I shut the door to the basement just as Papa came into the room. "There you are Ulrich!" he exclaimed, "why didn't you answer when I called?"
"I'm sorry Papa," I replied, unable to come up with an excuse fast enough. It was the right response. Papa smiled and forgave me.
"The decorators are coming tomorrow," Papa remarked as he hung up his coat and took off his shoes.
Alarms went off in my head. If decoraters came then the house would be swarming with antisemitic Nazis! That meant that Sara's family would be in great danger of being discovered! Chances are someone would go into the basement or hear them or something and they would be found and carted off to some concentration camp! They couldn't be here when the decorators came! But they couldn't be outside either! Already Jews were rounded up and sent to concentration camps on sight!
"What's wrong Ulrich?" Papa asked, looking concerned.
Uh-oh...I couldn't tell Papa the real reason I was scared! "Oh, nothing," I brushed it off, "It's just that I don't like the looks of Rolph."
Papa laughed. "He's fine Ulrich! We have been friends since we were kids! He is a little rough around the edges but you can trust him!"
I sighed, keeping up the pretense of being uneasy at the thought of the big, brutish looking man who was one of the men Papa always hired for every repair job that needed doing around the house. Papa smiled at me and shook his head ruefully. One of these days you are going to find that out Ulrich. I nodded, my mind was still occupied with working out what to do with Sara. Suddenly and idea struck home. I had to get them out of Germany! My friend Peter had told me his family had gone to a port in the Nederlands to a man named Casper Zaitoven who lived in Amsterdam always had a boat in the port to take fleeing Jews to safety. We had to run, and that was where we were going to go.
"Papa, I have been assigned a job," I said suddenly. Papa immediately perked up. He knew that when I said "job" it meant I had been assigned a mission by the Hitler Youth. I was such a high rank that when I was assigned missions now they usually took at least several days.
"What is it?" Papa asked.
"I have to take several jews to Ravensbruck," I replied.
Papa frowned. “Ravenbruck is a long ways away…” he said.
I nodded and grinned proudly. “It is the farthest distance I have ever traveled for the Reich! I wish to show them that I will go any distance for them, it is why I volunteered for the job!”
I had phrased it perfectly. Papa’s chest swelled with pride and patted me on the back. “That’s my boy,” he said with a proud grin.
“I have to leave tonight, don’t wait for me.” Papa nodded.
I spent the rest of the day packing all the stuff I needed. I knew that I would have to keep it down to a minimum because I would be carrying it. Yet it had to be enough to get me and Sara’s family at least as far as Amsterdam if not farther. It was a lot of hard decisions but eventually I managed to get it down to one backpack for me and one other one. Sara’s family already had most of their stuff packed so they could bring as much of that as they could carry.
Bt the time that I had finished packing it was almost time to go. Outside it was dark, and Papa had gone to bed about half an hour earlier. I changed into my uniform just in case we were apprehended on the street and then gathered up my bags and moved softly downstairs and to the basement door.
I cracked it open and called to Sara. “Sara. Sara get your mom and dad up. We have to go!”