Author : Roi R. Cechvala, Staff Writer
Helmut Rose made his way down the broad avenue to his office at the Aerospace Centre. He looked up at the hundred foot long banners displaying the movie star good looks of the President’s face. Hitler’s picture was everywhere. The only resemblance to his great-grandfather was an untidy shock of black hair on the forehead and pinched moustaches.
Berlin was electrified. Overhead, Zeppelins announced “Alles Gute zum Geburtstag Führer” in brilliant colours flashing and crawling around on the dirigibles silver skin. Adolph Hitler IV’s birthday celebration was shaping up to be bigger than last year’s.
As was his habit, before heading to his office, Rose visited the engineers of the Von Braun Zentrum für Raum Studium. As he entered the spacious, brightly lit room, an enthusiastic “Heil Hitler” rang out from the assembled men jumping to their feet with an outstretched arm.
“Heil Hitler,” Rose replied, casually throwing back his right hand. The men looked harried, but bright eyed and excited. “How’s it going? Everything okay?”
Heinrich Globus, lead engineer on the Ares project, strode over and pumped Rose’s hand. “Perfect Herr Doktor, Perfect. Who could have imagined Mars’ approach would match up with the Führer’s celebration. The launch will occur on time. It’s almost as if it were a birthday gift from God himself.”
“‘Gott Ist Mitt Uns'”, eh Heinrich,” Rose laughed. “I hope not. We don’t need some Jew god interfering with the triumph of the German people.” They laughed.
“This launch is a tribute to you Herr Doktor. You must be proud.”
“I am but a humble administrator, Heinrich.”
“Don’t be modest Helmut. Everybody knows that Werner couldn’t have made it to the moon without you. And your ICBM’s? They have kept the British and their American lap dogs at bay.”
Rose felt colour rising in his cheeks. “I am just doing my small part, but thank you Heinrich. I must get up to my office. Make sure the men get a good rest after the launch. They’ve earned it.” The head of Germany’s space program strode briskly to a bank of elevators.
Rising to the top floor of the towering structure he thought back to the metaphorical heights his career had taken him. As a young man on Werner Von Braun’s team, he had sent three men to walk on the lunar surface. Now a team of eight were soon headed for the red planet.
Entering the outer office, his secretary beamed at him. “Guten morgen, Herr Doktor. Are you excited? Just think of it, our Aryan astronauten on another planet.”
“Yes Greta, truly a coup for Germany, though hardly unexpected. Still it is a great accomplishment.” He retrieved the morning paper, Der Informant, from her desk and made for the inner office.
“Oh, Herr Doktor? There are two men waiting inside who wish to speak to you. Reporters I imagine. I hope that’s okay?”
“That’s fine, Greta. Danke.”
Entering his sanctum sanctorum, two men rose to greet him. They were identically dressed in black suits, black leather trench coats and black fedoras. Had they not been wearing the unofficial official uniform, he would still have recognized them for what they were.
Rose sat down behind his massive mahogany desk. “How may I help you gentlemen,” he asked, the disdain evident in his voice.
“You are Doktor Helmut Wilhelm Rose? Director of the ZRS?”
“I am. What can I do for you?
The man continued. “Herr Doktor…,” he consulted a small notebook, “… Rosenbaum? We have a few questions for you.”
The Gestapo man smiled widely. A smile that never touched his piercing blue eyes.
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