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It was the autumn of 1938 and I had just turned thirteen but instead of celebrating with joy and exuberance that year I was filled with dread and terror Summer in Berlin is actually the most beautiful time of the year but by now the leaves of the old trees weve seen everyday on our walk home had started to morph into different colors and drift downward onto their new home for the season It was the evening of November 6 and my sister and I were taking our usual route home We were skipping and prancing singing songs that my mother had taught us when we were young Klara was only a year younger than I but we were inseparable best friends We were especially happy on that clear brisk day because it was my birthday As we approached the front of our home we could smell the amazing scent of our mothers cooking And we hurriedly ran inside to be greeted by my father Henry in the biggest bear hug he has given me to date I felt safe when my father hugged me It was like he was an invincible barrier that no one could possibly take down It was this feeling and his smile that I felt were his best features He was also the most optimistic person I knew Keep your head up no matter what was his motto and he reinforced it in every single one of his children It was our daily ritual to hug the second I arrived home from school and my sister would run to my mothers side tugging on her apron anxious to tell her about the happenings at school Mother whose name was Anna was an old-fashioned person just like her mother and her mother before her She was a beautiful woman who had the kindest soul of anyone you would ever meet Father and her married when they were a mere eighteen
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