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  • Simon Howard

A VIRUS IN BERLIN


The Military Museum sent me to Berlin just as the pandemic struck. I was meant to be selecting items from the German Army’s vaults for an exhibition of WW2 equipment back in London. All fairly straightforward stuff, I thought.

Well, for the first two weeks I was stuck in lockdown inside a hotel somewhere near the old Berlin Wall. I had trouble working out whether the area was East or West before Reunification, but I knew it wasn’t far from where Hitler’s bunker had been. When they let me out, I thought I’d been inside my own sodding bunker, but at least I’d caught up on my reading about the War.

I headed for the vaults, and after several checks reminiscent of Nazi days, I was allowed in. I wandered around for hours – unescorted, thank God, because nobody wanted to spend long in somebody else’s company. So, the Covid pandemic gave me the opportunity to explore parts of the building that normally would have been off limits.

It seemed to be filled with a sense of history because somehow it had escaped the Wartime Allied bombing – God knows how. Eventually I found a door marked ‘Draussen bleiben’, and even I, with my bad German, knew that meant Keep out. I tried to open it, but the door was locked. Now, if I’d learned one thing in my own Army days, it was how to pick a lock – so I did.

Inside were all sorts objects – a huge variety. Open parachutes covered guns and armoured cars and uniforms, and at the far end was a sort of glassed-over operating table. I fought my way towards it, hearing a purring noise as I approached. Eventually I reached it.

And there, before my very eyes, were Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun, perfectly preserved and ready to return to life when the moment demanded – and the Neo-Nazis demanded! I knew what my duty was…

‘Heil Covid!’ I roared as I switched off the machine’s electrical supply.


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