The arendt files, p.1
THE ARENDT FILES
The convoy finally appeared round the curving mountain road. The headlights of the trucks cut through the black upright pines in a zeotropic fluttering. For a few moments his squad was was visible clustered around him, flat on their stomachs or squatting low against the trees. The light revealed no color, only an amber hue like that of an old photograph, bits of dust momentarily revealed swirling in the air. The peculiar fluttering quality of the light through the trees reminded him of the Mutoscope movies he had watched on the boardwalk as a boy. He would beg, fight other street kids, dig through the trash for empty bottles of Moxie, do whatever he had to in order get that nickel, turn that crank, and watch the fat man slipping and fall into a puddle.
Adam looked over to the left to the steel bridge a quarter of a mile away. They had spent the last two nights lining it with explosives and now it was almost time. He wanted a cigarette, anything to keep his hands busy, other than nervously fumbling with the detonator. He hadn’t seen tobacco since gathering his men two weeks earlier in a small town on the border of the German run North and the Collaborationist South. It was always hard to get his hands on cigarettes anyway, with the all the new anti smoking laws. It was just one more thing he hated about the Nazi's, their focus on cleanliness and health.
Last time he had been home he couldn’t believe how clean and quiet New York had become. Giant buildings had risen from the rubble like kudzu in a swamp. After the endless bombing slave labor had allowed them to rebuild at an astonishing pace. They wanted a new capital for the new country they were trying to create, one that matched the style in Berlin; a Nazi New York City. It was a place for people who preferred wide streets and glimmering shops to the teeming narrow tenements he had grown up in and loved. “Can't get a fucking decent slice of pizza any more. Schnitzel, fuck schnitzel.”
Adam remembered Hitler's parade during the visit in 49. The party had managed to line the streets with throngs of people brought in from all over the state. Schools were let out early, factories closed, anything to add hands waving tiny flags; songs blared over loudspeakers. There were cheerleaders, marching bands, and floats. The Fuhrer had been genuinely touched to see the unofficial hand sewn flags some traitors had fashioned, the red, white and black replaced with red, white, and blue. It was a down home, mom and apple pie Nazi flag. Hitler liked it and decided then and there that he would adopt it alongside the official party flag.
He was developing his philosophy of empire. After conquering a place integrate their elites into the state, Roman style. They needed people on their side and they believed that many of their Aryan brothers in America would join them, given the right conditions. This was, after all the country of slavery and the Klu Klux Klan, a country that had resisted entering the war tooth and nail, that had pioneered eugenics. The country was too big, too rich, too productive, to be run from the outside. There simply weren't enough capable people to administrate the occupation, they needed natives. It could never be just a colony, it had to be brought into the fold.
After the visit newsreels in theaters ran on a loop endlessly repeating the color images of fresh faced blond, blue eyes children approaching the podium holding gifts of apple pie in their tiny hands. He would lift the smaller ones up to kiss them on the cheek. In the close up shots it was possible to see that Hitler's face had changed since the end of the war. Age seemed to have mellowed him. He was fatter, his hair greyer, his smile mild and forbearing; the stresses of the war were behind him. The resistance had learned that he had given up the use of amphetamines, a bitter pill for them, they preferred him unhinged.
Hitler's psychological operations officers had made it clear that in order to pacify and recruit people they would need to create a mixture of the familiar and the new. American’s were innocent and childlike; they needed their toys. Hitler loosened the reigns on industry and let the industrialists do what they did best, what they had never for a moment stopped doing. It wasn't long before Germany was importing blenders, washing machines, radiators, and countless other durable goods pouring out of the American factories; a small swastika printed in metal or plastic sandwiched between the words “Gemacht in Amerika” and “Made in America”
Now, eight years later, with Hitler dead and gone, Park Ave. and Time Square bustled with seemingly happy shoppers. Those who cooperated were better off than before the war. Giant spotlights shot up from the tops of buildings like pillars from an ancient temple as movie projectors shone their images on the sides of buildings. Images of progress, of the Fuhrer, of young healthy bodies exercising, of smiling factory workers operating giant machinery, and words. Words at angles, words that shrank and grew, words with endless strident exclamation marks, words encouraging, demanding, telling .people to stop smoking, to report danger, to turn in suspicious neighbors, an endless stream of word and images.
As he remembered looking up at the giant images of blond faces and hard lean bodies so unlike his own he was reminded of those people who had hidden him immediately after the invasion. He managed to make his way from the Bronx to Wisconsin. He had been taken in by old solemn taciturn farmers, many of them old time wobblies. He was shocked by how quickly the families of the old Swedish settlers had reverted to their traditional left wing roots.. He had trained them in sabotage, weapon's manufacture, and all sorts of dirty tricks and tactics, things he had picked during his training in military intelligence.
They hadn’t only helped, they had been kind. He spent the first year and a half in a hay loft on a remote farm. The women tended to his needs, washed and ironed his clothes, brought him warm food, smiled. The men visited in the evenings after their work was done and sat with him smoking a pipe and talking. One of the older daughters would come back out late at night and they would make love and talk. She was a full foot taller than him and a strong country girl. She had liked how different he was, the way he smoked a cigarette. They had an easy way with each other. She taught him Joe Hill's song “Rebel Girl”
There are women of many descriptions
In this queer world, as everyone knows,
Some are living in beautiful mansions,
And some wear the finest clothes.
There are blue blooded queens and princesses,
Who have charms made of diamonds and pearl;
But the only and thoroughbred lady
Is the Rebel Girl
With there help he made contact with with the Rebbe and from there with the Jewish resistance under Arend'ts command, who had sent him here, to blow up this bridge. The lead truck was almost all the way across. There were a few more trucks on the bridge and a number more pulling up behind on the road. He twisted and pushed down on the detonator cap.
The Arendt Files by Ivan Rosemblatt / Actions & Adventure have rating 4.8 out of 5 / Based on19 votes