Mrs. Abner and her children were on the train moving out of Cologne. It seemed to be traveling at a rapid pace, with its whistle blowing making that comforting sound that soon would bring the family to its destination. Soon the conductor came around with his black hat and black uniform asking for tickets. With a trembling hand Sophie pulled out the four tickets that she had purchased only moments before, and handed them to the conductor. He asked a few questions and moved on to the next passenger. The train cars were made up of compartments, like small rooms with doors dividing each room. In each compartment there were two benches facing each other, each holding from six to eight travelers. It seemed very comfortable, except for the fact that the Abner family were very quiet, lest they would be recognized as Jews, “the enemies of the Reich” (empire) whose plan was to escape.

Soon the Abners’ destination would be reached. It was the border town of Aachen, the last city before Belgium. All three children were wide awake when the conductor called out “Aachen, Aachen,  next stop for Aachen.” After quickly stepping off the train, the family walked into a government building to present their passports and visas so that they could leave the country by way of Belgium. Many Jewish people were lined up in rows while Nazi men looked at each person, examined their bodies and their papers and then let them walk the small distance into Belgium. One Jewish man could not find his wallet with his papers. He panicked, became very anxious and loudly wondered what could have happened to his things. One Nazi took his rifle and beat the man on the head with it shouting: “Are you accusing us of stealing your wallet, you dirty Jew?” Before the man could answer he had beaten him into unconsciousness. The man fell to the ground, blood spurting from his fractured skull. Droozy was frightened to death. She couldn’t speak; she moved forward as if in a trance. The Nazi then examined her body. He felt all around, including between her thights.  The child was upset, frightened and embarrassed but she moved silently on to the other side and to freedom. Fanny, Benjy and mother followed.

As soon as they stepped on Belgian soil they all breathed deep sighs of relief. They got on a Belgian train and headed for the big city of Brussels. Although they were happy, they were all tired and Mama had a bad sore throat and a fever, as did little Benjy.

The four Abners got off the train in Brussels and sat down on a bench in the train station. While there Droozy revealed her dangerous secret. She had kept two German dollars (Marks) and had stuffed them into her shoe. Although her mother was happy that they had at least two dollars, she let Droozy know that she and all of her family could have been killed had the Nazis discovered the dollars. No Jew was allowed to take any money or any possessions except the clothing they wore and their passports out of Germany.

Soon two young Belgian soldiers came to the bench where the Abners were resting and asked whether they could help in any way. They then took Fanny and Droozy to a food counter for something to eat. There they bought the girls big mugs of delicious steaming coffee and the best white bread with thick crusts that they had ever eaten. The soldiers also gave them each two big chocolate bars to take back to their mother and brother. These two men were angels who were never forgotten by Droozy and her family.

While waiting for the next train to take them to England, the family met Mr. Behrend, another escapee from the Nazi horrors. He was so happy to have found someone who spoke the same language and someone who also was looking to escape.

          They felt safe at last, but now they had a long way to go before they would reach America, the promised land, to be reunited with Papa, freedom and a new life!  

Pork Dumplings
Please Don't Eat the Goldfish
Pretty Shoes
Blueberry Cake
The Garden
The Red Rabbit
The Lost Bathing Tickets
What Shall I Do?  The Double Message
Pieces of Gold
Aromas of the Sabbath
The Birth of a Brother
Green Apples
Herr Kübler
The Broken Leg
Boarding School
The American Calendar
Suse Puppe
Shirley Temple Eyes
Kristallnacht Nov. 9, 10, 11
Aunt (Tante) Mathilde
Ice Skates
The Cologne Cathedral
The Escape
A Belgian Holiday
Gas Balloons and the S. S. Washington
The Statue
A Bad Dream
A Pencil Thief
The West Virginia Hills
Ice Cream, Grieben and Baked Spaghetti
The Gypsy’s Song
Venetian Blinds
The Deaf One
Dimmed Lights
Norma Mae
The Spelling Bee
Run, Thief, Run!
The Candy Store
The Birthday Party
Deep, Shallow Waters
Red Riding Hood
Small Mama
Droozy In Love
Eskimo Pies
Apple Picking Time
Working Days
Easter Baskets
Blind Joe
Lessons Learned From Parents
About the Author