The Crooked X - Prelude to War
A Short Story of Hate, Mystery and Intrigue

By Ernest N.Whitenack

"Chapter 4"


The Story Revealed

About the time Abe was boarding the New York to Boston train, Gauleiter, Friedrich Koenig finished breakfast, and sat at his desk in Chicago sipping coffee. The Chicago newspaper was spread in front of him. As he turned to page three a sub-headline jumped out at him:

Suspected Nazi Spy Shot Dead After Murdering Boston Policeman

The brief story related the few facts the police told the wire service. It named the suspected spy as Unterscharführer (Sergeant) Felix Schneider of the German SS. The information from official SS papers was found in a secret pocket of Schneider's belt. The story went on to say only that a diligent citizen witnessed the murder of the policeman and in an effort to apprehend the killer was forced to shoot him. A paragraph blasting Hitler and the Nazi threat to peace ended the article.

Koenig's heart pounded as anxiety took over his body. The thoughts of failure and its deadly consequence shook him to the quick but he must stay in Chicago until Müller completes his work. He can not lose another man and be short handed for the final phase. He made a call to his second in command in Boston stressing this point with threats.

Nancy called Scott in the morning acting all bubbly and excited about their supposed dinner date and suggested that 5:30 to 6:00 would be a good time to meet if that was OK with his schedule. Scott agreed and related how great it will be to again have some time together. Scott now knew that Abe will arrive in Boston at 5:30 PM if the train is on time. Now, he had to wait for the night letter from Harry for instructions.

The night letter arrived at Scott's office just before noon and contained a succinct rundown of the information Frank obtained through foreign news sources and brief instructions for Scott.

The night letter read, "Newspaper sources and British intelligence report there seems to be trouble between the SA (Brown Shirts) and the German Army over the SA having military training. Hitler is up in arms over the dissention and is expected to thin the SA ranks, as he did in the Nazi Party in 1926, to restrain and gain control of the SA. The top officers of the SA are not backing down".

"Intercepted messages suggest the Hitler Regiment of the Waffen-SS is expected to intervene in some way. This Waffen-SS group is gaining importance which puts a new light on the small group operating here".

"Go home early today and wait for the Bureau taxi to pick you up. Proceed to South Station and collect Abe. Assist in any way to get Abe safely in the taxi and hopefully lose any tail assigned to him. Be very aware of a man using a crutch. He is Abe's FBI protector from the train. A uniformed policeman will be standing by.

"Be armed."

By Himmler's order of 13 April 1934, the SS regiment became known as the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler, The bodyguard regiment of Adolf Hitler. Members swore allegiance to Hitler unto death. Between June 30 and July 2, 1934 an operation known as The Night of the Long Knives was launched with the murder of Ernst Röhm, the leader of two million Brown Shirts. Hitler's action came about because he regarded the SA, and its tendency toward street violence a threat to his political power. Also to console leaders of the official German military who feared and despised the SA. Hitler additionally, used the purge as an opportunity to remove prominent Hitler critics and settle scores with old enemies. The death toll may have been in the hundreds but eighty five can be confirmed. More than a thousand were arrested.

The killings were carried out by the Waffen-SS and the Gestapo.

Scott left his office at for home 3:10. He paused occasionally to check reflections in store windows for anyone following him while he detoured to Paretti's for a tin of Royal blend. After buying the tobacco, he crossed the Common, stopping at a bench to fill his pipe. It was an easy matter surveying the walkway through the Common from the clear view the bench provided. Satisfied he was not being followed he quickly made his way home.

In his bedroom Scott again took the mahogany box from the closet shelf, unlocked it and removed the Webley Mark IV and the suede bag that held the suppressor. After checking the weapons functions he expertly disassembled it and applied cleaning and oiling maintenance. The short suppressor screwed in faultlessly. He replaced the box on the shelf and proceeded down stairs to his desk. He removed a box of ammunition for the Webley from a false bottomed file drawer. After loading the revolver he placed the gun in his right hand jacket pocket. In the other pocket he put a handful of bullets. The Colt 1911 had not been out of his possession since he shot the Nazi Sergeant. He removed it from under his left arm and checked it and the extra magazine thoroughly.

Time seemed to creep along as Scott waited for the taxi. He heated a can of soup and made a BLT, tuned the radio to a jazz station and sat down to eat…and wait.

The taxi wound its way through the streets of Beacon Hill, and then took a deceptive route to South Station with Scott keeping an eye out the rear window for a tail. About the same time the taxi arrived, a police sergeant was dropped off and made his way to a position near the station exit. Three other cabs were lined up in front of the station. Scott's FBI driver gathered the three cab drivers and spoke to them briefly while holding his badge for the men to see. Taxi number 239 moved to the front of the line to receive Abe when he arrived.

Scott sat in the back of the taxi with the window down and the Webley in his lap. He took quick note of anyone who seemed to be hanging around the entrance to the station but saw nothing suspicious. He saw the policeman sauntering toward the cab. He passed by about eight feet away and looked directly at Scott while giving a discrete thumbs-up and headed back to the station.

Abe exited at 5:33 and walked directly toward Taxi 239. He was followed by Michael Shaughnessy, aided by his crutch, walking on a line to Abe's right and about six feet behind. The policeman was on the left and within striking distance if needed. Several other travelers were exiting the station behind them. Among those leaving the station was SS-Obersturmführer (1st. Lieutenant) Max Weber. Weber had been waiting for Abe on orders from Friedrich Koenig but almost missed him. Weber rushed past the others in a great hurry, pushing a couple aside in his haste. Shaughnessy turned when he heard the commotion and moved laterally to intercept the rushing man. As the two were side by side the crutch tip slipped sideways and became tangled between the Nazi's legs sending him sprawling. While retrieving his crutch, Shaughnessy tried to further delay the man's advance toward Abe by helping him to his feet and dusting off his jacket; accompanied by a volley of loud Irish apologies. The Nazi tried vainly to escape agent Shaughnessy's attention and in desperation retrieved a leather clad, lead-weighted blackjack from his person and was about to use it to escape. The policeman moved in behind them as the Nazi raised his hand to strike. The Cop delivered a numbing blow to Weber's elbow with his nightstick, sending the blackjack flying, and the Nazi bent over clutching his arm. The officer expertly dislodged Weber's feet putting him to the ground and quickly handcuffed him while explaining that a "Sap" is a deadly weapon and illegal -- he was under arrest.

Scott watched the efficient display of cooperation with delight and as Abe reached the taxi slipped the revolver back in his pocket. He opened the rear door, grabbed Abe's suitcase and slid over to make room for Abe. The minute the door was closed the taxi sped away from South Station and took a pre-planned route to Jake Wirth's.

Agent Shaughnessy and the policeman walked Webber to the curb just as the waiting police car pulled up.

At about the same time in Dorchester Alfred Zimmer, the German-speaking FBI agent stationed in Günter Müller butcher shop, was approaching the Deutscher Klub for his nightly beer visit and to reconnoiter for new faces. He was about twenty yards away when he noticed the masonry workman, who he considered was taking more time than needed for a simple job, crossing to the corner phone booth. He had observed this several times before and thought it suspicious that the mason didn't use the pay phone in the club. In the dusk of late afternoon, the agent quietly approached the blind side of the wooden booth and listened as the worker made his report to Waffen-SS Sturmbannführer Friedrich Koenig in Chicago.

As the workman hung up the phone the agent quickly flung open the door and pressed his weapon to the back of the Nazi's neck, disarmed and handcuffed him. The police picked the Nazi up in about ten minutes.

At Jake Wirth's, over some beer and Jägerschnitzel, Abe related his Chicago experience and his panic over the Swastika on the beer coasters to Scott and Harry. He told of the industrialist and explained how he had been asked to modify twelve clock works to control a process on an assembly line. He was to modify the works to close an electrical contact seven minutes after an arm on the assembly line engaged a switch that started the clock. The seven minutes will allow a process to finish before another begins. A second arm on the assembly line will reset the clock works and allow it to repeat its function over and over again thus automating the assembly line.

"When will you receive the clocks and when must you have the conversions completed" asked Harry.
Abe replied, "The clocks and the parts to modify them should arrive tomorrow and I have two weeks. They will pay me fifty dollars a clock and have promised to get me some of my favorite tobacco from Germany as a bonus. I have a number to call when I have completed the job."

Harry wrote the number in a note book and took a final draw from his beer glass. He momentarily gazed at the table in thought.

"Abe, I want you to do exactly what you are supposed to with those clocks," Harry told him. "I doubt they are to be used on an assembly line but as triggering devices for bombs".

Between puffs while lighting his pipe Abe said, "I will if you think it best, Abe replied, but I don't want to help those schmutzige Bastarde in any Nazi dirty work; but I'm afraid for my life if I don't".

Scott placed a hand on Abe's arm and interjected, "We're afraid for your life whether you do the work or not. They selected you not only for your skill but because, being a Jew, they can eliminate you without a second thought and be praised for it by superiors. It is just a matter of when and how; certainly not before you convert the clocks. We're not going to let any harm come to you, Abe. We have the support and cooperation of the Boston police now and you will be protected around the clock when you are close to finishing the clock conversions."

Scott went on to bring Abe up to date on the murder of the policeman and the happenings just a few feet behind Abe at South Station. He related Frank's part in providing information from over-seas sources that helped form a picture of potential trouble from the group of Nazis already known to the FBI.

They were about to leave Jake Wirth's when Agent Zimmer entered and sat at the table. He told of the apprehension of the Nazi SS-Sergeant who had been assigned to spy and collect information at the Deutscher Klub.

Zimmer went on to say, "He is sharing an isolation cell at headquarters with the Nazi Lieutenant arrested at South Station. The cell has listening devices and is being monitored by all shifts captains with a stenographer. Maybe we can get something of value. Each Nazi will be separately interrogated vigorously by some of the department's best and then returned to the cell. The police chief thinks reminders of the murdered cop along with a little blood and fear will help to loosen their tongues. The cops, man to man, are determined to help clean up these Nazis and protect Mr. Müller."

Copyright © Ernest N. Whitenack 2011



Ernie Whitenack was born in 1928 in Springfield, Illinois and moved to Massachusetts in the mid 1930's. He is a Korean War veteran, worked as a photographic illustrator for 43 years and is now retired.


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