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Schindlers Ark

Young Dr Idek Schindel, working at the ghetoo hospital on the corner of Wegierska, heard from a woman who came in hysterical that they were taking the children.  She'd seen the children lined up in Krakusa Street, Genia with them.  Schindel had left Genia that morning with neighbours: he was her guardian in the ghetto, her parents were still hiding in the country, intedning to slip back inot the - until today - relative safety of the ghetto.  This morning Genia, in accordance with her general air of being her own woman, had wandered away from the woman who was minding her back to the house where she lived with her uncle.  There she had been arrested.  It was in this way that Oskar Schindler, from the park, had been drawn to her motherless presence in the coloumn in Krakusa Street.
Taking off his surgical coat, Dr Schindel rushed to the square and saw her almost at once, sitting on the grass, affecting conposure within the wall of guards.  Dr Schindel knew how faked the performance was, having to get up often enough to hush her night screams.
He moved to the periphery of the square and she saw him.  Don't call out, he wanted to say, I'll work it out.  He didn't want a scene because it could end badly for both of them.  But he didn't need to be concerned, for he could see her eyes grow mute and unknowing.  He stopped, transfixed by her pitiably admirable cunning.  She knew well enough at the age of three years not to take the short-term comfort of calling out to uncles.  She knew there was no salvation in engaging the interest of the SS in Uncle Idek.
He was composing a speech he intended to make to the large Oberscharfurher who stood by the execution wall.  It was better not to approach the authorities too humbly or through a lesser rank.  Looking back again to the child, he saw the suspicion of a flutter of her eyes and then, with a dazzling spectators coolness, she stepped between the two guards nearest to her and out of the cordon. She moved with an aching slowness which, of course, galvinised her uncle's vision, so that afterwards he would often see behind his closed eyes the image of her among the forest of gleaming SS knee boots.  No one saw her.  She maintained her part-stumbling, part-ceremonial bluffer's pace all the way to Pankiewicz's corner and round it, keeping to the blind side of the street.  Dr Schindel repressed the urge he had to applaud.  Though the performance deserved an audience, it would by its nature be destroyed by one.
He felt he could not move behind her straight away without disclosing her feat by his adult clumsiness.  Against all his usual impulses, he believed that the instinct which had taken her infallibly out of Plac Zgody would provide her with a hiding place.  He returned to the hospital by the other way to give her time.
Genia returned to the front bedroom in Krakusa Street that she shared with her uncle.  The street was deserted now, or if by cunning or false walls anyone was still there they did not declare themselves.  She entered the house and hid under the bed.  From the corner of the street, Idek, returning to the house, saw the SS, in a last sweep, come knocking.  But Genia did not answer.  She would not answer him when he arrived himself.  It was just that he knew where to look, in the gap between curtain and window sash, and saw, shining in the drabness of the room, her red shoe beneath the hem.

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