One day, a young man who worked as a decorator came into the shop. I watched him for a while and decided that he wasnt “one of them.” Somehow I thought I could sense who supported the system and who did not. We started a conversation and I asked, “Surely youre not a Hitlerite, are you?”
But that time Id got it wrong. . . .
Two days later, two policemen came to the door for me. I was making coffee (if you could call the chicory brew we had as a substitute coffee) when they arrived at half past seven in the morning.
“Open the door!” thundered a voice outside. My mother almost died on the spot. “For Gods sake, child, what do they want? What have you done this time?” Neither she nor I thought of my remark to the decorator. I went to the door and opened it. Police. I flushed in a sudden panic.
“You are to report immediately to work at Krümmel AG in Geesthacht. The train is leaving at eight from Berliner Tor. Here is the letter of confirmation. Contravention is to be punished with imprisonment. You are coming with us.”
—Excerpt from Gretels Story