“I will tell you something,” the count said to Betty as they sat together a few days later in the seclusion of a first class compartment on the train taking them back to Warsaw. “I know we are going to part, you and I. And one day I feel we will meet as enemies.”

Sadness choked his words. It was as if he was suddenly unable to talk. He had been drinking for a while.

In a moment he continued: “You must wear a white carnation on that day to show me that you won’t kill me.”

“What do you mean by that?” Betty asked, suddenly angered. “Do you mean that you are going to be on the German side?”

“I don’t know,” he said morosely, “but that is the way I see it.”

He went on in this fatalistic way. In their meeting, the count revealed, the Fuhrer had promised to support Poland’s demands on Czechoslovakia. But Lubienski told Betty he believed it wouldn’t end with that. Hitler had his set his sights on Poland too. And when he struck, Poland would have no choice but to become part of the Reich.

As the train rumbled towards Warsaw,  Lubienski’s account of his troubling conversation with Hitler continued to flow from him. He spoke at first with a genuine venom, but his anger was quickly spent. He went on listless and resigned.

Betty silently committed every word to memory. She made sure that she had it all for the report she would send to London.

the Train to Warsaw, 1938

She wanted to offer solace, but her heart wasn’t in it. The sad truth, Betty believed, was that Lubienski only had an intimation, and a small one at that, of how bad things were going to get very soon.

In her suitcase, packed among her negligee because she hoped that would be the last place even an officious border guard would look, were the pile of documents that had been taken from Henlein’s desk. Among them was a map illustrated in bold colors. Each color represented another stage in Germany’s three-year plan for the annexation of middle Europe into the Reich.

Order your copy of The Last Goodnight: A World War II Story of Espionage, Adventure, and Betrayal.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This