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Leaving Home

 

Leaving Home 

Germany 1939 

The walls of my bedroom were covered in the inky blackness of the night.The only thing comforting me was the orange blaze of the candle, dancing like a ballerina. I could not help myself from thinking about tomorrow.  A pile of clothes and a piece of soap were in the corner of my room, along with a photograph of my Mother on her wedding day. In the picture her eyes sparkled with excitement.  She was outside a Synagogue. 

A sound stopped my train of thought.  There was a knocking on my bedroom door, “Freda are you, are you still awake?” Mother said.  “Yes, I can’t sleep” I replied.  She opened the door. The light from the hallway made me squint. She came over and sat herself down on the edge of my bed. Mum had been crying. Her cheeks were hot and flushed and you could see where the tears had been. She tried to smile but it wasn’t convincing. 

“Freda I came to give you something,” Mother said.  She held out her hand and in her palm there was a locket.  She slowly placed the locket around my neck. I opened it. Inside was a picture of Mother on her wedding day. She was smiling from ear to ear and her eyes were filled with love and happiness. On the back of the photograph she had written ‘I will always be with you.’  I looked up, she sprang from my bed and walked towards the door, opened it and then closed the door behind her. After she closed the door I heard her quietly sobbing. I don’t think I was supposed to hear her crying.   Eventually the velvety fingers of sleep swept across my face. Little did I know that this was the last night I was going to spend in this room.       

I arrived at the train station just after breakfast the next morning.  Some children were already tucking into their rations for the journey. There was a mixture of emotions, some children were laughing, other children were wailing, clinging to their mothers coats. I looked up. There were arched ceilings above me. I noticed pigeons flying around the train station, or some huddled in rows, keeping warm in the rafters. The birds circling us sounded like they were laughing at us, mocking us for being foolish enough to climb aboard the black beast.  “Mother, where am I going?” I questioned.  But she didn’t reply. She just stared forwards as if in a trance.  “Freda Klein!” a man shouted.  “That’s you darling,” Mother said.  “I love you Mother” I answered.  I suddenly hugged her tightly not wanting to let go.  “Freda please” Mother pleaded.  I loosened my grip but I was still hugging her. The man that shouted my name came over and peeled me off my Mother and gently placed me on the train. Mother stared at me blankly through the window of the train.  Her face was as if in shock.  “Goodbye my darling Freda,” she said. 

When I sat down the train whistled. Steam billowed from the engine like smoke coming from the nostrils of a dragon. The train started moving.Some children cheered, some children cried. I was just silent. EventuallyI fell asleep……In my dream I saw Mother but she was in the distance and very faint. I tried to run to her but I fell down a black hole. I wasfalling, falling, screaming for help. I woke up with a start. I looked around, confused.  Where was I? I suddenly remembered that I was on a train.   

The black beast came to a halt. Everyone was rushing to get out, so I jumped up quickly and ran off the train. I slowly walked up to theman that was shouting everybody’s names and said “Excuse me sir, please may I ask where we are?” “You are on the edge of Holland sweetheart, move along now as we need to get you on the ferry,” he said kindly.  Boys and girls were pushed into cars and driven off.  I was bustled along and put in a car with four other children.  The driver sped along the road. 

We soon arrived at the harbour.  A vast grey monster of a boat awaited us.  The water was a dull grey, lapping gently against the sides of the boat.  Children that I recognised from the train were clambering onto the boat.  Soon we were all settled on board.  We felt underneath our feet a small jerk.  The boat was moving.  I looked around me.  Some children were laughing and playing games, others smiled bravely through their tears but sat quietly.  We were on our way to a new future.  An adventure……..? 

 

Anna Davies 6T