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Hiding From Hitler

April 26, 2017


It was a normal day. Me, my sister Abby, and my 4 and 6 year old cousins, Eve and , were sitting in my bedroom, laughing and talking. Earlier we had played a game and eaten dinner together. Suddenly, we heard a car pull into my driveway. I immediately became worried; all of our guardians were already there. "Guys, all of you stay here. I'm going to see who that is."  The adults were all in the kitchen, cleaning. I walked carefully to the living room, but before I could get to the window, I heard loud banging on our front door and rough, men's voices shouting. "Oh, no..." I said under my breath. I ran back to my bedroom as fast as I could. "It's them! They're​ here!" A look of horror flew into Joely's face. I grabbed Olivia's hand and a bag I had packed for in case they ever discovered us, filled with food, clothes, blankets, and a flashlight. Joely grabbed Isaiah's hand, and we went as quietly as possible to the hallway next to the living room. "Where are they? None of them are supposed to be here and we're not stopping until they're gone!" a man's voice shouted.

I knew what they were talking about. They were coming for us. We had been warned about this. Hitler wanted every Jew out of the world, and he wouldn't stop until they were "exterminated". Me and my family were Dutch, and Hitler had recently invaded The Netherlands. My thoughts were interrupted by our guardians telling the Nazis we weren't there. They were not Jews, and me, my sister, and my cousins were. Though our parents had already left the Netherlands, they were unable to bring us with them, and left us with a family friend. "Follow me," I mouthed. I led them into our school room. I opened the window, climbed out, and gestured for Joely to follow me. She didn't get it, so I pulled her arm out, and then she understood and followed me. I helped Olivia and Isaiah out, then we stood in silence for a few minutes to make sure they hadn't heard us. Luckily, they hadn't, but I heard them banging through the house, looking in closets and behind doors. I could tell they were very close to the school room. I herded the other three away from the window and to the front of the house, but immediately ducked behind a bush at the sight of more soldiers. It'll be pretty hard to get away from here," I thought. Then a brilliant idea began to form. I walked back to the side of the house and noiselessly opened the gate. I whispered the plan into my sisters ear. She nodded and we brought our cousins to the backyard. We ran to the very back and hid in the space where we sometimes played to explain the plan to our cousins: We would climb over the fence into our neighbor's backyard on the next street over, and then we would head to the end of the street and hide out there for a while, probably overnight. "Okay?" I said. They nodded, and we lifted them over the fence, then climbed over ourselves. We stood for a few minutes and then began the walk. After 10 minutes or so, we stopped for a break.

Then I remembered something important, something that could help us for a very long time, maybe. I took my cousin's hands and led them to the place I was thinking of. There were woods at the end of our street. It was a 20 minute walk, even longer because we were walking back the direction we had just come from. But I was sure the Nazis would never find us, and even if they did, it would be a long time. We took about a five minute walk into the woods, where I turned on the flashlight and unpacked the biggest blanket to make a lean-to. Olivia and Isaiah fell asleep immediately, exhausted from the long walk and the escape. But me and Joely lay awake for hours into the night, watching and waiting, guarding our cousins. Eventually, though, we drifted off, and it seemed only a few minutes until we woke up. I handed out a simple breakfast of biscuits and "Spam", and we took the tent down again.

We lived like this for 2 weeks. After we had lived there for a while, I had to go out to get more food, since we were out. I planned to go to our guardians house and ask them, since I knew they would be willing if they had some to spare. I made sure the other three were hidden well and gave them a place to go if they were heard or seen, then went on my way. As I walked, I wondered. I hadn't thought this through very well. What if the house was still under guard? What if they weren't able to give us anything? What if they weren't even there any longer, captured and taken to a concentration camp? I decided that I would take the risk. 

Just then, I heard footsteps in the brush along the sides of the road. I quickly ducked behind a tree and peeked out. It was a girl with medium-length blonde hair in a dirty, short sleeved white shirt and a plain skirt. "Who's there? You can come out." she called. I stayed behind the tree, not willing to let myself be seen and possibly give up the safety of Joely and our cousins. "You can come out, I won't hurt you," she said again. I poked my head out and slowly came out into the open. "Who are you?" I said to her, wary of any stranger I saw since the Nazis first invaded the Netherlands. They had come in a big parade, wearing shiny boots and green suits with medals pinned on the front. Everyone had crowded around the gates where they came in, little children watching in fascination, but no one cheered. They stood in silence, watching Germany file into our country to ruin us, take us, take our livelihoods.

"Did you escape too?" she asked me. I repeated my question. "My name's Hanna," she told me. "My brother, Lukas, was taken by the Nazis last year. I haven't seen him since." She seemed so genuinely heartbroken about this that I relaxed a little. "I've got 2 brothers." I said quietly. "Our parents took them with them when they left here to be safe. They said they would send a letter for me and my sister when they had found a good place to stay. But they've never sent it." I had softened at her story, which related so closely to mine. But I was still suspicious, and hesitated to let her stay with us. Besides, we didn't have enough supplies for a fifth person. I started to walk away, but she followed me, protesting. "Listen! If I stay with you, I can help you. I have tons of great hiding places. I've had to run too." Finally, I relented. "Go to the end of the street into the woods. You'll find my sister and cousins about five minutes in. Tell them I sent you." "You have a sister and cousins too? Are you all Jewish?" But I had already began to walk back up the street in the direction of food and away from the girl. She seemed overly interested in us. And why was she so curious about our being Jewish? In due time, I reached our guardians' house again. There were no green army trucks or soldiers surrounding it as there were a few weeks ago. That's a good sign, I thought. Let's just hope they didn't arrest them. I carefully walked up the driveway, quietly as to be sure there were no Nazis or regular people around. I eased the creaky door open and looked around. "Aunt Ginger?" I tiptoed through the house, looking for our guardians. "Uncle Nathan?"

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1 Comment
  • Kaitlyn ❄

    How about "Hidden from Hitler"?

    almost 3 years ago