A Close Encounter

Deceiving the Gestapo

"Phew! That was pretty lucky"

"And then one morning, my dad is on his way home, and he has a little trailer on his bicycle with the seventeen rifles and ammunitions and whatnot, So he sees the Gestapo up on the bridge. And he thought, 'Well, if I turn around, they’ll know I have something to hide. I’m dead anyway.' So he went up, and they asked, 'What do you have there?' And, 'Weapons. Weapons.' And they start laughing. So I tell young kids when they visit the museum, 'Tell the truth. Always tell the truth. You might get away with it.'

He went home that day and hid all the rifles in a chair, taking the sewing up, and the ammunition was to blow up the supply trains at night. That’s why he was out after curfew, and the rifles were for the resistance when they were fighting an ambush of Gestapo or whatnot. And so neighbors would get money if they turned somebody in on suspicion-- a little money here and there couldn’t hurt.

So the Gestapo came to the house and inspected the house and they had their rifles with the bayonet. And they pierced every piece of furniture, every painting, every mattress to see if there was any weapons hidden anywhere. And my grandmother later would say, 'Oh my goodness. Feathers flying everywhere! It was just the biggest mess.' Fortunately, though, the family was in the furniture business, so it was repaired later on.

And I have a painting in my house here in Marietta of the forest where the Jews were hiding before they were safely taken to Sweden with a bayonet hole in it. And there was nothing hidden there, which was fortunate. My dad sat on the chair with the seventeen rifles. They never pierced that chair. He stood up and thanked them for coming by, and they left. Phew! That was pretty lucky."