Before Richard ever woke, Zeus had already been out the door and running errands. Their exploits in Germany was on the news and made going back impossible. Zeus brought breakfast up and as they had croissants with tea and juice Richard got in touch with Dr. Al. Richard emailed her the dinner picture with Hitler, Goering, Himmler, and Brunnuer and asked her to identify the others. Within the hour she got back to Richard with all the names and short biographies.
So how did these men fit into the mystery? The first was Karl Donitz. He had an illustrious career in the Kriegsmarine or German Navy. He worked his way up through the ranks in WWI. He is credited with the advent of wolf pack tactics for German submarines and was made commander of submarines in 1939. In 1943 he was made Oberkommando der Marine or Commander-in-Chief of the Navy. Donitz was named in Hitler’s will as Head-of-State, commander of the armed forces and president.
The next man was Major–General/ Doctor Walter Dornberger, an artillery commander. He directly over saw the weapon development of the V2 rockets and their launches. Hitler famously apologized to Dornberger saying, “I have had to apologized only to two men in his whole life. The first was Field Marshal von Brauchitsch. I did not listen to him when he told me again and again how important your research was. The second man is yourself. I never believed that your work would be successful.” It was proof of Hitler’s nearsightedness and inability to see how weapons like the V2 and Me 262 could have changed the war in Germany’s favor.
Wilhelm “Willy” Messerschmitt, the producer of the namesake airplanes. Willy did not directly design the Me 262 but his company did and he was responsible for the setup of its mass production. After the war Willy designed the Me Bf 109 the most produced fighter in history.
Albert Speer, the Minister of Armaments and War Production. He was the chief architect of the Third Reich, designing structures like the 1936 Olympic Stadium. Speer had plans to redesign Berlin for posterity. Despite constant aerial bombardment by the Allies, Speer was able to increase production on tanks and planes and cut submarine build time from one year to two months.
The last man was the most intriguing. Ernst Schafer was a zoologist and was the leader of an expedition to Tibet. For funding he had to become a member of the SS and the expedition would fall loosely under the SS Ahnenerbe or the SS Ancestral Heritage Society. The Nazi propaganda machine heralded Schafer and the expedition as a success.
After reading the short bio Richard knew they needed more about the expedition and Schafer. Richard had Dr. Al dig up everything on the subjects. By the end of the day Richard had hundreds of pages. Schafer took meticulous notes on the expedition. They gained further insight into the expedition from a firsthand account. A member of the expedition team, Max Kueble kept a detailed diary including even mundane details like what they had for breakfast.
The expedition began in May of 1938 and ended August 1939 only being called short with the imminent threat of war. The expedition traveled through India’s Sikkim region where they received their supplies, transportation, guides and translators. They traveled first to the Tibetan capital of Lhasa where they spent two months, then to the cities of Gyantse and Shigatse.
The expedition collected birds, insects, dried plants and seeds of the region. They documented the local peoples using cranial measurements, facial and head casts, finger and hand prints. The team documented the weather, topography, and geology.
They observed the local culture and religion, documented their festivals and rituals. They watched as Tibetans practiced sky burials where the dead were ritually dismembered and left exposed for the carrion. Though several species would come to feed the vultures were integral to returning the dead to the sky.
They poured through hundreds of pages of notes for hours. Sometimes in silence, other with the TV on, always with food and coffee around.
Zeus broke the monotony, “Why would Kueble not finish this bird’s name?” He handed Richard a copy of the original notes and pointed to the end of the page. “The last word is Ruddy. It’s missing the second part, Ruddy Shelduck is an indigenous bird to the region.”
The next clue Zeus found were the dates. The largest gap in Kueble’s diary was two days before he made another entry. After the Rudy Shelduck entry had a gap of a week and the hand writing looked noticeably different. The solid, smooth printed letters were replaced with rushed, slanted letters and the scientific thoroughness vanished.
Then there was the fact that Himmler met Schafer on the runway when he returned from the expedition. The Nazi’s sent expeditions all over the world from the Scandinavian Peninsula, to Italy, the Balkans, Antarctica, and the Middle East. Himmler only met Schafer. What made him so excited he had to shake Schafer hand as soon as he got back to Germany?