Marion Kummerow Interviews Sabine Mahler from Reluctant Informer
Reluctant Informer is one of ten novellas in the anthology “The Darkest Hour – WWIII Tales of Resistance.”
It’s a pleasure to be here on History Imagined to introduce you to Sabine Mahler, an ordinary German housewife who thought she could keep her head down and look away when the Nazis took over.
She never imagined going against the sinister Gestapo, until they made her an offer she couldn’t refuse. With her husband in their hands, his life depends on her willingness to cooperate.
MK: Welcome, Sabine. Thanks for joining us today.
SM: It’s my pleasure. Thank you for having me.
MK: Can you tell us where and when were you born?
SM: I’m an only child and was born in 1920 in Berlin, the capital of Germany.
MK: I understand your husband Werner plays an important role in your current predicament. Can you tell us how and where you met him?
SM: Werner is the love of my life. It was love at first sight and I still remember it like it was yesterday.
He attended the same high school as I and was two years senior. One day during the break, I dropped my books. He came over to help me pick them up.
The moment I gazed into his beautiful eyes looking at me, my knees went wobbly and butterflies did crazy things with my stomach. The next day he asked me out and we have been together ever since.
MK: Is falling in love a gift or a curse?
SM: Definitely both.
Falling in love with Werner has been a wonderful gift and marrying him was the best thing that ever happened to me.
If I may say so, our love for each other only grows bigger with each passing day.
But one day, my love for Werner became my biggest weakness and a curse. (dabs at her eyes)
MK: Are you alright? Should we take a break?
SM: No. No. I can do this.
Several weeks ago the Gestapo recruited me to do their dirty work for them. To make sure I was willing to cooperate, they kidnapped and tortured my beloved Werner.
MK: Wow. That’s quite a story. Would you tell us more about this?
SM: It’s not something I’m especially proud of, but I would do anything to save him. I couldn’t imagine a life without him by my side.
The Gestapo suspects my new coworker Frau Klausen to be a member of a resistance organization, and they asked, or better ordered, me to infiltrate the organization, pretending to be one of them.
As soon as I have earned the trust of Frau Klausen, I’m supposed to find out who else is involved and give the Gestapo the names of all their members.
MK:And, did you?
SM: Not yet, but after so many weeks I’m finally close to getting accepted into the inner circle of that group. (she thins her lips, looking down at her clasped hands) It’s not that I like doing this, but it wasn’t like I had a choice.
The Gestapo has Werner. And Kriminalkommissar Becker didn’t leave any doubt about what would happen to my husband if I don’t deliver results.
(puts her hand to her elaborate hairdo in a nervous gesture)
But today something awful happened. I am supposed to hand over a Jewish girl to the Gestapo in exchange for my husband’s life.
You know what will happen to her if I do this, don’t you?
MK: I’m afraid, I do. It will be a horrible fate for the poor girl. So, what will you do?
SM: I don’t know. (tears spilling down her face and I hand her a kerchief)
How am I supposed to decide between my husband’s life and that of a stranger? She’s a child for God’s sake!
I was never supposed to play God.
I really have no idea what to do.
MK: I’m so sorry, but I can’t help you with this decision. Are there any parting words you want to share with us?
SM: Oh my goodness. I must be the worst person on this planet and you are asking me for pearls of wisdom?
I did so many things wrong in my life and right now I’m feeling like an utter and complete failure.
If I may give an advice to the young people out there, it would be, “Don’t be like me and look away. Get involved and fight for what you think is right.”
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Marion Kummerow was born and raised in Germany, before she set out to “discover the world” and lived in various countries. In 1999 she returned to Germany and settled down in Munich where she’s now living with her family.
After dipping her toes with non-fiction books, she finally tackled the project dear to her heart. UNRELENTING is the story about her grandparents, who belonged to the German resistance and fought against the Nazi regime. It’s a book about resilience, love and the courage to stand up and do the right thing.
All her books feature strong main characters facing a moral dilemma, and the answer is never easy or obvious.