One thing leads to another ...........

The man finished attaching the small incendiary devise to the underside of the Driver’s
seat making sure it was securely in place. He didn’t want to take the risk of blowing up
the car and missing the driver, after all it was the driver who was the target. He
glanced furtively about and then slipped unnoticed back to his work.
He had neither forgiven nor forgotten the time when the Kommandant of the SS
Rudgar Ernst Klaus had his men break down the door of their apartment in the middle
of the night and drag his beloved wife Martha and his baby son Daniel screaming and
crying from his arms. No. He had not forgotten.
Herr Klaus had marched into his home, a giant of a man both in height and girth, his
great boots echoing off the floor and rebounding around the walls.
He struck terror in the hearts of all who beheld his granite features with eyebrows
joined straight across his brow. He was a man to be feared, he had proved that.
Neither had Joseph Elbert forgotten the look of terror on the face of his wife as they
took her and the baby away. The look that appealed to him for help. He was helpless.
Two soldiers stood one either sides of him their rifles crossed. There was nothing he
could do bar getting himself shot and that would have been no help at all to anyone.
‘Where are you taking her?’ he shouted at Klaus.
‘To the work camp’ had been the curt reply.
‘Why not take me too?’ he had implored.
‘You are a Physicist, a Scientist, we have a use for you in a new factory we have built.
You will work there.’ had been Klaus’ reply. ‘You will work to conquer the enemy’.
He was of course referring to the British, but if that particular enemy had walked
through Joseph’s door at that moment, Joseph would have greeted them with open
arms and cheers. As far as he and other Jews were concerned Hitler and his retinue
were the enemies. The enemies within. Well, Joseph would see about that.
He had been marched out and put into a car. He saw Martha and Daniel being loaded
into a truck along with many of their neighbours. Hard working, harmless people all.
People whose religion should have been of no concern to anyone but themselves.
Along with Gypsies or anyone else whom the Fuhrer took a dislike to, or who he
thought wouldn’t fit into his scheme of a perfect Arian State, were shipped off by the
lorry load to ‘Work’ camps. Often never to be heard of again.
Kommandant Klaus got into the car and Joseph felt the car’s springs sag. This huge
man was just another of the gutter rats and psychopaths that Hitler had scoured the
sewers for to make into his henchmen and Commanders, his elite SS Force.
Joseph had been set to work immediately they had arrived at the factory. He was
expected to design Bombers which would fly unpiloted to Britain and then explode
there, causing death and destruction to anyone or anything in their path.
Joseph informed Klaus that he was sure he could do this thing, but he must be
reassured that his wife and son were safe at all times. Klaus had replied that if he
didn’t work he would give Martha to the Army guards to play with. To which Joseph
had replied ‘Then you do not get your Bombers’. Klaus had thought about this and
then snorted.’ And how do we do this thing. Bring them for visits?’ he had laughed at
his own joke.
‘No. That will not be necessary, but you can take photographs of them on a regular
basis and bring them to me here’.
‘And if I don’t?’ Klaus had scowled at him.
‘Then shoot me now, because I will do nothing to help you.’
Klaus had glared for a full minute, which to Joseph felt like a full hour before he
finally nodded his head.‘It will be so’ he said and left the factory.
And, every three months or so photographs had arrived showing a much thinner
Martha and Daniel growing from a baby to a child., bu t at least they were alive which
was what Joseph wanted more than anything in the World; but Joseph had not
forgiven him and had plans for him and his factory.
Many months passed. Joseph designing prototypes which didn’t quite work.
Theyalways fell short of their target and usually ended up in the North sea.
He was also designing at the same time a very small , very powerful incendiary device
which could be detonated by remote control. He had been working on the small
detonating control box when Klaus had come up silently behind him. ‘What is that you
have there?’ he had enquired in his great guttural voice.
Unperturbed Joseph replied ’It’s a small device for hiding in the cells of prisoners.
When men are together they talk amongst themselves. This way you will get much
information without interrogation.’
‘Good.Good’ had been Klaus’ response ‘but what are the little red buttons for?’
Quick as a flash Joseph answered ‘To start it off and to stop it of course’.
‘Ya Ya.’ Klaus nodded his head seemingly satisfied and left Joseph to get on with it.
Never suspecting that he was in fact witnessing the making of his own would be death
At last it was finished, but Joseph wasn’t. Why stop at Klaus? Why not take the whole
factory out? That should slow them down a bit and perhaps bring the war to a quicker
Herr Klaus had one failing. His sleek black Mercedes car. No one else was allowed to
drive it. It was always parked outside the factory and one dark night in the winter of 1943 Joseph crept up to it and put the device in situ.
It could be a while before he had the opportunity of detonating it, but he was a patient
man and he went nowhere without the detonator, safely switched off, in his pocket.
He had made the little very powerful incendiary look as if it were some machinery
part and it stuck in place by suction. He placed these in strategic places around the
factory and then he waited.
On a dark cold January night his opportunity arose. The sirens denoting an air raid
went off in the factory. Everyone started running for the door and to the air raid
shelter across the street. Joseph stood at the door and shepherded everyone out. He
had seen Klaus leave the moment the siren went off. He watched him get into his car
and start to drive down the long road. He could turn left or right at the bottom, Joseph
watched closely. Two young soldiers who were the factory guards were standing
looking bewildered. ‘“Get into the shelter boys. No sense in getting your heads blown
off’ the young men complied immediately. These weren’t Hitler’s elite, these were just
young men doing what they were ordered to.
Joseph could hear the Bombers directly overhead. Klaus’ car had reached the end of
the road. It turned left. As he did, Joseph clicked the switch of the detonator and
pressed the button. He saw the flash and pieces of car and occupant flying through the air before he heard the explosion. One down. One to go.
He ran down the road in the opposite direction. No one in sight. All hopefully safely
in the shelters.
When he thought he had enough distance between himself and the factory, he threw
the switch and pressed the second red button.
The sky was already ablaze with searchlights and anti-aircraft guns straithing the
skies, the British bombers their target. When the factory exploded in an enormous
flash of light upward it seemed to hover like a giant bird of prey and then crash down
again in a mass of flames and explosions, only rubble, dust and detritus left of the
Furhrer’s hope for the future.
As Joseph came to the corner he saw trucks of soldiers and soldiers on foot running in
his direction. He held to the shadows until the first of the soldiers were level and then
he ran with them. ‘What was it?’ he asked ‘the factory?’
‘Direct hit by the look of it’ answered the soldier nearest to him. ‘My God that was
some aim.’ said another.
Some aim indeed, thought Joseph.
Of course they just moved Joseph on to another new factory, which was just as
unlucky as the first. He never did perfect the Buzz bomb as it was later called when someone else did.
All the factories that Joseph worked in took direct hits apparently
from British Bombers. Joseph’s one man war effort was paying off.
An old man of ninety eight told me this story as he lay on his death bed. He added ’
My boy, good or bad, one thing always leads to another.’
The man was my Grandfather, my Grandmother had died two years previously. . Yes,
I am Daniel’s son.

One thing leads to another ...........


Co Durham, United Kingdom

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