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The Westerbork Serenade

MAX: Knock, knock. Wonderful work today Camilla, Terrific! Reminded me of that Jewish-Kulturbund show in Berlin back in '36.

CAMILLA: Thar was '35, Max.

MAX: You're right kid, '35. Camilla can I talk to you for a second?

CAMILLA: Sure Max.

MAX: You know the old phrase, "Music soothes the savage beast?" Let's take our cue from that.

CAMILLA: What are you saying?

MAX: I'm saying we're none of us on the transport tomorrow and we want it to stay that way.

CAMILLA: Of course, but what can I do about it?

MAX: You're obviously doing something right. I have a message for you from the Commandant.


MAX: He would like us to join him for drinks tonight at his house.

CAMILLA: What time?

MAX: As soon as you finish your barracks duties.

CAMILLA: I'm married.

MAX: Konrad's married too...sort of.

CAMILLA: What's that supposed to mean?

MAX: She lives with him.


MAX: Frau Hassel.

CAMILLA: And what does Herr Hassel have to say about that?

MAX:  Nothing, Konrad's his boss. Hassel is an Understurmfuhrer and Gemmeker is the Obersturmfuhrer.

CAMILLA: And Hassel doesn't want any more furors I guess.

MAX: Hey, It's one less hassle.

CAMILLA: Ha ha. And Frau Hassel?

MAX: Out of town.

CAMILLA:  Max this isn't a joke!

MAX: Don't worry, Konrad's a complete gentleman. He thinks he's cultured and we're his culture. Just be Nice. Besides we'll all be there together.

CAMILLA: ...Alright. I'm trusting you. Max, I'm scared!

MAX: Scared?

CAMILLA: Aren't you? What's going to happen to all of us?

MAX: Honey, the first time I was really scared was in 1933. I'll never forget. Just before Hitler became chancellor, I was on tour in Karlsbad. I was signing autographs after the show. And this young boy came up to me with a notebook in his hand. I go to sign it and I notice the swastika pin on his lapel. "I don't want your autograph you filthy Jew!"  he said. I must record where you are staying in town tonight."

CAMILLA: What happened?

MAX: We caught the next express back to Berlin.

CAMILLA: It was just the beginning.

MAX: But I remember what was most frightening was the look in that little boy's eyes: blank, empty, like a spider. To quote our dear Commandant, " I believe children are the future."

CAMILLA: There's no more Berlin for us, Max. No more Amsterdam. There's nowhere left. We're trapped!

MAX: Take it easy kid, we ain't licked yet. I'll see you tonight. Oh, and one more thing.

CAMILLA:  What's that?

MAX: Make sure I don't drink too much.


Nellie and Jules Go Boating

     Seagulls cried and swirled beneath early morning clouds. eleven-year-old Jules dodged a baker who carried a sheaf of baguettes. He shifted his little sea bag and skipped along a cobbled alley to the quay. His young heart raced when he saw tall masts peak above the rooftops.

     Along the pier, mongers bartered with fisheremen. Jules looked at the water and could tell the tide was poised to ebb.

     "Just in time," he said to himself as he ran up the gangway of the shabby brig. He hopped onto the scuffed deck and stopped as half as dozen grizzled faces turned.

     "Fresh meat," said one.

     "Shut it, you!" said the captain. "It's our new cabin boy. You just made it. Prepare to cast off!"

     "Jules got settled in below. He thought of his cousin, Caroline. She was older, auburn haired and lovely.

     "I'll go to the Caribbean," he had sworn to her, "and bring you a necklace of corral."

      Now, by god, he would!

     He heard voices in the companionway. then the door slammed open.

     "Here he is," said the captain with an odd deferential air to the shaded figure behind him. the captain stepped aside. In stepped Jules' father. He looked down at Jules from an impossible height, his worried eyes ablaze.

     The cathedral bell tolled in counterpoint to the thwacks of his father's cane.

     He grunted out words as he swung the stick, "I am your father and my word is law."

     "Yes sir," Jules wimpered.

     "The law is our life and our trade, Jules. And you, my first born, must promise to join the firm. Promise me!"

     "I promise I will join the firm," wailed Jules.

     "You must also promise me that from now on, you will voyage only in your imagination."

     "But mon Pere."

     "Say it, boy!"

     "I promise I will voyage only in my imagination!"

     His father's eyes sofened  and filled with tears. He lowered his cane.

     "One day you will thank me," he said.




Nellie and Jules Go Boating