Two panels in the story caught my eye in this regard. The first instance appeared on page 137, where an old neighbor of the family recognized Anja and started yelling “There;s a Jewess in the courtyard! Police!” It was terrifying to know that even with them living there for years, this old witch of a woman, as they described her was willing to rat them out the instant she saw them. It chilled me to my very core to know these people could not trust a single soul even in the town they lived in for years.The second instance that this fact struck me was on page 140 of the book, where the father recounts, “I traveled often with the streetcar into town.
It was two cars. One was only for germans and officials. The second, it was only for poles. Always I went for the official car.
The germans paid no attention of me… in the polish car they could smell if a polish jew came in.” Before I was aware that polish and jewish relationships had been tense, even before the rise of the nazi party, but never did I think a jewish man in hiding at these times would feel safer around the germans then the polish.
The article explains that Poland had the largest population of jewish families before the war began and in the end also had the most jewish deaths tied to it at the end of the war. The fear and distrust that filled the jewish people and other victims of the holocaust must have been so high in these times, it’s not hard to believe that women were willing to kill themselves and children for an easier death.