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Unformatted text preview: s. One named Tania, the other Hildi.
Neither of them lasted. There was no time, most likely due to the uncertainty and mounting pressure. Max
needed to scavenge for work. What could he offer those girls? By 1938, it was difficult to imagine that life
could get any harder.
Then came November 9. Kristallnacht. The night of broken glass.
It was the very incident that destroyed so many of his fellow Jews, but it proved to be Max Vandenburg’s
moment of escape. He was twenty-two.
Many Jewish establishments were being surgically smashed and looted when there was a clatter of knuckles on
the apartment door. With his aunt, his mother, his cousins, and their children, Max was crammed into the living
The family watched each other. There was a great temptation to scatter into the other rooms, but apprehension is
the strangest thing. They couldn’t move.
Again. “Open up!”
Isaac stood and walked to the door. The wood was alive, still humming from the beating it had just been given.
He looked back at the faces naked with fear, turned the lock, and opened the door.
As expected, it was a Nazi. In uniform.
That was Max’s first response.
He clung to his mother’s hand and that of Sarah, the nearest of his cousins. “I won’t leave. If we all can’t go, I
don’t go, either.”
He was lying. When he was pushed out by the rest of his family, the relief struggled inside him like an obscenity. It was
something he didn’t want to feel, but nonetheless, he felt it with such gusto it made him want to throw up. How
could he? How could he?
But he did.
“Bring nothing,” Walter told him. “Just what you’re wearing. I’ll give you the rest.”
“Max.” It was his mother.
From a drawer, she took an old piece of paper and stuffed it in his jacket pocket. “If ever . . .” She held him one
last time, by the elbows. “This could be your last hope.”
He looked into her aging face and kissed her, very hard, on the lips.
“Come on.” Walter pulled at him as the rest of the family said t...
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This note was uploaded on 01/17/2014 for the course ENG 99 taught by Professor Michal during the Winter '13 term at CSU Sacramento.
- Winter '13