Chapter Two - Herbert Volck: The Embittered Veteran
A former officer, whom I had known at the front but had not seen for several years, appeared in my studio not long after the war was over. He had been an airman and later had joined the paramilitary Free Corps. He was complete mercenary, a notorious troublemaker, and a nationalist who laid claim to the title of a "rebel for honor". His name was Herbert Volck. If I recount the circumstances of his life in some detail, it is not just because he sought my friendship for years on end or because I constantly found myself involved in some way in his activities. I do so because Volck is a good example of the generation of German soldiers who had been unable accept the capitulation and regarded the Weimar Republic as a national disgrace. Through him I gained an intimate knowledge of the right-wing radicals who opposed not only the Communists but all forms of political sanity. Following the politically inept Treaty of Versailles, which had such unfortunate repercussions both for Germany and for the rest of the world, these people continued the war inside the republic, employing terrorist measures which paved the way for the National Socialists.
I do not remember exactly when I first met Herbert Volck. It must have been about 1915, either in the Rokitno marshes in the Ukraine, where Volck was later shot down, or else in Danzig on a horse convoy. Volck was always cheerful, healthy and athletic, a practical joker who paid little attention to army regulations. He wanted no more than to be a soldier and could not be bothered with "intellectual nonsense."
About four years later he suddenly appeared in my studio. Somewhere in Russia I had once told him a little about his future and about the dangerous years which lay ahead of him. Although he had then scoffed at my pessimism, he was now intrigued by my forecasts. Above all, of course, he wanted to know about his future. He asked me whether he should discard his uniform, turn civilian, and push a pen in an office. For Herbert Volck the war had not come to an end on November 11, 1918. He had been in Berlin when the armistice was declared but shortly afterward went to Luneburg Heath at his father's request to muster a unit to fight against the Bolsheviks in the Baltic provinces. This Free Corps unit, which called itself the "Iron Brigade," went with Volck to fight in his Baltic homeland. I have no wish to condemn the Free Corps as such, but Volck's brigade was utterly useless as a military force, and this whole undertaking was just one of the many senseless ventures which he perpetrated in the course of his life. Shortly before his troop was due to be disbanded, he returned to Germany wounded in the arm. Later it was rumoured that he had taken the regimental funds with him for safekeeping.
Volck had never had any money, and yet, as he stood before me with his arm in a sling, he seemed to have access to enormous sums and could afford to convalesce in an expensive sanatorium on the Baltic coast. Standing before me in a spotless new Iron Brigade uniform, his chest covered with medals, he asked me to tell him his future. I had already sketched out the salient points for him, suggesting that he take up a civilian occupation or become a writer. He would certainly have been able to write an interesting book on his wartime and postwar experiences. But Volck wanted to remain an officer and even hinted at offering his services to a foreign army. He suddenly conceived two startling ideas: one was to give lectures on the Caucasus, in America; the other was to open a detective agency in Germany. I thought these projects were mere fantasies, but, surprisingly, he went ahead with both. I heard him declaiming the sort of phrases that were to infect our whole nation within a few years. He liked to talk about his wartime experiences and did so at great length, but he said very little about his Baltic volunteer corps, "which fate snatched from my hands," presumably because he had stolen the regimental funds.
Before setting out for the United States, Volck did publish a book. But he spurned my advice to give up his military and political activities and work off his fantasies by writing detective novels. And he continued to live dangerously. One day he brought me the birth data of a man who, he said, had one foot in London and the other in the Soviet embassy in Berlin. This man pretended that his name was Pinkelée, but it emerged that this was a cover name for Sir Basil Zaharoff, the Levantine arms king and probably the greatest arms dealer of all time. Zaharoff was buying up former German war materiel with inflation currency. His requirements were insatiable, because he supplied the stuff for every civil war, revolution, and partisan struggle that flared up in the world after 1918. Volck knew about the secret weapon dumps set up by the paramilitary and Free Corps groups and was trying to get in on these arms deals, which were worth millions.
But his intrigues had always been regarded as suspect by the republican government in Berlin, and various government departments made life as difficult as possible for him and his detective agency. Perhaps this was one reason why he hated democracy and despised the "Weimar system."
Volck decided, in the early summer of 1922, to set out on his long-planned journey to America. Strangely enough, although my astrological forecasts for this venture were decidedly gloomy, I found myself wishing Herbert Volck good luck on his journey. Initially he had good luck, for his ship was just seven days out to sea when Walther Rathenau was murdered in Berlin, five months after he had become German Foreign Minister. Volck had been in contact with the assassins, but his financial difficulties had prevented him from becoming involved in this affair.
A fortune-teller had predicted great success for Volck in America, but it was my own negative astrological forecast that proved correct. His journey to the United States ended in fiasco. He was officially traveling on detective agency business, trying to track down a stolen Rembrandt. He was, in fact, supporting himself by lecturing to the many German clubs in America on his wartime experiences. But he did not stop there. He told fantastic, inflammatory stories about the intrigues of the "cosmopolitan powers," a supposed conspiracy of Jewish financiers. He even claimed to have discovered a "hot-line" telephone connection between the White House and the banker J. P. Morgan. This almost caused a scandal, and both the German and American governments decided to put a stop to his demagoguery. Volck was forced to return to Germany.
But his journey had not been a complete waste of time, for he had used a tip from the Hamburg underworld to identify the Rembrandt thief. This was quite a success for a dilettante private detective and brought him some fame which would have been useful for his future practice. But he squandered his good fortune by continuing to make political speeches and getting himself and his partner heavily in debt. About a year after his return from America, in the summer of 1923, I met Volck and his wife on the Leipzig-Hamburg express. I was returning from a second postwar astrologers' conference, and I was preoccupied with excitement at the thought of potential developments in German astrology. But I was sharply struck by Volck when I realized he had become almost a megalomaniac. In a visit shortly after that meeting he began to enthuse over a new political movement - the National Socialists.
Today I have to ask myself why I did not simply throw this tedious braggart and agitator out on his ear. The reason is really quite simple. For me Volck was an interesting astrological case, and the more I saw of him and his world, the more fascinated I became. Volck even appealed to me as a sculptor. He was a good head and sometimes sat for me as a model.
On one such occasion, while I worked silently at his bust, he spent hours explaining the aims and ideals of the National Socialist movement to me and the young woman who later became his second wife. He had also brought the birth data of Hitler, Goring, and Röhm with him from Munich and asked me whether the putsch they will planning was likely to succeed.
At Volck's request I first cast Hitler's horoscope in August, 1923. In it I found particularly unfavorable planetary combinations, and for the autumn of 1923 Hitler's s ascendant revealed a malefic conjunction of Saturn and Mars. For about twenty-four hours on or about November 8-9, Mars and Saturn were particularly threatening. There were indications of violence with a disastrous outcome. The horoscopes of Hitler and Herbert Volck were catastrophically opposed to each other. Consequently I advised Volck to have no further dealings with these new political friends. But, as usual, he spurned my advice.
I pointed this out to Volck: "If Saturn occupies the worst position (Leo) in the tenth house without being in aspect with benevolent planets, the person concerned will become a leader of 'coolies.' He will issue senseless and cruel orders and will be feared." I handed this text to Volck together with other observations on Hitler's horoscope and asked him if he really wanted to become one of Hitler's coolies. I reminded him that the coolie, in ancient Sanskrit texts a Sudra, is a member of the lowest Indian caste. Volck said nothing, but seemed impressed. We never mentioned the subject again, and I thought that I had convinced him. I was mistaken. Although Volck did not spend the next few years in the ranks of the Nazi Party, he wrote loyal addresses and begging letters to Röhm, Goring, and Adolf Hitler as soon as the Nazis came to power in 1933.
My interpretation of Hitler's horoscope was later discovered and seized by the Gestapo when they were searching my house, and I was arrested. These low-ranking Gestapo officials were particularly incensed by this find. Years later, about 1941, Heydrich asked me whether I would be prepared to supply a more detailed interpretation of this horoscope. Himmler, who was present at the time, said nothing but gave a broad grin. He had already read my interpretation with great enjoyment.
In October, 1923, Volck visited central Germany and Stuttgart and returned with ominous news of a revolutionary conspiracy, and in this particular instance Volck's statements, although they sounded fantastic, were not without foundation. Between the middle of October and November 9, 1923, revolts flared up all over Germany - first in Saxony and Thuringia, where troops were used against the socialist governments, and finally in Munich, where Hitler's and Ludendorff's march on the Feldherrnhalle was designed to topple the Bavarian, if not indeed the German, government. Hamburg was not spared either. A Communist uprising raged in the city from October 22-24, 1923, before the police brutally suppressed it. Volck's mind was uneasy. During the Hamburg revolt he slipped into my flat to ask me if the Weimar government would be able to hold out just a little longer. Suddenly he found the hated republican government more agreeable than a victory for the people who he had learned had him on their extermination list. The astrological consultation was brief. I told him he would get nothing out of a republican government. He then left me and disappeared into the tumult of the street battles.
Later that same evening he reappeared, accompanied by a plump, squat man in country clothes, with sharp, observant eyes. This man said scarcely a word. He stood inspecting my room while Volck explained the situation to me. The fighting had reached a climax in the city, and he had been unable to reach his flat in the Sierichstrasse. He would be grateful, therefore, if I would give shelter to him and his companion for the night. After I had agreed, Volck introduced the man. It was Martin Bormann, whom Volck had met on an estate in Mecklenburg. That night Volck was very nervous; he telephoned the police command posts several times, but all he could discover was that the battle was still undecided. I made an astrological calculation and was able to put his mind at rest. According to my forecast, the police would have everything under control by the next day, without having to call in the Hamburg citizens' militia. And so it was. At noon, when Herbert Volck and Martin Bormann left my flat, the street battles were virtually over. Martin Bormann had scarcely spoken three words to me. He had sat shyly at the end of the sofa with a forbidding expression on his face, a man who put up an impenetrable front and played his cards very close to his chest. I never saw Martin Bormann again.
After this turbulent summer and autumn things quieted down fairly quickly, primarily because the currency was stabilized at the end of 1923. Immediately afterward, heavy foreign investment led to an economic recovery which, although it proved unreal in the end, nonetheless afforded a good breathing space. Volck now turned his attention to building up his detective agency. It would take too long to enumerate all the cases, both big and small, for which Volck enlisted my astrological services in those days and for which, incidentally, he never once offered me a fee. I still have the astrological calculations which I made for Volck at that time. They run to several volumes. But I should like to recount just one case in which I used a particular astrological technique that proved successful on a subsequent and much more important occasion and may even have saved my life. The case involved a large haul of jewels which had been stolen from the Hamburg villa of a world-famous dealer in precious stones. I consulted my stellar chronometer, and from the constellation which it revealed, I could tell that the whole of the haul was still in the jeweller's house and that neither the members of his family nor outside agents had been involved in the affair.
The constellation indicated that the maid had carried out the robbery and hidden or perhaps buried the jewels near a water tank in the cellar of the house. Volck took this information to the police, the maid was interrogated, and the stolen jewels were discovered in the cellar. The maid was the mistress of a local gang leader whom the police had been trying to catch for some time. As a result of this case, the police were able to clear up a second robbery involving a sum of 300,000 marks which had been stolen from the strong room of the racetrack in Hamburg-Farmsen.
The fact that my forecast had not only proved correct but was the sole evidence available to the police in the solution of this particular crime may seem incredible to the reader. At best he is likely to regard the whole affair as a lucky coincidence which happened to corroborate my prediction. But my knowledge was not based on chance or on any mysterious circumstances. Readers who know any astrology will realize that it is possible to make specific statements of this kind from the interpretation of astrological data. The method involved can be learned by anyone prepared to make the necessary effort. I have often carried out experiments of this kind, and they have nearly always been successful. The most spectacular case was that concerning Mussolini's capture in the summer of 1943 and the subsequent search for his place of imprisonment. I will deal with the search for Mussolini in a later chapter.
In November, 1928, a man called at my home. He was a giant, with enormous hands evidently accustomed to hard work. Without introducing himself, he began immediately to ask me a number of questions about my "trade." He visited me again shortly, accompanied by Volck, whom he described as his wartime comrade and adjutant. This time I found out that his name was Claus Heim. Heim told me that he was a member of the extreme right-wing Schleswig-Holstein farmers' movement, which had been formed to combat the very heavy taxes and mortgages imposed on the almost bankrupt farmers in that region. Volck had been hired as a soapbox orator to drum up support for the resistance among these farmers, and he and Heim were planning their attack on the local bailiffs and rural administration centers.
Volck and Heim were probably thinking of using explosives, although they said nothing about it to me. But a horary horoscope showed me what they intended, and I warned them against the use of violence, telling them hat their constellations were particularly unfavorable for any such undertakings. I said that they could both expect to be tried as criminals and that Heim might well receive a long prison sentence. But both Claus Heim and Herbert Volck believed non-violent action to be useless. At that point I asked them to leave my house since I wanted nothing to do with violent protest.
A little later I cast a very detailed general horoscope for Volck in which I told him that his luck would have run out by July, 1929, and that he would probably find himself behind bars. I told him that in July, 1929, the constellation which had been present at the time when he was taken prisoner in Russia would re-emerge and would remain operative until October. Meanwhile, during the winter of 1928-29 and the following spring and summer, a large number of protest demonstrations and bomb attacks on the tax and rural administration offices took place in quick succession. By the autumn of 1929 the police had launched a vigorous drive to catch the terrorists, and a tip-off about a car used in the attacks led them to Heim and Volck. Volck managed to get out of the country on the pretext of a honeymoon with his second wife, but he was enticed back to Germany by a business offer, and soon both men were behind bars.
As a result of Volck's arrest and the proceedings taken against him and the other terrorists, the press began to show an interest in me, which I found extremely disagreeable. Prior to Volck's arrest I had actually been taken into custody for a short while because the police had found in his mother's house letters of mine addressed to Volck, together with a number of horoscope interpretations. Since they had also found my Hamburg address, I was arrested immediately (on September 29, 1929). The police confiscated my diary for the year 1929 because it contained horoscope calculations for Volck; they also discovered the addresses and telephone numbers of various members of the farmers' movement. My protest, in which I claimed the same right to secrecy in respect of confidential information accorded to every doctor, minister of religion, and lawyer, was completely ignored, and I was not even allowed to telephone my lawyer. Soon the tabloid press of Berlin went to work. Vossischen Zeitung stated: "There can be no doubt that Volck acted under Wulff's influence." Later, when Volck and Heim were standing trial, the press launched further attacks. For example, the Echo wrote: "It was established that in the bomb outrage of November 27, 1928 in the Winsen tax office the idea for the plot stemmed from Herbert Volck, who had been led to perpetrate such acts of violence as a result of his preoccupation with astrology and other mystical matters."
Headlines such as THE TERRORISTS CONSULT THE ASTROLOGER, THE HOROSCOPE OF BOMB OUTRAGES, and THE TERRORISTS CONSULT THE FORTUNE-TELLER filled the newspapers. The Kieler Volkszeitung and the Hannoverschen Zeitung printed similar sentiments: "It seems clear that the various bomb outrages were based on horoscopes and astrological data." I often wished that I had never set eyes on Volck.
On October 31, 1930, Volck and Heim were sentenced to seven years' hard labor. But Volck was not destined to remain in prison long. A chronic case of scurvy he had developed in the first war worsened through the lack of medical treatment in prison, and the authorities then tried to bury his politically awkward case by depositing him in a state mental hospital in Gottingen. Only the fast work of Volck's lawyer saved him, and at Christmas, 1930, he was released on medical grounds. However, Volck had not learned his lesson. He retired for almost a year to a Baltic spa, but a letter I received from him in October, 1931, revealed his restlessness: "What do you think of that filthy Reichstag business? It's time the voice of the nation was heard. As soon as the bomb affair dies down, friends of mine intend to get me an important political post."
He was once again entering a dangerous political arena in which he could have been arrested at a moment's notice. He refused the offer of a new refuge from a friend of mine when he learned he would not be allowed to use the retreat as a base for propaganda. Then, on January 16, 1932, he was ordered to the Gollnow prison to complete his sentence.
Volck besieged me with appeals for help and requests for new astrological calculations to discover how long any further term of imprisonment might last. I had already prepared a detailed astrological report at the time of the trial, which had given no indication of long imprisonment, but Volck always forgot my forecasts very quickly. I made a new calculation which made it clear that he would be released on or about July 22, 1932. Once again my astrological predictions were borne out. On August 1, 1932, Volck was informed by special messenger that he had been given a conditional discharge on medical grounds.
He was no sooner free than he rushed back into politics with characteristic impetuosity. He could scent a "new dawn." The "brown horde" was on the move, "the national rebellion was under way," and he could not afford to miss it. For his "conquest of Berlin," he rented a very attractive flat in Potsdam, where he invited me to visit him in May, 1933. He suggested that I join him in Berlin. He was sure that I would be able to build up a flourishing astrological practice there. But as far as I could see, what he really wanted was a personal adviser constantly on hand.
This offer was not acceptable to me, for I knew Volck too well to put any faith in his disinterestedness. In a letter to me Volck claimed that he had given Goring the idea for the Gestapo. Now he was complaining that this had not led to a high appointment and that Heydrich had been put in charge of the Gestapo. He also wrote, "It is rumoured that the first phase of Nazi rule is reaching its peak and that the many unsuitable people who exploited it will soon be replaced. I have the feeling that men of my kind will have to be brought in." Volck had always been optimistic about his political career. His lust for power, his ambition, and his almost unbelievable vanity and presumption, coupled with his low intelligence, invariably led him to assess political situations in terms highly favorable to himself. But in this case he was correct. The "exploiters" were not only were replaced, but were completely eradicated. On June 30, 1934, when Röhm and a large number of the SA leaders were murdered by Hitler, their fate was shared by many other political activists who had incurred official displeasure. Volck was carried along by the "national revolution." Soon he was performing secret missions for the Gestapo, the SA, and the SS.
Meanwhile, the worsening economic situation had created further problems for me. My family's import-export business had been hard hit by the foreign currency regulations, and besides, I was officially forbidden to work as an astrologer. At first this veto applied only to Greater Berlin, but since many of my friends and clients thought I was no longer casting horoscopes, I was virtually unemployed. For a while astrologers who could produce the diploma of the Astrological Center at Dusseldorf were able to continue their work without hindrance in the administrative districts of Cologne, Dusseldorf, and Hamburg. But the insidious propaganda campaign launched by the Nazis persuaded people that it was better to give up consulting astrologers than run the risk of interrogation by the Gestapo. Consequently I was forced to dispose of my valuables, including a number of paintings and pieces of antique furniture which I had inherited. Herbert Volck was too preoccupied with himself and his own career to spare a thought for my material difficulties, let alone stand by me, although, according to well-informed sources, he was now receiving a princely income.
Volck's greatest ambition was to make personal contact with Hitler, whom he had been unable to reach so far because his path had been blocked by "party member who always feared that others, whose achievements were greater than their own, would make an impression on Hitler." I had told him time and again that any connection with Hitler would be an unmitigated disaster for him since, in Hitler's horoscope, the malefic planet Saturn was in Leo, while in Volck's chart Leo was on the ascendant. There were also several other constellations their respective horoscopes whose interactions would prove harmful. Consequently personal contact between Volck and Hitler was to be discouraged at all costs. Hitler had in any case declared that he could not abide the "Baltic seigneur" (Volck). But despite this assessment Volck insisted on running after him.
Needless to say, his attempts to reach Hitler ended in failure, just as had his earlier attempts to curry favour with Röhm. Although Volck knew as early as 1923 that I had no sympathy for Hitler and his followers, he asked me time and again whether, in astrological terms, there was not, after all, some hope that he might establish contact with his idols.
The dreadful predictions which I had made in respect to the Hitler regime became reality only too soon. Hitler's Saturn spanned my own horoscope too, and at that time my own constellations were extremely disadvantageous. Saturn was transiting my tenth house (profession, occupation, etc.) and in the worst possible aspect to my radical Mars and other planets in my natal horoscope. Uranus, the planet associated with revolutions, was transiting my Jupiter. Jupiter symbolizes the happiness and well-being of humanity. Neptune was in bad aspect to my ascendant. My calculations showed that the summer of 1934 would be a bad period. I was not mistaken. There was the terrible series of murders perpetrated on June 30th, 1934, in connection with the so-called Röhm Putsch. The authorities insisted that murder was necessary for the defence of the realm, but what they achieved was the destruction of the whole basis of constitutional order and personal liberty. Justice became a synonym for naked force.
I was deeply shaken, even though I had predicted from my astrological calculations that something of the sort was bound to happen, and I had also learned, from Volck, about the tensions between Hitler and Röhm. Heydrich's great moment had now come; he was appointed head of the Secret Police. Since Volck was working in close collaboration with Heydrich in 1934, he hoped that he would at least obtain the post of head of the Berlin Police - he would have liked best of all to have been in Heydrich's place himself, but he hoped in vain.
In Volck's horoscope Saturn, the planet of misfortune, was transiting the seventh house. This meant that Volck was likely to form dangerous connections with depraved and unreliable people. I reminded Volck of this and warned him to avoid all indiscreet contacts. By this time, of course, Volck knew enough about astrology to have realized for himself the implications of this Saturn transit for the years 1933-34.
We were having coffee on the terrace one afternoon, when Volck began to lecture me again on the political situation. He spoke of the dangers which had arisen following June 30, 1934, and inveighed against Hindenburg, who was already a sick man. He had retired to his estate, which had been cordoned off by SS detachments for his "protection." Volck thought Hindenburg was too senile to start a political fight; very soon the Nazis would take the initiative, and everything that was impure and racially worthless would disappear. Volck then expounded the new philosophy which he had apparently absorbed in a training course.
He used phrases like: "We are investigating the soul of the nation!" and "With us there is no violation of the law for the sake of political expediency!" His affected Nazi manner revolted me. I was about to interrupt his emotional and undigested twaddle, of which I had had more than my share in the past, when he suddenly said to me, "You must now work for us!"
I was startled and asked, "What do you mean 'for us'? For Hitler and his murderers?" I reminded him of my astrological forecasts for Hitler and his followers.
To this he retorted angrily, "We have our own methods of making people work for us. If you should refuse, I can force you to do so. The only thing that can save you is total submission to the National Socialist doctrine. Do you understand?" I said nothing and remained calm. He continued, "Those who refuse to accept National Socialism and its ideology will die! Hitler demands that we should submit to his law!" I gave Volck a long hard look. But he went on to threaten me - his friend - in unmistakable terms: "If you don't join us, the curse of the National Socialist community will strike you down." By now Volck's face had contorted into a grimace. "We can soon have your head lopped off," he said. Secret executions were of course just a "military exercise" for Volck and his ilk.
At that moment my only thought was that Volck's obsession would drive him mad. There had been many occasions ins in my life when my hot temper had got the better of me. But at that moment, when Volck was prepared to deal a despicable blow to an old friend, I retained complete control of myself even though I was consumed with rage.
That evening, when Volck had started off again about his mysterious activities, I had a talk with his wife, a hysterical woman who told me that she was a medium and a clairvoyant. Her background was middle class, and because of her own pathological ambition, she encouraged Volck in his grandiose plans instead of trying to dissuade him. Edda Volck was pregnant and wanted a "child of pure descent, a noble scion." She was also anxious to know from me whether everything would work out well for her.
I could tell her nothing comforting, because her stars were very ominous. She eventually miscarried.
Some time later, although I was still annoyed with Volck, I accepted an invitation to dine at his house together with my friend Dr. Henry Goverts, the publisher, who had driven me to Berlin. The following evening I collected Dr. Goverts from his hotel and took him to Volck's house. A friend of ours, Carlo Mierendorf, had been sent to a concentration camp, and Goverts was hoping to persuade Volck to arrange for his release. After the customary examination of the tasteless and ostentatious flat, which, naturally, called for appropriate murmurs of approval for the highly polished Louis Seize style bed-room suite, the "ancestral portraits" in the drawing room and the "old German" dining room, we were invited to dine. Toward the end of the meal we heard a squeal of brakes as a car pulled up outside the house. Volck listened, looked out of the window, and turned pale. Then I saw him going for the pistol which he always carried in his jacket. I heard him release the safety catch. Before we knew what had happened, two men - they were Gestapo officials - stood at the door with pistols trained on Volck. I was afraid that Volck would shoot, and so I knocked the gun from his hand. He was trembling from head to foot. The smaller of the two Gestapo officials, a thickset man with cold, beady eyes, approached Volck from behind and in a great booming voice ordered him to produce his papers. Everything happened very quickly. Without wasting another word, they led Volck off in handcuffs, while two other secret policemen "took care" of his wife. Goverts and I were also taken and traveled in the Gestapo truck through the nocturnal streets to the "Alex," the main Gestapo building in Berlin, where we were placed in separate rooms on the third floor. There we waited. Eventually I was brought before Heydrich for interrogation. All that I learned from the interrogation was that Volck had again become involved in some shady business. It was only years later that I was told what had actually happened. He had been associated with an elegant young lady, Gräfin von der Schulenburg, who had engaged in espionage with the Russians. Volck had been arrested on the same charge. Just how deeply he was involved I never discovered. I do not know whether he was a victim of his own stupidity or of one of Heydrich's devilish tricks.
It was well known that Heydrich was collecting incriminating evidence against many people in the Third Reich. Volck had been sufficiently indiscreet to talk about his hopes of becoming head of the Berlin Police Force and perhaps even head of the Secret Police. Since, at that time, Heydrich had the same idea, Volck was in his way. Once Volck had been eliminated as a possible rival, he made an ideal puppet for Heydrich. Heydrich had collected enough evidence against this "rebel" to make him compliant. Volck was a "Nordic" type and Heydrich had a "Nordic" complex. He wanted only pure "Germanic" types in his entourage, from whom he demanded unswerving loyalty and absolute obedience. His men had to function without hesitation and without scruple.
But, of course, Volck's hopes of establishing personal contact with Hitler had now been completely frustrated. This vain, ambitious, reckless, and unintelligent man was no match for the sober, cold-blooded, and calculating Heydrich. The only qualities which these two had in
common were their boundless ambition and their lust for power.
Dr. Goverts, who was also interrogated by Heydrich, naturally knew even less than I, and so Heydrich soon arranged for us to be driven home in a private car. As we walked down the long corridor of the Gestapo headquarters toward the exit, we caught sight of Volck in the distance being conducted in chains to the basement, where the cells were situated. That was the last we ever saw of him.
In fact, Volck was released shortly afterward and went on a holiday to Switzerland. In 1935 and 1936 he worked "for Germany" in the Eger district of Czechoslovakia, then toured Austria as a speaker for the German organization responsible for "the education of the people," visiting Vienna, Graz, Salzburg, and Linz in the process. In May, 1939, I was told that Volck was "marching on the victory trail." When war was declared on Poland, he reported to the Luftwaffe at Kolberg in Pomerania. Later he is said to have been active in Budapest. He probably never realized that his cold-blooded and powerful rival Heydrich had already settled his score in 1934 and that from then on he had simply been a tool in the hands of this demon in SS uniform. Heydrich was assassinated by Czech resistance fighters in Prague in 1942. Volck did not survive him for very long. Although the circumstances surrounding his death are obscure, it seems that he must have fallen into disfavour with the Nazi powers; Herbert Volck was executed in Buchenwald concentration camp in August, 1944.