“Guten Morgen,” said Johan as he entered the shop belonging to a Jewish family.
He was by standards and measures the epitome of a perfect Aryan male, though World War 2 had ended 20 years ago. The remnants of both neo-Nazis and hate still lingered in the city of Düsseldorf, West of Germany.
Johan, though he despised the ideals of an Aryan race or eugenics experiments. His grandfather on the other hand was a fanatical advocate for the crazy ideals of the late führer. However, due to the Denazification at this time, his grandfather was forced to operate in secrecy.
“Johan, you know my father gets angry when you come here,” replied Anne as they embraced and kissed each other. Time was of the essences for them, their worries and fears would never dissipate regardless of the unconditional love they had for each other.
“Anne, you know where to meet me exactly at 20:00. I’ll be waiting there.” Said Johan as he bought the groceries he was sent for.
Anne’s father had always kept a watchful eye over the shop. Immediately as Johan exited the shop in a fury, he slammed the backroom door open.
“Anne, how many times must I tell you, I don’t want that evil race of people in this shop?” said Anne’s father, Mr Frank. He was considered a turn coat by other Jewish men in his community. They strictly forbade any interaction with Germans as treason or collaborating.
“Oh dear, please forget about the horrors of the past. Life has moved on,” said Mrs Frank to her husband as she always tried to be the voice of reason.
“Never! My people died like animals. Millions of innocent and helpless people were treated worse than dogs.” Mr Frank responded to his wife before turning back to Anne. “As for you Anne, your grandfather was killed in the camps! Just imagine how your people must be turning in their graves because of the atrocity you doing,” fiercely said Mr Frank.
Anne stormed out through the back room door of the store. She entered into her room which provided the peace of mind she always desired. The lingering effect of World War 2 had no signs or qualms of being extinguished. Future generations had to bear the burden of being shackled by the past.
“Hey sis,” said Sarah, the younger sister of Anne as she entered the room. Sarah was a confidant, to whom Anne entrusted her deepest thoughts and secrets to.
“Come here Sarah,” replied Anne as she hugged her sister affectionately. “There’s something I need to tell you, but please don’t tell mum and dad.” Said Anne, as she spoke in whispered tones, in fear that her father might eavesdrop on their conversation.
Johan was despised by most of the German populace that lived in his street. Having broken the secret taboo of loving a Jew, he could never vindicate himself nor did he wish to, much to the dismay of his grandfather.
His parents were both dead, after giving birth to him his mother had died. His father died as a soldier in the war, Johan was then forced to live with his grandparents.
“Deutschland erwache aus deinem bösen Traum!” was one of the many songs sung by his grandfather, Mr Liebert. Who was fortunate enough to have still been alive, long after the war ended. He, like a few others, still believed in their Nazi philosophy.
Entering the house, Johan was immediately called into the lounge by his grandfather. Swastika emblems hung about everywhere, several copies of Mein Kempf lay on the coffee table. However, the one thing that caught one’s attention was a huge picture of the late Führer that hung above the fire place.
“Geachtete come here!” screamed Mr Liebert in his rough German accent.
“Grandpa I’m not an ‘outlaw’ of any kind,” replied Johan in his ever passive voice.
“Why? Why? Do you keep on buying from those mongrels!” screamed again Mr Liebert as he threw the groceries on the floor.
“Please Johan dear, listen to grandpa,” said Mrs Liebert entering the lounge as she heard the commotion.
“Grandma, I love Anne, it’s that simple,” mentioned Johan as he gave his grandma a hug and kiss on her cheek. He was a remainder to her of the son she lost.
“Love! Ah you foolish boy, when life goes back to how it was 20 years ago, I will make sure that girl is the first in camps.” Said Mr Liebert as he gave a malevolent laugh. While standing in a typical soldier stance, he gave the Nazi salute to the picture that hung above the fire wall. He started chanting, “Heil Hitler, Heil Hitler,” Mr Liebert was caught in a time warp.
Johan in his fury and anger bit upon his bottom lip so hard it began bleeding. His benevolent nature would subjugate him to compassion and forgiveness even to the despicable likes of his grandfather.
Opting instead to say nothing, Johan stormed into his room. He locked himself inside, slammed his back against the door and cried as he slowly took a sitting position. His frail and delicate heart could never stand the hatred of his grandfather. Every night he would hear the delusional stories of the rise of an Aryan society and second Führer who is to restore Germany to her last glory.
Supper time soon approached, the designated hour was always 19:00. The family, all three, would normally be sitting by the table as Mr Liebert read aloud paragraphs from the book Mein Kempf. However, tonight Johan was absent, calling him for the past five minutes, Mrs Liebert got suspicious. Knocking on his door, still no answer, she called her husband but by his banging, still no response. This carried on for fifteen minutes, when they decided to smash the door instead.
Johan was nowhere to be seen, they searched under his bed and cabinet but he wasn’t there. All that gave an indication to his whereabouts was an open window and a diary belonging to him, which Mrs Liebert discovered by accident.
She began reading from the last entry, but as she read, she screamed. Rushing, she gave her husband the diary to read.
“That fool! At 20:00 he’ll be running away to Czechoslovakia with that inferior girl,” screamed Mr Liebert while checking the time and grabbing his Mauser C96 which he hadn’t used in two decades. He and his wife zealously got in his old Volkswagen and rushed to the Düsseldorf station. They had 30 minutes to make it there, before Johan would depart.
“Sarah! Listen to me where is your sister?” asked Mr Frank as he grabbed his daughter by the arm, threatening to hit her.
Anne’s cupboard was opened but no clothes were found. Along with her briefcase which was gone.
“OK! She’s gone to the station to meet Johan,” said Sarah who was now in fear of the violent tantrum her father was displaying. Instinctively, Mr Frank got out the shop and hurried into the car, along with his wife. Mr Frank paid no heed to the road regulations, blinded by fury, he just hoped to make it in time to stop Anne.
“Krieg! Krieg! Krieg! “Screamed Mr Liebert as he drove frantically.“Wir werden weiter marschieren,” Mr Liebert was bordering insanity and disillusionment. A monomaniac in nature, he was gradually losing his mind. The vile atrocities of Johan were certain to end for good.
“Anne!” screamed Johan as he ran forward to her. She was dressed in a flower printed dress, wearing a brown jacket and held a briefcase in her hand.
The station was quiet with a few people waiting for the train to arrive. Johan and Anne bought tickets directly to Prague.
“Johan, my heart has never been so happy,” mentioned Anne as they eagerly awaited the train’s arrival.
“Geachtete!”Mr Liebert screamed as he approached from the opposite direction of train panting and breathless he was. He began pointing his Mauser C96 at Johan as he regained his composure.
“Please Johan, listen to Pa for once and come back with us,” begged Mrs Liebert.
“Anne!” roared her father as he approached with his wife, from the opposite direction of the grandparents.
Johan and Anne were caught in the middle.
“Father I can’t, my decision is final,” said Anne to her while pleading that all she wanted was to be happy.
“No!” Replied Johan to his grandmother, “I love Sarah to the point where I can’t live without her.”
His grandfather was so angry he could barely talk. Mumbling something in German he said, “Kike” Anne turned to look at Mr Liebert who was pointing his gun at her. The moment happened in an instant and time stood still, except for Johan.
The gun shot echoed throughout the station. People began panicking and screaming while sheltering behind covers. Mr Liebert’s eyes were wide with shock, Mrs Liebert was wailing and crying as she ran forward.
Anne’s father and mother aghast and motionless, were paralyzed with shock as they stared into the face of Johan.
He was shot in the back. A bullet intended for Anne, Johan made himself a human shield. Caught in her arms, they remained in a somewhat hugging position. Anne gradually laid him upon the ground.
Mr Liebert was tackled and pinned to the ground by the station security. He looked upon his dying grandson and finally accepted something he should have accepted 20 years ago, defeat.
Mr and Mrs Frank saw the melancholy that swept over Anne. Blood trickled from Johan’s mouth, as the tears of Anne dripped on his face giving him the impression of crying. She was speaking to him but he could hear nothing. Johan lingered on the threshold of death.
Mustering the energy, he touched her face. His last moments were spent with the person he loved, the exact death he wished for. Johan’s hand would inevitably hit the ground as life fled from his body. However, before that happened, he wished to utter one last word he said, “Auf Wiedersehen.”