Henrik

Henrik Svensson is a relative newcomer to Arras, a foreigner whose plans to leave France for Sweden (by way of Britain) were first delayed by bureaucracy, then thwarted by the Nazi offensive. Scars are clearly visible on the big man, whose spite toward France is undisguised. Thus far, he has gotten by in town doing grunt work for enough francs to keep him fed, and to take a beer every evening.

Known to be bitter of manner and sharp of tongue, the grim man will occasionally offer toasts of 'Long live the Spanish Republic', and others of similarly unusual character.

Such is the public face of Henrik Svensson.

It is a deception. A veteran of the Spanish Civil War, he was a corporal in the International Brigades who survived the long years of doomed campaigning to escape into France after the Brigades were disbanded. As his true name and nature would have led to difficulty at the hands of a France who lived in dread of the communist menace, he was persuaded to present himself as a swede, by the finest woman he will ever know. She was right, but his gentler fate was still a harsh one.

His reward for fighting fascism unsuccessfully was to be interned among others in the concentration Camp Gurs in southern France for several months. He eventually departed and made his way north, intent on traveling to Sweden by way of Britain. Lack of the needed papers thwarted him, however. While he has someone waiting for him in Britain, the fascist storm had at last swallowed Europe, trapping him in Arras.

His open scorn for French weakness is surpassed by a hatred of the fascists who stole his homeland, thus once again he finds himself a soldier against the fascists, albeit this time a silent one. If there is hope for a life after the war, the Nazis must be stopped; this is a truth Vaclav Hagen has known for all too long.

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