Childhood sweethearts, they had married in the spring of 1927. He looked deeply into her eyes and was happy.
On the train coming home from their honeymoon, a man with desperate eyes shoved a gun into their faces and demanded money. Without thinking, he pushed the gun aside and tackled the man, then pummeled him until the police arrived.
She told him he was a brave man.
After university he secured an excellent job as a factory manager. She bore him two children within three years.
They were content. He came home every evening to an immaculate home and was greeted by a warm smile and embrace.
By 1934, neighbors started looking at her differently. He overheard snippets of guiltily whispered conversations: “…black hair…nose…star…”
By 1936, she wondered why he no longer looked her in the eyes when they made love and why he resisted family outings.
In 1940 a friend in the Gestapo secretly handed him a note at a party. Hands shaking, he opened it in the bathroom. It read: “They know.”
When they got home that night, he told her to take the children to the park in the morning.
He kissed them goodbye that morning, then watched them leave through the window. As soon as they were out of site, he rushed to his bedroom to pack.
After finishing, he scoured the house for every document he could find that connected them. As he was feeding them into the fire, his eyes fell on her old diaries, from which their love letters protruded.
He lay down and began reading them. Lazy summer afternoons at the lake. Whispered promises under the stars. Nervous caresses. Shared dreams. First kiss and first realizations. Naive, heartfelt, authentic.
With a sigh, he dropped the last one into the flames, then went into the bathroom to wash his hands. He didn’t look up into the mirror.
He grabbed his bag and newly-prepared documents, took one last look behind him from the front door, taped the yellow star onto the door, and disappeared.