Hilde Augsberg nodded thoughtfully. And then it came to her. Here was a chance for her to help, perhaps expunge the memory of that senseless act carried out by the Luftwaffe pilot and do something practical. Caught up in the moment, Hilde didn’t think what consequences might come as a result of her actions. After all, she was about to help the enemy. She hesitated momentarily, but then her intuition propelled her into action.
It was a strange sensation she felt, as she recalled that fateful scene in Berlin, just over a month ago. Four Allied airmen, helpless in their parachutes, were brutally killed by a reckless Luftwaffe pilot. Hilde felt utter contempt, and a part of her recoiled at what it meant to be German, shocked to have been a witness to such a brutal act, one committed by a German pilot, an officer of the revered Luftwaffe.
Hilde hadn’t said much initially, part of her relieved that the man responsible hadn’t been Andreas, her boyfriend. But then, later, she felt something within her, something intangible, as if she were distancing herself from him. It was no more than an impression and she dismissed it. But if she had pursued it, thought about it some more, she would have realized that her attitude toward the war, toward the Luftwaffe, and even toward Andreas was changing.
Perhaps her willingness to help stemmed from an inner compulsion, in some way hoping to atone for the deaths caused by her countryman. And then it hit her. Yes, part of it was atonement, but another part was distancing herself from the very act, by standing up for what was right. And to her, part of standing up was doing what she could, rather than arguing over the merits.