Alfred composes another letter to Hannelore. He briefly mentions the war effort but then turns his attention to the Wilhelm Gustloff. He is sharing “undisclosed details,” but knows Hannelore loves keeping secrets. Alfred tells her about a fake chimney in the ship that can serve as a hiding spot, and about how he stole a stack of blank boarding passes after realizing how valuable they would be. He decides not to tell her that the ship is supposed to have twenty-two lifeboats, but only twelve are accounted for.
Although he will never send a letter to Hannelore, just imagining telling her secret details about his job excites Alfred. Alfred loves feeling powerful. Knowing secrets about the boat makes him feel important, as does having a stack of boarding passes. He cares less about the actual lives of the boat’s passengers than about his own importance.