The Houseguests

By: Shannon

NOTE: This story is purely ficticious. Any resemblance of any of these characters to those in real life is a pure coincedence.

It was a cold and rainy night. The Reverend Erich von Streim and his wife Marie were safe and warm in their house. Their three children were upstairs, sound asleep. Reverend von Streim and his wife were sitting by the fireplace (which they could not make a fire due to the storm) in their pajamas and having a Bible study. The furnance in their home kept the house warm. The radio in the kitchen was on, talking about the war in Europe and about Hitler his "final solution." The storm outside continued on, lightening flashed in the backdrop of the hills nearby. Every so often, Rev. von Streim would put a bucket in the fireplace to collect the water from the rain and when it got full, he would pour out the rainwater and put the bucket back in the dark, sooty fireplace.

The Nazis were coming closer and closer near the home of Rabbi Jacob Horowitz and his family. His wife Rachel, his son Joseph, and his daughter Leah and himself all prayed for God's intervention. The rain continued to pour down and the Horowitzes realized that they would have to flee from their home in order to avoid being caught by the Nazis. They gathered all their necessary belongings that they would need. They planned to walk 5 miles to the home of Rabbi Seth Horowitz, Jacob's brother. His brother and his family lived out of the way of the Nazi regime and were completely safe. At 10 p.m., Rabbi Horowitz, Rachel, Joseph, and Leah gathered their belongings, each holding an umbrella and left their home. Their 3-year-old German Shepherd, Moses, carried a bone in his mouth, wagging his tail happily, as if he expected something good to happen and followed them.

"Seth's home must be this way," said Rabbi Horowitz, holding a map and pointing ahead, down a muddy road that was continually being pelted by the rain.

The Horowitzes trodded in the mud, their shoes being protected by rain boots with Moses behind them, scanning the road for who looked suspicious.

About two hours later, the Horowitzes came by the home of their kin. They expected the vacinity to be safe until they found that the home of Rabbi Seth Horowitz and his family burned to the ground. There was no trace of anyone. The rain continued on. The only shelter was the basement. Jacob, Rachel, Joseph, and Leah all piled into the basement for the night, their hopes of safety shattered.

_

The next morning, Rev. von Streim woke up early. It was 7 a.m. and the rain had stopped. He went to the fireplace to get the pail full of rainwater and dumped it outside. His wife, Marie was making breakfast and their children, Kurt and Frieda, both came downstairs, dressed, and ready to have their breakfast. All four of them sat at the dining table, said their prayers, and ate.

"That was some storm last night," said Rev. von Streim. "I've never seen it rain so hard."

"Me neither, Father," said Kurt. "I watched the rain from the window in my room until I fell asleep."

"I cannot imagine anyone staying outside on a night like this," said Marie. "It's just awful."

Their Weinmaraner, Rolf, came into the living room and lay down. He had just came back from going outside "to do his business" and wanted some warmth from the cold air outside.

"Cold outside, isn't it, Rolf?" asked Rev. von Streim. He tossed Rolf his favorite bone to chew on.

"Can we play outside today?" asked Frieda. "It isn't raining anymore."

"Yes, you certainly may," said Marie. "Be careful not to slip and hurt yourselves."

After Kurt and Frieda finished their breakfast, they put on their raincoats, galoshes, and rainhats and ran outside. They ran into the wet and moist fields and tumbled down hills. They ran as far and as fast as they could until they ran into what looked like a burnt house.

"I wonder if anyone was hurt," said Frieda.

"The house was probably burnt down by the Nazis," said Kurt. "But let's go see if there is anyone around."

Kurt and Frieda searched what was left of the burned building and spotted only the basement. The two of them knocked on the basement door. No answer. They tried calling for someone. No answer.

"Let's go and see if there's anyone in there," said Frieda.

The two of them opened the doors to the basement and looked inside.

_

It was morning and the rain had stopped. Rabbi Horowitz woke up and pulled some food from his belongings. That morning, the Horowitzes dined on bread and some water for breakfast. Moses knawed away at a piece of meat that was kept in an icebox in the basement.

"Well, at least there's some food to last us for awhile," said Rabbi Horowitz, looking in the icebox in the basement.

"What will we do, Papa, what will we do?" asked Joseph and Leah.

"We'll think of something, don't worry," Rabbi Horowitz replied. "It's in the hands of God now."

Suddenly, they heard footsteps outside of the basement. The Horowitzes gathered and hid in a pile of tools, clothes, and other things that were left in the basement. Then they heard the basement door being pounded and voices outside. Moses hid with the Horowitzes but was prepared to defend the family from any intruder. Then, the basement doors opened. To their surprise, the "intruders" were not Nazis but two children aged 12 and 10.

"They're just children," said Rachel to Rabbi Horowitz. "They won't do us any harm."

_

"It's empty except for a few things," said Frieda.

"Hello?" called Kurt. "Anyone here?"

Suddenly, behind a pile of clothes and tools and other things, a tall man emerged. He had dark hair, black rimmed eye glasses, a dark black three-piece suit and fedora. His moustache looked like a thin, lin of string across his lips.

"Hello," the man said.

"Oh, hello," said Kurt. "Was this your home?"

"No," the man said. "This was the home of my brother. It was burned to the ground."

"The Nazis probably did it," said Frieda.

"That's what we assumed," replied the man. "Where are your parents?"

"At home," said Kurt. "We were playing out here. What are you doing here?"

were seeking shelter from the rain," said Rachel. "The Nazis were coming closer to our neighborhood so we fled to my brother-in-law's home because we thought that he'd be out of harm's way but once we got here, the basement was all that was left of his home."

"It's horrible," said the man. "We walked two hours in the rain and mud, starting at 10 at night."

From the pile of old clothes and tools emerged two children, about Kurt and Frieda's age.

"Hello," said the boy. "What is your name?"

"My name is Kurt. Kurt von Streim. This is my sister, Frieda von Streim."

"Pleased to meet you," said Frieda.

"My name's Joseph Horowitz and this is my sister, Leah," said the boy.

"How do you do?" said Leah.

Moses then came out and showed himself. He sniffed the hands of Frieda and Kurt and gave a friendly bark and tail-wag.

"That's Moses, our dog," said Joseph. "When he does that to you, it means that he likes you."

what are your names?" Frieda asked the man and his wife.

"My name...is Rabbi Jacob Horowitz and this is my wife Rachel," he said apprehensively, knowing that the children might go off to tell someone.

Frieda whispered to Kurt. "They're Jews," she said. "They were hiding out from the Nazis."

"So," Kurt whispered back. "Let's take them home and give them a place to stay until something happens."

Kurt and Frieda agreed and the six of them went to the home of the Reverend Erich von Streim. Kurt knocked at the door and motioned the Jewish family to stay outside for a few minutes.

"Father, it's me and Frieda," said Kurt. The two of them went inside. "We have something rather important to tell you."

"What is it, son?" asked Rev. von Streim.

"We were playing and we went by a house that burned down," said Frieda.

"Good heavens, I hope you didn't step on anything," said a rather worried Marie.

he l Mother, we didn't," said Kurt. "We...we...found people in the basement there."

I don't blame them for hiding in the basement," said Rev. von Streim. "It would be foolish to stay in a burning building."

"Well, that's not exactly what happened," said Kurt. "These people...they are a Jewish family hiding out from the rain and the Nazis. They left their home to avoid being captured and walked five miles in the rain to seek shelter in a home of one of their kin, only to find out that their home had been burned to the ground. The basement was the only thing left with some ample food, clothes, and other things in it."

"Oh my," said Marie.

"We were wondering if we could take them in," said Frieda. "Until they can find a place to live without fear of being caught by the Nazis."

The Reverend Erich von Streim said nothing but thought to himself for several minutes. If he took in the Jewish family, he would put himself, his family, and the Jewish family in danger if the Nazis were to ever knock on their door and find them. But, Frieda a if he refused, then the Jewish family would be left to go back and live in the basement of their kin and live on small amounts of food and sleep next to a poorly-working furnace. Then, he prayed to God for an answer.

"Well," said Kurt after his father finished praying.

"Kurt," said Rev. vo Streim. "Jesus commanded us to 'love thy neighbor.' I will gladly take this family in and give them shelter until they can find a safe place to live." Rev. von Streim smiled and put his hands on his son's shoulders. "You and your sister have done a wonderful thing."

Marie didn't say anything but was moved to tears upon hearing the story of the Jewish family's tale of survival.

Kurt then motioned the family to come in their home. "Everyone," he said. "This is my father, Reverend Erich von Streim and my mother Marie.

After everyone introduced themselves, the Rabbi and his wife sat down to speak with the von Streims as their children, and Moses, and Rolf went to play in the back yard.

truly appreciate your kindness, Reverend," said Rabbi Horowitz. "I realize the risk you are taking and I greatly thank you very much."

"You are quite welcome," said Rev. von Streim. "You will always be welcome in this home, no matter what faith you are. I am glad to be helping out a fellow man in need. I believe that this is the start of a wonderful friendship." The two of them shook hands as their wives hugged each other.

The von Streims and the Horowitzes became friends for years to come. After the fall of Hitler's regime, the Horowitzes built a house next to the von Streims and became neighbors. Rabbi Horowitz also built a Messanic temple nearby, in memory of his brother, those who had died under Hitler, and his friends...the von Streims.