Jacob Lassiter

   Chapter 1

  “It was a good death…it was a goddamned good death!”  
    -Hardouin Jackson “The Colonel” Bender, III

   Conyers, Georgia- October 1958

        On the last day of his life, James Best did what he did most other days. He got up just after 4:30 a.m. and dressed quietly, so as not to disturb his still-sleeping wife and three children. He walked the well-worn path out back to the chicken coop and gathered all the fresh eggs that were waiting there. Soon they would be sizzling in a skillet alongside the bacon and hash brown potatoes that he prepared most every morning. Strong fresh brewed coffee for him and his wife, and steaming mugs of hot milk flavored with just a bit of coffee and lots of sugar for the children. By 5:30 James Best would be walking the three and a half miles from his shanty home to his job at the lumber mill in Conyers. Today, not unaware of what might happen, he would make that trip for the last time.  

     Later today, specifically at 9:22 p.m., James Best would die a barbaric, senseless, and demeaning death.

     To most of the white folks in Conyers who knew him, James Best was a good worker and a respectable citizen. His scarred and calloused hands told the story of his hard work at the sawmill and his equally hard life in rural Georgia. The great-grandson of slaves, he had accomplished what his ancestors could only dream of—he had managed to buy a half-acre of land and built a four-room house. He had married young and produced three children in the first five years. The surname “Best” had been bestowed upon his great-grandparents by their slave owners years earlier. “Those two are the best of my herd of darkies,” Ezra Compton was heard to say more than once. He was referring to a big raw-boned Negro male named Mandisa and his unusually strong wife Abebi. The name fit and it was given to James’ grandfather at his unfortunate birth, and on down the line to James himself the day he was born. Original African names were forbidden among the whites, and eventually forgotten.  

     To the Negroes that lived in and around Conyers, James Best was a crusader, a messenger of truth and a faint thread of light in the blinding darkness of an all-white world. His job at the sawmill had inspired others to apply for good jobs of their own. Their efforts had largely been futile, but they tried nonetheless. They tried because of James Best.

       He had also given a loud and resonating voice to their desperate struggles. Not afraid to address the inequities of his people and the atrocities they were forced to endure, James Best was both outspoken and blatant—a trait that terrified his wife, but put hope in the hearts of the hopeless blacks. That voice had also been clearly heard by the whites of Conyers—whites who did more than just listen. And that’s what happened to James Best.  

       When they found his body, the Rockdale County Coroner estimated a time lapse of at least four days, maybe more. Badly beaten, his face totally unrecognizable, the body of James Best could only identified by his scarred hands and a left leg clearly smaller and slightly shorter than the right—a deformity he had carried from birth.

     The coroner’s report also indicated the presence of charred remains. The smell of kerosene was detected in the soil surrounding the site of the fire. Something made of wood had been burning close by at the time of James Best’s death. Most everyone in Conyers knew what that had been, but no one dared to say. It was a serious thing when the sacred symbol of Christianity was set ablaze—it sent an unmistakable message to everyone.  

     James Best’s rigid body was encased in a crusty shroud of dried blood that had turned the distinctive coal-black African hue of his skin into a dull reddish cocoon that failed to protect him from the onslaught of hundreds of shiny green flies and their loathsome offspring. His dead body teemed with thousands of rice-like maggots that had burrowed through the dried blood and feasted on his rotting flesh.  

     As expected, no one laid claim to the killing. Citing the absence of any conclusive evidence, the Rockdale County Sherriff’s Department quickly closed the case calling it unsolvable—a ruling no one would challenge. There was no point in expending any great energy or investing time and resources in an attempt to uncover leads. It simply wasn’t necessary because everyone in Conyers knew exactly what had happened. The Klan was never publicly acknowledged or spoken of, but their presence was known and understood nonetheless. From the courthouse to the farmhouses, even to the fine Christian pulpits of Conyers, Georgia, the Ku Klux Klan was a very real power and they succeeded in preaching their message of white supremacy, intolerance and hatred to every man, woman and child. The swiftness and savagery of their retribution, when provoked, was the fear and the constant dread of both the blacks and the whites alike.

     In the darkness of night, and only under the covers, did Klan husbands whisper to their wives of James Best’s shattered skull, and the shards of rib that were driven through his soft flesh as blow after blow rained down upon his body. His death did not appear as a news item, or even manage an obituary in the Conyers Constitution—the weekly paper that the Klan carefully controlled. The untimely death of a Negro, especially an uppity Negro like James Best, simply was not worth the paper, the ink, or the space it would take to chronicle his death.  

     The only mention that anyone ever remembered came from Hardouin Jackson Bender, III, a local icon known to most folks as The Colonel. When asked what he thought of James Best, he simply said, “It was a good killing. It was a goddamned good killing.”  

     He failed to mention that he himself was among the dozen or so marauders gathered in the flickering light of a burning cross, watching the latest casualty of Klan retribution take his final breath. He also failed to mention that his ten-year old son, Hardouin Jackson Bender, IV, an impressionable young lad nicknamed “Hardy,” was there for the lynching—with his daddy’s proud approval. Future Klansmen had to come from somewhere. He had been quietly standing in the semi-darkness and had witnessed the whole thing.  


San Justo, Argentina
August 1989

        The Israeli riding in the front passenger seat of the lead car just wanted the son-of-a-bitch dead, and he would have gladly cut off his balls once the abduction was made. He had thought of nothing else after the initial sighting was reported and the target's true identity was confirmed.  

        Despite the admonitions he'd been given from the more experienced agents, he still allowed his brain to loop the fantasy where it was played over and over again in his mind. He could see it all so clearly. He’d pour himself a drink, light a cigarette and settle back in the most comfortable chair he could find to watch the scene play out. He would offer up a brief, but heartfelt prayer to Jehovah-Adonai: “בואו לדמם-של הממזרים להיות כואבת וממושכת”.  Let the bastard’s bleed-out be excruciating and prolonged!

        But then he'd have to answer to Rabin and attempt to explain why he had deprived an entire nation of the satisfaction of a public trial, a guilty verdict, and finally an execution befitting the Nazi mongrel's countless war crimes. Yitzhak Rabin had only been in office for a year, but he had already proven himself as a Prime Minister not to be crossed. 

        He could almost hear Rabin saying:  Not just yet, Efrayim. Not just yet. You know how it's to be done. An eye for an eye. Remember, eyes and teeth, my friend, eyes and teeth.  The extraction team was under strict orders not to even make radio contact to report their success until they were aloft with their prize and well into international airspace. The operation had been given the code-name “אבידן”. Avidan.  The Hebrew translation was both poignant and direct: “אלוהים הוא פשוט”.   God is just!

        The team was comprised of six men—four Israelis and two Americans. They had all been on the ground in San Justo, Argentina for ten days. The Israelis were agents of The Mossad—Israel's elite intelligence and counter-terrorism agency. Two of the four were Holocaust Specialists and experienced Nazi-hunters. The two Americans had been pulled from the National Security Agency office in Miami and assigned to assist their four Jewish counterparts in the capture and extraction of a highly-classified target. It was expected that their role would primarily be linguistic in nature. Both men were fluent in Spanish and would speak for the entire team should conversation with anyone other than their prey be necessary. The appointment to which they were all headed in two separate cars had been arranged by the senior American officer three days earlier.  

        San Justo was a fashionable tourist destination located one-hundred and fifty miles south of Buenos Aires. With a modest population of just over twenty-thousand, it offered visitors a welcome respite from the over-crowded streets and shops of Argentina's larger cities. San Justo was especially known for its exquisite dining, trendy boutiques and a thriving population of European immigrants. For the past quarter of a century a steady influx of German nationals had migrated to Argentina and had found life much to their liking in San Justo.

        One such immigrant was Klaus Renke, a clockmaker who cleared customs in Buenos Aires with forged documents in the spring of 1945. He was accompanied by his wife Gerda, and daughter Wilhemina. Renke presented papers stating that the three of them were migrating from Austria. He explained to the Argentine customs officer that his daughter had developed a serious lung condition—a disease that made the bitterly cold winters of Vienna unbearable for the child. The tropical climate of South America was much more conducive for her recovery and the hope of a normal life.  

        Among Renke's assortment of fraudulent documents was a statement from an Austrian respiratory specialist who did not exist, diagnosing a condition of pulmonary-tuberculosis from which his daughter did not suffer. After three days of quarantine in a government-run medical complex, during which time a generous bribe found its way into the pocket of the complex director, the quarantine was lifted. One week later Klaus Renke and his family were settled into a comfortable six-room house in San Justo, and the week following the clockmaker opened his shop in the exclusive La Matanza import district.  

        Quietly called “the city that asks no questions,” San Justo sought to attract a growing population and the increase in commerce that accompanied the growth. Competition with Argentina's larger cities had, at various times, been fierce and the smaller town had been forced to adopt a liberal policy on the documentation of immigrants, and an equally liberal procedure for the granting of licenses for new business ventures.

        Had anyone bothered to validate the sheaf of documents the clockmaker presented, Klaus Renke would have been detained on the spot and held for further identification. Had anyone familiar with Adolph Hitler's twelve-year reign of terror and death in Europe dared to look more closely, Klaus Renke might have been recognized for who he really was—the vile Nazi mongrel and Hitler's Final Solution collaborator, Erich Vogel.

        Vogel had distinguished himself early among his peers in the Nazi Party, earning the reputation as one of the most singularly cruel and ruthless henchman in Hitler's massive arsenal of annihilation. The Fuhrer was particularly impressed with Vogel's role where the young officer bore the responsibility of the rapid disposition of Jewish corpses pulled from the gas-chambers of Treblinka, Sobibor and Chelmno.  

        The innovation of disguising the massive tiled chambers to appear as communal showering facilities was born out of necessity and belonged exclusively to Vogel. Efficiency and the economy of time were crucial to the cloaking of the extermination process, and he needed a way to herd the doomed Jews to their death with as little resistance as possible. After days of traveling in railway boxcars packed so tight that there was no room for anyone even to sit, the opportunity for a refreshing shower appeared as an oasis of mercy in an arid desert of brutality.  

        In the passing of time Vogel grew bored with the whole affair and began to amuse himself by violating his own extermination protocol. He took great pleasure in taunting the Jews over the death-camp loudspeakers as they marched into the gas-chamber: “Du Juden schwein sind in der letzten stunde des lebens!“ You Jewish swine are in the last hour of life! Before anyone could react the doors were slammed shut and the gas was released. Vogel casually commented on numerous occasions that the shreiks and screams of the dying Jews was: “Sübe musik in meinen ohren.“  Sweet music to my ears.  

        His success in the camps won him an invitation to join Hitler's Innerin Kreis—the elite inner circle. He was promoted to Brigadefuhrer and remained close to Hitler until the day the Russians marched into Berlin. Having anticipated the inevitability of the Reich's collapse, Vogel initiated an escape plan for himself and his family that had long been in place. They vanished from Berlin without a trace.

        In 1966 Vogel's daughter married another German immigrant, a young industrial engineer named Konrad Roth. The union produced one child—a son that Roth would never know. Konrad Roth died of complications from a bungled appendectomy three months before the birth of his son. As far as Dieter Konrad Roth would ever be concerned, Erich Vogel was more of a father than a grandfather. Vogel was a gifted mentor and over time became the man his grandson admired the most as the philosophical, political and moral template for his life. Germany‘s long-dead and wrongly-disgraced Chancellor ranked second.  

        The clockmaker always smiled approvingly when he studied his young protogé. Though clearly cut from the same cloth as himself, Vogel recognized a rare strain of genius in his grandson, coupled with a measure of brashness and audacity that he had seen in only one other person—Adolph Hitler. With the lessons of the Fuhrer's political miscalculations and strategic military blunders to draw from, Dieter Roth possessed everything necessary in a modern nuclear age to do what Hitler and those before him never could. The potential for the establishment of a Vierte Reich (Fourth Reich) had never been more real. No one could have known or would have ever suspected, but Erich Vogel had ambitious plans for his grandson—plans Dieter Roth cherished and fully embraced as his “heiligen geburtsrecht.“  Holy Birthright. 

     Five decades after the death of Hitler and the collapse of his ambitious Third Reich, the belief in Germany's divine calling and ultimate destiny of global dominance was still very much alive. Strategic minds across Europe, North and South America began to connect and discuss the possibilities. Alliances were formed and the infrastructure of a powerful organization was quietly built.  

        Men like Vogel, Otto Gerste and Franz Jaeger who had served under Hitler were ecstatic to learn that various “klans“ and other hate groups known as neo-Nazis and skinheads were flourishing throughout Europe and the United States. Every year the little Austrian village of Leonding received hundreds of visitors from around the world who flocked to the graves of Hitler's parents, Alois and Klara. The result was the unofficial establishment of a shrine dedicated to hate, intolerance and a belief in the absolute necessity of a ruling master race.  

        Despite all of the indications of interest and activity that he regarded as encouraging, Erich Vogel continued to look cautiously over his shoulder. He and his family had lived quietly in Argentina for more than forty years, even so he knew that the obsession of the Jews to find him and bring him to justice was still very much alive. Others had been captured, extradited and successfully tried in the World Court. As Vogel reflected on the countless atrocities he had personally committed against the Jews in the death-camps, he knew it was just a matter of time.

        At precisely four p.m. on the day of the abduction two distinguished gentlemen entered Klaus Renke's clock shop through the front door. Right on time the clockmaker thought as he visually panned the clocks surrounding him. Every one of them was perfectly synchronized and each one bore witness to the prompt arrival of his two guests—a courtesy every clockmaker greatly admired. He extended his hand and greeted the two men with a broad smile. Five minutes later he was so engrossed in his presentation of the extremely rare Tiffany Champleve Crystal Regulator Clock to his two customers, that he failed to realize that four other men had entered the shop through the rear door.  

        The scuffle was brief and resulted in the outcome the extraction team had expected. A syringe containing a mixture of ten-milligrams of ketamine and an equal amount of propofol was quickly administered to the right side of Vogel's neck. The dosage amount and the site of the injection had both been strategically selected to produce an immediate result. The objective was reached, but not before Erich Vogel's haunting thought coursed through his brain one last time. As the sedative began to take effect he watched the clocks in his shop begin to melt and morph together in slow-moving spirals. The faces of the men who had come for him became elongated and were grotesquely smeared against the background of the dissolving timepieces. For the past forty years he had been right—it was just a matter of time. 

        Dieter Roth was twenty-one and in his third year of college when the old man was taken. It would be close to a month before he would learn of the two Americans who entered his grandfather's shop under the guise of purchasing a rare timepiece. Insult was added to injury when subsequent reports surfaced that the Americans were part of an international extraction team, and that the four remaining members were all Jews

        Roth, along with the rest of the world, would watch the Jews lift the elaborate curtain of deception and expose Klaus Renke as Brigadefuhrer Erich Vogel—the man Hitler once referred to as his “Hound of Hell.“ Roth would follow the proceedings of the Israeli War-Crimes Tribunal and boil with rage as a verdict of guilty was announced—a result that placed his grandfather in front of a firing squad ten days later.  

        On the eve of Vogel's execution another devastating catastrophe occurred. It was a tragedy no one could have anticipated. Vogel's daughter, Wilhemina, was a young girl when the family fled Germany and settled in Argentina. To insure her silence as she grew older her mother took her aside and carefully explained the circumstances that had made such a long distance move necessary. It was a complete fabrication, but one the child had no difficulty believing.  

        According to Gerda Vogel, the family had left Germany to escape the tyranny and wrath of a deranged madman the entire world had come to loathe and despise. Wilhemina knew her father had served in the military, but she was never told the precise nature of his work. Her mother spoke in whispers of the barbaric and inhumane treatment the Jews had suffered at the hands of Adolph Hitler. Wilhemina was told that once her father had proof of the Fuhrer's atrocities he immediately began to devise a plan for the three of them to escape to South America. In order to successfully elude Hitler and those who remained loyal to him, the family not only had to relocate to Argentina, but also had to assume a new identity.  

        Wilhemina felt grown up and was proud that her parents would trust her with such an important secret. She had always loved and adored her father, but the knowledge that he had been so brave and noble as to defy Hitler in support of the Jews made her love him all the more. As the years went by and the horrors of the Holocaust were fully exposed, Wilhemina Renke became increasingly ashamed of her German lineage, but that was buoyed by the knowledge that her father had risked everything in renouncing Adolph Hitler and his wretched Third Reich.

        It was a few minutes after nine p.m. when Gerda Vogel heard the shot. Wilhemina had called earlier in the day to ask her mother if she could come by for supper and possibly spend the night. Dieter was away at school, and with everything the family was facing in the next twenty-four hours, Wilhemina felt the two of them ought to be together.  

        The supper that evening was a simple fare. Gerda had prepared empanadas, a traditional Argentine dish consisting of beef, boiled egg, green olives and raisins surrounded by a flaky pastry. It had always been Wilhemina's favorite. But that night neither of them possessed much of an appetite, nor were they in the mood for conversation. The name of Erich Vogel was not mentioned. After several awkward minutes and a futile attempt to consume the food, Gerda said something about the laundry. She abruptly rose from the table and left the room.

        She was folding bath towels in the bedroom when her daughter quietly entered a few minutes later. Wilhemina was holding a piece of paper that had been folded neatly in half. She placed the paper on the bedside table and without a word, turned and walked out. Gerda watched her leave and then reached for the paper. Written on the inside in her daughter's handwriting were the words: "Papa verraten Deutschland. Du hast mich verraten."  Papa betrayed Germany. You betrayed me. The shot rang out and Gerda Vogel heard the dead body of her daughter collapse to the floor.  

        The gun from which the bullet was fired, an Astra 600, was manufactured in South Africa and was the sidearm Hitler's forces had used in the occupation of France. The particular Astra 600 that Vogel's daughter used to end her life had been given to her father by the Fuhrer himself. She had watched her father clean and polish that gun countless times during her childhood and adolescence. 

        A number of news reports generated by Vogel's trial included forty-five seconds of grainy camera footage that captured a clearly-amused Erich Vogel in 1943 casually strolling through the Treblinka death-camp while randomly shooting Jews in the head. Midway through the footage Vogel put a bullet through the right eye of an eleven year old girl. As he paused to reload he turned to face the camera. With a broad smile he pointed to the revolver and was clearly heard to say: "Dies war der revolver Führers geschenk für mich. Dies toten Juden sind mein geschenk an ihn." This revolver was the Fuhrer's gift to me. These dead Jews are my gift to the Fuhrer. On the day that she took her life, Wilhemina Vogel Roth watched the broadcast of that footage played and replayed on CNN International no less than a dozen times.

        The next day as the news bureaus in Europe and North America confirmed Erich Vogel's execution, a Brazilian newspaper ran the headline: 


        Dieter Roth was numb with grief as he stopped at a sidewalk kiosk in São Paulo to purchase a copy of that paper. He did not bother to read the news article, but folded it and carefully put it in his satchel. The two people he had loved most now lay dead. He seriously doubted that he would ever need any further motivation for the reprisal and revenge he was already plotting, but the paper would be close at hand if he did.  

        Despite the rage and the crippling angst he felt at the news of his grandfather's execution and his mother's suicide, Roth managed a strange smile. His grandfather was no fool. He had been well prepared for the events that had occurred—events the world would wrongly interpret and foolishly celebrate as the end of Erich Vogel. It would take some time to get everything organized and all of the necessary personnel in place, but eventually everyone would come to realize their mistake. 

        There was no way it could fail--Gideon had planned it all.   
The Benefits and Advantages of Ebooks

By Remez Sasson*

An ebook is a book in electronic format. It is downloaded to a computer, PC, Mac, laptop, PDA or any other kind of computer, and is read on the screen. It can have numbered pages, table of contents, pictures and graphics, exactly like a printed book. Ebooks present many benefits and advantages, and this article shows some of them.  It is very simple and easy to purchase and download ebooks through the Internet. It is exactly like purchasing any other product. The only difference is that after payment you will either be directed to a download page or receive the download link in an email. All you have to do is click on the link and the ebook will automatically download to your computer, to a folder of your own choice. After download you do not have to be connected to the Internet in order to read the ebook. You can stay offline. If you wish to have it printed, it is very easy. Just click on the print button in the ebook, to print it with your home printer.

What are the benefits and advantages of ebooks?

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© Copyright Remez Sasson
*Remez Sasson teaches and writes on self-improvement, positive thinking, motivation, peace of mind, spirituality and meditation. He is the author of several books, among which are "Peace of mind in Daily Life", "Emotional Detachment For a Better Life", "Will Power and Self Discipline", "Visualize and Achieve" and "Affirmations - Words with Power".  

Visit his website and find articles and books filled with inspiration, motivation and practical advice and guidance.

Website: www.SuccessConsciousness.com
Books: www.successconsciousness.com/ebooks_and_books.
Click here to purchase By The Blood Of The Crescent Moon  from Amazon.com
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     All of the slayings would be recorded and remembered as being cryptically savage and brutally inhumane. One forensic investigator would later describe the bodies he examined as having a “bestial aura about them”—citing the preponderance of evidence to suggest that the person or persons responsible were true artisans of barbarism and rage. The unique signature affixed to each corpse left nothing to the imagination—unspeakable suffering and prolonged agony were generously meted out to each victim until their light was extinguished and everything mercifully went dark.

     The gruesome discoveries of two back-to-back murders less than ten miles apart in the mountains of Northeast Georgia were the twin dominos that started the chain reaction toppling all of the others. The first homicide involved the owner of a small engine repair shop who was found slaughtered and fileted in a shallow grave behind his shop.

     The second discovery of a partial-body, similarly violated, in a deep ravine near the Appalachian Trail sparked a torrent of rumors of a deranged serial killer running loose in the southern highlands. The victim was a female, Caucasian, somewhere between nineteen and twenty-five years of age and estimated to weigh approximately one-hundred and twenty-seven pounds. The height of the young woman could not be determined at the scene of the crime because her assailant had, with exacting surgical precision, severed her head from her body and apparently had taken it with him when he was done. A thorough search of the wooded area turned up nothing.

     The detailed description of what was written in the crime scene investigation report read like a juiced-up Alfred Hitchcock script. The unclothed body was found face-down with both arms positioned tight against the torso. Amid a cruel landscape of bruises, abrasions and gaping lacerations were long smooth cuts running the length of both arms and legs. The skin on each had been meticulously splayed to the bone, revealing a dull gray hue in those places where the blood had failed to pool. Mangled strands of severed muscle and stringy tendon filaments matted in dried blood ran the length of the cuts. Shiny green flies accompanied by an assortment of other ravenous insects had been busy inflicting what little physical damage was left to be done. Hundreds of creamy white maggots led the assault on the decaying corpse.

    The victim’s back was crisscrossed with a latticed network of deep cuts that investigators concluded were the result of a prolonged episode of flogging—most likely with a metal object of some sort. Similar injuries occurring in urban settings were most often made with a car radio antennae or a thin steel rod.

     But it was the plateau of the gluteus region just below the victim’s back that caused everyone to stare in stunned disbelief. The young woman’s right buttock had been repeatedly punctured in an indiscriminate pattern that made no sense to anyone. The depth of the wounds varied and the skin surrounding each opening was torn and frayed, signifying the “instrument” used had been crude and jagged.

     The surface of the left buttock was curiously smeared with dried blood. An unnerving discovery would be made later in the forensic laboratory when the area was cleaned to reveal something investigators had never seen. In the moments leading up to the young woman’s death the killer had apparently used the tip of a knife blade to play a demented game of tic-tac-toe. The lines of the grid had been sliced into the young woman’s spongy flesh and a series of x’s and o’s had been carved into the squares. The x’s had won a diagonal victory.

     The final horror was the presence of a small branch that had been shoved deep into the victim’s rectum. The assailant had apparently broken a low-hanging limb off of a nearby tree. The picture of the still-green leaves on the protruding stem created an eerie landscape where lurid images of serene life and a violent death were horribly morphed together.

     Just when the law enforcement team thought they had seen the worst, they turned the body over to examine the front—that’s when everyone started to convulse and retch.