The moon’s light broke through my blinds as I tried to fall asleep. Nothing like a world war keeps you up late night after night of wondering if Hitler will choose to dispose of your people… How could he do such a thing? How can he be stopped?
A flash of light clouded my thoughts. I jumped out of bed, nearly gasping at how cold the floor was below my bare feet, and rushed to the window. My nightgown drifted just above my toes; the fabric shook as I shivered from the winter cold.
My fragile hand drew back the drapes, and I stealthily let one eye peek out the window. A shocking breath escaped my dry lips.
Tanks and soldiers quietly entered the city, walking along my neighborhood streets, guns at the ready.
I swallowed past the ball in my throat and forced myself to move. Rushing to my closet, I yanked my coat from a hanger and hurried to my parents’ room. Knocking on the door first, I let myself in.
They were both sound asleep, oblivious to the horrors approaching just beyond our home’s walls.
“Momma, Papa! Wake up, the Nazis are here!”
My father moaned and squished his face into the pillow; momma began to stir. I ran to kneel by her side, “Momma, we need to do something! What if they are back for the Lewinskys? For us?”
Her blue eyes shot open. Her penetrating gaze frightened me as we stared at each other for a moment, then, she turned to Papa.
“Darling,” she shook his body, “darling wake up!”
He growled at her, “What is it?” Papa turned and rubbed his eyes wearily, then he saw me. I must have looked afraid for he sat up and began to violently tug off the blankets surrounding him, as if he were trapped.
“They’re here.” She mumbled. My father rushed to his window to see the Nazis for himself.
“They’ve already been here! Why would they come back!” He quickly shut the curtains and fell to his knees on the floor, rummaging underneath the bed. After a few sounds of knocking wood, Papa stood straight with a Luger in his hand.
“Go get your sister,” he pointed a finger at me. I silently agreed.
Then, his gaze fell upon Momma’s, “Get the other Lugers and take the girls into the attic with the Lewinskys. Do not come out unless I come to get you.”
She crossed her hands in her lap and nodded; tears escaped her chocolatey eyes.
My father rushed out of the room, and I followed suite towards my sister’s bedroom. I placed a hand on the cold door handle, and paused. Sending a quick prayer to the Lord, I attempted to calm myself. If my sister saw my nervousness, she would be a wreck.
I walked into the small girlish room, unable to speak. Her pale face had an expression of calm – I couldn’t wake her. Carefully, I picked her up in my arms and grabbed one of her coats on the way out. Behind my mother, I quickly made my way to the library. She was holding Papa’s backpack full of Lugers. The library was unusually silent, a heaviness lingered in the space.
Slowly, momma pulled one of the books on the shelf and pushed on the wall, opening the secret door to the attic.
Papa is brilliant for having that built, even before the war started.
I slipped inside the narrow space with my sister, and began to ascend up the staircase. Despite the pitch blackness, I found my way to the top. Momma followed close behind after shutting the library door quietly.
At the top of the stairs, I knocked the code knock for the Lewinsky family to recognize. The door swung open after minutes of waiting. Mrs. Lewinsky looked a mess at opening the door. Her eyes looked swollen from crying and her lips were in a grim line.
The three of us entered, not wanting to say anything.
Both of our families could end up being killed by a gun squad for this.
I gently laid my sister on the small, old couch covering her with the coat I grabbed from her closet. Mr. and Mrs. Lewinsky spoke in urgent whispers with my mother a few feet away. She motioned to the bag of Lugers. From the corner of my eye, I could see Jakob staring blankly towards me.
I stepped to his side for comfort. Years of hiding and now they are here…
Explosions, gunshots, and blood curdling shouts rattled the house – and my sanity.
The six of us sat together in a huddle praying for God to rescue us from the doomed outcome. No one cried.
Suddenly, I could hear the front door creak open. Multiple footsteps scurried around the main floor. A whimper escaped Mrs. Lewinsky’s throat.
My mother had given me a Luger some hours ago, and I could feel my hand tighten around it. More sound moved towards the library. My heart beat nearly out of my chest. Minutes later, the hidden door swung open, allowing us to hear the Nazis come, closer and closer – the door swung open and I immediately stood with my Luger pointing straight at my father.
“Papa?” I lowered my weapon and stood, shaking.
Papa welcomed in soldiers with American uniforms. He gestured to them, “These men are here to take back our city from the Reich. They have agreed to protect us.”
Claps and tears of gladness broke the tension in the room. The soldiers watched us with sincere smiles; they gave each other pats on the backs.
They were here to save us; to save my city.