V5

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The Germans were not complete idiots. Earlier in the year a U-boat captain, gazing at the shore of the Isle of Wight through his periscope, noted that the Atherfield lighthouse stopped flashing for hours. He noted the start and stop time, and a clever intelligence agent in Berlin realized this matched the start and stop time of the Clarinet signal originating from what they thought was a nearby tower. A second and third observation over the next two weeks verified the anomaly. In the early morning hours of June 3rd, a German sub surfaced just offshore, and commandos rowed ashore to raid the lighthouse, led by an SS captain named Felix Schaub who doubled as the political officer aboard the U-boat to ensure its loyalty to Hitler.

On this occasion Schaub wore his black pre-war Schutz Staffel uniform for the brutal psychological effect he knew it would have on the Gervasi family.

With Lilith and Edith whimpering in terror, tied up and threatened with pistols pointed at their heads, Benjamin demonstrated the Clarinet system to Captain Schaub, but to Benjamin's great surprise the Germans neither destroyed the gear nor tried to remove it to their submarine. Instead, Schaub pulled out a notebook and identified each member of the Gervasi family by name, and he told them he knew they were Jews. He said whether they lived or died would depend on the correct answer to precisely two questions:

What is the target of the planned invasion across the English Channel?

Benjamin stiffened in dismay. He was confronted with the choice of losing his family or betraying the trust Admiral Sir Ramsay had given him. At the slightest nod from Schaub, the hammer was pulled back on the pistol pointed at Lilith's head.

Gervasi gave in. Calais, he said, and let out the breath he had been holding for nearly a minute.

Goot, Captain Schaub said. And the timing?

June twentieth.

The SS officer smiled and put his notebook away. I'm a man of my word, he said. Neither you nor your wife nor your daughter will be killed. Now here is what I want you to do, Mr. Gervasi. From now on, when you get your orders to operate Clarinet, you will carry them out, but you will be a little sloppy when you align the antenna. Not too much! Perhaps just a fraction of one degree. Just enough to throw the bombing raid off by a few hundred yards. You will do this until the end of the war. And more importantly, you will tell no one that you are sabotaging the raids.

Or you'll come back and kill us?

Benjamin, I'm disappointed in you! What does a man have in this world if he fails to do what he promises he will do? You have my word of honor that neither you nor your lovely Edith nor your beautiful young Lilith will be killed. But they will be taken to the concentration camp near Saint-Malo in France were all the British Jews in the Channel Islands have been relocated.

No, I beg you!

They will not be mistreated there. But if we learn that a future air raid on Germany using the transmitter at this lighthouse is successful, things will not seem so good. But even then, my word will hold. Lilith and Edith will be transferred to a work camp deeper in France, perhaps even in Germany. He closed the leaves of his notebook with a snap. It is astonishing how much work you can get out of a Jew with a whip.

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