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All rights reserved - Copyright - Jonathan Gillespie, 2016

Book extract - The Adlon Conspiracy

Author - Jonathan Gillespie

Chapter 1 - 2015 - Developing the City

I guess we all know Berlin today. It's not a bad city considering what it's been through
over the years. If you look hard enough, you can still see the scars. Strip back the veneer and
the past might just come and surprise you.
Unification was a bonanza time for some. There are always winners and losers, Kristian
Schmidt had been a winner not a large winner, but large enough to turn his one man band
into a dozen men working for him. What did he do? He was a teenage builder when the Berlin
wall had been torn down, young enough to adapt, take advantage of the situation. With a little
help from his parents he had taken a gamble and bought a property in need of a whole lot of
work. Twenty year later he was a fully fledged property developer.
It had been a bit of a free-for-all at first, what with the amount of property needing
redevelopment in what had been East Berlin. Now that flow had steadied to a trickle and he
was moving further from the centre of the city. His latest venture, a 1930s apartment block.
These were good properties, in the West they had ripped down swathes of the city after the
war but, here they had just patched up what was there. This meant that there were some
beautiful faades and that meant a handsome return after refurbishment.
This week he was overstretched and was working on his new property with only the boy
labourer, all his men being engaged on another property. His help was Aziz, he had come onto
a site Kristian had been working on two years previously and begged him for a job. He said he
was sixteen at the time, but hell it was obvious he was younger than that, and he had no one
to look after him. He was as close to starvation as anyone Kristian had ever seen, or wanted
to see and there was not much point in asking him if he had a work permit. his German had
been hopeless, now, two years later it had improved to humorous.

So he had let him stay, perhaps it was sentimentality, he had expected him to steal and
leave but no such thing happened and it was good for the men to have someone keen and
young to do their fetching and carrying and of course the daily lunch run. He was more of a
lucky talisman for them. Yes, he was a really nice kid and the problem with his identity, well
they had never gone down that avenue, he always paid him in cash. After all, if the
government stopped people like this working! Well he wasn't the government; he was just
giving a hand to someone that needed it.
---------The rumour was that this building had been personally designed by Albert Speer in the
1930s and was to be a blueprint design for the business districts which were to be laid out.
However, whatever its use had been before and during the war, it had been quickly converted
to accommodation after the war and had remained as such ever since. It had a very art house
look to it. If it had been in France, it probably would have been attributed to being in the style
of Corbusier.
The city planners had already been round and the next time he hoped to see anyone from
that department, would be when he would be finished. It was quite curious though, on walking
round the building he had observed that the basement area was smaller than the footprint of
the building. With a week to spare before his men would be on-site, why not get a bit of dirt
under his fingernails for a change and find out why.
As he stood in the basement with Aziz, he measured the length and width of the basement
again with his laser measurer.
'There you see Aziz, we are missing nearly half the length.' He scratched his head for a
'Be a good lad and get a claw from the van.' A claw was the vernacular for a hammer
with a gouger on the back of it.
'Yes Herr Kristian.' He shot off and within a moment was back with the item. Kristian
laughed as he took it off him, he was the only one to put Herr in front of even a first name.

When Kristian had told him he did not have to always call him Herr Schmidt, he had began
addressing him as Herr Kristian. Not boss or anything else, always formal, the boy was well
brought up.
'What are you going to do with the claw Herr Kristian?'
'I'm going to take off some of this plaster from the wall, I think it's false and just have a
quick look - just want to see if we have a problem. Could be the reason the wall was put in!'
'You mean upstairs.'
'Yes... Maybe it was put in to hold the block up. These apartments have seen a lot of
trouble in their time. I don't want to tell you the other things.' Of course this intrigued Aziz.
'Oh please Herr Kristian, if I am to be a builder I should know.' Kristian smiled.
'Okay, you asked for it. In the war they sometimes could not cremate or bury all the
bodies in cemeteries, especially when the city was surrounded. So, they used to backfill
basements and wall them up.'
'You mean...'
'Yes, we'll just check and if there is nothing there and it is not structural, then we will take
it down and...' he slapped his hands together. 'Charge an extra five thousand Euros per flat.'
'But what if there are these people Mr Kristian, behind the wall?'
'Well Aziz, I think that we should not disturb them, we shall seal the wall again.' Aziz was
not totally comfortable with the situation, so Kristian thought he would lighten it.
'There might be gold behind there, then we will both be rich.'
'Do you really think so Herr Kristian.' Kristian smiled.
'I don't think so, I am sure the wall was just put up as a support but, we'll check it.' With
that he took the claw from Aziz and hit the wall several times. The weak plaster crumbled and
fell over his work-boots.

'Look Aziz, it's block-work, that is hardly a support and look at the joints, this was put up
in a hurry!'
'Shall I get you the sledge hammer Herr Kristian?'
'Not for now, I'll manage with this.' Kristian was worried, he would have preferred for this
to be a supporting wall, this looked like the other obvious choice for those war years. Damm,
damm, he thought. For all his bravado, he knew that he would do the right thing if it was,
even if it meant bankrupting himself.
He hit the block several times and it disintegrated. Finally there was a hole large enough
for him to shine a torch through. With his heart in his mouth he peered through, but all he
could see was another wall, a few inches further in. What the hell was this! He used the claw
of the hammer to widen the hole slightly then tapped the new wall. The sound was steel,
there was a steel wall behind this wall, had it been a shelter? And if so, why seal it up?
The questions were still not resolved, but having gone this far there was no turning back.
Sometimes it feels as if you are not in control of events. You just have to continue whatever,
the final outcome is.
It took the rest of the day using sledgehammers to take down the wall. Behind it was a
reinforced wall and a bomb proof door.
'Will we use explosive and blow it open Herr Kristian, will there be gold inside?' Kristian
continued to examine the locking mechanism and hinges, while brushing his hair with his
hand to get rid of some of the dust from their activity.
'No, it won't be necessary, this is not a vault door. It's a blast door, it wasn't meant to
keep people out, just to safeguard whatever was inside. We'll bring the torches in tomorrow
and start to cut the lock out.' Aziz looked disappointed.
'Now, it's getting late, do you want a lift?' Aziz declined.
'No, Indeed not, I am too excited, I shall not sleep tonight I think. We might find treasure!'
Kristian laughed and patted him on the shoulder.

'Be at the yard early, I want to have the oxygen and acetylene tanks loaded and be on
our way before the men turn up tomorrow.' He touched his nose and winked at Aziz.
'This is our secret until we get inside.' Aziz repeated the gesture back.

Chapter 2 - 2013 - Opening up the Secret

Aziz was waiting for him at the yard at 6am. He stood there looking as excited as the
previous day. They loaded the van with all they needed: jack-hammers, cutting-torches,
hydraulic jacks and every sort of demolition tool they might just need. The only thing that was
not loaded were the oxygen and acetylene cylinders, there were four of them in all and they
stood as high as Aziz, Kristian let him struggle with them until he managed to finally lever
them on the truck.
On arriving at the site they off-loaded the tools, this time Kristian took the gas cylinders on
the trolley down the stairs. Aziz protested with his usual smile, but Kristian was firm, informing
him he was not prepared to have a squashed apprentice. Once all was set Kristian, gave Aziz
several Euros, to get breakfast from the caf down the road. The usual combination of bread,
sausage and coffee.
'We've got a long day ahead, and we won't be stopping.' The look of disappointment was
clear on Aziz's face, but nethertheless he set off to get breakfast. On his return Aziz consumed
his while looking at the big door in front of him, the fact of the matter was, he could not take
his eyes off it. On the top section of the door was the imprint of a eagle and swastika, it
fascinated him. It was if he had stumbled into an Indiana Jones movie.
Eventually, they set to work, Aziz setting the tools up for Kristian, as Kristian checked
which would be the easiest way to get the door open. He showed Aziz what he planned to do
and with their protective clothing on they set to work to open the mechanism. The torch burst

into life and by the early afternoon they had cut open the mechanism and released the
locking bars holding the door closed. After nearly seventy years of being closed, they heaved
at the door. At first it held solid, then with the full weight of Kristian on a crowbar wedged into
it, it began to move.
They were keen to see what awaited them, bringing forward one of the arc-lights and
shining it in. They were both disappointed; no gold bars glinted at them, but instead a small
ante-room with a desk, typewriter and a calendar for 1945. A mug on its side with a few
papers scattered here and there on the table and floor and to finish the effect, four old
fashioned wooden chairs against the wall, it looked like a small waiting room, it also looked
like the occupants had left quickly.
They shone the light around this small room, there were windows at the rear and a door
leading into a larger office which appeared to be full of filing cabinets. The door was locked,
but this was only an internal door, with a clear glass panel on the top. This door did not take
very long to open, the wood on the frame splitting as they forced their way in.
'We need some more light Aziz.' He duly obliged and within a few minutes they had set up
enough lighting to illuminate the area. There was not really a lot to see, just several rows of
filing cabinets, perhaps two hundred or more, above them were shelves with boxes, all of the
filing cabinets were locked and not a key in sight. Again these were not difficult to begin
opening with the tools that they had at their disposal, but after one or two they became
'What does it say Herr Kristian?' Kristian pulled out a file CONFIDENTIAL was typed
across the front in bold lettering, on opening it he began reading it.
'It's dated February 1942 and Sanctioned by the Minister of Armaments and War
Production. 2000 typewriter ribbons for Adler and Olympia model typewriters, 200 new
typewriters with SS keyboard. It is imperative that these be delivered to all ministry offices to
avoid causing offence when referring to our colleagues.'
'What is it?'

'It appears we have discovered the place where Speer kept his shopping lists!' They
pulled several files out and each proved to be as mundane as the next, showing the general
mundane day-to-day nature of this high flying department of the Reich. Everything it seemed
deserved a memo, down to the last screw and spring.
'I don't think that we will find any gold here. Tomorrow... I'll go down to the police station
and inform them. I'm sure I will get a slapped wrist for opening it, but all they will do is give it
to some historians in a university, to tell us what we already know and waste two weeks of our
time while they collect it!' They were both dejected.
'Well the good news is there is no water damage.' He scuffed his foot on the floor.
'So once they take this rubbish out, I can make a few Euros on scrap for that metal door.
And make nice storage units for the flats, not a bad result.' It was a disappointment for Aziz,
though for Kristian, this was as good a result as he could have hoped for. The university would
take all this rubbish away for free, so no need hanging around.
'I'm going upstairs to start marking up the things to be ripped out. Get the tools packed in
the van and Ill give you a hand when it comes to the cylinders.' With that Aziz was left alone
to start packing away, he took a hand-light and started moving round the cabinets, this was
all new to him, an Aladdin's cave of the past. To him it was like a time capsule, something
which had been sealed, long before he had been born. He wandered round, at the far end
something appeared to be protruding from the cabinet. As he got closer, he noticed that it
was a bar fixed vertically to the front, running its length and locked by a padlock. On this, was
a wax seal with a metal tag. He traced the wording, with his finger as he spoke them slowly
and deliberately.
'Only to be opened on order of the Minister of Armaments and War Production or Fuhrer.'
He gasped it was as if the past had been opened up.
A thought raced through his brain. Maybe this was where the gold was kept? Why lock
paper up this well? He placed his lamp down ensuring that he kept the cabinets illuminated

and raced up the stairs, within a few minutes they were both looking at the cabinet. A further
couple of minutes saw a cold chisel and hammer remove the lock.
Kristian opened each draw in turn, they appeared to house the same bland folders. As
before, he opened one or two and scanned through them. Rather than place these back in
though he kept reading.
'My god, these contain everything... All those programmes with renowned historians
guessing what happened at meetings, these tell you. It's like Speer's insurance policy, it is the
entire lost history of the Nazis.'
'The historians will take these away as well then Mr Kristian.' Kristian tapped his nose and
winked at Aziz.
'These just might be as much value as gold to us.' Aziz smiled broadly.
'You did well Aziz, now let's clear that table and chair at the front. And put the files on, we
need to see what we have.
'I'm thinking Aziz that we might be able to sell these to the newspapers or television.
They'll pay well for this.' They sat for the best part of two hours, Aziz not uttering a word, just
waiting for Kristian to tell him the contents of each folder. Shaking his head as he was told a
brief synopsis of each.
They were on the contents of the last draw, Kristian pulled out quite a fat folder.
'Oh - this is folder one of three. Plan A 1936, well I hope that this is interesting, the
title is as dull as dishwater!' It was clear as soon as he opened the folder that dull as
dishwater this was not.
'My God Germany and America signed a non-aggression treaty, in private, in 1936. Look
it's all here in black and white, come and look.' He read out-a-loud from the first page. And
look at the signatures. It's the President and the Fuhrer.

Overview - An approach was made in February 1936 by the United States to Reich
Minister Speer to discuss with Germany its role as the dominant power in Europe. With the
imminent collapse of the British Empire, which is expected to take place in the next decade,
England will become increasingly unstable.
It is expected that civil unrest aligned with this and with the current depressed economic
situation will take place leading to a collapse in the current institutions of government in
England. Any move towards a Stalinist state should be prevented. Germany should re-arm
and where necessary take active participation in preventing any other European countries
moving towards this.
The United States will aid Germany in the following ways:
1- Ensure that Financial assistance is available, to allow the rearming to take place as
rapidly as possible.
2 The United States Government will not intervene in any disputes in what they consider
to be the old world.
Aziz was looking over Kristian's shoulder by now.
'You know what this means Aziz?' Aziz looked back quite blank.
'It means that everything we have been told since the end of the war is a lie. This is
dynamite. It shows that America pay-rolled the Nazis. Not only that but they wildly
underestimated them. No wonder Hitler was furious when the Japanese bombed Pearl
Harbour. I need to make a few phone calls tomorrow.' Lets get these folders into those clean
rubble sacks.
They paid scant attention to the other folders and envelopes as they placed them in. That
was history, they just packed them as tightly as possible. It was tempting to discard the
manila folders to make them more portable, but best leave them as they were, to ensure that
they content did not get jumbled. By the time they had finished, there would have been
enough to fit in two large suitcases.

'Should we leave them here Herr Kristian?'

'No let's get them in the van. I'm not risking some vandal or vagrant coming in here and
making a fire out of them.'
After completing this task, they loaded the rubble sacks into the van. With the day's work
complete and the premises locked up he reached into his pocket and pulled out his bulging
wallet. He took several notes from it and gave them to Aziz.
'There is a little bit extra for this week. Now don't say anything to anyone about this.' He
looked directly at Aziz, he nodded back.
'Now take the rest of the week off, enjoy yourself, and I shall see you here Monday
morning for work...' He winked, 'and Ill let you know then, how we are getting on.'

Chapter 3 - March 1936 - Whitehall

The office of Major Hutchins was situated in one of those non-descript government
buildings at the bottom of Trafalgar Square. The office which he controlled was an offshoot of
Military Intelligence and though he reported directly to his superior at that ministry - Colonel
Broad - he was allowed, a certain amount of autonomy. His role was as a controller for several
field operatives. Operatives who might remain hidden in both friendly and hostile countries
for years if need be. What made Hutchins odd was that although he had a secretary, who
drafted communiqus on his behalf daily; his office had just seemed to appear one morning,
about a year ago. The other odd thing was that no one seemed to have ever seen him, though
it was known generally, that he was doing excellent work. Several people said that he
reported to the highest level, no one could quite remember who had told them. But then
again this was the nature of the work here, the more important the role, the more discreet the
person. That was the general assumption.

Colonel Broad knew him very well though, he had tracked him for some time before
bringing him onboard. What had first singled Hutchins out to Broad was his persistent
doggedness. His background had not been one of public school, but of a scholarship gained.
He had distinguished himself in the ranks early in his career, and was awarded a field
commission, his final rank being that of Major.
On leaving the army Hutchins had managed to obtain employment as a junior manager in
an import/export business in small offices off the strand. He had persevered with this role for
approximately six months when, what he thought was a chance encounter. His habit was to
take his lunch in quite a down market tea house near the river.
The day was bleak and cold, Colonel Broad had probably waited for such a day to
approach him. As befitting his rank, Colonel Broad was in an immaculate suit, bowler hat,
over-coat and rolled umbrella, his dark hair parted on the side with the appearance that he
had just left the barbers shop. He opened the door and went to the table where Hutchins was
sitting reading his newspaper, he stood before him causing that awkward moment for
Hutchins when you know that out of courtesy you must look up.
'Is this seat taken?' Hutchins placed his newspaper down, slightly annoyed at being
disturbed at his lunch and was just a little bit put out that the man had chose to sit opposite
him, when there were other perfectly reasonable places left on some of the other tables.
'No, please, be my guest.' Though his thoughts were of a less charitable nature, why did
some people always want to come and sit next to you even when a place was half empty.
'Thank you.' Broad seated himself as Hutchins went back to his folded newspaper. Broad
interrupted again.
'I think we might have met in France in 1917. My name is Broad by the way, Colonel
Broad. If I recollect you were a Captain in the Yeomanry at the time he paused for a second,
just long enough to make his point, assigned to Intelligence?' Broad new exactly what he was
doing as he held out his hand. Hutchins although annoyed briefly shook it. It was quite a
shock to be recognised after all these years and the man in front of him had his attention.

'Yes, that's right Colonel,' his mind was still quite active, many men introduced
themselves with their old rank, but Broad did not look like one that would do this, one that
was still hanging onto to his past, so why, and what was that last statement about, being
assigned to intelligence?
'Colonel...' Just as he was about to speak the waitress arrived with a cup of tea and what
looked like a Chelsea bun.
'Hear you are Mr Hutchins, your usual, She turned to Colonel Broad. Would you like
something dear?'
'Just a cup of tea please.' Her look portrayed her annoyance at his filling a seat for just a
cup of tea at lunchtime, she filled in her small order book and ripping off the piece of paper
and placed it on the table.
'Pay when you leave dear.' In the few minutes, until she reappeared with the tea for
Colonel Broad, gave Broad the chance to engage in some generalised small talk. She placed
the tea in front of Broad. Hutchins had now had time to weigh up the man opposite him, was it
a coincidence? His being recognised had unnerved him for a moment. He enjoyed anonymity.
The more he thought about it, the more he became convinced that he had never met Colonel
Broad before. He had a keen memory and an even keener eye.
'You didn't want that, did you Colonel?' Broad new that even unprepared Hutchins was
aware of the singular anomaly, that he was at in front of him. This was excellent, even better
than he had thought.
'Now why don't you tell me what you are doing here? I know we never met in France.'
Broad nodded as he pushed the tea cup to one side.
'I work for Anglo Imperial holdings... He took a business card from his waistcoat and
placed it on the table in front of Hutchins, who glanced at it, then back at Broad.
'You worked in Late 1917 and through into early 1920 first with aiding our American
cousins on secondment with their intelligence corps and then within the Weimar Republic...'

He paused sufficiently long to allow Hutchins to take in what he was saying. The less
questions at this point the better.
'You will already have guessed who Anglo Imperial are. Why not pop along to my office
tonight let us say 7pm. I've booked dinner for 9pm at the Army and Navy.' he took both
payment slips from the table and stood up. He looked slowly around the establishment with
that disdainful look, that indicated to Hutchins, I'm your only way out of this world you are in.
He looked down at Hutchins.
'Until seven then Major.' Hutchins was lost for words, but anything might be better than
the tedium of his current job for the next twenty years.
'Seven Colonel.'
--Hutchins was on time. Anglo Imperial Holdings was a front for Colonel Broad, stationed in
some less than savoury offices in Aldgate its purpose was meant to be Import and Export,
though no business was ever conducted. The receptionist a lady in her fifties was smoking as
Hutchins entered, she took one unimpressed look at him.
Through there, first door on the left. Hutchins turned to enquire, but she had already
stubbed out her cigarette and brushed past him her hat and handbag in hand, slamming the
door she was gone. Hutchins took her instruction and knocked on the door and went in.
Broad was stood looking out of the window on a grey miserable evening and did not turn
as he entered.
'I prefer to meet here rather than Whitehall, its good to keep secrets.
And what secret would that be Colonel? Broad registered the question ignored it and

Please sign the paper on the desk, before we proceed. Hutchins opened the cap of the
pen and signed, it was the usual Official Secrets Act document. He would have expected no
After the war you met several Americans we are interested in, also a number of Germans
who have since moved into various positions of authority. As the opportunity of a small pause
presented itself Hutchins spoke.
Do you mind Colonel, he gestured towards the chair in front of the desk Broad turned.
Of course Major, as he sat Broad continued.
We would like you to go and talk to them.' Broad broke in before Hutchins spoke.
'You'll retain your rank Major and as a member of my department, you will be paid at the
rate of.' he wrote down a figure on a sheet of white paper and handed it to Hutchins.
'I think that you will find that to be satisfactory, three times your current salary. And I
should mention there is no retirement. And dont worry about finding them or meeting them
we have had their routines monitored for some time. Our man will make himself known to you
and give you full instructions.
Broad opened a manila folder on the desk and placed a second paper in front of him.
Please sign here, youll notice that it has been backdated one years and places you on
the active service list again. We must keep our paperwork in order.
He did not hesitate and signed it. 'Well Colonel, it appears that you hold all the trumps. My
current employer demands one months notice.'
'Yes, I'm aware of that Broad, I'm afraid he cant have it. You see His Majesties
Government have already waited a year, after we have had dinner tonight, you are being
committed to a sanatorium, with a total mental break-down. Your employer will be told in the
morning.' Hutchins swallowed
again he had found himself unprepared for the speed that this was moving.

'Don't be too worried old-boy, it's just to prepare you and set the stage for your travels.
After all its good to seek out old acquaintances when travelling, especially after an illness,
just natural, don't you think.
'How much of the mission am I to be informed about Colonel?' Broad smiled.
'In most circumstances, I would say nothing; need to know basis and all that. But in this
situation it's the reverse. If you come back, we will hopefully know to the extent the
Americans will back Germany in the event of War and if you don't come back, well don't worry
too much tell them, everything you know, don't worry about the stiff upper lip. It's better that
they know we are on to them.' He stopped and looked at his watch.
'Now we really must be off, if we want dinner tonight. And you may treat me to a brandy
afterwards.' He handed Hutchins fifty pounds in notes and a cheque book for the Westminster
'You've officially been working for me at the ministry for a year. You'll find your salary
present pop in to the Holborn branch when you get back from the Sanatorium, Im sure you'll
want to use some for a trip to America, for convalescence. The travel agent on Tottenham
Court Road will be expecting you.' Hutchins looked startled.
'Yes we were hoping that you didn't get knocked down by a bus in one of those peasoupers, it would have really put the cat amongst the pigeons and set our planning back
awfully. Broad walked to the hat stand by the door, stopping to put on his overcoat and take
his bowler and umbrella.
Now we must be off if we are to be in time for dinner.

Chapter 4
The phone rang on his desk, he looked at the number it was from the switchboard.

'Yes, Hahn here' he announced in his usual brusque manner as he continued to view the
screen in front of him.
I have a caller on hold who wishes to speak to you!' He won't tell me about what, but
mentioned he had a story in your area, you might be interested in, shall I put him through?'
Hahn thought briefly, not another crank. He had just about had his fill of them. He worked
mainly on what would be called special interest stories. Two years ago, a similar unannounced
call had come through. An intellectual had found while performing research some hitherto
unknown papers dating back to the Nazi regime. How they had avoided the censor or
destruction was not known, perhaps in the last two years of the war, things had become so
disjointed. But at least German efficiency continued. Every meeting had been fully
What was a revelation, in these documents was not the content of them. Worse things
had come to light most of the documents discovered were pure speculation, created by a Nazi
think tank at the time, trying in the last throws of the war to come up with planning to create
an ultimate victory. There was only one box file of notes left but the contents was enough for
the German Government to try and gain a high court injunction on the publication of the
material. To any journalist this fires up their writing ability, and to a newspaper, this signals an
increase in its printed circulation possibly in the hundreds of thousands.
Since those days he had been constantly dogged by cranks. Who was it now he thought.
'Put him though, I suppose he has the diaries of Blondi!'
'Blondi?' the receptionist asked puzzled.
'Hitler's dog.' he laughed
'I don't find your humour very entertaining Mr. Hahn, putting your caller through.' The
phone clicked, there was a small pause.
'Hahn here.' there was a small pause Hahn was just about to say his name again when
the other party spoke.

'Mr Hahn, my name is Schmidt.' the name was too unoriginal to be false. The voice was
hesitant but mature.
'I understand you have a story for me, you think might be of interest?' He tucked the
phone receiver under his chin and continued to type. It wouldn't take a minute to get to the
bottom of his caller, then he could get on with his latest masterpiece, some human interest
'I'm a builder Mr Hahn, I have been for twenty years now. I've worked all round the
country abroad too. But for the last several years, I've been working mainly in Berlin, well
since unification really, there has been so much work, I haven't had to look elsewhere.' He
paused he had set the scene, Hahn liked this ploy, he seemed to be a working man a worker,
they usually had their feet on the ground. Hopefully, the story would be worth hearing. It was
often the case that the more humdrum the individual, the more understated they would find a
story, and therefore more unsure of its value.
He now continued. 'I've been working on a property I bought in a Berlin suburb, one of
the old suburbs in the east, the building was constructed in the 1930s. Its by no means a
pretty building. The price was very good though.' Hahn, was beginning to get bored with the
conversation. Any moment now, the builder would announce he had found some letters or
diaries under the floorboards.
'When I went into the basement I found,' yes thought Hahn trying not to laugh, here
comes the old shoe box. To move him on slightly faster, he spoke in his most enthusiastic
voice down the receiver.
'What did you find Mr Schmidt?' As he said this he noticed two of his colleagues leaving
the office, they waved at him to attract his attention and pointed at their watches. It was
lunch time. He held up his hand, palm to them with his fingers outstretched, mouthing the
words five minutes followed by waving his fingers in a circular motion at the side of his head
to indicate that he had the usual crank on the phone. They laughed, waved and left. The
phone had gone silent for a moment Hahn reiterated his question.

'What did you find Mr Schmidt?'

'There was a vault behind the wall.' This was different to a shoe box!
'A vault, you mean like in a bank?'
'Yes, Mr Hahn, just like that, with a metal door bigger than a man.'
'But this is a residential area is it not?'
'It is now, but that was only after the war with the acute shortage of housing.' Well at
least it was not a shoe box, his thoughts turned away from his lunch.'
'Well I suppose we will have to get it opened, before we know what's in there?'
'I've opened it, Yesterday.' The pride in his achievement was evident in his voice. He was
now on a roll and forgot his previous nervousness.
'There was an eagle and swastika motif on the door. As soon as I saw that, I knew I had to
be the one to open it.' He drew breath. 'I hoped it would be full of gold, but when I opened it I
saw that there was a small ante-room with a desk and chairs and a door leading to a bigger
room; much bigger!' Kristian was changing the story as he talked, the last thing he wanted
was to get Aziz mixed up in this, in case it went wrong.
'And all I could see was filing cabinets, it was dark, I shone my torch round and saw a
barred cabinet. I thought how strange, maybe this is where the gold is kept.' The reporters
instinct was keen he wanted to ask questions, he wanted the story and the details. It would be
better to let the story teller do it in his own time. Nethertheless, it seemed an opportune time
to intercede with the briefest of comments.
'What did you do next?'
'Well I had to force the lock. I could not see anything of worth, ' he stopped briefly either
to gather his thoughts or to keep the reporter on tenterhooks as to what the office revealed.
Either way the reporter could not hold his enthusiasm.

'And - and. What was in the cabinet?'

'There were many folders, they were bound and had Most Secret stamped in Red on
them and each one was sealed with a Reich's chancellery wax stamp. And a notice affixed to
each that they were only to be opened with the authorisation of the Fuhrer or the Propaganda
Minister.' This was starting to sound more like it. A shoe box would have only brought the
reporter a small story, if that. But a vault full of secret documents, this would have the
conspiracy theorists working for years, and might give him that break for an international
We must meet Mr Schmidt give me an address, I will come immediately and don't tell
anyone else. He took the address and hung up, lunch could wait.