Karl Barbie and Curt Woods answer a call when the fifty five year old woman opens the door she falls backward in fear.
Having been a survivor of the holocaust, seeing two officers in brown uniforms, black boots and gold badges show up at her door was just overwhelming.
As Curt reached to steady her as she fell back at their approach he noticed the number tattooed on her forearm. It was obvious to the officers why she was so overcome. Curt and Karl helped her to a chair. Then while Curt sat beside her, Karl went and grabbed her a glass of water from the kitchen. They sat beside her and waited for her to recover. Once she had gathered her wits she asked Officer Barbie, “Are you related to the Butcher of Leon?”
“Yes,” answered Karl. “He is a distant uncle. But my side of the family came over before the war. We fought on the American side against the Nazis.”
She looked at Curt, “Is your family German too?”
“Yes, German and Polish but we came over before the First World War,” answered Curt. “I’m truly sorry that we gave you such a fright.” He pointed to her tattoo. “I can’t even begin to imagine what a shock we must have given you with our brown uniforms and all.”
She sat quietly for a minute. Once she had recovered she explained her experience during World War Two. “My family managed to avoid capture by the Nazis for most of the war. We kept moving west ahead of their invading army. Once we got to France there was no more place to run. Unfortunately for us, before the allies invaded, my family was captured and we were hauled by train to Natzweiler. Once there we were separated. I never saw any of my family again. My parents, my brother and two sisters,… all gone.”
Curt held her hand, “Whatever words we say are never going to be enough, but I can assure you that you have nothing to fear from us. We’re on your side. If you call, we’ll come. What you went through on the other side of the world we can’t make up for. But you’re here now. If you want to talk, we’ll listen. If you need help, we’ll help you. If you want us out of your home, we’ll go. We’re only here when you call.”
The woman was still shaken by her memories but as she sat with the two officers she began to recover. “I can’t even remember why I called,” she said chuckling to herself.
“If you’re uncomfortable with us showing up and bringing nightmares, you can tell the dispatcher what you want us for and we’ll handle it without knocking on your door,” said Curt.
“Whatever it was seems trivial now. But next time I’ll definitely try to do that,” said the woman.
Want more stories like this check out the book The Chief Is Missing which is available in audio for those of us that don’t have time to sit down and read.