|Jefferson Davis Pinkard|
|Southern Victory |
POD: September 10, 1862
In at the Death†
|Type of Appearance:||Direct POV|
|Date of Birth:||1880s|
|Date of Death:||1945|
|Cause of Death:||Execution by hanging|
|Occupation:||Steelworker, Soldier, Camp commandant|
|Spouse:||Emily Pinkard (div. 1922)|
Edith Blades (his death, 1945)
|Children:||Willie Blades and Frank Blades (stepsons),|
|Military Branch:||Confederate States Army|
(Great War, 1915-1917)
Auxiliaries supporting Mexican Monarchists (Mexican Civil War, c. 1925)
Freedom Party Guards
(Second Great War, 1941-1944)
|Political Party:||Freedom Party|
Jefferson Davis "Jeff" Pinkard (d. 1945) was a veteran of the Great War, a staunch member of the Freedom Party, and an architect of the Population Reduction in the Confederacy during the Second Great War.
Named for the first Confederate President, Pinkard was a steelworker at Sloss Steel Foundry from around 1904 until the Great War. He and his wife, Emily, lived in Birmingham, Alabama. He was not drafted until 1915 because of his important work for the wartime cause. His first combat experience was against the Red Rebellion in southern Georgia. He helped put down the short-lived rebellion there, and then was moved to fight against the US invasion of western Texas.
Some time after the move he was able to take leave and get home to an unsuspecting Emily. When he came home he found that his wife committing adultery with his best friend and neighbor, Bedford Cunningham. Even though he dealt with the situation calmly, their marriage was never the same. He finished the war back in western Texas, when it was rechristened as the US state of Houston.
Before the war, Pinkard was no more prejudiced against blacks than the average white Confederate citizen. Prior to his conscription, Pinkard had worked with blacks, including Agrippa and Vespasian, who replaced the white foundry workers who had been drafted to the front. Pinkard developed a level respect for Negro co-workers who had shown themselves capable of the dangerous and demanding job. On one occasion, he even vociferously defended a black fellow-worker when police came to arrest him on charges of sedition.
The war and Emily's faithlessness changed that. Pinkard grew embittered with Emily for cheating on him, and blamed the Red Rebels for giving her the opportunity for adultery. Once he came back from the war, Pinkard returned to his job at the Sloss Works, and was able to hold on to it the period of postwar inflation that occurred throughout the CSA. During this time he also discovered the Freedom Party after listening to Jake Featherston speak in Birmingham. The message of vengeance appealed to him. He became an avid supporter of the Party, to the detriment of his marriage. He and Emily began to argue more, which escalated into physical violence, which escalated into rape. Finally, after he found her cheating on him once again he threw her out of the house. With Emily out of his life, he completely devoted himself to the Party.
Pinkard was at the 1922 Birmingham rally where President Wade Hampton V was assassinated. He stayed with the Party even as others abandoned it in droves. He joined the regiment of Freedom Party volunteers who supported Emperor Maximilian III of Mexico during the Mexican Civil War. His most valuable experience in Mexico was his time as the head of a prisoner of war camp. He learned valuable lessons in the set-up and the efficient organization of such camps. Ironically, his original motivation for becoming involved in the camps was inspired by his concern that Monarchists were badly mistreating their Republican prisoners, and his desire to introduce humane treatment of the captives.
Upon returning to the C.S., Pinkard briefly returned to the Sloss Works, but was let go in 1930 during the Depression. With Caleb Brigg's help, Pinkard was able to get a job in at the Birmingham jail, thanks to his previous experience at the POW camp. He stayed at the jail for a while and was as dedicated to the Party as ever. After Featherston was elected President in 1933, active Whigs and Radical Liberals were arrested on trumped-up charges, quickly filling up city jails. Alabama Correctional Camp (P) was set up in an isolated rural area for these prisoners with Pinkard appointed an assistant warden.
In 1937, Radical Liberal Governor of Louisiana Huey Long was assassinated and Louisiana brought under Freedom Party control. Pinkard was put in charge of Camp Dependable, a prison camp in Louisiana that had been originally set up by Long as part of his effort to clamp down on the Freedom Party in his state. The camp was filled with Long's own supporters. Gradually, these white political prisoners were moved away and the camp filled with blacks accused of being rebels. For some time Pinkard's job was simply to guard them, which he did in a firm but not gratuitously cruel way. However, as the camp grew crowded and resources tight, he was ordered by Attorney General Ferdinand Koenig to "reduce the camp's population" by repeatedly taking a random prisoners out and killing them in the nearby swamps. The term "population reduction" was born.
Pinkard showed considerable ingenuity in developing new ways of killing prisoners, most of them involving poison gas. This insured his rise through the ranks of the Party. As "population reduction" imperceptibly moved from killing black rebels to killing all blacks in the nation, including women and children, he was soon put in charge of a new and larger camp, Camp Determination in west Texas near the town of Snyder to which blacks from all over the Confederacy were delivered in overcrowded trains to be killed. The stepping up of the Population Reduction ran concurrently with the Second Great War.
About this time, Pinkard oversaw the death of Willy Knight, Featherston's former Vice President who was convicted of treason. Placing him among blacks who were expected to kill him didn't work, because the blacks developed a grudging respect for him, so Pinkard simply shot Knight.
In 1942, Pinkard married Edith Blades, the widow of camp guard Chick Blades, who had committed suicide because of the guilt he harbored toward the daily killing of prisoners (and is what first gave Pinkard ideas about gas chambers). Pinkard loved Edith, tried his best to be a good father to her two sons, Frank and Willie, and was overjoyed when Edith became pregnant. He saw no contradiction between enjoying his new-found domestic bliss and his sending every day thousands of black families, parents and children, to their deaths.
The US force continued its advance into Texas after the fall of Lubbock in the spring of 1943. In the meantime, the "population reductions" started falling as US air strikes knocked out the rail lines leading toward Determination while destroying Snyder. Pinkard sited a location for a new camp 20 miles north of the city of Houston near the town of Humble. He moved his family into this safer location as work finished on Camp Humble.
As Abner Dowling's Eleventh Army liberated Camp Determination, Pinkard oversaw the construction his new camp, with the latest "improvement" - a crematorium to both "get rid of the bodies" and "get rid of the evidence". However, such improvements weren't as satisfactory as he'd hoped. The crematorium malfunctioned, sending greasy black smoke and occasional human remains high into the air. Indeed, the only bright spot during Pinkard's stay at Camp Humble was the birth of his son Raymond.
In 1943, Pinkard was briefly reunited with Vespasian, a Negro from the Sloss Foundry whom Pinkard had befriended in 1915 and thought highly of. In a last hope for life, Vespasian asked Pinkard for help. Pinkard promptly sent him to the gas chambers, telling him it was safe.
In 1944, with increasing Confederate defeats, the state of Texas seceded from the CSA and proclaimed itself an independent republic, negotiating a separate armistice with the USA. One requirement of the U.S.-Texas armistice was the surrender of all Camp Humble officials, Pinkard included.
Refusing to believe that he had done anything wrong, Pinkard was a nearly impossible client for his attorney, Jonathan Moss, to defend when he was put on trial for crimes against humanity. Moss detested Pinkard's deeds, but forced himself to be impartial in the name of due process. Moss' best efforts to find a loophole, extenuating circumstance, plausible deniability, or character deposition that would mitigate Pinkard's guilt, were thwarted by the defendant himself. At his trial, Pinkard bragged proudly about his efficiency in "taking care of the Negro problem," and didn't even try to deny his complicity in the Reduction. Thus Pinkard, along with other prominent death camp personnel, was convicted for his immediate role in the population reductions and sentenced to death by hanging.
While he was on death row, his captors allowed Pinkard a visit from his wife and children, a merciful act which was more than Pinkard had ever allowed to any of his victims. This was the only time he ever saw his youngest son Raymond in person. In 1945, Pinkard's execution occurred one day after those of his old boss Ferdinand Koenig and propaganda master Saul Goldman. His last thoughts were of the unfairness of his death, and it never once occurred to him to think of his own victims in the same light.
- Rudolf Höss, commandant of Auschwitz in OTL. Harry Turtledove has acknowledged that Pinkard is broadly based on Höss.
- Return Engagement, pgs. 44-45, 104, hc.
- Ibid., pgs. 216-217.