Monty had a double to deceive the Germans. For British Prime Minister Winston Churchill's convenience, an actor performed radio broadcasts of some of his best remembered speeches. Great leaders find their own solutions to the problem of having to be in two places simultaneously. Adolf Hitler, Führer of Germany, employed a whole zodiac of Doppelgänger from dire necessity. Both the Allies and his own generals kept trying to kill him.
By the summer of 1944, Adolf Hitler was dying slowly. Doubles took his place when illness as well as convenience ruled out a personal public appearance. Dr. Rolf Marzius was keeping him alive. Reluctant Waffen SS recruit Sturmbannführer Oskar Weinkenner found himself in the role of bodyguard to a man whose life could be as important to the Reich as the Führer's.
This episode of the war's most closely guarded secret opens with the Stauffenberg Bomb Plot. It is the story of the men of the Reichssicherheitsdienst, the doubles, and the doctor, who moved in the highest government and military circles as they carried out their principal duty: preserving Adolf Hitler's life, knowing that the price of both success and failure could be their own death.
Produced by Romiley Literary Circle in association with Romiley Arts Federation
© Henry Smith, 1989. This edition © Henry T Smith Productions, 2002.
By The Same Author
The Necessary Peace * [A Desert Hotel]
Death In Small Corners
Death Is A Stranger
Death On The Record
Death From High Ground
Something In The Blood **
* published abridged in the USA and Canada as The Last Campaign
** written with L. Gordon Range
This first volume of a sequence was compiled from three main sources: the memoirs of Professor Dr. Rolf Marzius; the recollections of Oskar Weinkenner, who served as a pilot with the German air force and then with various special forces units; and official German and Allied military and civilian records.
Dr. Marzius, a pathfinder in the treatment of renal failure, died in Switzerland in 1988 at the age of 99, convinced that his conviction for crimes against humanity at the victors' war crimes trials cheated him out of a richly deserved Nobel Prize for medicine.
Oskar Weinkenner, the stepson of a New York gangster, entered his service with the German forces at the time of the Spanish Civil War after leaving the United States one jump ahead of rivals and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Following his expulsion from the Luftwaffe in 1942, he served with some distinction as a member of the SS Brandenburg special forces until he was severely wounded. He was then transferred to the Reichssicherheitsdienst.
As a result of his involvement in the most closely guarded secret of the Second World War, Oskar Weinkenner was also convicted in absentia of war crimes and sentenced to death. At the time of writing, Herr Weinkenner is living somewhere in western Europe under a false name, for obvious reasons. He is also wanted by the FBI in connection with capital offences committed in New York State and Illinois in the 1930s.
The lives and times of Dr. Marzius and Oskar Weinkenner are presented in the form of a sequence of novels to give the chronicler greater freedom to include synchronous events not involving Dr. Marzius and/or Oskar Weinkenner.
The contemporary names have been used for places in eastern Germany currently in territory occupied by Poland.
Life is the art of being well deceived;
and in order that the deception may succeed,
it must be habitual and uninterrupted.
William Hazlitt (1778-1830)