Goaded by the intimidation of the irascible and quirky Aunt Mildred after the death of Don’s Father, Hugo Jurgens, Don and Connie Jurgens search for a steamer trunk filled by Don’s mother, Frieda, before her death. It contains photographs, clippings and family memorabilia, but also some disturbing and unexplainable items: German passports, a Luger and two Nazi Iron Cross medals.
Most intriguing is a series of seventeen diary-like notebooks written by Frieda spanning the time when she and Hugo met in 1929 through 1945. The notebooks, at first, are benign, but begin to reveal the conflicted lives of a young couple living in the crossfire of the Pro-German- Community of South St. Louis during the rise of the Third Reich. To the surprise and dismay of their son, Don and his wife, Connie, the notebooks chronicle the slide, motivated purely by greed, of Hugo and Frieda from good citizens into full-fledged Nazi Spies.
Frieda’s position as secretary to an officer of a major Defense Contractor make her of particular interest to the Nazis, and the information to which she has access is a valuable insight into the refining of Uranium 232 for which the Nazis are willing to pay. Freida and Hugo’s need, and greed, in a time of economic depression, with the expense of starting a family and the forces of a young marriage, coupled with Hugo’s, struggling business, make the delivery of classified secrets for cash an attractive proposition.
But the Nazis want something far more dangerous, more destructive and more treacherous, for which they will pay handsomely – much more than for the secrets previously delivered. With an offer of significant magnitude, they entice Freda and Hugo to Berlin to be looked over by the German High Command, and, if found satisfactory, to be offered the opportunity of a lifetime. Only then, do they learn that the scheme calls for the death of thousands of Americans and the destruction of most of their home City of St. Louis. The diabolical scheme has huge risks, but a lifetime of rewards for Hugo and Frieda.
Driven by greed and willing to assume the risk, they accept, and the Plan is put in motion.
Only through an unusual and unexpected turn of events is the plan thwarted, and forty years later their only Son, Donald, and Daughter-in-Law, Connie, are left to bring the Plan to a violent and permanent end.
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