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.