Rudolf stared at the American with unwavering suspicion. He guessed him to be about seventeen. Rudolf’s first inclination was to retort he was a prisoner and not allowed to talk to impudent farmers’ sons, but he knew the sluggish guards did not care. Deciding to answer the question after a long moment, Rudolf looked around to make sure none of the other POWs could hear; he did not want to be seen talking with the enemy.
“We believe in Adolf Hitler because he made life better for us,” Rudolf said, trying to keep a calm demeanor, but his right eye began twitching. “Before Hitler, under the Weimar Republic, there was no work for the German people because of the injustice of the Treaty of Versailles. The Führer brought food to our tables, gave us work for our hands. He is our leader, our strength.”
The teenager digested that for a moment and then countered, “Yes, but he’s led you into this awful war. Germany is losing…”
Rudolf’s face, burned brown from the Arizona sun, blanched. He wanted to strike out against this idiot who voiced such blasphemy, but he knew the trouble he would be in if he did. Instead, in a measured tone, he said, “Don’t be so sure of that,” and then he abruptly turned from the source of his enmity, his eye still twitching against his fierce will. Rudolf quickly found another patch of weeds in an adjacent cotton row to hack into, hoping it would alleviate his wrath.
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