On Thursday February 2nd 1933, Senior Tax Secretary Georg Herrel and Senior Tax Inspector Gustav Wächter meet on the stairs at the Baumeisterstrasse Tax Office. They greet each other with “Guten Tag”, but they do not shake hands. They exchange a few words about the previous day’s gathering at the home of Tax Assistant Baltscheid, then they continue on their way. Gustav is heading down the stairs, on his way to the Bostelmann family shop at Hansaplatz 2, where they sell nothing but eggs and honey. Eggs in every imaginable colour and size, not just hens’ eggs but also duck eggs, goose eggs and quails’ eggs. Even gulls’ eggs, in fact. The various kinds of honey are sold loose, and are kept in stone pots, each furnished with its own wooden scoop. Herr or Frau Bostelmann spoon the sticky, viscous liquid into the jars the customers bring with them; these jars are weighed before and after they are filled. Gustav Wächter and Georg Herrel have just passed one another, Wächter on his way down and Herrel on his way up, when the latter says “Herr Wächter”, and Gustav turns around. Herrel is now standing on the step above Gustav. Up to this point the course of events is perfectly clear, but there are two versions of what happens next.
According to the version which Georg Herrel will later insist is true, he makes the following remarks to his superior: “You know that you have repeatedly made political remarks about me behind my back. I would like the matter to be over and done with, but would ask you to refrain from anything of the kind in future.” Wächter’s response, again according to Herrel’s version, is to hold out his hand in silence, which Herrel interprets as an admission on Wächter’s part.
But according to Gustav Wächter, the conversation on the stairs begins with Herrel saying: “Herr Wächter we should be amicable again.” To which Wächter responds with a certain amount of surprise: “We didn’t fall out about anything,” Herrel then says: “You said I was a Nazi,” which Wächter denies; he replies that this is something he has heard others say. The two men then shake hands and part on the best of terms, according to Gustav Wächter’s version.