A/N: I'm rewriting this "polemic" story I wrote long time ago, changing some things and many parts of the plot. Like a new story And I'll delete the other one. Lets hope nobody will jump on me :)
He looked up. It was cold outside, winter in Vienna. Seven in the morning. With a sigh, Jan Lindner dressed up in his uniform and got ready to leave the warm house where he lived. His mother and sister were still sleeping. Since his father died, ten years ago, he had become an important member of the family. Now, close to the thirties, he was the one who brought the salary at home.
He shouldn't complain. He was a young Austrian who had been working for the SS since they had been formed. His past as a simple detective, helping police, was over. Now he was important. People respected him. Even if it meant to work for that institution. He knew what was going on behind…but he cared about his family's safety. Salary was high, the world was inside a war and hunger invaded almost all homes.
He closed the main door behind him and walked in the cold streets of Vienna. Snow was falling again, and people were walking to their jobs, covered with their coats. He knew his uniform was a symbol of power. He knew the fears he caused. His dark green eyes under the hat narrowed when the wind came. Minutes after, he crossed the Karlsplatz, and hurried among the coming crowd. The coffee shops were full, and he chose his favourite one, where Sigmund Freud used to eat breakfast.
The waiter greeted him, like every day, and in short time more SS officials joined him. A couple of people left the place with a scared look, probably Jewish, thought Jan. But it wouldn't be him the one who would stop them. He was against Hitler's ideas, and he wished more than nothing that the war was over.
"Jan, you came early today" A tall soldier smiled, and they shook hands.
"I needed coffee, Hans. This winter is killing me, and it had just begun. And since when it's a crime to arrive early in the office?"
"You're always so sarcastic.. I wonder how can you keep up the good mood.. we're full of work lately, since the new Jewish came.." He made a pause to drink his tea. "By the way, Jan.. I heard that they'll assign a new mission to you.. direct orders from Berlin's headquarters" Jan's eyes widened and his heart started beating fast. He knew that Goebbels' orders weren't good at all.
"Really? What is it about? I hope I won't have to leave Vienna.." He pretended to stay calmed, but deep inside he knew about those anti-Jewish laws.
"You'll be supervising a job in the Naturhistorisches museum, in the square where the Führer gave the speech on 1939, remember? It seems a bunch of scientists will come with a new collection.. "
"And what does it have to do with me?" Asked Jan, raising an eyebrow. Hans smiled.
"You're so innocent, Jan.. those scientists come from Poland.. and you know we suspect they're Jewish.."
"So they want me to watch up?" He took another sip of his coffee, and Hans nodded.
"You know what I mean.. come on, we're late. I invite" He said, putting the coins on the desk. They both left the warmth of the café to enter the coldness of winter mornings in Vienna.
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"Anne! Are you ready? " The woman shouted, and the girl sighed. She was working as an assistant in the Museum of Natural History of Vienna. Only rich girls could afford going to university, and it hadn't been her case. Her job was the least amusing thing. Sitting on a chair, in the entry, writing down all the new goods they were bringing, making coffee for the scientists and carrying books and dusty folders from the library. So exciting.
On her late twenties, she could consider herself lucky. The war was on the top stage, and she wasn't starving. She lived with her family in a modest house near from the centre, and she got a decent salary, enough for food and clothes. Her parents had a job as well, so the whole family was able to survive. She was an only child, and felt lonely sometimes. Her only friends were two girls she knew from school, and the old secretaries from the museum.
She was overworking since the last week. The new scientists were coming and they had to make space in the old offices. The brown walls, the yellow light from lamps and the darkness from the grey sky made the atmosphere sleepy. She put a pile of books on a desk and sighed. Her long light brown hair was tied up in a ponytail, and her pale skin was covered with dust. She looked around, narrowing her dark brown eyes, looking for a handkerchief.
"Anne, I've been calling you since centuries ago!" The old woman shouted again.
"I'm here, Grethe, can't you see I'm busy? I've been carrying books here since six in the morning!" She didn't mean to be rude, but sometimes she lost her patience. Grethe approached her, carrying a folder. Her green eyes checked the girl.
"You must be polite all time, Anne.. you know how are those times, the smallest mistake.. and they call the SS" The simple name made her freeze. Her cheeks blushed and she tried to ignore the remark.
"Come on, Grethe, you know I was joking.." She was famous for being a quiet person, the typical worm book who never goes to parties. But she was also famous for her fears. Her best friend had been taken away by the SS few weeks ago, and she was afraid she would run the same luck, although she wasn't a Jewish. But she had been friend of one, and for the SS, it was a crime as well. And that horrible woman was dangerous. She always talked too much.
"I'm glad. Now bring me the things I asked you for. Now! Come one!" With a sigh, Anne followed her. The big halls were colder than the small rooms, and she shrugged, wishing to solve those business soon. She wished those scientists would have never come.
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Jan Lindner knocked on his boss' door. The office was full of officials and some recent prisoners. He observed them. Poor Jewish people. Old men, with tears in their eyes, begging for piety. Small children whose names were wrote down on the black list, and they called them. In a couple of hours they would be sent to Mauthasen, the death camp.
"Come in!" The sharp voice replied, and Jan opened the door.
"Did you want to see me?" He asked.
"Yes, sit down.." Jan obeyed, and the boss looked up at him. His uniform was too tight in his big belly. The important members of the SS enjoyed big meals and drinking parties all over the country, while thousands of people starved. "Jan, I wanted to see you soon. I've been told about your wonderful work lately, and how you managed to deal with that Jewish neighbourhood.. they even thought you were their friend!" He started to laugh, and Jan looked at him in disgust, but pretended the opposite with a smile.
"Thanks, sir. It wasn't difficult.. and the reward I got was so necessary for me.. my mother needed that surgery.. you were very generous, I just exchanged a couple of words with those people.."
"A couple of words?" The man raised an eyebrow. "You convinced them to leave! You did a great deal!" Jan smiled again. His boss ignored the reason and motives of his conversation.. Jan had told them to leave because there was a camp waiting for them. But no one from the SS should know about that.
"So.. what did you want, sir?" He asked, and the older man nodded.
"A group of polish scientists is coming.. you know, fanatics of nature, mysteries of animals and so on.. and they come from this polish village.. which is its name?.. well, it doesn't matter.. but we know that half of the population there are Jewish.. we suspect this group might have.. different ideas, you know what I mean.. while they'll do their work, you'll be the museum's guard.. you know, the SS official looking for the Austrians' welfare.. at the minimum suspect.. call me"
"Yes sir.. when do I begin?"
"Tomorrow. Six in the morning, Museum of Natural History. There will be a woman there who will show you the building.. her name is.. I have it here.." He browsed a pile of papers and then smiled. "Here. She's Anne Seifenswein, twenty-five years old, assistant of Madame Grethe Himmleichen.. she's Austrian.. pure family.. yes, everything is correct in this file"
"You investigated about her?" Asked Jan, half surprised.
"We know everything about our citizens, dear Lindner.." He closed the folder. "Her best friend was arrested by one of your co-workers, your friend Hans.. it's a shame that those pure Austrians are friends with those.. I don't want to say their name. Watch up this girl, Jan. She's not a Jewish, but who knows.. talk to her, follow her.. keep an eye on her and keep me informed as well. Tomorrow. Remember. And I want a daily report, with the names of those people.. you know what I mean.. a full report" Jan stood up, taking his hat and coat.
"Yes, sir.. and thank you very much for this opportunity.." The older man smiled.
"We wouldn't send you to watch over our cold camps.. you know we appreciate you, lets give the dirty work to the rest of officerss" They exchanged a goodbye and Jan walked to his office, sighing in relieve. A simple work. This is all what he could wish for. No more detentions, no more driving to the camps. Just a museum. Nothing else.