A Way Around It

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The year is 1941. The place, Nazi-occupied Western Europe. This is fiction, but this is history. And as for Elisabeth and Jakop, this is their story and how they found a way around it. His brow narrowed in confusion, as he watched a warm tear trickle down the curve of her cheek. He thumbed it away, giving a slow, subtle nod. “Say it, Jakop. Tell me. I want to hear it.” She moved closer in anticipation. “Please. Please say it, I need to hear it. Are you human? You’re human. Aren’t you?” “Ohhh,” he winced, shaking his head. “Elisabeth….” “Tell me,” she begged, as her fingers slipped around his suspenders, “tell me. You’re human ‒ ” “Of course. Of course, I am human,” he assured, kissing her lips. “I’m human.” “Say it again,” she pulled him close. “I need to hear you say it. The Juden are human.” “Yes, I am human. Don’t cry.” he kissed her once more, pressing her hands against his chest. “I’m human.” “Tell me,” she leaned back, settling into the sheets. “I’m human,” he whispered; his lips danced around her ear, as she pulled his suspenders off his shoulders. Making no other movement than what it took to breathe, he pushed her fingertips into the side of his neck and remained very still. Elisabeth sighed. “Say it again.”

Age Rating:

The Proclamation

Berlin, 1928

It was dusk; a warm summer’s evening on which twilight befell. The owls were hooting, the crickets were chirping and everything was as it should be.

Aged four, and with a white ribbon tying back her soft ringlets of raven hair, a delicate little girl sat perched on her backyard swing. In her grasp was a chocolate ice cream cone her parents had given her after a trip to the park. Her Vater stood behind her, giving the swing a gentle push every time it began its way back towards him.

She relished in her treat, kicking her heels against the bottom of the wooden seat as she experimented how many different ways she could lick the ice cream, how many different ways her tongue could deliver it from the cone to her mouth, and in a splotch around her lips, and in a dot on her nose, and in a smear across her left cheek.

As part of her trials, she dove into the side of the scoop with a flat tongue trying to create a wall there. But she pressed too hard and the whole scoop fell right off the cone and onto the ground. She gasped.

Nein!” she cried out, jumping from the swing.

The little girl landed hard on her knees. Try as she might, when her small hand reached in vain for the soiled dessert, the swing came back around and struck her in the back of the head, forcing the cone from her grip. She fell face down into the dirt and cried out of discomfort and frustration.


With a pained look on his face, he stopped the swing’s motion and came around to the other side, picking her up to examine the back of her head where the swing had hit. Her sticky face was caked with black dirt and chocolate ice cream, her dress needed to be washed, and she desperately needed a bath. But there wasn’t a scratch on her.


“Oh, don’t worry, schatzi. Don’t cry,” he rubbed her back, “we’ll get you another one.”

“But I want thaaat one.”

He carried her back into the house, kissing the top of her head,

“It’s alright now, we’ll get you another one.”

Monday, September 15, 1941

His boots were as black as the nightshifts he worked. The leather edge clung just below the knee to the dark woolen fabric of the pants he adorned as well. The gray dress jacket fit snug against his chest, taken in at the waist with a thick strip of charcoal hide. A much thinner one strung from his right shoulder, attached to the left side of the belt. Three shiny, silvery buttons pulled the coat perhaps even tighter, the top one almost hidden under the collar’s inky shadow. Adjusting the wide red band on the left arm of his uniform and with one thing left to assure proper presentation, he placed an onyx-topped cap on his head, pulling down the braided aluminum chin strap under his jaw. Erich, an SS Hauptsturmführer in rank, straightened his tie, admiring his appearance with a smirk as he turned on his heel, leaving just in time for the meeting. It was a very important meeting.

Effective Immediately:1

Proclamation on the Movement of Jews

Article 1

public parks and zoological gardens;

cafés, restaurants (including station buffets), hotels and boarding-houses;

wagon-lits and buffet-cars;

theatres, cabarets and cinemas;

sports-grounds, bathing beaches, indoor and outdoor swimming pools;

art exhibitions and concerts;

public libraries, reading-rooms and museums

H. Rauter

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