrer had some task for him. He said nothing about England… except… that he felt it important that England be persuaded to end hostilities, but that is the Fuhrer's aim too, so I saw nothing strange in that."
"Well what is strange is that last night he had a Messerschmitt fitted with drop tanks, took off from Augsburg and flew to Scotland. No doubt he hoped to persuade them to make peace, but all he has achieved so far is to make us look ridiculous… and annoy the Fuhrer!"
"But did no-one try to stop him?"
"The fighter arm scrambled a few planes to chase him, but they lost him."
"A few Reichsfuhrer, was that wise? Surely we needed every plane we had!
"They only sent a few because he was flying one of our own planes… a Spitfire we could have spotted, a single Messerschmitt we might have spotted, but among a mass of pursuing identical planes? That would have been a needle in a haystack! No! a few was correct! If I didn't think so the General Fighter Command would be dead by now!"
"So, what should I do, Reichsfuhrer?"
"Forget he said anything about England… you relaxed his bunions that's all!"
"The last thing I need is for the Fuhrer to blame it on my doctor!"
"Remember in future… if any of the senior party members start behaving strangely, I want to know! If it's a waste of time I don't care… waste it! Just don't let this happen again… the Fuhrer is not a forgiving man and neither am I!"
"Yes Reichsfuhrer! Heil Hitler!"
So that ended our involvement with Deputy Fuhrer Hess. He had always been nice to me, but I found his dark deep-set eyes, huge eyebrows and intense manner rather scary, so I was not going to miss him.
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