By Craig Johns
Jan and Alec, listening to the radio, heard the startling words that the Nazis had invaded Poland. Their faces turned blank. In a few minutes, Amelia, the wife of Jan, came into the cottage with a bundle of food under her arms. The first words she spoke were, “I know, Jan; I heard it on the radio just as I got in the store. Maybe we had better leave our home here at Lwow and find our way to Stockholm. We will have to take a desperate journey there because, by the time we get to the northern part of Poland, the Nazis will have already taken that whole section. But the best thing to do, Alec, is to go before they occupy that region., Well, Alec, what do you say? Shall we go?”
“All right, I guess you’re right. Get your things ready and we’ll be off for Sweden.” By
the time the Filapouits were at the station, they heard the faint sound of the train’s whistle rounding the curve of the tracks. They knew they’d never see their house on Pilsudski Street. When the old train came rumbling into the station of Lwow, the hundreds of people at the station rushed for the train doors, crowding the doors. But Alec was a strong youth, so the Filapouits made an easy entrance into the train. By mere luck they had found a seat in the stuffy train. But the train pulled out quickly, and many people were left behind. Alec felt proud of himself for his power.
While the train was puffing along for days, the food was getting very scarce in their pack. When the train finally reached Kieice, the train really stopped. The conductor came yelling through the cars, “Train stopping for two hours; everybody can get off for a while and do all you want. But come back promptly or the train will leave without you.” At once the people in the whole car left, and with them Jan, Alec and Amelia. When the time was up, the family resumed their seats in the coach with their packs full of food. The train pulled out of Kieice and was soon on its way north.
In the region of Lodoz, the train suddenly stopped. There were German Stukas dive-bombing the train and machine-gunning also killing hundreds of people on the train. Jan, who was a wise World War veteran, led the family to the trees and the nearby bushes. When the Stukas had gone, there was only the locomotive left and two coaches hooked up to the end. Few other people came from the bushes. In all, there were one hundred people left. Luckily, the engineer was not hit. He also had run for bushes to take cover.
As the train finally got underway and took off, the Filapouits were busily fixing the wounds of the wounded. For about two days, the train still puffed away. When the train was about twenty miles from Warsaw, there was a sudden attack of Germans on the western side of the train. Alec and Jan knew what this meant. Jan took hold of Amelia and Alec and led them through the train cars to the door. There were pistol shots all around them. Jan told the family to run for it, eastward, away from the Nazis. When they had walked five miles, the family found a little Polish jeep. Amelia and Jan climbed in back and Alec drove the jeep northward, toward Sweden. It took about three days to reach the city at the northern coast of Poland. From there they took a boat to Sweden and landed at Karlskro’ne. They were free from the Nazis. When they finally reached Stockholm, they were greeted by their friends Peter and Joseph.