Surgeon without eyes. Part of 3
The deputy head of the Gestapo Kepnig summoned Rudenko to himself for three days in a row. Without changing his voice or posture, he asked the same question: is Mr. Professor ready to start working at a German hospital? And he received the same answer: no! Powerless to break the will of Anatoly Ignatievich, Kepnig reported to the chief.
- Give it to me! I will be able to pick up the keys to it. Otherwise I will shake out my soul! - Fromm was self-assured and overbearing.
That he would force the professor to work for Germany, he never doubted that for a minute.
Waiting for the arrival of Rudenko, Fromm relaxed to lean back in his chair and began to brush his nails with a nail file. Anatoly Ignatievich was introduced into the office - wary, internally bristling.
- Ah, Mr. Professor, glad to see you! - Fromm said with an expression of respectful courtesy, pretending to be smiling in his whole mouth. - Sit down, please. I have to apologize to you, Mr. Professor, that I have not yet thanked you for the salvation of my wife. But as soon as she recovers, we will certainly invite you to visit. This is our duty. We Germans know how to pay goodness with kindness. We know how to appreciate people of the mind and talent. I admire your talent, professional ability to accurately diagnose. Your works on surgery are known in Germany. - He paused, thinking what else to say to flatter the professor.
Anatoly Ignatievich immediately understood what the Gestapo man was headed for. He was irritated by feigned flattery. Fromm, having accepted the professors' silence for his consent, was internally pleased with his introduction. It seemed to him that he had already melted the ice in the heart of this experienced surgeon, and now he will become more accommodating.
- I am quite sure that we, Mr. Professor, will make friends in the future. Is not it? He exclaimed with aplomb, still smiling.
“Here is a scoundrel! He also believes that friendship can take place between me and them, ”Rudenko was indignantly indignant. Dumbly said aloud:
- We have no ground for friendship.
A smile blew off the Gestapo’s face like a wind. Fromm confusedly stared at the professor. Then he asked abruptly:
- Why so?
- You yourself understand that perfectly.
- Oh, I guess. Are you worried about your patients? Well, it does you honor as a doctor. But do not worry, professor. With them, we settled everything: quietly, peacefully, without any excesses. Understanding the importance of locating the wounded German soldiers, the patients themselves agreed to disperse to their homes.
- You deleted them by force!
Shturmbanfyurera gripped rage. “This Russian old man allows himself a lot! But never mind, now I will press him against the wall. ”
“How would you understand your refusal to heal wounded soldiers?” Is it humane from a medic's point of view? He exclaimed, inwardly proud that he had so brilliantly parried the professor.
“Understand what you want,” Rudenko replied coldly.
The Gestapo chief stared at him. And no longer hiding his irritation, he said threateningly:
- I understood you very well, Mr. Rudenko. By the way, I know that you studied in your student days in the University of Bremen, Germany. I believe that you will not deny this? - He did not take a hard look from the professor.
- Studied, so what?
Shturmbanführer seemed to be waiting for this recognition. He smiled again unnaturally.
- So, you received a medical degree and a medical degree in Germany?
- What do you mean by that?
- Just what he said. A statement of fact - Fromm quipped.
- It does not matter. Equally, I could get it all in my own country, so I regret that this did not happen.
Fromm, having ignored Rudenko’s comment, continued to bend his own:
“But since you studied in Germany, you must repay Germany for science.”
- I studied for my money and do not consider myself a debtor to Germany.
- It is accepted to pay good for good. Please note that your refusal to cooperate with us may cost you too much. Consider, professor, I do not throw words to the wind.
The phone rang. Fromm picked up the phone.
- I'm listening! He snapped sharply, but then his voice softened. It turns out that the head of the hospital calls and asks when the Russian professor will come to him and start working. Fromm was in a quandary. He asked to call him back in an hour.
Putting down the phone, he took a cigarette and, without noticing it, crumpled it in his fingers and threw it into the wastebasket. He was beginning to understand that his conversation with Rudenko would not lead to anything either. And yet I decided to approach the professor from the other end, saying:
- I regard your disobedience as a political sabotage. Perhaps you are an underground worker? Non-party Bolshevik?
“You can consider me anyone, it is in your power,” Anatoly Ignatievich answered, preserving outward calm.
- Yes, I have reason to say so, for how to explain that, along with your medical practice, you were also a deputy of the City Council. Is that why you refuse to work in a hospital? - Fromm froze stiffly waiting for a response. - What, got to the point, and you have nothing to say? Let's go further. I also reliably know that you are providing medical assistance to the underground workers and partisans, supplying them with medicines. What do you say to that, Mr. Professor?
“You can attribute anything to me,” said Anatoly Ignatievich in an icy voice.
In Fromm, like a wolf's eyes flashed. He felt that the collar of his uniform had become too small for him.
“You have been experiencing my patience for too long, old man!” But there is a limit to all patience. Last time I ask: will you start working in a German hospital?
- Not! - answered Rudenko.
The head of the Gestapo darkened with anger. With a crash pushing the chair aside, he jumped up and, not remembering himself from rage, hit the professor in the face.
- Lousy old man! Hey who's there! In his punishment cell!
A hefty SS man dragged the professor out the door.
Early in the morning, from the building where the Gestapo was located, Professor Rudenko, led by two SS soldiers, was led along Kotsyubinsky Street. They walked slowly, as if they were taking a walk. Against his home, Anatoly Ignatievich was delayed. He looked at the windows of his apartment, mentally saying goodbye to his wife, who, tired of waiting, must have taken a nap at dawn.
Here is the city left behind. The sun was rising, incredibly red, huge. It was still fresh, the grass did not have time to dry off the dew. Droplets of dew glistened on the cups of flowers in the morning rays. Over the field an early skylark trilled. All this - and the bright sun, and the morning freshness, and the song of the skylark - announced the birth of a new day. But Anatoly Ignatievich seemed not to notice this mystery of nature. He went deep into his thoughts. I remembered the past years. Childhood. Gymnasium. Student life. Marriage to Masha. Honeymoon trip to Petrograd with its captivating white nights. Then came the years of medical practice. Endless receptions of patients, countless operations. He knew the whole city, his name was pronounced with respect. Surgery was his vocation. Of the seventy years he lived, he gave fifty to work that brought him joy and happiness.
But did he do everything he could? Yes, most importantly, for what it was worth living, he did. Over ten thousand operations, scientific works, social work. The main purpose of his life was the desire to become useful to people, to do good to them. And he became, did.
Meanwhile, he and the convoy entered the forest, and then went to a small clearing.
- Halt! The senior convoy commanded and glanced at his watch. - Take off your clothes, Mr. Professor.
“This is the end,” thought Anatoly Ignatievich, and shuddered at the thought. - Farewell, life! Goodbye Masha! Forgive me for leaving you alone. But I could not do otherwise. ” From excitement, he could not untie the laces on his shoes. Having coped, he removed them, then the outer clothing. Remained only in underwear. Straightened up. Before the eyes floated Masha's face.
The guards smoked, talked.
- What a wonderful air here, forest! - uttered the senior convoy.
Another soldier, tilting his head up, replied:
- And what the sky, Hans, you just take a look. How much sun and blueness in it!
- Romantic you, Helmut. I like the land more. It is getting closer. Be able to only take. I have already managed to send two parcels home.
From somewhere came the cry of an owl. The escorts switched to reality.
- Do you, Mr. Professor, have any requests or statements before leaving for the next world? - asked Hans.
Rudenko’s eyes were filled with cold contempt. Inhuman, corrosive soul waiting for death exhausted him, infuriated.
- If not, we will finish. “And both SS men threw up black automatons.”
Anatoly Ignatievich froze. The earth swayed under my feet, began to leave. The sky was falling back. But the SS did not begin to shoot, because it was at this time that a car jumped out into a clearing and stopped. Out of it came the storm-gunführer Fromm. He approached the surgeon and, smiling arrogantly, mockingly asked:
- How are you feeling, Mr. Rudenko?
The unexpected appearance of the Gestapo chief did not in the least surprise the professor. He realized that Fromm had taken the last chance to break his will, and almost choked with hatred and disgust.
- The killers! Finish your foul staging! He cried out in a choked voice.
“Easy, professor,” said Fromm, grinning. - Do not hurry. Shooting is a short matter. We will save your life with one indispensable condition that you change your attitude towards us. Decide you have a choice. - He looked at his watch. - I give you three minutes to think.
- I do not want to get life from the hands of murderers! Hear, you, cultural culture! - exclaimed Rudenko, driven to despair.
Fromm realized that he lost his game. All attempts to break the will of this person is a waste of time. He was in a rage. No, shooting a stubborn man is not enough.
With a strong blow, Fromm knocked the professor down. He took out a wide dagger. And acute, unbearable pain in the eyes pierced Rudenko. He was blinded!
“Well, Professor Rudenko, you got what you were looking for,” Fromm said mockingly, straightening. - Namely - freedom from service to the army of the Fuhrer. We do not attract blind men.
He was going to add something else, but at that moment was flashed by an automatic burst. It was the revenge of the Karamysh partisans. True, they, unfortunately, were late.
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