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I'm looking for a short story that MAY be titled "Gotterdammerung", but may have a more historical German Christmas season title.

It's an alternate history - the Nazis united with Britain thus ending WW2 but the Nazis are very much the dominant force in Britain. An English 1st assistant to a Nazi-British German government minister is targeted as a person liable to be able to be "turned" and used to assassinate the Minister.

The underground inserts an agent into the Christmas festivities. The depravity of the hierarchy is emphasised by the events and the agent dies gruesomely (stage right off) as an intentional sacrifice to trigger the "hero" into action.

'He lay flat on the roof. That noise!. Oh - he'd forgotten the helicopter. He braced his pistol ... '

I'd love to know title, author and source.

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  • When would you have read this?
    – DavidW
    Dec 23, 2022 at 3:38
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    @DavidWProbably in the 10-20 years ago time span but its probably older. I MAY have it in anthology here "somewhere". Dec 23, 2022 at 4:02
  • Gotterdammerung? Geshundeit! Dec 23, 2022 at 9:16

1 Answer 1

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Weinachtabend by Keith Roberts. I read it in The Year's Best SF 1972.
(Weinachtabend is a mis-spelling of Weihnachtsabend, which is a German term for Christmas Eve)

The story is set at a party being hosted by the Minister. The scene you remember and quoted from is at the very end of the story:

He wriggled across a sloping scree of roof, ran crouching. Shouts sounded from below. He dropped fiat, rolled. An automatic clattered. He edged forward again, dragging the briefcase. Ahead, one of the corner towers rose dark against the sky. He crawled to it, crouched sheltered from the wind. He opened the case, pulled the gloves on. He clipped the stock to the pistol, laid the spare magazine beside him and the box of rounds.

The shouts came again. He peered forward, through the balustrade. Running figures scattered across the lawn. He sighted on the nearest, squeezed. Commotion below. The automatic zipped; stone chips flew, whining. A voice called,

“Don’t expose yourselves unnecessarily.”

Another answered.

“Die kommen mit dem Hubschrauber”

He stared round him, at the yellow-grey horizon. He had forgotten the helicopter. A snow flurry drove against his face. He huddled, flinching. He thought he heard, carried on the wind, a faint droning. From where he crouched he could see the nearer trees of the park, beyond them the wall and gatehouses. Beyond again, the land rose to the circling woods.

The droning was back, louder than before. He screwed his eyes, made out the dark spot skimming above the trees. He shook his head. He said. “We made a mistake. We all made a mistake.”

He settled the stock of the Luger to his shoulder, and waited.

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    Dang, you beat me to it again! I have it in the anthology Hitler Victorious. The version in New Worlds 4 (1972) is available at the Internet Archive: archive.org/details/new-worlds-4-by-michael-moorcock-ed/page/…
    – user14111
    Dec 23, 2022 at 6:21
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    @user14111 With these stories from the classic era all we old timers know them. It's just a matter of who sees it first. I got lucky on this occasion :-) Dec 23, 2022 at 6:31

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