"We can sign you up right now. Think of the metals you can win. Think of how proud your parents would be, and then there are the girls," one of the officers said in a jubilant voice. Happy
"I need to finish school," I said, staring at the platform boarding and shifting from side to side.
"That is good. Germany needs many educated citizens. After you complete your schooling, think about a career in the military young man," said another officer.
"I will, I promise," I replied as they drove away. My knees continued to shake for several minutes.
Another boy my age climbed onto the platform.
"Hello I'm Hans, Hans Hoffmann. What is your name?" He asked, holding out his hand.
"I'm Heinrich Adelstein," I replied.
"Great. Are you on your way to school?" he asked.
"Yah. This is my last year," I said.
"My last year too," he answered.
We talked until the train arrived, and I learned we had two classed together, and he grew up in Berlin near Humboldt University where his mother tough physics, and that he was sent here to his uncles' farm to be safe from the war his parents new was coming.
"What do you think of Hitler?" I asked.
Hans's mood abruptly changed.
"Why do you ask? Are you Nazi?" Hans said in an elevated voice.
"I do not mean to be offensive, I personally do not know what it means to be Nazi," I answered.
"In Berlin you can be beaten and jailed for saying anything against the Nazis. Hitler has taken over the entire country Mother says he's going to lead us into another war that we will lose, and be worse off than after the last one," Hans stated.
I told Hans about my interaction with the Nazi Officers, and Hans said they were just looking for cannon fodder.
When we arrived a school, we were place in the same dormitory. Over the next few months, we became good friends, and we both developed fondness for a girl named Hanna. This fondness would put our lives on a perilous journey neither of us could have imagined.
Hanna was not just pretty with auburn hair and bright green eyes, she was kind and very intelligent as well. She had an earthy charm that sort of flowed all around her like the scent of a field of flowers at dusk. Looking back, Hans and I, as well as every other guy in the school, were embarrassingly smitten.
War fever enveloped the school just like the rest of the nation. Hitler's image was on everything and everywhere. Anything related to Hitler became nauseating, and then after a while, it was just white noise.
Hans ran up to me and asked if I had seen Hanna. I told him that I had seen her going to class an hour ago, and why was he running.
"The Gestapo just pulled up to the administration building," he said, as he struggled to catch his breath.
"Gestapo! So!" I spoke.
"Hanna is Jewish. They have been rounding up Jews, as you well know," Hans stated in such an exited voice I thought he would pass out.
"Hanna is German as we are," I replied.
"They don't see things that. You know that! With a name like Goldberg, she can't hide," Hans said, as he kept looking around.
"That's true enough. You check the library and I will look in the physics building. I think she changed classes last week to the advance studies section," I said
Right then we noticed the Gestapo escorting two boys to the covered truck parked in back of their car. I recognized them from the train station.
"We must hurry!" Hans exclaimed.
I passed two soldiers in the hallway. "Excuse me," I said, as I rushed by.
I got to the physics wing, and I spotted Hanna walking toward me. I rushed to her, and grabbed her arm, swinging her around.
"Come, we must go, now!" I said, in sort of a loud whisper.
Hanna looked puzzled, but she followed me, saying, "What is the rush?"
"Gestapo They are here for Jews," I exclaimed. I could feel her arm turn cold.
Hanna looked all around in nervous jerking motions.
We made our way to a maintenance room. We heard footsteps, and got inside a closet. The door opened long enough for someone to look around, then the footsteps faded away. We got out of the closet, but we still staid in the maintenance room for around an hour whispering about what to do next.
"You can stay at my uncles farm, he hates the Nazis. The military makes daily visits to our farm to take our milk and eggs, but my uncle was far off in the woods, and the only entrance was a lousy dirt road, so they leave him along.
"I'm going to go look around. I will be right back. Don't open the door," I said in a shaky voice. I wondered if she noticed I was shaking all over.
Hanna said, "Thank you, thank you." While still hyperventilating.
I rushed to the courtyard thinking Hanns would see me, and he did.
"Heinrich, stay there, I'll be right down." Hans yelled from the third floor.
"Did you find Hanna?" Hans asked, in very excited voice.
"Yes, she's in a maintenance room in the physics building, and she is really scared, and so am I," I said.
"I seen the Gestapo take six to that truck with the canvas cover. There are soldiers all around the campus," said Hans.
We waited a minute for Hans to catch his breath, then headed for Hanna.
I knocked on the maintenance room door, then slowly opened it. Hanna was sitting in the corner with her arms around her legs. She jumped up and hugged us both. She was crying and shaking.
"We need to stay here for a while. The Gestapo are all over the place. They will certainly check every room, so we need to find a better hiding place," said Hans.
"We hid in the closet when someone looked in," I said.
"Let's not chance it," Hans replied.
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