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Ch. 7: Diamonds come to America

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DIAMONDS COME TO AMERICA
if the following morning—three o'clock had just struck— Hitler's legions were bombing all the flying fields in The Netherlands. Bank officials and diamond dealers rushed to the bank. The Dutch were bewildered and stunned. They didn't know the meaning of the word "blackout." They bad no shelters against air raids.
Frantic telephone calls were placed to all parts of the country to locate Devrees, the bank's manager. He was not to be found. A director of the bank, one of the three men who had knowledge of the vault's combination, finally was located. He twirled the dials back and forth, back and forth. Nothing happened. It may have been that the shock of a near-by bomb had jarred the tumblers of the safe. Officials of the cutting firms paced the floor frantically. Meanwhile, a cable arrived from the English owners of the diamonds. It read:
CHARTERED SHIP CROSSING CHANNEL TO PICK UP STONES AT AMSTERDAM.
We know how the country became a mass of ruin; we know that now. But the bank officials were realizing that Devrees had set the time lock on the vault for opening Tues­day morning. They called in experts to try to blow off the door with TNT. They called in well-known crooks. But the cold steel withstood the gnawing of the whirring carbon drills. The safe expert hung several sticks of dynamite near the lock with tape, discharged the load with an electric spark. A roar reverberated through the underground rooms of the bank. Acrid smoke curled in under steel safety doors. When the officials examined the door, they found that the lock had been destroyed. The door refused to budge.
While the group of officials tried to decide what to do, word arrived that the Nazis already were in Amsterdam.
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Ch. 7: Diamonds come to America Page of 281 Ch. 7: Diamonds come to America
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