In the Arms of War

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The story is about love between a Polish girl and a German soldier during the WWII and their escape from Poland.

Kasia Zbrog
Age Rating:

September has come

- Are you ready Zyg? We need to hurry up! Today, mama is making a cake, so please hurry up!

It has been chilly for the last few days now, no wonder as we are heading towards autumn. The world is slightly changing its colours from green to yellow and all shades of red. The wind is getting more intimidating, lifting my skirt up and playing with my plait. From time to time, the Sun appears, staring at me like a spy to see, where I am going, then hides back behind a massive, thick, grey cloud. The cloud is a real drama queen, playing with the Sun. Sometimes, she wants to express her anger or frustration by pouring her tears at humans. We can touch her cold tears, feel intensity of her despair. Despite of her anxiety, she is an extremely talented dancer. She moves deftly and smoothly like nobody else. She also often acts as a dragon, swallowing innocent birds or evil planes. I could watch this performance for longer to try to understand, what the sky tries to say.

Finally, we are approaching the market. Mum needs some apples and cinnamon for apple pie. Tomorrow, is my eighteenth birthday. Time is flying insanely fast. The read hooded coat, that I am wearing right now, was a gift for my last birthday. It appears to me like it was only the last week, not the whole year ago. September has come again. Three years ago, I received the worst birthday present from fate. I turned fifteen and did not understand, why my world had suddenly collapsed. I have been still seeking the answer.

It seems, we have purchased everything, that mama needs to make a pie. As turning away from the vegetable stand I notice that German officer, that I met last week. He is talking to one of the soldiers, maybe colleague. I am pretty sure, he was staring at me...

-Let’s go back home Zyg, mama is waiting for ingredients.

Every day, Germans knock on our house door, asking for food. Recently, they also ask for Jews. We do not know any Jews. Why would they need them for? My auntie Lyna was telling us horrible stories. Apparently, Nazis have a plan to destroy Jewish population. The way, she described details of the events sounded horrific. After all, I tried to remain as positive as I could, but I have to say, it blew my head off. I attempted to keep myself still in the chair... What is going to happen next?

Mama put a lot of effort to make my birthday a special time not only for me, but for all of us. I received a pair of red boots as my birthday present from her. They seem to cost a lot, but in her opinion, I deserved a decent gift for my eighteen’s birthday. This morning, I discovered that my little sister is able to pray in German. Every morning and evening she can hear the German boys praying through the tiny wall, so I assume, that must be the way, she learnt to pray. Mama says, that it does not matter, which language you pray in, as long as you mean what you say, because God knows every language.

Today, I put my new red boots on. They match perfectly to my red coat. I am on my way to school, feeling so amused and cheerful. Walking pass the church I can see some officers. Oh my God, this is Gestapo! They are arresting a priest! I need to find out, what has happened? I am approaching a little crowd, gathered outside of church. I shall ask a man in a black suit. Maybe, he will be able to tell me some details?

- Sir, what is happening to the priest? I know him, it is father Pawel. Why are they arresting him?

- Apparently, he was preaching against Nazi reign. Someone reported him and now, he is in trouble. The man answers.

- What is going to happen to him? I ask.

- Well, nothing you wish to know or experience, young lady. It is highly possible, that he will be sentenced to Stutthof Concentration Camp. The man responded.

Suddenly, I can feel, my eyes getting filled in with warm tears..., my head is reeling. For a moment, I become deaf. My tears are flowing down on my cheeks.


[At the theatre]

- At this lesson, let us focus on acting. What do we mean by acting?

I am going to tell you a little bit more about this kind of art.

Think about a living sculpture. Imagine for a moment, that you are the creator of a new human being.

Try to dive deeply in your mind, research, explore and pick up those features, which match to your character.

You need to consider the way your character speaks, walks, mimics, expresses his feelings. Think about the body posture.

I want you to think about one character, you wish to study. What sort of features he or she may own? What kind of personality he or she may possess?

You remember my lesson about types of personalities? I recommend you to bring your attention to that subject. Based on that, you are on the right path to create your character, because this is your starting point. After that, you need to focus your attention on details and this is a slightly more advanced operation. Behavioural analysis of the character is the subject for the next lesson and after that, I want you all to be involved in the activity session. I will arrange the main stage of the theatre for your disposal, so you can begin to practise.

As your homework, try to think about the character, whom you would like to create and perform for the monologue. Yes, you will be working on monologue. We will discuss it tomorrow. Thank you all for your attention and I am wishing you a good afternoon.

Mr Melan’s teaching session has come to the end.

According to Mr Melan, I can become someone else. I shall imagine myself as a princess on a horseback with my knight behind. I know, that would never happen in real life, but it is nice to dream. All I have is dream. I have been thinking to become an actress since I was eight. Now, when we are in war, my will for acting is even stronger. It is probably due to the fact, that the reality is so pathetic, unpredictable, uncertain and terrifying, that all I want is to escape, transfer my life to better times, transform my body and soul into someone special, living in a perfect world. I have forgotten, there is not a thing such a perfect world. I am just a dreamer. This is the reason I chose to be an actress. This profession allows me to dream, create an imaginary world.

Thinking about the character I need to choose for my monologue. I would go for a powerful, charming and sophisticated woman. I may create the character that is unknown to anyone rather than adapt someone from a book. I shall become...

- Laura! Someone is knocking the door! Can you check, who it might be? Mama calls.

I forgot that mama is having a bath. - Yes, I can!

Approaching the door, I take a look at my little sister. She is playing with my doll, responding to me with smile.

- Guten Abend! Oh god, that is him, the soldier from the gallery, Alex.

- What a surprise. I did not expect you here. He adds. I am here with my colleague, sergeant Otto Kalt. My full name is Alexander Sieman. He continues. - We have come here to drink some hot beverage, preferably a cup of tea. If you do not mind. His tone of voice seems reserved, confident and distant.

- Do you know her? Otto asks.

- Yes, we met once at the city. Alex replies.

- Of course, you may come in. I answer shyly.

The boys take hats off walking through to the dining room and take seats at the table.

After while, I am coming back to the dining room with a pot of tea, cups and piece of plum cake, that I made with mum this morning.

- You may join us. Otto refers to me. Shyly, I take a place in the corner of the table. I can see, how they are staring at the cake with desire, then looking at each other with gratification. They reach out for piece and begin to eat.

It seems, they enjoy it, by having extra portions. I am watching them carefully. They appear to be hungry. They ask for another hot drink, so after few minutes, I place a pot of tea on the table again.

- Have you baked this cake? It is really delicious. Otto ascertains.

- My mum and I have baked it this morning. My answer.

- Where is she? Alex queries.

- She is having a bath. I reply.

- What do you do for living? Alex asks.

- I sell my sketches and paintings. I study at the acting school by the ‘Coast’ Theatre.

- Interesting. So you are an artist then. He sums up.

- Yes, I am an artist. I think, I have inherited that from my mother. She is a dressmaker.

- How about your father? What does he do? Alex continues to ask.

- I have not heard from him for some time. He is not in the country. He has absconded. I do not know, where he is.

- You haven’t received any letters or postcards? He adds.

- No. Not recently. [Silence]

How can I talk to the German soldiers about my father fighting in the Western front? I cannot tell them, that he fights against German army. Maybe, I shall change the subject.

- How about the paintings you have confiscated from the gallery at the National Museum? I am terribly sorry, that I will not be able to see my favourite artworks. I adore artworks by Hans Memling, Brausewetter, Sturmhoffer, Schultz and Dürer’s or Aldegrever’s illustrations...

- They have been transported to the safe place, but I am not able to tell you, where their location is. As you know, the museum has rooms and offices that are now inhabited by our people, including myself and Otto. Alex responded.

- Is she your sister? The little one? Alex is looking at Wanda playing with a doll.

- Yes.

- Anymore siblings? He is nosey.

- Yes, brother.

- ...and where is he?

- Upstairs, doing homework...

- Laura, washing... I forgot to take it off the line... Mama is entering the dining room.

-Oh, Guten Abend. Well, I did not expect anyone here this evening... Maybe you wish to have some supper? Nothing special, just vegetable salad, bread with butter and a cup of hot milk?

Alex: - We have actually just had a nice piece of your pie and plenty of tea, made by your daughter, thank you...but surely we come back here another day for the supper. May I ask you a question?

- Yes, of course.

- Who else is living in the house? I can here some noises next door...

- Germans. Germans are living next door. Two soldiers and their mother. There is another entry from the back side of the building, I mean, from the side of the street.

Alex: - I thought, there is another entry to this house. Ok, thank for the meal. We shall see you another day. Goodnight.

- Goodnight.

The men disappear behind the door and I can hear only my little sister. Mum is approaching her with smile...

- I bet, he will go and meet the people next door.

- I may go and check... She stands up and walks through to my bedroom. After five minutes she has come back. - You were right. They are talking to them. I heard Hilda talking about us.

- Let me check. I want to listen to what they are talking about.

[ Listening to the voices next door]

Hilda: - Once, we received a homemade a black currant jam and juice. The jam was delicious! They are really caring and polite. They all speak German so well. There is nothing to afraid.

- How about the father? Where is he?

- I do not know. I think, he is considered as a missing person. All I know is that, he joined the army, but I have not seen him since.

- It was nice to meet you. We would better go, cause we get up early. Goodnight. We may see you sometime.

- Goodnight boys. Auf Wiedersehen!

What a nosey man!...Well, I presume, this is their job.

- They seemed to be nice men. They have to do what they are told.

- I know. I would better go to sleep. I have a lot of job to do at school tomorrow. Goodnight mama.

Mum: - Goodnight my darling.

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