Crossing The Bridge

Two days before the final Nazi surrender, US Army translator, Captain Paul Stoebel, watches his comrades pick their way across a destroyed bridge and enter the Austrian town of Braunau; Hitler’s birthplace.

The twisted metal, lying partially submerged in the River Inn, seems to mirror the ending of the Nazi forced ‘Anschluss’ between Germany and Austria, orchestrated just seven years earlier and meant to last a thousand years. About to set off across the bridge, Stoebel receives new orders. He is not to enter Braunau but report immediately to a place called Dachau.

Thrust into the midst of a legal team tasked with war crime investigations, he suffers mental trauma that affects him severely and stunts his ability to function normally in society. Only after many years and with the support of a strong woman in a loving relationship does he reach a level of contentment and peace, but the political rise of a one-time Nazi officer resurrects Paul’s Dachau demons.

It seems they can only be completely excised, through a final crossing of the Bridge at Braunau-am-Inn.

Previously Published as The Bridge at Braunau-am-Inn (ISBN 978-0-9943521-0-1)