|The Man With the Iron Heart|
POD: May 29, 1942;
Relevant POD: May, 1945
|Type of Appearance:||Direct POV|
|Race:||World War II|
|Date of Birth:||Early 20th century|
|Occupation:||English Teacher, Spy|
|Children:||At least one child|
|Military Branch:||United States Army (World War II)|
Lou Weissberg was part of the Counter-Intelligence Corps (CIC) of the United States Army during World War II. He was critical in battling the German Freedom Front uprising that began in the immediate aftermath of the surrender of Germany, although his battle proved futile in the face of the public opinion of the American people.
1945: The Uprising Begins
Weissberg was an English teacher in Jersey City, New Jersey when WWII began. He joined the Army and was assigned to the CIC, where he rose to the rank of lieutenant, although up until this point he had only fired his weapon once during the Battle of the Bulge. On May 9, 1945, Weissberg was assigned to investigate the murder of two US soldiers, Charlie Pytlak and Dom Lombardo in Lichtenau. Both men had been blown to pieces by a large bomb. Weissberg soon sensed that something bigger might be happening.
This feeling was confirmed in July, when a German strapped a bomb to his body and detonated it in a crowd of American GIs watching a pick-up baseball game in Erlangen. After interviewing a surviving witness, town councilor Anton Herpolsheimer, Weissberg realized that an organization was at work.
Unfortunately, Weissberg found himself one step behind the GFF. American forces were unable to prevent the assassination of General George Patton. Weissberg attended Patton's funeral in Erlangen, and was heartened by General Dwight Eisenhower's call that the Americans stay until victory was absolute, or the previous four years would of fighting would be for nothing. However, Weissberg privately noted that the response to these sentiments wasn't as strong among his fellow soldiers as he'd have wanted.
The Attack on the Palace of Justice
Weissberg was present for the immediate aftermath of the GFF's attack on the Palace of Justice in Nuremberg in November 1945. The GFF detonated a truckbomb outside the Palace just before several critical Nazi leaders were to go on trial for war crimes. Over 200 people were killed, and the trials were put on hold. Weissberg did what he could to help the injured, and then gave an interview to William Shirer, describing the event. (Unknown to Weissberg, Diana McGraw heard the interview, which validated her own efforts to end the American occupation of Germany.)
A matter of days later, Weissberg's superior, Captain Howard Frank shared a film with Weissberg. The film had been prepared by the GFF, and showed a kidnapped American soldier, Matthew Cunningham, reading the GFF's demand that American troops leave Germany. The US did not comply, and so Cunningham was killed. The GFF made sure that the film found its way to American journalist Tom Schmidt. Frank and Weissberg made sure that Schmidt was sent back to the States.
1946: Set-backs Continue
In early 1946, after the GFF managed to poison several Soviet occupation officials, Weissberg travelled to Cologne in the British zone, and met with British Major Hudgeons. Hudgeons in turn introduced Weissberg to Konrad Adenauer, a former critic and prisoner of the Nazis. Adenauer, the founder of the Christian Democratic Union, had already survived on assassination attempt, but was determined to oppose the GFF and bring representative government to Germany. Weissberg found some hope in meeting with Adenauer. This hope was subsequently dashed by Adenauer's assassination
Weissberg came very close to catching Heydrich in 1946. When word came that Heydrich had personally overseen the kidnapping of several German physicists from British custody, the Army was mobilized. However, due to a comedy of errors on the Americans' part, and the help Heydrich received from a local smuggler, Heydrich escaped. Weissberg found himself wandering the swamps with a number of newly arrived troops, most of whom had no combat experience, and didn't want to be in Germany to begin with. After listening to two men talk about local rodents, Weissberg concluded that Heydrich was long gone, and called off the search.
Weeks later, a tip came to the CIC that the GFF was planning something in Hechingen. Hechingen had been the location of Germany's rudimentary atomic bomb plan, and where most of the scientists had been working before their capture by the Allies. Unfortunately, Hechingen was in the French Zone, and relations between the US and France had soured since the war ended. Weissberg met with French Captain Jean Desroches, who had adopted the French policy of "independence". As Weissberg was not at liberty to devulge much beyond his knowledge that Hechingen was a possible target, Desroches seemed little inclined to take him seriously.
Days later, Desroches arrived in Nuremberg to smugly report to Weissberg that the GFF had indeed attacked a rubbish dump in Hechingen. When Weissberg press further, Desroches noted that the dump was next to the building where several German physicists were caught. These same physicists made up the group that Heydrich had kidnapped. Concerned, Weissberg brough Desroches to Howard Frank. When Frank heard Desroches' report, he contacted a superior, Colonel Samuel Goudsmit, who violently swore into the phone before explaining what the GFF had been after. Frank and Weissberg then summarily dismissed Desroches without telling him what Frank had learned. Once Desroches was gone, Frank informed Weissberg that the GFF had stolen 10 grams of radium that some of the scientists had hidden before they were captured. The Americans knew about it because the scientists' quarters had been bugged while in captivity. Both Weissberg and Frank marveled at the fact that the American authorities decided it was better not to tell the French.
The consequence of this decision came when the GFF detonated a radium-bomb in the American compound in Frankfurt.
Shortly after, a group of GFF engaged a US platoon on the road between Nuremberg and Munich. The US soldiers got the better of the GFF, killing most and wounding and capturing two. Weissberg interrogated one of the wounded, Scharführer Rudolf Bauer. Although badly injured and under morphine, Bauer attempted to assert his rights under the Geneva Convention, Weissberg successfully bluffed Bauer into believing he was in the Soviet Union's hands. Bauer gave them the name of his immediate superior, Hauptsturmführer Egon Steinbrecher. Weissberg immediately arrested Steinbrecher. Unfortunately, Steinbrecher was uncooperative, giving Weissberg the names of people who were not connected to the GFF. After following up on Steinbrecher's names and completely wasting his time, Weissberg had Steinbrecher shot.
In the following months, Weissberg and the CIC did its best to stop the GFF. When Weissberg suggested that closer cooperation with America's allies, the USSR in particular was in order, his superiors warned him off. Weissberg heeded them, against his better judgment. The GFF's destruction of the Eiffel Tower, St. Paul's Cathedral and Westminster Abbey did little to improve Weissberg's personal morale.
Surviving an Attack
At the very end of 1946, Weissberg was nearly killed by a roadside bomb. The bomb had been connected to wire strung across the road. Wire had been used with some success to decapitate Allied soldiers in moving vehicles. Weissberg's jeep had been equipped with wire cutters. However, the bomb was new and was touched off when the wire was cut. Weissberg's driver was killed, but Weissberg survived with minor injuries.
Some Final Success: 1947
By July 1947, the Allies were ready to begin the trials of the German war criminals a third time. This time, the Soviet Union volunteered to host the trials in Berlin. Weissberg and Frank were assigned to oversee the transfer of the prisoners to Berlin. After arriving in Berlin, the two met a Jew who'd survived the camps. Weissberg and Frank gave the displaced person some money and chocolate.
As Weissberg and Frank contemplated the upcoming trial, they were soon subject once again to bitter disappointment: the GFF crashed a C-47 into the Berlin courthouse. Both men were reduced to hysteria.
A few weeks later, Weissberg and Frank were approached by CIC General R.R.R. Baxter, who informed them that the Soviet NKVD had contacted the CIC about handing over a person who might know where Hedyrich was. As both Weissberg and Frank had been overheard saying that the US and the USSR should cooperate more, they were offered the chance to meet with the NKVD officer, Captain Vladimir Bokov. Both agreed.
The meeting took place at Fent's Establishment in Berlin. This was somewhat ironic as the place had previously been named "Hitler's Establishment", and the owner had been Adolf Hitler's half-brother, Alois Hitler. Weissberg and Frank met both Bokov and his informant, Jewish Displaced Person Shmuel Birnbaum-who was, ironically, the same Jew the two Americans had met when they initially arrived in Berlin. While Bokov was initially suspicious of the coincidence, he nonetheless turned Birnbaum over to Weissberg and Frank, even getting a receipt. They all then drank to a toast of "Death to the Heydricites!"
Killing Heydrich and a Return Home
Weissberg and Birnbaum went on several trips to the base of the Alps, hoping Birnbaum would recognize something. For some weeks, they left empty-handed. And then, as American troops were slowly being pulled out of Germany, Birnbaum recognized the spot. Weissberg ordered as many men and as much digging equipment as he could get. When his crew began digging, the GFF launched an attack. But the GFF was badly outgunned, and Weisberg's men were easily subdued or killed most of them. To Weissberg's delight, Heydrich was one of those killed. However, Weissberg's victory was somewhat spoiled when Heydrich's adjutant Johannes Klein smugly informed him that the GFF had done a thorough job of destroying any useful files in the caves.
Weissberg received 1/4 of the $1 million price on Heydrich's head, he was also promoted to major (he'd received a prior promotion to captain) and a Silver Star. He was horrified to realize that the GFF weren't done: Joachim Peiper took control and launched a series of hi-jackings. Weissberg returned home at the beginning of 1948, hoping against hope that a democratic Germany could arise. He intended to resign his commission and return to teaching.