In the twenty-first century, Germany's Third Reich continues to thrive after its victory in World War II-keeping most of Europe and North America under its heel. But within the heart of the Nazi regime, a secret lives. Under a perfect Aryan facade, Jews survive-living their lives, raising their families, and fearing discovery.
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November 01, 2004
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Excerpt from In the Presence of Mine Enemies by Harry Turtledove
HEINRICH GIMPEL GLANCED AT THE REPORT ON HIS DESK TO make sure how many Reichsmarks the United States was being assessed for the Wehrmacht bases by New York, Chicago, and St. Louis. As he'd thought, the numbers were up from those of 2009. Well, the Americans might grumble, but they'd cough up what they owed ' and in hard currency, too; none of their inflated dollars. If they didn't, the panzer divisions might roll out of those bases and take what was owed the Germanic Empire this year. And if they collected some blood along with their pound of flesh, the USA might complain, but it was hardly in a position to fight back.
Heinrich entered the new figures on his computer, then saved the study he'd been working on for the past couple of days. The Zeiss hard disk purred smoothly as it swallowed the data. He made two backups ' he was a meticulously careful man ' before shutting down the machine. When he got up from his desk, he put on his uniform greatcoat: in Berlin's early March, winter still outblustered spring.
Willi Dorsch, who shared the office with Heinrich, got up, too. "Let's call it a day, Heinrich," he said, and shook his head as he donned his own greatcoat. "How long have you been here at Oberkommando der Wehrmacht now "
"Going on twelve years," Heinrich answered, buttoning buttons. "Why "
His friend cheerfully sank the barb: "All that time at the high command, and a fancy uniform to go with it, and you still don't look like a soldier."
"I can't help it," Heinrich said with a sigh. He knew too well that Willi was right. A tall, thin, balding man in his early forties, he had a tendency to shamble instead of parading. He wore his greatcoat as if it were cut from the English tweeds professors still affected. Setting his high-crowned cap at a rakish angle, he raised an eyebrow to get Willi's reaction. Willi shook his head. Heinrich shrugged and spread his hands.
"I'll just have to be martial for both of us," Willi said. His cap gave him a fine dashing air. "Doing anything for dinner tonight " The two men lived not far from each other.
"As a matter of fact, we are. I'm sorry. Lise invited some friends over," Heinrich said. "We'll get together soon, though."
"We'd better," Willi said. "Erika's going on again about how she misses you. Me, I'm getting jealous."
"Oh, Quatsch," Heinrich said, using the pungent Berliner word for rubbish. "Maybe she needs her glasses checked." Willi was blond and ruddy and muscular, none of which desirable adjectives applied to Heinrich. "Or maybe it's just my bridge game."