WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
 
 
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homes to steal money and jewels.) The only answer she got was that one of the Gestapo broke her nose with his revolver.

I can't describe the poor girl's howls, her parents' shouts, and the Gestapo's threats – all of which we could hear in our hiding place. They were apparently beating the young girl, who was crying and saying: "I don't know where my brother is. Leave me alone." The father was shouting out the window for the French police: "We're French. Protect us. The Gestapo are murdering us!"

My husband was so horrified that he crawled out of our hiding place, saying: "I'm leaving to save you. I can stand a concentration camp. I'm strong." (The poor man was thirty eight years old, 5'5", and healthy.) "You couldn't take it, and neither could the children." (We didn't know about the gas chambers then.)

I tried to stop him, but he went out. The Germans soon pounded on our door. My husband opened it, and I could hear their first question: "Where are your wife and children?"

Arno, my husband, had the presence of mind to answer that we had gone to the country while the apartment was being disinfected, They began to search it. You can imagine, Beate, how I felt when one of them opened the closet, pushed our clothes aside, and came closer and closer to the false wall of our hiding place. Probably God took pity on us, for he did not touch the wooden wall, which was only inches away from him. My daughter had bronchitis and was coughing a lot, but her instinct for self-preservation was so strong that she stuffed her pajamas into her mouth so she wouldn't: cough. Serge almost suffocated, his face was pressed so tight to my breast.

Our neighbors' screams continued. The Gestapo were searching every floor of our building. It was like a horror movie.

Finding no one but my husband in our apartment, the Germans. ordered him to get dressed. Then they left. My husband came over to the hiding place and whispered: "Give me the front-door key." He kissed my hand and said, "God help you." Then he left to calm down the neighbors. Alas, they all died in Auschwitz.

Until two in the morning all we could hear was screaming and weeping and people coming and going. Everyone was rounded up and forced into the trucks. Then, suddenly, it was quiet, but the stillness was more terrifying than all the noise had been. I was afraid to move. The children had to go to the bathroom, and they used the floor. It was pitch dark, and the air was stifling.

We stayed in the hiding place until 6 A.M., standing because
    
   
 
WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
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