| In the Presence of Mine Enemies |
POD: c. 1940
|Type of Appearance:||Direct POV|
|Date of Birth:||Between 1965 and 1969|
|Children:||Alicia, Francesca, Roxane Gimpel|
Heinrich Gimpel was a civilian working as an analyst at the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht headquarters in Berlin. He was one of the few surviving Jews left in the Greater German Reich a secret he kept from his colleagues. Heinrich was married to Lise Gimpel and they had three children: Alicia, Francesca and Roxane. As customary, Heinrich and Lise told Alicia she was Jewish when she reached the age of 10. They did so in the presence of their fellow Jews; Susanna Weiss and the Stutzmans.
Gimpel was the expert on the United States at Oberkommando der Wehrmacht. One of his colleagues and close friends was Willi Dorsch. The Dorsch family were neighbors of the Gimpels. Willi and his wife Erika frequently played bridge with Heinrich and Lise. As the Dorsches' marriage began to disintegrate, Willi began an affair with Ilse, a secretary at work. Erika, on the other hand, attempted to entice Heirich into an affair. Heinrich, happy with his wife, and with a great deal to lose if it were ever learned he was Jewish, refused.
Over the course of 2010 and into 2011, the Gimpels found themselves astonished at the reforms set into motion by the Reich's fourth Führer, Heinz Buckliger. Indeed, Buckliger consulted Gimpel personally about easing the tribute the Reich extracted from the United States, giving Gimpel a small measure of unwanted celebrity.
Emboldened by the winds of change, Gimpel took part in a rally in early 2011 led by Berlin's Gauleiter, Rolf Stolle. When an SS marching band attempted to drown Stolle out, Gimpel joined in the crowd's chants of "SS go home." Gimpel felt few regrets about his participation.
When Erika Dorsch made a final effort to seduce Gimpel, his life took a nearly fatal turn. Erika denounced Gimpel as a Jew, a denounciation she believed false. Gimpel and his three daughters were taken into custody by the Security Police. Gimpel was subjected to several days of anti-Semitic slurs and humiliation. Erika, feeling guilty about his children being taken, attempted suicide and recanted. However, the Security Police was initially unwilling to let the Gimpels go, believing that Erika Dorsch was now trying to protect them. It was the timely intervention of a major in the Security Police that allowed the Gimpels to go free. The major intimated to Heinrich that he was also a Jew.
Gimpel and his daughters returned to their life. Oberkommando der Wehrmacht gladly gave Gimpel his position back. Gimpel also continued his friendship with Willi Dorsch after some moments of discomfort.
Further galvanized against the Reich and more supportive of Buckliger, Gimpel took to the streets when the SS launched a Putsch, briefly arresting Buckliger and replacing him with Odilo Globocnik. When Gauleiter Rolf Stolle called for the people of Berlin to gather at his residence, Gimpel left his office, with Willi Dorsch on his heels. Both men were present when the Wehrmacht intervened, ending the Putsch.
The Gimpels remained cautiously optimistic about their future. On her 10th birthday, they informed their second daughter, Francesca, that she was Jewish.