Author's note: Its a true story except the end was added by the real brother
It’s for the BestI went down for breakfast that Saturday morning. I was
anticipating the aroma of freshly brewed coffee that I smell
every morning. When I got down stairs, it smelled stronger
than usual. I saw that both my mother and father were eating
toast as they do every morning, only this time was different.
There was no butter for the bread, not even a pitcher of milk.
My father followed my surprised look and said, “We are
making a small change to our diets honey.” My mother had
both a sad and worried look when my father said that. It made
me wonder what the real reason was. As if my mother read
my mind, she looked to my father and said, “Juli is still asleep.
Eli is old enough to know what is happening. Tell her Daniel.”
He got up, then took me to his office upstairs. He shut the
door, closed the curtains, and sat on his office chair.
“Elizabeth, something big has happened,” my father said in
that deep but hushed tone, “something serious, and bad. It is
the reason for me wanting you and your sister to be German.”
“So that they won’t have reason to find us or remember us.”
“But you are American. Not Jewish. Why would they look for
you? The Americans haven’t done anything wrong, and
neither have the Jewish. Why would they look for us?”
“Elizabeth, for your safety, I can not tell you everything.
It is for the best.” After that he tried to walk away, but I
didn’t let him- at least not yet. I said to him, “This is bigger
than the Jews and Americans combined. But who are they?
The Germans?”, I raised my voice, “You want us to be the
enemy?!” My father shushed me then looked out the curtain.
He breathed a sigh of relief, then turned back to me; this
time, he was angry. “Do you have any idea how dangerous it
is to have said that out loud?! You could have exposed
yourself and your sister!”
Julanne walked in silently, and my father went on with
his scolding. “You need to understand the situation! If you
don’t, then both you and Julanne will get taken away!”
Julanne started crying and ran away.
“Look what you did, DAD. You didn’t need to make her cry
like that,” I said.
“You still don’t get it, do you? This is serious. Please. Try to
understand the severity of all this, Elizabeth,” he said to me.
“You have no idea how it felt when the soldiers in the corner
asked us if we were Jewish and I had to lie and say that we
were German. Julanne looked at me in a different way when I
My father sat in his chair. “At least they know you and
Julanne are German. Hopefully we can keep it that way,” he
My mother walked in with Julanne; thankfully she was
not crying anymore. My mother started to talk in that
cheerful tone but she used those eyes that said “You’re in
trouble.” “Honey,” she said to my father, “Would you come
talk to your other daughter, please?” My father could tell that
my mother was not in the mood for a “pass” so he went to
talk to Julanne in the other room. My mother sat down in my
father’s chair, then she looked at me with a worried look.
“Elizabeth, things are happening, and your father is just
worried about you two. You know you both mean the world
“Mom,” I said, “Tell me. I need to know.” She looked at me,
sighed, then said, “It’s best if you don’t know everything. It
helps you be brave if things get bad.”
“If things get bad? What do you mean?” I asked.
“Oh, don’t worry honey.” She looked at the clock. “Oh, no.
You are going to be late. You go on ahead; we’ll take Julanne
My father walked in with Julanne, who was very happy.
She shouted, “Daddy’s going to buy me an ice cream cone
today!” My mom looked at my father, smiled, then
said,“After you come home from school we can go to Mrs.
Jennifer’s Bakery and get an ice cream cone for Julanne and
Eli I know you love her pumpkin pie. You can have a slice.”
That made me happy. I quickly went to the door and shouted,
“Let’s go, Julanne!” We both grabbed our bags and ran out
the front door to school. At least I had something to look
forward to after school.