|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.52(d)|
Read an Excerpt
FOREVER IN HER HEARTONE MOTHER'S JOURNEY
By Helen Allee Breedlove
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2012 Helen Breedlove
All right reserved.
Chapter OneWhat a glorious day! Anna thought. Life is beautiful again. Oslo was becoming ablaze with autumn colors, but in her heart, it felt more like the awakening and renewal of spring. It was springtime of the heart. Breathing in the fresh air as she strolled toward home from the medical clinic, the blue-eyed nurse in her white uniform smiled when the baby inside her moved. In just three more weeks she would be holding her newborn infant in her arms.
She had felt she could never be happy again after the Nazis attacked Norway's ports in April, 1940. Her father, a fisherman, had resisted the invasion, but had been brutally gunned down along with many of his friends and acquaintances. Having recently finished her nurse's training at the time, Anna, in horror, had witnessed the slaying from her hiding place.
Now in mid-September of 1943, the Nazis were present everywhere, occupying all her homeland, and World War II still raged on, fiercer than ever. The hint of cheerfully bright autumn colors in the trees contrasted sharply with the dark, somber mood of mostNorwegians. The occupation had been relatively peaceful after Norway's government had gone into exile in London. The German soldiers had left her and her husband and the medical clinic in which they worked near the edge of Oslo pretty much alone, probably because they needed medical facilities. Others had suffered greatly with scarcity of food and fuel and just about everything else.
Interrupting her thoughts, a sudden burst of rain poured down, drenching her. She had always loved the scent of fresh rain penetrating the warm earth. The downpour reminded her, happily, of the autumn day she had met and fallen in love with Dr. Jorgen Elstad two years earlier.
She had been rushing toward the clinic in a torrential rain to apply for a nursing position. Just as she started through the door, she collided with a tall stranger and his big black umbrella. Managing to get through the door without taking a fall on the slick, wet floor, she looked into the laughing face of the blond, blue-eyed man. It was love at first sight for both Anna and this doctor whom she went to work for immediately. After just three months they had married and were now happily expecting their first child. During these turbulent times, she knew little of what went on outside of the clinic and her home. It was better, and safer, that way. She and Jorgen avoided controversy as much aspossible.
Yes, indeed, she could still find good in this terrible world in spite of the horrible war and the loss of her father. A baby, what a joy it would be, another person to love and a sense of renewal and hope for Jorgen and herself even if the birth would take place during such awful times. Just thinking of this precious baby made her smile. She touched her swollen abdomen. If it was a boy, she would name him Olaf for her beloved father, who had devoted all his attention to her after her mother had died from pneumonia when Anna was only ten.
Suddenly, a tan Volkswagen came to a screeching halt, splashing rain water everywhere. Two German soldiers jumped out, grabbed Anna, and shoved her into the floorboard of the backseat.
As the car, driven by a third soldier, sped off, Anna was gagged and blindfold and her hands tied behind her back. In a state of shock and disbelief, she understood, in her limited knowledge of the German language, one of the soldiers to say, "We'll be handsomely rewarded for this fine Nordic specimen. Himmler and the Fuhrer would be proud. The Brown Sisters were right."
"Yeah, they'd been watching her for sometime-thought this was about the right time. The kid should be due anytime." Anna kicked and flailed around as much as she could in the cramped space on the floor. Terrified and bewildered, she couldn't understand what her baby had to do with this. And who were the Brown Sisters? She didn't know them, did she? Why was this happening to her? It must be some mistake. She hadn't done anything to offend the Germans.
"What a catch-blond, blue-eyed, wide hips, and smart too-a nurse. And I'm told the father's a doctor, tall and also blond. This infant should serve the purpose of helping the Fuhrer reach his goal of creating a Germany of pure blood."
Panic seized Anna. They wanted her baby! Why? What would become of her and her baby? What would they do to both of them? She tried desperately to cry out, but not even a muffled sound escaped her lips. She had never known such anguish, not even when she had witnessed the slaying of her father. Her baby, her precious baby!
She tried to concentrate, to remember the direction she was going, which she felt sure was the opposite direction from her home. She tried to keep track of time and to think how long they had traveled from her home. She discerned from the city sounds that they were somewhere in Oslo and had traveled through a good part of the city. Somehow she would escape. Her head was spinning, and her heart was pounding. Stay calm, think, she kept telling herself, but to no avail. She no longer heard rain pounding on top of the car or windshield wipers swishing. The odor of the wool of her captors' wet clothing was suffocating.
It seemed like a very long time before the car came to a stop. She was unloaded and, with a soldier on each side of her, was shuffled into a building and told to sit down, presumably on a bed. Someone unbound her hands and removed the blindfold and the tape covering her mouth. She started to scream for help, but the man who stood there, simply laughed. "You'll be wasting your breath, little lady. Nobody can or will come to your rescue. And you can't get out of here either, so don't even try. There are guards everywhere."
"But what am I doing here?" she pleaded in broken German. What does anybody possibly want with me?" She was reeling with confusion and chaotic thoughts.
"You'll find out soon enough," he replied and walked off, leaving Anna to sob convulsively. Other women, most of them obviously pregnant, were also in the huge, dormitory-styled room. The bright yellow walls created a sharp contrast to her dark despair. Some shook their heads in disgust; a few looked furtively, even sympathetically, in her direction.
"Hush up your weeping. No one wants to listen to it." Anna glanced across the room and saw the attractive young pregnant Norwegian woman who had spoken. She stared belligerently back at Anna.
"But I don't understand. What would anybody want with me-happily married to a loving husband? I wasn't bothering anyone or causing any trouble."
The other woman scoffed and shook her head in disgust. "They don't want you, you brainless imbecile, except maybe to have other babies for the Fuhrer. Right now, they want the baby you're carrying."
Horrified, Anna sobbed more loudly. "What does Hitler have to do with my baby?" she wailed.
"He's creating a master race for Germany, a Germany of pure blood. Instead of sitting there bawling your eyes out, you should feel honored, like I am. Your baby will be held in high esteem and have the best of everything. The future is Hitler's Germany, and I'll be proud that my child and I will be a part of it."
"You mean you were kidnapped too?"
"The father of my child is a high-ranking SS officer," she announced arrogantly.
"But you're Norwegian."
"Yes, and I'm to be one of the selected ones and give birth to a child to help fulfill Hitler's dream. Some of us Norwegians are considered the most desirable-you know Nordic Aryans. You should be proud too to be good enough, instead of acting like a sniveling child."
"At least your baby's father will get to be with you when you give birth, won't he? I won't even have that. It's just not fair. It's not right. It's evil." Anna tried to stifle the sobs, her voice rising with each sentence.
"That's where you're wrong," she snapped. "Sadly, he was killed on the Eastern Front a few months ago, and I'm left alone."
For the first time, Anna felt a little empathy for this hard-hearted shrew. "I want my husband so badly," she muttered between sobs. "I can't imagine having our baby without him." The empathy lasted for only a fleeting moment, for it suddenly struck her that this woman was a traitor to Norway for collaborating with enemy forces and even voluntarily having a sexual relationship with an occupying soldier.
In a state of shock and anger, Anna confronted the woman. "But surely you and your baby won't stay here where you'll be viewed as a traitor to Norway. Can you go to Germany to be with your husband's family, not that it really matters to me?"
She flung her hands out, stuck her head in the air, and haughtily, fired back. "I'll go wherever I'm told, but probably my baby will go to Germany to be raised by a German family so the child can be Germanized and perhaps someday become a great official in the Third Reich."
"How can you be so calloused, so cruel, to willingly give up your innocent little child? How can they be so cruel to take a baby away from its mother?"
"How can you be so cruel to want to leave your child on the wrong side of history, to be killed someday by German forces? That will eventually happen, you know. Don't you love your unborn baby enough to protect it and give it up for its own good?" the woman asked. Anna cried out in horror. "Now shut up and stop that stupid pitiful bawling. No one's going to feel sorry for you or even care. If you know what's good for you, you'll shut up this minute."
Anna's heart was racing. She couldn't believe what she was hearing. Why hadn't she heard about all this-all these horrible things happening right here in Oslo? She thought she had been doing the right thing to keep to herself, keep a low profile, and deliberately stay uninvolved during this terrible occupation. She had no idea such awful things were happening.
Nightfall found Anna numb with grief and fear. Deep depression and despair washed over her. Her tears had been spent, and desolation and anguish racked her body. She lay in the dark wide awake. After the cavernous room became eerily quiet, another woman crept to her bedside, sat on the edge of the bed, and put her hand on Anna's shoulder, "Shhh," she whispered, "I'm Gisela. Be very carefully what you say here. Anyone who speaks out against Hitler or Himmler's breeding program will be treated badly," she warned. "Believe me, I know, but I fully understand what you're going through."
Anna listened quietly to the tender words. What a relief it was to have someone else who understood how she was suffering, her horrible despair. "But you're not pregnant," she murmured, being careful to keep her voice as low as possible.
"I'm only four months along and not showing yet, but I'm definitely pregnant, or I'd still have to endure being raped over and over again by that despicable SS German."
"You were raped repeatedly?" Anna gasped in horror and disbelief.
"Yes, and held captive at a 'stud farm' until my pregnancy was confirmed. I used to think it was a blessing to be born very blond and pretty, but in this heinous war, it's a curse, a terrible curse."
"But that woman who chastised me earlier for crying truly believed it was an honor to have a baby by a German. She was Norwegian and proud of her pregnancy." Anna shook her head as if to shake some kind of reasoning into it. "I just can't comprehend it. It makes no sense."
"Most of them here are traitors to Norway. They willingly have SS officer boyfriends-mostly married ones-and maybe think they're doing a wonderful thing to create babies for Germany. The good Lord above knows they're just deceiving themselves."
"But why? Why do they do it?"
"Who knows? Maybe because they're given special treatment and certain privileges. Maybe so they won't suffer like the rest of us during this occupation. The Germans take truckloads of our food harvest to feed their forces, and these women or girls never go without."
With a desperate plea in her voice, Anna asked, "What will become of our babies?"
"That I don't know, and right now it's hard for me to feel any love for this baby I'm carrying. I just don't care at this point. The only thing I care about is getting away from here and never being raped again with those filthy Nazi hands and everything else touching me. The thought of producing another baby for the Third Reich makes me want to throw up. Right now, I can't feel anything but hate."
"When you feel your baby move inside you, you'll care."
"I'll still hate it. I won't let myself care. I'll never think of it as my baby. The anger and humiliation will never go away."
"But the baby didn't have anything to do with that. It couldn't help it."
"But it'll be half German. Your baby was conceived out of love. That's different."
"Gisela, I need an answer. What will become of our babies?" There was a desperate plea in Anna's voice.
"That I don't know, and right now it's hard for me to feel anything, I just don't care at this point." She paused and looked away as if dreading to go on. "I realize you're concerned about your baby. I hate to tell you this, but I've heard rumors that some will grow up in group homes, a part of the Lebensborn program, to be indoctrinated in German ways. I suppose that's where many of the kidnapped children are raised."
"You mean children are kidnapped?" Again, Anna felt so ignorant of what was going on. Oh, how could all of this be happening right under her own nose and she not have an inkling of it?
"While I was at that detestable stud farm, I heard that a group of women called the Brown Sisters scout out the occupied countries seeking desirable Aryan-looking children to kidnap."
Anna felt sick to her stomach just thinking of it. "I had no idea this was occurring."
"It's all very hush hush. I've heard that some of these children and the babies who meet the right standards are either placed with a German family or raised in a Lebensborn facility."
"What kind of standards?"
"Smart, Nordic good looks, healthy and physically strong-things like that."
"And what if they don't meet those standards?"
"You don't even want to know."
"Oh!" Anna gasped, causing women in nearby beds to moan and turn over. Gisela placed a hand over Anna's mouth, waited awhile, and then quietly made her way back to her own bed.
During the next week and a half, Gisela was the only person to give Anna an occasional kind look. Guards were everywhere, and from the conversations she overheard, she assumed this place offered no hope of escaping. She understood why Gisela did not approach her again. It was simply too dangerous.
On October 7, Anna went into hard labor and was taken into a very clinical delivery room. "Your baby will be special," one of the Norwegian-speaking German nurses told her. "Today is Himmler's birthday. It's a good omen and portends well for this baby's future." This announcement only intensified Anna's extreme pain and agony.
But the baby was not born until thirty hours later after an exceptionally difficult delivery with much writhing and screaming. Anna was in and out of consciousness, but she was aware of the moment her baby was born. When she heard it cry, she forced herself to barely open her eyes. She saw that she had given birth to a boy. When a nurse wrapped him in a receiving blanket, she spotted a large birthmark on his right thigh. Before she lost consciousness again, she cudgeled her brain to focus on its shape, promising herself she would always remember it-a dark ball sitting atop a distinctive dark triangle.
When Anna awoke with a burning fever, she had no idea whether she had been unconscious for hours or days since the delivery. "My baby, my baby. I want to see my baby. Where's my baby?" she murmured.
"It was stillborn and has been buried. You've been out of it for a long time," a nurse answered sharply.
Burning up with fever and deathly sick, she kept her eyes closed, but was dimly aware of male voices approaching her bedside. "We have to get rid of her. She's no good to us now. She'll probably never have other children, too much infection. Too bad. She would have been perfect for our Nordic stock breeding program. What a waste."
Another man concurred. "She's going to die anyway. Let's get her out of here. I'll tell Knut to haul her away in the trash."
No, Anna thought, I have to stay alive to find my baby. Then she passed out.
Later, she roused enough to feel the bumping and hear the thumping as the trash bin was pushed up a few steps and rolled inside a house. She was aware of an argument taking place in her native language. "What on earth do you think you're doing with that dumpster in this house?" a woman's voice shrieked.
Excerpted from FOREVER IN HER HEART by Helen Allee Breedlove Copyright © 2012 by Helen Breedlove. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.