Rosa Nauheim stood rigidly at attention.
She knew that she had been singled out for some special honor. Yet the beginnings of a nagging terror gnawed at her young brain. Nervously she ran her hands over her flaring hips. She looked down at her silk frock, wondering whether it showed her figure off to its best advantage.
The man lounging in the big over-stuffed chair regarded her through narrowed eyes. His little Hitler-like mustache quivered under his large nose. He got to his feet and began pacing back and forth.
"Do you know why we sent for you, Fraulein?" he asked.
"I imagine it was for a special project. They told me that the Ministry of Propaganda had requested me. Somebody said something about Dr. Goebbels."
"Goebbels?" the ugly little man with the quivering mustache snickered. "The little club footed cripple? The monster who prides himself on being a true Aryan?"
Rosa Nauheim rubbed her hands over her hips again. This talk was not for her. She did not care about politics. She was not even a regular member of the Nazi Party. Yet she knew that there was a great danger in criticizing the leaders of the movement.
She did recognize a certain grisly humor in the attitude of the little rat-like figure who now moved towards her.
"This Aryan nonsense," she thought. "This little obscene spider speaks of the Nordic type. The Fuehrer speaks of the Aryan type. Are these Aryans? How do they explain themselves?"
A thrill of panic raced through her breast. The glowering expression on the mustached man's face as he approached showed great displeasure. She wondered whether through some diabolical cunning he was able to reach into the innermost recesses of people's minds and tear their secrets from them.
"You have not been brought to the villa because of any interest which Goebbels may have shown in you," the man spat. "You have been brought here because, I, Julius Streicher, have decided that you be brought here."
The name, Streicher brought a shudder of revulsion to Rosa Nauheim. Even in Nazi Germany there had been stories about this publisher of Der Stuermer who had become Hitler's chief merchant of hate. There had been whispers that Streicher had abnormal leanings. It was said that even Emme Goering could not abide being in the same room with the foul-mouthed degenerate.
Streicher was beside her now. Rosa felt his hot breath on her cheek. She saw the flicking pupils of his eyes. He touched her arm with a forefinger. Involuntarily she pulled away.
Streicher stepped back a pace. "You do not like me," he said.
"I have no feelings one way or the other, mein Herr."
"You will learn to like me. You will find great joy in entertaining me and my friends."
"I don't understand what you mean by entertain," Rosa said in a halting voice. She looked past the man's over-sized head. Beyond the confines of the room, a forest of fir stretched down a hill towards a barbed wire fence. As she watched, a man in a black shirt with a red, white and black Swastika arm band moved along the fence. He carried a Spandau at port arms.
"It is not for you to question me!" Streicher shouted. Rage had turned his face mottled red. He slammed the top of a marble table with his fist "You will remove your clothing!"
Rosa Nauheim tried to still the trembling in her shapely legs. A wave of nausea gripped her belly. Her first thought was to bolt from the door. What was left of her reason told her that escape would be impossible.
Streicher watched her. He licked his lips. From the desk top, he picked up a short quirt. Maliciously he moved around Rosa's trembling body. The whip sliced down across her hip. Searing pain exploded in her brain. She bit her lips, transfixed by the savagery of the blow. Tongues of flame seemed to shoot up and down inside her dress, bathing her legs and spine with their caustic heat.
Once again, Julius Streicher circled her. His voice was low. The words came slowly, giving dire meaning to each syllable. "My investigation shows that you have Jewish blood. To pose as an Aryan when you are of an inferior race is a very serious offense. We National Socialists have ways of dealing with those who are guilty of serious offenses. You have undoubtedly heard of some of them."
Shock and terror washed over Rosa Nauheim in a torrent of disbelief. She managed to open her lips, but before she could utter a word, Streicher interrupted her. He pointed the finger of accusation at her. She felt the finger touch the softness of her throat.
"Do not argue with me. I have heard these stupid denials before from others. I do not care whether your grandmother was a Jew or not. I care only that you serve as the other women in the villa do," He raised the quirt, bringing it to a point level with Rosa Nauheim's terrified eyes. "If you do not perform in a satisfactory manner, Fraulein, rest assured your racial impurity will become your ticket to a much worse place than this villa."
Comprehension, devastating with its malignant evil, flooded through Rosa Nauheim. She recognized the lie that she had been living — that indeed all Germans had been living. The lie that said the Nazis were only a handful of bullies, the lie that said that if you did nothing to offend the Brownshirts they would leave you alone. The very lie which had said that this Nazi thing has nothing to do with us.
Rosa Nauheim had believed this. She had been a singer in a small cafe outside of Nuremberg. Life had been good to her. She was young. She was beautiful. She had enjoyed the admiring glances of the men who came to hear her songs. She had dreamed of the things most young women dream of.
And then the little man with the little mustache and the eyes which were red with hate, had changed all that. Now the little man was clawing at her dress, ripping it from her in ragged strips. Desperately she tried to cover her soft breasts with her arms. Panting wildly, Streicher raised the quirt and slashed it across her side, driving the breath from her.
Rosa Nauheim's body went numb. She stood like a statue as Streicher wrenched at her bra. Tears welled in her eyes as she felt the sweat slimed fingers gripping and tugging at her fragile pink panties. She felt herself being hurled onto a couch. Her stifled sob was inaudible, imprisoned by the madman's fetid lips.
This was Schwabach, 1938. While the world huddled near its radios, refusing to believe that the Nazis would plunge into war, the hierarchy of the Nazi Party was reaching a position of power and corruption which had never been equaled in the checkered history of man.
Germany was under the rule of maniacs. The concentration camps were already bulging with those who dared raise a hand or even a voice in protest. Men, women and children were being tortured to death for no other reason than that it pleased a member of the Nazi machine to inflict agony and murder on the helpless.
And in their private lives, the leaders of the Third Reich disported themselves in an orgy of indulgence which knew no bounds.
Goering had his Karen Hall where he dressed in Roman togas and gave way to his insatiable need for hallucination inducing narcotics. Himmler reveled at Berlin's Salon Kitty — but not in the way of a normal man who might seek the company of prostitutes. For Heinrich Himmler was a voyeur one who got his thrills from spying and eavesdropping on the sights and sounds of other men's lust. This he did in the name of Reich security.
Goebbels conjured himself a great matinee idol. He frequented the backstages of the Berlin nightclubs and theaters. His withered and twisted body proved no obstacle in his extra marital sexual adventures. The Minister of Propaganda could command any personal outrage with the full weight of the Gestapo to back him up.
And perhaps the foulest beast of them all — Julius Streicher, sadistic pervert built himself a brothel where the cadence of passion was meted out by the steady stroke of the lash. Here he brought to fearful reality the hideous night-mares which he had passed off as truth in his obscene journal of hate, Der Stuermer (The Stormtrooper).
This was the highpoint of Streicher's career. He had risen from an obscure grade school teacher in Nuremberg to the post of chief hate monger of the Reich through his virulent Jew baiting. His efforts had made him a favorite of Hitler and in such a position he could do no wrong. Taking advantage of the German racial laws, it was a simple matter for him to stock his private brothel. Just as he was now doing with Rosa Nauheim, he set the same trap for any young and attractive woman who caught his eye. He trumped up a charge of a "non-Aryan" posing as a pure German. The charge was held open, to be used at such time as the girl in question failed to please Streicher or any other Nazi who frequented his villa.
Following her rape, Rosa was to learn the true horrors of life in the Schwabach hunting preserve. She was kept a prisoner on the grounds which had been bounded by an electrically charged fence. Although well fed and given the latest and most provocative clothing to wear there were times she was forced to go naked for an entire day to remind her what awaited her at Auschwitz if she displeased in any way.
She was also kept apart from the other young women who existed in the sumptuously furnished house. At times she would see one or more of them being conducted to the basement of the house. Then she would hear the shrieks of agony and the drunken shouts of the Nazis echoing through the halls. But for the moment, she remained in the position of being Streicher's private plaything.
This too was part of the sadist's torture methods. Fear of the unknown was Streicher's constant dark ally. He watched his latest captive closely. He saw Rosa's cheeks go chalk white at the shrill cry of unendurable pain which filtered through to Streicher's private apartment. "Soon, Fraulein," he giggled, "soon you will learn the delights we have to offer you."
What were these delights? They were to come to light when the Belsen Concentration Camp was liberated some seven years later. Miraculously Rosa Nauheim was to have remained alive to tell of them in a voice which was scarcely more than a death rattle. This is her story as she told it.
"The first time I was raped by Streicher, I thought that the worst thing that could happen to me had taken place. The bestiality of the man was beyond description. For days after that experience, I was confined to my room. I was unable to stand or speak. I could not eat the food they put before me.
"All that time, I stared out of the tiny window at the guards who constantly paraded around the wire entanglements. At night I would hear sounds. I was not sure whether they were the figments of my fevered nightmares or if they were real. In that villa everything real seemed fantasy and everything fantastic seemed real. "Streicher did not come near me for several weeks. When he did, he was as brutal as he had been the first time. But the human spirit is strange. On the second occasion, despite the pain and degradation, I remained conscious.
"I don't know whether it was as a reward or not, but for about a month I saw nobody but Streicher or the guards who took me for walks around the grounds. I was given fine lingerie and other feminine comforts. In return for such privileges I had to take the lashings with the quirt. There is no adequate way to describe the viciousness of these beatings. Nor can I paint the picture of Streicher's face as he inflicted them. All I know is that he would come to my room and order me to remove my dress. Then clad in the sheerest and tightest black silk panties that you can imagine, I was forced to lie spread-eagled on my bed. He would shackle my wrists and ankles to the bedposts so that it was impossible for me to move.
"The lash would explode against my flesh with mounting fervor until I knew that I must faint from the whipping. Only when I was almost suffocated from the breathtaking action of the lash was I freed. The rest of what took place on these occasions is better left unsaid.
"However, if I thought this was the ultimate in degradation and abuse, I was in for a rude awakening. It came about two months after I had entered the brothel. For about a week, I had been given a rest. Streicher did not come near me. I was allowed to regain my strength.
"A seamstress was brought in from one of the concentration camps. She had been a custom clothes designer in Berlin. I had a series of fittings for clothing which was the most suggestive I had ever seen. I was provided with the most gossamer of underthings and a sequined evening gown which fitted me like a second skin.
"The woman worked in a hysteria of terror. As yet I had not been indoctrinated to the life of a concentration camp. I had no way of knowing that were so much as one stitch sewed wrong the poor wretch would be marched off to the gas chamber.
"I could only stand for my fittings and wonder what new form of bizarre nightmare awaited. Streicher himself supervised the last of the costume details.
"Three days later, a guard came to my room and told me to put on the especially made clothes. There was to be a reception at the villa.
"Never had I seen Streicher as disgusting as he was that night. He moved among his guests, trying to act important and at the same time affable. He talked of important events in the Reichministry and acted as if he alone were running the whole government.
"I was not the only woman present. Others of the inmates of the house were dressed in costumes similar to mine. They appeared quite nervous and preoccupied. I did not understand their attitudes. I realized that we would be expected to give comfort to the Nazi officers and civilians who attended the reception. But it seemed to me that being with a normal man after what I'd been through might prove a welcome relief.
"Little did I know that 'normal men' did not become the house guests of Julius Streicher. It would be hard to say whether there were any normal men among the hierarchy of Nazis."
"At first the conversation among the men was merely pompous and boring. But as the champagne continued to flow, it became obscene. There was no doubt that every male guest was a degenerate in one form or another.
"Streicher knew it. He wallowed in the fact. He moved back and forth calling attention to himself wherever possible. I remember thinking 'what an incredibly repulsive animal he is.' As the liquor continued to flow, Streicher launched into one of his typical anti-semetic tirades. The graphic description he used to punctuate his vile theories were nauseating. Each of the young girls who was forced to listen to his mouthings grew weak with loathing. Yet we dared not flinch.
"The Nazis seemed enthralled with their host's venom. They leaned forward in their chairs. They cheered wildly. They especially responded to his suggestions for dealing with the women of minority groups. I cannot even begin to tell you what these lunatic ravings were.
"It wasn't until later that I realized the hideous dual purposes of Streicher's tirade. First he had sought to gain the approval of the assemblage. Second he had used his graphic descriptions to whet the appetites of his companions. To whet them for the vilest of orgies which was to follow.
"I remember so vividly being seized by one of the Gestapo officers and carried to the basement. I recall the fearful things his fingers did to my body under my gown.
"The man had been drinking heavily. His face was flushed and sweat poured from the thick folds of his neck. He muttered words which were unintelligible to me. I'm not sure whether my own terror or his advanced state of drunkenness was the reason.
"I had thought that Streicher had been bad. This man who had brought me to the room of screams was infinitely worse. He had the physical strength which Streicher lacked. I was forced to submit to him in ways that do not bare repetition.
"Afterwards he left and I managed to dress myself. My gown had been ripped and soiled in many places. My bare flesh showed through. But at least I was blessedly alone. I sank down on the bed which we had used, weeping in pain and hopelessness. I closed my eyes in thanks that the night had finally ended.
"But it hadn't. About an hour later, I heard a key turning in the lock. I quivered in terror, trying to burrow deeper into the mattress. Strong hands reached down for me, dragging me to my feet by my hair. I heard the sharp retort which sounded like a pistol shot. In my befuddled state I thought that they must have gunned me down.
"Only when the pain spread across my cheek did I realize that I had been slapped in the face. It doesn't sound like much in the retelling. That is unless you have ever been slapped by the Gestapo. They have a special way of doing it. I've seen prisoners have their necks broken by the force of one blow.
"Achtung!" one of them shouted. "Raus, Schnell!" He indicated that I was to goosestep down the corridor in double time. Wearing the confining skirt I had been issued made the process almost impossible. Every time I tripped over the gown, he slashed at my hips with a short whip. The pain was maddening. Even worse was the anticipation of what was to come next.
"From another room a second girl was being led down the corridor. They had placed a collar around her neck and were dragging her dog-like towards a big room with a locked door. All that remained of her clothing was a shredded blouse and skin tight brief black panties.
"We were shoved and kicked forward. I saw the huge door to the secret chamber swing open. The other woman and I screamed simultaneously as we saw the diabolical contraption which commanded the room. It can best be described as a gigantic turntable, not unlike a phonograph in appearance. Its thick spindle pointed towards the ceiling. From it dangled two sets of manacles.
"My shoulder was caught in a bone crunching grip. The pressure was increasing. Inexorably I was forced to kneel on the turntable while my wrists were hitched high above my head and secured in the manacles.
"I felt the damp air rushing around my thighs and hips. I heard the ripping of cloth and knew that my dress was being stripped from me. I shuddered there, my cheek pressed against the spindle, sobbing at the shame of being exposed to their lecherous view the way I was.
"For long moments time hung suspended as the men discussed a wager they had made. As I watched, the other girl was bound to the turntable in a manner similar to what had been done to me.
"One of the Nazis touched a button in the wall. Then machinery under my knees hummed to activity. Slowly at first, then with ever increasing speed, the turntable spun. I felt the centrifugal force building up. My arms seemed to be wrenched from my shoulders. Waves of nausea swept over me. I looked at the distorted face of the woman on the other side of the device. Her suffering mirrored mine.
"Then the long lash flicked out. It crashed down around the small of my back, winding itself around my waist like a huge snake. I screamed in mortal agony as the thong cut deep into my unprotected flesh. Streicher's friends roared their approval.
"The lashing continued mercilessly. I had no idea how long it went on. After the torture there were other things which I cannot bring myself to mention. The entire basement had been fitted into cells where diabolically ingenious devices had been developed to exact the ultimate in torment.
"How long was I confined in the underground dungeons? How many men took their pleasure with me? Who can say? Suffice it to mention that when I was finally carted off to the concentration camp, I almost welcomed the regimented filth and cruelty I found there.
"Until this day, I have no way of knowing what kept me alive through these seven years of horror. I have talked to the Allied doctors who ministered to me following my liberation. They are hard pressed for an explanation. They have no background in the ability of a human being to withstand the martyrdom which was inflicted on us by the Nazis.
"Perhaps the answer comes from a promise I made to myself on the whipping platform in Streicher's villa. I told myself then that I would live to see Julius Streicher pay for his crimes."
Thus ends the statement of Rosa Nauheim. The scars of her suffering will never be completely eradicated. Yet whatever comfort is hers must come from the thud of a trap door swinging open and the twang of a hangman's noose snapping taut around the evil neck of one of the most heinous criminals of all recorded history — Julius Streicher, sex pervert, merchant of hate and spokesman for the maniacal racist beliefs of Hitler's world of obscene depravity.