Alexandria, Virginia – October 5, 2014
It was a secret room, nestled in the basement of a nineteenth century, brick house off King Street. It had taken Paul Keasler nearly a decade to complete the room’s construction and move his collection of Nazi mementos into the space.
Keasler was now 93 years old and he frequently found himself coming down to this sanctuary, this haven of his past, to read and reminisce about the war…
…There was an unfamiliar noise upstairs, then a squeak from one of the floor joists overhead. Paul closed the journal and returned it to its hidden drawer. It was very late and apprehension immediately turned his stomach into knots. Slowly, he stood and began to shuffle toward the open door. Has someone broken in? he wondered nervously. His eyes widened as he heard the familiar squeaks of the wooden stairs leading down to the basement.
Paul tried to rush for the door, to close it and lock himself away from the intruder, but, it was too late. A man, clad completely in black, stepped into the room. He pulled off his hood and just stood there, staring at the frail spectacle in front of him.
He was a tall, powerfully built man, middle aged, with olive skin and dark eyes. He was distinguished and clean shaven, but the toothy grin on his face was frightening. His features were plainly Jewish, and Paul’s apprehension deepened.
“What do you want?” Paul stammered. “What are you doing in my house? Get out or I’ll call the police!”
The man in black revealed a large knife. Using perfect German, he simply said “Obersturmfuhrer Otto Beck, I presume!”
“My name is Keasler,” Paul replied in English. “Now, get out!”
“My name is Aaron Meyrowitz and I’m Nakam,” he calmly replied in German.
“Nakam!” Paul’s lips began to tremble, “Nakam!” he whispered softly, his body slumping backward…