The Boy in the Uniform
Bang! Bang! Bang! There was a hard, distinctive pounding on the door and they all knew who it was. The Nazis had finally arrived, they were ready. The Feierabend family had remained quiet and out of sight in a small, cramped apartment above their watch shop in Poland. It had been two years and now they were here, with only a cold wooden door to separate them, the Germans were waiting.
Shmule Feierabend was frightened not fully understanding what was happening. “Put on as many warm clothes as you can,” papa had said, and that’s when the door was knocked in by three Germans. The biggest of the group said, “You have five minutes to gather your things and meet me on the street,” in a loud and forcefully way that left the words ringing in their ears. That was all he had said before he swiftly turned around and let himself out, with one of the guards following only a pace or two behind. The third guard, however, placed himself in the corner of the room and watched as Shmule, his parents, and older brother gathered what little possessions they had.
They left the dark apartment and stepped into the light of the outside for the first time in two years. The chilled air rolled over their faces as the Feierabend family looked through the crowd of Jews that had been gathered in the streets for friends, but found no one. The Nazis piled their suitcases and loaded everyone into the box car of a train. Shmule, panicked, looked at his mother and asked, “Where are we going mama?” His mother smiled and said, “On adventure honey, no need to worry,” but he detected a tone that he had never heard in her voice before and knew something was wrong, terribly wrong.
The box car was stuffed to it full capacity and then some; the Jews had been in there for three days with no food or water. Shmule was wedged between the back wall of a car and his mother. People were starting to weaken, and Joseph, Shmule’s brother would not make it to their destination, whatever it may be. It was miserably uncomfortable with no room, little air, and the horrific odor of people having to relieve themselves. Just as Shmule thought it could not get worse, the car came to an abrupt stop and the doors were opened.
The sun flooded in blinding the people and Shmule, with his mother, managed to...