The Hansa Way
- 1 U-3955
- 2 BALTIC SEA, 3 NAUTICAL MILES EAST OF NEXØ, BORNHOLM ISLAND, MAY 7-8, 1945, NIGHT
- 3 DOCKS, NEXØ PORT, MAY 8, 1945, EVENING
- 4 U-3955, PORT OF NEXØ
- 5 TORPEDO ROOM, U-3955
- 6 DECK, U-3955, PORT OR NEXØ
- 7 RADIO ROOM, BURNING KRIEGSMARINE STATION, NEXØ
- 8 DOCKS, PORT OR NEXØ
- 9 PORT OR NEXØ
- 10 TORPEDO ROOM, U-3955
- 11 BALTIC SEA, 2 NM EAST OF NEXØ
- 12 PORT OF NEXØ
- 13 NEXØ
- 14 NORTH BEACH, NEXØ
- 15 NEXØ KIRKE
- 16 NEXØ PORT
- 17 NEXØ KIRKE
- 18 NEXØ KIRKE, LATER
- 19 NEXØ KIRKE, NIGHT
- 20 EVACUATION
- 21 KOENIGSBERG
- 22 VISTULA SPIT, EAST-PRUSSIA- EVENING
- 23 ANTI-AIRCRAFT OBSERVATION TOWER, PORVOO, FINLAND, SUMMER 1944
- 24 WOOD, PORVOO, FINLAND, SUMMER 1944
- 25 VISTULA SPIT, EAST-PRUSSIA, DAWN, MAY 25, 1945
- 26 NOTES
A minimal crew operates the speeding submarine as an eerie silence in only intermittently broken by Marie's music box which resonates throughout the compartments where men are lying down, eyes wide opened.
BALTIC SEA, 3 NAUTICAL MILES EAST OF NEXØ, BORNHOLM ISLAND, MAY 7-8, 1945, NIGHT
After a 15 hour submerged journey at full steam from Fårö, the snorkel of U-3955 emerges 3 Nautical Miles off Nexø, on the still German controlled island of Bornholm, Denmark. The inflow of fresh oxygen revives the sleepy crew. The Navigator is first to peak through the periscope. The small town is ablaze and bombs keep falling from the sky.
-Shit! I don't know what this is but it sure doesn't look like peace. Take a look Commander.
The Commander grabs the periscope and orders the Radioman.
-Radioman... Get High Command in Rønne. See what's happening. Whoever is on it, it doesn't look like they're only targeting the port. The whole town is on fire.
The Radioman starts setting rotors on the Enigma as the Commander approaches.
-Forget about the code... Get them on the Radio.
The Radioman scans the frequency dial.
-This is U-3955, I repeat this is U-3955... requesting situation report on the port of Nexø.
The Radioman looks back at the Commander who's surrounded by the rest of the crew... Radio Silence...
-This is Rønne High Command. Identify yourself.
The Commander grabs the mike.
-This is Commander XX of the Kriegsmarine. Requesting authorization to dock at Nexø. Out of fuel and supplies.
Long silence at the other end as the Commander looks at Eveliina who joined the group around him.
-Negative. Nexø at risk of imminent attack.
The Commander hands the mike back to the Radioman as he addresses the Navigator.
-No shit imminent... What do you say Nav!
-I say we have no choice. We could sail submerged all the way to the main dock and evacuate between two waves of attack. We spread on the island an lay low until things settle down...
1WO who has been quietly listening to the conversation intervenes.
-This would mean an almost certain sinking or capture of the ship by the Soviets.
-Yes but we'd all be safe and in still German controlled territory... responds the Commander as he grabs the mike again.
-This is U-3955 Commander XX, requesting to speak to the garrison’s commander.
A fifteen minute silence is interrupted by a voice breaking over the sound of explosions.
-This is KZS von Kamptz, commander of Bornholm... We are holding the island against a Soviet attack while expecting a response from Allied command in Copenhagen at any moment... We have lost contact with Nexø's Kriegsmarine and DCA bases. Do you have a visual on the port and town of Nexø?
-Affirmative. The town is ablaze and several civilian ships are either burning of sunken in the port. Explosions seem to have slowed down over the past few minutes... Do you have an ETA on the British contingent?
-British or Americans... No... We were expecting a plane but our airstrips are all down so it will have to be a ship... In the morning I hope. What about the situation at sea? Our radar stations are all down...
-We can't give you our location on air but so far...
The Commander peaks at the Radarman who nods his head then he grabs the periscope while keeping the mike in his palm and rotates a 180.
-... So far, nothing on the horizon...
DOCKS, NEXØ PORT, MAY 8, 1945, EVENING
The fin of U-3955 emerges by a sunken passenger ship along the main dock in Nexø. Most of the town is burning and an eerie silence shrouds the port. The Commander and the Radioman followed by six seamen jump onto the dock's ladder and make their way up the hill to the Kriegsmarine's station which flag catches on fire as they reach the main entrance.
The U-boat crew ducks as they hear the warning coming from the roof of a nearby building.
-Don't move, orders the Commander to his crew, before shouting back at the voice on the roof.
-This is Commander XX, we just docked our ship. Can I speak to you're CO?
A minute later, a wounded German sailor walks out of the building using his gun as a crutch. The Commander walks up to help him out.
-Where are the others.
-I don't know, every one in my squadron is dead. The bombardments just stopped about an hour ago. They've been bombing us for over two days. I thought the war was over. What's going on?
-I don't know. Have you seen any British or Americans?
-No, only planes coming from the East. Russians for sure... Do you have a doctor on board?
-No, but we'll take care of you. Is there a place where we could take cover for the night? Food?
-Maybe the church, just a few block south of the port. It's still standing.
-What about the radio room? asks the commander.
The wounded sailor, points to the still smoking Kriegsmarine's station building.
-In there, on the 2nd floor, I believe, but I've never been inside.
The commander orders the Radioman and 2 seamen to get into the Kriegsmarine station and and radio and establish contact with U-3955.
U-3955, PORT OF NEXØ
Back inside the U-Boat, the Navigator, with both hand squeezing the Radioman's headset, repeats the incoming message to the 1WO.
-The Commander has ordered us to evacuate. We have to meet them at the church.
1WO looks perplex.
-Abandoning the ship?
-Yes, replies the Navigator after receiving confirmation at the other end...
-ALERT! shouts the Radarman as he sees multiples dots appearing on his PPI screen.
1WO runs to the Radarman's position and notices about a dozen advancing figures.
-Yes. About 10 Nautical Miles East!
The Radarman waits for a few wipes to refresh his screen and scribbles a few numbers on his pad...
1WO looks at the Engineer who has just arrived from the engine room.
-The Russians are invading the island in 20 minutes! How long to sail out?
-At least 15 minutes, answers the Engineer. But we have barely enough diesel to sail out 10 NM.
-We have to evacuate now, continues the Navigator. They'll probably send a last wave of air-strikes before landing.
-Close the hatches! Orders the 1WO to the Engineer.
-But what about the Commander? I could try a run to get him, argues the Navigator.
-No Time. Arm the tubes.
TORPEDO ROOM, U-3955
The Navigator wakes up Eveliina who is lying next to Marie in the torpedo room.
-Eveliina. Wake up.
-What's going on?
-You got to get out now... We're sailing out.
-Why can't I stay on board...
-I don't have time to explain. Give me the baby and climb me up this ladder. I'll pass him to you when you're outside.
Eveliina carefully grabs Marie and hand her to Navigator before climbing up to open hatch.
DECK, U-3955, PORT OR NEXØ
As Eveliina exits from the forward hatch, the engines start roaring and the U-Boat starts moving, getting her to panic.
At that moment, one of the Navigator's hand pops out of the hatch followed by Marie in the other.
-Grab her an jump on the dock!
Eveliina loses her balance as she grab Marie but reaches the dock's iron ladder, holding on with one hand as the U-Boat sails out. The Navigator shouts at her before closing the hatch.
-Go to the church...
RADIO ROOM, BURNING KRIEGSMARINE STATION, NEXØ
Through a thick cloud of smoke, the Radioman adjusts the rotors on the station's Enigma before encrypting a message to the Rønne HQ.
-THIS IS NEXØ KRIEGSMARINE STATION. TOWN AND PORT ABLAZE. NO SURVIVORS. MORE THAN 12 SOVIET SHIPS 15 NM EAST. U-3955 OUT TO SLOW THEM DOWN. ABANDONING POST. OVER.
DOCKS, PORT OR NEXØ
Holding Marie with one hand and grabbing each bars one by one, Eveliina finally makes it to the deserted dock as she sees the fin of U-3955 disappearing into the sea. Buzzing over the horizon, the sound of an approaching squadron of Ilyushin bombers gets her to run for cover.
PORT OR NEXØ
As the bombs start falling, the Commander makes his way back to the port and finds a panicked Eveliina holding Marie and ducking behind some crates.
-What happen? They Left!
-I don't know... Nav just pushed us out as the ship was sailing out.
The Commander climbs onto the crates to get a better view of the sea. He is taken aback when he sees the approaching Soviet fleet.
-Shit... They're preparing to land...
At the same moment, a huge explosion rocks the horizon as one of the Soviet ship bursts into flames...
-They went on a suicide mission... That's why they offloaded you...
Eveliina kisses Marie on the forehead as she continues to shake and cry.
TORPEDO ROOM, U-3955
The voice of 1WO resonates through the loud speaker.
As a the Mecanikaermaat, releases the firing clutch, Navigator looks at the others around him...
-Last one! That's it.
BALTIC SEA, 2 NM EAST OF NEXØ
U-3955's last torpedo hits a the side of a Soviet destroyer which bursts into flames as a series of depth charges explode simultaneously splashing water high up in the air.
PORT OF NEXØ
The Commander, Eveliina and Marie make their way towards the inland as they duck to hide from Soviet aircraft flying over their heads.
-You have to make it to the church... If they haven't bombed it yet. They might spare it... Says the Commander. I'm gonna get the rest of the crew before the ground troops...
-That one? asks Eveliina as she points towards a Nexø Church's bell tower.
-It's gotta be it. I'll meet you there.
Eveliina, holding Marie, start walking away from the Commander then freezes as she recognizes the strident sound of Ilyushin engines from afar. She scans the sky with her bare eyes then turns back and screams at the Commander to take cover as 3 Sturmovik aircraft start unloading their guns on their position. The Commander has just the time to turn towards the mother and child before he get's hit in the chest and collapses. A second later, the planes disappear into the horizon and Eveliina crawls towards him.
Holding Marie in one hand, she desperately tries to get the wounded Commander back on his feet.
-Grab my arm...
As the Commander tries to stand holding Eveliina, he collapses again bringing them all to the ground. He utters a mixture of words and blood.
-You still have a good eye... But that's it for me I guess... Go before they come back...
Eveliina, understanding that there is no hope for the Commander, places her free hand behind his neck to relieve his twisted neck. The Commander looks at Marie, then back at Eveliina. She smiles and cries at the same time then kisses the Commander on the forehead. Chocking on his blood, the Commander whispers his final words into Eveliina's ear.
-The gold... The gold...
NORTH BEACH, NEXØ
Amidst the heavy pounding, Eveliina and Marie finally reach the Church. When the front door closes behind them, the sound of bombs ceases immediately. Marie's eyes scout the peaceful atmosphere of the sober protestant church which contrasts with the noisy rubbles of the outside and the stuffy U-Boat where she spent the first fortnight of her life.
Relieved to be alive and safe, Eveliina sits on a church bench and cuddles Marie. She pulls the Music Box from her pocket and winds it as Marie stares at her.
As the tiny wooden box resonates in the church, Eveliina hears footsteps next to the altar. She lies down on the bench trying to get Marie to keep quiet by whispering the The Swedish Rhapsody theme into her ear when someone calls her name.
-Eveliina? It's me, Radioman... Eveliina... Calls the Radioman who recognized the tune.
Eveliina peaks above the church benches and sees the Radioman walking down the aisle.
-Hi... When did you get ashore? Did the boat come back? asks the Radioman.
-No, they left. I mean I don't know if they came back or what... The Navigator got us out as they were sailing away.
-They went to strike the Soviet ships... I got a last message about an hour ago. I don't think they made it...
-You mean... They're all dead? asks Eveliina.
-Probably... it was a suicide mission. Maybe the Commander shouldn't have left the boat to WO1. Have you seen them, the Commander and the other crewmen?
Eveliina looks down...
-He's dead... We got attacked by planes as he was trying to find you I guess...
The Radioman stares at a model boat hanging from the churches ceiling.
-Shit...Well, it's only us now...
He strum Marie's cheek with the back of his fingers.
Soviet Naval Marines spread into platoons across the port and town.
A stack of hay that has been laid down on the churches floor where Eveliina and the Radioman lie on either sides of Marie who has just fallen asleep.
-I can't believe that they all died... The war was over... saids Eveliina as she caresses Marie's forehead.
-After all this! We were so close... And the commander... I can't believe he's gone too, replies Radioman.
NEXØ KIRKE, LATER
The 3 are sleeping on the hay stack when 5 Russian Navy Marines erupt through the front door. Radioman stands up but is shot down when one of the Marines recognizes his German uniform. Eveliina covers Marie with her body and shouts in Swedish.
-Don't shoot us please, I have a baby.
The wounded Radioman raises his hands and begs the Russians to spare the woman and child in a mixture of German and Russian.
-We're not armed. Don't shoot. Don't shoot.
The platoon's Petty Officer (PO) walks towards Radioman pointing his rifle at his head then strikes him on the head with back of his gun.
-Shut up, German fucker, saids the PO as Radioman collapses.
The PO then grabs Eveliina's arms and notices Marie under her body.
-Little German rat! Come here, I'm gonna show you better.
The PO grabs her by the hair and she lets go of Marie as she's get dragged behind the altar.
-Don't touch her! Don't touch my baby... screams Eveliina as Marie starts crying.
-1&2, search the rest of the church! 2&3, keep and eye on the German! orders the PO to his men as he trows Eveliina to the ground then leans on top of her pulling her skirt and tearing her underwear.
As Eveliina is being raped by the PO, one of the Russian Marines kneels down towards Marie to muffle the sound of her screams with his glove. He notices that the Radioman is still conscious, bleeding from gunshots in the leg as well as from a cut on his forehead.
-Let's do him, saids Marine 3 (M3) to M4.
-Let him rot, answers M4 as he kick Radioman in the back.
M1&2 come back from having searched the churches annexes.
-Noting... saids M1. PO's still at it?
At that moment, the PO stands up from behind the altar tightening his belt.
-Good German pussy, he saids laughing before spitting on Eveliina as he keeps her down with his boot. I'm done. Anyone wants a taste of this before we move on?
M3 stands up releasing Marie's mouth who continues crying even louder.
-For sure PO!
Eveliina screams from behind the altar as M3 walks pins her down.
-Don't hurt my baby... Please don't hurt her...
Radioman gestures to his guard that he'll try to sooth the baby to quiet her down. M4, who's now alone next to Radioman while PO, M1 & M2 are by the altar peeking cheering as M3 rapes Eveliina, gestures back with his gun agreeing to the request. Radioman rolls towards Marie and notices the Music Box next to her. He kisses her on the forehead as he winds the wooden box. The Swedish Rhapsody resonates through the church in a surreal sound of war.
NEXØ KIRKE, NIGHT
Badly bruised, Eveliina wakes up half naked behind the altar. Radioman is by her side holding sleeping Marie.
-Is she ok? Utters Eveliina.
-Yes... She fell asleep... Replies Radioman.
Eveliina tries to smile but her swollen lips prevents her from doing so.
-Thank you... Did they leaves?
-Yes... They're gone. Don't worry...
-I want to go back home... I shouldn't have brought her into this...
The Radioman caresses Eveliina's head and she looks up seeing his bloody face.
-They didn't miss you either...
Then, noticing his wounded leg.
-Let me see.
-Don't worry... I think the bullets went through.
-Still, you have to stop the bleeding.
Eveliina stands up and grabs a cloth placed over the altar. She kneels next to Radioman, then carefully ties a tourniquet above his wounds.
-It was too late for Commander...
-It was the first time you saw someone dying.
-Yes... First time I saw someone dead...
-Well, at least he was with you. Didn't die alone.
-I guess... Eveliina becomes pensive. Before he died... The commander uttered strange words. I mean. I didn't get why he saids this to me.
-The Gold. The Gold... He repeated twice, then closed his yes and never opened them again.
Radioman pulls up his leg with pain, then looks at Eveliina...
-What did you guys brought on the island? Did you notice if they stashed some boxes.
-No... We had nothing on our way in.... I would have noticed. The boat was so tiny... And we remained together throughout the journey...
-This was my first patrol on a U-boat. I didn't know the Commander or any of the crew before. I think that the Navigator, the Engineer and him had done patrols on another ship before they got the Elektroboot. Whatever he meant, don't ever mention this to the Soviets or whoever interrogates you in the future... It'll will only bring you trouble.
Eveliina looks at Marie who turns around. Radioman pulls her blanket back up and stains it with his bloody hand as he notices the embroidered inscription.
-What does it mean?
-Little Angel... My mother gave it to her.
At that moment, 3 Soviet Navy officers followed by Marines enter the church and are surprised to find the three civilians there. Not recognizing Radioman's Kriegsmarine uniform, they mistakenly take him for a wounded Danish national and order his evacuation to a field hospital. There, he is separated from Eveliina, unknowingly bringing along the secret about U-3955's treasure.
Although she claims to be a Finnish national and requests to remain in Denmark, the Soviet deport Eveliina and Marie to a facility in Koenigsberg where German military and some civilian are held before being sent to labour camps.
Soon after arriving in Koenigsberg, Eveliina is released because the Soviet can't hold her in an all male labour camp. Following its "liberation" by the Red Army, the city is in disarray and now prone to "ethnic cleansing". Eveliina wanders around the city and eventually tags along a convoy of Ethnic Germans heading West.
VISTULA SPIT, EAST-PRUSSIA- EVENING
The sun is setting on the Vistula Spit. Eveliina is lagging behind the convoy of German refugees making its way across the peninsula. The wheels of the baby carriage squeak and sink into the sand as the Swedish Rhapsody continues to lull Marie. Exhausted and not able to catch up, Eveliina stops and kneels down holding onto the handlebar. The convoy disappears into the Western horizon. Marie, awaken and serene, stares at the Evening Star blinking out of focus in front of her.
ANTI-AIRCRAFT OBSERVATION TOWER, PORVOO, FINLAND, SUMMER 1944
In a small town East of Helsinki, Eveliina scans the sky with binoculars. At the bottom of the watch-tower stands Gunter, a young German Falkkorps advisor who calls her name. Her co-Lotta Svärd gives a complicit look at Eveliina.
-I'll be back in half an hour... Tell them I had girl's stuff to take care of if they ask, says Eveliina as she climbs down the wooden tower.
-Half an hour... He's fast your German... replies the Lotta as she grabs the binoculars.
-Keep your eye in the air, says Eveliina as she disappears bellow the deck.
Eveliina embraces Gunter and the two walk hand in hand towards a nearby wood.
WOOD, PORVOO, FINLAND, SUMMER 1944
A woodpecker carves a groove through the bark of a pine tree, 10 meters above Eveliina and Gunter making love on a soft bed of brownish needles. A vivid green caterpillar hangs on a silk tread, swinging through the gentle wind.
-I wish we could stay like this forever, murmurs Eveliina, locked into Gunter's arms.
-I will follow you to the end of the world...
Gunter kisses her.
-When the war is over, I'll come and get you, then we'll go together... to China...
-I love you.
They make love again....
The sound of aircraft engines echoes through the trees and fills the silence between the woodpecker's knocks. In a panic, Eveliina grabs her underwear and buttons up her skirt.
-Shit, they're coming!
Gunter gently places his palm over her mouths and signals her to listen.
-Listen... Listen to the purring... like a panther... like a cat... BWW 132. German engineering... Close your eyes, shut down your ears, then open them from within... a whole new world will open up... inaccessible to most.
Gunter slowly moves his fingers away and softly replaces them by his lips as the aircraft engines sound fades away and the caterpillar drops on them.
VISTULA SPIT, EAST-PRUSSIA, DAWN, MAY 25, 1945
A seagull lands by Marie's carriage who is staring at an aurora filling the northern sky. Her white damask blanket bearing the Finnish words Pikku Engeli is tightly wrapped around her. The music box has stopped playing and lies next to her pink cheeks.
Far away, silhouettes from a new convoy of refugees emerge from the Eastern horizons. No signs of Eveliina. The carriage stands alone on the sandy road.
Marie is raised in an orphanage on the Inner German Border near Lübeck.
Mention ties between Eveliina's father and the Nazi Regime.
Strengthen 1W0/Commander tensions... Soviet barbarism VS Morgenthau Plan
Add writings from the Commander's War Diary.
Hint of Gold in last Enigma transmission from Faro.
Why was U-3955 loaded with gold? Who was in charge? What was the intended destination?
If U-3955 drifted from Danzig with a current of 30cm/s, it would have reached the Helsinki straight in 40 days (march26-may4). Normal currents are at 5cm/s. Strong currents are at 100cm/s.
A saline pulse entering from the Atlantic Ocean though the Danish straights could have provoked an extraordinary deep current which would have run North-Eastward along the Baltic States coastline. No data on such pulses were collected (or has been preserved) between 1939 and 1945.
Besides the fears of mistreatment of German military personnel and civilians by the Soviets, one should raise the fear of implementation of the Morgenthau Plan by the Brits and Americans.
Marching deported Germans will care for Marie all the way to Lübeck where she will be raised as Ulla...
During the seventies, Radioman reads an ad from The Red Cross' Information and Documentation Center in Munich that rings a bell: Found in a baby carriage on May 25, 1945, on a beach in Pomerania. In the baby carriage were a damask blanket with embroidered Finnish words Pikku enkeli (little angel) along with a Music Box playing The Swedish Rhapsody.
He then tries to contact Marie through various means but learns that she has now vanished and is suspected to be part of the RAF's underground. He then starts broadcasting series of codes through a Number Station playing the The Swedish Rhapsody as an intro to try to get Marie's attention. The message never reaches Marie but will one day catch Jouni's attention when she finds the Music Box when her mother's dies...