Volume 4, Chapter 12
Duarte has always been an underprivileged Polish merchant. His family has always manned a small store in the center of Warsaw that his grandfather started. Currently, Duarte was sitting in his little shop looking over the month’s records.
Business was really becoming harder and harder. When the Germans first arrived everyone just assumed that it would simply be a change of rulers. That everything will soon return to the status quo. Most of the shop owners agreed that business would return as it once was. But now it seems that he was apparently incorrect. These Germans are not rulers, they are predators. They do not rule the land, they feast off it.
With fewer and fewer available goods arriving, it caused a lot of the stores to already closed down. Rumor is that the Germans have been confiscating all the metal products to build more of their guns. It does seem a bit exaggerated but there was some cause for it. Products like brass faucets and cast-iron heaters were usually in very adequate supply. But now, you could not find a shop in Warsaw the sold these goods.
Duarte’s shop was filled with goods shipped from Germany. In the hardware department, it was comprised of very beautiful tools. Their quality was assured, but the price is simply too expensive. The price of these tools were already several times higher than Polish counterparts before the war. However, in order to continue his business, he had no other choice. But this was still a dilemma as few people could afford these expensive German goods.
The price of food also increased along with most everything else. Before, selling a small hammer was enough to buy a delicious Polish sausage. But now to sell a whole set of hammers was only enough to buy two loaves of black bread. Those wealthy merchants were still able to live a luxurious life by colluding with German officials. But a small hardware store wouldn’t even warrant glances from the patrolling German soldiers. Much less German officers. It truly is a hard world to live in.
Suddenly a burst of gunfire came from further down the street. Awaking Duarte from his thoughts as he quickly hid behind the counter.
“Damn it, what is wrong with them! Who do the Resistance have to fight with the Germans in the middle of the city! Isn’t it just looking for death?” Duarte muttered under the counter.
“Last week it was like this as well. Can these people not give the common folk a few days of calm?”
Then the sound of gunshots sounded from all directions. Duarte felt as if fierce battles erupted throughout Warsaw. “What the hell? Is the city going up in flames today? Who is it this time? The Russians?” Duarte finally decided to climb out and take a peek outside.
This small businessman was slowly crawling along the floor towards the window of the store. Finally, he took a deep breath and drew a cross atop his chest as he prayed. Peeking his head out of the window and looked down the street. The sight he saw made him very confused. Just to be sure, he took off his glasses and wiped them. Putting them back on, he looked carefully once more. “What on Earth?” He could not believe that the Germans were really fighting among themselves. This really is a terrifying world.
Warsaw District, SS Headquarters. District Commander Hans was sitting comfortably in his office sipping the finest of Bordeaux wines from France. He felt very satisfied with his current situation. In Warsaw, he was like a true emperor. The entire city was his territory. All the citizens are his subjects, and he can do what he wants. No one would dare disobey anything he says. And to think, he was only a small Army Lieutenant 6 years ago.
He thought his life was over when he was kicked out of the Army five years ago for violating military regulations. He did not expect that as he wandered the streets, he would happen upon an SS recruitment ad. Originally, as an Army officer, he held disdain for the SS. He always believed that the SS were a bunch of cowards that fled from the battlefield. But since he was out of options, he joined. He was immediately appointed a Captain due to his status as a former Army officer.
But as he stayed in the SS, his view of it changed as well. He slowly understood the true duties of the SS. He knew that to be promoted he needed to be noticeable. He began to become extremely brutal and tyrannical. Completing the tasks assigned to him with excess brutality. Allowing him to win the favor of his superiors. From a Captain to a 2nd Lieutenant to a full Lieutenant.
It was at this time that his life changed. He was summoned by Heydrich for the task of chasing down the Jews. Not exactly sure what he did to catch Heydrich’s notice but that’s not important. Soon, in two years he went from Lieutenant to Brigadeführer. Now he was placed as the head of the SS in Warsaw. Besides Governor Frank, few people know of arrangement. Thinking of this, Commander Hans proudly took another sip of wine.
[MD: So, I was mistaken as I confused Governor Hans Frank with District Commander Hans. Who is a completely fictional character]
“Commander! Something is happening!”
An SS Major stormed into the office.
As the Commander roared, the glass cup flew toward the Major’s face.
The glass broke as it whacked the Major on the head. The Major immediately squatted down clutching his bleeding forehead.
“Who told you to break into my office without knocking at the door. Do you think my order is fake? Everyone is required to knock before coming in. Also, what could have made you so astounded to charge in like this? Do you still qualify as a SS officer?” Commander Hans scolded.
“Sir, it is of importance.” The Major yelled out as he covered his wound.
“Oh? First, take this. Rub it clean.” Commander Hans handed a handkerchief to the Major.
“What is it?”
The Major took over the handkerchief and shouted out: “Sir, I just received a message from the patrolling teams. It says that half of the soldiers have mutinied under the leadership of Lieutenant Colonel Tiffel. The other half have been detained in the barracks! From the reports, a dozen junior officers and soldiers have been killed already.”
Commander Hans immediately stood up as he heard the report.
“Tiffel, rebellion! This is impossible! His loyalty to the Fuhrer is irrefutable. It must be mistaken.”
“An officer was able to secretly notify us as his barrack was being searched. He said that as soon as Tiffel entered the barracks, he brought together all the officers and soldiers who did not participate in the operation yesterday. Then he led them to capture the other men who did participate. He also killed any soldiers and officers that resisted. Now that officer may have been captured because all lines leading to the camp have been cut off.”
“So, there is such a thing! Tiffel is simply too audacious!”
Commander Hans roared angrily as he paced around the room. Then he stopped and asked: “The Waffen-SS 77th Storm Company. Were they involved in this rebellion?”
“It’s not yet clear. But they shouldn’t be. There was no mention of any Waffen-SS units in the report.”
“That’s fine, but this situation still cannot be taken lightly.”
Commander Hans first calmed down. Taking a moment to think, he ordered to the Major: “Go and immediately lead a detachment and investigate the situation. If true, then immediately arrest Tiffel. Shoot him if he resists. Also, go and assign a regiment of Waffen-SS to accompany you. You said that he has half of the SS troops. That’s to say he has half a half a regiment of his own forces. If it really is a rebellion, then use force as necessary. Do you understand?”
“Yes, Commander.” The Major frowned slightly as he answered.
“Go find someone to get you bandaged. It is an unsightly appearance for someone of your rank. Go wash. You should know that I hate people who don’t knock the most. However, your report was very important. I will apply you for a medal if you make a clear investigation into this rebellion. Well, go now.”
“Tiffel and his soldiers have rebelled. This is ridiculous.” Commander Hans returned behind his desk. He frowned and picked up the phone to make a call.
“Operator, this is District Commander Hans connect me to the Waffen-SS 80th Storm Company headquarters. I need Major Gerhardt, quickly!”
After a while, a sound appeared on the other end.
“80th Storm Company Headquarters. May I ask who?”
“I am Brigadeführer Hans, who are you?” Commander Hans felt somewhat strange. This wasn’t the voice of Major Gerhardt. Was he out of the office?
“Hello Brigadeführer Hans, I am Duty Officer Darth. Is there something that you need?”
“Where is Major Gerhardt? Let him answer the phone.”
“The Major is out on a mission. If there is anything then you can tell me. Once he comes back, I will convey it to him.”
“Out on mission?” Commander Hans was totally confused. He asked strangely: “An order never passed through me nor was I notified. He and his troops should be in their barracks currently. What is the matter?”
“I do not know, Brigadeführer, he hurriedly dispatched the entire company after receiving a call. However, it did seem to be a emergency as the Major was quite flustered. It seems to be something about the Fuhrer.”
“What! The Fuhrer?”
“Yeah, that’s what I heard the Major say.”
“Well, it seems there is no other choice. If the Major returns then tell him to immediately give me a call.”
Commander Hans put down the phone, his head utterly confused. What could have happened? Since when did the Waffen-SS get directly dispatched? Furthermore, it didn’t even go through the SS. Hell, there wasn’t even a notification! Commander Hans quickly picked up the phone and called a dozen more Waffen-SS units. All of the responses stated that the commander was out.
Commander Hans slammed down the phone. What the hell happened today? All of the troops have been mobilized by the Fuhrer. What sort of mission required the entire local Waffen-SS garrison to be mobilized? What puzzled him the most was the lack of notification. Making him slightly concerned.
Suddenly, a fierce series of gunshots rang out from the center of Warsaw. Accompanied by the explosion of grenades.
Commander Hans jerked up and he ran to the window, looking in the direction of the gunfire. In the distant downtown area, smoke started to billow upwards. Occasionally, a large explosion would throw more smoke into the sky.
“What is happening!”
Commander Hans was stunned by the sudden change in the situation. Then, the telephone bell at his desk started to ring loudly. Awakened by the ringing, he rushed to pick up the phone.
“Commander, this is Lieutenant Colonel Falworth, patrol commander.” The security commander shouted out as a very intense gunfight sounded in the background.
“What happened! What are those gunshots!”
“You don’t know? Brigadeführer, I also want to know what happened! We are under siege by the Waffen-SS. They ordered to hand over our weapons and detain us. When the soldiers resisted, they opened fire! They started to massacre my troops! They’ve surrounded me and my remaining troops in my headquarters building! Furthermore, they didn’t accept my surrender! I’ve just received a message that the other departments in Warsaw as also in a similar state. A large number of officials have been arrested by the Gestapo and the Waffen-SS. Commander, what should we do? Commander!”
Commander Hans did not answer Falworth’s question and hung up the phone. The mission… It turns out to be the mission of the Fuhrer. So that’s what the troops have been out doing. They want to exterminate the SS forces and arrest the government officials. Then he turned his head as he stared outside once more. Did Tiffel receive the same order? What is the Fuhrer trying to do?
“No… Was it for that!?”
Commander Hans exclaimed. It had to be, it was Heydrich’s order that caused this. But how could the Head of State receive word so quickly? The operation had just begun yesterday, there is no way that news could spread so quickly.
Just as Commander Hans was feeling frustrated, the door of the office was pushed open again and the Major rushed in. As the Major ran in, he remembered the taboo of the Commander. So, he quickly stepped back out and closed the door. A moment late a single, soft knock came. Commander Hans stared blankly at this stupid scene.
“Come in!” He growled.
“Reporting to the Commander, another big piece of news.”
Commander Hans tried desperately to suppress his anger. As he gritted his teeth, he asked: “Is it not about the gunfight out on the streets? I already know of it.”
“Yes, but I also have news. Your personal guard was attacked by the Waffen-SS. This is definitely a rebellion by all means.”
“What! They shot at my unit?” Commander Hans was shocked.
“Yes, Commander. You told me to mobilize the Waffen-SS to secure the barracks. On the way, I heard that the Waffen-SS was already dispatched towards the city. I assumed that you had already given them the call. Hence, I took half of your unit to the barracks. However, even before we were halfway to the destination, we were stopped by an entire Storm platoon. They asked for our credentials, but when I said we were SS, they raised their guns at me!
I’m not sure who fired the first shot but a fierce battle ensued. The Waffen-SS are crazy! They fired indiscriminately. Our forces were soon defeated and I fled back to report to you. Sir, it is not very safe right now. Those Waffen-SS soldiers have rebelled and are now approaching this command center. I think we should immediately evacuate. You still have half of your guard forces, it should be enough to escort us out of town. Then we can report our situation to the High Command. After which, we can finally deal with these traitors.”
“No!” Commander Hans slumped down in his chair. Muttering some words: “This, this is a mess. I don’t even know what exactly happened. But, I know that there is no escape. This is the plan of the Fuhrer. If he wants us dead, there is no escaping it. We were all killed by Heydrich. He’s the only one that can possibly save us.”
Then gunfire started to ring out from outside the headquarters. It seems the security forces have finally engaged the Waffen-SS. In a few moments, the gunshots came to a stop. Then the sound of snapping wood came as the door of the office was kicked open. Soldiers burst into the room. The Major spun around and was ready to draw his pistol from the holster. However, he was immediately shot by two soldiers. Afterwards, a SS Colonel walked in. His face cold like ice as he glared at Commander Hans. “SS District Commander Hans, you’re under arrest.”
“You… You are, Lieutenant Colonel Dorgen. Wait, no, Colonel Dorgen. I didn’t expect the Fuhrer to send you to arrest me. Ah, I thought you were the Deputy Fuhrer’s adjutant? … Wait, is it the Deputy Fuhrer… Of all people…”
“Stop with the chit-chat, Brigadeführer Hans. Let’s go.”
“No! I don’t want to die. Please, I don’t want to see that Apostle! Colonel Dorgen, you must let me go. I’ll give you anything you want.”
When Commander Hans finally understood that the behind-the-scenes mastermind was that Reinhardt von Straud, his figure totally collapsed. Falling into the hands of the Apostle was akin to a road to death. Understanding his crisis, he could only grab onto Colonel Dorgen’s trousers.
“I, should do something for you?” Dorgen have a cold look at the disgruntled SS officer kneeling at his feet.
“Yes! I have a lot of savings, some antiques.” Commander Hans felt a glimmer of hope.
“No need to go to such trouble. In fact, I just need for you, Brigadeführer Hans, to obtain something and we won’t take you in.”
Dorgen’s face showed a slight sneer.