She could feel the train lurch forward into the night through the floorboards and the mass of bodies writhing in the cartload with her. In this dark and musty place, she trembled, feeling suffocated and defeated.
Tentatively touching her face where bruises and bloodied scratches were bound to be visible, she mournfully remembered how they’d been caught. She and Cara were discreet, their passionate embraces and loving words flesh and blood in the night, pale phantoms in the chilled light of day. But the Gestapo still managed to find them. Her love, Cara, was able to escape the round-up, though she doubted the Gestapo would have harmed her. For Cara Sommer was German, and she, Miriam Hirsch, was Jewish.
And now trapped in a cattle car bound for God knows where.
Two days before…
Miriam left the greengrocer’s with the few fruits and vegetables the shopkeep was willing to sell her, briskly making her way down the street. To loiter was to be harassed, to be harassed was to call attention to herself, and to call attention to herself was a death sentence. Her brisk pace, however, would not negate the effects of the bold yellow star sewn haphazardly onto the breast of her best jacket. It read Jude in accusatory black letters. Even children would jeer at her while their parents looked on with pride, and hardly any shops would serve her or her family. In the wake of the pogrom that erupted over the assassination of a German diplomat in Paris by a Jewish teen - a boy only a year younger than Miriam - it was even more dangerous to be a Jew in Berlin.
Only a little over one hundred and sixty centimeters, Miriam was a petite eighteen year old, one who could easily be lost amongst the clamor of her neighborhood’s destruction. Compared to her father and two brothers with stocky builds and features that the NSDAP would deem distinctly “Slavic” or “Jewish,” Miriam was physically more like her mother - a woman of German and British descent who would hardly be defined as “Jewish” by her looks. No, Miriam looked more like the goyim her brothers disdained but secretly feared would break their family apart with a “warrant” and round-up. Her brownish-blonde hair framed keen grey eyes and an unassuming nose with thin lips that were almost as pale as her skin. Her looks usually made her feel like an outsider within her own family, but Miriam found that her looks would hardly become an issue once her family realized what she was doing with her friend, Cara.
Her thoughts quickly turned to the Berliner that had stolen her heart.
Cara Sommer was as fiery as the red, curly hair that graced her head and stood out in the seas of grey monotony with her dazzling smile and bright blue eyes. While Miriam was meek and withdrew into herself, afraid of the rapidly changing world around her, Cara was spirited and grabbed life by the horns. Their differing personalities, however, seemed to draw them closer together rather than pull them away from the friendship initially contrived...