>"But he was such a nice chap…"


So I’m in Sao Paulo in the early 90s during a Revenue Management roadshow for the troops and I’m out on the town with Klaus Sandgathe (one of last months’ funerals)

I’d worked with Klaus for a few years in Frankfurt in the 80s but we hadn’t seen each other for a bit and he’s now  Cargo Director for South America.

End up at some dive that’s the hangout for the German expat community in Sao Paulo, so it’s a good place to do business with the local head honchos of Mercedes/BASF/Siemens and whathaveyou.

It’s also the hangout for the buggers who zipped off down there sharpish-like when it became fairly apparent that Adolf’s 1000 Year Reich was going to fall short of its target by quite a bit.

So we’re all sitting around drinking happily away and chatting about this and the other, Klaus is talking 20 to the dozen and the old buggers are reminiscing about the old days and the people who have latterly fallen off the perch.

And – because I supposedly don’t have an accent – no-one notices that I’m not German..

“What Mengele did wasn’t quite right, of course” one of them says “but he was such a nice chap

I look at Klaus, Klaus looks at me and we both show a bit of interest which gets these old guys talking even more.

Bloody hell.

I won’t say that I had Martin Bormann’s full address, but I probably knew the name of the street before things got a bit blurred in an alcoholic haze.

So at some stage Klaus and I head off into the night and we’ve only just got out of the door when Klaus doubles over with laughter, whacks me on the back and says

“Johnny, wenn sie bloss gewusst hätten, daß Du der Feind bist….!”

“Johnny, if only they’d known that you’re the enemy…..!”
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