My Passage to Freedom

By Sanvitha V., 5th Grade

May 2017

I bit down on my knuckles so hard that blood came out. The boat was rocking on the shifting waves. The smell of the rotten fish and the motion of the boat made me feel nauseous enough that I wanted to throw-up.

I didn’t want to go to Sweden, but I was left with no choice because Hitler and the dreadful Nazis wanted to exterminate the Jews including me, Ellen. I admit, it was hard leaving home and my friends behind, especially Annemarie, my best friend.  I heard Henrick,  Annemarie’s uncle, say to quiet down because there were Nazi officers nearby. Suddenly, I heard a tough voice with a thick German accent.   

“Are you hiding any of those stupid little Jewish people on your boat?”

“Of course not, I hate them as much as you guys do,” I heard Uncle Henrick say. “I’m just fishing fishes for my family.”

“Well, I hope you won’t mind that my fierce dogs sniff around, just in case.”

“I wouldn’t mind at all,” Uncle Henrick responded.

Instantly, I was frightened and was shivering. I was afraid that the Nazis would find out that we are hiding at the bottom of the fishing boat. I could just smell the disgusting drool of the fierce dogs. The sound of the wicked monster stomping everywhere made me feel even more nauseous than before. I was worried that the exterminators would find me and my family and send us to the death camps, but I was surprised.

“I’m guessing you’re sick. Well, we’re going to back away from you and ugly boat.”

“What does this Nazi mean? We’re not sick,” I said in my head, so no one would hear it except for me.

“We are sick.”

“This is so confusing. How did the Nazi think that we are sick, and why did Uncle Henrick say that we were sick?”

I guess the footsteps were the Nazi officers leaving, but the laughter seemed like it was from a far away distance. The laughter was very,very familiar like when me, Annemarie, and Kirsti, Annemarie’s little sister, were running back home from school. Two Nazis saw us and laughed because they said that we looked like chickens.

Uncle Henrick and Peter, Annemarie’s big sister’s boyfriend, started the boat, and snickety-snap we were drifting on the sea. Because the sailing seemed so smooth, I thought that nothing would stop us.

Suddenly, the boat was shaking, and a cold drop of water touched my foot. Then, streams of the cold water came rushing in. I was so cold that I was shivering a lot. My body was like an ice cube. Water was passing through my legs like it was a passageway. At that moment, I saw a bright light shined from above.

“Hurry, get out of there!” Uncle Henrick said in a worried and rushed voice.

While, he was helping the Jews out of the boat, Peter was counting the people.

“We have everyone!” Peter said.

“Good, let’s get the other boat,” Uncle Henrick responded.

I didn’t know that Annemarie’s uncle had an extra boat. After seeing all the men including my father and Peter trying to get the inflatable boat, I realized that it was stuck. At this moment, I thought that I was going to drown. The big problem is that I don’t know how to swim. The Nazis didn’t get us, but the water did.

Suddenly, Uncle Henrick shouted, “Wait! If we unlock this door, we’ll be able to get this boat out.”

He was right!! When the boat was ready, all the women and children went into the boat. Then, the men got in and started paddling.

I finally realized what happened when we passed the huge rock that we crashed into.  Because I was in the inflatable boat, I felt more free than before. My legs weren’t super close to each other in the small space. At that time, I saw the sun set, and I had never seen this miraculous moment because I always had to sleep early, so I could be ready for school or church. Also, my body wasn’t squished trying to fit the space we had under Uncle Henrick’s fishing boat.

The rest of the journey to Sweden was passing by, and we were getting out of the boat and standing on the edge of the place where the Nazis will never invade Sweden. When I looked up, my mind exploded with amazement. Sweden was absolutely beautiful. There were birds, foxes, bees, butterflies, and rabbits running and flying happily around trees and bushes. Bushes and trees were blooming; green leaves started to grow. When I looked at the leaves, there were raindrops on top. Accidentally, my finger touched the leaves, and cold drops of water fell on my face while the leaves were jumping around like they were dancing. There were many different colored flowers on trees. I touched a very pretty flower which had pink petals. The petals started off white then ended with pink. The wonderful place smelled fresh, maybe because of the rain. Suddenly, I felt lucky and grateful that I was hiding in a gorgeous place.