Hilde blamed herself for her mother’s incarceration. She looked around her aunt’s house, at the rooms she knew so well, and realized that she too was confined, not by concrete walls and iron bars, but confined nonetheless. She watched the softly falling rain, the small growth starting to bud in one corner of the flower garden, and wished she could be outside, breathing in the fresh air and enjoying the warm splatters on her face.
Wilhelm Vogel couldn’t believe his luck. He was driving his boss’s car through Berlin’s streets, on the way to the small town of Zehdenick. Apparently, a nosy neighbour had recognized Hilde Augsberg at her aunt’s home. She had managed to evade the local Gestapo until now, but that was all over now. She shouldn’t have made the mistake of going out.
He grinned, reminded once again how much of the Gestapo’s information came to them not by way of diligent detective work but stemming from local informants: neighbours, busybodies, and acquaintances hoping for a reward. An all too often it was an aggrieved individual seeking revenge.
He could envision the scene: the unexpected knock, then shock, gasps, perhaps one of them fainting.
Wilhelm smirked, having seen it often. He knew that Eva would be questioned and severely reprimanded. What possible defense could she muster? A little white lie? Ignorance that Hilde had been sought for questioning? It didn’t matter. She would be held at the local Gestapo office and given a few memorable days of interrogation.
But her real punishment? She would soon find herself ostracized from village life. Once you’d been picked up by the Gestapo, people became scared, even reluctant to speak with you. Besides, Vogel knew that Kloster wasn’t interested in the aunt anyway; it was Hilde he wanted. His new assignment was to pick up the absconded fräulein and bring her to Berlin for questioning.