Short Story Excerpt

Search for a Martyr 

by Roberta Hartling Gates

Solstice, Summer 2017

Reading SS-Obergruppenführer Dr Ernst Kaltenbrunner’s report dated June 29, 1943, we can tell, just from its turgid style, that he labored over it. Writing may not have come to him easily. But the drinking didn’t help either. Sitting there in his big Berlin office swilling champagne and French brandy from morning till night, he had a tendency to repeat himself, to become ponderous. Yet the report he produced is generally factual. In it he says that the raid, which was carried out by Klaus Barbie of the SD in Lyon, France, took place a little after 3 p.m. on Monday, June 21 in Caluire, a nearby suburb. The report goes on to say that seven high-ranking resisters were arrested, but that “Max” was not among them—a fact which Kaltenbrunner attributes to his having “been arrested in a French police raid.”

As it turns out, Kaltenbrunner wasn’t wrong about the time, or the place, or the number of men taken into custody, but he was wrong about the mysterious “Max” because “Max” was there, scooped up along with all the others at Dr Dugoujon’s three-story villa.

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