Dangerous Territory

BY : Rhov
Category: +. to F > Attack on Titan /Shingeki No Kyojin
Dragon prints: 2537
Disclaimer: I do not own “Shingeki no Kyojin” and do not make money from this fanfic.

Chapter 22

Prison Break


That morning, no one came for the Jews. As they all woke up—not jolted awake by German shouting, but slowly coming out of dreams—they wondered what was going on. Why was it so quiet? Had the Germans left town? Was another battle about to start? What happened if no one came down there to free them?

In his cell in the pitch darkness, Levi sat quietly, staring forward, holding the gardenia in his hands. He had stayed awake, thinking Krista and the others would get them at any moment. Instead, hours passed.

What happened after Eren left? Was he okay? Was he already gone? Oh God, had anyone seen them kiss?

A whisper came from the cell next to him. "Levi, what was last night about?" asked Abel.

He thought about telling them, but he knew it was complicated. With the hours it was taking for any action, he had no idea if he should get their hopes up.

"The Nazis wanted me to talk to the postmaster, that's all."

"In the middle of the night?" Abel asked in surprise and a little suspicion.

Levi knew Abel was the smartest person in their group. His mind worked a little too fast for his own good sometimes, and he could figure out everything with even a tiny bit of information. So rather than mention the telegraph or even attempt to lie to him, Levi simply kept quiet. Since it was too dark to see, he put the gardenia up to his nose, closed his eyes, and hoped Eren was okay.

As time dragged on, the Jews began to seriously worry. What were they supposed to do if the village was destroyed or abandoned? A few of the more cautious Jews still had portions of their carrots leftover to eat as breakfast, but what about the rest? How long before they starved?

Levi began to seriously worry. The Resistance should have made a move by now, but what if they got caught? Last night, the Germans were in a frenzied confusion. Kitz Woermann was unpredictable even on a good day. What would he do when the company under his command faced a serious threat?

Amidst the confusion, they heard footsteps. Everyone froze. These were not stomping military boots, but light steps, women's shoes. Then a glow from an oil lamp poured in, and a small woman rounded the corner, golden hair and a pale dress, wearing a white hooded cloak against a dusting of rain that made her whole body sparkle like an angel.

Levi leaped up at seeing her. "Krista! About time."

"I know, I'm sorry," she said, hurrying in with three other women. "Ymir, the keys."

Levi glanced at the women. He recognized Anka from last night, and he remembered getting bread from Sasha, who was now dressed in all black with a rifle in her hands, standing guard just outside the door, keeping her gaze up the staircase. Another tan-skinned woman with freckles had a keyring.

"We need to hurry," Sasha warned.

Ymir went up to Levi's cell and said in a flippant tone, "Alrighty, Captain Tiny, let's find which one opens your door." She began to cycle through the keys, testing one, then another.

Sasha signaled Anka to take over the watch, and she stepped into the middle of the room. "Listen up, everyone. I'm sure you know by now, we had planned to free all of you tomorrow on your trip to the river. There's been a change of plans. The Germans are leaving town … now!"

Gasps of fear fluttered all through the dungeon.

A fifteen-year-old girl named Ruth ran up to the bars of her cell. "Get us out of here! Please, get us out."

"Calm down, and keep quiet. We'll do what we can. Ymir?"

The tan woman sneered. "The keys aren't marked. I'm trying them as fast as I can."

Levi remained calm. "Are they gone yet?"

Sasha shook her head. "No, they're having an assembly. Even before the sun was up, there was increased activity around the castle, no way we could have sneaked ourselves in, let alone get any of you out. We were forced to wait until now before we could enter."

In the cell next to Levi, Abel had his studious glasses on, and he sneered in anger mixed with fear. "How could you not know when they were leaving?"

Sasha pouted in self-reproach before answering. "We were going off the intelligence the Germans had received. That information was incorrect, so now we're both left scrambling."

Ymir scoffed as she tried various keys on Levi's door. "Yeah, filthy Krauts ruined our plan."

Sasha went on, "We have only until Captain Woermann finishes his speech. Let us hope he's as long-winded as usual."

"Then what about us?" asked Abel.

Krista explained more. "We came up with another plan last night."

From the doorway, Anka protested, "For the record, I was guilt-tripped into this."

Krista tried to smile reassuringly, although it was obviously strained with guilt. "We'll get out as many of you as we can."

"As many as you can?" Abel sneered, smart enough to keep his voice low, which was better than others who began to shout, only to have Sasha harshly shush them. "Then how will you decide who gets released and who gets left behind?"

Ymir shook the keys at all of them. "How about, whoever can tell me which key goes to which cell, you get out first, yeah?"

Levi insisted, "Get the women first."

"No offense, Captain Ackerman," said Sasha, "but we need to get you out first so you can help us get the rest of these people to the safehouse and to deal with any problems as quietly as possible. After all, with your expertise in infiltration and assassination, you're the best suited person for the job."

"Captain Ackerman? Assassination?" Abel looked over at the man in the cell next to him as if he was suddenly a stranger. "Levi, what is she talking about? Just who are you?"

Ymir barked out a laugh. "You guys really don't know, do you? Not sayin' I blame Captain Tiny for hiding all that from you. A desperate enough person might honestly believe Nazis would let them go if they sold out a member of the Deuxième Bureau."

"Deuxième Bureau?" all the Jews in the dungeon cried out together.

Levi flinched. "Fuck! Seriously, keep it down, you idiots." He glared at Ymir. "And you! If you call me Captain Tiny again, I will slit your throat."

Abel looked perplexed. "Is that why you used to go by the name Rivaille, and why you know how to fight so well, and does that have anything to do with why you left in the middle of the night? Have you been spying on the Germans this whole time?"

"Obviously not," Levi snapped. "I got trapped in this shitty village the same as the rest of you."

"But you're with the Deuxième Bureau! Surely, you could have gotten out at any time."

"And left all of you to get yourselves killed?" Levi scoffed and shook his head. "Like hell I'd do that."

In her cell, Ruth smiled kindly. "You stayed for us?"

Levi mumbled, "Don't overthink it."

Ymir growled at the ring of thick metal prison keys. "Fuck! I've gone through the whole thing. Why can't these be marked?"

Levi glanced at the keyring, and his shoulders sank in cold dread. "You can't release me."

"Of course we can," Krista cried out. "We need you, Captain."

"No, I mean … you can't. I count only fifteen keys on that ring, and there are sixteen of us. Eren Jäger must still have mine from earlier. That brat!"

Krista gasped and looked over to Anka, astonished and horrified.

The brunette sighed and shook her head. "I knew I saw something in his hand last night."

Sasha slammed her eyes shut. "We don't have time for this. Krista, run to Eren Jäger." The girl instantly took off. "Ymir, open as many cells as you can."

"Women first!" shouted Levi.

"Fine. Focus on the women's cells first. We'll get people out in groups of four. Anka, you lead them to the safehouse."

"Me?" she cried out in horror.

"Well, obviously we can't use him," she snapped, pointing sharply at Levi. Sasha's eyes turned to the small Jewish man. "I had planned to rely rather heavily on your skills, Captain. Now we've wasted many precious minutes."

"Trust me," Levi grumbled, "I'm not thrilled to know I can't get the hell out of here. At least I don't have to hold myself hostage just so you'll get the women out first."

Ymir chuckled as she was finally able to open one cell and swiftly moved to the next. "Hostage? With what, a carrot?"

"He can," Sasha warned. "My father told me about a situation in Helsinki. They were disarmed, so Captain Ackerman stabbed a man through the eye socket with a carrot."

Ymir laughed, "Seriously? Bad-ass!"

She got another door open, and Ruth ran out, taking shelter next to Anka. The brunette looked stunned that the small teen was hanging onto her dress like a scared child. Uncertainly, she patted the girl's head.

"It'll be all right. Refuge is nearby."

Levi sighed and sank back onto his cot. "Yiddisher mazel." Yiddish luck was all bad luck!

Still, he fully believed that Eren would come with his key. At the very least, he was glad he would get to see him one last time. Those kisses last night … Levi barely understood why he had kissed Eren like that. What was running through his head? He almost wished he could blame it purely on the wine, yet he knew it had been something more. Even now, after the wine was all pissed out, he wanted to kiss Eren like that, just one last time, a true final farewell, and to see if he still felt that fire in his chest now that his head was fully clear. Once he was on a ship to America, he would have plenty of time to think about if he honestly wanted a relationship with a man.

While Ymir worked on opening the cells, Sasha walked over to Levi. "I'm sorry about this."

"All missions are unpredictable. We Jews have a saying: Mann tracht on gott lacht. Man plans and God laughs."

"Ain't that the truth!" Sasha looked down at her rifle. "The Germans must have been deliberately fed false reports, but no one informed me about it."

"Probably for the same reason Dot did not want to tell anyone about your plan to free us. The fewer people who know about a secret mission, the less likely the enemy will learn about it."

"When it was just the Resistance, we were all on the same page. If we planned to blow up a train depot, or set fire to a building, all Resistance members in the area knew ahead of time, so no one would be caught in the destruction. Now there's chaos with communication, all these stubborn generals from various countries, each too egotistical to listen to one another. Even the French army doesn't care about the Resistance anymore. Bastards," she grumbled.

Ymir got two more cells open. "That's four. Get the hell out of here, ladies."

Anka waved them forward. "Don't say a word, and walk as quietly as you can. Be ready to make a run for it." Then she left with the group.

Ymir grinned as she moved on to another cell. "Alrighty, do you happen to know which of these damn keys opens your cell?"

"I know," a teen boy down the way shouted. "I know precisely which one opens mine."

"No, me first," the man in front of her yelled in desperation, reaching through the bars and trying to grab the keys out of her hands.

Ymir jumped back. "Whoa, do that and I'll get you last!"

Levi kept his voice low as he spoke with Sasha. "I hope Dot got out of town. As soon as the Germans find us gone, they'll suspect he had something to do with it."

"Yes, he and Gustav left right after setting up the new safehouse."

"He told me, you've been working on this plan for weeks."

"Months," she admitted, still chagrined that all that planning could so easily be upended. "As soon as I knew you were the Captain Levi Ackerman, I've been trying to figure out how to get you out of here without putting Dot and the rest of the villagers in danger."

"The Captain?" he said with a disgusted sneer. "You make it sound like I'm famous."

Sasha laughed. "You are. My father had many stories about you. Agent Braus. Does the name ring a bell?"

"Yes, I remember him. Good man. Is he still alive?"

"He left to London with the rest of the Deuxième Bureau. I got so mad at him when he left, and we all stayed behind to fight. It took me four years, but I finally realized, he's been fighting every day as well. Knowing I was still here gave him something to fight for."

Levi glanced at the gardenia still in his hand. "Yes, sometimes you need a good reason to fight."

"Now he wants me to give all this up. 'Thanks for risking your life for the past four years while I ran away to England, now you should settle down, start a family, be a good little housewife, and leave the rest to the men-folk.' I told him what I thought of that idea, in language I had to go to confession for," she admitted with a chuckle. "Then I told him, there was no way I could stop this operation without freeing you, Captain Ackerman."

"So, is this your last mission?"

She shook her head. "I plan to continue helping my countrymen until either France is liberated, or until they kill me." She stood tall with a sad smile. "It would have been an honor to have worked with you, Captain."

Levi looked at the white flower. Then he opened the cover of the Tanakh, threw the flower between the pages, and slammed the book down. His eyes turned up at her with a fighting glare.

"We're not out of this yet. A mission isn't over until you give up hope, and I, for one, have never given up on fighting for my survival. So don't talk about dying. It'll bring misfortune."

Ymir opened another door. "All right, we got another four. It's gonna take Anka some time to get those women to the safehouse. What do we do?"

Sasha firmed up under Levi's confident gaze. "Right! Ymir, give me the keys. You take these four. I'll get the rest of the doors open. Hopefully either Anka or Krista will be back by then." She smiled at Levi. "Maybe I'll get to fight with you after all, Captain Ackerman."

* * *

Eren got very little sleep last night, besides a brief nap at the postmaster's house. After finally getting through on the phone to Berlin, when they asked for the location of troops, they found that Armin had been completely accurate in his deduction. The American army had already marched right past them, and some divisions were as far as sixty miles east.

Oberleutnant Ian Dietrich spent half the night on the phone, with Kitz bellowing in the background as Ian plugged his ear to hear the voice on the receiver. Kitz insisted Berlin told him to remain on standby. Berlin insisted they had been given orders to leave a week ago, and Metz should be expecting them. Metz insisted Berlin never even mentioned them. The newly assigned General of the Armored Corps was still on en route to France from the Eastern Front, so he was not available. All around, it was chaos with one lingering question which had no answer.

Why did someone go through so much trouble, hacking the communication between Berlin, Metz, and their company, just to have them abandoned in northern France and not outright attacked?

As the cloudy eastern horizon turned a sickly gray-green from the coming dawn, a new map was drawn, as detailed as they could possibly get it. The officers poured over it, but Eren brought Armin over to study the map. The captain shouted why a mere Obergefreiter was even still there, but Ian Dietrich and Gunther Schultz both encouraged him to take a look. They knew, sometimes the most brilliant tactician in a platoon was not the commanding officer, but the drafted soldier.

Armin took one look and immediately began to plot a detailed path, weaving the entire company between American troops, traveling on small forest roads through the Ardennes. Luckily, most of their company had traveled on foot or by horse, with only a few trucks for artillery and supplies. This would be to their advantage now, making them less noisy and able to sneak along narrow roads. The biggest danger was just how fast the Americans were traveling. They would need a scouting party up ahead of the main column, just in case the Allies suddenly shifted directions and moved into their way. Eren immediately volunteered to ride ahead.

Once they had a route planned, Kitz called the entire company to assemble for the announcement. First, he made it clear to all the officers, under no circumstances were they to tell anyone that their communications had been tampered with. Then, despite a light misting of September rain, he stood before the soldiers and gave a rousing speech.

"Germans grew lazy in France," Kitz shouted, as if it was their fault the Allies invaded Normandy. "We had enough troops to control France, but we were not prepared to actually defend it. Since those Jew-loving swine landed, German troops have been slowly retreating. We keep falling back, falling back, retreat or surrender, over and over, all across France. No more!" he bellowed. "By Herr Hitler's own decree, the remaining troops on the Western Front are to gather in the city of Metz, where four and a half divisions are digging their heels in. Fifty thousand Wehrmacht troops, all ready to fight for the Fatherland! Our company shall join this glorious battle. It will be one history books shall remember. We are privileged to fight for Germany's glory! Heil Hitler!"

As one, the whole company snapped their arms up in salute. "Heil Hitler!"

"The Americans move fast, like a cockroach, so we must move faster. We will be leaving immediately, riding with full haste to our waiting brothers. We must stand as a mighty wall and stop those Jew-lovers if the German people are to survive. Der Mann kann fallen, die Fahne nie!" The man can fall, the flag cannot!

"Think of those back home. Think of your mother, your sister, the girl you kissed goodbye. If we cannot stop the Allies here and now, they will all be raped and murdered. Fight for them! Fight for Hitler! Fight for all of Germany!" His arm shot out again, with his eyes bulging out of their shadowy sinkholes in patriotic fervor. "Sieg Heil!"

"Sieg Heil!" they all cheered.

He yelled again, "Sieg Heil!"

They screamed back in growing excitement, "Sieg Heil!"

"Sieg Heil!"

"Sieg Heil!"

By the third shout, the crowd erupted into a wild roar, ready to battle the entire Allied army. Kitz stared out proudly, and he said with quiet devotion, "Süß und ehrenvoll ist es, für das Vaterland zu sterben." How sweet and honorable it is, to die for the Fatherland.

The German national anthem, Deutschlandlied, started up in one corner, and soon everyone was singing it proudly, followed immediately by the Nazi Party anthem, Horst-Wessel-Lied. There was a renewed zeal in the soldiers, glad to join the fight again, and this time fighting alongside a real army in a grand battle, not just a small company holding down a tiny village. This was the sort of glory many of them wanted, the life of a warrior that their ancient ancestors thought would get them into Valhalla.

The group began to break up, with shouts from the officers to hurry. Eren tried to turn and rush off, worried about the Jews, but there were over a hundred other Germans in his way. He heard some of his platoon talking.

"I can't wait to fight again," Connie said excitedly.

Jean scoffed. "Are you eager to have people shoot at you?"

"I'm eager for anything after sitting around drinking wine for months. I really thought they forgot about us."

Armin looked awkward. He had also been warned not to tell anyone that they had their communications hacked. It was not so much that they had been forgotten, as someone purposely wanted to leave them behind. "It was an important place to defend," he said. "This village was key to the French Resistance. That's no longer as much of an issue now that we lost Paris."

"We'll get it back," Jean said confidently. "We'll get all of France back."

Eren tried to shoulder his way past them. "I need to get by."

Jean at least tried to move out of the way, but there were still too many soldiers around for Eren to break out of the throng.

Thomas gave a long sigh. "Finally, we'll be in a city where everyone speaks German, the food is German, the beer is German, the women are German."

Franz looked over in surprise. "German? I thought Metz was part of France."

Jean shook his head. "France took Metz from us after the Great War. That's why Germany annexed it back, because it was ours to begin with."

Armin schooled, "That is historically debatable. Technically, Metz was its own Republic until medieval German princes illegally ceded it to France, then Germany annexed it after the Franco-Prussian War—"

"Yeah, because it never should have belonged to France in the first place. Have you ever been there? Ever seen the German Gate? I have. It's called German Gate for a reason, because it's a German city. So forget whatever it technically was a hundred years ago, it's German. I have relatives living there and around Elsaß-Lothringen." Jean hummed and rubbed his chin. "I wonder if my aunt is still alive. I wouldn't mind getting a nice home-cooked meal."

Thomas looked offended. "What's wrong with my meals?"

"They're seasoned rations, that's what!" Jean looked down as Eren was still trying to edge by. "Are you okay, Jäger? Gotta take a shit?"

"I need … I have something to do."

Armin seemed to suddenly realize what he meant. "Oh, right! We, uh … have something to do. Right, Jean?"

Jean folded his arms and looked away. "I don't know what you're talking about."

"Jean!" Armin cried out.

Just then, a small woman in all white weaved between the soldiers, who moved aside and chuckled lewdly as she passed, eying how her running showed off her legs. Krista finally came right up to Eren, slipped in the rain-dampened street, and landed in his arms. He grabbed hold of her before she fell.


"Eren," Krista said, looking frantic but fearful to speak too much.

Eren nodded sternly, guessing she was here to get his help with the Jews. He called out to his men, "I'll be along soon."

Connie smirked. "Don't take too long."

Thomas also chuckled. "Then again, don't make it too quick. That roast take a while to cook."

Armin hid a small laugh and shook his head. They were so mistaken, yet he could say nothing.

Eren's mind was so flustered, he did not realize what they were hinting at. "I may be a while."

Franz teased, "Yeah, yeah, say goodbye properly and leave her in good hope."

The others snorted laughs at that, but Eren still did not catch on.

"Right. Jean, you're in charge. Get everyone packed, and prepare the horses to go. See if we can get a truck." Then he followed Krista out.

The others watched, and once the lieutenant was gone, they burst into laughter.

"That sly Jäger finally got himself a girl!" Connie cried out. "About time."

"I hope he gives her some thing to remember him by," Thomas added a wink to show what he meant.

"And a reason to come back to her," said Connie. "At least for child support payments, if not make her into a proper German wife."

"Good hope, indeed!" Franz said with a grin.

They laughed that, at last, their commanding officer broke his apparent celibacy. Only Armin and Jean glanced warily between each other.

"We should help," Armin insisted in a whisper.

"No," Jean said, glaring as Eren and Krista broke into a run together. "If he's going to risk it, too many numbers will endanger the mission. I need to make sure the platoon is ready to go so Jäger doesn't get in trouble when he comes back. If he comes back." He muttered under his breath, "God be with him."

Armin hated not being there to help, but he had to agree with Jean. Some missions were best done solo.

# # #

# #


Early readers of Chapter 21 can go back and see that I added a few atmospheric descriptions. Up until now, I've been basing the weather on old soldier diaries. If a soldier mentioned it was raining, I made a note in my timeline that it was raining that day. However, these were all English-speaking Allies, who might be 50 km away from the Germans, and maybe the weather was different. Then I found a really amazing meteorological website. You can put in any date, and it shows the radar weather report of Europe for that day. So whereas before, I had to hope some American or British soldier wrote about the weather, now I'm going through my timeline and jotting down when it's rainy or sunny. What's amazing is that I guessed Eren got pneumonia because it had been raining hard for a few days, and during that time (June 12-20, 1944) it actually was raining hard for eight days straight. My timeline had down that Levi goes to care for Eren on the 21st. Dang, that's kismet! So here is the weather report for northern France on September 8, 1944: light drizzle but heavier rain as they head east.

"stubborn generals from various countries" – Sasha brings up a huge problem in the Western Front, where British, French, American, Canadian, and Polish armies were all racing across France, Belgium, and the Netherlands, sometimes bumping into one another and accidentally bombing each other due to a lack of communication. There were strong opinions, egos, and prejudices between the various countries. Many American divisions outright refused to be under a British commander. The French military mutinied against the Americans and left to go help the civilians fighting in Paris. American General George S. Patton and British Field Marshal Bernard L. Montgomery were notoriously antagonistic of one another, with a rivalry that was headline news during the war, and these two proud, sometimes egocentric military leaders created a massive obstacle in coordinating the Allies. It took Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, who had both military genius and political shrewdness, to finally shape up all the various countries and form a cohesive force. Even then, Patton was openly critical of Montgomery's slow-and-steady approach, which sometimes allowed the enemy to regroup, and Montgomery was openly critical of Patton's "bust in through the front door" approach, which cost the Americans more in fatalities.

(Meanwhile, Canada's sitting there like, "Hey everyone, we took Juno Beach during D-Day, penetrated into German lines farther than either British or Americans that first day, liberated Caen and La Havre, cleared the west bank of the Rhine of German troops, enabled the first Allied convoy to arrive in Antwerp, and, you know … kinda freed the entire country of the Netherlands. Then we realized there was a famine going on, so we gave all our rations and blankets to Dutch children, and got permission from the Germans to air-drop food to starving civilians in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and the Hague, even though that was technically enemy territory at the time. Just didn't want anyone to forget we were there too, eh. Sorry.")

Captain Tiny – Originally, I had a bunch of cute French slang for Ymir to use, giving her a carefree attitude. However, considering they are supposed to be speaking purely in French here, the random French slang amidst English was weird. Ymir originally kept calling Levi "petite capitaine," so I translated that to Captain Tiny for some comedic element. (I love Ymir!)

Otto von Knobelsdorff – General der Panzertruppe Otto von Knobelsdorff was transferred to Metz and made head of the German 1st Army on 6 September 1944. The current day in the story is 8 September 1944, so he would have been new to the post, yet still aware of which companies were under his command.

"Der Mann kann fallen, die Fahne nie" – "The man can fall, the flag cannot" was a Nazi slogan. One of Hitler's more controversial military orders was his belief that there was no such thing as a tactical retreat. From the beginning of the war, he often ordered that troops stand their ground, even if it meant a wholesale slaughter. Many of his generals purposely ignored this command, but as the Allies surged through Europe in 1944-45, Hitler began to insist that surrender and retreat were akin to treason. Especially as the Americans pushed into France far quicker than anyone anticipated (and faster than their fuel supplies could accommodate) Germany realized the Westwall was out of shape, and warfare technology had rapidly advanced. If they wanted to hold the Allies back from a full invasion, they needed to upgrade the defenses at the border, and so Hitler once again turned to the idea of standing one's ground, sacrificing entire divisions, tens of thousands of men, in order to buy the engineers time to fix the border defenses and save the rest of Germany.

"they will all be raped and murdered" – Kitz says, if they can't stop the Allies, all the women back home will be raped. Sadly, he was not wrong. In what is called "the largest mass rape in history," two million women in German-occupied countries were raped by Allied soldiers. With a massive lack of medical supplies after the war, nearly a quarter million women died due to internal injuries after being brutally violated up to 70 times, untreated sexually transmitted diseases, abortions, or from suicide as they mentally could not cope with what happened to them.

It was standard (although not officially sanctioned) that when Russian troops came to a town, they were allowed three days to loot, which included "human loot," a euphemism for rape. Russian soldiers confessed in documentaries that it was common to rape females between the ages of 8 and 80. When complaints of the mass rapes on the Eastern Front reached Joseph Stalin, his reply was "a soldier who has crossed thousands of kilometers through blood and fire and death" deserved to have his way with a few women. Men and young boys were not excluded as victims of this mass rape. Even some Jewish women freed from concentration camps were raped before being allowed to leave the camp.

The Western Front was not much better. British and American soldiers were responsible for around 200,000 rapes in France, Belgium, and Germany. The youngest rape victim by an American soldier was a 7-year-old girl. Black American soldiers were executed for rape, while White soldiers were merely court-martialed. Many American soldiers got away with it by leaving behind some food for their victims, thus claiming they "paid a prostitute" and didn't rape a woman. For decades, the crimes against women in post-war Germany went ignored by historians who wished to paint a certain narrative of the Allies as heroes. Even within German society, the guilt of the Holocaust left people with the opinion that "Germany got what it deserved." It has not been until recently that films like "Anonyma: Eine Frau in Berlin" (A Woman in Berlin) have dealt with the brutal truths of what German women suffered at the hands of the Allies after the war. As of 2020, neither the Russian nor American governments have formally apologized for the mass rape of Germans that happened during and after World War II.









"How sweet and honorable it is, to die for the Fatherland" – This comes from Roman poet Horace's "Odes." The Latin line "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori" was etched into memorials for fallen soldiers for centuries, including America's Arlington National Cemetery. Here, Kitz Woermann says it in German.

Metz as a German City – Armin is right that the history of Metz is complex, so whether it is German or French depends on what century, or even what decade, you're talking about. Metz was a republic from the 12th century until 1552, when three Germanic Protestant noblemen met with King Henry II of France and signed the Treaty of Chambord, where they offered Metz, Toul, and Verdun in exchanged for military aid against Emperor Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire, who planned to wiped out the Protestants. These noblemen technically did not have the right to give Metz to France, since it was not under their domain. In retaliation, Emperor Charles V attacked Metz and laid siege, hoping to starve them out. There is a gorgeous castle bridge Jean mentions called the German Gate, where you can still see musket bullet holes from when Charles V attacked. The French army came to their rescue, and when King Henry II marched through the German Gate, the citizens of Metz decided a French king who kept his word was better than a Holy Roman Emperor who tried to slaughter them. After the Franco-Prussian War in 1871, the newly unified Imperial Germany took Elsaß-Lothringen (German for the Alsace-Lorraine region), which included cities like Metz, Straßburg (Strasbourg), Mülhausen, Colmar, and Diedenhofen (today called Thionville; it and Strasbourg will be mentioned again later). Kaiser Wilhelm II constructed many gorgeous buildings made in a uniquely Imperial German style, including the Metz train station that still exists today. In the 1919 Treaty of Versailles, France reclaimed the Alsace-Lorraine region as part of their reparations for World War I. Then twenty years later, Germany annexed it back. Without an army ever breaking their defenses, the city of Metz has changed ownership multiple times via treaty.

roasts and good hope – Thomas and Franz are referring to a couple of German euphemisms for pregnancy. "Einen Braten in der Röhre haben" literally means 'have a roast in the tube,' which is similar to the English phrase 'a bun in the oven.' Meanwhile, "guter Hoffnung sein" means ' to be in good hope,' as in you hope for a healthy child. So yeah, most of the platoon now thinks Eren is banging Krista. Sooooooo far from the truth!

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