From the station we went to the malt shop a few blocks away.
"Are we celebrating something," Hans asked.
"Just making things look normal. I've been followed several times. The question is, why," father said, squinting in the rearview mirror.
I almost turned to look out the back window, but hesitated, then just looked at the side view mirror.
We got out and walked to shops front door.
"If they thought Hanna was at the farm, they would have torn the house down. That's what they have done to others. Hiding Poles, Jews, Gypsies and communists is high on their lists of things not to do. She is fine, by the way. She cries a lot over her parents, not knowing what has happened to them," father stated.
We stopped in silence as reached the door.
Father quickly reached into his pocket and pulled out some money, just in case someone was watching they would think we had stopped over money concerns.
"Those scum watch for any slip. You must be on your toes all the time," father said.
We had our ice cream, discussed the weather, the crops, and left for home.
"So, what else did they try and teach you so far this year," father asked, while navigating through the hundreds of people, carts, and cars jamming the road.
"They think they are going to Switzerland because it is a neutral county where they will be safe. They are in fact, going straight into the Gestapos hands. I have told many of them, but they won't listen," father said in a sad voice.
We talked about general subjects, and how the food in the cafeteria has gotten worse, as we watched those unfortunate and bedraggled folks as we slowly maneuvered around them.
"The war. Everything in short supply and losing quality," said father.
When we finally got the farm, we acted as nonchalantly as possible, until we made it inside the house. Then I dropped my bags and through my arms around my mother.
She looked a lot older, but I told her she looked as great as ever.
She put her finger to her lips, and pointed upstairs.
"Come, I'll show you where we sleep," I said.
Hans and I casually walked up the stairs staring intently at the top, hoping to see Hanna.
As we reached the loft, Hanna slowly opened a camouflaged door, part of a false wall father had built to hide her. First a hand, then her face slowly appeared with a smile that melted my heart, again. I'm sure Hans felt the same way. She also put her finger to her lips. Hans and I kept talking about the living quarters. We hugged, and we were doing our best not to shed a river of tears.
Father came upstairs with a paper instructing Hans and I to come downstairs, and that we would meet Hanna in the barn after dark.
It was hard to leave her, but we did as father instructed.
"Come now, dinner is ready. We are having porkchops and strudel," mother announced.
It was hard to keep a simple conversation sounding uncontrived. One thing was clear, no political views other than an occasional positive statement about Hitler, that father would inject now and again.
After dinner we went to the barn for the evening milking. Hanna came in wearing all black so she would not be easily spotted.
"My god it is great to see you. How is it at school?" Hanna asked.
"You mean the Nazi pit," Hans said, as he spit.
"That good?" Hanna said with her usual intoxicating smile.
"That is being polite. Those damned Nazis are everywhere, and their informers are worse," I said.
"They searched the house twice. They said they were trying to protect us from saboteurs. I think they were planting listening devices," father said.
"It feels great to be out of the house. It gets really stressful hiding," said Hanna.
"The moon is full, let's walk down to the lake,
" I suggested.
"Oh, let's please do that," Hanna replied.
Hans and I walked, but Hanna sort of danced like a ballerina. We go half way down the lane when we heard Gestapo screech onto our property.
"They must have had a listening device in the barn. Come, they will be looking for us at the lake," I exclaimed.
"Where are we going?" Hanna asked.
"To my uncle's house. We'll have to avoid his wife, but he will help us," I answered.
We made our way through the trees, stopping every so often to look back toward the farm.
"What's that?" Hans said, holding his hand up.
"That's a troop carrier. They drive by the farm all the time. They're on the dirt road that goes to my uncle's house. Ok, change of plan," I replied.
"We can't stay out here too long. It gets cold this time of year. I should turn myself in, then you would be safe," Hanna stated.
"We are all wanted. I for one, am going to cause those rotten Nazi scum as much grief as possible," Hans said, with a tone of defiance.
"This is all my fault. I am so sorry. So sorry," Hanna said.
"None of this is your fault. It's Hitlers malignant soul... Damn him to hell," Hans said, sounding even more angry.
Right then we heard two shots coming from the direction of the farm. I sat down, unable to speak. Hanna put her arm around me, and Hans uttered a series of profanities.
"They probably have my parents," Hanna said, through another outburst of crying.
After a while, Hanna stopped crying, and Hans asked her what her family does for a living.
"They a are bankers in Ambermoching. We were going to America after this year of schooling. Now, I fear they are gone," she said, forcing her voice through gritted teeth.
"My mother teaches physics. My father is a lawyer. Those scum must know who they are by now," Hans said.
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