Jinnie’s mobile woke her. Glancing at the radio alarm on her bedside table it read 23:45. She wanted to catch an early train in the morning so had given up waiting for Dirk to call and had been in bed around an hour, leaving Paolo watching TV as he was not going to join her on the early train. She grunted “Hello” and Dirk’s voice apologised for calling so late but he had only just finished his conversation with Mick and he thought she would like to know what he had discovered. Kirsten was down to be moved, she was going to be transported to a concentration camp. Dirk quickly explained that she was marked for Potulice which was a labour camp just over the new border between Germany and Poland. The trains taking prisoners to work camps and extermination camps were fewer these days as most of the people had already been “dealt with”. A single train a week left Berlin on a Monday evening and Kirsten was scheduled to be on next Monday’s. Jinnie breathed a sigh of relief as today was only Tuesday, well very nearly Wednesday, and that gave her a fighting chance to plan something.
Dirk explained that the train left Berlin every Monday at 23:30 and split on route with the majority of prisoners being taken to Potulice while those marked for extermination carried on a bit further to the camp at Chelmno. In the old days the train had comprised of cattle trucks but these days it was just 3rd class carriages with the prisoners manacled to their seats and a single armed SS guard per carriage in the Potulice section of the train. Most of those being transported were common criminals who had been sentenced to hard labour. The Jews, Gypsies and Communists had long ago ceased to exist and those heading for Chelmno extermination camp were mostly the likes of murderers, sentenced to death by the courts, the mentally ill, gays, Communists and an increasing number of sufferers from Alzheimer’s.
Jinnie’s radio alarm woke her and she turned it off quickly not to disturb Paolo, jumped out of bed and headed for the shower with the germs of ideas running through her head. By the time she was drying herself with one of the big fluffy towels that had been part of Aunty Jo’s wedding present, she was beginning to firm up the plans in her head. But she really needed to run them past someone before she got down to the detailed planning.
As soon as she got into her office, Jinnie rang Emma’s number and asked her if she fancied a cup of coffee from the nearby Costa. Fortunately, Emma was bright enough to agree immediately and met her in reception a few minutes later. They strolled to the takeaway and Jinnie told Emma she needed to discuss her progress and ideas with ‘C’ urgently but was bothered about being seen going into his office. Emma said she understood and wondered if it would be better for them to meet off-site. Jinnie bought four coffees, one each for her team, Emma and herself and they were put into a compressed paper tray. As they got back to the building, Emma look at her watch and said, “The director won’t be in for another 20 minutes, that gives me enough time to get his coffee made and to ring around the good hotels for a private meeting room. We have several that we know are secure and use regularly for just this sort of meeting. Will you want to bring your team?”
Jinnie thought for a few moments and said, “Yes, I think so, it will save having to give the same briefing twice.” Emma said, “Ok, I will ring you to say where and when, you better grab a black cab and put it on expenses, what’s the point of having an expense account if you don’t use it?” Jinnie looked at her in amazement, “You mean I have an expense account?” Emma replied, “Of course, everyone on your grade has a Barclays Black debit card for reasonable expenses, hasn’t yours arrived yet? You should have chased it.” Jinnie said, “No, it hasn’t arrived and I haven’t chased it because nobody told me I was entitled to it!” Emma said, “Looks like another job for me, I will chase accounts. I know it was requested on Monday morning because I ordered it. ‘C’ will not be happy, he is getting fed up with how useless some of the departments here are.”
Even allowing for her trip to the coffee shop Jinnie was back before Carole and Gretel arrived and they were both always in very early. Jinnie left the coffees on their desks to greet them when they arrived. Carole came straight in to say thank you and ask what was she to do today? Before she could answer, Jinnie’s phone rang and Emma told her the debit card would arrive in the next few minutes, it had been sitting on a clerk’s desk and he had just received a gigantic rocket. The meeting was in the York Room on the 4th floor of the Park Lane Hilton, the room was available now but ‘C’ would be there no later than 09:30.
Jinnie told her team to grab their things and to take note pads with them. As she was locking her office door a very embarrassed young man arrived with the debit card. Jinnie had to unlock the door so that she had a flat surface to write on both to sign the card and to sign the accounts department receipt. The Clark scurried away, Jinnie relocked the office door and hurried down to catch up with Carole and Gretel.
The York Room was only small and set up with a large table with eight chairs and a whiteboard. The three ladies sat around the table one either side and Jinnie at the end nearest to the whiteboard. Gretel wanted to know why they were here and Jinnie explained that they were waiting for ‘C’ and then she was going to brief them on the latest developments and her outline plan.
‘C’ arrived and was seated at the end of the table facing the whiteboard, he brought Emma with him as a note-taker and said he hoped Jinnie didn’t mind. She said of course not and that it might be useful to have formal notes to look back on. Jinnie thought right it’s now or never and started off telling how, when she met internal obstruction, she had thought back to her old Resistance leader in Berlin, an SAS Officer, and had asked him for his assistance. Although invalided out of the service, he had immediately agreed to do all he could to help. Through his contacts in the SAS in the Resistance he had, that same evening, established that Kirsten was being held in the cells under the Berlin Gestapo HQ and that she was to be moved to a concentration camp the following Monday evening.
‘C’ stopped her and asked, “You mean the SAS came up with a positive identification and a location in a matter of hours, by using the Resistance? The Resistance that we support and our departments were unable or unwilling to do what a single ex-officer was able to do?” “Exactly,” replied Jinnie, “but that is unimportant, what is more important is what I want to do and whether you agree so that I can get on and plan it.” ‘C’ said, “I think we will need a major shakeup when this is resolved but I agree we need to be looking forward at the moment as we are up against a Monday deadline. Please continue Mrs De Luca.”
Jinnie continued, “My thoughts are that it would be beyond our ability to mount an attack on the Berlin Gestapo HQ, even if we called in all the 50 or so Resistance operatives in the Berlin and support them with additional forces from the UK. That leaves us with hitting the transport moving her to the train, hitting the train, or hitting the concentration camp. The first option, I think has two likely major problems, the movement to the station will be well guarded and it takes place within Berlin where the Germans have plenty of reinforcements to hand. The third option has the problem that Potulice concentration camp is a massive complex with thousands of people in hundreds of huts. We would need huge numbers to find her in the camp, it would be like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack.”
“That leaves us with option two, attack the train. I understand the train is lightly guarded because the prisoners are all manacled to their seats and unable to offer any resistance. The train has been running every Monday evening for many years without interference and it is likely the guards have become complacent. I suggest we halt the train in a rural area outside Berlin a good distance from German reinforcements. As I mentioned earlier we have around 50 Resistance operatives available in Berlin alone and I personally know the leader of one of the Berlin groups. I understand the number of prisoners being moved varies each week but if we free them all, firstly, it will cause a major problem looking for them and hopefully hide the fact that we were targeting one individual.”
“I propose we insert myself and one other into the Third Reich by air into France for speed. We then use the train network to travel to meet the Resistance in Berlin. I know they have the expertise to interfere with railway signals and once stopped we have the manpower available to attack the train. We must ensure we have the equipment available to quickly free the prisoners from their manacles. The extraction should be by road to the coast and then by submarine, as we will have time to get a boat in place which I don’t think we have for the ingress hence the use of air travel. If you give this outline plan your approval my team will immediately liaise with the RAF, RN, SAS, Resistance, and the various SIS department for forged documents, cover ID and background legends.”
There Jinnie halted and looked around the small group. Carole and Gretel looked dumbstruck. Emma was frantically writing shorthand notes and ‘C’ appeared to be deep in thought. ‘C’ started his questions by asking, “Have you identified a location to halt the train yet?” Jinnie thought and then replied, “No, but I will be asking the German, or perhaps the Polish, Resistance for that as soon as I have your permission to proceed.” The next question was, “Are you satisfied with the security of this operation?” Again Jinnie paused before answering, “At the moment the only people who have any real idea what we are planning are sat around this table and I totally trust everyone here. In fact only you and I, Sir, know the full picture. Not even the PM has the information I have just imparted. Other departments have been or will be asked to render assistance and information that is within their day to day activities. None of the agencies involved will have a view of the whole picture and it would have to be a very lucky spy who managed to put a whole series of disparate actions by various agencies together to uncover the plan. I intend, wherever possible, to use people and organisations that I have used before for previous successful operations and they have not leaked yet.”
“OK,” said ‘C’, “You have my preliminary permission to proceed. Start the detailed planning process and that includes contacting anyone you think necessary, I’m sure you will not give them any more information than is necessary to do their work. I will be going from here directly to No 10 and I fully expect the PM to confirm my decision. Emma will be in touch as soon as I am back.”
Once again in her office, Jinnie started dishing out orders, Gretel was to continue dealing with operations and would also take on the Liaison Group, Carole was to deal with contacting the various armed forces units (Emma had supplied a list of high-level contacts), however Jinnie said initially she was to hold back on the SAS as Jinnie wanted to use her contacts to ensure she was allocated a particular partner to work with, someone she knew she could rely on. Jinnie also decided she would deal with the Legend writers and the printers. As Jinnie was apologising to the girls that the workload for the next few days was going to be enormous her phone rang. Emma said the director was back, the PM was delighted with the progress and had given the plan his full backing, so it was full steam ahead. Emma said that on reflection the director was worried about the workload on the small team so two more “bodies” would be with her within the hour. The works department would be installing the necessary furniture any minute and IT would be putting in their PCs shortly. Jinnie’s little empire was growing quickly.
In Chapter 4 – Jinnie plots a return to Berlin.
© WorthingGooner 2022