A cold east wind was blowing in across the Danube from the Hungarian mountains as Kriminalobermeister Maxine Bergmann arrived at Police Headquarters in Stubering. Wachtmeister Willi Schmollinger from the Schottenring police station was waiting for her in her office. He gave her a wry smile and handed a slim file to her.
'It seems that your suspicions concerning the identity of the Blindengasse 5 victim were well-founded, Max. When we turned his place over we found a cigar box hidden in a false panel at the back of his wardrobe. Its contents prove that "Günther Becker" is, in fact, one Lothar Hänsch.'
Maxine opened the file. It contained several documents and a Geheime Staatspolizei Durchlassschein… a Gestapo Identity card. Complete with the original photograph still mounted with its two punched-through metal eyelets. The Identity card was a single piece of white, medium weight card stock printed on both sides with a red background pattern consisting of tightly interlocking circles producing a ''chain-mail'' effect; completely covering both sides of the card except for two small spaces on the front. The left half of the front bore a photograph of a young, arrogant-looking Hänsch; resplendent in his mouse-grey Gestapo uniform; above which was a white circle overlapping the top left-hand corner; containing a purple ink stamp impression of the Hoheitszeichen National Insignia Eagle and Hakenkreuz circled with the words: "Der Reichsführer-SS und Chef der Deutschen Polizei 1." Inside this outer circle were the circled words: "Im Reichsministerium des Innern." Across the rubber stamp impression was scrawled, in green ink; the sharp, almost italic signature of Heinrich Himmler... Reichsführer-SS.
Below the space for the photo, was a white box containing the signature of the bearer… Lothar Hänsch.
Willi Schmollinger smiled.
'Nice job, Max. They've been searching for this bastard for years; and here he was… under our noses all the time. He was the Vienna Gestapo Regierungs-und Kriminaldirektor; the Colonel who had succeeded, and continued the work of the former chief of the Viennese Gestapo, Franz Josef Huber; commander of the Central Office for Jewish Emigration in Vienna, an organisation in charge of the expulsion, looting, and deportation of Austria's Jewish population. God only knows how many he sent to their deaths; and how much in the way of property and valuables he stole. Then. Of course, there's no knowing how many young girls' lives he's permanently scarred with his perverted appetites.'
'Yeah, that's one less; but that now makes four in less than a week.'
Willi Schmollinger frowned.
'Four? I thought it was only three. Kupelwieser, the Hotel König von Ungarn bomb; and this bastard.'
She shook her head.
'No. Willi' I think there's another one. Günther Voigt the industrialist was found dead in his private elevator at his Company Headquarters. They decided that it was the result of a devastating stroke. I've been doing some digging...