The table was silent, as it always was after a bombing. Andreas's mother and father tried starting a conversation occasionally to try and lighten the mood but neither Andreas or Heide picked it up and instead just exchanged silent glances throughout the meal.
Seeing discarded yellow bands certainly wasn't uncommon, especially after some sort of attack but it was still always a little unnerving. He wasn't sympathetic for the Jewish of course, oh no. The main reason as to why he found it unnerving was that all that Jews had to do to blend in with the rest of us was discard their bands. If only Jews were born with titles printed across their foreheads or something.
It reminded Andreas of the old baker that had lived only a few doors down the road. He'd been a kind old man, in his late 70's Andreas would have guessed. He'd always let Andreas and Heide try samples of his latest deserts to collect our opinions. Andreas had always said that what he'd made was absolutely perfect and didn't need any changes, which in Andreas's opinion was one hundred percent true. Heide however, with her unsatisfiable sweet tooth would go on about how the cakes needed more cream, the donuts more sprinkles and the muffins more chocolate. She'd say it all so seriously too, which was why Andreas was convinced that she'd grow up to be a food critic or better yet a desert critic. But the old baker would just laugh and after a few of our visits he'd make specific treats just for Heide with extra sweet treats.
He'd always seemed like such a kind and genuine person, which was why it has come as a surprise for Andreas to learn that he'd been a Jew. It had admittedly put the teen off of any kind of baked good for a long while, just thinking about the possibility that it had touched tainted hands. Though of course there was no way of getting Heide off of those kinds of things.
But she didn't even really understand anyway. She'd asked multiple times why people had to wear the bands and always frowned at the repeated answer.
It was probably because one of Heide's best friends was a Jew and Andreas's little sister just couldn't get in her mind why he friend was suddenly being treated differently. She'd told him many a time that it was the bands fault, and that if people took of the bands then everything would go back to normal. Sometimes Andreas wished he had her innocence.
"Andreas dear? Could you please pass the carrots." his mother asked which snapped Andreas out of his moment of nostalgia as he handed her the plate.
"So boy" he father said as he took a stab at starting a conversation up again. "How is school going?"
Andreas nodded, finally deciding to speak up as ot only had the silence around the table been thick but so had the tension and awkwardness, something Andreas was eager to break.
"Schools been good." Okay, so he didn't exactly say much.
His father nodded, still obviously finding that a satisfying answer. "That's good. What about Hitler youth?"
Hitler youth was a youth organisation for young German boys to teach them some of the needed traits to become a great German soldier and a strong hard working citizen. The Hitler youth activities ranged from things such as crafts to ball games to, marching, hiking, map reading and even learning how to handle a weapon properly if they were lucky. It was great fun and Andreas really enjoyed it. About a week ago he'd had a Hitler youth camp which Andreas had really been looking forward too and it had lived up to his high expectations. They went out to sea and did a bit of fishing. Andreas didn't catch anything though he hadn't really expected that he would.
There was a similar thing for young girls too called the League of German Girls where they do things such as singing and are trained for when they become housewives and mothers.
Andreas had met a few of his best friends through Hitler youth and he loved how it made him feel included.
"It's great actually. " Andreas said as he shoveled a couple spoonfuls of food into his mouth.
"It's a shame you won't be doing it for much longer then isn't it? It'll only be a month and you'll be eighteen." his father said "Though I suppose you'll be becoming a group leader, I'm sure that'll be great fun."
"A group leader? When he's eighteen he'll be off to war." his mother chipped in "Fight for the fatherland. Make the Führer proud." she said and gave her husband an accusing look though he had looked down, suddenly becoming very interested into cutting his potatoes into small pieces.
The war was going on strong and as could be seen Andreas's father had not gone off to fight. He'd told his wife that it had been because he was getting old and would be more of a hindrance than a help. 'There were plenty off younger men that could fill my place' he'd said. Though Andreas knew that that wasn't really it. He'd admitted to him that it was because he was scared. His father, his idle, scared. Andreas didn't know if he believed that. Who could be scared of doing something so noble? As his mother had said they'd be fighting for their fatherland, a noble cause.
But Andreas hadn't said that. He didn't want to make his father uncomfortable, despite how much he disagreed with him.
The rest of the dinner was finished in the same silence that it had started with, the only sound being the scratching of silverware on crockery.
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