Chapter 12: Wall Street Swastika: Nazi Party In London:
Now that Dora, Edward, and Churchill along with the Prof had evaded the onslaught of the Nazi spies at the British Museum and at Studland Beach and had finally deposited the Lawrence maps where no one could find them for now, they could finally concentrate on Hitler. Winston invited them to stay at Chartwell for several days. At Winston’s estate in Kent they received almost hourly reports about Nazi activities in London and back in Germany itself.
The cook was serving lunch when Churchill opened a missive from one of his spies on the ground in Germany. He read it through first to himself while he was smoking a cheroot, mumbling and exclaiming. Edward leaned over his shoulder to see what was what. Dora waited in suspense to find out what strange turn was next.
“Ha! So Hitler is trying to populate the government of Thuringia with his Nazi thugs!” Churchill exclaimed. “He is trying to nominate Wilhelm Frick as the head of both ministries, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of the Interior, and the German People’s Party, the DVP, complains that the man was a man convicted of high treason for his part in the Beer Hall Putsch in 1923. Good for them!”
Edward nodded, “I remember the man. We were in the streets fighting the Nazis to the last man during the Putsch,” Edward brought back an unpleasant memory. Dora had been there, too. “That man was one of the worst, the most unprincipled, bastards.”
“Does Hitler have the power to make the party accept his nominees?” Dora asked.
Winston sighed as he looked up from the letter from Germany. “Not by himself. But apparently he is lobbying industrialists in the area. And they are bringing pressure upon the heads of the German People’s Party to make Wilhelm Frick their man.”
“What exactly does Hitler want Frick to do?” Dora was puzzled.
“Frick is supposed to purge the Thuringian government of leftists and liberals and replace them with Nazi ideologues who believe in racism to the last man, including all the police and all the members of the civil service,” Edward said.
Churchill read on, practically crushing his cheroot between his teeth. “So here is something we can act upon right away!” he looked up hopefully at Edward. “The gall of the man! He is holding a fund raising event right here in London.”
“What!” Edward practically exploded.
Churchill nodded. “At the German Embassy in London. They are having a grand ball and banquet and getting English aristocrats to contribute to the Nazi cause.”
Edward rolled his eyes toward the ceiling. “I can see it now! They would be idiotic enough to do it, too. Nazism is the latest fashion in London.”
“Hitler is using this money as bribes to industrialists and party officials in Thuringia to start molding Germany to his Nazi vision.”
Edward was to appear at the ball that Saturday night. Dora was to be his guest visiting him in London. But she had to go in disguise. They could not have the newspapers reporting Mrs. Byrne to be where she was not supposed to be. After all, according to the excuse she sent to her parents and Michael, she was staying with her friend Rita Jolivet in New York to help her put her finances back together after the Crash.
Dora entered the ball on Edward’s arm. She was dressed to the hilt in the latest Elsa Shaparelli gown, but since it was a costume ball she was wearing a mask. There was a gaming table in the next room. It was presided over by that spy of spies, Herr von Wessel, Hitler’s right-hand man, and his evil wife, Frau von Wessel. Dora and Edward had encountered them many times before on other missions. They were bad news.
Frau von Wessel was dressed in a Coco Chanel original, a black dress with silver sequins that clung to her curves. She beamed with a wicked smile at the English aristocrats that she greeted by name and escorted them over to the gaming table where Herr von Wessel was presding like a Master of Ceremonies. All this occurred under the big Nazi flags that decorated the ballroom, turning the German Embassy into a kind of circus. To make things even more wicked, there was an open bar on the other side of the room with the gaming table. Drinks were on the house.
Dora and Edward split up according to plan. Edward headed for the gaming table. He pretended to be paying attention to the game, though the von Wessels were immediately on alert. What they did not watch and were not supposed to watch was Dora. She took up her position at the free bar and ordered a drink which she pretended to sip and really poured out in special container she had brought with her in her evening bag. While they were not watching her, she slipped a sleeping potion into the punch bowl. She smiled as a server immediately dipped into it and filled drinks to be taken over to the gaming table. Edward alone knew not to drink anything at the event.
Soon other gamblers were starting to nod off around Edward. Edward complained loudly that no one was taking the game seriously, and it was getting boring around here. Frau von Wessel whispered to her husband. They both frowned severely.
Edward extended his arm to Dora. She took hold of it. Smugly they both left the room resounding with snores.
“Very clever!” Herr von Wessel shouted after them. “But Hitler will answer you all too soon.”