Gunther Hahn

    Character » Gunther Hahn appears in 10 issues.

    A man whose open secret conceals a far more terrible one.

    Short summary describing this character.

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    As far as anyone in Salvation, Texas is concerned, Gunther Hahn is a nice old German man who settled in the town after World War 2. He claims to be an ex-spy for the Germans, and most of the people in Salvation probably think he is being funny.

    Thing is, it's true. When Jesse Custer became the sheriff of Salvation, Gunther told him the story of how he had come to America, just to be sure that Jesse knew where they stood.

    Gunther told Jesse about how his brother Werner, his idol in all things, had joined the Luftwaffe,where he eventually rose to be a full squadron commander. He idolized Werner, and his brother was not only a hero to him, but a hero to their entire town. Gunther resolved to join the Army when he was old enough and join his brother in the skies.

    During the Battle of Britain, Werner was shot from the skies. While the official story was that he had probably died instantly, Gunther later learned that he most likely died screaming. Gunther vowed not to die like that,and certainly not to die for his country.

    He joined the Luftwaffe, and went into the Intelligence Corps. He applied himself and got top marks, and was accepted to go be a spy in the United States. He arrived in Los Angeles under the assumed name of Mark Van Der Pol, and simply disappeared into the country. He went east, and settled in Salvation.

    He told Jesse that he loved America and everything about it. Most importantly, he loved the myth of America - that it is a land of good people who will one day be worthy of her. America was a land of second chances, and Gunther was happy to make the most of his.

    The story certainly won Jesse over, and they became fast friends. Gunther even had a flirtatious relationship with Jesse's mother, Christina Custer. It was a good life.

    Until his true secret was finally uncovered.

    Jesse came across some books about the Luftwaffe in the boudoir of Miss Oatlash, the S&M-loving, Nazi apologist lawyer of Odin Quincannon. Jesse took some of the books, hoping to find some mention of Werner Hahn. He did, and also found mention of Werner's younger brother, Gunther, who had joined the Luftwaffe like his brother but had been shot down and killed. This left Jesse, naturally, curious as to who this elderly German in Salvation really was.

    The truth came out. "Gunther Hahn" was actually Siegfried Vechtel, a former member of the vicious Nazi police battalions. He and his men followed Wehrmacht occupiers, rounding up and enslaving or shooting civilians. He worked throughout Eastern Europe, and even ended up working at a concentration camp. The horrors of his experience in the war preyed on him, so in 1946 he took the name of a young dead flier and made his way to America in the hopes that he might one day find redemption.

    He hoped that Jesse would be willing to give him that redemption, but Jesse refused. "There's some things can't ever be put right," he said, tossing Gunther a hangman's noose.

    Gunther hanged himself in his home.


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