lesson9 Only Three More Days
Only Three More Days
1.My Berlin diary for December 2 was limited to four words.
2.“Only three more days！”
3.Next day,December 3 ：“……The Foreign Office still holding up my passport and exit visa,which worries me.Did my last broadcast from Berlin tonight.”
4.“Berlin,December 4 ： Got my passport and official permission to leave tomorrow.Nothing to do now but pack.”
5.There was one other thing to do.For weeks I had thought over how to get my diaries safely out of Berlin.At some moments I had thought I ought to destroy them before leaving.There was enough in them to get me hanged——if the Gestapo ever discovered them.
6.The morning I got my passport and exit visa I realized I had less than twenty-four hours to figure out a way of getting my Berlin diaries out.I again thought of destroying them.
7.I laid out the diaries in two big steel suitcases I had bought.Over them I placed a number of my broadcast scripts,each page of which had been stamped by the military and civilian censors as passed for broadcast.On top I put a few General Staff maps I had picked up from my friends.Then I phoned the Gestapo Heaquarters.I had a couple of suitcases full of my dispatches,broadcasts and notes that I wanted to take out of the country,I said.As I was flying off early the next day,THere would be no time for Gestapo officials at the airport to go over the contents.Could they take a look now,if I brought them over； and if they approved,put a Gestapo seal on the suitcases so I wouldn't be held up at the airport？
8.“Bring them over，”the official said.
9.After I hung up,I had some more doubts.Wasn't I tempering fate： how could these hard-nosed Nazi detectives help but smell out the diaries beneath my broacasts？ That would be the end of me.Maybe I had just better to flush them down the toilet.On the other hand……I calculated that the secret police would seize the General Staff maps.That is way I had put them there on top.Customs officials always felt better if they found something in your bags to seize,and so would these Gestapo officials.
10.Then they would look at the layers of my broadcast scripts and I would point to the censor's stamps of approval on each page.That would make a Gestapo official sit up and take notice.It would give me prestige in his eyes,or at least make me less suspect,foreigner though I was.I was going to gamble on their inspection ending there,before they dug deeper to my diaries.The feared Gestapo,I knew,was really not very efficient.
11.Everything at Gestapo headquarters worked out as I had planned.The two officials who handled me seized at once my General Staff maps.I apologized.I had forgotten,I said,that I had put them in.They had been very valuable to me in reporting the army's great victories.I realized that I shouldn't take out General Staff maps.
12.“What else you've got here？”one of the men said,putting his paw on the pile of papers.
13.“The texts of my broadcast，”I said,“……every page,as you can see,stamped for approvla by High Command and two ministries.”
14.Both men studied the censors' stamps.I could see they were impressed.They put there hands in a little deeper,each man now looking into a suitcase.Soon they would reach the diaries.I now wished I had not come.I felt myself beginning to sweat.I had deliberately got myself into this jam.What a fool！
15.“You reported on the German army？”one of the agents looked up to ask.
16.“All the way to Paris，”I said.“A great army it was,and a great story for me.It will go down in history！”
17.That swettled everything.They put half a dozen Gestapo seals on my suitcases.I tried not to thank them too much.Outside I called a taxi and drove away.
18.The last entry I would ever make in my diary from Hitler's Berlin“
19.December 5.——It was still dark and a strom was blowing when I left for the airport this morning……
20.As my taxi drove to the airport I wondered if my plane could take off in such weather.If the flight was canceled it might mean I have to stay for weeks.
21.At the customs there was literally a herd of officials.I opend the two bags with my personal belongings,and after pawing through them two officials chalked a sign of approval on them.I noticed they were from the Gestapo.They pointed to the two suitcases full my diaries.
22.“Open them up！”one of them said rudely.
23.“I can't，”I said.“They're sealed ——by the Gestapo.”
24.I felt grateful that there were at least a half-dozen seals.The two officials talked in whispers for a moment.
25.“Where were those bags sealed？”One of them snapped.
26.“At Gestapo Headquarters，”I said.
27.This information impressed them.But still they seemed suspicious.
28.“Just a minture，”one said.His colleague picked up the phone at a table behind them.Oberviously he was checking.The man hung up,walk over to me,and without a word chalked the two suitcases.I was free at last to get to the ticket counter to check my luggage.
29.“Where to？”a Lufthansa man asked.
31.The thought of the German airline delivering my diaries to me safely in Portugal,beyond the reach of the last German official who could seize them,extremely pleased me.
32.The airport tower kept postpoing the departure of our plane.I went to the restaurant and had second breakfast.I really was not hungry.But I had to do something to relieve the tension.I started to glance at the morning papers I had bought automaticlly on arriving at the airport.
33.“I don't have to read any of this trash anymore！”I thought.
34.Before the end of this day,when we would arrive in Barcelona.I wouldn't have to put up with anything anymore in the great Third Reich.The sense of relief I felt was tremendous.I had only to hold out this one more day,and the whole nightmare for me would be over,though it would go on and on for millions of others.
35.We had survived the Nazi horror and its mindless suppression of the human spirit.But many others,I felt sadly,had not survived——the Jews above all,but also the Czechs and now the Poles.Even for the great mass of Germans who supported Hitler,I felt a sort of sorrow.They did not seem to realize what the poison of Nazism was doing to them.