Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Diary of a Serial Killer - Chapter 5f - by Nova

Everyone was looking to Sarge and the officers for clues on how to react. The end result was a lot of guys working really hard on looking totally impassive. Lothar was trying to look impassive but he just couldn’t seem to get his face around it. I could see his flushed smiling face from where I stood. I expected to see a wet spot form on his trousers at the crotch any minute now. That’s when I understood if making love was as close as we can get to being god then isn’t taking life just the opposite side of the same coin?

With the last batch processed there was no longer any reason for us to be there. A couple Poles slid down the slope along with Lothar and shot anyone who looked like they needed it. The SD officer said something to one of the SS men who disappeared. He reappeared a few minutes later with a handful of bottles that were passed around to all the Germans who had been involved in the shooting. Sarge waved me and Dieter in, and called out to Lothar to get his ass out of the pit. As he scrambled up a couple more Poles slid down the embankment, each carrying a butcher knife and a pair of pliers. I thought it might be interesting to stay and watch what happened next but that was not to be. The Lieutenant wanted to get moving as the drivers weren’t looking forward to navigating these roads in the dark.

I walked back to the trucks and saw the Fat Man from the churchyard picking up his share of the spoils. Apparently the militia was paid with clothes and a portion of the money retrieved from the Jews wallets. I also found my answer as to why the shooters didn’t rotate – they got paid more. The rest of the clothes and items were being inventoried by the two SS men.

As I stood there watching the SD officer walked up and stood next to me. After a minute he said “The clothes will go back to the Reich to be distributed to the poor. Any money goes to a common fund for the good of the entire SS.” What was I supposed to say to a comment like that? So I told him “The German people know they can count on the SS sir.” When in doubt parrot the party line was my motto. “I was impressed by your behavior and ability to carry out your orders at the market square, Private.” I replied “Thank you Herr Captain.” He continued “I have been assigned to a special commando. We could use a man like you.” He waited for my reply while my mind raced. Always trust your gut instincts and mine was screaming at me "No! No!" So I went with it and told him “Thank you Herr Captain but I would prefer to stay with my squad.”
“Of course, I understand. Heil Hitler!” He walked off. My reply of “Heil Hitler” was spoken to his departing back. I was so wrapped up in watching him walk away that when the hand fell on my shoulder I jumped like I had been goosed.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Diary of a Serial Killer - Chapter 5e - by Nova

The last ten from the group we had brought in were standing on the edge of the antitank ditch. As they got a good look at what was lying below them, a guttural moan of terror arose from them. The auxiliaries carefully set down the bottles they were sharing on the ammo boxes behind them, unslung their rifles, and formed a firing line. A militia NCO gave the order in accented German to shoulder arms, following it with the command to fire. One thing that has stayed with me ever since is the meaty sound you hear when a body is struck by a bullet. It is unmistakable, and after hearing it enough times you can tell by the sound if it was a solid hit or a grazer. The sound changes, with the thwack more pronounced when it hits a meaty part of the body.

Either the alcohol had helped or they were just rusty as this one went a lot better than the first few. All the shots looked to be solid torso hits taking them all backwards over the edge. The next ten from the other squad were quickly hustled in and were just as quickly dispatched. The boys were in a groove and stayed in it until the final two batches when things went a little awry. Two of the shooters began missing completely, probably due to the alcohol taking effect. They were relieved, which made them very unhappy. They started to make a fuss until it penetrated their alcohol sodden brains that the SD Captain was quite willing to add them to the pile of bodies lying below. Our primary concern here was range safety. No one was eager to get shot by a drunken Pole. It probably wouldn’t even qualify you for a wound badge, our equivalent of the Purple Heart.

They were replaced by two members of the militia who had been, until then, standing around watching the show. I was surprised they had not rotated the shooters among the men in their company. Later on that became common practice. By then we had a crowd of spectators as all our men had stayed to watch after bringing their groups in. After each batch had been processed, Sarge, the Lieutenant, and the SD officer would walk the edge of the pit and shoot anyone who looked like they were still alive. Meanwhile I, and at the other end, Dieter just stood there watching.

I believe we had become invisible to everyone else due to being a distance, however small, from the action taking place. I found it fascinating to watch our guy’s faces as they came in with their groups and saw what was happening. A few looked troubled by it. One stepped back about five paces after looking over the edge and threw up, much to the amusement of the Poles. Fortunately he did not barf on anything important like their bottles or the ammunition boxes.

Background on this story

First off, this story is partially fiction. I have no idea what people thought and said while they did this. It isn't fiction when it comes to the events. If anything, I choose to only write about a sample of the activities of the average police battalion during this period. By my extremely rough calculations approximately 20 police battalions shot at close range over a million people in 2 years.

I usually write stories about the near future. The future I see is really just the past in a new clothes. Men don't change - only the date on the calendar does. It is my belief that should there be a collapse of the economy, actually, I think it already is, then the future will be interesting.

This is a fragmented society held together by the most tenuous of bonds - electrons - and half remembered, half baked ideas of what a society should be. I personally believe should it come to that then America will not be a pleasant place to be for at least a generation.

You may believe that people such as the characters don't exist. They do. This story was reality for years a large number of people. The Germans and the Soviets lost more people in a single battle than the US did during the entire war. One out of five Poles died. The death rate in Ukraine was even higher. The Jews were exterminated. Ideological wars are religious wars and history has shown they are the most brutal.

The book that influenced me the most was Professor Brownings Ordinary Men: Police Battalion 101

In it Professor Browning wrote about a reserve police battalion consisting of middle aged men who had grown up before NSDAP gained power and were by all accounts normal people. These normal people went out and shot thousands of men, women, and children when ordered. Yes, they had the option to refuse. No one was ever punished for refusing. Very few did. Most pulled the trigger.

If you are interested in life after a major crash then keep this mind. It will be ugly. Reading about it may be entertaining but there is a huge difference between that and the reality. I do not believe everyone is evil nor do I believe everyone will be an enemy. I do believe that out of a 100 people the odds are pretty good at least one of them will be an evil piece of shit.

One of the questions I have thought about is what do you do when confronted by evil in the guise of a human? For most of us there is nothing really we can do in a functioning society. That is why we have the law. Law enforcement, at least to me, is at the core nothing but people who have sworn to protect the innocent and not so innocent from the true predators. This is where Gardener and Max come from. On the other side of them is the characters in this story. To appreciate what is right you have to know what is wrong. Not only know it but understand it as much as it can be understood, fear it, and kill it.

Edit: I do not believe that if the US tears itself a part we will be living simple wars of conquest and looting. We will experience ideological war. Total war. I hope it never happens.

Edit Again: I do know a little about what I am writing here

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Diary of a Serial Killer - Chapter 5c - by Nova

I was awoken from my daydreaming with Hans’s voice calling my name “Willi! Willi! You all right? Is it fifteen minutes?” I looked at my watch. “Yeah Hans.” It was actually fourteen minutes but that was close enough for police work. Hans bellowed “Alright lets go! Go! Go!” The militia had been warned not to be too rough until we were out of sight of the others in the market place. This was rendered somewhat pointless considering what had already transpired but they had been gentle – relatively.

As we walked I could hear the sound of our truck engines revving hard and faintly underneath the engine sound two volleys of rifle fire. From the raggedness of the volleys I knew it had to be the locals. We knew how to shoot a disciplined volley. Hell, we drilled on it enough in school.

I was right as it turned out. The Lieutenant was disgusted, as was the SD officer. Each one for their own reasons. The Lieutenant because of how unprofessional it was, and the SD officer because it was taking to long. We marched our group, well march isn’t the correct word. Herded would be more accurate. We herded the Jews, and our new friends, as I mentioned before, knew exactly what they were doing. Their marksmanship may have been shoddy but they knew Jew herding, and they were surprisingly restrained in applying the rifle butts.

We reached the vehicle area where we were met by the Lieutenant who was grinning manically. “Move your batch over there and have them strip.” Where “over there” actually was turned out to be easy to discern by the pile of mens clothing on one side, and the bundles stacked neatly on the other. “Come on strip! Move! Move!” We shouted at them repeatedly in German which was echoed in Polish by one of the militia.

They began stripping and it was not a pretty sight. Whispering to each other, they shucked clothes until it was all dirty asses and mutilated Jewish weenies. It made me nauseous to look at them. Once they were stripped, and standing there, we found out we had one who was reluctant to show his bare ass. He was shot for being such a pain.

We did a lot of these type actions over the next few years and there were always a couple guys who tried to shield their genitals from view like women. We would stand around, drinking, most of us smoking, and laugh at them. The ones who refused to undress were always shot on the spot.

Diary of a Serial Killer - Chapter 5b - by Nova

The SD officer walked over to me and held out his hand palm up. I placed the Luger on his outstretched palm, careful not to let the barrel touch his skin, as I did not want to burn his hand. Nothing was said. Nothing needed to be said.

I quickly walked over to where Sarge was standing. He looked at me and asked “You okay?” It didn't surprise me that he sounded more curious then concerned. I nodded, then told him “I'm Fine."
"I want to you to go with Hans and Dieter and escort the second batch down. You have a watch, right?” Again I nodded. “Hans doesn’t, so make sure you get them moving in exactly fifteen minutes.” We compared times and I reset my watch to match his. He turned and strode off rapidly to catch up with the Lieutenant, who along with the SS officers, was taking the first group.

We stood there. Dieter kept his distance from me and Hans. I think I had freaked him out. Hans was wound up and talking a mile a minute and I really wished he would shut up. Whatever I had just experienced had evaporated faster than Stefan, the company drunk, spent his paycheck on payday.

I had to fight to not keep looking at my watch. Our group stood there waiting their turn while men from the militia assigned to us made our group of Jews keep their hands above their heads.

It was difficult for the older men to stand there like that. One old man I noticed was really struggling, his arms would begin to droop, and then he would force them to rise again. I watched him and in my head saw him as my Jewish butterfly. His arms were fragile wings rising up, and then slowly settling back down. Instead of wind, the fear of a rifle butt to a kidney was propelling them up, and then gravity would pull them down. So I stood there watching him and let my mind wander.

The Jews standing there, hands reaching up in the air like that, reminded me of an American cowboy movie I had seen a few years before. In the movie the line that had stuck with me was when the good cowboy had told the evil rustler to ‘Reach for the sky partner.’ It was kind of amusing thinking about it.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Book Status

The books won't go out until they arrive in the warehouse. My guess is you won't see them until around the middle of March. I asked to be notified when they start mailing them out.

We closed on the doomstead yesterday!

Diary of a Serial Killer - Chapter 5 - by Nova

That served as the start signal for the locals and the controlled chaos began. We were relative rookies at this type of work except for some of the men who had been in the SA or had been in the police before the Fuhrer came to power.

The locals knew the drill and spread out among the groups of men. Every Jew who had stood up, or even looked like they were thinking of standing up, was getting butt stroked upside the head. These guys looked like rabble but they knew what they were doing as their strokes were fluid and graceful. The effect was devastating and very effective. Everyone shut up, sat down, and sat small. At least those still capable of sitting, as there was now eight men laid out in the dirt. Three of them were motionless, while the rest were moaning, crying, and struggling to get back on their asses as they tried to staunch the flow of blood which was already drawing flies. Big fat black nasty flies at that.

The SD officer attempted to address the gathered mass of the chosen people but was unable to project his voice over the background of moaning and jabbering. He began screaming at them to “Shut up!” I was now standing on his left about six paces away. I could see the cords on his neck standing out tautly while his face flushed a deep shade of red. The spittle was flying from his lips now. I was struggling with not laughing out loud at him as he looked exactly like the priests at the Home when as a boy they had discussed my shortcomings as a human being with me.

He had excellent peripheral vision unfortunately because he abruptly shut up, turned towards me, and beckoned. I stepped up to him and saluted smartly. “Jawohl! Herr Hauptman!” You were not supposed to address an SS officer as “Herr” but then I never had one correct me either. He handed me his model 08 Luger and in a surprisingly measured tone told me to shoot the wounded.

I took the outstretched pistol from his hand, stepped back one pace, saluted and shouted “Jawohl Herr Hauptman!” I did a parade ground quality about face, and stepped rapidly over to the closest moaner who looked up at me, his expression clearly indicating that he expected me to fix his bleeding head.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Diary of a Serial Murderer - Chapter 4f - by Nova

A change came over the Jews when Fat Man and his boys showed up and it was not for the better. Apparently they had a bit of a reputation in the local Jewish community.

One of the junior Rabbis who had just finished getting processing with the last batch that had come in got excited when he saw them arrive. He proceeded to get in the SD officers face, raising his voice and gesturing excitedly towards the Fat Man who just smiled smugly back at him. The SD officer stood there listening, a half smile on his face, to the tirade until a bit of spittle flew into his face from the rapidly moving mouth of the junior Rabbi. The Major raised his hand and using his index finger slowly wiped the spittle from his face. I watched as he looked at his finger in disbelief, the expression on his face rapidly turning to disgust.

He dropped his hand to his riding breeches and slowly wiped the offending moisture off his finger. The Jew was oblivious to all this as he continued to spew a torrent of heavily accented German. The SD officer’s hand, done with wiping, moved up to his holster and undid the leather flap. He lifted the Luger, slowly easing it out of his holster, the black machined metal clearing the leather as the Jew finished. He stared triumphantly at the SD officer, sure that his oratory skills had straightened out the problem.

The SD officer raised the Luger until it was about an inch below the Jews chin, and pointed at a forty five degree angle. Then he pulled the trigger. That was not the preferred method for close in head shots but he was obviously irate and let his anger override his form. The barrel blast set fire to the Jews beard while the bullet existed out of the back of his head spraying brains, hair, and part of his felt hat over the group of Jews sitting behind him. For a second he stood there, the shot reverberating in the marketplace punctuated by the sounds of pigeons taking flight. Then the Rabbi dropped like a sack of oats to the ground, his black beard smoking.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Diary of a Serial Killer - Chapter 4e - by Nova

During all this another group of Jews had arrived, and the SS, with the help of the Rabbi and his assistants, were beginning the process of checking their papers against a master list of names. The Lieutenant waved us in, along with the other posts, as we were needed to watch the new arrivals more than a road with absolutely zero traffic on it. We were positioned in a ring around the new arrivals, and I found myself standing with Hans about ten feet from the SD officer and his little command group.

The groups of Jews continued to arrive until we had ten groups of twenty. They must have rounded up some of them from the neighboring villages. It was not a large enough town to have that many Jews. The sun was up for real now and it was starting to warm up. At least it didn’t look like rain which it had been doing a lot of this summer. I was glad we had canteens as it was easy to get thirsty even if you weren’t moving around much. The helmet didn’t help, and either did the wool uniform. Two hundred pair of Jewish eyes watched me drink which made it all the more enjoyable.

The fat man reappeared leading his troops. Instead of a company, a light platoon would be a more accurate description of the actual size. They were a fearsome looking bunch. The only difference between them, and the men we had sitting down in front of the church, was that most of them had shaved in the last couple weeks. Four or five men in the militia had grown the Fuhrer mustache to demonstrate their solidarity with us and to distinguish themselves from the Jews an other undesirable rabble.

They were armed with German army rifles, a couple of ancient shotguns, and a few carried clubs. The entire lot, including the Jews, could benefit from a shave and a shower. The need for a shower had become very noticeable as the breeze had shifted and we were now downwind.

“Filthy pigs” Hans said. Startling me. I looked at him and nodded. “Filthy Jewish pigs” he repeated it this time, with the emphasis on the filthy, and the addition of Jewish. I guess he wanted to make sure I understood which group he was talking about. He spit on the ground to further empathize his disgust. “At least they could bathe. Look at us, we’re soldiers and we still find time to bathe.”

“Yeah” I replied. “It’s a good thing for us they are walking out of here and not riding in our trucks with their dirty Jewish germ ridden asses on our benches.”
His reply was a stunned “My God!” I laughed and added “Well it looks like we won’t be needed. The Teutonic knights have arrived.” He thought that was funny, very funny. So much so that Sarge later chewed his ass out for laughing while on duty.

Diary of a Serial Killer - Chapter 4d - by Nova

“What did you think we were going to do?” I asked him. He muttered something that I could not quite make out. I prodded him again, saying louder “What?” He spoke up. “I thought, well…” and with that his voice trailed off. I just looked at him and laughed. Sometimes the quiet ones aren’t deep. They just don’t have anything worth while to say.

About ten minutes later the local rabbi arrived, accompanied by two elderly assistant rabbis dressed in black gabardine, leading a group of about forty Jews. The group was mostly boys and old men. The military age young men for the most part had left before we arrived or were in a Polish Army prisoner of war camp somewhere. Tagging along with the Jews were a couple of dogs who kept darting about sniffing everything in sight. I watched with delight as one of the dogs lifted his leg and pissed on the front of the church. Bringing up the rear, yet keeping a safe distance was six small boys and a little girl attracted by the Jewish parade.

The SD officer from earlier that morning walked out of the town hall accompanied by several SS men I had never seen before. With them was a fat, raggedy looking civilian wearing an armband stenciled with “Police Auxiliary.” Very impressive local police uniform I thought. The SD officer shouted at the rabbi to come over, and gave him orders to have the men sit down in two groups of twenty in front of the church. Each one of the Jews was carrying a small bundle. I later found out they had been told to bring clothes and personal items with them because they were were going to be spending the next few days digging antitank ditches. This was still early enough in the war that we were dealing with relative innocents. Innocent in that they were docile and cooperative to a point. Occasionally, like today, we would have a short lived problem because one of them thought they still had rights.

The SD officer with whom we were to work with frequently over the next three months espoused an operational philosophy that it was easier to keep to keep the cattle moving up to, and thorough the chute if they weren’t spooked. He was in the minority among his colleagues in this belief. Later on in the war when we crossed paths again he had definitely joined the “Kill them all and let Woden sort them out” school of SS public relations. Right now though he was angry and going off in the fat civilians face. Amazingly enough the fat man was a company commander in the local militia and his troops had not shown up yet. I heard him shout “Yes sir!” and salute. He turned, and took of waddling at high speed out of the market square. I watched as he trundled his fat ass down one of the roads leading in the opposite direction of where the Yids had come from.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Diary of a Serial Killer - Chapter 4c - by Nova

We eventually arrived at the village and clambered out of the back of the truck. Gathered in a group we stretched and readjusted our gear, including the bane of my existence, the damn gas mask canister. Supposedly we were running behind schedule and Sergeant Hess was yelling at us to “Hustle your asses, fall in, and listen up.” He briefed us on what we were going to be doing which was create a security perimeter inside the village square. No one was to get in or out except our invited guests. The Jews would be assembling there in less than an hour along with men from the local militia who would be assisting us.

We would then escort the Jews back to where we were lagered. There they would strip, and be led in groups of ten to the antitank ditch which was about a hundred yards to the south of where we now stood and shot. “Now don’t fuck up and embarrass me” was his closing comment to us. With that he turned on his heel and began barking commands at us to form up and start marching down the road to the village.

The sun had risen and it looked to be a beautiful morning. Birds were chirping and flitting from tree to tree. All in all it was very pleasant. Poland did not look like I had expected it too. It turned out to be a very flat country or as Hans described it “Flat land, skinny pigs, and too many ugly women.” Still it was different and that difference was what I found interesting. The only thing reminding me I wasn’t on a nature hike back home was the steel helmets bobbing on the heads in front of me, and the weight of my rifle slung over my shoulder. By the time I had adjusted to the weight of my gear and gotten into the rhythm of the march we were entering the village.

It was the usual eastern Europe dung heap that I would see over and over again in the months ahead. If the morning breeze had been blowing toward us; we would have smelled it before we saw it. The air was ripe with the smell of wood smoke mingled with the smell of animals and their manure. Closer in the fragrance acquired the pungent smell of human crap lightly seasoned with rotting cabbage, and a very faint hint of the aroma of baking bread. Together they made for an olfactory assault that was unmistakably eau de Polish village.

The market square, and every town of any size had one, was dominated by the Catholic Church which occupied one entire side of the square. The rest of the square was defined by wooden buildings painted in fading white in various states of disrepair, most of which looked like residences. The largest building I on the square other than the church I was too find out later found out was the town hall. Narrow streets led off into warrens of wooden houses, each one with a leaning stone chimney from which a few faint curls of smoke arose to be caught in the morning breeze. Illuminated by the morning sun the market square was shown to be paved in dirt and animal dung.

Assembly time for the Jews was 07:30 and we were forty five minutes early. It was your standard military ‘hurry up and wait’ operation in action. This early in the war we weren’t allowed to sit around on our asses and smoke. Sergeant Hess had two men from the other squad go check inside the church and make sure Jesus, Mary, or Marx weren’t hiding in there. The church was empty, unusual in Poland, but then everyone in town knew we were coming.

We then milled about the square until the Lieutenant came over an assigned a couple of us to guard each entrance into the market square. I was posted with Dieter with whom I had stood watches with in Warsaw. We weren’t sure exactly what we were supposed to be doing but we did know a lot about standing watch. We stood at attention, one on each side of the road, until the Lieutenant wasn’t looking at us anymore and we could relax.

Dieter asked me “What you think is going to happen?” A stupid question I thought as we had just been told what was going to happen. I bit back the first reply that came to mind which was “Well Dieter, we are going to repel an attack by the 7th Soviet Infantry Division.” Instead I looked at him. He was apprehensive, maybe even a little pale. I realized then that I had never seen him strike anyone on guard duty let alone raise his voice. Such a little lamb I thought. I told him “Well, it’s like this. We are going to shoot these people at close range, rob the bodies, and then rape the livestock.” He recoiled like I had slapped him. I continued “Sarge told me you get first pick of the goats. I suggest you try a female on for a change.”

Diary of a Serial Killer - Chapter 4b - by Nova

I clearly remember standing there pretending to listen to the Major while observing the SD officer who stood behind him. I had seen him before, usually accompanied by others of his ilk. He stood there, about three paces behind the Major, and to his right. He was short, stocky, and while still young he had already began to develop some very impressive jowls. He did not cut a dashing figure in his uniform, except for the SD diamond with its silver piping on his sleeve halfway between the cuff and the elbow. That got my attention.

At this point we had not had many dealings with the SD, but I knew whenever they appeared something was going to happen. That “something” was always political, and political was never good. Political was dangerous. Political meant the regular rules of our daily life no longer applied. The shit no longer ran downhill in its nice orderly little channels. Instead it could come streaming out of nowhere and woe to those who screwed up the new distribution plan. Political meant that screwing up would not lead to kitchen punishment detail but something worse. Something that would make a bullet in the back of the head seem merciful. When the SD showed up everyone paid attention.

He watched us while we pretended to listen to the Major. No, I am sure some the men were actually listening. Hell, Hans ate these speeches up with a spoon. I bet he stored them up in his head and played them back when he was all alone in the dark with his picture of Adolf. Myself, I learned early on that a good soldier could doze while standing up. Not this time though. I watched the SD officer watch us as we listened to the Major. Watching and weighing us to see who might be a problem. Who might mess up the new flow of shit.

The Major finally shut up, and the First Sergeant stepped up and got us moving in order to the waiting vehicles. I quickly ducked behind a truck and relieved myself on a tire groaning in relief. We clambered aboard, uncharacteristically silent except for the usual grunts, as burdened with gear we pulled ourselves up and into the back of the truck. Our equipment clattered as we got ourselves seated on the wooden benches that lined each side of the truck and we readjusted our gear for the ride. With the usual grinding of gears and backfires we headed for the town of Paprotnia which was about twenty miles away. Doesn’t sound very far does it? Just a quick little jaunt that took us almost two hours over the usual crappy Polish excuses for a road. Roads that in a year would be fondly remembered after we had been driving on the cow paths they called roads in Russia.

No one who has never ridden in an Opel Blitz truck without any functioning shocks, while sitting on a wooden bench wearing an iron pot on your head, and traveling over a highly rutted road will realize how uncomfortable it was. Traveling like this was not usually conducive to conversation, as the muffler was like the shocks, something the Wehrmacht considered nonessential had decided to pass on fixing. On later actions we would sing, but that was usually on the way back when the alcohol and the adrenalin were still flowing from what we had just completed. That is what we called operations like this, an ‘Action.’ This one was a small Jewish action. They came in two official sizes, large and small. I never figured out if it was small because of the number of victims or was it because of the number of troops involved?

One thing I do know that that none of the ones that I participated in were the same, and yet in the end they all were. Most of the names of the towns we visited ended up forgotten as soon as we left, if we ever knew what their names. If we were to talk about them later then they were usually remembered by an event that had made them stand out from the others. For instance, the action in Konstantin was usually referred to as “The pumpkin head action.” As in “Remember that town with the Jew we shot seven times and he still kept walking towards the Lieutenant? Yeah! We had to pop his head like a pumpkin before he would sit down and stay down.”

Friday, February 11, 2011

Diary of a Serial Killer - Chapter 4a - by Nova

Gate duty was pretty boring but the nice thing was we only stood watch during the day. Back in Germany standing watch meant day or night. If you were a low ranking enlisted man like I was, you were assigned the watches no one else wanted. That meant you could have a night watch that ended just before the day started. You would go from that to whatever activities were planned for the day. That meant you were tired by noon.

Here at night the gates were closed and guarded by the ghetto and Polish police. Another benefit was not having to shine your boots. There was always a Pole available to do that for you. Just like there was always someone to keep our uniforms cleaned and ready. The only thing we still had to take care of ourselves was our weapons.

We had walked around the ghetto and taken photos of the Jews living there when we first arrived but there was not much to see, plenty to smell though, and none of it pleasant. I still enjoyed my solitary walks through the quarter but the sanitary conditions were rapidly becoming unsatisfactory, and I had no desire to catch typhus. So I reluctantly let the part of my life come to an end.

I had settled into the routine of guard duty when it all changed. Later I came to understood this was standard operating procedure in the military. As soon as you become comfortable with your assignment you could count on moving or being assigned new duties.

Sarge told us at morning muster that 2nd Company from now on was going to be providing the men for guard duty. After we finished our watch we were to return to the barracks and get our gear ready. “And I don’t mean your home away from home either. I expect you to be in the barracks and I will be checking. Tomorrow morning men, our squad will be going for a ride in the country.” Lothar and Hans were excited. They felt that in being assigned guard duty they had been cheated out of a right of passage that everyone else in the battalion had already passed through. The downside was the loss of the extra money from guard duty although we heard that there was money to be made on roundups.

The next morning we fell out at the usual very dark and very early time the military always chooses to begin its activities and lined up for inspection. At the most I had expected the Company First Sergeant and our Lieutenant to greet us, maybe the Captain if he wasn’t too hung over. Instead I was surprised to see the Battalion Commander, his Adjutant, and a SD officer march out to review us.

Short barely audible groans came from some of the men standing in formation around me. Most of them had barely pulled it together that morning and they were not ready for anything approaching a real inspection. Even though we had spent the night in the barracks the alcohol had still flowed. The sour odor of beer filtered through the pores of unwashed skin emanated from almost everyone standing there. Their furtive attempts to quickly square themselves away were squashed by the glare emanating from the First Sergeant. The Lieutenant pretended not to notice. He looked a little pale himself but stood far enough away that I couldn’t get a whiff of him to see if he was suffering from the same malady that his troops were.

We snapped to attention at the command of the First Sergeant. The sound of our boots on the cobblestones echoed in the cool morning air. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed the Polish kitchen help standing by the kitchen door watching us. I don’t remember exactly what the Major said although I was to hear similar speeches many more times including one by Himmler in the none to distant future. Fortunately, the Major was not as long winded as Himmler as I really needed to piss.

I am sure it sounded something like this:
“Soldiers of the Fatherland today you will perform duties as difficult in there own way as what a front line solider is asked to do. You are members of the Police and you know how important order is. Germany must be strong and destroy those who would destroy us without hesitation. You will be called upon to perform a difficult duty today. ”
He continued on like this for about five minutes more. No, none of us were asked if we wanted to stay behind. I would have been amazed if we had been. It certainly did not occur to me to ask.

This was the German police after all. You were given orders, and you did your best to carry them out. Any less, and those who gave you those orders would find a way to make you wish you had. If you showed them you could competently execute those orders then you got promoted and then you got to give orders to others. Each promotion meant you climbed a little higher up the military mountain of life upon which all shit rolled down. It was all very simple and easy to understand. I liked that.

Here is the new cover for AA II

I saw it on Amazon a few minutes ago. I am not sure what to think.

Diary of a Serial Killer - Chapter 4 - by Nova

The other companies in the battalion were constantly being sent out to the little towns and villages surrounding Warsaw on Jew roundup missions. The word in the mess was a lot of the Jews being rounded up only made it a short distance out of town before they were shot. Lothar and Hans were always bitching about being stuck in Warsaw doing guard duty. They wanted to be out there kicking ass like the rest of the battalion.

Myself, I was content to watch the people passing through our gate and observing the expressions on their faces. Everyone has an invisible trunk full of masks to wear in public, switching them to match what they think the occasion demands. For the Jews arriving as part of the roundups, well, their trunks had been emptied when the police whistles blew in what ever crappy little village they lived in.

Watching them entering our gate I enjoyed seeing how they were getting accustomed to wearing their new public mask. The mask of fear. Total abject fear. They had gotten their first fitting a few days earlier during the roundup, and every step since was further reinforcement on what the proper facial attire for them was to be. It was like training dogs. Growling or snapping at you no matter what you did to them was totally unacceptable. Even lifting a lip in a silent snarl was punishable. They could meet your eyes but only if they dropped them immediately afterward. Complete and total obedience was required. In time, even existing became an offense punishable by the death penalty.

Diary of a Serial Killer - Chapter 3f - by Nova

The corporal that was assigned to us was from the other squad. He was not an idiot like Hans, the true believer, who wouldn’t let the men in his detail take the bribe money at first. He personally shot a Polish guard who took offense at his refusal to accept a bribe. Not so good for his men, but it was good for us as it increased traffic at the gates that flanked him, and we were one of them. It didn’t take Hans very long to realize the error of his ways. The same SS captain that visited us daily for local administrations share, took him aside and spoke to him. Hans never told me what was said, but I always traced the decline in his belief in National Socialism from whatever had transpired that day.

We had stood a few joint watches with the guys from Police Battalion 67 before they turned it over to us for real. They were the ones who had clued us in on the reality of guard duty. Basically anything could go out of the Ghetto except for Jews. For the right amount of money we would overlook small quantities of food or medicine. Anything else we seized, and if we found weapons we shot the smugglers on the spot. Any Poles or Jewish guards who tried to screw us on our share of the collections was reported to the same SS Captain who talked to Hans. They then disappeared, never to be seen or heard from again.

The city itself was like an anthill that had been kicked over. Poles were carting their old furniture to their new residences as they were still being relocated from a number of neighborhoods in the area. New arrivals of Jews were coming in daily on their way to their new homes. Columns of them arrived, young and the old, dragging their little carts, carrying suitcases, and balancing bundles on their heads. The women were all tight lipped and pissed off while the men walked small and tried not to look like they still had their balls. The children for the most part thought it was a big adventure. Added to all this was the troops either passing through or wandering around on leave gawking at the big city. It looked like chaos but there was an order and rhythm to it, and woe to those whose papers weren’t in order. Especially if they weren’t German.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Diary of a Serial Killer - Chapter 3b - by Nova

Upon our arrival in Warsaw we were assembled into squads by the Company First Sergeant. In 1940 the NCOs’ still took the basic military bullshit seriously. Later on in the war, depending on what officer was present, we would, at best, be subjected to a minimum level of discipline.

We were set to work right away off loading the freight cars which contained the company rations, ammunition, and paperwork into the waiting trucks. The trucks we were loading all this into were ancient Czech made pieces of shit whose diesel engines farted and stunk as much as the horse drawn wagons that transported the mighty Wehrmacht. When we finished, we were once again assembled, and we marched off singing the Horst Wessel to our new barracks in Warsaw. No, we didn't get to ride in the trucks. There wasn't enough of them. A problem that would recur over and over the next few years. Plus I am sure some officer that it looked better if we marched. Far more impressive then us pedaling our bicycles down the road I am sure.

Yes, the mighty German army was horse powered then. The newsreels showed the Panzers, the armored personnel carriers, the screaming Stuka swooping from the sky. The reality was horses, a lot of horses, marching, and bicycles. Even towards the end of the war most of the army infantry divisions still used horses for transportation. Since by then most divisions were really regiments or battalions at best it was a good thing less horses were needed. Why? Because most of the horses had died or been eaten by that point. My company, as were the two other companies of the battalion was bicycle mounted. Yes, we invaded Russia on bicycles, but that was still months in the future.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Diary of a Serial Killer - Chapter 3 - by Nova

Police battalions were given a number that corresponded to the army administration area where the men had been drawn from. For instance, most Hamburg based police battalions were numbered in the one hundred range as they were drawn from area ten. The three hundred series of battalions, as I found out later, were formed with service in Russia in mind. Here the rigorous conditions would demand younger men. I served with Police Battalion 301.

My comrades, besides being of the same age, were all from the Bochum area. Some had obviously known each other since childhood while there was a few like me who knew no one. Did I feel alone? No. After innumerable games of Skat, the hours spent lying to each other about our sexual prowess combined with the previous months of training together left me feeling comfortable with them. Or at least as comfortable as I ever felt with people.

Anytime a group of men are required to spend time together they always sort themselves based on the role they will play in the group. It was true when I first observed it in the schoolyard, and still true much later when I was a member of the Rotary Club in Los Angeles. You will always have your leader, his sidekick, the big dumb one, the loner, and the true believer. The rest were interchangeable bullet stoppers, or as I would find later in the Rotary Club, salesman.

Our squad NCO was Sergeant Alois Hess. He was an active duty police NCO with ten years in. Like the rest of us he had missed the big one. That would be the “War To End All Wars,” which during our training I often found myself regretting. If he had gone we wouldn’t have had to put up with his hardcore training methods. Yes, we were told “Sweat Saves Blood” repeatedly but I didn’t think they meant for us to sweat blood. No, he would have been in pieces, quietly decomposing under the soil in a field in France, or hobbling around missing a body part or two. Instead we had him killing us with his gung-ho lets do it again for the Fuhrer and Fatherland men! Not that I disagreed with the philosophy, but the actual reality when applied to me made my life miserable.

I was never a poster boy soldier but Hess was. He was 6'2", 190 lbs. of muscle with a square chin, blue eyes, and blond wavy hair. The perfect poster boy until he smiled and you got a look at those teeth. I never asked, but I am sure that’s what kept him out of the Waffen SS. They were very picky about things like that then. The I SS Regiment, The Fuhrers personal bodyguards, would not take anyone who had even one cavity. He did manage to join the general SS, and he proudly wore the runes below his sports medal on his tunic.

The man loved his hair. He wore it a little longer than most, and kept it swept back and oiled with rosewater hair tonic. He cut quite the imposing figure when he was fully kitted up, and god forbid he got in your face and screamed. That breath of his was truly amazing.

He had his sidekick, all Sergeants have sidekicks. I always believed they were manufactured at a special sidekick school, probably in Hamburg. Ours was Lothar Weiss, a nice enough guy most of the time who couldn’t figure out if he was our mother or a junior demon from hell. Excitable fellow that Lothar. He didn’t care at all for loud noises which was going to prove to be a bit of a thorn in his side later. He was short, stocky, and had a pockmarked face.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Diary of a Serial Killer - Chapter 2c - by Nova

The classes we attended on National Socialism were a welcome break for me. Without them I'm not sure I would have survived the physical rigors of training. I needed the time they provided to sit and rest. The classes were brain numbing boring and it was a struggle to keep my eyes open at times. The material was the same thing I had been listening to since I was old enough to fit into a second hand pair of Hitler Youth shorts. Sleeping during them was frowned on but I did well on the tests, so well, that our instructor would pretend not to notice when my eyes closed, and I would snatch a minute or two of much needed rest.

It was difficult, but I survived it as did every member of my squad. Our company only had one man who did not make it to the end of the training. He was taken away by the Gestapo which created a great buzz of excitement and speculation. We were solemnly informed the next day at that he was unable to continue training with us because it had been discovered that he had a Jewish Grandmother. He had the right to appeal the decision of course, or so we were informed, and it was probable he may even rejoin us at a later date. Meanwhile if anyone else in our ranks had a mixed ancestry would we be so kind to step up and be identified. Nobody did, but we about our broke necks looking around to see if anyone was going to go forward. No one did, we were all good German men, or if we weren’t, nobody was going to be dumb enough to announce it.

When I say we were training to become members of the police it is not in the same sense that an American would associate the word with. All of the German police were part of a national police force that had been established four years earlier in 1936 and led by the Reichsfuhrer of the SS and Police, Heinrich Himmler. Before the Fuhrer had united us, Germany was a nation of independent states, united in name only. Each one of these states had a handful of barracked battalions like ours to provide the authorities with a military force to put down civil insurrection and maintain order in emergencies. The police battalions were needed because after losing the first war the victors had stripped Germany of our army. Without the army there was nothing to stop the Bolsheviks from their goal of creating a revolution inside Germany. Our battalions had been used extensively to breakup demonstrations and evict Bolshevik strikers and other such riff raff from buildings they seized.

There were also the problems on our borders. For years after the end of the war Germany fought uncounted numbers of skirmishes against the Poles who were attempting to take advantage of our temporary weakness and expand their borders at our expense. Police and the volunteer battalions of the Freikorp were all that were available to the defenseless States that made up Germany then.

The dying may have stopped in 1918 for the Allies, but for Germany it continued unnoticed by the west along our eastern marches. These were just some of the problems my country faced as a result of the shameful conditions imposed on us by the Treaty of Versailles as a result of the German Army’s betrayal at home by the Bolsheviks and Jews.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Diary of a Serial Killer - Chapter 2 - by Nova

In the spring of 1940 I was a private in the German uniformed police or Schutzpolizei. I had received my basic training at the police school in Kiel immediately after finishing my year of obligatory national labor service.  I had no interest in serving in the Wehrmacht in wartime, and volunteering for the police guaranteed I would not have to.  I had grown up around too many men who were missing limbs from the previous war to have any desire to follow that path.  
The idea of actually losing a limb in combat was the only thing in life that truly frightened me.  I would be a cripple, and a cripple is dependent on the charity of others. I knew from firsthand experience that the milk of charity that flows from my fellow man is  a thin gruel indeed. The possibility of this actually happening disturbed me so much that it haunted my dreams. It became a recurring nightmare whose details never changed.  
I would dream, especially during the period when I was performing my labor service and knew I would soon be eligible for the draft, of a man standing in a field, shirtless with both arms gone.  All that remained was short stubby appendages like fins. Attached to each arm was a wooden prosthesis with metal claws on the end. Together they looked like lobsters claws. The entire apparatus was tied to his body with sweat grimed white straps. His chest was pale an emaciated from the inability to exercise and the difficulty of eating like a human being with those clacking silver claws. 
The dream would always end in the same way.  The man would turn to face me, a broken toothed grin in his scar of a mouth, and I would wake up shaking and gasping from stifling the scream that I so wanted to give voice to. Why the terror? That face was unmistakably mine. I would lie there afterward in my narrow wooden bed clenching and unclenching my hands into fists and then hugging myself to reassure my panicked mind that my arms were still attached and functioning.  No, the army was definitely not an option.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Diary of a Killer - Introduction - by Nova

Some men are born to a love of violence. Others acquire a taste for it. In wartime many consider it a tool to be put away once victory had been achieved. Never the less, all of those who have experienced it will find they remain marked by it until death. For those of us born to it, even fewer will realize that it is a love that must be contained, hidden, and controlled for otherwise it will destroy us. Like fire, all it knows is that it must burn. Who and what it consumes in the process means nothing to it.

The following story began as a series of interviews I did with a World War II veteran of the German Police whom I met while doing research for a book about the German security troops role in the Holocaust. I called the Goethe Institute in Washington D.C., and asked if they knew of any German war veterans, especially ones that had served in the elite units, who were living in the area and might be willing to reminisce about their experiences in the war on a strictly anonymous basis. I had a pleasant chat with a member of their staff but they were unable to assist me.

I called other German organizations in the United States who I thought might be able to help me, but as soon as I mentioned the war and elite units, I found that a noticeable coolness colored their voices followed by quick close to the conversation. I decided to alter my initial approach by making a point of mentioning at the beginning of the conversation that I was not interested in discussing atrocities or politics. What I was interested in was how the average soldier lived and survived, especially in the hell that was the war in the east. It didn't make any difference in their response to my request for assistance.It had not been a good war and I they were not eager to discuss it.

I had hoped for, but did not expect to find a German Police veteran, and initially I was not disappointed. I did end up conducting a rather long interview with a man who I don’t believe ever saw combat in the war but who was very lonely. Eventually I gave up hope of finding anyone and finished my book using the resources available at the library of the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC. Less than a week after I sent the manuscript to the editor I received a phone call from a friend of the person I had originally talked to at the Goethe Institute.

Her Grandfather had not only served with the police on the eastern front but he was interested in talking with me. I was interested, but not as interested as I would have been months earlier. I decided to go ahead and meet with him, but I was fully prepared to drop it if it looked like it was going to be a waste of time. Not surprisingly I found the conversation would only take place if I agreed to a few simple conditions. He would speak with me only if I could promise anonymity by attributing what he told me to a pseudonym, not for his sake, but for his granddaughter. I also could not publish anything we discussed until after his death. This was understandable, as I knew that if he had actually served with a police battalion in the east, then he would still be liable for deportation and trial as a war criminal. Only later, after we had done a number of interviews did I find myself wondering if I had made a deal with the devil.

This manuscript is compendium of our interviews and his autobiography which I received after his death from his granddaughter. The autobiography was almost a thousand pages of handwritten text in Sütterlin script. Entire chapters describing his post-war life in America, once I deciphered them, were later turned over to the FBI’s Serial Crime Unit.

I have translated his prose, which was written in rather stilted German to a more modern style, including using idioms and slang that was not in use at the time. I have written it this way because I believe it will make it easier for those of us born after 1925 to read. The same motivation led me to change the Wehrmacht and SS ranks to their equivalent in the U.S. Army. I have also deleted the tedious anti-Semitic rants. Wherever possible I have blended our interviews in with what I later found written in his autobiography and I have left any discrepancies in the text. I do not doubt the authenticity of his story but I am well aware how age can selectively erase or blur dates and locations.

While I was impressed with his candor, and personally found him to be quite charming. I would occasionally catch a glimpse of the man who lived the story that follows. I believe this world is a far better off place without him. I will not know what conclusions, you the reader will draw about him as a man when you finish reading this story. For myself, I found that it was a pity he did not stop a Russian bullet early on in the war as did so many of his comrades.

May the souls of his many victims, as well as the millions who died as a result of the actions of the German Police Battalions rest in peace.

A Change

I am a bit burned out due to a number of reasons.  I have the desire and drive to write but the well is a bit dry at the moment.  So what I am going to do is rewrite my first novel online.  I wrote this a couple of years before AA I and right after I wrote a book on the German Police in World War II.   It sold, maybe, 70 copies.  I liked it and I think it is a good book. 

The book you are going to read is based on actual events I researched.  The characters are my invention. You will see where the original Gardener and Max started out from.   The book is extremely violent and I have been told very depressing.   So be it. The period it covers was an extremely violent and depressing period. 

The story takes place during WWII and is told from the point of view of an enlisted German Police officer who served in one of the police battalions that were deployed there. Most of these battalions where hunter-killer units that deployed in company or below strength for the first couple years of the war.  They primarily killed Jews but they also killed anyone who was lined up in front of them.  Almost every one of these battalions shot at close range tens of thousands of civilians of all ages, often the numbers were higher.  

I think some of the readers here may enjoy this story. Why? Because it is about what ordinary men did when when their government told them to do it.  These men were career police, often middle aged, who were not fanatics. They did what they saw as their duty. The methods used by the German Security forces, especially in their anti-partisan war were extremely brutal but they also have been copied. Their system of Zones, ID's, labor divisions,and axillary units will read like current history. I hope you enjoy it. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Some Family Issues

I am going to be off the air, possibly for days, due to a family member who is very ill.