March 10, 2009

Close Encounters with a German Officer

Readers may remember that my father was ultimately sheltered by the “Polish Princess”. The Princess was married to a German and they lived on a large estate outside Radziejow. For about a year my was sheltered in a gigantic barn that was filled with hay. The polish workers on the estate were told not to enter the barn because the hay was property of the German Army. My father was supplied with a large barrel for his bodily waste. The barrel was removed once a week. Every evening he was served a meal by either the Princess or her Coachman. The Coachman was the brother of Marta, my father’s school classmate that made it her business to find a way to save my father. My father requested asked for either garlic or onions to be added to keep him healthy. During the days he would walk around the giant barn to keep in shape. To protect my father, the door was locked from the inside of the barn. In order for his protectors to enter they devised a code consisting of a series of raps on the door was the code.

One evening the my father heard the code and opened the door. Delivering his meal that evening was a German Officer. My father was shocked. Would he kill my father or turn him in? Instead, he offered by father a drink of whiskey. My father was perplexed and frightened.

The German Officer said that my father need not worry. He was the son of the “Polish Princess”. His father was German. The German Officer said that he was on home for his “last Leave”. The German Officer was serving on the Russian Front and things were very bad for Germany. He asked my father to protect his parents. My father was dumbfounded, how could a lowly Jew protect them. So my father asked him, how could he help? The Officer said that it is known that many of the 0fficers in the Russian Army are Jews so he should tell these officers how his father saved him. My father felt awkward having a German Officer begging to him. But my father felt that he owed the “Polish Princess” his life so he said, “I can’t promise, but I will do my best.” I will tell what happened in my next blog.

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