Low-rent competition for Ken Follett? ("SOME BOLLOXCO$T ATROCITY-PORN")

Leviticus 19 19 Roger Clucas




APRIL 1942

David Maczek stirred painfully, inwardly trying to isolate the cause of his awakening without unnecessary movement. He at once ruled out the gnawing hunger that never left him, the teeming lice, or a sudden movement from the gaunt, smelly bodies sandwiching him on either side. These he was too accustomed to. Had it been a suicide in the adjoining washroom? Had someone thrown themselves against the electric fence? For some inexplicable reason, he felt that great danger was close at hand.

He heard voices at the far end of the wohnblock and then all the lights were switched on. The 17-year-old Polish Jew shielded his eyes from the naked bulbs so close to his face, pushed his neighbour’s left foot to one side, and peered over the end of the cot. Despite the cool evening, he had started to sweat.

The sound of several people approaching their stube along the 90 metre long passageway had already woken the Stubenälteste, or room senior. He had the luxury of a 2’6” bunk to himself and was sprouting Russian profanities while pulling on his shoes when the Blockälteste, or block senior, entered. Three uniformed men, one of whom was a medical officer in the service of the Luftwaffe, accompanied him.

The inmates did not need to be told to claw their way to attention. The two non-commissioned officers, sporting the dreaded skull and crossbones of the SS-Totenkopfverbände on their caps, nonetheless saw to it that the process was completed in record time. Blows failed indiscriminately and hands, knees and feet were put to effective use amongst the emaciated husks of men. In under ten seconds, the pitiful complement of 234 men, less two who had died since evening roll call, were at attention on the cold, wooden floor.

David had nervously glanced down the passageway to the other rooms of the hut. Whatever the bastards wanted, it was clearly in their room alone, for the occupants of other rooms were already climbing back into their cots, arranged in a three-tier system that had expanded the capacity of their hut from 208 to nearly 2000 persons. This had been accomplished by abolishing the day rooms, adding an extra tier to the two-tier bunks and removing the sparse tables and stools.

David anxiously cast his eyes about for his father, who had been sleeping beside him, taking care not to attract attention. They had got split up in the chaos of reaching the floor from the third layer of cots, or would have been standing beside one another as they always did. He could not see him, so guessed he was somewhere behind him, in his blind spot. Paralysed with fear, the compressed group of destitute men waited to learn why they had been awoken at 3 a.m. – the time being obtained from studying the just visible watch on the wrist of the younger SS non-com.

Was this to be a search for bread crusts the men might have managed to accumulate for a needy day? Were they to be executed, or transported to another camp? Worst of all, were they to be interrogated by the dreaded Vernehmungsführer or the PolitscheAbteilung?

The confusion was soon ended. The rather short officer with the undernourished ginger moustache pushed, with some effort, past the SS guards into the small space available and thrust his cap into the un-expecting hands of the Blockälteste.

He had a long face, accentuated by a receding hairline that made his forehead look unusually large. The mouth was small, and coupled with very large, penetrating brown eyes, gave the officer a determined and somewhat quizzical expression. He could have been little over thirty.

It was when he smiled that David realised that they were in the presence of a very dangerous man – why, he didn’t know. Possibly something about those eyes that reminded him of a cobra he had seen devour a frog in the Berlin zoo as a child. He shivered momentarily, the reflex being spotted instantly by the officer, standing up no more than a foot away, who turned on the boy, hands akimbo.

‘What is this pig’s name?’ he demanded of nobody in particular, sneering into David’s unblinking eyes, which held his gaze.

‘Maczek, Herr Stabsarzt!’ replied the Stubenälteste nervously. The officer was furious.

‘How can this be Maczek, you imbecile?’ He turned to theSS-Rottenführer who had unknowingly supplied the time to David, and demanded an explanation. He is a child! I have seen the file, you forget. Show me Maczek before I shoot this vermin!’ the Rottenführergrabbed the Stubenälteste by the throat and threw him against the wall. David’s heart thundered in his ear-drums.

‘Explain, you shit!’ he demanded.

‘The boy is David Maczek,’ Herr Rottenführer. It is his father, Yaakov Maczek, that the Stabsarzt appears to seek. He is over there – behind the boy. Maczek! Step over here at once!’

He looked more displeased than he had before, stubbing out the cigarette in the ashtray so hard that several sparks fell on the floor. He crushed them angrily with his foot, motioned to David to sit and dismissed his two-man escort from the Bunker with contempt. He lit another cigarette and turned away from David, parting the curtains to look out across the buildings towards the Krematorium’s smoking chimney. He drew the curtains angrily, as of offended by the sight, remaining with his back turned to the boy.

‘Your father is dead, Maczek’ he said at length. ‘He, uh, was …. he died,’ he corrected, ‘this morning.’ The officer cruelly flicked the ash onto the floor. David’s eyes began to fill with emotion and the officer’s focus was lost in the darkened surroundings. The Untersturmführer continued.

‘Your father, having insulted and ridiculed an officer, was liable to immediate execution. Naturally, being Political Criminals, you were under technical sentence of death on your arrival.’

‘By which court were we sentenced and made criminals, HerrUntersturmführer?’ David enquired bitterly.

‘Do not interrupt, Maczek!’ the Lieutenant barked. ‘You are a Polish Jew. That alone is punishable by death! I will now continue.’

David was incredulous. He was being told that because of his faith and because he born a Pole, he had committed a crime punishable by death!

‘Your father took two days to recover from the injuries he sustained when the officer in question was forced to defend himself.’

‘Defend himself!’ David exclaimed. ‘He was like a raving maniac andattacked my father!’

‘You will stay quiet, Maczek!’ the officer commanded and faced the boy for the first time. ‘I will not tolerate these interferences!’ he lit another cigarette, drawing on it as though he could turn its length to ash in a single draw. ‘He was given the best medical treatment to make him quite fit for the, … well, so that he could recover.’ Again the ash flicked to the floor.

‘When your father had recovered, he was given a choice. He could face summary execution at the firing range, or volunteer for a very important experiment. The experiment carried certain risks, which he understood, and he was to be pardoned to a Concentration Camp for life if he survived. Unfortunately, he did not.’ The Lieutenant crushed the Camel and this time did not worry about the sparks.

‘The officer your father so brutally assaulted, apart from being a doctor in the Air Force Reserve, is also attached to the personal staff of theReichsführer-SS, Herr Himmler. In that capacity, and under the direct authority of the Reichsführer, such experiments are conducted. They are top secret and concern the War industry. Many are filmed for later analysis by a panel of experts in Berlin and elsewhere.’

Suddenly David’s perception of why he was in this room with drawn curtains became clear. The projector, the nervousness of the Lieutenant, the preamble about ‘legal death sentences’ was fitting into place. He wanted to escape, to flee the room, to reach the electric fence and put an end to the nightmare.

‘It is the decision of the officer you attacked,’ the Lieutenant continued, ‘that you should observe this film of the experiment in which your father gave his life to science. So that you may once again be proud of him after his cowardly behaviour the other night.’

David rose from his chair, terror crossing his face. Before he could move, the projectionist pinned him to the chair and the Lieutenant handcuffed him to its arms. His legs were bound, the lights extinguished and the projector came to life.

He promised himself he would look away, that he would close his eyes, but he could not. Whether it was morbid fascination, a desire to see his father one last time, or just plain shock, his eyes kept returning to the screen. Reducing numbers flashed across the linen sheet and were replaced by a clear image of the Luftwaffe officer, who began talking at once. He was in some form of laboratory. Subconsciously, David noticed with pleasure that his neck was bandaged. His scratches had left their mark.

A fairly long lecture, filled with scientific jargon on altitude, air pressure and the ‘bends’ was presented. The ‘doctor’ made it clear that he had a very high opinion of his work and derision for all who opposed his theories. The need for secrecy was repeatedly stressed. He came across as fanatical, or unbalanced, and seemed to suffer from an inferiority complex.

‘The experiment about to be conducted on Test Person Maczek, a 40-year-old Jew in good health, will be ‘terminal’. He will be placed in a Pressure Chamber and taken to a simulated height of 12 kilometres for a period of about 30 minutes without oxygen or pressure equipment. Death should occur following very severe bends, as has been established in prior experiments. Once breathing has stopped and the electrocardiogram has proven the cessation of life, an attempt will be made to reproduce the amazing results witnessed in an earlier experiment – the autopsy should result in the Jew coming back to life!’ The officer was electric with excitement, his large eyes positively dancing.

David watched in horror as the screen temporarily went blank, and then displayed four images concurrently. One showed elapsed time, another an electrocardiogram reading, a third showed the altitude in metres and the fourth and central image was that of his father, suspended by parachute straps from a metal bar in a steel room. He was conscious, but had a scarred and swollen face. The filming was done at five minute intervals, per the ‘doctor’, who would provide suitable comments where necessary.

After five minutes had elapsed, David watched his father, sweating profusely, begin to shake his head about. Stabs of pain were making his body lurch involuntarily and he was screwing up his eyes. The ‘doctor’ commented with some satisfaction, that the ‘bends’ had ‘set in well.’

The boy began pulling at the handcuffs restraining him and flexing his legs. He would watch no more, but did.

The ten minute scene showed his father foaming at the mouth, trying to pull his own hair out and attempting to knock himself unconscious by striking his head with his fists. His complexion had darkened. The man was in pain which had to be seen to be believed. Suddenly his pulse rate dropped from 125 to 30. The screen froze and the officer matter-of-factly summed up the period like a sports commentator between rounds of a boxing match.

‘Severe cyanosis has developed. The pulse rose dramatically and theTest Person showed signs of severe bends, losing consciousness at an elapsed time of ten minutes forty-nine seconds, whereupon the pulse rate dropped.’ The man’s voice was full of anticipation, as if to say ‘just wait and see what lies ahead!’

David could take it no longer. He managed to overturn the chair he was sitting in, gritted his teeth and tightly closed his eyes. He vomited until he could vomit no more and began screaming hysterically. The chair was righted, the projector stopped, and David slapped several times by the Untersturmführer. A hospital orderly was summoned to clean up David and the floor. The SS officer lit another Camel and sat down opposite David, who was trembling so that his teeth chattered.

‘I know it is messy, Maczek, but think of the results, man! Scientific progress is never easy. Your father will some day be famous, and you will be proud of this day!’ at last the man could bluff himself no more. ‘The film will continue. Those are my orders.’ David closed his eyes and began to shout.

Surgical plaster was used to cover his mouth and the show went on.

Yaakov Maczek stopped breathing after thirty one minutes and ten seconds. His son watched in horror as the scene transferred to some sort of dissection room. The clock showing elapsed time was again suitably positioned and the electrocardiogram reading was visible. The perverted little ‘doctor’ was poised, scalpel in hand at an elapsed time of 63 minutes. The electrocardiogram confirmed his father’s death. ‘Dissection of the Test Person will now begin,’ he beamed, and set to work with a will.

The chest cavity was opened and a clear yellow liquid emerged from the pericardium. The quack faced the camera and said ‘Now observe closely.’ The right auricle began to beat at a rate of 60 beats per minute, according to the electrocardiogram. ‘Test Person Maczek has returned from the dead, yet he is not breathing!’ the Frankenstein-like ‘doctor’ proudly observed. The right auricle was then punctured after some 20 minutes and for about 15 minutes blood spurted forth. Heart action continued.

David had now reached a state of shock where he watched the proceedings without comment or expression. He was in a dream world, a nightmare from which he could not escape.

An hour-and-a-half after the experiment commenced, all compressed into a film of under 20 minutes, David watched his father’s brain being removed. Frankenstein made his last speech.

‘After the brain was removed, the action of the auricle ceased for about one minute. It then renewed it’s action, stopping finally 8½ minutes later. A heavy subarchnoid oedema was found in the brain. In the veins and arteries of the brain, a considerable quantity of air was discovered. Furthermore, the blood vessels in the heart and liver were enormously obstructed by embolism.’ He looked proudly over the gore of what once had been David’s father.

‘That concludes the experiment on Test Person Maczek. I have again proved that the human organism is capable of more than one clinical death, a finding of inestimable significance!’

David slumped in the chair. At last his system had short-circuited. The projector was stopped, the curtains opened and medical orderlies summoned. The SS-Untersturmführer felt they would be too late. Disgusted, he left the room. His duty had been done.


In a specially equipped room under a hundred metres away, a hide was stretched out over a wooden frame. Although it was still bloodstained, the craftsman knew his orders. The old man summoned his assistant.

‘Felix, here is another delivery for block 5 in the prisoner’s camp. You know – the mad doctor.’

A German in his thirties took the frame with some repugnance and began to walk towards the door. Only when outside did he notice the somewhat unusual design. A ship in full sail. He shivered momentarily and then set off from the SS-Camp to the Concentration Camp. He hoped its unwilling donor had arrived safely on the other shore, even if he had been an animal. Or had he?

He spat, and cursed the War.



APRIL 1945

[Continued ... and then, on to Free Mandela!]

Leviticus 19:19

By Roger Clucas

Published: July 16, 2011

This work was reviewed by Jonathan Ball Publishers for hardcopy release, but was unsuccessful due to prevailing economic conditions. Their reader commented as follows:

‘What a delicious mixture of politics, germ warfare, intrigue and excitement! Gripping and action packed this book would make an excellent movie. It has a horrific and unfortunately real beginning which immediately grabs the reader’s attention and the pace never flags. The interwoven themes, which require constant attention, reflect the stories of Robert Ludlum, dare I say even Frederick Forsythe’.

Tags: racism, nazism, biowarfare

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