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The Prophecy

February 28, 2014

The Prophecy

By Ananda Liyanage | Foremost Books

A Selected Chapter

Berlin

Germany

 It was very generally referred to as the Wall. Specifically it was called the Berlin Wall. It signified all the differences in the world that had sprung up since the end of hostilities of the war that for the second time in the century very nearly consumed the world. Compared to the first time it was a far greater catastrophe. Germany which was defeated by a coalition of many countries in the world had been carved up between the ideologically different camps of the victors. Specifically there were two camps, Western Europe and the United States of America (USA) and Eastern Europe and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), and in the words of the British wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill the event was described metaphorically that ‘an iron curtain had descended across the continent of Europe’.

The division of Germany between the victors who embraced the older way of life, – capitalism – and those who embraced the newer way of life, – socialism – was evident in the partition of Germany. There was West Germany controlled by the USA, Great Britain and France, and East Germany controlled by the USSR. The problem faced by those responsible for the partition at the Potsdam Conference of the victors just before the end of hostilities was how the capital of the defeated Germany, Berlin that lay well inside the eastern bloc should be partitioned.

They finally came up with the solution to partition Berlin itself and create West Berlin and East Berlin. The victorious powers divided the city itself into four sectors, analogous to the occupation zones into which Germany was divided. The sectors of the Western Allies, the USA, the United Kingdom and France formed West Berlin, while the sector of the USSR formed East Berlin.

As West Berlin lay deep inside East Germany the path of access to West Berlin was through East Germany. All four allies shared administrative responsibilities for Berlin. However, in 1948, when the Western allies extended the currency reform in the Western zones of Germany to the three western sectors of Berlin, the USSR imposed a blockade on the access routes to and from West Berlin. The Berlin airlift, conducted by the three western allies, overcame this blockade by supplying food and other supplies to the city from June 1948 to May 1949 by air.

In 1949, the Federal Republic of Germany was founded in West Germany and eventually included all of the American, British, and French zones, excluding those three countries’ zones in Berlin, while the German Democratic Republic was proclaimed in East Germany. West Berlin officially remained an occupied city, but politically it was very closely aligned with the Federal Republic of Germany despite Berlin’s geographic location within East Germany. East Germany proclaimed East Berlin as its capital.

Because of the political and economical tensions in August 1961, East Germany began building the Berlin wall between East and West Berlin and similar barriers around West Berlin. Berlin was completely divided. However it was possible for Westerners to pass from one side to the other through strictly controlled checkpoints. In 1971, a four-power agreement guaranteed access to and from West Berlin by car or train through East Germany and ended the potential for harassment or closure of the routes.

The Berlin Wall fell on 9th November 1989, and was subsequently almost completely demolished, with little of its physical structure remaining. On 3rd October 1990, the two parts of Germany were reunified as the Federal Republic of Germany, and Berlin again became the official German capital. In June 1991, the German Parliament, the Bundestag, voted to move the seat of the German capital back to Berlin, which was completed in 1999.

The Berlin Wall around West Berlin had seven checkpoints which were accessible to Germans only. They were at Barnholmer Straße, Chausseestraße, Invalidenstraße, Prinzenstraße, Oberbaumbrücke, Sonnenaliee, and Waltersdorfer Chaussee and the only checkpoint available to all nationals was at Friedrichstraße more famously known as Checkpoint Charlie. Around the rest of the perimeter of West Berlin facing East Germany there were three checkpoints, which were accessible to Germans only, being Staaten, Heerstraße and Drewitz and another checkpoint that was open to all nationals Drelinden dubbed Checkpoint Bravo.

*                      *                      *                      *

Klaus Zimmermann sat on that Friday early afternoon a day after the eventful day 9th November 1989 in a cafe in West Berlin near the Oberbaumbrücke checkpoint sipping a cup of coffee. The bridge at Oberbaumbrücke spans the Spree River between the city districts of Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain. From 1961 to 1989 it was a border checkpoint and could be used only by pedestrians.

On 18th October 1989 Erich Honecker the head of the East German state had to resign and the new government prepared a law to lift the travel restrictions for East German citizens. At 6.53 p.m. on 9th November 1989 a member of the new East German government was asked at a press conference when the new East German travel law would come into force. He answered, ‘Well, as far as I can see, straightaway, immediately’. Thousands of East Berliners went to the border crossings at Barnholmer Straße where they demanded the gates be open. At 10.30 p.m. the border was opened there. Soon other border crossing points opened the gates to West Berlin.

Klaus Zimmermann was the product of a union between a German father and a Jewish German mother. He had been born during the inter war years before the Nazis came to power and implemented their anti-Semitic philosophy. He was brought up by his father as his mother had died at childbirth. When the Second World War broke out in 1938 he was in barely in his early teens.

His teenage had ensued that he was not drafted to the army. This had changed drastically as the war progressed. During the sixth year it was quite common to draft twelve year old children to the Hitler youth brigade. However it was not to be his fate. His father had been killed in the battle of Stalingrad, which had annihilated the German sixth army and had destroyed the myth of the invincibility of the German army. After that fateful event his life had taken different turn. His parentage had become known and he was dispatched to the Auschwitz camp.

Auschwitz was a network of Nazi concentration and extermination camps built and operated by the third Reich in Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany during World War II. It was the largest of the German concentration camps, consisting of Auschwitz I the base camp and Auschwitz II the extermination camp.

Auschwitz I was the original camp, serving as the administrative centre for the whole complex. The site for the camp had earlier served as a Polish army artillery barracks. It was first suggested as a site for a concentration camp for Polish prisoners. The SS selected some prisoners, often Germans as specially privileged supervisors of the other inmates.

Auschwitz II was designated as the place of the ‘final solution of the Jewish question in Europe’. From early 1942 until late 1944, transport trains delivered Jews to the camp’s gas chambers from all over Nazi occupied Europe. The camp’s first commandant, Rudolf Höss, testified after the war at the Nuremburg trials that up to three million people had died there, two and a half million gassed, and the remainder from disease and starvation. Those not killed in the gas chambers died of starvation, forced labour, infectious decease, individual executions, and medical experiments. The most infamous doctor at Auschwitz was Josef Mengele, known as the ‘Angel of Death’.

On 27th January 1945, Auschwitz was liberated by Soviet troops, a day commemorated around the world as ‘International Holocaust Remembrance Day’. As Soviet forces approached, SS chief Heinrich Himmler ordered the destruction of the Auschwitz gas chambers and crematoria. During this attempt to destroy the evidence of mass killings, prisoners were forced to dismantle and dynamite the structures. As Soviet units approached the camp, the SS evacuated prisoners to the west. Tens of thousands, mostly Jews, were forced to march. During the march, SS guards shot anyone who could not continue. Nearly sixty thousand prisoners were forced on death marches from the Auschwitz camps and as many as fifteen thousand died.

Klaus Zimmermann had been mercifully selected to Auschwitz I and was even more fortunate be made a privileged supervisor of the other inmates. He suspected that the reason may have been his half-German parentage and that his father had died in the service to the Reich. He did not question such selection but accepted the privileges gratefully. This had kept him alive during the eventful years of 1943 and 1944. He was half his former size and doubted if anyone who knew him in the pre war period could even recognise him. He was among the seven thousand inmates that the SS had not forcefully evacuated.

It was in the latter part of January of 1945 that they heard shellfire close by. The camp had been deserted by the SS two days before but the thought of wandering outside the barbed wire fence never occurred to anyone. In the late afternoon the first soviet tank drew up outside. At first nothing happened. Then slowly the hatch opened and the tank crew got out. Even for the hardened soviet soldiers who had been fighting the German army for over four years could not believe what they saw. The German war atrocities were horrendous even to the seasoned soldier who had seen almost everything in the eastern front.

The liberating soviet soldier at first reluctantly and then with ever increasing urgency attended to the three most urgent requirements of the inmates; food, clothing and shelter. This task was handed over to the medical unit of the tank brigade a short while later when they arrived. Klaus Zimmermann had volunteered to help them as he was in a much better condition than some of the inmates. They were treated medically given food and clothing and allowed to recover to some extent for the next four weeks at the camp. Better and healthier accommodation was provided.

It was during this time that he developed a close friendship with a member of the contingent of personnel who had been left behind to look after them while the main army moved on. The defeat of Nazi Germany was still over four months away and the fighting was still not over. His benefactor’s name was Oleg Konstantinov and only later was it revealed that he was the gunner of a T-85 tank crew of the 2nd Guards Tank Army. He had a particular gait which Klaus later understood was as a result of a injury received at Stalingrad in the counter offensive in November 1942.

Klaus listened to Oleg as he recounted the last two years of war. He had joined the soviet forces when he came of age before the famous battle of Stalingrad. He had fought his way over one thousand kilometres and there was yet another five hundred kilometres to go until he could think about hanging up his cap and going home to his mother and the farm in Astrakhan. Over a period of time Klaus began to seek Oleg’s company to listen to his tales. He had been fascinated by the will of this soviet peasant who had fought for two years to drive away an invader because that is how he saw the German army.

His relationship with Oleg had waned after they were transferred to quarters in the nearby village of Oświęcim after a month. He still saw Oleg as he went about his business in the village but apart from a casual wave of the hand did not enjoy the intimate conversations that they had shared. He did not expect to meet Oleg after the unit to which he was attached was once again recalled for active duties in the battle for Berlin.

Six months later he too moved to Berlin. The war was over and Germany was partitioned between the victorious allies. He started to teach at a schoolhouse that was situated in a half-crumbled house. He had amazingly found his grandmother on his father’s side still alive and living in the cellar of a destroyed house. The day he moved over to live with her he was eighteen years old.

*                      *                      *                      *

Klaus Zimmermann got up after depositing money for the coffee he had drunk on the table. There was still a trickle of people who were moving from the east to the west through the gate. The rush of the previous day had ceased. It was mostly elderly people who walked across now. He was the only person who was crossing from the west to the east. At the gate he made a casual remark in explanation to the guards, who still stood at the gate,

Meine Mutter ist zu feable, bis zur Grenze zu reisen

As he walked past the guard post on the bridge along Warschauer Straße after crossing over to East Berlin his mind went back twenty five years to 1964 when he had met Oleg Konstantinov for the second time. Time had changed their appearances but the gait in the latter’s walk made recognition easier. He was informed that some members of a visiting Russian delegation would be visiting the school. He was seated among other teachers in the assembly hall when the delegation walked in. His eye was immediately attached to a tall lean man in the uniform of the Russian military with a familiar gait as he walked. He knew that he had met the person before. After the function he approached the person and said,

“Comrade Colonel, my name is Klaus Zimmermann. I am certain we have met before”

After staring at his for some time the Colonel embraced him in the Russian fashion saying,

“We have certainly met before. I am Oleg Konstantinov”

From that moment Klaus always thought of him as the Colonel. They had chatted about past events and what generally they had been doing during the intervening years. Klaus did not expect to meet him again but was surprised when the Colonel’s car drew up outside his house two days later with a request that he join the Colonel for dinner. Before his departure the Colonel once again invited him for a discussion. At both these occasions the Colonel spoke at length on his decision to remain with the army after the war and Klaus listened. The Colonel said,

“After the war I tried my hand at farming for two years. It no longer had the fascination that it held before. My training during the war had made me realise that I had the capacity to serve my country in a totally different and more important manner” he continued, “I re-enlisted and in view of my previous training was posted to military intelligence. One thing led to another and before I knew it I was transferred to the KGB

The Colonel explained that the popular name for the Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bbezopasnosti was KGB. It was the national security agency of the Soviet Union from 1954. The origin of the KGB was the Cheka established to defend the October Revolution and the Bolshevik state from its enemies. In 1922, the Cheka was renamed as the Gosudarstvennoye Politicheskoye Upravlenie (OGPU). In 1941, under Chairman Lavrentiy Beria, the OGPU became the Narodny Komissariat Gosudarstvennoi Bezopasnosti (NKGB).

Next, Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov centralized the intelligence agencies, re-organizing the NKGB and the Glavnoye Razvedyvatel’noye Upravleniye (GRU) as the Committee of Information of the Ministerstvo Gosudarstvennoi Bezopasnosti (MGB). This made the ambassador, the head of the legal residencies in the embassy responsible for intelligence operations and such operations came under political control. The MGB ended when Molotov incurred Stalin’s disfavour. Lavrentiy Beria merged the MGB and the Ministerstvo Vnutrennikh Del (MVD) on Stalin’s death in 1953. It was renamed the KGB.

At present, Vladimir Semichastny was chairman of the KGB and the Colonel was the Deputy Director of the Seventh Directorate, which was responsible for surveillance of Soviet nationals and foreigners. The Colonel had continued,

“Before the war the world was divided in to two opposing camps. Germany was on one side, France, and Great Britain on the other. As always in such a situation when one side gets stronger the balance of power is broken. The last time it led almost to the total destruction of the world. After the war the same situation had developed today. There are two opposing camps, the Soviet Union and the United States of America. A delicate balance of power is maintained throughout the world by this arrangement. If in any event this balance is broken the world could be plunged into a war that could end all life on earth in view of the weapons that have been developed”

The Colonel still had the power to captivate Klaus’s mind. He was as valid in his arguments as before. Klaus looked up as the Colonel continued,

“This is the task to which I have dedicated my life. To maintain the power balance during my lifetime using whatever means available” he looked at Klaus before continuing, “What I fear is not aggression on the part of the Soviet Union who are a peace loving people but aggression on the part of the United States of America where everything is counted in dollars and cents. There is a strong effort made to depict an aggressive role by the Soviet Union, in literature, movies and all other forms of art. There is a fear developed that the cold war is destructive and is leading to the escalation of tension. Under the guise of this fear more and more weapons of mass destruction are manufactured which is a very profitable operation. If the Soviet Union is to take any blame I feel it is the lack of counter propaganda”

As Klaus listened a fear of what had happened in the past arose in him once again. He said,

“If you need my help to carry out your mission please don’t hesitate to ask”

The Colonel nodded his acknowledgment. They parted as before, friends tied by a common bond. Klaus did not expect it when two years later he received an invitation to participate in the annual book exhibition in Moscow. Although it did not say who the invitee was he felt the hand of the Colonel was behind the invitation. The invitation carried with it free air passage and hotel reservation in Moscow for five days.

*                      *                      *                      *

Klaus Zimmermann had reached his destination after walking on Warschauer Straße and turning right on to Grunberger Straße and then left on to Gabriel Max Straße. He climbed the short flight of steps leading to a house by the roadside and rang the bell. He could hear the chimes inside and waited for several minutes until the door was opened. A big made woman in her early nineties stood framed in the doorway. After staring at him for some time seeking recognition her aged features cracked in to a broad grin. She said,

“I was wondering when you would come”

He hugged his grandmother, whom he had not seen for the last twenty years and said,

“You have still not lost your sense of humour”

As he walked in to the living room of the house he had lived for over twenty-five years recollections rose.

His life had changed irrevocably after his visit to Moscow that summer. He had met the Colonel two years ago and discussed what he had said before parting. After two days of discussion with the Colonel in his office they continued in his flat in Moscow. The Colonel like him was a confirmed bachelor. He had in the end agreed to become an agent for the seventh directorate. The Colonel was by now the head of the directorate. The Colonel had assured him,

“You will be a special operative who will be controlled only by me and used exclusively to ensure the maintenance of the power balance that I spoke about” when he nodded the Colonel made the final request, “In order to carry out your mission it is necessary to place you as an undercover agent in west Berlin. I will assure you that all needs of your grandmother will be looked after”

After a slight hesitation he had agreed. Two years later he had crossed the Berlin wall and made his way to a new life and a new home in West Berlin. He had been employed as a quality controller at a factory that made milk products as part of the elaborate cover created for his infiltration in to the fabric of western society. After all this time he had only been activated last month and it was in fulfilment of this activation that he had today once again crossed the wall to visit his grandmother.

 

*                      *                      *                      *

Klaus Zimmermann was sipping the second cup of coffee that his grandmother had made when he heard a car drive up. He crossed over to the curtained window and peered out before nodding at his grandmother. She walked up and opened the door and closed it immediately after the guest entered. She then told him,

“I have shown the visitor into the living room. I will be upstairs in my bedroom. Ring the bell when you need me to let him out”

He nodded and waited until she reached the upper landing before entering the living room. Inside with his back turned towards the door was a man in Russian military uniform. Upon hearing the door open he turned back. Oleg Konstantinov looked older than his sixty eight years. Despite this his handshake was firm as he greeted Klaus. In a very deep voice he said,

“You have a message for me my friend”

Klaus answered with the message.

“The eagle has landed”

Klaus could almost see the slight sagging of his erect frame in relief. The Colonel almost whispered in relief,

“Thank God for Crossbow”

They spoke briefly before the visitor left in the non-descriptive car he had arrived in driven by a person in civilian clothes. Klaus did not realise then that this was the last time he would see his friend Oleg Konstantinov.

After a brief period of rest Klaus left his grandmother’s house to return to his flat in West Berlin promising her that he would visit her every Sunday, as there was no obstruction anymore. At the bridge where the former checkpoint was the guards had changed but he did not consider it necessary to speak with them as he was crossing from the east to the west like all others during the last twenty-four hours.

*                      *                      *                      *

Oleg Konstantinov drove straight to the Schönefeld airport where his transport an Antonov An-72 of the soviet air force was waiting to fly him back to Moscow. It was a distance of 865 nautical miles and at the cruising speed of the aircraft of 300 knots it would take just over three hours. It would also be a nonstop flight as the aircraft had a range of over 2500 nautical miles. Their destination was Sheremetyevo International Airport situated twenty nine kilometres north-west of central Moscow.

On the flight Oleg Konstantinov’s mind went over the events of the last two decades. He had then been the Deputy Director of the Sixth Directorate of the KGB. He had in a short time become the Director. It was a decade later that he became a Deputy Chairman of the KGB and subsequently one of the First Deputy Chairman. For the last four years he had been the Chairman of the KGB.

This rise in power resulted in accepting the political objectives of the communist party. Although he found these objectives did not always run parallel to his personal ambitions he found that the advantages of holding supreme power a definite advantage in following the course of action to which he was committed. The KGB played an important role in Soviet politics which was brought under strict party control after the death of Stalin. Subsequently the KGB engaged in maintaining an extensive network of informers, reasserting itself as a political actor to some extent independent of the party.

He had taken advantage of the power he held to further his personal aims. He argued that these objectives were aimed at ensuring world peace and was therefore serving the state. It was particularly true as, during the last few years he had seen high-ranking individuals in the party engage in acts, which would undermine the strength of the Soviet Union and thereby destabilize the delicate power balance in the world. He considered these acts as treason but there was little he could do to stop them.

It was under these circumstances that he conceived ‘Operation Crossbow’. He had personally handled the operation without involving any of his many assistants, as he was not sure of their commitment. He had used agents picked personally by him for the operation. These agents were personally controlled by him. This was why he had travelled to Berlin to receive confirmation that everything was in place. The confirmation that ‘Operation Crossbow’ was now active pleased him.

He would have dozed off because when he opened his eyes the aircraft was taxing along to a secure private terminal at the Sheremetyevo International Airport. He observed that a state limo was parked on the tarmac awaiting the arrival of the aircraft. He climbed down as soon as the aircraft stopped. As he entered the limo he noticed with some irritation that it was not his regular driver. It did not unduly worry him, as it was not uncommon to replace one with another from the driving pool when necessary.

He inquired as to whether a file had been delivered to him at the airport, which he wanted to read on the way. Receiving a negative answer he assumed that it would be sent to his flat in Moscow. After he had entered the back seat he raised the bullet proof partitioning between the driver and himself as they began to move. The windows of the limo were also bulletproof and he locked them and settled down for the journey of fifteen kilometres to the city and his flat.

*                      *                      *                      *

They travelled along the airport access road and joined the A10. They would enter Moscow through Leningradsky Prospekt to reach his apartment on Sadovaja Samotechnaja on the perimeter of central Moscow. It was late evening and they were halfway in to their journey but still on the A10 when a military dispatch rider waved them to a stop. On receiving instructions the driver pulled in to a parking bay. The dispatch rider in military uniform and armed with a handgun on his belt stopped ahead and walked back. He carried a bulky envelope in his hand.

Oleg Konstantinov instructed the driver on the intercom without lowering the glass partitioning to inquire as to the purpose of the rider’s actions although he suspected what it was. After speaking with the rider the driver informed him that he had to deliver a package personally to Oleg Konstantinov. He had been delayed in the traffic and very much regretted the inconvenience.

Oleg Konstantinov had suspected the answer and lowered the window on the rear to receive the document, but when he looked up instead of the envelope he was staring in to the barrel of a handgun. He noticed the silencer screwed on to it as it fired at point blank range twice. The bullets found their mark between the eyes of Oleg Konstantinov who died instantly. As a safety measure the gun fired twice more at the upper body of the victim who had fallen back still upright on his seat.

The driver of the limo got down and without a word walked to the parked motorbike while the gunman entered the driver’s seat. Both vehicles moved away. The whole incident had taken just three minutes. At the next exit road they left the A 10 before entering the city outskirts. The mayhem of political assassinations in the Soviet capital continued under Glasnost.

*                      *                      *                      *

Back in Berlin Klaus Zimmermann sat down for breakfast the next morning. His housekeeper who was a daily help had laid out his breakfast and the ‘Berliner Zietung’ an East Berlin newspaper that had a wide circulation in West Berlin, which he read daily. It was a Saturday and he did not have to work on that day. He glanced over the many pages of newspaper reading details of interesting headlines, which caught his eye.

It was a newsflash crammed between two articles that the editor had inserted at the last moment before going to press. It related to an incident that had occurred in faraway Moscow the previous evening. A car travelling on the A 10 road from the Schönefeld airport in Moscow had met with an accident in which the occupant had been killed. The driver had miraculously escaped. The identity of the occupant was the reason why it had made the late news. It was reported that Oleg Konstantinov a key member of the soviet administration was the unfortunate victim.

Klaus Zimmermann knew more about the intricacies of the struggle for power in the Soviet Union to realise that it was not an accident but a planned assassination. Oleg Konstantinov had met him six hours before his death and had travelled personally to Berlin to receive a message from him. He was killed on his way back. He had been engaged in a manipulation that was known only to him which was the reason why he had travelled personally without appointing someone else for the job.

As the day progressed and he spent his leisure hours pruning the roses in his greenhouse, a hobby he had developed a passion for during the last few years, his mind still lingered on the article that he had read at breakfast that day. If Oleg Konstantinov had personally come to Berlin to receive the message that he had delivered and if the plan was not known to anyone else then it was possible that it could be aborted after his death. He had faith that the plan of Oleg Konstantinov was for preservation of world peace.

The more he thought about it the more he was convinced that his thinking did not have any flaw. He began to think of what he could do to implement the plan his friend had conceived. The message had been passed by a courier who was probably an American agent while seated at a bench three days before near the former parliament of the Nazis, the Bunderstag. He did not know even the name of the courier. The avenues available for investigating alone were almost nonexistent.

It was then that an incident that had occurred over ten years ago came to his mind. He had on that day finished work and was waiting for a bus to travel back to his apartment when he noticed a stranger who had walked up to the bus stand and was standing by his side. As the bus approached the stranger had said,

“You are Klaus Zimmermann who crossed over from East Berlin twelve years ago”

He had been surprised at this statement, as he believed that after all these years his defection was not known to anyone other than the Colonel, himself and a few others who had assisted in the crossing. The stranger had said,

“You are Klaus Zimmermann who is an undercover agent for the Russians. Do not take the bus. Let us go over to the cafe for a cup of coffee and talk”

Curiosity had overcome reasoning and he had agreed. Seated in the cafe on the opposite side of the road the stranger had spelled out his life story. He knew about Klaus’s mixed birth, which had resulted in him being sent to Auschwitz after his father’s death. He knew about the meeting with a Russian officer after the liberation and finally about his trip to Moscow where he was recruited as an agent of infiltration.

He had told Klaus that he represented an organisation based in Vienna that traced ex Nazis who had escaped persecution and was living in other countries mainly South America with wealth amassed illegally during the war. He was asked whether he would be willing to share any information that came to his possession regarding such activities. The stranger had said,

“You may continue to serve the Russians and we would like you to keep up the masquerade but think of the six million Jews who perished in the holocaust and do your duty as a Jew”

The stranger had scrawled a number in Berlin where he could be contacted by the name of Mr Miller and asked him to think about the proposition. He had not made any threats of exposure if he did not corporate. The meeting had worried him for a considerable time. At times he had been tempted to contact the Colonel to tell him about these developments but refrained as he had been instructed that he should not do so under any circumstance. The Colonel would contact him when necessary.

As time went on without any further approach from Mr Miller he began to forget the encounter and began to believe the story that had been told to him. When he met Oleg Konstantinov after ten years the memory was so vague that he did not even report the incident. Now the whole scene came back to him vividly. He hurried indoors wiping his hands on the apron he was wearing after removing it. He went directly to his study and began searching for the Berlin number that had been scratched by Mr Miller on the back of an empty cigarette packet. After ten years he doubted whether he would find it.

It was while having his mid day meal when he looked at his housekeeper who was busy serving him that a new line of inquiry opened. He knew that Frau Hilda who had been with him the last twenty years was a very methodical woman. She also attended to arranging his study and a host of other functions apart from cooking for him. If Frau Hilda saw the telephone number she would only put it with one of his many business card holders. She would not rewrite the number on his personnel telephone index, as there was no name to the number.

He left his food half consumed telling Frau Hilda that he would return shortly and went to his study. The visiting cards he regularly used were on a stand on his desk while the ones he did not use regularly were in the steel cabinet in holders numbered from one to twelve. He found what he was looking for in the seventh holder; Frau Hilda had cut the cigarette packet and fitted it in the pocket of the holder. He took it out deciding to call the number by mid afternoon.

He called the number by 3.00 p.m. and asked,

“May I speak with Mr Miller?”

There was a slight delay before a voice said,

“May I know who is calling?”

“This is Klaus Zimmermann”

There was a delay once again before the voice said,

“Mr Miller is out of the country. Can I help you?”

He had been reluctant to speak with an unknown person and had asked,

“When will Mr Miller be back?”

The voice replied,

“I am afraid that Mr Miller has been transferred out of the country. Can I ask his successor to call you back?”

As there was no alternative he agreed.

*                      *                      *                      *

When the hotline rang in the Mossad section of the Israel embassy on Auguste-Victoria Straße in Berlin that afternoon the duty officer automatically switched on the recoding machine. The Mossad is the Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations that is the national intelligence agency of Israel. It is responsible for intelligence collection and covert operations beyond Israel’s borders and protecting Jewish communities worldwide. Its director reported directly to the Prime Minister.

When he answered the caller asked for Mr Miller. He typed Miller on the computer and the real name of the person with the work name Miller appeared as Ariel Siddons. When the caller in response to his query had given his name he typed that in the computer and found that it was a possible agent identified by Ariel Siddons before his transfer back to Israel almost five years ago. He was categorized now as ‘inactive’.

He was relieved when the caller agreed to meet another agent. He had deliberately not asked the caller for any details to give him the confidence that a record of all his details was still available. He called his superior who told him to hand the case over to Yoni Tabor an experienced field officer. He personally delivered the file to Yoni saying.

“A very old contact has come alive”

After studying the file and memorising the details Yoni decided to visit Klaus Zimmermann rather than call him.

 

*                      *                      *                      *

 

Klaus Zimmermann had a visitor late that evening. The visitor informed him that after Mr Miller had been transferred out of Germany he had taken over his duties. He introduced himself as Mr Collins. Any suspicion that Klaus had soon evaporated as Mr Collins appeared to know all the facts including the interview that Mr Miller had with him.

Cautiously but unhurriedly he mentioned the events from the time he had received the message until he had passed the message. He did not say to whom he had passed the information and what had happened to his contact thereafter. Finally he said,

“The message was just one sentence ‘the eagle has landed’. It was the same words used by the commander of the Apollo 11 mission to tell mission control the status of the mission after they had landed on the moon”

He went on to emphasise that the message was considered very important because they had sent a very senior official to receive it and furthermore a person had travelled all the way from America to convey it to him. After a short time Yoni had left thanking him saying that all efforts would be taken to decode the cryptic words. Now Yoni Tabor drew scribbles on his notepad as he tried to fathom the meaning of the message. After attempting it for an hour or so he closed his office and left for home. Maybe the meaning would become clear by the next morning.

The next morning as he walked in to his office the matter was no clearer than the previous day. In the circumstances Yoni Tabor decided to proceed to the next step. He would make a report to Tel Aviv and hope that someone at headquarters with more intelligence reports available from all corners of the world would be able to make sense of it. He began to write his report in time for the diplomatic bag that would be collected by midday.

To            Head of Mossad for East European Affairs, Tel Aviv

From       Yoni Tabor at Mossad Office in the German Federal Republic

Subject    Activation of an inactive contact

An inactive contact called the Israel embassy on the hotline the previous day. The computer check established the identity of the person as Klaus Zimmermann who had been first contacted by Ariel Siddons ten years ago. There had been no response after the first contact and therefore the contact was classified as inactive. The following information was available on the contact.

The contact was born in 1928 to a Jewish mother and a German father. The mother had died at childbirth and he was brought up by the father. His father was an officer of the Wehrmacht and after his death at Stalingrad in 1942 the contact was sent off to Auschwitz Concentration Camp. He survived two years at the camp as a supervisor of other inmates and was one of the inmates liberated by the Soviet army in January 1945.

It is rumoured but not established that he befriended a Russian officer at the camp after liberation. The name of this officer is not known. Sometime later he returned to Berlin and began teaching at a school. Twenty years after his liberation from Auschwitz he visited Moscow and was probably recruited as an undercover agent. Two years after that he jumped the wall and went over to West Berlin. He was placed there for some specific purpose as later events proved, because he been inactive for over two decades.

His activation occurred a few days ago. When I visited him the evening after he had called, he said that he had received a message from a visitor to West Berlin who was obviously an American. He was required to pass on this message to a contact in East Berlin. The fall of the Berlin wall the previous day facilitated this arrangement as he had simply walked to the meeting place across the border.

The message was ‘the eagle has landed’. These were the exact words used in 1969 by the commander of the Apollo 11 mission to inform mission control that they had landed safely on the moon. It is however not clear why he chose this moment to bring up this event. He was asked by his first contact Ariel Siddons to give any information on ex Nazis who were in hiding in other countries. This message does not appear to relate to such an event.

End of report.

After he had checked the memo and personally typed it he took it up to his superior for counter signature before leaving it in a sealed envelope in the despatch division of the embassy to be included in that days diplomatic bag to Tel Aviv.

© Ananda Liyanage

ISBN 10 : 9551509080
ISBN 13 : 9789551509088

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