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ww2

The Blue Danube Waltz

Would you go back and try to change history if you had the chance?

The old man sat at the table, watching the couples dance. He stared into his glass of Schnapps. The taste did nothing for him. Nothing did anything for him anymore. He wasn’t sure why he’d come. The lecturers and professors got younger every year. He felt...

The Long Road Home. Chapter 36

Lotte sighed and looked thoroughly miserable. "No, I didn't grow up in Berlin."

Zwickau, February 19th 1945 When Maria opened her eyes again, the room was in total darkness. The only light emanated from a thin gap under the door. From the other side, she became aware of the sounds of someone moving about. Beside her, Katarina still l...

The Long road Home. Chapter 34

“Don't play the innocent with me. I was here, I saw what happened."

Berlin, February 16th 1945   As Maria turned the handle of the apartment door, she pushed and stepped forward, only to find that there was nothing but empty air in front of her! She screamed as she fell forwards but kept a tight grip on the handle. Almost...

The Long Road Home. Chapter 33.

“I know you!” she hissed. “You killed the Metzlers! Where is my Father?"

Katarina didn't sleep at all. After being arrested the previous day, she had been thrown into a cell in the basement of the Gestapo headquarters on Prinz Albrecht Strasse. The only food she was given was a bowl of thin soup and a small chunk of stale, gre...

The Long Road Home. Chapter 32.

“I... I'm sorry, I thought you said that Matron Langsdorff was your sister?”

Berlin, February 15th, 1945   Maria woke suddenly. The room she occupied was filled with the eerie wailing of an air-raid siren. She had been in a deep sleep, bourne from exhaustion, and the sound echoed and screeched in her ears. The room was no larger t...

The Long Road Home. Chapter 31.

What she saw shocked her. The once busy streets were strewn with rubble.

Berlin, February 14th 1945   It was a tired and very nervous young woman who walked away from the supplies truck. Katarina felt that it was better not to be associated with the young man who had stolen it. She had enough trouble before she left, almost fi...

The Long Road Home. Chapter 30

“Shut your mouth!” he snarled. “Open it again and it'll be the last thing you do!”

Chemnitz, February 14th, 1945   Maria lay on her back, the weight of her assailant pushing her against the stack of rolled canvases. From the vicious slap he had delivered, her cheek stung. A small drop of blood dripped from his lip and splashed onto her...

The Long Road Home. Chapter 29.

The ruined buildings like jagged teeth in the mouth of a slain monster...

Berlin, February 14th 1945   The convoy moved slowly through the oppressive darkness. The presence of the Allied bombers precluded that the vehicles could not use their lights. Since the bombers were protected by fighters, the line of trucks and cars woul...

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The Long Road Home. Chapter 28

Men were shouting, others groaning and, beyond it all, the perpetual drone of the bombers.

Chemnitz, February 14th 1945   Katarina was sitting in the cab of the third lorry of the convoy. A few minutes after the air raid sirens began, they tailed off into silence. She couldn't be sure whether it was because they had sounded the warning for long...

The Long Road Home. Chapter 27

“Where are you going?” he asked abruptly. “Berlin,” Katarina replied.

Dresden, February 13th 1945   Katarina and Maria seemed to be waiting for a long time for a tram that they were beginning to think, wasn't coming. Furthermore, they seemed to be the only ones waiting. The sky was devoid of clouds, and the stars twinkled a...

The Long Road Home. Chapter 26.

Katarina hugged her sister. “I'm sorry, Maria. I didn't mean to upset you. I...”

Neither Maria nor Katarina had any time to react before the office phone began to ring. Immediately, Katarina lifted the receiver. “Matron Langsdorff.” “Ah, Matron Langsdorff. This is Herr Frank's secretary. Please evacuate the hospital immediately. All t...

The Long Road Home. Chapter 25

"Save yourselves. Germany is finished. The Russians will kill...”

Krakow, January 15th 1945   From time to time, news came through about the uprising in Warsaw. The stories that reached Maria and Katarina horrified them. Young, Polish men and women had risen up against the Germans. The word was that they had been expect...

The Long Road Home. Chapter 23.

By the time the sun was setting, they had reached the outskirts of Katowice in Silesia.

Krakow, June 10th 1944   The cobbled square was teeming with soldiers. It took Maria and Katarina a little while to locate someone who had even the slightest clue as to where they could eat. So far as refuelling the bus was concerned, that was not their p...

The Long Road Home. Chapter 22.

As it turned back towards them, Katarina saw the red and blue circles stand out on the wings

Ostrava, June 08th 1944   Maria and Katarina had to wait a few more days before they heard anything at all about being discharged. They waited patiently and took the time to continue with the therapy but, more so, helped the other nurses with some of the...

The Long Road Home. Chapter 21.

He took a small hammer and a chisel and began to gently tap...

Vienna, April 30th 1944   Maria and Katarina settled into their daily routine, finally accepting that their recovery was not going to happen overnight. The long days soon became weeks which, in turn, became months. Oberstartz Ritter had been right about t...