The Kindertransport finally rumbled to a stop at the last German station before the train crossed over the Dutch border. A Nazi border guard with close-cropped hair and suspicious eyes barked orders. “Schnell! Schnell! The Jew train has arrived!”
All along the length of the train, German border guards banged on the train doors and unlocked them for one last inspection. The door swung open. Two guards stepped into Peter’s car. One of the guards tapped the other guard’s shoulder. “Now comes the fun, huh, Gregory? I’ll take the next car.”
Gregory smiled. “Luggage inspection!” he called.
Hans quickly took the sleeping baby from Peter, put her back in the basket, and hid the basket behind his rucksack on the floor.
Gregory, holding Marla’s list of names, stomped down the aisle. “This train reeks of Jews!” he shouted.
The children sat up straight against their seats, their faces forward. No one spoke. No one dared look at the Nazi tormentor. The children barely breathed. Hans glanced at the baby, blocked by the rucksack and covered with the red-checkered cloth. His forehead broke out in sweat beads.
Gregory checked off the names on the list. He approached William. “What is your name?”
“You took your sister’s place? Yes? You look too old to be on this train,” Gregory said.
“I’m big for my age,” William said, flippantly.
Gregory leaned in closer to William. “Remember, you’re still in Germany. I can send you . . .” He snatched off William’s hat, revealing his shaved head. “Ah ha! Back to the concentration camp, you filthy Jew!” Gregory yanked William onto his feet.
William pulled back, glaring at him. “I won’t go back.”
“You’re right. You won’t make it past this stop.” Gregory pulled his gun from its holster, held it against William’s head, and pulled him down the aisle. The children watched in fear, motionless in their seats, as Gregory opened the train door and shoved William out.
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