Author's note: Its a true story except the end was added by the real brother
The Tall, Shiny Boots5 AM. Once we were at the shoreline, we all got off
from the car. Julanne and I went to the shore to go touch the
water. It was cold, like ice, and so clean, and blue. This was
the first time I had ever seen the ocean, let alone touch it.
A fisherman came to us from his boat. I think he was
the same fisherman my father talked to on the phone. They
talked for a while, but I couldn’t hear what they were saying
over the sound of the waves. But I could tell they were talking
Suddenly my father came quickly, and told us to get our
things quickly. I remember Julanne getting her bag and
running to my mother. We all quickly grabbed our things, and
my father locked the car behind us, then gave the keys to the
fisherman. Right away, the fisherman escorted us to his boat,
where the wooden floor was open, and there was a little
room inside. He told us to get in. First my mother, then
Julanne, then me, then my father. Then the fisherman closed
the ceiling, and it got dark. We all sat down on the floor. The
rocking was making Julanne dizzy.
A while passed, then Julanne spoke. “Papa,” she said,
“What are we going to do?” My father put his hand over her
mouth. “Shh,” he whispered, “We cannot talk until we get
there. Do you understand? That goes to you too, Elizabeth.
No talking, no matter what you hear. No matter what
happens, until we get back to shore.” Julanne nodded in
approval, then my father removed his hand from her mouth.
A minute or two later we heard the fisherman talking to
someone else in German. “We are all set. It’s time to cast
off.” Then the other man said, “Let’s get on it then.” We
could hear their footsteps as they walked across the deck.
Then we heard something fall in the water, and we could feel
the whole boat move with the waves.
Suddenly we heard someone shout “STOP” in German.
Then there was a tug on the boat. Next we heard footsteps, a
lot of footsteps. Then we heard someone say in German,
“Where are you going?” The fisherman said, “Fishing. It’s a
beautiful day.” Then more footsteps. Along with the
footsteps we heard the pitter-patter of feet, then we heard a
sniffing sound. Then there was a bark, and a growl, from a
dog. It started clawing at the floor, like it was digging, right on
the ceiling above us. Then, light.
A man opened the ceiling, and looked down at us. The
first thing I saw, were big, shiny, black boots. I felt scared. The
man looked at the fisherman, and said in an accusing voice,
“Fishing, eh? It appears you are smuggling 4 Jews!” The man
looked behind him, “Take them! All 5!” Then another man
came and stepped down to where we were, and picked up
Julanne. She started kicking and screaming, but that didn’t
even affect the man. He handed her to another man, who
took her away.
He turned around, and lifted me up. I didn’t react at all.
I was just scared. Another man grabbed me by my arms and
lifted me up. He took me with Julanne and started walking us
off the boat. I looked at the dog as I got off. It growled at me,
and I could tell it was angry. I turned back to see them lift my
mother and father out and bring them down from the boat
along with the fisherman. They walked us past a big forest of
trees, with the dogs behind us, so we couldn’t run.
Finally we got to this train, full of those boxcars they
use for animals. Outside them were more men, with guns,
and dogs. They made us get in. There were more Jewish
people inside. I knew some of these people. From school,
neighbors, store owners. It scared me even more. They closed
the door behind us. We sat down in the darkness again. I
asked my father, “Papa, where are we going?” He said, “I