Rudolf sat between Helmut Kessler and Werner Carl, waiting for the rest of the POWs to file into the recreation building for their Sunday movie. Helmut, a tall, thin man with a friendly face, reached in his pocket and took out the small Bible returned to him by the American teenager. He opened it and showed the inside front cover to Rudolf. Written in Helmut’s fine handwriting, was information about the three U-boats Helmut had served on, including the Commanders’ names.
“This little Bible means so much to me,” Helmut said. “I am grateful that farmer’s son found it. I would like to give him something for what he did, but I have no idea what that would be.”
Helmut handed the Bible to Rudolf, who looked carefully at the treasured book, turning the pages slowly, reading the inscriptions.
“I am surprised,” Rudolf said, “that the interrogators at Fort Hunt did not take this from you, Helmut. It lists every boat you served on!”
Helmut nodded. “Yes, I know. They questioned me carefully, but each boat sank after I transferred off—well, except U-893. Besides, from some of the things they said, I realized the Americans knew more than we like to think! I got it back because they had no use for it.”
Helmut shook his head. “I am amazed by the American boy. I cannot imagine why he took the effort to find it.”
Rudolf shrugged. He felt confused by the kindness of Ruth Feller and her son, and he remained disturbed by Bob’s question about Der Führer. Suddenly, he said without much thought, “Do you have anything from your uniform? Perhaps you could give him your U-boat badge.”
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