After the “Night of Broken Glass,” all Jewish children in Germany were expelled from the schools. Peter’s school had been a foreshadowing of the nightmare to come. Nothing of normal life was left.
In Berlin, Stephen and Peter knocked on the front door of the Vogners’ house. Hans opened the door.
“Have you heard anything about your father?” Stephen asked.
Hans shook his head. “No.”
“My mother says you can come live with us, if you want,” Stephen said, nodding at Peter. “Peter and his mother and sisters are already with us.”
They sat on the front porch steps.
“Someone cut off our electricity, but Mutti wants to stay, so my father can find us when he comes back,” Hans said.
Peter pointed to the empty spot where the beautiful wrought iron fence had been. “Hey, what happened to your fence?”
“The Nazis took it,” Hans said.
“Why?” Peter asked.
“To make guns to kill Jews,” Hans said.
A short distance away, they spotted Martin storming up the walk toward them. The three boys hurried toward the front door, to avoid a confrontation with Otto’s rigid and brutal father.
“Stop!” Martin said. The boys froze in their tracks. “I have an official letter for Anna Vogner.”
Hans turned around slowly. “She’s inside.” He pointed, reluctantly.
Martin handed the letter to him. “This is to inform her that Vincent Vogner died while in custody at the Sothausen Concentration Camp.” His voice was monotone, as if he was announcing the weather.
Hans staggered back, as if hit by a blow to the stomach, and gasped for air. Stephen grabbed him, preventing him from falling, and helped steady him.
Martin turned on his heels and hurried away.
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