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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Jessica Pennock Special to The Spokesman-Review

A ruckus outside –

Look out the window

The Nazis march in the street behind my home.

My home.

The screaming began –

The pounding of feet –

A rapid knocking on a door

My door?

A screaming child –

A tear streaked mother –

A panicked father on a doorstep.

My doorstep?

A swollen womb –

A crying baby –

A Star of David on a father’s lapel

On my doorstep.

In a daze –

I step aside –

They hurry across the doorstep.

My doorstep.

Thank you, thank you

They whisper fervently

As they hurry into my living room.

My living room.

Shh, hurry hurry –

To the back room –

Shut and bar the door of the hidden room.

My hidden room.

How did this happen?

What went wrong?

Should I let them stay here in my home?

In my hidden room.

Will the Nazis come here?

How closely will they search?

What if they find my hidden room with the family in it?

In my home.

What about my family?

Will my family be hurt?

How much danger will my family be in?

My family.

No, stop and think –

They’re in more danger –

They’ve been forced into hiding in a place that they don’t know.

In my home.

Why them?

What did they do?

Why are they being persecuted for their religion?

Being prosecuted.

For nothing,

But their faith

How is that right in anyone’s eyes?

Their faith.

Days pass,

Followed by weeks,

All is quiet, there hasn’t ever been a knock except for the once.

That once.

That same day –

The Nazis came –

They didn’t find anything, or anyone

No one.

Scared to death –

Hands quivering –

But a calm face and steady voice,

Calm and steady.

They passed through,

And left with a nod

We breathed a sigh of relief –

Oh, Sweet relief.

The baby came,

So, sweet and innocent.

They named her after me

Sweet baby.

They should be with family

So why are they here?

What happened, what is their whole story?

Their story.

The mother told me –

She came to me

She spoke and opened up her heart and mind

Their story.

It was so incredibly sad –

Scattered and shattered –

Their whole family was taken.

Taken away.

Their mother’s and father’s,

Their brothers and sisters,

With no clues as to where they were taken.

The whole family.

Just disappeared –

Night after night –

They are the last to remain in the town.

The very last.

Why did they come to us?

What made them choose?

How did they know we would let them inside?

Inside our home.

The facts were simple –

We were kind to them –

When no one spoke to them because they became “taboo”

We spoke.

We invited them in –

We helped them through –

We didn’t hold back because they were Jews.

They hoped.

They hoped we cared –

They hoped for help –

They hoped we wouldn’t turn them away,

And we didn’t.

The months went by –

Then years flew –

When the war finally ended it still wasn’t over,

Not for them.

They still were hurting –

Still searching for family –

Still longing to see the faces they’d missed for so long.

For so long.

The news came –

It was bittersweet –

Their family was scattered with most of it shattered,

Not all could be found.

The news was hard –

But they took it with grace –

They knew the chances were slim yet they had still hoped,

Still hoped.

Hoped to find most –

Hoped that they had lived –

Hoped that they would all be together once again,

Together again.

Jessica Pennock is a sophomore at Gonzaga Preparatory School.
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