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We sat in the dark, listening to the far of sounds of tanks and plains coming and going to Poland and Dachau. Plus, any truck or car that might be looking for us.
"What stinks?" asked Hanna.
"That's the bodies they're burning at Dachau. You never get used to it," I said, having smelt it at the farm all last summer before I went to school.
We continued through the forest until we saw the light of a small camp fire. As we drew closer, those around it faded into the trees.
As we stepped into the small clearing, Hana, in a hushed voice, said, "I think they heard us coming."
Right then we heard the sound of several rifles and pistols cocking, and a voice said, "Don't move!"
We froze with our hands in the air.
"Who are you, and what are you doing here," said a young voice, with a heavy Polish accent.
I explained who we were and how we came to be here. Then I asked them the same.
Three young men and a middle-aged woman stepped into the small clearing holding machine guns and hand grenades strapped to their vests.
They identified themselves as Natalia, Ludwik, Balint, and Aurelian, Polish partisans fighting the Nazis.
"Kind of young, aren't you?" Hans said.
"Your kinda young yourself. Why are the Nazis hunting you?" asked Natalis.
I gave him a more detailed explanation, and they gave us details of their circumstances. Turns out their parents, and the woman's husband, were in the Polish military, and were killed in the opening days of the war.
They also told us that making it to Switzerland, dressed as we were, and travelling in a group of three, was nearly impossible. The Nazis, and their informers, are everywhere.
"She must wear a wig and tinted lenses," stated Natalia.
"You can come with us Help us kill Nazis Fight for freedom Get revenge for your parents and hundreds of thousands of others," Ludwik said, hitting his chest with his fist.
"Yes You would be a great help," Balint added.
"The Nazis don't suspect kids our age of anything. We have walked into their camps carrying baskets of vegetables with explosives hidden under them. We have killed dozens of Nazis, and trashed lots of equipment," Aurelian expressed, in very excited and animated jesters.
"We're just getting started," Natalia said, in a slow low intense voice.
We sat around the fire in silence for several minutes.
"I'm in," Hans said.
"Me too," Hanna added.
"Sounds like the best option," I said, adding, "There is nothing I would rather do than kill every Nazi, with my bare hands."
"Patience there young man. They are many, and they have lots of backup and supplies," said Natalia.
"Well, what do we do from here?" asked Hanna.
"Just before dawn, we will meetup with another team at by the gristmill about two miles from here," said Ludwik.
"I know it well. I have been there many times to get our grain processed," I said.
"What are some of the things you have done to the Nazis," asked Hans.
Aurelian started to speak, but Natalia stopped him.
"You must never discuss your activities, never give your real name to anyone, and never let yourself be captured. The Nazis will cause you more pain than is humanly possible to endure. In short, they will make you talk," Natalia said in stern voice.
We sat round the small fire saying very little, until the dawn sky began to change to a pale blue.
"Come, we go," Natalia said, groaning as she stood.
We arrived at the gristmill an hour or so later. The sun well up.
"You go inside, we will stand guard," Ludwik whispered.
We went inside and found several dead Nazis, and a one of their staff cars.
"There's a bunch of dead Nazis in here," I yelled from inside the mill.
Right then came a barrage of machine gunfire.
We ran behind the staff car.
Hanna got sick to her stomach when she seen the dead Gestapo at her feet, with half of his head missing. She had never seen a gunshot wound, let alone such a gruesome mess like that.
We could hear several voices speaking a mix of English, Polish, and German. We stared intently at the open door.
A slender woman with long blond hair stepped up the door.
"Hello! You are safe now. We got them," said the woman.
We staid froze to the staff car.
"We are the real partisans. They were tricking you," Ida said pointing in the direction of the three they had just shot, adding, "I am Ida, and I am leaving my weapon outside," as she stepped through the door.
We stayed where we were. My heart was pounding so hard I could hear it, not just feel it.
She sat on a rail by the door.
"We watched you around the fire, but thought it was too dangerous to take them there. They lure people to here, where the Gastapo takes them Come we must go now. The other Gastapo will have heard the gun shots. Come!" Ida said as she stood waving to us.
Seeing no choice, we sheepishly made our way outside.
"Here," said Ida, as she pulled the sleaves up on the arms of Ludwick and Natalia, all of them have the SS tattoos.
I felt a funny chill on my forehead. Hans walked over to Natalias corpse, and stomped on her head.
"Come, we go now," said one of Ida's associates, as he ran into the woods.
We followed them without saying anything more.
We had not gotten very far into the woods when more Gestapo arrived at the mill. They fanned out around the mill to the base of the clearing. I could have sworn one of the soldiers looked right us, but he just kept walking around.
Ida motioned with her hand for us to lay low.
A few minutes later another military truck showed up, and this one had a dog.