I wrote this story for an e-mail friend after she read another story I'd written called the wall. She told me that she and her parents escaped from 'behind the wall' when she was only 5 and came to America. She said this story I wrote with her permission is VERY close to the truth. I am so happy to know the joy of freedom.
I hope you all like this.
© Vickey Stamps 11/18/09
“SHHHH…Shh!"the roughened bass voice of the guard vibrated in the silence of
the night, silencing the growling murmurs of the dog that trotted along beside him.
His duties took him across the pathway of the only other guard, as they stalked the
rows of what seemed to be endless coils of criss-crossed barbed wire. Ahead lay
the Berlin entrance gate, a barrier with more guards. It led to what some called
the road to freedom and from an opposite direction, otherwise termed an entrance
into hell. His grip on the rifle tightened, his gaze shifting about for shadows, his
ears scanned alertly as they tuned in for unusual sounds.
Some of the population didn’t agree with the new life within the walls and sought
to escape. These same people sometimes died despite their efforts. It was a cold
night in May of 1952 in East Germany. It had become for many families, a time
of imprisonment within these walls, a place where separation from loved ones
meant nothing to guards or military officials. Hearing and seeing nothing, the
German soldier continued about his job.
The couple and their child crouched in the deeper shadows near the entrance to
the gate. This starless night had been hoped for. It had been decided, at the
last moment, that it had become the best time to flee. A few jewels lay sewn into
the hem of her parents clothing, small pieces that could be sold in exchange for
cash in a free land where they could rebuild their lives. Arrangements had been
made to let them slip through. Partial bribes had been paid. But who was to
know how honorable these people would be once the remaining money was within
their hands? It would be so easy to yell “Escape! Escape!” They would surely
know the guards would not hesitate to shoot. It would not matter if it were
adult or child. The child held her breath. Her heart beat so quickly she became
even more frightened. Without making a sound she leaned into her father’s
None of them knew of a Savior who even now waited with them, walked with
them and interceded on their behalf. She knew only of her faith in her parents
and of their need to be away from this place. They had awakend her in the
middle of the night, dressing her warmly in layers of clothing, for there would
be no carrying bags to slow them down, only a small scentless candle and a small
box of matches to help them find their way to the guide who waited in the quiet
night, on the other side.
“Quick. The money. Give to me now! The other soldier working with me is gone
but for a short time. You have three minutes. No more. Leave now. Hurry
before the supervisors come to check. GO… GO …GO !!!” The soldiers voice
bordered on fear and the three did not hesitate, running into deeper shadows
hugging the outer wall as they fled into the nearby trees that better hid them.
Their escape had only begun.
The night seemed endless and her small legs burned as she trudged along
between her parents, never daring to complain nor stop, for she had been told
they must put many miles behind them. A ship was waiting. It was a ship that
would take them further yet, to where they could at last find real freedom.
She knew how fearful that her father must be that the ship might go on without
them. She knew how brave he was as well. Perhaps there would be East German
soldiers that would be there waiting for them? Her mother hadn’t been well,
but still she whispered words of encouragement despite her own fears and the
sickness within her. She clutched her mother’s dampish hands with her own
small ones, and hurried along as best she could.
The child was now the older woman, remembering in more detail then she thought
possible of how those days had been, how hard her father had worked upon the
ship that their passage might be paid. Her mother had lived on to know again the
sweet taste of reedom. A family in the land of the free was far more than just something to be hankful for. It was a treasure. A good man had led her father
to know of the Savior. Her father in turn, had done that same wondrous favor
for her and her mother.
Life is a daily trip into the world of 'thankfulness.’ Every year she waited for
December to come, for she knew Christmas lay just ahead. She well knew the
story of the baby Jesus. And, she, of all people, in the land of the free, had
such good reason to thank him again for being a part of her world
Life was good.
(This is the childhood story of Anneliese Retzler)